Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The end of the story

Paul Harvey died today. He was a great broadcaster. I hope to learn things from his life. Thanks for your stories, and your story, Paul.


This is the thought that was floating through my head upon waking this morning: Would the major world religions (Abrahamic; Jewdaism, Christianity, and Islam) be monotheistic if the Earth orbited a twin star, or had multiple moons?

That's the kind of head I have stuck between my ears. I've been watching and reading too much science fiction. Three silly old sci-fi movies in the past 2 days (for class) does strange things.

The viewing list included:
-Quatermass and the Pit (1967) in class Thursday.
-Village of the Damned (1960) in class Thursday.
-The Last Woman on Earth (1960) while interning at ABC 4. It was on the Utah Education Network's Sci Fi Friday, a good thing to know about when I'm stuck working Friday nights.

Now you know, if there were any doubt left. I'm a genuine nerd.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This is pretty heartbreaking. I knew things were bad, I didn't realize it adds up like a house-fire.

"What happens to junk left behind in foreclosed homes?" via boingboing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sundance '09

I know I'm late on this. I don't much care.

I went with some friends this year, just went without much of a plan. And it worked out, amazingly enough.

We saw Paper Heart, with Michael Cera (of Arrested Development fame) and Charlyne Yi. When the presenter stood to introduce the film, he said the Sundance screeners had a hard time defining which genre this would fit in. Strange, it seemed to me, that people with such extensive experience would have a hard time with that. They must know every genre, sub-genre, and cult niche there is. But after seeing Paper Heart, that problem made more sense.

The story centers around Charlyne Yi (played by Charlyne Yi) on her search for love. Not for herself, mind you, just love anywhere. She doubts it's very existence. So Charlyne and the film crew goon the road to see if they can locate actual, true love.

A variety of people are interviewed, from a divorcee, to aged grandparents, to a gay couple in New York, to children on the playground. The interviews are genuine and genuinely entertaining. Their authenticity is warming, capturing the unscripted heart of each subject. A good documentary does that.

But, this isn't any documentary. In fact, it might not be a documentary at all, depending on the stricness of your definition. On the road, Charlyne meets Michael Cera (played by Michael Cera), and romance buds. Charlyne, ever the skeptic, might be turned by Michael's soft spoken wit.

But this part is scripted.

So, documentary? Drama? Comedy? It is very funny, for sure. This is one of the strangest blendings since Shaun of the Dead, a romantic zombie comedy (rom-zom-com, for those in the know). What do we call Paper Heart, then? A Docu-dramedy?

Whatever you call it, you'll love it. It was a good movie, on a subject everybody knows in one way or another. You'll be happy you saw it.

The second viewing was a little more challenging. We saw William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe. Kunstler was maybe the most controversial attorney of the second half of the 20th century. His clientel ranged from now renowned civil rights pioneers to known terrorists, from openly persecuted American Indians to incorrigible hippies. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to his choice of cases, though later on in his career, he tended toward higher profile defendants.

Part of what made the film interesting was not only the subject, but the perspective. The biopic was written, directed, and edited by Kunstlers daughters, Emily and Sarah Kunstler. The duo prove an able pair. They know the subject well, and included many home videos. They also had the advantage of countless documents and archival footage of their father at rallys, on marches, and in media interviews.

Kunstler vacillates between hero and monster. He never pauses for long, and you're never sure where he is headed. Probably the most stirring part of this sometimes poignant documentary is a speech he makes near the end. It's simply footage of Kunstler speaking at a rally. He explains that legality is not the end all of right and wrong. Six million jJews killed during the holocaust. Legal. Jesus lifted on a cross to die. Legal.

In short, it was fascinating.

But part of the fun of Sundance, of course, is the convergence of so many film makers. We weren't disappointed this year.


Director Nicholas Jasenovec, actor Michael Cera, actor Jake M. Johnson, who played Nicholas Jasenovec in the movie (I know, it's confusing), Charlyne, and...some other guy.

D. Smith got this shot, and thinks it's too sharp a portrait to be believable. No, really, he's a real celebrity, folks.

The crew behind William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe.

Looks like a nice guy, right? Maybe he is, but he's also a bit of a loon. Every time the mic was in front of him, he would start pushing for abortion and Communism. One of Kunstler's former clients, arrested for burning the American flag outside the Republican National Convention in 1980. Hated, hated Reagan. Funny, because we were sitting on the second row, and I was wearing my Ronald Reagan tee shirt. No joke.

Emily and Sarah Kunstler

Royal Pain

If I ever have pets, plural, I will name them:

1) Baron
2) Duke
3) Ceasar, &
4) King

However, the odds of me getting any pet, much less four, are very slim. I'd have to have very persuasive family members.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Good job Hollywood! Give yourselves a big pat on the back! Oh wait...you are...right now.

I'm watching the Academy Awards. It's fun, it is, despite some uninspired musical medleys. But I wonder if film makers take themselves too seriously. Seems like sheer self-aggrandizement. When it comes down to it, they're entertainers, and some of them are making a real bid at being opinion leaders.

I suppose there isn't any group more apt for this kind of celebration. Actors, writers, directors, people whose stated profession is theatricality. And all the glitz and glam broadcast to the world, no less.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'd love to get one of those statues some day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I guess I'm not a pet person. But if I was, I'd highly consider my options. For instance, instead of a chimpanzee, I'd think about getting a sloth. Less risky, it turns out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Fascinating talk. He vocalizes some ideas I've had percolate in my own mind, but never coalesced into coherent, concrete concepts.

I've even had a couple business ideas that revolve around this idea of marketing authentic experience. Remember that haunted audio I wanted to do? I think that falls in line with what he says.


Are we seeing a trend in what the brightest minds around think of formalized education? I swear it, when I am in any position of influence, that will be one of the first things to change.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

World Changing

Jamais Cascio gets it.

I have to work with these people. Not Jamias Cascio, necessarily, or the World Changing group he's talking about, or even the people at TED, though any one of those would be nice. I mean I have to work with people of like mind and vision, who think broadly, deeply, and long term. People who think in terms of possibilities and desirable outcomes.

I just don't know many of them here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Inside the Meltdown

Frontline is one of the best programs on television. Any station, any style. I've mentioned it before. It's simply good. I hope I have time to watch this one.


I've always walked faster than most people. There seems little reason not to when I've some place to be.

Across the quad, toward the Arts Center, my thin jacket blows a bit in the wind, but keeps me warm enough. I open the first set of doors with a swift and deliberate motion. I pause. There, on the other side of the second glass doors, a woman in a wheelchair, pulling up to the automatic opener.

I can take the time to hold the door, at the very least. The second set of doors open with less vigor than the first, and stay propped against my planted foot.

When she sees that I'm holding the door for her, she tilts the control forward, compelling her motored chair.

She moves toward the doors I've just come through, but stops and motions toward me, as though to speak. Maybe whatever has left her in this chair also left her without voice.

I stoop to listen, and she wispers.

"Your fly is down."

St. Valentine

"I sometimes think I'll die fabulously wealthy, in a mansion, surrounded by servants, and completely alone."

(Laughing) "No you won't! Huh, but I guess I can see that. Like Montgomery Burns. Except without Smithers."

I was hoping for more of a "Citizen Kane" comparison. Seems even that was a bit idealistic.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Darby Free Library

The oldest public library in the country might close. I hope it doesn't.


I really enjoyed this talk. I've experienced pretty much every part of what she talks about. It's why I feel compelled to always have a writing instrument with me, I have to catch the ideas before they get away. Maybe I'm worrying too much about it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Little Man Winneth!

Without fail, every time you sit David Peterson down in front of a video game, there will be a constant stream of nonsense to leave his mouth. It's like he's speaking in tongues. He doesn't even know what he's saying.

In case you're wondering, he's playing "Super Mario Brothers 3" on our Nintendo. On a 96" screen.

There are actually two more videos of this, but Google Video is telling me they have copyrighted material in them, which they most certainly do not. Just goes to show.

Actually, this is a pretty specific part of his sense of humor. The more a thing lacks sense, the more Dave will find it funny.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Little Brother

Dreamt last night that my mother, somehow, miraculously had another set of twins, like my sister and me. They were a boy and a girl. Angela and I were playing with them, me with the baby boy and Angela with the girl, as though with our younger selves. When I woke, it was the first time I ever remember really wishing I had a little brother.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I bought a very nice sweater at Nordstom Rack a few weeks ago. A really nice, brown, unbelievably soft sweater. With a small embroidered penguin. Then I washed in in warm water.

Now I have a sweater fit for a child's doll. It shrunk much more than you might think.

On that note, here are some pointers on how to deal with clothes you want to keep forever. Pointers from a die-hard metal fan. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

TED 2009

TED is happening right now. If you're not familiar with TED, you should change that. It started, to my understanding, as a Technology, Education, and Design conference, but has evolved into a gathering of the worlds greatest minds and innovators from every walk of life and every discipline.

I once had the goal of being invited to TED (it was in invite only occasion) but now anyone can go, it'll just cost you several thousand dollars.

They post videos online of their talks. Amazing stuff, pick a topic, you won't be disappointed.

First Contact

I can only imagine how exciting it would be to talk to the ISS on a machine you built.

This is Not a Coincidence

Last week, boingboing posted about how many LED traffic signs never get their default passwords changed. It's easy to change the message on the sign when the password is the same as when it came off the factory line.

This week, MSNBC.com is reporting that road signs in at least three states have been "hacked".

Doesn't take much to "hack the system" when ABSOLUTELY NO PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES are taken by the road crews that operate these things.

Just sayin'.