Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Tale of Two Sandals (Part One)

Open Toes is a film currently in production as part of the Film and Media Studies 106 production course. The plot revolves around the segregation between two gangs at UCSB, the Rainbows and the Reefs, and a love story that emerges between two star-crossed lovers from opposing sides. The following is Part 1 of a series of entries about the production of the movie by writer Nick Ochoa. It is completely factual.

For those of you who don't know, I'm making another movie. Well, I wrote it, anyway; other people are making it, but that's besides the point. In late summer of 2006 I responded to a cry for assistance by one Sarah Dietrich, a charismatic producer with a movie idea hot off the presses. This producer had a dream - a dream of an epic tale whose effects would span multiple generations of Santa Barbarians, much as the Bible influenced several generations of Christian fundamentalists. She had a dream of a biting satire of a segregated society, whose very rivalry depended on such minuscule issues as what they wore on their feet. Indeed, this was a tale true to every form of segregation known to man (and only man). This tale was about the bitter rivalry between those who wear Rainbow sandals and those who wear Reef sandals.

It was to this vision that I answered the call. Sitting down with the starry-eyed producer for hours upon end over endless amounts of hot cocoa and cocaine, I learned of the epic nature of her vision.

"Unfortunately," she said to me, "I cannot translate my thoughts into words. where I need you."

Such candor I had never seen before. "I'll take the case!" I shouted. I fervently began writing what I could of her dream, but condensing a 5 hour epic with a star cast (including Morgan Freeman as narrator) and battle scenes that rivaled Return of The King in choreography and extras down to a mere twenty minutes was no easy task. Night after night I walked along the cliffs for inspiration, searching for a muse from whom I could channel creative energy. Alas, the sea was a cold mistress, and I succeeded only in getting my laptop wet. I spiraled into a whirlwind of 60s-era depression, complete with the funky colors and Strawberry Alarm Clock playing in my head, and tried so many combinations of narcotics that I was close to becoming more dead than Steve Irwin in a tank full of stingrays.

And yet, I pressed on. After disappearing from society for more than a month, I emerged from the depths of Isla Vista with a script whittled down to thirty minutes. I debated with myself for literally hours, trying to figure out what had to be cut for the sake of sanity. Ultimately, it was the ten minute sex ghost orgy that concluded the film which had to be left on the cutting room floor. Heartbroken but confident, I returned to Sarah Dietrich with her vision faithfully translated to a Microsoft Word document. I'll never forget the words that she uttered to me upon receipt of the stack of paper.

"That's fine, whatever."

It was my finest hour. With script in hand, we jubilantly marched off towards the film pitches, prepared to tackle whatever obstacles would come our way. Little did we know that the obstacles we encountered made the obstacles surrounding world piece look like a 4th grade obstacle course (you know, with the tires, stolen street cones, hopscotch chalk, etc).

Next: The Crew! Read entire post...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Very Special IV Halloween

Here at the University of California, Santa Barbara, once a year there comes along a special event that takes the world by storm. It's an event that everyone plans for at LEAST a month in advance. Chances are that if you live in this blissful community of Isla Vista, you have had at least three friends from out of town ask if they could stay with you over this gallant weekend of tomfoolery. Yes, dear people, I'm HALLOWEEN.

Halloween is a time of year for everyone to escape the horrors that are the first four weeks of college. After all, who can bear going to 2 classes a day, 4 days a week, and only staying awake in half of them? I sure as hell can't. And what's up with scheduling all these midterms around the weekend? How dare they put ANYTHING on week 5 of a 10 week quarter! It's like I'm or something. Moreover, Halloween is an excuse to walk around outside in nothing but a large t-shirt, call it a costume, and only be mildly assaulted for it. I admit that 1 out of the 3 ideas I had for Halloween costumes was to go out with a hairdryer and call myself "Hairdryer Man", but at least that's got some ingenuity and class. And I immediately respect anyone that goes out as an eskimo (and by that I don't mean a slutty eskimo, or a slutkimo, as I like to call it), because let's face it, you'll be a lot better off than someone who's a half-naked pirate.

While we're on the topic of slutty costumes...what's the deal with slutty costumes? I mean, aside from the obvious "look at me, I do lots of coke and weigh 80 lbs and have a hot body" aspect of it, has anyone thought about the historical liberties that "slutty" costumes take? Let's not forget that what we Gen Y-ers think of as promiscuous has only been the case for about 40 or so years. I'm pretty sure that in the arrr-ful pirate eras of the 1700s, a woman who was on a pirate ship was most definitely NOT a pirate, but more of a sex-slave to the large, ale-swigging captain of the ship, which is definitely NOT what the women of today are going for. The same goes for other historically inaccurate costumes, such as slutty nuns, slutty nurses, slutty astronauts, slutty prostitutes, and slutty ninjas. If you do, however, decide to dress up as a slutty Ann Coulter...well, I have no complaints about that.

My favorite part about Halloween is how many diverse people I meet while wandering the streets. There is nothing more enjoyable than to see someone peeing on a parked car, walking up to him, and then finding out that he's from UCSD. I think it's great that San Diegans come up here to pee on our cars, really. Upon further interviewing, you can discover all sorts of information from our out-of-town friends. People come to IV for various reasons, including "banging hot UCSB chicks," "getting piss ass drunk," "assaulting the police horses," and "banging hot UCSB chicks." I think it's great that IV attracts such a diverse crowd, and I for one always get a bit of a rush when I see Embarcadero del Sur clogged with cars trying to naively drive down to "The DP," and it really impresses me that so many people would drive for hours just to get "hella drunk" and possibly have drunken intercourse with someone who's probably not even from Santa Barbara. Anything that can make our population rival that of a World Series game for a 6 day period is A-ok with me. Congrats to the Cards, by the way.

In summary, I don't think the county does a good enough job of promoting Halloween in Isla Vista. Just think of the revenue they can get by putting up a toll booth on Storke and El Colegio and charging people $1 to go through. Forget Measure D. I think Arnold should make IV tolls a top priority for his campaign...I know he'd get my vote. Also, the county could set up a booth and have a "Sluttiest slut" costume contest. It could be a family event. Hell, it IS Halloween, promote child trick-or-treating! Afterwards, the kids could ride police horses down the street and take pictures of the lines of arrested people (including Dad, who swore she was 18). Fun for the whole family!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go prepare my "slutty Thomas Jefferson" costume. Read entire post...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Yes, dear readers, the lack of entries over the last month is due to the phenomenon commonly known as "writer's block". You see, this occurs when the brain decides that you've been too creative for your own good, and thus cannot risk overloading your mind-circuits with excess creativity, thus the creative sectors of your brain shut down. Nevertheless, I haven't done anything creative in a few weeks, so I'm guessing it's just taking my brain a little bit of overtime to return to normal. Trust me, I have this really great piece on George Washington vs. Cornwallis that I want to do. No really. It'll be fun.

I'm working on updating my website, as the front page has been a Vincent Lin Must Die! promo for quite some time, and the movie's already premiered. I'm finishing up the DVD version, all I need is to get the Glassman's in studio for some commentary, and I'll be set. Other than that, the new version of the website will let those interested know about what my next projects are.

I'll be back in Santa Barbara on Sunday, so my "OC" time is limited. That's right, SB, I'm coming back, baby. Read entire post...

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Great Opportunity!

I'm offerring this challenge on my MySpace, so I thought, "hey, I haven't done a blog entry in awhile, what a great opportunity!"

Guess all 21 of my favorite movies in the image below and win a prize.

...If you're viewing this through Facebook, be warned that I don't have them all listed on my favorites up there. I know I should. But I don't. Anyway, You have to match the picture to the movie as well, not just name all the movies. C'mon! Read entire post...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tales from History, Chapter 1: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Lyndon Johnson burst into the president's bedroom.

"Now see here, Johnson," exclaimed John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, "it's 10 in the morning on a Sunday, what's the big idea barging in here like this?"

Marilyn Monroe rolled over on her side, resting her arms on Kennedy's lap. "Who is it, Jack?" she drolled.

"Well it's just Lyndie, Marilyn. You'd better get yourself cleaned up, Jacqueline might come back from Church any moment now."

"Oh, alright, darling," said Marilyn, as she kissed the Presidents ear.

"Now, ah, what was so important that you had to come barging in here, Johnson? You know this is Marilyn Hour."

"Sir, it's the Cubans. They have missiles. Lots of them. And they're pointed right at us," replied the Vice President.

"What? The Cubans? Missiles? Well, ah, Johnson, that sounds like we have a darn crisis on our hands. Better get me a hot cup o' Joe, and bring in Lincoln's portrait, will ya?"

"Yes sir," replied Johnson. Kennedy turned all business following this encounter, and quickly shooed out Marilyn Monroe. The President rushed out of his bedroom in such a hurry that he forgot to put on his pants, however seeing the President pantsless in the early hours of a Sunday morning was not unheard of. On his way to the oval office, Kennedy was greeted by his Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara.

"Howdy there, Rob, you heard about this, ah, Cuban Missile Crisis thing?"

Robert S. McNamara huffed. "Yeah, those damn commies are trying to wipe us clean off the map."

"I know what you mean, Rob. It's a damn shame. They've got a better space program, more missles, and finer women. I tell ya, if I ever get tired of this job as, ah, president, I'm gonna fake my own assassination like Lincoln did and move to the Soviet Union, get me a servant-hooker-girl, and, ah, you know, participate in the glorious wonder that is organized Marxist Socialism."

Suddenly, John Kennedy's brother, Robert Kennedy, came lurking out of the shadows, carrying a handle of Russian vodka. "Jack," he stammered.

"Well, ah, if it isn't my little brother Bobby. Isn't a little too early in the morning to be, ah, drinking?" exclaimed the President.

"I got it from Teddy," said Robert Kennedy, "he told me I would need this if I was to end up fightin' ya."

"Oh, so it's come to this again, has it? A little of the ol' sibling rivalry, eh?" Just then, Lyndon Johnson returned with the President's coffee in one hand and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the other. "Ah, good, thanks Lyndie." John Kennedy grabbed the portrait and held it out in front of him. "You did great wonders for the American people, Abraham, and you're the only good Republican I know. On my dead baby Patrick's eternal spirit, I pray to you to give me the power to, ah, vanquish the Cubans and my little brother."

The Lincoln portrait immediately began glowing, and it emitted a beam of light that covered the President from head to toe. He stood there taking it all in, laughing in his glory.

"Well this is fucking amazing, Johnson!" he exclaimed. With that, the President tossed aside the portrait, charged at his brother, and slammed his iron fist into Robert Kennedy's jaw, sending him flying into the Red Room. Kennedy turned to his Vice President. "Lyndie, get me Khrushchev on the phone, and tell him he that if he disarms the missiles, I'll make sure that this Cold War lasts until 1991, and I'll come over there to, you know, help him running the country in a few years. Heck, I'll even through in Marilyn and my brother Bobby."

"Of course, sir!" emphatically excliamed Johnson, and he skipped merrily into the War Room.

Robert S. McNamara stood in awe of John Kennedy. "You sir, are the greatest negotiator in the history of the world."

And with that, John F. Kennedy ended the Cuban Missle Crisis. Read entire post...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Nick's Adventures to the Liberal North

[EDIT] I know this looks funny on Firefox at the moment. I'm seeing what I can do to fix it.

You might say I left my heart in San Francisco.

After months of uncertainty, Jon and I finally managed to make it up to the Bay Area this past weekend, albeit not on a road trip, but in an airplane. This unfortunate situation led me to declare the road trip as officially starting when Andrew picked us up in San Jose, and lasted for about 30 minutes as he drove us to his Stanford residence in Palo Alto. It then picked up again by means of trains and buses the following day, and culminated in the drive from Millbrae to Palo Alto the day after that. Nevertheless, it was still a fun experience overall. What follows is a typical description of my adventures in classic Trip Report format.

Upon our arrival in Palo Alto, it became apparent that our sleeping space over two of the following three nights would be relative small and crowded. Andrew, of course, remained in his own bed, while Jon and I wriggled uncomfortably together on the ground in a totally non-gay manner, with about three inches separating us from a Brokeback-esque emasculation scene. Obviously with my known sleeping issues, I failed to achieve sleep and eventually moved out into the common room and crashed on the couch, unseating its occupant and effectively blocking off the path for those who had to wake up early.

The next morning I was stept on by Andrew on his way out for work, and thusly amused myself with a bowl of oatmeal while Jon sleepily arose from his restful slumber. Following our individual grooming we subsequently headed out towards the sparkling gem of a city that is San Francisco, utilizing a shuttle, commuter train, light rail, a streetcar, feet, and a bus before reaching our destination at the north end of the city. If you're interested, we took the shuttle bus from Stanford to the Palo Alto Caltrain station, from which we took the train to its terminus on the south end of the city. Following a brief stop at Quiznos, we boarded the MUNI N line around the ports to Market Street, at which point we took the tourist-laden streetcar F line down Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf. We then walked across Fort Mason and boarded bus 28 to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you're not interested, just forget everything you just read. At the bridge, I let Jon talk me into walking its entire length, which was interesting and fun except for the part where we had to make the return trip. By the time we returned, my feet hurt and I was hungry, however Andrew was finished with work and met up with us at chocolate haven Ghiradelli Square. Following a red meat-laden meal, we walked to North Beach, the Italian part of the city, checked out the hipster City Lights bookstore, and then continued on into the Financial District where I ostensibly attempted to locate a restroom for the public amongst the lofty skyscrapers. If you're interested, there's one on the 3rd floor of an Asian bank building across the street from the Transamerica Tower. There's also one in the nearby Starbucks, but the guy I was waiting for to leave the restroom is probably still in there.

Our endeavour ended at our hotel of choice (Ramada) in SOMA, which was split into two buildings across from each other with a sketchy street between them. Of course we were put into the secondary building. Following check-in, my dear friend Julia arrived in suburbanite minivan (driven by her friend Mira) and took us to the modernized Brea Mall of San Francisco, where we ate at a food court. After much pronging and speculation, she then took us to the best place she could think of for entertaining Orange County-based tourists: The Castro District. For those unfamiliar with San Francisco, Castro is the GAY district. My lofty Republican reader-base just left my blog. In Castro I experienced a new sort of shop, namely, the male sex shop. It was a life-changing experience to be sure. Following these mis-adventures we decided to leave for places north, and at the insistance of Mira, ended up with cereal and milk at Julia's midscale house. This lasted a short while, however with our hotel being effectively across the city, we were forced to leave relatively early and retire for the night.

In the morning I left Jon and Andrew at the Ramada and successfully tackled the MUNI system in an attempt to reach the Filmore District, which I hoped would be better than the president it was named after. Luckily it turned out to be so, and I met Julia at a non-chain coffee shop (read: NOT Starbucks) for an enlightening conversation on yuppies, city life, and male sex shops. I said goodbye to her for at least a month and a half and made my way back to Ramada, where I learned that Jon and Andrew had gone to said coffee chain themselves a little while earlier. As we left the city, I left behind fond memories and gained a somewhat confusing feeling over personal matters, which obviously won't be explained in a public blog. This isn't Xanga.

I can safely NOT recommend You, Me, and Dupree. I make mistakes, I know, and we should've seen The Devil Wears Prada. But I was in the mood for something light. The movie doesn't know what genre it's going for and as such fails to successfully court the Owen Wilson slapstick genre and the Kate Hudson romantic genre. Why Matt Dillon, after starring in the mildly good Crash, chose to go with this movie is somewhat bewildering, but all three actors did well. A really old looking Michael Douglas is in it too, but don't expect an American President. He's pretty much just an old douchebag. The movie gets a 5/10 from me. It's sometimes funny, and sometimes romantic, but not enough to really succeed in either genre.

As for the rest of the trip, it was fairly uneventful, with the highlight being a semi under the influence romp around Stanford at midnight, much to the chagrin of people attempting to study (on a Saturday, for that matter) in the library. Upon our return to the room, noisy party aftermath accompanied my desire to sleep, which had to fulfilled for our early flight the next day. On the way out, I declared the road trip over, and bid farewell to my Stanfordian friend for a few weeks, boarded the plane with Jon, and flew back to the shelters of Orange County.

But as I said, I left my heart in San Francisco. Read entire post...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Vincent Lin Must Die

Just wanted to let you guys know that my website has undergone a temporary face lift. That's all. Read entire post...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Odds and Edds, 7/9

The image has nothing to do with the post, I just thought I'd make some reference to Italy's win in the World Cup.

I've seen three relatively new-ish movies recently, but I don't want to bog this thing down with movie reviews, so I'll just summarize.

Syriana: 7/10 (good story, interesting characters, but the viewer has to be fairly knowledgeable of the subject manner.)
Match Point: 8/10 (one of the most blatant genre shifts I've ever seen occurs 2/3 of the way through the movie, making this an interesting watch.)
Munich: 9/10 (I actually thought this was about the kidnappings, not the retaliation. Still, good plot and raises interesting questions about identity/morals.)

With that out of the way, we can get down to business. Alice is back, and I'm typing on her now. I'm happy I didn't have to salvage her for scrap and RAM. Unfortunately, I've lost everything from the past year or so, which was the last time I backed up anything onto NeoLab. So now I'm going through the painstaking process of rebuilding my music library from the past year on a fairly slow DSL line. Don't get me wrong, DSL is nice, but when you grow used to the T1 connection that's fed into the dorms, taking 30 minutes to download an album is malarkey. I could go to Best Buy and BUY the damn thing in that amount of time.

Here's some bands I think you should check out if you're into rock type stuff...

The 88 (Over and Over) --> probably best known for their single on their OC off of their older album, The 88 are a local band that really kick serious mainstream ass.
Air (Talkie Walkie) --> ambient, chill-out stuff. Plus they're French.
Ambulance LTD (LP, New English EP) --> talk about little known brilliance. These guys mix genres better than Roman Polanski. They got a new LP coming out soon I think.
The Arcade Fire (Funeral) --> badass Canadians who are gonna revolutionize rock.
Do Make Say Think (Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord is Dead) --> listen to this if you're into post-rock.
Joy Zipper (American Whip, Heartlight Set) --> what a find! Boy can these guys harmonize. They're from the UK and Heartlight Set really needs to be released in the States.
The Killers (Hot Fuss) --> these guys are played a lot but I really think they deserve more credit than they get. But not by MTV.
Mogwai (Mr. Beast) --> these guys blow my mind.
Muse (Black Holes and Revelations) --> this album comes out in two days. It's bloody amazing.
Of Montreal (Satanic Panic in the Attic) --> I don't think they're actually from Montreal, but they have a very vibrant and unique sound with totally BOSS lyrics.
Spoon (Girls Can Tell) --> a very raw sound combined with catchy melodies and lyrics make Spoon awesome. Read entire post...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns

Being genuinely wary of superhero movies, the recent take on Batman in Batman Begins has given me new hope concerning the direction of the genre. While to me Batman is much cooler and more believable than Superman, he still fits into the classic role of a DC superhero that really can't be topped by any other superhero icon. With that said, it's no surprise, then, that I went into the new Superman Returns with not only high expectations but also a genuine interest in the movie. Also, being directed by Brian Singer of The Usual Suspects fame (and X-Men) doesn't hurt.

In this fifth installment of Superman's adventures on film, our hero (Brandon Routh) has gone off to search for his home planet, which astronomers thought was still around. Having found nothing, Superman returns to Earth after being away for 5 years, only to discover that the world has moved on without him. Taking his job back at The Daily Planet, Superman slips back into his role as "mild-mannered reporter" Clark Kent, and discovers much to his dismay that love-interest Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has moved on as well, living with her boyfriend and having what appears to be his child, who is about 5 years old. Elsewhere, Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) has escaped prison and travels to Superman's Fortress of Solitude, steals a set of alien crystals and prepares to use them to create a living land mass off the coast of the United States, which will eventually destroy the country as it grows.

The film is not as campy as I make it sound - in fact it's not campy at all. Routh's performance as the new Man of Steel, supplanting the late Christopher Reeves, is genuinely heartfelt, and he fits the role well. Spacey should also be noted for his serious yet maniacal portrayal of Luthor. Like Batman Begins, the storyline and characters are presented very realistically, and it seems as if the filmmakers take great care in portraying Superman as more than a flat good-doer, giving him emotions and feelings.

One should go into the movie with some knowledge of the Superman mythos, as the movie does little to explain backstory and character relatioships, instead relying on its predecessors Superman and Superman II to fill viewers in. Indeed, the callbacks to the original 1978 film are evident in the easily-recognizable John Williams theme, the zooming title text, and numerous lines and other references. Again, like Batman, having not seen the other movies of the series I feel that I cannot fully appreciate these callbacks, however I'm sure someone more familiar with the franchise will.

There is little on the negative side in relation to this movie, however something that bothered me the most was the relationship between Superman and Lois Lane. Because Lois Lane has moved on, there now exists a weird sort of love-triangle between Lane, Superman, and her boyfriend that seems rather inhibiting. Also the kid annoys me for more reasons then he should. Lastly, something about the ending and the length of the movie had it going for Lord of the Rings status. I suppose I really shouldn't complain, though, because I'm sure this movie could have just as easily been another Hulk or Fantastic 4. It appears as though the 15 year wait for this movie, however, has helped the franchise, and with Spiderman returning next year and Batman the year after that, it seems like there's going to be a consistent 3-year cycle of good, faithful superhero movies.

Superman Returns: 7/10
(wonderful special effects and great entertainment, but still not really my genre) Read entire post...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Not Helping Asian Stereotypes

Japan teen torches house, killing 3, over grades

"It's the SOUND that makes me punch INFANTS!" Read entire post...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Journey to the Midwest

So, I was going to update this blog daily with details of my travels around the glorious midwest, however my laptop went out of commission while on the plane. Needless to say, I am heartbroken and downtrodden. I only hope Alice can be fixed soon, because NEOLab (the old desktop) is a big old clunker. With that said, it looks like I'll be doing my trip report in flashback mode.

The aforementioned failure of Alice on the plane marked the beginning of the excitement that could only occur on a trip to our nation's armpit (in case you were wondering, Texas is the nation's groin). You see, I had not yet completed my last paper that was due last Friday by the time my trip got underway, so I planned to finish it on the plane and e-mail it out to my professor. With a dead laptop and no means of finishing (or retrieving) the paper from Alice's hard drive, I went into a panic. Fortunately, the Chicago Marriott I was staying at had a "business center" with Microsoft Word and internet access, so I spent the latter half of Thursday and early morning Friday re-writing and turning in my paper. This was further complicated by the fact that, for the first time in years, I received the blessing of airsickness. The fun of the airsickness carried over into the rental car, and whilst sitting in beautiful Chicagoan traffic (you think LA is bad? go to Chicago) I had to qwell my desire to hurl.

For whatever reason, the massive "luxury" Chrsyler that had been rented for the trip made me consistently nauseous when riding passenger. This reached its pinnacle about halfway between Chicago and Normal, IL (yeah, the town is called Normal), when my mother was forced to pull over and let my stomach have its way with me and the side of the highway. Anyway, I drove for the remainder of the trip and was just fine.

You may be asking what the hell I was doing in the Midwest. Well, I was visiting baseball stadiums. Starting in Chicago, then moving south to St. Louis, heading back north to Milwaukee, and finishing off again in Chicago. You may think this is crazy. Well it is. I don't advise anyone to ever travel to the Midwest (ok, maybe Chicago) ever, especially if you're and OC type person. The air is hot and humid, and rain falls in sheets. On my way north from St. Louis, I was driving along when all of a sudden rain came down in buckets. I mean BUCKETS. For a time I was literally unable to drive and had to pull over due to the density of the rain. Then, quick as it started, the downpour ceased. It's like God decided to fuck with the minds of all of the hapless people who made the mistake of being born in hickville. I'm sorry, but I'm a California person, and seeing weather like that makes me appreciate my earthquakes. Like hell if I'm going to be on "Tornado Watch." Speaking of earthquakes, whoever the hell designed to highways and roads in Illinois needs to be shot. There's so much gridlock over there that it makes a commute up the 5 at 6 o' clock look like a Sunday drive. It's not like you don't have space to widen shit out there, you're in the freaking plains.

Despite what my complaining may seem like, I did enjoy the trip. Milwaukee was an interesting town with absolutely GORGEOUS chesse. Cheese alone isn't enough for Wisconsin to upset Camarillo as my new favorite place, but I suppose it helps. I'm a sucker for cheese. Also, if you haven't been to the Arch in St. Louis, I highly recommend it. Although the attraction is a tourist trap, which I usually hate, anyone who has the balls to ride in a Mercury-sized capsule for 5 minutes (it took less time to go up the elevator in the much-higher Sears Tower) only to be trapped in a small walkway with a few tiny windows to look out of and not go completely insane is a hero in my book. Speaking of the Sears Tower, that's kinda cool too, but the Malaysians beat it in height by a few feet several years ago so it's not the tallest structure anymore. And I suppose the baseball stadiums were nice too.

Seacrest out. Read entire post...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Reconsider This Decision for the Good of Us All

I was digging around on my computer today and discovered a treasure trove of old documents from my Junior High and High School days. Anyway, in ninth grade I had to take Health class, and as part of the class everyone had to take care of a "baby" (a bag of rice) for a few weeks and do all sorts of stuff along with it. Amongst the files for the baby project I found the following gem that was an apparent writing assignment. It is written verbatim as it was originally.

"Dear friend:

Are you really planning to get married? You are only 15 years old! Don't you think that you are a little YOUNG for that? Getting married and having children is a big responsibility for anyone. I do not think that you are ready for the burden of caring for a child. Wait until you are at least 20 years old or until you complete college. Now is the wrong time. I wish you would reconsider this decision for the good of us all.


I urge anyone who is considering marriage to read this plea from 15 year old me and say no to matrimony. Please, it's for the good of us all. Read entire post...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Anti-abortionists Prevented My Column from Being Published

Because of all the anti-abortionist people protesting with their giant signs displaying the images of unborn, aborted fetuses on campus, this gem of a column I wrote for UCSB's paper, The Daily Nexus, went unpublished. Why? Well, if you're the Opinion Editor, what would you rather print, a column that dicusses the impact of the protestors or a column on how crappy local TV is? Nevertheless, I can still post my column here.

"As a loyal resident of Santa Barbara County for the past two years, I have learned to put up with a wide array of unique situations and occurrences. For instance, there will always be a steady stream of noise coming from Isla Vista on weekends. There are always going to be annoying tourists parading down State Street, with their bags of souvenirs and over-priced clothing, taking up valuable sidewalk space. The weather will always be about ten degrees cooler than in nearby sunny Los Angeles. The lagoon is always going to smell like a dinosaur shit and died in it. And you know what? That’s all fine and dandy. I can put up with such trite problems. There is, however, one thing that I cannot even begin to pretend to comprehend: the utterly horrible local television commercials.

"Unless you live under a rock or consider yourself too 'indie' to watch television, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen the utter crap that passes for commercials here in partly cloudy Santa Barbara. Let’s say you’re sitting down with your popcorn and beer getting ready to watch your favorite characters from The OC bitch about how shitty their rich, high school lives are, when suddenly, the local commercial block comes on. First there’s the dentist who, despite talking in a monotonous, serial-killer-esque voice, wants you to come into his office so he can look at your precious, valuable teeth. Next comes an ad for the Chicken Ranch, built on the one-joke premise of actors being dubbed over by ridiculous sounding voices telling the interviewer that they all love the Chicken Ranch. Let’s get one thing straight, Chicken Ranch; if you want me to come to your poultry parlor, you’ve got to dupe me better than that. Just when you think that commercials are over, up pops an ad for our esteemed newspaper, The Santa Barbara News-Press. I’m sorry, but do you think watching a guy make an ass out of himself by falling off a bike in front of his stereotypically suave boss is going to make me want to read your paper? And don’t even get me started on that damn metal detector.

"I’m all for advertising, that’s not my problem. My problem is that if I’m going to take a break from watching Kate and Jack deal with sexual tension in The Hatch (that’s a LOST reference for all of you non-followers out there), I’m going to want to be entertained. After the commercial, I want to be able to want to buy the product, vote for the candidate, or obtain goods and services at the location that I just wasted thirty seconds of my life watching an ad for. I don’t want to think about punching the 14 year-old kid who received a $5 gift certificate to McDonald’s and a case of Ritalin in exchange for being behind the camera for his or her father’s used car lot advertisement.

"It can’t be that hard to come over to UCSB or SBCC and find someone who’ll make a good commercial that doesn’t look like it was made by someone who 'filmed a matrimony one time in the 70s.' And while you’re at it, drop by our Dramatic Arts Department and pick up some actors. The people who 'act' in those commercials really need to stick to their day jobs. If acting is their day job, then they need to stop acting and start flipping patties at In N’ Out. Basically what I’m trying to say is that you need to get on the ball, businesses of Santa Barbara, because if you want me to buy your stuff, then gosh damn it, I want to feel like I just sat through The Godfather, not your six-year old’s first fencing match."
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Monday, May 22, 2006

Camarillo and the Quest for Taco Bell

As some of you who know me know, I have many adventures when I travel between point A and point B. A great many of those adventures deal with my frequent excursions between Santa Barbara and Orange County, my old stomping grounds. Let's just say that today, I had the adventure to end all adventures. Except maybe that time where my train was delayed for 2 hours because of a bomb threat. And the time it took my 5 and half hours to get home on a Wednesday. still ranks pretty hight up there.

So this adventure started as any other Sunday commute back to Santa Barbara. After spending the day with my good friend Julia, I embarked on a series of freeways to eventually lead my back to the inevitable 101. It was on the 101 just out of LA, however, when I realized that...something was different. Something was...amiss, if you will. Indeed, as I entered Calabasas, I developed a hunger for something that I do not normally hunger for. I developed the hunger for TACO BELL.

If you've never had a beef and potato burrito from Taco Bell, you don't know what you're missing. Having one of those burritos, with their majestic blend of spices and processed meat and vegetable products, is like spending 5 minutes in clogged artery heaven. It was this burrito that I suddenly had a craving for. I resolved to stop at the first Taco Bell that I came across and order a pair of the delictable concoctions. Unfortunately for me, finding a Taco Bell off the 101 past Los Angeles is like finding a gay black Republican in Massachusetts. As I drove into Ventura county, I knew my chances were becoming slim. Would I really have to wait until I got to Santa Barbara, where there are an abundance of Taco Bells, in order to have my fill? Why were there so many McDonald's and Jack-in-the-Boxes? I decided to try my luck at a random exit. Gas, food, lodging. Surely there would have to be a Taco Bell at one exit.

My first attempt was rendered useless. I found, indeed, a Del Taco, but it was not Dan the Del Taco man that I yearned for on this cloudy evening. As I wandered through Thousand Oaks, my mind began to wander. What if there was no Taco Bell to be found? What if I had to settle for a Jumbo Jack or a...dare I think of it...Big Mac? No. I would not let that happen. And yet, as I got deeper and deeper into Ventura County, there was one thing that I knew for sure. Time was running out. I got off for the third time in a city I had heard little about: Camarillo. Being from the city, I had already formed impressions of the rural villages that lay on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Little did I know that this fine hamlet had in store for me. As I exited the freeway at Lewis Road, I discovered a quaint road that ran parallel to the highway. "What luck!" I thought to myself. Surely I would be able to find a Taco Bell along this corridor of businesses. As I turned the corner, I discovered a Jack-in-the-Box and a Wendy's. Undanunted, I continued along. Unfortunately, the word got narrower and less business-like. Shear horror came over me, the kind of horror that could only be felt by a prostitute in church. Panicking, I knew that the next corner I turned might be my last before I was forced to get back on the 101. The DAMNED 101, with it's lack of food chains visible from its lanes. Turning the last corner, however, I discovered the holy grail of my quest: The finest Taco Bell ever to grace my eyes.

And just then, it started to rain. And I started to cry. And that is why this quaint village of Camarillo is my new favorite place. Ever. Thank you, wise city planners and Camarilloans, for building a Taco Bell at such an opportune location. Read entire post...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Ugg Game

The following appeared on my Xanga blog on January 26, 2005. I promise I'll post something current in a day or so, I've been bogged down with midterms. Until then, enjoy this classic.

These are Uggs. It is the latest fashion craze and can be seen everywhere in any type of weather. The most popular article of clothing that these boots are worn worth is, incidentally, a mini skirt, which of course makes perfect sense to be worn with boots. The result has created a rapid demand for this high priced commodity and has sparked many debates on the logic and sexiness (or lack thereof) of said boot/skirt combination. For those of us who simply can't see the logic and/or sexiness in the short-lived phenomenon, I have decided to create a little game to occupy your time. I call it... THE UGG GAME.

Here's how it works. First, you have to play with a friend. It helps to have a piece of paper and a pen. Next, walk around in a heavily populated area. For those of you at college, this will be easy, as there are plenty of people around. For every pair of Uggs you see, shout out "UGGS!" Whoever shouts first gets the points. Point breakdowns are described below. Simply whispering the word doesn't count, it must be audible. Play for as long or as short as you want, the person with the most points at the end of the playing period wins.

Hidden Uggs (Uggs under pants): 1 point
Normal Uggs: 2 points
Fancy Uggs (you know, with the frills and dangely stuff): 3 points
Mobile Uggs (Uggs that are on a bike or skateboard or something): 4 points
MAN Uggs (Muggs): 10 points
Baby Uggs (Uggs on a baby): 10 points

COMBOS (Normal Uggs only):
Uggs and miniskirt: 3 points
Uggs and miniskirt on a REALLY cold day: 5 points
Uggs, miniskirt, tight sweater, blonde hair, and those huge sunglasses (must have ALL): 10 points
TWO of the previous combo walking together: 15 points
Yahtzee: 50 points

That's it, happy hunting! Read entire post...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Thank You for Smoking

Recently, (alright, yesterday) I finally managed to see the movie Thank You for Smoking, which you probably know has been on my radar ever since it screened at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in February. The film stars a good cast and details the life of Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), an executive and spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, which is nothing more than a cigarette company think-tank. Naylor naturally comes under fire for his profession of choice (which serves basically to be a media outlet for the tobacco companies), and particularly becomes the target of anti-smoking Senator Finistirre (William H. Macy) from Vermont, who is campaigning to stick giant "poison" labels on the side of cigarette boxes. Adding to the complexities are Naylor's son Joey (Cameron Bright), whom Nick must act as a father figure for, and a career-oriented newspaper reporter (Katie Holmes) who will do anything to bring the lobbyist down.

The film is entirely satirical and irreverent. Never once, despite all the evil that Nick Naylor stands for, could I bring myself to dislike his character. The Naylor character works on multiple levels: first, he must convince whoever his audience is (people on a talk show, Dennis Miller, the Senate) that he is not the bad guy of the situation, that he actually cares about all of the people his industry has killed. Second, he has to convince us that he means what he's saying in the movie. Eckhart successfully manages to tie together both of those levels with a heavy but affective dose of Fox News-ish spin. When Naylor berates Senator Finistirre's top aid on national television, I, along with the audience of the talk show, agreed with what Naylor was saying, despite the fact that if one thinks about it for little more than a second, the argument is full of holes. The satire succeeds here because it makes the audience (and myself) sympathize with a character who no one should be sympathizing with.

Naylor is not alone in his accomplishments; throughout the film he is shown meeting with the self-proclaimed "MOD squad," an acronym for "Merchants Of Death." The other two members of the squad are comprised of lobbyists for the alcohol and firearms companies (Maria Bello and David Koechner, respectively), and the trio often debate about whose industry is killing more people, with Naylor usually coming out on top. The thing that makes these scenes work is the fact that each character is given a certain degree of not only likability but believability, such that the conversations between these characters, however outlandish and wrong they may be, are entirely believable and authentic. These could be any three people meeting after work, discussing the finer points of their days over a drink, and in fact, that's what they are (nevermind that their conversation frequently dabbles in such topics as who's more deserving to be kidnapped by terrorists).

While the nature and ethics of the tobacco industry is the main focus of the satire in the film, there is also a brief but unforgettable jab at Hollywood and the immense amount of absurdity that plagues the system. At one point Naylor travels to the star-studded city to attempt to convince super agent Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe) to put cigarettes back into films. The scene features such details as the "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" lobby video of a killer whale feasting on a seal, a series of superficial one-liners delivered by Megall's assistant (Adam Brody), and a vivid explanation of a Pitt/Zeta-Jones space sex scene, which, coupled with the eccentric (yet brief) performance by Lowe, easily serve as farcical commentary on the state of The Industry today.

Thank You For Smoking is a delightful break from other, less funny attempts at satire and parody that are currently out in theaters, and of course is also performing marginally at the box office, which is natural for the current state of cinema being as it is. Sure, you can laugh at cheap gags and lame, Mad-TV-esque jokes (I'm looking at Scary Movie 4), but wouldn't you feel just a little bit smarter if you laughed at something a little more wholesome? After all, not every movie can make references to seal-clubbing and sweatshop labor and manage to extort more than a muffled giggle from me.

Thank You For Smoking: 9/10
(loses a point for the unnecessary extra press coverage garnered by Katie Holmes being in the movie, and for the somewhat tacky "twist" ending that allows for that viewer to have that Hollywood "feel good" effect) Read entire post...

Monday, April 24, 2006

From Tom Cruise's Blog

The following is from Tom Cruise's blog:

Hello out there to all of my friends both within and outside of the Church of Scientology!

Well, it's been a hectic few days since Kate came back from the hospital with Suri. Suri sure is a happy, bouncing baby girl! It'll be great when we take her to have her Thetan level measured once she's old enough to comprehend that she has an alien soul inside of her. Ha ha, I bet she's at least a level three! In any case, her and Kate are doing great. Kate makes me so proud...she didn't make a peep during the entire birth process. I was right there next to her, chanting into her ear, "You can do it! You can have this baby," and she just smiled at me. I am so in love with that woman! I swear I feel like a kid every time I'm around her. Well, except when we make love...then I feel like how Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty must feel like whenever he makes love. Oh Hubbard, would I love to truly experience that. But seriously, Nicole's got nothing on Kate. Expect maybe her nose.

My new movie is coming out soon, and I'm really excited! I must say it is an honor to be working with Philip Seymour Hoffman. His performance in Capote really blew me away. I have so much respect for gay authors, I really believe that they can do great things! If you haven't read In Cold Blood, I strongly encourage everyone out there who wants to be cool to go and read it right away! I'm going to start reading it to Suri every night. Anyway, I've been getting a lot of press for Mission Impossible 3 and I must say, all the hype you might be hearing is dead on. This movie is definitely the best movie coming out since War of the Worlds. I know I said Capote was good, but, let's face it people, it didn't touch War of the Worlds at the box office. So with that said, I just can't wait for this movie to come out. It's going to be that awesome!

Well, those idiots over at South Park did it again. I just can't understand why they have to continuously degrade me and my friends. If you don't know what I'm talking about, recently made fun of my good friend Oprah. Now I just want to say right here and right now that I know for a fact that Oprah's vagina and and asshole cannot talk! I am sick and tired of Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone portraying such blatant lies as fact! They continue to misrepresent people and truth, and during a time of war such actions should not be tolerated! I'm sure you will all be happy to know that tomorrow I'm going to call Comedy Central and have that episode never shown again. Hubbard help them if that episode ever broadcasts while Suri is watching! That's my little girl. So listen, Comedy Central. Help me, help you. Pull the episode before I have to make things freaking ugly for you.

Well, I guess that's all for now. I'll write again later. To all my loyal followers, goodnight, and good luck! I'm not exactly sure who said that, but I've been hearing it being said a lot recently, and so I want to be cool too!


(yeah so this isn't really froom Tom Cruise's blog, if you didn't figure it out. -Nick) Read entire post...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Moved to Blogger

Yeah so I've switched from Xanga to Blogger. It's a bit cooler in my opinion. So...the few of you who still read my old blog...this is my new blog. Yay. Read entire post...

The Continuing Space Adventures of Jack Bedfordshire, Part 1 (Archive)

Trapped. The corridor I had come down had no way out. It was only a matter of time before the cyber soldiers got me now. Not that it really mattered; I had nothing left to live for. That dame sure did a number on me, didn’t she? Picked me up and threw me out like a used tissue. I sure as hell felt like I was covered in space snot, which, of course, is weightless. So what do I do now? This was worse than the time that Alpha V was attacked by space lobbyists. Those lobbyists had an arsenal heavier than a snogwak, and believe you me, snogwaks have some heavy arsenals. But now, in this corner, there was little I could do. I fumbled around in one of the twenty-five pockets of my space pants, desperately looking for that one item that could save me from the certain doom I would most definitely face when the cyber soldiers discovered me. I stopped, as my right hand rested upon a silver chain. A tear came to my face, or it would have, had my tear ducts not been surgically removed when I was a baby as part of the fifteenth version of the Homeland Security bill. The memories came flooding back to me. All of this…it was all her fault.

Septembruary, 2147. Being in my nineteenth year I had just entered the space academy in New New Mexico (Old New Mexico had been destroyed in the Great Clone War, where thousands of cloned offspring of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes clashed over the great expanses of the United States), along with my friends Deak Montoya and Charles Hindenburg. Charles was British. My name was, and still is, Hubert Bedforshire, but my friends called me Jack. Charles, being British, called me Gov. The three of us had grown up in the relative idyllic rural town of Banton, New Hampshire, a suburb of the metropolis of Exeter. New Hampshire, having not been destroyed in the Great Clone War, retained its original “new” status, although there was considerable debate in the senate over whether or not the state should be renamed simply “Hampshire,” as the original Hampshire had, in fact, never existed; John Mason apparently had named the colony such after he had lost a bet with his first mate during the voyage. The first mate assured Mason that there was a Hampshire in England, and that, if it didn’t exist, it “must assuredly exist somewhere within the great expanse that is the Royal Empire.” Historians also debate as to whether or not Mexico actually existed.

The summer days before our enrollment were some of the happiest times of my life. We would spend many a day out on the ice playing the national pastime of Curling. Curling, of course, became the national pastime of the United States sometime after global warming finally kicked in, causing the entire northern hemisphere to be covered in ice. Most astonishingly, it all happened similarly to what was depicted in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, much to the chagrin of scientists. Charles, being British, was one of the best stone hurlers around, and he had expressed hope at competing on the national level once we had been accepted to the academy. It was of course my bitter disappointment to inform Charles that New New Mexico, being radioactive, had no ice. Besides participating in Curling, we would often participate in games of luck and skill, like cyber chess, space checkers, and Plinko.

During that summer, our group became acquainted with one Ms. Jenna Delahand, a delightful young woman who lit up many a man’s hearts and faces, but mostly their nether-regions, for, quite frankly, she had a nice rack. I, however, found comfort in her witty banter and negligible regard for the feelings of others. We would often spend long days sitting at the cyber ice cream parlor, watching people walk or Segway by the windows, and make up stories about their lives and misfortunes. Of course, in going with Jenna’s character, most stories would involve decapitation and monkeys. Jenna became quick friends with Deak and Charles as well, for, being of a similar character as myself, were also captivated by her acerbic wit and skill with her tongue. Much to Charles’ delight, she also threw a mean game of Curling.

Yes, this was the greatest summer of my life. It would all change, however, once we entered space academy.

To be continued...

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On Wellesley, Part 2 (Archive)

More on Wellesley fun!


So there's this bus that takes the girls from Wellesley to other nearby locations, such as the mall or Target or downtown Boston. This bus is chartered by the Peter Pan bus company, thus its name. Now, normally, I have no problems with public transportation. The problem herein lies in the fact that it is chartered, not public, transportation, thus the buses and drivers are only responsible to the company. It so happens that during my tenure in Wellesley, I took this bus twice. The first time I took it was to go into the nearby town of Natick (NAY-tik) and visit the oh so exciting Target located there. After my purchasing in Target was through, I inquired as to when the bus would return. Much to my dismay, I discovered that it next came by, on a Saturday, in no less than TWO hours. Now, why exactly would I need to be at Target for 2 bloody hours? I could maybe understand running the bus every hour...but for the life of me I cannot think as to what I could possibly be purchasing at Target that would allow me to take up 2 whole hours in the store. Now I know I'm just bitching, and I'd really be ready to let the matter go, if it wasn't for my second half of this saga, which I will now be describing. The second time I had the joy of taking the bus was when I decided to accompany Leslie to an MIT frat party. Yes, that's right. So we go, and it's called, but whatever...the fun occurs when we're ready to leave. So according to the schedule, a bus is supposed to come at 12:50, and we all prepare to go take that one back home. The problem is I discover that in my hurry to leave the frat party I had taken the wrong coat, so I have to go back and get my coat, which means that we miss the bus. No problem, we'll just take the one at 1:30. But see, it IS a problem, because the 1:30 never comes. So the situation now is a small group of girls and two guys are sitting out in the cold, waiting for a bus that never comes. We ended up moving into the foyer of an MIT dorm (we can't go in the actual dorm) and waiting for the 2:10 bus. Mind you, these times are all in the AM, I was tired to begin with, AND Leslie is getting "really angry" with the bus company on her cell phone. The 2:10 bus eventually comes, and it ends up being really crowded with people (many of them drunk) "standing" in the aisles. I finally got back at 3 in the morning and passed out, exhausted. This is why I hate the damn Peter Pan bus.

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On Wellesley, Part 1 (Archive)

It's been a long time since I've done a trip report, mainly because I haven't gone anywhere of importance as of late. This last weekend, however, I did go somewhere important. Where was this important place that I went to? Why, it was none other than:

(Image deleted)

Those of you reading this on your subscription page will of course be in the dark as to the wonderful image that I put up above, however I can assure you, it's only purpose is to serve as a device that will make you actually click on my profile. In any case, I went to Boston. Well, on retrospect, I didn't actually go into Boston that much, I actually went to Wellesley, which is both a college and a town about 30 miles or so from the city proper. It was in Wellesly College, the all-girls exploratorium of knowledge and pretentiousness, where I spent the majority of my time. The purpose of my visit was a two pronged assault on my friends Leslie and Grace, the latter of which had no idea I was coming, as part of my birthday present to her. Well, actually, it is my present. Or was. Whatever. There was much revelry to be shared by all three parties, however I do believe that an extensive look at my last four days is in order.

Going into Wellesley for the first time, one will obviously have some sort of expectations. What sort of expectations come out of a California male on a prestigious, all-girls school? Well, for one, everyone, should be lesbians. For another, they should all by dykey lesbians. Lastly, they should all be staunch feminists. So how many of these steroetypes proved true? Well, most of them. Don't get me wrong, I met no one who fit into each of these well organized, manly categories. But I did find a sort of "anti-men" air amongst the campus. Apparently it's bad to call the first-years "freshmen", because the word "man" or a derivative of it is present in the word. Seems a bit much to me, especially since "woman" contains the suffix "-man" as well. But I digress. Next, there was a bit of a contradictory feel to many of the elements there. Visitors are allowed on campus and such, but there's no male bathrooms in the dorms, instead, we have to put up with this multi-function restroom with no lock whose occupants can be dictated by a sliding bar outside the door that slides between "men" and "women." Regardless of the sign (since I was told that it really meant nothing), I had to knock on the door and declare my manly presence whenever I had to use the facilities. Talk about being opressed. Interestingly enough, there were plenty of random men being cavorted about by their respective girlfriends, slave to their shadows out of fear of being glanced at threateningly by the alpha females who romaed the halls and dining commons. Also, the apparent lack of men seemed to have driven some of the women into what can only be described by my virginized ears as a "fit of hormonal desire", and by this I refer to the occasion where I ended up sitting on the bus (more on that later) next to 2 other females who were apparently discussing their male conquests of previous nights like, well, men. I found these two extremes most interesting and fully independent of one another. As for the lesbian stereotype, literally every-other girl that I met was a lesbian. I also found that many people thought I was, in fact, gay as well. I'm going to venture out a slightly bold statement and assert that the amount of lesbianness present is caused by the same thing that causes gayness in prisons and such: the lack of availability of the other gender. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing gay people in the least, I'm just saying the phenomenon, from an objective standpoint, seems to be similar, and fairly interesting, although I suppose one could argue a chicken-or-the-egg thing for this. But enough of the scientific-like rambling for now, let's move on to lighter subjects.

Part 2 will come later, I have class now...
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