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November 2005
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last post of 2005?

In a year when I got comments from many interesting visitors, including the nephew of Pepper Gomez and the cousin of Tino Sanchez (and Tino himself, for that matter), when sometimes it seemed like I had the tiniest of regular readerships but a knack for Google popularity (resulting in lots of strangers stopping by), perhaps it's appropriate that I post this picture at the end of 2005. It was sent to me by a kind woman I have never met ... it's from a television show/movie that I liked but didn't love, which makes me something less than a hardcore fan ... it is of a woman who only appeared in two episodes of that series (and was absent from the movie) ... in other words, this photo in some ways reflects how 2005 has been for this blog. And I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up on a lot of Google searches.


go here

Maybe I'll do one last year-end list. These are websites I visit regularly, that don't show up on any of those blogroll-thingies on the left.

Desperately Seeking Peace. "Young woman on the path to becoming a midwife to serve the Black community. A community that is suffering from the highest infant mortality rates in America and abroad." I won't tell exactly who this is, in case it's supposed to be anonymous, but she's one of Sara's oldest friends. Her tagline doesn't really explain what her blog is about ... it's much more personal than you'd think, which is especially fun if you know her, but even if you don't, it's interesting to read about a Berkeley person stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Eensy Weensy. "Rockcrit and A-Mama Ann Powers thinks way too hard sometimes." Not sure why I haven't stuck this in "friends and family" yet. Ann doesn't post everyday, but when she posts, it's worth reading.

News From Me. "Mark Evanier's weblog about comic books, TV, animation, politics and other forms of fantasy." I've never met Mark Evanier, and didn't know he was "famous" until I'd been reading his blog for a long time, which tells you that he's not exactly preening about himself. But his experiences in entertainment and his skills as a writer result in an excellent blog. He's done a lot of work in comics, but also has written for television, some pretty oddball shows in fact, with titles like "The Krofft Superstar Hour with the Bay City Rollers" and the immortal "Pink Lady and Jeff."

Romenesko. "Your daily fix of media industry news, commentary, and memos." If you care, lots of people in the news industry read this.

Television Without Pity. "Spare the snark, spoil the networks." Really two websites in one, the recap area where almost-as-funny-as-they-think-they-are writers recap episodes of your favorite shows, and the forum area, where the TWoP community chatters about their favorite shows.

Test. Test. Is This Thing On? "Can You Hear Me?" This one is a personal blog that, at least to me, is of interest even if you don't know the person.

TV Squad. "Blogging Television." Television Without Pity minus the forums.

Waiter Rant. "Do You Want Pommes Frites With That?" The life of a waiter. Great writing, instructive for those of us who eat out a lot.

give the people what they want

Romenesko points us to an interesting story in the Seattle Times. One of their columnists took a look at the Top 20 local news stories from the Times during the past year, as ranked according to online traffic (how many times a link got clicked).

The most popular story of the year with readers was about a man who died ... wait, let me quote the original story:

King County sheriff's detectives are investigating the owners of an Enumclaw-area farm after a Seattle man died from injuries sustained while having sex with a horse boarded on the property.

Investigators first learned of the farm after the man died at Enumclaw Community Hospital July 2. The county Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death was accidental and the result of having sex with a horse....

Deputies don't believe a crime occurred because bestiality is not illegal in Washington state and the horse was uninjured, said Urquhart.

But because investigators found chickens, goats and sheep on the property, they are looking into whether animal cruelty — which is a crime — was committed by having sex with these smaller, weaker animals, he said.

The farm was talked about in Internet chat rooms as a destination for people looking to have sex with livestock, he said.

"A significant number of people, we believe, have likely visited this farm," said Urquhart.

The columnist, Danny Westneat, notes that "this is my 98th column for 2005. None made the peoples' top 20." But he's learning ... "I have high hopes for this one because it mentions horse sex." His conclusion? "[I]t's clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses."

Give the people what they want, indeed. (Let's see if this blog post starts to appear on my Google Sitemap top 20 lists.)

friday random ten

The last one for 2005:

1. Crowded House, "Pineapple Head." I know they were (are?) popular. I couldn't name one of their songs off the top of my own pineapple head. This one sounds nice.

2. Dr. John, "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya." When Dr. John crossed over with "Right Place, Right Time," those of us who remembered his first album were surprised. Thirty years down the road from that hit, everyone knows John as a superb pianist and keeper of the New Orleans tradition. But his first album was weird, so weird that it make people shake their heads in the 60s, when weird was everywhere. And as far as we knew, Dr. John really was a "night tripper," whatever that was.

3. Nuspirit Helsinki, "Skydive." Too insistent to work as mere background music. This is good stuff, cross of techno and jazz I guess. I know v.little about the artists.

4. P.J. Proby, "Mission Bell." American singer, popular in England in the 60s. He sucked.

5. Van Morrison, "These Dreams of You." From a live 1970 bootleg.

6. Tori Amos, "Real Men." I never know what her songs are about. She didn't write this one.

7. Mike Jones, "Still Tippin'." Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile, or whatever that old saying is.

8. Tiny Tim, "This Is All I Ask." P.J. Proby only wishes he had this much talent.

9. OutKast, "Rosa Parks." Good track for people who still (yawn) think that rap crap ain't real music.

10. Tim Hardin, "Reason to Believe." Once again, shuffle play picks a good song to end the list with.

play catch up

The Sci-Fi Channel knows it's got a good thing with Battlestar Galactica, and they also know their series is showing up on a lot of year-end best lists. So they are doing what they can to grab new viewers. The first season has been out on DVD for a bit ... the box also includes the mini-series that started the new version of the show. Now, midway through the second season, they've released the first ten episodes of Season Two on DVD, just in time for the second half of the second season to begin next month.

Meanwhile, they've put together a short (22 minutes if you download, 30 minutes if you watch on real TV with commercials) featurette that will get you up to speed on the show. You can wait for it to come on Sci-Fi Channel, or you can download it for free from iTunes. Apple doesn't tell you this, but if you download a teevee show from iTunes, you don't have to play it on an iPod, you can play it within iTunes itself ... even do a full-screen mode.

Since Battlestar Galactica is a great show, and since you probably aren't watching it, here's your chance to catch up.

weekly stat update

According to Google Sitemaps, a few new search terms led people to this blog since last week. "Drunken Santa" is still #1, but among the new items are "fuck tv" (type that into Google, and the 6th hit will be one of my blog posts), "jessica lange legs" (in honor of Kong, I suppose ... my blog comes up 2nd on the Google hit list for that phrase), and "kristin proctor" ... for her I'm 4th on the list. Kristin Proctor, as I've mentioned before, is the daughter of one of the original Firesign Theatre guys, and an actress in her own right ... she does a lot of voice-over work, which I imagine is partly genetic. Most people reading this will remember Proctor from her semi-regular appearances in the second season of The Wire, as Nick's girlfriend Aimee. In one of those episodes, Proctor got out of bed and put on a shirt. The putting on of the shirt took about four seconds tops. In those four seconds, Proctor became an instant favorite on the Internets. The next day, I posted something on my blog about Proctor becoming an Internet legend ... now, 2 1/2 years later, people are searching for information on her, and after one hit to a link about her acting career and two links promising "Kristin Proctor Nude!" you get a link to my old blog post.

So just remember, all you bloggers out there, you never know who is going to be reading your words, why they will be reading them, or when they will be reading them. Sometimes it works out nicely ... awhile back I heard from a woman who told me where I could buy Fanta de Limon on the Internet, and I was able to get some for Xmas. Sometimes you get people looking for nudie photos.

And yes, Milton Berle's Penis is still a popular gateway to my blog ...

xmas 2005: the pic-less version

Xmas Eve was spent at our house. The kids came, as usual: Neal and Sonia, Sara and her friend Sky who we hadn't met before (he's nice). Also our friend Linda, who has spent so many holidays with us over the years, Sonia's brother Alex (ditto), and our friends from Hong Kong, Steve and Kathy, making their second consecutive appearance.

Dinner was a varied affair. Sonia made enchiladas, that was like the main dish, and I'd end up insulting people if I tried to list all the other food and left out some tasty morsel, so suffice to say there was a lot of food made by a lot of different people and it was all delicious. Then came the presents, and late at night, the traditional fond farewells.

Xmas morning saw Robin making breakfast for the kids ... they're all long since grownup, of course ... Neal, Sara, Sonia, Alex. And stockings from Santa ... speaking of which, if you can think of a word that rhymes with Santa, you'll know one thing Mr. Claus delivered: one can each of Fanta de Limon for the five of us who drank it in Spain back in 2000.

Then it was off to Davis for Rubio celebrations ... traffic was pretty bad, so we didn't arrive for a couple of hours. All the Rubio siblings were there, even Sue who showed up via webcam. Also the partners, current and ex, including Nikki and Robin and Karen. And many of the offspring: Sara and Jacob and Julie and Sean, plus Karen's mom Sally just to add another generation to the mix. There was more good food and more good presents. After that, although it was late, we detoured to Sacramento to see our ex-sister-in-law Petra and her kids Jason and Spenser, where there were more presents and tea for Robin. And then finally homeward ... we got batteries on the way so we'd have tunes for the ride, and the last song we heard was Bruce fronting the Max Weinberg 7 for a rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock."

As far as that crass thing you aren't supposed to talk about (schwag, also known as presents), there were lots of good ones, but I have to say, at our house anyway, the present that will have the most immediate impact is one I gave Robin: Season 8 of Stargate SG-1, which she is watching as I type this and which will take up all of her teevee time until she gets through the entire box. I got a lot of DVDs, myself: The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Apartment, In the Realms of the Unreal, Hoop Dreams, Young Mr. Lincoln, The Leopard, and the Criterion Lower Depths that includes both the Renoir and the Kurosawa versions (most of the above were Criterions, now that I think of it). Santa also got Season One of Battlestar Galactica for Robin, which is nice because now I can erase it from my hard drive. I also got a coupla sweaters, a jacket, David Thomson's latest book, and a book from Sara called Kooks. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, so my apologies there, and thanks to all the gift-givers, especially Katie/John/Ava (jacket), and Paul (Lower Depths), who live in other parts of the country and so didn't get in-person thanks.

And once again I'll thank Diana for the autographed photo of Christina Hendricks.

I'm remembering more presents now! A graphic novel by Harvey Pekar for Robin and I from Steve and Kathy, and another fine Doug Blanc original artwork from Robin to me. And hey, Doug and Jillian, we have presents for you here (Doug, I confess yours is still in transit, but it's supposed to arrive any day now!).

So there you have it. I usually hate Xmas, but this wasn't so bad ... maybe the meds helped. Certainly it was nice being with so many good people at one time. I can't say I'm sorry it's over, though ... what the heck, maybe I can finish grading those papers now. I'll finish off with one more image that didn't make the photo album. Not sure which sibling dug this up ... I think we decided it would have been taken in 1962, and despite the presence of Santa Claus, it was taken in the summer, at one of our occasional visits to Santa's Village down near Santa Cruz. Well, here goes:



thanks diana

Had a fine time this evening, will post pictures eventually, and I hoped I thanked everyone enough tonight for all the stuff, not just good times and presents, but FOOD! But I wanted to throw out a special thank you to Diana, a person I've never even met, who got me the coolest present, an autographed photo of Christina Hendricks, my fave hot babe from Firefly. She kinda looks like that picture of Robin with straight hair!