Chuck Sucks

January Something, 2007 (and we are almost into February too- what’s up with that?)

Chuck Norris was in town this past weekend. I have memories growing up of his b-movies and I know the locals love him because of his TV show. But there is only one Texas Ranger out there buddy, and his name if Jim Reid. High yo, freaking Silver.

Anyway, I used to love those facts that people out there (and apparently he did too) until I found out that Chuck does not believe in evolution. Never trust a man who does not believe in evolution. Who knew he was just another Jesus Freak? Nothing against Jesus Freaks by the way, just either stay away from me or do not try to sell your views on to me.

And besides, Chuck apparently does fear two men (one, obviously, is Jesus). The other one is Jack Bauer.

Taken from various places online:

1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.

There were originally five horsemen of the apocalypse. Jack Bauer said he would travel by foot.

Jack Bauer sleeps with a gun under the pillow. But he could kill you with the pillow.

When life hands Jack Bauer Lemons, he kills Terrorists. Jack Bauer hates lemonade.

As a boy, Jack Bauer interrogated his parents on Easter until they revealed the location and contents of each hidden egg.

Nostradamus once predicted in his journal: "In the century 21st, the one known as Jacques will be the savior of the world... five seasons in a row." Moments later, Jack Bauer knocked down the door, shot Nostradamus in the kneecaps, and yelled "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!"

Jack Bauer is the reason Waldo is hiding.

The only thing elephants used to fear was mice. Until they hurt one of Jack Bauer's friends.

Under intense interrogation by Jack Bauer, the fifth dentist cracked and admitted he recommends Trident for his patients who chew gum.

Jack Bauer helped U-2 find what they were looking for.

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The Ice is back with a brand new invention...

January Something, 2007

Okay, I may be late with this, but hey- was it not cold this past week? A couple days of what they call freezing precipitation also known as rain that freezes as soon as it makes contact with something, sleet, sneet, and yes, snow in Texas. Oh, and graupel. Graupel. Graupel. Graupel.

I am just happy that we were not still at the apartment when this happened- I would have had severe cabin fever for sure. Austin right now reminds me of Chicago in the winter. And I have not seen the sun in at least a week.

And please, no more ice on the roads.

Apparently, the same thing happened back home in the San Fernando Valley. Complete with graupel.

And onto some other stuff:

24 POWER HOUR REVIEW!

Jack reprises his Lost Boys roots! Middle Eastern Carotid Artery tastes like falafel! Jack Cries like a Baby! Kumar is Not Funny! He kills redneck racist bastards dead! Buchanan says DAMMIT first! Guy from Season One is now Middle Management! Chloe is Hot! Her Husband is Schtoppel! Or Mr. Jones! Take Your Pick! Let’s Invade Granada Hills! Or Blow up Valencia! What will ever happen to Six Flags Magic Mountain Now!? That was my Favourite Theme Park! Is there a Hellmouth underneath the President’s office!? Hey, it’s the chick from Millennium! That was the guy from the Matrix! It’s Bashir! A guy from Ghostbusters II! They have four more (visitors that is)! Knife to the knee! RIP Black Bauer!

Seriously though, the scene with Jack biting the guy’s neck is right up there with the hacksaw bit that opened up season 2. It was spoiled to me that Black Bauer dies, but the look he gave Jack as he passes on is priceless. Dude, that is betrayal right there.

Four DAMMIT’s out of Five!

And in a related genre, because of the ice days I had the opportunity to watch the whole fourth season of MI-5/Spooks in its entirety. Despite a weak (but still decent) opening two parter, this show still rules. The original trio is long gone and Adam Carter steps up to the plate to take over for all of them (his co-stars do not really have the same impact as Zoë or Danny did). The dynamic is different now, and it is not as intense as the previous seasons. But the shows still have that theatrical appeal and production values and make sixty minutes feel like a full blown two hour movie. Hell, most movies pale next to an episode of this show. And they always leave you wanting more. It sucks that now I have to wait another year before being able to watch the next season, especially when spoilers are everywhere on the net. Damn, you BBC.

And speaking of the BBC, I finally got the second series of the new Doctor Who. All of the episodes have been spoiled for me due to the internet and especially You Tube. But the Christmas Invasion was totally awesome (despite borrowing too much from the Joss Whedon School of story telling-SATSUMAS!). New Earth had a third act that just dragged but a sweet ending that made it worthwhile (although a little hard to swallow). But it goes to show that all you need sometimes is a good ending to pull through. Decent stuff and I am really looking forward to watching the rest of the season.

What I did not get (yet): Tom Yum Goong AKA The Protector, Tony Jaa’s latest movie. Ong Bak was totally cool, very old school HK-Style action. Eventually, though.


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24 Heroes

January Something, 2007

Oh, did I almost for get to mention this?

THE 24 POWER HOUR RETURNS THIS SUNDAY!

DAMMIT!

Last year I posted my thoughts on the show the day after it aired. I am not sure I can do it this year, but who knows? I have no life anyway. But how can I watch Heroes now? My favourite Doctor Who is on that show now. I am too poor to afford TIVO and too dumb to work the VCR. They should just smoosh the shows into one.

In the span on less than a day, Jack will beat up Sylar, get tortured by the Haitian, beat up the Haitian, get captured and tortured by the buy with the Horn Rimmed Glasses, beat him up (and torture him), teams up with Hiro (who later gets killed by Adrian Pasdar’s character who turns out to be the real bad guy), Naked Mandy shows up and kills Ali Larter’s character for existing, Audrey Raines pulls some political strings to get Jack close to Adrian Pasdar who reveals he still sleeps in a box, Chloe uses her taser on everyone, the Doctor shows up in his TARDIS and Chloe becomes his new companion, Mohinder says something in a voiceover, gets run over by a CTU vehicle, the junkie starts painting nothing but flowers and lives happily ever after but then gets beaten up and tortured by Jack, the kid from Gilmore Girls walks into a wall and gets stuck, BHEROOOOOOOOOOOZ!, Jack finally gets to Adrian Pasdar, beats him up and stops New York from blowing up.

The Cheerleader gets eaten by the cougar.

Seriously, I am looking forward to the new season of 24.


On other stuff:

They are going to be bending it like Beckham in Los Angeles as that guy is now going to be playing for the LA Galaxy. That elicits an ‘eh’ from me.



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Driving from Northridge to Austin (revisited)

January Something, 2007

The Drive from Northridge, Ca to Austin

Originally posted on 11/22/2005 on the blogspot page:

One of the things I was researching the internet madly before I got here was for any information regarding the drive from So Cal to Austin, Texas…I wanted to know how long it took, what places you should stop at and the like…the only thing I found was some biker’s trip there and it wasn’t helpful…so here’s my account:

I left Northridge on the 26th of July at 8pm pacific standard time and got to Texas on the 27th of July at 11pm central time…so what- that is 25 hours? I was driving a 1991 Acura that that was filled with stuff ( I loaded to the brim but I made sure I had a good view through my rear view mirror of the back), my passenger seat was the same (loaded but made sure I could see my mirror), a bunch of snack bars, a case of MONSTER and of course, my two cats, their beds and a litter box (and leashes if I ever wanted to stop the car and let the out for a breather…)

Now, if you can get your pets there safely some other way- do it…we could not fly with our cats because:
1) They were too heavy to ride in the passenger compartment with us
2) The airlines will not guarantee their safe arrival at the destination…and there are stories out there of people’s animals reaching somewhere frozen to death…pets are treated like baggage by airlines- not living things.

Also, if you can find some other way that driving to get to Austin from So Cal do it…I was willing to ship my car with our stuff and just fly or take a train (no passenger train goes from Los Angeles to Austin, just San Antonio- and they do not let you take pets either)- but the cat situation forced me to drive…which is usually something I don’t mind- but the whole stress of the move was getting to me…and then, taking the 118 East exit from Reseda- an exit I’ve taken millions of times before and realizing it was the last time I’d be taking the exit for a long time…ai yah…

Anyway- back to the drive…I downed a whole can of Monster before leaving at 6pm on July 27th, 2005 and had one open in the car as I was driving…nevertheless I was dead tired by 11pm and needed a rest…I was taking the 118 east to the 210 east and then the 10 east for about 1000 plus miles…the 10 would take me to Phoenix, to El Paso, to Albuquerque, to El Paso, to San Antonio where I switched to the 35 north to the 183 north. But anyway, about 11pm, I did my first rest stop and pee break. I did what I had to do and then did some shut eye- at that point I just wanted to catch a break as I was swerving that too-tired-to-drive-swerve. I napped for ½ an hour- much less that I thought I needed but I felt rested enough to drive again…

Reached the border at about 2:30am, filled up on gas and said goodbye good bye to California…and as the Governator would say, “I’LL BE BACK.”

At about 5:30am I reached Phoenix…this was in the middle of a severe heat wave of which I could feel even at that early inside an air conditioned car…but the streets empty and I was able to breeze through the city pretty quickly…although on the other side of Phoenix were several accidents, but it was early enough to escape any gridlock…

One of the reasons I left at night was because of the heat wave- I have an older car, the two cats and I am not very fond of extreme heat either (despite living in the San Fernando Valley for seven years and now living in Texas)…so I was expecting a stop somewhere as the sun came up across the desert…the sunrise over Arizona was an awesome sight…it was coming up as I came up through classic American desert scenery- cacti, weird geological formations and all, really wished I could stop and enjoy it all, but from the car will do…for now…I think I stopped at about 8am to stretch my legs, call Holly and drain the lizard…I forget the names most of the towns…

The cats seemed to be enjoying the trip (much more than me anyway) and were more active that I would think…the fat one actually made an effort to sit in my lap- which he never does anywhere else…and both seemed to enjoy the view outside as we sped by…both walked the little space above the baggage- although every now and then I had to be rough as they tired to go to the area where my feet (and the brakes) were…it’s also safe to assume that by this time I was covered in fur…fortunately for the whole trip neither made a mad dash out the car or laid a steaming, stinking pile of crap.

Reached the border to New Mexico at about late morning (10am or so)…I think I stopped just past it for a another 30 minute nap…but New Mexico- was at least visually unremarkable…it was still morning cool at this point…if I had more time I would have loved to detoured and seen the white sands, the VL array and since I was watching a lot of X-Files at that point- Roswell…but, that’s another trip for another time…New Mexico only took a couple of hours to get through…although it there was gridlock at Albuquerque…but it wasn’t too bad…just annoying…

Then, Texas in the early afternoon at which point I had traveled 500 miles or so of my 1000+ mile journey…nothing really remarkable about the border crossing except things all of a sudden looked a little dirtier…but not of all of Texas is dirty- although there does seem to be more litter here that in So Cal generally…

El Paso was a lot bigger than I thought and was my sleepover point if I had been too tired to continue…Holly, at the time, had a co worker who had a brother in El Paso who was willing to let me crash for a couple of hours (side note: the day I left Casa one of the guys said his parents had a winter home there or something and could also have let me stay there…wish I had known sooner, but thanks John Ruff!). However, since I reeked of Monster, bad breath and was covered in cat fur along with the fact that I wasn’t tired- in fact I was pretty awake I pressed on and left the last big town for about 450 miles…

Now, the one thing I did hear about the drive was that once you passed El Paso there was nothing till San Antonio…which is mostly true- it’s like hitting mostly nothing after Santa Barbara on the way to San Francisco but magnified because of the huge distance…

After El Paso was about 100 miles of flat land, 150 miles of hills and a couple hundred miles of country…now, they also had markers for every mile from the border and it was a straight shot from the border to San Antonio…which annoyed me to no end because it kept reminding me how far away I was from my destination…very much like Sisyphus and his stupid rock…thinking about it now still pisses me off…if I had gone insane anywhere along the trip it would’ve been due to those stupid mile markers…

Anyway, so far along the trip…in a severe heat wave…it was overcast as I sped though the first third of my way through…then in the distance, lightning- which I usually love to look at except I was in flat country…

Another rest stop and I was at the hilly portion of the drive- which isn’t bad at all- no huge inclines or anything and with the weight I was carrying a relief…it was here to that I passed from Pacific Standard Time to Central. The funniest thing was that there was a road sign proclaiming that fact…made me want to stop, get out of the car and jump from one side of the sign to the other yelling “It’s one o’clock, no- it’s three o’clock!” But that would be childish…

And then it started to rain…and rain quite a bit…not a deluge like So Cal gets during El Nino years but enough to get a bit…chilly…and that I had to use my defoggers…figures that I was expecting a heat wave and I get rain…

It rained quite a bit through the hills and into the country portion of the drive…but noting too bad as I said…

At this point I had stopped though a couple of rest stops (some were just that rest stops with no bathroom facilities…), was a bit fatigued but mostly just wanted to get the whole thing over with…the freeway was after El Paso just mostly a two lane highway, traffic was minimal even when passing though the small towns…the weather was still overcast/rainy so I have no idea what it’ll be like to drive thorough when the sun is out…

Traffic did a get a bit heavier as I go closer to San Antonio which I reached at about 9pm (central time)…stopped for gas, called Holly and left relived that the last leg of the journey was about to start. The cats at this point were less active and did more sleeping although for a while the fat one kept crying for me to pet it…at one point I thought it’d lose its voice…then I left the 10 freeway- last link to So Cal…

From San Antonio to Austin is about 80 miles so, a bit more than an hour on a good day…but then again, this is me we’re talking about so I encountered what I thought I left behind in So Cal- heavy grid lock. There was construction and rain and thunder and lightning- though I couldn’t see the lightning through the heavy clouds…if you’re looking to move to Austin to escape traffic- go somewhere else- it’s as heavy here as it is in LA- difference is that it’s a way smaller city- so, it can be not as bad…

Also the freeways a smaller, lanes are fewer (and smaller) and there’s the phenomenon known as frontage roads (which are just roads that run parallel to the freeway)…most (if not all) are one way only so if you miss your exit or turn it might be a few miles before you can turn around and find your bearings…

Got to the apartment at 11pm on the 28th of July 2005 in the rain after almost missing the entrance to the compound…tired as hell with two cats, a car full of shit (but not cat shit, I guess they were holding it in), happy to see Holly after a month, happy to shower and brush my teeth and sleep like a normal person and not in the car…

So my advice to anyone wanting to do a similar drive…DON’T. Unless you have an RV, or less shit to bring with, or if someone else is doing the driving or if you have a few days to spare and want to see the country…it’s not that bad a drive, I just don’t want to do it ever again…

POST SCRIPT
About eighteen months later and my opinion is still the same- fly, do not drive unless you have the luxury of time and money.

I used to think about the drive when I first got to Austin. I still do now and then but not so much. The drive drained me physically and emotionally as I was leaving a place I called home. But Holly and I have a place we can call ours now.

The apartment we lived in was at times bearable and other times horrible. There was a week when we had no running water, neighbours who thought they lived in a dump, the time we saw the place on the news because it was apparently burning down, the month we could not get mail because the mailboxes were vandalized and the time the sewage overflowed. The swimming pool was always green, the gym had rusty equipment and people stole the pins to the weight machines. They could never fix the AC, so it was on even if it was 33 degrees outside. There were bugs. And we heard police sirens every night. The zip code it was in was apparently the fifth most crime infested in Austin. I thank god, Buddha, Vishnu, Allan and the Great Pumpkin that we survived living there. Oh, and the apartment was immediately filled by new tenants because we cleaned it before we left and they saw how clean it was (the apartment adjoining ours was deemed uninhabitable because the crap the precious tenants left attracted vermin).

But at least I had a roof under my head; nothing bad happened while we lived there and in the long run, that is what counts. After the drive to Texas, I have had enough of sleeping in the car.

And as Forrest Gump would say, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.


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First Post of the year

January something, 2007

The Birthday Massacre’s new song Kill The Lights is on their MySpace page and it is as good as when I first heard it live almost a year ago.

Perfect way to start off the New Year.

Not a good way to start off the year? Pondering the price of comics. There is an editorial on www.chud.com about how the guy stopped his weekly habit of buying the individual issues of comics and just buying the trades. Now, my preferred way of reading a storyline in comics is the classic way of issue by issue- even if it is buying the whole storyline and waiting till the storyline has concluded prior to even to start reading the story. But the minimum price nowadays for at least 22 pages of story is $2.99. That is a gallon of gas nowadays (give or take about fifty cents). Plenty of comics with the same page count retail of $3.99 and up. Pretty soon, I believe even I would go the trade route…

Comics are as good as they ever been but they are pricing themselves out of my reach.

Pasadena Rose Parade? I have never been despite living not about thirty miles from where it happens for about seven years. I love Pasadena; it is my number two place of where I would live if I could live anywhere (number one is Santa Barbara). I tried going to see the floats once or twice but usually by the time I have time to go see them the floats are gone. Watching it on TV is incredibly boring. But I tell ya, seeing the 501st Legion and all the Star Wars related costumes was a blast and was the only time I would have considered braving the chilly temperatures to get a spot along the route (and believe me, Southern California in the winter time can still be pretty cold no matter who you talk to).

PS: Star Wars and I are thirty this year.

PPS: God still hates me.

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