Thursday, December 29, 2005

Yet another year's about to end

Just to let you know, I wasn't at all dissing Hybrids. I was however making fun of my buddy's mother's elitist attitude with them, especially considering my Saturn got better gas mileage and had more trunk room. My Saturn's definitely not a babe magnet though. I guess there's no such thing as a perfect car.


Do you know what the leper said to the surgeon?

"Hey buddy, could you lend me a hand?"


I know we all like different musicians, different bands, etc. But I'm always one to try new things, and really appreciate it when folks introduce me to new music. I always want to know what's out there. I keep hearing people my age say "there's no good music today." No, there will always be good music written, you just have to search for it.

HIM's Dark Light is really growing on me. I really like this album, and thanks to Sygyzy for first reviewing HIM. My wife hates the singer's voice, but Junior and I like it.

New Year's Resolutions

This post is for Jenn. Thanks babe for posting yours. My single New Year's Resolution is quite boring. It's simply to finish paying off my credit card debt.

I had zero credit card debt until my job got outsourced. Since then, we've been scrambling to make ends meet. One of the side effects of being unemployed is credit card debt, since I wasn't exactly going to sell any of my investments. In the long run, it will all pay off, so no complaints. Unfortunately, a lot of my fellow former coworkers haven't been as fortunate.

Hot American Babe - Rachel Ray

And lastly, I present to you the lovely Rachel Ray. I've known of Giada for awhile now, but only recently heard of Rachel Ray. She also has a show on Food Network.

Giada's already coming to the anti-zombie compound when the plague starts. Imagine having both gorgeous cooks. I'll judge the cook-off. "Hmm...both wonderful, too close to call. I think we'll have to have another one next week."

Yup, that will be our life. One request though. I know how to raise chickens and ducks, having experience with both. Will need help with the cows and the pigs. And yes, I won't do a Charlotte's Web on the runt. Yes, your daughter can keep him as a pet. Just don't expect me to explain to her why Wilbur is missing when Rachel wants to make ham. That's your job.

In defense of Giada, some people were saying that if a cook is skinny, that implies their cooking is no good. The other way to look at it, if they're fat, maybe nobody's eating their food so they have to eat it all and if they're skinny, the food is so good that everyone eats it all before the cook has a chance to eat. Something to consider.

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years all! I doubt I'll be online over the three-day break, possibly a little tonight but not much, so hope you all have a good New Years.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Biodiesel Part I

My buddy "Pangloss" had an argument with his mother. His mother, "Eleanor," wants a Hybrid. Pangloss asked which Hybrid she wanted, and she told him. Forgot the model, but my Saturn gets better gas mileage than that Hybrid. Pangloss brought that up and she got upset. "It's the statement," she argued. Screw the statement, my Saturn gets better gas mileage than that stupid Hybrid. That means if everyone drove my model of Saturn, we'd have cheaper gas (basic supply and demand) than if everyone drove her Hybrid.

Pangloss also brought up a biodiesel. Now, for those who don't know, biodiesels simply take used fast food oil, filter it, and refine it into biodiesel. Eleanor doesn't want to do that. She wouldn't explain why, but she's still convinved Hybrids make more of a statement.

Of the three, her Hybrid, biodiesels, and my Saturn, her Hybrid depletes the world's supply of oil fastest. But I guess since Hybrids make a statement, it's okay to deplete our oil.

I'm currently selling my Saturn though. Going to miss it. Love that car. In its place, I just bought a diesel, of which I'll be running half-regular diesel and half-biodiesel.

I've heard that you good people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Chicago, and Canada can't run straight biodiesel. Yup, biodiesel performs like a Sumo Wrestler on ice skates in the cold. You'd have to go half-biodiesel, half-kerosene.

I know absolutely nothing about diesels so I'll cut this story short and post more after I've been running this for a few weeks. By then, I'll learn a lot more about diesel engines. I've never in my life worked on a diesel engine, so I'm the wrong person to ask about diesels.

King Kong Review

Friday night, while waiting for the traffic to subside so I could head back to Chico, my real estate agent and I went out to see King Kong. In case you didn't know, Peter Jackson, the guy who directed Lord of the Rings, directed this flick.

I initially questioned the producers' decision to have Peter Jackson do Lord of the Rings, because I've only seen him do Heavenly Creatures before, which was good, but to do one of the greatest epics of all time? Well, as you know, he pulled it off. He also pulled off a remake of the greatest American monster movie of all time.

Jackson obviously studied the original for it was a remake almost scene for scene with about an hour of his own added to it. He made everything more grand. The movie opened with a Hooverville in New York City. Anne, played by Naomi Watts, was in dire straits financially. The movie director was avaricious to the point of insanity and the writer's love for Anne was obsessive.

Most of the movie occurred on Skull Island, where the animals somehow grew to epic proportions. Jackson intentionally outdid the original. Instead of fighting one Tyrannosaurus Rex, King Kong fought three. He even killed the last Tyrannosaurus Rex exactly the same way as in the original.

Whomever did the casting gets an A. Naomi Watts, a previous Zombieslayer Hot Babe, is one of the only actresses in Hollywood that could have pulled off that 30s beauty look. Her everything looked gorgeous, even her feet. Jackson intentionally had a lot of barefoot scenes with Watts. The rest of the cast did their parts well. No complaints.

Visually, the movie looked good, but only good. CGI is not ready. It has the same complaints that I made with Narnia. There were a few scenes that obviously were actors against a blue screen with the backgrounds painted in. Give me a hoaky, but live, set any day over CGI.

The dialogue didn't stand out. There were simply no memorable lines from the movie, and this is a negative for a movie like this.

As for parents, the PG-13 movie fit. There was little blood and no decapitations, but I wouldn't bring small children to this movie. You saw giant bugs try to devour people, including leeches which killed one of the coolest characters. Also King Kong killed a lot of people by throwing them or stomping them. That would terrify small children, as it did the small children in the theater. Why parents continually bring in small children to these movies, I have no idea.

Eight dead zombies. I loved it, but I couldn't see it again at three hours. Plus, the CGI scenes looked so bad. Maybe I have a good eye for that stuff because I have a prejudice against it, but my real estate agent noticed it too. It looked bad.

If you like the flick, do yourself a favor and rent the one from the 30s. We studied it in film class and the original was way ahead of its time.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I can't help it

This post is for two lovely ladies, Notta Wallflower for what you said reminded me of something stupid I couldn't stop laughing at, and Liquid Plastic just because.

I can't help laughing when someone falls down or bumps into something. I can't help it. It's funny. Even reading about it is funny. Once, Jenn was writing about hitting her funny bone and how much it hurt. I couldn't stop laughing. She even wrote "and don't laugh!" The best though was when I was doing my undergrad.

I was walking home from school to the apartment when I saw some kid on a skateboard being pulled by his dog. His dog looked like he was having a whale of a time. So was the kid.

The kid held on to a rope and was definitely travelling faster on his skateboard than he could have done by himself. Anyways, on the sidewalk ahead, someone was doing some driveway construction. There was a big mound of dirt right on the sidewalk.

The stupid kid panicked. Instead of letting go of the rope and coming to an easy stop, he started screaming at his dog to stop. The dog naturally ran faster. He probably knew "sit!," "stay!", "food's ready!," and a few other expressions but dogs don't know what stop means.

The kid hit the dirt and went flying. Luckily for him, he wore a thick jacket so he didn't lose any hit points.

He got up and brushed himself off. He was completely fine, up until he saw that I saw. That's when he lost it.

I really tried. I did. But I couldn't help it. I started busting up laughing, laughing so hard that you could probably hear the Zombieslayer the next block down.

As for him, he started wailing. Poor kid. I just hope he's not under a bridge today telling the other bums about that mean long-haired metalhead college student. If he's not a drunk, I still bet today he drives a Hummer. Don't blame me though for screwing up that kid. I can't help it. I laugh when someone falls down, because there's very little in this world that is funnier than that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More college majors fun

My wife's buddy is pretty cool. One day, we were talking about laughter. She actually laughs to deal with stress, and it often gets her in trouble because she'll laugh at the worst possible moments. It's how she deals.

I'm kind of like that. I've always run a ridiculously high stress level, so that's why I have to stay physically active. It has nothing to do with staying slim and everything to do with staying alive. If I didn't, I'd have my first stroke in my 40s.

Laughter really is a medicine. You will note that the funniest people are often people who had it tough. Look at comedians, you'll see what I mean.

My jokes often come at people's expenses. They come at my expense, your expense, his expense, her expense, but if they could get us all to laugh, they've done their jobs. So here's a list which I wrote at work while waiting for something huge to compile. These are three of the stuffiest majors in college and not everyone fits the stereotype, but there's definitely a reason for the stereotype. You've probably known an example of each of these people...

Stereotypical Art major

Blue jeans
nice, second hand jacket
pretentious shoes
50s glasses
never smiles (smiling is not cool to an Art major)
the music they listen to sucks
idolizes minorities to the point of parody
loves to pretend they're not from the suburbs
in a bad relationship
has a child out of wedlock

Stereotypical Comp Sci Major

either rail thin or grossly overweight
smells bad
hair hasn't been washed in a week
wouldn't know what to do if they got the opposite sex nekkid
all their white shirts have ink stains
stutters, unless they're talking about computers
speaks one language fluently, but can code in five
has twenty gigs of mp3s, but most of them they'll never listen to
has never seen a live band
can't hold their liquor
would be completely useless without a computer

Stereotypical Business Major

boring as H*ll
casual means "business casual"
gets more babes than a Comp Sci major (not saying much)
owns one or two pop albums, nothing more
spends five times more on suits than social events
elitist about their major, but has no idea how they'll use it when they graduate
vacations are pre-fab packages
when they reply "not much" to how's it going, they really mean it

Monday, December 19, 2005

What spawned Thursday night's rant

My undergrad roommate came from a wealthy family. We'll call him "Rocky." Rocky was a super nice guy. He always smiled. His parents had a cabin in Tahoe, a butt-load of stock and other investments, and were still madly in love with each other. Rocky skied a lot and generally enjoyed life.

Rocky did what he wanted to do for a living. Imagine taking a job because you want to do it instead of taking it for the money. I'm sure most of us aren't in that boat. When Rocky's parents pass on, they'll leave him millions. He won't blow it though. He's just not that kind of guy.

I used to visit Rocky a lot and got a chance to meet a lot of his hometown chums. Like him, they all had rich parents. Unlike him, they were all miserable. They didn't appreciate their lot in life. Some of them were even America-haters, for it was America's fault they were unhappy. Go figure.

I grew up by a refinery. I had horrible allergies and was on prescription allergy medicine in high school. I fell asleep in class often, party because high school is boring, but also because the drugs made me tired. My little brother had it worse though. He actually had asthma. When we moved, for some strange reason, both of our ailments disappeared.

We grew up loving America. My parents drummed in our heads that if you work hard and invest properly, you will get rich in this country. So we all did. The two siblings in their 30s (including me) are now well-off. My older brother will probably beat me as the first Zombieslayer to have a million in net worth. I'm happy for him and his family.

My friends in the refinery town were all hard-working, good people, and patriotic. I didn't understand why Rocky had so many friends that would be multi-millionaires when their parents bit the dust, yet they hate America.

In college, I met a lot of America haters. They too were all white and came from well-off backgrounds. In Grad school, I hung out with a lot of my fellow Minority Engineering students who for the most part were from even rougher backgrounds than I grew up, yet they were patriotic and believed they'll be successes someday. Considering how smart and driven they all were, I bet they already are.

I used to do Spoken Word in Chico. In the Spoken Word circles, there's a lot of America-hatin' going on. The thing is, I know all these people and they'll all white and from wealthier backgrounds than I came from.

I've seen America-hatin' in European circles too. They conveniently forget to mention their own history while they rattle off every evil thing America has ever done. They probably memorize the list. That's just silly. Now, I don't know all the European America-haters, but I think I can safely say that they're almost all white and come from wealthier backgrounds than I did. Don't get me wrong, I like Europeans, just not America-haters.

We had a Bulgarian three jobs ago go off on America once. Before I had a chance to tear him a new one, a Chinese guy and an El Salvadorian dug into him and exposed him as a jack*ss. The Chinese guy and the El Salvadorian were glad to be here and thankful for all America has given them. D*mn unappreciative Bulgarians. Seriously, if he feels so bad about America, he ought to go back to Bulgaria. You know why he doesn't? Because Bulgaria sucks and he knows it.

I don't get it. I know America isn't perfect. I haven't liked any of the Presidents we've had since I've been old enough to vote, yet America continues to thrive. Americans still get almost every single Nobel Prize. We still lead the world in inventions year after year (with Japan #2 and everyone else irrelevant).

I won't deny we have our problems, but I really think our problems are less than any other country. We have it good here, and it's not the working class who can't appreciate it, but rather the white upper-middle class, the same people who benefit from being Americans a heck of a lot more than I did when I was growing up.


Traffic sucked so much Friday night that my real estate agent, one of his friends, and I went out to see Syriana before I headed home to Chico.

If you haven't heard the basic premise, it's a movie about the West's addiction. No, it isn't about coffee, it's about oil.

As much as I don't like George Clooney as a person, he's a fine actor and does a good job as a CIA agent with no mind of his own. He does a job, and goes home. Even though he got top billing, there were about half a dozen other significant characters and Clooney's screentime was limited.

It's actually a hard movie to review. So much went on, but the point is clear. We're so addicted to oil that it's causing us to do horrible things to feed the addiction. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say the storyline's excellent. The editing is so-so and parts are hard to follow.

Kids should not see this movie. For one thing, they'd be completely lost. For another, you see some graphic scenes of torture and also a six-year-old kid gets electricuted and dies. It should be a teen-age and up movie only. No kids.

I really liked how the director understood how the ethnicities treat each other in those countries. There's definitely a pecking order, with Arabs and whites on top, and with everyone else, the darker they were, the worse they got treated. This wasn't an integral part of the movie but I just wanted to bring it up to drive a point home that relatively, we have it good here.

After the movie, we talked to some strangers about alternative energy sources. If a movie could open some dialogue, then it's pretty good. Eight dead zombies. Would be more if it wasn't so choppy and hard to follow. Definitely see it though and let me know how it made you feel.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Happy Friday

Neal had me re-reading my old stuff from the first month of blogging. I realized I've toned down considerably, and I hold back too much. I have become safe.

This last post was floating around for months now and I've been afraid to post it. I finally realized I should.

Some of you are new to this board. Let me assure you that I welcome people not agreeing with me. Don't ever be afraid to disagree with me. Laura and I disagree on a lot, yet she's one of my favorite bloggers out there. There are others too that I have utmost respect for, yet we disagree on much. Michele and I argued about p*rn for several days. It made me rethink my stance.

I'm serious when I say I can't wait to meet you all. I've met three of you so far, and intend to meet just about everyone in Northern California come Spring. I also plan a Vancouver run with Mrs. Z, my real estate agent, and anyone else. I'd love to meet the Vancouver folks too, if they're up for it. Plus, I've never taken Mrs. Z to Canada. My real estate agent and I went up there once together and now he wants to live there.

This blog has the entire political spectrum, from the Far Left to the Far Right. Everyone is welcome. There are things we all have in common, and mainly, it's the desire to laugh. You all have wonderful senses of humor, and that's why I like every one of you. I have only banned one person, and that's because he was swearing at my friends on this blog. The things he called them were unrepeatable, and that gets me mad. I don't mind personal attacks, but when someone attacks my friends, I get upset.

So if you disagree with my last post or any other posts, don't be afraid to say so. I don't bite. If you agree, cool too. If you can make me laugh, you have a friend for life.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Portrait of an American hater

There are two main types of America haters. One is the guy in the Third World country that hates our foreign policy. He's the one I won't be talking about.

I want to talk about the other type. I wanted to talk about the white guy in the First World country who comes from the Upper-Middle class, has a degree or better yet, a Graduate degree in something economically unviable like Art. I want to talk about the self-loathing idiot who hates America because he's jealous of the success of others.

I want to talk about the guy who's so overwhelmed with guilt that he projects it onto America. Sure, we're not angels, but as I've said before, put any country in the world except Switzerland and Costa Rica in our position and they'd sure make us look like angels.

I want to talk about the one who scoffs at the idea of the American Dream and dismisses every case he's presented with of it, including mine.

I want to talk about the moron who will never shutup about the bad parts of this country. Sure, we have racists, sexists, homophobes, and everything else. So does every First World nation. I guarantee you that there are more fascists in Europe than in America. In Europe, they even occasionally win elections. They don't here.

I want to add to this. I shouldn't just be mentioning First World nations when talking about racism, sexism, and homophobia. Let's get down and dirty and rattle off some facts. A common saying in the Philippines - "the only good Chinaman is a dead Chinaman." A common saying in Thailand - "if you see a snake and an Indian, kill the Indian first." Ask a Saudi Arabian how he feels about Africans. Go have a homosexual relationship in India or Turkey and see what happens to you. Go to China and yell as loudly as you can that you hate the Chinese government and see what happens to you. Go up to a Tutsi and tell them that Hutus rule.

If you're a woman, keep in mind that it wasn't that long ago that widows got burned in India. I heard they still do, except it's illegal so it only happens in secluded places. In China, they often kill their female babies. In a lot of Muslim countries, women have to cover up their faces. In Brazil, you can beat up and even torture your wife if she cheated on you. You can still beat your wife in Spain. And in Iran. And in Saudi Arabia. And in Vietnam. And in most countries in the world. So is America sexist? Sure, but let's get real and put things in perspective here. Women are better off in America than over 90% of nations in the world, and I'm being conservative here.

I could go on for days, but I won't. I think you get the point. People hate each other. It's a worldwide thing, not something confined to the American borders.

I love America, always have, always will. I know we have faults and will neither obsess with them nor sweep them under the rug. I'll do what I can to fix things, but I also have my own life to live. I'm not going to spend my free time bashing a nation that for the most part at least tries to do the right thing.

America haters just bash, but have no solutions of their own. As they bash our past, they conveniently forget the genocides that happened last century in Europe. Some even happened in my lifetime. And for the record, it was Europe that gave us the idea of slavery in the first place. I'm so tired of Europeans trying to weasel out of their past while never shutting up about ours. Their past sins are recent, and much worse than ours.

Now, the first kind of America hater, the one in the Third World country may or may not have a legimitate beef with us. The guilty white American or European liberal from the upper-middle class does not. You hate us because you are a spoiled brat with too much time on your hands.

If you are middle-class or higher in the First World, you are privileged. You have a better life than over 95% of the rest of the world.

I'm privileged. I'm well-off, and I know it. I grew up by refineries, worked hard, invested intelligently, and now am doing quite well. That's the American dream. Opportunity here is real. I love America for that because I couldn't have pulled it off in any other nation. Europe is too engrossed in socialism and the rest of the world's governments are too corrupt. Well, you can achieve the dream in Japan, but I couldn't live in Japan. I need my space.

I am not at all implying not to criticize America. There is plenty to criticize. I'm just sick of the people who all they do is complain about America. These people need to get a life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What if the plague starts when you're at work?

We as a society need to start taking this upcoming plague more seriously. The problem is, most work environments are not suited to defend oneself and one's co-workers against a zombie assault. As is, most of us will be sitting ducks. If I were running the show, it won't be that way.

You remember when you had to do those fire drills at school? Well, once a year, each employer with more than five employees will be required to have a zombie outbreak drill. That means all employees must practice holing themselves up in whatever work environment they're in. Truck drivers, pizza deliverers, taxi drivers, etc., will be required to have at least one gallon of water, one thousand calories of food, a shotgun, and a box of 25 shells in their vehicles at all time. I'm not too worried about postal employees.

Each new office building must have at least one window that opens in case employees will have to dispose of an infected co-worker. There is that one hour window between death and resurrection when employees can safely throw a co-worker's body out the window.

I have a limited understanding of architecture, but I fully understand for engineering purposes, some buildings cannot have open windows. Therefore, a chute must be installed on each floor that an infected co-worker can be dropped down.

You know how there are signs that say "in case of fire, break glass" besides a fire extinguisher? Well, each story will be required to have at least two of those boxes, except in this case, they contain loaded shotguns and the signs would reflect a zombie assault instead of a fire.

Doors will need to be reinforced and easily lockable from the inside. Buildings must have the first story of a material that can withstand pounding. Since zombies cannot climb, it would be overkill to require the second story to be zombie-proofed as well.

Friends, we cannot trust out governments to protect us from the upcoming zombie plague. If the richest country in the world cannot respond to a hurricane, how do you think it would fare against a zombie outbreak? We can however change our building codes to help make us safer.

Let me know what I left out. Those with the best ideas will be given jobs in my newly created department of Zombie Defense if I get elected. If I don't get elected, God help us all.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Narnia rules!

It would take a lot to please me, considering the book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is my favorite book of all time. I remember well the first time I read that book. My parents kept calling me for dinner. I kept replying "a few more minutes, I'm almost done with the book."

I couldn't put it down. After I finished, I would never be the same.

I kept fantasizing about the book, how I would make dark rides based off of scenes from the book. I would start with the lamp post scene. The ride wouldn't begin in the Professor's mansion, but rather with the lamp post. I wanted Narnia, not Earth.

Needless to say, I had huge expectations coming into the film. Only absolute brilliance would please me and I demanded it as a bare minimum.

They succeeded.

Star Wars III and Harry Potter 4 were two movies I've seen recently that should have been great movies, but they weren't. They were only good. They were only good because they fell on their faces when it came to both character development and well-written dialog. Narnia had both.

Yes, all four children were made real. You could feel how they felt. You understood their weaknesses and their fears and you rooted for their strengths and their hearts to prevail. You saw Edmund have a shot of redeeming himself and you hoped he took it.

Not only did they develop the four children, they developed the Beavers. They made the White Witch scary. They made Aslan majestic. They made you sympathize with Thomas, the Fawn.

The movie's greatest scenes were shot in New Zealand, which is about the last place on Earth that isn't helplessly overpopulated, so you could have gorgeous backgrounds. The producers made every penny count, for they knew with a good movie they'd recoup the costs. They succeeded, and the movie will advertise itself. Don't be surprised if this movie stays in the theaters for a very long time.

Also, as a sound conneseur, they did a wonderful job with surround sound. The footsteps and the background noises fit. They really made sound a significant part of the movie experience.

One drawback though, as I give the storyline ten dead zombies, the effects only get eight. The reason is there are some scenes where it's blatantly obvious the camera folk shot the actors in front of a blue screen and applied computer animation later. Those scenes felt like that 1950s movie Shangra La.

This technology is imperfect. I won't fault the producers for deciding to use this technology over good old film tricks, although I'd take the old ways over computers any day, for computer animation still looks like it was done with computers.

Thanks go to Levi for introducting me to Imogen Heap. I recognized the music immediately, for they contributed a song to the soundtrack. The other songs fit the movie, so the sound team apparently did their homework. It wasn't as strong as a soundtrack as the Lord of the Rings films, but it worked.

Despite the imperfect rating for the effects, I'm still giving this movie ten dead zombies. This, Mr. Lucas and director of Harry Potter 4, is how an epic movie is supposed to be made. I really think you will too.

Parents - your call on the kids. Good creatures do die, there are scary monsters, and the White Witch is evil. The PG rating fits though, I'd strongly suggest being there with the little ones. Don't let them see it on their own, for there are a few frightening scenes. However, I think it's safe to bring the little ones, as long as you're there to make them feel safe.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Engineers who are slobs and Him

I stereotype a lot, and my most common victims are musicians and engineers. I've worked as both and still consider myself a musician first. Feeding a family in California on $200 a month isn't easy, that's why I work as a software engineer. Sure, I could have been a studio musician and make a decent living, but you really think I'd want to play guitar on Jessica Simpson's album? I might even have to meet her. Yuck.

So I work as a software engineer, and let me tell you, every stereotype you've ever heard is true. One good thing is I noticed as a group, they're starting to wash their hands more.

My wife and I both have habits of counting weird things. One day, we sat outside a mall and counted people who smiled. We found it's under 3%. Very bad.

I counted the people who washed their hands after going pee pee. We're over 50% now. Yeah! It's funny, because engineers are either anal retentive or huge slobs. There's no in between.

Not only do they wash their hands more now, the last two jobs I worked had garbages right by the door, so you can take the paper towel and open the door with it. It's because people who don't wash their hands just touched the door.


In other news, I bought Him's Dark Light last night. No, I don't think life is painful. I don't think I'm a vampire. I just like Him's music because it's melodic.

Think of Him as The Cure if The Cure was heavy metal. They're huge in Europe, just haven't caught on here in the States yet.

The music would be better if they had more guitar solos. I think there's two or three on the whole album. The melodies are simple, but pretty and they work. If you've had a moment of exhilaration where you think about that special someone who gives you the warm fuzzies, you might like Him. It's music that would fit with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Yup, teen age love angst. Nothing deep, nothing worthy of lasting for decades, but I enjoy listening to it. 7 dead zombies

Happy weekend, all! Away from computers I will be, so I'll be back online Monday night. Go Packers!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Being a squib would not be so bad

I used to think being a squib would suck. Imagine being from a long line of magical families and being the one bloke in the family with no magical abilities whatsoever. Bummer, huh?

I think of squibs like Filch who have massive inferiority complexes. Or that weird lady with the cats who lives near Harry's aunt who looks like she never left the 19th century.

Squibs must have lonely existences. Everyone that Rowling writes about is single, and very weird. But I wouldn't think being a squib is really all that bad.

First off, you're at least aware of the magical world. That alone would be cool. I love American football and all, but Quiddrich would be much more cool. You could still get tickets to matches, can't you?

Plus, seeing magic would be cool. Us muggles really don't do much cool stuff. We're stuck in traffic for hours driving around our 18-wheelers, or sitting at a desk and getting fatter. We did go to the moon a few times. I guess that's cool, but what have we done cool since then?

When us muggles finally get our teleporters working, we have to worry about flies. Magic folk have done stuff like that for centuries. Personally, I'd prefer taking the train, but it would still be cool to see.

Also, when the zombies come, you'd have the best of both worlds. You could grab your trusty shotgun and a few boxes of shells, then hang around your magical friends and family. I'm sure magic folk will have a much better shot at surviving the zombie plague than us mere muggles.

One question though. What's with squibs and cats? You notice that? Makes me wonder if Shawn and Bhakti are really squibs.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hot American Babe - Giada De Laurentiis

You all know how much I love food. This weekend, I stayed in the Bay Area. We have no cable in Chico, so when we want to watch tv, we either have to rent it from the local video store or go to the sports bar.

So I finally got to see Food Network and my favorite cook. I loooove Italian food, and my older brother for last Christmas bought me two Italian cookbooks. One of them was Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis.

If you've never seen this show, you need to see it. She has this big ol' smile that fills up the screen. You can't help staring at her. I really need to watch her cook, but instead, I'm watching her the whole time the show's going on.

Her cookbook is pretty good. I use a few of her recipes in my cooking. Know her marinara recipe by heart.

Her cooking is Italian American and she loves food. You could tell by watching her show that she loves what she's doing, she's not faking it.

Pick up her book too when you get the chance.

So don't worry, friends. She'll be our official Italian cook in my anti-zombie compound. No zombie will be getting through my walls, and meanwhile, we'll be pigging out on delicious Italian food.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fatkins will kill you

I do all the food shopping in both of the places I live. My real estate agent doesn't cook, and when I get back to Chico, I do all the food shopping there too. It's no big deal because I actually enjoy food shopping. I love cooking.

When in line, I see which stupid celebrity is divorcing or cheating on whom and another recipe book/ad/propoganda crap for the Atkins diet. It's bad enough that this stupid fad is shoved down our throats everywhere else, but I'd rather even see paparazzi crap than Atkins.

I'm sick of it. Half of you are sick of it too, but we keep hearing it over and over again. Let me just say one thing - the Atkins diet not only doesn't work, it will eventually kill you, as it killed the jack*ss which invented it.

This cartoon is hilarious. Warning - contains the F-word about twenty times, but it's still worth seeing. It simply says the Atkins diet will destroy your kidneys and your brain. And self-worth shouldn't come from body image anyways. If you're fat or skinny, tall or short, so what? I could care less. If you're cool to me, I'll like you. I don't care what you look like. If someone doesn't like you for what you look like, screw them. They suck.

I did a little research and found that not only does it destroy your kidneys and your brain, it raises your cholesterol level to a dangerous degree, causes osteoporosis, and heart problems if you stay on it long enough. The AMA has even written papers against it.

Carbohydrates are very much needed. The Canadians even have a candy called "Smarties" which are almost pure sugar. They know carbs are brain food.

There's a lot of information out there. If anyone is interested, I'll do a post later on this week about losing weight in a safe way. But let me reiterate that one's body shape should mean absolutely nothing about how they feel about themselves. No matter what your body shape is, someone out there will put you in a negative light. It's because they're insecure about themselves, and don't let their insecurities get to you.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A little story + Music reviews

My great-grandfather and great-grandmother were married for over fifty years before they passed on. I met them once after they moved to Florida.

My great-grandfather made his own wine. He told us that some turned out really good, and some were undrinkable. He not only made his own wine but built two piers on the lake he lived on.

I noticed that he and my great-grandmother touched a lot. Smiled a lot too. Their default facial expressions were smiles, even though they were very old and probably had pains that I've yet to experience. Still, they smiled and held hands when walking.

That's so much more than I could say about my other relatives. As a young kid, I saw my great-grandparents married for over fifty years, smiling, and holding hands. Then I saw other relatives who spent time in prison, got married, divorced, married, divorced, married, and divorced. One used to get drunk and beat up his wife and oldest son. Another cheated on his wife and slapped around his kids.

Kids are a lot smarter than adults realize. I knew which relative I wanted to emulate. To this day, emulating my great-grandfather has been one of my dreams. I wanted to marry one woman and be with her until death do us part. Luckily for me, I found a woman who feels the same way.

So teach by example. Your life has a lot more meaning than you realize. There is a little kid in your life who is watching you, and with that in mind, you're a much larger influence than you realize. Make it a good one.

Now for the music

Thank you Jenn. I've been meaning to buy the new Mars Volta album, Frances the Mute, for awhile now. Jenn posted the video on her blog and that cemented it. I downloaded it from the iTunes store and am currently listening to it.

If you've never heard of Mars Volta, they're a unique band. They do what they want to do. If I had to classify them, they're rock, jazz, fusion, blues, psychadelic, and metal all rolled into one. Their music is kind of music for other musicians, so if you're a musician or a music nut, you'd definitely want to check them out. This album's shortest song is almost six minutes and one song is over a half hour.

The music is both in English and Spanish. I'm not sure if they're American or Mexican. I don't really know their background.

As musicians, they're top notched. Their singer's voice is okay, but it works. He sings with a tremendous amount of passion. Think of their guitarrist's solos as a metal version of Carlos Santana. Their drummer is all over the place and I love it.

If you can't stomach extreme music, this band isn't for you. I completely understand. Mrs. Z is still in bed, so she hasn't heard it yet but I'm sure she won't like it. I however give it 8 dead zombies. Some parts are brilliant, but some are too dissinent, even for me.

I first heard Beautiful Creatures at a strip club in L.A. where the lead guitarrist's girlfriend danced. I went up to the D.J. and asked "who was that?" He told me the name of the stripper and I said, "no, who was that band?"

"Beautiful Creatures," he answered.

Well, the lead guitarrist left the band and I wondered if it would fold, considering he co-wrote all the music. Instead, they regrouped and put out a second album, heavier and less melodic than the first.

It's called Deuce and has a new lead guitarrist and a new drummer. Neither musicians are as good as the ones they replaced.

However, the album grew on me after a few listens.

I give the album 8 dead zombies . L.A. still continues to put out good bands, it's just the music industry is lame. So if you want good music, you just have to dig a little.

Friday, December 02, 2005

"Oh, and Friday, you can wear Hawaiian shirts"

Yeah. Amazing what HR thinks will make employees happy.

Speaking of HR, these will definitely get you a warning nowadays from HR, and you'll have to watch the "sensitivity video."

What do you call a fat Chinese guy?

A chunk.

How do you get a one armed Polish guy out of a tree?

You wave.

What do you do when a drummer knocks at your door?

You take the pizza and pay him.

Well, I think it's still politically correct to make musician jokes. Musicians are too poor to afford lawyers.

I do have a question for my Canadian friends. I was watching South Park Season 3 with Mrs. Z and Junior last weekend, and learned all about Sexual Harassment Panda, The Loch Ness Monster, and spontaneous human combustion (don't hold in your farts), but I don't get why the top of Canadians' heads come off when they talk. When I was in Canada, I noticed they talked like everyone else. Is this an inside joke only Canadians get? Is this a reference to something? Do tell.

Happy Hawaiian shirt day, even though it's rainy, cold, and miserable. My Hawaiian shirt will be covered with a sweatshirt anyways.