Posted on January 3rd, 2010
It's the first Bullet Sunday of the year... and I don't have any bullets! Probably because I've done nothing but work for the past five days. Oh sure I have ideas for bullets, but I've decided to post a monkey juggling giant OREO cookies instead...
And, since it's Bullet Sunday, I guess I better take care of that too. Here's to another week...
Posted on January 10th, 2010
Oh joy! I have to get up at 3:30am so I can make my flight! This will probably be a short Bullet Sunday.
• Roxxxy! Holy crap! The latest technology in sex dolls coming out of the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas is pretty mind-boggling. A company called TrueCompanion has developed "Roxxxy" a sex ROBOT who can listen, talk, respond to touch, sleep, and even have an orgasm. As if that wasn't enough, she can be customized to order and be programmed with a variety of personalities... Frigid Farrah is reserved and shy, Wild Wendy is outgoing and adventurous, Mature Martha has a matriarchal kind of caring, S&M Susan for more adventurous types, and Barely 18 who has a naïve personality. I hope Roxxxy isn't too smart... it would be pretty depressing if your sex robot didn't like you enough to have sex with you. TrueCompanion is also working on a male sex robot named "Rocky," so the ladies can have their own fun. Or, I suppose, you could just let Rocky and Roxxxy have perfect robot sex with each other. Since their sexual organs are probably made of steel, they're probably the only ones who can satisfy each other anyway. All I know is that I don't want a sexual companion who could theoretically turn into The Terminator and kill me. Though, come to think of it, that's no different than most of the women I've dated, so I guess it's all good...
Original photo by AFP.
• Corn! I finally got around to watching two movies about the food we eat: King Corn and Food, Inc. Both films are pretty intense and scary... showing where the food comes from, how it is made, and how it is controlled. And while neither tells the full story, the information they show does give you a lot to think about (assuming you aren't so traumatized and freaked out of your mind that you can't mentally function). Both are highly recommended, and can be watched instantly if you have a streaming account at Netflix...
Gee. Sex robots and corn. I don't know what I could possibly add to that. Told you it would be a short Bullet Sunday.
Posted on January 17th, 2010
It's just another Bullet Sunday (whoa o whoaoooo). Wish it was Saturday (whoa o whoaoooo). 'Cause that's my fun day (whoa o whoaoooo). My I-don't-have-to-run day (whoa o whoaoooo). It's just another Bullet Sunday...
• One-Up. The latest round of one-upmanship going on is truly stellar. AT&T and Verizon are battling it out over who has the best 3G service when Sprint jumps into the fray with commercials saying "We got 4G, bitches!!" Never mind that their 4G coverage map is anemic at best, it still makes AT&T and Verizon's argument look petty and antiquated. And then there's the mobile phone battle... Nokia sues Apple for patent infringement, and so now Apple fires back with a lawsuit of its own saying "we want Nokia phone imports BANNED, bitch!" I guess where millions and millions of dollars are involved, this kind of thing is inevitable, but it all seems so stupid. Everybody shut the fuck up, put the legal fees into making your products and services better, and may the best mobile phone and network win.
• Golden Globes. I really, really, don't care about the Golden Globes. Though hearing that the brilliant Christoph Waltz rightly won Best Supporting actor makes me want to watch Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds all over again.
• Team Conan. I'm sure Jay Leno is a nice guy and I'm sure some people think he's very funny. I don't think he's funny at all, which is why I am firmly on Team Conan in the whole late-night talk show battle that's raging. But, putting funny aside, I'd still be on Team Conan after watching this clip over at Funny or Die...
So, basically, Jay let Conan hang on for five years with the promise of getting the show... then took it back when his new show tanked. One could argue that this has nothing to do with Jay, and it's all the network's fault, but the simple fact is that Conan would not be getting the boot if Jay turned down the network's offer to take the show back like he pretty much premised he would in this clip. Lame.
• Blogography. Today I got an email from somebody telling me that they have a photography blog they've named "Blogography" and I should hand over my domain because they are using it for business purposes. This is not the first time. A while back I got an email from somebody who was "concerned" that my blog was confusing to people because they were using "Blogography" for their blog, and I should sell my domain to them. For $50. To which I politely respond "no." As I've blogged before, I Googled "Blogography" before I bought the domain, and the word did not exist. And even though I scrapped the first year of my blog when I rebooted it in 2003, I've been using "blogography.com" continuously since I purchased it in March of 2002. With that in mind, I remain mystified as to how anybody thinks they deserve my domain more than I do.
• Haiti Help. I've written many times about my love, admiration, and respect for Doctors Without Borders and the incredible work they do. Often going where angels fear to tread, DWB is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. They are in Haiti right now, doing everything they can to tend to the victims of the earthquake. If you can help them to help others, please visit their website and make a donation...
And now I should probably get some work done. Heaven only knows there's enough of it laying around.
Posted on January 31st, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday! And I'm not feeling very well. Waah!
• Betty! It is no secret that I love Betty White. She's a monster talent, and I've said many times that Betty White should guest-star on every television show because everything is better with Betty. I will literally watch anything that has Betty White in it, even crappy soap operas. I am a huge, huge, fan...
Given all that, I couldn't be happier that she won a well-deserved lifetime achievement award at the SAG Awards. As usual, she was 100% classy and funny as hell...
Not only should Betty White be in every television show, she should also win all the awards. Knowing that she has no plans to stop working at 88 years old is the cherry on the top of my day. Now if only she'd be cast as a vampire on the next Twilight movie, I may actually end up watching it.
• Flash! For those viewing my site on their iPhone, they'll be dismayed that the above video won't work because it uses Adobe Flash to play the movie. Yes, it's a bummer... but, like most every other major website on the planet, Funny or Die is working on an iPhone app to display their media content. So, while this is a temporary stumbling block, eventually there will be a solution for iPhone/iPod/iPad users that doesn't rely on the resource-sucking pile of buggy crap that's Flash. I can live with that. Next up, Hulu.
• Who?!? Before the Grammys, I had never heard of "Lady Antebellum" before. This isn't too surprising considering that I can't stand country music, but it is still disturbing to me, because it means I am completely out of touch with popular music...
Yes, I'm the guy watching the Grammys wishing that Taylor Swift would shut up so I can hear Stevie Nicks sing. It has nothing to do with Taylor Swift... I don't even know who she is other than she hosted SNL once. Stevie, on the other hand, is a long-time favorite whom I've followed both in Fleetwood Mac and her solo career. Meh. This is just great. I suppose it's only a matter of time before I'm yelling at kids to stay off my lawn and bitching about the price of a candy bar. When did this happen?
• Obama? I've made no secret of my growing disappointment with President Obama. As a politician, I knew he would end up being full of shit... but I had no idea he'd be so blatant about it. The whole lack of transparency and classified status his administration put on the ACTA bullshit has me furious. Staffing his administration with FUCKING LOBBYISTS after he made a massive display about how heinously evil it is while he was campaigning REALLY pisses me off. But my biggest problem has nothing to do with broken promises... Obama's a politician first and I expect that... no, what bothers me is the complete lack of balls from his administration. I may have hated the misguided legislation that President Bush rammed through, but I had to respect him for sticking to his agenda. But Obama is too busy trying to avoid hurting feelings than to push through anything. As if that weren't bad enough, the Democrats in office are a bunch of pussies who are too busy playing politics to do their fucking jobs. It's all so embarrassing. And while Republicans are busy playing politics of their own by publicly attacking Obama at every turn, I can't help but imagine that they are secretly ecstatic that he's proven to be so ineffectual a president.
So imagine my surprise when President Obama did one of the ballsiest things since President Clinton decided to get a Lewinsky in the Oval Office. On Friday he appeared at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore to speak... and take questions from hostile Republicans who seem to despise him and everything he does. It doesn't matter if you love Obama or hate him, it's worth a look (if you'd rather read it, there's a transcript over at Huffington Post)...
Wow. It's as if the president we elected finally realized he's actually the President of the United States of America. Next thing you know, he's going to come out and say: "For a year I've been trying to be all bipartisan and shit, but you Conservatives hate me no matter how hard I try to include you, so FUCK THAT. Starting tomorrow, health care reform is DONE. And if any of you Democrats try and fuck with me and my plan, I'll pop a cap in your ass. I'm using my majority and it's just DONE. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get to work on a list of promises I have to keep... we'll be doing this again next week."
It used to be that I was happy to have a president who could actually form coherent sentences. Turns out that now all I want is a president I can respect. If the Q&A session with the Republicans on Friday is any indication, Obama might just start getting it.
And now I suppose I should get some sleep. I only worked a half-day today, so I've got a lot of ground to make up in the morning.
Posted on February 7th, 2010
It' Bullet SUPER BOWL Sunday! Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints... the football team of one of my favorite cities on earth!
• Rock! While I was goofing around in Seattle with The Bombshell, The Ninja, and The Bombja, we wandered by The Hard Rock Cafe Seattle where the Rock Shop is now open (the cafe Grand Opening is on Wednesday). The property is expectedly, but disappointingly, decorated in the new "hipster lounge" style that all the new Hard Rocks get. From what I can see, the memorabilia is somewhat sparse and lacking focus... I didn't even see anything above the bar. So while everything is "official" it sure doesn't feel like a "real" Hard Rock Cafe. Though it does have a Guitar out front, so I guess that's something...
I'm going to try and visit in a couple weeks. After waiting for decades, it's strange to finally have a "local" Hard Rock Cafe (if you can call a 2-1/2 hour drive "local"). This will be my 125th Hard Rock property visit. Every time I add a new one to my list, I can't help but wonder how many more I have in me.
• Gum! Seattle's Famous Gum Wall is a scary work of disease-ridden art that shouldn't be missed. My favorite part this time around was a cool Hawaiian flag...
If I could somehow convince myself that sticking my fingers into chewed gum is a good idea, I'd be tempted to add something of my own.
• Snicker! The Mars Company had a flash of sheer genius when they decided to use the amazing Betty White in their new Snickers commercial...
Now I want a Snickers bar. I hope Betty doesn't start doing ads for National Cattlemen's Beef Association... I'm really happy being a vegetarian.
And now I suppose I should probably cut this short and try to get some sleep.
Posted on February 14th, 2010
It's a banner Bullet Sunday with Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, The Olympic Games, and Hilly's annual Self-Love Day all happening at the same time!
• Commentary! It' getting to the point that I simply cannot watch televised sports anymore because of the annoying non-stop "professional commentary" that rains down like a storm of shit over everything. Right now I am watching the Nordic Combined competition at the Olympics, and these two dumbasses simply WILL NOT SHUT UP! They talk and talk and talk and talk about total BULLSHIT that does nothing... NOTHING to enhance my enjoyment of the event. And I just don't get it. I'm not frackin' stupid. I don't need to be told it's snowing or somebody missed a target... I can see that. I don't need to be told that somebody needs to "pick up the pace" if they're behind... that's obvious. I don't need to be told that "the US has never medaled in this event" FIFTY FUCKING TIMES... if I gave a shit about how many medals the US has won, I'd Google it. The constant stream of senseless crap is a needless distraction, so just shut the fuck up already! Save your idiotic blathering for the wrap-up... or the interviews... or your blog... or whatever... just let me watch in peace. At the very least, networks should simulcast a non-commentator version to give us a choice.
• Be Mine! It's time for my annual Valentine's Day card! (for previous year's cards, click here)...
Thanks to everybody out there who makes me feel loved.
• Siri App! Every once in a while, something comes along that gives you a taste of what the future is going to be like. Usually, it's the latest product from Apple. But the future is more an ideal than a place, so it can be really tricky to see that fine line between "gimmick" and "game-changer" when it comes to tech. But then there's Siri Personal Assistant...
The basic idea is that you fire up Siri on your iPhone or Blackberry or whatever... then tell it what you want. Siri then uses voice recognition technology to parse what you said and return an answer. You say "Where is there nearest Starbucks?" and Siri comes back with an address and directions. You say "What time is 'Avatar' playing?" and Siri picks the nearest theater and gives you showtimes. You say "What time is it in Sydney, Australia?" and Siri looks it up for you. There's a pretty impressive list of things that Siri understands and, even when it doesn't, it's happy to perform a web search on what you asked to see if it can help. As a tech demo, it's very cool, and a nice peek at how artificial intelligence is going to eventually escalate into The Way Things Are.
The problem is that Siri doesn't feel "magical" yet. There's a long delay while Siri sends a recording of what you said back to the mothership for parsing (a REALLY long delay if you don't have 3G). The parsing A.I. is rudementary, so you have to confirm your request by manually reading back what you just said and pressing "okay." It doesn't talk back to you, so you're still futzing around with the screen a lot. As a game-changer, it's just not "there" yet. I'm sure as the technology behind Siri continues to improve, we'll eventually cross that threshold where the tech disappears and it becomes magic. Like HAL in the movie 2001. But until then, it's just a nifty toy that provides a glimpse of what our future might be like. I, for one, cannot wait until I'm able have an argument with my refrigerator.
• Google Buzzkill! I have three very separate lives: My personal life, my work life, and my online life. It's rare that they intersect in any meaningful way, but it does happen (online friends that become personal friends, for example). But, for the most part, it's my choice as to how various aspects of my life intersect and mingle. Or at least it has been my choice. Things are changing. A good example is when companies that want to work with me Google my name and read my blog so they can get background info to influence how they interact with me. It bothered me a bit at first, but I've just learned to accept that anything you put out on the internet for public consumption is going to be found eventually... even by people you'd rather not see it.
But the stuff I put privately on the internet is another matter entirely. Enter Google Buzz...
My Gmail (Google Mail) account is the only place where all my worlds collide. Email from all aspects of my life collect here so that I can more easily manage my various accounts from a central location. This means I am ultimately trusting Google with my most personal data on a regular basis. But now that they've forced their new "social networking" fiasco "Google Buzz" onto my unwilling Gmail account... I can't help but wonder if trusting them was a very big mistake.
Mostly because I can't figure out what is happening.
I read an article that says all my Gmail contacts can use Buzz to see all my other contacts. I read a blog that tells me my personal data is exposed because Buzz lets people see private information publicly. One source says turning Buzz off will solve everything... another says turning Buzz off doesn't do anything. Google itself says that private information stays private, and people are misunderstanding what Buzz does. So I have no idea what to think. I have no clue exactly what people can or cannot get access to. Best-case-scenario: The Buzz drama has been blown completely out of proportion and I have nothing to worry about. Worst-case-scenario: My most dreaded nightmare has come true.
In the end, I think it's pretty shitty that Google would do something so horrendous as to force users to use a new service that they don't understand... regardless of whether or not any breach of privacy has occurred! When I logged into Gmail, I got a Buzz splash screen that I blew through with no concept as to what it meant for me or my privacy. I had no clue that it would be bound to my email account in such a way that my personal information was at risk. As of right now, I still don't know, and I've read every article and blog entry I can find to try and figure it out. I've gone through every tutorial I can find on eliminating Buzz from my Gmail account, but I still have no clue as to whether or not it's solved anything. Hell, I don't know if there was anything to "solve" to begin with!
And I still don't understand why Google felt that Buzz had to be a part of my Gmail account instead of a separate service. I'm guessing that it was a way to leverage the insane number of Gmail users to become instant competition to Facebook and Twitter... but at what cost? Most people who want this social media bullshit already have a Facebook and Twitter account! If Google Buzz sucks so bad that it can't stand on its own and has to be grafted onto Gmail to be accepted, why in the hell would anybody want to use it in the first place? None of this makes any sense to me. It's as if Google had no other goal than to piss-off and hopelessly confuse their users. What are they hoping to accomplish by adding a public "feature" to email, given that email is one of the most private parts of our lives? At what point did somebody think mixing public and private data in the same space was such a great idea? How crazy do you have to be to not realize that something like this couldn't possibly be a good idea?
I'm so dumbfounded by the whole Google Buzz concept and the resulting drama that I can't imagine I'd ever want to use it now. Heck, I don't even know if I want to trust Google with ANY of my data now. Their effort to contaminate something as private as email with something as public as social networking just shows they have no concept as to people wanting to keep parts of their lives separate. To Google, everything is meant to be shared, and they want to make it as easy as possible for you to do so... whether you like it or not. As more and more of our personal data is in the hands of others, what does this say about our privacy in the year 2010? What will it mean for our privacy in 2020? Or is there even such thing as "privacy" anymore? The possible answers scare me bad enough to regret ever having asked the question.
Annnnnnnnnd... on that happy note, I'm off to bed. Xin Nian Kuai Le and Gong Xi Fa Cai everybody!
Posted on February 21st, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday from one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen in Seattle!
• Pet Shop. The hotel I'm staying in tonight is really, really nice (especially considering the bitchin' rate I got off PriceLine), but does have one minor draw-back. It's "pet friendly." Now, don't get me wrong... I love animals. I think it's great that there's hotels which accept our furry friends when they travel with us. I do not, however, think it's great to be woken up at 5:30am by a yappy little dog barking it's head off in the room next door on a Sunday morning. Though I suppose I should count myself lucky that it was just a dog and not a hyena or something.
• Zombie Walk. As far as iPhone games go, Plants Vs. Zombies may be the best game ever released. More addictive than crack (or so I'd guess), it's one of those games that you never want to stop playing. It looks great, plays amazing, and keeps gameplay fresh with new features for a good long time...
The game, in a nutshell, has wave after wave of zombies attacking your home, and you have to plant an ever-growing variety of vegetation to fend then off. Highest possible recommendation (unless you have a life, in which case it will will destroy you).
• Spell Check. If you're going to use the word "w00t!" then it's spelled in all lower-case letters with two ZEROS in the middle, like this...
If you don't believe me, you can look it up in the dictionary!
• Saturday Break. After working non-stop for the past several weeks, I decided to take a break and attend a blogger meet in Seattle... thanks to Ms. Sizzle and Chris for putting it together and giving me a much-needed distraction! The beautiful drive alone was worth the effort...
• ONE Ring? Great news! The Lord of the Rings trilogy is finally coming to Blu-Ray! How awesome is that? Oh... wait a second... not so awesome... BECAUSE THE GREEDY FUCKERS AT NEW LINE STUDIOS ARE RELEASING THE BUTCHERED THEATRICAL RELEASE INSTEAD OF THE FULL DIRECTOR'S CUT! They're waiting for everybody to buy the incomplete trilogy THEN they'll release the complete films on Blu-Ray so everybody will have to buy them AGAIN!
I mean, seriously, we already had to buy them twice on DVD, so why not give everybody what they want the first time around? Oh... that's right... NEW LINE IS RUN BY GREEDY FUCKERS! Blu-Ray easily allows the option of viewing both the theatrical release OR the director's cut on the SAME disc thanks to their "branching" technology, but why would we want to do that when we can sucker fans into buying the movies FOUR TIMES!
Well, as much as I'd like to see these beautiful films in HD, I'll take a pass until the COMPLETE films are released. Holy crap I hate it when studio executives try to pull this bullshit. And everybody wonders why otherwise law-abiding citizens turn to piracy! THE MOVIE STUDIOS FORCE THEM TO!
And another week bites the dust...
Posted on February 28th, 2010
As the Olympic Winter Games come to a close, Bullet Sunday comes to the rescue!
• Gold. Congratulations Canada! The final hockey game was well-played on both sides, and I'm happy the local boys (and girls!) were able to keep the Olympic gold at home. Of course, since Canada is a part of North America, I guess that means the gold actually belongs to all of us here in America. America is awesome!
I suppose it's too much to hope that all the excitement from the fantastic hockey matches during the Olympics will make the sport more popular here in the USA. As a long-time hockey fan, it would be nice to get more enthusiasm for the sport outside The Great White North.
• Cubed. The design for the new USA Embassy in Britain was unveiled this week and I have just one question...
...when did Steve Jobs start designing our embassies?
Except I dare say that the Apple Store on New York City's Fifth Avenue is a heck of a lot better-looking than the "fuzzy" glass cube that they came up with for the new embassy. Blech.
• Lisa. It seems impossible that Lisa has been gone an entire year. It feels like only yesterday she was reminding us about what's important in life. You are very much missed.
• Coverage. I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating... NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games sucked ass. It was downright embarrassing to sit back and watch how they managed to screw up at every opportunity (The Olympics are about the SPORTS COMPETITION, dumbasses!). I simply don't understand why you would sign up to cover the Olympic Games and then NOT ACTUALLY COVER THE OLYMPIC GAMES! And don't get me started on the astoundingly fucking stupid idea of running coverage on tape-delay FOR THOSE OF US IN THE SAME TIME ZONE AS THE ACTUAL EVENTS! It would be nice if whomever wins the broadcast rights bid for the next Olympics is actually held to some semblance of competency and quality standards. Like telling your commentators to SHUT THE FUCK UP while the names at the awards ceremonies are read (Chris Drury fans didn't even get to hear his name because of the inane dumbfuck commentary). Or how about telling the commentators to SHUT THE FUCK UP period. 98% of the time, the banal chatter was more distracting then helpful, and made watching the Olympics almost unbearable. Here's a brilliant idea... why not put somebody in charge of broadcasting the Olympics who actually likes sports instead of letting suits in a boardroom dictate this reprehensible bullshit as coverage policy?
• Support. If you're looking for a way to support relief efforts in Chile, or the continuing efforts in Haiti, or help out wherever disaster may strike... my favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders, is doing remarkable work to provide aid "where angels fear to tread," and could use donations. If you've got some spare cash, why not check out their website and then toss a few bucks their way?
And that brings us to the end of another Bullet Sunday!
Posted on March 14th, 2010
Hooray! It's Pi Day! I love Pi! Of course I love all irrational and transcendental numbers, so that shouldn't surprise anybody. I will click the "publish" button on this entry at exactly 3.14.1:59 and see if a magic portal opens up to Flatland or something.
• Irritation Pi. As anybody who follows me on Twitter can attest, I am an irritable traveler. In my defense, it's hardly my fault. I honestly think that people are at their worst behavior when they're on a trip, so I have a valid excuse here. It's probably because travel has become so miserable now-a-days that people feel the need to do their part and become rude maniacs who are intent on making everybody else miserable too. It's a vicious circle. I travel a lot, so I've kind of broken the circle and just try to get through it all with as little drama as possible. With that in mind, I am freaking out over the idea that airplanes may soon be offering MOBILE PHONE SERVICE ON THEIR FLIGHTS. Holy crap. The idea of having to sit next to some loud asshole screaming away on their phone during a flight fills me with dread and homicidal rage...
I mean, seriously? Aren't airplanes horrible enough? Can you imagine how horrendously shitty flights will be if people can make phone calls? This is bullshit! I am willing to bet some serious cash that the murder rate on airplanes increases 2700% if some airline is actually fucking stupid enough to do this. What's next? Are the flight attendants just going to punch you in the face and smear you with horse shit as you board?
• Stupid Pi. I've written about how much I hate Daylight Savings Time so many times on my blog that I sometimes wonder if I should just write about it exclusively. But oh well... I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!! Messing with the clocks is so damn antiquated and absurd that I just can't help myself. Just split the difference by a half hour then LEAVE OUR CLOCKS THE FUCK ALONE!
• Denial Pi. Last night I saw an article on yet another disaster in our military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, where a woman was discharged for being a lesbian... even though she adhered to the rules she was given. Now, I've never been in the military, so those who are in the military (or are a military veteran) can feel free to dismiss my opinion... but who in this day and age really cares if anybody is gay? What's the point? It's as if people who support DADT think that if nobody says they're gay, then the entire military is suddenly straight and homosexuality doesn't exist there. It's like DADT is some kind of magical "denial cloak" idea that somebody took from a Harry Potter novel.
The truth is that you're either a good soldier or a bad soldier, and where consenting adults like to stick their penis and what they choose to do with their vagina isn't going to change that. Fortunately, this is an attitude that's finally starting to stick, as I see when I run across inspirational people, positive stories, and videos like this bouncing around the blogosphere...
The thing that always amuses me is the idea that a gay guy would join the military not to serve his country or earn an education, but so he could look at naked guys in the shower and hook up. It's absurd, but apparently that's what geriatric politicians like John McCain seem to think will happen if gays are allowed to serve openly (despite opinions of military leaders like Colin Powell who thinks DADT should be repealed). If anything, you'd think that homophobes in the military would welcome repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, because then they'd know to say "no thanks, please leave me to die" if they were shot on the battlefield and some "homo pervert" comes to their aid.
People can deny it all they want but the Gay Menace is out there. They're standing next to you at the urinal in the bathroom. They're showering with you at the gym. And they're serving with honor in our military. They're everywhere. Pretending that gays don't exist isn't going to magically make it come true. Why people are so insecure in their sexuality that they think being exposed to "teh ghey" will somehow turn them gay is beyond me. Why they think that gays are any less capable of leaving their sex life in the bedroom is even more of a mystery.
Personally, I'm more afraid of people who watch The Hills than I am of any homosexual. Where's an ineffectual and asinine government policy to protect me from that?
• Apple Pi. I'm ordering an Apple iPad because of a project I'm working on, even though I probably won't use it for much else since I've always got an iPhone and MacBook with me. Don't hate me because I am now 196% cooler and Steve Jobs loves me. At least he should love me now. Heaven only knows I love me more now...
• Humble Pi. I just thought I'd throw this out there for those people who think I'm being a narcissistic ass in my previous bullet...
And thus ends another amazing installment of Bullet Sunday.
Posted on March 28th, 2010
This morning I had all kinds of ambition to get up early and wander around Prague for a few hours before I had to head to the airport. This didn't happen. Instead I stayed in bed and decided to actually be on vacation for a few hours. Which meant doing absolutely nothing. And so here I am now back in the Netherlands so I can blog Bullet Sunday and pack my suitcase. Vacation, it would seem, is officially coming to an end.
• Mucha Mucha. Prague is home to the Alphonse Mucha museum, where you can see original works of Art Nouveau by the master himself. Of all the amazing sights I've seen in the city, I'd have to say visiting this museum was the highlight. Being able to walk into a building and see art so beautiful that you have to struggle not to crap your pants should be what life is all about...
• No Dumbassery. Yesterday was "No Tech Day" which is about as stupid as it gets... right up there with the bullshit idiocy of "Shutdown Day" from three years ago. My iPhone has completely revolutionized most all aspects of how I travel, and I cannot fathom going back to the dark ages where I didn't have instant access to maps and important information wherever I'm at... especially when I'm in a foreign country on my own. Supposedly giving up tech gadgets is going to "improve the quality of your life," but that's such a load of crap. So long as the tech gadgets don't become your life, and act only to supplement it, wouldn't that be a good thing? I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before these people invent something even more asinine... like "No Toilet Paper Day."
• International Disaster. I see that the heinous Jersey Shore reality show is now being distributed here in Europe. The thought of other countries judging the USA by what they see on this show fills me with horror and no small amount of shame. I can only guess that this will set back international relations by decades...
• Tenth Photo. I was tagged by Josh is Trashy to participate in a photo meme. Here are the rules...
My first photo file is called "0000 Dave Misc" which is basically a catch-all folder for stupid images of me that don't really go with any other photos. This is the worst possible folder to be looking through, And the tenth photo is not really the one I would choose if forced to display one on my blog...
This would be a scanned photo of my first trip to Maui with my friends. I have no idea what's going on here, but I'm pretty sure it's just me being very, very happy to be in Maui. Probably while drunk. I have no excuse for the short-shorts except that it was the 80's. Yes, I know it's a sexy look for me.
Unlike photo number eleven, where I have an unfortunate hair-cut and even more unfortunate round sunglasses. There's no "sexy" to come out of this mess...
Oh well. I'm afraid that I am rubbish at tagging people with these things, but if you are so inclined to embarrass yourself, please do.
And, on that note, I suppose I should sign off and try to get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be a very long day.
Posted on April 4th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday on Easter Sunday! Bullets and Eggs... could there be a better combination?
• HAPPY EASTER! To all my friends who celebrate this day for whatever reason, I wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful Spring. My day was nice enough... dinner at grandma's house... but my car ended up covered with bird crap. And I mean covered. There is so much bird crap on my car that I'm fairly certain I could fertilize half the apple orchards in the valley. I didn't have enough quarters for a car wash, so now I'm driving the PoopMobile. Kind of an ominous start to my Spring, but it is what it is.
• THRILLER! Say what you like about the freakish nature of Michael Jackson but, after watching his final appearances on the This is It DVD, there's no denying the guy was a true musical artist. I am only a casual fan but have to admit I was amazed watching him prepare for his farewell tour. Even if you only like one or two Michael Jackson songs you owe it to yourself to see this film...
• UPS SUCKS! Yesterday I was supposed to be in Seattle hanging out with friends and family. But a freak snowstorm descended, canceling my plans. So long as a winter storm warning is in effect, I can't risk being trapped in Seattle while I'm still trying to get caught up with work after my vacation. Since I was going to be home, I was asked to help with an emergency. An iPad demo unit which has to be on its way to Europe on Monday wasn't going to arrive as planned, and a software developer friend of mine asked if I wouldn't mind sending my iPad out instead (then he would send his iPad to me next week when he got it). Of course I didn't mind at all. The only problem was that I live in a small town where Saturday Delivery isn't available, and I wasn't expecting my iPad to be here until Monday. So I called UPS to tell them to please route my iPad to a UPS Store in a nearby city that has Saturday Delivery. I could drive into town, pick it up, transfer the software, and then ship it out again no problem.
Except it WAS a problem. UPS refused to do a damn thing.
They wouldn't reroute the package. They wouldn't even contact the local UPS station to have them take it to the UPS Store. They wouldn't even let me drive to the actual station and pick it up there. They didn't offer any solution at all.
What fantastic customer service.
I'm amazed that I've done this with Fed-Ex a couple times before and they never even hinted that it was a problem. Fed-Ex just took care of it, and I never gave it a second thought. But to UPS it's massive drama and an overwhelming ordeal that they can't (or won't) help you with. They just don't care. Which meant my friend... a small tech developer just trying to stay in business another damn day... had to drive eight hours round-trip to solve a problem that UPS could have fixed in just a few minutes if they had even a hint of customer service.
So, lesson learned. If you want a company that actually gives a flying fuck, ship with Fed-Ex.
UPDATE: And so one of the voicemails I ignored at work this weekend was from my local UPS station trying to contact me to see if I wanted to have my package delivered to an alternative address or meet a driver to pick it up. This is exactly what I wanted to do all along, but was assured by the UPS Customer Service line that it was impossible. Apparently the local stations actually do give a crap about their customers, they just don't have any support from corporate. This is so frickin' typical of big businesses now-a-days that I can't even pretend to be surprised.
And, on that happy note, I'm off to wash clothes. How exciting is THAT?
Posted on April 11th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday and, if I remember to hit "publish" instead of "draft," then maybe it will actually appear on Sunday.
• Hostess. One of my favorite childhood treats was Ding Dongs snack cakes. But since I became a vegetarian in 1988, I haven't been able to eat them because Hostess fills them with DISGUSTING LARD!! I still miss them though, because nothing quite compared to peeling off that foil wrapper to get to the chocolatey creamy goodness inside. Anyway, yesterday when I was shopping, I noticed that Ding Dongs are no longer wrapped in foil. They're wrapped in DISGUSTING PLASTIC!
I refuse to eat DISGUSTING LARD, so I can't say for sure... but I bet they don't taste as good without the foil wrapper.
• Dixie. I was very sad to learn that Dixie Carter passed away. As Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women, she had some of the funniest moments on television, and provided some clever insight on events of the day. They don't write them like that anymore, and now that Dixie Carter is gone, they won't play them like that anymore either...
She will be missed.
• Lust. And in other sad news, Seattle's "Lusty Lady" is closing! I've only been once, but it was a peep-show experience that lasts a lifetime. Believe it or not, many consider the most entertaining part of the place not to be the naked women on the inside, but the clever puns on the marquee outside...
Ah, if only I could make it to Seattle with a roll of quarters just once more for old-time's sake! The Lusty Lady... she will also be missed.
• Palinesque. About the ONLY benefit of Sarah Palin's never-ending stupidity still being in the public spotlight would be Tina Fey popping up every once in a while with her flawless parody of it. Well, actually her parody of Palin's parody of Marge Gunderson, but still, amazing. In any event, Fey totally nailed it once again with last night's hosting duties on Saturday Night Live...
On one hand, it would be heaven for Palin to run for president in 2012... the comedy gold that such an undertaking could provide would be epic. On the other hand, she's set back women in politics by at least a decade, and it would be nice to have a fully-functional woman enter the next presidential election.
And on that hopeful note for the future, it's time for Oreo Cookie dinner.
Posted on April 18th, 2010
Oops! I almost forgot about Bullet Sunday! It's been a very busy weekend.
• Volcanic? The eruption of Mt. Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and subsequent blanketing of all Europe with ash has disrupted air travel on a massive scale... including mine. Everybody's schedule has been hopelessly screwed and their travel plans postponed indefinitely since nobody knows when the eruption will subside. Worst case scenario has the action intensifying, causing the nearby Katia volcano to erupt as well. If that happens, planes will make their decision to fly from day to day based on weather patterns, and nobody will be able to plan for anything. At the very worst, travel could be mostly trains and ships around Europe for a long while. On the other hand, this could all blow over tomorrow.
But no matter what happens, I am saddened by people saying things like "I hate Iceland" and "Iceland just ruined my vacation" or whatever. Even if the country of Iceland didn't exist, that volcano would still be there. So hate on the volcano, not the country it happens to be erupting on. It's no more Iceland's fault now than it was Washington State's fault when Mt. St. Helens erupted. I've been lucky enough to have visited Reykjavik, and found everybody there to be friendly and kind to visitors. Certainly they're not deserving of such ill-will for something that's not their fault. Besides, karma dictates it could be your country next.
• Good Beaver? Ever wonder what Lil' Dave would look like if I were Canadian? Wonder no longer...
Yes, things are gearing up for TequilaCon 2010 quite nicely. Just six more days...
• Airfix? For well over a decade I've been combing the internet looking for information on an artist named "Satori" who was responsible for some of my favorite album covers in the 80s. I first noticed them for the Thompson Twins' Into The Gap album, where they turned the band's logo into a map...
And of course there was that beautifully haunting cover for Dead or Alive's Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know with Pete Burns staring at you with those black-on-black eyes...
And of course there were those genius covers for a little band called Def Lepard...
This week "Satori" came up in an email conversation, and I Googled them just to see if anything new had popped up. Turns out that there has been something new... "Satori" was just a studio name for Andie Airfix. Not only does Andie now have a personal site where you can purchase some of his amazing work, BUT HE HAS AN AWESOME BLOG called "B*b G#ld*f Stole My Sunglasses?"
No joke... if you have even a passing interest in 80's music (or graphic design), you must visit Andie's blog. It's filled with genius stories featuring Grace Jones, Thompson Twins, Pete Burns, Def Lepard and more. I've read through his every entry twice and will undoubtedly read them all again. Great stuff.
Meh. I suppose I should probably try and get some sleep now. Who knows... one of these nights I might actually get lucky.
Posted on May 2nd, 2010
It's a sweet Bullet Sunday at home as I blog in-between trips!
• Fault. Just how much more hardship is Louisiana supposed to endure? Hurricanes, floods, recession, and now an oil spill? I'm sure Pat Robertson must be positively orgasmic, seeing as how he has decided to speak on behalf of God and tell everybody it's New Orleans' fault. No word from the hate-mongering old fuck on what "God" says is the cause of the flooding in Nashville. My guess would be the 700 Club's Nashville office being located in the city, but far be it for me to speak on behalf of the Almighty. I'll leave that to douchebag televangelists.
• Funneh. When President Obama delivers a standup routine at the The White House Correspondent's Dinner that was funnier than Jay Leno's bit, it has me hoping he gets his own late-night talk show in seven years...
Though I must say my favorite part was when Obama took a moment to pay some words of respect to our troops. Quite a nice change from his predecessor.
• CS5. Color me completely shocked. After I finally managed to get Adobe Creative Suite 5 downloaded, everything else was gravy. Unlike every other installation of Creative Suite, there were NO issues this time. Installation was painless. Nothing got screwed up when I uninstalled the previous version. Everything just works. This is a pleasant change from when I installed CS4 and ended up having to reformat my hard drive and start over from scratch in order to get it working. TWICE. Thank you, Adobe...
• Merged. The latest casualty of airline consolidation? Continental Airlines, which is apparently merging with United. I used to love flying Continental when they were part of the SkyTeam Alliance because they had a direct flight into Cologne, but had to drop out when they left my mileage program. Now my worry is that the ever-decreasing competition amongst airlines is going to drive up prices. Tickets are already running much higher than I'm used to, and if things go much higher I'm going to have to drastically cut back on my travel.
• Bits. In case you missed it, my "Blogography Bits" leftovers blog had my reactions to the stolen iPhone drama, and Senseless Flash Injection, and crappy blog hosting hostility, and even a comic book meme this week.
And now I'm off to eat candy for dinner. But don't judge me for that... I had candy for lunch, so it's okay.
Posted on May 16th, 2010
It's... a righteous Bullet Sunday!
Righteous Cock! I've mostly ignored the whole Dr. George Rekers gay sex scandal because, honestly, what's the point? Yet another gay-hating public figure has been caught with his penis in a place he's advocated it doesn't belong... am I supposed to be shocked? As I've said the last couple times this has happened, I just automatically assume that anybody who would spend most of their time fighting so hard against "teh gay" is most likely a big ol' cock-loving hypocrite. Religious leaders. Politicians. Christian ministers who say homosexuality is a mental disorder to be cured. It's all the same. But I got a comment asking me to add Rekers to the list, so here he is...
Dr. George Rekers Wants Cock!
Senator Roy Ashburn Wants Cock!
Reverend Ted Haggard Wants Cock!
• Righteous Bitch! The DutchBitch now has a logo poster for
If you're going to be in the vicinity of der Netherlands that weekend, let The DutchBitch know so she can pencil you in the guest-list! There will be more good times and pooferflargen than you can shake a poofenwafel at!
• Righteous Anger! Yesterday on Facebook I updated my status with this...
"Holy crap. The only reason I would give a shit about Elena Kagan's sexuality would be if I wanted to bone her. And, since I really, really don't... why should I give a flying fuck whether she prefers sausage or taco? Why should anybody? I'm more curious about the sexuality of all these people that are constantly bringing it up... do THEY want to bone her?"
This got me an interesting message this morning, telling me that people have a right to know anything they want about the Supreme Court Justices who make the laws that govern us. That's a very good point. And so I have a few questions that need to be answered by the current Supreme Court...
How often do you masturbate?
Can you describe
your gay fantasies?
Have you ever
had anal sex?
What is the length of
your erect penis?
Got any sex fetishes
What's your favorite
Are you a spitter
or do you swallow?
Are you a spitter
or do you swallow?
Did that "pube on a
Coke" line ever work?
• Righteous Birthday! Tracy asked me to make a birthday wish for her friend Grant, who likes "Asian Bunnies." Since I owe Tracy a debt bigger than my bank account, I agreed and came up with a "Dave Bunny" drawn manga-style...
• Righteous Victory! There was a time that I valued the work of the American Civil Liberties Union for their efforts in defending the Constitutional rights of American citizens. Sure they did some crazy-ass crap that I disagreed with, but their overall mission was something I could get behind. Until they attacked my local library. I wrote about their outrageously stupid lawsuit over three years ago. To sum up... the local libraries in rural Washington State installed computers so that people without internet access can get it. Because most of these libraries are tiny little buildings with barely enough room for a computer in the first place... the library had to install filtering software so that children using the computers or kids wandering by web-surfing adults wouldn't be illegally exposed to porn or other mature subject matter...
Of course, no filtering software is perfect... sometimes the library has to manually unblock sites that have been wrongfully blocked... or try some other way to accommodate valid (i.e. non-porn) requests. It's not a perfect system, but the libraries are doing their best. But that wasn't good enough for the ACLU. Apparently they feel that people should be able to do whatever crazy shit they want on a library computer since it's funded by tax dollars. So to assure the public's much-needed access to sexytime, the ACLU sued the North Central Regional Library System. Because hey, life, liberty, and the pursuit of internet porn is what our founding fathers fought and died for, right?
Well, after years of litigation, the library finally won their case. Small libraries can keep filtering on their computers so kids don't get exposed to adult material and the library doesn't get sued for child endangerment. And even though the libraries themselves know it's not a great solution, it's a compromise they are trying their best to deal with. So congratulations to my local library! And fuck the ACLU for being total dumbasses that sue those who are just trying to help as many people as they can the best way they know how. Fuck you up your stupid, self-righteous, disgusting asses.
And now... a busy week lays ahead. Time to get to work!
Posted on May 23rd, 2010
Bullet Sunday from Chicago! It's a good place to be!
• Lost. When the television phenomena known as Lost debuted, I was a serious fan. I obsessed over the show and was lauding it as "genius" with each new incredible revelation and juicy mystery. It was everything I loved about television come to life. But then, somewhere in the middle of Season 2, I slowly began to realize that the the show was all smoke and mirrors with no substance whatsoever. It was nothing but mystery on top of mystery, and the writers were quickly building a house of bullshit from which the show would never escape. They just kept piling on "cool stuff" until NO resolution would ever be worth it. So I gave up the show. Every once in a while I'd tune in because people would tell me how awesome it was getting, but all I ever saw was more shit being dropped on a big box of bullshit...
And so tonight, after a lovely dinner out in the 'burbs, I got back to my hotel where the final episode of Lost was nearly over. So I decided to watch. I decided that if I liked what I saw, I'd admit I was wrong all along and go back and watch everything I missed.
Except I wasn't wrong. In my humble opinion, it was the single biggest wimpy cop-out bullshit of an ending the writers could have possibly come up with. It just validated my belief that they really didn't know what the hell they were doing, which is why they kept adding "cool shit" to distract everybody and keep the audience watching. That would have been fine, except you have to be able to really deliver at the end. And they didn't. So when I hear how show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse imply that they knew what was going on all along, I think they're either A) LYING, and just slapped on some lame shit that "explains" nothing and everything at the same time... or, B) THE WORST WRITERS EVER that they think THIS was a worthy end to a six-year investment of people's time. I'm not saying that every detail had to be wrapped up and explained at the end, I'm just saying that, ultimately, the end has to be a satisfying conclusion to everything leading up to it, and I didn't see that.
Whatever the case, I thank heavens I never wasted any more time with the show than I did.
And yet, if there are fans who loved the show and felt the ending was perfect... more power to you! Not everybody has to like the same things, and so congratulations on getting what you wanted out of Lost.
• Grey's. If there's one guilty pleasure of mine to be found on television that's NOT Lost, it would be Grey's Anatomy. Overall, despite some very notable set-backs and other stupidity (e.g. Dead Denny), I find it to be highly entertaining. Somehow, the writers are always managing to come up with these clever twists and interesting stories that keeps moving everything forward.
Except for the season finale last week, which was a total load of crap. What kills me is that the premise was outstanding. Genius, even. But then the writers got lazy and stupid and just decided to fill time with scene after scene of characters going into needless fits of hysteria. It was enough to make me want to bitch-slap half the cast through my television. Maybe two hours was too much time to fill... I just don't know... but by the time they finally got to the end, I was to the point where I never wanted to watch the show ever again. Not exactly the best way to wrap-up a season.
• Kinda. This afternoon I was lucky enough to have RW (of 1 Step Beyond fame) invite me out for his own recipe "Kinda Mediterranean Pizza" with him and Mrs. RW...
Just as he claimed when he published the recipe, it was fucking delicious. I think the secret must be his homemade Carrettiera Sauce, because it adds a lot of flavor while managing to keep things light and fresh (which makes me wonder how many other ways it could be used). Most definitely worth your time to make... especially since he has a step-by-step guide free for the taking.
You'd think that hanging out drinking beer and talking with friends on a beautiful Chicago day would be enough... but RW had to go and make awesome pizza too. The bastard. How can I in good conscience order out from Dominoes when I have friends over? I can't! From now on I'm going to have to go to the extra effort to buy frozen pizza and pretend like I made it! Thanks a heap, RW!
• Interview. Many thanks to Troy of Blue Goo Ate My Mom fame for giving me a heads-up to the great interview with a-ha posted over at CBC's Q Uncut. It's well worth a listen, even if you never heard of the band after Take on Me disappeared from the airwaves. They went on to a lot of great music, and the interview helps North Americans get "caught up" with all the things we missed...
Though Minor Earth Major Sky is probably my favorite a-ha album, their latest (and last) album Foot of the Mountain is exceptional, and harkens back to the sound that made them famous. Sadly, stupid-ass record labels have tied up the distribution rights so you can't buy the album in the USA unless you pay for an import, but a good (but incomplete) "singles" collection is for sale on iTunes.
And now, I suppose it's time to get some work done. What else is there to do on a Sunday night?
Posted on May 30th, 2010
Home at last for Bullet Sunday! There's nothing I really want to blog about today, so I decided to take one of the "30 Days" memes going around and just blow through the whole month in one sitting...
• Guilty pleasure. Re-watching old television shows on DVD. I just finished Veronica Mars (again) and The West Wing (again), and am now starting up with Alias (holy crap that show was amazing in the first two seasons!).
• Something that inspires you. Doctors Without Borders.
• The five songs you would have with you on a desert island and why. Probably five songs that are kind of bittersweet and ironic... If You Were Here by Thompson Twins. Pictures of You by The Cure. Every Day is Like Sunday by Morrissey. The Way It Used to Be by Pet Shop Boys. I Wish I Cared by a-ha. If I could have a sixth, I'd pick Mercy In You by Depeche Mode, just because I love it.
• What you imagine paradise to be like. Maui.
• A thank you letter to someone who has changed your life. "Thank's for stopping by my blog, dear reader!"
• Earliest thing you can remember. Playing with toys at grandma's house.
• Favorite cover of your favorite song. My favorite song hasn't been covered (that I know of)... but I do like Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill as covered by Erasure.
• Someone you think would make a good president. Apple Computer's Steve Jobs. No joke.
• Five things you want to see change. 1) Miracle Whip needs to go back to the original oil-based recipe because the newer water-based recipe sucks. 2) Sarah Palin needs to shut the hell up, as she is destroying any hopeful future of women in higher politics with her never-ending stupidity. 3) If television networks and record labels aren't going to make their shit available for purchase, they need to stop whining about people stealing or trading it. 4) FOX News needs to stop claiming that their coverage is "fair and balanced" because it's just as biased as all the other crappy news networks, if not more-so. 5) Blind hatred needs to be seen as antiquated thinking and ridiculed at every oportunity.
• A dream you had this past week described in detail. I don't have dreams in the way most everybody else does.
• Favorite picture ever taken of yourself. I don't like ANY photos of me, so YOU pick. I do like photos of me where I'm with my friends though...
• Your favorite musical artist’s life story. Though I'm not a huge fan of Shania Twain, her story of fighting her way out of abject poverty to become a major star is pretty inspiring. Kind of like Dolly Parton.
• A memory that never fails to make you laugh. Just about anything from my college years.
• Best mashup you’ve ever heard. I don't generally like mash-ups because I usually have too much respect for the original music. That being said, I thought this mashup with Depeche Mode and Madonna was pretty brilliant...
• A moment, phrase, or song that has changed your life the most. My favorite phrase is a quote from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension that's pretty remarkable when you really take a minute to think about it... "No matter where you go, there you are."
• Something that you want to do within the next five years. Visit Antarctica.
• What you want to remembered for. Existing.
• A picture that makes you feel. There are many. This one of Rosa Parks is a favorite...
• A passage from a book that has touched you. The one book that has influenced me more than any other is Illusions by Richard Bach. Its every page is genius. But if I had to pick one passage from it that has touched me most, it's this one: "Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours." Everything is possible.
• A band that you immediately liked and the song that made you like them. Depeche Mode. Just Can't Get Enough.
• Your favorite medium of art. Oils on canvas for others, watercolors on paper for me.
• Someone you would give your life up for without question. Batman.
• Most awkward first impression you feel you’ve ever given. When meeting a blind-date once, I jokingly asked her how she felt about dating serial killers. It didn't end up being as funny as I had thought it would.
• Something you did as a child that other people remember you for. Being the most adorable baby ever...
• Something you would do if no one stopped you or if you knew you wouldn’t fail. Absolutely nothing. Doing nothing is the Holy Grail for me.
• Your definition of love. Shoelaces.
• Your definition of the meaning of life. Making the lives of others better.
• A moment you remember being completely happy in and a description of why you believe you were. What is your definition of happiness? I spent the weekend with my sister, and was totally happy most of the time. Probably because I was drunk most of the time. So I guess my definition of being happiness is being drunk.
• What you live for. New experiences. New people. New adventures.
• Ways you believe you have grown over the past thirty days. Even after looking back over my entries from the past 30 days, I have no idea. Except that every day is an opportunity to learn and grow, and I hope that I have.
Posted on June 6th, 2010
Another Bullet Sunday from home! How lucky can I get?
• Golden. Naturally, I was very sad to hear that Rue McClanahan has passed away. As the sex-starved Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls, she had some very big shoes to fill. Sex-starved shoes formerly filled by Betty White as the sex-starved Sue-Ann Nivens from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But McClanahan managed to create a character all her own, and Blanche quickly became a television classic beloved the world over. She will be missed...
Hang in there, Betty!
• Greedo. Coolest. Keychain. Ever. Of course, all LEGO minifig keychains are cool... but this one is frickin' sweet! The character is named "Onaconda Farr" but I prefer to think of him as "Greedo" in a new outfit (HAN SHOT FIRST!)...
• Rated. And so AT&T has changed their rate plans, eliminating unlimited data options for new smartphone customers.
With each passing minute I loathe AT&T even more than I did the minute before. On top of service that is so shitty I can barely make phone calls sometimes, now they're screwing over Apple by killing one of the things that makes buying an iPhone or iPad so great. AND screwing over customers like me who wanted to purchase a tethering option for my UNLIMITED data plan (which is now impossible, as you have to DOWNGRADE to their shitty LIMITED plans to get tethering!). I sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, hope that Apple can use this as an excuse to break their exclusivity contract and fucking drop AT&T like the pile of crap they have become.
• O'Really? Just when I think that Bill O'Reilly couldn't possibly be a bigger asshole than he already is... he proves me wrong. McDonalds France has a new ad campaign called "Come As You Are" which shows how different people from all different walks of life are welcome at their restaurants. Their clever ad for gay customers was recently discussed at FOX News, where Bill O'Reilly asked if McDonalds France had an ad welcoming Al-Qaeda to their restaurants too...
Yes. That's right. Bill O'Reilly feels that if you're going to welcome gays into your restaurant, you might as well be inviting Al-Qaeda as well. That he can say hateful crazy-ass shit like this and still have people wanting to watch his show is just mind-boggling. Humanity FAIL!
• C B No. Why is it any time I go to watch videos at CBS, they shove an ad down my throat that plays perfectly... then come up with an error message saying the video is no longer available? Well, dumbasses, I clicked on the firckin' video link from YOUR website, so why in the hell are you advertising content that isn't available?
Stupid crap like this happens all the time when trying to view content officially and legally... yet, networks continue to whine over people illegally sharing VIDEO THAT ACTUALLY WORKS. Well guess what? YOU FORCE PEOPLE TO DO IT! Either fix your busted-ass shit or STOP WHINING ABOUT PIRACY!
And now I suppose I should go to bed since I have to be up in 4-1/2 hours. I would have gone to bed earlier, but I'm still jazzed from the Blackhawks win, and the MTV Movie Awards were actually entertaining enough to keep me watching this year. Who knew?
Posted on June 13th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday from Berlin! I have to get up early tomorrow for work, so I'll post today's adventures in Deutschland tomorrow. In the meanwhile... on with the bullets...
• Presidential! As always, I'm fascinated by foreign Americana I find when traveling abroad. Even though most of it is critical, it's almost always entertaining. Like this drawing of Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush...
Each is captured perfectly, but it's the bulge in Clinton's pants that makes it art.
• Dieter! Damn. If only I could get back to Berlin at the end of August for what is sure to be THE concert event of the year! I bet Dieter gets all the chicks. Just look at this über-hot bastard...
I haven't seen a music personality this impressive since Gunther!
• Sweet! Finally... FINALLY... I found a Double Fahrt photo for my ongoing Fahrt Collection...
Here's hoping a Triple Fahrt is in my future sometime soon.
• Video! I'm beginning to wonder how long it will be before it's impossible to avoid being under video surveillance in public areas...
What's astounding to me is that even though signs like this are everywhere, so are signs of vandalism and crime. I wouldn't mind having people watching me all the time if it were doing something to make us all safer, but I never get the feeling it is.
• Service? AT&T likes to brag about their awesome world-wide coverage but, from what I've recently experienced, they're full of shit. Many times I could not use data services... even at important places like Berlin's main train station. Nothing quite like relying on your phone to get at your hotel reservation and a map of how to get there, only to find out you can't get to either. In the countryside of the Netherlands and Germany, I was lucky to get any kind of service at all (even when the Dutch and Germans were happily chatting away on their phones). This sucks even worse. FAIL!...
This probably has something to do with AT&T not having established roaming partnerships with companies providing service at these places, which means absolutely nothing to customers expecting to make phone calls there. Sure I am grateful for the amazing technology that makes personal global communication a reality, but this is bullshit.
• Spotted! Gowalla recently added "Event Spots" which allow you to create temporary check-in Spots for weddings, conferences, parties, birthdays... and even blogger meet-ups, like the one we created for Bitchsterdam 2...
The cool thing about this is that you can post photos and notes so you have an online record of your event that people can check out. Unfortunately, however, the photos must be shot and uploaded live. You can't post saved or transferred images. Given that my iPhone 3GS doesn't have a flash, this makes it almost impossible to post anything decent. Hopefully as mobile phone cameras continue to get better, this will be a much more useful feature.
And that brings yet another Bullet Sunday to a close. Tomorrow it's back to Amsterdam. The day after that it's back home.
It seems like I just got here.
Posted on June 20th, 2010
After an incredibly exhausting and frustrating drive home from Seattle, I arrived to find that I had developed a splitting headache. The only bullets I feel like using today would be on myself, but here's twp shots anyway...
• Sunday. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, including mine...
• Four. My pocket camera has died, and so I'm in the market for a new one. Except... I am growing increasingly disenchanted with the idea of carrying another gadget with me all the time. Enter iPhone 4, which seems to be finally bring a decent camera to iPhone. At least the sample images sure look compelling. The problem is that the new & improved camera is about the only feature that would make me want it. So now I'm conflicted... because if I upgrade my phone, I'm locked into another two-year contract with AT&T's increasingly shitty service. On the other hand, what a pretty phone it is...
I remain unconvinced that switching to Verizon or Sprint or T-Mobile would benefit me enough to abandon iPhone, as they all have issues, so I'll probably end up upgrading eventually. Apple really should create their own mobile network and eliminate this bullshit once and for all.
From what I can tell, I am home for exactly one month before having to travel again. Wouldn't it be awesome if this actually ends up being true? My aching head remains optimistic despite past history dictating otherwise.
Posted on June 27th, 2010
In celebration of Pride Month for all my GLBT friends, welcome to an all-gay edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Icky. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is being more stupid and intolerant than usual, which shouldn't surprise me... but somehow does. Because just when you think there's a limit as to how ignorant somebody could possibly get, they come along with something new to prove you wrong. In an interview in The New Yorker today, Huckabee unleashed such gems as "Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same." — And yet, against all odds and despite their "biological incompatibility," gays manage to have lasting, meaningful, committed relationships just fine. Which leaves us with the real reason Huckabee opposes homosexuality... it's "icky." Well you stupid fucking tool, I feel that eating meat is "icky" so does that give me justification for forcing my personal vegetarian beliefs on the entire country? So much for the Land of the Free... where you're free just so long as Mike Huckabee doesn't feel the freedoms you choose to enjoy are icky.
• NOH8. I am happy to see that the NOH8 Campaign shows no signs of slowing down, and has released a beautiful new advertisement which shows that support for marriage equality is universal...
I hope I live to see a day where people are afforded the right to be who they are and love who they choose. The inhumanity of consenting adults being told their love is worthless and undeserving of marriage is a disgusting violation of personal liberty that sickens me to my very core.
• Platform. Heaven only knows I love Texas, but the latest turd crapped out of the ass of the Texas Republican Party has laid a stench over the entire state. It's a stunning 25-page platform summary which advocates everything from rescinding the USA's membership in The United Nations and opposing a worldwide currency, to eliminating hate-crime legislation and banning legalization of sodomy (i.e. no marriage for you, gay blasphemers!). It's a largely entertaining (if not outright hysterical) read... that totally scares the crap out of me. Given the massive anti-gay stance of the Texas Republican Party, I am fully expecting a massive number of homosexual scandals to rock the organization any minute now, as history has thus far shown.
• 20/20. Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "panic." Fortunately, this is an easy word to work into today's gay-themed Bullet Sunday, because it encapsulates so nicely the opposition to gay rights...
These people are so terrified of anybody who is different from them... so horrified at the existence of anything which is contrary to their beliefs... so frightened of that which challenges their weak faith... that they live in a constant state of panic. Unfortunately, it's a panic they are unwilling to keep to themselves, as these photos from Philly Pride 2008 so readily show.
• Fight. When it comes to equality, there isn't much more for me to say above what I've already said...
...except keep fighting the good fight, my friends!
And now I suppose I had better get to bed since I have another bone-crushing 18-hour day ahead of me again tomorrow.
Posted on July 4th, 2010
Hooray! It's a Bullet Sunday dedicated to three people I loathe on this Independence Day!
• Larry. One of the single worst interviewers on the planet, Larry King, has announced he's retiring. I have never, ever, understood his appeal. Every time I've seen one of his shows, I'm left wondering if he even knows who he's interviewing, since half the time he seems completely bewildered as to whom he's talking to. As if that wasn't enough, he's always looked like some kind of pervy alien to me...
Here's hoping that Larry's replacement is somebody who's worth a shit. If CNN is going to get all the interesting people to interview, it would be nice if the actual interviews weere worth watching.
• Night. If there were ever an example of somebody who started with a bang, then faded to ridiculousness with an even bigger bang, it would be M. Night Shyamalan. Even though I figured out the "twist" in The Sixth Sense well before the reveal, I still enjoyed the film... mostly because of the performances which were terrific all the way around (in particular Toni Collette, who totally sold her unsellable character). I didn't necessarily think Shyamalan was genius for it, but I did think there was some talent there. Then came Unbreakable, which was a film I loved. I loved the story. I loved the performances. Sure there were some spots that did their best to sabotage the ideals of a non-super-hero super-hero film, but it was a good movie, right up until that awesome reveal at the end that is dropped on you like a bomb by Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson being all amazing and stuff...
Unfortunately, every single thing that M. Night Shyamalan has released after this film has been stupid as shit. Signs? Stupid, nonsensical shit. The Village? Stupid, predictable shit. Lady in the Water? Stupid, self-indulgent shit. The Happening? Stupid, stupid, STUPID shit. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson after The Village, but I keep going back for reasons even I don't understand.
Until now. Because Shyamalan's latest film is based on Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is one of my most favorite cartoons ever...
There is no way I am going to watch as something I care for so much is utterly destroyed by Night's hackery. And, not that I really needed to go there, but the pitiful 8% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes only confirms that it's yet another stupid as shit film in a chain of stupid as shit films. Netflix has the REAL Avatar on Watch-It-Now, so I'll just watch that instead. What is it going to take for movie studios to stop giving M. Night Shyamalan millions of dollars to crank out more crap films? Aren't there other filmmakers out there more deserving?
• Mel. I find it scary that Mel Gibson has turned into the very racists he made fun of while playing Riggs in Lethal
Unfortunately, I'm quite sure that racist tirades like Mel's recent N-word meltdown are anything but rare. Reprehensible stuff like this goes on all the time behind closed doors of all races, religions, and creeds. But Mel Gibson's celebrity status has made him somebody with influence, and this is not the kind of crap that deserves the spotlight. Hopefully these repeated offenses will be enough to bury the asshole back to obscurity.
• 20/20. Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "wrong."
Something that I've always thought is very wrong is when restaurants and butcher shops use happy animals to advertise their meats. Which basically means that the animals are inviting you to eat them... like in Restaurant as the End of the Universe. The cutest suicidal animals are in Asia...
And I don't think this needs any explanation...
And now, before I go, something mostly right...
Happy 234th Birthday, USA!
Posted on July 11th, 2010
Annnnnd... scene. It may have taken me a while longer than expected to finish up today, but I finally managed to get most everything completed before my deadline tomorrow. It has been a difficult three weeks, but I've somehow managed to survive. Barely. I don't think I have many bullets in me this Bullet Sunday, but here we go...
• hAx0rEd. After reading about a massive number of WordPress blogs being violated, I checked out the WordPress install at my other blog and found out that I was among them. After changing all my passwords, removing all the offending hacks, reinstalling all my system files, and running through my database looking for malicious code, I finally called it a night. Only to find myself hacked AGAIN five hours later. This resulted in me taking rather drastic measures to secure everything a second time but so-far, so-good.
• Realty. My new favorite show is Selling New York on HGTV. It's kind of a reality show about realty, where brokers show amazing properties that regularly cost millions of dollars. Along the way they have to deal with finicky clients, unrealistic expectations, and interesting situations that can only be found in New York City. As for me, I just like living vicariously through people who have such obscene amounts of money that they can even afford to look at real estate like that.
• 20/20. Today's (final) word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "human." And nothing quite captures humanity quite like Michelangelo's breathtaking works...
The human emotion he can coax out of a piece of stone is pretty miraculous.
• Finale. Just in case there's anybody interested in which twenty random songs from my iTunes library were responsible for my meme assignments, here they are...
Annnnnnd... I'm spent. Looking forward to better days ahead.
At least they had better be.
Posted on July 18th, 2010
I am really too busy to blog, but if I don't rant about all the fake-ass crap that's been building up inside of me this week, I'll explode. So, apologies in advance...
• Faux Advertising. Am I the only one who thinks that the ads currently running for the new Kia Soul are stupid? I mean, once you get past the cuteness factor of hamsters rapping and driving around, what does it say about the car? That they're so small only hamsters can drive them?
What's odd is that the ad is being overplayed. Almost as if Kia is wanting people to get sick of it. I mean sure it's entertaining one or two times but, once the novelty wears off, it's useless. I'd argue it actually works against the brand, as the existence of this bullet would attest. But, then again, any publicity is good publicity. I guess.
• Faux HD. I was channel-surfing for some background noise yesterday while I worked, and ended up watching Kevin Smith's underrated Jersey Girl on the TBS's HD Channel. And ended up screaming the entire time because the movie was NOT presented in HD. They just took the butchered SD version and stretched it out to fit the HD width. Which is bullshit. Don't go calling yourself an "HD" station if you're not going to show movies in HD. This kind of crap drives me insane. To illustrate, here's a scene from the movie Lost in Translation where a critical conversation is reduced to lips talking...
The scene as God (and director Sofia Coppola) intended.
The scene butchered on Standard-Def television and Pan-n-Scan DVDs.
The scene butchered in Stretched-SD-Faux-HD, ala TBS
And another. This time made worse, because an entire character has been obliterated...
The scene as God (and director Sofia Coppola) intended.
The scene butchered on Standard-Def television and Pan-n-Scan DVDs.
The scene butchered in Stretched-SD-Faux-HD, ala TBS
Now, TBS is hardly the sole offender of butchering movies so stupidly, but they're one of the worst offenders. I wish the FCC would fine stations who misrepresent content. If you're an HD channel showing SD content, then don't distort the content in the hopes that nobody notices. Present it for the butchered bullshit it is...
• Faux Justice. On Monday, child-raping-piece-of-shit Roman Polanski officially got away with violating a 13-year-old girl when Swiss authorities refused to extradite the infamous sexual-predator director back to the US to face charges from 30 years ago. Ultimately, I'm upset that just because somebody directs a few critically-acclaimed films they can get away with rape... but it was a decision for the Swiss, they made their decision, and I understand that. What I don't understand is how a big chunk of Hollywood stood behind Polanski and advocated for his release. People like Natalie Portman. Penelope Cruz. Whoopie Goldberg. Darren Aronofsky. Wes Anderson. And loads more. It's just baffling. My feelings were pretty well summed-up by Chris Rock on Leno a while back when he said "IT'S RAPE! IT'S RAPE!!! in total disbelief. How in the hell do you defend that?
• Faux Hulk. Word dropped this week that Edward Norton, who played Bruce Banner in the last Incredible Hulk movie, was not going to be reprising the role in the forthcoming Avengers movie, even though he wanted to. This is monumentally stupid on so many levels. Mostly because the Hulk is a computer special effect, and Norton only appears when Bruce Banner is in the scene. And, let's face it, in an Avengers movie they're not going to spend a lot of time with Bruce Banner...
Marvel just wanted to save a few bucks, so they used some bullshit conflict with Norton from years ago so they could find a cheaper actor that will kiss their ass. You'd have thought they'd have learned something from the massive success of the Iron Man movie franchise... quality people make a quality product, and you get what you pay for. Not that I'm saying there aren't other actors out there that could do a good job, I just think it's incredibly lame that this is how Marvel has decided to approach the project. Fortunately, Edward Norton has managed to stay classy.
• Faux Righteousness. I've never understood how being Pro-Choice when it comes to abortion automatically removes you from the Pro-Life camp. I am most decidedly Pro-Life... it is the cornerstone of my beliefs. But I fully understand that this is the United States of America where people are allowed to have beliefs that are different from mine, so I am also Pro-Choice (which I explain in further detail here). Being Pro-Choice does not make me "Anti-Life" in any way, it simply makes me supportive of the ideals and freedoms upon which this country was based. And, while I don't in any way support suppressing free speech, I do feel that people should be able to make their choice free from persecution. Especially when the choice is one that's forced upon you and you're heartbroken about it.
Earlier this week, Aaron over at The Daddy Files blogged about having to take his wife to terminate their pregnancy because the baby had a rare birth defect which was causing it to slowly die inside of her. As they approached the clinic, idiotic protesters were there "doing God's work" of mercilessly abusing people by shouting things like "YOU'RE KILLING YOUR UNBORN BABY!!" Which is horrifying enough for a woman who is already scared and vulnerable... but for somebody who wants to have their baby, but can't? It's nothing less than torture. And Aaron decided to do something about it by confronting these monstrous people. I encourage you to read his story. Yes, I'm a Pro-Life-Pro-Choicer. And I am 100% for free speech. But this is not "free speech" it's harassment. It's abusive. It is literally torture. And I think it should be illegal to so ruthlessly persecute women who are already making what has to be a difficult decision THAT'S AFFORDED TO THEM LEGALLY UNDER THE LAW! These are not compassionate people of any God I know. They're evil, pure and simple.
• Faux Problem. What's surprising... but really not... is how most of the bitching about the iPhone 4 antenna problems come from people who don't own an iPhone 4, don't plan to buy an iPhone 4, and just enjoy mindlessly bashing everything Apple does because they're more fanatically obsessed with iPhone than even the people who own one. Of the dozen people I know that ran out and bought iPhone 4, not one has anything but raves for it. I would be one of those people, but Apple still hasn't released the iPhone 4 White, which is the one I want. With a lime green Bumper...
Not to belittle anybody who is having problems, but... If you don't want an iPhone 4, don't buy it. If you bought one and don't like it, bring it back. It's not rocket science.
• Faux Trust. I am more appreciative than anybody will ever know of the people who drop by here to read my crazy crap... then thank me for creating it. I write and draw and photograph things for Blogography pretty much for myself, but it's nice to know that other people like it too. The friends I've made from this website have been a true gift, and I never feel alone no matter where I end up because my online life is always there (AT&T willing). But, as swell as blogging has been to me, I admit to being afraid of it from time to time. More and more, people are treating personal blogs as if they were irreproachable news sources rather than the opinion-pieces they really are. Even here, everything you read is just one opinion with one view and one side of the story. Mine. And even though I've met dozens of people in-person and have been blogging here for years, the scary truth is that I could be a serial killer. Or one of those Russian spies. Or a pathelogical liar. Or an agent of the devil. Or anything.
The fact that I'm a genius who is always right may seem to be a reason to trust everything I do at Blogography... and I totally encourage blind trust and allegiance as a part of my quest for world domination... but I feel compelled to point out that no blog, including mine, will ever have the whole story. I would fervently hope that before acting upon or accepting anything I say or do here, people would attempt to be fully informed. It's not a matter of trust... but responsibility.
Well I certainly feel better now. Annnnd... back to work.
Posted on July 25th, 2010
Here I am in the Peach State of Georgia, where it's time once again for Bullet Sunday. Apparently I'm now in an area which is not included in the "97% of Americans" that AT&T's cellular network professes to cover, so Bullet Sunday is about all I got! Thank heavens for WiFi.
• Weather! Hot with a chance of hot humidity and hot thunderstorms? Well, let's just say I don't plan on spending a lot of time outdoors while I'm here...
• Wheaton! While at Comic-Con, I posted a photo of Wil Wheaton to my Flickr stream. After responding to @Whall making a Stand By Me joke about it, I mentioned that I had met Wil Wheaton twice, and wasn't going to stand in line for two hours to meet him again. For this, I got called "bullshit" on by some random stranger, and was told that "Standing in line at a Star Trek convention for a two second autograph doesn't count as 'meeting Wil Wheaton'."
Well, whatever... while I do have an autographed photo of Wesley Crusher that I was happy to stand in line for, that's not what I was talking about. Where I "met" Wil Wheaton was while he was an evangelist touring with NewTek, and it was hardly a "two second autograph." In fact, all I did was talk to him, I didn't even get an autograph at all. Or a photo. Though Wheaton did appear in the background of one of the photos I took of Kiki Stockhammer...
Bazinga! I'd mention that I stood in the airport security line out of San Diego with Paul Sr. of West Coast Choppers (from the TV show American Chopper) yesterday, but you probably wouldn't believe that either. Apparently I have nothing better to do than sit around and invent stories of chance encounters with famous people.
• Waffles! There is not a single Waffle House in all of Washington State (the closest is in COLORADO!), which means the only time I get to eat at one is when I'm traveling. This sucks, but at least I have something to look forward to...
The food is (relatively) inexpensive, tastes good, and available 24 hours. What more could you ask for?
• Wobble! When I was at the San Diego Zoo the other day, I was wandering through the new Elephant exhibit and came across an elephant dancing to some music that was playing nearby (you can barely hear it in the background there, as my iPhone doesn't have the best microphone)...
Rock on, Tantor! Though a part of me is kind of sad at the idea that he might be wobbling around because he's bored in his cage and doesn't have anything better to do. San Diego Zoo is better than most at providing nice habitats for their animals to live in, but it's still a cage at the end of the day.
• Watch! They keep adding cool bits to the TRON: Legacy trailer, which only makes me want to see the film more than ever. December is so far away...
They've youthed Jeff Bridges! And did a really good job of it! I hope the movie lives up to even a fraction of the hype that's building around it.
• Web! I hope that Flash videos in my previous two bullets didn't crash on you! For anybody who says that Mac users who whine about Flash are stuck in the past, and Flash has been much improved and runs perfectly on the Mac, I beg to differ. It's still the bug-ridden pile of bloated FAIL! it's always been, and still crashes all the time, as I can testify to because it happened again just today...
Flash just can't die fast enough.
And now... I guess I really should get back to work.
Posted on August 8th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday from sunny Sacramento!
• Lake Tahoe. Since Sacramento doesn't have a Hard Rock Cafe anymore, Foodiddy and Phister were kind enough to take Hilly-Sue and I to Lake Tahoe for a quick lunch. And while it may seem insane to drive
Sadly, the companion "wood cabin" cafe at Whistler was closed, so I'm hoping that the Tahoe property stays open for a good long time.
On the way back, actual hail was falling, which was surprising to say the least (is this not summer?). But we survived and made it back for Pinkberry for dessert, so I guess it's all good.
• Summertime Treat. Speaking of Pinkberry, they have a special frozen yogurt flavor running for summer... watermelon! It's worth grabbing a taste, even if you can't be wooed away from your regular favorite (like me!)...
• No Parking. Yesterday as Hilly and I arrived at the mall so I could be terrorized by Sephora, we were cruising the parking lot looking for a spot when something so mind-bogglingly stupid happened that I still don't think it was real. Some stupid bitch had COMPLETELY PASSED a parking spot that was being vacated, and decided she wanted it... even though SHE HAD COMPLETELY PASSED IT! So she sits there. Blocking the person trying to leave, and us, and the person behind us. Then she inches backwards as if to tell us that she wants us to back up, except there's somebody behind us. We CAN'T back up, even if we wanted to. So she sits there. And sits there. And sits there. Eventually the person behind us backs up so we can move. I was fucking fuming. Hilly moved because she was running low on gas. And she's apparently a lot more diplomatic than I am. Because I would NOT have moved. I don't give a shit if I ran out of gas. I don't care if a meteor was going to strike. I don't care if I was having a heart attack and needed immediate medical attention. There is no fucking way... NO WAY AT ALL I would have moved out of the way for that rude dumbass piece of shit. If you PASS a parking spot, GAME OVER! Go find another on. Don't block people and force them to move for your stupid ass.
It's times like this that I remember why I used to have extreme anger management issues. People are stupid, rude, selfish, and wholly intolerable. And all I wanted to do was beat the ever-loving shit out of this moron with a crowbar for being such a huge asshole. She totally deserved it and, after having to deal with her bullshit, I deserved to give it to her.
• Wave Goodbye. This past week Google announced that they were shutting down Google Wave... assumably due to the huge level of non-interest by just about everybody. Google's concept of real-time communication was pretty nifty, but any SUCCESSFUL new technologies tend to be dead-simple to use (ala Twitter), and Wave was too far-reaching and complex to get there. So now we all sit and wait for the Next Big Thing... and hoping it won't be limited to 140 characters or less.
And now... I really should get some sleep. For once my flight isn't at 7:00am, so here's hoping...
Posted on August 15th, 2010
Bullet Sundaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Let's get ready to Rrrrruuummmmmble!
• Tweet! Most of the time I'm too busy to pay any serious attention to Twitter, but every once in a while it's a scary insight into what I'm going through at any particular moment in time. Today was particularly telling, and had me wishing I self-censored a bit better. Oh well. Too late for that now...
So many times when I'm asked for my opinion on something, I'm tempted to say "no" immediately because more often than not the person has no interest in getting an actual opinion... they just want your praise (whether they deserve it or not). Yet I foolishly try to be friendly and helpful with my critique anyway, sometimes getting burned in the process. It's really too bad, because good constructive criticism can be so much more helpful than faint praise... if people are willing to hear it. The question is, how many times will I get burned before I learn not to offer it in the first place? At this rate, not long at all.
• Fore! Oh how I love my new iPhone 4. It is superior to my iPhone 3GS in absolutely every way... especially signal reception. I can now actually make phone calls at my home without having them fade out, go choppy, or get dropped entirely. I've had no problems with the antenna while making calls, but have had some problems while texting or using apps when I cradle the iPhone to type. It took all of one minute to learn how to shift my hand to not block the antenna, so it's pretty much a non-issue now. If you have a case for your iPhone 4, it never was an issue to begin with. Personally, if I were going case-free and couldn't adapt to "holding different," this is my favorite solution...
And don't get me started on Apple's amazing "FaceTime" feature, which is the future made real...
But the main reason I upgraded to iPhone 4 was for the camera. My pocket camera is being held together with a rubber band and, rather than replace it, I decided to carry one less thing and just take snapshots with the iPhone 4. The camera has been so highly praised that I figured it was a realistic expectation, but was secretly worried it wouldn't live up to the hype.
And, while it is a vast improvement over previous iPhone cameras, it kinda doesn't live up to the hype. Particularly disappointing is night shooting. Sure the light sensitivity is improved, but the grain is outrageously bad... to the point of being unusable except at massively reduced sizes...
I shouldn't be surprised. The lens is just too small to accept enough light in a dim scenario like this. Shots in "normal" lighting are good... fantastic even... but it looks like my iPhone is no threat to my purchasing a new pocket camera for shooting in low-light. Darn it anyway.
Still, in every other respect, the iPhone 4 is pure WIN, and I really do love it. Heaven only knows what Apple has planned for the iPhone 5.
• Freedom? From watching the news and seeing people re-tweet Sarah Palin on Twitter, you'd think that actual terrorists were wanting to build a monument to the Islamic extremists who died during their 9/11 attacks ON TOP OF "Ground Zero" where the World Trade Center once stood. This is so absurd that it might actually be true, so I looked it up and was disappointed to discover that it was, in fact, not. Some American citizens are just wanting to build a Islamic cultural center and mosque TWO BLOCKS AWAY from Ground Zero on PRIVATE LAND. From what I've read, the mosque won't even be visible from the Ground Zero memorial that's being planned. This type of crazy shit drives me insane. The non-stop parade of lies and crazy exaggerations being sold to people for political gain on both sides of the political spectrum have me hoping for the complete collapse of democracy in this country. If people are so damn stupid as to keep falling for this kind of bullshit, then obviously they can't be trusted with democracy. If people are so hot to have somebody tell them what to think and don't care whether it's true or not, I suggest a nice dictatorship, with ME as Supreme Leader. I am more than happy to tell people what to think. Or to go fuck themselves.
UPDATE: I would have just said "Fuck you, Sarah Palin, you bigoted piece of shit," but Mayor Bloomberg is a much more eloquent and inspiring speaker than I could ever be (thanks for the tip, Etienne!)...
And now... time to put my aching head to bed.
Hopefully to sleep this time.
Posted on August 22nd, 2010
It's a boring day for Bullet Sunday, but here it comes...
• Read. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Curious George. It was George who ignited my life-long love of monkeys, and his books remain some of my favorites of all time (the best being Curious George Goes to the Hospital. For this reason, I was happy to see that the Library of Congress was using him to promote reading with a series of cool ads...
Books come and go, but the classics are forever.
• Digital. As a long-time fan of comic books, there's something... wrong... with the idea of reading them digitally on an iPad or computer screen instead of the wonderful tactile experience of flipping through the pages of a book. But, after downloading a bunch of freebies on my mom's iPad using the Comixology app, I have to say... I'm almost convinced. I'm growing to love the effortless navigation, brilliant colors, and distraction-free panel-by-panel "Guide View" that leads you through the stories. As if that weren't enough, you can store a lot of comics on a digital device, which beats having to lug around stacks of books and finding room to store them all...
However... pricing and availability sucks ass.
Take for example the acclaimed Vertigo series Y: The Last Man. I've never read the series, but have always wanted to. The first issue was FREE on Comixology so I snapped it up and was immediately hooked. I wanted more. So I click on the "Full Series" button only to find this...
WTF?!? They have just THREE issues of a SIXTY issue series... FOR A DOLLAR-NINETY-NINE EACH!! Even if the entire series was available, who is going to pay $120 when you can get PHYSICAL COPIES of all ten trade paperback volumes for $90? Heck, you can get all the OVERSIZED DELUXE HARDCOVER volumes for $100. This is insanity. Nobody wants to pay more for less. No printing. No shipping costs. No distribution. No retailer markup. No resale value. Nothing extra or special. Except the price, which just sucks. I would gladly pay $60 for the entire digital series, I may even pay $90, which is what the trade paperbacks would cost me. But $120? Screw that. Especially since there's no guarantee they'll ever release all the issues for digital sale in the first place. If this is the future of publishing, count me out. EPIC FAIL!
• Emmy. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Betty White won an Emmy for her hilarious guest host performance on Saturday Night Live...
To this day, I remain astounded at how she cut no corners... she appeared in every sketch, plus an SNL Short, plus all the MacGruber interludes plus Weekend Update. Truly one of the hardest working people in show business (she just signed on for a TWO-book deal!), this is Betty's fifth Emmy win and she deserved every bit of it. As always, I can't wait to see what she'll do next.
• Miyazaki. Good news for fans of Hayao Miyazaki (perhaps the greatest animator in history). Despite saying he was going to retire years ago, a recent interview revealed that he has no plans to retire. In fact, he's planning two films and is musing over a sequel to his underrated gem, Porco Rosso...
When I flew to L.A. and met up with Howard for a rare live appearance of Miyazaki-san discussing his career, I thought it was a kind of "retrospective farewell," and am happier than words could express that this is not the case. Next up, Karigurashi no Arietti (The Borrower Arrietty) based on Mary Norton's 1952 novel The Borrowers...
If there's anything you can rely on, it's that this movie will be yet another awesome Miyazaki work of art.
• Eggs. My fried egg sandwich was delicious. So far so good... but salmonella can take up to three days to incubate, so I could have a diarrhea explosion any minute now. I'll keep you posted.
Annnnd... I'm spent. This is going to be a loooooong week.
Posted on August 29th, 2010
This Bullet Sunday is my last before I leave this Saturday. Bullet Sundays 198, 199, and 200 will be written while I'm on vacation. I'm happy just thinking about it. But happiness, as always, is tempered by sadness...
• Dreaming Machines. I was profoundly sad to learn that the brilliant animation director Satoshi Kon had passed away earlier this week from pancreatic cancer. As the man behind Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and his brilliant tour de force of the imagination Paprika, this is a terrible loss to Japanese anime fans around the world.
"The 24-bit eggplant will be analyzed!"
••• IF YOU READ ONLY ONE THING FROM THIS ENTRY, PLEASE READ THIS! •••
Even if you dislike Satoshi Kon's movies. Even if you don't like Japanese animation. Even if you have never heard of Satoshi Kon. Even if you don't care about any of this... you must... MUST read the translation of Kon-san's final words, which his family generously posted on his blog. Because when it comes to facing mortality with a grace and dignity above and beyond what you could ever dream a human being is capable of, this is it. Satoshi Kon's letter is about as inspiring a message as you'll find, and his words are some of the most beautiful I have ever read.
I am heartsick over the fact that he did not live to finish the production of his latest film, Yume Miru Kikai ("Dreaming Machines") which was sure to be yet another work of genius. I am hopeful that Masao Maruyama of Madhouse Animation manages to "figure everything out" and complete the film in Mr. Kon's absence. Given their past collaborations, I have ever confidence in Maruyama-san to carry out Satoshi Kon's vision and create a movie worthy of his legacy.
• Paprika. And just because I can't express in mere words what it means to lose a man of such boundless imagination and sublime vision as Mr. Satoshi Kon, here is the crazy-ass trailer and genius opening credits for his film Paprika. Crank up the volume, because the stunning soundtrack by Mr. Kon's frequent collaborator, composer Susumu Hirasawa, is worth a listen...
Rumor has it that director Wolfgang Petersen (The NeverEnding Story, In the Line of Fire, Outbreak, etc.) is working on a live-action version of the film. Heaven only knows how he'll manage it, as Paprika has imagery that doesn't seem as though it would work in "the real world"). Personally, I think a live-action adaptation of Paprika has already been made with Christopher Nolan's Inception, which is a very different film, but operates along the same ideas.
Rest in peace, Kon-san, you will be missed.
• Alas, MacGruber. One of my favorite performers on the current Saturday Night Live line-up, Will Forte, has announced he will not be returning for another season of the show. Now, I'm firmly of the opinion that SNL started tanking after Eddie Murphy left, and then went on a full-on decline once Phil Hartman left... but I still watched because there were occasional flashes of brilliance. Will Forte was responsible for many of them...
So long, MacGruber... you will be missed.
• Unloading. If I've depressed you with my first three bullets, I'm sorry. For a dose of funny to cheer you back up, check out the Madge & Dave podcast where they unload on pop culture with style. Well... not so much "style" per se... but they do unload.
• Booky. DK Publishing produces some of my favorite books. Their visual travel guides are the benchmark by which I judge all others. Their visual history titles redefine how interesting our past can be presented. Their visual art and architecture volumes can make a fascinating subject even more amazing. But my favorite thing they do is their pop culture visual guides for such worthy subjects as comic books, television & movies, toys like LEGO, and... STAR WARS! Their amazing reference works and brilliant cut-away guides has added depth to the Star Wars universe in more ways than a fan could hope for. Their latest visual title is sheer genius... Star Wars: Year by Year...
What makes this book so great is that it's about the things both surrounding and involving the Star Wars films. Influences, comics, games, books, interviews, production notes, television shows, posters... anything and everything... all taken year by year. It's a fascinating look at all things Star Wars that no fan can miss.
And now... I'm off to try an fit 16 days of clothes into a suitcase...
Posted on September 19th, 2010
Even though I'm not quite home yet (only made it as far as Amsterdam today) I'd have to say my vacation is definitely over. So after a two-week break from Bullet Sunday, here we are again...
• Newsworthy. I made a very concentrated effort to avoid any hint of "news" while I was on vacation. I never visited news sites. I turned off any news feeds I subscribe to. I even avoided anything news on the television. Just about everything on the news is horribly depressing now-a-days, and I just wanted to leave it behind for a while. Then yesterday while waiting for a room at my hotel in Barcelona, I finally broke down. I really wish I hadn't. The state of politics back home are so embarrassingly sad that I almost dread going back home where I'll have to live with it every day.
• Fried. I arrived in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport just after 10:00pm. Naturally, the Patatjes met stand was closed...
Life doesn't get much more depressing than that.
• Tunisia. As I pack up all the various postcards and souvenir crap that I accumulated on my vacation, there's a notable lack of anything from Tunis. This really sucks, but there's not much I can do about it. Not only did the tour bus get a flat tire, we were delayed getting back to port, so there was no time to shop for stuff. No time for anything but running through the customs checkpoint and climbing on the ship. So now all I have are memories and photographs, which should be enough... but, strangely, are not. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a website where you could purchase postcards from around the world? That would be helpful to people who want a souvenir from places they've been, but don't have one for whatever reason.
• Feet. It always blows my mind how people just lose all sense of manners and decorum when traveling. This nasty shit was on my plane...
Do you think this bitch puts her feet on her own walls? What about when she's invited to people's houses? I'd hate to know what goes on inside a bathroom stall with her, that's for sure.
• Televised. The new television season is starting up back home. When it comes to new shows, I record everything and then weed out the losers, so I dread to think how much crap is stacked up on my DVR. If previous television seasons are any indication, at least 50% of the stuff will be unwatchable right off the bat and dropped immediately. The other half will be interesting enough to continue recording for a while but, in the end, only one or two of the new shows will end up being something I want to keep watching. For the most part, I'm grateful, because I don't have a lot of time for television any more.
And now I wait for my flight home tomorrow morning. Good night, Amsterdam.
Posted on September 26th, 2010
It's time for Bullet Sundayyy! It's time for Bullet Sundayyy!
• Sharktopus! As a fan of stupid crappy horror movies, I was ecstatic when SyFy Channel (the queen of stupid crappy horror movies) announced SHARKTOPUS!!!
Well, the movie finally debuted last night, and I am happy to say that it was indeed so unbelievably stupid and crappy that it's raised bad television to an entirely new level of awesome. I can't wait for the Director's Cut Extended Special Edition Blu-Ray release!
• Elmo! Yes, it was a little odd that Katy Perry decided to wear a very low-cut dress so she could stick her boobs in Elmo's face for an appearance on Sesame Street. But Katy Perry is Katy Perry, so what can you do...
That being said, whoever it was at Children's Television Workshop (now called "Sesame Workshop"... the production company behind Sesame Street) who decided to leak the video on YouTube is a complete genius. Not only do they get a preview of the reaction that the clip will receive, but they get free publicity for the show with millions of YouTube hits. Well, to the surprise of NOBODY, people across the country lost their minds over the thought that children might be exposed to Katy's cleavage, so her appearance was canceled. Heaven only knows how these puritanical nutjobs react when taking their kids to a pool or the beach. As usual, the young children they are so desperate to protect probably wouldn't even understand they're looking at something "dirty" and it's the ADULT REACTION that MAKES it "dirty" and damages their kids, but whatever. I still think it was kind of cute.
• Beheaded. I received a comment while I was on vacation asking me if I had changed the DaveToons that rotate randomly across the tops of all Blogography pages. Apparently they hadn't seen their favorite header in a while, and wanted to know what happened. The answer is YES! I replaced all of the old "flat color" DaveToons with newer "shaded color" DaveToons a couple months ago. Thanks for noticing!
8 old ones were kept, 2 were updated, and 40 were replaced. If your favorite is gone, I'm sorry... maybe it will come back one day. But the good news is that all the old headers have been archived from the past five years so you can look at them whenever you like...
• TV Scorecard. For anybody who cares, I've put a quick rundown of the new shows for the 2010-2011 season with my score (based on their first episode) in an extended entry. For everybody else, I'll see you tomorrow when we're back to the daily grind...
Posted on October 3rd, 2010
I spent the entire weekend trying to get caught up with work but failed miserably despite working day and night. I suppose this is a FAIL! I can feel good about. But not really. I DO feel good that I've reached TWO HUNDRED Bullet Sundays though...
• Negatory. I am still trying to decide if there is a triple negative or a quadruple negative in this here sentence: "I ain't not never seen no deer there this time of year." What's odd is that even though this sentence is a grammatical nightmare, if you turn off your brain it makes perfect sense. It's like the more negatives you pile up, the more emphatic the "no" is. I'll have to remember this the next time somebody asks if they can have one of my cookies.
Though they're both great television, I'm probably most attached to Ice Truckers because I'm hopelessly in love with trucker Lisa Kelly...
I got to meet Captain Sig Hansen (from Deadliest Catch) totally by accident when I was at Walt Disney World's Norway Pavilion at Epcot a couple years back. It was pretty cool. But it wasn't Lisa. (insert winky smile face here)
ANYWAY... tonight was not only the season finale of Ice Road Truckers, but the debut of Ice Road Truckers: DEADLIEST ROADS! Here was me throughout the entire show...
Because I am afraid of heights, and they were driving these rickety trucks on this insane crumbling one-lane road carved out of a mountain with a million foot drop on the side...
And it gets worse next episode. Insanity. But good entertainment (even though not every driver is going to make it). If you're not watching the two Ice Road Truckers shows, I highly recommend them. Assuming your sphincter muscles are strong enough and you can get over the giggles every time somebody talks about "dropping their load."
• Closet. Annnnd you just know... know... what's going to happen six months down the road...
We've seen it a hundred times. The people who are most vicious in attacking and condemning homosexuals are the ones who ultimately end up putting their penis in a place they advocate it doesn't belong. And this flaming ball of "heterosexual righteousness" is actually stalking a guy... specifically because the guy is gay! Bizarre. Oh well... I look forward to adding another self-hating cock-master to my growing collection of hypocrites. It's only a matter of time.
And now... back to work. I've got three days before I fly out again, and entirely too much to do before then...
Posted on October 10th, 2010
It's a very special edition of Bullet Sunday on
• Marathon! Once again I have somehow managed to be in Chicago during the massive Chicago Marathon. While I was in the lobby of my hotel tonight, somebody was making smart-assed comments to all the runners who had changed out of their running gear, but were still wearing their medals... "It's over! The race is over! You can take off your medals now!" To which I replied "Hey, if I somehow managed to survive running a marathon, I'd never take my medal off!" And it's probably true. I wonder why some people are compelled to crap all over other people's happiness?
• Twins! Usually when people show me a photo of some guy and say he looks like my twin, I just don't see it. This time I totally DO see it. Probably because the sign above his head is spelling it out for me...
• Betty! Possibly the coolest coffee mug you will ever see...
• Dining! Thanks to a last-minute meet-up with Leah in Chicago, I'm three for three nights of amazing dinners. At home my dinner usually consists of barely edible slop that comes out of the toaster or the microwave. To go from that to something like the gnocchi I had last night (which was so amazing I felt like weeping openly, then lighting the table on fire so I could distract people while I licked the bowl)... well... it's a pretty big shock to my system...
Food to die kill for is not something I want to get used to.
• Gap! The entire internet design community is up in arms over the new logo identity unleashed by The Gap this week. Everyone is shocked and appalled that a beautifully unique logo of timeless elegance, simplicity, and class has been replaced by a generic piece of shit that has no identity at all...
I, on the other hand, am not shocked at all. This is just the latest part of a shitty trend to "update" logos so they read easier at small sizes when displayed on mobile phones, websites, and all the other devices that modern society has embraced...
It's a noble (and probably necessary) endeavor, but it's always being done so badly. And while I'm sure at least some thought went into it, the end result looks exactly like so many of the other unbranded, bland, non-proprietary bullshit logos being churned out that you have to wonder WHAT thought went into it. When it comes to The Gap, it doesn't take a genius to see that their new "logo" is ultimately going to end up doing more harm than good... regardless of all the attention the bad publicity is getting them in the short-run. Sad, but oh-so-typical.
Now it's bye-bye bullets and back to work with me...
Posted on October 17th, 2010
It's bullets over broken promises on Bullet Sunday!
• Tweet! Did you know the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley is on Twitter? It's true! She tweets fairly regularly about all kinds of stuff... but mostly about being Elizabeth Hurley, which is reason enough to follow her...
No tweets yet on the burden of being the most beautiful woman on the planet, but give her time.
• Better! I saw this video on Blair's Corner this past Wednesday, and it won't leave my head. Of all the inspiring "It Gets Better" videos floating around, this one sums it all up beautifully...
How can anybody watch this and be okay with a society that fosters such senseless hatred? As councilman Joel Burns says, it's not just about gay kids... it's about any kid that gets bullied just for being different. Six years ago somebody wrote to me from a life of pain and non-stop harassment. It broke my heart then, and the recent rash of teen suicides has brought it all back again.
Things have to change. Things have to get better. But it's not going to happen magically. We have to work for it by rejecting hatred and intolerance wherever we find it, and creating a world that embraces compassion and understanding. Though not always. I am quickly losing my compassion and understand for people who use religion and politics as an excuse to enforce a culture where kids are driven to kill themselves. They can just go fuck themselves.
• Beaver! Even though Leave It To Beaver was before my time, I remember it very well from reruns. "June Cleaver" is an American institution, a national treasure, and the epitome of television moms...
So when I heard that Barbara Billingsly had died I was understandably upset. Oddly enough, it's not June Cleaver that I most remember her for...
Go cups cut out to da Big Man, Big Momma. We fallin' out now you got your boots on an have a ball.
Huh. Feels like Monday.
Posted on October 24th, 2010
HOW YOU DOIN' ALBUQUERQUE?!
It's a special HARD ROCK Edition of Bullet Sunday, LIVE from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Albuquerque! For those of you who don't care about my Hard Rock obsession, you might want to skip this entry.
About the only Hard Rock logo you'll see outside of their gift shop.
• HARD? Kinda. Like the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, the Albuquerque property wasn't built as a Hard Rock. It's a tribal casino which has been retrofitted with Hard Rock theming in the public areas. They sprinkled cabinets of rock memorabilia around the place, added a trademark Hard Rock center bar to the casino floor, painted some classic rock lyrics on the walls, hung up some guitars, and changed the door-handles. As with Tulsa, the result is kinda half-baked. It looks like a Hard Rock property in places, but doesn't give you that overall "feel" you get from an "authentic" Hard Rock.
HARD ROCK GRADE: C
Apparently, this was the best they could do for a sign. How embarrassing.
You could slap this crap signage on a Motel 6, it doesn't make it a Hard Rock.
Sammy Hagar suit display case. THIS is Hard Rock.
Jonas Brothers guitar display. I have no idea what the fuck this is.
Nice. Guitar-shaped door handles. We need MORE of this kind of stuff here.
• ROCK? Not so much. The property is what it is, but... if you are a Hard Rock fanatic like me, that's not the problem. Once again, my Pin Collector's Card is worthless. No discount. No visitation credit. When I showed my card to the cashier, she literally said "We don't take that. We're not affiliated with the Hard Rock Cafe"... I shit you not. I responded "No... you just brand your hotel with their logo, sell tons of their logo merchandise, and create pins and shot glasses specifically for Hard Rock collectors. You're not affiliated at all!" Then I laughed it off as a joke, but I wasn't joking. Again, if you are licensing the Hard Rock brand and passing yourself off as a Hard Rock property, then BE A FUCKING HARD ROCK PROPERTY! When HRC Corporate licenses out their brand, one of the conditions should be that licensees are required to honor their club cards. Otherwise, you're just going to piss off your most diehard fans and customers. At least they had a good selection of merchandise and people who understood it (unlike the dismal merch shop in Tulsa).
HARD ROCK COLLECTOR GRADE: D+
Never mind the tons of Hard Rock logo merch... they're not affiliated with the Hard Rock!
• CASINO? Nice. While not seeming very "Hard Rock" to me, I must admit that my friends and I had a blast at the casino. Biggest plus is the gorgeous lady dealers at the table games dressed in corsets and stockings! Brutally hot (if only they allowed photos in casinos). You could lose every penny you had and just not care! They also have lots of modern slots (including a small non-smoking area), free coffee & Coke refreshment centers, and a snack bar (with the worst $4.95 nachos I've ever eaten... the "cheese" tasted like motor oil). All in all, it's a classy casino with a great staff which has a nice layout and offers a "full" casino experience (including a Bingo room, table games, and poker parlor). There's a "Rockstar" rewards club for the frequent gambler.
HARD ROCK CASINO GRADE: C • CASINO GRADE: A-
• HOTEL? Boring. The hotel rooms are pretty basic as there is no Hard Rock theming of any kind. With the exception of the hotel services book and the soaps which say "Hard Rock Hotel," you'd never know that this is a Hard Rock at all. The Native American prints on the walls are nice, but not Hard Rock. Even putting all that aside, there are still problems. The clock was not set to the correct time. The room smells funky (like burnt hair?). The wall television didn't work and had a giant annoying glowing light on the bottom that I had to cover so I could sleep. And I had to keep the bathroom door closed because the toilet would start running at random. Ultimately, my $170 "DELUXE" room doesn't seem very "deluxe" and my promised "view" isn't that great. About the only positive I can offer is that it was clean.
HARD ROCK HOTEL GRADE: F • HOTEL GRADE: C
Not bad... but not very Hard Rock either.
See that tiny leather binder and notepad on the desk? The only thing Hard Rock in this entire photo.
• NOISE? FAIL! This hotel is noisy as hell. Rude people are screaming down the hallways at all hours of the day and night. Doors are slamming constantly. Hotel staff are walking around 24-7 screaming into their radios which are blaring at full volume. And you hear everything. Absolutely no effort was made to soundproof anything. Thus I can sum up the relaxation level of my room as "miserable." If you have any aspirations of getting even a little sleep... best bring earplugs. You'll need them.
ROOM NOISE GRADE: D
• FOOD? Okay to Great. In addition to the truly awful "food" being sold at the casino snack bar, there's other dining options available... EAGLE'S NEST BUFFET: While modest by Vegas standards, the buffet still looked decent. I took a pass, because vegetarians will never get their $13.95 worth. LUCHA: A nice Mexican restaurant by day which transforms into a Tequila bar at night. I had dinner here and really enjoyed it. Everything was fresh and flavorful, and the guacamole was fantastic. 505 FUSION: A very nice, upscale nightclub, we had drinks here last night. Pizza and appetizers were okay, but nothing special. The menu looked decent, but none of us were hungry enough to order late supper. CHILL: Great-tasting quality ice cream parlor. TIWA: An upscale cafe, but the menu was definitely meat-oriented, so I took a pass. THE DELI: I had a cheap, bland grilled-cheese sandwich with undercooked, waggy fries that had me chained to the toilet an hour after eating here (thank heavens for Imodium!).
DINING GRADE: C- (LUCHA DINING GRADE: B+) (505 FUSION DINING GRADE: B-)
• SERVICES & SHOPS? Good! Much to my total shock and surprise, there's a free round-the-clock shuttle to the airport for registered hotel guests! They will also take you to the Isleta Pueblo station so you can catch the $2 RailRunner train into town (which is nice, because a taxi would be $35+).
There's a nice pool and an interesting spa...
The pool continues under the glass to the inside, which is cool.
Inside the spa's hot tub pavilion at night. Nifty.
As I mentioned above, there's a Hard Rock Shop filled to the rafters with Hard Rock merchandise (though your Hard Rock All-Access Pass and Pin Club Card are useless here). There's also a very cool tattoo and body modification shop called "The Vault"...
Green tattooed woman mannequin sold separately.
There's also golfing nearby at the Isleta Eagle Golf Club, and camping nearby at the Isleta Lakes Recreation Area. Lastly, there's the "Fun Connection" spot with bowling, laser tag, and an arcade (or so I'm told... I never saw it).
SERVICES GRADE: B
• PROBLEMS? Yes. In order to use the hotel elevator, you have to swipe your room key before the buttons will work. Unfortunately, the card reader in the elevator is shitty. More than once I was riding the damn thing up and down while trying to get my card to work so it would stop on my floor. Several times I'd enter the elevator only to find somebody else has been riding up and down trying to get their card to work as well. This is an obvious and highly frustrating problem, and it's just plain stupid that the hotel doesn't do something about it.
• CONCLUSION: Ultimately, I'd have to give the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque a pass. The hotel doesn't impress me much, and there's nothing "Hard Rock" enough about the resort to make it destination-worthy for fans. If you're in the area, it might be fun to gamble in their nice casino, but I wouldn't stay or eat here again (except perhaps dinner at Lucha).
Anyway... it was nice to meet up with my friends, I had a lot of fun, and I can't complain about the cheap-ass ticket price I paid to get here ($168 round-trip!), so overall this weekender goes in the WIN column. I just wish that these new additions to the Hard Rock family would be worth the effort on their own. They have to be, because otherwise they're just diluting the Hard Rock brand and giving people a mediocre impression of what a Hard Rock property can be when some effort goes into creating them.
Posted on October 31st, 2010
It's a Very Special Halloween Edition of Bullet Sunday!
This year I've decided to put my bullets to good use and run a Bullet Sunday Countdown of the Halloween costumes I am most afraid of having show up at my door...
• #1) David Caruso...
• #2) Glenn Beck...
• #3) Sarah Palin...
• #4) Bill O'Reilly...
• #5) Rush Limbaugh...
• #6) Judge Judy...
• #7) Avitable...
I was going to put CLOWNS on the list, but that's obviously a given.
Posted on November 7th, 2010
Welcome to an ALL-REVIEW EDITION of Bullet Sunday!
• SIDEWALKS! I still haven't come down off the high I got from Matt and Kim's second album masterpiece, Grand, so when I heard they were dropping their third album, Sidewalks, I was skeptical. How could they possible come up with anything even near as awesome? Well, they're Matt and Kim, so how could it not be awesome? I love it, and have been listening to Sidewalks constantly. Here's a short video talking about the album with a sweet taste of the awesome first track...
The only song I don't much care for is Northeast, which deviates from the happy funtime sound that makes me love the band so much. The other nine tracks are gold, however, with my clear favorites being Block After Block, Cameras, AM/FM Sound, and Good for Great. My only criticism of Sidewalks would be that it seems over-produced compared to what's come before. The charm of Matt and Kim's music has always been the raw, unpolished, basement sound that lets their indie roots shine through. But everything here is polished so heavily that no rough edges show, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Kim's wild, unapologetic brashness when banging on the drums is kinda... muted... this time around. And while the complexity they've layered into their latest songs adds a welcome maturity to their sound, I'd hate for them to eventually be buried by it.
SIDEWALKS RATING: B (Recommended).
• THE WALKING DEAD! Comic book adaptations for television have historically been hit-or-miss, with even the most successful translations feeling like something is lacking. So imagine my surprise when one of my favorite comic books ever, The Walking Dead, actually managed to elevate the source material so high that it exceeds my impossibly high expectations. In some ways, it's even better than the comic book upon which it's based...
Shocking, I know. But no more shocking than a comic book where no character is sacred and anybody can die at any minute. What's truly shocking is the production values on the series. AMC is putting some serious cash into all aspects of the program, and it shows. The special effects and location shooting are brilliant. The zombies are works of art and not the schlocky B-movie retreads I was expecting. And the acting is top-notch, with Andrew Lincoln's flawless performance as Rick Grimes adding a sense of danger and realism that's almost too good to be true...
Genius television on every level, and already renewed for a second season!
COMIC RATING: A+ (Highly Recommended).
TV SHOW RATING: A (Highly Recommended).
• EARTH! As a huge fan of The Daily Show, I was quick to snap up their humorous primer on all things USA called America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. Even though The Daily Show is a comedy program, it still manages to have an intelligent discussion of news and politics between the funny. With America (The Book), they poke fun at the country by reducing our culture and history down to a ridiculous grade-school textbook filled with witty essays that illuminate while they amuse. It was a terrific book, which compelled me to pick up the follow-up tome, Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race...
It's reminiscent of America (The Book), but on a global scale. Except this time they dismissed with the essays and went with page after page of easy jokes and witty one-liners slapped on wacky infographics and amusing photos. While still funny and moderately insightful, it doesn't leave the reader with much to think about (which seems to be the point). So while I definitely enjoyed Earth (The Book) it was kind of a step-down from their previous effort.
AMERICA (THE BOOK) RATING: A (Highly Recommended).
EARTH (THE BOOK) RATING: B (Recommended).
• BLU-RAY COLLECTIONS! I've been opposed to wasting my money on re-purchasing videos on Blu-Ray that I already own on DVD unless there's a very good reason for doing so. Unfortunately, two new sets have dropped which left me with no choice, because they both contain some of my favorite films of all time PLUS very good reasons for buying them...
Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy. I am convinced that all three of these films are some of the most brilliant and inventive movies to ever grace the silver screen... and it's all because of the details. The original Back to the Future not only had a great story, but showed the consequences of time travel with numerous small details that geeks like myself go crazy over (such as when Marty destroyed one of Old Man Peabody's trees in 1955, causing the "Twin Pines Mall" in 1985 to transform into "Lone Pine Mall"). Then we got Back to the Future II, which managed to create an all-new story WITHIN the original film all while giving us a fantastical look at the future. Sheer genius. Back to the Future III was a bit more mundane, trading the future for the Old West, but managed to wrap-up the trilogy in a way that was satisfying and respectful to those that came before. This new Blu-Ray set has an incredible transfer to hi-def that's a marked improvement over the old DVD versions. Despite having been filmed in the 80's, everything looks crisp and new, and there's tons of extras that any BTTF fan will love (some of which I have never seen before). An added bonus... digital copies of all three films is included, so you can transfer everything to your iPod, which is awesome. Two down-sides. 1) The packaging can make releasing the discs a real challenge. You pull down on the disc to unhook it, but sometimes it doesn't work like it should, and I worried that I'd snap the thing in half. 2) The menu system is FUCKING STUPID! Maybe it's just my player, but every damn time I view something, the menu won't come back and I have to eject the disc, then wait the five minutes it takes for the menu to load again. A serious flaw that drops my rating... I'll take functionality over design any day.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY RATING: B+ (Highly Recommended).
Alien Anthology The issue here is picture quality. The Alien films are fairly dark, which is a real problem for DVD/TV. You can get some nasty compression artifacts and murky shadows that obliterate details and kill the spooky atmosphere that makes the movies work so well. Thankfully, the new Blu-Ray Hi-Def transfer is fantastic. The picture is probably better now than it ever was, which makes me wish they'd re-release the films in digital theaters. In any event, the original Ridley Scott Alien film was a masterpiece blend of science fiction and horror that can still scare the crap out of me even today. It was followed by Aliens, where James Cameron did the impossible by grafting a high-octane "space marine" action flick onto the original sci-fi/horror concept... and actually made it work. David Fincher's Alien3 was a disastrous disservice to the story from Aliens, but a pretty good film when looked at independently. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien: Resurrection has some amazing visual sequences that are tied together by a rather weak story which revives Sigourney Weaver's deceased character in a way that never really worked for me. And even though I hated the freaky-ass mutant alien that provided the "villain" for the fourth installment, I think I enjoyed the film overall. Everything is brought together beautifully with a shitload of awesome extras that will take me days to get through. The packaging (again) is a bit odd (WTF-?), but workable. For any fan of any of the films, Alien Anthology is a must-have.
ALIEN ANTHOLOGY RATING: A (Highly Recommended).
And now I'm out of money, so that will have to be enough unabashed consumerism for the day.
Posted on November 14th, 2010
It's a blah blah blah kind of week. Thankfully it's Bullet Sunday with some good things to the rescue!
• Music! One of those shows that I wish I could quit, but can never seem to stop watching is Grey's Anatomy. They just keep doing things to keep it interesting, and the stories are (usually) pretty good. But the best thing about the show is the music, and I've lost count of the number of great songs I've found from watching Grey's. This week it was Mackintosh Braun (a band I had never heard of before) and their song Could it Be. Turns out the entire album is great, and now I'm a fan...
Well done Shonda Rhimes and the rest of the people responsible for Grey's Anatomy not sucking too badly. Now please fix Christina and move past the whole "hospital shooting" crap which has been lingering for far too long.
• Pooh! This caught be completely by surprise... Disney is coming out with a new Pooh movie on July 15, 2011 called (appropriately enough) Winnie the Pooh!...
Beautiful! Thank heavens they didn't feel the need to recreate the look of the series in 3-D or use computer animation or some other stupid shit like that. The Keane song is perfect, and just the icing on the cake. I hate seeing movies in theaters any more because people are assholes, but I'll make an exception for this.
• Veterans! Thanks once again to Applebee's for treating veterans to a free meal on Veteran's Day this week. It seems as though they were making money hand-over-fist from all the people who were there with veterans that were not veterans (like me!), so I can only hope that it's a win-win event for them.
• High! I've mentioned plenty of time that I have a paralyzing fear of heights, and always have to psych myself up when traveling because all the good touristy stuff seems to be up high. Recently I watched a television program about the "Grand Canyon SkyWalk" which goes beyond scary for somebody like me...
Photo from the official Grand Canyon Skywalk Site.
While searching for a photo on the internet which shows the glass floor, I came across this shot...
Shiiiiiiit! Photo from GloboTreks.
The GloboTreks article is called "7 of the Most Impressive Skywalks in the World", and I've only seen one of them in person: the Sears Tower "Ledge" in Chicago...
Yes, it's just as scary as you'd think it would be.
They might as well call this list "7 Places Guaranteed to Make Dave2 Crap His Pants"... because, damn... just look at some of these terrifying things. Of course, if I should ever visit any of these instruments of torture, I'd definitely force myself to experience them. I always do. But I'm sure my "experience" would consist of me crawling on my hands and knees while crying for my mommy. After crapping my pants. Because, damn...
• TV on DVD! Tonight I found out that one of those long-forgotten television shows I've been begging to come out on DVD, Palace Guard, actually DID get released on DVD back in July! Apparently all nine episodes are included on some kind of massive 10-disc retrospective called Prime Time Crime: The Stephen J. Cannell Collection. It seemed a total bargain at just $22, so I scraped together the money and ordered it immediately. I previously described the show thusly...
The best role of D.W. Moffett's versatile career, and a show that I find impossible to understand how it failed... The Palace Guard certainly seemed like a crowd pleaser, and was mindless fun in a way people usually respond to. PLOT: Moffett is a career jewel thief who is caught and imprisoned. As a part of his parole, he gets a job as a security expert in a megalith hotel chain. A Moonlighting-like twist is thrown in when he starts to fall for his boss (Marcy Walker) who pretends to despise him but, of course, is falling for him as well.
I can't wait to watch the show again and see if it holds up as well as I remember it. If only television studios would get off their asses and release some of my other favorites (even selling them on iTunes so they don't have to go to the expense of pressing DVDs would be great)...
Now it's back to blah blah blah...
Posted on November 21st, 2010
Welcome to a very special The Walking Dead edition of Bullet Sunday!
As I mentioned yesterday, when I travel for work I have to go a day early to be sure I arrive on-time. What I didn't mention is that I also stay an extra day later just in case my work time has to be moved. Like it did today. Instead of starting on the job this morning, I'm instead starting tomorrow morning... leaving me with a free day to do whatever. So after getting caught up on some other work, I decided to explore the beautiful rural Georgia countryside... which just so happens to be filled with locations from The Walking Dead comic book! I've been meaning to do this for a while, but work always comes first and I've never had the time.
• Map! Luckily for me (and every other fan of The Walking Dead comic), somebody has created a very cool Google Map overlay with updated information of location from the series (WARNING: MAP CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS!). This makes it easy to plan a trip to see some of the sights. I decided to focus on those around the Thomaston area where I'm staying...
I could have gone a bit further north, but many of those locations are private residences and the like, so I restrained myself to the more public locations.
• Woodbury! Introduced in issue 27 of The Walking Dead, Woodbury is a critical location where a lot of stuff goes down (for those watching the television series, this is a ways off). While the town in the comic book is quite a bit different than real-life Woodbury, it's still worth a visit. Seeing the actual place makes the comic come to life. Like many places I've seen in the area, the Woodbury Police Dept. was decked out for the holidays, which is kind of nice...
But the most interesting thing about Woodbury to me was to be found in front of the Woodbury Pharmacy...
Soda pop machines! (in the Pacific Northwest we say "pop" but I'm originally from California where it's "soda" so I usually merge the two... here in Georgia, everybody says "Coke" for most every soda pop type beverage). And it wasn't just any kind of soda pop they were selling... there was a lot of really cool flavors, some of which I have never heard of before, including "Grapico" and "Sunkist Peach"...
But the best part? The sodas were cheap! Fanta cans were 40¢! Pepsi product cans were 50¢! Bottles were just $1! I haven't seen it this inexpensive in a very long time. Interestingly enough, there was a steady stream of cars stopping at the pharmacy to use the soda pop vending machines... even though the pharmacy itself is closed on weekends. As I sat there drinking my peach and grape fizzy drinks, I saw some pretty interesting people show up for their non-Coke Coke fix.
Woodbury has a rather sad number of empty (abandoned?) buildings, some of which were very cool to photograph...
• Gay! As I headed to my next location, I stopped off in Gay, Georgia, home of the Cotton Pickin' Fair twice each year...
The city of Gay has a very small population, but they still have a Town Hall building...
• Concord. I had no intent of stopping along the way to my next destination, but as I passed through the small city of Concord, I saw something that changed my mind...
It's the Concord United Methodist Church facing off with the Concord Baptist Church at high noon! It was a bit strange how they were built not facing the main road... but instead facing each other. I'm sure there's a story there, but I can't guess what it might be...
• Zebulon! I remarked on Twitter that "Zebulon" sounds like a town that has been taken over by space aliens. Because, seriously, doesn't "Zebulon" sound like an alien overlord right out of Planetfall or something? Despite the rather odd name, the town itself is quite nice, with the beautiful Pike Co. Courthouse Square and charming shops. But I was not here for Zebulon, I was here for "The Prison"... AKA "West Central Prison"... AKA "West Central Pre-Release Center of the Georgia Department of Corrections"...
Introduced at the end of issue 12, "The Prison" is arguably one of the most important locations in the entire run of The Walking Dead so far (and is probably going to be introduced in the second season of the television show). The sheer volume of story that happens here dominates the first 50 issues of the comic, and to see it in person... even just from the outside... is kind of chill-inducing...
I drove next door to a sports park so I could see the location from the vantage point of "Hershel's Garden." Again, it's quite different from the prison in the comic, but seeing the location still adds atmosphere to the story...
That's it for The Walking Dead Bullets... but I've got more in an extended entry!
Posted on November 28th, 2010
It's a crash-and-burn kind of Bullet Sunday. Every time I get started on in on a project, something comes along to bring everything to a screeching halt.
• Goodbye. Leslie Nielsen, who will forever be Lt. Frank Drebin to me, passed away today. I've lost count of the times I've watched his Police Squad! episodes and movies. Absolute classics in every sense of the word. Thanks for the many, many laughs over the years, sir! You will be missed.
Oh, and one more thing... I faked every orgasm!
• Alcohol. There's a meme going around encouraging people to share an uncommon alcoholic beverage that they've enjoyed. Since the only thing I drink now-a-days is Jägermeister in Red Bull or Vodka with cranberry juice, this is a tough one. About the only "uncommon" drink I can remember would be "POGaritas" which was a favorite with my friends and I on our trips to Maui, Hawaii in the late 80's and early 90's. "POG" is a popular juice-like drink (POG standing for "Passionfruit, Orange, Guava") invented in Maui (but is now sold State-side as well). For a POGarita, just mix a decent tequila with POG. Instead of a slice of lime for garnish, you use a wedge of pineapple. You can put sugar on the rim, but it tastes best when simply blended and served plain in whatever clean glassware you can find...
You have to be careful though, because the fruity flavor of POG camouflages a multitude of tequila-rooted sins. You can drink one after another and not really notice you're getting bombed until it's too late...
Don't judge my drunken ass too harshly. When it rains in Maui, about the only thing you can do is drink. I think this was from a trip in 1987... which was 23 years ago. If I had tons of money and no responsibilities, this would be how I spend my life today.
• Radiation Check. Holy crap... it just keeps getting worse. Why you should never submit to the airport porn-o-scanners.
• Bottom Gear. Just about every attempt by American television networks to recreate a popular British television series has resulted in total failure. With the possible exception of The Office, I can't even think of a show that's managed not to suck. Hard. I guess you could include American Idol in there, but I can't watch that show, so I don't care. The latest travesty is one of my most favorite British shows, Top Gear. It's tremendously entertaining on just about every level, mostly thanks to the awesome presenters...
Richard "Hamster" Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, and James "Captain Slow" May
The big picture here is that the show doesn't need to be re-made. It translates perfectly to American audiences with almost no confusion, and BBC America should have just made a deal with one of our major networks to air it "as-is"... I think it would be a big success. Heck, it's already a big success for BBC America (which, unfortunately, not many people have here).
But oh no... instead we've got The History Channel (of all places) doing a re-make.
And it sucks.
I watched the first episode and hated it. But I chalked that up to having an emotional attachment to the original, and felt I probably wasn't giving it a fair shake. So I watched a second episode.
And it still sucks.
They're copying absolutely everything from the British original, but somehow failing at it. The presenters just aren't entertaining. They have -zero- chemistry. They're definitely not funny. All the "humor" on the show is badly forced and not even worth a chuckle. It's the exact opposite of what Jeremy Clarkson and Co. have going on the REAL Top Gear. Thankfully, my cable package includes BBC America so I can see it. I'm just pissed that many Americans will see the shitty re-make and think that "Top Gear" is terrible when they're not even watching Top Gear.
• DaveToon Redux. I rarely laugh at the cartoons I draw for Blogography. I'm usually too embarrassed over having slapped together yet another crappy piece of Colorforms art. Given the time constraints I almost always have, there's not much I can do about it, but it still bothers me. And yet... every once in a while something comes out of it that gets me to smile. This time it was the TSA cartoon I made for Bad Monkey. Specifically, one piece of one panel of that series...
I have no idea why, but seeing this makes me laugh my ass off every time. I'm laughing as I type this. I think it's because that one panel sums up who Bad Monkey is. He's once again gotten away with something he shouldn't have, and his smug victory stance as he walks away from all consequences of his actions defines his personality perfectly.
I need this on a T-shirt.
And, on that note, I guess it's time to put the computer down and see if I can get my crap together so I can get back to real life tomorrow. But first? Waffles.
Posted on December 5th, 2010
Welcome to a very special TRAVEL edition of Bullet Sunday!
Yesterday I received my billionth email asking me where I'd recommend as a travel destination "for an American who (FILL IN THE BLANK HERE)." I kind of hesitate to comment on questions like this because, while I have traveled to quite a lot of places, there's tons of places I haven't been. Like India, most of South America, most of Africa, and a bajillion other awesome places are unknown to me. But I'm always happy to encourage my fellow countrymen to travel, so here's a list which is confined to only those places I've been (click on the name to visit a Blogography link)...
• For an American without a passport: Maui, Hawaii. Hawaii is one of the most exotic and wonderful places to vacation on the face of the earth, and I never hesitate to recommend it as a travel destination. I've been dozens of times, and usually find the weather to be terrific (only rarely has it rained my entire vacation). Of all the islands, Maui is my hands-down favorite but, if you've got time I definitely recommend island-hopping, as there's something wonderful on all of them.
Runner-Up: New Orleans. Easily in my top-ten favorite world cities, The Big Easy is an experience for the senses.
• For an American without a passport who hates the beach: South Utah. I have seen a multitude of amazing places around the world, but when it comes to breathtaking scenery that's not to be missed, some of the best you'll find is right here in the USA. Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Goblin Valley, Lake Powell... the list of astounding attractions in South Utah is never-ending, and every one of them is worth a visit.
Runner-Up: Washington State. Maybe I'm biased, but my back-yard has some of the most beautiful scenery on earth any time of the year. Anybody with an appreciation for the Great Outdoors should have Washington State on their short-list.
• For an American who has never traveled outside the USA: Italy. This answer is kind of vague, but I'd be hard-pressed to pick a single part of Italy as being better than any other. If you like culture and history, try Rome. If you like romance and a touch of the exotic, try Venice. If you're a foodie or a wine persons, try Tuscany. If you are obsessed with art, try Florence. If you just want to be overwhelmed with beautiful scenery, try the Amalfi Coast. Regardless of where you go, you're assured of amazing food and culture... and you're probably not going to have and language troubles or culture shock.
Runner-Up: The United Kingdom & Ireland. Again, I'd be hard-pressed to pick one area over another, but if you're looking for low culture-shock and an amazing vacation, the UK & Ireland are worth a visit. If you want shopping, theater, and art, try London. If you want history and beauty, try York or Bath. If you want to visit my favorite city on earth, try Edinburgh. If you want to see lush green countryside, try Wicklow and Ireland.
• For an American who wants to get away from it all: Bali. Of all the places I've ever been, the one place I would want to go to get away from it all would be Bali. The Balinese people are some of the most wonderful, kind, and sharing people, which is attraction enough... but they also happen to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. There are numerous resorts (including a Hard Rock property, natch!) if you wish, but there are also a lot of smaller villas and inland locations if you really want to escape. Every time I'm reminded of anything Bali, I yearn to return. I can't give it any better endorsement than that!
Runner-Up: Santorini, Greece. Now, a lot of people will tell you that Santorini is overflowing with obnoxious tourists and should be avoided. That's a shame, because it's only partially true. Yes, a lot of tourists come here... the place is beautiful in a way that will make your head explode, so who can blame them? BUT it's only part-true. In the late morning, tourists landing from cruise ships flood the island in staggering numbers. But then they leave and things settle down so you can wander through amazing cities like Fira and Oia or explore the countryside in peace, away from it all.
• For an American who wants to experience a foreign culture: Thailand. Where to begin with the country that changed my life? It was Thailand where I was first exposed to Buddhism and a culture so wonderful that I've spent my entire life trying to apply it to my life. And, as if the wonderful Thai people aren't reason enough to visit, you'll find a multitude of experiences unlike any other. Stunning temples and architecture. Beautiful beaches and sights. Fantastic shopping and attractions. From the bustling cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, to the amazing resorts at Pattaya and Phuket, to the wonderful small villages of Pai and Chiang Rai... there's something for everyone in Thailand, and it's a destination I can't recommend highly enough.
Runner-Up: China. Even in larger cities like Beijing and Shanghai, China is unlike anywhere on earth. Head out into the countryside, and the culture-shock grows exponentially.
Runner-Up: Japan. If ever there was a shining example of ancient traditions embracing a modern world, Japan would be it. Tokyo is probably my favorite mega-city on the planet, and much of what makes Japan such a mind-boggling place can be found here. But for the adventurous, heading out into the smaller cities and village in the countryside can be a cultural revelation you'll never forget.
• For an American who wants something completely different: Warsaw. I fully admit that the reason I travel to a great many places is because there's a Hard Rock Cafe there I haven't been to. The benefit of this is that I am often exposed to amazing places I would have never seen otherwise. Warsaw was such an unexpected and mind-boggling city that I am haunted by it still. Despite having a truly tragic history that will make your heart break over and over again, Poland has to be one of the most inspirational and wonderful places I've ever been. For weeks after returning I could not shut up about my trip. You will have to work for it, however, as it's not overly tourist-friendly. I usually avoid going on organized tours because I like to explore on my own, but Warsaw is a place that cries out for more than just seeing the sights. You have to get a good guide who will walk you through not just the things to see and do, but the history behind it. An unforgettable experience, but not for the usual reasons.
Runner-Up: Romania. As hard as it is to believe, the Romanian Uprising was just twenty short years ago. As the only Eastern Bloc country to overthrow its government by force and execute its leaders, a trip to Bucharest will definitely be different than your average vacation. For a taste of even more "different" you can head out into the countryside for touristy destinations like Transylvania or charming cities like Braşov
• For an American who wants monumental bragging rights: Giza. Um, yeah... of all the places I've been, the one that most gets people's attention is having been to see the pyramids in Egypt. And while the pyramids may be a bit less impressive in person in an age of skyscrapers and mega-malls, I assure you it's an experience you'll hang on to for the rest of your life.
Runner-Up: The Great Wall of China. Another ancient wonder, walking along The Great Wall is not only one of those life-defining moments, it makes for great bragging rights.
Runner-Up: The Eiffel Tower. There are many, many reasons to visit Paris, but any time I even mention Europe, people seem to be obsessed with wondering whether I've been up the Eiffel Tower. To me, it's a wonderful experience in a wonderful city, but not something that captures my imagination as much as it does for everybody else. Oh well, it seems to be something worth bragging about, so here it is.
And there you have it. A mini "sampler" of places to go from the places I've been that I highly recommend. But it's important to know that there are literally hundreds of other places I've been that I'd also give my heart-felt endorsement to. Ultimately I can only speak for myself here but, if that carries any weight with you, I have archives full of my other travel adventures...
Travel 2003 • Travel 2004 • Travel 2005 • Travel 2006 • Travel 2007 • Travel 2008 • Travel 2009 • Travel 2010
Posted on December 12th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday off the rails, baby! OFF THE RAILS!
• 'Tis the Season... for GOOD! So many potentially wonderful things are happening all the time all around us. Even when we least expect it. Even when we receive terribly sad news that makes it impossible for us to believe it. At least I hope so. Clinging to that is about all that's keeping me sane right now.
• 'Tis the Season... for PAIN! Heaven only knows that there is some truly awful people out there... and, unfortunately, sometimes you marry them. Yes, it sucks. Yes, you need to get yourself a dang good lawyer to take care of business. Yes, there is going to be hard feelings and resentment. But having shit-bag lawyers add to a terrible situation is disgusting on levels so heinous that it should be grounds for getting your slimy ass disbarred...
I've been seeing this local television ad run every holiday season for years, and I get more pissed off every time it airs. Nothing quite like taking a season of good will and good cheer... then shitting all over it by encouraging people to solve their problems by becoming bitter, vindictive douchebags like this bitch. For all we know, SHE was the problem. A total whore that cheated on her hard-working, faithful husband by fucking anything with a penis. Thanks a lot, asshole lawyer.
• 'Tis the Season... for CONFLICT! Speaking of divorce... my eternal love and devotion for Elizabeth Hurley has been well-documented on this blog. Which is why I was so horribly conflicted when I saw the following on her twitter feed this morning...
I am genuinely sad that things didn't work out for Elizabeth Hurley's marriage. Not just for her, but for her husband Arun Nayar and her son Damian. As somebody who has been mildly obsessed with Elizabeth Hurley for fifteen years, of course I am upset for her. How could I ever want anything except for her to be happy? But... on the other hand... as somebody who has been mildly obsessed with Elizabeth Hurley for fifteen years... I've felt equally awful over having coveted another man's wife. But it's not like I can help myself here...
I totally have a chance here. Right? Right?
• 'Tis the Season... for TOAST! Google is starting to really push their browser-based operating system (called "Chrome OS") with rather shocking videos like this one...
WTF?!? NO! OH GOD, NO! NOT THE TOAST!!!
What a sad, terrible waste of perfectly good toast. I could watch crappy Chrome netbooks being smashed all day long, but did they really have to sacrifice innocent slices of toast to make their point? Toast has never done anything to us but taste great with butter and jam... surely they could have used some useless food product like broccoli or cauliflower in the making of this video? I mean, sure, we can always make more toast. It only takes a few minutes in a toaster. But is this kind of violence against helpless bread products really necessary? This is sad. Sad and wrong. Why does Google hate toast?
And now it's time to get back on track. There's only so long you can go off the rails before Real Life calls you back.