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DeGoogled

Posted on Monday, January 1st, 2007

Dave!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?)...

Daveextenze

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."

   

Slush

Posted on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

Dave!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...

Daveslush

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...

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink  26 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Junkfood

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Dave!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...

Junk Food

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...

Delicious Library

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Vanna

Posted on Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Dave!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...

Vanna Bad

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink  42 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Health

Posted on Friday, January 5th, 2007

Dave!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...

Nutrition Facts

WTF?!?

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...

   

Cupid

Posted on Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Dave!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...

Cupid's Veronica Mars

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!

Cupid's Jeremy Piven

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!

Cupid's Paula Marshall

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!

Cupid's Joe Flanigan

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?

Categories: Television 2007Click To It: Permalink  53 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 12

Posted on Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Dave!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 Monkey

• 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...

Whores for Dumbasses

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...

Categories: Bullet Sunday 2007Click To It: Permalink  29 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Chalupa

Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2007

Dave!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...

iToast

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.

Oog.

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."
Dave: Gross!
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!

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  22 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

iPhone!

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Dave!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...


Iphone

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.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  46 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Presidential

Posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Dave!But that would have been my favorite part...

Dave's Presidential iPhone

Dave's Presidential iPhone

Dave's Presidential iPhone

Dave's Presidential iPhone

   

Wii!

Posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Dave!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...

Wii stuff

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...

Elebits
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...
Categories: DaveLife 2007, Memes 2006Click To It: Permalink  27 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Inflamed

Posted on Friday, January 12th, 2007

Dave!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!

Flamethrower Windows

The perfect revenge for dumbasses who cut you off in traffic... flamethrower!

Flamethrower Car

The cost-effective solution when giant killer clowns invade the planet... flamethrower!

Flamethrower Clowns

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...

   

Shrinky

Posted on Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Dave!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...

ShrinkyDink Dave!

Then you bake it and it shrinks down (after some mildly entertaining acrobatics)...

ShrinkyDink Dave!

Wheeeeeee!

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...

Miilizabeth Hurwii

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink  15 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 13

Posted on Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Dave!• 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...

Blah Blah Blah

Blah Blah Blah

Blah Blah Blah

Blah Blah Blah
*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...

   

Voice

Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2007

Dave!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.

Children of Men

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.

Categories: Food 2007, Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Puppies

Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Dave!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...

Idiocracy DVD

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...
Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink  30 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Hated

Posted on Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Dave!Stop it.

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...

Browser Render

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.

Thanks!

Your friend,
Dave2

Firefox!

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?

   

Deadenbacher

Posted on Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Dave!AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

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...

Dead Orville

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...

Corn of the Dead!

But the commercial did make me hungry.

Here is my dinner menu tonight...

  • A can of Coke with Lime.
  • Two Eggo toaster waffles with extra butter and Mrs. Butterworth's maple syrup.
  • A Snack-Pack chocolate pudding.

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.

Field of Dreams Pano

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.

   

Pocket

Posted on Friday, January 19th, 2007

Dave!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...

Monkey Pocket

I still have no idea what that tiny pocket in a pair of Levi's is for, however.

   

AppleCare

Posted on Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Dave!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?

PULL!

Bread Bowl Skeet Shoot

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...
Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  17 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 14

Posted on Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Dave!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.

Dave Spoonibbles

• 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...

Mad Musical

Mad Musical

• 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.

   

Vote!

Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Dave!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!!!

Vote Cupid

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.

Categories: Television 2007Click To It: Permalink  36 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Depression

Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Dave!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?

AnySoldier.com

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.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink  49 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Any Soldier

Posted on Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Dave!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)...

Dave Soldier Note

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...

   

Karma

Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Dave!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.

Raining Shit

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...

  1. There's no hot water and you'll be taking a cold shower.
  2. All the beds are infested with lice and you must sleep on the floor.
  3. There's 24-hour high-impact dynamite blasting going on next door.
  4. The internet is broken.
I would rather have A-C than D. Heck, I'd rather be kicked in the balls than D. Being without internet while away from home sucks total ass. So guess what the answer is? Why it's D, of course! No internet! CRAP!

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...

  1. You order a veggie burger and they accidentally slip you a dead cow burger.
  2. They are out of veggie burgers.
  3. The deep-fat-fryer is broke, so no fries with your veggie burger.
  4. The cook uses an old burnt bun that's been sitting on the grill sweating, so it's crusted with char on the inside, mooshy and falling apart on the outside.

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!

iPod Shuffle Clip

Here's hoping things start looking up for me in the morning.

   

Audacity

Posted on Friday, January 26th, 2007

Dave!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...

Categories: Books, Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  20 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day One: Cologne, Germany

Posted on Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Dave!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...

Dom Mosaic
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...

  • I am terrified of heights.
  • I am terrified of being in confined spaces with tourists.
  • I am terrified of Germans in high places*
  • I am terrified of old buildings that might collapse from age.
  • I am terrified of being so out of shape that I'll collapse on the way up.

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.

The Dom 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)...

Top of the Dom
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).

Hard Rock Cologne
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!!

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...

Monet Foggy
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.

Ludwig Museum Roof View
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.

   

Day Two: Cologne, Germany

Posted on Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Dave!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...

ISM Cologne

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.

ISM Cologne

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).

ISM Cologne

First you find candy that says "hello" to you, then you turn a corner and see candy giving you the finger.

ISM Cologne

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.

ISM Cologne

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).

ISM Cologne

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.

ISM Cologne

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).

ISM Cologne

I thought this company had the right attitude. And cool packaging with their little "Munchy" guys.

ISM Cologne

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.

ISM Cologne

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...

Categories: Food 2007, Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  26 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 15

Posted on Monday, January 29th, 2007

Dave!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!

Fahrt!
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...

Green Peeps!
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...

Scary Cathedral
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.

   

Day Four: Cologne, Germany

Posted on Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Dave!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...

Monkey Chocolates!
"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...

Mayonnaise in a Tube!
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...

Schokoladenmuseum
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.

Schokoladenmuseum
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...

Schokoladenmuseum
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...

Schokoladenmuseum
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...

Schokoladenmuseum
"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)...

Schokoladenmuseum
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...

Schokoladenmuseum
"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...

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  28 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Five: Madrid, Spain

Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Dave!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...

Madrid Statue
"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...

   

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