Thanks to a diet consisting largely of butter, cheese, Coke with Lime, and Little Debbie snack cakes, I've managed to pack on ten pounds in preparation for my winter fast. I'm sure a week in the midwest eating Chicago pizza, Johnny Rocket burgers, Pasta Salvi, and Wisconsin cheese will get me the additional three to five pounds I need. I don't want to end up in the hole after fasting, because the last thing I feel like doing is trying to regain weight afterwards. The only downside is that getting into my pants each morning is more of a struggle than usual. Maybe I should spend the next week in sweatpants? There's a lot of room in sweatpants...
After a morning tying up loose ends at work, I needed to hit a cash machine so I'll have "airport blueberry muffin breakfast money" tomorrow. It's cold outside, so I'm bummed to find out that there's somebody at the ATM ahead of me. Even worse, she seems to be having problems because she stands there for quite a while beep-beeping the buttons. Eventually she gives up and walks away from the machine with a handful of receipts (no money) crying. I would have asked her if she needed some help, but she never gave me the chance. The next thing I know she's in her car tearing off into the cold winter's day.
I've now spent the better part of my afternoon wondering what the deal was.
I think I've narrowed it down to this: she contracted a rare blood disease while building schools for orphans in Africa and found out this morning that she only has 6 months to live. This tragedy was compounded when she discovered after the doctor visit that her husband has been cheating on her with her best friend while she was abroad. Then, just as she was coming to grips with the horrible turn her life had taken, her pet puppy Barnaby became violently ill. A trip to the vet revealed that Barnaby was near death and needed medicine to survive. Wanting to do one good thing with her life before she dies, the woman bundles up her puppy and heads to the cash machine so she can buy the medicine, only to find out that her cheating husband had cleared out the account.
Either that, or she spent all her money getting drunk last night and didn't have any cash for cigarettes.
No matter which scenario, I feel bad that I didn't act faster to give her a fiver. Now Barnaby's blood (or her nicotine withdrawal) is on my hands.
Live from Wisconsin — IT'S BULLET POINT SUNDAY!
• TIMELY! Much to my shock and awe... and despite the weather problems plaguing Seattle and Chicago recently... every one of the three flights I took today was on-time. It's probably one of the best travel days (connection-wise) I've ever had, even though it started at 3:45am.
• COLD! It is unbelievably ass-numbing testicle-shriveling cold here. As I drive down the road, the heater cannot keep up with the freezing temperature, so you roast where the heat comes out and are chilled to the bone everywhere else. I don't handle the cold well at all, so I am understandably miserable most of the time.
• CAMERA! My Canon S400 compact camera has been a piece of crap since day one, and today it finally stopped working altogether. Since every other Canon I've ever owned has been awesome, I'm chalking this up to bad luck and will probably be buying a new Powershot SD800 tomorrow to replace it (known as Ixus 850 outside the US). Traveling without a camera... even to places I've been dozens of times before... makes me feel naked. I simply must have a camera in my pocket to feel whole. The nice thing about this model is that it has true optical image stabilization, which will hopefully help diminish the number of blurry photos I take...
• DOLLS! Now that they've released a "Doctor" Laura talking doll to go with the Ann Coulter talking doll, the "Hypocritical Dumbass Whore Talking Doll Line" is nearly complete...
All we're missing is Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
• GEOGRAPHY! A foreign reader of Blogography questioned my calling Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio "The Midwest" when, if you divide the USA in half, the "midwest" would be Montana, Idaho and such. This may be true geographically, but the various regions of the US are influenced by historical factors as well. I admit that not everybody divides up the nation the same way but, in general, the way I cut it up here is more-or-less considered correct...
• GOODNIGHT! A full day of travel after three hours sleep has left me exhausted. It's 9:30pm in my new time zone, so I'm using that as an excuse to call it a day.
I woke up in the middle of the night with that "feeling" you get when a cold or other sickness is coming on. I immediately crawled out of bed and downed a dose of Airborne (never travel without it!) and stuffed some Zicam up my nose. Then went back to bed. Went back to bed pissed. I was absolutely livid at the idea of catching a cold. I fell asleep cursing my fellow airline passengers for infecting me. Cursing the weather. Cursing the entire world at the injustice of it all.
But then I woke up this morning and everything was fine.
I didn't have a cold or the flu and jumped right into work with a smile on my face because I wasn't sick. I needed to get through the day's To-Do List in a hurry, because I had three things that had to be done...
The camera is a mixed bag. There are some incredible things about it. There are some inexplicably stupid things about it. I've still got a bit of playing around to do before I post sample images and write about it... suffice to say that the Canon SD800 is an interesting product.
I wish I could say the same about The Fountain...
I have been waiting to see this movie for years. I am a big fan of Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream and Pi films, and his long struggle to get The Fountain made was inspiring. On top of that, the visuals in the trailer looked incredible.
Of the seven people in the theater, two left before the half-way mark, another fell asleep, and another spent a good portion of their time texting on their mobile phone. This left three of us... out of seven... who even made an attempt to watch this pointless, boring, mess of a film. The plot takes place in three time periods and gravitates around the "fountain of eternal youth" mythology. I was wanting to walk out of the theater myself, but I was counting on Aronofsky to somehow tie it all together in some brilliant way at the end. But he really didn't. All we got was a series of clumsy cuts which pass objects between the centuries in no meaningful (or even artful) way. A huge, massively huge, disappointment that was beautiful in spots, passionate in others, but overall redundant and boring, boring, oh so boring.
Fortunately my caramel-cashew sundae was amazing, as usual.
Frozen custard is always good... even when it's snowing.
The refrigerator in my room makes noise that keeps me up at night, so I unplugged it and decided to leave my leftover pizza in the car. I expected that the pizza would stay cool... I did not expect that it would be frozen solid. The good news is that I was able to reheat my pizza for breakfast by setting the box on the dashboard of my rental car and turning the defroster on. 23 minutes on high thaws out and warms up a couple slices of Pizza Hut "Thin-n-Crispy" quite nicely. Breadsticks are thicker, and required 35 minutes. Breakfast is served.
In-between jobs, I decided to take out my new Canon
Time to visit the beautiful Milwaukee Museum of Art.
I haven't been there since they remodeled years ago, and this was just the excuse I needed.
The review that follows is in-depth but not exhaustive. I've put the full text in an extended entry in the event that people find photos of art and camera talk to be boring.
However, if you are looking for info on a pretty darn good compact camera, then by all means read onward...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Uhhh... yeah... helpful hint to all would-be-adulterers out there... if you are going to have a sexually explicit instant-messaging session with your mistress on a public computer, you might want to remember to logout and close out the web browser window after you're done. This is especially applicable if you refer to your wife as "that f#@%ing bitch" and go into intimate details as to your next planned sexual encounter with your whore.
On the other hand, it did make for some exciting reading before I got down to the drudgery of printing FedEx labels and checking in for my flight tomorrow morning.
Even if the guy does refer to his penis as "the throbber."
If I were any more despicable than I already am, I would have tracked down the idiot by his screen-name and mailed a transcript of his rather titillating IM session to his wife. I'm sure it would be much-appreciated as she initiated her divorce proceedings.
Hmmm. You know, I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to use the word "titillating" before.
And now for the three funniest things I saw at the Milwaukee Museum of Art yesterday!
A bunny statue made entirely from bottle-caps...
Baby Jesus about to give Mary a wet willy...
This stoner dog statue...
Now that I think about it, I really do need to come up with a nickname for my penis.
Unfortunately, "the throbber" appears to be taken.
I'd call him "the titillater" but I don't think you're allowed to use that word more than once a year...
Yeah, I flew 270 miles out of my way for pasta.
But the miles traveled were the least of my troubles in a day that started at 3:30am.
From Milwaukee I flew to Detroit to catch my connecting flight to Columbus. But, after landing in Detroit and having to taxi to the gate for 15 minutes, we just sat there. Finally, after 10 additional minutes with nothing happening, the captain announced that the key-card system for the entire airport was down. Nobody could come out to guide the plane to the gate because they were locked inside. F#@%ing stupid Detroit International Airport.
When the airport finally gets their shit together so the pilot can dock the plane, I have five minutes left to run the fifty miles across the terminal to catch my connection. Totally exhausted, I arrive at the door just as they are ready to close it. And, even though there's no chance for my luggage, at least I'll make it to Columbus.
But then something amazing happens. The plane has ice on it, and they need to go out for de-icing. As I sit there waiting, I feel a bump and look outside my window... and there's my suitcase being loaded on the plane! Things are finally looking up...
What happens next? The answer to that is in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Gah! I can't feel my legs!
Here I am back in Chicago... home of testicle-shriveling cold temperatures. Five minutes outside feels like five hours back home, because that's all the time it takes to chill you to the bone. The fifteen minutes it took to walk back to my hotel from dinner with my friend has totally wiped me out. It's pretty harsh.
Yet, from the view out my window, you wouldn't think it was so bad...
But the biting cold wind doesn't show up in a photograph.
As it were, I am woefully underdressed for my time here. I should be buying a scarf, ear-muffs, a vest, an overcoat, heavy gloves, and several layers of thermal underwear...
Sigh. Much as I love Chicago, I'd rather be in Maui just now.
Last night I met up with Jenny at Wicker Park so we could see her friend's band play. The fact that I managed to stay awake until midnight was some kind of miracle, because I haven't had a full night's sleep in over a week. I had thought that I would sleep in until noon this morning to try and catch up, but the weather outside was just too beautiful to stay in bed.
At first I thought I would walk the Magnificent Mile for a bit and maybe catch a movie.
But who could sit in a theater knowing that there's blue skies over Chicago?
Since I don't like to shop and don't want to stay inside, what to do?
TIME TO GO TO NAVY PIER!!
Which was incredibly stupid, because the gusting winds out on the pier nearly froze me solid. Sunny blue skies or not, I had little choice but to dash inside. I hadn't been to the pier in years, and had totally forgotten about the incredible stained glass museum within...
But the real surprise was upstairs. Today is the opening of Winter Wonderfest...
They've built a winter carnival inside Navy Pier!
So there I was minding my own business, looking at all the cool stuff at the carnival, when somebody bumps into me.
I turn around, and BAM!!
GAAAAAAAAAH! I yell.
My total fear of clowns has traumatized me since childhood. Ronald McDonald is one of the scariest clowns ever, so this is like a nightmare come true. I reach for my gun so I can shoot Ronald dead, but then remember that I don't have a gun.
So instead I flee Navy Pier altogether, and decide to go have lunch.
Argh. Something has gone terribly wrong, because I haven't been able to comment on any TypePad blogs (or even read any BlogSpot blogs) since I got to Chicago. That's kind of frustrating,
Another late night. It would seem that getting caught up on sleep is simply not in the cards this trip. Oh well, last night was time well spent because I met up with fellow bloggers Diane and Kevin at Chicago's Pizza for dinner, followed by a bit of bar-hopping on the cold (so very cold) streets of Chicago. Fun times. Fun times...
Uhhhh... that clown must REALLY love spaghetti...
And, naturally this morning was another spectacular day, so sleeping in until noon was not an option. Instead I decided to wander down to the Adler Planetarium, where I had never been before...
Wow. This looks like it came out of a game of Myst!
Yeah, baby! I so totally look hot in infra-red!
From there it was off to take in the King Tut exhibit at The Field Museum...
Ignore the signs! The King Tut entrance is around back!
While waiting for the reserved entry times, we got to say hello to Sue the dinosaur...
She looks a lot more ferocious in person.
Then Jenny, who is far braver than I, risked getting gored by wild elephants so she could get an action shot...
Jenny makes the perfect human shield when you need protection from wild animals of the Serengeti.
There were NO PHOTOS ALLOWED in the King Tut exhibit, which is a pity because there was some pretty cool stuff in there. Fortunately you could take as many pictures as you wanted everywhere else in the museum...
Ultimate Teddy Bear, Wild Asses, Humiliated Dino, and Plastic Stegosaurus Birth.
Of course, the most funnest thing of the day was when we got orange plastic dinosaurs from one of the Mold-A-Rama machines. I've named mine Spike, which you can see here thanks to the iSight camera on my MacBook...
RAAWWWWRRRRRR! Says Spike!
Spike was a little warm and squishy when he came out of the machine, but he firmed up okay.
And thus ends my short time in Chicago. I'd write more about the day's events, but I have to get up insanely early in the morning to catch my flight, and had probably better try and get some sleep.
I used to think that the saddest thing I'd ever seen in an airport was a woman crying because she couldn't get a flight out to her sister's wedding. That was replaced by a man who was crying because his flight home to see his first baby being born was cancelled. That, in turn, was replaced by a woman and her kid sobbing uncontrollably as her husband shipped off to Iraq. And there have been many other travel-related tragedies along the way that were plenty sad as well. It's a cosmic karma balancing-act to offset the many happy reunions that take place at airports... or so I would guess.
But all of that pales in compare to the sadness I witnessed today.
As I was waiting at my gate, a kid was wandering around with his Microsoft Zune Media Player. This was only a little sad, I grant you. But things escalated once I heard what he was trying to do: find another Zune owner to share music with. But, alas, there was nothing but iPods as far as the eye could see.
Yeah, it looks like the "wireless sharing" feature that Microsoft was hyping is really panning out.
Assuming you can actually find another Zune owner.
Okay, my flight home out of Seattle has just been delayed for the third time. Now THAT'S officially the saddest thing I've ever seen at an airport.
Because I'm tired and hungry and I wanna go home!
Perhaps I should pass the time by counting the number of people I want to run up and bitch-slap... starting with this obnoxious bitch screeching into her mobile phone next to me... oh, and the idiot sleeping across four seats while there are people having to stand because all the seats are filled... and we can't forget the kid running his suitcase into the wall again and again and again while their parents do NOTHING... and that crotchety old fart working customer service whose treatment of a woman speaking no English is abysmal... and... and...
Bleh. I could be at this all night.
But I hope not.
This morning started with my slipping in the parking lot and busting my ass, which was pretty much indicative of how the rest of my day would go.
Because it's not every day you get stabbed in the face.
I've got some small bumps on my face, which are probably a residual effect of the massive doses of Accutane I was on when I was a kid. They are barely noticeable and don't bother me, so I've just let them be. But a few of them get torn off from time to time when I put on a T-shirt or my motorcycle helmet or whatever, so I finally decided to ask a dermatologist about it...
DOCTOR: Oh, they're not dangerous or anything... I can take care of them in just a few minutes.
DAVE: Uhhh... okay.
DOCTOR: First I'll just stab you in the face a couple times with this giant needle...
DOCTOR: Now I'll fry your face with electricity to burn them off...
DOCTOR: You're going to smell burning flesh and see some smoke now...
DOCTOR: Done! Don't be alarmed when you see the open wounds on your face...
DOCTOR: Or the huge white blotches...
DOCTOR: The blotches will fade in an hour, and everything will be healed up in a couple days. You'll never know they were there.
DAVE: GAAAH! Errr... I mean... really?
And that was that.
I'm feeling pretty good now, considering I lived through one of my worst nightmares during my lunch hour.
Tomorrow at lunch I'm thinking of climbing in a tub filled with live spiders.
But right now I've got two suitcases of laundry to wash, which is almost as scary.
The scream (which sounded something like "WAAAAAAAAGGH!") was yelled at nobody in particular and did nothing to alleviate the burning pain. Then, once I realized I was scrubbing Apricot Facial Cleanser into the open wounds on my face, it sounded something like "OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!" Then I have the task of trying to flush out the tiny particles of walnut shell, which usually do such a great job of scraping off dead skin cells, but are now causing me to cry "LIFE IS SO UNFAIR!!" as I splash water on my face at a frantic pace.
It would seem this is not going to be such a good day to be Dave.
This was later confirmed when I found out that my internet router is dead.
I can't stand how much my life revolves around having internet access, and how huge a problem it is when I am disconnected from it. It's like I NEED internet to survive or something. Overcoming drug addiction must be a walk in the park by comparison.
Which is why I am checking email and writing in my blog over a dial-up connection tonight.
It's far, far slower than I ever remember it being...
This has not been my week.
And just when I think that I'm back on track, something happens to let me know that this simply is not true... usually first thing in the morning. Yesterday I wandered into the shower and absent-mindedly ripped into my freshly-electrocuted face with Apricot Exfoliating Scrub. You'd think that this is about the worst thing that could happen to you in the shower... but you would be wrong.
This morning I was washing my hair with Philosophy Strawberry Milkshake Shampoo when I decided that my head wasn't bubbly enough, and reached for that big 10-pound bottle to squeeze out some more.
This was a mistake.
I must have still been half-asleep or something, because when I grabbed the bottle it somehow slipped and ended up cracking me right in the balls.
The incident ended up looking something like this...
This woke me up very, very quickly.
And now, even though it's almost five hours later, the pain still lingers.
Those of you who have balls know exactly what I mean. Those of you who don't should kick a guy in the nuts sometime and have him explain it to you (but please do not mention my name... the last thing I need is to be chased down the street by a mob of guys with aching balls).
I am beginning to think that this kind of crap happens to me because I have a blog.
Subconsciously, I must be setting myself up for horribly embarrassing tales of woe so that I have something to blog about. No other guys I know have ever mentioned accidentally smacking their own balls* with a big bottle of pink shampoo. Though, now that I think about it, what guy would ever admit to something so stupid like that?
Would it help to say that after this incident I shot a grizzly bear, drank a six-pack of beer, then skydived into the Playboy Mansion where I had a three-way with playmates of the year Tiffany Fallon and Kara Monaco?
I have got to find a new hobby.
* Note that I have plenty of stories of guys smacking some OTHER guy's balls with a big bottle of pink shampoo... those post-game locker room celebrations are "c-r-a-z-y" crazy.
Yesterday it finally decided to get serious and snow here. It was a wet, heavy snow that was coming down so fast and so hard that by the time I got the last half of my car cleaned off, the first half was covered again. Driving was a nightmare, because the streets would fill up just as soon as they were plowed.
By the time I got home, it was so nasty out that I was fully prepared to spend the next eight weeks locked in my home with 60 boxes of Pop Tarts and twelve dozen cans of Coke with Lime until the snow subsided...
But when I woke up this morning, my Mac's "Weather Widget" said it was raining. All the snow that had fallen on my car last night had melted away. The roads were clearing up and by 10:00 the sun was shining. But there was still a sloppy mess left behind, with piles of snow heaped everywhere. This sometimes makes parking scarce because all that snow cleared off a parking lot has to go somewhere.
So when I was in Wenatchee picking up some crap at the store, I felt really lucky that I found a relatively close spot. At least I did until this woman (who looked like Ms. Crabtree from South Park) came rolling up and shook her first fist at me then drove off...
"Well that was odd" I said to myself "I wonder what that was all about?"
Fortunately (or unfortunately, as it turns out) I didn't have long to wait. As I was entering the store the woman (who parked across the lot) screams as me "I WAS WAITING FOR THAT SPOT?" Which, of course, was ridiculous. She wasn't even in the lot when I pulled into the spot. But, rather than screaming back to her "YOU'RE FULL OF SHIT!" I just pretended I didn't hear her and went about my business.
People are dumbasses. Snow or no snow, I'm seriously considering locking myself in for eight weeks anyway.
I should be working, but I woke up feeling pretty terrible so I've decided to wash clothes and watch television instead.
But when I turned on the TV, I was assaulted by Michael Bolton singing When a Man Loves a Woman LIVE while some guy is ice skating to it. Not knowing what in the heck I've stumbled on to, I check the channel guide and find out that it's Michael Bolton: Tribute on Ice.
Rather than having to gouge my ears out, I change the channel only to find Fran Drescher hosting some kind of Hanukkah show, which is even more horrifying. Suddenly I was terrified that I'd turn the channel and run into The Clay Aiken Christmas Special or something equally shitty, so I decided to watch DVDs instead.
I have a stack of new DVDs waiting to be watched, but ultimately decided on watching the Back To The Future trilogy for the hundredth time...
Sometimes there's no substitute for the classics!
I still think that the way they used the second movie to go back INTO the first movie is one of the more brilliant moments in motion picture history.
Right up there with "Rosebud" in Citizen Cane.
And, of course, that "Luke I am your father" thing from Star Wars.
Wah. Now I want to see the Star Wars trilogy again.
Oooh! It's Bullet Point Sunday in the snow! Well, not really, because I don't see any snow falling outside... but that's what my weather widget is telling me. Darn you to heck you lying weather widget!
• WARNING! What is it with these stupid-ass warnings on DVDs now-a-days telling you not to steal movies? I JUST BOUGHT THE MOVIE... why in the heck do you waste my time telling me not to steal something I just bought... EVERY TIME I PLAY IT?
• ASSHOLES! I am getting so f#@%ing pissed off at all these f#@%ing idiots who drive down the f#@%ing road with two feet of f#@%ing snow heaped on top of their f#@%ing roof that comes flying off and f#@%ing smashes into my f#@%ing windshield...
One of these days I am going to follow one of these f#@%ing dipshits back to their f#@%ing house and get rid of that f#@%ing snow by setting their f#@%ing car on fire. Assholes.
• SHOP! Adobe released a public beta of Photoshop CS3 that runs super-sweet on my Intel Macs, and the speed increase alone is worth the massively huge download. The problem is that Photoshop CS2 never gave me any problems other than running slowly. What I need is a public beta of Adobe Illustrator CS3, because that CS2 sucker crashes constantly, and there are dozens of little quirks that drive me insane on a daily basis. I don't know if the icon change is temporary or not but, even though it lacks imagination, it sure beats the shit out of the horrendous old icons.
• FLAT! My local grocery got in some pricey pizza-type frozen entrees by "American Flatbread" which are simply amazing. I've only ever found the "three cheese" version, and am dying to try the other varieties but, alas, they are nowhere to be found in the valley. This is the first time I have ever eaten a frozen "pizza" which didn't taste like it came from a freezer, making it well worth the cost. I highly recommend giving one a try if your local grocery should happen to have them in stock...
• ZOOM! My Flickr Pro Account is running out and I am debating whether or not I want to renew it considering the good people at Zooomr will give bloggers a pro account for free. After all, if Zooomr is good enough for Thomas Hawk, a photographer I totally idolize, then surely it's good enough for me. My initial goofing around with the service has been good. There's only two negatives bothering me so far... 1) Logging in with OpenID is kind of clutzy because you aren't taken directly to your account, you instead get to muck about in the OpenID server and have to backtrack to get into Zooomr. 2) The interface is way cluttered compared to Flickr, and all that excess crap distracts from viewing the photos. That being said, the Zooomr community seems more closely-knit and active than Flickr. I uploaded just one photo and received five nice comments in barely any time at all. I suppose it doesn't hurt to nab my free account and figure it all out this weekend...
Foggy Day on The Great Wall of China
• MARS! Season Three of the amazing Veronica Mars is now available for sale at the iTunes Music Store. This will come in handy since TiVo WON'T GET OFF THEIR F#@%ING ASSES AND RELEASE A F#@%ING MEDIA PLAYER FOR MACINTOSH! What f#@%ing asswipes. Oh well, when I am away from home and can't get American television, the iTunes Store is probably more convenient than trying to mess around with BitTorrent. Holy shit I hope that Apple is working on a TiVo-like solution so I can kick my f#@%ing TiVo bullshit to the curb once and for all.
So there I am minding my own business while walking back from the mini-mart... when an underage whore asks me for directions.
When I say "underage" I will fully admit to guessing here, because it wasn't like I got to see her ID or was presented with a birth certificate. And, truth be told, I'm also guessing as to her being a whore, because it's not like she offered me sexual favors in exchange for money or anything like that (she just wanted to know where Pioneer Avenue was).
No, the reason I call her a whore is sheer speculation based on her method of dress and demeanor, all of which was saying "make me an offer." I mean, come on... stiletto-heeled boots and a low-cut blouse with a push-up bra? IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER? Ergo... a whore.
Of course it's so hard to tell, really. Especially when I look at the dolls that girls have now-a-days...
They're called "Bratz" but they might as well be called "Whorez" from what I can see. Sure Barbie may have always been a little bit of a slut, but the worst you can say about her is that she's a classy tease with way too much money on her hands. The Bratz dolls look like strung-out street-walkers by comparison...
Hmmm... Now that I think about it, there was a lot of room for scary misinterpretation here on behalf of the police (had any actually been present). I could have inadvertently been arrested for soliciting sex from an underage whore just for talking to the girl!
Sadly, today's kids don't really have much of a chance. Especially little girls when they have role models like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan (not to mention dolls like Bratz) to learn from.
I love panoramic photography, but the cameras required to take good panorama shots are really expensive... $3500 minimum. About the only affordable option open to me is to take a bunch of pictures and then stitch them together using Photoshop or some other utility. The problem is that the results are never that great. Things never quite match up and you end up with Frankenstein-type collages that won't fool anybody...
Even worse, every time you want to make a pano in Photoshop, you have to fire up the "Bridge" application which sucks ass. And even with "advance blending" and all the other stuff turned on, you still end up with a composite that has mismatched buildings and poor blending (which is kind of hard to see when I shrink it down)...
The new Photoshop CS3 Beta has an incredible new panorama stitcher that does an amazing job without the need to fire up Bridge. Not only does it warp and stretch to get really accurate edge matches, but it also shifts the color to make everything blend beautifully (even when viewed at full-resolution). It has me going through all my old photos to see how they stitch up...
Chicago Skyline, Illinois
Harbor in Reykjavik, Iceland
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Goblin Valley, Utah
Goblin Valley, Utah
In fact, the stitching abilities built into Photoshop CS3 are so mind-boggling cool and easy that I find myself looking at the world as a series of panoramas. I can't wait to take more of them.
New Photoshop is fun.
In totally unrelated "new" news... I received an email alerting me to new DVD releases that had The NEW Adventures of He-Man on the list. This puzzled me greatly, because I never knew that there were any NEW adventures of He-Man. After some serious Google investigation, I discovered that there was indeed a second series way back in 1990.
But look what they did to the poor bastard...
What the f#@% happened to his tan?
You can't be having no pasty-ass He-Man!
Despite the totally butch name and kick-ass physique, He-Man has never been a particularly macho dude. Maybe it was the little pageboy haircut or something. But he was tan. Now they've taken that away from him. And it's not like a ponytail and hot-pants did anything to up the testosterone quotient. He-Man looks like he's starring in a gay pirate movie.
This is just sad.
Not that there's anything wrong with gay pirate movies. It's just that He-Man shouldn't be starring in them.
Unless He-Man actually is gay, in which case I feel I owe him an apology or something. Maybe new He-Man is just being who he really is? He's out, he's proud, AND he's got the Sword of Power?
Just don't tell me that he's f#@%ing Skeletor, because that I could not take.
Usually one has to drink copious amounts of alcohol to have a day like this...
I have no idea what I ate that is causing me such misery, but I think I might die any minute now.
And how was your day?
I seem to have survived my bout with food poisoning (or whatever).
Which is probably a good thing, because my most excellent web hosting company Media Temple, is moving Blogography to a new "grid server" here in a few hours. I don't understand much of what's happening, but it all sounds very cool and interesting. In any event, I totally trust Media Temple with my life. Out of the dozens of hosting companies I've dealt with over the years, they are the very best... by far.
I am told that there will be some down-time for a bit while the move occurs. So, if you try to visit Blogography and can't, that's why. And if you are coming here after not being able to access the site, that's why.
Many thanks to Bad Robert for the use his pick-up truck "The Blue Bitch." we couldn't have gotten everything moved without her...
Please forgive the urine stains in the passenger seat. Bad Monkey had a fifth of vodka with a two-liter bottle of 7-Up for dinner and forgot to go to the bathroom before we left. I made sure there was plenty of toilet paper in case we had to stop along the way, but he didn't tell me until after the deed was done. You know monkeys...
UPDATE: Well that was amazing. The move went flawlessly with no data loss and everything ending up in its proper place. I then set about changing all my blog settings and scripts to point to their new address... only to find that Media Temple had already done it. And not just in the obvious places, like my Movable Type blog software, but also in not so obvious places like my Mint stats package. I simply cannot say enough good things about Media Temple for web hosting. Brilliant company. Terrific service.
I do not discuss religion on my blog when at all possible, because I just don't want the headache of dealing with closed-minded individuals who refuse to understand that people are allowed to have beliefs different from their own. The beauty of all humanity is the diversity of the people who comprise it and, in my many travels around the world, I have learned to love this inevitability of the human condition. This is reflected in my personal beliefs, which are colored by the many religions and peoples I've encountered over the years.
The foundation of my own faith is built on the Buddhist precepts of cherishing all life and doing no harm to any living thing. And though I do not consider myself to be a "true" Buddhist, it is the religion with which I most closely identify, and has been since I first studied it in Thailand a dozen years ago. But I've also studied Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Shinto, Confucianism, Bahá'í, Scientology, Wicca, and dozens of other belief systems like Native American spirituality, Aboriginal world-view, and even voodoo. My attempts at understanding the people who inhabit this planet inevitably lead to investigating their faith, and it is a passion that does not easily leave you.
Studying religion is no easy task. You have to be willing to immerse yourself enough to truly appreciate it, yet be detached enough to see how it works. But there is beauty everywhere, and the joy of getting lost in The Holy Qur'an or The Bhagavad-Gita or The Holy Bible or The Tao-Te-Ching or any text of profound belief is intoxicating. There's always the desire to keep going deeper and deeper... trying to find new levels of understanding in that which others have devoted their lives to studying, yet admit to never fully understand themselves.
And now, in a time where religion is doing such a marvelous job of dividing us, there is one thing which I still believe is true: as a species, we will forever be more alike than we are different... all beliefs considered. Whether this is enough to save us from ourselves remains uncertain.
But sure I hope so.
Because it's about the only thing that keeps me from choking the ever-loving shit out of all the dumbasses running amok during the holiday shopping season.
I've just turned on the television. The Sound of Music is playing and Julie Andrews is singing about how once a woman is married she becomes her husband's property. This movie must have been filmed back in the good old days when you could own a woman outright. Given most of the women I know today, this is a pretty funny concept.
A foot of snow was unexpectedly dumped on us overnight. I only realized it when I heard a snowplow scraping by at the utterly ridiculous hour of 7:00am. But, by the time I left at 10:00, the sun was shining through a brilliant blue sky...
Sure, the snow makes driving a total disaster, but it sure looks pretty.
James has tagged me with the "Three/Three Christmas Meme" where you have to list three things you would like for the holiday, and three things you wouldn't. I don't really celebrate Christmas, but that's not to say I would refuse a present from Santa if he were to give me something.
I've seen this meme around, and most of the time people are selflessly listing lovely things like "world peace" as an answer. As desirable as this might be, it's totally unrealistic. Instead of mucking about in fantasyland, I've instead decided to list things that are realistically obtainable.
So, without further ado, here are three things I would like for Christmas...
And here are the three suck-ass things I would NOT want for Christmas...
And there you have it. I'd link to an Amazon wish-list so any billionaire readers who are feeling the holiday spirit could buy me something... but, alas, Amazon doesn't carry television networks, airlines, or countries.
If it were possible for me to have any holiday spirit, it would have certainly been driven from me on the way home tonight. It's snowing like a muther, and the roads are for crap. To make matters worse, I got to the train crossing only to find a stupid train parked on the crossing-arm switch, which made it impossible for me to go through (even though the train wasn't blocking the intersection). This meant I had to back-up, then go all the way back through town (filled with dumbass maniac drivers), just so I could get to the other crossing in town. After all that, I finally get home only to find out that the parking lot hasn't been plowed. GAH! SNOW SUCKS!!
But there was good news...
THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR TRAILER IS OUT AT APPLE!! It's odd that I could possibly be excited about this given how lame the first F4 movie was... BUT OMG! THE SILVER SURFER IS IN IT AND HE'S KICKING THE HUMAN TORCH'S ASS!!
And thanks to the miracle of CGI, Silver Surfer can do some freakin' cool stuff... like melt through buildings and even his own surfboard!
Here's hoping that they nail it this time, because it would be very cool to have Fantastic Four movies that are as good as the Spider-Man films.
I so totally want to be the Silver Surfer, who has to be one of the coolest super-heroes ever...
Bleh. Six whole months to wait.
At least the snow will be gone by then.
Why is it that every time I really want my camera, I've left it at home?
Since I haven't been out of the country for over a year, I didn't realize that my passport had expired until I looked at it this morning. This really sucks ass, because even if you pay the "expedited handling fee" it will still take up to two weeks to get your renewal. Since I am leaving in three weeks, I had to FedEx it out TODAY in case something gets screwed up along the way. This meant a trip to Wenatchee so I could have new photos taken at the AAA.
Because of the recent heavy snowfall, all the snow from Wenatchee's streets is piled up three feet high in the center turn lane. This is kind of a pain in the ass, because any time you want to make a left turn, you have to keep going until you find a plowed intersection, then do a U-turn and backtrack to where you needed to turn. This has been going on for the 20+ years I've been driving, and everybody just deals with it the best they can.
Except one crazy bitch who thought her little Nissan Sentra could break through a wall of snow three feet tall and make that left turn. Needless to say, this wasn't going to happen. Not only did she screw up her front bumper, but she high-centered herself on the snow. Since she was blocking the lane, two guys from a truck ahead of me decided to get out and see if they could push her off. The entire time she was screaming her head off and, when I rolled down my window to listen, this is part of what I heard...
Of course, being the stupid f#@%ing dumbass that she is, she naturally decides to blame everybody except herself. I find clueless morons like this highly entertaining, and I was cursing myself for not having my camera with me because I would have totally posted a photo of the hilarity that was ensuing.
But, after a minute or so, the two guys managed to push her off the snowbank and she sped off... still screaming at nobody in particular, but mad at everybody except herself.
Anyway... my new passport photo sucks ass, as usual. I look even more like a terrorist than last time, which is bound to make for some exciting new memories to treasure as I pass through Customs for the next ten years. Of course, like anybody who travels extensively, I'm sure that I've already got a lovely profile on record with Homeland Security. Hopefully it only says nice things about me, because I always try to be nice to everybody when I enter or leave the country.
Of course, if I ever DO get detained, I now know exactly how I should act...
Yes. From what I see on a daily basis, raving like a complete idiot seems to be the American Way now. I can totally do that. US Customs agents would be disappointed if I didn't act like a fool... after all, I'm sure they find clueless morons highly entertaining as well.
Except clueless morons, of course. They just don't know any better.
Warner Home Video can kiss my ass.
Today I received my long-awaited copy of the massive 14-DVD Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition which contains the coveted "Richard Donner Director's Cut" of Superman II that I have been waiting 25 years to see. But when I open it up, I find out that my box has TWO copies of Disc 3 and NO copy of Disc 5. I'm pretty upset about it, but mistakes happen, and so I figure I'll just give Warner Home Video a call and swap the duplicate DVD for the one I'm missing. Simple, right?
Except I can't find a customer service number anywhere in the box.
The closest thing I can find is an address for WarnerVideo.com. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a problem... EXCEPT WARNER HOME VIDEO'S WEB SITE USES F#@%ING UNDERTONE NETWORKS "POP-UNDER" ADVERTISING ON EVERY F#@%ING PAGE!! Even with pop-up blocking turned on, I am still having to constantly close all their f#@%ing pop-under windows with advertisements for NetFlix. The thing is, I already subscribe to NetFlix, but now I am seriously considering switching to Blockbuster, because I don't want to give money to ANY company who supports the donkey-raping shit-eaters at "Undertone Networks" who hijacks my browser for advertising.
Eventually I find a customer service phone number to call. But when I call it I am told I have the wrong department and am given a different number. Then I am told I again have the wrong department and am given another number. Then I am told I STILL have the wrong number and am given another number.
So there I sit on hold for A HALF HOUR before I am told that the line I've reached is to replace Disc 1 and Disc 8, which have the wrong content on them. That's fine by me, but what about my missing Disc 5 and duplicate Disc 3?
"Oh, you have to return that to where you bought it."
This is such a crock of shit. Nearly an HOUR of time wasted, and they won't even help me.
So I call up Deep Discount DVD and am emailed a return-label TO RETURN ALL 14 DVDS in under five minutes.
Of course, in the meanwhile, I don't get to watch the remaining 11 DVDs which are perfectly okay (except for the disasters that are Superman III, and the horrendous Superman IV: Quest For Peace)... oh no. I have to wait for the box to get back to DDDVD, then wait even longer for the replacement box to get back to me.
When all Warner Home Video had to do was mail me my Disc 5 and process my replacements for Disc 1 and Disc 8.
But instead I have to frantically search for a customer service number that doesn't exist, visit their Undertone-infested web site to get a number, get passed around THREE TIMES before getting the right number, ultimately get no help at all, and then find out I have to wait another week or two before I even get to watch the movies... all because of THEIR mistake! THIS is customer service??
Seriously... Warner Home Video can kiss my ass. It's crap like this that makes me want to illegally download movies off the internet. Why pay money to get treated like shit when I can download movies with no hassle for free? Movie studios and record labels should be bending over backwards to treat their legal, paying customers with respect and impeccable service. Instead, we get treated like shit, branded as criminals, and are forced to suffer for their errors. And yet, somehow, I am supposed to care when these idiots say that profits are down because of piracy? YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, DUMBASSES!! After all this, why would I ever want to buy anything from Warner Home Video again?
I don't steal music or movies. I never have. Maybe I should start?
Every once in a while I get an email asking me questions about the DaveToons I draw for Blogography. Usually it's asking which program I use to draw them (Adobe Illustrator) or how long it takes to make one (about 5-15 minutes depending on difficulty) or how I animate them (Toon Boom Studio) or how I learned to draw them (I'm self-taught). A more extensive explanation of the awful, semi-fictional PG-13 truth is here.
But today's email asked a question I've never received before... what cartoons do I like, and where do I get my inspiration for the Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey toons I draw?
Hmmmm... where to start? I have loved cartooning and animation for as long as I can remember. Disney, Looney Tunes, and Peanuts were an obsession in my formative years, and led to a life-long love which has expanded to include new favorites, like Katsuhiro Otomo and Hayao Miyazaki.
But when trying to trace what inspires Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey specifically, I can narrow it down to three sources (that I am consciously aware of, there are many more I'm sure)...
Calvin learns why Dave is afraid of cauliflower...
CALVIN AND HOBBES
Bill Watterson's master work Calvin and Hobbes is simply the best comic ever created. It's all at once riotously funny, touchingly poignant, and wonderfully life-affirming. How Watterson managed to pack all that into a strip about a little boy and his stuffed tiger is nothing short of miraculous. I wouldn't presume to think that Lil' Dave is on a level even approaching Calvin's brilliance, but I do like to think that he shares the innocence and imagination that made Calvin's world so much fun. If I was stranded on a desert island and could have only one book to take with me, it would be The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. There's a part of me that will always be hoping that Watterson will one day release a new Calvin project, because reading it is an experience you never want to end.
Bad Monkey meets GIR from Invader Zim
It is always a source of great sadness that the wacky and wonderful world of Jhonen Vasquez's Invader Zim was cancelled way before its time. It was a cartoon series that actually seemed to be heading somewhere, and the sheer insanity of it all made me fall in love with the show from the first time I saw it. But, as great as the character of Invader Zim is, it's his malfunctioning robot sidekick GIR that I liked best. He's an irritating, bungling, inept, and totally insane little companion... but Zim loves him anyway. Much like Bad Monkey's naughty, drunken, and totally inappropriate behavior is likewise irritating to Lil' Dave, but he loves him just the same. If you've never experienced Invader Zim, it's kind of hard to explain... but you can buy the show at the iTunes music store (or rent the DVD) and see for yourself. Most people are probably not going to dig it, but it's one of my favorite cartoon series of all time (followed by Batman: The Animated Series, Pinky and The Brain, Family Guy, and Top Cat).
DaveToon homages to South Park pop up from time to time. Here there are FOUR!
If there is one show that has forever changed the landscape of cartoons as a medium for adult entertainment, it would be South Park. Sure The Simpsons revived the genre of more mature-oriented cartoons that hadn't been seen since The Flintstones, yet it was South Park that shattered the genre completely. But, to me, even more important than what the show does is how it does it. The first incarnation of the show was crudely animated by hand as a school project for Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They didn't have a studio, massive funding, or anybody telling them what they could (and couldn't!) do... yet look what came of it. This is inspiring to anybody who dreams of creating animation of their own, and has certainly inspired me to goof around with it.
Argh. I have the sudden urge to watch Invader Zim and South Park while reading Calvin and Hobbes. I'm never going to get caught up with my work now.
Oh how I dread the drive home from work each night. There's just too many idiots on the road. Last night was particularly nasty, because I ran across somebody in the ditch who apparently thought that his 4-wheel drive made him immune to sliding on ice. I stopped to make sure everything was okay, only to find out he had already called somebody with a winch to pull his truck out. "Heh heh... watch out, it's slippery out there" he says.
Uhhhh, yeah. That's what happens when water gets cold.
But before I drove home from work, I put on my gloves and wondered for the millionth time why glove manufacturers are so frickin' stupid that they consistently make the thumb and little finger too long. Every pair of gloves I've ever owned has had an extra inch of fabric flapping around on my "hang loose" digits. Very annoying. I mean, seriously, just LOOK at this lunacy (thanks to the "X-Ray" attachment on my Epson scanner)...
GAH! Dumbass glove manufacturers!! Surely I'm not the only one who notices this stuff?
HOLY CRAP! It's me, isn't it? I'M A MUTANT!! Somehow my mutant super-power is to have a thumb and little finger shorter than everybody else! THAT'S why gloves never fit me...
Or maybe it's my middle fingers that are longer. Who knows. I wonder if this is a good enough mutant super-power to get me into the X-Men? Probably not, but it might get me into a cheap horror movie...
Of course, Lil' Dave only has four fingers.
Not because he's a mutant, but because he's a cartoon.
Oh well. I try not to feel too badly for him... he can still flip-off people who irritate him. That's all that really matters, isn't it?
How can I be so exhausted yet not be able to sleep?
I went to bed at 9:30 and was relieved that I might actually catch up on some much-needed shuteye. But then I woke up at midnight, and haven't been able to get back to sleep all night. Insomnia sucks ass, but it did give me time to write the final Bullet Sunday of 2006... BLOGOGRAPHY'S BEST OF THE YEAR LIST!
• Best New Television Show... For nine glorious weeks, Project Catwalk featured Elizabeth Hurley being Elizabeth Hurley which makes it one of the greatest shows ever. At least it was, until this tragic event occurred.
• Best Returning Television Show... How does one choose between Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica? (if you are a guy, trust me... you want to follow those links!).
• Best Guest Appearance on a Television Show...
Betty White in "Peterotica" from The Family Guy.
• Best Movie... This is a tough call, but I was taken completely by surprise at how much I loved Little Miss Sunshine. A close second is The Prestige, which haunted me for weeks.
• Best Bad Movie Hype... I went to Brokeback Mountain because of all the hype and was so bored that I consider this to be one of the worst films ever. I prefer my remake, Bareback Monkey. "I wish I could quit you, Captain Crunch!"
• Best Video Game... Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy. I only wish I had time to play it.
• Best Funny... I never claimed that Blogography was a humor blog but, when I set my mind to it, this can be the funniest blog ever.
• Best Poetry... I hate to be tooting my own horn here, but my Seven Odes From My Day-Trip To Chicago kick ass! I should totally write a book of poetry!
• Best Charitable Cause... There is nothing more important right now than immortalizing my greatness. Give generously to the Dave Monument Fund.
• Best Explanation of Why I Am The Way I Am...
Yes, the world really does revolve around me.
• Best Reason to Have a Blog... Davecago was one of the year's biggest highlights for me.
• Best Shock... Randomly running into fellow blogger Timothy while in New York City just before he's off to Uganda. What are the odds? Considering he previously lived in American Samoa before moving to Africa, he would be voted the Blogger I'm Least Likely To Ever Meet, yet there he was in the middle of one of the biggest cities on earth.
• Best Non-Government Holiday... Yeah, it would be pretty hard to top Day of Slayer! (and getting to meet Mistress Eve and Dave3 a month later was icing on the cake).
• Best Garfield Strip in 25 Years... Well, it's not like Jim Davis was ever going to get around to doing it. You may think I'm joking here, but I'm totally not.
• Best Bad Influence... Bad Monkey really is bad... he's teaching kids to smoke cigarettes and then getting them into trouble at school.
• Best Blog Fan... Turns out that I'm not good-looking, not funny, and not nice, and somebody was kind enough to point it out to me.
• Best Identity Theft... And here I only thought I was joking about people wanting to be me...
Who could possibly want to be me with hair like this?
• Best Bad Robert Story... Well, of those stories I was actually able to share without getting sued, I guess it would have to be Bad Robert's Blue Balls.
• Best Advice... How to make your blog be like every other blog (though some people hated me for this one).
• Best Way To Hide a Fart... Who knew a pack of gum would make the best odor eliminator ever?
• Best Lie... Bob is a psychopath.
• Best Lesson Learned... One thing at a time.
• Best Blogography Entry... How can I choose when they're all so good? I've narrowed it down to these ten...
• Best Reader... It's totally you! How could it be anybody but you? Thanks for stopping by, and we'll see you next year.