Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Three Movies

I want to see Doom, Serenity and Waiting.

Doom seems a little, ok a lot, ridiculous and the games were good until the most recent version. The game has zombies, demons, dark atmosphere and marines. So the movie should be similar to Aliens with hellish influences. The only thing that could possibly make for a more completely awesome movie would be having Uwe Boll directing it. He makes the best suckass movies. Roger Corman movies may be prime 'B' movies, the epitome even, but nobody makes suckass like Uwe Boll makes suckass. I can't wait for the Dungeon Seige movie. That should be a masterpiece of the suckass genre and secure Boll a place next to the Sinbad movie with Lou Ferrigno.

Serenity should be moderately entertaining, although I have my doubts. The series was good, but I worry that there will be too much crammed into the movie for it to be good.

Waiting puts Ryan Reynolds back in the comedy where he belongs. He isn't old enough to pull off the dramatic switch that Tom Hanks has. Nor should he ever do that. Having been a waiter and having been waiting for some change to come along in my life, I will definitely go see this. Van Wilder was awesome and Reynolds was good in Buying the Cow, even if the rest of the movie was silly.

It Happened Again

Last night as I was falling asleep, I heard some animal growling right outside my window. It was a fast, rythmic growl and slowly it dawned on me that the beast was matching its growl to my breathing. It took another three or four breaths before I realized that it was me and I had woken myself up with my own snores again. This has happened two or three times since July. The last time it happened was in high school when I had the flu. Maybe I should get some breathe right strips in addition to some new underwear.

Microbrew Review Monday: Late


Its not exactly a microbrew, but since the Red is the only variety available outside of Wisconsin and Illinois, I think it counts. I must admit that I haven't actually drank a beer in more than a week.

The Lager is pretty good, but not exceptional. It has a good flavor with mild complexity of high notes and low notes and all that. Northwoods is far superior to any macrobrew 'premium' beer. It has an odd flavor that I will admit is only for some, but I really like it. It sticks out and says, 'Hey! How ya doin? Come on in! I got some beers in the fridge and I need to make room for the beef for tomorrow's barbecue!' It is kind of oaky, without the crunchy. The two absolute stars of the Leinenkugel's stable are Honey Weiss and Berry Weiss. Honey has a the pleasures of beer with honey. It tastes a bit like a quality lager mixed with mead. Now take that mix and add raspberry and blueberry juice and you have the Berry. Both must be thoroughly chilled to be enjoyed to the fullest. You can even mix them together to create a cool drink. Guys take note: these beers have all the alcohol of beer and the flavor of a pussy ass wine cooler which chicks love. Girls get seriously drunk and you don't look like a dork buying them at the store. I once sat on a swing bench with a buddy and we each drank a cool case one afternoon in September. We got demolished and had a great time.

Verdict: Even in class or at work

WEstern Thought Wednesday: Plato

So this is a week overdue. As much as I like the interaction with the slave boy, tonight I am finally struck by something worth writing about from this dialogue. I am writing this straight from the brain, so forgive me if it wanders a bit. The immortal soul is the subject. According to Socrates, a person has an immortal soul. The natural state of the soul is the time between death and rebirth. Given this, I now depart from the Phaedo.

As we move through life our minds, or soul, are changed by experience. Our choices limit or expand our further choices and our minds. Various events can happen that physically limit the mind, but I will ignore these as the vagaries of chance are irrelevant. Socrates says we should ignore the opinions of the masses but what should we do when we can not take his advice? Napoleon was a guy that could be said to be responsible for modern Europe with his agressive antiestablishment views. Given that he expressed these views with an army that was kicking all kinds of ass, it is now wonder that more than a few nations found him to be a threat. However, his views of empire weren't known until later in his life, after he had quite a few enemies that were worried about him setting up an imperial dynasty in Europe.

Perhaps a better example is Lenny Bruce. This guy was a comedian, then he gets hassled by the gubmint for a while. He ends up losing the comedy and just ranting about the gubmint.

You know, this post has jsut comepletely derailed. The key point is that no matter who you are born, you have the chance to be a good, decent, enlightened person. Some of those choices are hard and some are easy, but the important part is that you make them. The more you choose to sit in your apartment and watch tv, the less choice you will have in the larger world. Not really news to anyone. Charmides here I come! (This is a joke based on comments made by Socrates in the dialogue...hehe)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Microbrew Review Monday

This is late because I had a flat tire on the way home from work. With Six and a Half miles yet to go. And all the bicycle shops closed just as I finally made it to each one. So I had to call my father for a lift from the second shop, after I had walked two and a half miles, which is normally not a big deal for me, but the bike was not cooperating and slowed me up. I ended up spending $70 on more bike equipment and will most likely need another inner tube as the old has two sets of punctures, one right by the valve. Biking may not be free, but at least I am not buying gasoline! Ha HA! Take THAT Bush! Although everything I bought needs petroleum to create as it was either plastic or a rubber or glue. Anyway...on to the review.

Rock Bottom's Hefeweizen, Oktoberfest and Stout

I was misled as to the nature of the beer at Rock Bottom Brewery. I was going there to see a friend and was under the impression that it was a microbrewery and eatery, but it is actually a chain. A crappy chain restaurant. The 'House' burger was adequate along with the fries. The 'German' chocolate cake actually sucked. How hard is it to screw up a dessert? In my opinion, you need to work hard to ruin a dessert. I started with a Hefeweizen which tasted like the monad of hefeweizen. Absolutely unexceptional. I was startled to be disappointed. To compare Rock Bottom's to a decent hefe like Widmer's is like comparing American cheese to cheddar cheese. You take all the flavor out of one and make the color completely uniform and you have Rock Bottom's hefeweizen.

I then tried their attempt at Oktoberfest beer. I can't claim to have ever had an Oktoberfest beer in Germany, but this tasted like an average amber that someone had drunk while smoking dope. They then tried to make tea with day old used teabags and heating the beer for steeping. If Captain Picard had been a beer drinker, he would drink this. It may be somewhat close to a seasonal German beer, but it just didn't come together well.

For my third and final beer, I tried their stout because they compared it to Guiness and said it would go well with the dessert. I was looking for anything to make the cake better, but alas, this was not it. I will say that it may have been ruined by the awful cake, but Rock Bottom's stout was foofed in some odd way. I shall compare it to Emeril making a pizza. All a pizza needs or wants is a decent sauce that accentuates the natural flavors of the pepperoni and mozzarella, roma and parmesan cheese blend. Too much flicking around with foofy extras ruins it. I almost thought about not finishing the beer, but I never leave a wounded man behind.

Final Verdict: When there is nothing else

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Song of the Century

For those of you demanding my lyrical genius, here it is.

I need some tightie whities,
not just any tightie whities.
I need some tightie whities,
for my BALLS!
(Repeat until you forget how much your crotch hates your bike)

This is the song I was singing to myself on my commute. I was only singing it for about five minutes three quarters of the way to work and I thought I was alone on the trail. After the third or fourth verse, I looked back and this guy was behind me. He passed me, laughing. It seems that every time I try to sing in public people end up laughing, which reminds me that I have yet to post the details of the weekend in New York.

I have begun biking to work for the exercise and so I can avoid giving Bush's buddies anymore of my money. So far, I haven't paid taxes on the vast majority of my income this year, so you would think I was taking it to extremes, but we'll forget that for the moment. I don't want congestion on the bike trail. I thought that by leaving at 730 and not even getting to the trail until its almost 800, I would avoid most of the commuters. I was hoiping that all the people with jobs in the government would wnat to be there by 800. How wrong I was. For about fifteen minutes, I was really cruising probably 25-35 mph and dodging people on the trail. This is exactly what I hoped to avoid. I was wrong. I guess everybody else was probably hoping to avoid congestion, too. It was pretty sweet flying by people on my shitty little bike. Especially when they have the full gear on like the spandex shorts and shirt with all the special saddlebags. My bike lookslike it came from the trash heap behind a bike shop, which it did, and for storage, I have secured an orange milk crate to the rack. Hobo-stylin, indeed.

The Song of the Bicycle Commuter

Here it is. The song I was singing three quarters of teh way through my commute on Friday morning.

I need some tightie whities,
not just any tightie whities.
I need some tightie whities,
for my BALLS!

It was going pretty well until I realised that some dude was biking along behind and then passed me laughing his ass off. I can't sing in public without people laughing at me. Just like New York. I still need to post the story of that weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Fall of Oscar Medina

I was walking from the bus stop to my new employer's new office and I saw an old man in a long brown coat struggling along a fence. He was walking and holding himself upright with the fence and shaking pretty thoroughly. My previously plotted trajectory took me within a foot of his and I asked him if he was okay when I got within an arm's reach. I think this is a pretty stupid question given his obvious state of non-okayness. I am new to the neighborhood and figured that he could just be perusing the borders of his yard from the outside while overdressed for the heat and humidity and striken by the shakes, but that would be stupid. Anyway, he replied in a timid voice that he was hurt and that he had fallen. I asked him if he needed some help and he proceeded to take a slow motion fall backwards and I was only able to catch him and ease him onto the concrete and the massive line of ants crossing said concrete. I thought that he might be a little demented but then he held his hands up and it appeared that he had indeed taken a tumble. As I was talking with him another older man walked up and I asked him if he knew the fallen gent. The second man said that he had seen the fallen in the area but didn't know him by name. I remembered my First Aid merit badge stuff and asked the fallen his name.

He said, "My name is Oscar Medina." "Can I call someone for you?" I can honestly say that I have never felt more like I was not helping the situation with these moronic questions. How about an ambulance, dipshit? I yelled at myself in my head. So Senor Medina tells me a phone number, but no one answers. He gives me a second number, meanwhile the ants are crawling all over him and the sun is roasting all of us. The second number is answered by a latina and we discuss the facts of the situation and she leaves the phone on the counter and I figure that is the end of the conversation. We, the old men and I, stand, or sit, around like three idiots with our thumbs up each other's butts and try to silently determine Senor Medina's options. I asked him if anyhting hurt, but he kept syaing nothing hurt unless I specifically asked if a body part hurt. He would then say that specific part did hurt. I figured that he was a little out of it. He reminded me of my grandmother before she died and she was gone in the brain.

Up the street come three determined, tiny latinas of several ages. I swear neither of them came up to my waist and they immediately took control of our dumb asses. They spoke with Senor Medina and tried to lift him and get him down the street. With my help, we got him up, but not very far. We got him sitting down on some stairs on the next yard and there was much discussion in high speed spanish (is there any other kind?) and one of the latinas took off. Then the older woman took off. Then the old man took off. Then the youngest latina left me with Senor Medina. I stood up and tried to shield the man from the sun. I looked pretty weird, holding my bag up over his head to provide shade.

Finally, the youngest latina and the eldest come running back with a cup of water for Senor Medina. Then the eldest ran off again. I had no idea what was going on at this point because we weren't in a restaraunt and all of my spanish is vocabularly strictly limited to cooking and serving. So I once again had my thumb up my butt and was back to asking moronic questions. The young latina came back and then I heard a fire truck siren.

I don't know if this is standard, but in DC the firemen show up first and stabilize the patient. They pulled up and asked me if I called an ambulance. I replied, "Yes. He fell down and can't walk or support his weight." I should have told them his name, I suppose but I still had my thumb wedged seriously all the way up into the base of my skull. I could not have been less useful. The three latinas were all buzzing around as the firemen got out their gear to take his pressure and ask him about medications he may be taking. The eldest latina managed to discover that he is taking two medications for prostate something or other. As the firemen took firm control, I did the only thing I could think would possibly be useful. I pulled out one of my cards and gave it to the eldest latina. She told me that she owned the hair salon around the corner. I said thanks for the help and told Senor Medina that I hope he felt better. He waved at me and said thank you from behind his oxygen mask.

I suppose I don't need to further state how much of an idiot I was, given that last exchange. Anyway, end result of the whole thing is that Senor Medina is something around eighty years old and broke his hip. He was an accountant for the hair salon and apparently has no family in the area, except for Coco and her girls at the salon. In order to further reinforce my lack of a clue, I am taking Senor Medina some flowers tomorrow at the hospital which is down the street from my office.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Weekend Off

Now that I have my keyboard working, I am off to New York for the weekend. See you all on Monday. I shall have many wonderful stories to tell the quiet masses. Stories of the worst hookups in my life so far and the best so far. Stories of heroism and the struggle for adversity that makes all men weep...well not really but hopefully they'll be funny.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

WEstern Thought Wednesday

This Week's Reading: Crito

fulsome has asked a question about Socrates that is particularly relevant in this dialogue. Was Socrates a martyr? I will give my answer at the end of my analysis (or are these merely comments?). Most of my notes are tied up with this question, but I have some other points that I think are important.

Starting at the start of my notes, I find that on page 32 section 47E, a sort of argument for euthanasia. To quote, " life worth living with a body which is worn out and ruined in health?" Taken out of context one could find this to be a statement of Socrates' belief that life as an old man sucks and he just wants to die. This would not be the case. The soul, or mind, is vastly more important than the body and as long as one's mental faculties are intact, life is livable.

Socrates says in a roundabout manner that ethics are matters of eternal right and wrong. Morals are matters of right and wrong that are determined by the public. Socrates was disdainful of any attempt to regard the opinion of the public. I wonder what he would think about the debate about stem cell use. I have read that the Korean scientists were able to create twelve new stem cell lines from sick people in attempts to help cure them. This was overshadowed by the whole clone dog stuff.

There are ways to damage the soul that don't have any physical harm. Breaking the laws of your state are a harm to your soul as are other bad/evil deeds. In the event of a law that is bad, one should strive to change that law instead of breaking it. This is the basis of Socrates' defiance of his friend's attempts to break him out of jail.

Socrates also states that one must never do wrong. This harms the soul. Socrates also says that one must obey the laws and edicts of the city. The city provided the society in which you grew and were educated. A person owes their parents for their life but owes their city/state for the development of the personality/soul. Thus, without Athens (or the U.S.) being the way it was, one would be a completely different person. One must never break the laws of the city. What if Athens had declared war on Corinth because of a thinly held claim that Corinth had developed a new form of spear that could kill men from further away? What if evedince was found before the declaration of war that Corinth had no such spear? What if no one could change the minds of Athens' council and the people had no wish to attack Corinth with no provocation? Would Socrates have gone to war at his city's request in this situation? I think he would have.

To further this argument, if I claim to try to follow a Socratic example then how can I do this without enlisting? I vote and help people cross the street and all that, but I have never been in the military. I know that if I receive a draft notice, I would not hesitate to report for duty but our army needs recruits now and I haven't signed up. fulsome makes the claim that our city has not asked anything of us. There has been no draft or even a public request for people to enlist, to my knowledge, by the President and Thief in Command.

I don't think Socartes was a martyr. Martyrs die for their cause and are usually asked to renounce their cause under some form of duress. Socrates was asked to flee the city by his friends, but he was never given an option to renounce his views once he was sentenced to death. He knew that the sentence would be death and didn't make any claim of deference to the court. Before sentencing, Socrates could have said that he would stop his search for wisdom and stop talking to people about it, but he said that this would be a harm to him. Although, this could all be a support of the position that he was a martyr. I need to ponder this more.

PS. This was late due to another power outage in my apartment. Some butterfly must have been taking a crap in Argentina.