As I’ve said before, I get into some weird shows, but some of them are just downright fascinating with more of a documentary feel to them. Sure, some people could label them as “reality shows”, but these I watch more for learning about history, jobs, ways of life, etc. As always, let me add the disclaimer that I use the word “watch” very loosely. I tend to “listen” to most shows while working, and rarely look up at the actual screen.
Cities of the Underworld – Now in its second season, Cities of the Underworld travels around the world exploring the things that are under your feet that most people never realize are there. Some of the places they visit can be a bit lame (the “underground tunnels” of New York Cities Chinatown are now a shopping arcade… whopee!) to the super cool (old Nazi bunkers in Berlin), but all of it raises an interesting question: Why don’t we ever think about what’s BENEATH us? Is it because your brain immediately thinks solid dirt? No clue, but the show has made me think a lot more about what is under my feet.
Deadliest Catch – Entering its fourth season on April 15th, Deadliest Catch follows the crews of several crab ships in the Bering Sea. Considered one of the deadliest jobs in the world, we see the crews during the annual King Crab season in January where the sea rages, ice threatens to puncture their halls and they go days without sleep. It makes for fascinating viewing as you wonder what drives these men to do this insane job beyond the money.
Dirty Jobs – I’m not sure which season this one is on, but how can you resist Mike Rowe showing you hundreds of jobs you never knew existed. The jobs have gotten progressively less gross, and now really are just fairly dirty. For instance, have you ever thought about all the lines painted at an airport? Ever thought about how those lines get there? They have a truck that sprays the paint, and once a year it needs to be cleaned out completely… boy that makes some ugly sludge.
Finding my niche – For too long I have meandered hither and from with my content. The idea that I could write about whatever was on mind my day that was just too enticing, and I gave in to it far too many times. So the time to settle in to just a couple of subjects has probably come, but picking those categories will be the tough part. I think my biggest problem is that everything I am passionate about (movies, music, tech, etc) are already extremely well serviced markets. However, that doesnâ€™t mean there isnâ€™t still room for another well focused blog, itâ€™s just a matter of buckling down.
Well, here we are four months on, and I still haven’t done it. So, I am turning to you, my readers, for help. What is it that I write about that keeps you coming back? What don’t you like? Do you want to see me blogging more about tech? Movies? Television? Things in life that annoy me?
I have complained many times about how it’s sometimes difficult to come up with a subject each day, but I think if I am more focused it will actually be easier. Instead of looking at sources across each subject, I’ll eliminate at least one step to my writing process, and that will take a lot of stress out of the process. This doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be the occasional random post, it wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t.
So, dear readers, I ask you to leave comments and tell me WHY you continue to read my blog via comments, email, IM, Twitter, whatever method you choose, it doesn’t matter, just let me know what it is! Yes, I am really serious about this, I never know why you all come by!
Here we go again: teachers having sex with students. Three of them have been arrested in two weeks.
The really scary part is that all three cases took place in the Tampa, Florida area, the same place that Debra Lafave took part in her tryst in 2005. So, let’s break down the latest scums, going left to right with their mug shots.
Stephanie Ragusa – 28-year-old teacher that had sex with a 14-year-old boy in the backseat of her Lexus.
Mary Jo Spack – 45-year-old high school teacher had sex with a 17-year-old male after drinking beer in a motel room with him and other students.
Lisa Marinelli – 40-year-old substitute teacher arrested for multiple sexual encounters, mostly in her car, with a 17-year-old boy.
I don’t get this. It is truly a lost concept on me. And if male teachers did this, you would expect to hear cries of those teachers being strung from trees, but these women typically just hear, “lucky boys”, and that’s screwed up.
AND WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH TAMPA?!? Four cases in 3 years? And three of those cases in just the past two weeks? I am sorry, but this is a subject that makes me so violently ill, I lose all reason. Teachers are entrusted with our children, and to abuse that position is just despicable. I have said before that I believe 99.99% of teachers are good, it’s just that .01% that ruins it for everyone else.
My grandmother was a teacher, my best friend is a teacher, I have known many other teachers in my life, and they are all good people, and these people disgust me to the very core of my being.
Back on March 6th, Apple released their SDK (Software Developers Kit) for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This finally allows people to create third-party applications for these devices, and come June, we’ll get the 2.0 version of the firmware to allow you to install them into your gadgets.
Spreadsheets – Not even necessarily from Microsoft, I just want the ability to open Excel spreadsheets and sync them. Don’t even really need editing, it would be nice, but not as important as simple support.
Instant Messaging – Currently I have to use Meebo to log on to my instant messaging services, but I would kill for GTalk native support. Other services would be nice, but since GTalk is my main IMing system now, so that’s the one I want.
PDF Support – I think this one is a long shot due to the size of most PDFs, but it would be nice.
Sling Media Support – This is very directed at the Sling Media company so I could get support for my Sling Box. Streaming TV from my iPod Touch would be sweet. My current PDA can do it, so I’m sure the Touch can also.
It’s a short list, but I’ve already said I would like changes to the contacts and such, and basically I am looking for it to be turned into a really nice PDA so I can finally stop carrying my Dell Axim 51v around with me. Yes, I realize this is “an iPod”, but I have yet to put even one song on it as I am using it as an Internet device only at this point.
So, come on developers, I’m out here waiting for this stuff, don’t let me down!
My folks are currently in Washington state on business, and since they drove there, they had me checking weather for them. They were especially worried about going through Snoqualmie Pass as it is still getting snow.
Well, the state of Washington has web cameras up so you can see what is going on live, but it seems camera #2 has seen better days as evidenced by this message to the left when you click on it.
I have no clue why, but I giggled for a solid 10 minutes after reading this. I hope it put up a valiant fight.
I’m not sure who I first heard make the analogy that reality TV was the modern day equivalent of the Roman colosseum, but truer words have never been said. As I’ve mentioned before, I watch Big Brother (BB). I’ve been a fan since season 1, but I have seen it sliding deeper and deeper into insanity with each passing season, and last night it really went to far.
For the past week, Chelsia, a 21-year-old girl from Iowa, has been up for eviction, and there is no denying she has not handled it well. She has had two incidents of screaming at Natalie, a 28-year-old woman from Oregon, whom she blames for a lot of the problems in the house. The worst incident was on Easter Sunday when Chelsia destroyed some eggs Natalie had painted for Easter, followed by more yelling about Natalie’s past.
Last night, presumably Chelsia’s last night in the house, she playfully tossed some grapes at Adam, the current Head of Household, and the guy who nominated her for eviction. Adam did not take kindly to it and proceeded to throw Chelsia to the floor, hold her down, and rub the grape stems in her face, cutting her nose. He then left the room and went to bed. Chelsia declared it as being very creepy, but did not go file a complaint. Today when the subject was brought up, Adam admitted he had done it out of anger, and also admitted that outside of the house he would have done more to her.
You can debate that Chelsia baited him with throwing the grapes, but I do not feel at any time was his reaction warranted. There is never an excuse for a man that is nearly double a woman’s weight, and a good foot taller than her, to physically attack her. Big Brother was horribly remiss in not even issuing a warning to Adam as houseguests are not allowed to physically attack each other. I have emailed CBS and voiced my concerns over the situation.
This isn’t where all of this stops though for me. I went to some of my favorite BB message boards today, and found numerous messages from users saying how Chelsia got what she deserved for being such a brat. Excuse me? I know she has been a bit of a terror this week VERBALLY, but that is no reason for him to have assaulted her. People posted how they wish he had done more to her (I am intentionally not linking to messages as I will not give these people the satisfacton), how he was justified in his actions and that Big Brother is right not to give him a warning.
Have we come to this? Have we come to the point where a 117 lbs woman (they all weighed themselves in the house) makes verbal comments to a totally separate person, and it’s okay for a 230 lbs man to throw her to the ground in a mixture of revenge and anger? Mind you that this is the Adam I wrote about being fired from his PR job at the United Autism Foundation for referring to people with Autism as “retards”, so has already shown himself to be a a paragon of brains.
How can people possibly advocate this behavior? Again, since I have already had to make this clear a hundred times today, I do not advocate Chelsia’s emotional explosions, but you’d find it next to impossible to tell me what Adam did was deserved. How far have fallen as a society where we think physical violence such as this is ever excusable? Are we really headed for a day where someone must die to entertain us? Shall we start a weekly wife beating show? -announcer’s voice- “Tune in this week when John’s wife, Susan, will get what she deserves for mouthing off to her!” Folks, if you think a man shoving around a woman is EVER necessary on a reality show, please seek help.
If you would like to express your displeasure to CBS, please go here and click “Feedback” on the left hand side.
For those who don’t remember, Spirit was the first of two rovers we landed on Mars in early 2004. Both rovers were expected to operate for 90-days, but as of today’s date, Spirit is 1,413 days past its expiration date, and is still fully operational. True, it is currently parked for Martian winter, but that’s a scheduled outage, but we will not be “waking” it come the spring so we can save money. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) division of NASA runs Spirit and Opportunity, the second rover, and they plan to appeal the decision.
I wouldn’t be so boggled by this if we weren’t getting ready to launch another rover to Mars. As John Callas, the Mars Exploration Rover project manager at JPL, said in the above linked article, “Any cut at any time when these rovers are healthy would be bad timing. These rovers are still viable capable vehicles in very good health.” That’s the whole point to me, they’re working, leave them alone! What if Spirit sits too long and we can’t reboot it down the road? Mothball the probe we haven’t launched yet, and work Spirit and Opportunity into the ground. This like throwing away a perfectly good car for… well… no good reason. To me, shutting down the working rovers is worse than having a budget over run.
Really, I do not understand the logic behind this at all. Hopefully the JPL will get somewhere with their appeal, but since it’s the government, I’m not holding my breath. If this has to be the end of Spirit, no one can say it didn’t have a spectacular run.
Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb wrote a piece about how LJ has eliminated their “Basic” membership which was a severely pared down version of an account, but it also allowed you to use the site ad-free. People that had the account before now may keep using it as-is, but no new users will be allowed to sign-up for it.
While the new owners are certainly within their rights, they did it without any warning and did not consult two members of their advisory board, one of them being the afore mentioned Mr. Fitzpatrick. Both he and the other member who spoke out, Danah Boyd, both spoke in LJ entries (Fitzpatrick’s here, Boyd’s here) about the delicate ecosystem that is a site such as LJ, an all users are needed, even if they aren’t paying or viewing ads. Why should most people produce content if no one is reading it? True, I have said before you can blog just for yourself, but lets be honest, most people like to have readers.
What’s disturbing is that once again changes were made to LJ without any warning to the users, just as in the two other occasions I mentioned above that were under Six Apart’s ownership. Add in not even consulting their advisory board (why have it if you don’t talk to them?), and it would seem things will not be changing for the betterment of the users any time soon.
So, at what point is it time to finally just leave the site? I used to pay for an account there, but now I can’t even stomach to go by for free. The total lack of customer service does nothing to endear me to them, so I figure why help their stats? There are plenty of free blog hosts out there for you to choose from, and you can always set up a WordPress blog of your own at a web host, but I think it’s come time to just give up on LJ. It was nice while it lasted, but last one out, please remember to turn off the lights.
As you all know, I love talking about movies and television, but several times I have run up against plot specifics that would seem to be safe, and it turns out I am running spoilers for some people. This has been most evident with Luis from BlogD as he is in Japan and gets shows and movies long after we do in the United States.
So, many times I have pondered when is it safe to discuss plot specifics of a story, and it seems I am not the only one running into this problem. When is it finally safe? A day? A week? A year? Ever? With the advent of things like DVD season sets, people are watching new shows months and years after they first aired, so when would it be okay for me to finally discuss a plot detail?
I think I’ve personally been a bit skewed on this subject because I actually enjoy spoilers. So sue me, but I like knowing where a story is going beforehand because then I can analyze the way it was constructed as it plays out. It doesn’t ruin my enjoyment at all, for me it enhances it. However, I have learned there are very few people like me when it comes to this, so I need to behave. I’ve obviously learned something since my Buffy comic summaries are clearly marked as spoilers.
From here on out I will try to point out spoilers with a warning, but I would appreciate some feedback from people because I am not going to go [SPOILER WARNING] Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father![END SPOILERS] until the end of eternity. So, hit me up with suggestions for a “spoiler grace period”.
I’ve been getting numerous phone calls and emails asking if I am near the current flooding in my state, and I can thankfully report that I am not. All of it is at the opposite end of the state from me, and seems to be fairly isolated.
This seems like an interesting time to bring up the 1993 floods though. Now there were some floods. The picture to the left is the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City, as it appeared at the height of those floods. It’s not normally quite that water logged, not by a long shot.
What essentially happened back then was a higher than normal snowfall in the north of the country started melting in the spring, and that started raising the river levels at the top of the Mississippi river. As it started moving south we saw rising levels, but not anything horrible. Where we got screwed was when we had insane amounts of rain, like months with no break in the rains. That added to the already swollen rivers, and then they joined with others and it turned into a domino effect.
Kirksville is luckily not close to any major rivers, but we got turned into a virtual island, and actually started having problems getting mail and groceries due to routes being cut off.
I knew we were screwed when I headed to Quincy, IL on July 1st to take the train to Chicago for a business trip. Quincy has two major bridges across the Mississippi, and as I crossed the east bound one, I saw the water way, WAY higher than it should have been. I called my family and told them I was sure the bridge would be closed while I was gone, they laughed.
On July 3rd they called me and told me the bridge was closed. I still remind them of this.
When I was headed back on July 5th, my train was 90 minutes late leaving Chicago, we then were stopped on the tracks for another 90 minutes as it turned out our original crew never made it due to flooding, and our replacement crew had worked too long, so yet another replacement crew had to be brought out to us. Three hours late I got to Quincy, and I made the dumbest drive of my life to get home as it looked like I was going to lose the west bound bridge soon and be stuck on the wrong side of the river for several hundred miles.
So, after the stupidest drive of my life due to being far too tired, it turned out the west bound didn’t close for a few days, but it did finally. As more time passed, we ended up with hundreds of miles where there was no way to cross the river, an this lasted for months. By the time we were done, we had worked our way up to it being “a thousand year flood”. In other words, in theory, we would only see floods of this magnitude once in a thousand years, but that doesn’t stop us from all getting nervous if we have two days in a row of rain come spring time.
Luckily the current floods are far south, so it will be difficult for them to feed any of the other major rivers. This isn’t to dismiss the damage they are doing, not by a long shot, but with everyone asking me if we’re okay, it’s just to much of a chance to look back 15 years.
As casting news has come out, there’s been a few head scratchers in choices, and I’ve been somewhat ignoring the project. Rumors that the Joe team will be more “international”, won’t be called “A Real American Hero”, and so on really got me thinking we were heading for disaster again.
Then some rays of hope! Larry Hama, who really shaped the story of the toy line via the comic books, was brought in to consult. He’s given it his stamp of approval, and said there will be something for all the old fans. And then… then yesterday came, and two pictures of Snake-Eyes came out. (Picture 1 and Picture 2, first one is HUGE) As you can see from the comparison shot above, they nailed him; the costume is based on the second release of the action figure, which came out in 1985.
True, it’s just a costume, and this speaks nothing for the plot, or how strong the script will be, but they obviously are following the idea that there is no reason to mess with the source material. G.I. Joe will battle the terrorist organization, Cobra, just as they did from the time the toy line started in 1982. There has already been confirmations of Cobra Commander, Baroness, Destro, Zartan, and most importantly, Snake-Eyes arch-enemy, the ninja known as Storm Shadow.
Snake-Eyes won’t be taking on all the baddies by himself, he will be joined by General Hawk, Duke, Breaker, Ripcord, Heavy Duty, and his love interest, Scarlett. There hasn’t been any mention if they will touch on the romance between Snake-Eyes and her, but it’s a promising sign.
So, now with a bit of a ray of hope, I went digging around for info about the cast as I had heard one that worried me: Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. Okay, so the airborne trooper wasn’t African American, but that’s passable, but a comedian? Ugh… please, no. The rest of the cast is pretty interesting though, with Dennis Quaid as Hawk, Ray Park as Snake-Eyes (he was Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I, and since Snake doesn’t speak, it works), Arnold Vosloo as Zartan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander… huh? Tommy from 3rd Rock From the Sun as the leader of the bad guys? Okay, that one is a bit odd, but as he’ll be in a helmet most of the movie, why not.
The film isn’t due out until August of 2009, and I have no delusions about the fact this IS toy-based, and if it wasn’t for what Larry Hama did with the comic series, it probably would have been a fairly silly property back then, but he brought real depth to these characters. It probably was aided by his real life experiences in Vietnam, and he was able to write soldiers in such a way that you felt for them and the weariness any war brings. Will it translate to film? Here’s hoping, but things certainly look more promising at this stage then they did for Transformers at the same point in production.
In an article on TechCrunch yesterday, Michael Arrington, founder of the site, talked about blogs raising more funding, and one of the problems he listed was the rates bloggers are expecting to be paid working at the big name sites.
Writers suddenly want to be paid market wages, far above the $5 per post that they received two years ago. No, we’re talking a big salary, with benefits, and stock options. There went half your margins at least.
This led to Josh Catone of ReadWriteWeb to bring up a subject that has floated around for ages, but been shot down every time it comes around: A union for bloggers.
A bloggers union is an idea that was most recently advanced last month in an issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. “It’s a Wild West out there for bloggers — even though, without them, the Internetâ€™s frontier would not have expanded so broadly or so rapidly. And even though, without them, the Web-derived profits many of these blog sites are starting to rake in simply wouldn’t exist,” wrote Chris Mooney.
Mooney envisions a professional guild for bloggers, not unlike the Writers Guild of America, that would strictly rep professional bloggers. How you weed “professional bloggers” from the hobbyists would be task number one for guild organizers, whom Mooney thinks would initially be the blogosphere’s most successful writers — i.e., people who have sway with management. Unionizing bloggers is something the National Writers Union recently voted to be a priority.
I made no secret of my support for the Writer’s Guild of America strike, but that doesn’t mean I want a union in my backyard.
What I get paid for blogging is confidential, but I will say I have worked for blogs that pay well, and some that haven’t. However, that is the nature of being a freelance writer, but you know before hand what you are going to be paid. I am no longer considered freelance, and have an actual contract in place with Mashable, I accepted those terms and chose to work there. I have set terms as to what is expected of me, and I have a set term in what I expect to be paid, as it should be with any job you accept.
The Internet is a beast unlike any other job out there. A good portion of its appeal is its ability to change on a dime, and if it got regulated to everything having to be run through a union first, it would kill some of the very nature that made the Internet what it is today.
You also have to ponder the international aspects of the Internet. Mashable is technically based out of Scotland as our CEO and founder hails from there, while BLORGE, whom I used to work for, is based out of Australia. Would the union be able to follow the laws of every country on Earth? What if unions are illegal in the country where the blog is out of? Blogs could easily change server locations so they would be served out of that country, then claim that
And let us also not forget something in that blogging is not exactly the hardest job in the world. Yes, it is work, and there are some nights I get so flustered that I want to throw my laptop, but it still not exactly like we’re doing hard labor. Quite often during my weekend shifts I sit in my favorite chair all day, still in my pajamas, sipping coffee, TV on, and a dog laying on my shoulders acting as my headrest. I wouldn’t exactly say my work is harsh.
I am not alone in my feelings about this: Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins, one of my co-workers at Mashable, has stated his displeasure at the idea, as has Leslie Poston, a former co-worker at BLORGE. From other bloggers I have talked to today, none of us like this idea, and I’m not quite sure how the National Writer’s Union even thinks they could bring us all together into some form of cohesive group. We are a notoriously independent lot of people, and we don’t take particularly well to “authority”.
I think part of the thought process comes from my time writing for print media. I sometimes got paid as low as $.05 a word, or $30 for a 600 word article. Considering the length of a lot of blog articles, $5 isn’t that far off the mark, and considering how much faster I can get an article done, it’s not that bad. And, to be blunt, where were the unions when I was in print? Why am I suddenly more worthy of a union because I’m blogging? Not that I would have joined one back then either, but I still find it odd.
Either way, talk about it all you want, but I think you will find a lot of bloggers not being very receptive to the idea. Oh, and question… say we went on strike… where would we picket? Would we sit in front of our computers holding up picket signs?