John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wicked Wilma Strengthens

This is a frackin' nightmare.  First, Katrina, then Rita, now Wilma?  Hurricane Wilma exploded in strength from a category 1 hurricane to a category 5 hurricane in a matter of hours.

Most of the predictions of hurricane Wilma have it clipping the Yucatan penninsula in Mexico, and then quickly hooking northeast toward Florida somewhere south of the Tampa area.  While that path is not very specific, generally, I think it's heading toward my hood in central Florida, in hurricane Charley fashion.

So, I guess, I better bring in the cat and count the ammunition, as they say.  I already helped a neighbor bring in her all items that she had outside for a pre-moving yard sale.  I told her that her dollar items might become projectile missiles, if Wilma tracks anywhere near us over this upcoming weekend.

If hurricane Katrina taught people anything, it taught that you have the first responsibility for your own safety, not any level of the government.  Last year's Florida hurricanes taught me that preparedness is key.

Florida's Attorney General put out this press release today:

Hurricane Wilma Prompts Consumer Alert from Attorney General

TALLAHASSEE – Attorney General Charlie Crist today urged Floridians and visitors to take all necessary safety precautions as Hurricane Wilma approaches the state and to be alert for unscrupulous businesses operators who try to take advantage of them. Crist mobilized his office and staffed a toll-free hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) to handle consumer calls over possible price gouging.   [full PDF]

Web sites I have been parsing for hurricane Wilma information and news:

Florida Disaster (Emergency Management site)

NASA images of hurricane Wilma (I am a SpaceGeek)

Nation Hurricane Center XML news feed:

[Fullscreen] :: DOOM movie trailer - Official DOOM

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Hitchcock and Halloween

Do you need some help to get in the Halloween spirit of spookiness?

From October 24th - October 30th, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be showing 39 movies by Sir Alfred Hitchcock.  You can also enter their sweepstakes to win a four day "Footsteps in the Fog" tour for two and stay in San Francisco's and Sonoma's Fairmont hotels.  Other prizes include a pretty cool 15-disc set of Hitchcock movies on DVD and a "Footsteps in the Fog" book.  Entry deadline for sweepstakes is October 31st.

If you'd prefer to go to southern California instead of northern California, I found another TV sweepstakes for you.  ABC is promoting the American Music Awards with their "Be Here" sweepstakes.  Enter to win an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles and attend the American Music Awards show at the Shrine Auditorium, November 22nd.  T-Mobile is sponsoring this sweepstakes, so you'll get one of their spiffy Sidekick II camera phones, too.  Entry deadline is November 8th.

Also, don't forget about the other film contests about which I already blogged earlier this month!

First, the Amazon Screening Room is only open until October 28th.  If you haven't already checked it out, go there to watch and rate the top five film finalists.  I just saw the very short, short called "Coming Home" today.  While only less than two minutes in length, it's a great little short because its comedy is perfect and succinct.  For Halloween spooky spoofiness, check out "Duel at the Red Table."  The camera work is pretty cool and the story is original and cute.

Second, if you are an indie film maker, the Intel Indies Film Contest at Atom Films is still open until November 21st.  So you have about a month to make a short that doesn't suck, if you want to win $25,000.  Check the site for contest rules.

Even if you're not a film maker, but you want some Halloween spookiness in short form, you can still check out these categories of short films and animations at Atom Films:
In order to watch these films, a high speed connection is recommended.  However, don't be scared away if you just have a 56K dialup.  When I first started checking out Atom Films, I only had a 56K connection and patience.

[Headphones] :: Dangerous Group - Akira3099

Thursday, October 13, 2005
Space Wire XML News Feed

Some of my space exploration links:

Blogdrive Blogs - Space category

MarsQuest Online

Mars Digital Atlas

NASA Planetary Data System MAP-A-PLANET

Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn

Space Wire XML News Feed:

[Fullscreen] :: DOOM movie trailer - Official DOOM site

Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Ten Years Later - Millions More Movement

This upcoming Saturday, organizers will be having an event in Washington D.C. commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March.  Some of you may have missed the first Million Man March, but living in Detroit, I actually remember the news coverage at the time.  It was fairly controversial in my neighborhood, where wealthier Jews, Arabs, Blacks and Whites lived in some isolation from the urban issues of Detroit, but were nonetheless vocal about the Million Man March, and its organizer, Naton of Islam spokesman, Louis Farrakhan.

Personally, I like Louis Farrakhan.  I have taken the time to listen to his speeches on radio and C-SPAN, instead of just listening to some people taking selected, controversial soundbytes out of context for the purpose of discrediting him, or labeling him anti-semitic, or racist, or whatever.

While I may not agree with Farrakhan on every specific issue, I appreciate the fact that he seems to have the confidence in his activism (he has a pair of balls) to speak bluntly and criticize the status quo about the problems we all face as a nation.  Here are the many issues that will be addressed Saturday:
The Issues of "The Millions More Movement"

1. Unity

We call, first, for the unity amongst Black peoples and organizations. We call for unity amongst all African peoples and peoples of African descent worldwide. We call for unity with our Brown, Red, disenfranchised and oppressed Brothers and Sisters in America, Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia and all over the world. “The Power of One” is the synthesis of men, women, youth and elders working in unity for our total liberation.

2. Spiritual Values

We call for Atonement, Reconciliation and Responsibility. We organize in the name of our God (The One Creator) and on sound ethical, moral principles and values. Our Movement affirms the rich legacy and diversity of our spiritual traditions and calls for unity and understanding among our religious faiths and spiritual traditions.

3. Education

We demand an end to substandard education in our community. The Millions More Movement advocates, and will develop, a new, independent educational paradigm for our people. We must have a knowledge of self, our history, and the best education in civilized society. We will build a skills bank, the talent of which will be used in the development of our people.

4. Economic Development

We will establish a Black Economic Development Fund, with the support of millions, to aid in building an economic infrastructure. We will also offer housing ownership opportunities to check the adverse tide of gentrification. The Millions More Movement will produce and distribute its own products and supports “Buy Black” campaigns.

5. Political Power

The Millions More Movement is the political voice of the poor and disenfranchised. We are resolved to take an independent political path in order to achieve political power. The Millions More Movement will be an organized political force of consequence in America and all over the world.

6. Reparations

We demand full and complete Reparations for the descendants of slaves. We demand that America take the appropriate steps to help in the repair of the damage done from 300 years of slavery, 100 years of segregation, and 50 years of the misuse and abuse of governmental power to destroy Black organizations and leaders.

7. Prison Industrial Complex

We demand freedom for all political prisoners held in U.S. prisons and detention facilities, both foreign and domestic. We demand an end to police brutality, mob attacks, racial profiling, the herding of our young men and women into prisons and the biological and chemical warfare perpetrated against our people.

8. Health

We demand an end to the lack of adequate health care in our community and we demand free health care for the descendants of slaves in this nation. The Millions More Movement will present a Preventive Health Care Plan to our people that will begin with a campaign to educate our people on healthy dietary, eating and exercise habits.

9. Artistic/ Cultural Development

We demand a greater accountability and responsibility of our artists, entertainers, industry personnel and executives, for them to commit to the redevelopment and upliftment of our people. We demand an end to the exploitation of our talent by outside forces. We will make strides in obtaining greater control over the means of production and distribution of our immense artistic talent and creative genius. We advocate for cultural development, and for the knowledge of our original culture to be used as a model for future advancement.

10. Peace

We call for the establishment of peace in the world. We demand an end to wars of foreign aggression waged by the United States Government against other sovereign nations and peoples. We demand an end to senseless violence, and advocate peace amongst street organizations (gangs) and youth.

[Fullscreen] ::  Get Real!  Million Man March Message - Louis Farrakhan

Sunday, October 09, 2005
Killer Kashmir Quake

In Pakistan, the earthquake was felt as far south as Lahore, where this multi-storey building collapsed. Scared residents fled into the streets as the tremors began. [BBC/AP]

Medical attention for the wounded has also been limited. This child was evacuated out of Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, by US helicopter. [BBC/AP]

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred at 03:50:38 (UTC) on Saturday, October 8, 2005, in Pakistan.  Subtract 4 hours from UTC for Eastern Daylight Time (New York), or add 5 hours to UTC for the local time of the earthquake.

Preliminary reports from the USGS indicate that:
At least 30,000 people killed, 43,000 injured and many towns and villages destroyed or badly damaged in northern Pakistan. At least 800 people were killed in India and four people in Afghanistan. An estimated 2.5 million people in the area have been left homeless. Landslides have damaged roads and bridges blocking access to many of the worst-hit areas.
International aid is pouring into the region.  International Rescue and Recovery teams have saved some lives, pulling people out from beneath the rubble of many buildings.  Here are some web sites with main sections devoted to this terrible event with news and donation information: If you wish to donate money to help people in this region, be sure to go directly to the official web site of an NGO or charity.  As with any natural disaster, fraudulent websites and scam artists inevitably pop up to take advantage of disasters and your generosity.

This last year, Mother Nature has been a total bitch -- the tsunami, wildfires, and multiple hurricanes.  What do you think is next, a volcano erupting, or a large meteor hitting a major city, or the much talked about bird flu pandemic?  Do these natural disasters make you wonder about your religion's prophecies of end times?

[Fullscreen] ::  Murble - Strippers are special  Childhood Public Service Announcement - UNICEF

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