Posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2005
I must be officially old now, because my idea of a blow-out New Years party seems to be a lot more mellow than it used to be. My nephew, on the other hand, seems to have the right idea...
Posted on Sunday, January 2nd, 2005
Oooh... new spoiler images of the final film in the George Lucas Star Wars prequel trilogy fiasco have been leaked all over the web! Well, not really "spoilers" per se (because we already know how everything turns out) but it would seem that George is trying to find some ways of keeping things interesting for us in Episode III (which would be a pleasant change from the horrendously bad Episodes I and II). Three images jumped out at me...
SPOILER 1) They are finally starting to bridge the gap between trilogies, as we're getting something almost TIE-Fighteresque and almost X-Wingish about the ships now. This space dogfight shot is so delicious it has me wishing that Lucas would drop all pretense about knowing how to write good drama/romance and just stick to what he knows best, because a Star Wars movie made entirely of spaceship fights would kick ass!
SPOILER 2) Badass Christopher Lee (ridiculously named "Count Dooku") gets his ass handed to him by lameass Hayden Christensen (appropriately named "Annie Skywalker"). This is wrong on so many levels. I mean, seriously, why in the heck didn't anybody tell Lucas how implausible this is? "Hey George, you've made an error... I realize that you count on your fans suspending disbelief enough to accept that robots, spaceships, and aliens are real... but NOBODY could possibly believe that Christopher f#@%ing Lee would EVER be served by Hayden Christensen!! It's much more plausible that a puppet with a lightsaber could own Christopher f#@%ing Lee in a fight, so why not have Yoda take care of it?" Not that it would do much good trying to tell him anything... I mean, Lucas thinks high comedy involves burp and fart jokes. But Lucas also seems to think that repeating themes over and over and over again is brilliant writing, so I guess that's why we've got Annie and Dooku battling it out in front of the Emperor in his throne-room now, just like we'll have Annie and Luke battling it out in front of the Emperor in his throne-room come Episode VI. Also, I suppose it's easier to write the same thing over and over and over again rather than having to think of something original... because, heaven forbid we should actually get some fresh new ideas in a Star Wars film (oh look... somebody gets their hand chopped off AGAIN).
I hope that Episode III is at least watchable. I just don't think I can take another movie that's as heinously lame as Episodes I and II. The sci-fi geek in me would probably implode.
Posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2005
Lately I find myself purchasing more DVDs of television shows than actual movies. I'm not sure why, unless it's because I am so desperate to watch good television that I'm having to go back in time to do it. Let's face it, when the most hyped program airing tonight is Who's Your Daddy (a reprehensible show that asks a woman to pick a father she's never known out of a group of potential daddies for big money) what other choice does a television junkie have? Here's what I've been watching lately...
Roswell: The Complete First Season. What is so shocking about this show is not how well written and acted it is, but that it ever managed to survive on television for three full seasons. Something this well done is usually lucky to last three episodes. Roswell is about a trio of young aliens trying to figure out who they really are and where they come from, all while trying to stay hidden from local law enforcement and FBI alien hunters in Roswell, New Mexico (home of the alleged UFO crash of 1947). Sure it sounds tacky, but the electric chemistry between the two leads (brooding alien Max played by Jason Behr, and his cute human love interest Liz played by Shiri Appleby) makes for compelling television. Season One was so good that I was compelled to immediately order up Season Two so I can keep watching. Highly recommended...
Tour of Duty: The Complete Second Season. I loathe most all war movies and war programs of any kind, because I think glamorizing something as tragic as war is pretty lame entertainment. But Tour of Duty was different and went as far as possible to depict the horrors of war within the guidelines of what television would allow. Despite the subject matter, the characters seemed more real... more human... than most any TV drama I've seen, which is why I think I enjoyed it so much. The first season started with new recruits being shipped off to Vietnam, unprepared for what they would find there. The second season continues the story of those characters who managed to survive, but suffers a bit with the addition of love interests for the primary leads of Goldman and Anderson. While the second season is inferior to the first (the move from Hawaii to L.A. for filming didn't help), it still comes highly recommended.
The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season. When I travel, there is always a few Simpsons DVDs in my bag because they are a guaranteed dose of funny when the perils of travel wear me down. Some consider Season Five to be the height of Simpson-y goodness that eventuated a gradual slide in quality with the following seasons, but I couldn't disagree more... I find The Simpsons just as entertaining and relevant today in Season Sixteen than it's ever been. That being said, Season Five is pretty amazing, and my only complaint is that they are not releasing the DVDs fast enough. Highly recommended.
Law & Order, Criminal Intent: The Third Year. Probably my favorite of the Law & Order franchise thanks to the brilliant chemistry between Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, the tales from the files of "New York's worst criminal offenders" are wonderfully brought to life thanks to clever writing and even more clever acting... this is the role D'Onofrio was born the play. While the content is top-notch, I am a little pissed that they've skipped over "The Second Year" and more than a little pissed that they've changed the look of the packaging from "The First Year." I hate, hate it when they change the packaging between seasons. Still, if police drama is your thing, you can't do much better than this... highly recommended.
Next on my list is Tru Calling: a good show that ended up being a great show by the end of the season, which is a real pity since it's been cancelled.
Posted on Tuesday, January 4th, 2005
Forget running the country, making travel reservations is hard work. It's really, really hard work (well, if you don't care how much you'll be spending, it's actually kind of easy work... but to get any type of bargain is so hard). For instance, I've got another trip to Germany coming up. I am entirely flexible as to when I leave and when I return. You would think that such flexibility would mean that I could easily get a decent fare considering that Northwest has about a billion specials running right now.
You would be wrong, of course.
Apparently those wholly incredible wunder-rates only apply if you sacrifice a goat to the internet reservation gods, because I spent close to three hours trying to find them to no avail. I picked the proper dates. I selected the correct day of the week. I even crossed my fingers. Nothing seems to work. I ultimately ended up with a crappy $600 non-upgradeable (the horror!) fare.
Why is it so insanely difficult? I mean, why can't I go to the Northwest airlines site, tell it where I want to go, then have two calendars come up (one for departure, one for return) that will tell me when the sale rates are in effect? It's all computerized, so how difficult could it be?
Something like this would do two things... 1) Customers could easily spot which dates the sale is in effect, which dates are available, and how much the ticket will end up costing them. 2) Airlines could no longer post goofy, unachievable fares, and make their customers waste untold hours trying to find that "magic combination" that gets them the advertised promotional rate.
There are sites that attempt to do something like this, such as Orbitz's excellent "Calendar Matrix," but it's only for domestic flights and really doesn't show where you get the sale rates. Oh well. Whichever airline comes up with something to make reservations for sale fares easier to figure out will be the one that ends up getting my business. Right now they all suck.
Posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
Sienna: The Sun is reporting that Jude Law has proposed to the blisteringly hot Sienna Miller. I've been in love with Sienna since her days on the funky Keen Eddie television show, and am a little crushed here.
Death: Is it wrong to wish Jared dead every time one of his stupid-ass Subway commercials shows up on television? I feel badly about even thinking it, but I just can't help myself. And it's not just that I want him dead, I want him really dead... like chopped up in little pieces and then lit on fire. Or run over with a steamroller and then disintegrated in a vat of acid. Or maybe even blown up with... uhhh... must... stop... thoughts... of... Jared... death... by... Wyle E. Coyote...
Quiz: And speaking of sub sandwiches, why does Quiznos bother to post a menu showing the sandwich contents if they are just going to ignore it? A Quizno's Veggie consists of the following: guacamole, black olives, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mushrooms, mozzarella, cheddar, and Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing. So, you would think that if I ordered a "Veggie with everything that comes on it except the mushrooms," it wouldn't be rocket science to figure that out. But they manage to screw it up every time. Usually they're denying me my guacamole, but last night they tried to add green peppers to it. Maybe I am going to have to start drawing diagrams? Oh well, I'll still take a delicious Quiznos sub over a boring Jared Subway sub any day.
Guano: How fabulous! Blogography has won the most prestigious of all blog awards: The Golden Guano! What makes this recognition particularly special is that it's awarded by somebody I truly admire and respect: me! I have decided that my Guano will have been won for "Blog Most Likely to Touch You In An Inappropriate Place." Feel free to go grab one for yourself at My So-Called Strife (available in black, white, and lovely hot pink) and come up with your own blog category...
Lou: I usually delete comments which are just thinly veiled attempts at advertising other people's blogs (i.e., "I agree totally with what you said. Come visit my blog at www.lame.com!"). The reason I do this is because A) the person obviously didn't bother to read my blog, why should I bother to read theirs, or ask somebody else to do so? And B) it's kind of senseless... how many people are actually going to click on such a link? That being said, "A-Lou's Diary" ended up being an interesting use of a blog as I've seen. It's "written" by a 5-year old Belgian(?) boy who has been blind since birth and is facing complex mental challenges. Apparently it's a big hit in the French-speaking world, and is being translated into English now. I just wish "Lou's Daddy" would find some other way of advertising it.
Goodness: Alias is on tonight! The sweet hotness of Jennifer Gardner has returned to set us free and bring peace to all the world. Oh joyous day!
Posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
Twelve miles down the road from my home in Cashmere is the German-inspired theme town of Leavenworth. It's billed as "The Bavarian Village," but is referred to as "The Barbarian Village" by locals because of the massive influx of tourists that descend like a plague anytime some German-inspired event comes to town. Most of the festivals (like Maifest and Oktoberfest) are predictable. But to ensure a constant stream of tourism dollars, Leavenworth invents things like "Christmas Lighting Festival," "Winterfest," "Icefest," "Artfest," "Winefest," "Accordionfest," "Kinderfest," "Autum Leaf Festival," and "Christkindlmarkt." They'll probably add a dozen new events this year, and I am anxiously anticipating "Wienerschnitzelfest" and "Sauerkrautfest."
But anyway... it's a charming little town that's worth a visit if you happen to be wandering around Central Washington. In many ways, I consider myself lucky to have it nearby, because it's an easy way to kill time with visiting friends and there's a wide assortment of good restaurants and interesting shops available.
Tonight I took a quick fifteen minute drive into Leavenworth for dinner, and see that the town is still all lit up from the Christmas Lighting Festival, but the tourists are eerily absent...
Hmmm... my little pocket camera doesn't do so well at night. Next time I'll have to take my "real" camera with me (because that's the only way to truly capture a bratwurst in all its glory).
Posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
Anybody who knows me even a little bit is aware of my unrequited love for good television. Unlike the movies, TV shows allow you to form an ongoing relationship with characters in a way that cinema can't match. Most television is pretty bad, but a few shows elevate the medium to dizzying entertainment heights. That being understood, how amazing was Alias last night? The series kind of lost its way last year, but creator J.J. Abrams had promised to restore the show to past glory this season, so excitement was mounting. Could he manage such a feat?
Apparently he could, and did so 20 minutes into the first episode.
How is it possible for somebody to be so astoundingly talented? In just twenty minutes Abrams brilliantly turned the dynamic of the show around 180 degrees, returning us to all the things that made Alias so much bloody fun to watch. Every character has been taken back to their roots, including series lead Jennifer Garner's "Sydney Bristow"...
And if that wasn't enough, Mia Maestro has joined the cast as Jen's super-spy sister, so now we've got two hotties kicking ass on the show. Still not enough? Angela Basset has joined up as well.
Un-freakin-believable. Espionage never looked so good.
Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2005
What's something you often must do that's a complete waste of time? Navigate those stupid computerized answering machines... "press one to check the status of an order... press two to place a new order... press three for technical support..." oh how I loathe wasting time trapped in voicemail hell.
Who's a public figure you wish would stop wasting everybody's time? Bill Gates. If this asshat can't get his Microsoft Windows shit working for a simple demo at CES, what chance do his customers have? How much time do people waste every single day because of his bug-ridden piece-of-crap OS? And now he equates free culture advocates (such as myself) as "modern-day sort of communists." Well f#@% you Bill, it's only a matter of time before people wake up and overhaul the inane copyrights that restrict creativity in music, film, and expressive media (and also ridiculous patents held by tech-whores like you that are killing real progress in the industry). The Creative Commies have risen...
What's something you'd like to do more of if you had extra free time? Well, if it were summer time, I'd say riding my motorcycle... but during the winter months I guess I'd have to say reading.
FQ CLOCK: What time is it where you're at right now, and what time zone are you in? It's 1:56am and I am in the Pacific Time Zone of the USA. If I stay up for another hour, I'm hoping I can sleep in until at least 7:30am.
Have a good time at the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2005
I loathe shopping. If it were possible, I'd order everything over the internet and never step foot in an actual store ever again. But we're in the middle of a winter storm warning here, so I volunteered to drive my mom to Weantchee and drop her at some kind of function she needed to be at... with two hours to kill, I decided shopping was better than waiting in the car. Oh well, at least the holiday shopping circus is over with.
Parked: My first stop was Shopko to get a plastic tub for storing my computer cables. Just after parking, I got a call from a friend on my mobile phone. While talking to them, a car pulled up next to me which I ignored. A minute later my car shook so hard that I nearly dropped my phone. Turns out an enormous woman exiting the Cadillac in the spot next to me decided to be an inconsiderate bitch and shove her car door into the side of mine. I got out and screamed "HEY!" but she just laughed and said "blame the store for making their parking spaces too small!" Enraged, I screamed "THAT'S NO EXCUSE TO DING MY CAR YOU IDIOT!!" But she ignored me and walked away. WTF??!? If I had a sledgehammer in my trunk, that bitch's POS would be on the receiving end of some serious damage.
Large: My next stop was JC Penny to buy some undershirts. Unfortunately, everything is too big. Plenty of Large, X-Large, and XX-Large, but no Mediums. When I ask the clerk what's up with that, she says that they don't bother getting much of the smaller sizes in anymore because most people need the larger ones. Well excuse me for not being bigger, but WTF??!?
Mart: I despise Wal-Mart. Well, not Wal-Mart per se, but definitely the people who shop at Wal-Mart. For that reason, I go there only when forced, and would gladly pay more money to avoid the cavalcade of morons that seem to congregate there. But there was something I needed to pick up for my grandmother, so off to Wal-Mart I went. Once I got used to the screaming, tonight wasn't all that bad.
Fashion: Next up I head to the fabric store to get some cloth so I can make some new shirts. Yes, you read that right, I make some of my own shirts. Well, I don't actually make them, I just design them, cut them out, mark them up, then take them to a seamstress or tailor to have them sewn. I fully realize that most people think this is utterly bizarre, but allow me to explain... 1) I need tall sizes, but tall sizes are not easy to find here. 2) I like my shirts fitted and, since I can't buy Donna Karan or other well-tailored shirts here in Wenatchee, my only choice is generic off-the-rack stuff that billows out on me and looks sloppy. 3) Donna Karan and other well-tailored shirts cost at least $100 each, and I can have two or three shirts of equal quality made for that amount. 4) I actually prefer shirts I design to what I can get here in hicksville Wenatchee (I discovered that I could design clothes quite by accident back when I was drawing comic books). In all seriousness, it's so easy that I don't know why more people aren't doing this. My latest is a kind of laced-neck peasant shirt (which seems to be an upcoming fashion trend from what I've seen in my travels). I've modified it a bit to have buttonless wide-cuff sleeves, a banded collar, and a split flop band at the bottom so it looks good when not tucked in...
Calendar: And lastly, I needed a new wall calendar for my office at work. The good news is that everything is half-price at the "World of Calendars" kisok. The bad news is that there's not a lot left. My most appealing choice is "The Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen 2005 Twins Calendar," but I fear that might be grossly misunderstood, so I take a pass. Since I don't want kittens, puppies, dolphins, butterflies, or greased-up firefighters with their shirts off and their hoses out, I settle for Curious George. There's something comforting about that crazy monkey.
All of that only took about an hour and fifteen minutes, so I spent the rest of my time shopping for a new book at Hastings. Here's hoping that don't have to go through all that again for at least another six months.
Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2005
Oh my. Yahoo! Movies has put up some yummy production stills along with the first full five minutes of the forthcoming Jennifer Garner love-fest known as Elektra. Sure the movie clip features a brief snippet of badass action and has a kind of interesting opening but, to be totally honest, I am not holding out much hope for the quality of this film. Though that's not exactly why I want to see it so badly...
At least they made movie Elektra look like the comic book Elektra a little more this time. Not that it matters much... it's not like I am going to be watching the movie thinking "the shape of Elektra's halter top is entirely unlike the comic, thus ruining my enjoyment of the film." Uhhh... no. What will be going through my mind is the exact same thing going through every other guy's mind in the theater. Men are such dogs. What can I say? I'm just doing my best to live up to the label, I guess.
UPDATE: Proving that you just can't get enough of a good thing, Patrick notes that IGN has an exclusive scene from the movie featuring Elektra getting the ultimate "kiss of death" from Typhoid Mary.
Posted on Saturday, January 8th, 2005
Today I was planning on going into work, but an impatient truck driver decided to run through a train crossing and get creamed by a freight train, thus closing the street I use to get to the office. Sure I could have taken an alternative route, but I instead decided to take it as a sign that the work gods didn't want me on the job this morning, and stay home today. I'm not a big believer in signs, but sometimes I choose to selectively interpret things in such a way as to benefit me and call it a sign. I'm a bit psychotic that way.
Anyway, I did manage to get some work done at home, but then turned my attention to my extensive videotape collection, or at least the third of it I managed to drag out of my closet...
I have hundreds of 8mm tapes filled with television shows I collected throughout the 90's. Some good, some bad, but all preserved in sub-standard quality from a crappy cable connection I was cursed with at the time. Such is my love for television.
But here's the deal: Many of these shows are out on DVD now. In fact, a good half are on DVD and I've got them. Dozens of the remainder are due out on DVD this year, and I'll be getting them as well. Dozens still I have no idea why I taped in the first place (The Single Guy?!?). This means that I've got several shelves stacked with useless tapes I'm never going to use. I guess it's time to throw most of them away, then record what few shows remain on DVD until they're finally released for sale...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, January 9th, 2005
In addition to the Political Compass Test (which I last saw at Neil's World and took here), another meme crawling through the blogosphere is the Myers-Briggs "Jung Personality Test" (which I last last saw at Jay's Party). Ordinarily, I pass on these types of things, but I went ahead and took it while waiting for the washing machine to quit.
I have to say, after trying to answer the questions as honestly as possible, the results seem fairly accurate. I took the Short Test, Word Test, and the Word Choice Test, and got the same result every time: Apparently I am an ENTP (Extoverted - iNtuitive - Thinking - Perceiving), which is classified as an "inventor" who shows "enthusiastic interest in everything and always sensitive to possibilities. Non-conformist and innovative. 3.2% of the total population").→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, January 9th, 2005
Thanks to a link over at Kotke where Jason has updated his entry on the subject, I started playing around with the Lomo Effect again (as I did in a previous entry). It's one of those nifty little Photoshop tricks that can take boring images you don't know what to do with and transform them into something interesting...
Oddly enough, I find that it doesn't work very well on good images you tend to like, but it does have a certain kind of magic on the others.
Posted on Monday, January 10th, 2005
Hello and welcome to Blogography's Forgotten Domains Week!! Each day I plan on picking one of the dozens of domain names I own and explaining why I bought it, what I had planned for it, and what eventually happened to cause it being forgotten. So I'm sorry if you find this kind of self-indulgence boring but, what can I say, with the exception of MacWorld (which I am unable to attend) this is a pretty slow week for activities.
DAY ONE: DAVETOPIA.COM
Ah yes, to understand the story behind Davetopia, we must travel back in time to 1984... the year I graduated, and the year a film titled The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension was released. The film itself has many impressionable moments (including my favorite quote line from a movie ever: "No matter where you go, there you are"), but one thing about this bizarre alien invasion flick really stuck with me...
All of the aliens were named John.
John Little John, John Bigboote, John Parker, John Whorfin, John Ya Ya, etc. For some reason I just found it hysterically funny. So much so that I decided to name everybody, everything, and every place "Dave." Eventually I got over it, but I annoyed all my friends, co-workers, and family for weeks. I was so obsessed that I wrote a computer program called "DaveWorld" on my Atari 800 computer. This "killer app" was a random fake news generator for an imaginary place I called "DaveWorld."
The DaveWorld Times would generate stories like this: 15 Davember, 1984. Today in Daveburg, Dave Davidson won the Davenia Cup as his prized Daverian Husky took top honors in all categories. "I'm thrilled!" said Davidson as he headed off to spend his winnings on a vacation in Davapulco." or some such nonsense like that. Then, for no good reason at all, when the internet started exploding ten years later, I was bored and moved DaveWorld to the web.
The web-based "DaveWorld" was constantly evolving, and dozens of people ended up working on improving it at one time or another. Eventually, it was a fairly complex "living world" that had everything from weather patterns and politics to geographical data and road maps...
At one point, DaveWorld was a popular geeky place to hang out... but it ended up eating up so much of my free time that I eventually decided to close it down. But, over the years, I'd occasionally get an email from somebody asking me "whatever happened to DaveWorld" and "are you that DaveWorld guy?" Fast forward to the year 2000, and I had the idea to resurrect DaveWorld again with the latest web technologies and have some fun with it. Problem was, "DaveWorld.com" had already been taken. So I decided to use "Davetopia.com" instead.
Problem was, I never had time to work on Davetopia, so the idea kind of died off. I still keep paying on the domain in case I change my mind or have some extra time on my hands, but it's been pretty much forgotten for a few years now. That's more than a little bit sad to me, because back when the internet was young, it sure was a lot of fun.
Posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005
Yet another meme I've stolen from Neil (and I notice Patrick has found it as well). This one is "Year in Review" which encourages you to copy the first sentence from the first posting of every month in 2004. This meme is potentially more horrifying than the Music Shuffle Meme, heaven only knows what's going through my head...
Not as bad as I thought, actually.
Posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005
It's rather obvious that I am a complete and total Macintosh whore. I worship Steve Jobs, and fall in love with everything that comes out of Apple. If I were very wealthy, I'd buy a dozen of each product they make.
Today was the annual MacWorld show in San Francisco. As usual, Steve Jobs had a killer keynote that gave me entirely new Apple gear to fall in love with.
iPod Shuffle. When I get to work each morning I have a daily routine that involves opening iTunes, selecting a playlist, setting it to shuffle, then hiding iTunes and never looking at it again. I mean, why would I? I've already got a playlist... there's nothing more to do. Now I can do this exact same thing with a $100 skip-free MP3 player that's so tiny and lightweight as to be unnoticeable. For travel, this is a brilliant, brilliant thing...
Yes, yes, I know. There are other companies making similar shit for cheaper, and I've already read some scathing reviews criticizing Apple for not putting a screen on it and, if you feel that way then fine... DON'T BUY IT! But for me, this is exactly the iPod I've been waiting for. Exactly. Now, before a trip, I can just plug the iPod Shuffle directly into my laptop, select a playlist to upload, then forget about it. I've got 12 hours of music with 12 hours of battery life and nothing to think about. Then, for the next trip, I just pick a new playlist and go. It's simple. It's elegant. It's perfect. It's Apple.
Of course I ordered one, even though I don't have the money to be doing that just now. Click to see it at Apple.
Mini Mac. Apple has long been criticized for having expensive products. Personally, I find their stuff grossly underpriced for how amazing it is, but that's just me. Well, now anybody who already has a monitor and keyboard can get a pretty decent Mac for just $500. As if that weren't enough, it's astoundingly small, just 6.5-inches square and 2-inches tall...
The size factor has me pretty excited. I want one in my car that I can hook up to a small display and my stereo system (load up maps, music and even video and you're good to go!). I want one on top of my TiVo to stream video to my TV and music to my stereo. I want one at work to sit on top of my desktop Mac so I can switch to it while I've got an intensive graphic rendering. I... just... want... one. People are going to do remarkable things with this little box. The fact that it comes with iLife for free is just icing on the cake. A pity I don't have $500 so I could buy one to play with. Click to see it at Apple.
Software. After watching Steve's demo for the new features in the next version of OS X Tiger, I'm dying to possess it. After seeing the enhancements to iLife, I placed my order. After watching Steve demo the new features of his Keynote presentation software in iWorks, I put in a requisition for it. Nobody does software like Apple, and that's just one of a billion reasons I thank the computer gods every day that I don't have to use Microsoft Windows.
Wow. Never a better time to be a Mac addict, and it just keeps getting better.
Posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005
And here we are at Day 2 of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. Today we're going to get a bit philosophical...
DAY TWO: DAVEISM.ORG
Once upon a time, there was a remarkable forum where people could go to discuss philosophy and religion in a safe and sane environment that was free from prosecution and hatred. The name of this magical place was "Infinity Dialoguers" and it was good. I had many an enlightening conversation debating the nature of the universe with some amazing people, and such dialogue helped to form the principles on which I live my life even today. But all good things come to an end, and the forum was shut down in May of 2004.
After a few months, I decided that I wanted to collect all the writings and philosophizing I had put up over at Infinity, and form a cult around a new religion which I dubbed "Daveism" (just joking, there was no plans for a cult, but I'm sure that's how some people would have looked at it). One weekend I put the site together and began to post my writings...
Unfortuantely, while Infinity had folded, the founder had not. I eventually received a notice telling me that all materials uploaded to the Infinity Dialoguers forum became property of the collective, and I was forbidden to re-publish my writings without permission (though, fortunately, it works both ways). I guess we should have read the fine print on that membership agreement. Anyway, I could no longer post my previous stuff verbatim, and would have to rewrite everything. Naturally, I didn't have that kind of time, and the domain was taken down.
For the curious among you, Daveism is a simple philosophy for living that was based on the fallacy of fear, hate, and worry. I strongly believe all problems boil down to those three things, and finding a way to minimize them leads to happiness. One day, I really do hope to work on the site again, because I honestly think that I've got something to say there.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2005
Onward to Day 3 of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. For today, shall we play a game?...
DAY THREE: SIMDAVE.COM/DAVESIM.COM
One of the things I loved about the early days of the internet was the challenge in doing something new, different, and cool. There was no CSS, no Flash, not a lot of anything really. About the only funky tool that designers had was animated GIF graphics (my how things have changed). And, since I loved being on the cutting edge of technology, I wanted to exploit animated GIFs in a way that I hadn't seen before. But what would that be?
Turns out is was a mini-game based on the "Sim" series of simulation games (SimCity, SimEarth, SimFarm, SimIsle, etc.). Only this time I decided to simulate myself!
"SimDave" (as I called it) was a very crude "game" that allowed you to change the environment around a simulated "me" to see how I would react. For instance... you could choose to turn on the radio and watch me dance. You could change the channel on the radio to a country-western station and watch attempt to hang myself. You could make me change clothes or run around naked. You could feed me pizza, ice cream, or give me a present. You could put me to bed or have me exercise by doing jumping-jacks. All in all, there were about 40 separate things you could do to poor little SimDave, including electrocuting me with the toaster, flushing me down the toilet, or having me mauled by a bear. It was a tough life (albeit simulated) for me.
Anyway, for a while SimDave was a big draw for "Dave's Web" and I got a lot of nice compliments on it, which encouraged me to keep improving the graphics and giving people more things to do with me. The biggest compliments I got was when people would send me new scenarios for SimDave (including one pornographic simulation which involved whip cream and a hooker). But, alas, it was not to last. When I redesigned my site in 1997, I renamed it "DaveWeb" and purchased a domain and hosting package to go with it. Tragedy struck when I lost the entirety of SimDave... all 80-or-so animated GIFs and hundreds upon hundreds of hours work was gone. I am not a very emotional person, but I was pretty choked up about it. I dare say that, retro as it would be, it would still be a cool thing that people would like.
Zip forward to the year 2000 when Flash animations started really taking over the web. Suddenly the possibilities for user-interaction were greatly expanded. One day while working on an animation project for a client, it suddenly occurred to me that I could resurrect SimDave, this time as a cool Flash-based game! With the intention of doing exactly that, I immediately went out and registered SimDave.com and DaveSim.com (just in case Maxis, makers of SimCity and The Sims, would sue). Unfortunately, all I managed to complete was the "Sim Dave" animation sprites (which are the basis for all the DaveToons I draw for Blogography). Just as with dozens of other ambitious projects I've started over the years, I never had the time to finish it.
This is one of those times that I really, really wish I had more free time. The nostalgia involved in getting a new SimDave game on the internet is something I dream about often.
Posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2005
We're cresting over the half-way point of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. Today? Before Blogography, there was Dave Spot...
DAY FOUR: DAVESPOT.COM
Back in the day (that would be the mid 90's), having a web site was expensive. Having your own domain name was expensive. Bandwidth was expensive. Server space was really expensive. Of course, everybody was using really slow modems, so it wasn't like you could have a lot of stuff on your site anyway. But eventually, as prices fell and bandwidth increased, I began putting a lot of stuff online. Personal stuff. Work stuff. Nonsense stuff I collected. Just about anything really. After a while "Dave's World" was a mishmash of junk, and I decided that I really should have separate sites for my work and personal stuff.
Problem was, "dave.com" was taken and I couldn't think of another domain name for my personal spot on the web. Wait a second... "personal spot?" There we go, DaveSpot.com!!
It started out as you see above... just a simple FAQ, a set of my favorite links, some photos, and a list of sites I maintained. Eventually, a fifth button was added. A magical fifth button titled "journal" where I wrote about the stuff that was going on in my life. Yep, it was a blog before there were blogs! Of course, back then, any "blog" you had was hand-coded, so it didn't get updated very often.
Then Movable Type happened and DaveSpot was radically changed into an actual blog. Problem was, I didn't have the discipline to keep it going, and I killed it off after just three months (and reinstated the old site in its place, sans journal).
Come April 2003, I decided to try blogging again, but the "curse" of two failed blogs at DaveSpot made me want to start fresh (besides, "DaveSpot" can easily be translated as "Dave's Pot" which isn't exactly what I had in mind). Thus Blogography was born and DaveSpot was no more. Of all my "forgotten domains" this is one that I probably won't renew. Surely somebody else out there can put it to better use.
Posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2005
What happened the last time you needed help? I forgot my wallet at home when I went to the gas station this past Sunday. Fortunately I saw somebody I knew that could help me out with a $20 instant loan.
What happened the last time you helped somebody else? A friend hurt himself while moving into a new apartment and was laid up, so I helped him put his motorcycle into storage for the winter.
What happened the last time you helped yourself? I cancelled my subscription to Showtime which helped me out on two levels... 1) It helps me financially by saving me $12 each month, and 2) It helps me psychologically by dealing with rage I feel over Showtime ass-clowns cancelling the brilliant Dead Like Me.
FQ ASSIST: Do something to help somebody today! Got a few extra dollars? Donate it to the Tsunami Relief Efforts (like the Red Cross at Amazon) or some other worthy cause. Don't have a few dollars to spare? Take a minute and use a FREE "click-to-donate" site (like The Hunger Site) or other worthy activity. How did you help today? I ran the gamut of free clicks at The Hunger Site, The Breast Cancer Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site, and the Animal Rescue Site... then donated a bit of cash at Doctors Without Borders. If my apartment allowed pets and I didn't have to travel all the time, I'd go to the local animal shelter and adopt a cat or a puppy.
Help is on the way at the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, January 14th, 2005
We're sliding toward home on Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. This time we're going to work...
DAY FIVE: CRITICALDUCK.COM
I was an early fan of digital video back in the days when "digital video" meant you needed a $3000 digitizing card, a high-end Mac, and a "massive" hard disk array with a pricey high-speed SCSI interface. Even then, the results were unpredictable and problematic. Skipped video frames and audio-sync issues were the norm, not the exception. Of course, now even a $500 Mac Mini can easily edit video with no additional hardware, and then burn a DVD of the project once you're done (assuming you have a SuperDrive).
Anyway, sometime between then and now, when the DV format was just starting to make things half-way affordable, a friend and I decided to invest in an expensive DV camera and start a video production company. He would shoot the footage, and I would edit it and design the visuals. In order to get some practice, I shot some tape of a rubber duck to edit with. That footage set the tone for the company, and gave us a name...
Off-and-on for two years, we made instructional videos, promotional videos, educational videos, and even a music video! But it never ended up being enough income to quit our day-jobs, and eventually we wanted out. So we sold the camera, he took the software, I took the name, and it was over.
I still love digital video, and every once in a while I find myself wanting to get back into the game. Maybe one day Critical Duck will ride again?
Posted on Friday, January 14th, 2005
Good sci-fi is hard to find on television. In fact, since Farscape was cancelled, it's darn-near impossible. Even Farscape (which I enjoyed immensely) paled when held to the gold standard of sci-fi TV: Star Trek (that would be the original series, not any of the crappy imitators that followed). It's for this reason that I was pleasantly surprised when I gave the new Battlestar Galactica a chance and it paid off. This is especially bizarre when you consider how cheesy and badly-acted the original version was.
Airing on the Sci-Fi Channel, Galactica runs opposite the latest Star Trek franchise: Enterprise. I had TiVo record them both in order to directly compare the two, and it's not pretty. Where Enterprise is slow, plodding, and pointless... Galactica is edgy, quick, and darkly satisfying. Where Enterprise has characters that are shallow, tired, and predictable... Galactica has characters that are multifaceted, fresh, and conflicted. Where Enterprise has beautiful special effects that are pretty to look at, but boring and historically sparse (remember Odo the non-shape-changing shape-changer?)... Galactica has cutting-edge special effects that are raw, exciting, and everywhere (the new Cylons are no longer laughable men-in-suits, but CGI badasses). Enterprise is the prequel to a documented future... Galactica is forging ahead into a completely unknown future.
How sad. The once brilliant Star Trek has fallen to new levels of lameness with Enterprise. The once embarrassing Battlestar Galactica has risen to jaw-dropping dramatic heights. Oh well, at least there is finally some decent sci-fi on television again.
Posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2005
We've just arrived at the penultimate episode of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. This time we're going to work...
DAY SIX: ARTIFICIALDUCK.COM
Yesterday I told the riveting tale of my venture into the digital video business but, before there was Critical Duck Films, there was Artificial Duck Company. And before there was Artificial Duck, there was Wind-Up Duck Screen Printing. And before there was Wind-Up Duck, there was Big Duck Studio... as you might have guessed, I've got kind of a "duck" thing going on here. I honestly don't know why, but it probably has to do with the fact that I find ducks to be funny. Make of it what you will.
Anyway, if you've read my FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) you might know that I am a graphic designer by trade. But my career path to becoming a graphic designer was not without complexity. So here, for your reading pleasure, are the duck-related bits from my wild work history.
THE EARLY YEARS: I've always loved to draw and paint, but I never thought it could be an actual job. So when "Personal Computers" were introduced to my school, I knew where my future lay. By the time I was a high-school senior I had already started accepting programming work for local businesses, orchardists, farmers, and even computerized the attendance records for my own high school. Programming a computer was something I was good at, seemed to pay okay, and was in demand, so I naturally thought I had found my vocation. Big Duck Studio was born...
For better part of my senior year I was a student by day and Big Duck programmer-for-hire at night (though most of my friends called it "Big Dick Studio" - ha ha). I was learning a lot, having fun, and making a little spending money. It was all good. At least it was good until one Saturday night I suddenly realized that I was hunched over a computer debugging code while all my friends were out partying. At that moment I decided I did not want to spend the rest of my life glued to a computer monitor, and Big Duck was dead.
GETTING ARTISTIC: After graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do (though getting work so I could afford to go to college the next year was a high priority). I found a part-time job as a janitor but always in the back of my head was the desire to have my own business again (though something not involving computers). Then one day a friend asked me to design a T-Shirt for his family reunion, and everything just clicked. I would partner with a screen printer and do T-Shirt designs in my spare time! For reasons I can't recall, the name I chose for my new endeavor was Wind-Up Duck Screen Printing...
I think the name came from an old toy frog I found that would hop around if you wind him up (by turning a key that stuck out his butt). Since I found ducks to be hysterical, the wind-up frog became a wind-up duck. It was a good idea, but the guy I was working with kept raising his prices until pretty soon I couldn't make any money at it. I had thought about shopping around for another printer, but I was getting ready for college and decided I'd just quit the business altogether.
SEMI-RECENT HISTORY: After wasting a few years of my life in a drunken stupor while attending college, I still had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. Eventually I accidentally stumbled into graphic design work (which neatly combined my love of computers and art), but it was still part-time and I needed a way to make some extra money. Screen printing, which used to involve spending hours hand-cutting stencils, had become high-tech and much faster, so I thought perhaps I'd resurrect "Wind-Up Duck" and get into the biz again. Only problem was that the name sometimes confused people (they thought "wind" was like "gusting wind"), so it was time for an entirely new duck. Artificial Duck Company had a nice ring to it...
But eventually my job went from part-time to full-time, and there was never any space in my schedule to do any work for Artificial Duck. I bought the domain name with the intention of hiring partners and putting up a web site to get business, but it never happened. So, while I do some work under the "Artificial Duck" banner from time to time, the domain itself has been all but forgotten (why advertise something you never have time to do?).
Even so, I love my "Artificial Duck" logo, and it makes for a popular T-Shirt design that I can hand out to people.
Posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2005
This time, it's not my fault... Neil says I have to do this "Meme à Trois"...
Posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2005
Ooooh! A movie meme! I wonder why nobody thought of this one before? As seen on Kazza's Blog. The Rules: Pick ten movies you enjoy. Pick a line of dialogue that you like. As people guess the films, strike out the entry. NO CHEATING!
UPDATE: Added another quote from each film here...
UPDATE: I went ahead and finished this up by answering #9 myself. It's kind of a shame nobody got this one, because that means none of you has seen the movie Creator. This thoughtful, charming, intelligent, romantic, funny film is one of my all-time favorites. The fact that it stars the brilliant Peter O'Toole is just icing on the cake. Run right out and rent it immediately.
Hmmm... looking these over, I wonder if even I would be able to figure them out!
Posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2005
Finally got around to seeing Wes Anderson's latest masterpiece... The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou starring Bill Murray and numerous other talented people. This film received a disappointing 50% over at Rotten Tomatoes which leaves me flabbergasted, because I think it is easily one of the best films released in 2004. Not only is Murray's acerbic wit in full force, but all of Anderson's usual comedic touches are sprinkled throughout the film like candy, waiting to be discovered, unwrapped, and savored.
Aquatic tells the story of once-famous (but now washed up) oceanographer-filmmaker Steve Zissou who is hoping to hunt down a kill the mysterious "leopard shark" that ate his best friend. He also plans on documenting the adventure to create a new film which he hopes will bring him back to the limelight. Along the way he has to deal with a stranger who may or may not be his son (Owen Wilson), a failing marriage (to Angelica Houston), overwhelming competition (Jeff Goldblum), and a myriad of money trials to finance the operation.
And all of it is hysterically funny, of course.
What's truly magical about the film is the detours into occasional fantasy with stop-motion animated sea life (Sugar Crabs! Electric Jellyfish! Rhinestone Bluefins!) and a cut-away set that's entirely brilliant...
I understand that the comedy in this film is miles away from more pedestrian fare like you'll find in the latest Adam Sandler flick, but if you like a little intelligence to your funny, I can't recommend The Life Aquatic highly enough.
Posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2005
And here we've come to the final episode of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. Last up? A domain that may actually get used one day...
DAY SEVEN: HARDROCKRUN.COM
I've long had a site devoted to my obsession with the Hard Rock Cafe called DaveCafe. But that site is pretty much just another blog, and I've always wanted to do something more interactive with my fellow Hard Rock fanatics. One thing we all have in common is our desire to maximize the number of properties we visit in a given trip. But it's a bit trickier than you might think to calculate driving times, hotels, and what-not... and it would be nice if there was a resource to assist with such planning.
At least that's what fellow Hard Rocker Perry and I thought as we were planning a run through England, Wales, Germany, and The Netherlands...
So we set to work creating such a site. A place where people could plan Hard Rock visits and share their experiences, with the hope of having it ready before the Europe trip took place.
Unfortunately, in order to take two weeks away from work for the run, I pretty much had to work non-stop for two months in order to get caught up enough to leave. There just wasn't time to put the required hours in to get the graphics completed, and Hard Rock Run never quite came together.
Still, of all the forgotten domains I've blathered on about this week, this is the one that I would most like to have happen one day. If only I could find the time to work on it.
Posted on Monday, January 17th, 2005
This afternoon I noticed the pause button on my TiVo remote is the exact same color as Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. There's something profound with this connection between television and cheese, but it's escaping me just this moment. Probably has something to do with the abundance of incredibly stupid reality programs crowding up the channel spectrum (though it's really unfair to cheese to make such a comparison).
Let's face it... as good as Betty White is, she just can't single-handedly combat such an overwhelming load of crap TV with only a few appearances on Complete Savages and Boston Legal (though last night's 60 second appearance there was fantastic).
Posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2005
Well that was fun. My usual five-minute commute to work ended up taking just over an hour. First I couldn't get TO my car. Then I couldn't get IN my car. Then I couldn't get out of my parking spot. Then I couldn't get out of the driveway. All thanks to a lovely ice storm that blew through last night.
Things actually started yesterday around 4:00. That's when I heard the gentle "plink plink plink" of frozen moisture falling onto the skylight at work. By the time I left at 5:00, little beads about 2mm in diameter were washing across the landscape like sand, making a "swoosh swoosh" sound when walking through it. By the time I went to bed at 11:00, the beads turned into drops that were too big too freeze on the way down, so we had heavy rain in freezing weather.
The result was not pretty. Here's my car door handle frozen solid, with the ice having flowed into the mechanism. I eventually managed to free it by squirting hot water into the seams...
Of course, getting the handle to work is only half the battle. Here's the door seam after I've been chipping into it for five minutes with an ice pick. I couldn't use hot water, because it would probably have cracked my windows...
Here are pieces I finally managed to chip away from the trunk with a screwdriver (so I could get to my ice scraper). The only reason I was able to do this is because Saturn cars are not made of metal, they are made out of some kind of flexible polymer. I kept flexing and denting in the panels and eventually the ice would crack enough to be removed. A pity that kind of thing didn't work on the windows, where the ice had bonded so hard that no amount of scraping would remove it...
Once I got to my ice scraper in the trunk and used it to open my door, I was able to turn on the defroster. Twenty minutes later the ice was easily removed. Well, not easily, you're still having to try and balance on a sheet of ice while you scrape, but easier than a screwdriver. Of course, then the challenge is to actually drive on an incredibly slick surface. It was not easy, and it took at least ten minutes to successfully get out of the driveway. Fortunately Cashmere has a top-notch snow-removal crew, so the roads were okay, but you still had to hit the brakes five car-lengths before the stop or else you'd end up in the middle of an intersection.
I really, really hope I don't have to go through this tomorrow.
Posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2005
I am to the point right now where I quite honestly don't know what to make of American society. We've become a nation of hypocrisy that defies all logic to understand, but so long as it's labeled "conservatism" everybody seems to be onboard with it. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but it's become so annoying that what I really want to do is beat the crap out of somebody.
(Then submit a video of said beating to America's Funniest Home Videos so I can win $10,000).
Today's rant brought to you by your friends at the FCC, this country's first and last defense of common decency!
The Federal Communications Commission was founded in 1934 to regulate communications via radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Unfortunately, the same prude bitches that formed the committee in 1934 are apparently still in charge. So let's see... assuming the average age of its membership back in the beginning was 35, that would make them 106-years-old today.
And there you have it! That explains everything! The most popular show on television is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation which regularly features graphic depictions of gore and violence. The most popular new show on television is Desperate Housewives which regularly features graphic depictions of sex, sexual innuendo, and sex. Yet the FCC has no problem at all with such programming. What they do have a problem with is a nipple on a breast flashed on the screen for 5 seconds (FINED!). They don't have a problem with Oprah discussing oral anal sex, but they do have a problem with Howard Stern discussing the same subject (FINED!). It's random bullshit that even a genius couldn't figure out (I should know... I am a genius, and I sure can't).
To me, this is compelling evidence that the FCC is indeed staffed by 106-year-old geriatric, senile, ass-clowns just as I suspected! They don't know what they hell they're doing because they've lost all cognitive ability. Their brains simply don't work anymore. The lights are on, but nobody is home. And because of this, television networks live in fear.
Case in point: Showing a cartoon with a naked ass in 1965: ACCEPTABLE. Showing a cartoon with a naked ass in 2003: ACCEPTABLE. Showing a cartoon with a naked ass in 2005: WHO THE f#@% KNOWS! And that's why FOX television decided to blur out the cartoon ass on a cartoon character in a cartoon show (the brilliant Family Guy) in a recent cartoon airing. A CARTOON! They have no idea if such a thing will get them fined, so they're having to play it safe so that an organization who controls what we are allowed to watch won't punish them.
And that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. f#@% the FCC for being outrageously inconsistent and generally STUPID. f#@% FOX Television for being such pu$$ies. f#@% EVERYBODY ELSE for allowing stupid shit like this to happen in the first place. What's next? The internet is communication and under FCC jurisdiction... so will the dumbasses decide that web content needs to be regulated? Well, better safe than sorry! From now on, all nude cartoon representations of myself will be appropriately censored...
And, as another public service for conservative America, here's a clue: IF WHAT'S ON TELEVISION OFFENDS YOUR HYPOCRITICAL ASS, THEN GET RID OF YOUR f#@%ING TELEVISION! OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE NOT SMART ENOUGH TO TURN SOMETHING OFF WHEN IT BOTHERS YOU, SO DO US ALL A FAVOR AND JUST DON'T WATCH IT!! That way, we can abolish the FCC, and let advertising dollars and television ratings dictate what stupid crap is aired on TV... exactly as the founding fathers of this country intended.
Posted on Wednesday, January 19th, 2005
It's foggy out today.
Posted on Wednesday, January 19th, 2005
I love television, but my work and travel schedule makes it very difficult to keep up with the programs I like. Fortunately, I have a magical TiVo box that sits on top of my TV and handles the recording of my shows whether I am home or not... it has all the great features of a VCR, but without all the programming hassles and videotape. I tell it that I want it to record "Veronica Mars" and it will faithfully do so, even if the show changes times, changes days, or even changes networks. It will also skip shows that it knows to be reruns if I ask it to. It's a wonderful device in many ways, and has made my being a TV junkie so much easier to manage.
Yes, I love my TiVo... but I can't wait to get rid of it.
And here's why: with the many advantages TiVo has over a VCR, it has some serious drawbacks. With a VCR, I can use the tape with any other VCR or even loan it to a friend so they can watch it. Well, TiVo finally has the ability to offload video to a computer with their TiVoToGo service, but it sucks ass:
Yes, you read that right, TiVo is offering a service in 2005 that has more limitations than a VHS tape from nearly thirty f#@%amp;ing years ago!
So, since I can't use TiVoToGo (after having waited five years for it), that means in order to get a television show on my laptop, here is what I have to do: 1) Record it on TiVo. 2) Record it from TiVo to my DVD recorder. 3) Burn from the recorder to a DVD. 4) Copy the resulting files from the DVD to my computer. 5) Watch the shitty quality, second-generation video. What a bullshit waste of time that is. Granted, much of this is not TiVo's fault... they are bowing down to the television networks in fear that people will start giving away programming that they should be paying for, but that doesn't make it suck any less.
Of course, that is not really how I get video on my laptop. Here's what I do: 1) Start up my BitTorrent client and download a show in pristine HDTV resolution (when available). 2) Watch the beautiful result whenever I want.
And there you have it. I am still glad to have TiVo for managing the loads of TV shows I like to watch... but, unless I am sitting in front of the television, it's practically useless for watching the content at my convenience. Since this is apparently the best they can do (and new alternatives for transporting video are appearing all the time) I say with no amount of sadness that TiVo's days are numbered. If I wanted to mess with this kind of antiquated, backwards thinking... I'd still be using VHS videotape.
UPDATE: A comment directed to this entry over at Thomas Hawk had said: "Does Dave travel with his VCR? I have never in my life been next to someone on a plane with a VCR and TV on his lap. Ive actually never seen anyone leave their house carrying a VCR." To which I respond:
No. I don't travel with my VCR (I don't even own one anymore), but that is exactly my point: I can't travel with TiVoToGo either (as I am a Mac user with a dual-tuner DirecTV TiVo). So, on top of being no better than a videotape in functionality for me, it also has several ADDITIONAL disadvantages over 30-year-old VHS.
And there's the problem... I am in no way opposed to purchasing yet another new dual-tuner, DirecTV, TiVo Series 2 player (assuming they ever release one), but given that there's no software for the Mac yet, and that they could start tagging all my favorite shows as "non-transferrable" at any point in the future, what's the use? Let's say I buy a TiVoToGo capable player and Mac software is released, but then ABC, NBC, and CBS refuse to grant TiVo transfer rights for any of their programs... what happens then? 80% of the shows I'd want to transfer would no longer be available, and I'd have spent the money for nothing.
This is progress? All it's done is forced people to come up with new ways of circumnavigating a system of roadblocks to getting the convenience we should be able to have in the first place.
Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2005
What's a new food or drink you've tried? Just two days ago I was at the mini market and saw new "Doritos Black Pepper Jack" chips (with black ground pepper and pepper-jack cheese) and new "Mountain Dew Pitch Black" (Mountain Dew Cola with a splash of black grape juice), and thought I'd give them a try. How'd it go? The Doritos were hot/spicy and pretty good! The Mountain Dew Black was terrible, and tasted like toxic waste.
What's a new television show or movie you've seen or book you've read? I gave the new show Point Pleasant a try last night, and started reading a new book Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell last week. How'd it go? Well, Point Pleasant is supposed to be a soap opera with dark elements, by telling the story of what happens when the devil's daughter washes up on the rich and pretty shores of a New Jersey city. Unfortunately, it's pretty boring... not dark enough to be engaging and not soap-opera enough to be entertaining. I fared better with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which is a novel about how England lost it's magical arts by the 1800's, and engages the assistance of the mysterious Mr. Norrell (who seems to actually have magical talents) to help fight the Napoleonic wars. It's a bit slow, but masterfully written and hard to put down.
What's a new place you've been to or web site you've visited? The last new place would probably be the new "Fabulous Footwear" shop in Wenatchee (brand name shoes at discount prices!). And a site that I've recently discovered is Map24, which is a nifty Java-based map and route planner with really cool features. How'd it go? Fabulous Footwear didn't have anything I wanted. Map24 is amazing, and it will be hard to go back to MapQuest after having played with it.
FQ NEW: Do the new! What's something new you've been wanting to try but haven't? Play Halo2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas What's stopping you? I don't have time for Halo2 and don't own a PlayStation2 to play Andreas.
Try something new with the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2005
Who knew that my disappointment in TiVo's new TiVoToGo service would get such attention? I keep seeing my comments popping up in other sites, and can only guess it's because I had the audacity to say that TiVoToGo is a flawed technology that's no better than VHS VCRs in many ways. Either that, or it's because I drew a cartoon.
Anyway, the latest is over at Big Damn Heroes (which is a pretty cool site now that I've been reading through it!) where they take issue with my reasons TiVoToGo sucks ass. I though it only fair that I post my reply here in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2005
Ooh! Gizmodo, a site I've worshipped for quite a while now, has picked up my TiVoToGo-bashing cartoon from yesterday (thanks to Thomas Hawk adding it to his TiVoToGo review). That's kind of funny, but a little sad too. I actually really like TiVo (as I have said many times here), and being associated only negatively with the company is kind of strange. I don't envy TiVo's dilemma in trying to please television networks with their plans for transferring content off the TiVo box, but I maintain that if Sony, JVC, and other VCR-making companies had buckled under the same pressure thirty years ago, we'd never have had the VCR... so it's kind of their own fault that TiVoToGo is a disappointment because they caved (which is a pity, because their customers are the people purchasing their DVRs... not the networks!).
I still don't understand why, if they felt they just had to initiate DRM, they couldn't have done so in a manner that didn't make it impossible for many people to use the resulting video file! Why not just print the customer's account number across the top of the screen every once in a while (or encode it into the interlacing frames). This would allow them to track down people illegally distributing video, but also allow me to play the file wherever I want. But oh no, instead let's go for some goofy transfer shenanigans? Making your customers jump through hoops like that is just not a smart thing to do, because they will abandon you for a solution that's easier and better suits their needs. I know I will.
Hmmm... now that I've thought about it, it's also disturbing that people might think I am a bat-wielding maniac out to kill the little TiVo-man. Regular readers of Blogography realize that my baseball bat is a running joke here, but I'm not sure that's understood by total strangers.
Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2005
It's disheartening to know that last week's comparison I made between the new Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: Enterprise was not a fluke. Galactica is so much better, that I find myself secretly hoping they'll finally just put Enterprise out if its misery and cancel the thing.
Enterprise... was action-free this week. It is not inaccurate to say that absolutely nothing happened in the episode. Just a lot of lame shots of Hoshi (fully clothed) and Trip in a decontamination chamber slowly dying while non-physical aliens blab on and on and on inside the possessed bodies of two regular characters so boring that I can't even remember their names. If there was a secondary plot anywhere, I sure as heck couldn't find it.
Galactica... on the other hand, had a fleet-wide water crisis, Tigh's continuing descent into alcoholism, political manouevering, escalating tension between Adama and his son, a prison riot, a daring rescue attempt, a Mike-Tyson ear-biting moment, a death, devious and deranged Baltar getting his hands on a nuclear weapon, a swift end to the blooming Boomer/Tyrol romance, the president revealing her cancer to her military advisor, a guest shot by original series star Richard Hatch, and probably a dozen other events I'm too dazed to remember just now. The show is packed so full of stuff going on that you almost need to watch each episode twice.
The fact that Galactica would spend seven minutes on a throw-away plot that Enterprise deems worthy of an entire boring hour speaks volumes as to the philosophy between the two shows. I can't help but wonder what BSG mastermind Ron Moore would do given the chance to overhaul ST:E.
Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2005
Wait a second... somebody just told me that TiVo DVRs run on Linux? Yet TiVo isn't releasing a version of their TiVo Desktop software for Linux users? (at least that's what I get from reading their FAQ).
Yikes. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. That's a nice "f#@% you" to the people who made your product possible!
Anyway, speak of the devil, I finally watched President Bush's inauguration speech off my TiVo and, I must say, I'm a bit disappointed. I want specific details, not vague rhetoric! Here's just some of the things I was expecting him to announce (and, if you don't understand what "sarcasm" is, you may want to skip it)...
Beer Endowment Fund:
I maintain that it is the right of every American citizen to drink free beer. You would think that the presidential administration would agree, and support widespread drunken behavior. Mostly because drunk people wouldn't mind so much that the economy is in the toilet, Osama bin Laden is still at large, the weapons of mass destruction apparently don't exist, the rest of the world really doesn't like us much and, even after "mission accomplished," our soldiers and countless others are still dying in a very expensive war that's way out of control.
Reality Television Limitation Act:
The horrifying stupidity of 99% of the reality shows plaguing the television landscape is appalling ("Who's Your Daddy?" "The Littlest Groom?" "TRADING SPOUSES?!?"). Normally I don't believe in government intervention in the public sector like this, but something has to be done before what little intelligence left in the average American TV viewer is sucked away. Limiting each network to a single reality show per season would be a good start.
Preemptive Strike Against Canada:
The obvious next logical step in the president's bid for global domination war against terror is to "liberate" Canada. This would have a number of immediate benefits... 1) We're really concerned about protecting our northern borders but, if Canada were annexed into the U.S., our northern border would be somewhere in the Arctic Circle and who wants to go to that kind of trouble? 2) Those whiners who threatened to move to Canada if Dubbuya won the election would have to explore other options. 3) French-Canadians who suddenly find themselves American citizens could practice an entirely new level of self-loathing, because apparently all the French hate us. 4) "The Great State of Manitoba" has a nice ring to it. 5) There'd be no more border crossing delays when heading up to visit strip clubs in Vancouver.
Spammer Death Penalty:
Oh come on. You know you want it.
Quizno Sandwich Subsidy: I love me the Quizno subs! But when it costs $8.31 for a small drink, a regular Veggie Sandwich, and a bag of chips... well, it's not like I can afford to eat there very often. For that kind of money, I could buy EIGHT servings of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes at Taco Bell! Government subsidizing of Quiznos purchases is not entirely out of line considering they've been propping up the beef industry for decades (which is how a Big Mac costs $3 instead of $30).
National Dave Appreciation Day: My brilliance should be celebrated world-wide but I'd settle for a national holiday as a start. Laugh all you want, but you'd get a day off work, so it's a win-win situation.
Now that's odd. Suddenly I have this overwhelming desire to kick a spammer's ass, then celebrate by watching a stripper on reality-free TV in Canada while eating a Quizno's sub, drinking a beer, and appreciating myself.
Posted on Saturday, January 22nd, 2005
In updating my RSS template (thank you Neil!), I noticed that the name of the template is "INDEX.XML" and then it suddenly occurred to me why I occasionally get emails asking me "do you have an RSS feed?" Well, it's probably because nothing here actually says "RSS," including the syndication badge I've got in my sidebar. It's the classic case of calling something by one name, then referring to it by a completely different name, but I was just following what everybody else had done.
And that begs the question... why do all of the RSS logos and badges say XML when everybody calls it RSS? Shouldn't the logo say "RSS" if you're going to call it RSS?
And yes, I realize that RSS is an XML-based format, but nobody ever calls it "XML" so it's just confusing. The problem is, if I switch it, then it will be different from all the others, and those who know to look for XML won't find it. I suppose I could put two badges up but that would probably confuse things even worse. Who thinks up this stuff?
Posted on Sunday, January 23rd, 2005
Blogging is a contact sport, because anything you write is in full contact with the entire world. Sometimes this is a good thing, but other times it just opens you up for inexplicable hostile behavior. Sure I realize that not everybody is going to agree with what I say and some people are going to become angry because of it... that's human nature, and I accept it.
This morning I woke up to a really nasty email sitting in my in-box. It's happened before, doesn't really bother me, and is easily solved by pressing the "delete" key. Except this one was different. As I was about to obliterate it from my sight and mind, I noticed that it was attacking me not because of what I said, but because of how it was formatted.
The really foul language and poor spelling forbid me from reproducing the email here, but the gist of it was "you suck ass because you claim your blog validates but it doesn't."
To which I can only say "WTF?" I rant often about adhering to web standards and Internet Explorer's complete disregard for such things so, if this were true, I would be a big fat hypocrite. But it's not true. I have a badge that proudly links to the W3C validator and, when you click on it, this is what you'll see:
So now I am really puzzled. I start frantically validating all the pages I can find... my FAQ... my "Best of"... my Master Archive... and everything comes through with no problems. Then I start validating individual entry archive pages with no problems... until I reach a page with comments. And then tragedy strikes. The Gravatar plug-in I use to display little pictures next to commentors is putting unencoded ampersands in its URL, which is invalid. No big deal, I just edit the plug-in source, rebuild my pages, and everything is okay again (well, kind of okay, because if somebody leaves a comment with invalid HTML embedded in it then the page won't validate, but it does when I first put it up so I guess I can live with that).
Anyway, I was actually going to write back to the foul-mouthed ass-clown that emailed me with the problem, but the return address was forged. So, if you're reading this guy, thanks for bringing it to my attention and I appreciate it. But was it really necessary to call me a "!#@&!%@ $*@@%#" ?
Posted on Sunday, January 23rd, 2005
I don't think I could count the number of laughs afforded me by Johnny Carson, there's just too many of them. Staying up late to watch The Tonight Show was a rare luxury in my childhood, and it was the very first program I taped when I got my first VCR with "timer recording." I missed him when he retired in 1992, and I miss him again now that he's gone. Thanks for all the funny Johnny.
Johnny Carson: 1925-2005
UPDATE: Mark Evanier (of "News From ME," one of my favorite sites) has a really nice tribute up.
Posted on Monday, January 24th, 2005
For weeks now I have been wanting to cook up a batch of my delicious cheese-n-rice enchiladas (based on my grandmother's original recipe), but it's a 2-hour ordeal and makes one heck of a mess in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of time. Tonight was no different, but I just didn't care. If I didn't do it tonight, it wouldn't happen anytime soon... certainly not before I leave for Europe. So screw it, everything else in my stressful life can just wait.
But then the terror starts to settle in.
According to my "100 Things," I am most afraid of deep water, heights, and freaky bugs. But there is one things that tops all of those: my Cuisinart food processor. Or, as I prefer to call it, THE WHIRLING BLADES OF CERTAIN DEATH!!. I am mortified at the very thought of having to use that thing.
But when a recipe calls for a two full pounds of grated cheese, you really don't have much choice. To grate it by hand would take weeks. So, with adequate precautions in place, I face my deepest fear...
And twenty seconds later, Cuisinart has decimated my brick of cheese into tidy shreds. After unplugging this foul mechanical demon, I'm off to make enchiladas. Two hours after that, a delicious fiesta of exotic delights ensues.
But that's not going to keep me from having nightmares tonight. -sob!-
Posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2005
My new iPod Shuffle arrived, but I didn't had time to open it up and play with it until today. In a word: it's brilliant!
Don't get me wrong, I love my original iPod (and really love the 40 gigabytes of storage) but, as small as it is, the thing can still be a little cumbersome to travel with. Usually what I end up doing is selecting a playlist, putting it on shuffle, and then dropping it in my pocket. But then you have a heavy pocket and must be careful that you don't let it fall out when you bend over, as that could be an expensive mistake.
iPod Shuffle, on the other hand, is so light-weight as to be almost unnoticeable. It comes with a lanyard that makes walking around with it safe, comfortable, and effortless.
Some people will undoubtedly bitch about the lack of a display but, since I only use the display to select a playlist on my iPod original, I don't really care (besides, that would just add size and weight). The gigabyte of memory only has room for a single playlist anyway, so I already know what I'm getting when I turn it on. Selecting a new playlist is as easy as plugging your iPod Shuffle back into your computer and dragging a different one over. There's also a cool "auto-fill" feature which will randomly grab selections from your library until the memory is full. This is a great way to re-discover songs you may have forgotten or don't play very often.
There is one downside, however: Apple decided to use a USB 2.0 connector instead of FireWire (which is what they used on all previous iPods). This wouldn't bother me except that Apple only recently began supporting USB 2.0, so not a single machine I own has it. This sucks ass, because transferring a gigabyte over USB 1.0 is slow. Really slow. Oh well, it does give the unit enough time to recharge.
Anyway, I am totally loving the iPod Shuffle. Especially since the iTunes Music Store just released Erasure's excellent new album Nightbird and Billy Idol's new pre-release single called Scream. Apple rules.
UPDATE: Now that's cool... I just noticed the shuffle/cycle settings are dynamic! All my playlists are in order by artist, so if I am listening on the "shuffle" setting, come across a song from The Cure, then decide I want to hear more from The Cure, all I have to do is switch to the "cycle" setting and play their remaining songs in order. Then I can go back to "shuffle" again with a flick of a switch! It's the attention to little details like this that makes me such an Apple whore.
Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
What can I say? For two days I have worn my iPod Shuffle constantly, removing it only to shower and sleep (though last night I fell asleep while listening to it, so I guess I'm wearing it even then). It's so small and light that I don't even know it's there. It's so easy to operate that I find myself wearing it underneath my sweatshirt or over-shirt and just operating it through the fabric. It's almost become another appendage, and the ability to listen to music at a second's notice wherever and whenever I feel like it is nothing less than magic.
In many ways I feel that iPod Shuffle fulfills on the promise of the original iPod: it has firmly integrated music into my everyday life. I work with it. I paint with it. I cook with it. I eat with it. I brush my teeth with it. I walk to the post office with it... I live with it.
In fact, I find myself enamored with it so much that my original 40 gigabyte iPod has just been demoted to a spare hard drive. The iPod Shuffle is a much better fit for how I want to experience to my music. As I type this I am listening to Along Comes a Woman by Chicago, a song I haven't listened to in ages... all thanks to the "random auto-fill" feature that appears in iTunes when I plug iPod Shuffle into my laptop. Gotta love that little thrill you get from rediscovering an old song you've forgotten about.
Ooh! There it goes again... Drive by The Cars just came on!
Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2005
This afternoon I had to take a run into the "big city" of Wenatchee (population 28,000) to pick up my dry cleaning. For some reason I wanted to be all clean and relatively wrinkle-free for my trip to Europe, which is ironic considering I won't arrive either clean OR wrinkle-free after spending 14 hours in a plane. But anyway, twenty minutes later and there I was at Hays Cleaners with my expensive garments in-hand. Since it was around lunch-time, I decided to squander a small fortune and grab a sandwich at Quiznos (delicious!).
After consuming my toasty sub, there was nothing else to do but head home. On the way out of town, I noticed that the car ahead of me had a bumper sticker that said "Alaska Girls Kick Ass" which raised all kinds of questions. Kick ass at what? Kick who's ass? Do all Alaska girls kick ass, or was it only the Alaska girls in the car? All I can say is that it must be really tough to be a guy in Alaska with the girls kicking all that ass. Ah well, so long as it's not my ass that's getting kicked, I guess it's all good.
But anyway, all that pondering made me hungry for dessert. I needed ice cream. I was going to pull into McDonalds for a McFlurry with McOreo McCookies, but then I remembered that Jeff from Geekable wanted to know if any of the Wendy's restaurants had salad bars anymore, so I decided to do a drive-by and take a look (since I had never been there before and didn't know). The menu was crammed full of "Biggie this" and "Biggie that" but I couldn't find ice cream anywhere...
"Welcome to Wendy's may I take your order?" the girl in the speaker box chirped. "Err yes, I'd like an ice cream please" I replied. Then, in a tone that I can only describe as utter contempt and loathing I hear: "Sir, this is Wendy's, we do not have 'ice cream' at Wendy's." Much embarrassed, I forged ahead... "Ah, I'll have a chocolate shake then." And that's when things got complicated.
In a condescending tone that is usually reserved for uptight English butlers on television shows like The Nanny and movies like Arthur, she responds: Wendy's does not serve 'shakes.' Might I suggest you order something off our menu like a Frosty?" Confused that a fast-food menu could possibly be this complicated, I reply: "I don't know what a 'Frosty' is, what's the 'Frozen Dairy Dessert' on the menu?" And that's when she really lost it.
"THAT IS A FROSTY!!" She says, drier than the Sahara. Progress! I ignore her tone and respond: "I see. Does that come in chocolate?" She has now lost all patience... "Sir, the only flavor IS chocolate!!" - heavy sigh - "It's like a chocolate milkshake, only thicker!!" I think if I would have been standing in front of her, I would have gotten slapped and called a moron, but there you have it: "Okay, I'll take a medium please."
Apparently Wendy's is no mere fast food restaurant, but is instead a fine dining establishment too good for such lower class foods like "milkshakes." All those times driving by and I had no idea. I sure wish I could have been present to witness the Frosty Miracle when the fast-food gods handed down the recipe to Wendy's founder Dave Thomas from on high...
Thinking that my adventure at Wendy's is over, I pull up to pay and collect my frozen treat. After handing it over to me, I notice something is missing... "Uhhh, can I get a straw?". A burst of laughter and then: "You can't suck a Frosty through a straw! That's what the spoon is for!" I was about to make a comment about what really sucks around here, but decided I'd hold my tongue in an attempt to escape with my life (and what's left of my dignity).
And, before I forget, no there isn't a salad bar at my local Wendy's. But the Frosty's are worth a stop... if you dare.
Posted on Friday, January 28th, 2005
Share a health or beauty tip! For obvious reasons, I'm fresh out of beauty tips. But I do have a discovery if you've got problem skin. When I was younger I had to take an acne drug called Acutane that has some pretty harsh side-effects, one of which is extremely dry skin. For years I tried anything and everything, but nothing worked. Until I found "Hope in a Jar" by Philosophy. Expensive, but a real life-saver if you need it.
Share a computer or electronic gadget tip! If you haven't discovered RSS aggregators yet, it's worth a look. Reading blogs and news sites via syndication saves a lot of time, and allows you to follow hundreds of sources with ease because you don't have to go out and visit each and every site, instead they come to you! If you don't want to install software, you can use a free online service (like Bloglines) to read RSS news feeds as well. Oh, and Mac users who are upgrading to iLife 05 will want to be sure and make a backup of their iPhoto libraries, as there have been some pretty major problems reported.
Share a travel or transportation tip! This is not news to people living in Europe, but I'm surprised how many Americans are unawares: Buying tickets direct from small airline carriers can save you some major bank over the mainline carriers... even those sold on discount sites like Priceline, Expedia, and Orbitz. For instance, the cheapest flight to Rome is not necessarily direct. You might be better off finding a cheap sale flight to London, then taking another carrier to Rome. I've saved literally hundreds doing this. Sure it's a pain to organize and more difficult to fix when delays happen, but the money to be saved is mind-boggling. An excellent European resource can be found at WikiTravel (they've also got a page for Asia). I love airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, GermanWings, Iceland Air, and the like because, with careful planning and some flexibility, I can take trips I ordinarily couldn't afford.
FQ TIPSTER: Got a tip for a classic or vintage CD, movie, TV show, or book we might have overlooked? One of my all-time favorite TV shows is Red Dwarf, a British comedy series that's available many places on DVD or in reruns. The show tells the story of Dave Lister, who wakes from accidental cryogenic freezing that lasted three million years. Aboard the massive mining ship Red Dwarf, Lister has many space-faring adventures while coming to terms with being the last surviving human, and trying to find his way back to earth. While it is a Sci-Fi show, anybody who loves comedy should give it a look (Series V is my favorite).
Whatever you do, don't get Rimmer upset or else Mr. Flibble will become very cross indeed!
Helpful tips abound at the FridayQ.
Posted on Friday, January 28th, 2005
I was supposed to be in Seattle by now, but things are not going as planned. In fact, things are so far off-plan that it's time for a new plan... something that involves preparing for a week-long, trans-Atlantic trip in two hours (including washing all the clothes I'm taking and then packing my suitcase).
Yes, I need a plan that somehow does not adhere to universal laws of time and space. But, if there's an up-side, I suppose it's that I have time to clean the grout in my bathroom while waiting for my pants to get out of the dryer.
Hah, just kidding. I'm going to make a peanut butter sandwich and watch cartoons.
Posted on Saturday, January 29th, 2005
And just before taking off for Seattle, I receive notice from Amazon that my order has shipped. "Order of what" I find myself wondering... I didn't remember having shopped for anything recently. But then happiness ensues. It's Wonderfalls: The Complete Viewer Collection I had pre-ordered months ago. So now I really have something to live for, and an added incentive for surviving this trip: NINE hours of guaranteed cool television I've never seen before (because the show was foolishly cancelled after airing only four of the thirteen episodes produced).
I highly, highly recommend this brilliant series. Even if you don't want to go out and buy it so that you can watch every amazing episode again and again, it is well worth a rental. It is similar in tone to Dead Like Me, so it should be particularly appealing to any fan of that show.
And I'm off...
Posted on Sunday, January 30th, 2005
Passing through security was, for once, a pain-free experience (no strip-search!). That is not to say that all went perfectly. When I removed my laptop from its travel case, a data CD fell out with it, so I just set it on top. Apparently, this was not a smart thing to do. "LAPTOPS HAVE TO GO THROUGH X-RAY BY THEMSELVES" the disgruntled TSA minion declared. He then grabbed the CD and asked "IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY?" Which baffled me until I saw that the CD was labeled "Death Star Schematics." The actual embarrassment directly followed, because I had to explain that the CD really does contain Death Star schematics.
And, before you get all excited, it's not because I am a Bothan spy working for the Rebel Alliance who is attempting to smuggle the plans to Alderran. A couple of months ago I helped a friend (and fellow Star Wars geek) create a digital birthday card for his brother's 40th birthday celebration. The schematics, unfortunately, were just research (the implication being that if I possessed actual Death Star plans, and had the means to construct it, earth would be doomed).
But my geekified embarrassment quickly turned to tragedy once I made my way to the gate... I couldn't get wireless internet access in the South Concourse of Sea-Tac. There are two choices for me here: Cingular, which I can connect to but is so slow that it took five minutes to load up the login screen (you expect people to PAY for this crap service?) and Wayport, which must be down just now, since I can connect but can't get an IP address to have internet access. Lovely.
Given that I am now internet-free, I've had to go find some other amusements to keep me occupied...
Hmmm... this post is getting pretty long, and I'm not even half-way through! Time for an extended entry methinks.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, January 30th, 2005
For some reason I am an absolute magnet for annoying passengers on the flights I take. An example: the woman with a mustache next to me is smacking her gum and blowing bubbles. The man behind me is seriously hygienically-challenged. Even worse is the woman across the aisle, one row back, who is clueless as to the extent of her suicidal effect on those around her. She drones on and on, barely taking the time to catch her breath, all while the poor bastard stuck next to her is secretly praying for a heart attack (oooh... I'm having a flashback!). See if you can guess which of the following completely unrelated topics of discussion she is just dying to talk about...
The answer, of course, is all five. Fortunately, we have finally "reached an altitude where electronic devices may be used" so iPod Shuffle allowed me to tune her out before she disclosed God's real reason for smiting Asia with tsunamis (I only wish I was joking).
Please let me be seated next to a quasi-normal person for my connecting flight to Amsterdam.
Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2005
Here I am, back in Cologne. It seems like just yesterday that Perry and I started our Hard Rock Run through Europe here, but it looks like it was actually five months ago. Time flies.
Anyway, I've blogged before about how I love unique hotels with something interesting about them... or grand old classic hotels that have a real history to them. Well now I have another favorite to add to my list: The Hotel im Wasserturm. This is an incredibly cool hotel in central Cologne that was built out of an old water tower (once the largest in all of Europe!)...
My "junior suite" has sweeping views of the downtown area, thanks to being on the 10th floor and having windowed walls that curve 'round the tower... a very sweet suite!
Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2005
Sleep: One of the benefits (if you can call it that) of only being to sleep 4-5 hours every night is that jet-lag is a physical impossibility. I got around 3 hours of sleep on the flight to Amsterdam. Last night I went to bed at 10:30pm, and was wide awake at 3:00am. That's four-and-a-half hours, so nothing has changed. I can't even tell that I am nine hours displaced. I must be missing my internal clock.
Telly: Fortunately, with so much dead-time available to me, I brought plenty of downloaded television shows to watch. Primary amongst them are the last eight episodes of Battlestar Galactica which have already aired in the U.K. (they just finished episode #13 while we're only at #5). I can only guess it's because Sci-Fi Channel wanted to air them later so they had something new going during "sweeps?"
Powerbook: My aging PowerBook G4 has been drug around the world numerous times, and is in constant use back home as well. Because of that, it's getting pretty beat up and I should start thinking about getting a new one. Apple just speed-bumped their entire PowerBook line, added some nifty new upgrades, and lowered the prices... so now might be time. The 15-inch PowerBook I wanted last week was $2900, whereas now it's $2300 (and is faster with more features). Of course, it might as well be $23,000,000 because I ain't got that kind of cash.
Connect: My internet connection here at Hotel im Wasserturm is $13 for two hours. It baffles me that even the cheapest of hotels in the US offers free internet, whereas hotels in Europe gouge you for a connection. Hopefully some big hotel chain will start the ball rolling with free internet so everybody else will have to follow suit to compete, because this sucks ass.
Daylight: I've ranted about the stupidity of Daylight Saving Time a few times in this blog, but must admit I find it strange that it's 6:30am outside and still dark! Ah well, time to get dressed so I can go to work.