Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I'm excited because for the first time in years I'll be in SoCal for the season, so I can actually watch most of the games! Halloween can't come soon enough.
The president is right. This is our hour. We can play politics with the hour, we can seek political advantage and to win the next election with this hour. We can confront the reality of this hour and do something about it. On my watch, even though i'm ing what many consider to be face a difficult time back in pennsylvania — on my watch, i'm going to confront the reality of the threat to me, to this country and to our children and grandchildren. It is just too important to walk away and play politics to get re reelected. It is too important to the future of this country to minimize the threat that we are engage ed in and play politics with it. It may win and lose elections. Matters not to me. Matters not to me. What matters is, defending our country when it needs to be defended. Not putting personal politics above what's the best interests of the national security of this country. I believe the president, given all the mistakes that this administration has made in the conduct of this war — and they certainly are numerous — the president has it right. This is the greatest threat for our generation, and i pray we have the courage to confront it.There's more. I wish I could help him out in Penn, where's he trailing Democrat challenger Bob Casey.
Friday, September 08, 2006
We'll start with Pluto. Despite Reva's objections to Pluto no longer being a planet, I'm with Phil here. Pluto's "planet status" - a god-awful PC phrase if I've ever heard one - should be decided by those most knowledgeable: ASTRONOMERS. Scientists shouldn't be afraid to do something just because it might offend/disturb/upset some people; even if those people are The Reva. Then, to complicate matters the Californaia State Legislature has decided that stripping Pluto of its planet status will cause "tremendous impact on the people of California and the state’s long term fiscal health" and so are condemning the International Astronomical Union. I've always disliked my state assembly, but this is really embarrassing. I shake my head in disgust.
I heard that Kim Jong Il, crazy-ass leader of North Korea, has a fetish for collecting Mazda RX-7's. I heard this on the Bill Handle Show though, so I'm not saying it's true.
But apparently US Marines in Iraq have begun forcing Saddam Hussein to watch South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut while in prison as a form of punishment. For those who haven't seen the movie (and I suggest you do) Sadaam is protrayed as a gay lover of Satan. I think this is great. Simply hilarious. I don't see what Saddam could complain about either. I mean, Satan's his BITCH. How much cooler do you get to be?
Iran seems determined to get nukes while the West seems determined to see just how far in the sand they can stick their collective heads. *Sigh* I hope Israel comes through for us again because if I die because some liberal PC wacko (*cough*TedKennedy*cough*) kept my government from bitch-slapping Iran I will be pissed. I mean, there would definitely be some serious haunting going on after that.
Oh, and I might be buying a house.
Joss Whedon is my Master Now.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Wednesday: Work (a lot)
Saturday: See Candace, and usually Eric
Rinse and repeat as necessary.
Which isn't to say that I don't enjoy my life right now. On the contrary, I'm having a great time. I enjoy work (usually); I'm able to hang out with friends I haven't been able to for years; my expenses are minimal; I really like my life right now.
Yet I have nothing to talk about. *Sigh* The most exciting thought I had over the weekend was: "This year I'll be able to watch nearly every single Lakers game!" While that is cool, sometimes I just wish that it wasn't the highlight of my weekend.
Also, I'm freaking out a little. The end of August is fast approaching; every fiber of my being screams that I should be preparing for another semester of school - but I'm not! I have no more school to prepare for, so I'm a little unsure of how to act. What does September feel like when you're not doing homework? What's October without midterms or December sans Finals? I guess I'll find out.
Friday, August 11, 2006
This is the first of a few posts I will be writing in regards to Marvel Comics' newest event: Civil War. Here I will explain what Civil War - and the Superhuman Registration Act - are, and why I support them from the point of view of someone in the Marvel Universe. In later posts I will discuss my opinions as a reader and Marvel's conclusion of the story (once they finish in a few months).
So what is the Superhuman Registration Act? Well, it begins long ago: in the comic book industry there's a formula: Every summer (or every few summers) have a BIG event, that CHANGES EVERYTHING FOREVER. Naturally, these events rarely make lasting changes, and are almost always undone by the next writer/artist team. This formula though has lasted for a long time, since around the early 80's, at least. This year Marvel came up with a very interesting idea for their event. They called it CIVIL WAR. The idea is that something happens which changes the status quo for the world, dividing the superhero community in two (ideologically).
So the short story of Civil War is: A group of relatively untrained heroes battled a group of superior villains, one of whom caused the destruction of an elementary school in Stamford, CT, leaving hundreds of children dead. In response, the US Congress passed a law, the Superhuman Registration Act, which makes it a criminal offense for any person to use superhuman abilities of any sort to fight crime without first registering with the government and working as an authorized agent. The precise wording of the bill has not been revealed.
This has caused the superhero community to become divided. Some, led by Iron Man and an unmasked Spider-Man (that's right, Spidey revelaed his secret identity) strongly support the Registration; others, led by Captain America and Daredevil, strongly oppose it and see it as a violation of civil liberties.
So why do I support it if even Captain America doesn't? There are several reasons: Safety, Accountability, and Equality.
The Stamford Incident revealed a key weakness in the status quo that has existed with regards to superheroes: they didn't oversee each other. While many groups, like the Avengers and X-Men, trained themselves so as they were not a threat to themselves or others, they did little to stop other groups which were less trained. Thus, inexperienced fighters took on villains too strong for them. If they were only risking their own lives that would be acceptable; but also at risk are the innocent civillian lives endangered during the fight. The government has an obligation to protect all its citizens, and training those with extraordinary powers ensures the safety of themselves and other citizens.
There used to be a saying regarding the X-Men: "From the destruction across the city, you can generally tell where they've been." For a long time superheroes were exempt from the extensive property damage they had caused because they were "fighting supervillains." Often, this is understandable. But when a police officer shoots someone, regardless of who, an investigation occurs to ensure that it was the right thing to do. Thus accountability is ensured; so that if mistakes are made the correct people are held responsible. Property damage and loss of life are so percious that the government must guarantee that when either occur it is for a proper cause, and that it is minimized. With no oversight of any kind, superhumans have been able to not be held responsible, either criminally or financially, for the extensive damage they have cuased.
Ordinary citizens cannot enforce our interpretation of the law. No matter how "right" we believe we are, we cannot infringe on someone else's property or use force to stop them - unless acting in self defense. Yet this is exactly what superheroes have done for decades; enforcing a "might makes right" style law where they avoid encounters with athority simply because they are more powerful and no one can stop them. Criminals and terrorists are allowed onto their teams because they claim they have "reformed," regardless of whether they have actually repaid society for their crimes. This is contradictory to the law that all should be treated equally. In western soceity only the State has the athority to use force to enforce the law.
Some (many named Candace) argue that by being agents of the State, heroes could no longer do what is "right," only what is "lawful," or what they are told. But this not true. If a military soldier is ordered to do something he feels "wrong," or "unjust" in his society, he has the right to refuse to do it. He may be courtmartialed for it, during which he can defend himself and his peers can determine if he was right in disobeying an order, but he still can refuse it. Additionally, the heroes are offered a choice: use your powers to serve the state, or don't. This is the same choice every recruit to the military or police force has. There is no "draft." Since the Registration Act became law many heroes have become former heroes because they choose not to reveal their identities and/or work for the government. They have not been prosecuted, naturally.
Which leads into the next argument against Registration: it is a violation of Civil Liberties. I am unsure of what civil liberties it violates precisely, and no one has specified, despite numerous people, like the Invisible Woman, Wolverine and Captain America, claiming it is a violation, but the only thing I can think of is privcy. Specifically, forcing heroes to reveal their "secret identity" is a violation of privacy. Arguments about the constitutionality of that right itself notwithstanding I showed there is nothing forcing anyone to reveal anything. They only have to register IF they want to fight crime, the same way a police officer must register before he has the athroity to enforce the law.
Finally, this is not, as some have claimed, a reprisal of the Mutant Registration Act, which was pushed during the 80's. That Act wanted to Register all mutants for nothing more than being a mutant, which is wrong. Persons should not have to register simply for being who they are. As I would scoff at the idea that gays, blacks or Jews should register, so do I scoff at the idea that mutants should register. But the Superhuman Registration Act is different: it forces people to register for making a choice. If you choose to fight crime, you must register. Simply having a power does not require you to register. That is a subtle, yet dramatic difference in the law.
Does the Registration Act have problems? Probably. Would I change things? Almost certainly. It is difficult to say with any certainty because the law is not written anywhere, so no one knows EXACTLY what it says. But it is a reform measure that is a step in the right direction. Some fear of abuse; while I agree that this law could be abused, I don't think that that is itself a reason to abandon the law, merely place safeguards in to protect against such abuse.
My name is John Romano, and I stand with Iron Man and support the Superhuman Registration Act.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Superman: Is there anything that beats 90 minutes of character development? Oh yeah, a plot that goes somewhere. This was quite a disapointment from Brian Synger; and James Marsden gets more screentime here (as Lois's boyfriend) then he did in all three X-Men movies (as Cyclops) combined.
Pirates 2: I really wanted this to be great; instead it was only decent. It dragged on for quite a ways; not as long as King Kong did, but that movie went on forever. Way to much plot exposisiton, not enough one-liners. *sigh* Here's hoping the third movie makes up for it.
You, Me and Dupree: Damn I can't believe I saw this movie. Ah, well, it was at a drive-in so who cares. It was a pretty good movie; though I admit I had low expectations for it.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC): Here's another thing I never expected to watch, yet now do ALL THE FREAKING TIME. My step-dad loves watching it, so records tons of them (damn you TiVo) and shows them to me. He's so excited by it, how can I say no?
South Carolina: I spent a week working there and all I can see is: It sucks. I've lived in a desert a large portion of my life and I'll take 110 degree heat over 93 degrees plus 90% humidity. Humidity sucks ass.
Working full time: While not something that I necessarily love to do (getting up at 6am everyday sucks) whenever I get bummed about it I just think: "I'll never have homework again."
SoCal: To my northern Cal bretheren: Yes, the Bay Area sucks. Berkeley is evil. I know this is our mantra. But I have learned that there are in fact certain things that are better in NorCal than SoCal. God I feel dirty just saying that. For example: bars that are in walking distance. I miss them so very much...
Commutes: They suck. Always and everywhere. Someone better invent a teleporter, and soon.
So what's new? Well, a lot and nothing all at once. I have a job at Geovision Geophysical Services as a Staff Geophysicist. It's exciting. It's about half travel and half office work (data processing) so it keeps things interesting, but not too exhausting. I would explain what I do, precisely, but not many of my two readers would understand.
Oh, and I bought a car. A nice, new (well, it was when I bought it) Mazda 3. It's not quite the muscle-car I was planning on getting, but it serves me well enough. Truth be told, I wish I had waited a little while; the '07 model has a turbocharger on it. *Sigh* Oh well.
But that's about it currently. I went to Comic-con with Candace, and Disneyland, but nothing much changes.
Work calls; I'll write again soon; I have much to say that will interest no one.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Life trucks along quitely from here. I've been spending my days sending out resumes, playing video games and sleeping. Oh, and playing with the dogs. Can't forget about the puppies.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Anyway, today I finished my last lecture of my college career. Wow, I've now learned everything that I will for college. I still have finals to take, but those will be done in just over a week. Scary stuff.
So what all this means is that for the next week I probably will continue with my trends of not posting, but once that is over, I'm moving back down to my parents' house (in Nuevo!), so I'll have plenty of time to post then.
And I'm still looking for a job.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Don't get me wrong: the blog is a fantastic idea. And the primary blogger, Pat Rodriguez, is fantasitc! If there was such a thing as a "professional blogger," this guy should do it. The problem came when he opened the floor to other bloggers and got three more: Ben Chapman, Chris Page, and Mickey Klein.
Let's look at what each writer's focus is on: First, Chris Page covers the ASUC beat. A tough job to be sure, and I'm grateful to him for doing it. Thank God someone does. Pat's a fairly strong Libertarian, fiscally conservative, yadda, yadda, yadda, but mainly covers Berkeley-related topics, which is essential. And like I said, I've loved his work since he started. Ben, well, I'm not really sure about much of his politics. He's definitely fiscally conservative, but he hasn't written about much else. He knows history. And finally, Mickey: an extremeley vocal Libertarian who often criticizes Bush, opposes the war in Iraq, and strives to legalize pot.
So what's my problem? In short, balance. Libertarians are dramatically over-represented. Where's a social conservatives? Where's a hawk? Where's a Bush supporter? What's missing from the blog is someone who is a mainstream conservative who's not a Libertarian. Mickey's arguments especially sound like they're from the left, and no one on the blog counters them. The Patriot is supposed to be a Conservative magazine, not a Libertarian one, but it is sliding in that direction.
This isn't to say that no Libertarians should be represented; indeed, often they make good points and spur debate. But there isn't anyone on the blog to counter those arguments, and that is where problems arise. (Side note: It irks me doubly since I know both the Opinion Editor and the EiC are more libertarian than traditional conservative, and when my own article got, err, slightly disrespected in the last issue; it makes a cynic like me wonder if this is intentional.)
"So John, you're a good guy, why don't you write and fix their problem?" Ah yes, the "stop bitching and do it yourself" argument. Not that I don't see merit in this solution, but (as many of you know) I'm not the most dependable guy when it comes to blogging, and I wouldnt' want the responsibility of knowing that I needed to blog regularly. I'm just not that reliable. And, you know, I'm graduating in a month or so.
I do hope the Patriot addresses this concern; I know it can be tough finding writers for blogs, but fixing this would go a long way to making the Patriot Blog, and the magazine, a better publication.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
- Which US President was offered contracts by the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers?
- What is the highest score in a game of Darts?
- Everyone knows about the Anola Gay, but what was the name of the other plane that dropped an atomic bomb?
Could you have won big bucks? I'll post answers later.
Answers (Highlight to read):
- President Gerald Ford
- 180 points (3 triple 20's)
- Bok's Car (The team who won actually mis-spelled it "Box Scar" and still got it right, much to my chagrin).
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
I guess I could make fun of the French for rioting. Stupid cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
Man, not even mocking the French makes me feel better. I'm going to bed. :(
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Candace and I have many, many of the Marvel Legends action figures and even more Transformers figures. So I thought, hey, why don't I use those to make a comic book-esque project. By arranging and taking pictures of them and using Photoshop or something to edit and add speech ballons, I could make something really neat!
Now I just need two things: One, a good story, and two, knowledge on how to make dioramas and use Photoshop to do what I want.
Can anyone help?
For blogging purposes, this means one of two things will occur.
Either I will post lots, since I have so much time on my hands. Or not at all, since I'll be so busy playing video games and genearlly screwing around.
I promise to strive for the former, but you all should expect the latter. To satisfy you, every time you want to read my blog, watch the new X3 trailer instead. May 26 better come soon.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Anyway, I've spent most of this week in Sonoma County, specifically the city of Healdsburg, looking at landslides and other recent geomorphic things. We were working for the Preservation Ranch that is planning to build vineyards in the Gualala Watershed (go ahead and keep saying "Gualala" to yourself over and over; it doesn't get less funny). So my partner and I were tasked with helping professional geologist Martin Trso in determining what is called a Sediment Budget. Basically it is just figuring out how much sediment is being transported from the ridgetops, where the vineyards are to be built, to the valley floor below. So I spent four days hiking up and down through stream channels and gullies trying to figure out how much stuff had been deposited. Not real easy, let me tell you. Especially when the hillsides are slippery and are 50% gradients. Regardless, it was much fun, though very tiring.
And I'm back now, but the twists keep coming. A strange job opportunity came knocking this week for me, but I'll have more on that later.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I'm happy to note that my hometown paper, the Riverside Press-Enterprise, printed them. Happy, but not surprised.
Monday, March 13, 2006
The laser-powered device -- which is about the size of a cellphone -- can identify almost any known substance, according to Robert Downs, a scientist at the University of Arizona who worked on the project.
I eagerly await hypo-sprays.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
For example, I was reading National Review and saw this passage:
Serious stuff. But then I saw a picture:
[The] Egyptian-born preacher is charged with inciting murder and “stirring up racial hatred.” (He is also wanted in the U.S. on a 2004 indictment for, among other things, providing material support to al-Qaeda.) In sermons at his London mosque, many recorded, Abu Hamza urged followers to kill Jews, non-Muslims, and apostates from Islam.
How do you NOT laugh at that??? I mean, the guy has a freaking Hook for a hand! How is this guy (Abu Hamza) - with his one-eyedness, tongue sticking out, hook-handed - not the poster boy in the American Media of what terrorists look like? How have their been no cartoons about this guy? I mean, HE HAS A FREAKING HOOK HAND!
I wonder if it screws of and he can put other things on it. Now that would make him the coolest terroist around.
Do they let him into court with that thing? Damn, I just can't stop laughing.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Menawhile, Robert Horry bit someone? Strangeness abounds.
Tongiht: San Antonio. I'll cross my fingers.
Science classes, like, say Physics 7, are really, really stinking hard. You're going to show up to those classes. Because if you don't (like me) your grade suffers. A lot. A lot of the material in Science classes needs explination further than what a book gives, so the Professor gives that. Further, usually the Professor's don't really care about teaching. Don't get me wrong, most enjoy it well enough, but they do research. Lots of it. The teaching they have to do only so that they can do more research. So if you don't show up to lecture, oh well, they don't care.
Compared to Humanities classes. This stuff isn't hard. I don't care what anyone says, it just is not difficult. In fact, it's so easy, that without reading half the material, I got a Perfect score on my midterm. Yes, a freaking perfect score. And yet, if I miss class two more times, I'll be in danger of failing the class. This makes no sense! The only reason I can think of why this is so is because the teachers want you to be there. This is sad for two reasons: 1. They don't have enough faith that their lectures are interesting enough for you to show up on your own. 2. They actually think you'll pay attention if you show up. I've spent the last three weeks playing Sudoku in my Thater class. It's obviously impacted my grade. I think Humanities teachers like to hear themselves talk; they teach because it makes them feel good, so they want more people to be there because then they feel better.
I don't know. They're just stupid.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Take that ya stupid cat-lovers. Not only are dogs way cooler, but they can do freakin' CALCULUS. Brilliance.
When Elvis and Pennings go to the beach, they always play fetch. Standing at the water's edge, Pennings throws a tennis ball out into the waves, and Elvis eagerly retrieves it. When Pennings throws the ball at an angle to the shoreline, Elvis has several options. He can run along the beach until he is directly opposite the ball, then swim out to get it. Or he can plunge into the water right away and swim all the way to the ball. What happens most the time, however, is that Elvis runs part of the way along the beach, then swims out to the ball.
Depending on the dog's running and swimming speeds, the strategy that Elvis follows appears to minimize the time that it takes to get to the ball. Indeed, Pennings found by experiment that Elvis performs in a way that closely matches a calculus-based mathematical model of the situation.
Hat Tip: Corner, and check this post out, too.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I didn't realize that they made Sheep Legos.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Nowhere is that more evident than in Climate study, where even when we think we know stuff we're usually wrong.
Take, for example, this story. See, in the 1980s it was found the CFCs (the stuff that used to be in hair spray and refridgerators) were really, really bad for ozone, and that our ozone layer was being destoryed. So the whole world stoppped using CFCs. Amazing, right? Well, recently the ozone layer has picked back up slightly, and most people concluded that this proves the dramatic effect humans can have on the environment. But wait!
The model indicates that the apparent slowdown of ozone loss during the late 1990's most likely resulted from a maximum in solar intensity rather than from the ban on CFCs, the team reported 8 February in Geophysical Research Letters.
Yes folks, it turns out that it probably wasn't humans causing a hole in the ozone, just the sun going through its normal cycles.
Like I said, we're all just ignorant.
God I love Italy.
"I have had T-shirts made with the cartoons that have upset Islam and I will
start wearing them today," Ansa quoted Calderoli as saying.
He said the T-shirts were not meant to be a provocation but added that he saw no point trying to appease extremists. "We have to put an end to this story that we can talk to these people. They only want to humiliate people. Full stop. And what are we becoming? The civilization of melted butter?" Calderoli said.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
- There's an older gentleman in my Theater class ("Race and Performance in American Cultures," I'll have more to say on this later, trust me) who wears a sweatshirt for the "College of Social Welfare," and I think: "Cal has a 'College of Social Welfare?' I don't even know what that means!" Anyway, it's strange indeed. To me, at least.
- Also in my Theater class, I have found there to be several (5 out of 35) Fifth-Year Theater majors. I found myself wondering how do you get to be a 5th year Theater Major. It can't be that hard!! It seems to me these people are just wanting to stay in college because they can't get a real job. Lazy bums.
- Have you ever had someone in your class where you're afraid when they talk? Not because that what they say will be opposite of what you believe, but because you konw they agree with you and sound really, really stupid whenever they open thier mouths? No? Count yourself lucky; it sucks.
- Tough reading! That's what defines my Superheroes in Comic Books class. Yup, I gotta read Spider-Man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern and Batman. I wish all classes were like this.
Here's my first blog.
Then my second.
We'll ignore my freeewbs one; it sucked major ass anyway.