Month: January 2006

24 Season 5

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer on 24 Season Five

For the past month, Fox has been airing commercials for the fifth season of 24 promising that everything will change in the first ten minutes. They were definitely telling the truth as I couldn’t believe that they were willing to sacrifice a few major characters.

The first four hours of the new day have been amazingly good. Jack has always been a bit of a rogue agent, but this season he’s outside CTU (at least for the moment). It’s always fun to see Bauer do his own thing, barely holding a few fraying threads to keep the world turning. And while the show has always had a rabid fan base of those in the know, it’s nice to see that the show is finally getting some much-deserved recognition for its weekly brilliance.

Oh. If Fox ever tries to let a football game run past the start time of 24 without warning me immediately that they won’t just start 24 ten minutes late to make up time, someone will pay. They will pay dearly. End rant.

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Version 2: Dune Grass

The new version of is now officially live! I’ve taken to calling this site design the Dune Grass edition in deference to the Dune Grass tool I used in Photoshop to make the banner image. Dune Grass has been in the works for about two months, but as with all things on this site, it’s still a work in progress.

I think this new design is representative of my evolving sense of design goals. More often, I’m finding myself carefully measuring and planning my designs on paper and in Photoshop rather than just building them immediately in XHTML and CSS. I’m much more willing to design for aesthetics when I’m not worrying constantly about how to make it work in CSS; the worry that something won’t translate to XHTML never disappears, but it’s much less pronounced when I’m in Photoshop.

Enough with the theoretical. Dune Grass is the second major (custom) design for My first design was designed for WordPress 1.2 during the winter of 2005 and featured a snow theme that I liked, but never finished. Once I upgraded to WordPress 1.5, I was running—more or less—a default installation for the better part of a year. That’s all changing.

I think I’m finally starting to embrace this site as something permanent. For a while (or forever) I was changing domain names and hosts on a semiannual basis. feels different. It’s a nice and short domain name that seems like an extension of my real life and the center of my life on the web.

Let me know what you think about the design, good or bad. Judge it on the home page, as the other pages are still works in progress.


Crash DVD

I watched Crash again last night. I’d been meaning to see it since it came out and Annie and I rented it last Saturday. The film—as the title suggests—is about crashes: in one sense of the word, it is a movie about car crashes. In the opening scene, Don Cheadle’s character remarks that in Los Angeles (a city that boomed after the invention of the automobile) people lack the close physical proximity that citizens in the world’s other large cities take for granted. That in order to feel something beyond a world of steel and glass, people crash into each other.

More importantly, Crash is about human collisions: the internal crashes of anger and fear and love inside each of us, and the external conflicts of races and cultures. The film expertly weaves several different subplots that continually draw in characters from other story arcs. I loved the way the movie surprised me when individuals from different worlds within one city were confronted with the unexpected. My favorite parts of the movie focused on the Hispanic locksmith and the Iranian (I believe) shopkeeper. When those two worlds meet, it’s just gut-wrenching.

The treatment of racial tension in Crash has merited a lot of discussion; some seem to think the movie’s characters were unrealistically racist while others see the racism in the film as an unblinking look at the cruel way people treat those they fear, justified or not. What do I think? Sadly, I think the movie gets the ugly, racist undertones in America right. However, in the film, the characters are often more vocally racist than most people act in real life.

As a final note, Crash does a great job of providing reasons for actions and events in the movie. By the time the final credits roll, all the T’s are crossed in the plot, even if life doesn’t always work out neatly.

Knob Creek Shoot

On an episode of Mail Call I saw a few days ago, R. Lee Ermey went to the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky (outside of Fort Knox) for the Knob Creek Shoot, a weekend festival for machine gun enthusiasts. Among other things, visitors can try out different machine guns and participate (or watch) the “night shoot” where a line of machine gunners sprays thousands of rounds of ammunition and tracer fire and try to blow up TNT-filled junk vehicles. In a phrase, the festival is Red State porn.

Despite my disgust for the wanton weaponry, the Knob Creek Shoot looked dangerously exciting. There’s something about firing a minigun that strikes a chord in everyone. It’s probably the same chord that makes Saturday afternoon movies starring Nicholas Cage a national pastime.