Monday, December 10, 2007

Lost Articles

I've been asking around to see if anyone knew the name of or had a link to the research article that showed that the personal interview is a poor hiring mechanism (and typically does worse than simply looking at resume, references, and so on). Brian Leiter mentioned it a while back, but neither he nor Frank Arntzenius (who originally pointed it out to me) remember the name or where to find it -- but Prof Leiter did note that it was a psych article.

Given the psych angle, I figured I'd ask Gary, but seeing my limited success I thought maybe better just to throw the question out there in a desperate attempt. Can anyone help?

Also, I'd read a few months ago an article online, probably via some new service, citing a study that said that, on average, 20% of any organization's resources are wasted on ego-projects for the CEO. If anyone else remembers that article and has a link or some help to find it that'd be great. My Google-fu is weak.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Thanksgiving trip reveals why DVD sales are down

The Hollywood Reporter has an article about declining DVD sales this year and my trip last week to visit my folks offers an explanation I think.

Selling a home in Los Angeles and moving pretty much anywhere else (in their case an island near Tacoma, WA) means you move up one income class -- middle class becomes upper middle class.

That means they had a nice hi-def big screen TV to go with their house. Being the Pacific Northwest, we had plenty of excuse to sit inside and watch television. And hi-def does look sweet. I just couldn't bring myself to watch any of the non-hi-def programs on those lesser cable stations while I was there.

We also wanted to rent a few movies -- but they didn't have a hi-def DVD player yet, so we stuck mostly to the hi-def movies-on-demand offered by the cable company. It cost a bit more than a rental, but the panoramic views of mountains and rivers looked sparkling.

They were also just about to purchase Live Free or Die Hard -- because that's the kind of movie you'd like to test your nifty new hi-def TV on.

But here's why DVD sales are down. They'd need to get a new DVD player for that -- and they were more than willing to pay for one -- but which one? I was suggesting HD since it seemed that the big Wal-Mart $99 sale might mark a turning point -- but that's a bit of a gamble. And later, it occured to me that Live Free or Die Hard might not even be on HD (which I think it isn't -- only Blu-ray). That would really suck, buying a hi-def DVD player and having about half the new releases not even be available for it -- then having maybe a 50% chance two years from now of having bet wrong, and there being no new releases for it.

So, unless you want to throw away cash on two high-end DVD players, you don't buy any. And even people who can afford to do so won't simply out of principle.

Then you think of buying the plain old DVD and watching Bruce kick ass. But you've seen the promised land; you're ruined for the old stuff. So you catch a rental of hi-def on-demand when it comes around -

- and don't buy any DVDs at all, since you know you're just going to want the HD version when there's finally a standard. I don't even have an HD TV and I'm not going to buy any more DVDs because I too have seen the promised land.

Thus, DVD rentals doing well, maybe even up, and DVD sales tanking.

And Wal-Mart knows this. They're seeing this vast sum of HD DVD money being left on the table this holiday season because there's no standard -- that's why they're trying to force a standard by selling HD players at cost.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The WGA Strike and Me

The news is erratic about reporting this sort of thing (especially if you're outside of Los Angeles), but if you didn't know, there's a significant Writer's Guild strike going on.

Directly, this doesn't impact me. I'm not yet a member of the WGA and the people I work with aren't part of the struck companies list.

Indirectly the primary impact will be that I'll likely get better deals in the future, should I make it into the WGA at some time. Also--and I think this is a big thing--even those of us not yet working in the big leagues get trickle down sort of benefits. The standards that the WGA establishes are often used as the negotiating basis for my contracts.

As such, while I support the WGA, I also don't want to be "rah-rah, strike forever" since I'm not the one suffering the consequences.

Ideally this gets resolved quickly in a way that'll not only satisfy the WGA membership, but also the Screen Actors Guild membership (who are even more reliant on the strike's key issue, residuals, and thus will also feel forced to go out on strike if a satisfactory result isn't achieved). A quick solution is particularly desirable because, I think unlike most strikes, when the WGA or SAG goes out, they take out a whole bunch of other people's jobs too. Much of that film and TV production has to close down. But, of course, the guilds also can't let the studios hold all these other people hostage as a negotiating point.

Anyway, the little film I wrote on assignment over the summer started production last week and will finish production over the course of next week. I think there will be an official announcement after shooting wraps so I'll wait until then to post more.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Doesn't Share Our Values

It looks like local elections are coming up tomorrow because tonight's TV is riddled with campaign ads.

Specifically, a barrage of campaign ads informing me how foul all the candidates are. Sometimes the ads even inform me how bad the opposing candidate is because of how the opposing candidate uses nasty negative advertising. It's like a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

One of the key ways of blasting an opponent is to say that he doesn't "share our Virginia values." This is contrasted with the shining example of the advertised candidate, who is either a church deacon or a Sunday School teacher.

As an indicator of our primary demographic, all ads spend a great deal of time talking about either doing more for senior citizens, or how the opponent ignores or sells out senior citizens.

Another frequent campaign tactic is to accuse one's opponent of being soft on immigration. These are all rural Virginia positions and so their policies only impact rural Virginia -- which must have some hidden cache of illegal immigrants. Maybe someone can point me toward these mystery Mexicans so I can get some decent enchiladas. Even the local Taco Bell (50% of Lexington's Mexican cuisine) tones down its Enchirito sauce from mild to special-honkey-ultra-mild.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Virginia's Upside

About 17 miles west up the kind of curvy, pastoral road that you normally only see in car commercials, the highway runs up against the Maury River then tracks it for several more miles through Goshen Pass. Up top, that's the river cutting cliffs through the Allegheny Mountains.

Near the end of the pass you turn right down a narrow gravel road and come to a hanging footbridge of the sort that wouldn't make for a very good movie scene. The suspension "ropes" aren't fraying and aren't even ropes -- but instead thick metal cables. And none of the boards were rotting through!

The afternoon sun gave us some nice lighting -- like the above cliff face. We probably got there about one week too late to get the really nice colors. I suspect it gets colder up in the hills so the trees turn a little earlier.

Many more photos at our gallery.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Research for Screenwriting is More Fun Than Research for Philosophy

While researching training different sorts of animals I came across the following quote, commenting on why one normally trains hens instead of roosters to play tic-tac-toe:

"Roosters have only one thing on their mind," he explains, "and it's not playing tic-tac-toe." -- Bunky Boger

Thursday, October 04, 2007


When working on a micro-budget film all sorts of things that you probably wouldn't think about suddenly become issues.

For instance, the director is having fits looking at his lighting budget -- so we're only going to have one night exterior shot.

Minimizing the number of locations is the other magic component. And I think it really is magic. My 1-3 location screenplays have all done really well. Moreover, I look at theatrical releases and notice how even larger budget ones often have a single location (Saw, 1408, Vacancy, The Messengers).

One thing that has happened for me is that someone will look at one of my scripts, realize that they could make it for a very small budget (like 500k) or a larger budget, and then they pick it up. They figure they can always try to get it made at the higher end, and if that doesn't pan out they'll still have a filmable movie at the lower end. And this is how you get sort of "back into" these higher budgets -- your script now has the connections to get read at richer places and those places figure a couple million is a safe bet on this little feature, so it gets the bump up. Whereas your other scripts that could only be made at 2 million or more so they don't get that start.

One other bit to make the recent graduates applying for those tenure track jobs that also have 100 other recent grads applying for them feel better. The casting director says that they've already got 4000 submissions for our tiny movie!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Sister the Star

Vanessa gets coverage on the local news in L.A. -- she's the CSI dusting the door for fingerprints about halfway through the clip -- unfortunately, not Youtube so I can't embed the video.

CSI: Fullerton Strikes Again

Monday, September 24, 2007


I went through all my old photos and digitized them over the weekend. This way I now have digital copies on hard drive and uploaded to the internet via the very convenient Picasa.

This also makes it easy for friends to go and download any copies of photos that interest them. I've got lots of photos from around 1999 --

The above and others are at my Rutgers 99 Album.

And I have a smaller collection of photos of my Los Angeles friends. Hate to say it folks, but Glendale High School was a hell of a lot more diverse than Rutgers Philosophy.

Most of the photos are made public, so if you want to look at any of the other galleries, feel free.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wizards Who Specialize in Philosophy of Mind Conjure...

My guess is that strangething already knows about this, but the rest of the D&D folk might like to check out this bag of tricks of Stupid D&D Monsters (via ENWorld). I particularly liked the Room of Death further down the page.

See also the rabbit-duck.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Simpsons Movie Collateral Benefits

The hope I held out in my earlier post about The Simpsons Movie has come true -- our local CW affiliate is now running syndicated Simpsons episodes at 10 on weeknights. Not quite the 2 hours of Simpsons we used to get in New Jersey, but better than 30 minutes a week.

The director told me that November 3 will be the start date for shooting on our little G-rated D2DVD picture. I'll visit L.A. for a couple days while they're shooting, to meet the various people involved and see what's up.

This one looks pretty locked in, unlike the continuing death throes of The Sound. Marvista, the company financing the film, would like shooting to start immediately, but the director wants to spend a little extra time getting things set up right since extra planning really helps when you're working with a lower budget. Marvista's already talking to him about turning right around and doing a thriller -- so this might work out to be a busy year.

When we get closer or when I'm told it's okay, I'll try to share more info about what kind of story it is, maybe who some of the actors are (anyone remotely famous is in it as a sole result of the director having a lot of friends!), and so on.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Evolution Out of Control

Craggy Air tagged me with a meme -- but he neglected to include the rules of the meme! Memes must have rules upon which natural selection can operate, otherwise the following might occur:

1) I have two eyes.
2) Tom Baker is Craggy Air's favorite Doctor Who.
3) Craggy Air spells favorite "favourite", but I translated so that my American friends would understand.
5) Fnord.
6) If you trace all the way back to the original source of the meme you discover that you are supposed to list seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Slate has an article on the use of exclamation points in email -- a recent email style guide suggests that we be more liberal with their use and proper writing education suggests that we keep them to a minimum.

One thing I noticed once I started actually having Hollywood types communicate with me (instead of just the other way around), was how enthusiastic they were. Everything's always great and terrific -- or GREAT and TERRIFIC!!! Your script is either "not for them" or they LOVE IT!! Even when it needs some work they still love it.

And that enthusiasm starts to infect you. I use more exclamation points than ever in emails nowadays. And I have a concern that if I use my normal method of saying that I thought a script worked well, or a movie was good, that such restrained praise will, relative to Hollywood terms, come off as damning condemnation. They'll be thinking, "damn, this guy hates everything".

That said, I do think it's worthwhile to throw a few more exclamation points in your emails. Not because, as the Slate article suggests --

Like 24-hour cable newscasters, we compensate for the unworthiness of our meanings by being emphatic!

-- that emails are unworthy of being written. But because emails are so often terse little functional things, a simple little "got it" to note that you received a package or "see you there" to say that you will show up at a function. These notes are often needed, and would just blend into a phone conversation, but in an email they can come off as cold and perhaps even hostile (my wife frets terribly when she reads a brief and functional email from a colleague, has she made them angry?!) By adding in a little ! you help clarify that you're enthusiastic, but are just keeping the email brief.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Virginia's Impact on Screenwriting

One of the worst parts about being in Virginia is that the humidity makes the paper swell up just enough so that you have to futz around with a stack to get it into the printer -- then the hot, damp pages that come out of the laser printer curl up into a disorganized mess that requires half an hour of knocking against the table to get straight.

In other bits, my attorney, Gordon Firemark, has a blog where he occasionally posts various entertainment related legal articles.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Death of the Journalist

-- or at least the journalist columnist.

Since the rise of blogging -- and, particularly, the rise of its respectability, so that we get serious scholars and experts willing to blog -- I've become more aware of the paucity of interesting and insightful, or even correct, thinking in official newspaper columns. Here's two recent examples.

Screenwriter Craig Mazin took apart an article criticizing residual payments for screenwriters by columnist Brooks Barnes of the New York Times in his blog. While there are certainly a lot
ways to compensate writers for their work, and there's no reason not to discuss them, the column was simply poorly researched (essentially echoing bullshit studio press releases about how hard they have it, the kind of press releases that say ludicrous things like My Big Fat Greek Wedding didn't turn a profit) and thinking that would've made me groan if I saw it in an undergrad philosophy paper. Obviously, I might be a little biased here, so I'll leave it at that.

Yesterday Slate posted an article regarding the draft, essentially arguing that an all-volunteer army is incapable of maintaining the manpower levels required for extended overseas operations -- thus we either need to institute a draft or (I take it what the author's really trying to get at) get out of Iraq. The problem I habve with this article is that it's filled with the same kind of generic, uninformative and uninteresting pap that so much of mainstream journalism is.

Compare to Freakonomics author Steven Levitt's recent column, now being hosted at the New York Times. This article is full of interesting insights and new ways of looking at the problem, not merely a rehash of ideas that were tired decades ago. I thought this quote from the article was particularly nice:

A draft is essentially a large, very concentrated tax on those who are drafted.

Because it points to a core part of the issue: what the draft does is allow us to not pay our soldiers market value for their labor and the risks they take. If we keep to the all-volunteer army we have to raise salaries, benefits, and moderate the sacrifices our soldiers make. But if we institute a draft, we not only get a bunch of cheap soldiers, but we also can keep the price of our volunteer soldiers lower, since we can simply replace them with what amounts to slave labor.

When I was in the service I got about 15-16 thousand a year after four years (or something close to that). Not terrible and the benefits are nice, but the sacrifices are immense too. Little to no control over where you're stationed and a lot of restrictions on your personal life. I felt that the U.S. Army, and probably other branches, was relying almost wholly on patriotism to get and keep enlisted soldiers. After all, almost all of the guys that you'd most like to keep would easily be able to get out and go into law enforcement, which is compensated much better and lets you live where you want to live.

And that was in peacetime! I can only imagine that this is even more the case now when we've got our troops trying to enforce the peace in a country much better armed and more volatile than L.A., but getting nowhere near the pay of an L.A. cop.

A volunteer army forces us to pay soldiers what they feel is sufficient compensation -- and that puts the tax on us, instead of the guys we're sending in harm's way.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Jaru left on Saturday morning instead of Friday morning so we managed to catch The Simpsons Friday night.

The first thirty minutes of the film was like the D-Day of comedy -- it reminded me of the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan but just replace action with laughter.

After that it got more into plotted comedy instead of rapid-fire random jokes, but I think that's usually necessary for a 90 minute or so film.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Why South Park is better than The Simpsons

The Simpsons Movie is coming out this week and that gives me hope -- hope that it'll finally get back into syndication 2 to 4 episodes per day on various channels like it used to back in Jersey.

After moving to Florida we were dropped to having The Simpsons in syndication on only one channel, and that maybe once per day. As of right now the only Simpsons is what comes on Sunday night -- this despite there being 19 years of Simpsons available, five years of which where we haven't even seen any new episodes.

That's why South Park is better than The Simpsons. I can watch 2 or more episodes of South Park every night.

Moreover, this points to a problem endemic to network TV. If I miss an episode of Lost I've missed it, whereas if I miss an episode of John from Cincinnati I can catch it late on the Pacific Coast feed, or a couple other times during the week. That means that I simply don't watch Lost or Heroes or Battlestar Galactica, and instead studiously avoid all mentions of the programs until they come out on DVD a year later.

Anyway, despite the movie coming out this week, I'll have to wait until late August to see it since part of being married is that you go to see The Simpsons together and Jaru flies to Taiwan this Friday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Our Own Countess Bathory

I noticed that after our cat eats her dry cat food she immediately starts licking herself all over -- i.e. taking a bath.

And I'm thinking that here she has crunchy little bits of IAMS stuck to her tongue and is now working all that kibble into her fur. Who knows, perhaps that's how the hairball care part works.

But it occurred to me that this is evolved behavior, and thus developed long before cats could eat food in convenient kibble form -- that is, they evolved to do this back when they ate live rats, birds, and baby bunnies. And what they'd be bathing in then is the blood of their devoured prey.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rutgers Philosophy Flashbacks

Now that we're living high in Virginia we've got TV again -- including HBO.

Which means I can watch Flight of the Conchords -- a show about a pair of musicians from New Zealand who have a much harder time distinguishing e's from i's than Gary and perform music which I'm not quite sure would qualify as danmusic or not. BTW, HBO has the first epsiode available on the web via its site -- listen carefully for the Australia name check towards the last third.

Then, 90 minutes later, catch a show about surfing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Allegory of the Cave: 2007

via Wonkette -- a commenter responds to CNN pointing out that Ron Paul's strong showing in online polls doesn't seem to be borne out in scientific, real-world polls:

It is only “some kind of joke” if you watch the national media and get your information there. The only real truth is online. Get a clue. --Posted By Michael, Knoxville TN : June 7, 2007 2:15 pm

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Virginia Update

We arrived in Lexington VA just under two weeks ago, and have been getting ourselves arranged. There's this 10-15 year long period of one's life where it seems you move once per year--and grow to loathe it. Eventually your hatred of moving exceeds your hatred of wherever you're currently located, and that makes it your home.

The photo was taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's the most American national park since it is entirely designed around a highway. It's a gorgeous drive, but they've actually got quite a few gorgeous drives around here that don't even need national park level protection.

The theater in town has three screens. So please don't taunt me with the array of films you've seen recently. We just got Delta Farce in this week...

I've got a new advertising slogan: "In the stix? Go NetFlix!"

In addition to the moving, I've been busy for happier reasons too. I've received two screenwriting assignments. They'll both be low budget direct-to-DVD things, but, in addition to getting paid, one of them looks highly likely to go into production at the end of August or in September. Appropriately enough, my first produced film will be a family film, rated G or PG. For this I'm working off the director's outline--so that makes it a little less work and helps, since I've not worked in the genre. This director is also taking one of my others scripts around to try and get it made.

The other assignment is more in my mode, but less certain that it'll get produced.

And I've got to do some re-writes on a recent screenplay--so this'll keep me busy for the summer.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Truth in Labelling

We'll be rolling out for Virginia in a couple of weeks and one thing I look forward to is being close enough to the Atlantic that cod will be a pretty standard fish again.

Living here you get a lot of catfish and some tilapia. The tilapia isn't bad, but the catfish can often have an odor one can taste.

In fact, Jaru informed me that in Taiwan the word for catfish means garbage fish -- and that she was a little surprised that we actually eat the garbage fish here in the States. Frankly, I'm a little surprised too.

Garbage fish is not the only highly accurately named food the Chinese have.

A while back I asked Jaru what the Mandarin word for MSG was, figuring that it was a staple of Chinese food and that they likely haven't been using the chemical term for untold centuries.

Before I continue, I'd like to mention one little anecdote: Jaru came back from eating at a restaurant and she was feeling a little ill -- like her blood pressure was amped. She suspected the restaurant was using MSG. She suspected this because the food tasted too good.

Which brings me back to the Chinese name for MSG -- The Essence (Chi/Soul) of Flavor.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Step 23 -- Spreading the word

via Bruce Cordell's blog:

1. go to
2. click on "maps"
3. click on "get directions"
4. type New York in the first box (the "from" box)
5. type London in the second box (the "to" box) & hit "get
directions" on the same line
6. scroll down to step #23

Here's a direct link to the instructions if you're too lazy to type.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mandatory Confessions

After the recent business with the British Sailors, it seemed to me that a good way to undercut this sort of strategy and help protect your troops in the field would be to simply have a standing, and very public, order that captured troops must agree to sign any confessions and make any statements that their captors require.

By making it official, it stops being about whether or not your soldiers are tough enough to resist, or even whether they were coerced into finally revealing the secret truth, and instead just about them following standard policy.

When a captured soldier is put on TV, the Prime Minister or President can come out and say that they're doing their job -- and that if they'd been ordered to admit to killing Kennedy and making blood sacrifices to Satan, they'd say that too -- because the purpose of the general directive is to get the valuable government property of these soldiers back home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Savior of Small Business

While getting gas at a small, privately owned gas station today I had to go inside and make sure the payment thing was working (because small, privately owned gas stations, or SPOGS, have archaic gas pumps).

The inside had that accumulated clutter you see in SPOGS -- crackers from the last century, linoleum with dark smudges permanently ingrained in it. And one wonders how such a humble place could compete with the gleaming corporate monstrosities, cross-promoted with Dunkin donuts and Taco Bell.

The answer is on the rack next to the checkout -- at least 12 square feet of unrepentant porn. This is not the nice porn that you might mention when you talk about porn, but the nasty porn that you actually think about when you think about porn -- porn that would likely get various appendages chopped off you if carried into most countries.

A friend's family owned a video store for a time, and how did this small place compete with the vast economies of scale that places like Blockbuster could achieve?


Porn is the savior of small business -- the champion of the mom and pop store -- the last bastion holding back the tide of complete corporate takeover.

Monday, March 05, 2007

We're not getting back to nature, we're getting away from people

Jaru has received a tenure track offer from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA -- so we'll be heading there this summer.

As an object demonstration in supply and demand, the salary offered by Washington & Lee is 50% higher than the typical starting salary at colleges in California (such as the state college system), where the cost of living is probably twice as high. One of Jaru's friends was interviewed at a school and the people warned her that she might have a hard time surviving on the salary since the school was in the Silicon Valley.

We'll enjoy doing some hiking up in the woods and hills around the area for a while, but I suspect Jaru might get tired of the lack of ethnic food. One great research item is that a bunch of the houses in the area were built in 1892, so I'll get first hand experience with haunts!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oscar Season Bonus?

One benefit of the Oscars is that afterward some of the more obscure films end up getting screen time in theaters close to you. San Antonio is actually good for getting movies, but I'm hoping that Last King of Scotland and Pan's Labyrinth will end up in the walking-distance theater.

In unrelated news, the street that they just repaved outside our apartment last summer is now being torn up for some reason. Maybe somebody lost a contact. I'm almost certain that the whole roads department in San Antonio is hopelessly corrupt. We moved here almost three years ago and they're still only halfway finished at putting in the interchange ramps at the intersection of two of the major freeways, which they started before we got here.

Another major interchange on the north end of town (where the majority of the development is occurring) also lacks ramps. People tear off the roads at 65+ mph, crowd into street traffic, then make left turns at the lights to get on the other freeway. And all this happens at an already busy intersection. Nobody had the foresight when building the freeway overpasses and such in the first place, that a lot of people might switching between them?

That kind of planning ensures that your cousin who owns a construction company is always at 100% work load.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Can Relate

Tycho (brown-haired guy) must be married to a grad student/prof. (Click on image to see a full-size version).

-- from Penny Arcade

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Niggers and Zionists

In concert with Israel and Washington's Zionist and fundamentalist Christian lobbies, the Bushites say their "strategy" is to end Iran's nuclear threat.

-- from via The Leiter Reports.

Given that the Leiter Reports have tried to (rightfully) support the idea that one can criticize Israel's policies without being anti-Semitic, posting an article that uses a quote like the above strikes me as seriously problematic.

While there are certainly some self-identified Zionist organizations, and I imagine a few of which are worthy of criticism, the use of Zionist as a pejorative must certainly be understood to evoke emotional responses above and beyond what would be associated with the more neutral use of the term.

For instance, the above quote relies on the rhetorical image of the militant Zionist lobbying America to support their program -- an image evocative of the Protocols of Zion (an "antisemitic literary forgery that purports to describe a Jewish plot to achieve world domination"). If the writers did not wish to subtly or not so subtly conjure up these images, why use the term "Zionist" instead of the more neutral and less historically-laden term, pro-Israel lobby?

How many millions of people in the world when they hear "Zionist" think of the various competing political and ideological movements compared to how many think of the secret Jew seeking dominion over the world?

When I was in the service, some otherwise progressive folks referred to one of the black guys in our unit as a nigger. They quickly explained that here they meant simply "nigger as generic term for asshole", and that white guys could be niggers too. Admittedly, the guy was kind of an asshole. But we already have a more neutral and less historically-laden term for asshole.

It's called "asshole".

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kevin Costner Porn Blog

A couple days ago I received a very polite email inviting me to join a cat-lovers blog-ring...

In response I've decided to add this photo of Kevin Costner's butt, so as to increase the Costner-porn:cat ratio and hopefully be invited to a Costner-porn blog-ring instead.

In other random bits, I've finished up a free re-write for one company. Writers are generally recommended not to do this, but I thought I'd give it a try and see how it works out.

And one recommendation: when making pizza at home, put the pepperoni on last (the very top) if you like it to be crispy. I was putting it on above the cheese but below the hamburger and that made it a little soggy.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Government Abuse Chicken

This news is probably spreading around a bit, but my wife sent me a link to this article about how Beijing wants to promote more careful translation practices. She figures that her students will get a kick out of it.

Some examples of the old translations:

Kung Po Chicken = Government Abuse Chicken
Ethnic Minorities Park = Racist Park

Make sure to read the comments since there are some good ones there too.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

8 Feet from Perfect

One nice thing about San Antonio is the 15 minute door to door trip from our apartment to the airport.

On the trip we just got back from we managed to get the second best parking space in the long-term lot [#3, see the floor] -- that bastard in the white pickup got the best one [#2]. Handicap spaces don't count [#1]. I don't normally go searching for parking spaces, but I figured that this being the slowest travel week, maybe we'd score. Moreover, the spaces really close to the walkway are on the exit path for the parking lot, not the entrance path -- so people don't get to them unless they're desperate or already on their way home.

The real advantage of that parking space was that it was easy to find our car when we got back.