Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wife Swap

Here's a quick TV review I wrote for this week's Sac News & Review.

Wife Swap

Reality TV tends to put the most vain, vacuous members of our society in situations that bring out the worst in them. A show called Wife Swap wouldn’t seem likely to buck that trend. But give it a watch. If you get past the introductions, where two families have their quirks displayed, you’ll find a positive, life-affirming show. The adage about walking a mile in another man’s shoes applies as mismatched matriarchs trade households. For example, a traditional Christian family swaps with a pagan coven. Each woman spends one week living by her new household’s rules and the next week imposing her own. Every time, the folks you considered repulsive at first find a way to shine as they confront their prejudices--and yours. Great campy drama and a redeeming message? It’s the best of both worlds.

Okay, so that's the review as it appears in the paper, but here, where I have more room, let me expand. This show rules, as does Nanny 911 and that other Nanny show also. These shows are the best thing to happen to reality T.V. They don't exploit society's loonies being morally bankrupt, instead they confront the seemingly clueless and they give clues or set them up to learn the lessons themselves. It's educational television about parenting and getting along, things we could all learn more about. I can't wait for Wife Swap to go international.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New Fiction Post

Click Here to read Suicide Hotline. I plan to write more fiction. To push myself. I hope you like it.

Auuuugggggghhhh, I got a cold!

Bryna was down for one day of our Santa Cruz trip with it, and never was quite 100%. Now I have it. I woke up with my throat killing me. So I worked a short day, and I'm doing the rest of my work from home. I'll do the blogging I promised later. I'd post some cold related cleverness, but I'm too darn beat. You'll have to look elsewhere for cleverness today. My god, what would happen if all the bloggers got sick. It would be the great cleverness drought of '06. We'd have to settle for network television writing staff cleverness, and lord knows that's second rate.
And if you're wondering about the graphic, that's a cold virus. Go ahead and click on it to see the Giant Microbes website.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Home, home at last

It's so good to be in my own apartment again, about to crawl into my own bed. Yay.
I'll write soon about raw food, MOMA and more.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Ben Lomond Skate Park

I got up early this morning and went skating. About three miles up highway 9 from where we're staying in Felton (which is just up 9 from Santa Cruz) I found this cool skate park. There were a couple of kids already there and they were really nice. It's funny I skated okay when I got there, but I swear I got more confident and skated better after talking with the kids and seeing that they were friendly. Then they left and I skated better still. I had a blast. When some new folks showed up, a father son, and they were totally cold I started to feel kinda clumsy. It's weird how much stuff like that affects you. Skate like no one's watching, to co-opt the cliche. Skating is a great way to start the day. I wish the Sacramento park opened earlier. I may hit Ben Lomond again tommorow.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I'm a bad blogger

Here I am, in a cabin in the mountains, just outside of Santa Cruz, and we didn't bring a camera. So, you'll have to take my word for it when I tell you how pretty it is here. There's a river running righth behind our cabin and a little porch where we can sit and watch it go by.
We've eaten twice at The Dharma Cafe in Capitola, and other than that we've just enjoyed being away from Sacramento and our jobs and our hectic life. The cabin is actually in Felton. Felton is a cool little town. We've just dipped our toe in, heading there today to buy a tooth brush, but we discovered a lot of cool little shops, a great health food market and lots of restaurants that we'll have to go back and check out.
For now, there's a hot tub beckoning, and then tonight dinner at a raw foods restaurant in Santa Cruz called Cafe La Vie. Tommorow I want to go to Pink Godzilla Sushi have some food and get a t-shirt and then on Monday we'll drive into S.F. to go to the Museum of Modern Art and then another raw foods restaurant before heading home. Maybe I'll give in and buy a disposable camera.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Palace of Stains

I had the pleasure of taking a role in Bob Moricz' latest flick, Palace of Stains, as did about half of Sacramento. Read all about it HERE and see a cool pic of me with an axe HERE. Go see the movie Friday night on the Crest's big glorious screen. The stars will be out and it should be a fun filled night with lots of characters.

The Cage Fighting Article

Here's blood in your eye
From today's News and Review
Read more of my New and Review articles here

It was an exciting night of mixed martial arts, including a celebrity appearance from Ultimate Fighting Champion Chuck Liddell. Eleven bouts would take place in the large white tent as the Palace Indian Gaming Center’s capacity crowd of more than 2,000 fight fans cheered and booed. The three-and-a-half-hour drive to Lemoore last Friday was well worth it to show support for the two Sacramento fighters participating in WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) 19.

First, Sacramento’s James “Sandman” Irvin battled Lodune “Vanilla Gorilla” Sincaid. Irvin was the superior fighter on his feet, but Sincaid succeeded at keeping the fight on the ground, where he dominated in spite of some impressive submission attempts by Irvin. In the third and final round, as Sincaid was foiled and punished through several takedown attempts, Irvin simply refused to go down. Irvin was looking good--but with two rounds lost, it was too late to win by decision. He threw high kicks hoping to score a knockout. At least one connected well with Sincaid’s head, but a later kick cost Irvin his balance and put the fight once again on the ground. In the end, Sincaid took the fight by decision. Sacramento wasn’t victorious, but we made a good showing. Irvin is a fighter to be proud of, particularly for the shrewd strategic adjustments he was able to make between rounds.

We got another shot at glory as Sacramentan and King of the Cage belt-holder Urijah “California Kid” Faber was here at WEC to claim the featherweight belt. Of course, his opponent, Cole “Apache Kid” Escovedo, would not relinquish it easily.

Faber dominated the fight early, taking things to the ground with a knockdown punch. There he continued delivering fists and elbows, without taking much return fire. This changed when he decided to try a submission hold, latching on to Escovedo’s heel and going for a hook. As Faber put both hands into the heel hook, he took punch after punch to the face and head, swelling and bleeding below his right eye. He must have felt confident in his submission skills as he took the punishment and continued maneuvering for a first-round win. But it wasn’t to be. Faber let it go, and, although clearly exhausted from the effort, he resumed his dominance of the fight. Things got especially bloody as Escovedo’s forehead opened up. Forehead wounds, while not especially serious, can bleed heavily, and blood in the eyes can end a fight. Escovedo held on through all three rounds, but he wasn’t ever able to stay out from under Faber, who pressed down on him--rising to deliver more elbows whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The bell rang, the fight was over, and Faber and his fans had no doubt the belt was his. As the judges delivered a unanimous decision, cries of “Sacto! Sacto!” filled the tent.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Larry The Racist Cable Guy?

Is Larry The Cable Guy a racist prick. Well, I've never found him funny, so I wasn't planning on seeing his new feature length fart joke anyway, but a tirade on David Cross' website has me wanting to spread the word. I'll let Larry speak for himself. Here are quotes Cross uses in making his argument that Larry is something much worse than just an amazingly unfunny comedian. And note, the insertions, in parenthesis are Cross' not mine.

Re: Abu Ghraib Torture -

"Let me ask some of these commie rag head carpet flying wicker basket on the head balancing scumbags something!"

Re: Having a Muslim cleric give the opening prayer at the Republican Convention -

"What the hell is this the cartoon network? The Republicans had a muslim give the opening prayer at there (sic) convention! What the hell's going on around here! Is Muslim now the official religion of the United States!... First these peckerheads ( Ironically, "peckerhead" was a derogatory word slaves and their offspring used to describe white people) fly planes into towers and now theys (sic) prayin' before conventions! People say not all of em did that and I say who gives a rats fat ass! That's a fricken slap in the face to New York city by having some muslim sum-bitch give the invocation at the republican convention! This country pretty much bans the Christian religion (the religion of George Washington and John Wayne) virtually from anything public and then they got us watchin' this muslim BS!! Ya wanna pray to allah then drag yer flea infested ass over to where they pray to allah at!"

Cross then posts his favorite quote:

" look, I love all people (except terrorist countries that want to kill us)..."

The group I think Larry's the's most racist against are the white southerners that love him. He is to southern whites what black face was to Southern Blacks. Here's a guy who did not grow up in the south, playing a big southern dumb ass for all the wannabe country goofballs of the country to eat up.

I'm not a big David Cross fan either to be honest, but I'm glad he's bringing this stuff to light. You can read his open letter to LTCG here and witness him wasting lots of space being un PC and congratulating himself on being un PC. Compared to the Cable Guy though he's a freakin' genius.

Thanks to Heckasac for linking the Cross story.

Film Reviews, Ballets Russes and Find Me Guilty

Two more movie reviews from Jason. Visit his site HERE.

I originally hadn't planned on seeing this, because I have zero interest in ballet. But after the universal raves I've heard from an amazing amount of customers, and the fact that a good documentary can make anything interesting, as well as the ribbing of my co-workers (they consider me the go-to guy about our movies, because I always see everything we get), I decided to check it out.'s good. Focusing on the legendary troupe of ballet dancers (the original members were all Russian refugees) and their eventful, decades-long existence, which saw many struggles over power, money and ego, while also essentially creating the modern concept of ballet. The highlight for me is the reminiscing by the still-living members who were interviewed for the film, as they are an entertaining and saucy bunch. My only real problem with the film is that it felt too long - it's an interesting, informative, and warm film - it's just that I can only be interested in ballet for a limited amount of time.

A surprisingly involving and enjoyable courtroom comedy/drama from sometimes-great director Sidney Lumet ("12 Angry Men", "Dog Day Afternoon", "Network"), it's the true story of Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel in a terrific performance - yes, that Vin Diesel!), a mobster who refused to rat on his friends, even when it would have meant getting out of a 40-year jail sentence. One of the many defendants in a trial that went for nearly 2 years, he chose to defend himself (despite having no law experience), and helped win over the jury with his charisma and good-natured sense of humor (much of the courtroom dialogue is taken directly from court transcripts). It's definitely a sentimentalized and "Cliff's Notes" version of the story, but it's still an engaging and entertaining film, and (believe it or not) Vin Diesel really rocks the lead role, more than holding his own with a talented supporting cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Annabella Sciorra, and Ron Silver.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My ad in Morbid Curiosity Magazine

Thanks to my friend Irina for designing it.

Protesting Iraq War, where Was I?

Yeah, I hate this war. I think our lunatic president has made us all tremendously less safe while making his friends a whole lot richer. I think he was naive in thinking it would be a cake walk, like kicking Iraq out of Kuwait was. I protested and objected as loudly as I could during the lead up to the war. So, where was I this weekend? Why wasn't I joining the thousands around the globe calling for an end to the whole mess?

I was against going in, but we're there now, and while it was a bad move at a bad time conducted poorly and clumsily, it's too late to erase it. We can't take it back. It was wrong to pre-emptively invade a country, but we've taken out their leadership and as corrupt and cruel as that leadership was without it there is a blood bath power struggle. Is it right to step out now, leaving the big old mess we made?

But I can't bring myself to support staying either, because we stay and we abuse prisoners, and we give contracts to fat American companies, and we make things worse with each passing day.

So what the hell do I stand for? It's a confusing issue. I guess what I'd like to see most is a transferring of as many responsibilities as possible to the U.N. Give them the reigns for the reconstruction. Bush doesn't want to do that because he doesn't want the folks who didn't help him bake his bread to have a slice. Well the bread is moldy Bush.

At any rate, I feel ineffective and even a little desperate. I can try to reduce my own oil dependency and to do what I can to encourage others in the same direction. I can strive to be kind and loving and compassionate. That'll have to do for now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Skating, Fighting, Writing

My brother picked me up Friday around 1 pm and we headed south to Lemoore California for the World Extreme Cagefighting event at the Indian Casino there. My brother snapped some photos, I'll add them to this post later, after he sends them to me.

Mixed Martial Arts is legal in California now, in fact there we'll be fights this spring at the Memorial Auditorium right here in Sacramento. It'll be interesting to see how this affects the
Indian Gaming MMA events. For tonight though enough people were willing to make the commute, and it was mostly commuters, as NOTHING is close to Lemoore.

The fights were in a big tent that held 2,000 plus people. The tent was surrounded by mud and there were leaks in the tent including one leaking into the cage, which was pretty lame. Other than that they put on a good show and the fighters were amazing. We saw some great bouts. I got press seats since I was covering the event for the News and Review. Our seats were incredible. We just feet from the action. My article will come out this thursday and I'll link it from here. For now I don't want to say too much about the fights themselves out loyalty to the paper. They get first dibs.

I'm hoping to write for some other publications so that I can cover every fight in our area, and beyond, as there is nothing as exciting as Mixed Martial Arts live and in person.

Walking back to the car I had to stop and stretch. My legs hurt from skating hard two days in a row after being a lazy but for so long while my broken bones worked on healing. I stretched a-lot on Saturday and then I did some more skating today. A friend built a short half pipe in her werehouse and it's awesome. She built it with learning tricks in mind. A low platform to practice dropping in, small coping wich she'll switch to more severe coping as we all get better. All in all a really great place to skate. I'll be bugging her to let me skate there all the time.

The coolest thing is how different she goes about learning. We spot each other and give each other advice. I've never skated with anyone that would put that much effort into helping me learn a trick or try something new. I love it. She's nervous about the idea of letting Antonio skate there as she'd be liable if he got hurt, since he's only 9. Too bad, he'd love it. And yes, I know I'm not mentioning my friends name. She wants to keep her ramp low key and doesn't need my millions of readers banging on her door.

Now I'm working on fine tuning the fight story for the News and Review and working on the rewrite of my book. It's nice to have a day free to work on this, though I keep itching to go to the parking lot across the street and skate some more.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Morbid Curiosity

Morbid Curiosity Magazine is publishing my story "I hate my guts."
They previously published my Reality Television story.
So, that's exciting. They do a reading for the magazine's promier that's a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it. Becca, from ICBINC and my friend Mattie both have stories in this issue as well.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More on the No Petrol experiment

So, I'm stoked on the month of no petrol idea, see two posts down, basically, one month, no driving or even being a passenger in any gas powered vehicle.

I'm going to invite any and all to join me, in fact if you're reading this you are cordially invited. I'll set a date soon. Very soon.


It would be BS if I did this, but let my girlfriend use the car to get all the groceries and laundry done, SO, I will do half the shopping and my own share of the laundry, meaning my clothes and half of the towels, sheets, etc. without the aid of a car. We don't have a washer and dryer in our apartment and so we use a laundry mat if you haven't figured that out.

My nephew. I enjoy taking my nephew skating, but the park's a bit far for a 9 year old to ride his bike. The light rail wouldn't get us much closer. We may have to settle for street skating for a while, and he can find someone else to take him to the park if he wants to go.

Visiting my parents. I'm actually going to try going out to both parent's houses at least once. It's about a twenty minute drive, mostly freeway to my mom's and just a pinch longer to my dad's so it'll probably be a good hour or more by bike. We'll see. I might see about borrowing a bike that's more geared toward road trips. My Dino is too concerned with looking cool.

Going out of town will be really rough, but maybe I'll convince Bryna to ride with me to one of the nearby hotels on the river or even to Davis for our get out of the grid fix.

That's it for now. Please get in touch if you're interested in doing a month, or even a week, day or whatever, without petrol.

Post Script: Just got back from riding my bike to the skate park. Two days in a row skating, nothing broken. My bad streak has ended? I hope. I'm knocking on wood.

Skating Again

Went skating yesterday and didn't break any bones. Yeah. Now I skate with a helmet, and wrist guards, and I'm pickin' up some knee pads soon too. Had a great time skating with my nephew at an outdoor skate park in Natomas. Afterwards we had sushi with Bryna, her sister Emily and her Mom. Good times. Going skating again tonight. Wish me luck.

A month without Petrol

With our oil fueled wars and global warming I've been trying hard to reduce my driving. I was on the freeway yesterday, and looking at the endless stream of cars, ugghh. I feel horrible being a part of it.

I'm going to go one month without gas fueled transportation. This doesn't just mean no driving it means no riding in cars, or busses. I can use the light rail as it's electric, but other than that I'll be on foot or bike for one month.

I'm going to give myself a month to prepare, and to let the weather get a little better. It's my first time doing this, so I'll be generous with myself in that way, but maybe I'll do a year next.

I'll blog about my preparations over the next month and then I'll try to blog daily durring the actuall month of no petrol.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tech Tuesday Two

No, I will not say Electic Boogaloo, and neither should you. It's time to let that one die. Thanks. And now, back to the bloggin'.

Exclusive's for online music services suck!
The Rolling Stones, exclusively on I Tunes. Keith, Mick, Charlie, Ron, whoever else, for shame! Giving your entire library exclusively to one online music provider is crap. Would you agree to sell your CDs exclusively at Wal-Mart? Or to allow your music to be played exclusively on Clear Channel? Well, yeah, you probably would, but it's too late and you didn't get your chance. Glad you're making up for it you bad boys of rock. Don't worry, we the consumer are thrilled to have less choice. We love a monopoly.

A virus for Mac?
Maybe it's the anti-competitive behavior above, or perhaps the annoying I Pod advertisements but some cyber vandal finally decided it was worthwhile to create a virus that attacks the Macintosh Operating System. It's not so exciting as one would think. It seems Mac's Linux based security system is pretty damn effective and the Leap-A virus relies on a novice operator approving the attachment it's embedded in before it can launch. The virus was not spread far and it would seem Mac users can still tease us Windows users for being more vulnerable to viruses and more attractive to virus authors.

How Not To Get A Virus
This is especially for you beginners.
  • The main thing you can do to keep from getting a virus or any malicious software is not to download attachments that you're not 100% sure were sent to you and even then scan them with an anti-virus program. I use Yahoo for my e-mail and I've been happy with their virus scanning. Ocassionaly I have to skip seeing that oh so hillarious video clip because I can't get assurance that it's virus free.
  • Remember, even if the e-mail seems to come from someone you know this doesn't mean it's safe. Viruses spread by mailing themselves to every address in the affected computer's address book.
  • And even if your Aunt Sue really did forward you the funny video of the singing penis, where did she get it? Did she scan it? Can you trust that she's not unwittingly passing on a nasty virus or pest?
  • You put yourself at risk everytime you download from a website also. Do not download from sites that you are not very familliar with.
  • Lastly, consider using Mozilla's Firefox as your browser. This free browser has some wonderfull security features and many users, myself included report having less trouble from pests and ad-ware after switching to Firefox. You can find this software here
There is more you can do, purchasing security, using a firewall, but it's the simple mistake of opening every attachment sent to you that seems to cause more problems on more computers.

That's it for this week. I'll drum up some more tech oriented stuff for next Tuesday. Suggestions and questions are welcome.

V for Vendetta

*** and 1/2
Wow. Imagine if Fight Club had been released post 9-11. It's hard to imagine it happening at all. That a major studio released V for Vendetta and is advertising it on Network television, showing it in mainstream theaters, is just inconcievable to me.

The film, based on a comic by Allen Moore, is about a British government that grabs power through religion and fear of terrorism, drawing obvious parallels to the current exploitation of such fears by those in power around the world today. This government is our own taken to it's likely Orwellian extremes. The film's hero is a buildling destroying, government official assasinating terrorist. With bible thumping, faith extolling bad guys, a couple of gay good guys and terrorism presented as a valid and effective tool for social change, even as beautiful, it will be interesting to sit back and watch the right wing media go nuts.

Getting past the shock that this film was made and released at all, I enjoyed it. It has some strange twists and quirks that feel very comic book in nature, and the hero is quite verbose, (ah if only I had the patience to write this post all in V's, like the first oh so long speech of the film) too verbose at times, but it fits his character.

Hugo Weaving does a good job creating this character even as his face is kept always behind a mask. Natalie Portman is great, playing the mellowdramatic seens with full conviction and taking it over the top only as much as the script calls for. John Hurt is fantastic as the Hitler like man in power.

The least believable character in V is the public. The public that put an oppressive government in power is overwhelming supportive of seeing that government put down. In real life there is of course always that portion of our population who passionately embraces the fear and the powerful people who convince us that they are protecting us from it. It would have been interesting to these folks represented and to see the Londonites of the near future as a bit more diverse.

The Wachowski Brothers show that they can work without the film tricks, fight coreography and other stylistic goodies that they employed to blow us all away with The Matrix. Here there are actually few action scenes but the audience may not have really been aware of that as the plot is propelled forward and entertaining throug out.

I've heard critics saying the movie feels like it has a political agenda but what that agenda is isn't clear. I wonder what film these guys were watching. It's clear as day. The Wachowskis are screaming that fear (of other religions, foreigners, homosexuals, terrorism) can put bad people in power, that the media is a government tool and please note that the V symbol is one line away from being the anarchy symbol. The message didn't feel heavy handed because it was simply, blatantly obvious, set in front of us from the start.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Best Of John Belushi

I just watched The Best Of John Belushi, a dvd I got from Ben for my birthday. I am having to admit to myself that the early SNL wasn't flawless. They had more hits than misses and when they hit they hit hard, but there are definately some skits on here that, well, kinda stink. Samari Night Live being an especially sour example. The Samari Tailor and Semarai Delicatessen skits were riotous, but this confused parody of that year's most popular movie combined with a sad attempt to get more out of a routine that had given all it had to give was especially pointless, though it's always interesting to see the young, pre-wife killing O.J. Simpson on the screen.

The dvd extras include Belushi's screen test, which I've been hearing about for years. There's an interesting point where Belushi does something, apparently not visible on camera, and the rest of the cast half laughs and half gives an "ooo" as in "Oooo, you're gonna get busted." Then you hear a voice that I assume is Lorne Michaels' say "Don't do that again John." Pretty curious. I wonder what he did. It's torture to hear Andy Kaufmann called onto camera after John and not get to see him. To the best of my knowledge this tape is not available in it's entirety, with all the Not Ready For Prime Time Players screen tests plus Andy.

The best extra is a short documentary made up of more SNL footage and interviews with Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, Lorne Michaels, Al Franken and more. They use footage from skits that are much better than many of those chosen for The Best Of John Belushi. Which skits actually were chosen to represent the best are sometimes confusing. For instance the Killer Bees are only seen doing a blues number? Sure, it's always cool to see Belushi sing, but the skits, The Killer Bee skits, are hillarious.

It's a fun DVD to have in my collection but I don't think I'll be buying any more Best Of SNL dvds waiting instead for the 1st season to be released in it's entirety, which is way overdue.

Block Party, 16 Blocks, Ultraviolet

Jason is back from Vegas & watchin' lots o' movies. Here's three new reviews. Be sure to visit him at

Repetitive but warm and entertaining comedy documentary/concert film about a free, all-day block party Dave Chappelle threw for the New York neighborhood of Bed Stuy, featuring spirited musical performances by an array of more artful, politically/spiritually oriented hip-hop and soul artists like Kanye West, Common, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and many others. There are many moments of fresh, unscripted humor as Chappelle interacts with regular people as well as the artists, but don't expect non-stop, "Chappelle's Show"-style hilarity. This is a true concert film above all other things, and a good one.

"Ultraviolet" is following on the heels of another movie that came out a few months ago called "Aeon Flux", also about a sexy female superhero fighting an oppressive government in the distant future. However, whereas "Aeon Flux" was actually rather well done and a lot more fun than anyone wanted to give it credit for, "Ultraviolet" really is a bad movie. Still, the outright cheesiness of it is entertaining if you're a fan of un-self-conscious B-movies, and Milla Jovovich (who I've been a fan of since the awesome and underrated "The Fifth Element") manages to create a likeable and sympathetic heroine, despite the ridiculousness of it all.

16 BLOCKS ***
A genuinely unusual and original action movie is hard to come by these days, and Richard Donner's exciting "16 Blocks" is about as close as you're going to get. Bruce Willis plays Jack, an alcoholic wreck of a police detective who is given the task of escorting a prisoner named Eddie (Mos Def) to the courthouse 16 blocks away. Eddie is a witness set to testify against a group of dirty cops, and unfortunately for them both, a lot of those dirty cops (led by an oily David Morse) are between them and the courthouse, and plan on making the journey as difficult as possible. Unfolding in near real-time, "16 Blocks" is a consistent and efficient action film, directed by Richard Donner (the classic "Lethal Weapon" films, "The Goonies"), a master of the genre. It's got a 70's-style grit to it, and the strange pairing of Willis and Def remains interesting even when it edges toward sappiness in the end. Then again, Riggs and Murtaugh were known to be a bit sappy as well, so it's all good.

Thursday, March 9, 2006


I owed over $200 bucks in state taxes for 2003. I sent in a letter asking why I wasn't granted amnesty and why I didn't get a renters credit. I got a call back from a woman who explained that the amnesty was only offered up to 2002, and I didn't understand the reason why I didn't get the renters credit.

"Okay, so I jus have to pay it eh?"

"Yes. I'm afraid so."

Now this should be goodbye, but being me, I keep talking.

"That's too bad. I was trying to be good, getting all my taxes caught up. I had my dad help me. I'd been on the road for years and once I fell behind it was so hard to get caught up. I've learned my lesson though. I have 2005 all done already and good to go."

"That reminds me of my son. Here, let me see what I can do. I think we can give you and exemption here, and I think we can let this go here..."

Next thing you know they owed me $12.
So you see, being a nice guy even when you're not getting what you want sometimes pays off. This lady probably deals with people whining and having temper tantrums all day. She was willing to go the extra mile for a nice person. Yes I realize this is crap. I realize I shouldn't have to be nice in regards to weather or not I have my money stolen from me by the state, but hey, take the world as it is while trying to make it more like it should be yeah? And keep your money. Yay!

Walk The Line

Birthday dinner with dad last night. Collard greens, fried portabello mushrooms, brown rice and sweet potatoes. He also cooked up some fish for the ominivores.
I practiced doin' ollies on my new skateboard in his backyard, managing not to break any new bones and then we all watched Walk The Line.

The acting is excellent and over all the movie was pretty good. I might have liked some more music especially some live concert scenes that really captured the excitement of a live show. I thought "Ray" did a better job in this respect. One can't help comparing the two movies. The Johnny Cash of this film is a-lot more vulnerable and needy than the tough as nails Johnny Cash of his songs. This is mostly a good thing but it's a bit over done in places.

The movie did what any good biopic of a great artist should do. It made me feel like I wasn't doing enough to push my own art. I find I'm defending myself to myself. Reassuring myself that I'm editing my book, working on two short films, and getting scripts ready for a series of short films with my comedy troupe who just finished an eight week run. I guess I'm doing a-lot. It would help if more of what I did had the immediate feedback of being on stage. Oh well. I could do more of the open mic poetry type scene, but mostly I write stories and long ones at that. I dream of the day I get a book published and do a tour. That will rule.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Tech Tuesday

I want to start a tech column in a local publication. I'm not the biggest techno geek and neither am I a ludite. I'm somewhere in the middle and therefore well suited to choose tech issues of interest to only moderately tech savy people and to do so in plain language. I hope.

Google Video Changes the Game
If you have a website, even just a blog, is putting you in a position to be able to have video on your site easily and without fears of using more bandwidth than you can you afford.
Sign up for a free account and you're able to submit videos to the huge database of video files Google is compiling. Google will take any video as long as it's not deemed obscene. They host the videos and they even have a hand dandy link that will give you the code to put the video on you site. You're visitors will view the clip from your page while Google takes the hit to the bandwidth.
Don't have any videos of your own? You can peruse through, find clips you like and put them on your site. Remember that other webmasters and bloggers can also use your clips without crediting you, so if you're submitting original material identify yourself in the clip.

This is one step back towards keeping the small time players in the game with the big boys who would just as soon own the inernet the way they own TV and radio.

Click here for an example of this site using Google Video to host a clip.

A Tip for Online Shoppers
A quick lesson was learned this weekend. Ordering three books on Amazon my girlfriend was bummed to find two of them didn' t qualify for free shipping. She looked at the more expensive versions of the same books, which were only a dollar more, but came with free shipping. The shipping would have been about four bucks a book, so we saved six bucks and our books are on the way.

Apple is to be commended. They've done a great job of making folks think that they have a monopoly on Podcasting, hell it's even named after their product. So, for the many folks I've run into who still don't know you don't need an I-Pod or even a portable MP3 player to listen to podcasts. A podcast is just an Mp3, and most podcaster use something called an RSS feed to send out and automatic notice when they upload a new episode, that is to say a new MP3. There are many services now that will allow you to sign up for the RSS feed once you get the address from the podcast you're interested in subscribing too. Apple does indeed offer one of the best and it's free at

That's it for now. I'd love to hear your ideas and I'll get some more out next week.

Monday, March 6, 2006

My Birthday

It's all over now, well almost. I still have to have my birthday dinner with my dad on Wednesday.

On my actual birthday, yesterday, I woke up after having a lovely night with my sweetheart, movies and lots of cuddling (I'll not kiss and tell) and had a lazy morning. Bryna told me she was taking me out to lunch but first we had to feed her sister's cat as her sister went whale watching. When we got Emily's house to feed the cat all of Bryna's sisters were there with our friends Chris and Jesse and the husbands and boyfriends (Bryan and Adonis) and lots of food and drinks and presents.
After that nice afternoon surprise party which Lydia and Emily put together, best little sisters ever, I went to an ICBINC wrap party to celebrate the close of our 8 week run. There were some presents for me there too.

Now for the presents. Adonis got me The Wild Bunch on DVD, one of my favorite movies of all time. Bryna, her sisters and Brian all pitched together to get me a new skateboard which I'm quite stoked about. Maybe I'll hurt myself less on better equipment eh? Probably not. My friend Ben got me SNL The Best of John Belushi. I love John Belushi. And Sid got me a gift certifiate to the Natural Foods Co-Op where I like to do some eating.

Thanks everybody for a great weekend and some nice stuff. We all like stuff.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Rapture Letters

This is the greatest website ever. Allow me to quote the site:

"After the rapture, there will be a lot of speculation as to why millions of people have just disappeared. Unfortunately, after the rapture, only non believers will be left to come up with answers. You probably have family and friends that you have witnessed to and they just won't listen. After the rapture they probably will, but who will tell them?

We have written a computer program to do just that. It will send an Electronic Message (e-mail) to whomever you want after the rapture has taken place, and you and I have been taken to heaven."

This site goes on to explain how this works, what will trigger the sending of the e-mails etc. I'm in love. I had to help. I sent them the following e-mail immediately:

Great idea you got here.
I would like to help.
I am a devout atheist, not only do I not believe in God, but if he should turn out to be real I will choose not to follow/worship or otherwise interact with him based on my disagreements with his management philosophy.
This is where I am of great value to you.
For a small fee, to be paid prior to the rapture of course, I will over see your programs execution, help maintain your servers, etc when you have all gone up to heaven.
I am happy to make available my resume listing my technical qualifications as well as my many sins that you may be assured I will indeed be left behind to complete this important work.

Please consider my offer.
Kindly yours,
Keith Lowell Jensen

I have yet to hear back from them...

Birthday Art from Darin

Darin and Christie are amazing artists. Click here to check out their website.

They are the folks that started the Trash Film Orgy with Junior, Sid and I, and they've kept it going while I left to do sketch comedy.
They were also founding members of ICBINC my sketch comedy troupe.

Darin did this awesome zombie painting which I've loved for years and I planned on buying it some day, but when ever I have money to spend on art I pay an artist to design flyer art or an ad (D and C have done plenty of these for us.)

Darin gave me the painting for my birthday. Thanks Darin. This will look great in my kitche across from my Universal Monsters poster.
Original art is about the coolest thing to get for your birthday.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Ha Ha I had corn rows

Mason wasn't calling me back and I needed a haircut. Finally I left the following message. "Mason, I made a new t-shirt that says 'Hair By Mason' and I'm wearing it right now with the messy ass mop on my head. You better cut my hair before you're name is ruined."

So, mason called back. He's taken a room in his basement, moved in a barber's chair and a barber's sink and all kinds of fancy stuff and a friend of his even put up a few paintings so he's got a regular little salon. He cut my hair, giving me the mid life crisis special as requested. In other words, he recreated the haircut I had when I was 21. Then my friend Tom showed up and we got to talking. I haven't seen Tom in a while and it sounds like he might sound-track my pod cast. Oh by the way, I'm getting a pod cast together. Of course I am.

Anyway, Mason saw I wasn't going anywhere in a hurry so he started messing with my hair, and the SOB gave me cornrows. It hurt and I'd say, knock it off it hurts, and he'd say "Shut Up!" and I'd say, "You can't tell me to shut up. I didn't ask you to do this." And he'd say "Shut Up!" Then I left his house in Oak Park (a largely black neighborhood) with these dopey ass corn rows in my hair. Mason's neighbor saw me get in my car and nearly fell down laughing. Don't worry, my hair and I are doing much better now.


I've written down almost every dream I've had for months now at
The entries are a bigger mess than usual as far as spelling and grammar. I usually just wake up and write 'em or I write 'em real quick at work, the first chance I get so as not to forget them. Unfortunately I have lost a few by not writing 'em down quick enough.
I'm not linking it with my other pages on the right anytime soon but I'll throw up a little reminder that it's there now and then. Be warned I may have dreamt about you and a goat dancing the macarena!

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Reverend Keith Lowell Jensen

Click on image to enlarge
I've been meaning to do this for a long time and when a friend of mine told me the minister that was supposed to perform his wedding this weekend dropped out, well, I knew then that it was time. Congratulate me folks, I'm now a reverened. I may even cough up the $35 to become Doctor Reverend Keith Lowell Jensen. Become a reverend yourself, it's easy and in most states it will allow you to perform weddings, funerals and I think I can be a caller at bingo! Just visit The tenents of the church are easy to digest:

"We ask only that you promote the freedom of religion and do that which is right. It is up to the individual to determine what is right as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others and is within the law. That is as close to the Golden Rule as one can come."

Sounds good to me. Please address me as Reverend Keith Lowell Jensen (or Reverend KLJ if we're tight) from this day forth. Go in peace my brothers and sisters.

Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit reviewed

Here's a review I wrote for this week's SN&R.

Belle and Sebastian
The Life Pursuit
Matador Records

2003’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress was a comeback album for Belle and Sebastian, both critically and commercially. The Life Pursuit accordingly will receive a sophomore album’s scrutiny--and it holds up. It is their best work to date. Producer Tony Hoffer navigates a wide range of influences: T. Rex glam; Motown; ’70s flower funk; and even a few moments that recollect Sid and Marty Krofft’s psychedelic, musical kids’ TV shows. As he’s done with Beck and Supergrass, Hoffer steers away from a retro-lovin’ approach and maintains a sound that is purely the band’s. Stuart Murdoch’s vocals are stronger than ever, showing stylistic range and confidence one can imagine is the result of recent success. With repeated listens, it’s clear that The Life Pursuit is full of fantastic and varied pop songs, with no filler.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Three New Reviews from Jason

Visit Jason's site for lots more. Click Here.

No need to mince words: "Running Scared" is one of the worst, most absurd and inept thrillers I've ever seen. Everything about it is bad, from the annoying, overly stylized editing (that would give Tony Scott a headache) to the idiotic plot twists, to the uniformly terrible performances (Paul Walker overacts so strenuously trying to be "tough" that I was afraid he was going to pop a blood vessel), to the laughable, sub-sub-sub Tarantino dialogue that tries to work "fuck" into every sentence so many times that it becomes unintentionally funny. But even all that fails to adequately describe the stupidity of this movie. By the time it pauses for a very long, utterly retarded sequence in which Walker's character's wife (Vera Farmiga) rescues a kid from the funhouse-like apartment of a husband/wife team of child pornographers and murderers that has absolutely not one thing to do with the rest of the movie, I could hardly believe a script this awful ever got produced. I guess that's Hollywood for you.

This largely entertaining feel-good film is based on the true story of New Zealand resident Bert Munro (Anthony Hopkins), who incredibly set the land-speed world record back in 1967 at the Bonneville Salt Flats on an Indian motorcycle he'd been re-tooling for years using mainly household appliances. The film is charming and fun during his long boat and road trip from New Zealand to the Salt Flats - strangely, it's when he reaches his destination that the pace slows (taking the film to an overlong 127 minutes) and the corniness of the film becomes a bit too much. Still worth seeing for its sheer likeability and for Hopkins' exuberant and cheerful performance, one of his best in a while.

The animation in "Doogal" is absolutely gorgeous. The colors are bright and the landscapes are lush and look truly three-dimensional. It's also got a surprisingly good score. So it's a shame that in every other department it's such an uninspired bore. The script is an endless series of bad puns and mostly witless references to other movies - literally, almost every single line is something like "Zeb's dead, baby. Zeb's dead". And that's one of the better ones.