Sunday, September 26, 2004

DISCLAIMER: The following web log entry (or "blog") has been censored by the 20th Century Fox legal department. As the said writer (or "blogger") has signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (to be refered to as "NDA" from hereon in) upon his first day of work, his posting sensitive information on this site is a violation of said agreement and this post has since been censored. The blogger has since been notified that any further violation of said NDA will result in immediate confiscation of his entire comic book collection and his right to blog in the free world. In accordance with the renegotiated NDA, the post will be permitted to run, but with some minor alterations.

-The Legal Department, 20th Century Fox

Yesterday was one of the more tedious ways to make $10 an hour. Having been hired as an extra (or "background performer", if you will) for the locally filmed movie ********* ****, this gave the opportunity to stand around for the better part of 12 hours, snack off the craft service table, attempt to do some homework, and meet some people. But that's the boring part.

The coolest thing about being an extra is being on set. The film crew managed to transform ****** **** into the ******** ************ of ****** *** ****, who would be later known in the movie as *** *****. In the scene in particular, we see two of the main characters, *** ***** and **** ********, who would later go on to become *** ***** and *** **********.

For people following the ********* film scene, it's really cool to have actor ******* ******** back on set. It's the coolest thing. For those in the know, he used to be on the TV show *** *******, which was also filmed in *********. He has a very ******* ********* which makes him out to have a **** ****** ********. He turns out to be a ***** **** ***, although there seem to be some differing opinions.

My scene in particular required me to stand on the ********, where I was supposed to **** to the ******** and enter through the **** ****. From there, I had to turn around and **** ** ** ********* and **** *** ** *********. I had to do this over and over again, until *** ***** called cut. I may actually be ********* ********* in this scene, as I am ******* ***** **** ** *** ******. ******** ******** actually walks right by me ** *********.

The director of this film is *** *****, best known for his work on *** ******** film series. This is a bit of a departure from him, being that the previous films he had worked on were ****** *********. Still, I am optimistic that *** ********* can pull it off.

In one really weird scene, I *********** *** ***** and got to actually see ******* ******* take his pants off and ******* ******* ****** ***** *** ate a handful of his own ****** **** ******** *********. After this, he proceeds to ****** ***** ******* onto her face and she ****** ****** *********. I really don't know how ***** **** ****** **** intends to get this past the ratings board with just an "R" rating. I hear that they are trying to go for "PG."

I hope I can get on this set next week.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

"I'm a barbie girl, in a barbie world / Life in plastic, it's fantastic! / you can brush my hair, undress me everywhere / Imagination, life is your creation."
-Aqua, "Barbie Girl", from the album "Aquarium" (1997)

Yet another chapter in the never ending war against small mom & pop business owners, Mattel, manufacturers of the famous unrealistically proportioned fashion doll, has launched a lawsuit against small business owner Barbie Anderson-Whalley, the owner of Barbie's Shop, a Calgary based on-line retailer that sells fetish and goth-influenced apparel. Never mind the fact that this the person's actual name, which is legal under Canadian law.

It never fails to amuse me when large organizations put the squeeze on individuals and small businesses that allegedly infringe on their copyrights. I have nothing but full confidence that Mattel will end up losing this one and will be forced to cover the costs of the defendant. Given their recent litigous history and losing streak, this is almost a given.

September 1997 - May 1998: MCA records, the recording label behind Danish pop group Aqua, is sued by Mattel for their hit single, "Barbie Girl", alleging copyright infringement and trademark dilution, saying that the lyrics associated "sexual and other unsavory themes with Mattel's Barbie products." The lawsuit is dismissed, as the song fits the legal definition as a parody and social commentary.

December 2003: Mattel launches suit against Utah based artist Tom Forsythe for his work "Food Chain Barbie," which depicts Barbie placed in sexually suggestive poses while being mutilated by kitchen appliances (sizzling on a wok, baking in an oven, etc.). Mattel charges that copyright infringement, while the LA courts decide that it is a legal parody and protected under American freedom of expression laws. The appeal is summarily tossed out of court as well.

June 2004: Mattel launches suit against Barbie Benson, a stripper and nude model who owns and operates her own pay-use website. The charge is copyright infringement, even though the website has no association with the said plastic doll or logo. Mattel has since "given up" attempting to take control of the site, according to one news site.

It's always satisfying to see a large conglomerate take a tumble like this, especially in a world where justice has a price tag. Sadly, in cases like these, the law has had a tendency to side with the litigant. We see it all the time.

Disney: Despite the fact that Victor Hugo's story "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is public domain and Polar Lights has been making the plastic model kits for about 30 years before Disney came out with their version, they put the squeeze on them. Rather than risk an expensive lawsuit, they cave and rename their product "The Bellringer of Notre Dame."

Starbucks: Essentially pissing on the liberties and freedoms that their forefathers fought and died for, Starbucks successfully sues artist Keiron Dwyer for his comic book magazine, "Lowest Common Denominator." The cover features a parody of the Starbucks mermaid, only she has nipple piercings, a dollar sign on her head, a coffee cup in one hand and a cell phone in the other. The words "Consumer Whore" replace "Starbucks Coffee". Despite the fact that it is legally defined as a parody, and Starbucks is an easy target, the law sides with Starbucks, as Mr. Dwyer's logo is "confusingly similar" to the Starbucks logo. He is forced to comply with the ruling.

Monsanto: One of the most litigious organizations around, they have actively supressed news media that is critical of their products, destroyed the environment, and made a lot of people really sick with their products. They also sued a bunch of people that didn't deserve it, such as Saskatchewan based farmer Percy Schmeister, who had wind blow Monsanto-modified seeds onto his field, which actually contaminated his own crop yield. This adds insult to injury.

My hope is that we will continue to see judgements like the ones being passed against Mattel, rather than the kind of judgements we see passed against Percy Schmeister and Keiron Dwyer. Caving to the demands and whims of large conglomerates undermines the principles of freedom under which the free nations of the world were founded.

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Sunday, September 19, 2004


The school year is close to coming to an end and the freshman girls who are starting up the next year are undergoing their annual hazing ritual. As hormonal teenaged boys watch, young girls are paraded out, where they are doused with flour and raw eggs.

DARLA (16) has the young girls lined up where they are sprayed with ketchup and mustard while SHAVONE (17) sprays them with whipping cream.

Attaching a dog collar to a FRESHMAN GIRL (13), she parades her over to where a group of boys are sitting.

Propose to Mr. Dawson.

Upon command, the freshman girl drops to her knees to Dawson (18).
Will you marry me?

What's in it for me?

Anything you want.



Go like this. [opens mouth suggestively] Do you spit or swallow?

Whatever you like.

Whatever I like? I would definitely marry you.

(Adapted from a scene in "Dazed and Confused" (1993))

The question of whether or not to spit or swallow has been on my mind for the past two weeks. The choice that one makes seems to be directly split across gender lines, and to a lesser extent, cultural habits.

On a personal and intimate level, it's not preferred. Spitting is considered impolite, and downright rude in most instances. Ultimately, it's the act of expelling material from one's mouth and when one is doing so, they are making a statement as to their true feelings, and not just because they don't like the taste.

Some feel that it is more important to swallow. This makes complete sense, and was even the topic of a history class I took in university a few years ago. There was a time when the practice of spitting was actually banned in some instances. And why not? It's not pleasant to watch and regardless of changing female roles in today's society, it's not very lady-like.

As to my thoughts on the matter? I'd prefer it if everybody swallowed. Heck, I swallow too. Since I came down with a cold a few weeks ago, I've been coughing up all sorts of fun stuff. Being that I'm usually indoors and far away from a sink or toilet, I do not have the option of running towards an area to expel whatever it is that's in my mouth. Ironically, it's only when I'm engaged in the act of spitting do I actually taste it. And I really hate the taste.

(C'mon, people. What did you THINK this was going to be about?)

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Communications 1118: Composing in Context - Principles and practices of Workplace Writing

As I write this, I am taking a break from re-reading Flower and Hayes' A Cognitigve Process Theory of Writing. For anyone taking academic theory courses, these are a headache to read. Despite the fact that I sat down and went through the entire text with a highlighter, I have no idea what any of it means. Here's a sample:

"Planning, or the act of building this internal representation, involves a number of sub-processes. The most obvious is the act of generating ideas, which includes retrieving relevant information from long-term memory. Sometimes this information is so well developed and organized in memory that the writer is essentially generating standard written English. At other times one may generate only fragmentary, unconnected, even contradictory thoughts, like pieces of a poem that hasn't yet taken shape."

Uh...right. Got it.

As much as I appreciate theory and its applications, I haven't felt this stupid since I bent over to pick up a penny in the street without looking for oncoming traffic and almost got my head taken off by the #10 Granville bus. I dunno if it's my short attention span or the way it's written, but I'm having a really hard time trying to figure this thing out.

I liken the experience to eating lots and lots of corn. Most of it passes through your system completely undigested, and there's probably a good chance that it could take a few more passes through your digestive system before all the nutrients have been assimilated.

If you wish for a slightly less disgusting analogy, liken it to eating a lot of celery. You expend more calories eating and digesting it than what's actually in the celery itself.

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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Communications 1216: Interpersonal Skills for the Workplace

As part of the Print Futures program over at Douglas College, we are taught this because it is becoming an increasingly needed skill and has been needed since the beginning of the working world. We tend to assume that these skills are in place just because a person has a grasp of the English language, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Today, I am slightly peeved because I managed to lose about four hours because the proper communication was not put into place.

One of the instances is because of my employer. Being that the base of operations is mobile, I do not have the option of going to an office to retrieve my paycheck. Therefore, I was supposed to meet up with him to retrieve it. I am able to maintain contact with him up until today, the day I was told to call him. Over the course of three hours, I leave three messages on his voicemail, each more irate than the last. As it is, I have no idea as to his whereabouts, save for the fact that he is in and around Vancouver, which is one of my reasons for being in the city.

The second is that I find out at the last second that my martial arts studio has spontaneously cancelled the weekly practice session. I don't realize this until I go to the actual studio and the door is locked. There is no prior communication or even a note on the door. Being that no one shows up for about fifteen minutes, I make the decision to cut my losses and just leave.

This is four hours which could have been put to better use, yet instead, I am at the mercy of people that fail to communicate properly.

I contact a co-worker as to the whereabouts about said employer and I am informed that Sunday afternoons are especially tough to make contact with him. This leaves me especially peeved, as I was given general instructions to simply call him on Sunday. Out of courtesy, I elected not to call during the morning, which he would likely have been able to take a call.

Five hours after the initial phone call and I am still unable to make contact. Should he call back, I will tell him to mail me the check. As for the martial arts studio, the suggestion box will be full by the end of the week.

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

*COUGH* *COUGH* part 3

I'm running out of ways to say this, but after talking to more people at my Capoeira classes, I'd have to say about 50% of the people I've talked to have had had cold symptoms of some sort or another, ranging from mild fevers, sore throats, wet coughing, and runny noses. After swapping messages with another student who attends the Calgary academy, it appears that most of them are getting sick too.

It's been said before that the fastest way to get rid of a cold is to give it to someone else. If that's the case, whoever was the first among the group of a hundred-something to get sick should be feeling like a zillion bucks right about now.

School / work

Class load is deceptively light, although that's about to change. I need to find a part-time job because I don't know how I'm going to pay for my books or my next semester otherwise (or the other things I need to buy, for that matter). Still dunno what I want to do. Either head back to my old job or find something new. Being that a lot of the people have since changed over (many people have quit, moved on, were fired, transferred, etc.), I think it's safe to come back.

The fact that I'm busy with school work means I can't afford to goof off. The lack of regular after-school employment means I literally can't afford to goof off either. After all, you know how expensive it is to goof off these days. As it is, you practically have to pay to get a license in order to goof off. And you know how much those cost these days.

Pop Culture Junkie

I saw Resident Evil: Apocaylpse last night. It's okay, I guess. I much preferred the first one, although they were both a lot of fun to watch. There were the occasional laugh-out-loud moment (token black dude runs over a zombie in his car, then goes, "GTA, mutha fukka! Ten points!"), although it's still not very well written.

Person That Writes Things

Being that Alone in the Dark is suddenly without a distributor, it won't likely be making its scheduled release date of October, which means that my article for Fangoria Magazine is being indefinitely held until the film's release. As it is, it appears that one of my other articles, my from-the-set report of Devour, will be released first, either end of 2004 or early 2005.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

*COUGH* *COUGH* Part 2

I've been running through the symptoms fairly quickly, which means I should be completely over my cold by next Monday (Sore throat Monday evening, snotty throat by Wednesday evening). It appears that my suspicions were true (my last blog entry had me pointing the culprit to the Batizado weekend). Wednesday's Capoeira class was relatively empty and even the head instructor was sick. Two members of the support staff were also sick (although their symptoms showed up earlier).

But I still feel like crap and feel like sleeping in, but there's just too much to do.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004


As I write this, I am preparing for my first day of school (oh, wait, that's TODAY) by digging through a pile of papers, attempting to retrieve my student ID# and revising all of the papers and information I was given. I have no idea what to expect, save for the fact that I'm now sitting on a sore throat that started up just yesterday. Yes, I am coming down with a cold.

It's strange, that mankind has found a way to put a man on the moon, deliver dirty pictures to teenaged boys' computers in a matter of seconds, and automatically slice bread, yet STILL can't cure the common cold. The only they can do is alleviate symptoms by giving us pills and syrups that make us edgy. As it is, some athletes have come under fire for using cold medication to boost their performance. You know that product, "Sudafed"? The active ingredient is pseudoephedrine, which is a similar product to ephedra, a stimulant that is a controlled substance (read: banned in some places).

There are some who really dislike pharmaceutical companies, given some of their business practices. Understandably, they are businesses, and are therefore concerned about the bottom line. But, I still have a few beefs with pharmaceutical companies, such as the fact that they advertise on television, which means bigger push towards more expensive medication, which may or may not be any more effective than cheaper medication. This in turn means that doctors are put under more pressure to prescribe medication that not only costs more, is not necessarily more effective, but could also be a lot less proven (ie: side effects).

I have a bigger beef with the fact that pharmaceutical companies seem to be focused more on treatment rather than cure. If someone actually got around to finding the cure for cancer, AIDS, and the common cold, we'd have a lot fewer pharmaceutical companies. But then, we'd probably have pharmaceutical companies trying to create cures for "made up" diseases such as Attention Deficit Disorder (that was a sarcastic comment, by the way).

But really, let's face it. Kids had the same attention spans now that they did 20-some odd years ago. What has changed? Apart from the fact that today's teachers are more than likely to push psychoactive meds on kids to make them more attentive, the kids are the same.

But I digress.

So, while I'm preparing for the onslaught of dry coughs, runny noses, and stuffed sinuses, I'm left trying to figure out exactly what it is that caused this. Given the number of activities I have done over the past week (which is roughly the incubation period for the cold virus), it's tough to nail down a specific culprit or cause.

I wasn't in contact with a large number of people until the weekend, where I attended the tenth annual Capoeira Ache Brasil Batizado, where most of the students attended to enhance their Capoeira skills and receive their belt. As some of the students and teachers are coming from around the world, it only makes sense they'd be bringing something else with them apart from their ache (that's Portuguese for "everything positive", you know).

This is where most of the rules for cold prevention pretty much go out the window (avoiding contact being the number one). I know I shook hands and made other casual contact with a lot of other students and instructors. Sure, only a germ-phobic hypochondriac would exact measures for cold prevention this time of the year, but I'm living proof of the fact that colds can hit you even when it's not the season for it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try to sweat it all off at the gym. I tend to feel better after wearing several layers of clothing and running for 20 minutes.

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Sunday, September 05, 2004

An automated filter placed in the People's Republic of China has made it so any sort of e-mails or websites that contain key phrases and words will be blocked out from people's reading. Mind you, this would be completely without context (most computers aren't smart enough to figure that out yet), but words would get banned nonetheless.

So, being that the Chinese government isn't too hot on democracy, understandably, the word "democracy" has been banned. But, what if you happen to be writing something to do with the failure of democracy? Given the denial of the Chinese government of the Tienanmen Square massacre in 1989, the word "Tiananmen" is understandably banned as well. But, what if you were backpacking through China and wanted to e-mail your friends via web cafe, and wanted to MEET there? Obviously, that meeting isn't going to take place. Or, it'd have to beheld somewhere else (because you can't say something like "Fifteen minutes from Tiananmen Sqaure.").

Words like "Christian", "Fulan Gong", and "Human Rights" are understandably blocked as well. As expected, "Sex" is blocked as well. Never mind the fact that safe sex resources and education are needed in all societies.

So, understandably, this site has been banned too. I just need to e-mail a few of my relatives in Hong Kong to see if it works.

ADDENDUM (Sept 5, 9:33). According to my friend's left-behind comment (and he spent a few months in Hong Kong and China a while ago), there is no on-line censorship in Hong Kong and certain parts of Sourthern China. Take that, Big Brother! (or would that be ge-ge?)

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