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As many as 14 people were injured this afternoon by a motorist who drove around San Francisco deliberately running them down before being arrested by police, who believe the same driver struck and killed a man earlier today in Fremont. No one knows why he did it.

I didn't hear anything about this during the day. But that's because I was in my work bubble and didn't even take my legally mandated 15 minute breaks.

I've been leaving my Gmail open, which is sometimes good in times of boredom, and bad when I'm really trying to work and a friend's got some good gossip or is freaking out over something.

This weekend Mark's going down to LA, which will leave me free to take over the TiVo. (Only the really exciting thing is, I get his PARKING SPOT! Usually, it's pretty easy grabbing a spot in front of his place, but if I get there later at night, I am reduced to tears and parallel parking. The way I do it isn't pretty.)

It's kind of funny - I've finally come to the realization that movies and television are to him what books are to me. Totally necessary to our own survival. Mostly it's about how we like to experience stories - I get too distracted by people with bad accents, I note every grammar error, and well, I didn't grow up in LA.

In the past month, we watched:

Little Miss Sunshine - Funniest movie of the year. It's so damn cute. It's really well-written, and it's about normal, everyday people working to achieve their dreams, and just not fitting in with the world that is already there. And the last half hour had me rolling.

Fun With Dick and Jane - This was a rental, from the only friends of ours who do not do Netflix. Mark and I keep meaning to get around to it, but then we never do and we just rent from the local video store. One thing I've never figured out about that store - why do they keep a tip jar? And why do people put money in it?

30 Days - The New Age episode: I liked the guy, who seemed be to kind of set in his ways, but open to listening to other people. I hated his girlfriend, Misty, whose 180 degree change of opinion after going on and on about how tarot cards are black magic, happened really fast and made me not take her seriously at all. I liked how they did a lot of different types of New Age stuff, not all of which was hokey. And it helped him relax, so that was cool.

The Abortion episode. A pro-choice feminist goes to live with some pro-life people. This was an excellent episode, in which no one learned anything new, except maybe the pastor's wife, who learned that pro-choice people don't "sell abortions". I wish this one was actually longer. The pro-choice person they picked was very clear and smart - and didn't become intimidated or fumble around for words the way the atheist did. It was sort of weird that we didn't see more conversations between her and the pastor, though. She (damn, I keep blanking out on the names) seemed much more into getting to know the women and the kids living at the home, which, is probably something I would do, too.

Next episode: Morgan Spurlock goes to jail for 30 days. He's gone on record as saying that it's really changed his perspective on prison, so I'm betting it'll be a good finale.

Bourdain in Beirut - actually I didn't see this episode, because the Travel Channel changed the name and we didn't see the commercial for it until after it aired. Twice. I'm so angry I missed this episode - from what I've heard, it's a really good episode - not so much about the politics, but about what the consequences of those violent actions do to people who are just trying to live.

Feasting on Asphalt - Alton Brown gets on his motorcycle with a crew of guys and rides across the country, sampling all the best road food. I normally don't watch Good Eats, so I've decided I'm with my sister. Alton Brown talks too much. Yes, that is his job, but still. Anyway, so far it seems like Alton is a very meat-and-potatoes type of guy, and that he's not actually all that adventurous about trying food that's sort of out there. You know Anthony Bourdain would have been happily chowing down on the brain burger and declaring it the best thing ever.

The Daily Show - I'm only noting this one to say, they hired non-white people! Whoa! I love me some Daily Show, but stewards of diversity they are not. Larry and Aasif seem okay, but I think we'll probably need some more episodes before they totally grow on the audience. I think part of the problem is the writing - it feels like they are doing white guy comedy, and not stuff they would actually have written themselves. We'll see.

I am very, very hungry.
toastykitten: (Default)
I'm just amazed at how hard it is for people to grasp the very, very simple concept of atheism.

And utterly horrified at all the kids going through the "B.C. Tours".
toastykitten: (Default)
Seriously, stop reading the 30 Days forums.
toastykitten: (Default)
I quit reading the Twop 30 Days forum after someone said something to the effect of "I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but why don't the parents learn English? That'll prove they're making an effort to be American!"


Anyway, the Outsourcing episode was really good. They got a guy who was relatively smart, and thought about his topic. He had an actual sense of perspective. I paused the TiVo because I was so amazed. Intelligence! On television! He had insightful things to say about how the rush to Westernization is also changing Indian traditions and culture, and how India may not be able to deal with it.

Other shows we've been watching:

Who Wants to be a Superhero? - Reality game show series by the Sci-Fi network, in which dorks in suits compete to be in the next Stan Lee superhero comic. Stan Lee gives the tasks and decides who goes. I've only watched the first episode so far, and it is really funny. It's already starting to give me dreams. I'm a fan of Fat Momma, and Major Victory "Be a winner, not a wiener". Mark, of course, is rooting for the software engineer aka Feedback. I hated the Vin Diesel wannabee, and the raw foodist chick. I thought they were obnoxious.

Psych - The premise of this show is that this guy fools everyone into thinking he's psychic when the truth is that he's just a really detail-oriented person who solves cases. Kind of like Sherlock Holmes, with a black Watson. I gave this one a couple of episodes, but the gullibility of everyone they meet keeps pulling me out of the show.

Blade - I like this show, except I hate the guy who plays Blade. I'm not saying Wesley Snipes was a good actor, but he had presence. This guy doesn't have any. Bonus points for multi-racial casting, though, and an interesting side plot about how vampire ashes are the new crack on the streets.

Time to sleep.
toastykitten: (Default)
I only read one page of the TWoP forums on 30 Days and already I'm pissed. People bitching about why the Gonzales did not make X, Y, or Z choice, like immigration law is actually on their side, or that they actually have to make a living from day to day and can't be expected to make the most ideal choices everyday.

I thought the episode was really thoughtful, and man, I felt for Armida, and watching her family go through a lot of the same shit we went through sucked. But as soon as I saw one of the kids playing on the Playstation, I knew people would bitch, "How can they afford a Playstation if they're poor? Why did they buy such an expensive toy? Maybe they're not really poor!" Because poor people don't have a need to escape, poor people always need to make a correct financial decision in favor of less stuff, because poor people just aren't like normal middle class people. They fucked up. It's always because they fucked up.

It happened with the minimum wage episode, too. I feel like pounding a sledgehammer into these ignorant asses: POVERTY DOESN'T LET YOU HAVE CHOICES.

Morgan Spurlock's commentary on the episode.

Donate to Armida's college fund.
toastykitten: (Default)
I bought a dress yesterday. I need shoes, though. My fault for picking a white dress (with flowers), but I don't want to wear black at a wedding. Instead of shopping more today, though, I'm gonna see Superman Returns.

The musician Momus writes about the similarities between Japan and Germany and how he prefers most of their cultural habits/attitudes/ways of living to the Anglo ones. However, nowhere does he explain their similar tastes in pr0n, which is the one thing that I've always wondered about.

New season of 30 Days July 26th! On July 26th - the first episode is about and is called "Immigration." In the show, a border patroling minuteman (who just so happens to be a legal Cuban immigrant) moves in with an undocumented Mexican family in East Los Angeles. (My first reaction was, a fucking Cuban immigrant decided to be a minuteman? WTF? But after thinking about it, I could totally see it.) Morgan Spurlock's doing one episode where he's in jail for 30 days.

I have to go to work tomorrow. I doubt I'll get anything done, given that half my department decided to take the day off as vacation like normal people. Unfortunately, I'm saving up my PTO for the trip to China (if the tickets ever get bought), and I've just gotten sick too many times this year. (Yes, the only form of time off we have is PTO and no sick days, and I'm still in the process of accrual. Technically. My boss tends to give me whatever days I want off, but I don't want to get her in trouble.)
toastykitten: (Default)
I just watched it. The finale of 30 Days irritated and infuriated me. I wanted to smack the daughter, who, apparently, is studying to be a nurse on a full scholarship. Does that make you want to run to the hospital or what? And the mom, who, for some reason, let her daughter walk all over her. Had that been my child, ignoring me while I'm trying to have a serious discussion with her, I would have taken the cell phone away and stepped on it. I am vindictive like that.

I didn't get what this episode was supposed to accomplish. Mom's going to drink for 30 days to show how her daughter how much it sucks, but then daughter isn't even around most of the time to see it? Why didn't they make the daughter sober up for 30 days, or at least go to one AA meeting? I kind of wish they did let Morgan do all the shows, because only the first one, where they live on minimum wage for 30 days, had any sort of impact on me. At least Morgan's got personality, which is more than the people they chose to highlight.

Part of the frustration is watching these people say stupid-ass things, but then the main characters don't say anything to rebut them. Mom: "How much are you drinking?" Daughter: "Long list of shots, and then when I wake up I don't remember what happened. But I'm responsible."

Any other parent with a half a brain, would have said, "And how the fuck do you think you're being responsible if you can't even remember what happened most of the time?" But no. The mom just sat there. And then she wondered why she was having no effect on her daughter. I wonder if the daughter realized how stupid she came off in this episode.

Morgan Spurlock's next show will be on Comedy Central, called Public Nuisance. Includes gay robots.

The FX forums have the worst interface EVER, but you can read some reactions from the stepson of the mom, who I liked.
toastykitten: (Default)
Fantastic Four annoyed me. How are these people superheroes? Bleh. They don't even *save* anyone!

30 Days - Straight Guy living in the Gay, Gay, GAY Castro district - I wanted to whack Straight Guy over the head with a brick; he was so stupid. Do you tell everyone you meet that you think they're the equivalent of murderers, but hey, as long as you don't touch me, it's ok? Especially veterans? Ugh. To his credit, he did wise up a little, but not until Day 29.

I've been following the forums a little over this show, and while most people are able to have rational discussions (I am incapable of having rational discussions about intolerant people, so I don't participate), I find the whining by the red-state, conservative contingent really, really aggravating. "Why don't they do a show where they send an atheist/liberal/leftist [apparently all these are interchangeable] to live with a conservative Christian?" Because they DO IT EVERY DAMN DAY! "I think Morgan Spurlock has an agenda! He's trying to impose his view on me! He thinks all red-staters are ignorant, backwards hicks!" Um, Morgan is FROM WEST VIRGINIA! If anything, I think he's way too nice, especially to people like Fred Phelps. Boohoo, he's trying to convince you to be more tolerant. You want to be stupid, watch Fox.

Anyway, I'm done ranting.

I just finished His Dark Materials, the trilogy by Philip Pullman. These books blew me away, like no other book has done in years. He rewrote Paradise Lost! (And by default, the story of Genesis.) I love these books, and am surprised that they haven't been banned yet, considering how much fuss has been made over Harry Potter and witchcraft. (J.K. Rowling, you wish you wrote like Pullman.) These books are like crack - I couldn't put them down, even at work, because I absolutely had to know how it ended. I described it to people as kind of like an "atheist Narnia", but that's not really true. It has other worlds, and it deals with faith, and the possibility of a vulnerable God (hmm...maybe I can somehow tie this to my reading Killing the Buddha, but I am not writing a paper, so whatever) who can be killed. I loved the protagonists - headstrong Lyra and the determined Will, and the premise of the books shocked me, because it turned Paradise Lost upside-down and made "God", or "the Authority" the bad guy, but then, I couldn't tell, and the protagonists couldn't tell who was "good" or "evil" for most of the books. These books contained some of the richest and most complex characters I'd come across in years.

Other good things include: really exciting fights, a great quest story, gay(!) angels, Mrs. Coulter (one of the best-written female characters, who you can never figure out), interesting world-building, and the religious stuff is very, very convincing.

The books are aimed at a young adult audience, and it makes me wonder whether the kids will *get it*, or have everything fly over their heads. I actually read the Chronicles of Narnia a while back, and really liked it, but I don't think I love it. The last book - I wish I could pretend didn't exist, because why am I supposed to feel glad that they all died?

Anyway, I'll try to find some stuff tomorrow to link to; it's time to sleep for me.
toastykitten: (Default)
The Christian-guy-living-as-a-Muslim episode terrified me and made me not want to leave California. I do not want to know that people are that fucking ignorant, and dumb enough to ask, "Have you observed any terrorist activity?" Also, dumbass radio host - Muslim is not a synonym for Arab, nor is it necessary for you to coddle dumb callers in that NPR voice by pretending they are legitimate questions.

Really, this episode broke my heart. I wish it had been two hours, and then we could have had more time to discuss David's struggle between the two religions, an explanation of why Islam is not the same thing as Arab and more on the Pakistani culture, the difference between condemning an act and apologizing for it, why no one in that entire hour seemed to understand that the Muslims ARE Americans, why certain people commit terrorist acts, etc. It frustrated me that as soon as the conversations went somewhere, we would move on to the next day.

According to a poster on the TwoP Forums:

Here's what I found sad: I could tell by the landmarks that that scene was actually shot in Brighton, where I grew up. I recognized the Asian man as one of my childhood Sunday School teachers. I happen to know that he was in an internment camp during WWII because he is Japanese-American. I was primed for him, of all people, to be the voice of reason against race-based discrimination. But no, you saw what he said.

Yeah - I'm disappointed, but not surprised. I've had to grow up with some ignorance (I remember people trying to "educate" me on why Rodney King had it coming to him) in my life, but wow. These people scare me. David, I liked up to a point. He gets stupid and obnoxious sometimes without realizing the things he's saying and implying, but overall I liked him. I liked that he went out on his own and tried to learn Arabic. I loved the family he stayed with; they were so devoted to their family and so damn American.
Jun. 28th, 2005 07:57 pm

30 Days

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I was listening to NPR today - did Rumsfeld actually say what I think he said? Because that was basically an admission of failure.

Ordering Chinese food.

My favorite new TV show now is 30 Days, produced and hosted by Morgan Spurlock, the happy-go-lucky dude who did Supersize Me. Supersize Me was, in Spurlock's own words, "a really great bad idea" in which he decided to experiment on himself and eat McDonald's food 30 days in a row. He's been compared to Michael Moore, favorably and unfavorably, but I think he's a lot more fun. He takes so much obvious joy in what he does - it's like he lucked out into the best job in the world and is wickedly gleeful about it, like a little boy running around after being told he can have all the video games he wants.

30 Days is about taking random people and placing them in other people's shoes for 30 Days. It's like they created a show just for me! Originally Spurlock wanted to do all the experiments himself, but his girlfriend told him he wouldn't "have a girlfriend for long" if he did that. Which is just as well. He and the girlfriend did do one episode - the opening, where the two attempt to live only on minimum wage for a month.

I think everyone needs to see this episode. It is so great, and sad, and brought back so many memories. All I could think was, I am so glad I'm not poor anymore.

One of the things that they brought up was the fact that during this time, they were basically living from check to check. They didn't have any money for anything, including the unexpected health care issues.

While I was watching, I couldn't help thinking that they weren't strategizing very well. They go to a dollar theater, but then Morgan stocks up on a bunch of snacks that cost as much as at a regular theater. I was like, fool, sneak the food in! This sparked a fight between the couple that was pretty familiar-the money fight. (Parents don't necessarily want to have this fight in front of the kids, but they're so tired and stressed and cranky that they do it anyway.) I cringed as I watched the vegan chef girlfriend chop up some broccoli and totally throw most of it out.

I cannot wait for next week's episode, where a hardcore Christian guy has to live with the Muslim family for a month. From the preview:

Christian guy walks away, waving his hand.
Muslim guy: "Did he just flip me off?"
Muslim girl: "No, he did like this. That was the peace sign, dude."

For some reason, that just totally cracked me up.

Alton Brown has a new show! Feasting on Asphalt follows Alton Brown as he tries road food on Route 66, traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles. Dammit, I want his jobs. I want to get paid to eat and travel.
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