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Archive for April, 2010

I finished it, Doc. I’m already in withdrawal. I’m gonna miss these guys.

(This image is from around 2005, 8 or 9 years after their debut in the game, over which time CGI made great strides.  They look a lot better here than in the game.)  I’ve spent a lot of quality time with them over the last few months attempting to save the world.  Turns out the game itself doesn’t let you know with certainty whether you’ve succeeded.  Fortunately for FFVII fandom a movie, from which this image was taken, was subsequently made revealing that life did indeed go on.  And fortunately for me, I have a new blu-ray extended version of it waiting for me to watch tomorrow, to help me over my withdrawal pangs.

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Freebasing Movie Data

I own a lot of movies on DVD, and I still have a few VHS tapes from back in the day. I also have a few TV shows on DVD: The X-files, Lost, True Blood, The West Wing.

Last Christmas I invested in a cool device from Happhauge that records high-def TV to a computer, as well as some nifty editing software from Roxio, so I can record and preserve Nebraska football games. And using an analog-digital converter, I can also record movies that I now have on VHS onto DVD.

Keeping track of all this stuff can be daunting. For years I’ve been keeping a list, but I’ve often thought a data base would be better. For one thing, the list is so long now that I hesitate to print it out. And I’m always entering new stuff.

Trep, as I recall you tried on a couple of occasions to teach me how to use the database programs that are bundled with Word and WordPerfect. But I’m hopeless with those programs because I am ordinarily so impatient to get started I can never remember all the stuff I have to do first. So I just kept a list.

But in my longish life I’ve learned that if you wait long enough, what you need eventually comes along. Especially where tech is concerned. So a couple of days ago I looked around for movie database software, and guess what! There are several programs available for free! I downloaded a few, and fooled around with them, and finally settled on EMDB, which stands for “Eric’s Movie Data Base.”

This little program has it all: you simply enter the name of a movie or TV show, click “search IMDB,” and the program will download whatever information IMDB has on that title–date, actors, director, whatever you want. You can set parameters in any way you like, so that, for example, IMDB will list four actors, or eight, or ten. You can also choose among several thumbnail providers if you want photographs of the DVD covers.  You can paste in stuff, too.  My only reservation is that the line for “comments” is too small.  But that’s a very small quibble about an otherwise excellent program.

I also researched more sophisticated databases–the kind you have to pay for, and discovered Readerware. These folks have developed three programs to catalog videos, audio, or books. The last one made my mouth water because I have a LOT of books. For years I kept track of them on 4×6 cards, and when Endnote came along I used it to record books and articles I cited in bibliographies. But I’m still keeping those cards, too. Readerware has a thirty-day trial download, so I’ll let you know what I think in a month. In the meantime, I’m happy to have taken one more step into the twenty-first century.

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My big fear is that Joe Arpaio will ride the crest of resentment that all this negative publicity toward Arizona will bring out in the Crazies, and they’ll vote him in as the next governor.  In which case, you can bet he’ll take immediate aim at Flagstaff and Tucson, universities, and any other enclaves of open-mindedness left in the state.  People I’ve talked with up here don’t think he could get elected because the national outcry would be so great were he to campaign for the job.  Some of them even feel the publicity might cause his own arrest and trial for having already broken several laws. Nice!  Might almost be worth the added national embarrassment were he to run.

But, then again, he might get elected.  This IS Arizona – where we like our government to be as sparse and dessicated and prickly as the desert.   Where we don’t  fund schools, or health care for the indigent, or state parks.  And we don’t need tourists, conventions, visiting football teams, big name performers, or business expansions (unless they sell RV’s, ORV’s or guns) either, dang it!   We proved it already with MLK day.  We only decided to finally honor that holiday uh, well, uh, just because we wanted to, yeah.  Just try to push us around.  We’ll just hold our breath until we bankrupt ourselves to the status of a third world country.  That’ll show ya!

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Goodbye Snowbirds

We Arizonans are being tarred with Russell Pearce’s brush by the national news and in the blogosphere.

Here, for example, is Markos Moulitsas writing at his blog, the Daily Kos:  “And note, it won’t be enough to have the courts strike this travesty down. Those elected officials need this law off the books before I step foot in Arizona ever again, and I’m not alone in that assessment. Any sort of legal ambiguity won’t make Latinos (or any other non-Anglo people) feel any safer when Arizona law enforcement is already stepping up their harassment even though the law hasn’t yet been fully implemented.”  “Arizona’s Looming Tourism Disaster,” 4/28/10

Wow, that’s some bitterness.  Not that it isn’t deserved.  But it isn’t, entirely. I’m getting real tired of pointing out in blog comments that some of us Arizonans don’t like this new immigration law one bit.  And that those of us dissenters who live in the wingnut parts of Arizona, as I do, have absolutely zip representation in state or national government (Kyl and McCain, anyone?  Harry Mitchell?  Well, he might do the right thing on a good day).

No, for sensible thought and action we have to depend on the hinterlands.  Trep has already told us that her town, Flagstaff, rejected the law (go, granola-eaters!), and the sheriff of Pima County is refusing to enforce it as well.  Pima County, which contains Tucson, is right on the border, and it features one of the most popular corridors for smuggling humans into the USA.   Despite this, the sheriff said that he and his officers will keep doing what they’ve always done:  find smugglers, drug runners, and illegal emigrants and turn them over to the border patrol.  But they won’t use “reasonable suspicion” as a criterion for interrogation, because the sheriff has no idea what that means, and he suspects that it is unconstitutional, to boot.

But despite these courageous stands, I’m afraid the damage has already been done.  Not only may Arizona lose conventions and business meetings, but it might also lose minor league baseball (how many of  those players are Hispanic?   will they want to come here to play if they’re going to be carded everywhere they go?  I don’t think so.)   Not to mention the potential loss of snowbirds, Canyon hikers, and river-runners.   Gulp.

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The Arizona Senate Race

Good news from polling on the McCain-Hayworth primary election contest.  Public Policy Polling reports that the Dem candidate, Rodney Glassman (who?), can beat J. D. Hayworth if Hayworth wins the Repulsican primary.  Which means that John McCain is in trouble.

PPP reports that McCain’s approval numbers in AZ have fallen to 34%, while 55% of Arizonans disapprove of his–what–non-performance?  empty rhetoric? now-you-see-a-maverick-now-you-don’t-ness?   McCain voiced tepid approval for the new immigration law, despite the fact that back in the day when his party was sane, he co-sponsored sound immigration legislation that emphatically did not include a provision against breathing while brown.

Paradoxically, PPP’s poll shows that Glassman (who?) can’t beat McCain if the old fart wins the Repulsican primary, although the Dem candidate does hold him below 50%.  Perhaps if the Democrats began advertising on Glassman’s behalf he could beat both of these losers?  Just a thought.

If the national Dems decide to write off the Arizona Senate seat, these numbers show that will be a terrible mistake.   With just a little help, they could gain a Senate seat.  If they do not support Glassman, then I might have to say something I never thought I might:  go Hayworth!

http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2010/04/mccains-numbers-plummet.html

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Civic Pride

Doc, I’m happy to report that Flagstaff’s city council voted to oppose the state of Arizona’s new immigration law and directed the city attorney to research legal options.  Notwithstanding that there’s a city council election coming up and that Flagstaff’s prosperity (and multitude of great restaurants) depends on possibly boycott-prone visitors from out of state, going by their quotes, the members of the council are genuinely outraged by this legislation.  I’m proud of our ol’ berg.

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When Square Flowers Won’t Do…

…try triangles.  Prior to this, I’d made a quilt hanging that was nothing but squares.  I was sick of squares, so I decided to experiment with triangles.  This is a little piece of wall decor, maybe 2′ x 2′, made as a tardy housewarming present for my sister who, by the time I started on it, had a beautiful huge wisteria growing in her garden.  I had lots of fun buying the fabric.  If you click on the picture to see it in sharper resolution you can see there are lots of little moons and suns and stars in the fabric patterns.

The flowers were a much bigger challenge than I’d anticipated, and the branch they’re hanging from was no picnic either.  This was meant to be one of two.  This is supposed to be in the evening, with the sky deepening along the horizon.  The other would have had the light to dark blue shading reversed, as in pre-dawn, with a thin crescent moon high in the dark sky, and a bit different configuration of flowers and leaves.  But this one took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, and naturally, by the time I was done with it I was sick of triangles and blue fabric and put its partner on hold.  Now that my sister has moved, I should probably get started on the second one, so I can give it to her as another housewarming present in two or three years.  I’ve still got plenty of blue fabric.

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