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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.

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

   

The Friday Five: Forward Time

Posted on Friday, January 2nd, 2004

Dave!1. What one thing are you most looking forward to... today? Getting off work.

2. ... over the next week? The only thing I am looking forward to next week is it ending.

3. ... this year? A few more Hard Rock visits and seeing a bit more of the world.

4. ... over the next five years? Finally finishing my book.

5. ... for the rest of your life? Finding happiness without it having come at the expense of others.

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

   

Mad Taco

Posted on Friday, January 2nd, 2004

Dave!Interesting how mad cow disease comes home to roost and all of a sudden restaurants are falling all over themselves to show non-meat options on the menu. Burger King has the BK Veggie that's right up front (too bad it sucks) and now Taco Bell has a "Cheesy Rice & Bean Burrito" that's in full-panel glory on their menu. All I can hope is that McDonalds gets in on the act and finally rolls out their McVeggie Deluxe nation-wide (I've only ever seen it at the Times Square location). Sad that it takes a horrid disease to turn people on to the dangers of meat, but there you have it.

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

   

Oscar-Worthy

Posted on Saturday, January 3rd, 2004

Dave!Since everybody else is looking back on the films of 2003, I might as well do the same. And, since I feel the Oscar-winners rarely end up reflecting those actually deserving it, let's go with that...

Best Picture: Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. Okay, the award would really be for the entire trilogy not just the final chapter, but Peter Jackson's film version of an un-filmable book is an incredible achievement and is very much Oscar-worthy. Two other films just as worthy: Lost in Translation, which is one of the best character studies ever put to film, and The Last Samurai which is one of the most beautiful films I've seen in years.

Best Actor: Bill Murray for Lost in Translation. Bill Murray is a comic genius that can salvage even the most inane roles (re: Bosley in Charlie's Angels). But it's his more dramatic turns that make him Oscar-worthy. First there was Rushmore, then there was The Royal Tenenbaums, and now his absolute best role to date in Lost in Translation which completely dominates any other actor this year. And the best is yet to come... Bill is re-teaming with Wes Anderson for The Life Aquatic next year!

Best Actress: Uma Thurman for Kill Bill. Oh come on. Forget Jennifer Connely, Nikole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and all the rest... that sappy drama crap is cliche, and each role is interchangeable with the others. Uma's stylish performance elevates this grinder-flick to new heights, which takes a talent no other actress came close to this year.

Best Supporting Actor: Ken Watanabe for The Last Samurai. Easily one of the best performances this year, it really chaps my ass that he will probably be overlooked. Anybody who has seen this film knows Watanabe's quiet dignity and mind-blowing charisma on the screen deserves the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johansson for Lost in Translation. How many actresses could have held their own against Bill Murray in this film? Very, very few. Johansson actually deserves Best Actress for her stunning work here.

Best Director: Sophia Coppola for Lost in Translation. Yeah, yeah, Peter Jackson did an amazing job for Lord of the Rings. But such effects-heavy films have me question what the role of a director actually is in such a spectacle. And, as if the performances that Coppola managed to coax from Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson weren't enough, she wrote Lost in Translation as well. Every scene was perfectly orchestrated for effect, then sewn together to create a film that was brilliant and Oscar-worthy.

My only regret is not finding a place for Johnny Depp in my list. His performances in Pirates of the Caribbean and Once Upon a Time in Mexico were classics in 2003. Likewise, I haven't a clue as to where Master and Commander should go, but that was a pretty good flick as well.

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

   

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.

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

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

   

Bondage

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2004

Dave!Alrighty then. Apple's "New Music Tuesdays" mailing was delivered to my in-box, causing me to cruise by the iTunes Music Store to see what's new. While scrolling through the storefront offerings, I see four babes on the cover of a newly added selection and am instantly intrigued:

The name of the group is "Bond" and they play classical music to modern-day dance beats that's amazing, amazing stuff. I instantly bought both albums and am hooked. A little research has turned up that the group is alternately praised and condemned within classical music circles. Praised because they are exposing a new generation of listeners to classical compositions, and condemned for the pop-stylings that they infuse into these classical works.

All I know is that they are damn hot and know their way around a violin and cello.

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

   

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.

   

Theme Thursday: Eating

Posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2004

Dave!I eat for crap! So when Theme Thursday comes around with the theme of eating, I look around to see that the only thing edible in my office is my breakfast of Famous Amos Cookies and an A&W Root Beer. Usually, I am not a pop-drinker (preferring water), but I needed some sugar water to wake me up.

Definitely the breakfast of champions! Sadly, I will probably have the exact same thing for lunch.

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I love Paris

Posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2004

Dave!Before heiress Paris Hilton became famous for her "home movies," she filmed a show called The Simple Life which shows what happens when you take rich city girls and transplant them to a farm in Arkansas. In each episode they find new and unique ways of offending their hosts and just about everybody they meet, which makes for terrific entertainment. It should surprise no one that both Paris and co-star Nicole Richie (daughter or Lionel Richie) ended up doing whatever they wanted, while acting however they wanted, whenever they wanted to do it.

The Simple Life

In other words, they were behaving just like every other hot woman on the planet. The only difference is that they were filmed and have become television stars because of it. Forget baseball, this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me proud to be an American.

Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Miramax Sucks Ass

Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2004

Dave!One of the only things that was going to make my non-motorcycle-riding winter worthwhile was the coming of Kill Bill 2 on February 20. I was already pissed off that I had to wait that long, but today Variety breaks the news that Miramax has moved the release date to April 13. That's 94 days... over three freakin' months... away.

Uma Kill Bill Two!

What the f#@%?!? The movie is done, what in the hell are we waiting for? I didn't complain when the movie was split in half... whatever Quentin needs to fulfill his vision for the film is fine with me, but to pull something like this is unforgivable and doesn't make any sense at all. Fans of the first film... YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE YOU MIRAMAX DUMB ASSES... are dying to see part 2, and you now go out of your way to piss them off? If this stupidity is due to coinciding with a DVD release or some other moronic marketing crap I will be very disappointed. If this were any other film, I'd boycott the theatrical release just to be happy knowing that I didn't support Miramax for being such bastards. But it's Uma kicking ass on the big screen, so what can you do?

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

   

More MS BS

Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2004

Dave!Nothing is more amusing than when Microsoft cries "foul play" and starts whining about "freedom of choice" for computer users. It happens every single time that a company offers them any competition and, as Microsoft's monopoly grows bigger and stronger every day, gets funnier every time. Microsoft was hilarious when it did this as Apple's QuickTime started being adopted as a "standard" by industry groups like 3GPP. And it's downright hysterical that Microsoft is whining yet again now that HP has decided to bypass their crappy Windows Media Player in favor of Apple's iTunes and iPod. The guys over at As the Apple Turns sums it up perfectly:

Check it out, this was the best a company spokesperson could muster to undercut the announcement: "Windows is all about choice... we believe you should have the same choice when it comes to music services." Translation: "Use any service you want as long as it sells Windows Media, buy any player out there as long as it plays Windows Media-- but for heaven's sake, don't buy one of those wretched iPod thingies or we'll be completely boned with our whole plan to monopolize digital media commerce and then we might actually have to start innovating for our paychecks for a change."

So now HP has signed an agreement with Apple to create their own version of the iPod and to bundle iTunes on every PC they make. They wanted the best for their customers, saw that it was a non-Microsoft solution, and made the choice to go with Apple. But here's the interesting part... since HP computers run Windows, the Windows Media Player is included as well... so HP customers have the ULTIMATE in choice. They can go with iTunes/QuickTime or they can pick Windows Media. If Microsoft was truly about choice, they would encourage ALL Windows PC manufacturers to do the same.

Microsoft will undoubtedly clarify their statement and say that iPod/iTunes allows you to shop for music ONLY at Apple's music store, whereas Windows Media solutions allow you to shop at a number of different vendors, which is fine. But shouldn't that choice be left up to the consumer you whiny Microsoft bitches?

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

   

Alias Kills

Posted on Sunday, January 11th, 2004

Dave!Yet another killer episode of Alias tonight, which is pretty sweet considering we've been waiting weeks to see it. What's truly amazing is how creator J.J. Abrams is totally fearless when it comes to reinventing the show. You never know which characters are going to live, die, change, disappear, reappear... or even if the entire concept of the show is going to be altered.

Alias Cast

I have to admit that the ending was not as shocking to me as it could have been... they are running out of people that could switch from good to evil or evil to good (an Alias hallmark!), so it was only a matter of time before they got around to it. But still, the way everything dropped into place was pretty slick. Now if only they would find something to do with Dixon! His character used to be kick-ass cool when he was out on missions, but now he's barely in the show at all. Maybe he'll turn evil next.

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

   

Shynola

Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2004

Dave!For the most part, I think music videos suck ass. 90% of them are formulaic and blur together into a wash of boring images that don't enhance the song at all, 9% of the remainder are only good because they have hot babes in them, and only the final 1% seem to have any kind of vision. But every once in a while, an amazing video comes along that makes you glad you bothered to watch... the first one I remember doing that was a-ha's landmark video for Take On Me. Others have come and gone, but now I've run across this really cool retro video for Junior Senior's Move Your Feet.

Move Your Feet!

Junior Senior!

The above screenshots don't really do the video justice, because it's the movement that makes it so cool... kind of like an old Atari 2600 video game or something. The creators of the video, Shynola, have it available for download as a QuickTime movie, and you can take a look by clicking here. Oh yeah... the song's pretty good too!

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

   

Sign Me Up!

Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2004

Dave!Okay... a movie featuring motorcycles and hottie biker babes (called Torque)? Who is the genius behind such a perfect concept? Oog... looks like it's über-producer Bruce Berman. The guy has his share of hits (well, one anyway: The Matrix) and complete misses (Matrix: Reloaded, Matrix: Revolutions and just about everything else), so I guess it's anybody's guess as to how bad this movie might suck.

Torque: The Movie!

Watching the Torque trailer, I can see that they are mixing in some special-effects for the trickier (i.e., impossible) riding shots. I guess it will make for a more exciting movie, but it kind of sucks that reality is so blatantly absent from every film that hits the screen now-a-days. Oh well, I'm sure all the breasts are real...

Torque Biker Babe!

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

   

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.

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

   

Theme Thursday: Funky

Posted on Thursday, January 15th, 2004

Dave!This is a placeholder for my Theme Thursday photo. I do have one, but I seem to have lost my USB cable so I can't upload it from my digital camera. Sigh. I'll probably have a chance to look for it on Saturday.

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The Friday Five: write stuff

Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2004

Dave!1. What does it say in the signature line of your e-mails? Dave2. I used to have my favorite quote of all time: "No matter where you go, there you are" at the bottom (from the most excellent Buckaroo Banzai), but dropped it a few months ago.

2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? No. What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be? If Buckaroo Banzai had been released before I graduated, then it would have been the same quote as above but, as it were, I just signed my name.

3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say? If I were to get them for my car, they would say "F650GS" which is the model of my motorcycle that I'd rather be riding than driving in a car in the first place.

4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? Once that I can think of... it was on a metal picture frame. What did the inscription say? "You are my world." It was really sweet, but the bitch destroyed it when we broke up (after having carefully removed her photograph first). Don't feel bad for me though, as I had plenty of other photographs of her to tear up.

5. What would you like your epitaph to be? "He made a difference."

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

   

Rider Withdrawal

Posted on Saturday, January 17th, 2004

Dave!Last week I went to see the movie Paycheck (which is not as bad as you might think, seeing as it stars Ben Affleck), in which there is a major action sequence featuring a beautiful BMW 1150 R "Rockster" motorcycle. Ever since, I have been even more distraught over the fact that my F650 GS is put away for the winter.

Paycheck

BMW 1150 R Rockster

Lately the roads here have been free of ice, making me sorely tempted to haul out my ride and take a run through town. But since many of the streets are covered with sand and gravel left over from icier days, I wimp out and decide against it (knowing full well that I'd probably end up dumping it). All I can say is that the City had better get their cleaning trucks out on the streets to the minute the snows start to retreat.

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BMW R1200 GS!

Posted on Sunday, January 18th, 2004

Dave!Speaking of BMW Motorcycles... OneWheelDrive is reporting that their latest on-road/off-road dual-sport, the R1200 GS, is going to be released in Europe on March 13. This looks like a sweet machine, that's probably considerably more comfortable for touring jaunts than my little F650 GS. To top it all off, it looks damn cool...

BMW R1200 GS

BMW R1200 GS

Sigh. I'd be happy if I could just ride mine.

Categories: MotorcyclesClick To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

f#@% you cnet

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2004

Dave!Just when I think that I have finally reached a point where I can safely ignore cnet, whose take on "journalism" isn't fit to wipe my ass, they sink to even newer lows of being Microsoft-stroking, Apple-bashing morons. True, they've been against all things Macintosh from the very beginning, but now they are to the point where their constant attacks aren't just sniping at Apple with editorial ramblings and blowing actual problems out of proportion, oh no... now they are actually inventing bad news.

Lately, Apple has been promoting the use of their PowerMac G5 by Virginia Tech to create the word's third-fastest super computer. With off-the shelf Apple G5 computers, InfiniBand network cards, a lot of cable, and open-source software, Dr. Varadarajan and his team did the unthinkable: created a world-class supercomputer for a rock-bottom price of 5.2 million dollars... magnitudes less than solutions costing hundreds of millions with far less power.

But then along comes cnet to yet again do their best to smear Apple with shit. In an article charmingly called "A grain of salt with your Apple," they have decided to "warn" businesses that Apple's price tag is not accurate, and that using Macs involves all kinds of hidden costs. Naturally, nobody signed their name to the article... which is typical cnet bullshit... and none of the "facts" they trot out are verified, but who cares about that? Let's take a look, shall we:

The $5.2 million doesn't include hundreds of volunteer hours work. That's because volunteers are not paid you stupid jackass! The implication is that a business would have to pay for their Macs to be set-up, adding additional cost... which is true... but if you bought Dell or Sun computers, they somehow magically unpack themselves from their boxes, install their own network cards, and hop on the shelf and plug themselves in? Bitch, please. Even if you had to pay a team for 500 man hours at $20 an hour (unpacking a computer from a box @ $20 an hour is great work if you can get it), that adds just $10,000 to the bottom line. Whoopee. Even if you spent $100,000, that's a pimple on the ass of a $5.2 million project.

Virginia Tech had plenty of graduate students on hand to figure out how to best set-up the network and translate software to the Mac platform. Yes, but what you forgot to mention was that the software they used is open source you moronic prick. It was free for the translating! It's not as if they purchased 5 million dollars worth of software and then had to re-work it to the Mac... oh no, thanks to MacOS X's Unix architecture, Dr. Varadarajan tweaked existing open source code and compiled it to run on the Mac. While I am sure he probably had some help, the entire project was completed in less than 3 months, so even if you decided not to use the freely available technologies waiting and available for the Mac (like Apple's own X-Grid), how bad could it be? Again, the implication here is that this stuff adds millions of dollars in hidden costs which is far from the truth.

Since apple only has one computer in the top 500, it's just an experiment, and businesses should pay experts to design their clusters and not rely on Macs. Well somebody had to be first you condescending turd. Let me get this straight: Just because the solution is from Apple, it doesn't matter that it was far, far, far cheaper and exceeded every expectation... it still sucks because nobody else is using it? If that moronic logic was applied to all new technology that was released, we'd still be banging rocks together to make fire. What a complete dumbass! What excuse will cnet come up with when Apple has 20 computers in the top 500 and the software has been perfected, optimized, and is free for the download?

What's so stupid here is that people continue to rely on cnet for "news." They are clearly biased and inaccurate... how could you possibly trust anything that they say? Hell, their editorials aren't even signed! For all we know, this new bash against Apple was written by the president of Intel. The facts speak for themselves: you can buy a supercomputer cluster from Apple that is world-class in terms of speed, University-tested in terms of reliability, and much less expensive than anything else out there. Who are you going to trust... Virginia Tech who actually built the damn thing, or cnet who probably doesn't even know what a super computer is.

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

   

A Second Opinion on CNET Dumbasses

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2004

Dave!Wow, I just finish posting my rant against cnet in my previous entry, and now find this article on O'Reilly which does an even better job than I did of dissecting cnet's latest attack on Apple. At least Alex Graham and myself have the balls to put our name on what we write you cnet pussies.

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South Park Rules

Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2004

Dave!I have no idea how Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to churn out South Park shows that just keep getting better with each new episode. I've been too busy to watch television for the past few months, and have just been letting everything stack up on my Tivo. Well, the thing is finally getting full, so I've been trying to squeeze in a few shows here and there to make some room. Among those were about 6 episodes of South Park I hadn't seen.

Dave, Terrance, and Phillip

I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time, which was surprising because none of the episodes had my heroes Terrance & Phillip in them.

Cartman and Token

Probably the best episode ever was one called "Christian Rock Hard," where Cartman decides to form a Christian rock band to become rich and famous (since he has no talent, he figures Christian rock is the way to go... it seems to sell no matter how bad it sucks), and Stan, Kyle, and Kenny get arrested for downloading music off the internet. The usual hilarity ensues. If you haven't checked out South Park in a while, it is just as insightful, timely, and damn funny as it's ever been.

Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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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The Friday Five: Fave

Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2004

Dave!At this moment, what is your favorite...

1. Song? At this very moment it would have to be "You're Mine" by A Flock of Seagulls from their Light at the End of the World album. VH1 is getting old bands back together, and ever since I heard Flock would be one of them, I've been listening to their music... this song has been kind of stuck in my head ever since.

A Flock of Seagulls

2. Food? Totino's has out a new "Four Cheese" pizza that I've been currently consuming at a rate of about 3-4 a week. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Totino's makes these nasty pizzas you can often find on sale for around $1.00... they taste like crap, but I somehow like them anyway.

3. TV Show? Alias.

4. Scent? Vanilla.

5. Quote? I doubt my favorite quote will ever change... it's been the same for decades: "No matter where you go, there you are." --Buckaroo Banzai.

Buckaroo Banzai

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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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Happy 20th Birthday Mac!

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2004

Dave!Computers started out as a fascinating hobby for me and nothing more. My first PC was an Atari 800 that featured a whopping 48K of memory, a real keyboard, and pretty slick graphics (for the time) with a max res of 320 x 192. My parents bought it for me in 1980 along with a 5-1/4-inch disk drive for around $1200. I pretty much stuck with Atari for the next several years, graduating to an Atari 800XL(1982) and an Atari 1040ST (in 1986).

Atari 800

My loyalty to Atari ended in 1992 when I purchased a new scanner for my 1040ST which came with a free copy of Adobe Photoshop. The program didn't work on the Atari, only on a Mac, so I went out and bought a Macintosh Performa 600CD so I could use it.

Since that time, I have been a die-hard Mac user and have never looked back. I've upgraded a number of times over the years, including a Power Macintosh 8100, a PowerBook 2400, the PowerMac G3, an iBook G3... and finally landing with a Titanium PowerBook G4 1Ghz and the amazing G4 Cube (which is showing it's age, but is so damn cool that I cannot bring myself to part with it... it is undeniably the most beautiful computer yet made).

Macintosh G4 Cube

So Happy 20th Birthday to the Apple Macintosh, which revolutionized computers in 1984 and is still revolutionizing the computer world in 2004. I am profoundly grateful to have been using a Mac all these years (as opposed to the heinous Windows alternative) and look forward to my next 20 years as a Mac user.

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VH1 Reunited

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2004

Dave!I rarely have the time to just sit down and watch television and, on those rare occasions that I do, I usually end up watching only those shows that I have my Tivo record. But today was a little different. I had so much work to catch up on that I didn't want to risk being distracted by something "good" so I just parked the television on VH1 and left it there.

My plans for non-distracting television were dashed when the "Bands Reunited: A Flock of Seagulls" episode came on. I already had it recorded on my Tivo, but became instantly captivated and couldn't help but watch. Something about seeing people who have long since put their mega-star life behind them and moved on... only to be mercilessly ambushed with the prospect of a reunion with their old band mates... it's just compelling television.

Bands Reunited

Since I am a huge fan of AFOS... this episode was fantastic for numerous reasons (not the least of which is hearing them play again!). The stories behind the rise and fall of the group is just the icing on the cake.

A Flock of Seagulls, Reunited

But then VH1 continued on with more Bands Reunited episodes, including Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Klymaxx... each with loads of drama involved in getting the bands back together again. This is a really cool series that will captivate you, even if you don't like the bands they feature.

Now if only VH1 would provide an RSS feed for the companion blog to their other amazing show "Best Week Ever," I would be really happy.

   

I… Want… More…

Posted on Sunday, January 25th, 2004

Dave!Okay. I am officially addicted to VH1's new "Bands Reunited" show. The only problem is that it's not enough... I want MORE. I want to see Flock of Seagulls and Berlin's entire reunited concert! Not just the few songs they put at the end of the show, but the entire concert!! And what about a tour? I'd pay serious money to see some of these bands play. But even that is not enough... I want more bands to be reunited!

The original Depeche Mode... the original New Order... the original Thompson Twins... Breathe... Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark... Information Society... Johnny Hates Jazz.. The Kane Gang... The Psychedelic Furs... Talk Talk... When in Rome... THE SMITHS! Ack! So many cool bands from the 80's that I'd give anything to see back together, even if for just one night. The possibilities are endless, and just thinking about it makes me sick with anticipation over what new shows VH1 might dredge up for the next batch of episodes.

Ooooh... Romeo Void and The Alarm are just about the corner...

   

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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Mo Betta Betty!

Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2004

Dave!As most people who know me knows, I am a huge fan of Betty White. She can take any role and completely own it, and then eclipse anybody else who dares share a scene with her. Well, Betty was on Ellen today and revealed that she is guest-starring on three(!) episodes of The Practice starting February 15th! Sweet!

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Oscar Buzz

Posted on Wednesday, January 28th, 2004

Dave!I had already given my take on who should be winning an Oscar this year, but thought I would do a rough follow-up now that nominations are out:

Best picture: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," "Lost in Translation," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," "Mystic River, " "Seabiscuit." Who should win: This is a really tough call since the first three are all Oscar-worthy. I previously theorized that Return of the King should win based on the strength of the entire trilogy, but in retrospect I feel Lost in Translation is the better film. Who will win: I am guessing Return of the King has the edge.

Best Actor: Johnny Depp, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"; Ben Kingsley, "House of Sand and Fog"; Jude Law, "Cold Mountain"; Bill Murray, "Lost in Translation"; Sean Penn, "Mystic River." Who should win: Absolutely Bill Murray... not even a contest (though Johnny Depp made that film). Who will win: Bill Murray... how could he not?

Best Actress: Keisha Castle-Hughes, "Whale Rider"; Diane Keaton, "Something's Gotta Give"; Samantha Morton, "In America"; Charlize Theron, "Monster"; Naomi Watts, "21 Grams." Who should win: Uma's Kill Bill performance was overlooked (idiots!), and the only one of these films I saw was the excellent Whale Rider, so I have no clue. Who will win: It looks like Charlize Theron has the edge, though Nicole Kidman is a Hollywood darling that could prove an upset.

Supporting actor: Alec Baldwin, "The Cooler"; Benicio Del Toro, "21 Grams"; Djimon Hounsou, "In America"; Tim Robbins, "Mystic River"; Ken Watanabe, "The Last Samurai." Who should win: I admit I haven't seen all these films, but I don't need to... Ken Watanabe's performance was one of the best I have ever seen in a film. Who will win: My guess is Tim Robbins.

Supporting actress: Shohreh Aghdashloo, "House of Sand and Fog"; Patricia Clarkson, "Pieces of April"; Marcia Gay Harden, "Mystic River"; Holly Hunter, "Thirteen"; Renee Zellweger, "Cold Mountain." Who should win: I didn't see any of these films, but Holly Hunter stands out because she doesn't usually lower herself to dramatic pap like "Cold Mountain." Who will win: Renee Zellweger can't seem to get any hotter in Hollywood right now.

Best Director: Fernando Meirelles, "City of God"; Peter Jackson, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"; Sofia Coppola, "Lost in Translation"; Peter Weir, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"; Clint Eastwood, "Mystic River." Who should win: I maintain that the direction of special-effects spectacles like Rings is too much in the hands of people at the computers rather than directors... so Sophia Coppola easily gets my nod for best director of Translation which she wrote as well. Who will win: They'll probably give it to Jackson for Rings just because of the mammoth effort it took to film the entire trilogy (and that's not entirely wrong, I think).

Best Animated film: "Brother Bear"; "Finding Nemo"; "The Triplets of Belleville." Who should win: The magic that Pixar pulled off in Nemo gets my vote (though Triplets is brilliant). Who will win: Nemo.

As for the other awards... Original screenplay: Sophia Coppola should win and probably will. Adapted screenplay: This is an area where Lord of the Rings deserves to win... it's the impossible task somehow done really well, but I have a feeling Cold Mountain will take it. Art direction: Both Last Samurai and Master and Commander are deserving, and Samurai should take it. Cinematography: Last Samurai really should have been nominated but, since it wasn't, Cold Mountain will probably grab it.

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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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Blogging Iraq

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Dave!Lately I have been reading a number of blogs by Iraqi natives that provide a fascinating insight into what life has been like "after the liberation." I am not one who feels that war is the ultimate solution to all the world's problems, but I cannot help but be touched at how the lives of the Iraqi people have been changed.

One of my favorite Iraqi blogs is "Iraq at a Glance" by a dentist in Baghdad named A.Y.S., which has just become even more fascinating now that his mother (an English teacher of 20 years) has started posting as well. For anybody even a little curious about what it's like to be a citizen of Iraq with a blog right now, this is a great starting point.

But the blog that encouraged me to write this post today is "Iraq the Model." Yesterday Ali posted a response to a comment made by Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean about Iraq being worse off now than when Saddam was running the country. It is a powerful and eye-opening read, and defends American troops in a way that every American should be doing whether they agree with the war in Iraq or not. Here's an excerpt...

"By statements like these you deny any honourable motives for the great job your people are doing here. How in your opinion will this affect the morality of your soldiers? Feeling that their people back at home don’t support them and that they’re abandoned to fight alone in the battlefield."

"And all of this for what? For staying in the white house for 4 or 8 years? Is it worth it? And this is not directed only to Mr. Dean, it’s for all the Americans who support such allegations without being aware of their consequences. What’s it that you fight so hard for, showing your soldiers as occupiers and murderers, the soldiers who I had the honour of meeting many, and when talking to some of them, I didn’t see anything other than gentleness, honesty and good will and faith in what they’re doing."

Ali sums it all up by saying: "My heart goes with those brave people and the widows, orphans and mothers of the American soldiers who died while doing this great service for their country, ours and humanity. I can’t imagine what their response would be to such thoughtless words motivated with nothing more than selfish ambitions." (You can read the entire post by following this link.)

Politicians here are famous for spouting off crap that they think will get them votes or raise their popularity, despite the ramification of what their words might incite. Dean wanted to appeal himself to anti-war voters (like myself, I guess), and didn't seem to stop and think of what it might mean to our troops who are fighting and dying over in Iraq, nor the Iraqi people trying to rebuild their country. I can only hope that politicians will one day come to learn that being a leader is about more than just saying whatever it takes to be popular... and isn't it ironic that it takes somebody from Iraq, so new to freedom, to point this out?

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Uma Teaser Trailer Goodness

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Dave!Roger made my morning by sending me the link to the new Kill Bill Vol. 2 Teaser Trailer that's up at Yahoo in glorious QuickTime (I have no idea why Apple doesn't have it on their trailers page). Somehow I managed to miss it when it was posted last week.

Kill Bill 2 Teaser Trailer

While this does nothing to ease my anger about Miramax pushing back the February 20th premiere date to April... it does make me happy to know that the film is out there somewhere.

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Theme Thursday: Repeating Patterns

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Dave!Since I got my new camera, I actually shot quite a few photos that I thought would make a great post for today's "Theme Thursday" of repeating patterns. But it ended up one of the very first photos I took was the one I ended up liking the most...

Window Blinds

I think this was probably the third photo I ever took with the camera... I was interested in seeing how the EOS Digital Rebel handled the subtle shading details in my office window blinds. It was just a test, but it made for a pretty cool shot!

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The Friday Five: Thanks a Million

Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2004

Dave!You have just won one million dollars...

1. Who do you call first? The BMW dealership.

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself? A BMW Z4 Roadster Convertable 3.0i.

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else? Airline tickets.

4. Do you give any away? Absolutely. If yes, to whom? Probably some charities promoting animal conservation or child welfare.

5. Do you invest any? Yes. If so, how? Whatever my new investment broker thinks will be a good idea, so long as it doesn't involve weapon producing or environmental damaging companies.

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Queer One

Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2004

Dave!As I have mentioned many times, I absolutely loathe those Pier One commercials featuring a screeching Kirstie Alley dressed in dumb-ass prom dress rejects. Every time one of her insanely stupid ads airs, I want to puncture my ear drums and then gouge my eyes out.

Annoy me Kirstie!

Why in the hell would an advertiser want to annoy prospective customers of their product like that? Because it works. Pier One reported drastic increases in foot traffic (around 12-17% depending what you read) after the Kirstie Alley campaign began airing.

But, mercifully, they've hired a new commercial spokesperson to replace her: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Thom Filicia. This is quite a coup, because Thom is really good at his job (have you seen some of the things he does on Queer Eye?) in addition to being on a very popular show. Apparently, Thom is also in discussions to create his own line of decorator goods there as well, which means I may actually have to step foot in one of these places one day.

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Reunited… Again

Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Dave!Continuing on with my infatuation with VH1's Bands Reunited, I just watched the last episode of the series for another old-time favorite group The Alarm, and found it to be one of the best yet (unlike the episode for Squeeze, which was not only boring but disappointing as well). Oh how I hope that VH1 continues on with another season. Sure it won't be quite the same surprise when old band-mates are ambushed (since everybody knows about the show now), but there are so many bands out there left to be reunited...

   

Ecto!

Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Dave!The successor to "Kung-Log" has finally been release from beta and is now called "ecto." This is essential software for anybody running a Mac with OS X and keeping a blog. Thanks Adriaan!

   

Look, Boobies on TV!

Posted on Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Dave!Alrighty then... a show of hands as to how many people are actually gullible enough to believe that Justin Timberlake's exposure of Janet Jackson's breast during the Super Bowl Half-Time Show was an accident due to a "costume malfunction." Nobody? That's what I thought. It seemed like a very deliberate act to me (I watched it on Tivo several times to be certain) and the fact that she "just happened" to have a nipple shield seems to confirm it, because something like that just can't be comfortable (not to mention Justin singing "gonna have you naked by the end of this song").

Miss Jackson if You're Nasty!

Even more compelling is this pre-game news release by MTV which is now mysteriously absent from their site, but freely available in Google's cache...

Janet Shocker

Shocking moments indeed! But how hard is it to shock America when all it takes is two seconds of breast on television to freak people out?? Personally, I was more offended that Kid Rock used the American flag as a poncho, but what do I know? Anyway, that's television for you... make no mistake, it was absolutely planned. Janet and JT had to do something to counter that kiss between Madonna and Britney! I just wonder how Britney and Madonna are going to top it at the Grammies this weekend...

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Partial

Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Dave!So I'm working away when I get an e-mail from a friend who reminded me of something that made me feel like listening to music by the Pet Shop Boys (no, I don't know why). I own a lot of their stuff, but have some gaping holes in my collection that need filling, so it's off to the iTunes Music Store I go. My first purchase is their album Release, which I never got around to buying (despite having guitar work by Johhny Marr!!). So far so good. But then I decide to pick up the "Further Listening" albums which feature remixes and additional material to some of their most popular works...

Partial!

... and oh crap, we've entered the dreaded "PARTIAL ALBUM ZONE."

What the f#@%??

It seems that more and more often when I want to pick up something from iTMS, I can only get parts of it. This is utter crap! I can only guess that some of the songs on these albums are covers of other people's songs or written by somebody who won't hand over the rights to sell the song online. Whatever. I guess I will buy what I can and then try borrow the albums from friends so that I can steal the rest. Do I feel bad about having stealing music? Not in the least. Not even the tiniest bit. Because, obviously, I would gladly purchase the songs online if I were able to. I am not going to purchase half the stuff online, then pay for that exact same material again (assuming I somehow manage to find the CDs available for purchase in the first place, since some of them are out of print).

Yes, I sympathize with artists who are getting a raw deal because music companies are taking most of the profits of online sales. But you sleep in the bed you make, and I'm not going to cry over a contract that somebody else was foolish enough to sign. Musicians need to wake up, drop f#@%king recording companies altogether, take control of their own music, sell their own product directly using iTMS and other online/CD distribution methods, and then keep all the profits for their labors (which they deserve). So what if their sales drop, they would probably make more money in the long run because nobody would be taking the majority of the profits they would be earning. It's only a matter of time before our antiquated recording industry dies off, and if it means I'll be able to purchase entire albums online, I won't be sorry when they are gone.

   

Dreamy

Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Dave!And in the "color me surprised department," I am really into the Pet Shop Boys album I just bought called Release. It's a radical departure from their usual synth-pop stuff and has some really nifty slow tunes on it... my favorites being Home and Dry, E-Mail, and The Night I Fell in Love (sure I can't relate to it, but it's all good!). As expected, Johnny Marr adds sublime texture with his masterful guitar accompaniment (making me miss The Smiths and Electronic all the more). I guess it's time I look into Johnny Marr and the Healers which, alas, is not available for purchase from the iTunes Music Store.

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I’m Sad Today

Posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

Dave!

Sad Dave

Looking Dave

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Theme Thursday: Connected

Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Dave!Last night when I got home there was a VHS tape somebody loaned me about motorcycles that I wanted to watch, but when I popped it in the VCR nothing would happen. Since I haven't used a videotape in years, I had no idea if the VCR was broke or if something had gone wrong with how the VCR was connected to my receiver.

TT: Connected

After pouring through a mass of wires from my Receiver, TV, Tivo, DVD recorder, tape deck, VCR, MiniDisc Recorder, LaserDisc Player, and all the rest, I eventually found out that I had disconnected my VCR at some point to hook up my equally antiquated LaserDisc Player. Odd, because I can't remember the last time I watched an LD. Oh well, it made for an easy Theme Thursday photo!

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Lost and Found

Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Dave!I didn't think it was possible to ruin the perfection that is Sofia Coppola's brilliant character study Lost in Translation. Unfortunately, I was wrong. As I just found out, you can ruin a film on DVD. All you have to do is make it so that the viewer cannot simply insert the disc and watch the film... you force them to watch dumb-ass previews first...

Prisoner of Universal

Try hitting the "menu" button so you can watch the film and what do you get? OPERATION FORBIDDEN! You can fast forward through the previews, but you cannot stop them, and that sucks ass! I paid for the movie not your f#@%ing advertising you Universal Studios bastards.

Mr. Bill is Lost

Anyway, this is one of my favorites for 2003 and is highly recommended. But don't rent it expecting to see a cutsey romance or a film that does the thinking for you... this is very different. You are simply an observer of two people that find each other in an ocean of oddities that is a different culture. It is a film of quiet moments that allows you to decide for yourself who these people are and what they are thinking. It's not Hollywood, it's real life. You don't watch it, you experience it.

Tokyo Nights

As and added bonus, Lost in Translation also does an amazing job of capturing what it is like to be a foreigner in Japan. Numerous times while watching I had a touch of déjà vu that mirrored my own experiences from my travels to the land of the rising sun. It is respectful of Japanese culture, yet not afraid of poking fun at how foreigners perceive it (which is why I find it ludicrous that some people are calling this film "racist").

About the only thing missing from the DVD was a commentary track... I would have loved to hear Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson comment on the various scenes and what went into making them so wonderful to look at. What you do get is a short documentary by Sofia's then-husband Spike Jonze called "Lost on Location" that reveals how difficult it was to film "guerilla-style" in the streets of Tokyo without permits, prior arrangements, or a firm grasp of the language! The only thing that's more astounding than the film itself is what they had to go through to make it.

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The Friday Five: risky business

Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Dave!1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done? I'm tempted to say skydiving, but compared to asking for a date, that's a piece of cake. Nothing is more daring or terrifying than that awful moment of vulnerability where you ask a woman out... I keep thinking I will find something worse, but it hasn't happened yet.

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of? Well, my mother probably doesn't approve of skydiving, motorcycles, or some of the trips I take, so I suppose it's a little late to try and figure that one out.

3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)? When I was younger, I'd say it was a hard 8... but now I'm probably more of a 5. I don't avoid risks when they come up, but I don't go actively seeking them anymore either.

4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky? I had one of the most memorable days of my life.

5. ... and what's the worst? I got the crap beat out of me. Twice.

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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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Canon “Quality”

Posted on Saturday, February 7th, 2004

Dave!Along with my new Canon EOS Digital Rebel camera I purchased a FireWire memory card reader to get the photos into my computer (the camera only has USB-1, which is way too slow). But last night I didn't have my reader with me, and so I had to hook up directly to the camera only to find that the USB port doesn't work... in fact, it's so loose in the camera that I don't think it's even connected! So now I am having to send back a brand new camera to have it repaired. That seems to be my luck lately.

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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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Star Wars on DVD

Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Dave!The good news is that today Lucasfilm distributed a press release confirming that the original "holy trinity" of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi will finally be released on DVD in September. The bad news is that these will be the same crappy and much unimproved "Special Editions" from 1997. You know, the version where distracting computer-generated characters are crammed into every frame and Greedo tries to shoot Han Solo first? LAME! I had at least hoped that the original versions of the film would be a selectable option for those of us who love and remember the way they were first shown... you know, when Han Solo really was the scoundrel smuggler that Leia accused him of being... who shoots first and asks questions later... not some whiner in desperate need of a bitch-slapping.

StarWars

I simply don't understand how Lucas could be such a twit. First he creates one of the greatest films of all time in Star Wars, then follows that up with an even better film in Empire Strikes Back, only to flush the entire franchise down the toilet with Return of the Jedi (featuring dancing teddy bears, burp and fart jokes, and general moronic stupidity). I won't even go into the flaming pile of shit that is Episode 1 & 2... with even more burp and fart jokes and, heaven help us, Jar Jar Binks. Please, somebody stop Lucas before he can kill again!

Oh well. I still own the originals on LaserDisc, so I suppose I can always go and burn my own copy of the real films onto DVD. Problem is, I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT!! I can only hope that when George Lucas dies one of these days that his kids have more sense than he does and allows a re-release of the originals on DVD (or holocube or whatever media we'll be using then). Don't we true Star Wars fans deserve that much?

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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!

   

Theme Thursday: Fences

Posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2004

Dave!Behind my apartment complex is a big field with a horse pasture at the end. This time of year I feel somewhat sorry for the horses there because it seems like it would be cold and boring trapped behind those fences...

Fences 1

This horse was so bored that he got all excited to see me taking pictures and decided to wander up and say hello. I check to see if I happen to have a carrot or lump of sugar on me, but I'm afraid it's just my wallet, car keys, and ChapStick today. Sorry about that buddy...

A horse!

Last in my series of "fences photos" is this shot of a train bridge that's apparently dangerous. As you can tell, we have a bit of a fog happening here this morning...

Danger!

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The Friday Five: Superstition

Posted on Friday, February 13th, 2004

Dave!1. Are you superstitious? No. Well, maybe. I have a map of the world on my office wall where I stick a flag pin for each Hard Rock Cafe I visit. I always stick the pin in before I take the trip, with the thinking that if the pin is already in the map, I'll make it home safely. But that's more of a tradition and superstition I think.
2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition? It is said that if thirteen people sit down at a dinner together that one will die before the year is through. When I was in a restaurant in New York, a woman stood up and started screaming, then left the restaurant while a few people ran after her. Eventually the reason she was screaming made its way through the restaurant... half way through the meal, she realized that there were 13 sitting at her table and she thought she was going to die. If she really believed that, then maybe she did.
3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition? That if you don't hold your breath and stick two fingers in the air while driving through a tunnel, you'll have a wreck.
4. Do you believe in luck? I believe that people make their own luck, so yes. If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual? I have a Helly-Hanson baseball cap and a pair of Joe Boxer underwear with Hawaiian TikiBowl & Bowlerama signs on them that I like to think are pretty lucky.
5. Do you believe in astrology? Not really. Why or why not? While I do find Chinese astrology to be eerily accurate for myself and several people I know, I honestly don't believe that there are any outside forces controlling our lives, nor that our destiny is predetermined or predictable in any way. I was born in the Year of the Horse and am a Fire Sign, which I am told is a unique thing... "Horses born under the element sign of fire are said to be blessed with great fortune or cursed will great misfortune. Sometimes they are served both, but in any event, a fire horse will never lead a 'normal' life." Isn't that the truth.

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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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Angel

Posted on Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Dave!Well crap! The WB Network has just cancelled one of my favorite television shows: Angel. What a horrible way to start my day! What's really surprising is that this is turning out to be one of the best seasons of the show ever, and the addition of James Marster's Spike to the cast makes each new episode a classic ("feel my wrath you barrel tossing monkey!"). I thought the ratings were doing okay as well, which is why this is a particularly puzzling thing to have happen.

The Cast of Angel

I honestly don't understand how The WB can afford to lose a show with such a devoted following considering that most of their other shows suck ass. It especially doesn't make sense when you consider how much money that they are making off of video and DVD sales for both Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You'd think that they would want to keep that franchise cash cow going for as long as possible.

Oh well, that's one less thing I have cluttering up my Tivo next season. I suppose that I should be grateful we got the 100+ shows that aired, and hope for occasional TV movies of the "Buffyverse" in the future.

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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!

   

Betty Kicks More Ass!

Posted on Sunday, February 15th, 2004

Dave!I had never watched The Practice past the first few episodes, because it just seemed like David E. Kelley overload, and not terribly interesting. As I wrote a while back, Betty White is guest-starring for three episodes so, naturally, I had to tune in and watch.

Wow. Not only did Betty kick ass playing a bitter, money-grubbing old bitch... but the show is fantastic! James Spader is riveting as a the lead lawyer who engages in questionable activities (and even more questionable ethics) in defense of his client. I wish I had known that the show ended up being this interesting when Spader came on board at the beginning of the season.

Back to Betty... she's amazing, of course. I always love it when she plays against type and isn't afraid to portray somebody nasty! She not only holds her own in every scene, but really makes herself out to be loathsome, which is pretty tricky when she looks like somebody's sweet old grandmother. I sure wish more directors would realize how nifty it is to put Betty White in their shows. How cool would it be if the head of "The Covenant" on Alias... one of the most ruthless and powerful people in the world... ended up being Betty? That would be totally sweet! Too bad we don't get another new episode of Alias for three frickin' weeks!!

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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.

   

Theme Thursday: Orange

Posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2004

Dave!When I read that the theme for this Thursday was "orange" I thought it would be pretty easy. But then I realized that there is not a lot of orange in my life this time of year... couldn't they have picked this theme in the Fall?? Anyway, just when I was about ready to give up, I was placing my newly acquired "Friends: The Complete Sixth Season" DVD set on the shelf and something orange caught my attention...

Freinds on DVD

You will notice that as the years progress they show how each of the six characters has changed over time. That's pretty cool! But then look at "Season 4," which is the orange one... they forgot to label it! How in the heck did they not catch this error in the art department is beyond me, because whenever a graphic artist works on a series of items you ALWAYS compare the newest in the series to all the previous pieces to be sure stuff like this doesn't happen. Oh well. Since I do this kind of stuff for a living, I'm sure I'm more sensitive to it than most people.

Putting Friends aside, there is a photo from back in December that I thought of immediately when the word "orange" was put in front of me... it's a photo I took in Chinzan-so after having dinner with friends in Tokyo. The leaves were so beautiful in shades of orange and red that it was almost painful to look at...

Orange Leaves

It's pretty tough to match a Japanese maple when the leaves are turning.

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The Friday Five: Last

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2004

Dave!When was the last time you...

1. Went to the doctor? I have no idea... it's been years since I've seen a doctor-doctor.

2. Went to the dentist? I go every six months and my next appointment is in March, so I guess that would be September 2003.

3. Filled your gas tank? That was this past Sunday... Valentine's Day. I am really looking forward to driving my motorcycle again so I don't have to waste so much money on gas.

4. Got enough sleep? Probably my last night in Japan a few months ago... I got back to the hotel room early, and had a late afternoon flight the next day so all I did was sleep until then. That would be December 8th.

5. Backed up your computer? According to my log file, my PowerBook was last backed up on February 6th. I don't back it up very often because all the projects on it are written to my iDisk, which are then backed up by Apple's ".Mac" servers. I have never had to restore from a backup on any Macintosh computer I have ever owned, so I don't really worry about backing up as much as I probably should.

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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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Send in the clowns

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2004

Dave!When you publish your thoughts on a blog that's open for the entire world to see, you are bound to have people reading it that are not going to agree with you. That's fine with me because everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Some of these people feel the need to send an e-mail telling me that they disagree, which is also fine. If the e-mail is intelligent and thoughtful, I may even bother to read it. If it's particularly compelling, I may even reply.

But then there are the morons who do not send thoughtful and intelligent e-mail... they send moronic hate mail that is just a waste of time because I don't even bother to read it past the first line before hitting the "delete" button. Hey, life is too short, and if you want to behave like that please feel free to start your own blog and stop reading mine.

And then I really did it... I made a joke about hating clowns so much that I wish I could set a clown's ass on fire. Apparently, when you slander a clown like this, there is a coalition of clown-loving morons that feel the need to inundate the offender (me) with charming e-mails calling you "sick" and "stupid." Some of the e-mails were so over-the-top that you'd think I had actually set a clown on fire rather than having just joked about it in a cartoon. And there's my real problem with these idiots... IT WAS A FRICKIN' CARTOON FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Pull that stick out of your ass and loosen up!

But anyway, in the interest of being diplomatic to any clown lovers that might be reading this blog, I will issue an apology. Yes, I still hate clowns. I don't find them at all funny... I find them scary and stupid. But that's no reason to joke about wanting to set a clown on fire, and it was never my intention to promote violence against any living thing. That was wrong.

In the future, I won't make any more jokes about clowns on fire. Instead, I'll joke about hitting them with baseball bats...

DaveClown2

Now that's funny!

   

Commentary

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2004

Dave!Okay, this whole clown thing is getting out of control. I'm sorry that the thought of setting a clown's ass on fire is funny to me... really I do. And apparently my attempt to fix the situation in my last post only made things worse. Don't you clown people find anything funny? If you don't, then why read this blog? My smart-assed comments are just bound to upset you, so do us both a favor and stop reading!

It has been suggested that I might not get attacked by the Clown Coalition so much if I would turn comments on. Well, because of stupid comment-spam attacks I suffered through last time (as mentioned in my BlogFAQ), and the fact that nobody ever really left comments to begin with, I just though it better to leave them off. Well, enough people have asked that I've decided to turn them on for a while and see what happens (commenting has been activated starting from January 1 entries).

Everybody be nice.

UPDATE: Well that was fast... I've had comments on for 5 whole minutes and have already received comment-spam for an online casino and some pill that's supposed to be even better than Viagra!

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I can’t sleep

Posted on Saturday, February 21st, 2004

Dave!For the past few weeks, I've had the worst luck getting a decent night's sleep. This sucks because I'm in a constant state of zombie-like tiredness throughout the entire day... and yet I still can't seem fall asleep each evening. Tonight is no different. I barely have the brain-power to type, so anything too complex is out of the question. Mindless blog surfing seems the perfect solution! And that's when I run across an entry on Adriaan Tijsseling's blog about the futility of a new photo rating system in Apple's iPhoto. It does seem like a bizarre feature, but a great way to kill time until SNL comes on.

I've got nearly 2000 photos packed into my iPhoto album, and quickly find that most of my photos are "average," so I am giving them 3 stars. On the rare event that something seems 5-star worthy, it's not really because of the photo... it's because the subject is 5-star worthy. Like, for instance, this amazing sculpture I snapped at the Vatican:

Vatican Cherub

And this really cool shot of the Eiffel Tower:

eTower

Or this beautiful photograph of the Grand Canyon at sunset:

GrandCanyon

See? It has nothing to do with me. It's not like I've done anything smart or artistic... how could anybody make those shots look bad if they had a decent camera? So do they really deserve 5-stars just because I happened upon them? Or do I reserve a 5-star rating for some piece of subtle genius like this shot that I took in Stockholm:

Infart!

Heh heh heh... it says "fart!" Oh well, I give up... there doesn't seem to be much point in rating my photos, and SNL is on in five minutes.

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YEEEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!

Posted on Sunday, February 22nd, 2004

Dave!All week long, I've been depressed about the weather forecast continuously calling for snow this weekend. It seems as though just when I think we've seen the last of it, we get dumped on. This is heartbreaking for a guy like me that wants nothing more than to pull out his motorcycle and start riding! Yesterday was overcast (though not terrible), but since snow was forecast for Sunday (today), I didn't bother to get excited.

Then a miracle happened. I woke this morning to find nothing but beautiful blue skies... no snow after all! In disbelief I toss on some clothes and run outside. It's cold... really cold... but it's an otherwise perfect day! Not bothering to even get cleaned up, I tear out of the apartment and drive over to my grandmother's garage where my beautiful BMW F650-GS has been hibernating for the winter. Time to get to work! I've got to remove the blocks, clean off the protective coating, charge the battery, check fluid levels, inflate the tires... all those fun things you have to do after a motorcycle sits for the winter.

Two hours later, it's go time...

Happiness is...

I haven't been this happy in a long time. At first I was just going to buzz around town... but then I decided to take a run up the canyon... then I decided to run to Wenatchee... then I kept going to Waterville (about 35 miles away). If I hadn't stopped myself, I probably would have ended up in Spokane! There were a few sphincter-puckering moments with some gravel, and I wasn't dressed warm enough... but I don't think I stopped smiling for the 2-1/2 hours I was riding! And I wasn't the only one... I saw dozens of motorcycles out today, which was pretty cool. MOTORCYCLES RULE!!

The road to Waterville.

About the only let-downs for the day are...
  • When I finally got back and parked I discovered a small oil leak. I am going to have to spend some time trying to figure this one out, and am more than a little upset that I have a leak with a bike that is less than a year old. It had better not be anything serious.
  • I was nearly broad-sided by some moron talking on his mobile phone. Fortunately, I anticipated it and had already corrected my path as he started turning into me, but WTF?!? It never fails.
  • More snow is forecast for Tuesday, so I may not be able to ride again until next weekend.

All in all, not a bad day for Dave.

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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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Censorship

Posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2004

Dave!I am not deaf, so I can only imagine how bad it must suck not to be able to hear the world around you. I can only guess at the daily difficulties involved in striving to live a life no different than that of hearing people. And now I can only sympathize that a deaf American's life is going to suck a little more because the U.S. Department of Education consists of f#@%ing fascist morons that feel deaf persons are no longer capable of deciding for themselves what is "educational" entertainment on television.

As you can read on this press release by the National Association of the Deaf, almost 200 television programs have been declared "inappropriate," and will no longer be eligible for Closed Captioning (a.k.a. "subtitles") funding. At first I was nonplussed at this news, because there is so much crap on television that 200 of the worst shows would hardly be missed. And then I read the list. What the f#@%?!? These are not shows featuring hard-core pornography or gruesome and gratuitous violence... these are staples of the American television experience! If I were deaf, and all of a sudden found out that I could not watch my favorite programs, I'd be pretty pissed. Here is just a small sampling of shows I enjoy that I could no longer watch (shows with an asterisk* are cartoons for heaven's sake!):

  • Auto Racing
  • NBC Sports
  • Bewitched
  • Classic Cartoons*
  • Dexter's Laboratory*
  • Fairly Odd Parents*
  • JAG
  • Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius*
  • Justice League*
  • Law & Order (all 3 of them!)
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • Samurai Jack*
  • Spider-Man & Friends*
  • Teen Titans*
  • The Simpsons*

Do you notice how many cartoons are on that list? And I only listed a small handful of those I like! How much does it suck to be a deaf kid and not be able to watch all the shows your friends are watching? Apparently, this all has to do with their "educational value" which is ludicrous. I learn more in an episode of Law & Order than I learned most days in college. And I have yet to see an episode of The Simpsons that didn't have some interesting facts and a moral lesson of some kind. This is not a judgment call about education, it's censorship. What if you wanted to be a professional baseball player or race car driver when you grow up? Wouldn't sports and racing on television be educational then? What if you are a professional animator... watching cartoons is educational research! All the world is experiences to be learned from... even TV shows.

I am absolutely outraged that a country founded on freedom is run by government agencies that would deny freedom of choice from deaf Americans. Who is the government to say what programs are of educational value when our schools suck so bad? I notice that The Prince of Egypt is deemed educational... but to whom? Well, since it's a bible story, I'd imagine that it's only educational to deaf Christians, so now we are having the government dictate which religions are educational?

Spread the word. Write your congressman. Let the government know that "we the people" will not tolerate censorship for any of its citizens. If you don't act now, how long will it be before cartoons, sports and other cool shows are denied to all of us because they lack "educational value?"

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Grey Tuesday

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Dave!Why is Blogography grey today? Glad you asked! I've decided to join in with the others over at GreyTuesday.org in protesting the recording industry's ever increasing restrictions on artistic expression. A while back DJ Danger Mouse did something very curious... he blended tracks from Jay-Z's Black Album with samples lifted from The Beatles' White Album and created something wonderful and new called, you guessed it, The Grey Album.

This was no easy task, as the original works are completely different in style, tempo, feeling, and philosophy. But the result is pretty amazing. Unfortunately the dumbass party poopers at EMI records (who co-own a huge chunk of The Beatles' music catalog along with Michael Jackson) have issued cease and desist letters to anybody distributing The Grey Album... even if they aren't charging for it.

Dave Grey Tuesday

What totally blows about all this is that up-and-coming DJs wanting to break into the business have historically done exactly this type of thing in order to hone their mixing talents and work on their DJ skills. What's the harm in it? Does EMI honestly think that an album that has sampled tracks from The Beatles will cut into Beatles' album sales? I mean, money is all they care about (anybody believing that EMI is somehow trying to "preserve the integrity" of The Beatles' music is deluding themselves), and it's kind of stupid to think that sales of The White Album are going to plummet because of this. Hell, they may very well rack up new sales from an audience that has never even heard it before!

Being an artist is an exercise in creativity that requires drawing inspiration from the world around you. Forbidding an artist to explore that creativity will not only hurt the future of the music, but ultimately the consumers who want to listen to it as well.

Categories: DaveToons 2004, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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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Lies! (and the lying liars at Canon that tell them)

Posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

Dave!I was pretty upset that my brand new Canon EOS Digital Rebel camera had a defective USB port. I was a little more upset that I was expected to pay for shipping it to Canon to be fixed (hey, it wasn't my fault their Quality Control Dept. screwed up!). But that is nothing compared to the fact that I was told it would be 7-14 days for the repair... and now it's day 15 and I still don't have my camera back.

Canon is saying that they didn't enter it into the repair shop until the 17th... but I have a FedEx confirmation of delivery on the 10th. Which means they sat on it for 7 days. When I complained, I was told this was a "normal" amount of time. Well, if a 7-day delay is normal, they should stop lying about a turn-around of 7 to 14 days and instead give a more accurate time frame of 14-21 days.

Needless to say, I am really pissed about this. Why is it that everything you buy is total crap anymore?

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

   

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.

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

   

Theme Thursday: Unfinished

Posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2004

Dave!When the theme for this Thursday arrived as "unfinished," it was a real mind-bender. There are so many things in my life left unfinished that I didn't really know where to begin. Eventually, I just decided to photograph my long-unfinished comic book project: Void Normal. I had dragged all my notes and pages out of storage this past weekend so that I could take a look and perhaps get inspired to start in on the project again. Once I got everything sorted out, there were 53 pages of art... every single page unfinished in some way or another.

TT Unfinished 1

I have lost count of the number of times that I have started and stopped working on this book over the past 20 years. In looking through the pages, I notice that some of them had been re-drawn 3 and 4 times because my drawing style kept evolving and I wanted everything to look the same. Some of the earliest stuff is complete crap, but on the pages dated 1992, things started coming together. Still, compared to the stuff I am drawing now (over a decade later!), it still seems pretty amateurish.

TT Unfinish 2

It's amazing that the art has changed so drastically over time, yet the story has remained the exact same. So while the costumes, clothing, and locations seem dated in these older pages, everything else is good to go. I re-read the entire script for all 12 issues and think it is just as timely and powerful now than it has ever been. Hopefully this Summer I will force myself to make some time to scrap everything and start over from page 1. Nothing would make me happier to finally have VN see print in the Spring of 2005!

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The Friday Five: None for You

Posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2004

Dave!Yet another week without a Friday Five. Bizarre that they don't ever seem to have any sets of questions in reserve for those times when there is "too much going on." Since the questions come from reader suggestions, it doesn't seem like it would take much time at all. Oh well. I decided to make my own "Friday Five" from suggestions found on "Blog Ideas." This can be dangerous, because their ideas can be a bit odd, but I'll give it a shot...

1. How good is your penmanship? Not so good now that everything I "write" is typed out on a computer. In the 80's I had swell penmanship for printing... I've always sucked at cursive.

2. Have you ever seen a dead body? Unfortunately, yes... but surprisingly, it was not because I killed anybody!

3. How do you feel about being naked? I'm fine with it. The question that you should be asking is how do other people feel about me being naked.

4. The perfect pizza? As I've blogged before... pizza perfection is the "Da Vinci" (Feta cheese, basil pesto, fresh tomato & mozzarella) from David's Pizza in Spokane, Washington. Yes, really.

5. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours? That's a no-brainer... Elizabeth Hurley. I would gladly be tied to such brutal hotness for the rest of my life.

   

Map

Posted on Saturday, February 28th, 2004

Dave!The weather is suh-weet today, so it looks like a ride on my motorcycle is definitely in order (after I spend an hour or two cleaning it up). In the meanwhile, a friend had asked why I haven't blogged my "visited States and Countries" like everbody else in blog-space. The reason is pretty simple... I didn't think the map was a good color for my site. Seriously. But, in the interest of conformity, I decided to make my own map just in case there are people who can't sleep at night because they are wondering what States I've been to. Well here you go...

Dave USA

I absolutely plan on visiting Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont one day... no question about it. Ditto for Alaska and New Mexico (Taos!). But that run of States down the middle? I just don't know. Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument are in South Dakota, but everything else? Who knows, maybe one day I'll get really bored and just drive through all of them in a single run just to say I've been there (heck, MapQuest shows that if I fly into Bismarck, then rent a car and drive through all the central Sates I'm missing to Oklahoma City, it takes a mere 16 hours and 34 minutes (anybody want to share that drive with me?).

The world map for visited countries is pretty anemic, which is scary considering I've seen more of it than most people. Let's just make a list, shall we? USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong (China?), Indonesia, Malaysia, United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), Ireland, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Italy, Vatican City, France, Belgium, Sweden, and Iceland.

When it comes down to it, there's really no place in the world I don't want to see... I want it all (Spain, Portugal, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, and Mainland China are first in line). I can only hope that I'll have the opportunity to experience a lot more of it before I go.

UPDATE: Finally visited Alaska, so that's off my list now.

Categories: Blogging 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Robert’s America

Posted on Saturday, February 28th, 2004

Dave!After I mentioned the idea of renting a car to hop through the States of the Mid-West in my last entry, Robert left a comment telling me that the only way such a trip would be cool is if I were to take it on my motorcycle. Though I question the sanity of attempting such a thing in the week timeframe he suggested, his itinerary does sound like an awesome road trip!

Robert's Mid-West Run

From my comment reply to Roger... Easy? A WEEK? Insanity. That would be 650 miles each day, 10 hours riding. The most I can ride on my motorcycle in a go is 5 hours (with stops!) before my ass falls off. So, unless you are volunteering to give me your cruiser, this is a two week trip minimum. I could never get that kind of time away from work. In a side note, thanks for the tip about RandMcNally.com! Ever since MapQuest dumped their "Road Trip Planner," it's been tough to figure stuff like this out. The RM planner rocks!

If only I could actually take three weeks away from my life to do something like this. Perhaps a plan for retirement? The trip planner he mentions at Rand McNally is really cool, by the way... MapQuest uses GIF, so their maps aren't as fuzzy, but RM has a lot more to offer.

Categories: Motorcycles, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Oscar Bait

Posted on Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Dave!Since Billy Crystal came back to hosting the Academy Awards, I decided to have them playing while I worked... Funniest Moment: Adrian Brody's breath freshener (runner up: any moment with Billy Crystal). Most Deserved Oscar: Sofia Coppola's original screenplay (runner up: Finding Nemo's best animated film). Most Undeserved Oscar: Sean Penn's best actor... he's good, but dozens of other actors could have played that role equally well, whereas nobody else could have pulled off Bill Murray's performance in Lost in Translation. Best Unrecognized Performance: Uma Thurman from Kill Bill.... again, how many other actresses could have pulled that off? Best Speech: Renée Zellweger's best supporting actress. Worst Speech: Sean Penn's not-so witty WMD comment (I feel the exact same, but it was completely inappropriate here... Tim Robbins was able to restrain himself, but you couldn't? Dick.)... oh hell, all of the speeches were pretty terrible, because all I heard after the first 20 seconds was "blah blah blah blah blah." Hottest Babe: Jennifer Garner (runners up: Catherine Zeta Jones, Charlize Theron). Most-Missed Babe: Halle Berry.

Dave & Oscar

Overall a pretty good show. The only lingering question is whether Lord of the Rings deserved such overwhelming praise... best adapted screenplay, absolutely... best special effects, definitely... but the others? Perhaps. As I mentioned before, I honestly think that it is winning not for the film Return of the King that was nominated, but is instead winning for the entire trilogy. When thinking about it that way, perhaps it is deserving.

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  11 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Lame!

Posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

Dave!You may have noticed that I don't post any of those dippy quiz results that seem to be all the rage in other blogs. No offense to those of you who love nothing better than hanging out at Quizilla all day answering questions, but I don't find those things to be even remotely entertaining. Who gives a crap "what kind of flower," or "how caring," or "which Star Wars character" you are? How boring. If you can't think of anything interesting to say, filling up space in your blog with lame quiz results is not going to make it any more entertaining to read.

Maybe I would feel differently about quizzes if they were something cool that I could relate to. Perhaps something like these...

Deadly Disease Quiz - EBOLA

Fart Quiz - SQUEAKER

Bodily Fluid Quiz - URINE

The problem is that even cool quizzes become lame when they are plastered on half the blogs on the internet. Keeping that in mind, I prefer the solution that Jeff came up with over at Geekable...

Geekable Quiz

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

UPDATE: Two-and-a-half months of people begging for this to be a real quiz later, and I relented. you can read about the "real" Fart Quiz here.

   

Wah!

Posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

Dave!Bummer. I e-mailed my BMW dealer this morning (they were closed yesterday) with photos of my leaking motorcycle, only to be told that I should not be riding it (not that I had planned on it). Instead, I had to call BMW roadside assistance to arrange to have my F650-GS picked up and trucked over to Seattle. Oddly enough, BMW only covers the first $100 of the "towing" expense which probably doesn't go very far toward a 150 mile trip. As if not being able to ride my motorcycle on a fantastically beautiful day like today wasn't bad enough, now I have to pay for transportation as well? My motorcycle only has 1600 miles on it!

Dave's leaky motorcycle.

UPDATE: Not that I would wish a break-down on any motorcyclist, but if you DO break down, I hope you are as fortunate as I have been today. My dealership (RideWest BMW in Seattle) has been great... response time has been immediate. BMW roadside assistance has been amazing... it only took 10 minutes to arrange a pick-up. Now I find out that a local towing company will be stopping by in 20 minutes to get the bike. It'll be at the repair shop today. I've been told that not only will RideWest BMW be taking a look at it as soon as it arrives so they can get me my ride back A.S.A.P., but they will also cover any additional towing fees!

If you live in Western Washington and are thinking of buying a BMW motorcycle (and you should be!), I cannot recommend RideWest BMW highly enough. My every experience with all aspects of their sales, service, and follow-through surpasses my every expectation. So, while it does suck that I can't ride, I feel a lot better knowing that RideWest has my back when things go wrong.

UPDATE: Buh Bye. She's beautiful, even when she's leaking...

Bye Bye Bike.

And JUST LOOK AT THAT CLEAR BLUE SKY!!!! Arrrgh! Though I have to say that even the guy from the towing company was really cool about making sure I was treated with respect and gave me every assurance that he'd take good care of her. Then a quick call to RideWest to let them know it's on the way, and again they are totally cool about everything... making sure to let me know that they'll get it fixed up as soon as possible, and everything will be perfect again.

Man, I take a look at the service and respect I've gotten from every single person involved with my misfortune today, and and I can't help but think back to every other time I've had to deal with a similar situation... Panasonic, Canon, Dell, all of them SUCK ASS!! BMW rocks. RideWest BMW rocks. BMW Roadside Assistance rocks. Dick's Towing rocks. If only other businesses tried even a fraction as hard as these people do, I wouldn't be overwhelmed with dread every time I go and buy something. I will never again regret having spent the extra money to buy a BMW... at least I'd better not!

UPDATE: RideWest called to confirm safe delivery of my motorcycle, and they are starting work on it right away. Very cool. I sent my first e-mail with the problem a mere six hours ago!

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SuperSize

Posted on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004

Dave!I read on Fox News today that McDonalds is phasing out the "SuperSize" menu items, and will have eliminated them entirely by the end of the year. Since I have never once purchased anything SuperSized, I can't say this affects me much. Heck, since McDonalds refuses to sell thier McVeggie Deluxe burger outside of their Times Square restaurant, it's not like I eat there often anyway.

I never really understood the concept of "SuperSizing" in the first place. Who can eat such a huge amount of food? Even if you can eat that much food... is it really healthy to eat so much of this food?

Dave Super Size It!

Maybe the idea is for the people who SuperSize to grow into the food they're eating... that way the SuperSize foods will eventually seem normal sized by comparison?

SuperSize Dave!

Here's the burning question that's been on my mind for years... at McDonalds you can SuperSize fat-drenched potatoes, you can SuperSize carbonated sugar syrup... but you can't SuperSize a salad or an orange juice? Why is it that the healthier the food is, the more it costs and the less of it you get? How can people afford to eat healthy when crap foods at fast food joints are so ridiculously cheap?

I suppose when you have a heart attack and end up in the hospital, or end up taking drugs for high cholesterol, that you end up paying more for a bad diet after all. If that's the choice, I think I'll go ahead and pay more up front rather than letting doctors and drug companies collect it on the back-end.

UPDATE: I got an e-mail telling me about a movie called "Super Size Me" about a filmmaker who are nothing but McDonalds food for an entire month. As a result, he gained 24 pounds, and had his cholesterol level rise 65 points(!). That's cool... I want to see this film!

Categories: DaveToons 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: desperation

Posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2004

Dave!Today's Theme Thursday had me pretty perplexed. I didn't have any idea what I was going to shoot for desperation. No clue. Nada. I thought that I would just cheat and find an old photo to use, but then I looked on my desk and saw a bit of desperation...

TT desperation.

Here's the story: Last Friday I paid off my car 5 months early... it was killing me to make both car and motorcycle payments every month, so I thought it best to just bite the bullet and make the car loan go away. Now I have absolutely no cash. For the next month or so my finances are going to be very tight. In a surge of desperation, I started counting my loose change, and then pulled out my collection of leftover money from my trips abroad. I thought perhaps I could get it all sorted out and exchange it for real money so I could buy food or something.

Unfortunately, though the foreign currency adds up to a tidy sum... not a lot, but enough to buy a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread... I sincerely doubt I will be able to trade in $8 of baht, $5 worth of lira, $4 worth of francs, $15 worth of yen, $2 worth of whatever... because no exchange agency is going to want to mess with such petty sums. Oh well, I guess it makes a good souvenir of my trips (USA currency is so bloody boring compared to other countries).

Perhaps I should start selling my crap on eBay?

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The Friday Five: fave

Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2004

Dave!What was...
1. Your first grade teacher's name?
Mrs. Jones.
2. Your favorite Saturday morning cartoon? Super Friends. "Wonder Twin powers... activate!"
3. The name of your best friend? There were several kids on my block and all could be considered "best friends" while I was growing up.
4. Your favorite breakfast cereal? Cocoa Puffs. This was the most awesome cereal ever, until they made it "more chocolatey" which made them taste like plastic. Ugh.
5. Your favorite thing to do after school? In elementary school, it was playing outside (with gobs of friends). In junior high, it was playing video games (with one or two friends). In high school, it was playing on my computer (by myself). Don't you find it curious how escalating technology advancement seems to isolate us from physical interaction?

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

   

Bad new / Good news

Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2004

Dave!Well, my motorcycle is all fixed over in Seattle... turns out it wasn't a major leak, but instead some sort of oil switch that gave out. My big plan was to hitch a ride over to the coast with a friend tomorrow morning and ride back in the afternoon. Problem is, the weather is not being very cooperative:

Snowy Pass

It's supposed to snow all night on the mountain passes, which means that even if the weather clears up, all the sand and gravel that was dumped on the road over the evening will make the roads a mess. I don't want my first distance ride to end with an accident, so I've decided to pay a company $65 to haul it over next week sometime. Oh well. Better safe than very, very sorry.

That was the bad news. Here's the good news... Martha Stewart has been found GUILTY on four counts related to her insider trading scandal. This means that unless she wins an appeal, she will be facing some serious jail time. It's a good thing!

Martha in Jail!

Here's hoping that her television show, magazine, home furnishing line, and the rest of her boring, sanitized empire goes down the toilet with her. Do I loathe Martha Stewart because she is a money-grubbing bitch (which is what a male-dominated business world labels any woman who dares to be successful)? No, I loathe Martha Stewart because she is a raging psycho who takes credit for the work of her staff and passes it off as a lifestyle that is all but unobtainable to those that worship her (well, unless you also have unlimited funds and a small army of people working their asses off to ensure your life is fabulous). I can only hope that Martha's fans will eventually realize that her beautiful and perfect life was nothing but an elaborate facade whose real purpose was not to enrich the lives of others, but make her very wealthy. Life is better when everything in it doesn't have a price tag attached.

   

Stat!

Posted on Saturday, March 6th, 2004

Dave!I never managed to fall asleep last night... my mind just kept racing, making it impossible to nod off. Instead I must have read a hundred different blogs and then irritated my friends in other time zones with e-mails and iChats. After I had read everything of interest on the internet and run out of people to annoy, I started looking at the stats for my web site. This was a real eye-opener because, as of January, I found out that my blog (yeah, this one) is now more popular than my DaveCafe site (devoted to my Hard Rock Cafe travels). That was completely unexpected.

Here are some of the keyword searches (averaged from their variations) people have used in search engines to find me this past week:

And here are some direct links to specific blog entries that people are passing around the internet this week:

Odd what people look for when they stumble across this blog.

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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.

   

Random

Posted on Wednesday, March 10th, 2004

Dave!Is it my imagination or is Scrubs getting better with every new episode? I just got through watching last week's masterful guest appearance by Brendan Fraser off my TiVo and can't recall a television show since Cupid that was so touching and funny at the same time. — Speaking of Cupid, who do I have to kill to get that show out on DVD? — I still can't sleep and, even when I take sleeping pills, I still only get a maximum of 2 to 3 hours each night and it's starting to freak me out... time to go to the doctor I guess. — I want to take a Geek Cruise and I have no idea why, since this is the type of travel I usually laugh about. — I need a camera phone so I can have a moblog like Joi Ito. — I want my motorcycle back but found out today it will either be late this week or early next... stupid weather. — The wait for Kill Bill 2 is killing me. — Is there anything more painful than liking somebody who doesn't like you back? I hope not. — Is my lack of sleep making me delusional, or does John Stewart from the Daily Show have a better handle on the nation's politics than any major network? — John Kerry rode a motorcycle onto the Tonight Show, so I guess I know who I want to be our next president. — I've started playing all those awesome old Infocom text adventure games and find them just as engrossing now as I did in the early 80's. — In exactly one month I have to start traveling again, but I'd rather just stay home this year. — Is it unrealistic to still believe that this world will eventually know peace? — I had to use a Windows PC for just 15 minutes today, which only reaffirmed to me how damn lucky I am to use a Macintosh. — I am wide awake despite taking two sleeping pills and a couple Excedrin PMs an hour-and-a-half ago, and getting no sleep the past two weeks. It's going to be another one of those nights.

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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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Theme Thursday: bike

Posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2004

Dave!I have haven't ridden a bike in ages (now preferring my long-absent motorcycle), and there's still snow on the ground here so practically nobody has their bike out for me to photograph (since snow is still falling across the northlands around the globe, couldn't they have waited another few weeks for this theme?). I know that you are supposed to use a current photo for Theme Thursday, but since that is not possible, I decided to go back in time and find a photo from my distant bike-riding past so I could participate this week.

TT Bike

Damn I was a cute kid. I wonder how things could have gone so terribly wrong?

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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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The Friday Five: last

Posted on Friday, March 12th, 2004

Dave!1. What was the last song you heard? Stop Crying Your Heart Out from the album Heathen Chemistry by Oasis.
2. What were the last two movies you saw? On DVD that would be The Sweetest Thing: Unrated Version and Once Upon a Time in Mexico (again).
3. What were the last three things you purchased? Apples, bananas, and some Quaker chocolate rice cakes.
4. What four things do you need to do this weekend? Pack a suitcase, drive to Seattle, see a concert with my friends, then drive home.
5. Who are the last five people you talked to?(In reverse order)... My mother, a co-worker, my boss, the cashier at the grocery store, a good friend.

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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!

   

Canon “quality”… part deux

Posted on Monday, March 15th, 2004

Dave!Well, it took over a month, but Canon finally returned my brand new EOS Digital Rebel camera. The non-stop screw-ups in regards to them repairing a camera that was faulty out of the box has me seriously questioning whether I will ever buy another Canon product. First they lie about the 7-14 day turn-around (it takes that long just to check it into the repair facility!), then they have me send the camera to the wrong place at my expense (where it sat for TWENTY-FIVE DAYS until they forwarded it to the proper place). Then, only after coming completely unglued and demanding to speak with a supervisor, did I get any results. I understand that mistakes are bound to happen, but to be treated like this when the camera was brand new and the problem was in no way my fault... well, it sucks ass. I guess next time I go with the Nikon.

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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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What the-?

Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

Dave!I was checking the logs for my blog and ran across a bunch of odd link referrals I've been getting... "BritneySpearsNude" and an ad for the Paris Hilton sex video at "FamousAss" for example (and there are others along the same lines). I'm not complaining that somebody is linking to my site mind you, but what could porn sites possibly want with my blog?

Famous Ass!

First of all, anybody coming to my blog from sites like that are bound to be really disappointed. Second of all, when I visit those pages and search through the source code I can't find the link that comes to me. Going back through my older log files, I see that this has been happening for quite a while now and I have no idea why. I'm hoping that somebody hasn't hacked my site and secretly has it hosting porn... if that's the case, I should be able to look at it for free!

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

   

Terebi

Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

Dave!I love my television and, thanks to TiVo, I am able to watch it with such efficiency that it doesn't pose any big infraction on my life (it's amazing how you can watch an hour-long program in about 20 minutes once you pass through all the commercials and boring bits). If you are looking for a distraction, here's a few suggestions...

Wonderfalls: I've only seen one episode of this new show, but am already hooked. If you missed it, you are in luck because they are running an encore Thursday on FOX (9/8 Central). A young woman named Jaye hears voices from inanimate objects that compel her to get involved in the lives of others in interesting ways. Really cool, WATCH THIS SHOW!!

Alias: The best show currently on television. If ass-kicking spy drama is something that appeals to you, then this is the place. Jennifer Garner is such a babe.

The Practice: I never really cared for this show until this season when James Spader joined the cast as attorney Alan Shore. Now I don't miss a single episode (I wish all drama television were this funny and thought provoking). If you haven't watched in a while, now is a good time to start... Shore has been fired from the firm and a really ugly battle is about to commence that's certain to be entertaining.

Angel: When Spike joined the cast this season, a good show became amazing. And now that wimpy Fred has turned into an evil goddess with a shot at redemption, I can't imagine what cool stuff is about to go down. Unfortunately, the show has been cancelled and this is the last season, so best watch it while you can.

Law & Order Criminal Intent: The best of the Law & Order series and the best cop drama on television period.

Scrubs: Finally a comedy on television that actually has some intelligence to it without becoming boring (like Frasier). This is about the only show that I don't end up fast-forwarding through... you just can't, because there is never a dull moment.

I'm With Her: No, I don't know why.

Sure there are other shows I watch, but these are currently the only ones that I obsess over.

Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Lucky

Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Dave!I'd say it was the luck of the Irish because I've just been told my motorcycle is arriving today, but I don't think I have any Irish in me... it's mostly Dutch and German and stuff. Oh well, I will take luck where I can find it.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

   

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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Theme Thursday: sport

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2004

Dave!After a week over in Seattle undergoing repairs, my motorcycle finally arrived home yesterday afternoon... just in time for Theme Thursday! You may be asking "what does Dave's motorcycle have to do with this week's theme of sports?" Glad you asked! But, in order to understand how it all relates, you have to: 1) Know where I live. 2) Know a little bit about the types of motorcycles out there. And 3) Speak German. For the uninitiated, here is a Theme Thursday primer...

I live in the outback wilds of Central Washington State. Here I am surrounded by the majestic Cascade Mountain Range on one side, and the open plains of the Columbia River Basin on the other. So when I decided to purchase a new motorcycle, I wanted to find one that would let me take advantage of both the open road and mountain trails (the map below was taken from the really cool "Color Landform Atlas of the USA" site).

Cashmere Topo Map

There are several types of motorcycles: Standards, Cruisers, Sportbikes, Touring, Sport Touring, and Dual Sport (you can find out about each type at Sound Rider if you are interested). Anyway, the type of motorcycle that fits my needs perfectly is the "Dual Sport" which is at home both on the road and in the rough. Once I started looking into the category, it didn't take long for me to decide that I wanted a BMW F650-GS, and that leads us to my Theme Thursday entry...

Theme Thursday Sport!

Theme Thursday Sport!

And now for the bonus round... what does the "GS" stand for in the "F650-GS"??

It is an abbreviation for "Gelände/Strasse" which is German for "Terrain/Street" or yet another way of designating it as a Dual Sport motorcycle. See? This is a Theme Thursday entry after all!

   

The Friday Five: just do it

Posted on Friday, March 19th, 2004

Dave!If you...
1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve??
Vegetarian versions of "regular" fast food: burgers, tacos, et-cetera.
2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell? Imported Japanese candies and snacks.
3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be? Sci-Fi.
4. ...ran a school, what would you teach? Geometry.
5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it? 80's pop.

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Dakota Justice

Posted on Friday, March 19th, 2004

Dave!In a previous entry I talked about how I was toying with the idea of riding my motorcycle through the central USA in order to visit a bunch of States that I hadn't yet been to. But today I received my latest copy of American Motorcyclist (the official publication of the American Motorcyclist Association) and all of that has changed. I don't give two shits if I ever visit the crap-hole that is South Dakota. And let me tell you why...

Last August, South Dakota Congressman Bill Janklow ran through a stop sign at over 70 miles an hour directly in the path of motorcyclist Randolph Scott (who sadly died on the scene soon after as a result of the accident). Despite the fact that ass-wipe Janlow has a long history of speeding and various other traffic violations, he was sentenced to only 100 days of jail time and a small fine.

Yes, you read that right, the price for recklessly murdering somebody in South Dakota is 100 days in jail.

Apparently, Judge Rodney Steele feels that either A) it's okay to kill people if you are a congressman, or B) when a motorcyclist dies in an accident, it's their own fault. Well thank you very much "honorable" Judge Steel for making it more dangerous than ever to be a motorcyclist. As if it weren't bad enough that people would rather talk on mobile phones, eat a burger, or beat their kids than pay attention to the road, now there is no incentive to watch out for motorcycles because the punishment for killing one is barely worth mentioning. What a daft prick. This is especially stupid considering that one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the Nation, Sturgis, is located in South Dakota.

I can only hope that there is special corner in hell reserved for idiots like Judge Steele and morons like Janklow who have absolutely no regard for others.

As a motorcyclist, I fully accept that my chosen mode of transportation is inherently more dangerous than driving a car. And if I am seriously injured or die in an accident because I choose to ride, then I accept that. But what I refuse to accept is that my life is worth less than other motorists because of that choice. Judge Steele has declared open season on bikers in South Dakota. That being the case I will not be visiting there any time soon, if ever, unless the people of that State remove Steele from the bench.

Mount Rushmore is probably overrated anyway, but it sure would have been nice to see Sturgis. I wonder what would happen if motorcyclists decided to boycott the event this year?

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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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

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

   

FANTAstic!

Posted on Sunday, March 21st, 2004

Dave!I try not to drink pop very often because it's just not good for you. On the rare occasion that I do imbibe, it's usually because I am really tired and need caffeine and sugar to help wake me up or because Jones Soda is on sale, and you know it's impossible to resist Blue Bubblegum Jones Soda (I keep hoping I'll run across their M.F. Grape soda, but haven't seen it yet). Anyway, I am watching television late last night and a commercial for Fanta comes on looking like this:

Fantanas

These retro bundles of sugary hotness are called "The Fantanas," and are named Capri, Lola, Sophia, and Kiki. Damn those Madison Avenue marketing geniuses! Now I find myself needing a Fanta pretty bad.

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

   

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.

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

   

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?

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

   

Sexual harASSment?

Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2004

Dave!Well that was interesting. I just got back from a quick errand, parked my motorcycle, hopped off, took off my helmet, and leaned over my ride to see if I was in any gravel. As I was looking, a group of what I am guessing to be high school girls walked by giggling and laughing like 6-year olds... as they passed, one of them was pushed into me AND GRABBED MY ASS!!! This was apparently very funny because another round of giggles and laughter followed. When I turned around to find out what in the hell was going on, the only thing said was "that's a nice bike" followed by more laughter as they trotted away. What the hell? Can you imagine if I had grabbed one of their asses as they walked by? I'd probably be typing this entry IN JAIL (well, assuming I was able to take my PowerBook with me and they had a free wireless connection).

Sexy Biker Dave!

If a motocycle + biker jacket + helmet hair (look at that mess! I need a haircut bad) make me grab-ass worthy, then I guess I'll just have to consider it a side-benefit (but high school girls?). The odd thing is that I have no idea what to think of something like this... in her defense, I do have a mighty fine ass so who could blame her for wanting to grab it?

Categories: MotorcyclesClick To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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?

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

   

Thirty-Eight

Posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

Dave!So today I am thirty-eight years old. Wheeee. Probably more interesting than my birthday today are the others who share it with me... famous magician Harry Houdini, really cool designer William Morris, actor Steve McQueen, entertainer Fatty Arbuckle, Whale Rider girl Keisha Castle-Hughes, bizarro lawyer/talk-show host/shoe salesman Star Jones, Vice President & official dancing monkey-boy for Microsoft Steve Ballmer, and Comedian Louie Anderson.

Most important of all birthdays is MacOS X, which turns three years old today. If it weren't for the Mac, I'd be forced to use the virus-ridden, bug-filled, security-challenged crap-fest known as "Microsoft Windows" and for that I am eternally grateful.

Dave is thirty-eight

Anyway, thanks to everybody who was kind enough to send me birthday greetings today (some of which were certainly more uhhhh... "unique" than others). Here's hoping I live to see thirty-nine.

UPDATE: Apparently there is an even more famous birthday today than either me, Star Jones, or MacOS X: Ore-Ida Tater Tots turn fifty years old today! How cool is that?

   

Theme Thursday: television

Posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2004

Dave!Yikes. I am sure there is something really creative that I could do for a theme like "television" but I have no idea what that my be (and I make it a point to visit the Theme Thursday site only after I have already posted mine). Instead I tried to visualize what comes to mind when I think of "television," and the short answer is that I don't. Once you go Tivo, you'll never go back to live television again. That being the case, I thought I'd take a photo of what I see every time I turn the TV on...

TT TiVo

TT TiVoman!

It's really too bad that that came up with such a goofy mascot for such a seriously cool and useful product.

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fredag Fem: none this week!

Posted on Friday, March 26th, 2004

Dave!Yet another Friday Five with no Friday Five... I don't get it. If the questions are suggested by reader submission, how hard is it to pick a set and post it? Oh well, I will pick my OWN set of questions and call it "FREDAG FEM" which, if you had a Norwegian dictionary, would make perfect sense. In keeping with the theme of "none this week," here we go...

1. If you had to go without your main mode of transportation next week, how would you get around? Since the snow melted, I ride my motorcycle everywhere. If I had to do without it, I guess I'd go back to using my car for the week.
2. If you could spend next week without commitment or obligation (work, appointments, etc.), what would you do instead? My first instinct would be to say I'd spend the week on a motorcycle trip somewhere, but I think I would actually end up visiting with friends for a few days and then coming back home to clean up my messy apartment.
3. If you could live next week without fear, what would you do then that you're too afraid to do now? Quit my job, sell everything I own, then move to Edinburgh, Scotland to try out a new life that's completely different from the one I have now.
4. If you had to spend next week without any of your non-essential possessions (clothing, food, etc.) except one "luxury item", what would you choose? There is no one thing that I couldn't live without for a week, but I think I would take my sunglasses because bright light gives me a headache. I would have chosen my motorcycle, but it's illegal to ride without a helmet here, and that would be two items.
5. If you had to go without internet access next week, what would you fill all that spare time with? I spend a lot of time online, so I could probably run through several books that I've been meaning to read.

There, that's better. I suppose that if there is no Friday Five again next week, I'll have to go for "VRIJDAG VIJF" which, if you had a Dutch dictionary would make perfect sense.

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

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  154 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Wonderful

Posted on Friday, March 26th, 2004

Dave!The best show on television you probably aren't watching is called Wonderfalls airing Friday nights at 9:00 on FOX. I'm totally hooked, but am fearful of getting attached to it since something this cool is just too good to last. Nope, it will undoubtedly be cancelled so that we can get yet another mind-numbing "reality" show. How sad. You should give it a try before it disappears forever (UPDATE: This coming week, they are airing it on Thursday, April 1st... then it's back to Fridays again).

In other television news... while watching tonight's excellent Wonderfalls, I saw this really cool commercial for AXE body spray. It's kind of a nifty chain-reaction type thing that you can view on their site by following this link...

The Axe Effect!

Not only is the ad itself terrific, but now I can't get the song out of my head... "you give me love... love... love... love..."

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

   

TV on DVD

Posted on Saturday, March 27th, 2004

Dave!I'm liking the idea of TV shows being released on DVD (and there is even a cool site devoted to the subject). As more and more programs are released, I get more and more excited at the prospect of being able to watch long-forgotten and long-cancelled shows that I enjoyed at one time, but have no way of watching now. Nothing would make me happier than finally having Cupid and Oh Grow Up! released on DVD so that I could see them any time I want... very few shows currently on the air even come close to their quality.

    The cancelled shows I most want to be released on DVD:
  1. Cupid (the best television show ever).
  2. Oh Grow Up! (Alan Ball pre-Six Feet Under).
  3. Keen Eddie (New York cop. Kicking London arse.).
  4. Nobel House (Mini-series of my favorite book).
  5. Tour of Duty (I loathe war for entertainment, but enjoy this show).
  6. Dharma & Greg (Just the first 2 seasons before it got stupid).
  7. Grapevine (The original, not the sucky remake).
  8. Now and Again (Really good drama/sci-fi mix).
  9. The American Embassy (Another American in London show).
  10. Sam & Max Freelance Police (Coolest cartoon show).
Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

   

Meat-free

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2004

Dave!Today I got an e-mail asking if I wanted to register for an upcoming conference, which had an option for a meet-n-greet dinner with the speakers. This was not unusual in itself... I get dozens of conference invitations like this. What was bizarre is the menu. You had your choice of beef, chicken, or the vegetarian option of salmon. Uhhhh... anybody got a clue as to whether salmon is a fruit or a vegetable?

Disturbing.

But, then again, we've now got Pizza Hut commercials featuring the Muppets where Miss Piggy is eating Canadian Bacon and Pineapple pizza. I wonder who the brilliant marketing genius was who decided to make her a cannibal? All we need now is Kermit digging into a big plate of frog's legs and my trauma will be complete.

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

   

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?

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

   

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.

   

Texture

Posted on Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Dave!I was browsing through iPhoto looking for a picture I took of a sleepy cat when I noticed a tendency I have to snap photos of interesting textures. I never really thought of it before because they are always scattered amongst dozens of other shots. But, thanks to iPhoto, I can easily create an album of just the textures which ended up being pretty cool. A few of my favorites...

Texture 1

Texture 2

Texture 3

Texture 4

Texture 5

Vacherie, Reykjavik, Sedona, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh.

Categories: Photography 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Wildcats of the Colosseum

Posted on Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Dave!Oh yeah, about that sleepy cat photo I was looking for in my last post: Cats fascinate me. They are always doing something that leads me to believe that they are smarter than most people I meet. Cats also have attitude. They hop up on your lap and demand your attention and then, without notice or provocation, they'll bite you and run off as if to say "I tire of your inadequate affections, begone with you" (which, oddly enough, can sum up most of the relationships I've had).

Last night while watching Friends, Phoebe was singing the "Smelly Cat" song, which somehow hit my brain as "Sleepy Cat," which reminded me of this cat I saw at the Roman Colosseum.

Colosseo

While the landmark is overrun with dozens (hundreds?) of wild street cats, it was this one in particular that caught my attention...

Sleepy Cat

The sun was shining, so it was a nice day despite the crisp December air. I was walking along when I saw this cat taking a nap, oblivious to the swarming tourists around him. As I approached, the cat suddenly realized that the sun had moved and left him under a shadow. He then moved one foot to his left so he was sitting in the sun again then promptly fell back asleep. After walking around the Colosseum, I came back to where the cat was and noticed he had to move again.

My digital camera was full-up with Colosseum photos, but I deleted one just so I could get a shot of this cat. I'm glad I did, because it ended up being one of my favorites from that trip.

   

Theme Thursday: beautiful things

Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2004

Dave!This week has the perfect theme for where I live: beautiful things... Spring has sprung, and there are literally beautiful things everywhere you look. Probably the most obvious are the flowers that are starting to pop up all around. There is a little park across the street from where I work, so there is a canvas of colors painting the world outside my window. A buffet of beautiful things...

TT Beautiful Things

TT Beautiful Things

TT Beautiful Things

TT Beautiful Things

Well, okay, you got me... that's all a load of crap. Flowers are okay and everything but, since Elizabeth Hurley doesn't live in the apartment next door, there is only one beautiful thing to me just now...

TT Beautiful Things

Big surprise, I know. A pity you are not supposed to use old photos for Theme Thursday... I think the texture photographs I posted yesterday are beautiful things indeed.

   

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?

   

Vrijdag Vijf: heroes

Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2004
Dave!Well, as promised last Friday, there is once again no "Friday Five" to answer, so I have created (wait for it) VRIJDAG VIJF (which makes perfect sense if you have a Dutch dictionary). Since I have no idea how people who actually make these questions get their ideas, I decided to just look at my last post and run with that. Since my last post had Superman in it, why not take a stab at some hero questions? Here we go...

1. Who is your favorite super-hero from cartoons, comics, or television? It's a tie between two you probably have never heard of... Ultra Boy, who is a member of the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes (he's kind of like Superman, but is far more interesting because he can only use one super power at a time!)... and Airwave, who is nephew to original Green Lantern of the Silver Age of comics, Hal Jordan.

Ultra Boy and Airwave

2. What's your favorite super-hero in the movies? No contest, Superman. The first two Superman movies (with Christopher Reeves) have never been equalled, and it's a real shame that the sequels had to suck so bad.
3. If you were to create a new comic book super-hero, what powers would they have? I think just about every super-power has probably been done before. But I suppose I would like to create a hero that's a modern incarnation of some mythological being... like a Greek god or something. As for super powers, it's most fun to draw people who can fly and blow stuff up, so I'd probably start with that.
4. If you could have one super-hero power for yourself, which would it be? It would be pretty cool to be able to fly... but I'd probably rather be invulnerable to harm so I could do any crazy thing I wanted to without getting hurt... wouldn't it be nifty to jump out of an airplane without a parachute?
5. Who is your favorite "real-life" hero? There are many amazing heroes throughout history, but if forced to pick just one, I'd have to say anybody who is a part of the Doctors Without Borders group. These amazing people boldly go where angels fear to tread to offer medical assistance to people who otherwise wouldn't get any. A quote from their site... "Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders or MSF) delivers emergency aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters, and to others who lack health care due to social or geographical isolation." How amazing is that?

I wonder if Friday Five has gone down permanently?

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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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Well, shit!

Posted on Sunday, April 4th, 2004

Dave!I knew that a show as good as Wonderfalls was too good to last and, sadly, I was correct. According to creator Tim Minear's fansite, the show has been cancelled. WTF?!? How is it that any show with even the slightest glimmer of actual intelligence can't survive? Instead, we get an endless barrage of "reality" television programs that are so dumbed down that they might as well be spoon-fed to the audience.

Conclusion: People are too lazy and stupid to want to think while being entertained.

Wonderfalls Logo

The truly moronic thing here is that there are 13 episodes of Wonderfalls completed... what happens to them? Can FOX find it in their heart to air them at midnight Sundays (or some other crap time slot) just so people who like the show can watch them? I mean, THEY'RE DONE! Is it too much to hope that they can be released on DVD one day?

If it's unique, different, smart, intelligent, witty, and unpredictable... very soon now you won't find it on network television (no matter how many rave reviews it receives). I wish networks wouldn't even bother ordering great shows like Wonderfalls to get people's hopes up when they have no intention of marketing it, supporting it, or giving it a decent time slot. Just bring on another episode of "Extreme Makeover Blind Date Celebrity Challenge" and stop wasting our time. Dumbasses.

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

   

Jones!

Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2004

Dave!While walking down the aisle of the local mini-mart here in town, I spied a bottle of Jones Soda "Naturals" with the very cool name of "D'Peach Mode" which is an obvious nod to my favorite band ever, Depeche Mode. Naturally, I just had to buy a bottle and see if the juice lives up to the name. As with all things from Jones Soda, this lovely blend of Natural Peach and Tangelo juices is terrific! Highly recommended... if you see a bottle, you should give it a try.

Jones D'Peach Mode!Jones Soda Bananaberry!Jones Soda Dave!

Also on the rack was "Bananaberry" (Banana & Strawberry) and "Dave" (Green Tea & Ginseng), so I'll have to grab a bottle of those next time.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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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Selma

Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

Dave!Selma Blair is one of those actresses that seems to hover on the fringes of Hollywood, taking memorable small roles in an eclectic mix of films and TV. I first remember her from the television bomb Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane and later from the most excellent film Cruel Intentions (where she makes out with Sarah Michelle Gellar in Central Park... sweet!). Then Selma moved on to Legally Blonde and an underrated Cameron Diaz film called The Sweetest Thing.

And now she's playing Liz Sherman in Hellboy which could be her best role yet... I can't wait to see it.

Selma Hellboy

To promote the movie, Selma has been doing the talk-show circuit. I knew from previous interviews that she was funny, but something else is going on now... Selma is hot. While scanning TiVo from yesterday, I ran across her appearance on Ellen where she took my breath away...

Selma 2

Yes. I think the word you are looking for is "radiant."

My favorite part of the interview was when Ellen was asking about Selma's one-eyed dog "Wink"...
Ellen: So his eye was missing when you found him?
Selma: No, but I thought he was cuter that way, sooo...

Selma and Wink

Classic! Yep, I'm in love again. A pity she just got married to Ahmet Zappa.

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

   

Leather Jackets

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2004

Dave!According to my Buddhist studies, a primary concept in living a harmonious life is to do no harm. Since I am pretty sure that this includes not killing innocent animals, I am of mixed feelings when it comes to wearing leather. On one hand, it's kind of sad that an animal has to die in order for me to have a pair of boots and a jacket... on the other hand, leather offers amazing protection (which is a big deal if you ever take a spill on your motorcycle and have the pavement attempt to remove several layers of your skin).

Sadly, I rather favor my own skin over that of a cow, so I'm afraid the cow is out of luck. Of course, if the cow is already dead because meat-loving carnivores have eaten it... well, that's hardly my fault now is it?

Dave's Ride...

Dave...

Not only that, but wearing a leather jacket while riding a motorcycle also looks much cooler... even in a cartoon drawing.

Anyway, my mind made up, I decided to see if there is a custom leather shop in Seattle that might have jackets in tall sizes that would fit me better than the jackets bought off the rack. Thanks to the internet, you would think that finding a leather jacket shop in Seattle would be simple. You would be wrong. If you search for "Seattle Leather" in Google, you do end up with leather shops in the Seattle area... but they are not quite the leather garb I had in mind for riding my motorcycle...

Dave?

Scary. I'm not quite sure where to go from here.

   

Theme Thursday: heavy metal

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2004

Dave!The minute this week's Theme Thursday mailing hit my in-box with the subject of heavy metal, I knew exactly what my photographs were going to involve. The back-alleys of my home town here in Cashmere, Washington are filled with all kinds of interesting metal fittings... heavy metal doors, pipes, grates, and bars are everywhere. Most people would probably think that this makes the city look junky, but I think it's actually pretty cool. We've got a post-industrial kind of funk going on that makes an interesting contrast to the "Early American" theme that's decorating the town. My favorite shot from today is of this old fire door that's just been torn out...

TT_HeavyMetal 4

Other heavy metal contenders...

TT_HeavyMetal 1

TT_HeavyMetal 2

TT_HeavyMetal 3

My favorite old structure in the entire city is the so-called "Modern Apartments" building that might have actually been modern at one time, but I remain skeptical. Talk about heavy metal... if that concrete and steel balcony should ever fall on anybody, they're dead meat!

TT_HeavyMetal5

TT_HeavyMetal6

Every morning when I ride past that building, I wonder if the typeface for "Modern Apartments" actually exists, or if I should use it as inspiration to create a new typeface of my own. It's so very retro-cool.

   

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).

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: heavy metal redux

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2004

Dave!I never look at other people's entries for Theme Thursday until I have posted my own... I just don't want to be unduly influenced by somebody else and end up stealing their idea (even subconsciously). So after posting my heavy metal photograph, I took a run through everybody and was surprised to see how many used metal bridges in their shot. That's a pretty good idea, especially if you live in Pittsburgh, because there are some really cool photos to be had there. This one was taken last summer...

TT_HeavyMetal 7

Pittsburgh seems to have the image of a dirty old steel town that's truly undeserved, as it is actually a beautiful city.

   

Testing

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2004

Dave!I ran through a few tests on fuali.com and found out some things about myself (well, not really... these things are ridiculous). Regardless, it was an amusing way to kill 10 minutes (especially since the odds of getting a new Friday Five topic are diminishing with each passing week).

I am 65% Evil Genius: This is very disappointing figure, because I pride myself on being at least 85%-90% Evil Genius. I need to really work on this figure... but, sadly, I just can't bring myself to kick a wounded animal! Maybe there are pills to fix this kind of thing?

I am 48% Geek: Well, it's less than half... but not by much. I am guessing that I was a bit higher, maybe in the 60%-70% range, in high school. Now if only I could figure out if dropping a bit in my geek ranking is a good thing or a bad thing?

I am 42% internet Addict: This is probably about right. I am online either working, learning, or playing most of my waking hours (and have a Macintosh PowerBook with wireless connectivity so I can be online in every room of my apartment and while I travel)... but... I have no problem at all leaving it behind. If I go away for a weekend of unacceptable behavior, I don't miss the internet or even think about it.

I am 35% Metrosexual: This is probably not accurate, as I don't really care about a majority of the things that define a Metrosexual. I think the reason I rank so high is because I am forced into a bit of maintenance as a side-effect of Accutane treatments I took years ago (though, to be fair, I do NOT harbor bad feelings toward Accutane...I'll gladly live with the annoying permanent side-effects instead of the horrors of advanced clinical acne I suffered through. I do realize that there are plenty of people who have very critcal feelings toward the drug, but to me it was a life-saver).

Kind of a bummer that I'm not a 100% anything. Does that mean I'm wishy-washy, or just eclectic?

Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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?

   

The Friday Five: the job

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2004

Dave!1. What do you do for a living? I'm a graphic designer.
2. What do you like most about your job? Being creative.
3. What do you like least about your job? Long hours.
4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because...? I'm behind -- again -- because other people wait until the last minute when they need something and I have to drop everything else to fit it in my overwhelmingly busy schedule.
5. What other career(s) are you interested in? Photojournalist or translator.

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

   

Twenty-Three

Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2004

Dave!As usual I cannot sleep tonight but, this time around, it's actually explainable... I was really sick all day, and spent most of it in bed being miserable. I'm pretty sure it was food poisoning of some kind, but I cannot imagine what I ate to cause it. This is rotten luck because I was counting on finishing up some things at work so that my weekend would be free. Now I don't know what's going to happen, as I still have to get that work completed before Monday.

What it probably means is that I won't get to work on my Hard Rock site or go for a motorcycle ride like I had planned. That sucks!

To cut down on the tedium, I found a list of 23 questions to answer from Neil's blog...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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!

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

   

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?

   

I miss Phil

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2004

Dave!I just got done watching the Biography tribute to Phil Hartman and it once again hit me how much I miss that man. He was unquestionably one of the funniest people on the planet, and his work on Saturday Night Live makes him my favorite SNL player to date (who could forget Phil as Sinatra? Donahue? Clinton? and so many others?). And then there were his standout characters of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure on The Simpsons. And, of course, his brilliant performance of Bill McNeil on News Radio.

I miss Phil

Every time I hear a voiceover that Phil did... or run across an old show or movie Phil was in... my heart sinks a bit as I wonder how many other wonderful projects he could have made for me to laugh with had he not been killed. Phil, you are much missed.

   

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?

Categories: DaveLife 2004, MotorcyclesClick To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Blogallery

Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

Dave!In honor of the one-year blogiversary of Blogography (just five days away!), I've decided to add a gallery to the site. I've received more than a couple requests to do this, but always resisted because most of my photos are filled with friends and family that may not want to have their picture posted on the internet.

I know, it's kind of a lame excuse... I was just too lazy to look for photos.

Anyway, a gal e-mailed me to point out that there are already hundreds of photos scattered in my blog, so I had plenty of "acceptable" pictures readily available if I would just get off my ass and make pages for them. She was right of course, so here you go. It will take a while to get everything set up, but I'll try to add a couple of new galleries each day... so, if you're interested, check back from time to time to see what's new.

   

I spam you not

Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2004

Dave!This morning I awoke to an in-box filled with rejected messages I never sent. Apparently, some dumbass spammer is using my daveweb.com domain in the return address of the crap they are sending. Anybody looking at the actual e-mail headers can see that the spam did not originate at DaveWeb, but I guess some spam and virus detection programs don't bother to dig that far. Even so, the fact that some bastard is pretending to be me to send spam (which I loathe) really pisses me off.

Isn't something like this illegal? This being the USA and all, am I within my legal right to hunt down this piece of shit and shoot him with a really big gun? Or do I at least get to sue the ass-clown for TEN MILLION DOLLARS over this?

When is something actually going to be done about spam? I get (on average) around 300 spams each day... there are currently 332 trapped in my SpamCop holding bin since yesterday morning. Did anybody actually think the spam law that went into effect would do anything? We don't need fines... we need public executions!! = Sigh = Since I started writing this, another three spam rejects have come in. I hope this means I don't have to deactivate the domain until this all blows over.

UPDATE: After taking a look at the e-mail addresses that spam is being sent to, I see that most of them are just random names sent to my domains (dozens of them are to "webmaster" as well). The simple solution seems to be rejecting any e-mail not sent to a valid address. So, now that I have only one e-mail address for each domain, I wonder how that will affect my spam counts?

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

   

Nawlins

Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2004

Dave!As I was prepping some New Orleans photos to add to my gallery, I ran across a link to a nice Photoshop "action" that will alter your images so that they look like they've been taken with a Lomo camera (thank you Jason Kottke!). For anybody not knowing what a Lomo is, it's a nifty Russian-made camera that takes intense pictures dripping with color. I had a used Lomo a long time ago and liked it a lot, but it was badly damaged on a hiking expedition and was not long for this world. I've always wanted to get another one, but there are so many models to choose from that I can't make up my mind. You can see the Lomo line-up at the official Lomography web site.

The Lomoizer action can be found here for free, courtesy of Jake Ingman. I just made a quick pass through all the photos in the gallery, and they look pretty cool, but I'll probably experiment with the effect when I have more time and tweak them more to my liking. Here is a sample of the Lomo effect on a couple of shots:

Lomoizer Effect

Hmmm... now I really got to save up some cash to get a real Lomo!

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

   

Rebel Yell

Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2004

Dave!Excuse me for a minute... Billy Idol just came on Random Play from my iTunes jukebox...

Rockin Out

This is why it's so cool to be able to have all 8626 of my songs with me wherever I go. Just put my iPod or iTunes on random and anything from my music-listening past can come back to haunt me. Billy rocks!

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

   

Theme Thursday: noise

Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2004

Dave!Of all the Theme Thursday's I've done so far, none have been easier than noise. Directly across the street from my office are the train tracks through town, so all day long I've got painfully loud train whistles blowing noise at me as I am trying to work. I don't seem to notice the trains as much as I used to... unless I am on the phone. Then it's impossible to ignore them since you have to repeat everything several times while screaming so that the other person can hear you.

Taken outside my office door... in the background there, you can see the train speeding through town. Here comes the noise...

TT Noise Coming

And there goes the noise. This time taken across the street. Note that I did not tilt the camera while shooting this (the little building is the one that's crooked)...

TT Noise Going

Still playing with that Lomoize action in Photoshop here.

   

Pope Bali

Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2004

Dave!It looks like Friday Five came back for a week, only to disappear again. I hope everything is okay with Heather. Anyway, I added a few photos to my ever-growing Blogography Gallery. This time there are photos from Asia, Rome, and the stunning Hard Rock Hotel in Bali. If you're looking to get away from it all, this is the place...

My Bed

Pool Overlook

The Pool

Somehow, I think my upcoming visit to the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago will pale in comparison, no matter how great a job they made of it!

   

Eighteen

Posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2004

Dave!Here is another set of questions that's popped up on Neil's blog (the previous set was under my entry "Twenty-Three"). Since there was no Friday Five this week, here we go...

1. Who do you admire the most and why? I admire two traits above the others... hard work and kindness. Given that, I'm compelled to say "Mother Theresa." I know that answer sounds trite, but it's true. As I've said before, I also admire anybody who is part of "Doctors Without Borders.

2. What would you have as your last meal if you were on death row? A Johnny Rockets Streamliner vegetarian burger without grilled onions and add extra mayo, an entire Da Vinci pizza from David's Pizza, a large order of fries with plenty of ketchup, a chocolate shake, and a glass of water.

3. What is your earliest memory? Playing with neighborhood kids when I was living in San Diego. I have no idea how old I was, but it was very young... 4 maybe?

4. If you had 3 wishes, what would your 3rd wish be? An end to all violence in the world.

5. If you had to be blind or deaf, which would you choose? Probably deaf... that way I could still do my job and travel the world unaided.

6. Have you ever been dared to do something where the risk exceeded the reward (ie. jump off a building for a penny)? I'm sure I've done that many times. The one that comes to mind ended up with me getting my ass kicked and losing the reward (which wasn't really worth it in the first place). You would think that I learned my lesson but, alas, I did not.

7. If you were forced to live the rest of your existence in a fictional world from a movie, book and TV show which ones would you select? The movie Total Recall had an interesting take on the near-future that has never left me since I first watched it. Maybe it's the girl-on-girl fight action (with Sharon Stone no less!) that made such an impression, but they sure made the future seem a nifty place to live (as answered from the Friday Five on June 13). But I also really like Neil's answer of Back to the Future II (riding a hover board would indeed be sweet!).

8. If you had a superpower, which superpower would it be and why? It would be pretty cool to be able to fly... but I'd probably rather be invulnerable to harm so I could do any crazy thing I wanted to without getting hurt... wouldn't it be nifty to jump out of an airplane without a parachute? (as answered from the Vrijdag Vijf on April 2).

9. What is your favourite vegetable? Qunicy Sweet Corn. The best in the world and, since Qunicy is less than an hour away, you can find it everywhere here.

10. In how many different languages do you know the meaning of at least one word? Well, I think that "taxi" is one of those words that's the same in 99% of all languages but, just like Neil, I would have to answer "thanks." Before I travel to any country with a foreign language, I strive to learn at least a minimal vocabulary so I can speak basic courtesies... "thanks" would be the top of the list. Hmmm, looking at a map of the world... let's see, I know how to say it in Cantonese (doh jeh), Japanese (arigatou), Alaskan (taku), Thai (khrap), Danish (tack), Icelandic (tack), Portuguese (obrigado), Balinese (mata suksama), Norwegian (tack), Swedish, Dutch (dank), French (merci), Hawaiian (mahalo), German (dank), Spanish (gracias), Italian (grazie), Korean (komapsumida), Russian (spacibo), Hindi (dahnyavahd), Cherokee (wa doh), Arabic (shookran), and English. There are a few I am not positive of... like Gaelic (rab math agat?), Cambodian (ah kun?), and Latin (gratis?). And there are a few I knew at one time, but have forgotten... Malay, Polish, and Tagalog. (NOTE: I have not travelled to all of these places... some of the words I learned from books or movies).

11. What did you want to be when you were a child? A fireman (didn't everybody?).

12. What one event (if any) would you change in your personal past if you had the power to do it once? I find myself wondering what my life would be like now if I hadn't entered into a certain disastrous relationship from my past... but I suppose living through that horror made me who I am today, so I guess I'd have to say I wouldn't change anything. Of course there are always little things you wish you could take back, but that's part of life and I try not to dwell on them.

13. What’s the one question you want to be asked of you in an interview? Job interview: "Do you mind of we force you to take all of the vacation time you earn?" (since I haven't been able to take all my earned vacation hours in over a decade). Newspaper Interview: "How do you plan on spending the 25 million dollars you just won in the lottery?"

14. Have you ever cheated death? Heavens yes... many times... but that was back when I was young and stupid. I'm a little more careful now.

15. What was the most important decision you’ve ever had to make? Whether to take a job I was offered at Microsoft. I passed, but sometimes wonder if I'd be a millionaire today if I had!

16. Which sports team do you support the most, and why? Seattle Mariners, because they are my "home team" and are actually pretty good (unlike our poor Seahawks).

17. Mobile phones (cellphones) - evil or good? They are neither, it's how people use them that's evil or good. I've twice had to use mine in emergency situations (not for myself), so I guess I'd have to say "good" despite how annoying some people are with them.

18. What is your favourite song at the moment? Only One by The Pet Shop Boys from their album Nightlife.

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TV on DVD update

Posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2004

Dave!It looks as though more excellent television is heading to DVD... I'm especially happy about Quantum Leap and Tour of Duty (which are on my wish list), but am dismayed that crap shows like Saved by the Bell, Andromeda, Punky Brewster, Mutant X, Star Trek Voyager and, heaven help us, Who's the Boss are being released when amazing shows like Wonderfalls, Cupid and Oh Grow Up! are not. Oh well, I suppose I should be thankful for what I can get rather than lamenting what I cannot...

Yikes... I'm going to go bankrupt over the next few months!

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Blogiversary

Posted on Sunday, April 18th, 2004

Dave!It's been one year since I started Blogography, which makes today my first blogiversary. It seems kind of strange that I've continued with it as long as I have (my two previous attempts never lasted over 3 months). Most of the credit for this blog's longevity can be attributed to Adriaan Tijsseling and his amazing blogging tool "ecto for MacOS X" (formerly known as "Kung-Log"). Keeping a blog current can be quite a chore, but ecto makes it nearly effortless. Microsoft sufferers will be happy to know that ecto for Windows was just released last week... if it's only half as good as the Mac version, it'll still be amazing.

Another round of thanks should go out to Ben and Mena Trott, creator of the sweet Movable Type software that powers this blog. I can't wait to see what they've got planned for version 3.0!

Blogography was started so that I could keep friends up-to-date with what I was up to, and had an initial audience of 8 people. A bit more people are reading it now, and I've met some terrific new friends because of it. Here are some stats I've put together...

  • Number of entries: This is #359.
  • Average no. of visitors per week in April 2003: 74.
  • Average no. of visitors per week in April 2004: 1678.
  • Most popular entry: Who asked you bitch? (02 October, 2003).
  • Most infamous entry: Send in the clowns (20 February, 2004).
  • Most direct-linked entry: Lame! (02 March, 2004).
  • Most surprisingly political entry: Humanity (30 August, 2003).
  • Gratuitous Elizabeth Hurley plug: Elizabeth Hurley (31 August, 2003).
  • My favorite entry so far: Toothpaste (30 March, 2004).
  • A close second: Leather jackets (07 April, 2004).
  • Most popular search referral term: "Hard Rock Cafe."
  • Most popular Blogography search: "bitch" (huh?).
  • Most popular subject archive: Motorcycles.

So there you have it. Even I am interested to know if I'll make it another year.

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Kill Bill v2

Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2004

Dave!Yes! More Uma ass-kicking goodness was to be had with Kill Bill: Volume 2. It was not as intense as the first part (which makes it seem a bit boring by comparison) but I'd imagine once Quentin edits them back together into the single film it was meant to be that it will even out a bit. In any event, the wait was worth it... the fight between Uma and Daryl was perfect (and gave me a BladeRunner flashback). As with all of Tarantino's movies, I was left wanting more (much more of Pai Mei!), hopefully in ten years Quentin will make good on his promise and bless us with Volume 3.

Uma!

In the meanwhile, the trailer for Hero with Jet Li has a definite Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon vibe with lush visuals and some cool special effects. Absolutely looking forward to that one.

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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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Rain

Posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2004

Dave!This morning I was awakened by the sound of torrential rains slamming into my roof. It made me almost glad that I was driving my car today instead of my motorcycle. But in the time it took me to get up, take a shower, and get dressed the rain had stopped. When I finally stepped outside, all I could see was the aftermath; flowers crushed, leaves and blossoms stripped from the trees... a pretty big mess. After I ate some toast for breakfast and headed off to work, the sun was coming out and Mother Nature was already starting to recover...

Rainy Day 1

Rainy Day 2

I guess even fragile things can be tough when they have to be.

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Theme Thursday: oops

Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

Dave!As awful as travel has become now-a-days, it's even worse when you are going someplace you really don't want to go to do something you really don't want to do. Of course, for trips like that, everything that can go wrong does go wrong, making a bad situation substantially worse. My frustration began as I arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when, oops, I forgot the reason I loathe flying out of SeaTac... it's filled with idiots.

Theme Thursday: oops

This has been my view for the past 10 minutes (yes... TEN MINUTES!!). Two cars ahead of me is a moron in an SUV waiting for a carload of geriatric travelers to load up their crap so they can take that parking spot. Problem is, the old people are in no hurry at all, so here we sit while the dumbass SUV makes everybody wait.

Here is the part where I lose it...

JUST AROUND THE CORNER AHEAD... NO MORE THAN TEN SECONDS AWAY... IS A RAMP TO THE NEXT LEVEL WHERE THERE ARE LOADS OF PARKING SPACES AVAILABLE!!! WHY IN THE HELL ARE YOU BLOCKING TRAFFIC FOR TEN MINUTES WHEN YOU COULD HAVE ALREADY PARKED AND WALKED TO THE TERMINAL BY NOW? EXACTLY HOW STUPID ARE YOU?!?

I was going to post an "oops" photo I took of a car that ran into a ditch, but how do I know it was an actual "oops"? Maybe the owner intended to run the car into the ditch. With this photo, however, I can be sure that "OOPS, somebody too stupid to be driving is causing a fifteen-car traffic jam."

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Comb-Over Hypnosis

Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

Dave!Here I am sitting on the plane where "we have reached an altitude where electronic devices may now be used." A woman brought in a bouquet of lilacs, so I am guessing that the entire plane is going to stink like floral ass for the next 3 hours and 20 minutes. Lovely.

But that's not why I am writing this.

A gentleman just ahead of me has a comb-over hair-do than puts Donald Trump to shame. I sit here wondering how he manages to construct such an elaborate system of swirls and swoops on top of his head each morning. I'm guessing he's got at least 3 feet of hair in a carefully stacked layers, criss-crossing from one side of his head to the other and finally culminating in a fierce swirl around the perimeter. It's absolutely bizarre, yet I cannot look away. It is taking all the willpower I've got to refrain from whipping out my camera and taking a photo. This is a work of art, baby!

NOTE TO SELF: If baldness should suddenly attack, admit defeat and move on with your life.

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I (heart) Chicago

Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2004

Dave!My work done in the Windy City, it was time for my favorite Chicago moment...

Go to Giordano's and order a stuffed cheese pizza.

Giordano's Pizza

Sit at the bar.

Giordano's Pizza

Watch a Cubs game with the natives.

Giordano's Pizza

Eat good pizza and drink a beer (or three).

Giordano's Pizza

Be thankful that at this moment life is good.

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HRH Chicago

Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2004

Dave!While visiting in Chicago, guests of Blogography.com stay at the stunning Hard Rock Hotel downtown on Michigan Avenue. It's a wonderful restoration of the old "Carbide and Carbon Building" that looks as though the interior was swiped from the "W Hotel" chain... especially the bathroom... with everything in an upscale modern style in various shades of gray. It's a bit on the pricey side (I paid $160 at discount for a "standard" room) but no more than any of the other nicer hotels in the area.

HRH Chicago

HRH Bathroom

That's part of a metal mural of The Who that runs across the wall of my bathroom. I'd give the hotel my highest recommendation if you find yourself looking for a place to stay in downtown Chicago... not quite the Hard Rock Hotel Bali, but a very nice property just the same.

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HRC Detroit

Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2004

Dave!I just returned from Detroit where I met up with Jeff from Geekable for lunch at the new Hard Rock. It's kind of boring on the outside, but nicely appointed on the inside... especially the bar, which has a really unique look to it.

HRC Detroit

HRC Detroit

During the 5-hour drive back to Milwaukee, I stopped off in Chelsea, Michigan for gas and found out that the city is home to "The World's Largest Teddy Bear" (or so they claim). He's kind of homely, but he is big...

Giant Teddy Bear

Even more surprising than the giant bear is that the factory which makes Jiffy baking mixes is right across the street...

Jiffy

It's odd what you run across when you take a quick detour off the highway.

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Tina Hotness

Posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2004

Dave!When I get back from a trip, the first thing I do is check out my TiVo to see what television shows have been recorded while I was away (the answering machine and unpacking will just have to wait). After watching Tina Fey on SNL and an interview with Tina Fey on Ellen, I've decided that I have a crush on her. It's hard not to have a crush on a woman that's this smart and funny.

Tina Fey Hotness

Okay, she's totally hot too. I think it must be the glasses.

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I Want a Gun

Posted on Monday, April 26th, 2004

Dave!I should preface this entry with the disclaimer that I abhor violence... I really do. I think that anybody who resorts to violence is pretty damn stupid because they couldn't find a better solution. That being said, I am at the end of my rope and want a gun. But, unlike most gun-toting morons that end up in the news for shooting somebody for no good reason at all, I actually have a good reason...

I want to blow away all the morons who don't understand the concept of KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS.

Here's a typical scenario... I'm driving home from Seattle yesterday and SEVERAL TIMES come across this:

Car Shot

The dumbass is driving in the PASSING LANE but is NOT PASSING ANYBODY!! They're in the WRONG lane and won't move over (WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW) because they are just too damn ignorant to know their left from their right. People like this are too stupid to be driving... probably too stupid to be living, and so I think it should be within my legal right to take care of the situation with a big-ass gun. If I have to pass your lame ass on the right, then you deserve to have your shit ruined...

Car Shot

Furthermore, if they are in the wrong lane AND driving under the speed limit then not only should they be taken out... but I should be able to hunt down their entire family because this is obviously some sort of genetic defect that should be eliminated for the good of society.

"KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS" is pretty self-explanatory, so what's the problem? As usual, it boils down to people being stupid. Isn't it about time we do something about this ever-growing problem on America's highways?

UPDATE: I was e-mailed a link devoted to exposing and reporting "Left Lane Dicks!" Not only that, but a quick Google search reveals all kinds of rants by people fed up with these morons. Apparently I am not alone.

UPDATE: Was just sent a link to an excellent site, which allows you to see if your state has lane laws like Washington. Visit "Drive Right, Pass Left".

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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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Theme Thursday: Purple

Posted on Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Dave!Every morning on the way to work I drive by a lilac bush that's stuck in a ditch. Despite her less than ideal location, she's a beautiful vision in purple that transcends her humble roots. It's a rather excellent metaphor for life I think.

TT: Purple

TT: Purple

Well, an excellent metaphor if you are Prince or Harold.

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Faux Friday Five: Friends

Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2004

Dave!I still cannot figure out what is so astoundingly difficult about The Friday Five that "April is a busy month" is a rational excuse not to post five simple questions. I think people are going to start abandoning it if this keeps up. Anyway, I am once again going to post up my own questions so I don't get out of the habit. I was talking with some people about the end of the television show Friends yesterday, so maybe that's a timely topic?

Friends End

1. What is your favorite episode of Friends? That is amazingly difficult because there have been so many excellent episodes (particularly in the early days), but "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" is the one I most often think of when I think of the show now... it's the one where Phoebe accidently finds out about Monica and Chandler's relationship, so she conspires with Rachel to mess with them by pretending to be attracted to Chandler. Not only do you get a hilarious faux-seduction scene with Phoebe and Chandler, you also get Chandler and Monica saying they love each other, which is a much more defining moment for the show to me that the whole Ross/Rachel thing. Close runners up would any of the "flashback" episodes and the shows where we get to see Phoebe with her twin sister Ursula.

2. Who is your favorite Friends character? That's a close call between Chandler and Phoebe... but in the end I'd have to say Chandler. Most of the funniest moments have him in them.

3. Who is your least favorite Friends character? ROSS... could he BE any more annoying? Though Monica does have her stupid moments too.

4. Which of the Friends characters are you most like? Just like Chandler, I also have disastrous luck with women and an often-inappropriate sense of humor.

5. If they were to make Friends all over again today with an entirely different cast, who would you like to see on the show? I can't imagine anybody else playing those parts but, just for fun, here's my go at it: Phoebe: Tara Reid plays ditsy well and, from her guest appearances on Scrubs, I know she could also have a serious side and fit into a group dynamic with no trouble. Monica: Caroline Dhavernas from the short-lived (but amazing) show Wonderfalls could easily bring another level of irony and wit to the character, all while making her less compulsive and whiny. Rachel: Jessica Alba would totally kick ass in this role. Chandler: This part is almost impossible to cast better than Matthew Perry, but I think The O.C. alum Adam Brody (who plays a similar character anyway) would be a good choice. Joey: The show always suffered a bit from a lack of diversity (as MOST shows do) so why not convert from a struggling actor to a struggling singer and put Usher in the mix? Ross: It's not hard to top David Schwimmer's whiny, spineless take on the character, and I think someone like Breckin Meyer could do a much better job of it.

Friends has had their ups and downs over the years, but very few American television programs have this consistent level of quality, so I will definitely miss it (though not too much, because I've been buying all the DVD sets!). In the end, it's probably best that they are calling it quits while the show is once again on a high note, but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if we would have gotten just one more season...

   

Friday Foolery

Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2004

Dave!It seems that bloggers missing the Friday Five this week are searching for something else to fill the void. I received an e-mail telling me that a great place for blog questions is BZOINK!, which has lots of them. This one was called "Have You Ever?"

Have you ever hit someone forcefully?: Yes. It's easy when somebody is hitting you.
Have you ever thrown anything at a moving car?: Yes. But before you get too excited, it was a water balloon.
Have you ever been in a fist fight?: Yes. Twice. It is NOT like it looks in the movies.
Have you ever laughed so hard you cried?: Yes. My friends are THAT funny (when I've been drinking).
Have you ever hit an animal on the road?: No. Thankfully.
Have you ever seen a Beatles film?: Yes. A Hard Day's Night is classic.
Have you ever cussed?: Yes. Often.
Have you ever been on a subway?: Yes. It's kind of a hobby: Berlin, Boston, Kobe, Kyoto, London, Montreal, Nagoya, New York, Osaka, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Singapore, Stockholm, Tokyo, Toronto, and Washington DC.
Have you ever taught a little kid to cuss?: No. Why in the hell would you do something like that?
Have you ever cheated on a test/exam?: Yes. But only because the teacher was a dick and penalized me for no good reason on a previous test. I had to make up for it somehow.
Have you ever skipped school?: Yes. Hasn't everybody?
Have you ever egged someones house?: Yes. Halloween, and it was that same dick-head teacher. I can't bring myself to regret it, even today.
Have you ever gotten a computer virus?: No. I use a Mac.
Have you ever cried for no reason at all?: No. Does being drunk count as a reason?
Have you ever missed someone?: Yes. All the time.

There's quite an assortment to choose from... including R-rated, political, and l-o-n-g (over 100 questions) surveys.

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SNL Harry Potter

Posted on Sunday, May 2nd, 2004

Dave!After a nasty lull when Phil Hartman left, Saturday Night Live finally seems to be gaining some momentum again. I used to just tune in for a bit of Tina Fey deliciousness on "Weekend Update," but more and more I find myself actually watching the rest of the show. Last night's episode had some really great moments, particularly the "Harry Potter" sketch with Rachel Dratch somehow creating the best Potter parody I've yet seen...

SNL Harry Potter

The sketch revolves around the kids returning from summer vacation to find that Hermione (guest host Lindsay Lohan) has gone through a bit of a... uh, development... since they saw her last...

SNL Harry Potter

Then Fred & George stop by and make a play for Hermione...

SNL Harry Potter

Of course she'll have none of that...
Fred & George: Well, if you'll excuse us, we're off to beat a couple of bludgers.
Harry: Ah! Going to play some Quidditch?
Fred & George: Uh, no.

It's time for some spells... but the magic doesn't seem to be working! Are you concentrating?

SNL Harry Potter

By the time Horatio Sanz shows up as Hagrid, you just know this is one of the best SNL sketches ever! You're Hermione? Yikes!

SNL Harry Potter

Hagrid: Alright. I better go out to the woods and tame my dragon.
Harry: Ah! You got a new pet?
Hagrid: Uh, no.

Next week we've got Jennifer Aniston hosting before the Olson Twins do the season finale. SNL seems intent on going out with a bang this year.

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Alone in Utah

Posted on Sunday, May 2nd, 2004

Dave!Salt Lake City is an interesting place to me as it's one of those rare major cities where I simply don't know anybody. Unlike L.A. or New York or Chicago or London or Tokyo... or whatever... I have no friends in the area. I guess it's simply because I don't get here very often (which is bizarre, because it is the closest Hard Rock Cafe to where I live: 3 hours by plane, 12 hours by car). Oh well, it's nice to just kick back, watch a movie, and be alone for a while.

Northwest Airlines doesn't have a direct Seattle-Salt Lake City route (this is Delta territory!) so I took a quick 2-hour Sky West flight on a very small plane. It's kind of a boring trip but, once when looking out the window, I did see PacMan!

Pac Man

There are actually a lot of PacMen down there, but the one in the middle has an eye on him which was kind of nifty. After a while, I noticed a lot of cool patterns that I thought would make great "modern art" with a little help from Photoshop.

SkyArt1

SkyArt2

SkyArt3

"Lilly Pads," "Circuit Board, " and "Pink Polka Dot Infusion."

   

Utah Movie Night

Posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2004

Dave!Inbetween work, work, and more work, I've made an effort to see a couple of movies because that's something I don't get to do very often. A quick run to the TomatoMeter over at Rotten Tomatoes revealed only two current movies that have a rating of "fresh"... 13 Going on 30 and Mean Girls. So two "chick flicks" it is then!

Chick Flicks

13 Going on 30: Surprisingly enjoyable. It's the same premise as Big except instead of Tom Hanks, we get the sweet hotness of Jennifer Gardner who all of a sudden becomes a grown-up overnight. What makes this version different is that time has passed, meaning that all the kids from her childhood are grown up as well (including her best friend, played by the always cool Mark Ruffalo). Any doubts about Jennifer Gardner's star power will be buried with this film and, if there's any justice in Hollywood, this will be a major break for her (but hopefully not so much that she'll quit Alias!). In the final analysis, I probably enjoyed this more than Big, and can easily recommend it for a rental.

Mean Girls: I was actually looking forward to this movie since it is the feature film writing debut of my current crush... Tina Fey (who also has a small part in it). Sadly, while smartly written, it's just not very funny. Mean girls rule the school and getting revenge ends up not being the best solution. Lesson learned, movie over. Maybe young girls will get more out of it than I did (I certainly hope so, because mean people suck!).

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BMW of Salt Lake

Posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

Dave!Utah is home to a pretty impressive motorcycle dealership... BMW of Salt Lake, so naturally I had to stop by and see if they had the new 1200-GS so I could finally see one in person, and I also wanted to see if they had a good selection of BMW apparel because I am still looking for that perfect biker jacket.

BMW of Salt Lake

And, indeed they did have a 1200-GS sitting right out front. I'm still not sure about the odd scoop front-end, but I still love it. It's even sexier in person than it in in print, and far nicer than what any photo I could ever take...

BMW 1200gs

They also had the super-sweet Montauk available for drooling over. If only I had $16,000 laying around...

Montauk!

Alas, no jacket was to be found. Most everything was in ultra-large XXL sizes and I couldn't even find a T-shirt that was my size! This seems to be happening more and more, which leaves me wondering if I have to gain 100 pounds in order to buy clothing off the rack anymore?

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Hard Rock SLC

Posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

Dave!The Hard Rock Cafe in Salt Lake City is a bit different than other cafes in two respects: 1) Due to Utah State liquor laws, there is no bar in the cafe... instead, you must purchase a "membership" to "The Brickhouse" which is a private club upstairs where the bar resides. 2) Since the number of rock bands out of Utah are fairly limited, local flavor is a bit sparse. Despite these two small quirks, HRC-SLC is a very nice property in the historic Trolley Square area of the city.

Hard Rock Salt Lake

The memorabilia is packed to the rafters, which is what a Hard Rock is all about! Sadly, some of the more recent properties seem to have forgotten this. If you look carefully, you can see the entrance to "The Brickhouse" up the stairs...

Hard Rock Salt Lake

Of course, there is one famous rocker to come out of Utah... Donny "I'm a little bit rock-n-roll" Osmond! Naturally, there's a nice section of memorabilia from the entire Osmond family, but the Donnie and Marie dolls are classic...

Donny & Marie

Salt Lake City is a bit out of the way for most people, but the Hard Rock is worth the effort if you find yourself in the Southwestern USA.

   

Salt Lake City Memories

Posted on Wednesday, May 5th, 2004

Dave!Of course no visit to Salt Lake City would be complete unless you paid a visit to beautiful Temple Square, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (more commonly known as "The Mormon Church"). Plenty of followers of the church are on hand to answer any questions about the grounds, the buildings, the church, or the Mormon faith (their kindness only reinforcing the fact that Mormons are some of the nicest people you will ever meet!). It's a great way to spend a few hours if you happen to be in the vicinity of The Great Salt Lake.

Mormon Temple

Mormon Temple

Also recommended is a trip out to the Bonneville Salt Flats, which was the highlight of one of my previous trips to the area. This dried-out lake bed pretty much spells out the sad but eventual fate of The Great Salt Lake (especially given the droughts that have hit in recent years). Looks like snow, feels like rock, smells like ass...

Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats

I want to ride my motorcycle across those flats one day... I wonder if that is permitted?

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Delta

Posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2004

Dave!For years I have avoided Delta Airlines like the plague because I've heard so many horror stories about traveling with them. Well, since my regular ride Northwest Airlines doesn't have a direct flight to Salt Lake City, I decided to bite the bullet and give Delta a try. Much to my surprise and happiness, flying Delta has been a first rate experience, and I would absolutely do it again!

Delta Sky

My favorite part of the entire Delta trip was the massive amount of information you get from them... both on the ground and in the air. While waiting at the gate, they are constantly updating information on video screens showing how many people have checked in, what the status is for standby passengers, how many seats are available for First Class upgrade, and current ETD and ETA changes. You are never left wondering what is going on (which happens a lot with every other airline I fly, especially Horizon Air, which is a black-hole for information).

Once you are in the air, EVEN ON A SHORT 2-HOUR FLIGHT, there are video monitors that are forever displaying fun stuff like trivia questions, television shows, ETA and ETD, and nifty nonsense like air speed, outside temperature and the rest.. I like the map of the travel route best (Northwest does the map thing too, but they only bother for long international flights). It sure helps kill time on a flight if you forgot to bring a book or magazine!

Delta Sky

The fact that everything went so well, AND that Delta is a mileage partner with Northwest makes me very happy to know that I have other options in my travel planning.

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Theme Thursday: Twisted

Posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2004

Dave!I've been doing nothing but working and traveling for the past week, so I was ready to give up on finding time for a Theme Thursday shot this time around. But then, as I was driving back from Seattle this morning, I was thinking to myself how much more interesting the drive would be on my motorcycle because the road over Stevens Pass is nice and twisted. Nothing is more fun on a motorcycle than racing through the "twisties!"

TT Twisted

Then, when I started looking around, I noticed that many of the trees have limbs that are all broken and twisted. I guess the heavy winter snows take their toll over the years.

TT Twisted

It's not easy being green. Evergreen, that is!

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NBC no Friend to Viewers

Posted on Friday, May 7th, 2004

Dave!People who attempted to record the last episode of Friends on TiVo got screwed. NBC shifted the timing of the show so that the final 5 minutes ran over the 9pm stop time, and that just sucks. I'd imagine that they did this intentionally so that they could sell more of the upcoming DVDs... but mostly they did it because they are assholes that have no problem with crapping all over the fans that have made this show and their network #1. I have a growing fear that this type of "anti-TiVo" terrorist tactics will become more and more popular with networks as time goes on. Perhaps network execs feel that people won't record shows on TiVo, but instead go back to watching TV "live" so they don't miss anything (thus unable to fast-forward past commercials and piss off advertisers).

There are several fatal flaws with this kind of dumbass thinking: 1) This same type of whining has already been done before... it was called the VCR. 2) Shows continue to have more and more advertising with less and less actual show, so it's no wonder people want to fast-forward through the crap in the first place. 3) Very few television programs are actually worth having to sit through advertising anyway. 4) Once you've had TiVo, you are never going to go back to the "old way" of watching television (at least I won't), so all these tricks to get people to stop recording are futile when all you're going to do is make people stop watching altogether. 5) The shift towards paid, advertising-free networks like HBO that have quality programming instead of an endless parade of lame reality shows will eventually bury networks in their own feces. 6) The real problem with network television is thinking that increasing the amount of advertising, tricking viewers with TiVos and VCRs, cutting production values, and not supporting new shows is a fair trade for paying TV stars millions of dollars... it isn't. I'll take a well-written, well-acted show with no big-name stars any day.

And how was the last episode of Friends?? Pretty uneventful. Everything turned out exactly like everybody thought it would and nothing really happened that made the episode necessary. The result being that this is the weakest episodes in the entire 10 years the program has been running... not the best way to end an era.

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

   

The Friday Five: Finale

Posted on Friday, May 7th, 2004

Dave!Okay then, it would seem that Heather has finally hung it up over at The Friday Five. Game over. That's really too bad and all, but if she didn't want to do it anymore, why not turn it over to somebody else? With the weekend looming, it's kind of nice to be able to create an entry without having to really think about it. Oh well.

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

   

DaveQ

Posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2004

Dave!I like to take IQ tests because (believe it or not) I seem to be good at them. The problem is that everybody has a different way of measuring IQ, so any results you might get are entirely subjective. When I was in college, I took an official Mensa test and ended up with an IQ of 140-something (which was good enough to join, since you only need a 130 or better). That was sweet validation for the many people who refer to me as a "smart ass" because I had physical evidence that my ass was indeed smarter than many people on the planet (the average IQ is said to be 100).

DaveQ

There are numerous IQ societies around the globe, some of which are more demanding than others... like the Mega Society, which requires a one-in-a-million score of 175 to join. While nowhere near that level, I do manage to score between 130 and 140 on the IQ tests I take which means I have half the qualifications toward being an evil genius (I really do need to work on that "evil" part).

The holy grail of intelligence societies is the"world's most exclusive" -- the Giga Society, which makes Mensa members seem like drooling idiots because they require a one-in-a-billion IQ of 196 or higher to join. From their crappy web site (which looks as though it was designed by somebody with an IQ of 2), it would seem that they have only 6 members world-wide.

And why, you might ask, am I rambling on about IQ societies? Simple. I want to start my own intelligence society. Intrigued? Then you too may be qualified to join... all you need to do is pass the DaveQ test:

DaveQ Quiz

A) Pull out in front of the motorcycle because you drive an SUV and are much bigger that they are.

B) Pull out in front of the motorcycle and then say: "What motorcycle? I was talking on my mobile phone as I turned into the intersection and didn't see any motorcycle!"

C) Respect the right of motorcyclists to exist, and kindly wait until they clear the intersection before pulling out.

In case you are wondering, the correct answer is "C." Did you pass? If you did, CONGRATULATIONS! Your stunning intelligence gives you a DaveQ of 1000! Take pride in the fact that you are smarter than 90% of motorists out there, and know that motorcyclists around the globe are grateful to have people like you sharing the road.

DaveQBadge   DaveQ Badge

And now, to those of you who didn't pass... STAY OFF THE f#@%ING ROADS DUMBASS!! After two weeks of travel and endless work with no time to ride my motorcycle, I finally get a chance yesterday and experienced BOTH option "A" (moron pulls in front of me just because he won't be damaged in his gigantic gas-guzzling SUV if there's an accident) and option "B" (oblivious mobile-phone using bitch nearly broadsides me because she's too stupid to be driving and talking at the same time).

Life can really suck because PEOPLE ARE STUPID! Who am I to judge? Just a smart-ass with a genius-level IQ.

   

Survival

Posted on Sunday, May 9th, 2004

Dave!I am a big fan of Survivor despite the fact that I loathe "reality television." It's the most passive genre of TV entertainment, requiring no imagination or involvement by the viewer and very little creative energy (or monetary investment) on behalf of the networks. Maybe I've still got a soft spot for Survivor because it was the first reality show to catch on here in the States, and was unique at the time. Of course now there is an avalanche of crappy imitators and each new copy is worse than the last. I'm left hoping that this is the year the reality bubble will finally burst, and the entire fad will collapse on itself.

Unfortunatly, there's not much chance of that happening. People are getting lazier and lazier and want to think less and less, which means the popularity of these dumbass shows will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Back to Survivor All-Stars, everything pretty much ended exactly as I had predicted it would. Rob is a master manipulator, played the game better than anybody in recent memory, and deserved the win (sure Amber may have won the game, but make no mistake that it was Rob who was the big winner by getting cutie Amber and her million!). The proposal was the icing on the cake, but also not unexpected (it was just too corny to not have it happen!).

About the only thing I didn't expect was all the losers turning into a bunch of whiny bitches at the final tribal council. I mean, come on! You've all played the game before, you know this was going to happen... so why in the hell act so betrayed and shocked? Lex, Kathy, Alicia, and Big DUMB Tom (the lamest of the bunch) are all pathetic losers who don't deserve the million because they obviously don't know what it takes to win it. Shii-Ann and Jenna were the only ones that really "got it," which was a surprise.

Poor Jeff Probst. This is one of those jobs where there is no way to not come off looking like a complete tool... yet he somehow makes it work for him.

Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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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Stracciatella

Posted on Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

Dave!I've decided to purchase an ice cream maker. It's not because I like to eat a lot of ice cream... dairy and me don't get along as well as we used to... but every once in a while I have a flashback to eating stracciatella gelato in Rome and have a very hard time letting go. I've tried buying the "gelato" they sell here in the States, but it is not the same. I figure the only way I'm going to fulfill my frozen longings is to create my own stracciatella recipe and keep working until I get it right. I had tried to do this a few years ago, but my crappy $60 ice cream maker wouldn't cooperate.

So this time I am buying a real Italian gelato machine that has a built-in freezer compressor. It's obscene how much money you can end up spending on one of these things (there are models costing thousands of dollars), but eventually I found a highly recommended machine that was under $200. It's called the "Lello Gelato Junior."

Gelato Machine

Can you believe that little machine weighs 40 pounds? Can you believe that I am probably going to end up weighing 400 pounds by the time I perfect my stracciatella gelato recipe? Wish me luck...

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

   

Movable

Posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

Dave!Well darn. I started the day today attempting to install the latest "developer release" of Movable Type 3.0... the software package that powers this blog... and ran into all kinds of trouble. I can no longer post new entries, nor can I add comments to existing entries. I'll wait until I get to work (where I have a backup) and see if I can at least get back to where I was.

UPDATE: Well, things are back to normal. I'll try another install later tonight.

UPDATE: No joy. another attempt to upgrade has met with failure. Even worse, my web host (Lunar Pages) now forbids new installations of Movable Type!! They won't kick off anybody already using MT, but they won't assist you either. Lovely.

UPDATE: Bah, I'll give it one more try tomorrow. If it doesn't work then, I guess I find a new blogging package. This blows.

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

   

Theme Thursday: Ring

Posted on Thursday, May 13th, 2004

Dave!The reception area where I work is just next door to my office. When nobody is at the reception desk, there's a bell for people to ring so they can get assistance. At first it was annoying, but I rarely notice it now. I took this photo a week ago thinking I was going to start contributing to the Mirror Project, but it didn't turn out as I had hoped, so I abandoned it. Still, it does have a nice ring to it...

TT: Ring

Of course, since I haven't yet got my blog working, I can't post this entry yet... but it is Thursday, so there you have it.

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Back to Blogging

Posted on Friday, May 14th, 2004

Dave!Well, I tried again last night to install the Movable Type 3.0 blogging software and was again foiled... but this time with database errors instead of the usual path errors. I asked around to see if any other MT3 early adopters had run into similar problems, but nobody had. It would seem that it's only me. I decided to got back to MT 2.6, but ran into problem there as well. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I may never blog again!

Today I took a fresh look at it and decided that perhaps the database was at fault. I deleted the old users, created a new user, re-entered the information into Movable Type 3.0, and all of a sudden I am running again. I still have no idea what happened.

The disturbing part is that I don't really notice any difference for my trouble. MT3 looks a little different and has some interesting comment management tools (which, unfortunately break the excellent MT-blacklist plug-in), but everything else is the same. That kind of sucks. I was at least expecting some kind of photo gallery management like they put in TypePad!

Oh well. I got a pretty generous discount on the upgrade since I had already donated before, so I guess it's no big deal. I'm just grateful that I'm not still running the DaveWeb blog, because having 7 authors would require an upgrade price of $190!?! That's a ridiculous amount for a non-commercial site that makes no money! You would think that they would have an "unlimited" personal version for non-commercial use.

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

   

50 Questions

Posted on Saturday, May 15th, 2004

Dave!Now that the Friday Five is dead, I occasionally get e-mails from fellow bloggers with ideas or new questions to answer. This morning a friend e-mailed me with a list that's up over at Neil's World. With nothing to do until the washing machine quits, I've answered it in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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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Lost Angeles

Posted on Sunday, May 16th, 2004

Dave!Los Angeles is one of those cities that I used to love visiting. Cool museums, cool activities, cool places, and even cooler people. It's hard not to love the place that Disneyland calls home. But over the years L.A. has lost a lot of it's charm for me. This is partly due to a Hollywood movie deal I was involved in that started with a bang, but then died a long, slow, and very painful death (story for another time). I used to come here for fun, now I come only when I have to... work, a wedding, a can't-miss party, a funeral... those type of things. I guess you could say that I've pretty much done all I've wanted to do and seen all I wanted to see in this city.

Or maybe not... I just noticed that I am here in my hotel at LAX facing north towards the city and cannot actually see the city through all the smog...

Lost L.A.

Ummm... let's zoom in a bit...

Lost L.A.

Not much of a help. This time I'll use PhotoShop to try and enhance the image...

Lost L.A.

There it is! Wow... that's kind of scary. While I am waiting for a friend to pick me up for dinner, perhaps I should cut a mask out of the bedsheets?

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

   

Big in L.A.

Posted on Monday, May 17th, 2004

Dave!Apple has spent loads of money making sure that L.A. is saturated with advertising for their amazing iPod music player. Everywhere you look, you see posters, billboards, bus stop signage... just about everything you could think of. Then I am driving down Santa Monica Boulevard and happen across the biggest advertisement I've ever seen. Forget about how much this thing cost to print... how much did Apple have to pay these people to cover their entire building?!?

iPod Building

Now that's impressive.

   

L.A. Rocks Hard

Posted on Monday, May 17th, 2004

Dave!This was destined to be a very long day, as I had two appointments at entirely opposite ends of the map. Of course, the distance is made even worse by the phenomenally bad traffic here (still better than Seattle though!). But at least the natives know how to drive in traffic... all you have to watch out for are the tourists, which is a nightmare in itself. Indeed, driving in Los Angeles is not for the faint of heart.

My day started with a drive to my first appointment in Santa Ana which is just 30 miles away, but takes around an hour to drive. After I finish up, I've got just a quick 10 minute drive to Newport Beach and my first Hard Rock of the day...

HRC Newport Beach

On the way to my next appointment up near Hollywood, I make a detour to my second Hard Rock of the day. Interesting to note that though the cafe is billed as "Los Angeles," it is actually located in Beverly Hills. They've made a few changes since I was last here, including changing the paint to black and adding these bizarre "flames" which I don't think looks as classy as it used to (and what's with the two dead palm trees up there?)...

HRC Los Angeles

After my last appointment, I head up the 101 to Universal Studios for the "Hollywood" Hard Rock (which is actually located in Universal City). This is the journey I debated whether or not to take, because you must spend $8.00 for parking whether you actually visit the theme park or not! And you had better have the $8.00 in cash, because they don't accept credit cards and will refuse you entry if the money is not in your hand as you drive up (this happened to me once before... who doesn't take credit cards anymore?!?). I finally decide to bite the bullet and pay the insane parking fee, since I'm just a few minutes away...

HRC Hollywood

Naturally, it's 5:15 when I leave Universal Studios, meaning that I'm in the height of rush-hour traffic as I head back to the car rental place. Oh well, I suppose it's worth it to say that I managed to get in all three L.A. area Hard Rocks in a single day.

   

Errata

Posted on Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

Dave!I am in Seattle now, which is not quite home, but it is a lot closer than Los Angeles. After a nerve-wracking 30 minutes on the traffic-soaked highways of Puget Sound, I arrive at my hotel hungry. When my work in L.A. ended early, I decided to skip lunch (having already skipped breakfast) so I could hop an earlier flight back. There are dozens of amazing Seattle restaurants within walking distance but, in the end, all I really want is a burger at Johnny Rockets (Streamliner Vegetarian, no grilled onions and no mustard). Sad, I know.

I walk two blocks to the mall wanting nothing but a bit of peace and a burger. I get the burger (amazing, as always) but no peace. NOTE TO ORGANIZERS OF THE "LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" EVENT AT PACIFIC PLACE: I am sure that the musicians participating are all very talented in a venue with the proper acoustics, but in an open-area mall with nothing but echo from hard surfaces... YOUR "MUSIC" SOUNDS LIKE REALLY LOUD NOISE... REALLY REALLY LOUD NOISE... and is not at all entertaining or enjoyable. IT'S CRAP!! I could not eat my dinner fast enough to get the hell out of that audio torture chamber. My dinner and evening ruined, I resist the urge to pummel a lady wearing a "Little Night Music" T-Shirt on the way out.

So here I sit in my blissfully quiet hotel room drinking a D'Peach Mode and eating a Strawberry Bar I picked up from Barnes and Nobel. I should be catching up on work, but just don't feel like it (meaning that I'm going to have to get up extra early in the morning). Since there is nothing good on television, I blog...

Security!! On the joyous event of passing through airport security with my courier bag this afternoon, I forgot to remove the Hard Rock pins I purchased. This is a Very Bad Thing, because a bag filled with metal pins appears as a big unrecognizable blob when viewed through an X-Ray machine. Naturally, in these uncertain times, that meant a security inspector had to tear through my belongings to be sure I didn't have a knife or other sharp object concealed inside. I love it when that happens... you never can quite get everything back the way you originally had it, meaning that my once carefully-packed bag was now a big lumpy mess that's no fun to carry around.

Googled!! When I went to my first meeting yesterday, I was greeted like an old friend and immediately engaged in a conversation about motorcycles and the hazards of riding one. At first I had thought that I was accidentally wearing a Harley-Davidson T-shirt to the meeting, because... well, I don't exactly look the "biker" type. That's when the conversation takes an odd turn...

ME: How did you know I ride?
HE: Oh, I Googled you last night to prepare for the meeting.
ME: Uhhh... really??
HE: Yeah, doesn't everybody? That's how I found your blog.
ME: Ah. Well, I guess I know what my next entry will be about!

I always figured that something like this would eventually happen (which is why my blog has a rather vague, blurry look at my life), but I was not prepared for that moment it actually did (hello Aaron!).

Win a Harley!! When I went to the Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood yesterday at the Universal Studios CityWalk, I saw the Hollywood Harley-Davidson store and wandered in by habit. Out front they were raffling off five amazing motorcycles (honestly, I would love to have any of them!) as a benefit for Bikers Against Drunk Drivers. I bought $20 worth of tickets and, while filling them out, asked the guy manning the table if there was a "Bikers Against Stupid Drivers" organization... he, naturally, knew exactly what I meant. Everybody who rides a motorcycle would. Anyway, if there was ever a time I wanted to be lucky in my life, this is it.

Oooh... speaking of Harley-Davidson... one just roared by. Sigh. I miss my motorcycle. Knowing it will be another week-and-a-half before I can ride it again just makes it worse.

I think I want to go home now.

Categories: Motorcycles, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Night

Posted on Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

Dave!There are certainly worse views you could have outside a hotel window. At least if I wake up and forget where I am, it will be fairly easy to sort it all out...

Goodnight Seattle

Goodnight Seattle.

Categories: Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Lucas Sucks Ass

Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

Dave!How do you make the shitty finale to two of the greatest movies of all time suck even worse than it already does? Well, with Return of the Jedi, it's not that hard to do... I mean, you've already diminished the Star Wars franchise to teddy bears and burp and fart jokes... but that didn't stop George Lucas from finding a way. Oh no... when it comes to f#@%ing up movies, Geroge Lucas is the master. His latest shot at blasphemy is igniting a firestorm across the internet and, if it proves to be true, is going to make me very cross indeed.

Lucas Sucks Ass

WHAT IN THE HELL?!?!!!

I've already ranted about how much I loathe Lucas for his inane "prequels" and his tampering with his original Star Wars (HAN SOLO SHOOTS FIRST YOU MORON!) but, as bad as Return of the Jedi is, IT'S NOT EVEN GEORGE'S FILM!! It was directed by Richard Marquand!

WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE STOP LUCAS?

At the end of Jedi, Luke saves his father from the Dark Side... meaning that Anakin Skywalker is redeemed and gets to take his place as a Jedi in the "afterlife" (or whatever). THAT'S why Luke sees his father... THE MAN HE JUST RESCUED... standing next to Yoda and Obi-Wan there in Jedi attire.

IT MAKES NO SENSE THAT LUKE WOULD SEE "YOUNG ANAKIN" at the end! I mean, how would he even recognize him? Why didn't Yoda and Obi-Wan reverse in age when they died? Where is the man that Luke saved? Bah. I guess I won't be selling my LaserDisc player anytime soon, since that's the only way I can ever see the Star Wars films when they were any good.

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

   

Carb Awareness Day

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2004

Dave!Today has been declared "Carb Awareness Day" by the Amateur Gormet, and I am doing my best to celebrate. Of course, I think the entire anti-carb paranoia movement is complete and total bullshit so every day is carb appreciation day to me. My most favorite foods are loaded with carbohydrates, and I seem to suffer no ill effects. Last night I had pasta for dinner... somehow, I am still alive this morning. For breakfast I tried to order as many carbs as possible... potatoes, toast, a flour tortilla wrap on my eggs...

Carb Breakfast

Delicious! There is probably thousand carbs on that plate, and I savored each and every one of them!

Which brings me to my rant of the day: THE ATKINS DIET IS STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! Any diet that tells you to avoid fruits and vegetables and eat loads of fat and steroid-riddled dead animals is STUPID. Want to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. It's not rocket science. Carbs don't make you fat... eating more calories than you burn makes you fat. Everything else is window dressing. Why not eat a normal HEALTHY diet (that includes fruits and vegetables), but smaller portions? Why do these wacky fad diets force people to think they need to suffer to lose weight?

Moderation. Balance. Two words that seem to be lost on the world today. Why is it that everything is in absolutes now? Everywhere you turn it's "all or nothing" and it's out of control. I can only hope that common sense will prevail in the end.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: Frame

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2004

Dave!My photo selection for this week's Theme Thursday occurred to me on the way to work yesterday in Seattle. The "Cadillac Hotel Building" which used to be the location of the "Fenix Underground," one of the city's best nightclubs, was badly damaged by the earthquake in 1991. Eventually the Historic Seattle organization purchased the building and is attempting to fix it up. To keep it from caving in while they work, there is a giant frame built around it to hold the walls up...

TT frame

It is a rather nice old building (from 1889... making it 115 years old!), so I wish them much success in the repairs.

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Pioneer

Posted on Friday, May 21st, 2004

Dave!Yesterday when I walked over to photograph my Theme Thursday entry, I took a quick 5-minute walk through Pioneer Square, one of the many great places in the beautiful city of Seattle. I have several fond memories (like go-go dancers at Doc Maynards!) and a few not-so fond memories (like being held-up at knife-point!) from this area of the city. If you are into architecture, this is the oldest area of Seattle, and filled with amazing old buildings.

The heart of Pioneer Square is Occidental Square, a beautiful little park with a leafy canopy of green above it...

Occidental Park

A friend introduced me to the J&M Cafe and Card Room (the oldest bar in Seattle) which is home to my most favorite shooter drink... The McNasty! While it's not the same as ordering up a tray of McNastys with a bunch of friends, you can make this yummy concoction at home... fill a shot glass half-way with hot coffee. Add Sambuca Liquor and then float a little Bailey's Irish Cream on top... fantastic!

J&M Cafe

Not many people realize that UPS (United Parcel Service... those delivery guys in the brown trucks) was started in Seattle. At the very spot that UPS began, they have created this amazing little oasis in the middle of Pioneer Square and called it "Waterfall Garden." When work-related stress takes me to the breaking point, just ten minutes sitting in this amazing little park can work wonders...

Waterfall Garden

Waterfall Garden

One of my favorite places in the Square is the Elliott Bay Book Co. In a day and age when wonderful old book shops are being replaced with online behemoths like Amazon.com, places like this are a true treasure. The eclectic and well-informed staff has littered the shelves with small cards pointing out their favorite books and other items of interest, which makes browsing here a real treat. I try to support this nifty store by buying a new book every time I visit...

Elliott Bay Book Co.

Sure the Space Needle and Pike Place Market are worth visiting in Seattle, but if you ever come to this wonderful city, you owe it to yourself to wander through historic Pioneer Square and discover all of its wonders for yourself.

   

Honest

Posted on Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

Dave!Oooh... Tony Pierce asks "do you have the guts to take the honest bloggers-only quiz?" I really try to keep my political leanings private, but how can you refuse a challenge like that? Interesting how international issues are neatly skirted in this questionnaire... I think the answers in that area would prove much more revealing.

  1. Which political party do you typically agree with? Absolutely none of them. A true public servant would put the welfare of our country above any political party agenda, but none of them do that. Such is the disgusting state of American politics.
  2. Which political party do you typically vote for? I have no political party alignment, though this year I'm guessing it will be Democrat.
  3. List the last five presidents that you voted for? 2000: Gore. 1996: (didn't vote). 1992: Perot. 1988: (didn't vote). 1984: Reagan.
  4. Which party do you think is smarter about the economy? Not the Democrats or Republicans... they've both had their shot and look where we are.
  5. Which party do you think is smarter about domestic affairs? Ditto.
  6. Do you think we should keep our troops in Iraq or pull them out? Pull them out (though, we've made such a big mess there now, that such a thing would probably destroy the country... so I have no idea, I just want them home).
  7. Who, or what country, do you think is most responsible for 9/11? Given that most all of the information I know about the situation came from the biased US news media, I don't consider myself qualified enough to answer.
  8. Do you think we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Apparently not.
  9. Yes or no, should the US legalize marijuana? Yes. I would choose not to use it, but consider it no more addictive or impairing than alcohol. Given that, driving while high should be penalized the same as driving while drunk... i.e., lose your license permanently.
  10. Do you think the Republicans stole the last presidental election? Yes, but I don't blame them for taking advantage of a crappy, outdated system... the Democrats would have done the same. I find it stupid that we are technologically advanced enough to drop the moronic electoral system, but haven't yet done so. One person... one vote. Electoral voting does not accurately reflect the will of the people.
  11. Do you think Bill Clinton should have been impeached because of what he did with Monica Lewinski? No.
  12. Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good president? Hell no.
  13. Name a current Democrat who would make a great president? Nobody current comes to mind... how about John F. Kennedy?
  14. Name a current Republican who would make a great president? Nobody current comes to mind... how about Abraham Lincoln?
  15. Do you think that women should have the right to have an abortion? Though I do not believe in abortion personally, I do not feel it is my place to force my beliefs on others, so yes.
  16. What religion are you? I don't have one, but try to live my life according to Buddhist teachings.
  17. Have you read the Bible all the way through? Yes.
  18. What's your favorite book? Nobel House by James Clavell.
  19. Who is your favorite band? Depeche Mode.
  20. Who do you think you'll vote for president in the next election? Anybody but Bush. The moment he decided to make jokes about "still looking for those WMDs" (complete with "hilarious" photos of him looking under the couch) while soldiers he sent to Iraq were dying (along with Iraqi civilians and forces from allied nations)... I lost what little respect I had left for the man. Anybody that would joke so casually about starting a war has no business being president of this country. Blame his advisors if you like but, in the end, it's his decision as to what comes out of his mouth and nobody else's. Unfortunately, a lot of things that come out of his mouth are stupid, so I'll be voting for absolutely anybody else on the ballot. If It's a choice between President Bush and a banana, I'll vote for the banana under the assumption that it would do less damage.
  21. What website did you see this on first? TonyPierce.com.
Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Gunther!

Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

Dave!When you see something that says "Click here to see the best video you ever seen in your whole life" - you would pretty much be compelled to click on it wouldn't you? Especially after reading about the "artist" Pleasureman Gunther who "is from Sweden but he feels like a European" and "wants to change the worlds look at the sexual way of thinking, so he has started a new trend to sexualise it more in the world. A Gunthertrend. He has only started his mission to go out in the world and spread the message of Love."

It's Gunther!

Indeed.

And, if you like your video filled with sexual innuendo and plastered with Swedish women bouncing around and pleasuring each other to a disco beat... well, then this may very well be "the best video you ever seen in your whole life." For me it's either this one or the video for a-ha's Take on Me.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  38 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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!

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

   

The Joy of Pork

Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

Dave!I'm beginning to hate hotels. I can't go to the restaurant because the season finale of Alias is on in just 15 minutes. So I'm off to find a vending machine for dinner. Unfortunately, the machine on my floor is broken. I decided to go to the lobby because the gift shop is open until 10, but they are closing an hour and 10 minutes early (change the damn sign idiots!). So I go up a floor, but there's no machine... I go up another floor to use that one and it too is out of order.

What the hell? Sure this is just a Holiday Inn, but it's a nice Holiday Inn. Things like this shouldn't happen. I shouldn't have to waste twenty minutes buying a snack. When I finally find a working machine on the 4th floor, I find pork rinds mixed among the over-priced goodies for sale. Who in the hell eats pork rinds any more? Who would want to?

So here I sit eating crap that's not pork rinds and watching Alias. As usual, the show kicks ass. It's only been running for 5 minutes and there is already more action happening than in an entire hour in other so-called "action" shows. Oh goody! Marshall just got shot! I hate Marshall! DIE MARSHALL, DIIIEEEEEEEEE!! Yeesh, the opening credits haven't even come up yet! This rocks!

Oooh... now Vaughn has caught up with his very naughty wife. You've been a very bad girl Lauren... I have a feeling this is not going to be pleasant. Yes! Beat her evil ass with the crowbar! Again! Again! DIE LAUREN, DIIIEEEEEEEEE!!

Bummer, Alias is over now. As usual, a terrific cliffhanger ending for the best show on television.

Sigh. I've read that ABC will not start the fourth season of Alias until JANUARY 2005! That sucks, but the good news is that they plan on airing 20 weekly episodes with no interruption. This will be a pleasant change from the way ABC keeps pre-empting the show this past season. And hey, anything is better than cancellation.

I have to get up at 5am for my first flight. Usually this wouldn't be a big deal because I only sleep from around midnight to around 5am anyway, but all this travel has messed-up my already messed-up sleep schedule. I've been sleeping from around 2am to 7am as of late, and so I can only imagine what an unpleasant day I have awaiting me. I should have just gotten it over with and bought the pork rinds.

   

Pennsylvania Green

Posted on Monday, May 24th, 2004

Dave!The nice thing about central Pennsylvania is how green everything is. It's kind of like Ireland... but not. I look outside my hotel window and think how nice it would be to ride my motorcycle off into the cool green countryside...

Pennsylvania Green

Of course, I could be looking out over the Mohave Desert and still think how nice it would be to ride my motorcycle, so I guess that's nothing new.

UPDATE: The cicadas are out! You can hear the buzz of the forest reverberating through the air.

Categories: Motorcycles, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Thunderstorm Warning

Posted on Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

Dave!My first opportunity for any real sleep tonight is completely ruined by thunderstorms. The lightning is lighting up the night sky with an eerie pink glow that makes it look as though the heavens are on fire... all while thunder is booming so loudly that you would almost swear it is striking inside your head. This is pretty cool, so I have mixed feelings on not being able to sleep. I guess the only thing I can do is leave the curtains open and try to enjoy the show.

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I (heart) NYC

Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Dave!Alrighty then... pop quiz hot shot... You are in New York City, home to some of the greatest restaurants the world has ever known. You are vegetarian, and know that some of the most creative veggie cuisine on earth can be found within a 10-block radius of your hotel. You are hungry for dinner, and are here for one night only... the world is waiting outside your door... where do you go to eat?

NYC McVeggie Deluxe!

Well, if you are me, you go to McDonalds at Times Square! The only place in the world (that I know of anyway) where you can get the amazing McVeggie Deluxe Burger!! Delicious! I had two of them. If I was staying another day, I'd eat two more for dinner tomorrow (after probably having had another for lunch). Why in the hell McDonalds doesn't roll these out to the rest of the chain I will never know. It's not the best veggie burger in the world, but it tastes great and would be a welcome option for fast-food seeking vegetarians.

As I was leaving, I see this on the front of the restaurant...

Veggie Back!

AAAAAAAAHHHHHH! What do you mean "it's back?!?" Where did it go? Why would you ever remove it? All I can say is that it is a darn good thing you brought it back for my visit or I probably would have freaked out... badly.

Of course, no trip to New York is complete for me unless I drop by and see what new pins they've got at the Hard Rock...

NYC HRC

And, naturally, there's always a stop at Pick-A-Bagel, my favorite New York City bagel shop (which I blogged about previously)...

Pick-A-Bagel

Boy don't I wish I had a couple more days here. One night in NYC is definitely not enough!

Categories: Food 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fleet Week

Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Dave!I always seem to luck out in arriving to places just when something interesting is going on. Happy accidents... like being in Boston right in the middle of the Tall Ships coming to town... or arriving in London just at the Impressionists World Tour exhibit has arrived... or coming to New Orleans on the day of the Louisiana Purchase anniversary. Of course, in any larger city, something interesting is always going on. In New York today, it is the first day of "Fleet Week" (an annual event where the Navy and Marine Corps flock to New York City for the public to meet Sailors and Marines and see the ships).

In honor of the occasion, New York City's Finest are everywhere. Police cars are swarming through the streets in large groups of 5 to 15 cars and gangs of police are a huge presence in popular places like Times Square. Everywhere you look there are police and military personnel... even in front of the main recruiting office of NYC...

NYC Recruits

New York is an interesting city any time of the day, but I love it at night (especially in Times Square). With the exception of Tokyo, there is no more exciting place to be after the sun sets...

NYC Times Square

And then there's always my beloved McDonalds Times Square, home of the McVeggie Deluxe!...

NYC McDonalds

One of my favorite buildings at night is Radio City Music Hall because it casts such a nice glow on the street. This photo may look like I somehow altered it in Photoshop, but this is straight from the camera, which is pretty cool...

NYC Radio City Music Hall

Sigh. Just looking at these photos I really do wish I had another couple of days in the city.

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

   

Super Too

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Dave!As some of you know (or have guessed) I grew up a comic book fanatic. One of the greatest moments in my young life was seeing a comic book finally come to life in a film... a good film... in 1978 when Superman: The Movie was released. For the first time, things on the screen were matching what my young mind had been envisioning all along. For the first time, I believed a man could fly.

Two years later, a surprising thing happened. A sequel was released (Superman II) that was actually better than the original. Seeing Superman battling it out with the Phantom Zone Villains over Metropolis on the big screen is a memory that gives me goose-bumps to this day.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Superman II film which director Richard Donner intended to release never came to pass, and the film I actually saw was a butchered version of a much better film.

Given that Superman II is still one of the best super-hero comic films ever... even 24 years later... nothing would make me happier than to see the movie as it was supposed to be. And now that the film's 25th anniversary is approaching next year, it's the perfect time to do it. That's why I will be adding my voice to those good people at the Forbidden Zone who are petitioning Warner Brothers to let Donner "fix" the film...

Restore Superman II

If you want to read about the amazing film that Superman II could have been, there is an excellent analysis over at Superman Cinema. If you want to do something to try and get the film restored, go to the Forbidden Zone and see how you can help.

Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: Strain

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Dave!I'm relatively free of stress and strain because I just don't let it get to me. That being said, there is something about being in any tall building in New York City that is enough to strain your nerves a bit. We just don't have buildings this tall in Cashmere, Washington! This is the somewhat scary view from the 42nd floor of my hotel...

TT Strain

Of course, the honking horns of impatient New York drivers doesn't help. I was greatly amused to see this sign, because asking a New Yorker not to honk is like asking a fish not to swim...

TT Strain

Good bye NYC. :-(

Categories: Theme ThursdayClick To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Acting Your Age

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Dave!An open letter to the inconsiderate dumbasses "partying down" on the 42nd floor of the Hilton Towers New York outside my hotel room at midnight last night: I realize that getting older must be a traumatic experience. I'm going to be there soon enough, and understand your pain... I really do. You are getting older, but don't want to be older, and so you compensate by acting like you are in a college frat house whenever you get away from home even though you are pushing 50.

That being said, there is no reason that I should have to suffer because of it. When you walk through the halls of the hotel screaming "WOOOOO HOOOOO!" and laughing hysterically at anything your drunk ass perceives as funny (which, apparently, is everything)... you don't look "young and cool" your look "old and stupid."

So next time you feel the urge to act like a daft prick and disturb the peace and serenity of those around you at obscene hours of the night... why not try acting your age instead? You are on the executive level of the Hilton on a Wednesday night, not a beach house in Ft. Lauderdale during Spring Break weekend.

In other news: My ride to Newark International this morning at 6am was sure interesting. My cab driver decided to cram his way into a toll lane after coming off the New Jersey Turnpike. Unfortunately, he did so right in front of a very impatient person and got broad-sided by a van. To make matters worse, the lane he fought so hard to enter was an EXPRESS-PASS lane and he didn't have one.

This is going to be an interesting day, I can just tell.

UPDATE: It turns out my day is not a total loss... Aint It Cool is reporting that Wonderfalls, one of the best television shows ever (that was stupidly cancelled after only a few episodes!), is being prepped for a DVD release by the end of the year!

   

Hard Rock Hollywood Florida

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Dave!The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida is an impressive property, and it isn't even done yet! Apparently they are adding another 1000 rooms, a shopping court, and Hard Rock Live venue as well. In comparing it with other HR Hotels I've been to, it kind of falls short... for now. It doesn't have the grandeur of Las Vegas, the class & history of Chicago, the fun attractions of Orlando, or the sheer magic of Bali going for it, but it is still a heck of a fun place to spend your time...

HRHhollywood1

HRHhollywood0

When I arrived my "King-Style" pool-side room wasn't ready, so they upgraded me to a "Ruby Suite" at no extra charge. The room is amazing, but pretty ugly... I like "eclectic" but the hodgepodge of random colors, patterns and textures is a bit overboard...

HRHhollywood4

The sense of humor that makes Hard Rock resorts so entertaining is everywhere. This is my favorite...

HRHhollywood5

Sadly, the cafe is built into the hotel instead of being a separate building. I hate it when they do this, because the cafe does not have a separate identity outside of the hotel...

HRHhollywood3

The interior is kind of boring... just a square room... but the nifty slatted rafters and the HUGE memorabilia wall is great...

HRHhollywood2

I'm not much of a gambler, but it would be a shame not to go play the slots while I am here, so I suppose I am off to lose my hard-earned money. Wish me luck.

Categories: Hard Rock 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Un-Gambling

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Dave!Well, I spent $40 and somehow ended up with a total of $218.04, so I am guessing that I must have won, though I have no idea how I won. The "slots" here are pretty lame... as in that they are not actually "slots" at all. They are BINGO machines. All the spinning wheel graphics are just for show, because whether you win or lose is based solely as to whether you "daub" your virtual "BINGO card" faster than other players. So, if you get a BINGO, the wheels come up with a winning combination. If you don't BINGO, you sit there and watch the wheels spin, knowing they won't display a win because you've already lost.

It's all pretty stupid, and not very entertaining. I'm guessing Las Vegas has nothing to worry about if this is their competition.

Fortunately, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino of Hollywood, Florida does have a really nice pool area, so you can enjoy the place even if you don't like their crappy imitation slot machines...

HRHhollywood6

HRHhollywood7

Today was a pretty boring day. Originally, I was here to work, but that got cancelled... so now I am just killing time until I'm off to Tampa tomorrow. Tough life, I know.

   

Everglades

Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2004

Dave!The route I took to Tampa this morning was across "Alligator Alley" through the Everglades. About a third of the way through, I thought I would stop at a rest center and take a look around. There were two other people there as I walked up to the muck-covered water...

Woman: Where are the everglades?
Man: You're looking at it.
Woman: I don't get it. It's just a big swamp!
Man: Uhhh... yeah.

I am still trying to figure out what she was expecting to find. I think it's kind of nice... croaking frogs, dragonflies, and all...

Everglades

Everglades

Of course, this being Florida, there is a "Waffle House" at every exit. I remember them for having passable food at cheap prices. This time when I stopped, they had passable food at typical prices... no better than Denny's or something. Still, you just can't beat the cheesy atmosphere! I found a good one this time...

Waffle House

Onward to Tampa!

Categories: Food 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Tampa

Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2004

Dave!So here I am at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa! This is a "vacation day" for me today, as I am trading it for next Monday's holiday (Memorial Day) at work. The reason I am here is to visit with a friend in New Port Richey this evening, which is over an hour away. Sure I could have gotten a hotel much closer, but it wouldn't be a Hard Rock now would it?

HRH Tampa

As with the hotel in Hollywood, they have somehow messed up my reservation. Furthermore, there was some arguing with the reception desk over my Hard Rock Pin Club discount of 10%... his response?

"I am sorry, but we are not affiliated with the Hard Rock."

Now, to fully appreciate this absurd comment, you have to know that he was standing next to a card with a Hard Rock logo, wearing a Hard Rock name badge, while handing me a welcome kit with Hard Rock written on it. How in the hell they could be "not affiliated" with the Hard Rock is a complete mystery to me. It isn't until I hand over an e-mail I received with "SAVE 10% AT THE NEW HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO IN TAMPA" that he confirms I have my discount. Odd.

While smaller than the Hollywood property, I think I like this one better. Like last time, I was supposed to get a pool view, but again did not. I did, however get a nice corner suite upgrade with a lovely view of the Tampa skyline. When I actually visited the pool, it is pretty small (and not nearly as remarkable as all other hotels), so I guess I have nothing to be upset about after all...

HRH Tampa

This Hard Rock Hotel has music lyric quotes everywhere, even in the elevator, which I thought was cool...

HRH Tampa

The rooms are a bit eclectic, but much nicer-looking to me than the mixed-up Hollywood decor...

HRH Tampa

The merch store has this sweet Harley sitting in the window... I think I want to steal it...

HRH Tampa

They don't have motorcycle helmet laws here in Florida, which is kind of bizarre to me. I can't imagine being foolish enough to bomb down the highway with no protection for my brain.

   

Hard Rock Vault

Posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Dave!The Hard Rock Vault Orlando is a kind of museum which features some of the organization's most precious and valuable memorabilia. Since every cafe in the chain is home to some pretty amazing stuff, I was always curious to know how it could get any better. The building itself is far-removed from the hotel and cafe in Orlando, and sits off the incredibly congested International Drive, just south of Universal Studios.

The building exterior is funky and dramatic... but mostly decorative, it would seem. As far as I know, there is nothing up in that inverted pyramid...

Hard Rock Vault!

A ticket costs $15 and gains you admission to the "hub" where photography is permitted...

Hard Rock Vault!

I have to hand it to them, they did a pretty amazing job of cramming a heck of a lot of stuff in that room in very inventive ways. It makes me wish that the city of Cleveland would hand over their lame "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" to the Hard Rock and let them make it much, much better. Nobody can take a load of old crap and make it come to life with warmth and interest better than the Hard Rock. It makes the "Hall of Fame" look cold and boring by comparison.

A cool piece that I almost missed is Elvis' Green & White Harley-Davidson motorcycle! The story is that he gave it to his chauffeur as a gift, and it was eventually sold the the Hard Rock. What a beauty...

Hard Rock Vault!

After wandering around the exhibits for a while, I was called for my tour into the actual "vault" where no photography is allowed. Since I was the first (and only?!?) visitor of the day, I was all alone on the tour which was very cool. There are 5 different rooms, each themed differently. The first room is the Punk Room, which I loved. The second was the Dressing Room which had some of the more outlandish costumes from rockers of the ages. The third was the Psychedelic Room (just like it sounds, mushrooms not included!). The fourth was pretty much all the Beatles Room (incredibly cool... my favorite piece being the back of the cereal box that Lenon wrote out the lyrics for Help on!). The last was an Elvis Room (complete with those stupid Vegas lounge singer duds he wore late in life).

If you have any interest in the history of Rock and Roll, the Vault is an absolute can't-miss opportunity, though I think the $15 entrance fee is a bit stupid, as I don't think very many people are going to be willing to pay that. They should have the entry be free, and then clean up on merch sales.

   

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Dave!I have already been to this hotel a couple of times and absolutely love it... staying here is not only really cool, but it has the added benefit of moving you to the front of the line at Universal Studios attractions, which comes in handy. Today I have to get back to Ft. Lauderdale for my flight in the morning, but I thought I'd at least stop by, take a look, and maybe buy a few pins...

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Here you can see what a real resort pool should look like...

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

I found this photo from my previous trip... I like the rooms here better than either Hollywood or Tampa (but not as well as Bali)...

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

If you are even remotely a fan of the Hard Rock and plan an Orlando vacation, this is the place to stay!

   

Mummy

Posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Dave!The only thing I really had on my list for Orlando was the Hard Rock Vault, and so I was left with five hours to kill. There are a lot of things to do in Orlando, but most of the things I'd want to do I have already done on previous trips. I then remembered that Universal Studios had just installed the new "Revenge of the Mummy" roller coaster a few weeks ago, so I thought that would be something interesting to do. Unlike Disney, where the rides keep getting lamer and lamer, the Universal stuff always seems to be pretty cutting edge.

Tolls: $4.00
Parking: $8.00
Admittance Ticket: $58.00
Spending $70 to ride one ride in 100-degree heat on Memorial Day Weekend when the crowds are the worst that they can possibly get: Priceless

Mummy Revenge Ride!

Actually, thanks to Universal's "Single Rider" line, I was able to ride the thing twice in under 20 minutes which was pretty sweet!

The ride itself is excellent. Short, but really excellent. I think "Mummy" is meant to compete directly with Disney's "Space Mountain," as it too is a "dark" roller coaster ride. The difference is that Space Mountain hasn't changed in decades, and Revenge of the Mummy is fresh, hi-tech, thrilling, and a great run! Highly recommended. IMHOTEP! IMHOTEP!!

Since I didn't spend all day waiting in line at Revenge of the Mummy, I decided to see what else was new since I was at Universal Studios last. About the only thing left was "Shrek 4-D" which is a film that bridges the gap between Shrek and Shrek 2 rather nicely. Problem is... A) I had to wait in line for TWO HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES!! which was excruciating (Universal is over-selling their "express pass" and "priority club ticket" badly). B) I am not a Shrek fan... the humor is dated very quickly, the animation is crap compared to Pixar, and I've had more than enough of Mike Meyer's ridiculous Scottish accent. And, C) The reality effects consist of spraying water in your face and moving the seats... and neither one of these are done as effectively as their amazing "Back to the Future" ride. On the other hand, the 3-D effects were pretty top-notch...

Shrek!

After blowing nearly 3 hours on Shrek, I decided that anything else I waited for had better be worth it! Unfortunately, nothing at Universal Studios really did it for me. The good news is that I could upgrade my ticket for $20 so I could be admitted to "Islands of Adventure" where I could ride my most favorite roller coaster ever, THE INCREDIBLE HULK...

Hulk Coaster

Again, thanks to the Single Rider Line, I was able to ride twice in under 25 minutes! Man, I love that coaster! I've been on dozens, and this is the one that gets my blood pumping the most. Something about the way they shoot you up that Gamma Chamber provides a sphincter-puckering moment that's hard to beat when you drop off the other side. Nothing at Disney even comes close to touching it.

And, of course, the most excessive Hard Rock Cafe Orlando is just outside the gate...

Hard Rock Orlando

This has been a really expensive day. Only three rides and it cost me nearly $100.

Categories: Hard Rock 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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...

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Steps

Posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2004

Dave!Just one more early-morning flight tomorrow, and I am home.

I hope I get to stay there for a while.


Mt. Rainier

I used to think that Mt. Fuji was the most beautiful mountain I've ever seen in person... but something about seeing Mt. Rainier (and knowing that I am one step closer to home) makes it a pretty beautiful sight just now.

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

   

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?

   

Life in 50mm

Posted on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

Dave!Today was an incredibly busy day, which was heartbreaking because my latest toy arrived... a brand new 50mm f/1.4 lens for my Canon Digital Rebel camera... and I had no time to play with it. The camera originally included a 18-55mm lens of fairly low quality, and I had been longing for a sharper, brighter, more color-accurate lens since day one. Well, now I have it, and have spent the past hour playing around with it.

Wow.

After I placed the order I had a bit of remorse over buying a fixed $400 lens when a cheaper $70 version existed at f/1.8. But this lens is so sweet that all my reservations disappeared in about 5 minutes. It is absolutely brilliant, and even mundane shots look amazing...

Teddy Bears

Teddy Bears

The only problem is that the Digital Rebel has a magnification factor of 1.6 for any lens you attach, effectively making my 50mm lens 80mm. So now I need something a bit wider for landscapes and architecture shots. The sweetest solution would be to get Canon's lovely 16-35mm ultra-wide zoom, but it's astoundingly expensive at $1400! I suppose that I could sell a kidney or something, because I really, really want it...

Canon Lenses

That's my beautiful new 50mm on the left and the object of my desire, the 16-35mm on the right. Is it too much to hope that $1400 falls from the sky before I start traveling again?

Categories: Photography 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: Indispensable

Posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2004

Dave!Idespesable? I am of the opinion that nothing in life is truly indispensable... it's thinking like that which keeps me from getting disappointed when something of mine gets lost, stolen, damaged, or blown up. I suppose if I were forced to choose, there are two things that I pretty much must have in order to function: My Apple Macintosh PowerBook G4 and Carmex Lip Balm. The PowerBook holds everything I know, and if it were gone I'd probably be reduced to a blithering idiot (well, more of a blithering idiot). I'm not sure what to make about the Carmex... I think I must be addicted.

TT indispensable

Unfortunately, the drug rehabilitation assistance program of the company I work for does not cover Carmex addiction. When I'm up to a jar a day, I'll seek professional help.

Categories: Theme ThursdayClick To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ is Coming…

Posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2004

Dave!When I first started Blogography, I didn't really know how to begin. My two previous blogs had failed because it was too difficult to maintain them and I never had good ideas as to what I should talk about. In surfing through other blogs out there, I came across The Friday Five... a great site that offered up new ideas for your blog every Friday. After a few test entries, my very first post to this blog was a Friday Fiver and, every week thereafter, I never missed a single one (no matter where in the world I was!).

But then tragedy struck... Friday Five ideas started coming out only rarely, and then stopped altogether in early May. I kept looking for something to take its place, but never managed to find anything. I fooled around with some fake Friday Five entries for a while, then gave up. Eventually I found out that there were other bloggers who were in the same situation, and started to get e-mails with suggestions and encouragement to post more ideas.

Thus, FridayQ was born...

FridayQ logo

If bloggers enjoy it and want to participate, I'll try to keep it going... or give it to somebody else if I can't. While comparisons to Friday Five are inevitable, I'm trying to make it a little unique by adding "FQ Challenges" each week... it could be a dare, or a quiz, or a project of some kind... or even something completely bizarre. I expect the site will evolve as I figure out what people like (or don't like) and change things around based on suggestions I get.

So feel free to give it a try and let me know what you think. More information is available in the FridayQ FAQ, and if you plan on being a regular participant or have an idea, be sure to let me know.

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

   

FridayQ: Escape

Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2004

Dave!What is your favorite way to escape from everyday life? A good movie, and it doesn't matter if it's in the theater or on DVD at home. As long as the story is absorbing, it's an easy escape for me. Oddly enough, if asked the same question just five years ago my answer would have been "a good book." Am I getting lazy?

When was the last time you made an escape? Just last night. Where did you go? I've recently returned home from a month of traveling, and pulled my motorcycle back out of storage then rode around town for about a half-hour. Every time I hop on my bike it's an escape.

If you could escape to anywhere on earth right now, where would that be? I'm tempted to say Edinburgh, Scotland because it's my favorite place on earth right now. But I've been there a half-dozen times already, so I would probably pick someplace entirely new... perhaps the Greek Islands.

FQ DARE: Post your passport photo (or your driver's license photo if you don't have a passport). I don't take very good photos to begin with, but any photo that you're going to be stuck with for 4 years (driver's license) or 10 years (passport), is guaranteed to be even worse that usual. Oh well. Given that most of the time people see my passport I am jet-lagged to a near-comatose state, the photo probably looks better than I do to the poor immigration agent...

FQ passport

Now go take the FridayQ yourself... I double-dare you.

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

   

Klaatu Barada Nikto

Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2004

Dave!I was channel surfing and ran across one of my favorite films of all time... The Day The Earth Stood Still, so naturally I was compelled to watch it for the hundredth time. It still sends me into shock when I realize that the movie is over fifty years old, yet is more relevant today than ever. Even though it is in black & white, it is beautifully shot, wonderfully paced, incredibly acted, and has special effects and a music score decades ahead of its time. The film is timeless...

The Day The Earth Stood Still

I take a look at this, then look at the crappy state of today's science fiction, and just want to chop somebody up with a light saber. Back then a film meant something. Whereas today, we've got loonies like George Lucas destroying sci-fi with burp and fart jokes, paper-thin characters, and Jar Jar Frickin' Binks.

"I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet. But if you threaten to extend your violence, this earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder."

Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Coupling 4

Posted on Sunday, June 6th, 2004

Dave!The end to a very challenging weekend for me was made a little better with the Series 4 premiere of Coupling on BBC America. While not the most brilliant of episodes, it did wrap up in a clever way. I was worried knowing that Jeff wouldn't be back this time around... but his replacement, Oliver, seems like he may actually benefit the show. Seeing the group through the eyes of a newcomer might make things more interesting? Time will tell I guess.

In other news, I gear up for a fast this week (it's one of those things I try to do every 9 months or so, and I'm running late). While I never look forward to starving myself for days at a time, the benefits of fasting are pretty hard to ignore, so off I go.

I wish the sun weren't going down just yet... I sure would have liked a motorcycle ride in today.

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

   

Fast

Posted on Monday, June 7th, 2004

Dave!A few people e-mailed me about my previous post where I mentioned I would be preparing for a fast this week. I wasn't joking, this is something I actually do, and have been doing roughly every nine months for the past five years. The process forces your body to work out toxins and burn through fat reserves that stores up all kinds of nasty stuff that accumulates from the junk we eat (this is especially true if you eat meat), so I guess you could say it's a health thing.

But mainly I do it because I feel so much better after it's all over. I have more energy, don't feel as sluggish, and (most of all) have an entirely new appreciation for the food I eat. Because a couple of people were curious, I will post my fasting regime below. But, before I do, the necessary legal disclaimer:

I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I have no medical training. I certainly do not recommend anybody make radical changes in their diet (even temporary ones, like fasting) without consulting their doctor first. This information is posted for entertainment only, and should not be constituted as medical advice.

That being said, I can say that I have been fine-tuning this process for several years and it works wonders for me. When I first started, I could never stay on a fast for more than a day or two... eventually, through trial and error, I found I had much better success if I "ramped up" and "ramped down" from the fasting period. It works kind of like this:

Dave Fast

Dave Fast

Lemon Water: The juice of half a lemon (organic is best) mixed with water (warm is best) four times a day... it is important to stay hydrated, so drinking plenty of plain water as often as you can throughout the day is highly recommended. Cayenne Pepper: I add a tincture to my warm lemon water each morning, then take the cayenne in pill-form at "lunch" and "dinner." The cayenne stimulates your body to eliminate toxins that have built up (or so I am told). Fruits: Raw and organic is best (no sense adding toxins back into your system that you are trying to eliminate!). Vegetables: Ditto on the raw and organic. If I am feeling a bit weak coming off the fast, I sometimes add brown rice to my diet on days 11 & 12 in the mornings.

NOTE: When I first started, I was only fasting for 2 days in the middle... I then worked my way up to 3 and then 4 days. I've gone as long as 6 days, but didn't find any additional benefits from it, so eventually settled on 4 days. I do take vitamin supplements while fasting, which some people tell me is wrong, but that's just me.

And that's it. It's really not as bad as it sounds... sure on day 6 you are pretty hungry, but days 7 and 8 are not so bad as your body adjusts and starts going into ketosis. I can honestly say that the first piece of fruit you eat on day 10 will be the best tasting thing you've ever eaten in your life! I usually start easy (no skins and half-servings) and try to make it a real treat... like mango or something exotic like that.

Oh, one more thing... I found that it is much easier to eliminate certain "bad foods" you are addicted to after a fast. You simply don't eat/drink them anymore when you begin eating again. I was able to give up my soda-pop (i.e., "death nectar") habit years ago (I drink it only rarely now, but used to drink 4 to 8 cans a day) and it was a piece of cake (mmmm... cake!).

So, if I am a bit cranky in my posts this week and the next, it's only because I can't have candy and ice cream! I'll be back to "normal" (well, normal for me anyways) on the 18th.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Express

Posted on Monday, June 7th, 2004

Dave!Windows users are forever asking me why it is that I am such a Macintosh fanatic. The answer is: "because Apple makes it so easy to love everything they do." Of course, a lot of the cool stuff that Apple has been doing lately has directly benefitted Windows sufferers, so I guess even non-Mac users are loving Apple now-a-days. A perfect example is their new "Airport Express" wireless device that was just released today...

Airport Express

This is phenomenal. I have been dreaming of something just like ever since Apple ignited the wireless revolution (well ahead of Windows machines, which are only just now getting standard wireless connectivity with that Centrino crap), and now Apple delivers.

Whenever I travel, I try to find hotels that have wireless... but, more often than not, they don't. Now it doesn't matter. I take an Airport Express with me, plug the hotel's ethernet cable into it, and I've got wireless. When I work at a studio that doesn't have wireless, I can have it there too. Going to a meeting room where they don't have wireless, doesn't matter... I'll just bring it with me. This is amazingly cool. No more stringing ethernet cables everywhere just so I can access the internet when I'm away from the office or my apartment.

And, even though I would have been thrilled to have the wireless stuff all by itself at an amazing $129, Apple didn't stop there (they never do). They also included a USB port and an audio port. Now I can stream my entire iTunes library to my stereo and give any USB printer a wireless connection... instantly... whenever I need it.

I'll take two please.

Why am I a Macintosh fanatic? The better question is "why isn't everybody?" That way you don't have to wait a year or two for Microsoft to "create" an inferior copy... you can have the superior original now (well, in mid-July actually). Of course, the unit is said to be "Windows compatible," so I suppose if you are intent on using a crappy OS and still want to have Airport Express, you still can (if you can keep Windows from getting a virus or from crashing long enough to do anything with it in the first place).

Oh look... just one day without candy and ice cream and I'm already a whiny little bitch! Go me.

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

   

Twenty-Seven

Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2004

Dave!Neil has posted a "twenty-seven questions" meme on his blog that's seems to be working it's way through the internet. In order to make it easy for those of you who are bored by these things to skip it, I've posted it as an extended entry.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Tripper

Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2004

Dave!I'm back to Seattle for the day. It's kind of amazing how beautiful it is here today... perfectly blue, cloudless skies. Even better, I got to play with my dream lens (the Canon 16mm-35mm ultra-wide zoom) for my camera and now I want one more than ever. This shot is at about 22, so I could go even wider if I wanted...

Seattle Blue

I tried to post a photo of this totem lady last time, but couldn't get far enough away to fit her all in. With the wide-angle lens, it's a piece of cake...

Totem Lady

On the way home, I didn't have to drive, so I goofed around with my new 50mm lens and found that it tears just beautifully when you have the lens set slow while traveling at high speed...

Tree Blur

Looks kind of like a Monet doesn't it?

Categories: Theme ThursdayClick To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Sixteen to Thirty-Five

Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2004

Dave!For anybody who is curious about the Canon EOS Digital Rebel's 1.6 magnification factor "ruining" any chance for wide angle shots, it really doesn't... if you spend the money to make it happen. I seem to have caused a bit of confusion yesterday when I posted shots with a "wide angle lens" that were not very "wide." The reason for this is that I limit photos on Blogography to a 425 pixel width in order to save bandwidth, which makes any detail in wide shots drop out quite badly. Keeping that in mind, here are a few shots at 16mm, cropped out of the middle of the full-frame...

Seattle at 16mm

Pretty sweet, I know. It was very tempting to "accidentally" forget to return the lens! Ordinarily I would attempt to correct some of the barrel distortion in Photoshop, but I didn't do that here because it actually isn't too bad.

The truth is that even with the 1.6 magnification, 16mm still gives you about 25mm, which is still a respectable wide angle. I was pretty happy to finally be able to shoot an image that came closer to capturing my field of vision with this camera... but at the same time dismayed that it's going to cost $1400 to get it (that's more than the camera!). Sure there are cheaper alternatives out there, but if I decide to spend that kind of money, I'd rather pay the extra and be assured of quality.

Decisions, decisions... buy the lens and starve to death or don't by the lens and forever be stuck with a narrow view of the world?

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

   

Theme Thursday: machine

Posted on Thursday, June 10th, 2004

Dave!BMW... the ultimate driving machine? That may be true for cars, but I think that it is equally true to state: BMW... the ultimate riding machine! Yargh... it rained yesterday so she's still a bit dirty...

Theme Thursday: Machine

Oh come on... like you didn't see this one coming since the theme was announced last Friday! I am nothing if not predictable.

   

FridayQ: Musical

Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2004

Dave!Do you play any musical instruments or have any musical talents? I played sax and clarinet in school band, but that's long-forgotten and I couldn't play a note now if I tried. I am finding a small amount of imitation musical talent playing with Apple's Garage Band software though. Whose musical talent would you most like to have? It's a toss-up between the vocal talent of Chris Martin from Coldplay or the song-writing ability of Martin Gore from Depeche Mode.

What was the last musical event you attended? Not counting the performance of a street musician in New York a few weeks back, I'd have to say it would be when I took my mother to see The Lion King in London's West End for Mother's Day in 2002. I haven't been to a proper concert in ages.

Give it up... to which musician would you most like to have an "all access pass" for the night? Gwen Stefani or any of the ladies from The Corrs (though I'm a bit partial to Sharon)...

The Corrs

FQ DARE: Reveal a musical artist or group that you are embarrassed to like. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic, but the most embarrassing would have to be the A*Teens. It's bubble-gum pop of the absolute most vapid, yet I find myself listening to them entirely too often recently.

FQ CHALLENGE: Mention the above artist or group in a comment you leave on some other blog, then provide the permalink URL where we can find it! (No fair lying about how much you think they suck and no cheating by leaving the comment on somebody else's FridayQ entry!). Extra creativity points for somehow working them into a completely unrelated conversation. How in the heck do you work A*Teens into any conversation? Somehow I managed it over at chaotic intransient prose bursts in this entry: http://blog.kung-foo.tv/archives/001009.php.

Take up the challenge yourself at the FridayQ!

Categories: Memes 2004, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Borrowed Heaven

Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2004

Dave!The inspiration for today's FridayQ was driven by The Corrs new album release Borrowed Heaven (along with my infatuation with Sharon Corr, who I just learned has the same birthday as I do!). Problem is that even though the album was released a few days ago, it's not yet available on the iTunes Music Store (here's hoping it shows up on the next "New Music Tuesday"). All you can get now is the first single release: Summer Sunshine in about a dozen remixes.

Borrowed Heaven

Looking around the Net I also found the their new video which, unfortunately, is just as lame as their others. In this one, they are tearing down an old house. Even more inexplicable is the young couple who run from room to room and make out until one of the Corr siblings come in and demolishes everything? What in the heck does that have to do with "Summer Sunshine" or the lyrics to the song? Why can't The Corrs find a video director that knows how to visualize their material and keep them from looking stupid? Having the band wander around like zombies in the background while Andrea sings is not compelling television (heck, they all play their own music... you should show that in the background).

In more ironic news, The Corrs are going to be performing at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery just over 2 hours away... but I will be in Europe on the day of the concert. To make matters worse, I can't see them in Europe either, because they leave for North America the day I arrive!

Fate, apparently, is not on my side today. I think I should wear my lucky boxers to compensate... what else can go wrong on a day you are wearing lucky underwear?

UPDATE: ARRGH! The boxers didn't help. I just got an e-mail informing me that the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Rally for 2004 is happening just three hours away in Spokane... right on the day I leave for Milwaukee! That's just cruel.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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...

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

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

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Eat

Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2004

Dave!Hmmm... I can eat again now that my fast has ended, but I don't really feel like it for some reason. That's never happened before.

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

   

Movie of Dreams

Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2004

Dave!Fifteen years ago my favorite film of all time, Field of Dreams was released. To mark this anniversary, they've released a new edition on DVD that includes a few more extras than the previous release, including never-before seen deleted scenes. Fortunately director Phil Alden Robinson resisted the urge to go insane, "pull a George Lucas," and completely f#@% up a perfect movie... everything is exactly as he left it years ago.

Field of Dreams

I still cannot figure out what is so appealing to me about this film that nothing else has come along to knock it off the top of my list. I've seen it dozens of times, never get tired of watching it, and will probably watch it dozens of more times in the future. There's just something magic about Field of Dreams.

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

   

Meet

Posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

Dave!My blog is so compelling that now I have people flying in from Australia to meet me in person! Well, not really, but Karen (from her Kazza blog) who is Australian and was in the neighborhood did give me a call so we could meet for dinner in nearby Wenatchee. This is not the first time I've met up with a fellow blogger, but I do think she's from the furthest away I am likely to see (unless somebody drops by from Antarctica tomorrow morning for breakfast).

The good news is that she didn't feel compelled to stab me with a fork and run screaming from the restaurant after being forced to listen to me talk for hours on end. If it were me having to listen to me, I don't know that I would have been as forgiving.

Nope... it was a perfectly lovely dinner, and three hours passed in no time at all. Blogs can be pretty swell for things that like.

Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Graham

Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Dave!In what can only be described as "a moment of brilliance," Comedy Central has hired British talk-show host Graham Norton to create a version of his program here in America. Of course, given our uptight nature about sexual innuendo and raunchy comedy, I have to wonder just how much latitude Graham will have... I dread the idea of us getting a watered-down show when the original was so damn funny.

Graham Norton

It remains to be seen if Graham's rather elevated sense of humor will play well to the average dimwitted American television viewer that prefers their laughs spoon-fed to them, rather than actually having to think about something. I can only hope. But the big question that has to be on everybody's mind... will Graham bring DoggyPhone and Betty to New York with him?

All will be revealed tomorrow night on Comedy Central. Here's hoping that it doesn't suck!

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

   

Theme Thursday: Bend

Posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2004

Dave!I first thought that this week's Theme Thursday of "bend" would be a piece of cake because two things immediately came to mind: 1) The three trees in front of the Hometown Market that bend at an odd angle for some unknown reason, and 2) The group of lilies in front of the dentist office that are trapped under a bushy tree and have had to bend as they grow to reach the sunlight. I walk by them often, and have noticed them several times, so no problem right?

Wrong. The trees made for a kind of boring shot, and the lilies could not be photographed at an angle so that you could see how they are all bent over! That's when I remembered that the entire city is built on a bend in the Wenatchee River, and decided to give that a try...

Theme Thursday: Bend

Not the best shot... I don't have my polarizer and it's really the wrong time of day to try and shoot it. Oh well.

Here are my rejected shots...

Theme Thursday: Bend

Note that the telephone pole and the street lamp are straight... the trees really do bend like that, and it's a bit more impressive as you approach them. Kind of sad that nobody attempted to correct this problem as they were growing up, because they're nice, healthy trees otherwise. My guess is that the one on the right got blown over or something, and is now taking the other two with it!

Theme Thursday: Bend

The yellow in these flowers is luminous... almost painful to look at... in real life. A pity that there is only so much a photograph can capture.

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FridayQ: Gadget

Posted on Friday, June 18th, 2004

Dave!What's your favorite electronic gadget that you own? Probably my iPod. It's amazing how I can carry around my entire music collection (so sweet while traveling). Which gadget do you wish you owned but don't? I want a mobile phone with a camera on it (like the SonyEricsson K700, my dream phone) so I can start a moblog.

What gadget do you wish somebody would invent so you could have one? A wireless power transformer, so my laptop can charge from any room in the apartment without being plugged into an outlet. That would be really cool. Which gadget do you wish had never been invented at all? Whatever it is in mobile phones that allow polyphonic ringtones to exist...

Ringtone Hell

Ringtone Hell

Do you consider yourself an electronic gadget junkie? Absolutely. How many gadgets are around/on you right now? At least a dozen. Looking around, I see 1) Apple iPod, 2) Motorola V60i mobile phone, 3) GameBoy Advance, 4) XboX, 5) DVD recorder, 6) Japanese to English Translator, 7) Canon EOS Digital Rebel Camera, 8) Canon Powershot IXUS 400 Camera, 9) Pocket Hard Drive, 10) Apple Airport Base Station, 11) Apple iSight A/V Chat Camera, 12) Apple Wireless Mouse & Keyboard.

FQ DARE: Reveal a trendy gadget you bought, but are now embarrassed to own/have owned. There are so many. Probably the worst was a $450 Sony Clie PDA... I thought it would change my life, but tossed it in a drawer after having owned it for just a week. It's not only embarrassing to think I was so enamored with it, but also a colossal waste of money and I should have known better. A close second would have to be my first MP3 Player which could only hold a maximum of 6 songs... totally useless, but I bought it anyway.

Categories: DaveToons 2004, Memes 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

MS Mac = MS

Posted on Saturday, June 19th, 2004

Dave!If there was a single redeeming quality to Microsoft, it was that they manage to churn out some pretty good Macintosh software. Yes, they've had some problems along the way (MS Word for Mac version 6 was one of the single worst software applications ever) but, for the most part, MS Office for the Macintosh was always a step above anything that came out for Windows. Sure MS Office apps are bloated with unneeded features that slow down the programs on older machines, but I look on the bright side that at least I don't have to use Windows in order to run them.

Microsoft recently released Office:mac 2004 which updates their excellent Office:mac X suite. Fool that I am, I assumed it would be an improvement.

I was wrong. The latest version is such a huge step backwards, that I've just uninstalled it.

I'm left wondering if anybody at Microsoft bothered to test this product before release. Furthermore, I am wondering why they bothered to release it at all (the new feature set is hardly compelling or useful). In the two days I attempted to use it, I ran into numerous problems. My favorite is the fact that the installer allows you to skip installation of "Visual Basic for Applications," yet the programs complain constantly if it's not installed... if it's required, why allow us to skip installing it? There's more, of course, but I'm trying my best to forget about Office:mac 2004. I can only hope that they work up some patches so that one day it's actually useable.

UPDATE: Okay, there is something by Microsoft that I think is really cool... their TerraServer site. It's a mapping tool that lets you zoom in on any area of the United States to a ridiculous degree. Some urban areas even zoom in color, and you can get so close that people become visible! Here's a few shots as I descend on the Seattle Center and the Space Needle...

TerraServe

TerraServe2

Originally created in 1998 as a showcase for Microsoft SQL Server, TerraServer creates map views based on U.S. Geological Surveys satellite data, and is a great way to kill some time.

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

   

Valley

Posted on Saturday, June 19th, 2004

Dave!I just got an e-mail from my little brother (a far more talented photographer than I am) with the most amazing panorama shot of our home here in the Cashmere Valley. It would seem that while I was slaving away at work, he was out in this beautiful weather on a motorcycle ride. Lucky bastard! You can click on the photo to open up a larger shot in a new window...

Cashmere Valley Pano

He notes: "Shot with Canon S500 in panoramic mode and stitched together in Canon stitch software."

Categories: Photography 2004Click To It: Permalink  10 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Move

Posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2004

Dave!A good chunk of my day was spent listening to my entire catalog of Depeche Mode music while I worked. Naturally, this just left wanting more, but there is no more to be had because the members of the band are "on a break" and "pursuing solo projects." I wonder when they're going to get tired of that nonsense and give everybody what we really want... a new Depeche Mode album! And is it too much to ask that Alan Wilder come back to the group?

As an aside, How do you create a song as perfect as Higher Love off of the Songs of Faith and Devotion album? Is it just luck, or is it a "sell-your-soul-to-the-devil" type of thing?

Depeche Mode

In other music-related ranting, I noticed that there are a few more storefronts on the iTunes Music Store...

iTunes World

Interesting to note that while you can only purchase a few songs off The Cure's Disintigration album here in the U.S.A., if you live in the U.K. you can purchase the entire thing. That sucks ass! Once again I am put into a situation whereas the only option for me downloading the album is either A) go to a sharing network and steal it, or B) have a friend in the U.K. purchase it for me, then strip out the copy protection so I can play it.

Both options are illegal.

But I don't really give a crap.

I mean, I want to buy it... I want to do the right thing. But for some insanely stupid reason I can't, so screw 'em. I refuse to hunt down the CD and contribute another piece of plastic to the garbage dump because music publishing rights are so f#@%ed up that I can only get a partial album. I buy my music online now, and the music industry can either keep up, or be left behind... there are too many other options out there for me to care.

Or I suppose I could just move to Europe so I can buy the music I want.

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

   

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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Meme

Posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004

Dave!Today was not much better than yesterday. I hope this string of sucky days ends soon. Needless to say, this means I am not in much of a mood to write anything chipper. Perhaps a questionaire? Neil is always finding new and interesting memes for his blog. He should have listed this uncanny talent under question #20. So here goes "Another Day, Another Meme."

  1. Born on what day of the week? A Thursday. After 14 hours of labor (or so my mother tells me).
  2. Chore you hate? Ironing, but only because I suck at it. I always end up putting more wrinkles in than what I started with, and that's what I hate. I don't mean to be sexist, but my search for the perfect woman will include ironing skills. Damn, I'll bet Elizabeth Hurley can iron the hell out of a pair of trousers...
  3. Liz and Her Iron

  4. Dad’s name? Well, I'm David Simmer II, so you figure it out.
  5. Essential makeup item? Uhhh... do contact lenses count?
  6. Favorite actor? There are too many to pick just one... Kevin Kline, James Earl Jones, Bill Murray, Jean Reno, Morgan Freeman... and since "actress" is no longer politically correct, I suppose I should include ELIZABETH HURLEY, Uma Thurman, Jaimie Lee Curtis, Selma Blair, and Liv Tyler. I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting.
  7. Gold or silver? I don't wear jewelry, so I'd probably opt for gold because I could sell it for more money!
  8. Hometown? Cashmere, WA.
  9. Instruments you play? None anymore.
  10. Job title? Marketing and Design Coordinator... I think... I don't know that I've ever looked at my business card.
  11. Kids? None that I know of. Wow, that sounded funny in my head, but looks kind of crass in print.
  12. Living arrangements? Apartment.
  13. Mom’s name? Mommy!
  14. Need? To escape from time to time.
  15. Overnight hospital stays? None that I remember for myself, but I have stayed overnight to be with others.
  16. Phobias? Heights. I thought that skydiving would cure me of it, but it never did.
  17. Quote you like? "No matter where you go, there you are." -- Buckaroo Banzai.
  18. Religious affiliation? None, though I study Buddhism.
  19. Siblings? My younger brother.
  20. Time you wake up? Usually between 4:30am and 5:30am.
  21. Unique talent? To completely ignore annoying people around me.
  22. Vegetable you refuse to eat? Broccoli or cauliflower... I loathe even the smell of them.
  23. Worst habit? Completely ignoring people who annoy me.
  24. X-rays you’ve had? My right foot (nope, it wasn't broken) and my teeth.
  25. Yummy food you make? Enchiladas based on my grandmother's recipe, but with rice instead of meat.
  26. Zodiac Sign? Aries. THE RAM!!

Tomorrow is Wednesday already? Bleh. I don't hold out much hope for it not sucking...

   

Theme Thursday: Eye-Catcher

Posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2004

Dave!While I think the entire concept of "Theme Thursday" is cool... my favorite themes are always those that you don't have to plan. It's spontaneous and perhaps even enlightening. That being said, I have to say that this week is one of my favorites: eye-catcher. Nifty! My plan is to stop typing right now, walk out the front door of my office, then shoot the first three things that catch my eye. Three shots only with no do-overs. Back in a sec...

The minute I stepped out the door, something caught my eye immediately...

Eye-Catcher

I've worked here for over 20 years and have never noticed how the railroad building across the street has one green window. Just one. I don't think I will ever not notice it again, as it is directly facing me every time I leave. The fact that I somehow managed to capture a bird in flight on my first of only three photos just makes this the coolest Theme Thursday ever.

And, for number two... well, duh...

Eye-Catcher

After somehow managing to tear myself away from looking at my motorcycle, my eye caught a vivid patch of green illuminated by the sun against a blue sky...

Eye-Catcher

No, not the best shot ever... but it is a bit of an eye-catcher. I'd like to pop on a polarizing filter, run outside, and shoot this one again, but that would be cheating. Sometimes it's fun to follow rules (especially when you set them for yourself).

Categories: Theme ThursdayClick To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ: Liar

Posted on Friday, June 25th, 2004

Dave!Lie about where you spent your last vacation. My last vacation was spent scuba diving around the private tropical paradise of Young Island off the coast of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.

Tell an untruth about your last romantic encounter. Whilst waiting for my yacht to be fueled in Barbados, I happened upon Elizabeth Hurley at the Monkey Bar in St. James. After a few drinks and some clever conversation, we retired to her luxury suite at the Sandy Lane Hotel for a romantic evening so incredible that the movie rights have been sold to Miramax.

Fib about the last gift you received. As thanks for the most amazing night of passion she has ever known, Elizabeth Hurley gave me a $16,000 Rolex Submariner Gold watch.

FQ DARE: This time tell the truth on all the above! My last real vacation was a trip to New Orleans with my mom last December. My last romantic encounter was with an ex-girlfriend who had just broken up with her current boyfriend and was looking for a rebounder a couple months ago. The last gift I received was a basket of fresh fruit.

You too can be a liar at the FridayQ!

   

Dead

Posted on Saturday, June 26th, 2004

Dave!I don't get Showtime, so I kind of missed out on an intriguing program called Dead Like Me. Since the first season was just released on DVD, a friend has been begging me to buy it, telling me that it's her favorite show. So I went ahead and got it, and she's right... it's pretty great. Which begs the question: Does series mastermind Bryan Fuller wake up and say "I am such a friggin' genius!" to himself in the mirror each morning? If I created something this brilliant, I know I would be.

Dead Like Me

The show centers around a girl named George who dies when a toilet seat from a Russian space station falls from orbit and vaporizes her in an explosion. Rather than continuing into the afterlife, George becomes a "Grim Reaper"... one of the legion of undead who collect the souls from the dead (or about to be dead) and escorts them into whatever awaits them in the great beyond. She's actually part of a team of "Reapers" who are directed by their leader "Rube" (deftly played by Mandy Patinkin).

Dead Like Me

It sounds odd, I know, but what makes the show really special is the black humor which permeates every scene. Sometimes touching, other times funny, but always interesting and smartly written, It's kind of a look at life from a not-quite-living perspective.

Dead Like Me

Might be worth checking out at the video store if they have it. The opening credits showing Grim Reapers in black hooded robes with scythes doing everyday normal things like going to work, doing laundry, and playing basketball is reason enough.

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

   

Envy

Posted on Saturday, June 26th, 2004

Dave!ACK! Some heartless bastard just pulled up with a stunning yellow Ducati ST2 across the street! Gutting! My dream machine is so close... I think I might have to steal it. If you don't see a new post from me in a while, it means I'm probably in jail.

Ducati ST2

Eh. Probably best I don't have one... I would most certainly kill myself on it.

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Wicklow

Posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2004

Dave!I'm off to the Seattle-side of the state. Since I have to take a bunch of crap with me, I'll be driving my car instead of riding my motorcycle. I hope I remember how.

Before I forget (again)... this is for Jill:

The reason the little photos in my sidebar for "Hard Rock Moment" and "Travel Picto-Gram" change every time you visit is because I wrote a little script to randomly display them. If you "reload" the page a few times, the photo you want to look at should appear again. The image you are referring to is from Glendalough, which is an incredibly beautiful area south of Dublin in Ireland. You're right, one day I should add them to my gallery but, until then, here are a few showing the Celtic crosses you wanted to see...

Wicklow Ireland

Wicklow Ireland

Normally, I don't care for organized tours because I prefer to explore places on my own. But my hotel (the historic Shelbourne Hotel in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin) gave the "Wild Wicklow Motor Coach Tours" their highest recommendation and, after taking it, I would have to agree. If you are in Dublin and want to see a bit of Ireland's amazing countryside, this is the way to do it.

Categories: Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Yoo-Hoo

Posted on Monday, June 28th, 2004

Dave!Why is it so hard to find a store that sells Yoo-Hoo anymore? I mean, I just don't get it. It's chocolate milk which doesn't require refrigeration... that's pretty much magic in a freakin' bottle... so you would think that all stores would carry it. And why in the hell isn't everybody drinking it? Yoo-Hoo tastes awesome. Yoo-Hoo is cool. Yoo-Hoo sponsors motorcycle racing, which kicks ass...

Yoo-Hoo Racing

Yoo-Hoo is endorsed by The Simpsons. Yes, Bart Simpson drinks Yoo-Hoo...

Yoo-Hoo Bart

And if Bart Simpson isn't bad-ass enough for you, Jesse James drinks Yoo-Hoo...

YooHooJesse

Forget about Jesse James... Jesse James' DOG drinks Yoo-Hoo. Why in the hell can a dog get Yoo-Hoo, but I can't find it? This sucks ass. I need to move to a real city. Yoo-hoo rules the earth!

Categories: Food 2004, MotorcyclesClick To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Tiger

Posted on Monday, June 28th, 2004

Dave!Every once in a while, usually after being forced to use Microsoft Windows for some reason or another, I happily return to the serenity of my Macintosh and ponder... "Does Apple ever get tired of completely ruling over Microsoft when it comes to just how cool a computer can be?"

Apparently, the answer is "no." Apple just released some information on the next version of their OS that's coming out early next year: MacOS X v10.4 Tiger...

Tiger Preview

Naturally, I want it right now.

All the features are incredible, and will make their already superior operating system even better. I am particularly looking forward to "Spotlight" (global search tool that's a little bit reminiscent of LaunchBar on steroids), iChat AV (now you can video chat with three other people at the same time!), and "Automator" (a automation tool that I've been wanting for a long time).

There is a puzzling new feature, however, called "Dashboard." It's kind of a bunch of tools that you can have pop-up anytime you want without having to open anything new or disrupt your work...

Tiger Preview

Sure it looks cool, but there's a product that already allows you to do all that and more called "Konfabulator." At first I thought that perhaps Apple had bought out the app and integrated it into the OS... but, after visiting the Konfabulator site and seeing their rather humorous response, I guess that's not it...

Tiger Preview

I love my Mac. Knowing what's coming up, I love it even more.

UPDATE: There is a really good take on the entire "Dashboard vs. Konfabulator" controversy over at Daring Fireball. It would seem that "under the hood" there is more going on than meets the eye, and I do support the idea that Desk Accessories in the original MacOS are the inspiration for both. In the end, I think there is probably room for both. I like Dashboard for tools (like calculators) which I only need from time to time... and I like Konfabulator for things I want available all the time (like weather forecasts and world clocks and such).

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

   

Poverty

Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2004

Dave!Yesterday I ordered my dream camera lens, the Canon 16-35mm Wide-Angle. Tomorrow is payday. That makes today the mid-point between spending money I didn't have, and collecting the money I already spent. What this all really means is that I am poor for the next several weeks. I may end up having to beg for food, but at least I'll be able to beautifully photograph my poverty with a $1400 lens.

Ack. I think I'm going to be sick.

I sure hope I take some amazing photos on my upcoming journeys to justify this obscene expenditure.

Categories: Photography 2004Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: Cliché

Posted on Thursday, July 1st, 2004

Dave!After the easy Theme Thursday last week, I suppose it's no accident that this week's theme is a bit more difficult. I mean, what do you shoot for cliché? This time I almost surrendered and took a look at the TT web site so I could see how other photographers were tackling it, but I consider that "cheating," and decided to tough it out. That's when it occurred to me that I live amongst the tree-lined streets of small-town America... a cliché unto itself...

Theme Thursday: cliché

Theme Thursday: cliché

All we need to complete the picture are children running down the sidewalks playing, but I suppose they are all inside staring at the television and rotting their minds with video games... and who can blame them? The weather is just too beautiful to spend any time outside today.

Categories: Theme ThursdayClick To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ: vent

Posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2004

Dave!What's the one thing above all others that drives you insane... that one dreaded event that causes you to completely lose your composure and want to kick, scream, and beat something with a big stick? Inconsiderate people will do it every time. You know... neighbors who slam their doors and play loud music at all hours... people who don't pay attention while driving... people who cut in line... things like that.

Is that all? Surely there is something else that will cause you to freak out! Here's your chance to vent and list a few other things that make you go nuts... Sadly, there are so many. Hotels that don't have high-speed internet access. People who don't mind their kids and just let them run amok. Restaurants that don't have meatless items on the menu. Idiots who drive in the passing lane when they are not passing anybody. Morons that scream into their mobile phones in public places. Asshats who don't turn their mobile ringer off in restaurants or theaters. Lazy people who don't get their work done. Stupid people who can't think for themselves. Annoying people who think they are the center of the universe and everything revolves around them. People who lie. People who use violence to solve their problems. Rednecks who feel their way is the only way, and everybody should think the way they do. Microsoft Windows. Chicken broth. Anything made by Panasonic. Censorship. Network television executives who cancel brilliant shows. Traffic. Rush Limbaugh. Animal cruelty. Stores that don't carry Yoo-Hoo. Indifference. Ignorance. Intollerance. Incompetence. I could go on and on...

When you've been driven crazy by something or someone... and are barely containing your frustration... is there anything you can do to calm down, dispell the rage, and be happy again? A motorcycle ride will make me forget about even the worst offenses.

FQ DARE: Admit it, you're not perfect... what is something you do that drives other people crazy? When I am focused on something, it is very hard for me to tear my attention away from what I'm doing, and I know it drives people insane when I ignore them like that. It's nothing personal, just don't bug me when I'm busy.

You too can vent your frustrations with the FridayQ!

Categories: Memes 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

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

   

Glovebox

Posted on Saturday, July 3rd, 2004

Dave!My Saturday-morning ritual of taking a complete run through my blogroll turned up a meme that's just too good to pass up! Over at Kazza's blog, she's discovered The Glovebox Project (from Mushroom & Rooster's pen) whereas you list a complete inventory of what's contained therein. I have no idea what could be lurking in there, as it is a black hole storage space where I place things I never expect to see again. Let's go have a look shall we?

Dave's Glovebox

It's worse than I thought.

  • A few loose MiniDiscs (collections of Orchestral Manouevers in the Dark and Coldplay songs).
  • A large-size rubber band.
  • A spare pair of sunglasses ($3 at a sidewalk sale, unused, but now hopelessly scratched).
  • A Tasmanian Devil necktie (in the event that I need to look classy in a hurry).
  • My car owner's manual.
  • A 32mb memory card that came with my camera (useless, and immediately replaced by a 1gig MicroDrive).
  • A tube of Carmex (to feed my addiction... there's another above my visor, and another in my cup holder).
  • Super Mario Advance Gameboy cartridge (pity I can't find the actual GameBoy needed to play it).
  • Old driver's license (in case I lose my current license, I can at least prove to the police that I was legal at one time?).
  • Tokyu Japan Hotel Guide (if I go for a drive one day, and somehow end up in Japan, at least I can find a place to stay).
  • Chiana postcard (from Farscape... played by the delicious Gigi Edgley).
  • Photo of my ex-girlfriend hugging me from behind (though, in retrospect, she was probably trying to choke me to death... the psychotic bitch... I've since ripped this into pieces and thrown it in the trash).
  • A voodoo doll (I got it on my first trip to New Orleans and, while not superstitious, do believe it actually works... sometimes).
  • Vehicle registration papers from over the years.
  • Proof of insurance cards dating back to before I bought this car (?!?).
  • Napkins (put there by my nephew... because, in his words: "you never know."
  • Nearly a dozen ATM receipts (from the good old days when I actually had money in the bank).
  • Three condoms (from the good old days when I was actually having sex).
  • Garbage bag (not big enough for a complete human body, but I could probably get a head in there).
  • Smashed roll of toilet paper (probably there in case I need to blow my nose, but I'm not ruling out the possibility of an "emergency dump" one day).
  • Disposable camera (heaven only knows how old it is... I haven't purchased one in over 4 years I'm sure, and shudder to think what photos might actually be in there... probably best to toss it rather than risk taking it to the photo lab?).
  • Permanent red marking pen (still works... I guess I keep it here in the event I have an urgent need to deface public property?).
  • Windex wipes (in the event I get red marking pen on my fingers while defacing public property).
  • Receipts from my last tire purchase (along with the useless receipt of my previous tire purchase).
  • Handouts from the motorcycle safety course I took.
  • A map to my friend's new house (why I still have it I don't know, as I've long since memorized the route).
  • A very private note (that should have been tossed out the minute I finished reading it, but I am guessing I was drunk and didn't know better).
  • Cigarette lighter (I don't smoke, so I guess it's there in the event that I decide to start smoking... or need to set a clown's ass on fire).

Wow. That's a lot of crap, yet not a pair of gloves to be found! Oh well, this was just the excuse I needed to finally clean out my glovebox. Would somebody please start a "What's in Your Trunk" project? I can't imagine what's been stuffed in the boot of my car over the years.

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

   

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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Spidey Too

Posted on Monday, July 5th, 2004

Dave!It's about time. I've been waiting twenty-four long years for a comic book movie to approach the greatness that was Superman & Superman II, and finally Sam Raimi delivers in spades with the wonderment that is Spider-Man 2. I was a comic book geek that was beginning to lose hope, but now salvation is at hand...

Spider-Man 2

This is not to say that other movies haven't come close... the original Batman was pretty good... Daredevil was better than most people gave it credit for... Hellboy and Blade were serious contenders... even the first Spider-Man flick was a step in the right direction. But it wasn't until Spidey 2 that everything came full circle and you could believe (if just for a moment) that comic books could be real. Not only that, but director Raimi also gives his fans a few inside jokes and is having a bit more fun this time around (Bruce Campbell? Chain-saws? I want another Evil Dead movie now!).

But forget about all that... do you know why this movie works? It's not a big secret: THEY RESPECTED THE SOURCE MATERIAL!! If the huge box-office continues, Spider-Man 2 will be the biggest movie in history, which is why I am all the more puzzled at films like the new Catwoman fiasco that in no way resembles the source material and is sure to be a complete bomb because, HELLO, IT'S NOT CATWOMAN!!

Spider-Man is successful as a fictional character because he's a good fictional character. His history has been refined and built-up for decades... there's no need to f#@% with it, and Raimi understands this. If only we could get him to direct the next X-Men film as well. Hell, if only we could get him to direct all super-hero movies! But, talented as he is, Raimi can't be everywhere at once, which is why I offer Dave's Top Five Tips on How NOT to f#@%-Up a Comic Book Movie in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Salty

Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2004

Dave!Back again to Salt Lake City. Today I managed to squeeze in an hour in-between jobs so I could visit Temple Square and play around with my new wide-angle lens for a while. Having such a lens certainly makes it easy to fit large structures in the frame. Unfortunately, I forgot my polarizing filter back at the hotel, so stray light on a bright day like today has a tendency to wash things out somewhat. Playing with curves in Photoshop helped to get a bit of the contrast back...

Temple Square

My previous photos of the Assembly Hall barely managed to fit the building in the shot, but now I have the option of adding a little scenery around it to better place the structure in context. The building itself is a beautiful example of gothic architecture, so it's a bit of a shame that it's obstructed by so many trees, but it does make for a peaceful setting...

Temple Square

Unfortunately, the lens does have a few pitfalls... shooting really wide causes some freaky distortion (especially at the corners), and there seems to be a bit of a lens flare problem that creeps in from time to time (even when the included lens hood is attached). I suppose you could look at the bright side and consider that you can use these "features" to your advantage and get some interesting shots out of it...

Temple Square

I can't wait to head south this weekend, because I'd imagine this lens will do astoundingly well with the scenery there!

   

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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Theme Thursday: Wings

Posted on Thursday, July 8th, 2004

Dave!This is the first Theme Thursday that I have actively planned for, which is kind of cool. Given the theme of wings, I made an effort to be sure that each of my three flights on Monday were seated next to the window, behind the wings of the plane. Since I had my new wide-angle lens with me, it was pretty easy to ensure that the wings were in every shot along my journey.

Leaving the small airport at Wenatchee, Washington...

TT Wing Wenatchee

Passing Mt. Rainier on the way to Seattle (Mt. St. Helens is in the back on the right... and perhaps that is Mt. Adams back on the left?)...

TT Wing Rainier

Leaving Seattle, and passing over Mercer Island after a plane change...

TTwingMercer

Leaving Boise, Idaho after another plane change (and asking for a seat on the opposite side of the plane)...

TT Wing Boise

And approaching my destination of Salt Lake City, Utah (where six years of drought seem to be taking its toll)...

TT Wing SLC

Usually, I would not have to take three flights... I can get a direct flight out of Seattle to Salt Lake City. But, because of the Independence Day holiday, flights were full and it was far cheaper to make a quick stop in Boise (which is along the way anyway).

   

FridayQ: Suggestive

Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2004

Dave!Suggest something to read, something to watch... I just re-read Lightning by Dean Koontz and enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time (it's not his usual "horror genre" fare, but more of a science fiction tale with a nifty twist). If you want something to read right now, then head over to Belly Button Window which is a blog that captivated me for hours, and is as entertaining as a good book in many places. As for what to watch, if you have Showtime I highly recommend Dead Like Me which is starting its new season any day now.

Suggest someone to admire, someone to stare at... After wathing Spider-Man 2, I really admire movie director Sam Raimi, who has worked his way from cult favorite (with the Evil Dead films) to mainstream (with the Spider-Man films) and has managed not to sell out to moronic studio executives along the way. I can only imagine the stupid crap that was thrust upon him ("I know, let's make Spider-Man a Japanese school girl that turns into a real spider and spins a web over Tokyo and Brad Pitt plays a secret government agent sent to capture her!!"). I admire his courage in holding true to the source material because it gives me hope that future comic book adaptations might follow his lead and actually be worth watching! For someone to stare at, I can only suggest Elizabeth Hurley, who is completely stare-worthy.

Suggest someplace to go, someplace to avoid... Having just spent an amazing couple of days in Moab, Utah and the surrounding area, I would highly recommend it as a place to go. As for someplace to avoid, I will never again use the parking garage in the casino adjacent the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls, Canada... which is hands-down the most stupid, stupid, stupid parking garage on the face of the planet.

FQ PROJECT: Suggest an itinerary for somebody visiting your city by listing the five must-see attractions of the area. I live in a very small town with not very much to do, but there are a few attractions worth mentioning:

  • Museum & Pioneer Village. The museum is nothing too special, but the real gem is Pioneer Village, which has a number of historic old structures which have been assembled (complete with period-accurate furnishings) into a village (of sorts) in a clearing beyond.
  • Aplets & Cotlets Candy Factory. A Pacific Northwest candy kitchen that's been around for over 80 years which is open for tours and free samples.
  • Downtown Cashmere. While most of the nifty shops and stores that used to line the streets have fled due to increasing competition from neighboring cities, it's still a nice area with "early American" theming that's worth a quick visit (and don't forget to have a maple bar at the Sure to Rise Bakery, which is still the best maple bar I've ever tasted in all my travels!).
  • Riverfront Park. Used to be our garbage dump, until the landfill was buried and a very nice park area was built over the top... river rafting and tubing companies stop here, so if you take a trip from up-river, this is where you will end up.
  • Leavenworth. Not the prison, but a small city about 20 minutes away that is a hugely popular tourist attraction because of its bavarian theming. They have several festivals throughout the year that draw large crowds of people from all over the state, my two favorites being the Autumn Leaf Festival and the beautiful Christmas Lightning Festival.

You too can be suggestive at the FridayQ!

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Moab

Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2004

Dave!After my work had finished in Salt Lake City, I rented a car and took a 4 hour drive south to the city of Moab, which is famous for its spectacular location among three parks that contain some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever find: Arches National Park, which preserves numerous naturally occurring archways that have been eroded into their present shape over millions of years. Dead Horse Point State Park, with one of the most incredible scenic vistas I have ever beheld... rivaling even the Grand Canyon. And Canyonlands National Park, which picks up where Dead Horse Point leaves off, a features even more spectacular scenic overlooks.

If you are a photographer, the entire area is a dream come true! Just a few shots from yesterday and today...

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Petroglyphs

Dead Horse Point Overlook

Park Avenue

Boy, having a wide-angle lens and a polarizing filter came in handy this trip!

And, lastly, before I forget... for anybody visiting the area, a company called "Canyonlands by Night & Day" gets my highest possible recommendation if you are looking for excursions into the beautiful countryside. I took both their "Land Before Time" 4-wheel drive tour and their "Where the Wild River Runs" jet boat tour and found them to be exemplary in every respect. When visiting these kinds of places, it's often difficult to know which company to choose, because there are so many and all of them advertise being "the best" (and sometimes end up being complete crap) but I got very, very lucky in finding this one. My only regret since I got here is that I don't have more time so I can sample some of the other adventures they offer (or do the two I've already done all over again).

   

Bryce

Posted on Saturday, July 10th, 2004

Dave!The wonderful thing about having a digital camera is that there's no film to waste, so you can shoot absolutely everything and sort it all out later. Usually, I keep only a quarter of the shots (or less) that I take and trash the rest. But Southern Utah is proving to be an exception. I took 552 shots in Moab and kept 170, which is about a third. I guess having a good subject gives you a better ratio of keepers.

Today, after a long drive to the other side of the state, I stood in awe of the miracle that is Bryce Canyon National Park and shot 232 photos in under 4 hours. Now that I sit here looking through them, I can only find 17 shots to toss out. Sure many of them look the same but, thanks to a lucky break, there was a layer of clouds out today that caused nifty tricks with the light... so it seems everything I shot turned out amazing. I mean, how in the heck can I possibly delete cool stuff like this:

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Obviously I can't. Every blasted one of them looks like a bloody postcard. I have found a photographer's Nirvana.

   

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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Chick Chat: Bad Girls

Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2004

Dave!I had a bit of a long post I was constructing for today, but never felt like wrapping it up, so I decided to just grab the first Tuesday meme I could find to get an entry up today. Oddly enough, the meme that came my way is from "Chick Chat" and this week's questionnaire is entitled "Bad Girls!!!" How in the heck do I get myself into these things?

Have You Ever Been Arrested? Personally arrested? No. Part of a group that was not so much "arrested" but "detained," yes. (that probably sounds more interesting than it actually was).

How many Tattoo's do You Have? None. But I have wanted one for a very long time. One day.

What's the Most Bad-Ass thing You've Ever Done? I am probably the least "bad-ass" person you will ever meet, but there have been moments. Kicking a guy in his kneecap when he pulled a knife on me is pretty bad-ass isn't it? (let's not mention that he was drunk and not much of a threat at the time okay?).

How Many Times Have You Been Pulled Over? Six that I can think of. Only two of those resulted in a ticket, but that was many, many years ago.

Have You Ever Lied To Get Your Way? Any guy who has ever been in a relationship with a woman would be lying if he didn't answer "yes." Because if it weren't for an occasional lie, we would never get our way on anything ("no honey, those jeans do not make you look fat, want to make out?"). Of course, women in a relationship lie for no particular reason, not just to get their way, so it's hard for me to feel too bad about it. It's just such a shame that women are so much better at it than we are.

Damn, I'd make a good chick!

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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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Betty Emmy

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2004

Dave!Betty White has been nominated in the "Best Guest Appearance in a Drama" category for her role of nasty Catherine Piper on The Practice. Obviously, I think she deserves to win, but she's in competition with Marlee Matlin (who actually was pretty good on Law & Order: SVU) and Sharon Stone (also guesting on The Practice, but nowhere close to Betty's performance) so her odds are probably not that great. For those unfamiliar with my Betty White psychosis...

Yes, I will say it again: Betty White kicks ass. After Elizabeth Hurley, she's about the only big Hollywood star I have any interest in meeting.

Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: Cotton

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2004

Dave!What the-? This week's subject is cotton?!? I haven't a clue. I suppose that I could take a photograph of a bunch of Q-Tips or my underwear or something. I'd run out into a cotton field, but I don't think they grow any of that around here. I guess a shot of my boxer shorts it is! Unless... how about something cotton-like instead? Like clouds perhaps?

Theme Thursday Cotton

Ah, now that's kind of nice isn't it?

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FridayQ: Stupidity

Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2004

Dave!Admit it, sometimes you are not the sharpest tool in the shed. What's something stupid you've done recently? (The FridayQ doesn't count!) I purchased an XboX and a bunch of games to go with it, knowing full well I'd never have time to play it. Sure enough, I've turned it on exactly once, and so there it sits gathering dust. Sigh. Perhaps once winter comes around I'll find time to play it?

Children do idiotic things all the time because they just can't seem to help it. What's something stupid you did as a kid? I once road my bicycle full-speed into the back of a car because a super-hero "Batman" mask I crafted out of a garbage bag started to come apart and completely covered my eyes. It never occurred to me to stop the freakin' bike once I couldn't see, which is pretty stupid.

Sometimes, being a bit of an idiot is required (or fun!). What's something stupid you will be doing in the future? Paying somebody to change the oil in my motorcycle because I haven't bothered to learn how to do it myself yet.

FQ OBSERVER: People are morons. Without naming names, what's something stupid you've seen somebody else do? I see people do stupid things all the time, but every once in a while I see an act of stupidity that defies my ability to comprehend. Last month while I was standing in line to Universal Studios Florida, I overheard the people ahead of me scheming how they were going to purchase their tickets. Here, to the best of my recollection, is what I had to listen to (names changed to protect the clueless):

Man: How much cash do you have?
Woman: I've only got five bucks!
Man: What the hell? How are we going to get in?
Woman: I think we've got enough on the VISA to get you and Timmy a ticket, and there's probably room on the other card for me and Billy.
Man: Cool. What are we going to do for dinner?
Woman: Eh, there's crap for the kids to eat in the car. We can just split a burger or something.

The conversation only went downhill from there and, once you notice that their kids are wearing dirty clothes that are all torn up and filled with holes... well, you kind of have to ask yourself what kind of morons these people are to be spending a couple hundred dollars to visit a theme park when they've got hungry kids that are desperately in need of some decent clothing. I can think of nothing more stupid than sacrificing the health and comfort of your own kids because you want to ride a roller coaster.

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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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UnHoliday

Posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2004

Dave!When you travel as often as I do, things are bound to go wrong from time to time. I've long since learned to accept this, and find it pointless to get angry or upset when disaster strikes. Today, en-route to Milwaukee, my connection in Detroit was missed due to a severe weather problem. It's unfortunate, but hey, there's not much you can do about it -- so while other people were standing in line bitching and screaming, I just quietly waited my turn to be re-booked.

So now I am flying out of Detroit in the morning and am stuck here for the night with no access to my luggage (fortunately, I always have a pair of clean underwear and assorted toiletries in my carry-on bag for just such an occasion). And, since I obviously won't be needing my reservation at the Holiday Inn at the Milwaukee airport this evening, I called to cancel it along with my rental car. It turns out that canceling the car was no problem at all, but the hotel reservation was another story.

They refused to cancel it because I booked the room over the internet.

It didn't matter that it is not my fault I cannot be at the hotel and have to cancel. It didn't matter that I placed the reservation directly on their web site (instead of some third-party site like Orbitz or Expedia). It didn't matter that I was going to re-book at another Holiday Inn property here in Detroit. It didn't matter that I am a Priority Club member. It didn't matter that I have stayed at this hotel dozens of times before... they "can't cancel or refund my deposit because it is 35 minutes past the cancellation deadline."

What a bunch of dumbasses.

I measure a company not based on things going right... that's what's supposed to happen. Instead, I measure a company by how they help you out when things go wrong. And so now I know. When shit happens, don't expect Holiday Inn Milwaukee Airport to give a crap. And that's fine. Lesson learned. I will never stay at their f#@%ing piece of shit hotel ever again. Furthermore, with the exception of reservations I've already got booked, I am going to start taking my business to other hotel chains (which is kind of sad, because I like Holiday Inn, and many of them are independently owned... meaning a lot of Holiday Inns are losing my business through no fault of their own).

It's tough having to travel all the time. When things go wrong, it's even worse. When companies you like and trust screw you over because of some idiotic technicality, well, you've pretty much reached rock bottom... and you're down there alone and far from home. The last thing you want is for the Holiday Inn Milwaukee Airport to start shitting all over you as you try to climb out of the mess you're in, but they apparently have no problem with it. Thanks so much.

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

   

Holiday

Posted on Monday, July 19th, 2004

Dave!So here I am in Milwaukee, finally. I figured since the Holiday Inn Milwaukee Airport is charging me for the room I never got to use, I might as well stop by, have a shower, catch up with my e-mail, take a nap, and get into some clean clothes before heading off to work. It's a shame I will never be staying at this hotel again, because it's pretty sweet.

All in all, this trip has really sucked so far. And while you might think that being stuck in Detroit without my luggage would be the worst part, you would be wrong. The worst part is being stuck next to a woman on a plane who does not know how to shut up for five hours. They won't let you take a gun on board a plane, so I wonder how else you could get rid of somebody annoying?

Passenger

Passenger

Passenger

Passenger

I dunno... do they let you take "pet" anacondas on a plane? I see people bringing their yappy little dogs with them on the plane all the time, so perhaps an anaconda would be okay?

It's not that I am anti-social or anything... really, I do like people. But some people need to understand that it is not necessary to talk continuously for hours on end to complete strangers (especially when said stranger is not allowed to be part of the conversation). This woman was insane. Even the most simple question requiring a yes or no answer would take five to ten minutes for her to reply. A perfect example:

Flight Attendant: Would you like a glass of water?
Noisy Woman: I brought water with me but it's gotten warm. Is that water cold? It is? Well then I would love to have a glass of water. Oh my gawd, I drink SOOOOO much water! Ha ha! I drink so much water that people must think I am part camel! But I love a glass of cool water! Doesn't everybody love a cool glass of water? Most people would rather have soda or coffee or something, but not me! Oh my gawd, it's water water water water for me! So once you've finished getting everybody else a glass, be sure to stop back by me because I'll be wanting more water! Ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!
Flight Attendant: Uh. Okay.

For the flight back, I will be charging my iPod to maximum capacity, because I am fresh out of anacondas. I wonder if the volume on my iPod will be sufficient to drown out this woman if, oh my gawd, I end up having to sit next to her incredibly obnoxious ass on the way back?

   

Stuck in Minneapolis

Posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

Dave!It never fails. The universal laws of airline travel demand that once things go wrong, they will continue to go wrong. First I get to Milwaukee a day-and-a-half late because my flight ran into weather problems. Now I am trying to get home, and the odds are not looking so good.

At Milwaukee this morning, three flights in a row were cancelled or delayed due to mechanical difficulties. That sure makes you feel safe when entrusting your life to Northwest Airlines! THREE FLIGHTS... including my own to Minneapolis.

Stuck in Minneapolis

After my flight was delayed indefinitely (hydraulics problems), they re-booked me on a different flight to Minneapolis. The connecting flight to Seattle is very tight (just 15 minutes) but they tell me I should be able to make it. Well, I probably could have except we had a small problem landing...

Stuck in Minneapolis

Apparently, there was another plane on the runway, and the pilot didn't feel like landing on top of him, so we almost landed, then took off again. I sure hope the dumbass traffic control moron was fired for that. Even with the additional 10 minutes required to circle back around the airport, I still had a shot of getting to my Seattle flight on time...

Stuck in Minneapolis

By the time we finally got to the gate, my chances were very slim, but it was still possible... until they couldn't get the jetway to move to the door, wasting yet another precious five minutes!!

What the hell? Not only does Northwest have problems keeping a schedule, but all their planes are breaking down, nearly running into each other on the runway and, assuming you ever get to where you are going, you can't get off the plane because the jetways are busted (this is the third time that's happened)?!? As if the security, tiny seating areas, and overcrowding weren't sucky enough?

So now I am stuck in Minneapolis. I may get out at 5:17... perhaps 7:18... or maybe not at all today. This is not the first time that Northwest Airlines has completely screwed up a trip, and probably won't be the last. Oh well, it's still better than my luck with United.

Hooters Air

Next time I'm flying Hooters! That way, when things go wrong it won't suck as bad because at least you will have Hooter Girls to entertain you.

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: Sadness

Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

Dave!Happiness is returning from nearly four weeks of traveling and being able to ride your motorcycle again Sadness is only getting to ride it for three days before having to put it back into storage for even more traveling. Sadness is knowing that very soon I will be missing the view from behind my grips...

Theme Thursday: Sadness

Everything with me comes back to my motorcycle doesn't it? I suppose to some people, that's a bit of sadness right there. It does, however, make me feel a little better knowing that I am leaving for vacation rather than work this time.

Eh, that's a lie. It wouldn't matter if I were sipping champagne with Elizabeth Hurley in the south of France after a weekend of sweet lovin', I would still be a little sad if my motorcycle weren't there.

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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!

   

Norman = Moron

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Dave!It seems like every other day some "industry insider" is writing some lame-ass article about how Apple should just give it up and quit making Macs. Since Apple's demise has been greatly exaggerated for years, it's been pretty easy to ignore this crap. But now you have the former design head of Apple, Don Norman, saying " Apple should quit the mainstream PC market and concentrate instead on multimedia production and entertainment."

Of course, Norman is working for Microsoft now, so when he says dumbass things like "the world wants compatibility now. It wants to communicate, and this means one brand dominating," I can't help but laugh my ass off. Can this idiot actually be this clueless? I guess when the Borg assimilated him, they did a thorough job of it!

ATTENTION DON NORMAN: YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD, SO SHUT THE f#@% UP YOU MORONIC MICROSOFT PUPPET!!

  • The world does not want one brand dominating. Competition drives innovation, which makes all products better. If your idiotic statement were actually true, we'd all still be using DOS. Besides, Microsoft seems to copy everything Apple does, so now Windows is getting more and more like a Mac with every release you worthless turd.
  • Macs can communicate. I access the internet over TCP/IP, read web pages with HTML, can view graphics with JPEG or GIF, have no problem sending and receiving e-mail, and trade MS Office documents and Adobe Creative Suite files with other platforms every day. There is nothing you can do on your bug-ridden OS that I can't do better on my Mac you asinine dipshit.
  • Apple is making money on the Mac. Why would it make any sense whatsoever for Apple to discontinue the Macintosh when they make money on it? Sure it's not the mega-billions that Microsoft pulls in from the Windows monopoly, but it's still a profit you inane asshat.
  • Macs are superior. I am not some Apple-loving zombie... trust me when I say that if Windows were a better and more productive experience, I would have no problem at all dumping my Mac and making the switch to Microsoft. Since I am using both platforms all the time, I can say without hesitation that I find the Macintosh to be superior in every way to the bloated, bug-ridden pile of crap that is Microsoft Windows. Why in the hell would I want to give up a better OS just because the alternative is more popular you mindless prat?
  • Where is Longhorn anyway? The next version of Windows "Longhorn" won't be released until 2006 (unless Microsoft delays it yet again), meanwhile Apple has steadily been releasing amazing updates that have made MacOS X the most advanced consumer OS on the planet. In early 2005, we get "Tiger," with technologies like "Spotlight" that will give Mac users the ability to manage hundreds of thousands of files effortlessly. This is the stuff that's the future of the personal computer, and Mac users always seem to be getting there first. Heaven only knows where Apple will be in 2006 when your Windows retread is trotted out you stupid prick.

Bravado like this makes Microsoft look like frightened little pussies that have to constantly verbally attack the Mac or Linux because they don't have a superior product that can speak for itself. When are they going to realize that actions speak louder than words, and they should put up or shut up? Will the Mac always be new OS hotness while Windows will remain old and busted... doomed to forever trying to catch up? Go ahead and prove me wrong, but talk like this just makes me even more confident that "Longhorn" is going to be yet another inferior Mac clone. Well no thanks, I'll stick with the superior original.

Gee I love it when arrogant Microsoft idiots like Don Norman presume to speak for the world. It just makes them look all the more laughable and irrelevant to where the world is actually heading (not to mention giving me something to rant about here in my blog).

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FridayQ: Decorated

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Dave!How have you decorated the walls of your living space (photos, posters, works of art, etc.)? Most walls in my apartment (and office at work) have prints by Robert Lyn Nelson on them. For quite a while during/after college, I was making annual vacations to Maui with my friends, and purchased a new Nelson print each trip. I think I have about seven of them scattered around. Other than that, I have a print of "The Flower Bearer" by Diego Rivera, which is one of my favorite paintings. In my bedroom I have movie posters from Pulp Fiction, Strange Days, and Field of Dreams.

How have you decorated your body, both intentionally (piercings, tattoos, etc.) and unintentionally (wounds, scars, etc.)? I had my ear pierced for many years, but finally removed it a while back for a wedding I was in. I don't have any tattoos, but have wanted one for a long time... so one day that will happen. I have a few assorted scars from my adventures, including one on my left thumb (where I attempted to saw it off, accidentally).

How have you decorated your computer's "desktop"? Post a snapshot if you want. I have my desktop display a random travel photo that recycles every hour or so. Of course, with all the Konfabulator gadgets I've got cluttering my desktop, you sometimes can't even see the photo, but it's under there somewhere! Oooh. Right now it's a shot of the most excellent Hard Rock Hotel and Beach Club from Bali...

FQ Decorated desktop

FQ PROJECT: Decorate your blog today! Create some art with an online Etch-a-Sketch (like the one here) and post a snapshot of your efforts (or, if you're not an Etch-a-Sketch fan, draw us a picture using whatever you want). Wow. This was a lot tougher than I thought. I spent quite a lot of time getting the hang of the controls before I managed to squeeze out this instant masterpiece:

FQ Etch A Sketch

Whoa. I never thought it was possible for my beautiful motorcycle to look that bad.

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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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Buh-Bye

Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2004

Dave!So long suckers! I'm off to meet up with some friends in the U.K., and then I'm off to Germany (and the Netherlands) with a fellow Hard Rock fanatic for a run through a good chunk of Europe's Hard Rock Cafes. After months of non-stop work and business travel, I am pretty happy to finally be getting a bit of a vacation...

Hard Rock Run 2004

Hard Rock Run 2004 Map

I will be blogging the run daily but, since I am not sure if I will actually have internet access each day, posting to Blogography may be infrequent for the next couple of weeks.

   

London Calling

Posted on Monday, July 26th, 2004

Dave!Back to London. It may be the fact that I am here on vacation instead of work, but I really love this place. The best part is that since I've been here a half-dozen times before, I've already got all the touristy crap out of the way. Those long lines for the Tower of London I saw as I came into the city proper can be safely ignored. Nope, this time I can just happily wander the city, visit with friends, and take in a museum or two. No Big Ben. No London Eye. No Buckingham Palace. No Tower Bridge. No Westminster Abbey. No Harrods (okay, maybe Harrods). No Changing of the Guard...

London Palace Guards

Sure the weather could be a little nicer, but there's always lunch at Pret.

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Day One: London

Posted on Monday, July 26th, 2004

Dave!Shop. Surprisingly enough, the rather nice London hotel I'm staying at has just about everything (including complimentary copies of "OK!," "Time Out," and "Hello" magazines so that I can keep up with the latest exploits of Posh & Becks)... everything except a bloody clock. Since I do not wear a watch, there's a sense of timelessness happening in my hotel room that's a bit disconcerting. So my first official purchase of my first official day of vacation is a small alarm clock from Dixons. Not that I actually plan to set the alarm on it mind you.

Pricey. Boy London is expensive! To muffle the shock of how much I am paying for everything, I simply imagine myself paying in US dollars instead of British pounds. That way, I am not thrown into fits of terror over having just paid $9.50 for a cheap-ass clock, and instead find serenity in the illusion of having paid a much more reasonable $5.00. No matter where I go now-a-days, the US dollar is in the toilet (heck, you don't have to leave the USA to figure that out!). Who can I blame for this?

Pret. In asking the doorman (wow, it's been a while since I've stayed at a hotel with a doorman!) where the nearest Pret was, he was very much amused. Turns out Neil is right... Prets in London are like Starbucks in Seattle (well, not just Seattle anymore, those things are everywhere). This is good though, because I really want a Pret Egg Sandwich for breakfast.

Bike. The first thing I see when I step outside the hotel is my motorcycle... same make, same model, same color. Except some guy I don't know is riding it and there is a license plate the size of your head attached to the back. England should really get more stylish (and smaller) plates... these big-ass yellow things mess up the streamline look of my the bike!

Eat. Dinner with my friend was nice. Until some woman at the next table decided to take out her mobile phone and chat loudly for the next twenty minutes. This is apparently a universal rudeness problem that crosses international borders without mercy.

Snack. I could spend hours wandering through little shops to see the new varieties of candy bars and crisps (chips to us Yanks) that have come out. Compared to the Brits, we Americans are positively boring with our snack choices. I passed on the "Lamb & Mint" flavored potato crisps, but enjoyed the "Sour Cream & Sweet Pepper" flavor I tried. As far as candy bars go, the "Mars Delight" is my new best favorite... a sugar-cookie wafer roll, drenched in caramel, then covered in milk chocolate. Incredible. I'll be taking a case of these home with me (odds are we will never see them in the States... I am still waiting for the Aero bar).

Git. Apprently, I am not in London as I thought. I am making it all up. Yet another e-mail from the guy who thinks that the travels I document here are complete fiction. I suppose that I could take a photograph of myself with today's paper while standing in the top of a double-decker bus that's parked in front of Big Ben with Her Majesty the Queen standing next to me... but you'd probably think I Photoshopped it wouldn't you? Wow. In today's age of technological wizardry, how do you prove you are anywhere? I continue to find it utterly bizarre as to why I would lie about something like this. Why read anything I write if you honestly think it's all a bunch of fabrications? And the next time you decide to tell me I'm lying, could you just post a comment instead of bothering me via e-mail?

Wasted. My hotel's terrific West End location is completely wasted on me because I don't much enjoy the theater. However, there is something intriguing about a production called Jerry Springer: The Opera, which has been getting rave reviews. Life just keeps getting stranger.

Sleep. I don't really get jet-lag... never have. I'd imagine it's even less of a factor when you consider that I don't sleep much anymore. But spending 14 hours on three flights today has pretty much wiped me out and my hotel is blissfully quiet, so I am hoping to sleep very well this evening. My back could use the time to heal.

Robbed. Hmmm... typical charge for an internet connection at a hotel back home: US $6.95 (or free!). Price here in my London hotel: US $27.50. Holy crap!! Good night from the most expensive public internet access I have ever purchased!

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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 Two: London

Posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Dave!News: Today's complimentary copy of The Guardian was found hanging in a plastic bag on my door handle this morning. The top story making front-page? A legal battle for the patent of a breath mint. They look like Life Savers candies (with a hole in the middle) but here they are called Polos, and their manufacturer is trying to patent their unique shape. I figure that if breath mints are front page news, I can skip everything else, assume that all is well in London, and head out into the city.

Breakfast: Was at Pret, of course. They make the food I wish I could make if I had any cooking talents at all.

Hasselhoff: While riding the London Underground (subway) this morning, I saw something even more disturbing than yesterday's mention of Jerry Springer: The Opera. A poster advertising that David Hasselhoff is headlining the production of Chicago here. Frightening.

Lunch: The absolute coolest thing about having a blog is that you sometimes get to meet the people who read it in real life. Today I was treated to a wonderful lunch in South Kensington by a new blog-acquainted friend, and was given the most charming compliment I think I've ever received: "You are like a cartoon character come to life! I want to poke you to make sure you're real." (after which she poked me in the arm with her finger). Of course, everything sounds charming when delivered in an English accent, so it certainly seemed like a compliment. In any event, it's always nice when somebody validates your existence (especially in lieu of the accusation I received telling me I am lying about being here in London). After lunch we wandered through the neighborhood where she pointed out this amazing old tile building that's called "The Michelin Building." Sure enough, there's the Michelin Man on the front! Heaven only knows what he's doing, however:

Michelin Man

Has he constructed a martini out of motor oil? You're guess is as good as mine. Hmmm... after a Google search, I found this page, which explains the Michelin slogan at the time was "These tyres drink up obstacles." Pretty slick.

Nothing: With touristy activities removed from my schedule, I planned to do as much "nothing" this afternoon as possible. Most of my "nothing" was spent wandering aimlessly through the surrounding areas of my hotel. I ended up taking a photo of Big Ben after all because, well, it's Big Ben and is an incredibly beautiful structure...

Big Ben

But my favorite sight of the day was that of a young boy with a bright red ball enjoying the sunshine on the lawn outside of Westminster. His happy playtime fun was an interesting contrast to the war protesters just a block away. Ah the wisdom and innocence of youth. Perhaps if adults made room for playtime every once in a while, this world wouldn't be in quite the mess it is now...

Play Ball

My motorcycle is pretty popular here, as I keep seeing it around the city. Here is one that's actually parked, so you can see what I mean about the enormous license plate that riders are forced to hang off the back of their ride...

My Bike in London

If I knew how to hot-wire a motorcycle, I'd undoubtedly be rotting away in a London prison just now.

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London Night

Posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Dave!This evening was my first time without plans since I arrived, so I decided to explore a bit by night and get some dinner. London, like any large city, is abuzz with activity at all hours. Here in the West End, most of that has to do with people heading off to the theater... Hasselhoff is in town, after all.

I took a few photographs to see how my new lens does at night, and ended up with a freaky set of images, where the sky looks completely drained of color, while objects in front of it appear normal. I have no idea if this is an effect of the lens, the camera, the scene, or a factor of all three. To me, the result looks a bit fake, like the sky was desaturated in Photoshop or something, but it wasn't... what you see is exactly what I got:

Big Ben at Night

Parliament at Night

I cannot decide if I like this rather odd-looking effect or not. I think I will take my other lens out tomorrow night and see if things look more "normal."

   

Day Three: London

Posted on Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Dave!Telly: One of my favorite things about Britain is their wonderful television programs. I'm completely addicted to shows like Red Dwarf, Coupling, Monarch of the Glen, Nevermind the Buzzcocks, etc. Last night I was watching a documentary about how the police deal with growing alcohol-related problems in club districts. It was absolutely fascinating, made even more intriguing by the fact that it was completely uncensored. Every curse word (and there were a lot of them being screamed by belligerent drunks) was fully audible, with no "bleeping" whatsoever. Afterwards, I was treated to such programs as "World Sex Records" and "When Sex Goes Wrong." Both of which were amusing anecdotes masquerading as soft-core porn. Yet, back in the States, Janet flashes a titty, and the world is ending? What a bunch of uptight asses we Americans are.

Help: On my morning pilgrimage to Pret for an Egg & Fire Roasted Tomato breakfast sandwich, I walked by an armored bank van that was sounding an alarm while a recorded message from a very proper English lady was calmly speaking: "Help. This car is under attack. Please call the police. -- Help. This car is under attack. Please call the police." Nobody paid a bit of attention to it, which makes me wonder if the van really were under attack, would the security couriers inside actually expect any assistance to be forthcoming? Nobody pays attention to a calm voice... they need to hire some frantic woman screaming "AAAAHHH! CALL THE COPPERS YOU BLOODY IDIOTS... WE'RE BEING ATTACKED!!! AAAAAAAHHHH!!! HELP US FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!! And instead of an alarm, why not use recorded gunshots? That would get people's attention.

Addiction: On my way back to Pret for a second Egg & Fire Roasted Tomato breakfast sandwich, I accepted the fact that I have a serious problem. But honestly, until you've had one of these things, you simply have absolutely no idea. It's probably best that they stop serving them after breakfast or else I would probably have another two for lunch. Pret bastards... I already had my hands full with my Cheesy Fiesta Potato addiction back home.

Gallery: Spent most of my day today wandering through London's fine art galleries (one of the best reasons to come to the city really). My favorite is always the Turner Collection at the Tate Britain, and I never tire of viewing it. His beautiful works span the gamut from historic to surreal...

Turner Norham Castle

Map: Every single time I come to London, I forget to bring along my pocket city map, and end up purchasing a new one. I've got quite a collection of them brewing back home. It's not like I need the map to find common places around town, but every once in a while I end up wandering too far and like to know that I have some help handy.

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Bellissima

Posted on Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Dave!There's a restaurant in Piccadilly Circus (here in London) that I like called Biagio Ristorante Pizzeria (on Rupert). Sure it's got great authentic Italian food and the atmosphere is top-notch, but the real reason I eat there is because it reminds me of the infamous Kirstie Alley "Bellisima" sketch from Saturday Night Live.

Waiter: "You like-a the small salad with-a you pizza no?"
Dave: "Um, no thanks."
Waiter: "It's-a very very good the small salad."
Dave: "I'm fine thanks."
Waiter: "I bring-a you the small salad!"
Dave: "Uh, okay."
Waiter: (Here is where I expect him to say...) "Bellissima seniore!" (and then lick my face).

Naturally, he doesn't, but I brace myself just in case!

Of course, if you haven't seen the SNL sketch, all of the above makes absolutely no sense to you. If you have seen the sketch, you will understand the supreme effort it takes to keep from laughing while placing my order at this restaurant (if you are really wanting to know what I am talking about, rent the The Best of Adam Sandler: Saturday Night Live DVD and you can see it for yourself).

Ciao bella!

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Theme Thursday: Found

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Dave!As I am on vacation, I don't want to be found, I am quite happy to be lost. However, while organizing my photographs last night, I found something interesting in one of the shots. Apparently, I have a lucky knack for capturing things flying through a scene (like this on a previous Theme Thursday). This time, it would seem I have managed to photography a falling star and never even noticed (it's in the upper-left as I zoom in)...

Theme Thursday: found

Theme Thursday: found

Theme Thursday: found

Since there's no vapor trail, I'm assuming it's not a plane. Unless... you don't think... hmmm. Let's zoom in a bit closer and enhance the image...

Theme Thursday: found

Holy cats! The Robinsons from Lost in Space have finally found their way home!!

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Hard Rock Dublin

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Dave!After the raging tragedy of metal and plastic that is the Hard Rock Belfast (which looks like a slick sports bar masquerading as a Hard Rock), I was a little bit nervous about visiting the new Hard Rock Dublin. Turns out I needn't have worried. The Dublin location is quite nice, returning to the classic design formula that we know and love.

The exterior is a bit boring, but acceptable, and fits in nicely with other classic properties of the chain...

HRC Dublin

Though the dominate materials are the lush dark woods that define a Hard Rock, there's still a few modern touches, like the glass and brushed aluminum area dividers. As you can see, the memorabilia is a bit sparse, and there is no massive "museum wall" anywhere that makes up for it, which is about the only real downside here...

HRC Dublin

The interior looks quite intimate and small until you realize that you're only seeing half the cafe. A small bar and larger seating area is downstairs, extending underneath a nicely appointed merch shop that, unfortunately, suffers a bit from traffic congestion near the counter area...

HRC Dublin

Oddly enough, the architect has chosen to not repeat the glass and metal in the lower dining room. Everything here is classic Hard Rock, though the memorabilia is still lacking...

HRC Dublin

The staff is eclectic, hard working, and very friendly (much like the city itself!), and I very much enjoyed my dinner here. It would be nice if they could cram in a bit more "stuff" but, other than that, I wouldn't change much. I can only hope that one day Belfast will have a cafe more like this one so that the Emerald Isle will have two good cafes, both in Northern Ireland up north and the Republic of Ireland in the south.

   

Day Four: Dublin

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Dave!Lovely: I'm going to start saying "lovely" a lot so that I might fit in with the English natives a bit better. This general-purpose word is used for just about any occasion, and I've heard it in the oddest of places. Everything is lovely. Get a new job? That's lovely! Spill your tea? That's lovely (in a sarcastic kind of way). Aliens invade Trafalgar Square? Lovely! I would not be at all surprised to overhear a conversations like this:
Woman: Excuse me sir, do you realize that your head is on fire?
Man: Lovely. I'll just nip over to that fountain and douse it out. Cheers.
Woman: Cheers then.

Cheers: The one word that should never be adopted by visiting American tourists is yet another general purpose word: "cheers," which can mean everything from "thanks" to "excuse me" to "good bye." This morning as I was having breakfast, I overheard some (probably) Americans trying their best to fit in by injecting "chee-erz" in their conversation. They sounded like complete asses because there is no "ee" or "r" in the English "cheers." I think you need a British accent to pull this off, because anything else just sounds silly.

Trippin': For my flight over to Dublin this morning, I took a shockingly cheap RyanAir flight out of Luton Airport (which my friend Perry informs me is pronounced "Looton" and not "Lutton" as one would expect). It's amazing how all of Europe is so easily accessible at such reasonable prices... fares are advertised as low as .99 Euros ($1.20) excluding taxes and fees, which bring the total up to around 17 Euros ($20) each way. Can you imagine flying from Seattle to L.A. for $20? Heck, can you imagine flying ANYWHERE within the States for so little?

Whiskey: I started my day walking down the shopping district of Grafton Street, continuing on along the River Liffey until I got to the "Old Jameson Distillery" which provides an in-depth and informative tour. These people take Irish Whiskey very, very seriously.

Whiffey: Speaking of the River Liffey, we're at low tide and it smells like a sewer. I'd imagine it can best be described much like somebody who ate curries and lager all night, then shat on your carpet the next morning before your dog came along and vomited on top of it. Not the most pleasant scent to remember from your Dublin visit...

River Liffey

Guiness: My second alcohol-related activity of the day was a visit to the Guiness factory & storehouse. The self-guided tour was pricey (13.50 Euro with a free pint at the end!) but interesting. Is there a bar in all of Ireland that doesn't serve Guiness?

Guiness Factory

Brogue: I need to start speaking with an Irish accent, because everybody here sounds cool. I'll bet I'd be twice as interesting a person with an Irish brogue.

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FridayQ: Criminal

Posted on Friday, July 30th, 2004

Dave!If you could steal something and be assured of getting away with it, what would you take? That's a really tough choice. I want a Ducati SuperSport 800, a BMW R1200-C Montauk, and Harley-Davidson V-Rod motorcycle... I suppose if I could only steal one, I'd take the Harley. I'd probably kill myself on the Ducati, and I've already got a BMW.

If you could vandalize something without fear of being caught, what object would you deface? Vandalizing something is kind of petty, so I'd at least try to be creative about it. Perhaps painting a giant image of Ralph Wiggum (from The Simpsons) on the front of Trump Tower? Every time The Donald is in public talking himself up with that gigantic ego of his, I picture Ralph for some reason. That being said, Trump was pretty good on Saturday Night Live, and it's nice to know that even a egotistical billionaire has no problem poking fun at himself. Since Ralph is my favorite of all characters on the show, this is actually kind of a compliment now that I think about it.

Donald & Ralph

If you could trespass someplace where you were not allowed and nobody would find out, where would it be? That's easy. I'd love to sneak into Jonathan Ive's lab (he's the lead designer at Apple Computer). How cool would it be to know what amazing products Apple's going to release next?

FQ REDEMPTION: Time to redeem yourself for the above stated criminal activities! If you were allowed to write a new law, what law would you create? No talking on your mobile phone is allowed while driving. I do this all the time, and certainly most people are capable of doing this while still being a good driver. But unfortunately, there are morons out there who are simply not capable of doing two things at once. I've nearly been creamed twice on my motorcycle by idiots who are incapable of talking and driving at the same time. It's sad that the majority of us who are responsible mobile users would have to suffer because of a stupid minority, but I'd feel a lot safer while riding my motorcycle knowing that these dumbasses have one less thing distracting them.

Get criminal at the FridayQ.

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Different

Posted on Friday, July 30th, 2004

Dave!In the immortal words of Vincent Vega: "It's the little differences. I mean they got the same shit over there that they got here, but it's just, just there it's a little different."

I have long maintained that the good old USA has no culture of its own and, with the exception of fast food, baseball, Hollywood movies, and handguns, I still believe it to be true. Any cultural identity we might have is a patchwork of other nationalities that American immigrants bring with them and adapt to our rather unique society. Keeping that in mind, nothing fascinates me more than how what little culture America does have seems to be migrating to other countries.

This all hit me at lunch today. A friend had recommended that since I am a huge Johnny Rockets fan, I should try the Irish equivalent which is called Eddie Rockets. So there I sit in a diner that is so American I can almost forget I'm in Ireland when I look up and see a sign advertising "chilli." For a reason I cannot fathom, there is an extra "l" in there. Whether this is unique to the Irish, or something all Euro English-speaking nations have adopted, I'm not certain (dammit, if you're going to steal our native cuisine, at least spell it properly!). Anyway, all illusions I have of being back home have just been shattered, and I start to think about the many other small differences I've noticed over the past few days...

Cold. When you order something "cold" in the US, it arrives cold... ice cold. When you order something "cold" in Europe it arrives un-hot, which is to say that it's not very cold at all. Even the ice here doesn't seem as cold as it does back home.

Walk. Europeans walk everywhere, all the time, at great distances. This is quite a contrast to lazy-ass Americans who will pull the car out of the garage if the distance they need to travel is over four blocks. If it weren't for those who exercise, I wonder if Americans would bother to walk anywhere at all?

Smoke. All Europeans smoke... just not all at the same time (though, often enough, it may seem that way). If you see a European who is not smoking, it's because they have run out of cigarettes, run out of matches, or are under the age of 5. This morning I was nearly run over by what I swear was a 10-year old smoker on a skateboard.

Funny. Americans used to have a terrific sense of humor, but then the Age of Lawyers descended and now everything has to be "politically correct" (aka "boring"). Fortunately, that doesn't seem to have happened over here... yet.

Goth. I pretty much think that anybody dressing up as a goth looks ridiculous. For reasons that escape me, the Irish goths seem to be able to pull it off.

ATM: The cash machines over here are queued a minimum of five deep at any given time. If there's an ATM without a line in front, it must be broken.

Fat: It used to be when you ran across an overweight person walking down the streets of Europe, you could safely assume one of two things: A) It's an American tourist... or... B) It's a Japanese sumo wrestler. This is no longer the case. Thanks to the importation of the American diet of McDonalds, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, the person in question may very well be a native. I've never been so proud. GO AMERICA!!

Music: In walking down Grafton Street this afternoon, I noticed that 100% of the street musicians here are more talented than 50% of the "musicians" on America's top 100 Pop Charts.

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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.

   

Terrorize This

Posted on Saturday, July 31st, 2004

Dave!The trailer for Trey & Matt's new movie Team America: World Police is up (in Quicktime, thankfully). If it's even half as good as South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, I will be very, very happy. The hard part is having to wait until October to see it... I want to see it now. "Putting the "F" back in Freedom" indeed.

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Day Six: Dublin

Posted on Saturday, July 31st, 2004

Dave!Pub: Around 11pm last night I decided to run through the local pub scene for a few hours and found it to be even crazier than I had imagined. Nobody, it would seem, parties like the Irish on a Friday night. On Grafton Street there are quite a few rickshaw-type carts that you can hire to haul your drunk ass from one end of the road to the other (it being far too crowded in the daylight hours for them to operate). The highlight of my evening was watching two drunken blokes who had stolen a cart evade both the police and its owner as they escaped to St. Stephens Green. "Get the fook out of the way! We'll fookin' run yeh down!" It was all in good fun, but I'd hate to have their hangovers this morning.

Tomb: I had fully intended to do as little as possible, enjoying my last day before the imminent Hard Rock Run Europe 2004, but one look out the window changed all of that. Unlike the previous two days, the sun was out and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. After yet another escape into the Best Shower in the Universe®, I headed down to the concierge to see what interesting diversion might be available in the seven hours I had left. Since I had already taken a run through Wicklow in a previous trip, he suggested a trip to Newgrange. It is here you can tour an ancient tomb that predates even Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids (dated at around 5000 years old). It was an interesting diversion for a few hours while I waited for my flight...

Newgrange Ireland

(No, the Teletubbies were not at home)

Newgrange Ireland

Busted: While waiting in line at the Dublin airport to head back to London, some irate guy behind me decided to start yelling because there was only one check-in window available. He'd run up to the poor bloke at the counter and start screaming in his face "GET ORGANIZED! YOU'VE GOT FIFTY PEOPLE IN LINE WAITING!" and then walk back to his embarrassed wife and daughter. The second time he ran up and started screaming "OPEN ANOTHER WINDOW YOU BLOODY IRISH!!" and then walked back again.

This time, he was overheard by a pretty customer service agent who came over to see what all the trouble was about. It was at this point the idiot went too far... he started screaming at the poor girl, and then grabbed her. There was an audible gasp from the crowd, and several people (including myself) were heading over to get him off of her when his wife and daughter stepped up and started pleading with the enraged moron to let the girl go.

Which he did, thankfully.

But then he turned and slapped his daughter across the face. Hard. "Oooooooooh!" went the crowd that was now in a state of total shock. By this time, the police arrived and eventually arrested the freak as the crowd started applauding. As he was drug off in hand-cuffs, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of wait he has ahead of him to get on that flight now. If he had just shut up and stood in line, he would have had his boarding pass quite a while before. I do feel sorry for his wife and daughter, not only because they have to put up with his childish and violent behavior, but also because they're now pretty much stranded on the trip alone (or maybe that's a good thing?).

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Day Seven: Cologne

Posted on Sunday, August 1st, 2004

Dave!HRC Cologne: A quick hop with the most excellent (and amazingly cheap) GermanWings airlines, and Perry and I were off to the beautiful city of Cologne. Our first stop on Hard Rock Run 2004 was (naturally) the Hard Rock Cafe there, which is a fairly nice dual-level property with an enthusiastic and helpful staff...

Hard Rock Cologne

Hard Rock Cologne

We had planned it so that we could attend the Pin Club Meeting that was going on today and finally meet the famous Hard Rock personality Jens Beckmann (shown here with Perry)...

Jens & Perry

The turnout at the meeting was better than at any other I had seen, and had guest-traders from all over (including Shanghai, China, believe it or not!).

Dom: Just down the street from the cafe is the breathtaking Cologne Cathedral. Its massive size and enclosed location makes it very difficult to take a photo that does it justice (they are repairing it as well, so the scaffolding didn't help either). The structure itself is just amazing...

Cologne Cathedral

Now it's off to Amsterdam.

   

Day Seven: Amsterdam

Posted on Sunday, August 1st, 2004

Dave!Onward to our second Hard Rock of the day in Amsterdam. It's a nice 2-1/2 hour drive from Cologne (plus a little while spent in confusion while navigation through the city streets). This is a great cafe that has a premium location on the canal. It was a beautiful day with boats cruising up and down the waterway and flowers in bloom (which was quite a change from my previous visit in the dead of winter). If only I had remembered my polarizing filter...

Hard Rock Amsterdam

Amsterdam Flowers

As always, the staff was terrific. Here we are with Vellah from the merch shop, who was quite happy with the custom pin and laminate souvenir we gave her. I look either really smug or half asleep here (probably a little of both)...

Vellah

Tomorrow we're off again with a five hour drive south to Munich.

   

Petrol

Posted on Monday, August 2nd, 2004

Dave!I just spent 52 Euro (US $62.50) to fill up the 54-liter (14 gallon) gas tank of our small rental car. Would everybody in the US who keeps complaining about the high cost of gasoline please shut up.

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Day Eight: Munich

Posted on Monday, August 2nd, 2004

Dave!Black: The five hour drive from Cologne to Munich was made a bit longer by a slight detour towards Baden-Baden so we could see the beginnings of the Black Forest. Like you might imagine, the trees are a very dark shade of green, making them appear black in the shadows. Sadly the trees we saw looks scraggly and dying, an effect of acid rain (which scientists estimate has damaged over half of the trees in the entirety of the forest). We should have taken time to see a bit more into the forest, because it sounds as though it might not be around much longer.

HRC Munich: The Hard Rock here is kind of boring on the outside, but is pretty sweet inside. Memorabilia isn't quite as packed in as I'd like, but there's still a pretty good assortment. Unlike many cafes, this one has a rather large dining room that's entirely open...

Hard Rock Munich

Hard Rock Munich

Concerto: On the way back from the cafe, we ran across a group of astoundingly talented musicians playing classical selections in a building underpass. The acoustics were as good as any concert hall, and a large crowd had gathered to listen. What a great way to end our first evening in Munich.

The drive down made for a short day today. Tomorrow it's more of Munich and off to the wonders of Neuschwanstein!

   

Day Nine: Neuschwanstein

Posted on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

Dave!I've been to more than a few places in the world and seen a lot of cool stuff in my travels but, at the moment, it all kind of pales before the grandeur that is Neuschwanstein (New Castle of the Swan). This is the "fairy tale" castle which inspired Disney for the various castles in their theme parks. Of course, the Disney versions cannot begin to match the location in which the original sits, where every view takes your breath away...

Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein

The castle was the pet project of King Ludwig II, who never got to enjoy it much, as he was certified insane and unfit to rule, then died a few days later. It's my humble opinion that somebody who could orchestrate something so wondrous was probably just misunderstood, and not insane at all. In any event, once he died, all work on his various projects (including Neuschwanstein) were stopped. The rooms that were completed are magnificent, so one can only imagine one the completed palace would have ended up looking like.

As wonderful as the castle is, I was a bit saddened by the poor horses that are forced to haul heavy carts filled with tourists up and down the steep walkway all day long. We were tight on time, and calculated the horse carts were fastest to avoid missing the tour, but I regretted it after just moments of starting out. I didn't want to take the carts back down, and so we hiked the 15 minutes over to the bus stop (which had much better views anyway). If you ever visit, do yourself (and these poor beasts) a favor and take the bus.

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Day Nine: Austria

Posted on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

Dave!After Neuschwanstein, we noticed that we were awfully close to the Austrian border, and decided to dip down into the country just to say we've been there.

Austria Entry

Mission accomplished. No sign of the annoying Von Trapp family singers.

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Day Nine: Munich

Posted on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

Dave!Olympic: Our first stop after spending the morning gawking at Neschwanstein was spent at the Olympic Stadium, home of the 1972 Olympic Games. For 1.50 Euros, they let you in to inspect the well-kept grounds. It's pretty darn special, and I like how the seats are painted to match the green of the grass so as not to pose a distraction...

Olympic Stadium

Beamer: Also in the area is the BMW Museum, which is fairly small, but houses a nifty collection of various BMW cars and motorcycles from over the years...

BMW Museum

Tower: They also have a tower you can ride up to see the city from on high. It's also a great location to view the BMW World Headquarters Building, which is one of the coolest modern structures I've seen (would you expect anything less from BMW?)...

Olympic Tower

BMW Building

Tomorrow it's a long five hour drive to Berlin.

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Day Ten: Berlin

Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2004

Dave!Driven: As we made our way to Berlin, we passed mile after mile of traffic piled up behind a serious accident on the A-9 back to Munich which made us seriously happy we weren't heading in the opposite direction. Of course, karma has a way of balancing life, and so we ran into serious congestion due to poorly planned construction detours. Our five-hour journey quickly became seven hours, which took a huge chunk out of the time we had available in the city.

Rock: The Hard Rock Berlin has the distinction of being my only truly horrible HRC experience. in my previous visits, both the food and the service were abysmally bad. This time they seemed to have managed to get their act together a bit, because both the service and our dinner were fine. The cafe itself is pretty sweet, so I'm glad they're improving.

Charlie: About the only thing we had time for on our sightseeing list was a visit to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum for the Berlin Wall. It's a great museum (but unbearably hot) filled with fascinating memorabilia of a country divided. I particularly like the displays showing the ingenious methods East Germans used to escape to the West. The wall has long since gone, but you can purchase souvenir chunks and see a panel that's been preserved here...

Berlin Wall Remnant

Checkpoint Charlie

Tomorrow it's an early flight back to London and the bulk of our Hard Rock visits throughout England and Wales.

   

Theme Thursday: Shift

Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2004

Dave!Cor blimey guv, the shift box is on the wrong side of the bloody car!!

Theme Thursday: Shift

I chickened out... Perry get's to drive whilst we're in the U.K.!

   

Daft Yank 500

Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2004

Dave!I am fully aware that the good old US of A is not very popular in the global community right now. If you travel outside of North America, you can just "feel" it, and it's not very difficult to understand why. We've got a president invading countries in direct opposition to the United Nations and the advice of our allies, and doesn't seem to think much about how our actions affect the world outside our borders. On top of that, so many Americans I see while visiting other countries are horribly obnoxious, so even the first-hand contact foreigners experience does not leave a very good impression.

So, yeah, I get it.

But you know what? That is a pretty poor excuse for rudeness... especially when you are paying somebody for a bit of verbal bashing about your country of origin.

Today Perry and I were picked up from the airport (after coming back from Berlin) by the guy running the B&B we had stayed at near the airport. As we were flying (and I am talking literally flying, because the bloke drove so fast) back to pick up Perry's car, I was treated to a verbal lashing about how the "daft Yanks have gone mad after 9/11" and how stupidly we are handling airport security etc. etc. I am guessing he had forgotten I was an American, but maybe he didn't care. In any event, I'm such a smart ass, I immediately had three things pop into my head to say:

  • In my thickest British accent: Bloody Yanks, we should hang the lot of them!!
  • In my thickest, most annoying Southern US twang: Y'all got a mighty fine place here! Have a nice day!
  • In my normal speaking voice: When you have terrorists hijack a couple of your British Airways jets and crash them into Parliament and a few other English landmarks, then we'll talk... you inconsiderate limey f#@%!

In the end, I didn't say anything... what's the point? But it's kind of a downer that I was a a guest at his B&B and ended up paying him 80 pounds ($150 US) so he could be a total prick.

Hmmm... maybe I am a daft Yank after all... I just noticed that this is my 500th post to Blogography! Who knew.

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Day Eleven: London

Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2004

Dave!Our first stop whilst back in England was the Hard Rock Cafe London so we could visit with the "Lovely Rita," on "Rita Day" (which is the first Thursday of every month). Rita is the first waitress from the cafe back when it began, and now serves as an official ambassador for the organization. Unfortunately, this particular "Rita Day" was Rita-less, as she was away on holiday. Both Perry and I had met her previously, but it still would have been a hi-light of our run to have our photo taken with her.

The front of the cafe has been boarded up (again)... not for remodeling this time, but actual repairs. Apparently part of the front facade has fallen off of this grand old building. Given that this is the "original" Hard Rock Cafe, and the oldest in the chain, I guess it shouldn't be entirely unexpected. No big deal though, I had plenty of other photos from previous trips.

From the cafe, we made our way across the street to the Hard Rock Vault London. Unlike the spectacle that is the Orlando version of The Vault, this is an actual vault which was used when the building was formerly a bank. Also unlike the property in Orlando, if you ask Jimmy the tour guide really nicely, he'll also let you take a closer look at the goods (including the original guitar that Eric Clapton hung on the wall, which started the entire Hard Rock Collection in the first place -- it's the red one in front)...

HR Vault London

HR Vault London

That's me with Jimi Hendrix's custom Gibson Flying-V guitar, insured for a cool two million pounds sterling (about $3,700,000 US!). Needless to say, actually being able to touch rock-n-roll history makes this a more personal experience than what you get when visiting Orlando.

Next up was the Hard Rock Casino over in Leicster Square. It's more like a personal gambling club than an actual Vegas casino... small and intimate (pretty much just a few slot machines, and some gaming tables, with the clear favorite being roulette). Even so, it's a pretty nice place...

HR Casino London

Now we're off to the new Hard Rock Bar in Bristol.

   

FridayQ: Childhood

Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2004

Dave!Where did you live out your childhood years? I was born in San Diego, California, but only until I was four years old. My family then moved to Cashmere, Washington where I grew up.

As a child, what was your favorite toy, book, television show, and cartoon character? Toy would probably be my stuffed monkey Paula. Book is hands-down Curious George. Television show would be Captain Kangaroo. And cartoon character is probably Bugs Bunny.

Charm us with a favorite childhood memory... I'm getting old, so childhood memories are far and few between, but I do remember riding my tricycle while still living in San Diego. One time I got yelled at for one reason or another by a neighbor lady for riding down the sidewalk. The next time I rode by, I covered me and my trike with a blanket so she wouldn't see me. I don't recall if my invisibility ploy worked out or not.

FQ Photo-Op: Show us a photo of just how adorable you were as a child. I was an incredibly cute kid (no, I don't know what happened), so that's not difficult. My favorite shot has me wearing my tiger slippers while cooling out in my underwear...

Baby Dave

Discover your inner-child at the FridayQ.

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Day Twelve: Bristol

Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2004

Dave!Bristol (at the Western-most edge of England) is home to the first Hard Rock Bar. We had actually stopped by last night, but it was jam-packed and a band was playing, so we didn't get much of a chance to look around. As this is a bar, food-stuffs are at a bare minimum, but we were told that they did open up for a limited breakfast menu at 8am, so here we are. They advertise wireless internet access from British Telephone, but it's pricey and isn't worth a crap... the speed is painstakingly slow, and drops out constantly (even though I am getting full signal strength).

All that aside, it is a pretty cool property. I think it's kind of nifty that the Hard Rock is coming up with new ways to promote their brand, even in cities like Bristol that may not be able to support a full cafe...

HR Bar Bristol

HR Bar Bristol

Onward to Cardiff in the neighboring country of Wales...

   

Day Twelve: Cardiff

Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2004

Dave!Many people don't really understand the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, and it's hard to blame them because it is a bit confusing (even for those living here). With that in mind, I offer this quick guide to the British Isles...

  • Great Britain refers to the entirety of the island west of the North Sea. It is divided into three separate regions known as England, Wales, and Scotland. Many people refer to Great Britain as just "England" which is completely wrong (and no doubt offensive to the Welsh and Scottish peoples).
  • The United Kingdom refers to all of Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) along with Northern Ireland (a big chunk of the Emerald Isle that was given to the British in exchange for the independence of the Republic of Ireland from British rule).

All that being said, the Hard Rock Cafe Cardiff is located in Wales of Great Britain of the United Kingdom (and has the distinction of being the first Welsh cafe). My heart sank as we approached the entrance, because it sure didn't look like it was going to be much of a Hard Rock at all. It looks more like a hole in a wall...

Hard Rock Cafe Cardiff

Looks can be decieving. Once inside, I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice this property turned out. The restaurant branched out into three separate levels, including a fantastic bar and even a terrace with outdoor seating in the back...

Hard Rock Cafe Cardiff

Hard Rock Cafe Cardiff

A wonderful, wonderful Hard Rock, and well worth the trip to lovely Wales.

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Day Twelve: Birmingham & Manchester

Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2004

Dave!Continuing north, we stopped at the nicely appointed Hard Rock Cafe Birmingham and then onward to our last stops for the day at Manchester. While we had both visited these cafes on previous occasions, the new Manchester Hard Rock Casino would be new. As it turns out, it's very much like London's casino (more like a private gaming room than anything Vegas has to offer), but a bit larger with some video games tossed in the mix...

HR Manchester Casino

The entrance doesn't look like much, but it is perfectly located in the trendy Printworks complex which was really hopping this Friday night. Tomorrow our run comes to an end, with final stops in Leeds and Nottingham.

   

Day Thirteen: Leeds

Posted on Saturday, August 7th, 2004

Dave!The Hard Rock Cafe in Leeds is a bit hard to figure out. It's not a bad cafe, but it a bit of a departure from the Hard Rock formula with a cold look of glass and steel instead of the warm and inviting brass and dark woods we've come to expect. It's not quite the embarrassment that Belfast turned out to be, but could have been better had they worked on it a bit more...

Hard Rock Cafe Leeds

Next up... the very last stop on our Hard Rock Run in Nottingham.

   

Day Thirteen: Nottingham 100!

Posted on Saturday, August 7th, 2004

Dave!When I visited my first Hard Rock Cafe in Maui back in 1986, I had no idea that it would lead to an obsession that would carry-on for over a decade. For the past 18 years, I've included Hard Rock visits on my travels wherever I can, and have seen some wonderful parts of the world that I probably never would have travelled to if not for the Hard Rock Cafe. When Perry and I planned this run through Europe, I knew that my 100th visit would occur at the end, and worked the schedule so that it would be someplace special, namely the beautiful cafe in Nottingham, England (home of Robin Hood!)...

HRC Nottingham

HRC Nottingham

What I thought would be a private celebration of an event nearly two decades in the making, ended up being quite a bit different thanks to some sly planning on Perry's part. It turns out the cafe celebrated with me. They gave me a cake along with a T-Shirt signed by the entire staff! What an incredibly memorable way to mark my 100th Hard Rock visit (I turned the cake sideways so you could see the HRC logo that's behind the "100" candles)...

HRC Nottingham

HRC Nottingham

HRC Nottingham

A huge thank you to my very good new friend (and fellow Hard Rocker) Perry and everybody at the Hard Rock Cafe Nottingham for such an amazing, amazing event. I can't imagine a better (or more surprising!) way to celebrate such a crazy pursuit. The Hard Rock has always been so much more than "just a restaurant" to me, and things like this remind me why I love it so much.

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Trapped

Posted on Sunday, August 8th, 2004

Dave!Today was supposed to be a great day. Perry had invited me to a Chelsea tribute match which would have been my first opportunity to attend an English football game. Not knowing how long it would take for me to get to the grounds, I decided to leave a full hour early just to be sure I wasn't late. I'm staying at a hotel way out in the docklands, and am completely unfamiliar with the area, so I ask the concierge what's the best way to get to the city.

That was my first mistake

The guy kindly told me that I should go to a station that was out to the main road and to the right, so off I went. After a quick hike to the main road and ten minutes walking "to the right," I don't see a station... underground, rail, or otherwise. So I stop a couple of guys walking along the bridge and am told them the station name I was given. They look at me like I was from outer space and tell me that they've never heard of it. The nearest station is the Royal Victoria back the way I just came.

Thinking I must have misunderstood the concierge, I walk back to the light rail station and spend the last bit of cash I have to purchase a day ticket. Once I've got the ticket, I walk over to the platform for the city and find it barricaded. The line is closed so you have to take a bus...

Trapped

I waited for the bus for 20 minutes at the location specified and it never came. I've wasted almost 40 minutes now, and figure I'll just go back to the hotel and take a taxi. Problem is that I don't have any cash left, so I have to find a "cashpoint" (what they call ATMs here). I find one in the lobby and, despite the fact that it is displaying the "Plus" logo from my card, it refuses to accept it. So now I have no money, a useless rail pass, and am running out of time.

By now I am pretty desperate, and go back to the concierge for help. All I want to do is get to the city in time for the match... can he help me out? Is there a bus, a different train, a shuttle, ANYTHING to get me into the city for the game? Apparently, the answer is "no." If I don't have cash for a taxi, there is nothing he can do.

And so here I am. I could walk a couple of miles to the "Canning Town" station, but there's no way I could get to Chelsea in time. The only thing left I can do is call up Perry and tell him the bad news.

I suppose that I have no real reason to complain. The past two weeks have been amazing, and I should be content to have had such a great vacation. If something had to go wrong, better it should happen at the very end rather than in the middle somewhere. But still, it's kind of depressing that my last day in London has to be spent trapped at a hotel.

UPDATE: Since I pretty much had to have taxi fare in the morning to get to the airport, I made my way to Canning Town and, since there was staff available, asked about the no-bus at Royal Victoria. He assured me that the busses may be slow, but they are running, and so I shouldn't have a problem getting into the city. Sure enough, I did eventually make it so I could find a cashpoint, get some dinner, and see Perry off at King's Cross Station, but it was no picnic. Busses that run late, trains on wrong tracks, lack of staffing, and no re-direct signs to let you know where to go were typical. I've come to the conclusion that London Docklands Light Rail sucks ass.

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Devotional

Posted on Sunday, August 8th, 2004

Dave!Very cool news... Depeche Mode is releasing a double DVD set from their Devotional tour. Since I was out of the country when the tour was playing, and Depeche Mode is the best live performance band on the face of the planet, this is a must-have item for me. If you're a fan, you can read more about the release here.

Depeche Mode

The only downside is having to wait until September to get my hands on it.

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Homebody

Posted on Monday, August 9th, 2004

Dave!I'm back home now and don't really know what to do with myself. All I do know is that I don't want to be traveling again for a while if I can help it. I also don't want to be around lots of people (dumbass tourists in particular) for a bit. I certainly don't want to unpack my suitcase and wash my laundry. Oh, and I really, really don't want to look at the mail that came while I was gone. Gee... maybe I should make a list of things I actually do want to do rather than focus on the negative side of things...

  • Take my motorcycle out of storage and ride it. A lot.
  • Pour some water on poor Oscar, who must be parched by now.
  • Buy some bread.
  • Call my friends.
  • Make ice-cream.
  • Eat a home-cooked meal (but since I don't cook, I guess a microwaved meal will have to do).
  • Update my Hard Rock journal to reflect my recent trips and 100th visit.
  • Put a travel pin on my world map for Munich (where I had never been before).
  • Buy new socks.
  • Try not to be afraid of the pile of crap that's bound to be heaped on my desk when I get back to work.
  • Write a thank-you note to the Hard Rock Nottingham.
  • Pop in my Kill Bill: Vol. 2 DVD and watch it twice. Then watch Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Then watch Kill Bill: Vol. 2 all over again.
  • Watch all the crappy TV shows that TiVo recorded while I was gone.
  • Stop saying "lovely."
  • Get a tattoo.
  • Think happy thoughts.
  • Be thankful.
  • Find Mrs. Perfect.
  • Live happily ever after.

Yep, that'll about do it.

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

   

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Theme Thursday: Thirst

Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Dave!We're in the middle of a heat-wave here, regularly topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Compounding our misery is the fact that the nearby canyons are on fire, filling the sky with smoke and blotting out the sun. When I woke this morning, all I could see was a bright red spot in a world of gray... you couldn't see any of the hills and mountains that surround us.

As of this afternoon, the fires are only 25% contained. One firefighter has been killed in a helicopter crash. The fires are spreading further into the canyons that are bone-dry. It's not a pretty picture.

Still, some things are getting better. Yesterday these hills were covered in flames now, thanks to the efforts of some very brave people, they're just smoldering...

Theme Thursday: Thirst

Theme Thursday: Thirst

Fortunately, no major structures have been lost yet. I can only hope that no more lives are lost as well.

So now we wait and thirst for rain.

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FridayQ: Ego

Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2004

Dave!What is an activity that you can do better than anybody else you know? Draw a map. It seems whenever somebody gives me directions and they draw a map to follow, it sucks ass. When I draw a map to show you how to get somewhere, you ain't getting lost. Helpful hint: unless you possess rudimentary drawing skills and have a sense of direction, use MapQuest (or MultiMap, if you're outside the US) instead of attempting to draw one.

What is a subject where you are smarter than anybody else you know? Movie trivia. Whenever somebody wants to know the name of a film or who was in it, I'm the guy they ask. People e-mail me. They call me at work. They stop me on the street. They apparently don't know about IMDB.com. "What's the name of that guy who was a spy with his wife in that movie where he did that thing to that guy in that place with the alligator?" That would be Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner, who treed Stanley Tucci's character in the New Orleans Zoo at the Alligator Pit in the underrated movie Undercover Blues. Yep, I'm a genius.

What is a trait you possess that makes you superior to lesser humans? Intelligence. I see so many stupid people doing so many stupid things on a daily basis that sometimes I think we'd be better off if alien overlords would arrive and enslave us all. That way, when stupid people did something stupid, they'd be vaporized or have their brains sucked out.

FQ Fiction: Which of your many stellar accomplishments should be recorded in the history books? (Can't think of one? Make it up!). I'd have to say it would be the time I saved humanity from enslavement by the alien overlords and was elected Supreme Ruler of the planet Earth. Since all the stupid people were vaporized or brainless, all the remaining smart people realized it was the intelligent thing to do.

Stroke your ego at the FridayQ.

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

   

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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Julia

Posted on Saturday, August 14th, 2004

Dave!I was saddened to learn that Julia Child had died yesterday. It's not that I was a huge fan of her cooking shows or books (as a vegetarian, it's not like I could eat very much of it anyway)... but I am a big fan of her fascinating life and remarkable personality. There's something cool about a woman who starting as an advertising executive, became a spy(!) during World War II, and eventually (against all odds) became one of the world's foremost cooking authorities.

I'd imagine that being a woman chef was not easy ground to break back then. Her mother was the first woman in the US to get a driver's license, so perhaps she was destined to be a revolutionary? And who could ever forget that classic Dan Aykroyd SNL parody? Julia is a personality that will definitely be missed.

This week's FridayQ will be food-related in her honor... save the livers!

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

   

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.
Categories: DaveLife 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Stat Two!

Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2004

Dave!Every once in a while (usually when I am put on hold while talking on the phone) I take a glance at my web site stats just to see what people are interested in and where they are going. Several months back, I shared some of the most popular keywords and links, and thought I would do that again just to see what has changed. Boy what a difference five months make!

Here are the top ten keyword searches people use to find me in August so far (anybody see a pattern here?)...

  • Jennifer Garner
  • Janet Jackson Naked
  • Boobies
  • Naked Boobies
  • No Bush (bizarre, because it's not what you think)
  • Exploding Dog (which I find very cool)
  • Kill Bill
  • The Cure
  • Elizabeth Hurley
  • Pleasureman Gunther (bizarre, because it's exactly what you think)

Going back a month, so I can get the big picture, I notice that most everything changes in the top five...

My most popular direct-linked entries for the past three months...

In other news: August appears to be yet another record-breaking month for unique visitor counts. In June it was averaging 307 per day, July 428 per day, and August so far is 446 per day. The vast majority of those counts are visitors to the Blogography entry page, so I am guessing most visitors are regular readers?

The FridayQ is a distant second entry point, but still receives a respectable number of visitors. Oddly enough, when I actually follow-up on people who are doing the FridayQ, it's shocking just how many people participate only to bitch about how they don't like the questions! Jeez, if you don't like FridayQ, DON'T DO IT!! Some of the comments are so nasty that I finally understand why other memes are dying off... I mean, why put any work into something that people are going to crap all over? It's not like I'm asking for money or anything, and anybody who thinks it's easy to dream up something unique every week should try their own meme for a few months before passing judgment. I've even had some people tell me that they refuse to participate in FridayQ because they don't get to leave comments and links to boost their web ranking! Well, I'm putting FridayQ out there NOT to make money or increase your ranking... I'm doing it just to help out because I know that coming up with an idea on Friday can be tough! If that's not enough for you, I'm sorry, but that's all I have to offer just now. That being said, it's pretty nice to get that occasional e-mail from people who like FridayQ, so maybe I'll hang in there a bit longer?

Lastly, I continue to find it amazing that nearly 450 people each day find this blog (and my life!) interesting enough that they feel like stopping by and checking in. Who knew that my love of motorcycles, Elizabeth Hurley, and travel (along with my all-too-frequent rants) would be something people want to read?
Categories: Blogging 2004, Memes 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Freedom

Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2004

Dave!After far too long, my motorcycle is out of storage. Needless to say, I am very happy just now.

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Silence of the Spams

Posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

Dave!Tell me Clarice... have the spams stopped screaming?

In addition to the blogging wonder than is ecto (not to mention Movable Type itself), there is one other piece of essential software that any blogger using MT simply must have... the sublime sweetness known as MT-Blacklist, created by minor deity Jay Allen to stop spammers from assaulting your blog comments and trackbacks.

In changing to the latest Movable Type installation 3.0, then going back to 2.6, then upgrading and going back yet again before finally installing 3.0 once and for all, one thing has not changed. Comment Spammers are relentless bastards. Waiting for the release of a version of MT-B that works with 3.0 has been excruciating because I receive up to 30 spam comments every day, and each one has to be dealt with individually and immediately so visitors aren't subjected to ads for headache relief, debt consolidation, penis enlargement, and other stupid crap that nobody wants to look at in the first place.

Enter MT-Blacklist, which stops most of the spam from ever reaching you, and also gives you an easy way to manage those that do. As I first learned from Neil, and then later had confirmed from Jay himself, an emergency release that works with MT3 is now available. Since this is a "pre-release" of sorts, there are still a few bugs and no tech support is available, but I've had zero problems so far and not a single spam comment has arrived since I installed it.

Now, at long last, blog nirvana has returned. The spams have stopped screaming.

Thanks Jay! My donation is on the way.
Categories: Blogging 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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

   

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.

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

   

FridayQ: Culinary

Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2004

Dave!In addition to the dearly departed Julia Child, who is your favorite food personality? I'm a big fan of Iron Chef French: Hiroyuki Sakai. He seems a very capable and hard working chef in the kitchen, and both a respectful winner and gracious loser in Iron Chef food battles.

What meal would you have this culinary genius prepare for you if they asked? Well, since he's an expert in French cooking, probably something French? Problem is, French dishes don't tend to be the most vegetarian-friendly cuisine around (though their pastry is the best in the world, so it's probably a fair trade-off?). How about a vegetable bisque soup with French bread and a nice wine, followed by a large assortment of pastries for dessert.

If they refused, and you could eat at any restaurant you wanted as a consolation, which one would you choose? A plate of Fettucini Alfredo at Alfredo alla Scrofa in Rome would do nicely. It's a restaurant that doesn't rank high in atmosphere, but their pasta is the best I have ever tasted.

Alfredo's

FQ Kitchen: Share with us a favorite recipe or cooking tip. I'm not much of a cook, so any recipe I might offer would involve combining two frozen foods in a microwave. I do, however, have a few tips which somebody might enjoy...

  • Substitute a Mexican rice mix (my favorite brand being Farmhouse) for ground beef in Mexican recipes. I use it in tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and anything else that would normally use meat as the filler.
  • Top mashed potatoes or potato salad with crisp-fried grated potatoes, which adds a new crunchy dimension to their creamy texture. If I'm too lazy to fry some up, I'll use crushed potato chips instead (don't knock it 'til you've tried it!).
  • Chocolate chip cookies are even more special when you eat them frozen.
  • If you're not worried about the extra fat calories, add a packet of powdered creamer to your instant cocoa mix to make it taste more like fresh-made.
  • Everything is better with cheese on top.

Eat your heart out at the FridayQ.

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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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Endurance

Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

Dave!By far the most inspiring Olympic event I've witnessed so far was the Women's Marathon Run. Averaging a 5 minutes 35 second mile in up to 100-degree heat, Mizuki Noguchi of Japan brought home the gold after a grueling 26 miles. In addition to the difficult conditions, she also had the added pressure of following up the previous Japanese win from Sydney 2000. You kind of get a sense that near the end there, the poor gal was running on empty... but the minute she entered the stadium for that final lap and realized she was going to get the gold and started waving to the crowd... well, moments like that are what makes the Olympics worth watching (photo taken from Athens2004.com, which will probably merit me all kinds of nasty threats from the IOC because they just don't appreciate free promotion for their site!)...

Mizuki Naguchi

The drama escalated earlier in the race as British world champion Paula Radcliffe dropped out in tears. Whether it was the heat or emotional pressure did her in, it's hard to tell. In any event, it was a heart-wrenching moment that all of Great Britain must have felt.

Another inspiring moment was American Deena Kastor as she worked her way from 18th place, picking off the competition one by one to win the bronze. Where she found it within herself to keep progressing like that I have no idea. When they talk about triumph of the human spirit, stuff like this must be exactly what they mean.

All I know is that I could barely run a mile, let alone 26, in 100-degree heat (well, okay, I would have a hard time running a mile in sublime temperatures with a light breeze... I'm kind of a weenie that way).

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Dusk

Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

Dave!I'm tired. I've had a splitting headache all afternoon. The project I've been working on has not gone well at all. And, to top it all off, I have no desire whatsoever to get up and go to work in the morning. This Sunday sucked! If only there was something I could do to make everything all better.

Hah! Of course there is! A motorcycle ride at dusk can fix just about anything! Tonight was particularly lovely out, which made for a fantastic "magic hour" ride that makes you glad to be alive.

Well, unless you are a bug. The one downside of riding at dawn is the number of poor bugs that end up slaughtered on your visor. I feel a little bad about that, but at least they gave their lives for a good cause.

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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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Prairie

Posted on Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

Dave!I woke up to find that I have no Internet. What am I supposed to do now? What's going on in the world? I suppose that I shouldn't complain... in the four years I've had DSL this is only the second time it's gone down. But it does mess up my daily routine in a way that I'm not quite ready for. I wonder what's on television this morning?

Gah! I should have never looked! Morning television is crap! You know this is true when the most interesting thing on in the 100 channels I receive is Little House on the Prairie.

And speaking of Little House, what in the heck happened to that show? I was never a big fan... boring people in a boring place doing boring things in a boring time just doesn't appeal to me (Oh no! Laura lied to Ma and Pa! The humanity!). This morning I find out that things on the Prairie certainly have changed since I last bothered to watch all those years ago. Laura got married, her sister Mary is blind and married and running a school for blind children, somehow they have a brother named Albert (I thought they had a younger sister named Carrie?), and Nellie is married and no longer a bitch.

There were two episodes back-to-back, but there were from different seasons of the show which was confusing. I flicked back-and forth through the first episode, but watched the second. How could I not? Pa is living in the city(!) and his son(?) Albert is in a gang and addicted to morphine? Cool! It's like a really, really clean version of Trainspotting or something!

I've never been so relieved to go to work in my entire life. I hope my DSL is fixed tomorrow morning.

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Outsourced

Posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2004

Dave!A while back I posted a rant about lame Internet quizzes in response to an entry at Geekable where Jeff had mentioned "Your blog is a quiz-free zone. You do not care if you are a princess of light, or a flute, or a Toyota Prius. If you wanted to take a test, you'd go back to school."

In response to all of that, Will James left a comment saying "I am in school, and these tests are way more fun." Since I had just had a friend lose their job to outsourcing, this led me to theorize (with sadness) that, "with all our tech jobs being shipped to foreign countries, maybe you really do get more mileage out of an Internet quiz after all?"

Then today I get a message from another friend who just lost their tech job to outsourcing. I used to think that so long as Windows was the dominate OS, there would always be jobs in tech support to deal with all the bugs, crashes, and confusion that goes along with it. Well, my friend's job was in tech support. Those Internet quizzes are looking better all the time, so here's my contribution (I'll make up for lost time by doing the Top 5 Most Popular at Quizilla)...

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)

Quiz: Fight Club

What is Your Color? (girls only... great anime pics)

Quiz: Girl Color

How Old is Your Inner Child?

Quiz: Inner Child

What Sign of Affection Are You?

Quiz: Sign of Affection

Which of the Greek Gods Are You?

Quiz: Greek God

Having my "Sign of Affection" being "Holding Hands" nearly caused me to throw myself off a building... but I kind of redeemed myself by having my "Greek God" be "Death." So there, is that lame enough for everybody?

Oh, just an FYI... the actual Greek god of death is Thanatos. The Romans changed Thanatos to Mors when they adopted the gods as their own. As an aside, Thanatos should not be confused with Hades, who is not Death... he's lord of the underworld. Thanatos should also not be confused with Thanos, which is the Marvel Comics villain who is obsessed with Death. Furthermore, the Roman god of death Mors should not be confused with the Roman god of war, who is Mars (stolen from the greek god of war Ares). I'm a big mythology buff, and errors like this bug the crap out of me!

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

   

FridayQ: Olympic

Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2004

Dave!Which Olympic events are your most and least favorite? I'm not a huge sports fan, but I do enjoy watching a good game of Beach Volleyball. As for my least favorite, that's easily Synchronized Swimming. I mean no disrespect as to the difficulty of such an endeavor, but it just looks stupid to me.

In what Olympic competition would you have the best shot at a gold medal? Uhhh... I think I'm equally tragic in just about all sports, so anything I choose is going to be pretty demeaning to those events. But, if forced to pick, perhaps Archery for Summer and Curling for Winter? Not that I've ever actually attempted Curling before, but I think I could probably scrub the ice with those little brushes better than any of my other choices (if I could manage to keep from falling on my ass, that is!).

If you could add or invent a new Olympic sport, what would it be? Motocross! And not just for Summer as you might think... motorcycle racing could be cool in Winter as well! Remember that chase scene in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only where the motorcycles with spiked tires were racing down the bobsled course? That would kick ass as an Olympic competition!

FQ Pitchman: Propose why your home town should host the next Olympic Games (your choice Summer or Winter). When I really think about it... Cashmere might actually be a cool venue for the Winter Olympics. We're near some terrific mountains for skiing, and there's already plenty of winter activity areas to build on. And, since the fruit orchard market is dying off thanks to ever-increasing imports, there are plenty of orchards nearby that we can rip out in order to make room for a stadium and such. The only big problem is that we're a very small city with only one motel... so I have no idea how we'd be able to house all the spectators that would show up for the Games.

Go for the gold at the FridayQ.

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Template

Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2004

Dave!When I decided to go ahead and try Yet Another Blog after having had two failures, I decided to trash all my previous layouts in favor of something simple. This time around I was planning on using photos, cartoons and other distractions in my entries, so I wanted everything in the layout to be uncluttered. Initially this meant Blogography had a white background with gray text menus and not much else. But eventually common sense set in and I ended up with the design you're looking at today (which is based entirely on the default Movable Type template that comes with the installation).

Overall, I like the layout of my blog and have no plans to change it anytime soon (indeed, I'm guessing the day I change it is the day I'll delete it and start all over again... or not). That being said, there are still a number of little details that I'm unhappy with and would like to change. Tonight I thought it would be fun to make some of those changes.

I was wrong.

Apparently, I am more inept at handling Movable Type's templates than I thought. In fact, I am a complete moron on the subject. It's now nearly 1am and I've been working on it for the past six hours and am failing miserably. Fortunately, I backed up all my templates, so now I'm going to revert to the originals and go to bed a defeated, wreck of a man.

I need that book Neil is working on! But since it isn't scheduled to be released until January 10th of next year, I guess I'll wait a while before trying my hand at customizing MT again.

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Dave Approved: Crest

Posted on Saturday, August 28th, 2004

Dave!Blogography does not currently accept advertising but, on occasion, I do like to whore myself out as an unofficial spokesman for products, people, and services I really like... thus the Dave Approved category is born, and my first entry is a good one. If you've read this blog for a while, you already know that I have a "thing" about toothpaste. So when I say I've found a brand I really like, you should totally trust me: Crest Whitening Expressions is the bestest toothpaste ever! This stuff is so good that I'd pour it over my breakfast cereal if the fluoride weren't poisonous to ingest...

Crest White

Crest White

Crest White

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go brush my teeth again.

UPDATE: I just learned that they've released a new flavor: French Vanilla Mint! Sounds delicious. I wonder how it will compare to Herbal Mint, Cinnamon Rush, and Citrus Breeze? Ends up the answer is "not very well." It's not bad, but tastes kind of like a mint antacid or drinking milk after you had a breath mint.

   

Attack!

Posted on Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Dave!If you ride a motorcycle, you simply must read this. Evil attack squirrel of death? As if there weren't enough to worry about while riding!

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Clerks2

Posted on Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Dave!I just read that Kevin Smith, fresh off his Jersey Girl flop, has decided to return to where he began and make a sequel to Clerks which he is calling The Passion of the Clerks. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I am thrilled that Smith will be again delving into the familiar territory we know and love. On the other, I am terrified that he will pull a George Lucas and needlessly trash some of my favorite movie characters...

Clerks!

I suppose that I should give the guy the benefit of the doubt, because I loved the Clerks animated series. And if there's even a small chance that he will approach the greatness that is Chasing Amy, then perhaps it's worth the risk? But can we at least get rid of the cheesy "Passion" title? South Park already beat you to it, so it's just lame now.

It's just a little over a week until my Clerks: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD set gets here. That's something I have no mixed feelings about... I can't wait!

Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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.

   

Star

Posted on Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Dave!James Doohan got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Finally, after all these years, the genius that is "Scotty" is recognized. Now that I really stop and think about it, he is probably my favorite Star Trek character. Nothing is quite so cool as when Scotty starts to lose it in the engine room! He is also responsible for my favorite post-original series moments... particularly the guest appearance he had on Next Generation and his work in Star Trek IV ("Computer? Hello computer!").

I wish him nothing but the best...


Scotty Star

Photos by Jason DeFillippo from the induction ceremony can be found on Blogging.LA. It looks like some other Star Trek faces showed up including Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Grace Lee Whitney? That's pretty swell of them. Is there a transcript of the speeches floating around the Internet? I'd love to read what everybody said.

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(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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ReReunited

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Dave!While working at home, I usually have VH1-Classic running in the background so I can listen to all that old 80's music I just can't seem to leave behind. Most of the time, I barely realize it's there, unless some song catches my attention that I need to buy from the iTunes Music Store. Well, if it is available from the iTunes Music Store! All too often I find that an artist I want is plagued by having only "partial albums" for sale. Then I have to decide whether I want the music bad enough to buy it on CD, or just forget it.

Usually I just forget it.

Anyway, I really took notice when a commercial for a new season of Bands Reunited came up. Woo hoo! I've blogged about this excellent show a few times before, and have been looking forward to this. Here's the line-up this time around:

  • New Kids on the Block: Who cares? Seriously.
  • The English Beat: Ooooooh... interesting! This band (which I liked) eventually divided into General Public and Fine Young Cannibals (both of which I also like) so I'm looking forward to this.
  • Haircut 100: Not a band I was overly fond of. I can only recall the songs they had... Boy Meets Girl and Love Plus One. Nick Heyward's solo career might make this episode worth a look though.
  • The Motels: Not a favorite. Only the Lonely was an okay song, but Martha Davis never really did it for me.
  • ABC: This is a band I do like, and the episode I am most looking forward to. I really hope they end up getting together. So many good songs, but I like Be Near Me and All of my Heart best.

Only five episodes? Bummer. I hope they're good ones.

   

Millionaire

Posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2004

Dave!My life is pretty boring right now (work... ride motorcycle... repeat) so there's just not very many interesting things for me to blog about ("interesting" being a relative term, of course). This morning while in the shower I started thinking about things I could blog about. I could write about the brand of shampoo I use, obviously, or perhaps even how I get rid of soap scum in the tub. But surely there's something more... something captivating and exciting. Something that's actually worth people's valuable time to read.

And then it occurred to me: I would have tons of cool crap to blog about if I had a million dollars!

Somebody could give me a million dollars (PayPal accepted) and I could blog about how I spend it!!

I know, I know... before you go sending me a million dollars, there are few questions you have. Well never fear, that's what I am here for...

If I give you a million dollars, how do I know that you will really blog about it?
I blog about brushing my teeth for crying out loud, do you actually think I wouldn't blog about spending a million dollars?

Yeah, but how do I know you won't blow it all on something crazy and I'll only get one blog entry out of the deal?
Because I'm just not that stupid. It's not like I'd give it all to a foundation for bat guano research or pay Elizabeth Hurley a million dollars to sleep with me or something. Oh no, your million dollars guarantees you years of fabulous blog entries!

Just how long will it take you to spend it then?
Say... do you really think Elizabeth Hurley would sleep with me for a million dollars? Nah, you're right, she'll love me because I'm such a wonderful person, not because of how much money I have.

What exactly will you do with the million once I give it to you?
I don't know, and that's what's so cool about it: we'll find out together! Some of it will be going to charity (that's just how it works when you get a lot of money) but the rest will probably be spent doing interesting things, meeting interesting people, and buying cool crap. Whatever happens, you'll read about it right here!

I don't trust PayPal with my money, can I send you a certified check?
But of course! Wire transfers, bearer bonds, and gold bouillon are also perfectly acceptable.

Great! I am a Nigerian businessman with ten million dollars in oil prospecting revenue stuck in a bank. If you pay the $100,000 release fee, I'll give you a million of it!
Didn't I already mention that I'm not stupid? If I'm going to toss away massive amounts of money, I'd rather send it to Ze Frank.

But I love your blog just how it is! If I give you a million dollars, won't you change and not be the same person anymore?
Nah, that would never happen. I'll be the same guy I've always been, just with a lot more money. No sir, a million dollars won't change me one bit!

Dave Millions

This is just a scam to get me to pay you a million dollars isn't it?!? Uhhh... you obviously haven't read much of my blog. This is just a joke*.

   

*not that I'm saying I would refuse it if somebody offered me a million dollars, mind you.

   

FridayQ: Funny

Posted on Friday, September 3rd, 2004

Dave!What's something you find humorous, but probably shouldn't? Graham Norton. He is not funny. Honestly, he's obnoxious and foul. But I laugh my ass off anyway. The same probably goes for South Park, Dave Chappelle, and Martha Stewart.

What's something that others find funny, but you don't? It's a tie between Adam Sandler, Everybody Loves Raymond, and racist jokes. I don't "get" any of them.

What actor/comedian/personality always makes you laugh? Right now it's Wanda Sykes, but Eddie Murphy and Phil Hartman are favorites too. What movie? Office Space only slightly beats out Baseketball, both of which I have seen dozens of times. What book? My copy of The Indispensable Calvin And Hobbes (or any of the other Calvin and Hobbes books) will do it.

FQ Stand-Up: Tell us a joke or funny story. True story. Once after having had dinner at a Red Robin in Seattle, I was washing my hands after using the restroom and overheard a guy at the urinal talking to himself. Things like "oh crap!" and "holy shit, what am I going to do here" and "aw, f#@% me!" I was scared to turn and look at what might be going on, so I didn't even bother to dry my hands, I just ran out.

As we were leaving the restaurant, I saw the same guy exiting the bathroom with a huge stain on the front of his trousers. That's when I realized he had urinated all over himself while taking a piss. His date came up and said "oh there you are, I was beginning to wonder if you needed some help in there!" Then she noticed his wet crotch and said "whoa... and apparently you did!"

The guy, in a feeble attempt to cover his horror said "uuuhhhh... the faucet was broken and I got sprayed." To which she replied in disgust: "Suuuuure it was the faucet. I'm going to go get a newspaper so you won't get 'water' stains on my seat" (and she visually surrounded the word "water" with air quotes to get her point across). This made the guy really embarrassed and angry, so he shouted out "I didn't make fun of you that time you got drunk and crapped your pants!!"

This got the attention of the dozen or so people that were waiting for a table, and everybody turned and looked as they walked out the door. A second after the door had closed, a kid blurted out "mom, you should wear diapers next time you get drunk!"

Have a laugh at the FridayQ.

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Dave Approved: Enchiladas

Posted on Saturday, September 4th, 2004

Dave!It's Saturday, which means it's time to whore myself out by endorsing a product, person, or service that I'm currently enamored with! Since I'm hungry, I think I'll pick a food I'm fixated on just now: El Monterey Cheese Enchiladas.

When you are a vegetarian, finding good Mexican food is tough. Most of the time, you just have to ignore the fact that the food you're eating probably has chicken fat or bouillon or some other dead animal-related product in it. There's not much you can do about it in a restaurant but, when buying frozen foods, I do look at the ingredients. Odds are the cheese is going to have rennet in it, but I can at least rule out more obvious animal products.

The problem is that when you finally do find an elusive frozen Mexican entree without chicken juice in it, the stuff usually tastes like ass. I think I've tried just about everything out there, and none of it has merited a repeat purchase (especially the designated "vegan" crap which is the worst of the lot). That's why I wasn't holding out much hope when I saw the local Fred Meyer had started carrying "El Monterey" brand foods that appeared to be dead-chicken free...

El Monterey!

Wow. I mean, WOW. These are the best enchiladas I have ever eaten. They are so good that they seem more like dessert than an entree... deliciously light and fluffy filling that's not a pile of grease, and a sauce that's to die for (well, not for me to die for, but it's certainly worth somebody else dying over!).

There is a catch, however. These things are horrible for your health. The "serving size" on the Nutrition Facts is "one enchilada" and looks pretty scary. Multiply that by the four-enchilada serving you would actually eat and it's downright tragic, with recommended daily values off the chart: 80% of your total fat, 144% of your saturated fat, 44% of your cholesterol, and 100% of your sodium. Yikes. I would probably eat these every day if they weren't death-inducing, but figure once a week won't kill me.

But what a way to go.

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Howl

Posted on Sunday, September 5th, 2004

Dave!My jealousy is in overdrive right now because people at the Venice Film Festival got to see the latest Miyazaki animated masterpiece: Howl's Moving Castle (based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones). As if the fact that they are in freakin' Venice isn't cool enough, they also get to see what is sure to be one of the best films of the year...

Howl's Moving Castle

I have blogged several times about my love for all things Miyazaki (he's entry #38 in my "One Hundred Things"), and feel that his stuff is equal to anything Pixar has ever done, and surpasses anything I've seen come out of Disney. Everything he touches is magic, which is why I was devastated when rumors were running around that he would be retiring after his previous piece of genius Spirited Away. Fortunately, his love of children put retirement on hold so he could get this movie made (possibly because it has a strong anti-war message?). Is it too much to hope that he will get a few more movies out before he really retires? I hear he is in poor health and couldn't make it to the festival, so I offer my best wishes for a quick recovery.

The film debuts in Japan on November 20th, so who knows when it will ever reach us here in the States. A preview in Quicktime is available (select "Media" - stunning!). And the official website is up as well (Japanese only).

If only I could afford another trip to Japan this year.

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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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Steam

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Dave!As if it weren't enough that Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is coming... Ain't it Cool reports that Katsuhiro Otomo's first feature-length film since his masterpiece Akira is finally nearing completion: Steamboy! As you would expect, it looks absolutely amazing, and I have no idea how I am going to be able to wait for it to appear here in the States once I saw the brilliant images they have up at Monsters & Critics...

Steamboy

The film takes place in kind of an "alternate universe" version of Victorian London, which I'm sure will look stunning. It's supposed to be a much more "family-friendly" film than Akira, but fans of Otomo's ability to blow stuff up should not be disappointed. Here we see the Tower Bridge taking quite a hit...

Steamboy2

Otomo packs so much into every frame of his films that it is imperative to see them on the big screen in a really good theater. Since there are only a handful of theaters in the States I consider to be "really good," I wonder where I will end up flying to in order to see it? Now if only Otomo would adapt his excellent manga "Domu: A Child's Dream" into anime.

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Hellcat

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Dave!While surfing through my RSS feeds, I noticed that Gizmodo is reporting on the Confederate Motorcycles "F124 Hellcat." I've seen the bike in motorcycle magazines I read, but it never occurred to me that Confederate would have a web site for some reason. I couldn't find a price for these hand-made works of art, but I'm guessing it ain't cheap considering other Confederate models hover around the $30,000+ range...

Hellcat

If I did have tens of thousands of dollars laying around, and I was insane enough to buy one, would I ever have the guts to ride it? Getting carried away and dumping this bike would ensure you a nice corner in hell by the motorcycle gods.

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Romantic

Posted on Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

Dave!There are a number of difficulties in trying to maintain a meme like FridayQ each week. The hardest part is always trying to come up with the questions. You want to be a little unique, but not too personal or offensive. You want to be interesting, but not too obtuse or strange. Finding the right balance is a definite challenge, and it's a small victory when you finally think of something (no matter how lame). Last week I had come up with the topic of "romantic," and basked in the relief that another week was done.

Until I found out that Cheddar X had come up with the same thing for their meme today.

Now, normally I don't pay attention to other memes because I don't want to be influenced by what others are doing. After Theme Thursday died, that was it for me. But some of the blogs I read participate in memes, and I end up taking a look. Tonight I was horrified to find out that my topic for the week was taken and I'll have to think of something else. I'm sure this happens all the time, but I'd rather it not happen in the same week if I can help it.

Oh well. Just to prove I'm a good sport, I'll go ahead and answer the Cheddar X questions:

1. What's the sexiest name you've ever heard? That would be "Elizabeth" because it's attached to the sexiest woman on earth, Elizabeth Hurley...

2. What's your idea of a romantic evening? I could say something like "flying to Rome for a romantic Italian dinner followed by a walk through the city holding hands and eating a gelato," but that would be a lie. Truthfully, a romantic evening to me would be making dinner together then watching DVDs until we fall asleep on the couch. Just being with somebody special is romantic enough for me, I don't need any distractions or window dressing.

3. Where's the most romantic place you know? Maui has beaches with romantic sunsets that can't be beat. It's gotten a bit crowded over the years, but it's still pretty amazing. Actually, anyplace can be romantic if you're with somebody you care about.

4. What's the most romantic gesture someone's made to you? A girl I was dating completely disarmed me once when she gave me new shoelaces. Yes, shoelaces. I was flying out on a trip, and she stopped to see me off on her way to work. After giving me a goodbye kiss, she handed me a package of shoelaces with a bow on top. She had noticed that my laces were a little "mangy," and thought I should have a new pair for my trip. The fact that she paid attention to such a tiny detail in my life really meant a lot to me. No other romantic gesture has ever come close.

5. What was your most romantic gesture? A girl I was really smitten with was devastated when a friend of hers died so I bought an airline ticket for her sister to come take care of her. We had only been out on a few dates, so I didn't know her well enough to make things better myself, so I did the only thing I could think of to help her out. In retrospect, I think that was pretty darn romantic.

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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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FridayQ: Scenario

Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2004

Dave!You've been given a million dollars to donate to a worthy charity! Which organization would benefit from your generosity and why are they deserving? I'm a huge fan of Doctors Without Borders, and wouldn't think twice about dropping a million there. This amazing group provides medical care to people in need regardless of race, religion, creed, or politics (and often do so at great risk). That, to me, is the very definition of charity and an example of the kind of world we should be building.

You've testified against the mob and have to leave the country! Where do you go to start your new life, and what new career will you pursue? Hmmm... how about a motorcycle mechanic in Sicily? I could work on Ducatis and ride year-round because of the great weather there.

A movie studio has given you carte blanche to develop a sequel to a film of your choice! What's your sequel going to be about and who's starring in it? There are many movies I'd like to see sequels to, but I think there are two above all others I'd like to see made...
In my sequel to Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, I'd simply proceed with the originally-planned sequel which was to be called "Buckaroo Banzai and the World Crime Syndicate." Naturally Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, and the rest of the cast would have to reprise their roles as Buckaroo and the Hong Kong Cavaliers. I'm not sure what it would be about, but wackiness would definitely ensue!
For my sequel to Undercover Blues, husband & wife super-spies Jeff & Jane Blue (Dennis Quaid & Kathleen Turner) could come out of retirement to rescue their now-grown up daughter Janey from some revenge scheme hatched by their arch-nemesis Paulina Novacek (Fiona Shaw) and her "confederate" Muerte (Stanley Tucci).

FQ Re-Blog: A tragic computer malfunction has erased your current blog so you decide to start over again under a fictitious identity. Who would you become and what would you write about? I would become a psychologist who anonymously blogs about all the freaky patients he's seeing. Something tells me I'd have a real talent for inventing imaginary psychological disorders!

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Paper

Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2004

Dave!It's astounding to me that in this modern electronic world, we still rely so heavily on printed pieces of paper. Today I've been trying to purchase tickets to Korea for a work trip next week only to find that nobody will sell them to me. Apparently, for the route I need to take, paper tickets are required and nobody is "willing to risk" sending them out with such short notice (isn't that what Fed-Ex is for?). Perhaps I should just forge a ticket...

Fake Ticket

Of course, in this day and age of homeland security paranoia, there's probably a death penalty for even attempting something like this.

UPDATE: Finally got my ticket (and boy was it expensive!), but now I have to drive into the neighboring city of Wenatchee to pick it up. Bleh.

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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).

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SkyTeam

Posted on Monday, September 13th, 2004

Dave!I just found out that Northwest Airlines and its KLM and Continental partners have joined up with the SkyTeam Alliance. This is a pretty big deal for me (or any other Northwest Worldperks member) because now I get mileage credit for flights with AeroMexico, Air France, Alitalia, Czech Air, Delta, and Korean Air. I'm guessing that this is to better compete with United Airlines and their Star Alliance.

The ironic thing here is that the more airlines Northwest adds to their list of flying partners, the less likely I am going to be choosing Northwest to actually fly with. Over the years, the quality of flying Northwest in coach has declined badly. Seats are tiny with no leg room for anybody over 5'6". They don't show movies or any in-flight entertainment except on trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic flights. And, the latest blow... they no longer accept special meal requests. They should just cut the pretense of offering meals altogether and offer a paid menu so people can get something they can actually eat.

I sympathize with the fact that airlines are having to cut costs wherever they can to stay competitive. But things are getting so bad that I am seriously questioning the choices they are making... especially when they drive consumers to choose other airlines or other methods of travel. I'd gladly pay $50 extra to have a little leg room and something decent that I can eat. I wonder how many others travelers feel the same?

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Airline

Posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

Dave!I just don't know what it is about travel anymore. Everything seems to always go wrong for me! Today I'm headed out for a few days work in Korea. My flight from Wenatchee to Seattle went just fine, but when I got to Seattle all the flights to L.A. were cancelled or delayed (apparently there is a power outage at LAX or something). Anyway, eventually they release my flight with only a half-hour delay, so things are looking good for me making my Korean Air connection to Seoul.

Except Alaska Air had to go and do something stupid.

We're out on the runway but not going anywhere. A half-hour passes, and now I'm beginning to worry about making my connection at LAX. Naturally, they don't bother to tell us what's going on, we just sit there uninformed. And then FINALLY they announce it: we can't take off because the head count doesn't match the number of tickets they pulled.

Uhhh... excuse me?

How in the heck can something so amazingly stupid happen? There's a computer at the gateway, I always assumed that it was there to keep track of who boarded. The flight was totally packed with only three empty seats, so you would think that they could just call the gate and find out which seats were supposed to be vacant and go from there.

But oh no. We have to GO BACK TO THE f#@%ING GATE so they can get a passenger list and take roll call. Yes, that's right, we have to take a paper list and check off names to figure this shit out. Which leaves me with a few comments for Alaska Air:

  • Fix your lame-ass check-in system. Obviously if you don't know who is on your planes or what's going on with the passenger manifest, something is VERY wrong with your procedures. The fact that this could ever happen in the first place is monumentally stupid and very scary.
  • Keep your customers informed. If you are not boarding at the published time, let us know why. If you are making us sit out on the runway for anything more than 15 minutes, LET US KNOW WHY!! Give us updates. Tell us what's happening. Nothing pisses me off more than being kept in the dark, and Alaska/Horizon Air is the absolute worst in the industry at this. I've lost track of the number of times I've been sitting at the airport when the plane was supposed to be boarding 20 minutes ago, and the gate agent doesn't tell you a damn thing.
  • Compensate wronged customers. This wasn't a problem with the weather or mechanical difficulties or some other unforeseeable event, it's just gross incompetence. I find it amazing that you made no offer whatsoever to compensate the people that are having to pay for your screw-up. This is much more than a mistake, and "sorry for the inconvenience" doesn't quite cut it.

UPDATE: I just barely made it to my flight with 2 minutes to spare (I hate that you have to leave and re-enter security when changing terminals at LAX!). I nearly killed myself doing it, but at least I don't have to spend the night in the terminal building. I think the odds of my luggage making it to Korea are pretty much zero, however.

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Luggage

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2004

Dave!As expected, my luggage missed the flight. This is exactly the type of thing you want to hear after having spent twelve hours packed in an airplane cabin. When this happens with USA-based airlines, you are forced to stand at the carousel waiting for a bag that's never going to come... with Korean Airlines, they phone ahead and leave you a note so that you don't waste your time. Just one of a hundred reasons that I'll always choose an Asian-based airline over a crappy domestic airline: the service is vastly superior in every respect. And here's the real kicker: Korean Air was cheaper than anything Northwest or United had available.

Fortunately, I have a clean shirt and some fresh underwear in my carry-on backpack.

Unfortunately, it's raining in Seoul today and I really want my toothbrush.

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SkypeOut

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2004

Dave!As I blogged a while back, Skype was finally released for Mac. It's a pretty cool service that lets me chat with other Skype-using friends around the world for free. And, while that's great and all, today I discovered the real power of Skype: SkypeOut. This incredible feature allows you to make calls to actual telephones in several countries around the world for just .02 a minute!!

So, while it used to be very easy to rack up hundreds of dollars in International calls if you weren't careful, now calling home is cheaper than sending a postcard! The strange part is that the quality of the connection is better than using the telephone... even with the crappy little microphone that's in my laptop. I placed a half-dozen calls, and every time the connection was crystal clear.

Incredible.

I still think Apple's iChat's video conferencing is a better way to keep in touch (being able to see the person you are talking to adds a lot to the conversation) but, if the person you're contacting doesn't have a computer, SkypeOut is an astoundingly good alternative (not to mention really cheap!).

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Seoulful

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2004

Dave!Usually when I have to travel across the world for work, I make sure to add on some personal time so that I can see the sights or visit friends or go take in something new. On this trip, for instance, it would have been great to add on a quick hop to Hong Kong or Thailand or Cambodia... just a little something extra to make the 20 hours it took to get here worthwhile. Unfortunately, given the short notice for this trip, there was no way to arrange any additional time away from work (and, even if I could, last-minute travel is really expensive).

Since I'm only going to be in Korea for 2 days, I decided to leave my big camera at home and just take my little digital compact model. Unfortunately, I forgot to transfer my 512meg memory card, and all I could find in the bottom of my suitcase was a tiny 16meg card that I save for emergencies. On one hand, it's better than nothing... on the other, I can only fit seven photos on it!

So here are seven shots of my afternoon in Seoul, wandering around with a friend from work and meeting her friends in the city. This first shot is from my hotel room window. The sun is finally coming out, so it might actually be a nice day...

Seoul View

Here's a shot from a taxi window on our way to the Hongik University District. I couldn't resist a sign that says "Donggyodong!"...

Donggyodong

The area around the University is crammed with small clubs. I would have really liked to have gotten a look inside this one...

Rock and Seoul

I had a big breakfast and didn't feel like eating lunch, so that meant we didn't have to find a vegetarian place. Most all traditional Korean restaurants have a burner built into the table where they cook your food right in front of you using tongs, chopsticks, and a pair of scissors to dice up those tricky baby squid tentacles...

Tentacles!

Cartoon characters are a popular way to advertise goods and services here. The cartoons that amuse me most are those of fish, chickens, squids, cows, pigs, and other assorted animals inviting you come eat them because they taste so good...

Eat Us!

Older sections of town are based on original market streets from hundreds of years ago that wander off in all directions. Trying to find someplace in these areas can be a real challenge, even for the natives...

Side Street

As I noted in my blog entry for a previous Korea visit, the motorcycle of choice here is a Korean brand called Daelim. Most models are fairly generic, but they do have some nice-looking variations. This is a "Daelim Daystar" I thought was a fairly nice ride (but surely they could have come up with a more badass name than that!?!)...

Daelim

So that's my first "half-day" in Korea. Tomorrow is mostly work, then I'm flying back home. I think I'm exhausted already.

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FridayQ: Posession

Posted on Friday, September 17th, 2004

Dave!What is your favorite posession made mostly from wood? A small elephant carving I bought in Vancouver at Expo 86. Metal? My motorcycle. Plastic? My motorcycle helmet.

What is your favorite posession colored mostly red? My Gameboy Advance. Blue? My Hard Rock Maui denim jacket. Green? My pet pine tree, Oscar.

What is your favorite posession looking mostly soft? My Harley Davidson weathered T-Shirt. Sharp? My Calvin Cline suit. Fragile? My Canon 16-35mm camera lens.

FQ Net Worth: If your nine prized posessions listed above were stolen, what do you estimate the cost would be to replace them? Ooooh. Some of them would be difficult to replace, but here we go...

  • Elephant Carving: $4.50 (assuming I could find one!)
  • Motorcycle: $9,500.00
  • Helmet: $600.00
  • Gamboy: $90.00
  • Jacket: $120.00
  • Oscar: $50.00 (the tree is priceless, but the pot and soil & such was about $50)
  • Harley T-Shirt: $27.50
  • Suit: $1200.00
  • Lens: $1400.00

I guess that totals roughly $13,000 US, which is a little more materialistic than I thought I would be!

You too can take possession of the FridayQ.

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

   

Zhang!

Posted on Friday, September 17th, 2004

Dave!Last night after a long day of work, we returned to the city and decided to walk around Insadong so I could buy a few souvenirs to take back with me. This famous shopping area of Seoul is kind of a divide between the old and new of the city, and packed with tourists and natives alike. As night began to fall, we wandered towards the "new side," which reminds me a lot of Tokyo when the bright lights and lively signage is ignited...

Seoul Lights

After shopping, we decided to go see a new movie from China called Shi mian mai fu (which translates to House of Flying Daggers). I've been dying to see Hero but that film had come and gone to Asia over a year ago (even though it is just now making it to the States) and House of Flying Daggers looked as though it might be similar in a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon kind of way... especially since they both star the astoundingly talented and beautiful Ziyi Zhang...

House of Flying Daggers

House of Flying Daggers

I didn't have much trouble following the story even though the film was in spoken Chinese with Korean subtitles. Unfortunately, I think I would have enjoyed myself more if I didn't understand the story! While the film is beautifully shot, has some kick-ass fight sequences, and features Ziyi Zhang being as captivating as ever... the tale itself was mostly laughable with boring stretches that send you into a coma.

The plot basically involves a young blind girl (Zhang) who works as a dancer, but is suspected by two policeman-friends to have secret ties to a team of revolutionaries known as the "House of Flying Daggers." Once she is captured, the police guys decide that they should rescue her, and a bizarre love story filled with inept surprises, mind-boggling plot twists, and over-the top drama ensues. At one point I had to resist the urge to stand up and scream "would you people just die already!" because there is only so much drama I can take in one sitting. Even so, I'll probably buy it on DVD so I can relive the scenery and fight sequences.

Oh well. All-in-all it was a pretty good way to spend my last night in Korea. After breakfast, I'm packing up and heading home.

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

   

Seoulong!

Posted on Saturday, September 18th, 2004

Dave!Turns out I had a bit of extra time this morning before catching the airport shuttle, so my friend decided to brave the rain and take me to Bongeunsa, which is a Buddhist temple in the city. Sadly, most of the temple was destroyed during the Korean War (along with many other ancient structures and historic places) but it managed to survive, and is still being restored and expanded to this day. A courtyard featuring a giant stone Buddha is set away from the main temple and is surrounded by trees. This is kind of cool, because Buddha appears to be floating out of a small forest as you make your way there. As with most all statues of the Enlightened One, I am always moved by the look of calm and peacefulness depicted on his face (even with the rain pouring down around him!)...

Buddha Seoul

Across the street from Bongeunsa is the Coex Mall complex, which has an "Apple Experience Center" in the middle...

Apple Experience

Everything about the place (both inside and out) looks exactly like an official Apple Store, so I can only guess that it is sponsored by Apple in some part. Seems kind of silly that they don't just call it "The Apple Store" since that's obviously what it is. Sadly, they did not have a new model iMac to look at, nor the new aluminum wide-screen display (which was funny, because they had a poster advertising it hanging in the window).

   

Dave Approved: Batman

Posted on Sunday, September 19th, 2004

Dave!Flying home from Seoul was made interesting by a layover in Anchorage, which seems like kind of a bizarre destination for Korean Air to fly (Alaska?). The 7-1/2 hour flight was made bearable because I had the newly released Batman: The Animated Series Volume One on DVD. What's amazing is that the 28 episodes in this set are superior to any other rendition of Batman I've seen. Better than the crappy Adam West TV show. Better than many of the comic books. Certainly better than any of the movies (yes, even the Tim Burton ones).

Batman!

The quality of the stories are top-notch, deftly blending action and drama in a way rarely seen in "American" animation. Even better, the writers are respectful to the source material and aren't afraid to build stories across several episodes (Harvey Dent is introduced five episodes before Two Face is born, for instance). Even one-note characters like "Mr. Freeze" in the comics are fully realized in episodes like the brilliant "Heart of Ice," which strikes a tragic note while not being too heavy-handed.

Batman!

As if it weren't enough that the show is well written, it's also beautiful to look at thanks to the obvious influence of the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons from 1941. The colors are suitably dark and moody, enhancing the stories with a kind of "retro-futuristic" look that suits the Batman mythos perfectly. Characters are well-drawn and animated, with featured players lovingly crafted. I dare say that Poison Ivy is actually sexier in the cartoon than Uma Thurman's scary take on the character in the embarrassing Joel Schumacher directed Batman and Robin movie.

Voice talent is perfectly cast, with Kevin Conroy (Rusty Wallace from the excellent Tour of Duty series) providing an appropriately heroic tone for Batman/Bruce Wayne. Guest stars include Michael Ansara (Mr. Freeze), Adrienne Barbeau (Catwoman), Roddy McDowall (Mad Hatter), Ron Perlman (Clayface), and many others... with the obvious highlight provided by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, as The Joker (who knew?).

Because the show was produced using traditional hand-painted cells that are overlaid and photographed with a film camera, there is a lot of dust "pops" and specs running through the picture. It's a shame they couldn't have cleaned up these imperfections in a computer somehow, because it can be distracting at times. Petty bitching aside, this is a purchase no animation aficionado or Batman fan should pass up. I can only hope that a second volume is on the way, along with other Warner Bros. super-hero cartoons like Superman, Batman Beyond and Justice League. Boxed sets are definitely the way to go with animated series.

   

Emmybulism

Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2004

Dave!Security: The big news in travel this week is the impending "update" to airport security, which allows TSA screeners to more thoroughly pat-down people with suspicious bulges in their clothing. To alleviate fears about possible misconduct, the TSA assures passengers that any pat-downs will be performed by screeners of the same sex. That's terrific, because having the "suspicious bulge" in my crotch patted down by another guy while the entire airport watches makes me feel so much safer about flying.

20/20: Lucky us! Bar