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SNL Harry Potter

Posted on Sunday, May 2nd, 2004

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

SNL Harry Potter

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

SNL Harry Potter

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

SNL Harry Potter

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

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

SNL Harry Potter

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

SNL Harry Potter

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

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

Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink  30 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  


Alone in Utah

Posted on Sunday, May 2nd, 2004

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

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

Pac Man

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




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


Utah Movie Night

Posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2004

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

Chick Flicks

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

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

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


BMW of Salt Lake

Posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

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

BMW of Salt Lake

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

BMW 1200gs

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


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

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Hard Rock SLC

Posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

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

Hard Rock Salt Lake

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

Hard Rock Salt Lake

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

Donny & Marie

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


Salt Lake City Memories

Posted on Wednesday, May 5th, 2004

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

Mormon Temple

Mormon Temple

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

Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats

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

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



Posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2004

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

Delta Sky

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

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

Delta Sky

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

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


Theme Thursday: Twisted

Posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2004

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

TT Twisted

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

TT Twisted

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

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NBC no Friend to Viewers

Posted on Friday, May 7th, 2004

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

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

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

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


The Friday Five: Finale

Posted on Friday, May 7th, 2004

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

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



Posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2004

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


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

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

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

DaveQ Quiz

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

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

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

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

DaveQBadge   DaveQ Badge

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

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



Posted on Sunday, May 9th, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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



Posted on Monday, May 10th, 2004

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

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

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

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

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Posted on Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

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

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

Gelato Machine

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

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



Posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

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

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

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

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

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


Theme Thursday: Ring

Posted on Thursday, May 13th, 2004

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

TT: Ring

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

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Back to Blogging

Posted on Friday, May 14th, 2004

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

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

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

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

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


50 Questions

Posted on Saturday, May 15th, 2004

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

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



Posted on Sunday, May 16th, 2004

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


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

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Lost Angeles

Posted on Sunday, May 16th, 2004

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

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

Lost L.A.

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

Lost L.A.

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

Lost L.A.

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

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


Big in L.A.

Posted on Monday, May 17th, 2004

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

iPod Building

Now that's impressive.


L.A. Rocks Hard

Posted on Monday, May 17th, 2004

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

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

HRC Newport Beach

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

HRC Los Angeles

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

HRC Hollywood

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



Posted on Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think I want to go home now.

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



Posted on Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

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

Goodnight Seattle

Goodnight Seattle.

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Lucas Sucks Ass

Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

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

Lucas Sucks Ass


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


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

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

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


Carb Awareness Day

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2004

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

Carb Breakfast

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

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

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

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


Theme Thursday: Frame

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2004

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

TT frame

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

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Posted on Friday, May 21st, 2004

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

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

Occidental Park

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

J&M Cafe

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

Waterfall Garden

Waterfall Garden

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

Elliott Bay Book Co.

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



Posted on Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

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

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



Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

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

It's Gunther!


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

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



Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

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

Dave Gone

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

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


The Joy of Pork

Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pennsylvania Green

Posted on Monday, May 24th, 2004

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

Pennsylvania Green

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

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

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Thunderstorm Warning

Posted on Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

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

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I (heart) NYC

Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

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

NYC McVeggie Deluxe!

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

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

Veggie Back!

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

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


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


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

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


Fleet Week

Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

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

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

NYC Recruits

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

NYC Times Square

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

NYC McDonalds

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

NYC Radio City Music Hall

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

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


Super Too

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

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

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

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

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

Restore Superman II

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

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


Theme Thursday: Strain

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

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

TT Strain

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

TT Strain

Good bye NYC. :-(

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Acting Your Age

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hard Rock Hollywood Florida

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

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



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


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


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


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


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

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



Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

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

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

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



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



Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2004

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

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

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



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

Waffle House

Onward to Tampa!

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



Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2004

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

HRH Tampa

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

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

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

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

HRH Tampa

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

HRH Tampa

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

HRH Tampa

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

HRH Tampa

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


Hard Rock Vault

Posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2004

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

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

Hard Rock Vault!

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

Hard Rock Vault!

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

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

Hard Rock Vault!

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

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


Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2004

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

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

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

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

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

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

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



Posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2004

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

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

Mummy Revenge Ride!

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

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

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


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

Hulk Coaster

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

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

Hard Rock Orlando

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

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



Posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2004

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

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

May 2004

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

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



Posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2004

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

I hope I get to stay there for a while.

Mt. Rainier

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

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


Memorial Day

Posted on Monday, May 31st, 2004

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

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

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



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