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Reflection

Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2011

Dave!I've been thinking a lot about the past recently, which is very much not like me. Usually I dwell on past events just long enough to learn what I can for them, then move on.

But before I get to that...

To all my Muslim friends, peace and prosperity be unto you during the holy month of Ramadan!

Ramadan Mubarak!

Ramadan is a time for reflection and rejuvenating ones soul, which is kind of where I'm at right now.

Because slipping into the past has given me a sense of being grounded at a time where I am feeling anything but grounded. I look through old photos and it's all chocolate pudding and good times. And the further back I go, the more comforting life seems...

Dave On Maui
It's hard not to be grounded in Hawaii — Maui, 1992

Dave Thailand
The ultimate place to get grounded — Phang Nga, Thailand 1998

Dave Meets Mona
Mona knows something about being grounded — Paris, 1999

In the past, friends and family I love who have now died are still alive.

In the past, I took things less seriously and knew how to have fun.

In the past, the world made sense and life was easier to understand.

In the past, the universe was at my feet and nothing seemed impossible.

In the past, I had overreaching goals and my path was clear.

   
Now? Not so much.

And yet... when I stop and really think about it, nothing has changed.

My friends and family who have passed on are still with me. I can set things aside and have fun while still being serious. Things don't have to always make sense for me to find my way. Something is only impossible if I lack the imagination to achieve it. Realistic goals can still show me the path I need to follow.

It's always been this way, I just need to remember.

Because we so rarely take photos of the bad times, hindsight is 20/20, and its all too easy to view the past with rose-colored glasses.

Which means that one day I will look back on this moment and see that life was actually pretty amazing.

At least I sure hope so.

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Beddable

Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Dave!I didn't get to bed until around 2:30am this morning, so I had it in my head that I would attempt to sleep-in until at least 7:00am. This plan was foiled when iPhone decided to beep with a text message at 6:30am. It was Bad Robert saying "Ever have to poop but not want to get out of bed? This is America. We should have a solution for that."

This lead to a texting debate as to whether it would be cheaper to develop the "Bed Toilet" or simply hire a maid to clean up after you each morning. I was firmly in the "Bed Toilet" camp because I can't fathom paying somebody to clean my poop from the sheets. Bad Robert says he'd wear diapers to avoid embarrassment, which speaks volumes for his mindset on such matters.

Dave's Dream Bed
This is my dream bed, obviously.

   
Now, you would think that coming up with the toilet bed would be the highlight of my day.

But this afternoon I got an email with photos from a friend-of-a-friend's wedding in New York. One of the images was of the groom and groom holding up the wedding invitations I designed for them. They looked incredibly happy. And the fact that I was a tiny part of making that happen had me walking on air.

For about ten minutes.

Then I was looking through my news feed and ran across presidential candidate Rick Santorum being a complete and total asshole. Again...

“States do not have the right to destroy the American family. It is your business,” Santorum said. “It is not fine with me that New York has destroyed marriage. It is not fine with me that New York is setting a template that will cause great division in this country.”

Then I look back at a photograph of two guys on their wedding day with smiles as big as the world on their faces.

They're not "destroying" anything.

They're not the ones "causing a great division" anywhere.

They're just living the American dream by pursuing happiness. And they're doing it without hurting anybody. It's piece-of-shit Rick Santorum that's causing a great division in this country. He's the one destroying marriage by thinking so little of it that gay matrimony could possibly have any effect on it.

The only person "destroying the American family" here is Rick Santorum.

Which, of course, means that he loves cock.

Santorum Loves Cock!
"YOU MUST BE THIS BIG TO RIDE"

Why else would he so vehemently attack the gays if not to distract people from the fact that he's craving a big ol' cock sandwich? As history has shown us again and again and again, those who lash out the hardest against homosexuality are those people who end up being homosexuals.

But whatever.

Because two guys in New York who love each other very much are starting a new life together.

To them, Rick Santorum's self-loathing hater idiocy doesn't mean shit.

   

Like

Posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Dave!"YOU'VE NEVER TRIED IT! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW?"

Most of the time, this is a correct statement. No, I haven't eaten pig knuckles. I don't plan to ever eat pig knuckles, ever. So, yes, I know nothing about them (except that I don't ever want to eat them).

But pig knuckles are not really the kind of thing I'm talking about here. No, it's always over something I've expressed a favorable opinion on. Usually something Apple-related.

If I say that I love my iPod... "YOU'VE NEVER TRIED A ZUNE! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW? iPODS SUCK! ZUNE RULES!!"

If I say that I love my Mac .... "YOU'VE NEVER TRIED DEBIAN LINUX! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW? MACS SUCK! DEBIAN RULES!!"

If I say that I love my iPhone... "YOU'VE NEVER TRIED ANDROID! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW? iPHONES SUCK! ANDROID RULES!!"

But sometimes the assumption is wrong. In the above cases, they're all wrong. I was given a Zune as a promotional item (which I hated and donated to a charity auction). I have not only used Debian, but Ubuntu, Red Hat, SCO, and several other UNIX flavors. And, as an interface designer, I've owned one Android phone and have goofed around with several others.

So whatever. People can make all the unwarranted suppositions they want. That's not my problem.

My problem is that I just don't understand why absolutely everything has to be a competition now-a-days. We're not allowed to like something unless we've tried every conceivable alternative? We can't like two things at the same time? We can't like something because it's not popular? We can't like something because it's too popular?

Maybe it's decades of bombardment by advertisers that have conditioned us to be this way. Or maybe it's just social evolution since we can't challenge each other to duels anymore. Whatever the case, it kind of sucks.

Because I like to love things.

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Fresh

Posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Dave!After a week, I can't say that I'm a big fan of Apple's new "Lion" OS.

At least not yet.

So far for me it's been a buggy, slow, crash-prone pile of crap. But so many people are raving about it that I'm sure it's just some legacy stuff from four years ago that's lurking on my hard drive and causing problems. Doing a clean install tomorrow should fix things right up.

At least it had better.

Because I am sick to death of having to reboot a minimum of twice a day... and if I get one more "Application Not Responding" freeze I'm going to go all homicidal...

APPLICATION NOT RESPONDING!!!

APPLICATION NOT RESPONDING!!!

APPLICATION NOT RESPONDING!!!

In the meanwhile I've got one last task left to do tonight before I wipe my hard drive. After that? Say good night, Gracie.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to a Very Special Episode of...

...

...

... nah, that would be telling!

   
UPDATE! Wheee! In the 35 minutes it took me to complete my project, my MacBook froze twice, had to be rebooted once, and started sporting really odd behavior in the Finder with files popping up which could not be deleted unless I restarted it...

Shitty Lion Finder Crap
WHY THE #@$% NOT?!? IT'S NOT BEING USED... HELL, IT DOESN'T EVEN REALLY EXIST!!

I hope everything goes well tomorrow so I don't have to set my laptop on fire.

   

Guesting!

Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2011

Dave!As I've mentioned several times to anybody who will listen, my favorite podcast is Hey! That's My Hummus! which is a creation of my most excellent blog friends, Mr. Shiny and Faiqa (both of whom are on a blogging sabbatical while they're working on the show, so I linked to their Twitter feeds).

If a Jew and a Muslim walked into a podcast you get, well... "Hey! That's My Hummus!" It's an awesome show filled with respectful discussion of numerous topics with a humorous slant. If you're not listening to it, you should be.

Anyway...

With Faiqa being in San Diego for BlogHer, Shiny asked if I would like to "virtually guest-host" a "Best Of..." clip show. Since I am not Jewish or Muslim, but instead a non-practicing Buddhist, I thought this was an incredible honor.

So I agreed, and you can listen to my episode right now by clicking on this link!"

It's an awesome show because it has both me and Batman in it.

Oh... and Faiqa and Shiny too.

   
BONUS! BEHIND THE HUMMUS SECRETS! (spoilers! listen to the podcast first!)

  1. Shiny says he sped up my voice so I sound like a chipmunk. Personally, I think I sound more like a honey badger! A ferocious, crazy-nasty, bad-ass honey badger! Honey badger don't care!
  2. I used my MacBook's built-in "Podcast Publisher" to record my intros. This was a mistake. I should have recorded directly in Garage Band, since it can output MP3s. As it was, I ended up having to drag the Podcast Producer MOV files into Garage Band so I could convert them there.
  3. The opening bit was recorded perfectly in one take. But I live a half-mile from the railroad tracks and a train went by in the middle of my recording, blowing it's whistle through my open window. I hoped that it wouldn't be audible, but it was loud and clear so I had to record it all over again. This time it took four takes, and it still has a couple goofs in it.
  4. In my intro, I say that I love Shiny and Faiqa more than chocolate pudding. This is 100% true. They are two of the most wonderful people I know.
  5. My MacBook, still suffering from a botched install of Apple's new Mac OS X Lion, kept overheating. This caused the fan to turn on, which made noise throughout the recording, ruining it. Rebooting worked for a minute, but the fan eventually came on again. To solve this, I sat my MacBook on top of a tray of ice cubes that had a paper towel on top. I then set an ice pack over my keyboard.
  6. In the second intro I mention that I'm a fan of Batman. This is an understatement. Batman is my favorite super-hero by far, and I am borderline obsessed with the character. Shiny couldn't have chosen a better segment for me to introduce.
  7. The second intro took six takes to record. You try saying "so we're revisiting" in a sentence! It kept coming out as "we'revisiting." Walter Cronkite I am not.
  8. Faiqa is, in fact, in San Diego for BlogHer. I had no idea what Shiny was doing, so I decided he was making a piñata. In my wrap-up I joked about Shiny having a "piñata emergency"... I have spent a lot of time since then wondering exactly what a "piñata emergency" might entail. It sounds crazy-dangerous.
  9. With suggestions from Shiny, I wrote up a script I could read from so I wouldn't accidentally cause World War III or something. My final recording doesn't match the script at all, as I tend to wander off script when I do this kind of thing. I have no idea how everything ended up coherent. Maybe it didn't.
  10. I actually do love hummus. Along with falafel, pizza, and chocolate pudding, it's a staple of my dietary regime.

   

Countdown…

Posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Dave!Wheeeeeeee!

Vacation Countdown: 48 Days!

   

The waiting is the hardest part...

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Bullet Sunday 244

Posted on Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Dave!YEEEEEEEEE-HAW! It's a rootin' tootin' six-shootin' Bullet Sunday!

   
• Masked! I am not such a big fan of the new TNT series Franklin & Bash. Nobody likes a smart-ass more than I do, but the lead characters all too often cross the line from smartassery to dumbassery, and I spend much of each episode rolling my eyes back into my head...

Judge: You're asking to bring a corpse into my courtroom?
Franklin: No! That would be ridiculous!
Bash: We want to bring the court to him. Jury field-trip to the morgue!
Prosecutor: A field trip. Really. You sure you got signed permission slips from your moms?
Franklin: Actually, we got one from yours.
Bash: Last night!

Bwah ha ha ha! From your mom... LAST NIGHT! How high-larious is that?!

Who wants to listen to lame, cliche, stupid-ass dialogue like this? However, the show has Malcolm McDowell in it, which is one of my favorite actors, so I keep watching.

This dedication to Franklin & Bash was rewarded in their season finale which featured a guest-appearance by the delicious Tricia Helfer! But the bigger surprise was a guest-star playing a masked Mexican wrestler named "Ultimo" involved in a lawsuit...

Mystery Wrestler on Franklin & Bash!

Until he removed his mask at the end, I had no idea who it was. And this drives me nuts, because I should have known! I'm a big fan of the actor! (SPOILER! Highlight the inviso-text if you want to know: Danny Trejo). Oh well. The series has been renewed, so I'm hoping that the writers go more "smart-funny" in season two.

   
• Roar! I finally did a clean install of Lion on my crippled MacBook. I was going to attempt this with the "recovery partition" that Lion makes on your hard drive, but decided instead to start over from scratch by making a bootable Lion Installer on a USB drive. Cut to a half-hour later, and my computer was operating "normally" again. I still have some real problems with the way Lion does certain things and some of the choices that Apple made, but at least I have a useable computer. Now starts the scary task of reinstalling my software in the hopes that one of the programs I rely on wasn't what was causing all the problems.

   
• Hidden! And speaking of installing my software... I ran into something new in Lion that I can't figure out. Why has Apple decided to hide the "library" folder in a user's home directory? At first I thought it was to protect all the settings, preferences, and support files from being tampered with... which I kinda get... but then why wouldn't they hide the "library" folder for the System? In any event, this makes it tough for people to transfer their prefs or delete faulty prefs when there's a problem. Fortunately, you can show hidden files in the terminal with...
      defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true
      killall Finder
And you can hide them again with...
      defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool false
      killall Finder

   
• Wrong! Since I haven't installed Photoshop back on my laptop yet, I started up Apple's photo manager/editor Aperture 3. All I needed was to crop that wrestler photo, so it wasn't a big deal. Except it was. I cropped the image to 500 x 330 like I wanted...

Aperture Crop

But when I open it... not so much...

Actual Crop 499x329

Which finds me once again wondering who in the hell is beta-testing Apple's shit. The more I use their software lately, the more problems I run across. Problems which should have easily been caught during beta testing. I mean, seriously, if you were in charge testing of testing the crop tool, wouldn't you VERIFY that it actually crops to the size that it said it cropped to? Wouldn't that be job one? This is beyond lame and has me wondering if Apple has gotten too big to give a fuck anymore (see: Microsoft).

   
• Reed! A while back, a company called "Black Pixel" bought out the awesome feed reader I use, NetNewsWire. They promised to give us a road-map of future released after WWDC back in June... but... nothing. So I decided to check out the Mac version of the feed reader I use on my iPhone, Reeder. It's nice. It's polished. But I couldn't find a "next unread" shortcut when reading through my full list. This is a pretty basic feature, so now I'm looking elsewhere. Sometimes "progress" can really suck.

   
• Cloud! I have entirely too many computer files. So many that I could never store them all on my laptop. So I went and signed up for DropBox, thinking I would be getting a magical hard drive in the sky where I could remotely access my files without taking up local hard drive space. WRONG! DropBox doesn't have a cloud storage option... anything you put there is mirrored on your hard drive which, while useful in some cases, is the opposite of what I wanted. Sure you have the ability to not sync certain folders, but then you have to either sync them when you want to use them (a huge waste of time and bandwidth) or use their web browser interface (slow and inconvenient). Enter ExpanDrive! Available for both Mac & Windows, this nifty app can mount remote volumes (such as FTP or Amazon S3) as a local drive which acts the exact same as a drive plugged into your computer. It works shockingly well, and assures me that I can have easy access to my files even if I don't have room for all of them on my Mac. If you have a need for such a thing, there's a free 30-day trial available for download.

   
And, on that happy note, I now get to sort through a batch of crap that I took out of my storage unit a couple months back. That aught to be a boat-load of fun.

   

Senselessness

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2011

Dave!"Some men just want to watch the world burn."
— Alfred Pennyworth, The Dark Knight

   

In total seriousness, why can't I block incoming call numbers on my iPhone?

Or, to be more accurate, why do I have to "jailbreak" my iPhone to block incoming call numbers on my iPhone?

How "smart" can a "smart phone" be if you can't tell it to block calls you don't want?

Last week somebody had my mobile phone confused with a FAX machine. For two hours. After the first hour, I added the caller to my address book so I could assign a "silent" ringtone. Because that's the absolute best you can do with an iPhone. For the past couple days I've had to once again ignore my phone because of a number I don't know keeps calling. Today I couldn't stand it any longer and answered. It was a company wanting me to take an opinion poll. My opinion was that they could shove their fucking poll up their ass since the call was eating into my minutes.

Pathetic.

The fact that Apple doesn't allow people to manage who has access to them is pathetic.

In other bad news, this is London...

London Riots

The above map shows incidents of "rioting" in The City and its surrounds.

I can pretend to understand the thinking that would cause somebody who feels poverty-stricken, oppressed, and abused by The System to resort to violence and destroy the property of innocent people who are just trying to make a living... but not really. Especially when people are being endangered and hurt.

"London shops that survived the German blitz bombings and fires, now being burned to the ground by their own in 2011."
— @felix85, via Twitter

Sadly, this kind of mentality feels like a sign of things to come. And it's only a matter of time before it reaches our shores. With each passing day, US citizens grow more and more tired of the fucked-up political bullshit that's destroying their lives and this country. There's no respect, compassion, understanding, or compromise any more. Just hate. And all that hate has to go somewhere.

It's just a matter of whether the world can survive it.

"No, I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one."
— Adrian Veidt, Watchmen

Though right now, I'd settle for a smarter smart phone.

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Amaranthine

Posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Dave!Today's "Word of the Day" over at Dictionary.com is "amaranthine."

1. Unfading; everlasting. 2. Of or like the amaranth flower. 3. Of purplish-red color.

I'm a big fan of "word of the day" type sites, and bounce between Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster.com to get my fix (M-W's word today is "diluvial"). Not that I ever remember these words again after I read them, but it's fun for the moment.

Anyway...

I bring this all up because "amaranthine" is a word I actually know in the context of "everlasting."

As in, I have dyslexia, which is amaranthine in nature.

When I was very young... 1st or 2nd grade in school... I was tested for dyslexia because I exhibited some of the symptoms. After a couple weeks evaluation it was determined that I did indeed have dyslexia, albeit a fairly mild form of it. This meant that I had to attend special classes with Mrs. Patton to teach me how to compensate for my problem. After a couple months they decided that the classes weren't doing me any good, and I was doing a better job of teaching my brain how to handle it by myself.

And eventually I got a handle on it.

I "read" more by the shapes of words and their context rather than the letters they contain.

I "type" more by memorizing patterns of keystrokes instead of punching the alphabet.

I "write" using visual clues that help me to keep the letters going the right way.

Original Squid Writing

It works automatically after all these years and I don't even have to think about it. Which is not to say that I don't still run into trouble from time to time. Usually I start mixing things up when I am tired or the the words are printed on something really distracting. Single words out of context can be problematic if they're written in a typeface that doesn't maintain common letterforms. Numbers sometimes have to be looked at two and three times before I'm confident enough to act upon them. And so on.

I can go weeks... even months... at a time before I "remember" that I have dyslexia. Something will happen to draw my attention to it, and then I'll spend a couple days not being able to forget it, which is always fun.

And this morning I was "reminded" of my dyslexia again. But in a good way.

A company in the Netherlands has developed a typeface called "Dyslexie" which is specially designed to help dyslexics...

Sweet!

Unfortunately, it's not priced for public consumption (yet), nor does it seem to be available in the USA (yet), but it's still pretty exciting news. Being able to install it on my Mac for web browsing and email reading might make my day a little less mentally tiring.

And every little bit helps.

Because life isn't amaranthine at all.

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Cycle

Posted on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Dave!I remember what it was like to sleep. Good times. Good times.

Except I rarely sleep anymore. I just don't seem to get tired...

Lil Dave Ready for Bed at 10:30pm

Lil Dave Wide Awake at 12:00am

Lil Dave Wide Awake at 2:00am

Lil Dave Wide Awake at 4:00am

Lil Dave Wide Awake at 6:00am

...until the minute it's time to get up and go to work, then I'm totally tired.

Lil Dave Out of Bed at 6:300am Falling Asleep

But then the night comes and the cycle repeats all over again...

Lil Dave Ready for Bed at 10:30pm

I really don't like taking drugs if I can help it, but this is getting ridiculous. You know it's ridiculous when you fondly remember the good ol' days when you were only complaining about getting four hours of sleep instead of no sleep at all.

Four hours seems like something from a dream now.

If I could fall asleep to have it.

   

Unconscious

Posted on Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Dave!If you happen to have a monkey with a sledgehammer available, I highly recommend them as the perfect solution for insomnia...

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey hit Lil' Dave with a Sledgehammer

   

Of course, a handful of Nytol will do the trick too...

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Fashion?

Posted on Friday, August 12th, 2011

Dave!Looking at old photos from the 1960's & 70's is always guaranteed fun times because of the insane mainstream fashions that were prevalent in the day. There wasn't a color or pattern too crazy to be used, and it's only now that we can look back and say "What the fuck was everybody thinking?

Here's just a few examples of the awesome couture du jour from my childhood...

Dave 60's-70's Fashion!

Dave 60's-70's Fashion!

Dave 60's-70's Fashion!

Dave 60's-70's Fashion!

Dave 60's-70's Fashion!

Pretty deranged, right?

Except...

More and more while watching Project Runway I feel as though the stuff I was wearing back then was actually more fashion-forward than the ridiculous shit than some of the contestants seem to come up with. Last night's "Stilts Challenge" was no exception...

Project Runway Fashion!

Project Runway Fashion!

And then there are times while watching the show that I seriously think that Heidi Klum should just take out a gun and shoot the "designers" for the sake of all humanity. I mean, I'm no fashion expert, but holy shit...

Insane Project Runway Fashion

Insane Project Runway Fashion

   
Somewhere out there, Tim Gunn is weeping for the future...

   

Clueless

Posted on Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Dave!This week was the kick-off of the Republican presidential primaries at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. This is important because, by now, you'd think that we'd finally start to get some insight as to what conservative presidential candidates are going to do to pull this country out of the death-spiral we're in. And I, for one, am anxious to hear about it.

So where is it?

All I heard out of the candidates every time I watched the television or clicked on a news site was three things...

  1. OBAMA IS BAD!
  2. TAXES ARE BAD!
  3. GAYS ARE BAD!

Now, the first two I get. It's easy to point to the man in charge and blame him for everything... and nobody likes to pay taxes. But it's this third one that has me completely baffled. Why in the hell are the Republicans so fucking obsessed with the gays? What do they have to do with jobs, the economy, the debt crisis, or the price of tea in China? NOTHING! And yet the candidates just can't seem to shut up about them. Hell, Rick Santorum has based his entire fucking campaign on attacking marriage equality. First it was something about gay napkins wanting to be paper towels... then he was talking about a glass of gay water wanting to be a glass of beer. And it just gets crazier from there.

For the life of me, I can't understand how conservative politicians preach 'til they're blue in the face about wanting a smaller government that stays out of our lives... only to turn around and say that our government should regulate what two consenting adults do in their bedroom or who churches are allowed to marry.

I can only guess that this wacky bullshit is what their supporters want to hear (no matter how schizophrenic and absurd it sounds). Though it's hard to see how people can take them seriously when anti-gay conservatives keep getting busted in gay sex scandals (ooh... look... yet another one just broke the other day!).

But what truly mystifies me is how Republicans seem to want to tie themselves to a voter base that's diminishing with each passing day. How can you win an election that way? Are they really all so clueless about changing attitudes in this country? Do they really not understand that people are quickly becoming tired of hearing about the "evils of gay marriage" when they're jobless, broke, and have lost their home? Really? Really?

I dunno. Maybe they really are this clueless, and nobody has bothered to tell them?

Well, okay then. Candidates, I'm here to help. I help because I care. But mostly because I'm sick and tired of having this homophobic bullshit getting in the way of addressing ACTUAL ISSUES FACING THIS COUNTRY.

So here's a rundown of why we don't give a shit about your anti-gay agenda. And, because I am seriously worried about your being to grasp these very simple concepts, I'm including clips from my new favorite television show, Happy Endings, to help explain them. Enjoy!

(If you can't see the clips, you may need to open this entry in a web browser or install Quicktime, sorry!)

   
1) PEOPLE SUPPORT THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
There is a growing majority of people who are sick and tired of watching their gay friends, family, and neighbors being used as your political punching bag. And we vote. And we just want our gay friends to have a shot at happiness like everybody else...

   
2) ACTUAL STRAIGHT PEOPLE AREN'T AFFECTED BY WHO GAY PEOPLE MARRY.
The more you keep hammering away against equality, the more we have to question why you give a shit. The only reason you should give a flying fuck about somebody's sexuality, or what they do in bed, or who they marry is if you want to date them, sleep with them, or marry them...

   
3) YOUR BELIEFS DON'T GET TO DICTATE HOW TWO CONSENTING ADULTS LIVE THEIR LIVES.
This is a free country. You can believe whatever you want to believe. If you wish to believe that God would make it so somebody can to "choose to be gay," then turn around and send them to hell for it, that's your business. But, since this is a free country, your beliefs don't get to dictate how two consenting adults live their lives. Your attempts at making homosexuality "illegal" are antiquated, backwards, and sad. And a little funny, given that this is the year 2011 and all...

   
4) HANGING OUT WITH GAY PEOPLE DOESN'T MAKE YOU GAY.
When you talk about gays ruining society at every opportunity, but then want to pretend they don't exist if they're in the military, we have to question your sanity. Gay is not contagious. Sleeping in the same room as somebody who's gay isn't going to convert our entire military into an army of homosexuals...

   
5) THERE'S MORE TO PEOPLE THAN THEIR SEXUALITY.
You seem inexplicably fond of making it sound like homosexuals are somehow removed from society. As if who they sleep with is all they are. As if America is so small an idea that there couldn't possibly be room for anybody who doesn't think or act exactly like you do. But when it comes to jobs, the economy, our homes, our safety, our relationship with the world, and our freedom... we're all in this together. We live together. We work together. We play together. We rise together. We fall together...

   
So there you have it. And you're welcome.

Now you can abandon this doomed crusade against all things gay and focus your energies on telling us what we really need to know. Like how you plan on dealing with the real problems we face.

Or not.

Given President Obama's popularity right now, it's your election to lose.

   

Bullet Sunday 245

Posted on Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Dave!I threw my back out. Again. This is profoundly disappointing given that I just went through this four months ago. Hope you like your bullets pain-killer-induced.

   
• Shower? And so the Perseid Meteor Shower peaked this weekend. Despite fairly clear skies, I saw none of it. Needless to say, I'm disappointed. But it's not like an insomniac such as myself has a better way to spend their time than looking for it, so I guess that's how it goes. My failure was somewhat offset by this amazing shot of what it looked like from space...

Meteor FROM SPACE!

That shot was tweeted by astronaut Ron Garan from the International Space Station. If you're on Twitter, you must follow this guy, because he's always posting cool stuff like this. If you're not on Twitter, he makes it worth checking out.

Also tweeting from space? Astronaut Clayton Anderson. And that's just the tip of the Twitter iceberg. Goddard Space Flight Center... plus dozens more cool NASA-related tweeters are waiting for you.

   
• Race? Few discussions can become polarizing and nasty quicker than talking about race relations in America. And yet it's a discussion that must be had. Lucky for us Kelly is willing to lead the charge, again, and this time it starts off (oddly enough) with a cake. Essential reading for the human race.

   
• Really? Yesterday I blogged about the blatant homophobic insanity that seems to be dominating Republican politics, and how a growing majority of Americans are sick and tired of anti-gay policy attacking our friends, family, and neighbors. The worst offender is Rick Santorum, who can't seem to open his mouth without spouting some kind of stupid homophobic crap. Second runner-up on the homophobia bandwagon is Michele Bachmann, who doesn't necessarily want to destroy the gays... she just wants to strip these "barbarians" of all their rights until they have no choice but to enroll in one of her husband's Christian counseling clinics to "pray the gay away."

And now we learn that she won the Ames Straw Pole in Iowa.

If she wins her party's nomination... if she somehow ends up as President of the United States... I can't fathom the ramification for human rights in this country. Hell, I can't fathom the continued existence of our country under her reign of batshit crazy...

At this rate, it looks like I'll be voting for Spongebob Squarepants for president.

   
• Dead? One of the bigger television surprises for me last season was The Walking Dead. As a loose adaptation of one of my favorite comic book series, it was almost too good to be true. A part of this was because they got the original creator, Robert Kirkman, to be a producer... but the lion's share of the credit could undoubtedly be dropped on the doorstep of Frank Darabont. He was the genius who developed the series for television and became executive producer for the series. Which went on to become a massive hit... with viewers and critics alike. So what does AMC Television do with their new-found pot of gold? Cut the budget and fire Darabont. Which just goes to show... television executives can be enormous douchebag dumbfucks regardless of which network they helm. How this will affect the quality of the second season is anybody's guess.

Walking Dead Zombies
Photo by Greg Nicotero for AMCtv.com © 2011 TWD Productions, LLC

   
• Eureka? In more sad geek news, the SyFy Channel has cancelled EUReKA! This bizarre turn of events signals an end to original sci-fi programming on a network created for sci-fi programming. The best originals they have to offer now is supernatural drama like the Being Human remake or paranormal fantasy like Warehouse 13. "SyFy" is mostly reality television and pro wrestling now. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... MTV Music Television rarely plays music any more, why should this be any different?

   
And that's all the bullets for this week. Be sure to tune in next Bullet Sunday for more drug-indiced ramblings.

   

Downfall

Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011

Dave!Nothing quite like losing 15% of your retirement fund in less than two months. So happy I pay a bunch of experts to manage my money! Something tells me I would have been better off investing my money in hookers. Sure it uses my long-term asset for a short-term investment with no long-term payoff... and comes with some really heavy risk factors... but at least I would be stimulating the local economy.

And my penis.

What's odd is that my retirement plan is fairly low-risk. I can't imagine how much I would have lost were I still in the high-risk/high-yield program I was in just five years ago.

And don't think I'm not grateful that I at least have something left in my retirement account. There are many, many people out there who are not so lucky. Stupid economy.

So, yeah, I'm a little worried about my retirement.

But that's quite a ways away. And, as of today, is even further away than it was last month.

The more immediate concern is my upcoming vacation. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but if the US dollar gets much worse, my travels are going to take a turn for the worse...

DAVETOON: Will Give Handjobs for Bus Fare

On the other hand, I would be meeting new and interesting people.

   

Morph

Posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Dave!To the person who asked, the cartoon character you see on Blogography is indeed a visual representation of me. Or rather, a representation of my inner child. The story of how the design came about is here. But the design itself is based on a photo of me as a kid. I don't think I've published it before, so here you go...

The Real Lil' Dave
Lil' Dave Morphin'
Lil' Dave Morphin'
Lil' Dave Morphin'
Lil' Dave Morphin'
The Toon Lil' Dave

The hair is based on many, many other photos of how it looked through most of my childhood (and a and a big chunk of my adulthood)...

Lil' Dave's Messy Hair

And there you have it. Thanks for the email!

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Tragedy

Posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Dave!The drive to Spokane is not a particularly pleasant one.

It's long, it's boring, and it's filled with more nothing than a person really wants to deal with. So whenever I have work there, a wave of dread washes over me. Don't get me wrong... Spokane's a terrific city... I just hate the drive.

But there is a reward at the end of this tedious journey. Because Spokane is where the Best Pizza in the Universe can be found. The mind-numbing hours of driving through vast open spaces isn't so bad knowing that a couple slices of my favorite pizza ever will be waiting for me. It's pretty much all I can think about the entire trip...

Road to Spokane

Road to Spokane

Little Barn on the Prairie!

David's Pizza!

Davincipizza
David's Pizza's Masterpiece... The DaVinci!

But there would be no pizza waiting for me today.

After nearly three hours of mind-numbing boredom, there would be no reward for the drive.

As usual, I don't pass GO, I don't collect $200... I don't even check into my hotel room... I head straight for David's Pizza only to find...

This...

David's Pizza Bulldozed Over and Dead

It's gone.

It's just gone.

And as I sat there in my car staring at the mounds of dirt and rubble that used to be one of my favorite places on earth to eat... I just didn't know what to do with myself. Life had suddenly become meaningless and impossible.

   

Apparently they will be opening up at a new location "soon," but that doesn't do me much good now.

Now that I am abandoned and pizza-less.

Now that all I have to console me are memories.

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Cap!

Posted on Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Dave!Before we do this, GO GET FREE MATT & KIM!! Yes! FREE! And not a bad track!

Last night after my complete mental breakdown over losing David's Pizza, home of my favorite pizza on earth, I decided to drink a lot of alcohol and go see Captain America. While neither eased my pain completely, I was a lot better off at the end of the day.

I'm going to review Captain America: The First Avenger now, because I'm a total comic book geek like that but, if that's not something you care to read about, I'll just sum it up thusly: This film is pretty close to flawless. Not just for a comic book movie, but for ANY movie. Even if you're not into the whole super-hero thing, it would be worth your time to watch. I love, love, loved it...

Captain America Poster

Before we get into the movie itself, a little background on me and Captain America.

Growing up, I was a total DC Comics fan (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.)... and not much of a Marvel Comics fan (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, etc.). That being said, Cap was the first Marvel comic that I got into. It all started with Captain America and Falcon #211-213 by comics giant Jack Kirby. The stories were originally published in 1977, but I got ahold of them as a poly-bagged set the early 1980's (I'm guessing they were re-prints?). These issues were a great read, having plenty of action and featuring the quintessential Cap villains The Red Skull and Arnim Zola. Unfortunately, my new-found infatuation with the Captain America universe was short-lived, because the current issues of the title were a drastic step down from the Kirby reprints I had just read. After that I pretty much ignored Captain America unless he was in other Marvel titles, like The Avengers.

Captain America #212

All that changed in 2004 when Ed Brubaker came onboard for a Captain America relaunch. Since then I've been a fan of the character, snapping up most of the graphic novel collections as they are released. Far from being an exercise in one-dimensional blind patriotism, Burbaker's treatment of the character was a fascinating exploration that actually had some depth to it. Even though he eventually ended up killing Steve Rogers, then bringing him back (of course), the book remains an excellent read.

Which is why I was terrified over the Captain America film despite the awesome set photos that were released. There was just too much to lose.

Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. The First Avenger is near-flawless, and works on so many levels. As a straight-up action movie, it's a good time. As a war-movie, it's an immediate classic. As a super-hero film, it's faithful to the source material. Like Iron Man and Thor before it, the character just works on film. Beautifully.

It all starts as the USA has entered World War II and weakling Steve Rogers wants to join the fight. Unfortunately, a multitude of chronic illnesses makes him unfit for duty. Never one to be discouraged, Steve keeps trying until he has the good fortune to be noticed by Dr. Abraham Erskine. The good doctor is secretly working with the US Army to develop a new "super soldier" serum, and Steve Rogers has the qualities of heroism, bravery, and kindness he's looking for. The experiment is a complete success, and Captain America is eventually born... becoming the "Sentinel of Liberty" for the American war effort. Lots of cool action sequences ensue.

The Good Great

• Casting. I'm not the biggest Chris Evans fan, but there is no denying that he is Captain America on-screen. Unlike his previous role as The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four films, Evans actually has to project something more than cocky aloofness here. He has to be a living, breathing icon, and he nails it. The early scenes where special effects have turned Evans' perfect physique into wimpy Steve Rogers is where he really shines as an actor, and his every scene is exceedingly good. Other roles are equally well-cast, most notably the incredible Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine, Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips, and an absolutely amazing Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull.

• Story. Usually origin stories are notoriously superficial and boring on the screen, but director Joe Johnston and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely somehow managed to make Captain America work perfectly. The set-up is just right, telling the viewer everything they need to know about the world they'll be visiting. The progressive origin of Cap is both logical and entertaining. The action is full-on excitement without becoming comical. It's everything you want in a comic book movie... or any adventure movie, really.

• Costumes. Captain America's garish outfit would be a really easy thing to screw-up on the big screen. That didn't happen. The evolution of his costume is handled incredibly well, with everything making perfect sense. The period-specific costumes for all the other actors were equally amazing, and really made you feel you were back in time. Somebody should win an Oscar here.

• Rewards. There were clever moments with some of the characters which hinted to their futures (as shown in the comic books). They were clever enough to reward comic fans, but subtle enough not to confuse newbies. My favorite? Arnim Zola's intro. Genius.

• Effects. The tough thing about having futuristic energy weapons showing up in the 1940's is that it just doesn't work logistically. But the integration was so deftly handled and so logically explained that it just didn't matter. And, again, mad props to the people responsible for turning Chris Evans into wimpy Steve Rogers at the beginning of the film...

Real Chris Evans VS. Wimpy Chris Evans
I know special effects are good now-a-days, but this is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

The Not-So-Great

• Set-Up. I love the way that the Marvel Universe films are all fitting together (ultimately culminating with The Avengers movie next Summer)... but Captain America goes overboard. Having Tony (Iron Man) Stark's dad be the leading scientist of the war effort? Cool. Having the Cosmic Cube come from Thor's dad's treasure room? Great. But having the so much of the plot being a set-up for future films? Dangerous. Especially at the very end of the film, which seems a little tacked-on and artificial. In the future, let the movies stand on their own... if they're well-made and faithful to the source material, they'll still fit into the Marvel film universe and get people excited to see more.

• Bullets. Near the beginning of the film, a Hydra Nazi is being chased by Steve soon-to-be-Captain-America Rogers. Along the way he fires like a bajillion bullets from his gun... without re-loading. Man, how I hate that.

   
So overall? Fantastic and faithful film with a lot of action, honesty, and heart.

And this updates my whole "Y2K Super-Hero Comic Book Renaissance" scorecard as follows...

Batman Begins... A
Batman Dark Knight... A+
Blade... B
Blade 2... B
Blade Trinity... B-
Captain America... A+
Catwoman... F
Daredevil... B-
Elektra... D
Fantastic Four... C
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer... D
Ghost Rider... C
Green Hornet... D
Green Lantern... C+
Hellboy... A
Hellboy 2: Golden Army... A
Hulk... C-
Incredible Hulk... B
The Incredibles... A+
Iron Man... A+
Iron Man 2... A
Jonah Hex... F
Kick-Ass... B+
Punisher... C+
Punisher War Zone... C
Spider-Man... B+
Spider-Man 2... A
Spider-Man 3... D-
Superman Returns... C+
Thor... B+
Watchmen... B
X-Men... C
X-Men 2: United... D
X-Men 3: Last Stand... F-
X-Men Origins: Wolverine... D
X-Men: First Class... B

   

Roadie

Posted on Friday, August 19th, 2011

Dave!Today I had to make the long drive back home from Spokane.

WITH NO DAVID'S PIZZA FOR THE ROAD!

Oh how I used to love road pizza. Remember road pizza? I remember road pizza. Nothing makes a long drive fly by like road pizza. Except perhaps Jägermeister and cocaine. But Oprah says you shouldn't drive while drunk and high, so I guess that wouldn't work.

Except Oprah doesn't drive at all. She has a chauffeur drive her ass around! So who the hell is Oprah to tell me that Jägermeister and cocaine is a bad substitute for road pizza? She's probably drunk and high in the back of her stretch limo all the time! If I had Oprah-money, I know I would be.

Sigh.

I really miss road pizza...

Road Pizza!
Mmmmmm... yummy road pizza!

Don't miss Oprah though.

Last night I went to Famous Ed's, which is a sports bar run by the same people that run David's Pizza. They had my beloved "Da Vinci" pizza, so I ordered up a pie...

Famous Ed's Pizza

It looked kind of like David's. It had a taste that was reminiscent of David's, but... not so much.

For one thing, they added clove garlic to it, so the subtle flavors in the pesto were destroyed. For another thing, the feta cheese had too many crumbs, so it was also too salty. Something was off with the crust too. Not that it was a bad pizza per se, but it just wasn't David's.

Oh well. Better than nothing, I guess.

Hopefully they'll re-open at their new location soon and the universe will go back to normal.

And I can go back to having my road pizza.

   

Minimal

Posted on Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Dave!I spent my morning working.

I spent my afternoon and evening simplifying my life.

My goal is to throw away, give away, or sell half of my stuff. It's all stuff I want, but it's nothing I need, and I'm tired of boxes upon boxes of junk cluttering up my space. And though I never much thought of myself as a sentimental person, getting rid of so many things from my past has been tough. Some of this crap I've kept since childhood, and knowing it isn't going to be around anymore is sad for some reason. I rarely look at/use/play with any of it, so it really shouldn't be this hard, should it? I mean, it's just stuff sitting in boxes.

I'm lessening the blow by taking photographs of everything.

I'll probably never look at the pictures, but knowing that they're there will help with these senseless feelings of attachment I seem to have.

Hopefully once I'm done I won't replace the stuff I'm getting rid of with new crap I don't need. I really don't want to go through all this again in ten years.

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Bullet Sunday 246

Posted on Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Dave!It'll have to be a short Bullet Sunday today... I've got a big mess to clear up in my living room...

   
• Diiiiiiiieee! A new study shows that single people die younger than married people. The bottom-line being that I would live (on average, I guess) 8 to 17 years longer if I were to get hitched. I don't really know if I want to live 17 years longer on this sick sad world, but I suppose I should start investigating mail-order bride options just in case.

   
• Millionaires! Everybody's favorite drug-endorsing, alcohol-gorging, sex-addicted, party-obsessed melody-makers are back and asking for your help to finance their first album! That's right, Millionaires (one of those bands I hate to love) has opened up a project on Kickstarter to raise $10,000 in funding...

People can say what they like about the girls, but Millionaires know how to crank out addictive pop tunes that infest your brain unlike any other. There's just something inexplicably appealing about their unique blend of nasty-ass lyrics and thumping beats! Here's one of the least offensive songs from their last EP...

If you want to donate to the cause, visit their Kickstarter page! Thanks to Adam for the link.

   
• RIP HP Mobile! The big news in tech this week was Hewlett Packard killing off their "WebOS" products... namely their phones (like the Pre) and tablet (the "iPad killing" TouchPad).

Personally I don't give a crap. Nothing in these products was overwhelmingly more compelling than what you can get from an iPhone or iPad, so why bother? Why waste everybody's time? I want real competition for Apple so they are forced to keep innovating and moving forward... HP was obviously never serious about challenging iOS dominance, so good riddance.

Though it's kind of stupid to pay 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS for something you're going to piss away. And I feel really bad for the people at Palm who thought that getting bought out by HP was going to rescue all their hard work. I mean, hey... their commercials may have given me nightmares, but Palm was a decent company at one time. It's all a shame, but not surprising though. HP has a history of fucking things up.

   
• Comic Collector! At one time, Macintosh users who were comic book fans had a nifty solution for keeping track of their collection. It was called ComicBase, and made it a snap to catalog you comics. But then the people behind the program abandoned the Mac and went full-on Windows, which was pretty shitty to do to their fans, but I guess you go where the money is. For years, there hasn't been a really serious alternative if you're a Mac Whore. But all that changed with Colletorz.com decided to make their "Comic Collector" software available on the Mac...

Comic Collector for Mac OS X

I've had a few crashes from time to time... and adding a bar code scanner can cause a few problems... but, overall, I'm very happy with it. Finally Mac users have a serious comic book database utility which pulls from a vast repository of information and images. If you're a Mac or Windows user looking to keep track of your comics, you can download a free trial at their website.

   
And now? Time to throw away another couple bags of crap I've been collecting before bedtime. I feel my life getting less complicated already!

   

Scapegoat

Posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Dave!Years ago I was invited to listen to a presentation for a very large, very expensive project. It was rather technical in nature, and the people in charge of paying for it wanted my opinion.

So, after politely listening to the presenters, I gave my opinion. For free.

I pretty much said that the entire thing was shit. It was impractical, ill-conceived, and didn't account for substantial costs that would be associated with supporting it. I ended my observations by saying that the people in charge of the presentation had no business acting as consultants since they obviously didn't know what in the hell they were talking about.

Thanks to my "opinion" the project was dropped, and (luckily) no further money was wasted.

Fast forward to today, and I find out that not only was I blamed for the project's failure then... I am still being blamed for the project's failure now. Apparently it's my fault that the consultants were dumbasses. It's my fault I was smart enough to see they were dumbasses. It's my fault the people in charge listened to me tell them that the consultants were dumbasses. It's all my fault.

Typical.

Far easier to blame me than the dumbasses.

Ultimately this has -zero- effect on my life. But it still pisses me off.

It's quickly getting to the point where if somebody actually has the balls to take responsibility for their own bullshit, I may die of shock. Which would actually be preferable to dealing with stupid shit like this day-in and day-out.

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Seismic

Posted on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Dave!It's pretty tough to blog about my day when all I did was work from the minute I woke up until, well... now... when I really should be trying to get some sleep.

And hope that I'm not awakened by an earthquake.

After the quakes in Virginia and Colorado, it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that the Pacific Northwest will be hit next. We are, after all, sitting on the infamous "Pacific Ring of Fire," where 90% of the world's earthquakes happen...

Pacific Ring of Fire
Map taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Seattle (and the rest of Washington State, I'd imagine) is actually considered to be one of the more likely locations for a major earthquake in the USA (along with San Francisco and Los Angeles). Mostly because we've got some mountains with major volcanic activity (one of which is Mt. St. Helens, which has already blown its top in recent years).

I've experienced four "seismic events" in my lifetime (that I know of). The first was the afore-mentioned St. Helens eruption in 1980 which was felt throughout most of the state. The second was a tremor while visiting San Francisco in the early 90's. The third was a minor quake while walking through Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan. The last was also the worst... the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake that struck while I was at the top of the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Tiles were ripped from the ceiling, people were knocked over, and we were forced to evacuate the building as the aftershocks continued hammering away. Apparently it was one of the worst quakes to hit Washington State in recorded history... and, lucky me, I just happened to be over to the coast where it happened.

To be completely honest, I'm not bothered by the idea of a massive quake rocking my world.

Shit happens, and there's no sense worrying about it until it does.

Because it's not like there's anywhere you can go that guarantees your safety. No matter where you land on this earth, there's bound to be some danger of catastrophe. Heck, Hurricane Irene is even now making her way towards North Carolina. So why stress about it?

Especially when it's time to go to bed.

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Worship

Posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Dave!Hero worship is a strange thing.

Mostly because people who don't have the same hero as you will never understand it. And believe me, I get it. I have a friend who worships the singer Adele. Can't get enough of her. Listens to her music constantly. Would sell their should to attend an Adele concert. Of course, I don't understand it at all. Sure Adele seems to have some talent, but I can't stand her music. Every time Rolling in the Deep is playing, I just roll my eyes because listening to it makes me want to stick my head deep into a microwave.

So when I tell people that I worship Steve Jobs and they roll their eyes at me, that's okay.

I've been getting the same reaction for 27 years...

Steve Jobs and the Mac 1984

Of course I knew of him before then. He (along with Steve Wozniak) was already famous in 1979 when I got my hands on an Apple ][ plus. But it was his legendary introduction of the Macintosh on January 24th, 1984 that make me such a big fan. This was a man who believed in changing the world but, unlike so many, he actually did stuff to make it happen.

And my hero worship of Mr. Jobs never abated. No matter where he ended up. Even his time away from Apple while heading up NeXT was an amazing era to be a Steve Jobs fan. And, naturally, things only got better from there...

Steve Jobs Intros the iPhone

Now that he's stepped down as CEO of Apple, my feelings haven't changed.

His legacy there will touch every product that comes out of the company... and untold other companies... for decades to come.

Speculation is that Steve Jobs left his position because of his continuing health problems. I can't imagine him leaving otherwise, so all I can do is reiterate my best wishes for his recovery. And be grateful that he'll still have a voice at Apple as Chairman of the Board for the company.

Because I am now, as I have been for most my life, an "Apple Whore to my Core."

   

Plutocracy

Posted on Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Dave!Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of Pluto being demoted from "planet" to "dwarf planet."

It all happened because astronomers are finding a shitload of planetoids orbiting the sun beyond Pluto's orbit... some of which are bigger than Pluto. Rather than declare that they're all planets, they decided instead to demote Pluto so none of them are planets.

Personally, I think it was a monumentally shitty decision. Yeah, it makes sense from a scientific classification standpoint, and I get that. But Pluto should have been grandfathered in and kept the planetary status it's had since 1930. The planetary status it had when I made my science fair project in Middle School...

Science Fair

What drives me a little nuts here is that a group of people made this awful decision with no involvement from any of us. There wasn't a vote. there wasn't any conversation. One day Pluto just wasn't a planet anymore.

Which made yesterday the fifth anniversary of SUCK!

Or not.

Because yesterday was ALSO a monumental day for fans of the best new show from this past television season... Happy Endings!

ABC finally decided to bless us with the long-lost mysterious "missing episode" of the show. It wasn't the best of the bunch, but it was still better than most of the crap on television, so I have no idea why they skipped it in the first place.

In any event, it has me really looking forward to new episodes come September. As does this promo shot they've released...

Happy Endings Season Two

And speaking of photos... the stuff leaking off the set for the new Avengers movie looks amazing...

Thor and Captain America in The Avengers!

If only DC Comics could get their shit together the way that Marvel Comics has. To see a Justice League movie that teams up Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash would be freakin' insanely awesome.

Or insanely stupid, if they got the wrong writer and director.

Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for.

   

Hurricane

Posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011

Dave!My favorite novel of all time is Noble House by James Clavell. It's a story of contemporary 1960's Hong Kong that weaves a fictional story with actual history in a way that only the author of Shōgun could manage. It's beautifully realized, filled with dozens of interesting characters and locations. It's remarkably complex, having several intertwined plot threads and story elements. It's richly satisfying, overflowing with tiny details that come together in fascinating ways (I've read it over a dozen times, and still feel like I'm missing something). To me, Noble House is about as close to perfect as a book can get...

Noble House Book Cover

For the most part, people either love the book or hate it. The people who hate it usually end up griping about it's high page count or complexity, which I immediately dismiss. Mostly because I think it's funny how people choose to review a book by saying they were too lazy or stupid to get into it, but I'm judgmental like that. Other negative comments I've read make no sense. My favorite "review" of Noble House ever written is this one...

"The weakest of Clavell's Japan novels. I didn't enjoy it near as much as Centennial and Tai Pan, but still rich history, characters and plotting as well as the usual healthy dose of foreign culture. This one takes place in modern Japan."

The reason it's such a great review is that the book takes place in Hong Kong not Japan (as did Tai-Pan). And, though "modern" is subjective, it takes place in the 1960's. Furthermore, the book Centennial was written by James Michener not James Clavell (who wrote The Asian Saga... not "Japan novels"). Did this dumbass even bother to read the book, or did he just review it sight-unseen so he could look smart? We may never know.

Eventually the book was made into a television mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan. They moved the story from the 1960's to the 1980's and jettisoned dozens of plot points, but it was still darn fine entertainment...

Noble House DVD Cover

Anyway... the reason that this novel has been on my brain today is because we've got Hurricane Irene happening on the east coast, and Noble House opens up with a "tai-fun" (typhoon, or "supreme wind").

When I first read the book decades ago, I remember wondering how a typhoon is different from a hurricane and how both are different from a cyclone.

Turns out they're all pretty much the same, it's the location which determines what we call a massive tropical storm in English...

World Map Tropical Storm Names

It's not a perfect map, of course... but it basically boils down like this: Historical British colonial regions like India and Australia use "Cyclone." The Americas use "Hurricane." Asia uses "Typhoon." There are variations on all those. And, of course, local languages have many different names in their native tongues.

My thoughts are with those in the path of Hurricane Irene. Indeed, it's difficult to think of much else.

Stay safe everybody.

   
Noble House on Apple's iTunes Book StoreNoble House on Amazon's Book/Kindle Store

   

Spice

Posted on Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Dave!For the first time in... well... months ... I didn't do any work today.

Instead I continued on with my Life Simplification Plan. The entire day was spent cataloging my DVDs, books, comics, and CDs to see what I can get rid of.

Unfortunately, the answer was "not much." But at least everything is organized now.

I also made time to watch Dune while I was going through all my storage boxes...

Alia Gom Jabbar

I don't care how many times I see the film, Alia always freaks me out.

The Spice must flow.

And I really must get to bed.

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Categories: Movies 2011Click To It: Permalink  12 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 247

Posted on Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Dave!It's lunchtime. I can haz veggie burger while blogging?

   
• Irene. I suppose we should be grateful that New York passed same-sex marriage... obviously God was pleased with this since he reduced the hurricane down to a tropical storm before it struck the state. Oh... wait... you mean it doesn't work that way? Well that's odd. Because you know damn well that dumbass fucktards like Pat Robertson (or ChristWire) would be falling all over themselves to blame same-sex marriage if New York were devastated by a Category 3 storm. I don't know what it says about their followers that they would much rather take glee in God's wrath than His grace, but there you have it. UPDATE: Well, no surprise there.

   
• Irene Deux. In other hurricane-based commentary... better safe than sorry...

Hurricane Irene Sattelite Photo

   
• Levine. It's nice to know that rock stars are starting to act like rock stars again and using their powers for good. Now it's Maroon 5's front-man Adam Levine, using his newfound jump in popularity from The Voice to slam MTV...

Levine in concert with Maroon 5

From his Twitter feed...

the VMA's. one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I'm drawing a line in the sand. fuck you VMA's.

Spot. On. MTV "Music Television" is a joke. They rarely play music videos anymore... it's all The Jersey Shore and other stupid reality show crap. The only time you see music is when they think a cheap publicity stunts like the Video Music Awards will get them attention. They truly don't give a flying fuck about music and haven't in a very long time. And now people within the industry are starting to call them on their bullshit. Here's hoping it's just a start.

   
• Endorsement. Stay healthy, ladies!

   
• Ultimate. I travel. A lot. And I'm really grateful for the opportunity to do so. But when it comes to those "ultimate dream trips" I'd love to take, they're all out of reach. That National Geographic Expedition to the arctic... that Abercrombie & Kent trek to Nepal... that Windjammer cruise in the Indian Ocean... they're just not an option financially. For the cost of just one of those trips, I could take five if I watch my pennies.

So my dreams have to remain dreams. But Abercrombie & Kent have released a beautiful new iPad app that makes those dreams a little more real...

AK iPad App

If you've got a lot of empty space on your iPad (the app is huge!) I highly recommend downloading the A&K Travel app to spark your travel dreams.

   
And that's a wrap! The veggie burger was delicious, by the way.

   

WANT

Posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011

Dave!Twenty-some-odd years ago, Pontiff-hating songstress Sinead O'Connor was on fire as she released her second smash album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. I remember thinking at the time what a great title that was. As somebody attempting to lead a life guided by Buddhist principles, not wanting what you haven't got is an important concept to buy into.

But it's also a crock of bullshit, because human nature is all about wanting the stuff you don't have.

And I don't mean material goods either (though here in the United States we've built an entire culture around that). What I'm talking about is wanting health when you're sick. Wanting peace when you're in conflict. Wanting calm when you're in turmoil. Wanting love when you're mired in hatred. That kind of stuff. Wanting those things isn't really a bad thing at all.

Or so you'd think.

Apparently wanting something like food when you're hungry is wanting too much.

At least according to the conversation I overheard. Two women were discussing school starting up again and started railing on the free-lunch program. Such chatty gems as "Those kids need to learn that there's no free lunch in life!" (ha ha ha) and "We already pay for their food stamps, we have to pay for school lunches too?"

I can only guess that these pathetic excuses for human beings follow the Rush Limbaugh Theory of Child Hunger.

And I can't for the life of me understand what makes these people tick.

If they were talking about adults, I guess I could attempt to rationalize such callous behavior... but hungry kids? Like a child has any control over their situation. Like it's their choice that there's nothing to eat for whatever reason.

Look, I totally get not wanting to pay taxes for crap that you don't approve of. As a vegetarian, I highly object to the meat industry getting billions in subsidies for a substance that I feel ruins the planet and makes people unhealthy. Yadda yadda yadda.

But, I ask again, hungry kids?!?

You don't need to go to a horror movie to see monsters anymore. They're all around us.

   

sigh

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Dave!As I was looking through my email in-box this morning, I happened across a message that, from all appearances, was spam. After all, how many real emails do you get where somebody is offering you an all-expenses-paid trip out of the country? And all I had to do in return was write articles about my journey and take some pictures (i.e. what I always do when I travel). Talk about sounding too good to be true! Free travel would have to be at the top of my dream list!

Amazingly, the offer turned out to be legit. They found my blog, liked my travel writing and photography, and wanted me to be a guest corespondent for them... all to a really cool destination.

Alas, I couldn't work the trip into my schedule.

Damn.

Needless to say, I was bummed the rest of the day.

Not that I have cause to complain, mind you. I already travel quite a lot... it's just having to pass up on something FREE that's bothering me.

Argh.

   

Justice

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Dave!I'm a comic book geek. I have been most of my life. So, for those of you who are not into comic books, I apologize, but I really must talk about the "New 52" event happening at DC Comics. I'll return to my regularly-scheduled chocolate pudding coverage tomorrow.

And so it begins.

In a desperate attempt to make comic books relevant entertainment in their own right instead of mere fodder for creating super-hero movies, DC Comics has decided to relaunch their entire line of comics from scratch. Again. They did something similar back in 1985 with Crisis on Infinite Earths. Basically, the idea is to strip away all the crap that's been saddled on the characters for the past couple decades and start fresh. This way new DC Comics readers can start enjoying these books without having to know all the complicated back-stories they missed.

To put it another way, idiotic editorial decisions like having Superman marry Lois Lane and renounce his US citizenship never happened.

As a comic book collector, relaunches like this piss me off. It's maddening to collect 200 issues of a book only to have it be canceled so you have to start all over again. Even worse, all that time you've invested in following the continuity of the stories and watching characters grow and change are lost.

As a comic book fan, relaunches like this are a good thing because it's a breath of fresh air being breathed into characters so stale that even their biggest devotees are getting tired of reading about them. Of all the comic titles I collect, I read maybe half of them because so many just aren't interesting any more.

Ultimately, I think the good outweighs the bad though, so I've decided to give DC's 52 new titles a shot. Starting with their flagship title, Justice League, written by Geoff Johns and beautifully illustrated by Jim Lee with inks by Scott Williams...

JusticeLeague1.jpg
It's a super-hero explosion!

For those who care about this kind of stuff, I've written up my comments and a review in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

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