Unbeknownst to most people, today is actually the observation of a rather unusual holiday. Yes, today, is "Ask a Stupid Question Day". So, in the spirit of this odd holiday, I encourage you to do just that. Ask me a stupid question -- one that you would normally not ask -- and you shall recieve an answer (possibly equally as stupid) in reply.
Afterall, "the only stupid question, is a question not asked".
So, you can email, comment, or MySpace the question, and your questions -- and my answers -- shall be added as a later post on this blog. Have fun with it, but remember, keep your inquiries clean. Crude questions will not be answered.
The Motion Picture Association of America on Thursday unveiled its latest tool in the war on movie piracy: a pair of DVD-sniffing Labrador Retrievers, Lucky and Flo.
The MPAA, which represents the major U.S. movie studios in government and legal affairs, claims the illegal copying of movies and television shows on DVDs and other media cost them more than $6.1 billion in lost revenues in 2005.
The job for Lucky and Flo will be to sniff out optical discs in luggage or other containers, and stop the discs from getting to manufacturing plants where they can be reproduced.
Ok, now this I find utterly rediculous... and greedy. Dogs? Sniffing out "pirated" DVDs? Does this mean that pirated DVDs smell different than legally purchased DVDs? And $6.1 billion in lost revenues? Not likely. These "revenues" don't exist and weren't theirs to be lost in the first place.
Yes, I completely agree, music and movie piracy is wrong, but maybe if the Hollywood studios made legally purchased DVDs more affordable, then there would be less piracy. To me that just seems like a far more efficient way of combating the problem than sending two DVD-sniffing dogs out on a world tour. But, of course, greed is pervasive, and piracy -- according to the MPAA -- is entirely the consumer's fault, and has nothing to do with the studios.
Last night I had an interesting dream. I dreamt that a number of popular Star Trek television episodes from the Original Series (Kirk's Enterprise), were adapted for the stage, and performed on Broadway. Yes, THE Broadway! As it just so happened, I was cast in the production, and played an evil crewman in the alternate universe episode, "Mirror, Mirror". Now THAT was a cool role!
Too bad it was just a dream.
Someday, though, that life-long dream of mine will actually come true. Someday, this humble actor will be a geek no longer and will be able to say, "Why, yes, I've been part of a Star Trek television project. See, here's my collector's card! Want me to sign it for you?"
(Hey, CBS/Paramount, or New Voyages, if you're reading this, give me a call!) ... [wink]
Earlier this evening, a friend invited me to see an advance screening of the soon-to-be-released movie, "Employee of the Month" -- a film starring Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook. It'll hit theatres in wide release on October 6th.
My review, however, is short: "It was dumb movie, but in a cute sort of way. Kind of like the cult favorite, Office Space, only set in a CostCo-type retail store." Rediculous, yet mildly entertaining. If you do go see it, though, be warned, it's rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor and language.
It was a fun watch, but I won't be purchasing it on DVD.
Welcome to the final week in September, and the begining of Autumn. Take a moment to prepare yourself for the vibrant beauty to come, because the leaves are about to shed their green... and God is readying his paints for yet another masterpiece!
In the world of acting, talent agents can be very important when it comes to finding good work. Even old "A-List" sci-fi characters have a dedicated agency. Enter the J. Hasbien Talent Agency. They represent some of the biggest science fiction names in the entertainment business, and specialize in singing telegrams and conventions.
If you're an alien, stormtrooper, or Klingon looking for your next gig, give them a call. Maybe they can help. And if you're just curious, feel free to check out their latest television spot.
Well, no messy painting details to report... although, I did get covered in a little white paint. But that's beside the point. The good news is, the slightly orange-ed apartment is now sparkeling new, and we're pretty much done. Whew. Hard work, satisfying results. Now I think I'm going to take the rest of the day off. Next week: I start painting another apartment. Yay.
A young artist from Switzerland, Sala, is selling paintings of the numbers 1 to 1000. The price of each painting is calculated like this:
Value = 1000 - number. Initial discount: 90%. Current discount: 40%. The discount will decrease by an absolute 10% for every 100 paintings sold. The minimum price is $40. So far, Zala has sold 583 paintings.
I did some more painting today -- the interior apartment kind actually. The new tenant moves in on Friday, so we needed to take care of the details early this week.
Two things I learned, however: One, if you're a heavy smoker, don't smoke indoors. It turns white walls into an ugly shade of orange. And two, painting ceilings with a roller is a lot harder than it looks -- and rather exhausting (stupid gravity!). Walls I can handle, but ceilings... not a big fan. :)
Tomorrow morning/afternoon, we finish the job. So... more painting. Stick around though, if there are any, I'll be sure to share all the messy details. (pun intended!).
Have a wonderful Wednesday all, and until next time,
Exploring the Earth from space is addicting. Very addicting! That said, I can't believe I just spent wasted the last few hours exploring Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iraq via Google Earth. I discovered some wonderful places, sure... but I really should have been working. :)
On Friday, I wrote about a new community under construction based upon the architecture of Old-World England and the Shire from J.R.R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings". Well,... here's a family that went a step further and built a real lifeHobbit house. Enjoy.
A new community currently under development in Oregon will transport homeowners back in time to Old-World England, while also featuring modern conveniences and green building practices.
The Shire, located in southeast Bend on six acres, will include a mix of 30 townhomes and cottages. Common areas, which will make up one-quarter of the property, will also be dotted with whimsical hobbit-like dwellings for the storage of outdoor utility items, an outdoor amphitheater, and stone walls and pathways. A rustic gatehouse will mark the entrance to the neighborhood.
As many of you know, I enjoy musing over the lost histories of abandoned places, old ruins, battlefields, etc. Here are some recent photos of one of the world's most storied abandoned locations -- the city of Chernobyl, Russia.
On Monday (9/11), I mentioned that I would be releasing a special new artwork in honor of our homeland heroes. Here is my tribute. Be they soldiers on the front lines in Iraq and Afganistan, or firefighters and rescue workers at Ground Zero, we must never forget. Without them, freedom would be nothing more than a dream.
Enjoy. And feel free to let me know what you think.
Forty years ago, on the 8th of September 1966, the first episode of Star Trek was broadcast in the United States. Since then, we've seen more than 700 episodes, ten movies and countless books and video games. So, to celebrate this historic event, here's a wonderful tribute video that pays homage to our favorite sci-fi creation.
And don't forget, THIS weekend, the Original Series will return to broadcast television (CBS) in High Definition, and with all new digital effects and music. Don't miss it!
"I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality, of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, we are at war against those who do not share this dream, and we are not at war by choice. We are at war against those who believe it is right to kill in the name of their god. We are at war against those who have no respect for the dignity or worth of the human personality. We are at war against those who fear opportunity. We are at war against those who abhor equality and embrace radicalism. We are at war against those who die to support a rhetoric of hate.
We are at war, and this threat must be dealt with.
Five years ago, on September 11, 2001, four U.S. commercial airplanes were hijacked by radical terrorists, and deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania killing nearly 3,000 people.
Today we honor the heroism of the passengers onboard United Airlines Flight 93, the selfless courage of New York's finest, and the memory of the innocent who were murdered when the Twin Towers fell. Today we remember. And today we strengthen our resolve.
Good news all, this fine feature (aka, this weblog) is currently one of five nominees for Blog of the Week at MKE Online, a weekly publication printed by the folks at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. Here's your chance to anonymously voice your support for your favorite creative blogger!
Julian Beever is a chalk artist who draws amazing 3-D anamorphic illusions on city streets. He's been doing this for over ten years, and has created his art all over the world. To see an extensive gallery of his work, feel free to visit his official website.
I recieved a brief update from my sister, Becca, today. It appears that her deployment to Iraq on the 15th has been cancelled. She may head out at a later date, but for the time-being, she'll remain stateside at her Air Force base in San Antonio, TX.
Officially, this now means there will be only one Baas serving over in Iraq -- Ben, with the Marines. And he's already on the front lines with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment -- one of the busiest units to date in the Iraq War.
The battalion, known by its numeric designator "Three-Four," is among the first to go back for a fourth tour. During its first three tours, it lost 11 men.
Three-Four was with the 1st Marine Division when the United States launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The unit saw a lot of action, first at Basra, then Diwaniya, Kut and later in Baghdad. The battalion led the fight for a key bridge over the Dyala Canal, a waterway along the southeast area of Baghdad, which was key to allowing the rest of the division to cross into the city. On the way, it lost four men -- one to an accident and three to hostile fire.
This was the Marine battalion that helped pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein, effectively marking the end of the fight for Baghdad.
After the fall of Baghdad, two more Marines from Three-Four lost their lives. One was killed by an Iraqi and another by a Marine sniper in a "friendly fire" accident.
The battalion left Iraq in June 2003 and returned again at the beginning of 2004. The Marines fought in Fallujah when that city erupted in violence in April 2004, following the horrific assassinations of four American security contractors. Three-Four lost four Marines there.
Three-Four returned again in 2005 with a different commanding officer. On that tour, the battalion provided security and stability operations in and around Fallujah, and helped with the Iraqi elections late that year. They lost one man.
You can read the full article about the unit's fourth deployment here.
Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality (and environmentalist) known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray to the heart while filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.
As of right now, my younger brother, Ben, is in Kuwait. He left California with his Marine company on Friday, and will be going into Iraq tomorrow. He'll serve there for nearly a year.
Godspeed Ben. Get the job done, secure peace, and come home safely.
UPDATE: My younger sister, Becca (USAF) will be joining him on the 15th (different part of the country). As I understand it, however, she'll be stationed over there for a shorter period of time. Nonetheless, pray for them both. I have two younger siblings volunteering their lives (in war) for the advancement of freedom. That makes them heroes in my book.
Great news all!... CBS (which now owns all five Star Trek television series') has officially announced that they are releasing digitally remastered episodes of the Original Trek, with all new special effects and music, to celebrate the franchise's 40th anniversary.
The most noticeable change will be redoing many of the special effects, created with 1960s technology, and replacing them with 21st century CGI. Upgrades include: replacing all ship exteriors (models in the 1960's) with state-of-the-art digital renders, all graphics (and planets) of the galaxy will be digitally redone, the show opening will be digitally recreated (and re-recorded), and many of the iconic matte paintings and backdrops will get complete computer make-overs.
They will begin airing all 79 of these remastered Original Series episodes on September 16. For a look at the full news article, visit StarTrek.com.
Ok, so if there's an eleventh Star Trek film coming out in 2008, and the Original Series is being re-mastered and re-broadcast on network television, then I think the nay-sayers should go take a seat. Trek is not dead... and us life-long fans have something to cheer about again!
Long live Star Trek (even moreso since Rick Berman is gone)!
Have a blessed weekend all, enjoy the news, and until the morrow,