Monday, January 25, 2010

my $60 smile.

in case anyone was wondering what my jawbone looks like, behold (and beware):

the story: my new dentist thought he saw something funky in my <$60 x-rays, so had the oral-surgeon next door do a fancy 360-degree one (just to be safe), for which i had to pay cash-money (out of pocket!).

the verdict: i'm good to go. the receptionist was even nice enough to give ME an extra copy (now on the fridge). and if that wasn't enough, she emailed me one too.


hopefully no one chooses to identity thieve me now with my partial dental records.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

more random pictures

who's ready for some random pictureness?

how New Yorkers see the rest of the world, and see their fair city.

yes i saw Avatar. yes i liked it. but there's some truth to what's below. doesn't change it from being a good story. just not original.

look closely, in the trees. thanks to (old HS roommate) John for sharing:

on a more highbrow level, i thought this exchange between Luke Cage and Logan was pretty poignant (from the
Civil War crossover a few years ago). who said comics were for kids?

a pretty good depiction of what i envision in my morning stretches, followed by the most awesome crossover that's never gonna happen.

when researching
my previous post, i searched for a good 70s sci-fi image, and came across this beautiful montage. if you can name everyone need to get a life.

unrelated to my previous post (
the 90s), but randomly found on a bag we recently gave to Goodwill.

why living in a small NY town is awesome. this was seen ON MY STREET. what i love about this car (beyond the obvious), is that they went with a THEME. a really weird rodent-disney-egyptian theme. AND they got the back painted (with heiroglyphics). AND the vanity plate. AND the mouse antenna bobber. it's really a thing of beauty that makes me smile everytime i walk down my street.

best public service announcement seen outside the commuter train.

and finally. a fantastic short film by Lego. makes me want to go build stuff. instead i sit behind this infernal machine.

Friday, January 22, 2010

sci-fi decades.

there has been a LOT of great (and not-so-great) science fiction over the years. but every decade (or so), it feels like something special comes along that, in reflection, really defines the time. when thinking about this, the past 2 decades seemed pretty obvious, but i thought i'd go a bit further back in this geeky exercise of mine (i would be surprised if this hasn't already been written up somewhere, but this is my blog, and my thoughts tend to be pretty original, as i have too much free time to ponder such things).

while most of these series didn't fall EXACTLY in a decade, i would argue that they permeated the consciousness of the relative decade. and while the intention was never direct, the impression they left on our collective conscious make them feel "appropriate" for the decade.

let's get started:

the 60s: Star Trek (1964-1967)

originally pitched as "Wagon Train to the stars" - the concept that got the show into our living rooms was that space was like the wild, wild, west, "where no man has gone before." at the beginning of this decade, we were still invincible, and could do anything. as a nation, we were just becoming fascinated with technology (albeit the looming threat of mutually assured [nuclear] destruction). no one expected the 60s to be as tumultuous a time as they were, and Star Trek quickly became a running commentary on the very themes that were running rampant in our society (civil rights, war and peace/imperialism, sexism/feminism). and while the show as cancelled in its prime, it was later found out (too late) that the show was quite a money for the network. fascinating, indeed.

the 70s: ???
i'm drawing a blank here (your thoughts?). i was born in 1979 (i saw Star Trek re-runs as a kid child of the 80s), but from what i understand, the 70's mostly sucked. Disco?!? don't get me started (that's another blog entry i'll one day write drawing parallels with modern pop music). the original Battlestar Galactica only existed in 1978 (as a Star-Wars TV rip-off, which endured a loyal fanbase that would re-emerge in the early 2000s), but from what i understand, it too sucked (a very special No-Prize for the first reader to correctly identity the ORIGINAL source of the image shown here). next decade, PLEASE.

the 80s: Star Wars (1977-1981)

a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was us, and them. the Rebellion was the new, the young (morning in America anyone?), the Empire was the old world, corrupt and evil. Darth Vader was a true brother (despite what we saw beneath his helmet), but Lando was the caricature of one (Billy Dee!). sure, we still had enough nukes to blow up the earth multiple times, pointed every which way (not one the Death Star, but two!), but as long as we had friends and family (and a furry Wookie), it was all going to be a-OK. so jump in your X-wing or Millennium Falcon (Corvette?) with your buddies (and R2 went in the X-wing with Luke, so none of this "the X-wing is a solo ship" crap), and let's knock those Ruskies...i mean Stormtroopers out! hell, even a 1980s US-satellite "knock-the-nukes-from-the-air" space program was named after these damned movies. then the hug-a-tree hippies became en vogue, so we got Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor for the kiddies. and lots of toys were made. the force was with us, always.

90s: Star Trek: the Next Generation (1987-1994)

oh, the exuberance, the hopefullness, the optimism. the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D (captained by the French Jean-Luc Picard), were on a practical WHALE of a ship, where they ferried their families around, and a holographic playground, machines that could make ANY food you wanted (Tea. Earl Grey. Hot!), a visor cure for blindness, and a Pinocchio-esque robotic friend. they even walked around in cool, multi-colored uni-suits (parachute pants anyone?) least til Jean-Luc got a jacket. the Klingons (Russians) were now our reluctant allies, and all was good in the world. even kids (albeit annoying whiz kids, Wil Wheaton) could operate a starship! technology had saved us, with it we could do anything (remember, "You Will"?), or would it? soon the mysterious, unknown threat of technology would haunt us (the Borg, PC proliferation, the internet). but they ran out seasons before they fully explored it. Worf was pretty cool though.

2000s: Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009)

you live under a rock if you haven't at least HEARD about this phenomanal (i hesitated from using "stellar") re-imagining of the campy 70s/80s series. the premise was the same (the last of humanity ferrying their way thru space on the run), but the message was far, far darker. technology was now ubiquitous (the internet, 24/7 media), but it had nearly become our undoing (a near utopian society knocked out by an unexpected missle strike leading to a near-genocide (9/11, anyone?). entire story arcs of the series were allusions to the issues of the day. abortion. torture. insurgency (where the good guys were the insurgents). sensationalism of the press and free speech. oh yea, and our enemies? they could be anywhere, or anyone. they looked just like us (War on Terror, anybody?). this was clearly a powerful show, that took sci-fi BEYOND science and fiction. it's no surprise that it was quickly ranked in many mainstream listings as one of the best shows ever (in my eyes, topped by only one other [non sci-fi] series). if you haven't watched it already, what are you waiting for (start w/ the pilot movie and buckle up!)?!?

20-teens (2010-2019): ???

it's too early to see what's going to emerge here. i really have no idea. but as always, i'm eager to see where the medium takes us.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MLK. time off.

i'm a BIG fan of Martin Luther King Jr, but this picture just took it over the top for me:

to give credit where credit's due, the fine folks at the impossible cool dug up this beauty.

like many of my fellow American's i got this past Monday off for
MLK (sadly, my co-habitant girlfriend did not). how did i honor Dr. King? by sleeping in (i had a dream), marching on the gym, watching TV, and running a few errands. free at last, free at last indeed.

on one of my many such errands i came across a black clerk. i found it odd that i got the day off, while HE had to work. i kind of wanted to trade places, as i think he deserved the day more than i (the same way you give your airline upgrades to soldiers at the airport).

to be clear, i didn't trade places with him (after all, let's not get TOO carried away)

but that got me thinking about holidays in general, and who "deserves" them. if i ruled the world (often the most fulfilling way to think), here's who i would declare individual/relative holidays for (PTO for sure):

our birthdays: all of us. hopefully that will encourage us to spend the day in reflection on our personal new years.

MLK: i've already covered this one. but what about the other minorities?

labor day: whoever the sub-blue collar minority is in the country. pretty much those who are in the cleaning/gardening/fast food service industry. granted, it would grind productivity to a halt. but that would certainly make the rest of us appreciate them more.

memorial day: those who have lost someone they are directly connected to (not just soldiers). though, sadly, i see this one getting abused. so i propose a 3-5 year limit on your memorializing/grieving (unless they were your offspring/sibling/spouse). after that, get on with your life.

veteran's day: similarly, any returning servicemen should get this one off. they should also get the same free stuff treatment you get when you're out + about on your birthday (shots, desserts, etc). i would NOT put a term limit on this one though.

valentine's day: single people, this one's for you. get out there and make it happen. but again, you get a 3-5 year limit. after that, you're on your own. and you must change your status to "spinster"

halloween: ugly people.

father's day/mother's day: only within the first your kids, aged 5-10. you get to take your kids out of school to SPEND TIME with them. everybody wins!

groundhog day: gardeners. and families of those w/ Alzheimers (if you do not get/appreciate this reference, you can FORGET our our friendship...ha!).

earth day: hippies and environmentalists. they deserve it more than we do.

arbor day: rest of us (see earth day). we actually HAVE to go do something more environmentally positive/sustainable (or better yet, make a lasting change/resolution).

other nationalities: each nation should declare to the U.N. what day the people of their nationality (of which i assume there are significant immigrants in this country) should get off. ie, India would give "Indian Independence day" OR Gandhi's birthday; China would give "Chinese New Years" order to qualify, you'd have to be 1/2/3 generation of the given nationality, and/or at LEAST 1/4 of the nationality.

other religions:

as we're in a Judeo-Christian country, Christmas & Easter are the priorities, despite there being many non-practicing Christians (NPCs). i think the intent is to get them to think more about the practice of their faith on these days. the result? Creasters (look it up, it's a term!). regardless, we all get the day off; similar to NPCs, the intent is to get us to simply "observe" (which i do with gifts, family, food, and candy). but what about

but i would hope the other major world religions could get their big days recognized - so here's what i propose. depending on the SIZE of your religion, you get 0/1/2 days off in the year (but you have to forego Christmas + Easter.

Rosh Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur (let's be clear, Hannukah is not as big a deal for them).
Islam: Ramadan/Eid.
Hinduism: Diwali + one floating one (since there's way too much variation on the next biggest)
Bhuddhism: Parinirvana, or Nirvana Day (Mahayana).
Atheism/Agnosticism: you don't get anything off. sorry, (y)our choice.

ALSO you're allowed to switch out your holidays on a per-year basis. but hopefully not as a matter of convenience, but rather so you can spend time exploring/learning about other faiths. but your employer is allowed to make you write a paper on what you learned/did (pictures optional).

your thoughts on other holidays, comedic or appropriate? because that's all i've got.

hopefully i've offended no one and everyone at the same time. please send all your hate mail to Hugo Chavez, because we can all agree, that guy sucks.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

happy moo year.

the year was 1999. with 2000 fast approaching, and inspired by some friends' more admirable eating habits, i decided to stop eating all red meat (pork included) in the new year (incidentally enough, new year's 2000 was when i had my first drink when my late friend Bhuwan slipped a little something-something into my vanilla coke...#@$%$*^).

so why the shift in eating habits? religious, health, environmental were the primary motivations. this was even potentially intended a path to vegetarianism. the easiest way to describe it to people though was that i didn't eat mammals.

the immediate effect? eating much healthier (less fast food in college). honestly, it was not a rough transition, given that growing up on a regular diet of indian food (dhal, rice, subji) my family did not eat much meat in the house anyways. i started re-introducing myself to fish (beyond Captain D's), and eating LOTS more poultry. lots of people would point out that birds were mammals. i would quickly point out their denseness, as birds lay eggs, and are avians (duh!).

fast-forward several years years later:
-i was no longer religious (still very much definitely interested in religion though), NOT as healthy as i could be, but certainly still environmentally conscious.
-i had traveled the world near and far and missed out on all sorts of interesting culinary treats (my contemporary hero Anthony Bourdain would be sorely disappointed).
-i was even dating a Chinese girl (well, as Chinese as i am Indian =), whose frustration was growing with my self-imposed food restrictions.

the only reason i still did not eat mammals? it was a streak.

the only thing i had done longer was read comic books. but the situations above-described (domestic and abroad) had me re-thinking this policy. i would stick to my streak, but limit it to a nice, round, 10-years.

it's now 2010. i "delivered the decade" (more than a certain company of mine can say).

did i immediately eat a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger (as i had jokingly mentioned)? no thanks. i can't afford to put myself out of commission right now (from what i know, the stomach stops producing certain enzymes over the years, so getting back on the wagon can be difficult/painful). i've slowly introduced some pork, and a LIMITED quantity of beef back into my diet (one slice in a turkey sandwich), but i still hesitate. for any meat consumption, my intent is to try to make more responsible/sustainable purchases. but it's going to take time (a whole lot of precious time).

so while all the rest of you saps are quitting things in the new year, i now ask the age-old question:

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