Posted on Sunday, March 1st, 2015
Don't let the drone surveillance get you down... because Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...
• Vaccinate! Classic...
And yet... the measles epidemic rages on. Thanks, Jenny McCarthy!
You're a horrible, horrible person.
• MURICA! Because nothing says "freedom" better than being able to scream "YOU'RE FIRED, FAGGOT!" when you find out that one of your employees is gay, and being 100% within the law... Arkansas has passed an anti-non-discrimination bill SB 202...
I've heard of legislating morality... but legislating immorality? Way to go, Arkansas. There's some terrific things about your state, but this is a fucking embarrassment. Shame on everyone who had a hand in dragging "The Natural State" back to less enlightened times.
• Widow! The hype machine for Avengers: Age of Ultron is really amping up, with individual character posters being released this week. Could not possibly be more excited to see this film come May...
Looks like Black Widow may finally... finally be getting some tech that ups her game. They showed her using a built-in taser in the last Avengers film, but that's a far cry from the "Widow's Bite" blasters she sports in the comics. I certainly hope it comes to pass, because it seems completely illogical that Tony Stark wouldn't give her some advanced weaponry to make her a stronger part of the team.
• Laugh? The Matthew Perry version of The Odd Couple finally debuted and it's far, far worse than I imagined. Mostly because they're using a frickin' laugh track. This idiotic and antiquated method of attempting to make unfunny crap seem hilarious is just pathetic, and only serves to underline how funny something is not to modern audiences...
What kills me is how Matthew Perry can't seem to find a lead role in a vehicle that's worth his talent lately. He was essential viewing in Friends, he was a revelation as Joe Quincy on The West Wing, he was bordering on genius on Studio 60, and he was terrific on The Good Wife... I even liked his movies okay. But when it comes to finding a new show, he's been rolling in shit. Mr. Sunshine was abysmal. Go On was horrific. And now there's this hot mess? Sad. Just sad.
• MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA! Hot on the heels of Snicker's awesome Brady Bunch/Danny Trejo mashup comes this epic art installation...
I love it when companies create ad campaigns you actually want to see. In case you missed the original commercial, here you go...
The teaser ad was equally filled with awesome...
Yep. That's advertising done right, right there.
• Photographic! I used to carry a pocket camera with me everywhere I went to capture those unexpected moments that are begging for a picture to be taken. Then the iPhone 4 came along with its terrific built-in camera, and I started leaving my pocket camera at home more often than not. Why bother when I can get shots like this...
Then the iPhone 5 was released with an even better camera, and suddenly I found myself ditching the pocket camera completely. Now that I've got an iPhone 6 with its amazing camera, I've been doing something I never thought I'd do... go on some of my travels without taking my DSLR with me. It's a mind-boggling prospect, but the shots I can get out of a frickin' camera phone are so good that it's not a much of a sacrifice at all.
This week Apple finally realized what most of us already know... the iPhone is a really good camera. And they've started a nifty ad campaign to let everybody else know it too. They've also added an amazing "World Gallery" to their website...
Shot by Silke W. in Bali, Indonesia
A lot of people are carrying smart phone with them everywhere they go now-a-days. Which means a lot of people have a camera on them all the times. Which means a lot of photo opportunities that were once missed are being captured. It's an amazing time we live in.
And... I'm wrecked. See you next Sunday.
Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2015
Spent most of my day hoping for a breakthrough that never came.
I'm just so tired. Bone-weary tired.
Posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
Not a good day to be on my bad side, I suppose.
Posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
The new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer is out.
And it's a good one...
May 15th can't get here fast enough.
Posted on Thursday, March 5th, 2015
It's Photoshop training day!
WHERE IS MY POWERPOINT PRESENTATION?!? HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY POWERPOINT PRESENTATION?!?
Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015
So there I was discussing upcoming movies when The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel came up. I said that I was looking forward to the film, but had to question adding Americans to the largely British cast, saying "Do we really need Richard Gere in the sequel?" This caused someone to say "Ooh! I loved Richard Gere in Sommersby!... a film I had never heard of before.
Sommersby, as it turns out, is a 1993 romance/drama starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It's the story of a woman (Foster) married to a complete bastard named Sommersby who leaves her to fight in the Civil War. Years later, after being presumed dead, Sommersby (Gere) returns to town a changed man. As in, really changed. He is, in fact, not Sommersby... he's somebody who looks a little similar and assumed the identity of the original after he died in the war...
After reading the plot summary, the first thing that went through my head was "Wait a minute! Wasn't that the same thing that happened with Principal Skinner from The Simpsons?!?
So I Googled that and was taken right back to the same Wikipedia page on Sommersby that I had been looking at. If you scroll down there's a "Related Stories" section where the episode of The Simpsons was mentioned.
I was shocked to learn that this episode, called The Principal and the Pauper, was roundly hated by critics and fans alike. In fact, it's widely seen as the episode that signaled the end of the "Gold Age" of The Simpsons, where the quality of the show began a steep decline into mediocrity.
I thought I remembered the episode fairly well, and didn't recall thinking negatively about it at the time. On the contrary, I actually thought it was a clever way of keeping the show fresh... taking a character from the periphery that you thought you knew and completely changing things up... but not in a way that drastically alters the show. In fact, by the end of the show everything pretty much went back to the way it was, so the episode really didn't make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.
And then it suddenly struck me...
My moment of zen...
When I realized that Richard Gere had made a guest appearance on The Simpsons, that everything is connected, and all the world is one...
Kind of funny how that works.
Posted on Saturday, March 7th, 2015
Here we go again.
I'm probably going to link to this video every time the clocks change from here to eternity...
A reminder to all you presidential candidates out there... any candidate... any candidate... who promises to abolish the idiocy of Daylight Saving Time gets my vote. Republican? Democrat? Libertarian? Communist? Nazi? Whatever... my vote is yours if you JUST MAKE THE MADNESS STOP!
Posted on Sunday, March 8th, 2015
You can stop being depressed that the end of Daylight Saving Time stole an hour of your life... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Saturday Night! How refreshing to watch an episode of SNL that doesn't have you fast-forwarding through the whole thing! The highlight of the episode, of course, was guest host Chris Hemsworth as Thor celebrating The Avengers' triumph over Ultron...
"Victory Party at Dave & Busters" is probably one of the best things to appear on Saturday Night Live in over a decade.
• Heroic! And speaking of Marvel comic book movie heroes named "Chris" doing amazing things... even though Chris Evans won his Super Bowl bet with Chris Pratt, he appeared at Seattle Children's Hospital in costume as Captain America anyway...
This is after he appeared with Pratt (who was in costume as Star Lord) at Boston's Christopher's Haven after winning the bet...
What a decent couple of guys. It would have been so easy to skip the effort involved in doing something so amazing... on top of raising $27,000 for these terrific children's charities... but they're using their fame and fortune exactly how it should be used, and that's the best kind of hero you can be.
• Super! Well, it's not as hideous as I feared... a little dark maybe... but the suit for the upcoming Supergirl television show has been revealed...
Costume designer Colleen Atwood has a pretty darn good track record with the costumes for Arrow and The Flash, and it looks like she's got another home run on her hands. Melissa Benoist is certainly looking super enough for the part, that's for sure.
• Presidential? HE'S offended?!? I don't know what offends ME more... that Rand Paul is a bigoted piece of shit... or that he's propagating anti-vax idiocy... or that his concept of foreign policy is so far removed from reality that he might as well live in Narnia... or that some of his domestic policy ideas are so impossibly naive that you have to wonder if he's switched bodies with his younger 13-year-old self like what happened in that Jennifer Garner movie 13 Going on 30... or... or... or... holy crap... he's probably going to run for president, isn't he?
She's just the absolute worst.
• Lonny! I have no clue how Next Time on Lonny escaped my notice... for two seasons... but catching up on the web series while working at work this fine Sunday was definitely the best part of my day. WARNING: Contains all matter of profanity, depravity, and violence... definitely NSFW...
Sure thing, Dog Moon! You can't just watch just one, because the insanity escalates with each new episode.
• Sausage! If Lonny wasn't enough to satisfy your comedy craving this fine Sunday, the guys at Nacho Punch have created a porn film "by Wes Anderson" that's beyond dead-accurate...
You know you're getting tired of the repetitive wackiness of Wes Anderson films when you can't tell the parodies from the real thing any more.
The end. I'd post more bullets, but with only 23 hours in the day, I haven't got the time.
Posted on Monday, March 9th, 2015
JUST SPLIT THE DAMN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STANDARD TIME AND DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME AND GET RID OF THIS STUPID SHIT!
The Monday after dicking around with the clocks is the worst.
I know I complain about this dumbassery every time we mess with the clocks, but come on. HOW IS THIS STILL A THING?
Posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Few things can sum up Apple better than going to their website so you can watch the March 2015 Special Event Keynote and having to click on a link which says "Experience the keynote." You may watch a keynote with "lesser" companies... but with Apple, you experience a keynote.
The reason this sums up Apple so perfectly is that, in the end, it IS just a keynote... but Apple brands it as some kind of life-changing "experience" so they can inflate the hype around it. Which is exactly the direction they seem to be going with their products, so at least they're consistent.
So, yeah... on with this keynote thingy...
The show opened with a look at the absolutely stunning flagship Apple Store in West Lake, China...
I mean, holy crap... like so many Apple Stores I've visited, you don't need any hype... this jaw-dropping, magnificent, astounding architectural achievement IS something to be experienced. I hate shopping, but I'll go out of my way to visit an Apple Store... especially one that looks like this. ZOMG! THAT SECOND FLOOR IS DEFYING GRAVITY!
I had to laugh when Tim Cook said "This is the way we like to see our stores" while a photo of it completely packed with people pops up behind him. Apple stores are always packed. At least when you compare them to the shop that Microsoft has undoubtedly plopped down across the aisle at the mall, which is undoubtedly mostly empty.
No doubt, Apple's retail presence is impressive. And so very, very smart. People wander in to see what all the buzz is about... have a killer retail experience... get sucked into the Apple Reality Distortion Field... and end up leaving with an armload of Apple products. I still marvel at all the doomsayers that predicted Apple would fall flat on their face. "If Dell can't do it with their numbers, what chance does Apple have?"
A pretty good one, as it turns out. Apple used retail to build their brand and their customer base (120 million visitors last quarter!). And where is Dell? I rarely hear anything about them any more.
AppleTV is a product I actually like quite well. That being said, it is feeling a bit antiquated compared to the competition. I'm sure Apple is working on that but, in the meanwhile, Apple is lowering the price of the product to $69. Which may sound like a bargain... but you just know it's a precursor to releasing a better/faster/stronger product come the holidays.
The HBO Now announcement was long overdue. Having access to all of their award-winning content whenever you want it pretty special... I just don't know that it's $14.99 special compared to what you get from Netflix. I'll probably subscribe off and on as shows I want to watch arrive... but I can't see paying for it every month.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to plug the money-shot, Tim ran through some impressive numbers, confirming the massive success of iPhone 6 that everybody already suspected. Other than the larger size, which I still struggle with, I'm pretty happy with mine. Apple Pay is frickin' amazing, when you can use it. The camera is mind-boggling for a phone, and I prefer it over the "superior" cameras in their competitor's offering because they just look so much better... but there's still a lot of room for improvement.
All of this is pretty much "meh" until real-world applications I give a crap about start appearing. I love the idea of HomeKit... it's the next step in home automation... but where is it? Where are all the home-kit compatible doohickeys that fulfill the promise of the technology? On it's way, I'm sure. But until I can actually buy it, it means nothing to me.
Using a device you carry with you every day to contribute to medical research seems like a no-brainer. And heeeeeeeere's Apple with HealthKit. If this truly helps with research, then more power to them. Otherwise, more meh. EXCEPT... if anybody needed proof that Apple is working overtime to find new ways to get integrated into your life, TA DAAAAA! Add this to the rumor of Apple developing a car, and you can see how there's nowhere they won't go to inject themselves into every aspect of everything you do.
THE NEW MACBOOK
It's remarkably small and light. It's stunningly beautiful. It's everything you could want in a travel laptop...
And here's Jony Ive gushing over its every feature as only Jony Ive can...
Now... before I get to the part where I say "ZOMFG! I WANT ONE SO BAD!"... a rant...
FUCK ME SIDEWAYS... YET ANOTHER CONNECTOR I HAVE TO INVEST IN?!?
First it was Firewire, which Apple abandoned after pushing the entire industry to adopt it.
Then it was Thunderbolt, which Apple was all excited about for about two minutes... before, apparently, abandoning it for USB-C... which is the only port on the new MacBook, combining power, display, and peripheral connectors in one tiny connector.
Which means I now have to buy an adapter for my Thunderbolt periphreals, even though I just got them? Dick move, Apple. Dick move.
But, yeah... I want one pretty bad. It takes everything I love about my 11-inch MacBook Air and ups the game exponentially.
A nice idea, really. And Apple did it better than anyone who's tried before But, in the end, TOO THICK! TOO THICK! TOO THICK!
Seriously, it's too damn thick. If it were half as thick, I'd be placing my preorder right now. But having a giant dongle stacked on my arm? I just don't know. Some of the features are there... it's Dick Tracy come to life... but until I try one on, I'm just not convinced. Especially when the price of admission starts at $350.00
And yet... if somebody wants to buy me an Apple Watch Edition in gold, by all means, please drop the $10,000 to $17,000... and do so. I'd absolutely wear it from time to time!
When it comes to the Apple Watch features, I'm impressed/not impressed. Some of the interactivity with the iPhone looks truly helpful and worthwhile... the Apple Pay component is fantastic... but all the tactic crap? The "I'm sending you my heartbeat" and such? Who gives a shit? Being able to send a crappy, crude drawing? Might be fun the first two times you do it... but after that? Why?
Tim Cook made a good presentation for how Apple Watch will integrate into your life in meaningful ways... but is it enough? I'll let you know when I've tried one. Until then I remain skeptical yet optimistic to the possibilities.
And leaning towards the "Sport" edition in Space Gray with a Black Sport Band.
Or waiting for Apple Watch 2.0 which is a damn-sight thinner.
Posted on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
So I had the brilliant idea of making tacos for dinner tonight.
All the fixin's had been unloaded from the refrigerator. The rice was cooking in the microwave. The cheese and lettuce were grated. All I had to do was fry the taco shells and I was golden. So I fire up the burner and wait for the oil to heat up.
Then I made the mistake of turning on the range hood ventilation.
Something lurched in the fan and came loose. Which caused the vent screen to fall...
...into the hot oil.
Which splashed everywhere.
Including the burner where I had water boiling for potatoes.
Before I knew it, the range-top was engulfed in flames.
I immediately grabbed the box of Arm & Hammer from the refrigerator and doused the fire.
But the damage was done. Smoke was everywhere. Smoke detectors were screaming. Soot coated the entire vicinity of the stove. It smelled like the entire kitchen had burned down.
And so my evening was spent not eating delicious tacos... but airing out every room and scrubbing oil smoke from the kitchen walls.
Posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2015
I'm going to leave this bit of awesomeness right here...
Not enough for you? Whitney Avalon has you covered...
Posted on Friday, March 13th, 2015
Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was released on February 19th, 1990 and I was there.
Lo those 25 years ago.
Well, not at the product launch, but I had a copy of the program after release which I received with a scanner I purchased in the Fall of 1990. I played around with it a few times on a Mac that was at my local library, but I was an Atari computer guy at the time, so it went largely ignored. I didn't really get into Photoshop until I first bought a Mac of my own in the Spring of 1993 (a Quadra 650). Photoshop 2.5 came bundled with a new scanner I purchased shortly thereafter, and I have been using the program ever since.
Almost daily ever since.
With the possible exception of Adobe Illustrator (which I have been using regularly since version 1.7... A.K.A. Illustrator 88), Photoshop is the single most important app in the existence of my universe. It has permeated both my personal and professional life, and I have serious trouble trying to imagine my world without it.
Which is why it's always fun to step back in time to experience Photoshop's humble beginnings. Which I do from time to time, as I have a library of old computers with their original software installed. It's even more fun to watch others give it a try... especially those who were not around at the beginning...
ONLY ONE UNDO?!?
Hah. Those were the days.
Happy 25th Anniversary, Adobe Photoshop!
Posted on Saturday, March 14th, 2015
I'll go first...
What kind of burger do you like best? How is it cooked?
As I'm a vegetarian, Boca Burger is my favorite... both in a restaurant and at home. I like them thawed then fried. On occasion I'll take a black bean burger.
What tops your favorite burger?
American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, raw onion, ketchup, and lots of mayonnaise. Maybe pickles if I'm in the mood. NO MUSTARD! Mustard is for hotdogs.
Where do you find your favorite burger?
Johnny Rockets (Streamliner Burger, no mustard, add American cheese), or 25 Degrees Chicago (Veggie with Cottonwood River Cheddar, lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup, extra mayo), or EZ's Burger Deluxe Wenatchee (Classic Veggie Burger, extra mayo, add cheddar cheese). I also like the McVeggie Deluxe, which I've only ever seen at the Times Square McDonalds, New York City.
How do you like your favorite burger packaged to go... Paper Wrap, Foil Paper Wrap, Paper Bag, Foil Paper Bag, Paper Box, or Styrofoam Box?
Hands-down a foil paper bag. The only one I don't like on this list is the styrofoam... if you don't eat your burger right away it sweats and gets soggy.
When cooking burgers at home, do you make your own patties by hand or do you purchase pre-fabricated?
I've made veggie burgers from scratch a couple times, but vastly prefer buying them pre-made from the freezer section of my local grocery store.
Ideally, what accompanies your favorite burger?
Crinkle-cut fries (like those found at Culvers) and a Coke (or lemonade, if it's hot out).
How often do you eat a hamburger?
Probably once every two weeks or so when at home. Once or twice a week if I'm in a place that has good burgers.
Posted on Sunday, March 15th, 2015
All the world's troubles getting you down? Well, things are about to turn around... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• ELECTRA WOMAN AND DYNA GIRRRRRRRL! I don't know what's cooler... that they're resurrecting Electra Woman and Dyna Girl... or that they've tapped some amazing internet personalities for the leads. Daily Grace's Grace Helbig and My Drunk Kitchen's Hannah "Harto" Hart are (apparently) already filming the series...
Oh yeah! For the uninitiated, bask in the glory...
ELECTRA TRICKY! Can't wait.
• Gauntlet! I will never get tired of watching movie heroes being heroes in real life...
Robert Downey Jr.'s awesomeness really knows no bounds.
• John Lewis. And then there's real-life heroes. In case you missed it... so worth your time... so worth your time... so worth your time...
This terrific (albeit brief) interview from The Daily Show featured a mind-bogglingly good talk with Representative John Lewis, whose advocacy for civil rights is about as inspiring as anything you will ever find. As if THAT wasn't enough,.. John Stewart mentioned that Rep. Lewis had a couple of graphic novels out which presents his story in comic book form. And they are glorious. Fantastic art. Great story. Well worth your time to track down... and you can even purchase them digitally at Comixology... just $8 for Vol. One! Highest possible recommendation.
• Wonder? Where do I even start. Wonder Woman's new costume has to be one of the ugliest, most disorganized, least elegant, "toss in the kitchen sink" super-hero costumes ever. Just no...
The criticism has always been that Wonder Woman's costume shows too much skin to be taken seriously as a super-hero. Her costume is impractical. So, instead of tastefully updating her look to address these concerns, they just keep slapping more and more shit on her until now she looks like garbage.
And, as if that wasn't horrific enough, I give you the new Superman costume...
If that's what you can call it. More disturbing to me than this joke of a "costume" is that the artist has such a massively skewed idea of anatomy that Superman's legs are so long one has to wonder how he is able to sit in a chair. Who in the hell is running DC these days that total shit like this is seeing the light of day?
• Archie? Next up on the comic book makeover roster...
Now... this one I get. They're trying to shift Archie away from his 1940's comic strip roots and move him into modern comic book times. By creating a more "realistic" version of the character, they're obviously trying to keep the Archie gang relevant in the year 2015. I don't know if this will be a successful reimagining, but they certainly did a good job of it.
• LOL! Yep, this pretty much sums up my impression of the new MacBook... LMFAO! LOL! ROTFL! LTIP!
"That's an extra $79 accessory!"
It's only a matter of time...
• Lively! Murder. Uh huh. Genocide. Right. But is homosexuality worse than kicking a puppy? THAT'S what I want to know. I mean, come on, a little perspective here...
Disgusting. That people still listen to this bigoted piece of shit is just beyond my ability to comprehend. IT'S OVER, YOU STUPID FUCK! YOU LOST! SO JUST GO SIT IN THE CORNER WITH YOUR BIGOTRY AND BE THE PATHETIC LOSER YOU ARE!
Annnnnnd... Bullets, out!
Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015
I hated today.
Not because it was a Monday... Mondays have no meaning when you have to work through the weekend... but because it was a day of the week.
I'd elaborate, but I just don't have the energy to deal with the fallout from making a bad day even worse. No matter though. Vague constructs define the world we live in now, so you should be accustomed to having only a minimal amount of information available to you. Nobody wants to know how the sausage is made and all that.
As for me, I try not to think about it.
But I just can't help it. I'm a thinker.
I think about a lot of things throughout the day.
Which only ever seems to lead me into (more) trouble... and so most of what I think about now-a-days is how I can think less.
It's harder than you'd think.
Certainly harder than what I thought.
And so here we are.
Hating Monday and such.
Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
Now that marriage equality is blowing across the country like a righteous wind of rainbows and glitter, it should come as no surprise that homophobic political bigots are devising new ways to be on the wrong side of history.
Take it away, Jon Stewart...
There's a lot of hypocritical idiocy on display here, but Tony Tinderholt is the cherry on top of the bigot sundae...
This piece of shit can get married as many times as he wants... FIVE times at current count... but it's the gays who are ruining the sanctity of the institution?
Amazing how somebody who lied about their employment history... committed insurance fraud... left children in the care of drug-abusers... and allowed a minor to be served alcohol, become intoxicated and then drive drunk... is in a position to dictate what people are and are not allowed to do with their personal lives.
It's only a matter of time until he's exposed for sleeping with an underage gay prostitute, busted for cocaine, or is caught strangling a puppy. These people can't seem to stop themselves. The rules don't apply to their lives, after all.
Posted on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
At least 19 people are dead, many of them tourists, after a terrorist attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis.
Back in 2010, two months before the Arab Spring revolts, I was a tourist at the Bardo Museum, so this tragic event gave me pause. I didn't spend much time in Tunisia, but it remains a highlight from a life of travel.
The most wonderful thing about Tunisia is its people. They are exceedingly generous and kind, and everywhere I went the locals were all too happy to welcome you to their homeland. They live in a beautiful country and are rightfully proud of it. They are also proud of their inclusive and tolerant nature, and I'll never forget how my guide made a point of stopping to show us how Muslims and Christians are able to coexist in peace... and how people of all faiths are welcome to visit his country.
This openness comes with a price, however, as there is a violent minority who rejects the democracy that Tunisians have fought so hard for.
It's profoundly sad for oh so many reasons.
Including one that's entirely selfish... the country is an absolutely destination-worthy travel experience.
The Bardo Museum that's in the news is one of the largest (if not the largest) collection of mosaic in the world. And it's a glorious site to behold. It's room after room of jaw-dropping artistic beauty...
And then there's the Medina and all its treasures...
And the incredible blue and white city of Sidi Bou Said...
And a short distance beyond the cities is the Sahara Desert, which is somewhere I've long wanted to visit. An excuse to return to Tunisia one day.
And one day I will.
My heart goes out to all those affected by this senseless violence.
Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2015
What a turd of a day!
The only thing that saved it from complete and total suckage was that a new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was released. And it's glorious...
How am I expected to wait until May 1st?
Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2015
As I may have mentioned a few dozen times, I'm not a fan of Cirque du Soleil. The acrobatics are amazing, don't get me wrong... I love that stuff, but it's Cirque's packaging that drives me nuts.
LOOK AT US! WE'RE DRESSED IN WEIRD CLOTHES DOING WEIRD THINGS WITH WEIRD PROPS IN FRONT OF WEIRD SETS THAT MAKE NO SENSE WHATSOEVER! WE'RE WEEEEEIRRRD!!!
Yeah. We get it. Weird. Uh huh.
And tonight was more of the same as I went to Kurios: Cabinet des Curiosities with my sister...
Ultimately, I liked it better than The Beatles: Love (even though the music wasn't as good!) because there was more of a focus on the amazing talents of the performers rather than just doing weird shit for the sake of doing weird shit...
Though, no worries, Kurios had plenty of weird shit... including traveling scientists having a bad hair day, Moebius-inspired robots, fish people, finger puppets, and a guy acting like a cat. So if weird shit is your thing, you won't be disappointed.
As if that wasn't enough, they also had a Duncan Yo-Yo Master for some reason, just because, well... yo-yos, I guess.
This is a traveling show that wraps up here in Seattle this weekend... but they're continuing onward to Calgary, Denver, Chicago, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles... just in case you like watching mind-bogglingly talented performers doing mind-boggling stuff... while drenched in senseless weird shit.
And who wouldn't?
Posted on Saturday, March 21st, 2015
GAH! IT'S 3:00 IN THE MORNING! Boy I wish I could get a good night's sleep.
Tonight I was happy to attend University Sunrise Rotary's Debuts and Discoveries charity function with wines, brews, spirits, and food trucks...
The event was held at an old hangar in Magnusson Park at Sand Point, which used to be a Navy air station...
True to their word, there was an abundance of new alcohols to sample and buy...
Best of Show for me was Skunk Brothers, which had a very nice moonshine whiskey and a sublime Sweet Apple Pie spirit...
Interestingly enough, there was also cigar rollers in attendance...
The hangar itself is a terrific space for events like this...
I already had several shots of Jäegermeister before the event, which meant I was getting pretty trashed as we neared the end of the evening (I "sampled" all but two tables, and they had multiple products at most tables!). Not wanting to pass out on my friends, I decided to stop drinking and start shooting photos. I brought my miraculous Sony A7s camera, and Hangar 30 had plenty of opportunities to get sone nifty shots.
So there I was taking photos of cool stuff when I hear some asshole start mocking me with "LOOK AT THAT GUY TAKING A PICTURE OF A WALL!"
I am beyond sick and tired of people taking a shit on my happiness, but decided to let it go.
Or I would have if I hadn't been soaked in alcohol. Instead I said "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU CARE?" a bit too loudly.
Oh well. I may have been taking a PICTURE OF A WALL but, in my defense, it was a pretty interesting wall...
There were four food trucks and you got four sampling coupons to try each of them. Except the chicken truck didn't have a vegetarian option (boo Chick’n Fix!), so I skipped that one.
The first truck I ate at was Spicy Papaya, which had a delicious Pad Thai to try...
Next up was Wicked Pies, which must be run by some Twin Peaks fans...
But Best in Show for me was the El Cabrito truck, which was serving up an amazing "Beet & Pumpkin Seed Quesadilla" that rocked my world...
It was so good that I used my last ticket to pay a return visit...
El Cabrito can park their truck in my driveway any time! That quesadilla is absolutely worth a stop if you're ever in Seattle's International District.
And thus ends my last day in Seattle. Not too shabby!
Even if I did drop an F-bomb on an airplane hangar.
Posted on Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
Don't step on my blue suede shoes... because Bullet Sunday from Memphis starts... now...
• HRC! The reason for my trip to Memphis is to visit the new Hard Rock Cafe here (they moved further down Beale Street to a much better location). It's also to get out of town on my birthday. Since I don't celebrate the date, it's just easier all the way around to skip town. I'm crafty like that.
• Hub! When Delta had a hub here in Memphis, it was relatively easy (and cheap!) to get here. After Delta pulled the hub, it's not so easy and pricey as hell. My Delta flight was $842, which I ended up paying with miles because $842 is insane. I believe Delta only runs flights through Atlanta or Minneapolis now. When I complained about the cost, my driver said that he picked up a guy that flew in from Dallas who paid over $1000. And thus begins my biggest fear for Seattle. Delta is playing serious hardball to push out Alaska Airlines and establish a hub in Seattle. But if they are successful, how long will it last? Five years down the line once they're the only major game left in town, will they pull out and destroy Seattle's air travel options like they did here in Memphis? Will it then cost me $1000 and require two or three stops to get anywhere? People should have serious pause in supporting Delta over Alaska Air considering what the future may bring.
• QDOBAAAAAA! I skipped breakfast this morning so I could use my two-for-one birthday coupon at Qdoba's SeaTac Airport on my way out. One egg & cheese breakfast burrito and one veggie burrito please!
I wish they'd let you come back for your freebie. I'm so full now that I think I may explode in mid-air if the cabin pressure goes sideways.
• Wheeee! They "changed equipment" for my flight, so my nice aisle seat was traded NOT for another aisle seat... but a middle seat. Other than a woman on one side bringing a seven course meal onboard and a woman on the other side not knowing what a damn Kleenex is, things could have been worse for the four hours and twenty minutes I was enroute, I suppose. Then... THEN I board my flight from Atlanta to Memphis only to find out my seat is broken. As in the seat keeps reclining and it's not fully bolted to the floor. A gentleman two rows up is in the same boat. They have somebody from Mechanical come onboard who decides that the two clearly broken seats are not, in fact, broken. The flight is full, but they manage to move me because I'm "not happy"(?!??)... only to then put somebody else in my broken-ass seat. Gotta maximize that revenue! Who cares if your passengers are miserable! JUST TAKE THEIR DAMN MONEY!!!
What time will you be checking out?
Thinking that my hotel status was allowing a late checkout I reply Is 2:00 okay?
Oh, then how about 1:00 then?
Well I give up then... why don't you tell me what time I'm checking out.
You have to check out at noon.
Okay then, noon. Why bother asking if you're just going to dictate the checkout time anyway?
Oh we're required to ask with this verbiage.
The stupid. It burns. If you have to ask, why not have "verbiage" which asks in a way that doesn't make your guest feel stupid? What's wrong with saying "Our checkout time is noon... do you know what time you'll be leaving us?" — or whatever. Because, seriously, who is the idiot who comes up with this crap? Obviously somebody who knows jack-shit about customer service. They also know jack-shit about serving up internet, as it continuously me off. So much for those four stars I paid for.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try and get some sleep in this heartbreak hotel.
Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2015
There have been three times in my travels where I have forgotten my camera.
The second was Austin, Texas, in 2002 where I was visiting the terrific Hard Rock Cafe that used to be on 6th Street. This was an especially painful mishap, because the cafe closed before I could get back and document this amazing property. I did manage to find a disposable camera at a local drug store, but all the photos turned out terrible.
The third was while visiting Osaka, Japan in 2003, where I managed to purchase a cheap plastic toy camera at the Universal Studios Osaka gift shop to get shots of the new Hard Rock Cafe there.
And the first time?
When I visited Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee way back in 1995. And, despite returns to Memphis over the years, I never went back.
So my grand plan today was to run out to Elvis's house... THIS TIME WITH MY CAMERA... and take some photos. Except when I got up this morning I realized that, when it comes to Graceland, once is enough for me... photos or no photos.
And so I was off to Hard Rock No. 163, bitches!
As always, I was prepared for the worst. Yet another ugly hipster Hard Rock with only a smattering of memorabilia. Which would be a real slap in the face for Memphis, because their previous cafe was so awesome. So imagine my surprise when I visited this new property and found that the new location is in a primo vintage building with plenty of history and character... and they had a decent amount of rock-n-roll memorabilia to make it actually worth your time to visit!
The Hard Rock is located at the head of famous Beale Street. The location is hopping at night, but fairly sedate in the daytime...
The one big tourist attraction in Memphis I haven't done yet was to visit Sun Records, which is the birthplace of rock-n-roll. And home to some very famous musicians. Like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many, many others...
Well worth a stop if you're ever in the Memphis area. The tour cost me $11.50 and lasted 40 minutes. Our guide was fantastic, and really made the place come alive.
And that's now I spent my only day in the city.
And now? I'm going to dinner at Faiqa's house and you're not!
UPDATE: Uh huh...
Posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
After an amazing visit and an even more amazing dinner with the amazing Faiqa and her amazing family last night, I decided to wander around Beale Street after dark... something I've never done before. And I have no idea why I've never done it before, because it's exactly the kind of thing I love to photograph.
Maybe I was waiting for the Sony A7s camera to exist, which does such an amazing job of capturing night scenes? I dunno. But with a press of a button I'm in "Vivid Color Mode" and shooting everything in sight...
And now I suppose I should pack my stuff and clean up before the hotel kicks me out... most possibly literally, knowing this place... so I can grab lunch and head to the airport.
Many thanks for the brief visit, Memphis. We shall meet again.
Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
I am well aware of the atrocities going on in this sick, sad world.
And though I do my small part, I have no illusions that I am going to save the planet.
But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up on trying to help the person standing in front of me...
This is absolutely devastating. What is WRONG with people? There is no way... NO way... that I could walk by a freezing kid like this. TWO HOURS before somebody offered him a jacket or checked to make sure he's okay? I just don't get it.
I don't claim to be a saint or anything... far from it... but sainthood isn't required to buy gloves and a cheap sweatshirt or jacket or something before calling the police to get social services involved. I never thought it was a big deal to buy a hungry person some food or a cold person some clothing... but now I see that it's totally a huge deal because nobody else is doing it.
Well, not "nobody"... but not enough, certainly.
Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2015
I set my DVR to record The Late Late Show with James Corden because the guy has been part of some pretty great stuff (including Gavin & Stacey, a long-time favorite Britcom). He seemed an odd choice for replacing Craig Ferguson, but I thought the same thing when Craig Ferguson replaced Craig Kilborn, so why not?
I have to admit... the show was more entertaining than I anticipated. Mostly because Tom Hanks stopped by for one of the best bits of late-night television in recent memory...
Guess I'll keep tuning in. Though I think my DVR is quickly reaching critical mass... I'm dangerously close to recording more shows than I can comfortably keep up with.
Not that it's ever stopped me before.
Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2015
It happens all the time.
Find a band you like one minute and they drop off the face of the earth the next. I can find no word from Father Tiger since December (their website hasn't been updated in almost a year).
Kind of sad about that, as I thought for sure 2015 would be when we finally get a first full album out of the band...
Hopefully they're just busy in the studio and haven't had time to post updates?
In other music news... the best news I heard all day... Duran Duran has an album coming out in September through Warner Bros. Records that will reunite them with genius producer Nile Rodgers!
Few bands have remained as consistently good with their music than Duran Duran. Their last release (way back in 2010), All You Need is Now, was as amazing as anything they've ever released. If we'll be getting more of the same this time around, I'll be very happy to add them to my Best Of 2015 list.
Posted on Saturday, March 28th, 2015
Much to my shock and dismay, my faithful iMac died a horrible death for no apparent reason after a mere four(!) years. My guess is that the video card crapped out but, as you would expect from an all-in-one unit, it's not like I can rip into it and effect repairs. So I am now using a shiny new iMac with 5K Retina Display at work.
Since I have a Retina Display on my MacBook, which is admittedly very nice, I didn't think going full-Retina on my desktop would be a big deal.
I was so wrong. This display is the most glorious thing I've ever seen in my life.
The Sistine Chapel? Utter shit by comparison.
I don't want to look at anything else ever again unless it is displayed in this iMac...
I'm not sure how I managed to avoid sneaking into an Apple Store and taking a look at this jaw-dropping piece of Apple hotness over the past five months since release, but I'm kinda glad I didn't. Because firing up a 5K display and seeing just how amazing it looks is something you can only do once, and having it be on your own machine is priceless...
What's even more amazing than how it looks is what it costs. Or, more accurately, what it doesn't cost. To purchase a 5K display alone will cost you around $2,500. The iMac with Retina 5K Display starts at... wait for it... $2,500. And you can bet your ass that Apple's display is probably superior quality to boot. Which means the best 5K display on the market essentially comes with a pretty decent Mac attached for free.
To power such a massively beautiful display requires all kinds of technological advancements that Apple goes over in detail here. Sure it all sounds very impressive and everything... but there's simply no substitute for sitting in front of the machine and looking at some great quality photographs. Or reading small text. Or just looking at the icons in your Apps folder. Everything is so incredibly sharp... so mind-bogglingly vibrant... so orgasmically beautiful... that you have a hard time believing you're looking at a computer display. It's higher res than HD. It looks better than the best quality print you've ever seen. There's just no comparing it to, well, anything, really. The future is here, and it's stunning...
But what about that Mac part?
The computer itself tapers to a surprisingly thin 5mm on the edges and looks fantastic. I'm guessing there are fans in there but, if they ever turn on, I've not heard them. Overall its a gorgeous Mac that makes previous implementations look clunky and archaic by comparison.
I opted for the pricier 4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 chip, which is a pretty good performer. Sadly, it looks like this i7 is using the older "Haswell" architecture instead of the newer "Broadwell" chips that Intel has unleashed, but I don't know that the newer CPU would give me a terribly huge real-world advantage. Guess we'll just have to wait for the benchmarks when Apple catches up. In any event, it's plenty fast for the rather intensive applications I run, so there's no complaint there.
I also chose to upgrade the standard AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2GB GDDR5 to a full 4GB. I have no idea if the $250 price tag was a worthwhile investment, but I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry in case Photoshop needs the extra room when I have to work on massive-sized files.
Storage was a tough call for me. I have long-since given up on "regular" hard drives as boot drives, because once you've experienced the terrifying speeds of a Solid State Drive (SSD) you will never go back. But Apple has a technology called "Fusion Drive" which marries a 128GB SSD with a 1TB hard drive in a single volume. The system then optimizes your experience for fastest results by keeping commonly-used files (like the operating system) on the SSD and transferring seldom-used files to the HD. Probably because I haven't filled up my SSD section yet, but the disk access feels as fast as it ever was when using the SSD-only unit on my old Mac, so I'm happy.
Physical expansion is pretty much what you'd expect from a modern Mac... four USB-3 ports, a couple of Thunderbolt 2 ports, GB Ethernet, a headphone jack, and an SDXC card slot. No USB-C connector like on the brand new MacBook Pro, but that's no big deal for me, as I plan on sticking with Thunderbolt peripherals for the foreseeable future.
About the only thing you don't get is a CD SuperDrive, which is to be expected now-a-days. I can't tell you the last time I had to read or burn a CD, but it was knowing that I could do so if I needed to that added a bit of comfort to my previous iMac purchase. Oh well. Something tells me I won't be missing it.
And that's a wrap!
It's easy to recommend a Mac where the display alone is worth the cost of admission (both literally and figuratively)... even when that cost is $2,500. One look and you'll know it's worth every penny.
So don't look unless you have $2,500 burning a hole in your pocket.
Posted on Sunday, March 29th, 2015
Don't touch that back button... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Arthur! After a long, long wait in Swedish Doggy Quarantine... Arthur, the stray dog who joined an adventure racing team in Ecuador, has finally been released!
In case you're not up on this genuinely heartwarming story, here ya go...
Congrats to Arthur and Team Peak Performance!
• Clean Sheets! Doesn't everybody love them?
• TWO! In addition to the upcoming Clerks 3, Kevin Smith has unveiled plans for Mallrats 2, much to the surprise of just about everyone. Negotiations appear to be ongoing, but it seems as though the majority of the cast has signed on, including Smith, Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Ethan Suplee, Shannen Doherty, Stan Lee, Jason Mewes, Michael Rooker, and Renee Humphrey...
• Ninja! Well this is pretty epic...
Whatever this guy is making, he's underpaid.
• Freedom to Discriminate! Uh huh...
I'm guessing that's a "yes" then?
And there you have it... no more bullets for a week!
If you're lucky.
Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2015
As a fan of the original Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, I didn't warm up to the Comedy Central version right away. They were funny, but the celebrities weren't of the same caliber and too many of the jokes relied on being crass rather than clever.
But after the third roast (Pamela Anderson, of all people) I warmed up to the modern incarnation of the show and have been sure to watch each new edition when it's released. The material has been hit-or-miss, but always entertaining.
Tonight was the latest episode of the show, this time roasting Justin Bieber...
As somebody who has never been a fan of Bieber's "music," I have always been indifferent to his crazy antics. He's young, obscenely wealthy, and acts pretty much as you would expect somebody young and wealthy to act. End of story.
Also as expected, the roast was absolutely brutal.
Much of the material went over my head (Bieber bought a monkey he abandoned in Germany?) but was otherwise predictable. Chris D'Elia (Bieber's favorite comedian?) summed up the night with "I'm proud of you. You have it all. You are literally a guy who has it all, except for respect, love, friends, good parents, and a Grammy." Toss in crude jokes about Bieber's sexuality and call it a night.
And Justin Bieber took it all in stride. He had to, as the roast was his idea (apparently he had been begging Comedy Central to roast him for years). Then he had his chance at the podium. And was pretty funny...
"What do you get when you give a teenager $200 million? A bunch of has-beens calling you a lesbian for two hours."
And then something UNexpected happened.
Bieber then took time to apologize to his fans for his behavior and promised that he'd do better. That's he'd strive to be somebody you could be proud of.
He seemed genuinely sincere, so I guess we'll see.
Full marks, young man. Full marks.
Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015