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 =ahem= 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").
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...
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...
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...
... 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 to steal 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.
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. 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. What a surprise.
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.
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!
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...
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 fuckers.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 Apple .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."
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:
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.
Wow! I just got an e-mail from a guy who saw my blog 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 one of my all-time favorite bands, and their Music for the Masses tour (which was featured in the concert film 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!
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.
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 the neighboring "big city" 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:
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!
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.
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 are 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?
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...
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!
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...
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...
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...
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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...
Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Which is why I'm not too broken up when the guy they dump me for proceeds to dump them. I am not posting this to make people feel sorry for me... I'm way past that. I am just putting this out there my ex=girlfriend won't expect me to feel sorry for her 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.
Happy Valentine's Day!
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 tyrant... 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!!
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.
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's ass I could set on fire. I hate clowns. Clowns are scary.
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.
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...
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 park 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...
It's pretty tough to match a Japanese maple when the leaves are turning.
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 Friday, February 6th. I don't back it up very often because all the projects on it are written to my Apple 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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
Oh terrific. Now that I'm done playing with my iSight camera, I'm back to being bored again.
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...
Now that's funny!
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!
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:
And this really cool shot of the Eiffel Tower:
Or this beautiful photograph of the Grand Canyon at sunset:
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:
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.
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...
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!!
About the only let-downs for the day are...
All in all, not a bad day for 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...
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?
I am not deaf, so I can only imagine how much it sucks 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 when so much of our world is dependent on sound for communication. 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.
A press release by the National Association of the Deaf says that 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 and saw it had all kinds of inoffensive programs that should totally be captioned. 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!):
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?"
Why is Blogography grey today? Glad you asked! I've decided to join in with the others over at Grey Tuesday 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.
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.
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:
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...
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?
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...
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.
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.
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.
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!
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, and 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.
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 everybody 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...
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: I now maintain a dedicated page to all the places I've visited. You can get to it by clicking here.
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!
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.
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.
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.