Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Knight's Poitier Still Lesbian?

Knight's Poitier Still Lesbian? | Sci-Fi Wire | 12:00 AM, 25-SEPTEMBER-08 | "NBC's Knight Rider threw viewers for a loop when FBI agent Carrie Ruvai (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) was introduced in a February television movie/pilot: She was shown climbing out of the bed she had just shared with a blond woman."

It seems that gay characters in film and TV are becoming more and more acceptable. But are they? Is their portrayal being used to show that what was once thought of as an "alternate lifestyle" is now considered normal or is it just to get ratings? I don't know anymore. It seems like there's so many reasons for doing things but none of them come from simple common sense.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Going to collage. Finally!

It's been almost 30 years since I graduated high school. I did make an attempt to try collage afterwords but it just wasn't something I was ready for. After two years of socializing that garnered me just 20 credits it became apparent that I wasn't the scholastic type. I dropped out and entered the work force. Needless to say this meant minimum wage labor jobs and the like. In 1982 I lucked into a job as a computer operator and, over the next 24 years advanced up the IS/IT world to some really high-end stuff. It was fun and the lack of a degree didn't hamper my advancement as a coder/systems/hacker guy. Then came the health issues. Since 2004 I haven't been able to work in my profession and am physically unable to do "regular" jobs. It seems that now I need a degree.

While wandering around the web I saw an ad for degrees from Westwood Collage (see the post "Back to Back to School"). They have a program in Game Software Development which looked interesting. Turns out many of their degrees can be done 100% online so I decided to look into it. When my son found out he said I HAD to do it so that he could be a tester for any games I might develop.

The program is completely online, as I mentioned, and finished in three years. The school has been doing everything they can to help me get in. They also have some assistance for managing your classes and plenty of tutors. There's also a program to help you find employment and their alumni program is killer. The only major down side is that their online systems are very MS Windows centric. Uhg!

I honestly can't see how anyone can get anything done. It's like pulling teeth just to get programs to work. And don't get me started on simple things like cut'n'paste. I can sit down to a Linux box or a Mac and within a few minutes be as productive as a rabbit. But MS has outdone themselves with Vista. Win2K and XP were bad enough but the interface to Vista is worst than the old DOS prompt. No, seriously. But I digress.

With a little luck I will be back to a place in life where I can find a somewhere to live (it sucks being homeless) and take care of my son in a more stable environment. My classes start next week and I can't wait.

Friends, Family, Colleagues Remember Paul Newman

Friends, Family, Colleagues Remember Paul Newman | E! Online | Sep 27 2008 11:30 AM PDT by Jovie Baclayon - "With his passing on Friday, Paul Newman leaves behind an inspirational, 83-year legacy of talent, love and compassion. This morning family, friends and colleagues are paying tribute to the prolific film star, race car aficionado and passionate philanthropist."

There's nothing I can say about Mr. Newman that isn't already being said far better than I ever could by millions of people all over the world. The thing that popped into my head right away, though, was when he did an interview with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio. He explained that one of the techniques he used was to put breaks in non-obvious places during his lines. Something along the lines of -

"The murder happened between eleven and midnight where were you [pause] last night Mr. Smith"

Of course he did it the right way. Little things like that are what made him more than just an actor. If we're lucky the TV and Cable stations will be showing his movies for some days to come.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

True Blood - True Dat

There's a new series on HBO called True Blood that is, so far, quite enjoyable. It's about an alternate reality where synthetic blood has been manufactured, thus allowing vampires to "come out of the coffin." Vampires can now live in the open with humans since they no longer need to feed on them. But, as one would expect in any reality containing humans (or former humans), there's a lot of animosity (sometimes bordering on hate) between the two "species."

The show is set in a small town in Louisiana that gets its first "out" vampire. The focal characters are the vampire, named Bill, and a waitress, named Sookie, who works at the local watering hole. However she is much more than just a waitress. Sookie is being played by Anna Paquin, who is fast becoming a favorite of mine. While most people know her from her Oscar winning performance in the 1993 film The Piano, according to IMDb she proceeded that as the English voice of Sheeta in Hayao Miyazaki's Tenk├╗ no shiro Rapyuta (US title "Castle in the Sky").

True Blood looks like it will be a winner and has already been picked up for season two, scheduled to air in January 2009. If you get HBO I highly recommend giving this show a whirl. After all, with Buffy gone, we need a good vampire show.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pink Floyd Co-Founder Passes Away

Pink Floyd Co-Founder Passes Away | Mon, 15 Sep 2008 12:52:00 | "Richard Wright, Pink Floyd's co-founder and longtime keyboardist, has died of complications from cancer. He was 65.

In a statement, Wright's spokesman said, "The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Age and time catching up with us all. I'd guess that there are more people in the world now who don't realize the significance of Pink Floyd, especially the album "The Dark Side Of The Moon." This is more than just an album. Dark Side is a cultural phenomena. A record smashing tour de force the likes of which will probably never be seen again. Wright's passing was marked by former Floyd mate David Gilmour on his blog saying, "I really don't know what to say other than that he was such a lovely, gentle, genuine man...".

So I say break out your black lights, turn the record player up to max volume and take a ride with the Floyd to the "Dark Side of the Moon." It'd be a nice trip that I'm sure Richard Wright would be happy to see us take.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Ruling Inspires New Hope For Transgender People

Ruling Inspires New Hope For Transgender People By Ann E. Marimow | Washington Post Staff Writer | Monday, September 15, 2008; Page B01 | "To Allyson Robinson, it means accompanying her young children to public restrooms in Montgomery County without worrying that someone will call the police.

For Colleen Fay, it brings the hope that the next time she applies for a driver's license she won't be badgered about her previous life as a man.

And for Chloe Schwenke, it means other people like her will be able to enjoy the job security she has found in her international development work in the District.

This is very good news. There's a lot more that still needs to be done but this is a start. I knew a transgendered woman back a while ago (in fact she sent me an email that I still need to get to) and she was just like any other woman as far as I'm concerned. Some people get all freaky on this subject but I have never quite understood why. I realize it's partly due to the whole concept that gender is immutable and set in stone when you're born. But that's not a given as there are many babies born with both genitalia. It's not about the body at all.

The only thing that determines, well, everything about us is our brains. Between the chemistry and hardwired synapses we are who we are. And even this is not set in stone as anyone who's known someone with brain damage can attest to.

I am a heterosexual male, one hundred percent. And I would have absolutely no problem dating a post-op transgendered woman. Heck, as long as it doesn't get to, well, let's say "physically intimate" for now... I would even date a pre-op.

There's be some serious negotiations on that one, though.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Africa's 'Unicorn' Caught on Camera

Africa's 'Unicorn' Caught on Camera | AFP | Sept. 11, 2008 -- "The okapi, an African animal so elusive that it was once believed to be a mythical unicorn, has been photographed in the wild for the first time, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said Thursday."

After this summers unicorn appearance here's another one. Fantasy? Why not.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LPGA backs down on English requirement

LPGA backs down on English requirement | The Associated Press | "Under increasing criticism, the LPGA Tour on Friday backed off plans to suspend players who could not efficiently speak English at tournaments.

LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said she would have a revised plan by the end of the year that would not include suspensions for players unable to speak English in pro-ams, trophy presentations or interviews. Fining such players remained an option.

Heh, this is one of those subjects that can be quite dodgy. While I am in favor of mandating English for US citizens, requiring it for an international organization like the LPGA seems a bit much.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturn Moons Sport Rings, Too

Saturn Moons Sport Rings, Too Irene Klotz, Discovery News | Sept. 5, 2008 -- "They're not like the thick, beautiful bands hugging Saturn, but two of the planet's little moons sport faint, partial rings of their own.

New findings from the Cassini science probe confirm ring arcs ahead and behind the small moons Anthe and Methone, a discovery that is giving physicists new insights into the sculpting prowess of gravity.

More fun facts from space. This one is great in than it's partial rings. How do they stay on orbit with the moons? Why don't they encompass the entire circumference? What keeps them in the positions of leading and trailing?

Man, this is so cool.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Group Plans To Picket Katie Holmes' Play

Group Plans To Picket Katie Holmes' Play Thu, 04 Sep 2008 10:45:41 - "Anonymous, an anti-Scientology group known for wearing faceless masks, has announced plans to picket the opening night performance of All My Sons, the long-awaited Broadway debut of actress Katie Holmes, a former Catholic who is now a member of the controversial Church of Scientology. Holmes became a member of the Church after her marriage to one of the world's most famous Scientologists, Tom Cruise."

I had been more-or-less ambivalent about this whole Scientology thing until a few years ago when they started using gestapo tactics on anyone who disagreed with or "leaked" information about them. And, while I like Tom Cruise as an actor, he is a bit off his nut which doesn't imply sanity in the cult... uh, I mean "Church." But picketing a play just because Katie Holmes is in it seems a bit left field, as well.

Seems to me everyone is extremely uptight these days.

Why am I still conscious?

It's Oh-Dark-Thirty and I'm still up. My eyes are barely functioning, my brain fell out a couple hours ago, and now I'm trying to post this with fingers that can't find the keys. I really hate insomnia!

My son got his locker assignment at school. All the kids think lockers are cool. His locker number is 929. Usually being an odd number would be a less than ideal option; seems we both prefer even numbers*. But for him it's not that big of a deal, him not being obsessive/compulsive like his Dad. However I can handle it because the number is a pattern. Seems I like patterns more than I dislike odd numbers.

Anyway, it's 03:55 now so I'm going to try and get some sleep.

* I will not enter a movie theater with an odd numbered ticket and he can't have the volume on the TV set to an odd number.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to Back to School

My son started school today. Not only is he moving into middle school but it's a different school from where he went to grade school. He was so nervous this weekend he almost made himself sick. Hopefully things will settle down for him quickly.

The biggest problem with this is that he's now back living with his mother for the year. I'll only see him alternate weekends and holidays. This was exceedingly difficult last year and I'm not looking forward to him being away so much but it might have a bright side to it. I am looking into going back to school, more or less. Westwood College has a three year program of online courses to get a degree. If I can swing the financing I'm going to try for a sheep's skin in computer Game Programming. It'll be for MS Windows systems but with a little effort and some breaks I might parley this into an income.

Normally I have a very strong block about schooling. Back after high school I did a little dabbling in higher education and found it to be less than useful. My best learning style isn't suited to regular academia. I do much better with a little classroom work and a lot of examples. Having the freedom to work beyond the confines of a standard syllabus lets me learn at the pace I'm best able to absorb the input. It's just the way my mind works. Hopefully everything will work out.

But I'll still miss being with my son.