I had a long hard day at work and didn't get home until 10:30. This is not the best way to spend a Sunday holiday. Some would argue that it's not the best way to spend any day but, sadly, I'm used to it. So when I finally drag my sorry ass to the couch for some quality TiVo time, I realize that I haven't written in my blog today. That sucks, because I don't really feel like it now. For the first time in years, I actually consider skipping a day.
Until I turn on the television and see Dr. Daniel Stein M.D. telling me how he has devoted his professional life to improving the sexual health of others. "Holy crap!" I say to myself as images of this creepy doctor instructing people how to have sex fill my head. But it turns out he's selling penis enlargement pills called (hah!) ExtenZe. Actually, they're MAXIUM STRENGTH Extenze (I guess when it comes to giving yourself a bigger penis, there's no half-way, so "regular strength" ExtenZe is not an option).
But penis enlargement pills are not the reason I decided to blog, however.
It's what Dr. Daniel Stein M.D. said next...
"I have personally researched the formula in ExtenZe, and found it to be truly effective."
Which is another way of saying "I've tried the stuff, and now I have a massive, massive penis."
"Well that explains why they only show him from the waist up" I say to nobody in particular. Suddenly I wonder if this is the secret to Lil' Dave's own massive endowment, and consider offering him to the Stein Medical Institute as a spokesperson (spokestoon?)...
There's a part of me that actually wants to call for the free sample to see if it actually works... and then blog about it. I can picture it now...
"DAY 10: My penis is now so big that I had to buy a larger pair of pants today..."
In other news, I got an email from somebody a few weeks ago which I thought was spam offering to "increase your search engine position" and was about to trash it when I realized it wasn't an offer, it was a question. A guy was asking if I was preventing Google from indexing my site, because he was having problems Googling my blog. I go check it out and, sure enough, Googling "blogography" shows no results for my "Blogography" (yet at Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN and other search engines I show up fine). I have no idea why. Signing up for Google's "Webmaster Tools" reveals nothing and provides no way of finding out. I guess it doesn't matter, because it's not like I'm getting money for visitors or anything... but it is strange how dozens of sites that link here show up while the actual "blogography.com" does not. Oh well. It's not like anybody at Google is going to care about a blog like mine.
And then today I read where Boing Boing, one of the biggest web sites in existence, is having the same problem.
Now that I know a site like Boing Boing has also gone missing, I have to wonder if Google's search results are worth a crap anymore. Perhaps it's time to go back to Yahoo? If I were running a business, I would be totally screwed, because Google IS search, and there's doesn't seem to be anything you can do if you disappear.
On the bright side, I should be grateful because I don't really want my site popping up when people Google "massive penis."
Wah! My (usually) most-excellent web host, Media Temple, has been having problems all day. Sometimes you can get to Blogography, sometimes you can't. Sometimes you can leave comments, sometimes you can't. Do these people not realize who I am?? When my blog is down, the very fabric of the universe is in jeopardy!
After being buried in snow for the past week, today we get... rain. Lots and lots of rain.
On the roads that have been plowed, the rain isn't too bad. It helps melt away the bits of snow that are still hanging on. But on roads that are not plowed, everything turns to a giant slushy mess that's absolute torture. Driving in it is exhausting, because it's a minute-by-minute fight just to keep your car on the road.
Here's me driving home after dropping off some work for a client...
The even worse news is that I left my laptop power adapter at the office and was too terrified to go back and get it. This means that I can use what's left of my battery to either surf for lesbian porn... or write a blog entry.
And here I am.
SEE? SEE the horrible sacrifices that I have to make in order to keep YOU entertained? I'm totally giving up my nightly lesbian porn fix for this! And it's entirely possible that my site will be down and I won't even get to post this crap anyway!
One could assume that my dedication to lesbian porn must not be very strong if I would allow a little thing like slushy roads to keep me from retrieving my power adapter. Yet this is simply not true. I can always surf for lesbian porn using the browser on my mobile phone. Sure the tiny screen makes it difficult to tell whether I am looking at a naked breast or a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, but the roads are really, really bad. As in Clay Aiken "singing" bad. Or even David Caruso "acting" bad. Yes, that bad!
But the blog must go on.
And now I'm really hungry for a peanut & jelly butter sandwich...
I've been watching my new Mission: Impossible... The Complete First Season DVD set whenever I can. It's amazing how well the series holds up after 40 years. I was totally addicted to the reruns when I was a kid, then hopelessly disappointed by the Tom Cruise films as an adult (M:I is supposed to be about TEAMWORK... TEAMWORK!). It's pretty sweet to see that the original show is just as good as I remember... and Barbara Bain is just as smokin' hot as I remember (literally, she smokes cigarettes constantly).
I've decided I don't feel like writing tonight. To explain myself, I offer this...
Why are people are still listening to this crazy asshole? If God is truly talking to Pat Robertson... how could he ever be wrong in his predictions? Wouldn't he have to be right 100% of the time for people to actually believe his shit? When he says "sometimes I miss" doesn't that imply that GOD is missing too? Or maybe... just maybe... he's a total nut-bag fraud. Anyone? Anyone?
Argh. Time for another spoonful of Pepto Bismol and bed.
But before I go... Over New Years, I reorganized and catalogued my DVD collection with a program called "Delicious Library." I've owned the program for almost two years, but never had the ambition to actually use it until now. I ended up loving the way it works so much, I've decided to review it in an extended entry...
→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
It has been suggested that my frequent battles with insomnia may be a result of a bad mattress. This would not surprise me, because the mattress I bought is total crap. And I owe it all to letter-turning-game-show-sidekick Vanna White.
It all started when my old mattress was falling apart and I needed to replace it. So off I went to the local furniture store to buy one. But, once I got there, I realized that I don't know the first thing about mattresses and had no idea what I wanted. But then I saw a cardboard cut-out of Vanna White smiling over a mattress and decided to go for it. I figured that if the bed was good enough for Vanna, it would certainly be good enough for me (even though it was more money than I wanted to spend).
But Vanna was full of crap. The mattress was sagging in the middle after only a few months.
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has been f#@%ed by Vanna White over a mattress, but I'm probably one of the few who hasn't enjoyed the experience...
So here I am 10 years later needing to buy a new mattress. Again.
The one I really want to try is a Sleep Number bed. Since it is filled with air, it probably won't be sagging anytime soon. If it does, I'd imagine that you just blow it up again. Much like an inflatable companion (ahem... or so I've heard). Besides, Lindsay Wagner endorses it and she's all bionic and stuff! But then I read complaints about poor customer service and the air mattress filling up with mold and such, and start having second thoughts.
So now I am flirting with the idea of buying a Tempurpedic mattress.
Yet, I am hesitant because, well...
The following is a fictional account of events that never happened. Stories like this are far too embarrassing to be published on the internet if they're true, so it's not true. I'm making it all up...
Fictional Dave: (answering phone) Hello?
Fictional Former Girlfriend: Hey, I'm working late! Rather than driving all the way back home, let's just stay in town. I've booked us a room at "Inn At The Market" on 1st & Pine.
Fictional Dave: Cool. Call me when you're ready and I'll pick you up on the way.
(LATER THAT EVENING AT THE HOTEL)
Fictional Dave: (after having flopped on the bed) Whoa! This mattress doesn't bounce! It's weird!
Fictional Former Girlfriend: It's not weird. It's a Temperpedic mattress. After you get used to it, it's super-comfortable.
Fictional Dave: I still think it's weird that a mattress doesn't bounce when you sit on it.
Fictional Former Girlfriend: You're weird.
(STILL LATER THAT EVENING)
Fictional Dave: It's not me... it's this weird mattress! The foam... it's like... it's absorbing my moves or something!!
Fictional Former Girlfriend: (sarcasm) Sure it is.
So, as you can see, in the unlikely event that I ever need to use my new bed for something other than sleep... like...ohhhh... let's saaay... an exercise mat... it doesn't work so well.
But for actual sleeping it's pretty sweet, so I dunno.
Awwwww... maybe I should just sleep on the couch from now on. It's like an "exercise mat" for one.
The first email I opened this morning was somebody saying "You are a f#@%ing asshole and your blog sucks!" Ordinarily, I'd be thrilled to receive such well-written and thoughtful feedback, but this morning I wasn't in the mood. So instead of sending my usual automated reply ("Thank you so much for your lovely letter regarding Blogography, and I look forward to making you even more angry in the future!") I instead wrote back with this...
"Wow! You've figured it all out! I make my blog suck ON PURPOSE because, as you have so astutely surmised, I AM an asshole! Congratulations on your brilliance, and I hope you die real soon now so my secret will be safe!"
Then I got worried that by hoping somebody else is going to die, I might be wishing death upon myself, and suddenly became concerned about my health and well-being. Perhaps a diet of candy, chips, and Coke with Lime is just the excuse that irony is looking for to kill me off? Well screw that. I'm going to start eating healthier snacks!
So there I am at the health-bar aisle of the grocery store looking at the hundreds of healthy alternatives to candy. I am amazed at how expensive it all is. But what's money compared to my health? Nothing! So I scoop up an assortment of yummy-sounding bars, pay my $25 (holy crap!) and am on my way.
Once I get to work I decide to have a health bar for breakfast. GAH! IT'S HORRIBLE! HORRIBLE!! Dumbstruck at the foul taste in my mouth, I spit it into a garbage can while making a mental note to never buy that brand again. Then I try another one, AND IT'S EVEN WORSE! ACK!!! I PAID $2.99 for THIS?!? After spitting my fifth health bar in the trash, I'm screaming "OH LORD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME??" as I open up number six, which is called a "Bumble Bar."
Bumble Bar Almond still tastes outrageously bad but, compared to the first five I tried, it's at least edible. So there I am chomping away on gobs of seeds and sticks, trying my best to be happy at how healthy I'm going to be from all this suffering. At least I was, until I looked at the Nutrition Facts...
Seriously, WTF?!? It's the same calories and fat content as a tasty Hershey Bar with Almonds! About the only difference is 2 grams more fiber, 4 grams less saturated fat, and an additional 18% iron!
Holy shit. Give me back my frackin' candy! I'll just eat a handful of Shredded Wheat for breakfast to make up the difference in fiber, and suck on a nail to get that extra 18% iron.
What really frosts my cake is that I could have bought FORTY candy bars for the money I paid for these ten "health" bars. This blows. The ones I threw out are probably healthier because they tasted worse, but I'd rather die than have to eat that crap for the rest of my life. Better to die young and happy from snacking on junk than old and miserable from eating disgusting health bars.
Maybe I'll just starting taking a vitamin with my first can of Coke with Lime of the day? That's probably the same thing anyway. Yes, thanks to vitamins, I can be healthy and still eat delicious crap! Modern science is great.
Yargh. Karma dictates I find something good to blog about now. Fortunately, I have a book that's totally sweet to talk about in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
All I ever ask of my loyal readers is their abject love and devotion. You can keep your money. You can keep your politics. You can keep your religion. You can even keep your souls. For I am a kind and benevolent blogger, and loathe to ask of anything from somebody who would do me the honor of reading Blogography.
Except this once.
I have made continuous reference to Jeremy Piven's Cupid as the best show ever to air on television. In the seven years since it was foolishly canceled (thanks to the raging morons in charge of ABC scheduling), I have not changed my mind. This show will make you laugh, cry, and everything in-between. It is all that television strives to be, with brilliant casting and writing that is unparalleled in the medium.
Yet it has not been given a DVD release.
Now Sony Pictures is asking people to vote for a series they would most like to see on DVD.
And Cupid is on the list.
I am asking... begging... pleading... threatening... petitioning... praying... that you will do me this one favor and go vote for Cupid to be released on DVD.
You can't vote for Cupid three times (believe me, I tried) so you'll have to pick two other crappy shows to vote for after Cupid, (except Bette which is stealing too many votes!) but the important thing is that Cupid be one of your choices. And, if the fact that it's the best show ever to air on television is not reason enough to make you vote, here's a few more...
Do you like "Veronica Mars?" Then you should know that Cupid was written and created by über-genius Rob Thomas, who also created Veronica Mars, and he's every bit as brilliant (if not more so). So go vote!
Do you love Jeremy Piven in "Entourage?" Then you should know that the same insane energy that make Entourage's Ari Gold so much fun to watch is nothing compared to the performance Jeremy Piven turns in on each and every episode of Cupid. So go vote!
Do you guys think Paula Marshall is a total babe? Well who doesn't? You should know that Paula Marshall is in every single episode of Cupid (and looking much hotter than this photo I found). So go vote!
Do you ladies think Lt. Colonel John Sheppard on "Stargate Atlantis" is hot? Then you should know that the actor who plays him, Joe Flanigan, appears in a chunk of Cupid episodes as Paula Marshall's boyfriend. So go vote!
Are you a Lisa Loeb fan? Then you should know that she makes a stellar guest appearance in one of the best Cupid episodes, "First Loves". So go vote!
Are you a "Dead Like Me" fan? Then you should know that before he directed and produced the show, Scott Winant directed episodes for Cupid. So go vote!
Did you enjoy the musical scores for "The West Wing," "Sports Night," and "Studio 60?" Then you should know that the very talented W.G. "Snuffy" Walden who composed for those shows (and dozens of others) produced some wonderful musical interludes for Cupid. So go vote!
Are you a fan of Chrissy Hynde and The Pretenders? Then you should know that the theme for Cupid was their beautiful song "Human." So go vote!
Are you a fan of brilliant guest-star casting? Then you should know that Cupid had an amazing roster of guest spots by such actors as Sherilyn Fenn, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Kim Fields, David Johansen, Anna Chlumsky, Matt Roth, Daphne Ashbrook, George Newbern, Laura Leighton, and more! So go vote!
And after you've voted... get the word out. Tell your friends. Write about it on your blog. Let people know Cupid's day on DVD is at hand!
Who knows... if the Cupid DVD ever comes to pass, I might go crazy and start holding drawings to give copies away! I'm insane like that! So what are you doing reading this crap, when you should be voting?
Ack! It's Bullet Sunday, but I'm running low on ammo!
• Thank you... Many, many thanks to absolutely everybody who has voted for Cupid to be released on DVD! According to my stats, 624 of you have clicked-through to vote, and I couldn't be more grateful. The show is now up to #2, and will hopefully end up ranking high enough to get Sony Pictures to notice. Yet, as grateful as I am that Sony is thinking about releasing Cupid, I am kind of pissed at the way they have structured the voting. First of all, you MUST vote for three shows, even if you don't like any of the other shows. Second of all, you can't give all your votes to the one show you want. This inflates the votes of shows that nobody cares about, and Sony should really find a way to make the voting reflect what people are actually wanting to buy.
• Windy... The Wenatchee Valley has been hit with pretty horrendous wind storms for the past few days. This has resulted in numerous trees and power poles being blown over... wrecking houses and cutting power lines. Today while I was working, there were a half-dozen power brown-outs that kept killing my computer and taking my work with it. Wind sucks ass.
• Nintendon't... Speaking of suckage, there's still no Wii game consoles to be found anywhere. It's been weeks since Nintendo dumped a load of Wii for the holidays, and you'd think that they would have caught up to the demand by now. Yet the only place you can buy them is on eBay for 2 to 3 times the retail price. Kind of makes you wonder why Nintendo doesn't just jack the price up themselves if they know that the supply is going to be restricted. In any event, it's kind of funny that when you go to Nintendo's website that they're hitting you over the head with something you can't even buy. That's not very nice at all.
• Whore... Today I decided to add yet another volume to my series of Dumbass Books...
Because nothing is sadder than seeing a nasty whore sliding around a parking lot with holes in the ass of her stretch-pants. At least, I was assuming she was a whore, since I don't know many women who would explode in a flurry of obscenities after her child slipped, fell down, and got their new coat dirty. Never mind that the poor kid looked like he hurt himself and was already upset... screaming curse words at him while he's crying and struggling to get up makes makes me think you're nothing more than a big whore. You're certainly not much of a mother. And if you expect to make any money being a whore, you should at least try to be a little more classy. Like maybe wearing stretch pants that don't have holes in the ass and watching your filthy white-trash mouth in front of your kids. This book will explain it all using small words and pictures so even a stupid bitch like you can understand it.
Some people shouldn't be allowed to have kids.
Yeah, that's all I got. But next week is MacWorld, so I'm sure things will pick up...
For Macintosh whores like myself, tomorrow is the most important day of the year because it's time for MacWorld!
I both love and hate MacWorld. Love it, because Apple is probably going to introduce some cool new stuff. Hate it, because I'm bound to want all the cool new stuff... and it's always expensive.
Last year, I live-blogged from the keynote for the introduction of the iToast toaster...
That was fun and all, but this year there isn't a live feed of Steve Job's keynote speech, so I guess I won't be live-blogging anything. Heck, I can't even find out if they will be re-broadcasting the Stevenote afterwards. As a Mac whore, I find this depressing.
I've become one of those people that qualifies everything I say "as a Mac whore."
This reminds me of a former co-worked who qualified everything he said "as a Christian."
He was a nice enough guy, but the condescending way he constantly presented his Christian opinion as being superior to everybody else drove me insane. You could even be saying something nice to him, and he'd find a way to turn it around and make you feel inferior...
Dave: Hey, good luck with your class!
Christian Guy: As a Christian, I don't believe in luck... I believe in Jesus!
Even when you are obviously joking around, he's there to look down at your heathen ass...
Christian Guy: I wanted to go to the party, but everybody was acting freaky, so I left.
Dave: POD PEOPLE! They've been replaced by alien clones!
Christian Guy: As a Christian, I can't accept the concept of alien life.
It got so bad that I dreaded being in even simple conversations with him for fear of what might happen...
Dave: I can't decide if I want a Gordita or Chalupa from Taco Bell...
Christian Guy: As a Christian, I don't believe in Chalupas because they are fried. Gorditas are baked as God intended in Ezekiel 4:15... "I will let you bake your bread over cow manure instead of human excrement."
Christian Guy: BURN IN HELL, CHALUPA-EATER!!
Fortunately, he quit the job after only a few weeks and took his holier-than-thou attitude with him.
And since I brought it up...
As a Mac whore, I prefer to think of Jesus as a Mac user.
UPDATE: Hey, I was right!
Yeah, I just knew this MacWorld was going to be financially devastating.
Looks like I'll be dumping Verizon this June and signing up with Cingular. Verizon has excellent quality and fairly decent customer service and all... but... dang... how can you say no to THIS...
The specs over at Apple are AMAZING.
It kind of sucks that there's a six month delay before you can buy it, but something tells me it will be worth the wait.
Besides, it will give me time to save my pennies... all 50,000 of them... so I can actually afford the thing when it's released.
But that would have been my favorite part...
Thanks to my good friend Harold... a longtime Blogography supporter, former co-worker, and ruler of Las Vegas once I conquer the earth... I was tipped off that the local ShopKo had Nintendo Wii in stock. I didn't have my hopes up, because last time I heard they were available at Target, they sold out in the 15 minutes it took me to get there. But I decided to take a stab at it, and asked my mother to stop by when she was in Wenatchee and see if they had any left. Luckily, they had two, and one of them was going to be mine.
MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!!
When I got home to hook it up, I had just over an hour before I had to get back to work. This was fine, because all I wanted to do was send a WiiMail to Avitable to let him know that I got my Wii on the same day he did... so he could feel MY Wii-ness.
So I unwrap everything, get everything set up, turn it on, configure the internet, and then.... wait.
Wait for 20 minutes while the Wii updates itself.
Then wait ANOTHER 20 minutes for it to perform ANOTHER update.
By the time I construct my "Mii" avatar and punched in Avitable's "friend code" I am running late for work and am starting to get pissed off. Then I find out that I can't send Avitable WiiMail after all, because he has to enter my "friend code" on his machine too. Shit!!
After I get back from work, I'm finally able to send my WiiMail and play around with my new Nintendo...
The first box is the Mii avatar for myself (The Chad created an avatar for Lil' Dave that I'm going to have to get him to WiiMail to me). The second box is a WiiMail with Avitable's Mii on it (it looks JUST LIKE HIM!). The third and fourth box show that Blogography renders perfectly on the Wii web browser... which is no surprise since it's built on the excellent Opera browser. The fifth box is Wii's Global Weather Channel. And the last box is the Wii Photo Channel displaying an image loaded directly off my camera's SD memory card.
Overall, the Wii is pretty sweet.
I am looking forward to the day I can sit down with my Wii and play games with fellow Wii bloggers over the internet... I'm sure it's not too far off. In the meanwhile, I'll have to play by myself. Right now my favorite game is "Elebits" where you tear apart your house searching for tiny electrical creatures that hide everywhere and in everything...
Images taken from the incredible IGN Wii site.
The game is a total riot, and showcases how truly unique a Wii is from your "typical" video game systems.
I just wish I was going to have time to play it.
Anyway, in addition to making cool Mii avatars, The Chad also makes memes. You can see my answers to his latest in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Does anybody know a good place that the general public can buy flamethrowers at discount? Wikipedia says that private ownership of flamethrowers is not restricted in the US, yet I couldn't find them for sale at Target. I'm pretty sure that you can't get them at K-Mart or Wal-Mart either. This is puzzling to me, because it seems that so many of my daily problems could be easily solved if I started carrying a flamethrower with me.
In fact, if I did own a flamethrower, I would have used it at least a half-dozen times before lunch today. Just think of all the cool things you could do with it! No more raking leaves in the yard... flamethrower! Shoveling snow is a thing of the past... flamethrower! Have to clean the bathtub... flamethrower! Microwave broke and you need some popcorn... flamethrower! And that's just the beginning...
The ultimate cure for viruses on your Windows PC... flamethrower!
The perfect revenge for dumbasses who cut you off in traffic... flamethrower!
The cost-effective solution when giant killer clowns invade the planet... flamethrower!
What a handy thing to have around the house!
A pity I can't add one to my Amazon Wish List.
And in non-flamable news... sadly, I haven't had much time to play with my Wii. I try to sneak in a level of "Elebits" when I have the chance, but even that seems rare. I haven't even looked at "Zelda" yet. One thing I did do was create a new Mii. Mr. Jerz sent me "Miidonna" and so I made "Miilizabeth HurlWii" to send back. Somehow the idea of playing a game of tennis as Liz HurlWii is appealing to me. Probably because it's as close to playing with Liz as I am ever going to get.
Apparently I do have time for memes though... there's one from Karla in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I'm not a nostalgic-type person. I don't sit around waxing poetic about "the good old days" and wishing I could go back in time to relive moments in my life. Sure it's fun to reminisce, but I don't choose to live in the past.
But there are things I remember as being fun that I think might be fun again, so sometimes I bring the past to the present. For instance, ShrinkyDinks. When I was a kid, I loved ShrinkyDinks. Nothing made me happier than to take pieces of frosted plastic, color them in with colored pencils, cut them out, and bake them in the oven until they shrink down to useless pieces of hard plastic.
So when I saw that ShrinkyDinks are still around AND available for inkjet printers, I just had to buy some. Fun!
First you print something out at 50% lightness on ShrinkyDink plastic...
Then you bake it and it shrinks down (after some mildly entertaining acrobatics)...
Yeah, not quite as fun as I remember.
Things so rarely are.
But you have to consider that stuff like home computers, video games, and the World Wide Web didn't exist back when my ShrinkyDink infatuation was underway. Turns out it's not that ShrinkyDinks were ever that great... it's just that there was nothing better to do back then.
Like create Mii characters on my Wii! For those who asked, here's what "MiiLizabeth HurWii" looks like...
Given the limited options for Mii creation, I think she turned out pretty good.
Bleh. I have to work all weekend. Considering I woke up with a migraine the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, this does not promise to be a fun day. Still, it's better than waking up with a migraine the size of a Hummer (the giant H2 model... not the wimpier H3) because those are the days I just want to stick my head in the Whirling Blades of Death and be done with it.
Who knows, by the end of the day I just might anyway.
• Bullets... If I thought about it long enough, I'd probably be taking today's bullet points and shooting myself in the head with them. Yesterday was a disaster. My migraine kept getting worse and worse despite my taking The Special Pills. But The Special Pills just made me nauseous on top of feeling like my head was going to explode. So I was hurting and puking while trying to work, which did not make for a very productive day. Now I'm way behind, and will probably have to work straight through the next 36 hours. Still with a headache.
• Relationship... I finally managed to scrape together the money to pay off my "90-days-same-as-cash" Apple credit balance before the deadline. So I call to be sure that I have the pay-off amount correct (last time they tried to screw me by slapping on a $2 "billing fee," not telling me about it, then slapping me with $130 in accumulated interest). While on hold, a recorded voice kept telling me that a "Relationship Manager" would be with me in a moment. "Relationship Manager?" That sounds like somebody whom busy yuppies hire in order to work out their complex schedules so that they can find time to have sex. I don't know about you, but this is a much closer relationship than I am wanting to have with a bank.
• O RLY?... And, combining my first two bullet points, I am reminded of a time I attempted to build a relationship while battling a migraine headache AND being nauseated by The Special Pills. It all started when I was set up on a date with a girl who I really, really liked... but from a distance. I didn't know her very well at all. A mutual friend asked her if she wanted to go out with me, and she said something like "oh, he's funny!" and agreed. But, on the day we decided on dinner and a movie, I was hit with a huge migraine. Desperately not wanting to break our date for fear I would never get another one, I doped up on The Special Pills and went on my way. Dinner was painful. She talked and talked and talked about... well, nothing, really. My head was throbbing, and she simply would not stop talking. After paying the check I went to the bathroom so I could throw up. Then we drove to the movie with her talking all the way... I was SO looking forward to the film starting in anticipation of finally getting some peace and quiet. Alas, it was not to be. She talked through the entire film...
*Those unfamiliar with internet-speak can get an "O RLY" explanation here.
It was the longest night of my life. Puking in the bathroom was actually a hilight. The funny thing was that she thought the date went great, and asked my friend if I would be asking her out again. Sure she was fun to look at, but the thought of having to endure another night of her non-stop talking without guarantee of a sexual return was more than I could take. I didn't make just one excuse to get out of asking her out again, I made five.
• Hindsight... YOU IDIOT! Do you know how rare it is to find a woman who would be willing talk to you... AT ALL?!?
• Memes... What's with all the memes lately? This latest one comes from Neil, and I've put it in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
After a long day at work on a public holiday, I was looking forward to finally seeing Children of Men and going out to a nice dinner.
Unfortunately my favorite restaurant in Wenatchee (McGlinns) has, for some stupid-ass reason, decided to stop offering veggie burger substitutions on their burger menu. WTF?!? THEY'RE FROZEN!! How hard is it to keep a box of frozen veggie burgers in your freezer for those times you have vegetarian guests? Is that really too much to ask? Sheesh. It's inexplicable shit like this that causes me to abandon local haunts in favor of sanitized chains like Applebees. Hey, they may be a chain, but at least they don't f#@%-over their vegetarian clientele.
As for the movie... it was pretty freakin' amazing. I was blown away at some of the more shocking turns (of which there are several). It is now readily apparent why Children of Men is garnering such critical praise... it's relentless. And beautifully acted. And wonderfully shot. And skillfully directed. It's not a feel-good film by any means, but it is a film that will make you think. And feel. Just watching Children of Men is thoroughly exhausting, but in a good way. If you can handle the violence and a few meandering scenes, it's worth checking out.
Anyway, if you will now excuse me, I'm choosing to retire on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day by listening to a few of his speeches. So many of his words are as profoundly stirring today as they were when he spoke them, and I don't know whether I should be happy or sad about that. Happy, because it just goes to show that great words withstand the test of time. Sad, because if I were asked to name a "Martin Luther King Jr." for our day, I could not. Why is it that America's greatest voices all seem to come from the past?
Bleh. I'd feel a little less depressed about that if there was a new Veronica Mars on tomorrow night, but she doesn't return until the 23rd.
If you want to know why I will never, ever, ever purchase another product from HP, it's explained in an extended entry. Never before have I been treated so badly by so many. It's not very entertaining, but it is critical read if you are ever considering buying something from Hewlett Packard. But don't be too depressed for me... I've kept the call open on their toll-free support line and am running up quite a phone bill for them.
Apparently revenge is a dish best served long distance.
Speaking of idiots though, I finally got to watch my DVD of Idiocracy this morning...
It's by Mike Judge (who also created the brilliant Office Space) and was never given a theatrical release by 20th Century Fox for some reason. It's a pretty good flick in its own right, but fell way short of my lofty expectations... still, it's better than a lot of the crap in theaters, so I remain vexed by Fox's decision.
Anyway, Luke Wilson gets frozen for 500 years and wakes up in the future where everybody is stupid (the most popular show on television is Ow! My Balls! and fast food corporations rule the earth). Apparently this was because complete morons cluttered up the gene pool and eventually won out. Given today's events with HP, it seems like science-fact rather than science-fiction.
If you keep your expectations in check, don't compare it to Office Space, and want a few laughs, then Idiocracy is worth a rent.
Now back to your regularly-scheduled rant over the dumbasses at HP...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Would Microsoft Windows sufferers who are still using Internet Explorer please just stop it? Go download Firefox or Opera or whatever, and start using a real web browser instead. I am tired of spending hours and hours tracking down the crap-load of bugs and quirks unique to Internet Explorer so that web pages display properly. It seems that every time I get to the end of a project, I find stuff that renders beautifully in regular browsers, but end up looking like crap in IE...
It's a real pain in the ass, so if everybody on the internets could just stop using it, that would be great.
Oh, and since the new Windows Vista version of Outlook f#@%s up HTML emails, if you would switch to Thunderbird or some other email client while you're at it, I'd appreciate it.
This sucks ass. Blogography has been fragged with a scrolling bug in IE for ages, and I've got no time to fix it because I'm too busy fixing everything else.
Why does Microsoft hate us so much?
So there I am innocently flicking through channels when I see Orville Redenbacher on television selling his popcorn. He's one freaky-looking guy, which would ordinarily be scary enough. But this commercial is particularly disturbing for one simple reason... HE'S F#@%ING DEAD!!
The only explanation I can come up with is that the people who make Orville Redenbacher popcorn read my Blogography entry where I don't want to eat a dead man's corn, and decided to revive him all zombie-like in a series of new commercials to get me to buy...
The problem is that he was always kind of zombie-like while he was alive, so the computer-enhanced version is just downright terrifying. If they made a horror film staring Dead Orville, I would be too afraid to watch. "CORN OF THE DEAD!". they could call it...
But the commercial did make me hungry.
Here is my dinner menu tonight...
Delicious! Pudding kicks ass.
But what I really want now is popcorn.
Unfortunately I'm out of popping corn, and it's too frackin' cold out to go buy more. Bummer.
Here's another panorama photo I made using Adobe's super-sweet pano-stitcher tool in the PhotoShop CS3 beta. It's a shot of the "Field of Dreams" from my trip to Iowa. My previous efforts to stitch it together failed miserably, but Adobe's magical new software somehow managed to do a beautiful job...
At this size it's hard to tell but, even at high resolution, I can't find the seams. All pieces were warped and blended flawlessly. Bravo Adobe.
P.S. I HAD TOTALLY GUESSED THE IDENTITY OF THE MASKED WOMAN IN "UGLY BETTY!" I totally should write for television.
For dinner tonight I had a Four Cheese Pizza Hot Pocket. It was good.
I love pockets. When it comes to buying coats or backpacks or suitcases or whatever, the number of pockets is a major selling point for me. I've lost count of the number of times that I've been comparison shopping and made my decision based on which item has the higher pocket-count. That's how I decided to buy my new Swiss Army Synergy backpack... it has an abundance of pockets. I found this kind of strange, because Swiss Army is famous for combining bunches of tools in a single item, which would actualy require less pockets.
When "painter's pants" were in fashion, I was in heaven, because of all those extra pockets. I especially liked the pocket that was perfectly sized to hold my fat-handle comb. I secretly hope that one day painter's pants come back in style. Not because I want to start carrying a fat-handle comb again (the 80's are over), but because I'm sure I could find cool stuff to put in all those pockets.
My Helly Hanson jacket is ten years old, but I just can't bear to get rid of it because I like its configuration of pockets. There's a pocket in the collar which is meant to hold the rain hood, but I put all sorts of crazy stuff in there. Like the time I bought a $5 boxed lunch on a plane trip. It was pretty good, except there was a little beef stick that I didn't want. I was too embarrassed to slip my little beef stick to the stewardess, so I stuck it in my collar pocket instead. It turned up six months later when it was raining and I needed my hood. I threw it in the garbage, but I kind of regret it now... what if I ever need to distract a guard dog? That little beef stick would have come in handy.
Secret pockets are the best though. My Timbuk2 Courier Bag has tons of pockets, but my favorite is the full-length front-interior secret pocket because it's not easily noticed. I owned the bag for two months before I found it.
That was one of the happiest days in my life.
Because pockets are good...
I still have no idea what that tiny pocket in a pair of Levi's is for, however.
I went and saw Babel tonight. It was an interesting film, but not very entertaining (that came later, when I got home and watched Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle on DVD again). I also bought Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope to read on the plane for my upcoming trip. I liked his first book, Dreams from My Father, and have enjoyed every interview and appearance of his that I've seen, so I'm looking forward to it.
Most importantly, however, I had a Veggie sub at Quiznos for dinner. Since people are telling me that ketchup and pizza sauce don't count a vegetables, I figured this would make everybody happy. My sandwich totally had lettuce, tomato, olives, and everything!
But going to Quiznos always raises a question. Am I the only one who sees Quiznos Bread Bowls and thinks of skeet shooting?
Bread Bowl Skeet Shooting would be totally sweet!
Lastly, in sadder news... for the past couple of days, my MacBook Pro's hard drive has been making crackling noises. I assumed this was a bad thing, and immediately backed up all my data. Then this morning half my files were inaccessible and the hard drive was grinding. Time to call Apple for some help.
What a difference good support makes...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
It is 4:30am on a Sunday. Using my brilliant math skills, I calculate that this means I've had 4-1/2 hours of unrest. I want to go back to sleep, but figure I might as well write a few bullets for Bullet Sunday first.
• Pudding. The reason I woke up at 4:30am was so I could go to the bathroom. And grab a Snack-Pack pudding (because there's nothing better to do in bed that blog and eat Snack-Pack pudding*). But this is no ordinary Snack-Pack... it's NEW "SpooNibbles" Snack-Pack. Each little container of chocolate pudding comes with a vanilla cookie that you can use to eat with. When you are done eating the pudding, you eat the cookie "spoon." It's the single most brilliant invention since electricity. I once accidentally grabbed a plastic fork for my Snack-Pack, but didn't notice until I was ready to eat it. Thanks to "SpooNibbles" you can avoid horrific experiences like this. I think more foods should come with cookie stick spoons to eat with. I'd totally eat crap I didn't even like if I knew there was a cookie at the end. I might actually even eat a salad.
• Dated. You know how there are people with whom your entire relationship is based on a mutual hatred? And I'm not talking about politicians and Hewlett Packard... I'm talking about real people with whom you regularly interact. I don't have too many of these heinous individuals in my life, so imagine my surprise when one of them asked me out. Like on a date. It was really strange, because I had always just assumed she loathed me as much as I have come to despise her. Yet there she was. I guess that I am so totally lovable that even mutual hate can't keep people away from me. Using my brilliant math skills, I calculate that it has been 6 months since my last date. This gives me serious pause to consider actually accepting. Fortunately, rational thought manages to somehow overcome raging hormones, and I decline by telling her "oh, sorry... I'm leaving the country." In retrospect, this sounds like a lame blow-off excuse, and I feel kind of bad about it. Even though it happens to be true.
• Veronica. I am receiving mixed signals about the fate of the best show on television: Veronica Mars. I received a flurry of emails telling me that Veronica had been cancelled in favor of a Pussycat Dolls reality show (where they will apparently be searching for a new Pussy). It sounded just typical enough of network television to be true, so I did some digging and found a statement saying that Veronica was just moving away from Tuesdays, and wasn't cancelled at all. This made even more sense, because previous statements had said Veronica was given a nearly-full-season order. But now I read an actual news story which says Veronica is taking a "breather" in favor of Pussycat Dolls after February sweeps, and will then return after with the final five non-serialized episodes of the season. This is not a cancelation notice, but it might as well be. CW network f#@%ers. How in the hell are people supposed to get into a show when you keep moving it and pre-empting it for shit? I mean, it's not like I am against the hot bitches of Pussycat Dolls having a television show, but to pre-empt Veronica Mars for this crap? Seriously?
• Bedridden. It's 5:30am now. After three bullet-points and a half-hour of blog surfing I am going back to bed, where I fully expect that I will lay awake staring at the ceiling until it's time to go to work. My life sucks that way.
• Uh huh. It's now 7:30am. Just as I expected, I didn't get any additional sleep. Instead I thought about how happy I would be if the Pussycat Dolls were to die in a fiery plane crash and the idiots at CW Network had no choice but to order additional episodes of Veronica Mars to fill the sudden gap in their scheduling plans. I then thought of how I would be even happier if the Pussycat Dolls were to crash their plane into Hewlett Packard so they BOTH perish in a big ball of fiery death. The fact that I am wishing death upon my enemies usually has me sleeping like a baby, but not today. Hmmm... what if Jared the Subway Sandwich Whore was visiting Hewlett Packard when the Pussycat Dolls' plane crashed into it? Bitter tragedy or poetic justice?
• Madness. In addition to Barack Obama's book, I'll also be taking my Absolutely MAD: 50+ Years of Mad Magazine DVD-ROM. I already have some comics on DVD, and was pretty happy when I found out MAD was getting a similar treatment. The first issue I was exposed to was the "Star Wars Musical" issue from 1978. I then became an addict, buying all the MAD books and magazines I could afford until Don Martin left the publication in 1987. With Prohias already gone, it just felt like time. Re-living "my" MAD's glory years and being able to see most everything that happened before and after for only $40 is pretty cool...
• Hands. Yesterday while washing my hands in Quizno's bathroom, I saw one of those signs that said "EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK! - LOS EMLEADOS DEBEN LAVAR LAS MANOS ANTES DE VOLVER AL TRABAJO!" "No shit!" I said to myself. Then I laughed, because that's the whole point.
Bah! Time to go to work...
* Actually, there are plenty of things better to do in bed than eat Snack-Pack pudding and blog, it's just that it's been so long since I've done anything else there that I forget what they are.
Gah! I guess that the other crap I was going to write about today will have to wait...
The bitches over at Bette Midler Online have retaliated against Cupid being in 1st place on the Sony DVD poll! What I find funny is that these people are voting for Bette! simply because Bette Midler is in it... not because it was a great show or anything. Personally, I don't even remember the show... but when I research it, I find out that it was not well-liked, even by Bette Midler fans. so WTF? Cupid, on the other hand, was critically acclaimed, and could have built an audience had ABC not totally f#@%ed up the scheduling so people couldn't find it. Case in point... out of a possible 10 stars on the Internet Movie Database, Bette! garners 3.6 stars, whereas Cupid has twice as many... 7.3 stars.
I maintain that Cupid is the best show ever to air on television, and explain why in this entry.
In any event, If you love me... heck, even if you hate me, you'll please take ten seconds and go to Sony's NEW & IMRPROVED poll for DVD releases, where you now only have to vote for ONE show instead of choosing two other crappy shows to go with it... IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT'S GOOD IN THE WORLD, GO VOTE FOR CUPID RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW!!!
Did you vote? YOU DIDN'T?!? DO IT! DO IT NOW!!!
There. That's much better. Cupid got to the top once, it can be there again with your help.
Good news on the AppleCare front... despite the fact that I called on a Saturday afternoon with my MacBook Pro hard drive problem, my return-box from Apple Support arrived today. Amazing. If nothing goes sideways, I'll have my laptop back before I leave. Loves me the Apple. It makes the fact that Hewlett Packard couldn't get me a freakin' return-label after THREE calls over TWO months (and untold hours on hold) all the more pathetic. HP sucks ass.
I woke up more depressed than usual this morning after receiving some very bad news in an email from a good friend last night.
Things only went downhill from there.
As the morning wore on, all I wanted to do was drink a fifth of Jack Daniels, take a fistful of sleeping pills, crawl into bed, then just wait for the world to go away. It's not a solution that you can wrap a bow around and get all happy about, but it does work... albeit temporarily. But this kind of resolution doesn't really solve anything, and can become dangerously addictive and destructive over the long-run. Having been there before, I know.
So I decided to do what I always seem to do now-a-days when depressed. Visit Any Soldier, request a couple of addresses for some poor bastards (or bitches) stuck in Iraq or Afghanistan, then make some care packages to send out. It may not solve my problems, but it will make me feel better that I am making somebody else's miserable life a little better.
Though it's not easy for me. I do not in any way support this war. I never have. I don't buy into the "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" mentality because nobody can define "them" in any meaningful way. I have been conditioned to distrust our political leaders. When other countries were saying "hey, wait a minute, let's look at this WMD data a little more closely before we do something stupid," our leaders threw 9-11 in our face and went ahead and did something stupid. No real plan. No exit strategy. No sense.
But how is that the fault of someone sent off to fight and die in our name?
Who can say what makes somebody sign up to be a soldier.
Maybe they signed up so they could get money for college. Maybe they are running away from a life that's worse than a war. Maybe they want to belong to something bigger then themselves. Maybe they are true patriots and believe defending this country is worth risking their lives. Maybe they just want to help out. I don't know.
But what I do know is that they are risking their lives on my behalf and are far braver than I am for doing it. They didn't start a war, they're just trying to do their job the best they can and make it out alive.
So I make care packages.
I send things from home in the hopes that I can brighten their spirits and warm their hearts. I hope my generosity will inspire generosity in return. I hope they represent our country well and treat victims of war with caring and dignity.
I drop everything in my busy life and I go...
I buy snacks. Not shitty snacks that taste like crap and nobody wants to eat. I buy name-brands I know will be appreciated. Snack-Pack chocolate pudding. Campbell's Chunky Soup. Planters Trail Mix, Nature's Harvest snack bars. I find candies that won't melt. I grab a large variety of gum flavors. I buy Oreos and Doritos. I find "to-go" packs of Pringles chips. I seek out luxury foods that I miss when I am far from home. I go to three stores to find a big-box of Red-Hots. I don't really like the idea of killing animals for food, but this isn't about me, so I buy bags of real Oberto Beef Jerkey.
I buy only the best personal hygiene products. Military guys have to shave everyday, and nobody wants to do that with a cheap-ass razor. So I buy the best, most comfortable disposables I can find. I ignore the bargain brands and purchase Neutrogena shave cream. I make sure I have real Q-tips cotton swabs, authentic Kleenex tissues, super-sweet individually-wrapped rolls of premium toilet paper, and only the best toothpaste, toothbrushes, foot powder, lip balm, sun-screen, and everything else I can think of.
I buy magazines. I want to send Maxim with a naked Eva Mendes on the cover (hey, that's what I would want to look at if I could die at any time)... but nudity and partial nudity are forbidden. Instead I buy puzzle books, sports magazines, and some good comics.
I read that soldiers like to watch DVDs in their off-time, so I buy some. And not the discount crap that's old and everybody has already seen... I buy brand new releases of top movies and don't even look at the price tag. And, because opening a DVD is almost impossible under the best conditions, I pre-open them and remove all the tape and crap. I then write "ANYSOLDIER.COM" in permanent marker on the cases and DVDs to try and make sure they aren't stolen and sold.
I buy Beanie Babies. Maybe the soldiers can use them to make friends with the most innocent of victims in this war: the children. I hope such small gestures build friendship and compassion with future generations. I hope it brings a smile to somebody's face when they have nothing to smile about. I hope for so much from something so little. I send hope because, when all is said and done, it's all I really have to give.
I write a note of support and well-wishes because sometimes knowing somebody cares about you is better than an Oreo cookie.
Then I come back and box everything up. I am careful to double-bag any liquids. I am careful to send the shipments of food in separate boxes from the toiletries... because nobody wants Goldfish Crackers that taste like deodorant. I take time I don't really have available to make sure everything is packed perfectly so no space is wasted and everything is protected. What fun is a box of smashed cookies?
I've spent $300. I'll spend even more in shipping charges. It hardly seems adequate.
And now I feel a little better. Maybe even better than if I had taken Prozac.
Tonight I am going to go see The Queen. I hope the movie is as good as people say, because I can't afford to be depressed and visit Any Soldier again until my next paycheck.
Thanks to everybody who wrote such kind emails and comments during a tough day yesterday.
And many more thanks to those who are considering sending letters or care packages through Any Soldier. I honestly did not anticipate that, yet hundreds of you are clicking through to the site which means quite a lot to me. If only I had mentioned it sooner!
For those who have questions about this very worthy organization, I urge you to visit their site and read as much as you can. But, on top of that, I'll go ahead and add some things I've learned...
First of all, it is not necessary to spend $300 like I did. I was buying for four people, and went overboard because I was able to and wanted to. Anything you send is appreciated, and spending a fortune is not required. Even if you can afford to send nothing at all, you can still write a letter because all it costs you is a stamp. It has been said over and over again that the most requested items from soldiers are letters. Not everybody overseas gets much mail. Knowing that somebody... even a stranger... cares enough to write does more for their morale than you can imagine (hand-written letters show that you put the time in to care, and seem more personal than laser-printed letters or photocopies).
When it comes to what to say to a serviceman or servicewoman, it's always best to remember who you are writing to... somebody living in very dangerous conditions, far from home, who is missing their family and friends. It's also important to remember why you are writing... to offer encouragement and support. With that in mind, you can just put aside your personal opinions about the war being all f#@%ed up. Nobody knows this better than they do, and they don't need to be told that. Instead, try and realize that most of the people serving are doing the best they can to make a better, safer life for native Iraqis or Afghanis whose lives have been torn apart by war. This is what keeps them going through these very confusing times, and acknowledging that is a good place to start. Tell them what's happening back home. Tell them they are appreciated. Let them know you care.
When I send care packages, I usually don't have time to write, so I enclose simple notecards (with Lil' Dave dressed in Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine attire as appropriate)...
It's nothing extravagant, just a little note to say that I'm thinking of them, caring about them, and wishing them well along with sending a box of stuff. Hopefully it's enough to give a soldier a smile.
I always include my email address, just in case a soldier wants to write back and say "thanks" or even request something special they need. But it is critical to remember one thing... not all soldiers are able to write back!! They say this over and over on the Any Soldier site, yet I still visit forums and read about people complaining because they never got a thank-you note. This kind of thing drives me nuts, because these people have no clue as to what they are talking about. Just because you don't hear back doesn't mean your thoughts and gifts are unappreciated. It's nice when it happens, but I never expect it.
If you are interested in helping out, I've put further information in an extended entry. Otherwise, I will be traveling for the next 10 days, so entries may be posted late depending on whether I have internet or not...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
You would think that I would be due some good karma after all the crap that I've been through this week.
You would be wrong.
It seems that karma isn't done raining shit on me just yet, which is always a good sign just as you are about to leave the country. It's at times like this that you start thinking of "mechanical difficulties" happening over the Atlantic and having to land in Greenland or something. Not that I'm badmouthing Greenland... I'm sure it's a perfectly lovely place in the middle of winter... it's just that I'm not ready to visit there yet.
Take arriving at my hotel, for instance. If you were forced to choose one, which of the following horror stories would you least want waiting for you...
With nothing better to do, I decide to go to the mall and get my hair cut. That's when I notice a brand new Johnny Rockets has opened up at the food court. My favorite restaurant! I love Johnny Rockets! But it's me we're talking about, so guess what happens...
Yeah, it's D again. Why would you serve somebody a burnt bun with their hamburger? It's insane. Just throw the shit away... don't ruin a customer's dinner over something that costs 25¢! I have eaten at Johnny Rockets all around the country (and once when they had them in Japan) and have never had a bad meal until today.
At this point, I was terrified to get my hair cut. What else was going to happen? Would they accidentally stab me in the eye with the scissors? Would they scalp me a bald patch on the back of my head? What? Turns out it was none of those things. They somehow managed to cut my hair without inflicting any major damage.
Not wanting to press my luck, I decide to go buy me a new iPod Shuffle Clip and call it a night. I really wanted to buy a new "regular" iPod, but I'm waiting for them to add a bigger screen so I can watch videos. In the meanwhile, I'm perfectly happy with a new Shuffle. I think "cute" is the word that best describes it... and you just can't prepare yourself for how tiny it is... it's shorter than a jumbo paperclip!
Here's hoping things start looking up for me in the morning.
The down-side of living on the West Coast is that the East Coast is 4-1/2 hours away. So any trip to Europe for us automatically adds at least 6 hours once layovers are factored in. The lucky news for me is that NWA airline partner Continental Airlines flies a Seattle — Newark &mdash Cologne route that works out really great if Cologne, Germany happens to be your destination (which mine is).
The bad news is, of course, that you have to stop off in Newark.
Now, before anybody jumps to the conclusion that I am slamming New Jersey, nothing could be further from the truth... I like The Garden State just fine. I just loathe Newark International because their internet service sucks donkey. Naturally, you have to pay for it. So on top of being shitty, almost unusable internet access, you pay through the ass to use it. I f#@%ing hate that shit.
As we landed, I stared across longingly at the New York City skyline and toyed with the idea of catching a taxi, running into the city for a bagel, then rushing back the the airport (hopefully) in time to catch my flight. But the idea of missing my flight and being stuck at Newark was enough to kill that thought real quick.
The nice part about the 4-1/2 hours of airplane travel is that I had time to be completely mesmerized by Barack Obama's book... The Audacity of Hope. Despite the title, the book is kind of depressing. Not because of the content, which is absolutely brilliant, but because Obama is such a tease. He teases us with a future that is all at once hopeful, exciting, wondrous, and so very achievable... yet sadly out of reach given today's political climate. Even if we were lucky enough to have this amazing man as our president, I shudder at the battle he would have to face (against Democrats and Republicans alike) to set us on such a path. I ache for a leader as described in this book... willing to dismiss absolutes and focus on a world of give-and-take for the benefit of all our citizens. But compromise is such a dirty word in politics today, and part of me dies inside knowing that the audacity to hope is more like an audacity to dream.
But revolutions do happen from time to time.
Please let this be our time.
I am not looking forward to the next 8 hours of airplane travel time. For some reason I am feeling a bit queazy, and not at all in a mood to fly again. Hopefully I can get a little bit of sleep, but the cruel reality is that it ain't going to happen. In all these years of travel, I have not yet learned how to sleep on a plane.
Wouldn't it be cool if they would give you a shot to knock you out for the flight, then another to wake you up when you land? I think I've seen The Fifth Element too many times...
Because I have friends in the city, I've been to Köln (Cologne) here in Germany many times. This has its benefits. I know where everything is, I know how to get around, that kind of thing. But, like with any city I visit that I am already familiar with, I try to find new things to see and do to keep things fresh.
Naturally, I've been to the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) on previous visits. It's a major landmark for the city and pretty impressive. But I've seen it all before. I've studied the architecture, gaped at the stunning artworks, and marveled at the tiled floor with all those cool mosaics...
Herr Knight Sweetcheeks.
But what I haven't done is climb the spire. There are numerous reasons for this, but I'll narrow it down to the top five...
But every time I pass on the opportunity, I always regret it on the way home. So this time I decided to throw caution to the wind and just do it. Finally I'll be able to say "I climbed this bitch!" when I see a picture of the cathedral or accost hapless tourists on the streets of Cologne.
525 feet (160 meters) of sheer terror!
Yeah, well, I climbed this bitch, but I was stupid, stupid, stupid to do it. Not only was the climb completely terrifying, but I think I am dead. The good news is that my legs are so pumped now that I could probably jump over the cathedral in a single bound. The view from the top is pretty spectacular though (once you stop crying for your mommy long enough to take a look around)...
Oooh, look! Tiny people in that other tower! I'll have to climb that one next time (not).
After I managed to keep from vomiting on the way down, I decided to torture myself at the Hard Rock Cafe. For some reason, German HRCs have terrible service... but I can never figure out why. The staff is always friendly and running around, so it's not like they sit on their asses. Maybe they're just really over-extended? On the up-side, Cologne is better than Berlin, which has given me the worst service of any Hard Rock world-wide (I was seriously considering lighting myself on fire there once after waiting 45 minutes to get my check... all in the hopes that the flames would finally get somebody's attention).
Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?
Sure enough, it took a half hour to get an order of potato skins (no bacon) and 20 minutes to get a Pepsi refill. When I handed over my credit card, I fully expected that I wouldn't see my server for another 20 minutes. I was thrown into shock when she returned after only 10. Total time for an appetizer order and two glasses of Pepsi... 1 hour, 17 minutes. I timed it. Only about 10 minutes of which was spent eating.
I could have ordered dessert at the Hard Rock, but I didn't have another hour to kill because I wanted to hit a few museums. So instead I stopped off to have a SNACK WAFFLE!!
Not as good as the waffles at the Eiffel Tower, but still delicious!
After lunch, it was museum-time. I first went to the brilliant Wallraf-Richartz Museum to see if they had a special event showing but, sadly, the answer was NEIN! That's okay though, because the third floor alone is always worth the price of admission. They have some sweet impressionist and post-impressionist works I love, including a Monet that's terrific. In the paintings I've seen where Monet is capturing fog or snow, he uses pastels for shading instead of gray. The effect is quite beautiful, and looks different depending on how close you are to this foggy scene...
A similarly-styled painting that Monet painted of snow in Giverny hangs in New Orleans.
Then I was off to one of the best modern art museums on the planet... The Ludwig Museum... which was amazing, as always. This time was really cool though, because they had a mind-blowing Paul Klee event, filled with bunches of his pencil drawings and pre-painting study sketches. After looking at really cool art crap for two hours, I exited the museum and saw a group of people walk by dressed as pirates. That's when I remembered there was a Lego store over on Hohe Straße, so I thought I might check to see if they had any pirate Lego in stock. No pirates, but they did have viking Lego, which is pretty sweet.
By now it was approaching 6:00 and was starting to rain so I decided to call it a day (8 hours of constant walking and climbing on no sleep is pretty harsh). Oh yeah... I have to be up for work early in the morning too, so I figure I had best take my exhausted ass back to the hotel for an aspirin and sleep.
Looking back at Kölner Dom from the roof of the Ludwig Museum... I climbed this bitch!
Holy crap do my legs hurt. I hope I can get out of bed in the morning.
* Remind me to tell the story of nearly being pushed into The Grand Canyon because of a group of eager German tourists. These people are totally fearless when it comes to heights so, naturally, they scare the crap out of me.
Bullet Point Sunday will have to wait (Bullet Point Monday?) because there's important stuff going on!
Every year Cologne hosts one of the largest candy shows on the face of the planet (called "ISM") which is a fascinating place to spend a day. There's hundreds of candy makers from around the world showing their latest creations and tempting you with handfuls of free samples. Some of the candies are deliciously familiar... others not so much.
My favorite candies are those that are just bizarre... either by concept or creation. There's candy made from insects. There's candy made from vegetables. There's candy made from gold (yes, real gold!). There's even candy that's made from Jack Daniels!
The show is so massive that I could spend an entire week blogging about it. Since my attention span is quite short, I'll just show a few highlights instead...
It's not just the candy that's sweet at the show... it's the samples. High-end chocolates that would cost you major bank to buy can be sampled free! Even better, they are often served up by total babes. There's not many things better than having beautiful women give you candy all day long. Sadly, there are people who really take advantage of this. The worst are those that bring a roller-suitcase, and grab handful after handful at every booth, stuffing their suitcase to overflowing without ever intending to buy anything.
Some of the major manufacturers have large booths that range from extravagant to clever. Fisherman's Friend (the throat lozenge guys) built a ship in the middle of their space that was way cool (they are also handing out colorful bags to everybody, which is really smart... their name is everywhere here now).
First you find candy that says "hello" to you, then you turn a corner and see candy giving you the finger.
Chocolate is, of course, everywhere. One booth hired a guy to carve statues out of chocolate. Another booth built a chocolate waterfall. One booth even has a chocolate volcano. Except there's a guy out front telling everybody "no pictures! no pictures!" To which I can only say WTF? I mean, why are you here if you aren't wanting people to get excited about your company? I took a picture anyway because I thought this was pretty stupid but, since they don't seem to want the publicity, I deleted it once I got back to my hotel.
Candy for Bad Monkey! Banana candy isn't seen much in the USA, but it seems to be popping up everywhere else. I found some chocolate-covered banana marshmallows that were tasty (even if they do look like little turds).
Some candy is just strange. I saw some "Russian Roulette" candy which featured a box filled with a bunch of delicious flavors... and one "bad" flavor. Since the candies aren't marked, you are literally playing Russian Roulette with the candy "bullets"... trying to avoid the piece that tastes like crap. And of course there was ass candy. You can't have a candy show without ass-pops.
Familiar faces show up from time to time... Hello Kitty is everywhere. Other characters are not so familiar (and kind of odd)... like Trolli's "Glotzer" gummy eye-ball guy (who I think is pretty nifty).
I thought this company had the right attitude. And cool packaging with their little "Munchy" guys.
Haribo had a kind of fashion show going on, where mannequins were dressed up in costumes made from their packaging. It's hard to see in this photo, but those are gold Gummi-Worm packages, and she has the candy worms in her hair. Awesome! I was rather shocked when Sexual Harassment Panda showed up... only to learn that it wasn't Sexual Harassment Panda after all... these guys are mascots for Panda licorice, which is a candy company in Finland.
EXTERMINATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE! Apparently the Daleks have their own candy. I'm afraid to eat it though, because it could be just another plan to conquer the universe. And speaking of universal domination, the Haribo kid kind of looks like me. But he hangs out with a friendly giant golden bear instead of a bad-ass Bad Monkey, so I think Lil' Dave could take him in a fight.
And now, if you'll excuse me, some of the Belgian booths are cooking up fresh waffles(!) for sampling, and I mean to get me some. Then it's off to Scotland, because I loves me the Walker's Shortbread.
I sure hope I don't end up with a stomach ache tonight...
Due to yesterday's breaking news from the floor of ISM, Bullet Point Sunday is on Monday today...
• Access... The internet is a wonderful thing because it lets you keep up with your life no matter where you go. The internet is also a terrible thing because it lets you keep up with your life no matter where you go. Just as I get done with stuff here, I then have to deal with stuff back home all night. It's as if the work-day never ends! This makes it very difficult to keep up with email (32 unanswered), blogs (343 entries unread), and news (108 stories to read). Remember the good old days when you could leave the country and forget about everything else? Hopefully tonight I will have a bit of time to get caught up.
• Fahrt... Two new photos for my fahrt collection!
It sounds funny because it's like "fart" with an "h"!
• Ambassador... The United States Ambassador to Germany was visiting companies in the USA Pavilion at ISM yesterday. Given all the things he must have on his plate, it was a very generous use of his time. In addition to saying hello, he was also accepting boxes of candies and other goodies to give to injured soldiers at Landstuhl Hospital here in Germany (it's the largest American hospital outside of the US, and many wounded end up there). While the Ambassador was talking with people far more important than me, I had the opportunity to speak with a woman from his office. She tells me that most injured soldiers are flown out of the war-zone with only the clothes on their backs, and arrive at the hospital with nothing. I got an address of the Chaplain's office where stuff can be sent...
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
ATTN: MCEUL-CH/Chaplains Office
CMR 402 - APO AE 09180
They can only accept NEW items, and are in need of sweat-suits (all sizes), gym bags, and international calling cards. Of course, letters and get-well cards are always welcome. Looks like I have something new to do when I get back home.
• Clockless... Why is it that most of the hotels I visit in Europe don't have alarm clocks? I find myself freaking out each morning because I don't know what time it is.
• for Jenny... Jenny had asked if Peeps were at ISM, so I went to get some Peeps scoop. Turns out that the big news out of Peep-land is that Peeps are now available in GREEN! The new green is replacing white Peeps, which have been discontinued. I remarked that this was probably a good idea because green Peeps are more fun that boring-ass white Peeps, but was told that the white ones will probably still be missed because they are popular at weddings...
We be ready for St. Patrick's Day, bitches!
• Panties... My hotel room here in Cologne doesn't have the best of views. I'm not overlooking the cathedral or having a view of the Rhine River or anything. What I DO overlook is an apartment building. An apartment building that has a woman who very much likes walking around her home wearing nothing but a bra and a pair of panties. Ordinarily, this could be a good thing, but I think she must be like 90 years old or something, so it's actually kind of freaky.
• Screamer... Why is it that when English-speaking persons are talking to somebody whose English skills are not that great, THEY FEEL THAT YELLING AND TALKING LOUDLY MAKES THEM MORE EASILY UNDERSTOOD?!? It drives me nuts, and I don't understand the logic... yet I see it everywhere.
• Scary... As beautiful as Kölner Dom is, I can't help but note that it is positively terrifying at night. Kind of like a scary haunted castle or something...
Welcome to Count Dracula's Summer Home.
• Redux... Last night I was going to have dinner at a little pizza restaurant I like, but they had the doors locked for some reason (even though there were people inside). I was kind of craving some Twisted Mac & Cheese from the Hard Rock, so I decided to give them a second chance. Service was much better this time around. 4 minutes to get my Pepsi. 17 minutes to get my Mac & Cheese. 7 minutes to get my Pepsi refill. 5 minutes to get my bill settled. In other words, it was a typical Hard Rock experience for me with the good service and good food I've come to expect. I have no idea why it would be otherwise for my other visits, but am glad to know it does work from time to time.
• Sexy... Today I found out that Cologne is the only city in Germany that actively taxes prostitutes. No... no... no... no... i did NOT learn this from personal experience... I overheard it in the hotel lobby. Interestingly enough, Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to Prostitution in Germany, where I was able to verify this.
And now that I've spent my 15-minute lunch-break blogging, I guess it's time to get back to work.
Yesterday afternoon as I was walking back through the ISM show, I had to save some poor young woman from getting trampled by an anxious group of guys in suits who had just gotten off the escalator. When I helped her steady herself, I noticed that she was pregnant and quite upset. Who could blame her. After guiding her away from the crowds, I asked if she was okay, which only seemed to confuse her. I tried again with my terrible German skills, which made her laugh (hopefully "Bist du gutes? Ja?" isn't something horribly offensive). She then said "thank you" (in English) and was gone. Just my luck she wasn't German at all, and I offered to milk her goat in her native tongue or something.
I have been gravely disappointed that there haven't been many monkey candies at the ISM show this year. Usually, there are several companies with monkeys on their packaging, but there's been a drought this time around. Until I found a chocolates company called "Most" who has some beautiful packaging with monkeys on it...
"Do you love your monkey or do you love me? Why can't you set your monkey free?"
Speaking of beautiful, there are many great things about Germany, but I think mayonnaise in a tube has got to be at the top of the list...
THOMY Mayo was okay, but I prefer Best Foods Mayo (known as Hellmann's Mayo, to you Easterners).
Great chocolate is probably on the list too. The other day I headed back to my hotel early so I could try and solve some kind of networking problem I was having (smearing mayonnaise on my PowerBook didn't seem to help). But when I got there, the problem had mysteriously disappeared (mayo rules!), leaving me with a free hour on my hands while I waited for my dinner meeting. I decided to walk along the Rhine for a bit until I ran across Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum). Since I had never been inside, I decided to take a look...
Awwwww.... cute! Little Pink Coat Girl was running around in circles!
My favorite part would have to be the big chocolate fountain. As I approached, a woman was dipping waffle sticks in the warm chocolate and passing them around. Needless to say, it was fantastic. I could have easily skipped dinner and ate chocolatey waffles all night long.
This would look totally awesome my living room.
Inside the museum is a working chocolate factory sponsored by Lindt. They make all kinds of stuff, including these nifty molded chocolates...
That is one big cock and pussy! They're as big as a grizzly bear!
The museum is built in such a way that you can view the process from every angle, even from above...
Screaming "DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME F#@%ING CHOCOLATE?!?" is apparently not funny.
The factory section is beautifully located on the Rhine River, overlooking the riverboats and the cathedral...
"Hey baby, waffles aren't the only thing that taste good when dipped in chocolate!"
The German language is great. The best thing about it is that Germans are happy to smoosh a whole bunch of words together to make new words (one of my favorites being "Fahrgastausstiegswunschtaste" which is the button you push on a bus when you want to exit... I think there's got to be four or five words in there!). Sometimes you'll see words so long that your brain explodes trying to decipher it. I also like how German is so strangely familiar to me, despite the fact that I haven't studied it in years. It doesn't take a dictionary to figure out that this sign is saying "The third floor is closed for remodeling, thank you for your understanding" (or something like that)...
NOOOOOOOOO! That's probably where they keep the Oompa Loompas!
The museum also features a small greenhouse so people can see actual chocolate plants growing. It's more impressive when viewed from the outside though...
"Cocoa plants? Suuuuuuurrre that's all you grow in your greenhouse..."
And that's the Schokoladenmuseum. Worth a look if you happen to be visiting Cologne.
Now, if all goes as planned, I'll be leaving the country this afternoon for a few days vacation...
For an art museum whore like myself, Madrid is a dream come true.
There are several major museums within the city, and a dozen more minor ones that are brilliant in their own right. With this in mind, I have long wanted to visit Madrid, and it was on the top of my list of places to escape to after my work was finished in Cologne. Fortunately, the city is served by the ever-cheap and wonderful GermanWings airline, so off I went...
"Could somebody wipe this bird crap off my forehead?"
Anybody wanting to tag along for a very busy day of goofing around in Madrid can read about it in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I had set a wake-up call for 6:00am with the intention of getting up with the sunrise and seeing a bit more of Madrid at dawn. Yesterday I had noticed that the light was really nice in the morning, and intended to take advantage of it.
Yeah, like that was going to happen. I was so totally dead from miles of walking yesterday that I barely made it out the door for my 10:00 shuttle to the airport.
After an uneventful 1-hour plane ride (assuming sitting behind a smelly, smelly man during the flight and then having to wait 50 minutes for my luggage counts as "uneventful"), here I am in Lisbon, another city I've never been to before. Since it was lunchtime when I got to my hotel, I tossed my luggage in the closet and headed out to the Hard Rock Cafe...
Turns out this is a fantastic dual-level property with really interesting architecture and an incredible amount of memorabilia stacked from floor to ceiling...
In recognition for their awesomeness in winning "World-Wide Cafe of the Month" back in November, Lisbon has the honor of getting to display an original Jimi Hendrix guitar from his appearance on the Dick Cavett Show in 1969 (previous months were won by Buenos Aires, Lake Tahoe, Dublin, Houston, and Kowloon cafes)...
With plenty of daylight left, I decided to take a walk down to the Tagus River and see the sights. One thing you tend to notice quite quickly is that the sidewalks here in Lisbon are made from beautiful stone mosaic patterns, some of which are quite ornate. I guess when you live here, it's easy to take the sidewalks for granted, but I found myself looking down just as often as up...
The city of Lisbon itself is quite nice. It has a very different "feel" to it from other European cities. Almost Caribbean or something... it's very strange, but in a good way. About the only thing that wasn't pleasant is being pestered every fifteen minutes to buy some sunglasses (Armani! Very beautiful!) or other imitation crap. But that wasn't nearly as exciting as being offered some hash every ten minutes (Hashish! Good hash!). Though all of that pales when compared to some guy who came up to me with a Canon EOS camera in a paper sack...
GUY: Want to buy camera? Very good price!
DAVE: Uhhhh... nope, I'm good.
GUY: Are you sure?
DAVE: Sure I don't want to buy an obviously stolen camera? Yes, I'm quite sure.
GUY: But I give you very good price!
Oddly enough, I was just thinking about how I wish I had my own Canon EOS Rebel with me. I left it back home because I had loads of crap to haul over for work and didn't want to bother with it. Still, my little pocket camera takes some pretty good shots...
Living the jet-set lifestyle like I do (ha!) can make for some strange interactions with people back home. Mostly because nobody is ever really sure of where you are or what you are doing. Like Bad Robert, who just called me as I was writing this entry...
DAVE: (answering phone) Hello?
ROBERT: Dude, I need to get my car to the shop. Can you bring me back home so I don't have to sit there all day?
DAVE: Dude, I'm in Lisbon.
ROBERT: Can you drop by after you're done?
DAVE: I'm in PORTUGAL... I won't be back until Sunday.
ROBERT: (dramatic pause) Oh. I thought you meant like the restaurant.
ROBERT: So how are things in Lisbon.
DAVE: Pretty good so far. I've only been here for four hours.
ROBERT: Ah. Hey... do you wanna know what Ben did to his car?
DAVE: Is it worth the dollar-a-minute this phone call is costing me to find out?
ROBERT: Uh... probably not. Oooh! Call me when you get back! I need to tell you about my new air horn!
And so it goes...
I haven't a clue what I'm going to be doing tonight. About the only things I can be sure I WON'T be doing is this...
Because the only way I could sit through The Sound of Music would be if I was doped up on hash.
Hey! Wait a minute... I might just have plans for tonight after all...
Lisbon is a remarkable city and I absolutely love it here. Which is why it's strange that today I got the idea to create "The International Directory of Assholes" book. But more on that later.
My day began when I took a walk through the Alfama. This is the oldest district of Lisbon, home to winding little streets and clustered houses that spill down the slope of a large hill. And at the top of the hill is the Castle of São Jorge, which is where my day of tourist wanderings began. It's not a very impressive castle, but the panoramic view of Lisbon from the top is pretty sweet...
Since I arrived early in the morning, I had the castle pretty much to myself, which was kind of nice...
As I walked down the hillside towards the river, I noted a number of churches along the way. The most famous being the "Sé"... which is fairly simple by European cathedral standards, but still worth a visit...
After I had worked my way out of the Alfama, I decided to take the bus along the shoreline to Belém. This is a district west of the city proper which is famous for being the place where many of the famous Portuguese explorers departed on their journeys (like Vasco da Gama). It is also home to one of Lisbon's most famous landmarks, "Monument to the Discoveries"...
All in all, there's 30 famous Portuguese historical figures running down both sides of the monument, each one remarkably detailed...
As you continue west, you'll eventually run across the Tower of Belém, which you can climb up and wander around. It was built to be fully-functional with canon armaments and such (despite its highly decorative nature)...
Backtracking along the other side of the roadway, I worked my way back to the Rua de Belém so I could drop by a pastry shop that's been selling little custard tarts for over 150 years called "Pastel de Belém." This is also the place you can visit the Archaeological Museum, the Maritime Museum, and the Jerónimos Monastery, which is pretty cool...
Inside, the roof of the Church of Santa Maria has a cool-looking spider-web design which is pretty slick...
Before leaving the Belém district, I was sure to stop at one of Lisbon's most popular tourist spots... The Coaches Museum. It's kind of an odd idea for a museum, but it is interesting to be able to see all the ornate craftsmanship that goes into these rolling works of art...
The remainder of my day (along with the reason for my new "assholes" book idea) can be found in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
So here I am in Germany again, awaiting my flight back to the USA tomorrow morning. It's a bit sad, because there always seems to be a dozen things that I would like to do in Europe every time I'm getting ready to leave it.
Though there is one thing that I will not mind leaving behind... the smoking. There's really no way to escape it and, since it seems like 99% of the people here love their cigarettes, there's not much that can be done about it. Sure many restaurants offer up a "no smoking section," but it's in name only. I can't tell you how many times I've been put in the "non-smoking section" only to have people light up at the very next table. Even at the Hard Rock, it turns out the "non-smoking section" usually ends up being just a few tables immediately next to the smoking area (which, let's be honest, is the entire restaurant).
An even better example could be found as I was waiting for my flight this morning. There I was sitting in Lisbon's airport which has signs posted saying "Lisbon Airport is Non-Smoking." But there are "smoker's kiosks" everywhere, and all the cafes and bars allow you to light up. Non of these areas are segregated or ventilated in any way, so this self-proclaimed "non-smoking airport" is filled with smoke...
By the time I boarded my flight, my clothes reeked of cigarettes so badly that you would think I had just smoked a pack prior to hopping on the plane. It's one thing to go to a bar where you are expecting people to smoke... but it always bothers me to be eating cigarette smoke with my meal or having to sit in a cloud of it while being held captive at the airport. It's been 15 years since I've smoked a cigarette... maybe I should start up again so it won't bother me so much next time?
Speaking of being held hostage...
Here at my hotel, I have three choices for internet access...
WTF?!? To use the internet in the comfort of your own hotel room, it's a minimum of $37.50. That's THIRTY-SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS!! Holy shit! I could probably take a taxi into Cologne and get blown for that! It amazes me that Europe has such astoundingly high access fees AND puts limits on your bandwidth (as opposed to back home where many hotels offer free internet with no limits). I guess I won't be downloading any new television shows for the flight.
Oh well... my television here gets Comedy Central TV, so I'm going to watch Pamela Anderson in an episode of Stacked. Believe it or not, she's actually funny when dubbed in German.
Probably because I can't understand a word she's saying.
Bleh. I am not looking forward to a 9 hour flight, followed by an hour layover, followed by a 6 hour flight, followed by a 4 hour layover, followed by a 45 minute flight. That's almost 21 hours of total travel torture. When are we going to be able to beam ourselves from one place to another like on Star Trek?
It's Bullet Point Sunday at 30,000 feet as I fly cross-country for my layover in Seattle!
• Mouthy... Is there an over-abundance of loud-mouthed, obnoxious bitches in the world... or is it just my grave misfortune to be consistently seated in their vicinity during long plane flights? I had yet another one behind me for a lovely 9 hour flight out of Cologne. This woman talked CONTINUOUSLY, irritating the shit out of just about everybody. Fortunately, by the time she got to her rant about Mexico being a "dirty, disgusting, 3rd-world country that she won't visit," I was able to turn on my iPod. This saved her from my wrath, as I was just about to start screaming "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UUUUUUUP!! But, alas, I couldn't resist being a smart-ass when she was in the lavatory...
And you know what? I don't even f#@%ing apologize for saying it. Screw her and her big mouth, because NOBODY wanted to hear it. All we wanted to do was have a peaceful flight under cramped, horrible conditions, and I don't think that's too much to ask. Read a book. Watch the movie. Listen to music. Do whatever the f#@% gets you through those nine hours... AS LONG AS IT ISN'T BUGGING THE CRAP OUT OF EVERYBODY ELSE! Because blathering loudly about stupid shit while people are trying to relax or sleep or work or whatever is just making you an inconsiderate asshole.
• Vistahahaha... And while I'm on the subject of people saying stupid shit... has Bill Gates started smoking crack? I've been catching up with my news feeds, and have no other explanation for his recent bizarre comments. I guess when you are on the defensive, you'll come up with all kinds of crazy stuff to explain why a product that took TEN YEARS to release is so lame compared to the competition.
• Overhead... I love it when some dumbass comes rolling on the plane with his full suitcase, briefcase, lunch bag, AND carry-on, then starts demanding that people take their stuff out of the overhead bins so he can fit in all his crap... "IS THIS YOURS? YOU CAN FIT THIS UNDER YOUR SEAT!! COME ON! THAT CAN FIT UNDER YOUR SEAT!!" Yeah, well f#@% you buddy, I check my luggage and carry on my one measly little knapsack so I can have the much-needed legroom. Why don't you shove your massive roller-bag up your ass... or, perhaps, check it at the ticket desk so people don't have to listen to your bullshit.
• Stamp... Since my previous passport expired, I had to get a new one. Once again I have noticed how other countries have passport control personnel who carefully stamp your entrance and exit neatly into the square boxes and in sequential order. Why in the hell do USA passport control people decide to skip ahead 3 pages, then stamp your passport outside the boxes in the middle of the f#@%ing page? That page is then rendered useless, which is why frequent travelers like me end up having to purchase extra pages for our passports. I mean, you are stamping passports all f#@%ing day long, and you haven't figured out how to make it fit in the box? On the up-side, I have to say that my entry into the USA via Newark International was one of the quickest, nicest, most courteous immigrations and customs checks I have ever had. Bravo to the people at Newark who obviously have their shit together (except when it comes to getting the stamp to fit in the box).
• Security... I wonder what the penalty is for bitch-slapping a TSA agent? I don't want to end up in jail or anything, but I am getting sick and tired of their idiotic behavior. "DO YOU HAVE A LAPTOP IN YOUR BAG SIR? YOU NEED TO REMOVE YOUR LAPTOP FROM YOUR BAG, REMOVE YOUR SHOES, THEN REMOVE YOUR JACKET!!" Uhhh... okay... let me get to the table first... "YOU NEED TO REMOVE YOUR LAPTOP FROM THE BAG NOW SIR TO AVOID HOLDING UP THE LINE!!" Yeah, well, there are six people ahead of me before I can get to the table, and I'm not talented enough to juggle my laptop, jacket, and knapsack while trying to remove my shoes at the same time. If you want me to do all that crap sooner, get a longer f#@%ing table and stop riding my ass over something that takes me 20 seconds ONCE I GET TO THE TABLE.
And here I am in Seattle where I can post my entry and then sit around for four hours while I wait for my final flight home. Extended layovers suck ass.
Last night as I was killing time before my flight home, I came to the conclusion that the vending machines offered better dining options than any of the restaurants at the airport. Once I had decided on a bottle of Gatorade and a bag of Cheddar Chex Mix, I wandered around looking for a quiet spot to eat dinner. Eventually I found a deserted area and did my best to disappear. It was nice and peaceful for about 5 minutes... but then some guy sat down around the corner to make a call on his mobile phone... apparently unaware that I was there.
Not that I was trying to listen in on his conversation or anything, but I did get the gist of what was going on... the poor bastard got dumped by his girlfriend just before he flew to Seattle to visit his parents.
He had just landed and was calling up his now-ex-girlfriend in an effort to win her back. From the fifteen-minute call that ensued, I gathered it was a futile effort. Despite professing his undying love and devotion, she was unmoved. Their relationship was now over.
Needless to say, the guy was devastated. Having been there myself, I could totally relate.
And now he had to put on a brave face and go meet his parents for dinner with a broken heart. The thought of it still haunts me, so when everything that could go wrong did go wrong on my first day back, I tried not to let it get me down.
Because somewhere in Seattle, somebody is having a much worse day than I am.
Oh that's just swell... my internet connection is freaking out again. I think it must have something to do with the cheap-ass router they gave me when I signed up for DSL, because even a power-down and reset doesn't fix things. I wonder how much that's going to cost to replace?
As I sit here like an internet junkie without his broadband smack, I contemplate putting away my MacBook and unpacking my suitcase full of dirty clothes before it starts to smell. But I've got a full bottle of Febreeze under the sink, so I decide to wait for the weekend. Hopefully nothing comes alive in there in the next four days.
Instead I think I'll draw monkeys with guns...
Monkeys with guns are funny.
Unless, of course, you happen to be anywhere in the vicinity when they are firing them off. Something tells me that monkeys would tend to be a bit irresponsible with guns.
This is probably one of the worst days ever, even though I got a new router and have internet access again.
For reasons I won't dwell on, it became necessary for me to have access to Microsoft Windows Vista. My POS Dell PC (which imploded a few months back) didn't seem to want to install it, so I was left with the option of either buying a new Windows machine, or installing Vista on my Mac (something I swore I would never do). Since time was of the essence, and the idea of having to buy a new PC filled me with dread, I decided to just bite the bullet and defile my Mac with Microsoft's latest abomination of an OS...
I used a Mac program called "Parallels" which allows you to run Windows right along with Mac applications on the same screen. It's not the best Windows experience, but it is the most convenient. It allows you to start up Windows and shut it down almost instantly, which is pretty slick. Windows apps even appear in your Dock...
This does nothing to make me feel better about running the Windows OS on my beautiful Mac, however. I just feel so... unclean. Kind of like I need to drink a bottle of Scotch to forget or something.
Anyway, I've put a superficial review of Vista in an extended entry. In summary, it sucks ass. If you want the details as to why I feel that way, feel free to read onward.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I just knew that no good could come from installing Microsoft Windows Vista. It has set off a chain of events that will certainly lead to catastrophic death and destruction for the entire planet.
And the reason I know this is true is because I just got off the phone with the Coca-Cola bottling company of Northern California to verify that Coke with Lime has been discontinued here on the West Coast. You can still buy the diet shit, but the regular stuff is no longer available.
F#@%ING COCA-COLA BASTARDS!! Get people addicted to your shit, then take it away! I hate it when that happens!
Why, it seems like just yesterday that I discovered the joys of Coke with Lime...
And Mooselet led me to discover the sweet asses of the Coke with Lime Girls...
And I found out just how much better life is with a little lime in it...
Now that it's gone, I hope that I don't end up selling myself on the street for a taste of that sweet, oh so sweet, nectar of the gods...
I'm probably going to have to start smoking crack now in order to ween myself off of my Coke with Lime habit. Thanks a lot Coke f#@%ers! Crack is expensive, and I've got bills to pay!
Crap! I can only guess that my installing Microsoft Windows Vista will cause Golden Oreos to be discontinued next. Followed by U-NO candy bars. And those Cottonelle pre-moistened ass-wipes I like so much (wiping my ass will never be fun again!).
I WILL AVENGE YOU MY COKE WITH LIME!!
Clearly, Microsoft must be destroyed.
Oh great, I just got a call telling me that there is a safety recall notice for my motorcycle.
WTF?? I wonder what's going to happen next?
UPDATE: Well I guess I got my answer... Anna Nicole Smith DEAD after staying at my beloved Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Will somebody please give me a couple million dollars so I can stop working and travel the earth?
Because this morning I woke up and realized that I have never been to South America and started freaking out. Will I ever get to see Rio de Janeiro's Cristo Redentor before I die? Or the ruins at Machu Picchu? The Galapagos Islands? Iguazu Falls? Angel Falls? Or even Isla Margarita? I think that I would be very disappointed in whatever afterlife awaits if I didn't at least visit Lake Titicaca. Because when hanging out with your deceased friends, I'd imagine nothing would be a better conversation-starter than "Yeah, I did Titicaca."
Perhaps I am being greedy though. I've been lucky enough to have seen more of this planet than many people ever will. Shouldn't I be satisfied with that much?
Being the greedy bastard that I am, I'm fairly certain the answer is "no." Because no matter how much I see and do, there's always someplace new to explore...
And really, when I stop and think about it, South America is only the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot of holes on my map that need filling in. A lot of places that I would like to visit. A lot of new friends to make. A lot of life to experience.
Of course, it's entirely possible that I'm just freaking out because I woke up and discovered I was out of clean underwear. I ended up wearing swimming trunks under my pants today, and I'm pretty sure this can mess with your head.
But if somebody still wants to give me a couple million dollars, that would be great.
Wow. I just got back from watching Guillermo del Toro's motion picture masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth. I already knew he was genius from his works on Hellboy and The Devil's Backbone... but this film exceeded even my loftiest expectations. It somehow manages to seamlessly blend a brutal reality with fantasy in a way that doesn't totally suck. If you can stomach the violence (and don't mind subtitles), it's definitely worth a look.
Taking place in Spain during World War II, Pan's Labyrinth is a little girl's attempt to escape the horrors of war to a fantasy realm that has perils of its own. Along the way she meets some interesting friends and even more interesting adversaries...
About the only negative was having to see the film in a theater filled with idiots which included...
Whatever happened to the good old days when you went to the movies, sat down, shut the f#@% up, and watched the film?
Speaking of "the good old days" — I find it amazing how the "remastered" special effects they're sneaking into the original Star Trek series has reinvigorated the show. I just finished watching a remastered The Doomsday Machine, and it was pretty sweet! The originals could always hold their own against any of the crappy Trek spin-offs that followed, but now they're at a whole new level of greatness. And, unlike George Lucas shitting all over the Star Wars trilogy, the people working on Star Trek are actually respecting the source material. The stories and spirit remain unchanged... the show just looks fresher.
If only we could do the same for Jennifer Love Hewitt's freaky bangs on the first season of The Ghost Whisperer.
A long Sunday trying to get caught up with work AND get my laundry washed. The bad news is that this wasn't a very relaxing weekend. The good news is that I have plenty enough clean underwear to last me a while.
• Grammy Stupidity... I tuned into the Grammys this year so I could see The Police reunion (which was amazing, as expected) and there's an American Idol-type contest going on. Why? Why do they do this stupid crap? If it takes gimmicky stuff like this to get people to watch the Grammys, then don't bother broadcasting them anymore. I mean, sheesh, isn't THE MUSIC enough without having to resort to "reality television" bullshit? I guess since The Police were the opening act, I can just skip the rest of this joke of an awards show and read who won in the morning.
• New Kitty... I've been beta-testing version 3 of the bestest computer solitaire card game ever... Kitty Spangles Solitaire! Now out of beta, Swoop Software has upped the game count from 18 to 32, which is pretty sweet. About the only thing I don't like is the new font they're using on the cards, which I find more difficult to read than the older version, but it's still a terrific time-killer app that everybody should have on their Mac. I wrote about Kitty here (and butchered her pet pig Ferdiham here). You can get your own copy for just $19.95 here.
• HP Insanity... For the past five months, I've been fighting with Hewlett Packard to return a box of frickin' paper their web site sold me that was mistakenly listed as working on my printer (which it didn't). Well, finally, after sending emails to everybody I could find at HP, a reply was sent from the company president telling me that they would pass my complaint on to the proper person. Having heard it all before, I was ready to give up... but lo and behold, somebody did contact me. They apologized for the problem, then sent me a box of the correct paper. And so, while I have no plans of ever buying anything from HP again after how I was treated, it is nice to know that EVENTUALLY they did the right thing (even if it wasted hours of my time to get it to happen).
• Lime Hoarding... Ever since learning that the dumbasses at Coca-Cola Bottling for the West Coast have decided to discontinue my beloved Coke with Lime, I've been stockpiling the stuff. I think I have enough to last me a few months now. Hopefully by the time I've run out, I'll have found a way to make my own. I've ordered seven different varieties of lime flavoring, and have my fingers crossed that one of them will do the trick.
• Back it up... Just a quick plea to everybody who thinks that data loss can't happen to them... you're wrong. In my 25 years of using personal computers, I've never experience catastrophic failure until the hard drive in my new MacBook Pro died a horrible death (taking all my files with it). Fortunately, I maintain weekly backups of all my data, and was able to recover pretty much everything. When I think of all the precious data I could have lost... all my music... all my travel photos... all my drawings... well, it's a real testicle-shriveling experience. If you don't back-up, start. If you do back-up, make sure it's kept current.
And, on that note, I'm off to fold my freshly-laundered wardrobe before I pass out. Or maybe I'll be passing out on top of my freshly-laundered wardrobe since it's all stacked on my bed. Either way, I'm too tired to brush my teeth. I wonder if I just suck on a Tic-Tac and scrape my teeth with a fingernail if that's the same thing?
Today I got lambasted by a friend because I am not watching Lost and Heroes.
"HOW CAN YOU NOT BE WATCHING THE TWO COOLEST SHOWS ON TELEVISION?!? she screamed at me. "OMG! THEY ARE BOTH GETTING SOOOOOOOO GOOD JUST NOW!"
Yeah, well I had fallen for that before, and swore never again, so I decided to ask a few questions about Lost...
Uh huh. No thanks. If this were truly a GOOD show (like Veronica Mars) then most of the questions would have been answered by now, and they would be moving on to newer, more interesting mysteries. I have no desire to be strung along by lazy writers who can't figure this out. We're half-way through Season 3 and monkeys are more likely to fly out of my ass than anything getting resolved on Lost any time soon...
And for Heroes, it's even easier...
Well there you go. Heroes is just plodding along with boring-ass "B-characters" like "Mirror Girl" and "Mind-Reader Guy" while everybody with interesting powers just sit around talking about boring shit. Forget it. Until somebody gets the money to make a REAL super-hero show where people who can fly ACTUALLY F#@%ING FLY and shit... it's just not worth my time. I'll read a comic book WHERE STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENS if I want to see heroes.
Anyway... I've taken an alphabet meme from 511 and slapped it in an extended entry, because it's probably more interesting than watching an episode of non-Heroes tonight...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
People don't take the time to listen anymore. There are simply too many distractions in this modern world for them to concentrate on what other people say.
A prime example of this was provided to me in the parking lot of Office Depot this afternoon. As I was exiting the store, I notice a man and a woman unloading the car parked next to mine. The man said "Have you got the keys?" The woman replied "No, they're on the seat." The man then slammed the door anyway, thus locking them out. This got him the Stare of Death from the woman, to which he could only reply "What?"
And the problem only seems to get worse with each new generation.
It's for this reason that I am dreading being a speaker on "Career Day" at the local high school this Friday...
I used to do this fairly often for local schools, but then I was ignored for the past four years. I had guessed it was because the teachers finally figured out that I was the last person who should be advising today's youth on their future. Apparently they either forgot this, or somebody new was put in charge, so here I am again.
The very first time I spoke at Career Day, I dressed up in a nice suit and tie and was all professional and stuff. After my presentation, the first question I got was "What do you like best about your job?" I then realized that the best part of my job was that I didn't have to wear a suit and tie. Oops. But subsequent Career Days got easier and easier for me, and I never minded showing up when asked. If nothing else, it allowed me to dispel the illusion that graphic designers have an easy job because they just sit around drawing pictures all day (yeah, if only).
The problem is that very few of the kids that show up to learn about being a graphic designer have any interest in graphic design. They're only there because teachers force them to choose four careers to investigate, and "graphic designer" sounds less boring than say, ohhhh... "accountant" (with apologies to any accountants out there, because I'm sure it's a fascinating career to those who like being creative with numbers all day... something that terrifies me).
But the hardest part is knowing that most of the kids who show up that are interested in graphic design probably don't have the talent to be successful at it. This is because most working graphic artists are commercial artists, which is a freaky kind of mind-set to try to work within. Being consistently creative under pressure in a way that sells is not always as easy as it sounds.
So, given all that, why do I bother volunteering to speak at Career Day?
Because there might be one or two kids who have the desire, talent, and ambition to actually be a good graphic designer one day. Maybe something I have to say will be helpful to them.
If only they choose to listen.
Ah yes, another Valentine's Day.
Even if I didn't know this from looking at a calendar or cruising the blogosphere, I would probably be able to guess because of the search referrals showing up in my blog stats. For the past couple of days I've been hammered by people searching for "romance" and "love" and such.
One of the more popular entries returned is from a meme question I answered back in May 2005...
How would somebody go about winning your heart? Don't try to change me. Don't lie to me. Don't make me be the one to always decide what to do. Don't smoke. Don't expect me to read your mind. Don't smother me. Don't buy me stuffed animals. Don't obsess over my every move. Don't demand to know what I've been doing every moment of every day. Don't ask me to like your friends that don't like me. Don't ask me to forgive you for making out with your ex-boyfriend because "nothing happened." Don't get upset when I don't feel like going shopping. Don't be cruel. Don't play mind-games. Don't think you can't talk to me about it. Don't get mad at me for something without letting me know why. Don't go to bed angry. Don't think I don't care. Or, if all else fails, iron my shirt and buy me a beer.
Yeah, I know... I know... I'm a total romantic. But that pales in comparison to the heart-warming story I answered for another meme back in September of 2004...
What's the most romantic gesture someone's made to you? A girl I was dating completely disarmed me once when she gave me new shoelaces. Yes, shoelaces. I was flying out on a trip, and she stopped to see me off on her way to work. After giving me a goodbye kiss, she handed me a package of shoelaces with a bow on top. She had noticed that my laces were a little "mangy," and thought I should have a new pair for my trip. The fact that she paid attention to such a tiny detail in my life really meant a lot to me. No other romantic gesture has ever come close.
Awwwww... a pity she ended up going psycho on me because, other than the feeling that she was going to kill me in my sleep one night, she was a keeper. And, on that happy note, here is this year's Valentine Card from me to you...
Uhhh... you'll have to forgive Bad Monkey. He's been kicked in the teeth by love one too many times.
Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day. My cards from the three previous years are in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
A couple years ago when they were electing a new Pope, I decided it would be a good idea to sign up for the position. It seemed like a sweet career move and, if nothing else, I thought it would be cool to drive around in the Popemobile and pick up women.
I don't know if you heard, but I didn't get the job. The Catholic Church instead decided to go with somebody who has a little more religious experience (as in 78 years old experience). This is a darn shame, because I think I would look most excellent in that Pope hat...
Well, today I discovered yet another reason that I really need to get that job the next time around... as Pope, you have the ability to render a decision as infallible. According to a Wikipedia entry I found, Popes rarely exercise this privilege. It is an extremely uncommon event, and one that the Pope (and the Church) take very seriously.
This would not be the case if I were Pope.
If I were Pope, ALL OF MY DECISIONS WOULD BE RENDERED AS INFALLIBLE!
Maybe it's because I'm a certified genius, but I think it's more likely because I am never wrong*. I have a track record of being infallible already, so why not take the logical next step?
It would also be incredibly handy for those times that people argue with me for no reason other that to be irritating. As Pope, I would simply decree my decision INFALLIBLE and that would be the end of it. No more arguing. No more drama. No more wasted time. Just the bliss that comes from being inarguably correct in every way, all the time.
In the event that (heaven forbid) a new opening becomes available, I'll be sending my resume off to The Vatican tomorrow.
* Misunderstood, perhaps, but never actually wrong.
Despite the fact that I have to teach classes and speak publicly from time to time, I don't consider myself to be very good at it. It's one of those things I would probably avoid at all costs if it were an option. But showing up for career day at my graduating high school seemed like the least I could do, so I bit the bullet, slapped on a name-tag, and off I went.
As expected, it seemed as if only a handful of the students who showed up had any real interest in graphic design, and I doubt my presentation was going to win any converts. I can barely explain what I do in 15 minutes, let alone answer questions or offer advice. To compensate, I had hand-outs to give away that would (hopefully) tell everybody what they needed to know for filling out their mandatory questionnaires...
Anyway, I was anticipating a major disaster because, well, it's me we're talking about here... but the audience was attentive and thoroughly nice throughout the entire ordeal, so it was relatively painless.
I mean, hey, I didn't get shot at, wet myself, puke, or die, so I guess that's about the best I can hope for...
Still, going back to my high school is a strange experience.
Mostly because I have mixed feelings on having served time there. The best I can say about high school is that my experience was "average." I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. It was something I had to do and so I got through it the best I could. Sure I had friends, participated in extra-curicular activities, and somehow managed to get good grades... but 90% of your time is spent in class, and I always found the classes to be incredibly boring.
Being a computer geek back in the early 80's didn't help much. Personal Computers were so new that most people didn't know what to make of them. I was just another one of those freaky nerds who liked sitting in front of a glowing green screen at the library all day long punching buttons. And, despite what college recruitment ads like this say...
...girls only dig "guys that code" if the guy in question A) Is a millionaire, B) Looks like a Greek god, or C) Has an 11-inch penis (and is preferably possessing a combination of all three).
Setting aside my own massive penis-size for a moment, I'd have to say that there is no "little known secret" in the fact that the hottest girl in school is far more likely to be dating the captain of the football team instead of some geeky nerd who likes computers.
They may have changed the carpet and the paint on the walls of my old high school, but I'm fairly certain this universal truth still holds.
Yesterday I was at the library to drop off some videos when I saw a children's book titled Airport by Byron Barton. "Wow" I said to myself, they did a book adaptation of the movie Airport for kids? That's pretty f#@%ed up! There's no better way to terrify children about flying than to tell them a story about a plane bombing!
But when I picked up the book, I saw that it wasn't a movie adaptation of Airport after all. Instead it's a book to tell kids what happens when you go on a plane trip... standing in line for tickets... boarding the plane... how to buckle your seatbelt... and all that stuff. I thought that was a pretty cool way to prepare a child for their first airplane ride.
It was cute and everything, but I think that it was pretty sanitized. There's a lot of stuff that was left out, and it got me to thinking that perhaps I should write my own children's book about the reality of air travel...
A pity that I'm already half-way through illustrating my first children's book, because this is a kick-ass idea. Oh well, on the bright side I've already got an idea for my second book.
Sigh. I wish there were books like this when I was a kid.
• Lost is Lost... This morning I awoke to find a couple of emails from people pointing me to a story in The Washington Post about how Lost has plummeted in the television ratings and may be facing cancelation. I could try to act surprised, but what's the point? The show sucks ass. It was a brilliant concept that started out as a lot of fun, then disintegrated into boredom when the writers were either too stupid or too lazy to try and come up with cool new mysteries, choosing instead to drag out the same old shit... FOREVER. I mean, holy crap... I was pointing out this problem ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO, and I'm not even in television! Are the people running the show on crack? It's like a lesson in what NOT to do, where everybody sees the wreck coming except the people driving the bus. Next up... Heroes! Or will they learn from Lost's mistakes in time?
• Best Breakfast Ever... Snack-Pack Chocolate Pudding, five Golden Oreo cookies, and a glass of chocolate milk.
• Spirit of Vengeance... One of the cooler comic book creations, Ghost Rider, has finally been given the movie treatment starring long-time comic fan Nicholas Cage. And here's the thing... despite the shitty reviews, I enjoyed this film. Cage totally had a handle on the character, injecting humor where appropriate and not taking the role too seriously. The special effects were kick-ass. The story was entertaining. But, most importantly, there was enough action to keep things moving and the film was fairly faithful to the comics. What's not to love? It amazes me that reviewers are going to a movie about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle thinking it will be about something else, then are disappointed to find out it actually IS about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle. Well, duh. It's not supposed to be Shakespeare, it's just a cheesy popcorn flick. Taking it for what it is, I found it brilliant, and will be buying it on DVD.
• Not-So-Daily Show... Whilst clearing old shows off my TiVo, I ran across the October 26th, 2006 episode of The Daily Show which I've saved because it is one of my all-time favorites. Remembering that The Daily Show can be purchased at the iTunes Music Store, I thought I would just buy the episode so I could free up some space on my TiVo box. Well, it was a good plan, except that you can only purchase the last 8 episodes and nothing before that. WHY? I would think that one of the benefits of selling shows online is that you have a library of archived shows to offer for sale. Both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have segments and guests that demand future exploration... why not offer them? Once again I am put in a position where my only option is to acquire the show "unofficially" — not by choice, but by stupid circumstance.
• Un-Trekable... Speaking of the iTunes Music Store... I was thrilled that the new "re-mastered" episodes of the original (i.e. "real") Star Trek were being offered for sale. Now, for reasons unknown, Paramount has withdrawn them. Which means last week's brilliant update of The Doomsday Machine and this week's beautiful tweaks to the classic Amok Time are nowhere to be found. WTF?!? So here I am, again, perfectly willing to pay money to get something I want, yet my only option is to hope somebody has uploaded it to BitTorrent. Oh well, T'Pring is a total bitch hottie at $1.99 or $0.00, so it's all the same to me. The only loser here is Paramount. Dumbasses. They will, of course, blame internet piracy for lost profits when it's their own stupid asses who are refusing to take my money.
• Six Meme... After avoiding the "Six Weird Things About You Meme" like the plague, Kyle descended like the Black Death and infected me with it. So here goes... 1) I don't like coffee or coffee-flavored products, which I don't think is weird, but others sure do. 2) I am perfectly happy watching the same movies over and over again... I've seen such films as EuroTrip, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Fifth Element, and Bedazzled dozens of times. 3) I have written exactly one fan letter in my entire life... it was to 80's Atari Computer game programmer Tom Hudson, and I still have his kind reply stuffed in a box somewhere. 4) My love of all things Betty White is not a joke... I really do think she kicks ass, and am a huge fan. 5) I am a total comic book geek, and own over 12,000 of them. 6) Weirdest of all? I write in my blog every day and this is the one-thousand-six-hundred-and-thirty-fifth time I've done so. FINI) I'm breaking the rules by not tagging six people now, but I don't tag.
Three weeks until TequilaCon...
I am a total mayonnaise whore.
I will put mayo on anything. I heap it on French fries. I pour it on sandwiches. I drench my potato salad. I cover my vegetables. Whatever. Sometimes I think the only reason that I eat veggie burgers is so that I have an excuse to dump obscene amounts of mayonnaise on them. I'd probably eat it straight out of the jar if I wouldn't die from the massive amount of fat it would introduce into my system.
The only thing I don't eat mayonnaise on is a VBLTCC. Whenever I eat a VBLTCC (Veggie Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Cheddar Cheese sandwich on toast) I use Miracle Whip. Don't ask me why.
Because I use Miracle Whip so rarely, a small jar lasts me a very long time. The stuff usually expires before I have a chance to eat it all up. When my previous jar of Miracle Whip expired, I bought a new jar and found that it wasn't the same... it kind of soaked into the toast or something. I figured it was probably just a bad jar, but didn't toss it out since I don't use it very often. Well, that jar recently expired, so I purchased a new one. Then today I go to make myself a VBLTCC and find out my new Miracle Whip also melts into the toast and sucks ass. Refusing to believe that I got yet another bad jar, I decided to Google it...
And found out that the Miracle Whip dumbasses changed their recipe.
The primary ingredient is no longer oil, it's water. WATER!!
WTF?!? No wonder the crap falls apart and soaks into my toast, IT'S BECAUSE THE SHIT IS MADE OUT OF WATER!! How incredibly stupid. If they want to cut corners to save money, that's fine... but call it something other than Miracle Whip, BECAUSE IT'S NOT MIRACLE WHIP ANYMORE!
This kind of idiotic crap drives me insane. Did they learn nothing from the "New Coke" fiasco?" Oh well, the original REAL Miracle Whip recipe is available at Top Secret Recipes (for free!), so I guess I'll have to start making my own.
Miracle Whip bastards.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but mobile phone idiocy is getting completely out of hand.
There was a time when people at least tried to be discreet and polite when talking on their mobile, but most of them just don't give a crap now-a-days. These idiots talk at FULL VOLUME while discussing stuff nobody wants to hear. Even worse, they seem to have absolutely no qualms about screaming profanity or discussing intimate details of their life. It's as if they think nobody around them can hear what they're saying, and I don't know why that is.
Today I was treated to some moron laughing it up while screaching "SHIT YEAH!" over and over again as he yelled into his Bluetooth headset... WHILE STANDING IN LINE FOR LUNCH... WITH CHILDREN PRESENT!
It's times like this that I wish I carried a baseball bat with me at all times...
Why? Why? Why would somebody act like this? And I'm not talking about me smashing somebody in the face with a baseball bat... I know why I would act like this. I'm asking why somebody thinks it's okay to scream profanity in a public place just because they're talking on their phone. Why does having a phone stuck in your ear suddenly make this okay? If the phone wasn't there it wouldn't be okay... would it?
Maybe from now on when I see such a serious breach of etiquette, I'll commit a breach of etiquette of my own.
Like farting in their face or something...
Sure it's smelly, but it's a lot more convenient than carrying a baseball bat around all day.
"Well aren't you a whiny little bitch in your blog lately" she says in a tone of distaste.
Nothing like having a friend ring you up first thing in the morning so she can call you names... "Ooh look! Mayonnaise! You are whining about m-a-y-o-n-n-a-i-s-e now!" she cries, drawing out the word "mayonnaise" to an impressive 30 seconds. I act quickly to defend myself, but to dubious effect: "Uhhh... actually, I'm whining about Miracle Whip... see, they changed the recipe and it's melting into my toast..." I hear a huff of disgust followed by "Oh? Miracle Whip? Well that makes a BIG difference!" I then envision her eyes rolling so far back into her head that they get stuck there. "Maybe you shouldn't read my blog anymore, because whining is what I DO there," I offer helpfully. But she doesn't hear me... "HA! HA! The monkey is smuggling heroin up his ass?! HA! HAAAAAAA! Where do you come up with this stuff?"
Having friends and family reading your blog is a mixed bag.On one hand, when I'm traveling or doing something interesting, everybody can see what's going on in my life without having to ask. In many ways, this is why I started blogging in the first place... it's easier than having to send a bunch of emails that all say the same thing, or having the same telephone conversation over and over. It also has the benefit of giving me a record of what I was doing two years ago (driving from Birmingham to Nashville with stops at the Hard Rock Cafes in Nashville and Gatlinburg) or even just two months ago (puking my guts out), which is kind of nifty.
On the other hand, much of what I write in my blog is stuff that I would never bore somebody with in "real life," so it can be confusing to people who know me (and even more perplexing to those who don't, I'm sure).
Such is the hazard of blogging from a small town where nothing very exciting ever happens, and all you do each day is work. You end up whining about a lot of little things (like Miracle Whip) because there's nothing else going on. I've toyed with the idea of only writing when I have something interesting to say, but what's the point of having a blog with only ten entries per year?
It makes me jealous of bloggers who live fabulous lives in the big city, because they almost never post an entry featuring a cartoon monkey smuggling heroin up his ass (and, when they do, it's bound to be much more entertaining and better-drawn than what you'll find here).
Which puts me in kind of a dilemma...
Since today was yet another boring day, should I talk about Britney Spears' continuing melt-down? Or how awesome and surprising Veronica Mars was last night? Or about that scary video of Anna Nicole Smith in clown makeup talking to a doll? Or maybe I should blog about the world's tiniest prematurely-born baby getting to go home?
I'm sure any of those topics would make for a most excellent blog entry.
But I'd much rather whine about people who over-fill their gas tanks and spill petrol all over the place. Don't you just want to roll them around in the spill until they've mopped it all up and then set them on fire? Because I am getting really sick and tired of getting out of my car to fill up, stepping in a puddle of gasoline, then having to smell it all day long. I've spent the latter half of my afternoon debating as to whether the fumes I've been inhaling are better or worse than the smell of the men's public toilet at an outdoor concert during the middle of 110-degree summer heat after two hundred drunken guys urinate on every available surface. Since I loathe both smells equally, you can see what a challenge this is for me.
Except now that I've gotten that off my chest, I feel a little better.
Isn't whining about your life what blogs are for?
I must be doing something right, because the volume of hate-mail I've been getting lately is five times what it was a year ago (I started keeping count after the Scary Clown Incident of 2004). February isn't even over yet, and I'm at a record-breaking 14 hateful emails/comments for the month! I always try to respond to people who have the balls to sign their name and give a valid email address... but all the anonymous crap is deleted with such speed that one could say it never existed at all (except as a tally-mark on my hate-mail count sheet). And since 90% of the stuff is from anonymous pussies who actually think I give a crap, hate-mail and hate-comments are never much trouble.
I suppose I should be crying on the inside, but my inner-child seems to be sleeping at the moment.
I wonder how much trouble I can get into today?
I am blessed with teeth that are naturally white. Since I don't drink coffee, don't smoke, and brush them three times daily, they tend to stay that way. And when I say "white" I don't mean "literally white" because they are actually teeth-colored which, in fact, is kind of an off-white color. But ever since I switched to the delicious Crest Whitening Expressions Cinnamon toothpaste, I've noticed that my teeth have been getting even whiter (whoa... the shit actually works!). They're now more white than off-white, and I am quite pleased about that.
Unfortunately, I have an addictive personality and never seem to be content when something better is on the horizon.
Having mostly-white teeth simply isn't good enough anymore. I find myself secretly wanting brilliant-white teeth...
When I smile, I want anybody not wearing sunglasses to be temporarily blinded.
So when Crest sends me a $7.00 coupon offer that can be applied to a box of Crest White Strips, it's like offering a crack-addict a vial of cocaine. I clicked that link faster than Britney checks out of rehab, and have my credit card ready.
At least until I find out that the retail cost of a box of White Strips is $39.99, which means my desire for brilliant-white teeth requires an investment of $32.99... PLUS TAX!
Holy crap! For that kind of money I can buy the biggest Maglite flashlight they make (for temporarily blinding people), and still have money left over for a couple bags of Golden Oreos! I don't mean to sound cheap or anything, but $35 for whiter teeth? Maybe if my teeth were brown this would seem like a bargain, but I can't fathom paying $35 when my teeth are already mostly-white. I guess that I'll keep brushing with my whitening toothpaste and hope for the best.
And now, because I am a total meme whore, I've put that "book meme" that's been working its way around the blogosphere in an extended entry (I can't remember if I saw it first from Frances or SJ)...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Why is it that crazy crap always seems to happen on my birthday each year? Sometimes it's a good thing... the first version of MacOS X was released on March 24 back in 2001, for example. But usually it's bizarre crap like a fish-painting festival* back in 2000, or the Jonesboro Massacre back in 1998, or the Exon Valdez oil spill back in 1989. Not the best birthday material.
Today I find out that this year, March 24, 2007, it's going to be INTERNATIONAL SHUTDOWN DAY. The idea is that this will be a global experiment to determine whether or not people can cope without computers for just one day. They ask you to "shut down your computer and find out!"...
To which I reply "go frak yourself."
Seriously. What kind of stupid-ass shit is this? The entire world is run by computers now-a-days. Are air-traffic controllers supposed to shutdown their computers for the day to see if airline pilots can "cope" with crashing into each other? Do hospitals shut down the computers controlling heart monitors and crap to see if patients can "cope" with going into cardiac arrest? Even if they are just talking about shutting off your personal computer for the day, what is this going to prove? Could I go a day without my computer? Of course I could. Would I ever want to? No. What would be the point? To find out how many people can manage to be computer-free without going insane? Who cares?
I mean, I suppose I could spend my birthday getting drunk off my ass so I wouldn't care about turning on my computer, but it would be kind of rude to ignore the thousands of birthday wishes emailed to me that day. Besides, some of my best blogging is done when I am drunk off my ass, and I can't imagine denying my millions of fans such a treat. It happens all too rarely.
This year it's "International Shutdown Day" — what's next? International Don't Eat Tacos Day? International Don't Flush The Toilet Day? International Eat With Your Feet Day? Who comes up with this stupid crap, and why does it always seem to happen on my birthday?
I feel very strongly that March 24 should instead be "International No Stupid Shit Day"... in perpetuity... so I never have to face this ridiculous dumbassery on my birthday ever again...
That would be the best birthday present ever!
Of course, the one benefit to not turning on your computer for a day would be that you don't have to hear about stuff like "International Shutdown Day." Maybe I've acted too quickly here...
*At first I thought it might be kind of cool to have a painting created by a fish from the fish-painting festival. You'd take a fish, dip him in water-soluable, non-toxic paint, then let him flop around on the canvas to create art. After he had created something suitably interesting, you'd wash off the fish and release him back into the wild. Unfortunately, this is not quite what the organizers had in mind. They were quite adamant that the fish used to create the art would be DEAD. Oddly enough, you do not paint ON the fish as the name implies, but instead use a dead fish to paint WITH. Why anybody would want to do this is beyond my ability to fathom, however.
After two weeks of relatively sane weather, I had packed away my gloves and coat in anticipation of Spring's imminent arrival.
Given that five inches of snow decided to drop this morning, I can see that this was a stupid move. And, as if that weren't scary enough, the killer geese decided to pay a visit as well. I think the snow only made them more angry than usual, because around twenty of them were honking around the building for an hour or so... presumably out for blood. Fortunately, they left before I had to go to the movie theater (Kapgar was totally right, Breach was a pretty good flick... AND it had Jaye in it!).
In other news, here is me sitting on a pile of money...
Apparently, this is what some people think my life is like after I started blogging. I received another email today asking me about all the money I'm making off of Blogography, and what my secret is to being a successful blogger. Like last time, I remain dumbfounded as to how people could think that I get any money from doing this when I don't have advertisers or membership fees. I guess the money is just supposed to fall from the sky or something.
So as not to disappoint those people who think of me as some kind of millionaire blogger, would y'all mind sending me a couple thousand dollars? I think if everybody pitches in, I can start living the fabulous and excessive lifestyle that is expected of me. That would be great, thanks.
And now, just for Hilly, I am answering her feed reader/blogroll questionnaire in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
It's Bullet Sunday on Oscar night!
And while I am not a big fan of the Oscars (they never seem to award the proper films), I am a huge fan of movies, so here we go with the big four...
• Best Picture... Who should win: Little Miss Sunshine. Who will probably win: The Departed. Martin Scorsese, who has done some amazing work, will probably be given the statue for The Departed as a gimmee for being passed-over all these years... even though I don't think it is the best picture this year. I honestly feel that every other film nominated is more deserving to win, with Little Miss Sunshine topping my list.
• Best Director... Who should win: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima. Who will probably win: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima. This astounding film had some incredible artistic choices in direction that nobody can deny... Clint totally deserves to win for his hauntingly beautiful picture, and undoubtedly will. No other direction on a film comes close.
• Best Actor... Who should win: Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson. Who will probably win: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland. I am sure that Forest Whitaker turned in a wonderful performance as Idi Amin (I haven't seen the movie yet), but I find it impossible to believe that anybody topped Ryan Gosling's mind-blowing performance in Half Nelson. I had mixed feelings on the film, but there's no denying Gosling's brilliance in it. As an aside here, if I could pick ANYBODY to win this award, and not just a nominee, it would be Ken Watanabe for his work in Letters From Iwo Jima. This actor puts more into every amazing performance than any other actor I know, and this role was no difference. It's pretty criminal that he wasn't nominated.
• Best Actress... Who should win: Helen Mirren, The Queen. Who will probably win: Helen Mirren, The Queen. Probably the best performance in a movie this year. She WAS The Queen in this film, and humanized a very real person in a way that few actors could have managed. I would be shocked if she doesn't win.
And now, I have about six hours of work to do yet tonight, so I'll be signing off. If you hear screaming, it's because Pan's Labyrinth didn't win Best Foreign Language Film...
I don't know what happened.
Last night when I went to bed, everything was okay. It had been a good weekend. All the various problems that had been thrown my way during the week had been handled. I was... dare I say it... "happy" with the world and my place in it. None of the dread that usually overwhelms me on Sunday nights could be detected. When my head hit the pillow, a rare sense of optimism had settled into the core of my being and all was right in my world.
Then I woke up.
I am used to everything going wrong on a Monday and having to dig my way out. I can handle that. But I quickly found out this morning that "everything" is a relative term, and there is a certain level of "everything" that simply cannot be dealt with. Overwhelmed with one horrific dilemma after another, I was assaulted on all fronts. My telephone. My mobile phone. My work phone. My email. My mailbox. My car. My work. My life.
The entire universe decided to rain shit down on me for some unknown reason.
I don't know what I did to deserve it. I can only guess that this is some kind of retribution for going to bed happy on a Sunday night.
It's at times like this that I feel the need to develop a line of T-shirts to explain my life in a way that can be easily understood. Since I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in being shitted on at one time or another, I can only guess that this is my ticket to making a million dollars. My advertising campaign would feature myself wearing T-shirts with various slogans while standing in a pool of some kind of unsavory substance... like urine or raw sewage or toxic waste or something...
Things can, of course, always get worse. It's as if the laws of physics demand it. There's probably some Einsteinian theorem floating around describing how once you start sliding in shit, you will continue to slide in shit until you land in a big pile of it.
The question then remains... is today my "pile" or am I still sliding towards it?
It would seem that I'm not quite finished with being karma's bitch yet, because the horror show that is my life lately continues. I just got off the phone with somebody I don't even know who has apparently made it their mission in life to irritate me as much as possible. This leads me to wonder... since dumbasses like this seem to serve no useful purpose, shouldn't Darwinian evolutionary theory dictate that they should be become extinct? And, if you don't believe in Darwin, and instead believe in some kind of divine architect, isn't the creation of dumbasses a waste of materials?
No matter what your belief structure, the existence of dumbasses simply makes no sense. Yet they're everywhere and their numbers are growing. Even worse, they're getting even more stupid. It's getting so bad that I'm almost thinking that I need to release one of my Dumbass Books so that those idiots who aspire to be a dumbass have a place to start...
As an example, since complex thoughts like "drive right - pass left" are simply too difficult for a prospective dumbass to grasp, I'd fill the book with handy flowcharts to explain the process...
Such a chart, naturally, would be preceded with 40 illustrated pages explaining what a "passing lane" is, because I understand how some dumbasses might get confused about such things if they are driving down a one-lane road or, heaven forbid, they try to look for a passing lane at a McDonalds drive-through or while parked or something. Dumbass books work because they assume nothing.
In an valiant struggle to cling to anything good that might be happening in my life, I was very happy to get a thank-you letter from a soldier who got one of my care packages for AnySoldier.com. I never expect this (let's face it, they've got a lot more important things on their mind), but it's always a real treat when it happens...
Yeah. I don't care how bad of a day your having, getting something like this in the mail is an amazing experience. I think I must have read through it a dozen times, because it has such a wonderful way of putting things in perspective. Sure my life may be shit, but this guy is stuck in the middle of Baghdad feeling lucky just to live another day. It's not like anything I've got going on can really compare to that.
As the end of the month approaches, I've already got most of the items for my next round of care packages to send. If you are able to help out, here's all you need to know.
And who knows what tomorrow will bring...
After two days of life beating the crap out of me, today there was finally daylight... both figuratively and literally (so THAT'S what the sun looks like!).
The good news is that I no longer want to microwave my head. The bad news is that the events of the past two days will take weeks... perhaps months... to resolve. I'm a fairly private person, so I won't be going into details, but suffice to say that absolutely everything that could possibly go wrong in all aspects of my life decided to happen over the course of 48 hours. It was like experiencing TWO seasons of "24" but without the benefit of having Jack Bauer around to kick some ass. Just a lot of things around me going terribly wrong and shit exploding every fifteen minutes.
One thing I will say is that I have come to really, really hate my car.
If I was any sort of wealthy, I would crash my car into a gas station so it would become soaked with gasoline, toss a lighted match on top so I could watch it burn, then throw a massive party where everybody could hold hands and sing songs while urinating on the smoldering remains. Once the auto was thoroughly destroyed, we'd watch Elizabeth Hurley's masterpiece Bedazzled on a big-screen TV and eat chocolate cake...
Amazing-looking chocolate cake recipe can be found at Southern Living Magazine.
Because it's not really a celebration unless there's chocolate cake at the end.
In other news, "massive penis" has entered my top-ten search referrals for 2007 despite the fact that it appeared only 12 days ago in my blog. Helpful hint for blog traffic whores: nothing will service your needs better than a massive penis. This does present a dilemma, however, because I don't know what the female equivalent should be. I would hate for it to appear that my blog is sexist, and want to be sure that filthy Google Search Results at Blogography aren't gender-biased. I'm leaning towards "tasty vagina" but think it might be difficult to work that into a popular blog entry without supplemental video of some kind.
Not that I'm unwilling to try, mind you.
Can I just say that Criss Angel kicked total ass in his guest spot on the episode CSI New York from last night? The guy is a decent magician to begin with, but who knew he could act as well? His emotionally disturbed character of Luke Blade was no easy role to play, and he managed it beautifully. Good episode. Perfect casting.
As more and more of our lives ends up on the internet, there's more and more ways to put yourself there. I've always thought that a daily update on my blog is enough, but then a service called "Twitter" comes along that allows you to put continuous updates about your life on the internet all day long. Despite an occasional trip somewhere, most of my life is pretty boring, and would end up looking something like this...
I don't know why anybody would want to read something like that, so my Twitter account goes unused. Since you can update from your mobile phone, I keep thinking that maybe I'll Twitter one of my trips or something. Travel is mostly mundane torture for me, but maybe somebody would find it interesting?
Another internet invention is a service called "Facebook" which is a kind of social-networking site. It started out for college students to maintain contacts and stuff, but eventually opened up to everybody. Once you join up, you can invite others to join and be on your friends list. Karl from Secondhand Tryptophan invited me to be his friend, and now he appears when I login...
Today I logged into Facebook for some reason, and noticed that I'm being asked how I know Karl. I click on him to answer, and a box comes up with a list of options. When I read through the list, I don't see an option for "Blogging Buddies" so I thought I'd select "Through Facebook" instead. After I checked the box, a little menu popped up asking me what kind of Facebook friend Karl was to me...
POKE BUDDIES?!? What the hell kind of stuff is going on at FaceBook? I mean, I like Karl and all... and look forward to meeting him in person and stuff... but this is a bit more intimate of a relationship than I'm ready for. I decided to go for something less dramatic and select "We hooked up" instead, but figured Karl would probably delete me for something like that. Ultimately, I just selected "Met randomly" and was able to hand-type "Blogging Buddies" which is what I was looking for all along...
Interestingly enough, Facebook won't take my word for it that Karl and I are Blogging Buddies. Instead, they are going to ask Karl for confirmation. Am I really so untrusting?
Even more interesting... I now have an option to "Poke Karl!" (with exclamation point!). WTF? I must be missing something here, so I go to the Help Center to try and figure out what all this poking is about. Here is what I found out...
What is a poke?
We have about as much of an idea as you do. We thought it would be fun to make a feature that had no real purpose and to see what happens from there. So mess around with it, because you're not getting an explanation from us.
Holy crap! If the people who created the poking don't know and won't tell... what the heck are Facebook users supposed to think? "Mess around with it?" What if I poke Karl and he explodes? And what the heck is going to happen when somebody pokes ME?!?
If you don't hear anything from me tomorrow, it's probably because Karl poked me and I exploded.
Eyes... won't... stay... open.
It occurred to me as I approached my 16th hour of work today that I need a new line of work. Preferably a career that doesn't exceed an eight-hour work day... with a three hour-work day being optimal.
Perhaps being absolute ruler of a small country might be a good job for me...
I'm thinking a typical day would include making sweet love to super-models, watching television, playing video-games, partying with foreign heads of state, walking amongst my adoring subjects, and dedicating statues, libraries, museums, buildings, and other stuff that has been named in my honor. And in-between all that I'd make time to fly off to exotic locations and visit foreign leaders so they could bask in my presence (and give me cool presents).
Sure being the exalted ruler of all I survey would be a 24-hour job, but I'd manage somehow. Probably by delegating all the boring stuff to my lackeys.
Hmmm... I have 287 blog entries stacked-up in my webfeed reader, and around 40 emails to read. That wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have at least another two hours of work ahead of me (and eight hours of television on my TiVo).
I wonder how I go about getting a lackey to read my blogs and reply to my emails for me. Is that something you can get on eBay?
Thanks to everybody who sent me e-cards and kind notes over Elizabeth Hurley's wedding today. Thirty-six of you were nice enough to send your condolences, which was a bit unexpected (that's more people than usually comment on an entry!).
In an act of sublime selflessness, I wish nothing but the best for the happy couple. If Elizabeth Hurley is happy, then I'm happy... I love her that much. I mean, it's not like I am wishing for a building to fall on her new husband or anything. I'm sure he's a terrific guy, and I'm glad she found him. I suppose I could sit around hoping that Arun Nayar gets attacked by a pack of wild hyenas, but what would be the point? Elixabeth Hurley has made her choice (misguided as it may be) and I will just have to live with it. Best of luck to the happy couple!
Okay, maybe I don't wish "the best" for them... that's a little much. But I do wish that good things come their way. Just because Elizabeth Hurley decided to marry a guy who is not me doesn't mean that she should be cursed with unhappiness the rest of her life. Does it? Maybe he's not perfect or anything, but he seems nice. So good luck you two!
Alright, you got me. Being completely honest here, wishing "good things" for Liz and Arun is probably a stretch. How about I just send happy thoughts with no well-wishing at all? Sure Elizabeth Hurley just made the biggest mistake of her life, but it's not really her fault. If she had ever met me, she would realize that I was the perfect guy for her... but since she had the misfortune to never even know I exist, well, it's hardly appropriate for me to be wishing Arun fall down a well or something. That would just be wrong. He doesn't seem like the nicest of guys, but I'm sure he's not too bad.
Okay... okay... okay... sending "happy thoughts" is probably going too far. Because doesn't Arun Nayar look like a total bastard? I've never met him or anything, but doesn't he just seem completely wrong for her? He's probably a puppy-kicker. Yep, I'll bet when he sees a puppy he kicks it as hard as he can just because he likes it. And the perfection that is Elizabeth Hurley just married him in an unholy union that will wreck havoc throughout the known universe. Why should I wish anything "happy" for their marriage when there's nothing happy about it? We're all doomed.
OMG! What has she done? RUN LIZ! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! YOU JUST MARRIED A PUPPY-KICKING ASSHOLE!! Oh the humanity! I suppose I'll just have to hope that Liz manages to break free of Arun Nayar's evil spell before something horrible happens... like her sleeping with him. Oh! Oh! Oh! That would be just terrible! Like the worst day ever! Is it too much to hope that Elton John has a gun in his purse and will destroy the Ultimate Evil that calls himself "Arun" before the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley is lost to the world forever?
Gee... I hope that nothing happens to the plane that is taking Elizabeth Hurley and her new husband to India. It would be just terrible if it crashed and Arun were to perish while Elizabeth Hurley were to miraculously escape completely unharmed. Yeah, let's all hope that doesn't happen.
Speaking of pure evil on earth...
I finally got to sleep around 2:30am. Most of my work was finished, and I simply couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. So guess who decided to come calling three hours later and wake me up? That's right. THE EVIL GEESE FROM HELL ARE BACK AGAIN!
Just look at the cheeky bastards all honking and riled up! Clearly minions of the devil.
And to make the entire situation even more scary, their numbers keep increasing. At first there were a dozen... then around 26... then about 40... NOW THERE ARE 67! SIXTY-SEVEN!! And I realize people think I am exaggerating here, but I'm not. There were so many of them that I had to take a panorama of seven pictures and then stitch them together so that all of the little bastards would fit into the shot...
Click on the image to enlarge. WARNING! May frighten small children!
(you will have to scroll to see the whole thing)
Between Elizabeth Hurley getting married and the startling increase in the goose population, can the Apocalypse be far behind? I'm telling you, geese are going to take over the world.
I, for one, welcome our new geese overlords.
Back to work...
Unexpected travel plans have decided to invade my Sunday.
Ordinarily, this would be a good thing, because I could vent all my frustrations about air travel and have them neatly aligned in bullet points. But I don't feel like writing that, let along reading it, so perhaps it's time for Bullet Stories instead of Bullet Points? I dunno... maybe it's being stuck in a hotel room with nothing good on television that's making me all sentimental.
• The Brutality Reality.
Sometimes I like to pretend that I'm the kind of guy who likes to solve his problems with violence. The kind of brute-force, don't-bother-me-or-I'll-kill-you kind of man who simply refuses to put up with the stupidity of others.
When the people ahead of me in line for airport security don't bother to read the dozen signs telling them to remove any liquids and have their ID ready, I bitch-slap their stupid asses and push my way through. When the man sitting behind me on the plane won't shut up and keeps bumping my seat, I turn around and punch him in the face. When a bitch tries to cut in front of me as we disembark the aircraft, I kick her rude ass to the floor then walk over the top of her. When some sandwich-eating hippie keeps dropping sprouts onto the floor at baggage claim, I push his face to the floor and make him lick it up, then laugh as he runs off crying with a bloody nose. When my luggage doesn't show up for 30 minutes and then appears on the wrong carousel, I climb through the luggage corridor and start beating random people with my suitcase. As I strut out of the airport, I'm secure in the knowledge that I am a total bad-ass who doesn't take shit from anybody...
...at least until I put on some lip balm to protect myself from those chaffing Chicago winds and call my mommy to let her know that I have arrived safely. Suddenly reality comes crashing down as I'm crying about how I'm tired and my tummy aches and people are mean and I couldn't find my suitcase and I wish I were home in bed. But then mommy tells me everything is going to be okay now, at which time I can go back to pretending I'm one tough bastard again.
• Flexible for Money.
When you were a kid, do you remember when you dropped a coin that rolled under the table how you didn't even think about what to do... you simply threw yourself to the ground and went crawling after your money? It didn't matter if it was just a nickel or even a penny, you chased after that shit.
And now, as you grow older, do you notice how the value of the dropped coin you're willing to chase after keeps getting bigger and bigger? At one point you stopped crawling after pennies because, after all, it was just a penny. Soon after, nickels weren't worth bending over for. In no time at all, dimes are more trouble than they're worth. With age comes the realization that the time, effort, and energy required to retrieve dropped money requires careful calculation. Is the quarter that just fell out of your pocket worth the risk of straining your back while bending over to pick it up? What can you get with a quarter now-a-days anyway?
Today I dropped a dollar bill while pulling my iPod out of my pocket. As I stood there watching my money gently tumbling down the sidewalk in the breeze, it then occurred to me that I must be an old man now because I had no desire to go after it. Then suddenly, in a desperate bid to reclaim my childhood, I went chasing after my dollar. Just as I bent over to pick it up, my $180 Oakley sunglasses (one of those ridiculously expensive purchases you try not to regret) fell out of my jacket pocket and got a nice scratch on the lens. Standing there with a dollar in one hand and my ruined sunglasses in the other, I threw the dollar bill into the air and walked away having learned a valuable lesson.
Sometimes you've just got to tell your inner-child to go fuck themselves.
• The Mac Club.
It used to be that traveling with a Macintosh PowerBook put you into an elite club. You see another Mac user sitting across the aisle and would share a smirk of superiority that instantly bonded you with a total stranger. Your Mac made you special, and it was something only another Mac user could appreciate. These moments of brotherhood were a rare event to be treasured, and being a member of The Mac Club made you a better person (if only in your own mind).
Except now Macs are everywhere. As you sit in the airport looking around, nearly half of the computers have that familiar glowing Apple logo staring back at you. The Mac Club's power came from its exclusivity, and those days are fading fast. Despite your joy at the Mac's new-found popularity, you aren't feeling as special as you once did.
But then you turn on your PowerBook, see that a few people have left comments on your blog, and suddenly find yourself feeling more special than a silly old machine could ever make you feel.
• A Real Conversation.
It occurred to me this afternoon as I was ordering my veggie burger at Johnny Rockets, that talking to my waiter was about the only conversation I've had all day. I checked in for my flight this morning at a self-service kiosk. I arrived at my hotel for check-in and got my room key from another kiosk. I got my cash from an ATM. I set up my appointments via a website. I bought my CTA train pass at yet another kiosk. I traveled 2/3 the distance of these continental United States and my only interaction with a human all day was to say "I'll have a Coke please" to the cabin steward on the plane. After dinner I went to see the movie Norbit, purchased my theater ticket from still another self-service kiosk, and proceeded to get more than a little depressed about it all. People simply don't interact with each other much anymore.
At the end of the night I decided to take an expensive taxi back to my airport hotel instead of a cheap (but long) ride on the Blue Line. Thinking I'd try to put a halt to the world's effort at insulating me from humanity, I struck up a conversation with my cab driver. As the discussion goes on, I am so thrilled to be talking to somebody... to really be talking to somebody... that I almost had him circle the airport a few times before dropping me at the hotel.
With more gratitude than he can know, I hand over my fare and a generous tip to the driver. I wish him a good night and, unlike so many times I've said it to strangers, this time I really mean it.
I didn't get any sleep last night, so after my morning meeting I decided to catch up on some shut-eyet back at the hotel. This was a pipe dream, however, because housekeeping service was ramming their noisy vacuum into every wall, door, and piece of furniture on my floor.
Eventually I gave up on sleep and decided to head into the city.
Fortunately, it was another beautiful day in Chicago, with blue skies (tempered by freezing winds). This was a nice follow-up to the weather last night when the skies were clear, and the full moon looked amazing hanging over the river...
I hadn't been to The Shedd Aquarium in ages, and decided to pay a visit. After the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Japan, it's one of my most favorite fishy places...
But The Shedd offers plenty more than just fish. My most-beloved creatures on earth are lizards and frogs, which are nicely represented in various exhibits...
I also like snakes, and there were some exotic species hanging out at The Shedd, like these two guys who look like they're sleeping in a tree...
They also have otters, seals, a beluga whale, and even a penguins exhibit...
The theming of the various exhibits is lush and fun to look at, but the stars of the show are definitely the creatures who inhabit the place. My favorite this time around was a cool frog who was just chilling out in the water and watching people walk by...
After blowing over two hours at the aquarium, I decided to get some new footwear. My last four pairs of shoes were bought at NikeTown Chicago, so I didn't think there was any reason to break that tradition for my new pair. Fortunately, they had the shoes I wanted, and all I had to do was wait for them to be brought up. While I was waiting, a woman and her high school-aged son came wandering by. The son was interested in a limited edition pair of Nike GOLD Air Force One shoes. They come with 24k gold-plated tips on the laces, and a gold-plated belt-buckle and keychain to match...
I wouldn't wear them, but the kid wanted them. Even once he found out that they carried a $2000 price tag.
And here's the kicker... HE BOUGHT THEM!
The mother's question was "what you want with a pair of $2000 shoes? That's a mortgage payment! But it's your money, so I'm just going to sit down over here and be quiet while you spend it."
MY question would have been "where the f#@% does a high school student get $2000 to spend on shoes?"
Once I had purchased my far, far cheaper shoes, I met up with some friends who drove down from Kenosha to have dinner with me and wander down the Magnificent Mile for a while. I ate entirely too much, so now I'm taking some Pepto Bismol and going to bed.
And thus ends my last day in the Windy City.
Now that I think about it, I really should have went back and bought a pair of $2000 gold-plated shoes so I could be all cool at TequilaCon. Of course, that would just ensure that they would get soaked in beer or puked on, so maybe it's for the best I didn't.
For the past couple of weeks I've been occupying what precious little free time I have by working on my book. It's been over a year since I stopped writing Daveology, and I could never seem to get back in the writing habit. After parting ways with my publisher, my enthusiasm for the project had slowly dwindled to zero, and nothing ever inspired me to take it up again. There's also the drama involved in finding a new editor I can work with. As you have no doubt surmised from reading my crap at Blogography, having a strong editor will be essential for anything I might publish. Sure people are willing to ignore my weak sentence structure and total misuse of punctuation when they are reading for free, but something tells me they will expect all the various grammar bits to be in their proper places if they have to pay for it.
When I was originally approached about turning my blog into a series of books I had no interest in attempting it. A previous movie project (based on a comic book treatment I drafted) had nearly destroyed me. Sure it started out great, but after eighteen months and a dozen trips to L.A., all I got out of the deal was heartache and disappointment. And a fat paycheck. But when you put your heart into something, the money can't wholly compensate for the desolation you feel once everything has turned to shit. With this in mind, the idea of going through it all over again for a book deal with no fat paycheck didn't seem worth it. Much like being very protective of your testicles after having been smacked in the balls by a shampoo bottle, my creative heart is guarded.
But eventually I was convinced to give it a try. I guess this means I'm not very good at guarding things. Which is why you should never ask me to keep an eye on your stuff while you go to the bathroom. Not only will it probably end up missing, but I won't be very apologetic about having screwed up. You should have known better.
The outline for the book project seemed simple enough: repackage and expand my favorite entries with a narrative thread. But after a month of back-and-forth, it became apparent that my publisher and I had very different ideas as to how the book should take shape. They didn't want the cartoons, photos, and illustrations, just the words. This didn't make any sense to me because I'm not a very good writer... to me the cartoons, photos, and illustrations ARE Blogography. Eventually a compromise was reached, but it was just the first in a series of many concessions I'd have to make. Finally seeing the Big Picture as to how things would end up, I wanted out. If I couldn't create the book I wanted, I didn't want to create a book at all. Fortunately, my soon-to-be ex-publisher liked me well enough to end things amicably, which was pretty swell. Had I been in their position, I would have shown up in person to collect the advance money, then kicked my ass.
And that was the end of that. But with a third of Daveology completed, it seemed a shame to let all those weeks of hard work sit on a shelf. Unlike the failed movie project, I harbored an illusion that something could still come of it one day, even if I had to self-publish. I didn't care about making any money, I just didn't want my time to have been wasted. But, like so many things in my life, this ambition soon faded as more interesting projects (i.e. those that paid money) came calling.
Then I woke up one morning around Valentine's Day and suddenly decided I wanted to try writing again. True to form, I didn't start until a week later, but the decision had been made. Whether this new-found compulsion will last long enough to actually finish the book, I have no idea. I'm fickle that way.
In the meanwhile, I blunder onward in an attempt to fill the pages of a book that may never see the light of day.
This morning I started a new chapter which begins thusly:
Do you know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you're pouring a can of Coke into a glass and the foam starts to rise up? That utterly helpless feeling when you suspect that you've poured too much soda too quickly and don't know if the Coke is going to overflow and make a mess or settle back down into the glass? That's the feeling I get at the moment I realize sex is in my immediate future.
When I'm pouring a Coke for myself, there's nothing to be nervous about because nobody is watching (at least I certainly hope not) and I can make a mess free from judgement. But it's an entirely different situation when I'm pouring that same Coke in front of an audience.
Most of the time I'm able to channel this nervous energy and put it to good use. Everything works out okay, the glass is filled to mutual satisfaction, and everybody walks away a winner (have a Coke and a smile!). But sometimes things don't go as planned, everything ends up a mess, and all you get for your embarrassment is a sticky residue that never seems to disappear off the kitchen counter entirely.
This is a grossly unfair situation because, by comparison, women have it easy. All they have to do is decide if they want to have that Coke in the first place, then leave the pouring to some poor bastard looking for a caffeine fix. Fortunately for them, men are born with a caffeine deficiency and always happy to serve up a glass. The insanity of it all is enough to make me want to drink straight from the can, but I'm just not that flexible.
...and so on.
As you can see, the book is a bit more personal than my blog ever gets. Apparently my writing is not quite so private when I know people are going to pay money for it. Well, except those cheap bastards who borrow a copy from the library.
Alrighty then! One hour until my connecting flight home, and boy am I thirsty. I think I'll go guzzle a bottle of Coke and try not to think of what that implies.
"Dude! I didn't know you were writing a book! Am I in it?"
Getting a call from Bad Robert is always an adventure because you never know what's going to be on his mind. Was his poop a funny color this morning and he's just dying to tell somebody? Did he discover a new curse word that he needs to try out on a friend? Has his Super Deluxe Girlfriend finally come to her senses, realized that Robert will never change, and moved out? You just never know.
"Oh yes, absolutely you're in it." I said. "Why? Do you not want to be in it?"
"No, that's cool," Robert said almost in a whisper. "Nah, I was just wondering what you're going to say."
This was a bit puzzling to me, as Robert is not the kind of guy to care about stuff like this. Whenever I've asked if he minds being written about in my blog, he's always blown it off as no big deal. But maybe Robert feels being mentioned in a blog is different than appearing in print, and I'm suddenly hesitant to mention that not only is he in the book, but there's an entire chapter devoted to him. I don't get to see Robert very often, but he's had a huge impact on my life. I can't imagine him not appearing in Daveology, because the stories are just too good.
"How about I promise to send you anything I write about you, and you can tell me if I can put it in the book," I say.
"Oh yeah! That would be great!" Robert says, his relief audible.
So last night I emailed him an outline of his chapter, then attached the stuff I had already written. Just in case anybody is interested, I've reprinted the first part of our Las Vegas adventure, where we've just passed through airport security at Seattle and I've headed off to use the restroom...
Completely ignoring the unwritten rule that dictates you should leave an empty urinal between yourself and any guy already peeing (if possible), Robert trotted up to the urinal next to mine and set about his business. This was a bit unnerving, but I was able to cope by amusing myself with the entertainment at hand. But since the only thing in my hand at that moment was my penis, my options were limited. I would have looked around for something else to distract me from this uncomfortable situation, but there was nothing else in my viewing angle except other men and their penises. Since amusing myself with my own penis or watching other guys using theirs is frowned upon in any public restroom outside of Los Angeles, I instead decided to concentrate on my shiny white urinal, noting how its manufacturer, American Standard, became Nacirema Dradnats when spelled backwards. But just as I was thinking how “Nacirema” kind of sounded like “Macarena,” and how I haven’t heard that song in a while, the inevitable happened.
“Holy shit!” Robert exclaimed at full volume. “Dude! There’s a pube on top of the urinal!”
Before leaving on our trip, I had worried about the strange things that seem to happen whenever Robert is around. He’s like a magnet for trouble and weird happenings, and going to a city like Las Vegas with such a person is bound to be somewhat problematic. I had consoled myself by thinking my past experiences of hanging out with Robert would prepare me to deal with any situation that might occur. What I didn’t expect was having to deal with a situation while my dick was hanging out of my trousers.
Mortified beyond my ability to express, I tried to concentrate on more pressing matters and pretend I didn’t know this deranged man peeing next to me. But such efforts are futile when Robert is involved.
“How does a pube get on top of the urinal?” Robert said, transfixed by the errant pubic hair. “Did a 10-foot giant pee here?”
“Uhhhhhhhh...” I stammered uselessly, “I guess so.”
“Well that doesn’t make any sense!” he shouted. “Because wouldn’t a giant have giant pubes? This one is normal sized.”
At this point I was considering whether I should continue to stand there urinating while an entire restroom of guys stared at us, or zipping up and peeing my pants so I could flee. In my mind both options were equally embarrassing.
“Look at it! Just look at it!” Robert cried, his face getting closer and closer to the object of his newfound obsession.
Using all the force I could muster, I managed to expel the remaining contents of my bladder in record time. Unconcerned as to what damage this might have done to my urinary tract, I practically ran to the sink so I could wash up and escape.
“Dude, this is seriously fucked up!” Robert shouted over his shoulder, ignoring the stares of guys desperately trying not to stare in a place where staring can get you in serious trouble. “Where’s your camera?”
Sweat pouring down my forehead, I exited the bathroom with my hands trembling. We were only twenty minutes into a three-day trip and I was already a nervous wreck. With an hour left until we boarded the plane, I quickly began calculating how much alcohol I could consume in the time available. The only way I was going to survive this weekend was if I were drunk or Robert were sedated.
Then this morning I get another call... "Did you read it?" I ask.
"Yeah. Yeah. But where is the time we nearly got beaten up by that trucker at McDonalds? That was pretty funny! You should put that in there too. Oh! And what about my cat? How come my cat isn't in the book? Oooh! Don't forget about the Skittles! You've got to tell the time about the Skittles!"
So I guess Robert doesn't have a problem being in the book. It would seem his only problem is that the book isn't entirely about him.
Last night I was flipping though channels and landed on the CW Network which was airing a "Pussycat Dolls: The Search for a New Pussy" reality show. I kept watching expecting to see hottie potential Pussies shaking their asses in some kind of competition... but instead was treated to a girl blowing chunks in the toilet. WTF? If I wanted this kind of action, I'd go buy a Girls Gone Wild video where I could see me some nudity with my puking!
Blargh. I miss Veronica Mars already (which is on hiatus until sometime in April).
Back on Sunday when I was in Chicago all bored and alone in my hotel room, Hilly (whom I love more than chocolate pudding) was kind enough to "keep me company" via email as I hammered away on my blog entry for the day. Eventually our conversation turned to the upcoming TequilaCon this weekend, and how much we were looking forward to the event. Though my trip is not coming together exactly as I had planned, I am still excited that I can go...
This got me to thinking about all the bloggers I've met in person, and how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to do so. While meeting bloggers in real-life has never been a disappointment, it has always been different. That's what makes everything so much fun...
That's The Kennedy School Bar and Hotel in northern Portland. If I sense your essence, I'll be sure to give you a astral high-five and buy you an out-of-body drink. But please don't drink and astrally-project home! You're more than welcome to crash your higher being in my room so long as you behave yourself (no spirit-fingering my ass in the middle of the night).
Hmmm... I should probably get some more sleep this morning so I'll have the energy to pack a suitcase after work tonight. I wonder how many pair of underwear I'll be needing for the weekend? I think I'll pack a dozen just to be safe.
With an hour before my connecting flight to Portland, I decide to grab something to eat. Wandering down the D Concourse of SeaTac, I spot a bagel shop and decide that sounds like a great lunch. I was, of course, wrong. While the "bagel" was bread-like and had a hole in the middle, it could hardly be called a bagel. For the millionth time I wonder why shit like this can legally be called a bagel when, in fact, it is not. There are no bagels outside of New York City.
After choking down as much of my "bagel" as I can manage, I'm off to find a restroom. I don't actually have to go, but figure I would go anyway as a precautionary measure. The last thing I want to do is walk up to Hilly in Portland all Forrest Gump-like and have my first words be "I gots tuh go pee."
Today is pre-TequilaCon craziness with the actual event happening tomorrow.
And that's all I gots to say about that.
Because it's 1:00am and tomorrow I want pancakes.
Today is the day!
TeuilaCon 2007 started off early yesterday when I met Karl and Hilly at the airport for the 10-minute drive to The Kennedy School for check-in. There were tentative plans to have a pre-con meet up, so we had dinner and drinks at the restaurant while we waited. It was nice to catch up on old times, but a bit odd when you consider that I had never met either one of them before today... blogger meet-ups are like that.
Once Adena and Stacey arrived, we couldn't find a table anywhere at The Kennedy School (it's a popular place!) so we took a run to the Alameda Brew House not too far away. Then Neil and Sophia showed up for beer and big fun...
Hilly, Sophia, Neil, Karl, Stacey, and Adena at the Alameda Brew House
Then it was time to head back to The Kennedy School where we ran into Dustin (my new roommate) and went hunting for bloggers. After a while of wandering, we found Jenny, Brandon, Jill, Kimberly, Sibyl, and Vahid.
Jenny rocking the official TequilaCon 2007 poster.
This morning we're meeting up for super-fantastic French Toast at The Cadillac Cafe and then heading downtown to Powell City of Books. I'm sure there will be blogging updates as time allows.
TequilaCon 2007 has just ended, and it couldn't have been more amazing. A great bunch of people having fun (sometimes too much fun) and getting to meet the faces behind the blogs. I just knew it was going to be good, but nothing could prepare me for how much fun was to be had. Kudos to the TequilaCon Advisory Committee for their brilliant work this time around, and I can't wait to attend next year's event.
Among the billions of photos taken, here are a few random shots from my camera tonight...
Jenny's annual tattoo parlor was open for business. Mine was pretty bad-ass. "Bad to the Bone - FOREVER" with a skull and cross-bones... it doesn't get much better than that...
The incomparable Hilly and Stunning Ms. Sizzle glamming it up for their adoring fans and paparazzi...
We took a run with Portland's favorite taxi driver to the famous VooDoo Donuts. The trip was made all the more exciting when we found out that COCK-FEST was coming to town...
Our voodoo donut sacrifice to the tequila gods was delicious...
But one of the most interesting attendees for TequilaCon 2007 was the venue itself. The Kennedy School is incredibly cool, despite a number of disturbing images hanging in the hallways...
To everybody who attended, thanks for such a great time. To everybody who could not attend, I hope to see you next time!
Welcome to Bullet Sunday at Blogography, where everybody is bitchy and nobody is getting licked! Oooh... those insider-TequilaCon-jokes are going to be torture for the next week or so...
• Turbulence. I almost think that the constant problems with the flights back home (one cancellation and two delays) were devised by fate so a to spare me from that final hop to Wenatchee. The turbulence was so bad that people were being thrown about... with books, tickets, passports, iPods, and everything else not nailed down being tossed around around the cabin. I rarely get motion sickness, but things were so bad that I thought my stomach was going to leap out of my mouth. After landing, I decided the only thing that sounded good to eat was a Quizno' sub sandwich, but when I got to the restaurant at 6:00, they had just closed. WTF?!? How stupid do you have to be to close early around the dinner hour? Even if there was a reason... like a power failure... the least they could do would be to post a sign as to why they had closed two hours prematurely. Jerks. Oh well, I'm home in one piece, so it's hard to complain too much.
• Ladykiller. Yeah, this photo from Hilly pretty much sums up the "TequilaCon Experience" for me...
Yes, bitches! I am one sexy bastard! Just ask Jenny and Sass...
• Lanyards. To make sure that TequilaConners would be able to spot each other while wandering the halls of The Kennedy School, Jenny and I came up with the idea giving lanyard name badges to everybody. That way, in addition to feeling all superior while walking around in a hotel/bar/restaurant filled with non-believers, attendees would have an easy introduction to each other. A couple of people have written and asked how they can get an official TequilaCon lanyard, and I'm sorry to say the only way to get one is to have shown up. But don't be too sad if you missed your opportunity, you'll have a chance to get one all your own at TequilaCon 2008!
Photo courtesy of Hilly's mad camera skillz.
• Experience. Karl has posted his photos, which resulted in a more terrifying look at my TequilaCon experience...
Dave & Hilly get lanyardized. — Dave and Karl are TequilaCon studs.
Dave makes fun of Dustin's umbrella. — I'm a pretty pretty princess in Hilly's tiara!
Dave gives Hilly a tattoo. — Must moisten tatoo to adhere to skin!
• Powells. While Vahid, Dustin, and I were exploring the massive science fiction section of Powell's City of Books yesterday, the conversation came up about the first science fiction book we had read. I remembered mine was called "Jupiter's Song," or something like that, and Vahid and I set out to find it. After making numerous enquiries with a guy staffing the customer service desk, we came up empty. No "Jupiter's Song." No "Jupiter Effect." No "Jupiter Files." After giving up, we're walking around Powell's when we hear the loudspeaker make an announcement "Would the customer asking about the Jupiter book please see the customer service desk in the Orange Room... we've located the actual title for you." AND THEY DID! After we had left, the guy sat there plugging away trying to find a sci-fi book with "Jupiter" in the title, and had found "The Jupiter Theft" by Donald Moffitt. They didn't have it in stock, but they did have a couple other Moffitt books which I picked up. Amazing customer service, and all the more reason to patronize your local independent book store.
And I'm about ready to fall asleep, so it's off to bed for me. I'm sure more TequilaCon-related madness will be popping up for a few days yet. Sorry about that.
Continuing on with TequilaCon Week here at Blogography...
As Jenny was organizing the massive blowout that was TequilaCon 2007 PACNW, there was one concern that kept popping up in my head. What can you do you to make sure that people don't spend all their time hanging with bloggers they already know, but instead branch out and want to meet everybody? How do you make sure that those people who might be shy around groups or are new to blogging feel welcome, comfortable, and involved? The name badge lanyards were a start, but was there something else I could do to help out?
Having been to a number of Hard Rock Cafe pin collector events, I knew that most of the fun was wandering around trading pins with all the attendees. With this in mind, I decided to put my button machine to good use and make blog buttons. I didn't know everybody showing up... or even if everybody who said they were going to show up would actually be there... but I figured if I picked a dozen bloggers, gave them custom blog pins, and then brought a big bag of eclectic pins for everybody else, maybe it would encourage people to wander around so they could trade. Just maybe attendees would end up talking to more people than they usually would if they were trying to find pins they didn't have. It was worth a shot...
It seemed to work out okay, because everywhere you went TequilaConners were wearing pins on their shirts and had pins stacked on their lanyards...
The problem was that not everybody had custom pins to trade. I feel kind of bad about that, so once Jenny compiles a final list of attendees I'll fix those blog pins I got wrong, add the blog pins I missed, then build a complete set I can send out to those who would like to have them. If Jenny and Brandon end up wanting to do this again next year, hopefully I'll be better organized.
And now for a few of those TequilaCon Moments I never get tired of re-living...
Knowing my love of all things Batman, Karl surprised me with an early birthday present... A BATMAN ALARM CLOCK! It's retro cool and will look superb sitting on my Batman Lego shelf. And, as if the clock weren't enough, Karl also included a battery. The man has class, I'll give him that much (though I will always remain jealous that the bastard looks better rocking Hilly's tiara than I do).
Then, just as I was beginning to think that this was the best TequilaCon ever, Michelle shows up with another present... THE NINJA-POPE LIL' DAVE ACTION FIGURE! This means not only is she Portland's favorite taxi driver, president of the TequilaCon Doughnut Procurement Office, and somebody I love more than my Cinnamon Crest toothpaste, she's also got talent. No photo could ever do justice to the detail that's sculpted into the piece (he's even sporting his Ninja Papal Power Staff!), but he's been added to my toy shelf, right between the starship Enterprise and my Plastic Brain, as you can see here...
Pretty sweet! And if you are not reading This Fare City, you should be. In all seriousness, many of Michelle's stories are better than the rest of our blogs put together.
Alrighty then. Will tomorrow finally see an end to all these TequilaCon entries? Probably not. I've barely touched upon all the goings on from the weekend. TequilaCon was much bigger than anybody could have anticipated, and the aftershocks will be felt for days (if not months) to come!
Continuing on with TequilaCon Week here at Blogography...
While having breakfast the morning of TequilaCon, I spoke about a concept I call "Dave Numbers."
It's kind of a personal ranking scheme that determines your place in this world based on your proximity to the center of the universe (which would be me). In simple terms, I classify my relationship with other people by assigning them numbers. Called Dave Numbers, this classification system is built upon how close others are to me based on certain criteria. The further you are away from me (either physically or by definition), the higher your number...
Here is a sample list of some things that can get you a Dave Number...
If your Dave Number is 0, you ARE Dave (lucky bastard!). Dave Numbers can be negative (e.g. a Dave Number of -1 implies you've had sex or some other very naughty contact with Dave, a -5 means you've performed open-heart surgery on Dave). Some other known number assignments follow. Note how drastically things decline once you get past the point where you don't even know who Dave is...
Base Dave Numbers range from 1-500, whereas 500 is reserved for inanimate objects not capable of being aware of Dave at all (or anything else, for that matter... kind of like a cheese sandwich or Dr. Phil).
Sometimes Dave Numbers are assigned arbitrarily. For example, I have not had sex with Elizabeth Hurley, but she still rates a Dave Number of -1 because I feel her deep inside my soul. Sometimes Dave Numbers are arrived at by averaging. For example, if you have touched me (2) but you drive in the passing lane without passing anybody (220) your Dave Number would be 111 (2+220 divided by 2). This may seem harsh, but your not knowing how to drive properly makes me feel that much more distanced from you. In some rare cases, Dave Numbers are reached through cumulation. For example, if you hate pudding (22), are Jarod the Subway Sandwich Whore (163), and you drive in the passing lane without passing anybody (220), your total Dave Number is 405 (22+163+220). With a number like 405, you might as well not exist.
That's why events like TequilaCon are so special when I am in attendance. Just walking through this door is guaranteed to significantly decrease your Dave Number...
This photo shamelessly stolen from Postmodern Sass.
Since a low Dave Number is highly coveted, I live in constant fear of random people running up and talking to me or sticking their finger in my ear in hopes that their number will go down. One time a guy who wanted the bank to give him a better mortgage interest rate had knocked me down, farted in my face, then ran off declaring that he now had a Dave Number of -2 because I had "breathed in his essence." Unfortunately for him, he didn't realize that his Dave Number actually increased because that -2 had to be averaged with 496 (You cause physical, mental, or spiritual damage to Dave), which resulted in a 247. Not only did the guy not get a better interest rate, but the bank then refused to give him a loan at all, he was fired from his job, his wife left him, and he ended up being forced to live the rest of his life alone in shame. It's sad, but that's the price you pay for having such a high Dave Number.
This is why you should be clearing your calendar for TequilaCon 2008... since I am planning on attending, your happiness in life may very well depend on it.
Continuing on with TequilaCon Week here at Blogography...
Dateline: This past Friday.
"Dude! Three hundred!" is screamed at me as I answer my phone. "THREE-HUNDREHHHHHD!!" Thinking that Robert is playing some kind of Price is Right bidding game with me, I shout back "THREE TWENTY-FIVE!"
"Dude. No, dude. 300 opens this weekend." He is, of course, referring to the bad-ass Frank Miller comic book turned kick-ass movie, which I had completely forgotten about for some reason. It's about 300 Spartans running around half-naked trying to battle an entire army of Persians against overwhelming odds...
"It's TequilaCon this weekend!" says me. "I'm leaving for the airport in a couple of hours."
"Dude, you were serious about that?" Robert says in disbelief.
"Well, yes I was serious about that. What did you think?" (whenever I don't understand what Robert is talking about, I find it helpful to ask point-blank... this seems to save a lot of wasted time and embarrassment).
"You had blogged about astrally projecting yourself or something, so I thought this was just one of those imaginary things..." His voice is kind of trailing off now. He's already mentally running through a list of other people he can call to watch the movie with him. But he must have came up empty, because the next thing I hear is this...
"But what if everybody who shows up at the tequila thing is a douchebag?"
"They're not douchebags! I know these people." I say.
"No you don't. You just read what they tell you. You don't really know them at all."
And there it is.
With the exception of Jenny, I truly don't know who any of these people are. I'm not worried, of course, I have met plenty of other bloggers and always end up having a great time. Sure there might be a few people who get drunk and try to spread peanut butter on my ass (or something equally bizarre), but past experience has taught me that most people who show up at blogger functions are genuinely good people who just want to meet other bloggers.
"There's always a douchebag that shows up. Maybe you'll get lucky and the only douchebag is you." Robert says laughing, just before the line goes dead.
Now that TequilaCon 2007 is over, I'm relieved to say that I did not run into any douchebags. If Robert's theory is correct, this means it was me after all. Sorry everybody!
Continuing on with TequilaCon Week here at Blogography...
On this penultimate day of TequilaCon Week, I had thought I would sit down tonight and blog about the host city to this year's event... Portland, Oregon. Given that one of my best friends had lived there for eight years, I have a number of interesting adventures from my visits to the "City of Roses."
But my beloved Veronica Mars (the best show on television) looks to be cancelled now, so I just don't feel like it.
CW Network fuckers. I'm just dying to know what pile of shit you're going to get to replace Veronica, and will laugh my ass off when it turns out to be yet another CW turd that gets cancelled after three episodes.
If no other television disasters happen between now and tomorrow, I'll finish off TequilaCon Week and start getting ready for Blogography's Blogiversary 4 Celebration next month. Wheee.
This is the conclusion of TequilaCon Week here at Blogography...
Gee, can it really have been a week since I flew off to Portland and the wonders of TequilaCon? Apparently so.
One of the hazards of attending a blogging event packed with talented, clever, interesting people is that you leave with a big pile of new links for your blogroll. This is a happy event if your blog is new and your blogroll is empty. But if you've been blogging four years like I have, odds are your blogroll is already stuffed to overflowing.
Time to move my blogroll to a separate page.
Now I've got room to keep a running tally of all the bloggers I've met, but it seems a shame that I can't promote those many bloggers I enjoy but haven't met on the front page. Looks like it's time to look at finishing up my BloggerPeeps project.
The original idea of BloggerPeeps was to create an "blogger anti-network" and offer a visual directory of bloggers I read. One of my favorite parts of the project was the idea of creating a little "Peep Popper" widget which would randomly cycle through all of the BloggerPeeps members... kind of a compact blogroll with little Peep-Heads that shift in and out...
I built the Peep Popper in Flash so it could do all the nifty things it needed to do, but could never get it to work right. I've made a temporary non-working widget, but still want to find somebody who knows how to program Flash ActionScript so I can have a real one.
In the meanwhile, the BloggerPeeps site is here, and there are already two amazing bloggers listed there from last year (which was when I started this project). To keep things interesting, I'll be adding a new Peep-Head every week.
Okay then... until TequilaCon 2008, I guess that's all she wrote.
As a possible side-effect of the insomnia I've been suffering for the past two decades, I don't dream like "normal" people do. To my knowledge, I never have. Whenever somebody tells me that they had this great dream where they ate chocolate pudding at the Eiffel Tower and then ended up having a sex orgy with a half-dozen movie stars (plus Angeline Jolie) at the Louvre, I just nod my head appreciatively as if I know what they are talking about.
But I don't.
My dreams are very different. For one thing, I always know that I am dreaming because I am never actually in the dream. Instead, I am merely an observer... kind of like watching a movie. For example, if I am having a dream where a naked Elizabeth Hurley is laying in bed reading Batman comics to me as I'm being given a full-body massage by Princess Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin while floating in a cloud castle... it's not really me. It's just somebody who looks like me. In the dream, I'm the one floating outside the window watching it all.
Yeah, dreaming pretty much suck ass for me. The bastard...
So when somebody sends me a meme that's asking about my dreams, I cannot help but be a little depressed.
Because it's not like I can whip out some great dream about the time I went skydiving with Halle Berry and ended up landing in a giant ice cream sundae where we made sweet love on a bed of chocolate fudge brownies while SpongeBob Squarepants dances around blowing bubbles out of the whip cream. That would be cool, but it just doesn't work that way.
Oh well. My feeble attempt at the "Dream Meme" is in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
It's Bullet Sunday with the lights out! Problems with the electrical power have wrecked havoc with my work plans today, so here I am blogging on my laptop where it's safe.
As a side-note, I should mention that I am aware that Blogography has been having problems recently. My web hosting company, Media Temple, has been having serious issues with their new "Grid Server," and being able to access my site or comment on entries has been hit-or-miss as of late. Media Temple is supposedly working on the problem, but these issues have been going on for months now, so I'm not sure how much faith I can put in that. All I can say is "sorry" and please come back later if you're having problems.
• Disappointment! There's a dilemma I like to call "The Reese's Gambit." It hinges on the mysterious Russian-Roulette game you play every time you buy a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup candy bar. Will the peanut butter in the center be deliciously moist and tasty... or will it be all dried-up, powdery, and disgusting? There's no way of knowing, so you just have to buy one and find out what you get. When the center is good, there's very few candy bars I like better than a Reese's. When it's BAD, however, it usually pisses me off so much that I will go months without eating one again. Today, after a suitable three-month mourning period following a crappy Reese's experience, I tried again and got a good one. Yay me. Thinking I'd hit the jackpot, I went running back to the mini-mart to buy more... and was horrified to find that all of them had gross dried-out centers. So now I'm thinking it will be a while before I'm willing to play the Reese's Gambit again. I guess I'll just have to live off the memory of that yummy first Reese's for a while, and that sucks ass.
• Destroyer! I watched Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins on DVD for the hundredth time last night, and wondered for the thousandth time why somebody hasn't made any more movies based on the series of excellent Destroyer books. Sure the original film (starring Fred Ward and Joel Grey) wasn't much of a financial success, and Destroyer fans disliked it because the story didn't follow the books closely enough... but I loved the movie. I still love it. And now that Tor Books is reviving the book line again with a series of "New Destroyer" novels in May, isn't it about time somebody step up and revive the movie franchise as well? The series really has it all... action, drama, intrigue, humor, and some of the most brilliant characters ever written. With the right director and cast, a Destroyer film would kick ass.
• Deception! Back in 1994 there was a radio hit called Touch Me (All Night Long) by Cathy Dennis. The vocals were quite good, Cathy was suitably hot, and it had a sweet Europop electro-beat I liked. After a couple of listens I decided to run down to Hastings so I could buy the CD, which was titled Move to This (I was going on a road trip, and wanted something new to listen to). Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Touch Me song they were playing on the radio was not the same song on the CD. Instead of that kicky Europop beat driving the song, the CD track was all boring and shitty. I have a running joke with my friends about kicking the crap out of Cathy Dennis if I ever see her for betraying me this way. It may have been a dozen years past, but I just can't let it go. And then this morning I check my email to find that my friend Meagan had gifted the crappy song to me on iTunes... presumably as a joke. Well ha ha, the joke's on her because, as I was claiming the song, I noticed that iTunes had the REAL version of the song for sale off of a compilation called 100% Pure Dance. It's a mix that runs a little long, but it has the proper beat and I've been rocking out to it all morning. I think that I am finally... finally able to release my rabid hatred of Cathy Dennis now.
Photo swiped from Virgil LaFerney's EXCELLENT Hard Rock Dallas Page.
• Dallas! I've been meaning to write about the sad closing of the Hard Rock Cafe Dallas since it happened two weeks ago, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. The pet project of Hard Rock co-founder Isaac Tigrett, the Dallas cafe was a special property indeed. Originally a Baptist Church, 13 million dollars was spent renovating the building and creating the cafe, which finally opened on November, 1986 (the fourth Hard Rock in the US and ninth world-wide). There were many features that made this cafe unique in the chain, and the property quickly became one of my favorites when I first visited in July, 2001. Hearing about the closing was painful, and I feel terrible that I didn't manage to get back once I heard they were shutting their doors for good. It's things like this that really have me questioning why I care about the Hard Rock anymore. If the owners can't appreciate the chain's history, why should I? Oh well, at least I got to visit this one before they dumped it... nothing is more frustrating than having a cafe close before I have a chance to visit.
• Downey! How is it that Robert Downey Jr. can steal every movie he's in... even if it is a relatively minor role? Sure Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo were excellent as the driving force behind David Fincher's latest film, Zodiac, but it's Downey who makes the film truly interesting to me. Playing seriously flawed reporter Paul Avery, he just blows everybody else off the screen. Suddenly a film that seems more like a crime reenactment than a cohesive story comes alive because Robert Downey Jr. just sucks you into his character. My only real criticism of this beautifully-shot movie is that it didn't have enough Downey in it. Well, that and the really bad toupee that Anthony Edwards was forced to wear throughout the film. Holy crap did it ever look like a ferret died on his head. Why why why couldn't they have just left his character bald so as not to distract the audience and embarrass the actor?
Oooh... the power is back on again! Guess I'll save my remaining bullets for next Sunday, because it's back to work for me...
Yaknow how you get that feeling in your nose and down your throat just before you're going to catch a cold? It took me a minute to figure out what was happening, because I get maybe one cold every three or four years and forget. Well, today at around 2:15, I got that "feeling." After screaming for a few minutes, I choked down vitamin C in quantities that are equivalent to the Recommended Daily Dosage for a small city, then shoved so much Zicam up my nose that I thought I was going to drown. When this happened a few months ago, it turned out to be nothing. It had better be nothing this time as well, or I might be upset.
Yaknow how you're washing clothes and you've run out of soap, so you put water into the soap bottle and swish it around to make more soap? But you forget to buy a new bottle of soap, so you keep trying to get more soap out of the empty bottle with even more water? Then suddenly you realize that you've been doing this for three wash-loads, and there just isn't anymore soap in that bottle? So then you add dishwasher soap in the hopes that it will be good enough to clean the underwear you so desperately need? Uh huh. Well, I hope I don't have an allergic reaction on my happy bits tomorrow, because that would suck ass.
Yaknow how you're blogging about maybe catching a cold AND possibly having an allergic reaction on your crotch, then realize that tomorrow might not be your day?
Yaknow how you look at your blog stats to make sure that you're not going to run over your bandwidth limit, then happen to notice how almost NOBODY visits your blog on the weekend? And then you start to wonder if perhaps Kevin has the right idea, and maybe you should just start skipping the weekends? Yeah. But I am so undisciplined that if I did start skipping weekends, I'd probably start skipping every day and never blog again. Why do I ever look at my blog stats? No good can ever come of it.
Yaknow how you've been craving taco pizza all day, so you get home and toss a frozen cheese pizza in the oven, then get out the lettuce, the tomatoes, the hot sauce, and grate the cheddar cheese that goes on top? But then you see that the lettuce has gone all brown and squishy, and you don't actually have any tomatoes? But since you've already grated the cheddar cheese and still want that pizza, you decide to just have a pile of cheese on top of your cheese pizza for dinner? This can't be healthy.
Yaknow how you've got a dozen things you want to blog about, but you're tired and don't feel like it so you just stop?
One of the horrible things about having a blog is that you meet new friends who like nothing more than taking up your time and ruining your life. But in a good way. As an example, I met up with Vahid and Dustin for a while at Powell's during TequilaCon, and suddenly I have a list of 20 books I want, but won't have time to read. But I'll end up making the time anyway, hence the "ruining my life" part. It's the same for most bloggers I keep tabs on... they're always recommending a book or movie or food or something cool that I'm dying to see/read/experience, but just don't have time for.
But the worst offender would have to be Avitable. The bastard regularly throws out questions, comments, or recommendations which waste hours and hours of my valuable time. He'll drop a Buffy reference, and suddenly I'm consumed with watching all 144 episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer on DVD. He'll start talking about Warren Ellis' blog, and suddenly I'm clicking over and wasting precious time going through his extensive archives. It's like I'm on remote-control or something. I don't know if it's because Avitable and I have similar interests (scary), because we're on the same mental wavelength (terrifying), or because we are somehow sharing the same brain (explains a lot), but the guy is responsible for more lost time in my life than the next ten people on my list combined.
A few days ago he sends me off an email asking about a few comic titles, wondering if I read them. On the list is Robert Kirkman's Invincible, which happens to be one of the greatest comic books ever. Since I only buy the trade-paperback collections, I haven't read it in a while. For some reason, while trying to fall asleep that night, I'm remembering what a great read Invincible is and pondering why in the heck I haven't looked at it recently. Next thing you know, it's 1:00am and I'm digging through my comic collection trying to find my Invincible trade-paperbacks. Then, because they are so damn amazing, I spend the next five hours reading them until I realize that it's time to get up and get ready for work.
Naturally, I'm practically useless all day while trying to operate on no sleep, which only means I'm that much further behind in my work. Even worse, Avitable has to tell me of another Kirkman creation, The Walking Dead, which he assures me is fantastic. So now on top of ruining an entire day of my life, he's intent on ruining future days as well (since I've just ordered a crap-load of Walking Dead books).
Not content to contain the destruction to myself, I'm spreading the love by adding Robert Kirkman's Invincible to my Dave Approved list. It's fresh. It's funny. It's shocking. It's invincible!
Even if you are not a hard-core comic book geek, this is one book you really need to check out. I'd highly recommend starting out with the Ultimate Collection: Volume One hardcover (which collects the first 13 issues/3 trade-paperbacks). On top of containing some of the best super-hero comics ever printed, it also has the totally mind-blowing issue #11, which reveals one of the biggest plot-twists in comic book history (seriously, I'd stack it against Watchmen any day!). It's Sixth Sense good, and blew my mind so badly that I probably read it a dozen times before I could wrap my head around it.
I remain hopeful that Invincible will be released as a movie one day (I think it was optioned by Paramount last year?), so experiencing the book before the film happens is an absolute must. Even if you don't want to buy it, request it from your local library and prepare to be amazed.
I have abysmal eyesight. Mostly because my vision got very bad, very fast when I was young. The good news is that once my eyesight plummeted to a -6.75, it stayed there and never really got any worse (thankfully, or I would have gone blind years ago). I've been fluctuating between -6.5 and -6.75 for the past 25 years, and seem to be stuck there.
I started out in glasses. But when my eyes reached their apex of badness, I switched to contact lenses because the glasses were just too thick to be comfortable. I had what were commonly referred to as "Coke Bottle Glasses," and hated them. Soft contacts had just come out, and they were fantastic. I felt transformed...
Well, not THAT transformed. I still had years of fashion therapy, braces, and vats of Clearasil before that would happen...
But lately my contacts have been increasingly uncomfortable. Where I used to be able to wear them for days at a time, I'm lucky to make it 9 hours now. I've thought about having that laser surgery where they slice your eyeball open and then zap your vision to perfection, but then you end up with reduced night-vision and problems seeing things close-up. On top of all that, I've got lots of little floaty things in my eye, and laser-zap-o-fix-a-vision might make them noticeably worse.
So now I've come full-circle and will probably end up wearing glasses again.
Getting old sucks ass.
And I'm totally pissed that my optician just laughs at me when I demand a prescription for Retinox 5. Where's Dr. McCoy when you need him?
This morning I woke up woefully behind in my email. As I'm pouring through it all, I quickly notice a bunch of comment notifications on several different entries left by the same guy. This isn't terribly unusual, because every once in a while somebody discovers Blogography for the first time and gets a little excited about leaving feedback. It's actually kind of nice when it happens.
Except this time. The first comment was about how this guy had a blog for a year, but finally gave up on it because nobody was reading. "If I had known I needed to draw cartoons and write nonsense to build an audience, I would have never started in the first place" he said. Things just got stranger from there. Comment #4 was a rant about how "nobody is elevating blogs to their potential for serious discourse" and then "crap like this (i.e. Blogography) should be deleted for clogging up the internet with stupidity." Comment #5 was priceless, because he stopped slamming me and my blog, and decided to turn on my readers (this means you). "Why in the hell are you people wasting your time with this crap?" he ponders. "42 comments about Vanna White on a mattress? Are you all insane or mentally deficient? How many comments would you leave if somebody wrote about cleaning the grout in their bathtub or wiping their ass?"
An aside here... If he had dug a little deeper in the archives, he would have found out that an entry about wiping my ass resulted in 27 comments. I'm still working on that bathtub grout entry.
But it was comment #7 which stole my heart. After blasting away at me, my blog, my readers, my genealogy, Google, The New York Times, a few A-list bloggers (like Dooce, Robert Scoble, & Perez Hilton), and the entire blogosphere in general, he decided to unleash his wrath on... wait for it... Farrah Fawcett??
Yes. You read that right. Farrah...
And no spanking my monkey in front of the Farrah poster!
Don't ask me why. I'm assuming Farrah doesn't have a blog, so maybe she set his computer on fire or something. Let your imagination run wild. All I do know is that Farrah is somehow partially responsible for people not reading the guy's stuff, and he is kind of upset about that.
Usually I delete comments like this and don't mention it, because the last thing I want to do is encourage this kind of behavior. Nasty comments which do nothing to contribute to the conversation simply aren't worth the trouble. If you want to disagree with me (or give me a verbal spanking) for something I've written, then more power to you. I have no problem approving comments like that. But I refuse to waste my time and energy on comment trolls who want a soap box for their wacky crap. They can start their own blog (or, in this case, un-delete their old blog) and leave me out of it.
But the idea of having Farrah Fawcett in one of my blog entries proved too compelling, so here we are. I understand she did very well with her recent medical treatment and is now cancer-free, so way to go Farrah. Maybe now we'll get that original Charlie's Angels reunion people keep talking about.
Anyway, there was no email address or link left with any of the comments, so I guess this is the end of it.
Ironically, if the guy's comments are any indication of what his blog was like, I would so totally have read it.
The ripples from the sensory utopia that was TequilaCon3 PACNW 2007 continue.
First there was TQ3.1 Seattle, whereas Dustin, Karl, and Ms. Sizzle kept the magic going. And last night was TQ3.2 Wenatchee, where Brandon, Shari, and I met up for dinner in the one-time Apple Capital of the World.
I brought a box of Aplets & Cotlets for Brandon (read this to find out why), Brandon brought a bottle of laundry detergent for me (read this to find out why), and Shari brought her entire family (for protection, obviously, which is self-explanatory considering she was meeting up with crazy bastards like Brandon and I).
The bad news is that everything went great, and I have no exciting "Brandon took out a gun and shot up the place" stories to tell. The good news is that we came up with a terrific list of possible locations for TequilaCon4 2008 that we'll be suggesting to Jenny...
Okay, I made up that last one because I've always wanted to visit there, but the remaining four locations actually came up in conversation. There were a number of other cities tossed around, but I forget what they were (Las Vegas maybe?). Naturally I'm pulling for Kansas because I've never been there before.
Hmmm... I'm taking the day off today. I wonder what kind of trouble I can get into?
Oh look, it's my birthday today.
This year I give myself the gift of a day off from writing in my blog...
It would be hard to top last year anyway.
It's Bullet Sunday and I'm another year closer to death!
• Thanks! Well, shucks. Thanks to everybody who was nice enough to leave birthday comments. Thanks to everybody who sent birthday emails and eCards. Thanks to everybody who called and sent birthday text messages. Thanks to everybody who sent me birthday presents and cards. Thanks to everybody who wrote birthday wishes to me in their blog entries. I am so very grateful to everybody, and am most pleased that I seem to have fooled so many people into thinking that I am somehow deserving of such kindness and generosity.
• Behind. The bad thing about goofing off all weekend is that you get behind on email and blog reading. The bad thing about drinking all weekend is that you have no desire whatsoever to get caught up on your email and blog reading once you get back home...
• Panera. Living in a smaller city is kind of sad in that your dining choices are so limited. As an example, there is no place to get Indian food in the entire valley. We have fifty Mexican restaurants, but not one Indian restaurant. We are getting a bit lucky that some of the better chains are making their way to Wenatchee... there's an Applebees and a Red Robin here now (in addition to all the usual fast-food shops). But there are restaurants I really like which have not yet arrived. I'd kill for a Johnny Rockets. I'd love a Chili's. And then there's IHOP, Olive Garden, and TGI Friday's, all of which I would enjoy as dining options. But my latest obsession is Panera Bread. This weekend I was able to eat at their Alderwood location, and had one of the best sandwiches ever... the Panera Mediterranean Veggie which is described as "zesty piquant peppers, feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro hummus on our Tomato Basil bread" (I hold the cucumbers). To say it was "delicious" is an understatement of massive proportions. Now I'm going to spend the next month craving another one. In some ways I dread the idea that Wenatchee will ever get these restaurants, because I'd probably weigh 500 pounds from eating at them all the time.
• Manning. Who could have guessed that Peyton Manning would be so good hosting Saturday Night Live? I just wish that they would give the President Bush impersonations back to Will Forte (instead of Jason Sedakis). It's not that Sedakis is bad, it's just that Forte offers a more sympathetic blundering to his parodies which I find funnier...
Photos swiped from WillForte.net
• Done. Argh. I was going to write more bullets about being gifted the latest iTunes episode of Lost, running across somebody whom I thought was dead, planning my first real vacation in 10 years, finding $40 I didn't know I had lost (in a very unlikely place), why aquamarine is a crappy birthstone to have, and a meme about magazines, but it's 11:55pm and five minutes isn't enough time to do any of that. So I guess it will all have to wait for another time. Though I have about 120 blogs to read and 211 emails to look at, so I have no idea when that might be. Probably never. I need to hire a blog ghostwriter or something.
As I was pouring through the hundreds of emails piled in my inbox, Hilly emailed me to ask if I had watched The Simpsons last night, which I had not. After she mentions that Betty White had a cameo, I became obsessed with seeing it. A quick trip to the iTunes Store reveals that episodes aren't sold there, so BitTorrent it is. I remain dumbfounded as to why television studios are this fraking stupid. Here I am gladly willing to pay money for something that they have, and yet there's no way to buy it. I will, of course, buy the Season 18 DVD set when it becomes available (I buy all The Simpsons DVDs) but this is ridiculous. I cannot help but wonder if the execs at FOX Studios get together with Matt Groening at the end of each week and burn a big pile of money, since they obviously have no interest in maximizing their acquisition of it.
In any event, Betty has done it once again. Her brief appearance on the show after Homer has become one of the paparazzi was priceless...
Speaking of priceless, my beloved Elizabeth Hurley is making waves because of her stunning appearance at Elton John's birthday party...
And photos of her Indian wedding ceremony have finally surfaced...
Elizabeth Hurley... delicious on any continent!
Speaking of delicious, is it wrong that I actually want to see the latest Will Ferrell comedy, Blades of Glory?
Every time I see the previews, I laugh. And tonight I watched the Comedy Central "inside look" on the movie and want to see it even more. This is quite disturbing to me, because I'm pretty sure that I would normally avoid this kind of crap like the plague.
I don't get sick very often, for which I am most grateful. On those rare occasions I do get sick, I don't like to talk about it. I can't stand listening to somebody else's health problems, so why would anybody want to listen to mine? I've just never understood these people who like to get together and discuss all the bizarre crap that's wrong with them. Especially in public. I'm always the guy wanting to scream "NOBODY CARES IF YOU HAVE HEMORRHOIDS, BITCH!" whenever I come across these absurd conversations which people happily have in restaurants or the mini mart. Some things should be kept private.
But I just can't help myself.
Last night I had the worst case of flaming diarrhea farts ever...
Seriously. There were moments I didn't know what was going to happen, and other moments where it felt like my ass was on fire. The entire evening is a blur of one horrible moment after another. And the worst part is that I have no idea what caused it. Nothing I ate could explain the drama going on in my bathroom. No Super Bean Burritos. No Cabbage Milkshakes. No Double Prune Danishes. No Pints of Guinness. It was a total mystery. My ass was rebelling against some unknown offense that I still don't understand.
When I finally went to bed, it was because there was nothing left in me to expel. The only thing I was filled with was dread at the thought of waking up and having breakfast the next morning. What if it started all over again? As a safety precaution, I consumed a bottle of Pepto Bismol and a half-box of Imodium.
But everything turned out akay in the end (heh heh). I woke up, had breakfast, and my day was pretty much normal.
If only I could erase the memories.
In less nasty news, OMFG! Geeks of Doom is reporting Variety as saying that we're going to be seeing a Lego Batman videogame in 2008! Just when I think that the Lego Star Wars videogames were about as cool as things can get... this happens. The Lego Batman toys are super-sweet (combining two of my favorite things ever!), and I can't wait to see how they translate into a game. Just hearing this makes me want to start playing Lego Star Wars all over again.
I mean, holy crap! It's Lego F#@%ing Batman... IN A VIDEOGAME!!
And that's all she wrote.
Unless you want to read about how confused I am by the configuration of Adobe's new "Creative Suite 3" bundles, which I've put in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I'm running out of ways to say "kiss my ass."
And it's a darn shame too, because there are some people I know right now who are in desperate need of a nice "kiss my ass" shout-out. But I've found that there's only so many times you can say that in a day without starting to sound like you are, in fact, wanting some lip-action on your posterior. In some cases, this may be true. But, in general, most of the people I'm telling to kiss my ass I don't really want anywhere near my butt.
In lieu of a good "kiss my ass" replacement, I suppose I could just skip the verbal assault and go around bitch-slapping the idiots...
Alas, physical assault is frowned upon by the police, and I'd imagine that there's only so many times you could go around bitch-slapping people before you're being hauled in for your mugshot...
And since the idea of somebody arresting me while I'm eating my Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes is not cool, restraining myself seems to be a good idea. No matter how much the moron deserves it.
Eh. Maybe I'll just start telling people to "bite me" instead.
Last night was worse than most in that I didn't get ANY sleep. I had taken a quick 45-minute nap before The Daily Show & Colbert Report, and that was enough to totally f#@% up my sleep schedule. Since my poop schedule had already been messed up by my flaming diarrhea farts from two days ago, I can only assume that all my bodily functions are now attempting to sync-up again... badly.
After having "woken up" (ha ha ha) I had a raging headache and decided to take an aspirin. I stumbled to the kitchen medicine cupboard and downed a couple Excedrin, then went to the bathroom so I could put in my contact lenses. Once I could see again, I went back to the kitchen and noticed something very, very wrong. The Excedrin bottle I had left on the counter was not actually Excedrin... it was Excedrin PM, which is a combination pain reliever/sleeping pill.
Great. So now, on top of being exhausted from lack of sleep, I had just taken some sleeping pills...
Red pill? Blue pill? Whatever. Am I in the f#@%ing Matrix or something? Holy shit, Morpheus... I just took the blue pill! Now I won't get to have sex with Trinity in the sequel!
The day was getting off to a really interesting start.
On the way to work I had a panic attack thinking that I would fall asleep at my desk, so I decided to stop at the mini-mart and buy a 4-Pack of Red Bull. Perhaps drinking a bunch of energy drinks would counteract the sleeping pills? It was worth a shot. As I was paying for my Red Bull, I was exactly $2 over the total, so I decided to do something I never do... buy a Lotto ticket.
It may be the combination of the Excedrin PM and Red Bull talking, but I am feeling very, very lucky.
I have decided to win the Lotto.
I'M GOING TO WIN THE F#@%ING LOTTO!!
Maybe if I win the 2.7 MILLION DOLLARS, I won't have to worry about my poop and sleep schedule being all f#@%ed up. With 2.7 MILLION DOLLARS, I can poop and sleep whenever I want! And I certainly won't have to worry about people making fun of my new Sanjaya haircut...
Bleh. My head is feeling all mooshy. I wonder if it was a lethal combination of Excedrin PM and Red Bull that killed Anna Nicole Smith? I had better take some Pepto Bismol so I can get this all sorted out.
Because is there anything that Pepto Bismol can't fix?
A couple of days ago, Karl had written about running across an entry by Alissa about an NPR show entitled This I Believe, where people get air-time to talk about their personal beliefs. Well, Karl went ahead and typed out what he believes, and it was a fascinating, beautiful read. I left a comment saying "I wish I had the guts to do this," and then moved on to the next site on my blogroll. It's not that I don't have the guts to write my beliefs, I'm just not comfortable sharing them on my blog.
But then last night when I was at the grocery store, something happened to change my mind.
I was walking down an aisle looking for microwave popcorn, when I spotted a Hispanic woman shopping with her two children. She was carrying her youngest child, an adorable girl with wide eyes in a cute little sun dress. Trotting along ahead of her was an equally adorable young boy wearing khakis and a bright blue button-down shirt. His hair combed, belt buckled, and shoes cleaned, he looked like he hopped out of the children's section of an Eddie Bauer catalog. As the little boy walked down the aisle, he would point out objects and speak its name in Spanish and English. "MAÍZ! MAÍZ!" he would shout, quickly followed by "CORN! CORN!" It looked to me like he was teaching his mother English, as he was constantly looking back at her as he pointed and spoke, but he could have just as easily been practicing his own English skills. Whatever he was doing, it brought a smile to my face, because he showed such enthusiasm in his never-ending task of translating everything in the store.
The moment was too good to last, of course.
Coming from the opposite direction were two skanky bitches who took great delight in giggling "UNEMPLOYMENT! UNEMPLOYMENT!" and "WELFARE! WELFARE!" as they passed.
I was immediately consumed with rage, and was about to point at them and scream "BITCH! BITCH!" and "SKANK! SKANK!" but realized that this would only bring myself down to their level, and ultimately accomplish nothing. Instead I stood there fuming as the boy, only temporarily interrupted, continued on with his efforts. "JUGO! JUGO! - JUICE! JUICE!"
It was then I realized that what I BELIEVE is that nobody should be looked down upon or thought less of because of how they look, where they come from, what they believe, or who they love. And anybody who would persecute somebody for any of these things... particularly a child... is pretty pathetic. Who knows what the future may bring? Assuming that his intellectual curiosity isn't crushed by redneck racist bitches at the grocery store, this little boy could grow up to become President of the United States one day. His potential is limited only by the confines society would choose to place upon him. Knowing this disgusts me to my very core, because I've just witnessed first-hand the adversity he will be facing every day of his life. Everything else aside, this little boy... so happy in a world full of possibilities... can be dismissed, ignored, crushed, or tossed aside based solely on his heritage, without so much as a second thought.
What a waste.
It's not that crap like this is something new to me, it's just that seeing such a vivid example of this despicable shit really puts a damper on your day.
It also makes you want to blog about what you believe, even if it is in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I've recently started re-reading the Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Despite being a hardcore ERB fan, I avoided the Tarzan books for years because I assumed they were as crappy as the movies. I loathed the way Tarzan ran around grunting like a moron in the films, and always thought that's just the way he was. But the "real" Tarzan in the books wasn't stupid at all. It turns out he's a genius who speaks a dozen languages, runs a financial empire, AND happens to be Lord of the Jungle...
After a while, the books get a little repetitive, but the earlier stories are brilliant.
Right now I'm trying to finish up Book #4, The Son of Tarzan, so I am going to stop blogging now...
Bullet Sunday on April 1st? Hmmm... since Blogography is foolish 365 days a year, there doesn't seem to be much point in an April Fool's Day here.
• Happy Baker... As I sit here after a long day of work, my bread-making machine has just kicked into "baking" mode after having spent the past three hours mixing, rising, and blending the dough. As it bakes, the bread is smelling like paradise wrapped in an orgasm. I hope I can restrain the urge to stick my head in the machine before it's done.
• Super-Less... As I wrote back in December, the Superman Movie Ultimate Collector Set I bought arrived with one duplicate DVD and one missing DVD. As I also wrote, the bastards at Warner Home Video wouldn't just let me swap the duplicate... I had to return the entire set and re-order it. Well, guess what? The set has entirely sold out, and there doesn't seem to be plans to produce more of them. So now I can't order it unless I pay huge money for a second-market copy. Great. I should have just kept the bad set and purchased the one movie I was missing, which would have been infinitely cheaper than buying it now. Warner Home Video fuckers. Your customer service sucks ass, and thanks for screwing me for something that was your mistake.
• Contract-Free... Based on the rumors that Apple was coming out with a mobile phone, I didn't renew my contract with Verizon when it came due last summer. Back in January, I was rewarded when the iPhone was unveiled at MacWorld for a June release. While I wait for iPhone, Verizon is doing their best to get me to sign a new contract. At first it was just reminders. Then it was an analysis of my calling plan and offers to save money if I signed a new contract. Then it was special offers for high-end phone rebates if I signed. Now I've received an offer for a free month of service and a sweet new phone... if I sign a 2-year contract. It seems the longer I wait, the better the offers get. Well, since Verizon stupidly passed on the iPhone when they had the chance, none of this is enough to win me back. I guess the moral of the story is... unless you are needing a new phone immediately after your contract ends, you might want to wait a few months before re-signing to see what extras your carrier will offer to keep you.
• Suffer Well... I don't normally add outside content to my blog, preferring to make everything here myself. But last week I discovered something so amazing, that I just can't resist. As a side-promotion for their album Playing the Angel, Depeche Mode recreated one of their songs, Suffer Well, for a video game extension to The Sims 2 called "Open for Business." Believe it or not, the track is sung in "Simlish," which is the official nonsensical "language" of the game's characters. That alone would be great, but the video that goes along with the song is just amazing. This is an embedded YouTube movie, which may require you to click out of a feed-reader, if you are using one. To download the video direct from Depeche Mode's site, here's that link.
• Vista Activation... Unlike Apple, Microsoft does not make the hardware on which their Windows Vista OS runs. Because of this, it is understandable that they would want to stop piracy of their software, because that's all they have to make their money. But I am here to tell you... if you ever run into a problem with your Vista installation and end up needing a new activation key, you're f#@%ed. Friday morning I booted into Vista to check a website error, and received a nasty black screen telling me that a critical component of the OS was missing. Nothing I did could solve the problem, so I ended up reformatting the partition and completely reinstalling Vista. This resulted in me not being able to "activate" Vista again, because it was telling me the activation key was already in use. I couldn't use telephone re-activation for some reason, so I ended up calling support. After three telephone transfers, numerous conversations, and being put on hold a half-dozen times, I finally got my new key. Total time: FIFTY-EIGHT MINUTES! That's right, an HOUR gone from my life. In the meanwhile, Vista activation has been cracked, so the only people suffering here are NOT software pirates, but legal Microsoft customers. Shouldn't it be the other way around? As if I didn't hate Windows Vista enough already... sheesh.
• You Can Dance... Courtesy of Frances Danger, I've put a music-type meme in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Well, shit! My Verizon DSL is down at home. AGAIN.
I don't know what pisses me off more... having to waste an hour with technical support when I already know what the issue is... or eventually being told that somebody will look at it when they damn well feel like it (i.e. 24 to 48 hours). What's even worse is that my Verizon DSL account doesn't come with a backup dial-up connection, despite the fact that my local phone service, long-distance phone service, wireless, and DirecTV service are ALL handled by Verizon. That's pretty f#@%ed up.
So now I have to drive into work anytime I want to use the internet, which sucks ass.
What worries me is how I start to go insane if I am disconnected from the internet for more than 30 minutes. And it's not as if I don't have anything better to do than sitting around reading blogs and stuff, it's just that my life seems so abnormal when I'm not able to go online any time I want.
Which, of course, is all the time
Crap! Now I have to drive back to work so I can post this. Having an internet addiction blows.
I just got through beating the crap out of a vending machine so I could get the Hershey's "Take 5" candy bar I just bought, only to discover that it is stale and doesn't taste very good. I should have gone for the "Snickers" bar, because those bitches last forever.
But enough about my lunch.
Last night after I had cried for a few hours because my internet is dead, I decided to do something constructive... like wash clothes and clean out my bedroom. It was while doing the latter that I noticed that the circular polarizing filter for my camera had a nice crack running through it. The last time I used it was when I was in Italy over a year ago, and have no idea how it happened. This was depressing, because a good polarizer costs around $124, and I really don't have that kind of money to be tossing around. But the idea of life without a circular polarizing filter fills me with dread, so I decided to buy a new one anyway.
Which is really difficult right now.
Because just about all of the big camera places are closed for Passover.
This comes as a bit of a shock to people like me living in the uncivilized parts of the Pacific Northwest, where the Jewish population is close to zero. Of course I know what Passover is, having been raised Catholic and seen The Ten Commandments, but my understanding of the Jewish celebration of the holiday is limited to an episode of Sports Night I once watched. I think it has to do with drinking lots of wine, eating matzo bread, and chewing bitter herbs in remembrance of the Mel Gibson anti-semitic tirade of 2006...
Anybody know where I can get a veggie shank bone?
You also get to wear those little hats and get off work for a week, which sounds good to me (even though I don't look particularly good in a yamaka because my head is shaped like a peanut).
Unfortunately, I inadvertently violated Passover rules when I had my bread machine churn out a yummy loaf of leavened bread a couple nights ago. This wouldn't have been a big deal, except I blogged about it. That makes calling in Jewish at work a risky proposition, since I'm pretty sure there are co-workers who read Blogography. Thus, no Passover for my secular ass.
I'm seriously considering drinking those four glasses of wine anyway though. It will help me to deal with my DSL connection celebrating Passover without me.
My DSL is back, thankfully, because I was about ready to wean myself off my internet addiction by getting addicted to something new... like hookers and cocaine. Sure it's more expensive, but maybe I can pay for the whores and blow with my credit card so I can rack up the frequent flier miles?
Two years ago I decided to stop charging anything to my credit card and pay for everything in cash or via debit card. My thinking was that this would keep me from running up debt, and force me to buy only the things I could actually afford. This was a big change from the "charge now and ask questions later" strategy I had been using for decades, and ended up being a real eye-opener as to my spending habits.
Today I was checking my frequent flier mileage balance to see what trips I would be taking later this year, and came across another eye-opening discovery... my mileage balance has been slowly shrinking. Since I used to charge absolutely everything on my airline credit card, I received a substantial amount of miles from everyday purchases. Buying a can of fruit cocktail on credit was just another step towards a free ticket.
But no more.
So last night I went back through my old credit card statements and found, to my horror, that I have been screwing myself out of thousands upon thousands of miles annually by paying with cash. As the color was draining from my face, I came to the realization that my lazy attempt at financial management had ended up costing me several hundred dollars in airfare. Had I simply decided to keep better track of my spending instead of eliminating my credit card, I would have been much better off.
So now I'm back to charging everything again, but this time I'm being careful to create a budget and control my spending. Except now my old plan, which was based on not having internet ever again, is in need of revision...
Though I don't suppose there's any harm in trying out this plan for a month or two and seeing how things go...
Is there anything more sad than sitting around drinking martinis in your boxer shorts while waiting for The Office to start because you just can't get motivated to do anything else?
Including writing in your blog?
Yeah. That's what I thought.
As I was walking to my car this morning, I very nearly stepped in a pile of dog shit. The close call was made even more strange when I got to my car and saw that a dog was across the parking lot staring at me. I can only guess that he was the perpetrator, and was undoubtedly disappointed that I hadn't stepped into his trap. If he had a video camera, I'd say it's like an episode of "Doggy Punk'd" or something. More likely that he was just bored, and this is what he does for laughs.
Except now he knows what car I drive, so I can only imagine where he will choose to take a crap next. If I find a steaming pile on the hood of my car tomorrow, I'm going to hunt down that dog and shove it back up his ass. Who will be laughing then?
And speaking of putting shit back in the dog...
I just saw the single worst movie ever: National Lampoon's Gold Diggers, and am trying to figure out why in the hell National Lampoon would put their name on such a bad, BAD film. The terrible story and acting would have been forgivable... except IT WASN'T FUNNY!! And isn't that what National Lampoon is all about? Rotten Tomatoes has listed an aggregated review score of 0%, AND lists it as #7 on the "100 Worst-Reviewed Films of All Time," so why in the heck would they ever release it on DVD? Far better to lock this piece of shit in a vault and drop it to the bottom of the ocean than to tarnish the National Lampoon name! They may not be as respected now as in their Animal House days, but there's no reason to flush their reputation down the toilet entirely...
You know a film is bad when it features ultra-hot Nikki Ziering topless, and I still can't find anything good to say about it.
I have yet to figure out why I am chronically unlucky when it comes to driving karma.
You can bet your ass that if there is a dumbass on the road, he'll be in my immediate vicinity. If there is a traffic accident, it will happen right in front of me. If there is road construction closing down a lane, I'll be the one they make stop and wait. If a 90-year-old woman is out for a Sunday drive, I'll be the one stuck behind her. When it comes to being delayed, interrupted, stopped, or cut-off, I'm the guy who is going to be selected by the driving gods to get shafted.
And it's always when I'm in a hurry.
Today I had to run home really quick before I left for the movies. Naturally, a train decided to pass right as I got to the crossing...
Once I finally got past the crossing, a fruit truck going 15 miles under the speed limit pulls out in front of me...
After I got home, dropped my stuff, and finally made it out to the highway, a State Patrol car decided to pull out as well, which meant speeding to the theater to make up for lost time wasn't an option (forgive me for not including a photo, but something tells me that the State Patrol frowns upon taking photos from a moving car going 60mph on the highway... especially when it's the driver doing the photography).
But somehow I made it to the movie on time, which is where I got to watch the greatest film released in recent memory, BLADES OF GLORY!
Forget 300, Last King of Scotland, The Queen, Zodiac, Blood Diamond, and even Ghost Rider, THIS is the movie which will stand the test of time! I'd put it right up there with The Godfather and The Terminator in terms of greatness!
Okay, maybe not. But it was a lot of fun, and much better than I expected...
I just can't figure out why nobody has thought of building a comedy around double-men pairs skating before. It's a brilliant concept. Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, and Craig T. Nelson were all perfectly cast in their roles... but I'd have to say that it's Jenna Fischer who will end up with an Oscar nomination out of this film. She has a lingerie scene which will have people completely forgetting her mousy "Pam" character from The Office. Who knew?
Bring on Spider-Man 3.
Make a joyful noise for Bullet Sunday has risen!
• Easter... I gave up celebrating Easter around the same time I gave up being Catholic (almost 20 years ago now!) but still love the holiday for one very good reason: the candy. I absolutely love Easter candy. From having my teeth shiver as I bite into the sweetness that is a Cadbury Chocolate Cream Egg... to getting some of my favorite candies in egg shapes and pastel colors... Easter is a candy-lover's dream come true. In many ways, I'm thinking it even eclipses Halloween in terms of confectionary importance to me now...
Nothing wrong with getting a little tail on Easter.
Which is probably why I'm choosing to celebrate the holiday by lapsing into a chocolate coma.
• Voicemail... ABC Television has an amazing new video player on their site which, get this, IS MACINTOSH COMPATIBLE!! As if that weren't cool enough, you can watch full episodes of sweet ABC shows like Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. But here's the best thing... they have an original online series called Voicemail that's priceless...
Mike is a character that just about any guy can relate to at some point in their lives.
For best effect, you'll want to go to ABC.com and choose their New Video Player. But you can also access the webisodes in the old Flash player format from the Voicemail web site (which is also funny). This is one of those rare online series that is actually worth your valuable time. I hope they sell the episodes at iTunes after the first "season" is over, because I would gladly pay money to have this show saved on iTunes for a rainy day when I need a laugh.
Of course, this being ABC, they will undoubtedly cancel it half-way through the current season and we'll never see it again. It's what they do.
• Three... There is no bullet point three. Move along.
• Flash!... Ever since seeing Blades of Glory, I've had Queen's brilliant Flash Gordon Theme playing in my head. Depiste the poor reviews, I always liked the 1980 Flash Gordon film... largely due to the funky visuals, excellent film score by Queen, and the sweet hotness of Melody Anderson. I bought the soundtrack album long ago on vinyl (long since lost) but lucky for me it's available at the iTunes Music store. Sweet! I also note that one of my favorite videos, Radio Ga Ga, is also available. The song has never been one of my favorites, but the epic dream-like quality of the video is a winner...
Freddie looking fierce, fabulous, and very gay wearing leather pants, feathers, and a sash.
• Extracurricular... Why is it that every time I turn around, there's another teacher being busted for sleeping with their under-aged students? And, even more importantly, why wasn't this part of the educational curriculum when I was in school? Granted, there were very few of my teachers I would have wanted to sleep with, but I can think of one or two that I'd have gladly let tutor me in some after-school sessions. Just think of the embarrassment that could have been avoided in fumbling to remove that first bra had a teacher been kind enough to show me how it's done! That being said, you would think that the penalty for violating the trust of parents who put their kids in a teacher's care like this would be death. Of course, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that somebody finds underage girls and boys to be sexually attractive, so maybe I'm just biased.
And, on that note, I must now have jellybeans. JELLYBEANS I SAY!!
Today the blogosphere is abuzz over Tim O' Reilly's well-meaning but entirely insane proposal for bloggers to adopt a "Code of Conduct." The New York Times was all too happy to jump on the bandwagon by running a page-one story entitled "A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs." This could have been an interesting piece, but once I read the opening line ("Is it too late to bring civility to the Web?") I was laughing too hard to pay much attention.
Now, before I dig in, let me state that I am giving the benefit of doubt that Tim O' Reilly's heart is in the right place here. I understand he is trying to do a good thing. Who wouldn't want to make the blogosphere a better, safer place after the disturbing events surrounding the Kathy Sierra incident? Some of the stuff that goes on in our "world" is hurtful, hateful, and just plain sick. Wanting to address these horrors is only human.
But no thank you.
I'm not signing up for anything that tells me what I can say, how I should run my blog, and how I should react to other people's blogs. If anybody cares why I feel this way, I've address Mr. O'Reilly's six bullet-points in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Yeesh. Another night of writing my entry just as midnight approaches. I guess that's what happens when you are slaving away morning noon and night to get caught up with work.
I suppose there are lots of things I could write about, but it's late, so I think I'll just grab that movie meme that's been floating around. Kevin has done is now, so I guess I pretty much have to...
Oog. Time for bed. But before I go, I was pleased to see that the plans for the first "Hard Rock Park" in Myrtle Beach have finally been released. It's looking pretty sweet, and bigger than I had thought it would be...
The juicy details can be found at Myrtle Beach Online (which is where I snagged these photos). I guess that will be one more property to add to my list when it opens in 2008.
Finally. Finally the praise and recognition I so richly deserve has started to come my way. It may have taken a bit longer than I expected, but my plan for world domination has been set in motion at long last. As more and more people celebrate my greatness, my influence will grow and my destiny to rule the earth will finally be realized.
Today I was bestowed the great privilege of becoming a "Paul Harris Fellow" by the local chapter of Rotary International. It was awarded me in recognition of service to Rotary and the local community, which is a real honor. I got a medal and a certificate and everything...
I'm thinking I'm just going to wear my medal constantly so everybody will know how great I am. It's not like I do things for the community to win prizes and get medals but, so long as they're giving me one, I might as well take advantage of it.
To celebrate, I went to dinner with my mom at Applebee's.
I had the Tuscan Cheese Spread appetizer as an entree, which tasted so good it was like a full-body massage, complete with a happy ending...
You get grilled ciabatta bread slices that you top with warm, gooey Italian cheese and a tomato-garlic salad. It's pretty amazing, especially if you like garlic. I wanted very much to spread it all over my waitress and have a party, but I try not to do inappropriate things like this when my mother's around.
I guess I'll have to save that idea for another time.
I wonder if you face jail-time for spreading hot cheese on a waitress?
I suppose it all depends on how big a tip you have leave.
And if you're wearing a medal or not, of course.
F#@%ING VERIZON DSL PIECE OF SHIT!
For the third time in two weeks, my DSL is down and, as if that wasn't frustrating enough, calling Verizon tech support results in a recording that directs you to their website before you get to any menus. IF YOU ARE CALLING FOR SUPPORT BECAUSE YOUR INTERNET IS DOWN, HOW IN THE F#@% ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO GET TO THEIR WEBSITE?!? Who is the genius who came up with this logic? Once I do finally get through, another recording tells me that Verizon is aware of the problems in the 509 area code, and it should be resolved in 24 hours.
TWENTY-FOUR F#@%ING HOURS? WTF?!?
Yesterday as I was writing my daily blog entry, it was announced that sublime novelist Kurt Vonnegut had died. As a huge fan of his work, I was sad to hear this. I've learned so much from his writing, and had thought it would be swell to write a nice long entry about him. I started a few times, but couldn't find the words to adequately express how much he meant to me. In the end, I kept coming back to a quote of his that just about says it all...
"I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center".
So it goes... rest in peace Kurt Vonnegut. Time for me to read Slaughterhouse-Five again.
And speaking of utter brilliance, I ran across this "Interview Me" meme on Avitable's blog. Unfortunately, I don't have time to interview anybody, and had to pass on the fun. But Avi, bless his heart, was nice enough to send me his five interview questions anyway...
Excellent questions Mr Avitable! I'm breaking the rules by not inviting people to be interviewed by me, but you can go get in line behind the
And tomorrow, I'm back to Seattle. But first I'm off to work so I can post this entry.
UPDATE: Well that's odd. Just as I was getting ready to head out, the internet came back on. Bizarre.
I am wearing a thong and am entirely too drukn to blog.
Honestly, it's not as bad as it looks. I actually did realize that I had misspelled "drunk" as "drukn" in last night's entry. But instead of posting an edit, I accidentally posted a duplicate copy. After I realized that I had made two entries, I went to delete the one with the misspelling, but accidentally deleted the one that was corrected instead.
Okay, I guess that actually is as bad as it looks.
But what's surprising here is not my drunken behavior. It's the fact that everybody in the comments wants to see a picture of me wearing a thong. I'm guessing this would not have been the case had I mentioned is was a ladies thong. Naturally, this being the age of digital cameras and such, photos were taken...
And yes, I was wearing the thong over my jeans because, even in a drunken state, I realize that nobody wants to actually see a guy wearing a ladies thong. It's not even remotely "cute" because your junk would be all hanging out...
Now, had it been a mens thong with a proper pouch for my kibble and bits, then I probably would have taken my jeans off first.
I'm classy like that.
I'm tired. I'm hungry. I'm irritable. And it's time for Bullet Sunday!
• Driven. You're driving back from the Seattle over the mountain pass with your iPod set on shuffle and piped into the stereo. Suddenly the rain stops and the sun starts to come out. Everything is fresh and green and the air smells as if the world is brand new. Then Etta James' beautiful voice comes over the speakers singing At Last, and suddenly you realize that you're glad to be alive. For a few minutes anyway. Then some moron pulls in front of you going 10 mph under the speed limit and you're stuck behind them for 20 minutes wanting crash into their stupid ass... not even caring if you survive, just so long as they die in a ball of fire. Isn't it strange how life can turn on a dime like that?
• Panera. I took a photo of my most favorite sandwich at Panera Bread yesterday. Behold the glory that is The Mediterranean...
I wish I had another one right now, because the only thing I have to eat here at home is chocolate pudding.
• Leopard. Apple announced that the next version of OS X, code-name Leopard, has been delayed four months, moving to an October release date. This is a bit of a shame, but better late than Vista. At least I'll have my iPhone to keep me occupied come summertime...
• Repaired. Finally scraped the money together to have Saturn repair all the damage that Midas did to my car when they "fixed" it last. Sure I'm poor now, but at least I don't have to stare at that stupid "Service Engine Soon" light anymore. Not having my car backfire when I turn the engine off is pretty sweet too. If only Saturn would have installed rocket launchers and a flame-thrower, the ride home wouldn't have been quite so bad.
Now it's time for dinner. Looks like it's going to be chocolate pudding and a can of 7-Up tonight.
It's the time of year when little critters that belong outside start waking up and finding their way inside.
As I was unpacking my suitcase I noticed a small spider skittering away. I felt bad for the little guy, as he was obviously quite lost and, if he hitched a ride from Seattle, far from home. Yet, as sorry as I was feeling, I was not quite ready to have him as a roommate. The quick and easy solution to my problem was to grab something heavy and smash him. But that always seems so senseless and cruel. It's not like he knows any better, and it hardly seems fair to kill him because he isn't aware he's trespassing...
So I do what I always do... try to take him back outside.
But first I had to find him. This involved ten minutes of tearing apart my bedroom and chasing the fastest spider on earth. But eventually I managed to catch him under a glass and slide a card beneath. Once caught, he didn't put up much of a struggle, and sat there motionless on the card awaiting his fate.
Which was to be put on a nice shrub just outside the building where, hopefully, he'll be happy.
In a world where it is increasingly more common to kill a life than save it... where it's far easier to destroy something than to create it... it's the little things like this that help me feel better about my place in the grand scheme of things.
Even though a bird probably flew in and ate my spider two minutes after I set him outside.
I prefer to think that he spun up a nice web and is even now picking out wallpaper and curtains for his new home.
Oooh. Hate-comment of the day... "You are just another turd in the blog toilet clogging up Google with shit!" At first I thought that my Farrah-hating comment stalker was back, but a quick check of my stats shows a different IP address. So then I took a look through my search referral log and see that this person found me from a Google search for "ann coulter shaved porn." Such is the peril of having your blog archives indexed by Google, I guess.
I'd be upset, but I'm too freaked out at the idea that anybody would want to see Ann Coulter doing porn... shaved or otherwise. Just typing the phrase "ann coulter shaved porn" is enough to make me vomit in my mouth a little bit.
Even though this particular comment can't be taken seriously, I do get criticism from time to time over my apparent refusal to say anything of substance here, and for clogging up the blogosphere with my senseless crap. I draw funny cartoons and talk about wacky stuff, but any serious discussion is notably absent (except on rare occasions). My response has always been that I deal with enough serious crap all day long that I don't feel like dealing with it all over again in my blog. And that's pretty much the truth. Naturally I have my opinions on subjects like Don Imus, President Bush, Global Warming, Stem Cell Research, Knut the Bear, and all the rest... but blogging specifically about that stuff is simply not something I'm interested in. There are many, many other blogs out there who are happy to mix it up, I just don't happen to be one of them.
But to say that I don't put my 2¢ in on current events is not quite true, because many times I actually do so... just indirectly.
For example, my entry yesterday about the spider in my suitcase was written around 1:00am. I couldn't sleep, and decided to write out a blog entry in the hopes that my mind would relax and I could go back to bed. Even though it had just become Monday, I decided not to post it right away, and tried to get more sleep. Fast forward to my lunch hour where I am checking the news, and the Virginia Tech Massacre story is all over the place. Deeply saddened by yet another case of senseless violence in an increasingly senseless world, I added the following paragraph to the entry I had written earlier that morning...
"In a world where it is increasingly more common to kill a life than save it... where it's far easier to destroy something than to create it... it's the little things like this that help me feel better about my place in the grand scheme of things."
This was an indirect response to the news coming out of Virginia, even though most people probably didn't realize it as such.
And, to quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."
Of course, now my blog is going to rocket to the top of the Google charts for people who can't get enough Ann Coulter shaved porn. I'd address that indirectly by talking about a television program I once saw about pubic lice, but something tells me this would just confuse the issue further.
Today I received probably the strangest phone call in my life.
Well, there was that time Bad Robert called to ask me if I knew how to get baby oil stains out of a fabric car seat, but this one was pretty strange.
My friend Natsuki called because a plumber couldn't understand her. Never mind that she speaks perfect English, the guy she hired to install a sink claimed he didn't know what she was saying. Natsuki was calling to ask if she could explain what she wanted to me, then have me explain it to the guy. Bewildered as to how this could possibly be happening, I agreed. After I had gone over everything with the plumber, he thanked me and then added "I wish these people would get educated before they move here."
Needless to say, I came unglued.
"Oh really?" I replied. "Natsuki not only holds a design degree, she also speaks Japanese, Chinese, French, and English... how many f#@%ing languages do YOU speak? Maybe YOU'RE the one who needs to be educated in how to listen to people!"
Seriously, WTF? I understand that some people have difficulty understanding an accent, but that wasn't the problem here. Natsuki's English is perfectly understandable, and there was no reason at all for a comment like that... the plumber was just being a lazy asshole who apparently has a problem with foreigners... or women... or, more likely, both. I'd bet serious money that if the plumber ever went to Japan, he wouldn't bother to learn a word of Japanese first.
My day was made better when I got home and saw a television ad for Dancing & Singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider-Man!!"
Probably one of the cutest toys ever. He can really dance! Bust a move, Spidey...
Somebody I know needs to have a baby so I can have an excuse to go buy one (then play with it before I give it to them).
This is one of those things where I'm going to get drunk one day and order it off Amazon or something.
At least that's the excuse I use when people catch me playing with my Star Trek Barbie & Ken dolls...
Beam me up, Scotty... I want off this planet.
Most people are probably familiar with the matching game Bejeweled in one form or another. You swap two similar pieces on a board in an effort to build chains of three or more so that they'll disappear and more pieces will fall to fill in the holes. It's a great game that I've played many, many times... not only as Bejeweled, but as Zoo Keeper, Diamond Mine, and an assortment of other clones. The problem is that it gets boring after a while, because the game doesn't change... it's just more of the same, forever!
Enter a new game for the Nintendo DS called Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. Yes, it's based on the same tile-swapping game-play as Bejeweled, but they added so many new layers to the concept, that it really feels like something altogether different...
Each of the items you remove from the board adds something to the game play. Colored tiles add to your magical mana, which you use to cast spells during battle. Gold gives you money to buy things like armor and weapons, or build a citadel. Stars give you experience points to gain experience levels and learn new abilities. Skulls cause damage to your opponent. It's all very cool how they managed to merge puzzles and role-playing into something that's so much fun to play. You can even battle another player over Nintendo DS Wirless, if you both have a cartridge...
Unlike Bejeweled, which gets boring because there's no real goal, Puzzle Quest keeps you interested. You're always wanting to get more gold so you can add a dungeon to your citadel... or buy some new armor for protection. You're always wanting to get more experience so you can learn new spells and get stronger. You're always wanting to win battles so you can open up more of the map and move on to new challenges. Every choice you make actually means something, and moves you forward in the game's story...
Beautifully rendered, highly entertaining, and incredibly addictive, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords gets my highest possible recommendation. I shudder to think how much time I'll be wasting playing it.
Now, before I go all crazy here, let me just preface this entry by saying that, for the most part, I love Adobe products. I have been using them from the very, very beginning, and simply could not do the work I do without them. Not only that, but I love Adobe as a company as well... they continue to support the Macintosh platform with day-and-date releases with Windows, and that goes a long way towards winning my heart.
That being said, Adobe's latest version 3 release of their amazing Creative Suite of products (which includes such giants as Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Acrobat, InDesign, and more... depending on the bundle version) has pissed me off greatly.
I go to install the shit, wait fifteen minutes for everything to load up, then am immediately greeted with a notice that my serial number for CS2 isn't authorized to upgrade to CS3, even though I purchased the proper upgrade. WTF?!? Yet another case of loyal, paying customers getting shit on by software companies under the guise of "combatting software piracy." Except everybody knows that software pirates ALWAYS end up getting around this crap, so it's only legal customers who end up getting fucked.
This means I have to call Adobe Customer Service, get put on hold for 15 minutes (with crap "music"), then have to wait another ten minutes while they verify my upgrade is valid. Then I have to offer up a "verification code" and get a "response code" so that my software can be authorized. What a fucking joke.
And, of course, I can't use the same response code for my second authorized laptop install this morning... I have to call and go through the entire ordeal again over a shitty phone line connection to India (or wherever) that I can barely hear anything on.
Fuck you very much Adobe.
Even though your customer service agents where incredibly nice and a pleasure to speak with.
Anyway, now that the crap is installed, it's time to start bitching! Though not right away, because the first thing I notice is the new icon set Adobe is using. Great icons? No. But they are a huge, massively huge, improvement over the incomprehensible artsy shit we got in CS1 and CS2 (which I wrote about here). For starters, you CAN ACTUALLY TELL WHAT THE ICONS ARE REPRESENTING NOW...
As for the rest of my initial Adobe Creative Suite 3 impressions, I've dropped everything in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I am not a morning person.
Even though I get up before sunrise, my daily routine is such that I'm not good for much during the early hours. Most of the time I'll just grab my laptop and either read blogs or work for a bit until I am motivated to get out of bed. Usually this is dictated by my need to pee, but sometimes it's because the phone will ring or some other disturbance. In any event, asking me to do anything at 4:30 in the morning is a pretty bad idea. But Jessica over at Daughter of Opinion has asked people to take a photo of themselves when they first wake up in the morning, and she's pretty hard to refuse anything.
So last night before bed, I put my camera on my night-stand on top of my glasses so I would not forget. Here is the terrifying result...
Since it's still dark when I get up, I just turned on my desk lamp and snapped the photo. It's a bit off-center, but considering I am practically blind without my glasses, I feel lucky my head is even in the shot at all.
I find it interesting to note that Jessica looks like she just walked off the set of America's Next Top Model in her photo, which is why I suppose she came up with the idea for this meme in the first place. If I looked that good first thing in the morning, I'd want people to know about it too.
Though, to be honest, I would probably be a lot more crass about it than she is. I'd use it as a pick-up line or something... "Hey baby, I look totally hot in the mornings. But don't take my word for it, why don't you come back to my place so you can wake up and see for yourself... heh, heh, heh."
Men are such pigs.
I suppose I shouldn't complain too much about my photo... I'm just happy that there's not a welt on my face anymore.
Yesterday I was driving down the road while messing with my seat-belt. I needed both hands to turn a corner, so I let go of the belt only to have it slip out of the restraining loop and smack me in the face. Hard. It left a nice red mark that was still there when I went to bed last night.
Nothing quite like being bitch-slapped by life after a hard day at work.
Hey, it's Bullet Sunday on Earth Day! A time when eco-minded individuals can feel guilty about the damage we are doing to our planet, then forget it about it again until next year!
• Veggie... As of today, I have been a vegetarian for 19 years. I had toyed with the idea off-and-on for a few years before committing, but it took dating a vegetarian for the diet to stick (which was on Earth Day 1988... a pity we broke up three months later). About the only thing I really miss is pepperoni, for which there is no good veggie substitute. They make fake "veggie meat" for everything else that tastes okay... but the pepperoni always tastes like a crime against nature, and never crisps up properly on a pizza.
• Married... Speaking of crimes against nature... first the most beautiful woman on earth gets married, now the second most beautiful woman on earth has gotten married too. Bollywood actress hottie Aishwarya Rai joins the massive list of "Women Dave Lusts Over That Got Married So They Have An Excuse Not To Date Him If They Ever Found Out He Even Exists." What can I say, my life is tragedy...
• Discovery... One of the most fascinating television series ever to air on television is Discovery Chanel's Planet Earth. Astoundingly beautiful and thought-provoking in every way, it is essential viewing for all of humanity so we can better understand what a truly remarkable planet we live on. I started watching the show when it began back in March, and today they are airing the final two episodes. I haven't been motivated to get an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player, but the hi-def release of this series has motivated me to finally start looking into buying one. The brilliant footage they got for the show deserves to be displayed with the best possible picture quality...
• DaveToon... Whenever I think of the earth, I remember a DaveToon I drew a year ago that explains quite a lot about why I am the way I am. Even on Earth Day, I'm an egotistical, self-centered bastard...
Yes, the world really does revolve around me.
• Saturday Night... "Sunday is Earth Day. Suck it, Neptune!" — Amy Pohler, SNL.
And that's a wrap. This is going to be an interesting week here at Blogography...
Well take a look at what we have here... it's my four-year blogiversary!
And if you had told me back at the beginning that I'd still be writing in Blogography... daily, no less... four years hence, I'd have thought you were insane (and then probably killed you because that kind of crazy just shouldn't be wandering the streets). After all, I had two failed blogs under my belt from the previous three years, and there was no indication that Blogography was going to be any different. The only change was that if Blogography didn't work out, it was going to be three strikes and I was done.
But here I am, still writing my daily dose of incomprehensible crap.
Year One was a mess, filled mostly with memes and boring stuff that I should have deleted long ago. Year Two was when I finally got my shit together and my blog was everything I wanted it to be... "the golden years," if you will. Year Three was the hardest, with too many bumps in the road and crazy crap that had me contemplating shutting Blogography down. And here we are at Year Four, and the blogging habit is such a big part of my life that I can't see an end to it. So it must be time to celebrate...
Yes indeed, this time the shit is very personal, as you will find out during this week-long party that has been five months in the making. Just like previous years, there will be hundreds of dollars worth of prizes to win and good times along the way, but there are going to be some changes as well...
The schedule of events looks something like this...
Oh yeah. You might want to tune in every day, because it will undoubtedly be worth your while. :-)
UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! NO ADDITIONAL ENTRIES ARE BEING ACCEPTED!
Every year I release a new T-shirt to celebrate my blogiversary. First there was the classic Blogography Logo T, then came the Bad Monkey T, and lastly was the infamous Zombies Ate My Brain T (chosen by YOU, my loyal Blogography readers in last year's contest). Well, this year I came up with 32 different design ideas, and couldn't make up my mind which one to print. So I went to dinner with a group of friends, and we managed to narrow it down to a mere 7.
Since everybody did such a great job of picking a design last year, I'm going to put it up for a vote again this year.
And, to make it worth your while, everybody who votes will be getting a coupon for $10 OFF any Artificial Duck Co. Store T-Shirt purchase!
That means you can pick up a classic white shirt for just $5 (+ shipping)... or one of the new color shirts for just $7 (+shipping)*. And these ain't no crappy iron-on designs... no way! Each shirt is custom silk-screened on premium quality 100% cotton shirts for the ultimate in comfort and durability!
And, just because I love you, FIVE VOTERS will be put in a drawing to get a shirt ABSOLUTELY FREE... all you pay is the shipping charges!
It's almost too good to be true! So how do you vote? It's easy!
And here's this year's choices... you're voting for the TWO designs you like best...
VOTE: Bad Monkey (on yellow)
VOTE: Dave Pope (on teal)
VOTE: Toxic Yawn (on green)
VOTE: Smoking Monkeys (on blue)
VOTE: Try Evil (on black)
VOTE: Little Geeky (on olive)
VOTE: Blogography (on slate)
Please be sure to follow the rules listed above to vote, and may the best design win!
10 BLOGOGRAPHY MOMENTS IN HISTORY, YEAR ONE: 04/03-03/04
Dave writes his very first snarky rant about 6 extra grams of fat on some daft bitch's lazy ass.
Dave first declares his love for Elizabeth Hurley.
Dave writes his first travel-blog on a trip to Iceland and Stockholm.
Dave rips apart a totally incompetent review of Kill Bill by James Berardinelli at "ReelViews."
Dave writes about a trip to New Orleans, pre-Katrina... one of his favorite cities.
Dave draws his very first DaveToon, featuring the first appearance of Bad Monkey on Blogography.
Dave writes that infamous entry about hating clowns which spawns his first hate-mail avalanche.
Dave writes about lame internet quizzes, and then makes up his own lame internet quiz ideas.
Dave finally writes about something personal, which turns out to be a fairly rare event.
Dave draws a DaveToon about brushing his teeth, which is still one of Blogography most popular links.
*PLEASE NOTE: Shirts will be printed in early June once all the pre-orders have been taken through the month of May. The prices listed above are for sizes S-XL. Larger sizes are available for an extra charge: 2XL is $1.00 extra, 3XL is $2.00 extra. Sizes bigger than 2X are not available in colors, but I'll be happy to print any design on a white shirt: 4XL is $3.00 extra, 5XL is $4.00 extra, 6XL is $5.00 extra.
UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! NO ADDITIONAL ENTRIES ARE BEING ACCEPTED!
Everybody loves little 1-inch button pins! Especially when they have really cool stuff on them. I originally invested in pricey professional button-making equipment for a charity fundraising event. Eventually it occurred to me that it might be cool to make buttons for my blog and pass them out at blogger meet-ups and stuff. When TequilaCon came around, I took some Blogography pins, some custom pins for bloggers I knew, and a big bag of 60 "generic" designs so everybody else could have pins to trade. By the end of the night all my pins were gone, and everybody seemed to have fun with them.
So I decided to add pins to the Artificial Duck Store for sale in ready-to-buy sets or pick-and-choose sets that customers can assemble themselves. There will also be the option for bloggers to send in their own artwork and have custom pins made. It's button fun for everyone, and I call them DuckyButtons...
In celebration of this new addition to the store, today's contest will feature button prizes...
TODAY'S $150+ GRAND PRIZE DRAWING...
$50 Amazon Gift Certificate ($50 value). Rather than shipping heavy books, region-specific DVDs, or CDs that get ripped and tossed in a landfill, I've decided to pass out Amazon Gift Certificates. This means prize-winners can get whatever they like and, since Amazon is available in several countries around the globe, it's a prize most everybody can enjoy (even if the US dollar doesn't buy as much as it used to).
Six Sets of DuckyButtons ($24 value). Pick any six sets you like, or create your own 5-button sets. DuckyButtons are sure to bring a smile to your face... or to anybody else's you meet when you wear them. And since you're getting 30 buttons, that's a month's worth of sweet wearable art to wear and share!
Twenty-Five Custom-Made DuckyButtons with Your Design ($25 value). Email us any one design or photo you like, and we'll turn it into 25 beautiful custom buttons of your very own! Use them to promote your blog, impress your friends, or distribute wearable pictures of your cat... so long as it isn't copyrighted, we'll make buttons from whatever you want!
Three Artificial Duck T-Shirts ($51 value). Yep, that's right, get any three shirts you like from the Artificial Duck Store... keep them for yourself, or give them out as gifts that will impress those lucky people you deem worthy of wearing them!
World-Wide Shipping (up to $35 value). No matter where you live on planet earth, rest assured you won't have to pay a dime to claim your prize because shipping is included.
And that's not all, today you also have two other chances to win...
TODAY'S $40+ RUNNER-UP PRIZE DRAWING (TWO WINNERS!)...
Two Sets of DuckyButtons ($8 value). Your choice of two sets of super-sweet DuckyButtons in whatever designs you like... that's ten buttons to wear and share!
Fifteen Custom-Made DuckyButtons with Your Design ($15 value). Email us any one design or photo you like, and we'll turn it into 15 beautiful custom buttons of your very own!
One Artificial Duck T-Shirts ($17 value). Pick any shirt you like from the Artificial Duck Store, and be happy knowing that you'll be wearing a T-shirt that makes you at least 10% hotter the minute you put it on!
World-Wide Shipping (up to $12 value). Of course shipping is included, because that's the way I roll here.
AND NOW FOR THE RULES...
Okay then, if you didn't leave 10 comments in the past year, PICK FOUR of the five questions below, and be sure to include the answers in your email entry to CONTEST EXPIRED! All the answers can be found in the Blogography History links listed below or by using the "Search Box" in my sidebar...
Remember, the entry deadline is TOMORROW at 9:00pm P.S.T. (Seattle time)! Good luck!
10 BLOGOGRAPHY MOMENTS IN HISTORY, YEAR TWO: 04/04-03/05
Dave writes his most Googled blog entry ever.
Dave lives here.
Dave takes really cool photos from the air.
Dave takes even cooler photos right here on earth.
Dave flies to Dublin, Ireland so he can look at a book that's being made into a killer animated feature.
Dave talks about his childhood, and shares a photo that Google-searching pedophiles will probably enjoy.
Dave goes looking for Robin Hood, but gets cake instead.
Dave live-blogs for the first time under less than ideal circumstances.
Dave blogs a "Day in the Life" entry, and swears never to do it again because it's just too much work.
Dave picks three guys he might go totally gay for.
UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! NO ADDITIONAL ENTRIES ARE BEING ACCEPTED!
Looks like there is going to be a slight change of plans for Blogiversary IV Week.
Turns out that the T-shirt voting from the first contest has taken an interesting turn. One design has pulled way, way, way out ahead of the pack (for those of you who were wanting the "A Little Geeky" shirt printed, it looks like you're going to get your wish). The problem is picking a shirt for the #2 spot, because there are three shirts all within 5 votes of each other. This leaves me with a dilemma because with no clear runner-up winner, it's difficult to know which one should be printed...
So I've decided to move tomorrows prizes to today, and change the final prize to be more T-shirts. By putting more money into shirts, I might get quantities that will allow me to add an additional design or two. As an added benefit, this means more people will win prizes. So I think it's a good solution all around. Anyway, back to tomorrow's today's prizes...
On occasion I receive emails asking me if any of my photos or DaveToons or drawings are available for sale as prints. I suppose I could have printed out stuff on my inkjet and sold it to them, but this seemed like a cheap rip-off to me. So I started searching for a way to have my stuff professionally printed with impeccable quality, yet be of reasonable cost. After a few months of research and buying test-prints, I finally found a solution...
When the Artificial Duck Store reopens, I'll be selling a limited selection of quality Giclée Pro-Prints on a choice of fine art papers or premium photo satin matte. The brilliant inks used are pigment-based which ensures a long print life and quality reproduction. They really are quite nice, and look great when framed.
I'll start with a few of my favorite photos, some DaveToons that have been optimized specifically for print, and add a couple of limited edition items. If people actually end up buying them, I'll be adding new prints from time to time.
In celebration of this new addition to the store, today's contest will feature photo and print prizes...
TODAY'S $225+ GRAND PRIZE DRAWING...
Polaroid A515 Digital Camera ($80 value). This digital camera may be pretty cheap-ass, but it does have 5 megapixels, 4X zoom, 16MB built-in storage, and a 1.7" LCD screen. That's good enough to snap a few photos of your kid, your dog, or whatever... which will come in handy when the next prize arrives...
A Flickr Pro Account Gift Membership ($25 value). Organize your photos online, then show them to the world with this one-year gift membership to Flickr. If you already have a Flickr account, this will extend your membership by a year.
Two Giclée Pro-Prints from the Artificial Duck Store ($70 value). Decorate your life with a couple of classy prints designed by yours truly. These prints are both beautiful and versatile... Embellish your living room with a great photo. Put a DaveToon in your baby's room. Or even use your prints as a really expensive liner for your cat's litter box.
Three Artificial Duck T-Shirts ($51 value). Yep, that's right, get any three shirts you like from the Artificial Duck Store... keep them for yourself, or give them out as gifts that will impress those lucky people you deem worthy of wearing them!
World-Wide Shipping (up to $35 value). No matter where you live on planet earth, rest assured you won't have to pay a dime to claim your prize because shipping is included.
And that's not all, today you also have two other chances to win...
TODAY'S $52+ RUNNER-UP PRIZE DRAWING (TWO WINNERS!)...
One Giclée Pro-Print from the Artificial Duck Store ($35 value).
One Artificial Duck T-Shirts ($17 value). Pick any shirt you like from the Artificial Duck Store, and be happy knowing that you'll be wearing a T-shirt that makes you at least 10% hotter the minute you put it on!
World-Wide Shipping (up to $12 value). Of course shipping is included, because that's the way I roll here.
AND NOW FOR THE RULES...
Okay then, if you didn't leave 10 comments in the past year, PICK FOUR of the five questions below, and be sure to include the answers in your email entry to CONTEST EXPIRED! All the answers can be found in the Blogography History links listed below or by using the "Search Box" in my sidebar...
Remember, the entry deadline is TOMORROW at 9:00pm P.S.T. (Seattle time)! Good luck!
10 BLOGOGRAPHY MOMENTS IN HISTORY, YEAR THREE: 04/05-03/06
Dave makes his first (but certainly not last) bid to become Pope... and then contemplates his Papal super-powers.
Dave gets a lot of hate-mail for this one... I guess comparing the US dollar to toilet paper is a bad thing.
Dave learns how to peel a banana from a monkey.
Dave creates DaveLand, the Daviest Place on Earth!
Dave finally gets all political and shit.
Dave still gets emails from crazy bitches over Dead Hooker Babies.
Dave creates the entire universe (with the assistance of His Divine Monkey).
Dave is tired of lame Collectible Card Games, and decides to create his own CCG.
Dave fulfills his life-long dream to walk upon the Great Wall of China.
Dave celebrates his 40th birthday... then dies and comes back to life as a zombie.
UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! NO ADDITIONAL ENTRIES ARE BEING ACCEPTED!
As I mentioned yesterday, votes for the second shirt design to be printed are really, really close (and if you haven't voted yet, you can still get your choices sent in by clicking here). With no clear victory for second place, I've decided to change this last day of prize drawings, and put the money into more shirt prizes. That way, I can get the order quantities high enough that I can print and extra design or two.
So, in addition to the 5 FREE shirts I have for the T-shirt vote drawing, I'm adding another 25 FREE shirts for everybody who enters today's contest (all you have to do is pay the shipping costs!). That's 30 freebies total being given away for
That's like uhhhhhh... $510 in shirts or something. This brings the total prizes for this year's blogiversary to over $1000, which is pretty sweet!
AND NOW FOR THE RULES...
Okay then, if you didn't leave 10 comments in the past year, this time you have to answer ALL SEVEN of the questions below, and be sure to include the answers in your email entry to CONTEST EXPIRED! All the answers can be found in the Blogography History links listed below or by using the "Search Box" in my sidebar...
Remember, the entry deadline is TOMORROW at 9:00pm P.S.T. (Seattle time)! Good luck!
10 BLOGOGRAPHY MOMENTS IN HISTORY, YEAR FOUR: 04/06-03/07
Dave discovers that PayPal sucks total ass because they stole his f#@%ing money!
Dave reviews the most magical breakfast food ever: Hello Kitty Pop-Tarts!
Dave creates his now-infamous alternatives for a hospital's lame "Pain Chart".
Dave decides to write a line of books for dumbasses.
Dave reveals his cross-dressing past.
Dave decides to build a monument to his greatness.
Dave has a dream.
Dave writes that entry about bluetooth headsets that gets him a lot of hate-mail.
Dave meets bloggers Eve and Dave3, then gets a shocking surprise on the streets of New York City.
Dave finds out that the gays have invaded Chicago.
Tonight the last of the Blogiversary IV contests are ending, so tomorrow I can take all the entries to somebody not affiliated with Blogography and have them draw the winners. That will bring the week-long celebration to a close, and I can move on to another year of big blogging fun.
In the meanwhile, I am still trying to get the Artificial Duck Co. store ready for its grand re-opening on Monday afternoon. It's been a long-time coming, and a really difficult road to get here. I thought the hardships were over once I moved to Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, but it turns out my problems are just beginning.
One of the major reasons I decided to go with Yahoo! was that they had inventory control. This was really important to me, because I didn't want people to order something that was out-of-stock and be disappointed when I had to tell them they wouldn't be getting it. With inventory control, I would finally have a way to let people know if they could order an item or not. I would use Yahoo! tags to access the inventory status of an item/size, then use the yes/no result to display a graphic to let people know if they could order a particular size...
Except Yahoo! doesn't allow you to do that with their "store tags." In order for a customer to know whether or not something is in-stock, they have to add it to their cart. If it ends up in your cart, congratulations, you can order it! Otherwise you get this ugly stupid-ass error message...
What the fuck?!?
What sense does it make to have inventory control if you can't tell your customers what the inventory level is BEFORE they add something to their cart? This is pretty stupid, and basically cuts the usefulness of this feature in half.
So now I'm going to have to MANUALLY adjust the inventory indicators every time something changes, which sucks ass. Heaven forbid that I actually go on vacation or something.
Why is it that somebody can't build a reasonably-priced merchant solution for small businesses that doesn't suck? Is it really so incredibly difficult? I can only hope that Google jumps into the game and fixes this shit like they seem to be doing with everything else.
It's a very special Blogiversary IV edition of Bullet Sunday!
Come back and read this after you skip down to see if you've won anything... I'll be waiting.
Did you win? If you did, many congratulations! If you didn't, I'm sorry about that, and maybe you'll win one of the other events I've got planned for later in the year. And, just in case you're curious as to how the winners were chosen... I had nothing to do with it. I instead enlisted a friend who has no idea who the people were who entered (and doesn't even bother to read my blog in the first place). That way, the drawing is fair and impartial, and that's the only way to really run a contest. Here's how it went...
Here are the winners for this year...
• FIVE FREE SHIRTS... The five winners for voting on the shirts I'll be printing for this year's run are...
• TWENTY-FIVE FREE SHIRTS... The twenty-five winners for entering ShirtFest on Thursday are...
• BUTTON CONTEST... Here are the winners for the Buttons Contest from Wednesday...
Grand Prize Winner: Cynical Dad
Runner-Up Prize Winner: ~jtm
Runner-Up Prize Winner: Kyle Ice
• PRINTS CONTEST... Here are the winners for the Prints Contest from Thursday...
Grand Prize Winner: Cavan T.
Runner-Up Prize Winner: Avitable
Runner-Up Prize Winner: Sven P.
And that concludes Blogography's Blogiversary IV Celebration! Congratulations again to all the winners, and my most heart-felt thanks to all of you who keep reading Blogography... I wouldn't be doing this without you!
UPDATE: Well, crap. I turned on the store, everything looked great, but the first three orders couldn't process because of some kind of communication problem with my bank for verification of funds. Bleh. Everything will be just fine soon... very soon...
In what can only be described as a miracle, the Artificial Duck Co. store is on-schedule for its grand opening tonight tomorrow.
Probably pretty late tonight around noon tomorrow, as there are still some things that need to be tested.
Getting to this point wasn't easy... I had no idea that setting up a "real" store for myself would be so hard. I've done it dozens of times for other people but, when it comes to making a store of your own, there's an unimaginable amount of work that has to happen. Honestly, it's too much work for something that's supposed to be just a hobby, but oh well. Soon it will all be over.
The best part of setting up shop has been designing various features I want the store to have. Some things aren't working quite right on Internet Explorer (surprise, surprise), but the "Build-A-DuckyButton-Set" page seems to be working just fine. Creating the "About Us Page" was also loads of fun (assuming I don't get sued by Paramount!).
By far the worst part of setting up shop has been the shipping charges. The US Postal Service is changing rates and eliminating services on May 14th, and so all of that has to be accounted for (since none of my orders will be shipping until early June). Shipping is always a tricky beast, because I want very much for what I charge to be accurate so I'm not ripping people off. I hate ordering a T-shirt on the internet and having shipping charges be $12 when I know the company is only going to pay $5. Rip-off! The problem is that if you goof up and accidentally charge too little, you stand to lose a horrendous amount of money very quickly. And it doesn't help that Yahoo!'s rate charts can't be calculated by shipping zone, which is kind of stupid because that's how all the carriers set their rates.
But other than the shipping rates and the aforementioned lack of inventory display, Yahoo! hasn't been that bad to work with. I don't know if I will be able to afford to stay with them because their rates are so incredibly high, but I'll wait it out a few months before deciding what to do about that. It sure would be nice if Yahoo! would just take a straight percentage though. Rather than the $100/month + 1% I'm paying now, it would be a lot better for me if they just took 3% or even 5% so I wouldn't be hit so hard on months where I'm not selling much. I didn't build my store to make money, but it would be nice not to lose money.
Anyway, it's been an adventure. Check in tomorrow when everything should be up-and-runnning (crossing my fingers) at Artificial Duck Co.!
Well this is fun.
What was supposed to be such an easy task has turned into a complete nightmare. Despite having all my products chosen and graphics made, getting merchandise processed at the Artificial Duck Store has been far from easy. I've re-keyed all 136 items FOUR TIMES in an attempt to get everything working. The good news is that I've finally figured out what was going wrong, and know how to fix it. The bad news is that I have to re-enter everything a FIFTH time.
Oh well, the shirts and DuckyButtons are up and running now, and I'll get to the prints and photos in the morning.
For all of you who voted for shirts, I'll be sending out your coupons (with a nice bonus for making you wait!) later this evening. If you've already placed an order DON'T PANIC! Just let me know and I'll adjust the amount before you're charged.
And oh yeah... we have four T-shirt winners this year!
As far as votes go, "A Little Geeky" was far and away the winner. "Try Evil" was a firm second place. "Blogography" was ahead of "Try Evil" for a while, and then tied within 2 votes with "Bad Monkey." It was all very close, so I just decided to print them all. Mostly because I want to own all of them myself!
A pity the stuff won't be arriving until early June, but I think it's all worth the wait!
Anyway, thanks so much to everybody who helped me to celebrate Blogiversary IV this year... you are much appreciated! Here's looking forward to another year.
I'm not one to think about death very often. I don't fear it, I don't dread it, I don't get upset over it. I've done quite a lot during my lifetime, and if I were to die tomorrow I would be okay with that. I'm not saying I want to die but, if it happens, that's fine by me... no regrets and all that. Usually the only time I'm bothered by death is when somebody I know dies. My own death is no bother at all.
But ever since I opened the Artificial Duck Co. store, I'm starting to think about it. I've charged people money for pre-ordered merchandise which is 4-6 weeks away. What happens if I drop dead before I can ship it to them? What if I'm on a plane that goes down? What if I get run over on the street by somebody talking on their mobile phone instead of watching the road?
For the first time in a very long time, I've been thinking about dying. Who will take care of Herbert (my plant) when I'm gone?
With apologies to Neil Gaiman...
And so now I've started to plan for my demise.
I've asked somebody to take care of Herbert. I've left detailed instructions on how to refund the money to everybody who has placed an order at my store. I've made sure my insurance policy is current. I've backed up my hard drive.
(Not that backing up my hard drive is important when I'm dead... but if it were to die while I was alive, I'd probably be more upset than if I myself were to die).
Bleh. It's raining this morning. The sound of it on my roof was enough to wake me up at 4:00am. It's not the worst way to wake up... except I didn't get to bed until 1:30am. Something tells me 2-1/2 hours of sleep isn't going to cut it.
Maybe I'll die from exhaustion.
But that's okay... I'm covered for that.
As I was driving home from work last night, I spotted a war protest rally going on in front of our local bank. This was a bit surprising given that I live in the conservative backwaters of Eastern Washington. Nobody ever protests anything here. But there they were.
All three of them.
But I don't think it was their diminutive numbers that was sabotaging their cause... it was the tragically bad signs they were waving around. They were barely readable. I nearly ran into the hippies trying to read what the heck they were protesting. As a designer snob, I felt the need to stop, hop out, and critique their shit, but I was just too tired.
Helpful hint to hippie protesters... USE A THICK MARKER WHEN CREATING YOUR SIGNS SO PEOPLE CAN READ THEM!
Things didn't get much better this morning. There I was stopped at a two-way-stop waiting for my turn to go. The truck whose turn it was to enter the intersection couldn't get out right away, but there was an opening coming AND a police car was heading towards me, so I decided to wait a second.
It was then that the bitch behind me decided to honk her horn.
Never mind that I didn't have the right-of-way. Never mind that a cop was coming. Never mind that I hadn't even been stopped 20 seconds yet. This impatient, ignorant, dumbass bitch decides to honk at me.
Needless to say, I was enraged.
I rolled down my window, flipped her off, and screamed some horrible things. And didn't feel the least bit bad about it. If I wasn't running late, I would have been sorely tempted to walk back and have a chat with her. Then slap her stupid face. Heaven only knows she needed it.
Fast-forward eight hours and I'm in Seattle looking for socks. I have to walk through the women's section and notice something new...
Mobile phones take crappy photos.
When did they start putting protruding nipples on the mannequins?
And, more importantly, do these nipples actually encourage women to buy more clothes?
I usually hate shopping, but if I was with a woman who felt the need to constantly ask me "do my nipples look good in this shirt?" - I may just change my mind.
I am very much not looking forward to the next 18 hours of travel.
Oh look, I'm in Greece!
My vacation kind of snuck up on me, because I've been working like a maniac for the past four weeks trying to get all my work caught up before I go. I had a vague notion that the trip was somewhere on the horizon but, until I packed my suitcase for the drive over to Seattle, it wasn't really "real" to me. But after an hour at SeaTac International, a 3-1/2 hour flight to Chicago, a 1-1/2 hour layover, a 9-hour flight to Munich, a 1-hour layover, and a 2-hour flight to Athens, it started getting pretty real, and here I am 18 hours later...
Hello from Athens, Greece, y'all!
I've never been to Greece before, so this is kind of a nifty trip for me. I was heavy into Greek mythology as a kid, so finally being able to walk the grounds where it all started is pretty special.
This first day I was pretty wiped out, so I didn't have any ambitious plans. Just wanted to wander down to Syntagma Square to see the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and take a look at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which must have been a massive, massive structure back in the day...
The Temple of Zeus could use some spackle and a coat of paint.
After meandering through some shops on Ermou Street, I decided to call it a day and walk back to my hotel. Along the way, I ran across a billboard ad that I'm guessing is for the local news or something. I don't know about your TV news team, but I dare say that Athens pretty much has them beat on the total hotness scale...
We'll be back with more hotness at eleven...
All in all, a pretty good day! About the only downer was the local Hard Rock Cafe where I went for lunch...
Uhhhh... yeah, not the most exciting Hard Rock I've been to...
It saddens me very much to say that this was about the worst Hard Rock experience I've ever had. And it WASN'T for the following reasons:
No, the thing that made this the worst HRC experience of the 113 Hard Rock properties I've visited is that THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY PINS!! NO FUCKING COLLECTOR PINS!! What the bloody fuck? How can you call yourself a Hard Rock Cafe if you aren't selling any pins? This is about the most stupid thing I've ever seen at an HRC. Their famous collector pins are massively high-profit items that sell like mad. Most cafes have too many pins, because selling them is almost like being able to print your own money. I can only guess that the Athens location must not be interested in making money? Maybe they're just too profitable? Nothing quite like traveling 8,410 miles to have lunch at a Hard Rock and walking away empty-handed from the souvenir shop.
Ooog. I haven't slept in two days, so I had probably better at least take a nap or something before playing tourist all day tomorrow.
Hey, it's Bullet Sunday from sunny and beautiful Greece today!
• Cotters... Dustin over at Cotters in my Tummy has put down his tater tots long enough to finally add me to his blogroll. I guess I can stop regretting that I didn't kick him out onto the street during TequilaCon now.
• Review... Last week, Avitable selected me as one of the blogs appearing in his first ever Week In Review. Even more exciting than this honor was that he drew up his very own rendition of a DaveToon for the occasion...
The real reason that I traveled to Greece this week was that I was trying to make some kind of grand gesture that would assure me of another appearance in his "Week In Review II" today. Apparently traveling half-way around the world just isn't good enough, so now I'm open to suggestions as to what I should do this week that would guarantee me an appearance in "Week in Review III" next Sunday.
• Acropolis... Hoping to beat both the crowds and the heat, I decided to wake early and visit The Acropolis right as it opened up. Along with The Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt, this is one of those places that I've dreamed of visiting for as far back as I remember. It did not disappoint, even though it was partially obstructed in scaffolding...
So much of the finer details have been destroyed or taken, but the maiden statues on the Porch of the Caryatids are still there...
One of the nice things about showing up early was being treated to a procession of guardsmen marching through the Acropolis, their uniforms beautifully appointed. These are the same guards who stand watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 24-7 at the Parliament Building that I saw yesterday...
• Architectural... One of the treasures of Athens is their Architectural Museum, which is a bit out of the way but well worth the trip. Most of the statues have significant damage to them (I lost count of the number of poor statue dudes missing their penis), but on occasion there's a piece that's miraculously intact... no missing noses or anything, which is quite remarkable to see...
• Poseidon... The weather was simply too beautiful to stick around the city all day, so I paid a taxi driver to run down the coast to the south-most point of the Athenian peninsula, which is where the Temple of Poseidon resides...
After an hour-and-a-half of beautiful scenery, you arrive at an outcropping overlooking the Mediterranean where the temple was built for the god of the seas. It's survived a little better than most, but is still only a shadow of what it once was...
If only there was a way to travel back in time and see these magnificent structures when they were new.
And so ends my last day in Athens and another installment of Bullet Sunday.
I am not much of a "cruise guy." I prefer to travel on my own and not be trapped on a ship awaiting the next port of call. But given that Greece has something like 4000 islands, a cruise is probably the easiest way to see a little bit of Greek life outside the mainland, and so here I am.
In many ways, cruising is a surreal experience. Despite the fact that you are in foreign waters visiting foreign ports of call, the ship itself is devoid of place and could be said to exist anywhere. I find this to be disorienting, and a rather detached way of exploring other cultures, but there are some plusses to be had. For one thing, you aren't packing and unpacking from place to place because your room travels with you. For another, all your food is included in the cost of the cruise. This wouldn't be so bad if the food sucks, but I've found cruise ship food is almost always exceptional, which means I spend most of my day eating. Gluttony, as it turns out, is not such a terrible way to spend your time (even if it is considered to be a deadly sin).
The first day of a cruise is relatively boring, as most of the crew is dedicated to getting everybody settled on the ship. The only excitement to be had is the mandatory Emergency Drill, where everybody gets to put on their lifejackets and head to a muster station so they can learn what to do if the ship hits an iceberg or whatever. At least, they might learn what to do in an emergency situation if you could actually hear the instructions. With everybody talking, the room is so noisy that I couldn't hear a dang thing. So, I suppose if our ship does end up hitting an iceberg, I'll just put on my lifejacket and run screaming down the halls in the hopes that it all works out...
The most bizarre sight of the day would have to be the couple who brought along their baby on the Emergency Drill. Who the f#@% cruises with a baby? With my luck, the baby will end up being a screamer, and end up in the stateroom next door.
Cruiser babies suck ass.
They suck almost as bad as the cost for internet.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am beyond thankful that the ship even has internet in the first place, but 50¢ a minute is pretty harsh. That's $30 an hour! I could get blown by a crack-whore for that!! Understandably, blog reading for the next two weeks will be at a minimum. Sure I love everybody, but I wouldn't pay $30 an hour to read my own blog.
I am, however, willing to spend $30 and hour to write in it. Lucky you.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for "lunner" - that magical meal between lunch and dinner, and one of seven free meals I'll be eating every day.
Hey, it beats playing shuffleboard.
When coming into port on a cruise ship, you can either buy one of the ship's pre-planned shore excursion packages... or fend for yourself. Even though I loathe tour groups, I take the pre-planned excursions every time just for the convenience of it all. My greatest fear is missing the boat, so letting them worry about all that is a load off my mind.
Today's pre-planned excursion was for Olympia, Greece... birthplace of the Olympic Games.
When I booked the tour, I had anticipated that there would be some kind of massive ancient stadium that was built for the glory that is The Olympics... kind of like the Colosseum in Rome or something. So imagine my surprise when I find out that the original games were held here...
Uhhhhh... yeah. I suppose this could be looked at as a bit of a disappointment, but it is what it is. I just choose to appreciate it from a historical perspective, and it's all good.
One of the interesting facts about Olympia is that this is where the Olympic flame is lit that then travels to the site of the Olympic Games. For the Olympics in China in 2008, they will get a giant concave mirror, aim it at the sun, then put some dry brush and twigs in front until it catches fire. The flame will then be sent to Athens for a bit, then be forwarded to China. And it all begins right here at Olympia's Temple of Hera...
This being a historical Greek site there are, of course, some cool ruins of columns to be seen...
And that's the excursion for today. Thirty-five minutes later, I'm back at the ship.
Where it's time for ice cream.
While onboard, this is my bestest friend in the whole world...
At first I kind of sucked at making my own ice cream cones but, since I've been eating 4-5 of them every day, I'm getting pretty good at it. I've got a nice swirl going on, and can make a nice peak on top now (instead of the lumpy mess I was making when I first started). I'm one of those people who should not be given access to free ice cream, because I will use it.
In fact, now that my second dinner has started to digest, it must be time for yet another ice cream cone.
I think I am gaining 10 pounds a day here...
Today's shore excursion was further northward to the sunny island of Corfu.
And when I say "sunny" I mean "absurdly sunny" because the light is so bright that my sunglasses were rendered practically useless. This made photography kind of difficult, even with my polarizing filter, because entire scenes were blotted out by the glare. Still, there were nice views to be had amongst the massive number of tourists overrunning the island, and Corfu Town itself was quite nice. The excursion tour that I booked didn't have a lot of substance to it, but was entertaining enough, and sure beat sitting on the ship all day...
One of the stops on the tour was the summer palace of Empress Elizabeth of Austria called "Achilleio," named after the greek hero Achilles. It was badly over-decorated and garish, but there were a few interesting bits. One of my favorites was a beautiful half-dome mural in the home's small chapel which was brilliantly detailed...
But that paled in comparison to the detail that some sculptor put into the ass of an Achilles statue in the garden...
The guy may be dying from a poison arrow shot into his heel, but his ass still looks fabulous!
Tomorrow there will be no port of call, as it is to be a day at sea. I always go a little bit stir-crazy on days at sea, so here's hoping that I don't freak out and try to escape the ship in an ice bucket.
Without a shore excursion, I feel lost at sea. Time suddenly ceases to have meaning. How long has the ship been adrift? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? I cannot know.
At first I try to appreciate that there is nothing to do. I wander the ship aimlessly, trying to fill the void of my boredom by eating two perfectly-formed ice cream cones for breakfast. This has no effect, so I construct a third, this time getting all fancy by making a double-reverse swirl on the top. It is delicious, but my restlessness goes unabated.
I go back to my stateroom and stare at the eternal blue from my balcony...
I start to wonder if I shall ever see land again... or if am I doomed forever to this world of blue? I suppose so long as they don't run out of chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream, that would be okay with me...
Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored.
With nothing better to do, I start looking through the photos I took yesterday, and realize that I had gone ass-to-mouth, just like Avitable had asked for me to appear in his Week in Review!
Achilles didn't seem to mind, but my camera will never be the same again.
Tomorrow has a very early port call at 6:45am. That's kind of a bummer, because I don't think I can get in an ice cream cone before I have to go.
I don't know whether to feel lucky or unlucky... but the weather here in Cairo is cool and overcast. This could be considered lucky when the alternative would be scorching 100-degree temperatures... but kind of strange that this rare weather event should happen while I'm in town. Oh well, here I am in Egypt. A visit to the pyramids is set for tomorrow, and the weather could do anything before then.
The ship actually makes port in the city of Alexandria, so there's a 3-hour bus drive across the West Desert before reaching Cairo. Our first stop in the city was to the Alabaster Mosque, otherwise known as the Mosque of Muhammad Ali (who is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt). The building itself is quite beautiful with its alabaster forecourt, even when overrun with tourists...
The Ottoman architecture is pretty sweet, and meticulously maintained...
Islamic mosques are built solely for prayer, are devoid of any clutter, and have no statues or imagery (both of which are forbidden). This way the worshiper may concentrate on their prayers without distraction. This is not to say that the interior is boring... far from it... the walls are adorned with cool geometric designs, and the ceiling is as beautiful and ornate as any church...
After we left the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, it was onward to the Egypt Museum...
I have seen Tutankhamen exhibits many times over the years (the latest was just five months ago in Chicago), but the one time I saw the famous death mask in the 1970's, I was too young to remember it. And, since the Egyptian government has forbidden the mask to leave the country since the early 80's, the only way I was ever going to see it was to visit it here in Cairo. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures in the museum, but finally seeing the mask in person after having seen it a million times in photos pretty much made the entire trip worthwhile.
The tour group was then given free time to freshen up and relax but, knowing there was a Hard Rock Cafe in the city, there was no way I was going to waste time relaxing! The cafe itself is in the lower level arcade of the Grand Hyatt hotel, located on the banks of the Nile. From the outside, it's nothing really special...
But the inside is fantastic, with high energy, lots of memorabilia, and an enthusiastic staff (who were all on stage dancing when I visited the dining room). The highlight of the property for me was this incredible mosaic artwork behind the bar featuring landmarks from around the globe...
Alas, there wasn't time to eat a veggie burger and have a chocolate shake, but I DID manage to get a really nice Hard Rock pin set (at last!) and a T-shirt.
And now as I sit here on my hotel balcony overlooking the city, with the Great Pyramids off in the distance, I must sign off because it's time for a dinner cruise on the Nile with 340 of my closest friends...
I miss my armed military police escort.
Egypt is so reliant on tourism dollars, that they are quite paranoid about visitor safety. Just one bomb exploding at a popular tourist destination, or even a minor attack on a tour bus, would be enough to destroy tourism to the country for at least a year... probably longer. So that's why our tour bus convoy was escorted by military police, the bus itself had an armed guard onboard with a machine gun, and my quick run to the Hard Rock Cafe in a taxi caused us to be stopped twice so that the car could be inspected for bombs. The government is doing everything they can to ensure the safety of their tourists and, while a little alarming at first, you soon grow accustomed to their presence and miss them when they're gone.
Anyway, the sun god Ra saw fit to bless my tour group with a sunny day for the quick trip out of Cairo to the Giza Plateau.
I guess the two dumbass tourists I sacrificed to him this morning must have done the trick.
And yeah, the pyramids are as amazing as I thought they would be...
Until you look back towards smoggy Cairo, that is. It's kind of sad how close the city has encroached on the pyramids, which spoils their massive stature just a bit...
You can actually buy a ticket to climb through the center pyramid all the way to the burial chamber in the middle. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, because the passage is very small and claustrophobic. Even worse, it's really hot and stuffy, making it difficult to breathe. When you get to the chamber, there's a guide waiting inside to explain everything to you... I cannot imagine how he manages to stay inside there all day without going insane. If that were my job, I'd probably start killing people. I couldn't last longer than two minutes, and was rushing as fast as I could to climb back outside.
My favorite part of the day was getting to visit The Sphinx! He's way cool...
And now that I'm safely back on the ship, it's time for an early bedtime. The past two days have been so exhausting that I am actually looking forward to a day at sea tomorrow. The tour went to a cheesy light show at the pyramids last night, followed by a dinner cruise on The Nile that lasted until past midnight. This wouldn't have been too bad except I had to get up at 6:00am in order to meet the bus to the Giza Plateau.
Hmmm... I think I need one more ice cream before turning in. I suffered withdrawals while I was in Cairo for two days, and need to make up for lost frozen dairy desserts...
It's time for my first Bullet Sunday at sea!
• PLAGUE SHIP! Ack. This is the second time I've been on a cruise, and this is the second time there's been an epidemic going around. Last time it was some kind of cold/flu hybrid. This time they aren't saying what's going on, but you are no longer allowed to serve yourself at the food buffets. Not even for water, which actually makes me happy. A few days ago I was waiting in line for a glass of water when the stupid bitch ahead of me filled up her water bottle, putting the mouth of the bottle directly in contact with the spout. This grossed me out because, for all I know, she is the ship's whore and there's no telling where that mouth of hers has been. She could have been sucking on something funky before sucking on her water bottle, and now the stupid whore's cooties are all over the water spout, contaminating everything that comes out of it.
• ICE CREAM DREAMS! But there is a bad side to all of this. You're not allowed to make your own ice cream cones now either. So now I have to trust some total amateur's cone-making skills at the soft-serve machine. Instead of getting the perfectly shaped ice cream cones I'm used to making myself, I now get these lumpy, malformed monstrosities that look like they were crapped out of a donkey's ass. It's probably my imagination, but they just don't seem to taste as good now. =sob!= I'll probably start dreaming that I'm ruler of Egypt, and my thousands of loyal subjects will bring me perfect chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream cones all day long. Egypt seems to have had quite an effect on me...
BEING BORING! Today is an at-sea day. Usually these bore me, but I'm actually looking forward to being a little bored for a while. Besides, there's a lot of stuff coming up in the final week of vacation, and tomorrow I have to be up at 6:00am again.
• TOUR DE ASSHOLE! I've never hidden my loathing for organized tours, but yesterday's Giza tour was a new low point. Two fucking assholes were 50 minutes late getting back to the bus at the first stop, which meant that all the remaining stops had to be compressed, and certain things I would have loved to have spent more time with were whipped through at a furious pace. Never mind that everybody else on that bus managed to get back on time. The two inconsiderate fucks didn't even apologize for screwing everybody (they probably weren't sorry anyway). It used to be that I would wish for a million dollars to fall from the sky. Now I just wish these two fuckers dead in the most painful way possible. I mean, come on... FIFTY FUCKING MINUTES?!? If I were the tour guide, I would have left their fucking idiot asses in the desert after 10 minutes so everybody else doesn't have suffer for their being complete and total fucking pricks. I despise assholes who have absolutely no consideration for other people, and tours are usually full of them.
Alas, it's time for me to retire to Deck 12 for some sunshine. There seems to be an abundance of it today...
Yet another beautiful day in the Mediterranean, with crisp blue skies and entirely too much sunshine.
It was, of course, too good to last... because I had an organized tour awaiting me! As always, there were the minimum two idiots in the group, ruining things for everybody else. First up there was a rude, disgusting, pig who completely ignored the tour guide so he could listen to his iPod while reading a book and loudly smacking his gum like some kind of spastic turd. Along with him was a woman that I nicknamed Skanky McCrotchspreader, because she liked throwing her legs up on the bus exit banister. This not only meant that I had to see her feet every time I looked out the window, but I also had to be exposed to her toxic cootchie every time I exited the bus. They were made for each other.
But at least Gum-Smacking Pig was never more than five minutes late to the bus, which was nice.
The main focus of the tour was the ruined city of Knossos. It was okay, I guess, but I didn't like how they "improved" it by adding modern structures like sun louvers to the site, and "fixing" some of the ruins with plaster and paint. Why they couldn't have just left it in its natural state is beyond me. Still, if you like seeing a bunch of busted-ass buildings and stuff, this is the place...
My favorite feature was this pregnant cat that was wandering around like she owned the place. I'd like to think that she did...
As we left Knossos to visit a manufactured tourist trap in the form of a Cretan village, Gum-Smacking Pig decided to move on from smacking gum and instead decided to crinkle a Coke can. All the way we had to listen to him popping in the sides of the can... pop pop... pop pop... pop pop... I would have liked to kick the fucking can up his stupid ass, but my shoes are still new.
The fake Cretan village was kind of charming, if you're into that kind of thing. I was a bit bored, but the weather was really great for photos. The sky was so blue that it was almost painful to look at it...
I wish that we had a bit more time to explore the Cretan countryside, as it looks quite rustic and beautiful. Even with Skanky McCrotchspreader's legs in the way...
Now that the tour is over, there is a surprising five hours left before the ship leaves port. It almost seems a shame that I don't take a bus back into Iraklion to see a bit more of Crete, but I'd rather write in my blog then take a nap before dinner.
Isn't that what vacations are for?
Today the ship set anchor at Santorini, one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Seriously, you have no idea.
It's not that the island itself is anything terribly beautiful... the land is kind of stark and rocky. It's what the natives have done with it that makes it so special. Namely, the really cool villages that spill over the cliffs. The buildings, architecture, and colors all combine to create something amazing to see. Especially the many churches, which are breathtaking against the vibrant blue sky...
The main city I visited was Fira, which is above the harbor where the ship docked...
To get up to the city from the waterfront you can either walk, ride a donkey, or take the cable car. Riding the cable car is by far the easiest, but kind of freaky... you'd swear it was traveling straight up in the air. I don't do well with heights, so this was not big fun for me...
Further up the island from Fira there was a smaller, much quieter village called Oía, which is the kind of place that Santorini is famous for. By the time I was leaving, there were so many tour busses and so many people that it was getting difficult to walk down the narrow streets. But even with the crowds, there's no denying how attractive the city is...
I think I shot more photos in Santorini than I've shot in all other ports of call combined. If it weren't for the masses of tourists which overrun the place, it would be an amazing vacation destination all on its own.
Once back to the ship, I decided to have an ice cream cone, and was pleasantly surprised that the cone that was filled for me was well constructed with a nice swirl on top. When I complimented the girl at the machine, she told me that she had made ice cream cones for five hours the day before, and was getting quite good at it. I was curious to know if the girl at the ice cream machine at the opposite side of the ship was equally skilled, and so I made my way aft to find out. Turns out she was even BETTER at making ice cream cones, but had a very good reason for it. While attending college, she had worked at McDonalds to earn money, and had made thousands of cones during her two years there. I was in awe to be in the presence of an ice cream master, and walked away wondering if I would have the opportunity to practice my cone skills before disembarking.
Ice cream cones so totally rule.
Mykonos is a swanky resort island for the rich and famous of the Mediterranean. When I read about it in my tour brochure, I didn't think it sounded very interesting, so I instead selected an excursion called "Magnificent Delos." I figured anything with "magnificent" in the title was worth my valuable time.
Delos, as it turns out, is an entirely separate island about 35 minutes off the coast of Mykonos. It was an island devoted to the god Apollo, and a massive city sprang up to service all the worshippers that arrived on a pilgrimage. At one time, it was probably pretty incredible. But now... not so much.
I'd go so far as to say it was boring. Boring, boring, boring. Yet another busted city with a bunch of reconstructed crap mucking up the place. Not very magnificent at all...
The strange thing about Delos is that the people there seemed to be obsessed with penises. There are busted penis statues around, and the local museum has a display case devoted to penis carvings that were salvaged from the site...
After I returned from the not-so-magnificent Delos, it was time to explore Mykonos Town proper.
Turns out that this is where I should have been spending my time all along, because the city is just cool. There are dozens and dozens of narrow little streets that were intentionally made into a maze to confuse the pirates that used to plague the city. Exploring all these tiny little alleyways is big fun, even though it didn't leave a lot of room to take very good photos...
Looking across the harbor, you can see "new town" which is starting to look a little like Santorini, but without the cliffs...
And more cats. There are cats all over Greece. My favorite was this cool-looking calico that I'd have liked to take home with me...
And that's all she wrote for Greece...
Originally, my tour of Ephesus was due to leave the ship at 9:45am, which would have allowed for a nice opportunity to sleep in. Unfortunately, the time was changed to 8:15am, which meant yet another early morning.
Ephesus was once a city of major importance... both in early times as a place of worship to the goddess Artemis, and in later days as the final home of the Virgin Mary of the Christian faith. Today it is still an important landmark and place of pilgrimage for Christians, having been visited by two Popes and untold scores of followers.
Mary's famous house has been nicely restored, and there's a "blessed spring" nearby where visitors can drink from the waters or, more likely, bottle it up and take it home as a souvenir as I did (I've got a few plants who could really use some divine help just now)...
From there, it's a short drive to the ruins of the ancient city, with major pieces of architecture having been partially restored. The centerpiece of the entire complex is the great library, which must have been truly amazing back in the day...
The Ephesus Museum has many nice works rescued from the archaeological site, but the showcase item was a little guy packing a really big piece that puts the Delos penises from yesterday to shame...
The final stop of this very long day was to a Turkish Hand-Woven Rug Showroom, where incredibly beautiful works of rug art could be yours if you have thousands of dollars burning a hole in your pocket. They were all incredible, of course, but way out of my price range. I was more interested in the bird's nest just outside the door, where baby birds were anxiously awaiting their mother's return with dinner...
I know just how they feel, because now it's my dinner-time too.
The final port of call on my cruise is the amazing city of Istanbul.
Once the capital city of three empires (Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman), the city formerly known as Constantinople is bound to have some interesting history behind it. Unfortunately, a single day of sightseeing can barely scratch the surface, but I gave it my best shot.
The natural place to start is the world-famous Blue Mosque, which is just as beautiful as its reputation suggests...
From there, it's a short walk to the Haghia Sophia Museum...
And then onward to a spooky cistern, one of forty-three scattered around the city's underground...
And no trip to Istanbul would be complete without a trip through the Grand Bazaar, home to 4000 merchant stalls selling everything and anything you can imagine...
And, just like that, my vacation is over.
I think I need a vacation from my vacation now.
Right now I pretty much hate everybody because airlines fucking suck ass.
Well, everybody except you, of course.
I'm home safe for a rather late Bullet Sunday! As somebody who travels quite often, I fully accept that shit happens. Weather can cause delays. Mechanical difficulties pop up. Unforeseen drama can ensue at any time. And, as always, human error is a factor. Rather than get upset by it all, I try my best to just accept it as part of the game and not let it get to me. I find it easiest to travel with the attitude that things will go wrong, whatever happens will happen, and deal with it the best I can when things actually do go wrong. On the other hand, however, it's how the companies actually involved in the problem deal with things that determine whether or not I go out-of-my-fucking-mind ballistic over the situation.
• Delta. Unfortunately, Delta not only dropped the ball when things went wrong for my flight home, they then proceeded to kick the ball into a pile of shit, piss on it, light it on fire, then throw it at my head. This is hard for me to say, because most all of my past experience with Delta has been good. After Alaska Air, they are probably my favorite airline to fly. It was not Delta's fault that traffic at JFK was backed up and we had to sit on the tarmac for 40 minutes. It WAS their fault that they didn't dispatch customer service agents to help those of us who were going to miss our connections (not even ONE fucking agent was there to greet us... and this is a major Delta hub!). It WAS their fault that they said our connecting flights were aware of our delay and if we ran we could probably make our flights. It WAS their fault that when I tracked down somebody, they had me run all the way across the airport to "Gate 24" only to find out that "Gate 24" DOESN'T EXIST... they sent me to a customer service station so they wouldn't have to deal with me. It WAS their fault that their misinformation about making my flight made me re-check my luggage after Immigration, leaving me stranded overnight with nothing but a GameBoy, my laptop, and a credit card. It WAS their fault that not one of their agents had a hotel hotline number for displaced passengers, and I had to pay fucking $225 to get a room so I wouldn't have to spend the night in an airport bathroom. Basically, I was misled, lied to, shoved aside, abandoned, treated like crap, then stranded... all within the course of a two-hour period by Delta. Kind of makes me wish they would have went fucking bankrupt, and this is coming from a former loyal and happy customer. Fuck Delta. Fuck them up their stupid asses.
• Security. I joke about looking like a terrorist, but reality seems to back this up. If anybody is ever going to be given a "second screening" at airport security, it's probably going to be me. I have been pulled aside for body searches and questioning more times than I can count. It never bothers me, I always cooperate, and I never complain... because it is what it is, and there's nothing I can do about it (unless I want to shave, dye my hair blonde, and start wearing 3-piece business suits). And, even though I've become accustomed to it, being pulled from the screening line by two Turkish security guards for a third screening was a bit disconcerting. Especially when I saw that they were taking me to a small, dark, private room across the passenger lounge...
But it turns out to have been no big deal... all they did was pat me down and check my shoes. The room was more for my benefit than theirs, as I think they just wanted to spare me any embarrassment from public scrutiny (which was actually kind of considerate). The door was open the entire time, they were really nice and apologetic about the entire ordeal, and it took less than 5 minutes. I've had a lot worse from American security screenings. It's at this point that I kind of started feeling bad for foreign countries who want to maintain good relations with the USA. On one hand, they have to risk upsetting visitors with more strict and thorough security procedures. On the other hand, can you imagine what the reaction of the US government would be if they inadvertently let a terrorist on a US-bound plane? I wish US citizens who travel abroad would realize this before they start bitching about how rough security is in other countries. They're just trying to keep us safe and our government happy, so shut the fuck up already.
• Crack. I picked up some sesame-covered toffee peanuts while in Santorini because a local business was handing out free samples and I became addicted after just one bite. I now know what it must be like to have a crack-cocaine habit, because these things are more addictive than soft-serve swirl ice cream cones and chocolate pudding combined. I wake up in the middle of the night craving them. Heaven only knows what the withdrawal is going to be like when I finally eat my last peanut.
• Homeward. In driving back from Seattle this afternoon, I got stuck behind some asshole who was driving 10-15 miles under the speed limit. I kept speeding up to pass him, but oncoming traffic was too heavy, and I couldn't find an opening. Finally, after 10 minutes of this shit, I found my chance and made my move. As I was passing, I looked over and saw that the fucker was FLIPPING ME OFF! Yeah, asshole... it's MY FAULT that YOU are driving so damn slow. I'M the asshole because YOU can't drive the speed limit. I hate this shit more than anything else on earth, and it took all my willpower not to slam into this dumb-fuck and run him off the road. And yet, if I were to follow him home, cut off his middle finger with wire-cutters, smash his windshield with a baseball bat, then kick the shit out of him and light his ass on fire... it would be ME who was considered the criminal! I mean, seriously, if you can't drive the speed limit, you should EXPECT that people are going to want to pass your stupid ass. Don't get mad at them because of YOUR problem. Bleh. It's so good to be back home.
• Shipping. Speaking of home... I miss my balcony with a waterfront view from my home onboard the ship...
One day I turned my deck-chairs backwards and turned on my balcony light so I could figure out which cabin was mine. Now that I'm looking at this photo, does it really make a difference? Oh well. I suppose even more than my balcony waterfront view, I miss having housekeeping services. My apartment is a mess, and there's two-weeks worth of clothes that need to be washed.
Would somebody please send me a million dollars so I don't have to go back to work in the morning?
There's so much going on since I'm back from vacation that I guess I need another round of bullet points to catch up? It's Blogography's first ever "Bullet Monday!"
• Viagra. People stealing from my blog is nothing new. Usually I just let it go, because there's no point in getting all freaked out about it. Where I draw the line is when people use my stuff to BE me. The first time this happened, somebody stole dozens of my travel photos and created a blog devoted to "travel adventures" that they never actually had. The second time somebody had stolen photos of me off Flickr and wrote an entirely fictitious life around them. Now there's something entirely new going on... somebody has stolen a bunch of old entries in their entirety, but changed all the links to point to sites selling "Generic Viagra" and stupid crap like that. Needless to say, I'm not happy. Stuff like this is just going to keep getting worse and worse.
• Outfoxed. In checking my stats, I noticed something totally great...
For the first time ever, Firefox has surpassed busted-ass Internet Explorer in browser use. People are finally waking up! In other stats news... Germans love Dave. Turns out that Germany is close to overtaking Canada for the #2 spot in my visitor location stats.
• Veronica. I received many, many emails last week that went something like this: "sorry to ruin your vacation, but Veronica Mars has been cancelled" and so on. While not entirely unexpected, it does suck ass that the best show on television has just been gutted in favor of stupid-ass reality shit like Search For A New Pussycat Doll. What this says about television role-models for young girls today fills me with dread. Much love to the CW Network for doing their part to ruin society as we know it.
• w00t! There have been only a handful of computer games over the years that I have loved enough to deem "life-changing." Certainly Zork would be on the list. I'd think Dungeon Master and
More info and luscious screenshots can be found at Blizzard's site for the game. I, for one, will be counting the days.
• w00t! w00t! As if that's not enough, a team is porting Warlords II to the Nintendo DS!
• Barf. I've been catching up on work all evening with the TV running for background noise. I ignored most of what was going on... though Heroes caught my eye a couple of times because =gasp!= the SUPER-heroes were actually USING F#@%ING SUPER-POWERS!! WHAT A CONCEPT!! A pity they didn't bother to think of that sooner, because I might have actually kept watching the show. But it's what was on after Heroes that made me want to crap my pants, barf, then die. Tonight was the season finale of The Bachelor. I've never seen this show before, and now I wish I hadn't seen it at all. I was laughing my ass off as this guy kicks his reject to the curb, telling her how he loves her and will never forget her... but then slams the limo door in her face as she is driven off into the sunset crying. Naturally, the gal is heartbroken and, naturally, the cameras are there to record each humiliating moment because THIS is what passes as entertainment now-a-days. Thank heavens that Veronica Mars has been canceled to make room in the television schedule for more steaming piles like this.
Bah! There's another dozen bullet points I could write up, but I'm too tired to type them just now.
I guess that story about the hole in my lucky boxer shorts will have to wait...
Great. My DSL is down. Again. When the highlight of your day is getting a call from Bad Robert wanting to know if your "poop cycle" is back to normal, you just know that there is something seriously wrong in the universe.
The "poop cycle," for anybody who is insane enough to be curious about how Robert's mind works, is his theory about crossing time zones and pooping. Having never traveled more than three time zones in his life, one might wonder how Robert could come up with something like this, but he insists that a trip to Walt Disney World five years ago has permanently damaged his health, and who am I to argue?
Robert claims that his morning run to the toilet became synced to Eastern Time while spending a week in Florida, and never entirely synced back to Pacific Time once he returned. This means he has to wake up three hours early each morning so he can take care of business. Needless to say he's a little upset by that, and hasn't left our time zone since. I argue that this is his body telling him that he needs to move to the east coast, but he worries that failed poop syncing adjustments are cumulative, and has no desire to poop at 2:00 AM unless he's paid to get up that early.
Maybe the answer is a trip to Hawaii to move things forward, but I refuse to get into a conversation with Robert about his pooping habits because I am terrified as to where it might lead.
Alas, I have no such problems. I don't even get jet-lag. For some mysterious reason, my body just adapts to whatever time zone I happen to be in with no questions asked. Of course, as an insomniac, I only sleep 4-5 hours each night, so maybe it's because I'm already so messed up that I don't have to worry about jet-lag or my poop cycle.
I stumbled across a nifty photo I took when looking through my vacation photos. While I was in Santorini, I went to the Prehistoric Thira Museum there. It's small, but well appointed. One of my favorite exhibits was a wall painting of blue monkeys from the 17th century (and that's B.C.)...
Big chunks of the mural have been reconstructed and reinterpreted, but it's still pretty cool. My theory is that it was really painted by actual monkeys...
Kind of a post-impressionistic interpretation of ancient monkey times in blue.
UPDATE: WTF?!? This morning I wake up and have internet, but now my blog is down? I guess that's what I get for blogging about poop and blue monkeys.
As I mentioned a while back, I tune-in to The View from time to time. Much like a car wreck (or Jay Leno) it's one of those things that you just can't help watching even though the entertainment value is questionable. What keeps me coming back is the outlandish political commentary that permeates the show's "Hot Topics" every day. Representing The Left, you have Rosie O'Donnell and Joy Behar. Representing The Right, you have Elizabeth Hasselbeck. And representing People Who Can't Form a Coherent Sentence, you have Barbara Walters.
Not surprisingly The View leans quite a bit to The Left because The Right is so woefully under-represented. This is kind of a bummer for a show that is supposed to feature different viewpoints, but Elizabeth's never-ending regurgitation of Conservative propaganda has me looking for George Bush's hand shoved up her ass, because I'm convinced she's got to be some kind of puppet. Rosie may be crazy and Joy may reduce everything to a punch-line, but at least they can form an original thought.
I don't know what the heck Barbara is for. Fortunately, she's gone half the time.
Anyway, there was a nasty fight between Rosie and Elizabeth today that was pretty messed up. It's not that I give a crap about any of the pre-programmed rhetoric Elizabeth says, but Rosie is just plain dangerous. Much like dumb-fuck Bill O'Reilly on the opposite side of the political nut-job spectrum, her unyielding black and white view of the world is part of the horrible wedge that is dividing and destroying this country...
I put Jesus in the middle because he's supposed to love everybody.
Without any measure of compromise or an attempt to understand one another, people like this are doing far more harm than good, and nothing is ever going to get better for us. There's nothing wrong with having strong opinions or being Left or Right, but to go to such an extreme that there is no room for anything else in your thinking is sad. For a public figure to incite others to do the same is reckless and irresponsible. I respect people with strong convictions who are brave enough to speak their beliefs, but a closed mind should have a closed mouth.
Naturally this goes double for the politicians who are betraying their duty to serve all the people they have pledged to represent.
Which is why, when it comes to politics, I shun the dumbfuckery and choose to listen to a speaker of order amongst the chaos. A beacon of hope in a world of darkness. A voice of reason in a time of insanity.
I am talking, of course, about SpongeBob Squarepants...
Words to live by: Good people don't rip other people's arms off. — SpongeBob Squarepants.
No internet again. I give up.
Is there a dictionary out there for texting from a mobile phone, because this is taking forever? i nd 2 lrn 2 txt...
I remember it as if it were yesterday.
I did not see Star Wars in a theater when it was first released. I saw it at a drive-in later that summer. This was kind of a bummer because the picture... and especially the sound... at a drive-in is pretty crappy. But it was still Star Wars, and I remember being completely and totally absorbed from the moment that Star Destroyer crossed the screen. It was more than my 11-year-old mind could fathom, and my life (like so many others) had just been changed forever.
Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...
To say I became obsessed with Star Wars is an understatement of epic proportions.
I bought everything Star Wars I could afford from my allowance or beg out of my parents. I collected the action figures and toys (when they were eventually released the next year). I devoured the comic book adaptation. I started drawing Star Wars stories of my own (Dart Vader lives!). I even made my own Star Wars films using stuffed animals, a 16mm movie camera, and time-consuming stop-motion photography. I was a pioneer in special effects, using a magnifying glass and permanent markers to draw laser blasts and lightsabers directly on the film. My world revolved around Star Wars, and once I rented the movie on VHS for the 100th time, I didn't want my old world back.
But it was three years later that my obsession would be rewarded with one of the greatest movies of all time: The Empire Strikes Back. Everything that made Star Wars such an incredible experience was doubled. The action was intense. The special effects were mind-blowing. But most important of all, the story was brilliant. It was everything you hope for in a sequel, but rarely get. It was... it is... the perfect film.
Sadly, things took a drastic dive after Empire, but that did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for all things Star Wars, even to this very day.
I lived through the heinous embarrassment of the Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks. I survived all the inane burp and fart jokes that all but destroyed Star Wars credibility. I endured through the devastating "acting" of Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen in the awful, awful prequels. I remained faithful as Lucas butchered his original brilliance in "special editions" where Greedo shoots first. I stuck it out as serious science fiction was degraded for the sake of making toys. But despite it all (or perhaps because of it all?), I still love Star Wars.
Which is why today, in celebration of 30 years of Star Wars, I am re-watching all the movies on DVD while I get some work done.
Boy was Luke Skywalker a whiny little bitch back at the beginning! I still wince when I hear: "But I was going into Toshi's Station to pick up some powerrrr converterrrrrrrs!" or "Uncle Owennnnn! This R-2 unit has a bad motivatorrrrrr!" and most of all "It's just not fairrrrrr!" I can't believe that Han never bitch-slapped the little whiner. Hard.
Oh well. I guess it all turned out okay in the end.
At least until George Lucas had Hayden Christensen show up as a Jedi Ghost at the end of Jedi and screwed it all up.
It's a Bullet Sunday Holiday! Well, not really... I'm still catching up on piles and piles of work over Memorial Day weekend. But at least it's quiet.
• DaveToons. While I was on vacation, I worked on one of the many animated sequences for my video. I'm guessing that I'm about 25%-30% finished now. The cool thing about the project is that I am trying really hard to put Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey in places and situations I've never drawn before. It helps to keep things interesting to me so I don't get bored. Outer-space seemed to be a natural, but since I had already done Star Wars and Star Trek stuff before, I decided to take a more "reality-based" approach this time, choosing instead to make them astronaut heroes...
• Robin. One of my favorite Disney toons when I was a kid was Robin Hood. Growing up, I continued to enjoy the character, and was glad that there were plenty of books and movies to explore. Unfortunately, the movies were dated and crappy, but in the mid-80's there was a British television series called Robin of Sherwood which is probably the best interpretation of the character I've ever seen (even when Jason Connery took over for the amazing Michael Praed after series two). The show was tough and gritty, filled with brilliant acting and an almost spiritual reverence for the characters.I've re-watched the episodes many times, and purchased the DVD set a while back. Then in 1991 disaster struck. The Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was unleashed. This steaming pile of shit was beyond bad, and killed Robin to me for years. Flash forward a decade-and-a-half, and the BBC has taken another stab at Robin Hood with a 13-episode series which has also been airing on BBC America. This time they've attempted to modernize the story a bit, with mixed results...
On one hand, they did try to do away with Robin as some kind of poser prancing through the forest in tights and blow-dry hair. This Robin is a mangy scavenger which seems more realistic to me. In addition, they've done a fairly good job of casting the roles, and have filmed the show beautifully, with lush photography and some nice cinematography. Where the show falls flat is that it's a bit boring and drawn-out. Robin starts out as a kind of wimpy pacifist, and there's not a lot of action to be had. In the end I'd have to say I liked it okay, but it still pales in comparison to Robin of Sherwood, which is a real shame. It's my understanding that they have started filming a second series, so I can only hope that the show will improve as it moves forward... the world needs Robin Hood now more than ever.
• Fuzz. Finally got to see Hot Fuzz this weekend and absolutely loved it. Coming from the creators of the fantastic comedy-horror film Shaun of the Dead, this is a tongue-in-cheek look at all those quaint English countryside tele-dramas... but nicely blended with comedy, action, violence, and occasional gory situations. As if that wasn't enough, there's actually a really good mystery story to build upon, and all the acting is top-notch. Much of the humor and situations will be lost on American audiences, but I think that's why it's so amazing... they dumbed it down for nobody. Brilliant writer/star Simon Pegg was not afraid to start the film out slow, gradually building to a violent and action-packed finale that will have Shaun of the Dead fans cheering.
In the movie, London police officer Nicholas Angel is so good at his job that he's making everybody else on the force look bad. The solution? Ship him off to the boring English countryside where he won't have the opportunity to show up anybody. But things are never quite what they seem, even in the sleepy village of Sandford, where everybody has secrets and a shocking mystery is waiting to be uncovered. Five stars from me.
• Fascism. When I made my Blogography Political Sanity Chart last Wednesday, a couple of people asked why I didn't have Ann Coulter on it representing the Nut-Job Right. The reason is that such a hateful, fascist, moronic, lying bitch would throw off the entire balance, causing the chart to be completely messed up like this...
Ann Coulter goes beyond "dangerous" and skates right up to "total fucking destruction." Her never-ending parade of hate and lies is so horrendously bad for this country that the damage she's done is incalculable. She professes to love America, but preaches against everything this country stands for. She's nothing but a skanky whore that will say anything, anything... regardless of consequences... to sell her piece of shit books. The fact that people even listen to what she has to say is surely a sign of the Apocalypse. Ann Coulter is representative of everything that is wrong with the USA, and indicative of all we must triumph over before we can come together and start rebuilding the America we once were.
"I take the Biblical idea. God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees... God says, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" — Ann Coulter (obviously living up to her really fucked-up interpretation of The Bible).
Ugh. Time to get back to work. And I had better think of washing clothes too, because my pile of dirty vacation clothes is starting to smell funny...
In what has become a kind of annual Memorial Day tradition for me, I made comprehensive backups of all my computers today. Even though I regularly back-up my data, it's always nice to start over again fresh. The down-side of starting fresh is that I've accumulated quite a pile of external hard drives over the years... nine, to be exact. When I started, all my data would easily fit on a 60gig drive. This time it took two 500gig drives. Surprisingly, my excessive storage needs are not due to porn.
My problem is that I just can't throw anything away.
I have files dating back to the late 80's... text files... Usenet posts... old drawings... even a few photos from the very beginning of digital photography (at a stunning 320 x 240 pixels!). All of it's crap, of course, but it's sentimental crap from the early days of computing and I just can't bear to get rid of it. I'm crazy sentimental that way.
But I guess if there's a day to feel all sentimental, it would be Memorial Day.
As I was backing up my DaveToons folder, I ran across one that I drew up, but never used...
Probably because I thought it was too subtle or something.
From working all weekend, I'm about half-way caught up with the work that piled up while I was on vacation. Go me.
Today some crazy bitch started screaming at me in the parking lot of the mini-mart as I was running in to buy a bag of Sun Chips and a King-Size Reeses for breakfast. I have no idea why, and didn't really care enough to find out. She was gone when I left, and that's all that mattered.
Now I'm kind of regretting that she didn't wait for me to come out and attack me or something, because then I would have had something to blog about tonight. As it is, I've got nothing. Just work. And maybe a few television shows off the TiVo to catch up on.
And speaking of television... now that Veronica Mars has been cancelled, it's tough for me to decide what my favorite show on television should be. Since I haven't seen any of the new shows they'll be running this Fall, I'm beginning to think it might be Ugly Betty. The show never stops surprising me...
Holy shit! It's Fugly Davy!
Seriously, just when you think they've run out of ways to keep the series interesting, they hit you with another shock. And, unlike shows like Lost, the mysteries on Betty are wrapped up before they become boring, and they then move on to something even more interesting. The season finale dropped more than a couple of bombshells that have me more interested in the show than ever.
Don't ask me how they've managed to trap me into liking it, because I have no idea. Usually I run away from crap like this... RUN LIKE THE WIND!
Okay, maybe not "run"... but I definitely would change the channel with my remote.
UPDATE: TV Shows On DVD is reporting that the complete first season of Ugly Betty will be released on August 21.
This morning I woke up craving Spaghetti. And not just any spaghetti, but the crappy Chef Boyardee spaghetti that comes in a can. Never one to deny myself anything, I found some in the back of my cupboard and heated it up. But canned spaghetti seems kind of weird and squishy to be having for breakfast, so I dumped some corn flakes on top and it was all good.
The problem is that I didn't eat enough of it, and was still hungry as I was heading out the door to visit my dentist for a teeth cleaning. Since I had already brushed my teeth, I didn't want to eat any Chef Boyardee leftovers for fear of having spaghetti-breath. So instead decided to have a lime popsicle.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I immediately realized my mistake when I pulled up to the dentist office and looked in my rear-view mirror to make sure I didn't have anything stuck in my teeth...
Can't... catch... a... break...
Faced with the embarrassing prospect of having my dentist see me with a bright green tongue, I search for anything I could use to wipe it off. I started with a few napkins I had in the glovebox... moved on to some tissues I found in my side-pocket... then ultimately ended up scraping my tongue with a Swiffer Duster I found under the seat.
A lot of the toxic color came off my tongue, but I still had a nice green cast as I walked through the door.
I'm fairly certain both my hygienist and dentist think that I am completely insane now, despite not having said anything about my freakishly green tongue... but what else is new?
Still unsatisfied after Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and a lime popsicle, I decided to drop by Denny's for some kind of brunch-type meal. If you've never been, I can tell you that nothing makes you appreciate getting older than eating at Denny's at 10:30 in the morning. The place was crawling with the elderly, and I'm guessing the median age must have been at least 85 years old.
It was the most entertaining meal I've had in ages.
These crotchety old people bitch about everything. They fight about everything. They get away with everything.
Take the couple sitting behind me...
OLD MAN: I want bacon!
OLD WOMAN: You like the pancakes! Order the pancakes!
OLD MAN: I WANT BACON OR HAM, DAMMIT!
OLD WOMAN: THEN ORDER YOUR DAMN BACON, BUT YOU'LL NEVER EAT IT!
OLD MAN: I'M HUNGRY AND I'LL EAT IT!
OLD WOMAN: No you won't.
OLD MAN: YES I WILL EAT IT, AND I'M ORDERING IT!!
OLD WOMAN: Then get the Grand Slam, you get bacon with your pancakes.
OLD MAN: I'm going to get the Slim Slam so I can get some eggs.
OLD WOMAN: BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR PANCAKES?!? YOU DON'T GET PANCAKES WITH A SLIM SLAM!
OLD MAN: YES YOU DO GET PANCAKES!! IT SAYS SO RIGHT ON THE MENU, DAMMIT!
WAITRESS: Hello there! Have you decided what you'd like to have?
OLD MAN: I WANT THE SLIM SLAM WITH SCRAMBLED EGGS, HAM, AND STRAWBERRIES ON MY PANCAKES!!!
WAITRESS: Errr... okay. And for you ma'am?
OLD WOMAN: Oh! I don't know what I want yet!
OLD MAN: HAH!! YOU WERE SO WORRIED ABOUT WHAT I WAS GOING TO ORDER WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE!! STUPID WOMAN!
OLD WOMAN: OH SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
WAITRESS: Why don't I give you a few more minutes...
OLD MAN: BUT I WANT MY HAM!!
People dread getting older. They fight the aging process every chance they get. I'm just the opposite. I so totally can't wait to get old so I can act like a spoiled two-year-old in public without having to worry about what people are going to think. Once I turn 85, I'm not going to give a fuck about anything...
Which is pretty much how I am right now, but I'm betting I won't feel nearly as guilty about it.
Do you ever have those days when the last thing on earth you want to do is write in your blog?
That's me today. Well, maybe it's not the last thing... I mean, I'd rather write in my blog than be kicked in the balls, for example. But it's definitely on my list of things I don't want to do today.
Not that I actually have such a list but, if I did, it would probably look like this...
THINGS I DON'T WANT TO DO TODAY...
Yeah. That pretty much sums it up. Hopefully I will feel different tomorrow, otherwise I'll end up having to post naked pictures or something...
Sometimes things happen in life that make a person feel so very small and insignificant...
As somebody who tries to live larger than life, this is not a happy feeling for me.
This is a pre-recorded episode of Blogography from Thursday, May 31.
I just don't get the massive excitement over the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Heck, I don't understand the excitement over any spelling bee. Because, when you think about it, the fact that the English language is so f#@%ed up that they can build contests around how to spell words is kind of embarrassing. You would think any language worth its salt would have words you could spell just by hearing somebody pronounce them. The fact that you can't do so with English leads me to think that something is broken.
And, as if the embarrassment wasn't bad enough, I find spelling bees incredibly boring and artificially dramatic.
Take for instance the mind-numbing routine that contestants go through for even the simplest of words...
ANNOUNCER: Your word is "cat."
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word please?
CONTESTANT: Can you use it in a sentence?
ANNOUNCER: Mrs. brown liked to stroke her pet cat.
CONTESTANT: What is the origin of the word?
ANNOUNCER: It's Middle English derived from Old English and Germanic languages.
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word again?
CONTESTANT: Are there any alternate pronunciations for the word?
CONTESTANT: May I have the definition?
ANNOUNCER: A small carnivorous mammal which has been domesticated since early times.
CONTESTANT: That's pronounced "cat?"
CONTESTANT: May I have the extended definition?
ANNOUNCER: Any of the various mammals of the family Felidae, including lions and tigers.
CONTESTANT: Can I hear it in a sentence again?
ANNOUNCER: Mrs. brown liked to stroke her pet cat.
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word?
CONTESTANT: What part of speech is that?
ANNOUNCER: It's a noun.
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word one more time?
ANNOUNCER: =DING!= I'm sorry, that's incorrect.
In contrast to that bullshit, here would be the Dave National Spelling Bee...
DAVE: Your word is "cat."
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word please?
DAVE: WHAT?!? It's cat! Your word is f#@%ing CAT! You are in a national spelling bee and can't spell cat?!?
CONTESTANT: Can you use it in a sentence?
DAVE: Get the f#@% off my stage, bitch!
Now I would absolutely tune in to watch that shit... but to watch the ESPN coverage of Scripps would make me lose my mind. Because, seriously, now that all the computers have spell-check, what's the point? And it's not like anybody uses even a fraction of the words they make you spell anyway. Trapanasomiasis? Cephalalgia? Appoggiatura? Are you serious?
How about they start having a GRAMMAR competition? Watching somebody who knows the difference between "their" and "they're"... now that's exciting.
This is a pre-recorded episode of Blogography from Thursday, May 31.
I'm pretending it's Sunday so I can whip out some bullets that will post when the most magical day of the week appears!
• Health Food... Why is it every time I find a new food I like that I have to go looking at the Nutrition Facts, only to find out that eating it will kill me? The Schwan's Man had a brand new item called "Grilled Cheese Toastwiches," which have all the deliciousness of a grilled cheese sandwich, but without the back-breaking labor of having to put cheese between slices of bread and heating it up. Nope, with Grilled Cheese Toastwiches, you just pop them in the toaster! Sweet! At least they were, until I found out each piece has 25% of the daily amount of saturated fat you should eat in a day. This sucks ass! Especially since I've already had three pieces today. I guess that means I am 75% closer to death.
• Kaleidoscope Toons... Posting yet another couple of frames showing progress with my DaveToon video. This is another scene I worked on while I was on vacation. Much of the video has lots of animated elements, so I was trying to come up with some simpler scenes to break things up a bit. Believe it or not, these always end up taking far more time to animate than the ones with far more going on. I have no idea why...
In the final video, I had planned for the kaleidoscope background to have some kind of filter applied to it... possibly one that makes it look more "dreamy." But the more I look at the scene in motion, the more I question a need for a filter, because the bright colors are a nice contrast to the black suits. =Sigh= I can see that completing the animation for this project is going to be just the beginning...
• World Round... As I was updating my travel map to reflect my recent vacation, I noticed that my trip to Egypt means I can check another continent off my list. Granted, it's not a lot of Africa to have seen, but it still counts! That leaves just three continents left to see: South America, Australia, and... ANTARCTICA?!? South America and Australia will almost certainly happen one day, but Antarctica? Doing a little research, I find that it's not as difficult as I had first thought to visit, because there are tour ships that go there. All it takes is money. Lots of money. The good news is that it would be an automatic two-for-one trip, because all the tours leave from South America. The bad news is that the cost is also two-for-one... first you've got to spend the money to get to Cape Horn, then you've got the cost of the ship tour on top of it. Does anybody have around $15,000 burning a hole in their pocket to finance my Antarctic adventure?
• Members Project... American Express has unveiled "The Members Project," which is a program whereas cardholders can submit ideas for a prize up to five million dollars so they can make a positive impact on the world. It's actually a pretty cool idea, and they lined up some all-star talent to advertise it in a commercial. You get Martin Scorsese directing, who also appear in the spot along with Andre Agassi, Sheryl Crow, Ellen DeGeneres, Alicia Keys, and skateboarder Shaun White. The odd part is that the commercial is interrupted by a guy from "the office next door" who is named "Tim." This is the same guy that does the video introduction at the Members Project website...
"People fought wars just so we could eat pizza on the wrong night!" —Norris Michelsky
But here's the thing... "Tim" isn't just some random guy. I'm pretty sure it's actor David Alan Basche, who has been in a number of television and movie projects, including one of my favorite shows ever, Oh Grow Up! In many ways, this makes him a bigger star to me than any of the "big-name" stars in the commercial, which is why it cracked me up when I saw it. I also get mad that Oh Grow Up! hasn't been released on DVD, but that's beside the point.
• Cattlecar Galaxica... I was very disappointed to learn that, in addition to Veronica Mars being canceled, Battlestar Galactica is ending after the upcoming fourth season. If there's one piece of good news about it, the decision to end the show came directly from the producers. They saw that the story was heading to an ending, and decided to take it there rather than draw things out until nobody cared anymore. I sure hope that some decent shows arrive for the new Fall TV season... because if this keeps up, there won't be anything on for me to watch.
Well that wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be... I should pretend it's Sunday every day!
This is a pre-recorded episode of Blogography from Thursday, May 31.
Not only do I have to pretend it's Monday, but I also have to pretend to write in somebody else's blog! Assuming that everything went as planned and I found somebody to post my entry, I'm filling in over at Kapgar today. But be forewarned, I used this as a shameless opportunity to draw up some DaveToons that I've never been brave enough to post in my own blog. Somehow it doesn't bother me to sink to new levels of tastelessness and debauchery on somebody else's blog though. I'm such a cheeky bastard.
Click here to read it... if you dare.
This is a pre-recorded episode of Blogography from Thursday, May 31.
I've just written five entries (plus a guest-blogger entry!) to post while I am distracted from blogging for a bit, which means I've got two to go until I (hopefully) return to "live" daily blogging again next this Thursday. The problem is that I have nothing left to write about. Well, I probably do, but I've been future-blogging for almost two hours now and feel empty. Things become even more complicated when you consider how the world of next Tuesday might have changed since I wrote this entry (and how disappointing would it be if the planet explodes before this is even posted?).
So I decided to make a list of nine cool things that could happen in the next five days before this entry posts. Why nine? Because it fits so nicely in a three-by-three grid...
Wow... can I just interject here to say that Kristen Bell and I would make a cute couple? She should totally date me!
Anyway, now that I am done playing Nostradaveus, I suppose I should get to work on my (hopefully) final prerecorded entry. Heaven only knows what I will come up with to write... maybe I should just draw a DaveToon and be done with it? Though I just finished drawing four of them for Kapgar, so I don't know if I really feel like doing another one tonight.
If only I could find those naked pictures, my problem would be solved...
OMG! I TOTALLY FORGOT HOW TO BLOG!!
But if that doesn't frighten you away, I ramble on for quite a bit in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
It occurs to me, after having spent the last two days scheduling the next three months of my life, that every single day from now through August is completely booked. I sure hope I don't get sick or something... I just don't have time for that kind of nonsense. Even more disappointing, I don't have room in my schedule to play video games.
It was then that I started taking a look at my daily activities to see where my time goes. I figure if I can identify wasted minutes in my routine, I can apply them to something more worthwhile... like unlocking "Bounty Hunter Mode" in Xbox Lego Star Wars 2.
Here is what I came up with to add more time in a day...
The beauty of this plan is that even the worst-case scenario frees up 27 hours in my schedule every day... while the best-case scenario gives me a whopping 36 extra hours! Just think of all the fun stuff I could do with 36 free hours in my day! Not only would I have time to completely finish Xbox Star Wars Lego 2, but I'd also finally have time to play Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on my Wii.
I suppose the alternative to such a drastic change in my lifestyle would be to multi-task. Perhaps I could go to the bathroom, surf for porn, eat, and watch television all at the same time? I'd do all that while taking a shower, but I don't think my MacBook is waterproof.
And now I'm off to Seattle. I think that I will drive double the speed limit so I can cut my travel time in half. I prefer to think of this as "time management" as opposed to "illegal."
I'm sure the police will feel the same way once I explain how I've finally unlocked Lando Calrissian as a playable character in Xbox Star Wars Lego 2, and need to rescue Han from the bounty hunter.
I'm blogging Bullet Sunday and don't even have an internet connection to post it!
• Driven... I really don't like driving over to Seattle when it's raining, because people tend to drive like morons when it's wet out. Yesterday proved to be no exception, as my two-hour trip stretched into three full hours of non-stop torture. I need to become a billionaire so I can afford to hire a car and driver to handle this stuff for me. Then I could just sit back and play Nintendo or watch movies, which sounds a lot better than screaming my head off all afternoon at stupid people who don't know how to drive.
• Olympic... The London 2012 Olympic Games logo has been revealed, and I just don't get it. Every designer I talk to is absolutely horrified that this thing is in any way indicative of the direction graphic design is heading. I can only guess that the team working on the logo decided to continue the shocking trend of abandoning good design principles that's been going around lately, and extrapolate how bad things will get five years from now when the logo will actually be in use. If this end result is indicative of what I'm going to be expected to design in 2012, I might as well quit my job and start a new career. I wonder if I would get Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes for free if I took a job at Taco Bell?
• Hi-Def... Now that my piece-of-shit Panasonic DVD Player/Recorder, which has never been able to record a single DVD, has decided that it doesn't want to play any DVDs either, I'm in the market for a new machine. I'm thinking that I would like to go for an HD player now that the prices are starting to come down, but am really confused by the whole "HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray" format war that's going on. I like Sony equipment okay so I was thinking of going with Blu-Ray, but since I don't think that Sony hasn ever had a successful media format (Beta Tape, MiniDisc, and ATRAC come to mind), I wonder if that would be wise. I guess when I have some free time in about three months, I'll have to sit down and do some research. With any luck, one format will win out by then, but I'm not holding my breath.
&bull iPhonery... As TV commercials are released for Apple's iPhone, I find myself wanting one more and more. Whether I actually end up getting one is going to depend on how expensive AT&T Mobile makes it to own one. Because if I buy an iPhone, I am absolutely going to want to use all the cool features it has, and to do that will almost certainly require an unlimited data access plan. If this is going to cost more than $30 a month, I don't know that it would be worth the cost... no matter how cool it is. Oh well, there's a mere 19 days until we find out, so I guess all will be revealed soon enough...
I hope the local McDonalds has internet so I can post this when I stop for breakfast tomorrow morning. Nothing quite like surfing the web while eating an Egg & Cheese Biscuit and a carton of milk on a Monday morning.
I don't know why, but tourists tend to stand out more in Seattle than they do in other cities.
It's not that the tourists are any more or less annoying here, they just seem to be badly out of place somehow. And I'm not talking about the superficial things like walking around with cameras, maps, and guide books and stuff, it's just something in the way they move and react that doesn't feel right. Could just be me, but when I bring it up with other people... even friends who are here being tourists themselves... they get what I am talking about.
Though, just like everywhere else on the planet, you do run into the occasional stupid tourist. People who show up with no clue as to where they are or what they are doing. A classic example could be had as I was standing in line at hotel registration this morning. Two dumbass bitches cut in front of me (with one of them screaming "I JUST NEED TO ASK A QUICK QUESTION!!") and yelled at the front desk guy "IS THERE A STARBUCKS NEARBY? WE WANT COFFEE!!"
To his credit, the guy was really professional and told them that there were shops on either side of the hotel. This was really nice of him, because my reply would have been something more like "BITCH, YOU ARE IN F#@%ING DOWNTOWN SEATTLE! THERE ARE ABOUT TWENTY STARBUCKS WITHIN A FIVE-MINUTE WALK OF THIS HOTEL! JUST TRIP YOUR STUPID ASS OUT THE DOOR AND OPEN YOUR F#@%ING EYES!* Which is actually kind of an understatement. Asking where to find a Starbucks in downtown Seattle is like walking into a strip club and asking where the titties are, because they're all around you...
Map taken from the totally cool FindByClick site.
On the bright side, I sure do have a nice view from my hotel room. Since I will be sitting here all day working, that's pretty sweet. The monorail track is right below my window, so I get to watch the trains go back and forth...
In other news, my personal hero Steve Jobs delivered the keynote address to a crowd of Mac developer whores at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference today (you can watch a video of it here). There wasn't really any revolutionary news coming out of San Francisco this morning, just more pretty demos of the next MacOS (code-named Leopard). Overall, I remain impressed, and can't wait until October to get my copy.
But one piece of Leopard is available today... the beta of Apple's Safari web browser. It's pretty cool, adding long-desired features like movable tabs, resizable text entry boxes, and inline search...
Apple has also released a version of Safari for Windows which may turn out to be a really smart move. If a nice chunk of Windows sufferers start using Safari, perhaps web developers will work harder to make their stuff more compatible with my browser of choice. I question as to whether this can actually happen, but I guess it's worth a try.
Anyway, I have a Johnny Rockets' Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions (add cheese) calling my name for dinner, and then I need to rush right back so I can try to get some sleep before a very busy day of work tomorrow.
Gee... does anybody know if there is a McDonalds in Seattle for breakfast in the morning?
* Please excuse the harsh language... I've been watching HBO's "revolutionary" and "ground-breaking" new show John from Cincinnati. I find the show's story of a child-like stranger who changes people's lives to be boring, predictable, and a total rip-off of the film/show Starman. The only thing "revolutionary" and "groundbreaking" is that the characters say "f#@%" about ten times in every sentence. Which, I suppose, is to be expected from the producers of HBO's previous overly-profanity-laden series Deadwood. Bleh.
"The 24-bit eggplant will be analyzed!"
I always pay a visit to Rotten Tomatoes before I even think about seeing a movie. But when I noticed that Satoshi Kon had a new film out called パプリカ (Papurika = Paprika) I didn't care what any critic might have to say. This is the genius behind one of the best animated films ever, Millennium Actress, and I knew immediately that I simply must see it. I had essentially been working two jobs all day, and this was just what I needed to decompress before going back to the hotel for another five hours of work that still needed to be done.
Turns out I didn't need to worry. Rotten Tomatoes has an aggregated score of 90% Fresh for Paprika, and I totally loved it.
The story centers around a brilliant woman psychologist named Dr. Chiba who is working with a team of dream research scientists. Thanks to the invention of a device known as "DC Mini" she can enter the dreams of patients as her psychic alter-ego, Paprika, and help them with their psychological problems. Unfortunately, a set of three DC Mini devices are stolen, and somebody is using them to merge reality into the dream world. It's now up to Dr. Chiba/Paprika to figure out how to track down the devices, find out who is behind the theft, and save the world from madness.
The result is a mind-bending explosions of animated imagery that's about the coolest thing you'll see this year.
To be honest though, this movie will not appeal to everybody. People who don't care for Japanese anime may be put off by the fantastical story elements and nonsensical visuals that permeate the film. Another problem is that the plot for Paprika may be difficult to follow for those used to having every last detail spelled out for them, and don't like to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. But if you can put your brain on hold and just go with it, this in one film that's really worth seeing.
And as much as I enjoyed Paprika, the movie soundtrack is almost even more impressive, and has some very cool music by Susumu Hirasawa (who also scored Millennium Actress). The film's theme song The Girl in Byakkoya has been stuck in my head from the moment the movie started. Fortunately the track is available at the iTunes Music Store, so I can obsess over it until my mind goes mooshy. If you even think you might like Japanese Electronica... you can sample the album at iTMS (Meditation Field and A Drop Filled with Memories are beautiful).
Lastly, for anybody interested, Apple has the super-sweet movie trailer for Paprika on their QuickTime site, which will give you a taste of what you're in for (turn your volume way up to hear that amazing Hirasawa soundtrack!).
How depressing that Japan regularly cranks out these amazing animated art-pieces that are challenging and thought-provoking, and we get tired retread shit like Shrek III. Blargh.
I am about ready to cry.
And I don't mean actually cry... like when you get kicked in the balls... or Veronica Mars gets canceled... or you have kidney stones or something. I'm talking about that fake sobbing you do when you want to garner sympathy-sex from your girlfriend or get a cookie from your grandmother. The kind of over-the-top weeping that kids do when things don't go their way.
All because I'm feeling horrible and I'm exhausted and I just had to drive 2-1/2 hours home.
And now I have to write in my blog.
But I don't feel like writing in my blog, so I'm thinking if I cry everybody will feel sorry for me and either offer me sympathy-sex or a cookie. And that would be better than everybody being mad at me because I don't feel like writing anything tonight.
I took a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup bar to work today so I'd have something to eat for lunch. Unfortunately, I left it in my car which sat out in 80-degree heat so, instead of peanut butter cups, I had warm peanut butter goo. I ate it anyway... well, not so much "ate" as "sucked it out of the package." While I admit that's pretty sad, the idea of peanut butter and chocolate going to waste just doesn't seem right.
In other news, my gun finally arrived today.
When my T-shirt order is printed at the end of the month, I have two small orders that are being shipped to a shop. This was kind of unexpected, as I had only planned to sell them in my Artificial Duck Co. store, but the shop-owner who contacted me was really cool and so I agreed to give it a try. Wanting to be all professional-like, I decided I would tag the shirts just like you see in actual clothing stores.
To do that, I had to buy a gun and some tags...
The tags, which were printed by Moo, look great. But it's the tagging gun that is super-sweet. It's got this giant needle on the front that you can punch through just about anything and put a tag in it. And I have. About the only thing that I haven't tagged yet is parts of my own body. I'm trying to work up the courage to tag my ear, because I think it would look cool...
Something tells me it would take a lot of alcohol before I would be capable of stabbing myself with a needle gun though.
Fortunately I have a fifth of Jägermeister in the freezer, so it's all good.
It's 11:45, I just finished with work for the night, and the only thing I have to blog about is how worried I am about Paris Hilton.
It's been hours since I have read anything about her in the news or seen anything about her on television. This kind of withdrawal from the daily exploits of her life is very disconcerting, and I'm not sure what to do with myself. I think it's grossly unfair that she doesn't at least get a weekly video address to her fans from prison. Sure she did something bad, and I suppose it's only fair she be punished... but should all of us be punished along with her? What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment?
I so totally (heart) Paris! FREE PARIS!
The good news is that Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie finally made up and are all totally BFFs again, so they filmed another season of The Simple Life. Unfortunately, I have to wait until Monday to see the latest episode...
It's not as good as being able to open up the current issue of People and seeing what Paris has been up to lately... but I guess it's all I'm going to get until the grave miscarriage of justice that is her imprisonment has been reversed and Paris is free to party again.
I haven't been this upset since they took Michael Jackson from us during his imprisonment back in 2003.
Today's entry has been rated R by the Blogography Review Board for verbal violence, mature themes, and massive use of profanity. Text contained within may be upsetting to younger readers, persons with heart conditions, pregnant or expectant mothers, overly religious nut-jobs (this means you Pat Robertson!), dumbasses incapable of comprehending satire or parody, those with an IQ under 80 (including idiots, morons, stupid-heads, imbeciles, dunces, dimwits, dorks, chowder heads, or raging dumbasses), fans of the television show 7th Heaven, and all those people who are already offended by my blog (but read it ever day anyway)...
Do not proceed if you fall into any of the above categories. And, if you should choose to proceed anyway, don't even think about sending me an email or leaving a comment telling me how much you hate me and my blog. Because after I've gone to all this trouble to warn you about the atrocities within, that would just make you a major douche.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
It's a busy Bullet Sunday as I prepare once again to head over the mountains...
• Sometimes you act like a flake... Modern technology is a wonderful thing. Except I am starting to seriously question our application of it to the world we live in. What good is being able to put a man on the moon if my breakfast cereal still goes all soggy in milk? I stepped away from my bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats for like TWO MINUTES so I could see how the meth I was cooking up in the bathroom was doing, and when I got back all I had was a bowl of soggy mush. Isn't there some kind of anti-milk teflon coating that can be put on cereal or something? Soggy flakes suck ass.
• Nope, still pissed off... Usually after writing a ballistic rant in my blog, I feel kind of bad about it the next day. But not this time. Turns out I still think Quiznos can take their crappy "Italian Caprese" and shove it up their stupid asses. BRING BACK THE VEGGIE SANDWICH!!
• Scare the shit INTO me... Speaking of fast food, why is it that the fast food industry always seems to choose freaky-ass mascots to represent their companies? What are they trying to do... scare you into eating their shit?
• I see your Schwartz is as big as mine... Believe it or not, this month is the 20th anniversary of one of my favorite parody films ever... SPACEBALLS! For the longest time I've been hoping for a sequel... but I've just learned something even more special: Mel Brooks is making a Spaceballs animated series!! From what I can find out, the cartoon is due to air on G4 Network this Fall. I have no idea if Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, and Daphne Zuniga will be lending their voices to the show (and, unfortunately, John Candy is no longer with us to participate), but can't wait to see it.
• Understanding avoidable avoidance... Why is it when people hear something third-party that upsets them, they don't bother to verify it with the person who supposedly said it in the first place? I just got a call from somebody who hasn't spoken to a mutual acquaintance for two years because they were told something totally outrageous that was supposedly said about them. But here's the problem. I was actually there when the event took place, and know for an absolute fact that it was never said. It was a gross exaggeration of something totally unrelated. That's two years of hard feelings, uncomfortable silence, and deceptive avoidance... all of which could have been eliminated if they would have just verified the information. Is there anything sadder? I can't help but wonder how many times people have written me off over something I've never said.
And, on that note, it's time to pack my suitcase...
The drive back to Seattle was fairly uneventful. About the only interesting bit was when I hit a wall of fog coming down from the top of Snoqualmie Pass. It was so dense that you were lucky if you could see two car-lengths ahead of you. This made for some tricky maneuvering past vehicles that decided to stop in the middle of the highway.
After work it was time to hit Johnny Rockets for a veggie burger dinner, and then pick up my new hat. One of my blue Helly Hansen caps had gone missing, so I special-ordered one to replace it...
H/H hats always start out this beautiful deep blue color, then eventually fade to a nice dark navy. But the best part is that they shrink to a really good fit after getting wet a couple of times. Nothing quite so nice as a good-fitting cap!
Fortunately I escaped Helly Hansen with my wallet in-tact. I am not much of a shopper, but I could easily blow through $1000 in about 10 minutes there. I guess everybody has their shopping kryptonite.
I just wish mine was at someplace less expensive.
Oooh! I just noticed that my hotel room has a different view than last time! This time I'm overlooking Fantasy Unlimited...
Fantasy Unlimited... home of "Provocative Playthings!"
This is kind of a surprise, because I thought that Fantasy Unlimited had gone out of business. They used to be located downtown... I have fuzzy memories of getting totally drunk with friends and goofing off with all the crazy crap they sell there. I'm pretty sure that we were asked to leave once when we decided to have a strap-on cock-fight.
Hmmm... perhaps I won't sit here and watch television for the rest of the night after all...
With my numerous projects and everything else that's been going on, I have been sleeping worse than usual... three to four hours tops. This makes for a very challenging day, because I am a wreck before we even start the job. By the time noon rolls around, I'm totally trashed and have to really struggle to finish up my work. But things are going very, very well on the project, so I guess I can't complain.
Tonight I had it in my mind that I would try my best to make up for lost sleep.
After a totally awesome dinner at Il Fornaio, I walked around downtown Seattle past the new Seattle Art Museum (which looks great!), and then down to the Pike Place Market. Everything is closed, of course, but I thought a long walk might tire me out and help me sleep. To make sure of this, I took a handful of sleeping pills, a muscle-relaxer, and a hit of melatonin before hopping into bed at 9:00pm. I wrote a ten-minute blog entry about pasta but, since my hotel doesn't have wireless, I decided to not get out of bed and plug into the internet, but instead go right to sleep and post it tomorrow.
Come morning I would be either well-rested or dead.
But since this entry is not about pasta, you can probably guess that something went terribly wrong.
I dropped off into a drug-induced, coma-like sleep around 9:30 with a decent night's rest practically guaranteed.
Unfortunately, I was rudely awakened around 11:40pm by somebody knocking on my door...
GROGGY DAVE: (opens door in his underwear) Yeah?
MAN IN SUIT: (stands gaping, holding an ice bucket) ?!!???
GROGGY DAVE: YEAH?!?
MAN IN SUIT: Uhhhh... I don't suppose my wife is in there?
GROGGY DAVE: What-?
MAN IN SUIT: Er, my wife is --
GROGGY DAVE: GIVE ME A MINUTE TO WIPE THE PEANUT BUTTER OFF HER ASS AND SHE'S ALL YOURS!
MAN IN SUIT: Uhhhh... I guess I have the wrong room.
GROGGY DAVE: YA THINK?!? DOES YOUR DOOR HAVE A FRICKIN' DO NOT DISTURB SIGN ON IT?
MAN IN SUIT: Ah, sorry about that...
What the hell?
And, of course, now I can't get back to sleep.
I wonder if The Lusty Lady is still open... I noticed as I drove by that the shows running are "FANTASTIC 4-play" and "HAIRY SPOTTER." Sounds like down-home, wholesome entertainment to me.
Though I might be better off watching TV-On-Demand's "Pornotopia, because... well, I dunno... it just sounds classier.
I am curious to know if I take another couple of sleeping pills whether they will give me some sleep before I have to get up in six hours, or just totally f#@% me up so that I can't function in the morning?
Holy crap does this suck.
UPDATE: I took just one sleeping pill and managed to get 4 hours sleep. When added to the 2 hours I got before I was rudely awakened, that's probably the best night's rest I've gotten in weeks! Though I still feel like crap, which kind of sucks.
Today was a positively beautiful day in Seattle.
So stunningly beautiful that I was depressed at the thought of spending all of it inside working. But that's the way life goes, and so all I got to enjoy of it was occasional glimpses out the window.
When I got back to my hotel room at the end of the day, I decided to look for something fun to do indoors to make up for my lack of fun outdoors. My solution was to push the beds together and make a brand new size of bed...
Since it is bigger than all other sizes of beds, I decided to call in the GOD EMPEROR SIZED BED. No matter how tall you are, you'll never run out of leg-room on this baby! About the only problem is trying to find sheets and bedding to fit the thing.
And that's a darn shame, because it's pretty freakin' comfortable. I think between my new bed and the handful of pills I just took, I might actually get a decent night's sleep tonight.
Assuming nobody comes banging on my door at some insane hour again.
I really need to get me an electric cattle prod for such incidents.
Thursdays and Fridays the Seattle Art Museum is open until 9:00pm, so I ran down after work to see what had changed after their recent remodeling. The building itself is very nice, and the collection is eclectic and interesting. Overall, it's a nice addition to Seattle's list of attractions, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to visit.
One of my biggest museum pet-peeves is museums that don't allow photography, and SAM is just such a museum.
I see nothing wrong with taking a snapshot of a piece you enjoy so you can remember it later on. Many other museums (a good number of which are far more important than SAM) agree, and are happy to allow photography so long as you turn your flash off. It's just a courtesy to visitors, and nothing more. It's not like viewing a photo could ever replace the experience of standing in front of the actual painting, drawing, sculpture, or other work... so what's the harm?
As loathsome as anti-photography museums are, they can redeem themselves in my eyes if they sell prints, postcards, and books which contain images of all their works. If I can't take a photo of something I want to remember, being able to take home a postcard is the next best thing, and I'm happy with that. So after coming upon a beautiful Takashi Murakami "Flower Ball" painting, I rushed to the gift shop expecting to find something I could buy with the work printed on it. But they didn't have anything. Not one f#@%ing thing. It didn't even appear in their catalog OR their web site.
This made me so mad that I felt like walking back to the ticket desk and asking for my $30 donation back.
But instead I returned to my hotel room and drew me a DaveToon homage to Murakami-san, whose work I absolutely love (for rather obvious reasons!)...
Helpful hint to the Seattle Art Museum: If you aren't going to allow people to take photo mementos of their visit, at least offer a way for them to buy a reproduction of your permanent collection in some form... like a postcard or something. This will keep people from getting pissed off at your visitor-hostile policies, and maybe give people even more reason to visit your beautiful museum when they are in town.
And now I'm off to bed, where I remain hopeful that I can actually manage to get some good sleep tonight.
This insomnia crap is getting really old.
As most Blogography readers have probably already heard, our own "New York City's Watchdog" has shared the unbelievably sad news that he has lost his five-year-old son (known to Cereal Wednesday fans as "Puppy Monster") in a tragic accident.
At times like this, I truly am at a loss for words. Watchdog is a part of our "blogging family," and my heart goes out to him and his family at this unimaginably difficult time.
If you'd like to help out, Avitable has set up a donations page via PayPal. If you can't afford to donate, please consider leaving a note of support over at Watchdog's site. I'm sure it will be much appreciated, so thanks in advance for whatever you can do.
All our thoughts are with you, Watchdog.
Avitable has just announced that donations have topped $1700 for the Puppy Monster Memorial Fund. Thanks so much to everybody who helped out... it's nice to know that our blogging community steps up to take care of their own during tragic times like this. Money is a soulless thing without conscience. But this money will help a father with the financial burden compounding an already unimaginable situation, and there's nothing soulless about that. If you have even $5 to spare, every little bit helps. Visit Avitable's donation page if you can, and know that what you give goes directly to help out our own NYC Watchdog.
This morning on the way back from Seattle, I had probably the most frightening experience on the road since I started driving.
I was on the single-lane stretch of the 522 heading towards Monroe, when a pickup truck came roaring up on my bumper nearly plowing into me. At the last minute they turned sharply, cutting across the centerline. Thankfully it was 5:30am and there was no oncoming traffic or else there would have been a horrible accident. The driver eventually gained control of their vehicle and made it back into our lane, but continued driving erratically. At one point, he tried to pass me... despite the fact that I was already 5 miles over the speed limit AND this was a well-defined, highly-dangerous, no-passing zone.
I was scared out of my mind... not knowing whether this idiot was tired, drunk, or high. My first instinct was to pull off and let him pass me, but there was a motorcyclist ahead of me. If the guy ran into me, I had thousands of pounds of metal to protect me. If the guy ran into a motorcycle, the rider would be dead. So I stuck it out, watching in horror as the driver weaved all over the road, accelerating to horrific speeds, then fading back.
When I finally made it to Monroe, I followed the motorcycle into the slow-lane and came to a stop light. I then immediately took out my mobile phone and was ready to call the police once the crazy driver stopped and I could read his license plate. But he didn't stop. He tore through the stoplight going at least 20 miles over the limit in the fast lane, and sped off through town. I fully expected to catch up to the guy in a bad accident, but never saw him again. I hope he didn't kill somebody before he got to where he was going. Asshole.
The good news is that I went to a screen-printing check for the new Blogography shirts yesterday...
They're pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. Printing on dark colors is notoriously difficult, because you've got to print a layer of white ink first, but everything seemed to work out okay. Probably because my printer kicks ass. The actual print-run is on Monday, and they should be delivered by the end of the week so I can start shipping orders.
To those who bought stuff from Artificial Duck Co. and have been patiently waiting for their order to ship, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to everybody for your patience as I worked through some personal stuff this month, and sorry again for the delay.
Hey Hay Hey! It's Bullet Sunday today!
• Photograph. I've been going through all my old photos recently, trying to find a specific shot that I've lost track of. Along the way, I've been running into pictures of me that are pretty disturbing. It would seem that I'm either acting like a dork or drunk (or both) in every single picture in which I appear...
1) Wearing my 3-D glasses while waiting in line for a 3-D movie.
2) Trying to flash an "okay" sign while getting drunk in the rain.
3) Drunkenly dealing cards while losing in a game of strip poker.
4) Caught like a drunken deer in the proverbial headlights here.
Seeing all these images has brought me to the disturbing conclusion that I've been a drunken dork most of my life. I admit that this doesn't come as much of a surprise, but I'm going to act shocked anyway.
• Stemmed. So much for the separation of Church and State. So much for representing the people. President Bush has now vetoed for a second time legislation that would authorize federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Despite the fact that the majority of Americans support it. Despite the fact that no science or rational thought can apply the status of "human life" to an embryo. Despite the fact that actual human lives hang in the balance. Despite the fact that the embryos in question will be discarded anyway. It's all typical political pandering bullshit insanity. I'd have thought that the President's forcible application of his personal religious and ethical convictions on me or anybody else would be a direct violation of the foundation upon which this country was built, but whatever. Using this logic (or lack thereof) a vegetarian president could make eating meat illegal because it violates his personal ethical beliefs. WTF?!? Just 575 days of dumbassery left.
• Paris! OMG! Like, Paris is getting out of jail early and will be released on Tuesday! JUSTICE PREVAILS! Which means I guess it's time for me to come clean about something... since the tabloids are sure to break the news soon anyway.
I am totally dating Paris Hilton.
I wrote her letters of encouragement while she was doing time, and she understandably fell head-over-heels in love with me. I will be moving to L.A. at the end of next week so Paris and I can be together. 2GETHER 4EVA!
Lil' Dave is totally not wearing panties in this shot...
We ask that the media respect our privacy as we plan our new life.
And by "respect our privacy" we mean "follow us around and take our picture everywhere we go, because we are so totally hot and interesting and deserving of your love."
• Postcard. Five steps to embarrassment nirvana...
Insomnia blows! It's 7:00am on a Sunday and I am wide awake. On the bright side, I did get an entire five hours sleep last night, which must be some kind of record for me or something.
I think my home is haunted.
For weeks now, I've been having terrible problems keeping track of stuff. Tonight I set down the television remote control, left the room to get another serving of chocolate pudding for dinner, then came back and the remote is gone. GONE I SAY!! After searching for a good ten minutes, I finally gave up my search so I wouldn't go insane. The bad news is that I'm then forced to watch The 700 Club because I don't know how to change the channel without the remote.
But then it gets weird...
I leave the room again so I can get a Choco Taco for dessert and, when I return, THE TV REMOTE IS SITTING ON THE COUCH WHERE I LEFT IT THE LAST TIME WHEN I WENT FOR CHOCOLATE PUDDING!!
Cue the "doo doo DOO doo - doo doo DOO doo" music...
The only logical conclusion I can draw is that I have ghosts.
Malicious, sadistic ghosts who force me to watch The 700 Club!
If there's any better evidence that Pat Robertson is a tool of the devil (and Karl Rove), I don't want to know about it...
So now I have to perform a ghost exorcism.
My list of exorcism supplies to buy at Target tomorrow after work...
I also have to paint a pentagram on my carpet, but I've already got a can of Easy Cheese in the cupboard, so I don't need to buy any spray paint.
Wish me luck!
Ooh! Looks like I might be getting an iPhone after all. They've finally released the service pricing, and it turns out that it's only $10 more than I pay now. Even better, I get more minutes (plus rollover minutes!) and unlimited data for my money. Cool!
Of course, I'll want to try an iPhone in person before I sign on the dotted line, but things just keep looking better and better. The initial reviews have the positives outweighing the negatives, and some of the big questions (battery life, scratches, MS Office attachments, etc.) are being answered with good news. I want one pretty bad now.
I am such an Apple whore...
But with unlimited data access, can you really blame me? I mean, damn! Knowing I can surf the internet for important information at any time... for as long as I want... is pretty sweet!
Wow. The internet is like the most awesome thing ever! Thanks for putting it in the palm of my hand, Steve Jobs!
And in other nifty news... PARIS IS FREE! w00t! Now my life can go back to normal!
IN YOUR FACE, NANCY GRACE! Now why don't you shut the frak up you crazy bitch! And the next time your hypocritical skank ass decides to judge people, why don't you look in the mirror first... GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!!
I am growing more and more depressed over the astounding lack of compassion in the world today. It seems every time I turn on the television, pick up a magazine, or surf the internet I am subjected to hurtful, hateful behavior that has me questioning how much longer we can survive. If it weren't for random flashes of kindness I stumble upon from time to time, I'd probably lose hope for humanity altogether.
And, thanks to the shining stars of today's hate-filled media, things just continue to get worse and worse. First they profess to care for us, fight for us, and believe in us...
Then they turn right around and demonize people for the sake of ratings and power, advocating violence and hatred with a recklessness that isolates us, divides us, and destroys us...
Why? Why are dumbasses like these even on the air? Why do people listen to them? I don't care if you are Conservative or Liberal... Republican or Democrat... Christian or Athiest... who could possibly want this kind of hateful crap into their lives? Isn't the world in bad enough shape already?
All I'm asking for is a little compassion. A little caring. A little hope.
And it would be nice if some of that compassion, caring, and hope can come my way...
Argh. I've been working all evening and now it's almost midnight. I sure hope I can manage to get even a little bit of sleep tonight. Looking for compassion in planet filled with hostility and abuse is a tiring way to spend your day.
My afternoon was pleasantly interrupted when Bad Robert's Super Deluxe Girlfriend dropped by to return my Batman DVDs.
"Because of you, I've been stuck watching Batman cartoons for the past week... thanks a heap!" she says as she throws the boxes for seasons one and two at my head.
Ordinarily I would launch into a diatribe about how animation is an artform, and how Batman: The Animated Series is one of the best representations of the character outside of the original comics. But any woman who can hold her own against the crazy stuff Bad Robert does is nobody to be trifled with, so I hold my peace...
"Thanks!" I say cheerily.
At this point, Super Deluxe Girlfriend scrunches her face a bit and says "Ooh, is somebody in a bad mood today?"
"Wha-? No, I'm good. Why would you say that?" I ask.
"Well, when somebody as notoriously white as you wears black in the summer, it makes you look like you're either going to a funeral or are in a cranky mood."
Err... really? I say, my voice rising at the end in disbelief. "I was going for evil, not cranky."
After an uncomfortably long pause, Super Deluxe Girlfriend says: "Yes, well, maybe if you had an eye patch or something... but I'm not feeling 'evil' here..."
"Fine," I say. "Tell Robert I'll be dropping off Batman seasons 3 & 4 this weekend."
"Ah, now I'm feeling it," she says as she turns to walk out the door.
Hah! THAT aught to teach her to question my evil nature!
"He who is bent on doing evil can never want occasion." — Publilius Syrus
In other news, I saw where fellow blogger Laurence made herself into a Simpsons character, and decided to try it myself. I had to make some slight modifications, but here we are...
It's iPhone Day! IT'S iPHONE DAY!! HOLY CRAP, IT'S iPHONE DAAAAYYYYYY!
Of course, there's not a single iPhone coming to the entire valley, so I won't even get to see one until the next time I next visit civilization, but it's still kind of exciting for a total Apple Whore like me.
But the iPhone is not the only thing that's starting to ship today. Now that the new merchandise is starting to arrive, Artificial Duck Co. orders are going to start shipping too...
I'll be working through the orders as quickly as I can... but with nearly 300 of them, it will take a while before everything is shipped out. Wheee! Good times! At least I know what I'll be doing in my spare time for the next several days. Still, it's nice that people will finally be getting their stuff. Hopefully everybody will find it worth the wait.
So suck it, iPhone!
And in local news... last night an airplane trying to land at Cashmere's airport came up short and crashed into the High School's parking lot instead...
Map taken from Live Search because Google Maps doesn't have satellite for us!
Unfortunately, the pilot was killed. Luckily, nobody else was hurt.
As you can imagine, when something like this happens in a small town, it's a topic of major discussion. Was the pilot a local? Was it an emergency landing? People heard his engine sputtering, did he run out of gas? Just where did that plane come from? AL QAEDA!!
There hasn't been this much local hype since cherry harvest started!
UPDATE: I am now hearing that the pilot killed in the accident was the former CEO of Alaska Airlines. No word on what he was doing in the area, or why he crashed.
UPDATE: It now seems as though the pilot clipped a tree on the way in, which may have contributed to the crash.
I try really hard not to be a whiny little bitch on my blog. Honestly, I do. The fact that I am rarely successful at it is not for lack of conviction, but circumstance. Such as waking up this morning and having to read a bajillion people talking about how cool their new iPhone is.
Of course, I wouldn't know.
Despite the fact that I am a Total Apple Whore, I don't have an iPhone yet. I won't even get to look at one until I'm in Seattle next week. Needless, to say, I'm a little sad about that...
I've read so much about people and their love of their iPhone that I can almost imagine what it must be like to have one... but then I glance over at my piece of shit mobile phone and realize that my imagination isn't that good.
Sigh. I guess I'll just go over to Apple.com and look at iPhone pictures for an hour or two...
It's B•U•L•L•E•T S•U•N•D•A•Y once again! Excuse me while I pull out my 44 Magnum...
• Spiceable... Is it just me, or is the Spice Girls one of the greatest musical groups of all time?
• Photoshopable... As I was working my way through filling orders from the Artificial Duck Co. store yesterday, I got a desperate phone call from a fellow designer. He was calling every Photoshop professional he knew, asking if they would help work on some photos he "inherited" for a project that was due on Monday. The previous designer (who was fired) had the photos taken without using a food stylist, and the results were really terrible. I felt bad for the guy, so I volunteered to work on a few images for him. I can tell you right now, you'll never have so much fun as Photoshopping sweat off of a brick of cheese on a Saturday afternoon.
• McDonaldable... Right now I would pay serious cash for a McVeggie Deluxe burger. But seeing as how it's only available at the New York Times Square McDonalds, I guess I'm out of luck. Why, why, WHY doesn't McDonalds roll this shit out nation-wide?
I'll trade you my iPhone for a McVeggie Deluxe!
• New Yorkable... Of course, thinking about food in New York only makes me want to have a REAL bagel. I need to work a trip to NYC in my travel plans just so I can eat for a few days.
• Potterable... In many ways, I'm grateful for the iPhone not just because it's yet another super-sweet Apple product, but because it has distracted the world from talking about the final "Harry Potter" book which is being released next week. Since I'm not impressed with Harry Potter (and love Apple), this works out pretty well for me...
I read the first couple of Harry Potter books and found them to be pretty lame and unimaginative. It seems that any actual creativity is sacrificed for some kind of deus ex machina crap to tell the story ("and Gryffindor gets 170 points pulled out of their ass at the last minute for stupid crap so they can win the House Cup!"). Anybody who thinks Harry Potter is The Shit should seriously check out the The Books of Magic graphic novels by Neil Gaiman (which started long before Harry Potter ever saw print).
• iPhoneable... Yes. I still want a friggin' iPhone pretty bad.
I'm just over 60 orders in on the Artificial Duck Co. orders. More stuff will be coming in on Monday, and I'm hoping to have all the orders shipped by the end of the week! Thanks again to everybody for your patience... just 262 orders left to go!
In the many long hours driving back and forth to Seattle, I've come to love audiobooks. It all started when I was given I Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris on CD for my birthday. After that I was pretty much addicted, and signed up for an Audible account so I could get new books for my iPod whenever I have to travel or drive long distances. They make the time just fly by.
The problem is that chapter breaks never seem to come when you need them.
More than once I'll arrive at my destination, but I'll be in the middle of a good chapter or something, so I'll just sit there continuing to listen until I get to a good stopping point. It's no big deal.
At least I thought it wasn't.
Today I pulled into the city and decided to stop at a corner market for a carton of chocolate milk. But, since the book I was listening to (The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman), was in the middle of something good, I just turned off the engine and waited for the chapter to end. It was at this time I nearly jumped out of my skin because there was a pounding on my window.
"HEY! IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE USING THIS SPACE, WOULD YOU MIND LEAVING SO WE CAN USE IT?" said a large man screaming at me through the glass while gesturing wildly back to some woman double-parked across the street. Not wanting to sound stupid by saying that he'd have to wait until my audiobook chapter was finished, I instead rolled down the window* and replied "Sorry, but I'm waiting for the police."
Don't ask me where that came from.
I guess I figured that if this guy thought police arrival was imminent, he wouldn't want to mess with me. And I was right. He just wandered off with a dazed look on his face.
Which may have been the way his face always looks... I only met him for that one minute, so I wouldn't know.
*Well, techincally I didn't "roll" down the window, I just pushed that button thingy. Do they even make vehicles with manually-operated windows anymore?
Firstly, to all my friends and family reading this who know about the situation here in Seattle... thanks for your thoughts, prayers, and positive energy. This has been one of the longest days in my life but, despite all the delays and the waiting, everything turned out with the best possible results we could hope for.
Waiting, as they say, is the hardest part.
In an effort to distract my head, I put in a very full day. First I went to see Transformers, which was pretty freakin' cool. I love that they never cheated you out of a transformation or a battle. You see everything. And there are few things better than watching giant robots beat the crap out of each other...
Where the film failed me was in the utterly pointless deviations from the actual story. By the time we got to Sam's mom talking about masturbation, I was just plain pissed. It wasn't funny. It wasn't interesting. It was just needless distraction. Why? And then there's the whole military sub-plot that goes nowhere. Why? But worst of all... John Turturro, who I actually enjoy as an actor, plays a character "Agent Simmons" who was so unbelievably annoying and stupid that he very nearly ruined the movie for me. Why? Somebody needs to be in the editing room with Michael Bay so they can slap him upside the head when he makes stupid decisions to include crap like this, because otherwise it was pretty good flick.
Then I went to see Fantastic Four 2, which was better than the awful first film, but still a far cry from what a Fantastic Four film should be. The only real reason to see the movie is for Silver Surfer, who rightfully kicks ass...
I found myself almost wishing that the Fantastic Four weren't in their own film so I could see more of him. That's pretty sad. Overall it was mediocre, but I was glad to have seen it.
And, of course, I stopped to take a look at the iPhone up close and in person. And, of course, it's just as amazing as everybody says it is. And, of course, I want to have an iPhone now more than ever before. Everything about it is just cool. Particularly the screen and web browser, which is mind blowing...
Blogography looks great, and is totally readable in horizontal mode, even without zooming...
A pity that they're sold out absolutely everywhere.
But not surprising.
It's always difficult for me to come up with something to say on Independence Day. Mostly because one of my favorite Blogography entries is from the 4th of July two years ago. I think it pretty much sums up how I feel about freedom, liberty and all that other cool stuff America is supposed to stand for. The entry also has diarrhea and puking in it, which is always fun.
And speaking of fun, I swear this holiday gets more redneck every year...
"Let's get drunk and blow shit up" could one day take the place of "In God we trust" as the USA's national motto (if it hasn't already).
But, of course, we can't forget the flaming balls...
Something else all too typically American here is that "Proud American" is proudly made... in China.
Wow am I exhausted.
And I'm back home.
Unfortunately, magical elves didn't come in while I was away and pack up Artificial Duck Co. T-shirt orders, so that's what I've been doing for the past five hours. Out of over 320 orders placed, I now have only 108 left to ship. Wheeee. I'm on target for having everything shipped out by the end of the week. Almost.
The mailing tubes for the prints finally arrived this morning, but there's a problem. They were out of stock on the tubes I had ordered, so the supplier called and asked if I could use a tube that was 1-inch SHORTER, which I assumed meant shorter in LENGTH. What they ended up sending were tubes 1-inch shorter in WIDTH. Unfortunately, this curls the prints too much. So I'll be sending 47 orders without their prints, and mailing them separately when the correct tubes come in. It's a bummer, but the last thing I want is for stuff to be ruined before it even arrives, so there you have it.
In the meanwhile, I am beginning to forget what it's like to have a living room, because there are boxes of shirts and pins stacked in every corner...
Crazy. Why am I doing this again?
And, in news that makes me go "squeee!"...
OMG! THE CURE ARE GOING TO TOUR THIS YEAR!!! They'll be in Seattle October 8th. Sweet!And, in news that's not really news...
Why in the hell does Larry King still have a job? I've never been that impressed with his "interviews," but the ones I've seen lately have just been awful. Horrendously tragically awful. Half the time I get the impression that he doesn't even know who he's interviewing, or even what he's doing there. Tonight he was interviewing Al Gore, so I tuned in to see when the world is ending. At one point Larry was creeping me out, and I couldn't figure out why... until I realized it was because he had turned into Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. It was only for a moment, but I couldn't stop thinking about it for the rest of the show. And it turns out I'm not the only one who thinks so.
And, in news that makes me want to beat the crap out of somebody...
Monkey Justice is never blind... it just closes its eyes when convenient.
I sat on the news of Scooter Libby's prison sentence being commuted by President Bush in the hopes that my all-consuming rage would abate. But it hasn't. WHAT THE BLOODY F#@%?!? Bush had no problem EXECUTING prisoners left and right as governor of Texas, but he considers 30 months in prison to be "excessive" for a criminal convicted of a serious (if not treasonable) offense? How can this be looked at as anything except a strategic move to keep Scooter Libby from testifying at his appeal... and potentially implicating Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and other top-level administration officials in the crime? What a f#@%ing joke. President Bush said that if anyone in his administration was involved in leaking Valerie Plame's name that they would suffer the consequences. Well, here was his opportunity to live up to his word. Libby was prosecuted by a Republican prosecutor. The judge in the trial was a Republican. The jury was vetted by the Republican defense. "The consequences" of the guilty verdict involved Libby serving 30 months in jail. But not anymore. So much for "suffering the consequences." Next time I have jury duty, I'm just going to vote 100% innocent at any trial I serve on no matter what happens. Why should I bother believing in justice and convicting criminals when a guilty verdict and subsequent sentencing doesn't mean shit to the President of these United States of America?
Just 563 days left...
It's positively frightening how dead the blogosphere has been today.
I can only guess that everybody is on extended holiday from Independence Day, and/or just doesn't feel like blogging now that summer has arrived. Not that I can blame them. The weather here has been incredible lately (92° with clear blue skies) and, if I didn't have work to get done and T-shirts to ship, I'd probably be ditching my blog and out there enjoying it as well.
But I kind of have to blog today because... ooh... ooh... ooh! There's a date for the Chicago blogger meet now...
Mark your calendars for August 25th! Last year in Chicago was a total blast and was attended by a number of notable bloggers, including...
And, of course, ME from right here at Blogography.
This year promises to be equally sweet, and the location will be picked out once we all have an idea how many people will be showing up. An early favorite is the remarkable Pizano's Pizza on E. Madison in The Loop. They, of course, have a fantastic award-winning Chicago Deep Dish pizza, but it's their crispy buttercrust pizza that's the cat's meow.
Oh great, now I'm going to fall asleep with Pizano Pizza buttercrust fantasies in my head.
Home-delivered by Elizabeth Hurley, of course.
Everybody just loves Bad Monkey.
I had to go to the grocery store for a few things today, and was wearing my new Bad Monkey T-shirt for the trip. While I was in the cheese aisle, a little boy who was helping his mother pick out yogurt turned to me and started laughing. "Monkey!" he said, pointing at my shirt. "That's right," I replied. Then there's that awkward moment when I have to explain to his mother that the shirt can't be bought at a store, that it is one of my own creations, and isn't available in kids sizes. I just don't have room to store them.
And now I feel bad, because what kid wouldn't want a Bad Monkey T-shirt?
After cheese, I had to go buy sugar. I used the last of mine when I got a craving for Tropical Punch Kool-Aid last night around midnight. In retrospect, it was kind of a stupid thing to drink before bed, because I ended up battling a bad case of heartburn while trying to get some sleep...
Right now I am taking a break from filling Artificial Duck Co. orders to write in my blog. From the looks of things, I only have 38 orders left to fill. Tomorrow I'll process the postage so I can send the last remaining packages on Monday, and that's that. I'll finally be able to reclaim my living room.
And stop hurting myself.
I finally injured myself with my new tagging gun yesterday. It felt very much like having stabbed myself with a large needle. Mostly because my tagging gun has a very large needle on it. Lesson Learned: If you are going to sell T-shirts and want to label them, use stickers instead of tags.
Back to work...
Wheee! It's Bullet Sunday as I try to figure out what I'm going to have for dinner tonight.
• We're On Fire! In what's becoming an annual event, the valley is on fire. Again. It was no big shock to find out that fireworks were responsible. Again. About the only surprise here is how dumbasses can't seem to remember from year-to-year that lighting fireworks in the dry brush that surrounds us will start a major fire, potentially burning down a city or two. I mean, WTF? It's EVERY YEAR!!
Most excellent photo by Mike Bonnicksen of The Wenatchee World.
• Seven Wonders! After a measure of controversy from Egypt, home of the Great Pyramids of Giza (the only surviving Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), the all-new "Seven Wonders of the World" have been revealed... The Great Wall of China, Petra in Jordan, Brazil's statue of Christ the Redeemer, Peru's Machu Picchu, Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid, The Colosseum in Rome, and India's Taj Mahal. The only one I really question would be Christ the Redeemer which, while both remarkable and beautiful, doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of these marvels. I would have probably dropped it in favor of either Stonehenge, Neuschwanstein Castle, or Angkor Wat. And, naturally, I believe that no list is complete without the Great Pyramids of Giza, TRULY a wonder of the world...
• It's Zwinky! I keep seeing these completely obnoxious television commercials for some kind of internet site called "Zwinky." Every time it comes on, I'm scrambling for the remote control so I can stop the horrible screaching... "IT'S ZWINKY! IT'S ZWINKY! IT'S ZWINKY!" Then I sit there dazed and confused trying to figure out what the frak a "Zwinky" is. I tried visiting the web site to find out, but the piece of crap isn't Macintosh compatible. Wikipedia says it's some kind of avatar site tied to a web search toolbar, which sounds lame. I've never been happier that some websites are not Mac compatible.
• Hey Whitey! I am getting tired of watching movies and television shows where all the actors have blindingly white teeth. It's very distracting, and I'm seeing it more and more often. Transformers had actors with embarrassingly white glowing teeth... like über-hottie Megan Fox... which very nearly overshadowed the awesome special effects with their unnaturally radiant smiles. Frightening.
• Meet Chicago! Getting some super-sweet RSVPs from cool bloggers planning on making it to the Chicago Meet-Up on August 25th! If any of y'all are planning to come, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be sure we reserve enough space. This will also put you on a mailing list so you'll get the most up-to-date info as it happens.
And now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for ice cream! ICE CREAM FOR DINNER! Sweet!
I'm in a New York state of mind.
On my first trip to New York City, I had a laundry list of crap that simply had to be done... Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Hard Rock Cafe, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, The New York Public Library, Museum of Modern Art, Times Square... and a dozen other essential tourist haunts that first-time visitors to NYC are obligated to visit. Every morning I would get up and rush around the city trying to see as much as possible before my trip was over.
The last thing on my list was to eat at the Stage Deli. This New York City institution is famous for serving insanely big sandwiches. Seriously insanely big. These things are at least six-inches tall...
And so on the last night of the last day I walked a block behind my hotel (The Hilton) to 7th Avenue and dinner at the Stage Deli.
Where I proceeded to have one of the worst sandwiches I've ever eaten.
But I don't blame the Stage Deli. I blame myself.
It was my fault because I went there and ordered a "cheese sandwich" off the menu which, as you might guess, ended up being nothing more than a bazillion slices of American on bread. It was much like sitting down and eating a brick of cheese. And as much as I like cheese, that's just too much to take. But that's what I get for ordering something off the menu that doesn't work for how they build sandwiches. They gave me exactly what I had asked for because I wasn't thinking, so who else could I really blame except myself?
Which is why I tend to get a little upset when I do a job exactly how somebody tells me to, only to have them turn around and blame me because they don't like the result. But it happens quite often in my line of work, so I tend not to go ballistic when it happens.
Except when I'm donating my time and working for free.
Today I had somebody bitch at me because a logo I made for a charity event had too much yellow in it.
It was a drawing of a ring of stars circling a moon, which is exactly what they had asked for.
So I re-colored it with a variety different star and background color combinations, only to have them get upset because it looked "wrong" that way. At this point they told me that they had a couple of NEW ideas for a DIFFERENT logo since I was having trouble with their "vision." Biting my tongue, I apologized and explained that I am very, very busy this time of year and didn't have time to start all over. They grabbed the work I had done, gave me a terse "thanks" (as in "THANKS FOR NOTHING!") and stomped off.
And then tonight I get a call from a friend who overheard the event organizer bad-mouthing me because I promised to make them a logo and then bailed on them.
Uhhhh... yeah... I don't even know where to begin.
This morning I started organizing all my T-shirt boxes so I could put them up in racks and reclaim my living room floor. Except I found out one of the boxes was NOT filed with T-shirts, it was filled with 28 boxed orders... all needing postage so they could be shipped out. Unfortunately, I had overlooked them yesterday. So I grab the box and head downstairs to my car. But somehow I miss the last step, and end up wrenching my back in an attempt to not fall on my face. The pain is so great that I can barely breath. In agony, I limp back upstairs so I can take a Special Pill to get through the day.
Ten of the orders I manage to get processed on my lunch hour. The remainder I saved for after work so they could be processed and be shipped out first thing in the morning.
So there I am tonight, four orders into my remaining 18, when the USPS web site comes up and says that my credit card has been declined. "Well that's freaky!" I say to myself. "This puppy has a limit of like $10,000 and there's no reason for it to be declined." So I call up USBank to see what's going on.
The ensuing asshattery resulted in my awarding a DUMBASS OF THE WEEK trophy, and it's only Tuesday!
DAVE: Hey. My card was declined as I was trying to buy postage from the online post office.
USBANK: Yes I see that. You've processed a lot of payments from USPS Online, and so your account was flagged as a possible fraud risk.
DAVE: Ah! Well, it's not fraud. It's really me! So if you'll fix that, I'll get back to work.
USBANK: I can't fix it. You have to get the post office to call in and get an authorization code.
DAVE: Er. I can't do that. It's a computer program. There's only tech support, and they can't process charges.
USBANK: Sorry. There's nothing I can do.
DAVE: Uhhhh... really? Well can you transfer me to your fraud department so I can tell them to stop declining charges?
USBANK: No. You have to get the post office to call.
DAVE: What?!? Why does the post office have to call? YOU'RE the one that is wrongly declining charges! Transfer me to the fraud department!
USBANK: They won't even talk to you because there's no actual fraud involved. There's nothing we can do.
DAVE: Are you kidding me? Transfer me to a supervisor before my brain explodes.
The supervisor goes through the exact same spiel about not being able to turn off the fraud flag, so I change gears...
DAVE: What if I was trapped in a foreign country and needed to charge a plane ticket back home on my credit card? Or what if I was deathly ill and the hospital wouldn't treat me until the charges went through on my card? Would you just let me die then?
USBANK SUPERVISOR: We do have the ability to authorize charges for an emergency.
DAVE: Great! I am using USPS online to send life-saving medication to sick children in Africa. So if you'll just fix this and approve my charges, I'll get back to work...
Of course, nothing I said made any difference. USBank simply refused to assist me at every turn.
Now, don't get me wrong, I think fraud detection is wonderful thing. It's really great that they have a system to monitor risky behavior so they can prevent fraud. But how utterly stupid is it that you can't call and get it turned off when the charges are, in fact, valid? How could anybody think this kind of moronic shit is good customer service? Does this make any sense what-so-ever? What good is a credit card that can be declined because of possible fraud, yet cannot be fixed when fraud is disproved?
Thus USBank has rightfully earned my DUMBASS OF THE WEEK award for being really stupid in their fraud control department.
And we'll see what tomorrow brings. I guess if my credit card is still being declined I'll have to go stand in line at the post office and buy postage the old-fashioned way.
"USBank Five Star Service Guarantee" my ass. I don't even give them one star tonight.
"Do you find me sexually attractive?"
"Yes, Robert. Yes I do. You are a very sexy man."
I was up working until 1:30am this morning, so when my mobile phone woke me up at the crack of dawn, I wasn't really in the mood for The Bad Robert Experience. It takes a certain kind of tact and mental clarity to have a conversation with him, neither of which I possessed at the time.
"Seriously. I'm emailing you a photo..."
"No. No. No. No. No. Do not email me a photo, Robert. It's too early for me to see a picture of your ass or whatever."
"Hah! Funny. No, check your email. I need you to look at something."
Knowing I would regret it, I hung up the phone and started groping for my glasses on the night-stand. Once my spectacles had been properly situated on my face, I then grabbed my MacBook and waited for Robert's 1.2 megabyte attachment to come through. With each passing second my mind was racing with speculation as to what I might find when the download was complete. Porn? A new tech gadget? Porn? A new motorcycle? DONKEY PORN?!?
After a few moments, the photograph had arrived. It looked something like this...
The ensuing conversation went something like this...
DAVE: You've grown a mustache?
ROBERT: It's cool, right?
DAVE: In a kind of 70's porn star way. I was kidding before, but with that mustache you actually are a very sexy man!
ROBERT: I know! But Super Deluxe Girlfriend hates it. She says she doesn't find me sexually attractive now, and won't let me have sex with her again until I shave it off.
DAVE: Oh well, it was good while it lasted then.
ROBERT: No! I want to keep it!
DAVE: Are you insane? Why would you give somebody as hot as Super Deluxe Girlfriend an excuse not to have sex with you?
ROBERT: Eh. She'll come around.
DAVE: Dude. You are seriously mentally impaired.
ROBERT: Yeah, but I look totally awesome!
Spoken like a man who hasn't yet been denied sex long enough to miss it.
I give him a week before he's willing to shave not only his mustache, but anything else she asks him to...
Whenever I have a bad day, I watch the last five minutes of the film Millions because it never fails to put a smile on my face. For convenience' sake, I have it cued up on my TiVo for immediate viewing at any time.
The fact that I am watching it most days now is not lost on me.
Today was filled with a non-stop parade of nasty surprises, so I just finished watching the end of Millions twice...
Things that make me go ARRRRGH!
• Best laid plans... Today I found out that all my intricate and carefully-scheduled travel plans may have to be completely changed. The thought of having to spend hours altering reservations and rescheduling my life fills me with a dread beyond my ability to articulate.
• Steve Jobs is a cruel mistress... I received a package from Apple this morning. Thinking it was my new iPhone, I ripped into the box with a glee usually reserved for a tub of Snack Pack chocolate pudding. But it wasn't my iPhone. It was the car charger for my iPhone. Apple says PSYCHE!! The current scheduled delivery date for the DavePhone is while I am out of the State, which is what makes this little tease particularly cruel.
• A pain by any other name... My back is still jacked up, necessitating that I spend every waking hour medicated and every sleeping hour drugged. My life goes by in a hazy blur and it feels like zombies have eaten my brain. Fortunately, I have a T-shirt for that.
• Master of my domain... Some guy is starting up a blog indexing service site (or whatever) and emailed to tell me that they had chosen "Blogography" as the name. Since it would be "confusing" for people to type in "blogography.com" and have my silly blog pop up, they want to acquire my domain. So I do what I always do when this happens, I write back and tell them that the very least I would be willing to accept for it is $500,000. Apparently, this was taken as some kind of joke, because he came back with a "maximum offer" of $750 and a hint of legal entanglement. Maybe it's the pills talking, but I find this really funny.
• It doesn't get much worse than this... The most watchable thing on television just now is Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties. Since I am doped up on pain killers and beyond caring, I'm just going to leave it running (despite the film being abhorrently bad). How could anybody watch this crap without being medicated?
Now, if you don't mind, I'm just going to lay here and moan in agony for a while...
During the height of Garth Brook's popularity throughout the 1990's, I was nearly suicidal. I 100% loathed his "music" and, since it was absolutely everywhere all the time, there was no escape from it. When he dropped off the face of the earth in 2002, nobody was more thrilled than I. To this day, one of my greatest fears is that Garth Brooks will come out of retirement and stage a massive comeback, dooming me to once again be inundated with his crap.
In the meanwhile, I continue to be haunted...
After a week of 100° heat and clear skies, the valley was unexpectedly overcast this morning. Then, around 10:30, booming thunder filled the skies and we were in the middle of a downpour. As I was working away at my desk, two women walked by my window screaming the lyrics to The Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks. And, while I did take some small satisfaction in that they were getting drenched by the rain, this horrifying ordeal has me wanting to drink copious amounts of alcohol until I pass out.
Alas, I can't get drunk because I have too much work to do and, unfortunately, it's all rather complex and cannot be tended to while wasted.
Or can it?
I am pretty amazing at my job... perhaps I can do it while drunk?
I dunno. I suppose it depends on whether or not every Garth Brooks fan on the planet decides to send me fun hatemail and leave insightful comments like "GARTH BROOKS IS THE BESTEST SINGER EVER, SO GO F#@% YOURSELF, A$$HOLE!!" just because I dare use my blog to state my opinion on musical talent (or lack thereof).
Hey. The rain has stopped. Must be time to listen to some Chris Gaines!
Bwah ha ha haaaa!
When you travel a lot, people are always attempting to solicit advice or ask questions about the places you've been. What's your favorite city you've been to? (Edinburgh, Scotland). What's the most incredible thing you've seen? (The Great Wall of China). What do you feel is the most romantic city on the planet? (Paris, France). Where is the best food you've eaten in the world? (Rome, Italy). What do you consider to be nature's most beautiful sight? (Bryce Canyon, Utah). Where did you find the friendliest people on earth? (Bali, Indonesia). What city outside the US would you most like to live in? (London, England). Where do I go to change my life? (Thailand).
And the list goes on and on. Name a place I've been to, and I've undoubtedly got some great memory of something I've seen, done, or ate there.
But, surprisingly, one of the most often-asked questions is this: "What's a place you've been to that you hate?"
I never know quite how to answer this, because I don't "hate" anything (with the possible exception of Ann Coulter, but she is evil incarnate, so that's okay). I try my best to take only the positive away from anything I might experience, and let the negative go (blogging is good for that). Which is why I have had unpleasant aspects to my travels from time to time, but I don't dwell on them so much that I end up "hating" anyplace I've been.
Except, maybe Atlanta.
Partly because I've had more bad things than good things happen to me in Atlanta, making it difficult to let go, but mostly because the traffic there is the worst I have experienced in the entire world. Los Angeles, which is widely accepted as the worst traffic city in the USA, is a piece of cake by comparison. Shanghai? Beijing? Tokyo? Paris? Rome? Seoul? They have nothing on Atlanta. Sure there are cities like Lagos in Nigeria which could rightfully claim the title, but I haven't been there, so for me it's always been Atlanta. I would rather be kicked in the balls than have to navigate Atlanta traffic... especially in the summer heat.
So guess which major American city had to be forced into to my itinerary yesterday?
Unfortunately, NOT a complete list of stops in the Tour de Dave 2007.
Now, I'm sure that Atlanta is a perfectly lovely city to visit on vacation or something... there's a lot to see and do there... but to have to go to Atlanta for work is absolute torture because of the f#@%ing traffic making everything miserable.
And then there's the peaches...
The last time I was in Atlanta, I decided to treat myself to some Georgia peaches after having wasted two hours in a massive traffic jam just outside the city. My hotel which had a very nice restaurant, listed peaches and cream on the menu, which only makes sense because Georgia is "The Peach State," and tourists are going to want peaches so they can experience the state properly. So I got my peaches and was eating away when my waitress dropped by for small-talk. She asked me how I was enjoying my fruit, and I replied that it was pretty good, but tasted the same as Washington peaches back home. That's when she dropped the bomb that they probably were peaches from Washington or, more likely, California... or maybe even China. Apparently Georgia peach production drops every year, because orchardists just can't compete with the imports. Much like Washington's famous apples, I suppose.
Horrendous traffic, scorching heat, and fake Georgia peaches. Now that's something to look forward to.
Sunday, Bullet Sunday... here I come!
Unfortunately, I have to go to work today, so it's a short one...
• Guest Appearance! I'm filling in for Hilly over at Snackie's World on today's Snackie Sunday...
Of course, since everybody who is anybody already reads Hilly, I guess you already knew that. But just in case you are one of those people who read their blogroll in alphabetical order, I thought I'd let you know so you can skip from the "B's" to the "S's" and answer my super-snoopy questions right away.
• Super TV! Man, is there ever some good television happening in the off-season...
Rescue Me is as amazing and shocking in its fourth season as it ever was. Burn Notice features Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar in a supporting roles, which is reason enough to watch, but it is an incredibly well-written and acted show as well. The Closer is probably one of the best dramas to hit television in years. Top Chef is drastically more watchable than last season's really bad run. Traveler just keeps getting better and better with each episode (but is on ABC, and so it will probably be canceled). Psych is back, and hasn't lost any of the magic that made it so much fun last year. And let's not forget that Sci-Fi has a new Flash Gordon series dropping on August 10th! I am such a TV whore.
• Gay TV! And speaking of good television shows for summer, I was gifted an episode of Rick & Steve, World's Happiest Gay Couple from the iTunes Music Store and laughed my ass off. The show is not even close to politically correct, and SO wrong in many ways that I actually felt bad about laughing in parts. But it's a cute cartoon, so it's not like you can feel too bad...
Think of it like milking a cow. Men are just smellier, stupider cows.
What's amusing here is that if the show had been created by straights, it would undoubtedly be considered homophobic, offensive, and be accused of propagating gay stereotypes. GLAAD would be calling for a boycott, and people would die. But, since the show-runners are gay and it's airing on a gay television network, it suddenly becomes okay. I'm not exactly sure how to feel about that, but you can watch a funny trailer for the show here and, for the braver of you, the first five minutes of episode 1 is here.
• Emergency! Friday I got to make a midnight run to the emergency room as a chauffeur. Again. As it was a Friday night in the middle of summer, there was a wild assortment of party-related emergencies, including underage alcohol poisoning, and a girl in the room next door that tried to O.D. (who didn't want to provide her last name, because she didn't want her parents called). After they were forced to take a urine sample so they could treat her, the conversation went something like this...
NURSE: Okay... what are you on? What did you take?
MOANING GIRL: Nothing.
NURSE: What. Drugs. Did. You. Take?
MOANING GIRL: No drugs.
NURSE: NO drugs?!?
MOANING GIRL: NO DRUGS!! I'M NOT TAKING DRUGS!!
And fifteen minutes later the nurse finds the doctor in the hall...
NURSE: Here's the test results.
DOCTOR: Well there's a big surprise...
Yes, big surprise, IT WAS DRUGS!! Who lies about doing drugs after they've had urine sample taken? Oh, I don't know... A DRUG ADDICT MAYBE? For big stupid fun entertainment, nothing beats an E.R. on the weekend.
But I'm in no hurry to go back any time soon.
Last night before I went to bed, three bloggers I read announced they were quitting. I wonder if there's a virus going around or something?
After reading such upsetting and tragic news, my mind turned to Jesus.
This was a strange experience for me, because I'm not a Christian. But I am a hardcore art lover, and Jesus has served as an inspiration for a lot of really good art throughout history. His story, while inspiring to those whose faith is built upon it, has always seemed quite sad to me... the poor guy was given a destiny to die horribly for the sins of the world, and that cannot be an easy burden, even for the son of God. But, like it or not, Jesus accepted what he had to do, and believed his sacrifice was the entire purpose for his being.
The one I really feel sorry for in this story is Mary.
She may have been the vessel for Christianity's savior but, when you set that aside, what she really was is a mother.
A mother who loved her son very much, only to have to watch as he was tortured and killed. I don't care how deep your faith is, this is something that no mother should have to experience. And yet I am reminded of it over and over again as I traverse art galleries around the globe. For the most part, the bulk of this art is divided between the two most significant events in any life... birth and death.
First there's all those images of Madonna and Child. Jesus has just been born and Mary is always depicted cherishing him, just as any mother would feel toward their new baby...
And then there's the pietà, which shows a grief-struck Mary cradling her dead son. I don't care whether you are a Christian or not, this is a powerful and painful image. And no interpretation of this event is more heartbreaking that Michelangelo's masterpiece, La Pietà, which is housed at The Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica...
It's difficult to get from a photo, but the sadness carved into Mary's face is enough to bring a lump to your throat and make your heart ache for her. What could be more tragic?
Certainly not somebody shutting down their blog, but that does make me kind of sad too.
All this talk about Jesus has reminded me of a drawing I created last year for a digital Christmas card that I sent to some of my art friends, but never dared show on my blog... until now...
I always worried that people would see this and think "OH MY GAWD! DAVE THINKS HE'S JESUS!!!" But that was never the intent. I just used Baby Dave to make this interpretation of Madonna and Child my own. As the above text hopefully illustrates, I have the upmost respect for Jesus, Mary, and their story... and this drawing is meant to be an homage, not ridicule. I put a lot of care into creating it, and it's easily one of my favorite DaveToons ever. I'm probably inviting all kinds of hatemail by showing it, but it seems a shame not to share when it means so much to me.
Unlike most interpretations, where Jesus is somber and stoic, I wanted my Madonna and Child to depict baby Jesus as happy and joyful as possible. This was not easy given how crude the drawing is, but I tried my best because I like to think that Jesus was a happy baby. Given his ultimate sacrifice, it would be nice to think that he had a happy childhood... wouldn't it?
Hmmm. I am tired enough that I may actually get a good night's sleep tonight.
I am trying my best to think of something that hasn't gone wrong today. Turns out there isn't anything. Despite my hopes, I didn't sleep AT ALL last night, and it's all been downhill from there. To list everything that's gone wrong would depress even me, so I've decided to just list the top five...
• In my sleep-deprived state, I grabbed a bowl for my Captain Crunch cereal and knocked a coffee mug off the counter where it landed on the top of my foot. I now have a big welt there and can't tie my shoe. This wouldn't be a big deal, except my shoe keeps falling off, causing me to fall down and embarrass myself a lot. It's like being drunk... but without the benefit of being totally wasted.
• I am sitting here with a sticky-wet lap because the bottle of Coke I had on my break decided to overflow all over me for some reason when I opened it. It came straight from the refrigerator, so I have no idea what made it explode. I must have angered the Coke gods or something.
• Artificial Duck Co. store orders are starting to be returned to me with an "insufficient address" notice. Yet when I look in tracking, the address is complete (heck, they won't let you ship anything WITHOUT a complete address!). Apparently the postal service's Click-N-Ship is, in fact, Click-N-SHIT... because it generates bad labels. The glitch appears to be random, because when I track packages before and after the faulty label, they've been delivered. So, if you've been waiting for a T-shirt order and haven't gotten it... that would be why. I am re-shipping them immediately after I get the return, and will generate a new tracking email so customers will know what happened...
The even worse part of the deal is that I can't simply re-print their incorrect labels... I have to buy a NEW label, then request a refund for the original label. I'm not holding my breath that I'll be getting my money back. I'm sure they'll somehow make this my fault.
• A critical Fed-Ex package I am waiting for is lost. The only thing that tracking shows is a departure scan, then nothing. Nobody has any idea what's going on. It's as if the thing just evaporated in mid-air. In the meanwhile, I'm screwed. There's no way to meet deadline on my current project now, and I have no idea what's going to happen.
• Due to some stupid crap I didn't understand, the cost to change my airline tickets to my new itinerary was outrageously expensive, so I ended up keeping my old ticket and just adding a second ticket. So now I fly to where I am no longer working, then fly to where the new work is, then fly back to where I need to be so I can fly back to where I don't need to be so I can fly home. The airline industry has got the biggest scam going with their complicated, incomprehensible fare calculations. Why can't everybody just abandon this antiquated way of doing business and switch to more simplified and easily understood fare rules like Alaska Air? With Alaska, every segment is selected with full knowledge of EXACTLY what's going to happen if you need to make changes to it. And, since every segment has separate rules, you don't f#@% up the rest of your fare when you only need to add or change a single piece. I love this because it's a straight-forward way of doing business, and doesn't screw customers when their travel needs change. I mean, seriously, LOOK AT HOW SIMPLE IT IS...
When I fly Alaska, I simply choose "value" fares for segments I am sure about... then pay a little more for "full flex" on segments I'm not. Simple. It frustrates me that other airlines can't be this honest when you shop for fares, and makes me wish Alaska had more routes. Because, seriously, how logical is it that it's $1200 cheaper to buy an additional new ticket than adjust an old one?
• And here's the worst part of my entire day so far... it's only half over! Now that my lunch break is done, I've got an entire afternoon of even more horrendous crap to look forward to!
I want to go home now, climb into bed, and start the day all over again.
Or drink a fifth of Jack Daniels.
One of those two things.
So there I was, waking up after a good night's sleep* so I could check my email, when Harry Potter dropped by for an unwelcome visit.
The very first email I opened was sent to my Blogography address, and had a subject line of "Hard Rock Cafe Hong Kong." Thinking that somebody had news of yet another unfortunate cafe closing, I opened it up only to find that is was a photo collage of pages from a book with notes scrawled above them. But not just any book, it was Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series (not yet released).
This was completely baffling. From appearances, the person sending the photo had fully intended to spoil the book for me. They knew me. They knew I like the Hard Rock Cafe. And they used an email subject they knew I was likely to open. About the only thing they didn't know is that I don't care about Harry Potter, and have read only the first book, part of the second, and made it through the third only by skipping large chunks of it. So seeing all these spoilers meant nothing. The sender's address looked disposable, so I didn't even bother replying.
A couple of emails later, and it's a comment notification for my blog... that turns out to be nothing more than a dozen Harry Potter spoilers typed out in ALL-CAPS (left anonymously, of course).
Why would anybody work so hard to ruin a book that I'm not even interested in? I can only assume that I am not alone, and soon the entire internet will be plagued by juvenile assholes with nothing better to do than try to ruin the ending of the book for people. I just wish that I could figure out what in the heck they have to gain from this. If making other people unhappy is their incentive, that's pretty frakin' lame.
*Last night I adopted drastic measures so I could finally get some sleep... PILLS! Two sleeping pills, a melatonin, and a Midnite, all combined into a sleep cocktail that managed to knock me out for an entire seven hours. I worry about trying this kind of thing too often, but it's nice to know I can get some drug-induced rest from time to time.
And now, before I go, why not head on over to NYC Watchdog's Cereal Wednesday... not only is he one of the best-dressed vloggers out there, but you could win a box of Krusty-O's cereal!
Because I love Mocha Momma more than life itself, I'm joining in on her BlogMe Ten Second Intro meme!
But before I start... the best new reality show ever has just started airing: Victoria Beckham: Coming to America! The one-time Spice Girl is moving to the USA after her super-star soccer player husband, David Beckham, was awarded a gazillion-dollar contract to play for the L.A. Galaxy. I've always loved Posh Spice, but now my infatuation has escalated to an entirely new level...
Scorching hot Victoria Beckham photo taken from Just Jared.
There's just something about seeing Posh take her drivers license exam at the DMV that's totally compelling television to me. I think I actually squealed a little when she passed. By the time we got to the Victoria Beckham dress-up sex doll, I was hooked.
And now on to the introduction (which might be 10 seconds if you read really fast)...
I am a graphic designer, which is a career I fell into entirely by accident. I've designed or worked on just about anything you can think of over the past 20 years... catalogs, advertising, packaging, video games, architecture, clothing, book covers, album art, movie storyboards, posters, magazines, logos, web sites, software, user interfaces, children's toys, comic books, DVD menus, airplane graphics, board games, instruction manuals, maps, and much, much more.
I love to travel in my spare time, and enjoy visiting Hard Rock Cafes around the world.
I am a vegetarian, and have been since a girlfriend dragged me into it back on Earth Day, 1986. After becoming a vegetarian, the relationship lasted four more weeks. The diet stuck, and has lasted over 20 years. I can't give up dairy though, because I love cheese and chocolate pudding.
I am not religious, but study Buddhism and try to live my live according to Buddhist precepts. My friends and family mean more to me than anything else. I still think Elizabeth Hurley is the most beautiful woman on earth, even though she went and got herself married.
I'm Dave. Nice to meet you, and goodnight!
The big news in Western Washington today is that Seattle's King County Board of Health has mandated that chain restaurants with 10 or more locations must post nutritional labeling on their menus and eliminate trans fats. This is all done under the pretense of improving health and fighting obesity, but is so monumentally stupid that I can't help but wonder if anybody on the Board of Health has a grip on reality.
Banning the trans-fats I get. Trans-fats are evil and should be destroyed.
But being forced to put calorie, fat, sodium and carbohydrate information on your menu in full-size type? Did anybody bother to think this through? Ordering at a fast-food restaurant can already be a confusing, time consuming task to many people... what happens when the menu board has to be twice as big to accommodate all this extra shit? Does anybody really need to be told that a veggie salad with lite dressing is a more healthful meal than a triple hamburger loaded with cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise? Is this really going to come as a huge revelation once the menus have changed? When Taco bell alters their menus, are people going to die of shock that deep-fried dishes covered in sour cream and cheese have fat in them? Really? People can claim ignorance, but is that an excuse to punish the restaurants?
I mean, seriously, look around. Food manufacturers have already spent billions of dollars updating their product packaging with Nutrition Facts (twice!), yet medical cases of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease show no sign of slowing down. If people won't take the time to study nutrition intake while they are eating at home, why should anybody expect that they'll bother to take the time while at the McDonalds drive-up? This is yet another case of trying to crack an egg with a sledgehammer, burdening companies with major expenses to initiate changes that will have little (if any) effect.
Do I think restaurants should be required to provide nutritional information to their customers?
I think it is perfectly reasonable that consumers be informed as to what they are eating. As a vegetarian, this is something I can appreciate. Not only should customers have access to nutritional information at a restaurant, but a complete list of ingredients as well.
But let's be realistic here.
There's no reason that restaurants can't hand over a brochure or pamphlet with this information for those who request it. Why force everybody to change their menus and reader boards? This is not only impractical, but a very dangerous precedent as well. If people don't care enough to take an interest in their own health and can't be bothered to ASK for nutritional information of their own free will when they need it, then too damn bad. I am tired of government deciding I am too f#@%ing stupid to figure out for myself what constitutes a proper diet. So long as the information is made available upon request, demanding a restaurant to go through all this extra expense is grossly unfair.
I say that if restaurants are required to deface their menus with this shit, that EVERY F#@%ING TIME politicians and local government officials appear in media... from newspapers and television appearances to personal correspondence and an election ballot... that their salary should be listed after their name. Knowing how much money these power-abusive idiots make to come up with this stupid crap is information that could really make a difference.
Today I'm packing up my undead monkey and heading over to Geeks of Doom to review the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry starring Kevin James and Adam Sandler (a direct link to the review is here). This is a pre-cursor to my becoming a columnist there in mid-August, after an invitation by site-runners (and my good blogging buddies) Empress Eve and Dave3.
For those of you not familiar with "Geeks of Doom," it is the group blog formerly known as "GeekZine," which quickly became one of my favorite news sites because it's packed with geeky goodness on comics, television, movies, and pop culture. With the transition to Geeks of Doom now complete, it's an essential daily read for me, and I'm honored to be writing for the site...
I've been presented with more than a few offers to write and draw for other blogs and websites, but have always turned them down... even when they were going to pay me. I just never felt that there was anything I wanted to say outside of Blogography. But this opportunity proved entirely too tempting, and the idea of working with Eve and Dave was something I just couldn't pass up.
I'll be sure to mention when I have an entry up in case anybody is interested... or you can head over to Geeks of Doom and subscribe to their webfeed. The information contained within may very well save your life*
*In the event of zombie invasion or other geek-related disaster.
Oh snap! It's Bullet Sunday in the dark, as I try to desperately crank out the bullets on a laptop battery with just 15 minutes of power left! Better not waste any more time...
• Everybody loves hate-mail! Is there anything more special than waking up to an in-box that has eight email notifications from people who hate your guts that are leaving comments on your blog? And this time it's not even the Dooce Posse! Oh no... this time it's a group of people complaining about a rant I made against public fingernail clipping almost two years ago. Apparently, a customer printed this out and took it to a restaurant where they experienced the same thing, and the employees did not find it funny when the boss got all pissed at them. This is MY fault? Sometimes I envy the life of little rocks.
• Everybody dies, bitches! Turns out the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows spoilers I was emailed the other day were actually legitimate. This makes me really sad. It also makes me angry. But mostly sad. If I had been a Harry Potter fan, the end of the series would have been spoiled before I would have realized it. I wonder if it's a good time to be a Harry Potter smart-ass at the local bookshops again?
• So close and yet so far... How friggin' cruel is THIS...
My iPhone has traveled across the earth, and is now just 3 hours away at a FedEx warehouse over in Spokane...
It might as well be a million miles away, because I'm leaving tomorrow. sob!
• I'm givin' her everything I got Captain... OMG! In the name of all that's holy, I am now running on reserve power's shutdown notice! I knew I shouldn't have gone to Google Maps!!
• Travel Gymnastics... Usually, in order to make a connection out of Seattle for an east-bound flight that arrives at a decent hour, you have to take an insanely early 5:20am flight out of our tiny local airport. Since I knew that I would be working tonight until the wee hours, this was not a very good plan. So instead, I am flying out on a later flight and arriving tomorrow night. Ordinarily, this would not be too terrible, but I then have to get up early the following morning so I can fly to Atlanta in time for work. I am not much of a morning person when it comes to flying, but I just can't seem to avoid it. Oh how I envy people that live in Chicago who can get direct flights to just about anywhere in the country in 4 hours or less!
GAAAAHHH!! If there are spelling or grammatical errors in this entry, I don't have time to think about it! Please don't run out of juice before this entry posts. Please don't run out of juice before this entry posts. Please don't...
If there's one thing I really hate... really, really HATE... it's being lied to.
I am sitting here in Minneapolis when all of a sudden there's an announcement that the inbound aircraft has been delayed, and we will be an hour-and-a-half late getting into Milwaukee. Well, shit happens, and I'm not too upset about it. If I got angry every time a flight was cancelled or delayed, traveling anywhere would be a miserable experience because there's very few times that stuff doesn't go wrong anymore... flights are always being delayed or canceled.
And then I see that the "delayed inbound aircraft" is coming from Seattle.
Which seems odd, because I just came off of the inbound flight from Seattle.
Which means this was NOT our original inbound aircraft. A quick check confirms our actual aircraft landed on time and originated in Anchorage.
Which means that Northwest is lying to everybody.
And that's stupid.
If they simply said "we've had to change aircraft because we fucked up" or whatever the TRUTH is, I'd be fine with it. But instead they keep announcing over and over again that the reason for our wait is that the inbound aircraft has been delayed. Probably because that sounds more like it's not their fault... hoping that people will assume it's the weather or something. Naturally, this leads me to believe that it IS something that's their fault, because why else would they lie?
And I really hate that.
Lying Northwest Airline bastards...
The real kicker is that if I would have booked this later flight out of Seattle in the first place, I would have had two more hours to goof around at home this morning. Or maybe even sleep-in after having worked until 1:30am.
But instead I'm sitting here being lied to.
UPDATE: And, of course, they lost my luggage. Instead of sleeping-in tomorrow morning, I have to get up and (hopefully) collect my suitcase at the airport instead. Another night of 4-hours sleep. Yay. Thank heavens for my emergency underwear stash in my backpack.
UPDATE: It's 2:00am and I am in my hotel room. Which smells like feet.
UPDATE: Feet which have stepped in a pile of shit.
OBVIOUS OBSERVATION: Clearly this has not been a good day.
UPDATE: My luggage was on the morning flight. Woo hoo! But I did have to pick it out from the carousel amidst loose cans of meat. Somebody packed up a box with food and it busted all over the place. Since I was starving from not having eaten all last night or this morning, I was very near grabbing a can and biting through the metal to eat it. But then I remembered I am a vegetarian. Now that I'm back to the hotel, I'm going to turn the air conditioner ON, take my pants OFF, and have a nap.
PS: The reason I didn't have the airport deliver my bag to the hotel is because I was told delivery runs are scheduled, and I may not get my bag until noon or later. Since I am flying out around then, it was worth the 10 minute shuttle ride to the airport so I could be sure I got it.
And It's just a frakkin' cool as I knew it would be...
Amazing how handy it is to have Google Maps and the entire internet with me everywhere. I find myself turning to iPhone constantly, and I've only had it one day. Heaven only knows what my life will be like once its been fully integrated. Sure AT&T's EDGE network is painfully slow, but do I really care when I'm out in the middle of nowhere and need driving directions? To get un-lost, I'm happy to wait a minute for a map.
What really gets me is how great this is for a version 1.0 product, and I can't fathom what cool stuff Apple will be adding in the next update. iPhone is an incredibly functional and useful tool that's a joy to use. And, get this... the phone quality is not sacrificed... calls are SO much nicer than with my old P.O.S. mobile phone. Now that I have iPhone, I can't imagine going back to anything else.
Side note: Dave's wish list for iPhone 2.0: GPS functionality that integrates with Google Maps. Automated voice dialing.
Anyway, on my way back from work, I passed through Thomaston, Georgia, and couldn't resist stopping at the local Piggie Park drive-in for a grilled cheese sandwich and some fries...
My sandwich was a very reasonable $1.35!! I can't remember the last time I paid under $2.00 for a sandwich...
The place has been around since 1950, and is very popular. Even at 2:00, the place had a steady stream of customers. At the lunch hour it must be over-run...
And from the "totally tasteless but funny department," I saw this sign for a mailing service today...
Tonight will be my first night in four days where I'll actually have time to get some decent sleep. Needless to say, I am looking forward to that. The only thing that worries me is the impending thunderstorms which iPhone says are due to hit both Georgia and Wisconsin for the next couple days. I wonder what the odds are that I'm going to be stuck in Atlanta? Given my luck, the airport will be completely destroyed.
Oh well. It's not like I'll care... I'VE GOT MY iPHONE, bitches!
Today was a day I've been looking forward to for weeks now, because I was going to meet up with fellow blogger Beth and her husband Kevin so we could go to WORLD OF COKE!!
This is actually the NEW WORLD OF COKE, which only just opened in May. It replaces Old World of Coke (which I visited years ago), and is twice as huge... with an advertised SEVENTY different Coke products available for sampling from around the world! Sweet!
This was going to be an awesome opportunity to meet some readers (which I always enjoy) AND drink my beloved Coke with Lime until I pass out from a sugar-induced coma.
The tour starts out with a waiting room where they inundate you with Coke memorabilia, then brainwash you into submission with an all-Coke audio soundtrack that features Coke soundbites, jingles, ads, and slogans throughout the years. Kevin was too smart to be brainwashed and found it all to be pretty funny, but I was converted into a Coke Zombie almost immediately. I'd like to blame it on the fact that I'm not in my native time zone, but the simple truth is that I'm a sucker for a good advertising jingle...
Coke Zombies ate my brain!!
They don't let you go to the Coke sampling room immediately... oh no... you have to watch a Coke film, walk through a Coke room, say hello to the Coke polar bear, see a mini Coke bottling plant, experience Coke in 4-D, and visit the Coke pop-art display first.
Then, AT LAST, it was time for my Coke with Lime!
I was so excited! Soda dispensers with drinks from around the world were here!
I didn't drink anything all day in anticipation of this moment!
Only to find out that WORLD OF FRAKKIN' COKE DOESN'T HAVE COKE WITH LIME!!!
That's right... NO COKE WITH LIME IN THE ENTIRE WORLD OF COKE!! They will let you sample the most horrendous tasting substance on earth (a soda called "Beverly" from Italy, which makes you want to die it tastes so bad) but you can't sample the divine elixir that is Coke with Lime.
My day was pretty much ruined. I went to World of Coke all happy and full of joy and stuff... but then left with nothing but a crappy free souvenir bottle of regular-old Coke...
The only reason I didn't kill myself right there in the middle of World of Coke was that Beth had given me this super-sweet baseball cap which she custom-embroidered with DaveDevil on the back...
Yes. Yes I know. It's like one of the coolest things ever. And having it put me in such a good mood that I didn't even feel like taking a flame-thrower to World of Coke until it burns the ground... even though it's totally justified, given that you can't get Coke with Lime there.
But I still kind of want to go back tomorrow with a crate of limes and vandalize the building with them. Maybe knock out a few windows and smear pulpy bits of smashed lime all over the walls...
Or maybe I could just alter their signs so that everybody will know the TRUTH...
Oh well. Life sometimes sucks that way.
Before we parted ways, Beth decided to improve her Dave Number...
She now has a Dave Number of TWO, which means she's part of that elite class of people who no longer have to pay taxes, always gets upgraded to First Class, and gets a 25% discount on chocolate pudding and cheese products at her local grocery store. The real advantages of such an awesome Dave Number, however, cannot truly be measured... it's the psychological benefit of knowing that you're a much cooler person than most everybody else on the planet who hasn't been lucky enough to meet me yet.
After seeing World of Coke without Lime and saying goodbye to Beth and Kevin, I walked across the plaza to visit the Georgia Aquarium, which is kind of nifty. It's a pretty big building, but it kind of has to be since they have WHALES inside of it! They're those freaky white Beluga whales, but still fun to watch.
In order to kill time and miss rush-hour on the MARTA train, I walked back to the Hard Rock Cafe so I could have a quick bite before returning to my hotel. They've changed things around since my last visit, but it's still a great property with a really good staff. I wasn't going to buy anything, but they had some cool new city pins, and I couldn't resist. But, then again, I never can. Hard Rock pins are like my Kryptonite or something.
I am still totally loving my iPhone. One of the coolest pieces of tech I've ever owned. But today I did find something that's not so great about it... the camera. I purposely left my little Canon camera back in my room because I thought I'd take all my photos with the iPhone camera. But it turns out that the thing sucks pretty bad for photos. Low-light situations render the camera practically useless, and iPhone isn't much better in really bright light. Unless everything in the frame is perfect lit in a way that's not too dark and not too light, you ain't going to get very good pictures. Kind of sad for a $600 mobile phone, but I guess it can't do everything. Fortunately, Beth had her camera with her so I had something to post here today.
Tomorrow it's back to work work work...
Note to Delta Airlines... delaying a two-hour flight by 30 minutes because you are waiting for CATERING TRUCK is not cool. Not cool at all. I'm willing to bet a million dollars that if you had asked everybody waiting for that flight if they would rather take off on-time OR be delayed a half-hour so they could have a half-can of Coke and a snack on a short two hour flight... the vast majority would tell you to shove the Coke up your ass. Seriously. Thirty frickin' minutes late for a tiny bag of peanuts and a cup of soda? Are you shitting me?!?
Anyway, just like iPhone had said, there were thunderstorms over the mid-west which made for a very bumpy flight. The ultimate irony would have been if it were too rough for beverage service, but the cabin stewards were real troopers. Probably because they were afraid the passengers would revolt if the half-hour wait for Coke was all for nothing.
When I finally landed in Milwaukee, I was lucky enough to hop in a cab driven by a foul-mouthed taxi driver who loved saying the f-word at the end of every sentence. Curious to see if he would realize it, I started dropping f-bombs myself at every opportunity. If he noticed, he didn't react. Very quickly, my cab ride started sounding like an episode of Deadwood...
Twenty minutes later I was dropped off at my favorite of all Milwaukee hotels, The Intercontinental. Twenty minutes after that, I was eating giant beer pretzels at the Rock Bottom Brewery... a trip which was made slightly more difficult than usual because the Kilbourn Bridge that links the two was closed.
And here is where things get interesting.
As I was leaving the restaurant, I ran into a small group of people. One of the people in this group was a cute, but very, very drunk girl. The reason I say she was drunk was not because she was stumbling around and slurring her words... but because she was offering oral sex in exchange for a ride home. The group thought this was hysterical, and kept egging her on. I was tired and in no mood to deal with it, so I moved as far away from them on the sidewalk as I could, trying my best to blend in with the buildings.
My efforts were in vain, because she ran up to me almost immediately...
DRUNK WHORE: I mean it, whip it out and let's go!
DAVE2: No, no... we can't have that. You might choke to death, and then where would we be?
- At this point, her group is laughing uncontrollably -
DRUNK WHORE: But I need a riiiiiiiiiiiiide!!
DAVE2: Ah, sorry, I don't have a car. But if you want to walk back to my hotel, I'll give you a T-shirt.
DRUNK WHORE: But I need a riiiiiiiiiiiiide!!
She then goes stumbling off into the night... going wherever it is drunken women go on a Thursday night in Milwaukee.
As I continue on my way back to The Intercontinental, I pass a very nice-looking restaurant that's completely dead. I can't see a single customer inside. In an effort to drum up business, the valet notices me looking in the window and asks me if I have ever eaten there. I say I haven't, and ask if they have a full bar. He says that they do, and I should go in and check it out. I then sigh and express my regrets... "I'd love to but, with any luck, there's a drunken whore waiting for me back at my hotel room."
Alas, this turned out not to be the case, but it had such a nice ring to it that I'm going to have to keep it in mind the next time I need an excuse to get away from somebody.
I ended up working all day, escaping only long enough to grab an early lunch before being picked up for a meeting an hour-and-a-half away. Ordinarily this wouldn't give me much blogging fodder, except fate decided to intervene along the way.
And everything began with Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.
For some reason I woke up this morning wanting to re-read Slaughterhouse Five for the hundredth time... probably because I've been getting lots of "friend requests" from GoodReads, and books are on my brain. I already have a copy of the novel back home (doesn't everybody?), but wanted to read it on the flight home Sunday, so I made a mental note to pick up another copy at the Border's down the street.
When lunchtime came around, I headed out to the book shop, making a stop at Jimmy John's along the way (I don't particularly like their sandwiches, but they build them really fast, and I was in a hurry). Rushing through Border's, I find a copy of Slaughterhouse Five, then grab a copy of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down (which I've been meaning to read, and noticed was on sale for $4.99 in hardcover!). After paying for my books, 25 minutes of the half-hour I gave myself for lunch have evaporated. I resist the urge to run back to the hotel, but start walking as fast as I can.
With my mind focused on what I have to get done this afternoon, I round the corner on to North Water Street... and get sprayed with... water. Not a lot of water, but enough that my arm is wet.
In a mild state of shock (and irony, this being Water Street), I turn to where the water originated and see a guy standing there with a water bottle and a smile on his face. He then screeches "WOOF! WOOF! BYE-BYE! BYE-BYE!" at me. Obviously the guy is mentally challenged, and suddenly I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to rip the bottle out of his hand and dump it on his head with the hope that he learns it's not polite to spray people, but I just stand there. Ultimately, I conclude that I have no idea what the etiquette would be for the situation, and start walking back to the hotel. No harm was done, my shirt will dry, and life will carry on.
Except I keep reliving the moment over and over again in my head.
And now I am really upset with myself for not having said anything.
But not for the reason you might think.
I am worried that this guy is going to spray somebody who won't care that he is mentally handicapped. Somebody who decides to beat the crap out of him. I thought I was being kind by ignoring what he had done, but now I am thinking that it might have been kinder to have said something.
It's decisions like this which define us, and I think today I failed myself.
My hand brushes lightly down the length of her thigh, resting just above the knee. A cloudburst had come earlier that morning and the smell of it had clung to the length of her hair, teasing me of summer rains from better days. Feeling very much at home I draw myself closer until it feels as if she was breathing for the both of us. Happy now, I close my eyes and drift away. As I leave the waking world behind there's a sound, subtle at first, keeping me from crossing over. Driven to distraction by something I cannot name, I hover short of unconsciousness, the ears of my mind's eye alert. Louder now, the sound comes to me. Crying? The enchantment of my hope for slumber broken, I awaken. The crying turns to a wail and saddens my heart. "Baby, what is it? Why do you cry?" But words do not come, just more cries of her anguish that grow louder and more painful as the minutes crawl forward...
SQUAAAAW! SQUAAAAW! SQUAAAAAAAAAAW!
I awaken for real this time, and scramble for my glasses on the bedside table. Who the hell is in my room and why are they crying so loud?
But there is nobody in my room, and I quickly realize that the cries are those of birds flying outside my window.
AT ONE O'CLOCK A.M.!!!
What the hell? Don't birds frickin' sleep in Milwaukee?!?
I never did get back to sleep. I tossed and turned for hours until 7:30 rolled around and I decided to get up and go to Bruegger's Bagels for some breakfast. They're not "real" authentic New York City bagels, but they don't suck too badly (and NYC is a fourteen hour drive from here).
After a couple of hours spent following up on emails I figure I might as well write in my blog and then see if I can take a nap. There's a lot to do today, and being well-rested would help matters considerably.
It's Bullet Sunday from mid-air as I cruise home on Northwest #807! And, since you're not allowed to be shooting bullets on planes anymore, I'm sure an Air Marshall will be along directly to escort me off the flight.
• Security! I continue to be amazed (but not surprised) when people show up late to the airport and decide that they should get to cut in line at the security checkpoint because their flight is taking off in ten minutes. Tough shit! Maybe if you miss your flight, you'll remember to haul your lazy ass out of bed and get to the airport early like everybody else standing in line. I would have loved to sleep-in for an extra hour this morning, show up late, and then cut in front of the line... but I'm not a complete douche.
• Erasure! Having never seen them in concert before, I leapt at the chance when I found out that Erasure would be playing in Milwaukee, and met up with blogging buddies Diane and Heather for the concert, which was held at the Pabst Theater...
Erasure was formed when Vince Clark quit my favorite band ever, Depeche Mode, and split from his follow-up band, Yaz. The story goes that he had intended on doing some new music projects with a rotating roster of singers but, once he started working with Andy Bell, the partnership stuck and they've been making music for over two decades now.
The show, as you would expect from a group with an ecstatic gay fan-base, was FAAAAABULOUS! All the music was beautifully keyed by Vince from his MacBook and a small sequencer, the three ladies backing up the group on vocals were suitably talented, and Andy... well, Andy was Andy... pouring his flamboyant little heart into a remarkable performance that elevated this concert to one of the best I've seen. Given the intimate nature of the rather small Pabst Theater, the glitzy stage for the show had to be condensed a bit, but was still nice. Our first balcony seats offered up a terrific view (thanks Diane!), and the sound was great. The set list had a large amount of new material, but it was the old favorites (like Chains of Love and A Little Respect) that brought the crowd to their feet. All-in-all, it was a great show and I would gladly see them again.
Except next time I'll dress appropriately...
• Young Love! Surprisingly, the opening act for Erasure was really pretty good. This came as a pleasant surprise, because usually concert openers suck ass. The band was called "Young Love" and had an eclectic rock-pop style that made them a good fit for the tour. I'm hoping that their stuff is available on iTunes so I can buy some of it.
UPDATE: Yep, turns out they're on iTunes! Sweet!
• iPhoneable! There are so many things I love about my new iPhone that it's tough to narrow down what's best about it. But right now it would have to be the fact that it has an unlimited data plan. Because nothing makes me happier than being able to tell overpriced airport internet providers to kiss my ass. Having to pay $9.95 for an entire day of access always pissed me off, because a layover doesn't usually go over 3 hours (and $10 for 3 hours is a big rip-off). AT&T's EDGE network may be slow, but iPhone allows me to use it for everything I need... checking email, approving comments, reading my feeds (thanks to NetNewsWire's brilliant new iPhone-optimized site), and kill time surfing the internet. One of my best purchases ever.
• iDead! At least it was one of my best purchases ever until it died just now. With plenty of battery power, I was listening to music on the flight when iPhone just went black and would not turn back on. Taking a wild guess, I held down all the buttons at the same time and eventually iPhone rebooted and everything was fine again. Odd. Hope this doesn't become a regular thing.
And that's it for Bullet Sunday because we'll be landing in 20 minutes. All I have to do now is change planes in Seattle, make one final hop over the mountains, and I'm home!
I am a total Apple whore, because Apple has actually earned my unwavering love and devotion over the years. I love their high-quality products, think they've created the best computer user experience on earth, and never think twice about buying their stuff because it always exceeds my every expectation. Until something went terribly wrong.
I am not a big fan of bluetooth headsets, especially when they're being worn around when no phone call is taking place. As I've mentioned, I think it makes people look like they're a Star Trek Borg or a Giant Dick...
But they are handy to have when you are taking a long drive, and so I went ahead and bought Apple's specialty headset for my iPhone. It's pricey... $129... but I figure it's worth it if it will allow me to be safer while on the road. The unit was on back-order for several weeks, but finally arrived yesterday.
If I were reviewing Apple's iPhone Bluetooth Headset, I could sum up my experience in four words... Steaming Pile Of Shit.
Seriously. Worst. Apple. Experience. Ever...
When it arrived, I followed the instructions and "paired" the headset with my phone by using the included charging cradle. It's all very cool, because the iPhone then displays the battery level of both itself and the headset. Except the pairing doesn't work. I would pair them, even confirm they were paired in the iPhone settings, but nothing works. The phone would route sound to the headset, but no sound would come out.
Referring to the inadequate documentation, I followed all the steps they offered... unpairing/re-pairing. Resetting the phone. Turning settings off and on. Blah blah blah blah. Eventually, some magical combination got the headphone working, even though the sound quality was not very good. Even worse, the unit does not fit in my ear very well (even with the foam pads they include). Any vigorous activity would cause the thing to fall out. Figuring that this was probably the way all Bluetooth headsets worked, I gave up and went to bed.
Only to wake up and find that the headset had run out of battery overnight.
After charging it up again, I had the exact same problem as before. The stupid thing would NOT play sound, even though the iPhone says it was sending the call's audio to it. I played around for an hour, following all the troubleshooting tips like last time, but never could get it to work again.
Well fuck this.
There is no way I am keeping this $129 piece of crap, so I go online to the Apple Store to arrange a return. Except, for reasons I cannot possibly fathom, Apple doesn't accept returns online for defective crap...
How incredibly stupid is that? With no other choice, I wait for my lunch break to call AppleCare as requested.
After welcoming you to AppleCare support, the computerized voice starts its spiel. Ordinarily, I don't mind automated systems, because they often prove to be more efficient at routing calls than real people. AppleCare's robot, however is particularly stupid. Here is what I remember from my first call...
APPLECARE: Just say the name of the product for which you need support. For example, say "Mac Pro" or "iPod."
DAVE: iPhone Bluetooth Headset.
APPLECARE COMPUTER: I'm sorry, I don't recognize that product...
DAVE: iPHONE BLUETOOTH HEADSET!!
APPLECARE COMPUTER: I'm sorry, I don't recognize...
APPLECARE COMPUTER: The wait time for an operator may be several minutes. I've found that I can help most calls...
APPLECARE COMPUTER: So I can route your call properly, please say the name of the product you are needing help with...
DAVE: FUCK OFF!
APPLECARE COMPUTER: Okay, what kind of iPod do you have? For example, say "Shuffle" if you are calling about an iPod Shuffle.
APPLECARE COMPUTER: I'm sorry, I don't recognize that product...
When somebody fucking says "OPERATOR," that's the point when the automated system needs to IMMEDIATELY put you in the queue for an operator. Don't keep trying to convince people to use your stupid shit if they can't get it to work in the first place! This is remarkably bad form, and a true surprise from Apple, whose service is usually impeccable.
A second call to AppleCare, and I get myself put in the iPhone Support queue... for 52 minutes... AT WHICH POINT THE SYSTEM HANGS UP!!! FIFTY-TWO MINUTES ON HOLD FOR NOTHING!!
What the hell?
This time I call The Apple Store, hoping I can return it directly where I bought it and bypass AppleCare. No go. The system immediately transfers me back to AppleCare... where my call is answered on the first ring! WTF?!? Then everything proceeds as it usually does, with my getting the immediate, friendly, competent service I'm accustomed to when calling Apple. They process my return in a few minutes, and I'm good to go.
So I guess it nets out like this: Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset: surprisingly bad. AppleCare Support: good as usual (once I finally got there). Not surprisingly, this bump in the road hasn't soured me on Apple much. I guess everybody screws up sooner or later. Perhaps because I am so ecstatically happy with my iPhone, it's easy to ignore my bad luck with the headset? This is easily the best mobile phone I've ever had, and I love it more every day. And, despite numerous warnings about AT&T's wireless service (or lack thereof), I've had excellent coverage everywhere I've been with it... certainly no better or worse than my previous service with Verizon.
Anyway, I do find it comforting to know that my Apple Whore status remains unchanged.
It's kind of nice to be a total whore from time to time.
I've been desperately trying to get caught up with the massive pile of work that accumulated while I was away last week. This involves me working from the minute I get up every morning until a pass out from exhaustion every night. Ordinarily, such unending torture would be bad enough... but this morning things became further complicated when I awoke with "severe intestinal distress." A disappointing development to be sure, but I've got pills to fix such horrors.
Except the pills didn't work.
At least not completely.
Which meant on top of my huge load of work, there was another potential huge load to worry about all day...
I'm afraid to speculate as to what might happen next. Am I going to wake up tomorrow and start projectile vomiting? I'm sure if it's contagious and will make my work day even more miserable and unproductive, I'll come down with it.
Bleh. This is the second time I've been inexplicably afflicted this year. I can only guess that my colon is finally starting to stage some kind of rebellion against my love of chocolate pudding.
Is it too much to hope that this is the Norwalk virus, a parasitical infection, or some other kind of non-chocolate-pudding-related ailment?
This morning I woke up, rolled over, looked at the clock, lost my mind.
Given my insomniac-nature, I stopped setting my alarm clock a long time ago. I'm always awake long before it goes off, so why bother? Which is why I freaked when the first thing I saw after waking up was a clock that said "10:08" on it. "Holy crap!" I exclaimed, as a shot of adrenaline surges through me and I start bouncing wildly around the bedroom trying to get ready for work. Wanting to grab a slice of leftover cold pizza before hopping in the shower, I dash to the kitchen. And that's when I notice something odd.
Turns out my clock wasn't displaying 10:08... it was flashing 10:08.
The power went off last night, and my clock decided to display some random number on it.
The actual time? 4:30am
I'm not two hours late for work, I'm three-and-a-half hours early.
The odds of me being able to fall asleep for any meaningful amount of time before having to get right back up again is effectively zero, so I start in on work. And I work and I work and I work. Until I notice that it's 9:10, and I am over an hour late for work. Again. Kinda.
Can't. Catch. A. Break.
Except today was the day my new comic books arrived, and the current issue of The Brave and The Bold had George Pérez drawing both Batman AND the Legion of Super-Heroes, which is like a comic geek's dream come true. So I guess it's all good.
Oh yeah... since I've (obviously) decided to keep my beloved iPhone, I went to AT&T today so I could have my old Verizon phone number transferred over. Right now I feel like I should say something mean like "suck it, Verizon!!" but I really don't feel that way. I have no complaints over the quality of their mobile network at all. About the only complaint I do have is that their phones are always older generation crap (when I bought my first phone there, they had ONE Bluetooth model, whereas all other carriers were swimming in dozens). And when Apple approached them to partner-up for iPhone, they refused. This was a huge opportunity for them to leap ahead of the curve, and they blew it. Well, I wanted a damn iPhone, and so I was given no choice but to switch carriers. And, despite all the warnings, I have been very happy with AT&T... from the backwaters of rural Georgia to Atlanta to Minneapolis to Milwaukee to Seattle and back home to the backwaters of rural Washington State... AT&'T's network has performed no worse than Verizon ever did. I'm sitting here with 5 bars and loving it.
And now, if you will excuse me, I've got to go install new backup batteries in my alarm clock in case the power goes off again.
UPDATE: EXCEPT I BOUGHT THE WRONG KIND OF BATTERIES!! Can't. Catch. A. Break...
This is one of those rare days when I didn't leave the house. I've been home working all day long, despite the fact that it was an absolutely beautiful day out. Sadly, this doesn't give me much to blog about.
Unless I were to write about the potato chips and Coke I had for breakfast. Cereal just seemed like too much work with all the pouring of the milk and finding a clean bowl and stuff... but hey, the bag of chips was already open. Anyway, I got to the bottom of the bag where all the crumbs were. Not wanting to waste them, I poured them into my mouth so I could finish them off.
And nearly choked to death.
It's funny what goes through your head as you are struggling to breathe. Things like "how do you do that self-heimlich thing again?" and "I wonder if my face is turning blue?" and "oh dear, I hope I don't crap my pants when I die... that would sure be embarrassing!" and, lastly, "what do I care if I crap myself? I'll be too dead to be embarrassed!"
But eventually I managed to cough my way out of my death throes and live another day.
At first I was glad to be alive. But then I looked at the pile of work I had left to do and was kind of sad. Being dead is an excellent excuse to take a vacation.
In other news across the blogosphere... ooh! ooh! ooh! Brandon finally spilled the beans!
2008 seems so far away...
It's Bullet Sunday, and I'm running low on ammo!
• Bourne! The latest (and final?) installment in the Jason Bourne film franchise... The Bourne Ultimatum... is finally here. And it totally kicks ass. I love that these movies are so brutally unforgiving with the action, and not afraid to fight dirty. The ending kind of meanders a bit, but there's enough going on earlier that it doesn't sink the picture. I really do hope that they find a way to continue with a fourth film but, if not, at least we've got a rejuvenated James Bond series to entertain us.
• Talk! While seeing The Bourne Ultimatum in a packed theater, I found myself thinking of a new Dumbasses Book for my series...
There are entirely too many people in the world who simply cannot understand this simple concept, and about twenty of them decided to go to the movies at the same time I did.
• Choke! Given my near-death choking experience yesterday, I find myself much more sympathetic to the choking of others. Ironically, the one piece of junkmail which managed to evade my spam-filter this morning had a subject line of "My boyfriend's phallus is too big for my mouth." I wrote back and wished her good luck with that... then included a link to the self-heimlich maneuver just in case she ever needs it. Poor girl.
• Vinyl! I finally broke down and purchased a USB turntable so I can get my extensive collection of 12-inch maxi-singles converted into digital format. It's been a long time coming, and I can't wait to have some great music from my past on my iPod. I would have preferred to spend the $100 re-purchasing the music at the iTunes music store, but the record labels stupidly refuse to make the entire back-catalog of an artist available for sale. And it makes absolutely no sense. There is no reason that an obscure B-side released by the Thompson Twins in 1986 should be out-of-print. DIGITIZE THE SHIT AND SELL IT! ALL OF IT! Since you don't have to produce a crap-load of CDs to sell music anymore, no music should ever... EVER... be out-of-print.
Sigh. It's only 10:30, yet it seems much, much later. Oh well... nothing a handful of sleeping pills won't fix.
I was just flicking through channels and see that BravoTV is airing Eddie Murphy: RAW... except they are silencing all the curses. This makes the jokes incomprehensible, and renders the entire show 50% silent. Why even attempt run a censored version of Eddie Murphy standup? It makes no sense.
Anyway, earlier today I mentioned on a message board that had I re-watched Battlefield Earth this weekend and was surprised that it wasn't as horrendously terrible as I had remembered. Sure the acting was mostly awful and the makeup on the Psychlos was embarrassingly bad (their "hands" didn't work, and looked like giant mittens)... but it had good FX, a passable (if implausible) story, and was decent mindless entertainment. Whatever...
A couple of hours later, some dumbass leaves this enlightening response...
"Don't be such a fag. Battlefield Earth sucked and that's a FACT!!!
I ignored his obvious struggle with his sexuality, and went on to explain that Battlefied Earth "sucking" was an opinion, not a fact. Believe it or not, there actually are people who like it, and the flick did receive a few positive reviews by the critics. But, much like Bill O'Reilly, the moron simply could not distinguish between opinion and fact. The conversation immediately degenerated into idiocy, at which point I took my leave. I'd rather give up than waste time with inane crap like this.
Much like I've given up on the antiquated and stupid state of patent law. I've written about the absurdity of the US patent system before, but without using curse words. Today I feel like writing about it again, but this time I can't be as generous in watching my language (much like Eddie Murphy in RAW)...
If you're not afraid of the word "fuck" and aren't bothered by mindless ranting, then feel free to proceed...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
My first trip to Paris was an accident.
My brother and I had just returned to London from a trip up to Scotland. When we arrived, the weather was miserable, and neither one of us felt much like running around the city in the rain, fog, and cold. Stopping in an internet cafe, we were going to look through Frommer's Online to find something interesting to do indoors, when I accidentally clicked on France instead of England in the little European navigation map. "Hey, you want to go to Paris?" I asked. "Okay" said my brother. So we booked a hotel on Expedia and off we went to the train station.
Three hours later, we were wandering around the streets of Paris trying to remember what hotel we had booked. Since neither one of us understood a word of French, this was not an easy prospect. All the hotel names sounded the same. We ended up having to call back home to my mother, wake her up, and have her go to Expedia and tell us the name and address of the "third hotel down the list on the fourth page" ("PARIS? WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN PARIS??") Of course, since we had not planned to visit Paris, this information didn't do us much good. We had no map and no way of knowing where the hotel actually was. Fortunately, the natives were very patient and friendly in helping us find it... a tiny little place with a view of the Eiffel Tower (if you stuck your head out the window and looked 90-degrees to the right).
For two days, we bummed around Paris, hitting all the touristy spots... The Eiffel Tower... Notre Dame... The Louvre... and even the Arc de Triomphe...
Photo by my brother, a far better photographer than I will ever be.
The visit was all too brief, but I fell in love with Paris and vowed to return.
Which I did the following year. But this time, I studied a Pimsler French course for three months before the trip. Speaking the language made my visit much more enjoyable, and I had four whole days to visit as many museums as I could manage before returning to London. A few years after that, I was in Germany and decided to meet up with a friend in Paris. My French skills had faded, but I could still manage to ask for directions and carry on a simple conversation.
The last time I was in Paris four years ago, I was dismayed to learn that my French skills were completely gone. I could barely manage to say "hello." When I got back, I immediately started listening to my Pimsler course again in an attempt to remember what meager French I had forgotten.
Fast forward to last week, and Laurence over at Bee Happy asks me to guest-blog for a day while she is on vacation. In a bold move, I decide to write my entry in French...
Two hours with my French dictionary (and absolutely no recollection as to how to construct a sentence) resulted in... something. Hopefully it's at least a little close to what I was wanting to say. My greatest fear is that I've mistranslated the text, and somehow end up insulting all of France. Since I would very much like visit again one day, the last thing I want is to be banned from the country over my crude French skills.
UPDATE: Laurence has shut down her blog, but I was able to find an archived copy of my entry. If you understand French, the original "Bad French" version is below, so keep reading.
If you don't speak French, Google can (kind of) translate my crappy attempt at French by clicking here.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
BUILT-IN ETHERNET IS CURRENTLY ACTIVE. BUILT-IN ETHERNET HAS A SELF-ASSIGNED IP ADDRESS AND MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET.
I've got to start staying in a different hotel. Bad enough that this place doesn't have wireless and I have to bring my own ethernet cable for internet... even worse that it doesn't work half the time, so I end up having to drag my sorry ass down to the lobby for their crappy lobby wireless (which is almost as bad). Why is it some hotels just don't seem to get it? Most everybody NEEDS reliable internet now-a-days. If you don't provide it, and people are going to go somewhere else.
Today was yet another three-hour drive through
The good news is that if you leave at the right time of day, you don't have to share the road with anybody. The bad news is that if you've done the drive once, you've done it a million times... and it's always the same.
Of course, once you actually get to Spokane, you can drown your sorrows in two delicious slices of the Best Pizza in The Universe at David's Pizza...
I know I've blogged about this pizza like a hundred times now, but that's about all there is for me to write about here. I've lost count of the number of times I've taken that same photo composition, but oh well... here it is again: two slices of DaVinci pizza with a Stewart's Orange Cream Soda (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I would order for my last meal if I were on death row).
After dinner, I went to go see The Simpsons Movie which was kind of boring. The show definitely works better when the writers are condensed for time on your typical half-hour episode. Giving them 90 minutes just drags everything out. The real reason I wanted to see it, however, was to know if anything in the film would have a lasting affect on The Simpsons' "universe." For one character it actually does, which made me a bit sad (hey, I liked that character!).
And now it's time to head back to the lobby so I can post this. Fortunately, everything else I wanted to do on the internet tonight can be done on my iPhone while running around my hotel room in my underwear.
They don't let you do that in the lobby.
Last night proved to be a productive evening for work, but a disastrous evening for catching up on sleep. The hotel was packed and people were slamming doors, running up and down the halls, and being overall obnoxious well past 2:00am. I remain dumbfounded as to why people act like such inconsiderate assholes at hotels... I am paying money so I can get some SLEEP!
After dragging my exhausted ass out of bed, I was heading back to work when a parking enforcement scooter went zipping by me, lights blaring. At first, I was curious as to what would constitute a parking emergency, but all that vanished once I saw the model name of the vehicle...
INTERCEPTOR?!? At what point has anybody ever needed to "intercept" a PARKED CAR? The first laugh of the day is always the sweetest.
Lunch, no surprise, was once again an orgasm-inducing pizza experience at David's. This time I tried a new photo composition, laying the Stewart's Orange Cream Soda on its side and flipping the pizza 180°. No matter how you shoot it, it still tastes amazing...
After lunch I had some free time, so I stopped by The Comic Book Shop to see what's new. Nothing could prepare me for what I found there...
ESSENTIAL DAZZLER?!? Dazzler? Seriously? I always thought that the character started out as a joke. A sad attempt to capitalize on the fading popularity of disco music at a time when disco backlash was gaining momentum. Redemption finally came when Jim Shooter retooled Dazzler in the now infamous Marvel Graphic Novel #12... "Dazzler: The Movie." Outed as a mutant and unemployable as a singer, Dazzler finally came into her own and ultimately joined up with The X-Men in a series of fairly good stories. By the time she ended up with my favorite Marvel character, Longshot, I actually ended up liking her a bit (she was, after all, one of the few people to escape disco alive). I was afraid to even touch Essential Dazzler out of fear that I would have disco flashbacks and go insane.
After work, the three-hour drive home was uneventful, as usual.
But when I got there, my new toy was waiting for me... an ION iTTUSB 05 USB Turntable!
It's kind of weak in construction... just a big heap of lightweight plastic... but for $99, I'm not complaining. The important thing is that it actually works. The included Mac/Windows "Audacity" software isn't very intuitive (and only rips into WAV format), but I did manage to rip a few of my vinyl albums and 12-inch maxi-singles with decent results. I am most pleased. Now all I have to do is find the time to rip my entire collection, and I'll finally be able to have the last bit of my music in digital format. Sweet!
Well, it's now 10:15 and my DVD of Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle just ended (how frickin' hilarious was Neil Patrick Harris in that flick?), so I'm off to bed early.
Hopefully to get some sleep this time.
In a mere two weeks, I'll be in Chicago for big-time fun and excitement, culminating in Saturday's blogger meet-up in the city on the 25th. Just like last year, the guest list is packed with a great bunch of people, and good times are sure to ensue!
Right now, we are planning to meet for dinner at Pizano's on Madison, in The Loop. But before we can make reservations, we need a head-count. If you are able to attend, please email me so I can call up and make reservations next week. Even if you've already told me you're coming, It would be great to have confirmation that your plans haven't changed.
Last year, dinner was just the beginning, and the festivities continued on into the night, as we just couldn't get enough of each other. Talking with people who "get" blogging is a treat, and I cannot wait to hang out with everybody again this year. Hope you can make it!
In other news, I've finally given up waiting for the mailing tubes to ever arrive for mailing out Artificial Duck Co. print and photo orders. I've done some test-mailings in boxes, and everything has arrived in great shape, so I'm just going to start mailing them out that way. This kind of makes me feel bad, because $5 of the price for the prints was to accommodate the cost of the tube and additional mailing charges. Now that I'm not using them, I've overcharged everybody by $5. To make up for it, there will be some extra goodies sent along with the orders. Again, thanks so much to everybody for their patience while I got this all sorted out!
Cover of the Artificial Duck Co. Print and Photo User Guide Booklet.
And now, it's time to get ready to head back to the coast for the weekend...
Who is the sadistic bastard responsible for designing the air conditioning in cars?
As I was driving back over to the coast in the heat, I noticed that my air conditioner has four fan settings: dead air, light draft, wimpy breeze, and HURRICANE ASSAULT!! And then I started thinking back to the cars I've owned, the cars I've rented... basically every car I've ever driven... and realized that they were all the same. For some reason, they skip 2 or 3 steps before you get to "HI" which means you either bake or freeze...
I spent most of the trip trying to come up with that magic combination of fan speed and temperature that would make me comfortable, but never managed to find it.
Eventually I shut the thing off and just rolled down the window.
Home again, just in time for Bullet Sunday!
Today, on a very special episode of Blogography, Bullet Sunday is overtaken by a new meme started by Lewis over at Spirit of St. Lewis called Highlights That Shaped Your Life. Lewis is curious to know about those once-in-a-lifetime moments where you just know that "this is one hell of a special time." Here are ten of mine that come to mind...
1977 • Seeing Star Wars for the first time... Seriously, what geek saw Star Wars back when it was first released and didn't feel as if their life had changed?
1978 • Reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars... Science fiction was a random encounter until I read the first book of ERB's John Carter of Mars novels. After that, I was obsessed. I devoured science fiction in every form I could find it. My obsession would solidify after I read Frank Herbert's Dune, one of the most mind-blowing science fiction epics ever written. Sci-fi is now such a huge part of me, that I cannot imagine my life without it.
1979 • Buying Green Lantern #121 and The Flash #277... While out of my mind with boredom one day, I wandered downtown with $1 and no plans. I ended up buying my very first comic books so I'd have something to read. Thus began my lifelong infatuation with collecting comics, a hobby that has brought much entertainment to my life.
1983 • Visiting New Orleans for the first time... I won a high school DECA competition and got to go to New Orleans... completely unsupervised... for a week before my senior year started. This resulted in many "first" experiences, which very much shaped (mis-shaped?) my life.
1987 • Visiting my first Hard Rock Cafe... While vacationing in Maui with some friends in the late 80's, I happened upon my first Hard Rock Cafe. Needless to say, this had a profound affect on my life, as I've spent a great many of the years which followed visiting Hard Rocks around the world (current count: 106 properties). Though drastically outdated, I keep a journal of my Hard Rock obsession at DaveCafe.
1996 • Visiting Japan for the first time... My first "real" trip outside the country was all by myself to Tokyo, which is about as foreign a culture as you can get from the US. I had already fallen in love with Japanese comics (manga) and animation (anime), but it was embracing Japanese culture... even for such a short time... which sparked my love of travel that continues to this day.
1998 • Visiting Thailand for the first time... Of all the places I've been and seen, no one place has had a more profound affect on my life than Thailand. This was the trip that introduced me to Buddhism, a way of thinking which changed
2003 • Starting up Blogography... This is one of those rare events where you don't understand the significance of it until much later. I had been a blogger off-and-on for three years before I finally made a serious attempt at it back in April of 2003 (after a Blogography false-start in March 2002). Who knew?
2005 • Standing on the Great Wall of China... A life-long dream was realized when I, at long last, walked along The Great Wall two years ago. This began a trifecta of visits to ancient engineering wonders, when I visited The Acropolis in Greece and The Great Pyramids in Egypt earlier this year. Pretty special indeed.
2006 • DaveCago... I had met with fellow bloggers before, but the blogger meet-up in Chicago last summer was my first opportunity to hang out with a group of them. I had such a great time that I started meeting up with bloggers every chance I got, culminating with the amazing TequilaCon 2007 event in Portland, Oregon. If you haven't yet experienced the joy of hanging out with your fellow bloggers, there's a new meet-up in Chicago in a mere thirteen days, and TequilaCon 2008 comes to Philadelphia next Spring!
And another Sunday bites the dust...