Thursday, May 31, 2007

watch what you think, they can read your mind

It has become way to common for me to be reading a story online, and I find myself dumbfounded that what I'm reading is a news story and not some crazy dystopian science fiction tale.

Fresh off Bush's signing of a directive that would give him nearly unlimited powers in the case of a "catastrophic emergency," it has been announced that the Department of Homeland Security has contracted Halliburton's former engineering division to construct detention facilities inside the United States in case of a national emergency. The purpose of the these camps would be to house civilians in the case of a massive terrorist attack or natural disaster. Apparently the official excuse to build these camps is blame illegal immigrants: ' "The idea of the KBR contract is to support the Army Corp of Engineers in case we experienced a sudden mass immigration and we had to respond quickly," she said. "We would need immediate detention facilities in the form of temporary housing that would enable us to determine if the large numbers of illegal immigrants were political or economically motivated, or if they were criminals or terrorists." ' Once again, my information is from a conservative source, not a liberal one.

Have "illegal immigrants" become our nations' Jews? They seem to be a popular scapegoat right now. My guess is that these new concentration camps (that's exactly what they sound like) would make a perfect place to stick any dissenters that they round up once we experience some kind of terrorist attack (one either created by the powers that be or one that they have foreknowledge about and allow to happen) and the powers of that new presidential directive are enacted.

I hope I'm wrong. I pray I'm being paranoid. This all sounds absurd, but each day there is more and more evidence that makes the absurd seem believable.

edit: From some other things I've read, I'm not sure that this is actually a brand new development, but even if the contract is a few months old, its no less alarming.

Friday, May 25, 2007

a long time ago...

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars in theaters. Craig and I plan on watching all three original movies today. At least that's what we said yesterday. To celebrate, here are a bunch of Star Wars related links:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

breaking young girls' hearts

For me, Chris Cornell is one of those artists that I would really like to see succeed. Don't get me wrong, obviously the guy has had enormous success over the years--seeing as he was in the of the biggest bands of the early nineties--but it has been obvious that things have been a little rocky for Chris since the demise of Soundgarden. The first Audioslave album was enjoyable, but it seems that Cornell reached his artistic peak with Soundgarden and his Euphoria Morning album, and his career has been circling the drain ever since.

I'd really hoped Carry On would be a good album, just like I hope the new Smashing Pumpkins album will be good. As a fan I want the albums to be good because I want to hear more quality music, but I also hate to see artists I enjoy become washed up and uninspired. But
Carry On shows few moments of inspiration. The cover of "Billie Jean" really isn't that bad, and the decent Casino Royale theme song is on the album too. I guess it's not any worse than I assumed it probably would be. Not terrible, just bland. Still can't wait to see him in concert, though.

Speaking of the Pumpkins, I was very happily surprised with how much I like "Tarantula," the first single for Zeitgeist. There may be hope yet. And I
really can't wait for that concert.

with a capital g

I can't begin to express my horror at a recent, relatively unmentioned, bit of political news from this past week: Bush signed a directive giving the presidential office the ability to control all actions of the federal government in the event of a national crisis-"any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." The directive appears to grant the president full powers without any congressional oversight. In other words, goodbye checks and balances.

Am I dreaming? Is this the newest Star Wars trilogy, with Senator Palpatine carefully plotting and manipulating his way towards galactic domination? This is complete lunacy! The entire Constitutional basis for our democratic republic has just been flushed down the drain. Our founding fathers probably aren't just rolling in their graves; I'll bet they're rising from the graves to escape to Canada or back to England.

I've said before that, despite his unapologetic tramping of civil rights, I believe Bush has still had the best interests of the country in mind. He's just been misguided in how he goes about it. From here on out, I'm throwing that opinion out the window. There is no reason anyone can give me that would justify such a move as this. Maybe Bush decided that eight years won't been enough and he'd like to keep his position. In my mind, the only explanation is pure greed, plain and simple.

If you want to dismiss this all as a bunch of liberal hyperbole, check out this summary of the story, from a conservative news source. See how much it resembles this liberal source.

To stick with the Star Wars theme: I have a bad feeling about this.

Monday, May 21, 2007

it took you to make me realize

This must be a joke... Chris Henry tested positive for opiates and will spend 88 days in jail?! I'm speechless. He's done. Wow... are there really people in the world this stupid? Maybe we should require a license to procreate, because people like him clearly shouldn't be allowed to spawn offspring. Part of me always wanted to defend him because of how much he brought to the offense, but at this point I can finally agree that I want him gone for good so we can move on.

Edit: Thankfully it seems that Henry did not fail his test after all. Someone should reprimand those prosecutors for jumping the gun on that one.

Friday, May 18, 2007

only love can break your heart

Pat Buchanan wrote a fantastic article about Ron Paul, defending comments the Republican presidential hopeful made in the recent Columbia debate regarding the reason we were attacked on 9/11. When Paul suggested that terrorists' hatred of the United States was driven by past U.S. involvement in the Middle East, Rudy Giuliani flew into a rage, trying to claim that Paul was unpatriotic for suggesting such a thing. Giuliani tried to completely warp Paul's comments into making it sound like Paul was blaming the U.S. for the attacks, which isn't the case at all. Paul was simply saying that actions like stationing troops in Saudi Arabia or sanctioning the Iraqi people created animosity towards to U.S. from the Arab world. That's just a fact. That in no way condones or rationalizes what the terrorists what the terrorists did. I get mad when someone cuts me off in traffic. The fact that he did something to anger me doesn't mean it is justified, or is his fault, if I follow him home and burn down his house for it (maybe that's a poor analogy, but that's all I can come up with on such little sleep).

I still think Ron Paul looks the best out of the Republican candidates, but I really don't see him getting the nomination with the way the news media, especially on television, is trying to ignore him and only focus on Giuliani and McCain.

breathe us in slowly

There's been something of an uproar created by Trent Reznor's recent post on nin.com in which he slams his record label for ripping off his fans:

Posted on [05_13_2007]

As the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more. A couple of examples that quickly come to mind:

* The ABSURD retail pricing of Year Zero in Australia. Shame on you, UMG. Year Zero is selling for $34.99 Australian dollars ($29.10 US). No wonder people steal music. Avril Lavigne's record in the same store was $21.99 ($18.21 US).
By the way, when I asked a label rep about this his response was: "It's because we know you have a real core audience that will pay whatever it costs when you put something out - you know, true fans. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy."
So... I guess as a reward for being a "true fan" you get ripped off.

* The dreaded EURO Maxi-single. Nothing but a consumer rip-off that I've been talked into my whole career. No more.

The point is, I am trying my best to make sure the music and items NIN puts in the marketplace have value, substance and are worth you considering purchasing. I am not allowing Capital G to be repackaged into several configurations that result in you getting ripped off.

We are planning a full-length remix collection of substance that will be announced soon.


This outburst has since been reported by a number of different news sites, including a decent article from Rolling Stone. He's also recently stated that he only has one or two more albums left on his current contract before it is fulfilled that will leave him free to do all kinds of things that his label is too short-sighted to do (live soundboard recordings of each live show on a tour being on possible example). I think it's fantastic to see him taking on the current climate of stupidity that surrounds record labels. He's absolute right about "self-inflicted" wounds, as the RIAA's strategy of aggressive lawsuits has done nothing but alienate consumers as sales continue to fall. Of course, the large number of absolutely horrible bands out now probably has something to do with that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

it's what you wanted to see

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS CONFIRM TWO RESIDENCY STANDS:

NINE SHOWS AT ASHEVILLE, NC’S ORANGE PEEL JUNE 23-JULY 5

AND EIGHT SHOWS AT THE FILLMORE IN SAN FRANCISCO JULY 22-AUGUST 1

As they get ready to release ZEITGEIST--their sixth album and first of new material since 2000--THE SMASHING PUMPKINS have announced two sets of residency gigs: nine unprecedented shows at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC (June 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30 and July 2, 3, and 5) plus eight shows at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco (July 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30 and 31 and August 1).

At these very special and intimate residencies, the band will vary set lists from night to night. They’ll perform songs from Zeitgeist and Pumpkins classics plus retool songs that didn’t make it onto Zeitgeist and even offer tunes written the day of the show. The shows will give fans a unique opportunity to see the Pumpkins inside the process of creation and operating in the spur of the moment. The band will be taking chances in the hope of taking fans, and their music, to new places.

The eight concerts in San Francisco mark the first time the band has returned to The Fillmore since April of 1994 when they were invited to be the band to re-open the historic venue. The Asheville shows mark the first time the Pumpkins will have played a residency since their four gigs at the Double Door in Chicago in 1994 before the release of Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. Fans attending the Fillmore and Orange Peel shows are invited to capture the concerts with audio and video recorders.

General admission tickets for these all-ages shows go on sale Sunday, May 20. The San Francisco tickets ($25.00 each) and will be available at 10:00 AM Pacific via www.ticketmaster.com and www.livenation.com. For the Asheville show, tickets ($20.00 each) will go on sale at 1:00 PM Eastern at www.theorangepeel.net or www.ticketweb.com.

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets for both shows will be available through internet ONLY. Tickets will NOT be available at either box offices, charge-by-phone or ticket outlets. Two-ticket limit per person. Purchaser must pick up tickets at the box office night-of-show only. Ticket-holders must immediately enter the venue. Photo ID required for ticket pick-up. Tickets are non-transferable. No refunds or exchanges. A service charge is added to each ticket price.


Wow, $20 for a Pumpkins show. I Mapquested directions and a trip to Asheville, NC would only be about six hours. Austin said he's interested. Anyone else? Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 1pm. I ended up passing on the Tool show, so I'm pretty set on this.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

washed me so far away

The rumors online say that NBC has renewed Scrubs for a shorter, 18-episode 7th season. Awesomeness. The 6th season may have been a little sub-par compared to previous seasons, but it is still one of the best shows on television.

The Office has been great in its 3rd season; in fact, this may have been the best season yet. However, I'm getting really tired of Pam. She was cool in the first two seasons, but now she's just mopey and annoying. Obviously the writers wanted people to root for Pam and Jim to get together, but now they brought Karen into the mix, who ends up being a more likable character than Pam. I think the writers made a mistake by giving Jim such a likable girlfriend like Karen. If they wanted viewers to still cheer on Jim and Pam getting together, they shouldn't have made Karen such a nice person. They ended up making Karen too likable for their own good; I for one would like to just see Pam move on. However, I don't think that is going to happen.

Based on last week's episode (SPOILER WARNING for last week's show), my prediction is that Karen will get the job with corporate that Jim, Karen, and Michael are applying for, removing her from the picture. Although I doubt they would let Pam and Jim just get together without any more roadblocks; the ever-present love triangle is one of their biggest drama points. I, for one, enjoy the show more when they don't play up the romance drama, but I don't think a lot of the audience (at least, not the female portion of it) agrees. Pam was a fun character the first two seasons, so maybe she'll go back to that if Jim becomes available again. I also think there's a possibility that there might be a big surprise plot twist involving Michael and Jan. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Jan is pregnant, but that is a completely blind guess on my part, and I'm probably 100% wrong.

Friday, May 04, 2007

sure don't mind the change

The "experts" at CBS Sportsline are up to their predictably terrible ways again. This time they're not ripping on Cincinnati or the Bengals, but one writer posted an article about the upcoming De La Hoya vs. Mayweather boxing match this weekend, which is a thin veil used by the author to rant about how much he loathes "the worst league ever invented, the UFC." It's a fairly amusing to see him rant about the "UFC barbarians" and "the ignorance that is mixed martial arts" and then go on to display his own ignorance of the sport and it's rules. He uses all the typical clich├ęd criticisms of MMA by calling it "human cock fighting" and it's fighters "thugs and ruffians." I might get annoyed or offended by this ignorant rant if it wasn't so laughable when he claims that MMA fighters are nothing more than unskilled goons. I'd love to see this guy try and learn Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's obvious that the author simply cannot handle that boxing is going the way of the dodo and would prefer to stick his head in the sand and convince himself that everything is alright.

Although it does pain me that that clown Doyle at CBS Sportsline is the one defending MMA.

the biggest fish out here

I never really got into Scrubs until this year, but it's become one of the few shows I watch regularly on TV. While this season hasn't been quite as good as the other ones- it has been a little too wacky at times, if that's possible for Scrubs- it is still one of the better shows on television. So I'm hoping the rumors of the show's demise at the end of this season won't come to fruition. ABC has stated they are interested in picking up the show if NBC drops it, but even they say that Zach Braff's asking price for a new season is too much.

Speaking of good shows, you should really check out Man Vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel if you haven't seen it. Bear Grylls might be the coolest person alive.

standing in the sun i'm about to melt

I remember now why I rarely go to bed earlier than 1am; went to bed about 45 minutes early tonight, woke up at 3am, and I've been up since. Tried going back to sleep but my back kept hurting, so I decided I might as well just get up for now. I'm debating if I should try to go back to sleep or just sleep after class tomorrow morning.

I'm disappointed with Prilosec OTC. I had been getting heartburn five or six times a week, multiple times a day, so I thought I'd try one of their 14 day treatments. The stuff was fantastic while I was taking it. The heartburn stopped after the first couple days and never came back. Unfortunately, less than a week after I finished the two weeks of taking it the heartburn already started coming back. It's supposed to last for several months, so I may call the good ol' Procter and Gamble customer service line and ask for my money back.

I need to get back to the rec again. The last time I lifted weights I was sore for almost a week but it felt great and I really needed it. I went running yesterday and I remembered why I just can't run for exercise anymore. I can't go more than ten minutes before my lungs start burning uncontrollably. The inhaler my allergy doctor helps a little, but not enough to let me run unhindered. He wants me to come in for another lung function test before I graduate. Maybe I'll be officially diagnosed with asthma this time instead of just falling short of it. There's a goal...

Sorry if this has been whiny, but what do you expect at 4:30am on three hours of sleep?