Posted on Monday, November 1st, 2004
ACK! PLAGUE SHIP!! For the past week, it would seem that everybody onboard has been coming down with a cold, including the crew. Everyone around me is sneezing and coughing. Fortunately, I have my trusty bottle of Zicam with me, so the worst I got was the sniffles for a couple days. Hard to believe that there is talk about removing Zicam from the market, because it's the only thing I've ever found that lets you fight off a cold. Without it, I'd probably coughing and sneezing along with the rest.
The next two days are at sea with nothing to do. Well, that's not true... there are lots of activities to keep you occupied onboard... I am just not interested in any of them. I'm also not interested in laying out on deck and getting skin cancer, even though it's a lovely day for it. I've gotten more of a tan than I usually do on trips like this, but it will undoubtedly disappear by the time we've docked in Ft. Lauderdale Wednesday morning.
So I suppose I'll start going through all the photos I've taken, finish reading my book, and then attack the ship and take it over. I bought a pirate flag while I was in St. Thomas, so now all I need to do is get my hands on a cutlass sword and an eye patch and the Dawn Princess will be mine. I suppose that I should also find a yardarm to hang the captain from, and a gangplank to rid myself of anybody who opposes my commandeering of the vessel. Being a pirate would be a lot easier if I knew what a "yardarm" was, however.
I haven't yet decided what to rename the ship once I've taken her. I kind of like Dawn Princess... especially when it is pronounced by the British officers onboard, where "princess" becomes two words "prin - cess." But that's not a very fear-inducing name for a pirate ship at all. One could hardly pillage the high seas on the Dawn Princess, even when "princess" is pronounced as two words. Right now I am kind of leaning toward Deathbringer or perhaps Notorious Princess if I should decide to remain affiliated with Princess Cruise Lines.
Hmmm... before attacking the ship, I think I'll have an ice cream on the Lido Deck.
Wish me luck!
(errr... luck taking over the ship, not luck eating the ice cream which I can manage just fine on my own)
Posted on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004
Of all the luck! As I was making preparations to commandeer the ship and take to the high seas as a pirate last night, I learned that the Dawn Princess is going into dry-dock for several weeks once we reach port. Apparently, she's needing to have some work done. There goes my big plans for a career change.
Today was supposed to be a stop at Princess Cays, an exclusive resort island owned by the cruise line. Unfortunately, the island was destroyed by the hurricanes, so it's going to be another day at sea. It's really too bad, because a last port-of-call before the cruise ends would have been pretty sweet. As it is now, I'm definitely ready to get off the ship.
Anyway, I have no idea if other cruise lines are as spectacular as Princess, but here's my pros and cons of cruising after taking this first trip:
So, now that it's over, would I cruise again? Absolutely. And I would definitely recommend Princess Cruise Lines which was exceptional in all respects (except getting on the ship). Next time it will probably be a cruise to Alaska for me, because Princess seems to have some amazing excursions there.
Posted on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004
So here we are back in Ft. Lauderdale! Getting off the ship was a bit problematic because the idiots at immigration/security/customs held us on the ship for TWO-AND-ONE-HALF FREAKIN' HOURS this morning with absolutely no explanation. That's amazingly stupid considering that most of us have planes to catch (thankfully I was smart enough to book my flight with plenty of time in the event of just such a screw-up). Who I really felt sorry for was the crew of the Dawn Princess who had to deal with an increasingly hostile crowd of passengers wanting to disembark. There was nothing they could do about it, of course, but that didn't stop a lot of crotchety old farts from trying to make their lives miserable.
Surprisingly, here at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, there is a free guest account for wireless internet access! I have no idea if that is intentional or accidental, but it sure is nice of them. All airports should have free internet considering the crap you have to go through when traveling now-a-days.
Anyway, first thing I do is check my email and find out that my web host has suspended the script that allows Blogography visitors to leave comments. Apparently, I received thousands of spam comment hits to my blog, which pegged CPU usage and forced them to put a stop to it.
I don't get it. I really don't.
I use a spam blocking plugin called "MT-Blacklist" that prevents any spam comments from ever appearing. Why hit me with thousands of spam comments when they will never show up in the first place? I knew that comment spammers were lowlife bug-f#@%ers... but who could guess that they are so astoundingly stupid as well?
Until we're allowed to shoot spammers DEAD, this is never going to stop... you realize this don't you?
Anyway, I guess when I get home tomorrow I'll have to see if there is something I can figure out so that I can turn comments back on. If anybody has any suggestions, let me know.
UPDATE: Well, comments are back on... at least for the time being. Sadly, entries that are older than 14 days will automatically have their comments closed. Furthermore, ALL comments will be moderated from now on, meaning that any comment you care to leave will not appear until I have manually approved it. One thing that hasn't changed is that your email address will NOT be shown if you should choose to leave it (so I can contact you privately). Anonymous comments are still welcome as well (assuming you aren't leaving spam or being nasty).
Posted on Thursday, November 4th, 2004
Yargh. The mess in dealing with comment spammers is worse than I could have imagined. Apparently they are accessing the "mt-comments.cgi" script directly, which means simply turning on comment moderation is not going to cut it. I've posted a plea on the MT forums in hopes that somebody can tell me how to make it so the script rejects all attempts to comment when the request doesn't come from my "official" comments form... but I don't even know if that's possible. If there's no way of rejecting outside direct-access to the script, then I guess comments will have to be turned off permanently.
That's kind of sad. I like getting the occasional comment from time to time.
Even worse, now that I'm had to turn off comments on all entries more than 14 days old, there's no way to tell people that comments have been closed which is very confusing. I thought a little MT template wizardry would fix this but, alas, my attempt has failed...
UPDATE: Many thanks to Neil and James who have pointed out that the "MTElse" tag needs to be within the conditional tag in order to function properly. Once I moved the block to sit within the "MTEntryIfCommentsOpen" set, everything works perfectly!
Comment spammers suck ass. The internet used to be fun before evil people had to go and ruin it for everybody.
Posted on Thursday, November 4th, 2004
Today I went to pick up my mail at the post office from the past 4-5 weeks and discover a letter from the Chelan County Auditor's Office:
The Absentee/Vote-By-Mail ballot that you voted and returned in the recent election has not been processed for the following reason:
SIGNATURE ON BALLOT DOES NOT MATCH THE SIGNATURE CURRENTLY ON FILE IN THE CHELAN COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS, RCW 29.36.060 (Enclosed is a new Registration Card to update our records)
Properly fill out and sign all materials enclosed, and return them to us no later than November 17th, 2004. Please be aware that if these materials are received by the aforementioned date, YOUR VOTE WILL COUNT. However, if you fail to submit the enclosed items by the date requested, your ballot will not be counted.
Thank you for taking the time to participate in the election process. We will be anticipating your reply with the hopes that we can count your vote.
I've had the same signature for over a decade. In the six years that I've been using an absentee ballot, there has never been a single problem with my vote.
I wonder why that is?
Good thing I checked my mail, because usually I go months before I bother. I wonder how many other votes weren't counted because of stupid stuff like this? It would certainly explain a lot.
Argh. Another four years of being hated when visiting foreign countries because we have a president I didn't vote for and don't agree with most of the time.
I should have became a pirate and stolen the cruise ship after all.
UPDATE: After visiting the courthouse, I found that they were using a signature from 20 years ago when I registered to vote... not the signature on my absentee ballot request of 8 years ago. Bizarre. I changed my signature on purpose, I wonder how many people unintentionally change their signature over 20, 30, even 50 years from when they first register? Seems kind of flakey to me.
Posted on Friday, November 5th, 2004
Share an obscure movie or show and tell use why we should watch it. That would depend on your tastes. Want to watch something smartly funny? Then you should hunt down Undercover Blues. Want to see something that will touch your heart and make you laugh? Then try to get your hands on Creator. Want to see something scary? Then The Devil's Backbone should do the trick. Want to see a fact-based tale that's better than most fiction? Then The Dish is for you. Want to cry your eyes out? Then try to find the made-for-television film After the Promise. Want to see the best show that ever aired on television? Then beg, borrow, or steal somebody's copies of Cupid. Why should you watch any of them? Because they were all incredibly good, and don't deserve to be mired in obscurity.
Share an obscure band or musical talent and tell us why we should listen to it. That's a tough one, because I'm habitually stuck in the 80's when it comes to music. Two groups you may not have heard of are The Kane Gang and When in Rome. Both are kind of contemporary, easy-listening pop groups that seemed ahead of their time for some reason. If you are looking to mellow out for a bit, you should give them a listen because the music is pretty darn good (even by pop music standards!).
Share an obscure blog or web site and tell use why we should visit it. I think everybody would feel a little better if they started the week by looking at a picture at Exploding Dog. It's not exactly obscure, but it often times seems overlooked to me.
FQ 15 Minutes: There will one day be an event in your life so big that it will drag you out of obscurity and make your name known to the entire world. Speculate on what it will be that brings you your 15 minutes of fame! It will either be for marrying Elizabeth Hurley, or having a restraining order set against me for stalking Elizabeth Hurley.
Escape obscurity with the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, November 5th, 2004
I've returned from vacation and was looking forward to getting caught up with work, watching all the shows stacked up on my TiVo, and relaxing a bit. Alas, it was not meant to be. I've got a quick trip to Chicago ahead of me instead. Oh well.
TiVolution: I did manage to watch a few new shows that I am obsessed with. Namely, Veronica Mars, Lost, Scrubs, and Boston Legal. Seven hours of brilliant entertainment (2 episodes each) that have restored my faith in television. Every week Lost tells the background of a major character (in flashbacks) that explain how they got to where they are now, and I am captivated. Though I have to admit being a little nervous about what will happen when they've run out of characters to explore. Since only 48 47 people survived, what happens afterwards? Knowing J.J. Abrams, something spectacular.
Hope: Dare I get my hopes up again, only to have George Lucas dash them to pieces? The trailer for Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is all over the Internet and looks fantastic. Hearing James Earl Jones' voice as Darth Vader again after all these years is chilling. All that and Wookies too!!
Weight: The government has just released a study that reveals that the increase in average weight by 10 pounds of Americans in the 1990's has caused airlines to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel at a cost increase of $275 million in the year 2000 alone. But that's not the real problem... despite the fact that 65% of Americans are now classified as obese, airlines continue to pack seats closer and closer together. Planes that used to have 5 seats across now have 6. Planes that used to have 38 rows now have 42. If you are over 5'6" tall (I'm 6'2") then flying coach is absurdly uncomfortable no matter how much you weigh. If you're obese, you can diet. There's nothing I can do to make myself shorter.
Belated: Boston Red Sox World Series Champions. At last.
Treason: I received a surprisingly literate (but no less disturbing) email labeling my blog as "treason" because I don't support the president "who won fair and square." This is odd because at no point have I ever said that I "don't support the president." As an American, I'm pretty much obligated to respect the office of the president and support our country. For the record, what I don't support is the notion that Americans (or the world, for that matter) should not disagree with the president or question his actions. This is the very foundation on which the country was founded, and to imply otherwise is what I consider to be treasonous.
Foxy: Firefox release candidate 2 has been released for MacOS X. I find myself using it and Safari almost equally now.
Trash: If you've read my blog for any length of time, you already know I loathe Cnet. What I don't understand is why everybody doesn't loathe Cnet. Their anti-Apple rhetoric, anonymous editorial policy, and biased "journalism" makes them a source of "news" that should be wiped from the face of the internet. Just look at this URL to one of their stories at news.com:
Uhhh... "iPods are the tools of the devil" ?!? Even their URLs are biased. Worthless Cnet asshats.
Waahhh: I don't want to go to work today. Given the 3-hour time difference plus this antiquated daylight savings nonsense I am working on, the day seems half over even though it hasn't even began. Oh well, at least I get to leave early so I can pack my suitcase and head out again. Maybe gaining 2 hours in Chicago this weekend will fix me up?
Posted on Friday, November 5th, 2004
I just finished up my remaining travel reservations for the year.
That I know of.
There's a few days that aren't yet spoken for, so I'm sure something will come along to fill them up. All-in-all it's been a relatively tame year for me (probably because I wanted to spend the summer on my motorcycle). I still managed to reach "gold" status in my frequent flier plan (over 50,000 miles flown), but that's a far cry from the 100,000 I've had to travel in previous years. Usually, I couldn't tell you where I've been and what I've done because it's all just a big blur. But this past year was entirely blogged... so now I know exactly what happened...
And now I'm off to Chicago. One down, four to go...
Posted on Saturday, November 6th, 2004
Stewie is my idol (as I mentioned a while back).
Posted on Saturday, November 6th, 2004
This is a day in my life.
And, just for fun, I plan on bloggging the entirety of it (with BONUS pictures!). I'm not sure how exciting it will be but, since most of it will be spent traveling, "stuff" is bound to happen.
So, if your voyeuristic tendencies are such that you might enjoy spending the day with me in Chicago, by all means read on in this extended entry (click the link below the photo)...
→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, November 7th, 2004
Chicago is a great city. I love Chicago, honest I do. Search for "Chicago" on this blog and you'll see that I have nothing but good things to say about "The Windy City" whenever I visit. But O'Hare International Airport sucks ass. It's a big mess, sure, but the biggest problem? NO WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS!!! I mean, come on! Are they the only major airport left in America that doesn't provide wireless? Crazy. I need to talk with the mayor or something.
So now I get to sit here with nothing to do but watch some absurdly rude girl chew with her mouth open while talking with her mouth full on her mobile phone. Loudly. I can here her disgusting smacking all the way across the lobby, and I can't imagine how gross it must sound on the other end of that phone call.
Anyway, now that my job obligations are over, I get to go home for three glorious weeks. Three whole weeks to catch up on my work, unpack my suitcases, ride my motorcycle (please don't snow... please don't snow), and just r-e-l-a-x for a while. After that, I've got only three more trips (that I know of) left until January rolls around and then I'm back in Germany again (this time I need to look into visiting the BMW factory where my motorcycle was "born" - I've always wanted to do that).
... Time Passes ...
Gack! Now that I am home, I've changed my mind. It's COLD here! I want to go back to somplace like Cozumel, where it was warm...
Of course, being able to ride my motorcycle year-round is also a bonus.
Posted on Monday, November 8th, 2004
AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I have ranted numerous times about the horror that is Microsoft Internet Explorer (the most recent is here). Simply put, if you are using IE, then you are probably not viewing huge chunks of the internet as it was intended. You are certainly not seeing this blog the way it was intended. For reasons that remain a complete mystery to me, Microsoft simply does not care that their browser renders pages incorrectly. For the longest time, I thought it was my fault... something in my CSS or HTML is bad. But every browser I check... EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM... renders the pages exactly right. They may look a little different, but they are at least laid out correctly. If this is my fault, then why does it work properly on all these other browsers, including Internet Explorer for the Macintosh?!?
So, when I receive a comment at BlogExplosion like this:
"I like the site and words but the format needs work too much scrolling to the left and right to read."
I go absolutely insane...
If people don't like my blog and leave a low rating or a comment about hating it BECAUSE OF THE CONTENT, that's fine and I have no problem with it. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But to have people's experience be tainted with Microsoft's sloppy-ass browser that causes horizontal scrolling WHERE THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY... well, I go nuts. It's not fair to me. It's not fair to my visitors. It's just not fair. But, since Microsoft has a monopoly on the way the internet is displayed because of their huge dominance with Internet Explorer, it doesn't matter. I'm going to have to be the one to try and figure out what's going wrong. Fair or not, it's my problem.
At least I know what I'll be doing this weekend. If you are using Internet Explorer on a Windows machine and want to see what the site looks like when rendered correctly on the top-five Mac browsers (no horizontal scrolling!), then follow the link below where I've put up thumbnails (or you could always go get a better browser, and see for yourself):→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2004
It seems like only yesterday that I was waxing poetic about finally having three solid weeks at home with nothing on my travel schedule (actually, it was two days ago). Naturally, such optimism is immediately rewarded with the news that I have to be in Salt Lake City next week.
If I were to say that universal forces are conspiring against me, would I be labeled as paranoid?
Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2004
Hooray! The Mozilla Firefox browser has finally reached 1.0 release! If you're a MacOS X user like me, you're probably perfectly happy using Safari to browse the web... but there's always that occasional site that doesn't seem to work properly, which is why it's good to have Firefox sitting in your Applications folder. It's fast, friendly, does a great job, and may just become your browser of choice.
Of course, if you're a Microsoft Windows victim that's been suffering with Internet Explorer, then Firefox is a dream come true... it's a superior product in every way that will finally display the web the way designers meant for it to be seen, and protect you from spyware and other nastiness the IE invites. Go download it right away.
Happy as I am, I have to admit that every time I read some blog saying "FIREFOX IS OUT," something entirely different comes to mind...
Or maybe this...
Or perhaps this...
Congratulations to the entire Mozilla team for a job well done!
Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2004
I've been running through the episodes on my newly acquired The O.C. - The Complete First Season DVD set and am, for reasons unknown, not completely embarrassed to admit it. Sure it's the kind of teen angst that I ordinarily loathe, but it's also so smartly written and has such high entertainment value that there's no way I can bring myself to stop watching. It's like soap opera that's been perfected to some kind of art form.
Basically, it's the classic "fish out of water" tale that shows what happens when a kid from the wrong side of the tracks (Ryan) is tossed into the bizarre world of the uber-wealthy in Orange County, California. There he is adopted by the Cohen family and meet's their son (Seth) who is the ultimate comic-book reading geek/outsider that I can relate to so very well. How their worlds collide and then overlap should be boring melodrama that has been seen a billion times before but, in reality, is surprisingly fresh and captivating.
It doesn't hurt that Seth has some of the most amusing dialogue on television.
Now that the second season is airing on FOX, it would seem that Seth and Ryan are trading places. Seth is quickly becoming the bad boy in the family, while Ryan is trying to get his life together. Who knows where that will lead, but I'll be watching.
Okay, I'm a little embarrassed about that.
Posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2004
Maher: It would seem that Bill Maher's ex girlfriend is suing him for 9 million dollars. She is claiming that he had her quit her successful career as a Delta Airlines flight attendant with false promises of marriage and buying her a home in Beverly Hills. REMINDER TO SELF: When flying to Salt Lake City this Sunday on Delta, be sure to ask the flight attendant where I can pick up a job application. I loathe the idea of dealing with bitchy passengers all day long, but would gladly do so for the millions of dollars they apparently make.
Lost: I just realized that I forgot to watch the amazing new J.J. Abrams show, Lost, last night! Thank heaven for TiVo!
Jeunet: One of the most brilliant directors in cinema, Jeanne-Pierre Jeunet (who crafted the utterly amazing film Amelie) has a new movie coming out with strong "Best Picture" Oscar buzz called A Very Long Engagement. I cannot wait to see this film, and have watched the trailer at least a dozen times now (drooling over the delicious Audrey Tautou and the breathtaking visuals again and again). Today I learned that this new movie which is set in France, filmed in France, and uses a cast of French actors and technicians, is now being challenged in French court as to whether is a French film and thus eligible for government subsidies. It's nice to know that the USA is not the only country suffering from a serious lapse in logic lately.
Koolerz: Last night I picked me up some "Koolerz Piña Colada flavored Gum" to take to work with me. Today I was dismayed to find out that the gum tastes *fabulous* for 48 seconds (I timed it!), but then all the flavor is gone and you're just chewing a substance that tastes like motor oil on plastic. I was wracking my brain to try and think of another product you can buy that satisfies for such an astoundingly short time period of time... and then remembered my worthless Panasonic Recordable DVD Player, which satisfied me for only 42 seconds. Fortunately, the gum only cost $1.29.
Thanks: For all who served. Thank you.
Posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2004
I tuned into Jeopardy to see if minor trivia deity Ken Jennings was still dominating any mere mortals that dare to compete against him. Unfortunately, regular episodes of Jeopardy have been suspended in order to run two weeks of Collegiate Jeopardy competition. With nothing better to do until The O.C. came on, I decided to watch. The ultimate winner of the game, a guy from Carnegie Mellon University named "Kermin" (who is a computer science major), was so far ahead that he made a clever Final Jeopardy wager of $1337. For anybody familiar with hacker-speak, this was pretty cool.
And what kind of nifty name is "Kermin?" Kind of like Kermit and Herman all smashed together, but not.
Posted on Friday, November 12th, 2004
Who is your one favorite author and why is their work so appealing to you? Richard Bach. His writings were comforting and inspiring during a difficult time in my life.
What are your two favorite literary subjects and why is reading about them interesting to you? I enjoy many different subjects. Two off the top of my head are science fiction books dealing with time travel and historical fiction & non-fiction set in Asia.
What are your three favorite books and why are each of them special to you? The first two on my list are easy. That third spot is almost impossible to pick because there are literally dozens of books I love that could be put there.
FQ AUTHOR: If you had to write a book, what genre of book would you pen (mystery, romance, science fiction, biography, etc.) and what would it be about? Probably science fiction, since I enjoy reading it so much. As to what it would be about... how about a group Japanese Samurai warriors who discover a method of time travel during the fall of the Shogunate and escape destruction by fleeing to the future where they can rebuild their society? There they become an elite force of techno-warriors who fight to overthrow the cyborgs enslaving the human race. I would want to read something like that!
Find something new to read with the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, November 12th, 2004
Adobe makes some of the most astoundingly useful software on the planet, but doesn't seem to listen to their customers. For nearly a decade I have begged them to allow turning off the clipboard export in Illustrator. Six versions later (and a move to MacOS X), and they still haven't done it. So if there's something in your clipboard and you shut down your computer, Illustrator will cancel the shut down. Too many times I've come into work in the morning to find my computer's power still on and sporting a dumbass dialogue box that says: "Do you want to leave the clipboard data for other applications?"
That's about the time everybody in the office has to listen to me go: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME... I DON'T EVER WANT TO EXPORT THE CLIPBOARD YOU MORONS!! DIE YOU EVIL ADOBE BASTARDS! DIE! DIIIIIIIIEEEEE!!!!
The clipboard thing is irritating, but not fatal. I live with it because Adobe Illustrator is the cat's meow when it comes to vector illustration software.
But here's something new. Every time I run their Adobe InDesign program, some of the text in several applications mysteriously turns to gibberish...
This is a big problem, and I haven't been able to fix it. I've even gone so far as to do a fresh install of MacOS X (I have to do a clean re-install on Windows machines all the time but, on a Mac, this is a truly rare event). It doesn't work. Nothing I try works, and I can't find anything on their forums or support section about it.
And here's where the rant sets in: when I call tech support, they want to charge me for the call.
Uhhh... say what? This is obviously some kind of bug in THEIR software, yet I am supposed to PAY to get help in solving it? Lovely. Given that logic, when am I going to start getting paid for using other people's toilets?
Posted on Saturday, November 13th, 2004
WoohooooOOO! Look at me... I'm blogging with no pants on!
Blogging with no pants! I slay me!
My constant traveling has finally caught up with me, and the only clean clothes I have are a Hard Rock T-Shirt from Munich and a pair of Joe Boxers with sharks printed all over them. It's not an easy look to pull off successfully, but somehow I make it work.
I really don't have any choice until the clothes come out of the dryer.
Oog. I have to work all day today, but really should make time to take a look at my personal email, which has been neglected for the past several weeks (sorry). In the meanwhile, here's the "Random Question Meme" which was assembled from questions in other memes (as seen on Neil, Kazza, and Richard's blogs)...
Off to work.
Posted on Sunday, November 14th, 2004
Honestly, I don't copy absolutely everything Neil does in his blog... it's just that he's constantly finding really cool things to blog about. And now he's run across a truly inspired meme: what's in your gadget bag? (which reminds me of the what's in your glovebox meme). I'm not saying that my particular bag is something special, but I do haul a lot of crap around with me, so this might be interesting to some...
An inventory of what is accommodating me on a typical trip...
Yargh. No wonder my pack is so heavy. And now I'm off to Seattle, continuing onward to Salt Lake City for a few days.
Posted on Monday, November 15th, 2004
Finally managed to add my visits to the Hard Rocks in Cozumel and St. Thomas to my fan site: DaveCafe. Along the way I checked in with the official site and noticed that there are some new Hard Rocks in the world, adding to the recent openings in Destin (Florida), Foxwoods (Connecticut), and Dublin (Ireland)...
Also on the "coming soon list" is Kuwait and Caracas (Venezuela). Still nothing for Seattle, however. I remain dumbfounded that the city which gave us Heart, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pear Jam, and a multitude of other influential artists remains without a Hard Rock Cafe. Somebody at HRC Corporate needs to be bitch-slapped.
Conspicuous by its absence is Oslo, which was billed as "coming soon" for a long, long, time and was supposed to open early this year but never did. Now that it's missing from the site completely, I wonder if it has been scrapped?
Posted on Monday, November 15th, 2004
It's cold here in Salt Lake City. So cold, that after seeing The Incredibles at The Gateway, I had to go buy a pair of gloves so I could manage to walk back to the hotel without having my fingers freeze off.
As for that movie... it was, well, incredible. Given that this film was a collaboration between the brilliance of Pixar animation (easily surpassing Disney as the leading US animated feature house in every way possible) and Brad Bird (whose miraculous Iron Giant film is an all-time favorite of mine), I expected nothing less...
I dare say that it surpasses even Superman and Spider-Man 2 as best super-hero movie of all time (not to mention burying suck-ass snore-fests like X-Men).
It's that good.
Surprisingly, The Incredibles earns it's PG rating by being a pretty intense flick with death and destruction that you don't normally see in "kiddie pics" like this. Don't get me wrong... kids will love the film, especially once the action builds up during the second half, but adults are the ones who will really get a kick out of the more subtle elements strewn throughout the story.
The premise of the movie is pretty slick: continuous lawsuits have forced super-heroes to retire and go into hiding. Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) ended up marrying Elasti-Girl (Holly Hunter) and having super-offsprings who hide their powers from society to live as normal people. But Mr. Incredible is not content to be a paper-pushing insurance claims adjustor, and secretly yearns to be a hero again, commiserating with his super-powered buddy Frozone (a scene-stealing Samuel L. Jackson). Eventually, a mysterious offer for super-heroics (on a secret island worthy of a James Bond villain) proves too tempting to resist, and Mr. Incredible quickly ends up over his head. It's up to the rest of the family to come to the rescue, with breathtaking action sequences and humor that's almost too good to be true - much like this promotional poster by comic book legend Mike (Hellboy) Mignola...
Because this is a Pixar production, the visuals are predictably stunning. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. From beginning to end, there's so much going on that it will take several viewings to truly appreciate the effort that went into making this film so "incredible." Just watching the inventive ways that the characters use their super-powers will have comic book fans geeking out all over the theater. How in the heck the upcoming Fantastic Four film can possibly top this is unknown, as the bar has been set mind-bogglingly high.
Do yourself a favor and be sure to see The Incredibles in a theater rather than waiting for the DVD... it's everything that people love about the movies, and begs to be seen on the big screen to be truly appreciated.
Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2004
Is it wrong to be looking forward to a movie even though you don't think it has much of a chance of being any good?
Sigh. Let's face it, I'd watch a film of Jennifer Garner filling out her tax return.
Posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 2004
A recipe for a really fun evening: a group of friends + a few drinks + a game called "Apples to Apples."
This is one of the best games I've played in ages. It always amazes me that the games with the simplest concept and easiest rules inevitably turn out to be the most fun. Next time you get together with your friends, you should give it a try!
Posted on Thursday, November 18th, 2004
Apple! I wish I were in London right now. Not just because I love the city and have a number of friends living "over the pond," but because Europe's first Apple Store is opening up there this weekend on Regent Street (in a pretty cool location just off Oxford Circus). Sure it looks to be much like the stores in Chicago, New York, L.A., and Tokyo that I've already been to, but these "flagship" Apple Stores are all so cool that I'd like to keep up with them as they open up if I can.
Ze! It's always cool when one of my favorite sites gets a little notice, and this time it's a really good one. Ze Frank's latest triumph: "Punctuation Substitution for Passive Aggressive Communication Solutions" is making its way around the blogosphere, and is too funny. If you like it, be sure to check out all of the other crazy and cool things he's made for ZeFrank.com ("How to Dance Properly" is what he's most known for, and is still one of his best).
Berg! The site for Blade: Trinity seems to have been updated with more images and information. While I enjoyed the previous Blade films, this one has me really anxious because it has one of the funniest guys on the planet in it... RYAN RENOLDS!! First coming to prominence as "Berg" in Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place Renolds then drifted through a number of guest appearances in films (like Dick) and TV shows (like Scrubs) before hitting the big time in Van Wilder. Now he's got a primo part in the latest Blade film, and seems to have really buffed up in a bid to become an action hero...
Of course, it doesn't hurt that hottie Jessica Biel is along for the ride playing Whistler's daughter...
Porn! My workload is so overwhelming just now that I can't really take on anything more, but every once in a while an offer of work comes my way that I'm sorely tempted to take anyway. This morning I got a rather serious email wanting me to develop an e-commerce site for porn! I've accumulated a pretty diverse body of work over the years, but haven't done any work involving pornography before. Sadly, I don't have any time available before Spring of next year, so I had to decline. Such a shame, because having porn in my portfolio would certainly spice things up a bit!
Rated! Also in my email box was a request from a "concerned parent" to add ratings to my blog so that it can be properly identified as "adult content." Apparently, her 14-year-old son was searching for cartoons on the internet, stumbled across the "DaveToons" here on Blogography, saw a cartoon image of me being Janet Jackson at the SuperBowl, then became "traumatized." To this I can only reply: what the f#@%?!? I assume this is the image in question:
Well, whatever. I certainly don't want to be in the business of "traumatizing" any kids. But then I took a look at the RSACi web site to figure out exactly how I am supposed to rate my site, and am even more dumbfounded. I mean, take a look at what your options are! How am I supposed to choose?
In all honesty, I think this is pretty ridiculous, and have to wonder what the ramifications of adding a rating to your site might be. I mean, if I rate my site as "Mild expletives" and somebody comes along and decides that "crap" isn't "mild" can I be sued? Will Google refuse to index my site if I have ratings in place? Does it really matter anyway? Geez. Maybe I'll just forget about it and instead request that parents monitor their kid's activities on the internet rather than asking me to babysit for them.
Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2004
What's your favorite ending to a movie or play? That's a toughie. From an emotional standpoint, two movies that choke me up every time I see their endings are Field of Dreams and The Big Blue, so I suppose they could qualify. I had the ending for The Sixth Sense figured out, but still think it was superb, so that could be a contender. One of the more uplifting endings I've ever seen would have to be Creator, so that would be a good choice. The ending I never saw coming would be Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, so it could be the one. I sure like the way that everything came together at the end of The Shawshank Redemption, so that's a good option. The ending of The Terminator haunted me for weeks, so that might very well be the one. But, when all is said and done, I think I have to give the nod to Amelie as having my favorite ending. There's a charming little mystery that's solved in addition to the romantic storyline that really touches me. Since I ordinarily dislike romantic comedies, that's quite an accomplishment, and reason enough to earn my top pick.
What's your favorite ending to a song or musical? Depeche Mode consistently churns out songs with fascinating messages of love, loss, devotion, and healing that give me chills. Probably my favorite ending would be their song Higher Love because the medley and lyrics rise up to levels that actually lift me higher. Other good choices would be The Thompson Twins' If You Were Here and Kamikaze, both of which have me thinking about the song long after it's over. Or perhaps Coldplay's The Scientist, which leaves me longing for something I can't put into words.
What's your favorite ending to a book or graphic novel? Hands down the ending to Alan Moore's Watchmen would have to be my favorite of all time. The second I read that last panel, I immediately felt compelled to read the entire series over again. Anybody who would dismiss this book as "nothing more than a comic book" is seriously missing out on one of the most imaginative stories told. After that, I'd have to say the ending of Dean Koontz's Lightning was kind of clever, and the endings of both Edgar Rice Burroughs' original Tarzan of the Apes and A Princess of Mars were bittersweet and badly left me wanting more. Isn't that what an ending should do?
FQ MEMORIAL: What would be your favorite ending to your life? Dying happy and fulfilled would be the perfect way to go... preferably in my sleep?
Make your own happy ending at the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2004
Thanks to some help from James, I've gone ahead and rated this site so that unsuspecting (and unsupervised, I'd imagine) kids won't have to be traumatized by something they might read or look at here (or so the ICRA claims).
I have mixed feelings about ratings. Personally, I don't think that they work, and are no substitute for supervising your children. Furthermore, I think that increasingly easy access to the internet makes it all too easy for kids to find unrestricted access. But, for parents that are trying to do the right thing and living in a constant battle with television, music, and the internet to raise their kids... well, if rating my site for content in any way helps, then I have no problem giving it a try.
Here is how I've chosen to rate my blog (with samples of material):
I decided not to label the above as being in an "artistic context," even though I personally believe that to be the case here. Given what I know from having a 13-year-old nephew, this site is positively tame compared to what kids are exposed to at school every day... but whatever. Just doing my part to preserve public decency!
(Trying to type that last sentence with a straight face was near impossible!)
Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2004
My favorite band of all time, Depeche Mode, has announced that they will be meeting next month in California to discuss recording a new album in January!! I have been hoping/dreaming/obsessing over a reunion for quite a long time now, and couldn't be more happy about the news. Is it too much to hope that they will be touring to support the album as well? Any chance that Alan Wilder will be coming back? How will the band's solo projects over the past three years affect the new material? Gah! I'm going a little insane here.
Now I want to watch Devotional all over again.
Posted on Saturday, November 20th, 2004
Seriously... how do we go about repealing the antiquated and horrendously stupid electoral voting system here? I don't care which side of the political spectrum you might lay, how can anybody not support the idea of every vote counting? Does anyone (except those comprising the Electoral College) seriously want it this way? Why hasn't a repeal of the 12th Amendment ever been offered to the people? How do we get it put to a vote? Anybody?
Seriously... can't Dave Winer just leave us alone? First he decides to define moblogging for us... badly, and now he's decided to tell us that unless we're reading syndication feeds his way, then we're doing it all wrong. I have no problem with Winer publishing his opinion, but he never seems content to do just that. Instead it's always "Winer's right, everybody else is wrong." End of story. Why can't he just be happy that people are using syndication and suggest a way that works best for him, rather than attacking people who have found a different way of doing things? Shades of gray Dave... shades of gray.
Seriously... why is it that movie comedies can't be complex and intelligent anymore? Have people's attention spans truly diminished to such a low that dumb-ass burp and fart jokes are all we're going to get now? It certainly seems that way. I just purchased the long-awaited DVD release of Foul Play and am amazed that a film starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase could be so brilliant while also being so funny at the same time. What's truly amazing is that there are no wasted moments in this film. Even seemingly meaningless scenes are subtext that builds the story. Things going on in the background are essential to solving the mystery they've got going. Unlike the typical Adam Sandler crapfest, you actually have to pay attention... but it's so well-written that you don't care, you want to pay attention (which is cruel, because there are some seat-jumping moments you never see coming). And it was made in 1978. We've certainly dumbed down in the past 26 years. A "comedy" as smart as Foul Play would never be green-lighted today.
Seriously... who is the moron that put David Caruso at the head of C.S.I. Miami? I love the original C.S.I. and am won over by the grittier take on the concept with C.S.I. New York. But I cannot bring myself to get through a single episode of Miami because Caruso is so laughably bad doing his overly-dramatic, arrogant, Gil Grissom impersonation. If Caruso can't be bothered to actually act out something original, can we put Emily Procter's character in charge?
Seriously... why do I feel compelled to participate in really time-consuming and difficult memes? This time I have Dennis to blame. To read through my "Nine Layers," just click the link below...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, November 21st, 2004
I've been seeing increasing usage of GRAvatar (Globally Recognized Avatar) in blogs lately, but have shied away from incorporating it into Blogography because most implementations I've seen have totally destroyed the page layout. But now Neil's gone and done it, and his layout was preserved just fine, so I thought I'd go ahead and try it.
Gravatar (not to be confused with the Atari video game Gravitar) is a global repository for "avatars" (little pictures that identify you to others online) which can be used in all kinds of web environments, including blog comments. Since Blogography is now Gravatar enabled, any comments you leave will display your avatar, assuming you have signed up for a free Gravatar account and use the same email address you signed up with (but don't worry, your email address is private and will never be displayed here).
Each avatar you upload to your account is individually reviewed by the Gravatar staff, and given a rating of G, PG, R, or X. This allows implementations to be safely restricted for the intended audience (I've set the rating here to be "PG" or lower). The avatar I uploaded was reviewed and rated "G" (hah!) within 20 minutes. You can see how Gravatar works by following the "comments" link on this entry.
Posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2004
I've been a bit under the weather lately, which has involved my working at home from time to time. Since I live in an apartment complex, I usually like to work with some background noise playing to mask the distractions caused by the other people living here. Usually, it's a DVD of some television show or an old movie that I've seen before (if it were new, I'd want to watch instead of work).
Since they just released the third season of The West Wing, I decided I would start watching the entire series from the beginning. It's an excellent show, especially the earlier seasons, and I was interested to know how they would run when viewed back to back to back. The dialogue is so dense, that I was guessing it would be exhausting.
But it's not exhausting, it's exhilarating. Except for just one thing... one thing that has driven me bat-ass crazy nuts from the very first episode... I loathe the character of "Toby Zeigler."
I don't know if it's how the character is written, or (more likely) how actor Richard Schiff portrays him, but I loathe him. From his very first scene in the very first episode where he's a total prick arguing with a flight attendant, to every other scene he's ever appeared in... I loathe him. He's an arrogant, obnoxious, irritating asshole that disrupts the "flow" of the show, and I wish there was a special feature on the DVDs that would allow you to view a version of each episode that's Toby-free. Something tells me it would be much better that way.
Posted on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004
While I've never actually experienced crack cocaine, I continue to imagine that it must be very much like eating a bowl of "Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes" from Taco Bell. For the past six months, I have been physically unable to drive past a Taco Bell without stopping and buying a bowl (or three). On occasion, I've even been known to make a special trip into Wenatchee with the sole intent of purchasing Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and nothing more (that's a 40-minute round-trip). I've written about this before, but right now I am on a Cheesy Fiesta Potato high, and felt the need to share (share my being high, not my taters, so keep your hands to yourself).
A pity that they're so horrendously bad for your health.
But hopefully a bit better than crack cocaine.
I guess when I start holding up convenience stores and selling myself on the street to pay for my Cheesy Fiesta Potato fix, I'll know for sure.
Posted on Thursday, November 25th, 2004
One summer whilst vacationing in Maui, I noticed a mother quail leading a half-dozen baby quail across the back yard of our condo. Suddenly, the neighbor's cat (named "Neko," which is kind of a cool name for a cat if you speak Japanese) appeared. Almost instantly, each of the baby quail ran to a shrub and stuck their heads in. Meanwhile, the mother quail created a nice distraction for Neko to divert his attention from the poorly-hidden chicks.
Eventually, Neko got bored and wandered off, at which time the mother quail called the chicks out and it was back to business as usual. Such a unique approach to danger was not lost on me (baby quail are really cute, and that wasn't lost on me either).
Most everybody would write this off as instinct. They would say the mother quail is programmed by "Mother Nature" to protect her chicks, so that the species will survive. This may be true. But every time I think back, all I see is a mother putting herself in danger so that her children would be safe. The fact that she happens to be a bird doesn't make it any less remarkable to me.
I am thankful I'm not a turkey today.
Posted on Friday, November 26th, 2004
Name one thing you are thankful for that is kind of a silly thing to be thankful about. My Macintosh PowerBook.
Name two things other people seem to be thankful for which you are not. Four more years of Bush. Espresso.
Name three things that don't currently exist which you would be thankful for if they did. The death penalty for spammers. A cure for cancer. World peace.
FQ THANKFUL: Forget about thanking others, what's something everybody else should be thankful to YOU for? That I don't wear spandex.
Be unthankful at the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, November 26th, 2004
NonSeattle: Well, this day has started off to be the suckiest suck to ever suck a suck! I switched some flights around which (apparently) required that paper tickets be mailed to me. Except I never got them. So the first hour of my day was straightening that mess out. I barely made the plane out of Wenatchee with 5 minutes to spare (after they were nice enough to re-open security for me). Seattle, here I come.
Seattle: Breathtaking views of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains on the way over. Nauseating view of a woman blowing chunks at SeaTac International upon arrival (juuuuuust missed the bathroom by that much!). Poor girl. Bad enough to be sick and having to travel... even worse to toss your cookies all over the terminal.
NonEntertainment: Alaska Airlines needs to change out the videos on their DigePlayers. This is the third flight I've take with them this month, and I've already seen everything on it.
Entertainment: Fortunately, I didn't need a DigePlayer for entertainment, the elderly couple behind me were more than enough. The husband was apparently deaf, which meant that the wife had to SCREAM everything. Such classics as "WHAT?" -- "I SAID, DO YOU HAVE TO USE THE RESTROOM!!!!" were haunting me the entire trip. Apparently the old guy is blind as well, because she started reading (screaming) to him from the in-flight magazine at one point. It would seem that once you pass 90 years old, you just don't give a crap if you irritate people around you (probably because you're too busy worrying if you're going to "give a crap" in your pants?). Hey, since I probably won't live that long, more power to ya'.
NonChicago: The amazingly unhelpful gate agent for Alaska Airlines tells me my connecting flight is "probably at Terminal 1 or Terminal 2." Oh well, my 4-1/2 hour layover allows me plenty of time to find out where I'm supposed to be. It also allows me plenty of time to meet with a friend while I'm here at O'Hare. She landed 20 minutes ago, but is hanging around to say hello (she had just returned from Thanksgiving holiday, where she spent the entire day fighting with her sister). After a drink with her at Chili's, I stick around for dinner and have one of their excellent "Black Bean Burgers." Ever since Boca Burger changed their recipe and starting being all nasty-ass wet & slimy, I'm always on the look-out for good vegetarian alternatives to hamburgers. Oooh look... their security personel use little Segway scooters to zip around the airport!
Chicago: Seems like I was just here last week (oh wait... that was Salt Lake... Chicago was two weeks ago). O'Hare is not really Chicago, but I blogged my entire day last time I was in the city proper, so I've always got the memories. If only I had time to run into town and get a slice at Giordano's. Now I'm off to Louisville, where I'll be arriving just before midnight. Wheee.
Posted on Saturday, November 27th, 2004
"We're the sixteenth largest city in the US" she proudly proclaimed, leaving me slightly dumbfounded. I understand keeping track of the top 10, that's only natural, but who could possibly care about number sixteen? Unless there are sixteen places on the list, in which case you would be last, which would then mean you probably wouldn't go around bragging about it would you? Oh well. "That's great" I reply, not really meaning it.
Anyway, here I am in Louisville. Which is pronounced "Loo-eee-vhil" with a silent "s"... unless you live here, then it would be "Loo-uh-vhil," for reasons that escape me. Something to do with the regional dialect of a southern accent, I'd imagine. For my international friends (or domestic friends that just don't care), Louisville is in the northern part of the state of Kentucky, and is probably most famous for The Kentucky Derby horse race and Louisville Slugger baseball bats. I'd buy one to take home with me, but I doubt they'd allow it on the plane. That's really too bad, because my extracurricular activities could only benefit from an authentic Louisville Slugger...
I arrived near midnight at the famous Seelbach Hilton (opened 1905), which is a magnificent old hotel right in the middle of the city. I love old hotels (The Menger in San Antonio, The Shelbourne in Dublin, The Vance in Seattle, etc.) because they have a history. Stuff happened here. F. Scott Fitzgerald loved The Seelbach (and, if the legends are true, was also kicked out of here after a drunken brawl). People and events at this hotel were inspiration for his most famous book, and one of the greatest novels of all time: The Great Gatsby. Al Capone was a frequent guest, and eight U.S. presidents have visited (draw your own conclusions). As I said, stuff happened here...
After waking up very late, I made my way to Hard Rock visit #103 just across the street (Muhammad Ali Boulevard, which was probably named something different back in 1905) in the "Fourth Street Live" complex...
The exterior is nothing really special, but the inside is kind of cool. The entire cafe is laid out in an arch around the bar, with stone-wall accents and plenty of memorabilia packed in every corner...
While dining, I struck up a conversation with another couple of Hard Rock fanatics on their 17th visit and was asked to join them for lunch. Just one of the many reasons I love being a part of the Hard Rock community is the nice people you meet, and this visit was made even more special because of it (and here's another opportunity to plug my Hard Rock fan site... DaveCafe.com).
Directly across the way from the Hard Rock is a really cool bowling alley called "Lucky Strike Lanes," that is stylish to the extreme. So stylish, in fact, that there is a dress code enforced... "Dress to Impress" the sign says. I have no idea what that means, but just by looking through the windows I can see that this would be an awesome night out with a group of friends. Nothing is quite so entertaining as getting drunk and throwing heavy balls with your closest mates...
And now I'm off to wander the streets of Louisville for a few hours before I hop on a plane to enchanting Milwaukee. I'm trying my best to be optimistic, but am told that low clouds at O'Hare (my connecting flight) are causing delays of 60 minutes or more. I can't wait.
Posted on Saturday, November 27th, 2004
Look at me, I'm stuck in Chicago!
And boy is it a mess. The bad weather has caused all kinds of insanity, and most of the terminal is filled to the brim with people who have been cancelled or delayed out of their flight. People crying. People yelling. People beating the heck out of their kids. As I sit here typing this, a young girl in a Spongebob Squarepants shirt is being screamed at by her mother because she has to go to the bathroom. And when I say "screamed at," I mean that her mother can probably be heard two terminals away. I sympathize that you are stressed because your flight was cancelled, but didn't you expect this kind of thing when you decided to have kids? Ooh... ooh... now you've made the little girl cry. Way to go you stupid bitch, was that the results you were looking for?
My flight was supposed to board at 5:50. But 5:50 came and went, and no announcement was made.
The flight was to leave at 6:15. Now 6:15 has come and went, and still no announcement.
Why in the heck don't they keep people informed? Even if you don't know anything, get on the loudspeaker and announce "the flight has been delayed, we'll give you more information when we have it." Acknowledge that the f#@%ing flight exists so that we're not standing around wondering if it's been forgotten, cancelled, or whatever. But oh no. Apparently the team of four gate agents has better things to do... like play with their hair, tell jokes, and stare into space. What a bunch of dumbasses. Delays and cancellations don't bother me that much, it's part of the game. Idiotic gate agents who don't do their job bothers me very much!
FINALLY it's 6:30, and they've just announced a delayed departure of 7:00. Now wasn't that easier than having people come up and ask "what's going on with the Milwaukee flight" again and again and again and again? THAT'S WHY THEY GIVE YOU A MICROPHONE, DUMBASS!!
And now 7:00 has come and went...
UPDATE: Finally made it to Milwaukee nearly two hours late. But my luggage is mysteriously absent...
UPDATE: By some miracle, my suitcase actually arrived on the next flight. There's enough stickers plastered on the luggage tag to choke a horse, but it's here.
Posted on Sunday, November 28th, 2004
I've been to Milwaukee many, many times before. Once they start recognizing you on the Miller Beer Brewery tour, and you've been to the Harley Davidson factory a few times... well, there's not much more I really want to do here. I came in a day early so that I could compensate for typical winter airline delays but, since that only amounted to a few hours, I've got nothing (it isn't helping that this is a Sunday). So I've decided to stay in my hotel room and work for a while, then go eat frozen custard.
Posted on Sunday, November 28th, 2004
With nothing on my agenda after I got caught up with some work, I headed off to the Mayfair Mall for a showing of National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage. What I expected was a modern-day Indiana Jones type film, but what I got was something entirely different. It's almost as if the success of The DaVinci Code got Jerry Bruckheimer hot to do a conspiracy-genre film that ended up being a sloppy hodgepodge of American mythological elements poorly pasted into a predictable action-driven story.
Not to say that it sucked ass, but it sure could have been better.
Nicholas Cage is Benjamin Franklin Gates, the latest of a long line of Gates fortune hunters who are convinced there is a vast treasure hidden away by this country's founding fathers with the help of Free Masonry and the Templar Knights. Much to the dismay of his father (Jon Voit in a throwaway role), Gates tracks a critical piece of the treasure puzzle to Antarctica (an idea stolen from a Dirk Pitt book). Unfortunately, his need for financing leads to a partnership with Ian Howe (Sean Bean) who, predictably, turns out to be a bad guy. From that moment on, the race is on between Cage and Bean to find the treasure first... one to guard it for all humanity, and one to exploit it for personal gain.
I was sure that the "treasure" was going to be some lame-ass attempt at "idealism" ... perhaps a piece of paper with the words "America's true treasure is her freedom" or some such bullshit. Thankfully, they didn't take that route, but it doesn't matter. The lameness comes from the half-assed attempt to fit American-heritage-themed clues into a paint-by-the-numbers action flick. Strip away the nonsense with the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, etc. and there's nothing left but crap... tame chase scenes that culminate in an pathetic ending for the bad guys, and a predictably sappy ending for the "heroes."
Oh well. They did toss in a little eye candy (played by Diane Kruger), capable comic relief (played by Justin Bartha), and Harvey Keitel, which brings National Treasure up to a "5" (on a scale of 1 to 10). Not really good, not really bad, just predictably average. I hope that the actual adaptation of The DaVinci Code (starring Tom Hanks) fares better. At least it has a pretty good story to build on.
Posted on Monday, November 29th, 2004
Summary: November and December are terrible, terrible times to be traveling because everybody else in the world is traveling at the same time. My advice? Don't do it. Tell your family you won't be home for the holidays and just save yourself the aggrivation. Anyway... I worked all through the night, and was able to complete my job in Wisconsin this morning (two full days early). Since I have butt-loads of work and a mounting personal emergency back home, I decided to fly back early so I can get my life straightened out.
Alas it's not to be.
Or maybe it is, I don't know yet.
I flew Alaska/United to Milwaukee but, since all flights for the next four days are booked solid on the Chicago-Seattle leg, I can't fly Alaska back. No problem, I have pretty big clout with Northwest, so I manage to get a ticket (even though their flights are sold out too - being a good customer has its privileges). And here's where it gets interesting: it's cheaper to buy a round-trip than a one-way fare to Seattle. So now I have an unused half of my original ticket from Milwaukee to Wenatchee, and am going to have an unused half of my current flight from Seattle to Milwaukee. Something tells me I can smoosh all that together and get a round-trip ticket out of the deal but, since four different airlines are involved now (Alaska, United, Horizon, and Alaska), it's anybody's guess as to whether or not this will ever work out.
So now I am stuck in Minneapolis because the flight I was on is overbooked by full-fare paying customers or something. It looks like I can get a later flight but, knowing my luck, I'm not holding my breath.
UPDATE: Not only do I still not know if I am making this flight, but now they are announcing a delay so they can change the tires on the airplane! (because heaven only knows you don't want the tires going flat when you drop on the runway). For some reason, I always thought they did stuff like this during routine maintenance schedules. I guess I thought wrong. Apparently, they must instead be sticking a penny in the tread after each landing (when you can see Lincoln's entire head, it's time for a new set!). Wacky!
Posted on Monday, November 29th, 2004
I've decided to start a new category for anonymous letters to people who have pissed me off. I figure it is the only way I can release my pent-up anger without having to kill the dumbasses.
Another lunch-time highlight... I sat at a two-seat table and put my backpack on the second chair. A couple of guys leaving the restaurant pretended they were grabbing my pack, which went something like this:
IDIOT #1: What if somebody stole your bag?!
ME: I'd stab them in the neck with my fork and then bash their head in with the back of my chair.
IDIOT #2: Chill, dude! He's just kidding.
ME: I wasn't.
Yep, I'm evil through and through!
Posted on Monday, November 29th, 2004
At first, my lovely experience with the new TSA screening rituals was ripe for Anonymous Letter #002. Since these "letters" are graphical, the text doesn't register as text, and search engines will gleefully pass it by (thus leaving such rants for you, my dear reader, and not for casual internet searchers).
But I am so f#@%ing pissed off right now I truly don't give a crap what happens.
To preface: my flight out of Minneapolis was delayed for an hour while they changed the tires on the plane (which gives me staggering new levels of confidence in NWA's regularly-scheduled maintenance, but I digress). You would think, since Northwest Airlines pretty much OWNS the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, that they would expedite such a delayed plane with all expediency so that people with connecting flights might have a prayer of actually making them. But no. What's the best thing to do to a plane already delayed for an hour and fifteen minutes? WHY, DELAY IT ON THE RUNWAY FOR ANOTHER HOUR OF COURSE!! Talk about f#@%ing stupid.
But what do I care, I make it to Seattle with a full hour-and-a-half to spare, which is a good thing considering I have to exit security, claim my luggage, run to the opposite end of the airport to check in with Horizon Air, then make my way back through security. I don't flinch when the underground shuttle gets stuck and we wait for ten minutes for the door to close. Likewise, I don't get upset with my bag is 3rd-to-last off the luggage claim carousel. I've still got an hour to grab my ticket and make my way through security and everything will be okay, right??
Well, given the GROSS f#@%ING INCOMPETENCE OF THE TSA STAFF, maybe not.
And before anybody jumps on my ass, please understand that I am in no way directing my anger toward the TSA individuals working tonight... that's just stupid. The fact that they are badly trained, poorly supervised, and have procedures that are ineffective (at best) and ludicrous (at most) could hardly be said to be their fault. So, if you feel like reading a long rant about everything I perceive to be ASTOUNDINGLY STUPID with my TSA extended inquisition examination (sprinkled with liberal amounts of foul language), then all means click the link below...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2004
I worship Steve Jobs (head of both Apple Computer and Pixar). Everything he touches turns to gold, and he has this magnetic personality when you meet him that is so powerful you have to do a heterosexuality-check once you leave his presence just to be sure you are in love with him for the right reasons. At least, guys do. Well, I do. I don't know about any other guys. Maybe it's a genetic defect in my DNA or something.
Anyway, given my love of all things Steve Jobs, it pains me to say that I totally disagree with his view that there should be no video iPod. He says something like "who would want to watch video on such a tiny screen?" to which I have to answer... "me." And probably a lot of other people too.
Sure I can watch DVDs on my PowerBook or a portable DVD player... but, by the same token, I can also listen to music on my PowerBook or a portable CD player. The thing that's so remarkable about the iPod is the stylish way that you can access digital content for music in such a compact, easy-to-manage device. Why wouldn't I want to do the same thing with video content? No need to boot up the PowerBook (especially, heaven forbid, if I am flying coach) in order to have something to watch - just turn on your Video iPod which you've synced with your TiVo, and you can take the latest round of television shows and movies with you in a convenient, pocket-PDA-sized, easy-to use player.
Ever since I started flying Alaska Airlines and renting their DigePlayer, I'm enraptured at the thought of being able to sync content with my TiVo and catch up with all the TV shows I like on the go. I think about it A LOT. On my long, long, flight home last night I thought about it while sketching on my PowerBook.
Inspired by the iPod Mini, this is what it looks like on the front, featuring a hi-res, 4-1/2 inch diagonal widescreen display (click on image to see the full-size version)...
It would flip open to display the controls if you should need to access them. Volume (and everything else) can be controlled from the click-wheel, just like an iPod, but an infinity scroll-wheel on the side allows easy volume control without having to flip open the panel. I also dropped in a small speaker for those times you might want to share the experience... it doesn't have to be anything great, just good enough to hear what's going on (click on image to see the full-size version)...
Of course, you can still play music in either of the above configurations, but a second "regular-sized" iPod display would be included, so you could turn the unit over to easily control it when listening to music without having to flip it open (click on image to see the full-size version)...
Naturally, you could store and view your photos, just like an iPod Photo, and it would also inherit the "video-out" port so you could look at your photos or watch video content on a television. Next-generation Video iPods could have "video-in" ports for recording video as well (although I still think some kind of sync feature like we have now with iTunes is a better option).
With all due respect to Mr. Jobs, I think this would be an insanely great product. I would sell my liver to buy one, and would freak with joy to be able to have an elegant Apple-designed product instead of the clunky alternative digital video players that are out there now.
Come on Steve... prove to me that my love for you is not in vain and make me a Video iPod!