Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Big Brother in Oregon?

So I recently read that Oregon is starting to lose revenue on gas taxes because people are buying smaller, more gas efficient cars. So to make that money back they are seriously considering taxing the amount of miles that are driven instead of the amount of gallons purchased. Basically you would put a little gps unit in your car that would track where, when, and how far you drove and then tax you on instate and peak hour diving. Track my driving? Ok I don't live in the Oregon and have no plans to move there in the future, but if it works in one state others might adopt it, and that worries me. I don't want anyone tracking my driving. True I don't go anywhere interesting but thats not the point. The point is that this falls under personal privacy, as a private citizens I have a right to go where ever I want. And of course they say that the information from the gps wouldn't be used for anything else and would be erased every time you go to the gas station and pay your taxes. But you know are government would start using those records to follow people around, of course only suspicious people, but what exactly is the definition of a suspicious person? What right do they have to ask me where I go?
And then what if they decide to track how fast you were going? Automatically send you a ticket when you go over the speed limit? And then a little camera in the car to make sure that you are doing nothing illegal?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Thoughts on the FCC

The FCC is one of many government organizations that are trying to take away Americans' freedoms. The FCC scares me; I realize that they are answering to people complaining about shows, but how many more people aren't complaining? Why listen to the minority, and why take such drastic measures? The extreme censorship of the FCC is wrong, the fact that they won't give stations guidelines so instead they live in fear that they are going to get fined up the wazoo for something that they weren't sure was "indecent" or not. Take for example the WB's new show about an undergraduate sex class. They edited the first show after finishing it removing scenes of two girls kissing and another of a girl unzipping her jeans. Neither of those scenes seems indecent to me but the WB is scared that the FCC might fine them, and fine them not just once for an indecent show but for every time they think something is indecent. What right do they have to say that two girls kissing is indecent? As long as the show is rated for adults people should not be so up in arms regarding the content. If you think something is indecent, write a letter to the station, stop watching the show, but stop complaining about it to the FCC.

And where is it going to stop? It seems like lately the FCC is censoring more and more often. What right do they have to tell me what I can and can't watch? Isn't this infringing on the stations right to free speech?

I'm ok for reprimanding CBS for the Janet Jackson incident (although the fine did seem a little high), it was in the middle of the day, children could have been watching, and there seemed like there was no risk of seeing a boob when you started watching. But if a show is on late, and has an adult rating, that means it should have a little leeway. If you don't want to risk seeing something that offends you check out the Disney channel or TLC. I want my TV unedited, I'm adult enough to know what’s decent and what isn't, and I'm adult enough to turn off the TV or write a letter to the creator of the show, not go tell my mommy that some show hurt my feelings. And you know that the people that complain about these shows are little old ladies scanning the channels just waiting for something indecent to happen so that she can report it.

The chairman of the FCC is appointed by the president, that’s why I'm not totally surprised that the chairman, Kevin J. Martin, had worked for the president before. This wouldn't be the first time that George W. had promoted someone for past loyalties, instead of present works. Mr. Martin probably feels that is his duty to clean up American television, that TV should be more moral and crap like that.

Just give me everything, I can filter out the indecent. If I wanted to watch edited TV I can watch tbs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Freddy, Zombies, and Coked up Monkeys

I love horror movies, with some hot kettle corn and a coke, there is nothing better than sitting in a theatre waiting for the next scare. I don't like the artsier scary movies, I like the ones dripping with cheese, ones with horrible actresses whose only talent is her ability to wear tight tops and scream at everything. As a feminist that might sound a bit wrong, but I can't help it. I actually cheered when I saw the preview for Freddy vs. Jason and I was extremely disapointed when Alien vs. Predator came out with a PG-13 rating instead of an R, and I even thought House of Wax was very entertaining.

You have to wonder about horror fans. I would assume that for most of them there must have been some sort of traumatic event in their youth. For me it was when I was five or six and my teenage cousin came to stay with us for the summer. He would sit on the couch and watch movies all day long. One day when both of my parents were gone he popped in Nightmare on Elm St (the original and scariest one) and let me watch it. Now the concept behind Nightmare on Elm St is one of the creepiest, a mutilated murderer stalks you in your dreams, and (as the movie points out) eventually you have to sleep. So every night for a week I woke up screaming and would run into my parents' room and crawl into bed with my mom.

If I followed the Love Line theory of if something traumatizes you when you are younger you will be drawn to that act/person/thing when you are older, then the reason I love horror movies is because they scared me so badly when I was young. I wonder about other fans... were they traumatized like me, do they associate horror movies with a good memory, or are they just sick and twisted?

In the last few years I have moved from slasher movies (still love them though) to zombie movies. They are fun because often they are little commentaries on what the writer/director feels society has become. I like them because in a weird way I think the zombies are cute (I have already established that I have issues). And I have moved the movie Sean of the Dead into my all time best list. Of course most of these zombie and slasher films are worthless dribble that were probably written by coked up monkeys, but then thats probably why I love them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Girls Scout Cookies and World Domination

Why do people (me) obsess over girl scout cookies? Is it because they are so good? Only come out once a year? Or because they put an addictive chemical in it that makes you crave it the minute you see a box, like some trigger in your mind?

So on Sunday I was making waffles, I was cleaning up and went to put the flour away on the top shelf of the pantry. I put the flour down and the shelf goes crashing into the one below it which then falls also. So I gently close the cupboard door and finish up the waffles. After breakfast its decided that a trip to Ace Hardware is needed.

On the way into the store I notice a bunch of young school girls and their mothers. My heart rate starts to go up and I get excited, they are selling girl scout cookies! I hadn't even realized it was that season. Usually someone at work will send out an email letting everyone know that their little girl is selling cookies and that it is our duty to buy some (and if its the CEO sending out the email everyone must buy). I of course do my duty and then some.

The girl scouts got their start in 1912, but the famed cookies didn't get their start until 1917. And those cookies are not the cookies we crave today. Up until the 30s the cookies were homemade, by the little girl scouts with mothers supervising, they packaged them up in little wax bags and put a girl scout sticker on them. Then in 1936 the Girl Scouts started to get serious. They hired a commercial baker and set up mass production of the cookies, and in 1937 over 125 girl scout councils held cookie sales.

Today about 70% of the sales stay with local Girl Scout councils. The balance goes to the baker. Of that 70% about 12-17% goes straight to the troupe. So of the $8 I spent a good $.95 went straight to the dealers, I mean girls I bought them from. So yeah! I bought the cookies to help empower little girls in my community, and not for the yummy yummy goodness that can be found within each brightly colored box. And I totally didn't start to panic when I realized that no one would be bringing Girl Scout cookies to work, and that I would have to drive back to the hardware store to stock up.

And then I have to ask myself, why don't they sell this stuff year round? Is it because if they were offered year round no one would buy their overpriced confections? They offer it once a year so that you feel like you have to buy them (the cute little girl hawking the goods doesn't hurt either) or you will be missing out. And the price isn't that bad, after all its only once a year, nevermind that you normally don't buy cookies at all, that's not the point.

I'm pretty sure that the Girl Scouts are planning world domination. There has to be a chemical in the cookies just building up in everyone's brain, and then one day they push a button and we all do whatever they tell us. I mean you never notice them eating the cookies.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ms. Piggy and Other Randomness

Ok I think I’ll go off on Ms. Piggy. How she can associate with Jessica Simpson and Dominoes is beyond me. I mean one or the other maybe, but both? She really is a slut, and she seems to have left Kermit behind. That ungrateful bitch! She would be nothing without that little green frog. I mean he’s already said that it isn’t easy being green but being dumped by a pig? That’s got to sting. And if I have to pick one or the other, the amphibian has my vote every time.

I mean I used to really like Ms. Piggy, although she was always a little over the top jealous and rather violent, which can’t be good for children to watch day after day, but if she’s starting to hang with the chicken of the sea gal I’m out. I miss the muppets, those critics on the balcony were a riot. And Animal, Beaker, the Swedish chef and the chickens those were all the coolest characters ever. How did that go off the air and yet Barny is still poisoning the youth of America?

I admit, a lot of the shows I grew up on were totally crap, its like a bunch of stoned guys got together wrote down a bunch of words that didn’t go together at all and said, “That’s genius! Lets draw it!” For example: the PawPaw Bears, I loved it but it was lame, or the Snorks they really weren’t as good as the Smurfs. The Smurfs were a classic, I think it worked because the vocab was so small, just insert the word “smurf” for anything.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Not So Secret World of Geocaching

There we were walking around this tree squatting, moving around branches, trying to get a closer look. “You?” A calls out “No, you?” We were off the path trying to find a geocache and not having much luck, this was our second one, the first one we had not been able to find. Then finally I noticed a color that was slightly out of place “I found it.”

Geocaching is a hobby that I thought was only for techie geeks that were also outdoorsy, but apparently quite a few people do including a friend of mine from MS who had never heard of the Ipod Nano when I showed it to her in December (I think it had already been out for 6 months by then). Its a lot like a scavenger hunt, you get the coordinates and maybe a clue and then try to find a little treasure. Within the cache there are usually little trinkets and a log book which you sign and date and maybe leave a little message.

Apparently it started in 2000 when President Clinton lifted scrambling for civilian gps, so that manufacturers could produce more precise machines. One guy hid a bucket, posted the coordinates on the internet, and the great game was born.

Aaron and I went out today to Hendry’s beach in Santa Barbara to try and find the first cache. The cache was supposedly by the restaurant by the beach and there were quite a lot of people milling about, waling to and from the beach, or eating on the outside patio of the restaurant. So we get to where we think it might be (a gps has a +/- radius of about 20 feet) and try looking for it. Aaron is way more subtle than I am, I lean over the bushes and look under benches, he sits down and glances over at the bushes. Well we didn’t want to look to weird so after about ten minutes we gave up on that one and started down the beach looking for another one.

Again we felt kind of self conscious about holding a gps so like the idiots we are every once in awhile we would hold it up to our ears and pretend that it’s a cell phone, it kind of looks like one maybe people believed us, who knows I didn’t stop and ask. But as we start coming upto the place where the geocache should be Aaron informs me that he thinks he was mistaken and that the cache is probably not on the beach but instead above us 100 feet on the cliff. Lovely. There’s no way to get to cliff from the beach (well at least no way that we can see). So we head back to our car and look for a way to get to the cliffs from the street we came in on. About twenty feet past the parking lot we notice a little trail that goes up to cliffs, so we make a u-turn and re-park.

It takes awhile to get up the hill and to the cliffs and then some bad gps reading on our part. Finally we get to the spot that we think its in. Off the trail around a deformed, short tree we start searching for the cache. I finally find a Tupperware container, of course I don’t want to touch it because it looks kind of wet. Inside there are a bunch of little toys (I loved the gummi bears little figurine) and beads that people had left. We didn’t bring anything to leave in the box so we signed our names and put everything back.

Although I must admit that I felt rather lame looking for these things as normal people walked by, after finding the cache it was so much cooler. Its like you know a secret, you are in the know, and everyone else is oblivious.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

UltraViolet = UltraPainful

Ok I like cheesy movies. Usually I am the last person to say a movie sucks as long as its not some sappy romance movie I can usually find something redeeming with it. Like House of Wax, I was entertained and didn't feel like they stole my money I even thought Paris Hilton had a great death scene (although Jared paedecki's character border on the psychotically stupid, Hey are those weird operating instruments in this creepy house? I think I should take a closer look.). And Freddie vs. Jason will always be a favorite, I mean on the dvd you have the option to just cycle through the death scenes, you really couldn't ask for more than that. But UltraViolet had no redeeming qualities. The dialog was painful, the fight scenes were way over the top, and the plot was non existant, and everything about the movie seemed forced. And I don't usually care if people are good actors (I already mentioned that P.H. wasn't that bad in House of Wax), but this was wrong, one of the girls in my group actually fell asleep during the movie. And its not like I went in with high expectations, no offence to Mila Jovovich but if she's in a movie I'm pretty sure its not going to be oscar caliber, but the Resident Evil flicks were pretty decent, and The Fifith Element is a classic (ok so its not like she talks a lot in that movie) but still, Mila for shame!! You should actually apologize to people for this! What were you thinking? This is way worse than Speed 2: Cruise Control could ever be, and VanHelsing doesn't even come close. This movie was worse than the myriad of LifeTime movies played over and over on the WE channel. This movie should be getting negative stars, it is a smoking pile of crap.