stAllio!'s way
Saturday, April 09, 2005 
things that rock
sin city: goddamn, this movie is badass. if you haven't read any of the comics, they are very gritty, very violent pulp. tough half-naked dames (who often become fully naked soon enough), even tougher guys in trenchcoats, corrupt cops, crime on every corner, prostitutes, strippers, killers, sleazy underworld dealings: these are the bread and butter of sin city. there's very little goodness left in sin city, making it so precious that people are willing to die...or save it.

when i think of sin city, i think of terms like decadence, depravity, debauchery, and of course pulp. this movie revels in its unwholesomeness; it delights in its decadence. it's intense, and definitely not for everyone.

i have read that the movie uses the sin city comics as actual storyboards for the movie, which was shot in the "sky captain" style wherein all backgrounds and effects were rendered digitally. just like the comics, the movie is black-and-white with spot color. the result is probably the most accurate comic adaptation ever. and it looks amazing: you could take practically any frame of this movie and blow it up into a cool-looking poster. the mise en scene is outstanding.

the style can be a bit jarring at first, with the sam spade-style voiceover narration and highly stylized visuals. the first time you see white blood it's a bit bizarre, but it makes sense within the world that's been created here. this is anything but realistic: it's more like the grittiest anime you've ever seen than any live-action movie that's come before it. but even the best modern animation couldn't look this lifelike and exciting. this movie really shows off just how much is possible now using digital animation technology.

the office (us version): when the reviews for this started coming out, the consensus was that it was very good, but not as good as the uk original. and yes, if you compare the two pilot episodes then the us version kind of pales, considering that the bulk of the script was copied for the american version.

but the second and third episodes of the american show were all-new, and allowed the new version to really shine. the second episode (diversity day) was pretty good, but the third episode about health care... oh my god, i was in stitches the whole time. outstanding.

i'm still getting used to jim in place of tim. but these aren't the same characters; they're just similar characters. steve carell (who i loved on the daily show) is delightful as the boss, and rainn wilson (who was so wonderfully weird on six feet under) does a great job as dwight (analogous to gareth on the uk show), really making the role his own.

Thursday, April 07, 2005 
the return
you might have experienced some wonkiness if you tried visiting the site in the past few days. srn got a new server and the move process took a couple days: at times the site was down, and at others it was up but only accessible if you didn't put www. in the title. i also hadn't been able to log in. but, if you're seeing this message then it means that everything is now running smoothly, and we shouldn't experience any more bumps for awhile. (also, as i mentioned before, the new server is supposed to be immune to the "text/plain" bug, so that should be cool.)

dst illegal
damn, these hoosier lawmakers are so hot for dst that they're willing to pass a bill that they know is illegal:

The House is expected to vote on a bill seeking statewide observance of daylight-saving time, even though the federal government has declared some of its provisions illegal.

House Republicans pushing the legislation could have pursued procedural moves to remove those provisions before a House vote.

But time constraints and political complications have caused lawmakers to seek House passage of a defective bill and bank on a House-Senate conference committee to fix it so it stands a chance of advancing in the Senate.

"We obviously would rather have a perfect piece of legislation that goes over to the Senate, but that is not the option available to us at this point in time, so our only choice is to move the flawed legislation and try to work it out in conference committee," House Speaker Brian Bosma said Wednesday.

what's the rush? indiana has lived with the current system since the '70s. do they think the world will end if we don't pass a dst law this year (even though dst is already in effect, and we'd have to fuck up the system even more in order to observe it this year)?

The leader of the Senate said his chamber could not accept the bill in its current form, and it would need to be fixed in a conference committee to stay alive.

"You should not knowingly violate federal law or regulations," said Senate President Pro Tem Garton, R-Columbus, adding that the problem makes a faster route for advancing the bill out of the question.

The provisions deemed illegal would allow counties bordering the Central time zone to opt out of daylight saving time. Those affected counties border Illinois and 10 northwestern and southwestern Indiana counties now lying in the Central time zone. If some of those counties opted out, then their neighboring counties could also.

However, the U.S. Department of Transportation, which regulates time zones, has said those provisions would be illegal. It cites a federal law that says any state with more than one time zone can only exempt either the entire state from daylight time or all of its area within any single time zone.

note that this also means that the current arrangement, where several southern indiana counties are in eastern but do observe dst, is also illegal, although the govt has never enforced that,

and as this LTE points out, arizona is doing just fine creating new jobs without dst... so why is it so important for indiana to switch?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005 
everything looks like a nail
and these days, tom "the hammer" delay himself is looking like the biggest nail of all. today saw front page "delay scandal" stories on what are probably the two biggest (or most prominent) newspapers in the country. and they're not even about the same scandal!

today's washington post has a story about a very shady trip delay took to russia in 1997.

A six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements.

DeLay reported that the trip was sponsored by a Washington-based nonprofit organization. But interviews with those involved in planning DeLay's trip say the expenses were covered by a mysterious company registered in the Bahamas that also paid for an intensive $440,000 lobbying campaign.


Media attention focused on DeLay's travel last month after The Washington Post reported on DeLay's participation in a $70,000 expense-paid trip to London and Scotland in 2000 that sources said was indirectly financed in part by an Indian tribe and a gambling services company. A few days earlier, media attention had focused on a $106,921 trip DeLay took to South Korea in 2001 that was financed by a tax-exempt group created by a lobbyist on behalf of a Korean businessman.

it's a long story with lots of detail.

today's new york times has another front-pager, which as i mentioned is about a totally different ethical scandal:

The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.


Although several members of Congress employ family members as campaign managers or on their political action committees, advocacy groups seeking an overhaul of federal campaign-finance and ethics laws say that the payments to Mr. DeLay's family members were unusually generous, and should be the focus of new scrutiny of the Texas congressman.

"unusually generous" is probably putting it lightly: they were talking about this on today's diane rehm show, and while this is fairly common, delay has pumped like 10x more money than normal into his own family.

and that's just what's happening in those two papers... check the blogs (dkos, americablog, etc) for lots more stories coming out. people are speculating that the gop has decided to cut delay loose, judging not just from how much criticism is coming out, but where it's coming from (the wall street journal, drudge report, even cheney has criticized delay recently).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005 
judge, jury, meet executioner
yes, the american taliban--those religious fundamentalists who want to run the US according to "god's law" rather than the US constitution--have all but issued a fatwah against the judicial system. though they're trying to be subtle about it.

first tom delay, he with an ethical albatross around his neck so huge that he's bound to suffocate soon, said that those responsible for "murdering" terri schiavo will one day "answer for their behavior." people tried to get him to clarify that... surely, they thought, the house majority leader isn't threatening these judges with violence? not in a world where one chicago judge's family was murdered just a couple weeks ago, a world where judge greer, who ruled several times on the schiavo case, was essentially forced out of his church and needs armed bodyguards to protect him from all the angry protesters and death threats?

delay refused to clarify.

now the reactionary rhetoric has gotten worse, with even more congressmen tacitly endorsing the assassination of US judges at worst, or making excuses for domestic terrorists at best (there's even video of it here. fortunately, a lot of people are speaking up about it, even other congressmen.

such bitter irony. bush sends troops to the middle east to fight against religiously motivated terrorists and religious fundamentalists who want to control the government. but in his own country, bush's own party is itself trying to give government power to the fundies, and is apparently now tacitly endorsing terrorist acts here in the states.

what's good for the gander is apparently not good for the goose.

p.s. srn is installing a new server, so things are a bit wonky right now while pan gets that set up. currently, i can't log in or post, but hopefully i will soon, so all these blog entries will sort of appear in a big bunch once i can authenticate with the server again. pan has said the new server will cure the dread "text/plain" bug, so i'm looking forward to that.

don't fear the salad
rush limbaugh thinks that the abu ghraib torture case was just an innocent prank, but throwing salad dressing at pat buchanan is "fomenting violence". (never mind that there are thousands more abu ghraib photos that are more disturbing than what we've seen, though we the public will probably never get to see them and never know just how horrible things got there.)

Monday, April 04, 2005 
fisher-price my first typing
i don't blog much about my young nephew ian, perhaps because, although we live in the same house, i'm not very involved with his rearing and only see him for an hour or so on a typical day (the rest of the time i'm up here in the attic and he is downstairs somewhere).

ian is currently about 31 months old. he does like to have the tv on (how much he actually "watches" is debatable), however he is generally only allowed to watch educational programming (pbs kids and various videos geared for early childhood). he loves his letters, & knows how to count to 10 in english and spanish, as well as knowing various vocab words and phrases. the significance of letters hasn't quite sunk in yet: he doesn't realize that letters actually form written words. but man, does he love those letters: ABC videos, refrigerator magnets... anything involving the alphabet he likes.

occasionally if the door to the attic is left open, he will sneak off and climb up here. i don't mind, so long as i or someone is here to make sure he doesn't hurt himself or mess up my stuff too much. sometimes he'll see my computer and start playing with the keyboard. when he does, i try to set up a blank notepad document for him, but on past occasions he never really did much other than press ctrl or alt, or the windows keys. this afternoon he came upstairs and, i believe for the first time, really started exploring my keyboard. this is what he typed, completely unedited by me (except that he pressed the spacebar a bunch of times, and i have replaced those spaces with html space characters, and added some hard returns for formatting purposes):

aaaaaaaa  a

as he found each letter, he would say its name out loud. he hasn't quite gotten the hang of key-repeat, but i'd say this was a great start: he started by finding A and made it all the way to Q before his mommy came to take him back downstairs. and when you stop to think that the qwerty layout was specifically designed to be confusing and hard to work with, i'd say that's pretty impressive for someone who cannot read, per se.

granted, there are other computers in the house. and he even has a qwerty keyboard in his room (that his father gave him as a learning tool). but that keyboard isn't hooked up to anything. anyway, since this just might be his first coherent, intentionally typed phrase, i thought it deserved to be recorded for posterity.

Sunday, April 03, 2005 
let me lick your mp3
the new mp3 of the week is up! it's a very special track i created for the bad taste 2003 tour: extra stuff for me to mix in with the maura's milk chocolate bath material. if you heard any of those live sets, you probably heard some of this stuff. now you can hear it in its purest state.

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