Mama and I are heading off to Tahoe to get at least one full day of snowboarding. The awesome part is that we will be staying at the Kivelstadt cabin, located just one mile from the Alpine Meadows parking lot. With all the snow that’s been falling, it should make for a great snowboarding trip.

I just recently upgraded to the Motorola RAZR V3 phone and wanted to see some cool color apps on it when I stumbled on Google Local for Mobile. Google Local is the official name for Google Maps. I just tried it and it is simply awesome. I know this is old news for many, but if you have a color phone and have not tried this application, you are missing out. Just type in “google.com/glm” into your phone’s browser to download the application. Check it out.

The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) held the opening press conference for the 49th Annual San Francisco Film Festival yesterday morning at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in Union Square. About 300 press corps members, part of the local and international press corps attended the event. Due to the film festival’s Hong Kong entries, there was even a news crew from World Channel International, the local Chinese language station.

Graham Leggat, the SFFS’s new executive director, spoke articulately with a slight Irish accent. Although he has been on the job for only the last five months, he exhibited very intimate knowledge about the festival and its entries. Unlike Roxanne Messina Captor, who was not very articulate, often would fumble film titles, and didn’t seem to be as as intimate with the festival’s programming. The primary message to his speech was simple: putting together a film festival is a social endeavor.

Leggat stated that the film festival has gone out of their way to create a citizen press corps by recruiting Bay Area bloggers, like myself, to attend the film festival as press. This is my second year covering the festival, even though I have been writing about the festival in the form of film reviews for the last four years. So far my experience with the festival this year yields a sense that the festival is a lot more organized, surely due in part to Leggat’s new leadership.

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Pink Hoes Eliminated

In this episode, teams made their way from Munich, Germany to Palermo, Italy on the island of Sicily. They needed to go to the famous Palermo Opera House, of Godfather III fame, to find their next clue. At the start of the leg one thing was clear to me: I really don’t like the Hippies, BJ & Tyler. Their antics and attempts to be funny are killing me. Again, I repeat, they must die.

Teams arrived in Palermo and went to the Detour and then the Roadblock, where a Yield was available. The Old Farts were the story of this race. Why is it that old people on the race always miss the clue boxes? The clue boxes are bright yellow and red you blind geezers!

The Laundry task was easy for team members that pulled clothing off the line as they went along. Then there were the Nerds, who were initially pinning the clothes back onto the line after they inspected them. Are they retarded? It was only after other teams arrived that they realized they could just simply pull the articles of clothing off the line.

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An Illinois man was fined $250 and placed under court supervision for one year for sitting in his car on the street with a laptop and piggybacking off his neighbor’s WiFi connection. I don’t agree with this guy being fined and humiliated like this.

This case is akin to having a neighbor with a really strong sprinkler system (wireless router). If I realize that the sprinkler system sprays beyond his yard (private domain) onto the street (the public domain), I should be able to park my car there and get a free wash. I am technically not stealing the water, just using it. Sure, water isn’t free (neither are high-speed Internet connections), but the neighbor sprayed his water into the public domain and that makes it public.

Of course, if this guy was in his car attempting to gain access to his neighbor’s computer instead of simply getting access to the Internet, then he should get a much more severe penalty. But my understanding is that this was a case of frivolous web-surfing on someone else’s connection. All San Francisco residents have done that once or twice. In any case, I am curious to see how this plays out going forward. Stay tuned.

After months of rumors, Arrested Development will not be resurrected on Showtime.

Ninjas seem to be everywhere these days. A group of kids from the LBC and Costa Mesa called the EMC Monkeys are training to be ninjas together and putting together videos of their exploits. Check out this video of one of their lead members, Xin Sarith Azuma Phan Wuku, it’s awesome! If these guys decide to go full ninja style and kill people we’re all doomed. Their website says that they are “for hire” so it’s only a matter of time. May God help us all.

From Dog the Bounty Hunter to Tom Hanks in the Da Vinci Code, the infamous mullet hairstyle is making a comeback into our pop culture. Sad.

Apparently, when Bill Gates gets nervous, he rocks back and forth like an autistic savant. This video clip claims to be actual footage of Bill Gates being questioned by U.S. anti-trust lawyers in 1998. Needless to say, he doesn’t seem to be enjoying the entire process. Even funnier is that at the end of the clip there is an ad to obtain a set of DVDs of the entire deposition. Who the hell would want eight hours of the richest man in the world rocking back and forth like a child? Now that I think about it, I bet Larry Ellison has multiple copies of this DVD collection.

L.A. Immigration Rally

Over 500,000 people marched in downtown Los Angeles today to protest a proposed federal crackdown on illegal immigration. The demonstrators oppose legislation passed by the U.S. House that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally. By many accounts, this is the largest protest peaceful protest in the city’s history. This doesn’t count the Watts Riots or the Rodney King Riots. Those may have been larger overall, but those “protests” were anything but peaceful.

In Denver, Colorado, more than 50,000 people protested downtown Saturday, according to police who had expected only a few thousand. Phoenix was similarly surprised Friday when an estimated 20,000 people gathered for one of the biggest demonstrations in city history, and more than 10,000 marched in Milwaukee on Thursday. Thankfully none of the protests held all over the United States on this issue errupted in violence, although few sporadic arrests were made, but that’s to be expected.

SF Global Warming Projection

Some scientists say that global warming acceleration may raise sea levels by 20 feet by the year 2100. This map shows how Downtown San Francisco may be affected should the water rise 20 feet. As you can see, our condo (the red square) would be clearly underwater should this come to pass. We will be sure to divest this condo to ensure that it doesn’t become part of the Gonzalez estate, unless we also bequeath a boat to go with it. I would like to think that our heirs would have homes on Russian Hill or Nob Hill by then and they wouldn’t be swimming. But, it is clear that we really need to take what is happening to our environment seriously. Otherwise, future generations will have a lot less of the world to enjoy if all coastal cities are encroached upon by rising water.

Dick Cheney’s travel requirements were made public today on the Smoking Gun. Among the things he must have are all the lights turned on, the room at 68 degrees, decaffeinated coffee, four to six bottles of water, and four cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite. Additionally, the room’s televisions have to be preset to — wait for it, wait for it — Fox News. No mention was made of beef jerky, a shotgun, buckshot, a defibrillator, and a couple of floor mirrors to practice scowling and looking like a Dick. Apparently, he brings all that other shit himself.

The official response from Microsoft regarding the recent Xbox 360 hack:

The core security system has not been broken. However, it is reported that the authentication protocol between the optical disc drive and the console may be attacked, which if accurate could allow people to play illegally copied games. Our security team is aware of this and we are investigating potential solutions to this issue. The Xbox 360 platform was designed to be updated, and we are prepared to respond appropriately should any unauthorized activity be identified.

Everyone should keep in mind that Microsoft invests a great deal of time and effort to ensure that Xbox gamers enjoy the most powerful and exhilarating game experience available today. Genuine and unmodified Microsoft Xbox products provide gamers with the reliability, security, support and dynamic gaming experience that they expect. Microsoft works with a large group of legitimate business partners to sell and service genuine Microsoft Xbox products. Microsoft does not authorize or support any products or companies that modify or change the Xbox console in any way.

Reading between the lines you can tell that they’re pissed. XBL auto-updates will surely go out to thwart this. It reminds me of the DirecTV programmers vs. hackers battle that raged for years until alas the DirecTV folks beat the pirates, or the lazy ones anyway. Stay tuned.

No, not that Bush. I don’t know how I missed this, but this is a video of Pierce Bush, George W. Bush’s 19-year-old nephew, defending his uncle’s position on the Dubai ports deal. He’s admittedly high on caffeine when he’s doing this interview and can barely speak. Why is he speaking up on this issue? I don’t even think he knows. At this rate, he’s probably going to be the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 presidential election.

I remember going to this site years ago and there were about half the number of games than there are on it now. Some of the games on the site are really good, and addicting. A good diversion when you have the time. Enjoy.

Spam subject line writers sometimes translate Chinese menus. Via Memepool.

Blog Gang Sign
You knew it was coming, the “b-l-o-g” gang sign. Fear this bitches!

The blogrolling.com website’s slow response time, down time, and overall malaise was completely killing my home page load times. Last night, I finally had it with the poor perfomance and decided to start using blo.gs to update and track my blogroll. Adios blogrolling.com, you won’t be missed.

A taste test performed yesterday showed that San Franciscans can’t taste the difference between tap water, which comes to San Francisco from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, and commercial bottled water: Aquafina and Dasani. On a funny side note, the guy running the taste tests, the Deputy Director of the SF Water Department, is named David Assmann. How this guy survived elementary school with this name is beyond me.

Boricuas Eliminated

In this episode, teams continued the leg from the mat and headed from Moscow, Russia to Stuttgart, Germany. Surprisingly, the Old Farts are still well in the race. The teams that chose to wash the trolleys were definitely trailing near the end of the pack. And as I predicted, the Nerds were pulling up the rear.

The best news for this episode, the teams didn’t all bunch up at the airport. Three teams: the Jocks, the Nutty Dentist, and the Hippies, made it out of Moscow the same night as they touched the mat. All of the other teams had to wait until the following morning to catch flights out of Moscow, putting them 10-12 hours behind the lead teams.

The test drive at the Mercedes-Benz factory looked sweet! Teams were driven by a professional driver on a closed course that included the “wall of death,” an amazing 80-degree banked turn. The speed at which the car took the turn looked incredible. Surely to experience the gravity of that turn in a production car was a once in a lifetime experience.

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The new version of Windows, named Vista, has been delayed to January 2007.

Debra LaFave in Makes and Models Magazine

Charges were dropped in the case of Debra LaFave, pictured here in a Makes and Models magazine spread that she did back in 1999. LaFave was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old boy in her middle school classroom. Prosecutors dropped the charges because the boy’s mother though that testifying would be too traumatic for him and “he had suffered enough.”

I’ll tell you what, all the guys I know wish we could “suffer” like this kid has suffered. This is exactly what Van Halen was talking about–it’s the American (Teenage Boy) Dream. It seems that hot teachers seducing young boys is as American as apple pie and school shootings nowadays. I just wish this trend could have started in the 1980’s. Sure, dodging bullets from deranged classmates sucks, but having sex with hot teachers makes it all worthwhile. That and hot virginity pledge action.

A runaway train killed seven people and injured at least 11, severing some of their limbs, during the filming of a reality TV show in Uruguay. The TV show, called a Challenge to the Heart, raises money for charities and good causes. In this challenge, contestants were pushing and pulling a train and two carriages when the vehicle gained speed and ran them over. Adding insult to injury, about 3,000 schoolchildren were at the recording and witnessed the horrific accident. This really makes you appreciate OSHA and its role in U.S. reality TV shows. I mean, nobody’s been crunched in Fear Factor, and they do stuff just as wild as this all the time.

Check out this video of the first Xbox 360 firmware hack. Also, more details here.

Cruise in Trapped in the Closet

Tom Cruise threatened to boycott promotion of his upcoming Paramount Pictures film, Mission Impossible 3, unless Comedy Central pulled a “South Park” rerun lampooning the Church of Scientology. This is why the anticipated rerun of the “Trapped in the Closet” episode was pulled last Wednesday. Fuck ’em. If I were Trey Parker and Matt Stone, I would run the “Trapped in the Closet” episode daily until these bastards backed-off or Tom Cruise started to cry, whichever came first. The pair instead issued this irreverent statement:

“So, Scientology, you have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for Earth has just begun. Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!”

Comedy Central, which like Paramount is owned by Viacom, declined comment on the rerun switch, other than to say: “In light of the events of earlier this week, we wanted to give Chef an appropriate tribute by airing two episodes he is most known for.” Uh huh, sure. They are just afraid of a lawsuit. I heard the Church of Scientology even tried to sue the Biography Channel for their report on Scientology that aired almost four years ago. Now, they are trying to kill Kenny–you bastards!

Scientology is a UFO cult that uses the legal system to squash free speech against them and get their way. Go to Xenu.net and draw your own conclusions. Let the million-year war for Earth begin indeed.

The ninja attacker that was killed last month is remembered by his family.

Pacman finds fame and self-destructs in this video biopic.

It’s official. After six months of not paying the Neverland maintenance staff, the Neverland Ranch closed its doors and now running with a skeleton crew. Michael Jackson was even referred to as the “Bahrain-based pop star” in this news article. Jacko was seen out on the town in January in a Manama, Bahrain mall wearing what looked like a burka. For all intents and purposes, he looked like a Saudi woman wearing men’s shoes. I think it’s official, Jacko is looking to move there for good. Maybe he likes the burkas. Good riddance, Freak!

A pregnant waitress in Virginia received a total of $1,000 to cover a bill of $26.35 at a small local restaurant with a note that read, “Keep the change! Have a great day!” She thought that it was a joke, but it was real. The widowed woman who left the tip said that she could have easily spent the money at the mall that day, but instead decided to give the money to someone that needed it more than she did. It’s nice to see that good things still happen to good people.

Jocks in First Place

The big story of this episode is that the Pink Hoes and the Jocks “hooked up” during the last Pit Stop. The show didn’t really elaborate, but they did show two peeps, Eric and Danielle, cozying up on a hammock. So, an alliance has been established. We’ll see what happens as the race goes on. It’s a long race and the chances of both of these teams being in the final three are pretty slim.

Ten minutes into the episode, as the Nutty Dentist team left the Pit Stop, Lake snapped on Michelle and told her to “Shut up!” Surely this is an omen of things to come. A breakdown is eminent with these two, I can feel it. They literally got lost leaving the farm because Lake just thought he couldn’t be wrong about how to get back to the highway. Idiot.

The Hippies thought it would be funny to jump out in front of other team cars going into the first task. All I kept thinking was “God, please let at least one of them get hit by a car.” Those Hippies are not funny, but they think they’re funny. That’s the worst kind of hippie. They are acting up for the cameras with their fucking antics and are clearly not naturally funny. It is clear that they must die.

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Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef on South Park, has quit the show citing opposing views on religion. Apparently Hayes, a Scientologist, took offense at a recent South Park episode that pokes fun at the Church of Scientology and its poster boy, Tom Cruise, titled “Trapped in the Closet.” Funny that Hayes didn’t quit when the Christians, Jews, or Mormons were ridiculed in countless episodes. I guess it’s true that people in “real” religions have tougher skins than those in UFO cults (see previous post).

Subdermal Implants

Subdermal implants allow you to get Klingon-like forehead ridges, or horns, or whatever else your crazy ass desires. In the extreme body modification community, this is the holy grail. The article has said that some “artists” have combined the implants with tattoos to get “beautiful or terrible effects.” To install them the practitioner uses a scalpel to place molded silicon or implant grade Teflon under the skin. The bottom line is that this procedure is a small surgery and tattoo artists are not medically trained surgeons. One slip of the scalpel and you are irreparably scarred for life. Hey, but looking like a Klingon is worth it, right?

Rob Cockerham of Cockeyed.com decided to test Chase Mastercard by filling out a torn credit card application using a different address (his parents) and phone number (his cell phone). According to the Chase website, tearing the application should have been sufficient. Wrong, a shiny new credit card showed up a few weeks later. If you don’t already have a shredder, you need one.

The Lakers beat the Spurs on the road and may actually make the playoffs.

Grandmas Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from São Paolo the rural area of Brotas, Brazil. No planes were boarded on this leg; teams simply took a bus ride from one side of the country to the other. The bus ride was followed by a couple of tasks that the teams had to do while driving old junky Volkswagen bugs.

All of the teams bunched up at the beginning of the race right before the Roadblock, but the physical Roadblock determined three staggered departure times on the buses which broke the teams up into three packs. I hate when the teams bunch up like that, but what can you do? The bunching up coupled with the lack of air travel made for a pretty boring episode.

At the beginning of the race, Dave said of Lori, “She’s my hottie-boom-body with the naughty Pilates.” Dave said this in not so much a cute way, but a downright creepy way that scared me. The Nerds are fucking creepy with their constant dork-in-love-fest that they got going on. They are starting to bug me.

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Coffee can kill you if you have a slow caffeine metabolization rate.

A 15-year-old Florida kid named Joshua was killed in a freak sword accident. A sword that was hanging on his bedroom wall was hit by a ball, fell, and slashed him pretty good. He died from his injuries at the hospital a short while later. Why would anyone give a kid a sharpened sword? Also, sharpened swords are not supposed to be hung on walls, but on table stands where they can’t fall on people. It seems to me that this kid’s death could have been avoided. Sad.

Captain Crunch, a phone phreaker and hacker from the 1970’s, has his own podcast that talks about information security issues and trends called Crunch TV. It’s funnier than all shit to watch. I mean, just seeing anyone over 25 doing a podcast is pretty odd, and this guy is just old. On a side note, Steve Dougherty, the guy that helped authorities put Captain Crunch away in 1977, works for my firm. This is definitely an old school geek fest.

It turns out that the ninja attacker used to work for the guy that shot him and was probably just a disgruntled employee gone wild. I bet if mofos knew that this guy was a closet ninja they may have treated him better at work.

Update (3/7/2006): Ninja slaying found justifiable

Mayor Gavin Newsom held a press conference to address Milos and Scientology, stating “Relax. I’m a practicing Irish Catholic. I’m not a Scientologist, and I couldn’t tell you two things about it.” In his head he was thinking, “Can’t you guys see that all I want to do is tap dat ass!” He seemed really calm and collected, so chances are that he already hit that. Nice.

Dave Chappelle said that if Comedy Central releases his uncompleted third season of Chappelle’s Show that he can’t see how he would return to the show and that it would damage his relationship with the network. Considering how DVD sales are going, I think Dave has these guys right where he wants them.

Beijing is not known for its manners. People there hold one nostril down with their finger and exhale violently in order to clear their other nostril of snot. Other people will hock a loogie on the sidewalk as they walk without missing a beat. This happens all the time and is acceptable in their culture. The Chinese government wants to change that. Since the Olympics are coming to Beijing in 2008, the government is teaching its citizens manners, such as “the right way to spit” and “the right way to sit.”

I am not sure why the government is teaching people to sit. Perhaps the men flash people when they are wearing shorts, I really don’t know. Anyway, spitting and sitting is the tip of the iceberg. Most of my Chinese friends tell me that people will light up cigarettes in elevators, waiters will have cigarettes in their mouths as they bring you food, and even the people cooking the food don’t stop for smoke breaks! Needless to say, teaching manners in Beijing will be tough.

The ninja that was shot dead a few days ago has not been identified, except to say that it was a white male 35 to 40 years of age. That doesn’t sound like a real Japanese ninja to me. Also, the investigation shows that the house belonged to an ex-casino executive. Perhaps he pissed off some people that wanted to take him and his wife out. Still, police claim their is no motive for the ninja attack.

Gay Guys Eliminated

In this first episode of the race, the teams started the race near Denver, Colorado, at the foot of the Rockies, at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. As far as I can remember, this was the first time that the race has started this far inland. It has typically started in a coastal city, except for the start in Chicago for the last race. Teams immediately made their way to São Paolo, Brazil.

Surprisingly, BJ & Tyler
(the Hippies) got the hole shot out of the start and were able to run to their car in first place. They seemed not too concerned about the altitude as they ran and are in better shape than their looks would have you believe. They
could be sleepers in physical challenges later in the race.

Lake & Michelle (the Nutty Dentist) almost immediately proved why Mississippi gets low reading comprehension scores. Lake decided to stop and make phone reservations for their flight even though the clue explicitly said not to do
so. Lake didn’t even admit he was to blame and said “I was partially responsible for that.” No Lake, you were solely responsible, and you are an idiot.

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San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom flew down to Los Angeles to hang with his new fling, Sofia Milos, and to go to the annual dinner of the Citizens Commission for Human Rights. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, it turns out that the Citizens Commission for Human Rights was co-founded by the Church of Scientology to expose ethical violations by psychiatrists and to raise questions about the use of psychiatric medicines. In short, Milos has ties to scientology, and that could hurt our good mayor’s political career.

I noticed she was at least a scientology sympathizer, if not a scientologist, while looking through her website last week when the story of their relationship broke. Certainly Gavin knows of her ties to the origanization by now and simply doesn’t care. I mean look at her, she’s so damn fine she could worship wild goats and most guys would ignore it. I am guessing that the mayor is not looking to convert to scientology anytime soon and is just looking to tap dat ass. After all, I am sure that he knows that scientology is a crazy UFO cult.