No blogging tonight... makin' a costume...
Important Lesson Learned... Hot glue guns are evil and will destroy us all.
It's Bullet Sunday from kinda-sunny Orlando the day after The Greatest Show On Earth... The Avitable's Halloween Party!
It was an amazing event and good times were had by all (some more than others, however). I'm already looking forward to next year!
• Neverwas! The theme for this year was "The Neverwas Fair" which was billed as a "Sideshow of The Forgotten." Hopefully Adam will post photos of all the amazing decorations that saturated his house, because it was too dark for me to get any. I did manage to find my "Missing!" poster, however...
This sign is the first thing you see as you approach the house.
I love chocolate pudding!
Hilly-Sue and Master of Ceremonies Adam (who appears to be having a wardrobe malfunction).
• Costume! When my original costume idea fell through because the stuff I ordered never came, I didn't have much time to come up with something new. Fortunately, as I was washing clothes one day, I took the Neverwas shirt that Avitable designed out of the dryer and had my costume idea...
"Murder Clown" by Adam Avitable
I think Adam himself said it best when he said "You've made the impossible, possible" — because creating the outfit was impossibly difficult. No fabric existed like what he had drawn, so everything had to be sewn. I also had the impossible task of trying to find all the right accessories like the blue hair, bloody white knife, and bloody dolly. It was a tremendous amount of last-minute work, but I was quite happy with the final result... even if I did scare myself silly every time I saw myself in the mirror...
Here I am with Shash... just before I murder her!
Here I am about to murder Miss Britt!
And here I am murdering Poppy!
Note to self: Do not have somebody attempt to murder you with Hilly around... she's no help at all.
• Tequila! There were so many great moments last night... too many to count (or remember, for that matter)... but one of my favorite that I got recorded was Sarah trying a tequila shot for the first time. Here's the "Before & After"...
Yep, that's about right! Tequila innocence lost!
The picture tells the story, but the best part was when she turned to Hilly afterwards and said "GAH! IS IT SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE
• The End! Since I had to get up at 6:00 and return my rental car to the airport, I stopped drinking at around 10:00pm and finally left The Avitable's house at 2:00am so I could rush back the the hotel and catch 3-1/2 hours sleep. I had already changed out of my costume earlier in the evening when I drove Hilly-Sue to the store on a beer run, but the makeup was still there. Frightening...
I'm a full 1/3 less scary without the wig on.
A huge thank you to Adam and Amy for such an amazing party again this year. Can't wait to see everybody again next Halloween!
I've posted some more pictures of the party in an extended entry, if anybody would care to take a look there...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I am not a fan of the Universal Studios theme park. On either coast.
Don't get me wrong, it's an entertaining place with plenty of fun stuff to do... but every time I visit I'm forever comparing things to Disney and usually find Universal to be lacking. So many of the attractions seem to be inferior copies of Disney rides, and it's difficult for me to ever get past that. The only time I find myself wanting to visit is when they add something new. Like Revenge of The Mummy ride when I was last here in 2004. Three years later, and they've added The Simpsons Ride in both Orlando and California parks, so here I am again...
Can we go to Krustyland? Can we go to Krustyland? Can we go to Krustyland?
The arrival of The Simpsons to Universal Studios is bittersweet.
On one hand, I love The Simpsons. I have been a rabid fan since day one (when they were a part of The Tracy Ulman Show), and am amazed that the show continues to pump out quality episodes after 20 years (despite a nasty drop in cleverness that plagued the show for a few years back around the ninth season).
On the other hand, I am positively hating the fact that Universal Studios closed Back To The Future: The Ride in order to put the new ride in its place. I can honestly say that BTTF:TR is one of my all-time favorite theme park attractions, and it's killing me that it no longer exists. It is the single best attraction ever to grace Universal Studios, brilliantly placing the rider into the Back To The Future films in a way that has yet to be duplicated. It is one of the rare instances where Universal copied Disney (the Star Tours ride from Star Wars) and improved upon it in every way.
A sad reminder... the BTTF DeLorean put in the corner.
So... was The Simpsons Ride worth such a big loss?
It's a good ride, but a deeply flawed and shallow imitation of Back To The Future: The Ride which preceded it.
For one thing, they didn't even bother to do a decent job of re-themeing the old BTTF:TR building. They literally just slapped some paint and a few facade pieces on and that's all. It's meant to be a reproduction of "Krustyland" (the them park de jour of The Simpsons' world) which is a genius concept, but pathetically implemented. The only unique feature is the giant "Krusty head" you walk through to enter the attraction. Everything else is just tacked-on lameness that screams "cheap-ass" from top to bottom.
THIS is supposed to be "Krustyland"? Boring, boring, boring.
The otherwise boring queue area is made entertaining because they are playing classic moments from The Simpsons interspersed with Simpsons characters waiting in line with you on television screens. If you love The Simpsons, the newly produced cartoon footage alone is worth the trip (including a heartbreaking cameo by a Simpsonized "Doc Brown" from BTTF:TR complete with the voice of Christopher Lloyd!). They also have posters hanging up which are advertising other "Krustyland" attractions, but it's such a cheap attempt at "atmosphere" that I wondered why they bothered. I mean, seriously, POSTERS?!? Avitable put more effort into themeing his halloween party...
Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off, "The ride so old it should be extinct!"
Eventually you make your way into the "holding area" (which formerly held cool props from the Back To The Future movies and had the story set-up with Doc Brown and Biff for the attraction). They play more clever new animated Simpsons ride footage here to put you into the story while you wait, but it pales in comparison to the immersive experience of the "Institute of Future Technology" previously had. After the previous riders vacate, the doors open and you enter the ride itself. Not surprisingly, very little has been done to re-theme the old BTTF:TR eight-seater custom DeLoreans... just some paint and tacky add-ons to make it barely resemble some kind of carnival ride car. Very lame.
Once in your seat with seven of your closest friends, the car elevates into the IMAX dome theater and the show begins.
And here's where everything takes a nose-dive into theme park ride mediocrity.
The footage placing you "in the ride" with The Simpsons characters is NOT ANIMATED!! It's computer-rendered in
The Simpsons should never be rendered in
Nifty Lisa toy photo taken from Sërch's photo stream on Flickr.
Now, granted, from a technical standpoint it is far, far easier to do the ride in
So, to re-cap... what began as an utterly genius ride with a flawlessly themed experience in Back To The Future: The Ride has been diminished to a flagrant display of tacky cheapness that not for one minute makes you feel as though you are a part of The Simpsons universe. It's a travesty unparalleled in theme park history, and that's saying a lot (Country Bear Jamboree anybody?).
Oh well. Life goes on, I guess. If you're interested, Orlando United has an excellent write-up (with far better pictures).
But still... it's a darn shame that one of the few unique gems in Universal Studios is gone. What rides are we left with?
Now, to be fair, there are other attractions here... but it's mostly kiddie rides that I can't ride (Barney the purple dinosaur lives on!) and theatrical shows that aren't really rides at all (besides, they're badly dated... Twister? Blues Brothers? Fear Factor? Beetlejuice? Holy crap. Way to stay cutting-edge, people!) I guess Disney has a big advantage here, because their animated films are instant classics and pretty much timeless... but still. Surely there are newer properties they can pick to keep the park contemporary?
Well, if their future-plans are any indication, the answer would be "no." Looks like we are getting another Disney retread... this time a blatant rip-off of Disney's Hollywood Studios' Rockin' Roller Coaster: Starring Aerosmith called "Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit!" There's definitely innovation to the idea (near-miss encounters with other cars on the track and video recording so you can YouTube your ride) but could we please... please... get something fucking original for this park? Who is running this place that they just don't get it?
Luckily, Universal's sister-park, Islands of Adventure doesn't suffer the same failings that cripple Universal Studios. It's pretty much a coaster park and compares more to Six Flags than Disney. Rides are, for the most part, very well done (The Incredible Hulk Coaster is my favorite roller coaster ever!). Assured of drawing record crowds when it opens in 2010, Islands of Adventure will be home to a "theme park within a theme park" with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Oh great... another reason to come back in two years!
If you live in the USA, don't forget to vote TODAY! With an election like this, every single vote matters. Don't count on others to speak for you. Even if it's raining. Even if the lines are long. Even if people on television are saying that your candidate already won. Even if polls are saying your vote doesn't matter. Even if you don't know where to vote and have to go to Google Maps to find out where your polling place is. VOTE! Get off your ass and VOTE!
And if you are a resident of California... VOTE NO ON PROP 8!
And if you are a resident of Arkansas... VOTE NO ON PROP 1!
I would if I could, and you can click the above links to learn why.
Then, after you're done voting, go wish Hilly-Sue a happy birthday!
Congratulations, President Elect Barack Obama!
Don't fuck it up...
Oops. For some reason things I write for my blog are uploading as drafts, not posted entries. I don't realize it until I go to write a new entry and see the old one isn't showing up. This kind of blows. Anyway...
Almost immediately after posting my cartoon lampooning President Bush being an idiot yesterday, I got an email from a hard-core Right-Wing friend who was disappointed in me (again) and summed up his complaint with "Weren't you ever told that if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all?"
My response was "But what if there's nothing nice to say?"
In all honesty, I try to have respect for the office of the President of The United States of America, regardless of who is holding it. There have been plenty of times I've been embarrassed or mortified by something a sitting president has done or said, but still respect them for the position they are in. It can't be easy to live your life in the spotlight where people are going to rip you to shreds for every little thing you do.
But George W. Bush is different. After the massive number of total fuck-ups he's given us, there's just no respect left for me to give.
The turning point for me was March 24th, 2004 (which I wrote about here, and am reproducing below)...
It was on this day (my birthday, ironically enough) Bush attended the Radio & Television Correspondents' Association Dinner. Customarily, as the guest of honor, The President pokes fun at himself to show he is a "regular guy" and can be funny. George W. Bush decided to present a slide-show with humorous pictures of himself while making charming and witty commentary (quite a challenge, because he is hardly the most charming and witty of speakers). And it was all good until he showed a picture of himself looking around the Oval Office and said "those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" He then went on to show himself looking for WMDs under the couch and other silly places while being all "funny" about it.
And meanwhile, American soldiers that he sent to Iraq are dying (along with soldiers from allied nations and untold numbers of Iraqi civilians). He started a war over weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, and then decided to make jokes about it. I guess it's easier than admitting you either lied or made a mistake, but that's small consolation to those who died because of it (to say nothing about their friends and families).
And that makes George W. Bush a f#@%ing idiot, because joking about having started a war and sending people to their deaths would make anybody an idiot.
I don't care that it was probably some speech writer who told him to say it, because Bush controls what comes out of his own mouth and he was the one who decided to actually say it. I don't care that The President is "only human and makes mistakes," because some mistakes are unforgivable to me, and this is certainly one of them. I don't care that The President claims to have the highest regard for our military and never meant to imply anything but respect, because his actions show otherwise. I just don't care.
Maybe he was too stupid to realize that it wasn't funny. Or maybe he was too stupid to understand what he was actually saying. Or maybe he was just too stupid to know that people die when you start a war, and there's nothing humorous about that. In any event, George W. Bush didn't need me to call him an idiot, he managed to do that all by himself. I am simply in agreement.
Now, to be fair, there are Bush supporters who claim that WMD's were eventually found two years later (like this story... WARNING, link goes to the hard-core conservatively-biased dumbasses at FOX News). The relevancy of this is open to debate when you examine the findings, but I call bullshit. What they found was inert components and left over stuff from the 80's and 90's... but nothing to suggest that Iraq had a WMD program after 1991. Regardless, evidence of an imminent threat from a WMD program by Saddam Hussein (which we were given as an excuse to invade Iraq) was not produced. This led the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade to say that Bush intentionally lied so he could garner support for war. Sure, the possibility exists that WMDs were smuggled out of Iraq or that they still exist in the country... somewhere... but no real evidence has been found to confirm this. At least none that has been released.
But whatever. Personally, I don't care if they find a massive stockpile of world-ending WMDs in Iraq tomorrow.
The fact that Bush decided to make a joke out of those serving and dying in a war he started is more than enough to make me loath him with every fiber of my being... with or without WMDs. It was the first in a series of unforgivable offenses in my eyes, making it easy to declare George W. Bush "The Worst President Ever," and I make no apologies for it.
Just like I make no apologies for all those Monica Lewinsky blowjob jokes I made about Clinton.
I'm an equal partisan offender that way.
It's the Hannah Montana Singing Pen!
One of my favorite purchases in recent memory. Perhaps even more so than my iPhone?
In addition to being able to write and draw with it, you can rock out at any time...
If only everything sang Hannah Montana songs when you pressed a button on it. I could really go for my refrigerator singing "Best of Both Worlds" when I grab a glass of milk.
w00t! Glad to be alive on this Bullet Sunday!
• Death. Ummm... yeah... I nearly died last night. Usually when I have a mysterious allergic reaction to some unknown substance, I start swelling up somewhere... mostly my tongue, hands, or feet. When it's my tongue, I overdoes on Benadryl or Cetirizine to get the swelling to go down faster (sometimes having to crush the pills and shove them into my mouth when the swelling is nasty). Last night when I was woken up, the swelling not only caused my tongue to swell, but the opening to my throat as well. This is particularly bad, because the option of breathing through your nose doesn't work when your throat is constricted. My first reaction was to stab myself with my Epi-Pen but, once I calmed down, I realized that I was getting air. My throat wasn't fully swollen as I had first thought. After taking an overdose of Cetirizine, I went back to bed and meditated in an effort to calm myself down and reduce the amount of oxygen I needed. This worked pretty well, because I fell back asleep. When I woke up four hours later, my throat was back to normal and my tongue was only half-swollen. Since I cannot figure out what is causing this to happen, I guess it's time for another appointment with an allergist. Yay.
• Gay. I've sat down a couple times to write about my extreme disgust over the gross discrimination voted into the Constitution of California by the passing of Prop 8, but always end up screaming obscenities. If "traditional marriage" is so fucking precious to people, why is the divorce rate so high? Why is divorce even allowed? It makes me wonder what's going to be next. How long will it be before gays are segregated on public transportation and forced to use separate bathrooms? How long before we're hearing such absurd crap as "I believe public peeing is the relationship formed by a straight man's penis and a urinal!" I honestly don't know where this country is headed when we can allow such overtly discriminatory legislation to dictate how people are treated in the eyes of the law based solely on an attribute they were born with. And here's where I start screaming obscenities. Again.
• Palin. Let me just say up-front that I thought Sarah Palin was a total joke of a choice by the McCain administration for Vice President. She's almost George Bushian in her total inability to speak in coherent sentences or say anything except sound-bites without sounding like a complete moron. She should have never, ever been selected for that position. But McCain's people wanted to "shake things up" and pander to disenfranchised Hillary Clinton supporters in the worst possible way, so there she was. That being said, I am absolutely appalled at the way that Sarah Palin is being treated in the press. Even the most ardent Right-wing supporters are suddenly keen to blame Palin for absolutely everything that went wrong with the campaign, up-to-and-including losing the election. That's a load of shit. That's like blaming a television repairman you hired for their inability to fix your toilet. Sarah Palin worked her ass off for the campaign, going wherever they sent her and saying whatever they asked her to say. She did the very best job she could, and blaming her for losing the election or hurting McCain is just stupid. Blame the dumbasses in the campaign who put her up for the position in the first place, because anything else is totally unfair. But that's just the beginning... it's not enough that she's "lost the election," now they're coming out and slamming her for stuff like "not knowing Africa was a continent, not a country." Give me a break. Somebody a lot stupider than Sarah Palin is to be blamed for putting Sarah Palin on the ticket... she's just an easier target, and all this crap is nothing but distraction.
And, on that happy note, it's time for me to take a handful of sleeping pills and go back to bed! Goodnight!
After nearly dying early yesterday morning, I decided it might be in my best interest to see an expert allergist in hopes that they can figure out what's trying to kill me. With my luck taking a turn for the better, they were able to squeeze me in for an appointment this afternoon.
Alas, it was luck too good to last.
I'm told that my angioedema (random swelling due to the release of histamines by my mast cells) is idiopathic. As in "we don't know what the hell causes your body to freak out." The good news is that I don't have to worry about the food I'm eating or anything in my environment causing my tongue to swell up to four times its usual size. The bad news is that my tongue can swell up to four times its usual size for no reason at all. The worse news is that if this happens while I'm sleeping, it's kind of a big deal, because I'll have less time to react (assuming the lack of oxygen causes me to eventually wake up)...
So now I'm on a steady diet of antihistamines in an attempt to eliminate (or, at the very least, reduce the severity of) my allergic reactions. I'm also a little more serious about being sure I have access to an EpiPen at all times. You never know when a nice shot of delicious adrenaline will be needed to save me.
Ain't life a bitch?
Oh well. It could be worse. They could have told me I was allergic to chocolate pudding.
Happy Veterans Day! To everybody who has served or is currently serving in our country's military, I offer my heart-felt thanks. It really should be Veterans Day every day of the year!
I've made no secret of my love for a very worthy cause which helps to bring a bit of "home" to American serviceman and servicewoman on duty far away... AnySoldier.com With this wonderful website, you can send a little care and support to a Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airman, or Coast Guardsman who puts their life on the line every day in service of our country.
Even if you can't afford to send a care package, a hand-written card or letter of support would mean an awful lot to somebody who is missing their home, friends, and family. And never underestimate how good it will make you feel too!
If you would like to participate, the AnySoldier.com website offers a wealth of information on how to go about it (I've also written up some helpful hints here at Blogography).
Thanks again, Veterans!
I am quite possibly the greatest person to have ever lived, and will undoubtedly continue to be so until the end of time.
I put that out there because the blogosphere seems to be all introspective and analytical on themselves lately, and I thought that I'd jump on board. It's easy for me because I am so sublimely perfect. I don't shy away from taking a deep, penetrating look at myself because the outcome is always the same... I am a really terrific person. Smart, funny, witty, charming, clever, accomplished, loyal, logical, creative, kind, helpful, friendly, trustworthy, humble... they're all words you could use to describe me, and the list goes on and on. It just doesn't get much better than me.
But I'm boring you with things you already know.
Not that I could ever be boring! Heavens no! I'm just being redundant.
Though I'm not being redundant because I don't think you're smart enough to get it the first time around... perish the thought! You're nifty! I like you! And coming from a person like me, that's saying a lot. You should feel really special. Because you are special. I like you, so how could you not be?
If I have one failing, it's that I'm too giving.
I'm a giver.
Just look at this blog! I write here every day because people demand it. People just love me, and who am I to deny sharing a bit of myself with them? But I don't need to tell you that. You're here reading this, so you already know how much you love me!
Guess I should add "modest" to the massive list of traits that describe how great I am.
Now if only somebody would build that fifty-story monument to my awesomeness that I've always wanted, we could all move on with our lives... secure in the knowledge that future generations will be able to partake in my legacy of greatness...
Now, don't you feel a little better about yourself because you've read Blogography today?
Sure you do! Life is good because I'm in it!
One last thing before I go... does anybody know where my car keys are? I could have sworn I had them when I drove home from work...
UPDATE: DING! DING! DING! DING! We have a winner...
An unapproved comment has been posted on your blog Blogography, for entry #3612 (Idiopathic). You need to approve this comment before it will appear on your site.
I think you're having an allergic reaction to your ego. Good luck with that.
Commenter name: True
Commenter email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commenter IP address: 18.104.22.168
Thank you clueless anonymous commenter in Minnesota! I was beginning to think that we wouldn't get that one person who has no concept of sarcastic humor!
Tonight on the way home I saw the biggest, brightest, longest-lasting falling star I've ever seen.
I wished for world peace. It's what I always wish for.
By the time I thought to wish for a million dollars, the falling star had disappeared behind a mountain, and there was nothing left to wish on. It was then that I started thinking "alien invasion," because falling stars just don't get that big, bright, or long-lasting. That would have been very cool, but then I figured space aliens would have undoubtedly figured out that whole "burning up upon re-entry" thing. So then I started worrying that a meteorite had just incinerated Seattle, but there was nothing about that on the news.
Now I'm thinking it's just a falling star again...
When world peace is declared tomorrow, you are welcome.
I don't have anything to write about, so I'm just going to bitch about Walgreens and see where that takes me.
This past Monday I went to an allergy specialist to find out why I keep dying, only to find out that it's some kind of crapshoot that has no real cause that can be determined. This lovely piece of news was punctuated by the doctor recommending that I ignore all the drug precautions on the box, and start overdosing on antihistamines every night before bed. I was also given an additional prescription for adrenaline injectors just in case I start dying again.
After only a week, I am feeling so much better I just don't know what to do with myself.
The constant nausea and random swelling seems to have disappeared. If only I had known that abusing drugs was so great, I would have started doing it a long time ago.
Anyway, when I went to pick up my adrenaline on Monday, the line of eight people at Walgreens didn't move an inch in FIFTEEN MINUTES (probably because they only had ONE person working the counter), so I gave up and drove home... hoping that I wouldn't die on the way. Today I had a work-errand in Weantchee, so I decided to stop by Walgreens again and see if I could pick up my shit. There were only two people in line, so I figured it wouldn't take very long. Turns out that was just a dream. Once again there was only one person working the counter, and they would randomly disappear for 10 minutes at a time. Meanwhile, the line grew to six people and nobody was going anywhere. Finally, after 28 MINUTES (I timed it!) I was able to buy my injectors and trip the fuck out the door. WTF?!? The prescription had already been filled... I was just picking up. I could have found a whore and got blown in less time than it takes to buy drugs at Walgreens.
"So why shop there?" you may be asking.
I use Walgreens because I travel a lot and having a pharmacy nation-wide that's able to fill my prescriptions comes in handy. But now I'm wondering if it's worth the hassle. That's a darn shame because, ironically, I love Walgreens for buying just about everything else. Everything except drugs, which is what I thought a pharmacy is supposed to be for in the first place. One of these days, some drug store chain is going to guarantee you get your shit in 10 minutes or less or you get it free, and it's going to revolutionize the entire pharmacy business. Surely I'm not the only one who is sick and tired of wasting time standing in line at Walgreens. It's not like there's a Disneyland attraction or a blowjob waiting for you at the end.
Well, at least that's the case at my local Walgreens. Your Walgreens may provide value-added services like Disney attractions and blowjobs, which would make it totally worth standing in line for.
And if this is the case, please email me with the address.
Living in the rural area I do is torture when it comes to dining out. There's nothing but burgers, pizzas, and burritos as far as the eye can see. We have very few ethnic restaurants (and they're rarely authentic). This is probably because most of the locals here haven't been exposed to great ethnic cuisine, and couldn't care less about it. I, on the other hand, have traveled quite a lot and know exactly what I'm missing. There are times I go insane because I'm craving some kind of food that's not available to me unless I drive three-and-a-half hours to Seattle.
Take Indian food, for example.
I love good Indian cuisine, mostly because it's an excitingly exotic option with plenty of choices for we vegetarians. Eggplant bharta with peas served over rice with a side of naan (Indian flatbread) is one of my most favorite dishes ever, and yet it simply doesn't exist here.
We finally got a decent Thai restaurant last year (Mai Lee Thai in East Wenatchee), a passable Sushi Bar with veggie options (Wasabi Sushi Bar also in East Wenatchee), and have a surprisingly good Vietnamese place that's been around a while (Cuc Tran Cafe in Wenatchee). We also have a fantastic South American restaurant, which is one of my absolute favorites (South in Leavenworth).
And that's about it.
French? No. Tapas? No. Moroccan? No. Tex-Mex? No. Greek/Mediterranean? No. Tibetan? No. Cajun? No. Creole? No. Mongolian? Kind of. Italian? Yes, but I have yet to find any Italian food here that I actually enjoy (I once ordered Fettucini Alfredo and got a plate of watery noodles with bacon on top). As for a vegetarian restaurant? BWAH HA HA HAAA HA!!
So when I say that I ended up having a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and a tub of chocolate pudding for dinner at 9:00pm because nothing else sounded good... now you know why.
There's only so much pizza and burritos you can eat.
Cocoa Puffs and chocolate pudding, however, are forever.
Another Bullet Sunday has come, and I'm running short of time, so let's get to it...
• Chappelle. I've always enjoyed the program Inside the Actor's Studio and am amazed at the big names they manage to get for the show. On the occasion of the 200th episode, the tables were turned and interviewer James Lipton became the interviewee... by Dave Chappelle. He was, of course, genius. The guy could have a talk show and would be amazing at it.
• Hellboy. I was genuinely upset that Hellboy 2: The Golden Army left theaters before I could see it on the big screen. Now that I've seen this amazing film on DVD, I'm even more upset. Brillaint flick. I am hoping far a sequel to get a complete trilogy of films, but don't know how likely that is. Fingers crossed...
• Righteous. The latest round of injustices piled on the gay community in this past election were apparently the final straw. No longer willing to remain passive as their rights continue to erode, the gay community is fighting back. The demonstrations, boycotts, and educational campaigns are just the beginning. This was made very clear to me when one of my favorite comedians, Wanda Sykes, came out and rallied the troops...
And so it begins...
"We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country. But I got pissed off. They pissed me off. And I said 'you know what? now I got to get in your face.' And that's what we all have to do now! They pissed off the wrong group of people. They have galvanized a community. We are so together now and we all want the same thing and we are not going to settle for less. Instead of having gay marriage in California, no, we're gonna get it across the country. Because when I leave... when my wife and I leave California, I want to have my marriage also recognized in Nevada, in Arizona, all the way to New York.
How can you stop people from loving each other? How can you get upset about loving? I'm sick of this stuff about 'oh... well, you made that choice... that's your choice.' Gay is not a choice! Being gay is not... that's like telling me I chose to be a woman... I chose to be black. Are we saying that if being gay is a choice that people are straight because they chose not to be gay? I am very proud. I'm proud to be a woman, I'm proud to be a black woman and I'm proud to be gay. I love you all. Now let's go get our damn equal rights!"
If that doesn't sum it all up in a nutshell, I don't know what does. You go girl. For everybody.
• Inferno. My thoughts go out to everybody in California affected by the fires. I've been there... twice... and hope that everybody stays safe.
Back to work.
Whenever I have to go to the FOX News website, I imagine for a moment that my DaveGuard Internet Protection System is going to pop up with a warning...
Of course, it's not like I don't know that already.
So here we are at FOX News, which claims to be fair and balanced... which claims to be unbiased... which claims to adhere to a higher standard of journalism. They put themselves up on a pedestal and label people "unpatriotic" for criticizing and attacking the Office of The President during wartime ("Pinheads & Patriots," O'Reilly calls it). Yep, everybody in America just hates America except FOX News and the people who watch FOX News.
Except when the president is going to be a Democrat.
Then it's totally patriotic to criticize and attack the Office of The President Elect. Especially in a time of war... even if it's in the most stupid and asinine way possible...
I've always thought that Bill O'Reilly was a complete and total fucking dumbass, but his latest "Talking Points Memo" shows that I was low-balling it.
O'Reilly, as usual, starts out with some valid, interesting, and thought-provoking questions about Barack Obama's plan to eliminate torture and close down Guantanamo Bay (Where will all those prisoners go? How does Obama define torture?). But then, as usual, he goes off the rails and surmises that terrorists around the globe are smiling today because Obama is somehow helping their cause.
Well, why not? The Bush-era policies have served us so well.
Ummm... no... not really. You are wrong, Bill O'Reilly.
The truth is that the terrorists must love to see things like the Abu Ghraib torture incident splashed across the headlines of the world press because that's what helps their cause. It enrages their countrymen and increases their numbers. It turns the world against the United States and serves to make us more hated. Never mind that it doesn't adequately represent the vast majority of those in our military who serve their country with honor, it hurts us. From all sides... internal and external... it hurts us as a country.
So what Barrack Obama is saying is most definitely not making the terrorists smile today.
What it is doing is taking a stand and telling the whole world that we are better than our enemies. It's reversing a course of total destruction that has the world hating our guts and questioning our sanity. It's setting an example that will make it more and more difficult for terrorists to garner sympathy for their "cause." It's helping to make our troops safer when they're captured. It's getting rid of a system that experienced U.S. military officers argue doesn't work, and is not a good way to get information. It's a step towards healing past wounds and moving this country forward.
It's the right thing to do.
But "fair and balanced" Bill O'Reilly would rather undermine President Elect Obama's attempt for positive progress in our "war on terror" by saying he makes terrorists happy. Apparently, he feels that is the unbiased and patriotic thing to do.
If people want to watch FOX News to get their look at world news and events, I'm fine with that.
But don't anybody tell me that this organization is any more unbiased and accountable than any other piece-of-shit "news" source out there, because they prove this to be untrue time and time again. Heck, I'd argue that by claiming to be otherwise, it actually makes them worse.
And that's my fair and balanced opinion.
This is a replacement entry.
I had written up a long entry discussing the sad trade imbalance which has been closing more and more American companies and killing US manufacturing, but then something very cool happened, so I didn't want to post anything depressing today. Instead I think I'll just comb through my photograph archives and find something there.
Something like this...
While watching one of the most awesome episodes of Survivor ever made tonight, I suddenly needed to know what the original line-up of the Kota Tribe was on the show. My laptop was handy, but I had been dying to try out the new "Google App" on my iPhone because it's been new and improved with "voice search functionality." The idea is that you start up the app, then speak the search term you want to look for, and Google will interpret your words and display the search results. Simple, right?
Not so much.
After a couple of failed searches, I started writing down the results I was getting. Despite being in a quiet room with no ambient noise, Google simply could not understand me... no matter how many times I tried or how many ways I tried pronouncing it. Heaven only knows how much worse it would be if you tried using it on a busy street or something.
Google Voice Search: "Kota Tribe"
Google Voice Search: "Survivor Kota Tribe"
Survivor Hotel Triton
Survivor Cook A Tri
Survivor Cook Islands Tribe
Google Voice Search: "Survivor Tribe Kota"
Survivor Tribe Hotel
Google Voice Search: "Survivor Gabon Kota"
Survivor Gabon Coachella
Survivor Gabon Code 10
Survivor Gabon Code
Survivor Gabon Costco
Survivor Gabon Cocktail
Google Voice Search: "Charlie Herschel"
Google Voice Search: "Survivor Randy"
Google Voice Search: "Sugar Voted Randy"
Sugar Coated Candy
Google Voice Search: "Sugar Voted for Randy"
Sugar Coated for Randy
Sugar Voted for Tent
Google Voice Search: "Pushing Daisies Cancelled"
PUSHING DAISIES CANCELLED!
Google Voice Search: "Blogography"
Result: ULTIMATE FAIL!
We've got a while to go before machines are smart enough to interpret voice commands with an acceptable rate of accuracy. Until then, it's just a novelty that wastes more time than it saves... at least it is in this case. Still, it's a very good idea, and I hope Google improves it over time. If they can get it to work better, it would sure beat having to type on a phone.
Today is the release of the new "Blackberry Storm" phone which, like we've all heard before, is supposed to be an "iPhone killer." I admit the click-screen sounds very cool, but there's nothing else about it that really appeals to me. iPhone is its own iPhone killer, because they keep updating it. Late last night Apple released version 2.2 software which adds some more cool stuff.
Podcasting. You can now download podcasts from the iTunes Store App directly from your iPhone. This is not a really big deal for me, because I don't listen to very many podcasts. About the only one I grab consistently is "Cereal Wednesday" because I love breakfast cereal, and it's got NYC Watchdog and (sometimes) Poppy in it.
It works pretty much as expected. You do a search for what interests you, then pick from the results. Simple...
Once your podcast has been downloaded, you can view it from the "Podcasts" tab in iPhone. Horizontal orientation video is supported, so you can flip the screen and make it bigger if you want...
I will probably end up listening to a lot more podcasts when stuck in airports that don't have free wireless, so this is pretty cool.
Google Maps Street View. This is one of those features which sounds like a novelty, but is actually very useful. Because I regularly travel to places I'm not familiar with, I like to pop up Street View so I can visualize my route before I head out. It's much, much easier to navigate your way when you've been there before... even if it was virtually.
The feature works as expected. Type in a destination and a new icon pops up if Street View is available. Then just navigate around by touching the arrows which appear when you drag around the 360-degree panorama. You can go back to the map by touching the little "angle of view map" in the lower right-hand corner (which also tells you which direction you're facing, so it's a compass too!). Very cool. The first thing I did was check out a few monuments in Washington, DC, and it worked great...
It's like visiting somewhere without leaving your house!
Interesting to note that if your maps don't load right away, it's like being on the holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation...
And now, since I'm already talking about iPhone, here's a few apps I'm in love with right now...
MyWeather Mobile (iTunes Store Link). Sure iPhone comes with its own weather forecast app, but it's pretty limiting. Fortunately, there's a terrific app that adds all kinds of useful information. By far my favorite is the "weather trend" tab and animated weather radar maps... both of which can be put into full-screen view by rotating iPhone horizontally. A very handy travel companion, and well worth the $9.99 price tag...
USA Today Crosswords (iTunes Store Link). There are a few crosswords apps out there, but my favorite focuses on the USA Today Crossword PLUS the USA Today Quick Cross, which I love. Both new puzzles are downloadable daily, or you can switch to calendar view and grab older puzzles too. The only negative I have is the the top buttons should be moved so you don't accidentally press them while filling out a puzzle, but otherwise it's a great app. When stuck in an airport, the $4.99 price tag seems trivial given the hours of entertainment it provides...
Adventure (iTunes Store Link). Way back in 1979, Atari released the brilliant game "Adventure" for the Atari 2600 gaming console. It may not look like much now, but back in 1979 it was an instant classic. Nothing else like it had ever been released, and it was a fantastic beginning for all the action-adventure games that would come after. I fondly remember playing the game for hours... not so much to solve it, because that happened rather quickly, but to see what tricks and secrets I could uncover. Then there was "Speed Adventure" where you'd compete with friends to see how fast you could complete the quest. Not bad for a game that's only 4K large! The iPhone translation is perfect, looks and plays the same, and even has the secret "easter egg" surprise to be uncovered! Genius, and it's FREE...
The only thing I don't care for is the wacky tilt control (finger gestures would have been much nicer, but too complicated?!?) but it's a minor quibble.
And now lunch is over, so it's back to work...
Fabulous. Internet at my hotel just went down. A call to the front desk and I'm told that they don't know anything about the internet here, and the person on the day shift will know how to fix it. Guess I'm going to bed early.
I read in the news last night that Barack Obama might be planning to get rid of Daylight Saving Time when he gets into office.
Considering the fact that I fucking hate... HATE... Daylight Saving Time, this would make me very, very happy. I've railed against the idiocy of DST a few times in my blog, a lot of times in Real Life, and constantly in my head. It may have made sense back when Benjamin Franklin was petitioning for it in the 1700's, but clinging to it now is just plain stupid. Our lifestyles have drastically changed. During World War II, Daylight Savings was said to reduce energy consumption... and maybe it did... but modern studies show that DST actually uses more energy because of air conditioning and other energy consuming devices they didn't have to worry about back in 1918 when DST was enacted. The list goes on and on.
About the only argument I've ever heard that makes any sense at all is that DST is better for school children come Winter when it's shifted back to Standard Time. The theory is that riding the bus or walking to school at early hours is safer when it's lighter out. This is a rational argument, but I'm not totally convinced because this seems like a backwards argument (if Standard Time is better, shouldn't we stay on Standard Time all the time?). Shorter days in general are going to cause it to be dark either before or after school... moving time around so that a kid's biological clock is messed up is hardly conducive to learning as they struggle to adapt to the time change. During the Summer when DST takes effect, there's plenty of daylight and it's just not needed.
In any event, I certainly hope that President Obama will abolish Daylight Saving Time. It would be a very good start in eliminating the huge amount of dumbfuckery that our country clings to out of tradition rather than common sense, which is exactly the reason so many people wanted him as our president in the first place...
Eliminating Daylight Saving Time? Now that's change I can believe in!
If only we didn't have to wait until January 20th for President-Elect Obama to get to work.
UPDATE: I updated this entry to reflect the argument for kids to reflect that they were advocating the CHANGE from DST to Standard Time, not the actual daylight hours itself... which makes even less sense to me, but okay. The simple fact is that there is considerably less daylight in the Winter months compared to the Summer months. Moving the clock around isn't going to change this fact and, considering we get the most daylight in the Summer months anyway, trying to save something we have in abundance doesn't make much sense. If it wastes energy, as some argue, then that's just one more reason to get rid of it.
I've always done my best to support American workers and American businesses in the hopes that they would support me and my work. Over the years this has grown increasingly difficult.
At first, it was because the things I need aren't made here anymore. Unable to compete with the cheaper cost of materials and labor abroad, American businesses started closing up shop. Every year it's a bigger struggle to try and support the American economy, and that's very sad (especially given the dire straights we're in now).
Here's some of the things I've had to purchase over the past year which illustrates this.
FEBRUARY: • Custom Playing Cards, Offset Printing...
USA: $3 (min. 10,000 decks). CHINA: $3 (min 1,000 decks)
Ummm... yeah, I only needed 500 decks, so I pretty much had to go to China since my heart was set on offset printing. There was no way I would be able to get rid of 9,500 extra decks or afford a $30,000 investment. Unfortunately, the card stock and print quality from China was not what I was hoping for, but that's what you get for trying to save $29,000.
JUNE: • Molded Wooden Baskets...
USA: Not available. CHINA: $4 each, 500 qty.
Yeah... it's hard to buy American when you can't even find the item made in America.
JULY: • Specialty Plastics...
USA: $1800 delivered. CHINA: $1350 delivered.
This was a small part of a bigger project, so the $450 was not a major issue. I save money for my clients wherever I can, but these items were time sensitive and I worried about the international delivery messing up my project. So I decided to buy American. At least I did until I found out from somebody that the American company didn't manufacturer their own plastics anymore, but instead imported them from China. Sure their experience with foreign imports might be a help... but, in the end, it didn't seem worth the extra money for an intermediary when I could go directly to the source.
OCTOBER: • Custom Packaging Prototypes...
USA: $129 each, 20 qty. CHINA: $22 each, 20 qty.
These are complex prototypes requiring intricate pieces to be assembled by hand. The price difference is staggering, yet there was no discernible difference in the quality of the samples I received. If I were buying just one prototype, I might have considered the American company because the shipping from China would add to the price... but when you're buying twenty of them, it would be grossly irresponsible to saddle my client with that kind of unnecessary cost.
NOVEMBER: • Custom 3D Models...
USA: $750 each, unrigged - $1500 each, rigged. INDIA: $500 each, rigged.
At first this seemed like a no-brainer. The work portfolios were similar, so paying three times more would be absurd. Wouldn't it? But after interviewing the artists, my decision was easy. The American modeler asked numerous questions and was curious to get my input for translating the object from 2D to 3D. They truly cared about getting it right and making me happy. Interviewing the Indian modeler was frustrating, because I never got the sense that they knew or cared what I wanted. They guaranteed my satisfaction, but I didn't feel a part of the process, and wasn't confident they could deliver. In the end, the extra cost in going American was worth my piece of mind. From what I've seen so far, the added money was totally worth it.
Looking back on these and other projects, I usually end up buying foreign for physical products, domestic for conceptual work... even though going domestic always costs me more. I worry greatly that soon the cost difference will be so overwhelming that I'll have no choice but to hire foreign for everything. This is a very scary prospect, because it's highlighting a much bigger and far scarier picture of where we're headed. If this trend continues the only jobs available will be service-oriented... this country won't make anything.
If only I could outsource my doubts and fears for the United States of America. It would be a lot easier to sleep at night.
It's Bullet Sunday on Monday from chilly Wisconsin!
Yesterday I had intended on posting this as a second entry, my "real" entry for the day. But internet at my hotel is spotty, so I never got the chance because it went down before I could finish. That's the bad news. The good news is that I'm one of only three guests staying at the entire hotel, so it's been very quiet. I like me the quiet hotel.
• Cheese and Crackers. Whenever I travel, I always take along packages of Cheese and Crackers. Not just because they taste great (they've got cheese in 'em!) but because the packaging is useful as an iPhone stand for watching movies more comfortably. Just turn it upside-down after eating the contents, and there you go...
I mention this because the guy across the aisle from me on the plane thought this was the coolest thing since sliced bread.
• Flying The Friendly Skies. As a "Platinum Elite" flyer, I'm pretty much guaranteed a First Class upgrade any time I fly domestic with Northwest Airlines (for now... once they merge with Delta, who knows?). This doesn't make me special, it just means I fly a lot. And, while I do enjoy the extra legroom and being able to sit more comfortably, I'm not devastated if the upgrade doesn't happen. This is contrary to most other frequent fliers I've seen, who freak out if they don't get it. Eventually they called pre-boarding for First Class, so I got up and walked to the gate. As I was standing there behind other passengers, some guy comes out of nowhere with a Burger King bag and a boat-load of other shit he was carrying. He made a ruckus as he worked his way through the crowd informing anybody who would listen that he was "first class." When he finally got up to me, he said "Are you in line?" To which I replied "Yes." He then said "Sorry, you didn't look like you were first class." To which I replied "Fuck you." It wasn't loud enough for anybody else to hear, but I was pissed off and didn't care. He wiped the shock off his face, did a nervous laugh, then fell in line behind me. Fortunately, I didn't have to sit next to the dumbass on the plane, because that might have been awkward. For him. I didn't give a shit. I was wearing jeans and a Simmer Style hoodie. How this disqualifies me from looking like I fly a lot, I have no idea. But people who make judgements from appearances don't make much sense to me anyways.
• Warlords DS. WHERE IS IT?!? WASN'T THIS SUPPOSED TO BE RELEASED IN 2007?!? Probably my favorite strategy game of all time, Warlords II, is supposed to be coming to the Nintendo DS. I've been anxiously waiting for years now to get my hands on it, yet I've never found it for sale. From what I can tell, the company originally releasing it went under, now Glyphic Entertainment(the developer) has new distributor. A visit to their web site shows "Coming Soon" but that's what I've been hearing forever. How soon is soon?
Even better than Warlords II for Nintendo DS would be Warlords II for iPhone! I wonder if that project is in the works? Apparently the spin-off Puzzle Quest: Challenge of The Warlords will be available for iPhone next month, so my fingers are crossed.
• Secretary of State. So Hillary Clinton has accepted President Elect Obama's offer to become Secretary of State. This does not make me very happy. Not because she's a woman, but because she's Hillary Clinton. Barrack Obama's lack of experience never much bothered me because he could surround himself with brilliant and heavily experienced people in all fields and use their advice from which to govern. THAT'S what a president does. But now he's put somebody's in charge of foreign affairs whose "foreign experience" comes from the globetrotting she did as First Lady? Seriously? If I didn't hate John Kerry so much, I'd question why his 20 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wasn't tapped for that position. Or, if Obama was dead-set on having a woman in that position, why not pick Susan Rice? I mean, holy shit... she was Obama's foreign policy advisor during the campaign and has boat-loads of experience! If he wanted to prove that he is bi-partisan, why not pick Republican Senator Dick Lugar? He may be on the opposite party, but he has foreign experience for miles and similar foreign policy ideals to Obama (they worked together on the "Lugar-Obama Proliferation and Threat Reduction Initiative," and Luger endorsed Obama for foreign policy experience over McCain in the election). Hey, having a Republican Secretary of State in a Democratic White House worked on one of my favorite episodes of The West Wing! This is a highly questionable decision, and I hope it doesn't come back to bite us in the ass. If we've learned anything in the past eight years, it's that having shitty foreign relations doesn't help us any.
&bull The West Wing. Speaking of The West Wing, here's a list of my five most memorable episodes of the show...
And now it's time for me to brave the cold so I can get some dinner. It's supposed to snow tomorrow, and I think we all know just how much I'm looking forward to that.
I end up in the wilds of Wisconsin at least twice every year. There are far worse places to end up, because I just love the people here. When this comes up in conversation, it's usually attributed to "Midwest Values" which conjures up images of rural farmers living off the land and being generally decent, salt-of-the-earth kind of folk. Still others attribute it to "Christian values" which may also be true... but I hasten to point out that Wisconsin has traditionally voted as a Blue State and is not an official part of Jesusland. I have no idea what makes the people so warm and friendly, they just are. Even in larger cities like Milwaukee, there is a different vibe as to how you're addressed and treated... even as a "foreigner."
When visiting the rural areas of the state, there are many little oddities and eccentricities one must adapt to. Here are some of my favorites...
CHEESE. Wisconsin is known as "America's Dairyland," and they take this title very seriously. Particularly when it comes to cheese. Wisconsin makes 25% of all US cheese, and produces some of the finest you'll find anywhere. And they know it. Cheese is dumped on everything, probably because it's abundant and delicious. As you can imagine, this makes me very happy, because cheese is one of my favorite foods. As a Pacific Northwesterner, my favorite cheese is Tillamook from Oregon. As a world traveler, my favorite international cheeses come from France and The Netherlands. That being said, my favorite place to eat cheese is Wisconsin. The white cheddar here is heavenly.
MEAT. Wisconsin natives love their meat, and people who don't eat meat are a complete enigma to them. I have numerous stories of being a vegetarian trapped in Wisconsin, but it always boils down to complete and total confusion over what to do with somebody who doesn't eat meat. Yesterday I went to Culver's (a large restaurant chain throughout the Midwest) and asked if they had a veggie burger (I always do, just in case they've added one since the last time I've eaten there). The kid taking my order was new, and spent a good two minutes looking over all the electronic buttons on his cash register before calling over a manager for help. When the manager arrived, I asked him if they had a veggie burger, and his response was to ask if I was meaning a hamburger without a bun. The concept of a burger not made from meat is completely outside their ability to grasp. And it's not just that Wisconsin natives like meat... they can't get enough of it. You'll regularly find menus which feature meats accessorized with other meats. Beef stuffed with turkey and wrapped with bacon, for example. If you're lucky, it will be served covered in cheese sauce.
FISH FRY. Don't even think about trying to get anything except fried fish on a Friday night at any local Wisconsin restaurant. One time I accidentally went to a "home cookin'" eatery on a Friday night because I didn't know any better. When I explained I was vegetarian, my waitress said "no problem," and offered to give me a baked potato with my fish. When I asked if I could have a grilled cheese sandwich instead, I was asked what kind of fish I wanted with it. Your only hope to avoiding fish is to go to McDonalds or Culvers, which will be selling fish sandwiches like crazy, but will still be willing to sell you non-fish alternatives.
DIALECT. Speech patterns in 'Scansin are charming, to say the least. Almost Sarah Palinesque, but with intelligence and in complete sentences. The state's proximity to Canada also insures that a liberal dose of "eh?" will be sprinkled in your conversation the further north you go. Heavy German ancestry in the area gives many areas of the state a distinctly German slant in both diction and pronunciation. The "th" sound is a rarity, and gets changed to either "t" or "d"... particularly in rural areas. Most difficult of all though is the speed at which they speak here. There is no punctuation or pauses when a Wisconsonian is talking. "Hey-der-Dafe-yoos-wan-anudder-soda-und-a-braht?" roughly translates to "Hey there, Dave! Would you care for another carbonated beverage and perhaps a bratwurst? Swearing is also a rarity. When somebody gets really mad, you might get a "gosh-darn" or a "guldarnit" out of them, but it's practically unheard of to drop an f-bomb in mixed company. But most charming of all is that there is no "yes" in Wisconsin. Depending on where you're at, you'll get a "uff-dah!" or "hey-yah!" or "yah-hey!" or "you-betcha!" or "okay-den!" or "okey-dokey!" or "oh-yah!" or even "yah-ain't-wrong!" but rarely a simple "yes."
GREEN BAY PACKERS. There is no other football team on earth except the Green Bay Packers in all of Wisconsin. You are either a die-hard Packers fan or dead. People paint their houses and cars in Packers green-and-gold. Packers flags fly everywhere. On game days, everybody wears Packers clothing. After my first two trips to Wisconsin, I ended up buying a Favre* jersey and Packers sweatshirt as urban camouflage. At one point, I had joked with a friend here that I was going to go to work wearing a jersey from a rival team (and next-door neighbor) Minnesota Vikings or the Chicago Bears. "Dats-not-funny-der-Dafe-yoos-gonna-get-yoos-kilt!" To this day I can't tell if they were joking or not. But since death is something I'm trying to avoid just now, I've played it safe and stuck with green-and-gold.
* Bret Favre (legendary quarterback) was once revered as a demi-god around these parts, but was traded to the New York Jets after Green Bay decided to part ways with him when he came out of retirement. Since he no longer plays for the Packers, people here remember him with fondness, but assume he died since he's not on the team anymore.
FASHION. Wisconsin is by no means backwards when it comes to trends and fashion. People here are pretty much like people everywhere when it comes to that kind of stuff. However, the proportion of ladies stuck in the 80's seems to be much higher in Wisconsin than the national average. Roller bangs... poofy bangs... feathered hair... LEG WARMERS(?)... and other retro stylings pop up with surprising regularity. Or maybe it's just that I notice them more when I'm here. I dunno. In any event, I don't mind the 80's flashbacks I get while visiting... I liked the 80's.
FROZEN CUSTARD. I have no idea why frozen custard has not obtain rabid popularity outside of the Midwest, because it's frackin' amazing. Wisonsonians live and die by the stuff, and can be categorized by their favorite place to buy it. The big two are Culver's and Kopp's... but there are dozens of local favorites like Gillies and Leon's, which litter the landscape. I won't be satisfied until I've tried them all.
PATRIOTISM. American pride runs deep in Wisconsin, and not just as a result of 9-11 or the so-called "war on terror." They've always been deeply patriotic people, and not in a tacky or artificial way like you see in so many places now. When they support the troops here, it's not just because it's the trendy thing to do... they mean it. But what really makes me appreciate Wisconsin patriotism comes from my devotion to MIA/POW awareness issues. I see more MIA/POW flags flying in Wisconsin than I see anywhere else, and it gladdens my heart. There are several good organizations here making sure that we Never Forget, and I love them for that. This ain't America's heartland for nothing.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON. There are no other motorcycles. If you ain't riding a Hog in Wisconsin, you ain't ridin' shit. I've toured the remarkable Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations Factory in Wauwatosa more times than I can count.
And that's just a few of my favorite Wisconsin eccentricities that makes me enjoy visiting here so much.
Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for cheese.
Yesterday when I learned that one of the people I loathe most in the world, Ann Coulter, had broken her jaw and gotten her mouth wired shut, I didn't know quite how to react. On one hand, she was still alive. On the other hand, the bitch wouldn't be spewing her disgusting agenda of hate, division, discrimination, lies, homophobia, deception, fabrication, exaggeration, persecution, abuse, and general dumbassery... at least not by speaking it. I'm sure she'll still be cranking out the bile on her website and start in on another book of partisan political idiocy, but at least I won't have to see the piece of shit blathering on my television.
After the elation over the delicious news had settled in, I wondered who finally punched Ann Coutler in the face. Turns out she wasn't punched in the face... she fell. At first I was disappointed, but then I relished the sweet irony that led fate to make her silence herself. All I can conclude is that God Himself didn't want Coulter spouting off with her never-ending stream of bullshit as Obama got to work trying to get us out of this massive hole we've dug ourselves into. The Lord does work in mysterious ways, making me curious to know what He has planned next. I can only imagine that Bill O'Reilly will be crushed by a meteor, Rush Limbaugh will suffer a massive heart attack, Sean Hannity will be eaten alive by a plague of locusts, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck will just fucking explode in a cloud of sublime ignorance.
Divine retribution's a bitch.
But something tells me it won't be interpreted this way, even though Pat Robertson would undoubtedly say exactly that if it were Al Franken who fell and broke his jaw. Hey, if the nut-job can blame the sinners of New Orleans for getting themselves selectively flooded by God's love wrath, who knows where his delusions end?
For balance, I suppose Keith Olbermann will stub his toe. Though, in many ways, he can be just as divisionary and inflammatory as his Right-Wing counterparts, so maybe he will spontaneously combust or something.
Anyway... I've written many times about my rabid loathing for Ann Coulter, so I'm reprinting a few choice Ann Coulter snippets from past Blogography entries in honor of her having to shut the fuck up for a while...
Fight fire with fire... when there's a pain in your ass, reach for Ann Coulter!
Yes, I know... I know... by reveling in the misfortune of Ms. Coulter, I'm guilty of following her lead and dishing out the hate... but come on! She broke her jaw and had to get her disgusting mouth wired shut! It's just too good for me to pass up!
But not really. I'm okay with being evil when it suits me.
More Coulter-bashing from the Blogography archives follows in an extended entry.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I drew this DaveToon last year. Since it still sums up everything I feel about the holiday, I'm running it again this year...
Still not a good day for turkeys, obviously.
My past two days...
Flight takes off, circles for 25 minutes, goes back to Seattle.
Flight takes off, circles for 25 minutes, goes back to Seattle.
"Yes. Because a slice of dead turkey is worth crashing into the runway and dying in a ball of fire."
(my response to a woman who's pissed now that her Thanksgiving plans are ruined because they won't land the plane)
Wait for suitcase.
Wait for hotel shuttle.
Check in to hotel.
(the hotel desk clerk, after I accidentally hand over my Hard Rock Pin Club Card instead of my credit card)
Take off pants.
Put on pants.
1:00am veggie burger at Denny's
"No... Yes... Maybe... Maybe half-full, thanks."
(me, after I'm asked if I want a refill on my beverage)
Back to airport.
Qdoba breakfast burrito.
"Whatever you call it, there's no cheese. If you want cheese on it, you'll have to pay extra."
(what I'm told when I say you can't call it a burrito unless it has cheese on it)
"... and yes, those are tea bags hanging on the door, but please... no teabagging in the lavatory."
(our flight attendant, who mentioned "teabagging" three times in his pre-flight speech)
Home at last.
I'm down to just two more trips 'til the end of the year.
Hopefully none of them will involve the horrible troubles I had on my last trip, or I might just have to go stick my head in the microwave and punch "Max Defrost."
Given how completely worn out I am by traveling, I'm trying very hard to clear the month of January so I can just stay home. I was secretly hoping to clear at least half of February as well, but I've already got two trips scheduled in there, so that was just a pipe dream. Then March is my birthday. A time when I prefer to be out of the country so that my friends and family will forget about it. I have no problem acknowledging my birthday, but I don't believe in celebrating it. Last year I went to Oslo and Göteborg so I could hang out with Karla and Göran... this year I have no idea where I will feel like going.
Maybe it's finally time to head to Australia & New Zealand?
Which is not quite as appealing as it used to be now that the Hard Rock Cafes in Sydney, Melbourne, and Queenstown have been closed. Only one lone cafe remains at Surfer's Paradise. Probably should visit that one before it's gone too.
But Australia is such a long flight away.
Maybe it will just be a quick flight to Tijuana.
Except the Tijuana Hard Rock Cafe is closed as well, so I'd have to find something else to do there.
Or I could just ask everybody for suggestions and pull the location for my birthday escape out of a hat...
GAH! I FLY OUT IN TWO DAYS!! What am I doing writing Bullet Sunday when I should be washing clothes, packing my suitcase, and getting my work finished up?
• NaBloPoMoBlahBlahBlah. This is the last day of National Blog Posting Month, better known as NaBloPoMo. If you join up, you're supposed to post every single day in November. Congratulations to everybody who made it, and a special thanks to those who decided to make their daily post be about how tough it is to be doing a daily posts for NaBloPoMo. As somebody who posts every single day of the year, I feel your pain.
• Revenge! On occasion I write bits and pieces for the awesome news site GEEKS OF DOOM! under the name "Bad Monkey." Today I joined in on a Geek Round Table discussion on "best payback moments in film." You can check out our answers (and suggest your own) by clicking on this link.
• Dibs! My latest food addiction is DIBS brand ice cream snacks. They're horrendously bad for you, but oh so delicious. My most favorite would be the Nestle Crunch Dibs. Vanilla ice cream drenched in chocolate and rice crispies...
Looking at the Nutrition Facts is a bit scary. NINETY-FIVE PERCENT OF YOUR DAILY SATURATED FAT VALUE?
So basically, these things will kill you... but what a tasty way to go.
• Steamer. Knowing that my site is well-indexed by Google, I thought that I would spare people the agony I've gone through after buying a Hewlett-Packard Photosmart B9180 Printer when people go searching for reviews. This is unquestionably the worst electronics purchase I have ever made. Ever. And that's saying a lot, because I've invested in a lot of technology over the years...
When I say that the Hp Photosmart B9180 printer sucks ass, I mean that it sucks ass on an epic scale. In fact, it goes beyond sucking ass. It has reached EPIC FAIL. I've had problems with this piece of shit printer from DAY ONE. Carriage stalls... print-heads dragging across the paper... mysterious color shifts... suddenly printing black as gray... print jobs canceling half-way through for no reason... and loads of other stupid crap.
Multiple calls to Hewlett-Packard "support" resulted in nothing being solved. For ANY of the many problems I've had.
After a year of suffering, the pile of crap finally died completely. I would rather eat a gallon of lard than to EVER buy anything from HP again, but then I discovered something strange.
This printer, which you can get for $560 if you look around, comes with a full set of inks, valued at $260, bringing the actual cost of the printer itself down to $300. When I hold that up to the $600 in spare ink cartridges I have sitting in my filing cabinet, I didn't have much choice but to buy a replacement. It was my cheapest option.
And guess what?
STILL a pile of shit.
I'm still having random and inexplicable problems that I can find no way of solving. I'd call HP "support," but I already know that would be futile. Their "support" blows donkey. Thankfully I was smart enough to buy "lemon insurance," so we'll see if I can get it exchanged for yet another B9180. Third time's a charm? Unlikely, but whatever.
So now I know... better to kiss off $600 in ink than to ever trust your money to a Hewlett-Packard piece of shit printer.
And to anybody who comes here via Google looking for buying advice? FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, DON'T PURCHASE THIS PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A PRINTER!!
And, on that happy note, I'm off to bed.