Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2010
Because you just know that everybody wants one no matter how much they deny it...
Hope your April Fool's Day is a happy one!
To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!
Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Yes, I am getting an iPad.
But only for a project I'll be working on... it's not something I anticipate keeping. I need a "real" computer to do my work, so my MacBook Pro laptop is always with me. And since I'm never without my iPhone as well, there just doesn't seem much point in carrying around one more gadget everywhere I go. So, after I'm done with it, I'll be giving the iPad to my mom, where I anticipate it will mostly be used as a photo album (seriously, the iPad is the most beautiful, amazing way to organize and display photos ever, as shown in this Apple tour video).
While my interest in the iPad is minimal just now, the one area where I'm intrigued with its possibilities is publishing.
I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of the iPad being used as a new distribution model for visual printed media like magazines and comic books. How sweet is it that you can eliminate the two most expensive parts of publishing printed media... the paper/printing and the postage... and just sell your work digitally at a more affordable price!
Except, just like the music industry before it, publishers are being positively fucking stupid about the future.
Because THIS is what I saw when I was looking at the cost for buying an issue of Marvel Comics from the iPad...
A DOLLAR NINETY-NINE EACH?!? And these comics are from 1963!! FORTY-SEVEN YEAR-OLD DIGITAL COMICS FOR $1.99 EACH?!? WTF?!?? This is just insane. I buy my current comics at discount from a comic mail order company and pay $1.85 each for A PHYSICAL BOOK! A physical book that I get to keep and save and collect. With the iPad you get a digital file that has
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
But what about magazines?
Well, let's take a look. You can currently get a physical copy of TIME Magazine delivered to your mailbox for 36¢ an issue with a
The cost to buy the same thing digitally with your iPad?
Yes, you read that right... FOUR DOLLARS AND NINETY-NINE CENTS AN ISSUE!! WTF?!? Does the iPad version of TIME Magazine come with a blow-job or something?? By buying digitally, I save the publisher from having to pay for paper & printing AND postage. And what do I get for my trouble? I HAVE TO PAY A 1286% PRICE INCREASE!!
How does this make ANY kind of sense?
By eliminating the cost of paper, printing, and postage, digital versions should COST LESS than their physically printed counterparts... NOT MORE! Or, at the very least, they should be the same price.
And so here I sit not giving a fuck if magazine publishers die a slow, painful death. They are literally too stupid to survive. So let them die. Eventually a new media replacement that doesn't have their heads up their asses will rise up and take their place.
It's only a matter of time, and I have plenty of patience.
Posted on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
Posted on Sunday, April 4th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday on Easter Sunday! Bullets and Eggs... could there be a better combination?
• HAPPY EASTER! To all my friends who celebrate this day for whatever reason, I wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful Spring. My day was nice enough... dinner at grandma's house... but my car ended up covered with bird crap. And I mean covered. There is so much bird crap on my car that I'm fairly certain I could fertilize half the apple orchards in the valley. I didn't have enough quarters for a car wash, so now I'm driving the PoopMobile. Kind of an ominous start to my Spring, but it is what it is.
• THRILLER! Say what you like about the freakish nature of Michael Jackson but, after watching his final appearances on the This is It DVD, there's no denying the guy was a true musical artist. I am only a casual fan but have to admit I was amazed watching him prepare for his farewell tour. Even if you only like one or two Michael Jackson songs you owe it to yourself to see this film...
• UPS SUCKS! Yesterday I was supposed to be in Seattle hanging out with friends and family. But a freak snowstorm descended, canceling my plans. So long as a winter storm warning is in effect, I can't risk being trapped in Seattle while I'm still trying to get caught up with work after my vacation. Since I was going to be home, I was asked to help with an emergency. An iPad demo unit which has to be on its way to Europe on Monday wasn't going to arrive as planned, and a software developer friend of mine asked if I wouldn't mind sending my iPad out instead (then he would send his iPad to me next week when he got it). Of course I didn't mind at all. The only problem was that I live in a small town where Saturday Delivery isn't available, and I wasn't expecting my iPad to be here until Monday. So I called UPS to tell them to please route my iPad to a UPS Store in a nearby city that has Saturday Delivery. I could drive into town, pick it up, transfer the software, and then ship it out again no problem.
Except it WAS a problem. UPS refused to do a damn thing.
They wouldn't reroute the package. They wouldn't even contact the local UPS station to have them take it to the UPS Store. They wouldn't even let me drive to the actual station and pick it up there. They didn't offer any solution at all.
What fantastic customer service.
I'm amazed that I've done this with Fed-Ex a couple times before and they never even hinted that it was a problem. Fed-Ex just took care of it, and I never gave it a second thought. But to UPS it's massive drama and an overwhelming ordeal that they can't (or won't) help you with. They just don't care. Which meant my friend... a small tech developer just trying to stay in business another damn day... had to drive eight hours round-trip to solve a problem that UPS could have fixed in just a few minutes if they had even a hint of customer service.
So, lesson learned. If you want a company that actually gives a flying fuck, ship with Fed-Ex.
UPDATE: And so one of the voicemails I ignored at work this weekend was from my local UPS station trying to contact me to see if I wanted to have my package delivered to an alternative address or meet a driver to pick it up. This is exactly what I wanted to do all along, but was assured by the UPS Customer Service line that it was impossible. Apparently the local stations actually do give a crap about their customers, they just don't have any support from corporate. This is so frickin' typical of big businesses now-a-days that I can't even pretend to be surprised.
And, on that happy note, I'm off to wash clothes. How exciting is THAT?
Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2010
This morning when I woke up it was snowing. When I got to work it was misty. When lunch came around, there was heavy rains and hail. When I got off work the sun was shining. I wish that the weather could make up its damn mind so I know what I'm supposed to wear each day. As it is, I just have to run the gauntlet and hope that I don't end up too cold or too hot or (worst of all) too wet.
What I wouldn't give to be back in Maui right now...
TequilaCon is in less than three weeks. That will do... no matter what the weather.
Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
If the idea of a Certified Apple Whore bitching about the new iPad disturbs you... please look at the cute kitten below and ignore the rest of this entry. Come back tomorrow when there will be monkeys and pie!
I have named the new iPad "Paddington" and like him a lot. He is about the sexiest piece of tech to come along in quite a while, and Apple deserves a lot of credit for creating such a revolutionary device in a field that's been riddled with a crushing lack of success (including Apple's own "Newton" device). For the most part, I think iPad is dreamy, and there are a bajillion websites out there with reviews waxing poetic about how frickin' sweet it is.
And yet it is far from perfect.
But before I get to the astounding number of inexplicable failures in both functionality and usability, there's a few things I won't be covering that everybody else seems to be complaining about...
The iPad is a multi-functional device that becomes different appliances when apps are run on it. It's not a computer, it's not meant to be a computer, and trying to force computer-related baggage onto it is like being upset because your toaster doesn't make margaritas. This is a new kind of device for a new kind of user, and anybody needing that kind of stuff should just go buy a computer. Whining because iPad doesn't support the bloated, battery-draining, resource-stealing, crash-prone pile of garbage known as "Flash" is the kind of backwards thinking that drives me insane. If you need Flash functionality and iPad/iPhone/iPod users are important to you, then either simulate it with HTML5 or build an app if that doesn't work. Trying to change Steve Job's mind about Flash is just pointless, so let's move on. The future awaits.
To read what I DO have to say about the iPad, I've put the whole whiny mess in an extended entry. Enjoy!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
I've been thinking a lot about pie recently.
It all started when I went through the McDonald's drive-thru last week and wanted something to eat with my French fries. As I read through the menu looking for non-meat options, I landed on the McDonald's apple pie and felt my heart sink. McDonalds' apple pie sucks ass. Compared to my grandmother's apple pie, all apple pies suck ass... but McDonald's is a new low in apple pie suckage. Especially since they switched to their awful "baked" pies in 1992. Prior to that, their pies at least had the benefit of a crispy goodness that can only come from deep-fat-frying.
I ended up getting a OREO Cookie McFlurry with my fries because I just couldn't handle the disappointment.
But my longing for deep-fried fast-food pie has lingered.
Mostly because I know that most foreign countries have McDonalds that serve fried pies. I've had fried McPie in Hong Kong, France, Italy, Japan, Ireland, Spain, and other countries too. Never mind that McDonalds was Made in America, foreign countries get the good pie.
Why Americans suffer in silence.
BUT I CAN BE SILENT NO MORE! I WANT FRIED McPIE BACK IN AMERICA!!
I don't care about health care reform or tax spending or national debt or any of that long-term crap anymore. All I care about is fried McPies for the American people NOW.
I realize that McDonald's probably started baking their pies out of some kind of misguided attempt to create something healthier to eat... but people don't go to McDonalds to eat healthy, and they certainly don't order pie for the health benefits. So let's cut all the pretentious bullshit and people what they want.
McDonalds owes us that much.
McDonalds owes us fried McPie.
Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2010
When I woke up and looked out the window this morning it was snowing. This was disappointing, because I was hoping to participate in One Day Without Shoes (helping to remind people of kids living in poverty who can't afford footwear). HELPFUL HINT TO ORGANIZERS: Might have been a good idea to pick a date closer to summer so those living in North North America can participate.
And so my day was already off to a bad start with the weather, but that wasn't good enough. Irony had to rear its ugly head. My body decided to have an angioedema attack for the second day in a row, where the bottoms of my feet had swollen so badly that getting my feet into shoes was a painful prospect. So, to sum things up...
And so I overdosed on antihistamines (again) which ended up giving me an upset stomach, which resulted in me puking my guts out, which meant I ended up having to take more antihistamines, which made me sleepy, which meant I had to drink Red Bull, which caused me to have an upset stomach. And so on.
My entire day ended up being a vicious circle of cause and effect.
And here at the end of my day, it's no different. The never-ending battle to stay healthy enough to work while staying awake enough not to drop into a coma has taken its toll, and I'm pretty much dead. Whether I'm dead enough to get a decent night's sleep remains to be seen. But I'm hopeful.
Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2010
My fear of clowns is well documented.
But apparently I didn't always have the same phobia of these psychotic killing machines that I do now. Because as I continue to scan and catalog pictures from my childhood, I am seeing clowns everywhere.
They're sneaking around in the background...
Or placed next to me...
Or even sitting on my face...
And yet these photos show no sign of the trauma I would surely experience if I were to run across these same clowns today. I can only guess that I was attacked by a murderous clown sometime in my early teens, and have blocked the incident from memory. Now only the fear remains, not the experience which caused it.
Kind of like the George W. Bush presidency. As the days pass, I can barely remember all the horrific details... just the overwhelming feeling of sheer terror and dread that they imprinted on my psyche.
I should probably seek professional help, but I don't think any amount of therapy is going to drive Karl Rove from my head. And I don't suppose it takes a psychological genius to figure out what my worst nightmare would be...
If Karl Rove ever joins the circus, I may never sleep again.
Though Rove did join FOX News, which is pretty much the same thing as the circus... just without the fresh-roasted peanuts, a trapeze, the big top, and somebody with a shovel to scoop up all the shit that the animals keep dropping all over the place.
Great. One more thing to keep me awake at night.
Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2010
For those who are just sick of hearing about iPad, I apologize. But the more I play with it, the more I realize that Steve Jobs wasn't just blowing smoke up people's asses when he called iPad a "magical and revolutionary device"... minor criticisms aside, it really does feel a bit like magic sometimes... mostly because it has this uncanny ability to just disappear, leaving nothing between you and what you're interacting with.
As if that wasn't enough, iPad is responsible for Betty White, Apple Genius, to appear on Craig Ferguson...
Since iPad is so new there aren't a huge number of releases for it yet, but I have run across three great apps that are worth having...
Star Walk ($4.99). This astronomy app is a nice star map app with a good-sized catalog of stars, galaxies, planets, and other stellar objects. It's slick, polished, and beautiful, but what makes it so cool is the "Star Spotter" function it inherited from the iPhone version. Hold the iPad up to the night sky, and it will use your location and direction to follow your moves and display a map of what you're seeing. Magical...
Tap something on the display then hit the info button, and StarWalk zooms in and tells you all about it...
On the iPhone, the app was nice, but not very practical because the tiny size made usability difficult. But on iPad's beautiful big, display it's fantastic. If you have even a passing interest in astronomy, it's $5 well-spent.
Ocean Blue ($9.99). While $10 may seem pricy for a passive application like a virtual aquarium, the quality here is pretty amazing and it's the perfect app to show off your iPad. Just like StarWalk, you can move Ocean Blue around, and the virtual display will pan around the ocean, allowing you to "dive" and look around (you can also tap-navigate as well). There's currently not a big variety of fish you can choose from, but the developer has promised more in future updates. If they look and move as beautifully as the current batch, a terrific piece of software is just going to get better and better...
Sam & Max Episode 1: The Penal Zone ($6.99 for a limited time). One of my favorite cartoon creations, Sam & Max, Freelance Police have come to iPad with an adventure game that's pretty sweet. Things start out kinda confusing... homicidal rabbit-thingy Max has unexplained psychic powers, and you're dropped into the end of the story. From there, you have to piece together not only the mystery of what happened and how it happened, but how to stop it from happening again. Like I said, confusing... but still a lot of fun. I've run into occasional audio drop-outs and video stutters, but the overall game is so hilarious and clever that you won't be too disappointed. The game is played by moving the characters around and tapping on objects to interact with them. With the help of Max's psychic powers, you solve puzzles and move the story forward. But the best news? This is only the first episode, and there's four more to come...
Overall, not a bad start. As more and more developers start taking advantage of what the iPad is capable of, the future is going to be magical indeed.
Posted on Sunday, April 11th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday and, if I remember to hit "publish" instead of "draft," then maybe it will actually appear on Sunday.
• Hostess. One of my favorite childhood treats was Ding Dongs snack cakes. But since I became a vegetarian in 1988, I haven't been able to eat them because Hostess fills them with DISGUSTING LARD!! I still miss them though, because nothing quite compared to peeling off that foil wrapper to get to the chocolatey creamy goodness inside. Anyway, yesterday when I was shopping, I noticed that Ding Dongs are no longer wrapped in foil. They're wrapped in DISGUSTING PLASTIC!
I refuse to eat DISGUSTING LARD, so I can't say for sure... but I bet they don't taste as good without the foil wrapper.
• Dixie. I was very sad to learn that Dixie Carter passed away. As Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women, she had some of the funniest moments on television, and provided some clever insight on events of the day. They don't write them like that anymore, and now that Dixie Carter is gone, they won't play them like that anymore either...
She will be missed.
• Lust. And in other sad news, Seattle's "Lusty Lady" is closing! I've only been once, but it was a peep-show experience that lasts a lifetime. Believe it or not, many consider the most entertaining part of the place not to be the naked women on the inside, but the clever puns on the marquee outside...
Ah, if only I could make it to Seattle with a roll of quarters just once more for old-time's sake! The Lusty Lady... she will also be missed.
• Palinesque. About the ONLY benefit of Sarah Palin's never-ending stupidity still being in the public spotlight would be Tina Fey popping up every once in a while with her flawless parody of it. Well, actually her parody of Palin's parody of Marge Gunderson, but still, amazing. In any event, Fey totally nailed it once again with last night's hosting duties on Saturday Night Live...
On one hand, it would be heaven for Palin to run for president in 2012... the comedy gold that such an undertaking could provide would be epic. On the other hand, she's set back women in politics by at least a decade, and it would be nice to have a fully-functional woman enter the next presidential election.
And on that hopeful note for the future, it's time for Oreo Cookie dinner.
Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010
Despite having worked a big chunk of Saturday and Sunday I was still completely overwhelmed today. This was kind of disheartening, as it made me feel as if I had given up my weekend for nothing.
It's times like this that I am seriously reconsidering my no-drug policy here at Blogography.
Because, let's face it, if anybody is the perfect candidate for drug use it's me. I work under high amounts of stress, I am often alone, and I have a highly addictive personality. I often joke that the only thing that keeps me from doing buckets of cocaine is the cost. But the truth is that I could probably juggle a few things in my budget and be able to free up enough cash for a decent coke habit if I really wanted to.
And days like today, I really want to.
Living in a hallucinatory land of green skies with pink clouds while surrounded with hundreds of imaginary monkeys may seem like a terrible thing, but I assure you it sounds pretty good compared to my non-cocaine-hallucinated reality...
So far so good.
But then I look at the legal ramifications of being caught in possession of cocaine, and this rose-colored scenario starts to turn murky. As a first-time offender, I could probably get off with community service and drug counseling. Picking up garbage on the side of the highway wouldn't be too bad, that I could do. But the idea of having to go to meetings with crack-heads, stoners, blazers, and drugged-out nut-bags while some counselor lectures on the joys of a drug-free life... well, that's enough to scare me straight before I even begin. In all honesty, I'd rather go to prison.
So I'm back to square one.
I guess it's time for chocolate pudding and a glass of milk.
Which I'm sure is almost as good as a couple lines of cocaine anyway.
Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
This morning the Washington State House and Senate ended their "special session" to balance the state's budget. They did this by passing a package of tax hikes and spending cuts, which kind of makes sense given that we don't want to end up on the verge of bankruptcy like California. Nobody likes more taxes and less spending, but you do what you have to do to make things work, Right? I can live with that.
While I may be open to sucking it up and paying a little more in taxes so that critical services and functions will continue in my home state, I do insist that the new taxes MAKE SOME FUCKING SENSE IF I HAVE TO FUCKING PAY THEM!
If you're not afraid of the word "fuck" and aren't bothered by mindless ranting, then feel free to proceed...
A major source of the new taxes are on bottled water, tobacco products, pop, candy, gum, and beer. I don't pretend to understand exactly what's going on with all this (exactly as our government wants it) but I'll do my best to comment anyway. From what I can tell, these taxes are on things that are supposedly "bad" for you or "luxuries"...
Look, I know that my genius-level IQ means that I tend to see things more clearly than a lot of people. But surely I am not the only person who looks at the Washington State government and wonders WHAT THE FUCK?!? None... NONE... of these tax hikes make any sense at all. You can dress it up as a "luxury tax" or a "sin tax" or whatever the fuck you want to call it, but the end result is that these have all been levied unfairly. Poison the water, but tax clean drinking water. Tax the most taxed products ever because less people are using them. Subsidize something bad for your health to make it cheaper, then tax people to buy it after the healthier competition has been slaughtered. Add taxes to a candy that has a cookie in it, but don't tax a cookie that has candies on it. THEN tax a beverage that makes all the other stupid shit bearable.
Again, I understand the need for taxes to help pay for the services we all enjoy... I'm not debating that.
But taxes need to MAKE SOME FUCKING SENSE for me to support them. When lawmakers just pass bullshit taxes because they're too fucking lazy to find logical solutions to balance the budget, it just tells me that these politicians need to get the fuck out of office to make room for creative thinkers who won't tax first, then think later.
And elections are just around the corner...
Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Yesterday morning I awoke to discover that I had somehow gouged my right eyeball in the middle of the night. The most likely explanation is that my contact lens tore as I removed it, and a small piece got stuck in my eye. It was painful, yet not overbearingly so... a handful of ibuprofen managed to get me through the day.
Then this morning I awoke at 1:00am in searing pain. I'm assuming that I was rubbing my irritated eye in the middle of the night, worsening the injury. This time I took no chancres. I flushed it continuously with saline then looked in every nook and cranny with a flashlight. There was nothing there, but the damage had already been done. I was in agony as I stared at a computer screen while my eye was weeping all day long. It was uncomfortable to the extreme, and seemed to last an eternity.
But eventually I made my way home and took a break from computers for a while. That plus another handful of ibuprofen got the pain under control and I found my desire to live again.
UNTIL I WAS PULLING A STACK OF DVDs OFF THE SHELF JUST NOW AND HAD ONE SLIDE OFF AND STAB ME IN THE FACE... SCRATCHING THAT SAME EYEBALL... AGAIN!
And I thought I was in pain before.
I am fully of the opinion that any time you hurt a part of your body it becomes a frickin' magnet for further injury. Sprain your wrist, and you'll be bumping it all day long. Cut your finger, and you'll be smashing it in the door soon after. Get kicked in the balls and... well... you get the idea. I should have known better and worn my pirate eyepatch today, but I just wasn't that smart.
And so here I am, squinting through the tears trying to write today's blog entry.
Apparently I am in desperate need of dumbass warnings to protect me from myself...
I hate to be a whiner, BUT IT BURNS! IT BURNS SO BAD!
The only thing that could make this any worse would be if my headache came back...
SON - OF - A - BITCH!
Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Today was a much better day than yesterday, mostly because I didn't wake up screaming. And you know what they say... "any day you don't wake up screaming in agony is a good one!" Though, to be honest, I'd rather not be screaming in agony any time of day, so there's that. But anyway...
As anybody who has read this blog for a while already knows, I have a on-again-off-again fascination with the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic, baptized, attended Sunday School, accepted First Communion, and formed a bond with the faith that would far outlast the day I eventually left the church.
This fascination manifests itself in my blog from time to time. Like when I toyed with the idea of becoming a priest...
And, of course, the many times I've mentioned wanting to become Pope...
Not to mention the time my entire year was made when I got a glimpse of Pope John Paul II while visiting Rome...
Oh how I loved Pope John
Partly because I still had friends and family who were members, but mostly because of the tremendous respect, admiration, and affection I had towards Pope John
But it's not always been good times. The above quote comes from an entry where I express my complete disgust with Pope
Which is why we have total fucking dumbasses who are "Vatican Officials" making statements defending pedophile priests by saying that it's the homosexuals who are the true pedophiles. And don't get me started on the idiocy of the Pope's own personal preacher comparing attacks on the Catholic Church during pedophile investigations to The Holocaust (even if it had come from an unnamed "Jewish friend"). It's all such disgusting and vile behavior that one has to wonder if my jokes about "initiating a hostile takeover of the papacy" shouldn't become a reality. Because, in all seriousness, it's not like anybody could possibly do a worse job that what's in there now.
I was very lucky that the two priests during my "tenure" with The Church were kind, honorable, decent men of conviction and service to their beliefs. They were inspirational leaders who were a part of the community, and a testament to the Christian faith. Which is why it's painful to read and hear all the horrendous things being written and said about the Catholic Church... even though they are things that must be addressed... one way or the other.
Meaning that if this Pope isn't going to step up and declare that pedophilia by any Catholic priest is to be denounced and punished to the full extent of the law... somebody has to step in and do it. Otherwise, there's just no way that the Catholic Church can be allowed to continue to operate above the law as they have been. If a self-policing entity doesn't address injustices against their people, they don't deserve to have such power. More to the point, they should't have it now.
One can only hope that the Catholic Church will eventually regain leadership which earns my regard instead of my contempt. Until that day, I am trying hard not to lose sight of Pope John
Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010
For the most part, I stayed silent on the internets today out of solidarity for the National Day of Silence. After I posted my blog entry last night, that was the end until I got home from work.
For those not in the know, the National Day of Silence is where hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to bullying and harassment of gay, lesbian, bi and transexual students in their schools. After hearing first-hand about the horrors that students can face for simply being who they are, it's a cause I am compelled to support. It's tough enough to get through those awkward school years without facing such unbearable cruelty day-in and day-out...
In entirely different news, I found this photo I took while I was in Venice, and now I am a little obsessed with going back there...
Beautiful sunsets, great food, and a new Hard Rock Cafe. What more could you want?
Posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2010
Roger Ebert, one of the very few movie critics I respect, a writer I admire, and one of the most fascinating people on the planet, recently wrote a column on his blog stating Video Games Can Never Be Art. Since I've made artistic contributions to a couple of video games, I was tempted to dismiss the article outright. But it's Ebert, so I am compelled to consider his premise. Then Livvy Collette wrote a nice rebuttal that touched on why I can't agree with Ebert's conclusion: there's such a huge amount of creativity involved in crafting a good video game that they can't help but be art.
Which brings us to this immutable fact:
I love my Weighted Companion Cube from the video game Portal more than most people I meet.
Sure it's wacky, improbable, and borderline psychotic... but it's also inexplicably true.
Because not only is my Weighted Companion Cube just a "character" from a video game... it's also an inanimate object from a video game. Yet, the artists at Valve have created a fully realized environment so involving that it causes an emotional response from me towards it. And while I'll be the first to admit that this feeling is not as powerful as the one I get from looking at a painting like Starry Night or watching a film like Cinema Paradiso or reading a book like Jonathan Livingston Seagull or standing in a structure like St. Peter's Basilica... it's still the kind of reaction I get when exposed to a work of all-encompassing art.
Portal is also a lot of fun, which is just a bonus.
The thing that makes art so fascinating is that it is ever-changing and cannot be easily defined. Many of the things we know as "art" today would have been inconceivable a century ago. Or, if not inconceivable, certainly not defined as "art." I once went to a gallery installation where a room was fitted with video screens on the walls and electronic sensors in the floor. The sensors calculated the combined weight of all the people standing in the room, ran the data through a mathematical formula, then displayed beautiful graphics on the wall accordingly. If there were few people in the room, the graphics would be serene. As more people entered, the displays became more chaotic. I accepted the room as artistic expression, even though I had reservations as to the premise (the number of people is easily skewed... twenty small children register as fewer people, three NFL linebackers register as more). Everything in the room was created (albeit dynamically) to affect the senses, perhaps even provoke a reaction. Just like a video game.
Just like art.
And if technology keeps progressing, eventually virtual reality will involve people within the simulation creating art that only exists inside a computer. Thus making a video game out of life. The ultimate artistic expression.
In the end, no one person can define what is... or is not... art. That's because art is subjective and not quantifiable. Art is something you feel. Art is something you sense. Art is something you believe.
Art is in the eye of the beholder.
And lest you think that my opinion is flawed because of my admitted video game psychosis, I would be remiss not to disclose that my Weighted Companion Cube agrees with me completely.
Posted on Sunday, April 18th, 2010
Oops! I almost forgot about Bullet Sunday! It's been a very busy weekend.
• Volcanic? The eruption of Mt. Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and subsequent blanketing of all Europe with ash has disrupted air travel on a massive scale... including mine. Everybody's schedule has been hopelessly screwed and their travel plans postponed indefinitely since nobody knows when the eruption will subside. Worst case scenario has the action intensifying, causing the nearby Katia volcano to erupt as well. If that happens, planes will make their decision to fly from day to day based on weather patterns, and nobody will be able to plan for anything. At the very worst, travel could be mostly trains and ships around Europe for a long while. On the other hand, this could all blow over tomorrow.
But no matter what happens, I am saddened by people saying things like "I hate Iceland" and "Iceland just ruined my vacation" or whatever. Even if the country of Iceland didn't exist, that volcano would still be there. So hate on the volcano, not the country it happens to be erupting on. It's no more Iceland's fault now than it was Washington State's fault when Mt. St. Helens erupted. I've been lucky enough to have visited Reykjavik, and found everybody there to be friendly and kind to visitors. Certainly they're not deserving of such ill-will for something that's not their fault. Besides, karma dictates it could be your country next.
• Good Beaver? Ever wonder what Lil' Dave would look like if I were Canadian? Wonder no longer...
Yes, things are gearing up for TequilaCon 2010 quite nicely. Just six more days...
• Airfix? For well over a decade I've been combing the internet looking for information on an artist named "Satori" who was responsible for some of my favorite album covers in the 80s. I first noticed them for the Thompson Twins' Into The Gap album, where they turned the band's logo into a map...
And of course there was that beautifully haunting cover for Dead or Alive's Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know with Pete Burns staring at you with those black-on-black eyes...
And of course there were those genius covers for a little band called Def Lepard...
This week "Satori" came up in an email conversation, and I Googled them just to see if anything new had popped up. Turns out that there has been something new... "Satori" was just a studio name for Andie Airfix. Not only does Andie now have a personal site where you can purchase some of his amazing work, BUT HE HAS AN AWESOME BLOG called "B*b G#ld*f Stole My Sunglasses?"
No joke... if you have even a passing interest in 80's music (or graphic design), you must visit Andie's blog. It's filled with genius stories featuring Grace Jones, Thompson Twins, Pete Burns, Def Lepard and more. I've read through his every entry twice and will undoubtedly read them all again. Great stuff.
Meh. I suppose I should probably try and get some sleep now. Who knows... one of these nights I might actually get lucky.
Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010
About a half-dozen years ago I was at a horrible party filled with the most boring people imaginable. They were remote friends of my sometimes-girlfriend, and I tagged along because I didn't want to get yelled at. This was during the beginnings of the massive push to "go green" and every douchebag at the party was trying to "out-green" everybody else. This resulted in many lengthy conversations about compost, bio-fuels, recycling, and Birkenstocks... or so I would imagine... to be honest, I wasn't paying much attention and spent most of my time trying to get drunk on organic wine and eating my weight in Doritos with tahini dip. At some point there was a yelling argument over toxic-waste, but not a cool kind of argument (such as to who would win in a death-match between a mutant and a zombie).
It was as about as thrilling as a severe case of food poisoning, but without the fun of calling in sick at work (which is what happens when you try to get drunk on organic wine and eat your weight in Doritos with tahini dip).
Over the course of the 147 hours the party lasted, I somehow got involved in a conversation about bowel movements...
HIPPIE #1: The toxins building up in our feces is a leading cause of health problems.
HIPPIE #2: Yes, we should learn from the animals... a dog has two to three bowel movements a day!
HIPPIE #1: I wonder if there are any health benefits to a human having three bowel movements a day?
DAVE: I dunno. That sounds like a lot of crap to me! Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!
HIPPIE #2: !?!!
HIPPIE #1: !?!!
HIPPIE #2: So... are you thinking laxatives or a high-fiber diet supplemented with coconut or almond oil?
I don't know whether this was better or worse than the Whine People, but it definitely redefined my definition of "torture."
Anyway, flash-forward to today, and I somehow ended up in a conversation where THIS was the topic...
Chart Stolen from Wikipedia
Of course, my only contribution to the discussion was this...
DAVE: I dunno. That sounds like a lot of crap to me! Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!
Apparently I am the only one who has absolutely no desire to discuss this shit.
Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!
Posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
Tonight on the news they used the word "sexting" without bothering to define it. The fact that such a word is so pervasive that it is assumed to be generally understood is bizarre to me. They then went on to a segment about how "experts" have declared "texting" to be an addictive behavior for teens, who send text-messages by the hundreds. Next up: "experts" declare water to be wet.
I'd blog about the insanity of it all, but I have to get back to making TequilaCon Attendance Merit Badges...
One. More. Day. To get everything together. As usual, I am so swamped with work that I'm hopelessly behind.
What is it like to be caught up with everything in your life?
It's been over a decade for me and I can't remember.
Posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
It's Earth Day tomorrow! You should love the Earth for the day. As for me, I Love the Earth every day!
It's just most of the people on the Earth I don't love so much.
I totally love you.
Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010
This afternoon was a beautiful day for driving over to Seattle... until I actually got here. I thought that I could beat rush hour traffic, but somehow arrived right in the middle of it. By the time I had checked into the hotel and made my way to the mall, I was late for my movie date to go see Kick-Ass. Luckily(?) there were twenty minutes of commercials, previews, and other crap, so I didn't miss any of the film.
I liked the movie, and don't feel I should have to make any apologies for that. Even though I am sure there are plenty of people who probably think that I should apologize for enjoying a movie which features an 11-year-old girl with a foul mouth and a predilection for killing bad-guys in the most violent, bloody, horrifying, way possible.
But it's a movie.
Obviously if it were an 11-year-old girl actually murdering people for real, I'd feel different. But it wasn't and so I don't, because I can distinguish hard-core entertainment from real life.
Kick-Ass tells the story of Dave Lizewski, a geeky high-school comic book fan who decides to become a costumed crime-fighter named "Kick-Ass." Unfortunately, he doesn't have any training or fighting skills, so he spends most of his time getting the crap beat out of him. Repeatedly. Almost dying after his first "adventure."
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Mindy Macready, who has been trained since early childhood by her father to be a ruthless killing machine. Seeking revenge for Mindy's mother's death at the hand of organized crime, the duo become costumed crime-fighters known as Hit-Girl and Big Daddy (featuring one of Nicholas Cage's best performances ever!).
If there's a problem with the film, it's that I found Dave Lizewski's screen-time to be mostly boring. Probably because every single scene with Hit-Girl brutally mowing down criminals was awesome times 100. There's just no way that Kick-Ass can compete with her. She completely steals the movie, and it got to the point where I spent my time wishing I could fast-forward to her next appearance...
All in all, Kick-Ass was solid entertainment that tries to provide a "realistic" take on the super-hero genre film. Of course, it's nowhere near being actually realistic, but the portrayal tries to be. And I give them a solid "B" for the effort.
Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010
And away we go...
Wish us luck at the border. I am hoping that I don't have to submit to a full cavity search this time.
Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010
TequilaCon Day is here...
Posters from previous years are in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2010
It's a very special TEQUILACON edition of Bullet Sunday!
• ISERT10. It all started on Friday when the TequilaCon Planning Posse met in Seattle for the drive up to this year's host city... VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA! Dubbed the International Shark Extreme Road Trip 2010 (ISERT10), it was a journey filled with wonder, good times, danger, and disappointment. The disappointment came when we realized that the Kentucky Fried Chicken DOUBLE-DOWN is illegal in Canada, and we'd miss our opportunity to feed one to Dustin so we could observe the health-deteriorating effects...
A double-cheese and bacon sandwich with fried chicken as the "bread" could only have come from the USA, and apparently Canada wants to keep it that way. After the thorough interrogation we got when crossing the border, I can't imagine the penalty afforded you if you were to attempt to smuggle a Double-Down into the country. Probably death. Or at least long-term imprisonment. Kind of like Brokedown Palace or Midnight Express... but with chicken.
• Apples. Tired from the trip up, we decided to hold off work until Saturday so we could engage in a new TequilaCon Planning Posse tradition... a game of Apples to Apples. This is, after all, how the term SHARK EXTREME was born (because when your word to judge is "Extreme" and you choose "Sharks" over "Hitler" as the most correct answer, you've pretty much laid down the law on extremeness... Jenny has the full story here). This year, I was faced with another Hitler dilemma...
This year I wasn't going to make the same mistake after somebody played The Hitler Card, but Jenny had to go and remind me of Windows Vista, so now we've added BILL GATES UNSCRUPULOUS to SHARK EXTREME in the TequilaCon slang dictionary. And, in a stranger note, Adolf Hitler just can't seem to win at Apples to Apples.
• Preparation. Saturday morning was spent prepping for the big event, with button-making being given priority over sightseeing. Sure it's a tough choice, but sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good...
• TEQUILACON! I don't even know what to say about this year's event. It was epic as usual. A truly wonderful bunch of people having massive amounts of fun in a wonderful welcoming atmosphere at a fantastic venue (many thanks to Jet and everybody else at Steamworks Brewing Co. who took such good care of us!). Things could only have been more perfect if Ryan Reynolds showed up with a box of TimBits and Nickelback(!) performed! There's a photo set building up on Flickr where tons of pictures will end up in a day or so, but here's just a few I took...
• SWAG! This year the SWAG (Stuff We All Get) game was elevated to an entirely new level. In addition to the bitchin' name-badge lanyards and souvenir buttons we usually get, Beth (of Copasetic Beth fame) created these amazing hats for all attendees...
Featuring the TequilaCon SHARK EXTREME logo, the hats look just incredible and added all new epicness to an already epic event. Thanks, Beth!
• Victoria. It's not really that easy to get to Victoria from Vancouver, even though technically they're pretty close. First you have a half-hour drive to the Tsawwassen Ferry Dock, a half-hour to buy tickets and load up, an hour-and-a-half to cross the Georgia Straight, and an hour bus-ride from the Swartz Bay Ferry Dock to downtown Victoria. With return, that's a seven-hour journey... it's kind of tough for a day-trip, but we decided to give it a shot because Victoria is a beautiful city and worth the effort...
It was a short trip, but a nice one...
And thus ends another TequilaCon. Until next year!
Posted on Monday, April 26th, 2010
=sigh= Back to reality.
I'm so very sad that TequilaCon is over, but ultimately happy beyond words at how amazing it was again this year. It makes me want to run out an buy lottery tickets, because I feel so lucky to have been able to attend. Thanks so much to everybody who took time out of their busy lives to join us... I hope that you had as much fun as we did!
The trip back to Seattle from Vancouver was blissfully uneventful, as we managed to cross the border with no problems. Even though we had been living out our newly-found Metalocalypse addiction and couldn't stop quoting the terrifying rock-n-roll clown Dr. Rockzo the entire way down...
I'd blog more about the trip, but I just got back from an incredible dinner with Jenny (at the fantastic Seattle institution known as Ray's Boathouse) and have had entirely too much wine to concentrate long enough to form coherent thoughts...
Beautiful photo taken from moohaha on Flickr.
And now I suppose that it's time that I get some sleep so I can return to Real Life in the morning.
Posted on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Schadenfreude, which is often translated in American English to mean "shameful joy," is a delicious German word used to describe a situation where somebody finds pleasure in the misfortune of others. In Buddhism this concept is kind of horrific, which is probably why their word Mudita or "joy" is often seen as Schadenfreude's polar opposite. Mudita is achieved by finding pleasure in the happiness and well-being of others. As somebody who strives to apply Buddhist ideals to everyday life, it's my goal to limit Schadenfreude as much as I can, while striving for Mudita whenever possible.
But sometimes you just can't help it.
Today as I was driving back from Seattle, I turned off I-90 at Cle-Elum so I could connect with Highway 97 and go home. These roads are single-lane, which can be frustrating. Because about ten minutes later, some asshole comes roaring up behind me and was grinding on my bumper even though I was over the speed limit by 5 miles per hour. Had I been under the speed limit, I'd understand his aggressive driving because I'd deserve it. But I wasn't, so his douchebaggery was uncalled for. My first reaction was to slam on my brakes and slow down so he'd back off... but he didn't. This just seemed to make him more anxious. Which just encouraged me to slow down even further, because I can be a total asshole too.
Eventually he got to a spot where he could pass me, and went zooming by at spectacular speed. After fuming with rage for a few minutes, I promptly forgot about the jerkwad because life is too short.
Until I ran across him 20 minutes later skidded off the road.
Bwah ha ha!
I would have stopped to offer help, but somebody with a truck already had. This was too bad, because I'd love to have been the one who pulled up and asked "Are you having some trouble?" And yet... even though in my head I would be laughing my ass off, I don't think that this could be considered the "shameful joy" of Schadenfreude because I really would have helped him out if I could. Maybe that would be considered "righteous joy" or "Gerechterfreude" if you will.
Anyway, not long after that hot mess, an oncoming car flashed their lights at me. This is usually a warning that a police car is up ahead laying a trap, and I should watch my speed. I definitely appreciated the warning (thanks, man!), but I was already fine because I've been trying really hard not to speed excessively. With budget cutbacks and such, the cops have been issuing a staggering number of tickets lately for even tiny infractions. I can only guess that this is to generate income and justify their not being laid off or something.
But it wasn't the police. It was four deer down by the road having lunch!
Deer make regular appearances here, so you always have to be careful, but I have never seen four of them together like that. I slowed down and gave them a wide berth in case one of them suddenly decided to bolt across the road, but they walked off into the bushes as I approached.
And there was my moment of Mudita... feeling joy that the deer wandered away unharmed and happy.
Most likely because karma ran that stupid asshole right off the road before he could come along and plow over them.
"Gerechterfreude" totally needs to be a word.
Posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
What kind of total douchebag do you have to be to park your massive motorhome sideways across SIX individual parking spaces? Before you answer, I am compelled to mention that there is a huge lot with motorhome parking just across the street. But heaven forbid you should have to walk across the street when you can screw over SIX people so you can park wherever the hell you want to.
I know I shouldn't be shocked at the depths people will sink to make their lives more convenient at the expense of others, but this kind of blatant ass-hattery never ceases to amaze me. People just don't care. They don't care about other people, and they certainly don't care about what anybody else thinks of them. I'd imagine this is out of self-preservation, because if they cared about the things other people say when they're being a douche, they'd probably jump off a cliff. Far easier to just be a dickwad and not care, I guess.
And yet these people are undoubtedly the first to have a hissy fit when somebody else inconveniences them.
The maximum levels of hypocrisy, apathy, and overall douchebaggery this world can endure before we reach a tipping point is rapidly approaching. It's only a matter of time before somebody has had enough with people's bullshit, and takes matters into their own hands. They'll see some asshole parked across six parking spaces and just lose it. They'll then take a wad of explosives out of the back of their car that they've been saving for just such an occasion... and explode the ever-loving-shit out of that motorhome pile of crap. And then they'll dance around the smoldering remains while laughing their ass off.
I really hope that person doesn't end up being me.
Unless... isn't that kind of how Batman got started?
Posted on Thursday, April 29th, 2010
I spent most of this evening attempting to get my travel schedule straightened out. Things have been so messed up for so long that I didn't think it would ever come together... but it kind of did. Several trips are still up in the air (heh heh heh) but the most important ones have all been booked.
As always, I've tried my best to pencil in a day where I can get some dinner and hang out with my fellow bloggers. If there's one good thing to come out of being away from home so often, that would be it. So, if you're near a town I'll be in on any of these dates and feel like meeting up, shoot an email to email@example.com and I'll get in touch with you when I can figure out a good venue...
Sometime this summer I'm supposed to make trips to Los Angeles and possibly San Francisco... so I'll post those when I can fit them in. In the meanwhile, I'm tired of looking at airline ticket sites and need some sleep.
Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2010
Last night was when Adobe allowed their customers who purchased Creative Suite 5 to download it. Since I spend almost my entire day working in either Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, this is a pretty monumental event that affects nearly all of my professional life... and a sizable chunk of my personal life too. All-in-all, they've added some amazing features that will make what I do a lot easier. But they've also made some mistakes of such astounding obviousness that it has me wondering if they bothered to beta-test the apps before release. Oh well. I guess you can't have it all.
Alas, the best new tools and hot new features are no substitute for creativity and good design.
All you have to do is watch television for an hour to see that.
Even with all the special effects and killer graphics available today, most television commercials are annoying crap that I can't wait to fast-forward through. But every once in a while a good commercial comes along that I actually want to watch. I dunno what it is about this latest 1-800-CONTACTS ad that strikes me funny, but it does...
It's as if companies are finally getting a clue that their commercials have to entertain if they expect people to want to watch them (especially in the age of DVRs). Sure there have always been great ads every once in a while, but they're really upping their game now. Like that great commercial from Old Spice... or those funny commercials from Ally Bank... or the amazing Betty White ad for Snickers... and now this one from 1-800-CONTACTS. All money well-spent.
Of course, we have a long ways to go before we can reach the awesomeness found in Japanese commercials...
And for those of you with the pizza toppings song permanently stuck in your head... you're welcome!