Saturday, August 05, 2006

Nights With Alice

One last thing before I hit the sack. One thing I've discovered, staying out late this summer, is that after ten o'clock, the radio station I usually listen to switches over to Loveline, one of the lamest radio talk shows ever. I hate talk radio in general, but this stuff takes the cake. Only a fool would take advice from Adam Corolla, and Dr. Drew seriously needs to get off his "abuse" kick.

So what must I do? Switch it to the Fox, the classic rock station. They too have a syndicated show after ten, but this one has music, and Alice Cooper.

Nights with Alice Cooper, in case you haven't heard it, is a great show. (Shouldn't they call it a tell anyway?) Alice plays a good selection of music, and he knows most of the people who recorded it. His wacky sense of humor soothes me in some strange way. It's just me and Alice and the road. The city's shut down. Everything but the bars and grocery stores are closed. Red lights take forever, but Alice makes the eternity bearable.

And tonight, on the way home, he played some classic Queen. Why he picked that song, I don't know, but it has some strange thematic resonance. You go, Alice.

Friday, August 04, 2006


All day at work today, I had CNN buzzing in my ear. The Crisis in the Middle East (TM) was in full swing. It was all very dire and dramatic and basically useless information. CNN's like that. Don't ask me why.

But in reading, I came across this interesting post from my old buddy, Sully.

President Bush never took this war seriously enough. That is why we have all but lost it. We failed to find WMDs; we failed to stop the Sunni-Jihadist insurgency; we failed to stop a civil war. We may, however, have helped incite a broader Sunni-Shiite war in the entire region. What's needed now is a long-term strategy to exploit these sectarian divisions in order to weaken Islamism. In the short-term, redeployment of troops into Kurdish areas is one option. I'm afraid anything more ambitious would be irresponsible, given the gross incompetence of the political leadership (now on vacation).
I don't know about pulling back to Kurdistan, but then again, I'm just a civilian. I do agree with Andrew though that nothing useful will happen with the clowns in charge. Their attitude seems to be, well, it's in God's hands. It's all part of His plan, you see.


It's Friday (for a little while longer anyway) and you know what that means. Happy Hour. Today, though, was one of those days where I just couldn't drink, so I didn't. Good thing too, because I would have had to drive...and we all know the rule about that: If you're driving, don't drink. If you're drinking, don't drive.

(Okay, so I stole that from the Beastie Boys.)

It was still fun, though, even though my buddy's wife was flirting with me BIG time. She said I was "cute" (which I've heard before, but still don't believe) and "approachable" (which I've never been accused of) and I had a "baby face." It was all very flattering, but it made me uncomfortable. (Yeah, flattery does that to me.) Not only that, but she's my buddy's wife!

Sorry, I don't mess around with married chicks, and certainly not chicks who are married to my friends. It's one of those lines that I just won't cross. No offense. That's just how I do. As Eddie Murphy would say, if you don't like, get the fuck out. I felt bad for my buddy, though. Does this happen all the time? I have no illusions about my looks or personality to think I was a special case. Does she say that to all the cute boys?

I hope not!

In other news, I finally wrote a certain someone an e-mail. It was self-effacing but charming enough to get a reply. She did indeed like the poem, and even writes some poetry herself. I dashed off some rambling, faux-funny crap reply, which probably erased any points I earned with the poem, so there you have it.

But I'll say this: I admired her before, but after her sweet, friendly e-mail, my admiration remains undiminished, and perhaps it might even be stronger. Of coure, it got me to thinking about that alternate universe, where the two of us are living in loving bliss, the cute approachable baby face and the most beautiful (in all sense of the word) woman in the world enjoying every minute of the the life they made together until their time in that world was done. It's a nice thought, and I wish I could switch places with that dude and live in that universe for, I don't know, the rest of my life. His life. Whatever.

(That quantum physics stuff can be tough to think about.)

One question though. Is it weird to tell someone that they inspire you? Or does that shit still fly in our rated R world?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Am The Law

Yesterday, it was Pantera. Today, it's Anthrax.

A hardcore Anthrax fan might have a hard time deciding who was better, Joey Belladonna or John Bush, because chances are they have fond memories of both.

So I offer unto you a Belladonna era song sung by John Bush. I like this re-recorded version a little better. It benefits from the new technology, and plus I think the band sounds thicker now.

And that's saying something because even in the old days, they sounded thick.

For comparison's sake, have a listen to the same section in the original recording featuring Joey Belladona from their album Among the Living. Joey's got more range, but John's got more punch, I think.

Hell, while you're at it, check out some live cuts of the same song, same section, first from Joey, then from John.

Not bad, eh?

Anthrax trivia: Guitarist Scott Ian is married to Pearl Aday, daughter of Meatloaf Aday.


What if everyone in the blogosphere linked to the same thing? Would that mean we're all a bunch of stealing parasitic assholes? Would it make us bloggers redundant?

These thoughts occur to me as I steal a You Tube video I first saw on Andrew Sullivan's blog. I was left with a bit of a quandry. Should I link to Sullivan's post? Or just embed the You Tube vid myself, like I discovered it, like I was the one revealing it to the world for the first time.

Ah, fuck it. Who cares?

Watch this video, then let's talk a little about living in a country that has freedom and justice for all.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Your father is rich, he's a judge, he's the man, he's the god that got your sentence reduced.

Today on CNN, I looked over and saw Paula Zahn (or was it Deborah Norville?) running down the "Top Stories." The first was the "Mideast Crisis," which is undoubtably the top story but desperately needs a new name. (I vote for "Armageddon.") Then of course, there was Fidel Castro's ill health. (He'll be alright. The real Fidel Castro was replaced in the 80s with a cybernetic android who just got his last tune-up in March.) I suppose that's a big story, as it's the big Fidel Castro death watch. (See: The Pope, Terri Schiavo)

But the other big top story, Mel Gibson.

I don't even know what to say. Mel Gibson? Enough with the Mel Gibson. I'm sick of Mel Gibson. Oy yoy yoy.

Here's a question I'm not often asked: What's a nice Jewish boy like you living in a neighborhood like this? Of course the question wasn't serious, as it seems my Jewish origins have been called into doubt by a certain inalienable fact. My Mom has her Dad's German bible...

And it contains the New Testament.

So I guess the more proper question would be, what's a nice Jewish boy like Herman Betz doing with a Christian bible? Now there is one that I will ask the Lord when I see him.

Here's a shocker. Avenged Sevenfold, the band I raved about a few weeks ago, has revealed that they are Republicans and proud of it. I didn't really think of them as being all that political, but man, that's just so...disappointing.

I'm still not sure how anyone could support either party, except in a sports fan kind of way. You grow up, pick your team, and that's that. And there's all kinds of fans out there. You got the guys who don't really pay attention to the game, but they have an affinity for one side or another for one reason or another. Then you have the dude who likes whoever is winning, although usually this is a kid or a woman who doesn't know anything about the sport. Then you have hardcore fan, the guy who thinks "fairweather fan" is a four letter word. This guy will support his team no matter how bad they are, and not only that, he hates your team. It's not just that he wants to win. He wants you to lose.

Me, I'm the type of guy who doesn't care about either team. I just like the game.

And now, some Pantera.

New Guy Syndrome

I don't know what's more depressing...being unemployed, or having a job. I'm starting week three of the new job and it's been stressful. Part of it is that I've got New Guy syndrome. I don't know anything and I don't feel like I'm much help yet. Of course, time will change that. Since getting my computer last week, I already feel like I have a greater understanding of what we're doing and how to do it.

But I'm still not comfortable yet. At the old job, I knew it so well that I was the go to guy to train all the new people. I could have done my job with my eyes closed. (No wonder I was so bored.) This new job, every situation is new and bewildering, challenging even, but in a good way.

In a previous post I mentioned the temperature problem. They keep our NOC room at about 62 degrees, and while I don't know the HVAC requirements of all the equipment we have in there, I think 62 degrees is a bit much. My first day, I froze. My second day I wore an undershirt and still froze. Then I brought this jacket I bought at Target for $10, a suit-like jacket that I had only planned on wearing during formal occasions (seeing as I don't have a suit), but still froze!

My solution, thermal underwear. I bought a set last year for the Bronco game. I expected to freeze, but it actually was a pretty nice day so I ended up being hot. I haven't really worn them since, but let me tell ya, they're coming in handy now. Since I only have one set, and I work five days a week, obviously finding more has been on my mind.

But try and find thermal underwear in the middle of the summer. Target doesn't have any. Wal-Mart doesn't have any. I stopped by the new Bass Pro Shops, and they had some. Some designer expensive-as-hell kind! I appreciate the gesture, but I'm not going to the Artic. No thanks.

Finally I found a few that were moderately priced at the Sportsmans Warehouse and now I have two full sets, and an extra shirt. My eventual goal is to have at least five full sets, one for every day, and a few spares. It may seem like overkill, but trust me, having worn a full set for the first time today, it makes a difference. You may think you don't need the bottoms, but then that cold blast of air starts creeping up your pant leg...

It ain't pretty.

Speaking of not being pretty, when I tried on my new set today, I felt like I stepped out of ET and needed to run away from the evil man with the keys or something. But then I caught a look at myself and decided I looked like a ninja, not a sick Elliot. There's no mask of course, but I still think you wouldn't be able to see me sneaking up on you in a dark room.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Gardenblogging

I picked these cucumbers today. The cucumbers and the squash are fighting for space, and right now, the cucumbers are winning.

If only I had grown some iceberg lettuce...

Here's my first crop of jalopenos. I'm going to pick those babies clean every chance I get.
And the tomatoes, growing slowly but surely. The first set should be ready soon.
And now for some color:
Ooh la vinca...
These babies are delicate and smell delicious, which is why all the bees chew them up.

The Review

Since I never really watched the show, I approached Miami Vice as the next big Michael Mann movie, rather than a clever reimagining of a beloved series, and I was not disappointed. Miami Vice delivers, often in unexpected ways.

If you're expecting a clever crime thriller, you got it. But you also get a bonus, a pair of surprisingly convincing love stories, the tragic coupling of Colin Farrell and Gong Li, and the charmingly deep relationship between Jamie Foxx and Naomie Harris. In that respect, Miami Vice is less like a movie and more like a well-plotted novel. The story never forgets it's main intentions, but it's unafraid to meander off on a tangent, or a boat ride to Cuba, as the case may be.

Another redeeming quality about the movie is its tone. Given to a less competent director, the new Crockett and Tubbs might have been played for laughs, ala Starsky and Hutch, and with Jamie Foxx as Tubbs, it would have been easy to drift into clowning territory. Yet, Mann keeps things deadly serious, so serious that nary a smile will be seen. The opening shoot-out shatters any illusions you had about seeing a light-hearted romp through Miami's underworld.

You see, in a way not often depicted in Hollywood movies, the destructive power of bullets as they shred through a car and tear a few men into pieces. The sound design is as horrifying as the images you see on the screen. The overall effect is that you can almost smell the cordite.

The high definition digital cameras used to capture the look of Miami Vice lend itself well to such grisly depictions of violence. It gives the whole thing a kind of quasi-documentary feel, but still stylized and slick. Skies have never looked so good, or so real. But, it must be said, there are still limits to this digital technique that haven't been fully explored. There were some shots that were a bit pixelated or grainy, but the shots that were eye-poppingly amazing provided plenty of distraction.

My vote? One of the best movies I've seen this year. When I make my movie, I'm going to steal liberally from it.