Posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008
Today is World AIDS Day.
Back when I was in high school, there was talk going around about the "disease that kills faggots dead," and I remember very well listening to some insane bitch on television spout off about how God's retribution against the homosexuals was at hand. Of course, for the homophobic masses, it was too good to be true. Or too good to last. Because AIDS soon moved on to heterosexuals, which was still okay because they obviously did something to incur God's wrath, right? But then children started getting AIDS and, since nobody wants to think that God would give a child AIDS, attitudes towards the disease started to change.
But not fast enough.
Because I also remember the widespread panic that hit in the late 80's as there was serious concerns that the AIDS crisis was going to wipe out a massive chunk of the population before anything could be done to stop it. This eventually proved to be true, but not to the genocidal levels that were originally projected by some of the more alarmist "specialists" in the field.
I've known exactly four people who have died of AIDS.
To me this seems like a tragic number to have died from anything, but it's barely a blip on the radar to some people I know. People who tell horror stories of how they did nothing but go to funerals in the late 80's and early 90's, and how most everybody they knew who wasn't already dead was dying. An unfathomable situation that would test the resolve of anybody.
Yet the human condition prevails. The survivors pick up the pieces and move on as best they can...
AIDS is not over.
AIDS is happening right now.
AIDS is still killing people around the globe.
And now a new generation is reaching sexual maturity. A generation which has no memory of the rampant destruction that AIDS is capable of unleashing... not in some far away country, but right here at home.
Somebody has to educate them
And that's why today we remember.
Posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
I'm going to Walt Disney World!
Though I'd imagine there will be a few hours of big-happy-fun-time in there somewhere.
Posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
Today went pretty much as planned. Seattle to Detroit, Detroit to Orlando, then Disney's (not so) Magical (not so) Express to Walt Disney World. Easy.
Yesterday? Not so much. Horizon Air cut the two most important connecting flights for Wenatchee travelers, which means an overnight stay in Seattle... coming and going. They've since realized they were dumbasses and will reinstate the early departure and late return flights, but not until January 5th. In the meanwhile, I have a 6:45pm flight the night before.
At first, everything was fine. There was an announcement that the inbound plane was on time and would be arriving in 20 minutes. But it never came. I checked the flight data on my iPhone and saw that the flight was showing up over Moses Lake, an hour away in the wrong direction. I just assumed it's a mistake, then went back to my magazine.
Ten minutes pass.
Still no plane, still no announcement.
iPhone still shows the plane in Moses Lake.
After another ten minutes, nothing has changed, so I get up to find out what the heck is going on.
And the announcement finally comes. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Moses Lake. The passengers will be bussed to Wenatchee, and all remaining flights for the day have been cancelled.
Apparently, there were serious mechanical difficulties, and they wanted to wait to make an announcement after they knew if the plane had crashed or not. Which is very considerate for the people waiting to meet inbound passengers, but a big waste of time for those waiting to fly out.
So now I have to drive over the mountain passes in the fog and rain. At night.
Which wasn't even the worst part, because I made it to my Seattle airport hotel without incident.
The worst part was waking up to find that the entire hotel had no running water.
Sucks to be me.
But I'm at Walt Disney World now. All safe and sound.
And waiting for my luggage to "magically" arrive from the "express" which apparently takes three hours.
Posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2008
Today I got to spend some time at Walt Disney World's "Animal Kingdom."
It's probably my least favorite of the four parks here. Mostly because there just isn't very many cool rides to be found. You've got "Expedition Everest"... and that's just about it. Still, it's fun to go on the Harambe Kilimanjaro Safari every once in a while to see what animals you can spot. Or to wander around the nature trails they have because you're sure to see some nifty animal antics along the way. And I always like visiting Conservation Station so I can see if any cool new jungle frogs are on display.
Good times. Good times.
As an interesting aside, while I was waiting in line to grab a veggie burger for lunch, I noticed the woman ahead of me had a number of buttons pinned to the strap on her purse... all of them sporting anti-gay rhetoric. It was the usual homophobic dumbassery, like "MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN!" and "SAME SEX MARRIAGE JUST AIN'T RIGHT!" and "GAY IS NOT OKAY IN OUR SCHOOLS!"
As I was standing there burning a hole into the back of her empty head with my mind, I surmised that she would probably be equally happy to get rid of the gays working at Walt Disney World... in which case they'd have to shut it the fuck down. Why doesn't she take her hate-promoting ass over to "The Holy Land Experience?" Given the crazy-ass shit TBN puts on their network, they'd probably welcome this overtly discriminatory behavior at their theme park.
I wonder what the odds are that her three kids will be able to escape from this antiquated bigot mindset?
I wonder what the odds are that one of her three kids is gay?
I wonder if it would make a difference?
Posted on Friday, December 5th, 2008
Today is Walt Disney's birthday, though they didn't really do anything to celebrate it here in Walt Disney World. This is odd to me for some reason. They seem to celebrate everything else.
I had some free time before working this morning, so I went to The Magic Kingdom to goof around. After I was done with work, I wandered over to Epcot for a few hours... then back to The Magic Kingdom because I was able to get into the "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" event going on. I didn't care much for the festivities, but I did want to get my picture taken with Mickey Mouse before I leave, and this seemed as good a time as any...
Mickey was a real class act... shaking my hand before posing for pictures and everything.
Minnie was nowhere to be found.
Neither was Goofy.
I'm not saying they're off fooling around together, but it sure wouldn't surprise me.
Posted on Saturday, December 6th, 2008
Today I made time to hang out at Disney Studios here at Walt Disney World. This park doesn't have a heck of a lot going on (except the Tower of Terror), so I'll pick five things.
#1... Somebody should tell the Disney Parks Division that the Disney ABC Television Division canceled Pushing Daisies, because there are still posters up here. I remember the same thing happening when my favorite show ever to air on television (Jeremy Piven's Cupid) had been canceled, but posters were still advertising it in Disney World. Kind of lame. And, given how much I love Pushing Daisies, kind of painful too...
#2... Somebody needs to replace the dead props on the backlot tour. When the highlight of your collection is two fiberglass planes from the movie Pearl Harbor that are falling apart, you've got problems. Some of the props just need maintenance, badly. Like poor Max from Flight of The Navigator. He's supposed to be a cool chrome silver, but look at him...
#3... The newest "ride" at the park is "Toy Story Midway Mania" which is kind of cool. You zip around in cars with your pop-gun playing various arcade games. The way they manage to tie your gun to the computer-generated paint splats, rings, and other projectiles is very well done. The wait is regularly 90 minutes or more, so this should be your first Fast-Pass destination of the day...
#4... This is the park where you get to meet my favorite Pixar character, Sully, from Monsters, Inc. IF he's not out on a parade float somewhere...
#5... The big attraction here for the holidays is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. Jennings Osborne from Little Rock, Arkansas, used to decorate his house with millions of lights for the holidays, but his neighbors sued to have them shut down (the story is here). When the people at Disney World found out about it, they contacted him and had the lights moved to the "Streets of America" section of Disney Studios so millions of people could enjoy them...
And that's all she wrote. Tomorrow is my last day.
Posted on Sunday, December 7th, 2008
A sad Bullet Sunday, as I bid adieu to Florida.
It's my last day in The Happiest Place on Earth. And I have no internet here at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. I can't figure out how this could be the happiest place on earth if there's no internet. Hopefully this will all be sorted out in the morning, because I can't post this entry from my iPhone.
• Epcot! I saved the best for last, because today was the one day that I didn't have any work scheduled. To me, "the best" is Epcot, because there is so much there I like to see and do (plus it has Soarin' and Mission: SPACE in it, my two favorite rides after Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom). Lucky for me there were flawless blue skies as I was walking around World Showcase...
Unluckily for me there was a cold wind blowing all day long. By dusk, it was positively cold out, and I ended up having to buy a new Mickey Mouse hoodie to stay warm. I hate it when that happens.
• Italy! This is the second time that being at Epcot has been a sad experience...
It reminded me of a trip to Orlando I was taking on the day it had been reported that the Princess of Wales had been in a car accident in Paris. I boarded the plane hearing only conflicting reports and not knowing whether she was dead or alive.
Until I landed, of course, because the airport was filled with the sad news that Diana had not survived.But it didn't really sink in until I was at Disney's United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot the next day. Since the attraction is literally built and staffed to be a piece of the UK, it was almost like being there. The British workers were devastated. There were flowers everywhere. Pictures of Lady Di were displayed in all the shops. The park was crowded but nobody was speaking. Even kids who are usually running around going nuts were quiet and restrained.
It was a profoundly sad experience visiting the "Happiest Place on Earth" yet being surrounded with sorrow.
As I walked through the Italy Pavilion, I saw the Dodges Palace replica and the Campanile di San Marco (bell tower) and was reminded about the terrible flooding happening in Venice back in the "real" Italy. From what I can gather, the city will be getting back to normal soon... I certainly hope so, because nothing at Epcot can compare to the real thing...
• China! When I was in the "real" China, I went to visit the Temple of Good Harvest, only to discover it was closed. The Epcot version is probably as close as I'll get to be able to go inside of it. This kind of bums me out, but it's better than nothing. And, unlike the original in Beijing, this one has a movie inside!
• Mexico! In order to promote eating at the Epcot restaurants, Disney has a package where you get guaranteed seating at their "Candlelight Processional Concert" when you purchase a dining package. The one I got was for the "San Angel Inn" at the Mexico Pavilion. Once I saw the menu, I was disappointed that there wasn't a single vegetarian item on it, but the waiter tossed out some options for me, which was very cool. I had the cheese enchiladas in a verde sauce and they were EXCELLENT. Seriously, one of the best Mexican meals I have ever had. I love happy surprises like this. I guess Disney really IS a magical place after all...
• Candlelight! This time of year, Disney parks are overrun with Christmas. But not "real" Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus... it's the "non-religious" Christmas filled with candy canes, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus. It's all very politically correct, but I guess that's what it has to be in order to appeal to the widest possible audience. The place that "real" Christmas comes into play is the Candlelight Processional Concert, which is where a guest narrator tells the story of Jesus in-between a choir and orchestra playing religious Christmas music. I'm not a Christian and don't celebrate Christmas, but enjoyed the festivities just as I would when visiting any foreign culture. It was a pretty good show, and a fantastic experience. If you're ever in Epcot during the holidays, I highly recommend it... regardless of your religious affiliation...
And thus ends my Disney Holiday. I am not looking forward to the trip home tomorrow, but at least it's a direct flight!
Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2008
My flight from Orlando to Seattle was awful. I felt sick the entire way. I thought dinner would make me feel better, but now I feel even worse. Guess those 46 emails will have to wait until tomorrow after I drive the three long hours home.
In the meanwhile, I'll be dying from an overdose of Benadryl now...
Posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
I'm sorry, there will be no blogging today because I'm too busy playing Orions: Legend of Wizards on my iPhone.
Playing it is a crack-like addiction that is very hard to overcome...
If you value having a life, do not buy this game!
(even if it is on sale for $1.99, which is amazing when you consider it costs $19.99 for other smartphone platforms!)
Posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
How does anything ever get done in this country? Every time I work on a project now-a-days, I run into so many obstacles that completing stuff is nothing short of a miracle. A lot of times I can chalk it up to laziness. Nobody wants to do their job... especially if it inconveniences them in any way. Heaven forbid you make somebody actually get up off their ass and do something. I'm forever getting hosed by crazy shit like "union jurisdiction" and "departmental authority" and whatever other crap people can dream up to pass their work off to somebody else.
You'd think with the bad job market we've got now that people would be working harder.
Alas, it just isn't so.
In other news...
We haven't even had our first snow yet, and people are are driving like complete idiots. I always thought it had to do with road conditions, but I guess it's just the time of year?
All I know is that a lot of people out there on the road need to die.
Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Posted on Friday, December 12th, 2008
(insert heinous profanity here)
I am stuck at work waiting for the Xerox repairman to tear apart the printer yet again to see if he can get it operational. This would be swell, because I've got presentation materials that have to be printed out and FedExed on Monday.
Given that it's 6:15pm now, and the last time he took the pile of crap apart it took two hours to put it back together again... well, I think the odds of me getting out of here at a decent hour are about the same as monkeys flying out of my butt...
The good news is that I had time to open up FaceBook for the first time in months.
It's still the same time-sucking vortex of distraction I remember it to be, which is why I stopped logging in. Avoiding Facebook is essential because blogging, Twitter, Flickr, and my feed-reader are all the distraction I can handle right now.
Especially when I've got a trip to Arkansas coming up next week.
Yeah, that one kind of took me by surprise too.
UPDATE: Meh. The Xerox guy finally gave up at 8:00. Printer still doesn't work.
But that's not the worst part.
I WAS HIT BY A CAR!!
I had just finished scraping ice and snow off my car and was walking back to the office to grab my backpack... when a car came screaming around the corner and fish-tailed... into me. I managed to jump out of the way a bit, which is nice, because I probably would have ended up with several broken bones if I hadn't. As it is, I'm going to end up with a nice bruise on my hip and a sore wrist where I landed.
The roads are so slick you can barely keep your car on the road, yet this asshole is speeding along like he's on a racetrack. Of course he didn't stop after hitting me. And since I was blinded by headlights when he was heading towards me... and could only see a mound of snow as he was heading away... he (or she) gets away with it.
Karma dictates that this dumbass is going to die.
I just hope they don't take somebody else with them when they go.
Posted on Saturday, December 13th, 2008
When you get to the point that you define your life by all the stuff you have to do instead of the stuff you get to do, it's probably time to make a change.
Deciding what kind of change you need to make isn't easy. Unless you've got millions of dollars... then I'd imaging it's very easy. But I don't have millions of dollars, so I'm having a rough time of it. At first I thought I might like to play video games professionally, but this is a surprisingly difficult field to get into. Mostly because you actually have to be really good at playing video games.
After my hopes for a professional video game career had been dashed, I figured it was probably best to come up with something more realistic.
So I've decided to become a pirate...
Right now I'm looking to find a good pirating trade school. Wish me luck.
How will you change your life?
Posted on Sunday, December 14th, 2008
I have no idea where this week went.
Snow. I'm pretty anal-retentive about making sure my car has all the snow scraped off of it. Not only is it safer for me, but also safer for other drivers out there. Unfortunately, a lot of other dumbasses on the road aren't so courteous. On the way into work this morning I was pummeled with chunks of snow from an idiot ahead of me who hadn't bothered to clean off his car. Fortunately, karma came calling when the dipshit pulled up to a stop and the entire shelf of snow and ice on his roof came spilling down on his windshield. He had to pull over, get out, then clean off his windshield as I drove around him, laughing my ass off. Sometimes justice is a dish best served cold.
Storm. Finally got to play with the "iPhone killer" known as the "Blackberry Storm." I'm not impressed. It gets rid of the things that I actually liked about other Blackberry models, but has nothing from the iPhone that would make it any kind of competition to me. Once you've had multi-touch, you never go back. I can't fathom owning a mobile device without it. Apparently, Microsoft can't either. They're Live Labs has just released "Seadragon" for the iPhone, yet it's currently nowhere else to be found... not on Windows Mobile devices and not on Blackberry.
Auto. The saga of the American auto industry drags on. Personally, I don't know what to think about it all. I would certainly feel terrible for all the workers losing their job because management has run the companies into the ground... but, then again, that's the peril of a free market. Does the government really have a responsibility to save a business if it's going under? If they rescue the auto industry, what about all the other businesses in trouble? Do they get help too? The one thing I don't understand is how everybody keeps saying that the US auto-makers are "making cars nobody wants." Because when I research sales by brands, over half of the top twenty cars are made by American companies...
Of course, just because a company is American of foreign means nothing. The Toyota Camry, for example, is assembled in the right here in the US and is made from over half American parts. Ford, on the other hand, is shipping manufacturing to Mexico and Canada and does use foreign parts in their autos. So the issue here isn't quite so cut and dry, and one has to wonder if the "Big Three" US auto makers go under, is that a bad thing? Won't that mean that sales of the remaining American-made cars will increase so the jobs will just be shifted to companies who know how to make a profit? Sure they're foreign companies, but if the jobs are here, isn't that what's important? And who knows? Maybe letting the companies who can't make money fail will clear the way for new American companies with fresh ideas to be born? I honestly don't know. Hopefully people making the decisions do.
Car. All that being said, my dream car is the new BMW Z4 Roadster...
Sex. On. Wheels.
And now I really need to get back to work. And some Snack-Pack chocolate pudding.
Posted on Monday, December 15th, 2008
I must be leaving early Wednesday morning on a work trip (weather permitting), and have been working my arse off trying to get caught up before I go. Unfortunately, this leave little time for important stuff like blogging.
But that's okay, because the new Disney-Pixar film has a trailer out, and it's better than anything I could ever come up with anyway. I cannot wait to see this film.
May 29th, everybody get ready to go Up!
Now, I sincerely doubt that Up will take the place of Monsters, Inc. as my favorite Pixar film... but it may very well knock The Incredibles out of the #2 spot on my countdown list...
The trailer for Up can be found at the official website at Disney.
Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
Uh... yeah... I have even less time tonight than I did last night. Mostly thanks to Hewlett-Packard, because their disastrous B9180 printer was once again experiencing EPIC FAIL as I was trying to get everything finished up for my trip tomorrow. I was supposed to come home at 4:00 so I could pack my suitcase. But 4:00 became 5:00 then 7:00 then 9:00 then, finally 10:00 (at which point I pretty much gave up). Nice to know that my first experience with this piece-of-shit printer wasn't a fluke, and my new replacement is just as shitty. How HP can still be allowed to sell such garbage and get away with it is beyond me.
But enough about how much I loath Hewlett-Packard and their worthless products with every fiber of my being...
Let's talk about how much I hate the freezing weather here!
It was -12° F outside when I left work. Because it was late, there was already enough frost fallen on my windshield that I had to scrape down my car. But it was that kind of heinous frost that bonds with your windshield and doesn't want to come off, so I had to sit there with the defroster running for 15 minutes just so I could clean off a peephole to see out.
And winter is only just beginning.
Hard to believe that three months ago I was here...
Why did I ever leave?
The last inbound flight arrived 25 minutes late tonight, but it did arrive, which means there's a plane to fly out tomorrow morning. Whether or not it actually leaves is anybody's guess.
And since I have to get up in four hours to find out, I'll be saying goodnight now.
Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Blargh. What a long and horrifying day.
Winter travel is not for the faint of heart. It almost always comes with delays, cancelations, unexpected problems, and even danger. I accept this, because I've been conditioned to expect things to go wrong when I travel. This way, I'm not disappointed when shit happens. In the event that everything goes right, then that's an unexpected surprise I can be happy about.
Today there were more than a few upset people... and even one girl who was screaming, crying, and acting generally stupid because of problems going on. By the time she got her cell phone out, handed it to the gate agent, and said "MY DADDY WANTS TO TALK TO YOU" I was very much amused. What? Her daddy has the ability to bend time and space? Shit happened... get over it and move on! Otherwise, do everybody a favor and DON'T TRAVEL IN THE WINTER MONTHS IF THIS KIND OF STUFF FREAKS YOU OUT! It's pretty much inevitable.
On my final flight, I was sat next to a bitch who thinks rules don't apply to her. When they announced for us to turn off all electrical devices for take-off and landing, she felt this obviously meant everybody else. I know this because she fired up her iPod Touch and watched movies and listened to music for the entire trip... from the minute we left the gate right up until the minute we parked. And it wasn't like she didn't understand it was wrong, because she did her best to hide it from the flight attendant every time they walked through the cabin...
Well guess what, you piece of shit? You are nobody special. You have to follow the rules just like everybody else. And one day, when you sit next to a serial killer who thinks that trash like you shouldn't be fucking shit up for the rest of us, I will laugh my ass off when you're found dead in the gutter with that iPod shoved up your stupid ass.
I hate people today.
Probably because I'm hungry. I managed to grab breakfast, but didn't have time for anything else. By the time I got to my hotel, the restaurant had closed. Rummaging through my backpack and suitcase, I managed to find dinner...
A smashed up Rice Krispies Treat I got when I was in Wisconsin, and an old package of smoked almonds I didn't even know I had. Yum. I'm sitting here typing this while eating "dinner" and drinking a complimentary bottle of water. Yes, you read that right, a complimentary bottle of water.
Do you know how often you can find a hotel offering complimentary bottled water?
And, speaking of score... as I was waiting at the airport for my first of three flights for today, I happened to notice that the iTunes Music Store had just added Sim City!...
Sweet! This is one of my favorite games from back in the day when I actually had time to play video games. I was intrigued. $9.99 is a lot for a mobile game, and I wondered just how watered down it would be to fit on the iPhone. It's a pretty complicated game, so what would they take out? I was dubious about spending $9.99 to find out, but then I started browsing the screen snapshots and saw this...
OMG! THEY HAVE THE ALIEN INVASION?!?
That's all I needed to know! I bought the game and started playing right away (welcome to New Dave City!). From what I can tell, everything I remember is there and better than ever. There's even animated bits, like the smog from my oil-burning power plant...
As I made my way through menu after menu... amazed at how faithful the game was to the original... I noticed that the World Landmarks are even there for you to build! Awesome! As I was paging through the options, I saw they had Neuschwanstein Castle. I thought this was kind of cool, because I've actually been there. So I built it...
And then I noticed that I've been to a lot of the World Monuments in the game. Most of them in fact...
My mission is now clear. I need to finish off this list! A trip to Australia would get me the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. Moscow for St. Basil's. India for the Taj Mahal. And, if by "Daibutu" they mean "Daibutsu"... as in the famous Kamakura Daibutsu in Japan... then my list is complete!
At least I now know where my next vacations should be.
I have to get up for work in four hours. Yet another sleepless night.
Posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2008
One of my guilty pleasures is waiting up on Saturdays until the latest batch of postcards at PostSecret are posted. This amazing site, which started out as an art project, is now a brilliant microcosm of the secret lives that people are living. Originally, artist Frank Warren passed out a bunch of postcards asking people to tell an anonymous secret about themselves and mail it in for his experiment. After the last of the postcards had been handed out, he thought that was the end of it... but the postcards kept coming. Word had spread about what he was doing, and soon postcards were pouring in by the thousands.
Some of the secrets are shocking. Others are funny. Many are quite sad. A few are amazingly optimistic and hopeful. All of them are interesting. Though I do think a good portion of them are not true. People try to make up these extravagant secrets to assure themselves of getting their postcard printed. But, even then, it's still an interesting project.
Since I was working in the Fayetteville area today, I headed up to Bentonville, Arkansas (home of Wal-Mart!) so I could attend a PostSecret exhibit at the temporary location for the Crystal Bridges Museum at "The Massey"...
My hat is off to the brilliant organizer of this event. They had a small space to work with, so they chose a collection of small items... postcards... to fill up the space and make a really satisfying exhibit. Many of the postcards are displayed on glass panels, allowing you to see both sides of some of the cards...
The amazing thing is that most all of the postcards are one-of-a-kind originals that are works of art in their own right. Some of them are quite extravagant, but others are just cool for the simplicity of their message...
If you are in the area, the exhibit is definitely worth a visit, and is running through February 1st. Information can be found at the official web site. In March, the exhibit will move to California.
In the second room of The Massey, they had an exhibit about the construction of the new "Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art" opening in 2010 in Bentonville. The plan for the building is amazing...
Hopefully I'll be able to see it one day after it has been completed.
After the exhibit I had some errands to run for work, and saw two things which I found interesting.
The first was this... which probably doesn't mean what I think it does...
... but wouldn't it be cool if it did?
The second makes no fucking sense at all...
"The Bible was the most quoted Book by our founders and is now the most censored Book in America"
Given that it's also the most popular book in America, I hope you can forgive me for saying you're full of shit.
How in the hell is a book you can buy almost anywhere... a book which has thousands upon thousands of buildings dedicated to its teachings... a book that the majority of Americans use as the backbone of their religion... be censored?
Stupid shit like this pisses me off, and only goes to show that these idiots have no fucking clue about how moronic they sound when they cry foul under the guise of faux-persecution. People need to get it through their heads that just because we have a separation of church and State in this country doesn't mean that you're persecuted or censored! It's not like people are having to meet in secret hideaways at midnight to discuss The Bible. All statements to the contrary are just absurd.
People have different beliefs in this country. Such diversity is the very foundation of the freedoms we enjoy. As such, our government must represent all the people... not just a section of it.
Forcing your beliefs on other people is where the real persecution would lay... so that's why you can't teach The Bible in public schools and what-not. You are still perfectly free to teach it at home... or your house or worship... or whatever private venue you choose... so claiming censorship is positively stupid. Nobody sends in the secret police to arrest you if you crack open The Bible in your own home or send your kids to Catholic School or attend worship at your synagogue or hold a Christian sing-along in your church or whatever. So stop playing the victim! The only people buying this bullshit is other whack-jobs who don't understand what real censorship and persecution actually is.
As you can tell, I am so weeping for the oppressed majority.
Posted on Friday, December 19th, 2008
The first thing I did this morning was grab my iPhone to see what the weather was like. The second thing I did was gouge my eye with a coat hanger while gathering my clothes. The fancy hotel I was in doesn't have a bar for the coat hangers to hang on, but instead has rows of hooks that fling the hangers into your face when you pull on them. My eye wasn't bleeding, but hurt like hell. The pain was so bad that I couldn't even attempt to put in a contact lens, so I took a magic Oxycontin pain pill instead.
It had been overcast, foggy, rainy, and generally crappy in Fayetteville my entire time there, and I was worried about my flight getting out. Much to my surprise, the weather was beautiful. Sunny skies and all that.
Unfortunately, the rest of the country was not so lucky.
Because of delays elsewhere, the inbound flight was running two hours late. Since my layover in Minneapolis was only 1 hour, this was not a good thing. When I got to the airport, I was pretty much told that there was no way to get me to Washington State today. The best they could do was to put me up in a hotel in Minneapolis, reserve space on a flight there, and let them figure it out. Of course, Minneapolis is projected to get heavy snows dumped on them tomorrow, so there are no guarantees. And since Seattle is getting hit with snow as well, who knows if I will ever get home.
Once I got to Minneapolis, however, things started looking up...
And who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Right now I'm just going to take more drugs and try and get some sleep.
Posted on Saturday, December 20th, 2008
Several years ago, I was at our small airport getting in line for security when I saw a soldier saying goodbye to his wife and young daughter. Both the wife and daughter were crying, but for very different reasons. The wife was crying because her husband was going away to do a very dangerous job from which he might not return. The daughter was crying because she was confused by what was happening. The soldier was not crying, but instead doing his best to comfort his family as he said goodbye. It was a heart-wrenching sight to behold, and I had an instant admiration and respect for this guy who was holding it together under conditions where even the strongest of men would break down in tears.
Smiling and waving goodbye to his wife and daughter who were across the room, the soldier walked through the metal detector and handed his boarding pass to the TSA Agent on the other side. I was next in line and followed him through. As we were waiting for our stuff to exit the X-ray machine, the soldier dropped his boarding pass but didn't seem to notice. I picked it up, and said "excuse me, you dropped this" as I handed it back to him. It was then I saw why he had dropped it... his hands were shaking. He said a quick thanks before gathering his gear and moving on.
It was a moment that kind of put it all into perspective for me.
So now, when I see people losing their shit because their flight has been delayed or canceled or whatever... it's pretty hard for me to be sympathetic when I think about a soldier who managed to keep his shit together as he was leaving his family to travel somewhere far from home where he might die.
Tonight as I was waiting to see if my flight would get out of Seattle (spoiler alert: it didn't) I saw plenty of people being complete asstards because their vacation and/or holiday had been ruined. There's crying. There's screaming. There's yelling. There's all kinds of dumbassery from people being generally stupid.
All when they should be thankful just to be alive and safe.
Heaven knows I try to be.
And tomorrow I try again.
Posted on Sunday, December 21st, 2008
It's Bullet Sunday from the insanity of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport!
• Success. When it comes to travel, things going right is what's SUPPOSED to happen and doesn't really tell you much about a company. It's when things go wrong that you find out what they're made of. How they handle problems and the way they treat their customers is everything you really need to know. For the most part, Alaska/Horizon Air has been pretty good in dealing with an unprecedented weather situation that you can never really be prepared for. They have a genuinely caring, hard-working bunch of employees that are working their asses off against a never-ending tide of very upset people. This cannot be easy, and is truly a testament to the company philosophy that has made Alaska/Horizon Air such a huge part of my travel plans for decades. I consider myself extremely fortunate that they are "my local airline," and happy to keep flying with them.
• Failure. Where Alaska/Horizon fails... and fails badly... is in organization and communication. There have been several incidents that boggle my mind, and has me wondering just how people in charge thought they were Doing The Right Thing. As I said in my previous entry, there's no point screaming and getting upset at the airport... but I have no problem doing that in my blog!
• Redial. Speaking of auto-redial, it is pathetic... PATHETIC that the iPhone doesn't seem to have this most basic of calling functions. Hopefully it will be added soon via an update or third-party application.
• Outsourced. Last year, a movie came out with the very timely topic of outsourcing. In the film, a Seattle call center manager, Todd Anderson, has his entire department outsourced to India, and ends up having to travel there so he can train his replacement. The trailer looked funny, so I put it on a list of movies I wanted to see...
But then I was reading a review of Outsourced in the Seattle P.I. where it was just savaged. The reviewer Bill White hated the film. He made it sound highly offensive to Indian culture for the sake of laughs, which I hate, so I ended up skipping it altogether. Turns out this was a mistake. I ended up renting Outsourced for my iPhone on this trip and liked it quite a lot. All of the criticism from the Seattle P.I. review was entirely unjustified. White called the lead actor Josh Hamilton "aggravatingly nondescript," but that was the entire point of his everyman character! White said the film "vulgarized the sacred sex manual, the Kama Sutra," but it absolutely did not! I thought the film was great in communicating the cultural differences between our countries in an entertaining way and, if anything, made more fun of us here in the USA than India. Sure there's some stereotypical humor in there, but it's on BOTH sides! As Todd becomes more and more adjusted to Indian life and starts to embrace his new surroundings, you get a wonderful taste of the culture, and can appreciate the country through his eyes. It doesn't hurt that his love-interest (played by Ayesha Dharker) is freakin' adorable...
And I love the relationship between Todd and his "replacement" Puro (played by Asif Basra), which was pretty funny...
All-in-all, a wonderful film that I regret having missed on the big screen. The cinematography of India (including the wonderful Holi Festival of Color) begs to be seen big. I guess that will teach me to trust a crappy review over my gut instinct when it comes to picking what movies I see in the theater.
And now, since I've given up getting home until after the 25th, it's time for Wii Bowling!
Posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2008
Annnnnnd.... still stuck.
After spending the entire day trying to get through to the airline, I finally managed. Everything at Horizon Air is sold out through the 24th. I can't get to the airport on the 25th. I finally got confirmed on a flight on the 26th.
Today I looked at taking a train or bus, but that's a no-go as well...
And I'm tired of worrying about it, so I'm staying put.
There's plenty of Jägermeister and a Wii... what else do I need?
Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
Wii Fit is kicking my ass. I should probably try playing it sober once and see how far that gets me.
Posted on Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
If you simply must to be stranded away from home for the holidays, it's nice to be stranded someplace where you get to wear a crown from a cracker for Christmas Eve dinner...
Though I probably look much hotter in my crown if you have a few drinks in you.
Posted on Thursday, December 25th, 2008
If you celebrate the holiday, I hope you have a happy Christmas!
If you're a heathen non-Christian like myself, have a nice December 25th!
As for me? I'm taking the rest of the day off.
Posted on Friday, December 26th, 2008
While I was at SeaTac airport waiting for my flight, they announced that there was marginal weather in Wenatchee, and we may have to turn around and come back to Seattle if the pilot couldn't see the runway. After a week of being unable to get home, I really didn't want to go through that again, so I was pretty bummed out.
As I was looking for a seat, I noticed a guy praying the rosary, which I found a little strange because he was kind of young, and I didn't know that Catholics really did much of that outside of church anymore. Not that I was complaining... every little bit helps in these situations... yet it still seemed odd to me.
But then I noticed that he was a priest, which explained everything.
After two more warnings about the weather getting worse and several annoying delays because Horizon Air was understaffed and trying to cram too many flights through a single gate, we boarded the plane. At which time we got even more warnings about weather problems in Wenatchee. But there was a priest on-board, so it's not like I could scream " GAAAAAH! NO SHIT! JUST FLY THE FUCKING PLANE, DAMMIT!!!"
And yet... we landed without incident. The runway was perfectly clear.
If I would have known having a priest on-board was the answer, I would have joined up last week...
Of course, I wouldn't be satisfied with just being a priest, I'd have to fulfill my ambition of becoming Pope...
Except I don't think I would have room for my pope hat on the plane, which explains why the Pope never flies commercial.
Oh well. I'm home now.
For a month.
Posted on Saturday, December 27th, 2008
The "First Lady of Star Trek," Majel Barrett-Roddenberry died on December 18th, and I'm only just now able to sit down and write about it.
The first time I met her was at a Star Trek convention in Seattle when "The Next Generation" was in full-swing, and she was making guest appearances as the brilliant Lwaxana Troi. Majel was signing autographs next to "Mr. Homm" (Carel Struycken), when my friend had asked him if he would be making another appearance on the show soon. When he answered in the affirmative, Majel started freaking out a bit... "They asked you back?!? Nobody has asked me back!" Carel Struycken then had to explain that he was speaking generally, not specifically, because the fan reaction to Lwaxana was so positive and he felt certain they would be back. Then Majel said (jokingly) "Well they'd better have us back... I know people!"
As if I didn't already have enough reason to fall in love with Majel Barrett, she's funny too...
The second time I met Majel at a press event, I was actually able to speak with her for a bit, and got a real sense of just how dedicated she was to Star Trek fandom. She loved the fans, and was happy to be a part of the continuing Trek phenomena, no matter what capacity that might be. Whether it was being the voice of the computers... appearing as a guest star... attending conventions... or even talking about her husband (and Star Trek creator) Gene Roddenberry in interviews... she was always there. Always doing everything she could to keep Star Trek alive for the fans... for Gene... and for herself.
The last time I saw her was at another convention. The line was so long to get an autograph that I didn't have time to wait and say "hi." I was sad about that, but only for a minute. Majel was surrounded by the adoring fans she loved, more popular than ever, and still doing her best to keep Star Trek alive. Seeing all that, it was impossible for me to be sad for very long.
Posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2008
Home for Bullet Sunday... isn't that nice?
• Eartha Kitt. I was very sad to learn that Earth Kitt had died. I may not have seen her in much, but she sure left a big impression where I did see her. To me, Julie Newmar is the Catwoman from the campy 1960's Batman series, because she was the first I saw in the role, and played it far more often than Lee Meriwether or Earth Kitt ever did. That being said, there's no denying that Eartha Kitt was the most perfect for the role. She was a cat-woman in real life, and was able to slink herself into the character perfectly... errr... purrrrfectly...
I am (surprisingly) too young to remember Eartha in her earlier work as a sultry songstress, but caught her from time to time in movies like Boomerang with Eddie Murphy. She may have only had a small role, but was easily the most memorable part of a forgettable movie (I can still hear her calling "Maaaaarrrrrrcuuuuussss!")...
But my favorite Eartha Kitt character would have to be Yzma from Disney's The Emperor's New Groove, which was a match made in heaven. She could have easily just sleep-walked through this role but, as anybody who's seen the film can attest, she put in 110% into the character and totally killed...
When Disney made a cartoon series spin-off The Emperor's New School Eartha continued playing her character, which was really cool of her (considering lead David Spade was not so accommodating). And don't think that the story-writers and animators of the series didn't know how to take advantage of Eartha's talents. They knew exactly who the star of the show really is. In the episode "Yzmopolis" from the iTunes Store, you can see Eartha Kitt making Yzma totally her own (the title song might also be on YouTube for a while)...
I believe the cartoon was still in production when she died, so I have no idea what Disney is going to do. If they're smart, they'll just count themselves lucky that they got two seasons from Eartha Kitt, and shut down the show. Or, if they're intent on continuing the show without her, they should find a new villain. Nobody can replace Eartha as Yzma.
• The Wilderness. Last night I got my third email and second comment asking where I stayed when I was in Walt Disney World. Well, I stayed where I usually stay... Disney's Wilderness Lodge...
I have stayed in many of the Disney properties, and The Wilderness Lodge is my most favorite from my top five...
Despite it's popularity, I am not a fan of the upscale Grand Floridian Resort (it's nice, but the decor and eateries just aren't for me). For the budget-conscious, I like the two Port Orleans hotels quite a lot. For the really budget-conscious, the new Pop Century hotel is pretty cool. But, then again, any of the "Disney All-Star" value hotels are a good bet (you can choose from Sports, Movies, Music). They're fairly inexpensive and frills-free, but you get all the perks you'd get at even the most expensive Disney hotel... including free transportation between the parks, purchases shipped to your room, and Disney's "Extra Magic Hours" which allow you to get in early or stay late at one of the parks each day. Sure you can stay outside of Disney World and save money, but the added expense of staying on-site is well worth the cost when you consider all you get in return. In all honesty, I consider the resort-stay to be just as important to the Walt Disney World experience as visiting the actual parks! If you're planning a trip, postponing a visit so you can save enough money to stay at a Disney World property is about the best advice I can give.
• No Talking. I have pretty much given up on going to movies because the audience is always filled with COMPLETE AND TOTAL DUMBASSES who ruin the experience by talking. And, thanks to mobile phones, it's gotten far worse. Every time I've gone to a movie lately, I've been distracted by a sea of glowing phones from idiots TXTing the entire time. Or fucktards who don't silence their mobile, and then it goes off during the film. And, of course, they ANSWER it. Why would I want to pay $8.00 plus another $10.00 for overpriced snacks to be tortured like that? Well, it was only a matter of time, but somebody in Philadelphia finally got himself shot because he wouldn't shut the fuck up during a movie. Naturally, I'm horrified at such a display of violence... but secretly I'm wondering why it took this long to happen. I'm also relieved that it wasn't me doing the shooting, because heaven only knows I've felt like it enough times. Guess it's a good thing I don't own a gun?
Now I suppose I should be getting ready for work in the morning. Bleh.
Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2008
The snow is piling up and depressing me, so I thought I'd write a few reviews to take my mind off things...
w00t! It's Movie Review Time!
All the rumors you've heard are true... Slumdog Millionaire is a wholly remarkable film that is not to be missed. In a day and age when the world seems full of hate and anger and is teetering on the edge of annihilation, having a movie filled with hope, love, and life is a refreshing (and much-needed) change...
A film about a poor street-kid who surprises everyone in India with his success on a popular game show, I loved Slumdog Millionaire, and can't wait to see it again. Danny Boyle is sheer genius, but I expect nothing less from the man who brought us the amazing film Millions, another long-time favorite of mine. Bravo, Mr. Boyle!
w00t! It's iPhone App Review Time!
I'm a world geography junkie, so I was pretty psyched when I saw that there was a new trivia app called "inFact World" available at the iTunes Store. It's pretty sweet, and quizzes you on continents, flags, languages, bodies of water, and other nerdy stuff. The interface is dead-simple and easy to use...
The app sells for $2.99 and provides endless educational fun! Available at the iTunes Store for iPhone and iPod Touch.
w00t! It's DVD Review Time!
Shortly after posting about how much I hated Brokeback Mountain (which I maintain is one of the most boring, unsympathetic, bloated, overrated piece of cinematic FAIL ever made) I got an email from a reader telling me that I should try Yossi & Jagger, which they felt was a much better film along similar storylines.
Always looking for a good movie to watch, and not having a problem with gay-themed films (on the contrary, flicks like Philadelphia, The Birdcage, Longtime Companion, and Jeffrey are classics)... I decided to investigate further, because I had never heard of Yossi & Jagger before. What I found was a bunch of promotional images which led me to believe that it was just a lame excuse to parade man-candy around in army gear for some kind of queer military fetish soft-core porn. I decided to take a pass.
Fast forward to last week while I'm killing time at the airport, and I run across an article called "hidden gems on DVD" (or something like that) and lo-and-behold there's Yossi & Jagger. Since I had seen other films on the list and enjoyed them, I thought I'd give it a try...
It was a brilliant, but odd film.
Odd because it's an Israeli film about the armed services, but doesn't have any kind of political agenda. Odd because it's a film about gays in the military, but isn't trying to make any statement about it. Odd because it's a gay love story, but doesn't come from an exclusively gay point of view. Very odd because it's less than an hour long.
Yossi is a company commander in the IDF who is calm, reserved and very private. Jagger is Yossi's subordinate platoon leader and is much more open and less guarded. Somehow they end up together, and this film is kind of a "day in the life" that's filled with humor, compassion, and tragedy. Apparently Israel doesn't distinguish between gays and straights when it comes to their mandatory military service, which is an interesting part of the film. You get the feeling that some of the other characters know something is going on between Yossi and Jagger... but none of them really care. All they care about is having superior officers that are competent and are looking out for them, which is the entire point, I guess.
Yossi & Jagger is a touching and entertaining love story that made for a great short film. As if that weren't enough, it's supposedly based on a true story. If you're looking for something different, it's worth a rental. (DVD is in Hebrew with English subtitles and available at Netflix).
w00t! It's Early Bedtime!
Because I have to be up very, very early in the morning...
Posted on Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
All the world seems to want nothing more than to stay contained inside the little box they call their life. They don't want to venture out... they certainly don't want anything new or different coming in. And the minute you try to cut a small hole in their box so you can say hello or share an idea, they've got the duct tape out to plaster over it. This wouldn't be too bad except these same people are intent of keeping everybody else confined in little boxes too...
The worst part is that you don't even get to choose your own container, other people pick it for you. The best you can do is decorate the inside of your box with cool stickers and stuff.
But I ran out of stickers years ago.
And now I'm just tired.
I am so tired of being trapped in this box I've been stuffed into.
Or, to put it another way... why? Why won't they let me order breakfast at McDonalds after 10:30?
Posted on Wednesday, December 31st, 2008
The last day of the year is great time to be a blogger. It's a time when you get to re-visit all your entries for the past 364 365* days and see just how pointless and futile your life really is.
As usual much of this year was spent traveling, and I managed to rack up 127,320 air miles on eleven airlines. This seems about average for me now, but pales in comparison to seven years ago when I would easily get up to 200,000 miles and beyond. I haven't yet decided whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it's nice to spend time at home every once in a while.
And now some choice bits of random Blogography crap from the year that was 2008...
• Made it to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biolxi at last, after my previous attempt was thwarted by Hurricane Katrina.
• Was finally able to admit it's all about me.
• Visited Warsaw, Poland, which was amazing in ways that I just can't articulate...
• Found out that Poland really doesn't like President Bush very much...
• But Poland totally loves me, which is all that really matters...
• Went back to Cologne so I could partake in the Kölner Karneval where I was given the hottest scarf ever, got to see transgender Viking warriors, and gape with awe at the giant flaming wheel of meat.
• Attended the TequilaCon 2008 Planning Meeting in Portland, Oregon.
• Changed Blogography's header graphic and hung out with Mr. Bun before he was shipped off to Iraq...
• Spent the day in Bygdøy in Norway to see some of the most amazing shit on earth.
• Took the train to Göteborg, Sweden to meet my very good blogging friend Göran and take in the sights.
• Went back to Oslo so I could get the crap scared out of me and visit PERVY STATUE PARK!
• Experienced the excruciating pain of kidney stones while in Salt Lake City, and finally got to meet Marty (albeit in a drugged-out state of pain-killer euphoria).
• Had my 5-Year Blogiversary celebration where I gave out my biggest prize ever...
• Went to Philadelphia for THE blogger event of the year... TEQUILACON 08!
• Talked about how moneybloggers ruin everything.
• Found out I have mutant healing powers like Wolverine!
• Delivered the winning prize for my Blogiverary 5 celebration by attending the very first Dave Louis event where I had the best orgasm of my life at Ted Drewes...
• Back to Salt Lake City so I could meet Marty again... this time without being drugged out of my mind.
• Reminisced about Blogography on the occasion of Google's 10th Birthday.
• The inevitable finally happened when I met Wayne (and other cool bloggers!) at the first ever Davestin Event while saying hello to Karla (again) in Austin.
• Back to Chicago for the TequilaCon 2009 Planning Meeting, where I finally got to experience Puppet Bike!
• Off to Orlando for Avitable's Annual Halloween Party dressed as MURDER CLOWN!!
• Gave one of many reasons that Bill O'Reilly is a total fucking dumbass (as if anybody really needed me to tell them that).
• Got stuck in Seattle for a week thanks to Snowmageddon 2008.
And that was 2008. Everybody have a safe and happy New Year as we head into 2009, and thanks for reading!
UPDATE: *OMG! It was totally a leap year this year!