Sunday, August 29, 2010

King-Sized Trunk

"Wise Men Say Only Fools Rush In"
lyrics from Can't Help Falling In Love

For the first time online in this world and elsewhere. I give you King Sized Trunk. Shot entirely in Vancouver. I guarantee you this is the best use of two and a half minutes of your day today or your money back.
I was about to give you trivia for this short movie but then I thought why not give it the pop up video treatment ? On a future blog entry.


technical note: If watching in stereo, only one channel will work.

Peter Theodoridis

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tragedy on the 'Perfect Day'

"For every four climbers to reach K2's summit, one dies. And if going up doesn't kill them, then coming back down could."

I was watching this video on ABC News and it made me go through so many emotions. Awe, fear, sadness, admiration and heartbreak to name a few. This is a short review of what happened Aug 2008. It will remind you of every mountain climbing movie you ever saw like Chris O'Donnell's and Sylvester Stallone's. But of course the consequences here are real. Maybe I am closer to a couch potato than Indiana Jones but I could not help but look at them and their desire to do this climb and ask "Why?" I guess some of us risk because of the meaning we place in the "reward". I still don't understand it but at least I know it's there.

All this is documented in a recently released book which I admit I am now very curious about. Granted I have an enormous backlog of unread books here that will not put me out of pocket.

There are no gruesome explicit scenes here but still they get their point across. For me it still connects emotionally. Views are fantastic. Interviews are heartbreaking. I'd like to know the emotions it brought out in you if any.


The 'Perfect' Day on K2 -- and How It Turned Deadly

Film of Climb and Survivors' Accounts Capture Swing From Euphoria on the Summit to a Terrifying Descent


Aug. 10, 2010 —

It was the worst day on the world's deadliest mountain, Aug. 1, 2008. Twenty-nine climbers headed for the summit. Only 18 would return.

K2 would kill the first Irishman ever to make the summit. It would kill a 61-year old grandfather on his third attempt. And it would kill one-half of mountaineering's most adored couple, soulmates in love with each other and with extreme adventure.

Thousands have conquered Mt. Everest, but only a few hundred have summited the world's second-highest peak, K2. Death is the recurring theme on K2, a steeper, tougher, riskier mountain that draws the brave and foolish into northern Pakistan each season.

For every four climbers to reach K2's summit, one dies. And if going up doesn't kill them, then coming back down could.

"Death during decent. This mountain is notorious for this," said climber Eric Meyer, an American doctor from Colorado.

Just getting to the base can be treacherous. Thrillseekers have to spend hours winding around dangerously narrow mountain roads in Jeeps, and then endure an eight-day hike before they can even get their first glimpse of K2 in person.

K2: Exclusive Footage

Filmmaker Fredrik Strang, with his cameras rolling, was among a group of mountaineers that converged on K2 two summers ago. "Nightline" was able to obtain his exclusive footage as he documented the team's hazardous journey through the walls of ice and rock.

Strang's videos show grim warnings of how vicious the mountain can be. Dozens of memorials dot the area around base camp. In places the mountain holds the remains of fallen climbers.

"You're standing close to a leg," one climber can be heard saying on camera.

In addition to Strang's videography, details of what happened on the mountain's deadliest day emerge in "No Way Down," a book by climber Graham Bowley, who visited the scene.

K2: The Death Zone

Aside from shifting ice, falling rocks, avalanches and sudden storms, climbers have to adapt to the high attitude and thinning air. When oxygen becomes scarce, the brain becomes foggy and muscles chill. Their journey can take months.

The maximum amount of time a climber has to get out of an oxygen-starved death zone is 18 hours.

"When you go up, your muscles tell you, 'You have to breathe now,'" said Norwegian climber Cecelia Skog.

Skog, 36, is the first woman to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. She and her husband Rolf Bae tried to summit K2 once before, but turned back in bad weather. Their second attempt took a fatal turn.

Till Death Do Us Part

Skog joked that she had a hard time finding boyfriends who could keep up with her extreme hobby, until she met Bae, who proposed while they were skiing to the North Pole.

"[He got down on one knee] with his skis on," she said.

The couple was on K2 that fateful August day. They ascended quickly, but their climbing group was held up by other climbers at an especially treacherous passage known as the Bottleneck.

It was just before dark, and Bae began to feel weak.

"I gave him my oxygen and then I thought maybe he ... then he would feel better," Skog said.

But Bae couldn't recover. He encouraged his wife to continue on without him. Skog forged ahead and eventually made it to the peak of K2.

"It was amazing. It was fantastic. We could see that shape of K2, that shadow," Skog said of her experience on the summit. "We could see so far into China. It was, uh ... there was no wind, the sun was still up."

Skog was one of 14 to make it to the K2 summit that day. When she climbed back down, her husband was waiting to celebrate their impressive achievement.

"He was so happy. That was the way he was. He was ... he was so happy for us ... that we had that experience," Skog said. "He didn't need to be there himself."

Then suddenly tragedy struck as the group made their way back down to base camp.

While passing under a massive serac, or overhang of ice, a mini-avalanche struck the group. The falling ice cut safety ropes and swept Bae off the mountain.

In a daze, Skog managed to pick her way down to base camp in the dark. She hoped that her husband had survived the fall and would be waiting for her there.

"I just thought, 'OK, he has to be. Of course he's gone to the tent. He's in the tent,'" she said.

But Bae was gone.

And over the next several hours, many climbers would join him.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Am 16 Going On 18

Disclaimer: This is an NFL post. Will be only interesting if you care about the toll on the human body.

The NFL has played 16 regular season games for as long as I have been following it. (30 years) I am not entirely sure if they went from 14 games to 16 games in in the mid 70s. But just know they have been playing this many games for that long. I love the NFL which will not shock any of you. The thing is when you know something well and have read years and years of news, you realize that all this fun comes at a price.

I have never played a down of organized football. But I have been at field level for high school games. Even at that level, you wonder about the sanity of what these guys sign for when you hear first hand the crunch of guys with pads colliding, propelled by as much speed as their legs can muster. These are 16 year olds. I have been at field level for professional games (CFL) . It's a miracle these guys get up like they are leaving a couch.

I have written before about the long term effects of playing a sport where concussions happen frequently. Believe me, it's not a pretty picture. Some people go as far to suggest that premature death of some wrestlers are not from steroids but from concussions. I don't blame you if you doubt what I say but I implore you to read what Merrill Hoge has to say on the topic.

NFL athletes are amazing physical specimens. All that size, strength and speed in one package. Just remember one thing from high school physics: f=ma. Force = Mass * Acceleration. Again, I love football but how many of these guys will be walking normally 5 years from now? Was the human frame meant to dish out and absorb that much punishment?

Now they want to add two more games that count. Where there will be more hits dished out by fewer people and absorbed by fewer people. What they will propose is removing two games that don't count and replacing them with two games that count. The league wants you to believe that it's the same thing. Well if you consider shooting blanks and shooting live ammo as the same thing then believe them.

The league wants to prevent concussions but they are exposing their regular players to two more regular season games. Makes as much sense as fighting for peace. Makes as much sense as growing to be a midget. Makes as much sense as studying to be a moron.

The games in the preseason hardly feature the same people that play when the games count. The regulars do not even break a sweat in these games. Preseason games are there to evaluate the question marks on your roster in game conditions. They are an audition. The problem is the league charges the fan the same price for these games and the players you see will be bagging groceries in two weeks. Quick, name the last movie you watched that you paid regular price for. Now, did you also pay regular price for the audition process and the rehearsal process? That is what sports leagues do. Equating preseason games with the regular season games is bunk.

Filipinos will not believe this but the NFL is America's premiere sports league. Yet they insist on screwing the fans in needless ways. Part of what makes the NFL special is that the once a week pace of games for 16 weeks makes the league easy to follow. It makes what transpires easy to remember. Adding more games will water it down. Adding more games will increase the likelihood of end of season contests where teams play not to get hurt as opposed to playing to win.

Don't let anyone convince you that it's just two games.


Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around An International Incident

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around An International Incident

"We appeal on everyone to stop needless arguments. Let us show everyone that we, Filipinos, know how to respect and understand."

Noynoy Aquino on his Facebook page August 24 2010

Dang this guy is a moron. Noynoy believes that he is not fair game for criticism based on the events that transpired with the recent hostage crisis. Something as antique as the Bible has an expression you live by the sword, you die by the sword. It's OK for him to knock his predecessor. It's OK for him to belittle Richard Gordon. Yet when it's his turn to go from hunter to hunted , he wants it to stop. Criticism is a two way street. Noynoy would have known that had he ever taken risks in life. The ambitious in life take risks. I will let you decide how Noynoy has lived his life.

I am not an Obama fan as you may know but he did say the buck stopped with him. Personally I don't blame Noynoy for the bungling. Why? To hold him responsible is to suggest I had expectations he could control an organization that is known for taking bribes. I had no such illusions. Noynoy has done nothing to earn his current position. All he did when he campaigned was remind everybody who his parents were. Did he ever convince you at anytime he would be good at handling crisis by reminding you of previous ordeals where he has come out on top? No, all we heard was yellow this and yellow that. Yellow in some cultures is the color of cowardice. Cowardice to me is the absence of courage. I personally do not characterize a man who runs for the highest elected office in the land by using the memory of his dead parents as props as courageous. He talked about dead people, he never discussed anything he has ever done because there was nothing worth discussing. But that is just me. Well at least in the eyes of some Noynoy exhibited cowardice here.

Facebook and all that is fine when it's heaping praises on Noynoy but when the shoe is on the other foot he is crying foul. Then he says to stop it. To me that is the most moronic thing he has done through all this. A real leader would have known better. A real leader knows that criticism and second guessing is part of the territory. It's part of the job description. Being critiqued is what you signed up for pal. Unless it was others who signed you up based on "Winnability".

All Noynoy said when asked if he was worthy of this job was this it was destiny. Well it's the destiny of any leader and of any decision maker to be criticized. This is Noynoy's first crisis where the international community is looking at him. I predicted his response to it here.

To expect anything different is to expose one's inexperience and naivete. Then again, that was always the knock on Noynoy. There's more to leadership than wearing yellow and making an "L" sign with your hand. You made a mistake May 10 2010 Philippines. Enjoying the fruit from the tree of inactivity.


Philippines' Aquino calls for end to Facebook bashing

Agence France-Presse

First Posted 13:06:00 08/25/2010

Filed Under: Benigno Aquino III, Social networking, Grandstand Hostage

MANILA-- Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday appealed for a stop to government bashing over a hostage crisis that left eight foreigners dead, but his Facebook plea triggered more condemnation.

Aquino's official Facebook page, which he had set up to promote transparency in government, has been swamped with angry comments, from barbs against bungling policemen to calls for him to quit.

"We have heard and read a lot of opinions from the public, even from foreigners that were affected," Aquino said on Facebook.

"We appeal on everyone to stop needless arguments. Let us show everyone that we, Filipinos, know how to respect and understand."

The message triggered varied replies on the page, with some expressing support but many others dismissing it outright.

"Shame on you and your government. Tender your resignation now," wrote Elfis Lee, a Hong Kong resident.

"Your incompetence of leading your untrained stupid police force caused such a tragedy."

Jay Rodrigo apologised on behalf of Filipinos, but had strong words about his feelings towards Aquino, who won the presidency by a landslide in May but whose popularity now appears to be taking a direct hit from the tragedy.

"You see, our president is a retard who has done nothing but smirk in front of the TV cameras after all that has happened," he replied on the page.

"He's slowly killing our country coz of his stupidity."

An ex-policeman seized a bus-load of 22 Hong Kong tourists and three Filipinos Monday, triggering a 12-hour face-off that ended in a bloodbath following a police assault.

Aside from the gunman, eight tourists were killed, triggering angry comments from Hong Kong where the government has issued a travel warning for the Philippines.

It also put the spotlight on longstanding problems with the Philippine police force, which admitted to blunders in handling the crisis.

The Internet-savvy Aquino, 50, used social networking sites to promote his anti-corruption campaign and vows of full transparency in the run-up to the election.

His official Facebook


One of the biggest diplomatic blunders made by Noynoy Aquino was his clear evasion of speaking with the Hong Kong leader, Donald Tsang, while the hostage taking incident where Hong Kong nationals were taken hostage by a sacked police officer in a bus, and even after the hostage crisis ended in a bloodbath.

Tsang, at a press conference in Hong Kong, let out publicly that he could not reach Noynoy Aquino, President of the Philippines all that time.

It is evident that Noynoy deliberately avoided speaking with Tsang, or for that matter, any high Chinese official, because it is de rigeur that in such incidents, the line, or Palace hotline, is always open between two government high officials in crisis situations where both countries or their citizens are involved.

In fact, protocol dictates that when such situation arises, and since this happened in the Philippines, Noynoy should have initiated the call to his counterpart, in this case, Tsang, as Hong Kong is a special autonomous region.

Was there no one in Malacañang — or even in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to advise Noynoy of this protocol?

Not only did Noynoy not get in touch with Tsang, but that he also clearly evaded the calls of Tsang.

Worse, evidently, not even DFA officials, bothered to get Noynoy or the DFA secretary to speak to Tsang.

Tsang has demanded that the Philippine government must provide a full account of the deadly incident to the Hong Kong government.

The DFA did not refer to this, and has kept mum on this diplomatic blunder of Noynoy, only expressing Noynoy’s "deepest condolences to the government and people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the People’s Republic of China, especially the families and relatives of the eight Hong Kong Chinese nationals who perished during a hostage-taking incident."

Also, Noynoy remained silent all throughout, and even long after the 11-hour hostage taking situation ended in a bloodbath.

His reason? He wanted to get more information on the ground.

If so, he must then have known that there was no one in command and that the negotiations were taking too long without any action from the government.

As their President and Commander in Chief, even if the police are a civilian force, he could have had all the information from his top officials, both in the Department of Interior and Local Government and the police establishment, and would have known just how badly things were being handled, and moved in to bark direct orders to his officials.

Apparently, he did not do anything of this sort. What ground information did he want to have, when live TV was showing everything?

So what the heck was Noynoy doing all that time, watching TV and wondering how this hostage situation would end? Then when it ended, it took him forever to issue a statement which hardly said anything, and again laying the blame on media. He could have ordered the NTC to cut off live TV coverage. He didn’t.

Noynoy may be a new and inexperienced leader, but in instances as this hostage-taking, such opportunities are wasted and merely shows the lack of leadership and quick action of the part of the new President.

Just as insensitive was Tourism Secretary Bertie Lim, who, when interviewed on TV, said that this incident will not affect tourism and all that is needed is a public relations (PR) job.

At this time, when so many tourists died in a hostage negotiation gone wrong, and with Hong Kong citizens outraged over the murders of their nationals, Lim has to come up with that statement of tourism not being affected and this could be righted through PR?

PR is his answer to the tourists who died and were injured? Tourists who have been traumatized by the hostage situation that ended in a bloodbath?

It’s been blunder after blunder — and blunders that won’t easily be forgiven and forgotten. Facebook-bashing

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Charity Begins With Capitalist Success Audio Blog

Blogs are essentially about opinions. My opinions tend to be anti liberal. Let me try to briefly explain why. From 1991 to 1999 I lived under an extreme left leaning provincial government led by a guy called Glen Clark. He tried to convert the Beautiful Province of British Columbia into a Marxist cesspool with the help of his party the New Democrats (NDP). The acronym really stands for No Damn Plan.

Glen Clark's predecessor Mike Harcourt was not as overtly Marxist and I go easy on him because he did help bring the NBA to Vancouver. I am not really in the mood to refute all the Karl Marx teachings tonight. What I will do for you is provide you an audio clip that only lasts 93 seconds. Michael Campbell further debunks all the liberal myths that a strong private sector is bad for the public and bad for charities. If you do not see the attachment below, then click here to go to the Multiply version of the post.

I highly recommend dragging the attachment to your Itunes and subscribe to Mike Campbell's podcast for quick 90 second editorials on world money and economy trends. Karl Marx, Barrack Obama and Glen Clark may curse you for it. And that may not be a bad thing.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Montana Fishburne Made A Porn And How It Relates To What Happened To Me Yesterday

Montana Fishburne made a pornographic video. Reason she is giving is so she can get "exposure”so she will be a more viable actress. I am sure what else you get when you film yourself doing what is mostly an intimate act. She claims Kim Kardashian inspired her. Some people get inspired by Abraham Lincoln or Mother Teresa or Kobe Bryant. No law against getting inspired by Kim Kardashian. There is no law against diving into a swimming pool filled with double-edged razor blades either. If this is true that she is using the dirty movie as a short cut to being a bankable actress, you may ask yourself why would she find that logical? There are some factors to look at:

a) She was born in 1991.

The younger kids don’t know anything about library cards, microfiche, stamps, shelves full of records. They are so used to instant gratification. Life is different from school. Life gives you the test first then the lesson later. She wants the destination and not the journey. She is too young to have the skills that come with paying your dues .

b) The Dennis Miller Theory.

Dennis Miller talked about Hollywood and the fact that the years of paying your dues working menial jobs while learning your craft and going to audition after audition weeds out the unworthy. The success is a by-product of your faith, courage, perseverance and enthusiasm. You can’t tell me Montana has those four qualities. She is trying to compensate for those four qualities with a porn video. Imagine the example she will set if she is successful? It’s like someone winning an election for President of a country not by reminding people of what he has done but by reminding people who his parents were. What kind of example would that set? Wait, that did happen?

c) Her dad.

You have to understand I have watched Apocalypse Now more times than should be legal. One of my friends years ago, I think it was Diane Currie who said “The only thing more screwed up than Apocalypse Now is Hearts of Darkness (the making of Apocalypse Now). Her father lied about his age (he was 14 but claimed to be 17) to be in that movie. OK so the role immortalized him for me even if he never was Morpheus. But at what cost? Can you remember when you were 14? I was not a perfect boy but I know that I would be even more screwed up if Dennis Hopper got me hooked on heroine. The sins of the father can be the sins of the daughter.

To get anywhere you simply have to pay your dues. You only know Jack Nicholson for his A List parts but look at all the B movies he did to develop himself into a bankable star.

Kevin Spacey is another extremely skilled actor who I am sure none of you recognized before the mid nineties. But check out all the obscure the roles he did for a decade before that. Looking at that list I regret not following the Vancouver filmed Wiseguy now. Montana Fishburne is 19 now and wants instant fame. Kevin Spacey is 51 now. How old was he when you first started noticing his movies?
Bottom line on the young Ms. Fishburne. It seems to me she is looking for a short cut. She does not want to pay her dues. For some she may indeed be signing a deal with the devil.

Now is where you hear every cliché in the book. It’s not the destination it’s the journey. Experience is a name you give your mistakes.
A long time ago I toiled with a company called Primerica Financial Services. I made little money. I drove for miles and miles all over the Lower Mainland of British Columbia only to go to dark houses at times. I don’t regret having gone that path. If anything it changed my habits and taught me how to learn about self-improvement and finance. It gave me the habits of reading and listening to all kinds of non-fiction authors.
But what does this have to do with yesterday August 5th 2010? It was my experience in investments that gave me the confidence to apply to La Salle’s Graduate School of Business for their Masters in Business Administration program. Yesterday was the final hoop before the degree. I had to convince three professors that I was MBA material in what is known as the Oral Comprehensive Exam (OCE). I was two hours away. This was my moment, where destiny calls me. This was my moment when fate took my hand. And I laid an egg. Notice I did not say anything about a conspiracy theory against psycho bloggers . It was all on me. The error is assigned to the third baseman Ed Lopez. A call I heard a few times in my softball days.

This was the view from the office where I took my test. I know what you guys are thinking. Charles Durning in Hudsucker Proxy.
Video of my experience here.

The thing is, it’s a temporary setback. I was asked fair questions. Enough of my replies were sub standard. I did work hard for that moment but not well enough to cover what my panel wanted to see. There came a point where I even thought to myself that I would have not passed me. I am at peace with the verdict and I am determined for a better outcome before the year is done. When I worked at Primerica Financial Services, many things I heard there stuck with me. One of them was that promotions are not there for the sake of being promoted. Promotions are not there for the sake of the title you earn. Promotions are there for what they will make of you while you are trying to earn them. Last night I realized with my performance I have not earned the Master’s Degree. I already paid the price of deferring my prize by a few months. Might as well get what I can with the price I paid. I sat there and wanted to hear where I screwed up. My panel was not intimidating at all. They were trying to help me. Sometimes hard things to realize while you are in the middle of your own failure. But I had to avoid being a hypocrite since I wrote this piece on failure.
By not being as ready as I could be, I was attempting to be like Montana Fishburne. I wanted the title but not be the person the title is supposed to make me. If I was, I would have managed the questions. I want you to rejoice when there are times you realize that it’s your fault. Why? Because your thoughts and actions are two of the things in this world that you have the most control over. Thanks for deciding to read this.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why Word of Mouth Is Important

Those of you who know me, know that I have miles to go before I sleep tonight and the next 3 nights. But I must share this with you. I love music which is no surprise. For a lot of people what they know about music consists of saturation play on variety shows, popular radio and music videos. As Manny Pacquiao's favorite poet said "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." I read about music and I talked about music with people with different tastes.

Tom Waits he of the gravely voice and the demented melodies was one such musician I would never appreciate if I relied on the radio alone. Google him since I must get back to what I am supposed to be doing. I just want to tell you about Fraser Hannah. Have not spoken to him in about 21 years but he left with me a love for Tom Waits that obviously lasted. We met in Philosophy class in the Langara campus of Vancouver Community College. I would give him rides from Dunbar into school. He made for me what was known back then as a "mixed tape" of Tom Waits. I slowly bought Tom Waits CDs till I owned about 11 of them.

More on him on another post. But the Ipod player in the bathroom is currently playing its 3rd consecutive Tom Waits album. First was Closing Time , then Rain Dogs and now Swordfishtrombones. I got LSS with the song I have included in the video. Just Another Sucker On The Vine. Which is actually a duet. Tom plays the harmonium which is like a sit-down accordion. He is foiled by Joe Romano on Trumpet. The resulting song is delicate and beautiful. Which is ironic because like I said earlier some of his stuff is downright demented, which is what I love about him.

I also discovered an alternate version in which the artist (not Waits) plays the song with several stringed instruments. Please tell him you loved his work if you did. Here in YouTube. I tried to and it did not register.

Why is word of mouth important? You would not be appreciating this lovely melody without it.


If you don't see the videos go here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Take on The Jersey Shore And How It Relates To Us

I rarely turn on the TV. So I am not a Jersey Shore viewer. But is it safe to say that they are not exactly celebrated for their cerebral qualities? They are full of themselves and vain and may never contribute to the betterment of society. Much like the local Gucci Gang.

Snooki gets arrested which is good sign that flavor of the month status does not exclude one from acting normally in public. Fred Thompson had the funniest take on the Snook Meister here.

I think I heard enough descriptions from Bill Simmons to have a good idea what the appeal of Jersey Shore is.

In the words of Spinal Tap's David St.Hubbins - "Yes it did! Yes it f**ing well did, and it was not pleasant to be part of the comedy on stage. Backstage, perhaps, it was very amusing. "

Based on my link to the real world, (my office mates) Jersey Shore is a not big hit here yet. Who needs it? If you want people full of themselves, who do not know the people are not laughing with them but at them then we have our newly elected president. That is true reality TV. It's comedy if you see the reality of it yet it affects our reality in a grim way. The worst dumb are people who don't know they are dumb. These type of people believe it is their genius creating the amusement and the applause when its quite the opposite. Guess what Philippines you elected him.

At least Snooki being dumb only affects MTV's reality.