Posted on Thursday, November 1st, 2007
This morning I was walking to my car so I could drive to work when I saw something laying in the flower bed. Stopping to investigate, I realized that it was a knife(!).
From watching hundreds of episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, my mind immediately started thinking that this must be evidence in a murder, and needed to be preserved before somebody came along and destroyed any fingerprints or traces of blood...
Running back to the kitchen, I grabbed some plastic bags. Two smaller bags I wore on my hands so I could put the knife in a larger bag without contaminating it with my own fingerprints. Gil Grissom would be so proud.
Except when I picked it up, I realized the knife was made of rubber, and only then did it occur to me that it was probably just part of somebody's Halloween costume. Robbed of my big murder mystery, I threw the "knife" in the trash bin and just stood there with a plastic bags on my hands, staring into space.
So much for a morning filled with excitement and danger...
Anyway... I have the answer to yesterday's Hallowmeme Challenge in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2007
Well, I've done gone and sliced my right-hand index finger reeeeeeal good. Twice. The cuts are pretty deep, and band-aids weren't helping much. I finally used super-glue and strips of gauze to close the cuts, then bandaged everything up with hopes that I wouldn't bleed to death.
So far, so good.
Except my finger hurts a lot. Which makes typing in my blog kind of clutzy and painful.
But drawing isn't so bad, because I can use my middle-finger to mouse-click*...
I am such a weenie when it comes to bleeding.
Which is why I'm going to take a couple of Excedrin PM now so I can forget my pain and get some sleep. If you don't hear from me ever again, it's because the super-glue dissolved and I bled to death in my sleep. Oh well. I suppose there are worse ways to go.
*Even more importantly, I can also still use my middle-finger to flip people off.
Posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
This is my obligatory entry dedicated to Apple's latest release of MacOS X version 10.5, code-name "Leopard." As a Certified Mac Whore, it's unavoidable.
Yet, I realize that most everybody reading this probably doesn't care about my Macintosh obsession, so I am also publishing pictures of a freaky-ass fountain that was built on Piazza Navona in Rome. It's the Fontana di Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) and no matter how many times I see it, I still freak out...
The sculpture features a bad-ass god of the seas (Neptune) battling an octopus while naked sea-nymph babes ignore him. That much I get. Well, not entirely, because it doesn't make much sense that the god of the seas would go around stabbing octopuses for no apparent reason, but whatever. This part of the statue is relatively sane. What bothers me is everything else. Starting with the freaky little kid playing with a crab on the head of some kind of water demon...
Well, at least he was playing with the crab before his arm got broken off. But still, WTF? That's some pretty freaky shit right there. Almost as freaky as the kid who's trying to rip the tongue out of a horse that's leaping out of the water...
What the horse is doing in the water I have no idea. And from the look on his face, neither does he.
Usually I would attempt to make some kind of story out of all the bizarre stuff that's going on, but I've given up here. Apparently Neptune throws some crazy-ass parties.
And now it's Leopard time. In an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, November 4th, 2007
Las week I had to skip Bullet Sunday so I could attend Avitable's Halloween Bash, but I'm back and fully-loaded this week.
• Sewn! For those who asked, YES I made my own Halloween costume for Avitable's party, and I have pictures to prove it! When I was 13, my grandmother taught me how to use her sewing machine, and so I borrowed it from her to make my "Holo-Virus Rimmer" garb. Despite not having touched a sewing machine in over 20 years, I was able to pick it up again fairly quickly. I started with a McCall's pattern for a Wizard of Oz Dorothy dress, then modified it so it would fit by using an old shirt I had laying around as a sizing guide...
The main part of the dress was pretty easy to make, since it was just a big tube sewn to a kind of "vest"...
The tough part was making the sleeves, because they had to be big and puffy. The pattern's instructions were all crappy and vague about how to do this, so I used hundreds of straight pins to tack it all together. After that, I just ran the sewing machine around them and hoped for the best. This worked surprisingly well...
But the hardest part of the costume by far was the bonnet. Again, I used hundreds of pins to create the gathers and hold the elastic in place so I could just sew over the whole thing. To create the pigtails, I butchered a "Rapunzel" wig and braided it over some wire when I got to my hotel room in Orlando (can you imagine trying to get that through airport security?)...
All that was left was to put on some combat boots I bought when I was in Seattle and wear Mr. Flibble on my hand (if you want a Mr. Flibble of your own, you can get them on sale at WHO North America)...
• Wonder! Question of the day... If the WonderWorks attraction ever goes out of business in Orlando, what do they do with the building?
As I was walking past WonderWorks on my way to lunch at Johnny Rockets last Saturday, it occurred to me that it's not like they could take a giant up-side-down building and turn it into an Applebees or something. Might make a good giant upside-down McDonalds though. I've driven past WonderWorks many times, but have never gone inside... preferring to spend my time at DisneyWorld and Universal Studios instead.
• Strike! Uhhhh.... yeah, I totally support the writers on this one. If Hollywood big media is making money off of material being distributed on the internet, then writers of that material deserve to get a cut. The argument that no money is being made with digital distribution is absurd but, even if it were true, a percentage of nothing is nothing, so what's the problem? I remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached quickly on this (and other issues), because I needs me my TV. If the strike drags on and we end up with nothing but crappy reality shows, I'll go homicidal.
• Birthday! Hey! Today is Hilly's birthday! Drop by her blog and wish her a good one!
• Cut! My sliced finger is feeling much better, so thanks to everybody who was asking about it. I cleaned the wounds pretty good with hydrogen peroxide, so no infection! Anybody who has to put together metal shelving should know that the turned-over edges are still totally sharp and should be avoided.
My final bullet point is stuck in an extended entry because it's a rebuttal to a comment I got on my Macintosh Leopard ramblings from yesterday. And now that this entry is done, I'm off to work... yay!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, November 5th, 2007
Why do some people insist on taking every little situation and blowing it up to massive proportions just so they can create drama in their lives? Do they really crave the attention that much, or are they just so clueless that they actually think people appreciate their stupid crap?
Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2007
Most unproductive day ever.
Seriously. That time I had killer diarrhea and spent two days on the toilet was more productive. Even when I had kidney stones and was so doped up on pain-killers that I was hallucinating, I managed to get more work done. I'd go so far as to say that I managed to get more projects completed during a drunken weekend in Vegas where I spent 48 hours in bed with whores (a hooker's ass makes the perfect laptop stand when your hotel room doesn't have a desk*). I think the only way I could have got less work done today would be if I was in a coma.
I absolutely loathe unproductive days because all the work that didn't get done still has to happen sometime.
In this case, it'll probably be my weekend.
* Hookers make you pay extra for that, however.**
** And be aware that modern laptops generate a lot of heat, so it's best to use protection.***
*** Fortunately, there's a bible in most hotel night-stands which makes a terrific heat barrier and can guard against a burnt ass. Because, let's face it, nobody wants to take their hooker to the ER with scorched buttocks.****
**** Though a bible cannot protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, so you'll still need condoms.*****
***** Oh the irony...
Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
A last-minute trip to Seattle was complicated by a heavy mist all the way over the mountains. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, I was driving in frickin' dark thanks to the insanity of Daylight Saving Time (it's pitch-black at 5:30 now!).
Anyway... now that I'm here at last, I'm exhausted from driving and am going to skip blogging so I can (hopefully) get a little sleep tonight.
But before I go, a few eerie snapshots taken on the trip over...
Somehow, the crappy quality of the images only serves to make them look even better... like shots from The X-Files or something. Thanks iPhone!
Hmmm... wouldn't this make a cool Stephen King movie?
Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2007
In the dead of night (which now comes at 6:10pm in the evening) as I was driving home along the winding roads of Highway 2, I came across a deer standing in the middle of the road. I was able to easily slow down and drive around her, but was really worried about cars behind me. So I stopped and turned on my emergency blinkers with the intent of warning people away until the deer was finished crossing the road.
Except she didn't.
She turned around and came walking towards me.
For anybody not familiar with deer, this is unprecedented. These are timid creatures which scare easily.
Not knowing what to think, I came to the conclusion that the poor thing was confused, injured, or both. Usually, I would have honked my horn in an attempt to get the deer to run away, but figured that scaring her was not the best move if she was hurt. Instead I started backing up slowly along the shoulder of the road with my emergency lights still flashing, so I could get a better look. The deer just stood there, apparently uninjured.
At least she did, until a car coming the opposite direction managed to (finally) scare her away. Off she went, probably down to the river to get a drink.
I would have joined her, but following around a deer during hunting season is probably not good for your health.
So glad to be home again.
Posted on Friday, November 9th, 2007
For a while there, most everybody I know was obsessed with The Secret. Apparently Oprah had endorsed the program, so it must be true.
This book basically tells you that you can have whatever you want if you believe with all certainty that it's already yours. Such thinking opens you up to the miraculous "Law of Attraction" which allows you to control the universe. Since that's my ultimate goal in life, I decided to set aside my feelings (namely, that The Secret is full of crap) and give it a try.
But what would I test it on?
I found an advertisement for a beautiful new residence tower being built in downtown Chicago called 50 East Chestnut. I decided that I would use The Secret to get myself a new home in the building. I ripped out the ad and posted it on my nightstand where I could see it every night as I went to sleep and every morning when I woke up...
Twice a day, morning and night, I would picture myself at 50 East Chestnut looking out over Chicago from my residence on the 24th floor. I totally owned it, and believed that the Law of Attraction would make it mine...
So here I am, exactly one month later, and I don't have a home at 50 East Chestnut on the 24th floor.
Oprah, that lying bitch.
Not that I'm surprised. If The Secret actually worked, then everybody would be living in mansions, driving Porsche convertibles, and rolling around naked in big piles of money with supermodels.
Maybe I was reaching too high? Perhaps if I used The Secret to attract a box of chocolate pudding I'd have better luck?
Chocolate pudding rules.
Posted on Saturday, November 10th, 2007
Posted on Sunday, November 11th, 2007
Freezing my ass off in Central Washington on this cold and dreary Bullet Sunday. I guess it's time to pull the blankets out of storage.
• Mean. For anybody who cares, yesterday's entry about mean people sucking was not because somebody was mean to me... it was because I saw some total douchebag be mean to somebody else. I didn't even know the person, but watching them visibly deflate because of such unwarranted cruelty was too much to take.
• Mac. Speaking of mean... Apple's new-found success is causing them to be a little mean and more than a little cocky. First of all, Leopard's icon for any PC's on your network is a piece-of-junk CRT monitor showing the "Windows Blue Screen of Death". It's built right into the operating system...
And now, the latest batch of Get-A-Mac ads are borderline-cruel in making fun of all the people (like me) who have dumped Windows Vista and downgraded back to Windows XP because it sucks less...
Ordinarily I would find these things funny (because the truth always is), but I can't help but think that this new attitude is going to come back and bite Apple in the ass. When they were an underdog, it was semi-forgivable. But now that Leopard is a run-away hit, Mac sales are growing more every day, the iPod has taken the world by storm, and the iPhone is kicking ass... well, the only thing people like more than an underdog coming out on top is watching them fall. Somebody should remind Apple about this before things go too far.
• Blu-Ray. I have finally chosen sides in the Hi-Def DVD war and, for me, it's Blu-Ray over HD-DVD. It all came down to one thing: Ratatouille is only available on Blu-Ray. This animated masterpiece by über-director Brad Bird (of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles fame) simply begs to be seen in hi-def. I can't imagine buying such a sublimely beautiful film in "regular" DVD, so it was finally time to bite the bullet...
• South Park. Once again, South Park is riding on the edge of pop culture by spoofing on Guitar Hero. Just when I think that the show can't possibly continue to be relevant after 11 years, they find some way to prove me wrong. Frickin' hilarious...
• Cinema. Is it just me, or are there no really good movies in the pipeline? Now that I think about it, the only really good movie I saw in recent memory was Ratatouille back in June. Transformers (the last movie I saw) wasn't too bad, but that was back in July. And now what have we got? Love in the Time of Cholera? Really? Give me a break. I liked The Golden Compass as a series of books, so maybe it won't suck too bad when it's released on December 7th. And then the 21st of December sees the release of a National Treasure sequel and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd... both of which might be worth a look, but I hardly think my socks will be blown off. Here's hoping the mysterious "Cloverfield" project will live up to the hype come January 18th, because Batman: The Dark Knight won't hit until next summer.
Anyway... adding my thanks to those who have served or are currently serving in our armed forces this Veteran's Day.
Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2007
I am not a candle person.
Which would put me firmly into the minority of the candle-loving masses who buy candles by the hundreds. Except I was given a nice candle recently (smells like pear!), so I thought I might as well spark it up so I have something good to smell while I work. Problem is, I couldn't find any way to light it.
My old lighter was empty. There's not a match to be found anywhere. I couldn't even get the flint in my car emergency kit to work. How sad is it that a grown man can't make fire? Just when I was about to pack it in and go live in a cave, I thought to go looking through my massive souvenir collection to see if I might have saved a matchbook from somewhere. Fortunately, I did have one that I snagged from a restaurant in Korea, so my quest for fire was at an end...
And there was fire, and the fire smelled good.
But something else sure stinks...
What is with all these stupid-ass commercials for the film Love in the Time of Cholera? If I were to write down all the movies that I would most NOT like to see, I'm pretty sure it would top my list right now. Don't get me wrong, if you like to watch weepy period romance dramas, more power to you, but I'd rather be kicked in the balls by Morten Andersen that sit through this crap. And the commercials are only making things worse.
I mean, Love in the Time of Cholera? Seriously?
Mmmmmm... I smell pears!
Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
We're all doomed.
Forget about the meek inheriting the earth... it's the stupid people who are the real inheritors, and they're suing their way to dominance. Every time I turn around, I'm reading how some dumbass has done something fantastically moronic and then sued somebody to profit from their stupidity. It makes me very sad for future generations, and has me questioning whether the human race deserves to survive.
And it all started with my inbox.
This morning I got an email from somebody who decided to "warn" be about my recent Twitter addiction. If the email had stopped there, it would have been kind of nice, albeit misguided. But it did not stop. By the end of the email, I was taken to task for not warning people that Twitter isn't free as advertised. It would seem that this person signed up for the service, then racked up a massive mobile phone bill because they updated their Twitter using SMS messaging. "TWITTER LIES! IT ISN'T FREE, THEY CHARGE YOU FOR UPDATING!!"
To which I responded "No, Twitter didn't charge you anything. That was your mobile phone company... didn't you read your contract when you got your phone? Don't blame Twitter because you didn't understand how much it costs to send an SMS on your network!"
This seemed almost TOO obvious, so I thought I'd do a Google search to see if anybody else was complaining about it.
And, of course, there were.
But my favorite comment on the situation actually came from Phil Wainewright at ZDNet who says: "Even though Twitter isn't responsible for those costs and makes no money from them, there's still a moral duty to make sure users are fully aware of the charges they could incur." (emphasis mine)
To which I can only say "you've got to be fucking kidding me."
A "moral duty" to hold the hand of people too stupid to know how much it costs to send SMS messages on their own phones? When I got my first phone, the SMS rates were printed right on the rate plan I signed up for. When I switched to iPhone, I was specifically asked if I wanted to upgrade my included 200 free SMS messages to an unlimited SMS plan. Everywhere I look, the messaging charges are clearly posted by the mobile phone companies. Are people choosing to ignore this information, or do they honestly think that Twitter has the ability to magically make all their messaging be free? I sometimes update Twitter over the internet, does that mean that my DSL internet charges are going to become magically free too? Sheesh. Accept that you made a mistake; pay your bill; chalk it up to a lesson learned (hopefully); and move on.
I am sick to death of the constant ass-covering that people and companies have to do to protect themselves from the profoundly stupid. Failing to do so only opens them up to insane lawsuits and unwarranted criticism.
Am I the only one who thinks that the first "moral duty" should be that people have to take responsibility for their own actions?
I sure hope not.
Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2007
What a horrible day.
It's at times like this that I wish I had a secret anonymous blog so I could write about the utterly bizarre crap that I've been through. Though much of what happened is so messed-up that even I have trouble believing it's true... and I lived it. The up-side is that I'm utterly convinced that there is a Supreme Being in the universe now, because somebody has to be messing with me. There's no other possible explanation...
Because if life is truly this random, I want out.
Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2007
Two weeks ago, I sliced open my finger while putting together some steel shelving. Today I jabbed an X-ACTO knife into my thumb... hard. Surprisingly, there wasn't much blood, but it still hurt a lot. Fate must really have it in for my fingers. And thumbs.
Or maybe I'm just really clumsy.
Though I'm sure there's a much more logical explanation than that...
Posted on Saturday, November 17th, 2007
There's many disadvantages to living in a small town, but one of the biggest would have to be the lack of variety in restaurants. In the entire valley, there are only three restaurants that I eat at with any regularity... the rest either don't interest me, or have disappointed me badly enough that I don't want to go back.
Tonight the last thing I wanted to do was go shopping for groceries or pull something out of the freezer for dinner. I wanted to hop in the car and go out to eat. Problem is there was nothing that I felt was worth going out for, so I ended up eating frozen pizza. Again. And it sucked. Again.
It got me to thinking about the restaurant chains out there that I would love to have set-up shop locally...
Gah! Now I'm hungry, even though I just ate.
Posted on Sunday, November 18th, 2007
It's Bullet Sunday after a dreary week of work, work, and more work.
• Ironic... My new Blu-Ray player was delayed, so I'm sitting here with a stack of Blu-Ray movies and nothing to watch them on. I'm jonesing for a Ratatouille and 300 fix! In other HD news, I was very happy to find out that you can have Netflix automatically send Hi-Def versions of your selections (in either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD format) simply by updating your profile. Sweet!
• Electronic... FOX is releasing posters for the new Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and they're delicious...
Hmmm... that second poster looks a little Borg-Queen-esque from Star Trek: First Contact. The series debuts on January 13th, though I have no idea if the writer's strike will change that. More info can be found on the FOX website.
• Idiotic... I have the movie Idiocracy playing while I'm blogging. It's a Mike Judge comedy starring Luke Wilson about how in the future everybody is stupid and the country is run by idiots. We're half-way there already.
• Moronic... If people want to criticize me or my blog, I honestly have no problem with that. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and I invited this kind of scrutiny the minute I put myself on the internet. But why is it that 99% of these people sound so stupid? They don't know how to construct a proper sentence, and can't spell to save their life (despite the fact that they undoubtedly have spell-check). It's getting increasingly difficult to respond to these dumbasses because I can't even figure out what the hell they're trying to say. I'm told that this is a generational thing, and kids who grow up in the age of TXT messaging and IM have a language all their own. This may be true, but it's not that I can't decipher their TXT-speak, it's that their message is so obtuse. How can I have respect for these people when they can't express themselves in any meaningful way? Besides, I don't buy it. I know plenty of kids who are able to get their point across... even in TXT-speak. Perhaps the blogosphere just attracts idiots, I dunno. Maybe the future really is now.
• Harmonic... The Superficial has posted some shots of the sublime Elizabeth Hurley as she attended Elton John's AIDS foundation benefit...
Stunning as always. More delicious photos of Liz can be found here.
• Iconic... I installed the first update for MacOS X Leopard and was dismayed that the icon preview bug hasn't been fixed. This is a major, major problem for me, as I use the icons to visually identify Adobe Illustrator files (I go to the trouble of saving PDF previews with all my files specifically for this purpose). Problem is, this is all I see in Leopard...
Yet, if I do a Spotlight search on the same files, the icon previews mysteriously appears...
APPLE, PLEASE FIX THIS!! I need my icon previews back.
• Demonic... How hard does Ray Wise rock playing The Devil on Reaper? I like the show and all, but he's the reason I find myself tuning in each week...
• Ultrasonic... Crossing my fingers for Tron 2, baby!
And that wraps up the last installment of Bullet Sunday before we become hopelessly mired in the horrors of the holiday season. I so wish I could fast-forward to January.
Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2007
So Amazon has finally released their long-awaited electronic book reader, which they've name "Kindle." Given how often I travel, I've long been waiting for this day. The idea of being able to download books at a moment's notice is appealing to somebody whose entire life is lived "at a moment's notice." But, as a lover of books, giving up the printed word is a scary prospect. Reading a computer monitor is not nearly as comfortable as reading ink on paper, no matter what other advantages an "e-book" might have.
Then comes "electronic paper" or "e-paper."
This invention allows for a display which is much more like a printed page than a computer monitor. Suddenly the technology to create an e-book that reads like a real book has arrived. A few companies jump on board, like Sony, who creates a product that looks like a winner. Except it's not Mac compatible, and so I wouldn't know.
But Kindle doesn't need a computer... PC or Mac... because it connects to the Amazon store wirelessly. That's a pretty smart move.
Unfortunately, it's about the only smart move Amazon made. Kindle is way too expensive ($400!), it can't accept open formats like DOC files or PDFs without paying Amazon for conversion and, most important of all, IT'S BUTT-UGLY! Seriously butt-ugly...
In a day and age when Apple is making a killing by creating devices so beautiful that they're practically a fashion accessory, Amazon has chosen to release a product that looks like something out of 1970's. And not in a good "retro" way, but in a "holy crap does that look like shit" way. The asymmetrical lines are horrifying, making the device look like somebody sat on it. I suppose it was designed this way to facilitate better usability, but watching the demo videos doesn't give me this impression at all.
Perhaps if Kindle was half the price, I wouldn't mind so much. But $400 for something that looks like this?
No thanks. For that kind of bank, it had better be iPhone-like beautiful. Because I'm vain that way.
If only Apple designed the world, we wouldn't have to be made to suffer like this.
Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
I'M BILLY MAYS, HERE TO DRIVE YOU INSANE WITH YET ANOTHER ONE OF MY HORRENDOUSLY ANNOYING COMMERCIALS!
NOBODY MAKES YOU WANT TO KILL YOURSELF MORE THAN BILLY MAYS!! LISTEN TO ME AS I SCREAM NON-STOP WHILE REMOVING STAINS USING THE AMAZING POWER OF OXYGEN IN OXYCLEAN!! AND THAT'S NOT ALL! I'LL BE BACK IN FIFTEEN MINUTES YELLING MY HEAD OFF WHILE I SHARPEN KNIVES USING THE INCREDIBLE SAMURAI SHARK KNIFE SHARPENING SYSTEM! STILL NOT ENOUGH?? THEN TUNE IN TWENTY MINUTES AFTER THAT WHEN I'LL BE SHOUTING ABOUT ORANGE GLO WOOD CARE PRODUCTS!!
PHOTO TAKEN FROM BILLY MAYS MAYHEM!
YOU CAN'T AVOID ME!! I'M BILLY MAYS! I'M ON EVERY FUCKING CHANNEL EVERY FUCKING HOUR OF EVERY FUCKING DAY ADVERTISING EVERY FUCKING PRODUCT EVER MADE!! BECAUSE I'M BILLY FUCKING MAYS, DAMMIT!!!
Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007
As I have no doubt mentioned many times before, I loathe shopping and avoid it like the plague. If I need something, I'll visit a physical store only as a last resort, preferring to buy stuff on the internet whenever possible. Well, today it finally became unavoidable, and a shopping expedition into the nearby city of Wenatchee was required...
...on one of the worst days of the year to be doing so, the day before Thanksgiving (with the very worst day obviously being Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving).
Anyway, here's my shopping for the day...
Folding Door Runner: My closet door broked, so I had to buy a replacement piece at Home Depot. Just like every other time I've been here, trying to find anything in this massive store is nigh impossible when you can't get somebody to help you. After 15 minutes of getting nowhere, I finally turn to leave in disgust when some guy on his lunch break is walking through and tells me where to go. It was the wrong aisle, but eventually I DO find my runner. I'm off to a terrible start.
Pizza: I had a coupon for Papa Murphy's, so I dropped by to get a Cheese Pizza for dinner on Friday.
When I couldn't find the chips, I was determined not to leave empty-handed and ended up getting a 60-pack of string cheese. As much as I love string cheese, this will probably last me into February.
Peppermint Crunch Junior Mints: I may not celebrate Christmas, but I'm not about to pass up on delicious holiday treats because of it! Food Pavilion always has a nifty selection of seasonal sweets, so I dropped by and found new Crunchy Junior Mints. They aren't as crunchy as the packaging would have you believe (they need bigger pieces of candy on the top for that), but they're still killer good...
Black Bean Chipotle Gardenburgers: My favorite frozen veggie burger is the Black Bean Chipotle patties from Gardenburger. I love them. LOVE THEM!! Then two months ago I couldn't find them anymore. And I looked everywhere. I stopped at every grocery store I could find in every city I went to. Ultimately, I figured that they must have been discontinued (even though they're still listed on the Gardenburger site). On a whim, I decided to look at Food Pavilion after I got my crunchy mints. I nearly broke down in tears when I looked into the freezer case and saw them there staring back at me. I bought all ten boxes they had...
Please, please, please tell me that these are not the last Black Bean Chipotle Gardenburgers on earth. My heart cannot take losing Coke with Lime AND my beloved burgers too. The bad news is that my freezer is now totally full. Beyond full. If I find anymore Black Bean Chipotle Gardenburgers, I won't be able to buy them until I eat some of the ones I already have. Or throw out the chocolate ice cream. What a dilemma that would be.
And that was all the shopping I could stand for the day. For the month, really.
Of course, there's only one thing worse than shopping during the holidays, and that would be traveling during the holidays. Knowing that I have not one, but two trips coming up makes me want to scream... then cry... then drink until I pass out.
Instead I'm going to write up a business proposal, sketch out some design concepts, answer my backlog of email, then go to bed.
Right after I eat some string cheese. One down, fifty-nine to go...
Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
Not a good day to be a turkey, obviously.
Posted on Friday, November 23rd, 2007
Four days ago Apple sent me an invitation to a "shopping event" at their online store. When you read the fine print at the bottom, it says that the sale starts at 12:01am on November 23rd. But not really. Because I went to the store at 12:01am and all I got was a sign saying that the store was closed because it was busy being updated.
But that turned out to be a lie too. It's now 12:45, and the store is still down...
Normally, the Apple Whore Apologist in me would just assume that they were having some temporary problems updating their store and needed a little extra time to sort it out. No big deal.
But the recent mean-spirited ads and attitude taken by Apple which make fun of Windows' many failings while claiming that Apple is perfect because everything "just works" has me thinking different.
Now I'm thinking that Apple is being run by a bunch of douchebags, because of things exactly like this. They are not perfect... sometimes their shit does not work... and sometimes they have embarrassing moments where they show failings of their own. Like right now as I sit here waiting.
And if a long-time Apple Whore who worships Steve Jobs, loves Macs with a passion, and buys everything Apple makes (like me) is starting to get pissed off because of their smack-talk backfiring... what must the general public think of Apple when stuff like this happens?
Apple needs an attitude adjustment very, very quickly. Because continuing in this direction cannot end well.
UPDATE: And finally, at 12:55am, the store is back up. But the "sales event" where Apple invites you to "save big" is pretty pathetic. Save 7% on an iMac? Save 5% on an iPod nano? Save 9% on an iPod Classic? Whoop-de-frickin'-do. In my mind "BIG savings" is 20% minimum, and even that's lame for a Black Friday event where other retailers are going crazy with massive cuts of 25% to 50% (or even higher) with their sales. Apple does offer bigger discounts on 3rd party items... but no better than the everyday discount price you'd get from places like Buy.com or Amazon (the one exception being a whopping $202 savings on a Xacti digital camcorder... why, I have no idea... a mistake, I'd guess).
Worth the 55-minute wait? Hardly. I'm a sad Apple Whore right now.
Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2007
For better or worse, I'm an early adopter.
I love tech gadgetry, and have always put myself on the bleeding edge of new technology... from computers, phones, and cameras, to stereos, media players, and video games. I am always seeking out the newest of the new to play with. Sometimes I get burned (MiniDisc Music Player, Apple QuickTake Camera, Panasonic Recordable DVD Player, to name a few) but overall I've been happy with my decision to be first out of the gate (and so are my friends and family, because they get the "old" equipment it replaces).
I was one of the first people in Washington State to own a DVD player. It was one of seven Sony reference players sold in Seattle, and cost just under $2000 once I got everything I needed. Sure that's a lot of money, but when a friend and I were invited to a technology demo of DVD in early 1997, I simply could not resist. The quality was such a huge leap over VHS tape that a total movie whore like myself was compelled to purchase it. As it turns out, this was money well-spent. My Sony DVP-S7000 player has been in service for almost 11 years now, surpassing the PIECE OF SHIT Panasonic Recordable DVD Player I bought a while back which never once managed to record a single DVD, despite two trips to the repair shop (which is why I will never buy from Panasonic again). I still curse director Kevin Smith for that mistake, because it was his advertisements that led me to buy Panasonic.
Buying into DVD was an easy decision. It was superior to anything else out there (including my LaserDisc player... also an early adopter purchase), and was clearly the future of the home theater experience. I wasn't the least bit worried about investing in the technology, because all the major manufacturers and studios endorsed it. This was probably one of the safest bets I had ever made.
Buying into Blu-Ray was not an easy decision. Mostly because manufacturers and studios are split between endorsing Blu-Ray and a competing format, HD-DVD. Choose wrong, and it's the Betamax vs. VHS tape format war all over again... and somebody is going to lose. That time, it was Sony's Beta that lost, so jumping onto their Blu-Ray format was not a sure bet. So I waited.
But soon it became clear that there wasn't going to be an early victory in the format war. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were both surviving at a near-equal pace. This was going to be a long, very stupid, drawn-out battle, and if I didn't choose a side I would be waiting quite a while. So a few weeks ago I decided on Blu-Ray, because that's where Disney-Pixar was at. I wanted to buy their brilliant new film Ratatouille in Hi-Def, and you couldn't get it on HD-DVD. So I ordered a Samsung BD-P1400 player at $369 (which has subsequently dropped at many vendors to $339 because of Black Friday).
The player itself is good, but not great. The biggest problem was that the BD-P1400 did not come with an actual hi-def cable! So right out of the box, I couldn't see the Blu-Ray movies I bought in the way they were meant to be seen. This brought up the nightmare of cable-shopping, because they are SO FREAKIN' EXPENSIVE! The cheapest HDMI cable I could find locally was $79! Fortunately, the good people at Optimized Cable Company had what I wanted at $19.95 (quick shipping...highly recommend). A few days later, and I was in business.
The picture and sound are incredible. The clarity and detail in the picture has to be seen to be believed. This all came to light when I watched Terminator 2. At first, I thought the picture was just a little better. But then I played the same movie on "regular" DVD and started switching between the two. The difference was astounding. Tiny details like hair and other small elements were noticeably blurrier when I dropped out of Blu-Ray. Since I can't do a screen capture of Blu-Ray (yet), I decided to simulate what a very small Terminator looks like when extracted from a scene and blown up. It's something like this...
Simulated DVD Enlargement on the left, simulated Blu-Ray enlargement on the right.
Of course, the quality of the picture is wholly dependent on the source material. My Blu-Ray movie of Superman II, The Richard Donner Cut is an older film with noticeable softness and grain. Blu-Ray actually seems to make this more noticeable, because it presents such flaws so clearly. On the other hand, for movies like Ratatouille, which was a 100% digital conversion, there are -zero- flaws, and the picture quality is jaw-dropping spectacular.
For reasons that totally escape me, Blu-Ray movies takes FOREVER to start up. Unlike a DVD player where you drop in the disc and can start watching immediately, Blu-Ray has a lot of waiting. At first I thought it was my Samsung BD-1400 that was to blame, but a quick check in online forums shows that this is a common problem in all hi-def players. This is really frustrating, and difficult to comprehend. Three steps forward in quality, one step backwards in convenience. Other than excessive waits for menus and such, the only other quality problem I've noted is occasional stuttering in some movies. It's very quick, so it's not too distracting, but can be irritating. Hopefully a future firmware upgrade will help solve this. But the biggest con? Some hi-def titles are not available on Blu-Ray, the studio having chosen to go the HD-DVD route. This includes many favorites (like the remastered Star Trek: The Original Series) and is kind of a bummer. Not wanting to buy a new film on the older format when not available for Blu-Ray, I've decided to rent them on Netflix until a Blu-Ray version is (hopefully) released. I suppose I could buy a second HD-DVD player (or a new combi-player) but really don't want to divide my media like that.
The worst part of switching from DVD to Blu-Ray is my existing library of now-antiquated DVD movies, because it's not like I am going to run out and re-buy my entire collection again. Fortunately, the BD-1400 has "upconverter" technology which makes my old DVDs look pretty darn good, so this is not much of an issue for me. I'll re-buy some of my favorites, and absolutely buy new titles in Blu-Ray... but the bulk of my collection with remain in "regular" DVD.
In the end, I am happy to recommend Blu-Ray over DVD. I am not, however, ready to recommend Blu-Ray over HD-DVD. The quality is reported to be about the same, so it's a personal choice as to which road to take. Many people might want to wait for the "combi-players" to come out so they can play either... but if you want to go with a single HD format, the choice will have to be made as to which has more movies and studio support that you're interested in.
Am I happy with my decision? Sure.
Am I confident I backed the right Hi-Def format? I have no idea.
In the meanwhile, I'll be enjoying the stunning quality and terrific sound that Blu-Ray offers. Movies at home have never looked better.
Posted on Sunday, November 25th, 2007
Where did this day go? Seriously, it's coming up on dinner-time and it feels like I just woke up a couple of hours ago. I know I went to work, but I didn't get nearly enough done. Must be a Bullet Sunday.
• Pole! What is it with the latest fitness trends that keep popping up, disappearing, then popping up again? I'm seeing ads (once again) for POLE DANCING as exercise. I could make a number of smart-ass comments here, but instead I decided to buy a pole and get into shape! Off I went to Amazon to get an instructional video... and imagine my surprise when I found out there's a whole world of slutty exercise programs to choose from!
And now I can't decide if I want to learn exotic dancing, pole dancing, lap dancing, or bump n' grind strip-dancing. My gut instinct is to stick with pole dancing, but I'm thinking there's more money to be made in lap dancing. At least that's always been the case when I'm paying for it. Because, hey, there's nothing to say a guy can't earn a little cash while getting into shape.
• South Park! Last night I finally had a chance to pull out my South Park: The Complete 10th Season DVD set and watch my second favorite episode of the series ever: Make Love, Not Warcraft (my all-time favorite being Christian Rock Hard). In addition to being hysterically funny, the episode is just so incredibly well made. I'd go so far as to say that it's practically flawless. Anybody who hasn't seen it should definitely take a look...
• WOW! Included with my new South Park DVD set, there was a free 14-day trial for World of Warcraft. This is a really brilliant idea, because after having watched that South Park episode, I was in the mood to give it a try. I had played the original WarCraft games but, since I am not so much into the whole "online massive multi-player" thing, I never tried WOW. And now that I have, I know what all the fuss is about. It's pretty sweet!
This is me! I'm a Tauren Shamen, which I picked because he looks badass cool.
I use my mace to unleash my righteous fury on giant turkeys.
Then I figure out that I can shoot lightning, which I use to fry green pigs.
Oh shit! I'm dead!! I got my ass handed to me by a giant super-pig!
Oooh! The moon is all pretty and stuff.
For a while there, I was having me some fun... being all kick-ass by running around and killing giant turkeys and pigs and stuff. But then people started asking me to join their group every 15 minutes, and I didn't want to play anymore. I don't want to join a group. I'm busy all the time, and can't commit to playing with a group... I just want people to leave me alone. But I couldn't find a way to hang a big "DON'T ASK ME TO BE IN YOUR GROUP" sign around my neck, so I gave up and stopped playing. Oh well. Hopefully Blizzard will release Warcraft IV soon, so I can play alone. Of course, right now I'm more interested in Starcraft II, which is the sequel to my favorite Blizzard game of all time.
&bull Starbucks! I have written about the song I Love N.Y.E. by Badly Drawn Boy (from the amazing About A Boy movie soundtrack) a couple of times now (here and here). It's beautiful, magical, and I've always been puzzled as to why it was never nabbed for a television commercial. Well, somebody really smart in Starbucks' marketing department finally found it, and it's playing on a really cool animated ad for their calorie-laden holiday drinks (it's got penguins in it!). Beutifully done, Starbucks! If you're curious about this wonderful piece of music, you can take a listen at iTunes here.
• Ghost Rider! After goofing off with WOW, I capped off my evening by watching my Blu-Ray copy of Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider. It's not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a fun movie to watch and has nifty special effects. The critics, of course, savaged the movie in their reviews (it mustered only 28% on Rotten Tomatoes), which is probably justified, but kind of lame since this was such an easy target. I mean, come on, it's got a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle and Nicholas Cage in a hairpiece for crying out loud! At some point you have to just let go...
Besides, any movie that's got Sam Elliott and Peter Fonda in it can't be too bad!
And thus ends Bullet Sunday (though I've got a iTunes meme in an extended entry which was tagged me by James). Tomorrow I'm traveling cross-country, so my entry for Monday will be posted pretty late. For anybody interested, I'll be updating my journey throughout the day via DaveStalker™, so feel free to travel along with me if you've got nothing better to do.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2007
Last night I received a vicious blog comment which I immediately deleted. I woke up this morning wishing that I had published the darn thing for sheer entertainment value. Now I sit here wishing for the millionth time that the me of "right now" could talk to the me of yesterday. Not just because it would be a great way warn myself of upcoming embarrassing situations, but also because I'm a really good conversationalist. Alas, the power over space and time is not mine to be had, so I won't be enjoying the pleasure of my own conversation just yet. Though I still have a shot at schizophrenia, so fingers crossed.
Travel during the busy holiday season is an exercise in patience at a level I simply do not possess.
That's because people who rarely travel suddenly have an excuse to do so, and the airports are filled with an abundance of dumbasses. People who should just stay home instead of forcing their idiocy on public at large.
My first of three flights today was really bumpy. At least two people barfed on the way to Seattle, and one of those was directly across the aisle from me. I then spent the next 30 minutes trying to resist the urge to spew, because the smell of puke filled the plane. As an added bonus, the gum-smacking whore who upchucked next to me decided to stuff her little bag of puke under the seat in front of her and didn't bother to let the flight attendant know about it. So now there's a risk that when they clean the plane, they're going to accidentally spill vomit all over the place. If only there was a way that I could magically take that barf-bag and sneak it into her suitcase. Then when she got to wherever she was going it would be all "SURPRISE BITCH! REMEMBER ME?"
My second-leg flight to Chicago was purchased through my favorite airline, Alaska Air, but code-shared out to American Airlines. This doesn't bother me too much, except Alaska won't let me jump on one of their earlier flights because the ticket they sold me isn't for their airline (even though seats are available). Kind of makes me wonder why I bother to pay the extra money to buy tickets at AlaskaAir.com when there is clearly no benefit to doing so. Oh well. I had wanted to hop on an earlier plane to get a 4-1/2-hour layover at O'Hare so I could then take the train into the city for quick bite of pizza, but now I have to settle for a delicious Qdoba Veggie Burrito at SeaTac instead.
While waiting for my flight I watch one of the five episodes of The Soup I have saved up on my iPhone, then move on to Mitch Hedburg's Comedy Central stand-up special. I've seen it a hundred times, but never get tired of watching it. Then I feel sad for ten minutes when it sinks in (yet again) that Mitch is gone.
Despite the non-stop travel-party that is my life, I have no leverage at American Airlines. I can't get an upgrade or select the seat I want like I can with most of the other airlines. Fortunately, a really cool gate agent takes pity on me and manages to upgrade my middle seat at the ass-end of the plane to a bulkhead aisle seat with tons of legroom. I fall in love with her a little bit. I fantasize about taking her to Starbucks for some hot cocoa with peppermint sprinkles and then boarding the next flight to Bali where we spend a month living on the beach like bohemians and drinking too much rum.
The flight to Chicago was interesting, to say the least. Because sitting next to me is Arrogant Bitch and her husband Crotchety Old Fart. They were so fantastically bizarre and horrifying, that I could have easily made a blog posting entirely out of the crazy-ass crap that came out of their mouths. I've put a small sampling of their ramblings in an extended entry, if you think your heart can take it (be forewarned... the old bastard cusses constantly, so if foul language offends you, do not click through!). The cool part was that across the aisle from me was Tyrone, a beautiful and well-behaved 5-1/2 year-old seeing eye doggie...
The poor thing stayed all scrunched up for the entire flight, which could not have been comfortable. But he took it like a trooper, and enjoyed a good stretch once he was finally able to move again. I remain in awe of these incredible animals who make life better for so many people.
After my adventures with Arrogant Bitch and Crotchety Old Fart came to an end, I ate ice cream and wandered around O'Hare while waiting for my one-hour flight to Pennsylvania. Nothing much happened, except I spilled a drop of chocolate ice cream on my iPhone and spent the next 10 minutes freaking out over whether or not any of it seeped into the magic button on the front. Fun times.
The flight out of Chicago was on an aircraft so narrow that I could very nearly hold out my arms and touch both sides of the plane. But never fear, the airline still managed to get 3 seats across that sucker! It was a fairly boring and pointless flight... at least until we landed. Here is one guy's idea of sitting down with his seat-belt completely fastened until the aircraft comes to a complete stop...
As I said, this is what you get during the holiday season.
And now, after eleven hours of travel, I am relaxing in my hotel room... preparing for my work tomorrow.
Well, not really relaxing, because this piece-of-crap "upscale" hotel is built so frickin' close to the highway that it sounds as if the traffic is driving through my room. Holy crap is it loud. In fact, after staying at hundreds of hotels around the world, I can honestly say that this is the loudest, noisiest hotel I have ever been to. And that's saying a lot. Especially since I once stayed in a Bourbon Street hotel during Mardi Gras. I'd say my odds of getting any sleep tonight are zero.
And there you have it. The end.
But not really, because Arrogant Bitch and Crotchety Old Fart are waiting for you in an extended entry!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2007
I am not a "light sleeper"... honest I'm not.
There's a train crossing not far from my home, and I can sleep through blaring train whistles no problem. I regularly stay at hotels that are at an airport with jets rumbling overhead at regular intervals. I've even stayed at hotels off the highway where a decent amount of road noise was present while I got some sleep.
But last night was something entirely different.
I don't know whether it was the acoustics... or the building construction... or the lack of interference between my room and the highway... or whatever. All I know is that it was the noisiest, most miserable hotel visit I have ever had in 22 years of travel across the globe. From the swankiest 5-star palaces to the most disgusting 0-star hovels, NONE of them even come close to the audio assault I experienced every frickin' minute I was at this hotel.
For some reason, this highway outside my window...
Caused me to finally end up sleeping here...
I shit you not.
After 4-1/2 hours of trying everything I could think of to eliminate the noise, I finally took all my bedding to the bathroom, threw it in the bathtub, turned on the fan, then squeezed into the tub. I managed to get 2 hours of very uncomfortable sleep, but it was better than nothing. Especially since I had a full day (and then some) of work to face today.
Now I have to ask... what kind of f#@%ed-up hotel has rooms that are so noisy that turning on the television, starting up the air conditioner, and wearing noise-blocking headphones while music plays from your iPhone, is STILL not enough to block the highway noise so you can get some sleep?? The only way I could block the racket was to have even LOUDER noise happening, which doesn't help matters at all.
This morning I checked out of my big-name pricey hotel, canceled my second day stay, and moved to a crappier, cheaper chain hotel near the airport.
Which is paradise by comparison.
So you'll forgive me if I don't blog anything interesting or draw a cartoon or go commenting on blogs tonight... I'm just too frickin' tired.
And a little more than excited that I'm not sleeping in a bathtub tonight.
Posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
Well that sucked ass. One trip down, three to go before the end of the year (and still three more in January). I'm so happy I think I might die. If I don't drop into a sleep-deprived coma first.
I keep re-living the horror of having to sleep in a bathtub Monday night. And every time I do, I think back to Tyrone the seeing-eye dog and how he had to stay all scrunched up under two people's feet for 3-1/2 hours on a plane and wonder if doggies retain memories of bad things in their lives, or if they just forget about them the minute they've ended. If that's the case, I really envy dogs.
A lot of crap happened in the past three days and, since I haven't been around, so we're going to catch up bullet-style...
• Mind the Gap. As an American bloke fascinated by foreign accents, I have no problem admitting that I'm a little smitten by the lovely voice of the London Underground announcements every time I visit. Turns out the lovely woman who creates them, Emma Clarke, was recently fired because of some comments that came out of a series of spoof Underground announcements she did for her site (and don't overlook her blog, which is great). This makes me very sad, and I hope that this terrible mistake is soon rectified so I can be happy again...
• Olympical. Turns out not all international news is bad. Beautiful Vancouver, BC (my neighbor to the north) has just released the mascots for the 2010 Olympic Games, and they're great! Whoever came up with the idea of using a sasquatch as mascot is a frickin' genius. I cannot wait until they start selling Quatchi plush toys...
• Macintosh Bargains. Just dropped a nice chunk of cash at the European-Indie Programmers "Give Good Food to your Mac Promotion," which has a line-up of incredible Macintosh programs at ridiculous bundle prices (anywhere from 30% to 70% off depending on how much you buy). These are not crappy bottom-drawer apps that nobody wants, they're all high-quality, totally professional releases you can't live without! I bought an even dozen... some I probably don't need but, at 70% off, I couldn't resist.
• Kindling. Finally got to play with an Amazon Kindle digital book. It's worse than I thought, which is pretty bad. In a day and age where the bar for stunning design in physical structure, user interface, and usability has been set so incredibly high (thanks Apple!)... how can companies release such total crap and think people won't notice? Here was an opportunity to finally get digital book distribution just the boost it needed to go mainstream, and Amazon totally dropped the ball. Tragic. If you are considering the purchase of one of these DRM-laden, hideously expensive, ugly-as-sin monstrosities... I highly recommend seeing one in person before parting with your hard-earned money.
• Daisies. Yet another amazing episode of Pushing Daisies is unfolding tonight. I sure hope the rumors of the writers strike being settled are true, because I needs me the new television shows! Death by pink goo... what a way to go.
And with that, I should probably get some sleep. I've got a full day tomorrow before heading out again.
Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2007
Hanging around a hospital all day can be entertaining... if you work at it.
Fortunately they had free wi-fi internet, which helped, but there was still plenty of time to wander around and come up with stuff to occupy my time. My favorite game? GUESS THAT STAIN!
Surprisingly (or not surprisingly, when you think about it), there are quite a few stains to be found all over the hospital. And every time I see one, I can't help but wonder what might have caused it...
Of course me (being me) always determined that the stains were from a brain leak, or an exploding pancreas, or a spinal tap gone terribly wrong, or some other kind of freaky medical improbability. But I guess that's what makes it fun.
What's definitely not fun is watching a family receive bad news. It happens at hospitals... you would expect it to happen at hospitals... but that doesn't make it any less painful to witness.
Tomorrow is going to be a long, long day. But it has a really good thing happening at the end, so all I have to do is hang on until then and I'll be in good shape.
In the meanwhile, I'm going to sulk and bitch about all the snow.
Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2007
Hmmm... I should probably set down my drink to do this...
Tonight I drank obscene amounts of alcohol and then went to see Mike Birbiglia in concert at the Moore Theater here in Seattle with friends. He is one of the funniest people on the planet (even when you're not drunk), so you should go buy his albums right now and be sure to check out his Comedy Central Video Special.
I took lots of pictures today, but with my crappy iPhone camera, so none of them turned out very good (why does everything always come out so DARK?). Some of them become acceptable when Photoshopped to death though.
I've kind of got one-handed, no-look iPhone photography down to a science. I focus my attention on driving while pushing my iPhone to the windshield so I can pretty much capture exactly what I see out my window without having to even look at iPhone...
Lots of snow dropped on Stevens Pass last night, but the roads were good...
Once over the pass, the snow disappeared pretty fast...
Doing our best to support the German economy...
It's Mike Birbiggleboo Birbigglebug Birbigglebutt Birbiglia at The Moore...
Wow. That iPhone camera really sucks ass unless the lighting is totally perfect. Whenever I complain, everybody tells me that ALL mobile phone cameras suck ass... but my old Motorola did a lot better than this.
Oh well. I had big fun tonight (even if my blog is down and I can't post this until morning). Tomorrow is a much-deserved day of nothing but goofing off before a full week of nothing but work, so at least I have something to look forward to.