"What's your favorite arcade cabinet video game of all time?" Bad Robert asked, more as a statement than as a question.
"Hmmm... in a death match between Q*Bert and Donkey Kong for my affections, I'd have to go with Donkey Kong." I replied, not really sure if I was telling the truth.
"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?
"Errr... that's a tough one... I'd have to go with StarCraft... or possibly Dungeon Master... or maybe Warlords 2," I say, almost in a whisper.
"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?
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...
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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...
Saturday night after getting back from Davecago 3 and drinking absinthe with RW and Kosh, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I had finally seen the Green Fairy!
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.
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...
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.
Seriously, I haven't slept in three days. Wish me luck!
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.
So when Ajooja won the "Dave Event in Your City" Grand Prize for Blogiversary 5, I swore to myself that I would go up The Arch this time, even if I had to climb it on the outside. Fortunately, this wasn't necessary. When I got to park at 8:00 this morning, there was hardly a line at all, and I was the first person to the top when they opened the doors.
It was totally worth the wait...
The structure is sublimely beautiful, and photographs simply cannot do it justice. To the naked eye the steel exterior reflects the ambient light in a way that makes parts of The Arch seem to "disappear" into the skyline, giving it an almost ethereal quality.
To get to the top, you have to board one of eight tiny five-seater cylindrical elevator cars that are chained together and pulled upwards. Gina summed them up perfectly when she said they have a "2001: A Space Odyssey" feel to them. As you climb The Arch, a recording describes the system as "part elevator, part train, and part carnival ride." This sounded very interesting, but there is NOTHING detailing the elevator system in any book, brochure, or postcard I could find. When I asked the nice Park Rangers questions about how the cars worked, I got precious little information (and 9-11 thrown in my face as the reason why). Oh well. Still very, very cool...
For some reason I was expecting the top of the arch to be a tiny cramped room (like the Statue of Liberty, perhaps), but it was actually quite roomy...
I was blessed with beautiful weather (despite the crappy forecast I had looked up yesterday), so I had an excellent view of the city...
Here's a pano I stitched together. If you click on it, it will open a bigger view...
Once safely back down to earth, I headed across the street to "The Old Courthouse." This is a famous monument because of the infamous Dred Scott trial where slavery was upheld. The building is quite remarkable because of the beautiful dome interior...
As I was walking back to my hotel, I happened across "St. Louis Bread Company" which uses the exact same logo as my beloved Panera Bread. Closer inspection showed that they have the same exact menu as Panera as well. A quick look on Wikipedia on my iPhone told me that St. Louis Bread Co. was bought out by Panera, but they kept the original name in St. Louis (for obvious reasons). A delicious Mediterranean Sandwich made the perfect brunch-time meal...
After getting some work done, I decided to take the MetroLink to Union Station so I could visit the Hard Rock Cafe to see if anything had changed in the past eight years. The location was originally a massive train station, but they made a kind of shopping mall out of it with a lake in the middle...
Since I've been dying to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, I decided to catch a movie, but couldn't find it playing anywhere. So instead I went to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I wasn't a fan of the prequels, but love cartoons and thought the poster looked kind of badass cool...
Due to massive amounts of profanity and adult situations, I've decided to put my "review" in an extended entry.
As for me, I'm going to call it a night so I can attack the city fresh in the morning. There's a lot left to do, and only one day to do it all.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
With a ride to the top of The Gateway Arch out of the way, there was a dozen other things left that I wanted to do in St. Louis.
Number one on the list was the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour. Not because I'm a huge fan of Budweiser, but because all the advertising says you get FREE BEER at the end of the tour! Since free beer almost never happens, this was something I just had to check out. I suspected there might be some kind of catch to the deal, but the only requirement is that you take the full one-hour tour. This wasn't nearly as boring as it sounds, and they do their best to keep things interesting, so it was all good...
Along the way you get to see a few of the world-famous Clydesdale horses. Anheuser-Busch is apparently the largest breeder of the animals world-wide, but they have strict requirements as to which of the horses are used to promote the company.
Our tour guide told us that in order to qualify, a horse had to be the right size (big), right color (dark chestnut brown), have the right features (four white legs), and have the right markings (a snow-white blaze on the forehead). He didn't say what happens to the horses that don't meet Budweiser's high standards, so I can only guess that they are put to death and ground up as dog food for their Dalmations...
After the tour, you get to visit their sampling room and have two glasses of free beer. Yes, FREE BEER!!...
It's what's for breakfast.
I actually ended up with three glasses, because a guy's wife decided she didn't want hers. Nothing quite like getting a beer buzz first thing in the morning. In certainly makes the day start out easier.
The St. Louis Cathedral (which is actually a basilica, elevated to such by Pope John Paul II) has the largest collection of glass mosaics in the world. Not wanting to pass up seeing something like that, I decided to pay a visit...
Sure enough, practically every available surface of this beautiful church is covered in mosaics. You could spend days looking at it all, but I didn't have that kind of time...
From there, I made my way to SLAM (the St. Louis Art Museum) in Forest Park...
The museum itself is very nice, containing a terrific permanent collection. Since they are in the process of remodeling and expanding some of the galleries were closed, but it's hard to complain about it when the admission is free.
Earlier in the day I had purchased a "Day Pass" for St. Louis Metro, which allows unlimited rides of trains and busses. I bought this specifically so I could ride the Forest Park Shuttle and hit the other attractions housed there. Except the shuttle wasn't running at SLAM because of the construction. So I walked down the road and waited at the first Metro stop I could find. But nobody ever came. This meant I had to walk all the way to my next destination in the scorching heat, which sucked major ass. In the half hour I spent making my way to the Missouri History Museum, I saw exactly one shuttle, and it was going the other way. How they can claim 15 minutes between stops I will never know. What I do know is that the Forest Park Shuttle is a piece of shit. If they gave a crap about their patrons at all, they would find a way to service SLAM and keep a better schedule.
By the time I finally got to the museum, all I wanted to do was take a nap. But it's got a number of good exhibits (including the Spirit of St. Louis!) so I soldiered onward...
Too tired and frustrated to see any other attractions in Forest Park because of the stupid shuttle (or lack thereof), I dropping by to see Gina getting her new tattoo, then took the train back to my hotel to get cleaned up for DAVE LOUIS!
Which I will talk about tomorrow. I have only three hours to try and get some sleep before I have to head to the airport for my obscenely early flight out...
Welcome to the Dave Louis edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Home Again. Yeah, I made it home safely. Though the frickin' 106° heat has me wondering why I didn't escape to Alaska while I had the chance. Isn't it about time for a Davebanks or Daveorage or Davelaska even? Of course, I don't know how many readers I have in Alaska... but even if it ended up being just me, that would be okay because the weather might be cooler. If not, there's always Davearctica.
• Dave Louis. Thanks to Ajooja's luck in the Blogiversary V Grand Prize drawing, there was a blogger meet in St. Louis last night...
In attendance was a terrific group of people that made me feel welcome in the city "Where There's More Than Meets The Arch."
• Blueberry Hill. The restaurant we met at, Blueberry Hill, is a St. Louis institution, famous for it's Blue Bar and eclectic interior design. What it should be famous for is its Red Beans & Rice, which I liked quite a lot. My only problem was that they didn't have any meatless toasted ravioli, which is one of my favorite things about St. Louis.
• Ted Drewes. After dinner, the consensus for dessert was to drive to Ted Drewes for frozen custard. I love frozen custard, so I thought it was a great idea. Though I wasn't quite prepared for what awaited me there. Apparently, this is a popular place...
Surprisingly, the crowds were not a problem at all. They had security in their lot to assist with parking, plenty of staff to keep the lines moving, and fill orders impossibly fast. As the popularity suggests, Ted Drewes frozen custard is pretty bad-ass amazing. I had a caramel sundae that was delicious...
Gina was kind enough to take a photo of me as I had just finished my third orgasm...
• Thank You. My most heart-felt thanks to everybody who made the trip to Dave Louis! The happiness at meeting my fellow bloggers and readers has become one of the major reasons I still write at Blogography every day.
And that's a wrap for another Bullet Sunday! Join me again next Sunday when I'll be back from another trip and celebrating the fact that I will get to stay home for a mind-boggling two-and-a-half weeks before traveling again! w00t!
I've had exactly one week of vacation this year.
And, for the longest time, it seemed like that's all I was going to get. Because of the hideous cost of everything associated with travel, going on a personal vacation didn't make much sense. Can you really enjoy yourself if you're freaking out about how much everything costs all the time? Do you really want to drop a massive chunk of cash on something that could be used for less frivolous things? Like eating and paying rent?
So I decided to have a "staycation" and try to make the best of a vacation at home. Since I have to travel all the time, this came as kind of a relief. Not only would it save me some money, but the idea of not having to deal with airports, hotels, and all the other headaches would be a nice change of pace. Relaxing at home could be the best vacation of all.
Except that's a load of delusional crap.
I know full-well that if I were to stay home I would end up doing everything except relax. I'd work. I'd do chores. I'd run errands. I'd refinish my dining room table. There's positively no way I could relax and do nothing if I were at home.
So I bit the bullet and booked two weeks away from it all next month.
Because I know if I didn't, I would probably go crazy. Or, I guess I should say "more crazy," because all the non-stop work has pretty much put me there already. It may cost a fortune, but I need this so badly...
In other news, can I just say how much I admire Michael Phelps? Not because of his record-breaking eight gold medals in the Olympic Games, but because he has the courage to speak out about being bullied when he was growing up. He can be such an inspiration to kids who are relentlessly tortured every day just for being different, and I hope he continues to talk about it and raise awareness. I am in constant amazement at how cruel kids can be to each other, and if even one bullied child can see how Michael Phelps not only survived bullying... but excelled in spite of it... well, that may be the one thing they have to help them get through it. The alternative is just too horrible to contemplate.
Congratulations on your well-deserved success, Michael, I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
I had gotten all fired up and wrote a big long political rant for tonight... but then remembered that I don't really do politics on my blog and deleted it.
This was kind of painful, because I spent 45 minutes writing it (whereas my average blog entry takes 10-15 minutes). Oh well. Sometimes writing down how you feel can still be therapeutic, even if nobody ever sees it. Suffice to say that I am not happy about the latest bullshit being shoveled our way, and am in a state of constant amazement that people are so willing to sit back and take it. I wonder just how bad it has to get before people are outraged enough to start rioting in the streets?
So now I got nuthin' to blog about...
I'd feel bad about that, but I have to get up in six hours so I can fly out again.
More than once I've been asked by people what my most bizarre, craziest experience has been in all my years of traveling. My answer is always the same: shopping at an Ambercrombie & Fitch store.
I'm not trying to be funny either... every time I go into Abercrombie I am inundated with crazy, and find it a more bizarre experience than anything else I can think of. The walls are covered with mostly naked guys and gals, but the store sells clothing. The music is so loud that it is impossible to communicate with the staff, assuming you can find any staff (they don't wear name tags or a uniform, so it's hard to know who works there). The store is impeccably maintained and beautifully merchandised, but the bulk of the clothing they sell looks like rags. I could go on, but if you've shopped there, you already know what I'm talking about. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, Improv Anywhere did a massive prank at an Ambercrombie & Fitch store that you must see.
Anyway, after deciding to go on vacation, I realized I needed to buy some vacation clothes. This isn't as easy as it sounds, because most stores have already transitioned over to Fall apparel (even though it's still August). But Salt Lake City has "The Gateway," which is a nice place to shop (even if you hate shopping like I do) so I decided to give it a try. Store after store had no shorts or short-sleaved shirts, until I got to Abercrombie, which had plenty.
So there I am looking around when I see that everything looks really small. Not knowing what the deal is, I shout at a sales clerk over the thumping music to ask where the mens shorts are. She screams back at me that I'm in the KIDS Abercrombie store, and I need the ADULTS store next door.
WTF?!? So I look around and, sure enough, it's mostly moms shopping with their kids. But the walls are still covered with half-naked adults, which I found totally bizarre for a kids store (though not nearly as odd as if the walls had been covered with half-naked children). Then I walk outside to see how I could have possibly missed the sign saying this was "kids"...
Uhhh... yeah... how in the hell would you know? They look identical, and are designed with identical fixtures, identical half-naked signage, and have identical clothing (it's just that one has it in smaller sizes).
So I go to the store next door to the ADULTS store and start looking around. Depending on how crappy my health is at any given moment, my waist size fluctuates from a 30 to a 34. I usually split the difference and go with a 32 which, at Abercrombie Land, means I'm fat. I always end up having to dig to the bottom of the pile, where the largest size is usually a 36.
Not finding what I'm looking for, I eventually spot two guys folding shirts while scream-chatting, and take a guess that they work here (apparently, folding shirts is a two-man job). After yelling what I am looking for, I get an eye-roll from one of the guys and am led around the store at breakneck speed while he points to things. Since I can't hear him and am struggling to keep up, I assume that he's pointing at the stuff I was looking for. After that, he bellows "LET ME KNOW IF I CAN HELP YOU FIND A SIZE" and runs back to the guy he was folding shirts with.
Eventually I manage to find two pairs of shorts I want, so I go to a cash register in menswear... and nobody is there. I go to the main cash register section... and nobody is there. I wander into womenswear, but can't tell if any of them work there. Just as I'm about to give up, a young woman sneaks up behind me and asks me a question of some kind ("What?" - "ARE YOU READY?!?") then gets a second young woman to wait on me. This one says something I can't understand as she removes the security tags ("What?" - "HAVE YOU TRIED OUR FRAGRANCES?") and then yet another young woman comes to ring me out (apparently running the cash register is a three-person job).
When I'm handed my bag (a work of art, really) I consider asking for something "less gay" but decided against it...
I'm secure enough in my sexuality that I don't mind walking around with a naked dude on my shopping bag... but I just don't think I'm manly enough to pull it off with any kind of authority (with a bag like this, I'm guessing it would take somebody like Chuck Norris or John Wayne).
As I leave, I get a wave from the guy who "helped" me... still folding the same damn shirts with his buddy... and wonder how much of my hearing I've lost.
By the time I figure out Salt Lake City's TRAX train system and get back to my hotel, it's time to head out to the Hard Rock Cafe for Dave Lake City 2! Instead of walking, I try to navigate TRAX again, which ends up taking 45 minutes to travel just over a mile (a story for another time). But I still somehow manage to show up with one minute to spare.
Attendees consisted of myself... and Marty from Banal Leakage...
Needless to say, Dave Lake City 2 was awesome!
Annnnnnd... I can't access my blog to post this. Apparently it's down for "planned maintenance" or something. Terrific. I was hoping that I could add one more thing to my massive list of things to do tomorrow morning.
I've been working all day long. Nothing else happened, so there's nothing to write about except how tired I am.
Nobody wants to read that, so I'm just going to reprint a DaveToon from back when I was complaining about how bad my passport photo turned out so I can go back to work...
Boy I hope I can get some sleep later tonight...
On my way back from breakfast tonight I was assaulted by drunken whores with balloons in my hotel's hallway. They ran up behind me and started bouncing them on my head while squealing and shrieking so loudly that I thought windows were going to start breaking. This pissed me off, and I was all "GAH! Bitches, stop!" But they ignored me so I snagged a balloon and popped it. They thought this was hilarious, and went running off to do whatever it is that giggling drunken whores do this time of night.
Anyway... the reason I'm having breakfast at 10:00pm is because my schedule is screwed up from working all hours. I don't usually eat this late, but my appetite demanded toast and scrambled eggs (probably because it doesn't know how to tell time), so off I went. Delicious! My waitress was nice enough to let me substitute extra toast and jam for the meat because, well, it's not like you can ever have too much bread...
From Brian's Amazing Bread Carving Contest
So now I am back in my hotel room with mussed up hair and a full stomach.
And unable to sleep. Again. Which wouldn't be a big deal if I didn't have to fly home tomorrow morning.
Though I suppose I shouldn't be upset about that because = knock on wood = the next time I'll be on a plane will be for vacation.
Nineteen days and counting...
Believe it or not, I love kids. Apparently not enough to have any of my own, but I do like them quite a lot.
It's just the parents I hate.
Certainly not all of them, but most of them. Good parents who mind their kids in public I have no problem with. But so many modern-day parents are irresponsible assholes when it comes to their kids, and I've had enough. You can't go anywhere without being exposed to dumbasses who let their children run ape-shit because they're too busy talking on their mobile phone, reading a book, or flirting with somebody. They couldn't care less if their kids are terrorizing people, getting into trouble, breaking shit, or doing something dangerous. It may be their kids, but it's not their problem.
Here's just a small sampling of some of the things I documented on my trip...
Kids are going to cry and misbehave, and I get that. I sympathize with parents who are exhausted and trying their best to manage their kids when they travel. But the operative word here is TRYING... and too many parents I see just aren't. From all appearances, they just don't give a shit. They don't care if their kids get into trouble or are in dangerous situations. They don't care that their kids are bugging the crap out of people. They don't care about anything. People like this should never have had kids in the first place.
If you have kids, you have to be responsible for them.
When your kid is screaming their head off in a store, theater, or restaurant, take them outside until they settle down so everybody doesn't have to suffer. When your kid is misbehaving, do something to stop it. When your kid is making a mess, clean up after them. When your kid is running around going ape-shit, get them under control. But, above all, WATCH YOUR FUCKING KIDS!! It's your fucking job... not everybody else's job to do it for you.
As I sit here wrapping up this entry, the same cute kid that was climbing up the luggage chute earlier is now having a great time with the automatic doors opening and closing as he runs through them. Cars are driving by just outside and I have no idea where his parents are at. I hope he doesn't die.
I'm so tired that I'm falling asleep this Bullet Sunday. Here's hoping I can stay awake long enough to write something.
• Organizing Is Just This Easy. Every once in a while, something comes along that' so amazing that I don't know how I existed without it. The latest thing to rock my world? TripIt. This web-based service makes keeping track of your travel easy. You forward your email confirmations from airlines, hotels, car rentals, travel sites, and such, and TripIt miraculously organizes everything for you automatically. As if that wasn't enough, TripIt adds maps, driving directions, weather forecasts, and other cool stuff to help you plan your trip. But that's not all... TripIt also makes it easy to share and collaborate your travel plans with others, and creates an iCal subscription calendar plus a webfeed. I've been using the service for almost a year now, and find it invaluable. Even if you don't travel lots, all the extras make TripIt worth a look. Mostly because it's FREE! And right now they're running a promotion where you can sign up and be entered to win a new iPhone (prize available only if you live inside the US, but the service works everywhere). Highest recommendation...
• If It's Loaded, We'll Shoot Ourselves With It. Proving once again that Microsoft just can't seem to make a good decision, they're paying Jerry Seinfeld TEN MILLION DOLLARS to appear in Windows commercials with Bill Gates. Apparently, copying Apple's MacOS isn't going far enough, and so now Microsoft wants to copy their "Mac vs. PC" ads as well. How this is going to convince people that Windows Vista doesn't suck ass is beyond me. I'd much rather they take the 300 million they're planning to spend on this "Windows Not Walls" disinformation campaign and actually make Windows a decent product. Seinfeld went off the air ten years ago... apparently Microsoft's advertising firm is still stuck there. I anticipate that the music will be performed by The Backstreet Boys.
• Take Them Out Of The Oven, They're Done. Why are they still making new stupid-ass "caveman" commercials for GEICO insurance? I never liked the ads, but at least they were fresh... at first. Now they've been run into the ground and are just fucking annoying. Wasn't the cancellation of the crappy "Cavemen" TV show spin-off enough of a clue? Helpful hint to GEICO: IT'S OVER!!
• Ultimate Cleansing Power. If John McCain truly does "approve the message" in his latest campaign ads, he's a fucking douchebag. And an idiot. Using Hillary Clinton's words against Obama now that Biden is on the ticket is inviting the exact same treatment when he picks his VP. The difference being that the ads could be so much worse against McCain because the footage available is so much juicier. I remember back to the viscous McCain/Romney debates and imagine that Obama's attack dogs are just salivating over the prospect of retaliation ads (assuming Romney gets the spot). Issues? What Issues? Politics at their finest.
The end. Kind of. There are some additional bullets with bitching about my recent Salt Lake City trip in an extended entry. If stuff like that interests you, by all means click through...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Today I started yet another special diet with the hope that it will help doctors figure out what's wrong with me.
To say that I don't do well on diets is a massive understatement because I have become quite fond of eating whatever I want, whenever I want. Anything less than that is just depressing. And, of course, it's not like any of these diets ever consist of cheese pizza and chocolate pudding. That would be too easy. Instead I get the shitty diet with stuff that I eat only when forced (like now). Blargh.
This time I am forbidden from eating any refined sugars in addition to the deadly high fructose corn syrup that plagues our food supply. That right there cuts out 40% of my diet. Gluten and all wheat-type products? That's another 25%! Dairy products and eggs? Say goodbye to the remaining 35%! One of my favorite foods, Snack-Pack Pudding Spoonibbles (which comes with cookies you can use to eat the pudding with!), consists entirely of sugar, gluten, and dairy. The new trifecta of evil...
So what can I eat?
For a minute I was a little excited because I thought I could still have French fries and potato chips, but I'm not supposed to eat cooked vegetables either (apparently steamed is okay). With that in mind, I've made up a list of crap that I'm allowed (given that I don't eat meat)...
If I get creative, I can create things like "rice with soy cheese on steamed corn mash" or "natural peanut butter on rice cakes with apple slices" or even go crazy and have "lettuce salad with pear, raisins and Vinaigrette." But that's a lot of work, so I pretty much subsist on baby carrots, almonds, apples, pineapple slices, and juice.
And that's just wrong.
Humans were never meant to live this way.
Without cheese pizza and chocolate pudding, we are not men, but animals!
Animals who try to make French fries out of steamed potatoes and fail miserably!
I would so totally kill for a piece of toast with butter and strawberry jam right now...
Turns out that when all you can eat is crappy stuff like carrots and rice cakes, you don't really have much of an appetite.
I spent much of the day forcing myself to eat tiny meals at 2 hour intervals so I stay full, but most of the time I just wasn't interested. Pineapple slices, almonds and apple juice for breakfast. Rice cake and raisins for after-breakfast snack. An apple and Pineapple-Orange juice for before-lunch snack. A salad with grape tomatoes, tofu, and Vinaigrette plus a rice cake and water for lunch. Carrots and almonds as an after-lunch snack. A banana as a before-dinner snack. Rice cakes with Spanish rice and tomatoes on top plus mango-pineapple juice for dinner.
And I never wanted to eat any of it, because none of it sounded remotely tempting (though it all tasted okay).
But that's alright. Because tomorrow I have to drive to Spokane and I will cheat on my restrictive diet. I will cheat because Spokane is home to the best pizza on earth, and I would rather die than visit there and not eat some of it. But I will only have one slice, and I won't drink a soda with it, so hopefully it won't mess things up too much.
Nobody tell my doctor.
A lot of people made note of what I'm eating and were concerned about two things... protein and my bowels.
The protein isn't too big of a deal. This diet is only a two-week trial, and I'm eating almonds and tofu to make sure I don't collapse.
And my bowels are fine, thank you for asking.
Apparently many people commented that eating all those fruit and vegetables would cause "intestinal distress," yet I've experienced no such problems. But the week is young. This is not to say I won't be giving a presentation or something when all of a sudden my bowels act up...
Then I guess my ass is just supposed to explode all over the place...
As fun as that all sounds, I think my bowels will be happy to keep it all contained.
At least I hope so.
Wouldn't it be horrible to be driving in the middle of nowhere (i.e. Eastern Washington State) and have your ass explode?
As I was browsing through CNN's website to read coverage of the Democratic National Convention, I ran across an article saying that "100 Things To Do Before You Die" co-author Dave Freeman has died. Sadly, he only made it through half of his list.
As someone who has endeavored to see as much of this earth as I can before I die, this news hit me pretty hard. I have, of course, read his book and was inspired by it. Even if I didn't always agree with Freeman's choices, "100 Things To Do Before You Die" opened up a whole world of fascinating possibilities and sparked my imagination. After finishing the book, I decided to make my OWN list and see how many I could check off.
But I just couldn't do it.
I was always afraid that I'd perish before I could finish my list. Not wanting to die unfulfilled, I needed to do things a little different. So I decided to make a list of "Things To Do Before I Die"... but only add things to it after I had done them. This way, no matter when I die, I'll have finished my list. Brilliant! I'm up to 72 so far.
✔ Click here to read The List.
And here I am in Spokane so I can work in the morning. Thanks to road construction it took an extra half-hour, dragging out the already boring three-hour drive. Given this heinous new restrictive diet I'm on, Spokane is a dangerous place to be. This city is home to the best pizza on earth and I knew that I would cheat and have a slice once I got here...
Turns out I needed that pizza.
As soon as I got into the city I found out that I have to be in Portland at 7:00am Friday morning for another job.
Unfortunately this means don't have time to go home, and will be flying directly out of Spokane tomorrow night. Then I fly back to Spokane on Saturday morning so I can then drive three hours to get back home (at last).
Good thing I always pack an extra set of clothes for emergencies!
I need more forbidden pizza.
Yeah, so here I am in Beaverton, Oregon.
I was supposed to be home tonight putting the Artificial Duck Co. Store back online, but such is my life. Instead I'm in a boring, smelly, noisy hotel room in the middle of nowhere setting my alarm clock for 4:00am. The only good news is that hopefully work will end early tomorrow so I can run into the city for my "real" hotel and catch up on sleep. I need it so badly. In trying to calculate how much rest I've had in the past week, I'm averaging 3.5 hours per night, and that cannot be good.
Now that August is coming to a close, it's time to do my annual "Remainder of The Year Freak-Out!" This is when I write up all the things that I haven't yet finished this year and try to find places to cram them into my travel calendar before 2009 rears its ugly head. For some reason this year seems busier than past years, but actually isn't. All things considered, it's been a fairly calm year for me travel-wise...
The above list doesn't include a few trips I can't talk about, but it's a pretty good representation of how things are going to shake out through December. Believe it or not, I'm not going to reach platinum status in air-miles this year (even though I hit gold last month). Usually I take a few international trips at the end of the year to cinch the deal, but thanks to the shitty value of our worthless US Dollar, that's not going to happen. Oh well. Gold is still pretty good for the frequent traveler, perks-wise.
And now I really should be going to bed. It's 9:30 and if I can force myself to get six-and-a-half hours of sleep before I have to wake up, I really should try to do that.
But, sadly, I think we all know what the chances of that are.
Taking a bad situation and making the best of it, my unexpected trip to Portland ended up being a great excuse to email Vahid, Lewis, and Blair for a last-minute dinner in the City of Roses. Thanks to Twitter, Miss TSM_Oregon herself (Tracy) saw that I was in town and was kind enough to join in as well.
When I stop and think about it, this is pretty amazing. Just four years ago, all the travel I do made for a life of loneliness and isolation. Now, thanks to blogging, there's someone I know everywhere I go. A last-minute trip to Portland is no longer just a chore to I have to get through, but an opportunity to meet up with friends. Friends I never would have met if not for writing here at Blogography and getting involved in the PRB.
Since I live in a tiny town where "ethnic food" is considered to be a burrito with extra cheese, Vahid was kind enough to suggest Indian for dinner, which sounded perfect. I stuck to my restrictive diet as best I could, but the food at India House all sounded so good that there was no way I could settle for a stupid salad, and ended up having their Vegetarian Sampler Platter. Delicious.
My diet already blown by eating gluten (beer and naan) and cooked vegetables (everything else), Vahid decided to exploit my love of gelato and add dairy to the list of forbidden foods I've consumed today, and took us all to Mio Gelato. Since they had Stracciatella among the flavors, I was a very happy camper.
Lewis and Blair had to be responsible parents and get back to their kid, so Vahid, Tracy and I soldiered onward to The Boiler Room for karaoke. Tracy claimed to be able to sing, so we wanted her to put a microphone where her mouth is and prove it. She was first up as karaoke started... and proceeded to blow the doors off the joint by singing Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good." Her performance made me pity everybody else in the room who had put a song in, and the guy who came after Tracy just stood there with the microphone in his hand saying "you expect me to follow that?!?
Having nothing left to prove, Tracy hit the road for her drive home, leaving Vahid and I to play video games at Ground Kontrol. Back in the day, I used to be pretty good at these classic games, but now I just suck ass. Games like "Donkey Kong" where I used to blow through levels in record time and set high scores totally owned my ass. I never made it past the first level.
Having totally failed at video games, we met up with one of Vahid's college buddies for one last beer at Bailey's Taproom.
All in all, a good night! Thanks to everybody who was kind enough to hang out with me.
UPDATE: Ooh! I forgot PDX has free wi-fi! Uploaded a photo montage of us.
One day soon I'm no longer going to be able to contain myself on the political news going on here in these United States. But for now I am content to bite my tongue. In the meanwhile, I can only hope that people take some time to really investigate the candidates before casting their vote. It's the least one can do.
This morning I had to fly back to Spokane so I could drive back home. This was kind of sad, because there are a lot worse places you can spend Labor Day Weekend than Portland, Oregon. But if I had stayed I would have undoubtedly spent most of my time going bankrupt in Powell's City of Books, so maybe this was for the best.
Since my schedule was completely disrupted by my last minute pilgrimage to Beaverton, I've got a lot of catching up to do. This means actually working though the Labor Day weekend, but I'm not feeling bad about it. I leave for two weeks of vacation in just eleven days, so who cares? Right now the very idea of "vacation" seems unreal, but that hasn't kept me from counting the days.
In other news, I've decided that I am sleeping-in until noon tomorrow. Go me.
It's time for another edition of bullet-points gone amok!
• Gustav. Please please please let this storm abate before doing any damage. Not because New Orleans is one of my favorite American cities... but because I just can't take asshole frauds like Pat Robertson once again saying that God hates New Orleans and is punishing the city for its sins. If God were petty enough to be dishing out punishment this way, there's no doubt in my mind that a hurricane would descend on Virginia Beach and wipe nut-job Robertson and his "church of hate" 700 Club off the face of the earth forever. As it looks now, Gustav is due to hit at 7:00 Monday night...
• Biorhythmic. I'm not much of a believer in biorhythms, horoscopes, numerology, and other such stuff. It just doesn't make sense to me, and has rarely proven accurate in any way. And yet, despite being a pseudoscience with absolutely no hard evidence to back it up, biorhythms is a passion for a friend of mine who convinced me to get a "Dashboard Widget" to chart myself and see what I make of it. So far (when I remember to even look at it) the results have been unremarkable. But I did note this morning that my upcoming vacation occurs during the exact period that my cerebral functions are at their highest and my physical functions are lowest. Pretty much exactly what you'd want for a relaxing vacation, I guess...
• Allergen. I had long since ruled out peanuts as a possibility for the source of my recent food allergy problems. It wouldn't make any sense, because I eat peanut butter constantly (practically daily) and would have reactions far more often than I do now. Except... now that I'm on a restrictive diet to help figure out a medicine interaction problem, I'm keeping closer track of what I eat. And it would appear that peanuts do seem to be a factor. On days I experience swelling (like today!), peanut butter was consumed in higher quantities than usual. This is kind of a bummer... if it ends up being true... (love me the peanut butter), but at least a mystery would be solved.
• Deathrace. WARNING! THIS REVIEW FEATURES AN ABUNDANCE OF CURSE-WORDS! Tonight I made time to see the remake of cult-classic Death Race 2000, simply titled "Death Race." Not because I had any confidence in crap-for-hire "director" Paul W.S. Anderson (who managed to fuck up a practically un-fuckupable film property: Alien vs. Predator), but because it starred kick-ass Jason Statham. I enjoy Statham's ability to transcend cheese in cheesy movies, and was hoping the same would apply here.
Not by a long shot. Nobody, including Statham, could transcend this pile of shit...
This movie is so incredibly bad, I don't even know where to start. I think I can sum it up by saying the most exciting part of the film was when actress Joan Allen has to deliver the line "okay, cocksucker... fuck with me and we'll see who shits on the sidewalk!" And this is from a film which features cars with machine guns blowing shit up! How do you fuck up a film which features cars with machine guns blowing shit up?!? Big surprise, hack "writer-director" Paul W.S. Anderson managed to not only fuck it up... but actually make it boring!
Gone is the shocking, dark humor from the original Death Race. Gone also is the socio-political commentary that mad the first film so fascinating. Gone too is any sense of excitement, suspense, or logic. This is a by-the-numbers exercise in predictability that has no guts... and certainly no glory. As I sat in the theater thinking of what a missed opportunity this was, I was positively furious. Shame on Paul W.S. Anderson for delivering shit... AGAIN. Shame on Jason Statham and Joan Allen for signing on to such a mindlessly boring script. Shaome on Roger Corman for betraying his original film and producing this crapfest. Shame on anybody who had a hand in destroying a killer concept and tarnishing a classic film by daring to use the same name. If you're looking for a watered-down version of Death Race 2000, go rent Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Running Man, which was a far, far better film in this genre.
And on that note of profound disappointment, I'm calling it a night!