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Apr. 9th, 2009 06:53 am


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I am kind of ambivalent about spoilers. Just so you're forewarned, this post is full of them and THERE ARE NO CUTS.

Sometimes I will go out of my way to avoid spoilers for certain shows I like. Unfortunately, I love the Internet, and the Internet loves all my favorite shows. I accept that one of the hazards of going on the Internet is finding out information about media I haven't consumed yet, even if I don't go out of my way looking for it. This is how I got spoiled for Sarah Connor even though I haven't watched the last two episodes.

So Kal Penn is taking a job with the Obama administration. Congratulations to him! But! He left the TV show House in a pretty spectacular way, by killing himself. NPR reported on this without including a spoiler alert, and they got earfuls from angry listeners who'd recorded the episode on their TiVo but hadn't watched it yet.

To which my reaction is, what fucking babies!

I wonder, how many of these people ever bothered to complain about anything else on NPR? The economy's going to pieces. Global warming is real. We have a black president now just finishing up his first European tour. Republicans are the minority now. Still assholes.

But I guess none of that compares to people's entitlement NOT to know something about a show.

The whole focus on spoilers bugs me because at some point in order to talk about a show, a book, or a movie in any significant way, you have to discuss what's actually in said media. Spoilers ruin plot points in the story but without that particular plot point the story does not exist.

It makes me want to go and buy that T-shirt with all the spoilers on it:

He's the DEAD person!
Luke is the father.
Romeo and Juliet die.
Mar. 25th, 2009 06:58 am


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We sort of gave up watching after the second or third episode.

For a Joss Whedon product, it was surprisingly boring. I couldn't stand the ads which had Eliza Dushku all naked fading into lines of code or whatever it was. The Helo plot, though pretty, was beyond stupid and felt like somebody decided to mash all TV stereotypes of detectives together.

And then now I hear that it's the sixth or seventh episode where the good stuff is.

I'm sorry: it shouldn't take six episodes to get good. 30 Rock was a laugh riot from the first episode. Battlestar Galactica intrigued from the beginning. And Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, while not having a strong few episodes, was at the very least, compelling. (And so far, remains brilliant.)
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At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World, a short film by David Cronenberg in which he stars as the last Jew about to commit suicide while two Fox-ish commentators watch and talk about it like it's a sports event. It's a very interesting short, and there's some commentary from the director himself, who says he normally doesn't identify as Jewish.

Via GreenCine, the other Netflix.

We finished Transgeneration, and I wish there were more! Definitely get it if you can find it. There's supposed to be a reunion episode, but I couldn't find it.

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Just watched the first episode of a multi-part documentary on four trans college students. So far, it's really good.

It's a very diverse mix of kids they followed, and the differences in their openness, sense of confidence, and abilities to be honest were very different.

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Just read:

Roger Ebert's I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie - I adore Ebert, but I really do not need him to tell me what he finds erotic. There's a reason why MOST movie critics don't talk about it, Ebert. Anyway, overall, the book was really funny, and mostly well-written. He gets so hung up on logic sometimes, though, that I think he forgets to actually talk about the movie. Who cares what the alien bugs do or don't eat?

Marc Romano's Crossworld: One Man's Journey into America's Crossword Obsession. This book is not about all crosswords, but about one reporter's attendance of a crossword tournament run by Will Shortz, the guy who edits the New York Times puzzles. This is a fluffy and dorky book. I finished it over two train rides, and thought it was okay but not great. At least I found out why I couldn't finish any of the crossword puzzles in one particular book I bought my last year of college. It was probably edited by Eugene Maleska, who was apparently this puzzle editor who didn't like people putting in clues that are relevant after 1960.

Independent Publishing Deathwatch:
My magazine holders are starting to hold a lot of dead magazines. I have the following: Budget Living, Kitchen Sink, Arthur Frommer's Smart Shopping, and now Punk Planet. However, not everything is dead. I would totally subscribe to Monocle, if only it weren't so damn expensive.

Just watched:

John From Cincinnati - I didn't like this first episode much at all; this whole "mysterious stranger changes the lives of a family" felt like it was just trying way too hard to be weird and mysterious. I wasn't buying it.

Top Chef - The first episode seemed promising. I hated Hung, the guy who's friends with Marcel from Season 2. I know they're angling that guy as "person you love to hate", but I just hate him not only for being smug, but for trying too hard to be smug.

Mark playing Nintendo games. So I guess the patents on the games expired? He bought this console thingamajig and bought some games like Zelda to return to his childhood. He has a PS2 and he hasn't touched that in 2 years. But he brought this home last night and it's like he can't stop. It's so cute.

Virtual China's blog post on child slave labor in China.
Global Voices post on slave labor in Shanxi.
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I am in a writing mood right now, plus I don't have to go to work today.


Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Fifth Book of Peace" - Half fiction, half memoir, this is about Kingston's struggle to find a way out of war and to bring peace to everyone. The book is divided into four sections - Fire, Water, Paper, Earth. Fire is about the Oakland hills fire that destroyed her home right after her father's funeral. Water is a fictionalized account of her time in Hawaii using a character from one of her previous books, Wittman Ah Sing, during the Vietnam war. Wittman is a war resister who evades the draft by flying to Hawaii with his white wife and their mixed-race son, where they meet all sorts of people and encounter the idea of "Sanctuary". I forget where Paper and Earth split off, but these chapters are about the years after the Oakland fire, where Kingston gathers a group of war veterans, mostly from Vietnam, but from Korea and WWII, too to start a writing workshop, so they can write their way out of their pain. I admit, I disliked the Water chapter the most for somewhat irrational reasons. The entire book is well-written; it's just that I prefer reading about Kingston's actual experiences as opposed to her fiction, which seems to me to be thinly veiled autobiography anyway. She mentions that she started the writing workshop for veterans as partly as a way to help her brothers cope with the trauma of war, but they don't come. (It makes me wonder how her brothers felt, fighting in the Vietnam war.) This book was published in 2004, but the workshop had been going on since the original Iraq war. Overall the book is good, but you have to have patience with the way the narrative jumps all over the place, and also when Kingston seems to drop in weird non-sequiturs and then never addresses them again. The workshop's writing has turned into the new book Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. Excerpts can be read at Bill Moyers Journal website.

I still think from what I've read so far of her writing, that Woman Warrior was her best work. Interestingly, in this book she clarifies what actually happened with her parents when they immigrated here. She felt safe finally telling their stories for real now that they were dead and can't be deported.


Top Chef 4 Star All Stars: Top Chef is one of those Project Runway spin-offs that was actually successful. This episode was a one-off before the start of Season 3, and pitted Season 1 against Season 2. It was so funny that the arrogant pricks from each season ended up being the team captains and basically went head-to-head against each other. I do have to say, I liked Stephen a lot more this time around.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: There's been some discussion online-the powers-that-be at HBO decided to center the story on a part-white Sioux doctor who marries a white woman, neither of whom actually appear in the work this was based on because "Everyone felt very strongly that we needed a white character or a part-white, part-Indian character to carry a contemporary white audience through this project," Daniel Giat, the writer who adapted the book for HBO Films, told a group of television writers earlier this year. I didn't really read all this stuff going in, but dude, this guy thinks only white people watch HBO? And that white people care only about watching other white people? Talk about low expectations.

I should preface this by saying that I know literally nothing about the Sioux or most Native Americans and their stories. Anyway, although I liked the actor who played Charles Eastman, because he reminded me of a young Chow-Yun-Fat, I thought his story fell kind of flat. There was decent acting in those scenes, but if his entire purpose was to connect the viewer with the rest of the Sioux who were forced from their land, it didn't really work. The story overall was very affecting, and really depressing. I didn't think the film itself, as a stand-alone product was that bad, and it made me want to find out more about the Sioux. Obviously, though, I know nothing about what actually happened or I would be more pissed off, probably. I would argue, though that we didn't get to see enough of the Sioux, and saw too much of the American government.

Pam Noles' post about Bury My Heart.

Statement by Hanay Geiogamah, Professor of Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Director, UCLA American Indian Studies Center - he had some serious issues with it.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the book.

John Tucker Must Die - Teen movie fluff. It was enjoyable and not deep at all, even though we are informed that the main character likes Elvis Costello and Dave Eggers. Introduced me to the stereotype of "vegan is code for slut". When did that happen?
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I just found out that Amazon has an entire section devoted to Hong Kong Category III films.

Lost Mitten's Etsy Shop full of Nintendo crafty stuff is awesome.

HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux - I especially like 3.3 - Don't Call Women Bitches. You would think that's obvious, but apparently not.

I've been completely riveted by the story of the fake Stanford student that was just discovered. I wonder what's going to happen to her now.

Immigrants from China, India and the Philippines in particular must wait longer than most other immigrants to bring in family members because their countrymen have tended to fill the annual immigration quotas for their countries more quickly than immigrants from other countries.
- Okay, this explains why my family had to wait so goddamn long to bring my aunts and uncles over. The rest of the article is an informative if depressing read about why the new proposed immigration bill will really, really suck for Asian immigrants and their families. *sigh*

A cat shooting game.

Maxine Hong Kingston was on the latest guest on the Bill Moyers Journal. They talked about her writing and meditation workshops for veterans of war. Some of the writing has been collected into a book called Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. I thought it was a very touching episode, and it was interesting to hear her talk. I didn't realize how old she was - she mentioned growing up during World War II and watching relatives in uniform go off to war. It hit me - she's about or as old as my dad, then. How strange.
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Halloumi, the grillable cheese. It's yummy, especially grilled. It's too salty by itself, but Mark tells me you generally eat it with other stuff anyway, like with tomato and pita bread, which soaks up some of the saltiness.

I am still sick and was diagnosed with bronchitis. Yuck. Anyway, I hate our health care system, but what else is new?

I have been busy sleeping and watching tv and re-reading Bloom County, which despite its goodness really, really depresses me based on its all-too-familiar relevance. I mean, the last cartoons I just read were going on about Falwell and homophobia! (Did we even get anywhere?)

Anyway, this is what I have been watching these past few days:

Rome, Season Two: HBO rules. Sex, violence, corruption, and the Republic! What's not to love? The writers take a lot of freedom with historical accuracy, but the important points - Caesar's death, Octavian's rise are all done pretty well.

Heroes, episode before the finale: Ando better not die. That is all. I find Jessica/Niki's split personality plot too stupid for words, and if Tim Kring says that her superpower is being "superstrong", why not just let her be superstrong without being crazy? That would make so much more sense than the stupid changes in personality.

Bill Moyers Journal: Everyone's probably forgotten about the "Buying the War" episode by now, but the ones after it are also equally good, if not better than the first episode. This last one I watched interviewed a female black Princeton professor about race, in which she also pointedly made the case that she can converse on other topics besides race, a gay Christian man who goes to Europe only to be confronted with Islamic fundamentalism (I didn't like this segment that much because I think his assumptions were flawed), and an interview with Harpers' magazine president on the Free Trade agreement.
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Disclosure: this site is started by a friend of mine and Mark's. I've been exploring it for the past half-hour, and it is neater than I thought it would be. Sidereel is a user-generated search site for media in general. Think Wikipedia but for stuff like TV and viral videos, and without the edit wars (at least so far). What differentiates it from Wikipedia is that you can actually link to the media itself on the page. For example, let's say you missed Scrubs the night before, and you know that NBC has the episodes on iTunes for free. You can link to the video on the Scrubs page. There's not much content there yet, but it's pretty easy to create new pages - I just created one for Great Teacher Onizuka, one of my favorite Japanese TV dramas. You don't need an account to edit anything (they should really make that clearer), but you can get one if you want.

Also, you know I'm totally going to be responsible for adding various Japanese and Chinese content. Just because everyone else has stuff like Serenity and Heroes covered.
May. 13th, 2007 09:27 am


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Crunchy Roll - full length episodes of various Asian (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) TV shows. Some subtitled, some not. Works are streaming; I think you have to donate to download episodes. Also, you have to be a member to actually view. Hmm. DotSub - tool for subtitling stuff.

William Blake archive. Video short (warning: .mov file) based on Blake's The Tyger that is pretty neat. I linked to the .mov instead of the actual site because the way the site is set up pisses me off. I mean, really, did all the arty website designers just forget about the rule about keeping it simple? I know, I know, they don't want anyone to steal their work. Except they are offering shorts for download. *sigh*
May. 8th, 2007 08:08 am


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My favorite quote from last night's episode: "The universe cannot be that lame."
toastykitten: (Default)
You know what would be awesome? Maybe when they fix the Maze, it will no longer be a MAZE.

Did Heroes just turn into an episode of Dragonball Z?

Stat I just learned: San Francisco has the highest number of people aged 100 and over - about 60 of them. I think one of them is my aunt.
Apr. 25th, 2007 11:30 am


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Am home sick today, but I can't sleep, so I give you links!

  • Latest issue of Jump Cut - this month's theme is China and China diaspora film. I have not read this yet, but it seems interesting, and an academic dissection of Kung Fu Hustle sounds like fun.
  • GreenCine interview with the stars of Hot Fuzz. I can't wait to see this movie.
  • Mike Daisey talks to the guy who dumped water on his notes. I really admire Mike Daisey's approach to how he handled this. Plus his act was really funny and it's stupid that he got so rudely interrupted like that.
  • I usually like 60 Minutes, and I'll even concede Anderson Cooper can be pretty. But I hated his "Stop Snitching" segment, in which he blames hip hop for being the cause of black people not talking to police. I mean, really, it wasn't maybe Rodney King or Amadou Diallo? Or even just the collective and justified distrust of police that police have done nothing to mitigate? Hip hop is not just Cam'ron, okay? I wouldn't talk to the police, either, unless I absolutely had to. I have no street cred to protect, but where I come from I've yet to see the police live up to their actual job descriptions. It was overall just lazy, lazy journalism. I'd go on but I think I would explode.
Jan. 22nd, 2006 05:48 pm


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Anyone for a Firefly Season 2?

Is it worth paying $117 for one of these hobo bags? For some reason, I just really want one right now, and everything I've seen in regular department stores is too big, too small, gaudy, ugly, and expensive. (And my $6 cute flower purse is deteriorating.) So far, these fit my criteria - simple, but not plain, and will carry my wallet, phone, and maybe my journal. Except for the price part - I was hoping I could spend less than $50.

I got a longish email from Mark today because I sent him a link to some Battlestar Galactica commentary. You have no idea how much this surprised me, because normally, when I send him links or random emails, he doesn't respond; we just talk about it in person later. Anyway, he tells me that Battlestar Galactica is among one of the best science fiction shows today so go WATCH IT NOW! I added that last bit.

This weekend, people are coming to me with relationship problems. I think it's a sign that people are getting anxious about Valentine's Day. As Shakespeare wrote, "The course of true love never did run smooth."

2005 seemed to be the year of angry, violent sex in Hollywood. The first sex scene in Brokeback Mountain was really disorienting. I almost didn't buy it. Other places with Angry Sex - Mr. and Mrs. Smith, A History of Violence, and last week's Scrubs in which Turk declares, "Angry sex is awesome!" What's up with that? And yes, I know it's only 3 movies I mention out of like, 100, but I still think it's weird.
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I watched Brokeback Mountain last night, and surprisingly, I didn't cry. I think I was distracted by all the hype (even though I don't think it was undeserved) and I kept waiting for certain moments that I got impatient and underwhelmed when they did arrive. Heath Ledger was excellent. A lot of it reminded me of what Ang Lee tried to do in Hulk, in using quiet space to enhance the emotional aspects of particular scenes - but that doesn't work in a comic book world.

Also, the love scenes were totally worth the price of admission.

Project Runway 2 - Daniel V. and Andrae win the Banana Republic challenge, with a dress I could see myself wearing. However, knowing Banana Republic, they will charge $250 for it when it probably only costs $45 to produce, if that. (It will eventually go on sale.) Santino insults the people who are judging his work, and finds himself on the same chopping block as Diana and Marla. How many eye-rolls did you count? I won't miss Marla, but I liked Diana, nerd-girl, and I think she was probably just way too young for the show and in over her head.

For once, the Asians on reality show have not embarrassed me in any way. How is that possible? Chloe's outfit was actually interesting this time, but I hated the fabric she chose for the reversible jacket. And how cute is it whenever she talks about how she's trying to make the cheap fabric look expensive? The girl has seven sisters (ha! she beat my family); she knows how to be resourceful. And because I would totally do that.

Scrubs - my favorite fucking sitcom ever has returned, and there are two episodes each week. Yay! It seems like they went all out this season, as we have a Bruce Lee parody scene where surgeons wear their masks like ninjas with Kung Fu Fighting as the soundtrack. I was laughing my ass off, as they nailed all the cliches perfectly. This is my second favorite episode after the one with Brendan Fraser.

Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen - I've been reading this on the train ride to and from work, and it's pissing me off that it took me an entire week to finish this book. Mostly because I expect that short a novel to only take me a day or two to finish. Anyway, I really liked this book, but wow, did I hate the protagonist, Fanny Price, that I was supposed to be rooting for.

Fanny Price has no faults, other than being too gentle. She's moral and easily fatigued and has a lot of passion that is apparent to everyone and that's what they fall in love with - the fact that she feels things exquisitely and she's so damn moral. She's a total Mary Sue and I generally expect better from Austen. Fanny Price gets what she wants in the end, but not because of any real action on her part - it's mostly because everyone else flames out spectacularly that changes other people's mind about Fanny. If we are to believe that Fanny is such a perfect person, then the guy she does wind up with doesn't even really deserve her, as he's a dumbass. Upright, moral, but still a dumbass easily fooled by flirting.

I loved Mary Crawford's character, as she is everything that Fanny Price is not. She becomes a two-dimensional caricature at the end, but for most of the novel, she's charming, manipulative, smart, perceptive, and calculating. She seems to be genuinely nice to Fanny, and thus have a trace of humanity within her, and to care for her suitor, but have a difficult time deciding whether her love or her quest for comfort comes first.

Next up for reading is Sense and Sensibility, which, incidentally, is another Ang Lee movie. Hmm. I think Ang Lee needs to do more Chinese movies. I miss them.

This review of A Million Little Pieces, stolen from Long Story, Short Pier sums up my thoughts on Frey exactly and saves me the trouble of actually reading the damn book:

Frey sums up his entire life in one sentence from p. 351 of this 382-page memoir: "I took money from my parents and I spent it on drugs." Given the simplicity and familiarity of the story, you might wonder what Frey does in the other 381 pages. The story itself is simple: he goes through rehab at an expensive private clinic, with his parents footing the bill. That's it. 400 pages of hanging around a rehab clinic.


There they are, the most childish dreams of every little rich white boy: being down with the brothers and the Mafia. The tough guys. The Jazzmen. Having friends with connections in those two equally artificial cities, Vegas and New Orleans.

There, now you know why he couldn't get his book sold as fiction.
toastykitten: (Default)
I have to go to the dentist in a few minutes. Having to use money for essentials hurts.

I caught up on Project Runway last night. During the first season, I didn't really get why everyone was so picky about their models - I mean, all they had to do was look pretty and walk down a runway for about 30 seconds. How could you possibly fuck up walking?

Then Season 2 happened. Last season's models had personalities in addition to their walks; this season, they all seem sedated. I can't tell you which ones made an impression on me or who I liked, because I didn't really see anyone that was that special. And several of them made the designers' clothes look worse, especially Marla's model. Marla already had a bad design, but her model did it no favors.

Anyway, I think Daniel V. was robbed. The dress he made with the sixties-ish print was beautiful. It gave his model an hour-glass figure. Santino shouldn't be so smug about winning the challenges, because Jay won exactly 0 challenges and went on to win the entire competition. There's no versatality to his "vision", and his one trick seems to be to find a beautiful fabric and throw shit at it until it sticks. Nick's dress was far more gorgeous and flattering than his was.

Chloe's dress was boring.

Funny highlights:

Nicky Hilton: "My standards are high and my taste is exquisite." Ha!

Chloe, to Diana: "That looks like something Stevie Nicks would wear."
Diana: "Who's Stevie Nick?"

Lupe, to Tim Gunn: "It looks like crap."
Tim: "I'm not going to debate that."
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Tivo's most recent experiment with downloads came in the form of a short documentary called "Red Trousers", about the lives of Hong Kong stuntmen. We watched it last night, and I had mixed feelings about it. (Not about the download service - that's awesome.) The documentary, when it focused on the stuntmen themselves, and their stories, was really interesting and engaging, and made you want to see more. The short film that was spliced into it, called "Lost Time", was terrible. As soon as I saw the opening scene, I yelled "Matrix rip off!" Later I realized that it was actually a Black Mask rip off. They did several stunts for the movie, which would have been cool if only they had turned the lights on. I will forgive bad plots and bad acting if it has beautiful stunts, but only if I can see it! Sheesh, people. We couldn't see any of the dangerous stunt work that took several takes because for most of the short film, it was pitch black.

Anyway, I also wished they could have interviewed Michelle Yeoh and Jackie Chan about their stunts, especially for Supercop 3, which features my favorite stunts - Michelle rides a motorcycle onto a moving train, Jackie fights on the movie train, etc. I love Sammo Hung, though, and I loved it when he was bitching about how you "can't touch anyone in America". I know one of the biggest complaints stuntpeople have about working in America is that you generally can't make contact when you shoot fight sequences, which makes it kind of hard to make the shots realistic. Also, you need a permit for everything.

Does anyone remember Martial Law, the terrible TV series that featured Sammo Hung, Arsenio Hall, and Kelly Hu? No? Just me? I used to watch it all the time, and they would feature bloopers in the endings like they do for Jackie Chan movies. I was so disappointed when I saw a guy in a fat suit doing one of Hung's stunts.

The kids at the Beijing opera school made me cry. Dude, can a Chinese person's life ever be about anything besides repaying their parents? I think that's why our parents over here are so disappointed in us - whatever we do, we've never repaid them enough. (Unless we become doctors, lawyers, or engineers. Or marry one.)

There were two movie trailers before the main show started, both featuring the great Anthony Wong or Wong Chau Sang. He's (in)famous for his portrayals of crazy people. My sisters call him the Pervert. I think he's probably one of the best actors in Hong Kong today. The movie I want to see is Initial D, a Hong Kong live-action version of a terribly drawn anime with a one-dimensional plot. It's about drifting, or making your car move sideways in a way it's not supposed to. I don't really get it, but it has cars! Brooding boys!

ETA: I, for once, have no complaints about the subtitles. The translation is pretty decent.
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So we didn't actually end up at H&M. Jess got there first and it turns out there was a two-hour wait to just get into the store. We ended up shopping in Macy's and Urban Outfitters instead. And my shopping urge is still not quenched. Grr. Later we found out from a more fashion-informed friend that there will be a third H&M opening right next to the H&M on Powell, and one in Sun Valley Mall, so Jess, you won't have to BART over to SF for that!

This is my stash: A pair of pants and and a shirt from Macy's. I think I should just get a Macy's card, so I can get the coupons and additional discounts. If anyone needs cookware, their pots and pans are 40% off the lowest price right now. Tim Biskup and Pete Fowler coasters for 2 bucks each for a set of four, and the Lewis Black book, hardcover, for $5 from Urban Outfitters. The set of coasters I really want, though, is the Junko Mizuno ones, which I haven't been able to find anywhere. I love the Urban Outfitters sale section. There's always some good stuff there amidst all the junk.

Later Mark and I watched a movie with some friends. It was called Exit to Eden, and is based on an Anne Rice novel, stars Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd. That is all you need to know. Anyway, it's funny, and weirdly dated. Mark mentioned that all the women had "eighties' asses". Ok, I'd never heard of that, so I asked him what that was. He said, "Long, flat asses." Apparently asses come and go in style - the trend right now is "bubble butts". What I don't understand is how one would be able to shape an ass into a particular style. Maybe women did different workouts back then?

Spelling errors are my pet peeve, especially glaring ones that any educated adult should be able to catch. I caught a few this weekend:

TiVo's new download service (for series2 owners) includes CNet's reviews of current gadgets. (Let's just say CNet editors are not necessarily TV people.) In this segment, someone held up a sign that misspelled "capacity". Seriously, shouldn't someone have caught that?

In Firefly, on the last disc, there are a few really sweet special features. On one of them, they talk about Serenity, the ship, and its role as its own character. Someone holds up a blueprint of the ship, and on it, the dining room was misspelled as the "dinning room". Apparently in the future, we no longer dine, we din.
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