I'll come up with something in a minute.

Helpful hints for Super Hero Movies

The following five items are intended to help film makers not make crappy super hero movies anymore. All film makers should review these five points and commit them to memory.

1. Stop trying to recreate particular drawings.
Yes, the cover of issue #147 was great, possibly the single most iconic drawing of the character ever made. You know why it’s on the cover though? Because they couldn’t think of anyway to shoe-horn that particular pose into the book itself. Trying to figure out a way to get that into the movie rarely serves the story. More often it just serves the ego of the artist who drew it to know that people loved it that much.

2. Try actually reading the comic book.
Lots of these comics have some really good story lines. A lot of them aren’t really viable for cinematic transformation, but you would be surprised how many of them are. Why not lift a classic story from the character’s past and use that as your plot instead of grabbing Random Adventure Plot #23?

3. Pick a story.
Okay, you selected a couple of story lines that are really great, but how to choose. Flip a coin or ask some geeks which is their favorite or sacrifice a chicken to Cthulu but for the love of Fancy DO NOT COMBINE THEM! Don’t pick scenes from this story and scenes from that story and try to mix them up, it almost never works. More often than not, far more often, what you get is a bunch of barely connected scenes strung together that lead to a confused and disjointed mess.

4. Don’t go all black for the costume.
I know, you think that colorful spandex makes the heroes look silly. Well… so does a padded black leather jumpsuit or some kind of pleather/latex nightmare that restricts movement and is so delicate that it can only be touched with gloves. Sure, you can’t do the spandex thing because humans don’t look like comic book drawings. The problem with an all black leather/latex nightmare suit is that it means everyone sort of looks the same in the end, which is what the whole colorful spandex thing was designed to avoid. This goes double for any team of heroes movies. When you make a uniform, it makes everyone look… uniform.

5. Never EVER(!) have your hero revel their secret identity to ANYONE!
It’s a bad idea! Don’t have them take their mask off, don’t have them say something that tips someone off, don’t have them identified at all! NO! Not the love interest, not the enemy who is going to die anyway, not a bus full of senior citizens who will keep it secret because the hero saved them, no one! EVER! Even if the identity is a known fact in the comics, make it a secret and keep it! If one more hero pulls off their mask at the slightest provocation (I’m looking at you Batman (Returns)!), or says something to the vapid love interest that the vapid love interest has said 86 times so she’ll know it’s him (Still looking at you Batman (Begins)!) or just revels the secret to the nearest chick as an aphrodisiac (Batman Forever), or even has his side kick do the reveling for him (BATMAN!) then I am going to get a gun and will no longer be responsible for my actions. Burning the mask or having it come off during a fight is not acceptable either.

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May 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Suggestion

If you want to go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and you want it to be good by comparison, may I suggest the Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol 1? Anything would seem like the pinnacle of awesomeness by comparison. I could only get through the first story, and it took me about three days to slog through it. Lousy doesn’t begin to describe it. After trying to reads this I picked up a box of Chex and read the back. As a result I came to believe for three days that the back of the Chex box was the greatest literary orgasm that had ever existed.

I still don’t know how bad Crystal Skull is, but it would likely feel like bukkake from the gods by comparison to how bad this book is.

May 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things I want

I want a big budget movie that doesn’t treat me like an idiot.

I want an action movie that understands at least the basic fundementals of physics.

I want to know and care about a character before I try and watch them escape from the clutches of the villains.

I want a thriller that doesn’t require a lot of logical hoop jumping, particularly when half the hoops are false. When explaining how the heroes get out of a narrow scrape, the excuse should at least be researched enough to know if it’s even vaguely plausible.

I want the suspension of my disbelief to need no more effort than a feather resting on the surface of a pond. It should not require a pool of mercury to float the lead bar of the plot.

I want shocking surprises to be at least something of a surprise. I shouldn’t be able to quote exactly what other movie the big surprise was stolen from and how I would need distances only the Hubble Telescope can comprehend to explain how far away I spotted it.

If I can’t have those things, then I want a 100 million dollar NC-17 rated version of Bunnicula.

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not a horrible list

I got a link to 100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library and I didn’t hate it. I expected to, because the first page is pretty heavily weighted with things I would tell you to ignore if you came and asked my recommendations of the list. Also, I hate it when people try to be gender specific. Women should read a lot of these books too, but that’s neither here nor there really.

While I disagree with some (No one should ever have to read Moby Dick*… EVER) and I felt a few things were missing from the list, it’s actually pretty well balanced. If you go through all 4 pages you’ll probably find that the list is okay. Not great, because anyone who fails to include at least one comic book (Okay… fine Graphic Novel! Happy now?) is going to get dismissed as incomplete. It doesn’t even have to be an adventure book, Maus would have done if you wanted to keep up the tone of that piece.

The list reads like one person put it together, which is fine but leave you wondering what others would have put on the list. It actually reminds of the conversation I had with someone that I should make a list of 100 movies that a person should watch for Retroflix**. That list hasn’t been made yet though, probably because I keep thinking that you can’t focus all that a person needs to read, see, or experience into 100 bullet pointable items. Someday though, I’ll probably make that list.

*Some day we need to have a long conversation about books that are so far up their own ass that they can see their own tonsils and how many of them destroyed the career of their creators. Moby Dick would be prime example number one.

**(another Live Journal, not the website).

May 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Movie Troubles

I read the first three real reviews of Indiana Jones and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea last night. They were not promising. The scores on the first three were a 3, a 4.5 and a 6.5 out of 10. One statement sort of summed up what all the reviews I’ve read have said “If it had starred Brendan Fraser and was directed by Stephen Sommers, it would be the best of the Mummy movies. But it’s not that. It stars Harrison Ford, was directed by Steven Spielberg and is the worst of the Indiana Jones movies.” I’m paraphrasing because I can’t be arsed to go look through all three reviews again to see what they actually said.

The problem is that some of the reviews got people complaining because they didn’t claim the movie shat rainbows and cured cancer at 40 yards. They made a claim that these people just had it out for the movie, George Lucas, and fun in general. The idea being that they’ve been waiting to piss all over this movie since it was first announced last year. If I read a really positive review, I expect that person will also get claims that they wrote it months ago and are now filling in the blanks to say what’s awesome about it.

This is one of the major problems with summer movies and anticipated entertainment as a whole. Too many reviews seem to have been written without actually having seen the product and then just have bits filled in that justify whatever axe the writer was trying to grind. I’m willing to bet that a few reviews for The Dark Knight have already been started with people talking about how great Heath Ledger’s last performance is and isn’t a shame what we’ve lost and so on. Since he died, a lot of people are going to be afraid to be seen as taking on a corpse if they refer to his roll in anything but returned savior like terms.

It’s a bigger problem than that though, Batman Begins has become fairly popular since it was in theaters, so the sequel is a pretty highly anticipated movie. When something gets this highly anticipated, people will claim they liked it despite how they actually feel about it. If it was disappointing, they’ll cover that up and just let enthusiasm take over. “I’ve been waiting for this for two years, the ad blitz was huge, I MUST love this movie.” Some of those people will come back later and claim they never said that, some people will never admit they were wrong, and some people will come back and find that actually they did love it all along.

It works in the other direction too. I’ve been reading all sorts of comments along the lines of “Episode One wasn’t that bad really. When you compare it to Revenge of the Sith, it’s practically Ben-Hur.” What once was hated, now is seen in a more positive light. I pick on Star Wars, but there are a lot of previously hated or at least not loved films that people have come back to later and decided were actually pretty good.

A movie really has to be genuinely bad for people to just simply step away during the summer hype season. I mean, you’d have to make a Superman movie where he spends most his time stalking Lois Lane, rarely puts on the tights, doesn’t stop any crimes and discovers his super sperm can knock up a lady for it to be bad enough that people will just walk away. Fortunately, no one would be so stupid as to make a Superman movie with that was as boring as what I’ve just described. Hmm? What’s that? Superman Returns? Never heard of it, when does it come out?

With things like Indy, we’ve been waiting 20 years for this, so anticipation is hardly the word for this movie. My word was fear actually. The problem was that I was ready for this movie in 1992, and I was ready in 1996, but by 2008 I’m thinking they missed the freshness window. Too many of us have rethought the idea of another Indy and found that it probably isn’t a good idea now. As a result, a lot of people will be going in with their knives sharpened, looking for any vulnerable spot on the once mighty franchise.

A lot of people will get mad at any negative review though, because they’ve been waiting most of their lives for this. As a result, only the top reviews will do, and anyone who claims that the old crew ain’t what it used to be will be attacked left and right. Take some of the responses to this review which got a little nasty in places. You can also see the fun of watching an idiot try and back peddle away from some of his nastier statements (I use he universally) when called to account for them. The thing is that I’ve seen this event happen in other places lately.

Halo 3, Twilight Princess and GTA4 have all gained a fair amount of 10 out of 10 scores upon release. I’m always suspicious of 10 of 10 scores, because when you read the review the game in question often doesn’t deserve them. 9.899 maybe, but rarely a perfect 10.

You’ll very often get “This is a perfect, flawless game! Nothing wrong at all… except for this, this, this, the second half of the game, the cut scenes and the camera is wonky.” That always leaves me staring at my screen muttering “Then it’s not perfect or flawless is it?” I mean they will list off a bunch of things that are wrong, and still claim it’s perfect and flawless, which either speaks of their strong enthusiasm or their weak vocabulary.

That’s probably my biggest problem with trying to hack through reviews of highly anticipated products. I’ve got a lot of people on either side of the coin with a strong inclination to judge one way or the other despite the actual quality of the product in question.

May 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things not to know

Every time I see a list like this 75 Skills Every Man Should Master I end up rolling my eyes.

Two Reasons: One, if a man should know how to do it then so should a woman. Two, about half of these leave me with the firm belief that the writer is an idiot.

I’ll admit that points 3, 9, 12, 14, 20, 23, 34, 35, 44, 61, and 72 aren’t entirely stupid. They are sometimes worded clumsily or their extra written bits over do it, but they contain some bits that I would suggest an adult know how to do. There is that feeling of “I can see you’re trying to help” but it gets buried in bullshit. I’m not going to pick the list apart point by point, but I’ll go for the worst in the bunch.

My problems started with the second item.
2. Tell if someone is lying.
Yeah, you can’t. Nope, unless you already know that they are lying (and even then most people get the wrong answer) you really can’t tell. If someone is even halfway good at it, you need about a year of training to figure out when a person is being dishonest and it comes down to what they call micro-expressions that most people can’t even begin to recognize. Cops, lawyers, judges, used car salesmen, none of them ever judge any higher than chance when tested on who is or isn’t lying. Even when people are trained to spot them, they only break around 80%.

And then at the fourth suggestion is useless
4. Score a baseball game.
Why? I will never ever need that. Learning anything sports related is entirely useless to me. No, really. The only situation that I would ever need to know how to score a Baseball game would rely on someone having a gun to my head, and then my thoughts are going to be far more on taking the gun away so I can kill the person, who won’t be paying attention because they’re watching a baseball game. By the way, always grab the wrist (pushing away from you) and hit them in the mid-section at the same time. When you double strike like this they never pay attention to their hand. Some might argue the point, but it has worked in the past. If you’re lucky, they’ll have given you a pen or pencil to score with, that’s a lethal weapon right there, use it!

The thirteenth is dangerous
13. Throw a punch.
No, no, NO! Punching is a pointless pursuit, particularly in hand to hand fighting. You won’t do much harm to them and you could break the bones in your hand. Unless you really know how, you will telegraph the hell out of your punches anyway. Don’t learn to throw a punch, learn how to take a punch. Better yet learn how dodge a punch! Then, learn how to grab the wrist of the puncher, twist their arm behind them, and tell them in a calm and level voice that if they don’t stop being a jerk you’ll break their arm in six places. You’d be surprised how a calm and level voice can catch a person’s attention when you’re causing them agony. This is not theory, I’m speaking from the authority of experience here. No one ever picked on me more than twice in high school. I prefer approaching fighting like Archimedes. All levers and fulcrums and not just smacking things until they fall over.
Let’s match this up with number 53. Sometimes, kick some ass.
No. That isn’t a skill. I’m far more interested in the person who knows that the best way is to not have to kick ass anyway. Again, if I’m holding someone’s hand so that they can scratch the back of their head, or I’m pressing on the pressure points on their neck, I don’t need to kick their ass. Fighting is costly in energy, it’s time consuming, and the longer it goes on the more likely someone will get a lucky (or unlucky as the case maybe) shot and cripple the other person for life. You can more easily win by letting the other person know quickly and relatively painlessly how far you’re willing to take it. If they know they’ve got to fight you until one of you is dead, 98% of all people will back the fuck down. Granted, you do have to hold the other 2% down until help arrives or you’re forced to kill them, but that was going to happen anyway with that 2%.

60 is genuinely stupid
60. Be brand loyal to at least one product.
Yes… because that’s what you want to be, the sort of person that can be pointed to as a brand whore. Being a brand whore means you never look for anything better, and will always excuse the product even if it goes to shit. No company should ever get a free pass, you should always look for the best products you can afford and you should always test around to make sure that you are getting the best. If you need the cultural awareness of where you can from, try looking in the mirror. If you start to think you are your brand, then you will become your khakis. And then… I have to kill you for making me quote Fight Club.

Point five (5. Name a book that matters. The Catcher in the Rye does not matter. Not really. You gotta read.) looses points for saying that Catcher in the Rye doesn’t matter. Anytime someone says “Book X is pointless and not worth discussion” I invariably look at that person as a twat. You have no idea what matters to whom and for what reason. Catcher in the Rye certainly matters if you’re discussing the end of John Lennon’s life. There you go, I mention John Lennon and all the sudden… it matters. I’ll agree that a person should be educated, but I stop short of saying you need to be able to name drop. Hell, I can name drop… Moby Dick, Crime & Punishment, Emma and Farewell to Arms. Never read any of them, but I can name them and know more or less what they’re about. For the most part though, they don’t matter to the people I know and talk to about books.

I will agree with number 7 (Cook meat somewhere other than the grill.) If I can take the word meat out of that sentence. Learn how to cook, and it helps if you can do it beyond the grill.

Most of these are so incredibly pointless that they don’t even deserve being refuted. I don’t need to know how to make 3 bets at a crap table, I know that playing craps is for suckers. I don’t need to know anything about gambling in fact, I have better things to blow my money on. I don’t drink, so knowing my brand and being able to mix lots of cocktails are also useless. If I needed to know these things, I’ll be in a social situation and thus… I can get someone else to do it.

With reservation on a few points I’m far more likely to point you to this quote by Robert Heinlein in his book Time Enough for Love. (Exact wording thanks to this site here)

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I’ve had to do most things an adult can reasonably be expected to do in life. You can probably skip the manure, the ship, and the hog. I’m willing to admit that the situation could come up when I might need to know those things some day, but it’s never come up once far and I’m guessing it probably won’t. I can do all the others (though you’d probably want someone better for the accounts, the bone, and the computer) with varying levels of success.

May 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I doubt the veracity of their claims!

Another sight full of “insert your name and I’ll tell you all about yourself” another fistful of snark from me as a result

My comments are in italics.

You entered: Brett Nathan Lashuay
There are 18 letters in your name.
Those 18 letters total to 66
There are 6 vowels and 12 consonants in your name.

What your first name means:
French Female Brit. A native of England: (Britain) or France: (Brittany). In literature Lady Brett Ashley was the heroine in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
English Male A native of Brittany: (France) or Britain: (England). Derived from the surname Breton or Briton, Brett and Bret became popular first names after 19th-century US writer Bret Harte. Brett became very popular in Australia in the mid-20th century.
English Female Brit. A native of England: (Britain) or France: (Brittany). In literature Lady Brett Ashley was the heroine in Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’.
Celtic Male A Breton.

Okay, so far so good. However, my first name and its meaning can be found in ANY baby book.

Your number is: 3

The characteristics of #3 are: Expression, verbalization, socialization, the arts, the joy of living.

The expression or destiny for #3:
An Expression of 3 produces a quest for destiny with words along a variety of lines that may include writing, speaking, singing, acting or teaching; our entertainers, writers, litigators, teachers, salesmen, and composers. You also have the destiny to sell yourself or sell just about any product that comes along. You are imaginative in your presentation, and you may have creative talents in the arts, although these are more likely to be latent. You are an optimistic person that seems ever enthusiastic about life and living. You are friendly, loving and social, and people like you because you are charming and such a good conversationalist. Your ability to communicate may often inspire others. It is your role in life to inspire and motivate; to raise the spirits of those around you.

The negative side of number 3 Expression is superficiality. You may tend to scatter your forces and simply be too easygoing. It is advisable for the negative 3 to avoid dwelling on trivial matters, especially gossip.

As anyone who has tried to get me to send my writing or other work to any company of any kind can attest, I’m really terrible about selling myself. And I doubt someone who honestly believes that if there are gods, they only created us so they could put a galactic magnifying glass over us could be called optimistic. And as for enthusiasm… I can’t be bothered to finish this sentence.

Your Soul Urge number is: 3
What the fuck is a “Soul Urge” number? What kind of gibberish is that?

A Soul Urge number of 3 means:
With the Soul Urge number 3 your desire in life is personal expression, and generally enjoying life to its fullest. You want to participate in an active social life and enjoy a large circle of friends. You want to be in the limelight, expressing your artistic or intellectual talents. Word skills may be your thing; speaking, writing, acting, singing. In a positive sense, the 3 energy is friendly, outgoing and always very social.
Are they talking about someone else here? Is there another Brett Nathan Lashuay wondering why he got “You sure are a cranky mother fucker” as his result?

You have a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged; a good mental and emotional balance.
Um… yeah I doubt it.

The 3 Soul Urge gives intuitive insight, thus, very high creative and inspirational tendencies. The truly outstanding trait shown by the 3 Soul Urge is that of self-expression, regardless of the field of endeavor.

On the negative side, you may at times become too easygoing and too optimistic, tending to scatter forces and accomplish very little. Often, the excessive 3 energy produces non-stop talkers. Everyone has faults, but the 3 soul urge doesn’t appreciate having these pointed out.
Too optimistic? Seriously!

Your Inner Dream number is: 9

An Inner Dream number of 9 means:
You dream of being creative, intellectual, and universal; the selfless humanitarian. You understand the needy and what to help them. You would love to be a person people count on for support and advice.

I honestly don’t know what the fuck their talking about here.

Let’s try again leaving out the middle name…

You entered: Brett Lashuay

There are 12 letters in your name.
Those 12 letters total to 44
There are 4 vowels and 8 consonants in your name.

What your first name means:
French Female Brit. A native of England: (Britain) or France: (Brittany). In literature Lady Brett Ashley was the heroine in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
English Male A native of Brittany: (France) or Britain: (England). Derived from the surname Breton or Briton, Brett and Bret became popular first names after 19th-century US writer Bret Harte. Brett became very popular in Australia in the mid-20th century.
English Female Brit. A native of England: (Britain) or France: (Brittany). In literature Lady Brett Ashley was the heroine in Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’.
Celtic Male A Breton.

Your number is: 8

The characteristics of #8 are: Practical endeavors, status oriented, power-seeking, high-material goals.
So… I’ve gone from an artsy fartsy flower child to Cobra Commander. Just by removing my middle name. NEAT!

The expression or destiny for #8:
Your Expression is represented by the number 8. The 8 Expression is well-equipped in a managerial sense. You have outstanding organizational and administrative capabilities. You have the potential for considerable achievement in business or other powerful positions. You can expect to receive the financial and material rewards. You have the skill and abilities to establish or operate a business with great efficiency. You have good judgment when it comes to money and commercial matters, and you understand how to build and accumulate material wealth. Much of your success (or lack of it) may come due to your ability (or inability) to judge character. With the number 8 Expression, you exercise sound judgment in most of your affairs; you are realistic and practical in your approach to business matters.
Yeah… no

The positive 8 Expression produces individuals that are very ambitious and goal-oriented. If the 8 energy is not in excess in your makeup, you will no doubt express these traits to some extent. No one has any more energy that a person with the 8 Expression who has a plan laid and is starting to work. No one has any more self-confidence, either. If you are expressing the positive qualities of 8, you are an outstanding manager because you can plan, initiate, and complete projects; you are very dependable and determined.
And as A Leo I’m also quite the leader!

As it always happens, there can be too much of a good thing. If you have too much of the 8 energy in your makeup, you may express some of the negative attitudes. A negative 8 can be very rigid and stubborn. Ambition sometimes has a way of becoming over-ambition, and you may express an unreasonable impatience with the lack of progress. If your negative side is showing, you may be too exacting, both of yourself and of others. Sometimes this can even becomes a case of intolerance.

The number 8 is very materialistic and also very desirous of status and power. Neither of these drives are inherently negative unless they are taken to an extreme. You must avoid the tendency to strain after money, material matters, status, or power, to the detriment of the other important factors in your life.
Status and power don’t really hold a lot of interest for me. No really, I just want enough power to run my computer, and enough status to rule the world and keep all of mankind under my thumb.

Your Soul Urge number is: 1
Still not clear on what a “Soul Urge” number is.

A Soul Urge number of 1 means:
Your Soul Urge is the number 1. With a Soul Urge number of 1, you want to lead and direct, to work independent of supervision, by yourself or with subordinates. You take pride in your abilities and want to be recognized for them. You may seek opportunities to display your strength and usefulness, wanting to create and originate. In your desire to manage the big picture and the main issues, you may often leave the details to others.
You notice they tell me three times there that I have a Soul Urge number of 1 but never what a Soul Urge number actually is?

The positive 1 Soul Urge is Ambitious and determined, a leader seeking opportunities. There is a great deal of honesty and loyalty in this character. If you possess positive 1 Soul Urge qualities, you are very attainment oriented and driven to success. You are a loyal friend and strictly fair in your business dealings.

The negative side of the 1 Soul Urge must be avoided. A negative 1 is apt to dominate situations and people; the home, the spouse, the family and the business. Emotions aren’t strong in this nature. If you possess an excess of 1 energy, you may, at times, be boastful and egotistic. You must avoid being too critical and impatient of trifles. The great need of the 1 Soul Urge is the development of friendliness, and a sincere interest in people.

Your Inner Dream number is: 7
Well, at least we changed the dream number. Still don’t know what the hell it’s supposed to mean.

An Inner Dream number of 7 means:
You dream of having the opportunity to read, study, and shut yourself off from worldly distractions. You can see yourself as a teacher, mystic, or ecclesiastic, spending your life in the pursuit of knowledge and learning.
At this point, I’m beginning to doubt their madskilz at telling me all about myself.

OOOO, and I can find out about myself through my birthday!

15 August 1976

Your date of conception was on or about 23 November 1975 which was a Sunday.

You were born on a Sunday
under the astrological sign Leo.
Your Life path number is 1.
I can’t be bothered to read all the gibberish in the linked page, so I don’t know what a “Life Path” number is.

Your fortune cookie reads:
As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.

Life Path Compatibility:
You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 1, 5 & 7.
You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 3 & 9.
You may or may not get along well with those with the Life Path number 8.
You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 2, 4, 6, 11 & 22.
Oh crap! I better go find out what those numbers mean, otherwise I might be friends with people who have the wrong numbers!

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2443005.5.
The golden number for 1976 is 1.
The epact number for 1976 is -1.
The year 1976 was a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 1/31/1976 and ending 2/17/1977.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Dragon.

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Salmon; your plant is Raspberry.
Unless we believe what other people have told me, then it’s the Wolf! Wolf is sexier than salmon, but less tasty when grilled. Of course since most this shit is made up anyway (I mean which native American group has zodiac as salmon? No proper information!) I might as well call myself a badger, lock myself up in a walnut and declare myself the king of infinite space.

You were born in the Egyptian month of Paopy, the second month of the season of Poret (Emergence – Fertile soil).
Yeah, okay.

Your date of birth on the Hebrew calendar is 19 Av 5736.
Or if you were born after sundown then the date is 20 Av 5736.
Morning. So 19 Av 5736 it is!

The Mayan Calendar long count date of your birthday is 12.18.3.2.1 which is
12 baktun 18 katun 3 tun 2 uinal 1 kin
Good to know. I’m sure that information will prove to be vital later.

The Hijra (Islamic Calendar) date of your birth is Sunday, 19 Sha’ban 1396 (1396-8-19).

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 18 April 1976.
The date of Orthodox Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 25 April 1976.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 3 March 1976.
The date of Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday) in the year of your birth was Sunday 6 June 1976.
The date of Whisuntide in the year of your birth was Sunday 13 June 1976.
The date of Rosh Hashanah in the year of your birth was Saturday, 25 September 1976.
The date of Passover in the year of your birth was Thursday, 15 April 1976.
The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 2 March 1976.
You know, since I admitted I was born in 1976, there isn’t much of a trick you telling me how all these things happened on those dates in 1976.

As of 5/14/2008 2:40:05 PM EDT
You are 31 years old.
You are 381 months old.
You are 1,656 weeks old.
You are 11,595 days old.
You are 278,294 hours old.
You are 16,697,680 minutes old.
You are 1,001,860,805 seconds old.
Well good, you have a computer program that calculates silly shit for you. Your mother must be so proud.

Celebrities who share your birthday:
Ben Affleck (1972)
Jimmy Webb (1946)
Linda Ellerbee (1944)
Mike Connors (1925)
Rose Marie (1925)
Phyllis Schlafly (1924)
Huntz Hall (1919)
Julia Child (1912)
Ethel Barrymore (1879)
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769)
Me and Napoleon, hanging with Julia Child on our birthday!

Top songs of 1976
Tonight’s the Night by Rod Stewart
Silly Love Songs by Wings
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John & Kiki Dee
Disco Lady by Johnnie Taylor
Play The Funky Music by Wild Cherry
December, 1963 (Oh What a Night) by Four Seasons
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon
Kiss and Say Goodbye by Manhattans
If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
Love Hangover by Diana Ross

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 4.53816046966732 years old. (You’re still chasing cats!)

Your lucky day is Sunday.
Your lucky number is 1 & 4.
Your ruling planet(s) is Sun.
Your lucky dates are 1st, 10th, 19th, 28th.
Your opposition sign is Aquarious.
Your opposition number(s) is 8.

Today is not one of your lucky days!
Shit! And I felt so lucky today too!

There are 93 days till your next birthday
on which your cake will have 32 candles.
Doubt it, I don’t usually have cake on my birthday.

Those 32 candles produce 32 BTUs,
or 8,064 calories of heat (that’s only 8.0640 food Calories!) .
You can boil 3.66 US ounces of water with that many candles.
NO CANDLES! BECAUSE NO CAKE!

In 1976 there were approximately 3.1 million births in the US.
In 1976 the US population was approximately 203,302,031 people, 57.4 persons per square mile.
In 1976 in the US there were approximately 2,152,662 marriages (10.1%) and 1,036,000 divorces (4.9%)
In 1976 in the US there were approximately 1,921,000 deaths (9.5 per 1000)
In the US a new person is born approximately every 8 seconds.
In the US one person dies approximately every 12 seconds.
How are those last two facts individual to me at all? How can I believe that this is REALLY my individual information with crap like that being tossed about?

In 1976 the population of Australia was approximately 14,110,107.
In 1976 there were approximately 227,810 births in Australia.
In 1976 in Australia there were approximately 109,973 marriages and 63,230 divorces.
In 1976 in Australia there were approximately 112,662 deaths.
Um… Not Australian. Okay, interesting facts… but still it’s hardly relevant to me.

Your birthstone is Peridot

The Mystical properties of Peridot

Peridot is used to help dreams become a reality.

Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)

Sardonyx, Diamond, Jade

Your birth tree is WAIT, I have a birth tree? When did this shit start?

Cedar, the Confidence

Of rare beauty, knows how to adapt, likes luxury, of good health not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, determined, impatient, wants to impress others, many talents, industrious, healthy, optimism, waiting for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.

There are 225 days till Christmas 2008!
There are 238 days till Orthodox Christmas!
Again, this is hardly individual to me. I think their just tossing random shit in at this point.

The moon’s phase on the day you were
born was waning gibbous.
Well… okay then

May 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prime Time!

All the best TV shows in the 80s had openers, you ever notice that? A little bit just before the theme song that let you know what the whole show was about in a few sentences.

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of Dr. Samuel Becket. Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator and vanished into the LA Underground. His five year mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to put right the things that once went wrong. If no one else can help you. If there is no one you can turn to, and if Al can find him, maybe you can hire The S-Team!

Cue music!

May 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You know… for kids

I’ve been working on a list for Holly, or rather for her sister and nephew. Her nephew is supposed to be quite bright, but is bored in school. Had she not told me this while I was driving it would have lead me to running around with my arms flailing screaming “Danger Will Robinson! DANGER!” because I happen to know how it feels to be bored in class and hate school as a result. Most my problems in school revolved around the glacial pace that classes were required to go so that we didn’t loose the kid who could be outsmarted by Skippy the Wonder Hamster.

So I said I would suggest some documentaries that might brighten the kid up a bit to the idea that learning doesn’t actually have to suck. Now I’ve got to convince her to go directly to her sister because she had a conversation with her mother and her mother said that they’d thought of a couple things but thought it might be too advanced for him. Again, if I hadn’t been driving, I would have tested the structural integrity of the nearest solid object with my forehead while screaming “Grandparents are all fucking STUPID! They don’t remember anything about having a child that age!”* However, as I was driving, I had to settle for merely berating her parents to her without the therapeutic head smacking.

Suggesting that something, anything, might be too advanced for any kind of kid is the kiss of death. Once you’ve decided that it’s too advanced without trying it out on the kid first, you’re already giving up on expanding their horizons. Some of it should be too advanced and there should be stuff they don’t understand. Not understanding is how we’re encouraged to learn.

I decided to write the following list, based mostly on things I enjoyed as a kid and the sorts of things I’m thinking a kid who is bored at school is likely to enjoy. The only reason I threw a few things away was that I figured the doco in question might be a little too slow for them. I know that I personally struggled to keep my eyes open when I watched Stephen Hawking’s Universe, so that had to go.

But then I thought of you out there. Some of you have children who need a little more speed and agility in their education, so I decided to publish my list publicly. You’ll notice a theme with my suggestions. Lots of subject movement, and nothing too terribly deep. You can get a kid excited about something, give them a wide range of ideas, and then take them to the library to learn more. Or, you can get them more documentaries. (I’m ADD, dyslexic and I’ve got a dodgy right eye, reading is very VERY hard for me)

If you can’t afford to buy all of these, you can go to your library and ask them if they can get the videos. Or you can track things down online on bit-torrent sights or you tube. Yes, yes, bit-torrent is very naughty and copyright is the word of all mighty Ceiling Cat and those who disobey shall be cast into the pits blah, blah, blah, but fuck that noise we’re talking about getting kids to learn here! Besides, you’d be amazed how many documentaries are out there that are perfectly legal to torrent. Anyway here is my list…

My List of Documentaries That Won’t Bore the Shit Out of Children.

Connections 1, 2 &3 – by James Burke A good run of science history lessons. The format of the show means that things keep moving and you never really get a chance to get bored. Having it on DVD means you can go back and re-watch something if you missed it.

Cosmos – by Carl Sagan More general science, but packaged in a very nice way. Still 98% up to date too.

A History of Britain – by Simon Schama English history on a rocket sled. Again, the emphasis here is on speedy explanations and then getting on with things. Avoid boredom while actually teaching something.

BBC Shows
Any of the “Walking With” Prehistory Shows – Because Prehistoric animals are F’ing cool damnit! The complete Walking With Collection, doesn’t actually have Walking with Monsters in it, but that’s only because of when it came out. Chased By Dinosaurs is really cool too.

Planet Earth & Blue Planet – Animals! Fairly fast paced, but slightly tilted towards images. Good stuff to get a kid going though and if it’s new to them there will be a wealth of information.

Rome: Power & Glory – Roman history is cool. This goes from rise to fall, it doesn’t get boring, and there are probably some things mother wouldn’t approve of but are really quite harmless in it. Perfect for a 10 year old on all counts, because you need to learn some things mother wouldn’t approve of when you’re ten.

BBC’s History of World War II Set – I’m slightly hesitant on this one because there are some bits that could bore a kid. It’s a collection of docos, so you can pick and choose. Maybe The History Channel’s version, being slight more light weight and a little faster in places, might be a better choice. The point is, get the kids some stuff about war. War is good because wars move history along at a fast pace. I’ve suggested in the past that wars are mostly there so that kids can go manage to get through all the philosophers and stuff, with the promise that there will be blood to come. When I was a kid, I could listen to a teacher talk about Abolitionism all day if I know the battle of Gettysburg was coming as my reward. That’s the best thing about History Class! Eventually… there WILL be blood!

*My apologies to any of you who either are or have grandparents, but it’s true. I spent most my childhood having my father tell people to shut the fuck up and let me read/watch what I wanted because if I was enjoying it then I probably understood it. I was very fortunate that my parents shielded me from people telling me that the books I was reading or the movies I was watching were too advanced for me.

And yes, all the profanity is totally necessary.

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Open Letter

Dear Senator Clinton,

Let me tell you a little something about my family.

My mother’s maiden name is Collier, and that’s a Welsh word for Coal Miner. Yeah, guess what that side of the family did before coming to America to be farmers. My mother’s side is mostly your average Dutch-Irish collection with some Welsh and English thrown in for good measure. Mostly hard working people who lived honestly, until the 1880s when a bunch of Collier boys were hung for horse thievery out west. Still, basically honest, hard working, white Americans.

My father’s name is Lashuay, as is mine (duh) which is derived from a French name I can’t spell. I’ve been told that it translates to something like “The Game player” or “The Gambler” or something like that. We come from Lyon. It’s hard to track anyway because as I understand it my ancestor left France under something of a cloud. It seems he ran to America because he’d run out of places to run away to in France, along with the daughter and the silverware if you catch my drift. From there he went to Canada (back when French Canada went further south) and eventually settled in. The Lashuay’s then started experimenting in spelling their names six different ways (Ways, the Aways, and the Uays… along with others) and spreading like a virus across the land.

While we were here, the country actually became a country, since when we showed up it was a collection of colonies. Then while Colliers and Lashuays were hanging out in the Ohio Valley, they Civil War broke out and three Lashuay Boys fought under a Collier Colonel*. After that, they all settled down to be farmers and factory workers.
*Unless I’ve got the rank wrong.

So, what I’m saying here is that my family has been here a long time. We were here before it was America, we were here before immigrants became a bad thing, we were here before a lot of things. The only people who have been here longer are religious lunatics and the indigenous population. The indigenous population, who we helped kill… sorry about that guys. We’ve been hard working Americans for the time we’ve been here (when we weren’t stealing stuff) and to an extent, we have prospered. White collars, blue collars we’ve even been known to have green collars when the nation needed it. As far as I know, mine if the first in four generations not to have anyone wear a uniform. We represent a cross section of the Middle Class American strata really.

I come from thieves and honest, hard workers. So basically I’m a hard working thief, and a damn charming one when I need to be. Also, I never went to college, I barely got a GED. So, you’ve got a hard working, white American who doesn’t have a college education who still ain’t gonna vote for your sniper dodging, 3am phone call making, constantly “misspeaking” ass! If I am a bit lefty, I came by it honestly by meeting people and learning about things on my own. I consider myself more a centrist, its just the last 10 years or so has been to such an insane extreme that it makes people who look central seem like a lefty by comparison.

I did a little run down of the group. We’re a family of working Americans. A family of hard working Americans. In fact a family of hard working WHITE Americans… and most of us in my little informal poll are more likely to support Obama right now. Those that aren’t thinking of supporting Obama, are going to vote for McCain because they want to vote for a Republican or they like his style or whatever.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t you saying that white folk weren’t going to support a black man that did it, but that sure didn’t help. It made you go from someone we didn’t agree with, to someone we find truly distasteful. That sort of statement tilted you into a light that you really can’t recover from I’m afraid. It’s got too much of the “A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts” feeling about it. Sorry, but I don’t want that, and neither does my hard working white American family.

We want someone who won’t think they’re coming under sniper fire just because it’s 11 at night and doesn’t “misspeak” every time they open their damn mouth. We’ve had 8 years of an idiot shooting his mouth off without thinking, we don’t need more. If you’re trying to be president, you need to think about what you say and not just yell “Bring it on” because those phrases will come back to haunt you.

I still don’t fully support Obama, which I know causes some consternation for a few people, but it’s how I feel. I’m not behind him yet, not enough to say that I’m with him. I think I probably could support him if he’s the final candidate, because he’d likely be a better choice than the other two. Got nothing to do with his color, or mine. It’s got to do with him as a candidate.

EDIT: I put the town of Lashuay Origin as Leon when it should be Lyon. I thought we were from the south east part of the country. Trust the fucking French to actually have a town that makes me think my typos are the correct spelling.

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment