I'M SICK! Well, sick as usual. I've been feeling poorly since I got back from Amsterdam. I'm sure it's just fatigue from non-stop-travel and working all hours of the night and day... but it's getting old. I'm tired of feeling crappy. I have a feeling that this will be a shorter than usual Bullet Sunday.
• Vote! Just a reminder to my fellow Washingtonians, there's precious little time left to get your votes in to APPROVE Referendum 71. All ballots are due by November 3rd, so if you haven't mailed your ballot and believe that everybody should have equal rights under the law, be sure to take care of it ASAP! I know I've posted this video before, and I realize it was made for the state of Maine, but it really applies everywhere, and is worth your valuable time to watch...
• Buttah! The latest commercial for "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" is pretty cool...
Except it looks strangely familiar...
Who do I talk to about getting paid for them using my idea?
• Saints! Guess what's opening this week?
That's right! After nearly a decade of waiting, the sequel to Boondock Saints is nigh!
The original Boondock Saints is one of those odd "guilty pleasure" movies that there's no reason on earth I should like... but I do. I've seen it a dozen times, and scare myself with how much of the dialogue I can quote from the film. I can only hope that the long wait for more Boondocks won't be met with disappointment. The crappy Star Wars prequels are still fresh in my mind.
Annnnd... I'm spent.
Not a good day to be Dave2.
If you're sensitive to foul language, adult situations, and abundant use of the "F-word," it would be best to skip this entry.
This rant has been placed in an extended entry to protect the innocent...
A trip over the mountains this morning has ultimately landed me in one of Seattle's finest hotels. A hotel which I have enjoyed many times in the past... but that was when I was placed in rooms on the "quiet side" of the hotel. Being stuck on the "noisy side" is paramount to torture, and has given new definition to the phrase "sucking ass." If I manage to get any sleep at all tonight it will be a full-on miracle.
Finn over at A Life Less Ordinary has done the Proust Questionnaire. It seemed like a good idea, so I thought I'd steal it from her. The problem is that there are so many variations of the quiz, that I had no idea which one to take. Eventually I just compiled the most agreeable questions from all the various flavors I was able to dig up...
Hmmmm... it's been a long time since I've done a meme. I had forgotten how easy they make life for a blogger!
I'm working today and don't have much time to blog. Fortunately, mah BFF Hilly-Sue has rescued me for blogging material by being born on this date. All hail the Queen of the People's Republic of Blogistan on her birthday!
I need a taco salad...
You know that feeling when you're in a wide open field with the sky so limitless and all the world surrounds you? Or you know that feeling you get when you're in the mountains where the peaks tower over you and overwhelm your senses? Or do you know that feeling you experience when you're standing in the middle of a big city and the buildings eclipse your every field of view? Or you know that feeling you have when you're out in the ocean with a vast sea encompassing your entire being?
But in a good way.
Sometimes feeling small is what gives a person some much-needed perspective. It is a sign from whatever higher power you believe in that it's not all about you. It gives some critical insight into your place in the grand scheme of things. It makes you realize that there's something bigger... something more...
Washington State offers so many ways to feel small.
But in a good way.
Yet some people here are too busy feeling large to notice. They think their personal perspective can fill the entire world because they refuse to open their eyes and see.
And so they sleep.
To those who are awake... enjoy the view!
I'm not a talented enough writer to try and explain my day today. So I drew a cartoon instead.
Turn your sarcasm dial on "high" before viewing...
Yeah, life is totally like that.
My day can be summed up thusly...
That probably doesn't mean much to anybody but, if I was able to talk about some of the stuff going on in my life right now, it would make perfect sense. Or not. Sometimes I don't even understand me myself.
It's Bullet Sunday once again... this time with two scoops of raisins for superior raisin bran taste! And a list of stuff to buy.
• XBox 360 Arcade. Yesterday I took Amazon up on their "Gold Box Lightning Deal" to get an XBox 360 Arcade for $198 WITH a $100 Amazon Credit... which, basically, means I'm getting an XBox 360 for $98. It's not that I really want an XBox 360 again (I gave my old one away)... heck, I can't even find time to play with my Nintendo Wii. But what I DO want is a (relatively) inexpensive way of streaming NetFlix "Watch It Now" stuff to my television. To do this, I could buy a $100 Netflix DV Player, or I could buy this $100 XBox 360. Since the cost is the same, I might as well get something that's capable of doing extra stuff.
Like playing Final Fantasy XIII when it's released next Spring...
Amazing, isn't it? Games are just like playing movies now-a-days.
• Mr. Squiggles. This morning I found out that a mishap involving a really angry woman at Toys-R-Us a while back inadvertently ended up with me owning this year's hottest toy... Zhu Zhu Hamster Mr. Squiggles...
I just bought him because a foul-mouthed bitch who couldn't read signs threw him on the floor. And he was only $10. And he looked cool. And who wouldn't want a battery-operated hamster? I showed him off and let him run around for a while until his batteries ran out, then stuck him somewhere I can't remember. Then this morning I found out from Beth's Twitter feed that everybody wants Zhu Zhu Hamsters, and they're going for a small fortune on eBay. I wish I could find mine. I wish I had kept his box. I wish somebody would find Mr. Squiggles and his box then pay me $100 for him. Because, yeah... while he was great for five minutes, I can't fathom him being worth more than the $10 I paid. Apparently a lot of people disagree, and now the asshole toy scalpers are making a fortune. What a sick way to make extra cash.
• Give Me Liberty. In the world of comic books, the two hottest titles of all time are The Dark Knight Returns, a grim imagining of Batman's future by Frank Miller... and Watchmen, the groundbreaking reality super-heroes book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Both of these amazing comic series debuted in 1986, and were a revelation to me (and most everybody else) at the time. After the Dark Knight & Watchmen furor blew over, the question on everybody's mind was "what's the next big thing?" For Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons, the answer was a vastly under-appreciated gem in 1990 called Give Me Liberty: An American Dream, the story of a woman named Martha Washington. Born in the slums of Chicago in 1995, she escaped her terrible life by joining PAX (the Military Peace Corps) and went on to numerous (and often very violent) adventures. I loved the book, and was desperate for more after the four brief issues in the series flew by. Fortunately, another series and a number of one-shot books followed... furthering Martha's adventures right up until her death. Now, at long last, this remarkable story has been collected in one massive volume: The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century...
And it is glorious. It's a massive tome totaling 600 pages and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Dark Horse Comics used the oversize "Absolute" format that DC Comics has been using for their releases, and it's a fantastic format to appreciate Dave Gibbons' incredible artwork...
As if that wasn't enough, the book also features new introductions to each story by Gibbons and 40 pages of development sketches and promotional material.
The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century retails for $99, but I shopped around and found it on special for $65 including tax and shipping. It's worth every penny and is highly recommended.
• The High Cost of Living. And, while I'm waxing poetic about brilliant comic book compilations, I would be remiss in not mentioning DC Comic's stunning Absolute Death book. Featuring one of my favorite comic characters of all time, Death, by Neil Gaiman and Chris Bachalo...
She's cute, smart, funny, and just happens to be there when you die... and, for reasons that are not entirely clear... when you're born. Absolute Death collects a few of her appearances from The Sandman along with her two solo mini-series Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life plus a wealth of supplemental material including a Death illustration gallery and a sketchbook by Bachalo. It retails for $99.99 and would be a bargain at twice the price... but can be purchased at discount for around $65 plus shipping.
• The Best Things. Now that I don't have any money left because I bought a bunch of stuff I didn't need and can't afford, I thought I'd mention that there was a beautiful view outside my window this evening and I got to look at it for free.
Now I'm tired from working all weekend, so I think I'll take my broke ass to bed and read a book.
Fellow bloggers have influenced me in more ways than I'll ever admit.
Other times, like now when I have nothing else to blog about, I'm happy to admit anything.
Back in mid-October, Josh of ("Josh is Trashy" fame) ran across an old Richard Scarry book from his childhood called Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. His entry brought back all kinds of memories for me because I loved Richard Scarry books when I was a kid. They never displaced Curious George as my all-time favorite, but I spent a lot of time reading them because they were a lot of fun.
Anyway, Josh took a second look at the book and found out that some of the illustrations were actually pretty messed up when viewed from a more adult perspective. He added his own dialogue and hilarity ensued...
It's the second illustration that changed my life. I loved it so much that I recreated it as my desktop picture...
Which is probably a bad thing, because it's been influencing my behavior. Whenever something crappy comes my way now, I stop everything and say "This is bullshit!"... All day long... Every day since...
It's kind of amusing when I'm alone.
But a different story entirely when I'm in the middle of a business meeting and suddenly feel compelled to say "This is bullshit!" to a client or co-worker sitting at the table. It's even worse when you say it in the check-out line at the grocery store because the bitch ahead of you has 14 items in the "10 Items or Less" lane.
I can't help it. It works in just about every situatuon. Including other Richard Scarry illustrations...
If you want your life to be ruined too (thanks, Josh!) you should check out his original entry.
It was a strange day.
It started with me being backed into a corner with few options. Eventually I had to choose my way out. And though I'm still not sure I made the right choice, I'm so relieved to have escaped the situation that I really don't care. Because when you've had a weight pressing down on you long enough, getting rid of the constant pressure is worth just about any price. I guess I'll celebrate now and worry about the consequences later...
Now I have the pressure of wondering if I made the correct decision hanging over me.
If it's not one thing it's another.
It's Veteran's Day!
Tonight Applebee's was offering an entrée to all veterans, so I took my mom (US Navy Veteran!) to claim her free dinner. It was a really nice thing for the restaurant chain to do... but the place was packed to the rafters, and most of them weren't veterans. They were just accompanying a veteran (like me, my brother, and sister-in-law). So Applebee's was making out like bandits, probably clearing one of their biggest money-making days ever. I actually think that's pretty cool though. Do something nice, and get something in return... everybody wins!
Which is why a group of friends and I continue to take turns grabbing names from AnySoldier.com and sending care packages to them while they're serving far from home. Soldiers get something that makes their lives a little better, and we get to be the ones who makes it happen... everybody wins!
If you want to know how YOU can help, I've written about AnySolder.com --here-- and --here--.
(With my apologies to the Coast Guard, but I haven't received a name in that branch of service yet!)
A heartfelt thank you to all those who are serving in our military or have served in the past (thanks mom & dad!) and those who have given their lives in service of a grateful nation.
I've said it before, but every day should be Veteran's Day.
I just spent 20 minutes writing a blog entry that I ultimately cannot post.
I then spent 10 minutes being mad because I had just wasted 20 minutes of my life.
And then I spent 15 minutes realizing that the 20 minutes I had spent writing was actually kind of healing to me, at which point I was pissed at the 10 minutes I spent being mad. It's a vicious circle. But ultimately I came to two inescapable conclusions: 1) Getting mad is, more often than not, pointless... and 2) Some doors are better left closed...
I am so very thankful tomorrow is Friday. Not that Fridays really mean much... I still have to work the weekends... but at least the work stops piling up on Saturday and Sunday.
Oh yeah! And one last thing before I go...
Because it drives me nuts when idiots present historic inaccuracies as facts, I am compelled to point out that the original motto of these United States of America was considered to be "E pluribus unum" (in Latin) or "Out of many one" (translated into English). While never ratified by law, it did (and does) appear on The Great Seal of the United States, and has since 1776 (really, you can look it up on Wikipedia!). "In God we trust" didn't become our official motto until 1956 when it was made so by act of Congress (so much for separation of Church and State).
Which is why the next time I hear some moron saying "...and that's why our founding fathers made 'In God We Trust' our national motto..." as the basis of an argument, you'll understand my overwhelming desire to punch them in the face.
Getting mad may be pointless, but stupid is stupid.
This morning after waking up and working for a couple hours in bed, I took a shower, got dressed, and started packing up my crap to go into the office. Then I walked by my window, saw it was snowing, took my laptop back out of my bag, and sat down on the couch. I just wasn't in the mood to deal with snow on a Friday. Especially Friday the Thirteenth.
After an hour of winter denial, I scraped off my car and headed out into this snowy wonder bullshit.
Though I should probably clarify that it's not the snow that bothers me. It's the cold that comes with it...
I just don't like being cold.
But even worse than the cold is having to travel in the winter.
Last year I was stuck in Seattle for a full week after weather shut down the entire airport, and busses and trains couldn't run.
Time to mentally prepare myself for my upcoming trips while trying not to freak at the thought of getting stuck. Again. As usual. Because going back through my blog, it seems to happen every year.
The reason I try to avoid saying anything negative about people, places, and things is because no matter which person, place, or thing you badmouth, it's going to be somebody's favorite. The reason I know this is because people badmouth my favorite things all the time.
There are exceptions, of course. Even a cursory review of my past blog entries would reveal that I fail miserably when it comes to not saying negative things. Here's just a few of my failures...
• Internet Explorer
• Ann Coulter
• Nancy Grace
• Bill O'Reilly
• Rosie O'Donnell
• David Caruso
• Stride Gum
• Spelling Bees
• Jared the Subway Sandwich Whore
• President Bush
• Dick Cheney
• Pat Robertson
• President Obama
• Hillary Clinton
• Orly Taitz
• 12 Grain Bread
• FOX News
• John McCain
• Tony Danza
• Kelly Osbourne
• Dr. Phil
• Judge Judy
• Martha Stewart
• Pat O'Brien
• Paul Marx
• Mayor Greg Nickels
• And many others...
But here's the thing. I don't apologize for any of it. I feel what I feel then I write what I write. If I offend somebody because I've badmouthed their favorite thing, well... it's my blog and that's really too bad. They don't have to read it. Because unless I've gotten the facts wrong or said something that was interpreted wrong, I'm not going to apologize for how I feel about something.
Which presents a problem when somebody emails me saying I should apologize for hating on the television series Dollhouse because it was their favorite show and now it's been cancelled.
Um, yeah... while I do feel bad because my favorite shows seem to get cancelled all the time... am I sorry enough to apologize for saying I think Dollhouse is (was) a steaming pile of crap?
Not really, no.
I will apologize for not trying harder to avoid saying anything negative about people, places, and things though.
I'll work on that right after I dump out this Ronzoni Bistro "Rotini with Tomato Basil Pasta" which is probably the worst pasta I have ever eaten in my entire life. Seriously, if you want to know just how bad pasta can taste, by all means go try a bag of this heinous stuff.
Oh boy! It's Bullet Sunday once again! This will have to be a quick one, because I have got a lot to do before I fly out again on Friday.
• iTunez! I have a laundry list of things I hate about Apple's "iTunes Music Store" (particularly after the last shitty upgrade they forced on us)... but dealing with App Store update insanity is currently the thing pissing me off most. It's just so damn irritating the way that the process never... NEVER... makes things easy on you. You're constantly being interrupted with bullshit alert messages that are so astoundingly stupid that you have to wonder if Apple is being staffed by morons. Take, for example, the "You Are Downloading Age-Restricted Materials" alert...
Yes, I know. And the reason I know is that I get this dumbass alert EVERY TIME I UPDATE MY APPS! Can't iTunes REMEMBER that I'm an adult so I don't have to go through this shit each time? And what's truly asinine is that the apps themselves are not adult-oriented... it's just that they access the internet where adult-oriented stuff might pop up. And it's not like underage kids are going to see this and go "Oh, I'm only 16, so I guess I'd better stop the update" either. I feel safer already!
And what about mystical crap like the "You Have Already Purchased This Item" alert...
Yes, you stupid pile of FAIL!, I want to download the shit I've purchased! Why WOULDN'T I want to download it. ESPECIALLY IF IT'S AN UPDATE TO SOMETHING I ALREADY PURCHASED?!?! I mean, SERIOUSLY?
And then there's my FAVORITE message. It's the "The Item You Tried to Download is No Longer Available" alert...
If it's no longer available, then why try to download it? But the biggest problem? THEY DON'T TELL YOU WHICH FUCKING APP IS THE CULPRIT! The error appears again and again and again until you manually download each app until you figure out which one is no longer available so you can manually delete it from the session. It's about the stupidest damn thing I've ever seen out of Apple. IF IT'S NOT AVAILABLE, THEN STOP TRYING TO DOWNLOAD IT YOU WORTHLESS PILE OF CRAP!! Can't you just eliminate it from the update session AND STOP BOTHERING ME?!? Completely stupid. BEYOND completely stupid. This is a bug of epic Microsoft proportions, and a total embarrassment to Apple.
The iTunes Music Store is so hopelessly idiotic now that it begs the question... DOES APPLE EVEN BOTHER BETA-TESTING SHIT ANYMORE? EVER?!? This is amateur hour stuff, and it's starting to really piss me off.
• Gleek! After listening to the non-stop raves from practically everybody, I finally broke down and watched the latest episode of Glee on Hulu entitled Wheels. Before I get into the horrors I was subjected to, I should preface this review(?) by saying that I can't stand musicals. It freaks me out when people suddenly break into song and dance for no particular reason, and the ... unreality... of it all drives me bat-shit insane. From what I understood, Glee was different because it was about kids in glee club, so there's context for all the singing and dancing crap. Except... the first thing I see? Some guy in a wheelchair starts mangling Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself then, you guessed it, starts wheeling around his school where nobody seems to notice that he's singing his guts out the whole time. Nobody says a damn thing...
It's not at all freaky that nobody notices I'm singing!
Guy in the wheelchair kind of set the tone for the "Breakfast Club" theory of random casting, except they took it to the next level. Handicapped Kid, CHECK... Jock Kid, CHECK... Gay Kid, CHECK... Bad Boy Outsider Kid, CHECK... Black Kid, CHECK... Asian Kid, CHECK... Spoiled Jewish Princess Kid, CHECK... Stupid Blonde Kid, CHECK... Pregnant Kid, CHECK... Down Syndrome Kid, CHECK... it goes on and on and on. It's as if they told the casting director "Give me one of everything!" so it would make the writing as easy as possible. Which makes sense when you start noticing that everybody gets double-duty BONUS FEATURES!! Pregnant Kid, for example, is also Slutty Bitch Popular Christian Kid, who is terrorizing her current boyfriend to pay her for pregnancy support when she knows that the real father is actually (drumroll of un-shock) Bad Boy Outsider Kid! And don't forget the teachers! Lawful-Good Glee Club Teacher simply must have his stereotypical nemesis with Chaotic-Evil P.E. Teacher...
We're the stereotypical bitches of Glee!
The only part of the show that was remotely interesting to me was Down Syndrome Girl, which may seem a little too "Corky" from Life Goes On, but actually kind of works. Too bad they had to go and spoil it by building a hokey mystery as to why Chaotic-Evil P.E. Teacher could possibly want to put her on the cheerleading squad (especially when the predictable answer is a retread plot device that has been used in a billion other television shows for faux-drama heartstring pulling)...
ZOMFG! Why is the Chaotic-Evil P.E. Teacher being so nice? Yep! Exactly why you'd think she is.
And, of course, what would the show be without the big musical number finale? We'll never know, because the writers are just that predictable. But to be EXTRA tacky and manipulative, lets take the Featured-Kid-Of-The-Week cliche (Wheelchair Boy) and build a musical number of love and acceptance... by making everybody sing Proud Mary in... you guessed it... WHEELCHAIRS! Wheee...
Uhhh... yeah. Really, really, didn't like Glee. Didn't "get" it at all. Though, to be fair, I am not a part of its target audience of musical-lovers. Except... even without the musical numbers... the stereotypes, cliches, predictability, and gag-inducingly obvious emotional manipulation would kill it for me. Oh well. It's perfectly okay that everybody doesn't like the same things. On the contrary, in this case it's critical for maintaining my sanity.
And that will have to do it until next week...
Can we really risk the alternatives?
On my way home tonight, I spent the entire trip trying to make other cars explode using the power of my mind.
I know some might consider this to be cruel and hateful, but when somebody is driving 20 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, what else can you expect? When somebody comes to a full-stop at a caution light, what else can you expect? When somebody doesn't take their turn at an intersection stop, what else can you expect? When somebody is blocking the road so they can talk to somebody in a car coming from the opposite direction, what else can you expect? When everybody you encounter on the road is a frickin' moron, what else can you expect?
This is what I keep hoping happens...
Wouldn't that be great?
Just think of how much more fun it would be to drive if you could asplode dumbass drivers on the road?
Of course, none of this would be necessary if I were to get those flying cars we've been promised all these years...
Talking about being able to explode things with psychic powers makes me wonder how much of the population would eventually find themselves asploded because they did something to piss me off. 25%? 50%? 75%? Who can say? It's kind of worrisome to think that I might get carried away and end up asploding 98% of the people on earth. Who would be left to make the chocolate pudding?
Hopefully it wouldn't be raging moron turned media whore Carie Prejean. She is so fantastically stupid that I think I'd asplode her even if it meant I wouldn't get any pudding. I don't know how much longer I can listen to this idiot whine about the imaginary liberal media trying to take away her right to free speech... especially when she's showing up absolutely everywhere talking about it. She's just like every other radical Christian hardcore Conservative beauty queen homophobe with fake boobs, naked photos, dozens of sex tapes, and a new book to sell... a hypocrite who is perfectly happy judging others by her lofty moral standards, but gets pissy when somebody presumes to judge her with theirs. I don't want her to shut up because she's pushing some kind of anti-human, anti-equality, anti-gay agenda... I want her to shut up because she's a fucking dumbass.
How is it that these faux-pious assholes with a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude seem to think that people are dense enough to buy their lies, hypocrisy, and bullshit? Probably because people are that dense, and I have little doubt her book will be a bestseller. People are not only buying the crap she's selling, they're forking over their hard-earned money to do it.
So, no. Nobody is taking away Prejean's right of free speech.
But I really wish they would.
After work I took a few minutes to hook up the Xbox 360 I bought to play NetFlix on-demand streaming titles. I had purchased a 360 when they first came out, but ended up giving it away to a kid who needed it more than I did (especially since I never have time to play games on it anyway). But when I saw that NetFlix was now available on Xbox Live, and I could get the machine on sale for only $98 new, it seemed like a no-brainer. That's only slightly higher than a dedicated media box, but with extra stuff.
Given that this is Microsoft, the problems happened almost immediately when it wouldn't let me enter my old "GamerTag" because it said my password was wrong. Even though it wasn't wrong. But just in case, I reset the password MULTIPLE TIMES but it still wouldn't let me log-in. The reset works, my email address is acknowledged, but I'm invalid. Typical.
So I created a NEW GamerTag until Microsoft Passport can get their shit figured out. Say hello to Pooferflargen...
Pretty sweet, huh?
I'll give Microsoft credit, their avatar "people" look a hell of a lot better than the freaky-ass avatars you get from the Nintendo Wii...
Which ultimately doesn't seem to make much difference, since I always have more fun playing Wii games anyway. I guess great graphics isn't everything.
Fortunately, the new Xbox purchase was not in vain. It streams Netflix on-demand titles beautifully, and the heavy compression isn't as noticeable as I thought it would be on my television. The only frustrating part is that the program has to "check you connection speed" EVERY FRICKIN' TIME YOU START A TITLE. It takes a lot longer than it should, and you'd think that they'd just remember what your speed was the last time you ran it, but oh well.
Hopefully I'll have time to play with it more one of these days...
If there is anybody on earth whom I think needs to write a book as a life guru, it's Tim Gunn from Project Runway.
As is usual when I'm a day from flying off to parts unknown, chaos reigns. I've got a dozen projects all going at once, a million things to do, and very little time to get everything done. Complicating matters are new challenges that are being added right up until I board the plane. It would be nice if the world could just stop and let me catch my breath for a minute, but that hasn't happened in decades. Such is life.
Which is where Tim Gunn comes in...
For those who don't know who he is, Tim Gunn plays "mentor" to the contestants on the fashion design competition reality show Project Runway. While the designers are assembling their clothes, Tim comes rushing into the room and offers his pithy advice and criticism in an effort to "help." This usually consists of him remarking that a piece of clothing looks "matronly" or it looks "messy" or it looks "fabulous."
But the best part is when the designer is freaking because time is running out and they're struggling to meet their deadline. That's when Tim gets to offer his best advice. It's all at once brilliant, simple, yet necessarily detached...
"This worries me!"
"You've got a lot of work to do!"
"GO GO GO!"
And his most famous catch-phrase, "Make it work!"
Which is exactly the type of stuff I need to hear as my world is crashing down around me and I'm close to thermonuclear meltdown. But... once Tim gets in your head, he tends to stick there...
So now I'm ready to go to bed in a feeble attempt at sleep, except Tim is still running through my mind cheering me on.
How am I supposed to lapse into sweet slumber with "GO GO GO!" on infinite repeat?
GAH! What a horrific day this has been. The only way it could have been worse would be if the police got involved. Though, to be honest, I think my life would be a lot easier if I had a police escort everywhere I go, so maybe I said that too hastily. Where are Crocket and Tubbs when you need them?
Things started with a lovely drive to the airport, which was fraught with peril because the usual round of dumbasses were on the road with me. My favorite was a car that ran a red light at a four-way intersection, swerved into a ditch, bounced out of the ditch, then drove away with his trunk flying open... the door flapping up and down as he sped off. Seriously, where are Crocket and Tubbs when you need them?!?
Once at the airport, I paid the ABSURDLY STUPID $15 FEE to check my bag, and away I went.
My first flight was worse than usual because one of those "guys-who-are-compelled-to-tell-their-life-story-to-unwilling-strangers" sat across the aisle from me... regaling his seat-mate with fascinating tales of his painfully ordinary life... FROM BIRTH! The worst part? HE FINISHED HIS LIFE STORY BEFORE WE EVEN TOOK OFF! Which you'd think would be a good thing, because he wouldn't have anything else left to talk about, right? Wrong! He then had to embellish the mundane tales he had already told... this time with BONUS DRAMA!
After landing I went to board my connecting flight, only to be told I had to go stand in line at the service counter so I could trade in my ticket in for a boarding pass. Thank heavens for that, because what this world totally needs is to manufacture even MORE paper waste for no good reason other than the gate agent is too frackin' lazy to type in my seat number manually, and needs a bar-code to do the job for him. After (finally) getting on the stupid plane, I grab the in-flight magazine where the airline is touting some kind of "green initiative" to reduce waste and recycle more. Usually such hypocritical bullshit is accompanied by a laugh-track, but this time there wasn't one so I had a hard time finding anything funny about it.
The flight itself was fairly uneventful, except for some cackling whore who was laughing her ass off at ear-splitting volume for a good portion of the 5-hour flight. Even with my iPod turned up to 11, I could still hear her stupid ass yucking it up, which was just irritating enough for me to wish her dead... but not irritating enough for me to wander back and choke the ever-loving-shit out of her.
The in-flight map and stats package was borked, as the arrival time was over two hours off and we never flew above 0 ft. altitude for the entire trip. This seemed quite dangerous considering we were going 550 miles per hour...
The sunset and in-flight internet were nice though...
After landing, I grabbed my suitcase and hopped a shuttle to my hotel at the airport. After checking into my room, I did not pass GO! I did not collect $200. I instead went straight to the bar for dinner and drinking...
Now that I'm back in my room, it's obvious I didn't drink enough. There's some kind of college event being held here, and people are running up and down the halls screaming and having parties in their rooms. At 11:30pm at night. Which is great for those of us who actually want to try and get some sleep.
Can't catch a break... even after the day is done
When traveling during the winter months, I always try to leave a day early to make sure any weather delays or other problems don't screw up my schedule. It's a necessary evil that I usually loathe because the last thing I want to do is be stuck traveling an extra day if I don't have to. But when traveling to Atlanta I never mind so much because there's some really good blogger friends that inhabit the area. Since I didn't have any travel problems, this left me all day to hang out with the gang and do some really cool stuff. Sweet!
The day started out at the High Museum to see a special exhibit by one of my absolute heroes... Leonardo Da Vinci. His works have such profound meaning to me that I never pass up an opportunity to see an exhibit, and this was almost too good to be true. Even better, Kevin, Beth, Diana, and Muskrat were kind enough to accompany me (after a lecture on how we couldn't point to anything with an ink pen because the pen might explode on the priceless artifacts... if we simply must point at something with a writing instrument, golf pencils would happily be provided). I thought the exhibit was wonderful, featuring some incredible pages from Leonardo's sketchbooks...
If you're in Atlanta, it's well-worth a stop. The exhibit runs through February 21st.
After lunch in Buckhead, Kevin, Beth, and I headed back down to the Alliance Theater for a show by Chicago's Second City comedy troupe called "Peach Drop, Stop, and Roll." It's a highly-Atlanta-specific performance that shows no mercy in ribbing some of the city's most famous (infamous) places, people, and traditions...
If you're an Atlanta local looking for a laugh, the show has been extended to December 27th, and is worth a look.
Since it's impossible to have too much to eat when visiting Atlanta, we decided to go eat miracle French fries at Five Guys back in Buckhead since there was an establishment next door that has a Coke Freestyle Soda Fountain Machine. This miraculous piece of Epic Win is able to custom-mix over 100 soda flavors on demand, including my beloved ORIGINAL COKE WITH LIME!!
After our pre-dinner, we headed up to Maggiano's Little Italy for real dinner, where we met up with Julie, Heather & Ty-Man, and Muskrat & Deb. A fantastic time (and fantastic meal!) was had by all, though not one of us seemed to think of taking a photograph.
The reunion was made bitter-sweet by the absence of some dear blogger friends, including Anissa, who has been in the hospital since Tuesday after suffering a massive stroke. It was less than four months ago that she was sitting right next to me... laughing along with everybody and stealing a bite of my fried macaroni & cheese balls...
Anissa, looking lovely in fuschia on the far right.
For anybody looking for news on how Anissa's doing, her husband Peter has been posting updates over at Hope4Peyton. There was also a nice piece in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution (thanks to Father Muskrat for the link). All my best wishes to the Mayhew family for Anissa's recovery.
And now I'm back at my four-star College Co-Ed Party Hotel blasting Thompson Twins in my earbuds to drown out the hard-partying in the next room and down the hallway. I requested a late check-out tomorrow so I can (hopefully) catch up on the sleep I missed from last night and tonight. I don't know if that's going to work, but I can only guess everybody will take off for church in the morning to leave me with some peace and quiet for a while.
It's Bullet Sunday from a surprisingly cold and unexpectedly rainy section of rural Georgia!
• Bring on The Hate. Just like Friday night, Saturday evening was a non-stop party on the 11th floor of the Hilton Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. No less than six people were laughing it up in the room to the right of me. People were having sex in the room above me (at least I hope that's what it was). The hallway was filled with drunken douchebags until 2:00am. And doors kept slamming into the early morning down the corridor. Sleep was next to impossible, so I begged the front desk to give me a late check-out of 2:30 so I could (maybe) take a nap and not spend my first day of work as a zombie. I then spent my evening listening to my iPod at full volume. It's at times like this I really hate people.
• As God Intended. I had read about Google's wonderful gift of Free WiFi at major airports across the USA, and was happy to discover that Seattle was among them when I flew out this past Friday. What I was not prepared for was that this was going to be a gift that keeps on giving...
That's right... apparently Google is going to continue the free internet at Seattle-Tacoma International INDEFINITELY! This is fantastic news, because I stopped paying for internet access at airports once I got my iPhone, but miss being able to use my laptop. Thanks, Google!
• TripIt Social. I think I've mentioned a couple of times how my frequent travels are made much, much easier now that I use TripIt to manage all my travel plans. I simply forward all my confirmation emails to TripIt, and the free service automatically builds my itinerary and keep all my information together in one place. It's brilliant, and has quickly become an indispensable tool. Things got even better when they launched a free iPhone companion app. And I was in heaven when they launched a "TripIt Pro" version which adds flight monitoring and other goodies for a nominal annual fee. Genius!
As I have become hopelessly reliant on TripIt, you can imagine my horror when I found the latest update to their iPhone app crashed every time I launched it. I wouldn't have minded so much if I was using the free version, but I am a paid TripIt Pro member, and expect better. I then Tweeted my frustration thusly...
Not ten minutes later, somebody at TripIt had seen my Tweet, tracked down my email address, and emailed me a solution to the problem (delete it off my iPhone and reinstall it). Things worked perfectly after that, and then I noticed that there was another update at the iTunes Store to solve the problem. Odds are that TripIt fixed the problem immediately, but Apple's hideously slow draconian "approval" process meant there was a long delay before iPhone users could actually get their hands on it. In any event, way to go, TripIt! it's nice to know that companies are starting to make use of social media for GOOD instead of the EVIL bullshit I've become accustomed to (oh how I hate Twitter spam!).
• Dungeon Master Revisited. One of my all-time favorite games is Dungeon Master, which I played constantly on my old Atari ST computer. It was fantasy role playing at its best, and did an incredible job (for the time) of immersing you in another world for hours of adventure. I spent years trying to find a worthy successor, but none came. As computers got faster and graphics got better, flashy animation and complex battle mechanics seemed to take precedence over gameplay. This wasn't nearly as much fun for me, as I preferred the elegant simplicity of the original. So while I can appreciate terrific games like Dragon Age, nothing that has come out since has been able to recapture those heady days and nights I spent engrossed in Dungeon Master back in the late 1980's.
Until now. Enter Undercroft for the iPhone...
It's so similar to Dungeon Master as to be spooky, but definitely manages to strike out in a direction all its own. I am having more fun with Undercroft than I've had with a video game for ages, and the fact it fits in my pocket is just icing on the cake. About the only thing I don't like about it is the idea that it's eventually going to end. I can only hope that the developer, Rake In Grass, is game for a sequel. If you've got an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can get a taste of the fun for FREE with the Undercroft Lite Demo.
And now it's time to get my caffeine on so that I can stay awake all night long for work. Hopefully my brain will not turn to moosh before the job is done tomorrow morning.
Hello from 32,019 feet.
I'm on my way home for an entire week (seven whole nights of sleeping in my own bed!), so I'm kind of stoked about that. If it weren't for the massive pile of work I've got waiting for me, I'd be downright ecstatic.
It doesn't hurt that there's WiFi on-board... and FREE, thanks to eBay...
Being able to have internet access while flying is a game-changer. It certainly makes cross-country flights more fun... and productive.
Which reminds me, I should probably get back to work now.
But before I go... what is it with people and napkins?
Every time I eat out at a fast-food place or a food court or wherever they offer self-serve napkins to people, I see idiots taking stacks and stacks of them. This woman who sat next to me today had a carton of noodles with vegetables, a bottle of Snapple, and OVER AN INCH-HIGH STACK OF FRICKIN' NAPKINS!! After I finished my meal, I sat there transfixed, curious to see how many she'd actually use.
She then ended up throwing away the thirty-plus napkins that she didn't use.
And she wasn't alone. Once I started looking, I was seeing people tossing out unused napkins by the hundreds. They were everywhere... left on tables... scattered on floors. It was all so very wasteful... and disappointing...
It's no wonder our planet is turning into a giant trash heap... it all starts with the little things.
Today it's wasted napkins in the garbage, tomorrow it's raw sewage in a lake. Such is the world we're building for ourselves.
And we deserve it.
I know I should be talking about either how thankful I am for my friends and family or posting my annual DaveToon showing how this is not a good day for turkeys... but what I'm really thankful for on this day of Thanksgiving is Star Trek.
I finally got around to watching my new Blu-Ray of the J.J. Abrams Trek movie today and fell in love with it all over again. After having seen it three times in the theater, I can safely say it's my favorite movie of 2009, which is strange considering I was set to hate it when it was released...
The problem is that I'm such a massive fan of The Original Series that I never anticipated I could possibly like a "reimagining" of the show. Heck, I didn't even like all the franchises that followed... didn't care for The Next Generation... was not a fan of Deep Space Nine... totally hated Voyager... and was mostly indifferent towards Enterprise. They weren't Kirk, Spock and the gang, so they weren't Star Trek. The new movie, however, is Kirk, Spock and the gang, and I loved it. Even though we had different actors in the roles...
If I had to pick a second thing to be thankful for, it would be that I don't have a gun. Because if I did have a gun, I might be tempted to hunt down the asshole who decided to make a bunch of movie trailer previews AUTO-PLAY before the actual movie on the Star Trek Blu-Ray disc. I just BOUGHT the frackin' movie... you don't get to hold me hostage for stupid-ass previews I don't want to see. That's about as douchey as it gets.
Well, not as douchey as, say, Glenn Beck, but still pretty douchey.
Happy Black Friday!
Today is the day that people kick-off a wave of ludicrous spending they can't really afford, simply because stuff is on sale. What it means to me is that I have to avoid shopping areas like the plague for the next month so I don't get driven insane. This is kind of difficult considering I have projects to finish and trips to take.
Black Friday this year is on/around the celebration of Eid al-Adha for my Muslim friends. When it comes to events, the two could not be more diametrically opposed. Black Friday is mostly about money, shopping, and possessions-- through spending. Eid al-Adha is mostly about life, sharing, and charity-- through sacrifice.
As if the irony wasn't already thick enough, Best Buy made an attempt to combine the two events in one of their Black Friday ads, and now Hard-Core-Christian-Conservative-America is losing their collective mind. They freak out and threaten boycott when people say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" for their religion... and yet when somebody tries to be inclusive of other religions with holiday wishes, they want to boycott for that too (and never mind that Eid al-Adha comes from the story of Abraham of The Bible in which both Christians and Jews profess to believe)...
I guess unless your business is marketing exclusively to Christians, you just can't win around the holidays in the USA. So much for freedom of religion. To be fair, I certainly hope that Best Buy will remember to wish people a "Merry Christmas" in their ads around December 25th and "Happy Hanukkah" around December 11th. And is it too much to hope that Buddhists will get a "Happy Bodhi Day" on the 8th of December? Wow... this could go on a while if they want to be really fair and inclusive.
As I've said, I don't get offended when somebody wishes me a "Merry Christmas"... they are simply trying to be nice and include me in the spirit of their holiday. Why this never seems to work in reverse is a mystery to me.
Have I really gotten to that point?
Have I really gotten to the point where I've already blogged about everything?
Because today I was looking through the newspaper ad section and admiring all the freaky new toys that kids are playing with now-a-days. Most of them are very, very different from the toys I played with as a kid, and I thought that would be something fun to blog about. I could come up with 10 toys from my childhood I liked, then list them.
So I made my list, and every thing was fine. Until I was on Google hunting down the last image for my entry, and my search results included a photo from my own blog. A photo taken from an entry I wrote almost four years ago about 10 favorite toys from my childhood...
I had no memory of writing the entry, and found it fascinating that most of my choices were the same.
But not all of them, here we go again...
Photo taken from LUGNET
1) LEGO. What can I say? Lego was number one on both of my lists. It's hands-down my favorite toy of all time, and I love LEGO even to this day. When I started, there were pretty much just bricks. If you wanted a "LEGO person" you drew a smiley face on a brick. Now they've got LEGO people and much, much more. Still the coolest toy on earth.
Photo taken from Museum of Play
2) Atari 2600 Video Game. Remarkably, also the same as four years ago. It revolutionized gaming for my generation. so it's really not surprising. When it came to actual games, I liked Superman, Adventure, Warlords, and Pitfall.
Photo taken from Board Game Geek
3) Games. Somehow I missed this last time, but growing up I loved board games, card games, any kind of game, really. I had a few favorites, of course, but PayDay, Monopoly, The Game of Life, and The Great American Auction Card Game were probably played the most. I wish I had time to play games like I used to.
Photo taken from Complex.com
4) MicroVision. Four years ago I put Nintendo GameBoy on my list, but it really should have been MicroVision... it was the first portable gaming system with changeable game cartridges. And while all the games were pretty crappy, it was a pretty cool way to pass the time in a dentist office. Unfortunately, the game itself was also pretty crappy. I lost count of the number of times I had to tear it apart to glue the on/off switch back in place or fix something that had broken (usually the keypad). My favorite game (if you can call it that) was Star Trek Phaser Strike.
Photo taken from Microman Forever (though I turned him blue, because mine was blue)
5) Micronauts. Not only were they on my list last time, they were in the exact same spot. I collected all of them I could get my hands on, including the absurd "Mobile Lab" which could be reassembled in different configurations... all of them lame. But back then it was about the coolest game in town.
Photo taken from The Big Trak Page
6) Big Trak. This is an odd selection for two reasons... One, I forgot about it on my list four years ago, and Two, I never owned one, my brother did. But I played with it every chance I got. You could program it with a list of moves, turns, and fake laser blasts, and then press "GO" and it would carry out the list. In many ways, it was a very crude precursor to computer programming, and planted a seed that would serve me well later in life.
Photo taken from Retro Thing
7) Vertibird. Another new entry on my list. When you think about it, this is probably one of the most boring toys ever. A tiny helicopter on a stick goes around and round and you get to control its direction and height. The challenge came from trying to get the helicopter to use its hook to "rescue" a plastic man for some reason. And rescue him I did... over and over and over again.
Photo taken from Geek Orthodox
8) Six Million Dollar Man. Dropped five places from my previous list. Having your own personal Six Million Dollar Man with "bionic vision" and the ability to lift a tiny plastic motor is just about everything you want in a toy... isn't it?
Photo taken from Mystery Island
9) Hot Wheels. Also from my past list, Hot Wheels were the "cool" alternative to MatchBox cars. I owned quite a few of them, including the Silhouette "Bubble Car" that's featured on the top of that cool ad I took from Mystery Island. Almost as good as the cars themselves were the freaky yellow-orange pieces of plastic "track" you could build into assorted shapes for racing. I spent untold hours running Hot Wheels on the dozens of racetracks I designed.
Photo taken from Parry Game Preserve
10) GI Joe. And not just ANY GI Joe... the GI Joe with the "life-like hair and kung-fu grip!" Joe was an excuse to do a lot of exploring when I was a kid. Probably because video games hadn't been invented yet.
So there they are... toys I liked as a kid.
If I had to make a list of toys I like now as an adult, it would probably start with my iPhone.
Times they do change.
I've been working since 4:00am. I will undoubtedly be up working until midnight. This is becoming a daily thing during this time of year, and I haven't had a chance to even think about bullets on this Bullet Sunday.
Except that's not quite true. I have been thinking of practically nothing but bullets today... it's just that they're not bullet points. Instead I've been agonizing over the senseless killing of four Lakewood police officers in the outskirts of Seattle this morning. They were gunned down while at a cafe in what appears to be a robbery gone violently wrong.
Tonight their names were released, which is difficult because names give them families and friends and people who care about them and everything else that people with names have. But they're names you don't know, so you can still be saddened yet mercifully detached. Even when you read that they all have children.
And then their photos were released, which is even more difficult because now you can put a face to the name and they become real to you... even though they're strangers. Strangers who put their lives on the line to protect and serve people who were mostly strangers to them.
I look at these photos and I am profoundly sad. Who can say how many lives they've touched? Who can say how many additional lives they might have touched if given the opportunity? Not just as police officers, but as human beings? These are the questions that will keep me awake at night. These are the faces that will haunt me with the sorrow of so many possibilities left unanswered...
I'd cry in the hope that it would take away my sadness, but once I started how could I stop?
The horrors of this world seem never-ending.
It's terrible when anybody's life ends in violence. But when it's somebody whose life was dedicated to protecting people they don't even know... well, I look at these photos and I am profoundly sad.
For some reason, I don't even remotely care about blogging today.
I tried to care, but long work hours over the past several weeks have driven it out of me.
But it's not as if I don't care about anything. I still care about lots of things. As an example, right now I am caring about the weather on Wednesday. I have to fly out then, and this is the time of year that flights start getting cancelled. I also care about these Rold Gold Braided Honey Wheat Twist Pretzels I am eating right now. Deeply. They are as addictive as crack. Or so I'd imagine... I've never actually been addicted to crack. And I really care about the new Iron Man 2 promo poster that was released today...
I loved the first Iron Man and hope the sequel doesn't suck.
And then there's more to care about... Anissa's progress, five slain police officers in Lakewood, my next care package to Iraq, Elizabeth Hurley making more movies, Elizabeth Hurley liking vodka, not to mention Elizabeth Hurley selling beef jerky...
Why oh why couldn't Elizabeth Hurley have come to me to design her packaging? Seriously... I would have done something really nice for her jerky!
Ah well. Now I've got to care about work.
What else is new.