Posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2008
Hope everybody had a good New Year's celebration!
I'm hanging out with friends today instead of blogging, so I'll just reprint my favorite DaveToon series of 2007...
And here's hoping for a good ride through 2008...
Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
Home at last.
If only for a week. Or less. I'm afraid to look at my calender for fear that I'm supposed to fly out again tomorrow. The very thought of having to travel yet again during the winter fills me with dread. I am so very tired of flights that are never on time... smelly hotel rooms... rude and disgusting people... bad drivers... schedule changes... and pretty much everything else, to tell the truth. Is it so wrong that I just want to stay home and hide under the covers in my own bed for a couple months? I don't know if I can take this much longer. Case in point...
This afternoon after following the stupidest person on earth through airport security, I was waiting for my flight home (delayed, of course), when I just started soaking up the atmosphere around me...
I couldn't take sitting next to a bunch of dumbasses any longer without becoming suicidal, so I left to stand against a wall until my flight was finally ready to board. This was all well and good until a group of unsupervised juveniles decided to come stand in front of me while screaming at each other and laughing uproariously every ten seconds.
All in all, just another day of absolute and total torturous hell that I have to put up with every time I travel... is it any wonder I would rather stay home?
At least nobody stole the windshield wipers off my car in the airport parking lot while I was gone this time.
Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
Gah! I am addicted to Guitar Hero! Every time I hear a song now, I picture those notes coming at me and start doing air-guitar button mashing. This is particularly embarrassing when the song is something stupid playing on the radio (this morning I was rocking to All Out of Love by Air Supply). I would buy Guitar Hero for my Wii, but I'm afraid that I would never leave the house again.
In other news... OMG! INDIANA JONES LEGO!!!
I can't stand tossing the word "cute" around... but aren't these so totally cute? While I thought the sequels pretty much sucked ass, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greatest movies ever made, and has been a favorite of mine from the minute I saw it.
Which is why I'm terrified after reading comments by George Lucas in the recent Vanity Fair about the new Indy adventure... Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...
Basically, Lucas came up with a shitty idea for a fourth film that neither Steven Spielberg or Harrison Ford liked. But he kept ramming it down their throats and refused to come up with something different. Since Ford isn't getting any younger and everybody wanted to make a new Indy film, they eventually relented and let Lucas get his way. Considering the fucked-up mess that Lucas made out of the Star Wars prequels, my hopes for a decent film are pretty much dashed. I can only hope that Spielberg and Ford can transcend the material and at least come up with something entertaining that doesn't suck too badly...
Oh well. I suppose I can always make my own Indiana Jones movie using Lego.
Wow... now that I think about it, that's a totally kick-ass idea.
Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2008
Now that I'm back in the office, I'm opening up all the lovely holiday business gifts that companies sent to me while I was traveling. They're all pretty great, and some of them are remarkable in their extravagance, but one of the gifts has captured my heart...
A jar of gourmet jellybeans.
I love jellybeans, and having a big jar of them sitting on my desk is a real treat. Even if I end up going into a sugar coma because I am addicted to eating them one after the other.
The problem is that I don't like mixing the flavors, so half of my time is spent picking out the same color beans to eat. It makes me wish that there was somebody you could hire to come organize all your jellybeans and toss out all the flavors you don't like (for me that would be coffee and licorice)...
And now I'm off to wash clothes because there's not a clean pair of underwear left in the house.
Though I suppose there's nothing wrong with going commando on the weekend.
Posted on Saturday, January 5th, 2008
People are always astounded to learn that I get a steady stream of hate-mail for my blog. I could pretend that I'm not astounded as well, but it's a mystery to me too. Because when you compare Blogography to other blogs out there, I'm downright tame. I rarely post anything nasty, political, or controversial... and it's got monkeys and cartoons in it!
For the most part, I don't much care about the haters who feel the need to write to me. They're usually just random whack-jobs who come here from a Google search. They read a single entry (or just a part of an entry), ignore the other 1,961 entries, and come to the conclusions they hate me enough to let me know about it. The breakdown works out to be something like this...
With statistics like that, it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of my hate-mail gets deleted immediately. Most of the time I don't even bother to read them before sending off my standard reply ("Thank you so much for your lovely letter regarding Blogography, and I look forward to making you even more angry in the future!") then hitting the delete key.
It's not that I mind having people hate me.
I'm just offended that they're so fucking stupid about it.
I mean, when the subject of an email you receive is "u're blog sucks" (I shit you not, that's one I got just yesterday)... exactly how am I supposed to react to that? I naturally conclude the author is a complete dumbass. Not only are they so stupid that they're blissfully unaware that they've abbreviated "YOU ARE BLOG SUCKS," but the abbreviation of "u're" is the exact same length as their intended "your" (if they were smart enough to know how in the hell to write in the first place). And if the subject is that asinine, why in the hell would I read the rest of it?
If somebody is going to hate on me, I wish they would at least be literate and entertaining about it.
Posted on Sunday, January 6th, 2008
Buuuuuuuuuullet Sunday! Buuuuuuuuuullet Sunday! Bullet Sunday! Bullet Sunday! Bullet Sunnnnnnnnnnnnnndaaaaaaaayy! Amen.
Driver. Remember the good old days when driving was a relatively effortless endeavor? When you could be assured that most of the people out on the road were semi-competant behind the wheel? Now-a-days I get the feeling that nobody else out there knows how the hell to drive. I spend every waking minute on the road having to watch out for all the crazy crap that other people do so I don't get in an accident. Just driving to the grocery store is now a massively stressful ordeal. It would be easy to put the blame on mobile phones... but I honestly think people are just getting stupider and stupider. Today I saw a pedestrian get nailed by a dumbass bitch who didn't bother to look right before making her turn. This is not complicated stuff... how hard is it to remember that you look left-right-left before pulling out into traffic? The guy bounced up and walked away... but what if he hadn't? When are people going to realize that a car can be a deadly weapon if you don't pay attention?
Flavorful. Mew left a comment in my Jellybean entry asking what my favorite jellybean flavors are. After much deliberation and taste-testing, I've finally come up with my top ten...
Yummy. Now I'm sad that I've eaten all my jellybeans. Except the coffee and licorice ones. Blech.
Worst. I've already laid the honor of BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR on Juno. Now I have the extreme displeasure of awarding WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR on Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Sure there are probably movies that sucked more, but this horrible confusing mess of the film is by far the most disappointing. Talk about taking a can't-miss franchise and flushing it down the toilet. I'm happy that I never bothered to see it in theaters, but am really pissed that I just bought it on DVD. Stunning special effects do not a good movie make. I can't believe that Johnny Depp signed off on the script.
Winner. Well, if it's possible for a format to actually win the Hi-Def format war, I guess it's going to be Blu-Ray. Not that I'm surprised or anything. I've been reading articles like this saying so since almost the beginning. I still think that it doesn't much matter... whichever one comes out on top, digital delivery is the future. Blu-Ray (or whatever) is just a stop-gap. Still, I'm happy to have come out on top for once... I've still got the bitter taste of failure in my mouth from hopping on the mini-disc fiasco.
Terminated. Watched the sneak-preview of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and was not very impressed. As desperate as I am for new television during the writer's strike, I don't think this is it. About the only high point was getting to see Summer Glau again... but that just made me miss Firefly all the more. I'll undoubtedly watch it for a while to see how things go, but I don't have my hopes up. Fortunately, Series 2 of the excellent British show Torchwood is due to air here in the US on January 26th... now there's sci-fi television to get excited about.
Posted on Monday, January 7th, 2008
Many of the streets here are covered with one to four inches of compact ice. This makes starting and stopping quite a chore. As I was leaving the office to go home and get some dinner, a massive trailer-truck came barreling up with his window rolled down and slammed on the brakes to ask me a question... and proceeded to skid twenty-five feet right on past past me. Without missing a beat, he asked a guy down the street for some directions. I laughed about this all the way home, but don't really know why.
Despite the icy roads, today was truly a beautiful day. Blue skies and sunshine all around.
The day after tomorrow is supposed to be similarly gorgeous.
But what's the forecast for TOMORROW when I am due to fly out?
Yes, that's right snow. And not just a little snow, but a shitload of snow. I've heard "two feet" being bantered around in the forecast which, needless to say, would be extraordinarily bad. There would be no flying anywhere with two feet of snow being dumped on the airport.
Of course, given the accuracy of the weather forecast, I'm not starting to panic just yet.
Well, maybe a little bit.
Nah, not really. Whatever happens, happens.
Sigh. I have about five hours of work left tonight and I haven't even packed a suitcase. I'm beginning to think that I should just wear the same clothes for the entire week and not take a suitcase at all. So what if I end up a smelly mess? When traveling, that might actually be a benefit. Nothing says "LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE, DUMBASS!" better than a week's worth of stench.
In other news, I have self-diagnosed myself with Restless Leg Syndrome.
I can't get comfortable at night because my legs get all achey and tingly, and I can't stop wiggling around. I'm thinking this might be adding to my insomnia problem. So now I need to get me some Requip. Except reading the "Possible Side Effects" on their web site has given me pause...
"Some patients taking ropinirole have shown urges to behave in a way unusual for them. Examples of this are an unusual urge to gamble or increased sexual urges and/or behaviors. If you or your family notices that you are developing any unusual behaviors, talk to your doctor."
That's all I need... to become a sex-crazed gambling addict (among other things... hallucinations? seriously??).
Although I am curious to know what bizarre sexual urges and behaviors I might develop.
A scorching case of sex addiction with a bit of a chocolate pudding fetish on top?
One can only hope.
Posted on Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
And so the snow arrived as expected. Lots of it.
I wasn't really worried about my flight to Seattle because, even if they cancelled it, they would just bus me over and everything would be fine. My flight to Milwaukee doesn't leave until tomorrow morning, so it didn't much matter. The problem was getting some freight out via FedEx. After a missed pick-up and a couple failed deliveries due to "weather" over the past week, there was just no way to trust them with my critical work project that Absolutely Positively Has To Get There Overnight. And so I got somebody with 4-wheel drive to take me over the mountain passes to SeaTac International so I could stop by the FedEx office and be sure that my shipment made a flight out.
So here I am at my airport hotel, buying a few movies off iTunes to watch on my iPhone during the flight tomorrow.
And now, even though I swore to myself that I would never post a video I didn't create on my blog, I just have to interject with the genius of director David Lynch on the subject of watching movies on a phone (foul language may ensue)...
Hey, dude, calm down... I just want something to entertain me on the plane! I don't think anybody ever expects that they're going to get the whole "movie experience" on their phone, it's just a way to pass the time.
Though I'd argue going to a movie theater isn't the best way to experience a film anymore either. Rude people with their mobile phones and loud talking and kicking your seat and smacking away on a bag of Doritos they smuggled in the theater... it's just too distracting to see a movie that way. People have no consideration or respect for others, which makes the theater-going experience miserable. Anymore, I'm happiest watching movies on my television at home. It may not be the perfect "movie experience," but it's a lot less aggravating.
Hmmm... why is it that the hotel room-service menu never has Taco Bell Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes on it? Doesn't that sound totally awesome as a before-bedtime snack? I think so...
Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
While waiting for my connecting flight into Milwaukee, I was sitting next to some teenage girls who were talking about all the stuff that teenage girls live to talk about. Boys. Shopping. Other girls they hate. The usual. Just as I was getting used to their endless chatting, they went into a giggle fit. Curious to know what was going on, I tuned in to the conversation. From what I could gather, they were all ga ga over an airline captain that had just walked in. Apparently, they thought he looked totally hot in his uniform.
"Pffft!" I thought to myself. Silly girls!!
And then I looked up.
Damn! The bastard DID look totally hot in his uniform!
It was then that I decided I should get me a uniform of my own so I could wear it all the time and be totally hot myself. Well, maybe not ALL the time... but definitely when I travel. And when I go to the grocery store. And when I eat at Taco Bell. And... well, yeah... I would wear it all the time...
While I am quite enamored with the idea of impressing the ladies by being an airplane captain, I worry that one day I might actually have to live up to the uniform. There I'd be... watching the latest episode of The Soup on my iPhone, happily minding my own business, when an airline attendant comes up and taps me on the shoulder...
Hot Attendant: Excuse me, captain?
Captain Dave: Yes. How can I help you, miss?
Hot Attendant: There's been an electrical problem in the cockpit. Our captain and co-captain are dead. We need you to make an emergency landing right away! And then, after we're on the ground, I need you to make love to me because, damn, you look so totally hot in that uniform!
Captain Dave: I see. Let me just wash my hands, and I'll be right there.
At which point I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry while the plane crashed into a mountain.
Maybe I should buy a flying simulation game for my Wii and practice it for a bit before I make myself look hot by dressing up as an airline captain? The cockpit of a commercial airplane looks kind of like my Wii controller, so what could go wrong? I wonder if The Captain from "Captain and Tennille" had to deal with this crap?
In other news, can somebody please explain this to me...
It's a foreign currency exchange booth.
It never actually goes anywhere, so why? Is it in case somebody somehow gets a gun through airport security and decides to rob the Travelex booth? What happens then? Does the person behind the counter just go "SURPRISE SUCKER!!" and drive off, foiling the robbery attempt? And, more importantly, is that thing street-legal? Because the only thing more hot than my wearing an airline captain's uniform would be to wear an airline captain's uniform while driving around in that sweet ride.
Though I'd have to put some bigger tires on it. And maybe some spinner wheels. I wouldn't want to look silly or anything.
Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2008
It's very strange being in the land of Green Bay Packers when the big Seattle game is coming up this Saturday. I am hardly a Seahawks fan, but the never-ending smack-talk being aimed at my home-state team is still kind of surreal to me. But not surprising. In all my travels, it's hard to think of a state more devoted to to their football team than Wisconsin. They LOVE the Packers, and their devotion is hard to miss. Everywhere you go, everything's green and gold and team logos are plastered on every available surface. Brett Favre is worshipped as some kind of demi-god (though his three-time MVP status and amazing record probably justifies it).
To balance things out, I feel obligated to give a shout-out to the Seahawks, and wish them luck on Saturday...
Oooh, look! I'm one of THOSE people now.
With nothing good on television lately, I've been distracting myself with DVDs of old television shows. On this trip, I brought Kitchen Confidential: The Complete Series with me...
The douchebags at FOX cancelled the show after only four episodes, but the DVD set gives you all thirteen episodes that were produced. Loosely based on Anthony Bourdain's scandalous tell-all novel of the same name, Kitchen Confidential was a truly funny show with a remarkable cast of actors. I remain mystified as to why this wasn't a massive, massive hit. Oh well, it was cancelled at the same time as the brilliant Arrested Development, so at least it was in good company.
The Writer's Strike has me not only revisiting old television shows, but also watching stuff that I never in a million years thought I'd ever be watching. My latest addiction? Disney's Hannah Montana...
Starring the father-daughter team of Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, this series is about an average school-girl who lives a secret double life as the massively famous pop-star "Hannah Montana." Yes, it's a kids show that's meant for the teen-girl demographic, but it's also kind of clever as far as crap television goes.
Either that, or I'm just a big girl.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm also addicted to Fight Quest!! The show follows two bad-ass fighters, Jimmy and Doug, as they travel the world to study different styles of fighting and martial arts...
It sounds like mindless violence, but it's actually pretty smart. While there is fighting, the show focuses on fighting as an art, not as moronic fisticuffs. Surprisingly fun to watch.
Either that, or I'm really needing to balance out my Hannah Montana habit.
Anyway... now that I'm done with work, I'm flying off for a vacation all my own. Sure it's only a day-and-a-half, but it's better than nothing. I just hope I'm not too tired to enjoy it.
Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2008
Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport is fairly small, so some of the "features" of larger airports are compromised. This doesn't bother me in the least, as I generally find smaller airports to be much less of a hassle.
One thing that Milwaukee doesn't have is a dedicated first class line through security. Instead, they have a shortcut that lets you jump to the front of the line. Even though I am usually flying first class, I never use the shortcut. I would feel like an asshole cutting in front of somebody who has been standing in line for twenty minutes, so I don't do it. Rather than being so exceedingly rude, I just show up to the airport early enough that I can stand in line with everybody else. It's no big deal...
Well, it's no big deal EXCEPT when some asshole comes charging down the first class shortcut line and tries to cut in front of me.
Then it's a very big deal.
Rude Bastard: I need to squeeze in front of you here...
Dave: No you don't.
Rude Bastard: I'm first class! You've gotta let me in there!
Dave: (holding up my ticket) Yes, well I'm first class, so you're going to have to wait.
Rude Bastard: If you're first class, why the hell aren't you in the first class line?
Dave: Because I'm not a total douchebag.
Guy Behind Dave: (as he gets cut in front of) Douchebag. =snicker!=
Now, to be fair, the guy IS playing by the rules. Milwaukee has it set up so that first class passengers get to be douchebags, and he's just taking advantage of it. But is it really that hard to show up to the airport fifteen measly minutes early? You may be flying first class, but that doesn't make you a better class of person. I really wish that Milwaukee would just get rid of the stupid shortcut line entirely. It would make for a more comfortable security experience for everybody involved.
Except the douchebags, of course.
But who gives a fuck about them?
Aw, heck... I'm on vacation! For a whole day-and-a-half! I don't care anymore!
"Vacation... all I ever wanted. Vacation... had to get away. Vacation... meant to be spent alone."
Posted on Saturday, January 12th, 2008
I was originally planning on visiting the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi in November of 2005, shortly after its grand opening on September 1st of that year. But then Hurricane Katrina came and completely destroyed it just days before it was due to open. According to that fucking piece of shit televangelist asshole Pat Robertson, this was God's wrath wrecking vengeance on the sinners of New Orleans and the surrounding area. I prefer to think that Pat Robertson is a lunatic opportunist who takes current events and perverts them to make God sound like a jerk so he can con people out of their money. I cannot wait until that fucking douchebag dies and gets to meet God in person so he can find out what His vengeance is really like. Something tells me that hating people in the name of Jesus and speaking for God is not cool with The Almighty.
Well, unless God takes pity on the old bastard because, after all, Pat Robertson is certifiably insane...
Since my work ended Thursday night, I didn't have a Saturday-night stay to get a cheap airline ticket. To save money on airfare, I decided to add on a weekend adventure in Biloxi so I could finally visit the Hard Rock (it opened for reals on June 30th of last year)...
After checking-in and dumping my crap off in my hotel room, I decided to go to the casino where my visit started off with a real bang. I was mere steps away from entering the casino when a woman came running in front of me frantically screaming "SECURITY! SECURITY! SECURITY!" Not wanting to miss out on anything good, I stopped and waited as two employees came running up to her. "THAT MAN RIGHT THERE JUST PUNCHED A POOR WOMAN IN THE FACE!!" she said, pointing to somebody who was quickly approaching the casino exit. The two guys just looked dazed and confused so she said "HE DID! HE PUNCHED HER AND PUSHED HER TO THE GROUND! By this time real security guys showed up, at which point the alleged attacker screamed to them "IT'S OKAY... SHE'S MY WIFE!!" and hurried past them, heading towards the hotel exit (as if beating your wife is somehow okay?). The security guys went after him, but I decided not to follow.
Once I got to the ATM, I withdrew $200 cash... $100 for each day. Within 35 minutes, I had spent $40 and already won $380 playing quarter slots. Deciding there was nowhere to go but down, I cashed out my winnings and called it quits for the night (and because I am completely inflexible on my $100 per day limit, I also added the left-over $60 to my winnings). Then it was time for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Biloxi located in the hotel itself...
It's a nice, albeit basic, property with no real surprises, But they did a good job maximizing the memorabilia (which is always a good thing) so I'm happy with it. Service was good, though the restaurant itself seemed pretty slow for a Friday night at 7:30pm. Maybe this is the off-season for gambling? I don't know.
Today I am taking it easy. I slept in until 9:30am (a real treat), gambled away $30, ate a nice breakfast at the Hard Rock's "24/7 Grill", wandered around to see a few other casinos in the area, then just now came back to work on my blog entry for tonight and relax for a bit before heading back to the casino and seeing if I can win anything with my remaining $70.
UPDATE: Meh. I gambled it all away while watching the Seahawks get spanked by Green Bay in the snow, but did win $65 on my last $2 (WHEEL. OF. FORTUNE!!), so I'm really only down $35 for the day. When deducted from my $340 in winnings yesterday, I'm ahead $305 total. That almost pays for my hotel room for the two days, which is pretty sweet! I must be lucky at Hard Rock's, because I came out ahead at their Hollywood and Tampa casinos in Florida too.
And now, since I know Hard Rock talk is boring to most people, I'm putting my in-depth review of the Hotel & Casino in an extended entry. I'll probably end tonight early considering that I have to get up at some insane early hour to catch my flights back home (boy I hope I can get some sleep on the plane).→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, January 13th, 2008
It's Bullet Sunday in Biloxi as I wait for my first of four flights today! Nothing quite so fun as flying from one small city to another small city.
• Feature. I had five hours to catch some sleep before I had to meet the 4:20am shuttle to the airport. Naturally, this means that some stupid bitch has to dial a wrong number and wake me up shortly after midnight. And, of course, I hang on to my phone because I just know the dumbass won't bother to check the number, but will instead dial it again... and she does ("YOU. HAVE. THE. WRONG. NUMBER!!!"). Why doesn't iPhone have a "FAVORITES ONLY" feature?? A way of setting it so anybody NOT on your "favorites" list will automatically be dumped to voicemail with NO notification played? And, since I'm fantasizing here, why can't you put it on a schedule? Make it so anybody calling after 10:00pm or before 8:00am (or whatever) who isn't on your favorites list will be told to go fuck themselves? That would be an astoundingly useful feature, and I don't know why some mobile phone manufacturer hasn't implemented it.
• Etiquette. Speaking of mobile phones...why don't people realize is extremely rude to use your phone on public transportation? My shuttle may have left at 4:20am, but some bad-mannered fucker in a pink shirt managed to find somebody to talk to for the entire 30-minute trip to the airport. People are trying to catch some rest here, asshole.
• Handicap. And speaking of assholes... why is it that people using the handicap parking never know how to park a fucking car? When I was at my Milwaukee hotel, some idiot parked angled across three spaces (only one of them handicapped)... WITH A SUBARU! OVERNIGHT!! And, of course, since parking lots are personal property, there's no way to ticket the offense. This just encourages the morons to get worse and worse. And don't give me the bullshit "there wasn't room to get out" excuse. If that's the case, then pull up and drop off your passenger before parking so you're not blocking a walkway. Being handicapped doesn't give you an excuse to be a dick...
So what if I block the walkway! I'm handicapped, so fuck you!
• Prize. I've been trying to devise unique prizes and events for my fifth blogiversary coming up in April. One of my ideas was to have a prize drawing for a Dave Event in the city of your choice... anywhere in the world with an airport served by a major airline carrier. I figured it would be not only exciting for anybody who entered, but VERY exciting for myself. Who knows where I'd end up? I mean, if somebody in Seattle won, that wouldn't be much of a trip... but what if it was somebody in Bucharest? Or São Paulo? Or Jakarta? How cool would that be? I mean, Davekarta may only be a party for two, but that would still be pretty sweet. And then I got to thinking about it. Who knows where I'd REALLY end up? Pyongyang? Baghdad? Darfur? SACRAMENTO?!?*** Hmmm... actually, I wouldn't mind visiting North Korea... but there are some places that I just don't know how I'd do it. I dunno. Maybe there could be some kind of pre-approval process when you enter, but that kind of spoils the fun, doesn't it?
• Approach. Hmmm... I was just looking through my photos and noticed how cool the approach is into the Gulfport/Biloxi Airport...
If you look really closely, you can see the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
On top of that, the airport here has FREE Wi-Fi internet and plays this totally awesome 80's soundtrack at full volume. Sitting here I've heard Thompson Twins, Devo, R.E.M., The Police, Talking Heads, The Fixx, Wang Chung, Billy Idol, Eurythmics, and Def Leppard! Sweet! It's almost worth coming to Biloxi just to use their kick-ass airport.
• MacWorld. Oh crap. MacWorld starts tomorrow. Since I didn't win a million dollars at the Hard Rock Casino Biloxi, I'm terrified at what Steve Jobs is going to unleash in his keynote. Undoubtedly something very expensive that I just can't live without (like a new $7000 Mac that fits up your ass and is controlled directly by your brain using radio waves). Sometimes being a Certified Mac Whore is not easy. Especially if you end up bankrupt. To tell the truth, I'd just be happy if Apple would fix iCal and Mail so that they were useable again. Between the HORRENDOUS FUCKING INTERFACE DESIGN CHANGES of iCal, and the CONSTANT CRASHING AND SLOW-SLOW-SLOW-SLOW START-UP TIMES for Mail that occurred with the OS X 10.5 Leopard release, I'm really starting to get pissed off. Apple is messing up bad, which is tragic when you consider they set the benchmark for this stuff in the first place.
And that's it for Bullet Sunday. I'll be traveling all day long and will probably head to bed the minute I get home, so I figured I might as well post it now.
*** Just kidding, Hilly. Juuuuust kidding.
Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2008
Yesterday I left for the Biloxi airport at 4:00am and was dreading the day to come. With four connecting flights ahead of me... all with very short layovers... the odds of something going wrong along the way was huge. First flight: Biloxi to Memphis - on time. Second flight: Memphis to Minneapolis - on time. Third flight: Minneapolis to Seattle - on time. Fourth flight: Seattle to Wenatchee - uhhhhhhhhhh... not so much.
Wenatchee was fogged-in, and not a single flight had made it into the city all day. Not surprisingly, my flight was also canceled. This meant I got to hang around the airport with a bunch of really cranky people while waiting to see if we were going to be bussed, or if I would have to find a hotel and get re-booked for another flight.
And so the bus it was.
Three hours on a bus with 56 of my closest friends.
Which was lovely, let me tell you.
And yet, that was nothing... nothing... compared to the torture I was forced to endure tonight.
Because tonight was when a group of us from work decided to go see National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
Don't misunderstand me here though... the torture wasn't in watching the movie. Sure it was a complete re-tread of the first movie with no real improvements or memorable story elements. Sure it had so many plot holes that I was pulling my hair out at the end. And sure it pained me to see the remarkable Helen Mirren lowering herself to appear in something so mediocre and poorly directed. But all that was to be expected.
What was NOT expected was that Disney would make you sit through a Goofy cartoon before the film actually started. I fucking HATE Goofy. I find absurdly stupid cartoon characters to be just a annoying and un-funny as absurdly stupid people. I mean, seriously, this shit is supposed to be humor?
Well, no thanks.
I prefer to take my crappy movies WITHOUT a shitty cartoon up front.
Sigh. I would gladly trade every Goofy cartoon ever made for a single new episode of Invader Zim.
Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
I'm so very tired.
Which is why there will be no alternative content for those who hate Apple Macintosh... or just don't care about Apple Macintosh... or are tired of reading about Apple Macintosh. Today at Blogography is all about Apple Macintosh and Steve Job's keynote speech at Macworld. Sorry about that.
Unless you love Apple Macintosh like I do, in which case today is your lucky day! Here's my thoughts on some of the announcements from this morning...
So sexy it hurts to look at, the slender form-factor, astounding 5-hour battery life, and miniscule weight of the MacBook Air are almost too good to be true for the frequent traveler. The minute Steve Jobs took it out of that envelope, I wanted it... and wanted it bad. But then, just as I was about to click the "PRE-ORDER NOW" button, a few things started bouncing around my in my head...
So, despite my lust for this terrific new laptop, I'm not ordering one until I've seen it in person. Of course, being the Certified Mac Whore that I am, it's inevitable that the MacBook Air will eventually be mine. It's just too perfect for travel and, given the amount of traveling I do, it's easy to justify the purchase.
iPhone 3 Update...
My biggest complaint about iPhone since day one was the lack of a GPS unit to pinpoint my position on Google Maps. I thought this was a truly stupid oversight, and I hated having to figure out where I'm at so I can type it in for directions and such. Well, thanks to Google Maps's new ability to use cellular towers to triangulate position, iPhone now has a kind of "pseudo-GPS" which is accurate enough for me. The other new features are cool, but now I'm most excited about the 3rd-party developer kit Apple is releasing in February. Given the massive success of the iPhone, I'm betting that we're going to see some great new iPhone apps in the coming months. I can't wait.
This brilliant device allows wireless backup via Apple's ass-saving "Time Machine" technology, PLUS has a wireless base station built-in, PLUS allows a network volume share... all with an industrial server-level hard drive. The best feature though? The price. Just $499 for a Time Capsule unit with a full terabyte of storage space. I ordered one immediately.
AppleTV, Take 2...
I held off buying the original AppleTV when it first came out... it sounded great, but was lacking in several areas. Well, many of those holes have been filled with the new version two, and now I find myself wanting one. The deciding factor will be how many movies Apple puts up for rental. Something tells me that the studios are just going to LOVE that most of the rental fee paid will be going directly to them instead of some third party (like Blockbuster or NetFlix). If this is the case, and movie studios start putting their entire catalog up for rental (not just new releases and popular favorites) then I'll be giving AppleTV a serious look. This could be the ultimate "movies on demand" appliance, and I am in love with the idea of having immediate access to a massive repository of movies.
Theoretically, this was a very expensive Macworld for me. It is likely that I'll end up buying every new product that was released, and that is not okay. I wish that Apple would release some total crap every once in a while so I could hang on to my hard-earned money.
Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
I've been blogging long enough to know that there is no telling what is going to set people off. Sometimes I write entries that I think are going to be controversial and unleash a flood of hate mail, and get nothing. Other times I write what I think are charming and uplifting entries, only to get death threats and people telling me how much I suck. It's a crap-shoot, and I gave up a long time ago trying to figure it out.
Yet reader reaction still crosses my mind.
And, while it doesn't ever really influence what I write, it does make me question myself from time to time.
But it's not the same for comments I leave on other people's blogs.
I'm a cheeky bastard, and that apparently gives me free reign to joke around or say crazy crap and then never even consider that there might be consequences. After all, it's not my blog! I wouldn't intentionally comment with stuff that might get another blogger in trouble or anything... but after I write on their blog, I just don't worry about repercussions.
Now I am slowly starting to regret that, and here's just one example of why...
Over a year ago, Pauly wrote a hysterical entry over at his Words for My Enjoyment blog extolling the virtues of adult diapers, from which I'm republishing a small part here (you really should go read the entire thing, because it's dang funny)...
...Wear them all the time, wherever you want, whenever you go out in public. Don’t be afraid of people’s opinions, since everyone will be wearing them. Forget about "holding things in" from this day forward and feel free for once in your life. Make the elderly finally feel embraced instead of ridiculed and remove the teasing from the adolescent equation that affects so many children in a negative way. Give every person in this world the opportunity to live, learn, grow and urinate anywhere and anytime without societal pressure to "hold themselves in."
Adult diapers for everyone. It’s an idea whose time has come.
Inspired to "let myself go," I went ahead and left the following comment...
I heartily agree… but am having trouble finding adult diapers that offer full protection, yet have a slim profile. I tire of the embarrassing looks and stares I get while wearing my diapers in public!
Now, that was meant to be a joke. Ha ha funny and all that. I don't really wear diapers.
At least not yet.
But that hasn't stopped dozens of people from emailing me with advice about my "diaper problem."
Some people genuinely want to help out and offer diaper tips. Others want to make fun of me. Still others want to ask me questions about my "diaper habit" (or, heaven help them) ask me to send them photos of me wearing diapers (which is the email I got today). It's all pretty messed up, and has exposed me to a secret world of adult-diaper-fetish aficionados that I really didn't need to know about.
All because I didn't consider the consequences as I was hacking out a ten second comment.
Which is a shame, because the convenience of being able to pee in my pants is an idea that's starting to grow on me.
Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2008
What an incredibly crappy day. I wish I could forget most of it ever happened.
As anybody who reads Blogography might guess from previous entries, I'm a major fan of Betty White. She totally kicks ass, and I maintain that every show on television could be improved by having Betty White guest star on it (as she's done many, many times before). The woman is fearless, talented, generous, kind and not above poking fun at herself... I hope I'm as relevant as she is when I get to be her age.
And today is Betty White's 86th birthday...
In other news, those of you with iPhones who have installed the latest update and make a WebClip Bookmark to Blogography will now get a nifty custom icon. Just be sure to pause when the screen comes up to name your shortcut so it has a chance to load...
For other iPhone goodness, you can also find Blogography wallpaper here (in an extended entry). Eventually, I'll get around to creating a custom version of my blog for easier reading and access by iPhone users. It works pretty well now, but I think there's some things I can do with the navigation and layout to make it even better.
Sigh. I ♥ my iPhone, but I sure wish they would let you adjust the exposure of photos taken with its camera.
Earlier today I was reviewing my DaveStalker iPhone Flickr Feed and got a little depressed. From time to time, when the lighting is perfect, you get a really great shot, but the majority of the images are all dark and murky. Sure it's better than nothing, but it seems stupid that Apple can't give you a slider to brighten things up a bit when needed. Perhaps they'll put that in the next upgrade?
Hmmm... I think I need me some Oreo cookies and milk before bedtime. That will make everything all better.
Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2008
"That's quite an ego you got there. With your blog and your DaveStalker nonsense, your entire life is nothing more than a narcissistic delusion"... the email said in an annoyingly green text color.
An ego? ME?!??
Do you really think so?? What could ever give you that idea?
Is it because I tell everybody I'm a total genius? (from the entry DaveQ)...
Is it that I think the world revolves around me? (from the entry Dave)...
Is it that I want a 50-story marble monument built in my honor? (from the entry Monument)...
Is it because I think I'm Jesus? (from the entry Jesus)...
Or is it because I think I'm God? (from the entry Intelligence)...
You're going to have to help me out here, because I'm just not seeing it...
Posted on Saturday, January 19th, 2008
My feelings at having to work all three days of a three-day weekend.
Posted on Sunday, January 20th, 2008
• Band. A while back Karl found a rather cool meme about making a band and album via random blog searches. I answered it over on his entry, but enough people have asked me about it that I'm reprinting it here. You get your band name from the first article title at a random Wikipedia search. The title of your album is the last four words of the last quote on the random quotations page. Your album cover comes from the third image on a random Flicker page. You then moosh everything together, and here's what I got...
Photo taken from Juan Farrell's Flickr
• Fuckabee. If this ass-wipe wins the presidency, we're all doomed. Of course, we're pretty much doomed right now. I guess I'm just really tired of doom.
• Traction. It started snowing pretty good this morning as I left for work. The snow was all powdery, so when it landed on our icy roads, traction became a problem. Having driven in these kind of conditions for decades, I just reduced my speed by half and anticipated my stops well in advance. Tricky, but not really a big deal. Until I turned the corner and saw one car being pulled out of a ditch, then went another block to see a police office lighting road flares because another car had run off a bridge. WTF? If you are not capable of driving in adverse conditions... STAY THE F#@% HOME!! Or buy my upcoming new book...
• Traveled. By some accounts, I've traveled quite a lot. My travel map shows visits from Asia to Europe and back again. This is especially true for US citizens, where over 80% of us don't have a passport. Which is why it's cool that today I got to meet somebody who's extensive travels make mine look positively tame. It was then that I realize that I've only been south of the equator once, have never visited South America or Australia, and have no "that's when the police confiscated my motorcycle and took my jar of peanut butter" stories. I really do need to get out more, because making the leap from "traveler" to "adventurer" sounds like a lot more fun than eating ice cream and watching cartoons. Well, maybe not a lot more fun... but at least a little more fun.
• Inked. Is there anything worse than printing something out, only to look over and see the error light blinking on your printer? Yes. Yes there is. That would be seeing that you've run out of ink, and have every color cartridge available except the one you just emptied. VENGEANCE WILL BE MINE INFERNAL PRINTING MACHINE!!! Hmmm... maybe I've been watching too much Invader Zim?
And now it's time to see if I can get some sleep so I can get up extra early for work. Heaven only knows how many dumbasses I'll have to navigate around if it snows again.
Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2008
Call me an insensitive bastard, but I hate getting forwarded "inspirational" and "funny" emails.
I realize the people who do the forwarding think they are being kind by sending me this stuff. They feel that because they find something hilariously funny or warmly comforting that everybody else will too, so they want to share it. Stories of lost puppies finding their way home against all odds. Sweet poems about how much Jesus loves you. Tales of people triumphing over adversity. Humorous accounts of children saying something embarrassing at the wrong time. It's all there for the forwarding, and it drives me nuts.
And the latest abomination to be cluttering my inbox?
Which I'm guessing stands for "Laugh-Out-Loud Cats."
This phenomena of adding badly spelled and oddly phrased sayings to wacky pictures of cats has taken the internet by storm. Everybody just LOVES LOLcats! One of the most inexplicably popular seems to be this idiotic image...
And I just don't get it. I certainly don't find it "lough-out-loud" funny. Or even mildly amusing.
When I'm not being inundated with LOLcats in the blogs I read, they're being forwarded to me in emails several times a week.
I'm hoping that the fad dies out soon, because I'm really close to creating my own LOLcats to send to people...
Cat image stolen from Blogography.
Cat image stolen from Rippin Kitten.
Cat image purchased from iStock Photo.
Which is probably safer than my first idea of making "LOLpussys" out of something altogether different.
= ahem =
Meanwhile, back to my Hannah Montana addiction...
I'm slowly catching up on all the episodes thanks to nightly marathons of the show on Disney2. But I'm starting to get really confused on a few things...
Hmmm... I really should get back to work. Here it is 10:00, and I've got entirely too much to do before bedtime.
Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
Today my beautiful new "DeLonghi Retro" panini press arrived. It was a little more expensive than my budget, but it had an adjustable temperature control, which I really wanted. It would be a major bummer to shell out for a press that didn't cook hot enough to melt things properly... or was overly hot and burned the bread. Ensuring toasting perfection was worth the extra money...
My first sandwich? DEATH BY CHEESE!! It's my take on the "Ultimate Grilled Cheese" sold at Kathy Casey's "Dish D'Lish" restaurant at the SeaTac airport. To make it, you need country white bread (not too fresh... leave it out for a few hours), cheddar cheese, provolone cheese, and spreadable herb cream cheese, assembled as follows...
Once it's all put together, I microwave it for 10 seconds to get the cheese in a more meltable state. After that, you just slap it on a panini press at medium temperature and wait until you hear the cheese running out and sizzling on the grill... wait another 20 seconds or so to make sure everything is thoroughly melted, and you're done! The cheese needs to be the consistency of molten lava. If it's not oozing out of the sandwich and scalding your hands, you've made it all wrong and will have to start over...
Now that I have my own panini press, I can experiment with ways to add more cheese to the sandwich. It's a difficult proposition, because too much cheese will cause the bread to start sliding around, making it impossible to eat without a spoon. I'm thinking the answer might lay in adding a third slice of bread, but worry it might slip out if not handled properly.
Ah well... I can dream, can't I?
Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
I have precious little time to blog because I leave on Friday and there's a lot to do before then. Luckily, something pissed me off badly enough that I at least had a topic for today's entry.
It all started when I saw that My Boys: The Complete First Season is finally coming to DVD in March. This is a very good thing, because I love the show, and am glad that I'll finally be able to sit down and watch everything from start to finish. For some reason, TBS busted the season in half, inserting an agonizing SEVEN MONTHS between episodes 13 and 14 (maybe it was a partial initial order or something?). It really killed the momentum of the show, and it will be nice to see everything put back together again...
Awww... P.J. is almost painfully cute on that DVD cover.
Anyway, I mentioned this to a friend of mine who also likes the show, and she told me that I didn't have to wait for the DVD... I could go to the TBS.com website and watch the show online! Sweet! So off I went, only to see this...
I am so sick of this bullshit.
There is no reason to keep clinging to Windows Media crap when there are alternatives available that allow non-Windows sufferers to enjoy media content as well. Most every other television network uses Flash (available for Windows, Mac, and Unix) or some kind of custom cross-platform solution (ABC's media player comes to mind). Why is TBS so stupid about how they serve their media? I decided to poke around a bit and found this...
What a load of shit.
"...despite its lack of support on Mac systems, Windows Media Player is more widely used than other platforms like Quicktime and Flash Video for distributing protected content."
This is so laughable as to be stupid. Windows Media Player is more widely used alright... but ONLY ON WINDOWS PCs. Don't make this about "DRM" or "media player popularity" because this only makes you look like idiots. The truth is that you have abandoned your non-Windows viewers, and it's as simple as that. There are alternatives available, but you choose to be lazy idiots who would rather blame Microsoft than finding something that works.
But the best part is the closing...
"Again, we apologize for the inconvenience associated with using Windows Media DRM and hope you will continue watching TBS."
Yes, that's right... keep passing the blame to Microsoft instead of blaming yourself for not using a better solution.
So long as moronic crap like this keeps going on, I find myself wondering why I don't just download everything I like off of BitTorrent when it airs and archive it. I mean, what other choice is TBS giving me here? I guess I wait until March.
And now I'm off to buy episodes of Burn Notice from the iTunes Music Store so I have something to watch on the flight. It's nice to know that some networks understand how to serve their customers without being complete dumbasses.
Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2008
In preparation for my trip tomorrow, I've been working seven days a week, minimum 16-hour days for the past four weeks. To say I'm exhausted would be a gross understatement. I feel like I'm about dead... or at least severely broken. Of course, the cure for that is to spend 18 hours on three flights beginning at 6:00am. Which, by a happy coincidence, is exactly what I'm doing.
It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to set my alarm clock for 3:30am to make it to the airport on time.
With that in mind, I hope you'll forgive me if I beg-off blogging tonight and turn-in for bed instead...
Now if I could only get rid of this strange craving for tacos, I might be able to actually get some sleep tonight. Don't you just hate it when you've got tacos on the brain?
Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2008
Oog! I seem to have lost a day traveling.
My first flight left at 6:00am Friday... now I'm here in Germany and it's already Saturday morning. Actually, back home it's Saturday morning too. Freaky.
Posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2008
And so here I am, happy to be back in Köln (Cologne), Germany again. It's a city I have been to many times before... not just for work, but to visit good friends living near here... and I never tire of the city. Last time I finally mustered the courage to climb the cathedral, so I don't know what new thing I'm going to find to do this time. Or maybe I don't find something new. Maybe I go to the Chocolate Museum again? I could sure use a wafer dipped in melted chocolate!
Anyway, here's my day...
And now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to put away my blog and have dessert...
I usually hate clowns, but clowns dressed as pirates are okay.
Posted on Sunday, January 27th, 2008
This entry probably won't make much sense. I spent the day at the world's largest candy show, and consumed so much sugar that my brain hurts. And I think I'm going blind. My hands are kind of shaking too. Perhaps I'm on my way to a sugar-induced coma or something?
What a way to spend a Bullet Sunday!
It's Hannah Montana, bitches!! I so totally want one of those mini star purse tins!
"Billy, do you want a lolly? Okay then, pull one out of the FREAKISHLY FRIGHTENING VAMPIRE HEAD!!"
• Milk! Well, maybe three things... Coolest product at the show this year? BAM! It's Quick Milk! This product is a straw with flavor beads in it. When you suck milk through it, your beverage magically changes flavor and color! TOTALLY AWESOME!! Though... is it just me, or does the product description sound vaguely sexual? "Stick into milk and feel the taste?" Wha-??
In any event, science prooves Quick Milk is good for you too!
• PEZ! Okay, four things... I have a small collection of PEZ candy dispensers that I've collected from around the world. When I mentioned this to the very nice lady working the PEZ booth, she very graciously gave me a bag filled with new PEZ dispensers, even though I'm not a corporate candy buyer! I didn't think it was possible for me to love PEZ more than I already do, but this was so awesome that now I am compelled to! The coolest I got were a Mozart PEZ head sold only in Austria(!), characters from an upcoming movie called "Kung-Fu Panda", and a Johnny Depp head from Pirates of the Caribbean 3! I also got to see prototypes they had on display for upcoming movie tie-in dispensers for Batman: The Dark Knight, Madagascar: Crate Escape, and Disney/Pixar's WALL-E.
I LOVE YOU PEZ!! You're my favorite dispensable candy!
My cool PEZ tote bag that I carry everywhere now!
• SEASONED! Tonight as I was buying yet another slice of street-vendor pizza for dinner, a guy behind me (about 45 years old and obviously American) asked me if I was an American. When I told him "yes" he kindly offered me some advice from a "seasoned traveler" (which is what he called himself)... "You need to get yourself a money belt, because if you keep your cash in your pocket like that, somebody might steal it and that would end your vacation real quick!" Now, having just watched EuroTrip where there's a gag involving a money belt, it took all my composure not to bust out laughing. He was trying to be nice, so I was doing my best to play along (even though, technically, I consider this to be bad advice, as it marks you as a tourist carrying a lot of cash)... "Oh, thanks for the tip! You've traveled a lot then?" I query. "Yep, this is my third time to Europe and I've been to Canada and Mexico, of course" he said with pride. "Ah. Have you been to Asia then?" I asked. "Ummm... no... just to Europe the three times now," he answered, putting extra emphasis on the "three times" part. I just stood there staring at him with this blank look on my face, wondering how somebody who has been out of the country only three times considers themselves to be a "seasoned traveler." Probably because he watches Rick Steves (rolling my eyes here) on television or something. Not really knowing what to say, I stupidly blurt out "Oh... well, good luck with that then!" and scurried off. I've lost track of the number of times I've been out of the country (over 40 probably?) and could likely call myself a "seasoned traveler," but I can't imagine handing out unsolicited advice on the street to people I don't know. He was trying to be helpful, so it's hard to fault him for a kindness, but I can't shake just how bizarre an incident this was.
• ADVICE! AAAAAAAAHH! Except I feel compelled to say that, given the abundance of cash machines everywhere, it's far better to carry small amounts of cash in your pocket or wallet than to use a money belt. This way, even if you are robbed, you don't lose everything. Even if you are in a country without cash machines and where they don't take traveler's checks, I'd still say it's smarter to divide your cash on your person... keeping a small amount in your pocket for minor purchases on the street, and the rest with your passport in your money belt (or whatever), so people don't see your stash.
• FAHRT! Picked up yet another photo for my "fahrt collection" (tee hee!)...
Though, I must say, this true fart from Sweden is still my favorite.
And that's my Bullet Sunday. Since it's almost midnight in Germany as I type this, and I'm not a bit tired because I've been eating sugar all day, I anticipate tomorrow to be slow-going.
Unless, of course, I start eating more sugar first thing to get myself going...
Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2008
Today at work I was attacked by a bear.
Two bears, actually.
There I was, minding my own business while typing some contact information into my iPhone, when I look up and see bears wandering down the aisle. They are waving to everybody and patting people on the shoulder as they pass. This is typical bear tactics to make people think that they are cute and cuddly when, in fact, they are ferocious killers. Not wanting to get mauled to death in the middle of a candy show, I step way off to the side so they can pass while leaving me unmolested.
This only seemed to encourage the bears (perhaps they smelled my fear?), because they headed my direction, bobbing their giant man-eating heads and waving their giant man-slaying arms. Within seconds, they were upon me. With no gun to shoot them, I panicked and screamed "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! BEARS! BEARS!!!"
As dozens of people stopped whatever they were doing to take notice, the bears freeze in their tracks. The one closest to me then backs away a bit, looking confused. This gives me the opportunity I need to escape. Quickly dodging to the other side of the aisle, I run around the corner and am safe. Victory is mine!
Later in the day, I stalked the bears so I could get a photo. Just look at the ruthless bastards...
As I'm leaving work, Bad Robert calls me...
ME: Hey Robert.
ROBERT: Dude! You're in Germany! How is it?
ME: Not too bad. I got attacked by bears though.
ROBERT: Sweet! Hey, could you grab me some of that Pop-Rocks Chocolate?
ME: (remembering that I had emailed him about this new chocolate candy that melts in your mouth, then explodes because it has Pop Rocks in it) Ummm, sure. I'll see what I can do.
ROBERT: YEEEESSSSSSSS!!! Hey, call me when you get back and I'll come up.
ME: Sure. See you then.
ROBERT: Well, okay... have fun drinking beer in your lederhosen!
It's then that I realize Robert undoubtedly thinks that everybody in Germany dresses up like characters from our nearby bavarian-themed tourist town of Leavenworth, Washington during Oktoberfest. This is of course, absurd, but I don't tell him that so he can keep the fantasy alive...
On my way to a delicious dinner of Twisted Mac & Cheese and Smashed Potatoes at the Hard Rock Cafe, I stop off at the LEGO Store so I can see if there's anything special going on since today is the LEGO 50th anniversary. I thought they might be handing out gold bricks or would have commemorative keychains you could buy or something. Unfortunately, not only was there nothing going on, but the employees didn't even seem to be aware of it. I found this kind of sad, because LEGO is my all-time favorite toy. Heck, even Google is getting in on the festivities, but LEGO themselves couldn't bother to do ANYTHING?...
Oh well. Happy 50th birthday LEGO! Hard to believe all your deserved success was built starting with a single brick...
And now I really should get back to work seeing as how it's already 9:00pm and all.
Just as soon as I set down my beer and change out of my lederhosen...
Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Today was my last day on the job in Köln, and I got off work an hour early. As I left, all kinds of exciting ideas popped into my head as to how I might spend the afternoon. This is a great city with plenty to do, and I could use a break from my daily routine.
But by the time I got back to my hotel, my attitude had changed entirely. I just wanted to order room service then climb in bed and read a book. The last thing I felt like doing is going to a museum or hunting down something to do. I finally made the decision to at least go out for dinner, which means I ultimately ended up following my daily routine after all. Sad.
One thing I do several times a day in my routine is walk past a poster hanging in a hair salon window that has a guy on it promoting professionally disheveled hair. This is bothersome because he seems to be looking all condescending and judgmental at me in a disapproving way. Every time I pass it, I feel as though he would be making some kind of smart-assed comment to me if he could talk...
I also feel that Meister Bock at the train station's sausage stand is making smart-assed comments at me, but it always involves how happy he is that his massive wiener is so much bigger than mine...
When I come back from the job, there's Disapproving Man waiting for me again...
And, of course, he's there when I go out for dinner...
While walking back from the Hard Rock Cafe Köln, I pass four Merzenich Bakeries (they're as prolific as Starbucks in Seattle!). This makes me happy, because they make the world's most perfect donut... DAS SPRITZRINGE!! It's actually more like a pastry than a donut because the center is kind of undercooked and doughy. I think that's what makes them taste so darn fine...
Because the Merzenich shops close promptly at 6:00pm, it's usually slim pickings as they try to get rid of their remaining inventory. Since I must have four Spritzringes (two for after-dinner dessert and two I save for breakfast in the morning), I usually end up having to drift from shop to shop until I've found enough. Today I found none at the first shop, one at the second shop, none at the third shop, and one at the fourth shop. This means I only ended up with TWO Spritzringes for tonight, and this sucks major ass. I only get one for dessert and one for breakfast, which is hardly satisfying. Except perhaps to the bastard on that poster...
Since it's 10:30pm now, I should probably think about getting some sleep. Except my flight doesn't leave until the afternoon, so maybe I should go to the corner pub and get drunk instead?
Though I can't bear the thought of having to face Disapproving Poster Man while I'm wasted, so I guess I'll just climb in bed and play Kitty Spangles Solitaire until I pass out...
Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Ooh look at me! Thanks to Germanwings Airlines* and Flugnummer (flight number) 720, I'm someplace I've never been before... Warszawa (Warsaw), Poland!
Today officially marks the end of what I affectionately refer to as "HellQuarter"... the months of October, November, December, and January... where I am at my busiest. Sure I am busy the rest of the year too, but this is the time where it's the worst. This is the time of year I consider wearing adult diapers so I don't have to waste precious minutes running to the toilet. The problem is that I can't find anybody to come change my diaper, and I'm sure as hell am not going to be the one to do it. I already have my hands full with my monkey...
This is the reason why I haven't had much time to comment on your blogs or reply to comments on my own blog (which I've just learned is a major pet-peeve of Avitable's, so I guess I'm not invited to his Halloween party this year). It was a daily struggle just to keep writing in Blogography and stay current with my blogroll, so something had to give. But I still read and treasured every comment I got during HellQuarter, so I hope that counts for something.
Anyway, my original plan after work was done was to go to Bucharest, Romania for the Grand Opening of the Hard Rock Cafe there. But the opening date had already slipped once or twice at the time I needed to buy my tickets, and I was worried it would slip again, so I didn't want to risk it (the cafe ended up opening January 20th, darn-it!). Looking at the big map of Hard Rocks, I took note of those properties I haven't yet visited in Europe (Oslo, Gothenburg, Warsaw, Malta, Moscow, and Gran Canaria)... then selected the location with the cheapest airfare, which was Warsaw (probably because it's the closest). And here I am.
In a happy stroke of luck, my friend and fellow Hard Rock enthusiast, Perry (who was my partner-in-crime for our now-infamous Hard Rock Run in 2004) was able to join me for dinner at the beautiful Warsaw Hard Rock, which is in the massive new Złote Tarasy complex that's across from the very cool Palace of Culture and Science building...
Tomorrow we're going to tour a bit of the city, which promises to be interesting. It's always fun to explore someplace you haven't been before.
In the meanwhile, I'm going to try and make the most of my internet access, which costs $40 for 24 hours at my hotel here. I had thought perhaps I might have better luck with the OVERWHELMINGLY FUCKING TRAGIC STATE OF THE US DOLLAR in Poland, but apparently I'm wrong about that. Our currency is worthless everywhere.
* By the way... if you are looking for cheap inter-European air travel in or out of Germany, I highly, highly recommend Germanwings. Despite their rock-bottom prices and lack of assigned seating, they are still one of the best airlines I've ever flown. The planes are super-clean and impeccably maintained. The staff and cabin crew are exceedingly friendly and helpful. All of the seven times I've flown with them, my flights have departed and arrived on schedule. All-in-all, a wonderful airline I'm thrilled to be flying.
And, on that note, I think I'm off to bed now, where I'll be dreaming of Köln's Spritzringe donuts.
Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008
Since this is my only full day in Warsaw, I knew early on that I wanted to make the most of it. Fortunately, a good place to start was right across the street from my hotel.
A gift from the former Soviet Union to the people of Poland, the "Palace of Culture and Science" is a massive building and controversial landmark of the city...
It's also probably the gayest building in Europe, because the exterior features statues of studly guys with their shirts off holding massive power tools and other manly artifacts...
At first I thought it was just me, but when I was researching the building on the internet, the first page I found about the building at IgoUgo featured an ad for "fantabulous gay vacations" with those same three guys...
During Soviet control, the building was known as the "Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science," but all reference to Stalin was eradicated after decentralization when Poland was free again. You can see evidence of that on one of the less titillating (but still very gay) statues outside. He's holding a book that has a blank spot where Stalin's name used to be...
The building also houses the "Museum of Technology" at its base, which was very cool (and a total bargain at only 8 złoty!). Inside there's all kinds of old samples of technology... from computers and automobiles to washing machines and space exploration. My hands-down favorite was the Polish Fiat showroom, which had a number of beautiful antique cars on display...
The "Space" room was nicely done, featuring a good number of models of technology from the US space program...
Before we could get on with touring the city, Perry and I had to go back to the Hard Rock Cafe to get a couple of quick photos (last night was far too crowded). This is a really nice split-level property (complete with a stage and radio station built-in!) with a terrific assortment of memorabilia and a very friendly staff...
Despite being so new on the outside, it has a great "classic feel" to it on the inside. About the only place it misses is above the lower bar. They should have featured some nice guitars or other rock artifacts there, but instead have some kind of artsy deco lighting that doesn't really fit with the rest of the cafe's theming...
On an unrelated note, I saw a Polish poster for the new JJ Abrams produced horror flick "Cloverfield" and noted that it has a much more awesome title here - "PROJEKT: MONSTER!" How frickin' sweet is that? I'm sorry, but that should have totally been the US title as well...
And that is part one of my day in Warsaw. For the conclusion, see my next entry.
Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008
After hearing the phrases "...was completely destroyed" and "...all the people were killed" repeatedly over a four hour period, you'd think that they would start to lose their meaning and you would become numb to them. But of course you don't... you only wish you did.
Ultimately deciding it would be much easier to take an organized tour than to attempt to navigate Warsaw ourselves with no Polish language skills, Perry and I hooked up with a small tour company recommended by the hotel. Our guide was amazing and, since there were only six of us in the group (all of whom were nice and well-behaved), I didn't want to shoot myself like I usually do in organized tours.
The long and tragic history of Poland would be enough to make you fall into despair if not for the astounding resilience of the Polish people themselves. At every turn, and under unimaginable conditions, the Poles have chosen to be inspired by their past instead of be beaten down by it. The country has been invaded and divided multiples times (and was even erased off the map completely at one point) but still endures. Who could blame anybody for taking inspiration from that?
The tour started in Park Łazienkowski which features one of many statues of Józef Piłsudski, who is largely responsible for Poland regaining independence after over 120 years of being divided up amongst neighboring countries...
The statue is a pretty incredible work of art, accurately portraying Piłsudski as the contemplative leader he was. Despite some later controversy he is still very much in the heart and minds of Poland, and rightfully so.
Continuing through the park, we came across "The Palace on the Water" which started out as a Turkish bath house but was ultimately expanded and remodeled by Poland's last king, Stanislas August Poniatowski. Photos weren't allowed inside, which is unfortunate, because the craftsmanship and art collection is astounding (which belies its rather plain exterior). Much of the palace was destroyed by the Nazis in retaliation for the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. But unlike most historic buildings that were eradicated in the systematic destruction of Warsaw, the palace managed to survive and has been restored as best they could. Out front I found a sundial which made for a nifty vantage point...
After a very cold walk through the park, we headed to the Jewish Ghetto which was established by the Nazis during World War II. It was here that Jewish natives were confined in unimaginably harsh conditions. Those who did not die from disease and starvation were relocated to concentration camps, extermination camps, or murdered outright on the streets. Over a three year period, the population dropped from 450,000 to 70,000 people, and it became clearly evident to those interned in the ghetto that the only thing awaiting them was annihilation. This led to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which was the first civil uprising of the war. There was no hope... NO hope... of victory, and the fighters knew that any resistance would be futile, but they wanted to die for a reason instead of being mindlessly exterminated. Ultimately this led to the complete destruction of the ghetto, as 56,000 Jews would lose their lives after three months of struggle. This is remembered by Warsaw in the "Monument to the Ghetto Heroes" at the site...
From there we headed toward "Old Town" Warsaw, stopping next to the "Monument for the Fallen and Murdered in the East." This sculpture has dozens of crosses stuck to a rail car, symbolizing all those who were transported to the east and murdered in Russian camps under Stalin. Poland just can't catch a break, at first thinking that the Russians would help them against German invasion, but was instead ultimately persecuted by them as well...
There's another heartbreaking monument outside Old Town's medieval walls that commemorates the children who fought during the Warsaw Uprising...
Like much of Warsaw, Old Town was systematically destroyed by the Germans as a punishment for the Warsaw Uprising. After World War II had ended, the people of Warsaw decided to rebuild Old Town as close to the original as they could using old paintings and recovered artifacts as reference. The result is an exquisite reconstruction that just seems to get more beautiful as the day wore on...
And thus ended our short tour of the city.
Tomorrow I absolutely want to return to Old Town and the many shops that line the main square there. Three days in Warsaw isn't even going to scratch the surface.
Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2008
It's my last day in Poland!
With only five hours left before I have to leave, there's really not time to do much of anything. A train ride to Kraków would be cool, but out of the question. It makes more sense to wander back through the places from yesterday's tour so I can spend a bit more time looking around when it's not dark out.
Went back to beautiful Old Town Warsaw so I could see everything in daylight...
Shopped for souvenirs and got scolded by a very angry little bird...
Walked to the monument for the heroes of the Warsaw Uprising...
And got a close-up look at the memorial to all the children who fought in the Warsaw Uprising...
I don't understand Polish, so I can only guess that these signs plastered everywhere are messages of support and encouragement for our beloved president...
Of course, I don't have to read Polish to know that these signs plastered everywhere are messages of support and encouragement for me...
And then, just like that, my time was up. After one last drink at the Hard Rock and saying goodbye to Perry, I caught a taxi to the airport and my adventure in Warsaw was over.
When I looked at the reader board to find the terminal/check-in desk for my flight, there wasn't a number... there was an "E". Eventually I figured out from the legend at the bottom that "E" stood for "Etiuda" but that meant nothing to me because I have no idea what an "Etiuda" is. After finding an information desk, I am told the "Etiuda" is "downstairs." When I get there, the sign for "Etidua" points to a restaurant in the corner which leaves me hopelessly confused. I see people walking outside, which is where the sign says the Domestic Terminal is located, so I decided to see if I could find somebody there to help me. I then exit the building and there, about 500 yards past the Domestic Terminal, is Etiuda Terminal.
Why couldn't they have the sign for Etiuda Terminal pointing out the fucking door like the Domestic Terminal sign does? Hell, why don't they say that "Etiuda" is, in fact, A SEPARATE TERMINAL? Even if I had perfect Polish language skills, there would be no way for me to figure out what in the hell was going on based on the thoroughly crappy "information" signs they have at the airport. I absolutely hate that. Airports should be dead-simple to navigate... even if you don't know the local language. How hard would it be to have directional arrows painted on the floor next to the reader board so people know where to go? Or how about a simple sign under the board with a map showing the location of all the terminals? How about ANYTHING?
Oh well. After an uneventful flight, I arrive back at Köln-Bonn International... the poster child for excellent airport signage and ease of navigation. As I was making my way to the train station I looked out the window to see an incredible sunset, inadequately captured by this photo...
A few minutes later, and I'm at the cool airport Deutsche Bahn platform for my ride back "home"...
Where, of course, the totally evil Disapproving Man is waiting to pitch me some shit...
Unfortunately, the bakeries are all closed, so there will be no Spritzringe donut for me tonight.
Waaaah! I wish I could have seen more of Poland.
Maybe next time.
Posted on Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
Oh my aching head.
Today I met up with my friends from Essen, who came down to visit with me and check out the Kölner Karneval (Cologne Carnival) festivities. Unfortunately, I am leaving tomorrow and won't get to see the big carnival climax with Rosenmontagzügen (Rose-Monday Parade), but there was still plenty going on.
After days of rain and overcast gloom, the party gods decided to smile upon Köln with blue skies, which was nice...
In preparation for the ensuing craziness of the carnival, businesses are boarding up their storefronts, which is not so nice...
When I met my friends at the train station at 11:00am, their first order of business was getting a beer. Fortunately this was not a problem, because there are beer stands every ten feet. Stores that you wouldn't normally associate with selling beer have signs plastered all over their windows advertising it. I didn't check, but would not be surprised to find the LEGO store selling beer. Of course, since this is Köln, the drink of choice is Kölsch, which is a beer unique to the region (and which can only legally be named "Kölsch" if it's brewed here)...
This is where the trouble started, and it was not because I was attacked by a group of transgender Viking warriors...
I made it very clear to my friends that I would not be getting drunk because I absolutely did not want to take an international flight with a hangover in the morning. My good "friend" Denis told me that I would not get drunk if I were to eat something with every beer I drank, then handed me a Kölsch. "This is good German beer! You will be fine!" he says.
And it was a good theory... at first.
I had Kölsch & a Spritzringe donut. Kölsch & a slice of corn pizza (don't ask). Kölsch & an ice cream cone. Kölsche & potatoes with mayo... WHICH, by the way, is about the most awesome food invention since chocolate pudding...
Yes, that's my room number written on my hand in case I forget!
But once you drink five Kölscheses, it doesn't matter how much food you've eaten... you're probably going to get drunk. After you've had six, it's guaranteed. Which is why I had seven. And so here I am, drunk at only 8:00pm, praying that I can sleep this off and not be miserable on the flight tomorrow...
You know I must be drunk, because I'm wearing a clown scarf. Except it's not really a clown scarf but instead the official scarf of the Kölner Karneval which Emma assures me looks totally hot. Though I don't think anybody noticed my new-found hotness, because the crowds were insanely huge...
Anyway, Denis tells me that I wouldn't be having this drunkenness problem if I were to stop with my vegetarian nonsense and would have eaten something from the Giant Flaming Wheel of Meat, because that's what he did and he's totally not drunk...
The very idea of it makes me want to puke, which is probably just what I need right now. And I never thought I'd be saying that about a Giant Flaming Wheel of Meat.
Thus ends my final day in Europe... and what a way to go. It's not every day you see a man in a purple mini skirt and pink bunny ears puking into a trash can while a woman dressed like a cat blows a big plastic horn at his head. Of course, I've never been to Mr. Fab's house, so I could be wrong about that.
Thanks to everybody for tagging along on my trip. Tomorrow we return to our regularly-scheduled blogging...
Posted on Sunday, February 3rd, 2008
Gee... what to do with a four hour layover in New Jersey? Guess it must be time for Bullet Sunday!
• Recovery. I will admit to not feeling my best this morning after my drunken exploits yesterday. My head is fine, but my stomach feels as if it could take revenge at any moment... leaping out my throat and strangling me with my esophagus. I'm blaming the corn pizza. Or maybe the guy sitting across from me this morning at the Köln-Bonn Airport picking his nose. And not just a quick flick to remove a stray booger either... this classy bastard was really digging in there. I was increasingly concerned that he would hit brain and lobotomize himself. And when I say "concerned" I actually mean "hopeful." Talk about a stomach-turning sight.
• Approval. Disapproving Man turned out to be more popular than I am on my own blog, so I thought I'd tell the whole story. My hotel is just off a roundabout (or "rotary" to those of you reading in the US Northeast), which means the crosswalk I use several times a day is recessed. So when I cross it, I'm not crossing to a corner, but directly into a hair salon's advertising board with Disapproving Man on it...
This means I pass that evil bitch with his condescending smirk both coming (where he watches me the entire way I'm crossing the street) and going...
I wonder if the poor bastard realized he'd be abused like this when he was asked to model for professionally disheveled hair? I'm guessing no...
• MottoSchal. I am so totally wearing my scarf from the Kölner Karneval right now, and am quite the sexy bitch! Everybody is totally noticing my hotness as they walk by, and I owe it all to Emma.
• Revision. Well, they're either admiring my hotness or wondering why a grown man is wearing a clown scarf... it's hard to tell. I'm banking on the former, because the raw sexiness of my scarf-wearing self is too much for even me to take. This morning I had to finally had remove it while brushing my teeth (YES! I SLEPT IN IT!!) because I was getting myself all excited just looking at me. I think between my Kölner Karneval scarf and my Batman Chuck Taylor sneakers, I'm pretty much going to be an unstoppable man-whore with the ladies from here on out.
• Revision Revision. See, I told you I wasn't feeling well.
• Россия. As I added Warsaw to my Travel Map, I longingly looked over at Moscow and started wondering how difficult it is to get a tourist visa. Russian history absolutely fascinates me, and visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg would be a dream come true. From talking to people who have been there, the word that keeps popping up is "expensive." Apparently the hotels are among the most pricey in the world, and even a simple 5-day Russian tour can cost thousands of dollars. Still, when I go to Flickr and do a search for "Moscow" and see the stunning images that pop up (like the magnificent shot of St. Basil's Cathedral by Ferenc Koltai below), I really, really want to go. Guess I better start saving my pennies rubles...
• Beastly. Just for fun, I sometimes go to my blog stats and click on a few of the sites linking to me so I can see what's happening there. The first one I clicked to was a blog called "Bête de Jour" which caught my attention because I knew that "bête" is French for "beast." Once I got there I saw that the author links to me in their blogroll, titled "People who blog better than me." My first reaction was to think "that's probably true"... not because my ego is so huge (though evidence dictates otherwise)... but because so many of the random blogs I come across are total crap.
Then I started reading it. And could not stop.
By the time I got to the entry entitled "Air Rage," I realized that the very idea of me blogging better than this guy is positively laughable. I'm simply not this clever or smart. La Bête just started writing in December, so click here to read from the beginning and then click on the "Newer Post" links hidden at the bottom of each entry to keep going. You're welcome!
And that's a wrap! I'd add more bullets, but some lovely ladies across the airport are admiring my scarf, so I think it's only fair that I go share a taste of Dave with them.
Or find out that they're making fun of me so I can go to the bathroom and cry. One of those two things.
Posted on Monday, February 4th, 2008
Tomorrow is "Super Tuesday," which is a bloated orgy of political debauchery that paints much of the candidacy landscape in our presidential election years. Nearly half the nation's states will be deciding who they will support at the national convention on this single day. Personally, I loathe the way that Super Tuesday works, because it pretty much ensures that only candidates with massive financial backing can compete... you simply cannot campaign in so many simultaneous states effectively unless you've got money. Lots of money. This basically means that wealthy individuals and cash-heavy companies are deciding what's best for this country, which hasn't been working out that great for us. Wealth and power only seem to ever be interested in obtaining more wealth and power... regardless of what that means for everybody else.
When it comes to the presidency, I've long since given up electing some dream candidate who is going to solve all our problems and fix all the things that have gone terribly wrong with the country.
At this point, I'm just looking for the candidate that's going to do the least amount of damage.
While I'm sure this speaks volumes for my political mindset, I don't think it's an irrational approach given where we're at right now. Just give me a president who isn't going to fuck up our shit worse than it's already been fucked up, and I'll be happy. If they can fix some things along the way, that'd be great.
Ultimately, I'm non-partisan and don't care about a candidates political affiliation (other than realizing that they are tied to their party, and much of their political career will be spent sucking at that life-giving teat). I also don't care about a candidate's race, religion, sex, or preference for pizza toppings. We need somebody willing and able to put their personal issues aside, realize that The United States of America is comprised mostly of people who are different than they are, and govern accordingly. I do care about finding a president who isn't a xenophobic asshole, and realizes that the US is not the entire world. This kind of antiquated thinking is fatal in a time where our standing in the global community is critical to our well-being. Our planet is a much smaller place than it used to be and is shrinking further every day. As a species, humanity needs to come together to ensure our survival... not just in America, but across the globe.
With all that in mind, I figured it's high-time I decide on a presidential candidate. Since the things that are important to me are so diverse, this is a difficult task. Candidates whom I agree with on one issue might be somebody I disagree with vehemently on another. No one person or party is perfectly aligned with my concerns, so it becomes a game of weighing the candidates against what I'm looking for and then positioning them against each other as a whole. To make this easier, I ended up creating a "Don't Fuck It Up!" matrix to help me decide who is the least likely to doom us all...
Hmmm... I guess the three times I've read Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope had quite an effect on me. While I don't agree with his stance on everything (there are a few areas I think he's a bit deluded and oddly misguided), I do think he has the best chance of not fucking up our shit worse than it's already been fucked up. As I said, this is what I'm looking for most in a candidate, so there you have it.
As for the other candidates, I'm like... whatever. I think Huckabee would be paramount to armageddon, and would rather have four more years of disaster with President Bush than to let him be in the White House for even 15 minutes. I've said repeatedly that I would never vote for MIA-POW betrayer McCain, but he'd get my vote over Huckabee (and only Huckabee) if that were a contest. Clinton has some good ideas (and some inexplicably bad ones), but I find her entirely too polarizing to believe she'd make an effective president. I'm not Hillary's biggest fan, but I would be able to put that aside and work with her for the betterment of the country. The same cannot be said for others, because people who hate her really, really hate her. Mitt Romney's high "Dont' Fuck It Up" score is surprising, because some of the things he supports are borderline reprehensible to me. But the more I look into how Mitt has handled past problems, the more convinced I am that he wouldn't make a half-bad president and would try his best to represent all of its citizens fairly. Ron Paul has some interesting ideas on foreign policy, but so much of what he advocates domestically is just so bat-ass-crazy-radical that he'd never get the support to do even half of what he's promising. Heaven only knows we need radical change, but I honestly don't think Paul realizes what it takes to do the things he wants to do, and that is what scares me.
But that's just me. Everybody should go make their own matrix and find which candidate is least likely to fuck up our shit for them. If what you come up with is different than what I've got, then you've found who should get your vote. That's what makes this place America.
Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Something is broked and I can't get today's entry to post. Comments still work just fine, so I have no idea what's going on. Looks like I get to hand-code stuff today, and have a new project for tomorrow morning. Goody.
This Tuesday has not been so super for me.
Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2008
Well then... thanks to some help from people far smarter than me, Blogography appears to be up-and-running again. Here's hoping it stays that way for a little while.
Yesterday I was handed a movie meme and, since I had nothing better to blog about, I decided to fill it out. But after a few questions I realized it was just a variation on a half-dozen movie memes I had already done before, so I decided to toss it out and write about unclogging my shower drain instead.
But then, just as I was getting ready to take a photo of the bottle of Liquid Plumr that had saved my day, I noticed one of the movie questions was different. It asked: "Name three characters from the movies you can personally relate to and why." Interesting! That's pretty much an entry all by itself, so I'll blog about my shower drain another day.
And now, three people from the movies I personally relate to and why...
"Mark" from Love Actually (played by Andrew Licoln).
Love Actually is one of those films you either fall in love with immediately... or you despise because it is so contrived, manipulative, and filled with one-dimensional characters. On first viewing, I was firmly in the latter camp. I was disappointed that Richard Curtis would slap together a bunch of short bits from stories we've seen a hundred times before (including his own Notting Hill) and call it a film. The result is a patchwork of fantastic actors doing their best to add depth to characters that are so ill-defined that it's almost impossible to care about them.
But then it grows on you. You see it at the rental store and remember it had some funny bits so you watch it again. And again during the holidays because it's a Christmas film. And again because it happens to be on HBO. And soon you're watching it for no reason at all, when suddenly it dawns on you... the characters don't have to be three-dimensional, because the characters are you. Or your family & friends. Or people you know. You don't need the details of their lives to become invested in them, because you already know them.
This revelation dawned on me as I came upon the scene where Juliet has just discovered that her new husband's best friend is secretly in love with her. Mark is all at once overcome with the heartache, longing, shame, and the crushing disappointment of being in love with somebody he can never have...
Yeah. Definitely been there, done that, and can totally relate. Watching Andrew Licoln's brilliant, wordless interpretation of his character's agony is eerie, because it's as if he reached into my own experience and is expressing it on screen for everybody to see. Unfortunately, the director didn't allow his performance to stand on its own, and felt the need to blast music (Dido's lovely Here With Me) over the top... trying once again to manipulate the viewer unnecessarily... but it's still a scene that strikes me at my core every time I see it.
"Bob and Charlotte" from Lost in Translation (played by Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson).
There are very few moments in Sophia Coppola's masterwork Lost in Translation which don't resonate with me. She managed to capture with almost supernatural accuracy exactly what it's like to be a foreigner in Japan... Being surrounded by millions of people yet feeling completely alone... The bizarre yet captivating world of Tokyo at night... Seeing your fellow foreigners over and over again because you're all stuck in the same loop... Not being able to sleep... Trying your best to fit into a culture which you will never, ever be able to fit into... The language barrier facing you at every turn... Feeling like an alien because you're so tall and freaky-looking compared to everybody else... It's all here. When I first saw Lost in Translation, I related so closely to Bob and Charlotte that I felt as if the film was speaking just to me. Like it was made just for me. Numerous subsequent viewings haven't changed my mind...
Scene after scene I find myself mentally going "that was me!" and the memories of my trips to Japan come flooding back. It's not often that a film so totally enters my psyche and consumes me, but this would definitely be one of them. Many people I know didn't care for this movie at all, and something in the back of my head is always wondering if the only reason I love it so much is because I relate to it so well.
And now, because I feel it's a public service to mention it, the Lost In Translation soundtrack is sublime, and available on iTunes. Each track is an atmospheric piece of magic that haunts you long after the last track has played. Of course, the song that everybody wants from the movie, Fuck the Pain Away by Peaches, is not on the soundtrack, but is also available on iTunes if you're looking for it.
"Joe" from Idiocracy (played by Luke Wilson).
Yeah, like a movie about a guy trapped in a world filled with morons is really that much of a stretch from my life of being trapped in a world filled with morons (present company excepted, of course). While not up to the impossibly high standards set by Mike Judge with his first film, Office Space, the not-so-implausible future depicted in Idiocracy is still brilliantly realized...
Everything run by dumbass politicians... Corporations taking over the country... Starbucks expanding into the sex trade... Tell me that this is anything but an accurate portrayal of the world of tomorrow! So yeah, seriously I can totally relate.
Brawndo. It's Got Electrolytes. It's What Plants Crave!
Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2008
Rumor has it (from ex Disney-CEO Michael Eisner, no less) that the Hollywood writer's strike is all but over, and this Saturday will pretty much seal the deal once the writers themselves sign on.
I sure hope this is true, because I miss my television.
As I sit here typing this, the first episode of Survivor Season 16 has just ended (the only non-Bravo reality show I watch), and I am caught in the 9:00 void until Eli Stone starts at 10:00. And before everybody starts screaming "OH MY GAWD... YOU DON'T WATCH LOST?!?" The answer is no, I do not watch Lost. After a brilliant first season the show degenerated into total shit, where the writer's idea of being clever is to just keep piling on more "mysterious" crap while resolving nothing. Every time somebody tells me "But it's so much better now!" - I tune in and find out it's just more of the same... introduce even more new mysterious characters, pile on even more mysterious mysteries, and leave me even more mysteriously mystified at just how the fuck this show continues to be popular. Maybe once the whole thing is over and people tell me that the writers did, in fact, manage to wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner... I'll revisit the show on DVD or something. In the meanwhile, I'd rather watch reruns of Hannah Montanna.
In other entertainment news...
Today I got a brilliant email because of an entry where I posted this cartoon:
With a twist of my ring, I flame-broil the Burger King!
The email was not from a concerned parent about the excessive violence depicted at my flame-broiling Burger King (which is what usually happens)... it was from a fan of the restaurant chain who didn't like that I would publicize a bad experience I had there. "Millions of people enjoy eating at Burger King and it would be a shame if your complaining were to keep people from trying it for themselves."
So there you have it. Don't take my word for it... go to your local Burger King for breakfast and see for yourself just how bad it sucks!
Though, I have to add a disclaimer here: My problem with BK is only with their shitty breakfasts. I am compelled to give them credit for having the sack to put a veggie burger on their menu, which I actually quite enjoy. Until McDonalds sees fit to roll out their awesome McVeggie Deluxe burger nation-wide, the BK Veggie is about the only burger I can find most anywhere in the US that I can actually eat.
Sigh. I should have wrote more. There's still forty-five minutes until Eli Stone is on...
Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2008
I've started referring to the TiVo remote control as the "BeBoop BeBoop Thingy" which is disturbing on entirely too many levels. Once I start calling my car the "Vroom Vroom Machine," it's probably time to enroll in kindergarten.
Which would probably be a lot more fun than how I spend my time now. It's hard to beat a day of coloring, playing games, taking naps, and acting like an idiot (which is why a career in politics sounds so appealing to me).
Speaking of acting like an idiot, apparently Pat O'Brien has gone back into rehab. Normally I don't like speaking ill of people who are trying to get their lives together, but when it's a total douchebag pervert (NSFW link) like Pat O'Brien who makes his living dishing on other people going back into rehab, it's easy to make an exception...
Please Pat, take all the time you need. The longer you spend in rehab, the less risk I have of accidentally seeing your whiny bitch ass while channel surfing. Though, I must admit, your predilection for booze, cocaine, whores, and freaky sex, is far more interesting than your "work" on any of those Hollywood "news" shows. Getting sober is probably paramount towards killing your career.
At least one would hope.
Nobody is going to forget how you were such an asshole to the sweet hotness that is your former co-host Nancy O'Dell...
Hey! There's a new episode of Psych on tonight! I love that show!
Posted on Saturday, February 9th, 2008
DirecTV sent me a notice that my television channel package price was going to increase. Again.
It seems like they raise their prices every year. Or more. Tired of paying such a huge amount of money every month for something I find less and less entertaining, I was trying to figure out how I could switch to a smaller package and yet still get those few channels I really want.
But it's all terribly confusing, because the package I have now doesn't exist anymore, and I don't know how it compares to what they currently offer. And then there's my local channels which were not included in my old package, but seems to be included with the new packages? And my TiVo charge, which is for a device that's no longer really supported now that DirecTV has their own much shittier DVR service.
I have no frickin' clue how to make sense of DirecTV, and am pretty sure they do that intentionally.
Not knowing what else to do, I decided to cancel HBO so I could save money.
I made the cancellation online while, ironically, I was watching HBO. Much to my surprise, the television went to a black screen almost immediately after I had made the change. DirecTV doesn't mess around.
Here in Washington State, it's time for our presidential caucuses. I voted by mail a week ago, but it's only today that the results are starting to come in. Right now, it looks like Obama is going to take the Democratic slot easily, winning over twice the votes Hillary got.
But it's the Cupcake Caucus at Cupcake Royale that interests me most...
Though MY vote would go to my beloved Kate, the best cupcake ever...
Oh great. Now I want a Kate but I can't have one because Cupcake Royale is closed.
And it's not like I can go get one even if they were open, because the mountain passes are also closed.
And I don't have the money for a plane ticket to Seattle because DirecTV is taking it all.
Posted on Sunday, February 10th, 2008
Can you believe it was only a week ago that I was Bullet Sunday-ing with a hangover I got the previous night in Germany? I can't. Time seems to be getting away from me. Or my brain has been destroyed by alcohol.
• Licorice. I haven't eaten much licorice since Jenny unintentionally destroyed my taste for it by exposing me to the atrocity known as "Dutch Double Salt Licorice" while we were watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I had commented at the time that the Dutch are ingenious for managing to come up with something that tastes saltier than actual salt. Sometimes in the middle of the night I still wake up screaming because I have flashbacks to the agonizing burning of licorice gone terribly wrong. A year later, and I now learn that a friend of mine has a business importing Australian licorice to Europe. Once I get to his booth at the Germany candy show, he fills a bag full of samples and hands me a lifetime supply of licorice treats.
Which I have almost entirely devoured in just a week's time. This stuff is so fantastically delicious that the only word which comes to mind in describing it is "orgasmic"...
The licorice is yummy soft, but magically doesn't moosh together into a big sticky clump in the bag. The taste is bold, but tempered with just enough sweetness to keep it from being bitter. I am so addicted to the stuff that I may have to start smoking crack in order to wean myself off of it. While it's made in Australia, Black Opal is actually an American company, so I'm hoping I can buy it locally. If not, I see that Licorice International is importing it, so my dream of banishing the memory of Dutch Double Salt Licorice may finally become a reality.
• Microhoo. My opinion? Microsoft + Yahoo! ≠ Google. Save your money.
• Struck. Unless something totally unexpected happens, the Hollywood writer's strike should be over on Tuesday. Good deal? Yes. Great deal? Not really. I maintain that the writers deserve much more than they got, but that's negotiations for you. Of course, I'd be a lot happier for the writers if they hadn't made side-deals which allowed some writers to return to work while everybody else was on the picket line. Oh well... hopefully new television will be coming back soon, and that's what's really important.
• Paula. Yesterday as I was looking for a paperclip that had skittered under the refrigerator, my iPhone rings...
ROBERT: "DUDE! DID YOU RECORD THE SUPERBOWL?!?"
DAVE: "Errr... no."
ROBERT: "Aw, man! Super Deluxe Girlfriend erased mine."
DAVE: "Well, if it helps any, I hear that the Giants won."
ROBERT: "I don't care about the game, I wanted the half-time show."
DAVE: "Ah. Who was it this year?"
ROBERT: "Paula Abdul."
DAVE: "Uhhh... seriously?"
ROBERT: "Yeah, I like that song she did there."
DAVE: "Well, it would be pretty stupid to put a song out for the Superbowl and not release it. Have you checked with iTunes?"
At which point he hung up on me. But he called back five minutes later...
DAVE: "Hey, did they have it?"
ROBERT: "Yeah," he says dejectedly, followed by dead silence.
DAVE: "Is something wrong?"
ROBERT: "Without the crowd screaming and all the dancing to distract you, the song's not that good. Paula sounds like a robot singing into a bucket."
DAVE: "Oh. Sorry about that."
ROBERT: "That's okay. It's not your fault you ruined my life.
It would be nice to have a normal conversation with Bad Robert just once.
• Aid. One of the sheer joys left in flying (once you ignore the cramped seats, late departures, lost luggage, and your idiotic fellow passengers) is the SkyMall catalog you get on every flight. I have never purchased anything from it, but boy do I love to look. Half of the stuff is genius, half of it is crap, but all of it is interesting. My favorite item this time around is the "Stealth Secret Sound Amplifier"...
"If a conventional hearing aid sounds like an embarrassment to you, try the Stealth Secret Sound Amplifier. It looks just like a cell phone ear adapter and works as a sound enhancer so you can join conversations and even hear soft voices from 50 feet away. Now you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a more youthful appearance and better hearing."
Hey! It's working! You totally look more youthful...
No. No, I lie. You so totally look like a dick...
Bah! It's 7:00 and I really should take a minute to eat something. A Black Bean Chipotle Burger is calling me...
Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2008
When a fellow employee sees you coming out of the bathroom with a camera and a ruler, how exactly do you explain it?
I only ask, because my initial declaration of "this is not what it looks like" seemed wholly inadequate given the situation. In fact, I think it pretty much confirmed in their mind that it was exactly what it looked like. Even worse, I don't think that I managed to convince myself it wasn't what it looked like.
The truth, of course, was far less exciting than anything the imagination could dream up. I was photographing some machine parts... needed a ruler in the shot to show scale... and sliced my thumb open with a piece of cardboard I was using to block sunlight. I just wanted to wash the dirt out of my cut so I wouldn't get an infection. Since the bathroom was on my way back to my office, I just took the ruler and camera with me. Simple.
Except now everybody around the office is probably thinking that I'm measuring my progress with some penis enlargement pills I bought on the internet...
And in other news of the day...
Guess who got YET ANOTHER JURY SUMMONS in the mail?
Here's a clue...
Yes, that's right! ME!
Last time I was on a trial, it was a colossal waste of time. Everybody on the jury knew the defendant had probably committed the crime, but there was no way we could find the guy guilty. How can you prosecute somebody for drunk driving when there was no breathalyzer test and the officer who pulled him over let him drive home after he was stopped? Oh... and the evidence in the case? The officer said the driver made an "oh shit face" as he rounded the corner and saw his police car sitting there. Yes, THAT'S what was worth wasting an entire day of my time. I was so pissed that this lame shit was ever brought to trial that I very nearly choked the prosecutor to death with my bare hands.
But what's even worse than serving on a trial is wasting two weeks calling in to see if they even need you for a trial.
As I said just two years ago, I don't even have time to take two weeks of vacation each year... yet I'm expected to block out this time for jury duty?
And yet there are people I know who haven't been summoned in over ten years.
Somehow, me and my giant penis are just that fucking lucky.
Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
For a brief period of time that felt like centuries but was actually less that two weeks, I "dated" whom I like to call the "Do You Know" girl. And when I say "dated" I actually mean "followed her around while going bankrupt buying her stuff in the hopes that she might one day sleep with me." It was a very one-sided relationship, but I didn't care and clung to the hope that she would do whatever it took to keep the gravy train rolling before I ran out of money. After that, the money wouldn't matter, because she would fall hopelessly in love with me and we'd be blissfully happy together for the rest of our lives.
I don't think that I'm spoiling anything by revealing that things did not go according to plan.
Not only did I not get to sleep with her but, with the exception of a couple breezy kisses, the only physical contact I ever had was when she grabbed my ass in the shoe department of Lamonts. At the time, I was convinced true love was imminent. In retrospect, I'm guessing she was just trying to take my wallet.
Anyway... while I was biding my time for a glorious event that would never occur, I had to endure her one fatal flaw... a constant barrage of "Do You Know" questions that were not really questions, but instead thinly-veiled condescending attacks...
It drove me frickin' insane but, as I said, my eye was on the bigger picture.
Ten years later, and I'm on the phone with technical support for almost an hour trying to solve a major problem with my faithful 5-year-old laser printer. Once we've gone through all the usual crap that I had already tried a dozen times before I called, the support guy is at the end of his rope and finally gives up...
"Do you know printers like this should be replaced every three years?"
To which I immediately reply...
"Well, okay, but the sex had better be incredible."
This caused a bit of confusion, so I decided to clear things up...
"Ha, ha... just kidding. Looks like I'm the one who's going to get fucked today."
Do I have to be such a total smart-ass all the time?
Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
Today as I was leaving work, a woman was standing outside with her daughter as a train passed by with aircraft fuselages strapped to the cars. "What is that?" the little girl asked wide-eyed. "Those are planes" the mother replied. "That's silly. Where are their wings?" the girl said, stomping her tiny foot on the sidewalk.
The first thing that went through my mind was how totally cool it would be if they did leave the wings on when they transported airplanes on trains. The massive amount of damage that would ensue as they cut a swath of death and destruction on their journey would be a crazy-awesome sight to behold.
But then I felt sad because, just like the girl observed, a plane with no wings that can't fly isn't really a plane at all.
Until I realized that the fuselages were on their way over to Seattle, where Boeing would get them all fixed up with wings, landing gear, tiny toilets, a cool paint job, and uncomfortable seats packed too closely together. Then I was happy again.
Well, happy for the planes... not the people who have to sit in those uncomfortable seats...
This weekend I am going to Seattle too.
Alas, it's not to get my wings. I've decided it might be nice to stay grounded for a little while.
Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Today I had to drive into the neighboring "big city" of Wenatchee to run some errands. This immediately put me into a sour mood because the traffic in Wenatchee is notoriously bad. And, unlike a REAL big city, nobody seems to know how to drive in it. By the time I finally got back to work, my brain felt like it was melting from the stress. Until I opened my email.
I'm not really a big fan of VD, but it was nice to get a bunch of Valentine e-cards today. Something tells me I should return the favor, but I'm just too tired. Though I kind of like my Valentine Card to my readers from three years ago, so maybe that'll work...
Who doesn't totally love Hello Kitty?
In addition to being Valentine's Day, it's also Self Love Day... a holiday that Hilly-Sue came up with that's taken the blogosphere by storm (click here to read about it on her blog). I was going to participate, but Bad Monkey grossly misinterpreted the rules, so that kind of spoiled it for me...
And, on that note, it's time for me to go pack a suitcase...
Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008
Posted on Saturday, February 16th, 2008
One of the great things about Jägermeister is that it doesn't seem to give me much of a hangover. One of the bad things about dropping a shot-glass-full of it into Red Bull to create a Jäger Bomb is that Red Bull keeps you awake. And when you have too many Jäger Bombs (as I most certainly did) getting any kind of sleep is not easy. This is a good thing when you want to keep the party going... but not so good when you are trying to get some rest.
Which meant that I spent most of the day in a zombie-like state from total lack of sleep.
Which meant that playing Wii all morning was probably not a good idea.
This was confirmed when I threw my shoulder out while playing Wii Sports Tennis.
Stupid video game...
Fortunately I had some pain pills to fix that right up.
Which was nice, because I was invited to dinner by Spirit of St. Lewis. This allowed me to add another "blogger I've met" to my sidebar, because My 2 Cents was there as well. Later on we were lucky enough to run into fellow blogger Kristin Wood Knits (though we may have to strip her of her blogger cred since she hasn't written there since September!).
Big fun was had by all, so many thanks to Lewis, Blair, Chris, Bryan, and Kristin for letting me tag along!
Now it must be time to catch up on some of that sleep, because I am having a hard time keeping my eyes open here...
Posted on Sunday, February 17th, 2008
Why should I mess up an entire day of doing nothing by blogging?
Sometimes, lazy is good.
Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008
Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know it's actually Monday... but it's a holiday Monday, which means it's almost like a Sunday. Kind of.
• Hoff... Managed to watch the new Knight Rider made-for-TV-movie last night. As one of my favorite shows from the 80's, I was both nervous and excited to see how they were going to handle the material. What they got right was not starting over from scratch, but instead making this show a continuation of the original series. I also enjoyed the cast, the cameo by David Hasselhoff, the new and improved abilities of K.I.T.T., and the overall storyline. What they got wrong... very, very, very wrong... was the voice of the car. The original K.I.T.T. (masterfully voiced by William Daniels) was a sarcastic bastard, who let his self-perceived superiority complex drip off of every word. Val Kilmer as the new K.I.T.T. just sounded bored. In all fairness, this might not be his fault... the guy is a talented actor who is probably just reading his lines as directed... but it really killed the show for me. Why the fuck didn't they just bring back Daniels? Oh well. The entire show was just a giant Ford commercial with Ford commercials inside the Ford commercials... so maybe product placement and ad revenue was what the showrunners really cared about...
• XP... I've run across more than a couple grassroots movements attempting to save Windows XP from being dropped by Microsoft. Given how badly XP's successor, Windows Vista, COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY SUCKS ASS... I am 100% behind this effort. XP may not be pretty, but at least it actually works for those times I need a Windows machine. Here's hoping that Microsoft bothers to listen.
• Heaven... While my friend Perry and I were mucking about in Poland a couple weeks ago, we took a taxi driven by an 80-year-old driver who didn't speak much English. As he was barreling down the streets of Warsaw, a song came blasting on the radio that sounded familiar, but neither Perry or I could place it. Thinking I could look it up later, I jotted down some of the lyrics in my iPhone and promptly forgot about it. Eventually I happened upon my notes and Googled to discover that the song was "(Feels Like) Heaven" by Fiction Factory. Not finding anything on the iTunes Music Store (FOR SHAME!) I downloaded some tracks off BitTorrent and liked what I heard. This led me to order their CD, Throw The Warped Wheel Out, which finally arrived today. Oh how I love rediscovering great 80's music from my past! Just when I think there's no more to be found, something like this happens...
• Terminated. Despite myself, I am completely addicted to "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." The quality of the show on almost every level has been surpassing my expectations more and more with each new episode. The abject despair of the future-humans under domination of SkyNet is almost painful to watch... just as it should be. The clever dance the writers are weaving around the continuity of the first two films is really impressive, and I can't wait to see where they take the story next...
• Chicken... Today on the drive back home over the mountains, I stopped off for tacos and did my usual bit of requesting that the beef be replaced with rice. This caused the guy taking my order to ask if this was because I was concerned about the massive meat recall out of California. When I told him no, that I make the substitution because I am a vegetarian, he said that he was thinking of becoming a vegetarian too. The only problem was that he thought he'd get tired of eating chicken all the time. I was going to ask him exactly what kind of vegetable a chicken was, but ultimately decided against it. Maybe he'll get it all figured out when we get an outbreak of Mad Chicken Disease.
And there's my Bullet Sunday on Monday. I hope my brain can shut down tonight so I can get some real sleep. I'm entirely too tired of being tired to keep going without it.
Posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2008
Weird. Neighborhood dogs are barking at the eclipse and won't stop.
Can't say that I blame them. The lunar eclipse is approaching its zenith, and is starting to reveal the moon as this giant blood-red disc. It's breathtakingly beautiful, and I have a clear-skies view of it all.
Unfortunately, I don't have a camera even remotely capable of capturing the amazing sight out my window. All I get is a fuzzy smear that changes color every time I shoot the moon...
There's a "meme" of sorts blowing through the blogosphere, where people are making a list of stuff that's irritating the shit out of them. I debated whether or not to participate, but then came the morons at Citibank, with a phone call that went something like this...
CITIBANK: In order to assist you, I'll need your Social Security Number.
DAVE: Ummm... I'm calling about a credit card you sent me that I didn't request. I'm not going to give out personal information until you tell me why it was sent.
CITIBANK: Then I can't help you.
DAVE: Then please connect me to a supervisor.
CITIBANK: I cannot connect you to a supervisor until you give me your Social Security Number.
DAVE: Are you KIDDING me? I'm not giving you my Social Security Number! How do I know that you're actually Citibank?
CITIBANK: YOU called US from a number on the back of the card! Who else would we be?
DAVE: No. I called a number from the back of a card that I didn't request that could easily be a forgery in some elaborate attempt at identity theft.
CITIBANK: I am NOT able to help you until you give me your Social Security Number!
DAVE: Then you WILL put me through to a supervisor... and don't tell me you won't do it without my Social Security Number, because this is a serious situation and I am not taking "no" for an answer. This is a card that YOU sent me that I DID NOT REQUEST!! Don't make this be MY problem.
CITIBANK: I'm putting you through to security.
Then I had to go through the shit all over again, until the security guy finally told me that the account had been cancelled. But I'm still enraged that Citibank is so fucking stupid to treat people like this when identity theft is running rampant now-a-days. You would think that they would take something like this very seriously, and be more realistic about the information they require to handle something so critical. If somebody tells you that you've sent a credit card they never requested, you don't need a Social Security Number to investigate the situation. Dumbasses. Citibank's horrendously idiotic policy has me so floored that I am still deciding whether or not to take this up with VISA International.
And now, while I'm at it, here's some blog-related crap that I'm going to get off of my chest. Of course, none of this is about YOU, so don't worry about it. Unless, of course, it really is you...
• Don't Assume I Don't Have Family, Friends, or Relationships...
It's strange how some people believe that just because I choose not to write about something, it doesn't exist. And no matter how many times I try to make it clear that I don't discuss these subjects, it doesn't stop people from telling me that I need a girlfriend... or need to get laid... or that I'm lonely... or whatever. The truth is that they just don't know anything about this stuff unless they know me personally. To imply otherwise is just stupid.
• Don't Be Pissed Because I Won't Tell You About My Work or Personal Life...
Some people think that even though I don't talk about certain subjects in my blog, that I'm perfectly happy to reveal absolutely anything they want to know via email. When I write back and explain that I don't talk about my work or personal life with people who are not my friends or family, they tend to get upset. Apparently, these people feel that if they read Blogography every day, this entitles them access to all aspects of my life... no matter how private. Well, I have news for them, it doesn't.
• Don't Insist I Give A Crap About Your Abusive Ass...
When people email or comment only to be an ass, they might as well not comment at all. Disagreeing with me is fine, I respect the opinions of others and feel that diversity is what makes life interesting. But being an abusive dumbass flamer troll is an annoyance that I'm not willing to deal with (other than to click the delete button).
• Don't Think That I Feel I'm Better Than You...
This is the one that really bothers me. Every once in a while, I'll get an email from somebody who thinks that the reason I blog about my travels and the cool things I get to do is because I'm bragging or something. This is just silly. I blog about the crap that's happening in my life. So if I'm traveling, that's what I'm going to write about. If I were bragging or implying that I was superior because of it, I'd start each entry with "HA HA FUCKERS! GUESS WHERE I AM AT AND YOU'RE NOT?!? SUCKS TO BE YOU, LOSER!!" Believe me, I know how lucky I am that I get to see and do the stuff I get to see and do. But I also work very hard and make a lot of sacrifices to get there, so the last thing I'm going to do is "brag" about it.
And, on that note... HA HA FUCKERS! I'm off to book my flights and hotels for next month.
Posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2008
Today I knocked off work early so I could run into Wenatchee and buy stuff to put in my care package for AnySoldier.com (I've written about this wonderful organization here). While shopping at Target for magazines and snacks, I was reminded that when you do good things, good things come back to you.
Because, OMG... HELLO KITTY GUMMIES!!
They taste totally awesome, even though I didn't get a pink My Melody Bunny in my bag (I would have preferred Kuromi anyway), and all my blue Kitty Bows were a nasty vomit-green color. The good news though? They go great with Little Debbie Chocolate Chip Snack Cakes, and would no doubt perfectly compliment Hello Kitty Pop-Tarts...
Awww, isn't that sweet?!?
UPDATE: Boy was I wrong... Hello Kitty Gummies, as manufactured by Kelloggs, contains DISGUSTING GELATIN as an ingredient. Why the hell they feel the need to put such unnecessary shit in their product is a mystery to me when alternatives like citrus pectin are available. Shame! SHAME ON KELLOGGS! And shame on me for trusting them and not reading the ingredients.
A meme bopping through the internets anew is the SIX QUIRKY THINGS ABOUT YOU meme. You're supposed to post rules and tag everybody and stuff, but I never really play by the rules and loathe tagging people. So I'm just going to post my quirks and be done with it...
Eh, that's not so quirky. We'll have to save that for later.
Posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2008
I spent all night trying to post a guest-entry over at Mr. Fab's blog, Pointless Drivel (probably Not Safe For Work... or anything else, for that matter), but nothing I tried would work.
Oh well. Assuming that somebody can help me get it posted tomorrow, there's big fun with Sculpey modeling clay over there...
I've never played with Sculpey before, and was shocked at how difficult it is to make stuff out of it. Everything I tried to build just ended up looking like a big ol' mess.
Guess I'll be sticking with my computer from here on out...
Posted on Saturday, February 23rd, 2008
A good chunk of my day was spent sorting through boxes of junk in an attempt to toss out crap I no longer need. The problem is that I just can't find stuff I want to get rid of. Old concert T-shirts I'll never wear again... old magazines I'll never read again... even old VHS tapes that I can't even play anymore.
But the biggest offense is antiquated electronics I'll never use.
I have stuff that I barely even remember owning. Like my Atari Lynx (the very first color portable gaming system), my Apple Newton, my Atari 2600, and loads of other stuff that should have been tossed out ages ago...
But I just can't bring myself to throw them away or sell them. Who knows... one day I might have this overwhelming urge to play "Mr. Do" on my ColecoVision. If I had tossed it out, then where would I be?
Hopefully I'll be able to let go of this crap eventually but, until then, I'll just have to continue to live with a closet that has no room for clothes in it.
Posted on Sunday, February 24th, 2008
It's Oscar Sunday! Which would probably be a lot more exciting for me if I actually gave a crap about the Oscars. Oh well. I got my taxes done, AND it's Steve Jobs' birthday today, so that's pretty exciting.
• Portlandia... I am working in Portland, Oregon later this week, and am staying an extra day to goof around the city. If anybody in the area wants to meet for dinner on Saturday, just let me know!
• Oscars... Of the movies I've seen in 2007, my favorites (in order) are... Juno, 300, Waitress, Hot Fuzz, Curse of the Golden Flower, Paprika, The Man From Earth, Ratatouille, The Bourne Ultimatum, Once, Music & Lyrics, and Blades of Glory. I have not yet seen Michael Clayton, Lives of Others, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Persepolis, and Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds, but expect they will make the list as well...
• Boyfriend... The latest meme crawling through the blogosphere is "Who Is My TV Boyfriend?" Since I love television, I was compelled to try it...
What the bloody heck? I can't STAND that whiny bitch Chuck Bartowski! I am very close to erasing Chuck off my TiVo's Season Pass list, because I am so sick of his bumbling idiocy. Why oh why couldn't I have gotten kick-ass Jack Bauer from 24 or Eli from Eli Stone? Jonny Lee Miller is ever so dreamy! Click here to find out who is YOUR ideal TV boyfriend. I couldn't find a "who is your ideal TV girlfriend, but I already know it would be the sweet hotness of Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell (who is now on Gossip Girl and Heroes, but will always be Veronica to me).
• Gelatinous... I was dismayed and disgusted to find out that the Hello Kitty Gummies I was raving about two days ago have yucky GELATIN in them. Gross! Shame on Kellogg's for putting that vile crap in their product when there are far better alternatives available (like citrus pectin). And shame on Sanrio for allowing Hello Kitty's reputation to suffer by licensing her to a company that would put dead animal cartilage in her gummies! This sucks ass.
• Ilusional... Found this sweet tutorial for an optical illusion which makes a black & white photo turn into a color photo (may not work in a feed-reader, you'll have to click through to see it). Just stare at the dot for 30 seconds, then mouse over the image without taking your eyes off that dot (it may help to put the mouse pointer next to the image so you can do the mouseover without having to look!). After you've seen the color photo, look away for ten seconds, then come back and look again...
Hah! It's black & white! Sweet! That's a photo I took of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.
• Iron... I'm mainly a "DC Comics guy" because I'm into Batman and such, but there's one super-hero at Marvel of which I'm a major fan: Iron Man. I've been following the Iron Man movie updates over at Geeks of Doom with growing interest (Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is genius casting!), and now see that somebody has new poster art and a description of the movie trailer from WonderCon. It sounds as through director Jon Favreau has totally nailed it, and I am really looking forward to the debut on May 2nd. Given my huge disappointment in the X-Men film franchise, it will be nice to have a good comic-to-movie flick from Marvel this time...
And there's another Bullet Sunday down the tubes. Time to wash clothes so I have something to wear to work in the morning.
Where did my weekend go?
Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2008
Has the internets been painfully slow for everybody tonight... or is it just me?
This morning I stopped by the mini mart on the way to work to pick up some chocolate milk so I could face the day. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I noticed somebody I don't like at the gas pump and immediately turned around and drove off. The last thing I need is to deal with this crap first thing on a Monday morning. Unfortunately fate had other plans, and I ran across that same person later in the day. Everybody is karma's bitch from time to time.
Fortunately I managed to escape unscathed, because things stayed relatively civil. They didn't badmouth my friends and I didn't have to bitch-slap their stupid ass back into last week.
And now it's time for Current Events!
But before I go, I feel compelled to share some old news that's new news to me... and may be of interest to you if you are a comic book fan.
For a couple of years now, I've been an avid collector of GIT Corp's wonderful CD/DVD-ROM archives of Marvel comic books. Each tome collects hundreds of comics in PDF format, giving collectors the ultimate affordable resource for reading books that are hard to find or too expensive to own. There's something magical about being able to read 44 years of The Fantastic Four while stuck on a long airplane ride. I've bought every volume GIT has released, and was anxiously awaiting the release of their forthcoming Thor and Daredevil DVD-ROMS.
Except that's never going to happen now because Marvel refused to renew their license with GIT.
I'm sure this is because Marvel feels they can make more money by selling access to their comics online, but I have some major problems with that...
GIT says since they no longer have a license that once the existing products are gone, they're gone. So if you have even a passing interest in Marvel Comics, this is probably your last chance to pick up these archives. I buy most of mine from Tales of Wonder, which sells them all at discount, but good bargains can also be found at Amazon.
And now, since work is over and blogging is done, I think I'll go to bed and re-read George Perez's awesome run on The Avengers from the 1970's.
Boy how I will miss GIT's comics archives. If only DC Comics would give them a license for their books...
Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
With every fiber of my being, I LOATHE software that requires a hardware "key" (known as a "dongle") to operate.
Because I am forever losing the damn thing.
Today I had a critical project that I couldn't complete because I lost the dongle I needed for the program to work. This meant I had to rip apart my office, my car, my apartment, and everything I own in an attempt to find it. For three hours I was tearing my hair out in a feeble attempt to find a tiny piece of plastic that had no intention of revealing itself. Eventually I gave up, slightly more insane than when I started...
Once I got home from work, I finally managed to find the stupid thing in one of my suitcases. It was hidden in a back-pocket where I missed it the first time I looked. I was so happy that you'd have thought I'd found the freakin' Holy Grail or something...
So now I've got my dongle back and all is well in the world.
But not really.
My web hosting service is down, AGAIN, which means that I can't tell the world about my troubles.
Could be worse though. I could have been Hillary Clinton in tonight's Democratic debate. It's as if she suddenly decided that she wanted to confirm all the negative things people say about her. And then there was Obama... rising above it all to give us his calm, cool demeanor that was so presidential I could almost feel him as our nation's leader. If anybody watching it was on the fence as to who they were voting for, they're in Obama's camp now.
Argh. Time to go play with my dongle.
Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
This morning when I left for work, my crazy old neighbors were outside screaming at each other again. I'm long past the point of finding their fights amusing... now I just find them embarrassing and annoying. Their arguments never gets physical (they're just too old for that kind of nonsense) but they can sure dish out the verbal abuse like nobody's business.
Except they yell so loudly that it's actually everybody's business.
At first I heard them screaming about what sounded like a screen door problem of some kind, but the topic changed as I made my way across the parking lot...
OLD WOMAN: ... and I was not put on this earth to clean up after you!
OLD MAN: I don't know what you're talking about! I clean up after myself!
OLD WOMAN: NOT WHEN YOU DON'T FLUSH THE TOILET!!
OLD MAN: I FLUSH THE GAWD-DAMN TOILET!!
OLD WOMAN: WELL, THERE'S CRAP IN THE STOOL, AND IT AIN'T MINE!!
OLD MAN: I FLUSH THE TOILET!!
OLD WOMAN: IF YOU FLUSHED THE TOILET, I WOULDN'T BE LOOKING AT YOUR CRAP IN THE STOOL!! I DON'T WANT TO SEE THAT WHEN I GO TO THE BATHROOM!!
OLD MAN: THEN WHY DON'T YOU FLUSH THE GAWD-DAMN TOILET AND YOU WON'T HAVE TO LOOK AT IT!!
Awwwww! Old people can be so cute sometimes!
I'm dying to know how long they've been married. If it's anything less than 50 years, I'm going to be gravely disappointed.
And speaking of crap...
Yesterday I tore my home apart looking for my dongle. In the process, I seem to have now lost my camera's battery charger. I guess this means I'll be tearing everything apart AGAIN so I can try to find it in the morning.
That aught to put me in a good mood for the day.
Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Well today sucked.
It seems as though life just keeps getting faster and faster, there's always more and more to do, and you have less and less time to do it. Most days I don't care, but today it all wore me down to the point of wanting to give up.
It's days like this I want to trade in my life, buy a cow, and go live on a farm in the middle of nowhere...
But instead I'm flying off to Portland for the weekend.
I'm kind of happy about that.
And now, from the Not-So-Sweet Irony Department...
PCWorld has an article on Yahoo! News where Michael Barrett, chief information security officer of PayPal, is telling their customers that Apple's Safari web browser isn't safe for online shopping...
"Apple, unfortunately, is lagging behind what they need to do, to protect their customers," Barrett said in an interview. "Our recommendation at this point, to our customers, is use Internet Explorer 7 or 8 when it comes out, or Firefox 2 or Firefox 3, or indeed Opera."
Oh really? Well here's what I have to say to Michael Barrett, chief information security officer of PayPal...
Seriously, fuck you.
Because here's the thing... PayPal doesn't give a shit about their customers.
I used to use PayPal to run my online store... I was a PayPal customer. But one day PayPal reversed a transaction, and took my money. I contacted the person who owned the credit card to find out if they made a fraud complaint against me or something, but they didn't know why the charge was reversed. They got their T-shirts and were totally happy. I made several calls to PayPal for an explanation but, for "security reasons," they wouldn't tell me, nor would they tell me the name of the bank who made the request (if, indeed there ever was one). According to their service contract, they don't have to tell you shit. And, since they aren't a real bank, you have no recourse if they steal from you.
So, basically, PayPal will take your money at any time with no explanation. And yet they have the balls to warn people about getting ripped-off when using stuff from another company? What a bunch of hypocritical jerks.
On my farm, I won't need crap like PayPal... I'll just trade fresh milk and eggs for what I want to buy.
Though I'd imagine the quality of hooker you can get for a dozen eggs and a glass of milk is probably pretty questionable.
Posted on Friday, February 29th, 2008
Everybody jump! It's Leap Day today!
I plan on celebrating by wearing a fedora and drinking copious amounts of alcohol tonight.
And perhaps jumping on a couch or two...
Since I'm not married to Katie Holmes, the alcohol is essential to my couch-jumping technique...
Posted on Saturday, March 1st, 2008
Last night was an official meeting of the TequilaCon 2008 Planning Posse. For everybody who is anxiously awaiting to hear about what's going to be happening in Philadelphia on May 3rd, your salvation will soon be at hand! A venue has been chosen, plans have been made, and a spreadsheet has been created. Jenny will be working out the few remaining details next week, so keep a look-out over at Run Jen Run (or watch your in-box if you've requested email updates).
The TQ2008 Planning Posse after-party kicked off at the sublimely cool restaurant Montage, where much macaroni & cheese and geek tattoos were to be had (w00t!). From there, the evening moved to The Green Dragon for Sopranos pinball, then to The Blue Monk for after-cocktails cocktails. A most excellent and productive precursor to TequilaCon 2008...
This morning Dustin and I decided to meet Vahid at Powell's City of Books so we could cash-in on his encyclopedic knowledge of science fiction literature. I've got some travel coming up, and nothing makes the plane time pass faster than a really good book. Fortunately, Vahid has a huge list of worthwhile titles to explore...
I managed to escape with a total under $60 this time, which showed great restraint on my part. It would be very easy to spend several days and several thousands of dollars at Powell's, not just because they have one of the best book selections on earth, but because it's so cool that independent book-sellers like this (and my beloved Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle) can thrive in the day-and-age of Amazon and the mammoth chain stores.
My favorite was the Pope-Mobile shopping cart, though they were having some problems getting started...
Cirque de Soleil is in opening the city tonight, and everywhere you go downtown there are people dressed up as angels to promote the event. They're juggling, dancing, walking on stilts, and passing out fliers. Since today was also the opening day of a new season for the Portland Saturday Market, many of the Cirque Angels ended up congregating there...
After goofing around at the market (FAKE BABY!!), the weather was so nice that we decided to visit Portland's Chinese Gardens. It's an incredible oasis of calm and beauty in the middle of the city...
Things were just starting to come into bloom, but it was too early to see the garden in all its splendor (lucky for you, Vahid has some great photos of a previous visit up at Flickr). Still there were some beautiful shots to be had...
After a break, Vahid came back to town and suggested eating at E-San, which has some of the best Thai food I've eaten outside of Thailand. I had a truly excellent Gang Mussamun veggie curry, and recommend E-San highly when looking for someplace unique to eat in Portland.
Earlier in the day, as we were walking by Dante's Cafe, we were handed a flyer for a special event by "The Can-Can Castaways" happening tonight. As we peeked inside to see the performers practicing for the show, it looked interesting, so we decided to come back for the show.
F#@% Cirque de Soleil and their $50 tickets... THIS is value entertainment.
For a mere $12 cover charge, we were treated to a fantastic showing of The Breaking, which is the troop's dance-inspired tale of "Love, Loss, and Lament" featuring terrific live music by The Bad Things...
Awesome performance. And they're based out of SEATTLE! It would be fun to get a group of friends together and see one of their home shows. I'm not a dance-performance lover, but this was excellent stuff. Vahid and I both bought the CD and got our show posters autographed by the cast. If you're in Seattle, check out The Can-Can Kitchen and Cabaret down at the Pike Place Market.
During show intermissions, we played table-top games, with Vahid getting high score on "Chug Monkey" which I thought was a pretty cool game. Who doesn't love a drunk monkey?
That's a pretty amazing day, and I think I set a record with the number of outgoing links or something.
Tomorrow morning it's a flight back home and a return to my regularly-scheduled boring life there...
Posted on Sunday, March 2nd, 2008
It's Bullet Sunday and I'm shooting blanks! My brain is so tired that I can only think of three points this week...
• Salmoni! When I got home from Portland, Animal Planet TV was running a 2003 special I hadn't seen before called Living with Tigers. Tigers have always been one of my favorite animals, and this documentary about the efforts to save them from extinction was fascinating. It follows two cubs, Ron & Julie, as they are raised in captivity and eventually trained to be released into the wild. The hope is that the dwindling tiger population can be bolstered in this manner before wild tigers disappear altogether.
But almost as interesting as the tigers, is one of the trainers who was working with them: Dave Salmoni. The bastard is just insane. He keeps saying things like "let's hope she doesn't realize that she's much bigger and stronger than I am so I don't get killed" as he walks up to a growling tiger to take her food away. And every time you see him, his clothes have holes all over from when he's been wrestling with the big cats. After Living With Tigers was over, they showed another program which had Salmoni working with Grizzly Bears (Predator vs. Prey)... and then aired previews of another where he was with lions (Into The Lion's Den). You can tell he has a passion for his work, but I have to wonder how long it will be before I'm reading that he's been killed by stampeding elephants (or whatever). Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's tragic death is still very fresh in my mind, and something tells me it's only a matter of time. There's only so long you can keep exposing yourself to high-risk scenarios with dangerous animals like this before your number is up...
• Mappable! As a long-time lover of maps, I was delighted to stumble upon Transit Maps of The World while browsing at Powell's City of Books yesterday. This wondrous tome has maps of every rapid-transit system on earth... which is kind of like cartographic porn for people like me. The graphics are really too small to be functional, with the diagrams being treated more like works of art than actual maps (and they are!)...
This is very cool book for anybody interested in maps or rapid transit, and you can read more about it at Amazon. If you'd rather not spend the money, you can always take a look at the free transit maps online courtesy of Urban Rail.
• Majesty! No matter how many times I fly over The Cascades, I'm always amazed at how beautiful they are. The day I stop being awed by sights like this, it's time for me to stop traveling...
And now I'm off to bed, where I hope to lapse into a coma for seven hours or so...
UPDATE: Aaaaaaannnnnnd my blog seems to be refusing to accept my entry. Guess I'll give it a try in the morning and hope that the problem solves itself rather than requiring me to do any actual work.
Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2008
Well, hey... my blog seems to be accepting entries again this morning. What a wonderful surprise. Rather than wait for things to break again, I decided to just go ahead and post my entry for both yesterday and today.
Though because it's only 3:30am there's not a lot to write about. Fortunately, a quick run through my blogroll resulted in the best inspiration for blogging there could possibly be.
In what has to be the most hotly anticipated news all year, Jenny has announced the venue for TequilaCon 2008. After the fun everybody had at Dave L.A., I applaud the choice made by the committee, and can't wait for May to arrive! Hotels are still being reviewed, so keep an eye out at Run Jen Run for the suggested lodgings announcement...
And speaking of both Jenny and TequilaCon... for those just dying to see me in my fedora, here's a shot Jenny took of me modeling my fabulous "w00t!" geek tattoo at the TequilaCon 2008 Planning Posse meet, gangsta style...
That's a box of Hello Kitty Chewing Candy in front of me there. It may be infused with gelatin nastiness, but it goes well with beer and isn't that all that really matters?
Hello Kitty really should start her own brewery. That's a totally missed opportunity.
Posted on Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
I tend not to dwell upon the past, but every once in a while I look back in my life and become despondent over the things I've failed to achieve. Goals never met. Plans never realized. Potential never fulfilled.
I suppose I'm not unique in this regard. How many people can say their life has gone exactly as planned?
Though I'm probably harder on myself than most because my goals are set rather high. My ultimate goal, naturally, is to become ruler of the earth and all I survey. But I realize this is not something likely to happen overnight... certain "minor goals" will have to act as stepping stones towards world domination. Unfortunately, these goals (as of yet) have also gone unsatisfied.
Like becoming a Knight of the British Empire.
You laugh, but they gave that shit to Bill Gates for infesting the United Kingdom with his Microsoft Windows crap, so why not recognize me for infesting The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire with my Blogography crap? And, as if that weren't enough, I look damn fine wearing jewel-encrusted silver ornaments. I would totally be rocking that "Star of the Knight" medal, I tell you what...
And I have no doubt that Her Majesty The Queen and I could become bestest friends...
But, alas, no knighthood for me.
I was reminded of this failure as I was watching the wacky Barbara Walters host "The Royal Family" special on television last night. It was actually pretty good, but just makes me want to watch the original British documentary, Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work, upon which the Baba Wawa special was bastardized from.
In even further bad news, my Apple Time Capsule wireless backup drive arrived yesterday...
But not really.
The box was completely empty.
When I got it, I noticed it was near-weightless, but I thought it might be software of some kind. After opening the box and finding nothing, I located the label from Apple, looked up the order number, and saw it was supposed to be my Time Capsule. After a long, convoluted call to Apple, they issued an insurance claim with FedEx and placed a new order. Unfortunately, this has added ten days to my delivery time, but oh well.
Perhaps I'll feel better about things if I were to knight myself.
Sir Dave2 sure does has a nice ring to it.
Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
First of all, OMG, Zack Snyder has posted some promo shots of various characters from the upcoming Watchmen movie, and they kick-ass! It's going to be agony waiting a year until this film is released... I hope it's worth it.
Second of all, it would seem Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, has run out of Hit Points. As a former hard-core D&D geek, this is sad news indeed. I wasted a lot of time in my high school years battling monsters and seeking treasure, which is only moderately better than doing drugs I suppose.
And lastly, it's Avitable's Querypalooza! The rules say you have to answer these five questions on your blog, come up with five new ones for your readers to answer on their respective blogs, then link back to the original post. Here we go...
1. Out of all of the posts you've written, which is your favorite and why? That's difficult to answer... I'm really proud of entries like Wings because it took so much planning to make things happen, and it totally paid off. But my favorite posts are always those that are the simplest. Just a little illustration or something. Like Ride or Friends.
2. Out of all of the posts I've written that you've read, which is your favorite and why? Too many good entries, but my favorite is easily Halloween 2007 Recap Part 2. Great memories of a great party, and I was there!
3. Which do you find the most frightening and why... A radically fundamentalist Christian, a moderate Muslim, a pretentious atheist, or a Scientologist? I think a radial anything is inherently dangerous.
4. Rather than discuss the typical characteristics of someone you'd desire (sense of humor, good body, etc.), I'm going to focus on the little details. Rank them in order of preference, with #7 being the one you consider more important than the others and #1 being the one you consider the least important: Okay!
5. If you were going to be trapped on a remote island for the rest of your life with one other person, which would you choose and why? MacGyver would probably make life more comfortable, but I'd pick "B"... ELIZABETH HURLEY!
And now five questions for my blogging readers...
Answer 'em if you've got nothing better to blog about (my answers are in the first comment). And, if you decide to do Avitable's Querypalooza, be sure to let Avitable know.
Posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2008
Today was a wacky day of catching up on work and trying to arrange travel plans for another three trips I've got coming up.
And looking over Apple's FREE iPhone Software Development Kit (or SDK) which was released this morning. If you're not a programmer, it can be somewhat technical and boring, but you can watch His Holiness Steve Jobs describe what's going on via QuickTime here (the demo hotness starts just over half-way through). Suffice to say... I am completely blown away. I simply did not anticipate that the SDK would be so refined, polished, and powerful. Developers are going to be FLOCKING to the iPhone, which means iPhone users are in for some incredibly cool stuff come June when the 2.0 software upgrade drops. I have some concerns about required distribution through the iTunes Music Store (though if you give your stuff away for free, there's no charge once you've paid the $99 developer fee), but overall I am very, very excited. iPhone is going to OWN the mobile market... sweet!
Anyway, somewhere along the day, I was asked to make a fake "tabloid magazine" prop for a play that's being put on at the High School. It's fun doing wacky stuff like this from time to time...
I would so totally buy this!
And now for another installment of Response to Hate-Mail...
Thank you for your wonderful email chastising me for "showing disrespect to The Queen of England" (from this entry, I'm guessing). A few points... #1: Her Majesty is not the "Queen of England," but instead constitutional monarch (The Queen) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and Head of the Commonwealth. There hasn't been a "Queen of England" since 1603. Since your IP address is actually located in England, I can only express my sadness that your educational system is apparently as bad as ours here in the USA. #2: I have nothing but the upmost respect for Her Majesty, and wouldn't dream of showing her any disrespect. If wanting to be her friend is disrespectful, then this world is in deeper trouble than I thought. #3: I've read a couple biographies of The Queen, and actually admire Her Majesty for taking on a job she never asked for and performing it to the best of her abilities. Her Majesty has led an exemplary life in service, has done so with dignity and devotion to her people, and deserves nothing but respect for it. I know I'll demand nothing less when I'm king of the world, so fuck you for implying I feel otherwise...
Good night... I love you my Apple iPhone!
Posted on Friday, March 7th, 2008
Posted on Saturday, March 8th, 2008
Oops. I made an entry yesterday but forgot to set it to "publish" while I was trying to fix stuff on my blog. Better late than never, I suppose.
The thing about messing around with your blog template is that it's a never-ending battle. There's always One More Thing that you want to fix or change, and you can go positively insane trying to get it all figured out. I've been working on an iPhone template off-and-on for weeks and don't feel any closer to finishing it than when I started. It doesn't help that Movable Type has crappy documentation for the complicated new template structure introduced in version 4. Oh well. It's just a matter of finding spare time to sit down and rip through the learning curve via the infamous "trial-and-error" method.
Alas, spare time is always in short supply, so everything sits unfinished.
Though I did change my header graphic while on a long, boring phone call the other day, so I guess that's something.
Or nothing, depending on how you look at it.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I can't blog anymore because Mr. Bun and I have real work to do...
Say goodbye to Mr. Bun! He's off to Iraq next week!
Except when I say "real work" what I actually mean is "go home and read the pile of comic books that arrived in the mail yesterday."
I just hope Mr. Bun doesn't drop his little poop pellets on my Batman books like last time.
UPDATE: My blog is getting hammered by people refreshing to see all the header graphics, so I've made it easier for those wanting to see all fifty headers to see them by following this link.
Posted on Sunday, March 9th, 2008
Bullet Sunday already? Where did that weekend go?
• Radio. Today at 4:00pm Pacific (7:00pm Eastern) I will be a guest host on BlogTalk Radio for the incomparable Mr. Fab's Pointless Drivel LIVE show! Heaven only knows what we'll talk about, but it's sure to be a lot of fun! To listen in, just point your web browser here and you're good to go! Once the show begins you'll be able to view a live chat with other listeners but, to join-in the chat yourself, you'll need to pre-register for an account (it's free!). Please note that the show is usually NSFW and probably not appropriate for children, small animals, The Radical Christian Right, or those not possessing a sense of humor...
• Talk. While I'm talking up the big fun that's BlogTalk Radio, I would be remiss to mention that half the blogosphere has radio shows there on Sunday. It starts off with Karl from Secondhand Triptophan at 2:00pm (that's Pacific Time), followed by Hilly-Sue from Snackie's World at 3:00pm, Fab at 4:00pm, Turnbaby from And The World Turns at 5:00pm, and Kyra from The Kyra Sutra at 6:00pm! Quite a line-up! Usually Sundays are travel days for me and I miss the shows, then have to listen to the archives. But today I'm excited because I'll be able to listen to everybody LIVE! Though I have to say that I'm feeling a bit left out that I don't have a radio show of my own. Maybe I'll just beg everybody to guest-star on their show and it will be almost the same? Probably not, but I guess I'll find out.
• Misrepresented. While State Legislator Sally Kern (Oklahoma House of Representatives) was making disgusting homophobic remarks to a small group of people, somebody recorded her dumbass ramblings and posted them on the internets. Now the dumbass bigot is having to deal with the fallout of being a "representative" who is very selective about which of her constituates she "represents" (gays need not apply!). After listening to her bullshit, I came away with a sense that she doth protest too much. What is she compensating for I wondered? And then it hit me... she's not afraid of the "gay agenda" she's afraid of being exposed! A classic case of denial...
• Lesbionic. I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on Representative Kern... but I'm lashing out from fear. Fear that she and her homophobic nut-job comrades might actually be able to make good on their Nazi-esque fantasies of cleansing the nation of homosexuals. A nightmare! WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO LESBIAN PORN?!? Because right now I'm trying to decide which video I need most, and that's a struggle I'm not wanting to give up...
I'm leaning towards "The Trouble with Girls" because it sounds naughty! But then I see "Girls Do It Best: Volume 2" and think perhaps that's the way to go... obviously these babes are really good at making lesbian porn if they've got a SEQUEL going on! Except further down the shelf there's "Girls on Girls: VOLUME FOUR" yes, VOLUME FOUR, which sounds great, yet I can't help but wonder if they're just running the series into the ground like the Star Wars prequels did? But then... THEN... I spot "Bitch Banging Bitch" and think this video must be the one to beat... it's got bitches in it! And they appear to be experienced bitches, unlike the amateurs to be found in "Bitches in Training." And there's always "100% Strap-On," which could be interesting and educational... or just very, very scary. What's a boy to do? Well, if people like Sally Kern get their way, there won't be anything TO do. The lesbian porn industry will be shut down. THIS is AMERICA?!? Nay, I say! Hmmm... I wonder where Obama stands on lesbian porn?
• Trek I have been really enjoying the new remastered versions of Star Trek lately. It's amazing how a fresh batch of special effects can totally refresh the show. It's just as relevant today as it ever was, and looks absolutely beautiful. ..
More gorgeous images can be found here, and where you can watch the remastered episodes can be found here. If all else fails, and you're wanting to know what the fuss is about, you can always buy episodes from the iTunes Music Store.
And that's a wrap for Bullet Sunday! Be sure to tune in to Pointless Drivel LIVE on BlogTalk Radio today at 4:00pm Pacific Time (or 3:00pm if you haven't set your clock ahead yet). Your life might just depend on it!
Well, maybe not yours, but definitely mine. I hear Fabby sends out assassins to kill you if his ratings drop when you guest-host.
Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2008
Before I forget, a big thank you to Mr. Fabulous for letting me guest-host his talk show! If you missed it, you can still have a listen by heading over to the Pointless Drivel LIVE Archives. Please note that portions of the show are NSFW, and may not be suitable for children. Okay, I lie, it's definitely not suitable for children. Or anybody else for that matter. Listen at your own risk.
This morning I overheard a conversation where a woman was going on about how great things were in "the good ol' days." You know... the days when everybody would get together and sing songs and take sleigh rides for fun.
At the time I heard it, I was thinking that such lame activities sounded like sheer torture.
But then I changed my mind.
Because when I got home and was reading through my Marvel Comics Archives while eating dinner, I saw some ads that actually make "the good ol' days" look pretty cool. And it all starts with monkeys...
Apparently, you could ship monkeys through the mail in the good ol' days. This worried me at first, but since they "guarantee live delivery" I guess this means they ship you out a fresh one if you get a dead monkey in your mail box. Sweet! But sometimes a monkey alone isn't enough to impress the ladies. Fortunately, you're covered...
Genius! But what do you do if a monkey and paste-on facial hair is not enough to be a hit with women? The answer is at hand...
With mad hypnotism skills you can make the girls fall madly in love with you. That sounds like a lot less work than the alternative...
Of course, once you've got yourself a woman, you've got to keep her entertained, right?
And don't worry ladies, if comic reading, monkey-packing, facial-hair-wearing, accordion-playing, hypnotizing guys start hitting on you, there's an ad for you as well...
But my favorite ads are those placed by Grit Magazine...
Of course, in this day-and-age, advertisements soliciting dandy young boys with promises of swell money would get you in big, big trouble... but it was a different time back then. A simpler, more innocent time.
A better time.
I mean, come on... dude! Monkeys by mail!
It sure beats stealing them from the local zoo...
Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
Living in a rural area isn't always a bad thing, but there are days I would give anything to get the hell out of this podunk town.
Like today, for example.
And it's all Tracy's fault. Yesterday she blogged about top-loader hotdog rolls, which I remember fondly from my trips to Spike's Junkyard Dogs in Boston. My friend there likes to take me to Spike's because they have vegetarian hot dogs I can eat. The "buns" they use are not "buns" at all... they're French rolls, sliced at the top instead of the side. Delicious. But the rolls Tracy was talking about are top-loaders which are meant to be grilled on the sides...
EVIL TRACY!! How can I resist trying something as totally awesome as this? I cannot.
So I clicked through to Maple and More to get me some grillable top-loaders. The minimum order is 24 rolls for $20 (Priority Mail postage paid!) which sounded like a pretty good deal (assuming I eat hot dogs morning, noon, and night before they go stale). All I needed was the veggie dogs. My favorites are tofu dogs made by Yves, and I've been buying them at the local health food store for years. So today after work I headed into Wenatchee to get some.
Only to find out that the health food store doesn't carry them anymore! In a panic I run to Safeway, but they don't have anything either. Horrified that I have buns coming with nothing to go in them, I head to Albertsons where they don't have Yves tofu dogs, but they do have Smart Dogs and Morningstar Farms Dogs. I grab both. After all, I have two-dozen buns to fill.
And then on my way to the self-checkout it happens.
Some bitch in her scooter runs into me.
It's not the first time I've been hit by somebody in a scooter, but it is the first time I've been hit BECAUSE SHE WAS TALKING ON HER MOBILE PHONE!! This was no accident, it was negligence, and I would have sued her stupid ass if I thought I could have got any money out of it. Unlike the last time I was hit, however, she did apologize... but it sure didn't sound sincere. Not wanting to let the opportunity pass me by, I said "maybe you shouldn't be talking on your phone if you're going to drive that thing into people."
"I DRIVE INTO PEOPLE WHETHER I'M ON THE PHONE OR NOT!!"
I guess she told me.
Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
This morning I overheard two kids debating over something when one of them said "I'm going to punch you in the vagina!"
It was one of those moments where I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. If the kid understood that boys don't have vaginas and was being ironic, it was pretty funny. On the other hand, if he was just repeating something he heard and didn't know that boys are vagina-free, it was pretty sad. I was almost hoping that the debate escalated into a conflict so I could find out exactly where he thought a guy's vagina is.
And speaking of completely misunderstanding vaginas, that stupid bitch "doctor" Laura Schlessinger has now gone on record as saying that, in a relationship, women are nothing more than whores whose only purpose is to service their man...
"When the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like her hero, he's very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs."
How cool is that! It's nice to know that if I get married and decide to stick my penis in another woman, I can just blame my wife! If the bitch had focused completely and totally on ME and MY needs, there wouldn't have been a problem in the first place! Yeah! It's HER fault!
I'm not saying that it's never a woman's fault that her man might be cheating on her... but WTF?!? In many ways, I actually find "doctor" Laura's statement to be more offensive towards men than women. We're all egomaniacal assholes who require constant stroking (heh heh) or else we're going to cheat? That's weak. After all the crazy shit this bitch has said, why is she still on the air? Does anybody find her credible or even remotely relevant anymore?
I'll just add "doctor" Laura to my ever-growing list of people who need to be bitch-slapped. Hard.
And, to those who asked... no, this wasn't an accident...
Believe it or not, it IS possible to support the troops, yet be opposed to war and embrace peace.
Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2008
MY BUNS ARRIVED TODAY!
As I reported two days ago, the evil Tracy Kaply had blogged about top-loader hotdog buns that I remembered fondly and was compelled to order. But these buns were extra-special because they had grillable sides. After work I rushed home so I could fire up the frying pan, microwave the Smart Dogs, and chop the tomatoes & onions so I could add guacamole to serve 'em up Pink's Patt Morrison Baja style...
I'd almost say that they taste better than the Pink's original, because the top-loader buns makes allllll the difference. First of all, they don't split apart when you try to eat them. Second of all, those toasty grilled sides add a new level of texture to hotdogs that should have been there all along. If it didn't cost $20 to order these buns, I'd never buy anything else again.
THANKS A LOT TRACY!!!
In other news, I have been working my way through the "new & improved" Star Trek: Remastered episodes and came across "The Corbomite Maneuver" (if you've never seen it, I have to warn you that there are spoilers ahead). In the episode, the Enterprise comes across a glowing cube that they have to blow up. Then a giant ship comes to spank Kirk's ass for busting their shit, but Kirk bluffs them into backing down. After some boring crap I don't remember, the alien ends up being Opie's younger brother... complete with freaky pasted-on eyebrows and an equally freaky-ass adult voice dubbed onto him. He says his name is "Balok" which is one of those vaguely alien names that humans can still pronounce.
In the end, the entire confrontation was all some kind of test, because the alien is lonely and looking for companionship. After getting Kirk drunk on an orgasm-inducing punch called "tranya," Kirk decides that Lt. Bailey (the whiniest moron ever to serve aboard the Enterprise) should stay behind to keep Balok company...
... AND HE IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!!
My guess is that Balok got Bailey drunk on tranya one night, then bit his head off and ate him. That's what I would do if stuck with the whiny bitch for more than fifteen minutes.
I just find it odd that there was never any mention of Lt. Bailey again... at least not that I could find. Perhaps Balok brought him back to the Enterprise in one of the Star Trek novels or something, but I don't think so. Of course, there's always the possibility that Balok and Bailey hooked up and are now happily exploring the universe together. Who knows?
Hmmm... I've already had two hotdogs... dare I eat another? I'm not hungry, but they taste sooooo good.
THANKS A LOT TRACY!!!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2008
This morning I climbed out of the shower after entirely not-enough sleep and thought I was hearing things. But oh no... running to the window I confirmed my worst fears... THE KILLER GEESE HAVE RETURNED!
After getting dressed and arming myself with a squirt bottle, I cautiously made my way downstairs and into the parking lot. But they had gone. Probably off attacking some elderly neighbor or eating a cat or something. If all of a sudden you stop seeing blog entries from me, that probably means the evil geese finally got me. The bastards.
I always dread looking through the new Comic Previews Catalog when it arrives, because there's usually something geeky and super-cool I want that I don't need. And more often than not, it's stupidly expensive too. This time it's stupider than usual, but I can't help myself! I want it so bad!
They blew up a little Kubrick Alien 400% and are releasing him as an 11-inch action figure. He's beautiful... and he'd better be for $60.00 WITH DISCOUNT! It should cost like $40.00 tops, but with the US Dollar practically worthless on the international market, anything imported is insanely expensive.
Speaking of cool toys I can't afford, my Apple Time Capsule finally arrived! Luckily the box wasn't empty this time, because I don't think I could handle the crushing disappointment twice. It's an amazing device. Within 30 seconds of plugging it in, I was creating my first backup. 30 seconds after that I was messing around with my wirelessly shared volume, creating a media depository. It's brilliant in every way...
But before I go... Amy Sherman-Palladino (of Gilmore Girls fame) has a new show called The Return of Jezebel James which I have really been looking forward to. Until I actually watched it. For anybody who doesn't follow me on Twitter, here was my reaction...
The clever rapid-fire dialogue and quirky characters are there... but A F#@%ING LAUGH TRACK?!? Totally ruins the show. Horribly distracting. FAIL!!
Posted on Saturday, March 15th, 2008
As a certified pack-rat, I've kept every cable from every piece of electronics I've ever owned. Even those I got rid of years ago. This has resulted in my having a closet with four large boxes of wire crap that just takes up valuable space. Today I finally decided to sort through everything in an attempt to simplify my life.
And make room for my Batman Legos.
It took three hours. THREE HOURS!! Because, of course, they were all tangled up. Wires tend to do that for some reason...
Then I decided to go through all my laserdiscs and videotapes to see if there was enough material to justify ordering a video capture card for my Mac. Turns out there is. So I did. This way I can digitize all my stuff and toss out my old video equipment.
More room for Legos!
What convinced me to take the plunge was my Hi-8 video tapes of two of my favorite shows.
And then there's Alan Ball's masterpiece... Oh Grow Up! He created this hysterical show before his American Beauty and Six Feet Under became famous. It was sadly overlooked, and quickly canceled...
Almost as cool as the shows themselves are the commercials between the shows. In watching a few tapes I got to see the first iMac and iTunes commercials. Oh! And an anti-drug commercial from President Clinton!
It sure will be cool to be able to have all these old shows on my Mac.
And some space for my Legos.
Posted on Sunday, March 16th, 2008
Another Bullet Sunday is upon us, but I'm not ready for the weekend to be over!
• Organizational... This past week Suzy asked me if I still had a souvenir I bought from when we were goofing around in L.A. back in September. I knew I hadn't thrown it away, but couldn't find it. Probably because whenever I get back from a trip, I toss all my souvenirs and crap into one of ten big cardboard boxes I've got piled on top of my shelving units. Disgusted with my lack of organization, I decided to sit down with one box a week until I've organized all my travel stuff. It's hard work, but every once in a while I see something from my past that makes me smile, and that makes it all worthwhile...
I wonder how many people know you could once smoke on a plane?
• Time Capsule... Cannot express in mere words how happy I am with my new Apple Time Capsule. Using the built-in wireless connection, it took 22 hours to back up the 142 GB on my laptop. That was a bit harsh, but the incremental updates every hour are very fast. It's constant, unobtrusive, transparent backup that works beautifully. I've lost count of the times that Time Machine has saved my ass both at work and at home. Just one of the hundreds of reasons I'm such an Apple whore.
• Album... 2008 promises to be a very good year for the 80's music that I love. It has been rumored since January that Depeche Mode would start work on their new album this month for release in November (with a tour hopefully following in early 2009). Morten Harket (of a-ha fame) is releasing an English-language album this month in Norway, which will hopefully be available when I'm there next week. The Pet Shop Boys are meeting with producers this month for their upcoming album. Bananarama is gathering material for their next album. Erasure is also rumored to be working on a new pop album very soon now. I have high hopes that New Order will get together this year. Still no word on a Thompson Twins reunion, but I remain optimistic that one day it will happen.
• WWZ... Many thanks to Vahid and Dustin for a brilliant recommendation... World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Totally awesome book! Now I want the audiobook, because Dustin says the recording has Henry Rollins in it and totally kicks ass! They have it at iTunes, but it costs $18.95! I think I'll see if the library has it to borrow first...
Because me loves the zombies...
And popcorn. Can't have zombies without popcorn!
Speaking of zombies... it's time for me to get back to work.
Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!
Not wanting to invite any sexual-harassment-style ass-pinching, I was raiding my closet this morning for something green to put on. This is not a color I usually wear, so the pickings were pretty slim. Fortunately, I remembered that I had 250 "A Little Geeky" shirts laying around, so everything worked out okay.
Until I got to the mini market.
"HA! HA! THAT'S NOT GREEN!" an acquaintance I barely remember shrieks as she gives me a titty-twister in front of the beverage cooler. "Ow! Hey! This is green!" I cry while trying to rub some feeling back into my mangled nipple. "Well, that's not St. Patrick's Day green... it's more like an olive green" she replies still cackling with laughter. "Well, shit... I guess I didn't realize they changed the rules. Used to be that green was green" I whimper.
Ha ha ha very funny, bitch.
I was this close to punching her in the face, but then I remembered I don't do violence and had to settle for mentally bitch-slapping her instead.
What a way to start my day.
I'd run out and have entirely too much green beer tonight, but the consequences of such behavior could be catastrophic...
Nobody likes green beer puke. Nobody.
Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Today at lunch I had to run home to grab a portable hard drive I had forgotten and noticed that a bird had crapped on the hood of my car. The violation of my automobile didn't bother me too much because my car is filthy and, well, birds have to poop. What did bother me is that the bird dropped his load off-center. That's just sloppy crapping, and if a bird is going to shit on my car, I'd prefer that they take the time to at least make it look like they meant it...
But the biggest offense was yet to come...
While at home it became necessary to open a new package of flushable wipes. I've been using Kleenex Cottonelle Wipes for ages, but recently switched to Charmin Freshmates because they advertised a "DiamondWeave" construction. I didn't know what that meant, but it sure sounded great. I always put wipes in the care packages I send to the troops, and "Diamond Weave" sounds worthy of wiping the assorted body parts of even our toughest servicemen and servicewomen. Besides, as I've written before, I'm a big fan of Charmin toilet paper, and what's good enough to send to our troops is certainly good enough for me...
But then I opened the package.
What the f#@%?!? THIS is "DiamondWeave" construction???
All they did was stamp little holes in a diamond-shaped pattern on the wipe! That ain't no weave mutha f#@%er!! How in the hell does this not-so-woven "Diamond Weave" make any difference in the product's wiping ability? I'm no scientist, but I'd think this would actually make a single-ply product weaker in a vigorous wiping session than a non-punctured wipe.
That will teach me to purchase something based on unsubstantiated, nonsensical marketing jargon!
I wish I could be embarrassed at being such a consumer whore.
Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
The rush to get everything done before leaving on a trip is always a source of great stress and anxiety. Right now I'm skating on the edge of sanity just trying to keep track of everything. At any moment something could come along and ruin my shit, but I try not to think about it.
And I have no idea what I'm going to pack in my suitcase.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when a crippling migraine decided to strike after lunch...
Consider my shit officially ruined.
I'm fully expecting that I'll wake up tomorrow with a scorching case of flaming diarrhea farts.
How is it that I am this lucky?
Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2008
Packin' my suitcase!
And trying not to freak out at all the crap I have to do before I drive over to Seattle tomorrow.
On top of a pile of unfinished work, impending snow on the mountain passes, my car acting up again, a missing cable for my iPod Shuffle, and the TOTALLY CRAPPY EXCHANGE RATE FOR THE U.S. DOLLAR... well, it's not been the best day for me.
But I still had reason to smile, because this was the random photo that landed on my desktop this morning...
Anyway... I had bought some of those new Quaker Mini Delights snacks and was telling a friend about them...
DAVE'S FRIEND: So they're like tiny rice cakes?
ACTUAL DAVE: Yeah, but they've got frosting drizzled on them. The chocolate-mint ones are really good... kind of like Girl Scout Cookies. The caramel ones are okay, but the frosting tastes like plastic.
DAVE'S FRIEND: The WHAT ones?
ACTUAL DAVE: The rice cakes?
DAVE'S FRIEND: The CAR-mel ones?
ACTUAL DAVE: Yeah, the frosting is plastic-like.
DAVE'S FRIEND: On which ones?
ACTUAL DAVE: Uhhhh... the caramel ones?
DAVE'S FRIEND: AH-HAAAAHH!!
And that's when she pointed out that I pronounce caramel as "CARE-AH-MEL" which she tells me is wrong. It's supposed to be "CAR-MEL."
I asked around and found out that everybody else thinks I pronounce it oddly as well. I never noticed before.
So what the f#@% is that extra "a" doing in there? Stupid superfluous vowels! I hate silent letters!
Hmmm... I should probably take some underwear on my trip.
It's always the little things you forget.
Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2008
I'm on vacation!
And since I fully plan on being incapacitated any minute now, I wish you a happy Good Friday!
I know mine will be.
Posted on Saturday, March 22nd, 2008
Nothing to see here... move along... move along...
Posted on Sunday, March 23rd, 2008
You want a bullet? Here's a bullet for you...
• VACATION, BITCHES!!!
Away I go...
And if you celebrate the whole Easter thing (or just like chocolate bunnies), I hope your holiday is a happy one.
Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2008
"Huh? You're going to Oslo for vacation?? What in the hell for?" —Just About Everybody I Know
Trying to explain how sometimes I like to travel to places "just because I haven't been there before" is a challenging ordeal. But here I am in the capitol city of Norway for exactly that reason. I've never been here, there's a Hard Rock Cafe in the city, and one of my first blogging buddies (whom I've never met) lives in the area. That's more than enough reason for me, even if people I know have trouble understanding why I'm here instead of Hawaii.
The tough thing about Olso is not the cold, snowy weather this time of year... I'm used to that back home. No, the problem is affording to spend time here. As The World's Most Expensive City, Oslo is a real challenge for the tourist traveler. And when you compound that with the INCREDIBLY F#@%ING WEAK U.S. DOLLAR, an expensive city becomes almost prohibitively expensive. Because, let's face it, on the international market, the American dollar ain't worth shit.
In fact, I'd be willing to wager that if you forced somebody here to choose between our dollar and a pile of shit, they'd actually take the shit because it could be used as a fertilizer, whereas a U.S. Dollar has practically no value at all. And the fun starts the minute you get here... a train from the airport into the city, which would be around $5-$10 anywhere else, is $32 in Oslo. And, since I measure everything compared to the price of a roll of toilet paper, I found out that the Blogography Toilet Paper Index Score for Oslo is $4.50.
If my hotel didn't provide toilet paper, I'd be wiping my ass with the U.S. currency I had left in my pocket... it just makes economic sense.
But enough about the INCREDIBLY F#@%ING WEAK U.S. DOLLAR, here's a few things I saw today...
One of my very first blogging buddies is Karla from "Tales of a Texpatriate." She is funny as hell, loves to travel, and has a similar outlook on things as I do. I'd say this makes her a hotter female version of me, but my ego won't allow it. Instead I'll just say I love her to death, and couldn't wait to meet her at long last. So imagine my excitement when I get a text message on my iPhone telling me she'll meet me by the giant tiger at the train station...
That doesn't look very "giant" so here it is again, but with people so you can see how tall it is...
Well, not how tall "IT" is, but how tall "HE" is, ahem...
After a walk down the main street "Karl Johans Gate" we arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe Oslo, where Karla bought me birthday dinner! I guess she wanted to delay that inevitable moment where I run out of money and have to sell myself on the street for food...
After a lovely chat over potato skins and nachos, we were off to Akershus Castle down the street. Along the way, I was surprised to see a statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He's honored here because of the assistance the U.S. offered Norway during the war. It's kind of nice remembering when we had a president that was liked and respected around the world. It's been so long...
Once at the castle, we could look down into the harbor. It was snowing pretty hard by now, which made taking photos difficult, but I did get a nice foggy panorama out of the deal...
Oslo has a lot of public art, some of it very strange. Like this "Let Your Fingers Do The Walking" kind of thing here...
After a a little more wandering around, my lack of sleep from the past 32 hours finally caught up with me and it was time to say goodbye to Karla and head back to my hotel (conveniently located near the train station). Karla warned me that this is a popular area for hookers to hang out, but I haven't seen any yet. At first I was disappointed, but then I figured if hookers are as expensive as everything else here, I probably couldn't afford one. Besides, my bed is barely big enough for me...
And before I go, a big thanks to everybody who was kind enough to send my birthday wishes via Twitter, blog entries (I'm a holy day now!), comments, text messages, emails, and e-cards! Getting older sucks a little bit less when you know people are thinking kindly of you.
Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
I don't even want to think about how much money I spent today.
And all I really bought was postcards, guidebooks, pamphlets, and such. But when a postcard can cost as much as $3.00, it all adds up very quickly. Karla warned me again and again not to try to translate Norwegian Kroner into U.S. Dollars or else I'd have a total breakdown, but it's kind of hard not to. When I'd buy a tiny little stack of souvenirs and the total comes to 250 Kroner, my mind is instantly converting that to $50 then deflating in my skull. Oh well... there's always bankruptcy.
Since most museums are still running on winter hours, there is very limited available time to see everything I'd like to. But I did pretty good, managing to see nine museums in ten hours...
Which was not easy. But Karla had given me a map and some advice, so thanks to trams, busses, subways, and a lot of walking, I managed just fine with some careful planning...
Munch-Museet (Munch Museum). Brilliant impressionist artist Edvard Munch is easily one of Norway's most famous artists, so visiting his museum was a no-brainer. It's small, but the collection is quite good. Oddly enough, Munch's most famous painting, The Scream, is not here.
Nasjonalgalleriet (The National Gallery). Munch's The Scream IS at The National Gallery, however... along with an astounding collection of other works. I limited my time here to an hour, but could have easily spent half my day in awe of the treasures here. Features a good number of scenic works from this beautiful country.
Bygdøy. On my first day here, Karla gave me a walking tour, and highly recommended a trip to Bygdøy because of the excellent museums there. I opted to take a boat trip, which affords excellent views of the city as you head out...
Here is where I got a lot of walking in because I didn't have time to waste waiting on buses. As I was heading inland to my first Bygdøy museum, I was surprised to see the Apple Macintosh Command Key logo on a sign along the way...
Sure enough, a search at Wikipedia turns up that Apple Designer Susan Kare did indeed take the logo from a symbol she found on Scandinavian maps denoting "a place of cultural interest." You learn something new every day!
Norsk Folkemuseet (Norwegian Folk Museum). This museum was a total surprise. I was expecting to come here and find a collection of Norwegian folk arts, and indeed they have them. Lots of them. Like this stunning detail from an embroidered vest...
What I was not expecting was the 155 historic buildings which have been gathered here in a massive outdoor walking museum. It's a fascinating collection, and includes a 13th century stave church in pristine condition...
Absolutely magnificent, and I believe it was the inspiration for the church reproduction that can be found in the Norway Pavilion of Epcot's "World Showcase" at Walt Disney World (which I blogged about here). The only downside to this museum was that the trails are covered with compact snow over gravel, leaves, and dirt, making for VERY scary climbs up and down hills. I nearly fell and cracked my ass on more than a couple occasions. Still, it was well worth the risk, and I really wish I could have had more time here.
UPDATE: In going through my photos, I found a different angle which confirms that this is indeed the church that Disney used to model their version. It's the exact same except that they've stripped off the crosses. This is odd when you consider that Disney still calls it "Stave Church," but I guess they're trying to be all PC and stuff. Kind of lame, really, you'd EXPECT a church to have crosses...
Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ships Museum). Contains three of the best-preserved viking ships in existence and other Viking treasures. A very nice museum that seems almost impossible when you consider how old these ships are...
Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum (Norway Maritime Museum). Consisting mostly of detailed scale models of various ships throughout Norway's extensive history with navigating the world's seas, this museum wasn't really my cup of tea. I did enjoy the 20-minute "panorama movie" showcasing dozens of Norwegian coastal cities I'd love to visit. So many beautiful little fishing villages built on a scattering of rocky ocean outcroppings... you could spend a lifetime exploring them all.
Frammuseet (The Fram Museum). The "Fram" is a world-famous ship which made many inspirational expeditions... the most renowned being the journey where Roald Amundsen became the first to reach the South Pole in 1911. I had thought the building would just have a bunch of artifacts and information about the ship's history, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked in the door and found THE ENTIRE FRICKIN' SHIP ENCLOSED IN THE BUILDING...
Amazing. This was easily my favorite museum of the day, and totally worth a trip to Norway to visit. Not only can you explore hundreds of artifacts from the ship, but you can actually walk onboard and look around inside it. Sweet! The thing is massive, and no photo can really put it into scale. Though I did try...
Kon-Tiki Museet (The Kon-Tiki Museum). This museum contains the famous boat constructed by Norwegian ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl who wanted to prove that people from South America could have settled the Polynesian Islands. Using only ancient tools available at the time, Heyerdahl created the Kon-Tiki and sailed it 4,300 miles over a 101 day period back in 1947. You can read more about the fascinating voyage here...
Museet for Samtidskunst (Norwegian Contemporary Arts Museum). I am not a big fan of "modern art" so this museum already had a strike against it. But things went from bad to worse when I went inside and discovered almost all of the museum areas were closed. I understand that winter is the slow season and the best time to change out exhibits, but this was ridiculous and they shouldn't even have bothered to keep it open.
Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst (Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Art). This museum became famous after purchasing Jeff Koons "Michael Jackson and Bubbles." I'm guessing there must be multiple copies, because I'm certain I've seen it before. Or maybe it gets moved around, I don't know...
In any event, I went to the museum expecting to see it there. What I was not expecting to see was another Koons creation hanging to the left of it called "Blow Job-Ice." Apparently this is one in a series of hard-core pornographic works showing Koons having all kinds of sex with his porn-star ex-wife Ilona (you can see them here, but this link is obviously Not Safe For Work). Frightening.
And that's all the museums I had time for today before everything started closing. Hopefully I'll have time to do more exploring when I'm back Friday.
After all that I went to the grocery store. If you want to take a look at what I found there, I've put it in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
I am entirely too tired to function, but committed to getting today's entry finished before going to bed. I suppose I should be concerned about the rambling nonsense that's to follow, but I'm just too exhausted to care.
Göteborg, which is mostly known as "Gothenburg" outside of Scandinavia (and, as I learned from studying Swedish, is pronounced more like "Yeuo-te-boree" by the locals) is a quick 4-hour train ride from Oslo. The city has a Hard Rock Cafe, so of course I had to make the trip... even if it did mean having to get up at 5:30am so I could pack and make the 7:00am train. I was confident that the scenery would be breathtaking, so I was sure to book a window seat. Since I paid an upgrade for "Komfort Klasse" I ended up getting a sweet giant bay window all to myself...
Unfortunately, the window was filthy, which made it impossible to take any photos of the beautiful world outside. My little camera kept trying to focus on the grime, adding even more blur to an already blurry shot. Even while the train was stopped, my photos turned out pretty bad, so I eventually gave up...
But the scenery was indeed beautiful, filled with snowy wonder and lots to look at...
The hotel I'm staying at in Göteborg is located directly above the main train station. It's very nice, surprisingly quiet, and has some freaky-ass graphics on the wall...
Don't mind me and my MASSIVELY HUGE BABY!!
An hour later, it was time to meet with another long-time blogging buddy, Göran from Six Feet Five! He was kind enough to make the three-hour journey from Stockholm so we could have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. In the meanwhile, we wandered around the city a bit. The only thing I really wanted to see was the museum, because I had read it was quite good...
Unfortunately they were in the middle of redecorating the interior, so there wasn't much open to see except two small exhibits. This was a bummer, but at least we didn't have to pay (admission is free during the renovation). After a ten-minute tour we headed back through the city...
At the other end of town is the city's authorized Apple reseller, which I was surprised to see stocking AppleTV. Since the main purpose of this unit is to purchase or rent movies and shows from the iTunes Music Store, it's practically useless here because they don't have any video content to purchase or rent! I guess you can use it to watch your photos on television or play music, but it seems kind of pointless to shell out the money for just that.
Time for dinner.
The Hard Rock Cafe Gothenburg is a fairly basic property, but it does have the benefit of containing a nice assortment of memorabilia hanging on the walls. Like Oslo, it has a "virtual bowling alley" but, unlike Oslo, it also has a single gaming table for Vegas-style cards(!). Despite it being a Wednesday night, the place was quite busy for the dinner hour, and served up a good meal (even though they don't have milkshakes on the menu)...
And now, since I am falling asleep while typing this in bed, I'm getting some much-needed rest. The hotel doesn't have wireless, so I guess I'll plug-in to post it in the morning.
I'm lazy like that. But hey, I'm on vacation.
Oh... one last thing before I go... can somebody at Apple PLEASE do something to get better exposure from the iPhone's built-in camera? It was so bright I had to wear sunglasses, yet every photo I took was dark and murky as usual. Having photos that turn out at least somewhat like reality would be nice...
Posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2008
My brief time in Göteborg was at an end, so I said my goodbyes to Göran and made my way to Track 8 for the four hour journey back "home" to Oslo.
When you upgrade your Norwegian Rail train ticket to NSB Komfort Class, they give you tokens which can be used to get a complimentary cup of coffee or tea for the journey. Lucky for me, they also had hot chocolate.
Which comes out of the vending machine SO much hotter than the word "hot" can express.
I mean, seriously... unless you are craving a mouth-full of seared flesh, what is the point of serving a beverage at scalding temperature? It's like when people order a drink at Starbucks and ask for it to be "Extra Hot." What the hell for? Are you going to kill somebody with it? Melt a hole through a steel girder? Boil pasta? Because it's certainly not suitable for drinking...
While in Sweden, I highly recommend picking up a Plopp candy bar. I first bought one just because the name sounds funny. Where I come from, "plop" is another word for "crap" (as in "cow plop") and I was intrigued. Now I buy them because they are sublimely delicious. It's chocolate filled with caramel, but they've infused it with toffee flavoring for a mind-blowing treat that tastes nothing like crap.
And speaking of treats... arriving back at Oslo, I immediately headed to the nearest kiosk so I could pick up a bag of crack...
Actually, I think crack would be less addictive than Smash!, but I'd have to give crack a try to be sure. All I do know is that Karla has reached new levels of all-consuming evil to afflict me with this new candy dependency. As if Mars Delight wasn't addiction enough for one man to bear.
And speaking of crack... my old room was as small as a closet, which led me to complain about not having enough space to have a hooker over. Apparently the hotel reads my blog and felt sorry for me, because my new room is at least four times larger. Not only could I fit in a hooker now, but there's room left over for a full breakfast buffet complete with omelette station...
A pity I'm nearly out of money and can't afford a crack-whore. What I really need to find is a Smash! candy-whore. Heaven only knows I'd be willing to trade sexual favors for a bag.
And, lastly, I present Goodbye Sweden: a photographic series in five parts by
Sometimes you look out your window and it feels good to be alive...
Posted on Friday, March 28th, 2008
I had saved the two important outdoor activities I wanted to do in the hopes that the weather would improve. Which, of course, it did... while I was in Göteborg. The minute I get back to Oslo, the weather goes grey and snowy again. I'm lucky that way.
I started my day taking the T-Bahn up to the surrounding hills so I could visit the Holmenkollen ski jump. This is a famous landmark for Oslo, having been originally built in 1939, then used for the Olympic Games in 1952. It's going to be demolished any day now so they can build a new and improved jump tower for the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. I guess this means I'm lucky to see a piece of history before it's gone...
In order to go up the jump tower, you have to buy a ticket to the Holmerkollen Ski Museum (which happens to be the oldest ski museum in the world). Inside you'll find all kinds of interesting stuff about the jump tower, along with a repository of ski equipment throughout the ages. Once you work your way through it all, you find a small elevator which takes you almost to the top. The last remaining bit requires you climb stairs...
This is not so easy for somebody with a fear of heights, but I eventually made it to the top for some really sweet views of Oslo...
That part isn't so bad. It's when you look down the ski jump that your testicles retreat into your body cavity. I honestly don't know how ski jumpers do it...
I tried to get a photo that can illustrate just how frickin' steep the run is, but I failed miserably. As steep as it looks in this photo, it's far worse in real life...
After I stopped squealing like a little girl and made my way back down the tower, I headed off to Vigeland Sculpture Park. Or, as I like to call it, PERVY STATUE PARK! Sure it looks innocent enough as you go in. There's this beautiful metal gate towering over the entrance...
But the minutes you pass through, you enter another world entirely...
Now, from an artistic standpoint, the sculptures are absolutely amazing. It's not easy to form the human body into natural poses, let alone manipulate them so that they intertwine so beautifully. Some of the pieces are astounding in the way they capture the fluidity of the human body.
But that doesn't change the fact that some of them are downright pervy.
After the park I wandered around the city one last time. Along the way I visited The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, which was very cool. They find art in everything from furniture and dishware to appliances and toothbrushes. I also by the Hard Rock Cafe so I could pick up a T-shirt and a few pins...
The building kind of reminds me of the Nottingham Hard Rock, which has sadly closed. Inside, it's a fairly nice property with a good assortment of memorabilia and some nifty touches I've not seen at other Hard Rocks.
Once I was done playing tourist, it was time to head to Karla and Rich's house for some of Karla's orgasm-inducing homemade guacamole and veggie quesadillas. She was kind enough not only to invite me over for dinner, but also took me to a pub so I could meet her friends and drink scary Norwegian beer. I can't think of a better way to spend my last night in Oslo, so thanks Karla!
Time to pack my suitcase and prepare for the long journey home.
Posted on Saturday, March 29th, 2008
Back in Seattle safe and sound and kind of missing Norway already.
I'd blog about it, but I really like my viking DaveToon, so I'm just going to post that instead...
Posted on Sunday, March 30th, 2008
Where did my vacation go? A week is much too short.
I need another vacation.
• Radio. Assuming I make it back home over the mountain passes in one piece, I will be a guest host on Hilly's Snackie Radio tonight at 3:00pm (Pacific), 6:00pm (Eastern). I guess that would be midnight Oslo time, which is where my head is still at, so hopefully I won't fall asleep on the air...
• Poverty. I took a quick look at my credit card statement online. As hideously expensive as I thought the trip was, it actually ended up being much worse. Bring on the peanut butter sandwiches for a month! Eh, but it was a treat for my birthday and I had fun, so what can you do?
• Flight. Have I mentioned how much sweet it is to have a media entertainment center for those long-ass flights? Well it is. The time just flies (heh heh) by when you've got something to do. I watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age (excellent, with an amazing performance by Cate Blanchett), Michael Clayton (okay, but a little Erin Brockovich to me), Eastern Promises (good, though a little inappropriate to be watching in mixed company with the nudity and violence), Enter The Dragon (awesome! haven't seen it in a decade), Bee Movie (suck-ass BORING, I fast-forwarded through it), and and episode of The Office (always good).
• Customs. When you come back from an international trip, you have to claim your luggage for possible inspection whether you are continuing on a connecting flight or not. This doesn't really bother me, but the third degree you get from the customs officers while you wait for your luggage does. I was interviewed twice. The second time was no big deal, but the first time was ridiculous. Not only did he want to know stuff that was none of his fucking business (what does my work matter when I just told you I was traveling on vacation?), but I didn't get the impression he was even listening to my answers. Some questions were duplicates, and others were asked as I was still speaking. I fail to see the point. Do they expect that random questioning is going to cause somebody to slip up and admit they're hauling contraband?
How long were you out of the country? Six days.
Why were you in Norway? On vacation to visit a friend.
Why did you go Sweden then? To visit another fr--
What do you do for work? I'm a graphic desi--
How long were you out of the country? Since Sunday... isn't that six da--
Are you bringing back any food items? Just some candies.
And why were you in Norway? Vaca--
Bringing back any agricultural products? Just some marijuana I picked up in Amsterdam.
AH HAAAAAHHH! D'oh!
• Parking. Usually, I just park at the airport because it's really convenient to have your car waiting for you when you get back. But I found a coupon for "MasterPark" so I gave it a try. It's cheaper than the airport, they valet park your car, their shuttles run constantly, and if you call ahead they'll have your car waiting for you when the shuttle arrives. Sweet! Except I went over my one week coupon rate by 5 hours and had to pay an entire extra day for the overage. That kind of sucks, but I don't know that I can give up this kind of pampering now that I've experienced it.
Well, it's 8:00am... I suppose I should get out of bed and try to get my life back to normal. It's always rough trying to adjust to reality after vacation... even if it was only a week.
Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2008
Hmmm... I almost forgot that I have to be in Salt Lake City this weekend. I was able to change my plans to fly out Saturday instead of Sunday so I can have dinner with fellow blogger (and frequent Blogography commenter) ChillyWilly that night. If anybody in the area wants to join us, we'll probably eat at The Gateway or nearby restaurant around 5:30-6:00. My address is in the sidebar over there, so send me an email for details if you're interested.
For some reason I am having a really hard time readjusting to life after vacation. It's not that I'm unproductive or can't get back to Real Life... on the contrary, I'm tearing through my work like I'm on fire. It's just that I've got this strange displaced feeling I cannot shake. It's like I'm still on vacation and not really back home at all... any minutes now I'm expecting to wake up from this bizarre dream...
What I really need is a nice bitch-slapping to snap me out of this.
Or a billion dollars.
Because with a billion dollars I would never stop being on vacation, so there would never be a need to come back to reality.
Personal checks accepted.
Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2008
It was only a matter of time...
For far too long I've been dissatisfied with the condoms available on the market. So many different brands, styles, colors, and flavors... yet none of them get it right.
Because I've decided to create my own condom.
D•A•V•E Condoms™ are for the discriminating gentleman who sees advertisements for other brands saying "FOR HER PLEASURE" and thinks What about ME?
Well I hear that.
Here at D•A•V•E Condoms™, we've used cutting-edge technology to build propolactics that will not only thrill the ladies with their exclusive DAVE-WAVE™ ribbing and chocolate pudding scent, but will also provide hours of pleasure for the fellas thanks to our DAVE-RAVE™ bio-electric warming gel.
When released this June, everyone will finally be able to experience the ultimate pleasure that only D•A•V•E can provide. So when you think of sex... think of me! Think of D•A•V•E Condoms™
Posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008
Wow. The reaction to my April Fool's condom ad was so favorable that I almost wish I was able to manufacture them! I should start experimenting with latex, chocolate pudding, and banana molds... how difficult can it be to make a condom?
And speaking of experimentation...
Ever since I found out that I'm 20% gay, I've been trying to find a way to put it to good use. I was going to find a pride parade to march in so that I could show support for my 100% gay brothers and sisters, but I just can't pull off the dress code...
Fortunately, Jestertunes has come to the rescue and is having me on as Very Special guest-host for a Very Special episode of The Jester Show tonight (Wednesday) at 7:00 Pacific (10:00 Eastern)...
The topic for the last half of the show is going to be "Your Favorite Television Shows of The 80's" so it ought to be big fun!
As for the first half of the program, heaven only knows what trouble we'll get into. Since his show description says that we'll be "waxing hysterical on gay sex," perhaps I'll have a chance to ask him about those burning gay questions that have come up over the years...
So tune into The Jester Show tonight for "Long time friends and blog acquaintances waxing hysterical on gay sex, politics, tv, movies, music, and generally trashing people we come into contact with on a regular basis." I'm sure it will be fierce and fabulous!*
* Well, I'm sure Jester will be fierce and fabulous... I'm just going to embarrass myself as usual.
Posted on Thursday, April 3rd, 2008
Nothing quite like a night in the emergency room to put all your other problems into perspective.
Yesterday was a happy day. I had chocolate pudding for breakfast, work went good, I got my car's oil changed, and I was set to appear as a Very Special Guest on The Jester Show.
But the next thing you know I am writhing on the floor in agony as I shove every pill I can find down my throat in a feeble effort to get the pain to stop.
Two years ago I was rushed to the ER because I thought I was dying. Turns out I only wish I was dying, because it was a kidney stone. At the time, the ER doctor gave me the lovely news that I had a second stone that could drop in 10 minutes or 10 years. It's like having a bomb inside you with no way of knowing how much time is on the clock...
And yesterday was my lucky day! The bomb timer finally struck zero. This meant a lot of screaming until my trip to the ER and a magical shot of morphine made my life sane again...
I was tagged with a meme by James asking about my most embarrassing moment, and I'd have to say screaming your head off and crying in a room of strangers at the hospital is probably it. But the pain is overwhelming and there's really nothing you can do about it.
How thankful am I that this didn't happen on the flight back from Norway?
So now I live this quiet life of desperation... half-way between pain and a drugged-out haze... until the stone decides to pass. Good times, everybody. Good times.
My apologies to Jester for missing his show, and I'll plan on being there next Wednesday, April 9th, at 7:00.
And now for something really important...
After having already beat the shit out of cancer twice, Lisa over at Clusterfook has been diagnosed for a third time.
Though I've known her only briefly, Lisa has nevertheless done an incredible kindness for me, so when I heard that Miss Ann was on a mission to raise enough money to send Lisa and her daughters to Walt Disney World, I had to be involved. Beating the shit out of cancer for a third time is going to take everything Lisa's got, and I think it's great that her daughters can enjoy a happy vacation with mom before she has to start kicking ass.
There's already a huge list of prizes you can win with your donation, but I'll be adding a big box of treats from the Artificial Duck Store... T-shirts, buttons, and more... including a rare opportunity to own a custom DaveToon Print. That's right, if you win my prize, I'll create a one-of-a-kind custom DaveToon suitable for framing, just for you!
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Miss Ann's blog and donate generously today by clicking the graphic below...
And thanks from the bottom of my heart for helping out an incredibly generous person who really deserves it.
Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2008
Hanging in there.
It's surprising how after a while the agonizing pain is not that big a deal... it's the nausea. That constant feeling that you're going to spew your cookies all over the place, even though you haven't eaten any cookies (or anything else for that matter)...
And yet... I seem to be adjusting to the medication hour by hour. I'm hoping that by tonight I'll be able to get back to Real Life. Which is a good thing, because I've got a flight to Salt Lake City I need to catch in the morning.
Posted on Saturday, April 5th, 2008
Joining the SnackiePeace Movement...
Posted on Sunday, April 6th, 2008
It's Bullet Sunday from lovely Salt Lake City, Utah!
Where I may very well be spending the entire day in bed.
• Skittles! OMG! WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME THAT THEY NOW MAKE CHOCOLATE-MIX SKITTLES?? Each bag-full has five yummy flavors: S'mores, Chocolate Caramel, Vanilla, Brownie Batter, and... wait for it... CHOCOLATE PUDDING, BITCHES!! Just look at my most excellent breakfast this morning...
• Stones! But my happiness at discovering Chocolate Mix Skittles is seriously dampened by the constant mind-blowing pain of a kidney stone that has long since worn out its welcome. Unless doped up on drugs all day long, my entire groin aches as if I'm being kicked in the balls every two seconds...
I am so ready for this to be over.
• Galactica! I was too drugged to watch the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica on Friday, so I've got it at home sitting on my TiVo. But I really wanted to watch it last night. First I tried every legal option available to me. iTunes Music Store? Not sold there. Streaming from the official site? Yes, but Sci-Fi Channel's streaming sucks ass by stalling every 10 seconds. BitTorrent it is then! This is really f#@%ing stupid on Sci-Fi Channel's part. Had they been selling their shows on iTunes, they would have got a double purchase from me... once so I could watch it now, and again when the DVD is released (just as I've bought all the other Battlestar Galactica DVDs). Why is it these dumb-f#@% networks STILL don't understand how to distribute their shit? They'd rather bitch and moan about how internet piracy is killing their profits WHEN THEY'RE THE DUMBASSES WHO CAUSE THE PIRACY IN THE FIRST PLACE!! Cry me a river, bitches. It's really a shame too, because this show is amazing. The space battles are about the best I've ever seen.
• Chilly! Long-time Blogography commenter and fellow blogger from Banal Leakage, Marty (better known here as ChillyWilly) was kind enough to bring along his fiance and join me for dinner at the Salt Lake City landmark: The Rio Grande Cafe. Since I was whacked out on pain-killers, who knows if I was coherent for the evening... but that's probably true whether I am drugged-up or not...
• Skank! On my way walking to dinner last night, a car full of girls at a stop light started screaming obscenities my way, saying things like "SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TEACH YOU TO FUCK LIKE A MAN!" I should have ignored them but, because this is me we're talking about, I screamed back "AND SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TEACH YOU TO DOUCHE YOU FILTHY WHORE!!" I didn't think anything of it until the three of us were walking back from The Gateway after dinner when another car of girls pulled up and started screaming crap like "YOU'RE THE KIND OF MAN I'M LOOKING FOR!" What the hell? But then it was explained to me that they were not yelling at me... they were yelling at the Mormons walking next to us. Remembering back, I realized that I probably wasn't the intended "victim" the first time either, because there was a group of Mormons walking behind me then (there's a huge convention for the Latter Day Saints Church here in town, so they're everywhere). Seriously, WTF?!? Dumbass ugly bitches in this city drive around screaming crap at Mormons to feel better about themselves? It wouldn't have been any less stupid had they been hot, but these were so not hot-looking babes. They were skanky trolls hanging out with other skanky trolls so they could make fun of clean-cut Mormon guys who are too decent and kind to fight back. I suppose for these ugly-ass skanks, it's the closest thing to being in a relationship with a man that they're going to get without a crack-pipe being involved. Is there anything more ironic and sad?
• Founded! Okay, I can't let this go... Salt Lake City was BUILT by Mormons. They MADE this place. This is THEIR city. The came here to make a home of their own after being persecuted everywhere else for their religious beliefs (go America!). You'd think that the butt-ugly bitches that drive around harassing Mormon guys would show a little fucking respect. You may not care for their religion, but is that any reason to treat them like crap in a city their people founded to get away from exactly this type of bullshit? Instead of tormenting guys who are just trying to live their lives in peace, why not go build your own city... a city where toxic ugly bitches can go be miserable without bugging the shit out of the rest of us. I wish society would fucking grow up and learn tolerance, because this stupid shit really sets me on edge.
• Beauty! And now, because I refuse to close out this entry with such ugliness, some photos I took on my trip yesterday...
While I was eating my Qdoba Breakfast Burrito, I looked out the giant glass windows of the Sea-Tac Airport food court and was stunned to see that a shaft of light was cutting through the horizon, illuminating the mountains in a way that made them look as if they were floating. I threw down my food and hauled ass towards the windows so I could capture the moment, but none of the pictures came close to reproducing the staggering sight. Perhaps if you use your imagination, you can kind of see what I'm talking about here...
But not really. Oh well. It was truly jaw-dropping, and by the time I gave up trying to photography it, a bunch of people had crowded around the windows to take a look.
I've published so many from-the-air shots here, but I really liked the way this one turned out as I was flying over southern Idaho...
And, lastly, here's The Great Salt Lake as I descended into SLC...
Breakfast has me feeling much better, so I think it might be time to get out of bed and go get some soup! I swear, some of the best soups on earth are to be found in Salt Lake City...
Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2008
My entire day was spent sick in bed. What have I got to blog about?
The only thing that could make me more miserable than I already am would be to get up in the morning and have to take three flights home so I can get back to work.
Posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
The trip home was a thrill.*
I kept hoping that perhaps the turbulence and vibrations from my three flights would shake something loose...
Alas, no stone fell out. The little bastard is still stuck up my urinary system somewhere.
Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.
* And by "a thrill" I mean "unbelievably painful."
Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
Thanks to everybody who has been leaving comments and sending me e-cards while I've been sick. It's nice to be so beloved by the blogosphere.
Well, maybe not "beloved," but at least "well-liked."
Anyway... for everybody who tuned into The Jester Show expecting to hear me there last Wednesday, I'm sorry you only got ten minutes of Dave-time. I had to be rushed to the hospital so I could scream and cry in a room full of complete strangers. Which, when you think about it, is a lot like appearing on The Jester Show... except Jester isn't there and nobody is recording it.
Well, now that I have a big bag full of pain-killing drugs to keep me somewhat sane, Jester has kindly agreed to have me on again tonight. If you don't mind all kinds of not-appropriate-for-children talk, I invite you to join me at The Jester Show tonight at 7:00pm Pacific, 10:00pm Eastern on BlogTalk Radio...
When you combine my 20% gay fierceness with Jester's 100% gay fierceness, that's 120% gay fierceness all in one radio show, which just might exceed the BlogTalk Radio standards for overall gay fierceness...
For more about my appearance on The Jester Show, you can read my Blogography entry from last week.
And now, if you'll excuse me, there's a bottle of pills calling my name.
But while I am still in a pain-induced cranky mood, is it just me... or is this the stupidest fucking BlogHer Conference ad ever...
"What happens at BlogHer stays at Blogher?"
What happens at BlogHer will be written about in no less than 1000 blogs ("OH MY GAWD... DOOCE IS HERE!!!"). Every tiny possible BlogHer detail will be posted on Twitter ("OH MY GAWD... I JUST SAW DOOCE!!!"). Flickr will be busting at the seams with BlogHer photos ("OH MY GAWD... HERE'S A PHOTO OF DOOCE WALKING INTO THE BATHROOM!!!). There will be BlogHer podcasts ("OH MY GAWD... IF YOU LISTEN CAREFULLY, YOU CAN HEAR DOOCE DROPPING A DUECE!!!"). YouTube will be overrun with BlogHer video ("OH MY GAWD... HERE WE ARE CHASING DOOCE IN THE PARKING LOT!!!"). For three days in July, I can assure you that the shit happening at BlogHer is not going to be staying at BlogHer, it's going to be posted to the internet in every conceivable way.
Which is kind of the point, isn't it?
But I guess if BlogHer wants to trot out that tired old "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" rhetoric (which would have been somewhat excusable if the conference actually took place in Vegas instead of San Francisco), then more power to them. Perhaps enticing ladies to attend by making them think they're going to have some dirty little weekend away from the husband/kids/whatever is how they sell tickets. I just find it sad that a network built to empower women on the internet has to resort to such an obvious sexist cliche as "girls weekend away."
Even sadder is that I won't be attending BlogHer so that I can hook-up with all these ladies who arrive expecting a dirty little weekend away from their husband and kids.
Unless they're showing up expecting to hook up with each other, in which case I really regret that I won't be attending BlogHer.
Or that I don't own a video camera and work for "Girls Gone Wild."
Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2008
Free at last.
This morning at 9:47am, after a week of agony and discomfort, my kidney stone finally decided to exit the building. And by "building" I mean "me." I had a feeling things were coming to an end yesterday because things started feeling different in my internals, but it wasn't until the pain subsided and was replaced with burning discomfort that I knew for certain. My guess is that appearing on The Jester Show last night scared the stone out of me, but it was more likely due to the massive quantities of water I drank afterwards.
The hospital scan revealed that the stone was only 4mm, but it might as well have been 4-inches for all the trauma it caused me. Surprisingly, as I stood there gazing at the instrument of my destruction in the toilet, I marveled at how innocent it looked. Like a little pebble that might get stuck in your shoe or something. And by "shoe" I mean "penis."
Though I'm sure if you looked at it under a microscope, it would be a different story. I've taken to calling my kidney stone "Mr. Sharpie" because it's the only explanation for how unbelievably fucking painful it's been...
Please note that Mr. Sharpie is no relation to Sharpie Brand Markers, ©Sanford, A Newell Rubbermaid Company
I really don't want to be sued over this shit.
Oh well. It's all over now. After having gone through this crap twice, I've decided that I'm drinking fifty glasses of water each day to flush this stuff out before it has a chance to accumulate into SPIKEY BALLS OF EXTREME PAIN!!
In other news, the movie trailer for Battle In Seattle has been released over at MovieSet.
It looks like complete and total shit.
I don't know why they'd make a movie over a frickin' protest, but here you have it. While the event was very real, I have no idea if the drama they've added to the film is based on real stories or not. From the over-clocked intensity of the scenes in the trailer, I'm guessing it's mostly speculation and fiction, but who knows?
In any event, I have no plans for seeing it. I was in Seattle working on November 30th, 1999... and blissfully unaware of everything that was going on. I was a dozen blocks away and cut off from news sources when things started up, and had no idea how intense things were getting until I went back downtown to my hotel later in the day. Fortunately, my hotel was on the edge of the riots, but I could still look out my window and catch a glimpse of the crazy stuff happening just a couple blocks away. Part of me wanted to go check it out, but after watching TV news I decided to stay in my room (which was largely tear-gas free!) and eat a bag of potato chips and a Coke for dinner.
But my true memories of the WTO protest riots were formed the next two days while walking through the streets of downtown Seattle. The spray-painted buildings and smashed windows provided a vivid picture of just how fucked-up some people can get. I'm all for protest, but using violence to promote your cause doesn't do anything but make you look like a douchebag. I'd like to believe that the vast majority of the people who showed up were there for peaceful protest (even if most of them probably didn't even understand what they were protesting), but the fact that nothing was done to stop the violence has me blaming the protestors as much as I blame the Seattle Police for being so grossly unprepared.
Now that I'm back to normal, I suppose I should get back to reality.
For once I'm actually happy about that.
Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2008
Blame it on Friday.
Last Saturday when I was flying to Salt Lake City and had my first layover in Seattle, some crazy bitch sat down next to me and pulled out a book by an author I positively loathe. I'd go so far as to say that I hate this author, but I try really hard not to hate anybody. Suffice to say I dislike the author enough that it makes me want to rip the book out of crazy bitch's hands and beat her to death with it.
Except I try really hard not to be violent either.
In real life, anyway.
In cartoons I don't mind a little violence thrown in for entertainment value.
So as I sat there fuming that somebody paid money for a book that's filled with gross exaggerations, half-truths, blatant lies, and vile hatred... all in the name of selling books to morons who are too lazy to seek the truth and too stupid to care that they're being manipulated... I drew a cartoon.
Then decided it went too far and promptly filed it away, never to be seen again.
Because I'm lazy, don't feel like blogging, and it's Friday.
But mostly because it's Friday.
Posted on Saturday, April 12th, 2008
Professor Ahmet MacBarnaby has the unfortunate distinction of being the first person to perish in an anti-gravity toilet accident.
The fact that his many accomplishments in life would be so embarrassingly eclipsed by the manner of his death is an irony anybody can appreciate. Except for Professor MacBarnaby, of course.
Not that it really matters to him... he's dead.
"Tut tut, my dear!" he mumbled as he had dismissed the attendant. "I managed to figure out how to deflect rogue tachyons during a wormhole compression, I think I can figure out how to operate a toilet!"
He couldn't have been more wrong. This was made abundantly clear as his internal organs were liquified because he failed to secure the rectal safety coupling before the Physemann Vent engaged. There are far worse deaths one can experience, but few have the distinction of disintegrating your ass in the process.
— Taken from "Varukkah Blind" (unfinished), by David Simmer II
You can thank Bac-Os Artificial Bacon Bits for my digging out an old sci-fi novel I started writing two decades ago.
I bought them because I used to like bacon when I ate meat, and the label promised me that Bac-Os "Makes Every Bite Better" (yet contained no actual meat in the ingredients). How can you resist marketing hype like that?
As usual, when things sound too good to be true, they usually are.
In this case, it's because Bac-Os taste like super-bacon infused toxic waste. They are SO disgusting. And now I've got a giant bottle of them taking up space in my cupboard.
But my real concern is the handful I popped into my mouth just now to give them a try.
They burned my mouth so bad that I became terrified as to what happens when they are excreted. Worrying over Bac-Os disintegrating my ass on the way out reminded me of the fictional Professor MacBarnaby in my story, and I was compelled to go read it again.
With classic storytelling like that, how am I not a massive literary success?
Posted on Sunday, April 13th, 2008
Good news, everybody! Those toxic Bac-Os I ate yesterday didn't kill me! To celebrate my new-found lease on life, I present another Bullet Sunday...
• Blogiversary. Blargh. It's one week until I have to get things ready for my Fifth Annual Blogiversary Celebration, and I am nowhere near ready. Six months ago I started two very cool projects specifically for the occasion... but one is not ready and the other fell through and has to be re-worked. This is great news for Blogiversary Six, but a real inconvenience for Blogiversary Five. Oh well. There's plenty of big fun in store, as usual. Mark your calenders...
• Nads. How big of balls do you have to possess in order to write an email to a complete stranger asking if they have any shirtless photos they'd be willing to share? My guess is that these balls would have to be at least two pounds each. So when I received just such an email this morning, all I could think about was how does somebody finds pants to fit over such enormous testicles? In any event, anything I'm willing to share is already on my blog or posted to my Flickr account. There ain't no more. But thanks so much for being crass enough to ask.
• Imported. I purchased a nifty audio/video importer for my Mac so I can transfer all my favorite old television shows from videotape to my iPhone. The XLR8 XtraView unit works pretty well considering the source material is of really poor quality. Oh how happy I will be to finally eliminated the last vestiges of analog media in my life.
• Cliffhanger. But there is a down-side to digitizing all these fantastic old shows... so many of them end with a cliffhanger that was never resolved. I get to that last episode, then get angry all over again that television networks screw over their viewers by not wrapping up all the loose ends of the story. Then, just when I'm over being pissed off because the shows were cancelled, I get enraged all over again because they haven't been released on DVD and I'm having to digitize them off of crappy videotape in the first place. Even if studios don't want to go to the expense of manufacturing the DVDs, they could at least put them up for sale on iTunes or something. This would cost them practically nothing AND be a nice source of revenue for them. Here are the top five shows I want released...
• Taxed. I finished most of my taxes months ago, but needed a few final bits of information before I could send them in. On Monday, I'll hopefully get the last piece of the puzzle so I can squeak in under the April 15th deadline. Oh how I hate the US tax system. It's a bloated bitch of a complicated mess, and I remain in a constant state of shock that our citizens don't revolt against the government for not coming up with something that's not fucking stupid. While I don't think that the Flat Tax Initiative or the Fair Tax Initiative are anywhere near perfect, at least they are something that normal people can understand, so I say go for it. Nothing could be worse than what we have now. It's at time like this that I think government officials need to be taken into the street and beaten severely for their complete and total failure to serve us with any competency.
And on that happy note, I suppose I should get back to work.
Posted on Monday, April 14th, 2008
Am I the only one who thinks that Hillary Clinton has just reached the point where she is completely and totally unelectable? And if she keeps being a douche, Obama is going to be unelectable too. I guess this means that McCain is our next president. Oh well. I've had a pretty good life... I guess I'm okay with the Apocalypse in 2009.
But first I need to achieve world domination. And I'm thinking that I'll need a couple billion dollars to get that going.
Perhaps there's an opportunity in the gourmet hot cocoa market?
I could serve super-expensive cocoa with a variety of configurations and flavorings!
I can hear it now...
"I'd like a grande half-soy vanilla blended cocoa with foam plus whip cream and pink sprinkles... extra hot!"
"That will be $8.00 please!"
Yeah, there's a billion dollar idea right there...
Posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
Has anybody ever had a good experience at the DMV... ever? I only ask because I dread going to the Department of Motor Vehicles more than I dread a kick in the balls. Usually it's because the people working there are such assholes (a job requirement?), but the guy that helped me today was surprisingly nice and helpful. No, the reason my visit to the DMV sucked ass was because it took an hour... AN HOUR... to get my license renewed.
When I got there, I took a number (#69, heh heh!) and noticed that they were calling #62. I also noticed that they don't accept credit cards.
Who carries cash anymore? So I ran... RAN... down the street so I could get some money out of the cash machine (which was kind of embarrassing because it was a drive-through ATM and I was walking). Then I ran... RAN... back to the DMV praying that my 10-minute detour didn't make me miss my number being called.
Which was pretty laughable, because when I got back they were on #64.
And then I noticed that there were three different number series being called all at the same time... #64... #408... #409... #263... #410... #264... #65... and so on. It took 48 minutes before I even got to the counter. FORTY-EIGHT MINUTES!!! What the hell? THIS AIN'T NO RIDE AT DISNEYLAND M#THAF#@%ER!! If I'm having to pay a ridiculous FIFTY DOLLARS to get my license renewed, you'd better not make me wait on your shit. Try opening more than two service windows at a time, morons.
Is my number ticket making you horny, baby?
My trauma at the DMV put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. After work was done, all I wanted to do was get home and climb into a bottle of vodka.
So there I am driving home when I turn the corner onto my street and BLAM! There's a line of three cars stopped ahead of me. Trying to figure out what's going on, I eventually see the second car (a lady in a minivan) turn into the oncoming lane and go around the first car. After that, the redneck dumbass in the pickup ahead of me honks his horn... waits a second... then punches the gas pedal so he can scream around the first car with his arms flailing.
And that's when I see what's going on.
A young kid from the first car is having engine trouble and is trying to push his car off to the side of the road. Instead of offering to help, dumbasses are honking at him and blowing past.
I drive around the poor guy and park in a driveway, then run back to help him push his pile of shit off the road.
He's a little upset, and thanks me profusely as we manage to get his automobile taken care of. I ask him if he needs to borrow my phone to call somebody, but he has his own phone. I ask him if he's okay because he looks a little shook up (with good reason) and he says he's fine and thanks me again. So I say goodbye and continue home. It added maybe five minutes to my trip.
All night now I've been really bothered that people are such assholes that they wouldn't offer to help out this kid. How many people blew past before I got there? It's not like he was a gang-banger, drug addict, or in a dangerous neighborhood... he was a clean-cut kid in jeans and a T-shirt on a residential street! I just don't know. Was it because he looked Hispanic? I sure as hell hope not, because that type of racist crap makes me more pissed-off than a trip to the DMV.
Every once in a while I get a glimpse of where the human race is headed and want to scream.
Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
This morning I was working in bed, trying to get the hang of my new 3-D modeling software, when the electrical power went out. This didn't matter much to me, because I was working on a laptop with a full battery.
But the power never came back on.
I needed to take a shower and get to work, but nothing was happening. Eventually I decided to just bite the bullet and take a shower in the darkness of my windowless bathroom. I mean hey, I pretty much know where all my body parts are, so how difficult could it be? In fact, it might end up being big fun!
Showering in the dark is not nearly as entertaining as you would think.
Not only did I lose one of my contact lenses, but I think I ended up washing my hair with facial scrub, and I'm pretty sure there's still shampoo in places where shampoo should not be.
But that wasn't the worst part.
The worst part was that I accidentally went to work with a fauxhawk...
LEFT: My normal mess. RIGHT: accidental fauxhawk in the dark.
When I finally noticed it, I was really embarrassed.
But then I started thinking that this is a look I can totally pull off.
Now I just need to dye it pink...
Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2008
As I left for work this morning, the adorable old couple that lives next door were screaming at each other. Again. This time over how to dispose of eggshells properly. I can't help but feel that one of these days I'm going to see CSI over there picking up body parts, because these bitches will fight over anything.
I mean, eggshells? Really?
|Your Slogan Should Be|
Yeah, baby! Like that's not embarrassing.
Every morning I have my choice of four routes to work. Which route I take depends on a number of factors which are balanced in my head until the least offensive route is determined. For example, if there's a train rolling through town, I'll take the Goodwin Bridge to the highway because its the only route that has an overpass.
Of all the ways I can get to work, the one that bothers me the most is the Pioneer Avenue route. Not only because it's a continuous school zone that enforces a 20mph speed limit, but because there's a sight along the way which bugs the crap out of me. Take a look at this...
Yes, it's a yard light. And there's nothing wrong with a yard light... plenty of people have them... the problem is this...
WTF? Why would you put a single yard light directly next to a street light? What purpose does it serve? It's not even located by a walkway going to the house! So why? What's it doing there? And if you simply MUST double-light that section of your yard, why would you make a mini version of the street light next to it? Why? Why? Why? Is it supposed to be some kind of optical illusion or something?
Every time I drive past that stupid light, I start freaking out.
And this morning I have to drive this route while I'm already freaking out because one of my neighbors is probably laying dead in my driveway with eggshells scattered over their corpse.
The stress of living in a small town is really starting to wear on me. I need to move to the relative sanity you find in a big city.
Posted on Friday, April 18th, 2008
Posted on Saturday, April 19th, 2008
I didn't realize that my entry yesterday would result in a half-dozen emails and some comments asking what was wrong and if I was going to be okay.
I'm fine. I was just banging my head against the wall trying to think of something to blog about, and ultimately decided to blog about banging my head against the wall. But instead of writing about it, I drew up a DaveToon. I don't know why, but sometimes it's easier to express myself that way than trying to come up with the words.
Anyway, today I'm working on stuff for my Kick-Ass Blogiversary 5 Celebration next week. Since I can't really talk about that yet, there's nothing I could blog about except how I ate Hello Kitty strawberry cream dipping biscuits for breakfast...
They're Hello Kitty delicious! That bitch really knows how to make breakfast!
Before I get back to work, I'd like to wish everybody who celebrates Passover a happy Seder tonight.
Mostly because it gives me an opportunity to reprint a nifty cartoon I drew for the occasion last year...
I think every Passover needs a drunk monkey sommelier at the table... even if they do eat the Karpas off of everybody's Seder plate. Bad Monkey!
Posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2008
Wow! It's Bullet Sunday again! I was talking to a friend this afternoon when she remarked that she's going to give up on reading blogs because so many of them have nothing but stupid crap on them. At first I was offended, because my blog is nothing but stupid crap, but she then told me that of all the stupid crap she reads, mine is her favorite. I still don't know if that was a compliment or not.
On to the stupid crap...
• Repeat. I've started re-watching the first season of Veronica Mars for the hundredth time and think that I appreciate it now more than ever. The first episode is positively mind-blowing in the way that they set up so many seemingly-random events that won't pay-off until the very end of the season. There are lots of shows I've liked over the years which have been canceled, but none of them left such massive future potential laying in the dirt than Veronica Mars. If only there was a way to erase my memories of the show form my head so I can watch it all over again for the first time. It's things like this that make amnesia not sound like such a bad thing, and perhaps I should investigate running my car into a tree. Hey, it always works in the movies.
• Repeat. Every time I read a new piece of news about Zac Snyder's adaptation of one of the greatest comic book series of all time, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbon's Watchmen, it makes me want to read it all over again. So, over the course of the last twelve nights, I did. Like Veronica Mars, I'm astounded at how carefully the foreshadowing of future events was crafted on almost every single page of the story. Unlike so many comics today where you could rip out a dozen pages and not really affect anything, losing even a single page of Watchmen would be catastrophic to the structure of the story. Oh how I wish Alan Moore would tackle another project like this again. Comics needs it so badly.
• Repeat. While working at night, I like to toss in a movie for background noise so I won't be distracted by other noises going on around my home. This usually works quite well, because I always choose a movie that I've already seen a dozen times so I won't be tempted to stop work and watch it. But there are some movies that you are compelled to watch no matter how many times you've seen it... Sneakers is just such a film. I'm amazed that it holds up as well today as it did when it was released. At first I thought it was because the technology they used was so cutting edge at the time they filmed it, but now I'm thinking it's because the brilliant performances are so timeless. Needless to say, I'm pretty pissed at everybody involved with Sneakers because I lost 2 hours and 6 minutes of time I should have been working.
• Repeat. Just when I think winter is finally over, I get hit with stupid-ass snow first thing this morning. Followed by rain. Followed by hail. Now it's just ball-shriveling cold. Where in the hell is my Spring? It's almost MAY. I'm dying here.
• Repeat. Heaven help me, my Fifth Annual Kick-Ass Blogiversary Celebration starts tomorrow. As always, it will start out with a Blogography wrap-up followed by four contests over the following four days until everything ends on Saturday and winners are drawn on Sunday. Two things I had wanted to do for the event didn't get done, one thing I am still unsure about, and one thing I think is totally insane... even for me... so it should be an interesting week.
Posted on Monday, April 21st, 2008
Seriously... five years? FIVE YEARS?
I already rehashed the early history of Blogography for Blogiversary 2, which you can read here, so I won't be going into all that again. I did consider reinventing my history with colorful lies so it would be more interesting, but my early entries suck so bad that nobody would believe it.
In any event I have been blogging for five years now, and that's reason to celebrate!
Just like my previous Kick-Ass Blogiversary Celebrations, I'll be giving away hundreds of dollars worth of booty (along with a few surprises) over the next four days, so be sure to check back and enter! Here's the schedule of events...
Unfortunately, past experience has taught me that there are always dumbasses who try to spoil things, so I am compelled to waste the first day of my Blogiversary posting a bunch of rules so I can (hopefully) anticipate any ass-hattery that might ensue from giving away free stuff. Have fun with that!
OFFICIAL BLOGOGRAPHY KICK-ASS BLOGIVERSARY 5 CELEBRATION CONTEST RULES...
And now, on with the show...
Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
I started creating T-shirts for my blog because I wanted them for me. It was never my intention that anybody else would wear them. I'm selfish that way. But after writing about my idea, I found out that many of my readers wanted the T-shirts too, so I created my first T-shirt on the occasion of my first blogiversary. It was a simple design with Lil' Dave in a box with "Blogography" printed below it, and I ended up selling 26 of them. Given the number of readers I had at the time, this was a huge success, so I decided to do a new design when Blogiversary II came around... this time with Bad Monkey on it. I sold 51 shirts, almost double what I had done the year before. I remember being dumbfounded, because I didn't even know that I had 51 readers.
A tradition was born. Every year there would be a new Blogography T-shirt. For Blogiversary III, sales more than tripled to 170. Last year I released four new designs and ended up selling and giving away almost 400 shirts. Insanity.
Part of the reason the shirts are so successful is because they are quality screen-printed with fun designs.
But mostly they're popular because they're cheap. I sell the shirts at a price that's just enough to cover my costs (though last year I did a bad job of estimating foreign postage and ended up losing several hundred dollars!). I'd rather sell my shirts as inexpensively as I can so everybody can afford them. It's more fun that doing it for the money.
Anyway, since everybody did such a great job of helping to pick a design last year, I'm going to put it up for a vote again this year. Not only is it helpful to know what everybody wants, but it allows me to keep prices cheap since I can order in larger quantities. I originally gave all voters a $10 off coupon so they could get a cheap shirt... but response was so great that I was able to offer the $10 off all year long! Hopefully I can offer good discounts again this year.
Here are the selections you can vote on...
Hmmm... that's a little small. Let's try zooming in...
Shirt #1: BAD MONKEY GYM.
Shirt #2: BAD MONKEY GIANT HEAD.
Shirt #3: FINE READING.
Shirt #4: RED WAGON.
Shirt #5: MONKEY PEACE.
Shirt #6: MONKEY BUTTON.
And now for today's prizes!
GRAND PRIZE DRAWING...
Three Artificial Duck T-Shirts ($51 value). Yep, that's right, get any three shirts you like from the Artificial Duck Store... keep them for yourself, or give them out as gifts that will impress those lucky people you deem worthy of wearing them!
Six Sets of DuckyButtons ($24 value). Pick any six sets you like, or create your own 5-button sets. DuckyButtons are sure to bring a smile to your face... or to anybody else's you meet when you wear them. And since you're getting 30 buttons, that's a month's worth of sweet wearable art to wear and share!
Twenty-Five Custom-Made DuckyButtons with Your Design ($25 value). Email us any one design or photo you like, and we'll turn it into 25 beautiful custom buttons of your very own! Use them to promote your blog, impress your friends, or distribute wearable pictures of your cat... so long as it isn't copyrighted, we'll make buttons from whatever you want!
World-Wide Shipping (up to $35 value). No matter where you live on planet earth, rest assured you won't have to pay a dime to claim your prize because shipping is included.
And that's not all, today you also have twenty other chances to win...
RUNNER-UP PRIZE DRAWING (TWENTY WINNERS!)...
One Artificial Duck T-Shirts ($17 value). Twenty lucky readers will be able to pick any shirt they like from the Artificial Duck Store, and be happy knowing that they'll be wearing a T-shirt that makes them at least 10% hotter the minute they put it on!
One Set of DuckyButtons ($4 value). Your choice of one set of super-sweet DuckyButtons in whatever designs you like to wear and share!
SHIPPING NOT INCLUDED! YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY EXACT SHIPPING CHARGES TO COLLECT YOUR WINNINGS!
AND NOW FOR THE RULES...
Everybody can enter! There's no minimum number of comments you have to leave in order to have a chance at winning. All other rules specified on Day One apply. Please remember that shipping charges are ONLY included with the Grand Prize. Winners are responsible for all duties and taxes that might apply.
HOW TO ENTER...
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
As with all of the new Blogography stuff presented this week, the shirts will be printed sometime in May for Delivery in June. This will give me time to accept pre-orders and figure out how many pieces I'll need to have printed. Winners will be announced on Bullet Sunday 79 on April 27th, and the Artificial Duck Store will reopen at that time so everybody who wants to buy stuff can get their orders in.
Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
A long time ago (9 months) in a galaxy far, far away (Atlanta, Georgia), I met up with fellow blogger Copasetic Beth for THE event in the South last year: Davelanta. We had big fun touring the infamous World of Coke Without Lime, but the best part was when Beth gave me a beautifully embroidered hat she made featuring DaveDevil inviting the world to "Try Evil."
I love that hat.
It has been my faithful companion as I travel the globe, keeping my head warm, my messy hair hidden, and my life complete...
Everybody else seems to like my hat too. This was made perfectly clear to me when some bastard tried to steal it while I was waiting at an airport. Of course, this meant he had to die. But then I remembered that I'm not quite that evil, so I had to let him go. Though I do remember hoping he died of shame after I was finished screaming at him.
And so... when it came time to think up prizes for Blogiversary 5, this choice was obvious. All I had to do was threaten bribe beg ask Beth if she'd be willing to make them for me. Luckily she said yes, and so I came up with three new styles I liked, meaning I'll be offering four styles total in the Artificial Duck Co. Store...
The hat Beth gave me is a super-high-quality Champion® 6-panel brushed cotton twill cap with adjustable strap. It's so comfy to wear that I wouldn't dream of selling anything else. And, needless to say, the embroidery is top-notch... beautifully stitched in painstaking detail. Make no mistake, these are one fashion accessory you can't live without!
And now for today's prizes!
GRAND PRIZE DRAWING...
Three Artificial Duck Embroidered Hats ($57 value). Sweet! Today's winner gets to snag three new hats from the Artificial Duck Store... keep them for yourself, or give them out as gifts that will impress those lucky people you deem worthy of wearing them!
Six Sets of DuckyButtons ($24 value). Pick any six sets you like, or create your own 5-button sets. DuckyButtons are sure to bring a smile to your face... or to anybody else's you meet when you wear them. And since you're getting 30 buttons, that's a month's worth of sweet wearable art to wear and share!
Twenty-Five Custom-Made DuckyButtons with Your Design ($25 value). Email us any one design or photo you like, and we'll turn it into 25 beautiful custom buttons of your very own! Use them to promote your blog, impress your friends, or distribute wearable pictures of your cat... so long as it isn't copyrighted, we'll make buttons from whatever you want!
World-Wide Shipping (up to $35 value). No matter where you live on planet earth, rest assured you won't have to pay a dime to claim your prize because shipping is included.
And that's not all, today you also have four other chances to win...
RUNNER-UP PRIZE DRAWING (FOUR WINNERS!)...
One Artificial Duck Embroidered Hat ($19 value). Four lucky readers will be able to pick whatever hat they like from the Artificial Duck Store, becoming the envy of everybody they meet every time they wear it!
One Set of DuckyButtons ($4 value). Your choice of one set of super-sweet DuckyButtons in whatever designs you like to wear and share!
SHIPPING NOT INCLUDED! YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY EXACT SHIPPING CHARGES TO COLLECT YOUR WINNINGS!
AND NOW FOR THE RULES...
If you've left ten comments* at Blogography between April 30th, 2007 and April 19th, 2008, just send an email to the address in the next section and you're entered! If you haven't left ten comments, you'll need to answer five of the six questions below in your entry in order to qualify...
NOTE: All answers to today's questions can be found on this entry (click to see it).
*If you need to confirm how many comments you've left, you can always use my search page. Just type in the name you comment under and select "Search Comments Only" from the drop-down box. When in doubt, answer the questions... you aren't penalized for doing so. If you can't get a count, think you have 10 comments, and really don't want to answer the questions, send me an email and I'll search for your comment count via your email address.
HOW TO ENTER...
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
As with all of the new Blogography stuff presented this week, the hats will be made sometime in May for Delivery in June. This will give me time to accept pre-orders and figure out how many pieces I'll need to have embroidered. Winners will be announced on Bullet Sunday 79 on April 27th, and the Artificial Duck Store will reopen at that time so everybody who wants to buy stuff can get their orders in.
Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2008
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
For as long as I can remember, I've been a big-time game fan. Card games, board games, video games... I love them all. I enjoy them so much that I've even created my own games over the years, either by modifying existing games or coming up with something all my own.
When thinking up ideas for
But these won't be some cheap-ass cards you won't want to play with... no way! Blogography cards are being printed on casino-quality black-core paper stock with a pro-dealer protective coating. The sample deck I ordered shuffles like a dream and deals like butter! They're perfect for adding a whole new level of coolness to a Texas Hold 'Em tournament, and a great way to spice up your next card game.
Each and every card features an entirely new piece of custom artwork, created specially for this deck. The face cards have Lil' Dave dressed up as kings, queens, and jacks, each rendered in an individual style. As if that weren't enough, careful attention to detail ensures that when you call out "one-eyed jacks and suicide kings are wild!" that the proper jacks have one eye and the correct kings are totally suicidal. This isn't just a cutesy novelty, but a fully-playable deck that's suitable for serious card players...
But just because you can play a serious game with the cards doesn't mean you can't have a little fun too! Each number card features Bad Monkey in an illustration from four different genres: Sci-Fi (Spades), Romance (Hearts), Horror (Clubs), and Adventure (Diamonds). When you put the cards in order, they tell a story...
Whoa! Things aren't looking too good for our monkey heroes! I wonder how they get out of this mess? The stunning conclusion can be found on cards 7 through 10!
At this point I'd think it was painfully obvious that you simply must own a couple decks of Blogography Playing Cards, which is why I'm giving some away! Check out today's fabulous prizes...
And now for today's prizes!
GRAND PRIZE DRAWING...
Six decks of Blogography Playing Cards ($42 value). A half-dozen freshly-printed decks are yours, each card featuring an original DaveToon drawing. Host a Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tourney and be the envy of all your friends! Also makes a great gift!
Bad Monkey Joker Print ($15 value). Add class to any room in your home! We've taken the Joker card from the Blogography Playing Cards deck, enlarged it, then reproduced it with pigment inks on archival paper for a nifty print that's suitable for framing!
Six Sets of DuckyButtons ($24 value). Pick any six sets you like, or create your own 5-button sets. DuckyButtons are sure to bring a smile to your face... or to anybody else's you meet when you wear them. And since you're getting 30 buttons, that's a month's worth of sweet wearable art to wear and share!
World-Wide Shipping (up to $35 value). No matter where you live on planet earth, rest assured you won't have to pay a dime to claim your prize because shipping is included.
And that's not all, today you also have four other chances to win...
RUNNER-UP PRIZE DRAWING (FOUR WINNERS!)...
Two decks of Blogography Playing Cards ($14 value). Four lucky people will get two decks of cards... one to play with and another to share with a friend (or keep them both if you're greedy!).
One Set of DuckyButtons ($4 value). Your choice of one set of super-sweet DuckyButtons in whatever designs you like to wear and share!
SHIPPING NOT INCLUDED! YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY EXACT SHIPPING CHARGES TO COLLECT YOUR WINNINGS!
AND NOW FOR THE RULES...
If you've left ten comments at Blogography between April 18th, 2007 and April 19th, 2008, just send an email to the address below and you're entered! If you haven't left ten comments, you'll need to answer five of these six questions in your entry in order to qualify...
NOTE: All answers to today's questions can be found on my 100 QUESTIONS page.
*If you need to confirm how many comments you've left, you can always use my search page. Just type in the name you comment under and select "Search Comments Only" from the drop-down box. When in doubt, answer the questions... you aren't penalized for doing so. If you can't get a count, think you have 10 comments, and really don't want to answer the questions, send me an email and I'll search for your comment count via your email address.
HOW TO ENTER...
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
As with all of the new Blogography stuff presented this week, the cards will be printed sometime in May for Delivery in June. This will give me time to accept pre-orders and figure out how many pieces I'll need to have printed. Winners will be announced on Bullet Sunday 79 on April 27th, and the Artificial Duck Store will reopen at that time so everybody who wants to buy stuff can get their orders in.
Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2008
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
Yikes! We're already at the final contest of Blogography's Kick-Ass Blogiversary 5 Celebration!
Of all the reasons I enjoy blogging, getting to meet my readers in person has to be my favorite. That's why I've made an effort to organize blogger meets whenever I can, and created such events as "Davecago," "Davelanta," and "Davelando" (among others), so I can meet as many people as possible...
Today you might notice that I've added a new section to my Tab Bar above. It's called "event," and will keep track of all the blogger meets I've devised so I can visit with my readers in Real Life...
But the page isn't as full as I'd like it to be.
Which is why today's contest is designed to fill it up a bit more...
That's right... for this final contest, I'll create a "Dave Event" as close to where the winner lives as possible (almost anywhere... see the rules below). I'll treat you to lunch or dinner, and we can invite any other Blogography readers who might be in the area (they have to pay their own way though!) so we can all hang out and chat.
And as if basking in my glory wasn't reason enough to covet this prize, I'll be showing up with a big box of Blogography goodies...
Four Artificial Duck T-Shirts ($68 value). Any four shirts you like from the Artificial Duck Store... keep them for yourself, or give them out as gifts you'll know they'll treasure forever!
Four decks of Blogography Playing Cards ($28 value). Four freshly-printed decks are yours, each card featuring an original DaveToon drawing. Host a Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tourney and be the envy of all your friends!
Six Sets of DuckyButtons ($24 value). Pick any six sets you like, or create your own 5-button sets. DuckyButtons are sure to bring a smile to your face... or to anybody else's you meet when you wear them. And since you're getting 30 buttons, that's a month's worth of sweet wearable art to wear and share!
Twenty-Five Custom-Made DuckyButtons with Your Design ($25 value). Email us any one design or photo you like, and we'll turn it into 25 beautiful custom buttons of your very own! Use them to promote your blog, impress your friends, or distribute wearable pictures of your cat... so long as it isn't copyrighted, we'll make buttons from whatever you want!
A Custom DaveToon Print Created Just for You (priceless!). That's right... personalized DaveToons are a rare thing since I barely have time enough to draw them for my own blog... but just because I like you, I'll create a new toon just for you, then print it on archival paper with pigment inks so it's suitable for framing.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS...
Is this a joke?
That's quite an ego you got there... why in the hell would anybody want to meet you?
I dunno, but feel free not to enter the contest.
Really? You'll fly anywhere?
Well, almost anywhere. Here are the conditions...
Surely you won't travel to meet me if I live outside the USA!
Actually, I will travel to meet you outside of the USA, so long as the above conditions are met. If you take a look at my travel map, you'll see I'm no stranger to foreign travel. I'm flying on airline miles and lodging with hotel points, so it doesn't make any difference where I go.
How do I know if my local airport is served by Northwest Airlines?
You can check the list maintained at Wikipedia by clicking here.
I live outside the USA and Northwest Airlines doesn't fly to my country... can I still enter? It's possible that one of Northwest's partner airlines can get me there on airline miles, so please send me an email and I'll check.
I live in a small town that doesn't have airport... can I still enter?
Yes, but you would have to make your way to a city served by Northwest Airlines in order to claim your prize from me personally. Sorry about that, but I really can't make time to rent a car, take a train, hop on a bus, or endure whatever other expenses required to show up at your doorstep.
There simply isn't an airport I can get to which you will fly to... can I still enter?
Sure. But I'll have to send you your prize in the mail.
When will you deliver the prize?
I'll have to work that out with the winner, but it will probably be in July, August or September since I should have the new merchandise by then. As anybody who has read my blog for any length of time already knows, my schedule is complex and very tight, but I'm sure I'll find a way to squeeze it in. Of course, if I can't come to an agreement with the winner, I reserve the right to send the prize in the mail as a last resort.
Where will we meet?
Well, if there's a Hard Rock Cafe handy, that's my location of choice! If not, it's no big deal, we'll figure out a public place (probably a restaurant) to meet.
What if Northwest Airlines goes bankrupt or something?
As with all prizes being given away during Blogiversary 5, awarding of prizes is solely at my discretion. If circumstances outside my control conspire to prevent me from delivering the prize then there's nothing I can do about it, and will have to come up with something else or (worst case scenario) eliminate the prize.
What if I don't have a blog... can I still enter?
Of course! A blog is not required to win the prize... this contest is open to all Blogography readers.
What if I've already met you or have already attended a Dave Event?
It doesn't matter if we've met or not... I'd be glad to see you again if you won!
HOW TO ENTER...
Since this is such a monumentally different prize than usual, the rules are a little different. Instead of getting a single entry into the contest, readers can get multiple "tickets" to enter. The more tickets you have in the hat, the better your chances of winning. But how do you get tickets? I'm glad you asked!
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNERS ON APRIL 27th!!
I will search through all my comments between April 18th, 2007 and April 19th, 2008. The number of comments you've left gets you tickets...
IMPORTANT: I will be searching for your comments using your EMAIL ADDRESS. So if you've used multiple email addresses to comment in the past year, please let me know so I can be sure to get an accurate count!
But what if you don't have 15 comments? Or what if you have 15 comments, but want better odds of winning? No problem! If you answer 10 of the following 12 questions correctly, you'll get a ticket!
HINT: If you don't know the answers, you'll have to work for it! Try using the search box that can be found in the sidebar of every Blogography page! ALSO... the first ten answers can be found on entries from my Best Of section.
As with all of the new Blogography stuff presented this week, these prizes will be made sometime in May for Delivery in June. This will give me time to accept pre-orders and figure out how many pieces I'll need to have made. Winners will be announced on Bullet Sunday 79 on April 27th, and the Artificial Duck Store will reopen at that time so everybody who wants to buy stuff can get their orders in.
Posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2008
First of all, thanks to everybody who has been kind enough to take time to participate in Blogiversary 5. A lot of work went into everything, and it's nice to know people are enjoying it.
When I built the "Dave Events Page" for my tab bar, it was a last-minute idea that came together at 2:00am one sleepless night. I felt I pretty much had to create it in order to show that yesterday's contest was real. People could easily assume it was some kind of scam or whatnot, and I thought that if I showed all the other events I've been to, then linked to people who could vouch for me, it might seem a little less crazy. Traveling to meet my readers and other bloggers is nothing new in my universe, but seems very strange to most people.
As you can imagine, compiling such a complex list that spans four years is no easy task. Especially at 2:00am.
Mistakes were made.
Many, many, mistakes.
Not only did I miss people, but entire events as well. Not to mention all the bad links.
So... the page has been updated continuously since 5:00pm yesterday as people email me corrections and I spot errors. I've also added a section for other "blogger events" I've attended (like Avitable's Halloween Party and TequilaCon) so nobody get's left out. If you want to know how or where I met the good people in my sidebar, I'm hoping they are all accounted for now!
And speaking of the contest...
For my faithful Australian readers heartbroken because Northwest Airlines doesn't service their fine country... I have news. Turns out I CAN make it to Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and sometimes Cairns by using miles to book on Korean Airlines. So feel free to enter the contest, as this would be just the excuse I need to finally visit Australia...
See you tomorrow when all winners will be revealed!
Posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2008
Well then... that was a hoot, wasn't it? Except when I was unloading up my car just now, got biffed in the face with a box of books, ended up with a bloody nose, and am now sitting here with kleenex shoved up my nostril. Good times.
But before we get to who won what, I'd like to take a minute to thank each and every one of you who come to read the useless crap I post at Blogography each day... whether you're brand new or have been visiting for years. I don't know how I've managed to attract such an amazing group of readers, but I appreciate each of you for wasting your valuable time here. Contests and prizes seem a wholly inadequate way of saying "thanks," but stalker laws forbid me from showing my gratitude otherwise.
And now... on with the show. I had an uninterested third-party draw names for each contest here except the Grand Prize, which I drew myself...
T-SHIRT CONTEST WINNERS...
Grand Prize: The winner of three Artificial Duck Shirts, six sets of DuckyButtons, 25 Custom DuckyButtons, and free world-wide shipping is...
• Atomic Bombshell
Runner-Up Prize Winners: The twenty winners of an Artificial Duck Shirt plus a set of DuckyButtons (shipping not included) are...
• Hello Ha Ha Narf
• Andy H.
• Jeffrey W.
• By Jane
• Poppy Cede
• Cody F.
• Laci C.
• Anthony M.
• Kyra from Shaping My Way
• It's Me Penelope
• Colin B.
• Wes K.
• Sinjin P.
• Fran H.
• Run Jen Run
• Captain Underpants
• Adena B.
• Emily S.
The winning T-shirt designs that we'll be printing for the Artificial Duck Store will be announced when the store re-opens on Monday or Tuesday!
HAT CONTEST WINNERS...
Grand Prize: The winner of three Artificial Duck Embroidered Hats, six sets of DuckyButtons, 25 Custom DuckyButtons, and free world-wide shipping is...
• Angela B.
Runner-Up Prize Winners: The four winners of an Artificial Duck Embroidered Hat plus a set of DuckyButtons (shipping not included) are...
• Foo Foo
• Jake T.
• Neil T.
PLAYING CARD WINNERS...
Grand Prize: The winner of six decks of Blogography Playing Cards, a Bad Monkey Joker print, six sets of DuckyButtons, and free world-wide shipping is...
• Long Story Longer
Runner-Up Prize Winners: The four winners of two decks of Blogography Playing Cards plus a set of DuckyButtons (shipping not included) are...
• Naomi I.
• Jacki D.
• Troy D.
DAVE EVENT WINNER...
Grand Prize: The winner of a "Dave Event" near them, four Artificial Duck T-shirts, four decks of Blogography Playing Cards, six sets of DuckyButtons, 25 Custom Ducky Buttons, and a personalized Custom DaveToon Print is...
Announced in the video below! (for my valued readers who are deaf, have hearing difficulties, don't have sound, or can't play video, I've added a transcript of the video in an extended entry)...
And that's all she wrote! Thanks so much for another great year!
Congratulations to all the winners, and I'm sorry if this year wasn't your year. Maybe next time? Everybody who has won something will be receiving an email explaining how to claim their prizes soon.
IMPORTANT: For anybody who didn't win stuff that they really, really wanted, I will be re-opening the Artificial Duck Store with the new merchandise on either Monday or Tuesday. I'm trying to thank everybody for participating by offering drastically reduced pricing on pre-order merchandise, but a few of my costs are still in negotiation. The minute I'm able to secure the best pricing possible, I'll re-open the store and announce it here on Blogography. Sorry for the delay, but I'm working hard to make sure everything is as inexpensive as possible so that the most people possible can afford to buy it.
Thanks again everybody!
And now on to the video transcript...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2008
Wah. I'm too tired to blog.
The good news is that the design work is done, and all that's left to do is add the new items to the Artificial Duck Co. Store database. I'll work on that in the morning so I can re-open the shop tomorrow afternoon.
The bad news is that I've got a massive pile of work to finish afterwards before flying out on Wednesday morning.
And I can't find the power adapter for my Nintendo DS.
And I have no clean socks.
And my car's gas tank is on empty.
And I need new shoes.
And I'm out of chocolate pudding.
I hope tomorrow is a better day.
Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Still working on the Artificial Duck Co. Store. I've got one more page to build and test before I can go online... probably tomorrow morning (this stuff is complicated!). The good news is that enough people expressed interest in the Blogography Playing Cards that I doubled my order and got some pretty sweet pricing. Hopefully a lot of people will want to buy them or else I'm going to be sitting on a LOT of cards for a very long time.
In other news... SHIRTS, BITCH!!
The winner (by quite a large margin) was MONKEY BUTTON!!!
The runner-up (in a much closer race) was BAD MONKEY GYM!!!
I will be printing both of them. The "Classic T-Shirts" will be kept in-stock. "Ladies Shirts" will be printed only to cover pre-orders, but not kept in stock. This is because they just don't seem to sell over the long-haul. I get a good enough initial order, but the rest of them just sit on the shelf.
In other good news, I've decided to re-stock ZOMBIES ATE MY BRAIN!!!
Entirely too many people keep asking me when I'm going to get these back in stock, so I've decided to order them with my next print run. I guess it just goes to show... everybody loves zombies!
The problem here is that I don't have enough space to store all these shirts.
So I'm going to put some of the older inventory shirts on close-out at ridiculous prices... $5 for "Classic Shirts" and $4 for "Ladies Shirts" while supplies last. Sure I'm going to lose money, but think of all the closet space I'll free up!
New designs will be on half-price pre-order pricing of $8.50 each (regular $17.00). That's to thank everybody for voting... and also apologize for having to wait until June for shipment.
But there is one small problem.
Usually I do not charge for an order until I ship it. The problem is that Yahoo! (the company who runs my shopping cart) deletes all credit card information after two weeks. If I were to wait until I ship in June, I wouldn't be able to collect the money. So, unfortunately, I'm put in the position of having to charge immediately for all the pre-orders. Hopefully this won't upset people too badly, but I don't really have any other choice.
And there you have it.
Totally sweet, awesome quality stuff at insanely low prices. Could you ask for anything more?
I love my readers entirely too much.
Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
Q: What's worse than having to spend 5 hours in a plane full of dicks?
A: Spending 5 hours on a plane full of dicks with an airline that serves TUNA FISH SNACK BOXES.
Seriously. I love Alaska Airlines and all that... they are easily one of my favorite companies to fly with.
BUT HOW F#@%ING STUPID IS IT THAT THEY SERVE STINKY TUNA FISH IN AN ENCLOSED SPACE LIKE AN AIRPLANE?!?
And, as if that weren't enough of a crimp on my day, I found out this morning that the post office is changing postal rates on May 12th. So now I have to get all that figured out before I can open the Artificial Duck Co. Store for pre-orders.
This is shaping up to be a heck of a week.
Posted on Thursday, May 1st, 2008
When the alarm clock went off at 4:30am, I was genuinely puzzled, because I didn't set the alarm. After managing to turn the stupid thing off, I noticed a strange itch starting inside the right-side of my tongue. Kind of like a mosquito bite, but without the mosquito. Thinking I must have bit my tongue in the middle of the night, I ignored it the best I could and fell back asleep.
So imagine my surprise when I woke up a few hours later to discover that the right-side of my tongue had swollen severely, and nearly filled my mouth. It had grown to about an inch thick for no apparent reason, but somehow didn't affect my breathing. It wasn't painful, but it was very, very uncomfortable.
Consulting Google searches, I eventually figured out this was most likely something called "Angiodema" which may be caused by an allergic reaction, or stress. Apparently there's nothing you can really do for it except take an anti-histamine until the swelling goes down. I decided to ignore it, thinking that stressing about it would only make things worse.
Fortunately, as the day wore on, my tongue started shrinking back to normal and is doing just fine now. Hopefully it stays that way.
After making our way from Newark Liberty Airport into the city, we checked into our hotel and then headed down the street to Rockefeller Plaza...
From there it was a quick subway ride shouth for a totally brilliant showing of Murakami artwork at The Brooklyn Museum. I am a huge, huge fan of Murakami, and his art has inspired a lot of things in the DaveToons I draw. Like this Murakami tribute I made using his happy flowers...
You couldn't take photos in the exhibit, but there were some cool pieces outside in the lobby...
After the museum, we headed to the Upper-West Side to check out the Museum of Natural History and the Space Museum...
But the real highlight here is the dinosaurs... like this totally evil "Ann Coulter Fish," which I named because of the uncanny resemblance to the stupid bitch...
Of course the have real dinosaurs too, but they aren't quite as scary as the AnnCoulterFish...
And, naturally, we had to pay homage to the Holy Land and visit the beautiful Apple Store Cube after walking through Central Park...
Back in Times Square, we noticed that Avitable must have enjoyed his pedicure immensely, because has apparently opened up a spa here in New York. It's nice to know that guys can finally have a place of their own to go be all pretty...
And Naked Cowboy was, of course, there to sing along...
When the dinner hour came, we headed to a restaurant where we were trying to decide if we wanted to eat there or not. But as soon as I saw this...
I was 100% sold on us eating there. Because of this...
Yes... OMFG... ELIZABETH HURLEY ATE THERE!! Sweet! I could totally feel her presence!
All-in-all it was a pretty busy day.
I guess we'll see what excitement tomorrow brings.
Posted on Friday, May 2nd, 2008
IRON MAN, BITCHES!!!
There was no real plan today. About the only thing any of us knew was that we were going to see Iron Man at 4:00. Everything else was just a matter of narrowing down the million options for things to do in New York City and picking something. Which is a heck of a lot more difficult than you'd think.
Down the street from our hotel is the beautiful Grand Central Station, so we stopped by for a quick look...
Eventually it was decided that the main goal for the day was to go up the Empire State Building for an aerial view of Manhattan. Unfortunately, New York City has been under a perpetual fog blanket all morning, and visibility at the top was zero, so we decided to take a pass. Instead we headed downtown to see what progress was being made at the World Trade Center site. Along the way, we passed by Macy's, which was hosting an exhibit of Iron Man movie props in their exterior displays. There were little pieces littered from window to window like Tony Stark business cards, prototype armor boots, and the electro-magnet that keeps Tony's heart beating...
But the big prize was the Iron Man Mach-1 armor! Totally sweet!!
As if I didn't want to see the movie bad enough already!
The last time I was at WTC Ground Zero, there was still a lot of debris, but it's all gone now, and things are finally starting to take shape. It's no less emotional, however...
Unfortunately, it's really difficult to see anything. On the contrary, it's almost as if they were trying to obstruct your view of the site in every way possible. I have no idea what the reasoning is for this, but the only remotely viewable area is from a skybridge nearby...
Back to the Empire State Building, where the fog looked like like it might be clearing up, but the operator assured us there was still no visibility at the top. Time for a "B-Plan." We headed up to Central Park to wander through The Metropolitan Museum of Art for a while...
Totally awesome movie! I dare say it's the best super-hero comic book movie made since the original Superman and Superman II. As expected, Robert Downey Jr. was flawlessly brilliant in his portrayal of Tony Stark. It's hard to imagine how anybody else could have played the role, really. Plenty of action. Plenty of story. Totally faithful to the comic book source material. Can you really ask for anything else?
And now it's 11:30 and time to rest-up for tomorrows pilgrimage to Philadelphia.
I can't wait.
Posted on Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
It was just one night.
But the memories will last a lifetime.
Thanks to everybody for an awesome evening!
Until next year...
Posted on Sunday, May 4th, 2008
After skipping Bullet Sunday last week to announce the winners for Blogography's Kick-Ass Fifth Blogiversary Celebration, I'm back and fully loaded in Newark, New Jersey!
• Shop. My apologies for everybody who has been patiently waiting for the Artificial Duck Co. Store to re-open. TequilaCon kind of took priority after I found out that I would have to change all the shipping rates now that the post office is raising prices again. When I get back tomorrow night, I'll get to work on that and (finally) open the store for business. Hopefully you'll find it worth the wait.
• Edgeless. AT&T's "Edge" data network for my iPhone has always been crappy. It's painfully slow. Even worse, you can never tell if your connection has stalled, or is just running slower than usual. But this weekend AT&T reached new depths of f#@%ing shitty service in that there was NO Edge service in downtown Philadelphia all weekend. I can only guess that things keep getting worse because more and more people are buying iPhones and overloading the network, but I don't give a crap about that. I pay a chunk of money every month to have mobile internet access, and AT&T is failing to provide it. If things don't change soon, I smell a lawsuit (if there isn't one underway already). FAIL!!
• New Yorked. The problem with visiting New York City is that there is never enough time to do all the things you want to do. As I am getting ready to leave, I find myself wanting just one more day back in the city. Or a week. Possibly a month. Why oh why can't I have billions of dollars so problems like this weren't an issue?
• Tequila. Ah yes. TequilaCon 2008. It's practically impossible to sum up in a mere bullet point just how awesome an experience it was. Meeting so many bloggers for the first time was cool, of course... but what made this year such an epic success story was how great everybody was. So nice... so friendly... so much fun... such a terrific bunch of people... it was impossible not to feel as if you were amidst long-time friends. Which, of course, many of us already were (albeit virtually). And, by the end of the night, everybody became. I continue to be amazed at how every blogger event I've ever been to has been so fantastic. And TequilaCon 2008 is easily the top of the heap. A huge thank-you to Jenny for pulling it all together again this year. You are amazing...
Jenny celebrates TequilaCon Rockettes' style! We love you Jenny!
• Photogenic. Many of my photos have been uploaded to a set on my Flickr account (which you can find here). Jenny has also set-up a Flickr Group Pool where everybody can upload their photos (which you can find here). If you attended and have photos to share (be kind!), please contribute!
Blue Steel, baby! My brutally hot sexiness cannot be denied!
Dee Dee and I lend a helping-hand to TequilaCon co-founder Brandon!
It's Tequila Man! And, yes, we are all completely sober in this shot!
And now, it's time for bed. Where I am sure to be dreaming about TequilaCon 2009.
Posted on Monday, May 5th, 2008
What's better than arriving home exhausted and smelling like airplane?
Arriving home and having your internet fail just as you are writing up your latest blog entry! Sweet!
While waiting for Hilly and "The Sheraton Posse" to get back from the "Rocky Steps" the other day... Dustin, Vahid, and I decided to grab some lunch and wander through the Philadelphia Pride Street Fair that was going on a block from our hotel. One thing is for sure, the gays know how to throw down a party! Everybody was there...
Despite being straight and clueless as to much of what was going on, we had a good time. Probably because Dustin managed to find a gelateria that sold authentic Italian gelato! As I entered the shop I was hoping against hope they would have stracciatella, and they DID...
Crazy deliciousness ensued.
But all was not perfect.
Because heaven forbid that people should get together to hang out and have fun when there are haters out there determined to spoil everything. Bring on the anti-gay militia protesters...
BAD LETTER SPACING IS SIN, PROPER KERNING CAN SET YOU FREE!
By far my favorite protesters were the "ex-gays." People who were once gay, but then found Jesus and became straight. And there's nothing wrong with that. I think people should be whoever they want to be, and if somebody decides that homosexuality isn't right for them, then by all means turn in your rainbow flag and enjoy your new-found hetero lifestyle. But to say that your decision is the correct one, and everybody else should live exactly as you do isn't the least bit narcissistic...
Deep down, I'd say he misses the cock, and came here to boy-watch.
Now, to be fair, many of these protesters are not actually coming from a place of hate. They genuinely believe that they are showing love by trying to "save" sinners from eternal damnation. Their interpretation of The Bible tells them that homosexuality is a one-way ticket to hell, and they love the gays so much that they are willing to risk being ridiculed and despised to help them out. And that's fine... I can respect that. Everybody has to live according to their beliefs...
Apparently Matthew 7 is missing from his Bible.
But when you decide to protest INSIDE the street fair, I don't care what "place of love" you are coming from... that makes you a fucking asshole. You are disrupting the event and intruding on other people's happiness. If you simply must wave your little signs of condemnation, do it OUTSIDE the street fair. That way, you get your message across just fine (because everybody attending has to enter and exit) but without being complete douchebags...
Disrupting an event to feel better about yourself isn't prideful?
But my real problem here is that the protesters are just plain ignorant of the scripture they use to judge others, and I find it ironic that I know The Bible better than most of them do. I am not a Christian, but I have read The Bible in its entirety more than once, and have spent time studying it (both on my own and in study groups from no less than a half-dozen different churches). Just because I choose to base much of my belief system on Buddhist teachings does not automatically make me ignorant of Christianity, even though that's the conclusion most Conservative Christians seem happy to draw...
Boastful and abusive, she apparently skipped over 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
For example, take this one (ironically, the flip-side of the sign above)...
I reads The Bible real good... ask me!
I wonder if the rude bitch holding up this sign has any clue as to the meaning and history behind the scripture she is quoting. Given the context, it is fairly obvious that she is focusing on the word "effeminate" to mean "gay" and is pretty much telling all the hetero-challenged fornicators at the street fair that they are going to hell. Apparently the only "kingdom" the gays get is "The Magic Kingdom" in Walt Disney World.
Or is it?
Because "effeminate" as it pertains to this passage from The Bible has absolutely nothing to do with being some kind of "sissy-boy homosexual." I am fairly certain it is instead referring to an entirely different meaning of the word (weakness through over-refinement) and is talking about delicacy or weakness of faith and spirituality... not delicacy of manhood (which is kind of sexist when you think about it). I know this because I questioned the passage when I had first read it and decided to do some research. As anybody who has studied translations of ancient texts will confirm, you can't always take things at face value, so you pretty much have to do research. Now, obviously, somebody could take their personal belief that being gay is a weakness of faith and spirituality and deem this passage relevant to their cause, but that's another argument. An argument I wouldn't respect unless the person doing the arguing was well-studied on how The Bible has been changed during translation from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic... and how it has been drastically altered and revised over the years to accommodate the whims of man... not God.
But something tells me that this would not be the people seen here. They haven't the decency or class to be respectful of others and protest outside the event... so I'm guessing they don't have the smarts to debate scripture with any kind of intelligence.
Still, I can't help but wonder how these douchebags would react if somebody decided to hold a protest in their church during services? After all, "...whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." —Matthew 7:120*
*For a very informative take on this "Golden Rule" take a look at this. Amazing how we are all so much more alike than we are different.
Posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2008
I've been getting a steady stream of comments and emails from people asking questions about TequilaCon. Since Jenny appears to still be in recovery, I've done my best to answer them.
How did TequilaCon get started?
Jenny gave a brief overview when she announced TequilaCon 2006. In summary, to quote Admiral Ackbar... "IT'S A TRAP!" Jenny tricked two fellow bloggers into meeting her in Chicago.
How many TequilaCons have there been?
Four... Chicago (September 26th, 2005), New York (May 7th, 2006), Portland (March 10th, 2007), and Philadelphia (May 3rd, 2008).
Who decides where TequilaCon is going to be held?
Co-cofounders Jenny and Brandon make the decision in consultation with the Official TequilaCon Planning Posse.
Where is the next TequilaCon going to be?
If Jenny knows, she's not telling! She usually makes a final decision and posts an announcement three months or so before the event so everybody wanting to attend has time to make plans. The location seems to bounce between the East Coast, Mid-West, and West Coast, so I'm guessing next time won't be in the East (since there was just a TequilaCon in Philadelphia).
Any chance for a TequilaCon outside the USA?
I'm guessing no, but never say never! TequilaCon is mostly attended by US bloggers, so having it outside of the US would make it difficult for past TequilaConners to attend. Maybe Jenny and Brandon will decide to have an international "satellite event" in addition to TequilaCon one year but, so far as I know, there are no plans for it.
Is TequilaCon an invitation-only event?
Nope! Anybody can come. All you need to do is send Jenny an email once she opens registration so she knows how many people are going to be there. Watch her blog over at Run Jen Run for news and TequilaCon happenings.
Can I bring my spouse/lover/friend/significant other?
If you think they won't be bored hanging out with bloggers all night, then sure! Be sure to include your +1 when you send Jenny your registration info.
How much does it cost to attend?
To attend the event itself has been free. But your travel expenses, lodging expenses, and any expenses at the event (food, drinks bowling, whatever) are your responsibility.
If I don't have a blog, can I still attend?
If bloggers you'd like to meet are going to be there, then sure!
If I don't drink alcohol, can I still attend? What if I don't like tequila?
Of course you don't have to drink tequila (or any kind of alcohol at all!) to attend. But please keep in mind that this is TEQUILACON and alcohol will be served. Drunken behavior will ensue. If this bothers you, then you may want to reconsider attending... the last thing anybody wants is for you to be uncomfortable.
Why name badge lanyards?
The first TequilaCon I attended (#3 last year) was held at The Kennedy School in Portland, OR. This was an amazing venue for the event, but it's huge. There was some concern that people showing up wouldn't be able to find fellow TequilaConners amongst the crowd of people, so I decided to make name badge lanyards. Once TequilaCon was over, they made a fun memento of the event, so I decided to make them again this year.
What's with the buttons?
Lanyards themselves are kind of boring, so I bring lots of button "flair" so people can customize their name badges to suit their individual tastes. It's just something fun to do. There are three kinds of buttons, as you can see here being modeled by Jenny as she drops "Blue Steel" on you...
What happens to the lanyards made for people who don't show up?
The lanyards are a take-home souvenir of the event. If somebody didn't show up, their lanyard is destroyed.
And, lastly, a question asked specifically of me...
Are you mad at people who said they were coming to TequilaCon, but didn't show up?
No. Well, maybe. If somebody got sick or had something come up at the last-minute, then of course I'm not mad. That's life, and shit happens. But I will admit to being a little upset with people who know in advance that they are not coming and didn't bother to let Jenny know so she can tell me not to make them a lanyard and buttons. The materials to make this stuff costs money, which I'm happy to donate, but I don't like throwing money away when I don't have to.
And that's all she wrote! More TequilaCon photos have been added to the Flickr Group pool, so if you want to see what all the fuss is about, here's the link.
Posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2008
The Artificial Duck Co. Store will be reopening tomorrow, May 8th, at 12:00 noon, Seattle Time (click here to see when that is in your corner of the world).
It may be a week later than I had wanted (dang you TequilaCon!!), but things ended up being a lot more complicated than I had planned. It seemed that for every step in progress I made, something popped up to knock me back. Add the graphics... lose the text. Transfer the shipping table... have to update the postage costs. Publish the database... find a table has gone missing. It was enough to drive me insane.
But it's all done.
The only thing left to do is test everything in the morning to make sure it's working. Then we reopen at noon...
In less-happy news...
Why is it that cool stuff always seems to happen just after I leave somewhere?
I left New York on Monday, so naturally today is the day that The Metropolitan Museum of Art decided to start an exhibit called Super-Heroes: Fashion and Fantasy...
I'm not really into fashion, but I think it would be very cool to see how stuff from comic books has influenced clothing in Real Life. Oh well, it's open until September, so maybe I'll have a chance to see it before it's gone. If not, I'm hopeful that somebody at Geeks of Doom will review the show.
Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go to bed early and dream that a giant rock falls on Hillary Clinton.
NEWSFLASH: IT'S OVER!
Posted on Thursday, May 8th, 2008
I am so... tired... I guess the word would be.
I finally managed to catch up on the work I missed while I was goofing off in New York and Philadelphia. It wasn't easy and required three 18 hour days, but it's done.
I also finally managed to get the Artificial Duck Co. store up and running. It definitely wasn't easy and required lots of screaming (plus lots of time I didn't have), but it's done.
So now everybody needs to go buy Blogography playing cards.
Because these babies are priced to move! Depending on how many decks you order, you can get them for as little as $2.50 each! So buy playing cards for everybody you know... they make great gifts!
I wish that I could do something constructive with my exhaustion... like sleep. Isn't that what normal people do?
Insomnia sucks ass.
Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
I've had a few comments, emails, tweets, and such asking me if the Blogography Playing Cards feature any material inappropriate for children. The answer is no. They originally featured some violence back when I was ordering 200 decks, but once I decided to order 1000+ decks, I needed to change my plans so that the playing cards had the broadest audience possible. This involved re-drawing fifteen cards, but I think the end result is worth the effort because now everybody can play with them.
As an example, in the Bad Monkey sci-fi story I've shown, the purple tentacle monster originally bites the head off the red-shirt monkey on the 7 of spades (isn't that what always happened in Star Trek?). But once I realized kids would be playing with the cards, I had to come up with something different. The "horror" story that runs on the clubs cards involved the most changes... it was kind of gory, so I had to start over from scratch to make it kid-friendly. Still a cute story though. The diamonds "adventure story" cards required no changes, and the hearts "romance story" cards only needed one change.
What I'll probably do is post the original vs. new illustrations on my blog once the decks have all been shipped (don't want to spoil the stories!). That way everybody can see how the playing card project changed from when I first designed it.
I am really excited to get my hands on these cards. Creating them has been the most fun I've had on a graphic design project in quite a while.
Right now I am clinging to the fun I had on the project, because I'm in the middle of paying my medical bills for the emergency room visit I had last month. I'm going to end up paying over $1,900 for something that could have been solved by renewing my $13 prescription for pain medication.
Who needs rent money or food when I have kidney stone memories?
They last forever!
Posted on Saturday, May 10th, 2008
The other day I got an email telling me how totally hot I am, and then went on to ask me if I have always been hot... or if I used to be not-hot and somehow transitioned to hotness.
Well, okay, that's not exactly what the email said.
It actually said "you should post old pictures of yourself on your blog!"
But I was able to read between the lines.
The reason I don't post old photos on my blog is because I just don't have very many of them. I've never really liked having my picture taken, so lots of the images I have is me being all shy and refusing to look at the camera and stuff...
80's fashion was so cruel. This look would be better without the T-shirt.
I twisted my ankle and was delirious with pain... which explains my wearing short shorts.
Most of the photos where I'm not hiding myself from the camera have friends or family in them, and I make a point not to discuss or show my non-blogging-friends or family on my blog. Except this once...
I have a paralyzing fear of tree moss.
The only other photos I can find of me where I'm not hiding or with other people are usually ones that catch me unaware and looking goofy...
If only this poor bastard knew what lays ahead for him.
I have always complained about my hair... but I wouldn't mind having this hair back.
DO NOT F#@% WITH ME MUTHA-F#@%A!!! I'M TAKING SUNSET PICTURES HERE!
So there you have it. Old pictures of me. I hope you're happy now.
There are few more on this entry, if you haven't had enough punishment already.
And now it's time for me to wash clothes and get back to work.
Which sounds a lot more fun than it actually is, I assure you.
Posted on Sunday, May 11th, 2008
Happy Mother's Day!
I don't feel much like typing right now, so I've decided to drop a video for today's 80th edition of Bullet Sunday here at Blogography!
For my valued readers who are deaf, have hearing difficulties, don't have sound, or can't play video, a transcript of the video has been added in an extended entry.
Have a super awesome week everybody!
On to the transcript...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2008
I thought it would be funny to wear makeup for my video entry yesterday... implying that I went to Mother's Day brunch in goth-face (which, of course, I didn't).
After I had recorded the video, I scrubbed all the makeup off my face and went on with my life.
Then this morning as I was brushing my teeth, I noticed something odd. The lipstick, eye shadow, and mascara were gone, but the eye-liner was still there. So I washed again. But it didn't go away. Scrubbing made some progress, but it was also painful.
So I went to work with eye-liner on.
I guess this means the joke was on me.
I totally think I can pull off wearing eye-liner now!
I am going to start wearing a cape!
Posted on Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
Today I drove into the neighboring metropolis of Wenatchee, Washington for a hospital visit. I rarely drive into the city except to use the airport, but today I decided to take some back-roads to avoid the horrendous traffic on my way home.
And found out that everything had changed.
Wenatchee Valley College has radically expanded their campus... adding some small buildings along with one large building that's as big as the entire school was when I attended there. But that was just the beginning. Driving down the street I used to live on, I saw that almost all of the small orchards that used to line the road are gone... replaced with apartment complexes. New houses are crammed in everywhere. Street lights and traffic signals have been added to where there weren't street lights and traffic signals before. Crazy.
But that's just cosmetic.
There was another change awaiting me that was way more serious.
They moved a street!
After I got a veggie burger at the EZ Burger Drive-Thru for dinner, I was looping back around to go home when BLAM!!! I very nearly turned where a street didn't exist anymore. Apparently they decided to move the road so it would match up with the opposing cross-street to make a 4-way intersection...
Which was kind of funny until I realized that had I not been paying attention, I could have ran my car onto the sidewalk and killed a nun.
A nun pushing a baby carriage.
A baby carriage with a baby in it.
Though it would obviously not be her baby because, well, you know...
They probably give you the express lane to hell for that one.
Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
Lately it has been striking me funny how I am living two entirely separate lives.
There's my online life, which you are seeing here on my blog (plus on Flickr, Twitter, and so on). And my offline life, which is my friends, family, work, and such.
I used to have no problem keeping them separated, but they're starting to merge from time to time...
I haven't yet decided if this is a good or bad thing.
Maybe if I sleep on it...
Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Ever have one of those days where everything sucks?.
Yeah, that was pretty much my day today... and tomorrow isn't looking like it's going to be much better.
But the big news? I've developed a serious allergy. It first appeared without warning when I woke up in New York with a swollen tongue. Ever since then, I've had random knots of allergic swelling from time to time on my feet, hands, lips, and tongue. It's been driving me a little nuts, but today the pieces finally fell into place after I started keeping a journal of everything I consume.
I think I'm allergic to eating food dyes.
After starting my journal, I've found that any time I've eaten colored foods, I end up with a welt somewhere. The first time it happened in New York City, I remember having drank a bottle of Orange Gatorade earlier in the day. Today I had red Fruit Punch with my Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes at Taco Bell, and now I've got a nice welt on my lip.
So it looks like my diet will be a lot less colorful from now on.
Like I said, suckage.
Thank heavens there's no artificial colors in chocolate pudding.
But there is one good bit of news from the day... I finally finished the box design for my playing cards!
Awwwww, cute! This is probably my favorite DaveToon I've ever drawn, so when it came time to decide what to put on the card box, it was the only thing I really considered. I hope that the card company does a good job of printing it!
For more information on Blogography Playing Cards, you can check them out at the Artificial Duck Co., store.
Next week I'll be wrapping up the pre-orders at the store... so, if you want something there, now is the time to order it! I will try to get a few extras of everything, but can't guarantee how long they'll be available. If you don't have the cash to pre-order right now, just email me and I'll try to reserve your stuff (my email is in the top of my sidebar).
One. More. Day.
Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008
It's what's for dinner.
Posted on Saturday, May 17th, 2008
The flight to Seattle was horrific thanks to some crazy bitch behind me who decided to drench herself in really stanky perfume. By the end of the short 35-minute flight, the plane and everything in it (including me) reeked of the stuff.
By comparison, my connecting flight to Chicago was blissfully uneventful and odor-free... though I couldn't tell because I was still smelling the previous flight. Helpful hint to dumbasses who are going to board a plane: DO NOT WEAR ANY PERFUME, SCENTS, OR (GOD HELP US) AXE BODY SPRAY!!! Once they close the cabin door, your stench is going to be having everybody wanting you dead. Probably because the smell of your rotting carcass would help mask the nasty shit you're wearing.
Arriving at O'Hare was... ahem... interesting, and led to some drama I'd just as soon forget.
Good times. Good times.
I wish I didn't have to get up at 7:00am tomorrow. This was a very full day.
Posted on Sunday, May 18th, 2008
w00t! Today it's Bullet Sunday from one of my favorite cities: CHICAGO!!
• Johhny. After struggling to catch up with work all morning, I decided to take the train into the city... even though the CTA has both the Blue-Line and the Red-Line under construction. A Johnny Rockets veggie burger was calling me. And since Chicago has one of my favorite restaurants in the chain, it would be worth the effort. Imagine my surprise when I get there to find that my beloved Johnny Rockets on Rush Street had CLOSED!! I was equally sad and enraged, and I don't think I'm ever going to recover. Goodbye Johnny, you will be missed...
• Beautiful. I looked out the window and was happy to see that the weather had cleared up from the overcast skies and rain we had last night. It was beautiful out! Unfortunately, looks can be a bit deceiving, because it was actually chilly and windy. Fortunately, I had a jacket with me out of habit, because how would you expect to be cold on a day like this?
• Bean. After getting a surprise call from a former co-worker and meeting for coffee (her) and hot cocoa (me)... I met up with friends who were in the city from suburbia to do some shopping and go see Speed Racer (my review of the film along with reviews for two other movies I saw on the plane follows below). From there I decided to meet up with a current co-worker for dinner at the ever-excellent Pizano's Pizza and a walk through Millennium Park. I can't get enough of The Cloud Gate "Coffee Bean" sculpture, which was looking especially cool today...
• Movie #1: Jumper. One sentence review: A great concept diminished to a bucket of shit that not even Samuel L. Jackson can save. Didn't we suffer enough when Hayden Christensen played Anakin Skywalker in the shitty Star Wars sequels? NOTE TO FILMMAKERS: THIS GUY CANNOT ACT! STOP CASTING HIM IN MOVIES! But even putting the horribleness of Mannequin Skywalker aside, this is a mess of a film. Our story begins when young David Rice discovers he has the ability to teleport anywhere in the world he can visualize. This is handy, because his mother abandoned him to live with his abusive father, and "jumping" provides him with the escape he's been longing for. Using his new-found power to rob banks and live a life of excess that spans the globe, things go terribly wrong when jumper-hating "paladins" (led by Samuel L. Jackson) start hunting David... AND THE AUDIENCE DOESN'T FUCKING CARE! The story then turns into sheer idiocy, and I was salivating over the thought that Samuel L. Jackson will actually kill the stupid bastard. By the time the lame-ass "twist ending" was revealed, I was cursing the moment I decided to watch this joke of a film. FAIL!
• Movie #2: The Bucket List. Once sentence review: Brilliant performances rises above a pandering and fluff-laden script. Two of my all-time favorite actors? Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I will watch anything they appear in. To have them both in the same film is absolute magic. The story is about a curmudgeon millionaire (Nicholson) and a genius garage mechanic (Freeman) who discover they have fatal illnesses which compel them to live their final days doing all those things they never got around to doing in life. The resulting ride is a fun one, mostly because the banter between the two leads is so fantastic and the acting note-perfect. If only the script could have been tightened to eliminate some of the more overtly manipulative sentimentality, it could have been elevated to greatness. As it is, it's a good film that tries too hard to find the "fun" side of death. WIN!
• Movie #3: Speed Racer. One sentence review: Complete and total failure of filmmaking on an epic scale that utterly devastates a beloved classic cartoon. What the hell happened? I have been looking forward to this film ever since I first glimpsed the previews that hit the internets. I was expecting a full-throttle, hyperactive film that pushes visual effects to new levels while redefining a childhood cartoon I loved. What I got was crap. A boring snore-fest of a movie that has shit-loads of stupid exposition and unnecessary drama that undermines any excitement you might get from the actual racing scenes (which are, admittedly, cool in a repetitive video-game kind of way). Just as the Wachowski Brothers managed to fuck-up an unfuck-upable franchise with the awful Matrix sequels, they have turned Speed Racer into a meandering, directionless film that sucks so badly that all the acting talent in the world (including Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, and Christina Ricci) can't keep it on track. Between the never-ending cut-wipe transitions that make you want to scream... and way, WAY too much time devoted to a mindless plot about evil businessmen secretly controlling all the world's racing events... it was all I could do to keep myself from walking out of the theater. EPIC FAIL!
And that brings to an end another Bullet Sunday.
I totally should have watched Iron Man again.
• P.S. Every time I stay at a Sheraton hotel, the internet connection screen always has a photo of a guy smelling a melon. Can anybody tell me what the hell this has to do with anything?
Posted on Monday, May 19th, 2008
As far as Mondays go, this one wasn't too bad. Though that's not to say there wasn't excitement. As anybody who follows my Twitter feed already knows, not only did I survive my Evil Driver trying to kill me... but I also fell in love with a girl on the train, found out that TinyURL can be used for diabolical purposes, and went broke because Howard compelled me to spend the last remainder of my bank account on music by The Weepies.
Being able to have access to the real internet at all times with iPhone has opened up entirely new opportunities for avoiding boredom while traveling or attending meetings. Not only can I update Twitter all day long, but I can also keep up with blogs quite easily (though, unfortunately, leaving comments with iPhone is a bit problematic... sorry about that).
I only wish that iPhone had a REAL GPS, because that would make my life of travel so much easier than their borderline-useless "faux-GPS" that's there now...
Okay, it's not that bad, but still... I've lost track of the number of times I've screamed "NO F#@%ING SHIT" at iPhone for providing me with a generic non-location that covers 50 city blocks. How is that useful? Sure it's better than nothing, because you can narrow it down from there, but it's a far cry from being able to see exactly where you are on a map at a moment's notice.
Remember the good old days when you had to actually carry a paper map around for stuff like this?
I love to hate you my iPhone.
Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Why is it that technology is making life simpler in every area of creation except when it comes to setting an alarm clock??!?
It used to be that to set the alarm, you press and hold the ALARM button and adjust the hours and minutes until you have the time you want to wake up. Then you slide the OFF/RADIO/BUZZER switch to BUZZER and you're done. That's three out of four buttons and a slider switch until F#@%ING DONE!!!
But not any more.
The alarm clock at my hotel has TWENTY-ONE F#@%ING BUTTONS PLUS A SLIDER SWITCH (for Mega Bass)...
To set your alarm you have to go through FIVE STEPS, two of which you have to repeat, which means there's SEVEN F#@%ING STEPS to set an alarm! It's so absurdly complicated that they have to give you an instruction card to figure the shit out...
All the love I used to have for Sony products is gone. Because of this piece of shit alarm clock, I somehow didn't push enough buttons to set the alarm (even though the alarm indicator was lit?). So even though I got up at 4:30am and didn't need to be up until 6:00am, I was counting on the alarm to tell me what time I needed to stop working and get ready. But it didn't. Suddenly the extra time I had given myself to get ready and make it into the city for my meeting had evaporated because it was 6:45 by the time I looked over and noticed something was wrong.
Granted the stupid alarm clock has a CD player in it, but big f#@%ing deal... my iPhone has a MP3 player, clock, map, camera, calendar, calculator, notepad, web browser, and all kinds of other stuff in it... but has TWO BUTTONS!!
Half my kingdom for an Apple-designed alarm clock.
Work was at the delicious All-Candy Expo here in Chicago. I've bored everybody with accounts of all the cool stuff at the show in previous years, so I'll skip all that... but I did see two things that made me squeal like a little girl when I visited the PEZ booth. As long-time readers already know, I love PEZ. LOVE THE PEZ!!!
So imagine my delight when I saw that they are coming out with STAR TREK PEZ!!!
As if that wasn't enough, I turned the corner and saw one of the most amazing things ever... CHOCOLATE PEZ!!!
It's as if PEZ is starting to combine all the things I love best in life into a single product family. Next year I'm fully expecting that there will be an Elizabeth Hurley PEZ dispenser waiting for me.
After working the show for a bit, I was free for the day. Just two goals remained...
TWO... Make up for the shitty experience of watching the horrific movie tragedy known as Speed Racer by going and seeing Iron Man yet again. Which I did, at the magnificent Muvico 18 Theater in Rosemont...
I paid for "VIP Premiere Seating" which puts you in the balcony in a huge comfy seat that's reserved for adults only, so you can take a beer into the theater with you! According to Wikipedia, the Muvico 18 Rosemont is the first theater in the country to have Sony SRX 4K digital cinema projectors in all auditoriums, which means the picture quality and sound were frakin' amazing.
This is my third time watching Iron Man, and I can honestly say that I love it more with each new viewing. I'll probably see it two or three more times before it leaves theaters. I just can't help myself. Robert Downey Jr.'s performance is so sublimely awesome in every way... from his impeccable comedic timing to his note-perfect delivery... that I am positively mesmerized by the character of Tony Stark. The fact that the movie RESPECTS THE F#@%ING SOURCE MATERIAL AT EVERY TURN is just icing on the cake. A big thank you to director Jon Favreau for having the intelligence to understand that there's a f#@%ing REASON that iconic comic book characters have endured for so long, and it is insanely arrogant and stupid to reinvent the wheel when you've already got something that works and people want to see.
And what I really need to see right now is a pillow, because I have to be to the airport in 5 hours.
Posted on Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
To the hundreds of people who asked me why I didn't set my iPhone alarm instead of using the crappy hotel alarm clock in my last entry... I did set my iPhone alarm clock. I always, always have a backup alarm when I'm traveling, because the consequences of missing a meeting or a flight are too dire to contemplate.
But I woke up early. There was no danger of over-sleeping. So I canceled my iPhone alarm and put it in my coat pocket so I wouldn't forget it. I then verified that the alarm clock was set, and went to work reviewing a massive stack of documentation and sketching out some concept roughs. Except the alarm never went off.
Oh well. It all worked out in the end.
As for today? My flights back home were completely uneventful.
Which is a good thing.
Though now I have nothing to blog about except how tired I am.
Perhaps next time I'll get lucky and my plane will have to make an emergency landing or something.
Posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
After the tongue-swelling incident in New York a couple weeks ago, I've lived with the possibility that I'll have an allergic attack where my tongue or throat will swell so badly that I'll suffocate and die. Since I've got future plans which would be drastically upset by my death, I decided to visit the clinic today so I could get me an "epi-pen" prescription. Epi-pens contain adrenaline (epinephrine) which can be used to counteract a severe allergic reaction (among other things).
Picking up the prescription was both exciting and terrifying.
Terrifying because I have a fear of needles and blood.
Exciting because every time you see people use adrenaline in the movies, they whip out this giant needle and somebody gets stabbed in the heart. Like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction...
Or Nicholas Cage in The Rock...
Adrenaline kicks ass!
How awesome would it be to stab yourself in the heart with adrenaline?
I was reading the instructions and found out that you don't stab yourself in the heart, you stab yourself in the thigh. That's kind of lame...
Oh well. I guess it doesn't really matter where you stab yourself so long as you, yaknow, get to live and everything.
Something tells me I can get over my fear of needles if it meant me not dying.
At least one would hope so.
Posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2008
I spent half the day trying to figure out my schedule for the next four months and didn't get very far.
It's depressing how quickly the days fill up.
But it's not all bad news. The best thing about all the travel I do is getting to meet up with Blogography readers and fellow bloggers along the way...
If anybody wants to join in, I'll confirm dates about three weeks ahead of time. Watch this space!
In addition to all that, I am planning on showing up at Avitable's Halloween party on November 1st, and have five other trips that are squeezed in-between the ones listed above.
I'm tired just thinking about it all.
But definitely looking forward to meeting new friends and re-connecting with old ones!
Posted on Saturday, May 24th, 2008
Maybe it's the three-day weekend, but motivating myself into getting anything done has been a real challenge. I don't feel like doing anything. I don't feel like eating anything. And I certainly don't feel like blogging about anything. All I really want to do is climb into bed and go to sleep.
But here I am.
After my entry yesterday, somebody had asked why I didn't make travel posters for all the meet-ups I've been to. I didn't have a good excuse so, in-between work stuff, I went back and created the remaining graphics. You can see all of them on the Dave Events page...
That's enough blogging for today, isn't it?
But before I go...
Heaven only knows what Karl has in store for me, but he's a darn fine talk host, so it's sure to be interesting! If you want to join the online chat while the show is running, head on over to BlogTalk Radio and sign up for a FREE account!
I want Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for dinner.
Which is a perfectly healthy dinner if you eat them with a glass of milk.
Posted on Sunday, May 25th, 2008
It's a Three-Day Weekend Edition of Bullet Sunday here at Blogography!
• Meerkats. I am blogging early today, because there's a new Meerkat Manor Movie on Animal Planet Network tonight! A friend got me hooked on the show, which is like a really raunchy soap opera... but with cute furry animals instead of Joan Collins or J.R. Ewing. Sex, violence, betrayal, revenge, humor, life, death... Meerkat Manor has it all. This movie is supposed to go back to the beginning of the series to show how the meerkat Flower became leader of her tribe...
• Trainer. As I was pulling out the instruction booklet for my Epi-Pens, a plastic tube fell out. Wondering what it could be, I studied the label and found out it was a "Auto-Injector Training Device." Apparently, you are supposed to use it to practice stabbing yourself so you'll be ready if you should ever have to stab yourself with adrenaline for reals. To which I can only say "Oh hell no!" But then I stabbed a pillow with it and found out there's no needle inside, so now I'm having fun "stabbing" myself with it. I am so easily entertained.
• Karled. Thanks to Karl for having me on his Secondhand Radio show earlier today! The hour went by way too quickly, but you can catch it from the BlogTalk Radio archives here. Since time was tight, I didn't have time to pop up links to all the things we talked about, so here we go...
• Ordered. Pre-orders at the Artificial Duck Co. store will be ending Wednesday, May 28th of this coming week. I will order some extra hats and shirts to have on hand, but if you want to be sure of getting something you want, please order or email me with what you want so I can be sure I'll have it. I'm ordering plenty of extra playing cards, so those should be in stock for quite a while.
And that's all she wrote for now... because it's meerkat time...
Posted on Monday, May 26th, 2008
Well, I can't say this has been a good turn of events.
Last night I had a sudden allergic reaction which caused hives to break out all over my body. The welts didn't itch, but they were painful to touch. And they looked kind of funny. In a bit of a panic, I swallowed a half-box of Benadryl and got my Epi-Pen ready... my lips were all tingly and I was afraid it was a precursor to some serious swelling of my tongue or throat. After a couple of hours the swelling stopped. This morning I woke up with nothing but pink splotches to remind me that it had even happened. Benadryl seems to work wonders, but the side-effect is that it puts me in a coma.
I'm trying to get an appointment with an allergist this coming week, but that scares me almost more than choking to death on a swollen tongue.
Worse-case scenario? I'm allergic to soy.
As a vegetarian, soy is a substitute for a lot of meat products I used to eat... hamburger, bacon, hotdogs... they're all soy-based products for me now. And, as far as I know, there is no substitute for this substitute.
Next worse-case scenario? I'm allergic to wheat.
Bread and pasta are such a hugely enjoyable part of my diet that the idea of losing them fills me with dread. Sure there are gluten-free breads... but they just don't taste as good.
Worst-case scenario after that? I'm allergic to dairy.
I've tried giving up dairy before when I wanted to switch to an all-vegan diet. I couldn't do it. Chocolate pudding and cheese are two of my favorite foods. I don't even want to contemplate my life without them. And what about ice cream and gelato? None of the substitutes are remotely close in taste and texture.
I could, of course, adapt to whatever diet was necessary... if necessary.
But not being able to sit down to a veggie burger with cheese and a chocolate pudding for dessert?
I don't know how I'll be able to deal with that.
And now it's time for another dose of Benadryl and another coma.
At least I'm getting some sleep out of the deal.
Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
When I found out that the minimum order to get decent pricing on the Blogography Playing Cards was much, much, higher than expected... I had to make some changes. I decided to make the cards be suitable for children and expectant mothers, and appeal to a wider audience. The hope was that I'd sell more decks of cards (thus being able to sell them a better price) if more people could play with them.
After the decision was made, the rest was easy. I just grabbed my MacBook Pro and redrew the world I had created to be less violent and gory. In the end, the cards turned out even better, because I was forced to be more clever by resolving the stories without ripping the head off a monkey or splashing blood across the panel. In this new world, even the horror stories can have a happy ending...
If only I had such power in reality.
If only I could redraw the world so that the violence was erased and everybody got a happy ending.
Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
I usually wait until the end of the day to blog because then I have a day's worth of events to pick from. But this morning after I turned on the news, I knew exactly what I was going to blog about today... there's no need to wait.
And it's this... I am so fucking sick of stupid.
Honestly, I am beyond tired of the daily bombardment of stupid that assaults me on a daily basis. Turn on the television? Stupidity. Pick up a newspaper? Stupidity. Read a magazine? Stupidity. Cruise through the internet? Heinous stupidity.
And don't think for a minute I am excluding my own blog here. I fully admit that bitching about menial crap and drawing cartoons of drunken monkeys is far from brilliant. I may joke to the contrary, but I honestly have no pretense that Blogography is anything but "stupid crap daily." In fact, as anybody who was at TequilaCon can confirm, I proudly hand out buttons proclaiming just that...
But the difference here is that I REALIZE this is all stupid crap, and can say with some confidence that MY stupid crap is pretty much harmless.
It's the people out there who actually BELIEVE their stupid crap... the people who are causing real damage with THEIR stupid crap... those are the ones who are making me fall to new depths of despair.
The relentless stream of hatred and intolerance. The ceaseless persecution in the name of religion and morality. The persistent propagation of lies and fraud. The never-ending pessimism and greed. There's no escaping it. For the longest time I've been able to find it all amusing by laughing it off. But it's getting harder and harder to do that. Things have gone from "so stupid it's funny" to "so stupid it's tragic."
In weighing my options for dealing with this unwelcome reality, I had seriously considered becoming an alcoholic, a drug addict, or anything that would make it easier not to care. But why punish myself for the failing of others? Why sell everything I own and run away into the mountains? Why go insane and have myself committed? Why stick my head in the microwave and turn it to maximum-defrost?
Turns out I like myself too much.
So I came up with a new solution to the problem when it was time to make my breakfast.
You start with a big dollop of chocolate pudding, float a Little Debbie "Devil Square" snack cake on it... put a dollop of pudding on top of that... stack another Devil Square cake on top... then garnish with another dollop of chocolate pudding and stick a Golden Oreo cookie on the top. Presto! Breakfast is served!
Delicious! It's hard to be angry at the stupidity of the world when you're eating a pudi-cake-a-cookie.
If only I could find a way to get some ice cream in there.
That may very well be the answer to my staying sane until the presidential election is over.
Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
My allergies have escalated from random swelling and hives to random swelling and hives PLUS runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and mind-splitting headaches. The entirety of my day is spent overdosing on Claritin and Benadryl, then drinking Red Bull so I don't fall asleep and taking Ibuprofen so my head doesn't explode. This keeps me in a steady state of exhaustion and borderline paranoia that makes even simple tasks difficult.
It's a miserable existence, but that's The Way Things Are.
I wasn't able to get into the allergist this week, so now I have to put off that appointment because I'm on call for jury duty for the next two weeks. Since I've already re-scheduled jury duty twice, and don't have two weeks available for the rest of the year, I can't reschedule again. And since I'm working the week after that, the earliest I can make an appointment is the 23rd.
I'd say that I'm looking forward to all this ending in three weeks but, since there's no guarantee the allergist can fix anything, I'm not getting my hopes up.
Instead I'll just do my best to adapt to The Way Things Are, and try my best not to turn into a zombie...
Though I have been craving human brains lately, so maybe it's already too late.
Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
My day was pretty much this: "No... I didn't watch the season finale of Lost. Thanks for asking."
I dropped the insanity of Lost after the "PUSH THE BUTTON" stupidity of 2005. Big questions were never getting answered, and the entire show consists of adding even more questions that probably won't be answered either. What's the point of watching if there's no pay-off? Hopefully, for the sake of those still devoted to the show, they wrap it up at the end. As for me? I'm done.
But not done with television. Because even though many shows have just ended their seasons, there are some most excellent shows coming up with fresh material this summer...
SUNDAY, JUNE 1st: Code Monkeys 2nd season premiere on the G4 Network (official site).
This animated show is lovingly rendered in faux old-school 8-bit graphics, and tells the story of coders working at an 80's video game company. Always entertaining, Code Monkeys is, at it's best, hysterically funny and even raunchier than South Park. If you are even remotely attuned to 80's geek culture, this is a must-see.
SUNDAY, JUNE 1st: In Plain Site series premiere on USA Network (official site).
I fell in love with Mary McCormack when she joined the cast of The West Wing as National Security Advisor to President Bartlet. When that gig ended, I always wondered where she'd turn up next. Turns out she's a US Marshal for the Federal Witness Protection Program. Cool enough. My hopes are running high, and I'll definitely be tuning in.
FRIDAY, JUNE 6th: Meerkat Manor, The Next Generation 4th season premiere on Animal Planet (official site).
Some of the hottest soap opera action ever to air on television just happens to star little fuzzy animals. Life, death, sex, loyalty, romance, betrayal, jealousy... and a never-ending struggle for survival... it's all here on Meerkat Manor. Shockingly addictive television that will ensnare you like few shows can, the third season replaces Sean Astin with Stockard Channing as narrator. Hopefully the drama is one thing that won't be changing.
THURSDAY, JUNE 12th: My Boys 2nd season premiere on TBS Network (official site).
A show that took me completely by surprise, My Boys is a comedy about a female professional sportswriter named PJ and the "boys" she's friends with. It's really well-written as far as comedies go, but the reason I love it so much is because the show is completely ingrained in its Chicago setting. The city is practically an 8th character. The first season ended in a massive cliffhanger that has had fans agonizing for months, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
MONDAY, JUNE 16th: Weeds 4th season premiere on Showtime (official site).
The show about pot-dealing widow Nancy Botwin just keeps getting better and better. What started as a fairly simple and straight-forward series has rapidly evolved to an intricate and complex drama with some of the darkest humor found to date. Showtime is promising that the 4th season will head in an entirely new direction, which both worries and excites me at the same time.
THURSDAY, JULY 10th: Burn Notice 2nd season premiere on USA Network (official site).
Another series that grabbed me from the first episode, Burn Notice is a clever reinterpretation of MacGyver, this time as a spy who is abandoned in Miami and has to put his skills to use in a new line of work. As if that wasn't cool enough, Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar round out the cast.
MONDAY, JULY 14th: The Closer 4th season premiere on TNT Network (official site).
Kyra Sedgwick is riveting as LAPD Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson, heading one of the best ensemble casts on television. I worry about the cases getting a bit repetitive, but they always seem to have enough interesting stuff going on in the periphery to keep the show from getting boring. As an added bonus, the lead out for this show is Saving Grace, the Holly Hunter vehicle that adds a new kind of bizarre to crime television.
FRIDAY, JULY 18th: Psych 3rd season premiere on USA Network (official site).
By all rights, this show about a fake Psychic detective should be worn out and buried by now (much like I consider Monk to be)... but somehow they manage to keep things fresh. This season, they cast Cybill Shepherd as Shawn's mom, so there's new season freshness right there.
There's something good on television!
Posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008
Yesterday I went to my mail box and there was a package in there! I was very excited to get a present in the mail, and so I ran all the way home so I could open it.
And what did I find inside? Why, it was a Webkinz Monkey and a letter from you!
Thank you very much for my new pet. I have called him Bad Monkey because he reminds me of Lil' Dave's pet monkey. He is a lot of fun, and likes to sit next to me on the couch while I watch television. It is good to have a new friend!
In your letter you said that I should go to webkinz.com and enter a secret code so I can play with my monkey online. This is very cool! Now my monkey has a house on the internet! It is fun to buy new furniture for Bad Monkey's bedroom. I like pirates, so I am decorating it to look like a pirate ship. I even bought Bad Monkey a pirate hat!
He likes to sleep on his pirate bed next to his favorite toy, a plastic guitar...
He also likes to climb up to his Crow's Nest Chair so he can keep an eye out for scurvy dogs who want to steal his treasure...
Bad Monkey also likes to eat a lot. His favorite foods are Potato Chips and Bug Sandwiches. He also likes Chocolate Pudding... just like me! Here are foods I like to feed him...
I like to give my monkey a bath so he stays clean and healthy...
In Webkinz World, you have to buy things with KinzCash. It is fun to win KinzCash by playing games. I bought a game called "Dogbeard's Bathtub Battles" which is a lot like "Battleship." If you win, you can get 40 KinzCash...
There is a word game you can play, but I am not very good at it...
Instead I like to play Quizzy Bear's WhizKinz game. I am very smart... like super-genius smart... so it is easy to win more KinzCash by answering questions...
With all the KinzCash I won, I bought a yard for Bad Monkey to play in. Now I am saving my KinzCash so he can plant a garden...
Thank you so much for sending me such a great present!
Posted on Sunday, June 1st, 2008
It's the crap-tastic edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Sickness. I am starting to worry about getting my cards printed. The first company I was going to print with didn't come clean about not being able to use a casino-quality black-core paper stock. The next company I found took forever to respond to even simple queries. I then found a third company that I really liked, but now I am having a hard time confirming anything. They have amazing credentials, and dozens of excellent references... so I'm confident everything will turn out fine... I'm just going crazy over when things are going to start happening. I worked so very hard on these cards (three months to get them all drawn), and I want so badly to make sure they print as perfectly as possible... but right now I'd settle for just getting them printed at all. I'm probably making a big deal out of nothing, but I'm just sick over a possible delay when all my other suppliers are lined up to deliver by the end of the month. Argh.
• Health. Not able to get in to see an allergist... not able to figure out what random foods or things in my environment are causing my allergic reactions... I finally gave in and started eating all the foods I had been cutting out of my diet because I thought they might be a problem. And nothing happened. Nothing. For two days now I've taken one Benadryl at night and one Claritin in the morning and that's it. No hives and no random welts. Is it too much to hope for that this was a temporary thing, and I'm all better now?
• Richer. I just made my final payment on my motorcycle, which I then turned around and sold because I can't ride it anymore. Isn't it cool how life can be both sweet and crappy at the same time?
• Poorer. Shouldn't there be some kind of statute of limitations for how long they can keep billing you for medical shit? I mean, seriously, every time I think that I've got these bastards paid off, another bill shows up in the mail. Even better, I got a collection letter for one of the bills less than a month after I had received the actual bill. I guess they want to make sure you don't fall behind with all the bills they send, so they turn you in for collection if you don't remit immediate payment. I find it positively absurd that THIS is the state of health care in this country... I had the misfortune of surviving my kidney stone, so now I'm going to be billed to death? I should have put my fear of blood and needles behind me and become a doctor when I had the chance... it's the ultimate fountain of revenue wealth.
• Better. Code Monkeys debuted their second season today and it was a fricken' hilarious! — "My new game is called Cock Goblin! - That is bad-ass dude! Why not Goblin Cock? - That's a little hard for me to swallow!" — Where do they come up with this stuff?
• Worse. Also debuting today was the highly-anticipated (by me, anyway) Mary McCormack vehicle, In Plain Sight. Holy crap what a disaster. McCormack's lead character is trying so hard to be bad-ass, that she just ends up being plain bad. I kept hoping somebody would shoot her arrogant ass and the show would end. I'll watch a couple of more episodes just to make sure, but this does not bode well.
And that's all she wrote. Probably a good thing considering Sunday ends in 5 minutes.
Posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2008
Being a vegetarian is usually not a big deal. Even if you end up at a steak house, they usually have a veggie salad of some kind... or perhaps a soup... maybe some kind of veggie sandwich... or even a baked potato. There's always something I can eat, so going out for a meal is no big deal.
Unless you are dealing with the bastards at Applebees. They have NOTHING for vegetarians on their menu.
Every salad has meat on it.
Every sandwich is meat-filled.
Every pasta bowl is topped with some kind of dead animal.
Applebee's now has the single most vegetarian-hostile menu I've ever seen. The only two things I could find on it were some kind of gross-looking mushroom pizza appetizer, and greasy deep-fat-fried mozzarella sticks. Which is great, except I'm allergic to mushrooms and don't want to have a fat-induced heart attack. Asking my nice waitress for help, here are my options...
I went with the veggie burger (no bacon), because it was easier than trying to figure out how to order a bunch of sides (like a baked potato and garlic bread) which aren't on the actual menu anywhere.
This is ridiculous. Seriously. Applebees is run by dumbasses who need sensible advice badly...
Vegetarians are not asking for the world. Just a line on the menu that says "Substitute a veggie patty on any burger at no extra charge!"... or... "Without the chicken, subtract $2." Just SOMETHING that shows you aren't so stupid as to be hostile towards 10% of the population you're asking to patronize your business.
Otherwise, we just get hostile back, and declare to the entire internet that we're sick and tired of your crap, and won't be eating at your over-priced-piece-of-shit-vegetarian-abusive restaurants anymore.
Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
It's 11:45pm and I just got off work. I should have put in at least another two hours, but I ended up having to take a couple Benadryl after dinner and was falling asleep at my desk. I'm hoping I can write in my blog and get through the remaining 38 emails in my in-box before I pass out.
I also need to catch up with the news, as I've been cut-off from the world. As I understand it, Obama has finally officially got the delegates he needs for the nomination. As a fan of his since I read The Audacity of Hope, I'm quite happy about it. Though I've also gleaned that Hillary has not yet conceded (surprise, surprise) so heaven only knows what that means. I keep having flashes of Obama winning the presidency, only to have her show up at his inauguration screaming "IT'S NOT OVER! WE CAN STILL WIN! BARACK OBAMA CANNOT PREVAIL OVER MCCAIN! ONLY I AM READY TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING IN THE WHITE HOUSE!! YOU MUST PICK ME!!!"
Unless she ends up on the Obama ticket as vice president.
Though I'm not sure how I feel about that.
There was a time I wouldn't have minded an Obama/Clinton ticket... but after watching Bill & Hillary's burn-the-house-down style of diversionary politics, I'd be happier if she were nowhere near the White House. Because if that's how she treats people in her own political party... heaven only knows how she'd treat the Republicans she has to work with. One day the Minority Leader asks her if she's going to eat all of her potato chips at lunch and she comes unglued... YOU DARE TAKE FROM ME? ME?!?! SHAME ON YOU JOHN BOEHMER! SHAME... ON... YOU!!!
Yeah, that would be just great.
All I know is that no matter who wins... Obama... McCain... or even Clinton... I have hope.
I have hope that the ongoing armageddon-level disasters left to us by George W. Bush can be repaired.
I have hope that war won't be seen as the first-best solution to our problems.
I have hope that we can restore our ruined relationships with the rest of the world.
I have hope that the unfathomable divide that separates us as countrymen can be narrowed.
I have hope that the massive influence special interest groups use to rape our country will be lessened.
I have hope that our planet and life on earth will take precedent over the environment being destroyed for profit.
I have hope that our economy will recover from it's downward spiral and our dollar will have value again.
I have hope that people can live their lives free from financial ruin if they should get sick.
I have hope that our president will represent ALL of the souls in his charge, not just those who believe like they do.
I have hope that we can move forward into a future not defined by fear and hate.
I have hope that our leaders will think before they act.
I have hope that intelligence can replace ignorance.
I have hope that things will change.
I have hope.
Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
Working 19 hour-days has put me in a goofy brain-damaged kind of mood.
I finally got around to reading my email tonight and found that a young boy (with help from his mom) had written to tell me that it's not polite to chew with my mouth open.
This was scary-puzzling to me. Because not only am I'm an advocate for closed-mouth chewing, but I'm also horrified at the thought of small children stalking me. Not knowing what this kid was talking about or where he might have seen me, I wrote back and asked.
Turns out he wasn't writing to me, but to Lil' Dave...
Hmmm... apparently my enthusiasm for corn is responsible for corrupting children by teaching them bad eating habits now.
See, there's a reason I tag my blog as containing adult content.
Posted on Thursday, June 5th, 2008
I've been so overwhelmed lately that I'm having a hard time trying to figure out exactly what things I should be focusing on. As a result, I keep shifting from one task to another, getting a lot done... but not getting anything finished. One particular task has been dragging out all week, which is making travel arrangements for my upcoming trips. Each day I've been taking a few minutes to shop for airfare. This has been an almost heartbreaking endeavor, because all the prices are outrageously high. On average, I'm finding fares DOUBLE what they were just a year ago. As more airlines go bankrupt and the survivors keep cutting flights, I can only guess things are going to get much, much worse.
But today was the day I promised myself I would at least get June and August booked, so I've spent my evening trying to do just that.
I am blowing through my travel budget at record speed, and I haven't even booked my hotels and rental cars yet.
And what about my trips for the rest of the year?
If the prices keep going up, what will a flight cost come November and December?
And so... I've started maxing out my credit card to book all my trips where I'm confident the dates won't change. In the past four hours I've spent close to $4000, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I shudder to think what the damage will be by the time I'm finished. And that's just the trips I know... there are at least a half-dozen that I'm going to have to take, but don't yet have dates. Heaven only knows what the fare will be by the time I get that figured out. I just hope none of the airlines I'm booking with will go bankrupt before my flight. What happens then?
For somebody who has to travel a lot, this is pretty much a nightmare come true.
And what new horrors will tomorrow bring?
Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2008
I'm sitting here watching the movie White Chicks on television because there's nothing better on. If you need a sign that The Apocalypse is upon us, this is it.
When do we get a sequel where two white actors play Black Chicks?
Yesterday I asked "what new horrors will tomorrow bring?"
It was meant to be rhetorical, but The Universe decided to answer back "All your travel plans are ruined."
This morning I found out that Horizon Air has replaced the small 36-seater turbo-prop service with larger 72-seater service out of my local airport at Wenatchee's Pangborn Field. Ordinarily, this would be a good thing... sometimes those flights are oversold and hard to book... but they changed the schedule too.
This is a major problem for me, because the 6:00am flight I usually take to connect with all the early east-coast routes is gone. The earliest plane out of Wenatchee is now 7:10am, which doesn't connect well with much of anything heading eastward. So now instead of arriving in time for dinner, I'm arriving in time for bed.
If I'm lucky.
As I found out while I was changing all my flights this morning, any time I fly east I'm going to end up overnighting in Seattle or taking a lot of overnight flights from now on.
Though I guess it beats stopping service to Wenatchee altogether.
If ever there was a time for DaveAir, this would be it...
Though I can't imagine that the airline industry is a business anybody really wants to be in now-a-days.
Posted on Saturday, June 7th, 2008
The first car I ever owned was not new, it was used. Except it was in excellent condition and could easily have passed as new. At least it was in excellent condition until a week later. Not knowing any better, I parked next to a car in a handicap space at K-Mart. When I came back, the car was gone. But not before they left a nice dent on the passenger side. I was able to get it popped out, but there was still a nice white mark to remind me of the incident for years to come.
At least until the railroad's heavy work truck across the street slipped into gear while unattended and totaled my car.
Flash-forward nine years and I still haven't learned my lesson.
Today I went to the grocery store to buy a frozen pizza. The parking lot was packed full, and the only space available which wasn't a mile from the door was (you guessed it) next to a handicap space. Since I was only going to be a minute running in for a pizza, I went ahead and took it... being careful not to get too close to the van with Jesus stickers all over it that was occupying the handicapped space.
By the time I worked my way through the check-out line and got back to my car, I was just in time to see the driver of the Jesus van whip his door into the side of my car, leaving a small scuff-mark (which hopefully can be buffed out).
What the hell?
I walked up to his window and yelled just that, only to have him scowl at me and go tearing out of the parking lot.
It's as if he didn't give a crap... he might has well rolled down his window and screamed "I'm handicapped, so fuck off!"
Obviously, it's not just handicapped people who can be jerks about dinging your car and running off... dumbassery knows no bounds... but this is two for two on damages.
I'm starting to wonder if I should be blaming the people who design handicapped parking spaces? Obviously there's a problem here.
Though I didn't see a handicap parking sign in his window, so maybe he wasn't handicapped, he was just an asshole.
Posted on Sunday, June 8th, 2008
I desperately want to celebrate Bullet Sunday with a Chalupa Supreme (no beef, add rice) and a side of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, but am entirely too lazy to drive the 20 minutes to Taco Bell. Waaah!
• Pizza! I'm officially done. I've tried every frozen cheese pizza on the market and hate them all. It doesn't matter whether it's from a famous chef like Wolfgang Puck, a famous restaurant like California Pizza Kitchen, a hot new brand like Freschetta, a critical favorite like DiGiorno, or a pizza staple like Red Baron. They're all terrible. So I've finally decided that I'm not going to pay
• Christmas! The funny thing about being in the graphic design business is that you are always ahead of the season. Right now, for example, I'm working on Christmas projects. When Christmas rolls around I'll be working on Easter projects, and so on. Because I don't really celebrate any of these holidays, it's no big deal to me, but it's a challenging mindset to be thinking of snowy holidays in the middle of summer. But that's nothing compared to the challenge of finding a live Christmas Tree for a photo shoot next week.
• Jobs! Tomorrow is the opening keynote for Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference. At that time my personal hero and god among men, Steve Jobs, is expected to release the iPhone 2.0 software update which will allow 3rd party applications to run on my iPhone. This is, to put it mildly, super-exciting. Jobs is also expected to announce the new and improved iPhone hardware which is rumored to have a real GPS (thank you!) and faster 3G internet access. The latter bit means that we can all surf for porn several times faster, which is probably a more important function for a phone than making actual phone calls.
• Legion! One of my all-time favorite comic books is The Legion of Super-Heroes. It's a comic about super-powered teens in the far future of the DC Comics Universe. Back in the 1960's the book was looking for a new writer and ended up hiring 14-year-old Jim Shooter for the job. He submitted stories, the editor liked them, and a legend was born. His Legion books were highly successful and memorable, and ended up being a stepping stone to greater things... like when he was editor in chief at Marvel Comics for nearly a decade. Now, 30 years after he left The Legion of Super-Heroes, Shooter is back writing the book. He's five issues into the title now, and I have to say I'm enjoying the heck out of his stories. But I'm nostalgic that way.
Annnnnnnd... I'm spent.
I'm trying to be optimistic, but something tells me this is not going to be a good week.
Posted on Monday, June 9th, 2008
I'm going to put off the rant I had planned for today because I'm just too happy right now. I made my final call-in for jury duty and found out I have been dismissed! w00t!
So what to blog about?
Fortunately, the answer just appeared to me as I learned of the GAY PRIDE CHALLENGE from The Spirit of St. Lewis Blog! Apparently this was started by Kelly's Rambling along in life... with a bit of PRIDE blog. The rules ask that you post a picture he took of his gay pride flag, like this...
... and then you tell your coming out story.
Which is easy for me, because I came out the minute I found out I was 20% gay. No mucking around in the closet for me! Not only was I totally proud to discover I was partially heterosexually-challenged, I immediately embraced my honorary membership in the gay community.
And here is my story.
For as long as I can remember, the only interest I've ever had in homosexuality was restricted to the gay fine arts... namely, certain aspects of its photography and motion picture culture...
But all that changed on April 13th, 2005.
It was on that day I blogged about how I was all squeeeeeeee! over the budding romance between Logan and Veronica on Veronica Mars. In the comments, Karla remarked at how I was being SUCH girl. I agreed with her and admitted that I just couldn't help myself. Then, before I know it, somebody suggests that I take the now-infamous Channel 4 Gay-O-Meter Quiz. Here is my reaction after I was told that maybe I'm acting like a girl because I'm gay...
Well I don't think that's the situation here... according to the test, I'm only 20% gay.
Hey, hold on a second...
HOLY CRAP!! I'M 20% GAY!!
And here I've been telling myself all this time that the reason I love Veronica Mars so much is because I it's so well-written and Veronica is hot. Now I know it's because I'm 20% gay and didn't even know it.
From there, things moved fairly quickly. Three days later, I was asked in a comment why I hadn't announced my new-found gayness with a DaveToon, so I did...
Out and proud. Out and proud.
Surprisingly, all my readers were very supportive of the news.
They were so supportive that I found new-found freedom to tell everybody about my man-crush on Ryan Reynolds...
... and write a gay-themed Bullet Sunday where I congratulate Reverend Ted Haggard on his douchebag hypocrisy...
... and hang out with several hundred of my closest gay friends at an Erasure concert...
... and do my part for Queer Nation by speculating on why stupid homophobic bitch Sally Kern doth protest too much...
... and, of course, appearing on The Jester Show so I could get "injected with The Gay" and proclaim my fierceness...
... and even attend my first Gay Pride Street Fair so I could get protested...
So there you have it. The story of how I went from not knowing anything about The Gay... to discovering I was 20% gay... to embracing gay culture with all of my heart.
Well, okay... it's just 20% of my heart.
Since I'm now having to deal with another new-found revelation about my sexuality... I think I'm 80% lesbian.
= ahem =
Let's hope that I'm in a worse mood tomorrow so I can post my rant.
Isn't that why people come here?
I mean, before I started posting pictures of hot lesbians...
Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
Everything was going fine until 9:14pm. Then things went terribly, terribly wrong.
It is now 1:43am and I am hoping that I've got everything fixed.
Let's see how well I sleep tonight knowing that tomorrow I could find out that things have gone from bad to worse.
Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
Once again my rant is going to have to be postponed, because I am just so frickin' overrun with drama that I can barely function.
Today the blogosphere (or, to be more accurate, a small section of the blogosphere) imploded. If you run in the same blog circles as I do, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, it's no big loss, because drama is drama regardless of the details. Suffice to say there was a very disturbing, very public, turn of events that ended badly. This had a ripple effect throughout The People's Republic of Blogistan* where a great many people were left with dropped jaws saying "what the fuck?"
For the most part, I am unsympathetic to the bloggers involved. If you are going to disclose every frakin' detail of your sordid affair to the entire internet... but then disappear when things turn to shit... well, people are going to speculate, gossip, and discuss the situation because you invited them to. And yet, to say I am unsympathetic does not mean I wish anybody ill-will. On the contrary, I am hoping with all my heart that everybody comes through this okay and can find happiness once again. All I ever want is for people to be happy and live in peace.
But enough ambiguous chatter, let's talk about me.
I am the polar opposite of a life-sharing blogger.
I do not discuss my family, my offline friends, my work, my relationships, or anything that's truly personal. This blog is all at once a highly superficial yet deeply reflective look at my life. Or at least (being honest here) the parts of my life I choose to share.
Take yesterday, for instance. It was a very, very bad day. But all the horribleness revolved around things I choose not to blog about, so I posted a DaveToon of my world raining shit and hoped that people understand this is all I have to say about the situation. Fortunately, most do.
But today's events have me thinking back to a conversation I had with my good friend Bad Robert a few weeks back.
Robert observed that I invite my readers to speculate about the Big Picture because I leave them hanging for details. At first I protested, but (and this is the thing about Bad Robert's brilliance) I quickly realized he's absolutely right. For everything I don't reveal or discuss, it's like opening a big door towards speculation. It's human nature.
So am I really any better off than those who choose to share their dirty laundry?
People read about my frequent travels and speculate that my career is everything from hired assassin to jewel thief to gigolo to terrorist. The truth is far less interesting but, since I'm not talking about it, I might as well be inviting other people to guess...
FACT CHECK: I'm a graphic designer. I fly around a lot for all aspects of my work, and often add-on extra personal time to my trips because I love to travel and see the world. I am, for the most part, forbidden from sharing details of my work, and so I don't. It's really as simple as that.
People read my joking around about being 20% gay, don't read about any girlfriend, and speculate that I'm 100% gay. Again, the truth is far less interesting but, since I'm not talking about it, I might as well be inviting other people to guess...
FACT CHECK: I'm straight. If I were gay I would have no problem being the most "out" homosexual you know, because my friends, family, co-workers, job, and beliefs just wouldn't care. There's no reason for me to be in the closet if I were gay, and I wouldn't be. Just because I don't blog about women in my life doesn't mean they don't exist.
And so on.
This is not to claim that I don't ever reveal myself on my blog.
There are occasional glimpses into my life that I consider highly personal.
There are other times I've written an entry and realize that it tells a lot about who I am even though it actually says very little.
Sometimes I surprise myself by drawing a simple cartoon that reveals me more deeply than any words could ever express.
Occasional controversial topics do enter into the fray from time to time as you would expect them to.
Though people tend to forget, I have blogged about sexual encounters, albeit in a way that admits to nothing.
And, of course, women and romance are not entirely off-limits, I just don't get too close.
Even my family turns up on rare occasions, if people were to take a minute to notice.
And so on.
Is it better to reveal everything and risk repercussions?
Or is it better to reveal very little and risk speculation?
I honestly cannot say.
Something tells me that this would get a little too personal.
* The People's Republic of Blogistan, courtesy of mah Hilly-Sue.
Posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2008
While watching Steve Jobs give his keynote at Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference a few days back, I had a Twitter search running to see people's reactions to what was going on. It was at that time a dumbass twittered something so profoundly stupid that I was compelled to click through and see if he was just trying to be funny... or if he really was that idiotic.
Not shockingly, he really was a complete and total dumbass.
Not that I'm for censorship or anything, but shouldn't there be some kind of way to shield yourself from dumbasses on the internet? Because nothing ruins your day faster than being caught unaware by fucking idiots. And what a waste of time!
With this in mind, I am seeking venture capital for a proposed new application and service called DaveGuard™...
The way it would work is like this: After installation, you'd be presented DaveGuard™ options under your internet protection settings...
If you choose to be warned when dumbasses are detected, you'll be presented with a warning dialog that's integrated into your various internet services. This way, you can choose whether or not you want to waste your time on a dumbass before you accidentally start reading their bullshit...
If you select automatic blocking, you won't even see dumbass content on your internet services... like Twitter, for example...
Eventually I would want to create additional protections that could be activated. Like LOLCat warnings...
As you can see, DaveGuard™ would be an invaluable service. Because, seriously, ask yourself how much time you waste every day with dumbasses on the internet. One hour? Two hours? FIVE HOURS?!? Wouldn't your life be infinitely better if you could avoid the dumbasses altogether? Just imagine how awesome this New World Internet would be! Stupid bitches? BLOCKED! Raging morons? GONE! Idiotic bastards? ELIMINATED! Sound too good to be true? It is too good to be true! It's
My DaveGuard™ Dumbass Detection Algorithm™ concept is revolutionary. All I need is 6.8 billion dollars to develop it! That may sound like a lot of money, but think of the results! PRICELESS!!
So if you have 6.8 billion dollars hanging around (that's 2.4 million in euros), I can accept Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, or personal check... contact me today!
Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2008
Maintaining my smoldering hot looks is not as easy as you would think.
Especially when I occasionally have to get mutant oil glands electrocuted off my face. This is a completely horrible procedure which entails a visit to the dermatologist. Not because they're really noticeable or anything... but because they're annoying. They're like tiny little bumps that get caught on everything.
At first I was going to post a picture of my current post-electrocuted self, but I didn't want to scare people. Instead I decided to illustrate the procedure with DaveToons. I think it's safer for everybody involved.
First you get stabbed in the face repeatedly with a needle to numb the areas that are going to get electrocuted...
The numbing injections, as you would expect, sting like a muthafraker and numb your face. But they also leave the nasty white splotches everywhere...
As soon as you've been suitably numbed, the dermatologist uses an electric scalpel to carve up your face. It's kind of like an arc-welder, where a fine-tipped instrument shoots jolts of electricity that cuts and cauterizes at the same time. The cauterization is kind of cool, because it means you don't leave the office a bloody mess. Instead you leave with little scorch marks all over...
The next morning your white splotches are gone, and only the little burnt scabs remain. But once you take a shower, the scabs fall off. This leaves your face a bleeding mess for a few hours (this is the stage I'm at now)...
After a few days, the morning bloodletting subsides and you're left with little pink scars...
Since the scars are superficial, they fade away in about three weeks, revealing my hot sexy self once again...
And there you have it. See the kind of stuff I have to go through in order to be pretty for you?
Posted on Saturday, June 14th, 2008
Because it's Pride Month, I was all set to write a nice entry about gay marriage in support of my GLBT friends. I've already blogged my support previously, but that was a while ago, and I thought I would come up with something new. But this time, I didn't just want to ramble on uninformed... I thought I would do some actual research.
So last night while I was listening to online radio, I started poking around. I had always heard that FOX News was "fair and balanced," so I decided to start there.
Nothing could prepare me for what I learned. Apparently there's a "gay agenda" set to demolish the sanctity of marriage and tear apart society. The Gays are hellbent (heh heh) on destroying us all.
Words cannot express the horrors I've discovered. Thus, I've sketched out the future of all humanity on a series of cocktail napkins while drowning my sorrows in cheap alcohol...
And there you have it...
GAY MARRIAGE = THE END OF THE UNIVERSE!
Vote your conscience.
Posted on Sunday, June 15th, 2008
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there... especially mine... on this fine Bullet Sunday!
• Snackiepoo! This afternoon at 3:00pm (Pacific Time) I will be a VERY SPECIAL GUEST STAR on Snackie Radio. Today's topic? How much is too much? Hilly and I have radically different blogging styles... I avoid anything personal and draw monkey cartoons in lieu of actual substance... Hilly wears her heart on her blog and bares her soul for all to see... what are the consequences to these very different approaches to blogging? How much information on your blog is too much? Is there such a thing as too little information when it comes to the internet? Will Dave ever get his tiara back? Tune in today and find out! (show contains language and situations which may be unsuitable for childre or small animals).
• Radio! And for other BlogTalk Radio goodness, I'd be remiss not to mention the entire BTR's Rocking Sunday Schedule... first up, Karl from Secondhand Radio will have his daughter and the Alive Campaign as his guest at 2:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Eastern. Next up is the afore-mentioned Snackie Radio show with VERY SPECIAL GUEST STAR me! at 3:00pm Pacific, 6:00pm Eastern. And, lastly, Turnbaby is back on Turnbaby Talks with her special guest Mr. Shiny at 5:00pm Pacific, 8:00pm Eastern. It should be a very interesting night.
• iPhone! As expected, Apple released their new iPhone at the World Wide Developer's Conference this past Monday. It has the faster 3G internet access everybody has been clamoring for, but all I cared about is that it FINALLY has a frickin' GPS unit. I still feel it was profoundly stupid that the original model didn't have a hardware GPS, but better late than never, I suppose. Of course I simply must own one... even though the data plan is a total ripoff that now costs $10 more per month with NO TXT messages and still has NO MMS capabilities. The more things change...
• Shopper! What happens when you find out that a business you really like is owned by a complete and total asshole? How do you shop there anymore knowing what you now know? Does it matter that you've patronized the place for decades and love their stuff? Or is it just over once you discover it's run by a horribly wretched excuse of a human being? I've been wrestling with this dilemma for a week, and have come to the realization that my ethical beliefs simply won't allow me to step foot in this establishment ever again... much as I would like to shop there. Wouldn't the world be a much better place if we could just stay ignorant to the nastiness that plagues it?
• Televised! I had this idea of picking my favorite 100 television shows of all time and then listing ten of them each day with an explanation of why I liked them so much. For a television whore like me, it seemed a perfect fit for Blogography. Then common sense settled in, and I realized how much work it would be to actually do it. But I already had the list made up, so I decided to go ahead and post it in an extended entry.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008
Well, this is it. The last day before five months of non-stop adventure, fun, and excitement.
Sixteen flights. Eight car trips. Six train ride. Five rental cars. Heaven only knows how many hotels, shuttles, taxis, and subways.
That I know of.Some of my trips are open-ended to include the possibility of adding even more madness to my schedule. I am going to be one busy monkey...
I've done my best to organize my time and make sure everything is taken care of, but mentally there's just no way to prepare for what lies ahead.
Which is not to say that I'm not excited about some things that are coming up...
This Saturday is Daveattle 2!
If you are planning on attending Seattle's premiere blogger meet-up this year, please send me an email at email@example.com so I can forward the details.
And now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to pack my suitcase...
Posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
Working out of the office is killer for me because the work back home doesn't stop. This means I am essentially working two jobs, both of which are exhausting... mentally and physically.
After two hours of driving over the mountains plus an additional hour of sitting in traffic hell once I reached Issaquah on I-90, I realized that I had left my MacBook Pro power adapter at home. Lovely. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal, because I could go to the local Apple Store and get a new one. But Seattle doesn't have an Apple Store. You either have to go to Tukwila, Lynwood, Bellevue, or the University of Washington. Since University Village is closest, I lured a co-worker with the promise of dinner and headed north.
Buying a new power adapter was as quick and painless as you'd expect from an Apple Store. No surprise there, because the shopping experience at all Apple Stores is flawless. I was in and out in five minutes.
We then decided to eat dinner across the parking lot at Johnny Rockets. I love their veggie burger, so it was an easy choice.
Unfortunately, they had run out of veggie burger patties.
ATTENTION JOHNNY ROCKETS MANAGERS!!! THERE IS NO FUCKING EXCUSE FOR RUNNING OUT OF VEGGIE BURGERS AT YOUR RESTAURANTS. NONE! THE VEGGIE PATTIES ARE FROZEN!!! THIS MEANS THEY DON'T LOSE FRESHNESS OR SPOIL, SO YOU CAN ORDER A COUPLE EXTRA CASES AND PUT THEM IN YOUR FREEZER. THAT WAY YOU WON'T PISS OFF VEGETARIANS BECAUSE THE ONLY BURGER THEY CAN EAT IS OUT OF STOCK. OH, AND ONE MORE THING... WHY NOT TRY KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR INVENTORY SO STUPID-ASS SHIT LIKE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN? THAT MIGHT WORK TOO. —KTHXBAI
I mean, come on... does maintaining stock of a frozen item really equate to rocket science here?
Hmmm... I suppose that I should put away my computer so I can get a few hours sleep before I have to do this all over again tomorrow.
This would be a lot easier if my neighbors here at the hotel would put their squealing kids to bed. Since it's after 11:00pm now, I don't think that's asking too much.
Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Everybody has a thing.
My thing is to draw cartoons on my blog.
Some people's thing is being able to tie a cherry stem in a knot using their tongue. Other people's thing is being able to talk backwards. Still other people's thing is to urinate in public places. "What is Reggie doing?" — "Oh, he's peeing in public... that's his thing." Yes, everybody has some kind of minor talent that they become known for, and it gets labeled "their thing."
After the tragedy in trying to get a veggie burger at the Johnny Rockets restaurant in University Village yesterday, I decided to ride the SLUT (Seattle Lake Union Trolley) down to Pacific Place and try the Johnny Rockets there. As I was walking by Nordstroms, I noticed a woman in a Seattle Seahawks jersey randomly saying "fuck you" to passing people.
Apparently that's her thing.
"FUCK YOU! — AND FUCK YOU! — AND FUCK YOU! — AND DEFINITELY FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING MUTHAFUCKER!!"
It was actually quite charming at first. But then I started thinking about the rough day I've had, and suddenly found myself undergoing a major philosophical shift. "Holy crap!," I said to myself, she's absolutely right! FUCK YOU EVERYBODY!!"
And I'm starting with those fuckers at the Webkinz eStore.
As Blogography readers know, I was given a Webkinz pet monkey by Ninja Poodle's daughter. Along with the physical stuffed animal, you also get to play with your pet online at Webkinz World, where my monkey looks like this...
Every day I have to login and play with my monkey... feed my monkey... help my monkey work in his garden... buy my monkey new toys... and so on. Knowing that I was going to be traveling for five months straight, I decided to have Zack, the nephew of a friend, check in on my monkey from time to time to make sure he doesn't die or something. The kid has a half-dozen Webkinz of his own, and they're all still alive, so I figured he was the man for the job. As a thank you, I bought him some stuff from the Webkinz eStore that he could give to his own pets.
After a couple days, I got a call from Zack letting me know that he liked the pirate ship bedroom I had built in my little corner of Webkinz World, and then told me that I should really buy the eStore Suit of Armor for my monkey because it would be really cool. When I visited the store, I agreed the armor looked pretty sweet, and paid $7.00 to buy it. I then emailed the purchase code to Zack so he could armor-up my monkey.
The next day I get another phone call. "The armor is broken! The gloves are missing and monkey looks lame! If he were to get in a fight, his arms would be cut off!" This was surprising, because when I bought the armor, it showed a full-suit. But when I logged in, I saw exactly what Zack was talking about. In reality, the armor looks nothing like what the picture showed, and my monkey was indeed now LAME...
So I wrote a complaint to the Webkinz eStore. Nobody wrote back, so I wrote another complaint. Today, they finally contacted me back... not by email, but by phone. They called me! After explaining the problem, the woman on the line basically told me "tough shit." The monkey doesn't have four paws, so the armor is going to look different on him. She then told me that maybe they would work on a way to show people what the armor would look like on the various pets so customers could make a more informed buying decision, but that's all they're going to do. They were not going to refund my $7.00.
Needless to say, this made me very pissed off.
I don't give a crap if my monkey doesn't have four paws... give him some gauntlet gloves instead then! That is, after all, how they advertise the Suite of Armor on the front page of their site when they say "Get your FULL armor here!"...
This is false advertising. My monkey does NOT have a FULL suit of armor! They LIE to people so they can rob them of $7.00, then send them some lame armor that looks NOTHING like what they are selling! It's a classic bait and switch con game and is ILLEGAL! But Webkinz is a popular and wealthy company, so they don't feel they owe their customers shit, and lying to everybody is perfectly okay.
WELL FUCK YOU!
It is so ON...
I'm just getting started on your lying Webkinz asses. You have no idea who you are fucking with...
Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
I had thought that my Webkinz monkey's bloodlust would have subsided a bit after he took a day to calm down.
But that didn't happen at all.
Not only is my Webkinz monkey more enraged than ever since having been ripped off by the Webkinz eStore... but now he's positively homicidal. He keeps screaming "I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL YOU ALL!!! HA HA HA HAAAAH!" as he runs around with the samurai sword he bought yesterday.
This is very disturbing.
Last I saw him, he was off to the Webkinz Adoption Center, where that Bird Lady works...
She really shouldn't have said that.
For the entirely disgusting and wholly inappropriate-for-chldren story of what happens next, you'll have to click through to an extended entry!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2008
I'm getting drunk tonight, so I think I'll just sit back and let my Webkinz Monkey continue on with his revenge killing spree.
Not a good day for bears this time...
The remainder of this entry NOT appropriate for children or those who are traumatized by cartoon violence!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Saturday, June 21st, 2008
Posted on Sunday, June 22nd, 2008
It's a very sad Bullet Sunday, as I just learned George Carlin has died.
• Broked. Sorry about the missing images from Friday's entry. I don't quite know what happened, but I'll look into it when I get off work on Monday.
• Daveattle. You might have noticed that I've added some new people to the "Bloggers I've Met" in my sidebar. That's because last night was Daveattle 2! I was ever so grateful that a terrific group of bloggers showed up to eat, drink, and chat... a good time was had by all...
• Evidence. It's always a good idea to bring a camera to these things, because you just never know when blackmail-worthy material is going to pop up. Not pictured is Bryan, who managed to avoid the cameras (which is pretty much what you have to do when you're wanted for murders in three states)...
The reason they all look so happy is because they're drunk.
Or maybe because Kristin brought fun prizes!
Dustin and Sizzle being sneaky.
Vahid and Sizzle strike a pose while The Fella serenades them.
Matt and Dustin agonize over trying to operate their tiny cameras.
Tracy gives Chris a prison tattoo, apparently making him her bitch.
A scary buffalo head at Linda's Tavern.
Kristin sharpening a knife so she can remove The Fella's spleen.
• Sleepytime. And that about wraps it up! Thanks to everybody who took time our of their valuable weekend to hang out, and I hope to see everybody again soon!
Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2008
It was a beautiful disaster.
After carefully arranging all the pieces, my day ultimately ended up sucking copious amounts of ass. This was kind of sad, because there were a few very good things that happened amongst the madness.
Alas, I am still in the mood for some heinous bloodshed.
And the revenge of my Webkinz Monkey continues...
The remainder of this entry NOT appropriate for children or those who are traumatized by cartoon violence!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
As you are probably aware from my ceaseless whining, I live a busy and complex life.
This would explain my obsession when it comes to finding ways of making common tasks easier and more efficient. Because the more time I'm able to save throughout the day, the more time I'm able to set aside for luxury activities like sleeping and going to the bathroom.
A couple weeks ago, I happened upon something new to me in the freezer case at my local grocery store: UNCRUSTABLES!!
These are tiny frozen sandwiches from Smuckers that you thaw out and eat without all that mucking about with a loaf of bread and making a mess. I tried the peanut butter and jellies first... both strawberry and grape were yummy. I then found grilled cheese... totally delicious. Sure they are horrible for your health, but they are just so darn convenient that I can't get enough of them...
Then the other day I ran across a NEW Uncrustables variety... peanut butter and honey. I like honey, so I bought a box to try.
Holy crap! I believe that this is what "suck" would taste like if you could distill the essence of suckage to a food product. On top of tasting horrible, I was shocked to discover that the "honey spread" contained any honey, because it tasted more like toxic waste. Sandwich FAIL!
Oh well. I guess you can't win them all... but did anybody at Smuckers bother to TASTE these things before selling them? When your motto is "With a name like Smuckers, it's got to be good," you'd think that they'd have to be a little more careful with the crap they actually put their name on.
And in other, more expected news...
I keep hoping my pet Webkinz monkey will calm down after having been ripped off by the Webkinz eStore, but it just hasn't happened. If anything, the little psychopath has escalated his game... getting more creative with his senseless killings. I think he's always resented the cat who works at the employment office, and saw him heading that way...
The remainder of this entry NOT appropriate for children or those who are traumatized by cartoon violence!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
Today as I was driving home from work, I was following a car that had been custom-slammed to the pavement so hard that even the slightest bump in the road made it bottom out. Because of this, the dumbass driver never went over 10 miles per hour the entire time I had to follow his stupid ass.
For the life of me, I don't understand the appeal of modifying a car like this for everyday use.
Even if you think it looks cool to lower your car to ridiculous levels, it's not as if you look cool while driving it. You look like a total tool who can't go the speed limit. That's just sad. And irritating. And should be illegal.
Or punishable by death.
And speaking of death...
After my Webkinz monkey was ripped off by the Webkinz eStore, I've been having to deal with an ever-escalating amount of violence as he seeks revenge. I didn't mind at first, but he's been making a real mess lately. And here he goes again...
Posted on Thursday, June 26th, 2008
This is a recorded message.
Dave is not here right now.
Dave and his monkey are guest-blogging over at Cynical Dad today...
Unfortunately, Dave's Webkinz pet is still on a rampage. After being ripped off by the Webkinz eStore, his righteous fury has resulted in a swath of death and destruction through Webkinz World that shows no signs of stopping. When he was last spotted, he was headed towards The Wish Factory...
Posted on Friday, June 27th, 2008
Ummm... yeah... the idea I had for today's entry is going to have to wait. It's been a heck of a day.
This morning I awoke to that all-to-familiar feeling of a pending Angioedema attack. This time in my tongue again. It was that itchy-stabbing sensation that tells me I need to immediately consume massive quantities of Benadryl.
Fortunately, Benadryl will reverse the swelling before it gets too bad.
Unfortunately, Benadryl is like a sedative and makes you sleepy.
But the horror didn't end there. I've apparently gotten a bad batch of disposable contact lenses, because pair after pair I stuck in my eyes felt like sandpaper.
So there I was at work, falling asleep at my desk with a swollen tongue and agonizing eyeballs, when the trifecta of evil descended on my morning. MIGRAINE HEADACHE!!
Needless to say, it was not a very productive day.
But I'm feeling better now. The swelling has gone... I'm wearing glasses so my eyes are feeling better... and I took Special Pills so I've downgraded from migraine to headache.
Unfortunately, missing a day of work means that I'll be working all weekend trying to get caught up.
Unless, of course, my appendix decides to explode in the middle of the night.
It could happen.
Posted on Saturday, June 28th, 2008
I always wonder if people truly understand what they are getting into?
Posted on Sunday, June 29th, 2008
It's an early edition of Bullet Sunday, because I'll be working my ass off all day trying to get caught up on the work I missed from my allergy attack on Friday.
• Pride Weekend. This weekend is host to Pride Weekend parades in many cities (including Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and more). It's a totally fabulous annual celebration of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender life and history. Taking a cue from a wonderful entry over at Sizzle Says, I thought I'd blog my support for the GLBT community since I am unable to show up and offer my support in person. I have too many friends being treated like second class citizens because of who they are and I'm sick of it. When people are being persecuted and discriminated against unjustly, something needs to be said. I'm happy to add my voice to the party. Bad Monkey, however, just wants an excuse to get drunk and run around naked...
• Aptly Named. The reason my real name is on my blog is because when I started I didn't know any better. Also, it was originally written specifically for my friends and family so they could keep up with where I was and what I was up to. I never dreamed that other people would want to read it. Things kind of escalated from there, and it's too late to do anything about it now. So when I read crazy speculation to the contrary by people who don't even know me... part of me finds it mildly amusing. The other part doesn't.
• Shel Puppet. When noted social media author and consultant Shel Israel was given a video channel at Robert Scoble's FastCompany.tv, it ended up being a train wreck of near-biblical proportions. The interviews he posted there gave entirely new definition to the word "disaster" and the "blogging pros" were merciless in their criticism. Instead of chalking it up as a learning experience, Shel Israel came unhinged when parody videos started popping up by Loren Feldman of 1938 Media, starring Shel Israel... THE PUPPET! The videos were everything that the "real" Shel Israel videos were not... smart, insightful, and entertaining. But yesterday it was announced that Loren would stop posting the videos, having made his point. I'm a little sad about that, because I've grown to love Shel Puppet and his kick-ass videos! Here's one of my favorites, where he interviews Digg's Kevin Rose...
• Mostly Frozen. With the weather as hot as it has been, I find myself eating a lot of frozen foods. And I don't mean frozen foods that are cooked. I mean ice cream for breakfast, frozen candy bars for lunch, and popsicles for dinner. I'd try to justify this unhealthy and very odd behavior, but my Chips Ahoy cookies should be frozen by now, and I need a bedtime snack.
• DC Sucks. Somebody had to say it... DC Comics officially sucks ass. I am just sick over how frakin' stupid things have gotten with my once-favorite comic book company. Continuity is a convoluted mess that's been screwed over with so many revisions and ret-cons that it's incomprehensible. I pity the new reader wanting to start into comics who is unfortunate enough to try and pick up a current issue of most any DC book. They finally streamlined their "universe" with the groundbreaking Crisis on Infinite Earths, only to completely destroy everything in the years that followed (don't even get me started on 52, Infinite Crisis, and Countdown, which were tragically bad). The last straw for me is yet another incomprehensible "DC Event" called Final Crisis. Not only is it another confusing suck-fest of a mess, but I've just learned that YET AGAIN the art chores are changing mid-story. WHAT THE HELL? IS NOBODY STEERING THE SHIP AT DC?!? Rumor has it that Editor in Chief Dan DiDio is going to be replaced, and it's about fucking time. It's going to take some major, major changes to salvage what's left of DC Comics. Hopefully they find somebody with the balls (or ovaries!) to do the job. If DC can ditch the floodgates of quantity that have replaced the superior goal ofquality, things can be good again.
And now I suppose I should get some sleep so I can wake up early and get shit done.
Hopefully my allergies will cooperate.
Posted on Monday, June 30th, 2008
Why is it that I just can't catch a break?
Once... just once I'd like to have my travel plans work out as I arranged them without having to worry about cancellations, schedule changes, and the myriad of other disasters that seem to plague me every single time I leave home. And, of course, it's always the things that I want to do that get sacrificed for the things I have to do when things go sideways. Always. It's as if fate has dictated that all I ever get to do is work, and any time I make plans for a bit of personal happiness in-between the never-ending battle that is my life, I get screwed.
Yesterday I made a short video for Bullet Sunday that I was unable to get uploaded because YouTube kept dropping me. At the time I made it, I was totally joking about how I got through my day... but after this morning, I'm wondering if this is a viable solution to making my crappy life bearable...
Now I have to get ready to go to the dentist.
And because going to the dentist is such big fun, naturally nothing comes along to change those plans.
As always, a video transcript follows in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
Once again, I am not here today. I am over at Karl's blog Secondhand Tryptophan where I am guest-posting for his annual "Summer of Love" event.
Because I start traveling this week, I decided to do something special since I won't have time to do anymore guest posting for a while. Heck, I'm still trying to figure out how I am going to find time to write in my own blog. Maybe I should have started my own "Summer of Love" and got Karl to post for me! A pity I'm just not that smart.
In any event, what I am doing today is posting a naked photo of myself over there. It's something I would never do on my own blog, but Karl said "there are no rules" and "you have carte blanche," so I figured "what the heck?"
I'm sure Naked Dave will raise a few questions, which I am happy to answer below...
Yes that's really me naked.
The photo was taken back in 2001.
It was taken by my then-girlfriend who decided to goof around with my digital camera.
I have no idea why I kept the image, except that it's a pretty darn fine picture, if I do say so myself.
This is not the only naked picture of me on the internet. Somewhere out there, somebody has posted a photo of my bare ass. And no, I'm not telling you where it is (though it's totally worth tracking it down because, let's face it, I've got a totally hot ass).
No, she didn't trademark DaveBalls, so my testicles still belong to me.
For the time being, anyway.
UPDATE: With so many blogs going under, I've decided to archive my guest-entry just in case it disappears over at Karl's.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
I say tomato and you say tomato...
Posted on Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
Before there were blogs, there were online journals, of which I had two. They were hand-coded in html and difficult to update, but they did keep my readers (all four of them) updated as to my travels and happenings. Then tools came along to make online journals easier to update and they were re-branded "blogs," but it was all the same to me. I'd start a blog, get bored, kill the blog, start a new blog. Eventually i decided to make a real effort at "the blogging thing" and Blogography was born. It was killed 6 months later.
But then better blogging tools came along and Blogography was reborn. Five years later, it's still here.
I honestly don't know why. It should have died off years ago.
I'm guessing it has to do with the "blogging community" that's given me so much. New friends. An extended family. Many good times. Some bad times. And a lot of laughs. I'm guessing it's the same for a lot of bloggers. You keep going because you can't imagine not going on and leaving the community behind.
But then money had to come along and fuck up everything.
Advertising. Merchandising. Revenue sharing. Commissions. Free merchandise. Travel. Book deals. Speaking engagements. Sponsorships. Conferences. Professional bloggers. And a myriad of other things that have made blogging as big a business as anything else out there.
Most of the time, this money is pretty insignificant. Maybe a blogger puts Google Ads on their blog and makes a bit of cash so they can pay their hosting costs and perhaps buy a pizza each month... and that's fine. I've said many times that ads don't bother me. So long as a blog is worth reading, I honestly don't care if they try to make a few bucks. Plaster you blog with ads, it doesn't make any difference to me because I don't visit for the ads and can easily ignore them.
And yet, there's a tipping point.
That point at which the dollars are no longer insignificant and a blogger realizes that there's money to be made.
And wherever money gets involved, drama is sure to follow.
This is not to say that money has to be involved for there to be drama. It doesn't. Drama can be motivated by a number of factors, and I'd guess most of them have nothing to do with dollars. But it's the money-drama that's the most interesting... because nobody involved will admit that it's about the money!
Once you've breached that tipping point, you can claim all you want that you're blogging for the love of it all, but it's a load of crap and everybody knows it. At that point it's all about building readership and leveraging that readership for a monetary pay-off. It's the holy grail that oh so many bloggers aspire to and, once they have it, will do most anything to protect. After all, once you've made serious bank from blogging, how could you lower yourself to go back and do it for free?
And that's where the trouble begins, because things inevitably turn nasty. Sometimes, because a money-blogger thinks that the best defense is a good offense, they'll mount an attack on other bloggers to "defend their blogosphere territory." Other times, a money-blogger realizes that nothing elevates readership better than controversy, and so they'll invent drama where there is none (or escalate drama that's already there) to snag readers. However the money-drama occurs, the money-blogger can't ignore it because battle-lines are being drawn and losing territory means losing revenue.
Not that they'll admit to it.
You'll never see a money-blogger say "There is a blogger that has come to my attention who is clever and fresh and writes about the same subject matter I do. If their readership keeps growing, I fear that they may start cutting into my revenue, and this simply cannot be allowed. I've got a book coming out and am a paid speaker at MoneyBlogger 2008, so my only option here is to attack them now while I still have the power to protect my brand. So when I say that this blogger is a talentless hack who steals ideas from other people and is a stupid doo-doo head, I hope that you will act like the mindless minions you are and join me in destroying them. Oh... and did I mention that they are a godless communist who likes to kick puppies and perform abortions in their spare time?"
Then the entertainment really begins, because the money-blogger being attacked will mobilize their readers for an offensive. Other bloggers will weigh in on the drama with their own opinions to build alliances. Still other bloggers will wait for the drama to die down... then stir it up again so they can create all new drama with themselves at the center of it... all in the desperate hope of snagging a few more readers so they can cash in and be a money-blogger too.
On the surface, it's a pretty battle filled with righteous indignation and the best of intentions. Underneath it all, there's the money.
No matter how strongly they pretend otherwise.
Most of the time I'm able to comfortably skip past the money-drama and ignore it. In rare events, this is not possible, though I try not to drag my own blog into the fray except in broad strokes (like now!), preferring to comment elsewhere.
And this is where I finally bring this entry full-circle by saying how the money-drama relates to me.
Except that's not what some people think, and therein lies the problem.
People see that I sell crap at the Artificial Duck Co. Store and think I'm raking in the big money.
Which is laughable on so many levels. Last year the store lost me over $1200. Obviously I don't run it to make money, I run it because my readers like having the stuff. I like having the stuff. I sell the hats for $12. The hats cost me $12. I sell the T-shirts for $8.50. The T-shirts cost me $7.50. I sell the Playing Cards for as little as $2.50 (for an eight-pack). The Playing Cards cost me $3.00. No big money is being made. The $1 from the shirt goes to a fund to help my sister pay for medical expenses she has from kicking the shit out of cancer a second time (sorry for the massive profit margin on the shirts there, but I love my sister quite a lot).
I don't make money off of Blogography and, for the foreseeable future, that's not going to change. That's not why I blog. There's some very, very cool new merchandise in the pipe for Blogiversary 6, but it will be sold at my cost as it always has been. Even though I parted ways with my publishers (yes, both of them!) I still plan on releasing the first of my books next year (even if I have to self-publish). I think we all know that's not going to be a money-maker... but I worked hard on it, think people might like to read it, and so I'm going to make it available to them as cheaply as I possibly can. I'm far more interested in Blogography readers being able to afford my stuff than trying to wring money out of them.
But no matter how transparent I try to be as a blogger, I know that there will be those who don't believe me. There's always going to be a small group of people who are convinced that every time I say I like a product, some company has their hand up my ass and is paying me to say it. There's always going to be people who simply cannot accept that I'm not making huge bank from T-shirts and hats. It's human nature, and I certainly don't begrudge them for believing whatever they want to believe.
Except when they go telling it to other people as if it were fact.
In which case they can go fuck themselves. Twice now I've seen my name and my blog dragged into some outrageous shit because some money-blogger is trying to create drama and make a name for themselves. Which is monumentally stupid when you consider that I'm not in this for the money. More importantly, I'm not competition! You think I'm worried about losing advertisers from advertisements I don't have? There's no benefit in my engaging in your drama other than to spell out how monumentally stupid you are for assuming I would care.
So be a douchebag money-blogger wannabe and stir up all the shit you want, if you're so inclined.
I'll still be here not giving a flying fuck.
Posted on Friday, July 4th, 2008
Don't anybody go lighting their house on fire tonight...
Posted on Saturday, July 5th, 2008
Much happiness to you both!
Posted on Sunday, July 6th, 2008
It's Bullet Sunday, and I'm not even supposed to be here!
&bull Pear Mint. Whenever I travel to foreign lands, I stock up on awesome chips and candies that I can't get back home. Most of the time it's stuff I know... other times, it's bizarre crap I dare myself to try... and still other times it's stuff that sounds too good to pass up. Like these pear mint drops I got while I was visiting Göran in Sweden that I just now found in a secret pocket of my backpack. I like pear. I like mint. So they must be super awesome together, right?
WRONG! OMG! It's like the great tastes cancel out each other out and make death! The taste is horrible... HORRIBLE!! It's been an entire day since I sucked on one of those craptastic bastards, but the nasty taste still lingers! Pears have been ruined for me. RUINED I SAY!!
• Wanted Much? This week I went to see the movie Wanted. Based on the Mark Millar comic of the same name, I didn't know quite what to expect. I was not a huge fan of the comic (a nicely illustrated book by J.G. Jones that consisted of a mediocre plot overwhelmed by juvenile shock-value), but was curious to know how they were going to adapt it. Turns out they didn't adapt the comic. The entire premise has changed (no more super-vilains!) and most all the characters have been radically altered. The result? I actually enjoyed the movie more than the book. Much more. The story of a secret society of assassins with super-human skills was almost too good to be true... kind of like a kick-ass, high-octane blending of Fight Club and The Matrix. In addition to some awesome special effects, it also features Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman...
Angelina kills people with hotness!
A pretty badass role for Mr. Freeman!
Rumor has it that they are already working on a Wanted sequel, which is sweet. But please, please, please don't flush such excellent potential down the toilet like they did with the shitty Matrix sequels.
• Guest Poster. In the past month I've received eight requests to do guest-posts on other people's blog. This is kind of cool, because it's always a lot of fun to break away and do something "same-but-different" somewhere else. Unfortunately, I am already worried about finding time to post in my own blog over the next several months, so guest-posting for somebody else is impossible. I wonder if anybody would notice if I came up with ONE guest post that I could use over and over again? Usually I work hard to come up with something unique that fits the blog I'm writing for... that's what makes it fun... but re-posting is looking to be more and more appealing as more and more bloggers decide they want to take a break from their blog.
• Gee Eight. Tomorrow begins this year's G8 summit, which is being held in Japan. Just like every other time our Beloved Leader leaves the country, Americans will be holding their breath in anticipation over what he might say to embarrass us this time. Will he invent a new word? Will he say something utterly insane? Will he accidentally declare war on Canada? Or will he just ramble on incomprehensibly? I'm not speculating... I'm just going to sit back and be surprised. I suppose it's too late to sneak a copy of my latest Dumbasses book into his bedside table...
• Interface. Many moons ago, I took some contract jobs for application interface design. It's a very challenging field to work in because, in addition to being a designer, you have to have a very good understanding as to how people use their computers. Most graphic designers make horrible interface designers because they're more interested in making things pretty than functional. I ended up doing some nice work and enjoyed the jobs, but found interface design to be too time consuming to make a career out of it... I spent way too much time agonizing over the details. But I'm always fascinated with the work and still take jobs from time to time, so I try to keep up with what's happening. A couple months ago I noticed that the C4 Indie Mac Developer Conference had videos of the event online, and made a note to watch them when I had a chance. This morning I finally finished the last one, which was a great talk given by Cabel Sasser of Panic. This company makes two of the best applications for the Mac, Transmit (an FTP tool) and Coda (a website development tool), both of which I love and use often. Sasser spoke mostly about designing Coda's interface, and it was a fascinating insight as to the thought process that goes into software development. It was also very frustrating, because at least one of the decisions they ended up making is downright tragic.
Here is how Apple's web browser, Safari, handles multiple pages in the same document window by using tabs. It's not a perfect implementation (the tabs point DOWN and aren't connected to the page?!?) but it is very obvious which tab has been activated. Here, there is simply no mistaking that the "Blogography" page is what you're looking at, because that's the tab in the foreground...
And here's how Coda handles tabs...
Pretty much the same thing, right? The "Opener.html" page is obviously what you're looking at, because it's the tab in the foreground.
EXCEPT IT'S NOT!!! In this case, it's the "Closer.html" tab that's activated. Coda goes entirely opposite from how people are used to seeing tabs, and makes the activated tab RECESSED! I have been using Coda regularly for almost a year and still get confused as to which document I'm in because of this hideous choice of interface design. It's inexplicably bad. It's SO bad that I actually wrote to Panic and begged them to fix it. They wrote back a nice note, but haven't done anything about it yet.
So when I'm watching Sasser's C4 video, and listening to him pour his heart out about how much he agonizes over the details to make the best user interface possible... I can relate, but my mind boggles. At one point, a programmer in the audience brings up the tabbed windows and my heart skipped a beat, but it was only to discuss how Apple hasn't standardized tabs, so everybody's tabs are going to look different. And that's the root of the problem... Apple needs to standardize things so we don't end up with confusing interfaces in the software we use. In the meanwhile, I continue to hope that Panic will revisit their solution soon so I can stop making costly mistakes when using their product. Nothing sucks worse than editing code for 20 minutes and then realizing you've been editing the wrong document.
And thus ends another edition of Bullet Sunday. Time for lunch!
Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2008
WTF?? It's happened to me AGAIN?!? Seriously, do these fuckers not know how to take inventory?
Somebody needs to die.
Posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
I'm so tired that my brain has melted. Zombie time.
Posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
I went to see LIVE tonight at Marymoor Park! It was pretty sweet, because they're a great live band (hence the name).
Lucky for me, I don't have to drag my ass out of bed tomorrow morning for work. I can actually sleep in.
Which would be nice if I wasn't a total insomniac who will undoubtedly go to bed at midnight and be up at 3:30am.
I wish I had an off switch.
Posted on Thursday, July 10th, 2008
This morning I saw that the "unofficial-official" update for iPhone 2.0 had been released. Not being the patient type, I went ahead and installed it.
It's pretty much everything I had hoped for... and more. Not so much for the basic functionality, which is largely unchanged, but for the stunning applications that are now available. Much like a drug habit, the ability to purchase games and other apps right on your iPhone is highly addictive. I've spent nearly $100 on loads of crap without even realizing it. And I can only imagine that even more amazing stuff is on the way, which is very bad news for my finances.
Here is just a sampling of some of the interesting stuff I got...
By far the best game I bought was Motion-X Poker Dice. It's so beautifully crafted that everybody I've shown it to wants an iPhone just to have it! You roll the dice by shaking your iPhone, at which point the dice click and clatter until you stop shaking. You have three rolls to get a better hand than the dealer. This would get boring kind of quickly, so there are unlock-able playing boards, dice sets, and prize gems for reaching certain goals. You can also just roll five dice to play games like Yatzee and Zilch on the go, which is a nice bonus. An instant classic I can't stop playing!
Another very, VERY interesting game is Trism, which uses all the amazing iPhone features at the same time to ensnare you in a puzzler that boggles the mind. I could post a screenshot, but to truly appreciate how cool it is, you need to actually SEE it in action...
On of the most beautiful games is Apple's Texas Hold'em, which utilizes video capture to create an immersive card-playing experience. Turn your iPhone 90-degrees, and you switch to an overview mode. Overall, the game is pretty darn sweet, but I sure wish it had more options (in single-player you always play against 8 computer opponents, which makes each hand a little longer than I'd like, and I wish I could change to less players). The most impressive aspect is that you can also play against REAL PEOPLE via wireless if they also have the game!
In addition to games, there are also some helpful utilities. The one I was most excited about was something called "Jade" which allows you to automatically enhance the murky, crappy photos that the built-in iPhone camera takes. It doesn't always work, but most of the time the app does improve your images by making them brighter. It seems to be a very handy thing to have, as you can see by the samples here...
Cool huh? Well I thought so too... until I realized that every photo which Jade processes is reduced from 1600x1200 pixels to 640x480 pixels, which sucks ass! NOWHERE on the iTunes sales page does it tell you that Jade shrinks your photos, and that pisses me off. Why can't I keep the original size so I get the best image quality? Who knows. STUPID!
Anyway, I got a lot of other cool stuff, but you kind of get the idea here.
In summary, iPhone is a killer development platform for software. Sure not all the apps are as good as they could be, but I'm sure as time goes on and programmers get accustomed to the tools and what they can do, we'll see better and better stuff. It makes me love my iPhone even more than I already did, which is a LOT.
Tomorrow Apple released the new generation Apple iPhone 3G.
To be honest, I am not sure I want one. The only feature I covet on the latest model is built-in GPS. This was a horrible, glaring oversight from the first model that still gets my blood boiling. If my current iPhone had GPS... AS IT SHOULD HAVE IN THE FIRST PLACE!... there would be no reason for me to upgrade. Sure the 3G speeds of the internet access would be nice... but they are charging too much for it. I would be perfectly happy sticking with my 2.5G speed at the current rate plan if I could.
So will I buy one?
I don't know. Sure I'd like to have it, but the monthly increase on my wireless bill doesn't make me at all happy.
But it DOES have GPS, which I want pretty bad.
Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2008
After an exhausting week of work in Seattle, I'm home.
For a couple days, anyway.
Soon I'll be off to Georgia for more work, culminating in Davelanta 2 next Saturday. I was supposed to fly out Wednesday, but (surprise!) my airline schedule was changed (again!), so now I have to fly out Tuesday for an overnight layover at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (fun!). Just when I think travel can't get any worse, somehow it does.
In the meanwhile, I've got a lot of catching up to do.
Those Pop-Tarts I bought aren't going to eat themselves.
"The Dave-Devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for friends and a meal.
He was in a bind 'cos he hadn't dined, and he was needing some pudding to steal."
If you're going to be in the city, let me know if you want to join us, and I'll get you the details.
And now for a handful of sleeping pills and (hopefully) some sleep...
Posted on Saturday, July 12th, 2008
This doesn't bother me one bit. I am perfectly capable of driving and talking on the phone at the same time, but many people aren't. Because of this, something had to be done, because people incapable of driving and talking at the same time are probably incapable of realizing they shouldn't do it. Naturally, I'm a little upset that I can't make calls on the road anymore, but it's a small price to pay if it's going to stop idiots from killing people. Besides, all I have to do is buy a hands-free adapter for my iPhone, and I'll be able to make calls again, so it's really not a big deal.
Yesterday as I was driving back home over the mountain pass, I got stuck behind a car going 10 miles per hour under the speed limit and driving erratically from time to time. This is typical of some idiots I've seen who have trouble talking on their mobile phone while driving, so I was understandably pissed that some dumbass was breaking a law that I have to follow.
Eventually, a passing lane appeared, and I noticed that the woman driving was not talking on her mobile phone.
She was eating.
And by "eating" I actually mean "dining" because it's not like she had a burger in her hand and was chomping away. The woman had a plate of food on top of her dashboard and was EATING WITH A FORK!! For all I know, she had a knife in her other hand and was driving with her knees.
All of which, apparently, is perfectly legal.
So where is the law to protect us from stupid bitches like this?!?
Posted on Sunday, July 13th, 2008
It's a mini edition of Bullet Sunday after a very long week.
• Sick & Tired. I am so exhausted from work this week that I'm becoming physically ill. So many things need to be done before I leave again... yet there simply isn't enough time to do them, and too many little details are slipping through the cracks. I haven't picked up my mail in so long that the post office probably thinks I'm dead. I have dry cleaning that has been sitting at the cleaners for months. My friends never see me, and I'm sure many of them are starting to question whether I even exist. If it weren't for this blog, even I would question whether or not I exist. And yet there's three more months of this left to go. It's times like this I question whether I'll be able to survive it.
• Re-Scheduled. I've lost track of the number of times my various travel itineraries have been changed over the past three months, but it just keeps getting uglier. Rumor has it that things will get much worse after labor day, as airlines scramble to cancel as many flights as possible to slash operating costs. I'm already having to fly out a day early for an overnight layover on three trips... now I've found out that I'm going to have to have an overnight layover on two more coming back. Just how much worse can it get? I'm afraid to even speculate. From what I can tell, the days of being able to schedule back-to-back trips on airlines are quickly disappearing. This is going to cause serious problems for me, and I can't even begin to think about how I'm going to deal with it. Maybe if I don't think about it, the problem will just go away? I can dream.
• Laughably Unfunny. I overheard somebody being told that not only was it possible for them to complete their work assignment on time... it was "impossibly possible." The guy on the receiving end didn't bat an eye and replied "In that case, I'll get it to you as quickly as impossible," which made his supervisor very happy... probably because he was just stupid enough not to over-think it: "See what happens when you put your mind on something?" ON?!? I can only guess his mind was on drugs.
• Mobile Maybe. Apple's $100-per-year ".Mac" service sounds like a dream come true. It's an online place to synchronize your address book, web browser bookmarks, email, calendar, and there's even room left over for file storage. No matter which of your computers you are using, you can rest easy that all your information is up-to-date, because everything is coordinated online by the ".Mac" server. At least that's how it's suppose to be. Unfortunately, reality is very different from the fantasy they sell you. The file storage is unbearably slow and freezes your computer (rendering it useless)... the syncing has NEVER worked properly... email is faulty and unreliable... basically, ".Mac" is a steaming pile of shit. Apple knows it's a steaming pile of shit, so they've introduced a replacement now called "MobileMe" which is a better, bigger, faster version of ".Mac"...
Yeah, still a steaming pile of shit! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that "MobileMe" is the biggest disaster I've ever seen from Apple. Not only does it not work... AT ALL... because Apple's servers are overloaded most of the time, but in those rare instances that it can connect to the server, IT STILL DOESN'T WORK! The entire service, from top to bottom, is plagued with troubles. I could go on for pages about the problems (which would only make me more angry than I already am), so let me give you just one example of how bad it is: When you enter your "MobileMe" identity into your iPhone, the last character is truncated. It took me HOURS to realize that my connection problems were because the last character of my login was being removed. I finally worked around this by adding an extra character to my identity (which was then truncated), but WHAT THE FUCK?!?? Did anybody bother to beta test this crap? Anybody?
• Mobile Misery. Okay, I just can't let this go... did I mention that I am PAYING for the MobileMe service? Perhaps these problems would be excusable if it were provided free, BUT I AM PAYING FOR THIS SHIT!! I am certain that Google Mail (a free service) has a shitload more people using it than are using "MobileMe," and yet how often does it go down? Now that I think of it... Google Mail has never crapped out on me. This is absolutely pathetic on Apple's part, and I hope that they have a plan for compensating their users for this bullshit. Assuming I ever get it to work in the first place, of course. Man, I never thought I'd find myself longing for the "horrible old .Mac days."
And on that perky note, I'd better get back to work...
Posted on Monday, July 14th, 2008
It's 11:00pm and I just finished the last of the orders I can fill from the Artificial Duck Co. Store. Basically, if your order doesn't have playing cards, it will ship tomorrow (that's 106 orders total). If your order does have playing cards... hopefully they will arrive when I get back from Atlanta so I can ship all remaining orders then. If the playing cards aren't waiting for me when I get back, they'll have to ship when I return from San Diego. So... barring any catastrophe (e.g. the plane carrying my cards crashes into the Pacific Ocean) all orders will have shipped by the end of the month!
Thanks so much to Artificial Duck Co. customers for your patience.
I had no idea that when I decided to make my own playing cards that it would be such a big frickin' deal. I foolishly assumed that the three months I spent drawing them would be the hard part. How wrong I was. I've now gone through three different companies and have experienced every conceivable problem... twice... since I placed my first order for them BACK IN FEBRUARY!!!
Given the total disaster I've had trying to get my playing cards manufactured, you can understand why I'm already getting merchandise ideas together for my Blogiversary VI celebration next April. Two of the items are just killer, and I hope they work out because I want them pretty bad (even though they'll probably bankrupt me to have them made).
And now it's time to pack my suitcase.
I sure hope I can get even a few hours sleep tonight.
Posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
Running out of new ways to say FAIL!
After my three previous failed attempts of getting a Streamliner Burger from Johnny Rockets, I played the odds and figured that my luck was bound to change. They can't ALL be out of soy burgers ALL the time? And this is a TUESDAY when they must surely have gotten their supplies in for the week.
So I take a very expensive taxi ride from my hotel to the Southcenter Mall's Johnny Rockets for dinner. I sit at the counter and wait to have my order taken. I order my usual vegetarian-safe Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions and no mustard. Then grit my teeth as I hear my waiter say...
"Hey, are we still out of Boca Burgers?
It was all I could do to stop myself from seriously jumping over the counter and choking the shit out of everybody with a Johnny Rocket's apron on.
But, much to my shock and delight, the answer was "yeah, we got Boca!"
A short while later my burger arrives and I start chowing down on it. But something's not right... it tastes... off. At first I tell myself that the lettuce must be funny and keep eating. But then, as I am half-way through, something falls out of my burger. And it looks like a piece of mushroom. WTF? That's when I pull the bun off and see that it's not brown like a Boca Burger usually is, but kind of a yellowish color. Oh shit.
IT'S NOT A 100% SOY BOCA BURGER AS THEIR MENU STATES, BUT SOME KIND OF RICE & GRAIN MUSHROOM BURGER!
And have I mentioned that I AM FUCKING ALLERGIC TO MUSHROOMS??!
Even if I could eat mushrooms, the burger was pretty gross. My best guess is that it's a GardenBurger "Savory Mushroom" patty... or something like it.
Fortunately, the amount was not enough to kill me, but it was definitely enough to make my throat swell up and cause me to have some serious gastrointestinal distress for the rest of the evening. So much for going to a movie tonight. FUCKERS!
I just don't get it. I have gone to Johnny Rockets and been denied a Streamliner Burger in San Francisco (twice), Santa Monica, Seattle University Village (twice), Seattle Pike Place Market, Seattle Pacific Place, Miami Aventura Mall, and Kent Station. And now Johnny Rockets Seattle Southcenter tries to kill me with an unannounced mushroom burger substitution. Why the fuck do they even offer a soy burger if the person in charge of inventory can't be bothered to keep it in stock or confirm they received the correct item? Who the fuck puts an item on their menu that you can only successfully order 50% of the time?
Johnny Rockets. The very definition of EPIC FAIL...
What's funny is that the waiter seemed completely unconcerned when I told him about the problem. He credited me the amount of the burger (still making me pay for the fries and a Coke), but that was it. As far as I know, he didn't even bother to follow-up with the kitchen staff to tell them they had the wrong burgers. And, as always, no offer whatsoever of any restitution... no free burger coupon for my next visit... nothing. I didn't even get a "hope you don't die."
The real shame here is that my favorite food on earth is a Johnny Rockets Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions and no mustard. And I'm not joking when I say that I would eat them morning, noon, and night if I could. It would be easy to say "I'm never eating at Johnny Rockets ever again," but I just can't do it. I will continue to eat at their restaurants knowing full-well that I'm setting myself up for disappointment and possible death by doing so.
In the meanwhile, I am waiting for somebody... anybody... to explain to me why it's so impossible to keep a FROZEN item in stock. It's not going to spoil... IT'S FUCKING FROZEN! It's not going to go to waste if you over-order... IT'S FUCKING FROZEN! It's easy to make sure you never run out of something... BECAUSE IT'S FUCKING FROZEN!! DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S FUCKING FROZEN?!? I am flabbergasted beyond all reason as to why this is such a huge problem. It make no sense at all... and yet it's consistently fucked up no matter which Johnny Rockets location I try.
What's beyond EPIC FAIL?!?
Posted on Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
After a relatively uneventful trip, here I am in rural Georgia!
The great thing about being here is that the people are so incredibly nice. I had dinner at a Taco Bell and felt like I had acquired a new family. I shopped at the Piggly Wiggly and found a new best friend. I checked into my hotel and it was like being a guest at somebody's home.*
Everywhere I go, people are wicked-friendly, like being sweet to total strangers is built into their DNA.
Work runs all hours of the day and night, which is a bummer, but I'm used to it.
Tonight at the "magic hour" I was blessed with a fantastic sight... a flawless sunset and moon rise at exact opposite horizons. You look one direction and there's the sun glowing blood-orange across a painted sky...
You look 180-degrees opposite, and there's the full moon glowing softly above the horizon...
After the sun has totally set, the back-roads I drive back and forth remind me of that old Atari 2600 video game, Night Driver. I totally sucked at that game, and crashed ten times a minute, but loved it anyway. Fortunately, I have better luck in a real car on real roads. Probably because I don't have bricks of crap being thrown at me every two seconds...
NOTE: In the real game you would never have a car, tree, and house showing at the same time...
that would cause your Atari 2600 graphics chip to explode and your console to melt.
Alrighty then... back to work. And maybe a can of Red Bull.
* If that somebody's home was filled with thirty people all running around screaming and yelling day and night while each smoked a pack of cigarettes every hour.
My "non-smoking" room is directly above a smoking room, which means that the smoke drifts up and makes my room smell like cigarettes and burning hair. As if that weren't bad enough, my room is at the end of a cull-de-sac where everybody who got a non-smoking rooms likes to hang out and blaze up, thus filling my room with more cigarette smoke. Add to that the running, yelling, screaming, and singing at 1:30am, and it's my best hotel experience ever!
I guess it's a good thing I'm working and won't get to sleep anyways.
Though I'm thinking I'll be needing a nicotine patch when I check out.
Posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2008
I had to change hotels.
Between the crazy bastards in neighboring rooms and the cigarette smoke that was pouring in non-stop, I didn't have much choice. I had been awake from 4:00am Pacific time Wednesday to 1:00pm Eastern time Thursday... 29 hours... and simply had to get some sleep. That was never going to happen at my first hotel, so I moved to a different one with a crowd that's a bit more reserved.
For the most part.
There are still people driving into the parking lot at 10:00pm with their country music blasting so loud that the windows are shaking... and a mother standing on the balcony screaming at her kids in the swimming pool... but now it's 11:00pm and everything is blissfully quiet (I can't even hear the forest of cicadas outside!).
But none of that is important right now.
What's important is how hot I don't look in glasses.
For comparison, let's start with a photo of me taken last week while I was iChatting with my friend Meagan as I got ready for work in the morning. You can break it down however you like but, damn, I am totally hot here...
Which is not to say I always look fantastically hot. Unlike Sizzle, I do take bad pictures, and have a tendency to look constipated half the time. Especially when Meagan snaps me in mid-sentence...
But whenever I put on a pair of glasses, my hotness evaporates. After 29 hours in contact lenses, I decided to give my eyes a rest, and was horrified when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror...
Not only do I look eerily un-hot, I give off kind of a sexual predator vibe.
At work today, I had to wear protective glasses, and didn't fare any better. I look like a homicidal maniac...
Most people look kind of hot-cool in sunglasses. I don't. I look kind of pervy-scary...
Last night I thought my glasses curse had finally been broken.
I went to the local SUPER WAL-MART to get a replacement charger for my iPhone (mine got busted in my suitcase) and saw a massive display for Hannah Montana school supplies that included a FREE pair of Hannah Montana 3-D glasses for the upcoming broadcast of her "Best of Both Worlds Tour" movie. Thinking I had finally found glasses that wouldn't destroy my hotness, I grabbed a pair...
Not bad. Not bad at all.
And I must say that the world is looking quite a bit better when seen through Hannah Montana glasses.
Which is why I wish I had them when I was on my way back from work today.
I was driving by a pasture where some cows were shading themselves under some trees. Thinking I could use a mental break, I decided to stop for a minute. You have a whole different appreciation for cows when you don't see them as food, and I find them to be gentle, soulful animals that are fun to be around.
But as I walked up to the fence, the cows were indifferent to me. One cow even turned away from me... kind of a bovine snub, if you will. I was okay with it because I was wearing my pervy-scary sunglasses and could hardly blame the cow for not wanting to look at me, but it didn't end there.
That's when the cow lifted its tail and proceeded to dump ten gallons of urine in my direction.
What a bitch!
I didn't get peed on, but it sure put a damper on my wanting to commune with nature today.
It also made me hungry for a steak for some reason.
Tomorrow I get to head back to the big city of Atlanta where, hopefully, I'll have better email access so I can get caught up on work back home. My new hotel doesn't allow you to send email (some kind of anti-spammer effort?) and webmail seems to be broken.
Unfortunately, my Hannah Montana glasses have been no help at all.
But I am looking 3-D hot, and that's something.
Posted on Friday, July 18th, 2008
Today while I was dining at some nameless chain restaurant, a fight broke out. Since I was eating a late lunch, there were only a couple other customers there to hear it. This is a shame because the battle which ensued was truly epic and deserved of a much larger audience. Apparently some guy had done some gal wrong, and she was not going to let him get away unscathed.
Attacks were vicious, covering everything from looks and personal hygiene to family and relationships. From what I could tell, the woman had not actually had sex with the guy she was screaming at, but that didn't stop her from laying down a laundry list of perceived sexual inadequacies she felt he should know about.
This was the last straw for the guy, who called her a whore and then provided her with a series sex acts she would gladly perform for the bargain price of $5.
One of the restaurant staff who was cowering on the sidelines with his co-workers took the opportunity to yell "YOU NEED TO TAKE THIS OUTSIDE NOW OR WE'RE CALLING THE POLICE!"
At which point the man and woman stopped fighting with each other and started yelling obscenities at the staff.
They then resumed fighting and left.
In the same car.
Which is kind of a shame, because I had $5 burning a hole in my pocket.
Posted on Saturday, July 19th, 2008
My day did not get off to a very good start.
Two kids prank-called me at 3:30am and tried again before I had my phone put on "do-not-disturb." They were staying here at the hotel, because nobody at the switchboard let a call through. Where the heck are their parents? Because this was my ONE SHOT at getting some decent sleep, and it was completely destroyed. Tomorrow I have to be up a an insane hour for my flight back home, so my only hope of catching up on my rest is if I can sleep on the plane (which is unlikely).
Things got a lot better once I met up with Beth (who makes all the awesome hats in the Artificial Duck Store) and Kevin. We ate lunch at the very cool (and delicious) "Savage Pizza" located at "Little Five Points." The quirky neighborhood is most famous for The Vortex, because it's got a very cool entrance...
From there we went to Atlanta's terrific High Museum...
They have a lot of incredible artwork there, but the main reason I wanted to go was to see "The Funeral of Atala," a very moving painting by Girodet that's based on a reinterpretation of "Romeo and Juliet" in Chateaubriand's popular 1801 novel, Atala. The image depicts Chactas, a Natchez Indian mourning and burying his love Atala after she commits suicide because she feared breaking the vow of chastity she made to her mother. It's an absolutely beautiful and powerful work of art...
There are many other interesting pieces, like these two which I have renamed "For The Win!" and "Purple Cow Dressed as a Lion Eating a Taco"...
After the museum, Beth and Kevin took me to an Atlanta institution... The Varisty (a massive drive-in restaurant)... so I could experience a delicious Frosted Orange drink. We sat in the "schoolhouse room" where everybody sits at those little desks they give you in elementary school. I had to steal this photo from Kevin, because my iPhone camera decided to stop working for some reason...
From there it was time for Davelanta at the Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta. Probably the most obscenely loud Hard Rock property I have ever been to. The music was way, way too loud, but we had a great time anyway. Here's me with Beth and Kevin...
Then Mentally Rehearsed showed up...
Then Coal Miner's Granddaughter...
And then Geeky Tai-Tai and Mr. Geeky Tai-Tai, Mike...
Despite nearly going deaf, we all had a great time, and decided to move across the street to a quieter venue so we could more easily talk.
And there was Key Lime Pie.
For what started out as kind of a crappy day, it sure ended well!
Posted on Sunday, July 20th, 2008
I survived my trip back from Atlanta. And, though I am happy to be home, a part of me kind of wishes I hadn't left. Anyway... welcome to a special FAIL! edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Sleep FAIL! No matter how hard I try or how many pills I take, sleep still seems to elude me. This wouldn't be a big deal, except it makes getting through the day on 3-4 hours sleep incredibly difficult. My change from Eastern to Pacific time isn't helping matters.
• iPhone FAIL! Just before Davelanta was due to begin, Beth and Kevin took me to the Atlanta institution known as "The Varsity," (the largest drive-in restaurant in the world) so I could have a yummy frosty orange beverage. It was then I noticed that the camera on my iPhone no longer worked. In fact, NO photo related app on my iPhone worked (including both installed and 2nd party apps). After several restarts and reinstalls, it still doesn't work. I didn't have plans to upgrade to the iPhone 3G, but it looks like I might not have a choice.
• Spam FAIL! The latest trend in comment spam? Copying somebody else's previously approved comment and working your website links into the text. This way, your comment looks legitimate, because it actually pertains to the blog entry. Of course, since I read every one of my comments and manually approve them, I know immediately if it's a spam-infused duplicate. BANNED! DELETE! All of the IP addresses of the commenters are coming from India, but link to US websites, which means this kind of lame behavior is somebody's job?! Lovely.
• Survey FAIL! How interesting. The smokey first hotel that I was staying at in Georgia sent me an email asking me to take a survey on my visit. As there was no "EPIC FAIL" option, I decided to take a pass. Since the place was totally packed whenever I drove by, the problem obviously isn't with the hotel, but with me.
• Twitter FAIL! I've drastically cut my usage of Twitter over the past couple weeks, because I'm tired of disappointment. The API which my Twitter apps use to read/update (both on my iPhone and at home) has been broken a lot (what else is new?) making it more frustrating than fun. About the only thing that seems to be getting through on a regular basis are the tired old "I UPDATED MY BLOG" messages, which are often posted two and three times a day. Hopefully Twitter gets this all sorted out before I drop the service completely.
Alrighty then... time to futilely attempt to get some sleep in my 100-degree bedroom. Maybe I'll get lucky and pass out from the heat?
Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2008
Later this week I will be taking off for Southern California to experience Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego. Believe it or not, I've never been before, so I am really looking forward to it. The entire convention is sold-out for all four days but, fortunately, I bought my tickets and made my hotel reservations way early, so I think I'm good to go!
The only problem is trying to figure out which events I want to attend. Sure there are some things I'd like to see... but there's nothing so life-altering happening that I absolutely have to do it. With that in mind, I think I'll just play it by ear and wander around until something looks interesting to me.
I take that back... there is, of course ONE event that is positively unmissable, and that would be Dave Diego on Saturday night!
If you will be in the vicinity of San Diego and like to drop by to eat, drink, and chat with a swell group of bloggers... please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP so we can make reservations for dinner and get you a name badge!
And now for two more days of torture before good times begin...
Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
I am not comfortable wearing glasses (or skin-tight leather pants, which I'll save that for another time).
But when I'm working 20-hour days, my eyes start rebelling against my contact lenses, giving me no choice but to wear my stupid glasses or walk around bumping into things. Either way, I'm not at my best.
Not that I care all that much, because there was a power outage, and all my clocks are blinking "12:00" (noon or midnight... I'm not sure) which is a slightly bigger problem.
Though not quite as insurmountable as the 262 entries awaiting me in my feed-reader tonight.
Sigh. One day left...
Posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Today was a very bad day.
I'd go into detail, but reliving it all for the sake of this blog would probably have me sticking my head in a microwave and pressing "defrost." Suffice to say that I had entirely too much to do, and most all of it went wrong at some point or another. I am not a very emotional person, but I was so overrun with despair that the idea of breaking down and crying seemed like one of the best options available to me. I dunno. Maybe it's because I'm suffering from exhaustion or something.
In an effort to salvage what's left of the day, I've decided to make a list of all the good things that happened.
I guess another piece of good news is that I finally know what 1000 decks of cards in one place look like. I've got cases and cases and cases stacked in every corner of my home...
Time to pack...
Posted on Thursday, July 24th, 2008
And here I am in beautiful San Diego for Comic-Con 2008!
Having been to various fan conventions in the past, I thought I was prepared for the big event. I was so wrong. This is a convention unlike any other, and it's unreal just how bizarre an experience it is.
There are a lot of other people writing about what's happening here... and taking better photos than I can... so I'll just skip a recap and jot down some random stuff...
Tomorrow I'll probably attend a few sessions and take a more thorough run through the exhibitor hall. There's just entirely too much crap there to see it all in one day. FTW!
Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2008
Yeah, everybody who had bets against me restraining myself from buying crap so totally won.
I could have lied and said I didn't buy anything, but Vahid photo-documented everything.
First I stopped at Chris Sanders' booth to pick up his sketchbook and Kiskaloo collection. If I could be anybody at ComicCon... it would be this guy. I first caught notice of his work when I was studying Disney animation (where he was an animator for films like Beauty and The Beast and co-creator of my all-time favorite Disney character, Stitch, from Lilo and Stitch). His last project, American Dog (which he was slated to direct at Disney), was stupidly taken away from him after the Pixar merger and is now called Bolt. This is a tragedy of epic proportions, because now we'll never know what brilliance he could have unleashed with that film. Now he's at Dreamworks, and I can't wait to see what they let him do. In the meanwhile, we get his sheer genius in comic book form...
Next I went to get Brandon Peterson to get his latest sketchbook. As I said yesterday, he's one of my favorite artists in comics, and I was thrilled to finally meet him as he autographed my copy...
I start to walk away with my autographed copy of "Life of Groo / Death of Groo" hardcover, and =BAM!= There's Scott Shaw! Yet another legend in the comics and animation business!
Then it was time to find Eric Shanower, who I've long idolized for his artistic style. I've collected most everything he's ever done, and his influence on my personal art is incalculable. I've met quite a few important and famous people over the course of my travels, but I can honestly say this was the first time I have ever been "star-struck." In talking with Eric, I think he was a little taken back about how much I knew of him and his career, but it made for a great conversation...
Lastly was another comic book great, Stan Sakai, who is the creator of another amazing book: Usagi Yojimbo. Though I have long been a fan of Japanese art and culture, Stan's fantastic historical references opened up a whole new world of interest in Japanese history, which I've long been grateful for. Cool bonus... he did a sketch in my book of Usagi himself...
Posted on Saturday, July 26th, 2008
I spent the morning at Comic-Con, which was even more insane than yesterday... something I would have never thought possible. The crowds were just obscene. Fortunately, I was concentrating on visiting original comic art vendors today, which was probably the least offensive (crowd-wise) of the entire show floor.
If only I had several thousand dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I could have actually afforded to buy something!
Yesterday I focused on all the positive and wonderful things about Comic-Con, this time I wanted to list some of my gripes about Comic-Con. For those who don't care about the show and are sick of reading about it, I've put it all in an extended entry.
But even better than drooling over amazing works of art all morning was attending Dave Diego this evening! Fun times were had by all, and it was great to finally meet some new faces behind the names from blogs I enjoy...
It was mother-daughter day, starting with Juli and SJ...
I was thrilled that Amandarin and Adam were able to make it, because she is here to actually work at Comic-Con...
But there's only so long you can hold out against Hilly, and Vahid was soon smitten...
Which was a good thing, because Hilly required assisted in getting decked out in Blogography Flair...
Cutest couple of the evening award went to Jester and Uncle Monkey Boy...
Also finally got to meet Othurme, along with new Jester Friends Daniel, Richard, and Paul...
Karl and Bret were also there... but they always seemed to be making out (TequilaCon-Speak for "out having a smoke") on those rare occasions I had my camera out, so I had to steal this photo from SJ...
After drinks, dinner, talk, and drinks, we called it a night so disrespectable people could get home at a respectable hour. We're classy like that.
Tomorrow I'm going to take in the last hours of Comic-Con 2008 and see if I can meet up with some friends while I'm in town. Not a bad way to spend a Bullet Sunday.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2008
Bullet Sunday will be postponed until tomorrow when we have another edition of "Bullet Sunday on Monday."
As I type this, I am eating Pinkberry which, I've been told on more than one occasion, you either love or hate.
I don't really agree with that, because I don't have such strong feelings about frozen yogurt. Even Pinkberry. To me it's just "different" and I can take it or leave it. It's not like we're talking about chocolate pudding here. Besides, the stuff is just a knock-off of Red Mango, which I first had in Seoul, South Korea, years before the "sweet-tart fro-yo" fad hit the USA (though I understand that Red Mango shops are starting to pop up here now too).
Anyway, Pinkberry is kind of difficult for me, because it tastes better with fruit instead of chocolate toppings. This goes against everything I believe in when it comes to desserts, but oh well. I'm kind of enamored with strawberry and mango right now...
After changing hotels and having lunch with Vahid, it was time to bid him adieu so I could go back to Comic-Con for a while. The crowds, while still a little crazy, were much more manageable today. My main goal was to look through the magazine and silver-age comic tables to search for some issues I'm missing in my collection. I got away very cheap because, while I found just about everything I was looking for, I decided not to buy anything over $20, which left me only one thing to buy.
I came dangerously close to spending $2750.00 on a piece of original artwork that I really, really, wanted... but, alas, with the $20 Rule in effect, I had to take a pass. This was tough considering the original asking price was $3500.00 (and it was totally worth it).
I will now spend the rest of my life regretting my decision not to buy.
All while being secretly thankful I didn't.
Dinner tonight was with a friend over in Coronado, and totally excellent.
Except the bill, which was substantial.
I'm generally not the type of person who likes spending outrageous amounts of money at a restaurant, but sometimes it's nice to treat yourself to something extravagant. On rare occasions it's okay to live above your means. Every once in a while it's good to spend money you don't have on something that makes your life a little sweeter.
Shit. I totally should have bought that original art page, shouldn't I?
Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008
Since yesterday I was threatened with death if I didn't put down my computer, there was no time for bullets. Thus we have Bullet Sunday on Monday today!
Just a few odds and ends from my Comic-Con experience...
• Costumed. Why is it that every time I see news coverage on TV, magazines, or in the paper that they always show most everybody at Comic-Con in crazy costumes? In reality, only a small percentage of attendees actually dress up. I guess that it's more fun to portray Comic-Con as some kind of freak show, but even that's way harsh. Why is it cool to dress up in costumes for Halloween, but not cool any other time?
• Television. The big shows represented at Comic-Con are ones like Lost, Heroes, and Chuck. All of which are shows that I positively loathe. I'd even go so far as to say I hate them. Lost started off incredible, but quickly spun into redundant idiocy. Heroes was always pointless and stupid because you've got all these super-powered people who rarely actually use their super-powers. And Chuck, which started out clever and interesting, dropped to rock-bottom because the lead character is a whiny, bumbling bitch in every frakin' episode and I just got tired of it. I want new geek television shows.
• Batman. Yes, I've seen Dark Knight twice now (and will see it again this coming weekend). I don't know what I can say that's any different from most everybody else... it's a brilliant, brilliant film, and I totally loved it. Not only is it one of the best comic book super-hero films ever made, it's one of the best films ever made period. Each performance was a revelation, particularly Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, and this movie deserves some serious Oscar love in every applicable category.
• Watchmen. I am seriously stoked for this film, even though I know better. It can never measure up to the book... but, when taken on its own merits, it's looking like a terrific piece of genre entertainment. March 6th cannot come soon enough.
And that's going to have to be it. I threw my back out, and the pills I took are starting to kick in. For some nice Dave Diego recaps, here are some by Snackiepoo and Winter and SJ, and Karl, and Motley.
Posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
I will be the first to admit that this blog is mostly frivolous crap.
But every once in a while I surprise myself by writing something worthwhile. Every once in a while I manage to actually say something.
Like this bit from last year called "Flexible for Money"...
"When you were a kid, do you remember when you dropped a coin that rolled under the table how you didn't even think about what to do... you simply threw yourself to the ground and went crawling after your money? It didn't matter if it was just a nickel or even a penny, you chased after that shit.
And now, as you grow older, do you notice how the value of the dropped coin you're willing to chase after keeps getting bigger and bigger? At one point you stopped crawling after pennies because, after all, it was just a penny. Soon after, nickels weren't worth bending over for. In no time at all, dimes are more trouble than they're worth. With age comes the realization that the time, effort, and energy required to retrieve dropped money requires careful calculation. Is the quarter that just fell out of your pocket worth the risk of straining your back while bending over to pick it up? What can you get with a quarter now-a-days anyway?
Today I dropped a dollar bill while pulling my iPod out of my pocket. As I stood there watching my money gently tumbling down the sidewalk in the breeze, it then occurred to me that I must be an old man now because I had no desire to go after it. Then suddenly, in a desperate bid to reclaim my childhood, I went chasing after my dollar. Just as I bent over to pick it up, my $180 Oakley sunglasses (one of those ridiculously expensive purchases you try not to regret) fell out of my jacket pocket and got a nice scratch on the lens. Standing there with a dollar in one hand and my ruined sunglasses in the other, I threw the dollar bill into the air and walked away having learned a valuable lesson.
Sometimes you've just got to tell your inner-child to go fuck themselves."
Now that's pretty smart stuff.
But did I learn anything from it?
No I did not.
Because last night as I was unloading my suitcase from the trunk of my car, I dropped a couple coins on the pavement. A quarter and a nickel I think. It doesn't really matter what they were. The point is that I bent over to pick up the coins with my free hand while I was holding onto my suitcase full of heavy signed books from Comic-Con in the other.
And proceeded to throw my back out pretty bad.
So bad that I had to drug up to go to sleep... then drug up again this morning to get through my work day.
And now I lay here in agony, waiting for my pills to kick in so (hopefully) I can get some sleep.
And I never did actually pick up my dropped coins. When I left for work this morning they were still there. But when I came back tonight, they were gone.
Apparently somebody younger and more flexible thought they were worth the risk.
Getting old kind of sucks.
Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Filled fifty-eight orders tonight. Given the sorry state of my back, I'm quite happy about that.
Speaking of my back, it didn't give me very much trouble today thanks to the healing power of hard drugs. The unfortunate side-effect being that I spent most of my time wandering around dazed and confused. Which is nothing new, of course. It's just that usually this state of being is preceded by several shots of Jagermeister.
It's the drugs I blame for my driving to Costco to get pudding cups and a bag of chips this afternoon... and somehow leaving with $160 worth of crap that will barely fit in my home. The good news is that I won't be running out of Tootsie Pops or Uncrustables Sandwiches any time soon.
In happier news, I've updated the Dave Events page to include Dave Diego and added those upcoming events I have dates for...
There are some other cities I'll be hitting in the upcoming months, but I don't have a finalized schedule to post anything just yet.
Time for sleeping pills and slumber's blissful embrace...
Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2008
As if having my back all jacked up wasn't bad enough.
Yesterday I went to the eye doctor for an exam so I could get new eyeglasses and order some new contact lenses. While I was there, I was asked if I wanted to try some new "dual" lenses which have close-range "reading glasses" built-in. I thought that sounded kind of handy, so I agreed. It was my understanding that these were lenses you wear overnight.
Turns out this is not the case.
I woke up at 4:30am with stabbing pain in my right eye. Realizing that the lenses had adhered to my eyeballs, I ran to the bathroom and started saturating the lenses with saline solution with the hope that they would detach. But it didn't really work out and, by the time I finally managed to slide them off my eyeball, the lenses took a couple of layers off my cornea.
And I've had kidney stones.
The good news is that suddenly my back pain didn't matter so much.
The bad news is that I spent the next five hours crying my eyes out and taking huge amounts of ibuprofen. The worse news is that most of my day was spent screaming and wanting to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. Eventually things started feeling better, but "better" is a relative term. Right now I am still in great discomfort, but at least I can look at a computer screen for more than five minutes without dying. The eye heals fairly quickly, so I'm hopeful tomorrow will be much better.
In the meanwhile, I am way, way behind on email and blogs.
I don't even want to know what tomorrow brings.
Posted on Friday, August 1st, 2008
"What's your favorite arcade cabinet video game of all time?" Bad Robert asked, more as a statement than as a question.
"WRONG! The correct answer is Defender... Defender is the answer we were looking for!" he screams through iChat so loudly that I fear my MacBook display will crack. "What about home video game on a console?"
"Uhhhhh... Lego Star Wars 2, maybe?" I say, readying myself for more screaming.
"WRONG! We were looking for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time... also acceptable would have been Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Halo," he says with a note of pity in his voice. "Last question... favorite computer game of all time?
"WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!" he bellows, eyes blazing... "The correct answer is Half Life 2."
"I see. Well, I guess I didn't win any prizes then," I say dejectedly.
"Sure you do... you win a consolation bitch-slap the next time I see you," Robert says while mimicking a slap across his webcam... "seriously, Lego Star Wars is your favorite video game of all time?!? Later!"
The screen goes blank.
A half-hour later I get a text on my iPhone... "Can I borrow your copy of Lego Star Wars 2 next time I'm in town?"
I wonder if my prize is transferrable?
Posted on Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
I've been working like mad to get the last of the orders packed up this weekend so I can mail them out at long last. Unfortunately, this has resulted in me getting a nasty paper cut down the length of my index finger, which makes it hard to type. I'd say that I just can't catch a break, but my vision is almost back to normal again, so I'm rather relieved about that.
Since I am in pain and all cranky, I decided to cop a meme that's been making its way through the blogosphere where you are supposed to list five things on your mind just now. Apparently this does not include what you're blogging "just now" or else it would be pretty redundant.
Five Things On My Mind Just Now...
Bleh. now what's on my mind is wishing that the stuff on my mind wasn't so depressing.
Switching to happier thoughts...
If you are planning on joining up with a great group of bloggers at Davecago3 (August 9th) or Dave Louis (August 16th), please let me know ASAP. I'll be leaving soon, and need to get reservations and name lanyards taken care of before I go! Just send a message to me at email@example.com and I'll get you hooked up with all the details.
Hmmm... now I'm thinking that I need a before-bedtime pudding break...
Posted on Sunday, August 3rd, 2008
I am totally exhausted this Bullet Sunday. Let's see how far I get...
• Ordered. I have finally... FINALLY... managed to get most all of the Artificial Duck Co. Store orders filled. The exception is orders that have "Ladies T Monkey Button" shirts in them, which were misplaced at the printer and are arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday. Of course, now I have to process a couple hundred orders for postage and make six or seven trips to the Post Office, but I will work hard over the next couple of days to get everything shipped out before I leave. Nobody will be happier than me to finally see everybody get their stuff! Given the long and difficult road I've been down, I am so very, very grateful for everybody's patience and understanding.
• Pounded. Just when you think that the US Dollar couldn't possibly be worth any less than it already is... you start planning a trip to London. The city has always been expensive... but now, thanks to the heinous exchange rate, even going on the cheap is unrealistic. I was planning on a six day, five-night trip to Blighty so I could meet with an artist there and hang out with friends (Davedon!), but once I got up to an estimated $3600 for all the expenses, I shat myself and decided to see if getting a new president will improve the dollar for a trip next year. I certainly hope so.
• Cents. Since traveling to Europe right now is insanely expensive, I thought I'd look into filling in those missing six states I've got going on...
Fly into Bismarck, North Dakota... drive down through Mount Rushmore... swing through Nebraska, Kansas, and the Oklahoma panhandle... then whip into Albuquerque, New Mexico... simple, right? The one-way rental would run me about $1100 (amazing how you don't get unlimited miles on a one-way rental!). Assuming that I get about 32 miles per gallon, fuel will run me about 42 gallons of gas @ $4.20 a gallon means an additional $180-$200 in gas. Adding in hotels and one-way airfare... and we're up to $2800?? Yikes. For that kind of money, I'd save up an additional $800 and take my London trip.
• MobileMaybe. Ever since resetting my iPhone so I could get the camera working again, syncing through Apple's pile-of-shit "MobileMe" service has failed. After trying absolutely everything, I reset my iPhone AGAIN and finally got it working. Of course, I ended up losing all the information that I had added to my iPhone, since there's no way of transferring notes, and syncing contacts was broken. Don't get me wrong... I love my iPhone and can't imagine life without it... but this is bullshit. To make matters worse, now we've got Windows users freaking out because iPhone syncing through MobileMe can erase all your Outlook Calendar data. Apple has already given everybody an extra month of MobileMe to compensate for how utterly shitty the service is... what happens now that it's still total crap? Another free month? Disaster. And I'm still not convinced it's working as it's supposed to, which is fine if the service was free... but $100 a year for this?
• Darker. I went to see The Dark Knight for the third time because I just can't help myself... and froze my ass off. Why do theaters feel the need to set the temperature to sub-zero? Cool would be fine... I like to keep cool when it's hot outside... but cold? It's miserable to try watching a movie while shivering the whole time. If it were that cold during winter time, they'd have the heaters on!.
And that's all for Bullet Sunday, because it's nearing midnight and I'm falling asleep...
AND OMG, I NEARLY FELL ASLEEP IN THESE EYE-RAPING CONTACT LENSES AGAIN!! Wouldn't that make for a great Monday. I will be so glad when my "real" lenses come in so I can be rid of these elements of torture.
Posted on Monday, August 4th, 2008
I managed to ship out 103 orders before the issuing bank of my credit card decided that something fishy might be going on and decided to refuse authorization of any further charges. This happened once before, but I thought that it had been resolved. Apparently not. One more thing to fix tomorrow.
When you're working your ass off all day long, a lot of stuff outside of work piles up that you don't find out about until you get home. I used to have a news feed going on my desktop, but once I got addicted to Twitter, something had to give. Otherwise I'd never get anything done at all.
First of all, one of my favorite actors ever, Morgan Freeman, has been involved in a serious car accident. While discussing The Dark Night with a co-worker this morning, I had mentioned that I would have watched the film even if I hated Batman (as if!) because I love Morgan Freeman so much. He's been in some not-so-great films... but his performance is always exceptional, and I'll see anything he's involved in. My most heart-felt wishes for a speedy recovery, Mr. Freeman...
Next up? They've released an update to the v2 iPhone OS that fixes "bugs." After installing it, I will admit that my iPhone feels a bit snappier... BUT THEY STILL DON'T ALLOW YOU TO SYNC EXTERNAL SUBSCRIBED CALENDARS!! This is horse shit. All of my travel plans are stored on the most excellent TripIt site, so I need to subscribe to its calendar so I can keep up with my schedule. FAIL! FUCKING FAIL!! ULTIMATE APPLE FAIL!!!
In better news, one of my first super-hero favorites... Green Lantern... has entered production as a movie. Ordinarily I'd be dreading this because B-list super-heroes always get shitty movie treatments by assholes who think that the characters "need fixing." But there are several things going on here in Green Lantern's favor: 1) Recent box office smashes by The Dark Knight and Iron Man prove that these movies are most successful WHEN YOU RESPECT THE FUCKING SOURCE MATERIAL! Hopefully production will take note. 2) They are using the real Green Lantern here... Hal Jordan. 3) The writer on the project is Greg Berlanti, the guy responsible for quality stuff like Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, and Eli Stone! Please, please, please let them get this right... because a good Green Lantern movie could seriously kick ass!
Last up, I am getting ready to leave soon, so if you're in the Chicago area this Saturday (or in the St. Louis area next Saturday) and want to meet up with a great group of bloggers, please send a message to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get you hooked up with all the details!
And now... time to wash underwear.
Why is it that no matter how many pairs of boxers I buy, I'm forever running out?
Posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
When you are seriously overwhelmed with work, your first instinct is to work faster. Rip through your projects at break-neck speed so that you can get more done in the limited time you have. Of course the faster you go, the sloppier you are and the more errors you make, so there's definitely a trade-off. This morning I ran across a mistake from yesterday's work that was so massive that I very nearly had to fire myself. Fortunately, I caught the problem before it blew up and destroyed half the galaxy. Because, you know, my job is heinously important like that. And, if you didn't know, I guess you do now.
I am dreading going to work tomorrow for fear of what mistakes I might find from today.
I was working on four projects simultaneously, so who knows what could have happened?
If the earth explodes because of another careless error tomorrow, I'm really sorry about that.
Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
As I had mentioned a couple times before, the small town where I live has a weekly anti-war protest in the center of town at the main intersection. It's usually just two or three people holding up signs with Bible scriptures and Jesus quotes promoting peace. The reaction from the locals here is not exactly pleasant.
Today one reaction was positively hostile.
As I was driving through downtown, I heard the moron two cars ahead of me revving the engine of his massive pick-up truck (stereotype much?) as he approached the protestors, heading straight at them. I guess the joke was supposed to be that he (or she!) was going to run them down on the sidewalk.
HA! HA! HA! HA!
Yeah, that's hysterical.
Because wanting peace is so stupid!
Apparently if you disagree with somebody, that give you the right to terrorize them?
I felt bad for the two ladies there, so I flashed them a peace-sign as I drove by...
The credit card company finally unfrozed my account this afternoon so I could send the remainder of the orders I have stacked up. I got through 38 of them before the post office closed, leaving 27 for tomorrow.
After those are gone, there are about 30 orders left waiting for the missing "Monkey Button Ladies T-Shirt" to arrive. They were supposed to be here yesterday or today, but didn't show up. If they don't arrive tomorrow, I will send the orders out anyway and back-order the shirt until I get back from Davecago, Dave Louis, and Dave Lake City.
Oog. That reminds me... I need to pack.
Posted on Thursday, August 7th, 2008
I sliced off the tip of my left-hand middle-finger. It hurts pretty bad, and hasn't stopped bleeding for hours. I've bundled it up tightly with gauze and bandages in hopes it will clot overnight. If it doesn't, I have a series of very interesting flights ahead of me in the morning.
The good news is that I got all the orders out before I maimed myself. I can't express in mere words how happy that makes me, because there were several times I didn't think it would ever end.
The bad news is that I can no longer do a double flip-off since one of my flipping fingers out of commission.
UPDATE: w00t! I wadded enough gauze around my finger to choke a horse, and was much relieved to wake up after my 4-hour "nap" to see that nothing leaked out. After carefully (and painfully) unwrapping things, I was able to cut around the part that clotted, saturate it with antibiotics, and put a Band-Aid brand adhesive bandage strip (or three) to cover it. Hopefully I can clean it up and not have to go to the doctor in Chicago.
Even better, my ability to double-flip-off people who annoy me is now restored.
Posted on Friday, August 8th, 2008
Uhhhh... yeah... eleven hours to get to Chicago. That's got to be some kind of record. I could have flown to frickin' Tokyo in less time. But that's the travel game now-a-days. To get a decent fare on anything but a simple round-trip, you're going to be shuffled around the country for a while. It sucks, but it is what it is. And, as if that wasn't enough, I just found out that I am not leaving on Sunday morning after all, but Monday instead. If I had known that, I would have stayed downtown instead of at the airport. But it's not like I can complain... I'll take an extra day in Chicago, no problem.
Meanwhile, back at my finger...
For anybody who cares, here's the story of what happened.
Thursday was massively busy because it was my last day home for a while. I had orders to get out. Work to finish. Clothes to wash. A suitcase to pack. And lots of little details to finish up. One of those details was printing, cutting, and laminating the lanyards for Davecago 3 and Dave Louis. The printing is done on my faithful Canon i960 printer. The cutting is done with a surgically-sharp X-ACTO blade.
You can see where this is going.
It was 11:30 at night and I was running on no sleep. I was a little disoriented because I was still getting used to my new glasses. Exhausted and unable to judge distance properly, I somehow managed to cut out all but two pages of badges. And then it happened. I was holding the ruler with my left hand and my middle finger slipped out past the edge. So when I pulled that impossibly sharp X-ACTO blade across it, I had sliced off the tip of my finger before I had even realized it.
Once the stab of pain hit, I looked down and saw a chunk of skin on my X-ACTO blade. But it was blood-free. Lucky me... I had just sliced the skin off!!
Or so I thought. Then I looked down at the ruler where my finger was and saw blood pouring out over the table.
And I do mean pouring.
As in gushing...
I ran to the bathroom to put a bandage on it. Which sounds easier than it actually is, because Band-Aid brand adhesive bandage strips are IMPOSSIBLE TO TEAR OPEN!! Especially one-handed. Meanwhile, my finger continues to gush blood into the sink. After finally opening the Band-Aid, I quickly find out that it won't stick to my mutilated finger. So I wrap it up in a wad of Kleenex and put pressure on it...
... then go back to finish cutting out the name badges.
Because I'm just that dedicated.
The Kleenex would get saturated after about 6 or 7 minutes, which means I'd have to stop and go replace it with a fresh wad of tissue. After five trips, I managed to finish cutting the last of the badges and get them laminated.
By then it was 1:00am and I'm deciding whether or not to go to the emergency room because the bleeding simply will not stop. Since I have to leave for the airport in four hours, I decided to try and get some sleep instead. So I wrap my finger in a massive ball of tissue, gauze, and Band-Aids... then tape a plastic bag around my hand and take a pain killer.
I manage to get a rough few hours of sleep until my alarm rings at 5:00. At which time I drag myself to the bathroom so I can unwrap the damage. Much to my surprise, the bleeding had stopped. Not wanting to disturb the clotting, I cut around it. I then squirt antibiotics on the mess and wrap it all up so I can head to the airport.
And now here I am in Chicago.
I finally managed to work up the courage to take a look at my finger and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. I've put photos in an extended entry so, if you're squeamish, you may want to skip the rest.
Now it's time to take some pills and get some sleep.
I hope.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Saturday, August 9th, 2008
So this morning I wake up and cut the bandage off my finger to see if I'm leaking. It hurt pretty bad in the middle of the night, so I thought I might have ripped it open or something.
Much to my surprise, it looked a lot better. It had shrunk a bit.
Thinking I might let it breath for a while, I left it un-bandaged and started into my morning work.
Then I packed up for Davecago 3 and hopped in the shower... completely forgetting that I had a wild-ass gash in my finger. By the time I realized it, my shower was over and I was shocked to see my gaping wound was disappearing! Here's a before and after...
I probably won't even get a cool scar to impress the ladies!
This pretty much confirms what I have suspected all along... I am a mutant.
All I need now is a costume and some accessories...
Now I'm off to play around in downtown Chicago... one of my most favorite places to be a mutant.
Posted on Sunday, August 10th, 2008
Live from Chicago, it's another edition of Bullet Sunday!
• iPhone. When I got back from Davecago 3 last night and went to charge my iPhone, I found out that my power adaptor was dead. This was frustrating, but not a big problem, because I was going into the city and could just stop by the Apple Store and get a new one. But when I got there, something strange was happening. The line to get a new iPhone 3G had only one person in it. Not knowing quite what to do with myself, I made the snap decision to just get a new iPhone so I could finally have the GPS I need so badly in my travels (and go completely broke from having to shell out $299). I'll undoubtedly blather on about it later, but my initial reaction? Feels better in the hand, but design is not as nice as my first iPhone. Face feels more like plastic than glass (oh shit!). GPS is slow to acquire. 3G network is faster only sometimes and not widely available. None of my old complaints were addressed (clipboard, subscribed calendars, etc.). Conclusion? If Apple had put a fucking GPS in the original iPhone like they should have in the first place, I would never have "upgraded." Still a nice product, however.
• Doggity. Since earliest childhood, the only way I ever ate hotdogs was plain with ketchup. Now that I've started eating Chicago Style Hotdogs, I can't imagine eating them any other way (well, maybe one other way). Damn they're addicting. Fortunately, there's a vegetarian version here in Chicago at America's Dog, which is where I had lunch (again) today...
• Chef. Isaac Hayes, who I will forever associate with the phrase "Hello there, children!" from his character "Chef" on South Park has just died. I know that Hayes had a major falling out with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of the show) a while back, which resulted in the death of "Chef"... but I sure hope that they do something on South Park to remember him and the years he worked on the show. It hasn't been the same since he left...
• Davecago 3. I hate to admit it, but RW over at 1 Step Beyond gave up a much better recap of the festivities than I could ever hope to write. Suffice to say that I had a great time, and was so very happy to meet some terrific new people...
UPDATE: Tori has relented and published the recipe for her amazing, highly addictive brownies! Click and rejoice!
And also to reunite with some old friends from Davecagos past...
I swear that every time I meet up with other bloggers I feel so amazingly lucky to have people like this in my life. It's not easy spending so much time traveling far away from home, but knowing I have a blogging family no matter where I go is a blessing in life that I just can't put into words. I have received criticism from those who think that I'm an egotistical bastard for "renaming cities in my image" and "inviting people to come worship me"... but the truth is exactly the opposite. I don't do this so people can meet me... I do it so that I can meet them...
The fact that I am lucky enough that people even care enough about me to show up and say "hello" is just a bonus. If I am very lucky, I'll get to keep meeting up with fellow bloggers and blog readers for years to come.
Past and upcoming meet-ups can always be found on Blogography's Dave Events Page.
Oog... I really need to update my "Bloggers I've Met" list in my sidebar, but it's time for bed. I have a very long day ahead of me tomorrow...
Posted on Monday, August 11th, 2008
When I woke up the next morning, I realized it was just the light on the smoke detector in my hotel room.
Now I'm in a different hotel entirely where the light this time is blue.
I'm guessing tonight I'll get a visit from the Blue Fairy and Pinocchio.
Posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
A couple of months ago Avitable filled me in on the plans for his annual Halloween Party Bash, which I had attended the previous year. It seemed impossible that he could outdo himself, given how amazing things turned out last time, but he was working hard to do just that. He began with the theme The Neverwas Fair, and started building around the idea of an old-time sideshow carnival... with a creepy edge to it. And he wanted me to design a T-shirt he could use for fundraising.
It seemed the least I could do.
At first I wanted to do something dark and macabre... kind of grungy, dirty and twisted. Perhaps in charcoal and spattered ink. I had images of a ringmaster holding out his hat with snakes and spiders escaping from it. Maybe a circus tent in the background with an assortment of scary circus performers.
But everybody in the blogosphere associates me with the simple DaveToons I draw here, not the works I do "in real life," so I begrudgingly set aside my dark fantasies and grab a pencil and legal pad to do something entirely different. I still liked the idea of a ringmaster, so I decided I'd make a DaveToon Avitable ringmaster, and populate the background with cute DaveToon circus folk.
Here's the initial pencil sketch, which you can make bigger by clicking on it...
If you want to see the final design, it's over at Avitable's blog. He's got a pretty sweet contest going, so you might want to check it out.
If you want to see the steps of how the design was made, I've got that documented in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
After driving back down from Wisconsin, I spent most of the day working in my hotel room... only taking a two-hour break to run into the city and have Chicago Hot Dogs for lunch. Around 8:00, I'd finally had enough, and decided to walk down the street to the awesome Muvico 18 Theater so I could see a late showing of Tropic Thunder.
Despite some dragging in the middle, the movie was pretty great. Mostly in thanks to Robert Downey Jr. who is simply incapable of giving a bad performance. The guy is absolute genius in everything he touches, and this film is no exception...
Before watching the movie, I was ready to dismiss the harsh criticism over how it demeans the mentally handicapped. People are just too sensitive now-a-days, and pretty soon you won't be able to poke fun at anything.
But then I saw the film.
And I have to admit that it is pretty offensive in this respect. Maybe it doesn't go entirely over the line, but it dances right on top of the line... not once, but many times. Tropic Thunder definitely doesn't seem to be laughing with the mentally challenged here... but instead laughing at them. That's a real shame, because the film doesn't need it. The plot elements could have been easily handled a different way.
Still, it would be difficult to dismiss the movie entirely... it was entirely too much fun for that.
Posted on Thursday, August 14th, 2008
Seriously, I haven't slept in three days. Wish me luck!
Posted on Friday, August 15th, 2008
Since today is Friday, it's a work day... even when I'm in St. Louis. But I did manage to get out a bit in the morning and afternoon to see some of the sights, so it's all good.
I've been to St. Louis exactly two times. Once to visit the Hard Rock Cafe on my "Hard Rock Run" road-trip in 2000 (which included Indianapolis, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta). And again for work in 2002. When I went to visit The Gateway Arch on my first trip, it was closed. On my second trip, I became violently ill, and couldn't even think of being trapped in an enclosed space.