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Happy New Year

Posted on Thursday, January 1st, 2004

Dave!In coming back from celebrating the New Year with friends in Seattle, I have to travel back over Stevens Pass which just happens to be in the middle of a winter storm warning...

Seattle to Cashmere Map

Since I've been driving in heavy snows and icy roads for the past twenty years and make sure that my car has the best snow tires money can buy, I don't worry much about adverse weather. What I DO worry about are other idiots out on the road who don't know what the hell they are doing.

This time was really fun. Cars run into the ditch... pile-ups on the roadway... a cornucopia of idiots who just don't know how to drive in the snow and should be staying at home. My favorite was a moron in a light-duty, rear-wheel-drive pickup with no weight in the back who stopped in the middle of the highway on a hill (blocking an entire lane of traffic) so he could install chains. Dumb-asses everywhere you look!

The good news was that there was a pileup directly behind me (when yet another idiot thought he would do a U-turn in the middle of the highway, but instead got stuck and blocked traffic in both directions)... giving me the entire road to myself! Sweet!

Snowy Road

Sure it's pretty, but you can't ride a motorcycle in this crap.

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The Rover Has Landed

Posted on Saturday, January 3rd, 2004

Dave!While Britain continues to await a signal from their Beagle 2 Mars Lander, NASA has just announced that their new Mars Rover "Spirit" has landed safely and is even unpacking itself on the face of the red planet. A second rover "Opportunity" is due to land on January 24th.

NASA Spirit Rover.

NASA claims that these new Rovers are far more flexible and maneuverable than the Pathfinder Rover which landed in 1996, so we are sure to get some pretty cool photos back. It's amazing to me how the surface of Mars looks exactly like Haleakala Crater in Maui. When the Pathfinder images first arrived, I instantly thought them to be fake since I had "been" there before right here on earth!

Surface of Mars.

I hope that the Beagle 2 team is not too discouraged by their loss. NASA lost a pair of probes in 1999, so their current success is not without some setbacks along the way.

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Dave = Cuteness

Posted on Monday, January 5th, 2004

Dave!Living with my face every day as I do, it is easy for me to overlook just what a throbbing bundle of cuteness I really am. Until, that is, somebody is kind enough to send an e-mail and remind me. Last week I joined a discussion group and needed a photo for my user profile. Vanity being a trait I don't possess (for obvious reasons... or so I thought), I don't have photos of myself laying around. Well, nothing current anyways. Fortunately, I have an iSight camera on my Mac for just such an occasion, and took a few stills of myself.

Anxious to get underway, I just cropped one of the stills and uploaded it without really thinking about it. Last night, I happened to glance at my profile and thought that the image I had chosen (left) was dopier than usual (even for me). So, I rummaged through the shots and selected another, more serious one (right) to upload. This morning I get this e-mail from "Katie":

You changed your picture! What did you do that for? You were much cuter in that other one where you were smiling a bit!!! ;)

Now that I take a look at both shots, I have to admit... I am much cuter in that first photo (well, I'm either cuter or more constipated-looking, I can't seem to decide about that). So, naturally, I'm off to upload it again. Sure I only got one e-mail complaining, but heaven only knows how many other women I've devastated because I just don't realize how damn cute I am.

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I Worship Steve Jobs

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2004

Dave!Whenever MacWorld rolls around, I find myself giddy with excitement as Steve Jobs takes the stage and proceeds to blow everybody away with the new stuff Apple's got going on. I then find myself filled with pity... pity... for anybody stuck with a crappy Windows PC. This time was no different. One of the major highlights was a nifty re-working of Apple's "Soundtrack" app into a cooler (and much more accessible) tool called "Garage Band." To demo the product, Steve trotted out John Mayer to perform live over a composition he had constructed with sampled loops included with the program...

Then here comes a video with Sheryl Crow saying how Garage Band will help her be more creative in her song-writing because she can conjure up a temporary back-up band to play with as she works. Can't get a much better endorsement than that! Even better is the fact that this cool new tool is bundled together with the rest of Apple's jaw-dropping iApps for just $49. FORTY-NINE DOLLARS!

Macs kick ass.

   

Snapz

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

Dave!First of all, thanks to everyone who sent such wonderful ego-stroking e-mails assuring me that I am cute, sexy, adorable, hot, lovable, and generally not so bad to look at (well, I really could have done without such assurances from you Roger, but thanks just the same). I had to re-read my post from a few days ago to make sure that I wasn't threatening to kill myself or something, because the response was unexpected.

Anyway, some had asked how I got pictures from my web cam in the first place, and so I should explain that the images I had up were cropped from the original window snapshot which looks like this:

A friend gave me an AppleScript that allows me to use an app called Snapz Pro to save out a series of snapshots from Apple's iChat A/V using an iSight camera on my Mac. Snapz Pro is a really amazing program, because it has many powerful features and can be AppleScripted to do just about anything. The resulting snapshots can then be saved to a folder with an AppleScript Action attached for automated processing/cropping/color correction/whatever. Some people are having snapshots automatically uploaded to the web at regular intervals, others use it to monitor their homes when they are away. Just a testament to the astounding things you can do with a Mac and very little effort.

Hmmm... before anyone asks, that slash on my cheek is from an accident that occurred on New Years Eve involving alcohol and an Uno Attack game. Fair warning: having a game machine fling cards at you when your reflexes are diminished is just asking for trouble.

   

For Meagan

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

Dave!Meagan got excited by me using her scripts and ideas to take photographs with my web cam, and forwarded an interesting script that photographs you at regular intervals while you work. From her notes:

... I always take a quick look through the thumbnails and pull the shots with my eyes closed or I'm doing something embarrassing.

Uhhh... problem is that I am really tired, so I have my eyes closed or am doing something embarrassing in almost every shot (or they are blurry because of movement). Oh well. I never realized that I moved around so much while staring at a computer screen for hours-on-end each day.

   

Bill Me

Posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2004

Dave!Spam blows. Even with a spam filtering service and the anti-spam capabilities of Apple's Mail program, I am regularly getting 30 to 40 pieces of spam hitting my In-Box every day (not to mention the hundreds of pieces every day that are filtered out for me).

And now that we have anti-spam legislation in place, I honestly feel that the spam problem will get worse since there are so many loopholes in the law for spammers to hide behind. Now they can send out even more spam because they can claim that they are "in accordance with anti-spam laws." A big "thanks for nothing" to stupid politicians for not solving the problem, but instead making it a big PR stunt for re-election (can't blame them there... everybody hates spam, so it's a win-win topic to stand behind).

SpamCrap

With every new day, I am starting to agree with those people who think that ISPs should have to pay for every piece of e-mail they process. They, in turn, can then pass this minimal charge to their customers. Just a simple charge of 2 cents would mean nothing to the average user... 300 e-mails a month would cost just $6.00, so big deal. But to a spammer who sends out millions of e-mails each day? Well, it's not so profitable to spam anymore is it?

The logistics of charging for e-mail is not a simple matter... mail servers would have to start keeping track of e-mails sent for billing, and would also have to refuse e-mails without "postage" on them. And then there's the questions: What about exchanging e-mail with foreign countries that don't charge for e-mail? Should .org non-profits get to send e-mail for free? During the transition, what happens to e-mail without postage? Do we still allow "postage-free" e-mail and, if we do, could it be marked in some way so that users have the option of refusing it?

I haven't a clue, and there are hundreds of other questions that would need to be answered. Given the number of e-mails sent each day, one thing I am sure of is that a charge-per-e-mail system would pay for itself in no time, and any excess funds collected could be put into programs that expand broadband options into rural communities or something.

All I know is that I don't want spam anymore, and I would gladly start paying if it meant an end to it all.

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Speaking of South Park…

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2004

Dave!I ran across a proposed bill that would ban all "objectionable" language from radio and television. Now I can't get the song "It's Easy Mmmkay" (from the South Park movie) out of my head as I try to mentally picture radio shock jocks trying to learn how to stop swearing on the air...

South Park: The Movie

You can do it Its all up to you-mmmmmkay.
With a little plan you can change your life today!
You dont have to spend your life addicted to smack...
Homeless on the streets giving handjobs for crack.
Follow my plan and very soon you will see, its easy mmmkay...
Step 1: Instead of ass say buns, like "kiss my buns" or "you're a buns hole."
Step 2: Instead of shit say poo, as in "bull poo", "poo head" and this "poo is cold."
Step 3: With bitch drop the t because bich is latin for generosity.
Step 4: Dont say f#@% any more because f#@% is the worst word that you can say!
So just use the word "mmmkay!"

South Park: The Movie

Now, out of respect for others, I never swear in mixed company... oh no, I save that kind of language for my friends, family, and this blog. But I have to say that harsh words have lost their shock value to me anymore... through years of constant exposure, words like "f#@%" have no more worse meaning to me than "darn." Yes, it's a shame that today's youth have turned into foul-mouthed little perverts... but what's the use in stopping the swearing on radio and television when kids can hear far worse on the school playground? Mmmkay?

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At the Mercy of FedEx

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2004

Dave!I finally got around to ordering up a new serious" camera to replace my faithful Canon A-1 that I've owned for the past 20 years. The big question was, would I stick with a film camera, or switch to a digital SLR? After a month of going back and forth... (digital will never be as good as film but, after you've used digital, let's face it: the thought of going back to film blows)... I decided to go with a Canon EOS Rebel Digital.

Canon EOS Rebel Digital

It was supposed to be here Friday, but was delayed because FedEx thought there might be bad whether in Spokane (there wasn't, and other freight arrived just fine).

Stuck in FedEx Hell...

When I called FedEx, they said they would flag it for Saturday Delivery, but Fed-Ex doesn't deliver on Saturday to where I live, so I drove the 30 minutes to the airport in East Wenatchee only to find it still hadn't made it (despite having "left the ramp" at Spokane hours ago). Nothing quite like being at the mercy of FedEx when you have a new toy coming.

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Rebel

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2004

Dave!My Canon EOS Digital Rebel camera finally arrived today after Fed-Ex missed two previous delivery commitments. While it was worth the wait, it is very different than the string of smaller (and much lighter) digital cameras I've been using over the past 5 years. I hold up my Canon PowerShot 400 next to the new one and find it's easily 8 to 10 times bigger!

Camera Size Comparison

This worries me a bit, as I had forgotten what a bummer it is to pack around a neck-anchor during my travels. But, then again, after only an hour of playing around with the Digital Rebel I'm remembering just how much I gave up when I switched away from film. This baby is sweet! It shoots beautifully in just about any condition I've thrown at it (including low light), and I'm amazed at some of the shots I'm getting... exactly the type of stuff I used to shoot for film, but with all the convenience of digital.

So now I'm psyched to get out and take some photos. And I already want to go out and buy $1000 worth of additional lenses (which only seems fair considering how much I will save in film and developing costs).

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The Sad State of Modern Times

Posted on Wednesday, January 28th, 2004

Dave!Today I was walking through the mall on my way to get a haircut when I ran across a small boy standing in the middle of the walkway looking confused and crying. Twenty years ago... hell, even ten years ago... anybody with half a heart would jump in and offer to help the kid. Sadly, we live in modern times when such an act of kindness could so easily get you into trouble.

I knelt in front of the little guy, being careful that my hands were out to my sides and in plain view, then told him my name and asked him: "Are you okay? Are you lost?" In-between sobs, I found out he was indeed lost. "Are you here with your mommy or daddy?" No, he was here with his grandma.

So now what? If I were to take his hand and try to lead him to somebody who could help, it could give somebody the very wrong impression that I was some kind of child molester kidnapping the kid. Can't have that. So what I ultimately did was tell him that I would stay there with him and see if we could get somebody to find his grandmother. Eventually I managed to flag down a girl in a nearby store and ask her to call security. But before they could arrive, grandma came running and everything was okay.

But not really.

The entire drive home, I got to thinking about how horrible our world has become. Even the best of intentions can end up having dire consequences... try to help somebody who has been fatally shot, then get slapped with a wrongful death lawsuit... try to help a lost little boy, then get thrown in prison for attempted child abduction. What the hell? Is the world we are making for ourselves really the one we want?

In the end, I try not to blame society as a whole. Instead I blame f#@%ing child molesters and f#@%ing child abductors for forcing society to have to be so suspicious of anybody who would try to help a lost child. f#@% you all.

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I’m Sad Today

Posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

Dave!

Sad Dave

Looking Dave

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Bleh

Posted on Saturday, February 7th, 2004

Dave!I woke up in a bad mood for no reason at all which, naturally, means the rest of my day is going to be crap. That being the case, I decided I might as well get caught up on a bunch of stuff I really hate because it would be a shame to do those things on a day when I am in a good mood.

I start out by opening my mail from the past 3 months. Since all my bills arrive electronically, I just stack up my mail in a big pile with the assumption that anything in there is probably not very important and can wait a while. Well, the pile is now over a foot and a half tall, and I am running out of creative ways to stack new mail on top without it falling over, so I guess now is the time. After 40 minutes of opening and sorting junk mail, Christmas cards, invitations to parties I wasn't here to go to, motorcycle magazines, and the like, I find out there are exactly 14 pieces of mail worthy of my attention:

  • 3 bank statements.
  • 2 bank overdraft notices from when I was in Asia... apparently I ran out of money and didn't realize it. More likely, my stupid bank's online access was down (as usual) and I couldn't find out how much money was in there when I was paying bills. That's $60 in OD charges down the tube.
  • A notice from NorthWest Airlines congratulating me on achieving Elite status in my mileage club again this year (big surprise).
  • A letter informing me that a client I've done work for has entered bankruptcy (so that's why they never paid their invoices and refuse to answer e-mails or take my calls!).
  • 3 bills from Bon/Macys dated November, December, and January.
  • A letter from Bon/Macys asking why I have not paid my bill for 3 months (well, if you would have sent the bill to the address I gave you for my electronic billing service instead of using my physical address, I would have paid it).
  • Renewal notices for TV Guide and CycleWorld.
  • An autographed photo of Betty White I won in an eBay auction for $12 (SCORE! What can I say, Betty White totally rocks!).

Betty & Dave

I need to go into work today, but have just realized that I don't have any clean underwear. For some reason I feel clean underwear is important (even on my day off) so I suppose that I'll be washing some clothes first. Boy, I'll bet you wish you had stopped reading about two paragraphs ago! In fact, why are you still reading this? Are you really so bored that a list of what I got in the mail and having no clean underwear is an appealing read? Really? Well, I'm awfully sorry about that... I promise to get in a high-speed car chase or be shot in a convenience store robbery or something so that my next entry will be a bit more entertaining.

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Mr. Bread

Posted on Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Dave!A couple of weeks ago somebody wrote me an e-mail asking about "Brian's Amazing Bread Carving Contest" from way back in September of 2000 (which was odd, because I didn't remember them being there). Then yesterday I accidentally stumbled across my ".Mac Gallery" while looking for somebody else's and suddenly understood how total strangers had come to know about the bread. Somehow I had forgotten that I had put those photos on the web.

Here is one of the strips, which is tagged "My winning entry in Brian's Amazing Bread Carving Contest (still drunk) 9/15/00."

Dave Bread

Here's the story... my good friend Meagan (whose home-made photo booth is responsible for all the photos you see of me at the beginning of each blog entry) decided to have an "Art Party" for some of her talented artistic-minded friends (no, I haven't a clue as to why I was on the guest list). On the invitation was written BYOAP, which stood for "Bring Your Own Art Project," which meant that you had to bring some kind of craft competition for the entire group of ten. After each round of competition, Meagan would award prizes for the best entry, and then take photos of the winning artist in her booth.

I brought paper plates, glue, dried beans, and paints (you put the beans in-between two plates glued together to make a shaker, and then paint it). Somebody brought modeling clay. Somebody else bought "Shrinky Dinks." They were all simple projects that you could find in any kindergarten class, which is a good thing because there was heavy drinking the entire time. As the evening progressed, even simple craft projects become difficult when a bunch of drunks are trying to do them. As you can see by these photos, I was pretty hammered early in the evening (I think this was taken around 7pm!)... my shirt has already gone missing because I had gotten paint all over it:

Yep, I'm drunk.

As it neared midnight, Meagan's apartment was a total mess and everybody had been drinking way too much. But there had been only 9 competitions, and one prize remained to give out. Brian had not yet had his art competition! Well, Brian is a starving artist which means he had no funds available to purchase an art project... all his money goes towards rent and food. The only thing he had to bring was a loaf of bread and popsicle sticks, which he dubbed "Brian's Amazing Bread Carving Contest."

In our drunken state, carving bread with popsicle sticks was a near-impossible task. Most people just wadded their bread into a ball and then shoved the sticks into it. I gave up on using the stick, and used the cap from a liquor bottle to punch holes in the bread for eyes... and then used the edge of a glass to stamp out a mouth. Since my "Bread Happy Face" was the only entry even remotely recognizable, I won the prize (which was a Neil Gaiman "Death" coffee mug).

I was going to save Mr. Bread and spray him with shellac so I could hang him on my wall, but Brian ate him shortly after my booth photos were taken.

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Good Eye

Posted on Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Dave!Wow! I just got an e-mail from a guy who saw my entry from yesterday and asked if that was a copy of Depeche Mode's 101 Tour DVD behind my head. Sure enough, it is! I have no idea how he managed to pick that out of the background of my apartment, since it's barely visible (should I be worried about that kind of scrutiny?). Depeche Mode is my all-time favorite band, and their "Music for the Masses" tour (which was featured in 101) was the single best live show I've ever been to in my entire life. What I remember most about that concert is that I went with a friend (not a big DM fan) who was blown away by the experience. The concert opens with a little concerto called "Pimpf" where the entire audience was chanting and had their arms waving toward the stage... he thought we had wandered into a cult instead of a concert!

DM DVD

To answer another question... the photo was taken by my new (and broken) camera, which I set on top of a stack of boxes, and then set for a 15 second delay. I too was astounded that I managed such a feat of dexterity so early in the morning.

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Frost

Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Dave!Last night I needed a distraction from my brand-new camera having to be sent in for repair (which FedEx delivered to the repair facility at 9:18am this morning) so I decided to clean out my storage closet. After only 10 minutes I found my old Atari ST computer, which I still hold on to so that I can play the best game ever: Dungeon Master! All cleaning had to stop so that I could set up the computer. Much to my horror, I found out that I can't seem to get it to boot up. That's a real shame, because running through Dungeon Master again would be too cool. Maybe it's time to finally toss out the old Atari?

Oh well, it was easy to set the computer aside so I could watch the ultimate television distraction: American Chopper (congratulations Vinnie!). The only problem is that watching the show just makes me want to ride my motorcycle even more. This weekend I had to run to Wenatchee and saw three motorcycles out. Then I look outside my window this morning and see that the snow is melting bit by bit and the sun is shining in a clear-blue sky. My hopes are up that this could be the week I take my ride out of storage! But then I go out to my car and see this:

Frosty Car

Frost everywhere! And then on the way to work I notice that there are patches of ice and a lot of gravel still on the roads. It looks like there will be no motorcycle for me this week after all. As much as I am dying to ride, the last thing I would want would be to dump my bike on the first run I take this year!

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Sick!

Posted on Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Dave!Everybody I know is sick. Not "sick as in they need to be institutionalized for kicking a puppy"... but rather "sick as in they have a cold, or a sinus infection, or the flu, or some other illness that I don't want." I worry that if things get any worse I will arrive at work tomorrow only to find the place closed due to an ebola outbreak. All we need is a little more bad luck, and I'm sure an infested monkey will turn up somewhere...

Bad Monkey!

For some reason, I don't get sick. Honestly, I can't tell you the last time I've had a cold or the flu or anything like that. I'd like to chalk it up to good living, but since I don't get much exercise and eat for crap, I'm sure that's not the case. Maybe I've just got good luck when it comes to health (it would be nice to know I've gotten lucky somewhere in my life). Maybe my body has decided to save all my sick days, and everything is going to go wrong all at the same time? That would suck!

   

Whither the Weather

Posted on Friday, February 13th, 2004

Dave!Weather forecasters have one job... to predict the weather. And yet, more often than not, they get it completely wrong. Here in the States, we have a "three-day weekend" because of the President's Day holiday on Monday. Naturally, the only question on my mind is "will I be able to take my motorcycle out of storage?" In order to answer that question, I need to know what is going to happen with the weather.

When I woke up this morning, the forecast predicted snow all day, and sunshine for the rest of the weekend. But the snow never came. Then the forecast changed to sunshine today, snow tomorrow, and sunshine for the rest. Over the past 8 hours, the forecast has been fluctuating constantly. Now it's looking like this:

Oh crap!

Crap! I can only hope that this is very wrong, because weather like this means me and my motorcycle won't be going anywhere. Why didn't I think to have a career as a weather forecaster? It's the only job I know of where you can be paid good money, get everything all wrong, and yet still be allowed to come back to work again the next day.

Well, apparently there is one other job that allows such gross incompetence: President of the United States.

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Heart

Posted on Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Dave!I have mixed feelings on Valentine's Day... especially since I don't have a valentine this year. On one hand, I admit that it's kind of nice to have somebody so special that the rest of your life seems unimportant. On the other hand, I think back to other years where I did have one, and can't help but think that maybe I am better off this year. Here is a typical Valentine's Day for Dave...

Valentine 1

Valentine 2

Valentine 3

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. What you don't see in the above scenario is that immediately after having broke my heart, she moves on to a relationship with some asshole that will treat her like crap, lie to her, cheat on her, and then dump her. She will then go crying to her girlfriends saying that all men are bastards and sit around for months wondering why she can't seem to find a nice guy.

The answer, of course, is that women don't want a nice guy.

They only think they do.

If this weren't true, nice guys wouldn't spend their lives being crapped on by women.

Now, I am not saying all this to make people feel sorry for me... I'm way past that. I am just putting this out there so women won't expect me to feel sorry for them when they come back looking for sympathy because the guy they dumped me for turns out to be a shit. Sure, I try to be a nice guy and all... but not to the point of being stupid. Which brings me to the big question: are asshole guys born that way, or are they just former nice guys who have been stepped on one too many times?

Happy Valentine's Day!

   

Busiest Week Ever

Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

Dave!Last week at work was pretty slow because so much was broken that there wasn't a lot I could do. Network down. Printer broken. Files destroyed. Well, today the network is up and running (for a while anyway), a new printer arrived, and all my files have been restored. So now I am having to work twice as hard to make up for not getting anything done before. That pretty much means my entire week is going to suck. Whatever.

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Credit

Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

Dave!Tonight I got a lovely call from the credit department at Bon-Macys telling me that my credit rating was in the toilet because they have not received payment for the past 3 months. Well, as I blogged a while back, I would have gladly paid the bills had they been sent to the billing address I had given them.

Long story short, they removed the late fees, corrected the address to what it should have been in the first place, and promise to fix my records with the credit bureau people (apparently they decided to trash my credit report before they bothered to call me?!?). This is so insane because I didn't want the card in the first place... I only got it so I could save $20 on a suitcase I bought.

I'm so mad right now that I wish there was a clown I could set on fire. I hate clowns. Clowns are scary.

Die Clown!

Anyway, here is a helpful hint... when you apply for a credit card, be SURE that you ask to fill out a paper application. Do not trust the person at the cash register to enter it in the machine directly!! Otherwise they could switch your addresses around and send your bills to the wrong address and give you a bad credit rating because they're stupid.

   

I’m Bored

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2004

Dave!I came into work early today so that I could finish up the last of my backlog only to find that the network is still down. That means I can't work after all, so now I'm really, really bored. Here is a picture of me being bored...

Being Bored

In other news, I still haven't received my brand new camera back from the service center... so I guess I'm angry. Here is a picture of me being angry...

Being Mad

I also didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I am really tired. Here is a picture of me being tired...

Being Tired

Come to think of it, I'm getting some goofy e-mails in response to my wanting to set a clown's ass on fire, so I am kind of amused. Here is a picture of me being amused...

Amused

Oh terrific. Now that I'm done playing with my iSight camera, I'm back to being bored again.

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Oscar

Posted on Sunday, February 22nd, 2004

Dave!A year ago today, a good friend from my college days got married (happy anniversary!). Sure I was stuck in a tuxedo all day, but didn't mind too much because it ended up being a really cool ceremony. One of the niftiest things about it was the wedding favors, which were small pine tree seedlings in plastic tubes...

"In the spirit of new beginnings, we would like to give you this seedling. We hope that you will plant it, nurture it, watch it take root and grow, just as we hope we will grow together in our new life."

I really took that request to heart, and went out and spent $50 on a blend of three kinds of potting soil, greenhouse grade gravel, and a ceramic pot to put it all in. Then I had to haul out the Dremel tool to make a drainage plate out of a Tupperware lid and spend an hour getting everything planted. A girl I know said that anything you spend that kind of money on should have a name, and dubbed it "Oscar."

Well, one year later, I'm happy to say that Oscar is still hanging in there...

Oscar!

In some ways, there is a lot of pressure to keep Oscar healthy. If he dies, what does that mean for the marriage? I got a little worried because he went dormant through the winter, but now I think he is waking up again because there are tiny little buds popping out all over. I know nothing about trees, so I can only hope that's a good thing. Way to go little buddy! Hmmm... the tips of his needles look yellow. I wonder what that means?

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Plastic

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Dave!I wish I was a Hollywood star so I had millions of dollars to blow on really stupid things. And then, when I ran out of really stupid things to buy, I could find eccentric things to buy... like a new face! Every time I turn on the television, I'm seeing surgically-altered stars sporting plastic surgery that looks completely bizarre. I simply cannot grasp why these people butcher themselves like that. The most common look in Hollywood now is one of constant surprise... where the eyebrows are floating well above their intended place because the face was lifted just a bit too much. Everywhere you look, people look like plastic. How can they not see it?

While talking on the phone this morning, I became curious to know what I would look like now if I had become a movie star millionaire ten years ago (and got really bored with my money). Here is what I came up with:

Plastic Dave!

Cool! I gave myself cheek implants, chin implants, lip implants, hair plugs, a brow & eye lift, a nose job (or seven) and a few face peels for that oh-so-smooth look. But I think it's the permanent tattooed-on eye liner that's the clincher here! What a babe! I'm so sexy now that even I would date me! I can't decide if I look like a sexier Ben Affleck or a less sexy Michael Jackson...

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What, This Isn’t a Drive-Thru?

Posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

Dave!How many needless deaths and millions in property damage does it take before the privelage to drive is better regulated? Not to long ago an elderly man accidentally killed several people because he got confused and pressed the gas pedal when he meant to hit the brakes while driving down a crowded street. Minutes ago, a similar thing happened right here in my little home town... apparently an elderly driver was flipping a U-turn in town, got confused at a crucial moment, and then gave our local pharmacy a drive-thru where there wasn't one before...

Drive Thru!

Drive Thru!

Thankfully, through some miracle, nobody was killed or injured. But that's just luck... people could have very easily died because of this. I regularly blog about the perils of driving a motorcycle on the same streets as inattentive and idiotic drivers, but WTF? This just proves that you don't have to be a motorcyclist to have cause to worry. Sure it's convenient to talk on your mobile phone while driving... but was it worth it if you kill somebody? Is eating that Egg McMuffin more important than somebody's life? And shouldn't something be done to screen elderly drivers before things like this happen? Driving is a privilege, but it's a privilege that some people shouldn't have.

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Meagan wins

Posted on Monday, March 1st, 2004

Dave!I just got an e-mail from somebody who noticed that my cartoon persona looks a little different in last night's entry. Yeah, and it's all Meagan's fault! This coming weekend I have to get my picture taken for a benefit I am involved in... I am not a big fan of being photographed, and mentioned to Meagan during an iChat that I'd have to get over being lazy and show up clean-shaven for the shoot. Bummer.

About an hour later, I got an e-mail where Meagan had doctored photos of me with variations of mustaches, beards, and other craziness (I look great as Hitler!) and said I should be a little creative before wiping the slate clean (and by "slate" I can only assume she had meant my face). Naturally, I said "no way," because that's more maintenance than I feel like taking on each morning, but then she laid on the guilt about having spent an hour on the photos and said it would only be for a week anyway.

Argh! Women can pretty much talk me into anything...

Meagan Wins

Manipulative bitches! Just because you women have breasts brilliant minds, you think that men will do anything you want!!

You're right, of course.

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Net Anonymity

Posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2004

Dave!Very few things surprise me. Often times the stuff that does manage to surprise me is not anything earth-shattering, but instead some odd fact that I should know, but somehow don't. For instance, there is a friend that I hadn't spoken to in ages, and something came up that made me think of them. Problem is, I have no idea where they are, or how to get ahold of them. My first instinct when wanting to contact somebody is to Google them and see if an e-mail address, street address, phone number, place of work, or some other relevant piece of information comes up. Since Google knows everything, this is not a wholly unreasonable assumption.

Imagine my surprise to find that there are people who have zero presence on the internet.

I spent the next 20 minutes Googling people I know only to find out that most people have no presence on the internet! People with blogs or who are prominent in the tech sector pop right up. People who are members of organizations or clubs that have an internet presence show up with some digging. Still other people are buried, but can eventually be unearthed because of some event they were involved in that made it to the internet... a baseball game, a school reunion, a public meeting, job function, or something like that. Even if these people don't put themselves on the internet personally, it always seems that somebody connected to them will eventually mention them online somewhere. But now I know that's not always true... most people I know have complete Net Anonymity.

I don't know why I find this to be surprising or bizarre. Odds are most of these people could care less that they are not on the Net (and would probably be happy about it if they knew). It's actually a bit refreshing considering that people who want to be on the Web are forever fretting about their visibility and Google rank. Turns out there is a world outside of the internet after all.

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Dental

Posted on Tuesday, March 9th, 2004

Dave!I've never really had reason to fear the dentist. Whenever people would talk about how much they hate going to the dentist, I would just smile politely and puzzle over what was so terrible about it. After all, for my entire life, I've never had any dental problems... no cavities... no root canals... nothing interesting at all. I always took care of my teeth, so a trip to the dentist was like a vacation with minty-freshness at the end.

Until recently, that is.

Now everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. This morning I had abnormally deep grooves in my back teeth routed out and re-filled with a bizarre tooth-like substance. All I have to show for it is a shiny new green toothbrush, dental floss, and an aching jaw.

The Dentist 1.

Now I know exactly what people have been fearing about the dentist all along. Huge needles, horrible tastes in my mouth, and kick-ass grinding and suction noises. It goes something like this...

The Dentist 2.

It is not a pleasant experience. Though I imagine it could have been worse...

Dental Assistant Lady: Would you like gas?
Dave: GAS?!?
Dental Assistant Lady: Yes, it will help you relax.
What Dave is thinking: AAAACK! YES, GIVE ME THE f#@%ING GAS YOU BITCH!! GIVE IT TO ME NOW BEFORE I USE YOUR HEAD LIKE A BATTERING RAM TO BREAK THROUGH THE WINDOW AND ESCAPE THIS TORTURE CHAMBER!!! GIVE ME! GIVE ME! GIVE MEEEEE!
What Dave says: Gas sound great, thanks.

Since I didn't end up killing anybody, I guess that gas stuff must really work. If you have to be tortured by a dentist, I highly recommend it.

   

Sick and tired

Posted on Wednesday, March 10th, 2004

Dave!Tele-marketers suck ass. That's why I was thrilled that a National Do Not Call Registry was initiated so that people I don't know won't call at all times of the day and night wanting me to buy their crap. Since I haven't received a tele-marketer call in months, I can only guess that it's working. Problem solved, right? WRONG! Apparently, if you are a political organization, charity, or are giving a survey, you can still call and bug the shit out of people any time you want. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way on the worst possible night.

As anybody who has been reading this blog knows, I have not been able to sleep in weeks. The problem is so serious that I am considering seeing a doctor to find out what's wrong with me. Well, tonight I was starting to feel sick from lack of sleep... everything seems fuzzy and I am unable to concentrate. Out of desperation, I took a handful of sleeping pills around 8:00 and went to bed at 9:00 with the hope of getting even a few hours of uninterrupted rest.

Twenty minutes later, just as I am drifting into dreamland and thinking I may actually get some sleep tonight, the phone rings. I snap awake in a panic wondering if somebody I know has been put in the hospital or has died or something equally horrible has happened. I run to the phone with a sense of dread overwhelming me, only to find out that it's a f#@%ing survey. That's right, my first shot at sleep IN WEEKS has completely turned to shit because somebody wants me to take some kind of survey...

Dave: Hello?
Survey Bitch: I'm with a National organization gathering research...
Dave: WHAT? It's past 9:00 at night... I was IN BED!!
Survey Bitch: Our organization is one of the largest...
Dave: I DON'T CARE! It's past 9:00, I was SLEEPING, and am not interested. Don't call me again! Put me on your do-not call list and never bother me again!
Survey Bitch: WE DON'T HAVE ONE!!! We are a National organization gathering research for children with asthma and need...
Dave: Whatever.

It's at this point I wish I had an old-fashioned phone that I could slam down, but all I can do is press the "OFF" button on my handset and throw the phone on the table. That was an hour ago. Any chance I had of getting any sleep tonight has been effectively destroyed. For the next 8 hours, I'll sit in front of the television like a zombie as my body fights the massive amount of sleeping pills I've taken, refusing to sleep. What in the heck is wrong with me? Googling "sleep disorders" gives me a lot of possibilities, but no answers.

Right now I am so burning mad that I want to disconnect my phone. But what if there's an emergency and somebody needs me? I guess that's not an option after all. This sucks. I don't give a crap what organization you work for, or how worthy your cause is... NOBODY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BOTHER RANDOM PEOPLE OVER THE PHONE!! EVER! While I have every sympathy for kids with asthma (even though I have no kids, nor do I know any that have asthma), waking people up at night is just wrong.

I think my Tivo has a few episodes of Keen Eddie in the queue, but I may not have the brain power for a show like that. I wonder what's playing on Cartoon Network?

Stewie hates broccoli.

SCORE! In a half-hour, there's an episode of Family Guy on. I wonder what nefarious plot baby Stewie will come up with to kill Lois this time?

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Sadness

Posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2004

Dave!To all those touched by yet another senseless act of violence in our sad world... may peace eventually find you, as you are ever in my thoughts.

Spaind and Madrid

What kind of monster purposely attacks a civilian target where innocent children are bound to be slaughtered?

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Ken Schram is a tool

Posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2004

Dave!I try very hard not to personally attack people in a public forum (such as this blog), but there are moronic tools in this world that sometimes makes this difficult. Case in point: Ken Schram, commentator for KOMO 4 News in Seattle. It's not that I disagree with the points he makes (I actually find myself agreeing with some of the things he says), it's instead the dumbass approach he takes to delivering his opinion that makes me want to beat the crap out of him. He thinks himself to be witty and sharp, when he is actually really, really stupid (the only reason I even tolerate his dimwit ass is that KOMO 4 has the coolest weatherman ever, Steve Pool).

Today his commentary had me wishing that Steve Pool would trade networks, or that KOMO 4 would finally just get rid of Schram's tired rhetoric (I've loathed him ever since his lame "Town Meeting" show over a decade ago). Here's Ken trying to be clever over the Canuck's Bertuzzi opening a can of whoop-ass and hospitalizing a hockey player on the other team:

"Let's be honest, fighting is to professional hockey what bad taste is to Howard Stern: Inseparable. So let's quit pretending to be "shocked" when some hockey player gets seriously hurt. You want sedate? Go watch a golf game."

Did you see that? Schram managed to slam golf AND get a dig in on Stern's recent censorship troubles while stating his opinion! Isn't that just the most clever way to make a point ever? Isn't he just funny??

Uh, no. That's not clever or funny Ken... it's just sad you dipshit ass-hat. You wouldn't last 10 seconds if you were to go up against Stern. You see, unlike yourself, Stern has original thoughts. All you do is regurgitate popular liberal opinions and toss in some meaningless bullshit that is completely unrelated to the subject and think yourself relevant (something that hasn't been true for your entire career).

Let's be honest... witty, compelling dialogue is to Ken Schram what poor ratings are to Howard Stern: nonexistent.

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Tater Salad

Posted on Sunday, March 14th, 2004

Dave!Finally, I had a most excellent weekend! Some friends had invited me to see Ron "Tater Salad" White's comedy stand up show in Seattle and, since he was the funniest part of the most excellent Blue Collar Comedy Tour DVD, I very much wanted to go. Comedians usually repeat their material over and over, so I was guessing that most of his show I would have already seen on the DVD, but this was not the case with Mr. White. Most of the show was entirely new material, with only 2 bits (and the encore) being something I had already seen.

Tater Ticket

Since the name of his show was the "Drunk in Public Tour," it seemed only fitting that we were drunk to see it. I don't know whether that was a contributing factor, but the show was hysterically funny. Of course, the only problem with spending your night amazingly drunk, is the hangover you get the next morning. Fortunately, we tried a new "dietary supplement" called "Chaser" that claims to eliminate hangovers entirely. Surprisingly enough, it actually worked for some of us (including me!). No spinning room, headache, body aches, dry heaves, nothing! That's pretty cool. It's a shame I don't drink very often anymore, because it's sure a lot more fun without a hangover!

One of my intentions for this weekend was to drink enough that I could pass out and finally get some sleep. Unfortunately, our drink of choice was a Jäger Bomber, which made getting any sleep impossible. A Jäger Bomber is a chilled glass half-filled with Red Bull that you then drop a shot glass filled with Jägermeister into. Since Red Bull is a high-energy drink that is specially formulated to keep you awake and energized, having 7 Jäger Bombers with beer backs and a Long Island Iced Tea means I was even more awake that usual.

Jäger Bomber Recipe

Anyway, after a lovely 2 hour drive home, it's now 2:00 PM, and I still haven't been to bed yet. Here's hoping I can manage a quick nap before Alias comes on at 9:00!

   

Morons, your bus is leaving

Posted on Monday, March 15th, 2004

Dave!I used to enjoy driving. You could hop in your car and, through the miracle of modern automotive technology, safely and efficiently be whisked off to just about anywhere you wanted to go. I remember how great it was when I got my driver's license... driving is freedom, driving is fun!! But that's not true anymore. Driving now-a-days isn't fun because of the astounding number of stupid, stupid, STUPID people on the road. We have laws that make it illegal to drive because you're under the influence of alcohol, where are the laws that make it illegal to drive because you are a dumbass?

Today I had to run a work-related errand into the city of Wenatchee, just 13 miles away. During this short trip, I was almost in FOUR accidents (yes, FOUR!!) because people are MORONS.

Moron #1: Coming into Wenatchee, there is a cement wall that acts as a lane division between the incoming and outgoing traffic. I was in the left lane, nearest to the wall, when a total f#@%ing moron in a big truck decided to turn into my lane. Had I not slammed on the brakes and hugged the cement wall, he would have destroyed my car (and had I been on my motorcycle, I would probably be dead). Honking my horn had no effect... I don't think he noticed, and probably wouldn't have cared had he done so. Helpful Hint: Take a look into the lane you're turning into to be sure somebody isn't already there, especially if you are driving a big-ass truck that could squash a car. As a public service, I took a picture of this ass-clown so that if you see him on the road you can get the hell out of the way before he kills you...

Moron Driver #1

Moron #2: When I finally made it into Wenatchee, the lanes split off in two directions... the left lanes go downtown, and the right lanes continue into the city. Well, yet another truck driver who was in the right-most lane decided he wanted to go downtown, and didn't care that he was cutting across 3 lanes of traffic. Unfortunately, the traffic signal for downtown turned red, leaving the idiot blocking all four lanes of traffic. The person behind me didn't see what was happening, wasn't able to stop, and ended up on the sidewalk (which is better than running into me, but scary just the same). Helpful Hint: if you miss an exit, don't f#@%up everybody else's day by doing something stupid... take the next exit instead! Here is a handy map to explain what happened...

Moron Driver #2

Moron #3: After I completed my errand, I turned around to come back home. As I was heading out of the city, a car intending to turn into traffic overshot her lane and took half of mine as well. Again, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid being nailed. As I drove past this lunatic woman, I saw the reason she didn't make the turn... she was steering with her elbows because she had just bought some food at Wendy's and was trying to unwrap it while holding onto a cup of french fries at the same time. Helpful Hint: your dashboard is not a buffet... if you must eat while driving, take the time to organize your food-stuff BEFORE pulling into traffic so you can have at least one hand on the wheel. Better yet, since you are obviously too stupid to be driving and eating at the same time, WAIT UNTIL YOU GET HOME! I would have taken a photo, but I was too busy trying to keep this idiotic bitch from slamming into me.

Moron #4: When I finally made it out of Wenatchee, I figured I was safe. WRONG! I am heading down the highway when I see a cardboard box in my lane. I slow down so I can get around it, only to find another box behind it. Once I'm past the boxes, I speed up again. All of a sudden, a huge piece of grey styrofoam flies into my windshield, blinding me temporarily. That's when I notice a flatbed truck up ahead that has of boxes flying off of it. Even worse, when I pull up beside the guy to try and let him know his shit is being scattered all over the highway, he is wearing big-ass headphones and couldn't hear me trying to get his attention. Helpful Hint: strap down any cargo you are hauling so it doesn't end up blowing into cars behind you... also, DRIVING WITH HEADPHONES ON IS ILLEGAL YOU STUPID f#@%!! Ordinarily, I wouldn't think of trying to take a photograph while cruising down the highway at 60 miles per hour, but how else were people going to believe it?? That big open box is where the styrofoam came from that hit me...I think the entire box flew off after I passed him. Notice he's nearly out of the lane as well (yeee-hawwww!)...

Moron Driver #4

I feel lucky to have made it home in one piece But what the hell? Is it just me? Am I unlucky or something?!? Do people not realize that cars and trucks are lethal killing machines when they are not operated properly? Not paying attention, being careless, or driving with distractions can get someone killed. D-E-A-D! Do people really care so little for others that they are willing to risk lives (including their own)... or are they just so stupid that they think an accident won't happen to them no matter how big of an idiot they are? PAY ATTENTION OR TAKE THE BUS YOU f#@%ING MORONS!! LIVES ARE AT STAKE HERE!!

I don't think driving is very much fun anymore.

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She’s back!

Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Dave!I took off work this afternoon to go pick up my motorcycle (since there is no BMW dealer in nearby Wenatchee, the fine folks at Condotta's were nice enough to take delivery for me). Boy is it good to have her back! I knew I missed riding, but I had no idea just how much.

In a wild coincidence that's just too good not to share, I found out when I got home that my small town of Cashmere had the main street blocked off. What could this be about? Well, it turns out that there is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle rally and parade in town tonight! How freaky is that? My BMW was a little out of place, but I still had a lot of fun wandering around to see all the Harley metal that was here... all of it beautiful, and some of the custom work mesmerizing. Sadly, I didn't have my camera on me... I left it in my car and completely forgot about it when I transferred to my motorcycle.

Here's where the "freaky" becomes "downright bizarre." When I got home, I did a Google search to find out about the Cashmere Motorcycle Rally and was shocked to discover that we were also the site of the "24th Annual Cascade Country BMW Rendezvous/Swap Meet" in 1996! I have no idea how I missed that (this is a small town!), and can only guess I was out of the country or something. Still, I can't help but wonder if I had known about the rally back then if I would have got back into riding 7 years earlier. Stuff like this messes with your head.

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Stop calling me

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2004

Dave!As I blogged a while back, the creation of the National Do Not Call List is not stopping bastards I don't know from calling at all hours... they always have some kind of loophole that they claim makes them immune from the list. Here's a clue for anybody calling to sell me something: immunity doesn't make you any less of an asshole, so don't expect me to be happy when you call. On the contrary, I will probably yell at you and then threaten to hunt you down and kill you. Here's a typical example:

It's 8:40 at night and the phone rings while I am watching television. I answer the call, but there is nobody there... they've hung up. I then check the Caller ID and see it is a company called "RESULTS TECHNOLOGY @ 1-815-754-8823." So I call the ass-clowns back and get a voice recording. As I navigate around, I find a menu option to be removed from their call list, so I enter my number. Then I get a message telling me that their call volume is too high, and I should try back another time (keep in mind that I am PAYING for this call).

For the next two nights, I get the same call and each time I try to be removed without success. Finally I try a few other menu options and learn that "RESULTS TECHNOLOGY" is a front for "STONEBRIDGE LIFE INSURANCE," a company where I have a small policy. That explains why they can call me... we have an "existing business relationship" which makes them immune from the list!

What a bunch of slimy bastards! I call Stonebridge Life to tell them to STOP CALLING ME, and the woman takes down my name and number and tells me that I will be removed. But before I can hang up, she wants to sell me some cancer insurance. Can you believe this crap?!?

If I get another call tomorrow night I will go to their offices at 2700 West Plano Parkway in Plano, Texas and beat the crap out of some people. I hope the company president isn't out golfing or something, because his ass is getting kicked first.

UPDATE: The saga continues in another entry.

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Strut the Rooster

Posted on Friday, March 19th, 2004

McHappy!Today is the 25th anniversary of McDonald's "Happy Meal" which, for those of your fortunate enough to live in a McDonald's-Free zone, is a meal for kids that includes a hamburger, fries, cookies, a drink, and a toy surprise. I'm sure I ate a few Happy Meals when I was a kid, but don't much remember them growing up. I became a vegetarian in 1987, so the only time I run into a Happy Meal now-a-days is when I am with kids who are eating them or buying them for somebody else who is collecting the toys.

The current blog meme running around the internet is "What's your favorite Happy Meal Toy," which is an easy one for me. About 5 years ago I was at a photo shoot in Seattle when I got a call from my mother who was trying to collect all of the "Mini Beanie Baby" toys that were in the meals at the time. She wanted a "Strut the Rooster" toy, and the local branch had sold out. Since there was a McDonalds around the corner from my hotel, I told her I'd give it a shot (the irony being that you could get a cute chicken toy along with your dead chicken McNuggets!).

Whenever I had done this for somebody in the past, I always just pay for the meal and tell them to keep the food. But this time was a little different...

On my way to the restaurant, I came across a homeless gentleman who asked if I could spare some change so he could get something to eat. I explained that I am unable to hand out money (I cannot be party to them using it to harm themselves or other people), but I would be happy to buy him something from McDonalds if he cared to wait for it. He looked pretty miserable, so along with the Happy Meal, I went ahead and bought him a cup of coffee, a few bottles of orange juice, and an extra hamburger. I then made my way back to the guy, handed him the food, and turned to leave after he had said his thanks.

That's when he stopped me and asked "didn't you get anything for yourself to eat?" I explained that no, I had already eaten, I just needed to go to McDonalds so I could get the toy for my mom. This puzzled him greatly, and he asked to see it...

McChicken

He took one look at "Strut the Rooster," neatly sealed in a plastic bag, and said something that has forever haunted me to this day... "It looks like it costs more money to make the toy than the food." It was a simple observation of such insight and clarity that I was stunned it had never occurred to me before. Probably because I am fortunate enough to have never gone hungry.

When I got home a week later, somebody had already found a "Strut the Rooster" for my mom, and so I kept the one I got. He sits on top of my computer at work as a constant reminder that there are people in the world who go hungry every day, and I should be forever grateful that I am not one of them.

I try to be.

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Ambition (or lack thereof)

Posted on Saturday, March 20th, 2004

Dave!What happened? I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish this weekend, now it's half over and I have only managed to complete item #1... which was to go for a ride on my motorcycle (a beautiful way to spend 3 hours, I must say). Items #2 - #16 are still sitting there. I suppose I could start in on #2 first thing in the morning, but I think it's probably a better idea to start all over from #1 and see how that goes. Just in case you care, here were my weekend plans back when I thought I could actually manage to get something done...

  1. Ride my motorcycle.
  2. Finish up the revision to my Hard Rock site.
  3. Wash clothes (only one pair of boxers left!).
  4. Watch Disc 3 of my Family Guy 1st & 2nd Season DVD set.
  5. Clear shows off of TiVo to make more room for the Arrested Development marathon.
  6. Clean out the freezer.
  7. Back up my hard drive.
  8. Update my iPod.
  9. Sort through my mail from the past few weeks.
  10. Order some new clothes from the sale at EddieBauer.com
  11. Find a Theme Thursday photo for "television."
  12. Buy a new GameBoy game for upcoming travels.
  13. Make hotel, car, and flight reservations for upcoming travels.
  14. Blog about how bad I wish there was a good Italian restaurant within 50 miles of my home.
  15. Call a friend to tell her I regretfully won't be able to attend her party on April 3rd (I'm gone).
  16. Get a scrotal piercing, a tattoo, a fifth of Jack Daniels, and a gun (not necessarily in that order).

To be honest, I didn't really think I'd make it around to that last one.

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I give up

Posted on Sunday, March 21st, 2004

Dave!After spending all night trying to get the revisions to my Hard Rock Cafe web site working under CSS, I'm giving up. I get things working under Apple's Safari browser with no problems. I move on to Opera and, again, no problem. Then I try it with FireFox, and get it working with only a few adjustments. Then of course I have to move on to Microsoft internet Explorer... five hours later, I have no idea how to make it work. IE sucks ass. Microsoft sucks ass. What good is it to have web standards when the world's most popular web browser ignores them completely? So now I'm going to end up with some sort of bizarre mix of both CSS and tables in order to get it to display the way I want. Oh how I hate Microsoft.

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Free crap

Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2004

Dave!Why is it that magazines feel the need to offer free stuff in order to get people to re-subscribe? Over the years I have collected more useless crap than I ever dreamed possible, all of it unwanted but sent anyway by some stupid magazine. Today I got a TV Guide Travel Bag in the mail... I don't know why, I don't even remember seeing them offering it, yet here it is. When I visited the TV Guide web site, I was feeling a little grateful that I wasn't sent the crappy Mini Boom Box instead...

TV Guide Free Boom Box!

TVfreeBag

And here's the thing that really pisses me off... they say it's free, but it really isn't. Somewhere along the way, TV Guide is paying for this crap (not to mention the postage to send it) and that cost is being passed on to the consumer. Since that is the case, why not offer the subscriber a choice? If they said I could have the stupid cheap-ass bag (made in China, of course) or save $1, I'd gladly take the $1. Not only would this be something I could actually use, but it would also save our landfills from the excess garbage generated by this crap that most people don't even want in the first place.

This gimmick must work, or why else would TV Guide go to the expense? I just can't imagine the person who makes a decision based on getting some stupid prize like this. If the magazine is a good one, I'll want to subscribe because of the content, not because of some cheap 99¢ Store gift. Don't people realize that stupid free stuff like this is not actually free?

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w00t!

Posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004

Dave!Hey, tomorrow is my birthday! Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to survive this long. I've done some pretty insane things in my life, some of which should have resulted in me being dead. Apparently I am too stupid or too lucky to die (go me!). Usually I try to spend my birthday out of the country, but the weather is so nice here now that I think I'd be happier sticking around and going for a motorcycle ride, which is absolutely the best present I could ever get.

Recently I started digitizing my old film photos so that I can put them in iPhoto with all the rest. It's a mammoth undertaking because I have thousands of photos left to go, but it's been worth the effort so far. Last week I scanned in a batch of photos from one of the very first "Birthday Weekends" (an annual group celebration with friends, most of whom also have March birthdays). This is a pretty typical example of how I've spent past birthdays... funny that my friend's first instinct was not to rush to my aid, but instead to take a picture:

Original Birthday Weekend

You will note that despite being too drunk to properly climb stairs, I didn't spill my drink. I'm pretty proud of that. I seem to remember waking up the next morning with that funky jacket wrapped around my head somehow... I think it came to life and tried to attack me once I passed out that night. No matter, the evil jacket was destroyed in a tragic camping accident two weeks later (note to self: when drying a jacket made of rayon or other freaky synthetic fibers, it will burst into flames if hung too close to an open fire).

Yeesh, where did thirty-eight years go?

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Spammer stupidity

Posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2004

Dave!Everybody hates spam. Nothing would make me happier than hunting down the people who send it and choking them to death with a bottle of the "CHEAPR THAN V1AGARA" that constitutes 90% of spam advertising (spamvertising?) I get. Fortunately, I subscribe to a spam blocking service, so much of this crap never makes it to my In-Box, but in the past few days a surprising number have been sneaking through. How they do it is to camouflage their sales pitch in long passages of actual words strung together in nonsense paragraphs. To top it all off, they then put an equally nonsensical arrangement of words in the subject line...

  • "SUBJECT: homogeneous sensible implausible"
  • "SUBJECT: bland easygoing blitz"
  • "SUBJECT: cheesecake epidemic hoard circumscription"
  • "SUBJECT: primitive miasma fumble"
  • "SUBJECT: inefficacy patrolman glamor absentia bien"

... and many others. So, congratulations you spammer dumbass, you managed to get past my spam-blocking service. But how amazingly stupid do you think I am to actually open and read an e-mail with a subject like that? Not a chance in hell. Do you know why? Because nobody freakin' talks like that!! So what good is it fooling a spam filter if it's with a message that is so obviously spam that anybody getting it will send it directly to the trash? All this does is waste everybody's time.

Just further proof that spammers are too stupid to be allowed to live.

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STILL stop calling me

Posted on Friday, March 26th, 2004

Dave!Well, the harassing calls from Stonebridge Life Insurance continue (under the guise of "Results Technology" according to my Caller ID). As I blogged back on the 18th, these people call every night at all hours. Because they are using an automatic dialer, 9 times out of 10, there is nobody there when you pick up the phone. The one time somebody was actually there, I told them to stop calling me. I've called Stonebridge Life twice to tell them to stop calling me. I've attempted to call the Results Technology line three times to be removed (but they are always "too busy" to process the request, even though I am paying for the call). Despite all of this, the calls keep coming which is nothing less than harassment.

Today I called Stonebridge Life a final time to talk with a supervisor so I could threaten a letter to the Better Business Bureau and possible legal action if they didn't stop calling me. I was told that I was on the list, but it takes 30 days to be removed (meaning I've got 22 more days of this crap?!?). I said that this was unacceptable, and I wanted to cancel my policy immediately so that we have no business relationship and the "National Do Not Call Registry" will be in effect. She said that the system was computerized, and even canceling my policy would not change the 30 day call period.

Who the f#@% are these people?

I asked the supervisor if she felt that this type of harassment was an acceptable way to treat their customers. She said that she "apologizes," but doesn't answer the question. I then ask her why her company would continue to call every night when I have already told them that I don't want the cancer insurance they are selling, and she again tells me that "it's my right to disagree with their policy," but again sidesteps the question. What a bunch of f#@%ing bastards!

In a fit of rage, I cancelled my policy and told her that I find it unacceptable that I cannot be immediately removed from their call list and that I will be pursuing legal action if I receive a single new harassing call. She literally has nothing to say about this and tells me I can proceed with that as I wish. So, basically, she apologizes but does absolutely nothing to solve the problem. Typical.

So, to anybody considering doing business with Stonebridge Life Insurance, I must warn you that they honestly don't give a crap about their customers and feel it is a perfectly acceptable policy to harass them with endless phone calls (even once they've been told "no"). Furthermore, they use an automated dialing system which means most of the calls you get from them will be hang-ups in the first place but, again, they don't seem to care. Finally, even after you beg them to stop calling and cancel your policy out of sheer desperation, they still will not remove you from their call list any earlier than a 30-day wait period.

There are plenty of other insurance companies out there, and I'm sure that some of them don't have customer harassment as a matter of policy. I can only dream that Stonebridge Life's abuse will some day come back to bite them in the ass so that the entire company goes down in flames. Too bad for the people that work there that their company is run by dumbasses... it can't be fun to get calls like mine all day long.

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The Bears of Berlin

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2004

Dave!Work kind of got away from me this week, meaning that my entire weekend was spent trying to get caught up again. Because of that, I didn't even attempt checking my e-mail until very late Sunday and into Monday morning... eventually finding a total 62 non-spam e-mails in my "In-Box." Half of these were belated birthday greetings, and a significant number of those were from people I don't even know. That's kind of nice isn't it?

One of the e-mails that caught my attention was from "a long-time reader, first-time writer" who had more than the usual number of questions regarding previous blog entries. Most of the time when I get questions from people I don't know, I am happy to reply so long as the answers are not overly-personal or involving my friends, family, and other people in my life who have a right to their privacy. But this e-mail was a bit different. This e-mail was not asking questions just to be snooping into my life or looking for entertainment... this was a plea for help.

For people who know me only from my writings here at Blogography, my life might appear to be a series of funny anecdotes, odd incidents, curious travels, and care-free fun involving a motorcycle. A passage from my BlogFAQ is in order...

"Probably the most important thing I should tell you... really the only thing you need to know... is that this blog is not my life. It is just a reflection of a very small part of it. My real life is what is happening in-between the entries you'll find here. So, while you might come to know an aspect of me, this blog cannot really give you the whole picture of who I am. Let's face it, I am just not that talented of a writer."

So if you ever think that my life is devoid of sadness, insecurity, desperation, loneliness, depression, or any of the other horrors associated with life in general, I urge you to read the above paragraph again. Nothing could be further from the truth, I just choose not to write about my personal problems here for the entire world to ponder over.

That's why, when I get an e-mail from somebody who is hurting and confused, writing to me because they think my life seems so much better than theirs, and I might be able to help them because I seem to have all the answers to life when I write in this blog... well, it makes me feel like a complete fraud. My life is just as messed up as everybody else's (if not more so). What makes it bearable is that I spend a lot of time trying to see the beauty and wonder that is so often hidden in this world. To be more specific, what makes it all worthwhile is the "Bears of Berlin."

Perhaps I should explain...

The year 2001 was a very difficult one. My best friend had died early in the year, and another friend had committed suicide just two months later. A relationship with a girl I really liked fell apart. A project I was passionate about never got off the ground. I was burned out from endless hours of work. Nothing in my life was coming together and everything was out of focus... then the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened, and even the future seemed dark and uncertain. It wasn't the worst time in my life, but it was darn close. By the end of the year, I just didn't feel anything... it was as if my body and soul had given up. That's why, when December rolled around, I decided to take a run through Europe to visit some Hard Rock Cafes I hadn't seen before, and just get away from my horrible life for a while.

Within minutes of landing in Amsterdam, I thought for certain I had made a terrible mistake. When I boarded the train to Germany, I was certain of it. Wandering Europe alone was not going to make me feel better, it was only going to make things worse. I arrived in Berlin more depressed than ever. But as I was walking from the train station to my hotel, I saw this...

Berlin Bear

A pink bear wearing lipstick?! Just a small part of a public arts project, and one of several decorated bear statues scattered throughout the city. But it ended up being more than just a statue to me. It was a reminder. It was a reminder that no matter how bad things are... no matter how much crap has been tossed your way and no matter how terrible you feel... there are always going to be crazy, beautiful moments in your life if you care to discover them. And that's all it took. For some reason a statue of a bear in the middle of Berlin was enough to snap me out of a year of depression, loss, angst, doubt and fear. Life, as they say, does go on.

Which leads me to the only piece of advice I have for when life is less than perfect: take a moment to stop and look around. That one thing that can give you a foothold to climb out of the hole you're in is within your grasp (though it probably won't be a pink bear wearing lipstick). Sometimes you have to look hard for it. Sometimes you have to fight for it. Sometimes you will forget about it. And sometimes you will doubt it even exists... but rest assured that your "Bears of Berlin" are out there just waiting for you to find them.

Take care, and never stop looking.

   

Poop

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2004

Dave!Bwaaaahhh ha haaahhh. For reasons I can't explain... oh, let's chalk it up to childish behavior... I just typed www.poop.com in my web browser to see who had cornered the market on this valuable piece of internet real estate. Much to my surprise, there actually is a poop.com that's not some kind of freaky porn site...

Poop!

So there you have it, the best source for poop on the internet can be found exclusively at poop.com! Visit today!! Nothing quite so exciting happening at "poopy.com" (but don't go typing "poopie.com" in mixed company because that porn was bound to turn up somewhere). This begs the question: who is the domain squatter hoping to make a buck by sitting on poop?

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Toothpaste

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

Dave!I can just tell that this is going to be a difficult day because the morning has already gone all pear-shaped. Getting out of bed I stubbed my toe. Starting the shower I splashed water all over the floor. Then I went to brush my teeth and found that I was out of toothpaste. Usually this would not be a big deal... I keep a complete travel kit in my luggage, so I figured I would just take the toothpaste I keep there. Unfortunately, I forgot that I had already taken the toothpaste from my luggage when I ran out the last time. So now there is no toothpaste to be found.

First I try brushing my teeth with a Listerine FreshBurst strip. But that just makes a mess. That's when I remember reading somewhere that you can brush your teeth with Baking Soda. Fortunately, I had once made a grievous error at the market and purchased Baking Soda instead of Baking Powder to make biscuits... so I knew that there was a box in my cupboard.

For those of you who have never made the mistake of attempting to brush your teeth with Baking Soda, here is pretty much how it goes...

Toothpaste 1

Toothpaste 2

Toothpaste 3

Now I know what evil must taste like. The bit they forget to tell you about using Baking Soda to brush your teeth is that it tastes like ass. It's kind of a strange bitter/salty chemical taste that will burn through your skull and drive you insane. Even worse, the taste does not go away... it lingers like horrifying memory that you are forced to relive again and again.

I think I will buy a dozen tubes of toothpaste after work so that I never make a mistake like this again.

   

Super

Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2004

Dave!I spend most of my time fast forwarding through commercials on television because they are stupid, unimaginative, and just plain boring. But now American Express has figured out how to make a commercial that people are going to want to watch. Even more impressive - though the commercial is five minutes long, I've taken the time to watch it three times! I'm half-way tempted to sign up for an AmEx card, just to support this stroke of brilliance and encourage other companies to make more interesting ads.

What would it be like to have Superman as your best friend and just hang out? If you are Jerry Seinfeld, it would be something like this...

Jerry 2

Jerry 3

Jerry 5

Even better news... AmEx is making more of these cool "webvertisements." But you can go see the first episode (along with some other goodies) by visiting the American Express Seinfeld Site. When can we see Wonder Woman meeting David Letterman?

   

Daylight Insanity Time

Posted on Sunday, April 4th, 2004

Dave!I should know better than to drive over to Seattle for big fun and heavy drinking on the same weekend when Daylight Savings nonsense is going on, as I just seem to get confused by it all. Since I have already railed against it here before, I guess I will simply reiterate how mind-boggling stupid I think that Daylight Saving Time is in this day and age. There is absolutely no reason for it and, if the entire country won't wake up and revoke this inane law, I can at least hope that Washington State can dump it like Arizona and Hawaii already have. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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Patent THIS

Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2004

Dave!Back in 2002, a company called PanIP started threatening lawsuits to small businesses who conduct business on the internet. They claim that all e-commerce falls under two patents they own, and therefor anybody selling online has to pay them ridiculous sums of money or they'll be party to a lawsuit. Legal hilarity ensued, and ultimately PanIP climbed back under the rock from whence they came (hey, it's not like the actually make anything that needs patent protection... they just file patents for the sake of filing patents which should be illegal).

Flash forward to today and PanIP is at it once again! They found yet another scum-sucking, ass-biting, piece of shit lawyer to start extorting money from smaller e-businesses for the right to sell online because of two obtuse patents which are so broad in scope that it's easier to say what they don't cover as opposed to what they are actually patents for.

Since everything is run by computers on the internet now-a-days, you would think that this kind of patent would be summarily rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office... but since he USPTO won't get up off their asses and overturn such ridiculously stupid approvals from way back in 1994, small businesses are left with no choice but to pay PanIP extortion money because it's too expensive to fight them in court.

As if small businesses in the US didn't have a hard enough time surviving, now they have to put up with free-trade inhibiting lawsuits supported by a government that is supposed to protect them from this sort of thing. Broad, sweeping patents like those held by PanIP are baseless and should be immediately revoked. Slimy lawyers that choose to pervert the law to take advantage of our weak patent structure should be disbarred or shot. I'm just waiting for some ass-wipe to patent "a method of recording thoughts and ideas via electronic storage for distribution over a network" and decides I have to pay him for creating this blog (hey, it's probably closer than you think!). How long before the USA just implodes from stupid lawyer shit like this?

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My secret shame

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2004

Dave!I am wearing two different kinds of socks today and, since I wasn't hung over this morning, it's a big mystery as to how I could let it happen. On my left foot is a Nike swoosh athletic... on my right is a Tommy Hilfiger logo signature... I'm pretty embarrassed about that, even though nobody would be able to tell unless I were in an accident and rushed to the ER or something (fortunately, I am wearing clean underwear though).

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This is the USA?

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2004

Dave!What in the hell is going on? Last time I checked, the first amendment of the Bill of Rights from the Constitution of the United States of America ensures freedom of speech for all its citizens. Apparently, this is only true if you support the ever-growing "public decency" madness propagated by the increasingly scary Bush administration. It does not apply to people like Howard Stern who are critical of it.

Dave Boobie

In shocking, but unsurprising news, Howard Stern has been fired. His show is the same as it's always been... vulgar, offensive, and loaded with sex... but all of a sudden it's no longer acceptable to air on public airwaves. It's a-okay for Oprah to discuss rim-jobs and rainbow party oral sex on her television show without penalty, but Stern gets fined and fired.

WTF mate?

HELPFUL HINT: if you find something on the radio objectional or offensive, you can change the f#@%ing channel or turn the blasted thing off! Not everybody has the same morals or tastes in entertainment as you. Some folks actually enjoy listening to that kind of thing. This being America and all, people should be entitled to listen to Stern even if you happen hate him.

Where does this end? Will it ever end? How long before the movies I love, the books I enjoy, the television shows I watch... how long before they are taken away?

   

Rockin’

Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2004

McHappy!I finally managed to get my lovely case of food poisoning under control. Unfortunately, I still wasn't in any condition to go to work, which means that I'll be working on Easter Sunday tomorrow so I can get caught up. Bummer. Today was mostly a wasted day of washing clothes, watching television, reading my book, and not much else. About the only constructive thing I managed to do was work on my DaveCafe Hard Rock site for a bit. It's still got a long way to go before it's completed, but it's a start.

DaveCafe Cast

Unfortunately, my ambitious plans for a table-free CSS layout have been dashed thanks to the lame non-standards compliant browser that Microsoft built: internet Explorer. No matter what I do, the CSS I constructed for layout refuses to render properly in IE (even though it had no trouble in Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Navigator). Stupid Microsoft. This left me with little choice except to take a giant step backwards and go back to tables for layout.

This will be DaveCafe version 3.0. I was actually quite happy with the previous version 2.1 design, but I had seen it copied from time to time so I thought I would try something completely different. I hadn't seen any other Hard Rock fan sites with cartoon characters, so there you have it.

   

Happy Easter

Posted on Sunday, April 11th, 2004

Dave!Easter Sunday is a great excuse to sit around watching cartoons, cook frozen pizza for breakfast lunch and dinner, and doing a little Spring Cleaning on the hard drive.

Dave Easter

Now where's my candy? Damn you Easter Bunny!

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Annoyed

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2004

Dave!Annoyance #1: Mobile phones are quickly becoming more of an annoyance than television commercials. Today when I went to the post office, there was a woman in the lobby talking on her mobile phone at FULL VOLUME... YELLING OUT PERSONAL DETAILS FOR ANYBODY TO HEAR!! While I was waiting to pick up a parcel at the counter, I couldn't help but listen to her rambling on and on about her daughter's marital problems (we're talking all the juicy details, fit for a television movie). Is she too stupid to realize that everybody in this very public place can hear her? I'm sure her daughter would be mortified (and, since this is such a small town, I'm sure that several people at the post office knew her and who her daughter was). Have people no shame?

Annoyance #2: Comment spam on this blog is escalating at a frightful rate. I'd hoped that banning the IP addresses from commenting again would solve things, but it doesn't. Even worse, some legitimate comments are blocked in the process. I wonder if there is a legal recourse for comment spam? All I know is that I am getting really tired of manually deleting it every day. The folks at Movable Type are starting up a commenting registration system... I hope that works out.

Annoyance #3: Is it my imagination, or are automated phone answering systems getting more complicated? It used to be you had only one or two levels of "press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for the other." But now, I find myself easily going 6 or 7 levels deep in these systems... sometimes unable to get out. Do companies honestly think this is how their customers want to spend their time?

   

Fan of the fanny

Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

Dave!For the longest time, I had always thought that people wearing fanny packs had serious issues: "look... it's a purse... but not really!" This probably has more to do with my hang-ups than actual fact, but I listen to Pet Shop Boys and like art, so make of it what you will. Anyway, this past weekend I decided to bite the bullet, add a few metrosexual points, and actually buy one of these things. I am tired of having to cram everything I own into my pockets for my morning commute to work... it's uncomfortable and makes me look all lumpy:

Woman on the street: "Is that a mobile phone, a digital camera, a garage door opener, a set of house keys, an iPod, and a baggie of Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

Dave: "Uhhhh..."

So now that I don't have to worry about all those unsightly bulges (well, almost all of them) ruining my streamline look as I ride my motorcycle to work, all I have to do is solve the problem of helmet hair which is just getting worse the longer I put off getting it cut...

Dave Helmet Hair

Are there pills for this or should I just shave my head?

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Kitchen sink

Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2004

Dave!Spring has sprung, the apple blossoms are on the trees, and it's time for people to clean out their houses in a frenzy of road-side giveaways. I used to think that if you drove the back-roads of the Cashmere Valley during Spring cleaning time, you could find everything but the kitchen sink to furnish an entire home in discarded goods. This morning on the way to work, I was proven wrong...

Free Sink

Now I have officially changed my position in that you can find everything to furnish an entire home including the kitchen sink (and apparently a bed liner for your pickup truck as well).

Living the good life in rural America.

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Sucky Day

Posted on Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

Dave!Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? Well, that's today for me.

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Magazine

Posted on Monday, May 10th, 2004

Dave!I like magazines though I rarely read them... I just don't have the time except when I travel, and then it's a big hassle to cart a stack of them around. About the only regular exceptions I make are for Cycle World and Motorcyclist. The smart solution would be electronic delivery of magazine subscriptions so I could download them every month and save them up for when I have a trip and need something to read.

And now a pretty good solution has arrived. Over at Zinio, you can download a free reader, sample some titles, and subscribe to a small assortment of magazines for monthly delivery over the internet. In theory, it sounds ideal. In practice, there are some problems...

  • The reader is classy, intuitive, and nicely done. For reading materials, I couldn't be happier. Problem is, it doesn't really organize you magazine collection. There's no "browser" to thumb through the magazines you've received... no "rack" to organize your collection... no way to mark a title as read... no way to search through back issues... it's a very passive system that could be vastly improved. This may not be a big deal if you don't subscribe to very many titles and toss them once you've read them, but the benefits of electronic archiving is lost.
  • There's not a lot of titles to choose from. MOST of my favorites are not available (yet). No men's magazines... Esquire, Men's Health, FHM, Maxim, Maxim Stuff, Playboy, etc. No motorcycle magazines... Motorcyclist, Cycle World, Street Bike, etc. Even high-profile entertainment magazines like Entertainment Weekly, People, Us, etc. are missing. Hopefully more titles will be added very soon.
  • It's ridiculous that the cost of a digital subscription is the same as the magazine subscription. I mean, come on! No paper, no postage, NO SAVINGS?!? If MacWorld costs $19.95 for a paper subscription, then the digital subscription should be more like $12.95 or even $14.95. What is the justification for the cost?
  • A small selection of international magazines are available, BUT YOU DON'T PAY DOMESTIC RATES?!? This is STUPID! One of my favorite entertainment magazines is Empire... but I don't subscribe because it's hugely expensive to have it shipped over from the UK. In theory, a digital subscription would be the same price no matter where in the world you are because postage is not an issue. But that's not the case... the UK edition of MacWorld is $69.95... this makes no sense.
  • The images are at a standard screen resolution of 72dpi... I wish there was an option to download a version of the magazines at a more respectable 120-150dpi for those times you want to print something out.

While I am excited at the idea of digital magazine subscriptions, we're not quite there yet. Even so, I recommend downloading the reader and grabbing a few free sample magazines to give it a try.

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Look

Posted on Sunday, May 16th, 2004

Dave!The next several weeks are going to be very challenging for me on just about every level. Reminder to self: to keep from drowning in the hectic days ahead, take a moment every so often to stop, take a look, and enjoy the world around you. No matter how bad things get, there is always something in life to appreciate if you take the time to look for it.

UTlook

(In downtown Salt Lake City, they are kind enough to remind you of this at every street crossing).

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Aged

Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

Dave!A friend just chimed in for a video iChat. When you accept, the program conveniently shows you what you look like before you begin the sesson (I guess so you can check and make sure you don't have anything stuck in your teeth). I actually had to take a minute to stare at myself because I seem to have aged 5 years in the past 3 weeks.

Dave Gone

I think this is what happens when you are denied access to your motorcycle for extended periods of time. Ugh. One week left to go before I can ride again. All I can say is that the weather had better be bitchin' when I get back!

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May

Posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2004

Dave!I just got an e-mail with the observation that I pretty much hit all corners of the USA this month. I hadn't really thought about it but, after plotting it out on a map, see that she is right! No wonder I am so tired. Of course, I also got an e-mail from a guy claiming that I am making this all up... that my travel schedule is "unrealistic" and I am not fooling anybody with my "imaginary travel tales."

Bizarre. Just how do you respond to somebody like that? I'd like to think if I were going to make up lies about myself I could certainly be more inventive than this (remind me to tell you about the week I spent with Elizabeth Hurley in Costa Rica after escaping from an alien abduction and inventing an anti-gravity toaster). Unfortunately, it's all true...

May 2004

A pity that I didn't get to see a heck of a lot along the way. Oh well... I'm going home...

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Memorial Day

Posted on Monday, May 31st, 2004

Dave!Finally I am home! On the way to my apartment, I pass by the cemetery where Memorial Day festivities are in full display. Hundreds of flags decorate the perimeter, and even more have been placed next to the markers of those who served in the armed forces. If you can put aside the inherent sadness that comes from visiting a cemetery, it's a beautiful sight.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

To the men and women of all nations who acted in service of the freedoms we are privileged to have... thank you.

   

XboX

Posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Dave!I am not a big video game fan... I never really have been because I just don't have the time to play them. But every once in a while I see a game that I want quite badly to play. For almost a year now, that game has been Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Problem is, in order to play it you have to either own a Windows PC or an XboX... both of which are spawns of the great Microsoft Evil Empire. Sure a Macintosh version has been promised for a while now, but it's going to cost $60 and who knows when it's going to be released or if it will even be any good.

So a quandary develops. I would sooner gouge out my liver with a rusty spoon before I ever purchase a Windows PC, so I guess the XboX would be the lesser of two evils.

But it's still Microsoft, a company which I loathe supporting... even with the $115 it costs to get an XboX (which is less than the cost of buying a copy of Windows isn't it?).

Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that I want to run around with a light saber like Samuel L. Jackson and take care of a little business...

Star Wars Game

Or hang out with Wookies...

Star Wars Game

Or open up a can of Jedi whoop-ass...

Star Wars Game

I mean, come on!! How sweet is that?!? This game looks better than the moronic movies George Lucas has been crapping out lately. And, unlike watching the films, if I run across Jar Jar Binks I can whip out my light saber and go all Darth Vader on his lame ass.

Arrrgh! I'm probably going to end up buying an XboX now that the price has dropped so low. How will I ever be able to live with myself?

   

Replay

Posted on Saturday, June 5th, 2004

Dave!Have you ever had one of those days that starts horrible and only continues to get worse no matter what you try to do to turn the tide? And now that it is finally over, I sit here replaying the events of the day... trying to figure out where I could have made things better... only to realize that everything that happened was pretty much out of my control, and nothing I could have done differently would change things.

If it weren't for a motorcycle ride and some freshly-made raspberry-lemon sorbet at the end, I'd probably have run away screaming hours ago.

If I can get a decent amount of sleep just this one night, I know tomorrow can be a better day.

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Papaya

Posted on Saturday, June 12th, 2004

Dave!It's been six days since the crash. Initially I was able to survive on the fruits and vegetable of the island, but flora here is scarce. The vegetables ran out five days ago and the fruit shortly thereafter... leaving me with nothing but water for the past two days. I have taken to constructing a hot air balloon out of banana leaves, coconut shells, and dried sea kelp in the hopes of reaching civilization (and food) again.

If all goes well, I should be able to shove off tomorrow. Half my kingdom for a piece of papaya!

I'd best sign off now as I think I am becoming a bit delusional...

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Sunday Rant

Posted on Sunday, June 13th, 2004

Dave!I''m on my last day of fasting and am not in a pretty mood, so I think I will take some time to bitch about a few of the little things that are pissing me off just now. Nothing earth shattering mind you, just annoyances that won't go away...

Spam. I have two spam filters and all my e-mail gets filtered through a paid SpamCop account... yet I still see dozens of unsolicited (and unwanted) e-mail in my in-box every day. This is just stupid, and the problem gets worse with each passing moment. Why isn't something being done about it? And I'm not talking about idiotic legislation that doesn't work... I'm talking drastic measures... like sending CIA operatives out to kill spammers and bomb their spam centers! Isn't that the kind of thing they are being paid for?

Reality Television. Seriously, enough is enough... they were entertaining at first (Survivor, The Osbornes, American Chopper) but it's gone too far. Just when you think it can't get any worse (The Swan, The Littlest Groom, and Extreme Makeover) it does (Seriously Dude... I'm Gay, Are You Hot, and Blow Out). Television already sucks pretty bad... but now even decent shows (Wonderfalls!!!) can't find a spot on television because the schedule is full of this crap.

Hard Rock Cafe Seattle. Thanks to my Hard Rock site, people mail me with their Hard Rock questions a few times a week. Their #1 question is the same as my #1 question: Where is the freakin' Hard Rock Cafe for Seattle?? I mean, come on! Cities like Sacramento and Indianapolis have cafes but we don't? It's not even remotely logical... Seattle is home of some of the most famous musicians in history! Quincy Jones, Nirvana, Heart, Jimi Hendrix, Kenny Loggins, Peal Jam, Courtney Love & Hole, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Sir Mix-A-Lot... and many more. The Seattle music scene is still amazingly strong, and if the corporate decision-makers were really smart, they would make sure any cafe they build here would have a stage for live performances to keep locals interested. All I can say is that when they finally do get around to building a cafe, it had better be something pretty amazing.

Low Carb Mania. Ack! Just eat healthier foods in reasonable portions, then get off your ass and exercise! There is no need for this crap. The thing that really pisses me off is that legitamately healthy menu options in restaurants (like vegetarian dishes) don't get offered, yet inane fads like low carb shit does?

DVD Advertising. I purchase DVDs for the movie... not the advertising... so don't force me to watch your stupid ads and forbid me to bypass them by jumping to the main menu. That should be illegal.

Having to go the work on Sunday. Ah, so now we know the real reason I am in a cranky mood today.

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Stop

Posted on Sunday, June 13th, 2004

Dave!A little over three hours ago I posted a "Sunday Rant" because I woke up in a not-so-great mood. Since then I have gotten out of bed, done a half our of yoga and meditation, got cleaned up, went for a ride in the rain (of course it's raining... I washed my motorcycle yesterday!), stopped at the hardware store for some brackets to install some shelving, and now I am at work for a while. I fire up my Macintosh (it's not just a computer, it's a Mac!) so I can get started, and this is waiting for me in my in-box:

"I AM SICK OF YOU BADMOUTHING THE ATKINS DIET IN YOUR JOURNAL!!!! LOW CARB DIETS ARE SAVING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FROM OBEESITY AND IF YOU HAD A WEIGHT PROBLEM YOU'D BE ON YOUR KNEES THANKING GOD FOR DR. ATKINS BECAUSE HIS DIET WORKS!!!!!!! THE REASON RESTAURANTS SELL LOW CARB FOODS IS BECAUSE PEOPLE KNOW IT'S THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!! IT'S BEEN PROVEN BY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE SO SHUTUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Now, normally, I'd hit the "delete" button before I was six words into the e-mail because I just don't care enough to read this crap. But I'm still in a bit of a bad mood so, what the heck. I am going to do something I never do and waste valuable web storage space by actually replying in my blog...

ONE. Do you realize what a complete moron you look like when you don't have the sense to turn off the caps-lock key? Though I must admit I am a bit surprised that you only had one misspelling in your e-mail, so I guess that's something. Most people who write screeching e-mails like this don't bother to even attempt spelling the words properly.

TWO. For the last time... This is my blog and I will say whatever I want in it. If you don't like what you find here, then please stop reading it!

THREE. The reason restaurants sell low-carb foods is not because it's the best way to lose weight, it's because people are buying it. If a new diet of cougar urine became a hot fad for weight loss, McDonalds would put "Cougar Urine McFrosties" on their menu simply because people would buy it... that's how they make their money.

FOUR. Yes, millions of people are losing weight on the Atkins Diet. But at what cost? The diet is so new that there have been no studies done to see what the long-term affects might be. A diet that's loaded with fatty foods like cheese and chemical-altered, steroid-filled foods like meat just can't be good for you in the long run. I love cheese, but being told to eat it instead of an apple so you can lose weight is insane.

FIVE. While it's true I am lucky enough not to have a weight problem, there is no way I would ever be "THANKING GOD FOR DR. ATKINS" if I did. I'd have to give up being a vegetarian since fruits and vegetables are loaded with carbs, and I wouldn't do that (they are the healthiest foods you can eat!). Millions of people may be losing weight on the Atkins Diet, but billions have found out the hard way that diets don't work! Diets are a temporary solution to a long-term problem that requires a lifestyle change, not a bogus "miracle cure."

Now, for anybody who might write me yet another moronic diatribe about being a hypocrite for passing judgment on a solution to a problem I don't have... don't waste the effort because I just don't care to hear it. I am not at all against people trying to lose weight, I just don't want to be faced with a ridiculous "low-carb" lifestyle everywhere I go because it's a popular fad. If there has to be a fad for weight loss, why can't it be one that is healthy and makes sense? Why can't we bring back the one person who had it all figured out...

Where is Susan Powter?

Susan Powter

Yes, she's the same hyperactive woman with blonde spikey hair that had those annoying "STOP THE INSANITY" infomercials years ago. Yes, she's the same man-hating freak who holds the entire male gender responsible for everything wrong in the world. Yes, yes, and yes... she's a loon, I know. But if it were her book that were all the rage right now, I wouldn't have to be bombarded with "net carbs" and "Atkins-friendly" crap wherever I go. Instead it would be all "low fat" and "vegetarian-friendly" crap! Now, that's something I wouldn't mind seeing.

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Suck!

Posted on Monday, June 21st, 2004

Dave!Today was a sucky day and just when I thought it couldn't suck any worse, it did. If it weren't for a motorcycle ride after work, I'd probably be drunk out of my mind right now. Hmmm... I never thought of that before. They should have motorcycle therapy at the Betty Ford Clinic! The only good news is that Wonderfalls has been given a DVD release date of December 7th.

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Taters

Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

Dave!Taco Bell is one of those places that you should never eat at, but inevitably do because they have pretty decent grub for a fast food joint and, even more importantly, it's cheap.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Today I had to run to Wenatchee so that I could purchase an International Driving Permit for an upcoming trip...

International Permit

The relevant bit here is not that I look like a terrorist in my photo. The relevant bit is that I had to have the photo taken in the first place. You see, I was planning on spending $10 for the permit... that's how much I was told it cost. But, because I had to have my photo taken, that added another $6.50 to the bill. The $20 I had allocated for the permit and my lunch was now almost gone.

So, I now have just $3.50 for lunch... where do I go?

Taco Bell Taters

Yes, Taco Bell. Thanks for keeping up. Anyway, I am now in love with Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. They taste like cheese and sour cream covered bits of heaven on a spork. The problem is that anything tasting this good is bound to be horrendously bad for your health... over half the calories come from fat and each bowl contains 30% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat. Eating enough of these suckers could kill you.

But what a way to go.

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Beaverton

Posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2004

Dave!A last minute trip to Beaverton, Oregon where the weather isn't nearly as nice as back home. I finished my work here way early but, due to the holiday weekend, can't get a flight back for 6 hours. So here I sit on standby. Beaverton is just outside of Portland, and is considered the "technical corridor" of the state. It's also home to Nike, though I don't think they actually make anything here in the USA anymore, so it must just be corporate offices or something?

It's a sad story how companies like Nike can spend millions on advertising and endorsements, yet won't spend a dime to manufacture here so local people can have jobs. It's a pity too, because I love my Nike boots, and have owned the same pair for nearly a decade. It's probably about time I get something new, but this time perhaps I'll look at a company like Chippewa or Schnee.

Sigh. According to MapQuest, I could drive home in just 5 hours if I had a car...

Beaverton to Cashmere

I think I want a donut.

UPDATE: I managed to get on an earlier flight out of Portland after all because I paid full-price for my ticket! Security at PDX is pretty stupid though, and nearly caused me to miss my flight. The line almost crosses the entire airport, which is ludicrous considering only half the inspection lanes were opened. Any time it takes over 30 minutes to get through security, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

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Fourth

Posted on Sunday, July 4th, 2004

Dave!It's the hope of what this country can one day be that makes it all worthwhile...

Fourth 2004

Happy Independence Day. Everybody take care and come back safe.

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Sleepy

Posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2004

Dave!One of the benefits of working a 36 hour "day" is that you are sure to get a good night's sleep afterwards! Just four hours left to go...

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Weary

Posted on Sunday, July 11th, 2004

Dave!I have to travel a lot (as you might guess if you stop by this blog even rarely), and more and more I am growing to despise it. Not because I miss my motorcycle (though that's a part of it), but because of the frightening number of dumbasses that are out there traveling. Stupid, inconsiderate asshats that feel the entire world revolves around them, and everybody else in the world is just window dressing for the drama that is their life.

On my recent boat trip, one woman kept bitching constantly that she "wasn't seeing anything good" because she was on the "wrong side of the boat." After two full hours of her whining, the boat turned around for the journey back, and she was still complaining that "all the interesting sights are on the other side." I was sorely tempted to ask this incredibly stupid bitch if she realized that she was looking at the exact same view she was complaining about not seeing for the ride up.

On a recent flight, I had just settled into my window seat, hoping to catch up on some sleep when an obnoxious woman next to me pretty much demanded I trade seats with her because she "wasn't comfortable in a center seat." When I politely refused, she actually called a flight attendant to complain that I was being difficult!! Fortunately, she was relocated away from me, because she was desperately in need of being punched in the face, and I was quickly getting to the point of "helping her out."

There are dozens of other examples I could cite from my recent travels, and I am at a total loss as to why people are becoming more self-centered, rude, and selfish every day. All I know is that I am getting really weary of having to deal with them because travel is already tough enough.

I am home for four glorious days before taking off again, and plan on fully appreciating every minute.

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Waaaah!

Posted on Monday, July 12th, 2004

Dave!So I answer the phone and hear "VEGAS BABY!!" It would seem a group of friends is getting together for a cheap three-day excursion to sin city on Sunday, and I'm invited. Ordinarily, this would be great, but I'm already flying out for a work trip on Sunday to Wisconsin. Yes, you heard that right... I am going to Wisconsin while everybody else is partying down in Vegas. How is this fair again?

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Mirror

Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

Dave!A while back I had participated in The Glovebox Project, and found a 32MB memory card that came with my tiny Canon PowerShot camera. I couldn't fit very many photos on it, so I immediately purchased a much larger card to replace it. Today I finally decided to see what photos (if any) were on the old card, and discovered just two, both shot by me of me in a mirror...

Dave in Reykjavik

This is me in Reykjavik, Iceland on September 27, 2003. I have no idea why I took it. I think I was jet lagged and, in my delusional state, was thinking I would start participating in The Mirror Project, but never did. Oh well.

The photo would have been far more interesting had I taken it three days later after I had busted my chin open while having entirely too much fun in Stockholm.

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Hangover

Posted on Saturday, July 17th, 2004

Dave!My days of drunk and disorderly conduct are long since over. Until, that is, I fall under the bad influence of my evil friends. I shudder to think how much I had to drink last night.

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Cut It

Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Dave!Since I was too tired to drive the 2-1/2 hours home after arriving in Seattle late last night, I just grabbed a hotel and fell into a coma. Now I wake up and all I can do is think about how I will be leaving the country in three days, and there is no way I am going to get everything done that needs doing before I go. Uh oh... I think I am having a panic attack. I'd dial the front desk and ask them to send up some oxygen and a couple of Valium to room 621, but I don't think that this is That Kind Of Hotel (now if I were in L.A., it would be an different matter entirely).

Hmmm. Sounds like a good time to get a haircut.

.......

And now, 40 minutes and $75 later, I'm back. There's something liberating about sitting in a chair at Gene Juarez and saying "cut it all off."

Problem is that I still don't feel like driving 2-1/2 hours to get home. Bleh.

Ride To Work Day

Even worse, I am missing out on the 13th Annual Ride to Work Day. Of course, when I am home and the weather is nice, every day is ride your motorcycle to work day.

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Blather

Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

Dave!Crack Potatoes: Why in the hell is it impossible for me to pass by Taco Bell without driving through and ordering up a bowl of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes? I think I'm addicted or something. What do they put in them, crack? I know I've blogged about this before, but damn.

Emmy Fraud: Sitting here watching the Scrubs Marathon on television, I am convinced that the Emmy Awards are a complete and total fraud. The episode "My Screw-Up" should have been nominated for both Best Drama and Best Comedy... not to mention Brendan Fraser's stunning performance being Emmy-worthy for both Best Guest Star in a Drama and Comedy. It's inconceivable that the crapfest known asWill & Grace (where every episode is exactly the same) gets nominated over the brilliance that is Scrubs.

Go-Go Know: How in the heck is it that when the song Head Over Heels by The Go-Go's comes on a television commercial, I know all the words? Even more puzzling, I've started buying more and more rap and hip-hop off of the iTunes Music Store... I'm a 38 year-old middle-class white guy, and yet DMX, Dr. Dre, and Nate Dogg are suddenly something that I enjoy listening to? I blame my nephew.

Moab Soundtrack: The entire time I was in Moab, I was thinking of the movie Thelma & Louise, because the film was shot there and Ridley Scott knows how to make an impression with scenery. When I got back I ordered the soundtrack, and it arrived today. Though I loathe country music, I love this CD because it makes me relive scenic memories like this:

Thelma & Louise

Wireless Nirvana: Apple's "Airport Express" is absolutely everything I had hoped it would be. God save the Mac!

Book Smarts: This last trip I started reading The Vanished Man (by Jeffery Deaver) because everybody tells me how great the Lincoln Rhyme novels are (the most famous being The Bone Collector). Sorry, but I just don't get it. While I think the idea of a quadriplegic criminal investigator is interesting, I find Deaver's dialogue to be horrible. Every word feels contrived and forced, which makes conversations between characters just awful. I don't think I'll be reading another any time soon.

Film Threat: And from the good character dialogue department: Please somebody tell me that Quentin Tarantino is working on a new movie really soon now. I think my DVD player is starting to burn a hole through Pulp Fiction, Resevoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, and of course Kill Bill.

Designer Challenge: I'm getting tired of the same old art posters decorating my apartment. Since the "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" team aren't available for design tips, I think I'll turn to the FridayQ to get some ideas. Shameless, I know!

   

Painful

Posted on Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Dave!Well crap! In preparation for my impending vacation holiday, I somehow managed to pull a muscle in my back. It hurts to walk. It hurts to type this. It hurts to breathe. I can't figure out what I did. Just all of a sudden, wham, welcome to the house of pain. About an hour later I met up with some friends to go see The Bourne Supremacy, and think I made things worse by sitting in a cramped theater seat for two hours instead of staying home and laying down flat.

Fortunately, the movie was pretty darn good. Fast paced, with an entertaining (if fairly straight-forward) plot and a serviceable performance by Matt Damon and Franka Potente (from Run Lola Run fame). I think I liked it even better than the first one. Kind of sweet that we get yet another excellent sequel (like Spider-Man 2!) since they are usually pretty lame the second time around. Here's hoping that the film is a success so we can see a big-screen treatment of The Bourne Ultimatum!

I like the Robert Ludlum novels I've read, but haven't yet taken a look at the Bourne books, so I'll have to give them a try. It will give me something to do instead of lying here in bed moaning in agony.

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One Hundred

Posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Dave!I have had this "One Hundred Things About Me" entry stored on my computer for ages now, but never posted it because I wasn't entirely convinced I was interesting enough for the hundred things to be worth publishing. This morning I got an e-mail asking me why I hadn't done it yet, and decided to go ahead and put it up in an extended entry. You have been warned...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Day Five: Dublin

Posted on Friday, July 30th, 2004

Dave!I woke up today in the mood to do absolutely nothing. If it weren't for the fact that I had to get up and take my laundry down to the concierge, I probably would have stayed in bed all day. I suppose that I could have just come right back up to my room and watched television, but then guilt started to settle in. Here I am in Dublin, where I'm sure many people would love to visit, and I would just be wasting the opportunity.

My morning started with the best shower I've ever had. Seriously. Apparently Dublin has no water shortage problems, nor do they have a concept of what a "water flow restriction device" is. The water pressure was so great that I nearly buckled under it. They should post a sign warning that small children and pregnant women should not use the shower. I think my skull has been dented, that's how fabulous it was...

Fitzwilliam Shower Nirvana

Then I had to work for three hours. Working while on vacation sucks ass.

After lunch, I decided to wander up O'Connell Street, which I never bothered to do on my previous visit. It was then that I saw the Dublin Spire. Other than being really tall, I just don't get it. I mean, come on... "Look! It's a great big pole!" is about the limits as to what can be said about it. Apparently, it was the winning entry in an architectural contest. If this was the winner, I am very curious as to what the losers must have been like...

The big pole

On my way back to Grafton Street for some non-shopping, I passed by Trinity College, home to the "Book of Kells." All I knew about it was that it was a very old book that monks had drawn on dead cow hides a long time ago. Out of curiosity and boredom, I decided to stop in and take a look. I nearly took a pass when I saw that it was 7.50 Euros ($9) to get in, but oh well.

Wow...

Book of Kells

Book of Kells

Absolutely stunning. 61.20 Euros ($77) later, I had purchased a book, lots of postcards, and a CD-Rom about the Book of Kells because it was so amazing. The CD-Rom is particularly good, and packed with loads of cool material (including the entire contents of the manuscript). You should go order a copy right now and, if you're ever in Dublin, seeing it in person is a must.

   

Mobile

Posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

Dave!Why do US mobile phone companies suck so bad? I have been waiting FOREVER to get a bluetooth enabled phone so that I can easily transfer my datebook and address book from my computer to my mobile. Unfortunately, CDMA networks (like Verizon, which is the only provider I can use in my small town with any accuracy) don't have any phones that are worth a crap. I'd switch to a GSM network (like T-Mobile), but their coverage in the valley isn't that great.

Since my wait for Verizon to get decent phones or T-Mobile to get decent coverage was in vain, I ended up signing a new contract with Verizon anyway (better the devil you know...).

Problem is that the Samsung phone I got is still a flaming pile of crap when compared to the beautiful stuff coming out of companies like SonyEricsson for GSM. No bluetooth, limited photo handling, crap text messaging... yet it was the best option available so I had to take it.

And if all that weren't bad enough, the Verizon services web site doesn't work properly, and they don't seem to reply to my e-mail concerns. Every time I try to access my online account, it continuously asks stupid questions, then won't proceed any further (no matter what I try). I guess once they have your money, they don't have to care anymore?

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Ketchup

Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

Dave!Blame: Naturally, Verizon blamed all the problems I'm having trying to use their online services on the fact that I am using a Macintosh. Why am I not surprised. The web was imagined as a way to share information regardless of how you may be accessing it. The web is beyond any one computer platform or device. That's why I think that people should be able to sue people under accessibility laws for crap like this.

Fire: Wildfires are burning out of control in the canyons surrounding the valley I live in. It's both horrifying and beautiful to watch as fire flows like lava down hills and over divides. Sadly, a helicopter crashed while battling the fires today, and even more firefighters have been called in across the State (and neighboring States as well) to help out. I wish that the weather would turn and give them a break, but forecasts for the next several days call for heat-waves up to 105 degrees.

Killer: Kill Bill Vol. 2 is just as remarkable as I remember it on the big screen. Uma deserves an Oscar nod for this one (as does Quentin... nobody can write dialogue like Tarantino).

Tired: Working day and night since I got back from Europe is killing me. I sure hope I manage to get more than my usual 4-5 hours of sleep tonight! Goodnight.

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Happiness

Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Dave!I'm the type of guy who just wants people to be happy and live in peace. The fact that some people find their bliss differently than I do just makes the world all that more interesting and exciting to me. If everybody were thinking, acting, and believing exactly the same, I think this world would be an incredibly boring and unhealthy place to live. This is not to say that everybody should get to do whatever they want... if somebody finds happiness in killing other people, well, that kind of infringes on the happiness of others now doesn't it?

Time for a little story. It's not a story I had ever really intended for this blog (if it were, I would have posted it when it happened) but, given the events of the day, I'm going to tell it anyway (to the best of my recollection):

While I was stuck in an airport a while back (don't ask me when or where... these things all blend together for me) I looked up to see that one of the two guys who had just sat down across from me was wearing a Hard Rock Cafe T-Shirt. Being the Hard Rock junkie that I am, these things catch my attention. Upon further examination, I saw that it was a shirt from the cafe in Kobe, Japan. Since I was wearing my Nagoya, Japan HRC shirt, I felt I should say something:

Dave: Did you go to the Hard Rock Kobe to get that shirt?
Guy: I sure did. Did you go to Nagoya to get yours?
Dave: Yep! Did you know that they closed the Kobe cafe down?
Guy: Really? I'm glad I went then. Have you been to any of the others in Japan?
Dave: All of them!
Guy: Even the one in Fukuoka?
Dave: Yep, it was a long ride on the Shinkansen to get that T-Shirt!
Guy: Cool. I lived in Japan for almost two years but never made it down that far.
Dave: Don't feel bad, none of my friends in Japan have been either and they've lived there for a lot longer than two years!
Guy: Are you a pin collector?
Dave: I am... not hard core, but I've got quite a few.
Guy: Cool. Pins are expensive so my collection isn't that big. Now that I'm married it'll probably be a while before I see any more Hard Rock Cafes.
Dave: Your wife doesn't like you to travel?
Guy: Nah, but I'm hoping if I take him with me he won't mind so much.

That's when he reached over and took the hand of the guy sitting next to him. After further conversation, I learned that they had just been married and were returning from their honeymoon. All I could seem to say was "That's great!" -- and I really meant it. Here were two people obviously in love, blissfully happy, and it was a beautiful thing to see.

And today I learned that if these two guys were married in California, their marriage was just annulled along with every other same-sex couple married in the state.

What the f#@%?

This is the land of the free? Why? How in the hell was these two guys' happiness destroying anybody else's shot at being happy? So what if they are married... it may have taken me a moment for my mind to switch gears when I met them but, after it sunk in, it still seemed more natural to me than the Liza Minelli and David Gest "marriage."

The entire controversy seems to be the religious angle. Well, that's great and all, but the government of the United States of America was founded on the separation of church and state. The fact that you can be married by a Justice of the Peace, without a religious ceremony of any kind, would tend to back this up. Some people say that marriage is intrinsically tied to religion and, if believing that makes you happy, then please go on doing so. And if you feel that same-sex marriage is wrong, sinful, disgusting, unacceptable, offensive to your god, or somehow diminishes the sanctity of marriage because of your beliefs, then so be it. Nobody is asking that you change, so believe whatever you want.

But you need to accept the fact that not everybody believes the same as you. So using your personal religious beliefs to dictate how others should live their lives is arrogant and unfair. I mean, two athiests are allowed to get married as long as they are man and woman, and there's apparently no political problem with that... who cares? Different people have different beliefs. Different things make different people happy. The pursuit of said happiness is supposed to be what the USA is all about. I would argue that crapping all over another person's happiness when they are doing no harm to you is, in fact, anti-American (heck, it's also anti-human, but I'll save that for another rant).

People marry for money, power, convenience, security, obligation, and hundreds of other reasons that I find totally offensive... yet two people who are actually in love can't be married because they've both got a penis? What kind of stupid shit is that? Today over 4000 couples... 8000 people... were just told that their lives are nothing more than a toy to be played with in the name of politics and religion. They've learned their happiness is of lesser value than other people's happiness. I can't help but wonder if two terrific people I met while alone and stranded in an airport far from home are among them. I'm more than a little sad about that.

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Off

Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2004

Dave!This morning as daylight was breaking, I got up and went out to the balcony so I could see how much more of my world is on fire. Luckily, the nearby hills seem to be unscathed, but smoke is still pretty thick in the air. I guess if I were to try and find a bright side to all of this, we do get really pretty sunrises and sunsets out of the deal. No photo can capture the deep red orb that has become our sun here, but it's fun to go ahead and try...

Wildfires

Hey look! While I was gone, Oscar started to get some new branches! I really need to set up a webcam so I don't miss any more critical developments as he grows up...

Oscar

And, from the "yet another meme bites the dust" file: Theme Thursday has sent out an e-mail telling participants that they "haven't been having much fun with Theme Thursday lately" and have decided to "take a break." That doesn't sound bad until you read "If you'd like updates on the status of things and whether or not Theme Thursday will begin again in the future, feel free to leave your e-mail address on the list." Oog. That's not very encouraging is it? Theme Thursday is one of those memes I really enjoy, and I'm kind of bummed about this.

Today I'm off to Seattle so I can attend one of my best friend's wedding. Fortunately, the happy couple are of the opposite sex so they don't have to worry about the state annulling their marriage six months from now.

Or do they? The way things are headed, I have to wonder.

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Vanished

Posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2004

Dave!After having way, way too much fun at the wedding I attended last night, I packed my bags and headed back over the mountains toward home. I knew I was getting close when I started smelling smoke. I had almost forgotten about the fires raging in the canyons around us, and was shocked to see that the fires had gotten even worse. The smoke is everywhere, and so thick that all of the surrounding hills and mountains have vanished...

Smokey Cashmere

Apparently the flames jumped a fire line on Friday and the blaze is now enveloping over 300 acres. More evacuations are underway, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight any time soon. We need rain. Bad.
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Sunday

Posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2004

Dave!Tune: Being the 80's music junkie that I am, it drives me nuts when I hear a snippet of music that I know, and cannot immediately figure out what it is. Just now while watching the Olympics, I notice that in-between plays during volleyball, they play bits of music. Kind of a "Name That Tune" type of game if you pay attention enough to play along. The one that wrapped my brain in a knot, which I only just now figured out, was Big In Japan by Alphaville. That's kind of an esoteric tune, but does make the "game" more fun!

Hotness: Is it considered treason to root for the Japanese Women's Volleyball team? Not only are they cute, but they've got a kind of underdog sweetness going for them. Watching these ladies valiantly struggle against the 6-foot-plus Amazons on the American team is kind of inspiring. And hot.

Commentary: The main reason I loathe popular broadcast sports on television is the inane commentary. Are people really so stupid that they can't figure out what's going on without every single thing that happens being explained and elaborated on by commentators that just won't shut up for more than 5 seconds at a time? I find the Olympics much more enjoyable with the sound off, but then I can't play "Name That Tune!"

Presidential: Oh crap. Is it just me, or do the political commercials start earlier and earlier each year? I can't believe I've got to put up with four more months of Bush and Kerry ads... knowing they'll just get more frequent as the election approaches doesn't help much.

Veggie: I had high hopes for Boca Burger's new "Zesty Tomato Lasagna" because I'm always looking for frozen vegetarian foods that taste half-way decent. Alas, hope springs eternal. The "burger bits" in the lasagna are chewy like rubber and make an otherwise enjoyable meal suck ass.

Delightless: I just ate my very last "Mars Delight" bar that I brought back from London. Is it too much to hope that we'll eventually get them here in the States? I found a few places that import them, but they end up costing $1.40 each not including shipping and tax!! Oh well, I still have some of my mother's Teddy Bear Biscuits from Harrods to keep me company.

Spamed: Argh! When is Jay going to release the new version of MT-Blacklist? I'm getting slammed with comment spam, and am sick of having to manually delete this crap. How could he win the MT plug-in competition with a plug-in that you can't actually get your hands on?

Read: I always hate trying to figure out what book to read next, and usually end up reading one I've already read and enjoyed to avoid disappointment. Now I see that "List of Bests" has put up Phobos Entertainment's "100 Science Fiction Books You Just Have to Read." I'm a bit reluctant to trust a list that puts Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars all the way at the bottom, and has Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy way down at #85... but it is a nice resource for when I feel like trying something new.
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Oh Crap

Posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

Dave!The fires here have just broken over the ridge of Ollola Canyon. The smoke filling our sky that used to be a light gray is now black. Dozens of people I know are on Level 2 Alert and are prepared to evacuate (and some already have). Ash is falling from the sky. The light that's able to get through our darkened skies is now a lovely pinkish hue, casting painted shadows (strangely reminiscent of a Maui sunset) over all it touches. I can find only one tiny patch of blue sky, and it's closing fast. I guess you could say that the situation here is officially very serious...

Fire Skies

This photo was taken at 2:00 in the afternoon, but it looks closer to 7:00 in the evening. The fire is moving so fast that I can't even guess what things will look like in another hour or two.

Sadly, Mother Nature is not in the mood to help out, as there is no rain in the forecast, and total containment is not projected any time soon (but is currently rated to be around 30%).

UPDATE: Well that was quick. A half-hour later and the light suddenly changed from pink to a ghastly shade of yellow. Playing around with the white balance on my camera, I can kind of capture it, but not really. Looking at it in person, there's an eerie glow to everything that just doesn't come through in photos...

Yellow Cashmere

Yellow Cashmere

Freaky. It feels very alien, like I'm looking though the world through vanilla-colored glasses or something. The sun is still there, but is a fluorescent orange color, which adds yet another surreal element to life here in Cashmere just now.
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Arrival

Posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

Dave!At first it was just a glow from behind the hills. A half-hour later, an orange dot appears on the top. Twenty minutes after that, the hillside is in flames. Within minutes, the canyon is gone, and the fire shows no signs of stopping... I can only guess it's to the river by now, but I can't see past the tree-line to know for sure. Smoke fills the air. The horses in the field behind my apartment are understandably in a panic. Fire sirens can be heard in the distance. The canyons are at Level 3 and being evacuated. The streets are filled with people gaping at the blaze that's arrived on our doorstep. And now the wind is picking up, gusting straight towards us.

Here is the view from the front of my apartment just moments ago at 8:30 and again at 8:45pm...

Olalla Fire

Olalla Fire

If the fire crosses the river, we're boned.
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Evacuation

Posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

Dave!The fire has jumped again, and now Hay, Nahahum, and Spring canyons have been escalated to Level 3 and must be evacuated all the way to Highway 2 on the river. From my window, I can see the flames now traveling down yet another hill, and can't help but wonder if I will wake to find everything across the river gone. The smoke is getting worse, and the smell permeates everything, including the walls of my apartment. I've been through a fire once before, and have no desire to do it again. Hopefully it won't come to that.

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Incredible

Posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

Dave!When I woke up this morning, I had no idea what I would see, because things were looking pretty grim the night before. So you can imagine my surprise when I went to the balcony and saw blue skies! Looking back towards the fire, there was a lot of smoke in the air (and you could still smell it, of course), but the flames had vanished. Early reports say that only one residence was lost and another damaged last night. That's pretty amazing considering how fast the flames were spreading. Apparently, the priority was saving homes, and fire that was not in proximity to structures (like the hillside) was let go, which is why things looked much worse than they actually were. We owe a heck of a lot to the firefighters who have done such an incredible job in protecting lives and property. Thanks!

Smokey Hills

UPDATE: It's just all smokey now. Any time a small fire breaks out, helicopters come along and dump water on it. I'm told now the struggle is to keep the fire from breaking into Nahahum Canyon, where there are quite a few homes. Good luck to everybody there.
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Clueless

Posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

Dave!I have mixed feelings about video messaging. On one hand, it's kind of cool to be able to convey the emotion and nuances of speech that only video (or face-to-face conversation) can provide. On the other hand, people can see you. Some people take advantage of that fact in ways that only demented minds can conceive. And by "people," I mean "Meagan." When you get an invitation to video chat from Meagan, you know full-well that she's going to be recording your every move to add you to her collection of embarrassing photos, but somehow forget once you start talking to her...

Meagan: Whatcha doin'?
Dave: Uhhh... workin', what are you doing?
Meagan: Nuthin'.
Dave: Well that must be sweet. Did you AIM me just so you could rub it in?
Meagan: No. I'm bored.
Dave: You could always come up here and fight fires.
Meagan: I'm not that brave.
Dave: Gee, I'm fresh out of suggestions then.
Meagan: You're looking particularly clueless today.
Dave: What?!?
Meagan: You know. Clueless...

Dave

Dave

Dave: Oh, that's normal for me.
Meagan: Well I find it charming. It's not good for a man to think too much.
Dave: Then surely there are more qualified guys you could be talking to?
Meagan: None come immediately to mind, no.
Dave: You're so sweet to me. Say goodbye Meagan.
Meagan: Goodbye Meagan!

Gee, after a conversation like that, I really do feel clueless.
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Politicrap

Posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2004

Dave!As our previous presidential election so aptly demonstrated, some people are too stupid to vote. They punch the wrong hole, fill in the wrong square, or just plain don't pay attention to what they're doing while marking up their ballot. Of course, part of the blame should go to the designer of the ballot for not making the forms idiot-proof (if such a thing is truly possible), but whatever. Here in Washington State, our legislators recognize that people are stupid, and have come up with a solution to make sure voters don't screw up their ballot.

Unfortunately, the solution is pretty damn stupid.

In this year's primary, you are only allowed to vote for candidates from a single party...

Vote For One

"Put simply, this campaign is designed to protect votes. People must pick one political party September 14 and stick to that party’s candidates. If they don't, some of their votes will not count."
- Sam Reed, Washington Secretary of State

Uhhh... some of my votes may not count? I vote for the best person for the job regardless of which party they're affiliated with. Since the primary election determines who ends up on the final ballot, I think it's pretty important that the candidate I want for the job actually ends up there, which is why we vote in the primary in the first place.

Now, I realize the reason that some people think this type of system is a good idea is because it prevents people who support an unopposed party candidate from messing with the competition in a different party... but what about people like me who don't give a crap about political parties? I am not a Republican, Democrat, or a Libertarian so why am I forced to vote that way? Isn't this kind of bullshit unconstitutional or something? And if it isn't, shouldn't it be? I agree that something needs to be done, but this?

Apparently we have Governor Gary Locke to thank for our new f#@%ed up primary ballot. This makes me really glad that the dumbass is retiring this year, so I don't have to worry about him making any further restrictions on my right to vote for the candidate of my choice.

I find it shocking that we can't seem to put the technology together to create an accurate voting system. A system that remembers your vote from the primary and rolls it over into the actual election if the candidate you voted for makes it on the ballot (and, if they don't, obviously you would get to choose somebody else). But since we're still using the antiquated, outrageously stupid electoral system, I suppose I shouldn't really be that surprised. It would seem that the noble idea of "one person, one vote" and truly fair elections will remain a pipe dream for the foreseeable future.

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Blazin’

Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2004

Dave!From here in Cashmere, you could almost forget that there is a fire raging up in the canyons across the river... blue skies and only the slightest odor of smoke in the air (or maybe I'm just used to it?). Unfortunately, the fire is far from gone, and there are still hundreds of people evacuated from their homes as the 1,780 firefighters continue to battle it out. As of this morning, they are projecting the fire grew slightly (now engulfing an estimated 16,379 acres(!) but is still 30% contained. I ran across a nifty map on the official Fisher Canyon Fire Site that shows how the fire has spread day after day, and it's pretty frightening just how voracious a monster fire can be under the right (wrong?) conditions...

Fire Progress

Smokey says "don't play with matches." I tend to concur.

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Catharsis

Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2004

Dave!Line: As of 7:30 this evening, they are reporting that the fire here is 65% contained and that they have a "line" around the perimeter. Good news to be sure, but strong winds running through the canyons means that the story isn't over just yet. Again, a huge thank-you to the crews working so hard to save our homes.

Bounce: This morning while eating breakfast, I watched the Olympics from yesterday that were recorded on my Tivo. I was a bit surprised to find out that jumping on a trampoline is now an official Olympic sport (and apparently has been since Sydney in 2000). At first I admit to thinking that this is the most ridiculous event since synchronized swimming, but you kind of get into it after a while, simply because it's a lot more difficult than it sounds. In fact, it's so difficult that most of the athletes mess up and don't even get to finish their routine. The hardest to watch was the Olympiad from Greece, who was forced to perform in front of the largest crowd yet to appear at Athens 2004. He tried his best, but it was obvious that the crowd really unnerved the poor guy. I think it's a real shame that they don't give you two chances to perform for things like this where it's so easy to screw up. It hardly seems fair that years of training can be flushed down the toilet because of one mistake. That's not competition, it's torture.

Keen: While watching an episode of Keen Eddie that I had never seen before ("Achtung Baby"), I was very happy to learn that they are releasing the entire series on DVD in September! It doesn't make it hurt any less that FOX was so stupid as to cancel the show in the first place, but it does help to ease the sting of it all. Now if they would only get Jeremy Piven's Cupid (the best show to ever be aired on television) out on DVD, I'd really have reason to celebrate. Oh heck, Keen Eddie's got Sienna Miller, how can you not celebrate? Jude Law is one lucky bloke...

Sienna Does Maxim

Oscar: My little tree has been worrying me for a while now because he developed yellow tips on his needles. I thought things were getting better because new branches started popping out, but today I noticed that the formerly yellow needles started turning brown on the tips. Not knowing what else to do, I removed him from behind the sliding glass door and set him out on the balcony (thinking perhaps the sunlight through the window was baking him). He's never spent the night outside before, so I'm a little worried that he'll not react well to the elements. Hopefully this is just what he needs to get well again, because I'm running out of ideas.

Protest: I've made a decision to protest the inane new "vote for one party only" ballot that's been forced upon Washington State residents for our election primary this year. As I previously mentioned this has me really pissed off, because I vote for the person, not the party. How am I going to protest? By voting exactly how I want to vote and not declaring a political party affiliation that I don't even have. As I understand it, this means my vote won't count, and my ballot will be tossed out. So be it. If I am forced to vote in a way that's contrary to my convictions, then what good is a "free" election in the first place? Why doesn't Governor Gary Locke (who championed this idea into law) just put the people he wants us to vote for on the final election ballot and eliminate these silly primaries entirely? Dumbass. Why should only party members be able to vote for who ends up on the ballot when we all have to live with the ramifications?

Adventure: Tomorrow the excellent blog "Adventure Journalist" is hitting the road on an 11,000 mile road trip. I cannot wait to see what new tales such a journey will generate for her notebook! Best wishes to Tonya, Shane, Ryan, Sarah and the dogs for a safe trip and, of course, a world of adventures!

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Rocks

Posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Dave!I've already blogged about how astoundingly cool I think Exploding Dog is. Sam Brown somehow manages to effortlessly create powerful pieces of artwork that brilliantly express emotions and ideas in a way that few other artists can match. And he does all this with cartoons. Cartoons I love to print out and hang on my walls. Cartoons that I collect and share. Cartoons that make me think.

Today I was looking through the past month of Exploding Dog and ran across my favorite one yet which is titled "sometimes there aren't enough rocks..."

Rocks!

Awwww... the little rock that's taking a leap off the table is about the cutest thing ever...

Rocks!

And the look on the left-rock's face here is priceless...

Rocks!

Did the rock jump? Did he fall off by accident? Or was he pushed off? Are the two rocks on the table asking for help to save their little rock buddy, or are they responsible for him falling off the table and are telling the blockhead guy a lie about what really happened? Is the rock on the left really a rock since he's perfectly square? Did the blockhead guy collect the rocks, or is he just passing by? Every time I see an Exploding Dog cartoon, my mind is racing with dozens of questions.

Maybe that's what I find so remarkable about them?

Is it too much to hope that Sam releases this brilliant piece as an autographed print?

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Humility

Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

Dave!From the "I guess I don't know everything" department: today I learned something entirely surprising. There are two different spellings for the different meanings to the word "compliment/complement." Seriously, how in the heck can I be finding out something this basic so late in the game? It's not like English is a second language or anything... it's pretty much all I got! I shudder to think how often I've misused/misspelled the word over the years. It would have been to my compliment to complement my English skills with this knowledge a long time ago. Did they even teach this in school? Was I sick that day?

As a public service to anybody who also was sick that day in school...

Compliment (with an "i"): An expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration.
Complement (with an "e"): Something that enhances, fills up, completes, or makes perfect.

Oh, and by the way... one thing I DO know is that "they are" is "they're" NOT "their."

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Coolness

Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

Dave!Despite a really rough day at work, plus the horrifying news that I've got another international trip coming up, plus getting soaked riding to work on my motorcycle in the rain, plus getting a nasty email concerning a blog entry that's months old, and getting poked in the eye... there were a few cool things that happened today.

Quentin: The first good news event of the day: Quentin Tarantino has started a blog! This demi-god of filmmaking wonderment is my single favorite writer and director — and his acting is pretty badass as well (his guest-spot on Alias is easily one of my favorite moments that doesn't involve Jennifer Garner looking brutally hot! Please, please, please come back once or twice for season 4!). Here's a few old posts defining why Quentin rules the earth:

  • Uma Kicks Ass! I wax poetic about the best movie of 2003, Kill Bill, and ponder hot woman-on-woman cat-fight action!
  • Berardinelli Sucks Ass! I expose James Berardinelli's complete incompetence as a movie critic by dissecting his laughably lame "review" of Kill Bill from ReelViews.
  • Kill Bill v2 My review of the breathtaking second-half of Uma's ass-kicking goodness in Quentin's action-revenge opus.

Lego: As if Star Wars Lego wasn't cool enough, now they're making a video game out of it! Is it too much to hope that you can build your own Lego starships to fly around in? The concept is gold, so they had better not screw it up! I mean just look at this...

Lego Star Wars

Medal: I really don't care for "interpretive" sports, like gymnastics, because there's never a clear winner... it's all subjective as to who was the best. Never has that been more clear than the embarrassing screw-up by the judges in their handling of the Men's Horizontal Bar. After a stunning routine by Russian gymnast Alexsei Nemov (with only a small hop on the dismount) the judges handed down an unbelievable 9.725. What's cool is that the crowd would have none of it, and after a lengthy round of booing, the judges upped the score to 9.762 (which still seemed low). I agree that Italy's Igor Cassina deserved Gold, but Nemov should have had Silver (instead of 5th), followed by Hamm with the Bronze. Still, you have to feel bad for Hamm who had to follow Nemov and started his routine while the boos were still going strong (despite a noble effort by Aleksei to get the crowd to stop).

Ride: The rain stopped long enough for me to have yet another great motorcycle ride at dusk. There are times when I hop on that bike that I toy with the idea of not coming back. But then it gets dark and starts getting cold and I reluctantly turn toward home.

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Suckage

Posted on Monday, August 30th, 2004

Dave!Mondays usually suck... that's what they are designed for. This allows you to have a better "rest-of-the-week" and enjoy the weekend. Sure there's that pang of horror that hits your stomach late Sunday when you realize tomorrow is dreaded Monday, but that's just the way it goes (unless you live in the U.K. today, where they are having a bank holiday). Now, since I had to work all weekend, my Monday shouldn't suck at all. Monday should have been just another day.

But it wasn't.

My Monday sucked just as bad as it usually does, and that's not fair. It all started when I found out that Indian Larry had died while performing a motorcycle stunt. This guy was a true artist, and watching him in bike design competitions on The Discovery Channel was always a highlight. He will be missed...

Indian Larry

Another sad bit of news is that James Doohan who plays "Scotty" on Star Trek had a farewell convention this past weekend, which will be his final public appearance. He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and it won't be possible for him to attend anymore conventions. I've met him in person twice (he lives in Seattle, and regularly attended cons there), and he is about as nice a person as you're ever going to meet. The thought of losing another original cast member is pretty harsh.

When I finally got to work, things weren't much better: I found out that the email server will be down all day. Since email is used for about 90% of my communications, you can imagine just how fun that makes an already difficult job. Now I actually have to get on the phone and call people which sucks ass because I loathe doing business over the phone. I thought that servers were supposed to have redundant hard drives and stuff so outages don't happen, but it is a Windows server, so whatever.

Normally, I would rejoice in the fact that at least my personal email is working, but today I received an email so vile that I almost wished that it was inaccessible as well. A while back I wrote an entry on how dumbfounded I was that 4000 same-sex marriages were annulled in California. It doesn't matter whether I believe in it or not, it just seems really wrong to me that people can't love the person they want and be with the person they want (this is America after all). I had received two "wrath of god" type emails after I posted it, but then everything went back to normal... until today. I am tempted to post a copy here so that people can see just how hateful their fellow-humans can be, but it's so bad that I can't bring myself to do anything but delete it. In response, I can only say "peace unto you brother" because it sure sounds like you could use it.

The one bright spot in my day was reading people's reactions to Microsoft gutting some of the features in the next Windows release code-named "Longhorn." It's all just too funny. First Windows users were going to have to wait an additional year to get the features Mac users will be getting in 2005... now they won't be getting some of them at all! Of course, you know what this means: to compensate for Longhorn being short on features, it's time for another round of Mac bashing to come out of Redmond! As I mentioned before, any time Microsoft experiences a setback, it seems they trot somebody out to verbally talk about how great Windows is and how superior it is over Mac and Linux because they don't physically have a product whose superiority can speak for itself. "Put up or shut up" is something Gates & Co. just doesn't seem to understand. It's crazy that people continue to bend over and be shafted by Microsoft like this when better alternatives are out there.

If I just go to bed and try to forget that today ever happened, does that mean I'll get another Monday tomorrow?

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News

Posted on Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Dave!iMac: Apple announced their new G5 iMac at the AppleExpo Paris today. It's pretty sweet, though I wish that the bus was faster and it came with more than 256MB of memory. As always when Apple has something new, I want one even though I don't need one. My G4 Cube I use at home is still the most beautiful computer ever made, even though I admit the idea of an elegant, all-in-one computer that's only 2-inches thick (along with that speedy G5 processor) is tempting. Oh well, I think I'll keep saving my pennies for a G5 PowerBook when they (hopefully) debut next year.

iMac G5

iMac G5

Skype: Also announced at MacExpo Paris is that a beta of Skype has just been released for MacOS X. In case you've been living in a box for the past year or so, this program allows you to make free phone calls over the Internet to any other Skype user, and even allows you to call any phone in 22 countries at just 2¢ a minute. I have at least a dozen friends around the world that keep after me to "just buy a cheap Windows PC so we can Skype" (as if!) and it's a bit of a relief to know I won't have to worry about that anymore. UPDATE: Skype ain't no Apple iChat A/V... but the quality is very good, and seems to work great so far.

News: A note to the New York Times and any other news service which requires registration to view your crap: Unless you have photos of a UFOs invading the earth or Elizabeth Hurley naked, I'm not going to bother. When are you people going to get a clue?

Sharona: A television show I really like is Monk on USA Network. It's a series about an obsessive-compulsive detective (played by the always excellent Tony Shaloub) who solves crimes from a rather unique perspective. The problem is that sometimes the show goes too far, and the obsessive-compulsive bit gets annoying. The only thing that saves Monk at those moments is his nurse/assistant Sharona (played by Bitty Schram). But now Bitty is leaving the show. Something tells me Monk has just jumped the shark.

Rock: Finally got around to watching the Never Scared HBO Special from Chris Rock (from his Black Ambition tour). It never ceases to amaze me what that guy can get away with on stage. He truly is fearless, which makes him that much more of a genius in his work. Some of his observations are so brilliant that I wish he would film a G-rated version of the show so that more people could hear what he has to say. Sure such a show would be only 10 minutes long once the R-rated material was cut, but it would be a very important 10 minutes to watch.

   

(Un)safe

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Dave!Just because I don't like the idea of being the only one having nightmares tonight, here's a tale of your tax dollars at work. In the name of "National Security," America just keeps slipping away bit by bit doesn't it? How long will it be before I don't recognize it anymore?

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Labors

Posted on Monday, September 6th, 2004

Dave!As usual, I ended up having to work on this Labor Day holiday. This year I was a bit of a rebel in that I didn't actually go into the office, but decided to work at home. I don't know that it makes me feel any better about it, but it does have the benefit of allowing me to hang around in my underwear all day. I was toying with the idea of taking off a few hours for a motorcycle ride but, since that would involve me putting on pants, I took a pass.

I'm really hoping this means I'm just lazy today (or hate wearing pants), because if it means I am losing my desire to ride, I'm sure my desire to live will soon follow.

Sadly, working ten hours today still didn't get me caught up. Usually I'd feel bad about that... but given events in Russia, Florida, Iraq, and all the other horrifying news events of the day, I just can't bring myself to do so.

Everybody take care and be kind.

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Fair

Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2004

Dave!Today the annual Chelan County Fair opened up. When I was younger, this was a huge deal and the lives of everybody in the valley revolved around the event.

Unfortunately, today the fair doesn't seem as important as it once was. Kids are playing video games instead of making craft projects and raising livestock, so there's not as much to see anymore. Because there's not as much going on, fewer people show up. Because fewer people show up, the price for entrance and parking have skyrocketed. Because it's so expensive, even less people are showing up. Catch-22.

It's all very sad, really. This once great event is a shadow of its former self. I wonder how much longer things can head down this spiral before the fair will close for the last time?

Even though I'm not really interested in anything the fair has to offer, I still like to eat there. Every year I manage to bum a free pass so I can have lunch at the fair. There's something about a fresh ear of corn dripping in savory butter from the American Legion Booth (followed by a funnel cake for dessert!) that will never go out of style to me.

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Barney’s

Posted on Saturday, September 11th, 2004

Dave!Nine-Eleven is a day of profound sadness for me. I'm sad because two thousand, seven hundred and twenty-seven people were killed in a senseless act three years ago... but mostly I am sad because of what this tragic loss means to all of humanity: If things keep going like this, we're not going to make it. That's not to say I've lost hope, but such a visual symbol of how truly far away we are from living together in peace is hard to ignore. I realize that terrorism is not new. I understand that the horrifying events at the World Trade Center in 2001 are just a blip on the terrorism radar that claim untold thousands of innocent lives every year. But it all solidifies for me on this day and I continue to be dumbfounded that people just can't seem to get along.

On the one-year anniversary of 9-11 two years ago, I said in my then-blog "Dave Spot" that I could not bring myself to write about the subject because no words could possibly express how I feel (that blog died a few weeks later). On the two-year anniversary last year, I again was at a loss for words and decided to instead write about the new Fall television season and the discoloration on the exhaust pipes of my motorcycle (thinking that writing about mundane events would somehow make me feel better, I guess).

This year is not any easier. It would seem that time does not heal all wounds, because I feel more sickened by 9-11 with every passing year. It's the date that things started going Terribly Wrong. We're now in a war where over a thousand American soldiers have been lost, and heaven only knows how many other people... from innocent civilians, to reporters, to soldiers from other nations, to Al-Qaeda... and everybody in-between. Terrorism is a constant threat and shows no signs of letting up. The America I know is slowly eroding. Peace seems further and further away.

To try and lift myself out of a lingering depression that such thoughts inevitably bring, I decided to do something truly American today: shoot handguns and eat a McDonalds hamburger! But then I realized that my Buddhist philosophies prohibit such things, and had to come up with something else: breakfast at Barney's!

Barneys

Saturday mornings at this eclectic Cashmere eatery are truly a slice of American life, and I wanted to be a part of it today. Barney's started as a tavern, but is slowly being re-imagined as a family restaurant... with attitude. Today was especially fun because tourists over from "The Coast" (i.e., Seattle and the surrounds) were popping in on their way to the fairgrounds. Nothing is more amusing than watching city-folk try to make sense of us rednecks here in hicksville. The people at the table across from me were greatly amused while reading the menu, which I found funny because it was written with people just like them in mind. A few of my favorite selections:

Notice: Annoying the Cook will result in smaller portions.
PRICES subject to Change according to customer's attitude.

We are not a "Fast Food" outlet, please be patient, we have only one deep fryer and a small grill. You can ask how long your order may take. If you don't have time to wait, then please don't order. We are not a 5 star Restaurant. We can tell when you walk in if we will be able to please you or if you are one of those people that no one can please and you should not eat out. We have been in business since 1980, We lost our patience in 1981.

Two Eggs cooked, served with fried potatoes & toast................$3.75 {Poached, scrambled, basted, over med-well, over hard, over easy — extra $12.50}. Crisp Potatoes $15.00 extra. We will also ask you to stand while we announce that you are the reason everyone else has to wait for their breakfast because you want crisp potatoes!

And so on.

You probably think that they are just joking around, and they are... but not really. Gary and Virginia (the owners, cooks, bartenders, and janitors of this fine establishment) are two of the nicest people you will ever meet, but they seriously will not put up with any bullshit or big-city attitude (and neither will the staff). There are moments here at Barney's that are priceless. I love it when some ignorant Redmond socialite decides to "rough it" in our section of the State and comes here to "experience" a small-town rustic restaurant... then asks if they can have a glass of white wine to go with their Barney Burger because they're "just not finding it on the menu." The result of such an action is always entertaining, and there's been more than one time I've been eating here that I wish I had my video-camera.

I know it sounds bizarre, but knowing that places like this exist makes me feel better on a day like today. No matter how horrible world events may seem, no matter what mess our government has gotten us into, America will go on (and the folks at Barney's will get around to serving you when they damn well feel like it).

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Petals

Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2004

Dave!I see from reading Boing Boing that the old "Petals Around the Rose" puzzle is making the rounds again. I have fond memories of being introduced to the game by a very good friend who loved this kind of thing. This puzzle is especially fun because many people have such a tendency to over-think it.

You can give it a try at Robert Borrett's site (and read a funny anecdote as to what happened when Bill Gates tried it). If I remember correctly, I managed to solve it in five rolls because my fourth roll was "no petals showing" which led me to ask a significant question about the game which my friend refused to answer (but the look on his face told me what I needed to know). On the fifth roll, I realized what was happening, and was inducted into the "Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose."

Just remember... once you've figured it out, you are forbidden to tell anybody the secret. All must come to the sacred knowledge for themselves!!

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Fifty

Posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

Dave!Somebody found my blog after reading another blog called "Lifeless Matter," and suggested that I should do the BBC's Fifty Things to do Before You Die checklist they saw there (guessing I might be a good candidate considering all my traveling and stuff). I have to admit that it is an interesting list (though it has a bizarre fixation on wild animals and mountain expeditions), so I thought "why not" and gave it a try. From the looks of things, I am 2/5 ready to die already.

Personally, I have my own list of "Things I Want to Do Before I Die," but I only add something to it after I've actually done it. That way, I don't die unfulfilled!

Anyway, not exactly the list I would have chosen, but you can read my comments in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bitching

Posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

Dave!Lucas: Finally got around to watching the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set in-between my marathon work sessions, and am still amazed at how Lucas could have created such genius in the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, only to completely flush the franchise down the toilet with the inane Return of the Jedi and horrifyingly bad prequels. Diminishing Star Wars to a series of burp and fart jokes that's riddled with insipid characters like "Ewoks" and "Jar Jar Binks" so you can sell more toys to the kiddies is about as lame as lame gets. The changes he made to Episodes IV and V are upsetting, but whatever. I don't give a crap about the changes he made to any of the other films, because they all suck. Still, if you're a Star Wars geek, the set is well worth picking up (but then you probably knew that).

Empire: Is not The Empire Strikes Back one of the most perfect action-adventure flicks ever?

Kryptonite: Some idiot in Toronto is organizing a TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS lawsuit against Kryptonite, the lock makers, because the cylindrical locks they manufacture are easily defeated by using a Bic pen. It's disturbing to know that America's sue-happy mentality is infecting other countries. I own a Kryptonite lock for my motorcycle. Am I upset that the lock can be so easily picked open? Yes. Am I pissed off that Kryptonite has known about this failing for a decade and chose to ignore it? Sure. But do I think the company should be sued for TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS when they have volunteered to contact all registered customers and exchange the locks free of charge? No way! I mean, come on! If your bike was stolen because your Kryptonite lock was defeated, then YES... by all means sue the bastards! But if you've not been a victim of their incompetence, what right do you have to sue them? Just exchange your busted lock for a free new one and shut up. The millions of dollars Kryptonite is already going to have to pay to fix the situation is punishment enough for their stupidity. I mean, TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS?!? f#@%ing lawyer ass-hats.

Panasonishit: Panasonic just called to sell me an extended warranty on the piece-of-crap DVD recorder I bought. I felt compelled to ask the saleslady why in the heck I would buy an extended warranty for the junk when it has never worked properly and Panasonic hasn't been able to fix it? Nothing I have ever bought from this company has worked right. Not my VCR. Not my Phone. Definitely not my DVD recorder. Panasonic gear is crap, and the fact that they don't support their customers when it fails makes Panasonic a shitty company that will NEVER get another penny of my money.

Mars: The new television season is pretty bad, but I happened across a show called Veronica Mars that took me by surprise. Then I saw it was created by Rob Thomas and understood why it was good... he's the brilliant mind behind the greatest TV show of all time: Cupid. Only the stupid bastards at ABC would cancel such brilliance. Yargh!

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Register

Posted on Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Dave!I am getting so very tired of clicking on news links only to find that I must register to view the material. It's so stupid, because news is news and if you won't let me view it without registration, I'm just going to go someplace else to see it. The idiots at Sydney Morning Herald wanted me to register, so I said "kiss my ass" and then went to the BBC News site and read their story without having to give up any personal info.

I just love how ass clowns like the New York Times say "by requiring registration we are better able to determine which areas of the site are of greatest interest to our users," which is complete bullshit. Web servers keep very detailed logs that show exactly where people's interests lay. And if you're lying about why you force people to register, are you also lying about what you do with the information you collect?

Even more stupid, how do they know that the people who are suckered into registering are going to provide accurate data? If I ever end up registering, I think I'll be a 16 year-old hispanic woman living in Iowa with an income of a billion dollars who works as a neurosurgeon. What good does that information do you? Dumbasses.

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Liz

Posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Dave!I think today shall be declared Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day! Well, for me every day is Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day, but I'm not letting that stop me. After having gotten Kazza to post a photo of the delectable Ms. Hurley in her blog, I decided to do the same. To top off this day of delights, I think I shall have to watch Bedazzled for the fiftieth time (nothing is quite so very nice as watching Liz being very naughty!).

Again, much link love goes out to the Sexy Sexy Elizabeth Hurley Pictures site, from which I have swiped this photo. It is easily one of the best sites on the Internet, and I highly recommend that you go there and spend an hour or two admiring breathtaking photos like this one...

Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day

Lovely. Perhaps this will have to be a double-feature night and I'll watch Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery along with Bedazzled. It's not like one can ever get enough of Elizabeth Hurley.

   

Washington

Posted on Sunday, October 3rd, 2004

Dave!... the other Washington. Most of the time when somebody mention's "Washington," people are trained to think "Washington, D.C." since it it the capital of the USA where everything is happening (this is especially true East of the Mississippi). But in recent days they might just be thinking of my home here in Washington State, where an awful lot of stuff has been going on.

We've got Mt. St. Helens erupting... again. The last time this happened, my home town got covered in ash, the skies were darkened (causing the sun to turn blood-red), and schools were closed. Scientists tell us that any eruption that might occur will in no way compare to the event in 1980, but what do they know? Every time you turn on the news, the chances of lava flowing down the slopes goes from 10% to 50% and now 70%. The current reports tell us that an eruption is imminent and could happen any minute now...

StHelens1.jpg

In sports news, we had the double whammy of the Seattle Mariner's Edgar Martinez retiring and Ichiro Suzuki breaking an 84-year old record for most hits in a season. It was a shame that the Texas Rangers decided to celebrate by pulverizing the Mariner's 10-4 in last night's game. I'm a little surprised that news agencies outside of the Pacific Northwest aren't making a bigger deal out of Ichiro's amazing accomplishment. At best, it's being treated as a footnote to other sports news, which doesn't seem right. Congratulations Ichiro-san!

ichiro.jpg

Other news that's getting National attention: Two completely worthless human beings were given a pathetically short 9-month jail sentence for tying a stray dog to a tree and shooting it ten times with a bow and arrow. Between the two of them, they have previous crimes of child molestation, burglary, and forgery. NINE MONTHS? With almost no punishment for such a heinous offense, how long will it be before they move on to torturing people? Why not shoot them with arrows? Animal rights groups across the country are understandably furious.

And yet another story that's making National news: The Washington State Bush Re-Election Campaign Headquarters in Bellevue was broken into and laptops with important information were stolen. The police say that it doesn't appear to be politically motivated. Republican officials, of course, say differently. I just find it surprising that laptops containing critical campaign plans for the entire State are just left out in the open rather than being locked up.

For anybody interested, KOMO 4's web site is following all of these stories (I actually prefer KING 5 for my news, but the idiots require registration at their web site). By all means check in from time to time to see if I'm covered in molten lava.

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Presidential

Posted on Monday, October 4th, 2004

Dave!More than a couple of people have asked what I thought of the US Presidential Debates, so here we go. The honest truth? I think that both candidates pretty much sucked. On one hand you've got President Bush not being able to put together a coherent sentence without repeating inane sound-bites over and over (and the "I'm-a-dumbass-deer-in-the-headlights" stare didn't help either). On the other, you've got Kerry over-compensating for his liberal views by making absurd statements like "I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are," (which makes him sound like quite the little terrorist himself... what ever happened to "bringing them to justice?"). Bush scares and embarrasses me. Kerry doesn't inspire me. These two guys are the best America has to offer?

Oddly enough, the Saturday Night Live parody of the the debates the other night was a better analysis than I've found anywhere else. I wish I could post it without having to worry about NBC legal pouncing on my ass.

I had already decided not to vote for President Bush because of his tasteless jokes at the expense of the military personnel he sent to Iraq (I wrote about it on this entry, question #20). Anybody who would so thoughtlessly joke about starting a war has absolutely no business running the country. None. But is Kerry the better choice? I don't know.

As usual, it's Neil who has stumbled across the solution (and he doesn't even live in the USA!). I will take an Internet loyalty quiz to determine my vote...

BUSH LOYALTY QUIZ RESULTS: "Your score is 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. You can't stand George W. Bush. The mere mention of his name makes you cringe, and every time you hear him speak, it makes you want to jump out the window. You will vote for Anyone But Bush."

KERRY LOYALTY QUIZ RESULTS: "Your score is 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. You're leaning toward John Kerry, although you have some reservations about him. You believe he's presidential material, but wonder if he truly has what it takes to defeat President Bush. He's a bit uninspiring and makes you wince on occasion, but you're willing to suck it up and vote for him anyway."

Wow. That's kind of spooky because the results have pretty much distilled my feelings exactly. Kerry rides a motorcycle and uses a Mac, so that's another couple of points in his favor. I have my doubts as to whether Bush would even know how to turn on a computer, so I guess his platform of choice is kind of irrelevant. Politics suck ass.

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Autumn

Posted on Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

Dave!I guess there are a few benefits to the change in weather. The trees sure do look purty...

Yellow Tree

Argh. I am not ready for winter just yet.

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Ham

Posted on Sunday, October 10th, 2004

Dave!Shock: Will somebody please tell Pizza Hut that having Miss Piggy sell pizza topped with Canadian Bacon is just wrong?

Disbelief: Why in the heck does CSI Miami (with dumb-ass David Caruso) get a new guy that's incredibly competent while over at the real CSI (with cool-ass William Petersen) they've turned the once-competent Greg into a bumbling moron? I know that Greg has always been a bit awkward socially but, when it came to the job, he was always brilliant... now they move him out to the field and he's suddenly stupid? Why?

Anticipation: It's the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees. Again! Boston hasn't won a series since 1918... is it too much to hope that this will be their year even though they went insane and traded away Nomar?

Disgust: Political ads have always been pretty nauseating, but the recent crop of television ads are just horrendous. In my home state of Washington, incumbent Senator Patty Murray is in a fierce ad-battle with candidate George Nethercutt, and they both end up looking like complete asses. Nethercutt is a total bastard that's using 9/11 as a battering ram to scare people into not voting for her... Murray is a total bitch that's using public health as a wedge to manipulate people into not voting for him. Stop attacking each other and attack the issues you dumbasses.

Hilarity: Yet another amazing presidential debate parody on Saturday Night Live. How do they do it?

Horror: I'm out of bread. How am I supposed to make toast now??

   

Harvest

Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

Dave!It's harvest time here in the valley and trucks packed with bins of apples are lining up at the warehouses. The nice bit is that the smell of apples is in the air, and eating a fresh-from-the-tree piece of fruit just can't be beat. I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts though. We used to be "Apple Capital of the World," but with more and more cheap apples being imported from China and elsewhere... well, it seems that every year another bunch of local farmers are having to tear out their orchards and sell the land to avoid bankruptcy. Quite sad really.

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Two-Hundred-Seventy

Posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2004

Dave!Mars: I know I should stop being amazed at how wonderful the new television show Veronica Mars is, but I just can't help myself. Every episode is better than the last (much like Boston Legal and Lost). The October 12 episode had a twist near the end that completely caught me off guard, and that almost never happens! I am thankful that the show is on UPN, because ABC would have probably cancelled it by now.

Repeat: The only down-side of watching Veronica Mars is that the theme song is the infectious We Used to Be Friends by Dandy Warhols. Now I can't get it out of my head and, by the time I finally do manage to forget about it, a new episode of Veronica Mars is on again.

UFO: I don't know if I believe in alien abductions or not, but it would sure explain a great many things. Nobody can have as bizarre a life as mine without alien abduction in there somewhere.

Clarification: And when I say that, I mean aliens abducting me... not me abducting the aliens. Though that too would explain a great deal.

Cellular: When I renewed my contract with Verizon wireless, they completely screwed up my billing. Every month I get an outrageous bill with insane charges. Every month I call Verizon to get it straightened out. Every month Verizon throws meaningless numbers at me in an attempt to "explain" their unexplainable mess. Every month I beg them to just give me a pay-off amount so that I can bring my account current and be done with it. Every month I disagree with the charges, but relent and pay anyway so they will just leave me alone. Every month I send in the money they ask for, and it makes no difference. Every month my bill arrives with a mystery "past due amount" that makes no sense. Every month I waste time and energy with Verizon that could be spent doing something else.

Work: I have four days in which to complete two weeks worth of work. I guess that means I have four 20-hour work days ahead of me. It's not the first time but, honestly now, I'm getting entirely too old for this crap.

Doggy: Neil has a calculator so you can find out how old you are in dog years. Apparently I'm 270 years old. See, I told you I'm too old for this crap.

   

Shot

Posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2004

Dave!For the second day running, we have a story on the front page of the newspaper with the "shocking" news that members of Congress are getting their flu shots despite the scarcity of the vaccine for everybody else.

All I can say is "I would certainly hope so."

I mean, come on... these lawmakers make decisions that affect billions of people! The last thing I want to read in next week's headlines is that Congress approved a Presidential order for a preemptive nuclear strike into Canada by one vote because somebody was out with the flu and couldn't make it!

That being said, I think flu shots are a crock of shit. It only protects you from a small percentage of the various flu strains out there and, assuming you don't die from an allergic reaction to the shot itself, could make you sicker than if you actually got the flu in the first place. I've never had one myself, and secretly wonder if it's a government conspiracy to inject mind control drugs into the populace (insert X-Files theme music here).

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Democracy

Posted on Thursday, November 4th, 2004

Dave!Today I went to pick up my mail at the post office from the past 4-5 weeks and discover a letter from the Chelan County Auditor's Office:

Dear Voter,

The Absentee/Vote-By-Mail ballot that you voted and returned in the recent election has not been processed for the following reason:

SIGNATURE ON BALLOT DOES NOT MATCH THE SIGNATURE CURRENTLY ON FILE IN THE CHELAN COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS, RCW 29.36.060 (Enclosed is a new Registration Card to update our records)

Properly fill out and sign all materials enclosed, and return them to us no later than November 17th, 2004. Please be aware that if these materials are received by the aforementioned date, YOUR VOTE WILL COUNT. However, if you fail to submit the enclosed items by the date requested, your ballot will not be counted.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in the election process. We will be anticipating your reply with the hopes that we can count your vote.

I've had the same signature for over a decade. In the six years that I've been using an absentee ballot, there has never been a single problem with my vote.

Until now.

I wonder why that is?

Good thing I checked my mail, because usually I go months before I bother. I wonder how many other votes weren't counted because of stupid stuff like this? It would certainly explain a lot.

Argh. Another four years of being hated when visiting foreign countries because we have a president I didn't vote for and don't agree with most of the time.

I should have became a pirate and stolen the cruise ship after all.

UPDATE: After visiting the courthouse, I found that they were using a signature from 20 years ago when I registered to vote... not the signature on my absentee ballot request of 8 years ago. Bizarre. I changed my signature on purpose, I wonder how many people unintentionally change their signature over 20, 30, even 50 years from when they first register? Seems kind of flakey to me.

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Return

Posted on Friday, November 5th, 2004

Dave!I've returned from vacation and was looking forward to getting caught up with work, watching all the shows stacked up on my TiVo, and relaxing a bit. Alas, it was not meant to be. I've got a quick trip to Chicago ahead of me instead. Oh well.

TiVolution: I did manage to watch a few new shows that I am obsessed with. Namely, Veronica Mars, Lost, Scrubs, and Boston Legal. Seven hours of brilliant entertainment (2 episodes each) that have restored my faith in television. Every week Lost tells the background of a major character (in flashbacks) that explain how they got to where they are now, and I am captivated. Though I have to admit being a little nervous about what will happen when they've run out of characters to explore. Since only 48 47 people survived, what happens afterwards? Knowing J.J. Abrams, something spectacular.

Hope: Dare I get my hopes up again, only to have George Lucas dash them to pieces? The trailer for Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is all over the Internet and looks fantastic. Hearing James Earl Jones' voice as Darth Vader again after all these years is chilling. All that and Wookies too!!

Weight: The government has just released a study that reveals that the increase in average weight by 10 pounds of Americans in the 1990's has caused airlines to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel at a cost increase of $275 million in the year 2000 alone. But that's not the real problem... despite the fact that 65% of Americans are now classified as obese, airlines continue to pack seats closer and closer together. Planes that used to have 5 seats across now have 6. Planes that used to have 38 rows now have 42. If you are over 5'6" tall (I'm 6'2") then flying coach is absurdly uncomfortable no matter how much you weigh. If you're obese, you can diet. There's nothing I can do to make myself shorter.

Belated: Boston Red Sox World Series Champions. At last.

Treason: I received a surprisingly literate (but no less disturbing) email labeling my blog as "treason" because I don't support the president "who won fair and square." This is odd because at no point have I ever said that I "don't support the president." As an American, I'm pretty much obligated to respect the office of the president and support our country. For the record, what I don't support is the notion that Americans (or the world, for that matter) should not disagree with the president or question his actions. This is the very foundation on which the country was founded, and to imply otherwise is what I consider to be treasonous.

Foxy: Firefox release candidate 2 has been released for MacOS X. I find myself using it and Safari almost equally now.

Trash: If you've read my blog for any length of time, you already know I loathe Cnet. What I don't understand is why everybody doesn't loathe Cnet. Their anti-Apple rhetoric, anonymous editorial policy, and biased "journalism" makes them a source of "news" that should be wiped from the face of the internet. Just look at this URL to one of their stories at news.com:
http://news.com.com/ipods+are+the+tools+of+the+devil/2100-1041_3-5439378.html
Uhhh... "iPods are the tools of the devil" ?!? Even their URLs are biased. Worthless Cnet asshats.

Waahhh: I don't want to go to work today. Given the 3-hour time difference plus this antiquated daylight savings nonsense I am working on, the day seems half over even though it hasn't even began. Oh well, at least I get to leave early so I can pack my suitcase and head out again. Maybe gaining 2 hours in Chicago this weekend will fix me up?

   

Errata

Posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Dave!Maher: It would seem that Bill Maher's ex girlfriend is suing him for 9 million dollars. She is claiming that he had her quit her successful career as a Delta Airlines flight attendant with false promises of marriage and buying her a home in Beverly Hills. REMINDER TO SELF: When flying to Salt Lake City this Sunday on Delta, be sure to ask the flight attendant where I can pick up a job application. I loathe the idea of dealing with bitchy passengers all day long, but would gladly do so for the millions of dollars they apparently make.

Lost: I just realized that I forgot to watch the amazing new J.J. Abrams show, Lost, last night! Thank heaven for TiVo!

Jeunet: One of the most brilliant directors in cinema, Jeanne-Pierre Jeunet (who crafted the utterly amazing film Amelie) has a new movie coming out with strong "Best Picture" Oscar buzz called A Very Long Engagement. I cannot wait to see this film, and have watched the trailer at least a dozen times now (drooling over the delicious Audrey Tautou and the breathtaking visuals again and again). Today I learned that this new movie which is set in France, filmed in France, and uses a cast of French actors and technicians, is now being challenged in French court as to whether is a French film and thus eligible for government subsidies. It's nice to know that the USA is not the only country suffering from a serious lapse in logic lately.

Tautou!

Koolerz: Last night I picked me up some "Koolerz Piña Colada flavored Gum" to take to work with me. Today I was dismayed to find out that the gum tastes *fabulous* for 48 seconds (I timed it!), but then all the flavor is gone and you're just chewing a substance that tastes like motor oil on plastic. I was wracking my brain to try and think of another product you can buy that satisfies for such an astoundingly short time period of time... and then remembered my worthless Panasonic Recordable DVD Player, which satisfied me for only 42 seconds. Fortunately, the gum only cost $1.29.

Thanks: For all who served. Thank you.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Blogging?

Posted on Saturday, November 13th, 2004

Dave!WoohooooOOO! Look at me... I'm blogging with no pants on!

Blogging with no pants! I slay me!

My constant traveling has finally caught up with me, and the only clean clothes I have are a Hard Rock T-Shirt from Munich and a pair of Joe Boxers with sharks printed all over them. It's not an easy look to pull off successfully, but somehow I make it work.

I really don't have any choice until the clothes come out of the dryer.

Oog. I have to work all day today, but really should make time to take a look at my personal email, which has been neglected for the past several weeks (sorry). In the meanwhile, here's the "Random Question Meme" which was assembled from questions in other memes (as seen on Neil, Kazza, and Richard's blogs)...

  1. What is your favourite colour? Periwinkle. It's kind of a purpley-blue color (and, depending on your screen, is the color scattered here on my blog).
  2. Tell me about a talent or skill you possess, which I've not yet witnessed or discovered. I play a pretty mean game of quarters.
  3. What was your favourite subject in school? Geometry.
  4. What is one place to which you've never been, but you'd like to visit, someday? (Locally or abroad) It's a tie between Greece, China, and Australia.
  5. Are you a morning person or a night person? I would rather stay up late than get up early.
  6. Are you left-handed or right-handed? I am ambidextrous, but favor my right hand strongly.
  7. Did astronauts really land on the moon, or was it all a hoax? Real.
  8. What's in your pocket? (Or if there's nothing in your pocket at present, what sorts of things are most often in your pockets?) I'm not wearing pants! But, if I were, there would be my "wallet" (a stack of cards and some cash with a rubber band around it) and my mobile phone.
  9. In 10 years, you see yourself... (Finish that any way you desire.) ...visiting the last Hard Rock Cafe on my list.
  10. There's a power outage, and you don't have a generator. This means no electronics--no computer, no telly, no videos, no stereo and no electric heat or electric kettle--what do you do to keep warm, content and entertained? I dunno. Buy a hooker and a cheap bottle of tequila?
  11. What's one thing you cannot bring yourself to eat? Meat (I'm a vegetarian). Other than that, I'd have to say either mushrooms, broccoli, or cauliflower... all of which I loathe.

Off to work.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  7 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Danger

Posted on Thursday, November 25th, 2004

Dave!One summer whilst vacationing in Maui, I noticed a mother quail leading a half-dozen baby quail across the back yard of our condo. Suddenly, the neighbor's cat (named "Neko," which is kind of a cool name for a cat if you speak Japanese) appeared. Almost instantly, each of the baby quail ran to a shrub and stuck their heads in. Meanwhile, the mother quail created a nice distraction for Neko to divert his attention from the poorly-hidden chicks.

Eventually, Neko got bored and wandered off, at which time the mother quail called the chicks out and it was back to business as usual. Such a unique approach to danger was not lost on me (baby quail are really cute, and that wasn't lost on me either).

Most everybody would write this off as instinct. They would say the mother quail is programmed by "Mother Nature" to protect her chicks, so that the species will survive. This may be true. But every time I think back, all I see is a mother putting herself in danger so that her children would be safe. The fact that she happens to be a bird doesn't make it any less remarkable to me.

I am thankful I'm not a turkey today.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fight

Posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Dave!Today is World AIDS Day. I've known three people with AIDS. I currently know one person with AIDS because the other two died. This does not, of course, include the hundreds of people I know... some of which who may have AIDS, and I just don't know about it. And that's because AIDS is indiscriminate. AIDS doesn't care if you're gay. AIDS doesn't care what color your skin is. AIDS doesn't care how old you are. AIDS doesn't care what god you pray to. Anybody can gets AIDS, and anybody who thinks they are somehow immune from AIDS is deluded.

That's because you don't have to actually have AIDS in order to be affected by it. It's just too huge a crisis to think of as "somebody else's problem."

Join the fight against AIDS. Educate yourself.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bald

Posted on Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

Dave!In the summer, I have the excuse of riding my motorcycle to explain the complete mess on top of my head... everybody understands helmet hair, and all is forgiven. But summer is over now. So when I opened up a video chat first thing this morning, I was mortified that I could look this bad with no excuse whatsoever...

Dave Hair

I think I've decided to shave my head for the holidays.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Morgan

Posted on Sunday, December 5th, 2004

Dave!I have three layers of protection from spam: I have decoy addresses which I use for open communication. I have a paid service at SpamCop. I have active filtration in my MacOS X Mail program. Putting aside the fact that I am outraged that I am forced to pay in order to have email be useable to me, I am relatively happy that scum-sucking spammer f#@%heads rarely get through my defenses. On those occasions where spam does get through, it's kind of a curiosity to me. Sometimes I open them even when they are obviously spam because, well, that's curiosity for you...

From: dbctaq@lycos.com
Subject: Hey Sugar
Date: December 5, 2004 3:27:28 PM PST
To: dave@????.com
Reply-To: dbctaq@lycos.com

Hey lover man, My name is Morgan. I found your email on the dating site..

My husband is a smuck! , He didn't touch me in months Check out my profile on this site: http://www.????.com/

FOR THE LOVE OF GRAVY! You somehow managed to get a spam through to somebody, and THIS is what you've got to say?!? I don't know what irritates me more, the fact that I get the spam in the first place, or that spammers are illiterate dumbasses who can't be bothered to use spell check when they send out something that they know is going to irritate the shit out of somebody (it's SCHMUCK you BITCH!!). Even if you're not a native English speaker, the very least you can do is have somebody who actually knows the language take a peek.

And here's the rub... since this spam is obviously advertising porn of some kind, for lack of an actual image to let you know what "Morgan" looks like, you are left with only "her words" to paint a mental picture. And right now, I'm envisioning that "Morgan" is some kind of diseased crack-whore so appalling that her own husband doesn't want anything to do with her. And I am supposed to click on this link why?

Do spammers write this shit with the assumption that nobody is actually going to read it? And, if they do, why do they bother to send it? Just when you think spammers couldn't be any more stupid than they are...

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Arcade

Posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2004

Dave!Back in the days when I wasn't using one-word titles for my entries, I would have called this one "Red Wizard Shot the Food!"

I love my GameBoy Advance. Since I spend so much time traveling, it makes a great time-waster while hanging around in airports because of canceled flights, unscheduled delays, and a multitude of other unpleasantries that come with flying. The only problem is that so many of the games now-a-days are hopelessly complex. There are exceptions but, for the most part, modern video games are annoying to play because you have to read a manual 1-inch thick in order to know what's going on.

Fortunately, Nintendo has started releasing "retro-arcade" classics that are pretty much direct ports of the original NES-adapted games. Unfortunately, they are stupidly priced at $24 each (HOLY COW! THESE GAMES ARE DECADES OLD AND REQUIRED NEXT TO NO EFFORT TO RELEASE!). Even more stupid... rather than create an emulator to play a copy of a copy of the original, why not just emulate the original from the arcade? You can't get more authentic than that! I dunno... maybe when these games are in the bargain bin at $9.99 I'll consider it, but over $20? Forget it.

And now we have the new GameBoy Advance DS (dual screen) with even more complicated games and voice/touch input.

Bleh.

I guess I'll continue to play original arcade games on my laptop for free using MAME. This incredible software lets me play all my "old-time favorites" (albeit illegally) and leave the cluttered and complex world of "modern" videogames behind. Back then, graphics were crappy and memory expensive... so you focused on excellent and exciting game play (while the exact opposite seems to be true today).

Take Donkey Kong, for instance...

Donkey Kong

This masterpiece from 1980 (24 years ago!) consumed untold hundreds of hours of my life, and did it in an astounding 60K of memory. That's 60 kilobytes. Not megabytes... not gigabytes... that's measly kilobytes.

And then came the astounding NEXT GENERATION of arcade titles in the latter half of the 80's, giving us 10 times the memory, higher-resolution graphics, voice synthesis, and fantastic games like Gauntlet II...

Gauntlet II

In just 600K, this marvel ate away at my college years with a vengeful fury (probably because you could play with three friends all at once, rather than having to take turns). Sometimes, in the dead of night, I can still hear it speaking to me... "RED WIZARD SHOT THE FOOD!", and "BLUE VALKYRIE NEEDS FOOD BADLY!" (and, since somebody else probably just gobbled the food you needed so badly, your only option was to drop in more quarters so you could continue playing... my mind boggles at how much money these machines must have raked in with four people spending quarters continuously to keep playing).

I guess for now I'll hang on to my GameBoy Advance and hope that the classic games start being released at a classic price. Maybe I'll change my mind when the new Playstation Portable comes out, but somehow I doubt it.

One of these days I need to compile a list of my top-ten favorite arcade classics... but first I'm going to have to figure out just how high Q*Bert would be on a list like that. I totally owned that game.

   

Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2004

Dave!Nomaaahh!: Let me get this straight, Nomar just signed a 1-year contract with the Cubs for $8 million, after passing on a $60 million 4-year contract with the Red Sox WORLD CHAMPIONS? Even if the Cubbies pick him up for four years, he's still losing $7 million a year. I cried for a week when Nomar left Boston, now I think I'll laugh for a week at his fine business sense (then cry the week after that because he's still making millions of dollars for playing a game).

Joystick: Continuing my video game blathering from yesterday... not only are the games dumbfoundingly complex, but the controllers are ass. Two thumb-pads, four shoulder buttons, four action buttons, and two function buttons seems to be standard now. This leaves me concentrating more on what button I should be pushing than actually playing the game. On top of that, I don't want some tiny pad for directional movement... I want an actual joystick! I thought it would be simple to go buy one, but I thought wrong. The closest thing I can find to what I am wanting is an X-Arcade Stick, but that's as big as a house and costs $100!! Harsh!

Cars: Looks like Pixar's follow-up to The Incredibles (titled Cars) has just been pushed back seven months. They say it's so that they can better time their movies (release a feature in Summer, then crank out the DVD version for the holidays), which makes sense from a business standpoint. But many people are speculating that the bigger reason is to give Pixar CEO Steve Jobs more time to decide about renewing a distribution deal with Disney after he finds out who is replacing Michael Eisner (the guy who's been running Disney into the ground for the past decade). A third option, which is my personal guess, is that the movie sucks...

Cars

First of all, it's a freaky concept... a world where the only life-form is cars?? Second of all, it is a complete rip off of the Chevron Cars (a much better rendition of the concept, beautifully animated in clay by Aardman Animation, who is responsible for the brilliant Wallace and Gromit films). And lastly, one of the feature characters is a broken-down hick tow truck? How very cliche of you Pixar. Still, it is being directed by demi-god John Lasseter (who has Toy Story 1 & 2 and A Bug's Life under his belt), so I can only hope I am very, very wrong. I dunno, judge for yourself by watching the Cars trailer and then taking a look at Aardman's Chevron commercial...

Cars

You can then spend the next two hours of your life exploring the rest of the Aardman web site, which showcases numerous examples if their beautiful work in claymation. Dang. Now I want to go watch Wallace and Gromit!

Stockholm: Since Veronica Mars is now in reruns, I was flipping through channels and saw that The Amazing Race 6 was in Stockholm! Furthermore, contestants were hanging out at The Sheraton Stockholm, which is the same hotel I was at. Anyway, while I like the idea of racing around the world, I cannot bring myself to watch the show... it's just too painful to have to watch rude Americans be assholes to natives and complain all the time. As I was turning the channel, contestants were in Africa complaining about everything from how "gross" the taxis are to how stupid they think people are because they can't speak English ("DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH? I NEED SOMEONE SPEAKING ENGLISH!!!"). Holy crap. Thanks for being such a stellar example, dumbass.

Letterbox: Last night I had to stop by Wal-Mart and noticed that they had The Bourne Supremacy on sale for a staggering $15 (which is cheaper than even DeepDiscountDVD!). Since we are entering rerun season on television, I thought I would grab a copy because I remember it being a pretty good flick. But when I got home and started it up, I noticed it was the STUPID FULL-FRAME VERSION! CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! Why in the heck do they even sell butchered films? When are people going to realize that anytime they buy a film that has "been reformatted to fit their television" that they are missing half the movie? Sure the letterbox format's black bars at the top and bottom of your TV screen are annoying, but it's a small price to pay for getting to see the ENTIRE MOVIE AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE VIEWED!! Argh.

Sorry to rant, but HOLY SHIT... it's bad enough that Chewbacca didn't get a medal at the end of Star Wars, but if you are watching the lame "Full-Screen" version, he doesn't even get to appear on the screen! The Digital Bits has a good argument for widescreen (letterbox) formatted movies, and excellent examples which you can see by clicking here.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

SHHH!

Posted on Thursday, December 9th, 2004

Dave!This morning I awoke to a lot more non-spam email sitting in my "in-box" than usual. There were emails about my Nomar entry yesterday ("His FANS didn't get him where he is, his TALENT did!!! If you're a Nomar fan then start rooting for the Cubs!!"). Email from people upset about my rant against car drivers who run over motorcyclists ("To believe in God is to believe in forgiveness and we must forgive those who trespass against us just as we ask forgiveness for our sins"). Email from friends ("What are you doing for New Years?"). Email from the brilliant zefrank letting his loyal followers know his site has been updated ("Its been a while since the last update: told you I wouldn’t spam you"). And so on.

But my favorite piece of email was from somebody who read my Anonymous Letter #1 entry about rude mobile phone users, and had a link to share with me: Coudal Partners has come up with SHHH! (Society for HandHeld Hushing) to fight back against obnoxious mobile phone users, and even have little cards you can download and pass out...

Shut Up!

My favorite card is "The world is a NOISY PLACE. You aren't helping things" (though all of them are pretty darn clever). A pity I'll probably never have the guts to actually use the cards, but things are getting so bad I may have to risk it in order to save some moron's life.

Because, mark my words, the day some nut-case shoots and kills an obnoxious mobile phone user is coming. There have been shootings over far more stupid reasons, and it's only a matter of time.

UPDATE: And now they have Road Rage Cards that you can hold up to show dipshit drivers exactly how you feel. I think my card would be permanently turned to the "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT" page (I worry about getting killed from using some of the more -ahem- direct cards). A shame I can't use such a thing while riding my motorcycle (unless I felt like dumping it on the road, that is).

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Kill

Posted on Thursday, December 16th, 2004

Dave!I've developed an aversion to killing in recent years. I'd like to think that this is due to spiritual growth that has come from studying Buddhist teachings, but it only seems to apply to innocent creatures... there are still plenty of people I would like to kill (if you drive slow in the passing lane, this means you). Anyway, one day I just decided that killing is the "easy way out" in life, and it is much more commendable to preserve life wherever you find it.

For the most part this means not killing bugs that wander into my apartment, but instead capturing the little critters and then releasing them outside. After all, they don't really know any better, and can hardly be blamed for trespassing where they are unwanted. Sure it's a lot more trouble than just squashing them with a swatter, but there's a certain satisfaction which comes from knowing that the infinite power you possess over such a small and unassuming life can be used for something other than death and destruction.

Anyway, Sarah over at the most excellent "One Before" blog has written a heartwarming short entry (titled "How Wetas Become My Friends") which reaffirms my thinking on the matter... "just because you can do a thing, doesn't mean you should do it."

There are too many people in this world who are in desperate need of reflecting on that. Especially those who seem to look at human beings as nothing more than bugs to be squashed.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fogged

Posted on Sunday, December 19th, 2004

Dave!It is a bit strange, but I think this year may actually be the first in my life-time memory that we will not be having a white Christmas. The bit of snow we received in late November has long-since vanished, and the temperature never seems to get very cold. I'm kind of regretting now that I put my motorcycle away for the season, but it was really impossible for me to believe that I would be able to ride it in mid-December. I suppose everybody will have to settle for a foggy holiday, since that's all we seem to get...

Foggy

And, speaking of holiday, I'd like to take this opportunity to send out a big bucket of Christmas cheer to the presumptuous ass-clown who emailed me with the thoughtful observation that I am a "G-dless heathen" for not celebrating Christmas. Since it is my mission in life to make everybody happy, I guess I'll just have to go sacrifice a tree and worship Santa Claus so I can fit in with the masses.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  12 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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