Saturday, August 25, 2007
Call To Arms
This is our chance to hammer a silver spike into the heart of the 241 Toll Road extension: California Assembly Bill 1457 proposes to ban the building of roads through State Parks. If this bill passes, The Transportation Corridor authorities degradation of San Mateo campground (itself a mitigation for the San Onofre nuclear plant), San Mateo watershed, and the Trestles wave complex will be stopped. Under normal circumstances in the Sacramento dynamic, a bill of this nature would fail due to business-as-usual, political process that grinds on behind the scenes. Unless the unusual happens and the surfing community collectively rises up and mobilizes to pass this bill, it to will fail and likely Trestles along with it. As a member of our surfing community no matter what party you support or where you sit on or in the state of California (Or the nation) please work hard to support this bill the survival of Trestles (San Onofre and San Mateo) as we know it is at stake. Your break (or campsite) will be next. Contact your local state government representatives and request that they support assembly Bill 1457 banning new roads through state parks! -- S. P.
What happens to the backcountry, happens to the beach, contact your California State Representative to keep the link between trestles and the wilderness corridor of San Mateo Creek untrammeled...
Sunday, August 19, 2007
It's a lousy day to be a miner in China or Utah. Or a mine.
It's a bad day to be in Oklahoma floods. And it's a bad day to be a dog-fightin' pro football player.
It's a bad day to have an open-house in San Francisco when you neglected to A) advertise the open house to any but those who previously expressed interest and B) mention the open-house on your craigslist ad. Genius.
It's a bad day for lots of people. Was it a good day for anyone?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I am at an impasse. Or a crossroads. Call it the Emotionally Fucked Roundabout of Despair. Business is stressful and not yet financially rewarding. My roommate is moving out in a week or three. I still seek nine-to-fivey kinda work but law school starts in a week. There are part-time opportunities available but ...
... but nothing I guess. I either get a job, move someone into the apartment who can significantly contribute to the rent each month, and make some money come in, or I lose this apartment one month into my first year of law school. I'm sure I'd handle that REALLY well. Do they have cocktail hours in sanitoriums? How do all these people who continually tell me how much SMARTER I am than them somehow manage to seem so much better at the simple requisite tasks of day-to-day life than I have ever been? Am I some kinda idiot-savant, with the talent of appearing to be a genius to everyone else when really I'm just a Rain Man who can't count cards?
Really, kids. Tell me how you do it. How do you balance your budgets? How do you avoid being taken advantage of? How do you regulate your bowel movements while keeping your diets interesting? Let's start a self-help book here. That self is me.
It's a hard world out there when you're nouveau-bipolar.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Nasty like 5-7-5 nasty.
Blue cylinder waiting there
Waiting to be burnt
Keys all in a row,
Weighted, sensing every touch
Won't you touch them? Please?
I am in Los Angeles. La La Land. Hell. Someone please, pray for my salvation. Law school is only days away.
And if you're in LA ... holla!
(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)
Many kudos to Total Buzz for this lovely photo of OC Supervisor John Moorlach and OC Treasurer/Tax Collector Chriss Street! Oh yes, and more kudos to them for this. Check out what Chriss Street has been buying for his office using our tax dollars. All in all, Street has so far spent a grand total of $950,754 of OUR TAX DOLLARS on luxurious furniture for his office. And believe it or not, officials in the Treasurer's Department expect this price tag to rise above $1,000,000!
So ladies and gentlemen, this is how the person collecting our taxes is spending them. So why hasn't "taxpayer hero" John Moorlach come to save the day? Why hasn't he called on Street to resign after hearing of this gross misuse of public funds, as well as the the FBI investigation into Street's mismanagement of a bankrupt trucking company whose assets he may have misused for such "necessities" as a family vacation, gym memberships, and Botox injections? Why hasn't Moorlach taken on Street in the same manner that he's challenging our law enforcement officers over their retirement benefits?
Moorlach claims that the current retirement benefits for our hardworking deputy sheriffs are somehow a "gift of public funds" that must be stopped. He's so outraged over our law enforcement officers getting a nest egg to retire on, but where's the outrage over really disgusting "gifts of public funds" like the lavish remodeling of Chriss Street's office? Oh, is that possibly because Moorlach himself also partook in "Extreme Makeover: OC Government Edition"? And may Moorlach be overlooking Street's sins because the two have such a long history of sticking together?
Well, I guess it's nice to see such a strong bond of friendship between Moorlach and Street continue to grow. Yes, it continues to grow... Kinda like that final bill for all that "remodeling" in Street's office! How precious. ;-)
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Britain is to be hit by its first “pollution charge” with owners of large cars taxed £25 a day to drive into city centres.
Up to a fifth of vehicles, including people carriers, 4x4s and luxury saloons, will be targeted by an emissions-based charge designed to penalize the highest-polluting vehicles.
Smaller cars, such as diesel hatchbacks and hybrid vehicles that emit 120 grams or less of carbon dioxide per kilometre, will be exempt. Those emitting up to 225g/km would be charged £8.
brilliant and believe it or not there are plans to test something similar to this in the states. the feds are behind it (i'm sure the prez's folks don't know so don't blow it) we just need a test city. gee let me guess... Portland? now if i could only figure out how the heck you get a saloon on a city street, i'd be set for life.
UPDATE: gush.. sigh...
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Not even being forced to watch an airplane-edited version on a tiny screen cocked at an obscene viewing angle thanks to a 2nd-placed wrestler reclining in the seat in front of me could diminish my enjoyment of such a film.
(There should be a picture of the Sandford Police Department logo here but I can't figure out how to work the Blogger photo import feature because, well, my father is a radiologist and his sperm was exposed to an inadvisable amount of radiation over the years. Do I have to paint a picture? If the picture ever appears below this tangent, it's all down to Neon and says nothing about my hypertextual acumen)
For those not indoctrinated into the Brotherhood of Wright and Pegg - Hot Fuzz is the latest creation from writer/director Edgar Wright and writer/actor Simon Pegg since their last film, Sean of the Dead. I first came upon their work in the form of a British TV show called Spaced. It is quite possibly the finest show to ever appear on any TV anywhere, and Wright directed every episode. Before that they worked on a sketch comedy show, Asylum. You don't care.
Hot Fuzz takes London's top cop and throws him into the middle of the countryside; his excellence is making his fellow Metropolitan Policemen look bad. But despite the new serene environs in the village of Sandford, country life proves no dawdle for this hardened ... blah de blah. The plot's not hugely important, it simply serves as a vehicle for satire. It's the blended-together send-up of most every buddy-cop movie you've ever seen, one which highlights the ridiculous idiocy of the genre whilst somehow avoiding it. Although Hot Fuzz makes fun of movies from Point Break to Lethal Weapon to Bad Boys (even discussing the films as it mocks/worships them), I believe it to be a superior film to any of those which it ridicules.
Immediately after watching it on the airplane, I wrote in my journal, "This satire of cop flicks is in itself an homage - but how can it dutifully recycle so much filthy garbage without picking up a whiff? Maybe there's something about proper scrutiny of a subject which requires distance - distance enough to cross that fine line between sheep shit and sheer brilliance. All right, so it's not that fine a line. Point being, you can't see your own eye without looking in a mirror. You exist, while your reflection is a two-dimensional facsimile; flat, inert, lifeless. Somehow, in reflecting on the films from which it derives, Hot Fuzz reveals their paper-thin patheticity through its own multidimensional brilliance."
Wright and Penn must be celebrated for knowing EXACTLY the sort of thing an audience wants to see, and even how they want to see it. We've all seen spikes on the tops of buildings. We've all wondered what would happen if that spike broke off and landed perfectly, point first, on top of someone's head. We get to see this happen with not just a spike but a spire of stone off a church tower, straight and deep into a reporter's chest. And he staggers before he falls. Brilliant. I'd call that the best, or at least most gratifying, moment in the film if there wasn't a bit involving a flying kick directly into an old woman's head.
That kick comes at the film's crucial moment: the part where Pegg's super-cop character, as if acknowledging the type of film he's in, finally succumbs to the devil-may-care, details-be-damned, Hollywoodized notion of coppery. Instead of rules and regulations he turns to sunglasses, violence, over-the-top gunplay and one-liners, just as the film turns from an indictment of buddy-cop films and all their erroneous depictions to a straight-up, balls-out Bruckheimer/Bay/Donner-esque action extravaganza.
How does it do it? Let's go back to the journal:
"Strangely, after over an hour of highlighting the ridiculous, unrealistic or just plain stupid aspects of the genre, Hot Fuzz dives right into the thick of it (it being 'bullshit', or 'cheesiness' if you're British). Hot Fuzz is the shit that rises to the top. How does it beat the originals at their own game? By shitting cheese better than any of them. Or rather, by out-shitting their cheese. Or its cheese is shittier. Or riper."
"I think it's time for my medication."
Have you read "Dana Point Today" lately? This newsletter bills itself as a publication that's "keeping the residents of Dana Point informed on issues affecting our beautiful coastal community". How nice. So where's the news on the issues affecting this beautiful coastal community? This seems like an innocent public interest newsletter, but something just doesn't seem right about it. I wonder why I have this uneasy feeling about "Dana Point Today".
So please do follow me down below for more... We need to talk...
(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)
Where's the news on whatever is being done on affordable housing? Where's some real news on the Headlands? Where's some real news on improving the nasty water quality at Doheny? I guess there's a little blurb about Doheny in there, but there doesn't seem to be much discussion on the real issues affecting Dana Point. All this newsletter seems to be is happy talk on city projects. There's even a letter on the city budget from Mayor Diane Harkey. Oh wait, that must be because this is from the City of Dana Point! After all, this does have the official city seal.
Oh wait, but this can't be a city publication. This is not from the city. So where is this thing coming from? Maybe this can help us find the answer. Dana Point Today's headquarters happens to be conveniently located right next to Harkey for Assembly headquarters on Del Prado. And while Harkey penned a nice, long letter about the city budget for this publication, there's nothing official from the city in this publication... Not even the seal.
And speaking of the city seal, whatever happened to Dana Point Policy #102?
The use of the City Seal/Logo or facsimile or reproduction of, or make or use of any seal/logo or any design which is an imitation of said seal/logo or which may be mistaken for said seal/logo, for any purpose other than official business of the City, its City Council, City Advisory Boards, Commissions, Task Forces and Staff, shall be prohibited unless otherwise approved by the City Manager and/or City Council. In addition, the use of the City Seal/Logo for any political campaign materials or literature shall be prohibited. (Refer to Ordinance No. 92-14 for specific regulations.)
Oops. I guess whoever did this newsletter for the Harkey for Assembly Campaign forgot about that. So did the Harkey Campaign (or whoever did this for them) receive approval from the city to use the deal in this publication? This may not seem like a major issue, except that this may coax unsuspecting Dana Point residents into believing this is some type of community interest newsletter or some city related publication, when this appears to be something connected to Harkey's partisan campaign for State Assembly. If this is actually the case, then this is not something that the campaign should be engaging in.
Even if we forget the whole specific issue of a possible violation over the use of a city seal, this is still wrong. People are being duped into thinking that this is nonpartisan information when this may actually be tied to a partisan campaign. At best, this is playing fast and loose with basic ethics. I don't even want to talk about the possible worst-case scenario here.
So if people connected to the Harkey for Assembly Campaign are publishing this "newsletter", then they need to cut it out. This just isn't right. And yes, the people of this truly beautiful coastal community deserve better than this.
"I know I'm sleep-deprived," my journal reads, "but so far this trip home has been hell on wheels without the benefit of wheels." Here's the litany:
1.) In Heathrow, some man pushed past me in the security line and kept pushing til there was no more room. Then he just stood there. No rush any more, just wanted to see how far he could get.
2.) An American couple in front of me, who had dutifully (if uselessly) scanned their shoes at the FIRST set of machines, despite an array of LCD displays listing every item in need of scanning (with shoes noticeable in their absence), were quite upset to be asked to remove their shoes again (for the first time) at the specifically-designed-to-scan-shoes machine. I tell ya, life is so HARD sometimes! When you're stupid.
3.) On the flight, the guy in the seat next to me immediately spreads his right knee so far into my quadrant that it's either I press mine together practically into the aisle or it's time for hours of knee-on-knee action. Then, betraying any excuse of unconsciousness, he immediately offers to let me use his pen when I start to examine my Customs form. Yeah, mate, I'll bet you'd like me to use your pen.
4.) Two seconds into the flight, POW, seat back in front of me comes crashing down. Giant head. I am forced to watch all the in-flight films at a forty-five degree angle (although the entire flight, and possibly the lives of myself and many others, is/are saved when Hot Fuzz comes on. That review requires its own post.) At one point, when the guy's in the loo, I unrecline his seat. It's not like I'm clubbing a baby seal or anything. I come to wonder, according to my journal, "whether there is a place on the human scalp into which a man could plunge a pen, a common plastic ball-point, with such force that the ball point would penetrate the skull and actually pith the brain, and in such a fashion as to exclusively knock out the pain receptors responsible for detecting a penetration of the skull. I think this as I wonder how the man in Seat 30B would look with a pen sticking out of his head.
the journal continues...
"If you saw a man with a pen sticking out of his head, would you tell him? Would you consider trying to pull it out for him, as you might flip down the tag in back of another's shirt or dress if it stuck out? What sort of sound would it make, do you think? What sort of sound would he make? Lord, Buddha, Shiva, whoever, please let us land soon. I still don't trust the bespectacled feller next to me and I'm starting to genuinely fear for the life of the constantly-reclined gentleman in front of me. If not for his life, than at least for the integrity of his scalp. That and I don't know where I'll find another pen."
Monday, August 6, 2007
All too often when we think of the netroots, we think of those big, glitzy, glamorous national blogs with all those hundreds of thousands of User IDs. We think of that huge convention in Chicago that just ended. We think big, and we think national. But when you really look at the big picture, the national scene is only a small part of it.
The SF Chronicle just caught onto this, and I'm glad to see them noticing. There's a giant segment of the netroots that hasn't been noticed much, but is nonetheless making a huge difference throughout California, and throughout the nation. Follow me down below for more...
(Cross-posted at Calitics)
Some people who blog think the blogosphere has a tremendous impact on elections. I am not one of them. In general, I believe the impact of blogs today on who gets elected is miniscule. Their influence will likely increase as time goes on, but at the moment I think their effect on elections amounts to little more than an asterisk.
That's part of what Gila has to say today at The Liberal OC. And you know what? She's right. Whether we like it or not, the national blogosphere only has so much of an impact on elections and campaigns right now. Perhaps that will change some time in the future, but I don't see it happening now.
Yes, the netroots is a big asset in terms of raising money and exciting the base. However, it can NOT be substiuted for institutional donors on fundraising matters. And no, the netroots isn't a proven vehicle to win votes. So on this matter, Gila is correct.
However, I make a conditional exception for local blogs.
And once again, Gila is spot on in her observation. While everyone is focusing on the big national blogs, they are all missing the one area of the blogosphere that's having the most impact on politics, which is THE LOCAL BLOGOSPHERE.
The SF Chronicle takes a look at what happened with Say No to Pombo in CA-11 last year, and at what happened in a recent special election for State Senate in New York. In both cases, the local blogs brought to attention stories that the mainstream media ignored, and they ignited local readers to become local activists. I guess The Albany Project makes a huge difference in New York State, and all of us know in California just how instrumental the local netroots was in taking down Richard Pombo.
But of course, these aren't the only examples of the local netroots making the real difference. After all, everyone here in Orange County knows that without the stellar coverage of local blogs like The Liberal OC, the Tan Nguyen psychodrama would have never become such a huge story. And of course, stories like Claudio's "Ignorance to Enlightenment" series at Orange Juice have jumpstarted countywide discussions on the intersection of faith and politics. Oh, and if you need another good example of what happens to a politician who ignites the fury of the blogosphere, see what's been happening to Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen.
So what does this all say? It says that local blogs can be quite instrumental in influencing the political dialogue online AND offline. It says that local blogs can be key in making or breaking a local politician's career. It says that just as all politics is local, all local politics can be strongly affected by what's happening on the local blogosphere.
So what does this mean for us? This means that we should not be afraid to tackle local issues, and discuss local politics. Local affairs may not be "sexy" enough for the big national sites, but it's the local politics where the local netroots can have the biggest impact.
Don't believe me? Ask the New York State Democratic Party, or ask Richard Pombo, or ask Janet Nguyen (or Tan Nguyen for that matter!). They can tell you all about it. : )
So I get off the train (after chatting to a fascinating Australian expat named Jocasta, who felt feral from lack of showering and was on her way back from the Big Chill festival, which was why the train suddenly filled up with unwashed, exhausted electronicos at the normally-tranquil Great Malvern Station) and lo and behold, Cat is waiting for me at the station. How lovely. We head back to hers, she feeds me curry, we catch up for a coupla hours and then she gives me her bed - "I know how it is when you're travelling," she says. How lovely. She has a tapestry on her wall. I recognize some shapes - a pair of lions cuddling, a unicorn dipping its horn into a stream...
Suddenly I realize I've seen these images before. Cat has, in fact, found the tapestry from which the opening scenes of The Last Unicorn were taken, and here it is on her wall.
Feel the magic, feel the wonder.
The next day (today) was a day of errands. First she exchanged a bra for something ridiculous like £25 (her bras are pricey because they're hard to find - being a well-endowed woman can be expensive! Thank jizm there aren't dick-bras); then we found a post-office where I could mail a postcard to R. Scott Moxley (though I feel bad distracting him from the business of un-fucking Orange County); sat in the Lamb & Flag, where C.S. Lewis and Tolkein used to shoot the shit, where Cat told me enough about her boss that I'm convinced she could/should sue the SHIT out of him (anyone know a good lawyer in England? The man makes her walk up stairs despite her asthma, then offers to carry her up. Prick); found some dude's phone, in which Cat located a number for his mother, who told us he worked at the Science & Technology section of Blackwell's Bookshop, where we left the phone. He was still on his lunch break - probably looking for the phone!
We sat outside the Bodleian Library while I had the smoothest smoothie of my life, procured in the covered market, and she had a salad. I believe the exact location of where we sat is Radcliffe Camera. I know this because I bought a postcard of it, which I think I'll send to Cat once I return to SF. Nothing like getting a postcard from your own town from far afield. Why do I so enjoy doing strange things?
On the train from Oxford to London I had to stand in between cars. Got to talking to a twenty-year-old from York, who was spending a week visiting friends in London on her work holiday. We spoke for half an hour or so, me doing most of the talking (of course - I do so enjoy the sound of my own voice), and at the end she told me, "You have such an interesting life!" I felt a bit awkward, worrying that maybe she felt her life was less interesting by comparison. "Everything's relative," I told her. As we exited the train, I said to her, "Thank you for being a small part of my interesting life."
If only she knew how interesting I found her...
Incorrigible = me
Sunday, August 5, 2007
For I am only in country for THE WEDDING!
All I have to say is : PERFECT. I arrived at my B&B in a village nearby the church to find a working farm. By which I mean everyone was working. I hung out with a donkey named Sparky 'til two of Kinsley's mates showed up, let me in, saved my ass et cetera.
The church was small but cozy. I couldn't believe how many people were there, especially considering how many of them all lived in the same hall of residence at Uni. Sue read from Victor Hugo - the "love in spite of ourselves" bit from Victor Hugo. Oh, and the bride entered to Pachelbel's Canon in D, among my most beloved bits of music. I was surrounded by my favorite people, my favorite music, and my favorite thing: love.
At one point, the proprietor of the event asked Kingsley and Becca if they knew of any reason they could not be lawfully wed under the eyes of God. They both turned to face each other, gave a curt nod, turned to the pastor and nodded again. Darling.
The Reception: I arrived to find my nametag in front of a high chair. At first we thought someone was playing a brilliant, if diabolical, joke - but it turns out there was a small child seated at the table as well. At dessert, her father fed her small bits of this deliciously puckering tart made from various berries. Her parents weren't sure how she would react but apparently the child liked it. At which point I felt the need to chime in, "Careful, mate. We are what we eat and she's still quite small, so I'm not sure how much sour tart you want to feed her."
Yes, I know.
Later on I made the child weep by singing "Barbara Ann" by the beach boys. It seems her favorite song is Ba Ba Black Sheep, and as soon as I got to 'slide betty sue' it was patently obvious I was mangling her favorite. Cue screaming. And I mean full-on, entire-marquee-full-of-guests-looking-to-see-who's-murdering-a-child screaming. I guess the chick's not a Brian Wilson fan. What can I say?
Thursday, August 2, 2007
I cross the street to Clissold Park and look for a place to sit, drink coffee, read Obama's Dreams From My Father, and ideally sneak the occasional peek over at a certain cafe. Then I spot it: the perfect bench, facing the perfect direction, with the sun at the perfect angle to illuminate my text. Problem is, there's a lady and a feller doing some rather interesting workout routines right next to the bench. It'd seem a little odd to just plop down right next to them in search of a quiet spot to read and reflect, what with about six other benches in plain view quite free from adjacent exercizers. I wish they would suddenly finish or move on, and I'm not sure what to do. But then comes a moment of miraculous, perhaps divine, intervention.
Approaching the workout pair from behind comes an enormous riding mower, twin turbine blades mulching the grass to a most proper British level. Its operator, a handsome Black fellow in sunglasses, has been making increasingly frustrated noises and gestures at the exercizers, the general point being they should get the hell out of the way. For a moment I stand there transfixed, wondering whether some higher power is about to grant my wish in a manner most gruesome. But no - the mower stops about two meters away, at which point the workout pair jump as one, look about, and (impossible as it may seem) move on! Just like that! Walk away!
I'm free to enjoy my bench, my coffee, my book and my view of the adorable probably-Polish blonde walking in and out of the cafe as she served the sidewalk tables. It occurs to me how hysterically stupid it was to sneak glances from the park as I read when I could just as easily drink the coffee I'd purchased from her at a table outside her establishment, where she might even come check up on me from time to time. It occurs to me that I'm kind of an idiot.
My self-degradation is interrupted by a tiny dog of the little bat-faced, potato-bodied type. As his owners walk past he staggers over and allows me to pat him before scampering to catch up. His owners turn and call; apparently he has a sibling over yonder investigating another dog. The other dog (let's call him Boutros-Boutros) starts to come, but is suddenly transfixed by a piece of tree bark on the ground, easily as big as him. No matter. Boutros-Boutros picks it up between his jaws somehow and manages, despite several drops, to carry it all the way back to his brother and parents. My vaudevillian split personality can't help but notice how sometimes the tiniest dogs really do get the biggest bark. It's a wonder that personality hasn't gotten me beaten up more.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Oh my! Here's some interesting news on the fight over affordable housing in Anaheim. The Register has a story on last night's Anaheim City Council meeting, and of their latest decision to give Disney, Suncal, and the affordable housing advocates three weeks to work out a compromise.
Obviously, this leaves one HUGE question in my head. Can the two sides reach a compromise? Is there middle ground between affordable housing near Disneyland and giving Disney free reign to do as it pleases in the "resort district"?
Outside Anaheim City Hall, affordable housing activists staged a protest by pitching over 100 red-domed tents outside. They were doing this in an effort to help people visualize the need for affordable housing for Orange County's working poor. They used the tents to do a skit in which people were not allowed to pitch their red-domed tents in an area called "Disneyland", and then they were forced away by "Disney Villains" from another area called "Nimby-land". The people with the tents had nowhere to stop and put their tents down, just like how far too many working families in Orange County have nowhere to call home.
Inside city hall, an unusual sense of calm came upon council chambers. OK, so it was still kind of tense. However this time, the meeting went on fairly smoothly. And in the end, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 to give all sides in the dispute another 3 weeks to reach a compromise.
But how can a compromise be reached? Is there land available for affordable housing in other nearby areas? Is there an affordable housing proposal in Anaheim that Disney can support? Is there another proposal for the "resort district" that Suncal and the affordable housing advocates can support?
As we've discussed before, the working-class folks who make the entire "Anaheim Resort District" work are in dire need of homes that are within their reach and within their budget. However Disney just doesn't want to see any housing within the "resort district", as that may disturb their "third gate" plan for a possible third theme park and plenty of new timeshare properties to go with it. So can both sides agree to "third gate" AND affordable housing? Is there room for both in Anaheim?
I guess we'll find out in these next three weeks.