Sunday, November 30, 2008

Must Run In The Family

I'm starting to sense where my anal retentiveness organizational skills came from.

My dad's workshop:

The "purse-hanger" my mom carries around:

36 Hours in Seattle

Cool article about Seattle over at

36 Hours in Seattle:
"As you’re exploring the grounds, don’t miss Isamu Noguchi’s doughnut-shaped onyx sculpture, “Black Sun,” that inspired Soundgarden’s grunge anthem, “Black Hole Sun.”"
Soundgarden just gets all sorts of inspiration from Seattle, huh?

Wal-Mart: Putting The "Arg!" Back Into Bargain

I can only imagine how this makes us look overseas.

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death
"Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said."
Then, there was this that happened a few months after I got to Japan.

Are we really that desperate for a discount?

Monday, November 24, 2008

On My Way To Florida Now

Hopefully, I'll be greeted like this.

In an Absolut World, Everyone Would be Welcomed Home from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo. (via Gadling)

As you might expect, my posting will probably be awful during my little vacation so your best bet would be to just check my Twitter every now and again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Captain James T. McFly

Glad I'm not the only one who thought this:

LOL: Movie Jackets From the Future | /Film


Back to the Future Meets Way in the Future

Variety Shows' Big Return

Not exactly the comeback I expected but, whatever.

Variety Shows' Big Return
(via Huffington Post):
"Three top U.S. comedians next week will bring variety shows to television and one, Rosie O'Donnell, believes the format could stage a comeback amid the slumping economy if families start gathering around TVs for cheap entertainment."

Election 2004 Flashback

Came across this video of my friends and me in Japan reacting to the 2004 election results.

(via Koreus, mirror site here)

It's been a long four years.

Related Posts:
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You Mean I Don't Have To Say I'm Canadian Anymore?
Crazy Talk
I Am A Doughnut

Japan's Sushi Famine

First bananas, now sushi.

(via The Independent):
But among many of Ishiki's 32,000 population, one-in-eight of whom depend on the sea to survive, the talk is of now one thing: the extinction of their livelihood. "In 40 years on a boat I've never seen it so bad," says one inhabitant, Yoshiju Kukeya. "Nakamura-san is lucky today. The fish are not there any more."

Atsushi Sasaki, 61, a fisherman-turned-conservationist who is sounding the alarm bell increasingly desperately about Japan's and the world's free-falling tuna stocks, speaks of imminent extinction: "If the situation continues, it is inevitable that tuna will disappear from the seas."

Japanese Millionaire Too Eccentric For Outer Space

Would-be space tourist wants $21M back
"Japanese millionaire Daisuke Enomoto had planned to dress up as his favourite cartoon character in outer space and spent $21 million to make it happen. Now he claims the company that was supposed make his dream come true brushed him aside with little more than a 'sorry, no refunds.'

A federal judge heard arguments Friday in Enomoto's lawsuit against Virginia-based Space Adventures, a firm that made its name brokering deals with the Russian space agency to put half a dozen 'space tourists' in orbit for fees of $20 million or more.

Space Adventures wants the lawsuit thrown out, saying that Enomoto was disqualified because of a chronic kidney-stone condition. They say his money is nonrefundable.

Enomoto claims the kidney stones were an excuse and that he was not allowed to launch in part because he refused Space Adventures' demands for more money.

Enomoto, an eccentric entrepreneur who planned to dress up as anime character Char Aznable, had plans to be the first tourist to do a spacewalk.
He spent most of eight months at the Star City training facility near Moscow in 2006 preparing for his flight."
Just so you have an idea of what Char Aznable looks like:

And you wonder why he was rejected.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Prepare Yourself

Twilight opened tonight.

I haven't read the series but, being an aspiring author, I can't help but admire how big Stephanie Meyer's books have become.

That doesn't mean that her fans don't scare me.

It's OK, though. I'm prepared...

Run For It, Marty!!!

Oh my God, they found me. I don't know how, but they found me.

I'm a stupid, stupid man.

It seems my cover is blown.  It never occurred to me that, once my email address was in Facebook -  even if I was giving no other information whatsoever - the people who knew my email address would be able to see that I now have an account.

Not seconds after my last post, I got a friend request.

Luckily, it was from someone I'm actually interested in reestablishing contact with.  But, still.  Weird.

Not sure if I'm ready for this!

Uh-oh, I just got another request.

Oh man, this is like a horror film!

How are these people finding me??

Guess I'll be spending the rest of the evening setting up a profile.


Blast you for making me social, Facebook! Blast you to heck for sucking me in, you South American balloon, you!

Staring Disturbing In The Face(book)

So, I signed up for Facebook this afternoon.

Yeah, I know.

I'll give my handful of readers a chance to catch their collective breath.


I don't really believe it either.

Don't go looking for my page yet. I've added nothing, uploaded nary a thing and I've got my privacy settings on "Fort Knox".

As fantastic of a site as this might prove to be, I don't like anything that doesn't let me see what I'm getting into before signing up. As much as I disliked my first experience with MySpace (long story), at least I could check out a few other peoples' pages first before I took the plunge and typed in my email address and personal information.

I've been fighting signing up for Facebook as long as possible but the din of people asking me if I was on it yet has grown to a point where I'm finding it hard to concentrate.  Sure, I have a blog. And I'm on Twitter. And I'm on some photo sharing sites.

Nobody cares.

Apparently, if you're not on Facebook, you're a nobody. A prehistoric nobody.

Everyone seems to be on Facebook. Most of my actor friends from Japan and Florida use Facebook. I get that and respect that. It's a great way to keep in touch as well as network. But just because I know that doesn't mean I'm ready for it.  Plus, there's a very good risk that someone from high school could find me.


Anyway, my signing up is actually is the result of the confluence of 3 events:

1. I got a call from my best friend Mike the other day and he asked me if I was on Facebook.


For those of you who know him, you may be as shocked as I was. Mike!
The Mike who didn't want to sign up for MSN Messenger because of privacy issues.
The Mike who didn't bat an eye when he recommended that I just delete my newly-created MySpace account after a former-girlfriend I wasn't ready to reestablish contact with tried to reestablish contact with me.
"Mike" Mike.

Yeah, I don't believe it either.

2. My installation of Digsby yesterday. After reading so many good things about it on Lifehacker, I decided to give it a shot. It's been really nice having a program bring together 4 of my email accounts, 5 of my IM accounts AND my Twitter.

But I just didn't like seeing the Facebook line grayed out...

3. Finally, last night, while testing Digby, I chatted online with a friend and former roommate from college. She asked if I was on Facebook yet and I gave the usual "Not yet! A few more posts on my blog and I think I'll be ready." She raved about it, particularly because of all of the current pictures of people she hadn't seen in years. "It's great! You can see how FAT everybody got! And how ugly their kids are!"

Well, that sounded shallow and petty.  And delightful.

So, I signed up.

While you're signing up, it asks you if you want to Facebook to scan your address book to check to see if any of your contacts have pages. Since I wasn't required to connect with any of these people yet, I figured it wouldn't hurt to check, right? Besides, I'd had Twitter do the same thing when I signed up and it brought up a big, fat goose egg.

Not so with Facebook.

Holy GEEZ, I didn't realize I knew so many people! I couldn't believe it. I had started using Gmail in Japan so I didn't think there'd be a lot of people in my address book. Boy, was I wrong. Even worse, as I'm clicking through the pages on my site, it starts suggesting people I might know. Friends of friends kinda thing, I guess.

The disturbing part? I know all of them.

That's scary.

On top of that, there are the 13 other Matt Herolds on Facebook. Suddenly my oddly-spelt last name doesn't feel quite so unique anymore.

Man, I don't know if I'm ready for this, you know? Ironic that I've been working so hard to create content to attract new readers to my blog yet I'm so unwilling to tap into such a giant vat of ready-made audience.
The thing is, I know these people.  That actually feels more constrictive to me than blogging to complete strangers.

Well, we'll see how it goes.  To those handful of people out there who haven't gotten on Facebook yet (hi, Ken!), I'll keep you updated.

Wish me luck!

This Is Disturbing

A Sea of Unwanted Imports
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Gleaming new Mercedes cars roll one by one out of a huge container ship here and onto a pier. Ordinarily the cars would be loaded on trucks within hours, destined for dealerships around the country. But these are not ordinary times.
For now, the port itself is the destination. Unwelcome by dealers and buyers, thousands of cars worth tens of millions of dollars are being warehoused on increasingly crowded port property.
And it gets worse.
But the inventory glut in Long Beach is not limited to imported cars. There has also been a sharp drop in demand for the port’s single largest export: recycled cardboard and paper products.This material typically goes to China, where it is used to make boxes for new electronics and other products that are sent back to the United States. But Chinese factories reacting to sharply falling demand are slowing production, so they need less cardboard. Tons of paper are piling up recycling businesses around the port, the detritus of economies on hold.
Our biggest export is stuff to make boxes for the Chinese to ship crap back to us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Knew Hollywood Was Running Out of Ideas But...

It seems to be running out of music, too.

If you watch the trailer for Adam Sandler's new movie Bedtime Stories, keep an ear out at about the halfway point.

That's the score from Back to the Future III.

Can't imagine why I would know that.

Guitar Hero. On a Bike.

Proof video games can get you out of the house.

(Zorkish) UPDATE:

The original Guitar Hero wasn't quite as much fun.

Star Trek 90210

Man, the people who make these videos are fast.

(via Cinematical)

Love the "Syler" bit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't Tell USJ...

Happy 80th Birthday, Mickey Mouse.

And I Thought I Had Too Much Free Time

Fan Restores Back To The Future Hover BMW:


OK. I'll admit it. I'm totally jealous.

Japan's Obama Mania

Man, those Japanese people just love Obama:

(via Telegraph)
"Two towns called Obama, which means "small shore" in Japanese, are already promoting their names and selling T-shirts, chopsticks and traditional sweets."
It's amazing what having a Japanese-sounding name can do for one's popularity in Japan.

Sadly - and this is much, much too funny for me to be kidding - the Japanese pronunciation of McCain's name also means something:

make-inu = 負犬 ="loser dog"

(hat tip to Peter over at jlist)

Related Posts:

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Man Of His Word

Because I promised...


(3 pictures I recently submitted to Kansai Scene)


(Wasabi Gumballs from


(Shiba Inu Puppy Cam)


Christopher Lloyd Visits What's Left of His Home

The BBC website has the "Good Morning America" clip showing Christopher Lloyd visiting what remains of his house:

BBC NEWS | Americas | Back to the Future star loses home:
"Christopher Lloyd, the Hollywood actor and star of the Back to the Future films, has lost his home to the wildfires which are sweeping parts of California. Mr Lloyd, who played the zany scientist 'Doc' in the Back to the Future trilogy, showed ABC's 'Good Morning America' programme around the ruins of his former home."
While you can see that video at a couple of different websites, I linked to the BBC because I like that they described Doc as "zany". All the other articles I've found kept calling Doc "crazy". Obviously, that's a personal pet peeve of mine. Doc was eccentric, he wasn't nuts.

Anyway, aside from how much it must suck to have "Good Morning America" tape you catching your first glimpse of the charred remains of everything you once owned, there were two things that really struck me about this video. First of all, despite the terrible circumstances, Christopher Lloyd looks GREAT for a 70 year old, doesn't he? Unbelievable.

Second was the following comment:
...memorabilia, which I kept delaying to go through to store. But, kinda don't have to worry about that now.
As I've mentioned before, I'm what Sam Gosling refers to as a "sentimental hoarder" in his book Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You.

I've got so much stuff from Japan in my little apartment, the most invaluable of which being my reams of journals and notes as well as hard drives full of pictures and data, including the first draft of my book. (And don't even get me started on all of the crap I've got boxed up at my parents house in Florida.)

As devastating as I'm sure it would be to lose all of that, I can't help but wonder if it might be pretty liberating as well.

The travel writer Pico Iyer - who I saw give an excellent lecture back in April - starts off his book The Global Soul as follows:
"Suddenly, the flames were curling seventy feet above my living room, whipped on by seventy-mile-per-hour winds that sent them ripping across the dry brush like maddened horses. I tried to call the fire department, but the phone was dead. I tried to turn the lights on, but the electricity was gone. I went upstairs again, to see that the flames, which minutes before had been a distant knife of orange cutting through a hillside, were now all around me, the view through the picture window a wall of flame."
After a few paragraphs describing his escape, he finishes the chapter with:
"I got taken to a friend's house, went across to an all-night supermarket to buy a toothbrush, and started my life anew."
It's tragic, but - and may everyone who lost their home in such a way forgive me for saying this - I'm almost envious.

I'm not saying I'd like a brushfire to rip through the U-District thereby freeing me from my junk and any self-imposed obligations. But, I am realizing that maybe it's time to reevaluate my relationship with my stuff and what I plan to do with it.

Or at least buy a really, really big firebox.

What do you think? If you lost your home tonight, how hard would it be for you to get back on your feet? Do you think it would be liberating? Devastating? What would you do next?

Monkey! In a Subway! Again!

Seriously, what's the deal with Tokyo and monkeys?

First this back in August. Now, this:

(via Let's Japan)

They even have a Monkey Timeline detailing all of the sightings.

You know what they need?

Monkey Man.

(via Urlesque)

Good Morning, Everybody

Wow. I'm actually somewhat awake at a decent hour. This is fairly amazing!

So, how's everybody doing today? Good weekend?

I'm doing pretty well myself. Sleepy, but excited to have an entire day to finally start getting some stuff done. Can't believe I'm already down to my last full week before flying back to Florida for Thanksgiving. It should be a good trip, though. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody as well as having a nice break from shivering.

Anyway, while it may seem that I haven't done much with the blog lately, I did get a few behind-the-scenes things done on Thursday and Friday. You may have noticed that, under my blog description off to the right, I've added an RSS feed (through Feedburner) and a "bookmarking & sharing" drop-down menu (through Add This). These should help make it easier for people to keep checking in with the ol' BC&GT as well as be able to easily share it with others, in turn, spreading this blog like a virus through the inter-tubes and bringing me one step closer to world domination.


(A lot of guys ignore the laugh, and that's about standards. I mean, if you're going to get into the Evil League of Evil, you have to have a memorable laugh.)

Eventually, I'm hoping to add email delivery of my posts as a service to you as well as to the handful of relatives of mine who never seem to check my blog anymore. (Mom and dad, I'm looking at you.)

Oh, I also finally got around to creating a Gravatar, or "Globally Recognized Avatar". So now, when I comment on other peoples' sites (instead of working on my book), it will automatically include that god-awful picture of me as Doc Brown (which you should also currently see up in the upper right hand corner of this blog. One of these days, I'm gonna have to tell you the story behind that picture. By the way, what do you think of the fish I added? Funny or just too creepy? Yeah, too creepy. I kept wanting to scratch my nose.)

I tested my Gravatar recently with my entry in the Twitter Clever Haiku Contest over at Copyblogger. My entry (#304 on the site or you can see the original Twitter here) is as follows:

So much work to do. / Need to stay focused or I... / Oooh! Twitter contest!

You'll find that this entry is both clever and a haiku. (And, sadly, autobiographical.) Of course, I have an unfair advantage because, having lived in Japan for so long, my thoughts already conform to the 5/7/5 syllable structure.

Crimson leaves tumble. / Tree silhouettes like ink strokes. / Be sure to buy milk.

The contest closed last night at midnight and they'll be announcing the winners on Friday, November 21st. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, I'd better get to work. Today, I'm going to start dumping a bunch of posts I started but never got around to hitting the "Publish" button on. Alas, if you've following this via a reader, my posts will be out of order, yet highly entertaining nonetheless.

Hopefully, I'll also finally start getting a few of my Japan trip posts online. We'll see.

Don't pressure me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Japan's Feeling It Too

Can't say I like seeing Starbucks or my old employer making this kind of news...

Japan's Service Demand Declines for a Second Month
"Japan's demand for services fell for a second month as squeezed profits began to affect employment and paychecks, dimming prospects for consumer spending to support the world's second-largest economy.
USJ Co., the operator of theme park Universal Studios Japan, last month reported a 21 percent decline in profit in the first half of this fiscal year, citing fewer visitors and sluggish sales of food and drinks.
Japanese are thinking twice about buying lattes and going to the movies. Discretionary spending fell 7.5 percent in September from a year earlier, accounting for three quarters of the drop in household purchases. Starbucks Coffee Japan Ltd., an affiliate of the world's biggest coffee chain operator, last week lowered its full-year profit projection 32 percent because of weak sales."

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Man Gets Trapped In a Balloon

Maybe I'm just tired but this has got to be one of the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

I can only hope that, if I'm that close to suffocating, I can still offer a running commentary.

Blast those South American Balloons! Blast them all to heck!


First the clock tower, now this!

Fires Prompt Schwarzenegger to Declare State of Emergency in Santa Barbara County
(via SFist):
"Christopher Lloyd's home has been torched to the ground."
I hope he's OK and that it was just a summer home. More details as I get them.


Looks like it was his primary residence. Bad news, but it could have been a lot worse.

Stars’ Homes Destroyed & Threatened By Montecito Fire

Access has also learned that Christopher Lloyd, from “Back To the Future,” lost his home to the fire. Lloyd’s realtor told Access she saw the actor’s 4400 sq. foot home engulfed in flames on the news. Fortunately, the actor is safe in Vancouver shooting a film.
I'm glad he's OK.

Here's more from the LATimes:

* Updated: Times Hot Property columnist Ann Brenoff reports a dramatic scene from the home of actor Christopher Lloyd:

The caretaker for actor Christopher Lloyd's house "fled for his life" in a firestorm last night, said Lisa Loiacono of Sotheby's International Realty. Loiacono manages the property for Lloyd, who is filming on location in Vancouver, Canada, and was not in Montecito. Loiacono said the property's 8 acres were all "torched," and the house "at least partially burned, if not totally." Loiacono was unable to enter the area this morning.

The house, Lloyd's main residence, had been listed for sale in the spring of 2007 at $11.3 million but was recently withdrawn from the market while he made upgrades. He owns a second, smaller, home in Montecito that is still on the market for $3.6 million.

The property believed lost is one of Montecito's more unusual homes. The 5,500-square-foot main house has one bedroom, and there is a separate guesthouse. The house was built in 1972 from adobe bricks made on site. And the living room and bedroom share an outdoor area with a large patio and stone-lined reflecting pool.

Lloyd personally cared for many of the rare and exotic plants on the grounds. It is also believed that the Mountain Drive home of Eva Loggins, Kenny Loggins' ex-wife, was destroyed by the fire.

Update 2: Here's more from The Times' Louis Sahagun in Montecito:

Buildings located on Christopher Lloyd's property sustained major fire damage, with ruins continuing to smolder Friday afternoon. The property looks out over a panoramic view of a canyon studded with luxury homes, the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands.

Lloyd is said to personally care for many of the rare and exotic plants on the grounds, some of which perished in the fire. Among the debris was the metallic nameplate for Orphium frutescens, a South African shrublet that grows pink flowers and is commonly known as the sea rose, and Erythrina latissima, a slow-growing South African tree, commonly known as the broad-leaved coral tree, that has scarlet flowers and leathery green leaves. Besides the nameplate, all that remained were ash and a stump covered in blackened leaves.

How depressing!


Mail Online has pictures of Lloyd's house after the fire.

And TMZ has video.

Get Your DeLoreans Ready

First this, now this:

Gas energy system unveiled at Deerfield landfill
"In the original 'Back to the Future' movie, Doc Brown uses plutonium to power his time-traveling DeLorean.

In the sequel, he no longer needs radioactive chemicals to fuel the vehicle, because the DeLorean has been modified to run on common household trash.

Turning garbage into energy was science fiction in the 1980s, but is now a reality in Cumberland County.

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority cut the ribbon Friday on a new gas energy system at its Deerfield Township landfill, which converts methane gas from decaying trash into electrical power."
C'mon, Mr. Fusion. Any day now...

The History of Doc Brown in Music Videos



My, how things have changed.

(Not sure how I feel about the goatee.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Presidential Shocker!

I'm almost going to miss this guy.


And The Lord Sayeth, Go Forth and Trash Your Career

I love "The Usual Suspects".

Love it.

The style, the story, the ending ("and like that... he's gone!") and the cast. Everyone did great in that film and I was particularly impressed with Stephen Baldwin.

I had no idea that, 13 years later (Usual Suspects was done 13 years ago??), this Baldwin Brother would be reduced to Hannah Montana tattoos and "Shark in Venice":

Stephen, what happened?

Please. Come back to the Dark Side.

USB 3.0 to Transfer 25GB in 70 Seconds


USB 3.0 to Transfer 25GB in 70 Seconds:
"USB 3.0 will be unveiled next Monday, and so far the new specs for the protocol look incredible, promising 25GB transfers in a mere 70 seconds. To put that in perspective, the same transfer would take 13.9 minutes with the current USB 2.0 protocol and 9.3 hours on USB 1.0. Looks like the future of wired syncs and backups is bright and blazing."
(via Lifehacker)

A Fitting Tribute

I've obviously watched a lot of Back to the Future-related, user-created content since I started this blog. This means that, not only have I seen a marked decrease in my social life, but I've also had to endure a lot of awful videos (as well as have the "Giga-Giga-Watt-Watt" song stuck in my head for days at a time).

But I thought the following video was really well done:

(Created by Ryan Deffley)

Put that one under the "Actually Good" tab.

Happy "Back to the Future" to you!

Time for some fresh air.

Mr. Fusion, Here We Come

Talk About Your Timing! The folks over at Engadget have given me the perfect way to wrap up my "Back to the Future" reenactment in a timely fashion:

Plasma Plant turns your old junk into electricity, which can then be used to create more junk:
"The transmutation of garbage into energy is a particularly modern form of alchemy. We've seen it done on a smaller scale in the past, but now a company called Geoplasma is assembling the country's first plasma refuse plant in St. Lucie County, Florida. Scheduled to go online by 2011, the plant will process 1,500 tons of garbage a day, adding 60 megawatts to the power grid -- enough energy to power 50,000 homes. The plant works by vaporizing refuse with a 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit stream of plasma. The organic components (food, fluids, paper) create a pressurized gas that is then used to turn a turbine, while any inorganic refuse (metals) that may be present condenses, later to be collected for industrial uses. But will it power a Flux Capacitor?"
Now, if we could just do something about Marty's kids.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

To Be Continued...?

This has been a real-time "Back to the Future" reenactment, performed by Matt and his "I really need to get a life" players.

Thank you, and good night.


Great Scott!

I forgot to tell Marty, when he gets back to the future, he needs to get DirectTV HD!

Damn! Where is that kid?


Damn, damn!

I Guess You Guys Aren't Ready For That Yet

But your kids are gonna love it.

Chuck! Chuck! It's Marvin!

Your cousin... Marvin Berry!

You know that new sound you're looking for?

Well, listen to this!

This One Is For All You Lovers Out There

Earth Angel, Earth Angel
Will You Be Mine?

Hey You...

Get your damn hands off... oh.

I think you got the wrong car, McFly.

For The Die-Hard BTTF Fans

OR... You can watch both I AND II tonight, simultaneously, as it happens.

You can't kill a pimp. Man, you know that.

If you don't have time to watch the entire movie tonight, here's the "Sweded" version (a la "Be Kind Rewind").

While I can't say I liked "Be Kind Rewind" (or even had the willpower to sit through the entire film), I thought these guys did a pretty good job.

"Pimps don't die, they multiply."

Look, There's A Rhythmic Ceremonial Ritual Coming Up

It's November 12th! You know what that means...

That's right, kids! Tonight's "The Enchantment Under the Sea" dance!

They're supposed to go to this! That's where they kiss for the first time!

Sorry... habit.

Anyway, it also means that, 53 years ago tonight, at exactly 10:04 pm, lightning struck the Hill Valley clock tower. (At least what's left of it.)

If you don't have a time machine and can't make it to 1955 for this historic event, Boxwish has a few suggestions on how else you can celebrate Back to the Future.

And, if you happen to be in Louisville this weekend, be sure to catch the Back to the Future triple feature on Saturday night!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lost “Horrors” Ending Found on YouTube

(via 10 Zen Monkeys)
"The web has resurrected a rare alternate ending to a 1986 musical about a monstrous, blood-sucking plant.

The spectacular 24-minute sequence shows an army of giant plants rampaging past city skyscrapers, overturning cars, swallowing railroads, and demolishing New York City, Godzilla-style. The U.S. army discovers the plants are bulletproof, and as helicopters flee, the plants swarm over the statue of Liberty.

It cost $5 million, took 11 months to produce, and has never been released.

Well, almost never."
Click through to watch Part I, Part II, and Part III. If you're a movie fan like me, you should find it fascinating. I loved the movie version of "Little Shop" (and used to listen to the soundtrack in the car so much it wore out the cassette). The puppetry is still impressive as hell, too. Had they made this movie in the last few years, it would have been all CGI and, I think, would have lost a lot of its charm.

And what a cast! Steve Martin and Bill Murray in the same scene.

There's just so much right with that clip. Classic.

Sadly, it wasn't until I read the post over 10 Zen Monkeys that I realized that Levi Stubbs - voice of Audry II and singer from the 4 Tops - had recently passed away. I won't lie, I'd always wished I'd had his voice. Back in high school, I used to daydream that there'd be a production of "Little Shop" and I would wow everybody by being able to - despite being 98 lbs and barely having the lung capacity to blow out a candle - do a spot-on impression of Levi Stubbs. And then I would get popular and girls would like me.

I was a dork.

Anyway, I did a search for Levi Stubbs and the first clip that came up was this one of Aretha Franklyn doing a tribute to him.

Considering how he looked, I didn't think he was going to sing. But he did.

Maybe it was seeing him in that condition, or maybe it was the old me hearing traces of his old voice, or perhaps it was the actor in me knowing how hard it can be to leave the stage and how much that night must have meant to him or maybe it was the way his bandmates kept encouraging him. Or maybe it was that last note he tried to hit.

Whatever it was, by the end, I was crying like a baby.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Santas Gets Sacked

Glum Tidings: Santa Gets Sacked as Cities, Companies Look to Save
"But this year, even Santa is getting downsized. It's too expensive for the struggling old lumber town to hoist him up to the roof and keep him twinkling.

With budgets tightening and corporate sponsors vanishing, communities from coast to coast have moved to trim the trimmings. They're hiring fewer elves and renting smaller floats for their Christmas parades. They're stringing fewer lights.

Santa bookings have dropped so steeply that the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, which represents 700 jolly souls in red velvet, held a series of meetings to discuss their economic survival."
I hope they fired this guy:

Awful, awful Santa.

Doc's Driving a Hybrid??

Electric DeLorean Goes Back to the Future:
"Dr. David Delman's license plates say 'E Fluxed.' In his car's back seat, there's a model of a so-called 'flux capacitor.' Scattered flyers on the vehicle's floor read, 'Save the clock tower.'

Unlike Doc Brown's DeLorean in the movie, Back to the Future, however, Delman's car doesn't use a nuclear reaction to produce 1.21 gigawatts (pronounced 'jiggawatts' in the movie) of power. Instead, it employs a much more conventional method for producing a small fraction of that power: Thirteen 12V lead-acid batteries drive a series-wound nine-inch DC electric motor that's mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The motor and manual transmission combine to give the car excellent acceleration, Delman says.

'It's a little quicker than a real DeLorean,' Delman says, comparing it to the 1980s vehicle that was immortalized in the famous 1985 movie. 'I've had this car over 88 miles per hour.'"
Great Scott!

Ninja Kittens

Seriously, do I need to say more?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Roads? Where We're Going... We Won't Need Roads

(via /gamer)

Burnout Paradise Goes “Back to the Future”:
"Burnout Paradise is about to go Back to the Future with this Delorean look-alike. Not only does it look like the famous car from the classic movie, my pressing down the L3 button on the controller, it freaking hovers."
My sentiments exactly.

Friday, November 7, 2008

President-Elect Is Making Me Look Bad

How long have I been back from Japan and I still don't have any pictures online yet?

Barack's campaign ended on the 4th and he's already got his pictures on Flickr.

I'd better get my ass in gear.

Still, some great candid, behind-the-scene shots. I had no idea how little ceremony was involved in them waiting for the results. They all just seem so... normal. I'd love to see some similar photos from the McCain camp.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

500 Miles!

Uploaded my last jog and I've officially reached 500 miles! Go me!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Taking The Long Way Round

As much as I don't want to talk politics here, I just found this little bit of information fascinating.

Without getting too into it, let's just say that Bush getting re-elected in 2004 was really tough on me and a lot of my American friends in Japan. (For more details, check out my book! On shelves sometime in early 2018.)

It was so depressing for us to see the entire midsection of the US painted in glowing, throbbing, bright, bright red. Bad enough that we already felt so far-removed from our home country just by being half-a-planet away, but now we felt like we didn't even recognize it.

So, instead of drinking ourselves into a coma, we took solace in maps which were altered to reflect "a more realistic view" of the results.

"See, guys? If we adjust the size of each individual county by their election returns, and then use varying shades of purple instead of red and blue, and if you turn your head sideways and kinda squint, not only did Kerry do really well, but the U.S. kinda looks like a carp."

Thankfully, no such alterations have to be made this election but, I can't help but be intrigued by these 2 maps (originally from the New York Times, posted on Daily Kos).

This first map shows the counties that voted more Republican in this election than 2004.

That's amazing to me.

Why is it like that? What is it with the Appalachian region of the US? What's up with Arkansas? Was it because of Obama's race? Was it fear? Was it ignorance? Do they know something we don't know? What do you think? I'm genuinely curious.

Now, this second map is just to make "2004 Matt" feel better.


Best of all, these maps have helped me significantly in planning my eventual road trip from Seattle back to Florida.

Unfortunately, it's now going to take twice as long.

(Just in case you are curious, here are the 2008 electoral results adjusted to fit reality. After some deep political analysis, I'm finding that it's more phoenix-y than carp-y.)

You Mean I Don't Have To Say I'm Canadian Anymore?

Suddenly, it may be cool to be an American again - Yahoo! News:
"For longtime U.S. expatriates like me — someone far more accustomed to being targeted over unpopular policies, for having my very Americanness publicly assailed — it feels like an extraordinary turnabout."
That's what I'm talking about.

Related Posts: I Am A Doughnut

Deep Thought

Bush ended up being a uniter after all.

Best-Selling Author Michael Crichton Dies

This was certainly unexpected.

Best-Selling Author Michael Crichton Dies, "Jurassic Park" Author And "ER" Creator Succumbs To Cancer. He Was 66. - CBS News: "(CBS)
Best-selling author and filmaker [sic] Michael Crichton died unexpectedly in Los Angeles Tuesday, after a courageous and private battle against cancer, according to a statement released by his family. He was 66.

Crichton is best known as the author of 'Jurassic Park' and the creator of 'ER.' His most recent novel, 'Next,' about genetics and law, was published in December 2006."
While I can't say that I've read any of his more recent books, Michael Crichton's early work has certainly played a major role in my life. Crighton wrote Jurassic Park, which brought to life Alan Grant, one of the characters I played in Japan (despite my not looking anything like Sam Neill). Also, his book Travels was a huge influence on me when I returned from Australia (and still, in my opinion, has the best opening line ever).

I'm sorry to hear that he's left us so early.

Crazy Talk

"This Modern World" from June 10, 2008:

(via Salon)

Original source material here. (via Atrios)

And I can't help but like this.

Happy November 5th!

What's today, you ask?

Yeah, yeah... historic election yesterday and all that. Beginning of the end of Bush. The dawn of a new era. Yes we can. Blah, blah, blah...

But let's not forget what makes today really special, a red letter date in the history of science!

It was on this day, in 1955, that Doc Brown invented time travel!

"I remember it vividly. I was standing on the edge of my toilet, hanging a clock, the porcelain was wet, I slipped, hit my head on the edge of the sink and, when I came to, I had a revelation.

A vision.

A picture in my head.

A picture of this.

This is what makes time travel possible. The flux capacitor."

Freakin' sweet.

(Oh, and the election was really cool, too.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


More Japanese Obama-craziness here.

Special Election Night Coverage!

Florida: Too Close To Call
Washington: Too Early To Call
Ted Knight: Too Close For Comfort
MC Hammer: 2 Legit 2 Quit

Coffee, a Chicken Sandwich and a Vibrator.

One of the added benefits of living in a democracy? Free stuff!

If you voted...

Starbucks will give you a free coffee.
Ben and Jerry's with give you a free scoop of ice cream.
Chik-fil-A will give you a free chicken sandwich.
Babeland will give you a free vibrator.

Ain't that America?


Yeah, turns out, it's illegal:
Businesses like Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s, Krispy Kreme and even Zoo Atlanta had offered freebies or half-priced items to those sporting “I voted” stickers. But after learning such rewards were deemed illegal, many expanded their election-day largesse to anyone who walked in the door.
Two things:
1. Who says "largesse" anymore?
2. Does this apply to the vibrators?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ran Into An Old Friend

Two separate trips to Tennoji Zoo with Misato. Two pictures with Pikachu.

His location and my haircut have changed a bit over time but our love still remains.

I only wished I aged as well as he did.

Segway Roadtrip Movie?

"10 MPH - Segway Roadtrip Across America"
10 MPH is a comical documentary that follows a pair of aspiring filmmakers as they quit their jobs and turn a friend's ludicrous idea into a movie. The impulsive purchase of a two-wheeled Segway scooter sets this story in motion when the two friends decide to travel from Seattle to Boston at 10 MPH in an attempt to change their lives forever...
Can't say I've heard of it, much less seen it, but I'm sure Doc Brown would be proud:

You can watch the whole movie here.