Posted on Thursday, January 1st, 2009
Once again something is broked and I can't get today's entry to post. Comments still work just fine, so I have no idea what's going on. Again.
What a way to start the new year.
Posted on Friday, January 2nd, 2009
I still can't figure out what the problem is with my blog. If I insert an entry directly in to the SQL database and force a rebuild, it will show up no problem. But writing an entry directly fails. I guess I must have blown up something while trying to fix the admin search thingy.
Typical. It's not enough that my template still breaks under crappy Internet Explorer in the comments, now I've got something new to worry about. Meh. Maybe tomorrow.
Wah. I want a new blog.
Posted on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
w00t! I finally managed to fix my blog! Apparently, it was a "permissions" issue. Easy.
Today was a beautiful day, filled with sunshine and a relatively nice weather. This caused much of the snow on the roads to melt, which is great until around 6:30 when the temperature drops below freezing again. Then wet roads turn to ice. But they don't look that way in the dark... they just look wet.
Which is why an idiot driving the car behind me nearly crashed into my ass.
Instead they managed to do some wild acrobatics and swerve to a snowbank on the side of the road. They were going slow enough when they hit that there was no damage, but still... who doesn't understand the concept of water turning to ice when it gets cold? And why are the people who don't understand this concept still allowed to drive in wintertime? Shouldn't there be testing for this kind of stuff? It's not rocket science...
WATER + COLD = ICE = SLIPPERY!!
Perhaps I need to print that on a bumper sticker. Or add a chapter to my upcoming book explaining how ice works...
We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog program...
Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2009
So TequilaCon 2009 is in Santa Fe.
To read about how that came about, Brandon has a story up on his blog.
But Brandon has a tendency to whitewash the more questionable aspects when it comes to recounting events like this, so I thought that I would fill in a few of the gory details that he's left out... BULLET STYLE!!
• Planning. I've already blogged about how Jenny summoned the TequilaCon Committee to Chicago for a pre-planning meeting. Only three of us were foolish enough to actually go... myself, Vahid, and Brandon. What I didn't mention is that Jenny showed up dressed in sun-goddess robes and insisted that we address her as "High Priestess Many Goats."
• Whiteboard. When I posted a picture of Brandon Photographing the Official TequilaCon Whiteboard, I blurred out the cities listed...
But now all can be revealed. Here are the eleven cities ultimately considered after hours of debate...
After some alcohol, Pac-Mac, and discussion, the final three locations were narrowed down to Vancouver BC, Las Vegas, and Santa Fe. After some alcohol, Pac-Mac, and a lot more discussion, Vancouver was axed because of passport requirements. That left Las Vegas and Santa Fe. After some alcohol, Pac-Man, SO much money, and a spinning whiskey bottle, High Priestess Many Goats declared Santa Fe the host city for TequilaCon 2009...
This is probably for the best, because Santa Fe feels more like a TequilaCon city, whereas Vegas is kind of obvious and commercialized.
• Drunken. When Brandon says that he put on the Sometimes Rabbit head and tried to get Jenny's cat drunk, it sounds like a clever allegory for setting aside the folly of one's youth and embracing the responsibilities of adulthood... but was, in fact, putting on the Sometimes Rabbit head and trying to get Jenny's cat drunk...
That's three bullets, which is probably three too many, so I guess that's all for today. Sometime in February, I'm guessing a venue in Santa Fe will be decided upon, and the official details will be posted so everybody can make their travel and lodging arrangements. In the meanwhile I urge you to drop by Jenny's blog if you are interested in the event so she can put you on the Official TequilaCon 2009 Mailing List...
I've decided I don't want to be on the Official Mailing List. That way I can crash the party unannounced.
Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2009
Twitter is what they call a "micro-blogging" service that allows you to post quick 140-character updates throughout your day and have them compiled into a webfeed with other Twitter users. I signed up for it as a joke when I made my DaveStalker™ page, and thought I'd get bored with it in a week. That was several months ago.
All this time I've been treating Twitter as a "disposable" medium to post random crap. Except Twitter isn't disposable. It's not only archived in several places, but shows up in Google searches as well.
This was made known to me this morning when I received an email from a former co-worker who was looking for me on the internet... and found my Twitter feed. This came as a bit of a shock. I don't really think about what I post there, so I had no idea what it was saying about me.
So I took a look, and pulled some random tweets of mine from the past couple months...
"Thinking of breaking my vegetarianism if only I could find some unicorn meat. I hear it's magically delicious!"
"I WANT HOT COCOA!! HOT COCOA, BITCHES!!!"
"Getting ready to make love to the Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa packet. Oh how I love your creamy hotness, Swiss Miss!"
"As a tribute to crack-whores everywhere (bless them!), I am blasting Amy Winehouse music while waiting for the MacWorld keynote to begin."
"Oooh! It's Madonna... she's going to dress me up in her love! I hope all my immunizations are current."
"= tee hee = I'm leaving comments while naked and eating pizza. Praying that an errant drop of molten cheese doesn't ruin my day."
"I'd say that the Hewlett-Packard B9180 printer is shit, but it aspires to be that good. It dreams of one day becoming shit."
"I an so totally hammered right now. Thank heavens for spell-chuck!"
"Oooh! It's a hamster!"
"DANCE HAMSTER! DANCE YOUR FURRY ASS OFF!"
"I make no apologies for being an Apple whore. They can take mundane shit and make it fascinating. Microsoft? Exactly the opposite."
"I hate watching Wheel of Fortune when some bitch is 'woo-woo-ing' it up like a drunken whore at a frat party. SHUT UP! JUST STFU!!"
"A guy at my flight's gate is praying the rosary. What does he know that I don't know?"
"Oh. He's a priest. I guess they don't have to have a reason to pray the rosary."
"I want Johnny Lee Miller's wardrobe from the movie 'Hackers.'"
"Wow. You know the weather in Seattle is bad when you can't even order up a hooker to your hotel suite! I wonder if they get hazard pay?"
"Shit shit shit shit SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!"
"I have fleeting moments of feeling happy with my life, but just as I try to grab ahold of them, they vanish. Now I wait for the next moment."
"Drunk girl at airport yelling to anybody who will listen that she needs some pot. And possibly crackers. I can't tell what she's saying."
"If your child is posessed by Satan, please leave it chained in the basement instead of bringing it to Disney World."
"EMBRACE THE HORROR!!"
"Wow. Disney's Animal Kingdom has a very big anti-poacher bias. Where are the poachers to present their side of the story?"
"I hate people. Just about everybody. Well, everybody except you, of course."
"If every day was like today, I'd be sticking my head in a Cuisinart and punching 'puree' or maybe 'chop'"
"You know the French Fries are going to be fucking fabulous when they're so greasy that ketchup won't even stick to them."
"Hey! The rumor is true... blood really is hard to wash off your hands!
"Oddly enough, I never have this kind of trouble when it's my own blood. I wish this mess would stay a pretty red when it dries on the walls."
"Wheee! It's like finger paints, but with hematological goodness baked right in!"
"Oooh... Paula Abdul's stalker has turned up dead! Lesson to live by... Don't Fuck With Paula Abdul.
"Holy crap... I've run out of hot glue sticks. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEBODY GET ME MORE HOT GLUE STICKS!! I'm shooting blanks here, people!"
Meh. Could be worse I suppose.
It just goes to show, there is nothing posted to the internet that can't come back to haunt you in the future.
So when those photos eventually pop up, please understand that I was young and needed the money...
Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2009
I am typing this at 9:00am from Seattle, Washington, USA. I will be leaving for the airport in an hour.
I am typing this at 11:00am from Cologne, Germany. 26 hours later.
To me, this day didn't exist, and I never really know what to do about that. I blog every day, so something has to go here... but what? How do you write about something that didn't exist? Where did that day go?
Maybe it got lost... like my luggage.
Posted on Friday, February 27th, 2009
Where to begin with Lisa.
Lisa and I got off to a rocky start. She had been dropping by Blogography with witty comments for a while, so I added her blog to my feed reader and started following her writings at Clusterfook. After a while of back-and-forth we had arrived at one of those "blogger friendships" that seems to develop with people you know online but don't really know at all. We'd email from time to time, but it was all superficial niceties that precluded any real personal connection.
All that changed after I had been traveling for a couple days and finally had a chance to catch up with blogs. Lisa had written a frustrated rant about how she gets tons of comments when she blogs about stupid crap, but when she writes asking for help raising money for cancer research, there was nothing. She then went on to say some harsh words to her readers about "not caring about cancer" and pondering why she even bothered to try and make a difference. At first I was confused, until I read her previous entry asking for sponsorship in a cancer-walk. Then I was angry, because not only was I not given a chance to offer support before she lashed out, but because I have a sister who had just had cancer surgery for a second time. I left a comment basically saying "GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE, IT'S ONLY BEEN ONE DAY!" and "HOW DARE YOU TELL ME I DON'T CARE ABOUT CANCER!"
I expected that would be the last I heard from Lisa.
But I was wrong.
She wrote to me and apologized. And she insisted on sending my sister one of the bracelets she sells to raise money for cancer research. It was all very surreal and unexpected, because that's just not the way that superficial online relationships usually work.
But this was Lisa.
She had survived cancer three times and knew that life was just too short for this kind of crap.
And then, just as we were getting to be much better friends, the bomb was dropped. Lisa had cancer again. Lisa was fighting for her life again.
We finally met in person a month later at TequilaCon 2008 in Philadelphia. Lisa arrived way early with her husband, "Dude," to help claim space at the bowling alley for the event, but I had already slammed two shots and was working on a beer by then (social functions are much easier for me once I've got some alcohol in me). After introducing herself and Dude then saying "hi" to everybody, Lisa cried "DAVE!!" and ran up to give me a big hug.
She then announced that she "has to get a picture of this important moment" and handed her camera to Dude. "It can't be too important if I'm drunk" I tell her...
"Oh they're all important" she replied.
I don't know what I could possibly add to that. Except that I will miss her.
My thoughts are with Lisa's husband, daughters, friends, and family today. Your every moment with Lisa was important to her.
Posted on Saturday, March 14th, 2009
For the first time in months, my idiopathic angioedema (random swelling due to the release of histamines by my mast cells) dropped by for a vist, causing a massive welt to appear on the bottom of my left foot. This is annoying, but relatively harmless (as say... compared to my tongue or throat swelling up so I suffocate and die) so I just tried my best to ignore it. But then I remembered my allergist had prescribed some massively concentrated antihistamines to try, so I took three and waited to see what happened.
What happened was a miracle. Instead of taking ten hours to go away, the swelling disappeared in under two.
Which is good news, right? I should be celebrating. Except...
HOLY CRAP DO THOSE PILLS TASTE HEINOUS!!!
Imagine taking a handful of aspirin, multiplying it's horrible taste by 100, then rolling it in toxic waste. THAT'S what these pills taste like. And apparently they're quick-disolving, because they had already started melting in my mouth by the time I could get a glass of water to my lips. In very short order, my tongue was coated with a taste so foul that I very nearly had to vomit... twice.
I scarfed down pizza, cookies, Coke, garlic bread, spicy pepper hummus, and chocolate. The taste was still there. I then brushed my tongue, sprayed it with antiseptic, then gargled with mouthwash. The taste was still there. I eventually found some Altoids, and they finally managed to destroy the taste... replacing it with something not much better.
Depending on the body part affected, next time I may just let it stay swollen instead of facing the agony.
Much like the agony I feel when I see people asking questions that can easily be answered by searching Google. It happens all the time on places like Twitter, and I just don't get it. It takes the same amount of time to type out a Google query as a tweet on Twitter, so why not just Google that shit and get your answer immediately instead of bothering other people for it?
So now I've created a new Blogography page called "Google That Shit!" which I will put in a keyboard macro. Whenever I see somebody posting a question that could have been asked and answered on Google, I'll toss up a link to it. How else are they going to learn?
Some people may think this makes me an asshole, and they're absolutely right.
But that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make in order to create a better internet for everybody.
You are welcome!
Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2009
The New York blogger meet-up is NEXT SATURDAY! If you want to attend and haven't emailed me yet, please do so ASAP. If you have emailed, you'll be getting an email from me asking for confirmation.Once there's a head-count, we can decide on a venue and get some reservations made. We usually meet early... around 5:30pm... so we won't have to wait too long for a table, and can have time after to hit a bar and chat.
Hope to see you there!
Now I wants me a real New York bagel.
Posted on Saturday, April 4th, 2009
Once again feeling like the luckiest person on earth that I can show up in a city far from home and manage to find such an amazing group of people who would spend their valuable time hanging out with me. I don't know that I could ever adequately express just how much it means, but every time in every city... from the bottom of my heart... I am so very grateful. Who could have ever imagined that this stupid blog would add so much to my life? The people I meet, online and offline, have made my world so much bigger... so much richer... than I could have ever imagined.
The day was pretty simple, actually. Newark to New York. Hotel room not ready. Upper East Side. Downtown. Johnny Rockets (veggie burgers in stock, w00t!). Hotel room still not ready. Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium. Hotel room ready! Times Square. Dave York. Union Square. Times Square. Good times had by all.
Thanks so much to those who could come along!
As usual, I was too busy talking with everybody to remember to take pictures... but a lot of photos were taken, so I'll be sure to link to them once they're up!
Just some random notes...
• If you're going to visit the brand new Hard Rock Cafe at New Yankee Stadium, it's probably best to NOT do so on a game day unless you have tickets to the game. It took me 20 minutes of going from one place to another to another to another before somebody would actually let me in the cafe. I guess everybody thought I was trying to sneak into the game or something, so I kept getting passed around. The cafe itself is smaller than I thought it would be, but quite nice...
• I usually don't like to have blogger meets at Hard Rock Cafes because the loud music makes it hard to talk, and they are usually more interested in turning tables than letting people sit round and chat... but the Hard Rock Cafe Times Square was absolutely fantastic. Again! We had an amazing server taking good care of us, and it was a great experience all the way around. Thanks to everybody there for making Dave York... and now Dave York 2... such a great success!
• When it comes to embarrassing you on your birthday... even when it's not really your birthday anymore... people you consider to be friends will happily report you to the "Birthday Humiliation Squad" so you have to stand on top of a chair in the middle of a crowded restaurant with a flaming hot-fudge sundae in one hand (your dignity in the other) while people scream "happy birthday" at you... all because they think it makes for great photo fodder on their blogs. The bastards!
• When they say "DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICATION WITH ALCOHOL" on your prescription labels, it's probably a good idea to follow those directions. A couple shots of Jäger on top of my pills had my brain struggling to keep up with happenings around me. Which can be fun... or dangerous... depending on the situation.
• I really am one of the luckiest people on earth. Thanks again to everybody for such a great night!
UPDATE: Photos are slowly coming through. Like this one of my and ETinNY he sent me...
Peace out, baby!
And this shot of me accepting my un-birthday humiliation from Dawg's Flickr Set...
I'm the King of The World, bitches!
Dawg and Poppy with B.E. Earl.
Robin, Libragirl, B.E. Earl, Me, and Cissa!
How non-New Yorkers envision a ride on the subway.
UPDATE: And now Bellaventa and Libragirl have put up a set on Flickr...
UPDATE: And now Cissa has put up her set on Flickr...
I'll add more as I find 'em!
Posted on Saturday, April 11th, 2009
Despite having to work half a day, three really nifty things happened that had me walking on air all afternoon. I guess it doesn't have to rain shit every day after all.
But enough of me talking about how spectacular my life is here on my blog, let's talk about how totally spectacular I am on other people's blogs as well. Because by the time this is finally published to Blogography, my guest-entry over at Snackiepoo's site will have posted. I don't want to spoil any surprises or ruin the fun, but I can tell you there will be eggs...
For more eggciting ovum action, be sure to check it out...
Posted on Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Tomorrow I will be flying off to Seattle late at night so I can catch an early plane to Santa Fe the following morning. Yes, TequilaCon 2009 is finally at hand.
My first TequilaCon experience was #3 in Portland, Oregon for the history-making 2007 bash. I had actually planned on attending #2 in New York the previous year, but I couldn't work it into my schedule. This is indeed tragic (and one of my few regrets in life is that I didn't try harder to attend), but life goes on. Albeit not as well as it could have.
Anyway, now that Jenny has posted the Official TequilaCon 2009 Poster over at her Official TequilaCon page, I thought I'd write up another "Behind The Scenes" entry that everybody seems to like so much. This time on how this year's poster was created.
When plans were coming together for TequilaCon 2007, the perfect venue had been decided... The Kennedy School. It's a former schoolhouse that was converted into a nifty hotel, bar, and restaurant complex. The only problem with such a place is that it's massively huge. There was a very real concern that people would show up to the event and not be able to find each other! That's when I came up with the idea of making posters for the registration table in Brandon's room, and name-badge lanyards for all the attendees so they could find each other. There was no direction on what these things should look like, so I thought it might be cool to alter a Jose Cuervo tequila bottle and use that. I found a fantastic photo online, paid the photographer for a release, and two hours later the first Official TequilaCon Poster was born...
The lanyards were a hit, so when TequilaCon 2008 was in the planning stages we decided to do them again, even though the venue didn't really require them. Initially, I had no plans on revisiting the "bottle" idea from the previous year. Instead I was going to use a shot glass and etch the info on the side of it, as shown by this lo-res lanyard badge sketch...
It was a nice concept, but it didn't offer nearly the impact from last time. Even worse, what would I do for the future TequilaCons which would certainly follow? It would be nice if everything somehow tied together from year to year. That's when it dawned on me that there were hundreds of different tequila brands out there, and my best bet was to just choose a different bottle each year. Taking my camera to the local liquor store, I decided Pepe Lopez had a fantastic label that would look nice when modified so I snapped a few photos, painted in my own background, and the second Official TequilaCon Poster was created...
This year, the lanyards and posters were a no-brainer because people have come to expect them (we also discovered that they come in handy when you drink so much that you forget your own name). The only issue confronting me was which bottle to use. Vahid sent me a number of great suggestions, and on one of the pages was a bottle of 30-30 that seemed a perfect fit. Their label is really distinct and beautiful, so the decision was easy. What was not easy was finding a bottle of it that I could photograph because my local liquor store didn't carry it. Fortunately, the store in a neighboring city did, and the rest is history...
If you want to see all the gory details on the image was made, I've put the whole story in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, April 26th, 2009
It's Bullet Sunday from beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico! I am still in an alcohol-induced Bad Place right now, so we'll see how it goes...
• Assembly. When planning out TequilaCon, you really never know how things are going to go. The biggest question mark is always the venue. Will the establishment embrace the insanity and welcome us, or will they tell us to get the hell out? To see exactly how that was going to play out, we marched down to The Pink Adobe an hour early. Much to our relief, they were definitely willing to help out. Our server, Jessica (who was amazing from start to finish), set us up in a private room upstairs... complete with a private balcony and bathroom! While we were waiting for the space to be set up, we got the party started...
Looking plenty cowboy in our new boots.
Of course, nobody in Santa Fe actually dresses like this.
My dangerous dance with Jägermeister begins once again.
• Space The venue was absolutely perfect in every possible way, as Jenny can attest...
My name is Nathaniel... I like to DANCE!
• Party Somehow, TequilaCon always seems to work out perfectly. As if Fate has determined that TequilaCon is blessed by the gods or something. This time was no exception. I'm pretty sure that everybody had a most excellent time. Tons of photos are sure to be posted around the internets soon, but here's a couple to get things started...
Tequila People in our personal party space.
Partaking of the powerfully painful Black Dragon signature cocktail.
• Surprise. In what can only be called the TequilaCon surprise of the decade, Dustin flew in at the last minute so that TEQUILA MAN could make an appearance...
Get ready for... TEQUILA MAN!!
The Official TequilaCon Planning Posse strikes a pose with Tequila Man.
Once the bar closed down at The Pink Adobe, we wandered the streets of Santa Fe until we found a new bar to hang out in. The official party came to a close at midnight... but some dedicated TequilaConners carried on until the early morning.
All in all... another amazing event. Thanks to everybody who came, the city of Santa Fe, and the gracious staff at The Pink Adobe for putting up with our madness.
Until next year!
Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
The internet is a parade of non-stop entertainment. Especially if you have the twisted sense of humor that I do when you're surfing it. Because once it has been filtered through my demented mind, even the most mundane blog post can become a cavalcade of excitement. And yet, more and more I've found that no filter is needed. So many people on the internet are wacky-insane now that they hardly need my help to be entertaining.
Which is not a bad thing, because I'm sure people consider me to be wacky-insane too.
And they're absolutely right, of course.
I try very hard not to lose sight of this as I traipse through the blogosphere, but it is becoming more and more difficult. As an example, I'll come across a blogger who says that they're being attacked by a bunch of other nasty bloggers and I'll immediately become sympathetic. I'll dig a little bit, see that the blogger actually is being attacked, and become angry. Then I'll probably write a nice comment or fire off an email of support to them, because I've had my share of senseless attacks and hatemail and know what it's like.
And then... inevitably... other truths will come to light. Perhaps I'll find out that not only did the blogger have these attacks coming, but they are far worse at dishing out the venom than anything they're receiving, and there's a reason they're being attacked. Or maybe the blogger invited the attacks to get noticed. Or maybe the attacks weren't even really about them, they're just jumping into somebody else's war because they like the sympathy they get when they play the victim. Whatever the case, 9 times out of 10 I'll end up getting burned because the blogger in question is lying, delusional, paranoid, lonely, ignored, or just plain crazy.
But not crazy in a good way.
The horrible part is that I never seem to learn my lesson. I guess deep-down I want to believe that people are being honest about why they're being attacked... even though I know the odds are against it. Heaven only knows I've seen enough psychotic dumbasses online to realize I should be more careful, and yet I always seem to forget these people just when I need to remember them most.
Oh well... having your trust taken advantage of is all part of the blogging game, I guess. Obviously I can live with that, because I'm still here.
It's watching other people get duped that's getting to be too much to bear.
I keep wondering how much more I can take before I'm the one going all psychotic dumbass in my blog.
Though I'm probably there already and just don't realize it. Isn't this entry proof of that?
Posted on Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies out there! It's yet another Bullet Sunday, this time from beautiful Savannah, Georgia!
• Blogiversary. Okay, okay... I realize that April 18th, Blogography's six year anniversary, blew by and people are wondering what happened to my annual Kick-Ass Blogiversary Celebration (especially since last year was such a huge success). Well, I had big plans for the event, but everything kind of fell apart when the economy tanked. One company doubled their price in-between the time I asked for a price quote and the time I submitted the project. Another company that was working on one of my most favorite Blogography products ever has (literally) disappeared off the face of the earth (and took my deposit with them). Other companies I deal with have gone out of business or been sold. Add in TequilaCon, Davedon, Davenburgh, kidney stones, work, and non-stop travel... and, well, you get the picture. So instead of concentrating all my Blogiversary projects into one week, I'll be sprinkling them throughout the year as I manage to complete them. Starting with today...
• Ask Dave! Some of you may remember my "Ask Dave" Dashboard Widget for MacOS X. It's a tiny app that allows you to ask Lil' Dave a question, and he'll shake his magic screen to have an answer appear. It's thoroughly useless, but ever since Apple allowed apps to be built for the iPhone, I've wanted to convert it over... so I could have something SIX TIMES MORE USELESS! Introducing Ask Dave! for iPhone and iPod Touch!
It's pretty sweet and has some cool features... but, best of all, it's FREE! If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, head on over to the Official Ask Dave! Page and get it! And if you don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch, now you have an excuse to go buy one!
• Bindle Binaries. And the reason that the Ask Dave! app is free isn't because of me. It's because of David Syzdek of Bindle Binaries. When I realized that I wasn't smart enough to create the app on my own, I started looking for a company that I could hire to build it for me. As the price quotes began to roll in, my heart sank when they ended up being way outside my budget. I would have to either abandon the project or charge for it. But then I got the idea that maybe it would be cheaper to find somebody who already had a "Magic 8-Ball" app and have them put my graphics on top of their existing code. I downloaded every free "Magic 8-Ball" app I could find, picked my favorite one, then wrote to the author with my idea. The rest is history. David liked the project, agreed to release it for free if the code could be open-source, and started work on the app immediately. So, if you enjoy Ask Dave! don't thank me. All I did was draw some cartoons. David is the one who figured out a way to put it together... came up with a way to animate the backgrounds... added all the little touches that makes it feel like an iPhone app... put in untold hours squashing bugs and getting it to work... it's all him. Thank you, David!
Sadly, this is my last day in Savannah. I'd be upset about that, but tomorrow I'm off to new adventures...
Posted on Sunday, May 31st, 2009
It's heatwave edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Hot. It's eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit outside.
• Hotter. I am guessing it's ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit inside... because the air conditioner is broked. I try to compensate by eating ice cream and drinking ice water, but it's just not happening. All that does is make me realize how bloody miserable I am when I stop.
• Up. I saw Pixar's latest animated miracle, Up, and found it to be scrumtrelescent.
• Upper. Seriously, Up is one of the most beautifully animated spectacles ever made. That wouldn't be saying much if the story sucked, but this is Pixar, so the story is genius as usual. Crotchety old widower Carl Fredricksen decides to have the adventure of a lifetime by tying thousands of balloons to his house and floating to South America. Unfortunately, an overly-helpful and annoying Wilderness Scout named Russell accidentally gets taken along for the ride. Hilariousness ensues. I don't know if Up displaces Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles as my favorite Pixar movie... but it comes darn close. I'd call the film "flawless" except I did have two small problems and one bigger problem with it. To avoid spoiling things, I've dropped that in an extended entry.
• Twitter. I already feel as though Twitter is a massive waste of time... especially when things like "blip.fm" get involved and people are tweeting every frickin' song they listen to (Why should I care about your bad taste in music? Do people actually click on blip.fm links?). Or, even worse, those who live-tweet television shows and sporting events. Why would I want to read tweets about something I don't even want to watch? Or, if I am watching, I ALREADY KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING AND DON'T NEED TO READ ABOUT IT! Factor in other annoyances like re-tweets, private conversations, and Follow Friday (SERIOUSLY, IF I WANT TO KNOW WHO YOU FOLLOW, I'LL VISIT YOUR FOLLOWERS PAGE!)... and Twitter is mostly noise anymore (don't even get me started on blog post announcements which announce posts that I've ALREADY READ from a webfeed subscription). Bleh. I wish I wasn't so addicted to Twitter. My life would be a lot simpler.
• Twitterer. But now the ultimate Twitter annoyance has struck... TWITTER GAMES! I keep getting "SpyMaster" invitations, and it's only a matter of time before "Mob Wars" invades. This may very well be the last straw for me. If I can't find a Twitter client that gives me the ability to filter out all the distracting shit that is clogging up my feed, I may just give up. Or unfollow a couple hundred people.
And now I really need to catch up on some sleep. If you've already seen Up, and want to read me nit-picking over this excellent movie, that's in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
When it comes to avatars, I like photographs best because you can put a face to what somebody wrote. So even though I think Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey would make better avatars for me, I always bite the bullet and upload a photo of myself.
This is my default avatar...
Whenever I sign up for a new social media site or online service or user forum or whatever, that's what I use. It's fairly current, doesn't look too hideous, is perfectly square, reduces well, and is stored on my desktop so it's ready to go at a moment's notice.
And most of the time it's fine because I don't use those kind of sites very often.
But Twitter is a service I use every day, several times a day. Whatever photo I use on Twitter is something I see constantly. Consequently, I get bored with my avatar after a while and am compelled to change it. To keep track of the photos I've used, I put copies in a folder. Today, I changed avatars again, and noticed that folder is getting quite full. Turns out I've used 21 different images for Twitter so far...
Meh. Perhaps one of these days I'll find myself an avatar I like well enough to keep for a while.
Posted on Saturday, June 13th, 2009
Originally, I wasn't going to be able to attend ConFab in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky because I had previous plans. But eventually everything came together and I flew out of Seattle last night at 10:30pm, arriving at LEX around 10:30am this morning (via Detroit). It was a very, very long night with practically no sleep (which is why I am so very grateful to Mr. Shiny for picking me up at the airport!).
But it was all worth it, because Brad and Turnbaby truly outdid themselves, and a fantastic group of fun people turned up for the party. I had a great time, and once again was amazed at the kind, funny, generous, entertaining, wonderful people you can meet in the blogosphere.
I decided to wear my pirate shirt, which was accompanied by hair styling from Miss Britt and eye makeup from Hilly-Sue. Being a pirate kicked up my innate* hotness up to eleven, and my customized drinking cup completed the ensemble...
So far as I know, the only person who got any pussy tonight was Hilly-Sue...
And now, since I have to fly back home in the morning and it's already 2:30am, I suppose I should get some sleep.
Or at least try to.
*And by "innate" I obviously mean "nonexistent."
Posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
I'm holding a Twitter contest!
Prepare yourself to win a fabulous prize package worth nearly FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS!!!
That's right... none of this lame-ass "Win an iPhone" bullshit that's being Re-Tweeted every five minutes... I'm giving away FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS in prizes! Just look at the cool stuff you can win...
A GULFSTREAM G550 JET! ($45,000,000 value)
A PAIR OF 2009 FERRARI SCUDERIA F430s! ($600,000 value)
AN ALL-EXPENSES-PAID AROUND-THE-WORLD CRUISE! ($80,000 value)
FOUR MILLION DOLLARS IN GOLD! ($4,000,000 value)
TOTAL PRIZE VALUE: $49,680,000!!!
Here's all you have to do to enter...
And that's it! Best of luck to everybody who enters!*
Because I am so fucking sick and tired by all this stupid contest crap that is taking over everybody's favorite social media distraction.
When you fire up Twitter, it asks you one question: "What are you doing?
And, in the beginning, that's what people used Twitter for... quick little updates to let people know what they were up to in-between blog posts. But, like all things, Twitter inevitably evolved. Soon people were using it to say "good morning," ask questions, get advice, post photos, say random shit, and much more. Then Twitter abuse started happening. People started broadcasting personal conversations (even though that's what Direct Messages and Email are for). People started posting when their blog is updated (even though that's what a webfeed is for). People started selling shit (even though that's what eBay is for). And people even started... God help us... Twittering all the songs they listen to with "blip.fm" (even though that's what Last.fm is for). Then came the abomination known as SpyMaster. And so-on and so-on. People rarely say what they're doing anymore.
But the worst was yet to come.
Now companies (and even individuals) are holding contests. Usually for an iPhone. These contests require you to "Re-Tweet" their blog URL or some other annoying spam-like shit that clogs up the service and flushes it even further down the crapper of uselessness than it already is. As more and more people hop on the Twitter contest bandwagon, it's only going to get worse. I anticipate that pretty soon I'll be longing for the "good ol' days" when people were just blip.fm-ing every frickin' song they're listening to instead of re-Tweeting every damn contest that pops up.
I suppose it's just par for the course. The web was ruined when assholes started adding pop-ups and other annoying crap. Email was ruined when assholes started sending spam and unsolicited crap. It was only a matter of time before the assholes ruined Twitter with their contest-spam crap.
Oh well. So long as companies can count on Twitter users whoring their shit for one-in-a-million prize-winning odds... it's the cheapest way to advertise, and probably ain't going away any time soon.
* Prizes do not include taxes, duties, fees, delivery, or any other supplemental costs.
Posted on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
I'm not here today. I'm blogging over at Anissa's place...
Posted on Sunday, June 21st, 2009
Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2009
Last night I got zero sleep. Neither reading a book nor sleeping pills helped, and I finally gave up around 3:00am. At first I tried thinking positive. Here was an excellent opportunity to get caught up on my backlog of work! Unfortunately, my brain was all mooshy, so I couldn't concentrate. Instead I ate a sandwich and watched a couple episodes of Star Trek before it was time to get up.
Today was nothing but a blur as I wandered around in a zombie-like state. My only goal was to not make anything explode.
Which is really too bad, because if anything had exploded, I'd have something to blog about.
Instead I'll make do with boring tales of blog development...
My MacBook was working on some processor-intensive 3-D renderings, and so I couldn't use it for anything major or I'd slow things down. It was the perfect time to work on a few site improvements, because a text editor doesn't use much of the computer's processor power.
One of the things I've longed to do was be able to add search terms to my "Google That Shit!" page URLs. This way, when I send somebody there, I can pre-populate the search box with the words they should be searching for. I thought it would be really simple... I'd just hunt down some snippets of code that somebody else had used, modify it slightly, and away we go. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any code snippets.
So I spent the next three hours trying to get the code working. I eventually figured it out, but it's a kludgy solution that will probably break more often than it works (if you don't believe me, just go to the "Google That Shit" page and look at the source code!).
The good news is that now I can send search terms! Just add a "?" to the URL followed by search terms divided by "+" characters. Like this... SEARCH GOOGLE FOR CHOCOLATE PUDDING.
I can even refer site specific searches like this... SEARCH BLOGOGRAPHY FOR BETTY WHITE.
Now I don't know if I should be proud of myself because it actually works... or embarrassed because the way it works is so ugly.
Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
If you're viewing this site in Internet Explorer 8 it might appear messed up. Or so I've been told by a half-dozen people.
Needless to say, I may die of un-shock. Microsoft has been screwing up the internet for a decade so why should they stop now? Oh well, from what I can tell everything looks fine in Safari, and Firefox, and Opera, and even my frickin' iPhone... so I guess it's something IE-specific. Yet again. I jumbled a few things around that I though might be suspect, but won't have time to thoroughly check into the problem until next week.
In the meanwhile, I guess my blog will just have to look like crap in the latest Internet Explorer fiasco...
A lot of people are asking themselves why in the hell Microsoft cant make a standards-compliant browser after seven revisions. Web standards, after all, ensure that everybody sees the internet the same way. At this point I think it's safe to assume that it's not because Microsoft can't make a standards-compliant browser... they just don't want to make a standards-compliant browser. They just don't give a shit, and are once again using their massive market share to dictate that everybody look at the internet the Microsoft Way.
This is rather obvious when running the Web Standards Project Acid 3 Test, which has been out for over a year. Internet Explorer 8 returns a score of 20 out of 100. EPIC FAIL...
Apple's Safari browser passes just fine...
EVEN MY FRICKIN' iPHONE CAN GET A SCORE OF 97...
I mean, seriously, what does it say for Microsoft when a PHONE is better capable of surfing the internet than their browser? And it's never going to stop. Microsoft will continue to screw over web developers just because they can. Internet Explorer is the de-facto browser for bajillions of Windows users, which means more hacks, work-arounds, and kludges (not to mention untold hours of frustration) for anybody who wants their web pages to be seen properly by a huge chunk of people.
And don't even get me started on how Microsoft wants MS Word to dictate how we view email.
I need a cookie.
Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
Tonight as I was waiting for my computer backup to process, I started going through my webfeeds to clear out any dead blogs I might be subscribed to. There were a lot more than I thought there would be... twenty-seven to be exact. The fact that these people have (apparently) given up on their blogs and moved on with their lives is not surprising. Most blogs don't last more than a year, and those that do seem to suffer burn-out as they pass year two. Even hitting that magical third year hump isn't the guarantee it once was. With social networks like Twitter and FaceBook becoming more and more of a time-sucking vortex, people seem to be blogging less and less.
What is surprising is how most people have chosen (presumably) to end their blog.
They just disappear one day and don't come back.
Thirteen of the blogs I deleted have a last entry which gives no indication that the author was even considering quitting. On the contrary, eight of them were making promises for future posts... like "I'll post pictures when I get back"... and "I'll write more about that later." Of course, those days never came. I can only assume that they were killed in a tragic accident or somehow ended up with amnesia and forgot they even have a blog.
Six of the blogs just kind of petered out. They posted less and less until all they were posting is random updates weeks (or even months) apart saying something like "I'm still alive" or "Haven't had time for blogging recently" or "Wow, I'm neglecting this blog lately, but I promise to start writing again soon!" Of course, they rarely do.
Five of the blogs mentioned something about "taking a break" or "going on hiatus." That's all well and good, but if it's been longer than six months, I'm just going to consider it a permanent hiatus.
Two of the blogs went private.
Only one blog... one... posted "It would seem I'm not blogging here anymore, so I guess I'll be shutting this site down soon." It's refreshing to have somebody actually come out and say it rather than leave you hanging and wondering if they're dead or alive. No promises. No dragging it out for a slow, painful death. Just a decision to stop blogging one day, and a note to let people know about it.
When I eventually pack it in, I hope that's the way I'll go. It only seems polite, really.
Posted on Saturday, July 18th, 2009
As I sit here staring at a blank screen, I realize that I've done absolutely nothing blog-worthy today. I worked for four hours, then spent my afternoon and evening doing all those little things that I never seem to have time to do. Before I know it, it's 11:00pm and the day has gone. My first instinct is to call Bad Robert because just five minutes on the phone with him would give me enough material to blog about for an entire week. But he has a job which requires getting up at an insanely early hour and is most certainly already in bed.
Blogging can be so bloody difficult sometimes.
With no Bad Robert to help me, I now turn to my How to Blog the Blogography Way flowchart to see what I should do next...
Ah, here we go then...
Well that wasn't so difficult after all.
Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Every time I make the three-hour drive to Spokane, it seems longer and longer. It may only take three hours but it feels like ten. Luckily, I've got the best pizza on earth waiting for me when I arrive, so it's almost worth the agony.
Anyway, I've already had my delicious pizza and visited The Comic Book Shop, so now I'm needing to turn in early tonight. I'd just like to mention one more thing before I go, because you can WIN FABULOUS PRIZES if you help out...
This Saturday, I will be participating in Blogathon 2009 over at Therapy in the Making along with these fine people here:
We'll be raising money for my absolute favorite charity: Doctor's Without Borders. I've mentioned this wonderful organization many times here at Blogography, and this is what I had to say about them when I was asked if I had any real-life heroes...
There are many amazing heroes throughout history, but if forced to pick just one, I'd have to say anybody who is a part of the Doctors Without Borders group. These amazing people boldly go where angels fear to tread to offer medical assistance to people who otherwise wouldn't get any. A quote from their site... "Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders or MSF) delivers emergency aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters, and to others who lack health care due to social or geographical isolation." How amazing is that?
These incredibly brave medical professionals have absolutely no political, military, or religious agenda. It's a truly international organization which is fully impartial in any conflict, and is committed to providing care where it is needed, regardless of who is needing it.
That's right, after Blogathon is over, everybody who sponsored us will be put in a drawing for prizes! I will be including some stuff from the Artificial Duck Store, including a grand prize package which include hats, cards, buttons, and a rare opportunity to own a CUSTOM Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey print!
Here's all you have to do to sponsor us and be entered in the drawing...
And that's it! You can donate however much you like... even $10 will help a truly worthwhile organization bring medical aid to people who really need it. And rest assured that your money will go to where it's supposed to, because you'll be giving directly to Doctors Without Borders... we don't make you go through any third parties to send your donation.
And that's it! I am looking forward to participating on Saturday, so please sponsor us if you have a few bucks to spare!
Posted on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
I'm not at BlogHer in Illinois. I'm not at Comic-Con in Caifornia. I'm working in Washington State.
This sucks twelve shades of Sunday, because I would gladly be at either event than stuck here.
The good news is that it really takes the pressure off having to write something for Blogography. After all, with the tons of news, blogs, and tweets coming out of Chicago and San Diego... who would notice if I put up something that sucks? Maybe I should just press my ass to my webcam and post that. Except I really don't want to get ass-prints on my laptop screen since I just cleaned it yesterday. I also worry about being flexible enough to webcam my ass without hurting my back, so I'd probably end up having to hire a stunt-ass anyway. Which begs the question... where exactly would one hire a stunt-ass? It's not like they advertise in the Yellow Pages (well, they might in L.A., but certainly not in my neck of the woods).
And now I'm just tired. Tired of driving. Tired of working. Tired of staring at a computer screen.
But not tired of playing Lego Batman on the Wii.
Which is probably a lot more fun than stupid BlogHer or dumb Comic-Con anyways!
At least that's what I'm telling myself...
Posted on Friday, July 24th, 2009
Just a reminder that I will be joining in for the 2009 Blogathon over at Therapy in the Making on Saturday...
If you'd like to sponsor us as we raise money for Doctors Without Borders AND be entered in a drawing to win some nice prizes, here's all you have to do...
Doctors Without Borders is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. This is a truly amazing group of very brave and dedicated people, and Wikipedia has a good overview of the incredible things they do to make this world a better place.
See you over at Colin's blog!
Posted on Saturday, July 25th, 2009
Since I am a pretty crappy writer, I came up with the brillaint idea of drawing a new DaveToon every 30 minutes for my two 2-hour shifts. This didn't seem like a big deal, because they only take ten to fifteen minutes to draw once I come up with an idea. And when I'm writing for Blogography, the ideas for the toons just pop in my head as I sit down to blog...
But sitting down cold with no ideas and trying to come up with a new DaveToon every half hour?
It's a lot more difficult than it sounded.
Each and every time I was in a full-blown panic as I rushed to finish before the posting deadline. But it was all worth it because Doctors Without Borders is an amazing organization. And just because Blogathon 2009 is nearly over doesn't mean you can't still donate to support the great work they do for people all over the world...
If you missed Blogathon, I'm re-running all eight of the DaveToons I made...
The rest are in an extended entry. Be sure to check them out after the jump!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009
Ooh! I'm not here today! I'm guest-blogging over at the lovely Lady Penelope's blog!
Errr... or I guess I'm there tomorrow. Which is today here in the USA with the time change. I think.
What?!? Where am I again?
Oog. I is confused. Just click here...
And now I'm off to pack for PART TWO of my four back-to-back-to-back-to-back trips...
Posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2009
Well today was certainly a big bucket-full of awesome win.
I spent the afternoon with Beth and Kevin, who were kind enough to go to lunch with me, then wander around MODA for a while. But the real treat was when they took me out to Stone Mountain Park. It's a pretty impressive place, featuring the world's largest piece of exposed granite. What makes it truly amazing is what you don't see... because most of this mammoth rock is buried underground. Hard to believe when you can't even fit the small exposed part into your field of vision from the parking lot...
You can take a gondola to the top, which is pretty sweet considering there was no way I was climbing the thing in billion-degree heat!
From the gondola, people look like ants crawling over the mountain...
Out on top of the rock is quite a view...
From there we went back towards Atlanta for Davelanta3 at The Cheesecake Factory where an amazing time was had by all...
Kevin, Beth, Diana, Kim, Val, Mr. & Mrs. Muskrat, Heather, and Anissa...
not pictured is Julie, who ditched our sorry asses so she could go to
a much better party with a group of much classier people!
I have to get up for work in four hours, so I'll post my recap, photos, and links tomorrow. But I do want to take a minute to thank everybody for coming. I can't believe what amazing people show up at these things, and it means the world to me that I get to hang out with y'all. How lucky am I to have made such good friends through this silly little blog?
I just hope that I didn't smell too funny after sweating off ten pounds on top of Stone Mountain.
Posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
It's Bullet Sunday from a rain-soaked location somewhere in Central Georgia!
• Heat. I'd rather be too hot than too cold. So you'd think that Georgia in the middle of summer would be like a dream come true for me. But it's not. I am getting really tired of sweating my ass off every time I have to go outside. In that respect, Central Georgia is no different than Central Washington, because we've been breaking 100° on a regular basis there. It's just that when I work here I have to go outside a lot more often than I do back home. Back home I sit in an air-conditioned office all day long and my ass stays intact. Which begs the question... why has nobody invented air-conditioned underwear? I find it sad that we can put a man on the moon, but can't solve the sweaty ass dilemma. Apparently, science is dead.
• Davelanta 3. As I had mentioned last night, the latest installment of the annual Davelanta blogger meet was a lot of fun, and everybody seemed to have a good time. Still can't believe that I get to meet such amazing people everywhere I go...
Just like I promised, here's a roll call of the fine people who were kind enough to spend their valuable time hanging out with me (taken from my DaveEvents Page)...
I've marked all Davelanta 2008 Alumni with an asterisk. If Mentally Rehearsed hadn't already made plans for the weekend, we would have been at a 100% repeat from last year, which speaks volumes as to how much fun a blogger meet can be. If you ever have the opportunity to go to one, I encourage you to drop everything and do so!
• Magic. Tonight while I was eating dinner, my waiter cleared the table next to mine and was taking a pile of dirty dishes back to the kitchen. As he was walking, a napkin blew off the top of the stack and slowly started to float to the floor behind his back. When the waiter noticed this, he stopped and lifted his left leg up behind him... caught the napkin on his foot... rotated his foot around front with the napkin still sitting on it... reached down and grabbed the napkin... then put his foot back down on the ground and continued walking to the kitchen as if nothing had happened. It was like a magic trick of some kind, and I felt like breaking out in applause after witnessing such beautiful visual poetry in motion. After paying my check and exiting the restaurant, I tripped over my own feet and very nearly came crashing down in the parking lot. Irony... it's what's for dinner.
• Classy. Language evolves. As an example, "awful" used to mean "full of awe" and was used much like how we use the word "awesome" in modern times. But the word evolved until it now means "something bad or unpleasant." In other words, "awful" currently has the exact opposite meaning that it used to have. This is a rather drastic example, but you get the point. ANYWAY... the word "classy" used to mean "wealthy and educated." Over time it came to mean "stylish in looks." Then it evolved further until it could also meant "stylish in behavior." In other words, you no longer need to be wealthy or educated in order to be considered "classy." And while I am sure that being wealthy makes it easier to be classy, it's certainly no guarantee. From my experience, it's just the opposite. My favorite example is flying First Class, which is filled with self-important, self-entitled, embarrassingly abusive assholes who have zero class... vs. flying Coach, which is less comfortable, but filled with a better class of people (probably because you're all bonding over mutual suffering?). I don't really have a point here, it's just something I felt like blathering on about as I confirmed my First Class upgrade for my flight home on Tuesday.
And, on that happy note, I think I will try to take a power-nap so I will have the strength to go back to work in an hour. Staying up for 20 hours straight after four hours sleep has done nothing for my mental health.
Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2009
This is an entry I originally wrote on June 15th. But I never was able to finish it, and instead went with Bad Monkey pooping in a diaper. Since then, I've changed, updated, and altered it a half-dozen times, but still ended up not publishing it for one reason or another. Then Hilly went and posted something along similar lines today, so I figured it was probably time I just went ahead and let it go (after cutting out several paragraphs of angst, then updating it again to be more current)...
I want to take a break from blogging, but I don't know how.
It's not that I don't have anything to blog about... I just don't have anything I can blog about. The only things going on in my life right now are work and personal stuff, neither of which I choose to talk about online. So instead I muddle through, posting even stupider crap than usual just to keep my blog going at a time when blogging is the last thing I want to be doing. It would be nice if this were a temporary situation, but right now there's no end in sight.
The obvious solution would be to go on hiatus. But I'm fairly certain that if I gave up blogging for any length of time, I would end up abandoning it all together. The only thing that keeps Blogography going is my habit to post every single day. The minute I start skipping days or filling in with guest-bloggers is when I might as well shut down altogether rather than spiral towards the inevitable.
But I'm not ready to say goodbye. At least not yet.
So I've been trying to renew my enthusiasm for blogging by doing a lot of guest-posting, taking part in Blogathon 2009, limiting my time on Twitter and FaceBook, meeting up with other bloggers, coming up with recurring content ideas, and trying to steer clear of memes and other "easy" filler.
I don't know if it's working just yet, but I certainly hope so.
Because blogging has come to mean an awful lot to me, and the thought of having something so important die off is painful. At first I thought it was because of the relationships with readers and fellow bloggers that I've been lucky enough to find... but ultimately I think it's the relationship I've built with myself here that's the most important. While not a personal blog by any means, Blogography has become an outlet for self-expression that would be very hard to replicate any place else. It's an opportunity to step outside the horrors of Real Life once each day and finding a part of my life I can share... even if it is just a drawing of a monkey.
My blog may just be a reflection of a small part of me, but it's still me.
And I think that's something worth saving.
So I'll keep trying.
Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2009
Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2009
I'm not here today... I'm guest-posting for Craig over at Puntabulous!
After you've read my Puntabulous post, you can get a "behind the scenes look" at how it all happened in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
My day wasn't spent wandering around Denver as planned... but working.
I did get out for a quick walk down the 16th Street Mall in the afternoon, but the heat eventually drove me back to my air-conditioned hotel for still more work. And though I didn't finish nearly enough of what I needed to get done, I finally threw in the towel around 4:30.
As usual, good conversation and good times ensued. That I get to continuously meet amazing people like this in my travels is a gift for which I'm wholly inadequate at expressing my gratitude. All I can say is thanks to the three of you for taking valuable time out of your Saturday to let me hang out with you. Hopefully it won't be another six years before I am able to come back!
After dinner, Howard and I decided to get our Tarantino on and see Inglourious Basterds. The film was total genius, and I loved every minute of it. Particularly shocking to me was how amazing Brad Pitt is in the flick... this is easily his best performance since 12 Monkeys. But the hands-down standout, scene-stealing role in the film belonged to Christoph Waltz's brilliant portrayal of Col. Hans Landa. The guy had to walk a very fine line to get just the right balance of humor and terror, and did it so admirably that the film was elevated to an entirely new level of greatness...
I have no idea how Quentin Tarantino does it. He always manages to write exactly the right dialogue, then cast exactly the right actors to speak it, then direct the entire film flawlessly, then pick precisely the right music to drive it all home. I don't think "visionary" manages to adequately express how astounding a talent he is when it comes to crafting a film, but it's the best word I can think of to describe what it is he does.
Which, in this case, is to create a film that has many levels, yet blends them all so subtly that they disappear into a singular brute-force narrative. By the time we get to the film-within-a-film theater scenes (which seem to be a thinly-veiled commentary on all the killing that the audience has been manipulated into rooting for thus far), all I can do is shake my head in disbelief that any one man can possess such talent...
I can hardly way to see what Quentin comes up with next.
Posted on Saturday, September 5th, 2009
Today was filled with surprises, and all in a good way... for once.
I started out kind of early, because I wanted to head back down the strip and see my friends off before they left to the airport. As we were wrapping things up, they asked me if I was going to the Grand Opening of the Hard Rock Cafe, Las Vegas Strip Edition. I had read that the opening was being postponed, again, so this kind of caught me off guard. So after everybody was bundled up in a taxi, I walked down The Strip and confirmed that the new property was indeed opening up this morning at 11:00.
After waiting around for 35 minutes, I was the first one "officially" up the escalator to the new venue where I found...
This is an absolutely beautiful restaurant. Unfortunately, it's a pretty shitty Hard Rock Cafe. And let me tell you why... it's the memorabilia. Or lack of memorabilia, to be more accurate.
From the very moment that Eric Clapton hung his guitar on the wall of the original Hard Rock in London, rock memorabilia has been an integral part of the Hard Rock "experience" for its visitors. When you walk through those doors and see the expanse of one-of-a-kind items, it's like a rock-n-roll museum you'd find in your dreams. For music-lovers, its perfect.
But not here. Not this time.
The memorabilia is so anemic that the place barely feels like a "Hard Rock" at all. It's sad, actually. As an example, here's the bar area. How much memorabilia do you see?
Uhhh... yeah... there's a few mannequins in the background. And what about here in the main dining room...
What is that... like SEVEN whole pieces and two televisions? Compare that to but one small corner of the Hard Rock Cafe in Biloxi's hotel and casino property...
Or Lisbon, Portugal...
Or Foxwoods, Connecticut...
Or Memphis, Tennessee...
Or even the cafe they just closed in Salt Lake City...
... Just to name a few. Now those... those are Hard Rock Cafes!! The memorabilia is so thick you're swimming in it. You have to visit again and again just to see it all. THAT'S WHAT A HARD ROCK CAFE IS ALL ABOUT!!
But this new cafe on The Vegas Strip? Almost nothing. In fact, there are entire sections of the restaurant which are practically devoted to nothing. Here's the upstairs bar...
And the mini "Hard Rock Live" stage...
And some kind of small VIP room also upstairs...
Occasional random pieces hidden away, but really nothing. NOTHING!! This is supposed to be a Hard Rock?!? The only thing that keeps the place from being a total failure is the staff, which is terrific. And also the sweet "Microsoft Surface" touch tables they've got scattered around the joint (like the one behind the curtain above). You sit down, and it's like a giant iPhone on steroids with its awesome multi-touch interface. Here I am looking at pins from various cafes...
You can toss them around, rotate them, move them in and out, stack them... or even pinch and pull them to zoom in for a much, much closer look...
Other toys include a memorabilia viewer for cafes around the globe which you pick out from an actual spinning globe. This is cool, because it's not like this cafe has much memorabilia to look at here...
They even have distractions like puzzles, videos, and even a piano...
Alas, it's by Microsoft, so you have to brace yourself for all the crashes and failures...
Knowing what this cafe COULD HAVE BEEN almost makes me cry. All that wonderful space that COULD have been crammed with awesome memorabilia from the Hard Rock's extensive collection... wasted. I have no idea who is designing this shit, but somebody needs to stop them. Take the Hard Rock back to what it is at its core. Take it back to what makes it special. Take it back to what people want to see. Take it back to what makes me want to travel the globe and see them all. Take. It. Back.
After goofing around at the Hard Rock for a bit, I headed back to the hotel to meet up with the Official TequilaCon 2010 Planning Committee... Jenny, Vahid, and Brandon. The day kind of went like this...
Drinks. Accusations. Threats. Apologies. Sunglasses. Cigarette holders. News. Drinks. Slots. Slots. Drinks. Craps. Slots. Video Poker. Drinks. Drinks. Drinks. Drinks. Drinks. Slots. Dinner. OFFICIAL TEQUILACON BUSINESS...
Then Walking. Goodnight Brandon. Slots. Drinks. Video Poker. Slots. Walgreens. And lastly, the Fremont Street Experience...
And there you have it. Just another boring day in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UPDATE: I had a long email conversation with somebody who basically asked "who are you to define what is or isn't a Hard Rock?" Which I thought was odd, because they're pretty much self-defining (as the photos I posted above will attest). But even setting that aside, just look at a description of the HRC Hurghada from the Hard Rock Cafe's own web site...
So, even at the Hard Rock Cafe corporate offices, the abundance of memorabilia is looked upon as a defining trait of a good cafe. If I'm seen as "defining" a cafe, I'm only doing so from the definition provided by the organization themselves.
Posted on Monday, September 7th, 2009
Over the next couple days I'm having my blog templates upgraded, so there may be some problems pop up while things get sorted out. I was going to do a redesign at the same time, but I kind of like my blog the way it is.
A couple people asked me "how I did" in Vegas. Since I made it home alive, I'd say I did okay, but I don't think that's what they are talking about... they want to know how much money I won or lost. The truth is that I am not much of a gambler, even though I seem to be luckier than average.
Which is to say that I lose less money than average, because at the end of the day, the casino almost always ends up the winner. Given the addictive nature of gambling, it helps to have a plan. To make sure I don't go broke, I set myself a daily budget based on the total amount of loose change I've managed to collect over the last year or so... $264. This spread out to $64 for the first half-day, and $100 for Saturday and Sunday. My luck played out something like this...
So I lost $181. Which isn't bad when you consider it gave me three days' worth of entertainment AND was under my budgeted amount of $264. This would be great if I hadn't burned through the remaining $83 at the new Hard Rock Cafe an The Vegas Strip buying Grand Opening collector's pins. Oh well.
And now I'm home again... collecting my pocket change for the next time.
Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2009
My morning routine is a rather complex series of events which is based on a number of "What-If" scenarios. Such as if I wake up and can't move because my joints are messed up, I then have to take pills so I can function properly. But these pills can trigger an idiopathic angioedema swelling attack... usually in dangerous or uncomfortable places.
Like the bottoms of my feet, which ballooned up with painful welts that made walking and driving a difficult and agonizing experience this morning. A massive dose of antihistamines helps some, but it still takes a serious chunk of time for the swelling to subside. In the meanwhile, I am having to hobble around in pain all day long. Not a fun time.
As of 10:00pm tonight, my feet are still in pretty bad shape, so I am taking some serious drugs which will probably have me passing out any minute now.
I'll see how far I can get...
I received a rather interesting comment about my rant yesterday from somebody accusing me of being "anti-Apple" (oh the sweet, sweet irony). I would have gladly published it... except they used a couple of slurs which I refuse to publish on my blog. The gist of the comment was that my "tirade" against MobileMe was unjustified, and I "obviously haven't been using it lately, because it performs flawlessly." This is laughable for a number of reasons, one of which being that I use MobileMe several times a day to sync information between my various Macs (when it feels like syncing anyway). But mostly it's bullshit because iDisk is a complete and total piece of crap which has NEVER worked. Here's an example...
Today I bought a couple new iTunes songs on my work computer. I wanted to transfer them to my laptop when I got home, so I thought I'd drag them into my iDisk where they'd be waiting for me. Except dropping the first music file in my iDisk immediately made The Finder drop to its knees and become unresponsive. After ten minutes, I decided to give up and restart the Finder. Except this is what I got halfway through the process...
Game over. MobileMe's iDisk was able to crash the Mac's Finder file system so thoroughly that it couldn't even be restarted. A complete reboot of the entire computer was required. And this is not an isolated incident. This is an easily reproduced problem that happens ALL THE TIME for no apparent reason. So I am not talking out of my ass here. When I say MobileMe is a flaming pile of shit, it comes from experience.
And, in happier news, have you seen the latest images to come from the Hubble Telescope after it was updated and refurbished? Holy cats, it's beautiful stuff...
I could literally stare at stuff like this all day long. Thank you NASA for using some of my tax dollars in a way I whole-heartedly approve of. I look forward to many, many more incredible images from Hubble.
And now the drugs are starting to kick in, which means I should probably stop blogging before I hurt myself.
Posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
And I'm off for a wild weekend in DutchyLand with the Bitch that is Dutch...
Also in attendence will be the Lady that is Penelope and the Tai-Tai that is Geeky.
With a roster like this, only time will tell if I manage to survive the event.
Here's hoping that if (by some miracle) I do survive, I'll not be permanently damaged...
Posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2009
As the grand Bitchsterdam festivities are not until tomorrow, those of us in DutchyLand early had decided to goof off in the picturesque city of Delft in South Holland. It's a rather important city in the history of the Netherlands, and is famous for it's Chinese-style pottery and being the birthplace of the painter Vermeer.
After arriving in the city, The DutchBitch, Geeky Tai-Tai, her husband, and myself decided to take a speed-boat cruise on the Delft canals. Except the speed-boat never went over two miles an hour, which made for a relaxing start to our day...
The canals are smaller than those you'll find in Amsterdam, which makes them that much prettier...
The Central Square still has many old buildings, though apparently they're not quite as old as you'd expect because the city was razed by fire and then later destroyed again when a gunpowder factory exploded...
Geeky Tai-Tai and The Dutch Bitch outside of the Delf Cathedral...
Delftware hand-painted pottery is a big tourist attraction and incredibly expensive if you buy the "real" stuff. Fortunately, there's tons of imitation pottery around for the tourist trade...
Given that this is the Netherlands, one of my most favorite foods on earth is easily available... potatoes and mayo...
But the food for which Delf is made famous is Poffertjes, which are little pancake-type thingies that are served up with powdered sugar & butter and are totally delicious. Much to the annoyance of Dutchy, I kept mis-pronouncing them as "Pooferglarg" or "Poofterjarb" or "Pooferflargen"... which, if you follow any of us on Twitter, was responsible for terrorizing the Twitterverse last night...
Amazingly, there was a restaurant we found which proudly proclaims that "Bill Clinton Ate Poffertjes Here"... and has somehow survived the experience...
All in all, it was a perfect way to spend the afternoon...
After dropping off Geeky Tai-Tai back at Schophol so she could spend some quallity pooferflargen time with her husband (without annoying bloggers around), we goofed off for a while until the celebrated arrival of The Lady Penelope. From then on, it was Wine-O-Clock, pooferflargen, chips & dip, Wine-O-Clock, pooferflargen, Twittering, Wine-O-Clock, pooferflargen, laughing, Wine-O-Clock, and pooferflargen for the rest of the evening and into the early morning...
For everybody on Twitter who had to suffer through the experience with us, I apologize.
But not really.
Because we had an awesome time, and it's hard to make apologies for that.
Posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
The day started off with an interesting twist... the hot water heater in Dutchy's house went kaput. The ladies managed to track down a hot shower for themselves (use your imagination here, heaven only knows I did), while I volunteered to stay behind and take a cold shower. So as to spend as little time as possible being chilled, I devised a plan whereas I would hose myself down, suds myself up, then rinse myself off.
It was a good plan. At first. Hosing myself down wasn't too bad, as it only involved a few seconds of contact with the icy water. Sudsing myself up was equally trivial. Where things went terribly wrong was in the last step.
Because it takes considerably longer to rinse soap off than to put it on.
And the entire time I was standing under that freezing stream of water... I could Not. Stop. Laughing.
Which probably made a terrific impression on Dutchy's neighbors, hearing a guy laughing hysterically while in the shower (let's hear her try to explain THAT one away!).
What finally made the laughter stop was when I looked down and saw the my once-magnificient pooferflargen had shrunk to the size of a peanut. There's just nothing funny about that.
Fortunately, Dutchy's cat was nonjudgmental on my plight...
But the morning's adventure in shrinkage was all made worthwhile when Dutchy made my wildest fantasty come true... her and Penelope took me to a snack bar so I could get some frites met mayo...
But the awesomeness did not stop with the fries and mayo.
It was taken to the Next. Level.
Because I was able to also have a cheese sandwich as well. A cheese sandwich made with "Old Cheese." Beautiful, sexy, tasty, aged Dutch cheese. On a roll. That looked like this...
While I looked like this...
Then, after a lunch so delicious I achieved orgasm, we went wandering in the local shops so I could make fun of the native products. I think this one speaks for itself...
Unless you're familiar with the French language, in which case it seems perfectly sane.
But if you are not familiar with the French language, you may be wondering how much more hilarious a product name could get than "Douche Creme."
I'm glad you asked...
I can't quite decide which one I like best. There is a case to be made for both Douche Oil and Douche Scrub. But there was no time to debate the merits of these douchey products because Bitchsterdam was at hand, and we had to head up to Amsterdam. Where we ran across a new batch of elephants! Including this beauty...
... on the way to the Hard Rock Cafe...
Where an amazing group of people consisting of Mr. Geeky Tai-Tai, Geeky Tai-Tai, Bra-Dutch, The Dutch Bitch, ME!, and The Lady Penelope got together for a wonderful night of food, drinks, and a lot of laughs...
Despite all that, there was still time for my Jägermeister habit to corrupt the innocence of Penelope's seasoned wine-loving palette...
All-in-all in was a wonderful evening at the Hard Rock Cafe...
Because I was the luckiest bastard on the planet this night, as I got to go back home with THIS...
All my thanks to The Dutch Bitch, for hosting such a fantastic event!
Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2009
"Let me get this straight. You're traveling half-way around the world... for a party?"
Lately I've been reconnecting with some of my former high school classmates on FaceBook. It's been kind of fascinating to me because we've never been close as a group, even though some of the close friendships are still intact. Case in point: our 25-year Class of 1984 reunion fell apart before it ever got started this year. It's sad, but not a big deal to me because I undoubtedly would have been traveling and couldn't go anyway (just like our 10-year). But we all served time together in the public school system so there's a common bond there that can't be broken no matter how hard we try.
So far as I know, only two of my graduating class are blogging. One of them is me. What this means is that I'm pretty easy to track down, even though I'm not so much tied to my "real name" but my "online identity" of Blogography. All it takes is a Google search and there I am. And now that I'm connecting on FaceBook it's even easier to find me because I'm linked to a bunch of former classmates there.
And this is where it gets interesting. Because my blog entries are duplicated on FaceBook as "notes."
It's interesting because my blog is highly superficial, as I don't talk about work, family, relationships, or anything I consider to be "personal." So while people from my past can find me easily enough, they can't really know me online. This is a paradox to be sure, and lately I've been trying to grasp what it must be like for old friends and acquaintances to stumble across my online life.
And let's face it, the online version of my life is pretty bizarre.
To say the very least.
This was driven home last Wednesday when one of my former classmates wrote and said "Let me get this straight. You're traveling half-way around the world for a party?"
Answering this question in the affirmative just raises more questions, namely "You're traveling half-way around the world to stay with random people you met on the internet?!? Are you crazy? And there's no real way to explain that to somebody who isn't involved in a blogger community and still appear sane. Believe me, I've tried.
Though, even if you remove blogging from the equation, it doesn't make much difference in my case. I once flew to Copenhagen for just 9 hours so I could attend a birthday party of a non-blogging friend. I guess I am crazy like that.
At some point you have to stop trying to explain your life and just live it.
I guess I'm there.
Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
So there I was, walking through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport feeling quite satisfied after a date with a Qdoba Veggie Burrito when I heard "DAVE!" being shouted out.
Now, I am not so vain as to immediately think that every time I hear my name it's somebody is calling for me. The odds, after all, are pretty remote given that "Dave" is a fairly popular name. Perhaps if my name were "Heinrich" or "Flavious" I'd be more confident but, alas, I almost never assume somebody is calling me when I'm away from places I'm known.
Like a big airport, for example.
But it turns out that I was the Dave in question this time because it was Brandon and Death? from Down With Pants! It was an almost surreal experience given that I've tried to meet up with Brandon for years and had a couple of near misses from past travels... twice in L.A. and another couple times in Seattle. But it was also a nice way to spend an airport layover.
Happy coincidences like this happen more often than you'd expect. Running into fellow blogger Timothy at the Apple Store in New York, for example, was pretty freaky-cool. And I've been recognized a couple of other times in airports too... mostly thanks to the Blogography T-Shirts I'm usually wearing. Such is the power of blogging, I guess.
Anyway, it has been a very long day and I have to get up early in the morning, so the remainder of tonight's entertainment will be provided by Ashton, a young kid who was a fellow passenger on my flight. Ashton likes to talk. A lot. And at very high volume, non-stop. Fortunately I had an iPhone full of videos to watch, but was privy to his antics as we landed in San Diego which went something like this...
ASHTON: I see lights outside there are a lot of lights outside and they are different colors and there are lights out there I have to go potty.
MOM: You can't go potty now, they've locked the doors while we land.
ASHTON: I have to go potty I have to go potty I HAVE TO GO POTTY REALLY BAD!
MOM: I'm sorry, but you'll just have to hold it.
ASHTON: I HAVE TO GO POTTY REALLY BAD I have to go potty and if I don't go I'm going to pee my pants I'M GOING TO PEE MY PANTS I'M GOING TO PEE MY PANTS!!
MOM: It's only a few minutes. You can hold it until we land.
ASHTON: I CAN'T HOLD IT I'M GOING TO PEE MY PANTS there are lights outside and they are getting brighter hey we're going down now and the plane is going down down down to the airport going down. [ INSERT MORE NONSENSICAL RAMBLING HERE UNTIL WE LAND AND THE SEATBELT LIGHT GOES OFF ]
[ ASHTON MAKES A BREAK FOR THE BACK OF THE PLANE ]
MOM: Ashton! Wait! Come back! You're not going to get into the potty!
DAVE2: Oh I think they'll be glad to let him in given the alternative.
[ ASHTON DOES HIS BUSINESS AND RETURNS ]
ASHTON: HAH! I found a potty that wasn't locked because you can tell they're locked when the handle was down but the handle wasn't down on one of them so I tried to open it and the door opened because they forgot to lock it and the handled was up so I got in and could use the potty and they forgot to lock it so I got in and I didn't have to pee my pants because I tried the one with the handle that wasn't down and it opened are we getting off the plane now people are moving and we're leaving the plane and I didn't even get to listen to all of my book but that's okay because I can listen to it later and... [ ASHTON FADES AWAY AS I RUN TOWARDS THE AIRPORT EXIT ]
Some children really should come with off-switches, and I have a profound respect for Ashton's parents that they manage to get through life without one. Hopefully he does sleep from time to time, though he never seems to run out of things to say, so maybe not.
And now it's time for sweet slumber so I can get up entirely too early in the morning.
Posted on Saturday, October 17th, 2009
There are definitely worse ways to spend a week.
Posted on Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Your beloved King and Queen of the People's Republic of Blogistan made an appearance at Avitaween tonight...
Thanks to The Avitables for yet another genius Halloween party extravaganza!
Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009
Apparently, there's legislation underfoot that will force bloggers to write a disclaimer when they're being paid to write about stuff. It has something to do with FTC guidelines governing endorsements, which is kind of silly if you ask me. Honest bloggers are going to disclose that kind of stuff anyway... dishonest bloggers are going to lie regardless of any guidelines they're handed.
So, in the interest of full disclosure, I am going to be reviewing a book I was given by a fellow blogger. He did not ask me to review his book, he just asked me if I'd like to read it. I said yes. And I'm going to review it because I liked it... not because I got it for free. If I didn't like it, I would have undoubtedly not reviewed it. Not because I felt I was under any obligation for getting a free book... but because there just wouldn't be much point in it. Of course, if the book was a steaming pile of crap, I would have been obligated to warn everybody to stay away and not to waste their time. I'm a decent human being that way.
Anyway... here's a look at Mercury Falls, the debut novel by Rob Kroese, who is probably better known as "Diesel" from Mattress Police...
I was prepared to hate Mercury Falls, mostly because the official web site had it positioned as being in the vein of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which is one of my favorite novels of all time. You simply do not go setting yourself next to a giant like Douglas Adams and walk away unscathed. It's just not done. I don't care how funny you think you are, such a statement only serves to set the reader up for disappointment.
"Mr. Kroese... I have met Douglas Adams (twice!), and you sir are no Douglas Adams."
I enjoyed this novel.
The story sounds as if it might be a mash-up between Kevin Smith's film Dogma and Douglas Adams' Infocom Game Bureaucracy, but actually has a unique voice all its own. Basically, the end of the world is upon us (for real this time), and the bureaucrats of heaven and hell are each maneuvering to come out on top. The Apocalypse only gets more complicated when a fallen angel (Mercury), an End-Of-Days reporter (Christine Temetri), and the newly-appointed Antichrist (Karl Grissom) enter the picture. Everybody has an agenda, and nobody is quite sure who's playing the side of the angels... or demons... as the plot to save the world unfolds. Hilarity ensues.
I found Mercury Falls to be really clever, with an abundance of witty dialogue and enough twists to keep things interesting right up to the last page. Chunks of the book are very funny, as one paragraph after another was dripping with a biting humor that seems unsustainable, but Kroese somehow manages to keep going. Things do bog down a bit when somebody gets mired in explaining the bureaucracy of heaven and hell, but never in such a way to kill the story. I particularly liked the characters, each being fully-realized with enough baggage and personality to make them memorable (after meeting Karl, you'll never think of the Antichrist the same way again, that's for sure!).
The novel is infused with numerous pop-culture references and an inexplicable affinity for linoleum that drives a lot of the story's humor. This would usually spell disaster because the plot gets shoved aside to make room for jokes, but everything seemed nicely balanced and just kind of "worked." By the time the "Four Attaché Cases of the Apocalypse" debuted, there was no turning back. I was completely absorbed in the world of Mercury Falls and admired the way new elements were constantly being added to keep things fresh. A pleasant change from authors who blow their best material in the first three chapters and then coast to the finish line.
My only real problem with the book is the cover art. First of all, the cover barely has relevance to the story. The two famous cherubs taken from Raphael's master work Sistine Madonna are cute, and there are cherubs in the tale... but they do nothing to communicate the story's main plot (the Apocalypse) or nature of the work (humorous). This is a darn shame, because the story deserves so much more than yet another recycling of artwork that has been so overused as to become generic (and has probably been printed on everything from condoms to toilet paper). Sadly, it's so overused that most people don't even realize that it's not even a painting, but a small piece of a painting...
But hey, if you're not being backed by a big publisher that can afford to commission custom artwork, there are certainly worse public domain images you could use, so it's hard to fault the artwork too much (though giving a liner credit to Raphael for his art would have been nice). At least it's beautiful to look at, even if it doesn't really tell potential customers what the story is about.
Sadly, I can't be so forgiving for the cover's letter kerning, which is pretty bad (though not the worst I've seen). Why in the hell people putting book covers together can't take five minutes to adjust letter-spacing so it looks decent is beyond me. Even if it was bad kerning, I'd be okay with it... so long as it was consistent. The "A" and "L" in "FALLS" are jammed together, for example, but "M" and "E" in "MERCURY" (which share similar exterior letterforms) are given breathing room. The spine's lettering is heinously fucked, with a surprise typeface change and such inconsistent kerning that one has to wonder if the designer was trying to spell things out phonetically. Written by
Maybe if I continue to bitch about stuff like this each time I review a book, people will start paying attention so anal retentive designers such as myself can shop at a book store without wanting to bash their heads against a wall.
Cover complaints aside, it would be easy to say that Mercury Falls is a "good first effort" for Rob Kroese... but it would also be inadequate. This would be a great read even if it was his tenth book. I enjoyed the story from start to finish and am happy to recommend it to anybody who enjoys humorous fiction.
Or is bored and looking for something fun to read.
Congratulations, Rob... I am anxiously awaiting your next book!
You can buy a copy in a myriad of formats by following the links at the official Mercury Falls website.
UPDATE: Well lookey what we have here... Mercury Falls was picked up by Amazon's independent publishing arm, AmazonEncore. The cover features 270% better kerning and now has an illustration kinda related to the story!
Well played, Mr. Kroese. Well played.
Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
I'm working today and don't have much time to blog. Fortunately, mah BFF Hilly-Sue has rescued me for blogging material by being born on this date. All hail the Queen of the People's Republic of Blogistan on her birthday!
I need a taco salad...
Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2009
Fellow bloggers have influenced me in more ways than I'll ever admit.
Other times, like now when I have nothing else to blog about, I'm happy to admit anything.
Back in mid-October, Josh of ("Josh is Trashy" fame) ran across an old Richard Scarry book from his childhood called Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. His entry brought back all kinds of memories for me because I loved Richard Scarry books when I was a kid. They never displaced Curious George as my all-time favorite, but I spent a lot of time reading them because they were a lot of fun.
Anyway, Josh took a second look at the book and found out that some of the illustrations were actually pretty messed up when viewed from a more adult perspective. He added his own dialogue and hilarity ensued...
It's the second illustration that changed my life. I loved it so much that I recreated it as my desktop picture...
Which is probably a bad thing, because it's been influencing my behavior. Whenever something crappy comes my way now, I stop everything and say "This is bullshit!"... All day long... Every day since...
It's kind of amusing when I'm alone.
But a different story entirely when I'm in the middle of a business meeting and suddenly feel compelled to say "This is bullshit!" to a client or co-worker sitting at the table. It's even worse when you say it in the check-out line at the grocery store because the bitch ahead of you has 14 items in the "10 Items or Less" lane.
I can't help it. It works in just about every situatuon. Including other Richard Scarry illustrations...
If you want your life to be ruined too (thanks, Josh!) you should check out his original entry.
Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2009
I just spent 20 minutes writing a blog entry that I ultimately cannot post.
I then spent 10 minutes being mad because I had just wasted 20 minutes of my life.
And then I spent 15 minutes realizing that the 20 minutes I had spent writing was actually kind of healing to me, at which point I was pissed at the 10 minutes I spent being mad. It's a vicious circle. But ultimately I came to two inescapable conclusions: 1) Getting mad is, more often than not, pointless... and 2) Some doors are better left closed...
I am so very thankful tomorrow is Friday. Not that Fridays really mean much... I still have to work the weekends... but at least the work stops piling up on Saturday and Sunday.
Oh yeah! And one last thing before I go...
Because it drives me nuts when idiots present historic inaccuracies as facts, I am compelled to point out that the original motto of these United States of America was considered to be "E pluribus unum" (in Latin) or "Out of many one" (translated into English). While never ratified by law, it did (and does) appear on The Great Seal of the United States, and has since 1776 (really, you can look it up on Wikipedia!). "In God we trust" didn't become our official motto until 1956 when it was made so by act of Congress (so much for separation of Church and State).
Which is why the next time I hear some moron saying "...and that's why our founding fathers made 'In God We Trust' our national motto..." as the basis of an argument, you'll understand my overwhelming desire to punch them in the face.
Getting mad may be pointless, but stupid is stupid.
Posted on Saturday, November 14th, 2009
The reason I try to avoid saying anything negative about people, places, and things is because no matter which person, place, or thing you badmouth, it's going to be somebody's favorite. The reason I know this is because people badmouth my favorite things all the time.
There are exceptions, of course. Even a cursory review of my past blog entries would reveal that I fail miserably when it comes to not saying negative things. Here's just a few of my failures...
• Internet Explorer
• Ann Coulter
• Nancy Grace
• Bill O'Reilly
• Rosie O'Donnell
• David Caruso
• Stride Gum
• Spelling Bees
• Jared the Subway Sandwich Whore
• President Bush
• Dick Cheney
• Pat Robertson
• President Obama
• Hillary Clinton
• Orly Taitz
• 12 Grain Bread
• FOX News
• John McCain
• Tony Danza
• Kelly Osbourne
• Dr. Phil
• Judge Judy
• Martha Stewart
• Pat O'Brien
• Paul Marx
• Mayor Greg Nickels
• And many others...
But here's the thing. I don't apologize for any of it. I feel what I feel then I write what I write. If I offend somebody because I've badmouthed their favorite thing, well... it's my blog and that's really too bad. They don't have to read it. Because unless I've gotten the facts wrong or said something that was interpreted wrong, I'm not going to apologize for how I feel about something.
Which presents a problem when somebody emails me saying I should apologize for hating on the television series Dollhouse because it was their favorite show and now it's been cancelled.
Um, yeah... while I do feel bad because my favorite shows seem to get cancelled all the time... am I sorry enough to apologize for saying I think Dollhouse is (was) a steaming pile of crap?
Not really, no.
I will apologize for not trying harder to avoid saying anything negative about people, places, and things though.
I'll work on that right after I dump out this Ronzoni Bistro "Rotini with Tomato Basil Pasta" which is probably the worst pasta I have ever eaten in my entire life. Seriously, if you want to know just how bad pasta can taste, by all means go try a bag of this heinous stuff.
Posted on Saturday, November 21st, 2009
When traveling during the winter months, I always try to leave a day early to make sure any weather delays or other problems don't screw up my schedule. It's a necessary evil that I usually loathe because the last thing I want to do is be stuck traveling an extra day if I don't have to. But when traveling to Atlanta I never mind so much because there's some really good blogger friends that inhabit the area. Since I didn't have any travel problems, this left me all day to hang out with the gang and do some really cool stuff. Sweet!
The day started out at the High Museum to see a special exhibit by one of my absolute heroes... Leonardo Da Vinci. His works have such profound meaning to me that I never pass up an opportunity to see an exhibit, and this was almost too good to be true. Even better, Kevin, Beth, Diana, and Muskrat were kind enough to accompany me (after a lecture on how we couldn't point to anything with an ink pen because the pen might explode on the priceless artifacts... if we simply must point at something with a writing instrument, golf pencils would happily be provided). I thought the exhibit was wonderful, featuring some incredible pages from Leonardo's sketchbooks...
If you're in Atlanta, it's well-worth a stop. The exhibit runs through February 21st.
After lunch in Buckhead, Kevin, Beth, and I headed back down to the Alliance Theater for a show by Chicago's Second City comedy troupe called "Peach Drop, Stop, and Roll." It's a highly-Atlanta-specific performance that shows no mercy in ribbing some of the city's most famous (infamous) places, people, and traditions...
If you're an Atlanta local looking for a laugh, the show has been extended to December 27th, and is worth a look.
Since it's impossible to have too much to eat when visiting Atlanta, we decided to go eat miracle French fries at Five Guys back in Buckhead since there was an establishment next door that has a Coke Freestyle Soda Fountain Machine. This miraculous piece of Epic Win is able to custom-mix over 100 soda flavors on demand, including my beloved ORIGINAL COKE WITH LIME!!
After our pre-dinner, we headed up to Maggiano's Little Italy for real dinner, where we met up with Julie, Heather & Ty-Man, and Muskrat & Deb. A fantastic time (and fantastic meal!) was had by all, though not one of us seemed to think of taking a photograph.
The reunion was made bitter-sweet by the absence of some dear blogger friends, including Anissa, who has been in the hospital since Tuesday after suffering a massive stroke. It was less than four months ago that she was sitting right next to me... laughing along with everybody and stealing a bite of my fried macaroni & cheese balls...
Anissa, looking lovely in fuschia on the far right.
For anybody looking for news on how Anissa's doing, her husband Peter has been posting updates over at Hope4Peyton. There was also a nice piece in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution (thanks to Father Muskrat for the link). All my best wishes to the Mayhew family for Anissa's recovery.
And now I'm back at my four-star College Co-Ed Party Hotel blasting Thompson Twins in my earbuds to drown out the hard-partying in the next room and down the hallway. I requested a late check-out tomorrow so I can (hopefully) catch up on the sleep I missed from last night and tonight. I don't know if that's going to work, but I can only guess everybody will take off for church in the morning to leave me with some peace and quiet for a while.
Posted on Monday, November 30th, 2009
For some reason, I don't even remotely care about blogging today.
I tried to care, but long work hours over the past several weeks have driven it out of me.
But it's not as if I don't care about anything. I still care about lots of things. As an example, right now I am caring about the weather on Wednesday. I have to fly out then, and this is the time of year that flights start getting cancelled. I also care about these Rold Gold Braided Honey Wheat Twist Pretzels I am eating right now. Deeply. They are as addictive as crack. Or so I'd imagine... I've never actually been addicted to crack. And I really care about the new Iron Man 2 promo poster that was released today...
I loved the first Iron Man and hope the sequel doesn't suck.
And then there's more to care about... Anissa's progress, five slain police officers in Lakewood, my next care package to Iraq, Elizabeth Hurley making more movies, Elizabeth Hurley liking vodka, not to mention Elizabeth Hurley selling beef jerky...
Why oh why couldn't Elizabeth Hurley have come to me to design her packaging? Seriously... I would have done something really nice for her jerky!
Ah well. Now I've got to care about work.
What else is new.
Posted on Friday, December 4th, 2009
Home at last. And so very, very tired.
In other news, I'll be a VERY SPECIAL GUEST on an ALL NEW EPISODE of Jestertunes Radio THIS COMING MONDAY, DECEMBER 7th! The show starts at 4:30pm Hawaiian, 5:30pm Alaskan, 6:30pm Pacific, 7:30pm Mountain, 8:30 Central, and 9:30 Eastern times here in the Americas. If you're outside of those time zones, you can find your local time at the World Clock Converter...
Bookmark the TalkShoe site now so you can join us! I have no earthly idea what we'll be talking about, but good times are always assured on The Jester Show!
Except for that time I had a kidney stone attack on-air. That wasn't a good time at all. Any show that involves you being rushed to the hospital is about as far removed from a good time as a show can get. Well, for me anyway.
So tune in on Monday and see what horrible new tragedy will befall me on-air!
UPDATE: Jester's comment reminds me that I should probably mention that The Jester Show is R-Rated. It's probably X-Rated. If you are a sensitive individual who doesn't appreciate foul language, explicit talk, and adult situations, then it's probably best that you NOT tune in. Wow. Now that I think about it, maybe it's best if I don't tune in either. I'll do the show with potholders pressed against my ears while saying "LA LA LA LA LA LA!"
Posted on Monday, December 7th, 2009
It's Pearl Harbor Day!
Last year I made my second trip to the USS Arizona Memorial. It's about as beautiful a tribute to those who lost their lives as you can imagine...
Thanks to all of you who gave so much.
And thanks to Jester for having me as a guest on his show tonight. Here's links to the things that came up...
Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2009
About six years ago I wrote a short sci-fi story called "Ageless" for a friend's birthday that had kind of a Twilight Zone style twist at the end. The story was about a scientist who created a device which would tell you with absolute certainty the age at which a person would die. He used his invention to become world-famous and very wealthy because people were lining up to know about how much longer they had to live. That way, they could take crazy risks, live life to its fullest, and blow all their money before their "death year" rather than save it for a rainy day that would never come. A sub-plot involving an evil life insurance company's plot to steal the device was also in there somewhere.
At the end of the story, the scientist finally decided to use the device on himself and discovered that he was already in his "death year" at age 32, and would most certainly die before his 33rd birthday just six months away. He flew into a total panic, and spent every day obsessing over how and when he would die. Finally, after only two weeks of being driven insane by the thought of his impending death, he committed suicide.
The big "twist" came the following day when a newspaper story announced that a cure for aging had been discovered. People could drink the "Fountain of Youth" drug and live forever. Hence, they would remain the same age until they died from unnatural circumstances. Had the scientist not become death-obsessed and killed himself, he would have indeed died at age 32... but hundreds of years in the future.
It wasn't the greatest story... and the plot had probably already been done before somewhere... but that wasn't the point. It was fun to write, and made a great birthday present for my friend (as the scientist in the story was given his name).
Every year since then, my friend calls to remind me that his birthday is coming up, apparently in a bid to get me to write him another story. Today was the day he called, and I had to once again tell him that I didn't feel I had any stories left to tell.
After I hung up the phone, I suddenly realized why that is.
It's because I write in this blog every day. All my stories end up here.
So happy birthday!
Posted on Saturday, December 19th, 2009
Odd. I nearly forgot to blog today. So here I am in bed with midnight quickly approaching and nothing to write about. Unfortunately I was sketching all day for work, which isn't something conducive to blog fodder. I need to find a new career which involves explosives and super-models... now there's a blog entry!
The one ray of sunshine in my day was finding out that I don't have to appear for jury duty on Monday (but have to call back again on Tuesday). Yes, I was called to serve AGAIN. This pisses me off more and more each time, because I'm called in constantly, yet there are people I know who have only been called once or twice in their entire lifetime. Heck, I've been called FOUR TIMES in the six years I've had this blog... September 2003, February 2006, May 2008, and now in December 2009 (and at least three times before that). And each time I have to somehow find a way of clearing two weeks off my schedule, which is absurd given that I have a hard time scheduling more than a solid week of VACATION at a time. If I do end up being called in, it will take every bit of restraint I have not to stand up and scream "FUCK YOU, YOUR HONOR... WHERE'S MY JUSTICE?!??"
Except I think you can go to prison for that.
And in prison you don't have access to either explosives or super-models.
Posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
I'm not much into social network gaming because I just can't find the time to keep up with them. But then along comes Gowalla, which is a location-based travel game. Now that's something I can get into! Basically, people use their GPS-enabled iPhone to create locations which other people can then "check-in" to and get a stamp on their virtual passport (apparently other mobile phones, like Droid, are in the pipeline soon). If that were the end of it, Gowalla wouldn't be much of a game. But there's more.
In addition to collecting passport stamps, you're also looking for achievement pins and collectible icons.
The pins are added automatically when you do things like complete a pre-existing trip... or check-in to a certain number of locations... or do some other task, like visiting 10 different coffee shops or something.
The icons are a little different. Some are permanently awarded for visiting specific places, like Powell's Books in Portland, The Space Needle in Seattle, or The White House in DC...
Others are found at random. You can drop these items somewhere so somebody else can trade their items with them... or you can put them in your Vault, where they will be stuck forever...
Unfortunately, once you drop an item somewhere, it's pretty much GONE until you find another one. It's not like the Pokemon Pokedex which keeps track of the items you've found. Sure you can put it in your Vault, but then you can't trade for other items. This seems to be a disappointing flaw, but I guess that's what makes some icons more rare than others.
Locations are created by Gowalla users. If you create a spot then drop an item there, you get credited as the spot's "founder." You can create all kinds of spots for all kinds of locations. As an example, here's a church, museum, and a grocery store...
It was fun wandering around town so I could create spots and drop items for fellow Gowalla users to collect and trade. Kind of like geocaching taken to the next level, I suppose. Though it's a quasi-virtual level which is still fun, but lacking the tactile thrill of uncovering a treasure.
In any event, if you have an iPhone and like to wander, it might be worth checking out...
NOTE: Gowalla abandoned its users (plus all the work we did) and closed up shop in 2011.
Posted on Sunday, December 27th, 2009
w00t! It's the last Bullet Sunday of 2009!
• TQ 2010. The moment we've all been waiting for has come. Jenny has announced the venue for TequilaCon 2010...
I am sooooo looking forward to another awesome TequilaCon event!
• Kindle 2. I bought my mother a "Kindle 2" electronic book from Amazon. I was waiting on Barnes & Noble's "Nook" because it looked a little niftier in pictures, but the reviews were less than stellar so I went back to the Kindle. The device itself is pretty sweet, and a lot easier read from than I had expected. Sure it would be nice if the "e-ink" display had whiter whites for better contrast with the "type" but if you have decent light, it's not bad at all. Bumping up the type size seems to help. In any event, my mother likes it quite a lot, which is all that really matters...
You can buy new books directly from Kindle easy enough (assuming you have a 3G signal... shopping over EDGE is painfully slow). The good news is that new e-books are released at the same time as the hardcover, but cheaper. As an example, the latest James Patterson release "I, Alex Cross" retails for $27.99, can be bought on Amazon for $18.33 (including tax & shipping), or delivered to your Kindle instantly for $10.79 (including tax). But the best news is that you can get free sample chapters of most books to decide if you want to buy them or not, which makes shopping for Kindle more like shopping at a book store. Overall, I'm impressed. Like most electronic devices, I wish Apple would overhaul the user interface to something more intuitive, but it's all good.
• Totino's. I left work at 3:00 because I was tired and hungry and couldn't stand the thought of sitting at my desk one more minute. Despite a rumbling tummy, nothing really sounded good... EXCEPT A CHEAP-ASS 99¢ PIZZA FROM TOTINO'S!
So few foods can give you 46% of your daily fat content, 36% of your saturated fat, 6% of your cholesterol, 24% of you carbs, and a whopping 56% of your daily cholesterol requirements... all in one convenient box! Genius!
Annnd... I'm spent. Assuming I don't die from my poor nutritional choices in food, I suppose I'll be back tomorrow.
Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Every year I tell myself that I'm going to take a blog vacation the week between Christmas and New Years, and every year I forget about it. Instead, I just slog through the blogging lull with lame crap that I'd just as soon forget because it's always the exact same thing: I'm working my guts out and don't have the time or energy to write about anything when most everybody is avoiding blogs anyway.
Especially today, when I came home early from work because I was sick. It feels like food poisoning, but I don't know of anything I could have eaten that would have poisoned me. All I've had is a Carnation Instant Breakfast drink, a handful of Tim's Cascade Potato Chips, a can of Coke, and some Uncle Ben's Brown & Wild Rice. Perhaps it's not food poisoning and I've got radiation poisoning or swine flu or something.
Anyway... since tomorrow I will be looking back at all things 2009 here on Blogography, I thought that today I'd take a look ahead. Here's just a few things I'm looking forward to in 2010...
• Whatever Apple Is Cooking Up Next. Whether it's the much-rumored iSlate tablet computer... or something completely different... there always seems to be something really cool just around the corner for an Apple Whore like me.
&bull The iPhone Being Unchained from AT&T: If Apple has any sense at all, they won't renew their exclusivity with the bad service poster-boy that has become AT&T. To be honest, I can recall one... just one... problem with their service when trying to make a call to another iPhone user in Las Vegas this year. Other than that, I've had no worse service than I've had with Verizon. But competition would be a good thing, and I can only hope iPhone service will get even a little bit cheaper because of it.
• Blog Parties: There are two blogger events I cannot miss each year: TequilaCon and Avitaween. The venue for TequilaCon 2010 was just announced as Vancouver on April 24th, and I'm already counting the days.
• Iron Man 2. One of my favorite movies of 2008 was Iron Man and I'm hoping that the sequel is just as good.
• Movie Magic. In addition to Iron Man 2, we also get Tron Legacy, Toy Story 3, Arrested Development: The Film, and the massive casting coupe that is The Expendables, starring Sylvester Stalone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, and the late Brittany Murphy. Good times.
• Invincible. I'm kind of falling out of touch with comic books lately, but one I never miss is Robert Kirkman's Invincible. This year "The Viltrumite War" which has been anticipated for nearly 70 issues, finally begins. I have no doubt that it will be the comic event of the year.
• Re-Reading Calvin and Hobbes. Every time I see The Complete Calvin and Hobbes sitting on my bookshelf, I have to resist the urge to read it. I haven't read it since it was released in 2005, and am trying my best to forget as much about the strip as I can so it will feel new again. But I could never forget the magic. 2010 is the year.
• Someplace New. Every year I set a goal to travel to someplace I've never been before... this year is no different. I have no idea where I'll end up, but that's the best part.
• The Flying Car. Because, seriously, isn't it about time?
• Another Year of Blogography. Yeah, I know. Blogs are dying all over the place, people are writing in their blogs less and less, and new kids on the block like Twitter are taking over. But how can I give this up?
A new year is just a day away...
Posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2009
It's the easiest blog post of the year, when I get to re-visit all my entries for the past 365 days and see just how pointless and futile my life really is! Much like last year, a lot of my time was spent traveling. I racked up 164,000 air miles on seven airlines. Unlike last year, I had only minimal flight delays and cancellations, which was a pleasant surprise.
And now the traditional random Blogography snippets of crap from the year that was 2009...
• Admitted I have a Twitter addiction.
• Goofed around at SeaWorld with mah Hilly-Sue in San Diego, where we rode the Buckets of Death, learned to BELIEVE, and joined the cult of Shamu the whale...
Seriously, how cute are we in this photo?
• Was traumatized when Ms. Sizzle and I were sexually assaulted by Etta James at her Seattle concert.
• Was nearly brought to tears at the Nazi Documentation Museum in Cologne, Germany.
• Traveled to the beautiful island of Mallorca in Spain to visit the new Hard Rock Cafe there and see the sights...
• Said goodbye to a friend and learned what is really important...
• Spent a weekend goofing off in Seattle with my BFF Vahid.
• Re-lived my life as one of the Spice Girls...
• Had an absolute blast meeting up with friends in Davedon...
• Back to my favorite city on earth... Davenburgh!
• Had the worst airport layover in the history of airport layovers.
• More blogger meet awesomeness at Dave York...
Dawg and Poppy with B.E. Earl.
Robin, Libragirl, B.E. Earl, Me, and Cissa!
• Tried my hand at some inappropriate Broadway reviews.
• Reveled in the glory that is TequilaCon Santa Fe...
• Expressed my disappointment with the current state of Cracker Jack prizes.
• Explained a problem with my MASSIVE NOZZLE.
• Gave a behind-the-scenes look at the Blogography Show when Whall was a guest...
• Took a trip to Savannah, Georgia and visited the magnificent Bonaventure Cemetery.
• Started up the Lil' Dave and Lil' Wayne MAC VS. PC cartoons...
• Attended the spectacular ConFab blogger event in Lexington, Kentucky.
• Debuted Baby Dave and Naughty Monkey for a guest-post on Anissa's blog...
• Took a look at my wild-and-crazy days of youth...
• Revealed the secret of How to Blog the Blogography Way.
• Joined in on Blogathon 2009 where I live-blogged new DaveToons every half-hour to benefit Doctors Without Borders.
• Ah, the wonder of exploring the biggest rock in the world and the joy of attending Davelanta3...
• Explained the Love Equality Formula and said NOH8 the best way I know how...
• Had the adventure of a lifetime when I guest-posted at Puntabulous...
• Gave evidence as to why I was the most adorable baby ever.
• Another fantastic blogger meet, this time at Daveorado...
• Got to see my favorite band ever, Depeche Mode, in Salt Lake City with WarpedGirl 16 and Marty from Banal Leakage!
• Hit Las Vegas with the TequilaCon Planning Posse for event planning, debauchery, and ELVIS...
• Got to see one of my favorite bands, the Pet Shop Boys, at their Seattle concert.
• Explored my virtual career path...
•Just one word: pooferflargen.
• And then there was the life-altering experience of attending Bitchsterdam...
• Finally got to see the adorable spawn of The Bombshell and The Ninja in SoCal.
• Could there possibly be anything better than three days at Disney World with mah Hilly-Sue?
• I dunno. But swimming with dolphins with Robyn and Rachel comes close...
• And so does a wild night at Avitaween and non-stop pussy...
• Went Hard Rock Cafe hopping in Washington DC and Baltimore.
• Back to Atlanta for time with friends and Freestylin' Coke.
• Not a lot, really. I did write this massive blog entry though.
And that was 2009. Everybody have a safe and happy New Year as we head into 2010, and thanks for reading!