So I was ranting the other night (or technically morning but it was bedtime for me) about how I stay up all night obsessing over minute details that aren't going to make me any money...
Well when I finally awoke the next morning (OK it was really early evening the same day), I ate breakfast (alright, "dinner"), and then I set myself in front of my computer, determined to not get up until I did something productive.
Behold, the result of my productivity:
But first, a little backstory...
Régis Camargo, my UCLA Animation buddy (and semi-regular reader of this here blog) has a brother, Marcel, who is in a musical duo called Fairmona. Marcel and his bandmate, Barbara Gruska, knew they were going to be embarking on a month-long cross-country TOUR with Inara George, so they enlisted me to set up a website for them.
I got right to work trying to set up a backend administration control panel using various Content Management Systems, but none of them really did exactly what I wanted. Then about a month passed until this last weekend before I met with Barbara and Marcel again and they gave me pictures and other bits of content to put up on the site ASAP since they were leaving for the tour on Monday (today!!!). I decided to give MD-Pro, one of the Content Management Systems, another try but before I got very far using the CMS to add the content, I was distracted and I found myself working on the RSS Feed Aggregator on this here blog all night. I went to bed (after posting a rant) pissed at myself for working on my own site instead of the website for Fair Mona.
Luckily I wasn't too tired or depressed when I awoke to get right to work on designing and coding FairMona.com. I pretty much sat at my computer for about 12 hours straight and though I did take a break to post about the controversial statements made by rapper Kayne West, I was able crank out a really simple, but highly functional website that I think Marcel, Barbara and their fans are gonna love.
The only problem is that I was hoping to have a backend admin panel so that Barbara and Marcel could edit and add content themselves, but since I pretty much gave up on using a CMS and created the entire site from scratch using only a text editor, it looks like someone, probably me, is going to have to manually edit the contentso if they want to make changes to the website when they back from their tour. At least I used an external Cascading Style Sheet so it'll be pretty easy to make changes to the basic style and layout. Then again, I'm really pleased with the layout I created and the response I've gotten from people who've already seen the site has be very positive, so I'm hoping it's gonna stick.
OK, now that you know the work I put into it, go and behold FairMona.com.
Definitely check out the tunes on the MUSIC page.
Currently listening to: Fair Mona
I'd read about the controversial statements made by rapper Kayne West during a live celebrity telethon for Hurricane Katrina survivors, but now that I've finally seen the video footage (thanx Tripp), I must say that the transcripts failed to convey the anger and frustration in Kayne's voice, especially compared to the professional-yet-teleprompted monotone of his co-presenter, Mike Myers.
Myers does a bit of a double-take when West first deviates from the script by saying "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food." (I'm pretty sure West is referring to these stories)
Myers then does another double-take, complete with an awkward sigh when West finshes his rambling-but-honest adlib with "They've given them permission to go down and shoot us." (probably referring to the "shoot-on-sight" orders given to law enforcement officials in New Orleans)
West saves his most controversial statement though for the final moment right before the camera cuts to a stunned Chris Tucker:
"George Bush doesn't care about black people!"
I applaud Kayne West for having the balls to say something that inflamatory (and probably sort of a little bit true) on live TV. Though West's comments may not have been as eloquent as Michael Moore's open letter to George W. Bush, his criticism was loud and clear.
I also applaud Mike Myers for maintaining his professional composure. Though he was clearly taken aback, at least he didn't blurt out "What the Fuck?" (as I know I would have even though I agree with West).
Clearly it was not Kayne West's intent, but my fear is that the controversy sparked by his comments will overshadow the real issues he was trying to address. Aside from the initial death and destruction, there's still some serious shit going on in the anarchic aftermath, especially in New Orleans. People are getting beaten and raped. Some asshole motherfucking sniper shot at a hospital. And apparently things have gotten so lawless that even the cops are getting in on the looting action.
So I made a bunch of minor cosmetic changes to my blog that no one will ever notice but me (then again, who am I typing to right now anyway but me?)
Five is a good number, so if I ever feel compelled to add anymore feeds, I'll probably randomize them. ( I did indeed add more and I randomized them)
I hope Sam doesn't mind whe she gets back from her Labor Day Weekend vacation in San Francisco cuz I went ahead and added an RSS Feed Aggregator to her blog too with feeds to her friends' blogs.
Now that I've pretty much got my blog (and Sam's) looking and running just the way I want, I bet the newest version of the blog software b2evolution will finally come out and I'll have to change everything again.
I know should be working on more important stuff than this blog, but I'm learning a lot each time I tinker with the code. Maybe one day I'll apply my knowledge to something that'll make me rich... if only I could stay focused on it for long enough. I have a real problem where I get distracted by unimportant details and I obsess over a mundane little thing for days and nights without ever following through on the really pertinent stuff.
Working on this blog instead of my thesis animation is like polishing the hubcaps on a broken-down car... it might look nice, but it isn't really going to get me anywhere.
And the worst part is, I am fully aware that it's a futile endeavor, and yet I continue to polish.
I first got into Our Lady Peace after seeing their second album, Clumsy, among a friend's MP3 collection in the dorms at UCLA during my first year of undergrad. I loved what I heard so I immediately bought Clumsy and their first album, Naveed. Since then, I've always downloaded each new album before buying it, usually months in advance of the release date. But I've always, and I mean ALWAYS, bought the CD the first day it was available because I want to support the artist and I prefer CDs over MP3s. Unless it's encoded at 192kbps or higher, MP3s just don't sound as good as CDs and they don't come with the artwork (even when pirates scan the CD booklet, I can't take it with me on the bus).
Well the new OLP album, Healthy In Paranoid Times, was no exception to my download-then-buy routine. Thanks to broadband, I had the entire album on MP3s in less than an hour after learning a new album was going to come out. I've since rocked out to the MP3s right up until today, when the CD was offically released and I bought it at Best Buy along with the new Our Lady Peace: Live DVD. I even deleted the illegal MP3s, though that's entirely an issue of saving hard drive space than disposing of evidence.
I realize that I'm not the typical downloader. Most people download the MP3s and then never buy the CD. And you know, I've downloaded plenty of MP3s and never bought the CD too, but those were crappy albums. If the music industry (and movie industry) would find a way to promote a "try-before-you-buy" service, they might actually make money on CDs (and DVDs). Then again, the record producers would have to first stop wasting millions of dollars on shitty artists who make super-shitty records. If people aren't buying CDs even when they like the album, then they sure as shit aren't gonna buy after they've tried it and it sucks.
Until there's a legal way to preview music and movies online, I'm going to continue to download them first, and then buy the really good CDs and DVDs when they come out, as I've been doing for years.
Anyway, Healthy In Paranoid Times is a damn good album. It's not my favorite Our Lady Peace album (I'd probably rank them in the order that they were released), but it's still rocking stuff (especially for a Canadian band ). And I'm glad I bought the CD because the booklet is pretty cool. It doesn't have the lyrics (), but it has a list of statistics of things that happened during the 1165 days it took to record the album and there's a list of recommended websites, several of them are sites that I already frequent (in BOLD).
TO BETTER YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING VISIT...
ADBUSTERS.ORG (incorrectly listed as ADBUSTERS.COM in the booklet)
Worst Kidnapper Ever:
[from toothpaste for dinner]
The film has been getting some really bad reviews as critics (wrongly) attack the film for being violent merely for shock value. Entertainment Weekly rants that "the hideousness serves no dramatic purpose" but I totally disagree.
First off, most of the violent acts in Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance appear OFF-SCREEN, ala the ear-severing torture scene in Reservoir Dogs, or are obscured from the audience's view. By cutting away from the violent act itself, director Park Chan-wook forces his audience to face the consequences of that violent action head on. We don't actually see Ryu stick a screwdriver in a black-marketeer's neck, but we do indeed see it in all its blood-spurting glory when the badguy pulls the screwdriver out of his throat, but only after we see the terror in his eyes as he realizes that he's going to die.
Whereas most kidnapping / revenge films build their tension upon the action-packed drama of solving a mystery, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance is all about the motivations and consequences of the characters' actions, rather than actions themselves. Park Chan-wook doesn't even show us the pivotal kidnapping itself. He provides his characters with strong motivations for kidnapping a little girl and he portrays the inner emotional turmoil the characters face as they weigh the potential consequences of such a violent act. Any Hollywood film would have milked a kidnapping scene for all it's worth but Park doesn't even show it. Park simply cuts to the next scene where the kidnapping has already taken place and then proceeds to demostrate the horribly unexpected consequences of the act.
Park also withholds many of the facts about how the father unravels the mystery and finds his daughter's kidnappers. All that matters is that the father has more than enough reason to hunt them down, and that he is willing to face the consequences of his own equally horrible actions once he finds them. The "hideousness" that the EW critic claims "serves no dramatic purpose" is not about shock value at all, but rather, it serves as motivation for the father's own subsequent actions. While I concede that the act depicted is indeed hideous, it is oozing with emotional import. Park immediately cuts away from the bloody scalpel to gaze upon the father's face where he fixes his camera for the entire duration of the autopsy, because the autopsy itself is not nearly as important as the father's emotional reaction to it. This hideous autopsy is the launchpad for his quest for vengeance. It hardens his heart and makes him capable of doing evil things. He quickly becomes so desensitized to blood and guts that he actually yawns while watching another autopsy, because this time it's the rotting corpse a kidnapper.
Clearly there is nothing "flamboyant" about Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (as the EW review suggests). There is no hero of the film. Every character has sympathetic movitations for committing evil acts, but sympathy does not justify vengeance, and Park Chan-wook punishes his characters severely for their misdeeds.
Onion AV club review:
(this is the best review I've read so far)
Current Mood: )-o Tired
Currently listening to: Avalon Original Soundtrack
by Kenji Kawai
I, however, love the film even more the second time around. I feel like now I've got a better understanding of how Tony Leung's character could've turned so cold and cynical since the events depicted in In the Mood for Love. However bitter he is though, the man is insane for jilting a woman as mind-boggling sexy as Zhang Ziyi 8|
Tripp had to meet Rachel after the movie, but Shahab, Kurt, Sam and I went to California Vegan, where we coincidentally ran into Navid (Negin's brother and Greg's new in-law) and his girlfriend, Sarah. They had just ordered so they joined us for dinner, which was excellent.
All in all, a cool night out with friends, which I don't get to do as much I'd like.
I really am the worst vegetarian ever, at least compared to all my full-blown vegan friends. I gave up beef, pork, poultry and other animals after reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, but I still eat seafood and I have a "leftover clause" that allows me to eat Sam's meaty leftovers (I just can't stand to let food go to waste).
And some times I just have straight-up unjustifiable lapses in judgement. Like today, I ate a hotdog and a combo pizza (pepperoni and sausage) from Costco. They were so good I just couldn't resist...
Fast Food Nation:
The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
by Eric Schlosser
Just as my brother Russ' wedding last year was a milestone, Greg's wedding is another indication of just how far along my life has really come up to now. Both my blood-brother and my brother-from-another-mother have settled down and entered the married life.
I'm still very iconoclastic when it comes to the traditional institution of marriage, but it's getting harder and harder to deny that it's only a matter of time now before Sam and I get married.
There were tons of photos taken during the bachelor party, beach bonfire, ceremony and reception by various photgraphers (Sam Sim, Kurt MacDonald, Barbara MacDonald, Chul Hur, and Myo Kyawswar). Here are some of my favorites (photos are the property of their respective photographers and all thumbnails are linked to the original full-sized images):
* Oh alright, so I didn't really write this post "today" (July 24th). The wedding reception went way after midnight, but I usually back-date my posts to reflect the day that the events happened.
During the Barrington years (1999-2001), I really got into angry white comedians like George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Lewis Black, and Denis Leary. Looking back, Leary was by far the most immature among the other acerbic social critics, but as an apprentice asshole myself, Leary's "FUCK YOU" attitude really resonated with me. I'd listen to No Cure for Cancer and Lock 'N Load over and over.
As a Denis Leary fan, I watched The Job religiously, even when ABC kept moving it around to different days and times. I was pissed when they canceled the show, but I'm happy that now I can watch it on DVD.
I loved hearing "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well" every once in a while on the radio in my car (usually on Indie 103.1) so now I can rock out to it at home like I did all day today.
Two of my all-time favorite albums are Ruby Vroom and Irresistible Bliss (I've actually had to replace Irresistible Bliss cuz I scratched the CD from overuse) so I'm sure Haughty Melodic will quickly join them in the heavy rotation since Doughty's rhymes were always the best part of Soul Coughing for me.
One track on Haughty Melodic, "His Truth Is Marching On," has got me curious though.
These are not lyrics I'd have ever expected to hear on Mike Doughty track. I'm wondering if Mike is speaking personally or rather through a character who is exploring his belief in some almighty force. As a fellow human, I totally sympathize with the feeling of being "fucking starved for love", but as a hardcore atheist, I wish more people looked to those around them instead of to the heavens.