28 February 2009

Why I love 30 Rock. Why I love Tina Fey. Why I love Alec Baldwin

Jack + Elisa = Jalisa. Because they went here for one second: Jack's pink and blue Jalisa T-shirts.

And as Liz and Kenneth came out of the subway: the X train to Zorgonia Avenue and a "coming soon" poster for Jenna's movie, Janie Jimplin.

24 February 2009

How'd I do? Hopeless!

My Oscar picks were terrible! Only one right: Sean Penn. It's a good thing I didn't have money on them!

I should have taken a stab at the Visual Effects award, because the team on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button achieved a real and important technical breakthrough, despite the film's Forrest Gump–backwards plot. For the first third of the film, the Brad Pitt character is completely virtual, the first time an entirely computer-generated human being looked believably real. They pulled off what animators had always thought was impossible: they crossed the Uncanny Valley.

23 February 2009

Yes, I know the way to San Jose

I don't know what Dionne Warwick's problem was. If your weeks in LA turn into years – how quick they pass – and it's time to head to San Jose, here's the way.

Driving directions to San Jose, CA
339 mi – about 5 hours 22 mins
Los Angeles, CA
1.Head southeast on E 1st St toward S Los Angeles St
404 ft
2.Turn left at N Los Angeles St
0.4 mi
3.Turn right to merge onto US-101 N towardPasadena/Hollywood/Harbor Fwys/I-110/State Hwy 101
10.6 mi
4.Continue on CA-170 N/Hollywood Fwy N(signs for Hollywood Fwy/State Hwy 170 N/Sacramento)
6.8 mi
5.Merge onto I-5 N
249 mi
6.Take exit 403B for State Hwy 152 W towardSan Jose/Hollister/Gilroy
0.2 mi
7.Merge onto CA-152/CA-33
Continue to follow CA-152
33.8 mi
8.Continue on Pacheco Pass Hwy
4.3 mi
9.Turn left at CA-152
2.5 mi
10.Take the US-101/State Hwy 152 W ramp toSan Jose/Watsonville
0.5 mi
11.Merge onto US-101 N
28.2 mi
12.Take the W Story Rd exit
0.5 mi
13.Merge onto Story Rd
1.2 mi
14.Continue on Keyes St
0.8 mi
San Jose, CA
Wo-wo-wo-wo, wo-wo-wo-wo-wo, wo.

19 February 2009

Just because you can type, it doesn't make you a writer. Or a mathematician

In a rare moment of restraint, TMZ marked the passing of Mickey Rourke's beloved chihuahua simply:

Loki Rourke
1991 - 2009
"Sometimes when a man's alone, that's all you got ... is your dog."
-- Mickey @ the Golden Globes
The second and third reader comments on the story:
2. That dog did not live 28 years. No way.
Posted at 11:57PM on Feb 17th 2009 by Stephen
3. Umm... a 28 year old dog? Is that a typo?
Posted at 11:58PM on Feb 17th 2009 by Wow

It's no wonder President Obama's Massive Stimulus Package includes $53 billion for education.

17 February 2009

Calls for lynching and torture on the evening news: Welcome to Australia 2009

On Thursday last week, a man was arrested and charged with starting a fire in Victoria, one that burned through the small town of Churchill, where he lived. That fire killed at least 21 people – the entire town has been declared a crime scene and the final number won’t be known until a forensic investigation is completed – and destroyed about 200 homes.

His name is Brendan Sokaluk and he’s 39. He was charged with arson causing death, intentionally lighting a bushfire and possessing images of child pornography. His legal aid defence lawyer told the court at his remand hearing that he was in “a fragile mental state” and “should be seen by a doctor”.

His chances of a fair trial are now almost nil thanks to some fervid vigilantism and its support in some sections of the media.

It’s not hard to understand that people want someone to blame. In some of these small communities, brought together in stressful circumstances, the whispers and rumours got so out of control that a high-level police officer had to appeal for people to stop reporting anything to the police unless they were actually material witnesses.

It’s not even hard to understand how all the shock and grief and anger could be channelled into hatred against a suspected arsonist. If you want evidence of it, just look at any of the dozens of Facebook groups people have been set up to vent it. (Here’s an example, although it might be already be gone as they are being shut down as they appear.) Of course, there’s a lot of posturing going on there, and the death threats – a serious legal issue – are endless, but there’s also an almost unbearable amount of pain.

The media coverage of the Sokaluk arrest has been remarkably restrained because, after its role in the Cronulla race riots in 2005, sections of the media have become a little more gun-shy about whipping up a mob mentality.

One notable exception was Channel Seven mic monkey Chris Reason who stood in Churchill on Saturday, reading out comments from Facebook:

“They've been posting comments like this. Quote: ‘Hope this bastard burns’ and this one: ‘Cut off his fingers and toes, re-stitch them, then cut them off again.’ Many residents in here in Churchill say they feel the same.”
To prove that the residents of Churchill feel the same, he walked into the street and asked them, “What do you reckon the town would do if they got their hands on him?” One woman said, “I'd like to get him and pour petrol on him and burn him to death.” Another replied, “Oh, they'd tear him apart.”

If there’s a line between reporting and instigating lynching, Chris Reason crossed it. Sokaluk is still innocent until proven guilty (a concept that always flies out the window immediately in any emotionally charged case), and Reason irresponsibly jeopardised his chances of a fair trial in a very poor show of "journalism". No doubt Reason, and Seven, will be facing the legal consequences of their actions.

Brendan Sokaluk is due to appear again on 26 May, although there is a rising tide of legal opinion that says there is so little chance of a fair trial being possible that a permanent stay will be granted instead.

No deal

It's been a while but I have a couple of new writing projects on the go so, as always, the blog has to suffer.

Anyway, I raced home tonight to beat the big storm that was moving down the coast and flicked the TV on. Deal or No Deal. I have absolutely no idea what the rules are. It seemed to be very complicated, with all sorts of language that only made sense to the host and audience. At least The Price is Right was pretty obvious.

And why doesn't that huge gaggle of models stick around?