Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
Work has been all-consuming as of late, which meant the "Travel Planner" email from the airline came as a bit of a surprise when it landed in my inbox this morning. So here I am packing my suitcase while desperately trying to get those last-minute details handled before flying out tomorrow. Same as it always is.
I may not have time to comment very often anymore, but I'm reading more blogs than ever and have been absolutely fascinated with just how strange things seem in the blogosphere lately. It's like Spring hit on March 20th and everybody decided to do something to mark the occasion. Some bloggers in smaller ways than others, but the changes are happening everywhere I look.
And all I got were these lousy kidney stones.
Which still haven't passed, which means I will be more medicated than usual for the flight to NYC in the morning. Having already experienced what it's like to be in agony at 20,000 feet, I am in no hurry to go through that again. Fortunately, these new pills I got are a miracle in the bottle, because most days I forget there's even something wrong. Viva la pharmaceuticals!
Everybody fly safe...
Posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2009
Weather here in the Greater New York Area is pretty shitty. A lot of flights have been canceled or delayed both in and out. I am fairly lucky in that mine was only delayed two hours.
At least I was lucky until I found out my hotel shuttle stopped running an hour before I landed.
How the hell can you claim to service a major metropolitan airport like Newark and not have a 24-hour shuttle? And, if your hotel is such a fucking joke that they don't have a 24-hour shuttle for a major airport, then why don't you put that info on your website? Oh, that's right... because if you put it on your website, nobody would bother to book your worthless shit, because nobody knows if their flight might be delayed past your shuttle cut-off!
The more I think about it, the madder I get. Not so much for the $20 I had to pay a taxi, but for the principle of it all. Flights are still on delay and will be landing throughout the early morning. When I checked into the hotel, there were at least a dozen key-cards set-up for visitors not yet arrived because of weather delays. In service to your customers, wouldn't you at least try to accommodate the circumstances and keep a driver on-staff a few extra hours?!? If I were the manager and couldn't get anybody to fill those extra hours, I'd bite the bullet and drive the stupid shuttle myself. It's what you do when you're in the business of customer service.
Or so one would hope.
Given all the travel I endure, you'd think that I'd stop being surprised at the shit I get put through on such a regular basis. But I never do. I'm always clinging to the dream that businesses will go that extra mile for their customers... or at least not mislead those customers on their website.
But it's a dream that fails more often than not. A dream that dies a little more with each failure. A dream that shouldn't really be dream at all, but an expectation of how things should be.
But so rarely are.
Posted on Saturday, April 4th, 2009
Once again feeling like the luckiest person on earth that I can show up in a city far from home and manage to find such an amazing group of people who would spend their valuable time hanging out with me. I don't know that I could ever adequately express just how much it means, but every time in every city... from the bottom of my heart... I am so very grateful. Who could have ever imagined that this stupid blog would add so much to my life? The people I meet, online and offline, have made my world so much bigger... so much richer... than I could have ever imagined.
The day was pretty simple, actually. Newark to New York. Hotel room not ready. Upper East Side. Downtown. Johnny Rockets (veggie burgers in stock, w00t!). Hotel room still not ready. Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium. Hotel room ready! Times Square. Dave York. Union Square. Times Square. Good times had by all.
Thanks so much to those who could come along!
As usual, I was too busy talking with everybody to remember to take pictures... but a lot of photos were taken, so I'll be sure to link to them once they're up!
Just some random notes...
• If you're going to visit the brand new Hard Rock Cafe at New Yankee Stadium, it's probably best to NOT do so on a game day unless you have tickets to the game. It took me 20 minutes of going from one place to another to another to another before somebody would actually let me in the cafe. I guess everybody thought I was trying to sneak into the game or something, so I kept getting passed around. The cafe itself is smaller than I thought it would be, but quite nice...
• I usually don't like to have blogger meets at Hard Rock Cafes because the loud music makes it hard to talk, and they are usually more interested in turning tables than letting people sit round and chat... but the Hard Rock Cafe Times Square was absolutely fantastic. Again! We had an amazing server taking good care of us, and it was a great experience all the way around. Thanks to everybody there for making Dave York... and now Dave York 2... such a great success!
• When it comes to embarrassing you on your birthday... even when it's not really your birthday anymore... people you consider to be friends will happily report you to the "Birthday Humiliation Squad" so you have to stand on top of a chair in the middle of a crowded restaurant with a flaming hot-fudge sundae in one hand (your dignity in the other) while people scream "happy birthday" at you... all because they think it makes for great photo fodder on their blogs. The bastards!
• When they say "DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICATION WITH ALCOHOL" on your prescription labels, it's probably a good idea to follow those directions. A couple shots of Jäger on top of my pills had my brain struggling to keep up with happenings around me. Which can be fun... or dangerous... depending on the situation.
• I really am one of the luckiest people on earth. Thanks again to everybody for such a great night!
UPDATE: Photos are slowly coming through. Like this one of my and ETinNY he sent me...
Peace out, baby!
And this shot of me accepting my un-birthday humiliation from Dawg's Flickr Set...
I'm the King of The World, bitches!
Dawg and Poppy with B.E. Earl.
Robin, Libragirl, B.E. Earl, Me, and Cissa!
How non-New Yorkers envision a ride on the subway.
UPDATE: And now Bellaventa and Libragirl have put up a set on Flickr...
UPDATE: And now Cissa has put up her set on Flickr...
I'll add more as I find 'em!
Posted on Sunday, April 5th, 2009
Bullet Sunday from Boston... could there BE anything more exciting?
• Friendly. I have a long-time good friend in Boston whom I haven't seen in ages, so I decided to cash in a few frequent flier miles and take the super-convenient Delta Shuttle plane up to Massachusetts. Even if I had paid, it's still cheaper than the train (WTF?) and a lot faster, delivering you from New York LaGuardia's Marine Air Terminal...
To Boston Logan in just a little over an hour...
• Rock. I made a point to visit Boston's new Hard Rock Cafe at the Faneuil Hall Market Place so I would once again be caught up with all the Hard Rocks in the US and Canada. I admit to being a bit disappointed that the exterior is so frackin' BORING, but they did a nice job on the inside... even if it doesn't replicate the more classic stylings of the Boston original at Copley Square...
• Revereware. While waiting for my friend to arrive in Little Italy, I wandered around The Freedom Trail for a while. Boston is a great walking city, packing a lot of great sites in a fairly small area. You can even walk part of the path Paul Revere took on his famous "midnight ride" to warn patriots about British troops arriving, starting at his house (which is now a small museum)...
One if by land, Two if by Sea!
• History. The bad thing about Boston is that everything is hugely expensive. The art museums here are anywhere from $12 to $17, which is pricey when you consider I just came from London where many of the greatest artistic treasures ever made are free to look at. New York isn't any less expensive, but at least they have The Met (one of the greatest art museums in the world) with only a suggested donation admission (where you can literally pay one penny and see everything). The good thing about Boston is that their greatest treasures... historical sites and beautiful parks... are free to wander around...
The Old Courthouse... site of the Boston Massacre!
A small slice of beautiful Boston Common park.
The Massachusetts State House at Boston Common.
• Graveling. Call me macabre, but the old cemeteries in Boston are probably my favorite attraction. Not only can you see where a number of famous historical figures are buried, but you can also spend hours looking at the tombstones, which are brilliant, beautiful, and sometimes even funny...
Here lies buried in a stone grave 10 feet deep Daniel Malcom...
The workmanship is really quite beautiful.
And thus ended my very short trip to Boston, where I then hopped the shuttle back to New York for dinner at Ray's Pizza.
Posted on Monday, April 6th, 2009
Sigh. It's my last day in New York.
Times Square has pretty much become a tourist wasteland, which means you run into all kinds of crazy advertising that's inundating you with a non-stop stream of exaggeration and outright lies... like billboards claiming "Dollhouse is this year's most exciting television show!" and "Sean Hannity on FOX News... You Know He's Right!". But the best hype of all comes from the Broadway critic teaser quotes that are plastered on the outside of the theaters. They're all so ridiculously over the top that one has to question the sanity of it all. There's a lot to choose from, but here's my favorite so far...
Now, when I see a sign advertising something as being "so exciting it makes you ache with pleasure," the last thing I expect to see when I turn around is THIS...
West Side Story?!? Uhhh... seriously? I don't even think anybody gets naked in it!
What kills me is the insane shit that critics will say just to get their stupid crap quoted and their name up in lights.
I'm seriously thinking that I missed my calling, because whoring for critic quote recognition is a job I was MADE for...
David Simmer II — Blogography
David Simmer II — Blogography
David Simmer II — Blogography
David Simmer II — Blogography
And on that note, I should probably go to bed and try to get at least a little sleep tonight. These early-morning flights are killing me.
Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
Woke up at 3:30am New York time to pack and get ready to catch my ride to the airport. Made amazing time to Newark and end up waiting. A lot. Fly Newark to Seattle with a medical emergency onboard that wasn't me (as luck would have it). Eat Qdoba. Wait more. Fly home. Where I proceed to get so enraged that my head very nearly exploded.
The entire time I was in New York, I was inundated with fucked up FOX News advertising. I have no idea why New York is so overrun with their crap, but I guess you spend your ad dollars where you've got the most to gain. This raised my estimation of the intelligence of New Yorkers to new heights. Apparently they aren't falling for the "FAIR AND BALANCED" bullshit, and FOX is attempting to brainwashing them into believing their lie...
Annoying, yes, but easy to ignore (despite being 200-feet long).
But then I watch The Daily Show when I get home and see the latest stupid-ass salvos being lobbed in the name of being "fair and balanced," and lost my shit. As usual, John Stewart... A COMEDIAN ON A COMEDY NETWORK... is the voice of sanity in a world of FOX News gone mad...
Words out of my mouth.
Thank you Mr. Stewart... watching FOX News so I don't have to!
Posted on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
I stopped taking all the pain medication I was prescribed because my kidney stone has apparently disappeared. This is a real mystery and has me wondering where the heck it went, but I'm so happy that I'm finding it hard to care. Unless, of course, it is just hiding somewhere temporarily and comes back again. The sneaky bastard.
The problem is that the medication was masking the daily aches and pains that I usually have from my joint problems, and now they've all come back. This is a major bummer, and has given me an entirely new appreciation of drug addiction. Who wouldn't want to have a pain-free life, after all?
Of course, given how shitty "life" is now-a-days, I've also been given an entirely new appreciation of alcoholism. Who wouldn't want to live oblivious to all the world's fucked-up problems, after all?
Of course, given that it's difficult to hold a job when you're popping pills and drowning in alcohol, I've also been given an entirely new appreciation of gambling addiction. Who wants to work when they can just win money for free, after all?
Of course, given all that drinking, drug-abuse, and gambling, I've also been given an entirely new appreciation for Depends Brand Adult Diapers. Who wants to haul their drunk, drugged-up, broke ass off the sofa to go to the bathroom, after all?
So the next time you see me hanging around in a diaper all stoned, drunk, and begging for cash, well... now you know why...
It's because I want my life to be perfect and pain-free.
Posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2009
This was pretty much my entire day today...
Coming home and finding out my internet was down made it suck even harder.
Can't. Catch. A. Break.
Posted on Friday, April 10th, 2009
The small Eastern Washington town I live in is quite the back-country paradise.
Not that this is a bad thing, it's just that it does present its challenges from time to time. Today it was while driving through downtown.
An awful lot of people around these parts drive pickups. And not just any old pickups... huge-ass pickups with king cabs and extended beds on them. Massive metal monstrosities that are way longer than any parking space will ever be. And yet they still shove their giant rides into those parking places because there's nowhere else to park. Problem is... their asses are sticking out into the street and you have to swerve to avoid running into them.
But what happens when two cars on opposite sides of the road are trying to swerve at the same time? Something like this...
On my way home I very nearly got into an accident with another poor bastard trying to avoid a king cab extended bed truck on his side. Fortunately we both managed to slam on the brakes in time, or else my day would have taken a very different turn (heh heh heh).
At first I was rattled... but then I noticed there was a gun rack in the back window of the pickup I was swerving to miss, and found that funny for some reason. I guess nearly running into somebody makes everything funny, assuming you don't actually hit them.
Life is a series of near-misses, and I'm sure there's a Jeff Foxworthy redneck joke in here somewhere.
If only I had the necessary inbreeding to see it.
UPDATE: Carol says the joke I was probably thinking of was the title of Foxworthy's book "You Might Be a Redneck If... Your Bicycle Has a Gun Rack. She could be right, though Foxworthy has had a lot of redneck jokes about gun racks, pickups, and inbreeding over the years, so I can't be sure. Or maybe I'm just insane and will laugh at anything.
Posted on Saturday, April 11th, 2009
Despite having to work half a day, three really nifty things happened that had me walking on air all afternoon. I guess it doesn't have to rain shit every day after all.
But enough of me talking about how spectacular my life is here on my blog, let's talk about how totally spectacular I am on other people's blogs as well. Because by the time this is finally published to Blogography, my guest-entry over at Snackiepoo's site will have posted. I don't want to spoil any surprises or ruin the fun, but I can tell you there will be eggs...
For more eggciting ovum action, be sure to check it out...
Posted on Sunday, April 12th, 2009
To those who celebrate (or just like bunnies and chocolate) Happy Easter on this fine Bullet Sunday!
• Eggo. For Boiled Egg Day this year, I'm guest-blogging over at Hilly-Sue's place. I'd go there immediately, because it's far more interesting than anything you'll find here (though I've now archived the post in an extended entry).
• Apples. Knowing that Apple can be so good at so many things, it always shocks me at the regularity of their massive failures. Today I wanted to buy a couple of iPhone apps at their iTunes Music Store. But no matter which of my FOUR credit cards I tried, it always tells me that the "Security Code is Incorrect." And, of course, I can't find a phone number to call and get it straightened out. Instead I have to root around their website for twenty minutes until I find an email form. Epic Fail...
• Dolls. After waiting through a half-dozen shitastically horrible and altogether boring episodes of Dollhouse I prepared myself for "good" episodes that everybody said would follow. Well, here we are at episode #9 and it's still a boring pile of crap. And that's being generous, because it's also one of the most annoying shows on television... all because of tech-nerd dumbass "Topher" who has to be one of the worst characters ever unleashed on television...
Seriously... I never thought anything could top David Caruso's gag-inducing "Horatio Cane" on CSI: Miami, but here we are. "Topher" has convinced me that genius show-runner Joss Whedon has either A) Completely lost his mind, or B) Is actually a total genius who is intentionally making Topher a whiny, annoying, bumbling tool so he can add a major twist to the show by ultimately revealing that Topher's character is a complete sham, and "Topher" is actually the man behind the entire Dollhouse organization (or something equally shocking). In any case, I spend every minute Topher is on screen wishing that he would die and take this awful excuse for a television show with him. Joss Whedon's speciality is writing deep, fully-realized and complex characters that interact in utterly fascinating group dynamics. Dollhouse features none of these strengths, giving us erasable, shallow, interchangeable characters that don't interact in any way that's even remotely interesting. Perhaps he's planning on eventually getting this show to a place where it's worth watching, but he's taking way to long to get there and I don't feel like being tortured anymore. BRING BACK SERENITY!!!
• Cupid. It is well documented here that my favorite show ever to air on television was Cupid, starring Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall. Thanks to gross mishandling by ABC, the show was never given a chance to find an audience, and it was brutally and unfairly canceled. Sad, yes, but show creator Rob Thomas went on to create Veronica Mars, the second greatest show ever to air on television, so I eventually managed to grieve and move on. Except when it was announced that Rob Thomas was being given a second shot at launching Cupid, but this time without Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall. Going in, I knew it wouldn't approach the greatness of the original, but I held faith it would at least be good television. It's Rob Thomas, after all. Unfortunately, after suffering through two episodes, I find that the re-imagined copy falls flat. The two leads never even come close to the energetic interplay and chemistry that Paula and Jeremy had. Furthermore, Jeremy Piven infused Trevor with a sense of wonder that made it seem as if he might really BE Roman god of love, Cupid, newly stranded on earth... whereas Bobby Cannavale just seems like a slightly creepy scammer who is pretending to be imagining to be Cupid for some unknown purpose. Sarah Paulson (who was great on Studio 60) seems to be playing Claire completely passionless and emotionally void, which defeats the purpose of her character. Please, please, please, PLEASE won't somebody release the brilliant original series on DVD?!? Or, even if you don't want to go to that kind of expense, could you at LEAST release in on iTunes so people can buy it digitally? The show is entirely too important to be left sitting on a shelf somewhere...
• Cougar. And since I'm on a television kick here... JUST when I think that television can't get any more stupid, here comes a new piece of reality show shit called The Cougar where an older woman gets to weed through a bunch of younger guys "Bachelor-style" until she finds her "true love." I wonder how much these people get paid to whore their lovelife out for television entertainment? And I definitely use the word "entertainment" loosely...
And now I should really do something about my taxes. I think they're due soon.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, April 13th, 2009
After a long and very difficult day, all I wanted to do was pick up a bag of lettuce and some cheese I needed for the dinner I was planning, go home, eat, and go to bed. Simple, right?
Of course, nothing is nearly as simple as you'd think it would be. Not these days.
There I am in the cheese aisle at the grocery store looking for a bag of medium cheddar shreds. But all the cheeses are mixed up, and I'm having a hard time finding what I want. As I'm searching, I hear two women talking loudly nearby, but ignore them. At least I do until something runs into me.
So I turn to see that one of the women who is pushing a plastic shopping cart made to look like a truck for kids to ride in has bumped into me. Except her kid is not actually in the fake truck, but instead buzzing around the two ladies. Thinking that I was run into accidentally because the woman was trying to manage her child, I ignored it and went back to searching.
Until I am ran into again. This time harder.
So I look up and suddenly realize that she was not running into me by accident. She is running into me intentionally because she wants me to move.
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?" I say, instantly pissed off.
Which results in her unloading a stream of rapid-fire Spanish that I don't understand.
Near the boiling point, I ignore her and say "You ram that thing into me one more time and I'm wrapping it around your neck."
Then I go back to searching for cheese, taking my time and seething with rage. I've heard the phrase "I'm going to cut a bitch" bantered around and always thought it was funny. But if I had a knife on my at that moment, I'm pretty sure I would have cut a bitch for reals...
Seriously, what the hell? Is this where we're at as a society now? I know we've already reached unprecedented levels of rudeness, but intentionally ramming into people with shopping carts? Really?!? People are so lazy that they can't be bothered to park their cart and walk over to what they want... now they just run into people so they don't have to be bothered?
Well that's just fine.
I can only hope that I remember to leave my knives at home from here on out, or I guess I'm going to end up in prison for manslaughter sooner rather than later.
Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
After finally getting my billing straightened out with Apple's iTunes Store, I decided to bite the bullet and "upgrade" my music library purchases to DRM-free, high-quality audio files. I would have done it earlier, but I was waiting for Apple to get ALL their music converted so I could upgrade everything at once.
As I was watching $170 worth of fresh audio files being downloaded, I realized two things... 1) Apple was not upgrading ALL my music even though they claim that all music in their store is now "iTunes Plus" files... and 2) I bought more music videos than I had thought. I own eight of them. This was surprising, because just about every music video you could want is available for free on YouTube. Why would I buy them? Let's take a look, shall we?
The Scientist by Coldplay
On top of being an achingly beautiful song, The Scientist has to be one of the most beautiful music videos ever made. From the first frame where we're zooming out of Chris Martin's freakishly-blue eyes, the video plays out backwards telling a story of tragedy and loss that you don't fully comprehend until the very end (Note To Self: Never unfasten your seatbelt in a moving car). Rumor has it that Martin spent over a month learning to sing the song backwards for the video. The hard work was totally worth it...
Phantom Limb by The Shins
Easily one of my favorite songs of all time, I envision something entirely different every time I listen to Phantom Limb because the lyrics are so messed up (songwriter James Mercer claims it's about two young lesbians, but who can really know for sure?). In any event, the video for the song is pure genius, having the members of the band pop up in the best school play ever...
Take On Me by a-ha
Widely regarded as one of the best music videos ever made, Take On Me was pure genius at a time when music videos were creatively bankrupt. Featuring beautiful rotoscoping animation in a fantastic sketchbook style, every scene is captivating yet doesn't really distract from the song at all. What most people don't know is that the story in this video was continued in a-ha's next video The Sun Always Shines on TV, though not in a way many people would expect. What most people ALSO don't know is that a-ha has some fantastic follow-up albums that weren't released in the US (but well-worth tracking down as an import)....
My five remaining video purchases are continued in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
Yesterday was freezing rain and hail. Today was flawless blue skies with not a cloud to be found.
And yet it was today I found out a data backup with some critical files was corrupted. This kind of defeats the purpose of a backup, so now I'm trying to find a way of keeping a backup to my backup. That should be loads of fun. Almost as fun as filing my taxes, which I finally got around to doing today. Every year I am more and more amazed at how unbelievably complicated they make it to pay taxes (with or without teabagging). Even with tax preparation software prompting me every step of the way, it was still much more difficult and painful than it should be.
Oh well, it's all over now.
Until next year.
Posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2009
This morning I woke up with a searing pain running from my neck into the left side of my chest and all the way down into my torso. Apparently I pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve in the middle of the night. The ache was so bad that it was triggering something in my digestive track that made me feel like I had to poop all day long (even though there was nothing in me to poop). Compared to a kidney stone, the pain is laughably tame, but it still makes for a very uncomfortable day. I can only hope that this is something that heals quickly, because it would be nice to be able to move again. I'd take some of the hard-core drugs I've got left over, but didn't want to waste them in case my kidney stones come back.
And speaking of kidney stones, I got the bills for my lovely emergency room visit today. Talk about pain. Even with insurance, the cost is obscenely high. I may have to sell my kidneys in order to pay for treating them.
Irony removeth thy beak from out my heart...
So much for buying a backup for my backup this year!
I've received a few emails telling me that my blog is suddenly displaying hotlink errors for all my graphics. I've no idea what could be wrong, but have been trying to investigate in-between phone calls and dealing with all the work I've got piled up. If anybody is experiencing this, please let me know (and be sure to tell me how you're viewing this site... which feedreader, browser, etc.).
Posted on Friday, April 17th, 2009
Posted on Saturday, April 18th, 2009
Posted on Sunday, April 19th, 2009
It's a beautiful day this Bullet Sunday... which I spent indoors working my ass off and re-watching Veronica Mars on DVD. Man how I miss that show.
• Follow Me. What am I missing with the whole "FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER" deal? It seems everyone and their dog is whoring themselves out to get more followers in the social media game and I don't understand why. Ashton Kutcher has been all over the place with his march to a million followers, but but seeing an ad for him on a local billboard while I was driving into Wenatchee the other day shocked the hell out of me...
For a Hollywood star with movies to promote and stuff to sell, I get it. You want to be relevant in a whole new realm of influence with the populace. But everyday average people? What do they get out of it? Who cares how many followers you have? Will my life suddenly become more fabulous if I get a thousand followers? Oh well, 95% of the stuff on Twitter is crap or spam anyway. The more the merrier.
&bull Dumbass Quotient. Speaking of Twitter spam... are people so fucking stupid that they are still clicking on links for generic viagra and penis enlargers and other moronic crap? I'd imagine they are, because why else would spammers waste their time of something that doesn't work? It's getting to the point where I can't even blame spammers anymore... they're just trying to make a buck. It's the total dumb-fucks that actually buy stuff from spammers that are the real problem. If people weren't so astronomically brain-dead as to make spamming profitable, we wouldn't have a problem. I just loathe these stupid-ass people who fuck up the internet for the rest of us... they shouldn't even BE on the internet in the first place.
&bull Undead Poultry. LeSombre nominated me for a Zombie Chicken award, which comes with all kinds of rules you have to follow. Since I'm not much of an award guy and didn't follow any of them, I am expecting to be attacked by zombified poultry any minute now...
• On Film. With all the flying I've been doing lately, I've been watching quite a few movies. I even made it to the theater on Friday, which was the second time this year! Monsters vs. Aliens - So good it's good. Crank 2: High Voltage - So bad it's good. The Spirit - So bad it's bad. Twilight - So very bad it's horrendous. The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) - So far beyond bad that we need to come up with new words to describe just how fucking awful this piece of shit "remake" is. There are some great-looking flicks coming up but, given my luck lately, I'm a little bit afraid to go see them.
• Flame War. In general, I find "humor" sites to be pretty much hit-or-miss. But every once in a while I come across something so incredibly genius that I can't help but link to it. College Humor has a brilliant parody of the Billy Joel song We Didn't Start The Fire called We Didn't Start The Flame War (language makes this one not quite safe for work). Once I got past the hilariousness of the video, I kept watching again and again because of how frickin' beautiful the animation is. All the words come alive as they hit the screen, and somebody put in a lot of time to make that happen. Not bad for a humor video...
But it's the inclusion of the ROFL COPTER that seals the deal...
And now it's back to work. I should be able to go for another hour before dropping into a coma.
Posted on Monday, April 20th, 2009
I've made plans to spend Independence Day at my sister's house, which is all kinds of awesome because there's no place I'd rather be on a holiday weekend. Jägermeister is sure to be involved.
And, as if that's not good enough, a group of us have decided to go see Duran Duran on the 5th. I am a long-time fan of the band and love both their old and new music, so this is like taking an already awesome weekend and wrapping it in greatness. The tickets are way-expensive... $50 for general admission with no seating... but you do what you gotta do. Duran Duran is one of the few great 80's bands I haven't seen live, so I'll bite the bullet and pay the price. And be happy to do it.
At least I was happy to do it before I go to the TicketMaster website and find out that they are adding a "convenience fee" of $9.85 PER TICKET to the already expensive $49.50 cost.
Now, don't get me wrong. If TicketMaster needs to add some money to cover the cost of their labor and expenses (like web site development and such), I'm all for that. BUT $9.85 PER TICKET?!? That is not a "fee" at all... it's fucking robbery. There is no reason on earth that they should need to charge this kind of money. Unless they are greedy assholes, which would explain everything.
But that's not the best part. After all that, they tack on an ADDITIONAL $2.50 for the privilege of DOWNLOADING your tickets. Never mind that you just got fucking gouged for $9.85 PER TICKET in bullshit fees, but now in order to get those tickets you have to pay even more money.
Googling "I Hate TicketMaster" gives you about 137,000 results.
If you Google "Fuck TicketMaster" you get about 342,000 results.
Googling "TicketMaster Assholes" returns about 98,500 results.
And Googling "TicketMaster Sucks" has about 190,000 results.
Which begs the question... why in the hell do bands continue to use these scammer dickwads to sell their concert tickets? Surely they have a choice? Don't they give a shit about their fans? Why in the hell hasn't some other company who believes in fairness in ticketing fees stepped up to offer an alternative?
Because Googling even something as relatively obscure as "TicketMaster Can Suck My Dick" results in about 16,200 results.
Which is ironic considering that this would actually be fair compensation for their outrageous charges.
Posted on Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Tomorrow I will be flying off to Seattle late at night so I can catch an early plane to Santa Fe the following morning. Yes, TequilaCon 2009 is finally at hand.
My first TequilaCon experience was #3 in Portland, Oregon for the history-making 2007 bash. I had actually planned on attending #2 in New York the previous year, but I couldn't work it into my schedule. This is indeed tragic (and one of my few regrets in life is that I didn't try harder to attend), but life goes on. Albeit not as well as it could have.
Anyway, now that Jenny has posted the Official TequilaCon 2009 Poster over at her Official TequilaCon page, I thought I'd write up another "Behind The Scenes" entry that everybody seems to like so much. This time on how this year's poster was created.
When plans were coming together for TequilaCon 2007, the perfect venue had been decided... The Kennedy School. It's a former schoolhouse that was converted into a nifty hotel, bar, and restaurant complex. The only problem with such a place is that it's massively huge. There was a very real concern that people would show up to the event and not be able to find each other! That's when I came up with the idea of making posters for the registration table in Brandon's room, and name-badge lanyards for all the attendees so they could find each other. There was no direction on what these things should look like, so I thought it might be cool to alter a Jose Cuervo tequila bottle and use that. I found a fantastic photo online, paid the photographer for a release, and two hours later the first Official TequilaCon Poster was born...
The lanyards were a hit, so when TequilaCon 2008 was in the planning stages we decided to do them again, even though the venue didn't really require them. Initially, I had no plans on revisiting the "bottle" idea from the previous year. Instead I was going to use a shot glass and etch the info on the side of it, as shown by this lo-res lanyard badge sketch...
It was a nice concept, but it didn't offer nearly the impact from last time. Even worse, what would I do for the future TequilaCons which would certainly follow? It would be nice if everything somehow tied together from year to year. That's when it dawned on me that there were hundreds of different tequila brands out there, and my best bet was to just choose a different bottle each year. Taking my camera to the local liquor store, I decided Pepe Lopez had a fantastic label that would look nice when modified so I snapped a few photos, painted in my own background, and the second Official TequilaCon Poster was created...
This year, the lanyards and posters were a no-brainer because people have come to expect them (we also discovered that they come in handy when you drink so much that you forget your own name). The only issue confronting me was which bottle to use. Vahid sent me a number of great suggestions, and on one of the pages was a bottle of 30-30 that seemed a perfect fit. Their label is really distinct and beautiful, so the decision was easy. What was not easy was finding a bottle of it that I could photograph because my local liquor store didn't carry it. Fortunately, the store in a neighboring city did, and the rest is history...
If you want to see all the gory details on the image was made, I've put the whole story in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
The day started out really crappy but ended really great. In-between was a whirlwind of activity that I can barely remember...
iPhone seems to get freaked out by high-speed motion.
Meh. Tomorrow is when it all begins anyway...
Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
HELLO NEW MEXICO!!!
The TequilaCon Planning Posse arrived safely in Albuquerque around 1:00 (sans Brandon, who showed up fashionably late). Unfortunately, there's a massive "pow-wow" event here and we had to wait 40 minutes to get our van before we headed up to Santa Fe where good times could ensue.
But even more important than all the alcohol we drank... we got new hats, bitches!
All I need are some boots and a turquoise belt buckle, and I think I'm set.
Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009
Last night ran kind of late, so our plans for an early-morning drive to Taos had to be delayed so we could sleep in... and buy boots.
Because the hats we bought yesterday weren't enough. Wearing them with tennis shoes would be an offense to man, God, and nature, so we decided to go shopping for new footwear. The problem is that a new pair of decent boots are really, really expensive. Lucky for us, there are plenty of used boot stores around. A good pair of used boots can be found for under $100.
Like mine. They are pointy. And shiny. And black...
Then it was off to Taos, where we drank beer...
Brought law and order to the streets...
Visited the nearby village of Taos Pueblo...
And drove across the steel bridge crossing the Rio Grande...
And stopped at the beautiful San Francisco Asis church...
The trip back to Santa Fe was made very interesting when we ran across a road block on the highway. Rather than being able to drive back in a straight-shot, Jenny had to take an hour detour through the mountains. Even now, we're not exactly sure why the road was closed.
And now that we finally made it back home again, it's time to get serious about TequilaCon, which is happening TOMORROW NIGHT! There's a lot of work still to be done. A lot of plans yet to be made. A lot of beer left to be drank...
Posted on Saturday, April 25th, 2009
Today was supposed to be dedicated to getting ready for TequilaCon. But before we could get started on assembling swag bags, tagging lanyards, and polishing our boots, a quick trip downtown was needed for some last-minute shopping.
Santa Fe is a beautiful city because all the buildings are pueblo-style like this...
Which is not to say there aren't scarier elements to be found...
The heart of the city is The Plaza, which is nice for walking around and enjoying the sunshine...
I found a few more Virgin Mary statues to add to my collection...
We also managed to squeeze in some time at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. The artwork was, as expected, fantastic. But the thing I loved most was the amazing quotes that were sprinkled around the building. It really helped to put the works in context, and I was disappointed to find that my $40 museum art book didn't include them...
And tonight... it's TequilaCon time...
Posted on Sunday, April 26th, 2009
It's Bullet Sunday from beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico! I am still in an alcohol-induced Bad Place right now, so we'll see how it goes...
• Assembly. When planning out TequilaCon, you really never know how things are going to go. The biggest question mark is always the venue. Will the establishment embrace the insanity and welcome us, or will they tell us to get the hell out? To see exactly how that was going to play out, we marched down to The Pink Adobe an hour early. Much to our relief, they were definitely willing to help out. Our server, Jessica (who was amazing from start to finish), set us up in a private room upstairs... complete with a private balcony and bathroom! While we were waiting for the space to be set up, we got the party started...
Looking plenty cowboy in our new boots.
Of course, nobody in Santa Fe actually dresses like this.
My dangerous dance with Jägermeister begins once again.
• Space The venue was absolutely perfect in every possible way, as Jenny can attest...
My name is Nathaniel... I like to DANCE!
• Party Somehow, TequilaCon always seems to work out perfectly. As if Fate has determined that TequilaCon is blessed by the gods or something. This time was no exception. I'm pretty sure that everybody had a most excellent time. Tons of photos are sure to be posted around the internets soon, but here's a couple to get things started...
Tequila People in our personal party space.
Partaking of the powerfully painful Black Dragon signature cocktail.
• Surprise. In what can only be called the TequilaCon surprise of the decade, Dustin flew in at the last minute so that TEQUILA MAN could make an appearance...
Get ready for... TEQUILA MAN!!
The Official TequilaCon Planning Posse strikes a pose with Tequila Man.
Once the bar closed down at The Pink Adobe, we wandered the streets of Santa Fe until we found a new bar to hang out in. The official party came to a close at midnight... but some dedicated TequilaConners carried on until the early morning.
All in all... another amazing event. Thanks to everybody who came, the city of Santa Fe, and the gracious staff at The Pink Adobe for putting up with our madness.
Until next year!
Posted on Monday, April 27th, 2009
Since Bullet Sunday was my TequilaCon recap, I saved what I actually did for today. So just pretend it's Sunday and everything will make sense. Or not. Does anything ever really make sense on this blog?
Most everybody went home on Sunday, whereas Vahid and I decided to stick around an extra day. We hitched a ride from Brandon into Albuquerque, where it was assumed that we'd find lots of cool stuff to do. It is, after all, the biggest city in the great state of New Mexico. Never mind that the two things we most wanted to see (Petroglyph National Monument and Sandia Peak Tramway) were out of reach, we were convinced we'd find other awesome stuff to do instead.
And boy did we ever!
Our first stop, was the $8 admission National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. This is actually the "new" version of this museum, having just opened recently in a new location with a brand new building...
As a disclaimer, I should preface my critique of the NMONSAH by saying that I have been involved in designing museum displays in the past. It is not an easy task, but it can be a fun and challenging one... so long as you remember the three rules of how exhibit-oriented theme museums work:
Unfortunately, The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History fails at all three, despite having such a killer concept and a vast wealth of material to draw from. To be fair, they are probably still working on stuff since the museum is so new, but there are fundamental flaws in the current approach that aren't going to be fixed without a major overhaul.
To start out with, the layout is awful. Not only does it not lead the visitor through the story, it's so badly planned that it's easy to miss stuff, and you have to wander back through areas you've already been in order to see everything. There's no "quick facts" tract for the rushed visitor, no in-depth tract for the intensive visitor... just a mash of "stuff" all jumbled together with no context and little explanation. And while there's toys to play with that are supposed to explain nuclear energy, there's no actual diagrams or displays to tell you what's going on. This is fatal, because every exhibit in the entire museum relies on understanding nuclear energy! Oh well. We tried to have fun anyway...
One of the exhibits was an old uranium mining car. Heaven only knows how much residual radiation had soaked into the metal after all those years, but we took no chances...
There's a kind of outdoor plane and missile park, but it's still under construction. Hopefully at some point they will have signs telling you what everything means, because right now it's just a bunch of stuff...
Everything else was just a random collection of stuff that somehow tied to nuclear energy, like this Geiger Counter...
After the Nuclear Museum, we hopped a $1 bus back to Old Town so we could visit the American International Rattlesnake Museum. It's a tiny $3.50 admission museum, but it gets everything right. There's plenty of cool snakes to look at. There's lots of information for both kids and adults. They even have films explaining how snakes and turtles evolved. On top of all that, they try their best to educate visitors as to the benefits that snakes have for the environment. Two thumbs way up!
Since most everything in Albuquerque appears to close on Sunday, there wasn't much else to do but wander around. The plaza for Old Town is pretty nice though...
All that was left for us was dinner at Fuddruckers and a wake-up. Our TequilaCon adventure had come to an end.
Posted on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Yesterday's flight home was looking fairly uneventful.
At least it was until I woke up in the middle of the night with that tell-tale agony of a kidney stone working its way down my urinary tract. Then the day became very eventful. I have no idea if this is the original kidney stone I had problems with a while back... or if it's one of the two remaining stones taking up residence in my internal organs. It didn't really matter though, as I never leave home without an entire medicine cabinet's worth of pain killers and other medicinal goodness. I took a handful of pills, waited for them to take effect, then headed to the airport with Vahid for my journey home.
I had mentally prepared myself for the very real possibility that I would be in alternating states of agony and a drugged-out stupor for a week or so. But, after picking up more pills this morning, something incredible happened... all the pain suddenly stopped. I was able to get through the rest of my day just fine and drug-free. Pleasant surprise or devious feint? Only time will tell.
Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
The internet is a parade of non-stop entertainment. Especially if you have the twisted sense of humor that I do when you're surfing it. Because once it has been filtered through my demented mind, even the most mundane blog post can become a cavalcade of excitement. And yet, more and more I've found that no filter is needed. So many people on the internet are wacky-insane now that they hardly need my help to be entertaining.
Which is not a bad thing, because I'm sure people consider me to be wacky-insane too.
And they're absolutely right, of course.
I try very hard not to lose sight of this as I traipse through the blogosphere, but it is becoming more and more difficult. As an example, I'll come across a blogger who says that they're being attacked by a bunch of other nasty bloggers and I'll immediately become sympathetic. I'll dig a little bit, see that the blogger actually is being attacked, and become angry. Then I'll probably write a nice comment or fire off an email of support to them, because I've had my share of senseless attacks and hatemail and know what it's like.
And then... inevitably... other truths will come to light. Perhaps I'll find out that not only did the blogger have these attacks coming, but they are far worse at dishing out the venom than anything they're receiving, and there's a reason they're being attacked. Or maybe the blogger invited the attacks to get noticed. Or maybe the attacks weren't even really about them, they're just jumping into somebody else's war because they like the sympathy they get when they play the victim. Whatever the case, 9 times out of 10 I'll end up getting burned because the blogger in question is lying, delusional, paranoid, lonely, ignored, or just plain crazy.
But not crazy in a good way.
The horrible part is that I never seem to learn my lesson. I guess deep-down I want to believe that people are being honest about why they're being attacked... even though I know the odds are against it. Heaven only knows I've seen enough psychotic dumbasses online to realize I should be more careful, and yet I always seem to forget these people just when I need to remember them most.
Oh well... having your trust taken advantage of is all part of the blogging game, I guess. Obviously I can live with that, because I'm still here.
It's watching other people get duped that's getting to be too much to bear.
I keep wondering how much more I can take before I'm the one going all psychotic dumbass in my blog.
Though I'm probably there already and just don't realize it. Isn't this entry proof of that?
Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2009
And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatch Haderach!
This will probably only make sense to six people on earth. Sorry about that.