Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A comparison of disaster response: Hurricane Katrina and the San Diego Wildfires

I heard this on NPR this afternoon:

Comparing Responses to Katrina, Calif. Wildfires

It's worth a listen, as it covers some of the differences in disaster response between the two events.

Quality of leadership was cited as a main factor in getting Federal assistance. While NOLA Mayor Nagin ranted on a radio show and Governor Blanko organized a moment of prayer to handle Katrina, Governor Schwarzenegger went on site to the Del Mar fairgrounds to ensure nursing home patients were evacuated to waiting medical facilities.

Also, it appears Governor Schwarzenegger pre-filed paperwork under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act when the indications were the wildfires could become a problem, rather than waiting until disaster struck, as was the case in Louisiana during Katrina.

Demographics and geography are likely factors as well. People in NOLA who could not evacuate were largely poor and didn't have their own transportation, while those in suburban San Diego could drive themselves out of the danger zone.

Emergency response isn't hampered by flooding in San Diego, of course. Once the fires are out, emergency vehicles can move in. Not the case in NOLA, were flood waters were very persistent.

To San Diego's benefit, there are a lot of military facilities in the area. Contrast that with New Orleans, where Federal help was days away.

California as a whole is subject to more than a few disasters on their own. Between other wildfires, mudslides and earthquakes it would seem their emergency responders have a bit of experience. As Katrina was, literally, a once in a life time event it's not as if there was lots of experience in dealing with floods of that magnitude.

The NPR article brought up race and class issues as well. Frankly, I don't see race as a factor at this stage. The disasters are different, and it's not as if San Diego is lilly white ( hint: White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2005 = 52.3% ).

Class may be another matter. It's true that there's more money in San Diego than in New Orleans, both in terms of personal wealth and in taxes collected by the local government. Having more funds available of course means there's more options available.

It will be interesting to see how San Diego comes out of this. Hopefully, they'll fare better than New Orleans, which still seems to be having problems.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And you thought your girl friend was nuts...

Woman Stabs Tied-Up Lover to Drink Blood
Oct 23, 6:32 PM (ET)

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - A woman who stabbed her tied-up lover so she could
drink his blood has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tiffany
Sutton told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Udall that she
was sorry for the incident and said she never meant to hurt anyone,
but received the stiff sentence anyway after he called the crime
especially heinous.

Sutton, 24, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in August. She was
arrested by Tempe police in February after she repeatedly stabbed her
lover during an alcohol- and drug-fueled sexual tryst.

According to police reports, the victim, 46-year-old Robert McDaniel,
agreed to be tied up during sex but became alarmed and asked to be
untied when Sutton pulled out a knife and said she liked to drink
blood. Sutton then attacked him, slicing his leg, puncturing his arm,
shoulder and back and cutting his neck and stomach. When he escaped,
she chased him with a pickax.

Sutton's attorney, Elizabeth Houck, told the judge at Tuesday's
hearing that she suffers from a personality disorder that causes
instability and has taken responsibility for her actions, according to
the East Valley Tribune.

Houck wrote in a sentencing memo that prison records show Sutton
thought she was a vampire for the first several weeks she was in jail.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Diego Fires: Larry Himmel in front of his destroyed home

Larry Himmel is a reporter from San Diego. Here he is reporting on the wildfires destroying his home.

I'm not sure if this counts as dedication to his job or insanity. Either way, I hope he had insurance.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Come Play With Us

So, Saw IV is coming out...

Not sure if it's on the "too see" list. After all, Chopping Block does have a point:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Batman Glass

30 Days of Night

Just in case you missed the trailer:

Overall, I liked it. Originally based on a graphic novel, the film mostly followed the original with a few twists.

It's survival horror; less about an unstoppable monster killing those who violate moral rules and more about people dealing with horrific events.

It's also a vampire film. The vampires here, however, aren't effete dandies who are overtly gay, nor are they bratty rich farts with a taste for blood.

The portrayal of vampires in 30 days isn't remotely likable, nor is it remotely human. I didn't get the impression that these were humans who had become monsters, but rather that they were monsters who looked a bit human.

Nicely done.

Neil Gaiman on H.P. Lovecraft

Now this is interesting:

Pay attention around 5:02 ( or 3:24, depending on the viewer settings ).

Most horror movies are a modern morality tale. Do the Bad Thing ( have sex, do drugs, whatever ) and the Bad Man punishes you.

Lovecraft, as Gaiman points out, isn't like that. In his world, you just stay at the wrong hotel or find a box of papers among your dead uncles belongings. The malevolence of the universe is manifest not against those who violate societies norms but against society itself.

The only morality is the universe doesn't care, and that human morality is irrelevant. Perhaps that's part of why Lovecraft still has some appeal, even after all these years; it's an interesting answer to the question "why do bad things happen to good people?".

Saturday, October 20, 2007

B Movies

Free B Movies

Watch hours of B Movie classics like Night of the Living Dead, A Boy and His Dog, Metropolis and Street Fighter for Free!

Ok, they're free because the copyright expired, apparently. Still, good stuff. No registration, sign-in, credit card or note from Mom required. Just a broadband connection and hours of time to waste.


I go through this every day...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why I'm here

Just in case you're one of the readers from my old blog ( yeah, both of you ), here's the explenation for the move.

A few people complained that my myspace blog was tough to read. Occasional demands they register with myspace, problems with flash ads... the works.

This site should be accessable without registration for the forseable future. As time goes on, I'll phase out the old blog. Until then, I'll try to keep both sites up ( albeit with mostly identical content ).