Posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2004
I am not a big video game fan... I never really have been because I just don't have the time to play them. But every once in a while I see a game that I want quite badly to play. For almost a year now, that game has been Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Problem is, in order to play it you have to either own a Windows PC or an XboX... both of which are spawns of the great Microsoft Evil Empire. Sure a Macintosh version has been promised for a while now, but it's going to cost $60 and who knows when it's going to be released or if it will even be any good.
So a quandary develops. I would sooner gouge out my liver with a rusty spoon before I ever purchase a Windows PC, so I guess the XboX would be the lesser of two evils.
But it's still Microsoft, a company which I loathe supporting... even with the $115 it costs to get an XboX (which is less than the cost of buying a copy of Windows isn't it?).
Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that I want to run around with a light saber like Samuel L. Jackson and take care of a little business...
Or hang out with Wookies...
Or open up a can of Jedi whoop-ass...
I mean, come on!! How sweet is that?!? This game looks better than the moronic movies George Lucas has been crapping out lately. And, unlike watching the films, if I run across Jar Jar Binks I can whip out my light saber and go all Darth Vader on his lame ass.
Arrrgh! I'm probably going to end up buying an XboX now that the price has dropped so low. How will I ever be able to live with myself?
Posted on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004
Today was an incredibly busy day, which was heartbreaking because my latest toy arrived... a brand new 50mm f/1.4 lens for my Canon Digital Rebel camera... and I had no time to play with it. The camera originally included a 18-55mm lens of fairly low quality, and I had been longing for a sharper, brighter, more color-accurate lens since day one. Well, now I have it, and have spent the past hour playing around with it.
After I placed the order I had a bit of remorse over buying a fixed $400 lens when a cheaper $70 version existed at f/1.8. But this lens is so sweet that all my reservations disappeared in about 5 minutes. It is absolutely brilliant, and even mundane shots look amazing...
The only problem is that the Digital Rebel has a magnification factor of 1.6 for any lens you attach, effectively making my 50mm lens 80mm. So now I need something a bit wider for landscapes and architecture shots. The sweetest solution would be to get Canon's lovely 16-35mm ultra-wide zoom, but it's astoundingly expensive at $1400! I suppose that I could sell a kidney or something, because I really, really want it...
That's my beautiful new 50mm on the left and the object of my desire, the 16-35mm on the right. Is it too much to hope that $1400 falls from the sky before I start traveling again?
Posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2004
Idespesable? I am of the opinion that nothing in life is truly indispensable... it's thinking like that which keeps me from getting disappointed when something of mine gets lost, stolen, damaged, or blown up. I suppose if I were forced to choose, there are two things that I pretty much must have in order to function: My Apple Macintosh PowerBook G4 and Carmex Lip Balm. The PowerBook holds everything I know, and if it were gone I'd probably be reduced to a blithering idiot (well, more of a blithering idiot). I'm not sure what to make about the Carmex... I think I must be addicted.
Unfortunately, the drug rehabilitation assistance program of the company I work for does not cover Carmex addiction. When I'm up to a jar a day, I'll seek professional help.
Posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2004
When I first started Blogography, I didn't really know how to begin. My two previous blogs had failed because it was too difficult to maintain them and I never had good ideas as to what I should talk about. In surfing through other blogs out there, I came across The Friday Five... a great site that offered up new ideas for your blog every Friday. After a few test entries, my very first post to this blog was a Friday Fiver and, every week thereafter, I never missed a single one (no matter where in the world I was!).
But then tragedy struck... Friday Five ideas started coming out only rarely, and then stopped altogether in early May. I kept looking for something to take its place, but never managed to find anything. I fooled around with some fake Friday Five entries for a while, then gave up. Eventually I found out that there were other bloggers who were in the same situation, and started to get e-mails with suggestions and encouragement to post more ideas.
Thus, FridayQ was born...
If bloggers enjoy it and want to participate, I'll try to keep it going... or give it to somebody else if I can't. While comparisons to Friday Five are inevitable, I'm trying to make it a little unique by adding "FQ Challenges" each week... it could be a dare, or a quiz, or a project of some kind... or even something completely bizarre. I expect the site will evolve as I figure out what people like (or don't like) and change things around based on suggestions I get.
Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2004
What is your favorite way to escape from everyday life? A good movie, and it doesn't matter if it's in the theater or on DVD at home. As long as the story is absorbing, it's an easy escape for me. Oddly enough, if asked the same question just five years ago my answer would have been "a good book." Am I getting lazy?
When was the last time you made an escape? Just last night. Where did you go? I've recently returned home from a month of traveling, and pulled my motorcycle back out of storage then rode around town for about a half-hour. Every time I hop on my bike it's an escape.
If you could escape to anywhere on earth right now, where would that be? I'm tempted to say Edinburgh, Scotland because it's my favorite place on earth right now. But I've been there a half-dozen times already, so I would probably pick someplace entirely new... perhaps the Greek Islands.
FQ DARE: Post your passport photo (or your driver's license photo if you don't have a passport). I don't take very good photos to begin with, but any photo that you're going to be stuck with for 4 years (driver's license) or 10 years (passport), is guaranteed to be even worse that usual. Oh well. Given that most of the time people see my passport I am jet-lagged to a near-comatose state, the photo probably looks better than I do to the poor immigration agent...
Now go take the FridayQ yourself... I double-dare you.
Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2004
I was channel surfing and ran across one of my favorite films of all time... The Day The Earth Stood Still, so naturally I was compelled to watch it for the hundredth time. It still sends me into shock when I realize that the movie is over fifty years old, yet is more relevant today than ever. Even though it is in black & white, it is beautifully shot, wonderfully paced, incredibly acted, and has special effects and a music score decades ahead of its time. The film is timeless...
I take a look at this, then look at the crappy state of today's science fiction, and just want to chop somebody up with a light saber. Back then a film meant something. Whereas today, we've got loonies like George Lucas destroying sci-fi with burp and fart jokes, paper-thin characters, and Jar Jar Frickin' Binks.
"I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet. But if you threaten to extend your violence, this earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder."
Posted on Saturday, June 5th, 2004
Have you ever had one of those days that starts horrible and only continues to get worse no matter what you try to do to turn the tide? And now that it is finally over, I sit here replaying the events of the day... trying to figure out where I could have made things better... only to realize that everything that happened was pretty much out of my control, and nothing I could have done differently would change things.
If it weren't for a motorcycle ride and some freshly-made raspberry-lemon sorbet at the end, I'd probably have run away screaming hours ago.
If I can get a decent amount of sleep just this one night, I know tomorrow can be a better day.
Posted on Sunday, June 6th, 2004
The end to a very challenging weekend for me was made a little better with the Series 4 premiere of Coupling on BBC America. While not the most brilliant of episodes, it did wrap up in a clever way. I was worried knowing that Jeff wouldn't be back this time around... but his replacement, Oliver, seems like he may actually benefit the show. Seeing the group through the eyes of a newcomer might make things more interesting? Time will tell I guess.
In other news, I gear up for a fast this week (it's one of those things I try to do every 9 months or so, and I'm running late). While I never look forward to starving myself for days at a time, the benefits of fasting are pretty hard to ignore, so off I go.
I wish the sun weren't going down just yet... I sure would have liked a motorcycle ride in today.
Posted on Monday, June 7th, 2004
A few people e-mailed me about my previous post where I mentioned I would be preparing for a fast this week. I wasn't joking, this is something I actually do, and have been doing roughly every nine months for the past five years. The process forces your body to burn through kinds of nasty stuff that accumulates from the junk we eat (this is especially true if you eat meat), so I guess you could say it's a health thing.
But mainly I do it because I feel so much better after it's all over. I have more energy, don't feel as sluggish, and (most of all) have an entirely new appreciation for the food I eat. Because a couple of people were curious, I will post my fasting regime below. But, before I do, the necessary legal disclaimer:
I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I have no medical training. I certainly do not recommend anybody make radical changes in their diet (even temporary ones, like fasting) without consulting their doctor first. This information is posted for entertainment only, and should not be constituted as medical advice.
That being said, I can say that I have been fine-tuning this process for several years and it works wonders for me. When I first started, I could never stay on a fast for more than a day or two... eventually, through trial and error, I found I had much better success if I "ramped up" and "ramped down" from the fasting period. It works kind of like this:
Lemon Water: The juice of half a lemon mixed with water (warm is best) four times a day... it is important to stay hydrated, so drinking plenty of plain water as often as you can throughout the day is highly recommended. Cayenne Pepper: I add a tincture to my warm lemon water each morning, then take the cayenne in pill-form at "lunch" and "dinner." The cayenne stimulates your body to eliminate toxins that have built up (or so I am told). Fruits: Raw and organic is best (no sense adding toxins back into your system that you are trying to eliminate!). Vegetables: Ditto on the raw and organic. If I am feeling a bit weak coming off the fast, I sometimes add brown rice to my diet on days 11 & 12 in the mornings.
NOTE: When I first started, I was only fasting for 2 days in the middle... I then worked my way up to 3 and then 4 days. I've gone as long as 6 days, but didn't find any additional benefits from it, so eventually settled on 4 days.
And that's it. It's really not as bad as it sounds... sure on day 6 you are pretty hungry, but days 7 and 8 are not so bad as your body adjusts and starts going into ketosis. I can honestly say that the first piece of fruit you eat on day 10 will be the best tasting thing you've ever eaten in your life! I usually start easy (no skins and half-servings) and try to make it a real treat... like mango or something exotic like that.
Oh, one more thing... I found that it is much easier to eliminate certain "bad foods" you are addicted to after a fast. You simply don't eat/drink them anymore when you begin eating again..
So, if I am a bit cranky in my posts this week and the next, it's only because I can't have candy and ice cream! I'll be back to "normal" (well, normal for me anyways) on the 18th.
Posted on Monday, June 7th, 2004
Windows users are forever asking me why it is that I am such a Macintosh fanatic. The answer is: "because Apple makes it so easy to love everything they do." Of course, a lot of the cool stuff that Apple has been doing lately has directly benefitted Windows sufferers, so I guess even non-Mac users are loving Apple now-a-days. A perfect example is their new "Airport Express" wireless device that was just released today...
This is phenomenal. I have been dreaming of something just like ever since Apple ignited the wireless revolution (well ahead of Windows machines, which are only just now getting standard wireless connectivity with that Centrino crap), and now Apple delivers.
Whenever I travel, I try to find hotels that have wireless... but, more often than not, they don't. Now it doesn't matter. I take an Airport Express with me, plug the hotel's ethernet cable into it, and I've got wireless. When I work at a studio that doesn't have wireless, I can have it there too. Going to a meeting room where they don't have wireless, doesn't matter... I'll just bring it with me. This is amazingly cool. No more stringing ethernet cables everywhere just so I can access the internet when I'm away from the office or my apartment.
And, even though I would have been thrilled to have the wireless stuff all by itself at an amazing $129, Apple didn't stop there (they never do). They also included a USB port and an audio port. Now I can stream my entire iTunes library to my stereo and give any USB printer a wireless connection... instantly... whenever I need it.
I'll take two please.
Why am I a Macintosh fanatic? The better question is "why isn't everybody?" That way you don't have to wait a year or two for Microsoft to "create" an inferior copy... you can have the superior original now (well, in mid-July actually). Of course, the unit is said to be "Windows compatible," so I suppose if you are intent on using a crappy OS and still want to have Airport Express, you still can (if you can keep Windows from getting a virus or from crashing long enough to do anything with it in the first place).
Oh look... just one day without candy and ice cream and I'm already a whiny little bitch! Go me.
Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2004
Neil has posted a "twenty-seven questions" meme on his blog that's seems to be working it's way through the internet. In order to make it easy for those of you who are bored by these things to skip it, I've posted it as an extended entry.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2004
I'm back to Seattle for the day. It's kind of amazing how beautiful it is here today... perfectly blue, cloudless skies. Even better, I got to play with my dream lens (the Canon 16mm-35mm ultra-wide zoom) for my camera and now I want one more than ever. This shot is at about 22, so I could go even wider if I wanted...
I tried to post a photo of this totem lady last time, but couldn't get far enough away to fit her all in. With the wide-angle lens, it's a piece of cake...
On the way home, I didn't have to drive, so I goofed around with my new 50mm lens and found that it tears just beautifully when you have the lens set slow while traveling at high speed...
Looks kind of like a Monet doesn't it?
Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2004
For anybody who is curious about the Canon EOS Digital Rebel's 1.6 magnification factor "ruining" any chance for wide angle shots, it really doesn't... if you spend the money to make it happen. I seem to have caused a bit of confusion yesterday when I posted shots with a "wide angle lens" that were not very "wide." The reason for this is that I limit photos on Blogography to a 425 pixel width in order to save bandwidth, which makes any detail in wide shots drop out quite badly. Keeping that in mind, here are a few shots at 16mm, cropped out of the middle of the full-frame...
Pretty sweet, I know. It was very tempting to "accidentally" forget to return the lens! Ordinarily I would attempt to correct some of the barrel distortion in Photoshop, but I didn't do that here because it actually isn't too bad.
The truth is that even with the 1.6 magnification, 16mm still gives you about 25mm, which is still a respectable wide angle. I was pretty happy to finally be able to shoot an image that came closer to capturing my field of vision with this camera... but at the same time dismayed that it's going to cost $1400 to get it (that's more than the camera!). Sure there are cheaper alternatives out there, but if I decide to spend that kind of money, I'd rather pay the extra and be assured of quality.
Decisions, decisions... buy the lens and starve to death or don't by the lens and forever be stuck with a narrow view of the world?
Posted on Thursday, June 10th, 2004
BMW... the ultimate driving machine? That may be true for cars, but I think that it is equally true to state: BMW... the ultimate riding machine! Yargh... it rained yesterday so she's still a bit dirty...
Oh come on... like you didn't see this one coming since the theme was announced last Friday! I am nothing if not predictable.
Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2004
Do you play any musical instruments or have any musical talents? I played sax and clarinet in school band, but that's long-forgotten and I couldn't play a note now if I tried. I am finding a small amount of imitation musical talent playing with Apple's Garage Band software though. Whose musical talent would you most like to have? It's a toss-up between the vocal talent of Chris Martin from Coldplay or the song-writing ability of Martin Gore from Depeche Mode.
What was the last musical event you attended? Not counting the performance of a street musician in New York a few weeks back, I'd have to say it would be when I took my mother to see The Lion King in London's West End for Mother's Day in 2002. I haven't been to a proper concert in ages.
Give it up... to which musician would you most like to have an "all access pass" for the night? Gwen Stefani or any of the ladies from The Corrs (though I'm a bit partial to Sharon)...
FQ DARE: Reveal a musical artist or group that you are embarrassed to like. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic, but the most embarrassing would have to be the A*Teens. It's bubble-gum pop of the absolute most vapid, yet I find myself listening to them entirely too often recently.
FQ CHALLENGE: Mention the above artist or group in a comment you leave on some other blog, then provide the permalink URL where we can find it! (No fair lying about how much you think they suck and no cheating by leaving the comment on somebody else's FridayQ entry!). Extra creativity points for somehow working them into a completely unrelated conversation. How in the heck do you work A*Teens into any conversation? Somehow I managed it over at chaotic intransient prose bursts in this entry: http://blog.kung-foo.tv/archives/001009.php.
Take up the challenge yourself at the FridayQ!
Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2004
The inspiration for today's FridayQ was driven by The Corrs new album release Borrowed Heaven (along with my infatuation with Sharon Corr, who I just learned has the same birthday as I do!). Problem is that even though the album was released a few days ago, it's not yet available on the iTunes Music Store (here's hoping it shows up on the next "New Music Tuesday"). All you can get now is the first single release: Summer Sunshine in about a dozen remixes.
Looking around the Net I also found the their new video which, unfortunately, is just as lame as their others. In this one, they are tearing down an old house. Even more inexplicable is the young couple who run from room to room and make out until one of the Corr siblings come in and demolishes everything? What in the heck does that have to do with "Summer Sunshine" or the lyrics to the song? Why can't The Corrs find a video director that knows how to visualize their material and keep them from looking stupid? Having the band wander around like zombies in the background while Andrea sings is not compelling television (heck, they all play their own music... you should show that in the background).
In more ironic news, The Corrs are going to be performing at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery just over 2 hours away... but I will be in Europe on the day of the concert. To make matters worse, I can't see them in Europe either, because they leave for North America the day I arrive!
Fate, apparently, is not on my side today. I think I should wear my lucky boxers to compensate... what else can go wrong on a day you are wearing lucky underwear?
UPDATE: ARRGH! The boxers didn't help. I just got an e-mail informing me that the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Rally for 2004 is happening just three hours away in Spokane... right on the day I leave for Milwaukee! That's just cruel.
Posted on Saturday, June 12th, 2004
It's been six days since the crash. Initially I was able to survive on the fruits and vegetable of the island, but flora here is scarce. The vegetables ran out five days ago and the fruit shortly thereafter... leaving me with nothing but water for the past two days. I have taken to constructing a hot air balloon out of banana leaves, coconut shells, and dried sea kelp in the hopes of reaching civilization (and food) again.
If all goes well, I should be able to shove off tomorrow. Half my kingdom for a piece of papaya!
I'd best sign off now as I think I am becoming a bit delusional...
Posted on Sunday, June 13th, 2004
I''m on my last day of fasting and am not in a pretty mood, so I think I will take some time to bitch about a few of the little things that are pissing me off just now. Nothing earth shattering mind you, just annoyances that won't go away...
Spam. I have two spam filters and all my e-mail gets filtered through a paid SpamCop account... yet I still see dozens of unsolicited (and unwanted) e-mail in my in-box every day. This is just stupid, and the problem gets worse with each passing moment. Why isn't something being done about it? And I'm not talking about idiotic legislation that doesn't work... I'm talking drastic measures... like sending CIA operatives out to kill spammers and bomb their spam centers! Isn't that the kind of thing they are being paid for?
Reality Television. Seriously, enough is enough... they were entertaining at first (Survivor, The Osbornes, American Chopper) but it's gone too far. Just when you think it can't get any worse (The Swan, The Littlest Groom, and Extreme Makeover) it does (Seriously Dude... I'm Gay, Are You Hot, and Blow Out). Television already sucks pretty bad... but now even decent shows (Wonderfalls!!!) can't find a spot on television because the schedule is full of this crap.
Hard Rock Cafe Seattle. Thanks to my Hard Rock site, people mail me with their Hard Rock questions a few times a week. Their #1 question is the same as my #1 question: Where is the freakin' Hard Rock Cafe for Seattle?? I mean, come on! Cities like Sacramento and Indianapolis have cafes but we don't? It's not even remotely logical... Seattle is home of some of the most famous musicians in history! Quincy Jones, Nirvana, Heart, Jimi Hendrix, Kenny Loggins, Peal Jam, Courtney Love & Hole, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Sir Mix-A-Lot... and many more. The Seattle music scene is still amazingly strong, and if the corporate decision-makers were really smart, they would make sure any cafe they build here would have a stage for live performances to keep locals interested. All I can say is that when they finally do get around to building a cafe, it had better be something pretty amazing.
Low Carb Mania. Ack! Just eat healthier foods in reasonable portions, then get off your ass and exercise! There is no need for this crap. The thing that really pisses me off is that legitamately healthy menu options in restaurants (like vegetarian dishes) don't get offered, yet inane fads like low carb shit does?
DVD Advertising. I purchase DVDs for the movie... not the advertising... so don't force me to watch your stupid ads and forbid me to bypass them by jumping to the main menu. That should be illegal.
Having to go the work on Sunday. Ah, so now we know the real reason I am in a cranky mood today.
Posted on Sunday, June 13th, 2004
A little over three hours ago I posted a "Sunday Rant" because I woke up in a not-so-great mood. Since then I have gotten out of bed, done a half our of yoga and meditation, got cleaned up, went for a ride in the rain (of course it's raining... I washed my motorcycle yesterday!), stopped at the hardware store for some brackets to install some shelving, and now I am at work for a while. I fire up my Macintosh (it's not just a computer, it's a Mac!) so I can get started, and this is waiting for me in my in-box:
"I AM SICK OF YOU BADMOUTHING THE ATKINS DIET IN YOUR JOURNAL!!!! LOW CARB DIETS ARE SAVING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FROM OBEESITY AND IF YOU HAD A WEIGHT PROBLEM YOU'D BE ON YOUR KNEES THANKING GOD FOR DR. ATKINS BECAUSE HIS DIET WORKS!!!!!!! THE REASON RESTAURANTS SELL LOW CARB FOODS IS BECAUSE PEOPLE KNOW IT'S THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!! IT'S BEEN PROVEN BY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE SO SHUTUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Now, normally, I'd hit the "delete" button before I was six words into the e-mail because I just don't care enough to read this crap. But I'm still in a bit of a bad mood so, what the heck. I am going to do something I never do and waste valuable web storage space by actually replying in my blog...
ONE. Do you realize what a complete moron you look like when you don't have the sense to turn off the caps-lock key? Though I must admit I am a bit surprised that you only had one misspelling in your e-mail, so I guess that's something. Most people who write screeching e-mails like this don't bother to even attempt spelling the words properly.
TWO. For the last time... This is my blog and I will say whatever I want in it. If you don't like what you find here, then please stop reading it!
THREE. The reason restaurants sell low-carb foods is not because it's the best way to lose weight, it's because people are buying it. If a new diet of cougar urine became a hot fad for weight loss, McDonalds would put "Cougar Urine McFrosties" on their menu simply because people would buy it... that's how they make their money.
FOUR. Yes, millions of people are losing weight on the Atkins Diet. But at what cost? The diet is so new that there have been no studies done to see what the long-term affects might be. A diet that's loaded with fatty foods like cheese and chemical-altered, steroid-filled foods like meat just can't be good for you in the long run. I love cheese, but being told to eat it instead of an apple so you can lose weight is insane.
FIVE. While it's true I am lucky enough not to have a weight problem, there is no way I would ever be "THANKING GOD FOR DR. ATKINS" if I did. I'd have to give up being a vegetarian since fruits and vegetables are loaded with carbs, and I wouldn't do that (they are the healthiest foods you can eat!). Millions of people may be losing weight on the Atkins Diet, but billions have found out the hard way that diets don't work! Diets are a temporary solution to a long-term problem that requires a lifestyle change, not a bogus "miracle cure."
Now, for anybody who might write me yet another moronic diatribe about being a hypocrite for passing judgment on a solution to a problem I don't have... don't waste the effort because I just don't care to hear it. I am not at all against people trying to lose weight, I just don't want to be faced with a ridiculous "low-carb" lifestyle everywhere I go because it's a popular fad. If there has to be a fad for weight loss, why can't it be one that is healthy and makes sense? Why can't we bring back the one person who had it all figured out...
Where is Susan Powter?
Yes, she's the same hyperactive woman with blonde spikey hair that had those annoying "STOP THE INSANITY" infomercials years ago. Yes, she's the same man-hating freak who holds the entire male gender responsible for everything wrong in the world. Yes, yes, and yes... she's a loon, I know. But if it were her book that were all the rage right now, I wouldn't have to be bombarded with "net carbs" and "Atkins-friendly" crap wherever I go. Instead it would be all "low fat" and "vegetarian-friendly" crap! Now, that's something I wouldn't mind seeing.
Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2004
Hmmm... I can eat again now that my fast has ended, but I don't really feel like it for some reason. That's never happened before.
Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2004
Fifteen years ago my favorite film of all time, Field of Dreams was released. To mark this anniversary, they've released a new edition on DVD that includes a few more extras than the previous release, including never-before seen deleted scenes. Fortunately director Phil Alden Robinson resisted the urge to go insane, "pull a George Lucas," and completely f#@% up a perfect movie... everything is exactly as he left it years ago.
I still cannot figure out what is so appealing to me about this film that nothing else has come along to knock it off the top of my list. I've seen it dozens of times, never get tired of watching it, and will probably watch it dozens of more times in the future. There's just something magic about Field of Dreams.
Posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2004
My blog is so compelling that now I have people flying in from Australia to meet me in person! Well, not really, but Karen (from her Kazza blog) who is Australian and was in the neighborhood did give me a call so we could meet for dinner in nearby Wenatchee. This is not the first time I've met up with a fellow blogger, but I do think she's from the furthest away I am likely to see (unless somebody drops by from Antarctica tomorrow morning for breakfast).
The good news is that she didn't feel compelled to stab me with a fork and run screaming from the restaurant after being forced to listen to me talk for hours on end. If it were me having to listen to me, I don't know that I would have been as forgiving.
Nope... it was a perfectly lovely dinner, and three hours passed in no time at all. Blogs can be pretty swell for things that like.
Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2004
In what can only be described as "a moment of brilliance," Comedy Central has hired British talk-show host Graham Norton to create a version of his program here in America. Of course, given our uptight nature about sexual innuendo and raunchy comedy, I have to wonder just how much latitude Graham will have... I dread the idea of us getting a watered-down show when the original was so damn funny.
It remains to be seen if Graham's rather elevated sense of humor will play well to the average dimwitted American television viewer that prefers their laughs spoon-fed to them, rather than actually having to think about something. I can only hope. But the big question that has to be on everybody's mind... will Graham bring DoggyPhone and Betty to New York with him?
All will be revealed tomorrow night on Comedy Central. Here's hoping that it doesn't suck!
Posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2004
I first thought that this week's Theme Thursday of "bend" would be a piece of cake because two things immediately came to mind: 1) The three trees in front of the Hometown Market that bend at an odd angle for some unknown reason, and 2) The group of lilies in front of the dentist office that are trapped under a bushy tree and have had to bend as they grow to reach the sunlight. I walk by them often, and have noticed them several times, so no problem right?
Wrong. The trees made for a kind of boring shot, and the lilies could not be photographed at an angle so that you could see how they are all bent over! That's when I remembered that the entire city is built on a bend in the Wenatchee River, and decided to give that a try...
Not the best shot... I don't have my polarizer and it's really the wrong time of day to try and shoot it. Oh well.
Here are my rejected shots...
Note that the telephone pole and the street lamp are straight... the trees really do bend like that, and it's a bit more impressive as you approach them. Kind of sad that nobody attempted to correct this problem as they were growing up, because they're nice, healthy trees otherwise. My guess is that the one on the right got blown over or something, and is now taking the other two with it!
The yellow in these flowers is luminous... almost painful to look at... in real life. A pity that there is only so much a photograph can capture.
Posted on Friday, June 18th, 2004
What's your favorite electronic gadget that you own? Probably my iPod. It's amazing how I can carry around my entire music collection (so sweet while traveling). Which gadget do you wish you owned but don't? I want a mobile phone with a camera on it (like the SonyEricsson K700, my dream phone) so I can start a moblog.
What gadget do you wish somebody would invent so you could have one? A wireless power transformer, so my laptop can charge from any room in the apartment without being plugged into an outlet. That would be really cool. Which gadget do you wish had never been invented at all? Whatever it is in mobile phones that allow polyphonic ringtones to exist...
Do you consider yourself an electronic gadget junkie? Absolutely. How many gadgets are around/on you right now? At least a dozen. Looking around, I see 1) Apple iPod, 2) Motorola V60i mobile phone, 3) GameBoy Advance, 4) XboX, 5) DVD recorder, 6) Japanese to English Translator, 7) Canon EOS Digital Rebel Camera, 8) Canon Powershot IXUS 400 Camera, 9) Pocket Hard Drive, 10) Apple Airport Base Station, 11) Apple iSight A/V Chat Camera, 12) Apple Wireless Mouse & Keyboard.
FQ DARE: Reveal a trendy gadget you bought, but are now embarrassed to own/have owned. There are so many. Probably the worst was a $450 Sony Clie PDA... I thought it would change my life, but tossed it in a drawer after having owned it for just a week. It's not only embarrassing to think I was so enamored with it, but also a colossal waste of money and I should have known better. A close second would have to be my first MP3 Player which could only hold a maximum of 6 songs... totally useless, but I bought it anyway.
Posted on Saturday, June 19th, 2004
If there was a single redeeming quality to Microsoft, it was that they manage to churn out some pretty good Macintosh software. Yes, they've had some problems along the way (MS Word for Mac version 6 was one of the single worst software applications ever) but, for the most part, MS Office for the Macintosh was always a step above anything that came out for Windows. Sure MS Office apps are bloated with unneeded features that slow down the programs on older machines, but I look on the bright side that at least I don't have to use Windows in order to run them.
Microsoft recently released Office:mac 2004 which updates their excellent Office:mac X suite. Fool that I am, I assumed it would be an improvement.
I was wrong. The latest version is such a huge step backwards, that I've just uninstalled it.
I'm left wondering if anybody at Microsoft bothered to test this product before release. Furthermore, I am wondering why they bothered to release it at all (the new feature set is hardly compelling or useful). In the two days I attempted to use it, I ran into numerous problems. My favorite is the fact that the installer allows you to skip installation of "Visual Basic for Applications," yet the programs complain constantly if it's not installed... if it's required, why allow us to skip installing it? There's more, of course, but I'm trying my best to forget about Office:mac 2004. I can only hope that they work up some patches so that one day it's actually useable.
UPDATE: Okay, there is something by Microsoft that I think is really cool... their TerraServer site. It's a mapping tool that lets you zoom in on any area of the United States to a ridiculous degree. Some urban areas even zoom in color, and you can get so close that people become visible! Here's a few shots as I descend on the Seattle Center and the Space Needle...
Originally created in 1998 as a showcase for Microsoft SQL Server, TerraServer creates map views based on U.S. Geological Surveys satellite data, and is a great way to kill some time.
Posted on Saturday, June 19th, 2004
I just got an e-mail from my little brother (a far more talented photographer than I am) with the most amazing panorama shot of our home here in the Cashmere Valley. It would seem that while I was slaving away at work, he was out in this beautiful weather on a motorcycle ride. Lucky bastard! You can click on the photo to open up a larger shot in a new window...
He notes: "Shot with Canon S500 in panoramic mode and stitched together in Canon stitch software."
Posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2004
A good chunk of my day was spent listening to my entire catalog of Depeche Mode music while I worked. Naturally, this just left wanting more, but there is no more to be had because the members of the band are "on a break" and "pursuing solo projects." I wonder when they're going to get tired of that nonsense and give everybody what we really want... a new Depeche Mode album! And is it too much to ask that Alan Wilder come back to the group?
As an aside, How do you create a song as perfect as Higher Love off of the Songs of Faith and Devotion album? Is it just luck, or is it a "sell-your-soul-to-the-devil" type of thing?
In other music-related ranting, I noticed that there are a few more storefronts on the iTunes Music Store...
Interesting to note that while you can only purchase a few songs off The Cure's Disintigration album here in the U.S.A., if you live in the U.K. you can purchase the entire thing. That sucks ass! Once again I am put into a situation whereas the only option for me downloading the album is either A) go to a sharing network and steal it, or B) have a friend in the U.K. purchase it for me, then strip out the copy protection so I can play it.
Both options are illegal.
But I don't really give a crap.
I mean, I want to buy it... I want to do the right thing. But for some insanely stupid reason I can't, so screw 'em. I refuse to hunt down the CD and contribute another piece of plastic to the garbage dump because music publishing rights are so f#@%ed up that I can only get a partial album. I buy my music online now, and the music industry can either keep up, or be left behind... there are too many other options out there for me to care.
Or I suppose I could just move to Europe so I can buy the music I want.
Posted on Monday, June 21st, 2004
Today was a sucky day and just when I thought it couldn't suck any worse, it did. If it weren't for a motorcycle ride after work, I'd probably be drunk out of my mind right now. Hmmm... I never thought of that before. They should have motorcycle therapy at the Betty Ford Clinic! The only good news is that Wonderfalls has been given a DVD release date of December 7th.
Posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004
Today was not much better than yesterday. I hope this string of sucky days ends soon. Needless to say, this means I am not in much of a mood to write anything chipper. Perhaps a questionaire? Neil is always finding new and interesting memes for his blog. He should have listed this uncanny talent under question #20. So here goes "Another Day, Another Meme."
Tomorrow is Wednesday already? Bleh. I don't hold out much hope for it not sucking...
Posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2004
While I think the entire concept of "Theme Thursday" is cool... my favorite themes are always those that you don't have to plan. It's spontaneous and perhaps even enlightening. That being said, I have to say that this week is one of my favorites: eye-catcher. Nifty! My plan is to stop typing right now, walk out the front door of my office, then shoot the first three things that catch my eye. Three shots only with no do-overs. Back in a sec...
The minute I stepped out the door, something caught my eye immediately...
I've worked here for over 20 years and have never noticed how the railroad building across the street has one green window. Just one. I don't think I will ever not notice it again, as it is directly facing me every time I leave. The fact that I somehow managed to capture a bird in flight on my first of only three photos just makes this the coolest Theme Thursday ever.
And, for number two... well, duh...
After somehow managing to tear myself away from looking at my motorcycle, my eye caught a vivid patch of green illuminated by the sun against a blue sky...
No, not the best shot ever... but it is a bit of an eye-catcher. I'd like to pop on a polarizing filter, run outside, and shoot this one again, but that would be cheating. Sometimes it's fun to follow rules (especially when you set them for yourself).
Posted on Friday, June 25th, 2004
Lie about where you spent your last vacation. My last vacation was spent scuba diving around the private tropical paradise of Young Island off the coast of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
Tell an untruth about your last romantic encounter. Whilst waiting for my yacht to be fueled in Barbados, I happened upon Elizabeth Hurley at the Monkey Bar in St. James. After a few drinks and some clever conversation, we retired to her luxury suite at the Sandy Lane Hotel for a romantic evening so incredible that the movie rights have been sold to Miramax.
Fib about the last gift you received. As thanks for the most amazing night of passion she has ever known, Elizabeth Hurley gave me a $16,000 Rolex Submariner Gold watch.
FQ DARE: This time tell the truth on all the above! My last real vacation was a trip to New Orleans with my mom last December. My last romantic encounter was with an ex-girlfriend who had just broken up with her current boyfriend and was looking for a rebounder a couple months ago. The last gift I received was a basket of fresh fruit.
You too can be a liar at the FridayQ!
Posted on Saturday, June 26th, 2004
I don't get Showtime, so I kind of missed out on an intriguing program called Dead Like Me. Since the first season was just released on DVD, a friend has been begging me to buy it, telling me that it's her favorite show. So I went ahead and got it, and she's right... it's pretty great. Which begs the question: Does series mastermind Bryan Fuller wake up and say "I am such a friggin' genius!" to himself in the mirror each morning? If I created something this brilliant, I know I would be.
The show centers around a girl named George who dies when a toilet seat from a Russian space station falls from orbit and vaporizes her in an explosion. Rather than continuing into the afterlife, George becomes a "Grim Reaper"... one of the legion of undead who collect the souls from the dead (or about to be dead) and escorts them into whatever awaits them in the great beyond. She's actually part of a team of "Reapers" who are directed by their leader "Rube" (deftly played by Mandy Patinkin).
It sounds odd, I know, but what makes the show really special is the black humor which permeates every scene. Sometimes touching, other times funny, but always interesting and smartly written, It's kind of a look at life from a not-quite-living perspective.
Might be worth checking out at the video store if they have it. The opening credits showing Grim Reapers in black hooded robes with scythes doing everyday normal things like going to work, doing laundry, and playing basketball is reason enough.
Posted on Saturday, June 26th, 2004
ACK! Some heartless bastard just pulled up with a stunning yellow Ducati ST2 across the street! Gutting! My dream machine is so close... I think I might have to steal it. If you don't see a new post from me in a while, it means I'm probably in jail.
Eh. Probably best I don't have one... I would most certainly kill myself on it.
Posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2004
I'm off to the Seattle-side of the state. Since I have to take a bunch of crap with me, I'll be driving my car instead of riding my motorcycle. I hope I remember how.
Before I forget (again)... this is for Jill:
The reason the little photos in my sidebar for "Hard Rock Moment" and "Travel Picto-Gram" change every time you visit is because I wrote a little script to randomly display them. If you "reload" the page a few times, the photo you want to look at should appear again. The image you are referring to is from Glendalough, which is an incredibly beautiful area south of Dublin in Ireland. You're right, one day I should add them to my gallery but, until then, here are a few showing the Celtic crosses you wanted to see...
Normally, I don't care for organized tours because I prefer to explore places on my own. But my hotel (the historic Shelbourne Hotel in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin) gave the "Wild Wicklow Motor Coach Tours" their highest recommendation and, after taking it, I would have to agree. If you are in Dublin and want to see a bit of Ireland's amazing countryside, this is the way to do it.
Posted on Monday, June 28th, 2004
Why is it so hard to find a store that sells Yoo-Hoo anymore? I mean, I just don't get it. It's chocolate milk which doesn't require refrigeration... that's pretty much magic in a freakin' bottle... so you would think that all stores would carry it. And why in the hell isn't everybody drinking it? Yoo-Hoo tastes awesome. Yoo-Hoo is cool. Yoo-Hoo sponsors motorcycle racing, which kicks ass...
Yoo-Hoo is endorsed by The Simpsons. Yes, Bart Simpson drinks Yoo-Hoo...
And if Bart Simpson isn't bad-ass enough for you, Jesse James drinks Yoo-Hoo...
Forget about Jesse James... Jesse James' DOG drinks Yoo-Hoo. Why in the hell can a dog get Yoo-Hoo, but I can't find it? This sucks ass. I need to move to a real city. Yoo-hoo rules the earth!
Posted on Monday, June 28th, 2004
Every once in a while, usually after being forced to use Microsoft Windows for some reason or another, I happily return to the serenity of my Macintosh and ponder... "Does Apple ever get tired of completely ruling over Microsoft when it comes to just how cool a computer can be?"
Apparently, the answer is "no." Apple just released some information on the next version of their OS that's coming out early next year: MacOS X v10.4 Tiger...
Naturally, I want it right now.
All the features are incredible, and will make their already superior operating system even better. I am particularly looking forward to "Spotlight" (global search tool that's a little bit reminiscent of LaunchBar on steroids), iChat AV (now you can video chat with three other people at the same time!), and "Automator" (a automation tool that I've been wanting for a long time).
There is a puzzling new feature, however, called "Dashboard." It's kind of a bunch of tools that you can have pop-up anytime you want without having to open anything new or disrupt your work...
Sure it looks cool, but there's a product that already allows you to do all that and more called "Konfabulator." At first I thought that perhaps Apple had bought out the app and integrated it into the OS... but, after visiting the Konfabulator site and seeing their rather humorous response, I guess that's not it...
I love my Mac. Knowing what's coming up, I love it even more.
UPDATE: There is a really good take on the entire "Dashboard vs. Konfabulator" controversy over at Daring Fireball. It would seem that "under the hood" there is more going on than meets the eye, and I do support the idea that Desk Accessories in the original MacOS are the inspiration for both. In the end, I think there is probably room for both. I like Dashboard for tools (like calculators) which I only need from time to time... and I like Konfabulator for things I want available all the time (like weather forecasts and world clocks and such).
Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2004
Yesterday I ordered my dream camera lens, the Canon 16-35mm Wide-Angle. Tomorrow is payday. That makes today the mid-point between spending money I didn't have, and collecting the money I already spent. What this all really means is that I am poor for the next several weeks. I may end up having to beg for food, but at least I'll be able to beautifully photograph my poverty with a $1400 lens.
Ack. I think I'm going to be sick.
I sure hope I take some amazing photos on my upcoming journeys to justify this obscene expenditure.
Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2004
Taco Bell is one of those places that you should never eat at, but inevitably do because they have pretty decent grub for a fast food joint and, even more importantly, it's cheap.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Today I had to run to Wenatchee so that I could purchase an International Driving Permit for an upcoming trip...
The relevant bit here is not that I look like a terrorist in my photo. The relevant bit is that I had to have the photo taken in the first place. You see, I was planning on spending $10 for the permit... that's how much I was told it cost. But, because I had to have my photo taken, that added another $6.50 to the bill. The $20 I had allocated for the permit and my lunch was now almost gone.
So, I now have just $3.50 for lunch... where do I go?
Yes, Taco Bell. Thanks for keeping up. Anyway, I am now in love with Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. They taste like cheese and sour cream covered bits of heaven on a spork. The problem is that anything tasting this good is bound to be horrendously bad for your health... over half the calories come from fat and each bowl contains 30% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat. Eating enough of these suckers could kill you.
But what a way to go.