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Complications

Posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Dave!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!

Shirt Winners!

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.

Categories: Blogging 2007Click To It: Permalink  24 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Death

Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Dave!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?

Dave Death
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.

   

Protest

Posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Dave!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.

Argh.

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...

Mannequin Nipples
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.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink  33 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

:-(

Posted on Friday, May 4th, 2007

Dave!I am very much not looking forward to the next 18 hours of travel.

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

   

Day One: Athens, Greece

Posted on Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Dave!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...

Dave in Athens
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...

Athens Temple of Zeus
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...

Atrhens News Team

Athens News Team
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...

Hard Rock Athens
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:

  • The property is kind of boring.
  • The service is kind of slow.
  • They got my very simple food order wrong, twice.
  • They have a cover charge of €1.50 per person.
  • The atmosphere was pretty dead.

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.

   

Bullet Sunday 29

Posted on Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Dave!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...

AvitableToon

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...

Acropolis

So much of the finer details have been destroyed or taken, but the maiden statues on the Porch of the Caryatids are still there...

Acropolis

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...

Athens Guardsmen

• 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...

Statue Head

• 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...

Maptoposeidon

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...

Temple of Poseidon

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.

   

Day Three: Piraeus, Greece

Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2007

Dave!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...

Emergency Drill

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.

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  32 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Four: Olympia, Greece

Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Dave!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...

Olympia, Greece

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...

Temple of Hera

This being a historical Greek site there are, of course, some cool ruins of columns to be seen...

Olympia

And that's the excursion for today. Thirty-five minutes later, I'm back at the ship.

Where it's time for ice cream.

ICE CREEEEEEEEEEEEEAM!!!

While onboard, this is my bestest friend in the whole world...

Ice Cream!

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...

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

   

Day Five: Corfu, Greece

Posted on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Dave!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...

Corfu Town

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...

Corfu Mural

Corfu Mural

But that paled in comparison to the detail that some sculptor put into the ass of an Achilles statue in the garden...

Achilles Ass

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.

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Six: The Mediterranean

Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Dave!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...

Balcony View

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...

Stranded Boat

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!

Ass to Mouth

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.

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  19 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Seven: Cairo, Egypt

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007

Dave!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...

Alabaster Mosque

The Ottoman architecture is pretty sweet, and meticulously maintained...

Alabaster Mosque

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...

Alabaster Mosque Ceiling

After we left the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, it was onward to the Egypt Museum...

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...

Hard Rock Cairo

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...

Hard Rock Cairo

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...

   

Day Eight: Giza, Egypt

Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Dave!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...

Pyramid

Pyramid

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...

Smoggy Pyramids

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...

Egypt Sphinx and Pyramid

Egypt Sphinx

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...

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 30

Posted on Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Dave!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...

Hieroglyphics

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.

Cruise Map

• 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...

   

Day Ten: Crete, Greece

Posted on Monday, May 14th, 2007

Dave!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...

Knossos, Crete, Greece

Knossos, Crete, Greece

My favorite feature was this pregnant cat that was wandering around like she owned the place. I'd like to think that she did...

Knossos Cat

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...

Crete Village

Crete Village

Crete Village

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...

Crete Countryside

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?

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  23 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Eleven: Santorini

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Dave!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...

Santorini Church

Santorini Church

Santorini Church

Santorini Church

The main city I visited was Fira, which is above the harbor where the ship docked...

Fira, Santorini

Fira, Santorini

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...

Fira Cable Car

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...

Oía, Santorini

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.

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Day Twelve: Mykonos, Greece

Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Dave!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...

Delos, Greece

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...

Delos Penis

Delos Penises

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...

Mykonos Alley

Looking across the harbor, you can see "new town" which is starting to look a little like Santorini, but without the cliffs...

Mykonos New Town

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...

Mykonos Cat

And that's all she wrote for Greece...

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Day Thirteen: Ephesus, Turkey

Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Dave!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)...

Virgin Mary's House

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...

Ephesus Library

Ephesus Library

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...

Ephesus Penis

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...

Ephesus Birds

I know just how they feel, because now it's my dinner-time too.

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Day Fourteen: Istanbul, Turkey

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2007

Dave!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...

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

From there, it's a short walk to the Haghia Sophia Museum...

Haghia Sophia Museum

And then onward to a spooky cistern, one of forty-three scattered around the city's underground...

Istanbul Cistern

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...

Istanbul Grand Bazaar

And, just like that, my vacation is over.

I think I need a vacation from my vacation now.

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Day Fifteen: Stranded Far From Home…

Posted on Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Dave!Right now I pretty much hate everybody because airlines fucking suck ass.

Well, everybody except you, of course.


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Bullet Sunday 31

Posted on Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Dave!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...

Turkish Security Room

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...

Dave's Ship Home

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?

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Bullets?

Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2007

Dave!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...

Firefoxwins

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.

Ripveronica

• 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 Warlords II would be there as well. And then there's Myst, which actually did change my life. But there is one game... one... which I love above all others. StarCraft. This is the game that was so good that it nearly ruined my life. There was a time that nothing else mattered, and all I wanted to do was play it. Heck, I still play it from time to time. It's a timeless classic that is so brilliant... so astoundingly balanced and well thought-out... so remarkable in its twists and turns... so sublimely perfect in every way... that no game since has come close to topping it for me. And now Blizzard goes and announces that StarCraft II is on the way. There was never any doubt that this would happen, as StarCraft is one of the most popular and beloved games ever, but knowing it is really real is more than a little thrilling. And oh is it ever going to be beautiful...

Starcraft2

More info and luscious screenshots can be found at Blizzard's site for the game. I, for one, will be counting the days.
Hours.
Minutes.
Seconds.
Whatever.

• 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...

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Cycle

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Dave!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.

Anyway...

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.)...

Santorini Blue Monkeys

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...

Blue 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.

   

Viewed

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Dave!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...

Political Sanity
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...

SpongeBob Hero

Words to live by: Good people don't rip other people's arms off. — SpongeBob Squarepants.

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Moblogging

Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Dave!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...

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Decisions

Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2007

Dave!In planning my upcoming travel, I've happened upon a dilemma in my July scheduling. I'm going to be in Chicago working for a bit, and am trying to decide if I want to do something after work is over. There are a few events going on that might be interesting (or a lot of fun), and I was thinking since I am already traveling, I might want to add one of them to my trip. The problem is that I have no idea what I want to do. Or even if I want to do anything at all. I am still a little wiped from vacation, and don't want to think about something that's happening two months from now.

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

   

OPTION ONE: BLOGHER

After I'm done working in Chicago, I could stay in Chicago and attend BlogHer. It's not that I am really needing to attend a conference for blogging women, but there are some women attending whom I would very much like to meet. Besides, as I said when I was lamenting that I didn't attend last year, I'm sure the BlogHer organizers would like for me to give the keynote address, and who am I to refuse such an honor?

BlogHer Keynote

I'd also like to hold a few conferences so I can show women how they can increase their blog traffic...

BlogHer Group Blogging

BLOGHER PROS: Meet some terrific bloggers I've always wanted to meet in person.
BLOGHER CONS: Registration fee is expensive ($205!!) and Chicago hotels are even more so.

   

OPTION TWO: SAN DIEGO COMIC CON

After I'm done working in Chicago, I could hop a plane to San Diego for ComicCon International. Despite being a total comic book whore, a sci-fi junkie, and a genre entertainment fan, I have not yet attended. Quite a few of my comic book heroes are going to be there (Sergio Aragones and Neil Gaiman, to name two!), and that alone would be worth the trip, but there's such a huge amount of stuff going on that I know I would have an incredible time. Not only that, but I'd finally have somewhere that I could wear my Darth Maul costume where I wouldn't be scaring people...

Darth Maul Dave

COMIC-CON PROS: This would kick-ass, and actually cost me less than BlogHer.
COMIC-CON CONS: The airline schedules to get me to San Diego then back home totally suck.

   

OPTION THREE: ERASURE

After I am done working in Chicago, I go up to Milwaukee so I can see Erasure in concert. This would truly be cool, because I've seen just about every 80's band I love on tour... except Erasure. To hear some of my favorite Erasure songs live would be amazing. As if that weren't enough, Andy Bell is certifiable (in a good way), so there's no telling what he might do on stage... I'm sure it will be a great show.

Erasure

ERASURE PROS: So close to where I am working, and something I have always wanted to do.
ERASURE CONS: Not a really big fan of their latest album.

   

OPTION FOUR: GO HOME

After I'm done working in Chicago, I turn around and come right back home. I mean, geez, haven't I got enough travel ahead of me without adding a few days to an already overloaded schedule? Why not just bag any ideas of doing something cool so I can go home, drink a bottle of Jack Daniels, eat some pork rinds, and catch up on all the television I missed while on vacation...

Dave N Jack

GO HOME PROS: Cheapest option, and I'm already broke from my very expensive vacation.
GO HOME CONS: Home sucks ass! There's nothing to do but work at home.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe there's even a fifth option I am missing. All I do know is that I have to make a decision by next Friday and, since I'm working all weekend and through the week, I don't know when I'll have time to think about it. Any suggestions?

   

Skywalker

Posted on Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Dave!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.

Princess Dave Organa
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.

Star Wars Logo

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.

Hmmm...

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.

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Bullet Sunday 32

Posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Dave!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...

DaveToons Animation Boards

DaveToons Animation Boards

DaveToons Animation Boards

• 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...

Robin Hood

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.

Hot Fuzz

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...

Political Sanity 2

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...

   

Backup

Posted on Monday, May 28th, 2007

Dave!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...

Mac and PC

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.

Categories: DaveToons 2007Click To It: Permalink  16 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Ugly

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Dave!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...

Fugly Dave
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.

Categories: Television 2007Click To It: Permalink  27 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Denny’s

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Dave!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...

Dave's Green Tongue

Well fuck.

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... A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I'm going to do whatever the hell I want whenever the hell I want to do it.

Which is pretty much how I am right now, but I'm betting I won't feel nearly as guilty about it.

Categories: DaveLife 2007, Food 2007Click To It: Permalink  29 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Blahhhhg!

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Dave!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...

  1. Read a book by Ann Coulter.
  2. Watch The 700 Club.
  3. Die.
  4. Get kicked in the balls.
  5. Be trapped in an elevator playing Kenny G.
  6. Have diarrhea.
  7. Listen to politicians.
  8. Eat a salad.
  9. Argue.
  10. Be called for jury duty.
  11. Use a Windows PC.
  12. Go jogging.
  13. Talk to my lawyer.
  14. Pay bills.
  15. Think of something I don't want to do for #15 on my list of Things I Don't Want To Do Today.
  16. Smell cooked cauliflower.
  17. Read email.
  18. Go shopping.
  19. Scrub the toilet.
  20. Write in my blog.

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...

Categories: Blogging 2007Click To It: Permalink  40 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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