An apartment building in Hong Kong is teeming with the deadly disease, with 213 people infected, the building is now completely quarantined. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now fear that the disease may be mutating into an airborne virus. That could be really bad. This seems to be a big story all over the world, except in the United States. Apparently, the war on Iraq is much more important than the possibility of the end of the world as we know it. Maybe it’s because the media doesn’t find a real outbreak story in China as entertaining as a big budget movie with Dustin Hoffman and a barrel of monkeys.

Tired of all those annoying telemarketing calls? The Federal Trade Comission is setting up a National “no-call” list for consumers this summer. If telemarketing companies call consumers on this list they may be fined up to $11,000 per infraction. The State of California isn’t waiting till summer though, it is setting up a website to allow Californians to pre-register into the Federal program. Check it out.

I rode the 20-mile Hawk Hill loop yesterday morning and that was well within my abilities. But this morning I followed it up with a 35-mile loop from Owen O’Donnell’s house to the SFO airport and back. I am in some serious pain right now, but they say no pain no gain–I need to get back in shape.

From Fridayfive.org.

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?
A conference call that I had with the ex-CEO of iMind, Mark A. Popp. He’s suing me because I maintain this site–please consider contributing to my legal defense fund.

2. What one person touched your life this week?
My wife touches me pretty much all over on a regular basis–it’s pretty sweet ;) I forgot to blog about the fact that she interviewed Sean Penn last week for the SFSU magazine–kick ass!

3. How have you helped someone this week?
I have helped my lawyer add a new wing to his house–my legal bills are getting really expensive.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?
Work, work, and more work. I have to finish reviewing interface and conversions design documents for GMS Projects 3/4 at Gap, Inc. Like my homey Chad says, “I need this weekend now more than ever.”

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?
I will do the school work that will help me complete my degree that will allow me to become a CIO of a large multinational corporation that will cure cancer someday–really!

Well, I am sure this comes as no surprise. But, really, the twenty-four hour news coverage is enough to drive a sane person crazy. The truth of war is seeping through the permeable mesh of American optimism. People are starting to realize that this war could potentially last for months, at least that is what the Washington Post reported. Neutralizing Saddam Hussein isn’t as easy as launching a couple of missiles at palaces in the cover of darkness. It’s going to take a lot more effort and time. While we wait, people die, the longer this takes, people die. That’s the reality of war. It’s depressing, but I guess we better get used to it.

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Actually, I’ve just been extremely busy with work and school and haven’t had a chance to post an entry (i.e. I haven’t even had time to squeeze out a nugget this week).

Anyway, Mama and I spent this weekend in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma as guests of Jon Sloan, one of San Francisco’s biggest real estate magnates. The O’Donnells are old friends of Jon and his ex-wife Pam. I know Jon because he has joined Owen and I on a couple of bike rides around the city.

His house is amazing, it is nestled on a hill overlooking the valley on twenty acres of land and is equipped with every amenity anyone could want. This of course includes three bedrooms, four bathrooms, three fireplaces, a big screen TV with satellite, two dens, a huge kitchen and dining room, an office with an adjacent loft, swimming pool, basketball court, a three-car garage, and of course, an eight-acre vineyard. It is the kind of place where our apartment, sadly, could fit in the living room alone.


Rear of Jon’s Sonoma Estate

View of Dry Creek Valley from The Pool

Mama had spraigned her ankle on Friday night, so she sat outside in the patio most of the weekend enjoying the sun and dipping her feet in the pool. I took the opportunity on going on a couple of bike rides through the wine country with Owen and Jon. It became very clear early on that I am extremely out of shape and in need of training–it’s not cool when 50-year-olds start leaving you in the dust.

I am going to start riding more regularly so that I can go on longer rides should we go visit again this summer. It was awesome, we can’t wait to visit again.

Farscape Crew

I just watched the Farscape series finale and will sadly miss the show and its characters. I know that coming from a science fiction fan this will sound like an overstatement, but this was one of the best shows on television–straight up!

Amazingly detailed series concepts–down to the translator microbes that every character has in order to understand each other. Very imaginative wit and sense of humor–including its own swear words. The word “frell” was used as a substitute for a four-letter word. Brilliant! What the frell was the SciFi Channel thinking in cancelling this show?

The show’s writers included substantial character development in every episode. Anyone could almost immediately see that the characters truly cared for one another like a family–albeit a very dysfunctional family. Initially they quarrelled, but eventually the principal characters accepted and celebrated each other’s strengths and weaknesses–I will miss them all.

The show had very imaginative plot twists. One of the crew’s biggest enemies, Scorpius, ends up on the ship and eventually becomes a valued member of the crew. This was genius! The type of thing that would just never happen in a formula show like Star Trek. Exciting and unexpected events were a part of the show week-to-week and this was the key to its allure.

Big ups to the Jim Henson Company and all of the people involved in the production of the show in the last four years. I hope that they somehow are able to complete the fifth, and planned final season, and at least release it on DVD. It would be a shame to leave the rich story of Farscape unresolved. I am Farscape!

Iraqis Surrender

The marines out in Iraq look like they are in bad episode of Cops. Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do!? It already seems like a bunch of Iraqi soldiers are heeding the leaflets of doom and surrendering to American and allied forces. I bet they already have a couple of hundred mofos in custody. Now if we could only find Saddam and take him out everybody could pack up and go home.

I got some hate mail because I was opposed to the war. Let me clarify something, I was against the war before it started: I went to the protests on the weekends (when it didn’t affect traffic), I signed petitions against the war, I wrote letters to my congressman. I did all those things.

However, now that the bombs are dropping and the political shit has hit the proverbial fan, I support our troops even if I disagree with our President. I want us to kick ass as quickly as possible to minimize the loss of human life and have our troops come home safely.

That being said, it’s true I have liberal views, but I welcome opposing viewpoints. We have the freedom to express our views and can agree to disagree. Let’s collectively hope that the Iraqis will be able to do the same someday.

Warning: This is a fucking rant.

Everyone that knows me knows that I am opposed to this war because I believe that “real” diplomatic efforts may have yielded a peaceful outcome. I went to the organized anti-war rallies in the city that were held on the weekends leading up to the deadline and I am sympathetic to the anti-war movement. However, what does stopping traffic in downtown on a weekday have to do with being against the war? This kind of shit just pisses people off, lowers productivity, harms our economy, and proves that most people have no clue how America works.

I heard one of them yell, “We’ll teach these corporations who’s boss!” Huh!? Have you ever had a job? We can’t get to work, dumbass! It doesn’t hurt the corporations, it hurts the peeps. Let me break it down for you. Doing this won’t encourage any corporations to hire lobbyists to speak out against the war. Historically, corporations benefit from the extra government spending that takes place during war time. Also, since most large corporations do a really good job in diverting tax liability, they pay very little taxes. In short, they are making more money because of the spending and they are not paying for the war. Who pays? The American middle class pays for the majority of the war, since we pay the most taxes.

It would behoove the protestors to garner as much sympathy from the middle class–you know, those people that are trying desperately to get to work in the morning–than to alienate them. The protests should be aimed at gaining positive public opinion–not negative opinion. If you want to stop traffic in a place that will make a difference, buy a ticket to Washington D.C. If you can’t afford to go, don’t fuck it up for the rest of us. That’s my two cents.


Click to Vote

I have to admit that the war is a distraction for me. I find myself checking CNN and MSNBC at least once an hour for information on the war and the major players. By the way, Bahrain has offered Saddam safe exile, but I doubt he’ll take it. The deadline Bush gave Saddam is Wednesday, 5PM PST. It begs the question, when do you think the war will start?

Allied forces have dropped millions of leaflets over the Iraqi troops as part of the psychological campaign in Iraq. I saved the leaflets locally because they are some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

A British anti-virus company has released a psychological profile of the average computer virus programmer: Virtually all virus programmers are male and between the ages of 14 and 34 years of age. They are obsessed with computers and rarely have girlfriends. Most are “socially inadequate,” withdrawn, and see viruses as digital graffiti. Well, duh!? I wonder how much money they spent to figure this out. It confirms my theory: no sex will make you destructive and crazy–belie’ dat.

The U.S. attacked Iraq at around 6:30PM PST, 5:30AM in Iraq, in an attempt to decapitate Iraq by killing Saddam and his top aides. At around 7:30AM local time, Iraqi TV began to air an announcement that is losely translated as follows:

“The president, leader, fighter, Saddam Hussein–may god protect him in his victory–will give an important address shortly.”

However, the announcement has continued to air over and over again intermingled with commercials, according to CNN. It sounds to me that Iraq officials are attempting to locate Saddam–I don’t think they know where to find him. He may already be adios amigos.

I guess those that voted in the poll earlier today were right, the war started between 5:00PM and 9:00PM PST. Daily Nugget readers, all six of them, are very wise indeed!

Addendum:
Saddam addressed Iraq at 9:40AM local time and called referred to Bush as “the junior bush.” It’s good to see that barely getting out of a building alive hasn’t hurt Saddam’s sense of humor.

Saddam did the announcement as if to say, “Hey, motherfuckers, you missed.” I think that taking him out is going to be a lot harder than the U.S. ever imagined–I hope I am wrong.

President Bush gave Saddam 48 hours to get the hell outta dodge or get lit up like a Christmas tree. His speech was short and sweet–only 13 minutes. Bush essentially said that Saddam and his kids must leave Iraq within 48 hours to avoid military action. The Iraqi foreign minister already has said that Saddam would not comply with the request. He then went on to say that President Bush “is a crazy man and should consider stepping down.” C’mon!? Bush isn’t crazy, he’s dumb as a stump, but he’s not crazy. Saddam is the one that is crazy not to leave Iraq–that Mother Of All Bombs looks like it could do some serious damage. Stay tuned.

HBO and James Gandolfini have settled their lawsuits and Tony Soprano got a hefty raise when it was all over. Gandolfini will make more than the $11 million HBO initially offered, but less than the $16 million Gandolfini initially demanded. Sources speculate that Gandolfini will make in the vicinity of $13 million for “The Sopranos” fifth season. Shooting is back on schedule and the off-screen drama is over.

On Saturday, people protested against war in a march from the Civic Center to Jefferson Park and Alamo Square. This morning, additional people protested by slowing down the wheels of commerce in the financial district–laying down in front of cars and blocking the intersections.
The U.N. has just ordered staff to leave Iraq–it’s not looking good. I think we have reached the point of no return and can expect “bombas” dropping in the next three days.

From Fridayfive.org.

1. Do you like talking on the phone? Why or why not?
Not really. I tend to use the phone to setup meeting times to have face-to-face discussions with colleagues or friends.

2. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone?
My wife.

3. About how many telephones do you have at home?
Two. One cordless and one conference phone.

4. Have you encountered anyone who has really bad phone manners? What happened?
Anyone who 1) has the ringer on their cell phone turned up to 130 decibels as if the whole world must hear the ring and 2) talks loudly into their cell phone in a public area, especially on the N-Judah train during the morning or afternoon commute. You know who you are–there’s no need to yell, and have you ever heard of vibrate?

5. Would you rather pick up the phone and call someone or write them an e-mail or a letter? Why or why not?
It depends on the urgency of the message. I tend to reserve phone calls for more urgent matters.

Today, HBO sent letters to the staff and crew informing them not to show up for work on March 24th and have declared the shooting for “The Sopranos” postponed indefinitely. This makes the show dead, at least for now.

It seems that James Gandolfini, aka Jim, has turned out to be just another spoiled celebrity. He filed a lawsuit against HBO for not informing him of the start of the season in a timely manner (two years ago) and reportedly refused an increase in salary from $400,000 to $800,000 per episode (he wants $1 million). They have since, sued him back for $100 million and postponed the show–it’s been one hell of a pissing contest.

Let’s break it down. A salary of $1 million per episode would put Gandolfini on par with the individual cast members of NBC’s most successful sitcom, “Friends.” Here’s the tale of the tape according to the Washington Post article: “Friends” is averaging 23 million viewers this season. “The Sopranos” averaged about 11 million last season. “Friends” has made a fortune for Warner Bros. TV in rerun syndication. As of this writing, HBO has not been able to sell “The Sopranos” in syndication.

Do you think he deserves $1 million? I don’t, he should be glad they are offering $800,000. Irregardless, thanks to the legal grandstanding and unnecessary drama we may be without “The Sopranos” for some time.

Two men (named Wilson and Phillips) got into a brawl over a dead chicken. The two men reportedly met at an anger-management class and one of them agreed to do some “odd jobs” for the other. After pulling an all-nighter installing marble, they searched for a missing dog and then got into a knife fight over a dead chicken! This crazy story has to be read to be believed. You can’t make this stuff up!

The SETI@Home Project has identified over 150 signal candidates, from over 5 billion observations, to be rechecked in mid-March. The signal candidates are signals strong enough to be considered possible communications from extra-terrestials and worth a second look.

Two Republican geniuses (I know that’s an oxymoron–I’m just being sarcastic) changed the names of “french fries” and “french toast” in the House cafeterias to “freedom fries” and “freedom toast” respectively. This is their cool way of “sticking” it to the French. What are we in fifth grade you dumb fuckers!? I hate to think that my tax dollars pay for the salaries of these two idiots. Surely, there has to be a more mature way of fighting the political battle with the French government. P.S. French fries are from Belgium!

Disclaimer: The term “kook” refers to Kim Jong-Il’s crazy ass for being crazy–not for being Korean (i.e. it is not meant as a racial slur). Big ups to all my Korean-American peeps, especially Meerenai Shim.

Experts are chiming in today on what I talked about yesterday–North Korea and their nukes, “While the Bush administration focuses intensely on what may be an imminent war with Iraq, there is increasing alarm that North Korea may be on the verge of going beyond threats and rapidly assembling a small nuclear arsenal. ” Duh!?

Orville Canter, publisher of Turdpolish.com, brings us the “real” story of the Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 97 people. Needless to say, Satan is one tough negotiator. Check it out.

North Korea test-fired a missile over water today in the Sea of Japan. All this missile stuff is making me nervous. North Korea is known to have nukes and are firing missiles all over the damn place. Yet, for some reason we are planning to attack Iraq first. The reason is oil, plain and simple. North Korea has no oil that we can control.

3 Stars

Well, I broke down and watched Daredevil today even though I vowed never to watch it because Ben Affleck is in it. And as we all know Ben Affleck is a no talent hack who will always be Matt Damon’s bitch, but that’s another story. Actually I take it back. He’s no longer Matt’s bitch, he’s JLo’s bitch–she probably gives it to him with a strap-on. Oh, I can’t stop talking shit about Ben, please help me.

Ok, here’s the review: the movie wasn’t great, but it was entertaining. Mostly because of the supporting cast. Jennifer Garner, of Alias fame, kicks ass as Elektra and provides real acting to an otherwise flat plot. Colin Farrell does a good job playing the psycho–Bullseye. Joe Pantoliano, of Sopranos fame, plays a reporter trying to uncover the Daredevil story, he’s good too. Not surprisingly, the lamest actor was Affleck. However, the movie has great special effects and is entertaining. It is worth watching on a big ass screen with a good audio system for matinee prices.

4 Stars

Talk to Her was a pleasant surprise, as was All About My Mother a couple of years ago. I didn’t think that the story of two men discussing their love for unconscious women would be interesting at all. However, Pedro Almodovar uses very effective flashbacks to explain the emotional connection that both men have for their objects of affection. The friendship between the two men is as unexpected as the events that unfold for all of the principal characters. It is a great film. Even those that can’t understand Spanish will appreciate the beauty of spoken Spanish dialect from Spain. Check it out.

From Fridayfive.org.

1. What was the last song you heard?
1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?
The Recruit & Star Trek Nemesis.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?
Two boxes of Magic: The Gathering playing cards, Streets is Watching: The Movie by Jay-Z, a bunch of clothes at The Gap sample sale.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
Sleep, eat, drink, and be merry.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
Mama Miller Gonzalez, my wife, Carmen Leung, co-worker, Jamie Draper, co-worker, Linh Nguyen, co-worker, and Steve Thompson, my friend and ex-coworker.

I am sitting at school hooked up to a wireless connection showing my classmate how to post onto my blog–fucking cool! We are using a Sierra Wireless access card.

A lawyer was arrested late Monday at a public mall in New York after refusing to take off a T-shirt advocating peace that he had just purchased at the mall. What the fuck!? Is this the end of the world as we know it!? Do you want a mall security guard making judgments regarding the First Amendment!? I didn’t think so. If this guy sees prison time, I am going to get on a plane to Iraq and sign up to become a human shield. This is crazy.

Well, it seems that gas prices are at a record high in the Bay Area. I thought I was on crack last night when I filled up my tank in San Francisco and saw the pump reading $24.78–it was $2.22 per gallon! This used to cost me $18-20 just a few months ago. What the hell happened?

Apparently, the fear of war is driving the price of crude (and consequently gas) sky high. If the war starts, the demand will go up dramatically (for use of military vehicles, etc.) while the supply will shrink (Iraq’s supply of crude will have a hard time leaving the country and entering the world market).

The result: double-effect pressure raising the price of crude oil. In the short term, this should make refiners happy, since they can charge more for gas created from cheaper crude supply on hand. I bet my friends employer, Valero, is making a grip of money right now.

Bottom line, if we think the price is high now we better think of how high it will be once the first bombs drop. We might as well grab our ankles as we drive into a gas station. Stay tuned.

Vanity Fair is running a story on Michael Jackson in which he purportedly paid $150k to put a voodoo curse on Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and 23 other people on his hit list. The ritual allegedly required that Michael take a bath in a pool of blood taken from 42 sacrificed cows. The article also says that Michael wears a prosthetic nose, bleaches his skin because he hates being black, and calls black people “spabooks.” It’s official–this bitch is crazy.


Click to Vote

I’ve already asked this before, but current events beg the question again. It’s obvious Americans care about reality TV more than they care about the pending war in Iraq or North Korea. The networks are going to introduce 22 more reality shows for the next season alone. There’s no sense in fighting it–resistance is futile. So, what’s your favorite reality show?

President Bush is obsessed with Saddam Hussein while the rest of America is enthralled with Reality TV, including me. The evening news and local newspapers are runnning stories about The Bachelorette and Joe Millionaire. Water cooler conversations at most places are centered more around Trista and Joe than the pending war with Iraq. Just today we figured out that among the staff at my office we have almost every reality show covered–except for the Star Search remake–that just sucks.

You want reality TV!? Dan Rather’s interview with Saddam Hussein was very real, albeit subdued. Hussein did not appear to be a raving lunatic and never tripped on Rather. In fact, he was very articulate and calm. He mentioned he wanted a peaceful resolution to this whole crisis! Bush, are you listening!? I think the President is watching Reality TV too.

So as a nation we wait for the start of the war with Iraq with as much anticipation as The Amazing Race 4 premier. We have no control as to when either one will start, so until then, we’ll just hope Star Search is cancelled.b