Monthly Archives: June 2003

Bye Bye Wheels

I sold my car today. It left about a � hour ago. I am without a vehicle. I guess I’ll be getting around on my bike for the foreseeable future. That’s fine, I need the exercise.

The search continues for a new car. Decisions, decisions. Oh so many decisions.

SPG Kicks Off

The 2003 South Pacific Games kicked off yesterday in Fiji. Guam sent a small contingent this year. Guam hosted the Games in 1999, and it marked a high point on the island. Things have certainly dwindled since then, primarily due to the contracting economy. Sports organizations seem distracted and confused, especially since the typhoons last year. Many facilities were demolished by the typhoons and the funds are not present to rebuild. Gymnasiums, athletic fields, swimming pools and weight rooms still lie in ruin, a sad commentary on Guam’s economic woes.

Cheap Movie Mayhem

Looking at cars and trucks wore me out this afternoon. I fled into the cool recesses of the Hafa Adai theater and enjoyed a $1.50 matinee of The Italian Job. A pleasing little movie with the very easy on the eyes Charlize Theron. I generally enjoy heist movies, and this was no exception.

Last night I polished off two Netflix DVD’s that have been lying about for over a month, Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources. What a pair of movies. I cannot praise them enough. Jean de Florette is a more powerful film, as Gerard Depardieu is slowly and inexorably ground down to ruin by Yves Montand and Daniel Auteuil. Depardieu inherits a small farm that the two men covet, and they go to great lengths to drive him off the land; blocking the small spring on the farm, casting aspersions about him in the village, and refusing to lend him vital aid when he needs it most. All the while, they play themselves off as Depardieu’s only friends, every ready to supply him with a bottle of wine. At the beginning of the film Montand says that is is much easier to push a man downhill to ruin than to push against him. The conniving duo lead Deardieu down such a hill. The final scene is soul-numbing. Montand and Auteuil gleefully unplug the priceless spring after buying the farm on the cheap from Depardieu’s widow. Depardieu’s young daughter follows them into the trees and discovers they were the source of her father’s downfall and howls an unworldly shriek of anguish. So chilling a depiction of duplicity, methodical cruelty and greed is rarely put onto film. Evil wins this round, but that little girl will have her vengeance.

The second film, Manon des Sources, picks up the story ten years later. That little girl has grown into a beautiful young woman, Emmanuelle Beart(hubba hubba). She wanders the hills, a lonely shepardess, shunning the villagers that stood idle while her family was destroyed. When she accidentally discovers the source of water for both the village and her nemeses Auteuil and Montand, she wreaks a powerful vengeance upon the entire community and sets in motion a chain of events that bring about the downfall of her enemies. This movie is quite good but not as gripping as the first film. It moves along briskly, coming to a shattering conclusion that leaves all evil doers punished. Beart is ridiculously beautiful, and Montand actually seems to collapse in on himself as his ruin draws closer. The tale of evil deeds and rightful vengeance plays out like Greek tragedy.

I first stumbled onto these movies 12 years ago. Flipping through the channels, I came upon Jean de Florette being aired on my local PBS station. I was riveted to the television, mesmerized by the film. I’ve looked for it in vain since then, scouring video stores and retailers. I really enjoy NetFlix, for exactly this reason. 17 year old films in French are not exactly leaping off the shelves at my local video store. NetFlix gives me a chance to watch some quality films that are not stocked on Guam. I just wish the turnaround on the DVD’s was quicker, but that’s a problem for the US Post, not NetFlix.

Big Plans For This Weekend

This is it! I am going to buy a new car this weekend. I’ve been dithering around for quite a while now, and I am finally ready to make the plunge. A new set of wheels is what I need.

What will I be driving? Toyota’s are on sale this weekend, and Nissan is running a 2003 model clearance too. So many decisions, so little time. Stayed tuned loyal readers, and discover what I choose…

Gotta Love That Public Radio

Yesterday I admitted that I am a die-hard public radio listener. My neighbor is a local radio personality at Guam’s only rock ‘n roll station, and he seemed surprised when I told him I hadn’t heard about his station’s latest promotion. When I told him I listen exclusively to KPRG, he was incredulous. What really threw him was that I was his ‘target demographic’ – a male aged 18-34. Well sorry. I guess I can’t be pidgeon-holed that easily.

So what do I listen to?

Control Freak

Just a bunch of anal retentive control freaks.

Who? Why the Republican party and the neo-conservative idealogues that are currently steering the ship of state. What else to call a group of men who have rigged the election of the leader of the free world, overthrew third world nations, stacked the Supreme Court with right wing zealots and dictated how other sovereign nations should pursue foreign policy? How about their actions currently afoot to recall democratically elected Democratic governors and monitor every facet of every American’s life? How about their demands that non-governmental humanitarian organizations become an arm of the US government?

I Want One And I Want It Now

Apple announced their new G5 PowerMacs Monday. Hoochie Mama – I am suffering serious techno-lust right now. I want one of those dual 2.0 GHz babies something fierce. So does everyone else too, so maybe I can manage one next year. I know I can still milk my G3 for another year or so. But the old girl is starting to show her age. I’ve had the G3 for four years now, and I am still afraid to make the jump to OS X on that machine – she just doesn’t have the oomph to run OS X, and I know it. So everyday the software and hardware on the G3 gets moldy and I find myself using my Windows machine more and more often. Hell, I am running Radio Userland on the Dell now, and that cool panorama I posted yesterday was made on the Dell too. I feel like my Macintosh cred is slipping. I really want to get my hands on an OS X machine and see what happens. And that G5 looks like a screamer.

Hello Fox News, Goodbye Music Videos

Marianas CableVision, the sole cable television provider on Guam, added Fox News Channel to their lineup yesterday. MCV dropped the only music video channel that actually still played music videos to add Fox News, the creaky Soundtrack Channel. I can’t say I am sorry to see the Soundtrack Channel go, but Fox News is not what I want to watch. Nothing like a little right wing vitriol spewing from my television. I watched a bit of it last night. Wow, I thought CNN was bad. Fox News seems to delight in pandering to the basest, crudest, most sensational news possible. I watched a bit where the talking meat puppets were earnestly discussing the best ways to ‘take out’ Saddam Hussein, then proceeded to mock Colin Powell’s visit to Israel to spark a dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians. I flipped off at that point and returned about a � hour later, to find the new talking head dissecting video footage of a bounty hunter capturing his prey, with color commentary provided by the bounty hunter.

So farewell Soundtrack Channel, your dull schedule of crappy video tie-ins is no more on Guam. Now we get the world according to Rupert Murdoch and his reactionary cronies.

Summer Solstice, Yona Guam

I took this panorama from my balcony Saturday evening. I think the results are pretty damn spectacular. Look for more of these in the future. Warning! This file is about 2 megabytes in size, so be prepared for a long download. Quicktime is required to view this panorama.

This image was created by an excellent software package, The Panorama Factory. I think the results are pretty damn spectacular, especially since this was my first attempt at making a panorama. I will definitely purchase this piece of software, it’s well worth the money.

Black Robe

I finally got around to watching Black Robe last night. I’ve have that particular Netflix DVD lying around since late April, but I never got around to watching it. I wonder why? It is a beautiful film, stunningly filmed and with a powerful message. Sometimes I think we haven’t learned a damn thing in 400 years. I guess it is a depressing film at its heart; two cultures just cannot fathom each other and it leads to despair and death of all involved.

One thing that struck me though was the appearance of a manitou during several dream sequences. I can remember seeing the manitou on Manitou Bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. Quite a sight actually.

Censorship

I recently noted the 50th anniversary of the publication of Fahrenheit 451, a most excellent novel. One thing I did not mention was how livid Ray Bradbury was when he discovered that editors were snipping out bits and pieces of his book in the interest of making it safer for teenagers to read. The irony of people censoring a book about censorship was not lost on Mr. Bradbury. Well I managed to dig up a preface Mr. Bradbury wrote for a later edition of his novel, addressing that very topic.

More On Anatahan

Clicking through the myriad links I presented in the previous post, I stumbled upon Anatahan’s somewhat lurid history. The island was home to a couple dozen shipwrecked Japanese fishermen and sailors during World War II, including one woman. The long isolation, close quarters primitive living conditions, and sexual jealousies reduced the number of castaways, frequently by knife fights between various suitors for the woman’s affections. U.S. Forces knew about the holdouts on the island, but were unsuccessful in repatriating any of the Japanese. They held out on their island fortress for six years, until the woman grew tired of island life in 1951 and flagged down a passing US vessel. The other survivors were soon persuaded to give up and return to Japan, marking the last formal surrender of WWII.

This misadventure was actually the subject of a movie made in 1953, The Saga of Anatahan.

Oh yeah, more cool pictures I found at Wash U’s web site.

Anatahan Eruption Update

I found a couple cool websites with more preliminary information about the volcanic eruption on Anatahan last month.

Wow. Some of those photos are really amazing, especially the photos of the abandoned village on Anatahan buried in ash. This plethora of information is a perfect example of the quality of information available on the internet, enabling knowledge for people around the world. It is amazing that all this information is so readily available.

FYI: The volcano continues to erupt and the island is still off limits according to the CNMI Emergency Management Office. A good reference for the current conditions is the NOAA GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) Guam sector web page, and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.