28 May 2006


I just finished Doris Kearns Goodwin's excellent biography of Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln." Perhaps later I will write about the insights from the book, but for now, I will do as the author did, and reprint these words in their entirety:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that, government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

- A. Lincoln, November 19, 1863

21 May 2006


I was fortunate enough to get invited to a screening of the new Pixar film, Cars, yesterday. Since it's not out yet I won't talk about the film -- but I will say two things:

  • One-Man Band, the short that plays in front of it, is beautiful just as Bill Polson promised!

  • The trailer for Ratatouille is awesome! It was my favorite thing of the day.

  • The outtakes at the end are the best ever. I know we got kind of tired of the idea when I was at Pixar, but now that I'm just a satisfied audience member :-) I can just sit back and think they're awesome!

16 May 2006


Another E3 survived! Because I had a fair number of meetings this year, I actually went to the show three days in a row, something I haven't done for a long time.

Check out my writeup.

14 May 2006


While I was down at the E3 conference last week, my friend Onny met up with us and took us to hang in K-town, the large korean section of LA.

For dinner, we went to this awesome yakitori-style place. It's dark and (in the inner room) smoky, there is no sign in english on the outside, and there is no menu in English on the inside (we had to rely on lots of negotiation with the waitress). They have a whole variety of small foods, grilled meat on skewers, donburi-like food, noodles and stews, and lots of other little greasy treats (not a health food restaurant). We ordered blindly (including asking for one of what they had at the next table, which turned out to be chicken gizzards over a vegetable bed) and had a fine meal washed down with an "O.B." (korean beer, it stands for "Oriental Brewery" which is kind of funny in its own right).

I can't tell you the name, but it's in the mini-mall at the corner of 6th and Berendo and the outside (like the inside) is decorated with vintage asian movie posters.

Afterwards, we hung at the H.M.S. Bounty, a bizarre neighborhoody bar a few blocks away on Wilshire. It's in the ground floor of a residence hotel, and a fair number of the patrons look like they live there in more sense than one. Very friendly -- Onny was regular enough to know the bartender -- except for using the restroom. You go next door into the other property to use the restroom, and you've stepped into a set for Max Payne. The old russian desk clerk glared up and me and said, "the bathrooms are downstairs". Downstairs means a echo-y trip through harsh flourescent lighting, marble hallways, and numerous umarked wooden doors. Cool place, we called Dickson and Ken to come join us!

13 May 2006

True Sake

So, after getting shit from my friends at E3 because I live within six blocks of the place and haven't been there yet, I finally got to True Sake (www.truesake.com) tonight. True Sake is a premium Sake (Japanese rice wine) store in Hayes Valley in San Francisco, and supposedley has the best selection of sake in North America.

I can't vouch for that, but they certainly have a lot of great-sounding sakes. I got a bottle of the Otokoyama (man-mountain) because the manager suggested it was similar to Namahage, a sake I've had at restaurants and liked; and a bottle of another recommended dry sake, Hakkaisan (Mt. Eight Seas, I think? I'm a little iffy on the middle kanji). We'll try one of them at Gilles' tomorrow and we'll see what the reviews are!

06 May 2006

Firefly -- so fantastic, so depressing

I just finished watching the DVDs of Joss Whedon's "Firefly," easily the best science fiction I've seen since I saw the original Star Trek as a child. This show is just awesome, with a great ensemble cast, razor-sharp writing, and lots of humor placed intrinsically within the character interactions.

So, of course, I now have post-cancellation depression. Our culture must be truly doomed when something this high-quality can't even make a second season. And it's not like it was from some unknown new artist, either -- Mr. Whedon has made Fox plenty of money in the past. Is it stupid network executives? Is it a lack of patience?

Three season's worth of Firefly episodes would have created the next great science fiction franchise after Star Trek and Star Wars -- all the ingredients were there, we just needed enough episodes to make syndication viable. Instead, we have only one gem of a season and one pretty good movie (Serenity). Well, I'm certainly thankful for that!