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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Nice Weekend...

Ugh--busy weekend, but I can say that it was hella-productive. I finished the rough-cut of my short film and also finished pencilling a 7-pager for the first issue of ThePete.Comic. If all goes well tomorrow (today, for you) I will make sure my scooter still runs (I telecommute so I never drive anywhere) and if so, take it to a job interview. It's not a writing job, so that sucks, but it does seem like it will be fun and it pays and since my current copy writing gig is so slow, I can use all the help (cash) I can get! Once I get back from the interview, I'll continue (and hopefully finish) inking that 7-pager and then scan it in. If the time-gods are really on my side, I'll edit the first ish of ThePete.Comic.

I have to figure out what program to use for editing a comic. For my last publishing venture, I used M$ Word, but it was very tempermental and I think I ended up switching over to AppleWorks. I have a copy of Illustrator, but I think that's just for single pieces of art and not many pages in one project.

Damn, it's the end of January 2005, already.

One question I have about the year 2005--where the hell are the flying cars? I thought surely that here, in the future, we'd have flying cars.... Oh well :)

Hope everybody had a good weekend!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

4700+ Users Today??

I use StatTraq to follow most of the traffic on my site and check out what it told me today:


Up until today I've been hovering between heights of 2000 a day and 300 or 400 unique users. I'd be lying if I wasn't concerned that this number is inflated thanks to referral spammers. Read more about this problem. Damn spammers!!

ThePete.Com Newspaper-Style!

About six months ago, my friend John, he runs the Boba Loca I'm always hanging out it, suggested I set up the main page at ThePete.Com similarly to the front page at His feeling was that scrolling all the way down the page was a pain in the butt and he just wanted to be able to check out the kinds of stories he wanted to read. For instance, what if he didn't feel like reading about a story on 911, but did want to read the latest Pocket Reviews. If the main page was set up like CNN's site, he could just scroll to the section he cared about and check out the latest posts.

So, finally, I figured out how to do it--for any WordPress grease-monkeys out there who want to try something like it on their site, I used Kitten's Show-Cats plugin available here along with her other plugins. Go here to learn more about her stuff for WP.

Anyway, so the newspaper style page is set up here please check it out and feel free to let me know what you think. It's also available by clicking "newspaper" in the "view style" section of the text links just beneath the PG-13 graphic.

If people like the newspaper style and use it, I'll keep it around and even set up a cookie so you'll automatically forward there if you prefer that front page over the regular one.

Welp, it's time for bed, I think. I just finished a huge-ass copy gig and I realize now that my creativity had bottle-necked with that gig. As soon as it was done, I was filled with energy--still am. Which is good since I've got three days to cut a short film (2 hours of footage down to ten minutes) finish a 7 page comic and then edit a 50 page comic into PDF format. WISH ME LUCK!!

Once I'm done with those projects I'll have more time to blog as usual. I apologize for the delay and will do my best to sneak in a few entries over the weekend. I also plan on doing more fun stuff soon--I'm just getting way too depressed at how Orwellian everything has gotten and just how fricken stupid most people seem to be about it. Gotta remember to have fun in life--it's too short to be depressed all the time.

OK, I'm outta here!

OH YEAH, don't forget to check out ThePoll (under the hitmap!) and please consider joining my free-stuff Conga Line. Read more about it here first.

OK, NOW I'm REALLY outta here...

Thursday, January 27, 2005


OK, in a nutshell? I'm curious to prove once and for all if those "free iPod/gaming system/flat screen/etc" offers are for real. I'm a total gadget freak, so I'm understandably curious. If you want to help, head to The Conga Line at ThePete.Com to get started. If you don't know what all of this is about, please read on below. Don't be stupid--go into this educated so you don't get snookered like I almost did.

Some Background:

This might just be one of the biggest culture jams there is. I'm sure you've seen the banner ads around the 'net telling you to "shoot the bee" or "whack the mole" or "smash the Republican" and win a free iPod (OK I made that last one up). Well, I did some research and surprisingly enough, the deal is actually legit--almost. First off, people do claim to be getting their free iPods. The Gratis Network, the people who are running this bizarre system, have even taken to giving away free flatscreens, free handbags, and now even free desktop PCs, Mini iMacs and game systems, like my personal lust-object, the Nintendo DS.

There's Always a Catch:

What's the catch? Good question. The catch is that you have to complete a single "offer" from one of the companies they have a partnership with. This can be signing up for a service for a month, trying out a product, getting a credit card or other such simple tasks. Hang on--the catch isn't over yet! Once you complete one of these offers, you then need to get X number of more people to complete an offer, as well. These are called "referrals."

The X number depends on the price of the item you're going for. In the case of a flatscreen you need to get 8 people to complete offers, for the Nintendo DS you need just 4 people. The iPod needs 5 referrals.

The catch really isn't over there, either. There seem to be at least a few things to watch out for. Mainly, some of the offers seem to have catches, too. For instance, I signed up for the Blockbuster Online trial. Back when I did it, you could try it free for two weeks and then it was $20 a month after that. As long as I completed the two week offer, I would get credit for a free iPod (I'd still have to get 5 more people to complete an offer, of course). So, I waited until 11pm the last day of my two weeks and cancelled my trial. This way, I'd avoid being charged that $20 for the first month. Well, I never got credit for completing the offer.

I emailed the Gratis Network people and they said that I could get credit if I showed them the cancelation email I got. Of course, I didn't get one, so... I wasn't sure how to proceed. I'm still not.

Free Nintendo DS? Uh....

Ever the hopeful gadget-freak, I decided to give the system a try again, this time I signed up for a free gaming system--a Nintendo DS. I figured I'd blog about it and see if anyone else was curious to give this a try with me. I've already completed an offer for a day-long trial on this auction website and only paid a dollar to do it. Here's where another problem arose, however. The auction site the offer was with usually charges $40 a month for access to their auctions (ye--$40! --Don't ask me!) and the way their offer was worded made me think I had a month to use the day trial. It read:
Today's charge is: $1.00 for a 1 day trial period.
Membership Renews Automatically at $39.95 every 1 month Until Cancelled.
Of course, the next day I was charged $40.

Luckily, I took screen caps of every page as I went so I had proof that any misunderstanding was their fault. (I recommend that everyone do this, just in case.)

I immediately emailed the auction site and explained that I was confused about the wording and thought I had a month to decide if I wanted to pay the full price. I was even honest about only trying their service because they had the offer through Gratis Network. Well, I am very happy to report that they actually refunded my money AND I got credit for the free Nintendo DS.

Want to Join the Conga Line?

So, here's where I stand now. I've installed a "Conga Line" management system here at the site. What it does is automate the process of getting refferals for those of us who want to take advantage of these Gratis Network offers. You go to the Conga Line page and click on the top referral link in the list (assuming there is one for a free device you want--if not, add one yourself). Clicking that link brings you to the Gratis Network page for the device the referral is for.

Right now, I have my own referral there for a free gaming system. Once you sign up at the Gratis Network free gaming system page (you don't have to choose the Nintendo DS) and complete an offer, click on the "refer friends" link. On the next page you see will be a referral link for you. Highlight it and copy it. Head back to the Conga Line at ThePete.Com and click on "add a link." Then you'll be prompted to enter your screen name, password and referral link. Click submit and then just wait. Other people will (in theory) visit my site, or find this post through a search engine, click through to the Conga Line and click on your referral link and do the same thing you did.

You'll need to check the Gratis Network's free gaming system page for your status. It will tell you when the four people have completed their offers. When that happens, you'll place your order for your (reasonably) free gaming system with them. Once you do that, return to the Conga Line again and click "edit link." Then you'll be able to update the system and your referral will move off the "needs referrals" list and onto the "Pending users" list. When you get your system (which does happen, so I'm told) come back again and update the system one last time to let us know your game system showed up.

You can check out more about the Gratis Network at their blog, strangely enough.

Watch Your Back!

One thing I should be clear about is this: by signing up for these offers, ThePete.Com bares no responsibility if you get charged $60 by Video Professor when you thought you'd only get charged $6. It's your job to read the fine print and watch your own back. I am completely willing to give you moral support and give you suggestions on how to deal with these companies, but your actions are ultimately your responsibility.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound preachy, but I am doing anything BUT endorsing the Gratis Network or any of the companies they have partnerships with. I'm simply in this to get free gadgets--does that make me a socialist or a conservative--it's so hard to tell these days!

Watch this space for more on this as events warrant.

I'm Holding My Breath as I Post This...

Well, I just made a major change behind the scenese here at ThePete.Com--but you shouldn't notice any difference at all. I just wanted to mention this in case you did. Of course, if the Computer Gods aren't smiling on me, my site will fall to pieces as I post this :) Then again, if you're reading this, all should be well...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Seen the clip with the suicide bomber blowing himself up inside a VW? No? Well, I'm still swamped with a deadline, but I wanted to link to this story at because it was pretty funny/ironic. Read all about the clip and the rumors at the link above. is also hosting the clip, so watch it there. Post back here if they stop hosting the clip.

MAN that clip is dark!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


OK, I was thinking about how the emails I sent my senators wouldn't be that helpful to you since I was very specific in my criticisms regarding both senators. Both emails were also stupid-long. So, I thought I'd post a much shorter example that any of you could grab and use yourself. Here it is:

Dear Senator,

I am one of those people who is disillusioned with the political system. I think most if not all of you politicians only care about where your campaign contributions are coming from and not what your constituents are truly concerned about. I hope you prove me wrong and vote against the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. It's time you politicians started putting people in power that don't leave We the People wondering where their leaders' morals are or even if they have them. Dodging questions, giving vague answers and generally allowing people to wonder where you stand on important issues is not the way to be a good leader and that's just how Gonzales has behaved.

Help restore my confidence in the system. Vote against this man because you want to see a nominee who is clearly and undeniably a fine, moral and upstanding citizen who believes in the original American Way.

Thank you.

How was that? Probably still a little long, but I think it covers all of the important bases without being too inflamatory.

Feel free to use it, or let me know what you think, or both.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Sorry, I really wish I had found this story back on MLK day for a bit of appropriateness--but, better late than never. Head over to Rahul Mahajan's EmpireNotes.Org and read this very insightful post on how Martin Luther King Jr. has been not only coopted by the conservative movement, but in the process marginalized, as well.

Rahul's point seems to be that when you make a great man into a deity, he stops being what the rest of us can be and worse, stops influencing us because we can no longer to aspire to be as great as he was since he is a virtual saint. Check out the whole post for yourself, however, as he makes a few other interesting points as well.

I give kudo's to Rahul for teaching me a new word in that post--"hagiography."

Look it up if you don't know what it is. (Here's a link to :) )


Great, now I've got to come up with a dumb pun about A US attack on Iran being a stupid idea. Iraquagmire was easy--Iranquagmire?? Naw, that doesn't work... Then, again, it may not be the US that attacks--it could be Israel, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's an excerpt taken from a Washington Post article posted at
Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday that Iran is a top threat to world peace and Middle East stability, accusing Tehran of sponsoring terrorism against Americans and building a "fairly robust new nuclear program."
>snicker< OK, hang on...

1) Is Cheney SURE about this "fairly robust new nuclear program"?? And DON'T tell us "It's a slam dunk." all right?
2) IRAN is a threat to world peace? Can you tell me how? Do they have ICBMs? Are THEY now going to give a nuke to Al Qaeda?
3)Even if they do give a nuke to Al Qaeda, that still doesn't make Al Qaeda "Soviet Union II: Electric Bugaloo," now, does it? I mean, the Ruskies had enough nukes to blow up the Earth. THAT'S a threat--but a single nuke? So we lose a single American city--obviously, we should try to stop it, but will one city lost to America make America go away forever?

Of course not.

America, I like to think, is made of sterner stuff than that.

source: AP/Charles DharapakBut here is Cheney saying that ANOTHER country in the Middle East is somehow a threat. He must really think America is a puss-ass country. Saying the USMil is the strongest most powerful military in the world is a gross understatement. There is the amount of money we spend on "defense" and then there's a massive drop off before you get to the next country down--and guess what, it's not Iran, either. If memory serves, it's China (but don't quote me on that). Anyway, the point is, no one can touch us.

HOWEVER, an attack on Iran could quite literally wear the USMil down over time. It's already taxed dramatically between Iraq and Afghanistan (yes, we still have troops in Afghanistan) and an Iran Attack would be like the Iraq Attack in a sea of molasses.

The good news is that Cheney suggested that Israel just might move, first. Did they run out of Palestinians to kill or something? NOOO, No! I'm just kidding. I'm sure there are plenty of Palestinians left for the Israeli government to kill. It's just that even Israel has priorities. Shooting gnats with shotguns becomes less important when you think the guy nextdoor just might have a nuke.

Now, this is where things get messy(er). A friend of mine who, like me, stumbles across some wacky shit every now and again, said he heard that NoKo had promised to support Iran if they were attacked and that Russia would fall in line as well. The thing is, I can't find confirmation for this anywhere, so IT'S JUST A RUMOR.

If it is true, we're looking at the serious potential for World War X ("X" the variable, not the Roman numeral).

I wonder if people in America really understand that Muslims really don't want to take over the western world. However, they will strike back if cornered, just like we would. NoKo, however, is in fact run by a man as mad as our leaders. Dreaming up enemies where there are none and keeping his people in the dark (in Kim's case, literally) and in awe of him.

It's all just a wet dream for the military industrial complex...

Read more about the comments from the evil cyborg from the future--I mean, Cheney at or check out page 2 of this post if the link is bad.
Last update: January 20, 2005 at 11:41 PM

Cheney: Iran a top threat to peace, stability

Jim Vandehei, Washington Post
January 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday that Iran is a top threat to world peace and Middle East stability, accusing Tehran of sponsoring terrorism against Americans and building a "fairly robust new nuclear program."

In an interview with Don Imus aired on MSNBC's "Imus in the Morning" a few hours before President Bush's inaugural address, Cheney warned that Israel "might well decide to act first" militarily to eliminate Iran's nuclear capabilities if the United States and its allies fail to resolve the standoff with Tehran diplomatically.

"Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards," Cheney said. In 1981, Israeli warplanes destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor.

"We don't want a war in the Middle East, if we can avoid it," he said.

'Outlaw regimes'

Iran has denied that its nuclear facilities are used for producing weapons. President Bush condemned Iran as part of an "axis of evil" shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks, warning that Tehran was intent on becoming a nuclear power in the volatile Middle East.

In his inaugural address, Bush did not mention Iran, but he vowed to fight for those seeking freedom from the "rulers of outlaw regimes." Some foreign policy experts predict Bush might use military force to destroy Iran's nuclear program during his second term, but the president and Cheney have promised to pursue diplomacy first.

"Certainly in the case of the Iranian situation, I think everybody would be best suited by or best treated and dealt with if we could deal with it diplomatically," Cheney said. The current White House policy calls for European nations to take the lead in negotiating for a full and verifiable halt to Iran's nuclear program. Bush has said on several occasions that all options are on the table if Iran does not comply.

If current negotiations fail, Cheney said the United States would ask the U.N. Security Council to impose international sanctions on Iran to force compliance with the nonproliferation treaty. "You look around the world at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list," he said.

© 2005 Star Tribune


Here's the Gonzales situtation in a nutshell:

Alberto Gonzales, White House Counsel during the Abu Ghraib mess and source of the "Geneva Conventions are quaint" memo, is in the process of being confirmed to take over as the new Ashcroft. No doubt you remember, as do I, the nightmare that Mr. Patriot Act put us through as he quietly and "for our own good" widdled away at our civil rights in defense of the Phantom Menace that is Al Qaeda, an enemy that is less a threat to us than Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. (Which, I understand to some, is a bigger threat than it should be.)

The point is, Gonzales thinks torture is cool if it's for the greater good. In a joke, Jon Stewart suggested if Gonzales didn't pony up answers to senators' questions during the confirmation hearings that perhaps torture should be used on Gonzales himself. I wonder how Gonzales would honestly feel about that. After all, the senators are only interested in the greater good. When I hear bullshit answers like "I'd have to render a legal judgement and therefore I can't comment" and even more Reagan-esque answers like "I will have to get back to you on that." I would think that torture should be a reasonable way to get the proper answers out of Gonzales based on Alberto's very own guidelines.

HOWEVER, torture is wrong, with or without the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales would have us believe that the Geneva Conventions are the only things that force us to be moral and decent to our enemies. Toss out the GCs and the very values that were the basis for it's creation are (apparently) nowhere to be found.

No concept of right and wrong, no precious Christian Bible, no Golden Rule, no nothing--just a raw, animalistic instinct for survival at any and all costs.

Who cares about you if it means "protecting" everyone else?

If we let this guy get into power, it'll mean bad things, period. He has no morals--I'm an Atheist but I seem to remember something Jesus said--something about loving your enemy?

There's a certain document that says something about how God created every one of us as equals. Now, again, I'm an Atheist, so I really don't care what God says--but if you're not an Atheist, then you should care, right? Gonzales thinks it's OK to torture people--naked piles of living humans--men forced to perform sex acts on each other--men humiliated in front of friends and strangers who are also being humiliated--men being tortured so much, they end up dead.

This is the reality Gonzales represents and we can stop him from being confirmed--no, really, it's true. We have the power because of the structure of our country. We can contact our senators and make sure they understand that Gonzales is a morally bankrupt, corrupt, sociopath who has proven that he can't tell the difference between right and wrong. Now the White House is refusing to hand over docs that the senators in charge of confirming Mr. Tortureman are asking for. Here's a little something from an AP article quoted by in the post linked to above:
Senate Democrats say the White House has refused to give them all of the memos and documents they need to trace how that decision was made so they can review Gonzales' role and how it would affect him as the nation's top law enforcement official.

"It appears that legal positions that you have supported have been used by the administration, the military and the CIA to justify torture and Geneva Convention violations by military and civilian personnel," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Here's how you can contact your sentators to get this amoral "American" out of the running:

1) Go to
2) Select your state from the pulldown.
3) You'll automatically be sent to a listing of the two senators from your state. Click on the "web form" link to send them an email directly from their website. If there's no web form link, call the number and try to talk to them. If you're not the talking kind, call the number and get their fax or email that way.

You can also try calling these folks who are likely to actually care about this situation:

Senator Dick Durbin, (202) 224-2152,

Senator Patrick Leahy, (202) 224-4242,

Senator Barbara Boxer, (202) 224-3553,

Senator Russ Feingold, (202) 224-5323,

Senator Edward Kennedy, 202/224-4543,

Senator Tom Harkin, (202) 224-3254,

Senator Jim Jeffords, (202) 224-5141,

Thanks to Lisa for that list and for the following sample letter/email:
Dear Senator,

I'm writing you to request that you vote against the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as US Attorney General. I feel that placing a man with such questionable values as head of our Justice Department will send a very damaging message to the rest of the world and place our troops abroad in unnecessary danger.

We must protect the Geneva convention and our diplomatic credibility abroad by voting against Alberto Gonzales as US Attorney General.


Lisa Rein
Here's what I'm going to send Boxer and Feinstein:

Dear Senator Boxer,

I am contacting you regarding the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales for the position of Attorney General of the United States.

I am writing to say that I strongly disprove of this amoral person being in charge of the part of the United States Government that has the word "justice" in it.

The government, in general, seems to be growing more and more powerful and is doing nothing to make us think otherwise. The confirmation of Gonzales would confirm that our fears are well-founded and in light of Gonzales' role in the Abu Ghraib scandal, any reasonable American wonders where the moral compass of the US Government will be if the man running the Justice Department thinks an International Law guaranteeing human rights is "quaint."

I commend you on your bravery in standing up to the Republican majority when you challenged the results of the presidential race in Ohio. Now is not the time stop standing up to them. Please do what you can to stop Gonzales from being confirmed.

Thank you.

And then to Feinstein:

Dear Senator Feinstein,

I was surprised to see you speak so highly of Condoleezza Rice in such a public forum as her confirmation hearings recently. I understand that you and she are friends, but this is not the time to embrace such friendships. The Republicans are the majority. Democrats are not just in the minority--you are in a very weak minority. Now is not the time to be standing still, an easy target for the mighty Republican Rubber Stamp that is ready to stomp you into the Senate floor if you let it.

You may think of Republicans as people you have to work with--but I ask you: when will that no longer be the case? How many compromises will you have to acquiesce to before you discover a Republican staring back at you in the mirror? Whether it's Rice or Chertoff or Gonzales up for confirmation, you must act to protect the rights of your constituents. These three people, like them or not, have behaved dishonestly and outside of the public interest but well within the interests of the Bush Administration. Do not let these people gain more control over the very people you have sworn to represent. I am one of those people. Represent me and the thousands (millions?) of other Californians and Americans who believe Gonzales, Chertoff and Rice are not the right people to serve America.

Thanks for your time and efforts.


OK, so the Feinstein one is a little preachy, what do you want? I'm dead tired as I type this. You should probably go shorter with your letters/emails--I'm kinda long winded. If you can keep it short, like a paragraph long, or so, I'd bet that'd be perfect.

Anyway, it's already 8:31 in Washington, DC as I finish this blog entry. Why not get on the ball right now and make sure that your senators will have a couple of emails waiting for them when they get into work?

Head over to

Sunday, January 23, 2005


From an article from and
Citing a need for domestic energy, the government plans to open for exploratory drilling thousands of acres on Alaska's North Slope that have been protected for decades because of migratory birds and caribou.

The Bureau of Land Management has concluded that oil and gas exploration in the northeastern corner of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska can be conducted with "minimal impact" on the area's wildlife.
Ah yes, this is coming from the same government that brought us WMDs in Iraq, a Osama captured dead or alive and a medicare bill that would be much cheaper than it ended up being.

Doesn't anyone remember how Bush said he would spend all this money on hydrogen powered cars? Did that money ever get spent?

It's like all of the amazing different sources for alternative energy aren't even being thought about anymore. The Repubs are in charge and all of these other ways to power different aspects of our lives are ignored.

Sure, there's no ONE source that can replace oil--but there are quite a few that are likely to help reduce the pressure on oil. Does anyone want to explore them? OF COURSE NOT!

This is because the USGov is blind to anything but it's corporate donors who are stagnant, close minded and scared shitless of a world where we aren't just a bunch of oil slaves.


Deal with it, punky.

Read more about the drilling in Alaska in the article reffed above.


So, I'm checking my server log and I discover that someone found my site by using the search phrase "Phil DeLuca." Now, Phil and I were quite good friends in film school but had a falling out in the mid-90s. We've been in loose touch for a few years, but he left his last job and I'd love to get back in touch with him. So, when I saw that someone was doing a search for him, I thought, why not see what this dude searching came up with. I hit Google and I find out that there's a different Phil DeLuca who designs video games and he apparently through a hissy-fit on the "America's Army" forum.

What was this hissy-fit about? Well, it seems people have been hacking the America's Army online video game and cheating at it. Yes, this is the army game that is available free to anyone who wants to play and it's sponsored by the real US Army and therefore our tax dollars. What's the big deal about this whole thing? Good question.

Here's what is apparently a direct quote from the game designer DeLuca's post on the AA forum which comes from a post at
"Allow me to speak directly to the bad guys for a moment: When you get banned, know that we know and have records showing you were doing something that’s a violation of terms of service, breaks your EULA, and also happens to be against the law. We know who you are, and can track down where you play from. We have incontrovertible proof you did something illegal. The Army is angry, and we’re coming for you. "
This moron goes on to talk about how when you hack a game sponsored by the US Army you're actually misusing army hardware inferring that you are in fact breaking federal law.

That's not all, here's a quote from an article at
DeLuca's post, which has since been removed from the site, went on to say that "we know who you are, and can track down where you play from." He also went so far as to cite 20th century tensions between Japan and the United States to lambaste who he called "the bad guys."

"In the early 1940's, Japan learned an important lesson " "let the sleeping giant lie." We may not react swiftly, but when we do it's with unstoppable force. The Army has partners that deal with cyber crime as a matter of course. These include not just various Army IT departments, but also the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations."
Yes, that's right, this fucktard (sorry, can't think of another word to describe him), DeLuca (not my old friend :) ), is telling us that the USGov is going to go after hackers who cheat on a free video game.

The USGov hasn't caught and convicted a SINGLE Al Qaeda terrorist responsible for 911 in the three-plus years since 911.

Hey, you right wingers out there, TELL me you think this is absurd, too. PLEASE!

>SIGH< Of course, I'm still looking for old buddy Phil DeLuca. Last I spoke with him he was working for a stock footage/photography company here in LA. If anyone knows him tell him to swing by my site and use the email form in the sidebar to send me an email or just look me up on AIM, Yahoo or MSN as "thepetecom" (@hotmail for MSN).

In the meantime, YAAAAY!!! The US Army spent over $150 billion on the war in Iraq and now they're spending more money to go after hackers that cheat at free online games!



Los Angeles wasn't the only place throwing an Anti-Inaugural bash. Cities around the world protested, including Seattle. At the big protest, my pal Becks went and took some pics. Since I won't have anything new up from the LA protest due to sudden flow of work (and therefore eventually money), I thought I'd point you guys to the fun pics Becks shot. Check her pics out here and be sure to pay special attention to her way cool Shaun of the Dead-skinned blog.

HEY, BUSH! You've got some red on you...

Pal Lauren Gets Published! Yaaay!

My friend Lauren Raab got herself published in UCLA's paper, the Daily Bruin--she's going to be writing a funny cooking column for the paper and her first column as at the Daily Bruin's website right now. Check out her column on cooking potatoes for yourself! It's actually pretty damn amusing--here's an excerpt:
If your roommate has been using the peeler to scrape calluses off the bottoms of his feet, you can just use a paring knife instead.

Actually, since that takes about twice as long, you can make your roommate do it for you. A suggestion? Be sure he washes his hands first.

While he peels the potatoes and dices them into 1-inch cubes, you should put 5 inches of water into a pot, cover it, and turn the stove up to high.

By the time you've found the offending peeler in his room and thrown it away, your roommate should have finished chopping the potatoes and the water should be boiling.

Have him carefully pour the potato cubes into the water. Oh, no, he's holding the plate too high. It's going to splash. Carefully, I said!

Apply first aid cream or a bag of frozen peas to the burns on your roommate's face and hands.

Oh and once she gets more columns published, you can read them all here.

Johnny Carson RIP

Wow, here's a guy who, despite his many wives, divorces and homes lost to mudslides managed to keep a pretty good reputation intact for his entire career. Johnny Carson, the man I grew up watching well after my bed time managed to do almost everything right. His only mistakes from my point of view were not fighting for Letterman to be his replacement and smoking. Aside from that, I have and always will respect him tremendously. He tought me that humor could be a great many things, from smart, to randy, to silly, to sweet.

Late night hasn't been the same since he left and now, in some ways, neither will the entertainment biz. Take care, Johnny! I have no doubt that you'll be cracking them up in the afterlife. If there is a St. Pete at the gates, I hope he doesn't rip off Ed McMahon's trademark phrase...

You know the one I mean...

Here's to Johnny!

HI, Bill Robens! ;)

Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Robens, Bill Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Angelina Jolie nude Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens Bill Robens...

Hi, Bill! :D


Check them out!

What I Learned About Doing a 24 Hour Comic

Whoa... my brain is still heavy...

The 24 Hour Comic was fun--but we didn't make it. None of us were able to work fast enough or have enough stamina to finish all 24 pages. We all got bogged down with various different aspects of our individual comics. I took too much time writing mine, Jen worried too much about detail and story (silly person!!), Tim got mired in details, too, and Siskita, while definitely getting the closest of any of us to the 24 page goal, kept sweating where her story was taking her.

All in all, however, it was an immensely positive experience. While it was just the four of us, we had lots of support from friends. So, I'd like to thank Josh for stopping in twice to check on our progress, Britt for having coffee with us and saving the plot of my comic (God needed some cheese for a sandwich--BRILLIANT!!), Asante and his beautiful girlfriend Maya for stopping by twice to brighten a couple of quiet moments. Thanks be to Gary for his cheerful wishes of good luck (glad I could finally get that DVD to you!) and thanks to Anime John for the well wishes (and for not getting too involved when we started bagging on the neo-cons for a bit--you Republican, you!)

OH and last but not least, BIG thanks to the guys at Boba Loca, Ryan, Izzet and John (the boss man) for not only letting us spend 10am-12:30am there, but for being enthusiastic and supportive of us all day long.


The good news is, we're going to do this again next month. HOWEVER, I think I'm going to change the format a bit. I think it should just be a "Comic Drawing Day," instead of a 24 Hour Comic. I think none of us were efficient or experienced enough to actually produce 24 pages in 24 hours. I think each of us should still be required to set a definite page-number-goal to reach, but 24 pages? That's a lot for a handful of non-professional artists like us.

So, here's what I propose, in 3 weeks, on February 12th, we get together again, at 10am on Saturday and spend all day drawing comics. We start promptly at 10am and don't stop until Boba Loca closes at midnight or later. (Yes, we can stop for food and general breaks, obviously.) Then, we do it again in March and April and so on. If we find ourselves itching to continue working after Boba Loca closes, we can continue for the full 24 hours--but honestly, I think we need to work up to this level. Hell, it hasn't even been 24 hours since we started yet and my brain is still heavy!

All right, that's it for now--I did have ThePeteCam up during the adventure and will dig through all 1300 pics and post the hightlights. I know at one point I totally fell on my ass and I'm sure we have more than a couple shots of our various friends visiting us.

OK, enough out of me. I've got one more page to pencil and 7 more to ink and I'll be "done" with my comic from yesterday :)

Friday, January 21, 2005


Hey there, folks!

Well, as I write this, I am about to get a good night's sleep in preparation for tomorrow's, well, later today's 24 hour comic. As I said in my earlier post, we'll be starting at 10am on the 22nd. Stop by Boba Loca in Westwood to watch! Not in Westwood? Watch on my cams! I'll have ThePeteCam up and running and will be taking periodic shots throughout the day for TheMoBlog.

Here's the link and latest MoBlog pic (if it's still the Finding Neverland marquis, we haven't gotten started yet):

And here is the latest webcam pic (click to get a remote window!):

Hope everyone enjoys the comic-drawing fun. Drink some caffeine for us--we'll need it!!

Oh and BTW, I still don't know what I'm going to write/draw yet. I guess that's the official way to do a 24 HC, huh?

Wish us all luck!!


Finding Neverland (Widescreen Edition)Entertaining? Definitely. In ways I wasn't expecting. This is both a crowd-pleaser and a smart film. It doesn't pander--for that reason, alone, it's one of my favorite films of the last 12 months.
Technically any good? While not flawless, the film presses the right emotional buttons with just the right pressure. I knew the film was going for my emotions, but it was so sweet, I didn't care. Would have liked to see a bit more character from the "love interest," but no movie is perfect.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? I don't know--I was too busy sobbing my eyes out. Bring a Kleenex when you see this film--but definitely see it.
Final Rating? GSN (This film may not seem like your cup of tea, but if you have a soul, you'll enjoy this movie.)


So, I was digging around the 'net looking for confirmation of this rumor I heard about Iran being backed up by NoKo in case of a US attack (more on this in a later post) and I stumble across an article at the English site of everyone's favorite Islamic news source, In the article they quote a german newspaper (that doesn't have it's content online) as reporting that the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights asked the German government to detain Rummy and bring him up on war crimes charges when Rummy visits their country for the Munich Security Conference in Feb 2005.

Coincidentally, according to Al Jazeera, Rummy has cancelled the trip.

Just a quick FYI, I've also heard that Kissinger won't visit certain European countries because if he does the governments in these countries will arrest him and put him on trial for war crimes. My point is, this kind of thing is not without precedent.

Check out the article to read more about it over at English.AlJazeera.Net. Click over to page 2 of this entry if the link is bad.From English.AlJazeera.Net:

Rumsfeld cancels trip after accusations

Friday 21 January 2005, 13:23 Makka Time, 10:23 GMT

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cancelled a planned visit to Germany after a US human rights organisation asked German authorities to prosecute him for war crimes, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) has learned.

Rumsfeld has informed the German government via the US embassy that he will not take part in the Munich Security Conference in February, conference head Horst Teltschik told dpa on Thursday.

The New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights filed a
complaint in December with the Federal German Prosecutor's Office against Rumsfeld accusing him of war crimes and torture in connection with detainee abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

Rumsfeld made it known immediately after the complaint was filed that he would not attend the Munich conference unless Germany quashed the legal action.

German legislation violations

The organisation alleges violations of German legislation, which
outlaws war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide independent of the place of crime or origin of the accused.

The prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe reportedly is examining the
roughly 170-page complaint to see whether an investigation is warranted.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights said it and four Iraqis allegedly tortured in US custody filed a complaint with German authorities against Rumsfeld, former CIA director George Tenet and eight other senior military and civilian officials over abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq.

The organisation said it had turned to German prosecutors "as a court of last resort" because the US government "is unwilling to open an independent investigation" and had "refused to join the International Criminal Court".

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Here is the first batch of footage from the big protest in Westwood today. This is all stuff from my minicam because I'm a shmuck and left my firewire cable at home. I'll cap and edit the footage later tonight. In the meantime, here's some minicam fun:

This is the very first shot of the protest I took from across the street from it. It's just the tip of the iceberg! When Angelinos (Angelenos?) want to protest Bush, they go all out! Peacefully, of course! That's what always cracks me up about LAPD--they come out big-time with SWAT gear just because violence MIGHT occur--despite the fact that it hardly ever does--it's all about the SWAT gear.

This one protester dressed up as one of the victims at Abu Ghraib. Good stuff. This is what half of America voted for--more torture and more protests.


Kudos to anyone who shows up to a protest dressed in a torture outfit. Depressing, but effective!

Now THIS clip is what I'm talkin' about!!

Impeach the bastard!! Clinton did NOTHING compared to Bush. Monicagate?

TRY NO WMD, bitch!!

But seriously, check out the clip, it's a good one :)

This is a shot during the march through Westwood. There was something strangely empowering to walk through my neighborhood with a few hundred screaming protesters.

Frankly, there's so much to protest, it's a shame we don't do this more often...

This is a long shot (about 10 minutes) of the march ending back on Wilshire Boulevard. I decided to get artsy and shoot this from the point of view of one of those yellow stripes on the road.

Comments welcome!

20 "Amazing" Voting "Facts"

I got this email forward recently and I thought I'd share it with you. It claims to contain 20 amazing facts about voting in the US. I'd say more like 15 or so, but here's the list with a bit of commentary from me...

>Did you know....
> 1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies:
> Diebold and ES&S.

Actually, I did not know that. To be perfectly honest, I'm not so sure is the greatest of sources, is it? Isn't that the encyclopedia site where anyone can make changes to pages? Then again, it's not like the mainstream US news isn't full of crap, so maybe is perfectly reasonable...
> 2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or
> oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.
To be fair, there is no federal regulatory authority with the specific job of regulating and overseeing the US voting machine industry. Essentially, the Department of Justice, the same body that oversees all businesses in the country. They're the guys that took on Micro$oft (not that they did a good job, mind you.) Personally, I think the DoJ is doing a truly shitty job of it over the last few years as Bush and his admin have been caught violating many Federal laws. So, my point in criticizing this point on the list of 20 amazing facts is that these "facts" are phrased in a way to be somewhat misleading. It's not like the Election Machine Industry can kill small babies and steal your TV and get away with it. Of course, if Republicans own the election industry AND the DoJ, it could be possible.
> 3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.
That's a pretty weird coincidence. Talk about a copycat! I always hated when my little brother would do what I did. While this seems fishy, I honestly don't see how two brothers in the same industry equates to a conspiracy to let Repubs win. (Remember, I'm a guy who believes the last two elections were fixed at least a little bit.)
> 4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign
> organizerand donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to
> helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
> 5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He
> became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.
THAT is fishy--I agree with this one...VERY fishy...
> 6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush
> family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S
> by the Senate Ethics Committee.
> You actually trust that site for news? Heh, just kidding!! ;) No, this doesn't surprise me, either--there are many Repubs who have had trouble with the Senate Ethics Committee. Remember Tom DeLay?
> 7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's
> vice-presidential candidates.
It's a shame he didn't get chosen--at least then we'd have a human VP and not a cyborg from the future.
> 8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and
> counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.
So, big equals bad? ...actually, that is usually true. :)
> 9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail
> of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that
> the data
> coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put
> in by voters.
The thing is, even if they did, that slip of paper is no proof at all that your vote was counted the way you wanted it to be counted. Do you know how easy it is to build/program a machine that will let you fake a paper trail? Press a button for Kerry, have it show on the screen that you voted Kerry and print out a slip of paper that you voted Kerry but then record a vote for Bush and it can all be done without visibility. The code can exist for a vote to be registered normally but on election day, a different piece of code can be automatically be run. It could even be run off and on all day depending on the number of voters or the time of day.

> 10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket
> machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a
> paper trail.
And we all know how reliable those things are even WITH a papertrail. Can you say Identity Theft, being overcharged at the supermarket and getting fake tickets from scalpers?
> 11. Diebold is based in Ohio.
Ironically, Diebold doesn't have any clients inside of Ohio. Dennis Kucinich said this in a piece he wrote for This doesn't mean Triad Systems didn't screw things up on purpose. Triad Systems is a company with MANY clients in Ohio--check out a PDF map of the counties in Ohio they handle. They also appeared to violate election law, but that's another post.
> 12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as senior managers and
> developers to help write the central compiler computer code that
> counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.
Well, were they in prison when they were employed by them? If they served their time, it's really not fair of us to assume that once a criminal, always a criminal. So, like, when George W. Bush goes to prison for violation of a handful of Federal and International Laws I'll not assume that he's still a criminal, too--although he really has to go to prison first. ;)
> 13. Jeff Dean, Diebold's Senior Vice-President and senior
> programmer on Diebold's central compiler code, was convicted of
> 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree.
OK, maybe that guy is still a criminal--23 counts??? That's a LOT...
> 14. Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was convicted of
> planting "back doors" in his software and using a "high
> degree of
> sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.
That does seem odd to hire a guy to do something that he was convicted for intentionally screwing up previously.
> 15. None of the international election observers were allowed in
> the polls in Ohio.
That's definitely fishy, too. I remember MSNBC reported about a lockdown where an entire floor of a public building was sealed from the press and observers because of a supposed warning from Homeland Security. HS, later said no such warning was given.
> 16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the
> security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit
> logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it. (See the
> movie here.)
Seriously? I gotta download that!
> 17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch
> screen voting machines with no paper trail.
Didn't we already cover this fact? Maybe not the 30% part, but that certainly could have been included in the earlier point.
> 18. All - not some - but all the voting machine errors detected and
> reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican
> candidates.
In my research, I've come to believe that in most cases across the country, the Repub candidate (or the non-Dem candidate) was the winner when things were tight. Look what happened in Washington state governor's race--Dem loses by a hair, but wins in the recount--still think the Presidential results couldn't change with a recount?
> 19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the
> President's brother.
If you needed a stupid email forward to inform you on this, you need to climb out of the rock you live under. I do think it should be illegal for any sitting governor to have a brother run for president. This is clearly a conflict of interest--especially since Florida in 2000 was so tight and in 2004 Bush won fine. (In other words, they got it "right" the second time 'round.)
> 20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida - again always favoring
> Bush have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are
> recommending further investigation.
OH MAN--this is NOTHING--Check out Greg Palast's book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy--in it he talks about how back before the 2000 election, Jeb Bush (governor of Florida, if you weren't paying attention) threw out 93,000 voters from the voter rolls illegally. Most of them were black and therefore Democrat voters. This problem was never fixed.
> And, in closing
> FYI: Man of the Year for Time Magazine...
> Adolph Hitler, Man of the Year [Time] Jan. 2, 1939
> George W. Bush, Person of the Year [Time] Dec. 19, 2004
I already blogged on this over ten days ago :)
> "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war to whip the citizenry
> into a political fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged
> sword.
> It emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the
> drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with
> hate and
> the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the
> rights of
> the citizenry. Rather the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded
> by
> patriotism, will offer up all their rights unto the leader and
> gladly so.

> How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
> Julius Caesar (101-44 BC)
This is bullshit--this quote was never said by Caesar, Shakespeare or anyone else that historians can think of. I just checked this out at, the urban legend debunking site and they say it's fakey. In fact, I've heard before that this quote is fakey. Here's a tip--when writing an email forward, don't stop doing your research when you reach the final quote. Oh and if you're thinking about forwarding an email forward you got--you might think about checking out the sources the email forward quotes. This one got it mostly right, but had some major phrasing problems and of course a few major falacies.

My advice: Don't forward email forwards. No matter how cool or neat they may seem to you, you don't want to be forwarding inacurate information, do you? You don't want to fact check everything, do you? So, don't bother forwarding. If it's THAT good, it's probably full of crap. Save yourself and your friends the effort and just hit that delete button.

I, for one, will thank you for it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Well, today is January 20, 2005--the day that the Good King George will rub our blue-state-faces in the feces--I mean, "fact," that he "won" another "election."

Yes, I admit it, I think things were fixed in both 2000 and 2004. (If nothing else, don't you think it's a wee-bit suspicious that this suposedly great president wins two times in a row by the skin of his teeth?)

The point is, this guy is an evil, fucked-up war monger who doesn't care about human life, Iraqi, American or otherwise. SO, a bunch of us are going to gather at the corner of Westwood Blvd and LeConte in Westwood Village and march to the Federal Building. The march has been organized by LA.NotInOurName.Net. Once we get to the Federal Building, we'll be joining up with a protest at 6pm organized by According to their website, we'll then march again through Westwood. Ron Kovic (the guy Tom Cruise played in the movie Born on the Fourth of July) as well as other speakers and a few musical performers.

COME ON AND JOIN US!! I'll be there with my camera shooting all of the fun. With a little luck, tanks will be there like there were back in November of 2004! (Don't worry, no one was hurt!)

If you happen to not live in the LA area, please consider checking out a list of other "Anti-Inaugural" protest events around the US and picking one to actually attend. If you don't want to do that, at least watch the coverage of the the day's events on C-SPAN and pay special attention to how over the top everything is. Multiple parties, a parade with floats, and of course the "inauguration" of a supposedly sitting president. Have other second-termers bothered with a second inauguration ceremony? I don't know--regardless, all of the hoopla is clearly Bush trying to convince the American people, the world (and perhaps even himself) that he does have a mandate. If you don't have cable, check out to watch live video streams all day.

Please pay attention today--this is Planet America and the guy in the White House effects the entire world whether we all want to admit it or not.

Thanks for reading and I hope to have some footage of the event up by the end of the day.

We're Doing a 24 Hour Comic!

Hey there folks! Just wanted to give you a quick heads-up for this weekend. If you're in LA this Saturday (01/22), specifically the West Side, swing by the Boba Loca (10946 Weyburn Ave LA, CA 90024 t. 310-443-8911--call ahead for directions) in the heart of Westwood Village any time between 10am and 12 midnight to watch myself and some crazy friends do a 24 hour comic. If you're not familiar with what a 24 hour comic is, it's something pioneered by the cartoonist Scott McCloud and what it basically means is that you sit down at the beginning of a 24 hour period and start writing and drawing a 24 page comic. The idea isn't to make the best comic, it's to make a comic. Feel free to read more about "The 24 Hour Comic" at the page set up by the 24HC's originator, Scott McCloud.

Producing a comic is just what each of our goals will be this weekend. So, swing by and cheer us on as we try our best to each draw 24 pages in a day--something none of us have ever done (or even tried to do) before. Hey, if you've got a pencil, pens and paper, why not join us? We'll be starting at 10am sharp and work until closing. Westwood has lots of restaurants and Boba Loca has a good variety of tasty bevvies (drinks). If you don't think you can do 24 hours, hang out for 12 and do a 12 page comic! We're flexible! :)

Everyone who participates will get their work published in the first issue of ThePete.Comic, a trade-paperback-style comic I'll be publishing in February 2005. No one gets paid for their efforts and I'll only be taking a tiny profit from each sale to help pay for the ISBN numbers and the effort I'm taking in putting the book together, getting it listed on Amazon and so on.

If all goes well, I'd like to make this 24 hour comic (and subsequent publishing) a monthly ritual that we'll continue all year long. Who knows? By the end of the year we all might get to be decent artists! (Excluding Jen who already is a great artist. :) )

Hope to see you there, pen in hand (or not)!

Quick Update About the Site

I just wanted to mention that while I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like I have still been working on the site. I've added a cool little photo album plugin that I hope to start using soon. I have many pics laying around needing to be uploaded, now I've got the mechanism. I want to stop using my install of Gallery because it's not uniform with the rest of the site.

I've also added a "email this link" button to the bottom of each post along with new advertising. I hope it isn't too annoying or obnoxious. I just think that since I do so much work on this site, I should at least present the opportunity to my readers to help compensate me for my efforts by having more ads. I haven't been able to work out why they appear sometimes, but not on every post.

I hope everyone likes the new section under the nav links. I think that all works better there than in the column. Please let me know if you disagree.

I also have plenty of plans for TheWiki including adding a few "best of" pages that will feature links to posts on this site that I think haven't gotten the attention they deserve. I'll also do themed link pages, like "Bush Family Nazi Connections posts" and the like.

I'm also hoping to see more guest blog posts from Tim Toon and I've also asked my pal Jen to guest blog, too. I also plan on asking a few other folks to post as well. Please let me know if any of you think different voices on ThePete.Com are a good idea or bad. In the meantime, I think they're a good idea since diversity is cool and I don't feel as bad for all of the tweaking I'm doing to the site behind-the-scenes.

TheFiancee keeps telling me that I'll never be done tweaking the site. Thanks to her comments I've come up with a name for the process of endlessly tweaking your home on web. That name is "hypertweaking."

Write it down...use it...


Thanks to reclassifying tens of thousands of missing people, the death toll has risen to 226,000.

God, that's depressing...

If you're a masochist, you can read more about it in a article posted over at and

Global Tsunami Death Toll Tops 226,000

Jan 19, 9:55 AM (ET)

By Jerry Norton and Dean Yates

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - The global death toll from the Asian tsunami shot above 226,000 Wednesday after Indonesia's Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of tens of thousands of people previously listed as missing.

The ministry raised the country's death toll to 166,320. It had previously given a figure of 95,450 while Indonesia's Ministry of Social Affairs had put the death toll at around 115,000 before it stopped counting.

Dodi Indrasanto, a director at the health ministry's department of health affairs, said the new death total reflected the latest reports from the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, which were directly in the path of the killer tsunami spawned by a magnitude 9 earthquake the day after Christmas.

The new figure lifted the total global death toll from the tsunami disaster to 226,566, although the number continues to rise as more deaths are reported around the region.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, speaking before the health ministry released its latest figures, told a donors conference in Jakarta that the true extent of the catastrophe defied description.

"Perhaps we will never know the exact scale of the human casualties," he said.

Indrasanto said the health ministry report, which had just 6,245 people still listed as missing, had been sent to Yudhoyono late Wednesday.

The ministry's figures said 617,159 people were still homeless in northern Sumatra more than three weeks after the killer wave struck.


The staggering death count came as Indonesia said it was hopeful of holding talks with rebels in Aceh, where the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has waged a bloody, three-decade long battle for independence from Jakarta's rule.

Security fears prompted by the GAM conflict have been a worrying backdrop to the massive international relief effort in Aceh, where huge stretches of coastline were laid waste by the earthquake and tsunami that followed.

"Behind the cloud there must be a silver lining. Behind the scenes, a process is happening toward reconciliation," Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said.

Wirajuda said he hoped the talks would take place by the end of the month, but he could give neither a date nor a place. A spokesman for GAM's exiled leadership in Sweden said there had been no progress on talks.

"We haven't had any concrete response from the Indonesian side," said Bakhtiar Abdullah.

A U.N. official in Meulaboh, the province's second city, said emergency aid drops would have to be sharply increased in order to avoid hunger in outlying areas.

GAM's leaders have repeatedly welcomed relief efforts spearheaded by the United Nations and the rebels have said they would not attack aid workers or convoys.


Political concerns have also plagued relief efforts in Sri Lanka, where the Tamil-rebel controlled northeast is waiting to see if it will get a piece of the government's $3.5 billion tsunami reconstruction program.

"The tsunami didn't wash away political divisions. In fact it may have made them worse," said Jehan Perera, director of the National Peace Council in Sri Lanka.

"What we have here is a moment that will define the peace process and politics for years."

Most of those swept up in the tsunami disaster -- which ripped coastal areas of Indian Ocean nations as far away as Africa and left more than 1.5 million people homeless around the region -- had far more pressing concerns.

Across Aceh's ravaged west coast, survivors were few and many villages were virtual ghost towns. In others, a mosque was the only building left standing.

In the province's second city Meulaboh, almost sliced in half by the killer wave, mountains of rubble smoldered and electricity was intermittent. But some shops and markets were busy, and food appeared to be available.

Daniel Augstburger, head of United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the coastal city of Meulaboh, said not enough help was reaching people outside of major urban areas.

"The French are starting to move food, of course the Americans....are moving food out, but this has to increase ten-fold, I would say," Augstburger told Reuters, adding that tsunami victims also needed items such as clothes and cooking utensils.

In Sri Lanka, residents of a tsunami-ravaged town packed up and left -- ready to re-establish their community 1.5 km (about one mile) inland as a precaution against any other surprises from the sea.

"This will give our people a better future, a safer future," said fisherman M.J. Raseek, a resident of Hambantota who planned to follow his town away from the coast.

The International Monetary Fund said it hoped to approve Sri Lanka's emergency request for up to $160 million in assistance, while Indonesian officials told donors that the tsunami would likely cost the country around $4.5 billion.

Governments, aid groups, individuals, corporations and international agencies have pledged more than $7 billion in aid to Asia's tsunami victims.

But donors have to date promised just $739 million of the $977 million the U.N. system says is needed in emergency aid to meet the basic needs of victims over the next six months, according to Kevin Kennedy, a senior official of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Copyright 2005 Reuters


Well, according to an article from available over at, Warren Buffet has said that odds are the US dollar will be as likely to go down as a $2 hooker--who, because of the devaluing of the dollar would actually be known as a $1.35 hooker. Don't take my word for it, check out a quote from the aboved ref'ed article:
The dollar cannot avoid further declines against other major currencies unless the US trade and current account deficits improve, legendary investor and businessman Warren Buffett said.

"I think, over time, unless we have a major change in trade policies, I don't see how the dollar avoids going down," the world's second-richest individual told CNBC television.
What does the second richest man in the world know about money, huh?, actually quite a bit, really...

The point is, if you live in America, your money is becoming more and more worthless every day and will continue to do so until Bushy pants catches a freakin' clue and does something about this. Of course, there are some out there that suggest George "Old Female Pubes" Bush actually wants a weak dollar. I guess the theory is that it will inspire foreign investment in the US. Of course, it also leaves many of us poor and hungry.

Ah, who needs to eat, anyway, right? I mean, just look at all those skinny super models, they never eat and they look--actually, they look disgusting... never mind! I wonder if they're hiring... in Japan...

Read more about Buffet's comments in an article at YahooNewsSingapore or check out page 2 of this post if that link has gone bad.

From and
Thursday January 20, 3:28 AM

Warren Buffett sees no way but down for US dollar

The dollar cannot avoid further declines against other major currencies unless the US trade and current account deficits improve, legendary investor and businessman Warren Buffett said.

"I think, over time, unless we have a major change in trade policies, I don't see how the dollar avoids going down," the world's second-richest individual told CNBC television.

"I don't know when it happens. I don't have any idea whether it will be this month or this year or next year, but we are force-feeding dollars on to the rest of the world at the rate of close to a couple billion dollars a day, and that's going to weigh on the dollar."

Buffett noted the record US deficit of 164.7 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2004 in the current account, which measures trade and investment flows.

Buffett, nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha for his investment acumen, has a net worth of some 41 billion dollars, second only to Microsoft chief Bill Gates, according to Forbes magazine. But he said he saw few opportunities in the near term.

"I'm having a hard time finding things to buy, if that says anything about the market," he said.

"If I find something ... tomorrow to buy, I don't give a thought as to whether the market is going up," he added. "I barrel in."

© 2005 AFP


OK, so, according to an article from posted at, America (King George) said that it:
could not rule out a resort to military action if the United States failed to persuade Iran to abandon a nuclear energy programme it charges is a cover for developing the bomb.

Then Iran said back:
"With reliance on enormous popular support, diplomatic capacity and full military capability, the Islamic Republic of Iran will firmly respond to any unwise measure or plan...

Isn't saber rattling sexy?

MMM, nothing gets me going than talk of another war!!

I suppose war being an aphrodesiac for me shouldn't be too big of a surprise. After all, I am a white male American.

Read more about it in the article quoted above over at YahooNewsSingapore. If the link is bad, click over to page 2.

From and
Wednesday January 19, 7:56 PM

Iran issues sharp warning to US over any military action

Iran accused the United States of trying to disrupt its nuclear negotiations with the European Union by evoking the threat of a military strike, and warned Washington it would respond to any "unwise measure."

"With reliance on enormous popular support, diplomatic capacity and full military capability, the Islamic Republic of Iran will firmly respond to any unwise measure or plan," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a statement responding to "recent comments by US officials".

On Monday US President George W. Bush said he could not rule out a resort to military action if the United States failed to persuade Iran to abandon a nuclear energy programme it charges is a cover for developing the bomb.

US secretary of state-designate Condoleezza Rice also called Tuesday for world action to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons, and repeated a threat to haul the Islamic republic before the UN Security Council for sanctions.

"We see such moves as a psychological campaign and political pressure," Asefi said.

He said one of the aims of the US administration was "not to help and enourage Europe to peacefully settle some disagreements through diplomacy and talks, but to disrupt the Iran-EU nuclear talks by pretending they are unsuccessful."

The EU's "big three" -- Britain, France and Germany -- have been spearheading diplomatic efforts with Iran and are in the midst of crucial talks aimed at finding a long-term solution that would ease international worries.

"We recommend the new American foreign minister avoids repeating past mistakes by reviewing America's wrong and unsuccessful policies of unilateralism and oppression," Asefi said of Rice.

"The United States of America has fallen into an abyss of several crises as a result of the wrong attitude of hard line neo-conservatives. There is no way out unless it reviews and corrects past mistakes."

The foreign ministry statement also followed a report in the New Yorker magazine Monday that US commandos had been operating inside Iran since mid-2004 to search out potential targets for attack -- something the magazine said could come as early as mid-2005.

The Pentagon said the report was "riddled with errors."

© 2005 AFP


This has got to be the dumbest poll ever. CNN/USA Today/Gallup did a poll asking Americans if they thought Bush 43 was a uniter or a divider, seeing as Bush promised to be the former during his 2000 campaign. Big surprise, the results are split--half of those polled believe Bush is a uniter, the other half believes he is not.

What bright-eyes thought we needed a poll to prove this? Just look at the results of (s)Election 2004 and you'll see just how half of us feel. I think it's safe to assume that the same half that voted against Bush would feel that Bush is a divider. Those that voted for him would feel the opposite.

I suppose there were no new Princess Di videos to air or celebrity murder trials to follow, so they decided to waste their time on this.


Read more about it in an article where else but at


Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider

Most say inauguration festivities should be toned down

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 Posted: 4:19 PM EST (2119 GMT)

(CNN) -- On the eve of President Bush's inauguration, a poll shows the nation is split over whether he has united or divided the nation, but a majority believe his inauguration festivities should be toned down because of the war.

During the 2000 campaign, Bush promised to be a "uniter, not a divider."

Forty-nine percent of 1,007 adult Americans said in phone interviews they believe Bush is a "uniter," according to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday. Another 49 percent called him a "divider," and 2 percent had no opinion.

The results nearly match those of a poll taken in October 2004, which showed 48 percent considered Bush a "uniter" and 48 percent called him a "divider," with 4 percent having no opinion. (Full story)

Bush's inauguration was viewed by 69 percent, more than two-thirds of respondents, as a celebration by the winning presidential candidate's supporters rather than a celebration of democracy by all Americans, as 29 percent saw it. Two percent had no opinion.

And 79 percent of poll respondents said they believe the inauguration ceremony will not do much to heal political divisions in the country. Eighteen percent said it would, and 3 percent had no opinion.

Also, 54 percent said the celebration should be toned down this year, compared with other inaugurations, because the country is at war. Forty-five percent said the inauguration should be held just as in other years, and 1 percent had no opinion.

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they believe protests during the inaugural celebration would be inappropriate, regardless of whether they believed people had a right to protest. When the same question was asked in January 2001, 71 percent said protests are inappropriate.

Asked about the president's most important role, 34 percent of respondents said it should be to manage the federal government and 24 percent said it should be to provide moral leadership.

Another 20 percent said it is acting as commander in chief of the military, up from 9 percent in a poll taken eight months before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The telephone poll was conducted Friday through Sunday. It has a 95 percent confidence rate, and the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.


I watched the Condy (Condi?) Rice hearings yesterday on C-SPAN--well, not ALL of them--damn things went on all friggin' day long. I did watch the first 90 minutes. I nearly busted out laughing when she promised to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I mean, come on who is she fooling here? I think I actually heard Biden say at one point "I'm taking you for your word, now."

I didn't think Biden was that stupid.

Like Jon Stewart said on the Daily Show last night, Rice says that the time for diplomacy is now--but as soon as she has been confirmed, you know the time for diplomacy will have been then. Tell me I'm not the only person who thinks the USGov is just trying to put one over on us...

A black friend of mine mentioned that Condi is a regular neo-coonservative. I nearly busted out laughing then, too. I then realized that I've always thought of Rice not as a black or a white person, but as that creepy girl in class who got really good grades but had no friends or social skills.

Damn, that creepy chick is one of the most powerful people in the world now... >_<

A Nintendo DS Running LINUX??

The damn thing's barely been out a couple of months and already there are hackers for the new Nintendo DS. This includes these guys who want to get a version of Linux running on it. I don't know why anyone would need to do this--but I have to admit it's oddly fascinating... I just wish they'd hurry up and announce an IM app for it or a web browser or at the very least Palm-esque software for it.

UPDATE 2.8.5 5:16pm PT: Just a quick FYI, I've noticed a load of hits on this post, so I'm guessing there's quite an interest in seeing Linux on the Nintendo DS. Pretty cool--and here I thought nobody gave a crap about Linux. I'll have to keep up on these dudes' efforts. Who knows, when I finally get my DS, maybe I'll see if I can give Linux a spin...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Wow, well, CNN finally admitted to the world that it thinks George W. Bush is a moron and an idiot...

OK, not really, but whatever copy writer is in charge of the headlines at needs to do a better job proofreading. This comes to us compliments of LiveJournal user schwarzewitwe, the ljdemocrats and GypsyJr who pointed this out to me:

Nice to see the Bush brand of stupidity has passed onto the press now. :)

Check out the original LJ thread.


Because it's too damn big. Sure, I watched it pass on C-SPAN. I heard McCain complain about how bloody fat the thing was, or tall, rather, but even when he said that it was 3000+ pages and I could see the stacks of paper on his and everyone else's desks, I couldn't quite get my brain around just how absurdly large that bill is. However, I found the online version of H.R. 4818 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, and I got the idea.

Click here to check out the table of contents. Just be sure to give your browser time to load before you decide I'm full of shit. :)

It's absolutely absurd that such a law is legal. There should be page limits on laws because there's no telling what got passed in that monster. I mean, you'd have to be a fool to think that our senators were able to read that whole thing. Since we know that they couldn't have read the whole thing, it means they passed a bill they didn't read--which means they're not doing their job!

Shouldn't the lot of them be impeached?

Monday, January 17, 2005

My Film is in Post... FINALLY!

A momentous occasion! I just cut my first clip in Final Cut Pro HD! The short film I shot two summers ago is finally in post-production! YIPPEEEE!

I know, I'm lame--but it's the little pleasures, right?

Sunday, January 16, 2005


If you happened to be paying attention to the mainstream news or even other blogs and you hear that the US and Iraqi authorities are facing down something around 200,000 insurgents, don't believe the hype.

At least, this is what Christopher Allbritton in effect suggests we do in a post on his blog, He says that he had his "fixer" (a local Iraqi person who is hired by foreigners to get things down for them) translate an interview with General Muhammad Abdullah Shahwani who is the head guy in charge of the Iraqi Intelligence Services. His fixer came up with a different meaning than everyone else in the west, apparently. Here's a piece of the new translation:
What is your opinion about the number of the armed fighters in Iraq?
Officially call them 'terrorists' because they are doing terrorism against the people and they are outside the law, Their number is between 20,000 and 30,000, in all of Iraq, distributed in the Sunni area. [The “Sunni Triangle” — CA] And the people who live in this area and emotionally support them, are about 200,000 without offering them money or logistic support. As an example, they don't give any information about their activities if they have this information.
To me it looks like the press took part of that statement out of context. Of course, anyone who is really paying attention would realize that 200,000 insurgents would mean that there were more insurgents than US troops in Iraq. This would be a very absurd situation. Of course, this is not the case and I'm guessing that the press and the USGov just might start floating the 200,000 number for PR purposes (if they haven't already).

Check out the rest of the translation at Allbritton's great site.

Saturday, January 15, 2005



According to an article at, the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank, says that Iraq has now become a new training ground for terrorists!! Yippee!!!


According to an article from and, US and Polish military have caused massive damage to some of the most valuable artifacts in Babylon--yes that Babylon--the cradle of fucking civilization.

It's all roses, people! :D

Friday, January 14, 2005


This is just an FYI to any readers who happen to live on the Santa Ana river below the Prado Dam (although you probably know this already) as well as anyone living in western Riverside County and in Orange County as well. There's a flood watch for you guys because of that damn dam developing a leak last night and getting worse since then. Authorities are evacuating some areas so if you haven't checked the news, do it now!

Sure, it's no tsunami, but we can still get out of its way...

Here's the full report from the Emergency Digital Information System website. (I didn't even know the government even had one of those!)


Wow, the USGov (and its former representatives) seem to have gotten past this torture thing. Those pics of Iraqis tortured by US troops seem to have left the American mindset as well, so when people mention the word "torture" we don't think of a pile of naked men or men being forced to perform oral sex on each other. Even Tom Ridge himself, the former head of Fath--HOMEland Security for the US, seems to have forgotten Abu Ghraib ever happened. Check out this quote from an article at
Speaking to the BBC, Tom Ridge said the US did not condone the use of torture to extract information from terrorists.

But he said that "under an extreme set of circumstances" such as the threat of a nuclear attack, "it could happen".
Is he on CRACK? It DID happen!!

Will the propaganda and spin NEVER end? Will we Americans NEVER get FED UP with it??



Hell, if I were being tortured, I'd do whatever I could to make it stop. So, I'd tell the torturers EXACTLY what they WANTED to hear. Not the truth--but what they wanted to hear which may not reflect the truth. Besides, I've always heard that studies have proven this to be true. SO, WHY DO IT?

Because the USGov is a power-hungry, power-addicted, sado-massachistic entity that doesn't care what a few people who remember their morals think of it.

Read the full above-referenced article at the BBC's website.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Appleseed (Widescreen) (2004)Entertaining? Yes, definitely--not terribly bright.
Technically any good? One thing I like about good anime is that generally it tends to be smart, unlike American movies, animated or otherwise. This movie was a bit too light on character, and the story that it did have plonked out in huge clumsy chunks. In other words, it was too American for me ;) Which is kind of sad for me since this is a Japanese film. But most Americans will probably enjoy it just fine. (Take that as you will, Americans!)
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Actually barely satisfied. The climax is very Americany but nails it fairly well on the head--in other words, it works and actually makes up for a good amount of the bad Americany stuff. Still, I'd like to withhold final judgement until I see a subbed version.
Final Rating? SIYL (if you like lots of kick ass rated-R shoot 'em up violence but no nudity :( )