Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"Is Bollywood remaking Back to the Future? RealBollywoodNews is reporting that Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai have been cast in Action Replay (yeah, horrible title…), a film which will be unofficially based on the popular 1985 Robert Zemeckis film Back to the Future. BTTF.com was able to contact Future producer/screenwriter Bob Gale who denied any knowledge of the production."There's only so much I'm allowed to say about this, especially considering how long I played a Japanese-speaking Doc Brown in a series of shows which, to my dismay, usually had little-or-nothing to do with the glorious, original trilogy.
But, it does scare me a little.
Still, I will admit that I wouldn't mind seeing a massive, fully-choreographed, big-budget, Bollywood-style musical number for "The Power of Love" a la Chandni Chowk to China.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Seriously, all I had to do was type "Merry Christmas!" and then slap on this picture:
...and that would be it. Holiday well-wishing complete.
But I couldn't even do that, could I? Am I a shining beacon of the GTD philosophy or what??
Anyway, sorry for the posting lag lately. Took a bit of a breather from blogging the past few days and, instead, just sang Christmas carols as I ran circles around the inside of my apartment, hoping to slow my decent into snowbound insanity. Man, being stuck inside for a week does NOT make one want to be productive! I did work on one post, though. Here's a quick sample:
...All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. All work...It was a bit long. (And I got distracted when I tried to kill my family with an ax.)
So! How was everybody's Christmas? Despite my little indoors holiday-themed marathon, I did knock out a ton of email. And - this was kind of cool - for the first time in my life, my "Drafts" folder in Thunderbird was completely empty! Go me! (I swear that folder was already full when I installed Thunderbird.)
See, I've had a pretty bad habit of starting an email - particularly to somebody I haven't written to in a long-ass time - and then saving said incomplete email into my "Drafts" folder thinking that one day I'd get back to it. Never happened. A "Drafts" folder full of 3o or 40 loose ends is not a folder I'd like to open. So there it sat.
But, thanks to my recent induction into the glorious world of Facebook ("It's like a social life, but you don't have to talk to anybody!"), I found a way to get back in touch with around 90% of these people without all of that "Sorry I haven't written lately" awkwardness.
Plus, it really reduces the "sending an email out of the blue makes me look like a stalker" factor. Although I did have one or two people on Facebook post something along the lines of:
"Wow! Matt! Uh... how, exactly, did you track me down?"So, anyway, I deleted the drafts to any of the people I'd reestablished contact with via Facebook, and then, to the remaining 10%, I sent links to a Facebook photo album I'd made of my recent Japan trip and, bickity-bam... I had an empty "Drafts" folder.
Oh, and I also finally got all of my mail folders organized! Sweetness!
(If you have no interest whatsoever in my "getting organized" ramblings, feel free to skip down a few paragraphs.)
I used to keep all of my archived mail sorted into several different categories. For example, I'd have a "Japan Friends" folder which would contain folders for each of my non-work Japanese friends by name. I also had a "Florida Friends" folder and a "Former Coworkers" one and a "Nigerian Friends Who Want Money" one.
Then there were my non-social emails, similarly divided. Alas, folders for "Online Shopping" and "Acting Updates" and "Nigerian People I Don't Know Who Want My Money". My mail was sorted, yes, but it didn't make sorting new emails easy. So, eventually I just ended up with a massive "To Sort" folder (which made my "Drafts" folder look manageable).
Anyway, I did a big overhaul recently and narrowed it down to just 3 categories: Family, Friends and Information. Then, instead of subdividing them into further groups, I just put every folder that fit each category into their respective groups alphabetically. It's made things infinitely easier. So easy, in fact, that I've set up filters to pre-sort any new emails that arrive. Dare I say, it's heavenly? I dare.
(Non-organizational stuff resumes here.)
In other news, the snow finally melted the past 2 days and I actually got to drive my car yesterday (instead of using it as the lower torso of a giant snowman). Despite the snow, I did get out of the house on Friday night when I took a bus downtown to go see my very talented friend (and former neighbor in Japan) Stephanie St. James play Squeak in "The Color Purple" at The Paramount.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and have never wanted to be a large black lady more in my life. Plus, I got to meet up with Stephanie during the intermission and after the show. It had been far, far too long. And the whole experience really got me wanting to start performing again. Can't lie, I miss the hell out of it. I think I was secretly hoping that, by now, the book would be finished and sold and I'd be out entertaining people with delightful readings of selections of my best-selling memoir at fine bookstores across the U.S. and Europe.
Hmm... hasn't happened yet.
But, the good news is, the sun's not even up yet and I'm already off to a good start. Time for some writing!!
Just as soon as I finish these Christmas cards...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Lately, a couple of my friends have pointed out though email and via Facebook just how much worse the snow is in their part of the world. Why, even Microsoft's Fargo campus is making fun of how Redmond - home to Microsoft's headquarters - is unable to deal with the weather.
I get it. Yes, it's 4 below in Fargo.
But it's Fargo.
And yes, there were 27 inches of snow in Canada. But it's Canada. Canadians are born wearing a tuke and bearing a snow shovel (which explains the popularity of c-sections).
But, because snow like this is so rare here in Seattle, we're just not ready to handle it. We don't have enough plows, nor do most of us have the right shoes or tires or chains to put on said tires. Seattle's about as prepared to handle this much snow as Tennessee is prepared to handle deluges of coal sludge.
Worse, because we're a bunch of wild-eyed, Metrognomical hippies here in Seattle, we don't salt the road, we sand it. Don't you see?? Salting it would be bad! For nature! Besides, we don't know if Seattle will get enough RAIN in the near future to dissolve all of that dreadfully unnatural... salt.
From a week of salting.
Personally, if it only snows like this for a few days once a millennium, I say SALT THIS CITY! I want the Space Needle ringed like a Margarita glass. I want Mark Kurlansky to write a book about us. I want slugs to run in fear.
The best part of it all? Scientists are now saying that sanding is worse than salting.
"Sand — one of Seattle's main weapons against icy streets — is more likely to harm aquatic life than the salt the city refuses to use out of concern for its environmental effects."Now you tell us.
Well, it's another snowy day. It was supposed to rain today but it's still snowing. (Actually, it's both.)
I'd planned to run a bunch of errands today. Go to the gym. Get some groceries. Hit the post office. Do some much-needed laundry. (I'm wearing my last pair of underwear as we speak.) But, as much as I need to get out of the house, I'm not sure it's going to happen.
Alas, it's official: my Christmas cards will be late this year.
Of course, I say that as if they've been on time in years' past. Still, it should be pointed out that this year, my excuse is not procrastination, but a legitimate one: snow. (An excellent excuse which overshadows the fact that my Christmas cards are not addressed yet.
But, I did get some stuff done this morning. I finally posted online a few of the things I was working on yesterday (in lieu of Christmas cards or my book) and even finished reading The Autobiographer's Handbook which, despite sounding dry as toast, was both inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable. I'll be posting about it, hopefully, in the near future.
OK, lunch time.
Japanese Lucky Golden Poo!
Two wonderful things have happened as a result of this product's description.
- I finally understand Japan's fascination with poo. (No joke, that shit is everywhere.) Turns out, the kanji for "lucky" is very similar to the shortened form of the Japanese word for "poo." Who knew?
- When I was looking at the description for this, I saw a picture of my brand of cell phone... with a cell phone strap attached!
I can finally use some of my Japanese cell phone straps!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
"Pop culture is finally hitting the eject button on the VHS tape, the once-ubiquitous home-video format that will finish this month as a creaky ghost of Christmas past.Or perhaps bury in a grave next to books-on-tape, HD-DVDs and Windows Vista.
After three decades of steady if unspectacular service, the spinning wheels of the home-entertainment stalwart are slowing to a halt at retail outlets. On a crisp Friday morning in October, the final truckload of VHS tapes rolled out of a Palm Harbor, Fla., warehouse run by Ryan J. Kugler, the last major supplier of the tapes.
'It's dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt,' said Kugler, 34, a Burbank businessman. 'I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I'm done. Anything left in warehouse we'll just give away or throw away.'"
"Fire officials in New Bedford, Mass., say a man using a blowtorch to melt ice on his back porch ended up setting his house on fire, causing up to $30,000 in damage."He should have joined the army.
(hat tip to Sam
Oh, and the answer to your question is "no, there isn't a law against stuff like this. Otherwise I'd have nothing to blog about".)
(via funny or die)
Sadly, for the Japanese, Australian and Canadian members of my audience (all 6 of you), the episode is only available in the U.S.
A Brief History of 'Glove,' an Uncredited 30 Rock Extra:
(via The Apiary)
"This is the story of 'Glove,' a rubber glove that made four separate appearances on TV comedy fave 30 Rock."If only I had the first 2 seasons on DVD...
While I'm glad they are both (deservedly) in the top 100... only 76 for Doc?? Really?? Especially considering that 75 is Marge Gunderson.
#39. Marty McFly
"Nobody calls me chicken!"
Played By: Michael J. Fox
Film: Back to The Future 1-3
Why He's On The List: Goddamn, but Marty McFly is cool. Ace guitarist, ace skateboarder, world-class slacker, hot girlfriend, hangs around with a daffy old boffin without inviting the interest of Operation Ore, travels through time in a DeLorean, manages to make his teenage mum fall in love with him, reunites his parents, inspires a teen band - yep, his mojo is working, and then some. Played by any other actor - say, Eric Stoltz - and you might hate the little bugger, but with Michael J. Fox working his cheeky chappy charm to the full, that's not an option.Finest Hour: Marty gets carried away during Johnny Be Goode
#76 Dr. Emmett Brown
Played By: Christopher Lloyd
Film: Back To The Future 1-3
Why He's On The List: The white hair may be standard issue mad scientist, but Doctor Emmett Brown, creator of the flux capacitor and a man incapable of normal social interaction because his head is too busy buzzing with ideas, is a genuinely likeable creation, a world away from stereotypes. So much so that, when he gets shot by Libyans ten minutes in, we're sad even though we've only just met the man. And joyous again when we meet his younger self. Now that's acting.Finest Hour: "1.21 gigawatts!" The young Doc's spazz-out when he hears the full extent of the energy needed to send Marty back to the future is a sight to behold.
Look, I liked Fargo. And nothing personal Frances McDormand. But "Marge Gunderson" just doesn't have the name recognition of Doc Brown.
Oh, and implying that Doc was a pedophile is just plain wrong.
(But I will give them credit for not making Vito Corleone number 1. Tired of seeing "The Godfather" at the top of every movie list.)
White Goodman?? Brick Tamland?? #$@%& JUNO???
Sunday, December 21, 2008
"In trying to keep its hold on young and fickle audiences, MTV over the decades has undergone some fundamental programming shifts, but never before on this scale.And people wonder why I don't have a TV.
The cabler's recent ratings declines include a 23% fourth-quarter drop in its core demo of 12- to 34-year-olds. So MTV is embarking on a major programming overhaul, with 16 new unscripted series over the next 4 1/2 months."
Lookin' for the Mouse...
The Stupid, It Burns
I Want My MTV(Music.com)
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
(via Seattle PI):
"The National Weather Service said a fierce snowstorm combined with high winds and possible freezing rain could cause widespread power outages, and dump as much as a half-foot of snow in the Seattle area, starting as early as Saturday afternoon. A rare blizzard warning was also issued for the Cascades and northern areas of the Olympic Peninsula."But it's not all bad news...
"On the brighter side -- forecasters noted that the cold snap should end by Christmas with temperatures on Christmas Day projected into the 40s."How perfectly balmy.
(Think I'll Walk Instead) UPDATE:
This could have been a lot worse. I'm glad it wasn't.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
That's what this morning felt like!
(Oddly enough, Andie MacDowell spent the night last night.)
Seattle, region hit with snow; schools closed:
"If Seattle was the doughnut hole in Wednesday's snowstorm, then it looked more like a powdered pancake on Thursday.
Seattle dodged heavy snow Wednesday as surrounding areas were blanketed. The city wasn't so lucky 24 hours later as the winter storm caused slick roads and prompted multiple school closures, including Seattle Public Schools, for the second day in a row.
Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled during this morning's snowstorm in Seattle. The National Weather Service calls it 'thundersnow.'
The thundersnow, heard about 5:30 a.m., was caused by a storm cell moving across Puget Sound."
If you insist.
"Traffic was a mess on most Puget Sound's major freeways and highways with up to four inches of snow and an inch of ice underneath in some places, Washington State Patrol Trooper Curt Boyle said. State Route 520 was in gridlock as multiple vehicles spun out on the raised portion of the Lake Washington bridge. Troopers were still clearing lanes at 8:30 a.m., he said.
No serious collisions were reported.
'Pretty much if you don't have to go anywhere, don't,' Boyle said."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
For some unknown reason, Amazon has gone a little crazy and is currently offering the Heroes Franchise Collection (Season 1 | Season 2) for only $50!
It's all part of their Box Set Blowout!
(Now if they could just do the same with 30 Rock.)
So, um, Ken... no need to get me these for Christmas either. Sorry, bro.
Monday, December 15, 2008
So, to help warm you up this chilly Monday morning, here's Australian "supergroup" The Wrights (with Nic Cester from JET doing vocals) playing part one of their cover of Steve Wright's 3-part classic, "Evie":
Rock on. (At least until you can feel your fingers again.)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Lots of titles currently available via Watch Instantly will no longer be available by the end of the year. (More information over at cnet. Hollywood seems determined to have their stuff pirated.)
So check your queues!
Guess I know how I'll be spending my 12 Days of Christmas.
The good news:
Watch Instantly has just added Sukiyaki Western Django.
Which I will watch on the 2nd.
(Cookie Monster) UPDATE: Seeing Quentin Tarantino in that ad reminds me of this video for some reason:
Stuff White People Like #106 - Facebook:
"Social Networking sites have been embraced by white people since their inception. Because these sites use profile pages, white people can more efficiently judge friends and future friends on their taste in film, books, music, and inspirational quotes.
For a brief period of time, MySpace was the site where everyone kept their profile and managed their friendships. But soon, the service began to attract fake profiles, the wrong kind of white people, and struggling musicians. In real world terms, these three developments would be equivalent to a check cashing store, a TGIFridays, and a housing project. All which strike fear in the hearts of white people.
White people were nervous but had nowhere else to go. Then Facebook came along and offered advanced privacy settings, closed networks, and a clean interface. In respective real world terms, these features are analogous to an apartment or house with a security system/doorman, an alumni dinner, and a homeowners association that protects the aesthetics of the neighborhood. In spite of these advances, some white people still clung to their old MySpace accounts. That was until they learned that Facebook started, like so many things beloved by white people, at Harvard.
Within a matter of months, MySpace had gone from a virtual utopia to Digital Detroit, where only minorities and indie bands remain."
Saturday, December 13, 2008
LIFE photo archive hosted by Google:
"Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google."My two favorites so far are historic photos of places I'm familiar with:
An unfinished Space Needle
An unbombed Osaka Castle
Well, if you're like me, you're already panicking. (Christmas cards?? I haven't even THOUGHT about Christmas cards!!)
So, in an effort to help expedite the gifting-process (as well as win some brownie point with my affiliates), I present to you a series I'm calling "Happy Fun Goods!", showcasing gift ideas for the geek in your family.
First up, Tokyo RoboClock!
Tells time, and protects you from aliens.
And Doc Brown-approved!
Friday, December 12, 2008
You can't be in Japan for more than a few minutes before running into some mistranslated or nonsensical English written somewhere - be it on a shirt, in a menu, or throughout an airline safety brochure.
So, it's nice to see that it works in the other direction.
Chinese 'classical poem' was brothel ad
(via The Independent):
"A respected research institute wanted Chinese classical texts to adorn its journal, something beautiful and elegant, to illustrate a special report on China. Instead, it got a racy flyer extolling the lusty details of stripping housewives in a brothel.And don't forget, when we do stuff like this to them:
Chinese characters look dramatic and beautiful, and have a powerful visual impact, but make sure you get the meaning of the characters straight before jumping right in.
There were red faces on the editorial board of one of Germany's top scientific institutions, the Max Planck Institute, after it ran the text of a handbill for a Macau strip club on the front page of its latest journal. Editors had hoped to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover of a special issue, focusing on China, of the MaxPlanckForschung journal, but instead of poetry they ran a text effectively proclaiming 'Hot Housewives in action!' on the front of the third-quarter edition. Their 'enchanting and coquettish performance' was highly recommended."
They do stuff like this to us:
There are tales of drunken teenagers walking out of tattoo parlours with characters reading, "This is one ugly foreigner" or "A fool and his money are easily parted".
Another web-user wrote: "I recently met a German girl with a Chinese tattoo on her neck which in Chinese means 'prostitute'. I laughed so loud, I could hardly breathe."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
(via Seattle PI)
"Winter will come barreling in to Western Washington on Friday, bringing rain and perhaps snow by the end of rush hour.It can rain here for 11 months straight and nobody bats an eye. But throw in a little snow, and the city grinds to a halt.
Subfreezing temperatures and perhaps more snow will follow in what the National Weather Service says may be the coldest weather here since December 1990."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Here's a clip:
Any show that mentions "Back to the Future", has Julia Ling in a schoolgirl uniform and has a DeLorean subplot is A-OK with me.
See the full episode here.
Women + DeLorean = Hot
Roads? Where We're Going... We Won't Need Roads
You see, recruitment is down and the military is stretched thin. I know this, not only because I read the papers, but also because there are an awful lot of military commercials popping up whenever I watch something on Hulu.
While I watched Heroes the other day, they kept playing Air Force ads and they were all feel-goody about how swell it is using remote-control drones and how neat it is to watch planes take off, by golly, shucks.
I'm sorry, I just don't think those ads are working.
Think about it. If someone is against war in general, the commercials just seem snarky ("We use drones to save lives!" Um, no... you don't.) and, if someone is pro-war, the commercials don't appeal to that gut-level animal instinct that drives men to destroy things for fun (Look, if I wanted to save lives, I'd have become a doctor. Or Oprah).
But I think I figured out a way to appeal to both groups.
I came across this article the other day:
Washington Strains for Inauguration
"Even for a city practiced at handling huge protests, marches and funerals, the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama will put an unusual strain on local resources.That kinda sucks, huh? They're about to have the "Largest. Inauguration. EVER." to swear in a president that a nice chunk of the "heavily-armed nutjob" demographic would like to send "back and to the left" and the city only has $15 million? Not just for the event but for the entire year?? That's $2 million less than what was needed for simply the second inauguration of the least popular president in American history! Makes no sense.
Because Washington has been allotted only about $15 million in federal money to help pay for all major events in the city for the entire year, local officials say they are most concerned about the costs of handling the more than 1.5 million spectators expected to come here, the largest crowd in inaugural history.
The $15 million is roughly $2.3 million less than the city spent just for President Bush’s second inauguration, in 2005, which attracted 300,000 spectators."
But I digress.
Anyway, the part that got me was in the following paragraph (emphasis added is mine):
"'If we get snow, things could get even more expensive,' said Dan Tangherlini, the city administrator, pointing out that in 1961, inauguration planners called out 700 troops with shovels and flamethrowers after an unexpected storm blanketed the city in eight inches of snow before John F. Kennedy’s ceremony. To clear the snow from the inauguration parade route can cost the city more than $1 million alone, Mr. Tangherlini said."They used flamethrowers. To melt snow.
First of all, how much would it suck to be in the "shovel" group?
Second, can't you just picture the recruitment ads??
The camera slowly starts to zoom out.
Narrator: Join the Army...
The shot widens to reveal more snowmen.
Narrator: And every winter...
The shot widens more to reveal an entire field of snowmen.
Narrator: We'll let you melt snow...
The shot widens to reveal a soldier wearing a flamethower and a maniacal, shit-eating grin.
Narrator: With a flamethrower.
The soldier pulls down his googles, turns towards the snowmen, aims, then BLAST!!
Just as the flames are about to hit the first snowman, jump-cut to title card:
We have freakin' flamethrowers.
Sign ME up.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Big in Japan: Kyoto plans to open hidden treasures to public
"As part of the Kyoto Winter Special 2009, which runs from January 10, 2009 to March 18, 2009, the city will be temporarily opening up twelve cultural heritage sights to the public."Wish I could go with you.
More details here.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Mediocre Man's Video Blog 1:
Mediocre Man's Video Blog 2:
The Mean Average Responds to Mediocre Man:
I don't know about you, but I'm finding that Mean Average right sexy.
The Misadventure Continues
Speaking of radio, my friend and former USJ co-worker, Gene Shill, is currently being featured on triple j's Unearthed. I was a big fan of triple j radio when I lived in Australia so it's cool to see Gene on their site. (Good on ya!)
Aside from having titles which make me pine for Japan ("Hep 5 Lights", "Chuo Line"), his songs have a downtempo lounge-feel (think Jamiroquai mixed with Thievery Corporation) and his new single "You Could Be My Girl" feels like some jazzy Hilltop Hoods. (Hey, I only know so much Australian hip-hop...)
So, if you're up for some new music, click over and download three of his singles. (I'm a big fan of "Shinsaibashi".) If you like it, you can hear more on his MySpace page.
Anyway, I just came across the website RadioBeta (via Lifehacker) which streams radio from around the world... including Japan!
Also, if you're interested in some Japanese TV, I came across this site while I was looking for ways to stream the Olympics. They have a few Japanese TV stations and, occasionally, even their Fox Japan stream works.
Fox: Japan Number One!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Back to the Future Gets a Two Disc Special Edition DVD
"The new bonus disc will include all the footage from Back to the Future… The Ride, including the lobby que loop, the pre-show, and the entire ride itself. The new collectors edition will also feature the infamous Back to the Future Part II preview special hosted by Leslie Nielsen which orginally aired November 17, 1989 on NBC, and a new documentary called Looking Back to the Future. The two sequels have no new extras. All three discs have a MSRP of $19.98 and will hit in stores on February 10th, 2009."Mmmm... bonus discs...
It was cool, Kyoto had a big celebration and all while I was there. (For him, not for me.)
So, I'm not really sure what to make of this:
Nathan Lane? Nicolas Cage?? Really??
Thursday, December 4, 2008
He's not even talking anymore! What's that all about?? Did I miss something? How does one get paid to appear in commercials to do nothing but STAND there? (And why am I not that person?) Did he save a busload of nuns and puppies in previous life or something??
At least the Dell Dude talked.
(Speaking of the Dell Dude, I'm thankful he guest starred in an episode of Law & Order last year. Things were getting pretty grim.)
Monday, December 1, 2008
Cash-strapped American Airlines announced a new series of fees this week that will apply to all customers not currently flying, scheduled to fly, or even thinking about flying aboard the commercial carrier.(via The Onion - America's Finest News Source)