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Davelanta3

Posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Dave!Well today was certainly a big bucket-full of awesome win.

I spent the afternoon with Beth and Kevin, who were kind enough to go to lunch with me, then wander around MODA for a while. But the real treat was when they took me out to Stone Mountain Park. It's a pretty impressive place, featuring the world's largest piece of exposed granite. What makes it truly amazing is what you don't see... because most of this mammoth rock is buried underground. Hard to believe when you can't even fit the small exposed part into your field of vision from the parking lot...

Stone Mountain View

You can take a gondola to the top, which is pretty sweet considering there was no way I was climbing the thing in billion-degree heat!

Stone Mountain Cable Car

From the gondola, people look like ants crawling over the mountain...

Stone Mountain People Ants

Out on top of the rock is quite a view...

On top of Stone Mountain

From there we went back towards Atlanta for Davelanta3 at The Cheesecake Factory where an amazing time was had by all...

Everybody except Julie at Davelanta 3
Kevin, Beth, Diana, Kim, Val, Mr. & Mrs. Muskrat, Heather, and Anissa...
not pictured is Julie, who ditched our sorry asses so she could go to
a much better party with a group of much classier people!

I have to get up for work in four hours, so I'll post my recap, photos, and links tomorrow. But I do want to take a minute to thank everybody for coming. I can't believe what amazing people show up at these things, and it means the world to me that I get to hang out with y'all. How lucky am I to have made such good friends through this silly little blog?

I just hope that I didn't smell too funny after sweating off ten pounds on top of Stone Mountain.

   

Bullet Sunday 143

Posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday from a rain-soaked location somewhere in Central Georgia!

• Heat. I'd rather be too hot than too cold. So you'd think that Georgia in the middle of summer would be like a dream come true for me. But it's not. I am getting really tired of sweating my ass off every time I have to go outside. In that respect, Central Georgia is no different than Central Washington, because we've been breaking 100° on a regular basis there. It's just that when I work here I have to go outside a lot more often than I do back home. Back home I sit in an air-conditioned office all day long and my ass stays intact. Which begs the question... why has nobody invented air-conditioned underwear? I find it sad that we can put a man on the moon, but can't solve the sweaty ass dilemma. Apparently, science is dead.

• Davelanta 3. As I had mentioned last night, the latest installment of the annual Davelanta blogger meet was a lot of fun, and everybody seemed to have a good time. Still can't believe that I get to meet such amazing people everywhere I go...

Davelanta3Badge

Just like I promised, here's a roll call of the fine people who were kind enough to spend their valuable time hanging out with me (taken from my DaveEvents Page)...

I've marked all Davelanta 2008 Alumni with an asterisk. If Mentally Rehearsed hadn't already made plans for the weekend, we would have been at a 100% repeat from last year, which speaks volumes as to how much fun a blogger meet can be. If you ever have the opportunity to go to one, I encourage you to drop everything and do so!

• Magic. Tonight while I was eating dinner, my waiter cleared the table next to mine and was taking a pile of dirty dishes back to the kitchen. As he was walking, a napkin blew off the top of the stack and slowly started to float to the floor behind his back. When the waiter noticed this, he stopped and lifted his left leg up behind him... caught the napkin on his foot... rotated his foot around front with the napkin still sitting on it... reached down and grabbed the napkin... then put his foot back down on the ground and continued walking to the kitchen as if nothing had happened. It was like a magic trick of some kind, and I felt like breaking out in applause after witnessing such beautiful visual poetry in motion. After paying my check and exiting the restaurant, I tripped over my own feet and very nearly came crashing down in the parking lot. Irony... it's what's for dinner.

• Classy. Language evolves. As an example, "awful" used to mean "full of awe" and was used much like how we use the word "awesome" in modern times. But the word evolved until it now means "something bad or unpleasant." In other words, "awful" currently has the exact opposite meaning that it used to have. This is a rather drastic example, but you get the point. ANYWAY... the word "classy" used to mean "wealthy and educated." Over time it came to mean "stylish in looks." Then it evolved further until it could also meant "stylish in behavior." In other words, you no longer need to be wealthy or educated in order to be considered "classy." And while I am sure that being wealthy makes it easier to be classy, it's certainly no guarantee. From my experience, it's just the opposite. My favorite example is flying First Class, which is filled with self-important, self-entitled, embarrassingly abusive assholes who have zero class... vs. flying Coach, which is less comfortable, but filled with a better class of people (probably because you're all bonding over mutual suffering?). I don't really have a point here, it's just something I felt like blathering on about as I confirmed my First Class upgrade for my flight home on Tuesday.

And, on that happy note, I think I will try to take a power-nap so I will have the strength to go back to work in an hour. Staying up for 20 hours straight after four hours sleep has done nothing for my mental health.

   

Deprived

Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Dave!Okay then! I got up at 4:00am yesterday so I could get to work on time... it's now almost 10:00pm a day-and-a-half later... that's 42 hours awake. I might have dozed off a couple times, but it didn't amount to any real sleep. That's tough, because even total insomniacs like myself require rest from time to time.

I never could have made it without the distraction of Twitter to keep me from giving up. Whether it was comparing notes of sleeplessness with @TheMuskrat or joking around about Twitter spam with @AnissaMayhew, it was pretty sweet that I was able to find Twitter peeps out there willing to help me stay awake.

Other than an incident where Jesus appeared to me in a bowl of Apple Jacks cereal, I managed to make it through the 42 sleep-deprived hours with my brain pretty much intact.

I now have 8 hours until I have to pack up my stuff and head back to the airport. I'm hoping a good chunk of that will be spent catching up on sleep, but I'm doubtful.

For reasons I can't even guess, I'm not at all tired.

   

Shhhhh…

Posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Dave!

Dave Sleep

   

   

   

Guilt

Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Dave!And so here I am back in Spokane.

I just got back from having The Best Pizza on Earth, but even that wasn't enough to compensate for the crappy 3-hour drive over. Or the balls-slow internet here at my hotel (seriously, my iPhone is faster than this). The only thing that keeps me from going postal is that the shitty internet is free. Because there's nothing worse than having to pay for shitty internet.

Except maybe having no internet at all.

Though, if I didn't have internet, then at least I would have a decent excuse for not answering all the emails overflowing from my inbox. Instead, I have no excuse except to say that I am thoroughly exhausted.

That really should be enough, but the guilt lingers.

Oh well.

Guess it's time to get back to planning some much-needed life changes.

Sadly, none of which involve my becoming an astronaut. I said "much-needed" not "much wanted."

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Catchup

Posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Dave!Instead of driving back home today, I ended up having to stay another night in Spokane. At first I was going to use this as an opportunity to go see a movie, but there was nothing playing that was compelling enough to lure me to the theater. Instead I decided to catch up on work. Sure it's not much fun, but I am so far behind that it seemed the smart thing to do.

Especially since there's a pretty big thunderstorm brewing outside.

In addition to work, I've also been catching up with news...

Sixteen Candles

JOHN HUGHES
I was very saddened to learn about the passing of John Hughes. His ability to portray high school life in the 1980's was dead-acurate, and resulted in some of the best films of my generation. You didn't have to look too hard to find yourself in his movies, which is what made them so compelling. The back-to-back triumph of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club would be enough for any writer/director to live off of for their entire career. But he followed them up with Weird Science and Ferris Bueller's Day Off which only served to cement his genius. His writing career was equally prolific, giving us such gems as Home Alone and Vacation. Few filmmakers reach the level of John Hughes, and I thank him for his contribution to some of my favorite cinematic memories.

Sam gets a drink from firefighter David Tree

SAM THE KOALA
Speaking of loss... today was equally devastating for animal lovers because Sam, the famous koala who became the poster-bear for the plight of animals affected by the horrific Victorian bushfires that raged in Australia. Sadly, Sam managed to recover from her burns, but ultimately succumbed to chlamydia, a disease that is ravaging the koala population with a 50% infection rate. I ended up buying the official photo of Sam for my office wall, where she inspires me to persevere over setbacks in life that our outside of my control. How sad that she eventually perished despite all her strength and will to survive. Something else we can learn by, I suppose.

Orly Taitz ORLY?!?

ORLY TAITZ
Speaking of chlamydia... when you are so fucking insane that the Queen of Fucking Insane calls you crazy... shouldn't that be a major wake up call? I mean, come on! ANN COULTER has come out and said that Orly Taitz is off her fucking rocker, and yet this bat-shit crazy media whore is still popping up like a herpes outbreak everywhere you look. Her obsession with making a case for President Obama not being an American citizen is bordering on mania, and I expect it's only a matter of time before she's committed. You would think that the overwhelming evidence to the contrary would be enough to deter the dumbass, but it only seems to spur her on. Since this is America, it's fully her right to speak her peace, present forged birth certificates as authentic, and say whatever stupid shit she can dream up, but at some point don't you just have to point and laugh? I mean, seriously... ANN COULTER SAYS SHE'S A CRANK!! At first I found her entertaining. Now I just find her scary. Somebody needs to take off the tin-foil conspiracy hat and fake eyelashes and get some much-needed mental help.

Though I suppose Orly Taitz is still a shade more sane that Rush Limbaugh, whose infatuation with Bill Clinton's penis is approaching truly disturbing depths. I can only guess that when Rush isn't theorizing what's going on with Clinton's penis that he's fantasizing about having it for himself. It would sure explain a lot. Like the playground schoolgirl who keeps beating up the boy she professes to hate because secretly she's in love with him, Rush just can't leave Clinton alone. Add that to his hardcore stance against gay marriage (when his three divorces show that straight marriage works so well for him) and all the pieces seem to fall into place. Denial, Rush... it's not just a river in Egypt.

Speaking of disturbing depths... now I suppose I really should get back to work.

   

Enthusiasm

Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2009

Dave!This is an entry I originally wrote on June 15th. But I never was able to finish it, and instead went with Bad Monkey pooping in a diaper. Since then, I've changed, updated, and altered it a half-dozen times, but still ended up not publishing it for one reason or another. Then Hilly went and posted something along similar lines today, so I figured it was probably time I just went ahead and let it go (after cutting out several paragraphs of angst, then updating it again to be more current)...

I want to take a break from blogging, but I don't know how.

It's not that I don't have anything to blog about... I just don't have anything I can blog about. The only things going on in my life right now are work and personal stuff, neither of which I choose to talk about online. So instead I muddle through, posting even stupider crap than usual just to keep my blog going at a time when blogging is the last thing I want to be doing. It would be nice if this were a temporary situation, but right now there's no end in sight.

The obvious solution would be to go on hiatus. But I'm fairly certain that if I gave up blogging for any length of time, I would end up abandoning it all together. The only thing that keeps Blogography going is my habit to post every single day. The minute I start skipping days or filling in with guest-bloggers is when I might as well shut down altogether rather than spiral towards the inevitable.

But I'm not ready to say goodbye. At least not yet.

So I've been trying to renew my enthusiasm for blogging by doing a lot of guest-posting, taking part in Blogathon 2009, limiting my time on Twitter and FaceBook, meeting up with other bloggers, coming up with recurring content ideas, and trying to steer clear of memes and other "easy" filler.

I don't know if it's working just yet, but I certainly hope so.

Because blogging has come to mean an awful lot to me, and the thought of having something so important die off is painful. At first I thought it was because of the relationships with readers and fellow bloggers that I've been lucky enough to find... but ultimately I think it's the relationship I've built with myself here that's the most important. While not a personal blog by any means, Blogography has become an outlet for self-expression that would be very hard to replicate any place else. It's an opportunity to step outside the horrors of Real Life once each day and finding a part of my life I can share... even if it is just a drawing of a monkey.

My blog may just be a reflection of a small part of me, but it's still me.

And I think that's something worth saving.

So I'll keep trying.

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Whoring

Posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Dave!When you turn on your television and see Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag staring back at you, do you wonder "Why in the hell are these dumbasses on television?"

When you pick up a magazine and see Spencer and Heidi on the cover, does your mind boggle as you try to understand why anybody should care about these two brain-dead morons, let alone give a crap about their stupid antics?

When you go to a movie premiere and see Spencer and Heidi show up so that Spencer can promote his wife's Christian values in a porno mag, do you puzzle over how two such worthless pieces of shit got to be famous?

Herpes on the Red Carpet

Well wonder no more!

Now you too can set aside shame, decency, and personal values to become a media whore of your own, thanks to my new book...

Whoring Yourself for Fun and Profit FOR DUMBASSES Book

With the advice found inside, you too can become a media sensation with absolutely no talent or brains at all. Just follow the simple instructions, and you'll be whoring your way into the spotlight in no time!

So what are you waiting for? Turn your useless life into cash by ordering your copy of Whoring Yourself for Fun & Profit for Dumbasses today! What have you got to lose?*

   

*Except your dignity, pride, and self-respect, of course.

   

Bullet Sunday 144

Posted on Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Dave!After two weeks of non-stop travel torture, I'd like nothing better than to take a handful of pills and sleep all day. But we can't have that... it's Bullet Sunday!

• Violence. I was deeply saddened to hear of the bomb attacks on the wonderful island of Mallorca. Having fallen in love with the place earlier this year, it's a nasty reality check... much like the Bali bombings of 2002. I gave up a long time ago trying to understand what motivates somebody to harm innocent people, but that doesn't help quell the frustration I feel every time something like this happens. I'm wondering exactly what kind of global disaster is going to have to occur before mankind can put this kind of self-destruction behind them and move forward together. Hopefully it will be a disaster that's survivable, because there's too many beautiful things here worth being appreciated...

Looking towards the Palma Cathedral at night

   

• Dreaming. Unlike most people, my dreams are no fun. That's because, unlike most people, I can never get lost in a dream like it's some kind of fantasy world I'm inhabiting. Oh no. When I dream, I know I'm dreaming. It's hard to explain, but it's like I'm looking AT a movie of myself rather than actually being IN the movie. So, for me anyway, dreams are not an escape... but instead badly-written entertainment. But lately my dreams have become something... different. I still know I'm dreaming, but I'm inside the dream rather than merely an observer. While not as much fun as most people's dreams, it's definitely a step in the right direction. And what am I dreaming of lately? Alpamayo Mountain. And I have no idea why. I've never been there. I barely know it exists. And yet, there it is, night after night...

Alpamayo Mountain
Astounding photograph by Brad Mering.

Maybe I'm supposed to go there? Or maybe I just enjoy the scenery? I dunno, but it is a lovely mountain.

   

• Noble House. My favorite novel of all time is Noble House by James Clavell. I have read it several times, and enjoy it more with each reading. I own four editions of the book, and see that there's a new over-sized paperback edition that's been released, so I'll be owning a fifth soon. There's just something about the numerous sub-plots that combine to create an epic, lengthy, brilliant masterpiece that I can't get enough of...

Noble House Book Cover

MEANWHILE... somebody read my Hundred Things where I mention that Noble House is my favorite book, and decided to write and tell me that if this was my favorite then I was "stupid." I was then given a list of other books which, in his not-so-humble opinion, were vastly superior. Including such classics as Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, and anything by Hemingway. Usually, I just delete stupid-ass emails like this without a second thought, but instead decided to write back and ask what it was about Noble House that he didn't like. Was it too long? Did he think it was too complex? Did he not like the Asian setting? What? He wrote back the next day and said that he hadn't read Noble House and that he didn't need to read it to know that it was not deserving to be anybody's favorite book when there were such obvious better choices out there.

Yes. I'm the stupid one in this scenario.

   

• Kitty. Tim Burton movies are pretty much hit-or-miss with me. The quirkiness that he infuses into his projects make them unique, but sometimes he goes too far and I can't get into the film. His latest movie Alice in Wonderland, however, seems to be a perfect outlet for his talents. There's plenty of crazy stuff in the original Lewis Carroll tale for him to build upon in his "sequelesque" story. And just seeing his treatment of the Cheshire Cat is enough to make me want to see it...

Cheshirecat

If nothing else, it's going to provide a whole new level of stupid LOLCat jokes.

   

And that's all she wrote this Sunday, because now it's time for The Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers! It's not that I think the roasting itself is going to be that much of a challenge... Joan Rivers is an easy target... but hearing Joan fire back at her roasters at the end should be great fun.

   

Corny

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2009

Dave!I am having fresh corn for dinner tonight. It is the most excitement I've had all day...

Dave Corn

   

Aren't you glad I didn't decide to have pig's feet?

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Grit

Posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Dave!Today I went to the dentist for my 6-month cleaning and check-up.

Which I hate.

But probably not for the reason you expect. It's not because I'm terrified of the dentist. It's not because I don't like people sticking metal tools in my mouth. It's not because I'm especially sensitive to dental work. It's not because I am afraid they'll find something wrong. It's not because I neglect my teeth. It's not because I forget to floss. It's none of those things.

It's because of the grit.

I hate the grit.

At the end of the cleaning (which is really no big deal, because I brush and floss regularly) they want to "polish" your teeth using a hideous mixture of fluoride paste, nasty flavoring, and some kind of abrasive grit. Grit that they can never entirely rinse away, leaving you with a horrific grit residue that scritches against your teeth when you bite down. And even when it dissipates after an hour or so, the gruesome memory of the stuff lingers for days.

At least it does for me.

I am freaking out right now just typing about it.

I would rather have a full-on root canal... hell, I'd rather have a tooth pulled... than to suffer through that gritty crap. That's how much I hate it. I'd even rather brush my teeth with baking soda, and I think we all remember how much I hate that...

Toothpaste 1

Toothpaste 2

Toothpaste 3

I have no idea why getting grit on my teeth torments me so badly, but it does. If I'm ever captured by the enemy and they want me to spill secret information, waterboarding isn't necessary. Threaten to put that gritty crap on my teeth and I'll tell you whatever you want to know. On more than one occasion I have asked if I really need to endure the polishing and they always tell me that I do. Maybe they think that I'm joking at how badly it freaks me out. Maybe they refuse to believe that it's a big deal. Maybe they think that I'm lying when I say I'm traumatized by it. Maybe they think I'm just a big baby. Whatever the case, apparently this is a necessary evil for proper dental maintenance, and all my teeth will fall out if I don't subject myself to it. I honestly don't know. All I do know is that I really really hate it.

Perhaps I should just let my teeth fall out and switch to an all chocolate pudding diet. Sounds like a win-win scenario to me.

   

Fears

Posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Dave!

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave in a Suit

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave in a Suit with Pants Fallen Down

   

   

Alien

Posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Dave!I can't blog tonight because I have to draw some killer alien monkeys...

Alien Monkeys

   

Hey, there are worse ways to spend an evening.

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NOH8

Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009

Dave!I was hoping that this homophobic crap would be laughed off of Washington's ballot... but it looks as though the protections we have for same-sex couples and their families here in the Evergreen State is going to be challenged come November. And this isn't even a "marriage" issue... it's just for their domestic partnership rights! Apparently opponents of equality managed to find 120,577 people who are so insecure in their beliefs that the very thought of somebody being allowed to have different beliefs was scary enough to sign a petition.

Riiiiiight.

The divorce rate is rapidly approaching 50% in the USA, yet we need to pass laws to protect the sanctity of this institution from the "gay agenda."

Riiiiiight.

Two atheists can get married in a non-religious ceremony so long as they have opposing genitalia, and yet making laws to define marriage by one group's interpretation of their religious views is not at all discriminatory towards homosexuals.

Riiiiiight.

Forcing somebody to live by your standards and stripping them of their rights when they don't is not hating on them.

Riiiiiight.

This would all be laughable if it weren't so very sad. I find it positively absurd that two consenting adults living in the United States of America in 2009 have to fight to have the same rights afforded to everybody else because of who they choose to love. Apparently, some people haven't done the math...

The Love Equality Formula... Love + Love = Love + Love

Well, whatever.

I refuse to buy into such blatant discrimination. I am of the opinion that people are people and should be treated equally. I believe that love is love. I feel that there is enough room in society for consenting adults to decide for themselves if they want to marry. I know that devaluing somebody in the eyes of the law because of their sexuality is wrong. I say NO H8...

DAVETOON: NO H8

I hope that one day people are going to wake up and start taking responsibility for their own lives rather than making others responsible for their problems. In the meanwhile, we have to deal with bullshit like this when there are far greater issues we should be focusing on.

Like squirrels ruining our photos...

Tequilaconcrashersquirrel-1

We really should be doing something about that.

   

Unblank

Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Dave!

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave's Sign Says This Page Intentionally Left Blank

   

   

Bullet Sunday 145

Posted on Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Dave!After a great night of drinking, games, and some truly inexplicable crap going on in the Twitterverse, I managed to postpone a hangover long enough for another edition of Bullet Sunday!

• Denver! A venue hasn't been chosen yet, but the Denver blogger meet is THIS SATURDAY, August 22nd, 2009, in the Mile High City! If you haven't emailed me yet and want to come, please get back to me by Thursday so I can add you to the list and let you know where we're going to eat! My email address is in the sidebar of every page...

DAVETOON: Daveorado August 22nd

   

• Salt Lake City! And if you want to meet up with myself, Marty and his lovely wife Reba, we'll be getting together for dinner on the following Monday night, August 24th, 2009! Please email me by Thursday if you'd like to come so I can add you to the list and send you the details...

Dave Lake City August 24 2009

   

• Shake It The "new and improved" iPhone camera is still kind of crappy so far as cameras go... but I love having it handy wherever I go, and use it quite often. Fortunately, there are some great photo tool apps being released to help get the most out of the images, because some of the ones I get out of the iPhone are almost unusable without adjustment. And now we're starting to get some sweet photo toy apps as well, my favorite being "ShakeItPhoto," which allows you to take photos as if your iPhone was a Polaroid... or transform old photos to make them look as if they were. The results are just fantastic, creating small pieces of funky photo art in seconds...

ShakeItPhoto Sample One

ShakeItPhoto Sample Two

ShakeItPhoto Sample Three

ShakeItPhoto Sample Four

You even get to shake the iPhone in order to make it "develop" faster, which is kind of fun. Well worth the 99¢ price tag, and if you've got an iPhone you can pick it up at the iTunes Music Store here.

   

And that's all she wrote for Bullet Sunday. Time to kick back and relax for a little bit before facing the week ahead.

   

Puntabulous!

Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2009

Dave!I'm not here today... I'm guest-posting for Craig over at Puntabulous!

Super Viagra and Vagina Girl

   

After you've read my Puntabulous post, you can get a "behind the scenes look" at how it all happened in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Tiger

Posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Dave!After finally dragging my ass to bed at midnight, I got a whopping three hours of sleep before I was wide awake again. Needless to say, this blows. With nothing better to do, I decided to see if any blogs were updated and check my email.

My first email was a notice telling me that the itinerary for my upcoming Denver/Salt Lake City trip had changed... again! Since I made the reservation on May 1st, I've received itinerary changes on May 16th, June 7th, June 13th, July 22nd, August 3rd, and now August 18th. Nothing major, but with seven flight segments, it's a pain in the ass to try and figure out what's changed each time. MAKE. UP. YOUR. MIND!

The next email was from ScanCafe telling me that they had scanned another batch of my old photos and I need to go online and review which ones I wanted to keep. Sweet! That's almost worth losing sleep over!

Probably my favorite photo of me ever taken is this one...

Sleepy Baby Dave in Tiger Slippers

Half-asleep... messed up hair... hanging out in my underwear and tiger slippers... it's as if nothing has changed in 40 years.

I never noticed until now that this was just one in a series of awesome photos from Halloween at 19 months...

Tiger Slippers Photo Set

Damn, what a cute baby I was! Seriously, I'm like a pedophile's wet dream I was so adorable!

How is it that I never ended up in movies and television commercials?

Baby Dave with Watermelon

I totally blame my parents that I'm not a drug-addicted former child-star living in some Hollywood back-alley waiting for my shot at a humiliating reality television show. Why couldn't I have reprehensible parents who whore their kids out for money like Jon and Kate? What good is it being one of the cutest babies ever if I wasn't exploited for cash?

I really do need to find me a new pair of tiger slippers. It's so totally a good look for me.

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Fashionable

Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Dave!Still looking through old photos I'm having scanned and running across all kinds of interesting stuff. The 1960's and 70's were an absolutely bizarre time for just about everything. Especially fashion. Nothing fascinated me more than all the insane clothes that everybody wore back then...

Dave with Blow-Up Dolphin

I honestly cannot tell if this Valentine's Day photo is cute... or just incredibly creepy. The blow-up dolphin certainly looks innocent enough, but his freaky smile is hiding something. Can you imagine the Stephen King moment of waking up in the middle of the night and seeing that thing staring back at you? =shudder= On the other hand, this is probably the most sane, rational clothing I ever wore in my early childhood, so it's hard for me to not to appreciate the photo itself. I can so totally rock stripes.

   

Dave Little Chief Jumper

This is me dressed up in authentic Native American clothing, but adding a cowboy hat to make a fashion statement for peace and the acceptance of different cultures. Or cultural stereotypes... I haven't quite got that figured out. But hey, I'm a baby here... all I really care about is whether my diaper makes me look fat in this jumper... not whether the embroidered knife and tomahawk in my faux "Little Chief" belt are politically correct.

   

Dave in Stripes

And here I am in stripes again... chilling like a Sears Catalog model. Originally I had a cigarette in my hand, but thought it best to Photoshop that out. Showing a two-year old smoking in the 1960's might have been perfectly acceptable, but today that's considered "wrong" for some reason. Shortly after this photo was taken, I decided to give up my pack-a-day Marlboro habit so I could put the money towards shoes.

   

9-Year Old Dave in Plaid Pants

How is it that pants like this were ever in style? I mean, I know it's 1975 here and so things are bound to look a little dated by today's fashion standards, but seriously... holy crap!

Probably more interesting to me here is not the clothes, but the toys. The Six Million Dollar Man doll was probably one of the coolest toys ever made. When you turned his head and pumped the button on his back, his bionic arm would ratchet up, allowing him to lift all kinds of things... including the plastic engine block they thoughtfully included in the package! He also had a bionic eye that you could use by looking through the hole in the back of his head... AND you could roll back the "skin" on his arm to reveal bionic circuitry which could be plugged into his "Bionic Transport and Repair Station" (shown, sold separately).

"The Magic Hat" toy was something else entirely. It was made of hard plastic (so you could never actually wear it) and had all kinds of secret compartments and nifty tricks you could do. And by "nifty tricks" I mean "crappy tricks that wouldn't fool anybody"... but don't tell my 9-year-old self that! In 1975, this was the most amazing toy ever! At least it would have been if it included a real rabbit to pull out of the hat... but the closest thing they had to offer was a rabbit scarf. Lame!

   

I'll spare you the photo of me and my brother in giant sombrerros. Sometimes Memory Lane can be a scary, scary place.

   

Fee

Posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Dave!Here at DaveAir, we understand that when people fly with us they will need to take at least one suitcase with them. This is a basic necessity of travel, WHICH IS WHY WE DON'T FUCKING NICKLE-AND-DIME YOU WITH STUPID-ASS FEES TO CHECK YOUR FIRST FUCKING BAG! BECAUSE IT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE NOT TO INCLUDE SOMETHING EVERYBODY NEEDS IN THE FUCKING BASE TICKET PRICE! This revolutionary concept sets us apart from most other dumbass carriers in the industry, and has the side-benefit of freeing up space in our overhead bins for a more pleasant flying experience. It also alleviates the bottleneck at check-in that comes from people having to pay an additional fee that should have been included in the ticket price to begin with.

So stop torturing yourself by flying with asshole airlines who deceive you with low ticket prices only to hit you with idiotic additional fees for something everybody needs... fly DaveAir and leave your all-consuming rage behind!

DaveAir... because flying doesn't have to be an exercise in stupidity and torture.*

   

   

*We said flying... dealing with all the airport security nonsense on the ground is your problem.

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District 9

Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2009

Dave!Today started at 3:30am when I awoke to get ready for my early-morning trip to Portland for a quick meeting. Much to my delight, I got finished three hours early, which meant I had three hours to kill in the city before having to return to the airport. This meant a trip to one of my favorite places: Powell's City of Books.

After an all-too-brief (but wholly unexpected and serendipitous) visit to the City of Roses, I headed back to the airport where I ran into Vahid and Sir, for another all-too-brief (but wholly unexpected and serendipitous) visit before flying out to Denver.

So here I am in The Mile High City, which I haven't been to in six long years. That's a darn shame, because I love it here and wish I had an excuse to visit more often. After wandering down to the 16th Street Mall for dinner I saw District 9, a movie that came out of nowhere to become my favorite film of 2009 so far...

District 9 Poster

South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp has recreated the horrors of his country's apartheid days in a surprising way. Instead of white colonists subjecting black natives to racial segregation... human natives are subjecting alien refugees to species segregation. And what wonderful-looking aliens they are...

District 9 Alien

What's astounding here is how fully-realized the world of District 9 is. By the time the film takes place, the aliens have been around for decades and their presence is treated as commonplace. That the actors were able to inhabit this reality so believably is what makes the story so compelling. You simply believe it's happening as you watch it, even though there are these fantastical creatures wandering around.

The film is best experienced clean... with no spoilers or story points to ruin it... so run, don't walk, to a good theater and see it before all the talk about it diminishes the impact for you.

   

Daveorado

Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Dave!My day wasn't spent wandering around Denver as planned... but working.

I did get out for a quick walk down the 16th Street Mall in the afternoon, but the heat eventually drove me back to my air-conditioned hotel for still more work. And though I didn't finish nearly enough of what I needed to get done, I finally threw in the towel around 4:30.

Because it was time to meet up with Tug, Hot Doctor's Wife, and Howard at the Hard Rock Cafe for Daveorado!

Daveorado

As usual, good conversation and good times ensued. That I get to continuously meet amazing people like this in my travels is a gift for which I'm wholly inadequate at expressing my gratitude. All I can say is thanks to the three of you for taking valuable time out of your Saturday to let me hang out with you. Hopefully it won't be another six years before I am able to come back!

After dinner, Howard and I decided to get our Tarantino on and see Inglourious Basterds. The film was total genius, and I loved every minute of it. Particularly shocking to me was how amazing Brad Pitt is in the flick... this is easily his best performance since 12 Monkeys. But the hands-down standout, scene-stealing role in the film belonged to Christoph Waltz's brilliant portrayal of Col. Hans Landa. The guy had to walk a very fine line to get just the right balance of humor and terror, and did it so admirably that the film was elevated to an entirely new level of greatness...

Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa

I have no idea how Quentin Tarantino does it. He always manages to write exactly the right dialogue, then cast exactly the right actors to speak it, then direct the entire film flawlessly, then pick precisely the right music to drive it all home. I don't think "visionary" manages to adequately express how astounding a talent he is when it comes to crafting a film, but it's the best word I can think of to describe what it is he does.

Which, in this case, is to create a film that has many levels, yet blends them all so subtly that they disappear into a singular brute-force narrative. By the time we get to the film-within-a-film theater scenes (which seem to be a thinly-veiled commentary on all the killing that the audience has been manipulated into rooting for thus far), all I can do is shake my head in disbelief that any one man can possess such talent...

Inglourious Basterds Poster

I can hardly way to see what Quentin comes up with next.

   

Bullet Sunday 146

Posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Dave!It's another edition of Bullet Sunday... this time coming to you from beautiful Denver, Colorado!

• I love Ponyo. Yet another Miyazaki masterpiece. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is such joyous, imaginative, feel-good fun that you don't even need kids as an excuse to go see it. Pretty much a retelling of The Little Mermaid, the oft-told tale of the little girl who wants to be human has never been seen in quite this way. Featuring some of the most mesmerizing traditional animated sequences I've ever seen, this is a stunning film which trounces the animated garbage we've been inundated with lately (hey, they're making a sequel to Happy Feet!)...

Ponyo Teaser Poster

The main character, Sosuke, is so lovingly crafted that you'd swear he was a real little boy... everything from the way he walks to the way he acts is just captivating to watch. While I prefer to see Miyazaki films in their original Japanese, I have to admit that the vocal talent Disney lined up for the American release is pretty stellar (ZOMG! BETTY WHITE & TINA FEY!) and all the actors seem to ring true to the characters they're dubbing. Well worth seeing in a theater for the sheer spectacle of it all... the pastel-rendered backgrounds are beautiful, and demand to be seen on the big screen.

   

Epic Fail in the dictionary: George W. Bush and Johnny Rockets.

• Failure to Launch. I got to the Cherry Creek Center Theater for Ponyo a little early so I could eat dinner at the Johnny Rockets there, only to find out that they didn't have any vegetarian Boca Burgers. AGAIN! Why am I not surprised? After all, I've been denied Boca Burgers in San Francisco (twice), Santa Monica, Seattle University Village (twice), Seattle Pike Place Market, Seattle Pacific Place, Miami Aventura Mall, Seattle South Center, and Kent Station... why should Denver be any different? Still finding it positively absurd that a FROZEN item can't be stocked in such depth that it won't run out 50% of the time a customer would like to order it. If you're not going to bother to watch your inventory, don't bother putting it on the menu so that people like me don't waste their valuable time going to a restaurant expecting to get the food we want.

   

Denver Capitol Building

Union Station Denver

• Denver and Killer Squirrels. After the movie, Howard and Cameron dropped me off downtown so I could take a few photos around the Capitol Building. After goofing around for a bit, I decided to walk back to The 16th Street Mall for dinner and have a look around Union Station. As I was walking through Civic Center Park, I heard something in the tree above me and turned around to look. Much to my surprise it was a very angry squirrel, who glared at me just long enough to let me take a blurry photo of him...

Squirrel Attack

That's when I noticed that squirrels were everywhere, and they had no fear of humans. One little guy was eating a pile of sunflower seeds somebody had left and I was able to sit right next to him. He barely noticed...

Nutty Squirrel

Just for fun, I was going to reach over and grab a few seeds, but didn't want to risk getting bitten and end up with rabies or something. That would be just my luck.

   

Tarantino Movie Posters

• Film by Tarantino. My most consistently favorite director outside of Hayao Miyazaki is Quentin Tarantino. In my capsule review of his latest masterpiece Inglourious Basterds, I said that the word "visionary" was inadequate to describe his cinematic genius. This prompted one reader to ask me how I would rank his films, which would be thusly...

  1. Pulp Fiction. The Tarantino benchmark which instantly established him as one of the world's greatest living writer/directors. Its every scene is masterfully constructed for maximum impact, where even the slow moments serve to amplify the story to an insane degree. Featuring some of the best contemporary dialogue ever written anywhere, Pulp Fiction became one of my favorite films of all time before I was even a quarter of the way through it. How the three stories within the film weave in and out of each other in a non-sequential manner could easily be taken as a cheap filmmaker's gimmick, but Tarantino uses it to genius effect. As if all that weren't enough, Quentin managed to bring together one of the most perfect casts ever assembled, giving us John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Ving Rhames, and Christopher Walken (among others) in the best roles they are likely to ever have. If ever there was a film that encapsulated the word "brilliant" this would be it.
  2. Inglourious Basterds. Everything I wrote about this masterpiece yesterday is only amplified in my mind a day later. Quentin himself says that this is the closest he's gotten to Pulp Fiction and I absolutely agree.
  3. Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2. A revenge flick so epic in scope that Quentin had to break it into two parts. And while I admit the ending was a bit anti-climactic, in this case it's the journey, not the destination, that makes the whole thing worthwhile. The fight scene between Uma Thurman and Lucy Lui is one of the most beautiful ever filmed. The fight scene between Uma and the "Crazy 88" is one of the most brutal ever filmed. The fight scene between Uma and Vivica A. Fox is one of the most engaging ever filmed. The fight scene between Uma and Daryl Hannah has one of the best endings ever filmed. String them all together with Tarantino's patented quirkiness and it's one of the greatest stories of revenge ever seen on the silver screen.
  4. Jackie Brown This film is a love letter from Tarantino to Pam Grier and her blaxsploitation films of the 1970's like Coffy and Foxy Brown. That he actually got Pam Grier to play the lead role rather than casting an imitator just shows how incredibly smart Quentin is when it comes to choosing his actors (we also get Robert DeNiro, Bridget Fonda, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert Forrester which just confirms it). The story, based on the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch, is a crime caper flick so tightly paced and packed with so many brilliant dialogue exchanges that you never want it to end. The world of Jackie Brown lingers long after the credits have rolled.
  5. Reservoir Dogs Tarantino's debut is a hyper-violent heist thriller where the actual heist is never seen. Given that this would be the most interesting part of this movie genre in lesser hands, Quentin manages to create a far more imaginative film by showing everything but the main event. All the things Tarantino would become famous for are here from the very beginning, and it's a thrilling experience that influenced an entire generation of films that would follow. While not for the squeamish and faint-of-heart, this is a film that shows us exactly what cinematic genius is.
  6. Death Proof While decent Tarantino fare that features one of the best car chase sequences ever filmed, this movie pales in comparison to his other efforts. Which means it's still better than the vast majority of the crap which ends up at the local theater, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Quentin on his worst day knows more about making an entertaining film than many other directors will ever know. Kurt Russell in the lead role as a sadistic misogynist stuntman is just the icing on the cake.

   

&bull Housekeeping Aggressive. One of the most thankless jobs on the planet has to be that of a housekeeper at a hotel. Forgotten entirely when they do their job well, yet persecuted ruthlessly when they make a mistake, the housekeeper is in the ultimate no-win scenario. Historically, I've always endeavored to be excessively kind and generous with housekeeping staff in order to balance out this wrong, but my attitude has been changing as of late. Because, in addition to being the most thankless job, it can also be the most passive-aggressive career in history. And more and more this is getting to be the case. Housekeepers maintain this front of kindness in service, but all too many of them really don't give a shit and, indeed, are actively hostile in their work.

As an example... in the hotel I'm currently staying (which shall remain nameless, because it really doesn't matter) the housekeeping staff is so horrendously noisy each morning that I have no choice but to view it as intentional. And it begins the minute they exit the elevator... laughing and whistling and yelling and screaming and banging and slamming. Never mind that it's still fairly early and people are trying to sleep, they just don't give a fuck. Across the hall from my room is a laundry chute. What they could do is prop the door open so that the soiled linens will pass silently down to the laundry. But what they actually do is let the door slam shut again and again and again, which is an endless source of banging that is so forceful that my walls shake every time. And heaven forbid that you should want to sleep in, because if you stay later than they like, they will purposely create a huge racket outside your door until you ultimately give up and flee the premises. Every drawer is banged. Every word is yelled. Every cleaning tool is rattled. Every door is slammed. Because the housekeepers just don't seem to give a flying fuck anymore. They're up at the crack of dawn doing a thankless job, and they want you to suffer for it. Over and over and over again. One of these days I'm going to have had enough and scream into the hallway as loud as I can "SHUT THE HELL UP!" knowing full-well that it will only encourage them to be louder. Because that's what happens when you mess with people having the most passive aggressive job on earth.

   

Denver at Night

• Farewell to The City. And that's all she wrote. Tomorrow I'll take a trip to some stores I want to check out which were closed today... and then it's off to the airport and other adventures.

   

   

Denver

Posted on Monday, August 24th, 2009

Dave!There are plenty of things I could blog about, but the only thing that's in my head right now is how I get to sleep in tomorrow. For the first time in months I have nothing going in the morning. No calls scheduled. No meetings to attend. No places to be. No flights to catch. Nothing. I could sleep in until noon. Heck, I could sleep in until 5:00pm if I wanted to. The whole concept is so bizarre that I can't quite wrap my head around it.

Of course, the odds of me actually sleeping in are small. I'm sure my insomniac nature will take over and I'll be waking up at 4:00am as usual... and I'll be bored as usual... so I'll start getting some work done as usual. Oh well. I suppose just the thought of being able to sleep in if I wanted to is enough.

Anyway...

This morning started out early because I wanted to visit Denver's very own independent book store... The Tattered Cover. There are a couple locations, but I went to the beautiful LoDo store on the 16th Street Mall (years ago I visited the "original" store in Cherry Creek, but it has since moved). Much like Powell's City of Books in Portland, The Tattered Cover is a wonderful experience for people who love books...

Tattered Cover Book Store

I then walked around the corner to visit The Old Map Gallery. As a die-hard map-lover, I had been really looking forward to seeing the shop... but it was closed. And there were no hours posted, so I didn't stick around. For all I know they could be closed Mondays, and I'd be waiting for nothing (the website isn't much help either). This is probably a good thing, because a look in the window shows that I would have been dangerously close to spending entirely too much money there...

Old Map Gallery Window

From there it was time for lunch at the beautiful Hard Rock Cafe Denver...

Hard Rock Denver Outside

Hard Rock Denver Inside

And then back to the hotel so I could catch my ride to the airport. The sky, which had been blue with scattered clouds when I left in the morning, had become dreary and overcast by afternoon...

Capitol Building Grey Sky Afternoon

And by the time I got to the airport we were on weather delay. Fortunately, it was only 30 minutes, which put us into Salt Lake City just 14 minutes late (it's the old "we'll make up time in the air" trick!). Or would have if we didn't end up in a holding pattern for ten minutes once we got there.

Marty and Reba (of Banal Leakage fame) were then nice enough to pick me up at the SLC airport so we could head to the Rio Grande Cafe for Dave Lake City 3! The last time we were there I was doped up on massive pain killers for kidney stones and couldn't really enjoy it, so I was really looking forward to eating there again. It was (as expected) delicious, and it's always great to hang out with Marty and his better half...

Dave Lake City 3 Badge

And tomorrow, Depeche Mode, baby!

   

UPDATE: Annnnnd... I was up at 5:15am. That's a whole 45 minutes I got to sleep in!

   

Mode

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Dave!Saw an absolutely incredible performance by Depeche Mode tonight in Salt Lake City with Marty and WarpedGirl16...

Depeche Mode LIVE!

   

   

For a spoiler-filled set list and some additional photos, you can get all that in an extended entry.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Calories

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Dave!Despite the fact that Salt Lake City's airport is a mere 6 miles from downtown, it will run you about $20 (+tip) for the privilege of being driven there by a taxi. My hotel, however, pushes for a private transportation company which runs an outrageous $25 (+tip). Having fallen for that trick before, I requested a METERED TAXI instead of the private car. This caused the valet to freak out. He started jabbering on about how a taxi would take a half-hour to arrive, and it only saves you $3... AS HE WAS LOADING MY LUGGAGE INTO THE PRIVATE CAR.

Not wanting to argue, I just went along with the scam. But I was fuming, and nobody got a tip.

I don't give a crap if I have to leave five hours early and book the taxi myself, next time these assholes are not getting any of my money. I cannot wait for Salt Lake's local TRAX light rail to be run out to the airport sometime in 2013. Then I'll be able to tell these rip-off taxi companies and hotel scammers to kiss my ass. I mean, seriously, TWENTY-FIVE-DOLLARS? That works out to over $100 an hour! For that kind of insane money, I expect to get blown after my luggage is unloaded.

Anyway...

When my flight arrived at Boise, Idaho, I got a text telling me that my connecting flight to Seattle was delayed. This meant I would miss my final connecting flight home. Seeing that there was a flight leaving immediately, I ran to the gate and managed to get on the earlier plane just as they were closing the doors. My luggage wouldn't make it home, but at least I wouldn't be stuck in Seattle's airport (WITH NO FREE WI-FI!) until midnight.

The upshot being that I would now have a four hour layover in Seattle, which was plenty of time to grab some lunch.

Which is when I overheard this...

GIRL ONE: Do you want a bottle of water with your salad?
   
GIRL TWO: No, I need to cut down on my calories.

Needless to say, I was mystified... calories in WATER?!?

Davesani Water Bottle

Isn't water the stuff where you look at the Nutrition Facts and everything is ZERO... because it's like... fucking WATER?!?

Davesani Nutrition Facts: IT'S WATER YOU DUMBASS!

Just when I think that people couldn't possibly get any more stupid, something comes along to prove me wrong.

Unless there's some new high-calorie water out that I don't know about...

   

Elitist

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Dave!In oh so many ways the human condition is as fragile as it is fallible. This wouldn't be so bad if it could be rationalized, quantified, and explained, but the reasoning behind why we're so damaged and flawed remains a mystery. Fortunately, we also have more positive traits to balance things out... such as determination, strength, and resilience. It's a good thing too, because life would be pretty miserable otherwise.

Except...

Some people focus entirely on the negative so their lives really are miserable. And that's fine, because we've all been there. And I make no judgement, because people should be entitled to feel how they want to feel.

Except...

People who decide to focus entirely on the negative all the time tend to rub off on us, contaminating our peace and throwing our lives out of balance. This toxicity really should be avoided for the sake of our mental well-being, but to do so is looked upon as a bad thing. Avoid a friend when they're being all toxic, and you're the bad person. Avoid a toxic family member, and you're being a bad relative. Avoid a toxic blogger, and you're the elitist asshole.

And I get it. You shouldn't be abandoning friends, family, and fellow bloggers when they're going through hard times. But that's not what I'm talking about. Because the process also works in reverse. Your positivity can rub off on them, and restore their peace and put their lives back in balance. Not only that, but it's also a decent thing to do for someone you care about.

Except...

There is a limit. There should be a limit. Because some people have no intention of ever letting go of their negativity no matter how hard you try to pull them away from it. At that point, when you realize that there is absolutely nothing you can do to help them, your self-preservation has to kick in. Otherwise, you become mired in their negativity and risk losing yourself in their toxic world. And you know what? At that point... where you've done your best and tried your best and been your best... it's okay to finally step away. You were there when they needed you. You did what you could. You sacrificed what you had. It's time to let go.

Because, in reality, it is they who are abandoning you. And if people want to label you a bad person... or a bad relative... or an elitist asshole... all because you choose to escape with your sanity, then so be it. There's nothing you can do about that either.

Except...

Reclaim your life, embrace the positive, stay in balance, and move forward.

Life would be pretty miserable otherwise.

   

And so I try.

Until I was filling out a hotel reservation tonight, and ran across this tragedy...

Name Titles... Mr. Mrs. Dr. Rabbi Prof. Sir Father Chief Senator Lt. Captain

How disappointing! There's no "Lord" in that list. I want to be LORD DAVID SIMMER II, dammit!

Or, more accurately, OVERLORD DAVID SIMMER II.

Though I would settle for HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS DAVID SIMMER II.

Or maybe MASTER COMMANDER DAVID SIMMER II.

Or something simple like DICTATOR FOR LIFE DAVID SIMMER II or SAVIOR DAVID SIMMER II or even DEMI-GOD DAVID SIMMER II.

Alas, I had to settle for "Captain David Simmer II" because none of my preferred titles were available. This is just me trying to stay positive in the face of those who would seek to destroy my peace with their negativity.

   

Snowing

Posted on Friday, August 28th, 2009

Dave!Today Apple released the latest version of their Macintosh "Mac OS X" operating system... Snow Leopard (version 10.6). There's not many new features, as Apple has instead concentrated on speed enhancements and other refinements, but it's still well-worth the $29 upgrade.

The speed increase is noticeable. In some cases very noticeable. I never realized how pokey the Finder is at just about everything until I started playing with this new release. Snow Leopard is a leaner, meaner, cat compared to Leopard (Apple claims you'll recover 7GB of hard disk space, I got 9GB on both my desktop and laptop). This alone is worth the price of admission (assuming you have a newer Intel-based Mac that is capable of running it)...

Snow Leopard Box

This is not to say that there are not problems. I've only been playing around with it for a day, but I've ran into some things that boggle my mind. First of all, Apple's own software is incompatible. The 2008 version of iWork, which is their alternative to Microsoft Office, has display issues and there are no updates available to fix the problem. Instead, you have to run out and buy iWork 2009 to get working software. This is absurd. I'm not running some 10-year-old program here, but something dated LAST YEAR! Never mind that I already own iWork '09 and just need to install it, Apple should release a patch for iWork '08 for people who don't want to upgrade. Paying to get something that works is the Microsoft way of doing business, and I expect more from Apple.

Icons have been improved by giving you the option to display them up to 512 pixels square! This is glorious if the program/document supports the higher resolution...

Snow Leopard Numbers Icon

And really crappy if it doesn't...

Snow Leopard TextMate Icon

But nobody is going to need to display application icons that size... at least not yet. It's document icon previews where this becomes a useful feature. This was a kind of hit-and-miss feature with Leopard. Sometimes icon previews would just universally stop working. Other times they are so slow to update as to be useless. Fortunately, this seems to be solved with Snow Leopard. Previews always seem to work and are rendered blazingly fast. And now that Apple has added an icon-size slider at the bottom-right corner of each Finder window, it's almost like using iPhoto for file management! The ability to look at your photos at 512x512 without even having to open the file or enter QuickLook "preview mode" is awesome...

Snow Leopard Photo Document Preview

PDF documents or documents with PDF previews (like Adobe Illustrator docs) render nicely. Snow Leopard even adds a piece of graph paper behind the icon so that documents with transparency still look like document icons...

Snow Leopard PDF Document Preview

Remarkably, zooming in on any supported document, like an Excel spreadsheet, gives you a fully-functional preview...

Snow Leopard Excel Document Preview

My biggest problem with Snow Leopard has nothing to do with icon previews, which are pretty great... it has to do with the "improvements" they've made in the Dock. Some are worthwhile (LOVE being able to scroll through stacks and drill down in folder hierarchy within the Dock at last!) but the new contextual menus? Not so much.

It used to be that a double-click-hold on an application icon in the Dock would bring up a sweet contextual menu to perform program functions without actually switching to that program. Such as being able to double-click-hold on the Apple Mail program icon and tell it to "Get New Mail." Or double-click-holding on iTunes and telling it to "Mute Sound"... all without having to switch out of the app you're in...

Mac OS X Dock Contextual Menu

This is really convenient, and I use it all the time. But now a double-click-hold on an application icon will put it under the spotlight and reveal all program windows "Expose" style. I can see where this might be handy for an app that has tons of windows open. But for something like iTunes which only ever has ONE window open, it's just fucking stupid. A once handy feature is now practically useless...

Snow Leopard Dock Menu FUCKING BULLSHIT!

So now, in order to get the old contextual command menus, you have to RIGHT-CLICK on the program's Dock icon. Which isn't so bad... IF YOU HAVE A MOUSE WITH A RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON! But what about on my MacBook Pro WHICH DOESN'T HAVE A RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON?!? Oh... you have to fake it by reaching up to the keyboard and hunting down the "Control" key so you can press it while you single click. The new "shortcut" is actually MORE WORK than just switching to the program and interacting with it directly. This has put a serious crimp in the way that I use the Dock and I HATE IT! It's like Apple gave you a wonderful new toy in Leopard... then took it away and replaced with with a steaming pile of shit in Snow Leopard. Why not make this a preference so I can CHOOSE how I use the Dock instead of forcing me to deal with this "new and unimproved" bullshit?*

Oh well, I guess you've got to take the good with the bad. And, in this case, the good does outweigh the bad by quite a large margin.

There are other features to Snow Leopard (Universal Access has some impressive upgrades)... but the speed, hard disk savings, icons, and Dock changes are the ones I notice the most.

And now all we Mac-Whores start counting the days until the next Mac OS X 10.7 "Sabertooth" upgrade...

*UPDATE: Ren points out that a two-finger click will work to bring up the contextual menu in the Dock. And it does... if you have "secondary click" enabled in the Trackpad Preferences (mine was turned off for some reason). This is a little clutzy compared to how I used to do it, but it's certainly better than nothing! Thanks, Ren!

UPDATE: Sven over at Quarter Life Crisis has a much more in-depth review of Snow Leopard, and has found a terminal command line trick which can restore Dock functionality by Lap Cat Software.

   

Giddyup

Posted on Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Dave!

DAVETOON: Monkey Cowboy

   

   

Bullet Sunday 147

Posted on Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Dave!Ooh! I'm actually home for this edition of Bullet Sunday!

• Garbage. Having a blog with nearly six years of material makes me an easy target for haters, since I'm bound to have written about something they disagree with. Most of the time I don't care. Either the person trashing me is so incredibly stupid that their garbage is impossible to take seriously, or they are criticizing me for something I never even said in the first place. I have no problem with healthy debate and welcome other people's respectful opinions... but that almost never happens. They're called "haters" for a reason, and are best just forgotten. Except sometimes they just won't go away. The anonymity of the internet makes them impervious to civilized behavior. I wonder if they realize that nobody is ever truly anonymous online? Something to think about, anyway.

   

• Hurt Locker. I have little to no interest in the whole "war movie" genre. That's because they usually fall into one of three categories: 1) Political statement against war. 2) Political statement for war. 3) Glorification of war and/or war propaganda. The last category is the worst. All those old movies where war is depicted as an entirely one-sided affair, with the horrors nicely sanitized (e.g. the ridiculous "Oh you got me, you dirty Nazi! while the guy grabs his chest and slumps over). But every once in a while there's a film with no obvious political agenda which tries to tell a very human story that just happens to take place during a war (Clint Eastwood's amazing Letters from Iwo Jima comes immediately to mind).

And now we get The Hurt Locker by the always amazing director Kathryn Bigelow...

The Hurt Locker Poster

Any attempt for me to explain the film would be a grave disservice to it. In simplest terms, it's about a three-man team of bomb disposal experts called "Bravo Company" in Iraq circa 2004, and their efforts to dispose of a never-ending supply of explosive weaponry that shows up in a variety of scenarios. After the death of their team leader, a new guy, Staff Sergeant William James, assumes command of the team and things get very interesting. You never really know if James is a reckless maverick who risks lives unnecessarily... or an absolute genius who is so great at his job that it only appears that way. All you do know is that Bravo company has just 38 days left in their tour, and the odds of them surviving long enough to return home grows dimmer with each new encounter. This is a film about guys in a very dangerous job, and there's no political bullshit or anti-war bias to get in the way of telling their story. Miracles do happen.

One of the very best movies of 2009 (I'd place it at #4, after Inglourious Basterds, District 9, and Star Trek), The Hurt Locker is where I'd put all my Oscar votes. Jeremy Renner as Sgt. James is one of the strongest performances I've seen in a film all year, and is backed up by an army of talent and some spectacular cameo role appearances (which it would be a shame to spoil here). Suspenseful, gritty, and very human, The Hurt Locker is actually worth your valuable time to see.

   

• Iconic. Every since installing Mac OS X Snow Leopard, I've been transfixed with the ability to view application icons at 512-pixel resolution. It's an entirely new ballgame at such a large size, and reveals surprising details that you would never even know existed at their original size... sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Let's take these three icons as an example...

Snow Leopard Tiny Icons

Transmit, which has always been a nifty little icon, is revealed to be a stunning piece of artwork when you get to see it at full size. The attention to detail is nothing short of amazing, and now people can actually see it...

Transmit's little truck icon at full-size

Twitterific, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. It looks cute and friendly when seen small, but blow it up to full size and it transforms into something vaguely scary. I don't know if the bird is molting... sweating... or has some kind of disease... or what. His beak doesn't even appear to be part of him, but instead bursting through his head, like there's a bird trapped in a bird suit and he's just now breaking out. Granted, this isn't really the designer's fault. This is what happens when you are forced to exaggerate details so they will show up when reduced to a tiny size. Otherwise, it would just look like a little blue blob...

Twitterific's little bird icon at full-size

But those issues pale in comparison to the scariness of Apple's own "Mail" icon. It makes absolutely no sense now. The drop shadow makes it appear that the stamp is floating above the surface... but the cancellation mark looks flat, like it's a projection of some kind. Furthermore, the cancellation mark doesn't even look like it's been printed. The gray ink looks like it's actual ink on the white parts of the icon... but mystically transforms into blue ink when it is on the blue parts of the icon. At giant-size, it all looks like some kind of bad Photoshop overlay trick, because it doesn't act like any cancellation mark I've ever seen...

Mail's little stamp icon at full-size

Icons, which have historically had to communicate information at very small sizes, are now having to stand on their own as artwork when presented at larger sizes. This is an incredible challenge for icon designers, because it's not easy trying to create one piece of art which works perfectly for two entirely different uses. I suppose the big worry is that designers won't even try, and we'll get icons that suck at any size.

   

And now I get to go back to work so I can (hopefully) get caught up before I leave again. Life, she is a bitch.

   

INVADED!

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2009

Dave!Avitable has announced this year's theme for his annual Halloween bash, and it's a good one: INVADED!

Like last year, Adam asked me to create a T-shirt design to help raise money for the party, and with an awesome theme like "alien invasion," I could hardly say no. The challenge would be to find a new way of having fun with the DaveToon characters so that I wouldn't be bored. After a little thought, I decided to try an old "Sci-Fi Comic Book" design and see if I could make that work. All the best alien invasion stuff could be found in the pulp comics and films of yesteryear, so it seemed like a good fit.

After an hour of goofing around, this is what I came up with...

Avtaween 2009 T-Shirt Design

If you want to support the Avitaween party (or just want to look really cool), you can buy the shirt at Adam's Zazzle Shop.

If you want a behind-the-scenes peek at how the design was created, I've got that in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

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