September 27, 2006

The Brits have the right idea at , calling for sustainable fishing of tuna. A step in the right direction, hopefully others will follow suit.


The summer movie season is over. I do not really remember what movies I saw- they must not be that memorable (except for Superman Returns, I liked that movie). I skipped X-Men (I like Ratner’s Rush Hour movies, but because of Jackie, not the directing) and I skipped Pirates of the Caribbean (which I wanted to see, but kept missing and now it is out of theaters). The wannabe Initial D movie was okay, I guess, except I kept wanting the lead character to die a vicious, vicious death. I will probably also eventually catch the new Tony Jaa movie except everyone keeps saying that if you have seen Ong Bak, you have already seen this movie.

One movie I did see and saw this weekend is Jet Li’s swansong to pure martial arts movies and probably the last time I see a movie in theaters this year (I may catch Curse of the Golden Flower, unless comes out with an all-region disc first). All I can say about Fearless, is that Hao Yinjia can probably beat up Clark Kent if he wanted to (and, yes one of the reasons I saw it in theatres is that YesAsia did not have an all-region disc available yet). A violent movie about non-violence (the Bush administration should see this movie, but they will probably hate it because it has subtitles), I have to say this is the best movie I have seen in theaters this year. The martial arts is excellent (and not too wire dependent, not that I do not like wire-fu, if done well, it could be excellent) and the philosophy even better. Plus, Jet gets into a fight with a guy at least three times his size. You have got to watch that!


It has been a week or longer since I have been here have I? Well, I am still here. Just bit busier than usual I guess. Holly and I have another niece and our three legged wonder of the world has another cousin (I am talking about our cat here; after working with kids of all ages and attitudes for four years I am staying away from the notion of me having any for a long time, maybe forever). All that aside, congratulations to my sister, the unfortunately named Marie Antonette and my brother in law, Daniel who delivered their first child and daughter, the likewise unfortunately named Amelia Marie Higginbottom.

What? I think she could have been named better. I would have named her Lil-Pink-Thing-who-will-wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night. At least until she is two. Okay, my naming abilities suck. I would have probably given her a name from a song I liked, although after rats named Charlotte and Elise, I have got to look elsewhere other that Cure songs.

I have always liked the name Starleigh, but probably only as a middle name (where that came from, you will never know- now see me smiling mysteriously). I had a friend named Leila in high school, whose name apparently means ‘dark as night’- I like the meaning, but I would mostly probably stay away from names of people I knew or know of.

How else would I have named our new niece? Most names I cold think of sound cool for like five minutes (for instant the name Echo sounds cool- no pun intended- no pun intended), but after five minutes you get tired of it and wish they had another name. Holly and I took a long time deciding if we were going to change the names of our cats when they were adopted. They were almost Shasta and Dilandau from the anime Escaflowne, which were watching like crazy at the time. We eventually settled on the names they came with which, although a tad generic, just seemed to fit them and their personalities so well.

And speaking of the Japanese, I am reminded of a cousin of my mother’s who after a stint in Japan for one reason or another decided to bestow all of his kids with Japanese names. So there is a family out there with Japanese first names with corresponding Filipino surnames. Would I do that? I think my cousin’s kid has a Swahili name (wherever Shanti is from), but then again, Gwen comes up with the weirdest names (a puppy named Taizo and another kid name Kross). If I ever had to name something for real, I would definitely outsource that job to Gwen.

I always liked the naming convention Neil Gaiman uses in his books. The names of his characters always have something to do with their actions and behavior. I wonder if he comes up with names first and then the characterization comes after. The most obvious example of this is the English names of the Endless in the Sandman books. And his character of Death has had a pretty big impact on my life and I hope to have a good conversation with her when I am finally granted mercy from this thing called my life. Maybe I would have named my niece a variation of the name Death? Gotta hit the Sandman books again for variations of the name of Death (there is Dee Dee, Teleute, and a couple of others).

I like the name Page or Paige, because I like books, but it reminds me of Bettie Page too much.

I also like Constantine but not Constantina or whatever the female variation of the name is.

I also like the name Spike, as it was the name some of the kids I used to work would call me (and has nothing to do with the James Marsters character, which is just by coincidence, my favourite Whedonverse character). However, Spikette sounds stoopid. Although, if my niece goes by Amelia the Bloody, I could live with that. And continuing with the Buffyverse, I have always liked the name Faith, but now it just reminds me of Eliza Dushku.

I like the name Chun-Li, but only if she grows up to be a Chinese girl who wears her hair in buns and kicks ass.

Indigo is a crappy name and so are most names based on colors.

This brings me to the name Ash. I like the color of gray. I do not know anyone by that name. Holly had a cat named Ashes but the singular form seems different enough. In popular culture, the lead from the Evil Dead movies is named Ash, but he is more popularly known and associated as just being Bruce Campbell.

So Ash, but not Ashley, Ashington, Ashawanga or whatever. Just Ash. With a middle name that is a variation on Starleigh to be just Leigh (I know Ash Leigh=Ashley, but I will just call her Ash and call her Ash Leigh only when she pisses me off).

So, my sister who was unfortunately named after a notorious French lady who has a movie based on her life coming out soon that is filled with eighties tunes and was beheaded but not before she gave people cake, congratulations on Amelia (who Holly & I will have to visit soon) but do not think it odd if I call her Ash. Sorry about that last name though, there is nothing I can do about that.

And besides, Amelia Marie is not a bad name.

Now I want cake.

PS: I was named after both my grandfathers and Holly was named because her mom, who is a teacher, never had a student with that name.

PPS: The Sugarcubes are reuniting for one show only in Iceland. Anyone got spare tickets, airfare and accommodations?

PPPS: Apoptygma Berzerk are doing shows in Australia. Why do they hate me?

PPPS: The VNV Nation one off show in LA has sold out apparently surprising many people but me. Again, anyone got spare tickets, airfare and accommodations? Oh and why do THEY hate me?


Dream Interpretation - Clark Kent

Peter and I were burning the midnight oil watching DVDs. I was getting sleepy already and next thing I knew, I was already in dream land aboard this space-like craft without roof and bobbing up and down in the middle of the sea. In my dream, I recognized it as Clark Kent's Space Ship though now that I think about it, it's no way near like that ship at all. For one, this is huge and

Dream Interpretation - Monster with Fat Belly

I'm currently reading a book entitled The Secret Language of Dreams by, David Fontana PhD. When I bought it weeks ago during one of National Bookstore's mega sale at Eastwood, what attracted this book to me was its purple cover and artful pages. But when I started to read it I got really interested. The first half of the book talks about dream histories as far back as the biblical times and

The Last Days of Summer

Seconds later, lunch was served.
September 15, 2006

The dying days of summer, autumn being ushered in next week. The ninety to a hundred degree weather, though, is probably sticking around for a while. Last year, the temperatures stayed pretty warm through Thanksgiving and just one day we experienced like a thirty degree drop and suddenly ice started to from on your cars. We do not really get deciduous trees here, so the lovely orange foliage shall be another thing for me to miss until such time I can walk and crunch fallen leaves.

In the meanwhile, I just found out that VNV Nation’s rarest records (Advance & Follow and the Burning Empires limited edition version) are now available, but only as digital downloads. Well, thanks but not everyone has an awesome MP3 player or a computer with an up to date operating system or even a fast connection (I am happy I even have a computer). Oh, well. I guess it is a step in the right direction.


I currently work on the tenth floor of a building in downtown Austin. I never thought I would work downtown anywhere, but then again, Austin is a pretty small compared to Los Angeles or even San Antonio. Now, take in mind by small I mean if you squeeze everything together, you could walk from one side of the city to the other. In reality, everything is pretty spread apart, giving the illusion the city is bigger that it is. That and the roads tend to take you around via the scenic route (except there is nothing really to see).

Downtown is also expanding. Every now and then I take a small break and head to the conference room if no one is there and look out (I have a thing for looking out of tall places- trees fear me and I fear planes because I like to sit by the window and I have a teeny tiny bladder so beware the people who sit in the middle or on the aisles- I use the lavatories quite a bit on long flights). From the conference windows you can see a building go up, and it is awesome to see the big cranes do their stuff. I also realized that all the workers remind me of the doozers from that Fraggle Rock show.

So that kid who shot some people in Canada is a Goth kid. Like the Columbine kids. Do not believe that, by the way. At best they are posers.

And the plug of the week for this week is the new graphic novel from writer Brian K. Vaughn, Pride of Baghdad. I have sped read it about twice this week and plan a good long slow read of it this weekend. It is a fictionalized account of one of the more interesting facets that occurred during the beginning of the current Iraq War. As the city was bombed, its zoo was abandoned and the animals were left to their own devices. I ma not sure what ever happened to the most of the animals, presumably killed by bullets and bombs, but what is known is that four lions wandered the city streets for who knows how long until US troops encountered them and [SPOILER] ate them. No, just kidding, the troops shot them up due to thinking they were about to charge at them. Although the book portrays charging as sitting and watching the sunset. In reality, the troops probably were surprised to see wildlife and fired on instinct (the book also showcases the fact that a bear also roamed Baghdad- which, although not touched upon here, was documented to have attacked and ate several citizens of the city).

Despite the downer ending (which to it credit is not sappy although if you do not know the story it comes out of the blue), the book is amazing. It reminds me of a more mature version of the nature movies that Disney used to make or even, not an adult but a late teen/young adult version of the Milo & Otis stories. It reminds me of a Lion King in name only sequel. I would actually like to see Disney adapt this accurately into one of their animated movies, but that is never going to happen. The art is bright and effective, the animals not being too humanized and even the expressive faces are not drawn to be too unnatural. A good book at all ends, and perfect in a week memorializing the anniversary of something that happened five years ago in Manhattan.



September 13, 2006

First, in my now mandatory at least weekly post, a geeky thing. Joss Whedon is taking over as writer for my current (for the past two years or so) favourite ongoing comic book, Runaways. I was disappointed to hear that the creators of the book were leaving (and still am) but the guy who created Buffy is a good follow up and I hope that he does not get caught up in making movies that the book loses steam and starts to come out irregularly.

For those who do not know, Runaways is a book about a bunch of kids on the run and who find out their parents are super villains. To say any more is to spoil the fun.

So it is now a couple of days after the fifth anniversary of 911 and hopefully we can now escape all the retrospectives, memorials and what not. Not that we should forget that such an event happened, it is just that the media can just drown you with the entire same thing that everyone is already saying. Which is life has changed for all of us to varying degrees because of this single event.

So now the important questions that I know all of you are asking. Where was I when I found out? I was at Target looking for the new Princess Bride DVD for Holly. That weekend I went to Santa Barbara. At work I watched the wave of apathy across the majority of the kids I was working with at the time. And it saw my Dad embarrass himself in front of my relatives.

And now a word from one of the smartest men in the world Fareed Zakaria:

“In Perspective: Summer Labor

We are in the dog days of [summer]--time for the beach, mountains, or just a little time off; but chances are you’re still working. Meanwhile in Europe everybody is on vacation. In fact, Europeans get about three times as much paid vacations as Americans, but our hard work pays off with a more productive economy--right? Not quite; in fact the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark all matched or exceeded our economic growth rate in the 1990s despite having lavish worker benefits including generous time off.

The full explanation for high productivity is complex, but there seems to be one common factor recently--sectors that adopted new information technology have the fastest growth. One thing that doesn’t seem to play a role is a crazy work ethic. In fact, some experts believe extra hours worked might actually depress productivity beyond a point. Are you as productive at six at night as at nine in the morning? Probably not; so do your part for the American economy, take a vacation.”

Sometimes, it feels like Western Europe of going the right way into the future while the rest of the World just ambles after. Not just that they get more vacation time (and that they have better music), but they seem to embrace new ideas more readily than the rest of us. Of course, they have pockets that want to impede that progress but for the most part I believe they are leading the way.

So what is the future going to look like anyway? Let us take a look:
September 13, 2106

Western Europe has perfected the four day work week. The European Union has been around for so long that what was once known as individual countries is now the rough equivalent of self governing provinces or states. There is free passage between them and their shared currency is stronger than ever. But not all is perfect. Certain religious groups still feel the pain for being blamed for crimes of the past. They segregate themselves to ghettos, a small number being fully withdrawing into themselves and even a smaller number growing ever so angry towards those not like themselves. A small relief comes from a movement towards returning to the lands of their ancestors which are finally recovering from years of conflict and with the losing interest in what is left of their oil have embraced the global culture and become more tolerant after decades of xenophobia.

Tiny cells of hate still exist, they always will and not just here and not just with the Muslims. The cycle will inevitably continue. But the bigger picture is that the Arabian Union is for now, an example of stability. They hope that the recent acceptance of Israel as well as Palestine into the union will serve as an example to many and a sign of things to come.

The United States is still fifty states strong and is still the military powerhouse. They no longer have the same regard they had in the past, but they still make decent movies every now and then. The coasts have become overpopulated and over grown, with the East Coast finding more room by building upwards (and recently finished completion of the first two thousand story building) and the West Coast reclaiming more and more land from the sea (much to the chagrin of environmental activists). The gulf coast has been mostly depopulated due to constant barrages from hurricanes and Florida is now half underwater from rising sea levels.

The United States is one of the remaining countries and the last superpower to still depend on fossil fuels although they are catching up with the rest of the world in using more environmental friendly resources. A small isolationist movement exists, mostly in the southern states and religion has become a bigger influence on the whole as thirty four states are no longer teaching evolution in their public schools. Many believe this the reason that Canada has left the American Union making history by applying to the European Union.

Mexico is still a popular spring break destination. The rain forests are still there and are still in danger.

The sex ban that began a hundred years ago today in Columbia has been officially lifted. The gang wars that initiated the ban ended years ago but the ban remained in place although not enforced. Many believe this to be the beginning point that led Columbia to be the first homosexual majority place on Earth (see how it all began at the historical archives at

The nations of Africa have put in a consideration to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to form a Union as well. Many believe that their proposed union will help cease the various border wars as well as maybe get their current environmental crisis back under control. In 2066, the hole in the ozone layer expanded to cover a third of the southern portion of the continent. Populations moved north which led to the aforementioned border wars. There is fear that the wars could spread to the Arabian Union, but experts believe that fear to have no ground. The United Nation believes a decision to the unionization of the African nations will come no sooner than 2015.

Meanwhile, the new Asian Union is still trying to find itself. Experts believe that the Union is too big at the moment, that Australia should not have been accepted and the vast economic differences amongst it members would make a shared currency next to impossible for the near future. The Asian Union headquarters is in Manila.

The Japanese are still the forerunners of new technology and recently presented to the world the first genuine artificial intelligence. It currently takes up two buildings worth of processors and reads at a fourth grade level. The team responsible for Pikachu, as they lovingly call it, claim that after twenty years of refining, they can get it down to just one building worth of processors and maybe have the reading ability on par with those who have studied in the school systems that do not believe in evolution.

Richard Branson is continuing working with his team in Japan at cybertronic implantations in replacing body parts. At 156 years, having conquered the entertainment and travel industries, he now considers living to be 250 years old to be his final frontier. His space tourism company just flew up its first batch of middle class passengers (mostly Chinese and a few Americans). His company has just broke ground on a facility that will begin lunar tourism boosted by the recent first manned expedition to Mars (touchdown is expected early next year).

China recently hosted its first real democratic election. And newly independent Hong Kong still makes the best action movies in the world (and Malaysia, the best comedies). America still outsources jobs to India.

Tibet is finally free.

Boldly Going Somewhere...

September 08, 2006

Bjork’s people have a lot to answer for.

According to , Iceland will begin selling whale meat to the Faroe Islands. They are defying international bans on the trading of threatened species and increasing the possibility of illegal kills. Like Norway and Japan, Iceland kills cetaceans using the excuse of scientific purposes. Yeah, right is what I say. This sucks big time. The whaling countries are trying to expand the number of whales they catch each year. Is whale meat really that tasty? I guess they do not like beef.

You know what, just go ahead and kill them all already. That way you can just finally shut up and show us how great you were in harpooning these majestic animals through the head. We do need the whales anyway. When the ecosystem collapses, hah, it was not your fault anyway.

Oh, wait, it was your fault.

In a hundred years when the whales are gone, there will be nothing left in the oceans except for red tide and jellyfish.

And the lands will be full of blasted ruins, populated by the survivors of the vast radiation sicknesses and are still looking for new ways to exploit the land.

On another note, Gwen Stefani is releasing a line of dolls based on her likeness and her Harakuju Girls. If you are going to buy them, you might as well buy the Mickey Rooney action figure, tape back your eyes, wear buck teeth and run around going ‘Me so solly’. The way she parades around with her Asian sidekicks/ accessories is just disgusting. Gwen Stefani is now dumped with aforementioned Mickey Rooney, Anti-Asian-crombie & Fitch, Adam Carolla and Sixteen Candles as some of the most annoying people/enterprises that promote just negative images into the public mind about what it is like to be an Asian American in today’s society.

And onto another note and this is the why do you have to be all lumped together like that category. KMFDM and Combichrist are coming into town next month and I am all stoked about that. But the next day, Covenant, Rotersand and Imperative Reaction are also playing and the day after that the Pet Shop Boys are in town. It reminds me of the time when I first saw Depeche Mode. The same day they played, New Order was also in town.

It is what I call the Typical Joe Luck (patterned after the Typical Parker Luck if you read Spiderman). The Typical Joe Luck can be a couple of things. It is when bad things happen in threes (or more), car problems when you least expect it, missed opportunities or just bad timing. Bad timing is the usual culprit when Typical Joe Luck happens. Like when six bands are playing that you like are playing in October and they are all playing one day after the other leaving you penniless when all is said and done. Plus the Austin Record Convention is also in October, plus as usual Neil Gaiman releases like ten new books in a row. Stoopid typical Joe Luck.
That and plus VNV Nation are playing a one time, will be kick ass show in L.A. and it is already probably sold out even if I could go.

Onto a slightly happier note and this is for the geek in me. First I would like to say:

The final frontier.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Its five-year mission:
To explore strange new worlds;
To seek out new life and new civilizations;
To boldly go where no man has gone before.

Today is the fortieth anniversary of Star Trek, the show which left millions of thirty year olds in the basements of their parents and gave birth to the modern fanboy. It is also the show that inspired the first African American woman to become an astronaut, the show that inspired millions to become scientists and explores, the show that treated all humans equally regardless of their skin color (Sulu still kicks ass) and the show that even today dares to propose to us that the future could be a place where we all want to live.

An example is last night Holly and I were watching an episode of the Next Generation. I saw a lot of TNG when they originally aired but not all of them and this is the first time Holly has watched the show. The episode was also one that I have never watched before. There was a scene where Data was acting as the Captain as Riker and Picard were both missing. His acting first officer, the Klingon Worf had a disagreement and voiced his opinions in front of the crew. Data took him aside and asked him, that as first officer, it is his responsibility to support the decisions of the captain, not question him. Data also apologized if this was to end their friendship as Klingons are the stereotypically hot blooded and quick to battle.

But instead, Worf and Data took care of it professionally with Worf, putting his feelings and acting, as Holly put, like an adult. I do not think we see that in any show today, sci fi or otherwise. TV shows today would amp up the conflict and take it as far as it can go. I have to agree that it makes good TV, but sometimes, it is nice to see on TV characters acting in a way that shows that not all disagreements do not end with a batleth up your rear.

All the Star Trek shows displayed a future where we all would want to live in, even the less popular incarnations like Voyager and Enterprise. They make it seem that despite all our foibles, we all strive to be better people and we all strive to make the world (and universe) a better place to live in and that to those that do not care to make the world a better place, we would be an example to them. And of course, they show that we would continue to expand our horizons seeking out new concepts, new cities, new ways to do and think about things and of course, new worlds and civilizations, boldly going where we have never gone before.

Live long and prosper.

And on that note: the following is cut and pasted from the official Star Trek site regarding the big convention in Vegas not too long ago during a panel with Sulu, Chekov and Uhura. Or at least the actors who portrayed them:

Takei got several praises from fans "for being 'out' there for us," as one put it. One audience member who came to the mike commended him for teaching tolerance by his actions, both as a gay man and as a Japanese-American who was detained in an internment camp during World War II. Takei responded:

"We're really talking about America and the fundamental ideals that made this country great. But you know, what's really worrisome is not only what happened more than 60 years ago, but what is happening to us today. We've got to relate history to today as well ... When Pearl Harbor was bombed, this entire country was terrorized. And acting on terror, they rounded up people on the West Coast who looked like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. We'd done nothing, there were no charges, no trial, no attorneys, no due process - we were simply rounded up and incarcerated in these barbed wire prison camps. The same thing is happening today" with Arabs, he said, apparently referring to the Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and "extraordinary rendition" controversies over detention and torture.

Takei continued, "We have to be mindful and be able to act on the ideals of this country. And you know, when we talk about national security issues - to illustrate how crazy our policy makers are, we have intelligence that's key to dealing with terrorism. Do you know that the military intelligence service is kicking out Arabic-speaking intelligence officers simply because they happen to be gay? Isn't that stupid?! Which is more important, national security or homophobia?!" Applause from the audience.

His ire rising, he went further: "You know, clearly with this administration what's more important are the silly issues, like homophobia, when national security is a critical issue ... I mean, George Bush says" - immediately there were grumblings from certain parts of the audience - "stay the course. Stay the course?! It's a disaster in Iraq! This man isn't able to deal with reality!" (Robust applause from the general audience.) "George Bush is staying on course" - (boos from a few) - "with that incompetent Donald Rumsfeld" - (a mixture of chagrin and delight from the audience) - "and that's who brought us to this ridiculous, disastrous point." General applause and supportive shout-outs.

"So I think it's very important that we know our history, and our history books have been much too mute on the incarceration of American citizens... What?" Someone in the audience shouted "Left Coast loser!" Takei said, "What? Who's a Left Coast loser?" "You are!" "Oh," Takei laughed, "oh I see! Well, you know, we believe in diversity of opinion as well, and so, y'know, you're entitled to your opinion. But if you look at the reality - last month over 2,000 Iraqis died. That's double what died in January. You're the loser in this case!" Applause and cheers from most of the audience.

Getting back somewhat on topic, he proceeded, "Star Trek believes in diversity, and Nichelle, Walter and I represent that diversity. Nichelle and I represented the ethnic diversity, Walter represented political diversity, because back in the '60s, we were locked in a Cold War. Two great nations threatening each other with nuclear mutual annihilation. Stupid, stupid! Gene Roddenberry saw beyond that, and he visualized a starship with Americans and Russians working side by side." Nichols pointed out, "And an alien!"

Takei continued, "And the amazing thing is, what was science fiction back then? You know, science fiction, political fiction, social fiction, is now reality. What do we have up in space? The International Space Station. A crew made of people from all over this planet, and we have Americans and Russians working side by side. It's reality!" Applause. "And I think that's why we're all here celebrating the 40th anniversary. Star Trek was a show not only with vision, but ideals and principles that we all subscribe to, and thank you for giving us this longevity that we never dreamt of."

"And George," added Nichols, "in keeping with what you're talking about, Gene Roddenberry said it best when he created IDIC - Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. It's what makes the world, this universe, beautiful and worth living in."

"And now, it's Walter turn!" smiled Takei as he faced a reticent Koenig. Koenig was still reeling from the unusually charged moment. "I'm just waiting for a question!" he finally remarked.

The next question was, what can fans do to get Koenig a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? (He's the only principle cast member from the Original Series without one.)

"You know, after the weight, the justifiable weight, of the previous conversation, it seems a bit trivial to talk about a Hollywood star," Koenig initially responded. Nichols interjected, "I think it's as vital as anything else."

"Well, bless your heart," Koenig obliged. "Of course, my silence notwithstanding, I totally support what George and Nichelle have said. We live in dire times, and ... with the possible exception of the silly man over there..." (referring to "Left Coast loser" guy) "...Star Trek fans do come together and have a homogeneous point of view in terms of trying to achieve some kind of world where we can all live together - where there is peace and we have our cultural differences and our ethnic differences ... and still we manage to find a unity and a purpose that can move us into the future together. That's what this is all about, and you folks, time after time, have proven to us that you want to be part of that. I think that's the most inspirational thing about Star Trek these days, are the fans, and how they have marshaled their forces to help that come true."

Turning back to the question at hand: "Um, the star, yeah, that would be nice. I mean, I'd like to know that I was here! And before it becomes a posthumous ceremony! The money is all raised, people came through, it was great." But, Koenig said, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and "one individual in particular who has evidently expressed himself by saying that 'enough is enough' as far as Star Trek is concerned" still need to be convinced. "I'm not sure that pressuring would do any good, it'd probably just get his back up. So we'll just go on and we'll see - we're going to re-apply next year, and perhaps next year it'll work out."

"Oh, I don't know if enough is enough. I don't know that enough is enough," protested Nichols. She argued that pressure is in order, in the form of letters from the fans. "It's a travesty that Chekov is not there."

"Yes, do write in to the Hollywood Chamber, because I look forward to the day when I can walk right over and all over Walter's good name!" George laughed.

A little later in the hour, Nichols was asked to comment, as a "groundbreaking character" herself, what new ground she would like to see Star Trek break next. Her response:

"I think I would like to see this country reach its highest potential, so that democracy really means what it's supposed to mean - not one person's ideal, but a collective in which we can live together, live differently, appreciate one another's differences, not 'in spite of' our differences. If you tell me that you love me 'in spite of' my color I resent it - I don't love you in spite of yours. I take people one on one, and I see in your eyes when I look at you and you look at me, and if I'm there, then I know we're one. And that's what this world is supposed to be about, and that's why we have a country as close to that opportunity as any country has ever come."

"And sir," she continued, addressing the "Left Coast loser" guy, and her voice occasionally cracking, "I am proud that we live in a country where you too can speak your mind, your opinion." (Applause.) "I believe that it is incumbent on every American, if you are going to be proud, if you are going to deserve being an American, if I'm going to deserve being an American, to never ever ever ever ever let terrorizing words, degrading words, make me less than American. I will stand tall, and if there is a 9/11 every week, they will not scare me!" (Rising applause.) "And they will not scare me to rescind my liberties, my rights, under the Constitution of this United States. I will not give George Bush the right to type my conversations without cause" - referring, apparently, to the warrantless wiretapping controversy. "I will not do it. I will not allow them to frighten me from flying. I will not do it. I will not live in terror, I will not do it. And then I can say, [Ganeesha] bless America."

As the rousing applause died down, Nichols uttered, "God bless you," and the fans responded in kind. Then to lighten things up, Koenig shouted off-mike, "Next question for George!"

But Nichols had clearly worked herself into an emotional state. After a moment she stood, put her mike down, said "I think I got a little overwrought," and proceeded to leave the stage. "I mean every word of it and I love you all." The audience applauded and responded in kind.

It was a moving yet awkward moment, especially for the poor fan who had just started asking the next question.

Takei and Koenig continued answering questions for the final 10 minutes of their session, with some praise from Koenig for William Shatner: "He was the right man at the right time to play Captain Kirk ... and I think that's why the show, despite the fact that we're four decades old, continues to have a shelf life." And Takei spoke further, in less charged tones, about issues of discrimination, but also extended an olive branch toward "Left Coast loser" guy: "I respect this gentlemen who had the courage to speak up because he has different political ideas, and it's that kind of discussion that makes my political ideas that much stronger. And I would advise you to relate your political ideas to the realities that are happening on the ground."

Once it was time to wrap up, Takei and Koenig stood and spontaneously broke out into a rendition of "[Buddha] Bless America." It was at that point that Nichols came back on stage, and joined them arm-in-arm for the final refrain: "[Vishnu] bless America, our home sweet home."


The Croc Guy & VNV in L.A.

September 5, 2006

Steve Irwin passed away this weekend.

That sucks.

He was a cool guy. A guy who was a show off, but his enthusiasm for what he did as well as his activism towards conservation, wildlife preservation and the environment made up for it. He and his organization bought land in Australia, Fiji, Vanuatu and the United States to be just left alone so animals can have places to live that will not be razed to be an apartment complex or a mall in a couple of years. Plus, you cannot help but enjoy his antics. The world is definitely a lesser place due to his loss. Although, not to be disrespectful or anything, but I wonder if the last thing he thought was: Look at the size of that thing!

Now, I gotta watch his movie in remembrance of him (yes, I happen to own it).

Reminds me of an old friend from Casa Pacifica, the crazy and funny Melissa Taylor-Cachon (although I believe she dropped the hyphen and is just a Taylor now). An animal crazy person, she once took off a couple of weeks from work to hang out with big cats and now lives in the San Diego are and is working with wild life. And yes, working with the children at Casa Pacifica does prepare you to work with the beasties. A huge Crocodile Hunter fan and as the legend goes, once upon a time she got too excited on a trip to Universal City’s City Walk seeing a life sized stand up of Steve Irwin, bought it and spent the rest of the day annoying the tourists as she proceeded not to put it in her car as any sane person would do and just walk all over the place with it.

All I can say is crikey.

I am not a beer drinker, but if I were, I would down a can (or six) of Foster’s in your memory, Steve.

(Funniest tribute- from AICN Talkbacks: Steve is currently in heaven wrasssling Jesus’ jaws shut. Crikey, that is one frisky Son of Gawd!)

FYI: If you can go to this-GO! I guarantee you will have a good time. If you do not, you suck anyway:

VNV Nation live in LA @ Das Bunker 10th Anniversary

We wanted to let you know about a special event we're doing in Los Angeles. We will be playing a special VNV Nation live show on Friday, October 13th at the Das Bunker 10 year anniversary.

As it's their 10th Anniversary, we felt it only fair to give the show a bit of a twist. We've decided to do a strictly "classic" concert which means we'll only be playing songs from "Advance and Follow", "Praise and Fallen" and from the "Empires / Burning Empires" era. There'll be a lot of songs that haven't been played in years as well as a few other surprises. There will also be special merch available to mark the event. All in all, this is definitely going to be a special evening. This is the same club that started spinning tracks from our "Advance and Follow" album 10 years ago and helped us get a start in North America so we're very happy to be a part of their birthday celebrations.

Alongside the VNV Nation live show there will be a live show by W.A.S.T.E. and your regular Das Bunker DJs playing the best in industrial electronic music until 4am.

The show is 18 and over and is strictly limited to 900 tickets. This event will sell out quickly so make sure to get your tickets early.

For more info, please check out the Das Bunker site. Tickets are available online and every Friday night in LA at Das Bunker.

As for other VNV info - more releases are up and coming this year and a new album will be released in 2007 followed by a world tour. All the latest news is posted in the blog on our myspace page so please subscribe to the blog if you want to keep up to date with all the latest news. Every time we post an update you'll get it in your inbox and the message won't get lost in the oblivion that is the bulletin folder.

best wishes,
Ronan and Mark

p.s. for all you who ask, the myspace page is official. It's linked off the main homepage at so we hope that's proof enough.




15th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture on Sept. 9

Contact: Winston Emano
Alison De La Cruz
Tel. (323) 913-4663

WHAT: Southern Californias largest community tradition of Filipino arts and culture, the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) celebrates its 15th Annual with the theme Diwang Sumisikat (The Spirit of the Community Rising).The two-day event features:

Live Entertainment on two stages featuring:
Rex Navarette, Florante, Bernardo Bernardo, The Visionaries, Native Guns, Joey Guila, Charmaine Clamor, a special appearance by Kuh Ledesma, and very special celebrity guests!Films at the 13th Annual PinoyVisions8th Annual FPAC Balagtasan Poetry Slam7th Annual Vegetable Competition6rd Annual FPAC Amateur DJ Battle (w/ Stacks Vinyl)Literary Festival and Filipiniana BooksArts and crafts, storytelling at the Youth PavilionAti-atihan paradeLive Art and PaintingsFilipino & Asian CuisineTraditional Dance & Martial ArtsShopping at the Marketplace by the Sea, and MORE!!!

WHO: The annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture is annually produced by FilAm ARTS, a non-profit, multi-disciplinary community arts organization whose mission is to advance the understanding of the arts and rich cultural heritage of Filipino Americans in the United States through presentation, education and art services.WHEN: September 9 and 10, 2006 Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Point Fermin Park 807 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90731


COST: Two Day Pass @ $5, Single Day @ $3, Parking is FREE.

SPONSORED BY: National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, City of Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs, 13th District Councilman Eric Garcetti, 15th District Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Alliance for CA Traditional Arts, and The Getty Foundation. Corporate Sponsors: AAA Automobile Club, Bestway Supermarkets, Blue Cross of CA, Mama Sitas, Normandie Casino, Philippine Expressions Bookshop, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo Bank. Media Sponsors: LA-18, KPFK, and The Filipino Channel.

For the Festival myspace,
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