29 July 2010


Listening to: Grum, "Can't Shake This Feeling." His real name is Graeme Sheperd, which is just asking for multiple misspellings. Grum's other stuff is a bit too electronica for me. Like I imagine trying to dance to it but finding it very difficult. I could dance to Can't Shake This Feeling though, I think.

During one of the NBA Finals games, the first Starcraft 2 commercial was shown. Frighteningly I knew what they were advertising about five seconds in when I saw the red headed ghost. One of the most highly anticipated video games of the past decade finally came out this week. While I knew any video game playing would be the death of me in college, I had many friends who lost their educational careers to the original Starcraft. Me, I was smart and waited until after I left Michigan to fire up the game. I'm not nearly as smart this time around. I've already been participating in the recent Starcraft 2 beta for a few weeks and the full on game is going to be amazing.

What is interesting is how technology has changed the way you can learn/play Starcraft. Keep in mind the original came out in 1998, probably around when you were fiddling around with a clunky homepage. Nowadays, with review sites, comprehensive blogs, immersive videos, professional gamers, and all the rest, it's so easy to study the game on a detail you never could have before. Limited to just your circle of friends or online gaming buddies, you weren't actually privy to a game changing strategy unless it was actually done to you. Now I can watch a mothership / colossus / force field combo over and over in awe.

Game changer.

And look at this NPR article about the two best Starcraft sportscasters, Husky and HD. They get over 100,000 views per video (while SC2 was still in beta) and provide more exciting announcing than most other sports' professionals.

While I know playing Starcraft 2 will likely be the death of me, I need it in my life and you do too. When the beta was down for a few weeks, I had to stave off addiction by reading guides online to sooth the ache. There are a ton of Starcraft 2 blogs already out there but a few I enjoy are Starcraft 2 Strategy Masters, The Shokz Guide, and SC2 Blog. Also I found the RPG Exploiters series of best counters to be particularly useful. I'm a Terran player myself so knowing how to beat the other races is pretty important. Here's a quickie guide as linked to from Kotaku about picking your race.

The best Starcraft 2 podcast I've found is Starcast (blog). The two hosts, Garrett and Kyle, have just the right mix of conversation and strategy talk, while not being pro-level players. It's nice to hear from people who are just like me, struggling to find time to balance my real life with Starcraft life. I'd check them out staring with episode one.

Friends, family, concerned citizens of Earth, if you don't see me for the next few months, you'll know why. "And there's the gg."

25 July 2010

Awesome Assembled!

For the most part, the reason I don't make it a point to attend Comic Con anymore is because it's changed too much. For one, it's incredibly overcrowded and you know how I feel about crowds. Tickets sell out months ahead of time so if you want to go you better buy now, literally. I got my one day pass like eight months ago. Plus the people who show up to Comic Con nowadays are different. I know it's not for me to judge who is a fan and who isn't, especially since I don't wait in lines, dress up, participate, or actually buy much anymore but the thing about modern Comic Con is that it's just become a thing for people to do. Like going to the zoo or Sea World. The Comic Con I grew up with was dominated by stalls of comic book vendors and tables of geeks playing Magic and AD&D. That's the Comic Con I knew and loved, Dorksville USA.

While I understand the sleek new Comic Con and the monetization behind it, the floor space is now dominated by video games, television/movie promos, and packed with just about everything except comics. Everything is event driven and epic from a marketing standpoint but there's just not much going on anymore. Comic Con's dork soul has floated away and while there are a few cool exhibits here or there, a wonderful small press area, and some fantastic people watching, it's hardly enough to get me out of bed and through the crowds anymore.

Unless there's a bachelor party planned around the Con. Then I'm totally there!

My friend Chris is getting hitched in the fall and since we are fellow geeks -- he feeds me lots of comic related goodies -- I knew this would be quite the experience for him. Many of our other friends were rolling in for the weekend as well and I knew we were headed toward good times when a friend had us pre-make D&D characters via email. You don't know how much that assignment excited me. For my bachelor party, everyone better bring some twenty sided dice with them, and a few d4s for extra-credit. The guys got Chris a Superman outfit to wear and he was a great sport about it and walked around with with Clark Kent's humility and Kal-El's regal bearing all weekend.

Strangely, Chris was the only fully costumed Superman we saw all of Friday (the only day I attended). Alvin's theory was that Superman was too mainstream and most everyone else went for obscure costumes to get geek cred. That left Chris as the Only Son of Krypton and people were constantly stopping him to pose for photos. The best part was overhearing little kids walk by and then whisper to their parents, "Dad, it's Superman!" SuperChris was a celebrity all weekend and is probably being uploaded to albums and Facebooks as we speak.

A huge highlight was walking around and almost literally bumping into Jim Lee. He was talking to somebody and munching on some nachos. At first I wasn't positive it was him because I'd imagined he'd be taller. Like ten feet tall, approximating his stature in the comics industry. Who is Jim Lee? Only the greatest comic book artist of all time and now co-pubisher at DC. He's drawn definitive versions of the X-Men, Batman, Superman, recently redesigned Wonder Woman's costume, and is probably the greatest comic book artist of all time. Oh wait, I said that already but I'll leave it in there twice to indicate how great he is. I had at least three of Jim Lee's posters on my walls growing up and if I had my way (or owned any walls in my adulthood) they'd still be hanging proudly.

Later on, I found out that Chris' friend got an original Batman sketch done on his iPad by Jim Lee. I got a copy of it and can't stop staring. I'd repost but it's not really my sketch so I feel bad revealing it to the world. Trust me though, it's awesome and I can't believe Lee finger painted it. I so badly wanted to take a picture with The Jim Lee but I get all weird around famous people so I just choked and followed him around. I needed to share my excitement with the world but I was walking the floor with my neophyte friend and he was less than enthused. "Who's Jim Lee?" he asked. "Is he related to Stan Lee?"


This brings me to a great point. At Comic Con, your "normal" friends become cool liabilities and can be the cause of super embarrassment. "Shhh! Don't ask that question out loud! I'll explain to you who Galactus is later! Gah, stop look at those plushy toys and concentrate on the comics!" Comic Con is full of nerd love moments like me seeing Marvel editor-in-chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and then staring at him creepily thinking, "This man three feet away from me is responsible for so much good in my life. I must see how he wields a pen." This kinda stuff non-fanpeople just wouldn't get I don't think. Heck even when I saw the guy who makes the Cube Dudes I got a little starstruck.

Traditional celebrity sightings included glimpses of Anna Paquin, a guy who really looked like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and Adriane Curry dressed up as slave Leia. Wait, is Curry a celebrity? Arguable. She apparently likes to dress up for the geek crowds though. I anointed her most annoying girlfriend on Earth during the show on Vh1 with the ex-Brady. Are they still together? Oh and there was an autograph booth for the Soup Nazi. Not the actual Soup Nazi but the guy who played him on Seinfeld. Yes, the actor was charging money for a signed picture of him from a minor role he did fifteen years ago. There oughta be a German word for depressing and fantastic at the same time right?

Well, whatever that word is, I'd like to also apply it to my attempt to meet Marjorie Liu, who's a very prolific writer and whose career I've tracked for awhile. Aside from being an author across multiple genres, she writes for Marvel and has done a lot of Dark Wolverine, X-23, and is now penning Black Widow. A long time ago she started a Wolverine and Jubilee fansite and recently did a Wolvie and Jubes story in Girl Comics #3. Basically she went from fan to actual Marvel writer and that's like my dream come true.

So in trying to say hello to Marjorie and go, "Hey, I think you're awesome!" I ended up at one of her many panels, waited around till the end, and then since we were told to not approach the panelists until they had reached the signing area, I, like the rules abiding person that I am, waited. But then we had to get going so my only chance was to try and catch her walking in-between. However, a lady in cat ears was sucking up Marjorie's time and I panicked. Doubly so because again, I get weird around famous people.

Basically I interrupted their conversation by quickly tapping on Marjorie's arm, blurted out a request for a picture (without an introduction, entirely out of context, and without any verbal appreciations for her work, even a small one), and was so rude and broke all the rules for proper requesting. I did everything I didn't want to do, which was be totally weird. She was nice enough to take a picture anyway though. Which I will post here for posterity and to prove that you can win and lose simultaneously with great awkwardness. See why I'm gonna need that word for depressing and fantastic at the same time?

I did get a chance to meet and chat with Ryan Claytor from Elephant Eater comics (who I blogged about a month ago) and that was much more successful than the botched Marjorie thing. Ryan's booth and marketing stuff is just super quality -- just like all his work -- and I kind of loved his bookmarks, posters, promos for his upcoming summer tour, and even his own Elephant Eater bags! And not only that but he hand stitched his own tablecloth, which is quite the feat. I picked up more of his And Then One Days and his Master of Fine Arts thesis, "Concatenations: Autobiography in Comics," which I'm excited as all heck to read.

To wrap up, Comic Con 2010 was a success and while I can't imagine I'll be back next year, you never know. The more bachelor parties held at Comic Con versus some lame place like Vegas the better my life will be. Thanks for partying here Chris! And yeah, we got a little bit of D&D in. Everyone else is so jealous, I can tell.

24 July 2010

Despicable Me (2010)

I've been anxious to see this ever since being hooked on the movie's theme song, revealed during promos last summer. It was just so catchy and evil. Little did I know that Pharrell did the soundtrack. I was thinking during the movie that the score seemed off but now that I know Pharrell did it, everything makes sense. The auto tune, the boopity boppity sounds. Most of it worked but some didn't. Here's a little short behind the scenes clip with him.

The film itself was wonderful. There aren't many surprises plot wise but the concept, execution, and humor throughout was dead on. It's been a strong year for animated movies and Despicable Me didn't disappoint in any way. I guess I can't give it the ultimate high grade though because it was exactly as expected and just nice entertainment and nothing ground breaking. Still, I'd watch it again if I could.

Here's an interesting little post up over at Feministing that points out the movie's (possible) not so subtle racism against Asians. I can't say I agree necessarily, but it's something to think about.

20 July 2010

Don't Stop Believing

Listening to: Janelle Monae, "Dance or Die." You've probably been reading about Ms. Monae everywhere recently, I know I have (in the unlikeliest of places too). I thought she came out a few years ago but turns out that was just an EP. Her debut album is garnering rave reviews and in an effort to re-jump on the wagon, I'm giving her stuff lots of spins. Dance or Die is so far my favorite, perhaps influenced by the mini-appearance of Saul Williams. And if you haven't seen Janelle's Tightrope video and the shuffle dancing, you should probably get to it. I mean, it's been months since it was big you know?

A few months ago I was pushing the magic of Google Reader on everyone. If you still aren't using it, well, what can I do? Today I'm here to talk about Reader bloat, a problem that affects everyone on some level or another. Organizing your Reader is a huge task, similar to cleaning up your MP3 collection. A task like this can literally take days and if you're anal like me, once you get started you can't stop. Periodically I try to do a spring computer life cleaning but I've somehow managed to let my Reader grow to epic proportions with no design or control. That had to stop. I could literally waste hours of my life cruising through my Reader, starring items for more in-depth reading, and then reposting stuff on my Tumblr.

When I returned from Europe a few weeks ago, my Reader was easily into the few thousands. After thinking about it a moment, I simply hit "mark all as read" and got back down to zero. What did I miss out from all those thousands of links and articles? I guess I'll never know will I? Fundamentally my life is probably unchanged but I do feel like it's important to keep on top of some news and events. Having a svelte, precision orientated Reader is the way to achieve success. First off, let me recommend Reeder, a RSS reader that is available for $2.99 and makes reading feeds on your iPhone that much faster. While it's not a significantly different experience from using the generic Safari Google Reader site, it is worth purchasing if you're a heavy RSS consumer.

Having said that, let's look at the challenge ahead of me. As of yesterday morning I had over 800 blogs or websites I was subscribed to. Eight freaking hundred. No human can go through that many things and stay on top of it. My immediate goal was to trim that number by half. The biggest problem I had was that I was a feed addict. I'd easily add five new feeds a day, anything that caught my eye and might be worth following. Sure I used a "temporary" folder to try to filter what eventually made it through but I wasn't diligent about keeping the walls up. New feeds would get tossed in without any review process.

Well, my friend Chris showed me this article about Patrick Rhone's RSS system and it was much needed. I love lists, I love ranking things, I love figuring out what should be ahead of what. Clearly I needed to reorganize my RSS feeds around this structure. Roll out the red carpet for some feeds, back of the line for the others. The problem was I needed to separate those hundreds of feeds into their respective subject matters first. My broad categories prior to this reorganization was "people, entertainment, writing/books, and geek." That wasn't going to cut it. Before I could figure out which feeds were my a-list, b-list, and so on, I wanted to tag my feeds topically.

Somehow I decided to go from four categories to like twenty. Overkill but Google Reader doesn't have sub-folders and I figured I might as well slice as thinly as possible. So my four folder system transformed into: People, Friends, Moblogs, Opinion, Art, Asian, Sports, Movies & TV, Music, Digital, Games, Comics, Books, Publishing, Writers, YA, SF, Friends (defunct), My Stuff, and finally Probation. What's the difference you might ask between say, books and publishing? Well some blogs talk about upcoming books, feature reviews and the like, while some blogs are just about the industry or how to get published. In fact, I might have left out a category for "writing" focusing on sites with writing advice and such.

This pretty much covers most of the sort of blog and sites I'm into at the moment. Now to do a little cutting. Anything not updated in the past three months or so I cut. It was hard, I'm not gonna lie, killing feeds that I'd hoped would update. I mean, that's the beauty of RSS, you don't need to be around every day watching for an update. Just throw in the RSS and be alerted when a post goes up. I couldn't bring myself to eliminate my friends' blogs, so I made a folder for their defunct blogs, just in case someone revives one and I need to send a quick "Welcome back!" email. I know, I have an unhealthy relationship with the past and how it intersects with hope. I'm working on it.

After all this work guess how many feeds I'm only down to? 587. That's right. I'm nowhere near my goal and after going through and being a crazy person and making sure the naming structure for each individual feed was consistent I've lost all steam and motivation. I'll have to rest knowing that a system is in place and I'll whittle my RSS collection to a manageable number soon. You'd think I learned my lesson with Reader after watching my Delicious tags go all wild and woolly earlier. But no, I never learn. Don't you make that same mistake.

16 July 2010

Inception (2010)

So far Christopher Nolan has written the screenplay for Memento (adapted from a short story by his brother), Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, and Inception. There's a lot of quality mind blowing in there and Inception is probably the best of the lot. I'd normally have a ton to say about a movie like this but it's only fair for people to watch it with as little information as possible. This is one of those movies that will be jibber jabbered about for months and even if I have my quibbles with it, it's a spectacular way to spend two and a half hours.

You better hurry though because the hype is already huge and you're bound to hear things you'd rather not hear. We went Friday night and both 10:15pm showings were already sold out. Unbelievable. I had no idea this movie was going to open so big but it looks like it's going to be the summer blockbuster.

Inception features quite the incredible cast. Leo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger (!), Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Lukas Hass, Pete Postlethwaite, and the list goes on and on. Somehow Tom Hardy as Eames basically steals the show. I've never seen Hardy before but he's like a Daniel Craig with charisma.

After you watch the movie, let's talk. But probably check out this link first, covering a few different theories. And then we'll figure out a few of our own. And then maybe we'll go watch it again.

Update: This is an interesting note about the music of Inception.

12 July 2010

The Big One

Listening to: A River Valentine, "Next to You." I heard a snippet of this while watching My Life as Liz and just had to find it. I mean, the first few lines are: "When I wake up in the morning / And my breath just stinks so fresh / How you still think I'm beautiful / Even when my hair's a mess." Also, even though the show is sort of a fabricated sham, it's pretty great and I slalomed through all nine Liz episodes in short order.

From the network that brought you "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," it's the best new show on television, Huge! For the record, I have a friend who actually watches The Secret Life of the American Teenager, mostly when she's home sick from work as a high powered lawyer. It's her shameful little secret. I haven't seen much of Secret Life but the title alone makes it probably watch worthy.

I wonder what the new TGIF is now. You remember TGIF right? Four half hour comedies with the tentpoles being Family Matters and Step by Step? (By the way, I had no idea that TGIF was supposed to mean "Thank Goodness It's Funny.") George and I used to get so excited to start our weekend right with some light laughs, before we were forced to go to Chinese school and other lame things the next few days. Maybe TGIF was the entertainment highlight of our lives. I know, don't judge us; We weren't born in this country. Also, if you need to rewatch the Urkel Dance, it's right here.

Somehow I doubt kids nowadays sit around on Friday nights awaiting programming of any sort. I can't imagine why they would need to with everything online and cell phones and social lives already kicking in by middle school. Sometimes I forget to avoid the local strip mall on weekend evenings and end up getting slammed by 12-16 year olds just hanging out around the movie theater. There are so many of them and they all act so cool and with it, like their Friday night is going to be better than my Friday night. They're probably right actually, come to think of it.

Anyway, so I don't know who stays in to watch ABC Family but it would be a shame if you aren't slotting Huge into your DVR.

Winnie Holzman, the genius writer behind My So Called Life -- she also did the musical book version of Wicked -- is in charge of this show. She's co-producing and co-writing Huge with her daughter, Savannah Dooley. For those of you who don't know MSCL, well, we probably shouldn't be friends anyway. But if you were a fan, you'll be glad to note that Huge has the same mix of intelligent humor, wonderfully poignant moments, and overall tartness/painfulness that made MSCL work so well. While I don't see Huge becoming iconic like MSCL, it's so much better after just one episode than 90% of the stuff on TV already. Bonus move: casting the Hoff's daughter, Hayley, as one of the leads.

One of the Huge characters adds the slow "like" in-between most of his words, a very Rickey thing to do. I'm excited for more MSCL nods while watching the show. Another of those nods so far is Paul Dooley, who played Patty's overbearing and judgemental father, and has nearly the exact same role this time around. Sidenote: I saw Tom Irwin, who played Angela's dad on MSCL, in a bit part in the recent Grey's Anatomy finale. I wanted to cry for him that his career had devolved to playing a cop on the worst overly dramatic show on television. Then again, it's not like MSCL ran long enough to give any of the participants financial success or much of a follow up career. I mean, where's Rayanne been? Sigh. AJ Langer I miss you.

Anyway, get ready to kick back Mondays at nine to watch Huge with me. Or we'll just watch it separately online whenever we have time or whatever. Appointment television is so two decades ago.

08 July 2010

The Sound of Silence

Currently pushing: The artist who did the inset illustration is Nanami Cowdroy, originally from Australia. If I could, I would link you to everything she's done because it's just great stuff. Google her or check out this compilation and you'll see what I mean. She combines a few familiar elements and themes -- graffiti, gold fish, paper cranes -- but makes it all her own. My friend just bought some prints of hers and I can't wait to see them framed and displayed on his walls.

One of the endorsements from Slate's Culture Gabfest this week was music critic Robert Christgau's reviews. Christgau is known for his "terse capsule reviews," often summing up an entire album in less than a hundred words. A comprehensive collection of his stuff is being collected at his site. Make sure to read the User's Guide to the Consumer Guide and his grading system before diving in.

As a sample of his stuff, I checked the bands I normally cite as my favorites: Alanis Morissette, Gang Starr, Jewel, Tribe, and The Roots. Then I started just throwing random bands in there and found gems such as Christgau's review of Warren G's "Regulate...G Funk Era."
"Where his homeboy Snoop plays a well-chilled sociopath whose indifference to pain is the centerpiece of his carefully plotted menace, Dr. Dre's kid half-brother is more like a mischievous seventh-grader. Giggling at Bootsy's funny glasses one minute, selling crack on the corner the next, he could go either way, or both in tandem. His cool and his tough are less practiced, less cocksure, hence more dangerous -- and more tragic. Teamed with the tunefully murderous Nate Dogg, he's nasty in a new, neurotic way. Giving work to the Twinz or Dove Shack, he's one more G."
There's a lot of great stuff in there, even if the reviews are light on the current stuff (mainly because they seem to be excerpts and maybe there are permission issues?). For example, there's only four words given to Jason Mraz and just one sentence for La Roux. Then again, maybe Christgau's just getting more concise as his reviews of John Mayer's oeuvre demonstrates that less is often enough. Recent reviews include A-minuses for Tegan and Sara, Girls, LCD Soundsystem and The National. Plus a sterling A for The xx, who I've been getting into.

The RSS feed for Christgau's MSN Music hosted reviews is a must add. It isn't easy to sum up an album, a movie, a book, a person, anything, in less than a hundred words but Christgau has made it an art form.

06 July 2010

Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

For some perspective, here are my reviews of Twilight and New Moon. Basically I thoroughly enjoyed the first one and was underwhelmed by the second. The third one is arguably the best in the series, mainly because there's more action all around and a bit more backstory for the other vampires. While I logically knew the vampy origins for Jasper and Rosalie were thrown in to give Jackson Rathbone and Nikki Reed something to do, I enjoyed the look away from the nauseating Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle.

The entire movie is long shots of Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart looking forlorn or at each other -- nothing new there. I think I caught Kristen smiling once, probably understanding that she's past the halfway mark on these movies. Still, Pattinson and Stewart's beautiful faces are what fangirls (and fanboys?) came for so it's hard to be critical. I found myself reaching for the fast forward button during the emotional exchanges between Edward and Bella, hoping for the next bit of plot to unspool.

And the plot here wasn't bad. A newborn vampire army; lots of good looking CGI werewolves; Bryce Dallas Howard recast as Victoria, the red headed vampire out for revenge. Of course, the big attraction is Edward versus Jacob. I thought the absolute best scene was watching Edward and Jacob become semi-friends as Jacob happily snuggles up to a freezing Bella, keeping her warm in a storm. See, Edward's a blood cold vampire and can't offer her any warmth. Deep no?

Because I'm squarely Team Edward -- despite his overbearing personality -- I feel like Jacob is just a meddlesome home wrecker. Despite all her protests of "no means no," Jacob just keeps plugging on. She doesn't love you (as much), get over it! What's exciting is that I know what's coming in movie four so can't wait to see how they play that out on the big screen. Eclipse is probably the best movie of the three but without the push and character introductions of the original, I can't give it full marks.

Oh right, I hate Dakota Fanning. Is this a Tumblr already? fucknodakotafanning! I know it's wrong to hate a sixteen year old but I think she started off on the wrong foot with me in I Am Sam. Okay, I don't hate her, that's mean. But I want to gouge my eyes out when she's on-screen.

04 July 2010

Freedom Flukes

Currently pushing: Longform.org is a great site with articles, past and present, that are well, long. I'd RSS them if I were you.

Our Friday night wrapped up with an episode of Whale Wars, you know, the show where crazy people people throw themselves (and/or bottles of butyric acid) onto whaling ships in an effort to curb commercial whaling. During most of this episode, they showed captain Paul Watson cunningly decide to navigate the Sea Sheperd through some ice floes in an attempt to ditch his Japanese tail. This genius idea resulted in the Sheperd getting stuck -- they were not equipped with an ice class hull -- and eventually emerging only to find that the practical Japanese ship had simply gone around and was now closer to them than before. There's obviously a lot of unintentional comedy in Whale Wars, but there's also some interesting questions raised.

Questions like: Wait, why are people still hunting whales? What are they providing us with in the 21st century? Is disabling whaling boats one by one the best way to dissuade whalers? Why are the boats using water cannons against each other? Especially ones with a range of about ten feet? Is it biased to only care (more) about magnificent endangered animals at the expense of less cute ones? Why is "Bob Barker" the name of one of the anti-whaling ships? That answer is easily answered at least.

For last month's book club, we read Moby Dick and I got a pretty detailed view of how whaling in the 1800's worked. When they say that Moby Dick has many pages of whaling information, many of them focused on whale physiology and the like, they weren't kidding. For me though, these asides were actually my favorite part of the book, even if they could have been separated out into a companion volume.

Melville's protagonist has a bit about how the population of whales wouldn't ever truly be in danger because the math didn't add up. A whaling ship might return after a two or three year voyage after snaring fifty whales. With the danger and effort required to hunt down whales (whose remains were used for all sorts of essential items), the thinking was that whales wouldn't be eradicated ala the buffalo, which could -- and was -- killed with much more efficiency.

Then along came more technology, which made it much easier to track whales, outspeed whales, and advanced weaponry. If we wanted to, we could probably wipe out our enemy, the whale, in a few years time. Thank goodness we have the International Whaling Commission to avoid this. Oh wait, membership (and a vote) can be gifted to you by the Japanese, even if you might be a land locked country or a country without any prior history of whaling. I learned that little fact watching "The Cove," which is as biased a movie as it is an interesting one. I'd recommend it if not for the total bullying idiocy demonstrated by the activists while making the film.

Over at Long Form, they have an almost 10,000 word long article about killer whales in captivity, "The Killer in the Pool." I don't know if you'd want to spend a few minutes reading it through but it's worth your time -- especially if you're an admirer of marine life like me. One of the questions raised in the article is if having killer whales in captivity has outlived their research usefulness. I'm a long time Sea World season pass holder (and love Shamu Cam), but maybe I need to reconsider where I stand on the issue. And not just because it's sad to see dorsal fin collapse.

Recently I've been thinking about my stance on sushi too. I gave up vegetarianism right before I discovered sushi and it's no coincidence I haven't gone back. Raw fish is delicious and healthy and probably my favorite food. The problem is, it's a lot of people's favorite foods too. This New York Times article talks about the end of bluefin tuna. I don't know what kind of tuna I eat, except that it's delicious. But it's stupid to eat something just because it's delicious right? It would probably be the right thing to give up eating tuna, or to give up consuming sushi altogether, but that sounds painful.
"Bluefin sportfishing’s rise, however, coincided with Japan’s export boom. In the 1960s and ’70s, Japanese planes stuffed with electronics unloaded in the U.S. and returned empty -- a huge waste of fuel. But when a Japanese entrepreneur realized he could buy New England and Canadian bluefin for a song, he started filling up all those empty cargo holds with tuna. Exposure to beef and other fatty meats during the U.S. occupation had already drawn the Japanese to appreciate bluefin’s fatty belly (otoro, in sushi terms). The Atlantic bluefin, the biggest bluefin, became the most favored of all. This appreciation boomeranged stateside when Americans started to develop their own raw-fish habit in the late 1970s."
-Tuna's End-
This is how it is nowadays, picking and choosing your moral ambiguities. Anti-diamonds, blood or otherwise, but pro-Shamu and sushi. There's no doing wrong or right, just doing whatever makes you feel okay. The facts justify the ends and we know what they say about facts. Or maybe that was stats.