Friday, March 30, 2007


Wang Kar Wai's 2046 is a Chinese sci-fi flick. Chinese movies aren't particularly known for sci-fi elements. I suppose with the sword fighting movies that are always popular in Chinese cineman, there isn't a lot of need for sci-fi. :-)

I've written about 2046 on my blog where I talk a lot about Chinese movies. I am not sure I have a real handle on the film, but I did like it anyway. I think that after I've gone back to watch more of Wang's films, I will watch 2046 again. I understand it is more meaningful if you've followed Wang's career. Perhaps. I'll try to give it another try after I've seen more of his movies.

 Subscribe in a reader

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Search Engines and Your Online Presence

Any webmaster or blogger can tell you that search engine optimization is the thing if you want to make money online.

Priming the search engines is the surest route to success with your online presence. By making good use of search engines and getting your website ranked highly in searches, you'll generate more traffic. And statistics will tell you that more traffic will translate into more income. It's really that simple.

So exactly how do you go about getting higher page rank? Well, I am glad you've asked. It really isn't that difficult. There are a number of things. One is making good use of keywords. Another is getting a lot of incoming links.

And getting links can be easier than you might at first imagine it to be. You can go through link exchanges, where you swap links with other bloggers or webmasters. A sort of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" approach.

You can always hope that your content is that good and that your readers just can't help but link to your site.

You can pay SEO copywriters to write money-making content (keeping your fingers crossed all the while).

Or maybe you can pay for links from bloggers. Blog ad companies have gotten to be big business, and are set to boom even more.

Call toll free: 866-798-3862, or click on the link above to request a custom proposal for how you can optimize your website or blog's performance.

 Subscribe in a reader

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I suspect most of my regular readers here are fans of science fiction, speculative fiction, or fantasy... or else, perhaps, a relative of mine. This one isn't something for most of my relatives. Nope, it's for the other group of readers, those sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative fiction fans.

Sci-Edge is a site that you, all you sci-fi fans, might be really interested in. It's a social networking site for science enthusiasts. Think about it. The thing that might make others see folks like you and me as a science geek or a bit of a nerdy sort, well, that is the common ground of all the people at this great site that Sci-Edge has set up. There, we're just "normal" people, with the same interests that everyone else has there.

I've found online discussions a great place to find good engagement and conversation about science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction... better, usually, than what I can find irl. I am excited about this new site, which will launch in a couple of days.. And I hope to see you there.

this has been a sponsored post

 Subscribe in a reader

Real or Imagined, what is the difference?

This was originally posted over at my other blog about a year ago

In The Matrix, Neo hides a disk in Jean Baudrillard's book Simulacra and Simulation. I think Baudrillard gives us an essential key to understanding the films. Any real understanding of what the movies are about is, it seems to me, not quite possible without some understanding of Baudrillard's point of view. (In fact, Keanu Reeves read extensively in Baudrillard before filming of the movies began.)

Jean Baudrillard's thinking grows out of a structuralist mindset into the world of postmodernism (a term he rarely uses, though) -- you could say it moves through structuralism and surpasses it. In his writings, he points to the importance of reproduction in art, as opposed to production. Now, he says, we can move past an industrialist emphasis on production and concentrate on the reproduction of signs, codes, formulae, etc. The use of code or formula to (re)produce new objects is everywhere, he says, such as in the DNA of living beings. In reproduction, what is actually happening is a process of giving body to code, but the reality is as inherent in the code as in the body. In this sense, then, we see a collapsing of what is real and what is imagined, or in the mind. Further, this limit is pushed when we consider that the body is simply a simulation of the reality already present in the code.

That's just talking about DNA and physical bodies. It gets even more complex and mind-blowing when you begin applying it to the technologies that are ever developing around us (and which the Matrix films exploit to really show how Baudrillard's thought works). Computer simulations can enact various potential events to see how they would play out in the "real world" (where is that happening, then? is it less "real"?). Holograms, models, art, virtual reality, global communications systems, digital code in television, information technology.... it seems we live in a world of embodied codes.

And that is what The Matrix is all about. Remember when Dozer is watching the code on the screen, narrating to Neo what is going on in the Matrix? Neo says it is confusing, but he replies with, "To me, all I see is blond, red-head, brunette." That is someone who has mastered the illusion. He is no longer deceived by the apparent difference between the real and the imagined -- he can see the code for the reality it is. And at the end of the first movie, as Neo's eyes are finally opened, he too gains the power to see past the tricks the Matrix is playing on his mind. Suddenly, he sees not the agents, their guns, and their bullets, but code. And from there, he is able to manipulate the code, stop the bullets, and even realize that the death he experiences in code does not have to have any effect on his body resting in the ship. It is at this point that he has mastered the problem of the illusory nature of the "reality" he is experiencing in the Matrix. It is here that he becomes The One.

And here Baudrillard steps in again. According to him, this "hyperreality" in which we live collapses the distictions between real and imagined. And his recommendation for how to deal with the problem is that we should push the boundaries, explode the extremes, upset the equilibrium. It is through such actions that we move past tautology and banal cultural criticism.

In addition, he says, opposites begin to collapse, and all becomes "undecidable." Death isn't an end, but is assimilated into the system as a whole (a theme very present in The Matrix). And the further we move towards simulation, the more controls and power/authority structures begin to crumble. What are they really needed for, if everything is a reproduction of what has gone before? Indeed, aren't these power structures equally part of the simulation, part of the code? (Think of all the agents in the film.)

And that is echoed in the words (spoken to the computers) with which Neo closes the first film:

I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

 Subscribe in a reader

Sales Management Software

AIMpromote offers several levels of sales management software, including a package of enterprise-level features. Each different level provides all the features, and provides everything you need at a much lower price than the competition who offer similar packages.

And here's the really good news: if you sign up at AIMpromote now, you can get a free trial. It's a great chance to try it all out and see if it's as good as I'm telling you now. (It is.) You'll find only the best at AIMpromote -- the best product, the best customer support, everything you need.

Pop over and give it a try now. I think you'll be very pleased with what you find there.

 Subscribe in a reader

This has been a sponsored post

Monday, March 19, 2007

Work from Home

Ads for work at home positions can be seen just about anywhere you go on the internet, and in various flyers that show up in my mailbox at home too (not meaning just my email box, but the "real" one for snail mail). It's pretty understandable why you will see so many ads for work at home opportunities. Don't we all get sick of making our way into the office and putting up with the rubbish we face there every day? And that's not even mentioning parents who want to work at home so they can have more time with the kids. There really are lots of different reasons people are motivated to work from home.

So how do you figure out which of these work at home things are legitimate opportunities for you and which are scams? Well, the best way is to get advice and insights from other work at homers, and there's lots of that available online. is one site that has a wealth of resources for evaluating work at home opportunities, helping to determine which are for real, and which are scams. Before you take up an opportunity to do work at home, why not check to see what this site has to say about it.

 Subscribe in a reader

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What's in a Name

This first appeared at my other blog. I am transferring the whole series on The Matrix films over here. This is the first entry:

"What's in a name?" was famously asked by Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Soon enough, the couple found out just how much power their names held over them.

In The Matrix films, you won't find this question raised. In fact, if you are a character in The Matrix, it seems, everything lies in the name. Just look at the associations of these names of characters in the films:

Neo, Thomas Anderson The word/name "Neo" connotes the new order which is to be ushered in by Neo, but it also serves as an anagram for his other appellation in the film, "The One." His more mundane name, Thomas Anderson, also has significance. He begins the film as a Doubting Thomas, but soon enough becomes what his surname indicates -- The Son of Man ("Anderson" means "son of man").

Trinity There are obvious associations with the Christian concept of the Godhead going on here. And Trinity is the character in the film who is most often involved in a sort of 3-in-1 triangulation. She (the spirit), Morpheus (the father), and Neo (the son) form the most notable and consistently used Trinity-image in the films.

Morpheus Ovid calls the God of Dreams Morpheus. Appropriately, Morpheus uses the rhetoric of dreams throughout the films, and is the visionary/dreamer, but also the voice who calls people to wake from the dream world to reality. In Ovid, Morpheus is likewise known to give shape to otherwise airy figures.

The Oracle is traditionally a god or priest who can foretell future events, and is therefore thought of as profoundly wise and authoritative. The Oracle in The Matrix certainly plays this role, but she seems to offer a bit of a twist in her guidance to Neo. She pushes him to recognize that it is he who is free to make his own destiny. The dialogue between the two characters concerning free will is very interesting. But then, oracles are often women who give obscure and misleading answers.

Of course we can go on and on with this list: Niobe, the Merovingian, the Architect, Persophone, the Seraph, and on and on. Even the ships flown by those in Zion (oops -- there's another name to consider) are aptly named: Nebuchadnezzar, the Logos, Icarus, and Gnosis.

The films certainly call attention to naming and the power of a name. You might want to check out Josh Burek's article if you'd like more ideas about the connections of The Matrix movies with Judeo-Christian symbolism. He has a nice little glossary of names at the bottom of the article.

But my interest in the question lies in just a slightly different place. I want to think about its connection with Louis Althusser's 1961 article "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses." In this article, Althusser points out that by conferring a name (which he calls "interpellation" or "hailing"), we place ourselves in a position of power over the one hailed. As an example, Althusser points to the practice of a police officer shouting, "Hey you!" By choosing this means of hailing the subject -- "Hey you!" -- instead of another -- "Good afternoon, sir" -- he has immediately made the subject into someone suspected of some sort of misconduct.

This is not a new notion, of course -- it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam was given dominion over the earth, and this was demonstrated in his naming of the animals. Where Althusser progresses the notion is in his understanding that "[t]he existence of ideology and the hailing or interpellation of individuals as subjects is one in the same thing." Taking the police officer as an example again, in his naming of the subject as "You!" instead of "sir," he has taken power (conferred by a badge) over the subject. Immediately in naming the subject "You!," the subject becomes someone under the police officer's authority. With a more respectful "sir," the police officer, perhaps, becomes just another civil servant.

And we see this all the time at work in ideological clashes. If I refer to you as a member of Green Peace, that will have a very different connotation than if I call you a Tree Hugger. Or how about these possibilities: conservative Christian/Religious Fundamentalist, women's activist/Feminazi, my wife/the ball and chain.... you get the idea. In choosing the names we apply to one another, we are always already taking an ideological position in relation to him/her. And we are, as often as not, using this to place ourselves in a position of power over the other. As Althusser points out, these acts which seem to take place outside of ideology -- on the street, in the home, in casual conversation, in a blog -- are actually situated squarely in ideology, though we never seem to think so.

But it is a point not missed by The Matrix. The constant shifiting of powers in the movies seems to me to be closely tied with the film's concerns about naming. It is driven home when Neo finally stands up to Smith, whose "Miiiiissssster Anderson" is fairly notorious, asserting, "My name is Neo."

There is an interesting parallel here in our cyber community. While in real life, most of us wear names given to us by our parents, here in a site like this, we are self-named, just as the characters in The Matrix are self-named when they are plugged in. It should be an empowering experience, and one that allows us to explore our identities, even as we shape them.

Check out MovieMan's blogs about the Star Wars movies. Although it seems he is not writing anymore, the blogs are interesting, and give a very good, serious look at the films.

If you prefer a shorter extract of Althusser's article, along with other relevant material in consideration of popular culture, Bob Ashley's Reading Popular Narrative is a very good read.

And for fun, there's a little online game which will tell you your Matrix identity. Mine is Trinity.

You are Trinity-
You are Trinity, from "The Matrix."
Strong, beautiful- you epitomize the ultimate

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

 Subscribe in a reader

Friday, March 16, 2007

Artist Gallery

I was browsing through the website of the sponsor for this post, and was very impressed by the artist gallery there. I enjoy finding artistic pieces, and was especially impressed with the botanicals and hand-crafted jewelry. I don't wear a lot of jewelry myself, but I always love looking at hand-crafted work, and many of these are very fine pieces.

Some of the furniture featured at the site is also very nice, particularly the Honduran pieces. The handiwork looks very intricate.

Though I enjoyed all of those things, what really captured me was the fine art. This piece called Night Poems was my favorite of all. The Big Fair was a close second for me.

 Subscribe in a reader

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Password Management

Being careful about password management is one of the best ways to protect your system from infiltration by those who would do harm to you in some way.

Symark's password protection software makes it all easy for you to set up good password management. It will guard your root account, and also individual user accounts. This provides the highest security across the whole range of your system. And that's good for everyone.

Bob Farber, COO of Symark Software, says this about the whole issue:
“Because enterprises around the world run mission-critical financial, human resources and other applications on UNIX and Linux systems, it is vital that they have a comprehensive access control mechanism in place. Symark’s PowerBroker and PowerPassword-UME solutions will facilitate the secure deployment of HP Integrity servers and the HP-UX 11i v3 operating system by restricting and monitoring access to proprietary information and systems. We look forward to working with our customers as they upgrade their IT environments with HP’s new offerings.”

Sounds to me like words you can rely on.

For More Information, Contact:
Ellen Libenson Dan Borgasano/Kara Yi
Symark Software Schwartz Communications, Inc.
(800) 234-9072 (415) 512-0770

 Subscribe in a reader

 Subscribe in a reader

Twists on Genre Conventions in Children's Movies (Shrek and Happily Never After)

I've just come back from watching Happily Never After. I enjoyed the first 5 minutes of the show very much, and the rest was ok, though not fantastic.

Like Shrek, Happily Never After plays with the genre conventions of fairy tale movies made for kids -- most notably those put out by Disney over the years. Both of these films twist the conventions of the genre, moving the prince away from the position of the Hero. No longer is the prince the guy who saves the day, in these two stories.

In Shrek, the emphasis is on the ugly winning out over the handsome. In Happily Never After, the issue is class and socioeconomic status. But the stories are essentially the same. They twist the tale based on who wins at the end of the day.

I would argue, though, that these are merely twists of convention, and not by any means a break with convention. It is still the protagonist who is the Hero. The twist is that the protagonist is now ugly/poor instead of the handsome prince. But the story remains largely the same. The guy we know from the beginning that we are supposed to like rescues the girl and they begin their happily ever after. With Shrek 2 and the upcoming Shrek 3, perhaps we have some questioning of what "happily ever after" means, and Happily Never After questions it directly/overtly, with a subtle subtext being that we already know that, and assume that it is not all that different than what the old fairy tales let us believe, albeit with a different sort of hero. The hero is a twist, but it is not by any means a break from convention. In fact, these are quite conservative and conventional films, for all that they seem to flaunt the conventions and traditions. Even with the female characters playing their part in the fight scenes, there is still never quite a break even from the boy-rescues-girl plot.

What would be a real break from convention then? It's hard to say whether there is a workable way to do a real break and still make a cartoon that parents will bring their kids to see. What would we say about a film that had the protagonist not winning the girl? What if the two parted ways, without having their dreams fulfilled? How would we like that? And is it the sort of "message" we want our little ones to receive?

When it comes down to it, some of the surface messages have changed in Shrek and Happily Never After. Girls can fight alongside their men now. Heroes don't have to be rich and good-looking. (Though being one or the other seems to help -- Shrek isn't poor and Rick isn't bad-looking.) And playing games with the characters we've loved over the years has proven fun in both films.

But still, the underlying messages and assumptions are the same. Dreams do come true. We have to have a happy ending (and that has to mean boy and girl ending up marrying). The boy has to seek after the girl to rescue her, even if she does fight alongside him.

At the end of the day, for all the outward signs of breaking with convention, our fairy tales haven't changed all that much.

 Subscribe in a reader

Monday, March 12, 2007

Peace Corps Worker Shoes

Some years ago, I had a friend in the Peace Corps in the Fiji Islands. He had some co-workers who were making their way back to the US, and were stopping in Singapore on the way. I agreed to let them stay at my place, and we had a lot of fun while they were there. One thing that still stands out to me is that they were wearing reef flip flops before that style was really the in thing. My friends and I who took them around the island all loved their shoes, and when the Peace Corps workers continued their journey onto the US, we all went and bought sandals just like theirs. Cool and comfy -- and very sturdy. We could all see why they wore these sandals, as they travel well.

And, to this day, we all still refer to this sort of sandals as "Peace Corps worker shoes." I sometimes forget that this is not the correct term for them.

Thanks to for kindly sponsoring this post.

 Subscribe in a reader

Rising prices

Does it feel to you like the price of everything is always going up? And perhaps that your salary doesn't rise quite as quickly? I hope you say yes to those questions, because it will mean I am not alone in feeling that way.

But how about this... how about if you owned something that had a rising price tag, and you were able to keep it safely until its value had really skyrocketed, and then sell it for a huge profit. Wouldn't that be a wise thing to do?

That's what Monex Deposit Company helps you to do. You can buy gold or silver bullion, coins, or ingots, and MDC will help you keep it all safely as its value rises. This is as good as saying MDC is going to make money for you by helping you invest it wisely, and then helping arrange storage of your investment, either at the depository of your coince, or at a safe depository arranged by MDC.

Doesn't that sound like a good idea? Why not visit today, then, and see what they've got for you.

 Subscribe in a reader

Sunday, March 11, 2007

New blogger: ValkrieANGEL

I've recently introduced a friend to blogging, and he's started up a number of new sites. I thought I'd place a link here to those sites so you can easily take a look:

The new blogger ValkrieANGEL has burst onto the scene.... have you met him yet? He's got a great site, with lots of great pictures!

He works in the travel industry, and his work place travel is a blog with all sorts of cool tips for traveling.

His leisure related travel is maintained by the same guy, but it's his own personal stuff, and not just work related. He's a really well-traveled guy, and he's got some great photos at that site.

He's also started a dime for my thoughts on books i have read, and it is a pretty clever little spot for reading up about books.

And finally, his JAMEO tips has lots of great tips for managing time and things like that.

I think he's doing a great job of getting started on his new blogs. Stop by and take a look at his place and see what you think. And tell him I said hi when you get there.

 Subscribe in a reader

Friday, March 09, 2007


The film Eragon was a nicely made one, for the most part. The story is fairly predictable, but it was fun to watch all the same.

I like John Malkovich, and hope he will have a bigger role in the upcoming sequels. He's eerily evil in the show, and that is nice.

The dragon Safira is made very lovable, and that really makes the film. It is one of the better movies I've seen recently.

 Subscribe in a reader

Liberty Lawyers: DUI Attorneys

Liberty Lawyers is the biggest group of San Diego DUI attorneys, and it is 100% focused on defense for DUI charges. They only handle DUI cases, nothing else, so they know exactly what they are doing when they take up on a case facing DUI charges. This gives clients a level of security and peace of mind when they have placed their case in the hands of Liberty Lawyers team of supportive staff members. They will listen to you and your needs, and they will do all that they can to help you in your case when you face DUI charges. At Liberty Lawyers, you will find a team approach to your case, and there is a huge pool of experience at your service. This means better service, and at an affordable price for you.

Don't drink and drive. That's the first rule to keep in mind. For those who have made a mistake and done so, though, this team of lawyers is there to help you.

 Subscribe in a reader

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Blogs for me

I've begun moving some blogs from
Livejournal and xanga over to I started using some time back, as an experiment to see how I like the site. It turns out that I like it ok. I like Livejournal and Xanga each as well, but keeping multiple blogs under one user name at is easier, so I am moving everything over there. It will help me streamline to have blogs only here and at, and my original blog, instead of spread out all over the place.

My blogs at are: poetically challenged and PC Translations. I've just added PC Reading List and lightverse. And don't worry... PC stands for poetically challenged. ;-)

Stop by and see me if you are over at any time soon.

 Subscribe in a reader

Christian Dating Site

Christian Love in a Christian home is what most Christian singles hope for when they start their own family. For most, this means finding a partner with common goals for the home they will build together.

A new Christian dating site has just gotten started, and it looks like a great place for Christian singles to meet and mingle, and hopefully find that partner who has the same goals for a Christian home.

Stop in now and visit the site, which has provided sponsorship for this post.

 Subscribe in a reader

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: predictions

I am really looking forward to the upcoming release of the 7th and final Harry Potter book. The series is very well put together, from the perspective of genre expectations. I am curious to see how Rowling will wrap her series up.

One side of me tells me that Harry has to die. He is the archetypal hero who dies for the good of the people. I think that would make for a satisfying story, and would put to rest the possibility of continuation of Harry's story (though not the other wizards in his world). But I wonder if the author of such a wildly popular series and character would be brave enough to do that these days. After all, Hollywood endings have shaped the reader's expectations as much as anything, nowadays. It would be a bold step, though very in tune with the genre traditions. I just wonder whether it will be done.

I do suspect, one way or another, that we will see Snape redeemed. Either he isn't really evil now, and has done all he has had to do in order to help Harry, and to achieve Dumbledore's ends (I suspect this is true). Or, if he is really in league with Voldemort, and has been all along, then I think we will see some scene of redemption along the way. Redemption has been too important a theme for it to be left aside here at the end.

I likewise expect to see Malfoy come into play, in a scene of he and Harry coming to some alliance, burying the past. This will mean the reunification of the 4 houses, and a new "magic" of unified power. I think that will become a key issue in the final book.

It will be exciting to see how it goes. And it would be fun to hear other predictions. I'll watch the comments section below to see them.

 Subscribe in a reader


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dating Site for Single Moms

Single Moms don't have it easy. It's hard enough to fiind a good guy who is trustworthy, but there is a certain stereotype that many single moms feel, as if they have a lot of "baggage" because of the kids.

But of course, not every guy feels this way, despite the stereotypes. At, you'll find a dating site that is geared toward single parents, which means you're in a better position of finding a mature, steady guy who won't be scared off by stereotypes.

Pop by and visit the website of my kind sponsors today and have a look to see if the site will fit your needs.

 Subscribe in a reader

Cheap Hotels in London

One thing I learned very quickly when I traveled to London is that things don't come cheap there. The exchange rate was a shock to my system... not surprising since most of my travels before that time had been to places where I received a favorable exchange rate. When I went, it was 3 to 1, and not in my favor. Ouch.

I did, however, manage to get an affordable hotel. Not because I was clever enough to use (actually, there was no such thing as online booking back then), but because I traveled with a group.

Thankfully, makes it easy to find cheap hotels in London for travelers today. London cheap hotels can be found there, and makes it a breeze to do so.

 Subscribe in a reader

Monday, March 05, 2007

Merchant OS

Merchant OS is just the tool for small business owners. This top-notch point of sale software will help you cover all the needs for your small business, and you won't have to be a rocket scientist to get the job done, and done well.

When you open your browser, Merchant OS will already be running. You can use it from home or on the road, anywhere that has internet access. All you need is a computer and internet access an you can organize your sales and inventory, saving you time and money by getting it all done easily and efficiently.

Merchant OS is easy to use. You don't need specialized knowledge or training to put this powerful tool to work for your business.

When you go to the Merchant OS website, you can give it a test drive with the demo that is set up there. If you like it, you can purchase it right there at the site.

And I suspect you will like it. There are outstanding reviews on the site from Fat Tire, Discover Bicycles, and Slough's, all small businesses that use Merchant OS. When I ran through the demo, it seemed really easy to use. I think it would be a very useful tool to any small business owner. Go on over to the site and give it a try today. I think you'll like what you see, and I think it will prove to be a big boost to your small business endeavors.

Thanks to my kind sponsors:

 Subscribe in a reader