Posted on Monday, September 1st, 2008
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Is it funny that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's reckless, dangerous, and destructive policy for abstinence-only "sex education" has backfired in her face now that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is knocked up? No. I don't find it funny at all. I find it tragic. Palin should be hoping with all her might that her daughter doesn't end up with AIDS or some kind of sexually-transmitted disease in addition to a baby.
It's this kind of idiocy that's going to drive me completely insane during this election.
Governor Sarah Palin is a dumbass.
She claims to be pro-life, but doesn't seem to give a shit that kids in this day and age can DIE from being denied information on safe sex practices. This is not the 1700's. Children are overwhelmed with sex all day, every day. It's on their television. It's in their music. It's saturated all aspects of modern society. And, as much as parents might hope and pray that their children will not give in to temptation, it is ludicrous to bet their life on it! Unless they live in a hermetically-sealed bubble cut-off from the world, children must... MUST... be given the information they need to keep themselves safe. Educate them on abstinence, yes. But don't leave them defenseless in the event that abstinence fails them.
Because, NEWSFASH: ABSTINENCE-ONLY EDUCATION DOESN'T WORK!
Though, historically speaking, it's not like Palin's idiotic refusal to believe actual evidence is anything new.
Probably even when that evidence gives birth in four months.
But we're supposed to ignore all that and instead congratulate her because her daughter made the brave choice to keep the baby and enter into a shotgun wedding. Well, no problem. Congratulations Sarah Palin, you got exactly what you deserved. A pity your daughter had to be the one to pay the price for it.
While I applaud Barack Obama for taking the high road and declaring Palin's family "off limits" during the campaign, I certainly hope her insanely stupid policy of abstinence-only "sex education" nails her hypocritical ass to the wall. She has the money, position, and power to ensure that her daughter is well cared for and her new grandchild will want for nothing. Most young girls living in these United States are not so lucky.
And, if somebody like Sarah Palin makes it to The White House, we won't be so very lucky either.
Now I think I do want to cry.
Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
I currently own three cameras, all manufactured by Canon, plus a busted toy Holga "art" camera (modified to accept 35mm film) which I keep for fun.
My first "serious" camera was a graduation present from my parents in 1984... the Canon A-1. This brilliant camera was the first to have electronically-controlled exposure modes to free the amateur photographer from having to figure out shutter speed and aperture settings. Though primitive by modern standards, I can't stress how revolutionary this was at the time. It allowed me to take professional photographs with virtually no effort from day one... I could concentrate all my attention on composing, lighting, and directing my shots. As I became more experienced, I was able to dial back the automated stuff and use the in-camera metering to select my own settings...
This camera is responsible for me falling in love with photography, and I took it everywhere for two decades. Rugged, dependable, and capable of amazing photos, I spent a good chunk of my income buying and developing rolls of 35mm film over the years. When the "digital revolution" arrived, I played around with a few digital cameras (most notably, the Apple QuickTake 100 in 1993), but they all shot crap compared the the beautiful images coming out of my Canon A-1. Believe it or not, I still burn an occasional roll in it to this day. As good as digital is, there's something primal about shooting film. Images shot with it aren't a bunch of 1's and 0's, but a chemical reaction you have to control. The satisfaction of getting a good shot with film is unlike any other.
But all good things come to an end.
In 2003 I was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age when I bought the first affordable SLR camera... the Canon EOS Digital Rebel (also known as the EOS 300D). By this time, professional digital cameras were available but very expensive. I coveted the Canon 10D, but it was $1800... no lens included! I managed to get the Digital Rebel for $900 including a decent 18-55mm lens. At 6.3 megapixels, it transcended the "toy" status of other cameras I could afford, and everything I read about it was encouraging...
This has been my primary camera for the past five years. I never fell in love with it like I did my Canon A-1, but the Digital Rebel has been a wonderful camera, faithfully accompanying me on travels around the world. It's rugged, dependable, takes decent photos, and is easy to use with its many automated modes (plus full auto). Once I added my dream lens (the Canon 16mm-35mm wide-angle zoom), I was finally able to take the photos I was imagining in my head.
Because the Digital Rebel is fairly bulky, I bought a Canon PowerShot S400 Elph just one month later. It was an okay camera, but it wasn't until I replaced it with the Canon PowerShot SD800-IS in December 2006 that I fell in love with pocket digital cameras (it was the image stabilization that did it). I carry this camera with me absolutely everywhere and can't imagine life without it.
I never bought into the idea that more megapixels give you noticeably better images (unless you blow them up really big), so I never saw a need to replace my Digital Rebel. With the high-quality optics of my dream lens, the 6.3 megapixels are plenty for everything I need. Even 11x17 prints turn out beautifully, so why spend money on a new camera?
Not only have I found a camera that has convinced me to "upgrade"... but also to switch from Canon to Nikon after 22 years of Canon loyalty. Introducing the Nikon D90...
Sure it has all the cutting edge bells and whistles that make it an amazing camera. Nikon is a world leader in photography, so you'd expect it to be cutting edge. It even has the ground-breaking ability to shoot video. But adding video... even sweet video that can be shot through SLR lenses and have variable depth-of-field like a movie camera... wasn't reason enough for me to break with Canon and replace my Digital Rebel. Bells and whistles are fun, but they don't magically turn bad pictures into great pictures.
Then along comes "Active D-Lighting."
Far from a gimmick, this miracle feature applies live metering adjustments to an image to assist in opening up deep shadow areas, while also working to recover detail from blow-outs. It's not the ideal solution for dealing with problems like this, but it's an amazing accomplishment that's all happening before you even press the shutter release. The sample on Nikon's site is pushed a bit too far for my tastes, but you get the idea. Here's a shot with Active D-Lighting OFF...
And here's with Active D-Lighting ON...
Pretty sweet. Cloud detail has been restored (including a rainbow!), plus some detail in the tree shadows too. A good photographer can always adapt to a scene given a decent camera, enough time, the right filters, and experience... but for random shooting where you're fighting to get a shot in a hurry, Active D-Lighting is an incredibly handy thing to have available (as illustrated here). It appears to be a better, more natural-looking alternative than messing around with the "Shadow/Highlight Filter" and manipulating curves in Photoshop after the fact.
Once you add Active D-Lighting to the many other features of this remarkable camera, it's just compelling enough to make me take the leap. So I'm taking the money I'll be getting from the sale of my motorcycle and sinking it into a Nikon D90. Sadly, it won't arrive in time for my upcoming vacation, but I'm anxious to play around with it when I get back just the same.
Having something to look forward to when you're coming back from vacation is nice.
Posted on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
Posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2008
This morning I had to unblock the FOX News Channel on my TiVo so I could tell it to record =shudder= The O'Reilly Factor tonight. This goes against my policy of unnecessarily exposing myself to lying dumbass fucktards, but I'm hoping the horror of having to watch Bill O'Reilly will be offset by the person he's interviewing: Barack Obama. If O'Reilly will shut his stupid mouth long enough to let Obama speak, it should be a fascinating show.
Still, I fully plan on slamming no less than three shots of Jägermeister and having a Rum & Root Beer handy to take the edge off.
It's times like this that make me wish hardcore drugs were cheap and easily available. And legal, of course.
In happier news, the dates for the blogger meet-ups in Austin and San Francisco have been set.
If you'd like to come along and hang out with some extraordinary blogging-type people, then please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hmmm... O'Reilly starts at 5:00. I wonder how early I should start drinking?
Posted on Friday, September 5th, 2008
Last night I was on Twitter bemoaning the fact that I had no clean underwear left and would have to wash some.
@Gooster thought it was a much better idea to go without (but, then again, he would).
And thus I declared that today COMMANDO FRIDAY, and Gooster made it official. This is just me doing my part for a greener planet by eliminating a pair of underwear that needs to be washed. Some have said that it might be smarter to recycle underwear rather than go without. To this I say "BEGONE YOU FOUL UNBELIEVER FOR COMMANDO FRIDAY IS HERE!
I hope I don't get denim burns on my bits and pieces.
Posted on Saturday, September 6th, 2008
So. Very. Tired.
Today I drove all the way to Spokane for a 1-hour appointment, ate David's Pizza for lunch, then drove back home. That's nine hours of my life I'm never getting back.
The drive itself is pretty boring because the Columbia Basin doesn't have much to see. But an occasional glimpse of nice scenery makes it not so terrible...
The problem is that the drive takes forever. Washington State is bigger than it looks...
If you live on the East Coast, I suppose it would be about the same as driving from New York City to Baltimore and back...
As another example... say, if you live in Australia... it would be like driving from Sydney to Canberra and back, then looping around the city a couple of times...
Or, if you're a fan of the most excellent BBC show Gavin & Stacey, it's a little less miles than when Gavin drives from Billericay, England to Barry, Wales and back...
And, if you live in Alaska, you would think it would be just like hopping the ferry from Ketchikan... past where the Sarah Palin endorsed "Bridge To Nowhere" would have been if she hadn't disavowed it to benefit her career... all the way to the city of Terrace in British Columbia and back. But, while the miles are about the same, the ferry ride makes the total trip several hours longer...
Bleh. It's only 11:00 and I'm falling asleep. But if I go to bed now, I'll be waking up at 3:00am so I really should try to stay awake a bit longer.
Thinking of Sarah Palin making it to the White House should be enough to keep me wide awake and scared shitless for several hours, so perhaps I'll give that a try...
Posted on Sunday, September 7th, 2008
• Shopping. Just a quick note... I am on vacation for two weeks starting Wednesday. Any orders placed at the Artificial Duck Co. Store after tomorrow (Monday) will ship when I get back on September 26th.
• Vacation. In other news, OMFG! MY VACATION STARTS IN THREE DAYS!!
• Palinmony. Umm... is Sarah Palin ever going to agree to be interviewed... BY ANYBODY?!? What the hell is she hiding that she won't even appear on FOX News where they're positively wet over her? Are people seriously going to vote for Palin based on a couple of speeches alone? If she somehow makes it to the White House, she'll be closer to the presidency than any Vice President ever, shouldn't we know her answers to the big questions? Or are the Republicans so confident in their zombie minions to not give a shit, that she's going to be off-limits until election day?
• Britcom. A couple people asked me about a reference to Gavin & Stacey in my entry yesterday, which is a British television series that has just started showing here in the US on BBC America. I'm a huge fan of British comedy, and love it. It's so rare to find a show now-a-days where the lead characters are actually... nice... sweet even... and it's a refreshing change (especially with the Pushing Daisies premiere so far away). If you don't get BBC America, you can buy episodes at the iTunes Music Store. But check it out quickly before they start showing the sure-to-be-crappy American remake that they're working on...
• Rebate. When sending in for a mail order rebate, I wonder what the national average is in actually getting your money. Because I'm running at about 50%, which sucks ass. There's always some lame-ass excuse... "we never received it" or "that rebate expired" or "you didn't include all the required materials" or some other bullshit that's either an obscure technicality or an outright lie. Companies come up with rebates that they never intend to pay out, and I don't understand how this is legal. I just sent in an $80 rebate for SanDisk memory cards and a $75 rebate for AcuVue Contact Lenses... will either of them pay their promised rebate? Here's hoping.
My next Bullet Sunday will happen while I'm far away from here. Time to start packing a suitcase, I suppose.
Posted on Monday, September 8th, 2008
After two weeks of unbearable dietary restrictions (with only a few minor infractions), I finally got to the doctor for testing so I could eat again. I celebrated by getting a haircut and eating a chocolate pudding.
The haircut was essential because I don't want to have to mess with my stupid hair while on vacation. I was very close to just taking the clippers and scalping myself, but nobody wants to see that. Instead I went to "MasterCuts" and had them chop me up.
More on that in a second.
The pudding was equally essential because, hey, it's been two weeks.
No pudding ever tasted so sweet.
And now back to MasterCuts...
For years now, I've been going to a barber shop in East Wenatchee whenever I'm home. I prefer a barber shop over a "hair salon" because it's no-nonsense, and I'm a no-nonsense kind of guy. But today when I went there for my haircut, it had closed down. The shop was vacant. Not knowing what else to do, I went to the mall and found... MasterCuts.
There was only one woman working the shop, and she said it would be a 45-minute wait because she was giving a perm. But "45 minutes" was optimistic because the old woman with the perm wanted to talk.
Explaining how she wanted to have her hair cut was, I shit you not, a ten-minute conversation. And then, after her perm and haircut were done, SHE DID NOT LEAVE! She wanted to keep talking, despite the fact that I was sitting there impatiently waiting.
Thus taking me an hour to get a 10 minute haircut.
Well, never again. What I need is a Flowbee.
Hook that sucker up to my vacuum and I'm good to go, baby! No need to worry about where I'm getting a haircut because I'll cut my own hair!
Except the Flowbee with the Super Mini Vac is a whopping $99.90 plus shipping charges.
That's a lot of money, so maybe I need to hold a raffle. Everywhere I go on the internet and on Twitter, people are asking for money for something, so why not me? I'll come up with awesome prizes and sell $1 tickets until I've sold $116 worth, at which time I'll draw names. THEN, when I get my Flowbee, I'll take a video of me giving myself a haircut... instant blog entry! Sweet!
Blogging is so awesome.
Posted on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2008
This is not my first trip to Maui, I've been here nearly a dozen times before, which is part of the appeal to me... I've already done most everything there is to do here, so it makes for a very stress-free and relaxing vacation spot.
This time I decided to look for stuff I haven't done of the island so I'd get something new out of my visit.
I started out with The Maui Ocean Center, which is very nicely done with the usual assortment of fishes and other sea creatures...
But my favorite part of the exhibit is the Jelly Fish tank, because the creatures inside are so bizarre and unusual...
After playing with the fishes, I wandered north to take a look at the Iao Needle. This is a volcano that went dormant, after the center lava had cooled to a tube. The outside eroded away, leaving only the "needle" showing...
It was kind of cloudy, but plenty green...
Back in the parking lot, a pair of cats were waiting patiently for me under the car next door...
On my way back to South Maui, I dropped by the Maui Tropical Plantation, for old time's sake...
The plantation has a couple of monkeys named "Carlos" and "Montana" which were rescued when the Maui Zoo closed down...
Continuing southward, I ended up at Maui's famous Big Beach...
But then it started to rain. One of the great things about Maui is that if it rains where you are at, you can generally go to another part of the island and stay dry. Wanting to keep with the theme of "doing something different," I decided to drive around the northern part of the island, which I had never done before. It starts out nice enough, with plenty of stops to admire the beautiful North Coast...
The scenery is quite beautiful, with plenty of seaside cliffs to look at...
Most places you stop there are rock piles, which people build in order to leave a non-permanent and eco-friendly mark of their visit...
For quite a while, the road is not too bad. But after a while you turn a corner and BLAM! Suddenly you are on a very scary one-lane road on high cliffs with falling rocks and oncoming traffic. It's a sphincter-puckering event to be turning around a blind corner on a cliff, only to find yourself face-to-face with another car coming from the opposite direction. At that point, one of you has to drive backwards to a spot in the road which is wide enough for one of you to pass. After 10 miles of driving in madness, the road suddenly becomes a sane, two-laned affair once again...
With the North Maui expedition having eaten up the remainder of my day, it was time for another stunning Maui sunset in Kihei...
It's one of those ships from Close Encounters of the Third Kind!
And so ends another day in paradise...
Posted on Friday, September 12th, 2008
I should probably write something here before I fall asleep.
The long drive up Maui's Mt. Haleakala to watch the sunrise is one of those things you really only need to do once. I've already done it three times. But my new camera has been giving me some incredible shots, so I decided I'd make the trek again to see what happens. Unfortunately, this meant setting my alarm for 3:00am so I could get to the summit in time.
Ummm... yeah... so totally worth it...
I also got to see a baby Silversword on the way down...
These amazing plants are unique in several ways...
At the Ranger's Station Visitor Center, a few adult Silverwords were in bloom...
This just in from the "I don't ever want to go back home department," here's the beach today...
And now, it's time for a nap. I'm on vacation so I can do that...
Posted on Saturday, September 13th, 2008
A big shout-out to Maui Tacos for having most excellent vegetarian options on their menu! Potato Chimichanga = Delicious! Also interesting was my dinner last night at a fantastic Italian restaurant called Aroma D'Italia which had toasted CHEESE ravioli on the menu which tasted incredible (the owner is originally from St. Louis!).
Maui has a "feature" called "The Hana Highway," which is a beautiful drive along a scary road fraught with hundreds of switchbacks and dozens on one-lane bridges. I've done it twice (once as a driver, once as a passenger), and thought that was all I really needed to do... but my new camera was begging for adventure...
Since I didn't really want to drive it again (it's exhausting, and once was really enough), I decided to book a tour. Ultimately, this was a mistake. Sure they made plenty of stops and the driver was entertaining... but I never got to stop at the places that I wanted to photograph. I would have had a much better time had I just driven myself so I could do all the stuff that I wanted to do.
Oh well. Still, I did get some nice photographs. Here's a black sand beach...
And here's a scary red sand beach (looks like blood!)...
I also got some nice waterfall shots...
And some photographs at The Seven Sacred Pools (three of which can be seen here)...
But my favorite thing this trip was finding flowers to photograph. Hawaii has some of the most beautiful plants and flowers on earth, and they're everywhere...
And thus ends another day in paradise...
Posted on Sunday, September 14th, 2008
It's a Bullet Sunday from Maui... which is probably the best place for Bullet Sunday to be! Today I'm posting early (internet access willing) because it's going to be a chill-at-the-beach kind of day. Since I don't want to think, I thought I'd just answer some of the comments I got from recent entries. I guess this makes me a lazy bastard, but isn't that what vacation is for?
• "Ohhhh, nice! Which island?" — Kapgar.
Four islands, actually... Maui, Oahu, Hawaii, and Kauai.
• "The monkey, how's it travelling? In a bag, or you paying for an extra seat?" — stephentrepreneur.
Bad Monkey flew First Class, as always. I couldn't get an upgrade, so I flew Coach. But I was able to get an exit row and an empty seat next to me, which was actually better, since I didn't have to watch my monkey get drunk and hit on flight attendants.
• "Speaking of Hard Rock... have you checked the HRC website's Coming Soon section lately? Seattle, Washington. Summer 2009. — Marc.
Yep, and this time it actually looks like it might actually be happening... though I've heard that a couple of times before as they tried to put a Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle over the past 20 years. As a bonus, I hear that a cafe is being planned for Portland, Oregon as well.
"Gorgeous pics! Are these with your new camera? What IS your new camera??? — SJ.
"Great photos... I need to now ask... is this with your new camera? At some point, you will get tired of me asking about it and just blog about it." — ChillyWilly.
Thanks! And, yes, my camera arrived the day before I left, and I've been shooting with it since I got here. It's the brand new Nikon D90 model, which I wrote about here. Since I've barely used it, I'm not quite ready to write a review, but I'm pretty sure it will go something like this... "OMG! I SO TOTALLY LOVE THIS CAMERA! IT'S AMAZING, AND IT LETS ME GET SOME OF THE BEST PHOTOS I'VE EVER TAKEN WITH VERY LITTLE EFFORT!"
"Do you experience any hostility from native Hawaiians?" — Avitable.
Never. Not once in the dozen times I've been here over a 22-year span have I ever experienced any hostility. Unless you count being honked at by Hana natives because I wasn't driving at reckless enough speeds on the Hana Highway.
"As for Big Beach/Little Beach, it was the one spot I wanted to go to and didn't get there. Next time, for sure. My exhibitionist side needed out!!" — Lewis.
"If I recall, there was a sign on that road that read 'Your rental car insurance expires after this point'." — TheQueen.
When I fist started coming to Maui in the 80's, the road to Big Beach did indeed violate you car rental contract because it was very rough and unimproved. As such, very few people went there. I have photos of me and my friends where we're the only ones on the entire beach. And the one time I went to "Little Beach" (the "nude beach") nobody was there. Now there's a paved two-lane road right up to Big Beach (and beyond)... complete with a parking lot! Sadly, this means the beach is usually fairly crowded. My how things have changed.
• "QUESTION, and stop me if you've heard this one: If you need a vacation so badly why are you blogging in realish time about it?" — Poppy.
Realish time? Not really. I blog once a day, usually at night before I go to bed. Once the sun goes down, there's not much to do on Maui except eat and get drunk. It's not a big deal to post a few photos and say what I did that day before I eat and get drunk.
"Those sunrise photos are breathtaking. I can only imagine how much more spectacular it must have been to be there in person." — Iron Fist.
"My goodness, thank you for sharing these magnificent photos of the sun rising!! Worth waking up for huh???" — Michelle Jacobs
Truly. Sunrise at Haleakala is truly an event that must be witnessed in person... I got some great shots, but looking at a tiny little photo is nothing compared to the massive event it is in real-life.
• "If you find yourself on Lanai, i have family there that own a restaurant." — hello haha narf.
Having never been to Lanai before (except to dive off the coast), I actually decided to do this! On Friday I made a reservation on the ferry for today with a 9:15am departure and a 6:30pm return. But last night I learned that the road to Lahaina would be overrun with The Maui Marathon from 5:00am onward, making it difficult to even get to the city for a 9:15am launch. This meant, sadly, I had to cancel my plans. Maybe next time.
"When in Maui - Eat at Peggy Sue's (Kihei)!! Tell them Aynde sent you! Visited Maui a couple of years ago to visit the in laws (they own peggy sues). Fun vacation." — Aynde.
Wow... seems everybody's family owns a restaurant in Hawaii! Actually, I am very familiar with "Peggy Sue's"... it was an inspiration for a restaurant back in Washington that some friends own!
"BTW, how's the WiFi at your hotel?" — ChillyWilly.
Uhhh... it pretty much sucks. Couldn't even use it the first day, and last night was so slow that I couldn't post my entry for the day until this morning. Still, it's better than nothing!
And that's the end of that. Time to get out of bed and drag my lazy ass to the ocean.
Posted on Monday, September 15th, 2008
To me, Honolulu is a big city much like any other big city, and most of the times I've been here it's been for work. But once you get outside the city, Oʻahu is a beautiful place, filled with all the things that makes Hawaii such a great State to visit. It's a shame so many people come here just to hang out at Waikiki and don't make an effort to explore everything the island has to offer.
I had to make a quick trip into Honolulu, and didn't have time to see much else, but I did make it over to Pearl Harbor. I hadn't been there in 22 years and wanted to see the USS Missouri (which had been added as a museum ship in 1998). Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 caused the USA to enter World War II... and it seems only fitting that the site of Japan's surrender on "The Mighty Mo" should come to rest here.
The Arizona Memorial is just as beautiful as I remembered...
Back at the Arizona Visitor Center, you can meet Pearl Harbor survivors. When you buy the museum book, their pictures are in the back, and you can get them autographed in person. On top of being real-life heroes, the two survivors I met were also incredibly nice guys with a great sense of humor...
The USS Missouri was a fascinating tour because the guide for our group actually served aboard the ship during the Korean War. Not only did he have all the major details about the ship, but loads of personal details you can only get from having lived there (more than once he referred to The Missouri as "my home")...
The USS Missouri... powered by Macintosh! I guess the US Navy doesn't want to risk a Windows "Blue Screen of Death" in the middle of battle...
I did wander down to Waikiki Beach, of course. You can't go to Honolulu and not visit...
Sunset was spent at the airport waiting for my flight back to Maui...
And thus ends my all-too-brief visit to the island of Oʻahu.
Posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
To Big Island, or not to Big Island?
Back in March, a new fissure opened on the Kilauea volcano which has resulted in a tenfold release of sulphur gasses into the atmosphere. Known as "vog" (for "Volcanic Fog"), these emissions can completely obliterate the sky here on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi depending on which way the wind blows. And it's not just Hawaiʻi, but all the islands that are affected. There were a few afternoons on Maui where Mt. Haleakala was invisible because vog had blown in and hidden the entire mountain. This is a big problem, because people expect blue skies and visible sunsets when they visit the islands. If the situation gets much worse, not only will the tourist trade suffer... but crops which require sunlight to grow could start having problems too.
Keeping all of this in mind, I faced a bit of a dilemma when booking my Hawaiian vacation. Do I dare risk spending time on Hawaiʻi when the trip might very well be marred by a volcanic haze blanketing the island?
You bet your ass I do.
If vog happens, it happens. Hawaiʻi is a wonderful island to experience and if I spent all my time worrying about what may or may not occur, I might as well stay home.
And if I had decided to skip The Big Island of Hawaiʻi, I would not have had this sight awaiting me once I got to my hotel today...
After kicking around the beach for a while (and getting a bit red because I forgot to apply sunblock), I headed to the northern tip of the island to the city of Kapaʻau. It's here where you can find the very first King Kamehameha statue. I'm thinking it was put here because he was born nearby...
If you keep driving past Kapaʻau, you'll eventually run out of road. It all ends at the Pololu Valley lookout, where you have to turn around and go back...
Which I did, driving back on the upcountry roads of Highway 250. This actually ended up being quite cool, because you could look down on the Kailua-Kona area, where it happened to be raining...
This is one of my favorite shots I've taken so far. It's almost like a painting or something. Hey... it may be raining, but it's still Hawaiʻi!
Deciding that Kailua-Kona might be a good place for dinner, I headed on down. By the time I got there, the rain was in full-force, but it was a nice warm rain and felt great. I wandered around for a bit snapping photos, like this one of Hawaiʻi's first church...
They are doing lots of construction in the area, so traffic is a frackin' mess, but I did get to see a nice sunset on the way back to my hotel. Unfortunately, by the time I found a place to pull over and shoot it, the sun was already plummeting past the horizon. The colors were so vivid (probably thanks to the vog!) that they blew out in my camera's sensor...
By the time I got back "home," the stars were already coming out...
I have no idea what I'm doing tomorrow, but I can't wait to find out! Vog willing, big adventures await...
Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
Today was the day I decided to drive the Hawaiʻi Belt Road which circles around most of the island, including the entirety of Mauna Loa (the largest volcano on earth).
This is always a dicey proposition because, with very few exceptions, it's a two-lane road with only rare opportunities to pass dumbasses who are incapable of driving the speed limit. But there's plenty of cool stuff to see along the way, so the agony is worth it. This is especially true after Kilauea started venting back in March, because the crater rim and Volcanos National Park is right off the Belt.
But my first stop was Akaka Falls, which is far nicer than the more-famous "Rainbow Falls" further down the road...
After making my way past Hilo and up to the volcanos, I got to see where all that vog (Volcanic Fog) is coming from...
I was hoping for a full-scale eruption so I could get some cool lava shots, but Kilauea kept its cool. I had to make do with seeing the lava flows from previous eruptions...
And I was also sure to explore the Thurston Lava Tube, which I had forgotten about my last time here...
After getting my fill of delicious vog, I continued down the other side of the mountain until I reached my favorite black sand beach, Punalu'u, which is famous for turtles (I've seen them here before, but they weren't around this time)...
From there it's just a 10-minute drive to the best reason of all to visit The Big Island: Punalu'u Bakery, home of the best Hawaiian Sweet Bread on earth (not to mention the south-most bakery in the USA!)...
And then it was time to drive back so I could be sure to see the sunset that I missed yesterday. When researching where to stay on Hawaiʻi, I ultimately settled on the Waikoloa area, because it doesn't seem to get inundated with vog like Kona, and the rain never seem to get that bad. So far, that's held true for my visit here... no matter what's happening anywhere else on the island, it's always beautiful back at my hotel. But the vog does get blown out to sea, making for some incredible sunsets...
Hopefully I'll be motivated to do something interesting tomorrow, because right now all I want to do is sleep in until noon.
What a waste that would be.
Posted on Thursday, September 18th, 2008
It's my last day on The Big Island.
I wanted to spend it sitting on the beach and playing in the ocean.
But that seemed like kind of a waste given all the stuff to do here on Hawaiʻi that I haven't yet done. Shouldn't I be seeing and doing as much as possible while I still can? It seemed a dilemma best pondered while sitting on the beach and playing in the ocean.
But eventually I decided to tear myself away from this beautiful sight...
...and head south into dreary and rainy Kailua-Kona for lunch. While there I decided to wander down to where the beautiful Hard Rock Cafe Kona used to be so I could be depressed that one of my favorite cafes has closed. Somebody should buy the building and turn it into a Hard Rock Cafe...
From there I decided to head to the first of two destinations I had in mind for today, The Painted Church (which is actually St. Benedict's Catholic Church). This beautiful little church sits on a hill overlooking the ocean and is famous because of the nifty paintings that cover every available surface inside...
My favorite feature is the guardian cat that sits outside and inspects everybody who enters the church...
There are some terrific statues on the church grounds including a reproduction of Michelangelo’s La Pieta, but I was really intrigued by a nice rendition of The Virgin Mary. She had been lovingly adorned with over a hundred necklaces which did nothing to detract from how beautiful she is...
After wandering around the church and its grounds for a while, I finally proceeded onward to my ultimate destination, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. This used to be a place of refuge where Hawaiians who broke one of the ancient laws against their gods could escape from a death sentence. They'd show up, be absolved of their sin by a priest, and then go on their merry way... free to keep on living. This is also a place where Hawaiian chiefs were laid to rest.
I just liked it because there are cool structures and nifty statues all over the place...
But the best thing about Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is that there's a beach where sea turtles come to have a rest. The ancient Hawaiians revered turtles, and petroglyphs here show "honu" turtles everywhere. I just think they're wonderful creatures. Last Sunday when I was in Maui, I snorkeled with a beautiful turtle for almost a half-hour before he finally decided to take a nap on the ocean floor. They're such trusting and inoffensive creatures that it breaks my heart to know that they're endangered now...
I wish I had another week here.
But before I go, I thought I'd mention that the exclusive design I made for Avitable's Halloween Party fund-raising event will disappear forever in a few short weeks. It's so awesome, that I wore it while frolicking on the beach this morning...
I PITY THE FOOL WHO DON'T BUY THIS T-SHIRT... GRRRRR!
Of course, a picture of me wearing a T-shirt isn't going to convince anybody to buy anything, so I give you the lovely Danalyn, looking divinely hot in her Neverwas Fair shirt...
If you want to get a shirt of your very own, in any style you wish, just visit Avitable's store on Zazzle.
Posted on Friday, September 19th, 2008
I was so not ready to leave The Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Just a few more days would have been nice.
My flight into Kauaʻi was early in the morning, so the condo I rented wasn't quite ready when I got here. Since it was a beautiful day, I decided to drive up to see the Hindu Monastery that's hidden up one of the canyon roads. You're not allowed to photograph inside the temple itself, but the grounds are really beautiful. Off a little side-path, there's a fantastic statue in a little grotto that begged to be photographed...
Since my condo still wasn't ready after my visit, I needed some lunch. One of my friends had told me that the best place for a veggie burger on the island was at Bubba's, so off I went...
I was not misled. The veggie burger was amazing... easily one of the best I've ever had. As if that wasn't enough, it was a fun place to eat as well...
After lunch I set out to arrange for a helicopter tour of the Na Pali Coast. I had hiked along the area a long time ago, and have wanted to see it from the air ever since. A lot of Kauaʻi is best seen from the air. Much to my surprise, there was an opening immediately, so off I went...
Of course, the one place I wanted to see... The Na Pali Coast... was hit by a storm so we couldn't fly there. This was not entirely unexpected, because the weather here changes minute by minute, but it was upsetting. I had just paid quite a chunk of money for nothing.
Except... not really...
Whenever one door closes, another door opens.
The heavy rains caused all the waterfalls in the crater of Mt. Waialeale to fire up, providing breathtaking views wherever you looked. I was so stunned at the site of dozens (hundreds?) of waterfalls pouring over the crater that I almost forgot to snap a few photos. Incredible. A tiny picture can't begin to capture the wonder of it all...
Everywhere on the island except the Na Pali Coast was beautiful which, I suppose, is something to be grateful for...
Not bad for my first day.
Which is a good thing, because vacation time will be ending all too soon.
Posted on Saturday, September 20th, 2008
I shouldn't have to be making decisions while I'm on vacation.
From the town of Kapaʻa where my rented condo is, you can really only travel north or south. There are lots of little roads that wander off into the countryside of Kauaʻi, but there's only one main road on the island, and it goes north or south. After flipping a coin, I decided that it would be north today, south tomorrow.
Though I have to tell you, the weather at the beach outside my room was pretty sweet, and it was all I could do to tear myself away...
First stop was the lighthouse at Kilauea, the north-most point of Kauaʻi. It's located in a wildlife refuge where all kinds of birds come to nest, and has the largest "clamshell" light lens in the world. It is kind of beat up, needs a paint-job, and doesn't work anymore (they have a light beacon outside instead), but it's still a beautiful place to visit...
From there on out, it's pretty much just one incredibly beautiful beach after another until you run out of road. As you get further north, the waters are a little rougher, but it's an amazing sight to watch those waves come rolling in...
Once the road ends at Na Pali, I could have parked and hiked out 20 miles along the beautiful coastal area there, but that's way more effort than I wanted to put into my afternoon.
So I drove back to my condo and goofed off.
I received a couple emails and comments from people asking about the photos I've been taking... wanting to know how much Photoshop work I've been doing to get them to look so nice.
The answer is "none." I'm on vacation, and don't want to mess around with Photoshop. About the only thing I do is crop and re-size... no other manipulations are going on.
I seem to get the best results here when set my camera to "Vivid Color," put the exposure compensation to
For my Blogography entries, I always choose the overexposed bracketed shot. This is a bad thing, because all my bright whites are blown out. But going this route means the photos require no work on my part. I just crop them and slap them up on my blog. When it comes time to assemble my photo album, I'll choose an underexposed shot so I can brighten up the darker shadow areas by manipulating the levels without blowing out the bright spots.
Times sure have changed since I first got into photography.
Posted on Sunday, September 21st, 2008
I woke up this morning wanting to do nothing at all.
The only thing that sounded like any fun was staying in bed and re-reading Frank Herbert's Dune for the hundredth time. I found a copy on the bookshelf of the condo I rented and couldn't refuse. It's such a mind-blowing revelation of a book that it deserves to be read a hundred times.
But I still had the south-side of Kauai to explore, so away I went. Muad'Dib would have to wait.
Mark Twain called Waimea Canyon "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." I'd tend to agree, even though Mark Twain supposedly never visited Kauaʻi, which means he was describing it without having seen it. The canyon itself starts out nice enough, but it's hardly Grand Canyon worthy...
But as you move up the canyon road, the sights get more and more impressive...
Waimea Canyon is notoriously difficult to photograph. The lighting is rarely perfect, usually giving you areas of deep shadow, distance haze, or a washed out glare that obscures the beauty of it all. I did the best I could, but there's no substitute for being there.
As a bonus, once you drive past the canyon lookout and continue on past Kokeʻe State Park, you get to see the Kalalau Valley Overlook, which is absolutely incredible. It's another area that's kind of hard to photograph well, but I was quite happy with what I got...
On the way back to Kapaʻa, I stopped to see Waimea Falls. The last time I was here, a friend decided to climb down onto the head of the falls and give me a heart attack. Heights scare me bad enough without watching somebody plummet to their death...
And thus ends my last day on Kauaʻi.
BUT BEFORE I GO...
Chip Zdarsky has a pretty sweet meme on his blog with these rules... "Take a picture of yourself right now. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture. Post that picture with NO editing. Post these instructions with your picture."
Since I'm all rested, tanned, and blogging from the lanai of this condo... my name is David Simmer II and I endorse this meme...
Oog. I really should have at least patted down my mussed-up hair before snapping that photo with my Mac's iSight camera, but that would be against the rules, wouldn't it?
One more day of vacation left...
Posted on Monday, September 22nd, 2008
It's another edition of Bullet Sunday on Monday! Since this is my last day in the Hawaiian Islands and all I'm going to do is sit on the beach and relax, I figured it was a better day to shoot bullets.
• Happily Mauied. This morning I flew back to Maui where my vacation all began. This is my most favorite of all the islands, and I wanted my last memory to be from here. With the US economy getting worse by the hour, who knows if I'll ever be able to afford to come back again?
• Macadamia Kisses. When you're in Hawaii, you can't turn around without bumping into chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. They are sold absolutely everywhere... from gift shops and grocery stores to restaurants and fruit stands. I think they must be the unofficial-official souvenir of Hawaii, and tourists pack them home by the cases. Sometimes the chocolate-covered macs have clever names like "Donkey Balls," and there are endless varieties where the macs are mixed with everything from crispy rice to coconut. But my favorite way of eating them would be "Hershey's Milk Chocolate Kisses with Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts," sold only in Hawaii...
Sublime! I love them and eat them by the bag-full because they're more addictive than crack (or so I would imagine). Of course, admitting this is going to get me hate-mail from people telling me (again) that Hershey is a horrible company that's buying out candy companies left and right in an effort to eliminate all competition (including Mauna Loa, Scharffen Berger, Joseph Schmidt, and others) and they're shipping American jobs off to Mexico... but I just can't help myself. I don't like "gourmet" chocolate or dark chocolate or the crap chocolate used in the souvenir boxes that tastes like wax. I like plain old boring Hershey's chocolate. And if I'm going to eat chocolate-covered macs, I want them with a chocolate I'm going to actually like. If it makes Hershey-haters feel any better, I'll switch to M&M Mars Dove bars to get my chocolate fix back home.
• Spore Origins. Games for the iPhone seem to lose their luster quickly on me. They're exciting at first, but eventually I grow bored with their repetitive nature and stop playing. I thought Electronic Arts' latest "Spore: Origins" would be different because the creature you play can evolve to meet new challenges. But it's grown repetitive to me just like the others (move around, avoid baddies, eat food). Oh well. It sure is a pretty game, so I'll probably play it again eventually...
• Chevy Cobalt. I never thought I would run across a car that had a worse turning radius than my Saturn SC-2, but the Chevy Cobalt that Hertz Rent-A-Car stuck me with on Kauaʻi really takes the cake. I swear that there were frickin' TOUR BUSSES that could take a corner tighter than I could in the Cobalt. How embarrassing for Chevy that they built a car which requires a six-point turn to flip a 180 on a two-lane road (well, not really, but it sure seems that way as I was trying to maneuver in parking lots). I have no clue as to why auto-makers think a shitty turning radius is acceptable when designing a car but, if you value being able to make a U-Turn, test-drive before you buy... I'm just sayin'.
• Accentuate The Positive. Soon after I began my vacation, I got a few emails asking if I was aware that somebody was trashing me personally in a popular forum because of a Blogography entry I wrote years ago. The answer was "yes"... I did know because I saw the referral links showing up in my stats bar... but I just didn't care. First of all, the dumbass who was doing the trashing didn't read the full entry and had no idea what the fuck they were talking about. Second of all, it was obvious to anybody reading the trash-talk that this person was a total moron, so there was no reason for me to get involved. And, lastly, the douchebag was making a personal attack ANONYMOUSLY with a pathetic alias that pointed to a profile that was BLANK. If somebody is going to attack me personally, how can I take them seriously if they're being an anonymous coward about it? Either sign your name to the shit you say and be accountable for it or don't even bother, you flaming ass troll.
And thus ends my thirteenth day in paradise. Tomorrow I fly home and resume real life. In many ways I'm glad, because it's time. If I were to stay any longer I would never want to go home again.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got one last perfect sunset to watch...
Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
Because Horizon Air is systematically cutting the most critical flights to/from Wenatchee (probably in an effort to shut down the airport and blame it on lack of passengers so they don't have to bother with us anymore), I am stuck in Seattle overnight. My "connecting" flight doesn't leave until 10:10 tomorrow morning. Since this is over 12 hours from when I landed, they couldn't even check my bag through. I had to wait at baggage claim and collect it so I can turn around and check it in again tomorrow.
Flying keeps sucking more and more ass due to the shitty US economy coupled with rising fuel prices, and there's no end in sight. More and more flights will be canceled. More and more routes will be eliminated. And more and more smaller cities will lose their airports. You could blame the airlines, but they're just doing what they can to stay in business. Isn't everybody now-a-days?
But that's not my main gripe tonight.
My rant for the evening will be about internet service at hotels.
I am 100% against having to pay for internet at hotels. It should be included in the cost of your room. The stupid thing is that most hotels contract out the internet service to third parties, which is probably more expensive than if they had just set it up themselves and offered it for free to their guests. Ironically, most of the time it's the cheaper hotels who offer excellent free internet, whereas the more expensive hotels have shitty paid internet.
As an example, my very nice hotel in Maui makes you pay for internet through ClearWire.
This pisses me off but, once I get past my anger, my expectations are running pretty high. If I am paying for the internet, it had better be the best fucking internet access ever, or I'm just going to get enraged.
But, of course, it's not. It never is.
ClearWire provided me with unbelievably shitty internet access which dumped me after only one hour of my twenty-four hour period had elapsed. To make matters worse, ClearWire wouldn't let me back on, telling me my login was invalid and I need to pay for another 24 hours or access.
A call to their technical support department resulted in me being put on hold for 20 minutes.
The problem was never resolved. They say they've credited me for the money they charged me, but I'm not overly optimistic because I never got a credit slip emailed to me.
As a result of such horrendously shitty internet service that I'm forced to fucking PAY for, I don't know if I will ever stay at that hotel again. They're potentially losing a good customer because they're too stupid to understand that internet access should be included in the room charge and have free access so guests don't have to put up with technical problems and other bullshit that comes from having a pay-to-use system.
From now on my hotel choices will be made on whether or not they charge for internet.
Maybe if all travelers boycotted hotels with shitty third-party pay-for-use systems, the hotels would eventually see the light and do the right thing for their customers.
And wouldn't that be a pleasant change for once?
Posted on Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Posted on Thursday, September 25th, 2008
It's midnight and I just stopped work for the day a half-hour ago (even though I have tons left to do). Since I started working at 5:00 this morning you'd think I'd be a little bitter about a 16-1/2 hour work-day, but I just spent two weeks in the Hawaiian Islands so it's not like I have much cause to complain.
So here I lay in bed, listening to Wincing The Night Away by "The Shins" for the millionth time, all the while tap-tap-tapping away on my MacBook and contemplating what to blog about. Usually the problem would be that I'm too beat to think of anything worth writing, but the opposite seems to be true tonight. There's dozens of things I could blog about... I just can't choose.
I thought I was going to talk about my contest for Bullet Sunday #100 coming up in three days, but I haven't figured out exactly how it's going to work.
Then I was going to write about Davestin coming up next Friday, but that seemed more appropriate for this Friday.
Just a second ago, Phantom Limb started playing and it made me want to write about how it may very well be my favorite song of all time (which is surprising because it's not by Depeche Mode), but I doubt anybody would find that amusing except me.
Then I had considered blogging about Katie Couric's truly terrifying interview with Sarah Palin that's been splattered all over the internets, but I am so rattled at the possibility of Palin getting anywhere near The White House that I may go into hysterics. At this point, I would hope that even hardcore Republicans are scared of the doomsday scenario which would have McCain winning the election and then dying in office, leaving us with "President Palin." It's a possibility so horrifying that I cannot picture it in my head without making "BLEEP BLORP" noises and sobbing uncontrollably.
Then I started thinking about how technically the day has already ended and I shouldn't be worried about this blog entry at all since it's now tomorrow and I should be worrying about that entry.
Except I have to get back to work in five hours and can't afford to be worrying about anything if I want to get any sleep tonight.
I could really use a cookie, a glass of chocolate milk, and a handful of sedatives.
Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2008
I'm not one for discussing politics on my blog very often, because I just don't want the drama. Too many people are so hopelessly entrenched in their opinions that there is no room to attempt any understanding of people who have opinions different from theirs. It's sad, but that's the state of our polarizing politics today.
This is not to say that I don't have strong opinions of my own... of course I do. However, since I have no political party affiliation and will vote for both Democrats and Republicans depending on the candidate, I'm not quite so entrenched. I'll happily entertain opinions different than mine because that's the fun of it all. I love the diversity of the human condition, and welcome debate and discussion of ideas.
But there's a difference between "ideas" and "total bullshit."
And during tonight's debate, John McCain dropped such a huge load of bullshit that I am compelled to respond.
Now, I would never belittle John McCain's military service to this country. Nor would I diminish his surviving captivity and coming back home after five-and-a-half years as a Prisoner of War (though I don't believe being a POW immediately qualifies anybody for office of the President of The United States). I respect his service and sacrifice for the USA completely.
I also respect his service as a United States Senator and his being chosen by the Republicans as their candidate for President.
And I think it goes without saying that I respect those who are of the opinion that he's the best man for the job when it comes to running this country. I may not agree with them, but I do respect them.
There is not one piece of me that doesn't feel that John McCain believes everything he has done (and will continue to do) in public service is for the protection and betterment of The United States of America. Again, I may not agree with his actions, but I respect them because he believes them to be righteous and just.
Yet there is one area where I will not extend John McCain any quarter.
And he brought it up as his final statement in the debate (underlined emphasis mine)...
Jim, when I came home from prison, I saw our veterans being very badly treated, and it made me sad. And I embarked on an effort to resolve the POW-MIA issue, which we did in a bipartisan fashion, and then I worked on normalization of relations between our two countries so that our veterans could come all the way home.
I guarantee you, as president of the United States, I know how to heal the wounds of war, I know how to deal with our adversaries, and I know how to deal with our friends.
So you resolved the POW-MIA issue?
I'm sure family and friends of our military persons still missing will be happy to hear that.
But it's complete and total bullshit, and McCain needs to be called on it.
Mostly because he is considered by veterans groups and family/friends of POW/MIAs to be the NUMBER ONE ROADBLOCK to discovering what happened to those still missing.
I could rant endlessly about what a hypocrite John McCain is and how much I have grown to loathe him over the years because of his complete and total disregard for POW/MIAs when he should be their greatest champion. But I just can't go down that road of hatred and anger again, as I've already traveled it so many times before.
Instead I refer to a blog entry over at Their Voice which details the whole ugly story about McCain and POW/MIA issues that are brushed aside and ignored by everybody. And I'm not talking just about the Republicans... I'm talking everybody. The so-called "liberal media"... NOTHING. Political advocates for our military men and women...NOTHING. Even the Democrats... NOTHING. Nobody gives a shit except those fighting to learn the truth, and there's far too few of us. I encourage you to read the entire article, but here is a summary I'm quoting of what makes McCain a total douchebag, and why I will never EVER vote for him to hold any office or position where he is representing the people of The United States of America:
Since his return from Hanoi, McCain has...
For ten years I've been involved in working to find the truth about our missing heroes (which I've documented over at DaveWeb.org since 1998). I have written letters. I have bought POW/MIA flags for organizations. I have donated my time and money to helping groups promote the plight of our POW/MIAs. And I have adopted a MIA soldier who is remembered by me every single day for over a decade when I've put on his bracelet each morning. I can ignore most of the stupid shit I hear in politics, but POW/MIA issues are very personal to me, and I cannot ignore this.
John McCain can take his "guarantee" and shove it straight up his ass.
Because people like me WILL NEVER FORGET those still missing, no matter how often McCain tries to sweep them under the rug.
Because people like me care about those who risk their lives in service of this nation and, unlike McCain, believe that a war isn't over until all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country are FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR.
Because people like me can't fathom a "maverick" like McCain with his legendary bad temper and historic disregard for those in military service as our COMMANDER IN CHIEF.
Let the drama begin.
UPDATE: And so it has. For the learning impaired who have already started leaving hateful comments which have nothing to do with the issues I'm addressing (and are immediately deleted), this is not me "attacking a war hero." Read my fucking entry. I have nothing but respect for McCain's service in the military. It is John McCain who has no respect for our war heroes still missing! He got to come home from his captivity, but doesn't think other POW/MIAs deserve the same? Dead or alive, no soldier brave enough to put their life on the line for this country deserves to be forgotten.
And for those who just can't believe it, and find it impossible to believe that McCain could do such a thing, don't take my word for it. Here's a video excerpt of the award-winning documentary Missing Presumed Dead: The Search for America's POWs...
Nobody knows why McCain, a former POW himself, has consistently blocked all attempts by friends, families, and POW/MIA advocacy groups to learn what happened to those who are still missing. It is impossible to believe or understand, but there it is. And this is not a new issue. I'm not suddenly bringing this up just because McCain is running for president. I have been joining the fight for awareness of POW/MIA issues for over a decade, and McCain has always been a douchebag asshole working overtime against us. Is he hiding something? Covering something up? Who can say?
Why would anybody choose to serve in this country's military knowing that their Commander in Chief doesn't give a shit about them, and will forget about them like McCain has with our POW/MIAs? He is not a friend of our armed forces, he just exploits them in an effort to get elected. Brave men and women laying their lives on the line for their country are nothing more than a photo op to him. They deserve so much more. We all do.
But, again, don't take my word for it... research for yourself.
Posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2008
Catching up with all the television I missed while on vacation has been tough because I've got loads of work piled up as well. So far, the only "must-see" series for me is Jay Mohr & Paula Marshall in Gary Unmarried. I had -zero- expectations for the show, but watched it anyway because I loved Paula Marshall on Cupid and think Jay Mohr is seriously underrated (I can't think of a single thing he's done that I haven't liked). Imagine my shock in finding out that the show is great... really funny stuff. I also kind of enjoyed Worst Week, but don't know how they are going to keep the premise going week after week. The biggest disappointment so far was Knight Rider which sucked so much ass that I expected my television to implode.
Which would be okay by me because after installing iTunes version 8, I've been spending most of my time being mesmerized by the beautiful new Visualizer they've included. It was formerly an iTunes plugin called "Magnetosphere," but it was so sweet that Apple bought it and made it their new default look. Here's just a small sampling of the jaw-dropping images that spring to life...
Of course, static images do nothing to show how incredible the visualizer looks when in motion, but you can at least get an idea of what's going on. Check it out for yourself by downloading iTunes 8 for free!
UPDATE: Here's a video of the old Magnetosphere plug-in in action, which I found in a nifty LifeHacker article with undocumented keyboard shortcuts for the new iTunes Visualizer...
Posted on Sunday, September 28th, 2008
UPDATE: CONTEST CLOSED! Thanks for your entries! Winners will be drawn this weekend.
Welcome to the ONE-HUNDREDTH edition of Bullet Sunday!
It seems like just yesterday that I wrote my first Bullet Sunday as a way of collecting all the little things that weren't enough for an entry of their own throughout the week... but it's been nearly two years! In celebration of the event, I've decided to post a dozen random bullets from the past 99 entries AND have a contest for amazing prizes from The Artificial Duck Co. Store at the end! w00t!
On with the bullets...
• DOLLS! (from Bullet Sunday 9, Dec. 3, 2006) Now that they've released a "Doctor" Laura talking doll to go with the Ann Coulter talking doll, the "Hypocritical Dumbass Whore Talking Doll Line" is nearly complete...
All we're missing is Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
• Best Explanation of Why I Am The Way I Am... (from Bullet Sunday 11, Dec. 31, 2006)
Yes, the world really does revolve around me.
• Mouthy... (from Bullet Sunday 16, Feb. 4, 2007) Is there an over-abundance of loud-mouthed, obnoxious bitches in the world... or is it just my grave misfortune to be consistently seated in their vicinity during long plane flights? I had yet another one behind me for a lovely 9 hour flight out of Cologne. This woman talked CONTINUOUSLY, irritating the shit out of just about everybody. Fortunately, by the time she got to her rant about Mexico being a "dirty, disgusting, 3rd-world country that she won't visit," I was able to turn on my iPod. This saved her from my wrath, as I was just about to start screaming "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UUUUUUUP!! But, alas, I couldn't resist being a smart-ass when she was in the lavatory...
And you know what? I don't even f#@%ing apologize for saying it. Screw her and her big mouth, because NOBODY wanted to hear it. All we wanted to do was have a peaceful flight under cramped, horrible conditions, and I don't think that's too much to ask. Read a book. Watch the movie. Listen to music. Do whatever the f#@% gets you through those nine hours... AS LONG AS IT ISN'T BUGGING THE CRAP OUT OF EVERYBODY ELSE! Because blathering loudly about stupid shit while people are trying to relax or sleep or work or whatever is just making you an inconsiderate asshole.
• Scare the shit INTO me... (from Bullet Sunday 35, June 17, 2007) Speaking of fast food, why is it that the fast food industry always seems to choose freaky-ass mascots to represent their companies? What are they trying to do... scare you into eating their shit?
• Paris! (from Bullet Sunday 36, June 24, 2007) OMG! Like, Paris is getting out of jail early and will be released on Tuesday! JUSTICE PREVAILS! Which means I guess it's time for me to come clean about something... since the tabloids are sure to break the news soon anyway.
I am totally dating Paris Hilton.
I wrote her letters of encouragement while she was doing time, and she understandably fell head-over-heels in love with me. I will be moving to L.A. at the end of next week so Paris and I can be together. 2GETHER 4EVA!
Lil' Dave is totally not wearing panties in this shot...
We ask that the media respect our privacy as we plan our new life.
And by "respect our privacy" we mean "follow us around and take our picture everywhere we go, because we are so totally hot and interesting and deserving of your love."
There are entirely too many people in the world who simply cannot understand this simple concept, and about twenty of them decided to go to the movies at the same time I did.
• But Not Really... (from Bullet Sunday 47, Sept. 9, 2007) Okay just one more thing about Zune. THIS WAS WHAT MICROSOFT THOUGHT WOULD BE AN iPOD KILLER?!? It's so craptastically bad that I can only guess it was crapped out of somebody's ass in an explosive case of diarrhea. It certainly looks as if that's the case...
Microsoft has BILLIONS of dollars! But what good is it if they only spend $2.50 on research and development when they decide to enter a new market? NOTE TO MICROSOFT: SPEND THE FUCKING MONEY TO MAKE OBSCENELY AMAZING PRODUCTS!! Put in a billion-dollars and come up with a media player that has anti-gravity controls, a 400dpi 3-D screen, wireless power recharging, and folds to the size of a pack of gum! Otherwise, why bother? Why continue to release complete and total shit that isn't a leap ahead of what's already out there? For crying out loud, who is in charge over there at Redmond? If this is your answer to iPod, I can't wait to see your iPhone competition. Seriously, I could use a good laugh.
• Science! (from Bullet Sunday 51, Oct. 7, 2007) Yesterday while I was running errands, I dropped by the crafts store for some spray glue. As I was standing in line to pay for my stuff, I saw a kid holding a cardboard "presentation board" which he was using for his Science Fair project. This made me a little bit angry. CARDBOARD? Back when I made my science fair project, I had to use REAL WOOD BOARDS and METAL HINGES and SCREWS. My science fair board weighed a ton, but had the benefit of being indestructible. I pity the fool who uses wimpy CARDBOARD on their science fair project! So this is what people mean when they talk about the "pussification of America!"
• Pole! (from Bullet Sunday 57, Nov. 25, 2007) What is it with the latest fitness trends that keep popping up, disappearing, then popping up again? I'm seeing ads (once again) for POLE DANCING as exercise. I could make a number of smart-ass comments here, but instead I decided to buy a pole and get into shape! Off I went to Amazon to get an instructional video... and imagine my surprise when I found out there's a whole world of slutty exercise programs to choose from!
And now I can't decide if I want to learn exotic dancing, pole dancing, lap dancing, or bump n' grind strip-dancing. My gut instinct is to stick with pole dancing, but I'm thinking there's more money to be made in lap dancing. At least that's always been the case when I'm paying for it. Because, hey, there's nothing to say a guy can't earn a little cash while getting into shape.
• Lesbionic. (from Bullet Sunday 72, March 9, 2008) 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?
• Happy Mother's Day! (from Bullet Sunday 80, May 11, 2008) 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!
Leave a comment with a valid email address (which will not be shared) telling me something you'd like to have a hundred of. A hundred dollars? A hundred kisses from Elizabeth Hurley? A hundred cups of Snack-Pack Chocolate Pudding? A hundred of anything you want! — I'll then randomly pick three commenters who answered the question and they'll win a certificate good for one T-shirt, one hat, and one deck of cards from The Artificial Duck Co. Store! How sweet is that?
UPDATE: CONTEST CLOSED! Thanks for your entries! Winners will be drawn this weekend.
As for me? I'd like a hundred more Bullet Sundays!
Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2008
DON'T FORGET: There's still time to enter the Bullet Sunday 100 contest in yesterday's entry! Fabulous prizes from The Artificial Duck Co. Store can be yours, but you must enter a comment to win!
And speaking of not forgetting...
Davestin 2008 is THIS FRIDAY! If you were wanting to attend and haven't gotten an email from myself or Karla, please let me know! We want to make sure that the reservation count is correct.
Food allergies are kicking my ass lately, which is putting a serious crimp on my lifestyle.
As usual, there's no telling what's the cause of it, though I'm leaning towards peanuts again. The entire time I was in Hawaii I had
Because while the sleep may be nice, waking up in a drugged-out stupor is not. I kind of need my brain to get through the day.
Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
Thanks to everybody for their kind emails and comments about my recent allergy-related health problems. Between the drugs and eliminating peanut products, things have been going okay... for now at least. Still getting random welts, but they're not nearly as severe.
One final reminder... tomorrow, October 1st, is the last day to leave a comment entry for my Bullet Sunday 100 celebration. Act fast, because comments will be closed for entries at 9:00pm Seattle time.
In celebration of Google's 10th birthday, they've put their oldest available index online from January, 2001. It's kind of fun to do a search for things that didn't exist back then. Like Apple's "iPhone" (which was a different product by an entirely different company) or "iPod" (which was nothing more than an acronym) or even "Blogography"...
When I first came up with the idea of naming my new blog "Blogography" back in February of 2002, the first thing I did was type "blogography.com" into my web browser and come up empty. The second thing I did was type "blogography" into Google where I also came up empty. I didn't know for sure if I really wanted to name my blog "Blogography" so I thought on it for a month (hey, registering domains was expensive back then!). Eventually I took the plunge on March 27, 2002 (after sobering up from my birthday, I'd imagine), and the rest is history.
Amazing to see how far things have come in just 7-3/4 years...
Around 64,600 pages! There are dozens (hundreds?) of sites calling themselves "blogography" now, but back then the term didn't even exist. You can do your own searching back in time by visiting Google 2001. But act fast... they're only keeping it active for one month.