Posted on Saturday, December 1st, 2007
GAH! SNOW!! LOTS OF SNOW!!!
Well this should make driving home tomorrow a big boat-load of fun...
I really don't like the snow. Why do I still live in Washington?
Eh, we're going to order in dinner and try to forget about the weather altogether.
Posted on Sunday, December 2nd, 2007
I don't know how many bullets I have in my this Sunday. I'm still traumatized from the drive back home.
In the past two decades of driving in the ice and snow, this was probably the worst it has ever been. And I most certainly knew better... iPhone told me the road was going to be shit, I just chose not to listen. I think that after my life is over, I shall make a list of the stupidest crap I've ever done, and this day will be in the top ten.
• Beginnings. Things started out good enough. Just a bit of light snow that wasn't even sticking to the road...
• Slush. But then things went terribly wrong once I made it through Monroe. The snow turned to rain which made the snow already fallen turn to slush. Scum-sucking slush from hell that pulls your car from the road and makes you lose control. Several cars were pulled into the ditch, and many of the people one the road with me turned around and went back. People far smarter than I.
• Calm. Then, as if by magic, the rain stopped. Heading up the pass, there was only light snow and cleared roads. I breathed a sigh of relief that my drive home wasn't going to be as difficult as I had first thought...
• Storm. It was too good to last, of course. Once I topped the pass, the roads turned to shit, the snow was much heavier and wetter, and freezing winds blasted the highway. And this wasn't even the worst part. The wind made the wet snow freeze to my windshield wipers. I had to constantly reach out my window, grab the wiper, then slap it down against the glass to break the ice off... otherwise, they couldn't clean the window. I tried to stop several times because I couldn't see, but there was no place to do so. I had to just use The Force and keep going... taking advantage of little clear spots that would pop up from time to time. It was horrible. I expected that the roads would be plowed better once I made it to Leavenworth, but I was wrong. My car was all over the road as I struggled to get home on roads completely covered with snow.
• Wrecked. Once I finally got home safe and sound, I was so mentally and physically exhausted that I could barely function. I was totally wrecked, and just wanted to climb into bed and forget that the day had ever happened. Of course, this was simply hoping for too much. I had a massive pile of emails and work to get to. Life is harsh that way.
And that's a wrap! Fortunately, weather conditions are predicted to improve later in the week before I have to fly out again. Not that I put much stock in weather predictions, but it never hurts to be hopeful.
Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2007
Uhhhh... yeah... my home state is in a bit of trouble just now...
Can't we ship this stuff to someplace where they really need it?
Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
Despite the fact that I had to go to the dentist for my 6-month check-up first thing this morning, I woke up in kind of a good mood. Sure I had a ton of work to do but, thanks to a handful of sleeping pills, I got a good night's sleep and was feeling okay. That doesn't happen too often now-a-days, so I put a smile on my face and decided to just roll with it.
Then I stepped outside.
It was raining. Hard. I was all ready to wipe that smile off my face and let my mood go sour... but then I looked up...
This photo hardly does it justice, but there was a massive rainbow arching across the entire sky. And, even though you can't tell from the picture, they sky was actually a nice shade of blue. Like this...
In person, the rainbow was spectacular. Bright, vivid, colors that shot across the sky like a Hollywood movie special effect! My happiness was reinstated. I didn't care that it was raining.
But then I got in my automobile. And it wouldn't start. Probably because of my drive over the pass on Sunday, which was undoubtedly a massive strain on the 7-year-old battery that came with the car. Crap.
So now I have to borrow a car to get to my dentist appointment AND buy a new battery. Life is really sucking today. Though my teeth cleaning went pretty well, and there wasn't much need for the dental instruments of torture...
Surprisingly, the rainbow had followed me into Wenatchee, and was shining brighter than ever as I went to buy a new car battery...
And then it was back to work for six hours until I could find a ride home and install my battery.
Except the engineer who designed my Saturn SC-2 is a sadistic fucker, and replacing my battery was not as easy as it has been IN EVERY OTHER CAR I'VE EVER SEEN. The damn thing is bolted in with a stupid-ass metal shield of some kind, and none of my tools are long enough to unscrew the shit. So I work on the bracket without success, until it gets too dark and I can't see what I'm doing.
Fucking piece of crap Saturn.
Seriously. I bought the damn thing because I wanted to support American workers by purchasing an American car. But it has been a steaming pile of shit from the very beginning. And now, on top of having error lights that won't go out no matter how much I pay the Saturn repair shop, it has a battery that you can't remove with standard tools.
In the morning I'll give it another try. If I can't get it to work, I'll just rent a fucking blow-torch and cut the shit off. Or light the entire car on fire and laugh maniacally as it explodes.
Ooh! I guess I ended up in a bad mood after all.
Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
Well smack my ass and call me Sally.
This morning I woke up at first-light so I could try once again to install a new battery in my car. As I mentioned yesterday, Saturn designed a bracket to hold the battery in place (good) but it has the binding bolts in really stupid places (bad). In order to remove the bracket, you need something like an air-powered flat ratchet for one of the bolts... and a long extension ratchet head for the other one. I, of course, own neither of those things. There's really no need to own those things unless you are an auto mechanic.
So after an hour of getting nowhere, I finally decide to put on a dress, then grab a matching purse and shoes so I can go pay a mechanic to install the battery...
So thanks a fucking load Saturn. Nothing can emasculate a man faster than having to pay another guy to put a battery in his car. Seriously, how fucking difficult would it be to design the shit so that anybody with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver can take care of it? Is that really too much to ask? I mean, I own a good set of manly tools... I even have a Dremel for criminey's sake... shouldn't that be enough to do something as simple as replacing the battery in your car? Yes. Yes it should. Because, when you think about it, the time that most people have to replace their battery is probably a time when they least expect it, and they may not have any tools available. Why not a simple locking pressure clamp with no tools required? Why force guys to have to wear dresses with matching shoes and handbags as they pay a mechanic to deal with this simple shit?
There is no good reason I can think of except that you hire asshole engineers who get sadistic pleasure out of torturing your customers.
I seriously need to go drink a six-pack of beer while watching football and farting as I scratch my balls so I can get some of my manhood back.
Though I should probably change out of this dress first.
Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2007
Well today totally sucked ass.
Just as I knew it would. I expected it to suck ass. Somehow I thought this foresight would make it easier to live through to the rain of shit that fell all over my life, but I was wrong. So wrong. With every new horror that popped up, I was worn down just a little further. I haven't measured my height or anything, but I must be at least 3 feet shorter than I started out this morning. And my head hurts.
But there was a bright spot when I woke up and saw that USA Today has a sneak peak at the new Speed Racer movie in production. And the photos are incredible. Word is that the Wachowski Brothers are creating a movie unlike anything seen before (not a surprise considering they were also responsible for The Matrix)...
I was a massive fan of the original Speed Racer cartoon when I was a kid (it had a monkey in it!), and am really psyched to see how this film is going to play out. Unfortunately, I have a long five months to wait. In the meanwhile, I guess I'll just go stare at the sneak peak photos again, and play make-believe Speed Racer like I used to...
And then prepare myself for yet another crappy day tomorrow.
UPDATE: The Speed Racer teaser trailer is now online. This is going to be so cool. Look, it's Chim Chim!!
Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2007
This morning as I was walking through town, I spotted a man and a woman in the middle of a bitter argument. I could hear them yelling a block away, and there was much hand-waving and stomping of feet while they screamed. As I got closer, the reason for the ruckus was soon apparent.
It was over their mobile phone bill.
Apparently they went over their minutes allotment, and she was being blamed for it all.
"WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS ON THE PHONE? WHO ARE YOU CALLING?" "YOU'RE THE ONE CALLING ME EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY! EVER THINK THIS MIGHT BE YOUR FAULT??"
"WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS ON THE PHONE? WHO ARE YOU CALLING?"
"YOU'RE THE ONE CALLING ME EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY! EVER THINK THIS MIGHT BE YOUR FAULT??"
I wanted to stop and ask why they didn't have a plan that allowed unlimited calling on a shared plan, but decided against it. Getting involved in a domestic dispute where roaming charges are involved can be fatal.
Who'da thunk that a phone bill could be so entertaining?
Last night there was yet another brilliant cameo by Betty White... this time on Ugly Betty. What made it so cool was that Betty was playing herself (or, to be more accurate, and exaggerated version of herself) which was sweet...
Betty White: "I'll be fine. I did lose a lot of blood, but it was my own fault. I stopped to sign a few autographs and almost bled out on the sidewalk."
Wilhelmina Slater: "Well, that's why you're beloved... you're loyal to your fans."
Betty White: "Oh, well, I adore them. Except for the few sickos who write lesbian fan fiction about me and Bea Arthur."
And my personal favorite...
Betty White: "Oh terrific, I'm going on TV with whore eyes!"
I maintain that Betty White should guest-star on all television programs. Her appearing on Heroes and Lost would be about the only thing that could get me to start watching those shows again.
Besides, Betty could use the work since all her Golden Girls money was wasted away on nickel slots.
Posted on Saturday, December 8th, 2007
What... what's happening? I have nothing to blog about.
About the only interesting thing that happened was that I drew up some produce for a project this morning...
Oh, and I also saw a UFO zoom across the sky on my way home from work. A pity I wasn't abducted or anything, because that would have at least given me something to blog about.
Now I'm depressed at the thought that I might actually have been abducted, but the space aliens wiped my memories of it before returning me to earth.
Unless I was anally probed, in which case I'm thankful to have forgotten the incident.
Posted on Sunday, December 9th, 2007
Waaaaahhh... I should not be blogging! I have to get up and go to the airport in 4 hours. But I just can't stop myself because it's Bullet Sunday!
• TiVolutionary. The one thing I positively loathe about TiVo is its constant need to "phone home" for updates and crap. Since my TiVo Series One is nowhere near a phone jack, I have to stretch a cord across the room in order for it to do its business. Given what a pain this is, I only do it once a month or so. This makes TiVo very cross indeed, and he sends me error messages every day until he gets his phone call. I'm so adept at ignoring his messages that I only today noticed that it has been six months since TiVo made a call. Oops. I wonder if TiVo ever refuses to work if you haven't dialed in for an extreme amount of time?
• New Frontier. One of my favorite "Absolute" volumes from DC Comics is "The New Frontier" by Darwyn Cooke. It's a very cool retro-style take on super-heroes that's done far better than I would have thought. Now they've gone and made a movie from the material, and I want it pretty bad. Unfortunately, this photo is as close as I'm going to get until it's released on February 26th...
• Powered. Why can't everybody use the same plugs on their power adapters? I've got at least twenty different power adapters, and I am getting tired of trying to figure out which one goes with which peripheral. I thought I was making headway on the problem by choosing a single manufacturer for my external hard drives... the LaCie drives designed by F.A. Porsche. They're beautiful, reliable, and all use the exact same power adapter. Except today I find out that the two new drives I just bought are using a DIFFERENT power adapter than my older drives. WTF?? Bad enough to have different power adapters from different manufacturers... but the SAME manufacturer with the SAME product? What dumbass thought this was a good idea? Surely not F.A. Porsche himself?
• Davelando. Ooh! After my work in Wisconsin, I'm heading down to Orlando for work and fun at Disney World! If anybody is in the area and wants to goof off, just email me and I'll see if we can find a time to meet. There's probably going to be a blogger dinner one of the nights I'm there, but no time has been decided yet.
• Time Machine. And, lastly, can I just give a big "thank you" to whatever Apple Genius came up with their new Time Machine backup software? I've lost count of the number of times my ass has been saved by this remarkable program. I never realized just how many times I need to recover old files until Time Machine arrived.
Ugh... no more bullets. I'd say "good night" but it doesn't make much sense to go to bed when I'm just going to have to get right back up again in a few hours. Oh well. My first class upgrades came in for all my flights, so I guess I'll have plenty of room to get some sleep on the plane.
Posted on Monday, December 10th, 2007
I wish I could just puke and get it over with.
After not sleeping for three days and having to travel all day today... I am thoroughly exhausted and feeling pretty sickly. I posted some photos and updates over at DaveStalker, but anything else is going to have to wait until tomorrow...
Posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2007
I don't have internet, so I have no idea when I can post this. How typical.
Three days ago, I read an entry over at "A Pile of Dog Bones" that has been haunting me ever since. In his blog, Watchdog talks about the difference between being alone and being lonely, and comes to the conclusion that both are empty feelings that cause a sense of desperation, and the only difference is that "one is an absolute and the other is an abstract."
Since I am often alone (whether it be because I'm working all the time or traveling as often as I do) this kind of struck a chord with me. And on a night like tonight when I'm far from home, sitting down for dinner in the middle of an empty Pizza Hut restaurant staring at a single-serving Personal Pan Pizza... well, it's not difficult to see why.
The only difference being that I don't mind being alone.
Mostly because I never feel lonely.
Sure there are times I wish I had a nine-to-five job where I could stop work at a sane hour and do the whole "hey honey, I'm home" thing, but that's not the life I have. I suppose if that's what I really wanted, I could go and make it happen... but it would seem that I'm content with things the way they are, because I'm not inclined to change. I do the best I can to stay in touch with friends and family, and that seems to be enough. For me anyway...
When I stop and think about it, how is it possible that I'm not lonely?
Any rational person would look at my life and say that I should be lonely.
Perhaps it's because I'm deluded.
More likely it's because I was hurt so badly by somebody in my past that I'd rather be alone the rest of my life than risk suffering like that again.
Anything is possible.
But, then again, I'll always have you.
Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2007
Yeah, let's not do this again.
My entire day... ENTIRE DAY has been spent changing reservations. The changing them again. I think I've paid more in change fees that I've paid in actual airfare. And the worst part is that, because of heavy holiday travel and sold-out flights, I've ended up with this bizarre schedule of overnight stays just to get to my final destinations.
No flight out of Seattle? Oh... how about leaving a day early so you can overnight in Spokane and we can get you out the next day from there? Nothing available on the 26th? Hmmm... guess you're flying on Christmas Day then! Can't get home before your next flight? Well, looks like you get to stick around Seattle for two extra days! My travel calender is a bloody mess...
As it stands now, I don't have a handle on what I'm doing or where I'm going to be for the next two months.
Heck... where am I now?
Hopefully it will all sort itself out in the morning, because right now I have 46 emails to tend to.
Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2007
Why isn't there a federal law which requires there to be a McDonalds located past every airport security checkpoint? That way, I wouldn't have to go to the Milwaukee airport 2-1/2 hours early so I have time to eat breakfast in the pre-screening lobby and still have time left to stand in line and get probed by the TSA (Milwaukee's express lane for first-class ticket-holders isn't a separate lane... all it does it cut you in front of some poor bastard that's been standing in line for an hour, and that's not really fair).
After having a thoroughly horrible breakfast of onion-flavored eggs on an onion-flavored croissant with onion-flavored cheese and a side of onion-flavored potatoes, I head over to the place that makes Milwaukee's airport one of my all-time favorites (even though there's no McDonalds on the E-Concourse)... RENAISSANCE BOOKS!
I love Renaissance. They have a remarkable collection of older used paperbacks & hardbacks at reasonable prices, and I've purchased at least a hundred books there over the past fifteen years I've been passing through MKE. Most of those are ancient 35¢ and 50¢ copies of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels for my collection. Today I filled in a few holes of my Tarzan series, which was pretty sweet.
And now I'm off to Walt Disney World.
Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2007
"Would you like to join our parade?" the cast member says, shaking her little tambourine and smiling.
"Your parade? Join your parade in the middle of my dinner? I'd rather light my pubes on fire and jump into a vat of gasoline. I'd prefer to be struck by lightning. I would rather be attacked by wild beavers with a hunger for human flesh. I'd dance naked while holding a lightning rod in each hand during a thunderstorm first. I'd rather eat goat scrotum smeared with bat guano and dipped in cockroach larvae. There is nothing I'd like less than to join your parade, so no... not really." --- Is what I WANTED to say. What I ACTUALLY said was "no thanks."
Yes, heaven help me, I'm back at Walt Disney World...
I used to visit Disney World at least once a year during my trips to Orlando, but gradually lost interest. Five years ago I stopped altogether. The closest I've gotten was a quick stop at Universal Studios 3-1/2 years ago. It just stopped being fun. But a lot has been changed and added over the past half-decade, and so here I am again.
I usually stay at the Wilderness Lodge (my favorite) or The Contemporary Resort (so convenient)... but, no matter where I stay, I always end up making my way to Port Orleans for breakfast a couple times because they have the best freshly-made beignets (French donuts) outside of New Orleans. This time I decided to cut out all the pretense and just stay at the Port Orleans Resort so I could have beignets for breakfast every morning, which is what I've really been wanting all along. It's not as cool as the other Disney properties I've been to, but still nicely appointed and clean.
Thanks to Disney's "Magical Express" shuttle service, I skipped baggage claim at Orlando International Airport (Disney waits for your bags and puts them in your room for you) and headed straight for check-in. Since it was 6:30pm, everything was about ready to close except MGM Disney Studios, so that's where I went. It's my least favorite of the four parks, so it would be nice to get it out of the way...
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DAY...
• Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (x2). I was confused a few months ago when I rode the Disney California Adventure version of this ride, because it wasn't the same as the Florida version. Here, your elevator car actually leaves the elevator shaft for a "trip through the fifth dimension" before rolling into the drop shaft (unlike the California version, which never leaves the shaft). It's a better experience, but the part that everybody comes for (the drops) is the same. Wikipedia Link.
• Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. A fast-launch roller-coaster "dark" ride in the vein of Space Mountain that's actually pretty cool. Of course, I'd ride it just to see the ever-amazing Ileana Douglas (who plays the band's manager) because she's one of my favorite actresses. Wikipedia Link.
• Star Tours. This ride is badly dated and desperately needs to be upgraded (it's not even as cool as Back To The Future: The Ride that was just closed at Universal Studios!), but I always ride it just in case it's the last time I'll be able to do so. Rumor has it that Lucas is working on a revamp which will center around the prequels crap (a pod-race, or whatever) which freaks me out because he'll probably shit all over the ride with Jar Jar Binks, unnecessary banthas, and other stupid dumbassery. Wikipedia Link.
And that was that. Four rides in under two hours is pretty good by Disney standards. All that was left was dinner, which consisted of Disney's always-delicious cheese pizza and apple slices with caramel for dessert.
I have no idea what I'm doing tomorrow. But I'm sure it will be "magical" because I've heard that word at least a hundred times since I've arrived here.
Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2007
This morning I took a look at the Orlando weather forecast, only to see that thunderstorms are predicted for Saturday and Sunday. No big surprise... Orlando gets more rain than Seattle, yet Seattle somehow has the worse reputation for it. Since the weather today was perfect, I decided to rush through those rides I wanted to go on which would most be affected by the rain, namely Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, and Splash Mountain.
After a plate of delicious beignets, I got to Animal Kingdom just as they opened and went straight to Expedition Everest. The attraction is pretty hard to miss given the massive "Forbidden Mountain" they built for it, which can be seen from just about anywhere in the park...
As far as roller coaster rides go... it's pretty tame. As far as an amazing attraction goes... it's incredible. You race around a mountain (forwards and backwards) for an encounter with a Yeti! And here I thought that Disney had forgotten how to make great theme park rides (after the massive pile of shit that California Adventure turned out to be, can you blame me? (with the exception of Grizzly River Run, Soarin', and Tower of Terror, it's a complete waste of time).
The theming of the entire area is impeccable... looking like a Himalayan village. The staging for the ride itself is very cool... created to be a Yeti museum. Every detail is perfect. It's everything you want out of a Disney E-Ticket attraction...
And it doesn't stop there. Disney meticulously sets the stage for the attraction in other areas of the park. Like this mountain range guide, which shows how Forbidden Mountain fits into the Himalayas...
Since there was no line, I rode it twice, then went to get all wet on the Kali River Rapids, then came back and rode it two more times. You pretty much have to, because the experience is so rich. There are hundreds of tiny details that you miss if you only ride it once or twice.
Since I've already been to the rest of Animal Kingdom a few times (and find it completely boring) I then dashed over to Magic Kingdom for a little Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain action. I was then going to go back to my hotel and work for the rest of the day, but thought I would hit Space Mountain first. The lines everywhere were so short (max. 15 minutes) that it seemed crazy not to. After 6 or 7 minutes in line, I had just made it to the interior queue when something amazing happened. They had a problem with the ride and had to stop it. And then they turned on the lights. OMG! IT'S SPACE MOUNTAIN... WITH THE LIGHTS ON!!...
You can clearly see the dual mirror-image tracks that is unique to the Florida version of the ride (all the other Space Mountains have a single track). After making us wait for 20 minutes, they couldn't fix it, so they kicked us all out and gave us "Any Attraction Fast Passes" for our trouble.
After working for five hours, I met up with my friend Dale at Epcot for dinner. Since we arrived early and the lines were short, we decided to ride "Mission: SPACE." While not quite as well thought-out as Expedition Everest, this new ride is very well done and a lot of fun. They basically simulate a trip to Mars by sticking you in a centrifuge. Kind of like a giant Tilt-A-Whirl or Round-Up, but with a viewscreen and space ship controls. What's funny is that this ride has more warnings than any other I've seen, AND they have barf bags in front of every seat! How cool is that? I never thought I'd see barf bags on a Disney attraction, but there they were. I didn't get sick at all, but was a little woozy as I exited the "spacecraft." Dinner in France (at Epcot's World Showcase) was good, and we got out just as Epcot was shutting down. As we were leaving, we saw that Ellen's Energy Adventure was on last-call, so I convinced Dale we should go (I love that ride!).
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DAY...
• Expedition Everest (x4). One of the best US Disney attractions in years. Finally, Animal Kingdom has a decent ride! Wikipedia Link.
• Kali River Rapids. Disney tries to shoe-horn in an educational message about the destruction of the world's forests into this ride... and fails miserably. A good attraction, but not as much fun as the similar Grizzly River Rapids in California. Wikipedia Link.
• Pirates of the Caribbean. Like the Disneyland attraction, this ride was recently Johnny Depp enhanced to match with the Pirates trilogy of movies. I never cared for the Florida ride as much as the California original, because it just doesn't have the same atmosphere (Disneyland has the cool grotto with the restaurant and more interesting staging). Still, it's a good ride, and I never miss an opportunity to go on it. Wikipedia Link.
• Splash Mountain. Easily one of the best Disney attractions ever, I will never pass up an opportunity to ride Splash Mountain. The Florida version has side-by-side seating, which is a bit more comfortable than California's version... other than that, it's a fairly similar experience. Wikipedia Link.
• Mission: SPACE. A terrific addition to Epcot, this "Mission to Mars" simulator is another home-run attraction for Disney. I can see where the centrifuge action might make people sick (though I had no problems with it) so Disney has a "non-spinning" version for those who'd still like to experience it. I can't imagine it being nearly as fun, but it's a nice consideration. Features an appearance by Gary Sinise (Lieutenant Dan!) who is apparently reprising his character from the awful "Mission to Mars" movie. Wikipedia Link.
• Ellen's Energy Adventure. A moving theater ride that's really well done. I was an early fan of Ellen from the first time I saw her as a secretary on the Alison La Placa vehicle comedy series Open House. She's a genuinely funny person that never fails to entertain (at least when she's not crying about dog adoption). Having her host a Disney attraction is genius. Especially when it's an educational attraction where you need people to be entertained. What's so incredible here is that this ride was created before Ellen was really that famous. Before her sit-com, before she came out, before her talk-show. And during all that, "Ellen's Energy Adventure" has endured and still holds up well today. In fact, Ellen's continuing success has probably helped this attraction to survive (appearances by Alex Trebek, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Bill Nye the Science Guy don't hurt either). One of the best original attractions from when Epcot opened (and one of the few remaining!). Wikipedia Link.
And thus ends my second day in Walt Disney World. Tomorrow I'm sleeping in.
Posted on Saturday, December 15th, 2007
Last night after dinner as Dale and I were leaving Epcot's France Pavillion, I stopped at the Italy Pavillion so I could make lunch reservations for today. My favorite place to eat in Rome is "Alfredo alla Scrofa," the restaurant where Fettucini Alfredo was created. The taste is vastly superior to the total shit that Americans call "Fettucini Alfredo" and the only place you can get it outside of Italy is at "L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante" at Epcot. So today I show up and notice that the restaurant is no longer "Alfredo" but something else entirely. In the dark last night while making reservations, I didn't notice. WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAPPENED?!?? Disney managing to score Alfredo was a major coup, and letting them leave Epcot is a huge mistake. The new restaurant doesn't even have Fettucini Alfredo on the menu! I felt like crying. Epcot is dead to me.
After having a fairly decent non-Alfredo lunch anyway, I was wandering through the Germany Pavilion when I heard IT.
Some woman was talking to her husband and said IT.
"The great thing about Epcot is that you can visit Germany and France and whatever without having to actually go there.
I could not help myself. I started laughing hysterically. I was like one of those Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls. I was Tickle-Me-Dave...
I found it absolutely priceless that this woman could think that the entire country of Germany could possibly be experienced by walking around an Epcot pavilion. I stopped and looked around "Germany" and just died...
Then I started thinking about the many times I've visited Germany and some of the incredible things I've seen there... and I died a little more. Died laughing.
And how about the Parisian village in France...
Yeah, that's totally France right there. No need to cross the Atlantic, because that's so totally it!
Hey Karla, forget about me ever coming to visit you in Oslo... I've now been to Norway, so there's really no point in it. See??? It's Norway...
I mean, what's the point in leaving the US anymore? Just go to Epcot, and you've experienced all the world culture you'll ever need! Lets take the "United Kingdom" for example. It's like an English village of some kind, complete with a corner pub...
And don't forget the fish & chips...
And the United Kingdom wouldn't be complete without red phone and post boxes...
Yep, that's the UK alright! Just like being there! And don't forget Canada...
All we need is a lumberjack, a Royal Canadian Mounty, and a moose with a hockey stick, and it's perfect!
But then I started looking around all the pavilions, and kind of had a change of heart. That woman may have been totally insane to think that Epcot could replace an actual visit to any of these countries... but that's not the point. The point is to get a little hint of what it must be like at these places. And just maybe what you see and experience at Epcot will be enough to make you want to visit the real country one day...
I've been very fortunate to have seen most all of these places for real. But that's an opportunity that many people don't have (and may never have now that Bush has put the value of the US dollar in the toilet). I've been to St. Mark's Square in Venice and seen the Campanile bell tower and Dodges Palace. Does the Epcot mini-versions somehow invalidate this? No. It's not even remotely the same thing. But it's a clever tribute, and that's all it's meant to be...
And then, just as I'm ready to praise Disney for making a little taste of foreign lands available to those who might otherwise never have a chance to experience them, I look across the lagoon towards that small patch of "Paris" and suddenly the illusion is shattered. Who is the dumb fuck Disney engineer who decided to build a massive hotel behind the Paris skyline? There's the Eiffel Tower alright, and it's being dominated by two giant swans, just like the real thing!!
Suddenly, the once great Eiffel Tower looks like the tiny little prop it is. Way to go Disney... you've painstakingly worked to build the illusion of one of the world's greatest cities, and then let greed go and fuck it up for everybody. Walt Disney World is MASSIVELY HUGE!! Couldn't you have found another place to stick your "Dolphin and Swan" hotel monstrosity? Whoever was in charge of picking that hotel location should be shot. What an asshole. Walt Disney is spinning in his grave with shame.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DAY...
• Harmony Barber Shop. I actually got my hair cut at Magic Kingdom's resident barber shop yesterday, but forgot to mention it. This place is famous for giving kids their "first haircut" and any kid doing so gets a special "Mickey Mouse Ears" embroidered hat and a certificate to prove it. When I was there, a pair of twins were getting their first haircut, and it was pretty hilarious to watch. This place is massively busy all day long, so it helps to arrive early. I got lucky, because a parade distracted people so I could get in within 15 minutes.
• Test Track. This attraction was supposed to have a grand opening on one of my earlier Disney trips, but got delayed. When I finally did get to ride it my next trip, they had technical difficulties and had to stop it in the middle. I finally got to ride it all the way through on a following visit, but wasn't really impressed. The entire thing is just a glorified (and somewhat boring) General Motors car commercial. Sure it's a ride that goes 65 mph fast, but I've gone faster in my own car, so whoopty-do. But it's one of Epcot's biggest attractions, so I went ahead and rode it as I was leaving the park. Basically, you ride around in a 6-seater "car" that gets tested over bumps, heat, cold, and the like. Yawn. Wikipedia Link.
For the record, my biggest attraction of the day was buying a load of overpriced Japanese candy in the Japan pavilion...
And thus ends my third day in Walt Disney World.
Posted on Sunday, December 16th, 2007
This Bullet Sunday was a fairly laid-back day. Since it was raining in the morning, I stayed in bed until 10:00 before venturing out for my morning beignet fix. From there it was just another walk in the park (or two).
• Davelando. Due to both the holidays and a plague descending upon Orlando (seriously, it seems everybody here is sick or getting sick or recovering from being sick), it was just Avitable, Jess, and myself for dinner last night when we met up at the money-making factory known as Downtown Disney...
It was a great time to hang out, chat, and stare at the fish. At least it was until Avitable decided that everybody at the Rainforest Cafe needed to see his testicles, at which time we were asked to leave. Fortunately, they still let us keep our souvenir light-up action glasses...
• Banded. Disney has a perk for their resort hotel guests called "Magic Hours." You just show your room key at a designated Magic Hours Station, and they slap a wrist-band on you so that you can keep going on rides for a couple hours after the park has closed to everybody else. When Dale and I were at Epcot a couple nights ago, we passed one of these stations where a little boy was getting his wrist-band. At first he thought it was cool and was waving it all around. But then he tried to remove it... "AAAAAAAAHHH! IT WON'T COME OFF! IT WON'T COME OFF!" The kid was freaking out, and nothing his parents said would console him. Finally, they removed the band and the poor kid just stood there crying... "I can't eat breakfast tomorrow with that on my arm!" he explained. Sometimes kids are the most logical people I've met.
• Gingerbread. For lunch today, my friend Dale and his wife met me at The Grand Floridian hotel here at Disney. We decided not to eat there but, before we left, we went to see a giant gingerbread house they had built in the lobby. It was so big that ladies were inside of it selling stuff out the back. It was weird, but kind of cool...
• Guides. After Dale and his wife headed off, I went back to The Magic Kingdom to use my Space Mountain FastPass that I had been given when the ride broke down a couple days ago. After I had goofed around for a bit, I walked through the shops and spotted this really cool book called "An Imagineering Guide To The Magic Kingdom." It has all kinds of interesting trivia and information about the park, and I couldn't live without it. As I was paying for my book, the cashier asks "do you already have the other two?" at which time I realize there must be books for Epcot and Animal Kingdom/MGM Studios too. Sure enough, I do a Google search and there they are. Now I have to go track down the other two. Very, very cool companion reference when visiting Walt Disney World. I wish I had them with me earlier...
• SPACE. While waiting for my "FastPass" time to come up for the Soarin' attraction tonight, I headed over to ride Mission: SPACE again, since there was no wait. As I was approaching, I noticed how beautiful the building was at night and went to take a picture. But, for some reason, my camera refused to focus on it. I could snap pictures of everything else in the area no problem, but Mission: SPACE refused to be photographed properly. Bizarre, but still pretty to look at...
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DAY...
• Stitch's Great Escape. This is not a very good attraction, having been retrofitted from the "ExTERRORestrial Alien Encounter" scare ride from years ago (which was far better, made more sense, and featured the voice of Tim Curry!)... but it has my favorite animated Disney character of all time in it... Stitch! The audioanimatronic robot they've built for him is incredible, and he moves around like he's real. It's well worth seeing for Stitch, but everything else is kind of lame. Wikipedia Link.
• Space Mountain. One of the most brilliant ideas for a roller coaster ever, I love Space Mountain. The only problem is that the seats in the Orlando ride are really uncomfortable if you're tall and have limited flexibility like I do. My shins got all banged up, and my legs ache after I manage to climb out of the thing. But I love the attraction too much to care, and ride it even though I know I'll suffer for doing so. An endorsement doesn't get much better than that! Wikipedia Link.
• Haunted Mansion. I have been wanting to see the Nightmare Before Christmas theming of this ride for a very long time (missed it by ONE DAY when I was in Disneyland earlier this year!). Unfortunately, the Disney World version doesn't get themed for Nightmare Before Christmas, so this is yet another year I'm missing out. I was told that this Haunted Mansion got an upgrade... and I did notice a few changes, but it's still pretty much the same ride it's always been. This is probably not a bad thing. Wikipedia Link.
• Soarin'. The best ride at Disney's fairly lame "California Adventure" park, it proved so successful that they decided to duplicate it at Epcot. Using IMAX technology, you fly over scenic California on massive "hang gliders" that move in sync to the film giving the illusion of flight. Very, very cool, but crowded... the only ride during my entire visit where I was forced to take a FastPass ticket because the line was over an hour long. Wikipedia Link.
It's Stitch! One of the coolest attractions at any Disney theme park was a "video conference booth" that links you up with Stitch in Hawaii so you can talk and interact with him. I got to experience it in Disneyland, but have no idea if it's there anymore. I can't really explain it except to point to some brilliant videos on YouTube (there are bunches of them, and they're all amazing). Here at Disney World, they have the same thing with Crash the turtle from Finding Nemo. If you have kids (or are a kid at heart) this is a can't-miss attraction. I love Stitch...
And thus ends my fourth day in Walt Disney World. One day left to go...
Posted on Monday, December 17th, 2007
"Thank you for staying with us, and we wish you magical dreams!"
—Disney Wake-Up Call Service Center.
Uhhh... yeah... now that I am checking out of the Happiest Place on Earth tomorrow morning, there are five words I don't want to hear for a while: 1) Dream. 2) Wish. 3) Special. 4) Wonder. 5) Magic/Magical. I fully understand and appreciate that Disney is trying to create an environment that's fantabulous and all, but you can over-use buzz-words to the point where they not only lose their meaning, but also make you sick of hearing them. I'm to the point now where every time I hear a recorded message with the word "magical" used more than five times (which is all of them) I want to kill myself.
Today my only goal was to get back to the hotel at a decent hour so I can get up and make my 3:30am airport shuttle in the morning. Other than that, I really didn't have anything in mind. I thought maybe I'd pick up a few souvenirs and meet my friend Anne for dinner (she has an Annual Pass, but hasn't used it once in the seven months she's had it... "this will help me get my money's worth," she says).
To kill time, I finally decided that I would go to all four parks so I could ride both my favorite ride AND a ride I've never ridden before. Since it's cold, cold, cold outside, I put on a jacket.
Frogs on snakes? Only in Animal Kingdom, baby.
My favorite attraction in Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest. Since the line to ride it was pretty short, I went ahead and rode it twice. It's so cool that I just can't get tired of it! The ride I've never ridden before is DINOSAUR! I was told by a number of people that it was kind of lame, and I had already ridden Jurassic Park at Universal Studios... so I never bothered. I talk about it in my "Today's Attractions" below but, suffice to say, it's not that great of an experience.
This fearless little bastard was eyeing my burrito!
I guess my favorite attraction here is Mission: SPACE so I was sure to hit it before I ate lunch (a decent "wet burrito" in the Mexico Pavilion). Unlike Expedition Everest, I am getting a little tired of this attraction, having ridden it three times now. Finding a ride that I've never ridden before was difficult, because I've been here so many times that I've ridden them all. Eventually I noticed that the 360° panorama film "O Canada!" had been updated (with new host Martin Short), so I figured that would fit the bill. Along the way to the Canada pavilion, I see this sign for a Candlelight Procession Special, hosted by a big-name star...
That's Neil Patrick Harris, bitches!!
The guest star for today? "Way of The Master" douchebag Kirk Cameron ("YOU'RE ALL GOING TO HELL BECAUSE YOU DON'T BELIEVE EXACTLY THE SAME WAY I DO, AND I CAN'T STOP SMILING ABOUT IT!!!!). Guess I won't be sticking around for that shit. But I do drop by the Japan Pavilion before "O Canada!" so I can stock up on more Japanese candies. There was still a bit of room in my suitcase, and we can't have that.
You're travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind...
Disney MGM Studios.
About the only attraction here I like is Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, so riding it is a no-brainer. When it comes to something I haven't ridden, I have my choice of a few things, but ultimately end up picking The Great Movie Ride for some reason. This ride is so lame that it had me wishing I'd gone back to Epcot so I could watch Kirk Cameron.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
We ate dinner at my favorite Walt Disney World resort property... The Wilderness Lodge. It was magical.
It's a special magical dream of wishes and wonder!
Disney's Magic Kingdom.
My favorite ride here is easily Splash Mountain, so off I went. When I got there, I thought that the ride had closed. Nobody was around. But then I saw a "cast member" who assured me it was open, so I went ahead and rode it. ALONE. There was NOBODY there. Nobody in front of me, nobody in back of me. I boarded a log-car all my own (choosing the second row to avoid getting too wet), and that was it. Splash Mountain was EMPTY...
Off I go to the Laughing Place... the Laughing Place...
It's amazing how much more I could appreciate the ride by myself. First of all, I heard a lot of sounds, dialogue, and atmosphere audio effects that I had never noticed before because other people had been talking and screaming. Second of all, I didn't get wet at all... I'm guessing because the log was so much lighter without seven of my closest friends riding with me. It was SWEET! I thought Big Thunder Railroad would be empty too, but it had a 25 minute wait. My guess is that people were avoiding Splash Mountain because they didn't want to get wet while it was so cold out. When it came to riding something I had never ridden before, I couldn't find anything that sounded good, so I headed back to the hotel so I could pack. As I was making my way through Main Street, I was stopped so a parade could go by. The name of the parade tonight? WISHES, of course...
It's The Little Mermaid! NAKED!! w00t!
Sucker fish or blow fish? I can't decide. Maybe a little of both.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DAY...
• DINOSAUR! This could have been a very cool attraction, because it uses the same nifty vehicles that Disneyland uses for the Indiana Jones ride. And, on top of that, it's got dinosaurs in it! But most of the ride is just dark with nothing happening, which is lame. And when you finally do get to see dinosaurs, they're kind of rubbery-looking things that aren't even the least bit interesting. Sad. Disney should spend the money to fix this and turn it into a killer attraction. Wikipedia Link.
• O Canada! A beautiful film featuring highlights of our neighbor to the north, projected in 360° panorama. Very nice, and capably narrated by Martin Short (who wouldn't be my first choice, but oh well). Wikipedia Link.
• The Great Movie Ride. Billed as "A Spectacular Journey INTO The Movies" this is about as lame a ride as you can find at Disney World. After boarding moving theater bench-cars, you ride through boring dioramas from an assortment of popular films. Along the way your host interacts with stuff which has an almost "so bad it's good" quality to it, but ultimately fails to be entertaining. This is a wholly missable attraction that should be closed so the space can be used for something much better. Wikipedia Link.
And thus ends my Disney Dream Vacation! Now I get to take a brief nap before getting up in three hours so I can catch my Magical Disney Express to the airport. Bleh.
Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007
Okay... so I get home, sit down to write my daily entry, and there's no internet! Bleh. Oh well... I guess I really was too tired to blog tonight anyway.
Thank heavens for iPhone, or I'd be internetless and crazy.
Posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
Once again, a great (albeit way too short) vacation at Walt Disney World. After having avoided the place for five years, they finally added enough new attractions to bring me back, and I was not disappointed (particularly with Expedition Everest, which is amazing).
Which is not to say that there was not a major disappointment, because there was. My biggest gripe this time around? Shopping for souvenir gifts.
And I blame it on Caucasian Mickey Mouse.
For anybody who doesn't know, Mickey originally started out as a black and white character but, at some point in the 1940's, Disney decided to make Mickey be caucasian...
Because I feel that Mickey Mouse should transcend race, I am 4-square against Caucasian Mickey, and won't buy any merchandise he appears on. Unfortunately, most merchandise has the newer, unimproved mouse on it, so souvenir shopping for friends is difficult. Especially since most of the other souvenir crap has "Disney Princesses" on it (I've had my fill of bitchy princesses in real life) or Goofy (I find stupidity neither cute nor entertaining and loathe him). Oh well, the less there is to buy, the less money I have to spend.
And that's the end of my Walt Disney World experience here at Blogography. But, before I go, here's a few things that might help you to plan your WDW magical dream vacation...
DAVE'S TOP FIVE WALT DISNEY WORLD TIPS...
Disney AAA Discount: If you are a AAA member, check out package pricing at your local office. On top of the AAA discount you'd normally get, they sometimes have special deals that could save you even more money. Never assume that a package with airfare is cheaper than buying the airfare separately... double check, because it's not always the case.
Disney Resort: There are numerous benefits to staying at a Disney Resort property within Walt Disney World, even though you pay more for it. Most important would be "Magic Hours" in which you get a rotating schedule of parks that have early/late hours especially for Disney guests. During these times, the lines are really short, and you can get some good ride-time in. You also get free transportation among the parks (or free parking, if you'd rather take your car), purchases can be charged to your room and delivered back to your room (no cash, no bags!), and more. As if that weren't enough, even the cheapest Disney resort is guaranteed to be clean, comfortable, and safe... and you get resort benefits regardless of which resort you choose, even if it's their "inexpensive" tier.
Disney Transport: While free to resort guests, Disney Transport is a bit of a mess. My guess is that it is designed to be that way. After all, if you've got a couple thousand people tied up in the transportation system, that's a couple thousand people not crowding up the parks. My advice is to stay out of the system as much as possible... don't park-hop unless you absolutely have to. Stay at one park and do everything you want to do there before moving on. This could save you hours of wasted time waiting for and riding the busses.
Disney Pricey: Once you step on to the Walt Disney World property, the cost of everything skyrockets. For my last several visits, I've packed a separate small suitcase full of snacks and drinks so I don't get nailed. Some expenses are unavoidable if you're staying at a resort property... like meals and WDW-branded souvenirs... but I end up saving quite a chunk of money when I don't have to pay for snacks there too.
Disney Reservations: I'm not a very big "detail planner" when it comes to my vacations, but if you want to eat at many of Disney's finer restaurants (such as any of the Epcot World Showcase full-service restaurants, or any of the "deluxe resort" full-service restaurants... like Artist Point or Whispering Canyon Cafe at The Wilderness Lodge) you must make reservations because they get booked up very quickly. Fortunately, if you are a Disney guest, you can make your reservations up to 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Furthermore, the concierge at your Disney resort can also help you with reservations if you get to them early enough! Whenever I go to Walt Disney World, I spend more time scheduling my lunches and dinners than I do anything else, and advise other people to do the same if they plan on eating at any of the finer restaurants there.
Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
This morning after I hauled my ass out of bed, I checked my email and saw that I had been forwarded a militant message encouraging people to TAKE BACK CHRISTMAS! The way you do this is to "wish as many people a MERRY CHRISTMAS as possible between now and December 25th." Apparently, this is to counteract the political correctness of people switching to "happy holidays" and "destroying the spirit of Christmas."
I found this to be more than a little strange, and couldn't for the life of me figure out how randomly ambushing people with a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" was going to TAKE IT BACK.
Not that I have anything against people saying "Merry Christmas" mind you.
Here, reproduced in its entirety, is my entry for December 25th, 2005:
There's nothing wrong with wishing people a Merry Christmas.
Yet, it's quickly becoming almost taboo to do so, and I just don't get it.
I don't wish people a "Merry Christmas" because I'm not a Christian and don't celebrate the holiday. But do I get gravely offended when people are kind enough to wish me a "Merry Christmas?" No. I do not. Why? Because they're being NICE. Because they're wishing me HAPPINESS. Because they're caught up in the spirit of their holiday and are being KIND. This happens so rarely in our bitter, cynical world that I find it impossible to understand how people could take offense... even if they don't celebrate Christmas.
I mean, it's not like somebody's just told you to kiss their ass.
And you just know that it's only a matter of time before some dumbass decides to sue somebody for wishing them a "Merry Christmas" (if it hasn't happened already). This is America, after all.
Which leads me to this burning question: is it really so difficult to just say "thank you," accept the kindness in the spirit it was given, and then shut the f#@% up about it?
Probably not. This is America, after all.
So, while I fully support somebody's right to be wishing people a "Merry Christmas," you'll have to forgive me for not joining in on the jihad to TAKE BACK CHRISTMAS. Not just because I don't celebrate the holiday... but because this type of thing doesn't seem very much in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.
Posted on Friday, December 21st, 2007
Hmmm... the TSA felt it necessary to inspect my suitcase.
Somebody now knows that I wear Mickey Mouse boxer shorts.
I'm in Spokane today, but not because I actually need to be in Spokane. When I changed my travel plans last week, planes were so overbooked that in order to get to San Francisco, I had to fly out of Spokane per my original itinerary. As if that weren't bad enough, I couldn't get a revised flight to Spokane on the 26th, so I'm flying back here on Christmas Day.
But that's not the strange part.
I somehow had it in my head that I was in Chicago just now.
Possibly because the TV was tuned to Chicago news, but more likely because I've been traveling so much over the past six months that I can't keep it straight in my head where the heck I am at any given moment...
Almost hard to believe that I failed once again to qualify for platinum level on my frequent flier plan.
But, then again, I did get to see some sweet scenery on the way over...
Oooh! You can see my home from here!
I don't mind the flying so much... but all this up-and-down is wrecking havoc on my sinuses.
I suppose that's my cue to get some sleep.
Here's hoping, anyway.
Posted on Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
Why is it that everywhere I go, the weather turns uncharacteristically cold?
Just one day after Belinda was lamenting the terrible heat in Orlando, I arrive and it's so cold that I'm having to wear a jacket. Now I arrive in San Francisco, where the weather is generally mild this time of year, and it's so cold that I'm wearing a sweatshirt plus a coat and gloves! Harsh! If I were back home, cold temperatures would be normal and I could deal with it... but here? It's a little more than depressing.
Much like having your suitcase miss your connecting flight.
But things like this are really to be expected on one of the busiest travel day of the year, so I'm not bitter.
No, my bitterness comes from my flight out of Spokane this morning as I listen to the man in the row behind me talking to the woman he is sitting next to...
SCARY MAN: Do you frighten easily?
WOMAN: Uhhhh... no. Why? Is there something that's going to frighten me?
SCARY MAN: I just want to let you know that the next noise you hear may sound like a wild boar sneaking up behind you, but it's not. So don't be frightened when you hear it...
• • • SCARY MAN CUTS LOOSE WITH A MASSIVE, TOTAL PANTS-RIPPING FART • • •
WOMAN: Oh my gawd!!
SCARY MAN: See, no wild boars! You're safe!
I mean... seriously... what the hell?
It's very rare that I'm at a loss for words, but this is one of those moments. I was half-way considering turning around and saying "Do YOU frighten easily? Because the next noise YOU hear may sound like a foot being broken off in your stupid ass which, I assure you, it most certainly is."
Some people just shouldn't be allowed to mingle with the general populace.
And by "some people" I actually mean "most people."
Anyway... after finishing up some work, I had a perfectly wonderful dinner with Dan from Therapy Beckons and his lovely girlfriend here in the city. Just the thing I needed to help me forget about cold weather, airplane farts, lost luggage, Britney Spears' child custody battle, and the George W. Bush presidency.
Well, not really... but 4 out of 5 ain't bad.
Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
It's Bullet Sunday from the City by The Bay. Originally, I wanted to fly back home today, but there were no flights available, so I had to wait until tomorrow. Oh well. It's hard to complain about getting to spend a free day in San Francisco.
• Lost Luggage. My missing suitcase was found and everything worked out okay after all. This makes me happy, because the last time I flew into San Francisco and my luggage was lost, I never saw it again.
• Kentucky Girl. Once I had clean clothes at last, I took BART into the city so I could have lunch with Kentucky Girl today. It went something like this...
Well, not really... but we did have sandwiches made by San Francisco's slowest deli where she tried to kill me with a potato chip. And then I took KG to Chinatown so I could introduce her to the crack cocaine substitute known as Golden Gate Fortune Cookies. After that, we shopped for crappy gifts and wandered around laughing our asses off until we ended up back at the BART station where we went our separate ways. Until we meet again my partner in cookie crime.
• Vending Hell. I was going to grab a couple of slices of pizza for dinner, but didn't end up in a pizza kind of mood. I then decided to enjoy a hotel vending machine dinner and have a big breakfast instead. Armed with a stack of dollar bills, I headed to the vending vestibule and found... nothing good at all. Not even a Snickers. It was all weird brands of chips and cookies and crap. After trying a few bags of "snacks" and finding them repugnant, I suddenly find myself in a "pizza kind of mood" after all. But it's too late now, so I guess I'm having fortune cookies and a Coke for dinner. Good thing I bought four bags of them.
• Death Scene. Bad Robert called to ask me if I had bought the Blu-Ray 5-disc set of Bladerunner (I had) and whether or not I had checked the fifth disc because there were manufacturing errors (I hadn't). After he told me that he was watching yet another version of the movie, he mentioned that Rutger Hauer's death scene was one of the best ever filmed. I agreed, at which point I had to mention that the most shocking and disturbing death scene I've ever seen in film was in Galaxy Quest when Quellek (Patrick Breen) dies while Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman) tries to comfort him after he's been shot. I was not expecting such a sad and touching moment in a comedy film, and it's haunted me ever since. Yet another reason I think Galaxy Quest is one of the most perfect (and underrated) movies of all time...
"By Grabthar's hammer, you shall be avenged!" Photo taken from The Questorian Site.
• Beauty Beholder. And so I'm sitting here enjoying my fortune cookies and Coke when suddenly a commercial for Dell's XPS "all-in-one" iMac killer shows up on my television. They keep talking about how beautiful it is and I nearly choke to death laughing my ass off at the absurdity of it all. I mean... I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and aesthetics are all subjective and stuff... but this janky piece of plastic is supposed to be beautiful?? It's got all these freaky angles with ugly chunks hanging off of it, and looks like ass...
IT'S STUNNING BECAUSE WE SAY SO, DAMMIT!!
When you look at the stunning curves and elegant simplicity of the iMac, the Dell just looks like a cheap piece of 1980's junk in comparison...
I know I'm a Total Mac-Whore and everything, but this is just hilarious. Why is it that nobody can design a good-looking computer except Apple? Surely Dell can afford to hire designers who are capable of making an attractive computer for PC users? Or do they think they can just say something is "beautiful" and it makes it true? I'm stunned alright.
And now I need to pack my suitcase so I can fly home in the morning for one night only. The jet-set lifestyle I lead is so glamorous.
Posted on Monday, December 24th, 2007
After one of the most painless travel days ever, I finally arrived home... for one night only. Tomorrow morning I re-pack my bags and head back out. Which is kind of a bummer, because I could use a few days at home.
In other news... I'm old.
I got a Happy Holiday card from Avitable, and I couldn't read it until I put on an old pair of reading glasses I found laying around. Then I started looking at books, magazines, and other stuff... and suddenly realized that I really need glasses now...
That's a heck of a reality check to have on a holiday.
Where does the time go?
Posted on Tuesday, December 25th, 2007
A week ago today I was riding Splash Mountain at Disney World. That seems like it was months ago.
And as I sit here in my hotel room with no heat (all that comes out is cold air) and no internet (it's Christmas, so they can't get anybody in to fix it) and no luggage (yeah, big surprise there)... I find myself questioning whether my brief Disney vacation was even real. Perhaps my mind invented it all so I'd have happier memories to cling to as I sit here cold, unconnected, and without clean clothes?
I'm like some kind of freezing luddite hobo.
But with an iPhone.
It's a Christmas miracle!
Posted on Wednesday, December 26th, 2007
Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2007
How can the economy be "strong" when so many businesses are struggling? Everywhere I go, I see stores shutting down or cutting their hours or laying off staff. Tonight I was sad to learn that a restaurant I like is closing next month. And there are a few shops I enjoy that I'm worried about too. If things keep going this way, small business owners will be a thing of the past. I can't help but be a little depressed about that.
I'd ask if anybody is working on fixing our badly broken economy, but if politicians are deluded into thinking "everything is great" then I suppose they don't think there's anything to fix. This is a real pity, because the dollar is so weak in international markets now that my upcoming trip to Europe is looking downright depressing. Lodging is so pricey that there's barely money in my budget left to eat, let alone see or do anything interesting.
Back in 2005, I made a graph comparing the value of the US dollar to the cost of toilet paper in Europe, and using that as an indicator of my vacation prospects...
A quick check at Yahoo! Finance reveals that the dollar has plummeted even further since then...
I suppose I should now be less concerned with being able to afford going to a museum or eating dinner, and more concerned with being able to afford to wipe my ass.
Though I suppose I could always take a stack of US dollars with me to use as toilet paper.
They're sure not good for much else outside this country anymore.
Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007
I'm not sick, but I feel like I am.
For the third day in a row, I've barely been able to get motivated enough to climb out of bed in the morning. It's like I have no energy, and am tired all the time. When I was finally awake enough to start working at 8:30, I was in a zombie-like state and could barely function. A simple project that should have taken 30 minutes ended up taking over an hour to complete. Worried that I might never leave my hotel room, I forced myself out so I could have a "black bean burger" at Chili's. It was delicious, but didn't help. All I wanted to do was go back to bed...
But instead I spent the next six hours working my ass off in an attempt to get caught up before the weekend.
To be honest, I don't know that I'm much further along than I was when I started. Being so badly unproductive is really depressing, and I'm getting worried that I'm not going to snap out of this funk any time soon.
I need to hire somebody to give me a really good bitch-slapping.
Unfortunately, looking under "B" in the Yellow Pages hasn't turned up any results.
I suppose this must be a job for Craigslist?
Posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2007
Is there anything more terrifying than having a few drinks and playing Guitar Hero?
I suck ass at even the "easy" level, and alcohol doesn't seem to help.
In happier news, I finally saw the film Kinky Boots and am absolutely astounded at the acting ability (flexibility?) of Chiwetel Ejiofor. The guy is amazingly talented. His role as "The Operative" in Serenity is by far my favorite, but his playing the transvestite "Lola" in Kinky Boots blew my mind. Now I am really wanting to see Dirty Pretty Things.
Despite being rainy and a bit depressing, the weather in Seattle is still a massive improvement over Spokane.
Posted on Sunday, December 30th, 2007
It's the last Bullet Sunday of 2007! I am so ready for this year to be over.
Guitar Hero. After a bit of practice, I finally got 100% on Pat Benetar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot on Guitar Hero 3. Thinking this meant I was ready to move up from "easy" level, I hopped up to "medium" difficulty and sucked horribly. I think I'm done with this game now, and get a bit depressed when I see videos on YouTube of kids hitting 100% with "expert" level on impossibly difficult songs. I shudder to think how much practice it takes to rock this hard.
Presidential. Is it bad that I haven't decided on a presidential candidate yet? It seems everybody has made their choice except me. I really like Barack Obama after reading his book The Audacity of Hope, but am not 100% with him yet. On issues alone, I'm leaning toward McCain, but can never forgive him for abandoning our POWs (ironic since he was one), and would never vote for him. Rudy Giuliani got endorsed by televangelist whack-job hater Pat Robertson, which means I won't even consider him as a candidate. About the only thing I'm sure of is that I don't want to see Mike Huckabee in office... he seems to have little interest in representing ALL Americans as president. As if his blatant homophobia and tendency to speak out of ignorance about AIDS and other important issues wasn't bad enough, he just seems like a total jerk. I can't imagine how much worse our international relations would become with Huckabee in power, which is saying a lot after the complete and total devastation suffered under President Bush. Sigh. I loathe our two-party system, and feel we will never get the best person for the job in office so long as candidates have to cater to their political affiliations to get elected.
Juno. Hands-down best movie of the year is Juno. What an amazing film, and what an astounding triumph for director Jason Reitman, who's previous film Thank You For Smoking was also genius. He seems to be taking a very different path than his father (Ivan Reitman, who hasn't had a decent film since Dave in 1993), and I can't wait to see what he does next.
Watching. In other movie news... Zack Snyder, please please please don't screw this up...
Eh... not a lot of bullets today, but there's not a lot going on right now. How totally cool is that?
Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007
Have a good one... be safe.