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...