Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Adventures of Andy in Northern Illonis

Why is Andy in northern Illinois? Well my company sent me here for 2 days to learn the software I will soon be supporting?

But, Andy, isn't Chicago in Northern Illinois? Shouldn't you be out crashing police cars like in "The Blues Brothers?" Actually I'm about 25 miles north of Chicago. Where there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO!!!

Seriously, I went to a bar for dinner, and it looks like Kerokie is the big entertainment tonight. Given the last time I was at a kerokie bar, it's been almost six years now, I did't stick around. You see that last time I didn't know it was a kerokie bar. And it wasn't just a kerokie bar, it was a bad kerokie bar. And it wasn't just a bad kerokie bar, it was a bad COUNTRY kerokie bar. And it was't just a bad country kerokie bar it was a bad OLD country kerokie bar.

But by the time I realized this I had made eye contact with the bartender and felt bad waking out so I sat down and had a beer... or four.

Long story short, I end up talking to this very pretty blonde, and the middle aged women 3 seats down interrupts us to tell her "If you ever have the chance to make love to a fifty-year-old man do it! It'll be the best sex you've ever had!" This did not help the then twenty-two-year-old me in any way (22 years to go and counting).

But that's an adventure for another time.

So today I got up at 5:30 to make a 7:50 flight. That was the easy part. However construction all over O'Hare airport kept me from finding the Hertz rental office. After 30 minutes of wandering around I got on a bus marked "Hertz" and ended up with a cute little Mazda 6. Zoom Zoom Zoom! Lots of pickup, but I was little bummed when the car didn’t have satellite radio like the display in their office said.

So far that's been the best part of this trip. The car also helped me when I got lost twice on my way to the office. Somehow in the little sports sedan it was more bearable.

So by 10:30 Cenral I'm where I need to be. I sit in a couple cubicles and learn this software yadda... yadda... yadda....

Back to the hotel for a long overdue nap, change of clothes and dinner. I found a little bar and grille for dinner. Since I'm expensing everything I had the lobster and Steak dinner. Too much food but it's so flipping cold here I need to put on an extra layer of fat. I might have been more inclined to stay at the bar for a while, make some friends near the Wisconsin border but we've been over my opinions on kerokie already.

Why couldn't my company have an office somewhere more interesting, or at least somewhere warmer!?

So that last beer is going to make it just a little too hard to focus on "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" so I think I'll just watch a little John Stewart and head to bed...

Part 2 tomorrow... or whenever I get around to it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

In The News

The Adventures of Andy Presents:
In The News

Paris Hilton in Car Accident
Paris Hilton was in a car accident on Wednesday. Don’t worry the heiress was not injured. Fortunately, in the nick of time, her airhead deployed!

Narnia Advertising Picks up
Advertising for the upcoming movie “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” has gone into full swing. But have you noticed that the commercials only show the Lion? I think it’s because the Lion has a better agent. The Witch and the Wardrobe are both represented by Drew Rosenhaus who is having them hold out for more money.

sorry for the short blog this week... the days are shorter and my attention span is waingng

Monday, November 14, 2005

What Ever Happened to Mr. Sippi?

There's a Missis Sippi, what ever happened to Mister Sippi?

I think Louisiana had something to do with it. You know her reputation, especially around New Orleans. What if he took a dip in Lake Pontchartrain. Then Mrs. Sippi finds out and before you know about it she's talking to Texas.

Texas offers Mrs. Sippi a gun because even though he's got a thing going on with Oklahoma, but everybody knows it's just sham.

So one night Mr. Sippi is put out of the way. And of course nobody says a thing. Especially not Tennessee. Sure he knows but he's not going to say anything. Especially not to Kentucky who would do the same to him if she ever had the chance, that backstabbing bitch!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Building a better prequel: Episode II

Continuing on my series of re-writing the Star Wars saga brings us to episode II. The clone wars have begun, THe Jedi council believes that Count Dooku and Darth Maul are working together, not realizing they are one in the same and the greater threat comes from the chancelor's chamber.

Star Wars Episode II:The Clone Wars

Opening crawl:
WAR! Throughout the galaxy the clone wars rage on. Believing that Senator Palpatine has made great efforts to save the republic the senate has elected him Chancellor and granted him special powers in this time of war.

Padme Amadala has filled the senate seat vacated by Palpatine. Meanwhile the Jedi lead clone armies around the galaxy trying to defend the Republic from separatist attacks.

The war effort is not going well.
Senator Padme’s diplomatic ship is escorted to Coroscant by a squadron of clone fighters. She is greeted at the senate building by Chancellor Palpatine who regrets to hear that her inauguration ceremonies on Naboo had to be cut short due to an assignation attempt.

Padme reassures the chancellor that no assassin will stop her from serving the Republic. No sooner are their words exchanged when blaster shots break out . A firefight ensues with clone troops giving chase into the streets. Chancellor palpatine pledges to assign a Jedi security guard to her.

On a remote planet Obi-Wan and Anakin are in the final stages of a battle. The leandspeeder chase with Durge is almost over and once he is defeated the clone troops retake the planet for the Republic.

Anakin: This battle was meaningless. We should be involved on the front lines.
Obi-wan: Patience young one. Every battle has its purpose.

Mace Windu asks for Obi-Wan’s report and calls him back to Coroscant.

Upon their return home Obi-Wan and Anakin arrive at Padme’s quarters and Anakin is love struck. Innocent complements from Padme are taken very seriously by the padawan and his determination to stop the assassin grows. That night the assassin returns to try again. This time with the poison slugs. Anakin and Obi-wan chase Zam Wesell and Once she is captured by local clone police a member of her gang blasts the officers killing Zam.

With local authorities searching for the assassin gang Palpatine orders Padme to seek refuge until Courscant is safe again. He assures her that in her absence he will personally see that the interests of Naboo are guarded in the Senate. He asks Anakin to escort and protect the senator.

The Jedi council aggress to their request and give Anakin the rank of Jedi Knight at the request of Obi-wan despite his previous acts of insubordination and impatience. Obi-Wan convinces the council to trust Anakin.

Anakin is knighted and his braid is removed and his pony tail is let to flow free.

Before leaving, Padme points out that Kamino has had little participation in the Senate despite providing the republic’s military forces. Mace asks Obi-wan to travel to Kamino to find out more about these mysterious new members of the Republic.

Obi-wan learns that the clones were ordered by Master Sypho-Dias several years before the Clone Wars started. He also meets the clone original: Jango Fett whom he recognizes as part of Zam Wesell’s gang. Obi-wan reports back to Yoda then follows Fett.

Padme and Anakin travel together on a starship trying to avoid conflict. They have long intimate conversations and Anakin tells of his dreams about his mother and that he misses Tatooine. Padme sets course for the desert planet that the war has avoided. There they track down Shimi Skywaker but she ahs been taken captive by the Sand People. Anakin hunts them and kills the sandpeople.

Qui-Gon: Anakin NO!

Anakin returns to the Larz home and mourns his mother. Owen overhears him tell padme about killing a tribe of sandpeople and is disgusted.

Stealthy Obi-wan follows Fett to Geonosis. There he sees Fett in Conference with Count Dooku and he sees who is behind the assignation attempts. He attempts to report back but is surrounded by droids and captured.

Anakin senses his master is in danger. He contacts the Jedi Council and finds out where Obi-wan was heading then sets course there. Padme refuses to stay behind as she has fallen for the young Jedi. Yoda senses a major battle in the war ahead and Mace Windu rounds up as many Jedi as possible.

Obi-wan is tortured by Dooku who revelas himself to be Darth Maul and a mimic of Master Dypho-Dias (whom he killed several years earlier) He tells Obi-wan that the sith presence is far more powerful than he realizes.

Anakin and Padme attempt a rescue disobeying Mace Windu’s orders to wait for help. They are both captured.

Obi-Wan Padme and Anakin are brought to the arena for killing. As they are tied up Anakin and Padme pledge their love for each other.

Mace Windu arrives and holds Dooku at ligthtsaber point. A droid army pours into the arena and a giant battle takes place. Yoda arrives with clone reinforcements.

C3-P0 (who stays on the ship this time) and R2-D2 use their ship to cut off Dooku’s first point of escape. He then fleas across the desert. Anakin and Obi-Wan give chase and battle Dooku/Maul. Both are defeated and Anakin’s hand is cut off. Yoda comes to the rescue and maul escapes.

Clone forces destroy the major separatist’s resources and the tide of the war has turned in favor of the republic.

Obi-Wan reveals the true nature of Maul and Dooku and the secret origin of the clone army and their connection to the separatists.

Anakin and Padme are secretly married on Naboo

Darth Maul arrives on Couroscant and Darth Sideous tells him that things are going better than expected and that he should focus his efforts on his new assignment: the abduction of Chancellor Palpatine.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Book Review: I Am Charlotte Simmons

I know I don't do many book reviews. The simple reason is it takes me a lot longer to get through a 700 page book than a two and a half hour movie.

So here goes...

I Am Charlotte Simmons
by Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe’s latest tome, “I Am Charlotte Simmons” Is the story of college life like you’ve never seen it… unless you’ve been there.

As suggested by the title the story revolves around Charlotte Simmons, an extremely bright young lady from the mountains of North Carolina. She is fluent in French, having the ability to start her college career in 300 level neuroscience classes and an intellectual curiosity that is at the heart the purest of intentions of higher education. Despite these qualities she is quite naïve as to the social habits of college students. And that is the central focus of the conflict of the story.

Charlotte enters the fictitious Dupont University. A school with an academic reputation rivaling those schools in the Ivy League, Stanford or Notre Dame, but also with a national championship basketball program and a football tailgating atmosphere that you’d find a most Big Ten schools. A collage of college experiences if you will.

Charlotte has much difficulty in accepting these college experiences. From her first night in the dorm she is appalled by the rampant drinking, and is scared to death of sex. Those fears later justified as her life begins a downward spiral when she loses her virginity in a less than desirable way.

Complementing the overall theme of the book is a sub plot about the struggle between academics and athletics. A star (white) athlete who is about to loose his starting position on the championship basketball team to a (black) freshman struggles with the fact that this may be all he ever is. Inspired by Charlotte’s academic purity of heart he peruses academics somewhat seriously, instead of taking fluff classes designed to keep athletes academically eligible in the eyes of the NCAA. Her inspiration comes just a moment too late as a history professor accuses the basketball star of plagiarism and an investigation ensues.

As Wolfe takes us to college through the pure eyes of Charlotte Simmons we see the university life contrasts itself with the way it should be. Wolfe goes into great detail explaining the language of these so called aspiring intellectuals. Their liberal use of F-bombs, the rampant sarcasm (quantitatively broken down into three levels defined as SARC-1, 2 or 3), and a series of euphemisms and metaphors that, despite their crudeness, in execution are quite creative.

The honesty of the novel continues with the description of its characters. The style-over-substance frat boy; the militant feminist who has nothing in practice to be militant about; the jock in an institution for learning yet knows nothing; and the academic elites who’s academic honesty stops at their political ideology; and the geek who’s academic interest is equaled only to his jealousy of those who traded learning for popularity.

Charlotte however is a metaphor. She represents intelligence, the fundamental mission of college. It is those around her that represent the flaws of academia and those in it’s ranks.

  • Hoyt Thorpe, the popular partying fraternity guy. For all he has to offer Charlotte, the school and what they have to offer him in turn, he turns down for the next beer kegger.
  • Beverly, Gloria and a host of other boarding-school educated sorority girls who seem more interested in boys than books (insert “Mrs. Degree” joke here).
  • Benitta and Mimi, the so-called friends of Charlotte, they are definitely looking for the “Mrs. Degree” and they need to climb the social ladder of the college in order to do that. Even if it means gossiping and backstabbing each other to do it.
  • Adam Gellen, the nerd. He loves Charlotte; he really truly does, but is angry at the world and all those who have kept him in such a humble position in life. His love in the purest sense is put on hold when revenge presets itself.
  • Jojo Johanson is the athlete who is rather unaware of the academic institution, save the co-eds most of whom are on their backs at the mere mention of his name. However it is his introduction to Charlotte, and the rest of the intellectual environment that reforms him.

The flaws of each of the characters are expressed by the way they use Charlotte and abuse her good nature and also the way they abuse the academic opportunity in front of them. By the end of the novel it is easy to see how much better off they would be if the focus of college life was not the parties, the football games, the fraternity formals and the opportunity for sex at every turn. Charlotte experiences these things, and once she overcomes them, she is stronger for it. Everyone else finds themselves in the same place they started. Only those with Charlotte’s fortitude move toward real success.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Building a better prequil: Episode I

I don't nomrally run to my favorite video store on the day of a DVD release (in thi case Wal*Mart for the bonus DVD "The Story of Star Wars"), but this week I made an exception for my beloved Star Wars. Now back when this film was released in theatres I went to the midnight showing... No I did't dress up! But I did come to the conclusion that there were some things about Episode I and II that if changed would have made the prequil trilloy much better. Therefore I give you my updated versions of the Episodes I and II.

Star Wars: Episode I Twilight of the Republic

Rewrite May 2005
Andrew Zoric

Opening Crawl:
The longstanding peace in the GALACTIC REPUBLIC has been shaken. A separatist movement along the outer rim has many systems to suceeding from the Republic. A major inroad to the core systems has been breached with the peaceful world of NABOO being the next target of the separatists.
With his popularity waning and the pressures of galactic civil war looming CHANCELOR VALORUM has sent two Jedi Knights as a last effort to negotiate peace.
Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi land on Naboo surprised to find that there is no chaos and life is going on as normal, despite the political pressure pulling the planet in both directions.

King Amadalla meets with the Jedi and reassures them that the move to separate from the republic is a peaceful one. He introduces the Jedi to the leader of the separatists, a diplomat named Count Dooku.

Padme approaches Obi-Wan, “Help me, Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope…” She says that Dooku is not what he seems and he is somehow controlling her father’s actions.

Dooku smooth talks Qui-Gon and he agrees to report back to the Jedi Council about both sides of the issue.

Padme joins the Jedi on their return to Couroscant. Dooku then uses Jedi mind powers to convince King Amadalla that his daughter has been kidnapped and to order his militia to destroy their transport. A fight begins and the fugitives narrowly escape to Tatooine, a neutral world of little value to either side of the galactic political structure. In their quest for spare parts the 3 come into the company of young Anakin Skywalker (Played by a slightly older Haley Joel Osment). As it turns out the Jedi and Padme must place their fate in the hands of the young podracer.

Knowing of their narrow escape Dooku tracks the Jedi to Tatooine and with a squadron of droids he attacks the group as Darth Maul. Qui-Gon recognized Maul as something he sensed on Naboo.

Next Stop Couroscant.

Padme meets with Senator Palpatine who urges her, as a member of the royal family to help him convince the senate that the separatist movement is a great threat and that he has negotiated with the world of Kamino who has a clone army at their disposal. They are willing to aide the Republic if the senate would accept them for membership in the Republic.

Meanwhile a report is made to the Jedi Council. Disturbing that the Sith are working against the Republic. The council mistakenly concludes that Dooku is the master of Darth Maul. Anakin is also introduced to the Jedi Council. His training is denied, but Qui-Gon takes him as his ward.

When word of what has happened in the senate reaches Qui-Gon he and his 3 companions (plus 2 droids) re-board their starship to once again for Naboo.
Obi-Wan: Master, we weren’t authorized to re-enter negations.
Qui-Gon: If we can avert a galactic war then we will be saving millions of lives. The Council does not need to authorize that. It is to the benefit of the living Force.

Upon arrival, Padme Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon sneak back into the palace of Theed. Stealth is necessary as droid armies have amassed in the countryside.

Anakin stays with the ship. Upon realizing the trap that has been set he takes off and starts a one-man campaign against the droid armies, displaying superior fighter skill.

Inside Padme approaches her father with Obi-Wan as Qui-Gon seeks out Dooku. Dooku then reveals himself to be Darth Maul which surprised Qui-Gon. An epic Lightsaber battle begins.

Anakin is overwhelmed by the sheer number of droid fighters until clone re-enforcements arrive. An all out battle in the skies above Naboo and around the capitol city takes place.

Anakin joins a squad of clone fighters and attacks the central orbiting satellite.

Obi-wan senses his master is in danger and runs to his aide. He sees Qui-Gon fighting Maul but cannot help. Qui-Gon is killed and Maul escapes. Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin in his dying breath, instead of telling about the Dooku/Maul connection.

Naboo is saved.
Yoda: The first casualty, Master Qui-Gon is, of these Clone wars.
Mace Windu: And about this Dark Jedi working with Dooku?
Yoda: Always two there are, a master and an aprentice.