Posted on Thursday, January 1st, 2009
Once again something is broked and I can't get today's entry to post. Comments still work just fine, so I have no idea what's going on. Again.
What a way to start the new year.
Posted on Friday, January 2nd, 2009
I still can't figure out what the problem is with my blog. If I insert an entry directly in to the SQL database and force a rebuild, it will show up no problem. But writing an entry directly fails. I guess I must have blown up something while trying to fix the admin search thingy.
Typical. It's not enough that my template still breaks under crappy Internet Explorer in the comments, now I've got something new to worry about. Meh. Maybe tomorrow.
Wah. I want a new blog.
Posted on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
w00t! I finally managed to fix my blog! Apparently, it was a "permissions" issue. Easy.
Today was a beautiful day, filled with sunshine and a relatively nice weather. This caused much of the snow on the roads to melt, which is great until around 6:30 when the temperature drops below freezing again. Then wet roads turn to ice. But they don't look that way in the dark... they just look wet.
Which is why an idiot driving the car behind me nearly crashed into my ass.
Instead they managed to do some wild acrobatics and swerve to a snowbank on the side of the road. They were going slow enough when they hit that there was no damage, but still... who doesn't understand the concept of water turning to ice when it gets cold? And why are the people who don't understand this concept still allowed to drive in wintertime? Shouldn't there be testing for this kind of stuff? It's not rocket science...
WATER + COLD = ICE = SLIPPERY!!
Perhaps I need to print that on a bumper sticker. Or add a chapter to my upcoming book explaining how ice works...
We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog program...
Posted on Sunday, January 4th, 2009
My blog is up and running again... just in time for Bullet Sunday!
• Interviewed. I've been interviewed by the new travel blog Sharing Experiences, run by travel writer Andy Hayes. There's kind of an important announcement I make there (especially if you're in the U.K.) so be sure to take a look!
• Better. I don't like 95% of the commercials that show up on television because they are annoying rather than entertaining in the way they sell their wares. A rare exception would be the absolutely brilliant and inspirational ads run by the Foundation for a Better Life. They're magic. This one is a particular favorite, despite the fact that it has bad parents in it who don't know how to watch their kid...
UPDATE! In what I can only describe as one of the stupidest fucking things I've ever seen on the internets, The Foundation for a Better Life no longer allows sharing of their videos. That's right... an organization dedicated to "PASSING IT ON" when it comes to inspirational messages DOESN'T ALLOW YOU TO ACTUALLY PASS IT ON! They develop commercials and pay millions to buy ad space on television, but bypass totally free distribution on the internet? Insane. Truly crazy. Oh well... since the video below won't work any more, you have to go to their website to watch it.
How much better would our world be if this is the way it worked all the time?
• Changed. Why is it that every time somebody changes their product, it turns out to be for the worse? Miracle Whip used to be a favorite sandwich condiment... until the dumbasses at Kraft switched from an oil base to a water base to save money. Now it soaks into bread too fast and falls apart in macaroni salad, which just blows. And don't get me started on the way that Kraft destroyed Boca Burgers when they bought out the company. Boca Burgers used to be my favorite food, now I can barely eat them because they are gag-inducing soggy, waggy, snotty, and shitty. Another tragedy was when General Mills "new and improved" my favorite childhood cereal, Cocoa Puffs. They used to be these deliciously puffy and lightly chocolatey crispy balls... but now they're dense, hard, and so chocolatey that they taste artificial, plastic and crappy. Recently I saw that they had a new cereal called "Cocoa Puffs Combos" and thought I'd give them a try. Imagine my shock when I found out that the Combos HAVE THE ORIGINAL COCOA PUFFS IN THEM! Finally, I can be Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs again!
• Remade. I've written repeatedly about my love for the best show every to air on television, Cupid starring Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshal. This morning I learned that the remake, which I'm assuming will be total shit, is going to begin airing on March 24th. What kind of fucked-up birthday present is that? Couldn't they at least released the real Cupid on DVD so I have something good to watch while Rob Thomas destroys his own show? Oh well, guess it's time to re-watch my Veronica Mars DVDs for the millionth time.
• Cupidity. One last rant before I go... even if Sony/Tri-Star doesn't want to go to the expense of producing the original Cupid episodes on DVD... why in the hell don't they put the episodes on the iTunes Store? The only expense is digitizing the show, which can't be much of a road block, after that it's all money in the bank. GAH! Stupid.
Now I'm cold and hungry and don't feel like blogging anymore.
Posted on Monday, January 5th, 2009
This morning I woke up to a fresh 9-inches of snow that magically appeared overnight.
Needless to say, I was not thrilled. I had to wait over an hour for the snowplow people to come dig me out so I could get to work. Not a good way to start the week.
In other news... OMFG!! TOMORROW IS THE MACWORLD KEYNOTE!!! I'm totally excited, even though his Royal Steveness won't be the one delivering it. Even worse, Apple has decided that this is the last year they'll be participating at MacWorld, which is a sad passing of a long-time tradition.
It may be my last shot, but I'm still crossing my fingers for iToast to be announced!
But I'd also settle for a $1000 price cut on the MacBook Pro.
Or maybe something new, like a MacTablet.
But mostly an iToast.
Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
It's been raining all day, and is supposed to keep raining through the week.
This is a scary prospect when you've got as much snow as we do. The rain soaks into the snow and makes it super-heavy, which causes carports to collapse... roofs to cave in... satellite dishes to topple... generally nasty stuff. As if that wasn't enough, now we've got avalanches in the mountains too. But that pales in comparison to what's happening Seattle-side, they're being hit with massive flooding. Since there's even more rain on the way, where's all that water supposed to go?
This is not a great way to start the year for a lot of people.
The MacWorld keynote today was kind of boring, but still more exciting that anything you're going to get from other companies at their keynote presentations. The technologies being pumped into iLife and iWork are impressive, and things like facial recognition in a photo app is a great idea, but hardly revolutionary. Then we've got the iTunes Store going DRM-free on their music, which isn't too surprising (other online stores have been DRM-free for a while now as record labels attempted to "even the field"). But it's the new 17-inch Mac Book Pro that intrigued me most. Not because I want one... I don't, it's too big to travel with easily... but because of a very interesting option you have when you go to order one...
Why isn't that an option on the 15-inch MacBook Pro? When I was in Minnesota a while back, I wandered into The Apple Store at Mall of America to get a new laptop and was furious to discover that all of them have these hideously glossy screens. Sure the color is nicer, but I need to WORK. How can I focus on my work with a massive sheet of glare staring back at me?
I sure hope that Apple does the right thing and allows this option for their smaller laptops as well.
I guess it's time to try to get some sleep. Listening to the rain drops on my roof should be a nice sound to fall asleep by.
At least all that water is good for something.
Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
I'm endlessly fascinated with the free "Google Earth" application.
It's always running on my work Mac, and any time I have to take a phone call or am waiting for something, I pop it up and explore the world. Sometimes I travel to cities I've been to before and revisit interesting places. Other times I jet off to somewhere new. A place that I've always dreamed of visiting, but haven't gotten around to yet. Still other times I just fly around the planet looking for something nifty to look at. Google Earth makes it easy...
The coolest part of Google Earth is how they are continuously adding 3-D content which sits on top of the map and allows you to explore the world in an entirely new way. You can fly to Seattle, for example...
Then zoom in and pan the camera to start exploring things in glorious three-dimensions...
And they're adding new models all the time. Partially-completed content floats above the map until completed. Like in Paris, for example, where these buildings are awaiting textures...
This morning I found out that Walt Disney World has tons of 3-D content. Flying over to The Magic Kingdom, I was amazed at the fantastic job they did with Cinderella's Castle...
Peeking around the castle, I see they even have the rides rendered...
The level of detail is amazing. They even modeled the boats on The Jungle Cruise...
And it's not just the popular Disney landmarks that are given the 3-D treatment... Epcot's World Showcase is beautifully constructed...
Even the resort properties are fully rendered in beautiful detail. Like my favorite hotel, Disney's Wilderness Lodge...
If you want to do a little exploring of your own, you can pick up a free copy of Google Earth at the official site.
Posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2009
I don't generally make New Years resolutions, because I never know where my head will be at ten minutes from now. I could suddenly decide to shave my head and become a porn star or something.
The only goal I really set for myself is to blog every day, but I do that anyway.
So I decided that I should take a good hard look at myself and come up with five things that I can commit to doing in the new year.
My New Years Resolutions for 2009...
Meh. I'll probably have all that done within a month. Those are not very far-reaching resolutions.
My New Years Resolutions for 2010...
Now there's some resolutions!
Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2009
So TequilaCon 2009 is in Santa Fe.
To read about how that came about, Brandon has a story up on his blog.
But Brandon has a tendency to whitewash the more questionable aspects when it comes to recounting events like this, so I thought that I would fill in a few of the gory details that he's left out... BULLET STYLE!!
• Planning. I've already blogged about how Jenny summoned the TequilaCon Committee to Chicago for a pre-planning meeting. Only three of us were foolish enough to actually go... myself, Vahid, and Brandon. What I didn't mention is that Jenny showed up dressed in sun-goddess robes and insisted that we address her as "High Priestess Many Goats."
• Whiteboard. When I posted a picture of Brandon Photographing the Official TequilaCon Whiteboard, I blurred out the cities listed...
But now all can be revealed. Here are the eleven cities ultimately considered after hours of debate...
After some alcohol, Pac-Mac, and discussion, the final three locations were narrowed down to Vancouver BC, Las Vegas, and Santa Fe. After some alcohol, Pac-Mac, and a lot more discussion, Vancouver was axed because of passport requirements. That left Las Vegas and Santa Fe. After some alcohol, Pac-Man, SO much money, and a spinning whiskey bottle, High Priestess Many Goats declared Santa Fe the host city for TequilaCon 2009...
This is probably for the best, because Santa Fe feels more like a TequilaCon city, whereas Vegas is kind of obvious and commercialized.
• Drunken. When Brandon says that he put on the Sometimes Rabbit head and tried to get Jenny's cat drunk, it sounds like a clever allegory for setting aside the folly of one's youth and embracing the responsibilities of adulthood... but was, in fact, putting on the Sometimes Rabbit head and trying to get Jenny's cat drunk...
That's three bullets, which is probably three too many, so I guess that's all for today. Sometime in February, I'm guessing a venue in Santa Fe will be decided upon, and the official details will be posted so everybody can make their travel and lodging arrangements. In the meanwhile I urge you to drop by Jenny's blog if you are interested in the event so she can put you on the Official TequilaCon 2009 Mailing List...
I've decided I don't want to be on the Official Mailing List. That way I can crash the party unannounced.
Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2009
Twitter is what they call a "micro-blogging" service that allows you to post quick 140-character updates throughout your day and have them compiled into a webfeed with other Twitter users. I signed up for it as a joke when I made my DaveStalker™ page, and thought I'd get bored with it in a week. That was several months ago.
All this time I've been treating Twitter as a "disposable" medium to post random crap. Except Twitter isn't disposable. It's not only archived in several places, but shows up in Google searches as well.
This was made known to me this morning when I received an email from a former co-worker who was looking for me on the internet... and found my Twitter feed. This came as a bit of a shock. I don't really think about what I post there, so I had no idea what it was saying about me.
So I took a look, and pulled some random tweets of mine from the past couple months...
"Thinking of breaking my vegetarianism if only I could find some unicorn meat. I hear it's magically delicious!"
"I WANT HOT COCOA!! HOT COCOA, BITCHES!!!"
"Getting ready to make love to the Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa packet. Oh how I love your creamy hotness, Swiss Miss!"
"As a tribute to crack-whores everywhere (bless them!), I am blasting Amy Winehouse music while waiting for the MacWorld keynote to begin."
"Oooh! It's Madonna... she's going to dress me up in her love! I hope all my immunizations are current."
"= tee hee = I'm leaving comments while naked and eating pizza. Praying that an errant drop of molten cheese doesn't ruin my day."
"I'd say that the Hewlett-Packard B9180 printer is shit, but it aspires to be that good. It dreams of one day becoming shit."
"I an so totally hammered right now. Thank heavens for spell-chuck!"
"Oooh! It's a hamster!"
"DANCE HAMSTER! DANCE YOUR FURRY ASS OFF!"
"I make no apologies for being an Apple whore. They can take mundane shit and make it fascinating. Microsoft? Exactly the opposite."
"I hate watching Wheel of Fortune when some bitch is 'woo-woo-ing' it up like a drunken whore at a frat party. SHUT UP! JUST STFU!!"
"A guy at my flight's gate is praying the rosary. What does he know that I don't know?"
"Oh. He's a priest. I guess they don't have to have a reason to pray the rosary."
"I want Johnny Lee Miller's wardrobe from the movie 'Hackers.'"
"Wow. You know the weather in Seattle is bad when you can't even order up a hooker to your hotel suite! I wonder if they get hazard pay?"
"Shit shit shit shit SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!"
"I have fleeting moments of feeling happy with my life, but just as I try to grab ahold of them, they vanish. Now I wait for the next moment."
"Drunk girl at airport yelling to anybody who will listen that she needs some pot. And possibly crackers. I can't tell what she's saying."
"If your child is posessed by Satan, please leave it chained in the basement instead of bringing it to Disney World."
"EMBRACE THE HORROR!!"
"Wow. Disney's Animal Kingdom has a very big anti-poacher bias. Where are the poachers to present their side of the story?"
"I hate people. Just about everybody. Well, everybody except you, of course."
"If every day was like today, I'd be sticking my head in a Cuisinart and punching 'puree' or maybe 'chop'"
"You know the French Fries are going to be fucking fabulous when they're so greasy that ketchup won't even stick to them."
"Hey! The rumor is true... blood really is hard to wash off your hands!
"Oddly enough, I never have this kind of trouble when it's my own blood. I wish this mess would stay a pretty red when it dries on the walls."
"Wheee! It's like finger paints, but with hematological goodness baked right in!"
"Oooh... Paula Abdul's stalker has turned up dead! Lesson to live by... Don't Fuck With Paula Abdul.
"Holy crap... I've run out of hot glue sticks. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEBODY GET ME MORE HOT GLUE STICKS!! I'm shooting blanks here, people!"
Meh. Could be worse I suppose.
It just goes to show, there is nothing posted to the internet that can't come back to haunt you in the future.
So when those photos eventually pop up, please understand that I was young and needed the money...
Posted on Sunday, January 11th, 2009
Wah. I have a headache. And on Bullet Sunday too.
• Arbitrary. There is right and there is wrong and there is that murky gray area in-between. And yet, it is all a matter of perspective. Where lines are drawn and on which side things are placed is entirely dependent upon the person in question. And that's okay. I understand that, I accept that. But when people define their lines in one breath... then move them to suit their situation in the next... I call bullshit. Moral high ground affords a terrific view, but it's lonely up there when nobody will stand by your hypocritical ass.
• Clarification. No, that wasn't about you.
• Foggy. There's a lot of fog out tonight. I do not like fog...
• Sullified. Thanks to Dan, I now have Sully both at home and at work. My new Sully is very cool because he comes with his own Mike Wazowski...
• Experienced. Memes, once the backbones of most every blog on the internet, have been dying a slow death. I did a grand total of six last year, and half of those were in the first quarter. But every once in a while they pop up, so I thought I'd jump on the "Have You Experienced..." meme which I first saw at Badger Meets World, then again at Anyhoo... As always, to spare the meme-haters out there, I've dropped it in an extended entry.
Now back to a very busy week, already in progress...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2009
Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
I had made a promise to myself that I would stay home an entire month so I could recuperate after the continuous travel-hell I was subjected to the last three months... but, alas...
Here I am packing my suitcase again.
I am not even a little upset about it. I had two-and-a-half glorious travel-free weeks, so it's not like I can really complain. Besides, I'm heading to So-Cal, where I understand the weather is fantastic. This would be a nice change from the freezing fog that's been plaguing us in the valley here for the past several days.
Assuming the airport is open tomorrow.
If the weather continues to suck, I may not be going anywhere.
Which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world because, assuming I do make it out, I'm back for only a week before I fly out again.
In the meanwhile, I will attempt to make the most out of the five hours sleep I get tonight. A pity I've been wrestling with stomach cramps all evening and won't be able to enjoy it.
Posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
I just paid $4.00 for a bottle of Italian Spring Water at my hotel.
I wish I could say that when I close my eyes and drink it, the taste is evocative of Italy... but all I taste is wet. That's a darn shame.
So here I am in San Diego. It's a wonderful place that everybody should visit at least once in their life. If, for no other reason, to make a pilgrimage to the city of my birth. There isn't a temple here in honor of the occasion, but there really should be. Or maybe instead of a temple there could be a statue of me standing in Balboa Park. I dunno. There just needs to be someplace my worshippers can go to go pay their respects and place flowers to celebrate my greatness. And make a donation to the Dave Monument I'm planning to build in the land formerly occupied by Mt. Ranier National Park.
Hmmm... I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but San Diego would be the perfect place to put my Daveland amusement park! I will convince the city to plow under the San Diego Zoo and put Daveland there instead! What a great location!
Boy, being back to the city of my birth really has me firing on all cylinders tonight.
And speaking of San Diego... there's a few people in town wanting to meet up for dinner on Friday night, if you're in the area and would like to come along, please send me an email ASAP so we can make plans. My email address is at the top of the sidebar on every page.
Unfortunately, I landed to learn of the terrible news that Ricardo Montalban had died.
I, of course, loved him as Mr. Roarke on the show Fantasy Island. Every kid growing up in the late 70's did, because he was the epitome of coolness. He'd walk around in those flawless white suits being all friendly and good-natured and "Welcome to Fantasy Island" and stuff. But then he'd occasionally show his darker side... proving that he could be a total badass as well. It's unthinkable to envision anybody else playing the character except Mr. Montalban (indeed, even the brilliant Malcolm McDowell couldn't manage it when there was a failed revival series twenty years later).
But, to me and so many others, Ricardo Montalban will forever be Khan...
The role of the maniacal villain in the second Star Trek film was not an easy one to play. Indeed, I'd say it was a thankless and impossible role to play. As written, the part was so badly over-the-top... almost to the point of being comical.
Until it was performed by Ricardo Montalban.
He played the character deadly-serious, and turned in a performance so riveting that it cemented Khan as one of the greatest movie villains of all time (indeed, even the brilliant Malcolm McDowell couldn't top it in a follow-up film, Star Trek: Generations). After watching Star Trek II, I fell in love with all things Trek again, and I really have Ricardo Montalban to thank for it. He will definitely be missed.
Even if you don't like Star Trek, you should absolutely check out Wrath of Khan. Montalban's performance is totally worth it. Oh, and don't forget his masterful performance in the first The Naked Gun movie as well!
Lastly, I urge you to read a fantastic blog entry about what it was like working with Mr. Montalban over at Mark Evanier's News From Me site. He was truly an amazing guy and a class-act.
P.S. All my best wishes to my personal hero, Steve Jobs, for a speedy and full recovery.
Posted on Thursday, January 15th, 2009
I did not want to come here.
The last quarter of 2008 was a very hard travel period for me. I was stuck in airports and hotels more than I was home. I was dragged from one corner of the country to the other. I was worked to a state of exhaustion that doesn't go away anytime soon. Yes there were fun moments, but it is not much fun. I just wanted to stay home for a while.
But "home" has been a miserable place as of late. Freezing fog has made the days depressing and gray... the nights cold and bleak.
Turns out a few days in gorgeous San Diego may be just what I need.
After work, this was my day.
Drinking Jäger and Stella at a beautiful waterfront bar...
Enjoying flawless blue skies and the ocean air at Harbor Island...
Looking for the Super Friends at the Hall of Justice...
Eating Pinkberry with fresh strawberries...
In-between all that, there might have been a few more bars and some drinking.
= ahem =
Tomorrow will hopefully be more of the same.
Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2009
Today Hilly-Sue drove down from The O.C. to hang out with me in San Diego.
With nothing better to do until Suzy-Jane got off work, we decided to go to SeaWorld. I used to go quite regularly when I was flying down to San Diego to visit with family in the early 90's, but hadn't been back since. On the way up, she went through Ocean Beach so we could drive through the neighborhood I grew up in. I'd been through a few times before, but this time my dad had given me an address so I could scope out the right place. I was very young at the time I was living there, so I only really remember it from photos, but it's an interesting visit never-the-less.
Then it was time for SeaWorld...
Overall, SeaWorld kind of sucked. Hilly-Sue and I can have a blast anywhere, so we were able to entertain ourselves despite it all, but still... lame. Not at all worth $65, especially considering that two of the three rides there were closed (Journey to Atlantis, and Sky Tower), and the Sky-Buckets cost $3.00 extra.
The worst place in the park was "Sea Turtle Cove" which was a way-too-small tank where they had stuffed in way too many turtles. Those poor things who weren't sleeping were slapping the windows with their flippers trying to get out. It was about the saddest thing you can imagine, and kind of ruined the rest of the day for us.
But we tried our best to have fun and, if you can get over the fact that these animals really don't have enough space to roam like they should, there are some interesting things to see...
From there we went back to San Diego's Gaslamp District for dinner with SJ. Here we are showing her our Shamu "Believe" necklaces...
We ate at the most excellent "Nicky Rottens" where they have a great veggie burger on the menu...
As we were walking back to the parking garage, we ran into a giant talking cupcake!
She demanded us to go to Heavenly Cupcakes for even more dessert, and who were we to argue? They are indeed, heavenly, as you can see by the halos that come on each one...
The end. Thanks to Hilly-Sue and Suzy-Jane for a fantastic final day in So-Cal!
Posted on Saturday, January 17th, 2009
Posted on Sunday, January 18th, 2009
It's back to foggy, freezy, Central Washington for another edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Flying. No, I am not more nervous about flying after the emergency landing by US Airways into the Hudson River. Statistically speaking, flying is still one of the safest ways to travel, and one of the safest activities you can do, period. I am more nervous walking across the street while dumbasses are out there driving while being distracted by their mobile phones. And this is not idle speculation. I've lost count over the number of times somebody has nearly nailed me, my car, or my motorcycle because they were driving without paying attention. I'll take flying any day. Every day.
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the obvious... everybody on that flight is still alive.
• Player. I don't have a lot of free time. What little free time I do have is spent in Animal Crossing...
Apparently I have nothing better to do with my personal life than this...
I don't know whether this is something to celebrate or apologize for. I owe myself a lot of apologies lately.
• Polaroid. Even in this age of digital photography... I still shoot film from time to time. There are things that digital cameras simply cannot capture in a way that the chemical reaction of film is able to. And one of the most fun ways of playing with film is the immediate satisfaction of a Polaroid instant film picture. Except Polaroid discontinued making instant film in June of last year. I find it kind of sad that future generations won't know the joy of it all. But, fortunately for everybody, The Impossible Project has come to save us. A group of Polaroid fans have purchased the manufacturing equipment from Polaroid, and signed a lease on an old Polaroid factory in the Netherlands. They anticipate producing new instant film for legacy Polaroid camera equipment starting 2010. I will be first in line to purchase some. If you'd like to show your support for the project, you can sign up for updates at their site.
• Trust. There is no substitute for an impartial, trusted review. None. When I am wanting to buy something, the first thing I do is research it on the internet... and completely disregard any glowing 100% positive reviews left by an untrusted source. This story about Belkin paying for positive reviews is why. It's far better to learn what problems people are having than what they are loving, because that's about the only thing guaranteed to be real. At some point, companies are going to have to fucking learn that you can't manipulate the internet and live to tell about it. In the age of blogs, the truth will prevail. Eventually. And, on that note, let me reiterate for anybody doing a Google search... The Hewlett-Packard B9180 printer is the biggest pile of shit I have ever owned... twice.
• Star Walk. For anybody with an iPod Touch or iPhone who has even a passing interest in stargazing or exploring the universe, you are in for a treat. Vito Technology has created a stunning piece of star map software called Star Walk.I don't know whether to be more amazed that such a beautiful piece of software runs so amazingly well on my iPhone... or that they're only charging $4.99 to buy it! The zoomable interface is very elegant, and looks like this...
And, of course, you can switch to night-mode, which looks like this...
When you zoom in using the iPhone's multi-touch screen, details from the built-in celestial database begin to appear over stars, planets, galaxies, and deep space objects of interest (note the cool lens flare from the sun!)...
Tapping an object selects it. If you then tap the "info" button, it brings up relevant information in a very cool Star Trek "PADD" kind of interface, complete with nifty beeps and boops! The iPhone mute settings are respected, so sounds can be muted if you wish to explore in silence...
It's apps like this that make owning an iPhone so compelling. You can buy it from the iTunes Store here.
If only it wasn't completely overcast out so I could even look at the stars.
Except on my iPhone.
And in Animal Crossing, which is where I'm off to now...
Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
The topic du jour seems to be, what else, Barack Obama's inauguration.
Ultimately most conversations boiled down to how confident everybody was in Obama's ability to turn things around for the USA and leave it in better shape than he found it after four years in office. Everybody I've talked to was surprisingly optimistic. Even the Republicans felt that Obama has such momentum behind him that things were bound to improve in the short-run, even though they were wary of his policies over the long haul.
My only contribution to the conversation was this: "When you're at rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. Obama has no choice but to make things better because they can't get any worse." Which is not entirely true (of course things can get worse), but is still an accurate assessment on many levels. After all, we now have a president who can speak in coherent sentences and knows how to pronounce the word "nuclear" so he doesn't sound like a complete moron. See? Things are improving already.
But where does hope-fueled fantasy end and fact-based reality begin?
With Obama, it's hard to tell. As I've said numerous times, he got my vote not because I think he has magical powers to fix the country... but because he's who I felt would be least likely to fuck things up further. Not a ringing endorsement, to be sure, but it was motivation enough to get me donating money to his campaign.
I have no idea what's going to happen next. If we're lucky, Obama will live up to the hype and a golden age will ensue. Sure it's unlikely, but it's not inconceivable. One thing is for certain, however... the days ahead should prove very interesting.
In other news... did anybody else see that the Aurora Borealis was out last night? It was a pretty sight...
Blargh. Where did this day go?
Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
This has been an unbelievably crappy day, and it's not even over yet.
It's hard for me to complain too much, because things are tough all over. There's a lot of people having a lot of bad days, and the odds of things getting better any time soon are growing slimmer with each passing moment.
Rather than dwell on the depressing state of my existence now, I've decided to look ahead to a (hopefully) better future.
One week from now, I will be meeting up with the incomparable Ms. Sizzle...
... to go see Etta James in concert...
... and perhaps even have a cupcake love affair with Kate...
Right now it's the lovely lady trifecta of Sizzle, Etta, and Kate that's keeping me going.
Without them to look forward to, I'd probably be passed out drunk.
Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2009
It is tough to blog when you're in the condition I'm in.
The past couple of weeks has been very difficult and I'm not expecting things to improve any time soon. It seems as if every part of my life is in some kind of turmoil, and I'm just exhausted from it all. It's gotten to the point where I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. All I want is for the world to go away. I gave up using alcohol to escape from my troubles a long time ago, but it is looking like a better solution every day (albeit a temporary one that causes more problems than it ever solves).
I work very hard to be multi-dimensional. Mostly because people who make their entire life all about one thing are not interesting to me. Those whose entire life is about their job and nothing else. Or being gay and nothing else. Or being Christian and nothing else.* Or being Jewish and nothing else.* Or being political and nothing else. Or whatever. Every time you see them, hear from them, talk to them, or even think about them, they're all about that one thing and rarely ever express any other side to their existence. I get bored easily, so tend to ignore these one-dimensional beings as a matter of course.
So being depressed and nothing else is just not something I can let myself do... even on my blog.
I had considered taking a hiatus last week but ended up going to San Diego, which gave me something else to write about. I had considered starting a hiatus tonight, but will soon be going to Seattle for two days, then to Germany for a week, so that seemed kind of pointless. Odds are that leaving the country for a bit will snap me out of this funk I'm in, so I would have broken a long chain of daily blogging for nothing. And it's not like I'm looking for more things to be depressed about.
So for the next couple of days if I post stupider crap than usual in an effort to amuse myself and add some dimension to my miserable existence, I hope I can be forgiven.
And because efforts to cheer me up would probably backfire, I'll spare you the uncomfortable situation of trying to come up with something appropriate to say by turning off comments for this entry.
Why? Because I like you!
No reason for both of us to feel like crap.
* Do you ever notice how when you make a list with a religion in it, the passage can be interpreted as offensive? Had I only put "Christian" in that list or only "Jewish" in that list, it would seem as though I was coming down on that faith when my only intent was to provide an example. Very few things strike with this kind of sensitivity, and I'm thinking there's a metaphor for religious coexistence in there somewhere.
Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009
I am not here today. I am setting back US foreign relations a couple of decades by guest-posting a Canadian Travel Journal entry over at LeSombre's blog.
I am thinking today's lunch will be courtesy of Taco Bell. Things are looking up already!
UPDATE: My guest post has been archived in an extended entry in case LeSombre should decide to disappear from the internet one day!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, January 25th, 2009
'Tis once again time to unleash the bullets on this fine Sunday evening!
• Export. It's kind of an annual tradition for me to leave the country for my birthday. It started as a way to escape people wanting to throw me a party, but eventually just became habit (last year I went to Oslo). I had made a decision to skip this year and save the money, but eventually changed my mind. The crappy economy means airfare and hotels can be found cheaper, negating the horrendously shitty value of the US dollar abroad. It's still very expensive, but at least it doesn't require me to sell a kidney. The problem is that I only have a week, which really isn't enough time to explore any of my dream destinations like India or Australia, so where? Perhaps someplace I've been to before so there's no pressure to play tourist and I can just goof around for a few days...
• Dave Britain. And so Davedon and Davenburgh are on for March...
LONDON: I will be in London March 19-23rd & 25th. Since weekends seem to be easier for a blogger-meet, I'm thinking an early dinner on Saturday the 21st would be nice. If you'd rather meet up for lunch or dinner some other time, just let me know!
EDINBURGH: I will be in Edinburgh March 24-25 (UPDATE: This has been changed from the original Sunday date so as not to conflict with "Mothering Sunday" in the UK). I'm thinking we could have a blogger-meet after working hours on Tuesday the 24th.
If meeting up with some bloggers in either city sounds good to you, just drop me an email... my address is in the sidebar on every page!
• Twenty-Five. This weekend is the 25th anniversary of the Apple Macintosh personal computer. I find it sweetly ironic that a fucktard like Michael Dell was trashing Apple publicly only a few years ago, saying that the company should close up shop and give their money back to the stockholders. You can hardly blame him though... with Apple out of the picture, his ugly-ass Dell computer crap wouldn't look so tragic by comparison. But thanks to continuing innovations with Mac OS X and their massive hits with iPods and iPhones, Apple is doing just fine. And trading about $80 higher per share than Dell. Many congratulations to my favorite fruit-themed computer company!
• OBAMA! I had been passing along a link to some hilarious products shots for the Obama Action Figure, and was dismayed to find that they've since been removed. Fortunately, I still have a few of them archived on my MacBook. I'm going to post them here so I won't lose them, because they're pretty bad-ass...
Seriously, wouldn't you feel better about having a president with ninja skills?
Obama getting ready to pop a cap in some Congressman's ass for not voting properly.
The Force is strong with Obama-Wan Kenobi!
A president who isn't afraid of taking care of bidness!
I wants me the Obama doll... but the DID Corporation site doesn't offer much help.
And thus concludes another Bullet Sunday. Next week my bullets will be fired from Germany, where hopefully I'll have donuts to blog about...
Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
I'm not the kind of person to disrespect a religious leader.
But screw the pope.
I've made no secret of the fact that I was raised Catholic. I was baptized... I attended Sunday School... I took communion... I went to church when I could. Even after I stopped attending service, I still maintained ties with the Catholic church so I could help with projects and fund-raising events and such. On top of that, I continued to go to Easter Sunday mass and Midnight Christmas mass long after I had stopped calling myself a Catholic... all because I missed the ritual and community of it all.
Despite eventually embracing different beliefs, I still loved the church.
Partly because I still had many friends and family who were members, but mostly because of the tremendous respect, admiration, and affection I had towards Pope John Paul II. He was a truly great man, and did remarkable things to make the Catholic Church less insular and more a part of the world community. He was a tireless advocate of human rights. He reached out to other religions in an effort to create a new era of acceptance and understanding between faiths. He was the embodiment of Christian ideals. He was a brilliant writer. He spoke a dozen languages. He made public apologies for historical wrongs of his church. He was a true leader... inspirational not only to his followers, but to everyone.
Not that I agreed with everything he did or stood for... that would be impossible for anybody. But I never lost respect for him.
And now all of John Paul II's hard work is systematically being destroyed by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.
I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, despite being a member of Hitler's Youth and his best efforts to drag the church back to the dark ages. But then he refused to see the Dalai Lama at the Vatican, and I was done. Who refuses to see the Dalai Lama? The pope offended an aspect of my faith (as he had already done to so many others) and so I was done. Done.
And then today Pope Benedict un-excommunicated four renegade bishops which John Paul II had excommunicated. That's his privilege, but one of these bishops was Richard Williamson, a Holocaust-denying anti-Semitic asshole. Pissing all over John Paul II's legacy is one thing... but this is unforgivable. And I honestly don't give a shit why Benedict did it. He's done a very shameful thing, and I am deeply saddened for Catholics who have been tied to denial of this horrific act...
Somehow, I'm beyond done.
It's not even that he's a Holocaust denier. I mean, it is crazy given the mountains of evidence he claims doesn't exist (not to mention the testimony of not only the Jews who either survived or were forced to work at the camps, but also the Nazis interrogated after the war). For me it's the casual and condescending way that he dismisses the deaths of the people he admits were killed. Like a couple hundred thousand exterminated is a perfectly okay amount because it's not the nearly six million that has been estimated. What kind of priest has an attitude like this? As a man of God, shouldn't he be even a little horrified?
I'm wondering if now is the time for me to enact a hostile takeover of the papacy...
One of the hallmarks of being pope is infallibility. Obviously the current pope doesn't fit the bill. He's making mistakes right and left (as today's decision should make painfully obvious).
I'll get started on the "Dave Is My Pope" shirts.
Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
Today as I was driving home, a car went screaming past me into the left-turn lane. It then proceeded to blow through a red light at top speed. Unfortunately for them, a police car was first in line at the opposite side of the light. It took the cop all of two seconds to flip his lights on and go tearing after the reckless driver.
As I sat there waiting for the light to change, I started wondering what was so urgent that this person would risk not only getting a ticket, but also getting in an accident and potentially killing somebody.
Here's what I came up with...
That last one got me wondering... how long will it be before musical artists tell record labels to go fuck themselves and take control over their own property?
I only ask, because I am sick and tired of music labels having a choke-hold on who gets to buy an artist's work. When I can't buy a song because a record label is too stupid, lazy, cheap, or unmotivated to make it available to me, something is wrong. In this day and age of digital music distribution, I should be able to buy any piece of music I want. I shouldn't be denied because the artist doesn't have a distributor in my country for the song. I shouldn't be denied because the song is old and out of print. I shouldn't be denied because the artist's label has decided there's no audience for the song where I live.
And yet, that's where we're at.
And it makes zero sense.
Sure musical artists need an investment to promote their work... but that should come in the form of a partner, not a music label overlord who takes ownership and control. The business model has got to change.
Because when you make it so that I can't BUY your music, I'm going to find another way. Hopefully legally, but you know...
Posted on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
Have you ever had an experience so utterly bizarre and disturbing that you just can't find words to adequately describe it?
That pretty much sums up the Etta James concert I attended with Ms. Sizzle this evening. Though, before I get to the bizarre and disturbing part, I should preface this entry by saying I GOT TO SEE THE LEGENDARY MISS ETTA JAMES IN CONCERT!!! To say I am a fan is a bit of an understatement. I've loved her forever, but it was after having heard Etta sing her signature song "At Last" on the movie soundtrack for Pleasantville, I became mildly obsessed. I started tracking down what music of hers I could find, and even ended up with some stuff on vinyl. Of course, now-a-days you can get pretty much everything from the iTunes Music Store, but back then it was a little more challenging.
But oh so worth it.
Etta James has a voice that's as big as a house and fills your soul. Truly a legend.
Fast forward to a month ago when Sizzle announces on Twitter that Miss James is coming to Seattle. Having never seen her perform live, I ask Sizz if she wants some company, and she manages to snag us third-row seats for the event. It doesn't get much sweeter than that!
Now, before I get to why I'm having a difficult time writing about it, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Etta James can still blow the doors off a concert hall. At eighty-one years old, that's a pretty impressive feat. She may enter the stage on a scooter and have to sit down to perform, but you'd never know it to listen to her. After all these years, she's just as amazing as you could hope for.
This had to be the single most sexually-charged, balls-nasty, horrifyingly inappropriate concert I have ever been to.
And I've seen Madonna.
For the first song, which I believe was a stirring rendition of "Tell Mama," (but could be wrong because I am still traumatized), Etta... performed(?)... some kind of sex act on stage. It was hilarious, and the crowd was going nuts while she was making sexually-suggestive hand gestures, making kissie-face noises, flicking her tongue at the crowd, licking up the microphone, getting up and shaking her ass, fondling her breasts, and rubbing her crotch. Sizzle and I were dying, because it was as if Etta was making a joke about being 81 years old and still singing a song that was so sexually charged. It was all brilliant and very, very funny. And Etta sounded amazing.
Wiping the tears from our eyes, we applauded her "act" and waited for the second song to begin. I'm thinking it was the senses-shattering "I'd Rather Go Blind" (but, again, I'm still in a state of shock and could be wrong).
The inappropriate crotch rubbing, tongue flicking, and breast fondling continued in earnest.
On pretty much every song in her hour-long performance.
Things went from being a hysterical parody to just... wrong.
And then came the "fuck Beyonce" rant, where Etta just went off the rails about being able to kick Beyonce's ass... presumably because Beyonce sang her song, "At Last," at Obama's inauguration. This came as a total surprise, because I had read that Etta liked Beyonce's rendition, and said she was proud to have had her sing the song. And being that Beyonce credits Etta James as an influence, and worships the ground she walks on, it was all very... puzzling. I didn't quite understand what was going on.
I still don't.
What kills me is that Etta James is still amazing. Even at 81 and singing from a scooter, her voice will slay you. She doesn't need to do the whole scary sex-act car-wreck thing. It's just a distraction from an incredible performance, and is a disservice to both herself and the audience.
Do I regret going?
Hell no! I GOT TO SEE THE LEGENDARY MISS ETTA JAMES IN CONCERT!!!
But something tells me the image of her "performance" will haunt my nightmares for a while yet...
Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2009
According to Google maps, I walked almost five miles today.
I don't get nearly enough exercise, so this is probably a good thing. Or would have been if I weren't breaking in a new pair of shoes. As it is now, I've got some nice blisters on my feet that should make travel ever so fun tomorrow!
Anyway... the bad news is that there's not really anything worth blogging about today. The worse news is that I'm waiting for a movie rental to download from iTunes, so I'm going to blog anyway!
WARNING: This is an extremely uninteresting entry. Unless following a boring person through their boring day appeals to you, it might be best to just skip it...
• Glazer's Camera Supply. When I get to Germany I'll be needing to take some photographs for work, so I brought along my camera. Problem is, my battery charger stopped working for some reason. Calling around yesterday, I was unable to find an authentic Nikon replacement, but was told at Glazer's they had a cheap-o generic version for $8.95. After I got caught up on work this morning I walked the 1.2 miles to their store only to find their cheap-o version was actually $24.95. This sucked, because it was too late to do anything but pay $24.95 for a hunk of crap. It works though, so I guess that's something.
• Johnny Rockets. They actually had veggies burgers in stock. I nearly died of shock.
• Macy's. When I was gathering my clothes for this trip, I noticed my favorite Cashmere sport jacket had a small tear in the sleeve's seam. Not wanting to make it worse, I decided to buy a new jacket when I got to Seattle. I hate clothes shopping with every fiber of my being, but managed to find a jacket I liked at Macy's. Alas, it was $350, which was more than I wanted to spend. The guy helping me then said "oh, there's a sale" and wandered off to find out what the cost was. Hoping that it would be under $200, I was dumbfounded when he said the price was $54. Apparently it was half-off since it was an older model, and then there was a massive discount on top of that. SCORE!
• Eddie Bauer. Encouraged by my fantastic luck, I went to Eddie Bauer to see if the shirts I like there might be on sale too. Turns out they were, which means nothing. Usually they don't have any styles I like in my custom "Tall" size, so I'm out of luck when it comes to getting anything on sale. But, miracles of miracles, they actually had five styles I liked... all in my size!! And because Eddie Bauer was having a similar "sale on sale priced merchandise" deal, I ended up getting five shirts for the price I usually pay for just one of them. SCORE!
• NikeTown. In a state of total euphoria that I managed to get $650 worth of quality clothes for a mind-boggling $114, I was freaking out at the thought of finding similar deals on other stuff I'd like to get. Such as a new pair of Nike hiking boots! But not only did NikeTown not have anything on sale, they also DON'T CARRY HIKING BOOTS ANYMORE! This completely killed my shopping high, so I decided to abandon my pursuit and haul my new clothes back to the hotel.
• The UPS Store. Last night I transferred as much data off my dying MacBook Pro as I could over to my new MacBook Pro. Since I'd eventually like to goof around with the busted-ass laptop to see if I can revive it as a spare, I decided to ship it back home. There's a UPS shop a couple blocks away, so I popped my old MacBook Pro into the new box, carefully wrapped it with a couple of my new shirts I didn't have room to pack, then added all the software I brought to install on my new machine. This bundle got packed into a duffled bag, which I then dropped off to be shipped. Where when they charged me TWELVE DOLLARS for a shipping box. TWELVE DOLLARS! These pack-and-ship places are a fracking RIP-OFF!! I mean, seriously... TWELVE DOLLARS for a cardboard box and some tape?!?
• Zero Zero. Knowing that I wanted to go back to the crêpe place that Sizzle and I ate at last night, I remembered that the best place to get a haircut in Seattle, Zero Zero, was nearby. As usual, the guy who cut my hair did a fantastic job. And at a fraction of the cost it would have been to stop at Gene Juarez where I used to go to get a decent haircut. SCORE!
• 611 Supreme. The Gruyere crêpe I had yesterday at 611 Supreme was so frickin' amazing that I wanted another for dinner tonight. It didn't disappoint. I only wish I would have had room for the Banana-Nutella dessert crêpe that Sizzle recommended. Next time.
• Bartell Drug. Back down to Westlake Center for some last-minute stuff to re-stock my travel needs: toiletries, allergy pills, headphones, snacks, batteries, Botan Ame Rice Candy... Bartell is one of those stores I love, because they always have exactly what I need.
And now here I am after a long day and a lot of walking.
But not nearly as long as tomorrow is going to be...
I apologize in advance.
Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2009
I am typing this at 9:00am from Seattle, Washington, USA. I will be leaving for the airport in an hour.
I am typing this at 11:00am from Cologne, Germany. 26 hours later.
To me, this day didn't exist, and I never really know what to do about that. I blog every day, so something has to go here... but what? How do you write about something that didn't exist? Where did that day go?
Maybe it got lost... like my luggage.
Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2009
To be completely honest, I did not want to take this trip. I am so tired of traveling as to be near-catatonic, and it would be nice to just like to stay home for a while. But it's important for my work that I be here, so here I am.
Though, now that I'm back in Cologne, I realize that it's a city I feel completely comfortable in. So much so that it's almost like being home. I'm staying at my regular hotel in my regular neighborhood. I know where everything is. I know how everything works. I have friends in the area. I understand German accented English fairly well, and speak just enough of the language (albeit poorly) to get by. The only difference between here and my actual home is the clowns.
For reasons that escape me, Germans love clowns (and David Hasselhoff, but that's another story... possibly related). And since the Köln Karnival is coming up, they're everywhere. You'll be walking around a corner and BLAM!!! There's one of those scary-ass freaky bastards staring at you from a shop window poster...
It's things like this that traumatize my already-fragile mind and will one day send me over the bend. I'll see a scary clown poster one minute, then be running down the street naked screaming "DIE BOZO, DIIIIIIIIIEEE!!!" the next.
Sadly, unlike last year's drunken blog entry, I am too early for Karnival this time. I'm assuming this means there will be no Giant Flaming Wheel of Meat or attacks by transgender viking warriors to blog about.
That's a bummer, but I really have no cause to complain. My flight was awesome despite it being nine hours long. I didn't have to sit by any dumbasses or screaming kids. The movies I rented for my iPhone were all fantastic. My hotel had a room ready for me even though I arrived four hours before check-in. It doesn't get much better than this.
The only bad bit of news was that my luggage didn't show up... assumably having missed my connecting flight in Amsterdam.
But after having a wonderful dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe with some fellow Hard Rock fans, I opened the door to my hotel room and there it was!
It's just like magic, and now I'm the happiest boy in the whole world!
Or at least in Cologne.
Given the clown density in this place, that's saying a lot.