Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Disappearing "Manly-Man"

Today, I was walking into my floor bathroom in my summer dorm, when I caught off-guard this guy who was trying to flex his muscles in front of a mirror. Startled, the guy suddenly turned on the sink and started to pretend that he was washing his hands and face, despite the fact that, judging from the towel he had wrapped around his waist, he was getting ready to head into the shower. Now, let's forget the fact that this guy is 5'2 and looks like a reject from "Blood In, Blood Out" . What was really funny about this encounter was that, while I was washing my own hands in an effort to remove some nasty ink from a pen that had exploded on me, he just kept on running his hands in the water, apparently waiting for me to leave. This went on for a literal 4 minutes. Once I noticed he was waiting for me, I decided that I was going to wash out every single little ink blotch that was on my hands, and took my sweet time doing it, too, just to torture him. Finally, after I decided that I had enough of the little game, I dried my hands and walked out, freeing him to do whatever he was going to do.

...At least for a couple of minutes...

I had to run back in the bathroom after my body suddenly realized that it had to pee, so, when I ran in, I just felt a breeze of air as this little brown blur ran from the sink area and into the shower. Before I could even ask myself what the hell was going on, it was then that I smelled IT...

...The unmistakable odor of Noxema cleansing cream.

That's right, people. Our little muscle man didn't want to be caught using a "girlie man" facewash. Because, God forbid that I see this stunning hunk of machismo cover his face with white eucalyptus cream. Hell, for all we know, he could've also sliced some cucumbers and placed those on his eyelids to "keep the bags away." After all, we all know how much of a social taboo it is to find out that a guy WASHES HIS FACE with something other than soap, for crying out loud!


Look, buddy. You don't have to make an ass of yourself to cover up the fact that you use Noxzema to wash your face. There's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, y'know. I mean, we could do without you attempting to flex your muscles inside a public bathroom, but we'll leave that alone for now. Right now, just concern yourself with being proud of the fact that you maintain yourself. It doesn't make you any less of a man to do so.

Moral of this story? Be open and proud of what you do in your life and stop trying to pretend that you're fitting some damn norm. If you don't, well, then you'll eventually run into people like me who will just make you the butt of jokes for years to come.


Two-Steppin' to Dave Matthews

It was only recently that I had my live concert cherry popped when I went to go see the band, Incubus, live, in Rochester, NY. (As briefly mentioned in this old November entry.) Last week, or so, Patty called me up and asked me if I wanted to come through with her to see the Dave Matthews Band at Six Flags Darien Lake on July 27th. Now, even though I wasn't exactly the biggest DMB fan out there (I liked a couple of their songs, and was feeling the new album that they put out recently, "Stand Up"), I said yes, because, hey, I figured it would be cool to see what the big deal about DMB was. I had always heard that they were one of the best live performing bands out there, so whatever, off I went to Six Flags with Patty, for the second time in a week...

OH MY was freaking awesome. The concert exceeded all my expectations and then some. It was simply awesome. The capacity crowd at the place was sizzling with this electricity that I've only seen at sporting venues, and you could tell that Dave and Co. were feeling that energy and putting it into their performance. I had so much fun just "discovering" (Columbus-style, lol) this band as they ripped through songs that they had released prior to their "Busted Stuff" album.

So now, here I am, 24 hours later, frantically trying to get a hold of some Dave Matthews and adding it to my burgeoning music collection... can you say, "BitTorrent?" :-)

(Still...DON'T STEAL MUSIC...unless, of course, it's not available on the iTunes Music Store, lol)

The GTA Looniness Continues!

I can't believe things like this are happening.

Wait, then again, I can. After all, this is America.

Some grandmother is suing Take-Two Interactive for "false-advertising" and "unfair business practices" over the recent "Hot Coffee" scandal in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game.

She complains that this M-Rated game (read, once again, not meant for people under the age of 17) should never have been sold to her son if GTA's creators had been upfront with the "Hot Coffee" hidden mini-game. Now, the thought that this content is in the game has caused her "much discomfort and anguish." And she wants a payday in order to call it even.

What fucking hogwash.

Let's read this again, shall we...the grandmother buys her 14-year old son (I repeat, 14-year old son) a game that was previously released as an "M-Rated" game. According to the ESRB (the people who are in charge of video game ratings):

"Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language."

It's right there in plain black and white. SEXUAL CONTENT. Gasp. That's exactly what the Hot Coffee mod is, you wrinkly turd. How can you claim that you were being deceived when the fact was that you ignored the initial M-Rating the game received before this whole mess blew out of proportion? Are we actually expected to believe that somehow, in your crazy mind, that it's perfectly okay for a 14-year old to play a game where you steal cars, pimp women, run over innocent bystanders, bitch-slap cops, buy guns from Republican gun nuts (a nice touch in the game), and run around with gangs for the better part of 60 hours, but it's NOT okay to play a 2-minute mini-game (which is incredibly difficult to gain access to) with fully clothed simulated sex?

Grrrr... I can't wait to break out my full GTA analysis...coming soon on the Musings...

And you thought Disney cartoons were for kids...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I Got 99 Apples, But a Fruit Ain't One

"Let's get drunk this weekend!", exclaimed my Starbucks co-worker and partner-in-crime, Aimee, as we began to brainstorm what we were going to do for the next couple of days. Immediately, we agreed, and began drafting some plans that would help us reach such an, oh so lofty, goal. At that point, the both of us were only certain of two things; I was going to the local Six Flags theme park on Saturday, and then we were going to meet up and get drunk that night with a bunch of other random people. It was a foolproof plan.

So, to Six Flags I went. My friend, Patty, came on down from Watertown, NY (the desolate hick capital of New York State, and home to Ft. Drum), and accompanied me on my trip. 10 bucks bought the two of us admission to the theme park, a creaky, pothole-ridden ride on a cheese bus for two and a half hours, a couple of turkey sammitches, and a sweltering summer day rife with hours upon hours of waiting on lines that led us to a grand total of 5 minutes worth of nirvana on roller coaster rides. Somehow, though, we had fun. Tons of fun, actually. We pigged out on some food, and got to make fun of some people along the way. After about 12 hours, we got back into Syracuse, where we began to make plans for our wonderful night of drinking debauchery. Patty couldn't stay, however, so she drove off, but not before my beloved Sarah made it in from Rochester for the night. It was like she tagged in. And of course, it was perfect. If there's anyone you want to have on your side when you plan on getting absolutely sloshed, it's Sarah, whose Irish heritage serves her well on any alcoholic occasion. After a quick shower and change, the two of us headed to the bars to meet Aimee and Co., who had an hour and a half head start on us. But it was no matter. A couple of shots and a few Long Islands later, we caught up. Of course, our collective drunken bliss wasn't to be, because Aimee was somehow caught up in some drama between some other Starbucks peeps. So, Sarah and I went off, got ourselves some wonderful pitas (the ULTIMATE Syracuse after-bar munchie) and headed off to my place to continue our drinking festivities with some of my own wonderful stash. At some point, Aimee and Co. joined us momentarily before they sleepily hauled themselves home, but Sarah and I just kept going. Shot after shot of the powerful 99 Apples (99 Proof...yeouch) went down our gullets, until finally, we both felt nice and warm and light as a feather. Good stuff, indeed.

I don't remember much after that.

At least, until, I woke up the next morning with a hangover from hell. Now, see, it's very rare that I get hangovers. Especially hangovers like these. I spent all day stumbling around, and making myself barf in order to make myself feel better. Sarah, who at first, felt fine, joined in on the act, too, and before long, the two of us were walking around like zombies. I stayed in bed for most of the day, ignoring phone calls and praying that I would be able to sober up before school started the next day. My ultimate highlight: "blessing" this brand new sushi joint's bathroom (located a block away from the SU campus), after I tried to down some miso soup in the hope that I would be able to recover faster...

By the time 11 o'clock hit that night, the two of us were finally out of it. We watched some movies, had some snacks, and then headed to bed to rest up for the next morning. Sarah was driving to Boston for some job interviews while I was going to head to class. Soon after we woke up, we parted ways, and swore that we would never drink 99 Apples again...

...I swore off 99 Apples two years ago when I drank 9 double shots of the stuff, along with some other liquors, when SU's basketball team won the national championship. Pedro, SpEd, Zulay, Michelle, and I all got hangovers from hell the next morning, teaching us a valuable lesson about staying away from 99 Apples. A lesson, which I ignored, two years later. But this time, I mean it. No more 99 Apples. For good.

Now...anyone for some tequila? :-)

No apples or animals were harmed during the making of this blog post. Can't say the same about bathrooms...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Grand Theft Bullshit

See, it's things like these that anger me to no end. A couple of weeks ago, Senator Hillary Clinton decided that she wanted initiate a censorship crusade and brew up a political firestorm over the game, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." Of course, this wasn't the first time the Grand Theft Auto video game series, one of the most popular gaming franchises in the US, was grabbing headlines for its mature-themed content. However, what makes this instance different from the last ones is that now, the game is being blasted for having an extremely-hidden "mini-game" in which players take their main character into his girlfriend's bedroom, and have to time specific button presses in order to "please" her. It's basically virtual sex, but with clothes on, and gyrating hips.

In other words, it's a couple of notches down from the ridiculous music videos we see on TV all the time.

This mini-game, which was scrapped from the final version of the game, was never really meant to be seen by anyone in the first place, but game hackers found the hidden coding within the game's programming, and compiled a "hack" known as the "Hot Coffee" mod, that uncovers the buried content. Now, the hack can so far only be applied to the PC version of the game, but the coding does exist on the X-Box and Playstation 2 versions, too. One can most definitely be sure that someone will come up with an applicable hack for those systems, too, but it would probably take more than 4 hours for the average player to uncover a mini-game that lasts for 2 minutes, tops. (If you're really good...I think what's more alarming is that getting to the 2-minute mark is actually considered "good" in the game... yikes...) That's too much work, if you ask me, for something as insignificant as that.

Yes, Carl, give it to her hard with your pants on.

So yeah, back to the firestorm. Because of this hidden coding, Clinton has called for the game to be marketed as "Adult-Only" instead of the game's current "Mature" rating (which empowers retailers to deny sales to anyone under the age of 17). Apparently, as Clinton says, things like these games are right up there with drugs and alcohol in terms of harming our children...


Unfortunately, the hag won her political battle, and now the game has to be marketed as "Adults-Only", effectively taking the game out of many retailers. This really won't affect the sales of the game too much, since it's already sold 6 million copies, so all this is coming practically on the tail-end of the game's popularity. However, it certainly is all about the "principle" of the thing, and quite frankly, Clinton doesn't have her "principles" in order.

I'm going to have to analyze this topic in a subsequent entry, because, right now, it's going to take way too much time for me to delve into it at the moment. But let's just say it this way... there's a lot more out there that we should be worried about "harming our children" then a "Mature" rated (read: Not meant for children in the first place) game featuring a hidden-mini game of simulated sexual activity with two clothed virtual characters.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Send me your comments and let me know what you think about this controversy. And then check back to see my fully articulated response to this entire brouhaha.

Here's a New York Times article that summarizes the debate. Video Game Known for Violence Lands in Trouble Over Sex.

EDIT: It didn't take long for hackers to apply some of their own code to make the virtual women naked in this mini-game. Here's a link to the modified "Hot Coffee" hack, so you can get the idea of what the mini-game is like...

Hot Coffee video. Quicktime required

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Look At Me, the "Token Minority"

Since my very first day of class at Syracuse University four years ago, I've been forced to reprise the role of the "angry token minority" in the vast majority of my classes during my college career. The role, for the uninitiated, basically consists of my having to issue some rhetorical "hard medicine" to any peanuthead who dares to make some ridiculously hurtful and ignorant comment with regards to race, gender, class, and ethnicity in the context of a class discussion. It never fails; every semester, there's ALWAYS a dick or three in my classes that raises their hand and makes a comment like, "black mothers don't place the same amount of emphasis on educating their children as white mothers do," or "if urban minorities didn't walk the way they did, then they wouldn't be complaining about how often they're getting arrested," or my personal favorite, "it's a proven fact that single Latino teenage mothers do not have the capability to raise productive and well-educated children." (Aww, man... I still laugh over that one...) Now, because of the fact that I'm usually the only minority present in each of my classes, I'm literally FORCED to be that all-inclusive representative of every non-White/Protestant/Jewish person and argue on everyone else's behalf. And "argue" I do, making everyone think twice about making ignorant comments in my presence. Over the course of the average semester, professors are quickly conditioned to turn to me for comments whenever someone has made yet another shortsighted remark. With a smile and a nod of the head, it's like my professors say, "go get 'em, Tiger," and give me the time to issue a lengthy counterattack. They just can't get enough of it. I think they secretly relish seeing these people squirm in their chairs whenever I take the floor. By the end of the semester, I'm usually known as the "angry Latino" that hates all things white. That label couldn't be further from the truth, but unfortunately, just because of the way hegemony works, anyone who speaks out against what is consider "normal" discourse is viewed as an outsider and a social anarchist. I laugh everytime I see one of the people I slammed in class at a local college party; it's like they're shocked that, gasp, I actually SOCIALIZE?! It's as if they think that I spend my Friday nights sitting in a dark room, burning effigies of them out of sheer hatred for their white privilege or something. Like, no, buddy. I argue because I'm educated, not because I hate you.

After four years of wearing the "Angry Token Minority" badge in my classes, I've grown tired of it. I've practically heard every single ignorant comment one could make in the context of an academic discussion, and I have an automatic response ready to go for each one. With the way Syracuse University is, there's just no end to the blatant ignorant commentary heard on this campus. Every single minority has to be conditioned to defend their respective community's interests from being rhetorically attacked or undermined by dominant cultural code. It really is a never-ending battle here; incoming freshmen come in every year with their own conditioned biases and ideologies. We can all only hope that by the time they graduate, that they will have opened their minds to different points of view. Which is where I come in. Grudgingly, I've accepted my role as a "cultural re-educator;" I argue in an effort to instill knowledge. I'm not sure if my efforts thus far have worked, but, hey, at least I'm giving it a shot. Staying silent is just another form of acceptance of the status quo, and I'm not about to give any kind of illusion that I do.

Today, during my pop culture class, we discussed the book, "White" by Richard Dyer, where he breaks down the social construction of "whiteness" from a white person's perspective. Naturally, being that the study of popular culture involves the study of cultural power structures, topics like these are discussed all the time. We had a good discussion about the book itself, which basically discusses the idea that white people are not "racialized" and are instead seen as the "norm" while everyone else is forced to think of themselves as different, thereby rhetorically placing everyone else at a disadvantage. It's one great big theoretical book that addresses critical issues of white privilege in American culture. Eventually, the discussion was localized when the professor (who happens to be the one that I was eyeballing on the first day of classes a couple of weeks ago) asked, "Is racism apparent at Syracuse University?" Now, I'm sure all the SU folks that read this blog regularly would scream, "YEEESSSS!!!" What did the people in the class say? "No, not at all." Man, my professor quickly turned to me and practically begged me to retort. "Here I go again," I thought. So, off I went on a tirade about the institutionalized segregation, the blackface incidents, the "Crime Bulletins" that always describe the same exact 6'0 African American male with sweatpants, and the reinforcement of cultural stereotypes in publications like the University's "Daily Orange", our school newspaper. What differed this time around though was that I felt like people were actually UNDERSTANDING where I was coming from, and actually agreed with it once they looked at it in detail. It was a miracle, but everyone actually saw what I was talking about There's usually like two or three people that just never "get it." This time, no one tried to fight it.

I felt quite accomplished after that. Who knows? Maybe the days of the "Angry Token Minority" role are numbered after all?

There's always hope.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Feeling Bubbly in the Summertime...

Ahhh yes, summer... the season where people all over get the "love jones" and start getting into relationships that they wouldn't have gotten into at any other point in the year. Every where I look around here, it seems as if everyone is walking outside holding hands and openly declaring their love for one another. And then, after swearing on life itself that they'd be there for one another, the relationships just fizzle out the second the leaves start turning brown. Such is the nature of summer relationships. They just die out. It's like the summer heat caused everyone to go insane momentarily, and then, when it cools down, they just snap out of it...

...But they sure as hell are fun while they last!

I've had my share of summer relationships over the years. Man, were they so fun! There's just something about them that makes a summer relationship so intense, and so liberating at the same time. It's almost as if we know right from the get-go that the relationship is doomed to end in two to three months, so we just buckle down and make the most of it right till the bitter end. It also means that everything is that much more accelerated in the summertime. I propose a theory that states that each week in a summer relationship is equal to a month in realtime, so, by the time most people break up, they would have experienced a year's worth of a relationship in a span of two months and a half months. Matter of fact, it's not a theory... it's a LAW! (Ray's Law of Summer Relations, not to be confused with Clinton's Law of Sexual Relations)

So, this summer is definitely no exception. Like I said, everyone is running around getting their jollies off on one another around here and thinking nothing of it. Starbucks, for example, is fast becoming one big freaking orgy. (And you thought that was whipped cream in your Frappuccino!) Shift managers getting with other shifts. Shifts getting with baristas. Baristas getting with managers. Managers getting with district managers... it's gone crazy! And hell, every once in a while, some of our customers want to get in on the act. What ever happened to the rule that you're not supposed to hook up with the people you work with?! Apparently, all that has gone out the window with the summertime here. And of course, when the summer is over, we're ALL going to deny anything ever happened. Such is the nature of things.

And you thought "Passion Tea Lemonade" was just a cool's a lifestyle, baby! Shake, shake, shake!!!

So, I guess in the spirit of summer, have fun everyone. Even if it means you're going to have to deny whatever you did for the other three seasons of the year. :-)

Protect Yourself and Your iPod

When people began telling me that they would, "kill to have an iPod", a couple of years ago, I figured it would only be a matter of time when someone was actually murdered over one. I mean, hey, if people can get shot over a pair of sneakers, then surely, it's not much of a stretch to imagine someone getting killed over what is possibly the "must-have" item of the decade.

Unfortunately, that "matter of time" came up a couple of weeks ago, when a 15-year old kid in Brooklyn, NY was killed over his iPod. (In case you missed that headline, here's a snippet of the news story, courtesy of

While everyone at Apple is going bonkers over the fact that their wonderful iPod line has become an iconic symbol to consumers, it surely doesn't please them one bit to hear that people are getting killed for one. So troubled was Apple over the tragedy, that Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally called the father of the murdered teen to offer his condolences. (Link to article courtesy of AOL News and the New York Times)

This unfortunate turn of events has only brought attention to the fact that just about 35 million people are walking around with a commodity that some people are willing to do just about anything to obtain. So, what can we do to ensure that we can continue living our "iPod Commercial" lives safely? (Or at the very least, what steps can we take to ensure that our investments are not stolen?)

The following is a list of tips I've compiled that will help you be a tad bit safer as you rock out to your pre-set iTunes playlists. Some have been swiped from police department recommendations, and others have been taken from my own experiences living in NYC. I hope this serves you well. Pass this blog entry on to anyone you think needs it:

1. Exchange your packed-in, trademark white headphones for a pair that doesn't attract as much attention, such as standard black headphones.

Nothing screams, "I have an iPod, biatches!" more than Apple's trademarked white earbuds that are packed into every single iPod box. Instead of trying to relive each of the colorful iPod ads, why don't you just head to your local electronics or music store and buy another pair of headphones? Besides, think of it like this; the pre-packed headphones that come with the iPod suck anyways, so why don't you just use the opportunity to make an upgrade to richer sound quality? You won't regret it, AND, you'll be safer, too!

2. Keep your iPod volume low enough to hear your surroundings

I know we all love to play our iPods at the loudest volume we can without busting our eardrums to smithereens, but, not only is it harmful to your hearing in the long run, but doing so also distracts you just enough for anyone to sneak around and jack you. Lower that volume, and you'll be able to hear things like rustling trees, footsteps, and the occasional, "Ohhhh shit, that bitch has an iPod! Get 'em!!!"

3. Invest in a wireless remote control.

One of the quickest ways of attracting attention to the fact that you have an iPod is by taking out the unit in order to change a song or playlist. People who do this also tend to make it a habit of placing their iPods in an easily accessible place so that way, they can keep taking out the player with ease. In this case, the rule of thumb is that if YOU can take it out easily, someone else can, too. A wireless remote control, such as the one pictured below, will alleviate that problem by allowing you to change songs and volume levels on a whim without ever having to reveal your iPod. Most of these remotes are also useful around the house, so if you like listening to your iPod on your home stereo, you never have to walk up to the thing again to quickly change that embarrassing song that you "never know how it got in there to begin with!"

The "AirClick" by Griffin Technology

4. Take the time to make some pre-set playlists in iTunes.

If the remote control option doesn't work for you, then try taking the time refining your iTunes playlists and weeding out all the songs that you usually wind up skipping anyway. That means less exposure for the unit, and more time spent actually listening to music. (I know so many people that spend so much time clicking through the songs in their libraries... I get annoyed for them!) Not only is it safe, but it's also better for your battery life, too.

5. Reveal your iPod in "safe" areas

Sometimes, no matter what, you're forced to take out your iPod for whatever reason. Maybe it's time to switch to another playlist, or you need to check the time or something, but whatever it is, make sure that you're not taking the damn thing out just anywhere. Use some discretion when revealing your iPod. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

6. Don't leave it out in the open in your car...

Half of all iPod burglaries happen when people leave their iPods in plain sight in their cars. Do yourself a favor, avoid a broken window and an swiped iPod by placing your iPod in either your glove compartment or those valet boxes that some cars have.

7. When facing a knife or the barrel of a gun, value your life more than your iPod.

While I'm not saying that it will happen, but in case it does happen, if someone is trying to jack you for your iPod, don't try to be a hero and just give them what they want. Yes, you'll be out of 300 bucks, but, it's better than not having the chance to work to replace it ever again. However, if you want to be a smart-ass, like me, let your assailant(s) know that the iPod will not work as advertised without eventually attaching it to a computer, and without the necessary cables and software, it would be incredibly hard to keep using it. Plus, let them know that even if they do attach it to a computer, it doesn't take much for police to trace it. It's somewhat of a bluff, but it has worked in a couple of cases for different people. Half of the people stealing them want one just because it's trendy, and really don't know how the thing works, so the bluff can come in handy.

8. If stolen, file a police report.

If you are one of those unfortunate souls who's had their iPod stolen, make sure you file a police report. After all, letting law enforcement know someone took it is one step closer to actually getting it back.

9. Register the iPod with Apple

Take the couple of minutes to register your audio player with Apple. While Apple cannot do too much to rescue a missing iPod, at the very least, your iPod's serial number will be on file. In theory, if you report your iPod as "stolen", the police can work with Apple to trace the whereabouts of your iPod, provided it's ever attached to another computer again. While I'm not exactly sure if this happens, it's certainly worth a shot. Plus, if you register, you usually get 10 free songs on the iTunes Music Store!

I hope these tips are useful for anyone who has an iPod. Enjoy, and remember...

DON'T STEAL MUSIC (and iPods). :-)

Especially iPods. That's just wrong.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dorms...The New Way to Lose Weight...

Tonight was just one of those nights where I couldn't help but wake up in the middle of the night because it was just so damn hot. I'm sitting here typing away at 4 in the morning in one of these ridiculously hot dorm rooms at SU because of this stupid rule that forces me to stay in the dorms during the summer while I take classes here. I'm sitting, literally, 5 inches away from the window, and I'm sweating away 5 gallons of water a second. Everyone's walking up to me, like, "wow, Ray, you're getting skinnier. You working out?" "Nah, I'm just staying in the dorms." Screw the Atkins diet or this new-fangled "South Beach" diet; stay in the SU dorms for 6 weeks during the summer, and you too can lose 30 pounds!

This past weekend, I went back to NYC to chill with my momma for her birthday. She turned the big 4-0, so I figured it would be nice to spend some time with her for the occasion. We went out, saw Fantastic Four (a bit campy, but a decent popcorn flick nonetheless), and ate at this wonderful Portuguese restaurant in Newark. We had a nice, quiet time together, and it was cool to be able to catch up under different circumstances other than the craziness we encountered when we met up in Houston. A bunch of my friends wanted to meet up with me in NYC, but this weekend was just dedicated to my momma, so I really wasn't going to spend my time chilling with them. (Sorry guys) As it was, I kinda felt like I didn't see her as much as I would've liked to, since time flew by so fast while I was there, but hey, some time is better than no time, eh?

So, Happy Birthday, Momma!! Remember, 40 is the new 20!!! :-D

Thursday, July 07, 2005

And of Course, Now You Have the Spin...

God, if I hear President Bush say the phrase, "evil doers" or "evil in their hearts" again, I think I'm going to run to the nearest costume shop and put on a Green Goblin suit and scream, "Die, Spider-Man, die!!!"

Seriously, everytime one of these horrible events happens, Bush uses the opportunity to draw attention to how "terrorists will be defeated" and tries to connect "terrorists" and the War in Iraq. I grow sick and tired of this damn spin. Our "perseverance" in dropping bombs in Iraq isn't going to magically solve the problem of "terrorism"... Grrr....

Anyways, I turned on the television today after I arrived from class and could only shake my head at the speed in which the American media networks are spinning this entire story. CNN, for example, has this macho, militaristic tune at the beginning of their packages, appropriately titled, "LONDON TERROR!" in bold letters. I felt like I was watching a Jerry Bruckheimer film rather than the news. I half expect CNN to put together a package showing UK troops mobilizing, with the headline, "THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!" within the next couple of days. It's freaking ridiculous.

And you know we're going to hear the phrase, "they will not have died in vain." Watch. You'll see it somewhere. It's all a fucking game. As if the lives of the people who died today, God Bless their souls, were sacrificed for a higher cause or something. Yeah, they're being sacrificed, alright. They're being used to spin and justify this God-forsaken war.

So, without the spin, my prayers go to the families of the victims of this attack. I have confidence that the UK will uncover evidence that will lead them to the real organizations, people, and motivations behind this attack.
Today, I woke up to the news that the city of London had just been rocked by a series of explosions coming from various points from within the London Underground system. As more and more news leaks out of the capital, it is becoming more apparent that these explosions were a part of some kind of coordinated terrorist attack. With everyone trying to get in contact with their loved ones throughout the city, phone lines have been utterly choked.

If it is, in fact, a terrorist attack, the timing and location of the attack couldn't have been worse. With the start of the G8 Summit yesterday, and England's Tony Blair leading the wave of leaders blasting President Bush for his peanuthead stance on pollution and world poverty, this attack only serves to take out the legs of anything that was going to be discussed at those meetings.

The fact that London, being the super-duper high security city that it is with all the cameras, locked trash-cans, and readily available bomb crews, was STILL attacked successfully, only serves to prove to the rest of us that no matter how much we invest in security, we're not going to be able to stop an attack such as this one. Very disturbing, indeed.

My prayers go out to the people of London as well as everyone else in the UK who has to face this issue directly.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Looks Like I'm Going Back to London in 2012

The International Olympic Commission announced today that London will be the host city for the 2012 Olympics. Paris, Madrid, Moscow, and NYC were knocked out of the competition as London claimed the honor of hosting the world's premiere sporting extravaganza.

It woulda been cool to see it in NYC, but honestly, the plans that the NYC reps had were downright deplorable. I could've made a better proposal than them. Maybe we can get our act together for 2016.

As for Paris, for the third straight Olympic decision trial, it has been snubbed. As I would say running around Paris, "Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, hooooo! Le boo hoo!"

The wonderful BBC has the scoop on this story. Check it out here.

Even Though No One Really Tagged Me...

I figured I'd jump in on this whole "question" bandwagon and keep the good times rolling, even though no one officially tagged me. (Vero and Nora both had open-ended tags, so, both of them can claim this one)

10 years ago... I was just starting seventh grade in a Catholic institution, where I would encounter the evil, the dreaded, Ms. Valla, the former nun, turned lay teacher, who practically called me a Hellspawn because I had finally begun to mature into the wonderful smart-ass I am today. (Then again, I was always a smart-ass...) There wasn't a single day when she didn't have it out for me. I complained to my mother about this woman's hatred for me, only to be shot down when Ms. Valla told her that the reason that she was hating on me was because I "talked out of turn" and that I "walked around the classroom," the latter being a complete exaggeration. In retrospect, talking out of turn isn't that big a deal, especially considering I wasn't cutting anyone off. In truth, she hated on me because she despised the fact that I completely made her feel crunchy during a debate we had about abortion...

5 years ago... Ah...the Summer of of the best summers of my life. I worked at a summer camp, where I met these CUTE ass girls, flirted a ton (especially inside Methodist chapels...), toyed with Evelyn's jealousy (which pleased me to no end at the time), and, then, embarked on a wonderful trip to DisneyWorld! Awesome stuff!

1 year ago... I had just arrived from London, and started piecing together my life again after undergoing my horrendous breakup with Chiyo, and dealing with my Grandfather's accelerated health regression. Not a good time. Not to mention, I was dead broke, thanks to London.

Yesterday... Cooked, cleaned, and packed up some things as I prepared for starting my summer classes the next day. I tried calling a few people here and there, only to be completely ignored by almost everyone. Womp, womp.

Today... Started my first day of summer classes. I'm getting A's across the board...if I don't get bored... Met this cute girl at Starbucks while I was doing some work. I kept on looking at her, and she was looking back while we went back n forth with a little "eye-gaze" flirting. I eventually had to stop in order to finish my work before my next class. A couple of minutes after I first entered this class, the girl from the 'Fucks walks in, and, in a complete twist, walks to the front of the class and announces that SHE is my professor for the class. I'm telling you guys...only me...

Tomorrow... Second day of classes. Heading to the gym to work out a little. Before that, going to head to the doctor to check something out. I've been getting a pain on my right side, just below my stomach area. Some people say it might be appendicitis...we'll see...

5 snacks I enjoy... McD's French fries, Oreos, Popcorn, Bananas, and Yogurt.

5 songs I know all the words to... "Losing My Religion" by REM ("That's me in the corner, that's me in the spot-light, losing my religion...", "I Believe I Can Fly", by R. Kelly (8th Grade graduation song...God, I hate it), "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio, "Siente Que te Quiero" by Zacarias Ferreira (AMOOOOOORRRR! AMOR, AMOR, AAAMMMOOORRR!), and "Obsesion" by Aventura (fuck that wack ass Frankie J version.)

5 reality television shows I watch ... Uh...none? I did watch "Big Brother" religiously in England, though. :-)

5 television shows I watch daily...(or as much as possible) Uh...Sportscenter? I don't have time for TV, really.

5 things I would do with $100,000,000... Invest $50,000,000 in high-yield stocks, and take the other 50,000,000 and drop money on things like homes, cars, credit card bills, college loans, etc. I'd donate like, $2,000,000 to SU just so a building can be named after me, and use whatever's left to become a venture capitalist targeting minority entrepreneurs.

5 locations I would love to run away to... London, Tokyo, Paris, Havana, and Rome. Thank the stars I've been to three of those places.

5 things I like doing... Listening to music, playing music, video games, fucking with the Mac, and having political debates with people that know what they're talking about.

5 things I would never wear... Someone else's undies (ewww), a mini-skirt (but other skirts are fine...just kidding), a Boston Red Sox piece of apparel, those jeans that drop below your ass, and Abercrombie and Fitch clothing (fucking racists).

5 recently seen movies I like... Aviator, Star Wars: Episode III, Bringing Down the House, Million Dollar Baby, and Alfie

5 famous people I'd like to meet... Jessica Alba (because, she is, after all, going to be my wife someday), Steve Jobs (the CEO of Apple), Fidel Castro (I would love to pick this man's brain, without the propaganda machine spinning on both sides of the fence), George Lucas, and Queen Elizabeth II.

5 biggest joys of the moment... My Sony PSP, my 20-inch flat screen Apple Cinema Display, my awesome new apartment, Tazo Earl Grey tea, and beating a level in Ninja Gaiden that I haven't been able to pass in six months.

5 people to tag... Let's see...Zu, Anna, Sam, Syd, and Ivy

Holla back!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Crush of the Month (July 2005)

Man, for the past month or so, I've been literally OBSESSED with my latest "crush of the month," and boy, is she a doozy. With a V-8 engine, 300 horsepower, 315 lbs of torque/ft, rear wheel drive, and an awesome frame, the 2005 Mustang GT brings back the "muscle" in the phrase, "America's Muscle Car." The minute your turn one on, you literally hear and feel this awesome machine growl to life. It's enough to make any old-timer Mustang fan to cry tears of happiness.

Boy, is she a beauty. And I'm not talking about the woman in the car.

For years, Ford had been making a complete joke out of the once almighty Mustang. Since it's initial debut in the late 60's, the Mustang held the title of "America's Muscle Car" and sold millons upon millions of cars. However, when the gas shortages of the late 70's came into play, the muscle cars that were the bread and butter of the automobile industry at that time were forced into becoming overgrown golf carts, including the Mustang. Engines became smaller in the name of conserving gas, and soon, America's automobile industry suffered as a result. After a few years, it soon became apparent that the era of huge, throaty, 200+ horsepower engines was no more. Sales dropped, and automobile manufacturers dropped line after line of muscle cars in order to compete with the Japanese giants that were making their way onto American driveways. The Mustang continued on as a line, but it would never regain late 60's, early 70's heyday; as a matter of fact, people only continued to buy Mustangs because of the strong brand name associated with it. It had nothing to do with the horrible performance of these cars on the road.

Then, suddenly, something happened at Ford. Looking to capitalize on the whole, "Retro" styling movement that was taking the American auto industry by storm, Ford decided that it was going to redesign the Mustang to not only reflect the look of the golden-era Mustangs, but also, to match and even SURPASS them, performance-wise. And, true to the Mustang model, Ford was going to make this car a complete bargain, considering what was underneath the hood. The result? The 2005 Mustang GT.

And boy, do I want one. I'm sure my insurance payments would be through the roof, but I mean, good lord. I would be straight PIMPING in this car.

The Ford Mustang GT: One of the few American cars I would buy, and this month's official, "Crush of the Month." :-)

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy British-Ass Kickin' Day!

My apologies to Smiles, and all my other British buddies, but Happy 4th of July! Some people will spend their time chillin, having bar-b-ques and blowing up some fireworks n whatnot, while others, like myself, will just spend some time straight chillin, lounging around the house, and relaxing on this wonderful day off. Have fun everyone!
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