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Friday, February 25, 2005

Breathtaking News :-\

This is just a hint as to how exciting Champaign-Urbana, IL, home to the #1 college basketball team in the Big Ten, really is. From the top headline of the student newspaper Daily Illini:

Bandages found in restaurant's food.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Zombie Blogs

As I continue my research on blogging frequency I mostly come across blogs that have only 2 to 3 posts in as many months. Nonetheless some of these dead blogs, or "zombie" blogs, are worth note:

Sometimes you find someone who seeks consolation:

  • Perhaps it is a waste of time to speak of happiness. It is way too subjective, dismissive, degrading of the reality between every leer pretending to be a smile.

A writer that ponders writing:
  • I'm convinced, more and more as time passes, that successful writers are those who are able to balance the ecstacy with the condemnation to a point where hopelessness does not overwhelm motivation, nor self-admiration the capacity for criticism. Writing is very self-sustaining.

Of course there are the fair share of meaningless rants:
  • Welcome to the world parenting...however, comparing yourself to the guy in job is a BIG stretch...ever see the movie Parenthood (Keeanu is such a babe!) sounds like a crazy parenting day....what the fuck is a blog anyway....

Then there's anjali, the nine-year old blogger:
  • hey my name is anjali ( ann-ja-ley) !!!! i have some picures of my life becuz i want to let peaople know about my life (this may be weird but hey i am onley 9)

...And this southern rebel, who has pictures of his gun on his blog:
  • I believe the federal government is out of control, and I believe it happened when the North conquered the South and took almost all power from the states.

Blonde Brainfarts

Our waitress was taking drink orders from us this evening at Hooter's. Some of us ordered waters and the rest continued to look at our menus. After several moments I noticed the waitress' silhouette out of the corner of my eye. She was still right there at the table, standing as still as the blank look on her face. With our basketball team just finished with adding another notch to their winning streak, Hooters was bumping at the time but she still didn't show the slighest sign of impatience or urgency. It seemed as if she was temporarily frozen in space. Like you needed to bop on her on the head to get her going again. Did I mention she was blonde?

A placard on every table in Hooters advertised, in big yellow letters, "KEEP THE PINT GLASS WHEN YOU ORDER A PITCHER OF SAM ADAMS." The father and son duo next to us decided to capitalize on this and called the waitress over to tease her about the glasses. "We keep to keep these right?" the inebriated father said jokingly to the young blonde waitress, "These are ours now!" It sounded like what he really wanted was a cookie. The blonde waitress stared back at them with an incredulous glare, like there was some kind of joke that she just wasn't getting. The man picked up the glass and pointed at it, then pointed at the placard, showed her the BIG YELLOW LETTERS, but still nothing. She walked away miffed as if to talk to the manager. Or maybe just to zone out standing against a pillar.

After the meal we asked her to seperate the checks. She looked at us as if we were speaking a mountainous dialect of Cantonese. "I don't think I can do that," she said. We sighed and continued doing the math. Wouldn't want her to hurt herself.

As I walked out of the "restaurant" behind the others I noticed a blondie waitress walking out behind me, retiring for the night. Joan Jett's "I Love Rock'n Roll" was playing on the loud speakers outside and she kept walking swiftly behind me. "Put another dime in the jukebox ba-by," she sang before stopping dead in her tracks. She turned completely around and began walking to the other side of the parking lot. "Shit my car's over there."

Discover Seeds of Hope

Pat is a blogger that lives in Thailand with Burmese refugees that have been exiled from their homeland by the Burmese Army. She travels to Thailand in order to "discover the seeds of hope that keeps them going." A clip from her blog, which is well-updated and loaded with photos:

Khamchuen began to tearfully relate to me the story of these villagers and how they were driven out from their homes. The Burmese army came to their village and burned it down, simple as that. The people fled for their lives and made their way into Thailand. They are virtually imprisoned in Thailand because they are not allowed to own land or even to farm the fields lying dormant all around them. They are destined to a life of scratching out an existence, with the women selling woven goods at market and the men finding work in the fields. The children have no future at all. It is no wonder the men spend their time ingesting betel nuts and drinking homemade rice wine, there really is nothing else for them to do.



This is where the orphaned children sleep.


Small children were living alone in this hut.

Doppelgänger

A search on the Spanish version of Yahoo for "MARTIN CORTEZ" brings up his webpage. This is a picture of him and his current wife on their first date, way back in '97. From everythingmath.com/martin:



I wonder if there is a resemblance.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Researching Blogs

A few nights ago, my girlfriend and I were brainstorming new web addresses for this blog. She was laying on the bed behind me while I was on the computer, pounding my fists on the desk every time a name I wanted was unavailable. I tried "morningwood.blogspot.com," "cortez.blogspot.com," "cameltoe.blogspot.com," and even "mikehunt.blogspot.com" but they were all already taken. More frustrating than the addresses being unavailable was noticing that almost none of them were updated more than once. Without fail, the owners of the blogs reserved the name, posted one test blog and never returned to it again, leaving them to forever collect dust in the world wide web of anonymity.

Last I checked there are millions of individuals with their own blogs, but situations like last night leave me to wonder: how much blogging is actually going on? I have a hunch that there is not nearly as much blogging activity going on as the numbers might lead me to believe. There are many people with blogs, but not much relative blogging.

In want to seriously tackle this question. Carefully considering my methodology in order to avoid coming up with inaccurate results, I'm now in the finishing stages of constructing a research paradigm that will attempt to effectively measure the blogging frequency of some randomly selected number of bloggers on blogspot, livejournal, and possibly other blogging services.

Other questions that I would like to touch upon include are

  • How often do "regular" bloggers blog? and
  • Do paying bloggers blog more or less often than non-paying bloggers?
The quintupling of the daily average traffic of this blog during the last few days has given me a fresh burst of inspiration. Over the past few months, some of the leading bloggers of the web have recognized my work, and that alone is motivation to work even harder. Now more than ever blogging is becoming less of a hobby and more of a passion. It's time to use the faculty of reasoning to try and understand the bigger picture of blogging.

Alt-1040 ="Toca"

Evidentemente la traducción que hice ayer cayó bien con el editor de Alt-1040, el popular sitio de web sobre la netcultura. Desde entonces este sitio ha recibido cuatro veces más visitantes que su promedio de visitantes cotidianos. Bienvenidos a los lectores de Alt-1040.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Boingboing Mention

Boingboing.net, the 2005 Bloggie-nominated blog, posted a link to my translation of the Ecuadorian internet censorship article on their website.

In the hour and a half since the mention, the daily traffic for this blog is more three times its daily average. Welcome, boingboing readers.

Ecuadorian Internet Censorship

Xeni Jardin recently posted an entry on boingboing.net about an Ecuadorian internet company that has blocked users' access to certain websites online. The original posts that she cites, from alt1040 is written in Spanish. I have translated it into English below.

Ecuadorian ISP censors net content.

from alt1040.com:
"Satnet, one of the largest providers of Internet access in Ecuador which charges 50 dollars for connections of 64kb per second has decided to censor net content, blocking access to any file-exchange services (P2P sites) and some sites such as HaloScan and Alt1040.

In an act that goes against their own usage-policy, the provider has given different excuses for different users, spreading light on their poor customer service and useless policy regulations.

Satnet users, calling to ask for explanations, have heard different versions:

The fiber optic connection has gone down.
The blockage comes from the board of directors.
The bandwidth management system wasn’t working as expected.
Access to P2P sites will be unblocked from 20h00 to 11h00

The underlying problem of the blockage doesn’t revolve around users not receiving their compete service (there are always alternatives), but rather in a lack of specific legislation. Consequently, companies can do almost anything they want and, via blockages, take control of what information their clients can and cannot obtain - this is how what is really a new form of media is able to be manipulated and censured. These types of things happen in China where democracy doesn’t exist.

If Satnet’s (or Telconet who rents the bandwidth to them) board of directors decided to block the service it was probably due to some type of pressure from some record company or from one of the major studios. This isn’t absolutely crazy if we consider that Satnet is owned by the cable company TVCable, which syndicates the programs of big companies like Viacom. It’s very easy to block and censor when there is no legal framework that protects the consumer."

Ready for Transmission

I'm about to submit an entry to one of my favorite websites, boingboing.net, being careful to follow all of the rules and suggestions they list for submissions to their site. I've tried submitting some things that I thought were interesting before, but to no avail or mention on their website. This time I haven't really done any creative work, just effectively translated a post in Spanish about internet censorship that was originally at www.alt1040.com.

Hopefully Xeni Jardin, my blogging heroine and co-manager of boinboing, finds my translation helpful and posts a link on their site.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Girl Code

I read this funny blog about a not-to-do list for guys in bed with girls. Number one:

"Don't rip anything off. And I don't mean stealing. I once with a guy who 'in the heat of the moment' literally ripped my underwear off. Not only were they one of my favorite pairs, but it was just so unnecessary. I would have taken them off on my own accord. You didn't need to destroy them. Ick. You owe me $8, buddy."
Inspired, I decided to think of some other shady things that guys do. I couldn't. Instead I decided to write about shady things that girls do. The first that came to mind was what I would like the dub the "hate-and-switch," which usually occurs in a club or at a party.

This happens when the Guy finally gets the balls to bust a move on that Girl that he's been eyeing all night at the club/party. He prepares for launch with the homies at the bar, takes a couple swigs of liquid courage, brushes his shoulders off and makes his way to the target.

If the Girl isn't already dancing with another guy, odds are she's dancing with a group of her girlfriends, so that by the time the guy is half-way to his target a few of her friends have already sized him up. When the guy is within a few feet behind the girl he casually slows down and starts to dance-step his way closer, until he's almost directly behind her. By this time the Girl's friend(s) knows whether the Guy is a dud or stud and signals her friend accordingly. Let's say she signals "Dud."

Now, instead of the Girl turning around to reject the advances of our brave hero herself she acts based on the interpretation of her friend who, with stunning syncronicity, rotates their dancing spots as to position the Girl as far as possible from the Guy. They continue this procedure for each other throughout the night.

The worse part for me - I mean, the Guy, is that he can actually see the girlfriend grimace or roll her eyes or put up the "L" on her forehead. Part of the Guy Code must be putting up with the Girl Code.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

50th anniversary

My grandparents are celebrating their 50th anniversary next Saturday in Indiana. 50 years ago my grandfather rode on a horse to the small village that my grandmother lived in. He stole her away from her family in the middle of the night and they rode off together in the distance, away from San Luis Potosí, away from the country of Mexico and into the land of opportunity that America seemed to offer.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Game of Cat and Hamster

I'm allergic to hamsters. They give me little bumps on the underside of my right wrist and make me sneeze, but I still like them because are small and furry and have pointy ears and tiny feet. When I heard that my girlfriend's hamster escaped from her cage a few days ago I was a bit alarmed. Now that it's still missing, I have a plan to try and capture it tonight.

Read more.


Vi walked in their room (yes they have their own room) a few days ago and found the cage door open. The more limber and agile of the two hamsters must have climbed up the cage and somehow managed to unlock and open the door leading out, because Vi is certain that she shut the door properly the night prior. The fatter hamster, Chubbs, looked up at her nonchalantly from inside the cage when she noticed the other one, Giz, missing. She seems to have bad luck with hamsters.

Concerned for the welfare of the hamster, Vi left a pile of food out the night the hamster escaped. It has consistently dwindled in quantity since then, meaning that either the hamster is still in the apartment and eating the food or that her roommate gets late night cravings for dried sunflower seeds and stale corn pellets every night.

I can imagine the wily rodent roaming about the apartment freely at night. I have dreams of her on the couch flipping through channels and then hitting the fridge for a snack, some chocolate chunk ice cream maybe. Or maybe she tries on makeup and looks through the medicine cabinet. I bet Giz stands at the foot of the bed as Vi sleeps, revelling in her new found freedom with a tootsie roll or cabbage patch dance.

I have a plan to capture the hamster tonight. I'm going to set up a box trap that the hamster will fall into by climbing up a staircase laden with more and more food on each step. The staircase will be made up of textbooks placed on top of each other high enough to reach the lip of the only opening of an 8.5" cardboard box. The bottom of the box will be lined with bedding and even more tantalizing food to ensure that the hamster stays safe and fed until tomorrow morning, when we hope to discover her in the box.

Basketball Fever

Tonight as I ate my footlong feelings at Subway the Fighting Illini basketball team won their 26th game in a row. Our undefeated, number-one ranked team also has the number-one ranked student cheering section, according to an article in Sports Illustrated.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Downloading Communism



About a week ago, the Motion Picture Association of America shut down lokitorrent.com, a popular site to download movies and music for free. The MPAA replaced the lokitorrent.com main page with an ominous ad that read, in big red letters, "You Can Click, But You Can't Hide." (See boingboing.net for spoofs on the MPAA notice.)



The "Big Brother" factor of the notices reminded me of the "Pirating MP3s is Like Downloading Communism" posters from yore (ie 2-3 years ago). I chuckled at the satirical implications of the poster as I read it hanging on the door of a dorm room. Recently, though, as I rethought the meaning of the poster, I wondered: Isn't there always a bit of truth in humor?

[Thanks for your help on arteries and communism, Carla.]

Read more.

It is a historical fact that there is less artistic output in socialist societies as compared to capitalist societies. It can be assumed that an artist in a socialist society, because she lacks the motivation to attain a significantly lucrative profit for her work, is less likely to write that hit song or to paint her masterpiece. Despite the popular appeal or mass consumption of her work, she will still be making the same as a doctor or lawyer or cook.

Even though not all artists create for profit or popular appeal, there are some that do - and they sometimes succeed. When asked once why he writes songs and plays guitar in Aerosmith, Joe Perry answered "Because it was the easiest way to make the most amount of money in the shortest period of time." To say that U2 is charging $165 for a ticket to shows on their upcoming tour because they just want to break even would be ridiculous. Some artists make art for money, and some of that art is the most enduring and recognized in the world. An artist has a greater potential to make his millions in a capitalist society than a socialist one.

Here's where the whole MP3/Communist thing ties together. Downloading MP3s for free is like not paying the artist for his work, it's like taking away his incentive to make millions. Without this dream of being a millionaire, it can be assumed that an extremely talented yet profit-driven artist would be less likely to make art as he realizes he might be able to make the same or even more as a teacher or lawyer or doctor. It then follows that situations like these may be those that contribute to the hisorical fact that there is less artistic output in communist societies compared to capitalist societies. In a communist society there are less artists producing less work because there is no more money to be made as an artist compared to any other profession. Even though some of the best artwork was not made for profit, some of it was.

"Pirating" MP3s is like "downloading" communism in that it reduces the potential for an individual artist to make a lot more money than the people around him. It questions the faith we put in people to do things for money, and to do them even better for more money. In a small way it threatens to topple the pillars of the pursuit of success, to poison the rivers of ambition and greed that form the arteries of our capitalist society.

An Ode To Brownies

My girlfriend makes good brownies -no - she makes f-ing delicious brownies. There was a platter of about nine or ten of them on a plate in the middle of the dinner table when I walked in her place yesterday. When she left the room I quickly glanced around to make sure it was really empty. Just me and the brownies. Brownies - vulnerable, soft, brown, chocolate brownies.

They completely surrender upon entrance to the mouth. The smooth delightful collapse of the brownies across the tongue, between the teeth. Gooey chocolately sticky brownies in my mouth. "Yoshplsh, womphiblsshh" say the brownies moving inside. Warm morsels of baked chocolate softness. The brownies that offer no resistance, that unfold and unload the chemistry of aphrodisia, the gentle euhporia of bite-sized bursts of endorphins.

I look at all nine and dare myself to eat ten. I think it over twice, looking around the room to see if anyone is around yet. My girlfriend walks in. I spot her. "Whoa.." she said as I sat completely still looking up at her while hunched over the plate of brown sunshine. "Don't worry..." she continued, "i'm not going to come between you and the brownies."

Monday, February 14, 2005

Sex on Valentine's Day

Boingboing.net points to a link of Durex's 8th annual Global Sex Survey. Among the categories surveyed include age of first sexual experience, the time spent on foreplay, and the number of sexual partners. From Durex's website:

Frequency of sex

  • Globally, people are having sex an average of 103 times a year with women (106) having sex more frequently than men (101)

  • 35-44 year olds are having the most sex (116) compared to just 91 times for the 16-20 age group

  • The French (137), Greeks (133) Hungarians and Serbian and Montenegrins (both 131) are having the most sex, while those in Japan (46), Hong Kong and Singapore (both 79) are the least sexually active
More, including detailed graphs, after the jump.


Frequency of Sex


Number of Sexual Partners


Frequency of Orgasms

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Mena Trott on Blogging

Mena Trott wrote a Bloggie-nominated essay on blogging. She is the co-founder and president of the company that develops Moveable Type and TypePad, two of the most popular blogging tools on the web.

She speaks of three different categories of bloggers: pundits, diarists, and egoists. Pundits are the technology whizzes and political know-it-alls that write about the things they know. Diarists are "online exhibitionists people who didn't have any qualms about writing about intimate details of their love life, co-workers they hate or their cats and the cheese sandwiches they ate for lunch." Next are the egoists, people who write for attention and maybe even fame. Mena says she was as an egoist at first because she knew she could never be famous in the real world "but, with a bit of creativity and humor, I could be pseudo-famous in the online world."

After a bad incident where she received unwarranted commentary from strangers in response to a post in which she diclosed personal information, Mena started to change gears. It took her a couple of years to realize that she didn't want to write and reach tens of thousands. "I wanted to reach 10 or 20 people, my close friends and family and a handful of webloggers I communicated with in real life (also known as friends)."

"The personal weblog is content-driven, not audience-driven; it's not about trying to write content that pleases a mass audience — it's about finding an audience that wants to read what you write."

Friday, February 11, 2005

Eerie News

A blogger died yesterday. He was in a wheelchair and suddenly died while talking on the phone to a friend. I don't know why he died, just that he did. I read about his death on the Bloggie-nominated blog Thisfish.com. On that page was a link to his blog, whose last entry was regarding the "deaths" of Paul McCartney and Paul Epstein, the respective singer and manager of the Beatles, in 1966. From his blog:

Apparently both Brian Epstein and Paul McCartney died in 1966. Who knew? I had no idea? Apparently the bobblehead who played over the weekend was actually Faul (False Paul) McCartney! I'm serious! I wouldn't kid about such matters!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Disturbing News

North Korea admits to having nukes. After all the speculation, they've finally come out and announced it officially. Adding to the disturbance was an article I ran across today on RollingStone.com about reinstating the draft:

With the army desperate for recruits, should college students be packing their bags for Canada?
Considering that North Korea is pounding its chest in front of our already belligerent president, who has his troops spread thin in Iraq, might it just be a matter of time before the military reinstates the draft and sends us to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea?

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Illini Hoops, Wilco, a Man Playing Bagpipes - Who Said Champaign Was Boring?

Yesterday I beat a 38-year old Turkish man in Yahoo's Online Chess Game. I was playing during computer lab while my ill-prepared TA bumbled his way through a lecture that started approximately 40 minutes late. The girl to the right of me was looking for a jobs on government webpages. Just ahead and to the left of me I spied on another girl looking for a pair of shoes on Diesel.com. I felt kind of bad for the TA because we used to be classmates. On MWF we gathered together in the FLB at 8am to read mythological tales of Norse gods in Old Icelandic.



There was a man playing the bagpipes on the Quad last night. At first I thought it was the opening music for the rock group Wilco, who was playing a show only a few dozen yards away at Foellinger, but as we got closer we saw a guy marching around with something in his elbow. He played a few bars of Amazing Grace and some other song. It sounded Irish.



Before we got to the Quad we heard all over campus the hullaballoo over our undefeated, #1 ranked Fighting Illini basketball team. The noise was coming from the balconies of apartments and outside the doors of bars. They were playing the Michigan Timberwolves and cameback in the final quarter to win. When we finally got to the FLB we saw a french film called The Man on The Train. I thought it had a fair blend of comedy and tragedy.









Tuesday, February 8, 2005

1000 Words

I began my fascination with the world of Frank Herbert’s Dune when I began to read the book at eleven years old. In the novel Herbert creates another world with stunning detail and richness – it is not difficult to imagine the diverse people, places, or things in the Dune universe. One of the creatures in the novel is the feared sandworm, a vicious predator of the wide-open desert that burrows underneath the sand awaiting the vibration of the foot-steps of its prey. Sometimes reaching over hundred of yards in length, the sandworm moves underneath its prey to rise up and swallow it whole, leaving no trace of its many victims. This image of the sandworm haunted me immediately. The idea that a monstrous, whale-like creature could move with swiftness above and below the sand then proceed to engulf me whole terrified me. The sandworm is big and long, has sharp rows of teeth like a shark, and is swift and efficient.





I used the triangle shape of the teeth to imply a sense of moving sharply into the mouth. I wanted to recreate the sensation of a menacing, threatening being hovering overhead. The circular shape of the mouth was used to provide a cylindrical framework for the teeth. The smaller sized triangles in the mouth were used to symbolize the smaller teeth in the back of the mouth and I also used them to add depth to the body cavity of the sandworm. The triangle flaps on the outside were used to simulate the embracing qualities of the sandworm’s mouth. I wanted them to express the inescapability of being confronted with a sandworm.



The red spotting on the teeth were used as evidence of the sandworm’s past victims, signifying the harmful potential of the sandworm. The red spotting on the teeth also provided a sharp contrast with the blackness of the sandworm gullet, which I adopted in order to give a sense of the vacuum inside the sandworm. The relative brightness of the flaps outside the mouth were used as to give an alarming quality to the impending engulf of the sandworm. I made the background darker than the sandworm in order to emphasize to approach as opposed to recession of the sandworm.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Smile and Cries

I spent all day yesterday laying around on the couch with my girlfriend. We watched 2 romantic comedies and half of the Super Bowl. The Sweetest Thing and 40 Days and 40 Nights, two movies about the sex lives of young and successful people in San Francisco played consecutively on Comedy Central. They both had a different Pete Yorn song on their soundtrack. The different songs were from the same album.



As a joke, I sent a bottle of whiskey.

As you choked, you said it made you feel dirty.




My significant other impressed me with her knowledge of the rules and regulations of football as we watched the Super Bowl. I was mostly watching for the ads. We burst into hysterics during the CareerBuilder.com commercial where the guy sat on the whoppee cushion as he joined the chimpanzee board meeting. "That's how you laugh!" she exclaimed as we listened to the chimps chortle. We laughed some more.


Tired of moping around I decided to strectch my legs and see if my girlfriend's hamster wanted to hang out. Lemiwinks spends most of his time sleeping in the cage set up for him in the spare bedroom, so figured he could use some exercise too.


He was sleeping when I walked in. I dropped some of the shavings from his bedding on top of him to see if he would stir. Nothing - he must be a deep sleeper, I thought. As I blew on him softly I thought of a line from a Modest Mouse song:



Are you dead or are you sleeping?



I wanted to see him roll around the apartment in his little yellow ball, I wanted to hear the soft thumps he made when he hit the wall. I blew a little more and looked around for something with which to poke him. There was a tiny wooden stick right outside his cage and when I poked him and his body moved all at once I realized that Lemiwinks wasn't going to be waking up. He wasn't going to patter against the walls or roll along the carpet. Seeing him curled up in the fetal position with his tiny eyes closed and his tiny paws gathered near his chin, I felt a chill of remorse before getting up to wash my hands.


I went in the living room for my girlfriend.

Friday, February 4, 2005

Blogging About Blogs

Every so often I need reminders of why I blog, and oftentimes I need a source of motivation to keep me going. I want to be like Snoop-Dogg, to "keep coming up with funky-ass shit nearly every single day." Reading other blogs keeps me motivated and sometimes the discoveries made while searching through the blogosphere are often enough to keep me going for days, if not hours.



The 26 year-old behind thisfish.com is nominated for a 2005 Best Personal Weblog Award as part of the annual Bloggies awards. She's cute too. One of the comments posted on her website was obviously run through an English language translator before being posted:

I ALSO I HAVE A BLOG AND SEEING THE INTERESTING THING THAT SHE IS, SO THAT YOU DO NOT PLACE A DEVICE TO TRANSLATE IT TO SEVERAL LANGUAGES...

GREETINGS FROM MEXICO CITY!! :)
I'm fascinated by Mexico City, and so clicked on the name "Nancy Karina" and continued to peruse through her blog. I was knocked out by how many people consistently left comments to her posts. Apparently she is part of a ring of bloggers that, just last week, had an informal gathering in a casual restaurant/bar. Sabroson, one of the attendees, posted pictures and a summary of the gathering on his blog.







It was enough to imagine myself there, bumbling by with an awkward Spanish vocabulary but somehow communicating to these people that I feel familiar yet different from them at that same time. Knowing that these chilangos are into the same thing that I am even though they live so far away would make me suddenly feel so much closer to them, and I would hope they'd feel closer to me.



I'm proud to point to chums like Milton, my brother Christopher, Clarissa, and Peter that are also leaving their mark on the online "blog" scene. To me they are the motivation that is closest to home, and thus the most palpable. Links to their sites are now available on the sidebar column.

Give Me the Bad News First

I nearly tore my left nipple off today. I was hurriedly getting ready for work when I pulled my t-shirt over my head and scratched my left nipple with my right pinky finger. Now this might not have hurt for those with less sensitive nipples and shorter fingernails, but I'm a right-handed guitar player that uses his fingernails for picking, so they have to be a decent length. This combined with the fact that I also have sensitive nipples was a recipe for disaster; I should have known all along.



My left nipple was still sorely stinging when I noticed my mom left a message on my cell phone as I jogged to the bus stop. She finally passed an exit exam critical to becoming an officially registered nurse. She's been studying for four years now to be a nurse, and this test was the final obstacle in her way. It was her fourth and final chance to pass. 850 was the score needed to pass, and she got an 851.



Her friend and fellow aspiring nurse broke down into tears during the middle of the 5-hour test, well aware that she was not cut out for the profession. It was her last chance too. "I'm stupid, i'm just stupid," she cried to herself and my mom did her best not to turn around, not to sympathize, to stay focused and finish the test. And she did, she passed.



Napoleon Dynamite and Heroism

I finally saw Napoleon Dynamite last night. I think the protagonist looks not a little like Wes Anderson, the director of The Royal Tennenbaums, Rushmore, and, more recently, The Life Aquatic.







James Gandolfini, on Inside the Actors Studio, said that the best heroes are the ones that you would least expect to be a hero. Napoleon fits that description well. Basically he's a big geek that gets beat up by the jocks. He wears shirts with wilderness scenes on them and spends his free time on mediocre drawings of mythical creatures, yet it is so easy to get behind and cheer for him because of all this.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Yearning Japanese, I think I'm Yearning Japanese

"Why does Japan get all the cool stuff?" quipped the creator of HouseWars earlier this afternoon. A Japanese toy company sells these small plants that sprout with special messages pre-written on their leaves. More on boingboing.net.







And there's a profile in today's edition of CNN.com of cell phones that feature a jiggling function that dials numbers and scrolls through address books, among other things. The article here.



Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Karma Police

Milton was giving me the heebie-jeebies last night talking about how the Pope was hospitalized the day after I posted an entry about him being attacked by a flying dove. He said he was going to tell on me if anything happened to him, but it looks like he's OK for now, thank God.







CNN has a timeline of the life of the Pope.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Golden Globes of Flesh

Men.style.com has a "Golden Globes" featurette on the all-time greatest boob shots in movie history, complete with full-color pictures and witty essays for each entry. Something remarkable happened as I gandered over these old, familiar friends: