Posted on Saturday, July 1st, 2006
You would think that the internet age would make travel planning easier.
You would be wrong.
I just spent the past four hours arranging flights, hotels, rental cars, and all the other crap that makes travel so much fun. Nothing ever matches up. Flights always have ridiculously long layovers. Hotel check-in times are always too late and check-out too early. And meetings are never in the most convenient place. The good news is that in-between it all, I get to be in New York for a few days...
Then it's off to Wisconsin...
And finally back to Chicago...
And that's only for the first two weeks. I haven't got the energy to plan the rest of the summer.
And now, because it's Saturday and nobody seems to read my blog on Saturdays... AND because I'm a total meme whore... AND because I'm a total music whore... AND because I'm a total whore for Karla's Tales of a Texpatriate... I am stealing this rather cool "Three Songs Meme" from her in an extended entry (because it is MASSIVE)...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, July 2nd, 2006
I was sent an interesting "Thierry Ardisson Interview" meme to think about. Since it's in French, it's taking a while to decipher because my French language skills are quite poor (and long-forgotten). But one thing is immediately apparent... most all of the questions are introspective. They force you to take a real look at yourself as opposed to asking how others look at you (or asking how you look at something else). The second question is this: "Quand vous vous regardez dans la glace le matin, vous vous dites quoi?" - which translates into "When you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, what do you say to yourself?"
My answer would have to be "I don't say anything," because I never really look at myself in the mirror. I put my contact lenses in by feel, and brush my teeth while doing other things. I never care how my hair looks, and so it never occurs to me to look. So this morning I decided to give it a try...
And all I could think to say to myself is "you look like shit, buddy!"
Having not slept in a month has really taken its toll. I have bags under the bags under my eyes. I am also in bad need of a haircut. I should cancel my upcoming travel plans and check myself into a spa or something. Or perhaps start shooting heroin, so at least then there would be an excuse for looking like a heroin addict.
And speaking of questions... my best friend Karl has answered my five "Barbara Walters interview questions" over at Secondhand Tryptophan. I must say, asking for questions to fill up blog entries is a pretty sweet idea. I would steal it and have people ask me five questions... but, considering some of the emails and comments I get, that is a very scary prospect. Perhaps it would be better to ask "If you were to GET to ask me five, questions, what five questions WOULD you ask?" That way when somebody asks me something particularly frightening, I can just laugh and say "wow, that WOULD be a good question!"
I am such a weenie.
But since I won't talk about my friends, family, or work... I'm guessing those are the questions most people would ask, and so I really can't go there. I did get a question in my email yesterday that I WILL answer, however...
"Hey did you make any money from that Google ad you put in your RENT entry?"
Wow, that's a good question! I never bothered to look! Let's see shall we? ... ... ... HOLY CRAP! I made $9.54!! That's pretty good isn't it? This is 1/10 the current cost of keeping Blogography running each month on 1/30 the entries I write in a month, so it looks like the site could support itself if it had to. Kind of nice to know that I have options if I should need to use them. Still, I would much rather remain ad-free for as long as possible. Media Temple has mentioned that they will be increasing their bandwidth allowance, so maybe that will take care of my current troubles?
Costco is selling Crunch Master 6-Packs! That's enough to last me almost an entire week! Now all I need is Coke with Lime in 60-Packs, and I'm good to go!
Posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2006
In my previous entry, I had asked if anyone had questions that they might ask if I were to ask for questions, and some of you actually sent me some!
So here's a "Question and Answers" session with Dave....
First up, Exposed left me these...
And Wayne (of the Blog of Whall fame) left me these...
And Alexander left this one question...
Annette also sent me a single question...
And, for my last questions, SJ asked me to try out her "Movieographeme" meme, which I've put in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2006
"They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way."
I don't know why that famous line from Marlon Brando in Superman The Movie was echoing through my mind when I woke up this morning. Probably because I have not yet seen Superman Returns, though I want to quite badly. Perhaps that will be on the agenda in New York or Chicago, since they have far better theaters than I have here. Local cinemas are pretty much crap... with poor screens, uncomfortable seats, and sound systems so bad you can barely hear dialogue. Good movies always mean a three-hour drive to Seattle, but so few films are worth it now-a-days.
I am spending my Independence Day holiday working — but, to everybody else, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Posted on Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
Well this day sucks ass.
It started out well enough... I'm on my way to New York City, baby!
But then my flight out of Seattle was delayed two hours and it was all downhill from there. I thought that the hour wait to get my luggage would be the end of it. Until I got to the hotel... WHERE THE FREAKIN' INTERNET DOESN'T WORK!! You'd think I was staying at the Motel 6 or something... but this is a freakin' FOUR-STAR HOTEL IN MID-TOWN MANHATTAN!! Apparently $340 a night doesn't assure you of internet. WTF?!?
After three trips to the front desk to get busted internet routers, I gave up. I suppose I'll just have to figure it all out tomorrow. Oh well. Life may suck, but I AM in New York!
Time for a McVeggie Deluxe in Times Square!
Posted on Thursday, July 6th, 2006
Today was mostly work, but big fun was to be had this evening. That's because I was able to have dinner at the new Times Square Hard Rock Cafe with Dave3 and the Mistress of Metal herself... The Empress Eve!
Meeting up with fellow bloggers I read is always cool... but in this case it was particularly special because Dave3 and Eve are comic book geeks just like me. This is a pleasant change from my usual scene, because the small town where I live doesn't have much of a geek subculture to speak of.
Anyway, dinner was a blast, and reminds me once again that having to travel so much is not always a bad thing. I actually look forward to it when I know that cool people like Eve and Dave3 are waiting for me. It also makes me wonder why bloggers don't meet up more often, because every single time I've been able to see people in "real life," it's been totally sweet.
As if that wasn't enough, the Hard Rock is pretty spiffy...
The cafe itself is actually underground. That's because the Paramount Hotel that sits above it is being transformed into New York's very own Hard Rock Hotel. It's a nice property though, with plenty of open space...
And, since the Mistress of Metal was in attendance, her beloved Slayer was representing on the memorabilia wall...
Sadly, I had to get back to the hotel after dinner so I could try and solve my hotel's shitty internet problems and get back to work... but at least I got to meet Dave3 and Eve at last, so the day ended up being a good one after all.
At least until I found out that Superman is whoring himself out for Diet Pepsi...
Yeah, as if Superman needs to count calories. Doesn't everybody know that Superman's super-metabolism (which is fueled by the Earth's yellow sun) means that he doesn't have to diet? Well, unless he was exposed to Red Kryptonite and it made him super overweight. Or perhaps if Mxyzptlk used his 5th-Dimension magic to make him gain weight. Or maybe if he was a Superman from an alternate earth where all the characters have the opposite physique of their Earth-1 Counterparts (which, of course, would have to pre-date Crisis on Infinite Earths, for obvious reasons). Or I suppose it could even be because... oh... uhhhh... sorry, I must still be in Super-Geek mode.
Do you know how hard it is to be in a city like New York and have to work all day long? Oh well, I can always go look through my old pictures while I work and pretend I'm not working.
Posted on Friday, July 7th, 2006
So your train back to New York is delayed. Does this mean Amtrak puts you on the next train into the city so you don't have to hang out at the station for two hours? Sure... if you are willing to pay the $34.00 price difference between your regional train ticket and the express train ticket. That's some terrific customer service right there! I wonder if they would be willing to pay me for the time I wasted because of their delay?
BAD: Things go so terribly wrong at work that everything is cancelled.
GOOD: You now have a free afternoon in New York City.
BAD: Your project is now delayed, which means you're screwed.
GOOD: There is a substance called alcohol that will make you not mind being screwed so much.
BAD: You're still screwed once the alcohol has worn off.
GOOD: There's always more alcohol...
"Hello. My name is Dave, and I'm an alcoholic" is only slightly less cool than "Hello. My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
I think I'll go for it.
As an alcoholic I'll have a valid excuse for urinating in the street and bitch-slapping people who bother me. "I'm sorry officer, I was drunk" I will say when the police arrive at the scene. I can only hope that I am not urinating on him as I say it, because that surely wouldn't go over very big with New York's finest...
Wandering back to Times Square for dinner, I was walking past the Hard Rock and saw something I never noticed before... there's a fork flashin' horns above the HRC guitar! So very cool...
And look! IT'S MR. PEANUT!!!
Everybody loves Mr. Peanut!
And I love New York.
Tomorrow I am going to spend the day goofing off in the city.
Posted on Saturday, July 8th, 2006
There wasn't much I had planned today. A few museums. Eating REAL bagels from H&H on the Upper West Side. That kind of thing.
Oh yeah... and visit the new 5th Street Apple Store.
This amazing new structure is about the coolest Apple Store yet (though I still loves me Tokyo, Chicago and L.A.) and is really beautiful with the light shining through it. The store itself is actually underground, but the big cube marks the entrance to the glass staircase and houses the elevator tube...
Once I was finished snapping photos and ready to descend into the packed store below, a guy walked up to me... turns out it was Timothy from Araalinas (and now at Araalinusa)!! He has one more day in the city before heading to Uganda to teach, and apparently wanted to see the Apple Store before leaving the country.
It's strange, because when I first saw him, something familiar flashed in my head but I dismissed it. But when he walked up to me, I recognized him immediately from his blog (it's a small blogosphere after all!).
After we said our goodbyes, I wandered down to the Apple Store and suddenly realized that I should have gotten a photo, because nobody is going to believe this. After getting back to the hotel, I immediately unloaded my camera to see if he was in any of the shots I took. Sure enough...
Now, seriously. What are the odds here?
I mean, I run into people every once in a while who recognize me (or, to be more accurate, my shirt), but a fellow blogger I read who is from American Samoa via Florida on a stopover in New York City before he's on his way to Africa? This is some crazy stuff right here.
And there I was with no Hello Kitty Pop-Tarts to offer him.
Blogging is SO worth it.
Posted on Sunday, July 9th, 2006
New York City is pretty sweet any time of day, but I think I like it at nighttime the best.
Last night I decided to venture out into the city once again so I could see the Apple Store lit up in all its glory. And, yes, it's pretty sweet. The way the Apple logo reflects into the glass is almost holographic-looking, and you can see everything a lot better because the reflections from neighboring buildings is not so bad. It is truly a beautiful structure, so kudos to Steve Jobs and his cube obsession for giving New York City another landmark piece of architecture...
Not to say that there aren't a lot of other buildings that look great at night...
Most of today was spent at the American Museum of Natural History. Not only did they have a freakin' cool exhibit on lizards (which I love), but there's a new Space Show narrated by Robert Redford called Cosmic Collisions, and an IMAX film I haven't seen called Amazing Caves. It's a pretty sweet place to spend an afternoon. How many places can you see giant dinosaur bones in one hall...
And then see a statue of a chubby doggy in the next?
Today was my last day in NYC, and I'm kind of sad about that.
Posted on Monday, July 10th, 2006
It's time once again for DAVE'S STEAMING PILE OF CRAP TRAVEL AWARD!
This is kind of unprecedented, because I usually wait until a trip is completely over before I go passing out an award. But I have two such amazing candidates that I can't help myself. If things get worse than this, I may just have to start beating people with a hammer.
DAVE'S STEAMING PILE OF CRAP TRAVEL AWARD... GRAND PRIZE: DOLLAR RENT-A-CAR!
So you have to wake up at 3:00am to make your 6:00am flight. The hotel is working on the water system, so there's no hot water. How much worse could it get? Well, you could get to Chicago and find out that Dollar doesn't have a rental car for you...
DOLLAR AGENT: I'm sorry, all we have is an SUV or a van available.
DAVE: But I have a reservation for a compact car. I don't want to drive an SUV or a van into the city!
DOLLAR AGENT: We do not guarantee that any car type will be available... all we guarantee is that a car will be available. The rate will be the same.
DAVE: But a van is not a car... it's a van! An SUV is not a car... it's an SUV! I have a reservation FOR A CAR!! When will A CAR be available.
DOLLAR AGENT: We are on a car-in, car-out basis here. I have no idea when a compact or mid-size will be available.
DAVE: Then what's the point of a reservation? Dollar Rent-A-Car is stupid.
I mean, seriously. WTF?!? Bad enough that they don't have a car... but they can't even tell me when I can expect to get one?? Well F#@% that! And F#@% Dollar Rent-A-Car. I will never, EVER rent from your ridiculous company again. Burn in hell you incompetent dumbasses. You just caused me to waste an hour trying to find a new car, AND I had to pay extra money because of the last-minute rental. DIE! DIE! DIE!!!!
DAVE'S STEAMING PILE OF CRAP TRAVEL AWARD... RUNNER-UP: HILTON HIGH-SPEED INTERNET!
Hilton says "take me to a place where high-speed internet is reliable and easy to use." This is kind of stupid, because if I were to take their advice, I would go anywhere... ANYWHERE except the Hilton Towers in New York. This is the worst internet I have ever used. First of all, you have to use some piece-of-crap "wireless bridge" in order to get signal. Unfortunately, they're all busted to shit. My first one had a frayed cable. My second one wouldn't turn on. My third one couldn't get a signal. My fourth one had a busted antennae... but I held on to it out of fear of what I might get had I tried for number five.
And even when you get a connection... it sucks ass. I had to reboot both the wireless bridge AND my laptop a half-dozen times a day because the internet would simply stop working for no good reason. It's bad enough to have to pay for internet... but to have to pay $9.95 a day for TOTALLY SHITTY INTERNET? WTF?? The Hilton New York is actually a pretty good hotel. I've been staying here for 15 years because the location is primo. But without high-speed internet in good working order, the Hilton New York is crap. F#@% hotels who charge for shitty internet access.
Case in point: I am right now in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. I am staying at a tiny no-frills budget hotel that costs 1/5 the money that my room in New York did. I have FREE wireless internet that is fast and doesn't require a bridge of any kind. How is it that this little nothing of a hotel is superior for internet IN EVERY WAY... and is absolutely FREE?
Anybody have a better recommendation for hotels in Mid-Town Manhattan that have decent internet service?
Posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2006
Wisconsin, for lack of a better word, is delicious.
Every time I come here, I always end up eating way too much. Unfortunately, what I eat are foods that are very, very bad for you. Things like a caramel-cashew frozen custard sundae from Culvers (which isn't bad until I tell you that I eat two of these EVERY DAY). Or cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. My latest addiction is fried cheese, which is taking something horribly delicious, doing bad things to it, and then ending up with something atrociously horribly delicious. I just can't help myself... fried fatty foods are my kryptonite.
Another problem here is that they love butter almost as much as I do.
Last night I was at the grocery store looking for snack foods to eat while I was working. I eventually ended up in the chip aisle, and picked up a bag of something called "O-Ke-Doke" because it had cool aliens on it...
It looked kind of like imitation Pirate Booty, so I was going to put it back until I heard a voice behind me...
NICE LADY: That had better not be the last bag, I was going to get some of that myself!
DAVE: Uhhh... no, there's plenty. I was just looking at it anyway.
NICE LADY: What? How can you not buy it? That stuff is addictive! Haven't you ever had it before?
DAVE: No. They don't have "O-Ke-Doke" in Washington State where I'm from.
NICE LADY: Oh you have GOT to try it then! It tastes like butter, and my kids just love it!
DAVE: Butter you say?!?
So I bought a bag along with all kinds of other snacky crap. All the way back to the hotel, I was getting more and more excited about the prospect of eating crunchy fried butter. What a brilliant idea! So I get back to my room, pull out my laptop, and rip open a bag... only to find out that it's not that great. Sure it tastes like butter (and that's a good thing)... but it's way too salty.
Except I cannot stop eating the stuff.
I ate half the bag last night for dinner, and polished off the remainder this morning for breakfast. It's like butter cocaine or something...
Damn those dirty space-alien-fried-butter-cocaine-snack-pushers!!
Who needs spaceships and lasers to take over the earth? They've got O-Ke-Doke! And with 1190 calories, 1470 milligrams of sodium, and 77 fat grams per bag, humanity's destruction is assured.
And now I have to go to the store so I can buy another bag for lunch.
Addiction sucks ass.
Posted on Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
Last night I had to go to the store so I could buy some more food and snacks. As I was walking in, a woman and her three horrifying children came in behind me... each of them yelling about something. Finally one of the kids wanted to go look at magazines, so the entire brood went running off screaming.
What happens next is not pretty, but it does have me curious...
Okay. Let's say you have three kids. Let's further say that these three kids are going ape-shit in the magazine section. They're throwing magazines at each other. They're spilling magazines on the floor and sliding around on them. They're flinging those little subscription cards everywhere. It's total chaos in the red zone...
So where are you in this scenario?
A) You are over in the cereal aisle screaming at your kids from across the store to behave or else they will be in trouble. But you don't really mean it... it's just an empty threat. Your kids know this, so they completely ignore you. And hey, it's not your magazines being ripped to shreds, so you just don't care.
B) You are all the way across the store in the produce section. You hear your kids raising hell somewhere, but this is your "alone time" so you pretend you don't hear a thing. Why not let the store staff babysit your kids... that's what they're paid for isn't it?
C) You are at the check-out counter flirting like a whore with the guy at the register. To better your chances at scoring, you pretend that the kids going crazy over there aren't yours. Maybe if you ignore them long enough, they'll just go away.
D) You are out in the parking lot smoking a cigarette. Your kids are completely forgotten for the moment... out of sight, out of mind and all that. You contemplate ditching them at the store for a few hours so you can go get a manicure.
Have your answer yet?
Well, if you were any kind of parent at all, you would answer "E) I'm over in the magazine section beating the shit out of my kids and teaching them how to behave in public."
But if you are the bitch that followed me into the store... THE ANSWER IS ALL FOUR, A THROUGH D!!
Yes, you read that right. This bitch let her kids go insane while she was shopping, smoking, and whoring it up. She made a half-hearted effort to scream at them once from the cereal aisle, but then ignored them entirely. When I left, she really was in the parking lot loading up her groceries and having a smoke. I have no idea if she ever went back in and got her kids or what.
And I'm not being sexist here... this could have just as easily been a guy. Bad parenting knows no gender boundaries.
It's times like this I really do wish I had copies of my "Dumbasses Books" to hand out to people...
Instead, my only option is to run up and slap the bitch. But I opted not to, because I have no desire to see what the jail cells look like in rural Wisconsin.
Why, why, why, WHY isn't there an intelligence test required before people are allowed to have kids? From what I have seen, it would cause quite a dip in the population (because most people are really, really stupid and should never have kids) but I would be okay with that.
Dumbasses shouldn't be breeding anyway.
Posted on Thursday, July 13th, 2006
Oog. Today is going to be a very full day, and I'm not sure I'll have time to blog anything. Just to cover my ass, I'm going to whip out a meme really quick.
Before I get to that, however, I have to say that RocketBoom managed to pull it off. When Amanda left, I was sure the show would suck and die. This would be a real pity because, along with Ze Frank's The Show, RocketBoom is one of my favorite daily internet video haunts. But here's the thing... I never realized that Amanda Congdon, while cute and fun, was actually kind of annoying until Andrew got cutie Joanne Colan with her kick-ass accent to "guest-host". She is perfect for the job and, though I'd like to see a few more shows before passing final judgement, I'm kind of hoping she fills the spot permanently...
Anyway, I've been tagged with this "MEME-OLOGY" meme by a couple of people now, and have neatly tucked it into an extended entry for your reading pleasure...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Friday, July 14th, 2006
"I'll kill you! KILL YOU DEAD!" he screams, his eyes filled with rage...
It all started innocently enough when Bob (of Chasing Vincenzo fame) read that I would be back in Chicago and was kind enough to write and ask if I wanted to meet for dinner while I was in town. Since he's a great guy with a lot of interesting things to talk about, I agreed immediately. Bob ended up choosing a very nice tapas restaurant with authentic authentic Spanish tapas (quite a different story from the "fake" authentic tapas houses I've run into).
The restaurant, Emilio's, was celebrating an anniversary, so there was live music and flamenco dancers for entertainment. We started out with a bit of light pre-dinner conversation... war, politics, religion, who would win in a fight between Batman and Spider-Man... you know, the usual kind of stuff. But then we somehow got on the topic of nuclear fusion and all hell broke loose.
"You can't contain the super-plasma using inert gasses as a barrier between the magnetic fields. You need a total vacuum or it's not going to work!" Bob says.
"Oh I think it will work just fine if the molecular state of the gas is excited by injecting weak protons into the barrier matrix" I reply. "Perhaps xenon or argon would be a good gas to use."
"What did you just say?!?" Bob asks over the escalating sounds of the guitar and rat-a-tat-tat of the flamenco dancers stomping away.
"Errr... maybe xenon or argon..." I offer meekly.
"Argon?!? ARGON?!?? How can you say 'argon'— I hate argon gas!" Bob says loudly as he tries to compete with the music filling the restaurant. "No self-respecting scientist uses argon gas for containment!"
"Uhhh... calm down, Bob" I say diplomatically. "I'm sure quite a few nuclear scientists have had good success using argon to—"
"NO! NO THEY HAVEN'T!!" Bob bellows as he jumps up from the table, his temper soaring. "Stop saying that! Stop saying 'argon!'"
"Bob, you're overreacting" I say, trying to keep my voice calm. "Argon is just a gas, it's not—"
"THERE! YOU SAID IT AGAIN!!" Bob screams, his voice filled with fury. "I TOLD YOU NOT TO SAY THAT!"
Bob then grabs a handful of papas bravas (a yummy potato dish) and throws it at my head. The restaurant, once noisy with flamenco dancers, music, laughter, and conversation, suddenly becomes silent. A kindly waitress appears at our table and tries to fix things...
"Is there a problem here gentlemen?" she asks nervously.
"YES, THERE IS A VERY BIG PROBLEM HERE!! THIS BASTARD THINKS THAT ARGON GAS WOULD MAKE A GOOD BARRIER BETWEEN MAGNETIC FIELDS OF A FUSION REACTOR!" Bob roars, all eyes on him.
"Argon?" the waitress says in a small voice. "Well, maybe not argon per-se... but certainly if the gas molecules were in an excited state... perhaps by injecting weak protons?"
Bob just stands there for a minute fuming, his hands bunched into fists. Nobody moves. It's as if the restaurant has been suspended in time.
Suddenly, Bob springs across the table and lunges at the waitress. "I'll kill you! KILL YOU DEAD!" he screams, his eyes filled with rage. The waitress is paralyzed with fear as Bob knocks her to the ground and wraps his hands around her neck. "ARGON THIS!" Bob wails as his hands tighten on her throat.
Panic fills the air as people start running around screaming. One of the busboys and a team of flamenco dancers manage to pull Bob off the poor waitress and hold him at the bar. He starts yelling something about "argon gas being a tool of the devil," but I am in a state of total shock and don't hear it.
I just sat there sobbing quietly with papas bravas in my hair until the police showed up and took Bob away. Something tells me he won't be welcome back at Emilio's any time soon.
Well, okay, that's not really what happened.
We had a wonderful dinner with fantastic food, and it was a lot of fun. But I'm getting tired of writing about how great it is to meet up with my fellow bloggers, and so I thought it would be more entertaining to write about what would happen if Bob went crazy and tried to strangle a waitress.
Because that would be kind of cool.
Not for the waitress, obviously, but it would make for a far more exciting blog entry.
Anyway, thanks Bob for a great dinner!
Posted on Saturday, July 15th, 2006
Yesterday afternoon as I was standing in line to check-in to my Chicago hotel, I overhear something curious in a conversation between two sarcastic twenty-something bitches in the lobby...
"Well, the world is going to hell and the gays have invaded the city."
And in my mind I'm thinking "Seriously? The gays have invaded Chicago?? I didn't see that one coming."
Suddenly my head is filled with images of the gay militia pouring into the streets of the city, looking fierce and fabulous! They're wearing lovely pink camouflage latex tank-tops with matching pink boots and a perky beret. They're armed with rhinestone-studded assault rifles (assuming you can bedazzle an AK-47) and the world is awash in sequins and glitter. They're setting up their HQ in Hancock Tower (tee hee), and it's the prettiest invasion ever (I hope there's good television coverage when I get to my room). I then wonder if my 20% status is enough to join-up because I, for one, welcome our new militant gay overlords...
And then I find out that it's a different kind of invasion entirely. Chicago is hosting the Gay Games this coming week, and the opening ceremonies are today.
I was really hoping for an actual gay invasion because that would certainly make this trip a memorable one.
And speaking of "fierce and fabulous" - am I the only one NOT going to BlogHer at the end of this month? It seems like a lot of the blogs I read have everybody gearing up for the event. I thought it was a conference just for the ladies, but now I'm seeing that guys are going too.
I always miss the good parties.
Posted on Sunday, July 16th, 2006
The taxi driver smelled so bad that my eyes were watering. And it wasn't like he was oblivious to the fact, because he'd occasionally whip out some deodorant spray in a futile attempt to mask the stench. Of course this did nothing but make things worse. The guy smelled like he crapped his pants, took a bath in a urinal, and then slept in a sweaty, stanky locker-room for a week. The 100-degree heat wasn't helping much either.
By the time I got to Lincoln Square, I was inundated with a melange of horrible smells and about ready to pass out...
But I did my best to stay conscious, because I was meeting Jenny for dinner and a movie and thought she might appreciate not finding me passed out on the sidewalk.
Or maybe she would. I'm probably a much better conversationalist that way.
Anyway, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was a convoluted story filled with never-ending coincidences and lots of mind-blowing special effects. While not as good as the first film, it was still an entertaining ride (mostly due to Johnny Depp, who once again delivers out a masterful performance). The surprise was that they brought back Jack Davenport (of Coupling fame) to play Commodore Norrington. He completely eclipses Orlando Bloom at every turn, and is by far the more sympathetic character. That's actually kind of bad for the plot, but a happy accident for the movie, because it ends up adding some depth to the story.
The evening ended at a German bar full of elderly people partying down to a live band. Some of those seniors had brilliant moves ON the dance floor, which was surprising considering they could barely walk OFF the dance floor. Jenny and I were regretting that we didn't have a video camera, because this is the kind of stuff that thrives on YouTube.
Unable to find a taxi back into the city, I decided to hop on the train. Right behind me was a man trying to manage his sloppy-drunk girlfriend from falling over as she started gyrating wildly to music that wasn't there. It was amusing at first, but quickly became embarrassing. She was cursing profusely and jabbering on endlessly about stuff nobody really wanted to hear. Even worse was that she was scowling (for emphasis, I'd imagine) as she spoke, which reminded me of somebody...
I also suspect that she had head-lice, because she was forever shaking her hair like a woman possessed. I kept waiting for her head to snap off or maybe spin all the way around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
I wish I could say that this was the end of my travel entertainment, but my taxi ride to O'Hare this morning wouldn't allow it. The driver, who was talking to himself the entire way, decided to LIGHT UP A CIGARETTE as we pulled on to the airport expressway. Why he couldn't have waited ten minutes to drop me off first was a complete mystery. So instead I got to sit in cigarette smoke which pissed me off pretty bad. I hope he spends the $2 I tipped him wisely, because the idiot shouldn't have gotten anything at all. Dumbass.
What happened in the month that I was away? Did Chicago pass some kind of city ordinance whereas taxi drivers are required to make their cabs smell as bad as possible?
Oh well. I'm home safely in my sweet-smelling apartment, so I guess that's all that really counts... isn't it?
Posted on Monday, July 17th, 2006
Today I was pelted with apples.
Little green apples falling from the sky.
Well, not me personally, but my car. To say it was shocking would be an understatement...
Turns out it was not quite the miracle I had first thought.
Every day I drive by the fruit packing sheds to get to work. It's so commonplace that I completely ignore the scenery. Today they were dumping rejected apples into a big truck (for juicing, I'd imagine) and a few of them over-shot the bin and rained down on my car.
It's the little surprises that keep life interesting.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2006
Before I sat down to write this entry, I went back through my travel category and was irritated to discover that every single trip I've taken over the past three years has had some kind of problem along the way. There's no doubt about it... commercial travel has been sucking more and more lately.
To get the best price, you have to make your reservations online. But most travel websites suck ass and don't work half the time, which means you have to call and pay the higher price anyway. Flights consistently run late and are overbooked (if they aren't canceled first). Reservations mean nothing, as rental car agencies and hotels are happy to promise something they can't deliver. Nobody smiles or is friendly anymore. Internet access is rarely free, and the more expensive it is, the more it's going to suck. Everything that can possibly go wrong, will go wrong.
Above all, fellow travelers are dumbasses. Here's an example from my flight over to Seattle this evening...
STEWARDESS: Due to the short 35-minute duration of this flight, we will be featuring a limited beverage service only. We offer Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, Beer, Water, and Wine. Again, your choices are Apple, Orange, or Cranberry Juice and Beer, Water, or Wine. Thank you!
STEWARDESS: (wheeling her little cart to the first passenger) And what would you like to drink sir?
TOTAL F#@%ING DUMBASS: I'll have a 7-Up.
I know people think I invent this crap, but I shit you not. You just can't make up stuff like this.
And now I am sitting in my hotel room which was advertised on the internet as having "HIGH SPEED INTERNET IN EVERY ROOM" and a banner saying "WIRELESS INTERNET!!" Little did I know that this does NOT mean wireless in every room... it means that there's wireless in the lobby only, and rooms have to use a cable (which they do not provide, and I didn't bring with me because I thought I'd have wireless). This kind of deceptive crap is just unforgivable. My blinding rage has me very close to burning this f#@%er to the ground.
But I'm too tired to find another hotel. So I guess I'll go post this from the lobby, then head back to my room and despair because I'm going to spend the night without internet access. Stupid hotel.
Now, for a random bit of hilariousness, go read Kevin Smith lambaste the totally irrelevant douche-bag movie critic Joel Siegel on his blog. I cannot WAIT for Clerks 2 to hit this weekend. The fact that an unprofessional prick like Siegel feels the need to walk out of a screening only makes me want to see it more.
Posted on Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
Work was in Tacoma today, which is about an hour south of Seattle and the "TAC" in SeaTac International Airport. It's a noteworthy city to me because of one man: Dale Chihuly. I am a huge, huge fan of his stunning glass artwork, and Tacoma is a showcase for some of the best of it (probably because it's his home town).
Surprisingly, even though Chihuly is a huge backer of The Museum of Glass, his work in not a major part of the museum's relatively small gallery floor (you need to go to the Tacoma Museum of Art to see a permanent Chichuly exhibit). But you do get to see live glassblowing here and a few beautiful pieces of Chihuly art in the "Hot Spot" balcony...
From the museum, you can walk across the "Bridge of Glass" and see even more Chihuly, including a glass ceiling that is breathtaking when the sun is shining through it...
Once across the bridge, you can enter Union Station and see five amazing Chihuly installations in glorious open spaces...
Who could have ever guessed that Tacoma, Washington would end up being the "Venice of the West"?? I just consider myself lucky that such an amazing display is only three hours away from my home.
Anyway, then it was back to the airport so I could catch a quick 50-minute flight to Spokane (which is about 4-1/2 to 5 hours by car). My flight was delayed (what else is new) but I managed to catch an earlier plane. Once I arrived and picked up my rental car, I discovered something surprising with my Subaru Legacy... can somebody tell me when they started making semi-automatic cars?
I call it "semi-automatic" because, while there's no clutch, you'll note that there is a "+" and "-" on the gear-box which allows you to change gears, just like a manual transmission. It's a very odd driving experience, but not bad once you get used to it.
First stop in Spokane was, of course, to eat THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD at David's Pizza. I debated going out for a movie, but I've seen Pirates and Superman already, so there's not much else I want to see until Clerks II hits this weekend. Oh well. You won't hear me complaining about calling it a night and getting a few extra hours sleep.
Posted on Thursday, July 20th, 2006
After yet another orgasm-inducing meal at David's Pizza, I decided to drop by The Comic Book Shop to see if lesbian Batwoman was out (heh, heh) yet. Not only was she out, but she was REALLY out, because they had three stacks of the issue piled on the shelf. Apparently lesbian super-heroes translate into big comic book sales. This has me wondering if we're going to start seeing lesbians in all the comics now. Or perhaps more lesbians on this blog! In any event, the story was kind of boring and barely hinted at any hot lesbionic action. Fanboys are going to be upset.
But not by the size of her chest...
I have no idea how she can be expected to fight crime around a rack like that, but I guess every hero has their problems. Batwoman just happens to have two of them.
This is my last day on the road for awhile. Tomorrow I'll be home and finally be able to catch up on everything that's been piling up for the past two months. I live in fear of my post box. There's bound to be quite a stack of mail heaped in there by now. Much like my email InBox...
I mean, dang, that's a LOT of email to read. My spam filter works pretty well, so most of those are going to be legit. I guess I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend.
WATCHING CLERKS II, THAT'S WHAT! Hah!
And adding more lesbians to Blogography.
Uhhh... and answering email (if I can find the time).
Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2006
The thing that makes Kevin Smith such a brilliant filmmaker is the way he can create a universe that seems more "real" than actual real-life. His characters always have witty, profound things to say, and are never at a loss for words in even the most bizarre situations. This was made clearly evident in his very first movie, Clerks which has long been one of my favorite films of all time.
Where Kevin falters is when he strays from his carefully-constructed reality and ruins the world he's built. This is why Mallrats, Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back and Dogma will always be inferior to Chasing Amy and Clerks... sure they're entertaining, but the un-reality built into the movies spoil things for me. They rip me out of the film and turn me into a mere observer instead of a part of the story.
So which side of the fence does Clerks II land on? Well, it's a mixed bag. For the most part, it is everything I love about a Kevin Smith film, with only a few moments of distraction. An example... at one point in the movie, the luscious Rosario Dawson's character, Becky, is trying to teach Dante how to dance to The Jackson Five's ABC. It is a magical, heartwarming moment that's tempered with funny inserts of the other characters bopping along to the music. It's perfect. But then, for no reason at all, Jay and Silent Bob appear in pig-tails mugging for the camera as a dance number breaks out.
There goes reality. No longer are you a part of the Clerks II universe which seems so very real... you are torn from their world with such violence that the moment is destroyed. And I just don't get it. Why? What purpose does it serve? I've forgotten all about Dante and Becky during a pivotal scene in the film and am all of a sudden watching people dance? It's almost tragic how horribly this nonsensical moment puts the brakes on an otherwise great film. Where was Scott Mosier when this travesty of a scene was edited into the movie?
Sadly, if it weren't for this really bad decision, Clerks II would easily slide right up next to Clerks and Chasing Amy on the Kevin Smith scale of greatness. As it is, it ends up somewhere in the middle. I want very badly for the DVD to come out so I can buy it, rip it, then re-edit it into the brilliant film it could have been.
Anyway, focusing on the positive now...
Clerks II opens with Dante and Randal still working their menial job as clerks at the Quick Stop. But when the store burns down, everything is thrown into chaos and they must start a new life working an even worse job at the McDonald's-inspired Mooby's restaurant. A year later, it's Dante's last day before packing up and moving to Florida with his fiance, but Randal (of course) has other plans...
The dialogue is, as always, note-perfect. Randal's tirades are among my favorite moments in movie history, and we are treated to some hilarious new material as only he can deliver it. The wordplay between Dante and Randal is as sharp as it's ever been, and is worth the price of admission alone.
Rosario Dawson, who is an incredibly talented actress, slides effortlessly into the world of Clerks and looks frickin' amazing while doing it. Her very presence elevates the movie to another level entirely, and adds substance to scenes that could have otherwise gone very wrong.
But my favorite moments of the film (besides the "inter-species erotica," of course) are served up by Trevor Fehrman. His almost painful level of naivety as the Lord of the Rings-and-Transformers-loving geek Elias, come very close to stealing the show. His reactions to the ever-increasing insanity that's forever following Dante and Randal around offers up a fresh perspective on the story that wouldn't be nearly as entertaining without it.
After all is said and done, it's a highly entertaining film with only a few mistakes keeping it from greatness. I can only hope that this is not the last we'll be seeing of these characters, as the movie ends on a note that only leaves you wanting more.
Much like Clerks did over a decade ago.
Posted on Saturday, July 22nd, 2006
Well that was frustrating.
Movable Type's blogging software just gets more inexplicable with every new release. Their latest, version 3.3, is no different. I specifically waited until it was out of beta before installing it, because I wanted to be sure that they had time to work the bugs out and finish up the documentation. Well, as it turns out, I shouldn't have bothered.
If you are a Movable Type user, or are interested in the software which runs this blog, then I've detailed my upgrade "experience" in an extended entry. Everybody else may want to come back later when I'll be bitching about something else...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, July 23rd, 2006
I really hate it when I get a song stuck in my head.
After seeing Clerks II it's the song Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus, which is a pretty messed up tune to have running through your mind all day long. If you don't recognize the name, you will probably still know of it as the song that "Buffalo Bill" dances to in Silence of the Lambs. Well, in Clerks II you get to see a flawless reenactment by Jason Mewes that's even more disturbing.
Well, not the dance itself... I mean, what guy hasn't put on makeup, dressed up in the skin of dead women, then danced around the house with his penis tucked between his legs? Yeah, we've all been there...
No. What's truly disturbing is that once you start thinking of Buffalo Bill, you think of the actor who portrayed him... Ted Levine. And then you have to freak over how he now plays Lt. Stottlemeyer on the television show Monk. For some reason I find this transition of characters to be very disturbing...
I mean, he's obviously a very talented actor to be able to play such diverse roles... but damn. I just can't stop imagining that after Stottlemeyer gets home from a busy day of solving crimes with Mr. Monk, he's dancing around like this just for kicks before bedtime.
And then the image won't leave my mind as I hear... ♬ "Goodbye horses. I'm flying, flying, flying over youuuu..." ♬
For anybody into self-torture, the beautiful Q Lazzarus version of Goodbye Horses isn't for sale on iTunes, but a pretty good cover by the band Psyche is. Listen at your peril.
As if that wasn't enough on my mind...
Coming 2008?!? What kind of tease is that? I have to wonder if J.J. Abrams is going to manage to screw up Star Trek as badly as he's trashed Lost and destroyed Alias. He always starts off so strong then crashes and burns. Please have somebody with enough sense to know this cut him loose when things start to slide on yet another good franchise before it goes bad.
Though he has a LONG ways to go before it gets as bad as the totally boring Star Trek: Enterprise and the utterly crappy Star Trek: Voyager.
Posted on Monday, July 24th, 2006
This weekend I received no less than EIGHT emails from Blogography readers telling me of the "happy" news that Elizabeth Hurley was finally going to marry her long-time millionaire boyfriend, Arun Nayer. It was kind of nice, because everybody tried to break the news as gently as possible, and pass along their condolences.
And, though there is -zero- chance that I would ever end up dating Elizabeth Hurley, it still kind of stung a little bit. The world's most beautiful woman was going to be off the market...
First she's removed of Project Catwalk, and now THIS?!? Not a good month for Elizabeth Hurley stalkers such as myself. But then, just as suddenly as it happened, things started to change when I check my Elizabeth Hurley news feeds...
Liz Hurley has dismissed rumours that she is planning to wed millionaire boyfriend Arun Nayer.
The actress was reportedly spending time looking at possible venues for the ceremony in the English countryside, but Hurley is quick to deny she has any marriage plans.
She said: "It's not true, it's all fiction, fiction. I'm in the country at the moment and I have about 50 helicopters circling overhead, but all I've done it feed the chickens and water the flowers."
And then I get the news that Elizabeth Hurley has been chosen to be the new face for Jordache...
NEW YORK, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Jordache will unveil a national advertising campaign featuring model and actress Elizabeth Hurley. Shot by famed photographer Michael Thompson in his NY studio, the campaign features Hurley clad in classic Jordache Jeans, edgy with a whip and the iconic Jordache horse. The first ad will run in national publications beginning in September and will run through the holiday season.
Liz with a whip? Well doesn't that sound delicious! Jordache's web site is all blurred out, but if you dig around the internet, you can find a tiny little picture of what's coming...
Oh yeah. That's the ticket. Add that to the second round of "Got Milk" ads that are starting to hit...
And, of course, there's Elizabeth Hurley's Swedish ads for MQ where we get to hear her utter the words "Swedish Penis Pump"...
And all the world is right again.
Posted on Tuesday, July 25th, 2006
Oooh. Yet another ball-scorching heatwave of a day.
A good day to die.
Which I very nearly did because some dumbass in a pickup truck almost ran me over as I was walking to the bank. He took off from a stop light and never once looked forward. He was instead looking off to one side the entire time. I dunno... maybe he saw something shiny and was distracted? Whatever. All I do know is that he wasn't looking where he should have been, and would have run me down right there in the crosswalk had I not been paying attention. I literally had to jump out of his path to avoid getting splattered.
I really do need to get my Dumbass Books printed, because I would have loved to staple a copy to a brick, throw it through his rear window and imbed it in the back of his stupid head...
Oh how I am getting tired of living in white-trash rural America.
On Sunday I went to the grocery store. On my way back out, I noticed a guy in the passenger seat of a car screaming obscenities to a woman who was getting out of the driver's side... just two spaces down from me. She wasn't taking it lightly, because she was yelling it back as good as she was getting...
CRACKER BOY: STOP BEING A BITCH! JUST GIVE ME THE F#@%ING MONEY SO I CAN GET THE F#@% OUT OF HERE!!
CRACKER BITCH: SHUT THE F#@% UP! I'M NOT GIVING YOU SHIT!!
CRACKER BOY: F#@%!! F#@% THIS SHIT!!
I slowed down a bit, because I was seriously worried that the guy was going to jump out of the car and start beating on her or something. But, after they screamed for a minute longer, I heard THIS as I was putting my groceries in the trunk and the woman headed off to the store...
CRACKER BOY: MOM! MOM!!! COME ON! GIVE ME THE F#@%ING MONEY!
CRACKER BITCH: YOU CAN GET A F#@%ING JOB IF YOU WANT YOUR F#@%ING MONEY!!
I mean, holy crap!
This is how he talks to his mother?!? He looked like he was still in high school!
If I were to have mouthed off like that, my dad would have beat the shit out of me to within an inch of my life.
At least I HOPE he would have.
Parents simply aren't passing out much-needed ass-kickings anymore. I weep for the future.
Posted on Wednesday, July 26th, 2006
This is part one of a two-part entry.
Please tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!
Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2006
PRAISE BE TO KRYPTON! FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY... Richard Donner is going to be given the cash to re-cut
In other totally sweet DVD news... my copy of Pinky and The Brain: The Complete First Season arrived today!
I love this cartoon and have been waiting for YEARS for it to show up on DVD. Something about mice plotting for world domination just fills my heart with joy.
And now, since I want to watch my DVDs rather than figure out what else to write, I've filled out a meme from over at Avitable's blog in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Saturday, July 29th, 2006
Holy crap. I give up.
Sure WordPress has fabulous documentation (my biggest complaint about Movable Type)... BUT IT'S ALL OUTDATED!! Need information on replacements for depreciated tags, TOUGH SHIT... the docs don't have it. Want to know how to import entries? TOO F#@%ING BAD... the documentation is ANCIENT, and bears absolutely NO relationship to the actual process! This is supposed to be better than Movable Type's docs HOW?!?
I had heard that WordPress was more difficult to make templates for, but that's a flaming understatement. It's not that I mind hard work or a steep learning curve, but I'd like the structure to at least make some sense. WordPress had me completely baffled at almost every turn. Want to use images for navigating between pages? Okay! Want to use images for navigating between entries? You can't! Want to customize a drop-down menu for date-based archives? No problem! Want to customize a drop-down menu for category-based archives? Sorry!
There is -zero- consistency in how you use the Word Press faux-tags (which are not really tags at all, but PHP code snippets). Even worse, you have to use endless streams of variables to configure even the simplest of tasks. I mean, just look at this crazy shit...
get_links('-1', ' ', ' ', ' ', FALSE, 'name', FALSE, FALSE, '-1', FALSE, TRUE);
I went absolutely insane trying to remember what the parameters are and in what order they go. And by the time I had to add my fourth "hack" to the "my-hacks.php" file just to get basic functionality, I was certifiable.
After a while, I was beginning to feel that WordPress had a lot of power behind it (and some cool features to die for), but I just don't have time to try and work my way through all the idiosyncrasies just now. If you want to see how things were looking when I gave up, I had my test site at a temporary domain here. It looks pretty much like my existing blog (which is what I wanted) but the underlying code is quite different.
So, for the time being at least, I'm sticking with the devil I know (that would be Movable Type). Sure it has some major problems, but at least the work is already done. Maybe if I get some free time and have some ambition left I'll take a look at "B2Evolution" or "Expression Engine" or one of those other blogging packages.
Surely they can't all suck ass... can they?
Posted on Sunday, July 30th, 2006
From RW over at Chasing Vincenzo comes Things You Don't Usually Tell Anyone About, like...
Back to Sunday cleaning...
Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2006
I have an exceedingly low tolerance for "stupid."
This results in an ever-increasing loathing of stupid people. And I am not saying this to demean anybody who was not blessed with my staggering genius-level intelligence, because there's a huge difference between having below-average brain-power and being just plain stupid. The frightening part is that stupid people can only really attract other stupid people, which results in them mating and breeding new generations of even more dumbasses.
And, given their increasing numbers, I can only suspect that stupidity is the dominant gene.
This does not bode well for humanity.
Because if stupidity truly is the dominant gene, this means that the stupidest person in the breeding will be the one to pass along their intelligence (or lack thereof) to any offspring. The end result is that the human race as a whole will just continue to get more and more stupid.
Dumbasses will inherit the earth.
I mean, look around you. We've got idiots providing our entertainment and news. Morons in political office. Imbeciles roaming the streets. It's dumbasses everywhere you look. We're well on our way already, and I didn't realize it until this morning. That's because I had encountered no less than a dozen totally stupid people by the time I arrived at work. This doesn't even include the dozen more I'd seen in the internet news before I even got out of bed (Mel Gibson? Who knew?). I live in fear that the dumbasses will outnumber the rest of us in my lifetime.
Drastic measures are needed.
Forget stem cell research... locating the gene that causes stupidity should be our top priority.
As if to prove my point, I've just arrived at my Seattle hotel to witness outrageous stupidity on an entirely new level. Traffic wasn't bad, so I arrived early and have to wait 30 minutes for my room to be ready. This doesn't bother me because the lobby has free wireless so I can check my email and catch up. What DOES bother me is that there is a woman holding some kind of sales pitch for a vitamin supplement. That, in itself is annoying, but it's even worse because she brought her kid. Her whining, screaming, hellion of a kid. And because she's giving some kind of speech, she's just letting the little bastard crawl around the lobby screaming at people, knocking over trash cans, banging on tables, throwing the television remote, and whatever other outlandish crap he can manage. What kind of stupid bitch lets their kid go apeshit in a hotel lobby like this? Anyway, the little demon eventually makes his way over to my table and knocks a chair over. Not willing to put up with this shit, I say (loudly) "STOP DOING THAT!!" This alarms the moronic mother, so she comes dashing over like a drama queen and grabs her kid. This causes the kid to scream. And scream. And scream. She then decided to holler my way "I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY!"
To which I reply "Happy that you finally decided to watch your kid? Yes, I'm THRILLED." This results in her insulting me while she speaks to her little group, but I don't care.
The poor kid doesn't have a chance, does he?