Friday, January 11, 2008

It's not too often I "URGE!!!" people to watch something...

Things like this make it worth working in a middle school.
Now, everything makes sense.
Thanks to Mr. Levin, the 7th Grade Science teacher:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My New Year's letter, only ten days late.

Dear friends,

For the first time in several years, I concluded that the past year was not so bad.

As I think back on 2007, I have to say things went pretty well: I love a great woman and she reciprocates; I spent the summer reconnecting with old friends around the hemisphere; My first student wrote me after a long search and eight years in prison. I got a real job, a first since 2002, and it's not a bad one.

To top it off, in the week before Christmas, I bid on a house, an action I feel I should clarify by plugging Homestead Community Land Trust (

I feel like I'm nit-picking to find negatives: I wasn't really published, a goal of 2007 (a two-bit romance story that appeared in doesn't quite cut it; nor does the recent Not For Tourist Guide to Seattle, of which I was only one of many contributing editors; and as of this writing, I don't know if the little known Noo Journal actually published an essay on Cuba like they promised in November. (Though within the first week of January, two other places say they'll take my stuff: Brave New Traveler and Go Nomad). My blogs, of which at last count numbered eleven, are like all blogs: a joke in general. But I was rejected roughly twenty times, and each time I accept the rejection with glee.

I don't write enough; I don't write my friends enough, I'm not focused on writing; I'm overbooked in my personal activities and want to do too many things (currently, starting my own non-profit, Youth Vote Now; joining Sustainable Ballard; and turning my new home into a self-efficient, self-sustainable fortress.)

I spent a good portion of the summer and fall fretting over and researching global warming and realizing my own complacency that would rather sacrifice the global and future generations by flying instead of taking the fucking train/bus.

I'm leaning towards supporting Edwards, but only if Bloomberg runs, making my vote actually matter in Washington. Otherwise, it'll be for whatever Green gets the nomination -McKinney or yes, still, Nader.

Above all, if you're reading this, it's because you're a friend. I think of you and I love you and wish you the best, 2008 and beyond. Take care, keep in touch, and please come visit.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Dear Michael,

"Transformers" was palatable, the most I can say about any of your movies. But I see a disturbing pattern: your movies are too fucking long.

Two hours is too much. Your movies are about gun fights, explosions, car chases, the requisite hot chick, product placement and in this case, robots.

Your successful peers manage to tie these ingredients together with a thin string of a plot that lasts ninety minutes, just enough to fill us with adrenaline without being boring.

Transformers is over two hours along. For intriguing Oscar-worthy dramas that include character development, plot twists, and witty dialog, this is acceptable. For movies about giant robots fighting over a hot chick wielding the latest Nokia, it is not.

Not only does Transformers drag for long stretches, but the plot sucks. I can handle bad plots in action movies -in some cases they're encouraged- but not when it drags the movie out unnecessarily and clutters it with awkward moments. I've regrettably compiled a list of things this movie could do without:

-Why did the Scorpion robot attack the military in the desert? Granted, it was a good scene, but it had nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Um... explain?

-Was the young black kid simply pandering to the inner-city audience? He was introduced to crack a code, but the code didn't say anything. I don't even know what happened to him at the end, I think he disappeared.

-Same with the Australian girl. You already have a hot chick, adding another one only confuses the males in the audience and gives them false hopes of a threesome. Not only was she annoying, I don't know why she was there. Eliminating her out would've cut five minutes from the film.

-The scene where boy meets girl: too long and irrelevant. You've shown that he has a crush on her in the classroom scene, and that he's the nerd that needs a car to impress her. That's enough. You don't need him showing up uninvited at a party, as it added seven early, unneeded minutes to the movie. Remember: explosions, robots, hot chicks, product placement. You suck a dialog so don't bother.

Furthermore, "boy lusts girl" belongs in another movie; like "Pearl Harbor", you forget your point. Like the ADD addled audience you target, you suffer from quick jumps from unrelated subjects and the inability to focus for more than five minutes. That's why you make action movies.

-Speaking of that scene, remember his friend? The blond kid who hung upside down from the tree? Yeah... him! Why is he in the movie? Don't addle it with unnecessary characters.

-How did the glasses show that the cube is in the desert? The glasses were imprinted with the location of the cube when Megatron was frozen in the arctic. Goddamm, that's a confusing plot piece, such a development needs some explanation, like a sentence "Megatron had followed the Cube to earth... (pause for digestion) but he got off course and crash landed in the Arctic (further pause). THE CUBE WASN'T IN THE ARCTIC, IT'S SOMEWHERE ELSE" If you clarified that part, you wouldn't even need to try explaining how the cube got to the desert.

Ok, I hate to nitpick, but you're making Transformers II, I'd really prefer not to have to sit through thirty minutes of pointless backstory in order to see robots battle over a hot chick, turn into cars and explode. Thank you and feel free to call me if you need a consultant, my fees are surprisingly reasonable compared to Hollywood standards.