Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2011
It's a "Holy crap it feels like somebody shot me in the back!" kind of Bullet Sunday this week. Fortunately I have really good drugs to put me out of my misery so I can (hopefully) get some healing sleep tonight. Let's see how many bullets I have in me before I drop off...
• Quandary. As somebody who attempts to live my life according to Buddhist precepts, it is not possible for me to take joy in the death of any living thing. So call me unAmerican if you wish, but all I can think of today is the chain of events which began on September 11, 2001 and the horrific loss of life which continues to this day because of it. One more death on the pile... no matter how much one believes it was deserved... is not going to suddenly make everything better in my head. And I'm not sure how I should feel about that. About the only thing I can feel right now is regret. Not that an asshole terrorist and mass-murderer is dead, but that humanity has failed so badly for us to have gotten to this point.
• Accomplished? I keep running across people on the internet who are amused that today's news falls precisely eight years after a banner above former president George W. Bush's head declared "Mission Accomplished"...
Am I a tin-hat wearing conspiracy nut if I admit that the first thing that came to mind after first reading this was "Wow. That's really convenient!" Because, seriously, if you wanted to (further) embarrass President Bush over the failure to capture Public Enemy #1 on his watch, wouldn't this be the ideal way to do it? Hmmmmmm. Nah, it's most certainly just a coincidence. Especially when you consider Hitler's death was also announced on a May 1st. Irony can be so ironic sometimes.
• Who? Can I just say that Dr. Who under the brilliant mind of Stephen Moffat has evolved to one of the single best shows ever to air on television? I'm not kidding. The two-part season opener was jaw-droppingly amazing in every possible way...
If you have even a passing interest in really good sci-fi, this show is a must-see.
• Magnum! Another import that's well worth checking out? Magnum ice cream bars! It was just over two years ago I mentioned their advertising featuring Eva Longoria when I was in Germany...
And now they have arrived here in the USA! If you happen across the "Almond" variety, which is covered in chocolate with crazy-delicious large chunks of almonds, it is about the best-tasting thing you'll ever eat. Unless you're allergic to nuts. Then it's about the most deadly thing you'll ever eat.
Annnd... my meds are starting to kick in. That's kind of a bummer, because I didn't get to all the bullets I had jotted down. Oh well. Something to blog about tomorrow, I guess.
Posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2011
Well, bugger! I wrote this yesterday through a haze of painkillers while laying in bed on a heating pad... but couldn't post it because my blog returned an error. Here's hoping that I can get it to work this time while I'm a bit more lucid.
Annnnd... since I started falling asleep during Bullet Sunday before all my bullets had been fired, here's Part Deux!
• Mahalo! And so President Obama abused his presidential privilege in order to force Kapi'olani Medical Center in Honolulu to violate their policy and release his long-form birth certificate so that dumbass pig-fucker birthers like Orly Taitz and Donald Trump will (hopefully) shut the fuck up already*. Never mind that President Obama had already released the required documentation... apparently if you're an uppity black man who DARES to become the democratically-elected president of this country, special rules apply to you. Welcome to post-racial America!
My name is Orly Taitz and I endorse this dumbassery!
• The Duh-nold. At first I was angry with President Obama for (once again) caving to pressure instead of taking care of shit. I mean, seriously, when you're giving in to demands by a reality show television host, you've pretty much let your authority fly right out the window. But then I saw his speech at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner, and changed my mind. Releasing the "long-form" birth certificate gave him his best material...
It's watching things like this that make me forget all about the things Obama has done to piss me off and make me like him again. But will it last long enough to keep my vote for the next election? That depends. If my alternatives are Trump, Palin, Santorum, Bachmann, Huckabee, or any number of other potential candidates that make my brain hurt... then I guess it will be. Why in the hell can't the Republicans find a serious candidate? Not one person they've got in the wings... not one... has a chance against Obama unless something crazy happens. I guess I should be grateful since I can't stand any of them. But without a decent challenge for President Obama to rise to, I fear he's just going to slog through a second term on vapors. Winning in a cake-walk is the worst possible thing that could happen. We need to debate issues seriously so we can get serious about them. Right now I feel we are anything but. It's just partisan hackery at its worst, and we're all suffering because of it.
• Run. A good friend is participating in the Malibu Triathlon as a member of "The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training" which raises funds to help in the fight against leukemia and blood cancers. If you'd like to be a good egg and help sponsor this very worthy cause, you can visit her page here. I could go on about how donating even a little money to such a worthwhile endeavor can add a little sunshine to your day and is good karma... but instead I'll just say CLICK IT! CLICK THE LINK AND GIVE YOUR MONEY! DO IT! DO IT!!! Heck, I just donated $20 and now the headache I had all morning is gone! Coincidence? Perhaps. BUT CAN YOU AFFORD TO RISK IT? GAH! CLICK THE GOOD EGG! CLICK IT NOW!!
And that's enough of that. Join me tomorrow when I promise to be (relatively) bullet-free!
*Of course this is sheer fantasy. The birthers won't shut up until a crusty old white man is president of the USA like God intended. And yes, I realize that this makes no sense since God doesn't make mistakes and He allowed Obama to become president in the first place, but hey... you just can't use logic when it comes to pig-fuckers.
Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
My best friend right now is my heating pad.
And my pain medication.
Between my two new best friends and being very careful, I'm slowly recovering from whatever it was I did to wreck my back this past weekend. Today I was able to sit at my desk for six hours, which is almost double what I managed yesterday. And now I am going to see if I can get through the night on a half-pill instead of a whole one. Hopefully I am mostly recovered before my plane-ride on Thursday, as it would be nice to not be suffering all the way through it.
Though, according to some people, my suffering is not long for this world.
I got an email from an old co-worker telling me that they ran across a motorhome which had "Awesome news! The end of the world is May 21st! The Bible guarantees it!" painted on it. Since he knew I have studied many of the world's religions, my friend asked me if I had any inside information as to whether this was true. If it were true, he joked that he wouldn't bother going to work in the morning. I wrote back and explained that The Bible specifically says in Matthew 24 that nobody but God knows when the end of the world is coming... so anybody following The Bible who says that they've "decoded" some kind of definitive date is gravely mistaken.
But then I got curious, so some Google research led me to a website for the people driving around in that motorhome...
They're claiming Judgement Day is May 21st, which is technically not the end of the world... it's the beginning of the end if you believe what The Bible says.
The website itself is pretty dope and a wild read. They provide their "proof" by doing some whiz-bang calculations about one day for God equalling a thousand years for us, and how seven years after The Great Flood is when the earth is ending. They further back this up by revealing "a sign" that The End of Days is upon us.
And what is this sign? What is this undeniable proof that the end of the world is nigh?
Wait for it...
Yes, once again it's the gays who are to blame! These people have an entire section on their site devoted to it...
Of course, if you've been reading my blog for a while, this is nothing new.
Oddly enough, my interpretation of The Bible is such that "reading signs" and using hokey math to predict Judgement Day is paramount to divination, which is condemned by The Bible is no uncertain terms, but whatever. The Bible is interpreted a million different ways, so who am I to judge? I'm not even a Christian for heaven's sake.
In many ways I feel sorry for people like this. They sell everything they own and drive around the USA in motorhomes warning everybody that the world is ending real soon now because May 21st is Judgement Day.
But what happens to them on May 22nd when it turns out to be just another day because their God had other plans?
Personally, I think the world already ended back in February. How else can you explain THIS...
THERE'S your sign!
Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Well... I woke up with my back feeling far worse than it was yesterday. This really blows, because I've got a long drive followed by a long flight tomorrow. Guess I'll be spending my day mostly medicated. Yay.
Of course I still haven't packed a suitcase. Given the excruciating pain throbbing in my lower back, it's probably a better use of my time to lay in bed with a heating pad all night. Which means I'll be packing when I get up in the morning. And doesn't that sound like a bucket-full of laughs and good times.
The problem with laying as still as possible for hours-on-end is that there's not much else to do except think. The even bigger problem is the stupid crap I think about, most of which makes me want to scream my head off.
Things like... how fucking bat-shit-crazy is it that the same people who freaked out and thought armageddon was nigh because two dudes kissed on Glee are all gung-ho to see photos of Osama Bin Laden with his head blown off? I mean, seriously... a sign of love and affection between two people can't be shown on television because its paramount to a complete breakdown of society if they both have a penis... HOWEVER an image of graphic violence and horror is perfectly okay. In fact, let's make popcorn and invite the neighbors over the watch!
And it only gets worse from there.
I long for those magical days of yore when I was too busy to think such horrible nonsense.
The best I can wish for now is that I fall asleep soon.
Hopefully before I start thinking about how dumb-fuck asshole Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean called beloved author Neil Gaiman a "pencil-necked weasel" that he "hated" because he's too damn stupid to bother getting all the facts before resorting to name-calling and accusations of stealing. What a worthless piece of shit. Is it too much to ask that ANY of our elected officials use even a half of their brain before they open their idiot mouths?
Dang. Now I'll never get to sleep...
Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2011
I always hesitate to tell people when I'm working in Hawaii.
Because nobody ever truly believes that it's actually possible to "work" in Hawaii. Their idea of "working in Hawaii" involves a Mai Tai on the beach or something. I know this, because any time I am forced to tell somebody, they always end the conversation with "Have fun!
Except Bad Robert. When I mention "Hawaii" to Bad Robert, the only thing he has to say is this...
"Dude! Hawaii? I'm never going to Hawaii. It's out in the middle of NOWHERE! Have you ever looked at Hawaii on the map? There's nothing out there, man. Just ocean. Shit could happen and nobody would know. The island could sink or get blown up by a volcano, and ain't nobody coming to rescue you, because there's nobody out there. Good luck, man. I hope you make it."
All drama aside, he's absolutely right. Hawaii is one of the most remote places on earth...
And one of the most beautiful.
Which is why I'm not just flying over for work, then heading right back. I'm staying the weekend and goofing off a bit. Because it would be downright irresponsible to come all this way and not try to have a little fun.
In the meanwhile, there's work. So I suppose I should try to get some sleep so I can function in the morning.
Hope your Cinco de Mayo was a good one!
Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2011
Today was mostly a work day, but I did get some time to goof off in Honolulu and do some of the things that made me not mind dragging my ass across the Pacific to be here. This pretty much boils down to three things...
#1 PUKA DOG!! Originating on Kauai, Puka Dog eventually opened up a shop in Waikiki (UPDATE: Puka Dog is now Hula Dog in Oahu, still Puka Dog in Kauai. UPDATE 2: Hula Dog in Waikiki was CLOSED when they tore down the International Marketplace! SUCKS!! Check Hula Dog's website for their locations). I can say without reservation that this is my favorite meal in all of Oahu. Just like Chicago, which has a hot dog to call their own, Puka Dog is a hot dog done Hawaiian-style, and they are amazing...
Don't let the line scare you... Puka Dog is worth the wait!
They are also very different and uniquely Hawaiian in oh so many ways...
The way you order is kind of "Soup-Naziesque" but they don't treat you too badly if you goof it up. But it's pretty hard to goof up if you follow the steps on their menu board. For example, I order like this: "I'll take a Veggie, Hot, Mango, Lilikoi on White, please!" But, no matter how you order, you're getting an amazing meal that's unlike anything else on earth... in a very good way...
Left is a dog in the hole. Right is down a few bites so you can see all the condiment goodness within!
#2 KISSES!! Everybody loves Hershey's Kisses. Those little foil-wrapped pieces of deliciousness are truly a treat to behold. And then Hershey's took it to The Next Level and introduced Kisses with almonds, caramel, and peanut butter in the middle (among other things). BUT... only here in Hawaii can you get Hershey Kisses with Macadamias in the middle! They are everything you'd dream they'd be. And at $5 a bag, they'd better be...
#3 NEW HARD ROCK!! As anybody who follows this blog already knows, I am incredibly disappointed with the "new-style" Hard Rock Cafe properties. Instead of the old-school method of cramming every available surface with awesome Rock-n-Roll memorabilia, they instead put a few meager pieces in glass cases and scatter them on a few walls. So when they moved Honolulu's Hard Rock from the old location to the new one in Waikiki, I was horrified at the idea of it being a shitty "new-style" cafe. And it is. Kind of. Because while there isn't a tremendous amount of memorabilia, it is more than usual. And they DO have this awesome ribbon of guitars running up the wall and across the ceiling of this beautiful, beautiful restaurant...
Approaching the all-new dual-level Hard Rock Cafe at Waikiki!
Pretty sweet, eh? And, on that note, I am about ready to pass out, so I'm off to a night of (hopefully) sweet slumber.
BUT, BEFORE I FORGET...
I ran across proof positive that President Obama was BORN AMERICAN, BABY! Because if it's in a children's book, it must be true, right?
Posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2011
Honolulu is just a big city like most big cities except it has a really excellent location.
If you're into big cities then you really can't do much better in Hawaii than here, and I recommend it highly as a place to eat, shop, play, and (if you're lucky) work. The problem is that a big city is not really what people want to see when they visit beautiful Hawaii. Myself included. For this reason, I avoid Honolulu like the plague. I'd much, much rather spend my time just about anywhere except here. This usually means I end up on my favorite island, Maui, or taking side-trips to Kauai or The Big Island of Hawaii. I only come to Honolulu when work brings me here or I am changing planes or something.
For a very long time I had been treating the entire island of Oahu as if it were Honolulu.
All that changed one year when a colleague drove me to Oahu's East Shore for dinner and I was shocked to see that after you get outside of Honolulu, it's an entirely different world. Oahu is just as beautiful and amazing as the other islands... it just happens to have a big city on it.
So this trip I decided to not bail on Oahu the minute my work was over. Instead, I decided to stay here a few days and explore a bit.
And what better place to start than iconic Diamond Head?
It was a nice cool overcast day... perfect for hiking up Diamond Head!
These cool thistle-like things were everywhere.
Looking down at Honolulu from the top.
The websites I looked at for Diamond Head had me worried to hike it with my messed-up back, but it was actually a pretty easy hike. I rewarded myself with a bag of fresh-cut pineapple spears when I made it back down to the visitor center...
Yes, it was insanely delicious, just as you'd expect.
Almost as cool as Diamond Head itself is how you get into the crater through a tunnel bored into the side...
It reminds me of the Big-Foot alien's tunnel on The Six Million Dollar Man!
After that, it was time for fresh-n-hot malasadas at World-Famous Leonard's Bakery...
Kind of a Portuguese version of a doughnut... but without a hole.
After stuffing my face with malasadas and getting sugar all over my rental car, I was going to go find a comic book shop for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, but decided to consult Gowalla to see if there were any cool spots to visit. First on the list? Beautiful Byodo-In Temple...
The rainy weather actually made for a prettier visit with the fog in the mountains.
Then I decided to continue driving around Oahu's North Shore. Here I stopped at a number of different lookouts and beaches, with one of the more interesting being Chinaman's Hat Island...
The island is that blip on the right-hand side there.
A better view of Chinaman's Hat.
Despite being fairly close together, the many beaches each seem to have their own personality...
One of the more famous stops was "Sunset Beach" which was fairly empty now but, during the Winter, is overflowing with surfers. That's when some of the biggest and best waves on earth arrive...
Eventually I got tired of beaches and made my way to world-famous Matsumoto's General Store... one of the best places on the island to get a shave-ice treat...
I got "The Hawaiian" which had a colorful variety of tropical syrups on top.
The shave-ice wasn't enough cold sugar for me, so I stopped off at the Dole Plantation for a Pineapple Whip. If I were hungrier, I would have got for the Pineapple Whip Float, which is drenched with delicious Dole pineapple juice...
Even though it was still fairly early in the afternoon, I was getting tired and decided to head back to my hotel for a nap. But then I saw The Bishop Museum was on the way, so I had to stop and take a look. It's a beautiful, beautiful museum which does a great job of documenting Hawaiian history...
The Bishop Museum is SHARK EXTREME!!!
Once back in my room, I suddenly realized I was hungry. Since I was dead-tired I thought I might just order in room service, but decided I couldn't resist the urge to have yet another Puka Dog! This time I downshifted to "Spicy" garlic-lemon sauce instead of "Hot" because I wanted the Maui Sweet Onion Relish to shine through. This made a good thing even better...
Delicious Puka Relishes on tap!
And now... I'm done. Time to kick back and read a few blogs before bedtime. All-in-all it was a pretty great day. Despite the off-again-on-again rainy weather, Oahu treated me pretty well, and I'm glad I took the time to get to know her a little better. Hopefully tomorrow will be just a fruitful.
Posted on Sunday, May 8th, 2011
Hope all the mothers out there had a great Mother's Day.
Today's bullets will be fired from Part Two of my "Get to Know an Island" series: OAHU EDITION! Since yesterday was spent exploring the North Shore and Central Valley, today I decided to head West and take a look at the Leeward region of the island...
• End of the Road. Rather than having to continuously cross back and forth across Highway 93, I decided to head all the way to the end of the road, then stop at all the spots I wanted to see on the way back. And when I say "end of the road," I mean that literally. The pavement stops and, though a dirt road with craters in it goes on around the point, it's pretty much inaccessible unless you've got a really tough 4-wheel drive rig (which I didn't)...
• How I Roll. And what rig DID I end up with? A KIA Soul. It's not a bad ride, per se, but it does have one horrible flaw that can make it a terrifying thing to drive. MASSIVE FUCKING BLIND SPOTS IN THE BACK CORNERS! So not exaggerating here...
Yes, you've got mirrors, but if you want to confirm that there's nobody sneaking up behind you in your mirror's blind-spot, you can't. I guess those giant hamsters that they use to advertise the Soul on television must drive using The Force or something.
• Kaena Point State Park. Anyway... at the end of the road is Kaena Point State Park, which is actually a very nice place to visit. There's a beautiful aqua-colored tidal pool there...
And a pretty sweet beach...
• Kane'ana Cave. About two miles outside of the park, there's a giant cave you can wander into. When I visited, there was a hot dog stand across the street...
It's not very deep... but it is pretty darn big.
• Beach Culture. I stopped at a few different beaches along the West Coast of Oahu. Many of them were absolutely beautiful. As I understand it, the waves get pretty insane during the winter months, but things were fairly calm today...
• Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. On my way back to Waikiki, I decided to stop at Pearl Harbor to see the new visitor center there. When I was here last time, they were just starting construction, and I decided to make a donation. They ended up putting my money to good use, because the new center is just beautiful...
If you ever make it to Honolulu and have even a passing interest in history, this is a must-see.
• USS Bowfin. As I arrived around 4:00, there was only an hour until closing time. This meant there was no chance of visiting the USS Arizona Memorial... or the Missouri... or the film center. This didn't bother me, because I've already been through them more than a couple times (and with much better weather!). But I didn't want to leave without doing something, so I toured the USS Bowfin Sub Museum and Park. The submarine itself has been beautifully restored, and has a very cool steampunk look about it on the inside...
Annnnd... that was enough for today.
Except a stop at Ala Moana Center so I could visit their awesome food court and get me some falafel. As expected, it was totally delicious and worth the wait.
Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2011
A second day of bullets for double damage!
Today's bullets will be fired from Part Three of my "Get to Know an Island" series: OAHU EDITION! Since yesterday was spent exploring the Leeward side of the island, today I decided to head East and take a look at the Windward region of the island...
• Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. I had just been here two years ago but, since it was along the way, I decided to stop again. This is actually a pretty gruesome place... it's where King Kamehameha the 1st and his army drove a bunch of their enemies off a cliff into this here valley...
It's a lot nicer when the weather is good, but I was still glad I stopped.
• Kailua Beach State Park. And here it is... the best beach I've seen on all of Oahu: Kailua Beach. It's absolutely stunning, and on-par with my favorite Maui beaches. The surf seems fairly mild, which is why a bunch of para-surfers and wind-surfers were out and about...
The sand is powder-fine and beautiful...
The park is in a residential area, which is kind of a nice surprise. The lack of hotels and resorts means that the beach isn't completely overrun like Waikiki. I'm guessing it's pretty crowded on the weekends, but on this Monday morning there wasn't a lot of people there. All I know is that if I wanted some beach-time when visiting Oahu, it would be Kailua and nearby Lanikai Beach all the way.
• Makapuʻu. Across from Oahu's "Sea Life Park" (where you can swim with dolphins and stuff), there's a strip of rocky beach that's a great place to look for crabs, fish, and other critters that call the place home. Typical of Hawaii weather, I was able to look North and see a rain storm moving in...
Then look South and see sunshine...
It was kind of nice to see blue skies, because it's been on-again-off-again raining my entire trip.
• Halona Blowhole. And so now I've finally seen a blowhole. This is a geological formation where a sea cave has an opening above it. When waves flood the cave, water is blown out of the hole. Hence the name...
The volume of water that can shoot up is huge and makes a big impression in person. But in photos it's the smaller plumes that look more interesting.
• Lanai Lookout. I'm guessing the reason that this place is called "Lanai Lookout" is because you can see the island of Lanai from here. This seems odd, as I would expect that Molokai would be in the way... but whatever. I didn't see anything. Except interesting land formations and some pigeons chilling out and watching the waves...
• Hanauma Bay. This is the only place other than Pearl Harbor and Nu'uanu Pali that I've been to in Oahu outside of Honolulu/Waikiki on one of my previous trips. If you like to snorkel, this is an amazing place to do it...
Unfortunately the bay has been ravaged by the masses of tourists who flock here. I'm surprised that the damage hasn't ruined the place completely, but there's still an abundance of marine life to be found. Park rangers are trying their best to educate people about how to minimize their impact, but the thousands of people who show up every day (except Tuesday) do take their toll. I worry that eventually they'll have to close down popular places like this in order to let nature recover a bit, but I suppose that's better than the alternative.
• Diamond Head State Park. This is a very nice park, but parking is crazy. Even on a Monday afternoon. Cars are piled everywhere, so eventually I just waited for somebody to leave and got a spot next to the Amelia Earhart memorial that's there...
A lot of surfing going on...
And here's the lighthouse I was looking down upon from the top of Diamond Head two days ago...
• Puka! Since I had a late 9:00pm flight, there was time for one last dinner in Waikiki. Despite having eaten there three times already, I could think of only one place I wanted to go... PUKA DOG!!
Despite the $7 price tag, it remains my favorite meal on the island. Soooo good and a fitting finale to my trip.
Annnnnd... that's it for my trip to Hawaii. I am really glad I took the time to explore Oahu and see some of the many great things the island has to offer. Unfortunately, one thing it doesn't offer is free wi-fi at Honolulu International Airport, so I'm afraid this entry won't be posted until I get home. Stupid airport.
Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
I flew out of Honolulu last night at 9:30pm and arrived back in The States at 6:30am this morning. I think I got a short nap in there somewhere, but most of my time was spent watching iTunes episodes of my favorite new television show... Happy Endings... even though I've already seen all of them a dozen times. The show is so good that I just can't help myself.
The lack of sleep wouldn't have been a big deal if I didn't have a three-hour drive home followed by a five hours of work. Alas, I did have a three-hour drive home followed by five hours of work, which meant I spent most of my day being mostly-dead.
And, now that I am home and fully-dead, it's time to put the blog away and go to bed.
Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
A fucking piece of shit named Meredith Attwell Baker took a job with our government as an FCC Commissioner. In this position, she was trusted to make decisions that were in the best interest of the American citizens she represented.
One of the decisions she made was to not impose any restrictions while approving the massive merger of Comcast and NBC. This was a somewhat shocking stance to take considering that the resulting mega-corp would have unprecedented control over what information people have access to on the internet and television. Critics said that this merger would have no benefit for consumers, and would likely result in nothing but bad things. But Attwell Baker shoved it through anyway.
And after the Comcast/NBC merger went through, what did this fine public servant do?
She quit her position at the FCC to take a job as a political lobbyist for Comcast/NBC! And why not? Mission accomplished! There's no reason to pretend she gives a flying fuck about us anymore, she's off to cash in on services rendered!
This grotesque mockery of government service has me once again wondering why American citizens aren't rioting in the streets.
I don't care which side of the political spectrum you're on, what Meredith Attwell Baker did was fucking disgraceful and disgusting. This is such a thorough betrayal of public trust that she should be thrown in prison. But that's not going to happen. This is what America has become. And American citizens have become so accustomed to this bullshit that they're just numb to it all. So things just keep getting worse and worse. Our government is bought and sold every day, and we all pay the price for it.
Yet nobody seems to care.
So fuck it.
I'm going to get a government job approving dumping sites for nuclear waste... in the public water supply.
Then I'm going to quit and get a high-paying lobbyist job with Exelon, the largest nuclear power producer in the USA. Because, hey, they'll owe me one.
What a fucking joke.
Anarchy... it's only a matter of time.
Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2011
I was going to write a rant over how much I hate hypocritical bullshit, but I don't have the energy.
Most of my energy tonight was spent being delirious with relief that David E. Kelley's totally stupid "re-imagining" of Wonder Woman wasn't picked up by NBC. Yes, I am positively thrilled that the project was killed off. If you're not going to make an actual show about Wonder Woman, then don't make any Wonder Woman show at all. That would just set the character up for massive failure, dooming any chance of the "real" Wonder Woman ever ending up on TV or in a movie.
As I've said a billion times now, translating comic books to other media only works when you're faithful to the source material. Deviate from what makes the character iconic and beloved in the first place, and you're just fucking everything up...
Maybe one day they'll stop dicking around and get serious about fulfilling my childhood Lynda Carter Wonder Woman fantasies with something new, but I'm not holding my breath.
I don't have the energy to hold my breath, and should probably just go to bed.
Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011
For some reason I am a bit jetlagged after my short trip to Hawaii. On the surface, this seems ridiculous. It's a measly three hour time difference, which is nothing compared to a lot of my travels. My guess is that my crazy work hours are messing with my sleep schedule, and Hawaii just exaggerated everything.
If there's an upside, it's that I'm actually sleeping more than my usual 3-4 hours.
Unfortunately, this additional sleep is happening at 5:00pm.
Which means I am wide awake from 10:00pm and don't get tired again until 7:00am when it's time to get ready for work. This morning I was so tired that I forgot to zip my pants up as I headed out the door. They fell down just as I was opening my car door, leaving me pantsed in the parking lot...
Luckily I also forgot it was Commando Friday, or else I could have been arrested for indecent exposure.
All the television shows I watch have had their fate announced. Since I am a total television whore, this is important stuff. Since most people are not total television whores and couldn't care less, I've put my thoughts about it all in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2011
It's at times like this when I have absolutely nothing to write about that I regret having a blog. Guess it must be time for a meme...
There! Are you happy now, internets?
Posted on Sunday, May 15th, 2011
It's a rainy kind of lazy Bullet Sunday and I'd really rather be in bed. Let's do this shit!
• Foodie. I'm not much of a "shopper" and really don't enjoy going to the store... but the crazy-ass prices of food now-a-days makes me downright depressed to go grocery shopping. Just pulling into the parking lot of a market is enough to make me lose my will to live. Mostly because I know even a small bag of groceries is going to run me $50 or more. I never used to worry about stuff being "on-sale" or bothered to clip coupons or anything... I just bought what I wanted to eat. But now? I only buy something when it's on-sale. This means I am eating not what I like to eat, but what I can afford to eat. I can't even fathom how people with families manage to feed everybody. What even worse is that good food... like fresh fruits and vegetables... are beyond expensive. Far easier to eat crappy foods or blow through the McDonald's drive-through than even think about trying to eat healthy. This is a scary, scary state of affairs, and I worry that things are only going to get worse. Soylent Green may not be too far off.
• PATATJES MET! While having a conversation with a Twitter-friend, it was mentioned that when they did an image search for "Patatjes Met" a photo of me came up as #4. When I went to check for myself, I saw that a LOT of the images were mine! Apparently, I am obsessed with Patatjes Met. Who'da thunk it?
• Border. I was saddened to learn that most all of the Hard Rock Cafe properties in Mexico were "de-authorized" last week. I can only guess that their franchise payments weren't made to Hard Rock International, and so now they're no longer "official" Hard Rock properties. This kind of sucks, because now I won't have the opportunity to visit them. To make matters worse, two properties I also haven't been to in Ocho Rios (Jamaica) and San Juan (Puerto Rico) were closed outright. I hate it when that happens! I suppose that I should be grateful since I now have fewer destinations to check off on my Hard Rock list... but all I can think of is the missed opportunities.
• Maru. With all the sad and crappy stuff going on, it's always nice to have something good to hang on to. For me, that would be Maru the Cat! Maru loves to climb into boxes and bags and is always entertaining...
The site is in Japanese with some English, but you don't need to know Japanese to enjoy the fantastic photos and movies! The next time you're feeling a little depressed, click on over to I am Maru. It always puts a smile on my face... and hopefully yours too.
And if you've got some time to kill, you could easily spend a whole day watching Maru's YouTube Channel...
• Passing. IT'S A SIMPLE FUCKING CONCEPT... DRIVE RIGHT, PASS LEFT! And yet, despite bunches of signs saying "Keep Right Except to Pass," people still clog up the passing lane with their stupid asses. Finally... AT LONG LAST... Washington State troopers are starting to pull these idiots over for violating the law. I have little hope that this is going to do any good... people out on the highways usually have their heads up their asses anyway... but it's comforting to know that law enforcement is starting to take this shit seriously. I still think it should be legal to pop a cap in somebody's ass if you end up passing their slow asses on the right-hand side...
Or follow them home and explain their error to them...
This has been a major pet peeve of mine for decades. I don't suppose it's too much to hope that the idiots on our roads will finally start to pay attention? Nah. Probably not.
And thus ends another Bullet Sunday... time to go be lazy, at last.
Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011
I've been fact-checked!
First thing this morning I got an email from Bad Robert calling "bullshit" on the meme I filled out on Saturday. Question #55 was "WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CD ON THE SHELF?" I answered with this: "I don't have CDs anymore, they've all been ripped into iTunes. I'm not really embarrassed by any of it."
Bad Robert had this to say...
"Dude! You still listen to the Millionaires! You're not even a little embarrassed by that?"
To which I could only answer "Oh gawd... you're right!"
The Millionaires is a girl-band duo (formerly a trio) that sings mostly about drinking, doing drugs, and having sex with every guy they meet. So... basically they're drunken sluts who kinda sing. And it IS embarrassing that I would be into listening to that crap, but I just can't help myself. I mean, it's pretty much just catchy beats with filthy lyrics, but it's fun. One of their least offensive videos (which is still a little offensive) is Stay The Night...
Yes. Yes, I know.
But if you want to know what the Millionaires are really about, you need to listen to Party Like a Millionaire, which is probably offensive and most definitely not safe for work...
Their parents must be so proud.
And yes, I am embarrassed to have Millionaires in my music collection. So thanks, Bad Robert! Oh well. If you want to experience the full horror, here's their MySpace.
You. Are. Welcome.
Today I had to run to the craft shop to buy some posterboard. Well, they call it posterboard, but it's really just big wimpy sheets of paper now-a-days. It stopped being "board" years ago.
As I was pulling into a parking space, I had to slam on the brakes. A woman in a giant pick-up truck was driving through her parking space to exit through the one I was entering. She waited a second, then honked her horn so I would move. But I just sat there. She can back out of her parking space just like everybody else has to.
This did not make her happy.
She started slamming her fists on her steering wheel and laying on the horn.
I just sat there. Fuck her.
She finally realized I wasn't going to move, so she started screaming at me with crap I couldn't hear because my stereo was on. After a minute went by she finally backed up, then went screeching out of the parking lot.
I guess she was in a hurry to go off and party like a Millionaire.
But seriously. What IS it with people?
All I wanted to do was park in an empty parking spot... none of this situation was my fault, and yet there she was acting like an asshole and blaming me for it. Well kiss my ass, I'm sick of this shit. Be a bitch on your own time and leave me out of it.
But the world is ending in five days, so there's that.
Posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Letting go of the past hasn't really been a problem for me because I am not a very sentimental person. Stuff happens (for better or worse), I learn what I can from those events, then try my best to move on. This is not to say that I discard my past completely. Far from it. I just don't dwell on things so long that they take over. Life is too short, and there's so much more out there to learn and experience without the past holding me back.
As a side-benefit, things like "recovering from heartbreak" and "moving past mistakes" a bit easier.
And yet... there's always something there to remind me...
This was made perfectly clear over the past few weeks while I've been cleaning out a storage unit I've been renting for the past 18 years... and haven't opened in 16 years.
A lot of stuff I had thought was dead and buried has suddenly come back to haunt me, figuratively speaking.
Which means I was sentimental at one time to have kept all this crap... but ended up losing my sentimentality sometime in the mid-90's.
95% of my stuff in storage is going straight to the dumpster.
Where it probably belongs.
Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2011
I'm too exhausted to get excited about the season finales of the TV shows I watch. I fell asleep ten minutes into Big Bang Theory tonight. I woke in time for Grey's Anatomy, but was nodding off at the end. Day after day of nothing but work is finally catching up to me.
Either that, or this season's finales just aren't very exciting.
Anyway... the new 2011-2012 television schedule has finally been announced. This means I can make the chart I'll use to program my DVR this Fall. If you don't give a crap about television, then you'll probably want to skip the extended entry. Otherwise...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2011
THE END IS NIGH?
The Rapture isn't one of those things I believe in, per se. I mean, I believe that it's something that many people believe in, but that's as far as it goes. Which means that I'm going to be one of the people left behind if it ends up being the real deal, I guess.
And it all happens tomorrow, if you believe the wacky secret Bible code that Harold Camping claims to have uncovered. There are different interpretations of what actually happens in The Rapture, but I'd like to believe it involves Blondie, a big party, and plenty of champagne...
Though none of those things appear in Scripture when it comes to what is supposed to happen.
THAT is something entirely different. Though just how different is difficult to interpret, even for people like me who spent years studying The Bible. The most common belief is that millions of Christ's followers will disappear from the face of the earth, then a timeline starts which has oceans turning to blood, mountains burning, the Antichrist popping up, the ultimate return of Jesus to rule for 1000 years, followed by the eventual end of everything we know... replaced by a new heaven and a new earth.
Presumably an earth that's nowhere near as messed-up as the one we have now.
Of course there are other Christian scholars who have an entirely different opinion as to what happens. Some believe that nobody literally disappears during The Rapture. Others believe that The Rapture is just a teaching tool, and not an actual event that happens in real life. Still others believe that The Rapture has already happened. Harold Camping believes that after The Rapture happens tomorrow, the earth will be destroyed five months later on October 21st. He doesn't specify a time zone (that I know of) so I have no idea when we're supposed to start drinking...
In the end, nobody has a definitive answer, just something they believe is correct.
Personally, my studies lead me to believe that The Rapture can't take place until after Oprah airs her final show on the 25th. After that, it's anybody's guess.
Anybody except Harold Camping. This will be the second time he screwed-up when picking a date (September of 1994 was the first)... so he can just go fuck off and die now. NO RAPTURE FOR YOU!
Posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2011
Sometimes my many years of theological studies can be more a burden than a blessing. I'll see some person proclaiming to be of a certain faith in one breath... then turn around and say or do something that violates that faith in the next. And though they don't realize their hypocrisy, I do.
And it burns.
I see this crap and my brain feels like its on fire.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, The Bible is quite clear that nobody but God knows when the end of the world is coming. Furthermore, it is my interpretation that by claiming to know for dead-certain a Rapture date, Harold Camping was declaring himself a prophet. Because if he claims to know a date that God's Word specifically states only God knows, then he is claiming to have divine knowledge... thus making him a prophet.
And now that his prophesying is obviously not true, not correct, and not divinely given by God... well, I'm afraid the future doesn't look very happy for Harold Camping...
"But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.
Deuteronomy 18:20 (New International Version)
Since God Himself has set the punishment for being a false prophet to death, Harold Camping's followers will have to kill him now won't they? At least I guess that's how it goes. I don't really know how they will reconcile that with the whole "Thou Shalt Not Kill" thing. As with everything in The Bible, that's open to interpretation.
Or I suppose I should say selective interpretation.
Because how many times have we seen people use a fragment of their holy text to justify their actions... all while violating another fragment mere passages away? They pick-and-choose what they want to believe and act upon while ignoring others because they don't really want to live according to their doctrine. They just want to live however they want to live and use pieces of doctrine to justify it.
Which is the very height of hypocrisy.
And it burns.
But suffering for other people's faith is an unavoidable consequence of humanity. And it doesn't take a prophet to see that this isn't going to change any time soon.
Posted on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
ZOMG! IT'S BULLET SUNDAY!
• Stars. I swear, if there is a single thing in this world you can count on outside of death and taxes, it's that any time Justin Timberlake hosts Saturday Night Live you're in for one hell of a show. The May 21st season finale was no exception. Not surprisingly, I haven't laughed this much at an SNL episode since the last time he hosted. What was surprising is that musical guest Lady Gaga made a couple very funny appearances throughout the show. I may not be the biggest fan of her music, but she killed it last night in the sketches. As if that weren't enough, we got another The Barry Gibb Talk Show installment too...
Your eyes do not deceive you... that's Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson
making cameos on the funniest SNL Digital Short since Dick in a Box!
Can I just say that I long for the day that the real Barry and Robin Gibb make an appearance on The Barry Gibb Talk Show? I think the universe would probably explode from so much awesomeness.
• Dogs. As I was spending my entire paycheck on a bag of groceries last week, I noticed that MorningStar Farms Veggie Corn Dogs were back. I used to love them, but they were recalled and discontinued a couple years back because of of a heinous contamination at the manufacturing facility. Apparently that's (hopefully) been all sorted out, because I've discovered a new magical formula...
Is there anything that Grey Poupon Mild & Creamy Mustard doesn't taste good on?
• Bears. One of the single coolest people on earth would have to be Bear Grylls. The guy has racked up so many amazing feats that he makes ordinary men look like hamsters by comparison. It all started when he was the youngest person to climb Mount Everest at age 23. Since then he's continued to make awesome expeditions, and even went on to become a best-selling author and (somewhat controversial) television star...
And yet, this morning as I was watching television, I heard something which puts all of Bear Gryll's astounding adventures to shame. His ultimate feat of coolness has to be naming his three kids Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry...
"Holy shit, dude! My name is MARMADUKE!" (Photo by Rob Loud - Getty Images)
I don't know how to feel about Jesse. On one hand, he side-stepped a landmine by not being saddled with a name like Marmaduke or Huckleberry. On the other hand, he doesn't have a kick-ass moniker that guarantees him a reality TV show. Oh well. Goes to show that just when you think Bear Grylls can't possibly be cooler than he already is, something comes along to prove you wrong.
• Trains. Dear iOS developers... I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR GAMES, SO STOP MAKING AWESOME NEW APPS I WANT TO PLAY! Especially all these terrific new board game apps for iPad. As a board game addict, it is really cool to see great games like Neuroshima Hex and Carcassonne being released, but now Days of Wonder has gone and dropped the awesome Ticket to Ride game for a mere $6.99 (my board game version cost $25!)... and it is stellar. It's better than stellar. It actually improves on the original by making it easier and more straightforward to play. But they didn't stop there, they made it Game Center aware, so you can play against other people anywhere in the world...
The object of the game is to build railroads. You do this by drawing Destination Tickets which give you two cities to connect. You then play colored Train Cards to build your routes, with longer routes being worth bigger points. It's easy to learn, but the strategy is where the fun is. Do you complete your own route, or block your opponent from completing theirs? Do you risk drawing another Destination Card to increase your score, or do you play it safe because you're running low on train cars? The variations on play are endless but, just in case you get bored, you can add expansion sets with an in-game purchase.
This is the future of board games right here. You can play against your friends no matter where you are, or connect with other players online when you don't have somebody to play with! Granted, it can be tricky to get a Game Center game started up, but other than that it's a flawless app. About the only thing I miss is the socializing that happens when playing a "real" game in person (talking smack over chat isn't the same!), but that's a minor detail when you consider how hard it is to get people together to play in "Real Life." For iPad users, Ticket to Ride gets my highest possible recommendation!
• Trolls. This past week my blog was linked to by some kind of newsletter from a wacky organization seeking to "protect marriage." Since the post they linked to has me supporting marriage equality and calling equality opponents "weak," I suppose it was only a matter of time. I got around a dozen comments, all of which were deleted because they were nasty or didn't contribute to the conversation in any meaningful way. Apparently, their only argument against marriage equality was to bad-mouth me, which is not commenting. It's just name-calling. Somehow I am not surprised that this is all they have left, considering a recent Gallup poll now has the majority of Americans supporting gay marriage for the first time...
This has me envisioning a future where Americans look back at this point in time and think "What the fuck was that all about?" Which will be nice, because I can't for the life of me understand what the big deal is over a person's sexuality not restricting their rights. If somebody writes left-handed, you don't see right-handed people demanding lefties can't get married... so who gives a fuck about two consenting gay adults getting married?
A lot of very insecure people who are worried that they are going to be tempting into getting gay-married, apparently. Which brings me to something of sheer awesomeness tweeted to me by @Galaxyfighter (Not Safe for Work)...
And on that note, I suppose I should be getting back to work.
Posted on Monday, May 23rd, 2011
Tomorrow I leave for Chicago. And, despite having work piled so high that even light cannot escape its gravitational pull, I just spent the last 90 minutes playing Ticket to Ride. That game is SO addicting. Like crack cocaine. Or so I've heard. If I didn't already have an iPad, I'd probably end up buying one just to play this game.
I finally had to pull myself away from playing with trains so I could write in this blog.
Thanks a lot, blog.
In the interest of full-disclosure, however, I should tell you that I am not really concentrating on whatever it is I'm writing here. Most of my brain is still playing Ticket to Ride.
For example, when I typed the words "Tomorrow I leave for Chicago," I immediately started thinking of what route I would take to get to Chicago if I were playing the game. In case you're curious, it would probably look something like this...
Then I find myself compelled to count how many cities I haven't been to (Six: Winnepeg, Sault Ste. Marie, Duluth, Omaha, El Paso, and Helena). And note which are the most connected cities (Helena, Denver, and Pittsburgh). And worst connected (Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Boston). And calculate which route would be the most disastrous if your opponent blocked you (Seattle to Portland, which goes from one train car to fifteen).
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Like I said, my brain won't stop playing.
Maybe it will stop if I play just one more game?
Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
As I was driving over the mountains to the airport, I got a call from Bad Robert asking if I was going to be around this weekend since he was planning on coming into town. "Nope, sorry, I'm off to Chicago today," I said. "Chicago?" Robert replied. "I hope you're not staying in any hotels while you're there!" Not able to figure out where he was going with this, I decided to just ask him. "Of course I'm staying at a hotel! Why shouldn't I stay in a hotel?" After an uncomfortably long pause, he said "Oh... nothin'... I just saw on the news where hotels are having all kinds of bed bug infestation problems."
Any guesses as to what I've been thinking about as I type this from my hotel bed?
That's all I need... yet another excuse to not sleep.
I swear, I can FEEL the little bastards crawling all over me.
Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
My day in pictures...
Yes. They are real. They are delicious.
"Hey Ferb, I know what we're gonna do today!"
So shark extreme I just can't stand it.
Of all the times to be a vegetarian...
Just don't put it in the microwave.
BODDINGTONS!!! (oblique Friends reference).
Not my photo. Not my inappropriate dessert.
Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2011
There's something profoundly sad about being in an amazing city like Chicago and having to be stuck indoors working all day long. Even though the weather outside was pretty crappy.
Though I did manage to escape for an hour so that I could have falafel for lunch at a place that Farnsworth recommended last night called BenjYehuda (which, as Mr. Shiny points out, is undoubtedly named after the famous Ben Yudea Street in Jerusalem). It was fantastic falafel to be sure... BUT, it was the greasy bag of super-crispy fries that made this a lunch to be reckoned with...
As I mentioned, the weather during my lunch hour was pretty crappy. Cold, windy, misty, and a little rainy all at the same time. This made for a miserable walk to the falafel shop from the L-stop, and an interesting conversation as I waited for the crosswalk signal to change...
STRANGER: Geez, man, where's your coat?
ME: Eh, I don't need a coat when I'm walking.
STRANGER: Well, you're stopped now! Are you crazy?
ME: Maybe. But what about that guy across the street? He's in a short-sleeve shirt.
STRANGER: Yeah, but he looks cold like he's supposed to. You don't. That's crazy.
No more crazy than any other pedestrian in Chicago, I'd argue.
Mostly because you have to be crazy to be a pedestrian in Chicago in the first place.
Yesterday on our way back from the candy show, the shuttle bus had to make a detour because a woman was laying in the middle of the street. Presumably because she had been hit by a car. I was not the least bit surprised after I was nearly killed while crossing the street five years ago... the drivers here can get pretty dangerous. I didn't see anything about it in the morning paper, so hopefully the woman was okay.
After work it was time for dinner at my favorite pizzaria in Chicago, PIZANO'S! They have a thin-and-crispy buttercrust pizza to die for. As usual, I ate too much, and am now a little bit miserable. Which is no fun when I've got another 4-5 hours of work to do.
Especially when I'd rather be going to the opening night premiere of The Hangover 2. Sure it looks like it's going to be more of the same, but The Hangover was one of my favorite comedies in a long time, so I'm okay with that.
Alas, back to work I go...
Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011
When you walk through downtown Chicago, there's yellow banners on the streetlights saying "GODO GOOD" along with giant banners on buildings... and I even saw a metal "GODO GOOD" sculpture in a sidewalk planter. It's all part of an urban art installation that's a collaboration between artist Kay Rosen, the Chicago Loop Alliance, and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago...
What's a "Gohdoh?" OH... that's supposed to be GO DO!
An unfortunate font choice... all I see is GOOO GOOO!
As an art installation, I think it's kind of boring and obvious, but I do like the overall message behind it, which is encouraging Chicagoans to do 100,000 good deeds by summer (which you can read about at their website).
The only problem is that I'm a cynical bastard at heart. So every time I see all those banners, there's just one thought that goes through my head. How awesome would it be to hijack the installation to at least try to make things a little more interesting...
This would at least make people feel good.
Meh. I just think this sounds funny.
It's what he does.
Our country's only hope, really.
It's 2:30am and my brain is mooshy... if you can think of a better hijack with your fresh brain, feel free to leave it in the comments...
Posted on Saturday, May 28th, 2011
I had plenty of work to get done today, but what fun is that? Especially when there are awesome people in Chicago who are willing to hang out with me on a Saturday.
So I finished up what work I could, then headed out to meet with @kapgar for big fun in the city. We started out by going to the Chicago Art Institute, home of an incredible variety of priceless works of art...
After bumming around the galleries for a couple hours, we headed our for lunch with @ChicagoLeah. The weather was a bit foggy, but at least it wasn't raining...
Lunch was, of course, at America's Dog... home of the delicious Chicago-Style Veggie Dog...
From there it was off to the LEGO Store to see what's new. As it turns out, there's all kinds of new stuff, including the awesome ALIEN CONQUEST series. The sets are all about capturing humans and doing all kinds of horrible stuff to them. Like eating their brains...
From there it was time to meet up with @HotCoffeeGirl, a long-time blogging friend I've never met in person... until today... so that was a lot of fun.
And now it's back to work for a little while as I kill time before going out to see a movie.
Not a bad day to be me, that's for sure.
Posted on Sunday, May 29th, 2011
It's Bullet Sunday from The Windy City!
• Forecasting. And when I say "windy" I actually mean "stormy with torrential rains." This afternoon there was thunder, lightning, black clouds, and a literal flood pouring from the sky. What's so odd is that the forecast for tomorrow is "mostly sunny" which is almost impossible to believe. But, then again, looking at the extended forecast, impossible weather seems to be a continuing event here over the next week...
Make up your mind, Chicago!
• Thor. Back in the 1980's I was mostly reading DC Comics, with only occasional dalliances with Marvel Comics' stable of characters. All that changed when I got hooked on Walter Simon's absolutely brilliant work on Mighty Thor. His critically acclaimed run on the book was the stuff of legends, and I instantly became a massive fan of the epic stories he was telling there. Eventually Simonson left the book and my interest in the series waned, but I never lost my love of Thor as a character...
Fast-forward to earlier this month, and Marvel has released a massive tome which collects Walter Simon's work and called it the Thor Omnibus. It runs 1200 pages and is almost too big to hold comfortably (it should have been a 2-volume set!). The interior is absolutely stellar, having been completely recolored. They also added 50 pages of bonus material including drawings from Simonson's sketchbook...
If you are a Thor fan, this is essential. If you are not a Thor fan, this book will make you one. Highest possible recommendation.
• Thorified. Which brings us to the brand new Kenneth Branagh-helmed film Thor, a faithful and wholly amazing adaptation of the comic book series. It is a massive, brilliant, totally EPIC film that I simply didn't want to end. Everything from the acting to the special effects to the design to the story was near-flawless...
If I have one complaint, it's that the story seems oddly rushed. What should have taken months to unfold seems to happen in mere days, providing an unrealistic edge to the character development. I don't care who you are, you don't completely change your entire outlook on life in two days, and yet that's exactly what we're given.
Anyway... the movie tells the story of an ancient race of Norse gods who live in Asgard, one of the "Nine Realms" of our universe. One of these gods is Thor, a vain and arrogant warrior who is due to succeed his father Odin as king. But all this changes when Thor makes a big mistake and ends up being banished from Asgard to "Midgard" which we know as earth. Love, loss, and adventure ensue.
I gotta hand it to Marvel Comics here. First Iron Man came along and blew me away. Now Thor. Next up is Captain America, which looks even more amazing. And then there's X-Men: First Class which looks like it's going to kick all kinds of ass and finally make up for the totally shitty X-Men films that came before. All this will culminate with The Avengers in 2012 which has the potential to redefine the word "epic"... especially with Joss Whedon behind it. All in all, this is a great time to be a comic book fan.
• Bridesmaids. Even with all the critical acclaim and internet love, I was still wary of going to see Bridesmaids. Too many times the things other people think of as being "funny" I just think of as being "stupid" and a big waste of time. And then along comes Kristen Wiig's answer to The Hangover. And it's actually funny. And more than a little touching. But mostly entertaining...
Wiig plays Annie whose best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married and wants her to be her maid of honor. Hilarity ensues. And while there are moments where it felt like an SNL skit that goes on way too long had been shoehorned into the plot, overall I really enjoyed the story. Probably because it went for "funny-smart" instead of "funny-stupid." Add to that a really good cast, and you've got a movie actually worth your valuable time.
Assuming you're an adult who can appreciate an R-rated movie with occasional lapses into gross-out humor.
• Pasta. I seem to be going through a ravioli renaissance. I stopped eating the stuff (despite it being one of the things on an Italian menu I could eat) because it always ended up being gummy and squidgy. The last Wednesday I had some of the best cheese ravioli in my life at Piccolo Sogno... followed by an amazing dish of butternut squash ravioli tonight at Prasino. Apparently the greater Chicagoland area knows how to make the stuff. Which is little help as I head back home where nobody seem to know how to make it very well at all.
And speaking of home... I suppose it's time to finish up my work, pack my bags, check in for my flight, and post this blog entry so I can fly out tomorrow. Hopefully in better weather than today.
Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011
As I cruised through my blog archives looking at what I've written on past Memorial Days, one thing leaps out at me right away... I spent the past two Memorial Days being really pissed off...
MEMORIAL DAY 2010: I wrote about ignorant assholes politicizing our fallen heroes to attack President Obama with blatant lies. Rereading my rant, I think I probably went overboard just a bit.
MEMORIAL DAY 2009: I wrote a scathing rant against dumbfuck Baltimore Sun contributor Paul Marx for his disgusting take on POW-MIA activists (such as myself). Looking back, I think I probably wasn't harsh enough. My blood still boils over a newspaper publishing such horrendously ignorant trash on Memorial Day.
This Memorial Day, I'm not pissed off at all, which is a nice change of pace.
Instead I'm grateful. Incredibly grateful for those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we have. Grateful for those who once put their country above themselves by serving in our armed forces. Grateful to those who are even now risking their lives and serving to protect so many precious things we seem to take for granted.
And though this momentary lack of rage will most certainly wear off... my gratitude will never waiver.
Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
The flight from Chicago last night was relatively uneventful. My connecting flight out of Minneapolis had some kind of seat-map fiasco that caused a bunch of drama, but I was oblivious to it all because I was focused on playing Ticket to Ride and listening to Foster the People's new album, Torches.
The drive home over the mountains this morning, however, was a drama-fest of epic proportions. There was driving rain, road construction, car accidents, traffic jams, and never-ending dumbassery that lasted three hours and fifteen minutes. A full hour longer than usual.
Now that it's all over, I just want to sleep.
And ride a unicorn.