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Death of Osama Bin Laden [01 May 2011|11:55pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

Pretty astounding news... I flip on the news and they're casually mentioning in a "Oh by the way, Osama was killed..." tone that he was, well, dead.

Like many, 9/11 had a profound effect on me, and I think I started this blog only a few months after it happened (one month after?) I remember posting a lot of 9/11 thoughts before in my Yahoo! Club so I was all posted out by the time I signed up here, but I'm sure it played a part in getting me to sign up for this blog.

I don't know what to say right now, but it's surreal to see all the spontaneous celebrations in NYC & DC, the U.S. in general. I can understand the feeling but when I see these huge crowds celebrating someone's death, it looks EXACTLY like those middle east scenes where they rush out into the streets cheering that somebody they didn't like died.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Twitter [27 Mar 2010|10:54pm]
[ mood | pissed off ]

So Twitter sucks complete shit, huh?? Why did no one tell me this?

I signed up about a week & 1/2 ago... posted some Tweets.... and over the last few days, they slowly VANISHED. At first I thought it was just a temporary glitch, and the number of tweets was still close to what it actually was, even though only like 2-3 of them still remained. But now even the number has been readjusted to just the few that has survived, like 3. I posted at least 13... so pretty much my entire account has been wiped.

I thought it might be a hacker or something, I don't know. I changed my password.... and tried to get some help from the site. The best I could find was a "known issue" where they apparently know this is happening & want us to post our account nane, browser, how many tweets we lost, what days... so I posted along with a bunch of others & who knows if anyone will even look at it.

What pisses me off is that I can NOT go ONE WEEK without hearing the news mention these 3 sites: Twitter, Facebook, & YouTube. The news media has this major hard-on for those 3 sites.... it's so fucking annoying!! Shut UP about them already.... can you not go *A WEEK* without name-dropping them??? Stupid dying media that's so out of touch--- like a 70-year-old desperately trying to look like a sK8tR.....



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Avatar [07 Mar 2010|09:40pm]
[ mood | annoyed ]

So I finally got a chance to see Avatar last week. Went on a Wednesday, like 6:45 PM show-- it's a weekday & a weird time-- I figured, the theater would be near-empty. But nope, we get there and it's packed. What. The. Hell???

This movie's been out since December 2009, right? I was in China when there must've been a lot of hype about it back here, so I heard none of it. There are 2 things that I heard nothing about when I was away, and was confused as hell about when I returned home:

1. Tiger Woods.... Huh???? What the hell is up with that?????

2. Avatar.


I figured Avatar's been out for so long that the crowds should've died down by now. What the hell, people??? Why are you all still going to see this movie?? Didn't you see it already, don't tell me you're watching it again. Seriously???

I was actually a big fan of James Cameron. I loved Terminator/T2, Aliens, liked True Lies & his other movies quite a bit. What I like about his movies is that he seems concerned about the writing & story, not just visuals.

But Avatar is just so... meh. It's not a terrible movie. Sure, the special FX are pretty good, I imagine that there was a huge amount of work with motion capture, and making those great vistas & such. It's just that, from a story point of view, I've seen this movie already.... back when it starred Kevin Costner & was called Dances With Wolves. Why do I need to see Dances With Wolves, but with aliens????

Then I read somewhere that Cameron says Avatar is "a movie he'd want to see if he was 14 years old"... so maybe this movie is meant for people who were born after Dances With Wolves came out. It's not even like I saw Dances With Wolves in the theater... I watched it on TV, can't remember if it was on video or just on a TV channel, but I know I didn't see it in the theaters.

Movie trailers & ads need a new kind of disclaimer warning, letting us know that a movie is simply going to re-tread themes from older movies and not offer anything new. These kinds of movies need a warning that scrolls across the trailer in big red text:

WARNING:
DUE TO LIFE EXPERIENCE, THIS FILM MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE BORN BEFORE 1995.


It's clear that Hollywood wants to rehash older movies, but their definition of "older" seems to start at 5 years in the past. The least they could do is let us know that they're only aiming at an audience who's only seen 6 films in their lifetime.




later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Inuvik ad [04 Mar 2010|04:52pm]
[ mood | mellow ]

I am really liking the song from this Tropicana ad.... the ad is a neat idea also. It reminds me of 30 Days of Night (but without all the people being dragged under their houses and vampires with blood running down their shirts)




It would be really weird to have night for over a month.... I'd kinda like that here. 30 days of night but without the snow & arctic cold.

Can't get enough of that song. (Patrick Watson - The Great Escape)



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Hey #38 - 16 Blocks [06 Feb 2010|08:54pm]
[ mood | hey ]

hey:


16 Blocks came on TV, and it sucked me in. But I was sure I had seen it before... yet I couldn't remember it at all. I kept thinking as I was watching, "Ok, what's going to happen next? If I've seen this movie before I should be able to remember..." and I couldn't. It seemed vaguely familiar, but I just could not remember anything. So I kept watching.

Then it got to a point where someone mentions Yu-Gi-Oh and I remember THAT line.

Odd. Very odd.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

ban on cellphones while driving [04 Feb 2010|01:59pm]
[ mood | blah ]

So the ban is now in full effect in the province.... honestly, when it was announced I thought, "Yeah! That's a good idea".... but now I'm wondering if this ban isn't just another boondoggle. Yeah, people using cellphones while driving was pretty bad-- I've seen cars to the left & right, in front and behind of me where they were ALL on phones. It is kind of annoying, to be sure. And of course the gov't. uses a single case where some idiot was texting while driving right up to when he was killed in a car crash, to justify the total ban. Like idiocy doesn't find a way to flourish no matter what. That's kinda the point of idiocy.

I don't even use cellphones, so a ban doesn't affect me-- to be honest, I hardly even know how to turn a cellphone on. But I don't think a total ban on cellphones while driving is going to make much of a difference in traffic safety. Like banning plastic bags really is not going to help the environment. It's one of those meaningless gestures that sounds like a good idea as long as you don't give it more than 10 seconds of thought... all the while creating a big inconvenience.

Like what is the real point behind a cellphone while driving ban-- because hands-free devices are still allowed, so it's to make sure the driver has both hands on the wheel? Ok... but driving doesn't always require both hands. But if you need both hands like to do an emergency turn or whatever, you definitely don't want one hand tied up holding a phone I suppose. Still, I don't know if using a phone while driving is that much of a problem.... even while doing normal turns it's easy to do it with one hand. I'm not saying that we *should* only have one hand on the wheel while turning, but it's usually easy enough to do so.

Unlike most of my rants, I'm not really angry about this issue... I should actually be happy for a ban I guess... but it just seems like a bit of a waste of time. I dunno.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Dear Olympics: Vancouver played ya [22 Jan 2010|01:01am]
[ mood | mellow ]

I'm just going to put it out there. We **ALL** know this.

When Vancouver was announced to host the Olympics, anyone who lives around here-- we knew that the chances were pretty low that it'd be cold enough or that they'd have enough snow in the mountains. Sure, it was POSSIBLE, but not likely. But the fools who run the Olympics *DIDN'T* know that. And it's "don't ask, don't tell".

But as if Chicago would be a good venue for the summer Olympics.... come on. So I suppose it doesn't really matter how "appropriate" a venue is, it's only who's willing to pony up the cash, that's all the IOC cares about.

So they'll be piling snow over bales of hay and garbage to build up hills & the weather will probably suck for winter sports, but whatever. It'll probably still be ok. Too late to back out now anyway.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

hot water tank [19 Jan 2010|06:34pm]
[ mood | I'm broke? ]

So last week I'd been having some weird issues with my water pipes.... they were groaning. Like crazy. And they wouldn't stop.... it was like-- they sounded like a digereedoo, you know? It was this deep gravelly noise like a machine; a compressor or something. Very weird.

So I was pretty worried we'd have to get into the walls and somehow deal with the pipes. But luckily it turned out that a flap in a toilet tank was loose and it was somehow causing vibrations to go through all the cold water pipes. It was a really easy & cheap fix, just 5 minutes and a new $4.00 toilet tank flap.

But then yesterday, I turned on the hot water last night and it wasn't hot at all. Stone cold. I figured it was the hot water tank, but hoped that it didn't need to be replaced completely. My dad has had to deal with a hot water tank a couple months ago, and it's pretty expensive.

But of course my hot water tank DID need to be replaced, and..... over $700.00 later, I have hot water again.


I went with Swift Plumbing because... well they had a big ad in the phonebook. Also promised same-day service, plus I think that's the company my dad used a few months ago.

But yeah, like $725.00. Yipes. As long as it lasts, I'll be happy.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Fuck 3D [17 Jan 2010|07:37pm]
[ mood | annoyed ]

No seriously, fuck it! Like what the hell??? Why is 3D being so shoved down our throats right now???


Trends are consumer driven-- lots of people decide to like something and it explodes (or implodes) in popularity. Sometimes this is good: Internet. Sometimes it's bad: American Idol.


But at least you can see WHY something is being over-exposed all over the friggin' place. I can't watch more than 5 minutes of American Idol, but it's the #1 TV show, so of course I'm going to see ads for it the second I turn my TV on. I guess a lot of people like it.

I've NEVER heard ANYONE say they want 3D movies to make a massive comeback. If anything, people might've said it in a joking way, nostalgically remembering those awful 3D movies in the '70's & '80's. I even remember the odd 3D TV episode... which was a pain because you had to get the 3D glasses from 7-11 or some exclusive outlet....


I saw the movie Up again recently (on the plane to Hong Kong) and it was about halfway through that I even remembered it was in 3D when I saw it in the theater. I didn't see it in the theater because it was 3D... I only put up with it because I wanted to see Up. The last two 3D movies-- Up and Monsters vs. Aliens-- the "3D" was completely tacked on. It's not like they even did cheesy hand-coming-out-of-the-screen shots to try to put in token amounts of 3D, no... I mean, they didn't need 3D AT ALL. They look like they were totally meant to be watched in 2D, and some movie exec at the last minute decided to release them in 3D after they were completely finished.

But the 3D movies keep on coming. And still, I don't hear anybody raving about how awesome the 3D is for any of them. I guess Avatar is the current big 3D movie... I was kinda lucky because I was away so I missed out what must've been insane hype in December for it. I want to see it, but I'm seeing it despite the 3D, not because of it.

And now the big thing is 3D tvs. You still need glasses, and how much 3D content is there? *GOOD* content?? Yeah, I didn't think so.

When I was in one of China's airports, I think it was Shanghai, there was a 3D TV there that you didn't need glasses. I was looking at it and the images were popping out of the screen without any glasses. But it was right above the Customs & X-ray security section, so it's not like I could spend much time watching it, kinda worried about other things you know...

I doubt I could've watched an entire TV show or movie on that TV comfortably, who knows. But it's weird that all the supposed "cutting edge" 3D TV technology shown off at CES 2010 all needed glasses.


So 3D can basically go fuck itself. Who needs that shit anyway?



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Google getting out of China? [12 Jan 2010|07:22pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

Curious statements from Google today.... basically, they were hacked in mid-December 2009, and are now seriously reconsidering whatever deal they have with China.



Very Lando-Calrissian-Darth-Vader-in-Empire... ish.


"Darth Vader: Calrissian. Take the princess and the Wookie to my ship."
"Lando: You said they'd be left at the city under my supervision."
"Darth Vader: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."


Or maybe I'm just a big nerd. I am seriously going to work on that.


Hmmm. I was in China in mid-December. I also used Gmail while I was there (still do). Coincidence???? DUM DUM DUM. Yeah I dunno.

When I was there, I tried logging into Hotmail a couple times but it came up as a mess of html. I don't know why. Gmail was fine, of course.


I like to get righteously-indignant about how Google is helping a gov't. supress people's liberties, but honestly, it is not that cut & dried, is it? If you want the access to a major market, you have to play by the rules of the game. The entire world has learned this over the last 20 or so years. We westerners like to think that China needs us, and we need them. I always hear about how Canada sends these trade groups led by some politician or whoever to China to "encourage trade".... sheyeah, it's *NOT* about getting a free vacation on the taxpayer's dime AT ALL..... but seriously, the prevailing view is that China and the rest of the world is part of a symbiotic relationship.

But when I was in China, I gained a very different perspective. China is enormous, there are so many people that it feels very self-sustaining. The culture is so different in many ways from ours that I felt very insulated from the rest of the world. I saw many big factories and I know that they produce stuff that gets shipped out to the west; the sweaters I haggled over in a back alleyway for 18 RMB ($3.00 CAD) get shipped to Walmarts & marked up to $20.00, or other stores for even more. I'm sure there is a very symbiotic relationship with the economies of the west. But you do not feel it in the day-to-day living.

I do think we seriously overestimate how much China needs us. Or at least how much we could influence China. I think that Google is just trying to show its teeth because it doesn't really have any bite. I'd be surprised if they did pull out of China.

On the way to Fuzhou I was talking to some (really cute) university girls on a train, and they'd never heard of Google, Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, Twitter, etc. All those bloody annoying sites that get mentioned in the mainstream news EVERY EFFIN' WEEK.... seriously, I bet you hear either Twitter, YouTube or Facebook mentioned in the news at least once a week. But that doesn't mean they don't social network, on the contrary-- it's just that the sites they do it on aren't recognizable (to me) other than MSN messenger, I think I've heard of that one. And because China is such a huge market, the popular sites are probably big $$$$ generators. It's no wonder Google is/was willing to throw away personal liberties like a crazy traveler dropping their bags in a scramble to catch a train pulling out of the station.

Yeah, I'd be surprised if Google was actually serious about getting out of China. I think what they're really trying to do is pull on the chain around their neck a bit, to get a little more slack. Though I have to admit the description of these hacking attacks is kind of disturbing. It does make me wonder, could someone have accessed my gmail? Anything's possible I guess. I deliberately avoided political discussion in any email or conversation while I was there. Except one time in Hong Kong, when I asked someone a really stupid question about what's changed since the handover-- my question was meant in the context of day-to-day life rather than politics, and I should have phrased it more clearly. The reply I got back was a robotic monotone, "Nothing. Has. Changed. Nothing. At. All. If. Anything. Things. Have. Only. Gotten. Better."

*then awkward silence in the car*

And he said quietly, "They leave you alone if you don't talk about politics."


This is why I am so bad at small talk. After a few hours I'm hitting wrong nerves like that because I'm too dumb to be nuanced. I start saying stupid stuff.



later
don
Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

blogger laws [06 Jan 2010|01:46pm]
[ mood | irate ]

I recently heard this on the news about legislating that bloggers disclose when they are being "paid" to talk about products on their blogs... I'm sure that includes complimentary free samples or 'comps' and the like.

Fair enough-- bloggers should be providing full disclosure about such things. I've gotten free samples to review on my blog; I made it clear that I was going to do an honest, unbiased review and I also made it clear that I was provided the samples free. It would've felt wrong to pretend otherwise. So I guess making it a law is a good idea....

But there are MUCH more important things to legislate on the internet: particularly commercial websites. There are such low standards and things that are simply UNNACCEPTABLE on most sites that sell things, even big ones like iTunes, Sony, or other major company sites.

For example, this stupid Virgin Mobile site. I'm looking at their Broadband2Go product, and *nowhere* can I actually find the cost of their actual monthly plan. Yes, it does mention one package, the 1GB monthly plan worth $45.00. But I can't find it anywhere where they simply state the costs of their broadband plans. Maybe I'm missing something, but I looked all around the site. Yet, it only takes one simple click to BUY a plan without really seeing it.

That kind of crappy site design is what REALLY should be illegal on the internet. These sites TAKE YOUR MONEY-- shouldn't there be some LAWS that keep them from ripping us off blind?? Yes, I hated infomercials when they first came on TV because they pretended that they were actual TV shows when they aren't. And that's what paid "blogger testimonials" do too. But at least you're not directly giving money to bloggers when you read that stuff, whereas with iTunes or Sony, or whatever online store, you ARE. So shouldn't there be laws that force these stupid sites to FULLY DISCLOSE the costs and details of a product before you buy it?

Lawmakers are completely missing the point when it comes to the internet, going after all the wrong targets. They're just so effin' stupid.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Vancouver is crazy [02 Jan 2010|09:10pm]
[ mood | confused ]

Something I was reflecting on from last week while I was sick, and stuck in Vancouver....

My parents dragged me out of bed to go see the doctor. It's like, what is a doctor going to tell me, "You've got stomach flu; take fluids & get lots of rest"... like I don't already know that? And I was trying to do the getting rest part but my parents got in the way of that by dragging me to a doctor where I get to wait in a waiting room as well as not having my Care Card with me so they wanted to charge me $50.00 because my name wasn't coming up when they phoned MSP. They finally phoned them again and got someone else who got my name to come up. But whatever.

The doctor was good for one thing; he prescribed me some meds. So then my parents drag me to Real Canadian Superstore to get the meds from the pharmacy.

I'm sitting in the car, really wanting to be much closer to a bathroom and a warm bed than I actually was, when I heard all this honking. I'm still kinda out of it, so I didn't even look around... for a minute I thought I was back in China-- China has a CULTURE of honking; they are scary SCARY drivers that honk a LOT. So for a bit, I thought I was back there.

But then the honks were doing this call-and-reply thing. So I thought it might be teens acting like jerks or something.

When I finally turned around to look, I saw that it was really this guy in a big car who was behind some other woman in an SUV, she needed him to back up so she could get in a stall, but he adamantly refused. She was honking & he was honking back. What's more, he had his window rolled down, and was screaming & swearing like a maniac. He was saying something like, "Yoo beech! You're stuck, hah?? You got nowhere to go, yoo fucking beech, you yellow submarine! Fuck you!!!!" and so on.

"Yellow submarine"???? Hanh???? I guess the woman was asian or something? Anyway, this guy was a complete nutter, and it was one of those times you really wish a police officer was nearby to give this guy a talking to. I have no idea what his issue was, but he shouldn't have been behind a wheel.

It was really jarring to witness crazy people on the street, because this sort of thing didn't really happen in China. There's so much private security & local police around that if this guy was in China, there'd be like 4 guys on him right away.

Vancouver is crazy. It's full of crazy people, and why is that? Sure it's a big city, but there are lots of bigger cities. I wonder if we are too spoiled from not living in a police state that some of us take full advantage of imposing our craziness upon others publicly. As much as I deeply appreciate our freedoms in Canada, that idea vexes me.

When I was in China, seeing some of the impoverished conditions and other things, sometimes I wonder if China really deserved to have the Olympics. Of course, "deserve" doesn't really factor into getting the Olympics, it's all about $$$$. But if I can judge China that way, does Vancouver deserve the Olympics either? Probably not.




later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

wi-fi router [31 Dec 2009|10:14am]
[ mood | accomplished ]

So a couple days ago I got a wi-fi router! Yeah! It was something I was determined to buy once I came home, so I was looking around at some and happened upon a inexpensive Dlink wireless G router from London Drugs that I just thought, "What the hell" and picked it up.

It only took 3 attempts to set it up for it to finally work. I'm surprised it even did. One of the things I've noticed about wireless routers is that they ALL have bad reviews. There's not a model out there that gets good reviews across the board. So who knows if mine is any good, or will even last.....

But the last couple days it's been fine so far. Wireless G, because all my wi-fi devices-- PSPs, (PSPgo), Wii, netbook-- are using wireless B... well, the netbook probably uses B/G. Typing this (and yesterday's) entry on it, actually.

So yeah, I've finally unlocked the power of wireless G! I've made it to the year 2007.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

Not a Homecoming [30 Dec 2009|11:55pm]
[ mood | peaceful ]

I just spent my Christmas being violently ill with stomach flu. Arrived in Vancouver from China (connecting flight at San Francisco) on December 23, woke up at 2:00AM on December 24 with a massive attack of diarrhea-- I know I know, I *don't* talk about poop here (especially mine) but I thought I should at least mention it for contexts sake-- that lasted for hours, into the late morning. I also puked a few times, and let me tell you.... you ever see a Seinfeld episode where Jerry says he hasn't thrown up since like 1983 or something? That's pretty much about the last time I did, too. Before December 24, 2009, I hadn't barfed since I was a little kid. So it was BRUTAL.

December 25-onward was about me sleeping most of the day & night. I'm feeling better, but still recovering. My Xmas sucked pretty bad. I was trying to rush home to see my niece & nephew on Xmas, but never made it, that disappointed me a lot. I got stuck at my parents in Vancouver, and... well you know the book/movie Misery, right? You'd *think* that it'd be nice to have people taking care of you while you're sick, but believe me, it was SO not. I'd have been better off at home by myself. I literally had to leave a note, sneak out, and take the bus/Canada Line Skytrain/bus/and ferry back home.... I HAD to get out of there.... just had to.

I took Dukoral before I left last month to go to China. And for the most part I think it was effective; I ate some weird stuff during the trip... ate dog twice, snake.... slammed a shotglass of snake blood mixed with what I was told was "red wine" but I think it was something... stronger... but one of the most dangerous things was a bau (bun) I bought off a street vendor that as soon as I bit into it, oil spurted out down my chin.... ugh. Felt my stomach "tweak" that night, but no real probs.

Overall the food is one of the best things about China.... it's really really good. If you like Chinese food, you'd *love* eating in China. Even the greasiest spoon hole-in-the-wall places usually have decent food. There's such an interesting variety of vegetables & fruit, and it seems to grow everywhere (lots of personal gardens)... I've a feeling that the Chinese have a close relationship with their food.

Another thing I discovered early on to my dismay is that blog sites like Livejournal are "mysteriously inaccessible" in China. LJ, Wordpress, Blogger, all blocked. Youtube is also blocked. I was looking forward to maybe chronicling my journey but was not to be. It's impossible to condense 5 weeks of a trip into a single LJ post, would've liked to be able to post from China. Thanks Google & Yahoo!, for their complicity in helping the Chinese gov't. censor content. Both Blogger & Youtube are owned by Google..... guess no one in China is reading this blog unless they're IP-spoofing or something, maybe?

But that aside, China is an amazing place. There are so many really fascinating things about China. There are a lot of bad things too... it is a grungy country. We in North America are pretty spoiled when it comes to plumbing and having so much water available to us, I know that in most other parts of the world things are not as good. but China's public bathrooms are..... yikes. Squat toilets are the norm-- if you haven't experienced those, they're basically holes in the floor. That's not even the worst of it. A few times I came across stalls over a trough. A 1' wide x 1' deep trough, filled with 1 cm of water... you squat over it and watch as everyone's stuff floats on by... this is inside buildings too... and paper is rarely provided. Nor is soap, or hand dryers. If you can find all 3, it's a rare luxury.

There I go, talking about poop again. Sorry. Oh yeah, China is a country of smokers, smoking is everywhere, I've seen people smoking directly under No Smoking signs (in English & Chinese) and there's spitting. I did a lot of side-stepping to avoid piles of gob as I navigated the streets of China.

Even though it seems like I'm dwelling on the negatives, there's lots of wonderful things about China. So much history there.... Canada is such a young country, but China has deep roots of civilization to explore. I mentioned the food. The exchange rate is very favourable, it's about $1.00 CAD= Y6.00 RMB, so my money goes pretty far in China. Things are open really late. After 6:00PM, about the only things open in my town are restaurants, and by 10:00PM, there's nothin'. But in China, I'd blow into town late, like after 9:00PM and most shops and restaurants are still open so I had plenty to do. Shopping is fun, haggling is accepted at street vendors. Plants & trees are all tropical; palm trees everywhere rather than pine trees, and there are such beautiful vistas & landscapes. The art is so inspiring. The culture is elegant & beautiful.

I spent most of my time in the south, in Shenzhen. Toured around Shanghai & Fujian province a bit too. Went to Guangzhau, the capital of Guangdong province, where Cantonese originated. One of the highlights was getting to see the villages my parents came from (near Guangzhou).... even though I had to sacrifice a trip to Beijing to do so, I'm really glad I got to see them. Also spent a few days in Hong Kong, which is such a wild place.

Ugh... being distracted by Resident Evil:Extinction on TV, trying to type during commercial breaks. But this movie is making very little sense.

China is an amazing place. I'd love to return. But not being able to speak Mandarin or Cantonese makes it VERY difficult to travel. English-only does NOT cut it in China. Yes, there's usually english under the Chinese text on major road & highway signs (however badly spelled), but no one actually reads it. Even with only Cantonese, which my parents speak, you can only get by with it in the south and even then you have about a 50/50 chance that whoever you're dealing with speaks Cantonese as well as Mandarin... which is only called "Mandarin" outside of China. To them, it's Chinese.

So my conclusion about traveling in China, like for a few weeks or longer, is that it requires investment. I met & traveled with people who were ex-pats: they come from China and have strong ties there. I saw non-Chinese people speaking Mandarin; they probably have jobs that require them to be in China. Or maybe language students who've fallen in love with Mandarin & the culture. That's what I mean by investment: there needs to be some sort of tie that draws you to China for an extended period of time. It doesn't seem like a country that a non-Chinese speaking person could strap on a backpack & go, "I'm gonna explore this place for 6 months! Yeah!" I'm sure it does happen, but probably not that often. Not to mention that you have to apply for a visa to enter the country.

A lot of people visit their homeland, whether it's Ireland or other parts of Europe or wherever, and they reconnect with roots that allows them to reconcile or resolve a part of themselves in a way that I've often wondered what that'd be like.... it's like they've come home. But going to China didn't feel like a homecoming to me. If I'd gone a few years ago, I might've felt more that way. But I don't really have any family left in China, and the huge differences in language & culture... I've never felt *LESS* Chinese than when I was in China, and I've never felt more Canadian. I look Chinese, but I'm not. Canada is my home, I deeply believe in its values. Seeing where my dad swam as a child; the trees he jumped off of into the river, that was deeply satisfying for sure. But as wonderous as China is, I don't feel Chinese.

I'd still love to go back, even soon. Part of me still wants to be there now.



later
don

Comicbook dialogue: add your thought bubbles.

District 9 [27 Sep 2009|01:28pm]
[ mood | cranky ]

My non-spoiler review of District 9.


I finally got to see it last night. I have to say, it is overrated, but it's not a terrible movie. I'm just not sure why it's gotten so much acclaim when it really doesn't follow up on some of the ideas it presents us with.

I suspect it's a matter of timing. There are movies that get a lot of "critical praise" simply because they happen to have weak competition in the box office at the time. When a bunch of absolute crap movies are out, movie critics grasp at one that isn't ABSOLUTE crap like it's a life preserver (or maybe sanity preserver)... when District 9 first came out, it was surrounded by Transformers 2 & G.I. Joe.

The problem is, that once the buzz wears off, people come to their senses & realize, "hey, maybe that *wasn't* one of the greatest movies ever". Cases in point: Moulin Rouge, Mission Impossible 3, (Mission Impossible 2)... and I'm waiting for people to catch up with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. Maybe by this Xmas they'll finally admit they were way too enthusiastic about it. But I doubt they'll smarten up that quickly.

Basically people are just so effin' stupid.... it only reinforces my misanthropic leanings.


District 9 is a thinly-veiled look at racism & poverty. One of it's greatest strengths is how it doesn't flinch away from abject poverty. This is a movie that I doubt could've been made by Hollywood.... I can't think of many other sci-fi movies that deals with poverty at all, really. Sci-fi is always seen as a "rich person's genre", I guess because technology plays such a big part of it. But even movies like Terminator-- Terminator: Salvation *should* be all about poverty & impoverished people because the humans in that future world have nothing, and are on the brink of annihilation. But that movie is so clean & sanitized compared to District 9, it almost makes Terminator: Salvation's post-apocalyptic setting a joke.

Much more obvious-- clumsily so-- is also the racism theme of District 9. The way the aliens are treated so inhumanely seems a bit over the top. I get what they're trying to say with this theme, but it just doesn't seem realistic the way it's so heavy-handed in its portrayal.

That's my biggest problem with District 9, it brings up some interesting ideas, but it doesn't really explore them properly. Yes, it's better than the average mindless action film, but I don't know if it really elevates the genre. Plus there's a lot of gore. Which is ok, it's just... there is a LOT. Just so you know, 'cause I didn't.

And my biggest concern, how people are calling this such an "original" movie... umm, there was some movie called Alien Nation, you know. Oh yeah, but it came out about 150 years ago, back in the ancient time of... 1988. District 9 is a very different, much grittier handling of the subject of alien immigration, but it still follows in its footsteps. Just try & have a memory that goes farther back than the Spice Girls.

Jerks.



later
don

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Hey #37 - Jay Leno Show [14 Sep 2009|10:33pm]
[ mood | pissed off ]

Heyyyyyyyyy....



... what the fuck is NBC trying to pull here?


I'm trying to watch this new Jay Leno show... and guess what? It's exactly the same as the old Jay Leno show.

Why should I even be surprised by this? I tuned in to see what Conan O'Brien would be doing with the hallowed Tonight Show, and surprise-surprise, it turned out to be the exact same thing he was doing on Late Night. Same band, got Andy Richter back, even uses the same theme music.

So NBC ditched all their 10:00PM dramas just so Leno can do the exact same show he was doing before? I liked at least a few of those dramas. Medium used to be on NBC, at least it's still on CBS.... and My Own Worst Enemy was a promising show. I'd much rather watch those than Leno doing this tired shtick. I never watched this tripe when it was on later, I'm sure not going to watch it now.



later
don

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Hey #36 - Foreign film remakes [14 Sep 2009|01:11am]
[ mood | irritated ]

HEY.


When I see a really good foreign movie, I never think, "You know, this would be so much better if it was all in english with [insert whatever english-speaking actors here]". I can't think of a single film where I've thought that.


I suppose there have been some good english remakes of foreign films, but it seems like the majority of them are weak. Very weak indeed. If a movie is a good movie, it doesn't matter that it's in subtitles, if it's GOOD it's GOOD. Why remake something where you can only hope at best, to maybe equal it? But chances are much better that you'll ("you" being Hollywood) make something inferior.

There's just way too much replacing something that works with something that doesn't going on in the world.

Please try & stop it.



later
don

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hey #35 - MegasXLR [14 Sep 2009|12:33am]
[ mood | wistful ]

Hey.


I miss MegasXLR.








later
don

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hey #34 - truth in advertising [18 Aug 2009|09:15pm]
[ mood | hey ]

Hey!


There should be a law where a commercial for whatever product/service can ONLY tell the truth.

Not only about the product itself, but the advertisement can't show the product doing something that it can't do. Like that annoying car commercial where the car leaps over buildings... if you show that in an ad, that car HAS TO be able to leap over buildings. Or if a toy ad shows a kid magically transforming into a super-hero, the toy HAS to be able to magically turn kids into super-heroes... you get the point.


And if advertisers pull any of that fake shit on air, then the government can fine them for $$millions$$ or whatever.

Now I know that we suddenly won't have products that will do magical things, rather, car ads would just show cars being driven on roads, and toy ads would just show kids playing with toys. But man, what an awesome world it'd be if there was a law like that.... advertisers that couldn't lie.... I want to live there.




later
don

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hey #33 [13 Aug 2009|08:20pm]
[ mood | hey ]

Hey.


Why is it (Some. Most?) Americans put on a REALLY FAKEY STUCK UP sounding British accent when they say the word "aunt"?

"Yee-Haaawww! 'M gonna git mee sum! Oh hey, there's my ONT! Cheerie-O then!"

ONT?

It just sounds so... stupid to me. I dunno. Like I say, it sounds like you're trying to do a British accent. Badly.

So how do you say the word "aunt"? Well, I say it like ANT. Which kinda cracks me up that it sounds like I'm trying to do a really bad, fakey American accent.

It's just one of those things that makes me cringe when I hear it. ONT.... ONTEE.....

Ugh.



later
don

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