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Monday, September 27, 2010

Top Ten Music Picks:


10. The Cave- Mumford & Sons
This folk rock band has such a unique sound to them.

"We're under the sheets, and you're killing me/ In our house make of paper/ you're words all over me/ we're under the sheets, and you're killing me."

Another great mashup by Norweigan Recycling.

Finally, The Pass' debut album, "Burst" is now available!

I am completely in love with Dave Monk's voice, and the beats in this track are so upbeat and catchy. If you like this song, you should definitely check out their whole album, "Champ." It's amazing.

I am a huge fan of the Gorillaz and I also love Little Dragon. So obviously I am crazy about this delicious collaboration.

4. Symphonies- Dan Black feat. Kid Cudi
Great collaboration. "Gimme, gimme symphonies/Gimme more than the life I see/Scores rise up, Angels play/Let my loneliness get blown away/Gimme, gimme symphonies"

The beat in this song is so ridiculously contagious. "She's the type of girl that makes you feel better/ Don't matter how you used to feel/ She's the kinda girl that follows with the weather/And the sun brings out her sex appeal."

This song is so unique from the beginning to the end. OhLand is coming out with a new album this fall and after hearing "Son of a Gun" and "Perfection," I honestly can't wait.

"Oh sugar, oh sugar can't you see how hard I'm trying/ You know you gotta/ you know you gotta eventually make up your mind/ And it's end love/ the sky is falling." This song is amazing, and honestly I highly recommend you get their whole album, "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky." It's a true gem.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Results Are In!


The most recent Jersey Shore poll posing the age old and very pertinent question: which character in this group of misfits is considered the “most entertaining” star of their reality show? Which of the fake tanned, super buff, hyper sexualized, breast augmented, could possibly have taken home the title of most entertaining. The results are in!

Pauly D – 14% (1 vote)

Sammi & Ron – 14%

J-Woww – 14%

Angela or Vinnie – 14%

Snooki – 42% (3 votes)

Mike “The Situation” – 85% (6 votes)

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino takes home the top spot with a staggering 85% of the vote. In a distant second is Snooki with 42% of the vote, and the other stars each sharing 14% with one vote a piece. Multiple answers were allowed which is why the totals add up to greater than 100%. It didn’t take long for “Situation” to take a commanding lead, taking in 100% of the votes the first six days of the poll.

Situation, who gained his self-proclaimed nickname from his washboard stomach, has quickly risen from reality star fame to full blown celebrity with his wild antics, memorable moments, and quotes which will live in the annuls of pop culture lore for decades to come. With the Jersey Shore crew reportedly bringing in $30,000 an episode for their filming of season 3, it hasn’t taken long for the more popular characters to find endorsement deals elsewhere. Situation, J-Woww, and Snooki appeared on the cover of the most recent US Weekly, and Situation’s recent conquests also include his current role in dancing with stars. But what makes Situation so entertaining to watch? For me personally it’s his anecdotes, quotes, and philosophies in life.

Life as defined by Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino:

Relationships: “Ronnie doesn't want to give up his cookie, and that's Sam. You need to give up your cookie, son, so you can go find another one. I'm eatin' chocolate chip cookies every night, dog.”

Job role: “It's like the Navy Seals. I get sent out first, do a little reconnaissance, bring girls back.”

His Roommates: “Angelina is the Staten Island Ferry: everybody gets a ride, and it's free.”

Friends of friends: “I put the hippopotamus to bed.”

There is much to be said about the scope of television and celebrity in general shifting from the typical Hollywood power houses like Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Cameron Diaz, and so forth, to the reality and “every day” heroes such as Kate Gosselin and Situation. With media continuing to expand at an alarming rate along with social networking, the world continues to become a smaller place and who knows who may become the next star of their very own reality show on MTV. Is all it really takes now is birthing an insufferable amount of children or a nice set of abs? Now that you mention it, the situation going on is pretty nice...


Monday, September 20, 2010

Top Ten Music Picks:



I like the original song, but Lupe definitely sprinkles a little more flavor to it.

9. You Make Me Smile- Aloe Blacc
Although this song is much different than his hit, "I Need A Dolla," it should not be short-changed (no pun intended?). I look forward to his new album, "Good Things" which is expected to drop September 28th.

One of my favorites off Atmosphere's newest CD, "To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy."

Such a great song by Phoenix!

This is a great remix of VV Brown's "Shark In the Water."

I am so obsessed with this song, mostly because of the beautiful vocals accompanied by the piano. Check it out.

This song is for all you Pretty Lights fans. I highly recommend you listen to it immediately.

It is literally impossible to not love this song!

I am a huge fan of OK Go's album, "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky." This song is particularly amazing, but I also love "I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe" and "This Too Shall Pass."

I stumbled across this song yesterday and I am addicted.

R.I.P. Macondo Well, So Long


Sunday morning at 5:54 am tests were completed that officially pronounced the well that has been spewing crude oil into our Gulf “effectively dead”. The monster has been slain, but at a great cost: 11 workers died during the eruption that started the flow of oil, an estimated 206 million gallons of oil have been released into the environment, tourism to the Gulf has declined, fishermen who are allowed to operate again have trouble selling what they catch, delicate ecosystems have been flooded with oil, and BP has lost billions of dollars in clean-up and compensation costs. This disaster has been more than an environmental catastrophe; it has affected the entire spectrum of society, from the oil tycoons to the shrimpers on the bayou to defining a presidency. We will continue to see these effects, and hopefully they will spur some real action towards cleaner energy.

So a hearty farewell to Macondo Well. May it rest in peace.

OK Go - White Knuckles



Awesome, right?

Friday, September 17, 2010


Thoughts?

Mad Men Episode 408: "The Summer Man."

"They say as soon as you decide to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem."

Don Draper sits alone by the window in his sullen apartment, clothes worn and soiled, with a pen in hand and a cigarette burning out.  Don is writing down his thoughts, a practice he compares to a child writing about their day.  But instead of documenting the trivialities of his day, he cuts to the core, asking and answering tough questions. It starts as a retospective and evolves. 

Outside the New York Athletic Club, Draper is feeling back on top.  "Summer's coming." 

Back at the office, Mrs. Blankenship is recovering from a optical surgery  and sporting some new darker glasses.  The boys in creative are up to their usual debauchery, this time trying to recover change (and a watch) from a vending machine.  Peggy watches on entertained, "I feel like Margaret Meade," she quips.  Joan charges out onto the scene, and the rats abandon ship.  Joey, however, is disrepectful to Joan's requests, and snaps back at her.  He degrades her again and again, "What do you do around here besides walking around like you're trying to get raped?"  And when Peggy tries to cut through Joan's office, Joan loses it on Peggy, then goes home.

Joan Holloway

At home, Joan's husband is packing for basic training, and Joan is visibly distraught at the sight of the bag, and when he tries to calm her down and reassure her everything will be fine, "you can talk to your friends at work."  That broke the camel's back, and Joan crumbles.  The scene finishes with him reassuring her, "... just pretend we're in some midtown hotel, and we both snuck away for the afternoon."  Joan finally smiles. 

(This can only be an indicator of things to come.  In the early days of Sterling Cooper, Joan and Roger used to sneak away from the office for afternoon delights.  We have recently seen that Roger fondly recalls those times, and while her husband is away, I could see something brewing between these two.  Check back in later!) 

It is Gene's birthday on Sunday, but Don is not invited.  He writes about how Gene was conceived, the problems he was born into.  Then Don creates his own "bucket list," including climbing Kilimanjaro (or anywhere in Africa), but more importantly, gain control over his feelings.

In the meeting, Don begins to take notice of the excessive drinking that encompasses his life.  When Joan is called in to assist in a problem - particularly Joey being assigned to a new product - Joan fibs to Don that there has been complaints about him, when it is more than obvious she just wants him fired.

Meanwhile, Harry Crane is trying to convince Joey that he should go into television.  And when Peggy pulls him from the meeting, Joey's true colors (apparently linked to some serious mommy issues) are exposed to Peggy.

Betty Draper
Betty and Henry Francis are out to dinner in the city for a political dinner, when they see Don across the restaurant on a date with the cute blonde.  "Every date feels like a first date with you," she says pleadingly for Don to connect with her.  She pours on him, he backpeddles.  When Henry addresses the table, Don acknowledges Henry but not Betty, and introduces them to his date, Bethany Van Nuys. 

The Lindsey campaign is approaching Henry Francis to spearhead the campaign.  After a short stint of heavy smoking, Betty abruptly abandons the table and heads to the bathroom, to be alone, and upset, in the bathroom.  On the ride home, Henry chastizes Betty for her behavior and it spills into a complete disaster.  They rushed into things.  The next morning, Betty grovels, but Henry is obviously frustrated with her.  On his way out, in an act obviously malicious (the carboard boxes had "Draper" written on them) Henry drives his car forward bending and puncturing them.  With a smile, he pulls away.  Later that day, he calls Draper and asks him to come pick up the boxes in the garage in order to make space for his new boat, and to come on Saturday because Sunday is Gene's birthday party.  Don angrily agrees.

Mountain Dew is the new account.  "You need three ingredients for a cocktail," Peggy enlightens us.  When Joan is meeting with Pryce about Joey and the vending machine, Joey is back to his rudimentary behavior and draws an inappropriate picture of the two.  When the picture makes its' way onto Joan's office, Peggy takes the picture to Don and he tells her to fire Joey.  "If you want some respect, go out there and earn it for yourself."  And after giving him the opportunity to apologize to Joan, and he doesn't, Peggy fires him.

It appears that Betty is very misguided in her perceptions of Don's new existence.  She thinks he is living lavishly, with young blondes and great spending, when in fact he can hardly keep his mind straight.

When Peggy tells Joan that she fired Joey in the elevator, she was expecting a "Thank You," but Joan took it as a personal attack, and that Peggy's reasons for firing Joey was not for Joan, but to demonstrate Peggy's need for respect and power.  Peggy's plan backfired.

"When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him."  - Don Draper

Don's boxes are stacked on the curb, and Henry, out mowing the lawn, ignores Don entirely.  Don drives to an alley, finds a dumpster, and puts the boxes in.  Leaving that life behind him, now physically, as well as emotionally.

Don's statements in his writings are broad and insightful, you believe we are seeing the emotional Don Draper, the one we all wish believe lays timid behind his false bravado, but alas, just as his award-winning work, we are lead into Don's trap again.  We fall for the anti-hero, and cheer for his rebirth.

In his office, Don asks Dr. Faye Miller if she wanted to get some dinner, and after a short debate, they agree to a date on Saturday night.  At dinner they chit-chat, and Faye reveals that her father is "connected," he runs a candy store, and she calls him "just a two-bit gangster like [Draper]."  And like the gentlemen Draper can be, he gives her his jacket when she's cold, directs the cab to her apartment, and even when she offered herself up to him, he politely declined.

Don does show up to Gene's birthday, and Betty, instead of angrily kicking him out, greets him and allows Don to hold his infant son.  "We have everything," Betty justifies to Henry.

That was different!!!



I tore my ACL a year and half ago. I played soccer 11v11 for the first time since the injury this past Sunday. Just encase you were worried I did not hurt myself again(praise whoever you pray to). I have been playing soccer my whole life and I can't remember the last time I was confused on the soccer field. I wasn't worried about my knee, I just didn't know where to go. The field felt like the ocean and there was no land in site. Where do I run? Who's man is that? There is a lot of space over there? I've been playing small sided soccer for the last couple of months so I was shocked by these sensations I was feeling. The second half went way smoother, so I think and hope that this was a one time thing. Anyone have a similar experience with any aspect of their life?

Soupy State of Mind


It's getting cooler here in New York City, which, after the summer we've had (hint: it was a trillion degrees), is quite possibly the best thing ever. I don't think I have ever appreciated autumn more than I do this year. It was that bad.
Aside from the hell of this summer, I am generally a cold person. You know the type. Usually of the female variety, shivering whenever the temperature dips below 77 degrees, hands and feet and maybe even the tip of the nose like ice. That's me. All the time.
So it should be no surprise that I am a big fan of soup. Like a really big fan. It makes me feel cozy and warm, two feelings that I don't experience as much as I would like.
I've been avoiding my dear friend soup for the last couple of months, but now as I feel that hint of wonderful crisp coolness in the air, my urge to whip up something soupy is renewed. Which brings me to Thai Noodle Soup.
The thing about soup is that it's really easy to open up a can and microwave the shit out of it and be done. But a lot can be said for home-made soup. They are nourishing and comforting in ways that canned soup just can't compete with. They are so, so worth the extra effort. Trust me.
Because this is a clear-broth based soup (for the most part), it's pretty easy to make. There is no mashing or roasting or sauteeing or anything like that. There is putting a few things in a pot and simmering them for as long as you can be patient. That's it. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand, just make sure you add them at the end of the simmering so they don't get mushy (mushy veggies are a personal pet peeve). You will be a homemade soup covert, I promise.


Thai-Esque Noodle Soup

You'll Need:

1 package japanese style noodles (or any kind of long thin noodles...you could probably even use Spaghetti)

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

Sesame oil for drizzling

4 cups chicken stock

1 can coconut milk

3 tablespoons Siracha hot sauce (or more or less, depending on your heat tolerance)

3 tablespoons Soy sauce

1 tablespoon Mirin (sweetened rice wine)

1 pinch cinnamon

1 pinch curry powder

1/2 grated carrot

1/2 cup shelled edamame

1 teaspoon of lime juice


To Do:

  1. Boil noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, coat bottom of pot with a drizzle of sesame oil and add minced garlic and ginger. Saute until golden-brown
  3. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, Siracha; bring to a boil
  4. Add soy sauce, rice wine, cinnamon, curry powder, reduce heat a bit so soup is simeering.
  5. Let simmer for 15-30 mins, covered. Add noodles back to pot with 5 mins to spare.
  6. Remove broth from heat, add carrots & edamame, lime juice
  7. Ladle into a bowl and commence coziness.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

California Propositions Defined


To follow up from last week, here are the remaining five propositions facing California voters on November 2nd. To refresh your memory, these Yes/No breakdowns are from the California Legislative Analyst's Office report, and they are a reliable source for information on the propositions.
For last week's Propositions, click here.
Proposition 23
Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year. Initiative Statute.
PROPOSAL
This proposition suspends the implementation of AB 32 until the unemployment rate in California is 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters. During the suspension period, state agencies are prohibited from proposing or adopting new regulations, or enforcing previously adopted regulations, that would implement AB 32. (Once AB 32 went back into effect, this measure could not suspend it again.)
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: Certain existing and proposed regulations authorized under state law (“Assembly Bill 32”) to address global warming would be suspended. These regulations would remain suspended until the state unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or lower for one year.
A NO vote on this measure means: The state could continue to implement the measures authorized under Assembly Bill 32 to address global warming.
Proposition 24
Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses to Carry Back Losses, Share Tax Credits, and Use a Sales-Based Income Calculation to Lower Taxable Income. Initiative Statute.
Proposal
This proposition repeals the business tax law changes passed in 2008 and 2009 described above. As such, this measure would return tax policies in these areas to the way they were prior to the recent law changes.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: Three business tax provisions will return to what they were before 2008 and 2009 law changes. As a result: (1) a business will be less able to deduct losses in one year against income in other years, (2) a multistate business will have its California income determined by a calculation using three factors, and (3) a business will not be able to share tax credits with related businesses.
A NO vote on this measure means: Three business tax provisions that were recently changed will not be affected. As a result of maintaining current law: (1) a business will be able to deduct losses in one year against income in more situations, (2) most multi-state businesses could choose to have their California income determined based only on a single sales factor, and (3) a business will be able to share its tax credits with related businesses.
Proposition 25
Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Proposal
This measure amends the Constitution to lower the vote requirement necessary for each house of the Legislature to pass a budget bill and send it to the Governor. Specifically, the vote requirement would be lowered from two-thirds to a majority (50 percent plus one) of each house of the Legislature. The lower vote requirement also would apply to trailer bills that appropriate funds and are identified by the Legislature “as related to the budget in the budget bill.” Both the budget bill and these trailer bills would take effect immediately after being signed by the Governor (or on a later date specified in the bill). A two-thirds vote of the Legislature would still be required to override any veto by the Governor. This measure’s constitutional provisions do not specifically address the legislative vote requirement for increasing state tax revenues, but the measure states that its intent is not to change the existing two-thirds vote requirement regarding state taxes.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: The Legislature’s vote requirement to send the annual budget bill to the Governor would be lowered from two-thirds to a majority of each house of the Legislature.
A NO vote on this measure means: The Legislature’s vote requirement to send an annual budget bill to the Governor would remain unchanged at two-thirds of each house of the Legislature.
Proposition 26
Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Two-Thirds for State Levies and Charges. Imposes Additional Requirement for Voters to Approve Local Levies and Charges with Limited Exceptions. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Proposal
This measure expands the definition of a tax and a tax increase so that more proposals would require approval by two-thirds of the Legislature or by local voters.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: The definition of taxes would be broadened to include many payments currently considered to be fees or charges. As a result, more state and local proposals to increase revenues would require approval by two-thirds of each house of the Legislature or by local voters.
A NO vote on this measure means: Current constitutional requirements regarding fees and taxes would not be changed.
Proposition 27
Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Proposal
This measure amends the Constitution and other state laws to change the way that district boundaries are determined for the State Assembly, State Senate, BOE, and California’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: The responsibility to determine the boundaries of State Legislature and Board of Equalization districts would be returned to the Legislature. The Citizens Redistricting Commission, established by Proposition 11 in
2008 to perform this function, would be eliminated. (Proposition 20 on this ballot also concerns redistricting issues. If both Proposition 27 and Proposition 20 are approved by voters, the proposition receiving the greater number of “yes” votes would be the only one to go into effect.)
A NO vote on this measure means: The responsibility to determine the boundaries of Legislature and Board of Equalization districts would remain with the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Again, too see last week's Propositions 19-22, click here.

For the full reports, visit the LAO website http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/main.aspx. Again, to register to vote, visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm, the deadline for registering to vote before the November 2nd elections is October 18th.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top Ten Music Picks for This Week:

"We killin' time and time's killin' us/ so I don't waste mine tryin' to grip a grudge/ But I don't twist it into what it isn't/ Don't call, don't write, don't visit/ I put you on ignore, you're not the homie anymore/ the only thing you can show me is the door."

9. Bambi- Toyko Police Club
This band may just be one of my newest obsessions. "I want to tell you there's a really good reason/ why I came home wasted in the middle of the night/ A tiny kingdom at the bottom of the trees/ Where I was always a winner and usually right."

Florence and the Machine's performance at the VMA's was UNREAL. Their cover of "Addicted To Love" is also amazing!

I am in love with Matt Beringer's voice. This indie-rock band definitely has a unique sound to them. Try it out, see what you think.

There is so much to be said about this song. It is absolutely incredible. Ed Harcourt's vocals will blow you away..."So take your cake and eat it."

"Living in the Sprawl/ Dead shopping malls rise mountains beyond mountains/ And there's no end in sight/ I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights." The synthetic beats and vocals in "Sprawl II" leave me only wanting more.

The beat in this song is hypnotizing! The horns, bass, and soothing vocals are enough to make even the most uncoordinated of dancers bust a move.

Kanye West performed this song at the VMA's Sunday night and I have to admit, I really like it. "I'm so gifted at finding what I don't like the most/ So I think it's a time for us to have a toast."

I know this song has been around for a while, but I was reminded of it's greatness when it was played at the end of the season finale of Entourage (which by the way was CRAZY). Why they waited until the end of the season to make the show better again is beyond me, but that's besides the point...This song is incredible.

Atmosphere's newest album, "To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy" is amazing. "The Best Day" is definitely my favorite song on the album. Somehow Atmosphere manages to turns life's everyday ups and downs into a catchy tune we all want to sing along to. "It's a bad day, a bad week, and a bad month/ Don't nobody want to trade with my bag lunch."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I like you, do you like me? Check YES or NO (Part 1)


Things are happening here in California, and it might be worth your while to keep up with them. The November 2nd elections could bring sweeping changes to the state, with everything from our next governor and Secretary of State to our Attorney General and state senators on the ballot. There will also be a number of propositions, some of which have the ability to impact our everyday lives.
There are two ways for a proposition to come before the voters, the first being simply put there by the California legislature, who has the ability to propose changes in law and constitutional amendments via the ballot box. The other way is by a California voter to go through the Initiative process: writing the text of the law, request a title and summary from the Attorney General, circulating the proposed initiative and collecting enough signatures (for an Initiative Statute 433,971 are needed, for a Constitutional Amendment 694,354), and finally filing the proposition with county election officials.
Here is a breakdown of the propositions we are looking at this November. There are some heated debates going on, and people will twist information like silly putty to get you to vote one way or another. This simple yes/no breakdown of the nine propositions was compiled by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, a non-partisan advising board, and it is a pretty solid basis for forming your own opinions on each proposition.
Proposition 19
Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed. Initiative Statute.
Proposal
This measure changes state law to (1) legalize the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana for personal use by individuals age 21 or older, and (2) authorize various commercial marijuana-related activities under certain conditions. Despite these changes to state law, these marijuana-related activities would continue to be prohibited under federal law. These federal prohibitions could still be enforced by federal agencies. It is not known to what extent the federal government would continue to enforce them. Currently, no other state permits commercial marijuana-related activities for non-medical purposes.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: Individuals age 21 or older could, under state law, possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. In addition, the state and local governments could authorize, regulate, and tax commercial marijuana-related activities under certain conditions. These activities would remain illegal under federal law.
A NO vote on this measure means: The possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use and commercial marijuana-related activities would remain illegal under state law, unless allowed under the state’s existing medical marijuana law.
Proposition 20
Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Proposal
This measure amends the Constitution to change the redistricting process for California’s districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, the measure removes the authority for congressional redistricting from the Legislature and instead gives this authority to the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The commission would draw congressional districts essentially as it draws other district lines under Proposition 11. The commission, for example, could not draw congressional districts in order to favor incumbents, political candidates, or political parties. The commission also is to consider the geographic integrity of cities, counties, neighborhoods, and communities of interest. As under Proposition 11, compliance with federal law would be required.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: The responsibility to determine the boundaries of California’s districts in the U.S. House of Representatives would be moved to the Citizens Redistricting Commission, a commission established by Proposition 11 in 2008. (Proposition 27 on this ballot also concerns redistricting issues. If both Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 are approved by voters, the proposition receiving the greater number of “yes” votes would be the only one to go into effect.)
A NO vote on this measure means: The responsibility to determine the boundaries of California’s districts in the U.S. House of Representatives would remain with the Legislature.
Proposition 21
Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles. Initiative Statute.
Proposal
This measure places an $18 annual surcharge on all vehicles registered on or after January 1, 2011, except for commercial vehicles, trailers, and trailer coaches. The surcharge would be collected when annual vehicle registration fees are paid. These surcharge revenues would be deposited into the newly created State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund. The measure expressly prohibits these funds from being used for purposes other than state parks and wildlife conservation.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: An $18 annual surcharge would be added to the amount paid when a person registers a motor vehicle. The surcharge revenues would be used to provide funding for state park and wildlife conservation programs. Vehicles subject to the surcharge would have free admission and parking at all state parks.
A NO vote on this measure means: State park and wildlife conservation programs would continue to be funded through existing state and local funding sources. Admission and parking fees could continue to be charged for vehicles entering state parks.
Proposition 22
Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Proposal
This measure reduces or eliminates the state’s authority to: Use state fuel tax revenues to pay debt service on state transportation bonds. Borrow or change the distribution of state fuel tax revenues. Redirect redevelopment agency property taxes to any other local government. Temporarily shift property taxes from cities, counties, and special districts to schools. Use vehicle license fee (VLF) revenues to reimburse local governments for state mandated costs. As a result, this measure affects resources in the state’s General Fund and transportation funds. The General Fund is the state’s main funding source for schools, universities, prisons, health, and social services programs. Transportation funds are placed in separate accounts and used to pay for state and local transportation programs.
Yes/No Statement
A YES vote on this measure means: The state’s authority to use or redirect state fuel tax and local property tax revenues would be significantly restricted.
A NO vote on this measure means: The state’s current authority over state fuel tax and local property tax revenues would not be affected.

Next week I'll go through the remaining propositions.


For the full reports, visit the LAO website http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/main.aspx. Again, to register to vote, visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm, the deadline for registering to vote before the November 2nd elections is October 18th.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Halo Reaching?

What is really on the mind of every avid Halo fan right now as the dawn of Halo Reach approaches? I know what crossed my mind when I heard of the release of the new Reach game, is this going to be another wallet-emptying installment of the series that is not worth the blank DVD on which it was printed? Please God no.



To Microsoft and Bungie, the Halo games have been synonymous with success. Microsoft has made a small fortune off of the most successful of all multiplayer online platforms, Xbox Live. Halo 2 and beyond have all been available and extremely successful in not only building Live’s membership base, but also in profits made from Downloadable Content (DLC) that is available for all the Halo titles. When purchasing some kind of expansion DLC, typically “map packs,” which allow online players to play on new and sometimes refurbished versions of maps from earlier Halo titles. These keep things fresh and new for players trying to partake in the ultimate in gaming experiences. Playstation 3 and Wii offer similar online gaming arenas, but both pale in comparison to the sheer quantity and quality of titles and DLC available for the Live. Not to mention the endless hours of entertainment one gets from listening to the rantings of rednecks, racists, and computer nerds alike.



The original Halo provided something everyone had seen before, but still revolutionized first person shooting enough to warrant numerous game of the year awards and according to xbox.com received 48 other gaming awards during its reign. The original installment brought fluidity to the first person shooter and an exciting premise which would spawn (no pun intended) what will soon be four sequels.


Halo 2 & Halo 3 brought more of the same with an interesting “save the world” premise, and most importantly, the birth of multiplayer on Live. With the campaign (single player) becoming less and less of a factor as the Halo sequels emerge, people are asking for more when it comes to multiplayer gaming. Everyone and their mother has killed a swarm of grunts and elite as the Master Chief, but how often does one get to lay waste to their friends next door, that racist kid in Texas, or perhaps a couple of honest-to-God asian kids gaming in the hoods of Japan.



With the latest installment in the Halo series, ODST, was a huge failure. Well, I suppose that depends on how you look at it. Halo 2 grossed a cool $125 million in its first 24 hours of release, Halo 3 earning $170 million in the same time frame, where it took ODST a full two weeks to earn its first $125 million. Regardless of how it looked on paper ODST was a disappointment to fans everywhere. It brought one new element of mulitplaying called “Firefight” which was horribly slow at easier difficulties, and virtually impossible at more difficult levels. Even the campaign was a disappointment; bringing a new visual element to the game which only provided gamers with headaches more than anything else. With Halo Reach less than 72 hours away I can only hope that Bungie will provide die hard fans with a new drug to get slowly addicted to and not provide another healthy dosage of ODST buzzkill. Please deliver us another Halo masterpiece Bungie, but also realize we will all buy your game regardless.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mad Men Episode 407: "The Suitcase"


May 25, 1965 - the highly anticipated boxing rematch between Muhammed Ali (then Cassius Clay) and Sunny Liston, so Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce will be watching it in the closed circuit theatre.

With Ken Cosgrove back with the boys (presumably bringing with him Mountain Dew), and the recent hiring of the green 24-year old Danny Siegel, the office is buzzing about the fight. Don Draper takes his single ticket and throws down $100 on Liston. Not ready to wisk away to the fight, Draper calls the Sampsonite "team" into his office while asking Mrs. Blankenship to schedule a dinner somewhere else in avoidance of the young executives.

"I don't know why everybody cares so much about it. If I wanted to see two negroes fight, I'd throw a dollar bill out my window." - Ida Blankenship

The Sampsonite Crew led by Peggy Olsen moves aside the furniture in Draper's office and then begins in on their pitch - two unknown football players yielding competitor name brand suitcases charge toward the charming Joe Namath blocked by a beautiful girl yielding the Sampsonite suitcase, but they are no match for the strength of the Sampsonite, and Joe walks away with the girl. They through out tag lines along the way, including "Touchdown Sampsonite!" and "Sampsonite, it's tough." Unsurprisingly, Don is not jazzed, "I don't like Joe Namath, he hasn't even played in a professional game yet." When Peggy responds to Don's criticism, he asks the rest to leave and harshly critizes her work, calling it a "failure."

Peggy returns to her office to a bouqet of pink roses and a card. It's Peggy's 26th birthday. The sender of the card... is none other than Duck Phillips. With the flowers is a small gift - a business card saying "Phillips-Olsen" listing Peggy Olsen as Creative Director. Peggy's happiness is quickly gone as she unties the situation; that Duck had been fired from his other job, he is working from home, and that he is drinking heavily. Duck sells himself to Peggy, and the line between business and emotion blend as he falls into a stuper, confessing his need to be with her again, alluding to prior primal rendeavous.

"... Stephanie from California, no last name, she says it's urgent." Mrs. Blankenship delivers the message to Draper. He struggles, but can't call her back in fear of the upsetting news, so he pours himself a drink. Roger Sterling barges into Draper's office and announces that Freddy Rumpson and Cal Rutlidge from Ponds would be joining them for dinner and the fight, meaning they would have to stunt their overt alcoholism for the evening. Draper manages to duck his way out of the fight entirely, and sets down for his own fight against calling Stephanie back.

Joan Holloway, too, is dealing with her own issues. When the Sampsonite team leaves the common area messy, Joan bangs on her window and charges out to the fleeing men. "Even though I don't get paid as much as one, I am not a janitor," replies Joey Baird, who shrugs and walks away leaving the other two men to give in to Joan's stern request.

Peggy runs into Trudy Campbell in the women's bathroom. They joke about the idiosyncrasies of pregnancy, with Peggy knowing exactly what Trudy is going through. Pete Campbell sees the two exit the bathroom together and the confusion freezes him.

With glass in hand, leaning back in his chair, Don Draper asks Peggy to update him on the creative for Sampsonite, and despite informing him that she had plans, she succumbs and heads back to her office for the stills. Again, Draper tears her work apart and unleashes a verbal tiraid on her. Back to work. As the night progress, their work remains fruitless. Don sidesteps the work into a momentary monologue on his perspective of the fight, the flashy Ali against the methodical Liston, then immediately returns to work, nixing yet another of Peggy's ideas.

Waiting at the restaurant is Peggy's boyfriend, Mark. It is shortly revealed that he is not there alone, but the rest of Peggy's family is there to surprise her. He is clearly uncomfortable. After their second phone conversation, he spills the beans about the surprise dinner to her.

When Peggy tries to leave again, staring straight into the lion's den that is an intoxicated Don Draper, she tells him that she ruined her boyfriend's birthday dinner plans, and Draper goes on the defensive, turning the situation back into a passive-aggressive tactic employed by Peggy. He guilt trips her again, and after storming out of the office Peggy, once again, gives in to Draper. She calls and cancels the dinner, resulting in an outburst by her family and Mark ending their relationship. Once again, we see a little Draper coming out in Peggy Olsen.

But Peggy is determined to turn the downswing into an upswing. Filling herself a drink at Draper's bar, the two butt heads again (in what is one of the most heated scenes in the history of Mad Men.) They yell back and forth, each demanding respect the other doesn't openly give. After taking all she can handle of the liquor soaked assault, Peggy runs off crying.

Peggy: "... you never said 'Thank You!'"
Don: "That's what the money's for!"

While Don feebly tries to narrate his own ideas, he changes the ribbon on his tape recorder to discover Roger Sterling's narrations for his autobiography. It contains ranting and raving about Ida Blankenship days of promiscuity and Bertrand Cooper's lack of testicles. After a chuckle, Draper, displaying a hint of compassion, invites Peggy to share her worries with him. Clearly intoxicated, Draper softens up on her, and invites her out to the "birthday dinner" with all the glamour of a brightly lit diner and a painting of the Parthenon with a roach in it.
Peggy finally pulls something truthful of out Don - the truth about his parents and how they died. (Draper must be bombed.) Relocating to a bar to listen to the fight, Don and Peggy get personal. She tells him about the others believing she slept with him to get the job, and he plays it off and compliments her, "You're a beautiful girl, Peggy." They talk about Peggy's pregnancy, and how he was the only one who visited her in the hospital.

Liston loses the fight. "The fix is in."

The booze finally catches up to Draper. On his knees, in his suit, he vomits vehemenently into the toilet, while Peggy watches on in semi-amusement. There's movement in the office outside the bathroom door, and somebody calls out for Peggy. It is Duck, and he is drunkenly stumbling around in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce office. When Peggy finds him, his pants are around his ankles and he is attempting to "leave Draper a little present" while squatting over a white leather chair in Roger Sterling's office. Peggy talks him out of it, but then things turn lush as he confesses his love to her and asks why she didn't answer her phone.

Just then Draper emerges from the bathroom and confronts Duck. Duck turns sour, insinuating that Peggy had "gone back to Draper" and calls her "a whore." Draper charges forward trying to hit Duck, and after a fair amount of grappling, Duck comes out on top holding his fist in the air. In the weakest of moments, we see Draper turn his head and whisper "uncle." Draper defended Peggy's honor and lost.

Beat up in his dark office, Draper falls asleep on Peggy's lap. Don wakes to the sounds of stepping in the hallway, and opens his eyes to see the spirit of Anna standing in his office in a dress holding a suitcase. She looks around, smiles, and then walks away.

The following morning, he makes the dreaded phone call. "She's gone," Stephanie tells Draper. "I know," he responds painfully. Anna's final details break down Draper's facade one piece at a time, until he hangs up the phone and loses control, openly weeping. Peggy is there to witness the goliath fall.

"Somebody very important to me died... the only person in the world who ever really knew me."

Peggy sleeps in her office and is annoyingly awoken by the rest of the Sampsonite team. When Peggy goes back to Draper's office, he is back to the dapper Draper we're used to, tie clip and hair perfected combed. He calls Peggy over to the Sampsonite art he came up with - the recreation of the iconic Ali/Liston 2 image, with the Sampsonite standing victorious.

In a moment which we feared that Don may have learned nothing, we are surprised to see Don takes Peggy's hand and squeeze it. They look at each other, and Peggy smiles back, accepting the gift she had been given. And like that, "go home, shower, come back, and give me ten taglines."

Basically, everybody's got baggage.

Texting is Fantastic

Me: The season starts now so get ur mind right and ur squad set. Be afraid b confident be aware that many people may not tell u that u ahve food in ur teeth.

The other guy(George): Ijust brushed my teeth. You floss bitch!!

Undermind(me): U floss after every meal? yeah right

G Black(The other guy): I'm so floss, my teeth does it by itself

My brain(not text): WTF

Thursday, September 2, 2010

twilight

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word "twilight?" Obviously, the cult-turned-mainstream sensation that are the sub par vampire movies staring the boyishly handsome Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. The kind of book and movie success that has the likeness of the “Harry Potter” and “Rings” series, and as long as there are 9-13 year old girls in the world will unfortunately never die. The anomaly that people such as myself can only hope that movies like “Vampires Suck” will get people to finally realize the kind of trash they allow into the minds and souls of their loved ones. But what about the lowercase twilight?


When I think of twilight I think of two things: the time of day right before either the sun or moon comes up and the other sets, or that limbo state of mind one finds himself in right after waking up from a dream or perhaps coming out of some kind of drug induced state. The former example is one of the things that’s on everyone’s bucket list, the twilight that can cause even the most icy of hearts (not a vampire joke) to melt when witnessed. The time of day that strikes fear into every gambler and party animal burning the morning oil, and is that indistinguishable wake up call for the business man taking a long weekend in Vegas; yet I digress.


Unedited…

Two days ago I had a tonsillectomy. For those who don’t know, means I went under general anesthesia for roughly 30 minutes to have them removed, and will be recovering and in pain for the next week or so. Along with this comes 2-4 teaspoons of hydrocodone (aka liquid vicodin) which I take roughly every three hours for pain. What I have experienced since waking up from the hospital bed nearly 48 hours ago can best be described as a lucid dream, or twilight. Once taken, I have about ten minutes of consciousness before experiencing nearly four hours of absurdity. Since my first dose I have successfully: pissed off my ex (not hard to do right), had multiple conversations with friends in which I have no recollection, watched a half dozen movies in which I couldn’t spoil the ending for you even if I wanted, and played an unusually large amount of Words with Friends.


What does all this have to do with anything? “They” say we only use a very small percentage of our brains and since having experienced these twilight states of being I would have to agree. In fact as I sit here typing this blog out on my computer under the influence of various amounts of pain killers and antibiotics who is to say what the brain is not capable of creating? I have had conversations, played games, created independent thoughts, and strung together three different definitions of one word into a coherent blog. These twilight moments that we experience in our everyday life can sometimes lead to some of the most brilliant and mind bending ideas ever created. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “The Persistence of Memory,” and “Requiem for a Dream” all embrace this same ideal and have brought happiness to millions of people from around the world. Who is to say that some of our most brilliant moments aren’t while one visits their very own twilight of the mind. So please keep a notebook by your bed, just in case.

This Week's Top Ten Music Picks:


10. I Walked- Sufjan Stevens
His new album, "The Age of Adz" is expected to be released this fall. This song is truly beautiful from beginning to end. It is filled with catchy indie beats and soaring vocals over subtle guitar interjections. What's not to love?
This song is off the Canadian natives' newest CD, "The Suburbs." If you love indie rock, you should definitely check out this song, if not their whole CD.
I love this band, and this song off their album "Permalight" is extremely catchy. Before you know it, you will find yourself singing along. Don't say I didn't warn you!
I can't quite put my finger on what I love most about this song. Between the lyrics, the uplifting beats, or the contagious vocals, I just can't seem to get this song off my Top 25 Most Played playlist on my ipod. "Hold me like before/ hold me like you used to/ control me like you used to/ no, you don't move me anymore/ and I'd rather you don't/ 'cause I can't have you anymore."
I love the collaboration of Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo Green, and B.o.B. in this track. "If they say life's a dream/ call this insomnia/ 'cause this ain't Wonderland/ It damn sure ain't Narnia/ and once you cross the line/ you can't your mind."

5. Something Good Can Work- Two Door Cinema Club
I love this upbeat indie pop track and surely you will too.
This track speaks for itself. "Play it back from the top if you recognize real."
This song is off the latest Entourage episode. I have to say that although this season of Entourage has been less than entertaining, the music selections from this season have been incredible. This track is off Theophilius London's mixtape, "This Charming Mixtape." The song is mixed over Amadou and Mariam's beautiful song called "Sabali." Nas and Damien Marley have also recently created a mix over "Sabali" called "Patience," which is also amazing.
This song is unbelievably contagious. "Cameras" is off Matt and Kim's upcoming album, "Sidewalks" (to be released in November). I found it yesterday and haven't been able to stop listening to it since.

I can't even begin to describe how excited I am that Atmosphere is releasing a new CD September 7th called, "To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy." This song is for those of you who appreciate underground hip hop as much as I do.