May 31, 2005

Dorkmorial Weekend

A trifecta of dorkeldom this weekend in which I was ably assisted by Lane and Bonedog.

  • Saturday: Dune
  • Sunday: Return of the King - Extended Version
  • Monday: Revenge of the Sith
Dune. Signficantly worse than the idealized version remember. The entire second half is basically a crappy montage. Still tho'. Clearly awesome.

Return of the King. Clearly awesome! All four hours of it. Especially when compared to ...

Revenge of the Sith. Despite what folks say ... it's clearly not awesome.

Here's the thing. The fact that both the acting and the script are terrible is irrelevant - the movie could have been good without that. It could have been incredible if it delivered a convincing portrayal of how Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. This is, afterall, not just the arc of the first trilogy, but in many ways, the (previously) untold tragic myth for an entire generation.

That arc is advanced by several scenes: Anakin kills the sandpeople (in Clones), Anakin kills Mace Windu, Anakin kills the Jedi, Anakin gets burnt. Only the last of those scenes is actually memorable. The others are both flat and kinda confusing from a narrative standpoint. I mean, I've got no idea what's going on, motivation-wise, in the Mace Windu scene.

It's nice that there are cool lightsaber duels and hot special effects. But the thing is that when I watch Return of the King, I sincerely believe that the destruction of the Ring is The Most Important Thing Ever and worthy of incredible sacrifice. There's no equivalently sincere moment in Star Wars and there really could have been.

However, they both do have villians being burned by volcanoes ... so that's cool.

May 28, 2005


The exact moment Aaron revealed to me that he had gone to see Star Wars without me.

Update: I agree with the comments - Aaron probably ended doing me a favor. Besides, it's impossible to stay mad at Bonedog. As you can see in this video, he's the ultimate smooth operator.

May 26, 2005

Garden of Virtual Delights

I don't know what the heck is going on here.

May 23, 2005


From the NYT's article on the rise of evangelical christianity in the Ivy League:

The Christian Union's immediate goal, he said, was to recruit campus missionaries. "What is happening now is good," Mr. Bennett said, "but it is like a finger in the dike of keeping back the flood of immorality."
You know, we stopped referring to bundles of kindling as faggots. Maybe it's time to surrender the beachhead on dike.

Not, you know, because of the inflammatory nature of such terms. Just because, I, for one, cannot hear the phrase "finger in the dike" without giggling.

Especially when the stinky pinky in said dike is holding back a flood of immorality from drowning our nation's elite students in the pungent waters of sin.

May 21, 2005

Ocean Beach

Update: Some additional photos from today's outing to the beach.

May 20, 2005

May 18, 2005

May 17, 2005

Blogs ≤ Jesus

I laughed out loud when I saw this quote from Reuters on Ev's blog:

[B]logs -- online opinion and information sites -- played a similar, but not greater role, as did the mainstream media and the candidates' campaigns in creating "buzz."
Dammit! Blogs are only as influential as the most coordinated and focused media effort in the history of mankind.


I saw a small, black bird attempt to land in the part of a woman's hair this morning. I wondered if maybe the bird saw the strip of scalp and thought it was food or a nest. The woman wondered if she'd gotten pooped on.

But then. While waiting at for the shuttle, two of my fellow commuters remarked that they too had been attacked by small, black birds that very morning.


May 14, 2005

Corona Heights

It's good to be home.


The bags are unpacked, the passport is stowed away and the photos have been uploaded & tagged.

Time for the vacation slideshow!

May 13, 2005


We had to stop in Honolulu to offload a sick passenger. It's quite a thing to be roused from a dead sleep with the announcement that you'll be landing in a city not on your itinerary.

May 11, 2005

Note to self

Do not eat oysters with fizzy water. The burps are awful.

May 10, 2005

Two different kiwi reactions to a yank abroad

Shortly before ordering a massive bowl of fried fishparts that I didn't finish but that nearly killed me anyway:

Cute kiwi waitress: Do you know what you would like for dinner?

Me: Uh ... yeah. I think I'll have -

CKW: Oh gosh - where are you from? That is - if you don't mind my asking.

Me: Uh, no. I mean, I'm from San Francisco. California.

CKW (hungrily): Awwww. I just love accents!

: *blush*

Upon being handed my receipt to sign at the Embassy Theatre for a luxury seat ticket to Kingdom of Heaven (after having been strongly cautioned against seeing it by the box office attendant):
Embassy employee: If I could just get your John Hancock, as they say.

Me: Heh.

EE: Not that I'm anti-American or anything.

Me: Meh?

After a long day of driving yesterday, I've made it to Wellington. It's a little tricky when you arrive in a new town at night and have no navigator, no hotel reservations and are starving. As such, I was happy to ditch the car today and take to town by foot.

Tonight, I'm very much looking forward to seeing an absolutely crappy movie (Kingdom of Heaven) in an amazing theater (Embassy Theatre).

Embassy has a lot going for it. First, it's the largest screen in the southern hemisphere. Second, they have assigned seating - an innovation I've longed to be imported to the States. Third, they have luxury seating - seats that cost an extra 3 kiwibucks, are better positioned, bigger and, like, come with vibratory functions or something. (And, yes, fourth, Embassy hosted the world premiere of Return of the King).

In other news, I got caught completely flatfooted by a plain-clothes tout for the hare krishas today. She was well into her spiel about how I could have the secret to ultimate pleasure for only $35 and all I could offer up as to why I didn't need to take advantage of this amazing opportunity was: "Uh ... I'm from San Francisco."

It'd be sorta like flying halfway around the world just to ride a cable car. Which, actually, I did today.

May 09, 2005

Bubble bubble

As promised, today was all about the hot, geothermal action. The folks living here are remarkably calm and easygoing seeing as how wide swaths of the countryside are literally boiling over.

In downtown Rotorua, the city's park has small fenced-off enclosures which separate the parkgoers from sulphuric demise. It's pretty amazing. And they've missed a few spots. You'll be walking along, admiring the well kept civic greens, and then "Oh hey, that spot of dirt is, uh, boiling."

I also really enjoyed the roadside attraction Hell's Gates. It's set up exactly like the types of places you see in the midwest - the ones that feature the see-through cow made out of corn, or whatever. Except, instead of transparent livestock they've got a whole slew of thermal pools named things like "Devil's Cauldron" or "The Inferno" or "The Hot Deal."

Made sense to finish off the day with a trip to the hot spring-fed baths in Taupo. Very relaxng. Like taking a dip in a pool of heated, de-carbonated San Pellegrino.

Tomorrow: possibly a horsey-ride and I hope to see at least some of Tongariro National Park (which doubled as Mordor ... "Do you remember the taste of strawberries, Mr. Frodo" *sniff*)

May 08, 2005

The Pinnacles: wherein I am punished by the metric system

So, really, this trip has a lot to do with my ignorance. To wit, I decided to hike up the Pinnacles in the Coromandel State Park today.

It looked easier on paper, largely because the vertical climb was shown in meters. Also, I'd stopped checking the weather report because the temperatures were all in celsius. Incidentally, I'm all for metric (which my mother tells me is no longer being taught to children as the measuring system which will one day replace our quaint system of furlongs and hogsheads but instead as just another system of measurement used by, like, science) but I have a hard time getting behind celsius. Doesn't seem granular enough.

Anyway, the other tricky part is that most people walk up to the Pinnacles Hut and stay the night before making a summit attempt. Due to my accelerated schedule, that wasn't really an option.

Turns out 752 meters is kinda high and a storm cloud-y icon in your weather forecast pretty much means the same thing everywhere. But I made it to the top nonetheless - the last stretch involving a series of metal staircases which were especially fun to climb in a brewing thunderstorm. The views, even in overcast weather, are amazing - it ranks right up there with hiking up Half Dome in terms of both effort and reward.

After waiting out the storm in the hut, I made my way back down in good time. In fact, I got on the road early enough to have an amazing sunset drive out to the Bay of Plenty where I'm staying the night. I saw some beautifully lit sheep on the way which helped relieve the fatigue from the day's exertions (as did the audiobook version of Dune). Tomorrow I'm hoping to check out some thermal pools which, I understand, are even more theraputic.

Program note: Mobile photos are now being posted to Blogger Buzz.

May 05, 2005

I had no idea where New Zealand was

Turns out it's actually fairly far away from San Francisco. But the flight wasn't too bad and the jet lag, while in effect, hasn't crippled me. It's actually been a full first day in Auckland and I've still got a rugby game left to go see.

I moblogged a bunch of stuff already over at mobiletoe. However, now that Blogger Mobile is launched (woot!) I'm probably going to be changing the home for my mobile posts.

As noted over yonder - I was, apparently, the sketchiest dude New Zealand Customs had ever laid eyes on. None of my answers impressed them. Here's a tip - if Customs asks you why you're in NZ and have such poorly defined plans and don't even know anyone in the country ... don't answer with "I'm here on Hobbit Safari, yo."

They may laugh ... but then they'll fondle your underwear.

May 02, 2005

Safety Dance

From the last time I was at SFO - coming home from SxSW. Apparently, I haven't cleared the space off of my digital camera since then.

Making sure I have enough memory stickage was tops on the pre-vacation to do list. As were any number of tasks with either "charge" or "pack charger" in them.

Traveling involves a lot of adapters.