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(Un)safe

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Dave!Just because I don't like the idea of being the only one having nightmares tonight, here's a tale of your tax dollars at work. In the name of "National Security," America just keeps slipping away bit by bit doesn't it? How long will it be before I don't recognize it anymore?

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

ReReunited

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Dave!While working at home, I usually have VH1-Classic running in the background so I can listen to all that old 80's music I just can't seem to leave behind. Most of the time, I barely realize it's there, unless some song catches my attention that I need to buy from the iTunes Music Store. Well, if it is available from the iTunes Music Store! All too often I find that an artist I want is plagued by having only "partial albums" for sale. Then I have to decide whether I want the music bad enough to buy it on CD, or just forget it.

Usually I just forget it.

Anyway, I really took notice when a commercial for a new season of Bands Reunited came up. Woo hoo! I've blogged about this excellent show a few times before, and have been looking forward to this. Here's the line-up this time around:

  • New Kids on the Block: Who cares? Seriously.
  • The English Beat: Ooooooh... interesting! This band (which I liked) eventually divided into General Public and Fine Young Cannibals (both of which I also like) so I'm looking forward to this.
  • Haircut 100: Not a band I was overly fond of. I can only recall the songs they had... Boy Meets Girl and Love Plus One. Nick Heyward's solo career might make this episode worth a look though.
  • The Motels: Not a favorite. Only the Lonely was an okay song, but Martha Davis never really did it for me.
  • ABC: This is a band I do like, and the episode I am most looking forward to. I really hope they end up getting together. So many good songs, but I like Be Near Me and All of my Heart best.

Only five episodes? Bummer. I hope they're good ones.

   

Millionaire

Posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2004

Dave!My life is pretty boring right now (work... ride motorcycle... repeat) so there's just not very many interesting things for me to blog about ("interesting" being a relative term, of course). This morning while in the shower I started thinking about things I could blog about. I could write about the brand of shampoo I use, obviously, or perhaps even how I get rid of soap scum in the tub. But surely there's something more... something captivating and exciting. Something that's actually worth people's valuable time to read.

And then it occurred to me: I would have tons of cool crap to blog about if I had a million dollars!

Somebody could give me a million dollars (PayPal accepted) and I could blog about how I spend it!!

I know, I know... before you go sending me a million dollars, there are few questions you have. Well never fear, that's what I am here for...

If I give you a million dollars, how do I know that you will really blog about it?
I blog about brushing my teeth for crying out loud, do you actually think I wouldn't blog about spending a million dollars?

Yeah, but how do I know you won't blow it all on something crazy and I'll only get one blog entry out of the deal?
Because I'm just not that stupid. It's not like I'd give it all to a foundation for bat guano research or pay Elizabeth Hurley a million dollars to sleep with me or something. Oh no, your million dollars guarantees you years of fabulous blog entries!

Just how long will it take you to spend it then?
Say... do you really think Elizabeth Hurley would sleep with me for a million dollars? Nah, you're right, she'll love me because I'm such a wonderful person, not because of how much money I have.

What exactly will you do with the million once I give it to you?
I don't know, and that's what's so cool about it: we'll find out together! Some of it will be going to charity (that's just how it works when you get a lot of money) but the rest will probably be spent doing interesting things, meeting interesting people, and buying cool crap. Whatever happens, you'll read about it right here!

I don't trust PayPal with my money, can I send you a certified check?
But of course! Wire transfers, bearer bonds, and gold bouillon are also perfectly acceptable.

Great! I am a Nigerian businessman with ten million dollars in oil prospecting revenue stuck in a bank. If you pay the $100,000 release fee, I'll give you a million of it!
Didn't I already mention that I'm not stupid? If I'm going to toss away massive amounts of money, I'd rather send it to Ze Frank.

But I love your blog just how it is! If I give you a million dollars, won't you change and not be the same person anymore?
Nah, that would never happen. I'll be the same guy I've always been, just with a lot more money. No sir, a million dollars won't change me one bit!

Dave Millions

This is just a scam to get me to pay you a million dollars isn't it?!? Uhhh... you obviously haven't read much of my blog. This is just a joke*.

   

*not that I'm saying I would refuse it if somebody offered me a million dollars, mind you.

   

FridayQ: Funny

Posted on Friday, September 3rd, 2004

Dave!What's something you find humorous, but probably shouldn't? Graham Norton. He is not funny. Honestly, he's obnoxious and foul. But I laugh my ass off anyway. The same probably goes for South Park, Dave Chappelle, and Martha Stewart.

What's something that others find funny, but you don't? It's a tie between Adam Sandler, Everybody Loves Raymond, and racist jokes. I don't "get" any of them.

What actor/comedian/personality always makes you laugh? Right now it's Wanda Sykes, but Eddie Murphy and Phil Hartman are favorites too. What movie? Office Space only slightly beats out Baseketball, both of which I have seen dozens of times. What book? My copy of The Indispensable Calvin And Hobbes (or any of the other Calvin and Hobbes books) will do it.

FQ Stand-Up: Tell us a joke or funny story. True story. Once after having had dinner at a Red Robin in Seattle, I was washing my hands after using the restroom and overheard a guy at the urinal talking to himself. Things like "oh crap!" and "holy shit, what am I going to do here" and "aw, f#@% me!" I was scared to turn and look at what might be going on, so I didn't even bother to dry my hands, I just ran out.

As we were leaving the restaurant, I saw the same guy exiting the bathroom with a huge stain on the front of his trousers. That's when I realized he had urinated all over himself while taking a piss. His date came up and said "oh there you are, I was beginning to wonder if you needed some help in there!" Then she noticed his wet crotch and said "whoa... and apparently you did!"

The guy, in a feeble attempt to cover his horror said "uuuhhhh... the faucet was broken and I got sprayed." To which she replied in disgust: "Suuuuure it was the faucet. I'm going to go get a newspaper so you won't get 'water' stains on my seat" (and she visually surrounded the word "water" with air quotes to get her point across). This made the guy really embarrassed and angry, so he shouted out "I didn't make fun of you that time you got drunk and crapped your pants!!"

This got the attention of the dozen or so people that were waiting for a table, and everybody turned and looked as they walked out the door. A second after the door had closed, a kid blurted out "mom, you should wear diapers next time you get drunk!"

Have a laugh at the FridayQ.

Categories: Memes 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Dave Approved: Enchiladas

Posted on Saturday, September 4th, 2004

Dave!It's Saturday, which means it's time to whore myself out by endorsing a product, person, or service that I'm currently enamored with! Since I'm hungry, I think I'll pick a food I'm fixated on just now: El Monterey Cheese Enchiladas.

When you are a vegetarian, finding good Mexican food is tough. Most of the time, you just have to ignore the fact that the food you're eating probably has chicken fat or bouillon or some other dead animal-related product in it. There's not much you can do about it in a restaurant but, when buying frozen foods, I do look at the ingredients. Odds are the cheese is going to have rennet in it, but I can at least rule out more obvious animal products.

The problem is that when you finally do find an elusive frozen Mexican entree without chicken juice in it, the stuff usually tastes like ass. I think I've tried just about everything out there, and none of it has merited a repeat purchase (especially the designated "vegan" crap which is the worst of the lot). That's why I wasn't holding out much hope when I saw the local Fred Meyer had started carrying "El Monterey" brand foods that appeared to be dead-chicken free...

El Monterey!

Wow. I mean, WOW. These are the best enchiladas I have ever eaten. They are so good that they seem more like dessert than an entree... deliciously light and fluffy filling that's not a pile of grease, and a sauce that's to die for (well, not for me to die for, but it's certainly worth somebody else dying over!).

There is a catch, however. These things are horrible for your health. The "serving size" on the Nutrition Facts is "one enchilada" and looks pretty scary. Multiply that by the four-enchilada serving you would actually eat and it's downright tragic, with recommended daily values off the chart: 80% of your total fat, 144% of your saturated fat, 44% of your cholesterol, and 100% of your sodium. Yikes. I would probably eat these every day if they weren't death-inducing, but figure once a week won't kill me.

But what a way to go.

Categories: Dave Approved, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Howl

Posted on Sunday, September 5th, 2004

Dave!My jealousy is in overdrive right now because people at the Venice Film Festival got to see the latest Miyazaki animated masterpiece: Howl's Moving Castle (based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones). As if the fact that they are in freakin' Venice isn't cool enough, they also get to see what is sure to be one of the best films of the year...

Howl's Moving Castle

I have blogged several times about my love for all things Miyazaki (he's entry #38 in my "One Hundred Things"), and feel that his stuff is equal to anything Pixar has ever done, and surpasses anything I've seen come out of Disney. Everything he touches is magic, which is why I was devastated when rumors were running around that he would be retiring after his previous piece of genius Spirited Away. Fortunately, his love of children put retirement on hold so he could get this movie made (possibly because it has a strong anti-war message?). Is it too much to hope that he will get a few more movies out before he really retires? I hear he is in poor health and couldn't make it to the festival, so I offer my best wishes for a quick recovery.

The film debuts in Japan on November 20th, so who knows when it will ever reach us here in the States. A preview in Quicktime is available (select "Media" - stunning!). And the official website is up as well (Japanese only).

If only I could afford another trip to Japan this year.

Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Labors

Posted on Monday, September 6th, 2004

Dave!As usual, I ended up having to work on this Labor Day holiday. This year I was a bit of a rebel in that I didn't actually go into the office, but decided to work at home. I don't know that it makes me feel any better about it, but it does have the benefit of allowing me to hang around in my underwear all day. I was toying with the idea of taking off a few hours for a motorcycle ride but, since that would involve me putting on pants, I took a pass.

I'm really hoping this means I'm just lazy today (or hate wearing pants), because if it means I am losing my desire to ride, I'm sure my desire to live will soon follow.

Sadly, working ten hours today still didn't get me caught up. Usually I'd feel bad about that... but given events in Russia, Florida, Iraq, and all the other horrifying news events of the day, I just can't bring myself to do so.

Everybody take care and be kind.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Steam

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Dave!As if it weren't enough that Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is coming... Ain't it Cool reports that Katsuhiro Otomo's first feature-length film since his masterpiece Akira is finally nearing completion: Steamboy! As you would expect, it looks absolutely amazing, and I have no idea how I am going to be able to wait for it to appear here in the States once I saw the brilliant images they have up at Monsters & Critics...

Steamboy

The film takes place in kind of an "alternate universe" version of Victorian London, which I'm sure will look stunning. It's supposed to be a much more "family-friendly" film than Akira, but fans of Otomo's ability to blow stuff up should not be disappointed. Here we see the Tower Bridge taking quite a hit...

Steamboy2

Otomo packs so much into every frame of his films that it is imperative to see them on the big screen in a really good theater. Since there are only a handful of theaters in the States I consider to be "really good," I wonder where I will end up flying to in order to see it? Now if only Otomo would adapt his excellent manga "Domu: A Child's Dream" into anime.

Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Hellcat

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Dave!While surfing through my RSS feeds, I noticed that Gizmodo is reporting on the Confederate Motorcycles "F124 Hellcat." I've seen the bike in motorcycle magazines I read, but it never occurred to me that Confederate would have a web site for some reason. I couldn't find a price for these hand-made works of art, but I'm guessing it ain't cheap considering other Confederate models hover around the $30,000+ range...

Hellcat

If I did have tens of thousands of dollars laying around, and I was insane enough to buy one, would I ever have the guts to ride it? Getting carried away and dumping this bike would ensure you a nice corner in hell by the motorcycle gods.

Categories: MotorcyclesClick To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Romantic

Posted on Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

Dave!There are a number of difficulties in trying to maintain a meme like FridayQ each week. The hardest part is always trying to come up with the questions. You want to be a little unique, but not too personal or offensive. You want to be interesting, but not too obtuse or strange. Finding the right balance is a definite challenge, and it's a small victory when you finally think of something (no matter how lame). Last week I had come up with the topic of "romantic," and basked in the relief that another week was done.

Until I found out that Cheddar X had come up with the same thing for their meme today.

Now, normally I don't pay attention to other memes because I don't want to be influenced by what others are doing. After Theme Thursday died, that was it for me. But some of the blogs I read participate in memes, and I end up taking a look. Tonight I was horrified to find out that my topic for the week was taken and I'll have to think of something else. I'm sure this happens all the time, but I'd rather it not happen in the same week if I can help it.

Oh well. Just to prove I'm a good sport, I'll go ahead and answer the Cheddar X questions:

1. What's the sexiest name you've ever heard? That would be "Elizabeth" because it's attached to the sexiest woman on earth, Elizabeth Hurley...

2. What's your idea of a romantic evening? I could say something like "flying to Rome for a romantic Italian dinner followed by a walk through the city holding hands and eating a gelato," but that would be a lie. Truthfully, a romantic evening to me would be making dinner together then watching DVDs until we fall asleep on the couch. Just being with somebody special is romantic enough for me, I don't need any distractions or window dressing.

3. Where's the most romantic place you know? Maui has beaches with romantic sunsets that can't be beat. It's gotten a bit crowded over the years, but it's still pretty amazing. Actually, anyplace can be romantic if you're with somebody you care about.

4. What's the most romantic gesture someone's made to you? A girl I was dating completely disarmed me once when she gave me new shoelaces. Yes, shoelaces. I was flying out on a trip, and she stopped to see me off on her way to work. After giving me a goodbye kiss, she handed me a package of shoelaces with a bow on top. She had noticed that my laces were a little "mangy," and thought I should have a new pair for my trip. The fact that she paid attention to such a tiny detail in my life really meant a lot to me. No other romantic gesture has ever come close.

5. What was your most romantic gesture? A girl I was really smitten with was devastated when a friend of hers died so I bought an airline ticket for her sister to come take care of her. We had only been out on a few dates, so I didn't know her well enough to make things better myself, so I did the only thing I could think of to help her out. In retrospect, I think that was pretty darn romantic.

Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fair

Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2004

Dave!Today the annual Chelan County Fair opened up. When I was younger, this was a huge deal and the lives of everybody in the valley revolved around the event.

Unfortunately, today the fair doesn't seem as important as it once was. Kids are playing video games instead of making craft projects and raising livestock, so there's not as much to see anymore. Because there's not as much going on, fewer people show up. Because fewer people show up, the price for entrance and parking have skyrocketed. Because it's so expensive, even less people are showing up. Catch-22.

It's all very sad, really. This once great event is a shadow of its former self. I wonder how much longer things can head down this spiral before the fair will close for the last time?

Even though I'm not really interested in anything the fair has to offer, I still like to eat there. Every year I manage to bum a free pass so I can have lunch at the fair. There's something about a fresh ear of corn dripping in savory butter from the American Legion Booth (followed by a funnel cake for dessert!) that will never go out of style to me.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ: Scenario

Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2004

Dave!You've been given a million dollars to donate to a worthy charity! Which organization would benefit from your generosity and why are they deserving? I'm a huge fan of Doctors Without Borders, and wouldn't think twice about dropping a million there. This amazing group provides medical care to people in need regardless of race, religion, creed, or politics (and often do so at great risk). That, to me, is the very definition of charity and an example of the kind of world we should be building.

You've testified against the mob and have to leave the country! Where do you go to start your new life, and what new career will you pursue? Hmmm... how about a motorcycle mechanic in Sicily? I could work on Ducatis and ride year-round because of the great weather there.

A movie studio has given you carte blanche to develop a sequel to a film of your choice! What's your sequel going to be about and who's starring in it? There are many movies I'd like to see sequels to, but I think there are two above all others I'd like to see made...
In my sequel to Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, I'd simply proceed with the originally-planned sequel which was to be called "Buckaroo Banzai and the World Crime Syndicate." Naturally Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, and the rest of the cast would have to reprise their roles as Buckaroo and the Hong Kong Cavaliers. I'm not sure what it would be about, but wackiness would definitely ensue!
For my sequel to Undercover Blues, husband & wife super-spies Jeff & Jane Blue (Dennis Quaid & Kathleen Turner) could come out of retirement to rescue their now-grown up daughter Janey from some revenge scheme hatched by their arch-nemesis Paulina Novacek (Fiona Shaw) and her "confederate" Muerte (Stanley Tucci).

FQ Re-Blog: A tragic computer malfunction has erased your current blog so you decide to start over again under a fictitious identity. Who would you become and what would you write about? I would become a psychologist who anonymously blogs about all the freaky patients he's seeing. Something tells me I'd have a real talent for inventing imaginary psychological disorders!

Categories: Memes 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Paper

Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2004

Dave!It's astounding to me that in this modern electronic world, we still rely so heavily on printed pieces of paper. Today I've been trying to purchase tickets to Korea for a work trip next week only to find that nobody will sell them to me. Apparently, for the route I need to take, paper tickets are required and nobody is "willing to risk" sending them out with such short notice (isn't that what Fed-Ex is for?). Perhaps I should just forge a ticket...

Fake Ticket

Of course, in this day and age of homeland security paranoia, there's probably a death penalty for even attempting something like this.

UPDATE: Finally got my ticket (and boy was it expensive!), but now I have to drive into the neighboring city of Wenatchee to pick it up. Bleh.

Categories: Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Barney’s

Posted on Saturday, September 11th, 2004

Dave!Nine-Eleven is a day of profound sadness for me. I'm sad because two thousand, seven hundred and twenty-seven people were killed in a senseless act three years ago... but mostly I am sad because of what this tragic loss means to all of humanity: If things keep going like this, we're not going to make it. That's not to say I've lost hope, but such a visual symbol of how truly far away we are from living together in peace is hard to ignore. I realize that terrorism is not new. I understand that the horrifying events at the World Trade Center in 2001 are just a blip on the terrorism radar that claim untold thousands of innocent lives every year. But it all solidifies for me on this day and I continue to be dumbfounded that people just can't seem to get along.

On the one-year anniversary of 9-11 two years ago, I said in my then-blog "Dave Spot" that I could not bring myself to write about the subject because no words could possibly express how I feel (that blog died a few weeks later). On the two-year anniversary last year, I again was at a loss for words and decided to instead write about the new Fall television season and the discoloration on the exhaust pipes of my motorcycle (thinking that writing about mundane events would somehow make me feel better, I guess).

This year is not any easier. It would seem that time does not heal all wounds, because I feel more sickened by 9-11 with every passing year. It's the date that things started going Terribly Wrong. We're now in a war where over a thousand American soldiers have been lost, and heaven only knows how many other people... from innocent civilians, to reporters, to soldiers from other nations, to Al-Qaeda... and everybody in-between. Terrorism is a constant threat and shows no signs of letting up. The America I know is slowly eroding. Peace seems further and further away.

To try and lift myself out of a lingering depression that such thoughts inevitably bring, I decided to do something truly American today: shoot handguns and eat a McDonalds hamburger! But then I realized that my Buddhist philosophies prohibit such things, and had to come up with something else: breakfast at Barney's!

Barneys

Saturday mornings at this eclectic Cashmere eatery are truly a slice of American life, and I wanted to be a part of it today. Barney's started as a tavern, but is slowly being re-imagined as a family restaurant... with attitude. Today was especially fun because tourists over from "The Coast" (i.e., Seattle and the surrounds) were popping in on their way to the fairgrounds. Nothing is more amusing than watching city-folk try to make sense of us rednecks here in hicksville. The people at the table across from me were greatly amused while reading the menu, which I found funny because it was written with people just like them in mind. A few of my favorite selections:

Notice: Annoying the Cook will result in smaller portions.
PRICES subject to Change according to customer's attitude.

We are not a "Fast Food" outlet, please be patient, we have only one deep fryer and a small grill. You can ask how long your order may take. If you don't have time to wait, then please don't order. We are not a 5 star Restaurant. We can tell when you walk in if we will be able to please you or if you are one of those people that no one can please and you should not eat out. We have been in business since 1980, We lost our patience in 1981.

Two Eggs cooked, served with fried potatoes & toast................$3.75 {Poached, scrambled, basted, over med-well, over hard, over easy — extra $12.50}. Crisp Potatoes $15.00 extra. We will also ask you to stand while we announce that you are the reason everyone else has to wait for their breakfast because you want crisp potatoes!

And so on.

You probably think that they are just joking around, and they are... but not really. Gary and Virginia (the owners, cooks, bartenders, and janitors of this fine establishment) are two of the nicest people you will ever meet, but they seriously will not put up with any bullshit or big-city attitude (and neither will the staff). There are moments here at Barney's that are priceless. I love it when some ignorant Redmond socialite decides to "rough it" in our section of the State and comes here to "experience" a small-town rustic restaurant... then asks if they can have a glass of white wine to go with their Barney Burger because they're "just not finding it on the menu." The result of such an action is always entertaining, and there's been more than one time I've been eating here that I wish I had my video-camera.

I know it sounds bizarre, but knowing that places like this exist makes me feel better on a day like today. No matter how horrible world events may seem, no matter what mess our government has gotten us into, America will go on (and the folks at Barney's will get around to serving you when they damn well feel like it).

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

SkyTeam

Posted on Monday, September 13th, 2004

Dave!I just found out that Northwest Airlines and its KLM and Continental partners have joined up with the SkyTeam Alliance. This is a pretty big deal for me (or any other Northwest Worldperks member) because now I get mileage credit for flights with AeroMexico, Air France, Alitalia, Czech Air, Delta, and Korean Air. I'm guessing that this is to better compete with United Airlines and their Star Alliance.

The ironic thing here is that the more airlines Northwest adds to their list of flying partners, the less likely I am going to be choosing Northwest to actually fly with. Over the years, the quality of flying Northwest in coach has declined badly. Seats are tiny with no leg room for anybody over 5'6". They don't show movies or any in-flight entertainment except on trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic flights. And, the latest blow... they no longer accept special meal requests. They should just cut the pretense of offering meals altogether and offer a paid menu so people can get something they can actually eat.

I sympathize with the fact that airlines are having to cut costs wherever they can to stay competitive. But things are getting so bad that I am seriously questioning the choices they are making... especially when they drive consumers to choose other airlines or other methods of travel. I'd gladly pay $50 extra to have a little leg room and something decent that I can eat. I wonder how many others travelers feel the same?

Categories: Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Airline

Posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

Dave!I just don't know what it is about travel anymore. Everything seems to always go wrong for me! Today I'm headed out for a few days work in Korea. My flight from Wenatchee to Seattle went just fine, but when I got to Seattle all the flights to L.A. were cancelled or delayed (apparently there is a power outage at LAX or something). Anyway, eventually they release my flight with only a half-hour delay, so things are looking good for me making my Korean Air connection to Seoul.

Except Alaska Air had to go and do something stupid.

We're out on the runway but not going anywhere. A half-hour passes, and now I'm beginning to worry about making my connection at LAX. Naturally, they don't bother to tell us what's going on, we just sit there uninformed. And then FINALLY they announce it: we can't take off because the head count doesn't match the number of tickets they pulled.

Uhhh... excuse me?

How in the heck can something so amazingly stupid happen? There's a computer at the gateway, I always assumed that it was there to keep track of who boarded. The flight was totally packed with only three empty seats, so you would think that they could just call the gate and find out which seats were supposed to be vacant and go from there.

But oh no. We have to GO BACK TO THE f#@%ING GATE so they can get a passenger list and take roll call. Yes, that's right, we have to take a paper list and check off names to figure this shit out. Which leaves me with a few comments for Alaska Air:

  • Fix your lame-ass check-in system. Obviously if you don't know who is on your planes or what's going on with the passenger manifest, something is VERY wrong with your procedures. The fact that this could ever happen in the first place is monumentally stupid and very scary.
  • Keep your customers informed. If you are not boarding at the published time, let us know why. If you are making us sit out on the runway for anything more than 15 minutes, LET US KNOW WHY!! Give us updates. Tell us what's happening. Nothing pisses me off more than being kept in the dark, and Alaska/Horizon Air is the absolute worst in the industry at this. I've lost track of the number of times I've been sitting at the airport when the plane was supposed to be boarding 20 minutes ago, and the gate agent doesn't tell you a damn thing.
  • Compensate wronged customers. This wasn't a problem with the weather or mechanical difficulties or some other unforeseeable event, it's just gross incompetence. I find it amazing that you made no offer whatsoever to compensate the people that are having to pay for your screw-up. This is much more than a mistake, and "sorry for the inconvenience" doesn't quite cut it.

UPDATE: I just barely made it to my flight with 2 minutes to spare (I hate that you have to leave and re-enter security when changing terminals at LAX!). I nearly killed myself doing it, but at least I don't have to spend the night in the terminal building. I think the odds of my luggage making it to Korea are pretty much zero, however.

Categories: Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Luggage

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2004

Dave!As expected, my luggage missed the flight. This is exactly the type of thing you want to hear after having spent twelve hours packed in an airplane cabin. When this happens with USA-based airlines, you are forced to stand at the carousel waiting for a bag that's never going to come... with Korean Airlines, they phone ahead and leave you a note so that you don't waste your time. Just one of a hundred reasons that I'll always choose an Asian-based airline over a crappy domestic airline: the service is vastly superior in every respect. And here's the real kicker: Korean Air was cheaper than anything Northwest or United had available.

Fortunately, I have a clean shirt and some fresh underwear in my carry-on backpack.

Unfortunately, it's raining in Seoul today and I really want my toothbrush.

Categories: Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

SkypeOut

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2004

Dave!As I blogged a while back, Skype was finally released for Mac. It's a pretty cool service that lets me chat with other Skype-using friends around the world for free. And, while that's great and all, today I discovered the real power of Skype: SkypeOut. This incredible feature allows you to make calls to actual telephones in several countries around the world for just .02 a minute!!

So, while it used to be very easy to rack up hundreds of dollars in International calls if you weren't careful, now calling home is cheaper than sending a postcard! The strange part is that the quality of the connection is better than using the telephone... even with the crappy little microphone that's in my laptop. I placed a half-dozen calls, and every time the connection was crystal clear.

Incredible.

I still think Apple's iChat's video conferencing is a better way to keep in touch (being able to see the person you are talking to adds a lot to the conversation) but, if the person you're contacting doesn't have a computer, SkypeOut is an astoundingly good alternative (not to mention really cheap!).

Categories: Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Seoulful

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2004

Dave!Usually when I have to travel across the world for work, I make sure to add on some personal time so that I can see the sights or visit friends or go take in something new. On this trip, for instance, it would have been great to add on a quick hop to Hong Kong or Thailand or Cambodia... just a little something extra to make the 20 hours it took to get here worthwhile. Unfortunately, given the short notice for this trip, there was no way to arrange any additional time away from work (and, even if I could, last-minute travel is really expensive).

Since I'm only going to be in Korea for 2 days, I decided to leave my big camera at home and just take my little digital compact model. Unfortunately, I forgot to transfer my 512meg memory card, and all I could find in the bottom of my suitcase was a tiny 16meg card that I save for emergencies. On one hand, it's better than nothing... on the other, I can only fit seven photos on it!

So here are seven shots of my afternoon in Seoul, wandering around with a friend from work and meeting her friends in the city. This first shot is from my hotel room window. The sun is finally coming out, so it might actually be a nice day...

Seoul View

Here's a shot from a taxi window on our way to the Hongik University District. I couldn't resist a sign that says "Donggyodong!"...

Donggyodong

The area around the University is crammed with small clubs. I would have really liked to have gotten a look inside this one...

Rock and Seoul

I had a big breakfast and didn't feel like eating lunch, so that meant we didn't have to find a vegetarian place. Most all traditional Korean restaurants have a burner built into the table where they cook your food right in front of you using tongs, chopsticks, and a pair of scissors to dice up those tricky baby squid tentacles...

Tentacles!

Cartoon characters are a popular way to advertise goods and services here. The cartoons that amuse me most are those of fish, chickens, squids, cows, pigs, and other assorted animals inviting you come eat them because they taste so good...

Eat Us!

Older sections of town are based on original market streets from hundreds of years ago that wander off in all directions. Trying to find someplace in these areas can be a real challenge, even for the natives...

Side Street

As I noted in my blog entry for a previous Korea visit, the motorcycle of choice here is a Korean brand called Daelim. Most models are fairly generic, but they do have some nice-looking variations. This is a "Daelim Daystar" I thought was a fairly nice ride (but surely they could have come up with a more badass name than that!?!)...

Daelim

So that's my first "half-day" in Korea. Tomorrow is mostly work, then I'm flying back home. I think I'm exhausted already.

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FridayQ: Posession

Posted on Friday, September 17th, 2004

Dave!What is your favorite posession made mostly from wood? A small elephant carving I bought in Vancouver at Expo 86. Metal? My motorcycle. Plastic? My motorcycle helmet.

What is your favorite posession colored mostly red? My Gameboy Advance. Blue? My Hard Rock Maui denim jacket. Green? My pet pine tree, Oscar.

What is your favorite posession looking mostly soft? My Harley Davidson weathered T-Shirt. Sharp? My Calvin Cline suit. Fragile? My Canon 16-35mm camera lens.

FQ Net Worth: If your nine prized posessions listed above were stolen, what do you estimate the cost would be to replace them? Ooooh. Some of them would be difficult to replace, but here we go...

  • Elephant Carving: $4.50 (assuming I could find one!)
  • Motorcycle: $9,500.00
  • Helmet: $600.00
  • Gamboy: $90.00
  • Jacket: $120.00
  • Oscar: $50.00 (the tree is priceless, but the pot and soil & such was about $50)
  • Harley T-Shirt: $27.50
  • Suit: $1200.00
  • Lens: $1400.00

I guess that totals roughly $13,000 US, which is a little more materialistic than I thought I would be!

You too can take possession of the FridayQ.

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Zhang!

Posted on Friday, September 17th, 2004

Dave!Last night after a long day of work, we returned to the city and decided to walk around Insadong so I could buy a few souvenirs to take back with me. This famous shopping area of Seoul is kind of a divide between the old and new of the city, and packed with tourists and natives alike. As night began to fall, we wandered towards the "new side," which reminds me a lot of Tokyo when the bright lights and lively signage is ignited...

Seoul Lights

After shopping, we decided to go see a new movie from China called Shi mian mai fu (which translates to House of Flying Daggers). I've been dying to see Hero but that film had come and gone to Asia over a year ago (even though it is just now making it to the States) and House of Flying Daggers looked as though it might be similar in a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon kind of way... especially since they both star the astoundingly talented and beautiful Ziyi Zhang...

House of Flying Daggers

House of Flying Daggers

I didn't have much trouble following the story even though the film was in spoken Chinese with Korean subtitles. Unfortunately, I think I would have enjoyed myself more if I didn't understand the story! While the film is beautifully shot, has some kick-ass fight sequences, and features Ziyi Zhang being as captivating as ever... the tale itself was mostly laughable with boring stretches that send you into a coma.

The plot basically involves a young blind girl (Zhang) who works as a dancer, but is suspected by two policeman-friends to have secret ties to a team of revolutionaries known as the "House of Flying Daggers." Once she is captured, the police guys decide that they should rescue her, and a bizarre love story filled with inept surprises, mind-boggling plot twists, and over-the top drama ensues. At one point I had to resist the urge to stand up and scream "would you people just die already!" because there is only so much drama I can take in one sitting. Even so, I'll probably buy it on DVD so I can relive the scenery and fight sequences.

Oh well. All-in-all it was a pretty good way to spend my last night in Korea. After breakfast, I'm packing up and heading home.

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Seoulong!

Posted on Saturday, September 18th, 2004

Dave!Turns out I had a bit of extra time this morning before catching the airport shuttle, so my friend decided to brave the rain and take me to Bongeunsa, which is a Buddhist temple in the city. Sadly, most of the temple was destroyed during the Korean War (along with many other ancient structures and historic places) but it managed to survive, and is still being restored and expanded to this day. A courtyard featuring a giant stone Buddha is set away from the main temple and is surrounded by trees. This is kind of cool, because Buddha appears to be floating out of a small forest as you make your way there. As with most all statues of the Enlightened One, I am always moved by the look of calm and peacefulness depicted on his face (even with the rain pouring down around him!)...

Buddha Seoul

Across the street from Bongeunsa is the Coex Mall complex, which has an "Apple Experience Center" in the middle...

Apple Experience

Everything about the place (both inside and out) looks exactly like an official Apple Store, so I can only guess that it is sponsored by Apple in some part. Seems kind of silly that they don't just call it "The Apple Store" since that's obviously what it is. Sadly, they did not have a new model iMac to look at, nor the new aluminum wide-screen display (which was funny, because they had a poster advertising it hanging in the window).

   

Dave Approved: Batman

Posted on Sunday, September 19th, 2004

Dave!Flying home from Seoul was made interesting by a layover in Anchorage, which seems like kind of a bizarre destination for Korean Air to fly (Alaska?). The 7-1/2 hour flight was made bearable because I had the newly released Batman: The Animated Series Volume One on DVD. What's amazing is that the 28 episodes in this set are superior to any other rendition of Batman I've seen. Better than the crappy Adam West TV show. Better than many of the comic books. Certainly better than any of the movies (yes, even the Tim Burton ones).

Batman!

The quality of the stories are top-notch, deftly blending action and drama in a way rarely seen in "American" animation. Even better, the writers are respectful to the source material and aren't afraid to build stories across several episodes (Harvey Dent is introduced five episodes before Two Face is born, for instance). Even one-note characters like "Mr. Freeze" in the comics are fully realized in episodes like the brilliant "Heart of Ice," which strikes a tragic note while not being too heavy-handed.

Batman!

As if it weren't enough that the show is well written, it's also beautiful to look at thanks to the obvious influence of the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons from 1941. The colors are suitably dark and moody, enhancing the stories with a kind of "retro-futuristic" look that suits the Batman mythos perfectly. Characters are well-drawn and animated, with featured players lovingly crafted. I dare say that Poison Ivy is actually sexier in the cartoon than Uma Thurman's scary take on the character in the embarrassing Joel Schumacher directed Batman and Robin movie.

Voice talent is perfectly cast, with Kevin Conroy (Rusty Wallace from the excellent Tour of Duty series) providing an appropriately heroic tone for Batman/Bruce Wayne. Guest stars include Michael Ansara (Mr. Freeze), Adrienne Barbeau (Catwoman), Roddy McDowall (Mad Hatter), Ron Perlman (Clayface), and many others... with the obvious highlight provided by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, as The Joker (who knew?).

Because the show was produced using traditional hand-painted cells that are overlaid and photographed with a film camera, there is a lot of dust "pops" and specs running through the picture. It's a shame they couldn't have cleaned up these imperfections in a computer somehow, because it can be distracting at times. Petty bitching aside, this is a purchase no animation aficionado or Batman fan should pass up. I can only hope that a second volume is on the way, along with other Warner Bros. super-hero cartoons like Superman, Batman Beyond and Justice League. Boxed sets are definitely the way to go with animated series.

   

Emmybulism

Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2004

Dave!Security: The big news in travel this week is the impending "update" to airport security, which allows TSA screeners to more thoroughly pat-down people with suspicious bulges in their clothing. To alleviate fears about possible misconduct, the TSA assures passengers that any pat-downs will be performed by screeners of the same sex. That's terrific, because having the "suspicious bulge" in my crotch patted down by another guy while the entire airport watches makes me feel so much safer about flying.

20/20: Lucky us! Barbara Walters has an exclusive interview with child-raping piece of shit Mary Kay LeTourneau this Friday on 20/20! I hope I can overcome my compulsion to watch. Can somebody remind me again why it is that she isn't still in jail?

Incredible: Yet another trailer for The Incredibles is out. I can't possibly express how badly I want to see this film, which looks like it just might be the best thing Pixar's done yet. Having Samuel L. Jackson as a super-hero doesn't hurt, but having Brad Bird (of Iron Giant fame) writing and directing is the movie's biggest asset.

Incredibles

Stonebridge: The number of blog visitors I am getting because of the ass-hats at Stonebridge Life Insurance continues to grow. It would seem these idiots are still harassing people with their never-ending telemarketing calls. Tired of the constant hang-ups, victims are entering the phone number from Caller-ID into Google and getting my blog entries bitching about it here and here. Pathetic. At what point is the FCC going to step in and bitch-slap Stonebridge Life for this abuse?

Miami: The ads for the season opener of CSI: Miami are saying that "one won't survive." Is it too much to hope that David Caruso's character is the one to die? I would actually watch the show if he weren't on it because I like Emily Proctor. Why not put her in charge?

Emmy: For the most part, I think the Emmys completely suck. Rarely does the person or series most deserving of the honor ever win... heck, most of the time they aren't even nominated. Where is Wonderfalls? Dead Like Me? Angel? And sure Scrubs was nominated for best writing (and lost) but it deserved so much more, because it is easily the funniest sitcom running right now. And don't even get me started about Sharon Stone winning over Betty White for best guest appearance. Still, a few nice things happened: Drea de Matteo, The Daily Show, and James Spader all deserved those wins.

   

Moblogger

Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2004

Dave!Many, many people are blissfully unaware of the name Dave Winer and I envy you. It's enough to know that if there is a conflict in the blogging community, Winer is probably in the middle of it. This is not without cause, as the guy is a fairly important figure in the formation of weblogs and adoption RSS feeds... but he's been beating us over the head with his "credentials" ever since, which upsets a lot of newcomers who want to contribute to how we blog.

Winer first came to my attention when he claimed authorship of the RSS spec during the early days of the RSS/Atom syndication wars. This came as a big surprise to me, because I was fairly certain that a group of people at Netscape had something to do with it. Maybe Winer was involved, I don't really know, but claiming sole authorship seemed bizarre to me at the time. I decided to label him as an egotistical crackpot (much like Al Gore "creating the Internet" before him) and move on.

The problem is that you can't safely ignore Winer if you have any interest in the technicalities of blogging. He is simply too important to the formation of weblogs to put aside, and will never ever let you forget it. When Winer speaks, people listen.

Which is why I cringe now that Dave Winer has decided to define "moblogging" for us. And it's not because he decided to write the definition (hey, if "mobile blogging" isn't enough, then somebody should)... it's because he got it totally wrong, and now we may be stuck with it:

"So Scoble and I sat down for coffee with this mission in mind. To figure it out. To figure out what Moblogging is. And we did. We nailed it. We know. And now I'm going to tell you. Moblogging is any activity that occurs away from your normal blog-writing place whose purpose is to create content for your blog."

Sorry Dave, but you didn't "nail it" at all.

In order for that definition to work, I'd have to know what my "normal blog-writing place" is. The simple fact is, I don't. Sometimes I blog at work. Sometimes I blog at home. Sometimes I blog in hotel rooms half-way around the world. Sometimes I blog on my desktop computer. Sometimes I blog on my laptop. Sometimes I blog on a public Internet terminal. Once I even blogged from a PDA I borrowed from some guy at the airport. So, according to your definition, I am either never moblogging because I have no "normal blog-writing place" or I am always moblogging because I have no "normal blog-writing place." The definition just doesn't work.

I'm not even going to pretend I would know how to define the term "mobloging" (getting attacked by Dave Winer is just not something I want to experience). I had always thought that "mobile blogging" was "mobile phone blogging" with either text messages or camera phone uploads. But now that PDAs (and, eventually, actual PCs) are converging with mobile phones, that seems like it's a definition doomed to be antiquated any day now.

Then again, perhaps the same could be said of the term "moblogging" in the first place, and we should just let nature take its course?

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Petals

Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2004

Dave!I see from reading Boing Boing that the old "Petals Around the Rose" puzzle is making the rounds again. I have fond memories of being introduced to the game by a very good friend who loved this kind of thing. This puzzle is especially fun because many people have such a tendency to over-think it.

You can give it a try at Robert Borrett's site (and read a funny anecdote as to what happened when Bill Gates tried it). If I remember correctly, I managed to solve it in five rolls because my fourth roll was "no petals showing" which led me to ask a significant question about the game which my friend refused to answer (but the look on his face told me what I needed to know). On the fifth roll, I realized what was happening, and was inducted into the "Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose."

Just remember... once you've figured it out, you are forbidden to tell anybody the secret. All must come to the sacred knowledge for themselves!!

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Dave Approved: Clerks X

Posted on Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

Dave!Clerks is one of those films that I can watch over and over without ever tiring of seeing it. It's not the best made film, and it's certainly not well-acted, but it's so smartly written that it's easy to forgive just about any other offense. Kevin Smith just has this amazing insight into how people think, and is somehow able to translate that into characters that seem eerily more life-like than real life. The film is a day in the life of two clerks Dante and Randall, as they work their way through life, love, and annoying customers. Sure the premise may sound boring, but it somehow ends up being one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.

Clerks X

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the film's release, Miramax has released the ultimate Clerks 3-DVD collector's set. It includes the theatrical release of the film with original commentary and trivia track, the Sundance Cut with all-new commentary, and a new documentary called The Snowball Effect that talks to just about everybody ever involved with the film. You also get a number of extra features, with two of them alone being worth the price of admission.

The first, Clerks: The Missing Scene fills in the gap as to what exactly happened at the funeral home when Dante and Randall went to Julie Dwyer's funeral. Rather than filming the scene, they decided to animate it in the glorious style of the Clerks: The Animated Series cartoons. I read the story in a comic book that Smith released years ago, but this was magic. This one scene more closely binds Clerks into the Mallrats and Chasing Amy trilogy and fills in some back-story for Dante that enhances the original film.

The second, Flying Car is a sweet short film that Kevin Smith created for an appearance on The Late Show. Until I saw this short, I was hesitant about Smith creating his sequel: Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks, but now I can't wait. Something about seeing this brilliant exchange of dialogue that only Dante and Randall can deliver has left me wanting more...

Flying Car

Of the "Jersey Trilogy," Chasing Amy is easily my favorite. But it's hard to ignore the movie that got everything started, and Clerks is a brilliant piece of filmmaking in its own right. If you've never experienced it before (and don't mind a little X-rated dialogue, drug references, and a lot of swearing), this new 10th Anniversary edition is probably the best way outside of a theater to see it. If the impending sequel is half as good, it will still be one of the best movies of 2005.

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Fifty

Posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

Dave!Somebody found my blog after reading another blog called "Lifeless Matter," and suggested that I should do the BBC's Fifty Things to do Before You Die checklist they saw there (guessing I might be a good candidate considering all my traveling and stuff). I have to admit that it is an interesting list (though it has a bizarre fixation on wild animals and mountain expeditions), so I thought "why not" and gave it a try. From the looks of things, I am 2/5 ready to die already.

Personally, I have my own list of "Things I Want to Do Before I Die," but I only add something to it after I've actually done it. That way, I don't die unfulfilled!

Anyway, not exactly the list I would have chosen, but you can read my comments in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bitching

Posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

Dave!Lucas: Finally got around to watching the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set in-between my marathon work sessions, and am still amazed at how Lucas could have created such genius in the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, only to completely flush the franchise down the toilet with the inane Return of the Jedi and horrifyingly bad prequels. Diminishing Star Wars to a series of burp and fart jokes that's riddled with insipid characters like "Ewoks" and "Jar Jar Binks" so you can sell more toys to the kiddies is about as lame as lame gets. The changes he made to Episodes IV and V are upsetting, but whatever. I don't give a crap about the changes he made to any of the other films, because they all suck. Still, if you're a Star Wars geek, the set is well worth picking up (but then you probably knew that).

Empire: Is not The Empire Strikes Back one of the most perfect action-adventure flicks ever?

Kryptonite: Some idiot in Toronto is organizing a TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS lawsuit against Kryptonite, the lock makers, because the cylindrical locks they manufacture are easily defeated by using a Bic pen. It's disturbing to know that America's sue-happy mentality is infecting other countries. I own a Kryptonite lock for my motorcycle. Am I upset that the lock can be so easily picked open? Yes. Am I pissed off that Kryptonite has known about this failing for a decade and chose to ignore it? Sure. But do I think the company should be sued for TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS when they have volunteered to contact all registered customers and exchange the locks free of charge? No way! I mean, come on! If your bike was stolen because your Kryptonite lock was defeated, then YES... by all means sue the bastards! But if you've not been a victim of their incompetence, what right do you have to sue them? Just exchange your busted lock for a free new one and shut up. The millions of dollars Kryptonite is already going to have to pay to fix the situation is punishment enough for their stupidity. I mean, TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS?!? f#@%ing lawyer ass-hats.

Panasonishit: Panasonic just called to sell me an extended warranty on the piece-of-crap DVD recorder I bought. I felt compelled to ask the saleslady why in the heck I would buy an extended warranty for the junk when it has never worked properly and Panasonic hasn't been able to fix it? Nothing I have ever bought from this company has worked right. Not my VCR. Not my Phone. Definitely not my DVD recorder. Panasonic gear is crap, and the fact that they don't support their customers when it fails makes Panasonic a shitty company that will NEVER get another penny of my money.

Mars: The new television season is pretty bad, but I happened across a show called Veronica Mars that took me by surprise. Then I saw it was created by Rob Thomas and understood why it was good... he's the brilliant mind behind the greatest TV show of all time: Cupid. Only the stupid bastards at ABC would cancel such brilliance. Yargh!

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ: Fearful

Posted on Friday, September 24th, 2004

Dave!What is the biggest fear you've had to face? I fear three things above all others: heights, deep water, and freaky-looking insects. Of those three, the hardest to face was scuba diving the back-side of Molokini where I couldn't see the ocean floor beneath me. It was pretty frightening. Now that it's over, would it scare you to confront it again? It wouldn't scare me as much, but I would probably still be a bit afraid.

What is your greatest fear that you've not yet met? Being covered in bugs would scare me so bad that it would probably send me into a coma. If you were paid loads of money, would you willingly face it? If I were a contestant on Fear Factor or something, and they would pay me $50,000 or more to be covered in non-life-threatening bugs, I would probably take it. I'd be absolutely terrified, but I'd be rich!

What is something most people are afraid of, but you don't have a problem with? Snakes. Why do you think that is? Ever since seeing the Goldie Hawn/Chevy Chase movie Foul Play I see snakes as more "cute" than "scary." This is not to say I'm unafraid of deadly or poisonous snakes... they're still frightening... I'm just not petrified like most people seem to be.

FQ Movie Night: Your readers are looking for a thrill! What's the scariest scene from a movie you've ever seen? I saw the original Ridley Scott Alien when I was 13 and was scared senseless. So many scenes in that film are terrifying, but the little alien bursting out of the chest shocked me pretty bad, and it was only a harbinger of things to come! I had seen other horror movies before Alien, but this was the first one to really freak me out. I still think it's fairly scary, even today.

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List

Posted on Friday, September 24th, 2004

Dave!Years ago while watching a sunset on a Maui beach, I turned to a friend and said "I'm really glad I saw this before I die" to which she replied "well, scratch it off your list then." That's when I became acquainted with the fact that some people make a list of things they wish to do before they die in order to be assured of experiencing everything they want out of life before death comes a calling.

I decided to make my own list in a little notebook I found, and came to this realization: it would be pretty depressing to lay on my deathbed clutching a list that still has a bunch of items left unchecked.

I don't need that kind of failure looming over me, so I figured out an entirely new approach: Don't add anything to the list until you've already done it. Brilliant! That way, no matter when you check out, the list of things to do is certain to be complete and you can die a success!

So, here it is... a transcription of my list of things I want to do before I die (all of them done, of course) in no particular order. A few of the more personal and, ahem, "questionable" items have been removed to prevent offense and embarrassment (yours, not mine)...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Tags:
Categories: Memes 2006, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  30 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Dave Approved: Larson

Posted on Saturday, September 25th, 2004

Dave!Very few comic strips can approach the scary genius that is The Far Side by Gary Larson. You either "get it" and love it or "don't get it" and hate it, but either way you can't deny that they guy is entertaining. For me, Larson is more than entertainment, he's a way of looking at life. For that reason, I was pretty devastated when he decided to discontinue his "Off The Wall" daily calendars in 2002 (almost worse than when he retired the strip in 1997!).

Then, almost as if it were an attempt to make up for it, in late 2003 Larson released a hefty 2-volume set of every cartoon created for the series, including 1100 that had never appeared in any previous books...

Far Side

The beauty of this collection is not only the fact that you get every Far Side written, but that they are reproduced chronologically, so you can watch the evolution of the strip. From this perspective it's surprising how quickly Larson managed to hit his stride. In just over a year everything clicked and there was no turning back. As if that weren't enough, interspersed amongst the funnies are stories, notes, and letters that add to the exploration of the Far Side universe.

Along with my highest recommendation there are also a few minor gripes. First of all, the books are uncomfortably heavy. If you're not using a reading table the size and weight quickly becomes a burden. Why they couldn't have made four volumes (or even three!) so that people could more easily handle them is a mystery. Second, I appreciate the fact that many of the strips are reproduced in their colorized iterations, but it's sometimes disruptive to the flow of the book the way the stips bounce back and forth between color and black & white.

So there you have it. The $100 price tag may seem excessive but it's a real bargain considering the quality of the printing and all the material you get. Rumor is that Bill Waterson's Calvin & Hobbes, my favorite strip of all time, is getting the deluxe set treatment next and I can't wait.

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Sunday

Posted on Sunday, September 26th, 2004

Dave!Surprise: It would seem that the initial delay I had getting into LAX for my recent trip to Korea was not because of a power outage... turns out somebody didn't perform a monthly reboot of their Windows 2000 Server, causing it to crash over some kind of data overflow. Why am I not surprised?

Lost: I finally got around to watching Alias creator J.J. Abrahms new show: Lost. I was not surprised that I ended up liking it, but was surprised that Matthew Fox turned in a decent performance. Who knew?

Flickr: While I would prefer to make my own gallery to put my photos on the web, server space is starting to become an issue. There are a lot of free photo sharing services out there, but the first one I've ended up liking has been Flickr (see my test gallery). Free accounts only get three albums (with only the most current 100 photos displayed), but you can cram in as many photos as you like because there's no storage limit, just a bandwidth limit of 10 megs a month. Manipulating and organizing your photos is pretty easy, but the nicest thing about the service is the ability to keep track of your friend's photos and see what they've been up to (if you invite a friend to join, their albums will automatically be added to your list!). Once Flickr is out of beta, they will offer paid upgrades to Pro accounts so you can have more than three albums and view more than the last 100 photos... if it's reasonably priced, I'll absolutely be signing up.

Photographic: Speaking of Flickr, be sure to check out the Flickr Blog. Here they highlight some of the more interesting photo albums from their users, some of which are amazing. One of the best is Guys on Bikes, which is a photo journal of a trek four guys made across the USA on bicycles.

Fable: The new Xbox release, Fable, was developed by Peter Molyneux who created one of my favorite games of all time: Populous. I've been too busy to look at it much, but the hour I did manage to spend playing (while backing up my laptop) was pretty cool. It's nifty how the game kind of changes depending on the choices you make. I just wish it weren't so complicated... navigating through a half-dozen menus to eat an apple from your inventory is ridiculous. This is only the 3rd time I've had a free moment to turn on my Xbox since I bought it months ago. Why did I even bother to spend $50 for a game that I know I'll never have time to play?

Hah!: I'm not even here today! My entries for yesterday and today were posted automatically by a new feature in Movable Type that allows you to pre-date your posts. That's kind of a nifty way to keep your blog fresh when you know you won't be able to post in person! But it's also kind of spooky. I mean, what if I am was in a car wreck and died tomorrow yesterday morning? That would make this a post-mortem post! If that's the case, I think I would like my last words here to be "funky taco."

   

Two Hundred

Posted on Monday, September 27th, 2004

Dave!Neil is always coming up with interesting memes and other tidbits for his blog, and now I know why: he reads nearly 100 feeds! And here I thought I was crazy for the 38 I read regularly. Anyway, the latest meme he's manage to dig up is called 200 Questions. This completely trumps my previous entries of 50 Things to Do Before You Die and Dave's List of Things to Do Before He Dies That Are Already Done (well, at least until somebody comes up with the inevitable "500 Questions" in a few weeks).

Usually I would take a pass on an entry like this, but I'm spending the next couple of hours on the phone and welcome a physical distraction that doesn't require a lot of thought (I loathe talking on the phone). Interestingly enough, it probably took me longer to reformat the questions than it's going to take to answer them. I wish people coming up with things like this would post the list already in HTML-list format! My answers are in an extended entry (how many people are actually going to read through all 200?!?)...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fantastic

Posted on Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Dave!When it comes to comic books, I've always been more of a "DC guy" than a "Marvel guy." During the late 70' when I got into comics, all the cool books were at DC: Green Lantern, The Flash, Batman, Legion of Super-heroes and the rest. But there was one Marvel book that I read faithfully. One book that was so cosmic in scope that it dwarfed all others. One book that dared to go where others fear to tread. I am talking, of course, about the Fantastic Four.

With the huge successes of other Marvel properties like Spider-Man and X-Men, it was only a matter of time before "The World's Greatest Comics Magazine" was given the big-screen treatment. There was an earlier attempt at an FF movie, but it was reported to be so bad that they were embarrassed to release it. I can only hope that this time they get it right, and manage to come up with something as terrific as the Spidey flicks.

Recently, photos have been released of the characters they've developed for the movie. If you can get past the dorky poses, Mr. Fantastic, The Thing, and The Human Torch don't look too bad. They've got kind of an Alex Ross look to them (although The Thing does look a bit puny in this shot, and Johnny doesn't have blonde hair)...

FF_Boys.jpg

But here's where things get interesting. They've cast the sweet hotness that is Jessica Alba to play The Invisible Woman! Alba, who kicked serious ass in the first season of Dark Angel, is an interesting choice. I can only hope that this means the director is going to make the character be an actual participant in the fights instead of pretty window dressing on the sidelines, because nothing could be better than a hottie like Alba kicking butt. Especially when she looks like this doing it...

FF_Alba.jpg

Oh yeah! Halle Berrie's suck-ass Catwoman, eat your heart out (and speaking of Catwoman, why in the heck can't DC make a decent movie from their books? Everything after Superman II has sucked).

Anyway, if the movie pans out, I wonder what it would take for the films to start having fun with the characters like they do in the comics. Have the FF make a guest shot in the next Spider-Man film. Make a few X-Men show up in the Fantastic Four sequel. Have the actors put aside their egos and million-dollar paychecks to just have a bit of fun and give the fans a treat. That's what comic books are all about, and the movies should be too.

Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Register

Posted on Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Dave!I am getting so very tired of clicking on news links only to find that I must register to view the material. It's so stupid, because news is news and if you won't let me view it without registration, I'm just going to go someplace else to see it. The idiots at Sydney Morning Herald wanted me to register, so I said "kiss my ass" and then went to the BBC News site and read their story without having to give up any personal info.

I just love how ass clowns like the New York Times say "by requiring registration we are better able to determine which areas of the site are of greatest interest to our users," which is complete bullshit. Web servers keep very detailed logs that show exactly where people's interests lay. And if you're lying about why you force people to register, are you also lying about what you do with the information you collect?

Even more stupid, how do they know that the people who are suckered into registering are going to provide accurate data? If I ever end up registering, I think I'll be a 16 year-old hispanic woman living in Iowa with an income of a billion dollars who works as a neurosurgeon. What good does that information do you? Dumbasses.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Liz

Posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Dave!I think today shall be declared Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day! Well, for me every day is Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day, but I'm not letting that stop me. After having gotten Kazza to post a photo of the delectable Ms. Hurley in her blog, I decided to do the same. To top off this day of delights, I think I shall have to watch Bedazzled for the fiftieth time (nothing is quite so very nice as watching Liz being very naughty!).

Again, much link love goes out to the Sexy Sexy Elizabeth Hurley Pictures site, from which I have swiped this photo. It is easily one of the best sites on the Internet, and I highly recommend that you go there and spend an hour or two admiring breathtaking photos like this one...

Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day

Lovely. Perhaps this will have to be a double-feature night and I'll watch Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery along with Bedazzled. It's not like one can ever get enough of Elizabeth Hurley.

   

Flickr

Posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Dave!I just got an email from Flickr, where they are releasing the pricing for the Pro Account upgrades... it's $59.95/year (but, while they are still in beta, you can save 30% and get a year for $41.77). Back when I signed up for Flickr, I had asked myself "how much would you pay for this service" and came to a price of $3.00/month, or $36.00/year. So, with the sale price being fairly close, I went ahead and signed up... but I'm not so sure I would have spent the $59.95 "original price." Sure the Pro Account gives you a nice way of backing up a full gigabyte of hi-res photos each month, but it it really worth sixty bucks?

Uhhh... probably not.

So whether or not I continue on with my Pro Account after it expires will probably be decided by what new features and conveniences are added in the coming year. I really like the idea of Flickr, so I'm hoping they keep making it worth my while to remain a customer. Some things I would like to see:

  • Restrict access to hi-res images.
  • Customizable templates, so I can make my Flickr area look as I want.
  • More batch functions, to more easily add keywords and attributes to groups of flagged photos all at once.
  • A "date photo taken" field and the ability to view photos in the order they were taken not uploaded.
  • Ability to mark photos "purchasable" so guests can purchase physical copies (like Ofoto).
  • Sets within sets for better organization.
  • Stand-alone software for uploading with a Mac (not from within iPhoto).

In the meanwhile, I plan on pushing that 1-gig limit every month so I can get my money's worth!

Categories: Photography 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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