Archive for March, 2004

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March 31, 2004

Photo Contest Stuff
Spent this morning completing and sending off my entry to the HP/Project Greenlight photo contest. Five photos get submitted, then judged on their technical execution (uh oh), narrative ability, and originality. Finalists get digital camera stuff and a trip to the premiere of the next Project Greenlight movie. The winner spends two days on the film set taking behind-the-scenes photos, plus all the other stuff. Surely, I’d love to win, so I’ve gone ahead and submitted pictures. They may or may not show up on the HP + You website, but it’s a fun visit anyway, so go take a look.

In other news, I saw Hellboy last night and will endeavour to write a short review, perhaps over lunch.

If you’re into Batmobiles, then there’s this for you at the Warner Bros. page for Chris Nolan’s upcoming Batman movie.

Noise: The Decemberists, “Shanty for the Arethusa”

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March 30, 2004

Celebrate Like Drunk Children
Got a raise today, which is always nice. To celebrate, we’re enjoying a fine ruby port and delicious swiss cake rolls like a pair of warm, drinky children. Add to that our preparations for a Hewlitt-Packard photo contest I’ll link to in a day or so and a free screening of Hellboy tomorrow night, and things today are all right.

Before long, I hear, I’ll be heading out to Canada (just like Marty, but not with Marty) on business. I’ve never been, so I’m rather eager to give it a shot. Along the way, I’ll be glimpsing scenic Buffalo, New York on my very first trip to that state. And aren’t you jealous.

Noise: “We gotta go to the crappy town where I’m a hero!” (Firefly)

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March 23, 2004

Good Morning! (Not You, Kitty)
Today I’m up early to get a bit of work done before I go to work, but also to drink my coffee and eat my toast in front of the internet news outlets. Making toast reminds me that I’ve been meaning to ask you: Have you seen Goodbye Kitty? My good friend Molly Brown (unsinkable? yes.) got us the kitchen array of Goodbye Kitty magnets when she was in New Orleans, so now when I make toast I see Goodbye Kitty looking back at me. Check out the page if you think it’s cute to see a cartoon kitty in a saucepan on the stove… that one’s my favorite.

“Goodye, Kitty.”

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March 23, 2004

Half-Formed, Non-Commital Commentary on Socioeconomic Stratification in America
Today, Fortune magazine’s famous 500 companies were making news in print and broadcast outlets. Number 1: Wal-Mart, with greater than $240 billion in profits (according to NPR’s Marketplace program), apparently somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.3% of the gross national product last year. Compare these huge numbers with articles about Wal-Mart’s union-busting, employee-cheating behavior (like this recent one from the local news-mag, City Pages) and tell me what you think. It seems to me that Wal-Mart is operating on a business model that treats cash-strapped people as a market niche; a helpless market niche. By using its national weight to influence prices and drive out local retailers, Wal-Mart can attract customers who need to save money above all things. By quashing attempts for worker organizations and cheating employees out of overtime or–as in last year’s high-profile case–even legal wages, Wal-Mart (one of the largest employers in the Union) also manages to create a viable customer base out of its own staff; they’re paid so little that they have to shop at Wal-Mart, the theory seems to be.

Does Wal-Mart have to pay its employees so little to maintain it’s low, low prices? Where exactly is that $200 billion, then? Which 200 billion dollars are getting measured?

For the middle range, there’s this article at Salon.com about the horrors and trials of a midlist author. My feeling as an ultra-mega-very-way-bottomlist author is that anyone who’s been paid a $100,000 advance for a book and then weeps over missing the very bestest prize of being stacked five-high in an airport convenience store is lacking perspective. I’ve no doubt that the brutal world of publishing can knock the perspective right out of someone, but it seems to me that an ability to not take rejection personally is requisite for a writer. When the author bumps into her successful friend and is told that the Times bestseller list does not heal all wounds, the author seems to miss the point. She complains that all of the publishing industry’s money is going to a few stand-out, breakthrough writers at the top, and that for her to have to give up full-time writing is defeat. Alas, she must get a job.

Just this weekend I was at a local reading and signing event for (full-time) sci-fi writer Richard Morgan, and he made it very clear that anyone who complains about getting to write full-time is a daft brat. It’s the dream. Seems to me, then, that getting to write at all, that being read at all, must still be pretty damned sweet. I think it is, anyway.

There’s a certain congruence between these articles, nonetheless. There’s a suggestion that money defies gravity–that it floats upward instead of trickling down. There’s the idea that we should be rich someday (in the Salon article) and that making the most money is the point (in the Fortune listing). Nevermind the notion that working at what you love, even if you have to work at something else, too, is pretty nice.

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March 21, 2004

Classics for the Collection
Price cuts at Target have expanded the DVD collection tonight with two vital titles. I have no excuses for the absence of these before now: Jaws (which has been popping into my head lately for seemingly no reason) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (which is on right now). Ferris–while not much of a DVD–is such a stellar movie. Or, really, it may not be. I don’t know. I adore it like it’s family, so I can’t much see its faults. This movie holds so many of my filmic influences, it’s like visiting with a parent; I learned how to talk by watching this film.

“It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

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March 20, 2004

Rally Traffic
Outside my front windows right now, an anti-occupation/peace march is moving through the streets of St. Paul. As I’m writing this, they’ve stopped in the middle of the intersection for a native circle dance with politically charged proclamations in two languages. Some of the dancers have rally magnificent costumes with full, high feathers and shining blue wardrobes reminiscent of (or perhaps genuine) Central American ceremonial garb. It’s really something.

Sara’s got the camera and, I hope, has gotten a few pictures of all this. It’s one more reason why I don’t think I could live in the ‘burbs again.

Noise: The slow fading of protestant drums growing distant.

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March 20, 2004

Halo: Done
Played a bunch of multiplayer Halo over the last weekend; loved it. Started the single-player campaign on Monday of this last week, finished it last night. Full review forthcoming.