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My Archives: July 2003

Monday, July 28, 2003

Friendster is not your friend
Posted by CKL @ 11:55 PM PST
One of my old high school buddies recently sent me an invitation to join Friendster, a new online community web site. A nice gesture, but in this case, it's not the thought that counts, it's the inescapable suckitude of the web site. That's right, you heard me: Friendster sucks.
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Big News
Posted by CKL @ 12:24 PM PST
DeeAnn and I had our big Fifth-Year-Together Anniversary party on Saturday, where we also told everyone that we're engaged. We've actually known since last October, but wanted to do something special to make it official. This past weekend marked five years since DeeAnn moved out to the bay area. It doesn't feel like that long. I don't think it ever will.

We've tentatively set our wedding date for March, 2005, to give ourselves enough time to plan. Most people seem to think that's an unusually long time for the engagement, but we both learned long ago not to worry too much what other people think of us.

The pulled pork and grilled salmon were very popular at the party, as was IdaRose and Neil's "love potion #5" (a big bucket o' sangria). People were impressed that we actually attempted Alton Brown's recipes, since they usually involve lots of work, lots of time, or both. The meat was very good, but I think my favorites were the homemade pickles.

The last guests left between midnight and one, making it a good eight hours of partying. That's a full work day, and my feet are a little sore. But I'm very happy to be in my shoes.

Available for public consumption: party photos!

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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Coast to Coast
Posted by CKL @ 10:55 AM PST
Pop quiz: what's the difference between San Francisco and New York?

In 1978, former San Francisco city supervisor Dan White shot and killed Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk in their offices in City Hall. White confessed, but the public still had to endure the ridiculous "Twinkie defense" during his trial, and the sentence was a slap on the wrist-- five years with parole. White later committed suicide.

Yesterday, Othniel Askew, a would-be candidate for New York City Council, shot and killed councilman James Davis in the chamber balcony at City Hall. Richard Burt, a plainclothes police officer on the chamber floor, drew his weapon and put six bullets into Askew, killing him on the spot.

What the difference between San Francisco and New York? New York City doesn't take shit from anybody.

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Monday, July 21, 2003

Smart Money
Posted by CKL @ 06:16 PM PST
Given my poor track record of investments in the past (hello, AT&T Wireless IPO), it's somewhat heartening to see that I seem to have made a good choice vis à vis DirecTV versus Dish Network.

Last Thursday, DirecTV "reported slower-than-expected second-quarter growth in subscribers to its TiVo television recording service" (Reuters). It looks like they were an order of magnitude off-- they had projected that 10% of all new DirecTV subscribers this year would get DirecTiVos, but so far, they've only hit "low single digits." Oops.

The announcement caused TiVo stock to fall, too, since DirecTV is TiVo's biggest distributor right now, but that's not important. What I care about is whether DirecTV will stick with TiVo. That's what influenced my decision to get a standalone box instead of a DirecTiVo-- I wanted the new Home Media Option, which only works on standalone Series2 boxes. As far as I could tell, DirecTiVos can't even use broadband, even though they have the same USB ports. I wasn't optimistic about DirecTV adding broadband, HMO, or other new functionality anytime soon, and I'm even less so now.

Meanwhile, Echostar (a.k.a. Dish Network) announced today that they're getting $500 million from SBC. "The Baby Bell plans to market the [satellite] TV programming as part of a package of local, long-distance, wireless and digital subscriber line (DSL) services. It will also handle all consumer relationships, such as orders, installation and activation, to subscribers looking to upgrade" (CNET). Pretty aggressive, and not a bad bundle: don't want Comcast for your cable modem and TV service? Go with SBC, DSL, and satellite, all on one bill.

I still think consumers should have more options when it comes to telecom services, but at least the competition is looking a little healthier now.

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Saturday, July 19, 2003

My Ode to TiVo
Posted by CKL @ 01:10 AM PST
And you can sing along:

You say you want a TiVolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We all want to watch TV
But when you talk about commercials
Don't you know you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright...

I've only had a Second Variety TiVo since July 10th, but I already love it, even more than I did my DishPlayer, which I retired this month at long last. Buggy software and neglectful service aside, it completely and irrevocably changed the way I watch TV. Now, with TiVo, I've got to admit it's getting better. The true test will come this fall, when the new season starts and I start recording actual must-see shows.

Finally, I have to say that I was torn between keeping Dish Network and getting a standalone TiVo, or jumping ship to DirecTV and getting an integrated satellite box with TiVo (as my DishPlayer was). In the end, the former option won out for two main reasons: I wouldn't have to forfeit a sizable chunk of my prepaid annual Dish subscription, and I wouldn't have to install any new equipment on my roof. Also, I could buy everything retail (read: immediately) and set it up the same day, which I did.

Hey, I have more money than time-- that's why I wanted a damn TiVo in the first place!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Separated at Birth?
Posted by CKL @ 05:16 PM PST
I just saw Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines this afternoon. Now, is it just me, or is John Connor (Nick Stahl, below left) a dead ringer for Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig, below right) from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?

SAB_jconnor_jbashir (16k image)

Well, they look more similar than Tom Hardy and Patrick Stewart do, anyway. And people wonder why Nemesis flopped.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Hello, you're an idiot
Posted by CKL @ 11:33 PM PST
I was all ready to get behind the Washington Post review of the new animated feature Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas after seeing the sub-heading "DreamWorks Tale Is More Hollywood Than Arabia." I'd already seen trailers, and clips on Ebert & Roeper, which corroborated just what Stephen Hunter gripes about in the first few paragraphs of his review:
"Sinbad"...has nothing whatsoever to do with Arabic culture or any culture. The story has been cut loose from its historical moorings and transpires in a world that never was... Chalk it up to a spirit of planetary ecumenism.
I, too, often find the blandness of most pop culture irksome, especially when it's been made "kid-friendly" by removing all content which might be offensive to yuppie parents. There are good reasons other people might say things you don't like. Not everybody agrees with you. The world is unfair. Deal with it.

Anyway, I was with the guy until he went off the deep end:

[Sinbad] is haunted by a god not called Allah or Buddha or God but, improbably, Eris. Eris? Yeah, and she's voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer -- you know, of the Valley Pfeiffers. Eris is the Goddess of Chaos. Why would there be a Goddess of Chaos? I have no idea...What religion was that again?
It was the religion of the ancient Greeks, you fucking moron. Ever heard of a pantheon? Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Aphrodite, Ares-- is any of this ringing a bell, or did you sleep through all of high school?

Complain about the nonsensical mishmash of cultures if you want, but at least have some goddamned facts at your command. I mean, he mentions "Greek goddesses" in an earlier paragraph. Did a bunch of monkeys ghost-write this review for him? If you can't even be bothered to do a simple Google search, I have no respect for you and no more time to waste on your uninformed rantings.

I can't believe this clown actually won a Pulitzer back in April. There ain't no justice.

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