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Saturday, December 15, 2012

After Earth

Wow....you can't judge a movie by its trailer --not really-- but this looks amazing.



M. Night Shamalayan directed it, though, so you never know...

But I've always preferred brooding Will Smith to mugging Will Smith and I would be very surprised if his character cracks a smile once in this movie.  I got chills listening to his voiceover.

"...You must realize that fear is not real.  It is a product of thoughts you create.  Now do not misunderstand me.  Danger is very real.  But fear is a choice."
I want to get that tattooed on the inside of my eyelids so I can see it every time I close my eyes.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Into the Garbage Chute, Flyboy

Guess who wrote this?

Things like this really make me increasingly convinced that it would not just be nice, but important to see a Star Wars movie that’s centered around a woman who is on the same kind of hero’s journey Luke Skywalker took all those years ago.
Now I don't object to a woman protagonist for the next Star Wars movies, but then again...I've always had a thing for Princess Leia, who --besides looking yummy in her slave outfit-- started out in the first film as a spy stealing secret plans and ended the last film as a gun-toting resistance fighter on the front lines of the battle. All this back when Reagan was president...

I guess Leia's hero journey doesn't count, isn't good enough, or is somehow diminished by Luke Skywalker's hero journey.  (Even though, by the story's own timeline, Leia was well on her hero's journey back when Luke Skywalker was a farmboy with big dreams.)

This is what happens when you mistake tokenism for the genuine article.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Night Shift Blegh

Lord, give me the strength to endure the next few weeks, and the courage to quit my job and find a new one.  I've been talking about it forever, but it's just been talk.  Truth is, I'm scared.  Scared I'll make less money, scared I'll work for a shittier company, scared I won't like it, just scared.

Which is why I need strength and courage, because as scared as I am, I'm twice as over making myself available 24X7, 365 days a year.

Adding random pics to break up the text.  This is a wall in Glenwood Springs.
Right now I'm working the night shift and I've never been so bored in my life.  I'm talking about some existential boredom here.  It's not that I'm sitting around with nothing to do, although I do a fair bit of that on the weekends --by myself in the dark, can't stay up past noon, nor sleep past midnight.  It's just that it's all boring.

I'm boring.  Ask anyone, they'll tell you.  I'm poorly socialized, uncommunicative, and closed off.

And I'm sick of being like that.  I used to have friends.  I used to do things.  Now I just work a shift like a cell phone plan from ten years ago:  nights and weekends, nights and weekends.

I got a message from a buddy sometime this weekend  --not sure when exactly-- chiding me about my fantasy football team.  He says "Dude you gave up weeks ago and you're going to beat me in the playoffs."  It's true.

I did give up weeks ago.  When the season started, Sundays were just another ten hour day for me, a Wednesday or a Thursday.  Not only did I miss the games, I missed the experience.  I missed the commentary, the hype, the feeling of watching --and paying attention to-- a game in progress.

This is an Apache (?) helicopter outside Canon City.
I tried watching replays on my "weekend" but there's nothing more boring than a football game that's already been decided.  Try and avoid scores...try it.  A news junkie like me can resist clicking on the scores, but seeing the "Broncos Beat Everybody" headlines?  A waste of time, man.

And the Broncos are beating everybody.  We're at the top of the AFC?  What the fuck?  And I sleep through the games on Sunday, telling myself I don't care.

I want to get up in the morning, do my work, and then live my life.  I want to go back to school, not for a Computer Science degree or a certification, but for something else.  I want to take a chemistry class.  I don't know anything about chemistry.

I want to join a writer's group.

I want to take a woman, or seven of them, out to dinner any day of the week.

I want to be able to go on a weekend retreat without taking any days off.

Earlier this year, I'm sitting at a church men's retreat, a place I wouldn't normally be if my brother wasn't there and the church wasn't so non-denominational, and I'm telling this guy I just met seconds before all the intimate details of my life, things I'm reluctant to admit to myself.

This is me in Estes Park during the mens' retreat
Things like:  I act like my job is the most important thing in my life, and truth is...it doesn't even rate. The things that do --the people that do-- get the shaft...for a job I don't even really care about!

The good news is that getting a job now will probably be easier than ever.  Not only are there plenty of opportunities --Kaiser is adding 500 IT jobs, I read (that's a LOT!)-- I just don't care anymore.  I saw a six month contract job doing god knows what god knows where making just a few bucks less than what I'm making now.  The shifts started at 5AM and were all over by 7PM.

Sign me up for the early one!


Prediction

By 2050, whatever party is representing white conservatives --whether that continues to be the Republican party, or someone else-- will be pro-gun control. Now I'm not saying pro-gun people in 2012 are racists.

I'm just saying that a pro-gun view is less principled than supporters would have you believe. They would have you believe its based on devotion to Constitutional rights, which...hey, not calling them liars....is hard to believe when you read complaints like this one from Mike Rosen, admitted scam artist and confirmed liar:
Sportscaster Bob Costas stirred a national controversy when he violated that sanctuary to comment on the suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher after he had murdered his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins. Costas mounted his soap box for a self-indulgent anti-gun lecture during halftime of the game between the Eagles and Cowboys.
It was annoying and inappropriate.
Got it...2nd amendment rights are immutable.  It doesn't matter if you're homicidal, suicidal, or both...don't touch my guns.

Also, don't speak your mind during a football game.  Especially not during the 90 second half-time commentary section of the football game.  Especially not a few days after a highly-publicized murder-suicide.

That Rosen's "Gums control" article appeared a day after YET ANOTHER gun rampage up in Oregon would be --should be-- pure coincidence...

Remember:  Guns don't kill people.  It says so in the Constitution.  People who should not have guns kill people.

We can do nothing about those people.  We are, after all, as stupid as we are useless.  Cold dead hands and all that.

Competition

I'm pretty sure that everyone in America with a data plan on their cell phone is getting ripped off.  I know I am.  I'm paying more for phone and data on my cell phone than I've ever paid for similar (and superior!) landlined services, even back in the day when a DSL was cutting edge.

And I don't exactly get to vote with my feet since I'm locked into their two-year minimum contract.

Matt Yglesias, perceptive man that he is, notices as well:

Mobile phones have changed enormously over the past six years, but the mobile phone business model has not. You buy a magical device for practically nothing, then find yourself locked into a two-year contract with a baffling, shockingly expensive monthly bill. Not coincidentally, the companies that have led the smartphone revolution—Apple and Google—are consistently among the most admired in America while everybody hates Verizon and AT&T, the leading cellphone operators. The gadgets are great, the billing process is a nightmare.

He mentions this by way of noting that T-Mobile is going the other way:  no cheap or free devices with a lower monthly bill.

Having just re-signed my two-year contract with Sprint a few months ago, and thoroughly regretting the "free" phone I selected, I welcome this move.  I could have gotten a iPhone for a couple hundred bucks, but no....I went for free. 

And got a phone that is five years out of date and doesn't hold a charge for more than 12 hours. 

My choice is to pay out the nose for a new one, only to still be locked into Sprint's anti-competitive contract...or I can take the hit, pay the early cancellation fee, and sign up with the promotional plan for some other carrier.

Either way, I'm going to be out a couple hundred of bucks, even more so if I joined up with T-Mobile.  Short term....looks like I'm stuck with no good options.

But if T-Mobile's plan catches on, it could be good for everyone with a cell phone:

That’s why last week’s announcement is such a game-changer. By dropping the subsidy model entirely, T-Mobile is committing itself to marketing the virtues of honest billing practices. And by securing official Apple support for its network, T-Mobile will be able to compete head-to-head with the other players in terms of handset functionality. If high-end consumers realize what a better deal you can get with the nonsubsidized model, then ultimately AT&T and Verizon will have to start offering that option to compete.

Cell phone companies actually competing? Inconceivable!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Word is Out

Scammy businesspeople have heard that the Aurora city government just isn't very bright.  If they aren't trying to give away free land and tax breaks to out-of-state hotel chains, they're ready to pay $2.75 million for a property they assessed at $77,000. 

They were about to get out-maneuvered by a rich scam artist who sought to convince them they were going to save a little bit of money.

Step 1:  Build with asbestos

Step 2:  Abandon the building 28 years ago but continue to pay taxes on it

Step 3:  Wait until the property --minus your toxic, vacant building-- becomes valuable again

Step 4:  Sell it to the city for millions!

I don't envy the city their choices.  Apparently they can buy the property for $2.75 million and bear the costs of removing the asbestos-contaminated building themselves, or have scam artist guy knock the building down and pay $4 million for the empty lot.

This is one of those reasons why I could never be one of those free-market property-rights absolutists.  This guy can afford to pay taxes on a blighted property for a generation, without ever intending to do anything useful with it besides squeezing some suckers in the city government for millions. That's his right as the owner...but really?

The Fan Fare building has been depressing property values in that area longer than I've had hair on my balls and the city couldn't figure out a way to just come in and take it

Monday, December 10, 2012

Texas Hippie Coalition

While I tuned into KBPI to hear reactions to Nasty's departure, I inadvertently exposed myself to this band:  The Texas Hippie Coalition.

This isn't the song they played, but it's interesting for a couple of reasons.  For one, I love that they have a big bearded fat guy as the singer and that he's going to do all the rock star poses anyway. He has an interesting voice, too, part Oderus from GWAR, part Pete Steele from Type O Negative.  I also love the title of the song:  Pissed off and Mad About It.  (Twice as pissed!) 

The song's okay.  It has a nice groove, but for the most part only one gear.  Towards the end, though, the guy starts doing this throat singing thing that's straight out of Tuva. Talk about a Kargyraa moan.



This is the song I heard on the radio, which is okay too.  I really liked it at first, but then the first verse ended and the chorus started.  We went from musically and lyrically interesting to....meh.



We start here:

Little Sarah was from Texas
She was the preacher's daughter
She never practiced much of
Those things her father taught her

And end here:

C'mon, C'mon, C'mon, Turn it Up

Boring!