It seems I’m not the only person in the blogosphere who’s recently faced surprising consequences due to the content of their weblog. Shelley Powers, aka Burningbird, had a rather interesting conversation with the ~~IRS~~ [California franchise (tax) board]{.underline} this morning…

The person I talked today was compassionate, and extremely helpful — but she was also very thorough.

Before she responded to me by calling me, she mentioned that she gone out to my weblog, this weblog, and read the entries scattered about in it where I talked about my financial situation. She mentioned about reading that thanks to unemployment, I can at least keep my car; about the other things I put online that I didn’t think I would hear back from the mouth of a member of a representative of a governmental tax organization.

I’m not faulting her or shouting out cries of ‘government invasion of privacy’ just because she was thorough. What privacy? I put all this online for anyone to read. Am I going to blame the government, or my creditors, or anyone else for that matter because they read what I write?

She’s since gone back and deleted any posts dealing with her financial situation — and I don’t blame her one bit. It must have been quite a startling revelation when she heard that from the lady she was talking to.

More and more, we need to face the fact that barring password protection, there is no such thing as a “private” weblog. Once the information is there on the ‘net, and available to be read, you can bet that it will be, and not always by those you expect it to be. Some people might say that anonymous blogging is the answer, but I’m not convinced of that — for more on that, read the conclusion to my Fifteen Minutes of Fame post. Best to just accept the fact that anything you put out there can can be found, assume that it will be found, and post accordingly.

(via Scoble)

Body piercing is something I’ve never been terribly interested in, on a personal level. I have no problem with it on other people, and often find it quite attractive, I just have never felt any need nor desire to do it to myself. For quite a few years, I used to joke that I was a “freak among freaks”, as I was the only one in my group of friends who was “unmodified” — no piercings, no tattoos, no body modification of any sort. Once I got my tattoo that was less true, but I’d still joke about it from time to time.

One night, the club I was DJ’ing at had just closed down, and our group of late night rabble rousers had found our way over to our usual post-club breakfast spot, “Vinyl” (Village Inn, Northern Lights — VINL). Most of the wait staff there had gotten used to us, generally we were liked, or at least tolerated. A bit rowdy, to be sure, all amped up on sugar and caffeine, but as the club was a non-alcoholic all-ages dance club, at least we weren’t drunk and rowdy.

We were being especially energetic this night, and at some point when the waitress came by, one of us apologized to her for being so raucous. “Oh, don’t even worry about it,” she assured us. “You’re not that bad, and besides — working the bar rush shift, I don’t think there’s anything that’ll surprise me anymore.”

Oooh — a challenge! Marc and I looked at each other. To this day, I have no idea where the inspiration came from, as I don’t remember us discussing this in the least. One way or another, though, our Muse was with us.

“Excuse me — miss?”

“Yes?”

“I bet we could surprise you.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yup. Tell you what. If we can come up with something you’ve never seen before — that won’t get us kicked out or arrested — we get our breakfast for free, okay?”

She laughed. “All of you?”

“No, no — just us two,” I said, pointing to Marc and myself.

“Well…what’cha got?”

We grinned. I grabbed the Dr. Pepper she had just brought me and set it between us, and Marc took the straw and placed it in front of him on the table. Sticking out his tongue, he calmly unscrewed the ball of his tongue stud, dropped it in the empty coffee creamer dish, then slid the post out and put it in the dish. He then unwrapped the straw, brought it up to his face, and slid the straw into the hole in his tongue until his tongue was halfway along the length of the straw.

“Okay,” said the waitress. “The straw is a little freaky, but I’ve seen people play with their tongue piercings before.”

“No worries,” I said.

Marc then leaned over, letting the bottom end of the straw drop down into my Dr. Pepper. I leaned over, took the top of the straw in my mouth, and proceeded to take a few big sips of my Dr. Pepper, though the straw, right through Marc’s tongue.

We got our breakfast for free.

(Inspired by Nate‘s Household Items I can fit in my Piercings post)

I found the following anecdote in a Home Theater Forum review of the Finding Nemo DVD, and thought it was wonderful…

The marketing people at Buena Vista are surprisingly cool. The first package I got…which looked like the normal mailer they send me for DVD marketing material…had a letter stating “Here is the DVD to some movie that I can’t remember!”. There was no DVD. The message was printed on a color printer on “Finding Nemo” letterhead and was signed “Dory”. Ok so Dory is forgetful…so I figured she’d just forgotten to include the DVD.

The next day I get the typical bubble-mailer (the way BV sends me all their DVDs) with a DVD case with a note “Oops! Forgot to send the DVD the first time! here it is!”…signed… “Dory”. Opening the DVD case revealed…there were no discs inside. Ok…at this point the folks at Disney had me. I placed a call to their PR department just to make sure that they were aware of the mistake. I left a message on their answering machine which had the voice of…you guessed it…Dory. Dory was kind enough to return my call and when I got home she assured me that she had discovered that she had sent out all the DVD packages but had forgotten to include the actual discs and that they would be sent forth shortly.

The next day a third package arrives with yet another letter on Nemo stationary apologizing for the previous mistakes and this time containing 2 Nemo DVDs (Discs 1 and 2) in a shnazy little custom Nemo 2-disc plastic holder. All in all I’m impressed with Dory’s promptness in discovering her mistakes, her self-awareness of her memory problem and her ability to make it all come out right in the end.

The DVD, by the way, is incredible (as is the movie). Gorgeous to look at, and a good selection of special features. I highly recommend taking the time to watch the commentary track. Not only are Pixar’s commentaries generally among the best that I’ve listened to, they intercut the movie with behind the scenes clips that focus on whatever particular effect, technique, or moment that they’re talking about at the time. Very nicely done.

And, of course, there are a few fun easter eggs to be found…

…including an ad for the AquaScum 2003!

AquaScum 2003

The AquaScum 2003’s hermetically sealed dual phase motor technology is not for use as: air conditioner, fountain, tire pump, pool sweep, water purifier or laser pointer. Not approved for fresh water fish. The AS2K3 contains a class 3 laser. WARNING Laser beams may cause permanent eye damage. Filter canisters contain ammonium nitrate, may cause ichthyological diarrhea, scale warts, cankers, fish gout and/or bloatation. One additional canister filter supplied in EAG compliant areas if purchased on 3rd Sunday of the month. Free keychain on purchase of two or more at participating Fish-a-ramas.

One benefit to being unemployed. If, while bouncing around the ‘net, you happen to stumble across a reminder that today is the opening day for Matrix: Revolutions, the third and final chapter in the Matrix saga, you can immediately buy a ticket online for a show that starts in 20 minutes, walk to the theater, and see the film without having to think twice about it.

End result: While neither Matrix: Reloaded nor Matrix: Revolutions are the tour-de-force that The Matrix was, taken as a whole, I think they’re a very solid trilogy, and sure to be some of the most talked-about movies for quite a while as people work their way through all the various philosophical, religious, and symbolic threads throughout all three films. That in itself is something of a coup — love them or hate them, they’re sure to get people thinking.

The Wachowski brothers definitely took some chances in Matrix: Revolutions, making a few decisions that I was quite pleasantly surprised to see as they unfolded in the latter half of the film. Some of those choices might not sit too pleasantly with people used to the more “traditional” endings of most of today’s fare, but I was quite happy to see that the Wachowski’s recognize that even a happy ending doesn’t necessarily mean one without consequence or sacrifice.

I’m going to stop there for now, for a couple reasons. Firstly, I’d like to see the movie again when I have a chance, and let it percolate in my brain a bit longer before diving into more of the events and explanations behind the events. Secondly, though, as this is opening day, I’d like to give people who haven’t seen it yet some chance to go in spoiler free!

Lizette&, an excellent band from Sweden whom I’ve mentioned in the past, has finally finished their debut album! The release party is scheduled for December 2nd. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend — a small matter of me being in Seattle, and the party being in Stockholm, Sweden — but I’ve been looking forward to this album for a while, and will be snagging a copy as soon as it’s available to be ordered.

They’re an alternative/industrial band that I discovered a few years back via the Internet, somewhere along the lines of the Kidney Thieves (who opened for KMFDM on their last tour). Well worth checking out, I’d say, and you can get a few samples of their sound from their MP3.com page.

Since getting Slashdotted, my bandwidth has been going through the roof. On an account rated for 5Gb/month of data transfer, that on a normal month would use roughly half that amount, I hit about 90Gb of data in the last five days of October, and over the first four days of November have already hit about 40Gb of traffic. Crazy.

After realizing this, I did a bit of investigating, and realized that each of the posts that have been getting the most traffic (Even Microsoft wants G5s and Of Blogging and Unemployment) have picked up so many comments that they were up to ~300kb each! At that rate, each page would only need to be loaded three times to produce 1Mb of data transfer — and with the amount of traffic I’ve been getting, that number grows quickly.

In an attempt to try to slow things down a bit, then, I’ve had to both disable any new comments on those posts, and disable the display of the comments I’ve already received, which brought each of the two pages down to around 60k. Turning TrackBack pings off brought the page size down even more, to around 6k each — far better. If things die down, I hope to be able to re-enable at least the display of the TrackBack pings, if not the comments (some of them are pretty entertaining, if not rational) next month sometime. Until then, though (and quite possibly permanently), they’ll have to stay ping- and comment-free.

While I’m not hugely into anime, I have over the years found a few that I enjoy a lot. Right at the top of that list is Ghost in the Shell, notable both on an artistic level and as one of the better science-fiction films I’ve seen come out recently.

It appears that there is a new Ghost in the Shell movie coming out in 2004: Innocence. In addition to the promotional website, they’ve also released a short teaser trailer (13.3Mb Quicktime .mov). Since everything’s in Japanese, I don’t have much of a clue what anyone is saying, but my lord does it ever look pretty!

Even better news about this, too: someone in the Slashdot thread about this posted a press release that states that Dreamworks will be distributing GitS:I domestically in the first half of 2004!

While Go Fish will undoubtedly release its share of indie films, the second film announced by Dreamworks was Ghost In The Shell II: Innocence, the follow-up to the extremely successful science fiction anime feature, Ghost In The Shell, which was directed by Mamoru Oshii and based on the manga series by Masamune Shirow (published in the U.S by Dark Horse).

Early fall, 1997.

James, Richard and I had just gotten out of a late showing of that year’s Sci-Fi/Horror film, “Event Horizon“. None of us had known quite what we were in for when we decided to go, aside from the most basic premise of “something creepy happens in space,” but it looked fun, so off we were.

We had a blast. The movie itself, if you haven’t seen it, is either really good or really horrible, depending on how you look at it. As a horror movie, it’s pretty good — as a science-fiction movie, it’s horrendous. That night, though, we just had a lot of fun with the horror movie part, sitting in the dark in a huge theater, jumping at all the cheap thrills and loud noises, and thoroughly enjoying it.

Leaving the theater sometime after midnight, we were so jazzed on adrenaline that we were bouncing off the walls, so we stopped off at the local grocery store for some snacks.

“I like it here,” commented James as we walked down the aisles. “It’s warm…the lights are on…there’s air…. Can we stay?”

We got to the checkout counter, and I started skimming the tabloid headlines as James and Richard paid for their goodies. “Hey guys,” I said, and held up the latest Weekly World News. “Alien’s Last Words!”

James just looked at me and deadpanned, “Ack. Ack ack. Ack ack ack ack. Ack.”

Eventually we headed back to my apartment. Once we got there, James decided that he was still too amped from the movie to have any chance of going to sleep. In order to relax and calm down, he decided the best thing to do would be to watch a nice, calm, relaxing movie.

Like Aliens.

True to form, he was asleep before the movie ended.