02/2005

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


I got a letter in the mail today saying that I've won the Spanish Lottery. Dios mio!

'Blair' doodles amuse Number 10
The downsides of one-night stands
Cody in trouble

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

We watched The Forgotten with Julianne Moore this weekend. Though it had a few genuinely startling moments, it was not a spectacular movie. Good for a watch, but not particularly memorable after all is said and done. The DVD also has an alternate ending, half of which is better than the original ending, and half of which is utterly ridiculous.

McDonald's outsources drive-thru
Excuses for Jackson jury duty

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

I've only heard two songs by the UK group, Kaiser Chiefs but they both suffer from the same disappointing lost potential. The group has a great sound and writes good intriguing verses, but they really suck at choruses, which are so repetitive that they make listening to the whole songs a chore.

Here is Exhibit A of catchy verse, from Oh My God:

Catchy Verse (MP3)

And here is Exhibit B: the self-defeating repetitive chorus which makes the song annoying:

Annoying Chorus (MP3)

Simple choruses are great for singalongs, but surely someone could have come up with ABAB or ABAC rather than AAAA.

The second song of theirs I heard was I Predict A Riot which is a little more palatable:

Catchy Verse (MP3)

And the dumb chorus, which at least has some semblance of consequent phrase:

Annoying Chorus (MP3)

Both songs also employ the jumbly-pitch rising effect, a la Day In the Life:

Stop Screaming (MP3)
Seriously (MP3)

Deputy Attorney General robbed by escorts
It is fun to shoot people.
Colleagues became suspicious after he bought a new car using banknotes from the robbery.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

I got two more people addicted to Alias. Apparently Rosie & Jason bought the first three seasons discounted on eBay from Hong Kong and watched the entire first season in just eight days.

Not much planned for the weekend -- just a little work and a little shopping. I need some new shoes pretty soon now, since the ones I got before moving to Florida are almost torn apart now.

White House-friendly reporter under scrutiny
Wanted: Crimes for Vigilantes to Avenge
Hide your iPod, here comes Bill
Crazy Frog goes uncensored

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Yesterday morning, while on my way to the grocery store, I passed a car warming up in front of someone's house. In the back seat, there was a man fervently cleaning his rear window with what looked to be the front page of the Washington Post. The vigor of his scrubbing was akin to scouring a bathtub when you have no Comet. And by the way, this story has no moral.

Costly Cookies
If we can tax it, we will
Due to bad owners we are out of a lot of things, please do not get mad at the employees & manager

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

One British group that's currently pretty popular is The Streets, though I really don't understand what the big deal is. Take the guy from Cake, replace his band with synthesized drum beats and have him spout arhythmic prose with a British accent and you have The Streets. Maybe it sounds better when you're British, but to me it just sounds like a white boy with a speech impediment trying to rap. Here are some samples from the CD, A Grand Don't Come for Free on Amazon:

It Was Supposed To Be So Easy
Dry Your Eyes
Empty Cans

What do you think?

4 Year Old drives to video store
Sad that I knew the name of this song before I saw the video

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

New JJ Abrams shows are on tonight.

Because only black Virginians wear low pants
The Mysteries of Lost (no spoilers)

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Apparently someone is finally moving on the security clearance I submitted for a year ago -- my Florida friends are getting approached by watchful FBI investigators.

K (3:52:03): Mike just called me because the guy just called him too (I gave him his number)
K (3:52:11): So what new job are you trying to get?
Me (3:54:20): no new job
Me (3:54:23): just a govt security clearance -- it takes about a year
K (3:54:33): so you can do cool things in your current job?
Me (3:54:38): yup
K (3:54:39): ohhhh, I see
K (3:54:43): this guy was kind of shady
K (3:54:59): he wanted to meet in person and was asking if we could meet tomorrow and where
K (3:55:07): I was like, how do I know you're who you say you are?
K (3:55:19): so I told him I'd rather do the interview over the phone
K (3:55:45): hard to explain - just the way he was speaking
K (3:55:55): but anyway, there literally was nothing bad I could say about you
Me (3:55:57): they are supposed to be trained to not display emotion in asking questions
K (3:56:04): YES! he definitely did that
K (3:56:16): zero emotion, even when I told him funny things
K (3:56:55): he wanted to know who you worked for here, professor-wise
K (3:57:34): when he asked me if you'd ever done illegal drugs or sold them, I almost started laughing
K (3:57:51): he wanted to know if you were friends with any foreign nationals
Me (3:57:57): Marta
K (3:58:04): and if you belonged to any anti-american organizations
Me (3:58:10): SCI at FSU
K (3:58:14): and what your general patriotic mood was
K (3:58:18): lol
K (3:59:31): all kinds of stuff, 12 minutes of stuff
Me (3:59:38): they should pay you
K (3:59:56): he told me at the end of the interview that this is public record and that you can see it if you request to
K (4:00:39): he asked about your financial stability
Me (4:00:51): yeah, so no foreign govt can entice me to spy for money
K (4:00:54): I told him you never took out loans because you lived off of your FGM summer fortune
K (4:01:13): and that you shopped once a week in the early morning at Walmart to avoid the crowds
K (4:02:25): it's hard to lie about you because there's nothing to lie about
K (4:02:49): Mike and I were just saying that there's no person we can think of on this earth who we would trust more with govt security clearance than you
Me (4:03:17): I actually post govt secrets daily, encoded on my website
K (4:03:28): oooooooooh
Me (4:03:37): if you enlarge the periods, it's a really tiny font with words in it
K (4:03:45): Mike's next question was "how are we going to get Brian to tell us all the govt secrets?"
The gloves come off at American Idol
Budding Jordan cyber love ends in divorce

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Friday, February 11, 2005
Virginia drops dropped pants bill after seeing it ridiculed on my site
Chunky boy can stop bullets
Love on the company clock

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Monday, February 14, 2005

Listening to the Scissor Sister's song, Return to Oz reminded me of the 1985 movie by the same name. Though it was a sequel in name to Wizard of Oz, it was much darker and easily one of the scarier movies ever billed as a kids' movie. The plot involved Dorothy escaping from a mental institution where they did electroshock therapy and returning to an Oz which has been destroyed for years. Everyone is turned to stone, and the land is overrun with Skeksies, psychedelic clowns with wheels for feet. There's also an evil witch who has a hallway of heads, where she goes to wear a different one every day.

As crazy as that summary sounds, this movie was actually closer to the Oz books than the original movie, and most of it is based directly on the writings of L. Frank Baum's thirteen book series. I read the books as a kid but they're no longer in print. Thankfully, they're fully online now.

Anyone else remember being scared of this movie as a kid?

Save the gay penguins
Watch out for the underwater gnomes
Return to Oz lyrics

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Garden State was a good movie. Without a Paddle was predictably funny but a little slow and annoying. We've also started watching the second season of 24 which is off to a pretty good start. In other news, I've broken 260 gold in Warcraft auctions.

Don't you like the Roo Poo Platter?
Tax considered on stupid Maryland SUVs. No word yet on stupid Maryland drivers.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I'm at the stage in my sickness-recovery where I feel fine but my throat is engaged in enharmonic phlegmaticism.

Don't forget to tune into ABC tonight to watch 78 minutes of good TV and 42 minutes of commercials.

Lost Episode 16 "Outlaws" Tonight: Kate and Sawyer divulge dark secrets to each other while tracking a renegade boar that Sawyer swears is purposely harassing him. Meanwhile, Hurley and Sayid worry that Charlie is losing it after his brush with death, and a shocking, prior connection between Sawyer and Jack is revealed.

Alias Episode 7 "Detente" Tonight: While Sydney and Nadia argue about Nadia's acceptance of Sloane's fatherly concerns, Sloane worries about Nadia's well-being when she and Sydney go undercover as wealthy, irresponsible young heiresses to uncover the whereabouts of a deadly chemical.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Loudoun County real estate assessment numbers should be coming out pretty soon. I moved to Sterling about a year ago and got in for around $300,000. There's a house on my court which was assessed at slightly less than mine in 2004, and it's now on the market, selling for $475,000. With numbers like that, I don't know how much longer the working class in my neighbourhood will stick around.

Serial burglar caught on webcam
Alexandria home values up 21%

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Friday, February 18, 2005

I finally watched Donnie Darko last night, the cult favourite that was released to little fanfare a few years ago and rereleased this week as a Director's Cut. It was a very interesting "figure it out yourself" movie and I see what was going on in it, but it would probably take me several more viewings to really understand the plot completely (if that's possible). Check it out if you like psychological thrillers and metaphysical topics like space-time paradoxes.

Man fined for imitating a car
Where not to leave your laundered cash

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Monday, February 21, 2005

Shark Tale had some funny moments, but was mostly inane. It was definitely no Finding Nemo. The Oscars are coming up soon, and it will easily lose the Animated Feature category to either one of the other competitors.

I guess this means it's time for my annual Oscar picks news posts, even though most of the movies I've seen recently are definitely not of Oscar quality.

Paris Hilton's phone hacked and posted online

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I haven't kept up with Oscars or movies much at all this part year, so my selections will be based completely on creative interpretations of anagrams of Nostradamus' propechies. Movies with dots next them are movies I've actually seen.

Actor in a Leading Role
    The Nominees:
    Don Cheadle - Hotel Rwanda
    Johnny Depp - Finding Neverland
    Leonardo DiCaprio - The Aviator
    Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby
    Jamie Foxx - Ray

    What will happen?
    If Leo can't earn an Oscar for a movie about a boat, then he won't have any better luck with a movie about planes. Clint Eastwood will not get an Oscar for his role as a surly old guy because he's essentially playing himself, and that would lead to bad things in future years when Keanu Reeves gets an Oscar for Constantine II. The Oscar will go to Johnny Depp which will allow Chris Rock to make more jokes about the prejudice against black actors.
Actor in a Supporting Role
    The Nominees:
    Alan Alda - The Aviator
    Thomas Haden Church - Sideways
  • Jamie Foxx - Collateral
    Morgan Freeman - Million Dollar Baby
    Clive Owen - Closer

    What will happen?
    Jamie Foxx did a good job in the only movie I saw, but it was an action-y movie which immediately rules it out for Oscars. The neoconservaties will prevent Thomas Haden Church from winning because his name sounds suspiciously like "Tom is hating church". Morgan Freeman will lose because otherwise Clint Eastwood would kick his ass. Alan Alda will lose as well, though he's in dire need of the award so he can get better crossword puzzle clues other than "guy on MASH" when ALDA is the answer to 1 Across. This leaves Clive Owen, and there will be a brief ruckus when the ditzy blonde presenter can't decide whether his movie is a noun or an adjective and mispronounces it. (Clive will eventually use his notoriety to sponsor a new Lays potato chip, "Sour Cream and Clives").
Actress in a Leading Role
    The Nominees:
    Annette Bening - Being Julia
    Catalina Sandino Moreno - Maria Full of Grace
    Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake
    Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby
  • Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    What will happen?
    These were real movies? The first three nominees will be rejected because no one watched their movies. Million Dollar Baby will not earn anything here because although it's nominated in several categories, it failed to include any hobbits and only had one ending, rather than five in a row. Kate Winslet will win this Oscar (and will thank Leo for being in that boat movie with her during her speech).
Actress in a Supporting Role
    The Nominees:
    Cate Blanchett - The Aviator
    Laura Linney - Kinsey
    Virginia Madsen - Sideways
    Sophie Okonedo - Hotel Rwanda
    Natalie Portman - Closer

    What will happen?
    Sophie will lose because Mike Catania was the only person in the world who saw her movie. This leaves behind three funny-looking blondes and a brunette, so Natalie Portman will win.
Animated Feature Film
    The Nominees:
    The Incredibles
  • Shark Tale
  • Shrek 2

    What will happen?
    Shark Tale was so-so and sounds too much like Duck Tales or Shirt Tales. The Incredibles will win, buoyed by its score written by the Alias guy.
Art Direction
    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
    Finding Neverland
    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
    The Phantom of the Opera
    A Very Long Engagement

    What will happen?
    LSaSoUE is obviously taken a page from last year's Oscar contenders like Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Unfortunately for it, it's missing a key ingredient: a colon. Of the remaining nominees, The Aviator will win, because the Art Direction Oscar always seems to go to the non-fantasy movie. I know nothing about A Very Long Engagment, but it could be a dark horse based on online comparisons to Amelie and continuous repetition of the word "quirky" in reviews.

To Be Continued...

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Cinematography

    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
    House of Flying Daggers
    Passion of the Christ
    Phantom of the Opera
    A Very Long Engagement

    What will happen?
    This will be the only Oscar that Passion of the Christ gets, though it's nominated for three. Phantom of the Opera will come in second, mostly because of voters who confused its title with Passion or who had hanging chad on their ballots.
Costume Design
    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
    Finding Neverland
    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
    Ray
    Troy

    What will happen?
    Troy will fail in this category simply because the whole Greek/Roman epic costumes bit has been done to death. With no Harry Potter movie to fall back on, the Academy will choose LSASoUE.
Directing
    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
    Million Dollar Baby
    Ray
    Sideways
    Vera Drake

    What will happen?
    This could easily be the least interesting selection of nominees in the past four years. Since no clear cut winner jumps out at me, I'm going to choose The Aviator over Million Nominated Baby.
Documentary Feature
    The Nominees:
    Born into Brothels
    The Story of the Weeping Camel
    Super Size Me
    Tupac: Resurrection
    Twist of Faith

    What will happen?
    Though it won't win, Born into Brothels will use its nomination to worm its way into a boxed set with Band of Brothers in 2006. Tupac: Resurrection sounds like a blaxploitation version of Passion of the Christ but has the misfortune of not starring Richard Roundtree. You would not be visiting the URI! Zone if I didn't pick The Story of the Weeping Camel hands down.
Documentary Short Subject
    The Nominees:
    Autism is a World
    The Children of Leningradsky
    Hardwood
    Mighty Times: The Children's March
    Sister Rose's Passion

    What will happen?
    The winner this year will be Autism is a World, leading the directors to create an all-American sequel called Autism in New York.
Film Editing
    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
    Collateral
    Finding Neverland
    Million Dollar Baby
    Ray

    What will happen?
    No one cares about this category. Let's give it to Ray.

As you can see, I have not actually seen any of today's movies, making my predictions twice as valid.

To Be Continued...

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Thursday, February 24, 2005
Foreign Language Film

    The Nominees:
    As It Is In Heaven
    The Chorus
    Downfall
    The Sea Inside
    Yesterday

    What will happen?
    It's a sad day for foreign films when not a single title has any kind of accent marking. Going solely on title alone, I'm choosing The Sea Inside because it obviously has something to offer. We know all about the sea outside, so the sea inside is obviously fertile ground for a movie.
Make-Up
    The Nominees:
    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
    The Passion of the Christ
    The Sea Inside

    What will happen?
    An even more pathetic showing than the Foreign Language Film category, it appears that they could only scrounge up three nominees this year. I'm going to choose LSaSoUE for this one, but not because it's deserving. There's probably nothing innovative in the make-up of The Passion that hasn't already been seen in a Wes Craven movie, and I doubt the sea looks any different with a little Mary Kay mixed in.
Music (Score)
    The Nominees:
    Finding Neverland
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events
    The Passion of the Christ
    The Village

    What will happen?
    John Williams has already fully milked the motive he stole from the computer game, Return to Zork so an Oscar is not in his cards this year. Instead, The Village will win and Chris Rock will accidentally give away the secret twist from the end of the movie.
Music (Song)
    The Nominees:
  • "Accidentally In Love" - Shrek 2
    "Al Otro Lado Del R?o" - The Motorcycle Diaries
    "Believe" - The Polar Express
    "Learn To Be Lonely" - The Phantom of the Opera
    "Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)" - The Chorus

    What will happen?
    Here, I'm picking Al Otro Lado Del Rio, which is German for "Get Fat Lady Off My Bike", because the supporting actress is now a regular on Alias.
Best Picture
    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
    Finding Neverland
    Million Dollar Baby
    Ray
    Sideways

    What will happen?
    This is a very strange batch of Best Picture movies. The Aviator will win because it's the most recognizable.
Short Film (Animated)
    The Nominees:
    Birthday Boy
    Gopher Broke
    Guard Dog
    Lorenzo
    Ryan

    What will happen?
    Hollywood needs to hire a new title-man. If the movies are as drab as their titles, then there will be no winner in this category. Gopher Broke barely gets chuckle points, beating out Birthday Boy, Guard Dog, and Meter Maid, as well as Lorenzo, Ryan, and Chuckie.

To Be Continued...

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Friday, February 25, 2005
Short Film (Live Action)

    The Nominees:
    Everything in This Country Must
    Little Terrorist
    7:35 in the Morning
    Two Cars, One Night
    Wasp

    What will happen?
    A dangling Must is death when it comes to the Academy Awards. When was the last time you? Actually, these movie titles put together could probably be a good outline for a new movie script brimming with patriotism. Wasp will win though.
Sound Editing
    The Nominees:
    The Incredibles
    The Polar Express
  • Spider-Man 2

    What will happen?
    Incredibles wins. If the stars of these movies fought, who would win: The super heroes of the first, the weird no-expression zombie Tom Hanks train conductor, or Tobey Macguire?
Sound Mixing
    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
    The Incredibles
    The Polar Express
    Ray
  • Spider-Man 2

    What will happen?
    Ray gets its second Oscar of the night in this category. Interesting though, that this movie didn't get any nods for Music. Time for another Chris Rock joke.
Visual Effects
    The Nominees:
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    I, Robot
  • Spider-Man 2

    What will happen?
    They can make whole worlds with computer graphics and can turn Dominic Monaghan into a midget with the press of a button, but they still can't make Spider Man look like he's actually swinging through the city. I, Robot will get a pity-Oscar here, so Will Smith can finally include the word "Oscar" in his resume, even though it wasn't really his.
Writing (Adapted)
    The Nominees:
    Before Sunset
    Finding Neverland
    Million Dollar Baby
    The Motorcycle Diaries
    Sideways

    What will happen?
    With so many recycled nominees, we're nearing the point of critical apathy. I'll cast my vote for Before Sunset, because it's only got one nomination this year.
Writing (Original)
    The Nominees:
    The Aviator
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Hotel Rwanda
    The Incredibles
    Vera Drake


    What will happen?
    I'm choosing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind here. The writing was very unique (although I didn't like Charlie Kaufman's earlier stuff, like Adaptation. Though the others might have had great writing, they didn't necessarily have an innovation germ to start from.

Who will win? Who really cares?

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Monday, February 28, 2005

As you can see, the accuracy of my Oscar picks is inversely related to how much effort I put into them. I didn't even watch the Oscars -- I just tuned in for the opening monologue and went to bed.

Regularly scheduled updates will resume tomorrow, as I have to run to the store to stock up on toilet paper and lantern batteries for tonight's snowstorm.

We need these screens around D.C.
According to Delia, the message said, "you need to go back to Mexico you taco-bending whore."
Vulcan King charged with sexual assault
Rock brings new edge to Oscars

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