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...
Enabler! Just because women have hot bodies brilliant minds, you think that men will do anything you want!!
You're right, of course.
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...
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...
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.
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!
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...
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!
I read in the 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?
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?
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(!). Yikes!
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.
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...
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?
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?
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:
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!
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 façade 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.
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.
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.
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...
It is not a pleasant experience. Though I imagine it could have been worse...
Dental Assistant Lady: Would you like gas?
Dental Assistant Lady: Yes, it will help you relax.
What Dave is thinking: AAAACK! YES, GIVE ME THE f#@%ING GAS!! 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.
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? — 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.
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...
Survey Asshole: I'm with a National organization gathering research...
Dave: WHAT? It's past 9:00 at night... I was IN BED!!
Survey Asshole: 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 Asshole: WE DON'T HAVE ONE!!! We are a national organization gathering research for children with asthma and need...
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?
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?
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.
What kind of monster purposely attacks a civilian target where innocent children are bound to be slaughtered?
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.
Damn I was a cute kid. I wonder how things could have gone so terribly wrong?
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.
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.
Finally, I had a most excellent weekend! Some friends had invited me to see Ron "Tater Salad" White's stand-up comedy show in Seattle and, since he was the funniest part of the 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 two bits (and the encore) being something I had already heard.
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 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 seven Jäger Bombers with beer backs and a Long Island Iced Tea means I was even more awake that usual.
Anyway, after a lovely two-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!
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.
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 "Big City," just 13 miles away. During this short trip, I was almost in FOUR accidents (yes, FOUR!) because people are MORONS.
Moron #1: Coming into the city, 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 #2: When I finally made it into the city proper, 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 three 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 #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 asshole from slamming into me.
Moron #4: When I finally made it out of The Big City, 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!)...
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.
I was checking the logs for my blog and ran across a bunch of odd link referrals I've been getting... 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?
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!
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 both beautiful and deadly.
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 shows 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.
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. Patrick's Day.
I took off work this afternoon to go pick up my motorcycle. 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 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 motorcycle rally in town 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 seven years earlier. Stuff like this messes with your head.
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 assholes! 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.
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.
There are several types of motorcycles: Standards, Cruisers, Sportbikes, Touring, Sport Touring, and Dual Sport. 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...
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!
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.
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 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 is located in South Dakota.
I can only hope that there is special corner in hell reserved for assholes like Judge Steele and 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?
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...
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.
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...
To be honest, I didn't really think I'd make it around to that last one.
I try not to drink soda 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:
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.
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 problem. I move on to the Opera browser 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' shitty software.
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...
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?
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).
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?
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 Apple's 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:
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?
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 and 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.
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 myself, Star Jones, and MacOS X... Ore-Ida Tater Tots turn fifty years old today! How cool is that?
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...
It's really too bad that that came up with such a goofy mascot for such a seriously cool and useful product.
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...
... 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.
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.
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 pieces of shit!
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 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.
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...
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..."
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.
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...
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.
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?
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.
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...
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?
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...
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.
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...
Vacherie, Reykjavik, Sedona, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh.
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.
While the landmark is overrun with dozens (hundreds?) of wild street cats, it was this one in particular that caught my attention...
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.