Saturday, March 28, 2009

BoA Debut Album!

The much anticipated self-named album, BoA, finally arrived. After the smokin' hot video of the single "Eat You Up" came out, I had such high hopes BoA would indeed conquer the US. Though not a complete stink bomb, this English breakthrough album did not do much for me. I also do not believe BoA will make her mark in the US with it, but it's just good enough to keep her around for a second try.

The next single off the album is to be, "I Did It for Love" (featuring Sean Garrett). Its excessive voice digitization did nothing to that great voice of hers and "Energetic" is even worst in this regards. I also don't care for the Britney like tracks such as "Touched" and "Scream." Honestly, BoA is BoA and should not be made to sound like other pop stars.

I will say that as a dance album, it does a decent job. I didn't want to get up and boogie but I did bob my head a few times. I even tapped my toes for "Hypnotic Dancefloor," but that was about it. Still, I think the dance tracts will help the album climb the charts.

The songs on this album are aight. She's a solid dancer so I'm hoping with cool video productions, her great moves will carry the lackluster songs. Something like what she did in, "ID - Peace B," that highlights both her singing and dancing abilities.

Or would it not be cool to bring the Korean Maudlin style of video making to the US? This old-school video has all the elements of that gendre, "Key Of Heart" (featuring Dong Hae).

The final verdict is a 2.5 stars out of 4. Not a bad first try but knowing BoA the way I do, she could have really rocked this premier English Album. Maybe her producers should think less about how to fit her into the US pop scene and more about how to expose us lame Americans to cool K-pop, BoA will have a more lasting impact!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Boinking Presidents - Justine Lai Style

Bay Area artist, Justine Lai, is on a mission to screw every U.S. President in chronological order, dead or alive. Her latest score was 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant. If the images makes you uncomfortable, confused, turned on, pissed, empowered..., then Lai succeeded in her current evocative series Join Or Die.

I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public
legacies and private lives

Lai has said of her intent. She asserts that "A power lies in rendering these patriarchal figures the possible object of shame, ridicule and desire, but it is a power that is constantly negotiated." She believes this can best be accomplished by interjecting herself into the art to face the same kind of scrutiny. Though presented in a lighthearted manner, Lai does hope it has a deeper impact (pun not intended). What do you think.?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sixth Sense Cyborg - Future of IT

Pattie Maes & Pranav Mistry came up with an ingenious tech gadget, dubbed the "sixth sense," that allows you to intuitively gather information literally at your finger tips. Images can appear on any surface including a key pad on his own hand. It can come in handy when you're shopping and trying to get reviews or best buys. Or you can even project someone's google findings right on their shirts as you're talking to them.

The question is, do we need that much information in our lives? As a lazy human, I say, "hell no," but as an aspiring human/cyborg hybrid, I say, why not? Most of us only use 10% of our brain's capability anyway so I have more "storage" available. A bit bulky now, I imagine the "sixth sense" will be made a chip in no time. I am ready for the cyborg transformation. Are you?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Please Return My Bijou

It's almost been a year since my Bijou was dognapped and it seems I know the people who have her. Please Queen Amidala and Samantha, return my precious Bijou! She doesn't like Naboo or NYC, so give her back! If anyone sees her please contact me ASAP. More information can be found here.,,20264923_20595384,00.html

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Palm Pre - The iPhone Buster?

I have iPhone envy. As a tech geek wannabee, it kills me I cannot afford one. Instead I have the Palm Centro. Seriously, I hate Palm products. Every time I get a new palm, it effs up my operating system and I have to upgrade and lose crap on my computer. I hate them so much, I actually sold all my Palm stocks after they gave me the run around at tech support. Centro is no different. I wasted no less than 5 hours on support from Bangalore to Manila trying to get a straight answer. I still cannot fully use my Centro and guess what, I'll have to upgrade my OS to maybe get my Centro working right.

However, there may be hope for Palm. Their new Pre is coming out this summer and the word on the nerd streets is, it may be the iPhone buster. Check it out below and tell me what you think? How much is this sucka gonna cost so I can be a sucka and save up for it?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Look Ma, No Hands - The Joys of a Bidet

Americans are barbarians. Why, you ask? Oh, where do I begin? Well, for starters, a vast number of them wear shoes in the house. But, I'll leave that gripe for another post. They are barbarians because they don't clean their bums properly. The French and Japanese, on the other hand, are extremely evolved in this sense. They have the BIDET!

What is a bidet, well, it's a bathroom device to clean your bum after toilet use. First invented in France in the late 17th century, it is now ubiquitous there as well as most of Europe and Asia. It resembles a toilet and you sit on it as jets of water shoots up your bum. Check out this demonstration, no subtitles needed.

I prefer the Japanese toilet-bidet combo where the toilet seat contains the mechanisms for the jet action. A variety of companies make them but by far the nicest one is Toto. They call their seats, washlets. On the swanky models, seats are heated as well as the water and includes a dryer! Watch this informative video.

There are many benefits to switching to a bidet. For one, you don't have to use your hands to clean that part anymore. It's environmentally sound because toilet paper is not needed (towel to dry off is still needed though). Let's not forget, it keeps you squeaky clean. We use water to clean all other parts of our body, why would we skip that area?

I am confident Americans will come around some day. I am seeing washlets sold in more mainstream stores like costco. Hopefully the bidet will catch on better than soccer did. Bidets are not inexpensive but well worth the investment. I have seen them as low as $300 but don't cheap out on this important purchase. I highly recommend the Toto Washlet. Your bum will thank you for it. Who doesn't want a happy bum?

David, in the comments section, recommends the "hand bidet"/bathroom sprayer as a cheaper, less complicated alternative to the washlet/bidet. Brilliant!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy International Women's Day

I first heard of International Women's Day (IWD) nearly 20 years ago while travelling in Europe. On March 8, an Italian inn keeper asked me if I knew about the significance of that particular day. Of course being an American, I had no idea of what he was talking about. He began explaining to me that it was a day to pay respect to women and their rights as equals. He added disdainfully that it is not celebrated in the United States because it is an awful capitalist country that allows their women workers to be burned alive in factories. And he ended grumbling a happy International Women’s Day to me.

Most likely he was referring to the New York 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist building fire that indeed did end in the deaths of 140 garment workers, most of whom were European immigrant women. Or maybe the inn keeper meant any of the other historical events documenting the labor abuses of women in the U.S.

The irony of an American being scolded on democratic values did not end there. Even though the U.S. does not officially have IWD, it began here. It originated in the United States in part by the socialists' campaign for equality for women. In 1903, women trade unionists and professional women campaigned for women's voting rights. On February 28, 1907, women socialists organized huge demonstrations and meetings all over the country to demand political rights for working women. In particular, women workers from New York demonstrated against poverty, exploitation and the right to vote. IWD grew from the struggles of that year.

Awareness of women’s labor abuses grew in November 1909, when 20,000 plus factory employed seamstresses (waist makers) walked out to protest falling wages, the 56-69 hour work week, and the strict discipline of the industry’s subcontractor system. This strike involved more unionized women than ever before and triggered mass support among other workers.

By 1910, it was decided at the second International Conference of Socialist Working Women meeting in Copenhagen (with representatives from 17 countries) that they would officially organize an annual International Women’s Day. The rest is history.

Since the unpleasant but educational encounter in Italy, I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating IWD in Viet Nam, known as Ngày Phụ Nữ (NPN). Some have compared NPN to the States’ Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day rolled into one. Everyone is scrambling to get flowers for their female employees, family members and lovers. Women have the entire day off or they leave work early to attend the NPN celebrations held around town. I quite enjoyed this special day.

But, like I tell all my friends, Internatinal Women’s Day should be everyday. Not too late to celebrate it a day late. Go out and get flowers ASAP. Yes, women can give the women in their lives goodies too. I do it all the time.,0.jpg

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Watchmen Lives Up to the Hype

Wow! I honestly could not imagine any film doing justice to the graphic novel, Watchmen, but hell, they did it! If you have not read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend you catch the flick ASAP then read the comic, in that order. This way, you'll enjoy both very much.

Spoiler alert! The film has a different ending, and I know the purists will scoff, but I like the film ending better. It at least resonates with the current times and is less cheesy. Most everything else like plot and design stays very very true to the graphic novel. Except the violence and sex is more graphic in the film, shocking! In fact, Mr. Manhattan got plenty of screen shots for his full frontal! And maybe the best line remains Rorschach's (masked anti-hero above) declaration to his fellow prisoners, "I'm not stuck in here with you, you're stuck in here with me."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Peel P50 - Back to the Future

Leave it to the cheeky Brits to design my dream car, the Peel P50! It is perfect for my body frame and green-minded living. This 49cc, three-wheeled wonder retailed for 199₤ when it first came out in the 60s. Only 50 were made and 20 survived until this day. It gets 100 miles/gallon and does everything except reverse. But then again, you can just step out and literally move it by hand. The originals go for 30,000₤ but you cat get a replica from Carter for about 10,000₤. I so want their sport version with the moving roof for easy in-and-out access!

Physics of Superheroes

Physics professor, James Kakalios, has found a way to make physics funner! He uses comic book superheroes as a pedagogical tool by discussing the physics of their super powers. He also has the coolest job of a nerd at the moment, science consultant for Watchmen. Check him out below and buy his book here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Watchmen is a Comin'

Do you have your Watchmen Thursday midnight tix yet? Looks like the film stays true to the graphic novel. I expect nothing less from Zack Snyder (of 300 fame). Just gotta know how they plan to keep Doctor Manhattan's "goodies" contained. Hope they follow the graphic novel closely there too.

Oaktown's Whistle Tip - Noisy But Legal

WOOOOTWOOOO! You gotta love it!

Mr. Woot Woo (aka Rubb Bubb) and his little sis, Lil' Sis, keep Oakland interesting. Whistle tips have their King and Queen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Another Cop Beat Down - Victim is a 15-year-old Girl

Another act of brutality caught on video tape, this time in King County, Seattle. On Friday, video footages surfaced of a police officer slamming a 15-year-old girl's face against the wall of her holding cell, pinning her to the ground and punching her face multiple times. The event took place November 20 of 2008 and was captured by a security camera.

The girl was arrested for riding in the passenger seat of her parent's car that was reported stolen. She was arrested and taken to a holding cell when she was asked to take off her basketball shoes. She kicked one off hitting the police officer in the shin. That's when he rushed her, kicked her, beat her (even after she was restrained), and moved her about by grabbing her hair. The culprit is 31-year-old police officer Schene. He is 6'2" and weighs 195 pounds. The victim does not look to be over 5' and 90 lbs. Schene is currently on leave with pay. On leave with pay? "Justice" (scoff)!

County prosecutor plans to charge Schene with "criminal misconduct." Schene's defense is the girl was "lippy" calling the officers "fat pigs." Oh, and that the shoe to the shin caused him mental and physical pain and bleeding. Ahuh. I just want to get this clear, is it policy to bash someone of any gender, any size, and any age when he or she is mouthing off? What is the point of that? Logically, force used when making arrests depends on the nature of the threat. She was already arrested and in her holding cell; what more do you need to do? Thank god for cameras! We still don't know the extent of the girl's injuries because attack was not reported. She was not even taken to the hospital when she complained about having trouble breathing.

This leads me to rethink what happened last week when two famous hip-hop stars, Chris Brown, and Rihanna, were in the news after he allegedly bashed her face in his car. The results of this beat down can be seen to the right. If only we have videos of that, there would be no question now if he should be charged with this and that. Rihanna is said to display classic signs of battered women syndrome because she has yet to press charges and has been sighted vacationing with her assailant this week.

When will all this violence stop? We are a very uncivilized species.

Change According to Obama

The good people of just compiled a short list of the dramatic changes Obama has put in motion. Makes me very very happy.

10 things you
should know
about Obama's plan
(but probably don't)

The plan:

  1. Makes a $634 billion down payment on fixing health care that will go a long way toward paying for a more efficient, more affordable health care system that covers every single American.
  2. Reduces taxes for 95% of working Americans. And if your family makes less than $250,000, your taxes won't go up one dime.
  3. Invests more than $100 billion in clean energy technology, creating millions of green jobs that can never be outsourced.5
  4. Brings our troops home from Iraq on a firm timetable, finally bringing the war to a close—and freeing up almost ten billion dollars a month for domestic priorities.
  5. Reverses growing income inequality. The plan lets the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire and focuses on strengthening the middle class.
  6. Closes multi-billion-dollar tax loopholes for big oil companies.
  7. Increases grants to help families pay for college—the largest increase ever.
  8. Halves the deficit by 2013. President Obama inherited a legacy of huge deficits and an economy in shambles, but his plan brings the deficit under control as soon as the economy begins to recover.
  9. Dramatically increases funding for the SEC and the CFTC—the agencies that police Wall Street.
  10. Tells it straight. For years, budgets have used accounting tricks to hide the real costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts, and too many other programs. Obama's budget gets rid of the smokescreens and lays out what America's priorities are, what they cost, and how we're going to pay for them.

  • Stops unnecessary government subsidies to big banks, health insurance companies and big agribusinesses.

  • Expands access to early childhood education and improves schools by investing in programs that make sure every child has a qualified, strong teacher.
  • Negotiates for better prescription drug prices using Medicaid's tremendous bargaining power.
  • Expands access to family planning for low-income women.
  • Caps the pollution that causes global warming, and makes polluters pay to support clean energy innovation.