Oh, Photo!

Yes, my friends and I mock all those silly people out there who use analog cameras. Granted, if you’re looking to do some real, impressive, hot shot photography, you should go with an analog camera with all the lenses and attachments and stuff, but the value behind a digital camera is growing everyday. You can buy a decent digital camera now for one or two hundred dollars and taking digital photos can provide some great flexibility:

  • You can immediately see what your photo will look like and retake those eyes-closed, weird smile, makes you look fat, short or stupid photos over and over again until you get it right. Yes, it can’t perform miracles, but you can try to get the best image you can.
  • With a decent size piece of media (Compact Flash, SmartMedia, etc.), you can take hundreds of photos without ever having to rewind or reload.
  • Video. Some of the more magical cameras let you take short clips of video footage. It won’t be a replacement for a real video camera, digital or otherwise, but could be useful if you need a quick video clip of silly antics.
  • Immediate gratification. If you need a photo right away, you can simply take the picture, download the photo to your computer and then use it in either digital or printed format. Personally, I find it very useful when I need to take a quick snapshot of stuff I’m selling on eBay or something I want to quickly send someone over email.

Continue reading Oh, Photo!

Trouble in Paradise

So, when I was enjoying free cocktails and beautiful sun in Kauai, the nation went to war. It’s very strange– Hawaii can be on a completely different terror alert than the rest of the country. Hey, it’s the island way.

So, the war had already been going on for over 24 hours when I returned to the mainland and now that I’m done clearing things off of my TiVo, I’ve got CNN going on in the background all day long. (BTW, why is Wolf Blitzer allowed on the air?) I have to admit: I still don’t see the point of this war. Bush keeps calling it the war to free the Iraqi people and yes, Saddam is a very, very bad man, but when did the Iraqi people ever ask us to free them? Are we getting Iraqis pounding down the door seeking political asylum?
Continue reading Trouble in Paradise

Vindicated

My friend came over on Saturday and we started chatting, more like arguing, about the war on Iraq and the situation with North Korea. He’s been following everything closely and thought that I was crazy to not support the war on Iraq and to be concerned more with the situation with North Korea. His point was that Iraq poses a direct threat and that North Korea does not. He says that Iraq clearly has weapons of mass destruction and Saddam is willing to use them, as he already has against us and his neighboring countries. Kim Jong Il, on the other hand, only wants money and knows that if he were to launch any attack, it would be suicide. I argued that I just don’t buy the whole issue Bush has with Iraq– I think it’s a product of the Bush administration’s strange obsession with Iraq and Bush’s hope to get reelected. Kim, on the other hand, may want money, but he is a completely unknown variable with the way that country has been closed off for so many years and I don’t put it past him to launch an attack just to prove a point. I mean, who lets hundreds of thousands of his people starve to death in the spirit of self-reliance and military strength? It’s that stubborn Korean pride that I know so well and there are no limits to it. We argued back and forth until the Stanford-Cal men’s basketball game came on, at which point all discussion ceased, rightly so.

So then, last night, I watched a bit of “Real Time with Bill Maher” and the same issues came up, of course. Bill pointed out that while Saddam does have weapons and is not following UN sanctions, North Korea is clearly getting ready for something by taking out fuel rods, testing missiles and tailing American spy planes. He considered that a direct threat, not Saddam’s behavior for the past twelve years. He said that it was time the US stopped waiting for the international community to do something and step up– that any use of nuclear weapons is an attack against the United States, as many presidents have said before and that the only way to prevent a nuclear war is to follow a policy of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. Damn skippy.

Priorities, Priorties

Well, the whole world is all messed up and I can’t help blaming Bush for it. Everyday, we get closer to going to war with Iraq and I just don’t understand why. So, they say Saddam’s stockpiling weapons again and when we told him to stop, he didn’t. No, shit, really? Yes, he’s technically in violation of Gulf War treaties, but are we really surprised? I mean, just because we whooped his ass over ten years ago (damn, has it really been that long?) doesn’t mean he’s not going to try some stupid crap again. He’s Saddam. That’s what he does. You can’t be an evil dictator without doing stuff like this.

The price of gas is skyrocketing now and people, as usual, are claiming that this war is really about oil in the end. We want to “stop terror,” but other countries aren’t joining in because of economic ties, i.e., they need oil. Maybe that’s the case, maybe it isn’t. It’s probably more about the Bush administration’s strange obsession with Iraq, Bush’s attempt to emulate his father and hopefully unlike his father, time the war on Iraq just right so it’ll carry him through to a second term. As for oil though, last time I checked the US has enough oil resources domestically to meet its needs, but environmentalists and the like won’t let us drill for it, forcing us to go to OPEC. Oddly enough, while this is certainly a simplistic way to look at it, the same people who won’t let us drill don’t want us to go to war. Well, what the hell are we supposed to do then? Yes, we should probably trash all our gas-guzzling cars and all get little electric vehicles (well, I won’t until Lexus makes an electric luxury sedan with over 200 HP under the hood), saving the environment and reduing the burning of fossil fuels, but the reality is that there are a lot of freakin’ things that need oil and gas and that’s not going to change overnight, so what do we do in the meantime?

But the real thing that is scaring the crap out of me is the situation with North Korea. Why is no one taking this as seriously as they should? Yes, we could whoop their ass if they ever tried anything, but it only takes one nuclear bomb to kill a whole lot of people and mess up those who didn’t die from the explosion and their children for decades. There is some strange irony to the fact that the first uses of the a-bomb ended World War II, resulting in Korea being released from Japanese colonial rule. Of course, the post-war division of the country by the Allies also resulted in the Korean War, the political division of the country into two separate states, and the development of a very isolationist, very closed, very scary Communist North Korean state. Ah, history.

Incidentally, I went to the dentist a few weeks ago and he acted like I might be personally responsible for the situation with North Korea. He’s got his hands in my mouth, light focused on my face, and the conversation is pretty much like this:

  • Dentist: “What is your ethnicity again?”
  • Me: “I’m Korean.”
  • D: “Right… that’s what I thought. What do you think about this whole thing? Its very scary.”
  • M: “Yeah, it is. I think they’re just after aid, money.”
  • D: “Mm… so you think it’s just blackmail?”
  • M: “Yeah.”
  • D: “You’re parents imigrated here? When was that?”
  • M: “1973.”
  • D: “Oh, so you were born here.”
  • M: “Yup.”
  • D: “Right… right…”

I don’t think he was really looking to call INS or anything, but weird, definitely weird. Of course, no day is complete unless somebody’s asked about the immigration history of your family while inside your mouth.

So, as we start the mad goose chase to catch Saddam again (what happened to our search for Osama Bin Laden? can we only focus on one Middle Eastern villain at a time?), North Korean jets tail American spy planes and the North Koreans start missile testing. Is this what Bush calls setting priorities?

Simple Host rocks my world

I finally found a hosting service that meets all of my needs– Simple Host. Lots of disk space, lots of bandwidth, lets you run your own CGI scripts (therefore, the blog is now hosted where it should be) and great email management features. All for a reasonable price.

It seems too good to be true. We’ll find out if it is.

The code word is “Bahamas”

So, it looks like Bush is going finagle the current situation with Iraq into a full-scale war. Gephardt has already formed a presidential exploratory committee to try for a presidential bid– do you think Bush will be able to time the war just in time for his reelection campaign? His father may have gotten us through the Persian Gulf War, but it wasn’t enough to get him reelected for a second term. Is GW trying to succeed where his father failed?

Whatever his plans, they say bad things come in threes and I don’t know what the third thing will be, but the second is definitely the escalating situation in North Korea (we can’t call it a “crisis”– Powell said so). Somewhere in the haze of Christmas turkey with kimchee and New Year’s wine, North Korea decided to give the proverbial finger to the UN and reopen their nuclear facilities. “Energy” they say is the reason for doing it–the US apparently didn’t follow through on a promise of energy resources–but last time I checked, I don’t think you need to develop bomb-grade plutonium just so your lights stay on. Even China and Russia aren’t doing much to help the situation. They’re like, “Oh, damn, yeah, those North Koreans are a little crazy. I mean, we’re Communists, but they’re Communists.” Not everyone realizes that North Korea doesn’t subscribe to the happy go lucky, free market economy version of Maoist Communism China does. They take it back old skool–Stalin would have been proud.

Who knows what will happen in North Korea? Powell refuses to call it a crisis and the newly elected South Korean president seems to realize that his country is on the top of the North Koreans’ list of “Things to Blow Up” and is trying to come to a diplomatic compromise. And this isn’t World War II and the North Koreans are not nearly as organized as the Germans or the Japanese, but if we end up going to war with North Korea, I’m sure there will be some type of yellow peril hysteria. Yes, it may not be like the 1940’s with the Japanese, but especially after 9/11, we all know Americans aren’t afraid of a little racial profiling. And they’re going to have to come up with a new name because we already know what “internment camp” means. Between you and me, if I call you suddenly and say “I’m going to the Bahamas,” you know something’s up.

Those crazy Republicans

Ah, the Republicans have done it again. It’s so sad, but Trent Lott’s throwaway comment during his speech at Strom Thurman’s birthday celebration may just get him ousted from not only his seat as Senate Majority Leader, but his seat in the Senate in general.

Here’s the main problem: they televised this crap. If the old white guys running the Senate were going to get together and reminisce about those good ol’ segregationist days, they really should have done it behind closed doors. I’m sure much worse things are said everyday behind the closed doors of exclusive country clubs and high powered corporations, but not on national cable television for chrissake. What are these guys, amateurs?

And the hole is only getting deeper. Lott is desperately apologizing, going on BET and telling everyone how hey, he’s not racist since he has African American people and other minorities on his staff. Whoah, Trent, let me sign you up for the NAACP Image Award. News flash: if you’re trying to prove that you’re not a racist, don’t start enumerating how many minorities you know, or employ or whatever. If you keep track of shit like that, then you racist, playa.

It’s kind of strange to think that all this is going on over some comments at a birthday party. Of course, we also impeached a president over a stained dress (who keeps that kind of stuff?) and some nasty episodes with a cigar.

Should Lott lose his seat as Senate Majority Leader? Probably, if he lacks the sensitivity and clarity to see how his comments could be construed as offensive and racist. Doesn’t somebody read his freakin’ speeches before he gives them? Plus, he’s just making the GOP look bad (or worse than usual) and if they want to do some damage control, there needs to be some real consequence to his actions.

Should he lose his seat at Senator of Mississippi? That’s for the people of Mississippi to decide. Of course, as Lott said himself, his state voted for Thurmond in 1948 and they’re proud of it.

Those nefarious North Koreans

I have to admit: Bond movies are not my favorite movies of all time. Yes, they certainly have their appeal and no knowledge of pop culture is complete without them, but they can get kind of cheesy and formulaic. But, the newest Bond flick, Die Another Day, departs from that formula– a least a little. There’s no “Bond moment” where the villain explains his whole evil plan to Bond and compadres before his destined-to-fail attempt to off them. There’s no evil foreign temptress. And yes, the women in this flick are more than just notches for 007’s not-so-top secret bedpost.

And, damn, Pierce Brosnan is one good-looking mofo.

The big to-do about this Bond movie was that Oscar Award-winning Halle Berry was the new Bond girl. She’s looking good and is entertaining in the movie, but to be honest, I went to see it when I realized Rick Yune was in it. I gots to go support my people, you know? (For those of you who don’t know, Yune is one of the few highly visible Korean-American actors out there, starring in movies like Snow Falling on Cedars and The Fast and the Furious. He was also the first Asian American to land a national fashion campaign, being featured in ads for Versace and Polo. And he’s one damn good-looking man.)

Who knew that the latest Bond flick’s plotline featured some nefarious North Koreans out to conquer the world? I’m sure this is doing wonders for getting North Korea off of that “Axis of Evil” and for not inciting fear and hatred towards North Koreans and the like (and by “the like,” I mean anybody that resembles a North Korean– *ahem*, yellow peril anyone?).

But all in all, it was a good movie, full of great Bond action and tomfoolery. And not to mention the tasty Aston Martin Vanquish. Vroom.

“Rent” really lights my candle

I just saw a commercial for Rent, the Broadway musical– the tour cast has come to San Francisco! For anyone who hasn’t seen it and has the chance, go see it! Even if you aren’t into musicals. I must admit, despite growing up near enough to NYC to see a Broadway musical every now and again and even being in a high school musical production or two, I’m usually not that into musicals. Often, when I’m watching a musical, I’m going along with the story, learning about the characters, but then when everybody starts singing suddenly, I say, “What the hell? Why is everyone singing?” And then I remember: oh yeah, it’s a musical.

But I have no snarky comments for Rent. Written by Jonathan Larson, it’s a remake of La Boheme, but in true twentieth century, rock opera style. The story focuses on a group of young people living in the Lower East Side of New York City and fighting to keep the industrial loft space they live in. It’s a celebration of the Bohemian lifestyle they all pursue, but the story also focuses on three main relationships– gay, straight and lesbian. It touches on HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, sexuality, and more. It’s got a little something for everyone! I cry like a little girl every time I see it.

And don’t forget– the original Broadway cast included Taye Diggs as Benny and Law & Order‘s Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins. And yes, it’s them singing on the original Broadway cast recording!

It’s a heart-wrenching tale and it’s full of pop culture references from the nineties. Unfortunately, Larson passed away from an aortic aneurysm the night before the show’s Broadway debut, but Rent has gone on to be one of the most successful shows on Broadway and people keep coming back for more.