3.21.2005

Hooray for pictures

Well I finally figure out how to add pictures. It's kind of complicated, but if you have a blog and read this and want to do it yourself, ask me and I'll try to help you out.

I'm part of a union at work. I count myself among all the handy people of the world such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and especially pipe fitters as someone who is protected by a collective bargaining agreement. For about 11 dollars a week, I get.... well.... something. Other than "protection", I'm not sure what else I get. Don't mess with the Local 2324, that's all I'll say. Solidarity.

Some of the Union folk here at BU take themselves seriously and I receive an online newsletter every now and then. Now I usually try to separate politics in work. It's really easy because I don't consider myself as actually having politics. I go with the flow and try to just stay mellow. As long as I have TV, the Internet, and as much money as possible, I'm cool. That being said, I find it somewhat amusing, and somewhat wrong that an "ad" like this is printed in the online newsletter:



It just doesn't seem like the forum for a negative political message. I don't agree with all of W's views, but the man is president. Whining and moaning about it doesn't work and it especially doesn't make sense to put it in a newsletter titled "Coffeebreak." Damn. Just let me drink my coffee in peace.

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3.18.2005

The OC Sucks; It's Not in a Good Way -- and I Keep Watching

Last year, The OC was one of those breakout shows that was "so bad, it's good" -- a standard excuse for anyone who watches guilty-pleasure television, but also an insult to actual "good" TV, according to Ken Tucker (read his blog, linked on the right). With all the intensity of a trash romance novel (though I've never read a trash romance novel), The OC introduced us to ultra-rich wholesome familes, ultra-rich disfunctional families, outcasts, dorks, and more hot chicks than you can shake your latte at while sitting in your high school's Starbucks franchise. The stories were ridiculously juicy with plots of greek-tragedy, sweetened and condensed to arc over three or four episodes. Ryan is the bad kid from Chino who is really golden-hearted and falls for the prom-queen rich girl who has parents divorcing and who dumped the football captain (who found out his dad is gay) to be with the bad kid from Chino, only to break up and get back together with him about 15 times. Still with me? Good, because that represents less than 25% of the ridiculous premise of the series. I could go on, but you can probably figure out how dorks and wholesome families fit in. I trust that you're that smart.

So the OC was the soda that you drank along with the HBO steak, 24 mashed potato and Arrested Development beans. Why does it suck so much now?

Maybe it's the near-recycling of plots, maybe it's the overextension of new, even stupider stories, maybe it's the introduction of characters that propel such stories. It's hard to pinpoint and it's doubly hard to deal with the fact that I keep watching. Maybe I'm waiting for that one moment where things will turn around, or that one golden scene that will remind me why I watched in the first place. It's a lot like being a gambler during a bad luck spell. You got to keep on at it until things turn around, or the show is cancelled.

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Harvard Faculty: Get Over Yourselves

I haven't been paying too much attention to the Larry Summers situation at Harvard, but I read in the Globe today that the faculty don't know what to do with themselves after giving Lar a vote of no-confidence on Tuesday. Here's something they can do: shut the hell up and get back to doing what they were hired for: instructing students, performing research, and waiting for tenure. Harvard's faculty is not the group that hires or fires presidents; it's the university's governing corporation that has those powers. Could there be any more of a social-esteemed yet also socially-maladjusted group that university faculty? The level of egoism among faculty here at BU is certainly palpable. I can't imagine what it's like at Harvard -- perhaps a dense fog. Myabe someday I should compare university professors and professional basketball players.

So what if the man spoke his mind? Even if it was somewhat misguided, it was honest and he wasn't afraid to say what he thought. And why hold a vote of no-confidence if you're not sure what to do with the result? Get over it. Get over yourselves. Get back to work.

And what is it with Cambridge-based universities? MIT just recently announced a new degree offering: biological engineering. MIT has described this program as "pioneering." That's funny because BU's Biomedical Engineering Department (with a very similar curriculum) has only been around for the last 30+ years (the oldest BME department in the country). What is it about Cambridge that gives license to all these holier-than-thous to be holier-than-thou?

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3.09.2005

I am addicted to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

I pity you fools with your PCs, Xboxes and GameCubes.

Sorry I haven't written much, but February was just plain uneventful. Here's hoping that March has more going on.

Back to GTA:SA -- here's how the story goes: I received the game for Christmas and began playing (not addicted). I looked around online at different game sites and realized that there is a way to play the game to "100% completion". Realizing that I was too far along to complete 100%, I decided to start from scratch with 100% in mind. After playing this way for a few weeks, I've come upon a phase in the game where I must take over rival gang territory. There's a ton of rival territory and it hasn't been easy. In fact, it's been consuming me (addict alert). I check websites for strategies, have my own 100% checklist, and rush home from work in order to get as much playing time in as possible (breaking for dinner and to sleep). I am a total GTA addict and I can't get enough.

What is it about this game? I have very little with which to identify with the main character of the game -- CJ, an ex-con parolee who returns to his west coast home only to find his gang and family in complete disarray. It's just that much fun to steal people's cars, shoot them in the head and perform a ton of other distructive actions. I guess it's hard to imagine unless you've played the series before.

Besides my GTA obsession, not much else going on. My roomates and I finished season one of Deadwood on DVD recently in preparation for the new season two. I had already watched season one as it aired, but as I rewatched, I realized that Deadwood in the 00's is no different than Bonananza of the 1960s. Both shows are romanticized versions of the old west, as per the social environment of the broadcast era. In the 60's, everyone was high on family values, right vs. wrong, and demonizing the communists. No one even wanted to produce Star Trek because the suits felt that a family could not relate to all the characters (who could relate to a pointy-eared alien who resembled the devil?). The same correlation to the modern social environment applies to Deadwood. People want gritty, people are surrounded by swears and coarse language. No one really knows where the line between good and evil is. It's blurred beyond recognition. Thankfully HBO is around to show us. My thoughts on the season so far: the premier I felt was a bit weak -- it definitely set the stage for the season, but did so without a big bang (it is the first of two parts, so that could change, however a show like Deadwood is really a 13-parter). When is Curb Your Enthusiasm starting up again?

Less than a week until The Shield -- can you feel it? I'm going to go out on a limb and say Mike Chiklis's portrayal of Det. Vick Mackey is in the top 5 TV lead-roles of all time. I wouldn't mind hearing what my faithful readers (all 4 of them) think some others would be.

Please take some time to check out Johnny Keane's blog, linked on the right side of this page.

Well, that's it for now. Maybe I'll back-post some messages about random things from Febrauary, so check below this post. Also, I'll look into adding images to the blog through one of those picture services.

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