28 November, 2005

I didn't fall off, I was tripped by obligation

Drew mentioned that it appears that I've given up on my blog, which is not the case. No excuses, no apologies. It's my blog, I'll write in it when I want.

Tomorrow night, Citypaper Editor-In-Chief Duane Swierczynski (of previous post fame) will be stopping by the house to read from his book. It's an event for the staff and friends of the Collegian, since Duane used to be a Collegian editor himself back in the day.

Drew and I are going to provide beer and food, and it should be a good time, hopefully.

I'm not sure how many people are going to show up, it should be interesting. I know I told all the editors to invite their entire staff of writers, and I e-mailed a ton of people myself about it, and did a little facebook messaging. I'm hoping at least 20 people show up, but I have the feeling there's going to be like, 45 people here or something.

The piece I was working about John Langdon was finally published in the CP a few weeks back. Cha-Ching. I wish I could write more for the CP, but I have a hard time coming up with pitches and Lori (the arts editor) doesn't sent out article opportunities via e-mail like some other editors, so I never really know what to do.

I've been writing for the Chestnut Hill Local a bit as well, mainly features-y stuff. Interior decorators, dog trainers, lesbian authors and the like.

I'm working on a piece now about a woman who taught in China for a while, and about her experiences there. Kind of reminds me about a book I really like, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler. So much China lately, apologies.

This is a really funny site about 17 guys you can't get mad at when and if your girlfriend has sex with them. Some are kind of funny, some are predictable, but I chuckled so yeah.

Guy writes about why he hates going to the movies. Oddly enough I had almost the exact same experience last weekend, same movie and all. Seriously though, I really hate going to the movies. Last weekend was the first movie I saw in the theater in a long time (like a year and a half, I think) and it was good and all (Harry Potter 4) but man, I hate the theater so much.

The first time I read Brave New World, it was in book form in my room. Now I'm reading it here. Kind of eerie. Maybe next time I will be reading the abridged version through telekinesis via a government feed.

I hope they invited the Indians, because this is just in time for Thanksgiving.

Culture of fear rears its head again. If you're stupid enough to go underwater, in a cage, with bait in the water, to look at sharks, you take on the understood risk that they might attack you. Fucking morons.

Some guy stole some peoples mail in San Francisco, and a judge ordered him, among other things, to wear a sandwichboard sign with the words "I Stole Mail - This is My Punishment" on it. Seems kind of like the Scarlet Letter Lite to me.

This makes me scared. Sort of. Well, not really, but I'm still allergic to peanuts.

This is a funny excerpt from a website about figuring out how your girlfriend feels about you looking at porn by asking her about a 'friend's' stash.
There are a few different viewpoints you may encounter from this exchange. The most distressing is that your girlfriend reveals that she is an anti-porn feminist. I hate to add this, but these women are usually pretty ugly so you should have guessed her viewpoint before even asking. These womyn believe that porn is degrading to women, and boy is it! Porn wouldn't be as half as much fun if it wasn't as degrading. They also believe that it forces men to view women as sexual objects, but this point is purely senseless. Men view women as sexual objects all the time without the aid of pornography.

And now, a picture for the Iron Maiden demographic of my readership (read: Drew):

13 November, 2005

Communication is for the birds

In the NY Times a week or so ago, there was an interesting article about a naturalized Chinese-American citizen, David Ji, the founder of Apex Digital (the first company to market a DVD player under $100 and the second leading manufacturer of DVD players behind Sony).

Anyhow, apparently his company did some underhanded dealings with Sichuan Changhong Electric. Now, Ji claims that his company only owes $150 million, while SCE claims they owe $470 million. So what, right? Big business, who cares?

Well, a while back, the CEO of SCE, Zhao Yong (former friend and business partner of Ji) decided that while Ji was on a trip to China to settle the affair, they would take him into captivity and hold him against his will to get their money.

China's government places such a high value on the success of major companies like SCE that the government assists and consents to the holding of Ji against his will and without a trial.
The prime minister praised Changhong's leadership, authorized the company to take legal actions at home and abroad to protect its interests, and ordered state banks to provide emergency financing totaling nearly $1 billion, roughly double the amount Changhong claimed Apex owed it, they said.
The article also stated that:
The police from Mianyang, the city in southwestern Sichuan province where Changhong has its headquarters, apprehended Mr. Ji in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, on Oct. 23, 2004. He entered a legal netherworld in which Changhong decided where he would be held in custody, when to interrogate him, and how he could help Changhong take over Apex, according to court documents, video recordings, and taped witness accounts compiled by people sympathetic to Mr. Ji. The records, which were also submitted to the State Department, were obtained independently by The New York Times.
Now, I don't give a rip what this guy Ji is alike a as a person. Maybe he's a complete asshole, I don't know. However, holding him against his will, without a warrant, and no clear charges is bullshit. He has been passed around from the police to Changhong and Zhao Yong, and back to the police. Recently he was released on a very strict bail.
"They turned this into a criminal case, and now they don't know how to resolve it," says Mr. Hsu of Apex. "I'm afraid we need government intervention, maybe divine intervention, to help David return home."
To read more, check out this article, as well as this and this.

Sometime during high school, I decided that I wanted to go to La Salle University. More specifically, I had thoughts of being a Communication Major. When I looked at the school, that seemed to be the way to go, on account of the department having a media writing track and my wanting to go into journalism. Four years later, I can say without a shadow of a doubt: Communication is bullshit. Whoever it was I talked to and who convinced me that if I wanted to go into journalism I should be a communication major is a snake oil salesman and huckster of the highest degree. And by that I mean a liar.

Now it's not all bad, really. I get some exercise walking to the Comm. Center three times a day, and the work is generally easy. However, in terms of the relevancy of the work, the department falls far short. As someone who wants to go into writing, I feel that much of my time in the Comm. Center has been wasted on useless nonsense, such as Broadcast Newswriting (taking a well written story and condensing/simplifying it to be understandable to a 7 year old) and Issues & Arguments (which wasn't a writing class at all but is advertised as such).

I have had two good, relevant communication classes in four years here, and they were both taught by the same professor, who doesn't teach here anymore. Aside from that, all of my useful classes have been offered by the English department, or through working with the Collegian.

But I digress. My last semester in college includes no Comm. classes, thankfully.

I have been reading a lot of websites I used to read back in high school recently, most notably, Buddyhead. I remember this site being great, and upon visiting it again recently, nothing has changed. They still like Neil Young, Bob Dylan and lots of other older artists, and still hate pretty much everything else. The site has so much self indulgence it almost hurts, especially on the gossip page. An excerpt:

DIPSHIT QUOTE OF THE MONTH: Benji from Good Charlotte: "“Without MTV and the radio I never would have gotten into punk, I never would have heard punk bands like Green Day…"

Speaking of gay, gay people can get married in California now.
An interesting overheard. It was a youngster coming up from Central High School, in front of me in line at the corner store across the street from the school. While chatting on a cell phone, he was overheard to say:
"Yeah, you are a little slut aren't you?"
Now, I wasn't really aware he was on a cell phone until I started listening after catching that bit of conversation. Unfortunately, he made his purchase and went on his way before I could figure out a context for the snippet. It certainly was interesting, though.

And now, as a sort of apology for not updating in a long time, here are a few funny, completely un-attributed pictures I found recently: