Saturday, December 26, 2009

Carlos Miller won his appeal!

Photographer Carlos Miller started his blog, Photography Is Not A Crime, after he was arrested for what he claims was simply exercising his rights to photograph anything in public. He was arrested for photographing police in a construction zone because they claimed he was standing in the middle of the street and disrupting traffic, and then resisting arrest without violence.

As he describes on his website, public photography is not a crime. Anything visible from the public street can be photographed. This is how Google Maps can give you a convenient street view of everything. This is why Americans can carry cameras around any city without fear.

But if you read enough of his site, you start to understand that Miller has a bit of an ability to instigate. I don't blame him for this. I think that in order for society to progress, authority must continually be challenged. I'm not calling for an all-out revolution. I'm saying that if something doesn't make logical sense, you should question it and see if you can understand it. If you think something should be changed, fight for it. The thing is, here, Carlos is fighting for rights that already exist and are on the books. He's fighting against wrongful arrests. He's fighting against cops who can bring you in just for rubbing them the wrong way.

So just recently, Miller won an appeal to his conviction. His appeal was that the judge in his trial allowed illegal evidence to be submitted. The judge allowed the state to introduce evidence from Miller's blog, which was started after his arrest. Miller was also evidently sentenced by a judge who was biased against him and who had a personal beef with Miller's blog, which should have been legally outside the consideration of his trial and conviction.

In his post, you can see Miller agreeing that he pushes things a little bit when he discusses his second arrest. Miller was serving probation and community service from his first conviction, and while in Miami, he shot another round of pictures of cops. They arrested him and are trying to charge him on resisting arrest without violence. And nothing else. But how can you resist arrest without having a reason for an arrest? Miller states that he could have stopped after photographing the cop who was texting while he was supposed to be supervising events on duty. Instead, Miller went up to the cop and tried to ask him what his name was.

Of course, Miller could have walked away and avoided arrest. That would have been the safe way. The way that most people behave. Most people wouldn't confront a cop if they didn't have to. I certainly wouldn't. I don't want a record, and I don't want to test the laws and the interpretation of the laws. But if you think about it, what is the illegal part of photographing someone in public, and then what is the illegal part of walking up to that same person and trying to talk to them?

Nothing.

And this is why Carlos Miller started his blog and fights his arrests. One of the best quotes I've seen is a comment on the "About" page of his blog:

"Carlos is fighting for rights that most of you don’t even know you have."

Keep up the good fight, Carlos.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Beatles Remastered

Listening to the recent remastered mono and stereo mixes of The Beatles' catalog.

Holy shit.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 in Tweets

I read a writer's blog and got inspired to follow suit.


This year saw a lot. For Twitter and me, it started off in a hospital (I was there, but it was for someone else), took a trip to upstate New York, a trip to Chicago, joined me for the 2009 T-Pain Presidential Cam-Pain, and saw me reach my 1,000th tweet. I had planned something special for my 1,000th tweet, but I forgot it was coming and I ending up squandering it.

I have a general ethos that a tweet should be standalone, so not a lot of these need context, and none are retweets, @ replies, or anything else. Just plain, pure, uncut @justindlc.

I don't know how many I'll include, since I'll just look at them all and post the ones I think were great. [Update: I spent way too fecking long on this.] I'll also post my first tweet of the year and my most recent tweet (as of the time of this writing). Maybe I'll think of something cool to tweet on 31 December 2009 at 11:59 p.m. and maybe I'll include that as a TWEET FROM THE FUTURE. [Update: Again, I spent way too fecking long on this and fried my brain. So no tweet from the future.]

I had to spend a lot of time clicking the "more" button on my Twitter page, so you better damn well enjoy this.

Of the chosen tweets were:

countless - posts about music
9 - posts about work
7 - posts about school
6 - posts about the internet or technology
3 - posts about license plates
3 - posts about video games
3 - posts based around bacon
3 - posts about my cat or cats in general
2 - posts about Goodwill

---

Having an appendix out would cost an arm and a leg...
11:33 AM Jan 1st from txt

I want to be a hip-hop anthropologist.
3:45 PM Jan 31st from txt

We got a soft orange cat previously named Simon.
2:37 PM Feb 7th from txt

My cashier's name is Algeria.
3:52 PM Feb 7th from txt

Considering the catalogs of both, Kanye's latest is on the level of the Clash's Cut the Crap.
3:04 AM Feb 8th from txt

This older guy in this coffee shop just said: "I want to be the Kenny G. of harmonica." And he was being serious.
7:41 PM Feb 10th from txt

I sort of want to build a robot.
5:12 PM Feb 13th from txt

You're an indoor cat who gets out. You: A. Catch a mouse. B. Prowl the neighborhood. Or C. Lay in the neighbor's yard and sniff the grass.
9:18 PM Mar 5th from txt

Woo! Spring Break! Time to go to . . . the office!
7:15 AM Mar 9th from txt

Chuck Palahniuk is gay?
4:55 PM Mar 16th from txt

Sources for brief class presentation = Wikipedia.
10:38 PM Mar 18th from web

One of the few benefits to arriving to a movie on time or late is not having to sit through Kid Rock's "Warrior" again.
10:12 PM Mar 21st from txt

I'll list Goodwill in the bottom 10 of places where I'd like to work.
7:12 PM Apr 10th from txt

Behind white Honda junker. License plate: SRSLY.
7:47 AM Apr 13th from txt

My five word autobiography: "This isn't hard. Oh, wait."
3:35 PM Apr 23rd from txt

Any chapter titled "From Mein Kampf to Google" is good in my book.
3:44 PM Apr 26th from txt

Cranberry juice and keyboards go together about as well as rocks and blenders do.
8:55 PM Apr 28th from web

Jan 22, 1973: Bro v. Wade was a contentious ruling for bros on broth sides of the brolitical spectrum. Bro-Choicers rejoiced.
3:07 PM May 1st from web

Does each store in the mall pay for its own air conditioning? Because it all opens up to the middle, which is also cooled.
2:47 PM May 2nd from txt

I wish I were a reverse bear, so I could hibernate through this hot, hot summer.
12:59 PM May 11th from txt

Homeless man at bus stop enjoys an 8 AM Steel Reserve, and your trusty narrator's stomach turns upside down and inside out.
7:55 AM May 14th from txt

Someday all of my neat devices will end up at Goodwill... And be ridiculously priced. $35 for N64?!?
11:29 AM May 16th from txt

I'm already weary of taking precautionary antibiotics but getting 'em for free at Publix makes me downright nervous. Pill Pushers, M.D.
2:47 PM May 18th from txt

Just passed four humans walking five dogs. Quite the canine constituency on a constitutional.
6:53 PM May 21st from txt

I want to drive a British car for a month so I can balance out my left arm tan.
3:25 PM May 30th from txt

I'm going over the pros and cons of making and consuming a bacon quesadilla.
4:20 PM May 30th from txt

This training session should be titled "Please do not make small talk with me at the urinals." And I should lead it.
2:00 PM Jun 4th from txt

If you get trapped in the wilderness in the U.S. with like 10 people and everyone decides to eat one person... is that legal?
11:36 PM Jun 4th from txt

Got an Elvis upper lip from the numbing agents they used during my root canal.
9:08 AM Jun 10th from txt

Contra III is hard, Earthbound is super cool, and I just found out why I never touched Shaq Fu.
9:00 PM Jun 11th from web

Every weekday I see an infinitesimal piece of the internet, which, as far as I can tell, stretches out eternally.
8:10 AM Jun 15th from web

Professor: "My student's paper began with a set of instructions from the student to the person writing the paper. The rest was plagiarized."
11:02 AM Jun 15th from web

William Shatner on Conan. Shatner tried to do the Vulcan hand salute and COULD NOT DO IT.
12:29 AM Jun 18th from txt

I'd be concerned if future biographers relied solely on my Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts to chronicle my life.
8:54 AM Jun 18th from web

I would like to second my own nomination of T-Pain as the next president of Florida State University. #tpain4fsuprez
10:13 AM Jun 19th from web

The SNES Itchy and Scratchy game was just as bad as I thought it would be. The garlicbread Tombstone pizza was as good as I thought.
10:05 PM Jun 22nd from txt

Just saw Baconnaise featured on the QVC Shopping Network. Bundled with bacon salt.
7:53 AM Jun 24th from txt

Dr. Phil is not an authority on anything besides being bald.
5:56 PM Jun 24th from txt

Funny or not funny: a penny superglued in the middle of the street? (I fell for it.)
12:27 PM Jun 25th from txt

My brother: R.I.P.Y.T. (Michael Jackson). Me: This is going to burst a lot of people's Bubbles.
8:17 PM Jun 25th from txt

At DC airport. There's a truck labeled "Gate Gourmet" ... What do they serve - TarMac and Cheese?
11:50 AM Jun 30th from txt

Amazing that whatever location you go to (in this case, NY), Wal-Mart has the universal effect of sucking the soul right out of you.
7:36 PM Jul 2nd from txt

Melbourne's like an old shoe. It's comfy, but it sort of smells.
12:27 AM Jul 8th from txt

Twitter me this: They make you scan your shoes for planes, but you're allowed to carry on a lighter.
2:20 PM Jul 8th from txt

Note that it is possible to grab and throw someone holding the hammer in the original Super Smash Bros.
8:09 AM Jul 27th from web

The 2009 T-Pain Killa Cam-Pain is well underway: http://is.gd/1OSla #tpain4fsuprez
9:40 AM Jul 27th from Twitlet

I was on TV! Complete with awkward news anchor banter!!
10:34 PM Aug 5th from txt

Lexus license plate: VIA GOD.
7:59 AM Aug 12th from txt

Twitter does everything. Even makes it easier to follow God: http://twitter.com/god
3:42 PM Aug 12th from web

Graffiti 1: "Omar <3 Kathy." Graffiti 2: "Kathy is a dude."
5:10 PM Aug 19th from txt

You should have to pay $5 every time you ride the elevator only one floor (unless you physically can't use stairs).
9:17 AM Aug 25th from txt

Overheard: "*LOUD GASP* You don't know who McDreamy is?!?"
5:09 PM Aug 25th from txt

Flier: "How affordable is life insurance?" ... I don't know --- can I live without it?
4:40 PM Aug 26th from web

Mondays should really start at 10. And while we're at it, Fridays should end at 3. Nothing gets done during those work hours anyway.
7:42 AM Aug 31st from txt

Text response from my brother when I tried calling him while he was at DragonCon: "Can't talk, Klingon beauty pageant."
5:26 PM Sep 6th from txt

It's a good thing they weren't fighting house cats in the Battle of Bunker Hill. You have to get real close to see the whites of their eyes.
9:20 AM Sep 17th from web

I'm feeling strangely inspired and motivated at work today. I hope I'm not coming down with something.
9:33 AM Sep 24th from web

License plate: H8 N00BZ.
6:36 PM Sep 30th from txt

Many papers I write just seem to serve the purpose of showing that I can write papers. #epiphany
9:18 PM Oct 7th from web

The professor I emailed today signed his response with his initials, which made me question everything he wrote: jk.
9:17 AM Oct 14th from web

Why does everything seem better when I listen to loud music with the car windows down?
5:33 PM Oct 19th from txt

Dammit. I accidentally subscribed to Oprah's magazine. This day is by no means off to a good start.
10:50 AM Oct 20th from web

Little known fact: T-Pain is a direct descendant of revolutionary pamphlet writer Thomas Paine.
8:01 PM Oct 21st from txt

I can upload a picture from my phone to the internet faster than it takes me to fax one page of text.
10:00 AM Oct 22nd from txt

Still amazed at how "salad" can refer to dishes based on either green vegetables or mayonnaise.
12:18 PM Oct 22nd from web

Q: Why wear a white skintight nylon shirt sans bra? A: To distract from your "humble" face.
1:25 PM Oct 28th from txt

A million people support an aspiring pirate (http://bit.ly/Kjf1P) and around a dozen would like to meet a senator (http://bit.ly/3nXo52).
4:12 PM Nov 2nd from web

Independent, double-blind studies have replicated the results of Diggs et al. (1993), showing that Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing to fuck with.
5:20 PM Nov 12th from txt

The secret about moving walkways is that the walkway doesn't move. Everything else moves around it. #chi09
10:54 PM Nov 13th from txt

So when I mention certain things in my tweets, companies follow me. This is a test. BMW Coca-Cola Fender Hershey's Gorbachev ShamWow Rolex.
9:02 AM Nov 18th from web

Overheard at Neko Case: "The Beatles, they were a recording band. They couldn't do the shit they did on their albums live."
7:47 PM Nov 20th from txt

Wellborn, FL owes me $1.25 in change lost at its crappy rest stop vending machines. I'll be back to collect. I know where you live.
7:10 PM Nov 25th from txt

If in 500 years a transcript of my Twitter feed were the only indication that I'd ever lived, I'd be damn proud of my legacy.
1:57 PM Nov 26th from txt

Denny's T-shirt: No one ever returns bacon.
10:56 AM Nov 29th from txt

T-shirt idea: Guitar Gyro
11:07 AM Nov 29th from txt

Rawr. Somebody obvs didn't get her turkey basted this weekend. Sheesh.
9:12 AM Nov 30th from web

Why did everyone in our class present an academic book or article except for this girl, who's presenting an Alexander Dumas novel?
3:58 PM Dec 3rd from txt

I don't like writing papers. Why am I still in college? I hope all my future employers can use a 15-page discussion of postmodernism.
9:14 PM Dec 6th from web

@samirmathur Im in ur tweetz, steelin ur linkz.
4:12 PM Dec 7th from web in reply to samirmathur

[That was my 1,000th tweet.]

I can never remember which I prefer: "gray / grey," "inalienable / unalienable," "Bert / Ernie."
2:21 AM Dec 10th from web

My boss just gave me the blues on her iPhone. Any time I call her, a bluesy piano plays as the ringtone. Is that how I come off? The blues?
11:40 AM Dec 11th from web

Got out with three Bob Dylans and a Vanderslice for $12. This should not be happening. RIP Vinyl Fever.
5:33 PM Dec 16th from txt

Why is there so much information in the world?
about 19 hours ago from txt

Like a post-apocalyptic movie, a shopping cart is a hot commodity in our work building.
16 minutes ago from txt

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vinyl Fever Breaks (Confessions of a Music Junkie)


As undergraduates at FSU, my friend Matt and I used to go to Vinyl Fever on average maybe once a month. But many times it was more frequent than that.

Vinyl Fever was a locally owned record shop that sold new and used CDs, new and used vinyls, and some DVDs. It was one of only two stores: the other was in Tampa, and I can't quite remember which came first. (Nor do I care to look around to see if the Tampa branch is still extant now...)

Anyway, after a while, The Feve became something essential to our Tallahassee experience. But after a years (after noticing how many CDs I had towering around me), I stopped visiting the store and I pretty much stopped buying CDs altogether. I still listened to music, and I was still reviewing albums, so I had a steady influx of new music to keep me busy.

Then, one day (according to my Gmail records, it was around Feb 11, 2008), I heard that Vinyl Fever had been bought out by a larger chain. For reasons that I can't fully explain, I was shocked and offended by this. I soon got over my reaction, since I noticed that the same people worked there, and outside of adding miscellaneous merchandise, the store remained essentially the same.

In times of financial need, I would sell some of the... "more questionable" CDs I had accumulated over the years (many as promos coming into the newspaper). The Feve would only give me about $2 per CD (if that), but I saw it as also helping to keep them in business (especially since I wasn't buying CDs anymore). I must have sold them literally 50 CDs (at least) over the years.

But I suppose it wasn't enough. Last week, I heard from a friend that Vinyl Fever was closing forever. For reals. Their website makes it look like such a festive, holiday announcement. Like everything will be okay.

I stopped by on the day I heard the news. The small parking lot was full, and people were parking on the grass. I had to park across the street. Outside, one of the guys who'd been working there for years was on a smoke break. I asked him, "When's closing day?" He took a drag on his cigarette, turned his head away, and mumbled "I don't know. When everything's gone, I guess." (I'm really not trying to embellish the moment here. This was really something.)

Yesterday, Matt and I went back for what I assume will be my last time. (Of course, if they have a concert on closing day, I will most certainly be there. Hell, I'd love to play a concert there on closing day! Somebody make that happen, please.) There were people carrying around shopping baskets with 30 CDs in them. Because of all the people packed in there, it was pretty hot and muggy, despite the cold December air outside. (Okay, I'm sorry. I know there are wars and there's world hunger and suffering. But this store can still mean a lot to me. It's something more than just a shop, since it's a portal to new music. And music means a lot to me. Hence, Q.E.D., don't tease.)

In the pictures bookending this post are the CDs from the excellent haul I had from these last visits to Vinyl Fever. All used music was 50% off the sticker price, so I got these 13 albums for about $35. That's an average of about $2.70 per album. And so far, that investment been worth it.

Here are the albums, starting from the top left in the picture:

Manic Street PreachersJournal for Plague Lovers: My brother has been a huge Manics fan (props to him for the non-parenthetical part of the title of this post, BTW). He had been raving on about this new album. I just listened to it, and it's pretty great.

An AlbatrossBlessphemy...of the Peace Beast Feastgiver and the Bear Warp Kumite: Also recommended from my brother, though I'd heard some of their songs before. Actually, I'll pop this one in the player now while I work on the rest of this post. (Update: Upon listening to this in full, I also deem this to be an excellent buy.)

The HivesBarely Legal: Swedish punk rock at its dirtiest. This was their 1997 debut (which I didn't know at the time of purchase). It's somewhat grittier than their newer stuff.

The WallflowersRed Letter Days: Hadn't heard this one, but I liked other Wallflowers stuff, so I decided to give it a shot.

Bob DylanLove and Theft: It's Bob Dylan. C'mon.

Mott the HoopleMott: Part of the English rock that inspired the likes of Mick Jones (of The Clash) and, I believe, Steven Morrissey (The Smiths). If it's good enough for those two guys, it's good enough for me. No question.

Bob DylanBob Dylan: It's Bob Dylan. C'mon. I hadn't heard this first one, though I'd heard other early stuff. It's pretty good stuff, man. Raw. Give it a try.

John VandersliceLife and Death of an American Fourtracker: I first heard Vanderslice when The Moutain Goats opened for him on tour back in 2004 or so. I've heard him live once or twice more after that. For some reason, I didn't really like Vanderslice live. It's kind of stale and there's a lack of onstage energy. But on record, I think he's great. Nice instrumentation and atmosphere. If you're interested, he has downloads on his website.

Bob DylanTime Out of Mind: See entries for Love and Theft and Bob Dylan.

The PopheadsEat Supermodels: A local band that I've opened for before (while I was in the short-lived Bombardiers). They were good. Furry pants.

The Magic NumbersThe Magic Numbers: A great album that I had downloaded but never purchased. I believe I listened to them from a Samir recommendation. This reminds me that there were a few philosophical/ontological quandaries during my time spent in Vinyl Fever yesterday. I came across albums (Loveless, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea) that I had in MP3s and that I loved and wanted on CD. I came across others (Hearts and Unicorns) that I already had on CD and wanted to buy again just because they were great albums at a killer price. There was one album I wanted to buy again on CD because mine had scratches (Breach). But I had to put things back and not buy duplicate music. For budgetary reasons. Fiscal responsibility, you know. The economy...

EnonLost Marbles & Exploded Evidence: I had missed them when they came to Tallahassee and I had always wanted to hear their stuff. Besides, I liked the album cover (always a good reason). I listened to this already, and it's good-not-great. Certainly not a disappointment.

The FeaturesSome Kind of Salvation: I got the first Features album in the budget section at Vinyl Fever shortly after it had come out. It was great. I wrote a review of it as a sample piece to be considered to write for the FSView. I've been waiting for this follow-up, especially after hearing about how they had label disputes and had gotten booted from Universal Records. This one is released on 429 Records, a new label founded by Kings of Leon.

Well, that about does it. As we were looking through records for what was probably our last time at Vinyl Fever, Matt and I kept finding stuff that we knew the other would be interested in. Most of the time, we also knew whether or not the other person had it in his record collection.

This is important stuff.

R.I.P. VINYL FEVER

You will live forever in our hearts.

And on our shelves.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Self-Promotion.

TheOnion
As part of #OurAnnualYear, we present the #TopQuotes of All Time. Use the hashtag #TopQuotes to add any we missed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On the Absurdity of the Situation

Actual Paper Prompt:

Since its first appearance in the XVth century the printing press was an object of defiance on the part of the political and religious European powers. How was the printing press controlled in England and on the continent of Europe during the XVIth and the XVIIth centuries?

I've checked out five books on this subject, one of which is 292 pages long and deals only with the various controls of the printing press only in Britain FROM ONLY 1640–1658.

This paper is supposed to be only 8 pages long.

We never discussed anything related to this in class.

*Let the cherry picking of quotes and cannibalizing of ideas begin!*

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Actual Work Email I Just Wrote

Hi – the down elevator button on the left side of our elevators on the fourth floor of Bellamy does not work. The other buttons seem to work fine, but this one won’t summon an elevator.

Thanks!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Following Is Why Twitter Is So Great — And If You Still Don't Like It You Can Suck An Egg

ryanqnorth OpenOffice doesn't like "Dromiceiomimus" and suggests "Palindromic" as a correction. Um, nobody has ever messed up spelling that bad, OO.

ryanqnorth "I don't know how to spell 'palindromic'! What's it start with, a 'D'? Fuck, I'm in way over my head here"


ryanqnorth #sorryforsayingfuckontheinternet has no search results. EVERYONE NEEDS TO CLASS IT UP SOME AND START APOLOGIZING.

---

(Or maybe it's why Ryan North, creator of Dinosaur Comics, is so great. Either way.)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Palin Word's Really Speak To Me — In 140 Characters Or Less

SarahPalinUSA Baffling/nonsensical:Obama's talk of yet another debt-ridden "stimulus"pkg.Fight this 1, America, bc after last 1 unemploymnt rose,debt grew

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

FSU Presidential Candidates

The board of trustees recently released a list of names in consideration for the FSU presidency (you just have to go to another site and login). I don't know how accurate this is, but I heard that they might have left a few key names off on purpose, so those people would avoid scrutiny. I also heard that the search committee will get together and decide on December 1 (today!) what candidates to invite to campus to interview. And then, apparently, on December 2-3, they will interview candidates.

What? One day for people to book trips to Tallahassee? Hurm...

Also, just received this in the email today. Maybe I'll make an appearance with my Pain shirt:

---

This message has been approved by Mary B. Coburn, Vice President for Student Affairs, for distribution to all students currently taking classes.

Students are invited to participate in an open forum to meet presidential candidates who will be interviewing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. Listed below is a tentative schedule for students to meet with selected candidates:

Wednesday, Dec. 2

3:00-4:00 p.m.

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 3

3:00-4:00 p.m.

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 4

3:00-4:00 p.m.

4:30-5:30 p.m.

The location for these sessions will be the Union Ballrooms. Please visit this link as further details are finalized: http://campus.fsu.edu.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Note on chain email

Note that if you get a chain email with the following video featuring CNN's Lou Dobbs talking about immigration legislation (an immigration reform proposal) involving John Boehner's views on the subject that the video clip is from May 27, 2007, when George Bush was president.



The bill was killed soon after it was "proposed" (it never came to a formal vote). The chain email implied that Obama was trying to get all illegal immigrants legal citizen status. But you can see from CNN's transcript that this video clip is from May 2007:

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0705/23/ldt.01.html

(Search text for "John Boehner.")

You can read more about the proposed bill here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Immigration_Reform_Act_of_2007

Facebook Security.

I tried to post the link to my Google Reader shared items into Facebook and it blocked me from posting it. The first time this has ever happened with any link posting.

"Some content in this message has been reported as abusive by Facebook users."

I guess some people clicked through the link from my profile info and somehow reported it as risque? I kept trying to post it, and then Facebook logged me out and said I was blocked until I re-confirmed my account.

So... if someone who's your friend in Facebook reports your link as being inappropriate... it can stop you from posting it? Why doesn't your friend simply block your activity from being visible, or, better yet, un-friend you? A Google Reader site is not spreading malware. I could have subverted it by converting it to a tiny link, but I didn't feel like it. So here it is. In all its glory.

My Google Reader Feed

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures

Josh Homme, John Paul Jones, and Dave Grohl walked into a bar... and this is what they came up with.

Gravy.

Presentations in my Tuesday/Thursday class start a week from today. The professor didn't give us a schedule of who is going when. He simply said "It will go alphabetically, 4 students per class. So figure out when you go."

Problem was, I have an out-of-town trip this weekend and I have yet to read the book I'm going to present on (much less put together a powerpoint). And since my last name starts with a "d" and since I had an idea that most last names would fall later in the alphabet, I thought I would have to present on Tuesday's class, the day I get back into town.

So I go to email everyone in my class to see if anyone could switch with me when I see

THAT I AM THE SEVENTH NAME OUT OF FIFTEEN STUDENTS IN THE CLASS.


*celebratory dance*

(This post is dedicated to all you "A" last names out there.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ebert's "Answer Man" column.

Q. I've heard most foreign films playing in French, German, Spanish and Italian-speaking countries are dubbed into the local language rather than subtitled. Is this true? I'm thinking about moving to Spain. Dubbing is such a crude, destructive practice, it's hard to believe it's routinely employed in supposedly sophisticated Europe. Are great performances in great films being obliterated by second-rate local actors? Can it be that the distinctive voices of Katharine Hepburn, John Wayne, Sean Connery, Rosie Perez and Steve Buscemi are unknown to European audiences who think these iconic actors sound just like the grocery clerk down the street?
Rich Gruber, New York City

A. Quite so. In cities such as Paris, the original version ("V.O.") will play, but elsewhere in a country, it's dubbed all the way. I think it might have been Peter Bogdanovich who told me his John Wayne impression fell flat at a dinner party in Rome because no one at the table knew what John Wayne sounded like.

Answer Man, October 28, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sweet!

Just a couple of days ago, I had this exact thought: Friends lists for Twitter so you can organize your damn feeds, instead of getting just one monster blob of a feed. You can probably do through another website or software, but I thought Twitter was a bit of a fool not to introduce the tool on its own. But now...

Monday, October 26, 2009

What's New?

Read Last Week: Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer, about (surprise, surprise) a young male Jewish writer from New Jersey.


I've only read one other Roth book before --- his take on the medieval play Everyman. I found both novels to be highly accessible, compellingly written, but not really groundbreaking or original or, in the end, all that entertaining. The Ghost Writer is about a young man breaking into his career field as a writer. He talks to an older writer/father figure, and he deals with his family's reception of his work and other things. Then there's a fairly strange turn about three-quarters through. I read it as an assigned reading for my Postmodern Literature class, and I think it was included as "Postmodern" for its alternative take on history, and, to a lesser extent, its uneasy construction, which slips fluidly into flashbacks and is fairly malleable in terms of its timeline (though it ends up being linear in the end). [Geez, what's with all that alliteration in that last sentence?]

Reading Now: Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, an anti-war novel from the '30s that shouldn't really be reduced to a description like that. From the first few chapters, it's been pretty impressive in its style. Trumbo uses a nearly punctuation-less prose that is effective, although I would never consider writing that way. Good to see stuff like that sometimes. So far, the narrator's reminiscing on his childhood before he made his way to war, but as the book progresses he realizes he was extremely wounded during the war and is now laying helpless in a hospital somewhere. He's got a strong voice, kind of like Holden Caulfield, but definitely not as snarky. I did find Johnny in the "Teen" section of my local library, but I think it's one of those books (like All Quiet on the Western Front) that can appeal to younger and older readers.

Playing: Borderlands (PS3 version). Pretty cool so far.


Listening to: Tokyo Police Club's Elephant Shell after grabbing their EP A Lesson In Crime off my shelf over the weekend. But it's feeling like it's going to be a very Morrissey Monday Morning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Idle Chatter From Last Night's Class.

Student 1: I successfully contested a $250 parking ticket for a handicapped spot by making a photo montage of the scene [various painstaking descriptions followed]... The review board asked me if I was a law student. I was flattered by that.

Student 2: You were flattered by that?

Student 3 (who obviously had previous knowledge of Student 1 and the reported incident): [To Student 1] Yeah. I really wish they hadn't let you get away with that.

[In S1's defense, his citation did seem unfair. There was no handicapped sign, and the markings on the street were covered over by debris from a nearby construction site. I just LOLed at S2's comment, so I thought I would share. Posting here takes out the inflections and timing involved in the delivery this exchange, but nonetheless...]

Monday, October 19, 2009

Checking up.

Nearly every day, I see weird news stories online. During college, I was reading Fark. Now Facebook, Google Reader, and Twitter provide pretty much all I can take.

But I was thinking about a couple past internet news sensations and where they might be today. Honestly, I thought both would be dead.

The first is the man who has eaten a Big Mac every day since 1972. He's still alive.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26623057/

And he keeps a few Big Macs in his freezer just in case another snow storm comes through and closes McDonald's. And he hasn't cut his hair in 20 years.

The second person I checked on was the guy who for 20 years drank only Pepsi. Meaning, the only liquid he consumed was Pepsi. He's still alive.

http://www.sirpepsi.com/pepsi10.htm

But he quit. Well, he still drinks Pepsi. But he drinks other things now, too. (See the note at the bottom of the site.)

Yuck.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Crime bulletin posting.

1) Why are you walking on the crappy side of campus at 4:20 a.m.?
2) Why are you refusing to give a person with a gun some money?
3) Why are you hitting a gun out of someone's hand?
4) Why are you doing it again?
5) Why are you running away from a person with a gun?

Crime Bulletin Armed Robbery

On Friday, October 09, 2009 at about 4:20am, an FSU student reported he was robbed between Smith Hall and Kellum Hall on the FSU campus by three males. The student was walking home between Kellum Hall and Smith Hall and he felt a gun pointed to the back of his head. He then struck the forearm of the male holding the gun. The gun fell to the ground and it was then picked up by a second male. The second male then pointed the gun at his face and told to give him all of his money. After refusing to give the male the money, he hit the gun to the ground again and began to run. The suspects fled the area. He did not see their direction of travel. The report was delayed to police approximately 30 minutes and no suspects could be located in the area. The victim was not physically injured.

YouTube Toggle.

YouTube now allows you to change the size of the video player on its sites.




It looks so much better this way. I assume it's because a lot people are watching more YouTube on bigger screens or on a screen they use for both their TV and computer needs.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Weird book covers.

Seriously, who put these things on the front of books?





It looks like Samuel's on the JOHN(son) and Lincoln's high school yearbook picture.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Film website.

What do you or what would you like to see in a website dedicated to film?

Email if you want to ramble: justindelacruz@justindelacruz.com

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blackberries.

Setting: Staff Lounge

Co-Worker 1 one stares at a small black electronic device on her lap.

Me: Whatcha got there?

Co-Worker 1: My new BlackBerry Storm. It's the touch kind.

Co-Worker 2: Yeah, we both just got BlackBerries. There was a sale, so they were only like, what, $25 a piece?

Me: Uh-oh.

Co-Worker 1: What?

Me: Now you're going to be on your phone all the time, texting and whatnot.

Co-Worker 1: No, I don't even know... do I have text messages?

Co-Worker 2: Yeah, I think the plan you got had to include everything --- like text messages, internet browsing... I don't know. We haven't... we don't really know which particular application to use, you know, to do text messages.

The End.

Monday, September 14, 2009

BeKancye (bee-kohntz-yay) Swift.

Lately, more than ever, it seems, we Americans are getting caught up in the small things. In the face of a crippled economy (the poor get poorer), an increasingly polarized government (the conservatives get... conservativer), and a handful of foreign conflicts ("war" is such a harsh term), we're busying ourselves with junk mail instead paying the bills. If you know what I mean.

When I first read online about the Henry Louis Gates incident, I knew from the story that it would be big news. But I didn't anticipate it being White House, Beer Summit-level news. The long and short of it is that this is one of the more "important" trivial matters that we've gotten bent out of shape over recently. In the end, whoever was right or wrong (I don't even have a very strong opinion of the matter), it shows without a doubt that we are not a post racial America. That just because we have a black president now, it doesn't mean that we're starting fresh, that we're past all that Jim Crow stuff. Far from it. Well, I think anyway. Would it have gotten so much exposure and been the talk of the news for about a week if we were actually a "post racial" society (whatever that means)?

So now, onward and downward to Representative Joe Wilson.



Okay, so he got a little hotheaded and he was privy to some shit about votes being cast for something or other. The president demands respect, yes, and there's a right time for this and that, yes, but why does everyone have to get all up in arms about this? Does it have to do with race again? That wasn't what anyone was talking about in reference to this (as far as I remember), but people have inappropriate outbursts all the time. Isn't it good at least that Wilson's passionate about something in government? Would it be better to have apathetic leaders? And aren't we glad that our government hasn't gotten to the point where they have fistfights like some foreign governments' sessions?

(I've skipped over the televised Obama speech debacle, sorry. If it's not clear, I consider all of these things to be non-issues.)

And now, we have Kanye. Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. He's evidently got some problems. But that's why some people love him. Before going into this, I wanted to verify through independent research which music video was better.



Single Ladies

(Sorry, the second video is un-embeddable.)

Now, in terms of the originality and creativity of the video concept and the execution, I hope it's clear to many that Taylor Swift's video lacks much. Irrespective of the songs involved (the VMAs are about the videos only, right? And music videos don't have to relate to their songs at all.), Beyonce's video certainly trumps Swift's. Swift's video is about a "misfit" young girl who pines for a handsome boy who is somehow infatuated with a "prettier" girl. There is an emotional appeal, yes, but it is older than the ages. It's not just a standard music video, it's a standard movie, a standard fantasy tale. It's so ingrained in our culture at this point, but some people still go for it.

Which is fine. But if you're judging a piece of art on some sort of criteria (admittedly, there is not much to be expected from MTV in this respect), it might as well be "originality" and "creativity" and maybe "impact." Sure, Swift has emotional impact, but what about Beyonce? She could have just as easily put together a music video of herself walking down a street in NYC, meeting up with some scrub boyfriends and telling them off because they haven't put a ring on her finger yet. But she didn't.

What is this video? It's got a retro feel to it, but that's not it entirely. Basically, it's three voluptuous women dancing intensely, artfully, and erotically. It's in black and white, it pans around, but it's just them in a studio, dancing. I heard that Beyonce said in an interview that it was all done in the first video shoot. Impressive. (That reminds me of the extended shots in Before Sunset, minutes upon minutes of dialog without a single cut.)

After viewing both videos (I just saw the Swift one for the first time), it seems that both reinforce stereotypical portrayals of women. Swift is the geeky girl who has to shed the glasses and the band uniform and slip into a Cinderella dress before she gets the attention of the star football player. (The song is about the other girl wearing skirts and the geeky girl wearing shirts... but the geeky girl realizes she has to give in...?) Beyonce's video is doing the usual subjection of women as sex objects. But there's also a perverse power there. The song's about not getting a ring, and Beyonce looks pissed off, and all of the flaunting of bodies seems to say, "Look at what you're missing out on, buddy. Just because you couldn't commit." It's "Independent Woman" ... Part III.

But, I mean, just look at that choreography. Who dances like that? When I saw Beyonce move at the VMAs, I was stunned. Who moves like that? It's alien. (I'm sure this is what a lot of people thought of Michael Jackson, but I was just a wee bit young for that phenomenon.) So Beyonce's video wins, without a doubt. Which is why she won Best Video, but not Best Female Video. Whatever, it's just a popularity contest anyway, right? (Which is reinforced by the fact that the VMAs took text votes to determine the winner of Best New Artist.)

So was Kanye right when he implied that Beyonce deserved to win? Yes. Was he right in rushing the stage? No. It was a Joe Wilson moment.



We shouldn't sit around and bicker over this. Everyone in their right mind (everyone who learned to share toys in preschool) knows that Joe Wilson was wrong and that Kanye was wrong. But do you really want to give all the attention to the bad kids in class --- the ones that steal all the toys and eat all the cookies? Why not instead celebrate the intense humility that Beyonce displayed when she ceded her reception speech to Taylor Swift?



I think you have to give more attention to the people doing right here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Job posting.

The following is a passage from a job posting for an "Academic Program Specialist" in FSU's Department of Athletics...

---

Requirements

Knowledge of Disability Determination Documentation, particularly for Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Hands-on experience working with students. Knowledge of Federal laws as they pertain to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Computer knowledge necessary.

---

Now, this position could be one that only deals with the "Disability" stuff for the whole department, but I get the feeling that it's just a regular-type program specialist.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

An excerpt from Nabokov's "Pale Fire."

For we die every day; oblivion thrives
Not on dry thighbones but on blood-ripe lives,
And our best yesterdays are now foul piles
Of crumpled names, phone numbers and foxed files.
I'm ready to become a floweret
Or a fat fly, but never, to forget.
And I'll turn down eternity unless
The melancholy and the tenderness
Of mortal life; the passion and the pain;
The claret taillight of that dwindling plane
Off Hesperus; your gesture of dismay
On running out of cigarettes; the way
You smile at dogs; the trail of silver slime
Snails leave or flagstones; this good ink, this rhyme,
This index card, this slender rubber band
Which always forms, when dropped, an ampersand,
Are found in Heaven by the newlydead
Stored in its strongholds through the years.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bad Mood.

Lacking sleep (from going to the ill-fated FSU/Miami game last night), this morning my mind jumped to Calvin and Hobbes (as it often does).


That about sums it up. I'm still waiting on my comic book and crackers.

And, to a lesser extent:

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Five Guys Tallahassee.

I heard about Five Guys Burgers and Fries opening a location in Tallahassee and I decided I had to check it out. For Tallahasseeans: It is in the plaza with The Red Elephant, across from Miracle Five.

I didn't know anything about this establishment other than the name. I had gotten a recommendation from my brother, who lives in Nashville. I walked in and saw a huge open floor with many wooden tables. Large open boxes of salted peanuts (still in the shells) where placed around the dining area for anyone to come grab a handful. (Surprisingly, there was only one table with enough gumption to chuck their peanut shells on the ground. Everyone else there was pretty clean about it.)

It's a very simple layout. Before you get to the ordering counter, you can see bags of potatoes, boxes of frying oil --- the essentials needed to keep their business running. The front counter is a long, flat affair that runs the width of the restaurant. Behind the counter were a dozen workers in red shirts and hats putting together food at various stations: flat stovetops (similar to those at Steak N Shake); work tables with rows of buns and condiments; fry station. The menu is simple: burger, cheeseburger, bacon burger, bacon cheeseburger. "Little" versions of all those. Fries. I wasn't going for a gorge fest, so I ordered a "Little Bacon Cheeseburger." When she asked if I wanted fries I had to think about it --- I wasn't very hungry, but I wanted the full experience. Well, it turns out that the full experience of fries is about three potatoes worth (no joke).

There were a lot of orders placed, but they worked pretty quickly and got my order out (correctly) after about 10 minutes (which I spent munching on peanuts and reading Ellison's Invisible Man for a class I'm in). Over the 40 minutes I sat there, the restaurant went from about 15% capacity to about 85%. The place is open 7 days a week from 11 am to 10 pm, which is both surprising and very cool.

My burger arrived wrapped in a small sheet of foil, a dense little cube. I had ordered lettuce, onion, tomato and mayo, ketchup, mustard, but they have a ton of toppings that are all free. The "little" burger had maybe a 5-inch diameter. The crunchy bacon was at the very bottom, then burger, cheese, toppings. The bread was a soft white bun (I don't remember if it had sesame seeds, but I don't think it did). It was a very pleasant burger. It reminded me a little bit of a steakburger. The toppings were fresh. Everything was juicy and crispy and crunchy and delicious. The fries were too much. They were very good, but I had about 2 potatoes worth of them left, and I began to wonder if it would be kosher to offer them to other diners. I thought that if some inconspicuous looking guy like me came up to me with a bag of fries, I would probably take them. But then I remembered the whole "swine flu" scare and just decided to trash them. (I didn't think they would last very well.)

So Five Guys is a neat throwback burger joint sort of experience. If you like burgers and fries, you will definitely like this place. (Prices were good, not great. Little over $9 for my little burger, a ton of fries, and a drink.) The only thing I regretted was the amount of waste I produced (in uneaten fries and peanuts I took, but also in all the packaging they used). Here was the aftermath:


No, it was not raining in the restaurant. Those are good-old-fashioned grease stains on the paper bag.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

24-hour party people.

Friday evening my band, Dead Letters, was practicing at our drummer's house. We were trying to polish things up for our upcoming show at The Engine Room this Wednesday. After playing for about half an hour, someone knocked at the front door. Two girls then entered, introduced themselves as the new neighbors, and invited everyone present (members of the household and our band) to the party they were having on the following night (Saturday). After about a minute, they also invited our band to play. (As someone pointed out to me, this sounds like an intro to a pornographic movie. I can assure you that it was not.)

We looked at each other for a second, and then immediately agreed. House parties are downright rock and roll. They're different than club gigs because the admission (and usually the drinks) are free. We know a good opportunity when we hear it.

The rest of our practice was then devoted to learning a couple of covers. Right off the bat, we thought we could do "Buddy Holly" and "Hey Ya" pretty easily. So we prepared those, and later that night and the next day we entertained more ideas for cover songs. About three hours before we started playing at the party, we were hammering out more covers. We were like a machine. The songs we quickly learned and performed were as follows:

Buddy Holly (Weezer)
Undone (The Sweater Song) (Weezer)
I Wanna Be Sedated (The Ramones)
Louie Louie (The Kingsmen)
Whatever You Like (T.I.)
Paper Planes (M.I.A.)
Hey Ya (Outkast)
El Scorcho (Weezer)

We did El Scorcho at the party as an encore without having practiced it before. We mixed in most of our original songs, which, I think, were well received. Somebody even said they'd come to our next show. I think we got offered more party gigs already. I don't want to sound conceited, but even with our bass player missing that night, we sounded really good out on their concrete slab of a porch. Energy was high and the Natural Light keg beer flowed. I'd love to play one club gig and one house party per month. I think that's my goal. We gotta learn some more cover songs! Suggestions? I really loved playing "Hey Ya," because it was a song I can respect, but it was also a crowd pleaser.