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Exit ArchiveArchive for May, 2006

There’s a very interesting story at Guardian Unlimited wherein a Brit ponders his family’s recent trip to Walt Disney World. It’s a good read and an interesting take on the Disney experience.

Silly headline, I know, but I just wanted to throw this up as quickly as possible, especially following the Star Wars fiasco (Star Wars v3.1b vs. 1.0 and Coca-Co— er, Star Wars Classic).

I have been waiting years for this, and it’s finally happening. Ridley Scott is releasing his multi-version DVD of Blade Runner. Here’s a press release (also sent to me by Marcy):

Warner Home Video is bringing Ridley Scott’s futuristic film noir classic Blade Runner back to DVD in a big way.

After recently securing a new long-term agreement for the worldwide rights to the 1982 film, Warner announced several new DVD releases to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

In September, Warner presents a limited four-month re-release of the 1992 director’s cut of the film, which was originally released as one of the first DVDs in 1997. For years this has been the only version of the film officially available on DVD.

“A number of people have told me that in the start-up days of DVD, Blade Runner was absolutely the first DVD title they wanted, so much so that they purchased it even before their first DVD player,” said Jeff Baker, SVP and GM of WHV.

In 2007, Warner will unveil Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Scott’s definitive new version of the cult classic, which stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah.

The film will be released theatrically in select major U.S. cities, followed by a multidisc special-edition DVD release that also will contain three alternate versions of Blade Runner: the original U.S. theatrical cut, the expanded international theatrical cut and the 1992 cut. A wide array of bonus features are being prepared for the anniversary edition.

“This is clearly Ridley’s signature film, and we are thrilled to have it back,” Baker said.

Compare that with what Lucas has been doing with his movie. In the realm of science fiction, Star Wars and Blade Runner stand out as being true classics, genre-defining films that sent all moviemaking onto new paths. However, Ridley is smart enough to give all fans of his movie a choice. A true fan of this movie, like me, will eagerly slurp up every version to examine and compare. In fact, back in 1999, Marcy and I showed up at a 70mm screening of what was advertised to be the director’s cut of Blade Runner, only to be surprised that it was a film festival/audience preview version of the film from before its original release. I won’t repeat the details here because I wrote a long, detailed review back when I was knee-deep in Reviews on the Side. Go read that review if you’re at all curious about the movie or about how deeply-rooted my geek genes run.

Back to the point: I would have eagerly slurped up multiple versions of Star Wars and Empire on DVD, but I’m a filthy, unintelligent, unwashed fan-dog who knows nothing of the brilliance of Lucas’ final (yeah, right) version of those movies. Lord Lucas has pooh-poohed both his own artistic creation of 1977 and the fans’ love of that version. He knows best.

I know Ridley has a big ego and can be a pain in the ass, but he is not so self-absorbed and egotistical to believe that any current vision he might have of Blade Runner is the only one the world should ever see. Lucas, on the other hand, seems to be so out of touch that he, like a dictatorial lunatic, has been trying to sell the world on his modern version of Star Wars alone, and like the memory hole in 1984, the past should be re-written or erased. If George had any sense, he’d do what Ridley is doing: release a nice DVD set that includes all versions of the movie (without the cheapskate packaging and art that Fox was forced to use for all the Star Wars DVDs). I know that Ridley has been working on this Blade Runner set for years, and I trust that the multiple versions will all be at least somewhat restored and, at the very least, ANAMORPHIC. Ridley is not alienating his fans (NO PUN INTENDED! REALLY!), but appreciating them, letting them have something wonderful to watch and geek out to. Georgie, on the other hand, has consistently angered us, and now I, for one, could give a shit about this upcoming release. If Georgie had, from the start, come out with a set containing the three versions of the movies (yes, Empire has been changed again), we’d all have been happy and snapped up the sets like mad, thanking George for letting us enjoy the variations of the movie he has so gently offered forth to us, his mighty fans.

Ridley also has the advantage, for the sake of this comparison rant, that his 1982 theatrical version of Blade Runner was butchered by the studio. His director’s cut in 1992 was truly Ridley bringing the film back into line with what he’d intended to make. The version I saw in 1999 is proof of this. (Again, see my review for more details.) I imagine Ridley’s “final cut” version will be cleaning up the scars left from salvaging the 1992 version from out of the flames of the 1982 version. He will not be making Pris an all-CG creation to present his original concept of her as more impossibly beautiful and Replicant-like. Or some other Lucasian bullshit like that.

Well, so much for the short post. I’m very excited. But I have not wet my pants. I’ll leave that to others. I require dry and comfortable briefs for the rest of the day.

This is the most amazing thing! At first, I went, “Oh, yeah, that picture mosaic thing.” But it’s so much cooler than that.

Hint: Click, and keep clicking.

On further exploration, this is part of a Getty Images site that has more fun and interesting interactive tidbits.

Thanks, once again, to Jimmy for this one.

So in case you guys are wondering why John so vehemently defends all of George’s changes to the original Star Wars movies, it’s his job! Most people reading this probably don’t know that. John works for marketing at Lucasfilm. While I do enjoy a good Star Wars row on The Wren Forum, what we all should understand is that John can’t very well agree with us, even if he wanted to. (I don’t think he’d want to.)

With that prologue out of the way, here’s something interesting from Video Business, forwarded to me by Marcy:

In the wake of extreme fan protests, Lucasfilm is positioning its release of the original ’70s theatrical versions of the first three Star Wars movies as bonus features.

As groused about on various DVD enthusiast Web sites, including www.thedigitalbits.com and www.hometheaterforum.com, Lucasfilm confirmed the studio is not remastering these early films. The prints for the Sept. 12 DVDs of Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi come from laserdiscs of the films released in the mid ’90s. This means that Episodes IV-VI will be presented in widescreen but not anamorphic, thereby not making full use of modern TV screens.

Lucasfilm acknowledges that some imperfections are embedded in the prints, but director of publicity John Singh said the company felt there was little need to invest resources into sprucing up films that have already been restored to pristine form.

Special edition versions of the films with additions made by George Lucas were released in theaters in the ’90s and on DVD in 2004.

“We put a lot of time and effort into digitally restoring the negatives for the 2004 DVD releases,” Singh said. “The late ’90s theatrical versions represent George’s vision for Star Wars. We hoped that by releasing the original movies as a bonus disc, it would be a way to give the fans something that is fun. We certainly didn’t want to be become a source of frustration for fans.”

Although the prints aren’t in the best of shape, the masters used for the laserdiscs “do look good,” Singh assured.

Both old and new versions of Episodes IV-VI will be included in the Sept. 14 Star Wars sets, to be distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The revamped ’90s theatrical versions will be offered in anamorphic widescreen.

This release also represents the first time the movies will be available individually on DVD.

Fans have threatened to boycott buying the original Star Wars films if they aren’t cleaned up.

“These are the versions that the fans saw as kids back in the ’70s—this was how they grew up,” said Ron Epstein, HomeTheaterForum.com co-owner. “George doesn’t like these versions, and it’s not the way he wants his legacy to be remembered. But fans [are saying], ‘You aren’t doing us a favor [in putting out] what basically amounts to a laserdisc transfer.”

Aware of the uproar, Lucasfilm is in the process of directly contacting its upset fan base in an attempt to smooth things over.

Some fans had been speculating that Lucasfilm was saving its big gun efforts for the new generation DVD formats. But the company said that at this time, there are no plans to release the original ’70s Star Wars versions in high-definition.

“We absolutely appreciate the fact that these fans are so passionate,” Singh said. “It’s indicative of the fact that they care so much about Star Wars.”

Well, how about that? I think everyone knows what’s wrong with Lucasfilm’s statements regarding the old films, and yes, it pretty much does end up being a “screw you, fans” thing. “We appreciate [insert concern here]” is corporate speak for “We don’t really care but must act concerned anyhow.” (Or, in the case of customer support issues, The Consumerist says, “I damn well know that ‘I appreciate your concerns’ is shorthand in your industry for ‘We’re not going to help you.’”)

How clever that the original movies are only “bonus features.” What spin! And saying “the company felt there was little need to invest resources into sprucing up films that have already been restored to pristine form” is ludicrous; the originals were not spruced up, and that’s what the problem is here. Clever marketing speak (read: LIES) does not change the fact that the originals, which are what people really want out of this release, are gonna look like crap.

I reiterate that it is John’s job to create statements supporting his employer’s position. And as he once hinted he’d do, he has, indeed, started a blog devoted to criticizing the company I myself work for. (You can also get there via the Epcot Central link in the Wren Peeps box.) But I don’t care. In fact, I tend to agree with him on everything he posts there. His site is well-written, passionate, and, most of the time, dead-on regarding Disney’s missteps with its theme parks. Maybe if I were in a marketing or PR position here, I’d have to watch what I say about Disney. But I’m not, and I don’t, thank God.

As far as the Star Wars movies go, I, of course, fully appreciate John’s approach to this issue. However, I am unable to support his employer’s viewpoint at this time.

UPDATED! You can skip to it here.

Since Disney pays for my cell phone service, I have not used my home phone for anything but incoming calls and the occasional toll-free number call. A while back, I pared down my Verizon and my AT&T services to the absolute minimum so that I could still have a land line in case of emergencies. Oh, and because I get DSL and have to have a Verizon telephone account to get the DSL. Yeah, I know, stupid requirement.

The AT&T plan I chose was a pay-as-you-go thingy, which means I haven’t paid any long-distance charges for many moons.

Here’s the post card I got in the mail today:

Beginning with bills issued on or after July 1, 2006, a $5 monthly usage minimum charge will apply to the AT&T One Rate® Simple plan. If your monthly AT&T qualifying calling charges* are less than $5, the difference will be included in your bill for that month. For example, if your applicable monthly calling charges are $4.00, then $1.00 will be added to your bill.

(The bold and the asterisk are part of the original text, so I left it in. The asterisk led to some mumbo-jumbo that meant nothing to me.)

I called the number on the card, and once I was in the menu branch explaining the new charge, I could not get out to talk to anyone. When I called the number back, I was told by the recording that the AT&T Customer Care office was closed for the day.

I got out the one piece of paper I have with any AT&T info on it from when I changed my plan, and I called the different number there. Same thing. Yes, AT&T no longer has 24-hour customer service.

I went to the website and hunted around (after first creating a new user account so I could do so). I compared the plans to see if they had one without the fee. Under the Fee column of the plan comparison page, three plans said “None³.” Ah, yes. The numbered footnote. That said, “³Learn about the Minimum Usage Charge that applies to this plan.” Following the link, I was treated to a wonderful surprise: All of the fee-free plans were not at all fee-free. There was a monthly minimum charge for all of them.

Poking around, I found I could not cancel my account online, which was fine, because I wanted to cancel in someone’s face. But there was an inviting “TAKE A SURVEY” link, so I clicked it and did so. At the end of the survey, I was offered a text box. Heh heh heh. I wrote something fun. Then I went to the e-mail section and sent AT&T an e-mail.

Below is what I sent through the e-mail interface:

I sent a comment via a survey on your website (see below), but I will send it to you again anyway. I have also posted this experience on my blog, which is read by at least five people, and will tell a couple consumer-sympathetic sites I know about it. Just because. I know you will not be quaking in your boots to hear this. I know you will not care that you have lost a customer who has not been making long-distance calls from home as of late. However, you should know that charging for “nothing” is a pretty reprehensible practice. I chose the long-distance plan I chose so that I would only pay you if I used your services. Now you’re planning to charge me for doing nothing. It’s disgusting.

I also know that there’s a small chance you will send me some reply message written by a Frankenstein committee of marketing and legal, the meaning of which will be, in the end, “too bad.” I look forward to that message and getting a good laugh and eye-roll out of it.

Following is the message I sent in the survey:

I am a decades-long AT&T customer. Your stupid $5 minimum charge that goes into effect July 1 for my “no-fee” plan, and the fact that all of your “no-fee” plans now effectively have a fee (which makes your company a big, fat liar), has left me no choice but to cancel my service with you. I have been making my long-distance calls from my cell phone as of late, but had your plan in place on my land line in case I ever needed it. But I will not pay $5 to your company for providing no service whatsoever. You also no longer have a 24-hour customer service number—an SBC carryover “feature,” perhaps?—so I will be calling tomorrow morning to cancel. I realize that you are no longer truly AT&T, but just another big-ass conglomerate who doesn’t care about its customers. Good luck gouging your remaining customers. Bye-bye.

The sad thing about all this is that, even though Disney pays for it, my cell service is through Cingular, which is SBC, which is AT&T. They’re still getting my (or someone’s) money. I hope they don’t figure this out and have themselves a good laugh and eye-roll.

UPDATE!

I called AT&T today, and the woman was very nice. She laughed when I called the new fee “stupid.” I hated to pull the miffed customer routine on her, but, hey, I am a miffed customer!

In fact, I recorded the call. There it is, below, ready to be played for your amusement and horror. (It won’t show up in the RSS feed, so you’ll have to actually visit the site! DOUBLE HORROR!)

Also, in case you don’t make it into the comments area, it seems Tanya had to deal with AT&T as well, though she was nice enough to get the lady’s name and thank her.

UPDATE REDUX!

I did indeed get a response e-mail from AT&T. However, it neither provided me with a good laugh or an eye-roll, so I’m not even going to re-print it here. Yes, it was that corporately boring!

The NSA only has our public safety at heart! I think they should be allowed to do whatever they want to keep me safe from harm. They can even water board my friends and family, even me, if it will help win the War on Terror.®

Reading what some might call an excellent article at Ars Technica, I am outraged that anyone would deny that our government or the telco companies have our best interests at heart! And certainly once a full-fledged domestic warrantless wiretapping program is in place, I feel confident that it will only ever be used for good and never misused in any way, even in the future!

I think all the people who are stirring up the sand on this should be thrown in jail indefinitely without charges being filed or any access to lawyers, because these people are just as bad as the terrorists! They are traitors!

Apple Cube Unpeeling Night

Oh, can’t I just have a single day without being interested in something Apple-related? Can’t I just be a normal person and obsess over which pseudo-gilded-throated pop-tune warbler wins American Idol?

No, I can’t. In fact, I’d rather widen my eyes over pics of the new MacBook than delight my senses with the overmodulated stylings of pre-chanteuse Aimeelee Justhitthenotesplease of Stogie, Illinois.

Today, I am eye-widening over the unveiling of the glass cube at Apple’s new store on 5th Avenue in New York. The store officially opens tomorrow, but here’s a lovely collection of photos and articles for perusal.

It’s good to see I’m not alone in my fascination; it is also comforting to know I’m not even in the top tier of Apple lunatickery. Though I bet you if I had the time and money to jet off to such an opening, I would kill with my own well-produced, well-edited, wry and humorous video podcast of the proceedings!

Apple Cube Head-On

ifoAppleStore: Countdown update with links to pics (first set here) and videos. Nice headroom there, sir!

Flickr: Photo sets by Dave Thorup, Dan Dickinson, and neps. Can I mention here how horrible I think the Flickr interface is? It utterly sucks. Visiting Flickr always gets me frustrated. I am so pleased to be able to send you there three times!

MacWorld: Badly re-sized pictures and a press preview write-up.

Apple Store Cube Aerial

Finally, this store is going to be open 24/7/365. Like on the Internet, but without all that convenient not leaving your chair stuff.

UPDATE

Time for more links!

Flickr: More beautiful pictures from Dave Thirup and some guy named Ben.

Wall Street Journal: An article on Steve Jobs and Apple Store success.

While it is entirely obvious why this scene was originally cut (yet not entirely obvious why the stupid Han and Jaba scene was put back in), it’s still so cool to see something you’ve never seen before. This little tidbit was still in the comic book adaptation I had (the big-paged, two-volume one), but it definitely did not need to be in the movie.

What I do like about this is it shows the original Star Wars style, before super-CG sort of plasticized it all. (That’s funny to say, seeing that there was so much plastic in the original anyway!) But look at the room Luke walks into and meets Biggs, and the spare set when he an Biggs are walking, talking, and drinking. It may be stupid of me to call it realistic, but it sure beats the extraneous pomp and cold-hearted non-emotion of anything in the last three movies.

Blah blah blah. Anyway, enjoy the Biggs and Luke: Chummy Chums scene. While you can. Before it’s yanked down by Jabba the Lucas.

Thanks for the tip, Mr. D!

This post started as a small note at the end of the previous post, the one regarding MacBooks. But it grew quickly, like a weed on the side of the highway, demonstrating with utter clarity my absurd attention to useless detail. (Though, really, I think it’s not at all useless, otherwise I would not have written so much about it or care about design as deeply as I do.)

I had formatted my parts of the MacBook IM post in blue, and boy, did it look nice! It was obvious who was talking, and pretty, too! However, I keep forgetting that the design of the Forum is such that anything in that light blue is a link. I have posted stuff before where I have made plain text that same blue because it looked all pretty, but that was wrong, since that color is reserved for links.

This takes me back to another IM I had with Chuck as I was designing the new Wren Forum. Chuck did not like underlined links from a design standpoint. I thought it was a good concept, since anything underlined on the Web is, as everyone now knows, a link to something else. You can do anything you want with the text, color- and font-wise, but no matter what it looks like, if it’s underlined, it’s a link. Simple. Ugly at times, perhaps, but simple and, once grasped, intuitive.

So why didn’t I design The Wren Forum with underlines? Because style won out. Every link in the sidebar (Latest Musings, Categories, Wren Peeps, etc.) would have been underlined. In one of the first designs, I did this, and it was a mess! So I decided to do away with the established norm. A bad idea for ease of use, definitely. To compensate, though, I decided that all the text links in the Forum would be the same light blue color. Any text that color would be a link. Anyone visiting the Forum would soon be able to figure this out at least subconsciously. To keep the light blue links tied with the expectations of most Web users, the links change color on mouse rollover, and the underline reappears to assure the user that they have, in fact, rolled over a link.

Excellent. So it is. And I like it. Except that I have fudged on my own design standard in one place: The top link bar (About The Wren Forum, FAQs, etc.). Since I’m on a roll, I might as well explain that to you as well.

See, the links in that bar can not be my blue link color because they will not stand out enough from the bar’s background color and would therefore be hard to read. The solution, of course, was to make the background bar the same darker blue as the other blocks of blue in the Forum. But, once again, I chose looks over propriety. Having yet another bar of that very same color made the site that much more dull to look at. Having one bar of lighter blue ads a nice dimension to the look of the site. I have justified this change from my own convention this way: The top link bar is, upon glancing at it, different from the rest of the Forum. The text items in the bar are topics and suggest linkage. Therefore, the lack of the light blue is not detrimental, and the links still become underlined on rollover to confirm that they are, indeed, links.

I offer this all up as a sort of apology to those who believe, as I do, that user interfaces (which is what the entire Wren Forum is) should be clean, consistent within themselves, obvious, and, in the end, nice to look at. While I am okay with having dropped the underlined links because most nicely-designed sites have since done so and have, therefore, created a new expectation of Web users, I am less happy with my white text links at the top and my lapses in text formatting on some of my past posts.

I hope you can all forgive me and find mercy in your hearts for my wayward choices.

Instead of posting a well-written entry about the new MacBooks out today, why not share with you an IM with Jimmy? It is much more revealing. And embarrassing in how it demonstrates my complete absorption with pretty much any new thing Apple releases.

* * * * * *

AIM IM with Jimmy XXXX <XXXXXXXX>.
10:06 AM

DID YOU SEE THEM???????

I am paging through now. Oooooo!

THough the glossy screen? Disaster!

haha.. it’s funny i dind’t even have to say what i was eluding to

I know!

yes, i do agree… glossy screen, bad

But so far they look nice. The keyboard looks cool, with the keys all separated.

No latch?

I haven;t even checked out the Apple site yet!

where ar eyou looking then?

10:10 AM

i hope they come out with a black iMac!

I’m reading the news sites.

ah

Yes, I’ll bet a black iMac is in the works.

you think

?

And I hope they do a 13" PowerBook. (I hate MacBook Pro!) I love my 12" and I’d hate to have to bump up to a 15" when I upgrade.

i need a desktop… i have my laptop, and it’s great

Yeah, if I could justify having both, AND keep them synced somehow, I’d love a desktop.

But I’m too used to taking my laptop with me on almost every trip now.

And it was plenty fast until 10.4!

And it may be slower now, but it still works perfectly well.

10:15 AM

yes

i take my laptop everywhere

so the new macbooks are basically imacs inside

same specs

the glossy screen is optional

Oh, and the MacBooks, too? Good. I saw that for the Pros.

For show situations, having a glossy screen is bad!

oh… i’m confused… i thought that was for the macbooks

grrr… there’s not enough destinctino between the names

nevermind… the macbooks have glossy screens

10:20 AM

I have to wonder why that’s such a selling point?

Everyone’s been mentioning it like it’s some kind of wonderful feature.

I must be missing something.

yeah

that’s true

i hate glossy

Oh, I did not know you could send SMS via Address Book!

they put the usb ports on the left side still… that’s annoying

I’ve been using another app.

so if you use an external mouse, the cord has to loop around

WHy the left side?

Oh, yes.

10:25 AM

how do you send sms through address book?

Well, I saw it on their site, and I see the option greyed out when you right-click on a number.

But maybe it’s ’cause my phone isn’t connected right now…

Oh, I see. You click the Bluetooth button in Address Book.

ah

10:30 AM

Oh, and you can log received messages in Address Book! It stores it in Notes.

Interesting.

I bet there won’t be a 13" PowerBook.

It loks like they’ve got the bases covered.

13" for the MacBooks, 15" and 17" for the Pros.

they have to come out with one more size for the macbooks, i would think… no?

You’d think…

Oh, and the MacBooks use that silly Intel on-chip video, sharing the RAM!

No dedicated vid card.

interesting… so what does that mean

Well, a separate video card has its own RAM, so it does all the video on its own.

ah

The on in the MacBook shares memory with the OS.

Which, I’ve heard, anyway, is less desirable.

that’ll kink up the processing and the video feedback

It definitely means that if you have a 1GB RAM chip, a WHOLE HUGE WHOPPING 64MB is used for video!

So it’s not too much.

I think I’ll have to wait and read some test reviews.

hmmm

But conceptually, it’s not the best solution.

10:45 AM

I’m gonna post this chat on my blog!

It’s perfect for showing off the geekery

what chat?

This one!

oh, nonono…

lol

* * * * * *

You know, I started writing a little thing here about the text color formatting in this post, but it got so long and had nothing to do with this post in the end that I made it it’s own posting! Read it if you love explanations for things no one ever pays attention to.

Now, go enjoy looking at the new MacBooks! Now! Go!

Okay, so Lore Sjöberg is now writing for Wired.com. If you are a long-time reader of lekowicz.com (I snigger saying that), you will remember that he was the funnier of the two guys writing for The Brunching Shuttlecocks. Take a stroll over there, in the Brunching Archives, and you will see some funny, funny stuff.

Often, Lore had plenty of humorously scathing things to say about Star Wars and all the insanity George L. has wreaked on the movies in the last ten years. It all came from a place of love. Who but a(n) (intelligent) fan could have created this jewel of humor?

Well, good to see Lore back at it today, in his Wired column regarding the new DVD release of the old Star Wars movies.

My friend Min sent this link out today:

Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My Ass

Takes me back to a time when science was at my fingertips, explorable, tactile, and wondrous.

Some items of interest today, in case you have nothing else to read.

* * * * * *

ITEM: Filipino Table Etiquette Punished at Local School

What’s so sad is that this poor kid was being punished for nothing at all. Reminds me of a song they played us in my elementary school, an “alternative learning institution.” We had no grades, no classrooms, set our own schedules… It was awesome. They played us a song one day, probably when I was in 4th or 5th grade, called “Flowers are Red” by Harry Chapin (lyrics, iTunes). It was a protest song against conformity and cruelty, and it has stuck with me since that day. That it was also a brilliant little bit of propaganda against all the other schools in our district didn’t hit me until much, much later on.

Amongst the annoying Google search results linking to those annoying “FIND YOUR CLASSMATES AND SAVE MONEY ON YOUR MORTGAGE!!!!!!!” sites, I discovered that Open Living School is still around. I thought it had been closed long ago! It sounds a bit different now, but the basic ideas are the same. The page at Jeffco is here. Read the history: I attended the school in Edgewater and when it moved to Tanglewood in 1978.

* * * * * *

ITEM: Air Passengers Storm First-Class in Mutiny

I tell you, who hasn’twanted to do this kind of thing at one time or another? That 14 of the people were arrested when the flight landed shows a complete abuse of power by the crew. Ha ha ha! I know, that sounds ridiculous, but really, I know how testy and obnoxious flight attendants can get when passengers do any sort of free thinking.

I cheer these people. Imagine if the passengers on United 93 had been asked to please kindly remain in their seats while they get reamed to death.

* * * * * *

ITEM: Mickey D’s Makeover

Don’t forget to also watch the so-called slide show. This kind of thing is so long over-due. Really, it is. When I sit there eating a double cheese burger without mustard, feeling the grease ooze from the pores on my face nearly instantaneously, I would much rather be sitting in a cozy, loungy nook than on a fiberglass slab. I wish Ronald and the rest the best of luck on this makeover. We all know how well it worked for Denny’s.

* * * * * *

ITEM: The Diffusion of Wal-Mart and Economies of Density

I suppose any successful business’ pattern of growth would look similar, but because it’s Wal-Mart, I’ll enjoy calling it “nasty, viral, disgusting, and horrifying!” The video is part of some kind of paper, but I did not read it. Yet. Maybe after I finish my 900-page collection of Ray Bradbury short stories. Hmm. The viral pattern here is, in fact, reminiscent of one of his stories. Fahrenheit 468: the temperature at which a Wal-Mart catches fire.

* * * * * *

ITEM: Would Bush Rather Be Fishing?

I have been light on the Bush-hating recently. To be honest, it’s because I have been avoiding NPR news, which I normally listen to twice a day (that’d be on my ride into work, and on my ride outta work). Too much nastiness is going on, and it was getting me stressed. Bet hell, we’re all strong people here, sissy liberals with spines of jelly! We can take it! Read this little ol’ column and see if Bush ain’t still worth gritting your teeth at.

* * * * * *

THINGY: Lawsuit in the Sky with Diamonds

Late-breaking addition! An O! News exclusive! Did John beat Jobs at the vision thing? While Apple Computer won the lawsuit against them by Apple Corps (appeals not withstanding), perhaps this evidence demonstrates otherwise. If only there really were an Eyes Closed News channel. I’d watch that over E! or O! or WHATEVER!

* * * * * *

Thanks to Jimmy for some of these links!

Halle-friggin’-lujah! Star Wars is coming out on DVD in its original version. All three of the first films are. I do not cringe when I admit that I have been holding onto a LaserDisc player, refusing to get rid of it because the only way to see the originals is on that ancient format. But now, away with it!

OOPS!

Well, sources just now told me that I should not be terribly happy yet. Really, I honestly can say no more than that, but it’ll become obvious once more details are released and once people have these DVDs in-hand. It seems George is fucking us all again. What is wrong with that man?

Nine days ago, I went on a first date with a fella I met on Match.com. I’ll call him “Fella.” Today, he communicated via SMS that our friendship is over.

What happened? Why the compacted drama? I have no idea. But I do have most of the text messages we sent back and forth, and they make for interesting reading. I have removed names and numbers for obvious reasons.

He was a nice guy, sexy… but it’s amazing how intense pressure in this case does not make a diamond but makes, instead, just more coal.

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MONDAY, APRIL 24

First Date at Bossa Nova.

Fella      4/25/06 1:48 AM
Wow!!!

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TUESDAY, APRIL 25

Fella      4/25/06 9:43 AM
Morning fancy face! Thanks again for last night. It was unbelievable! Have a great day.

Me      4/25/06 10:05 AM
Good McMorning, McSir! Thanks for a nice night. Maybe a movie or more dinner on Thursday night?

Fella      4/25/06 10:57 AM
Sorry for the delay i’m in a training class for a new software system. Next.., whats up with this nice stuff?! Only nice?? Come on….! 2nd,..How about both?…

Fella      4/25/06 10:59 AM
3rd…You know you never have to ask.

Me      4/25/06 11:02 AM
Okay, VERY nice. :) And yes, I suppose both would work just swelly.

Fella      4/25/06 6:08 PM
Thinkin’ bout cha ;-)

Me      4/25/06
Sweet! Tiring day, and now I gotta do laundry. yuck!

Fella      4/25/06 6:27 PM
Remember to seperate the colors & segregate the whites from the blacks! (hahaha).

Fella is a man of color, so he can say such things.

Me      4/25/06
I believe in peace and love amongst all machine-washable garments.

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26

Fella      4/26/06 7:52 AM
‘morning fancy face!

Me      4/26/06
Good mornin!

Fella meets me at work and we eat at El Torito. He comes up to see my office and where I work.

Fella      4/26/06 3:42 PM
Thanks for making my day fancy face!

Me      4/26/06
You’re welcome. Thanks for not valet parking!

Fella      4/26/06 4:10 PM
Valet…? You’ll never have to wonder what matters most to me.

Fella      4/26/06 9:45 PM
Call me at work if you get the time tonight. XXX XXX XXXX

I don’t think I called.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 27

Fella      4/27/06 12:14 PM
I’m done with class @ work. Call me when you get a moment.

Me
I’m at the doctor’s office now. I’ll call when I’m done.

Fella      4/27/06 12:25 PM
Ok. Hope all is fine.

We talk on the phone, and after being tempted to not go, I decide to follow through with our plans to meet up. I’m getting sick again, so I suggest dinner instead of a movie so I can get home and sleep.

We have dinner at Olive Garden in Burbank. We go back to his place and, despite my hesitation, we make out a bit. No, nothing salacious, I assure you.

As I’m leaving, hours after I had wanted to be in bed, he says to call when I get home. Or not.

Me      4/28/06
P.S.: I’m home.

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FRIDAY, APRIL 28

Fella      4/28/06 9:31 AM
‘morning fancy face! Hope you’re feeling well. I’m in class now. Thanks again for a special evening.

Fella      4/28/06 6:42 PM
When you get a free moment i’d like to talk to you about something. It’s not an emergency, but it’s important to me.

I call Fella from Arclight, with 25 minutes to go before Matt and I are to see American Dreamz. He wants to know what my feelings are for him because he likes me a lot and if I am not feeling something for him, I should let him know. The conversation itself pushes me to choose that we not date, since I can not say what I feel for him. I tell him we have to finish the conversation later since my movie starts in 5 minutes.

Later that night, I call back, and I reiterate that, for the good of both of us, we’d better not date. But I definitely wouldn’t mind hanging out as friends. Sounds cliché, huh?

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SATURDAY, APRIL 29

Fella      4/29/06 9:08 AM
Morning fancy face! If it’s all the same with you, i’d like to keep you in my life as a friend as apposed to nothing at all. This week meant a lot to me.

Me      4/29/06
I think that’s a great idea. I’m up for that.

I have ad sales for CCPT from 10:00 to 12:00.

Fella      4/29/06 10:32 AM
Shoot me now!! I misspelled opposed with an a!

I am busy all day with a variety of stuff. I can’t bring myself to text message anything.

Fella      4/29/06 4:07 PM
Hope you’re feeling better. On my way home from work now.

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SUNDAY, APRIL 30

Fella      4/30/06 12:13 PM
Enjoy your game today fancy face!

I play volleyball, second week in a row! I haven’t played for eons. I forget to text Fella back.

Fella      4/30/06 10:50 PM
Good night.

Me      4/30/06
Sweet dreams.

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MONDAY, MAY 1

Fella      5/1/06 10:55 AM
‘morning! Hope you clobbered them, yesterday, in your game fancy face!

Me      5/1/06
I was bad at first but was playing well by the end of the day. It was lots of fun!

Fella      5/1/06 2:01 PM
I hope that it’s not too much to say that i miss seeing you?

Me      5/1/06
No, that’s nice. Thanks.

Crazy work day. CCPT meeting.

Fella      5/1/06 9:41 PM
Good night fancy face!

Fella      5/1/06 9:46 PM
Hope you’re feeling better.

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TUESDAY, MAY 2

Fella      5/2/06 9:38 AM
…At the gym now. Have a good day!

Me      5/2/06
You too. Hope your workout was delightful.

Fella      5/2/06 1:14 PM
I don’t know about delightful but it was ok. Don’t get me wrong, the gym for me is only a nessesity. I actually don’t like it. It’s only to stay fit with aging.

Fella      5/2/06 2:13 PM
About this friendship thing; do you think you’ll have the desire to get together again anytime soon?

I do not know what to say about that. I feel pestered. I do not answer.

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TODAY

Fella      5/3/06 9:38 AM
Thanks again for a suprisingly wonderful time last week. you’re more than i could’ve ever asked for. I can’t say enough on how unfortunate it is that it’s ended

Fella      5/3/06 9:39 AM
Whats worse still, is i fear i’ve become exactly what i want not to be, someone you’re nolonger interested in getting to know. Another XXXXXXXX guy.

Fella      5/3/06 9:39 AM
And for that reason alone i must try & retain some dignity. I choose not to be a bother & let you go. It’s pointless to give myself false hope knowing the truth

Fella      5/3/06 9:40 AM
I’ve erased your ph# to keep myself from calling you. I wish you all the best & that you’re able to give endlessly all that you gave me in one night to another.

Fella      5/3/06 9:40 AM
Any man would be so lucky for you to allow him to love you! Goodbye fancy face. I still hear your laughter from our last night together. Iron leafy bars?The bed

Me      5/3/06 10:02 AM
It’s interesting that you come to that conclusion, because after last night’s message, I knew I was going to have to suggest that you give yourself a break and let the idea you had of me fade away until we could have a chance to hang out sans the overwhelming pressure. I understand what you’re doing completely. You can always call in the future when the “Steve fever” has left you. It’d be great to get to know you more under more relaxed circumstances. Thanks for the honesty.

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Fella was perfectly nice, a gentlemen, and not creepy in any way. But I could not deal with the instantaneous pressure to be in communication with him at all times. I know what it’s like to fall for someone almost immediately, and I feel very bad for Fella because there’s nothing to be done in a situation like this. I could have seen him more, but I didn’t even get a chance to ease into anything, and that’s not good when the other person is already smitten.

That’s the tale. So it goes. When will I get to be utterly, immediately smitten?

Mac and PC

Okay, so if the last post garnered some critique, who knows what will happen on this one?

Apple has come out with a new Mac vs. PC campaign, which features some very cute ads. The ads are cute because they anthropomorphize the platforms (I think of Robb’s blog when I use that big word), and because Justin Long is cute.

I really like the Restarting one and the Networking one.

So maybe because there’s no artistic pretension here, John will be okay with these ads. Though he does use a PC, so maybe he’ll just find them vapid. (I love that word, BTW.) Perhaps it’s too close to the old Switch campaign that didn’t work so well and was considered… vapid! Oh, who knows?

Go watch them, and have some fun!

Lay another brick in the wall of fascinating and artsy American Express ads. Wes Anderson has his own ad now, and it’s quite amusing in a Wessy sort of way.

The crappy YouTube version is here. There is a kinda better version on the Amex website, but it’s a stupid Flash site, so I cant link directly. Click here, wait for the site to build, then click on Wes’ picture in the bottom scrolling thingy. (He’s wearing a hat and holding up a french fry.)