Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2010
Lately I've been striving to look at things in a different light to reveal what I might be missing. I thought that this would be a good thing, because it would help me to better appreciate the things around me. Things that I see every day, but take for granted.
Unfortunately, it's had the exact opposite effect. All I seem to be revealing is that there's a lot of pointless, stupid, and wholly disappointing stuff out there that I tend to ignore. Apparently with good reason.
It's like that favorite restaurant you go to whenever you're drunk and needing some cheap eats to help soak up all that alcohol. Then one day you decide to eat there when you're sober... only to discover that the food is complete crap, and the only way anybody would ever want to eat there would be if they were too inebriated to be able to taste it.
I'm trying not to be too upset about it, but I can't help but be disappointed.
I guess some things just can't hold up to that kind of scrutiny.
Other things, on the other hand, don't require scrutiny to reveal their pointless disappointing stupidity. The revelation comes from the genius way that other people react to it.
This link is sheer brilliance. Which leads me to a sign of my own...
It's totally true! Look it up!
Confronting dumbassery with mockery to highlight just how fucking stupid it is... that's something I think God would appreciate. He invented a sense of humor, after all.
Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
"Tonight's the night!"
"Tonight's the night! LOST is finally on again!"
"Oh. Sorry, I don't watch that show."
"WHAT?!?? ARE YOU CRAZY? THAT SHOW IS AWESOME! YOU GOTTA WATCH LOST!! These people are trapped on this island where weird stuff happens, but then they got OFF the island and then went BACK to the island but the island is in the PAST and tonight we find out if the BOMB can stop the ISLAND from --- hey... HEY! What are you... AAAAHHHHHH!"
Look, I am happy that everybody loves LOST, honestly, I am. I know what it's like to have a passion for a television show and have it consume your life (though any show I love that much usually ends up getting cancelled). But, seriously, it's okay that some people don't like the show and don't really give a crap what happens. It's not necessary to try and convert the non-believers.
We are perfectly happy just as we are, thanks.
Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
What's a guy gotta do to get some peace and quiet?
It would be nice if I didn't have to go to that kind of extreme, but... uhhh... yeah... considering it...
Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Might as well...
Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2010
Plans sometimes change...
Posted on Saturday, February 6th, 2010
I guess it wasn't meant to last...
Back to the drawing board.
Posted on Sunday, February 7th, 2010
It' Bullet SUPER BOWL Sunday! Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints... the football team of one of my favorite cities on earth!
• Rock! While I was goofing around in Seattle with The Bombshell, The Ninja, and The Bombja, we wandered by The Hard Rock Cafe Seattle where the Rock Shop is now open (the cafe Grand Opening is on Wednesday). The property is expectedly, but disappointingly, decorated in the new "hipster lounge" style that all the new Hard Rocks get. From what I can see, the memorabilia is somewhat sparse and lacking focus... I didn't even see anything above the bar. So while everything is "official" it sure doesn't feel like a "real" Hard Rock Cafe. Though it does have a Guitar out front, so I guess that's something...
I'm going to try and visit in a couple weeks. After waiting for decades, it's strange to finally have a "local" Hard Rock Cafe (if you can call a 2-1/2 hour drive "local"). This will be my 125th Hard Rock property visit. Every time I add a new one to my list, I can't help but wonder how many more I have in me.
• Gum! Seattle's Famous Gum Wall is a scary work of disease-ridden art that shouldn't be missed. My favorite part this time around was a cool Hawaiian flag...
If I could somehow convince myself that sticking my fingers into chewed gum is a good idea, I'd be tempted to add something of my own.
• Snicker! The Mars Company had a flash of sheer genius when they decided to use the amazing Betty White in their new Snickers commercial...
Now I want a Snickers bar. I hope Betty doesn't start doing ads for National Cattlemen's Beef Association... I'm really happy being a vegetarian.
And now I suppose I should probably cut this short and try to get some sleep.
Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010
Today I noticed that I'm getting increasingly upset over things that just aren't important. This morning, for example, I went on a tirade after listening to somebody on television use the full title of the movie "Precious" while discussing Oscar nominations. I don't know why. Probably because "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" is a stupid-ass name for a movie. I am guessing the film studio wanted to capitalize on the author somehow, but it only makes them look pathetic and desperate when you consider that "Stand By Me wasn't released as "Stand By Me: Based on the Novella 'The Body' by Stephen King." I mean, holy shit, if the people making "Stand By Me" didn't feel the need to whore out STEPHEN FUCKING KING for their movie, should we really have to give two shits where "Precious" came from?
Granted, my disdain is undoubtedly amplified by the fact that I don't give a crap about EVER seeing the film "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"... but honestly, is this really a reason to start freaking out?
Apparently it is if you are me.
I'm really hoping that this unfounded hostility towards inconsequential things goes away soon.
Preferably before "Alice in Wonderland: Extrapolated from the Novel 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' as Well as the Novel 'Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There' by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Better Known as Lewis Carroll" is released to theaters on March 5th.
Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
I'd like to buy a vowel please, Pat...
And no, this is not about U.
Though it might be if you've done something to deserve it.
Posted on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Photography is very much just a hobby for me. I take snapshots when I travel, and don't think much about it when I'm not. When I was younger and had lots of time on my hands, things were different. I loved taking photos, and spent a lot of time trying different things so I could improve my pictures. Once film cameras died and I moved to digital photography, I started getting even more creative because I wasn't having to pay a fortune in film and photo processing charges. Alas, it was destined not to last, because I seem to have less and less free time available as time goes on.
But then my camera died and I bought a new Nikon D90 just in time for a vacation to Hawaii. Thanks to features like "Active D-Lighting" I was getting really good photos with very little effort if I took the time to set up my shot right. This kind of sparked a photography renaissance in me, and I started experimenting again.
And the thing I've been really interested in for the past year has been High Dynamic Range Photography (HDR).
The best way to explain it is to show it. When I was at Stonehenge, I lined up this beautiful shot of the sun rising behind the stones. Unfortunately, it turned out looking like crap...
The bright sun blew out the sky and caused the camera to underexpose the dark stones. So I decided to take the shot again, but at three different exposure levels...
The long exposure blows out the sky, but reveals the details in the rocks. The short exposure paints the rocks black, but fills in the sky nicely. The medium exposure holds the shadows really well, but is murky everywhere else. If only there was a way to combine the best parts of each photo so you had great exposure over the entire image.
Well, there is, and it's called HDR Photography...
After merging the best parts of all three photos, it's easy to make tone adjustments to the color so that things really pop. The sun behind the stone now looks as I intended, with an eerie glow around Stonehenge. In fact, it looks even MORE awesome than it did in person!
And that's the problem. Most HDR photos end up looking surreal and totally fake. For a mystical place like Stonehenge, this isn't such a bad thing. But for "regular" photographs, it ends up looking strange. And most of the time it's strange in a bad way. But with some experimentation, you can make it look strange in a good way. Like this kind of boring shot of Bath Cathedral which is kind of murky thanks to overcast skies...
But in HDR, you can make it look pretty cool...
Where HDR really comes in handy is when light is scarce. Buildings at sunset can change completely...
This time I composited five separate shots with different exposures to get this...
Sure it looks fake and can be difficult for the brain to process, but you do get to see details you'd never see otherwise. The best use of HDR seems to be in moderation. In this image from Kauai's Kalalau Lookout, the deep shadows from the clouds completely bury the details...
When I just want to brighten dark areas, you can composite an HDR shot with a regular shot and end up with results that don't look quite so artificial, though you do lose some depth in the resulting image...
The danger being that you can completely change the tone of a photo if you're not careful. With this shot of a lava flow from The Big Island, for example, the rock is supposed to be dark...
But using HDR, you end up with something that has lots of detail, but no longer looks like lava...
Sometimes using HDR can ruin a shot. This photo of a Banyan Tree has a kind of spooky vibe to it, even though I'm in broad daylight...
Take three different exposures and run it as an HDR photo and you end up with something completely different...
Yes, being able to see the freaky details in the tree is kind of nice, but the mood of the shot has been destroyed. Perhaps combining the above two photos would create a happy balance, but sometimes I think HDR is best avoided.
While I don't see myself using High Dynamic Range very often, I do think it has interesting possibilities for some situations and opens up an entirely new level of creativity for photographers. With practice, I'm hoping I can get better at knowing when to use it... but even more importantly, when not to use it... to keep my photography hobby interesting and fun.
If you've got some time to kill, you can download a free demo of Photomatix (the HDR software I use) and be good to go. Then all you need is a steady hand (or a tripod) along with a camera that can do exposure bracketing (or, you could try setting the different exposures manually, but you'd have to be very careful not to move the camera in-between shots!). You need a minimum of three exposures to make a decent HDR image, but I've found that five exposures works best.
Now if only I could afford a new lens... I've long been wanting to try deep macro photography...
Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010
All I did was work today, and the only remarkable thing that happened was that I lived to tell about it.
Though I suppose I didn't actually "live" through the day so much as I "existed" through it. That's a big difference, and yet I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who noticed. This is either to my credit or my detriment... I can't quite tell which. All I know is that if I think about it too much I'll get depressed.
So I don't think about it.
Instead I remember back to days where I was truly alive.
And know that I'll live again, even if I don't feel that way right now.
Maybe it will be tomorrow. You just never know.
Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010
So... for the first time in a very long time, those of us living on the West Coast of these United States of America are in the SAME TIME ZONE as the Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Finally, we get to watch events LIVE and see competition outcomes AS THEY HAPPEN. How cool that we won't have medal results spoiled on the internet hours... or even days... before we get to actually see them taking place! Sweet!
So tonight I sit down in front of the television at 7:30 when NBC is set to start their coverage, expecting that I'll be watching the opening ceremonies LIVE from Vancouver.
But no... it's downhill skiing.
This is odd. Why would they start the opening ceremonies later than 7:30?
And then I notice on Twitter that people are talking about the opening ceremonies as if they're watching them.
So I look for the official schedule online and see that the opening ceremonies started an hour-and-a-half ago at 6:00pm. So now I'm thinking that I got the time wrong, NBC actually started broadcasting at 6:00, and I've completely missed the opening ceremonies altogether.
And so I look at my television channel guide and see that I haven't missed anything. The opening ceremonies won't be televised until 9:00pm. For reasons I can't even begin to fathom, NBC is TAPE-DELAYING these PRIMETIME events that are happening IN THE SAME TIME ZONE
FUCK YOU, NBC! FUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!
FUCK YOU UP YOUR STUPID ASSES, YOU DONKEY-RAPING SHIT-EATERS!
And, since I'm sure that the reasons for this ASTOUNDING DISPLAY OF ABSOLUTE FUCKING IDIOCY somehow comes down to money in one way or another... FUCK YOU SIDEWAYS YOU GREEDY PIECES OF FUCKING SHIT!
I am beyond speechless as to why NBC is Just This Stupid. What incentive do Pacific Time Zone people have to watch their Olympics "coverage"? Sure if the event is being held in Asia or Europe or some other place that's fifty time-zones away, there's no choice, and we have to accept a tape-delay because nobody wants to watch TV at 2:00am (or whatever). BUT WHEN THEY'RE HAPPENING IN THE SAME FUCKING TIME ZONE?!?
And here I thought that NBC couldn't get more brain-dead than the whole Conan/Leno late-night fiasco.
It turns out that was just a warm-up for TAPE-DELAYING A PRIMETIME EVENT IN THE SAME TIME ZONE AS THE VIEWERS!
You would think that NBC shareholders would TAKE CARE OF FUCKING BUSINESS and like... I dunno... EXECUTE THE GROSSLY INCOMPETENT FUCKERS RUNNING THE NETWORK for being INEXCUSABLY STUPID. But maybe these particular shareholders are so heinously wealthy that they just don't care when the DUMBFUCKS looking out for their interests make bad decisions.
Gee... and here I thought I wouldn't have anything to blog about tonight!
YOU STUPID FUCKERS!!
Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2010
At midnight tonight, it's the Year of the Tiger!
Here's hoping it's going to be grrrrrreat!
Posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2010
It's a banner Bullet Sunday with Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, The Olympic Games, and Hilly's annual Self-Love Day all happening at the same time!
• Commentary! It' getting to the point that I simply cannot watch televised sports anymore because of the annoying non-stop "professional commentary" that rains down like a storm of shit over everything. Right now I am watching the Nordic Combined competition at the Olympics, and these two dumbasses simply WILL NOT SHUT UP! They talk and talk and talk and talk about total BULLSHIT that does nothing... NOTHING to enhance my enjoyment of the event. And I just don't get it. I'm not frackin' stupid. I don't need to be told it's snowing or somebody missed a target... I can see that. I don't need to be told that somebody needs to "pick up the pace" if they're behind... that's obvious. I don't need to be told that "the US has never medaled in this event" FIFTY FUCKING TIMES... if I gave a shit about how many medals the US has won, I'd Google it. The constant stream of senseless crap is a needless distraction, so just shut the fuck up already! Save your idiotic blathering for the wrap-up... or the interviews... or your blog... or whatever... just let me watch in peace. At the very least, networks should simulcast a non-commentator version to give us a choice.
• Be Mine! It's time for my annual Valentine's Day card! (for previous year's cards, click here)...
Thanks to everybody out there who makes me feel loved.
• Siri App! Every once in a while, something comes along that gives you a taste of what the future is going to be like. Usually, it's the latest product from Apple. But the future is more an ideal than a place, so it can be really tricky to see that fine line between "gimmick" and "game-changer" when it comes to tech. But then there's Siri Personal Assistant...
The basic idea is that you fire up Siri on your iPhone or Blackberry or whatever... then tell it what you want. Siri then uses voice recognition technology to parse what you said and return an answer. You say "Where is there nearest Starbucks?" and Siri comes back with an address and directions. You say "What time is 'Avatar' playing?" and Siri picks the nearest theater and gives you showtimes. You say "What time is it in Sydney, Australia?" and Siri looks it up for you. There's a pretty impressive list of things that Siri understands and, even when it doesn't, it's happy to perform a web search on what you asked to see if it can help. As a tech demo, it's very cool, and a nice peek at how artificial intelligence is going to eventually escalate into The Way Things Are.
The problem is that Siri doesn't feel "magical" yet. There's a long delay while Siri sends a recording of what you said back to the mothership for parsing (a REALLY long delay if you don't have 3G). The parsing A.I. is rudementary, so you have to confirm your request by manually reading back what you just said and pressing "okay." It doesn't talk back to you, so you're still futzing around with the screen a lot. As a game-changer, it's just not "there" yet. I'm sure as the technology behind Siri continues to improve, we'll eventually cross that threshold where the tech disappears and it becomes magic. Like HAL in the movie 2001. But until then, it's just a nifty toy that provides a glimpse of what our future might be like. I, for one, cannot wait until I'm able have an argument with my refrigerator.
• Google Buzzkill! I have three very separate lives: My personal life, my work life, and my online life. It's rare that they intersect in any meaningful way, but it does happen (online friends that become personal friends, for example). But, for the most part, it's my choice as to how various aspects of my life intersect and mingle. Or at least it has been my choice. Things are changing. A good example is when companies that want to work with me Google my name and read my blog so they can get background info to influence how they interact with me. It bothered me a bit at first, but I've just learned to accept that anything you put out on the internet for public consumption is going to be found eventually... even by people you'd rather not see it.
But the stuff I put privately on the internet is another matter entirely. Enter Google Buzz...
My Gmail (Google Mail) account is the only place where all my worlds collide. Email from all aspects of my life collect here so that I can more easily manage my various accounts from a central location. This means I am ultimately trusting Google with my most personal data on a regular basis. But now that they've forced their new "social networking" fiasco "Google Buzz" onto my unwilling Gmail account... I can't help but wonder if trusting them was a very big mistake.
Mostly because I can't figure out what is happening.
I read an article that says all my Gmail contacts can use Buzz to see all my other contacts. I read a blog that tells me my personal data is exposed because Buzz lets people see private information publicly. One source says turning Buzz off will solve everything... another says turning Buzz off doesn't do anything. Google itself says that private information stays private, and people are misunderstanding what Buzz does. So I have no idea what to think. I have no clue exactly what people can or cannot get access to. Best-case-scenario: The Buzz drama has been blown completely out of proportion and I have nothing to worry about. Worst-case-scenario: My most dreaded nightmare has come true.
In the end, I think it's pretty shitty that Google would do something so horrendous as to force users to use a new service that they don't understand... regardless of whether or not any breach of privacy has occurred! When I logged into Gmail, I got a Buzz splash screen that I blew through with no concept as to what it meant for me or my privacy. I had no clue that it would be bound to my email account in such a way that my personal information was at risk. As of right now, I still don't know, and I've read every article and blog entry I can find to try and figure it out. I've gone through every tutorial I can find on eliminating Buzz from my Gmail account, but I still have no clue as to whether or not it's solved anything. Hell, I don't know if there was anything to "solve" to begin with!
And I still don't understand why Google felt that Buzz had to be a part of my Gmail account instead of a separate service. I'm guessing that it was a way to leverage the insane number of Gmail users to become instant competition to Facebook and Twitter... but at what cost? Most people who want this social media bullshit already have a Facebook and Twitter account! If Google Buzz sucks so bad that it can't stand on its own and has to be grafted onto Gmail to be accepted, why in the hell would anybody want to use it in the first place? None of this makes any sense to me. It's as if Google had no other goal than to piss-off and hopelessly confuse their users. What are they hoping to accomplish by adding a public "feature" to email, given that email is one of the most private parts of our lives? At what point did somebody think mixing public and private data in the same space was such a great idea? How crazy do you have to be to not realize that something like this couldn't possibly be a good idea?
I'm so dumbfounded by the whole Google Buzz concept and the resulting drama that I can't imagine I'd ever want to use it now. Heck, I don't even know if I want to trust Google with ANY of my data now. Their effort to contaminate something as private as email with something as public as social networking just shows they have no concept as to people wanting to keep parts of their lives separate. To Google, everything is meant to be shared, and they want to make it as easy as possible for you to do so... whether you like it or not. As more and more of our personal data is in the hands of others, what does this say about our privacy in the year 2010? What will it mean for our privacy in 2020? Or is there even such thing as "privacy" anymore? The possible answers scare me bad enough to regret ever having asked the question.
Annnnnnnnnd... on that happy note, I'm off to bed. Xin Nian Kuai Le and Gong Xi Fa Cai everybody!
Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2010
People are stupid.
This will come as a surprise to nobody (except perhaps stupid people, but that's to be expected).
But even so, there's got to be a limit as to just how much you have to dumb something down in order to be understood by even the lowest of the lowest common denominator when it comes to intelligence. Some things are so bloody obvious that pointing them out only serves to makes you the stupid one.
This morning on the TODAY show, Al Roker was yucking it up with some guy who wrote a book about choosing healthier alternatives when eating. Basically, it boiled down to looking at labels when deciding what foods to eat. Excess calories, empty sugars, and fat is bad. BAD!
Some comparisons actually had a little merit... showing how the self-proclaimed "healthy" cereal actually had more sugar than other cereals on the market, for example. But other comparisons where just pathetic in their obviousness.
And here I was actually becoming an Al Roker fan after he took on Spencer and Heidi.
Well all that went out the window when Al didn't puch this guy in the face just on principle...
And why? Because the douche felt the need to point out that it's healthier to eat dried prunes than it is to eat Mike and Ike's candies...
My first reaction upon hearing the news was...
"ZOMFG! Really? REALLY? It's healthier to eat DRIED FRUIT than it is to eat fucking CANDY?!? That's astounding! Somebody should alert the media! Fruit is healthier than candy! This is a revelation that transcends the entirety of accumulated human knowledge. I mean, imagine it! Fruit is healthier than candy! Can you believe it?"
I lie. My actual reaction was in fact...
Could this radical piece of advice BE any more obvious? IT'S FUCKING CANDY, MUTHAFUCKER!! I mean, this is right up there with ""Fire is hot!" and "Rocks can't swim!" and "Cutting off your penis is bad for your sex life!" You would have to be so astoundingly stupid to not already realize this that I doubt you'd know how to turn on a television, let alone open a box of candy.
And it pisses me off.
"Mike and Ike" is an awesome candy. There's no need to disparage such a delicious treat for the sake of making a bowl of prunes look good. Everybody knows that eating lots of candy is not very good for you. When eaten in moderation, however, there is nothing wrong with candy. And anybody trying to villainize "Mike and Ike" is trying to sell you something.
Something like... oh... I dunno... A BOOK CALLED "EAT THIS, NOT THAT!"
Next up, are fried potato chips healthier than freeze-dried wasabi peas?
ALERT THE MEDIA!
FRIED FOODS AREN'T AS HEALTHY AS FREEZE-DRIED FOODS!
Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
After having been to Mardi Gras once in my life, there's a part of me that wants to experience Fat Tuesday again...
Either that, or I just want a piece of King Cake.
Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
As I write this, I'm watching a series of disastrous runs in the Women's Downhill competition at the Olympic Games. The ladies are biting it hard on the mountain, sliding out of control for what seems like an eternity before they finally come to a stop... their Olympic dreams having come to a bitter end.
There's nothing to say that they won't shake it off and come back victorious in 2014.
Everybody has disasters, but very few of us have them broadcast around the globe with the entire world watching. Forget the pain of crashing into a mountain at 80 miles per hour, the psychological trauma would be enough to drive a person insane.
But that's part of the game. The victory is so much the sweeter because the defeat can be so brutal.
What's NOT part of the game is douchebag television commentators being complete and total assholes as they cut the athletes to shreds during their run. I already loathe sports commentary with a passion because it's so ridiculously banal and distracting... but listening to these turds tonight has elevated my hatred to an entirely new level.
My favorite commentary was when Anja Pärson from Sweden was starting her run and the male commentator was compelled to say she "was a big failure in last year's world championships." Well, screw you, asshole... she's earned her place as an Olympiad in the Twenty-First Winter Games. She deserves more respect than some idiot diminishing such an accomplishment by daring to saddle her as a "big failure" in a past competition. What the hell have you done lately?
Sadly, Anja wiped out later down the track, which makes such a disgusting comment even more hurtful.
I cannot for the life of me understand why sports fans don't insist that commentators take the "less is more" approach and SHUT THE HELL UP unless they have something meaningful and constructive to add to the event. Non-stop chatter is just stupid, unnecessary, and leads to dumbass commentators doing idiotic shit like branding an Olympic athlete "a big failure" to avoid a moment of blissful silence.
Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2010
After dealing with my work emails this morning, I had a bit of extra time and decided to take a quick look through my feedreader. One of the first new blog entries to pop up was from my buddy LeSombre, where he was explaining his bus route to work and how a small detour today turned his 50-minute commute into a whopping 1-hour and 35-minute ride. He wrapped up his entry by theorizing that he might have to try winter cycling as a more efficient way of getting to work.
"How nice!" I thought. "LeSombre is trying to be all environmentally conscious and stuff, when most people would just drive their car to work. Good for him!"
But then I watched a speech that Sarah Palin gave at a tea-bagging rally, and suddenly realized that I've been looking at this whole thing entirely wrong...
"But my plastic surgeon doesn't want me doing any activity where balls fly at my nose!"
After listening to Sarah Palin kick ass and put things into perspective as to what "America" REALLY means, I now realize that when people talk about the "pussification of America" they are actually talking about the "pussification of NORTH America... BY CANADIANS!"
Because, seriously, 50 minutes in a frickin' BUS?!? REALLY?!?
It's LeSombre's kind of thinking that explains why Canada is still a third-world country. Well, of course ALL countries are "third world" when compared to us, which begs the questions "what's a second-world country?" I dunno... perhaps The United Kingdom when Maggie Thatcher was running things... but I digress. The point is that I am totally embarrassed to be sharing a continent with the American wannabes that call themselves "Canadians." How they managed to win hosting duties for the Winter Olympics when they don't even have a Disney theme park is a mystery to me.
I mean, come on, they're half-French for crying out loud!
Just look at this "bus route" that LeSombre takes to work every day. It practically screams "pussy!" Where's the spirit of adventure? Where's the sex and violence? Where's the ideals that are true to the AMERICAN WAY?!? What good is their "free socialist health care" if THIS is how you have to get to work each day? Hey, if this is what it means to live in a communist country like Canada, then I want no part of it...
Now let's take a look at how a REAL AMERICAN would get to work (click map to enlarge)...
NOW THERE'S HOW YOU FUCKING COMMUTE TO WORK IN AMERICA, DAMMIT! Please note that's there's no bitching and whining about a frickin' BUS anywhere in that route.
Also note how once you acquire a Canadian Forces* tank, that you no longer have to pay attention to roads, and can go directly to your destination. How cool is that?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go scrounge up $1000 so I can buy a ticket to go to Sarah Palin's next tea-bagger rally. A rally for TRUE Americans** to fight for taking back The United States of America from the godless socialist regime that is destroying the greatest country on earth!! Because THAT, my friends, is what DEMOCRACY is all about!***
And to have testicles put in our mouths, if I'm understanding this whole tea-bagging thing correctly.
* Canadian Forces is kind of like the US Millitary... but without the ability to actually defend their country or invade anyplace (they rely on TRUE Americans to do that for them, but don't pay any taxes to us... the bastards!).
** Well, TRUE Americans that can afford to spend $1000 a plate, that is. But that would be ALL Americans, because POOR Americans are not REALLY Americans at all... otherwise they'd be wealthy! This IS the land of prosperity, after all. It says so in The Constitution!
*** Unless, of course, your democratically elected president is a Democrat, then it's not democracy at all... because everybody knows that elections are only democratic when Republicans win!
Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2010
Today is Adobe Photoshop's 20th anniversary! Congratulations to the Knoll Brothers who started it all!
Along with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop is a program that I use most every single day. I honestly cannot imagine my life... personal or professional... without it. I use it for editing photos, laying out designs, creating original art, and enhancing-corecting-manipulating any kind of bitmap image. I've used it so often and for so long that much of the time I don't even have to think about using it. I just do. I have become one with Photoshop. This didn't happen right away, of course. It's been a long road.
The first time I used Photoshop was at a technical demonstration in Seattle. My best friend and I headed over the mountains to look at a new "lost-cost" image scanner (over a $1000, but that was "cheap" for the time). The software used to manipulate the resulting scan was... wait for it... Photoshop. The program was borderline miraculous and had jaw-dropping features which allowed for some powerful, yet easy, photo adjustments.
A couple years later, scanner prices had dropped to the point where I could finally afford one. The model I purchased (made by Mustek, I think) came with a copy of Photoshop 2.5, which was actually more exciting to me than the actual scanner. The software was so expensive to purchase alone that it would be pretty odd to buy it without a scanner, since you were basically getting a scanner for free out of the deal. Except it ran only on a Macintosh and I had an Atari ST computer at the time. This was a major bummer, but ended up being a good thing because I went into debt and bought my first Mac (a Centris 650) one month later...
From having used Photoshop since version 1.0 and owned it from version 2.5, it's amazing to me how the core functionality really hasn't changed that much. Sure version 3.0 added layers, which was about as revolutionary a feature as you're going to get, but it was pretty much just gravy on top of the Photoshop I was already using... and would continue to use right up through today, two decades later.
And, on that happy note, it's time for bed. I've got a long drive ahead of me in the morning.
Posted on Saturday, February 20th, 2010
This afternoon I hit Hard Rock property number 125 when I visited the new cafe in Seattle.
The best Hard Rocks take a classic older building and transform it into something new. In this respect, Seattle's cafe is beautiful, with warm woods, original brick, and exposed pipes. Unfortunately, it followed in the footsteps of the new cafes in Yankee Stadium, Dallas, and the Las Vegas Strip, in that the memorabilia is pretty scarce. Unlike the older properties where the walls are packed with artifacts from all aspects of music history, the new-style restaurants have much fewer scattered pieces sprinkled amongst a bunch of photos and video screens. The good news is that they do relate to Seattle's unique music history pretty well, featuring items from Hendrix, Heart, Mother Love Bone, Nirvana, and more.
Something new that I haven't seen before at any Hard Rock is their "call-in" number, where you can dial a local phone number, punch in code that's been tagged on a piece of memorabilia, and get more information about it. It's pretty sweet, and something I hope gets rolled out to other properties in the chain.
Despite my misgivings about the new design direction for the Hard Rock chain, the Seattle cafe is actually pretty nice. The location is perfect (just a block from the Pike Place Market), the staff is fantastic (a lot of experienced transfers from other properties), and the building is spacious (two levels with a stage at the upper bar).
Overall I'd say it's worth the two-decade-wait to finally have a "local" cafe in the Emerald City.
Here's hoping it will stick around for a good long while.
Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday from one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen in Seattle!
• Pet Shop. The hotel I'm staying in tonight is really, really nice (especially considering the bitchin' rate I got off PriceLine), but does have one minor draw-back. It's "pet friendly." Now, don't get me wrong... I love animals. I think it's great that there's hotels which accept our furry friends when they travel with us. I do not, however, think it's great to be woken up at 5:30am by a yappy little dog barking it's head off in the room next door on a Sunday morning. Though I suppose I should count myself lucky that it was just a dog and not a hyena or something.
• Zombie Walk. As far as iPhone games go, Plants Vs. Zombies may be the best game ever released. More addictive than crack (or so I'd guess), it's one of those games that you never want to stop playing. It looks great, plays amazing, and keeps gameplay fresh with new features for a good long time...
The game, in a nutshell, has wave after wave of zombies attacking your home, and you have to plant an ever-growing variety of vegetation to fend then off. Highest possible recommendation (unless you have a life, in which case it will will destroy you).
• Spell Check. If you're going to use the word "w00t!" then it's spelled in all lower-case letters with two ZEROS in the middle, like this...
If you don't believe me, you can look it up in the dictionary!
• Saturday Break. After working non-stop for the past several weeks, I decided to take a break and attend a blogger meet in Seattle... thanks to Ms. Sizzle and Chris for putting it together and giving me a much-needed distraction! The beautiful drive alone was worth the effort...
• ONE Ring? Great news! The Lord of the Rings trilogy is finally coming to Blu-Ray! How awesome is that? Oh... wait a second... not so awesome... BECAUSE THE GREEDY FUCKERS AT NEW LINE STUDIOS ARE RELEASING THE BUTCHERED THEATRICAL RELEASE INSTEAD OF THE FULL DIRECTOR'S CUT! They're waiting for everybody to buy the incomplete trilogy THEN they'll release the complete films on Blu-Ray so everybody will have to buy them AGAIN!
I mean, seriously, we already had to buy them twice on DVD, so why not give everybody what they want the first time around? Oh... that's right... NEW LINE IS RUN BY GREEDY FUCKERS! Blu-Ray easily allows the option of viewing both the theatrical release OR the director's cut on the SAME disc thanks to their "branching" technology, but why would we want to do that when we can sucker fans into buying the movies FOUR TIMES!
Well, as much as I'd like to see these beautiful films in HD, I'll take a pass until the COMPLETE films are released. Holy crap I hate it when studio executives try to pull this bullshit. And everybody wonders why otherwise law-abiding citizens turn to piracy! THE MOVIE STUDIOS FORCE THEM TO!
And another week bites the dust...
Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010
After an unexpected extra day in Seattle, I'm back home again.
Other than nearly getting run off the road by a car from the opposite direction driving in my lane, that's about it.
Posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Despite feeling pretty sick most of the day, I somehow managed to get a lot of work done. The problem is that the effort completely wiped me out, which is why I came home and slept from 5:00 to midnight. Now my sleep schedule is going to be screwed up, which is a difficult thing to do when you only sleep four-and-a-half hours each night. But no worries, I'm sure it will all get straightened out... just in time for my upcoming trip to Europe when it can get all messed up again.
Assuming I get my travel plans straightened out.
This will be my eleventh year of taking a "birthday vacation" to somewhere I've never been before...
And here we are as I scramble to get something put together for this year's trip. Some of the details are in place (I know where I will be on my actual birthday, for example). But everything else... from transportation to hotels... is a big question mark at this point. Since I leave in three weeks, I suppose I'd better get it figured out.
Fortunately, I am now wide-awake at 2:30am, so I can get to work.
If only I could get motivated to actually do it.
Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2010
February is a pretty dead month for blogging because all I ever do this time of year is work. Even I don't find that to be entertaining, so I have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find something I can write about. Fortunately, I have a Twitter account to steal from, which is about as bottom of the barrel as you can get.
Of course, even Twitter isn't the best source of material right now, as I usually ignore it so I can Get Stuff Done. But every once in a while I have a free minute while I'm on the phone or waiting for a 3-D image to render or whatever. Then I can wax poetic to the Twitterverse with my usual brand of madcap insanity. If you already follow me on Twitter, then this can be considered a "best of the worst" summary. If you don't follow me on Twitter, then boy are you in for a tweet!
Errr... I meant treat.
Sometimes I share health tips and free medical advice...
Sometimes I feel like going full-on political...
Sometimes I say things that will incriminate me in a court of law...
Sometimes I share my email with everybody...
And I am happy to follow-up with any updates...
Sometimes I share my frustrations with topics of the day...
Sometimes I offer helpful suggestions, like when John Krasinski from The Office was rumored to be a possible candidate for playing Captain America in the new movie, I had the perfect idea for casting Cap's sidekick "Bucky"...
I mean, seriously, they make such a great pair as Jim and Dwight on The Office that it could totally work. Except I got a few nasty comments, so I had to put my Photoshop where my mouth was...
More Twitter madness follows in an extended entry...
Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2010
As the clock edges ever closer to midnight I sit here trying to think of something I can blog about, and hoping that something interesting will happen in the world very soon now just in case I draw a blank. Such is the life of a blogger in boring February.
Then Twitter lights up with the news that a massive earthquake has struck in Chile, generating a tsunami warning that could very well threaten the entire Pacific Rim.
If this isn't the perfect example to be careful what you wish for, I don't know what is.
All my thoughts are with the people of Chile as I mentally prepare myself for the onslaught of tragic imagery that is sure to be awaiting me when I wake up in the morning. I'd like to think that after the horrific photos released from Haiti that I'd be numb to this kind of thing by now... but it never happens.
Just one of the down-sides of being human, I guess.
Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2010
I spent all of Thursday being sick. Friday I woke up feeling terrible, but ended the day feeling okay.
Until I went to bed.
The minute I hit the pillow, things started going terribly wrong. All through the night I was wallowing in misery, trying to get some sleep despite a stabbing headache, leg cramps, and a runny nose. Then things got really interesting when my tongue decided to swell up (thanks to my idiopathic angioedema). So now I couldn't go to sleep, because I had to stand by with my epi-pen in case my tongue got worse and I couldn't breathe through my runny nose. When it rains, it pours.
Fortunately, an overdose of antihistamines arrested the problem with my tongue, a cold pill took care of my nose, and some pain killers and sleeping pills took care of the rest. It was a restless four hours sleep, but at least it was sleep.
After forcing myself to wake up in a daze so I could run an errand, I started whining about how much my life sucks.
Then I ran across THIS astounding bit of genius and realized things could always be worse...
Talk about finding opportunity in the face of adversity.
I'm hoping for a better night tonight.
Posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2010
As the Olympic Winter Games come to a close, Bullet Sunday comes to the rescue!
• Gold. Congratulations Canada! The final hockey game was well-played on both sides, and I'm happy the local boys (and girls!) were able to keep the Olympic gold at home. Of course, since Canada is a part of North America, I guess that means the gold actually belongs to all of us here in America. America is awesome!
I suppose it's too much to hope that all the excitement from the fantastic hockey matches during the Olympics will make the sport more popular here in the USA. As a long-time hockey fan, it would be nice to get more enthusiasm for the sport outside The Great White North.
• Cubed. The design for the new USA Embassy in Britain was unveiled this week and I have just one question...
...when did Steve Jobs start designing our embassies?
Except I dare say that the Apple Store on New York City's Fifth Avenue is a heck of a lot better-looking than the "fuzzy" glass cube that they came up with for the new embassy. Blech.
• Lisa. It seems impossible that Lisa has been gone an entire year. It feels like only yesterday she was reminding us about what's important in life. You are very much missed.
• Coverage. I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating... NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games sucked ass. It was downright embarrassing to sit back and watch how they managed to screw up at every opportunity (The Olympics are about the SPORTS COMPETITION, dumbasses!). I simply don't understand why you would sign up to cover the Olympic Games and then NOT ACTUALLY COVER THE OLYMPIC GAMES! And don't get me started on the astoundingly fucking stupid idea of running coverage on tape-delay FOR THOSE OF US IN THE SAME TIME ZONE AS THE ACTUAL EVENTS! It would be nice if whomever wins the broadcast rights bid for the next Olympics is actually held to some semblance of competency and quality standards. Like telling your commentators to SHUT THE FUCK UP while the names at the awards ceremonies are read (Chris Drury fans didn't even get to hear his name because of the inane dumbfuck commentary). Or how about telling the commentators to SHUT THE FUCK UP period. 98% of the time, the banal chatter was more distracting then helpful, and made watching the Olympics almost unbearable. Here's a brilliant idea... why not put somebody in charge of broadcasting the Olympics who actually likes sports instead of letting suits in a boardroom dictate this reprehensible bullshit as coverage policy?
• Support. If you're looking for a way to support relief efforts in Chile, or the continuing efforts in Haiti, or help out wherever disaster may strike... my favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders, is doing remarkable work to provide aid "where angels fear to tread," and could use donations. If you've got some spare cash, why not check out their website and then toss a few bucks their way?
And that brings us to the end of another Bullet Sunday!