It's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Blogography is going pink for all of October (which you might have already noticed if you're not seeing this in a feed reader or Facebook or something). As one of the most common forms of cancer, the American Cancer Association estimated that up to 250,000 new cases were diagnosed last year. They also say that thanks to continuing education for early detection and advances in treatment, millions of women are surviving breast cancer today. Women like my friends Denise and Sarah... and somebody I love more than chocolate pudding and Betty White combined, my sister Theresa.
As always, the key to survival is early detection. It's been said a million times, but here it is again... find out how to do a breast self-exam from a health care professional and perform a self-exam every month. Women in their 20's and 30's should also have a professional exam performed every 3 years (women over 40 should have a mammogram and professional exam performed every year). If you're not taking these steps, then start today. If not for yourself, for the people who love you. People like me!
Breast cancer has never been more survivable, so it's important to leave fear behind and educate yourself if you haven't already.
There are a lot of Breast Cancer fund raising activities going on this month, so be sure to support one if you can! Or donate directly to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists.
I spent the entire weekend trying to get caught up with work but failed miserably despite working day and night. I suppose this is a FAIL! I can feel good about. But not really. I DO feel good that I've reached TWO HUNDRED Bullet Sundays though...
• Negatory. I am still trying to decide if there is a triple negative or a quadruple negative in this here sentence: "I ain't not never seen no deer there this time of year." What's odd is that even though this sentence is a grammatical nightmare, if you turn off your brain it makes perfect sense. It's like the more negatives you pile up, the more emphatic the "no" is. I'll have to remember this the next time somebody asks if they can have one of my cookies.
• Icy. Two shows I love to hate to watch are Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers. I don't know why. Probably because real people in real danger makes for real entertainment!
Though they're both great television, I'm probably most attached to Ice Truckers because I'm hopelessly in love with trucker Lisa Kelly...
I got to meet Captain Sig Hansen (from Deadliest Catch) totally by accident when I was at Walt Disney World's Norway Pavilion at Epcot a couple years back. It was pretty cool. But it wasn't Lisa. (insert winky smile face here)
ANYWAY... tonight was not only the season finale of Ice Road Truckers, but the debut of Ice Road Truckers: DEADLIEST ROADS! Here was me throughout the entire show...
Because I am afraid of heights, and they were driving these rickety trucks on this insane crumbling one-lane road carved out of a mountain with a million foot drop on the side...
And it gets worse next episode. Insanity. But good entertainment (even though not every driver is going to make it). If you're not watching the two Ice Road Truckers shows, I highly recommend them. Assuming your sphincter muscles are strong enough and you can get over the giggles every time somebody talks about "dropping their load."
• Closet. Annnnd you just know... know... what's going to happen six months down the road...
We've seen it a hundred times. The people who are most vicious in attacking and condemning homosexuals are the ones who ultimately end up putting their penis in a place they advocate it doesn't belong. And this flaming ball of "heterosexual righteousness" is actually stalking a guy... specifically because the guy is gay! Bizarre. Oh well... I look forward to adding another self-hating cock-master to my growing collection of hypocrites. It's only a matter of time.
And now... back to work. I've got three days before I fly out again, and entirely too much to do before then...
I love creativity. I love art. I love art museums. I love traveling to art museums around the world and experiencing the amazing creatings of beauty and imagination I find there.
And yet... even though I travel quite a lot, it would be impossible for me to see all the museums and works of art that I'd like to see. That's why I'm thrilled that more and more museums are starting to put their collections online. Sure it's not the same as seeing them in person, but it's certainly better than nothing. Especially when you look at the amazing quality of the digital representations they're giving us.
First up is Haltadefinizione, with their astounding hi-res scans of some famous works. You can zoom in so close as to see the actual brushstrokes and cracks in the plaster. Like this breathtaking view of Jesus from The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci...
Or this stunning zoom of Bacco by Caravaggio...
Amazing. Just amazing. And they also offer gallery prints of the various works and selected zoom prints as well. I wish I could afford them.
In equally amazing news, The Vatican has graciously put a virtual "window" into the Sistine Chapel on their site so you can explore Michelangelo's master works of the cieling and Last Judgement (along with the works by other geniuses such as Raphael, Bernini, and Botticelli)...
Even though I've seen these works in person, I've never seen them like this. To be able to zoom in and study great masters in such detail is just too good to be true.
Art deserves to be enjoyed by everybody. Museums who choose to share their treasures over the internet are enriching the world for us all, and I couldn't be more grateful for their efforts.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get lost in some art for a while...
I hate this time of year.
This is the time when 90% of the ads on television are political attack ads set on an infinite loop. And they all suck. I am so sick and tired of the political bullshit polluting my entertainment that I'm about ready to put my foot through the TV. Or put my foot up the asses of these dumbass politicians who are so busy talking about what the other guy is doing wrong that they don't bother to say how they're going to fix anything. Probably because they don't know what they're going to do. Far easier to just trash the other candidate and get the job with no expectations.
By far the worst ads here in Washington State come from the battle that's airing between incumbent Democrat dumbass Senator Patty Murray and challenger Republican dumbass Dino Rossi. I voted for Rossi last time because Democrats historically shit all over Eastern Washington (where I live) since it's mostly inhabited by Republicans that don't vote for them. They're far too busy throwing State money at their voter base over on the coast so they can get reelected next term.
But this year Dino Rossi has made it impossible... IMPOSSIBLE... for me to vote for the piece of shit because his ads are so reprehensible that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I did.
But, to his credit, he at least looks into the camera when he delivers his "I'm Dino Rossi and I approve this ad" stupidity.
In Patty Murray's latest ad she's NOT looking into the camera... but instead "discussing important business" with somebody while she looks AWAY from the camera and reluctantly drones on with her "I'm Patty Murrary and I approve this ad" idiocy IN VOICEOVER! And she delivers it with such agony that you can practically feel her begging you to forgive her for being "forced" to air this horrible commercial. Well, Senator, if you can't even look into the camera when you tell people that you approve your own bullshit, then you have no fucking business airing the ad in the first place. Not that I blame you, if I was shoveling that shit to people while I asked for their vote, I wouldn't be able to look them in the eye while I said it either. But don't for one second think that you're fooling anybody... it's insulting to all of us. You're a US Senator for heavens sake.
Needless to say, I'm not voting for that pathetic joke of a candidate either.
So it looks like my ballot will be without a vote in the Senate box. I do not reward this kind of childish, unproductive, and generally shitty behavior.
I'm used to political candidates being dumbasses. I'm even used to casting my vote based on who's the lesser douchebag. But when you've got two candidates so disgusting that the thought of voting for either one makes you sick to your stomach... all you can do vote your conscience.
Even if that means not voting at all.
Here we go again...
It was an epic Double Rainbow kind of day in Chicago...
But isn't most every day in Chicago?
I could pretend to know where I am and how I got here and what I'm doing, but I really can't say for sure. It's been a long day and I've had a lot to drink. I'm almost positive that I'm in the wilds of rural Wisconsin.
Not because I'm looking at my iPhone GPS (since I don't even know how to get that working properly right now) but because there's a lot of subtle clues around. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to know where you are when the signs all around you are pointing the way...
I'm pretty sure that when it comes to Wisconsin, beer is what's for lunch as well... beer and cheese with bacon wrapped around it. Other than that, it's certainly pretty enough to be Wisconsin in the Fall...
And the Jägermeister Pumpkins are in bloom...
That's definitely Wisconsin right there.
Doing the math... Dave2 + Wisconsin + Jägermeister + Ke$ha...
"Throw your hands up! Throw your hands up!"
Jenny + Wisconsin + Beer + Ke$ha...
"Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack..."
Ha! I totally lie. Jenny wouldn't be caught dead singing Ke$ha no matter how much beer she's had! I'm pretty sure that's the Pussycat Dolls right there.
Technically, I shouldn't be drunk though.
Looking back, I totally took precautions. I ate plenty of bread with butter. Salad with butter. Bruschetta with butter. And, of course, this is Wisconsin so I had fries with butter...
And a little carb-on-carb action with a Cheese-And-Butter-Risotto-Sandwich-On-Buttered-Rye-Bread-With-Butter...
Which was followed by Buttered Butternut Squash Ravioli in Brown-Sugar-Butter Sauce with Walnuts and Butter.
But, in the end, the Jägermeister cannot be denied...
Especially when you have five of them preceded by three Super Big Gulp glasses of wine...
Jägermeister cuts through a stomach butter-shield like a hot knife through...uhhh... butter.
WITH BUTTER ON TOP!
Tomorrow morning should be fun.
Assuming I don't have a butter-induced heart attack in the middle of the night.
And a good time was had by all.
P.S. I looked completely awesome tonight.
It's a very special edition of Bullet Sunday on
• Marathon! Once again I have somehow managed to be in Chicago during the massive Chicago Marathon. While I was in the lobby of my hotel tonight, somebody was making smart-assed comments to all the runners who had changed out of their running gear, but were still wearing their medals... "It's over! The race is over! You can take off your medals now!" To which I replied "Hey, if I somehow managed to survive running a marathon, I'd never take my medal off!" And it's probably true. I wonder why some people are compelled to crap all over other people's happiness?
• Twins! Usually when people show me a photo of some guy and say he looks like my twin, I just don't see it. This time I totally DO see it. Probably because the sign above his head is spelling it out for me...
ZOMFG! POD PEOPLE!! Thanks to Damian for confirming that I have a clone running around out there by emailing me this photo. I suspected as much all along.
• Betty! Possibly the coolest coffee mug you will ever see...
• Dining! Thanks to a last-minute meet-up with Leah in Chicago, I'm three for three nights of amazing dinners. At home my dinner usually consists of barely edible slop that comes out of the toaster or the microwave. To go from that to something like the gnocchi I had last night (which was so amazing I felt like weeping openly, then lighting the table on fire so I could distract people while I licked the bowl)... well... it's a pretty big shock to my system...
Food to die kill for is not something I want to get used to.
• Gap! The entire internet design community is up in arms over the new logo identity unleashed by The Gap this week. Everyone is shocked and appalled that a beautifully unique logo of timeless elegance, simplicity, and class has been replaced by a generic piece of shit that has no identity at all...
I, on the other hand, am not shocked at all. This is just the latest part of a shitty trend to "update" logos so they read easier at small sizes when displayed on mobile phones, websites, and all the other devices that modern society has embraced...
It's a noble (and probably necessary) endeavor, but it's always being done so badly. And while I'm sure at least some thought went into it, the end result looks exactly like so many of the other unbranded, bland, non-proprietary bullshit logos being churned out that you have to wonder WHAT thought went into it. When it comes to The Gap, it doesn't take a genius to see that their new "logo" is ultimately going to end up doing more harm than good... regardless of all the attention the bad publicity is getting them in the short-run. Sad, but oh-so-typical.
Now it's bye-bye bullets and back to work with me...
It's Columbus Day! A day set aside to celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas. Now, while I can fully appreciate that this is a historically important event, I'm always perplexed as to why this is a national get-out-of-school-free worthy holiday. Back when I was actually in school, I didn't care to question it. But now? Now that I've read about the history behind the man we're honoring?
Not so much.
Because Christopher Columbus was a total bastard.
And by "bastard" I mean "total psycho genocidal rapist slaver greedy asshole sadistic bastard."
Seriously, what a fucker. How in the hell can anybody in good conscience want to celebrate anything with his name on it? And the more you read about him, the worse it gets. It's so bad that I find myself wishing I could go back in time and go to school on all those Columbus Days I got off.
It's also National Coming Out Day today, which is something actually worth celebrating.
Because we should be celebrating people for who they are. Instead of burying them because society makes it impossible for them to feel as if they can live with who they are. I am sickened and deeply saddened by the rash of young suicides being reported, and horrified that there are most certainly thousands more we will never hear about. These poor kids deserve so much better at our hands...
National Coming Out Day is a holiday meant for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons... but the overall message of pride and acceptance is one which everyone can benefit from. If we need a reason to skip school, shouldn't that be it?
I am starting to really, really despise Amazon.com — not because they suck or anything... for the most part I find their pricing and service to be excellent. No, the reason I hate them is because they make it entirely too easy for me to spend money I don't have. Stupid Amazon and their stupid product suggestions and their stupid One-Click ordering!
Here are three of my latest totally non-essential purchases that I just had to own or else I would die...
THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Star Wars is awesomeness defined. So awesome that at the time it was released, it was nearly impossible to process. Most everything about it was so new and revolutionary that the brain had no choice but to explode at the thought of it all. But by the time The Empire Strikes Back came along three years later, we were accustomed to all the amazing special effects and mind-blowing elements that made Star Wars such a phenomena. We wouldn't be surprised again.
Or so we thought. The Empire Strikes Back proved us wrong. Upping the ante in every possible way, the film raised the bar so high that few... very few... films have managed to top it. It remains one of my top-five favorite films of all time, and cemented my love of Star Wars for all eternity (even when the franchise turned to shit with Return of the Jedi and the horrendously craptastic prequels).
So how could I possibly not purchase The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, J.W. Rinzler's stunning follow-up to The Making of Star Wars and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones? This massive 372-page tome has a definitive look at every aspect of the movie's creation taken from countless hours of research and interviews. It includes numerous pieces of production art, behind-the-scenes photos, and other tidbits which gives the reader an insider's look at Empire in a way that will make you not only fall in love with the film all over again... but have an entirely new appreciation for the people behind it...
It's a complete and total steal at $49.72 (list price $85.00!), and I give it my highest possible recommendation for Star Wars fans and anybody who's interested in film production. The Force is indeed strong with this one!
THE SECRET OF KELLS BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO
Where to start with this one. Probably with the fact that I am a total animation whore. I remain hopelessly fascinated with the artform and obsess over its every incarnation. Everything from a simple flip-book to full-blown computer-generated animations captivate me. But hand-drawn animated features are my favorite. Even when Pixar unleashes their latest computer-rendered genius, I still find myself pining for the animated classics I grew up with.
So imagine my surprise when I happened across a production blog back in 2006 for an animated feature called The Secret of Kells. I had visited Dublin and seen the jaw-dropping beauty of The Book of Kells the previous year, and thought it was pure genius to use it as the foundation for a movie. For years I followed the updates, watching with amazement as the film took shape...
With each update at The Blog of Kells, I became more and more excited at the visual feast that was being created. Even at its very earliest stages, you could feel this would be something special. When peeks of the animated sequences were revealed, you knew it was something special. And when it finally opened in limited release in Washington State back in May, I finally got to see it and know that "special" was a drastic understatement. The film was magic. And I don't use that term lightly.
Infused with Celtic mythology, The Secret of Kells tells the story of a young boy named Brendan who sees an unfinished book of secret wisdom and magical powers which holds the hope of banishing darkness and defeating evil. Leaving his world behind, Brendan undertakes an amazing journey through an enchanted forest to help complete The Book of Kells. Along the way he meets mystical creatures and the fairy spirit Aisling to aid him in his quest...
Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. Every frame of this movie is a sublime work of art in its own right. Every frickin' frame! The fact that it's all beautifully animated in old-school stylings is just the icing on the cake. I could use words like "stunning" and "breathtaking" and "Glorious" to describe it, but there is simply nothing I can say which would adequately prepare you for the experience of viewing the film. Though a part of me wonders if the story is a bit too abstract for younger kids, I can't imagine anybody not enjoying The Secret of Kells.
For $25 you get a combo Blu-Ray/DVD pack (alas, no digital version to be found) and it's worth every penny. Again, my highest possible recommendation.
GRINDHOUSE: COLLECTOR'S EDITION BLU-RAY
Finally... finally... Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's wonderful experiment in old-school double-feature cinema has been released on home video as they intended it to be seen... an uninterrupted back-to-back experience complete with all the pseudo-trailers, aged film damage, missing reels, and intermission card goodness!
Grindhouse combines two films of senseless campy violence, horror, and action by two of Hollywood's most genius and unconventional directors... Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino, and Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez. You also get a bunch of brutally cool "faux trailers" for films like Werewolf Women of the S.S. by Rob Zombie and Don't by Edgar Wright (and, of course, Machete which was later made into an actual film!). It's not going to be for everybody, but any fan of shlock horror films will probably love it...
While both films have their charms, it's Death Proof that I can't get enough of. When it comes to Tarantino movies, it's but a blip on the radar of his impressive oeuvre, but it's still genius when compared to most of the shit that gets released. Kurt Russell(!) plays a psychopathically homicidal stuntman who likes to stalk lady drivers in his "death-proof" stunt car, eventually running them off the road and killing them. It's all fun and games for the maniac... until he terrorizes the wrong women! This twisted tale of suspense and revenge has one of the best car chase sequences ever put to film, and is chock-full of Tarantino's witty (and borderline scandalous) dialogue. As I said, it's not going to be for everybody, but it's dead-on target for its intended audience. If that's you, I give Grindhouse my highest recommendation. Amazon has it for just $23, which is more entertainment per dollar than you can shake a machine gun at!
And there you have it. $100 of my hard-earned money blown with three clicks. I wish I could say this was a rare event but, alas, there are even more unnecessary but essential items waiting for me, I'm sure.
Don't act surprised when I'm selling myself on the street for Amazon gift certificates. It's only a matter of time...
This morning there was frost on my windshield. Not thick enough or strong enough that I had to scrape it off, a quick swipe of the wipers and it was gone, but it was a horrifying reminder that winter is just around the corner. Not that this is a big deal to me. I've lived in a climate with winter for as long as I can remember. A part of me actually likes the snow and chilly days.
The problem is with travel. Winter makes an already shitty travel experience even worse. In some instances, much worse. You never know whether or not an airport is going to shutter, or a mountain pass is going to close, or some other craziness is going to descend like Bill O'Reilly and fuck up your day in some incomprehensibly stupid way. It's for this reason that I avoid traveling from November through February.
The fact that I already have four trips scheduled during that time is beside the point.
Which brings me to the actual point... I am sick to death of the rampant hypocrisy I'm exposed to on a daily basis...
hypocrisy |hiˈpäkrisē| • noun ( pl. -sies) • the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.
I will be the first to admit that it's entirely my fault. I watch television, I read the news, I drop by blogs, I interact with people... all of which puts me in danger of being exposed to lethal levels of hypocrisy. You simply cannot escape it. Especially during the mid-term political elections in these here United States of America.
My first serving of hypocrisy came with breakfast as I watched a reporter interview people at a "Tea Party" rally where this elderly woman was railing hard and fast against the evils of "government-run socialized health care"... all while holding up a sign that says "DON'T TOUCH MY MEDICARE" (which is hypocrisy laced with delicious irony). I kept waiting for the reporter to ask her if she understood that Medicare is a form of "socialized medicine" (Socialism Light!) which is (surprise!) run by the government, but it never came. Instead she rambled on about how "the government can just keep their damn hands off my Medicare!" (presumably this means they aren't to hand it to her directly, but instead leave it on her bedside table?). I just sat there trying to keep my brain from exploding all while wondering if this ignorant bitch had a clue what the ramifications would be if the government puled out of the health industry altogether as she was advocating. Not only would she lose her Medicare, but all publicly-funded medical research through the National Institute of Health (from which she undoubtedly benefits) would also be lost. And don't get me started on all those government tax-break subsidies given to employers for their company health insurance programs. Honestly, it's not that I begrudge people who don't want a public option for health care, that's perfectly fine. But don't be such a hypocritical ignorant asshole while doing it.
Unfortunately, hypocritical ignorant assholes are the flavor of the day, as I got it served up for lunch and dinner too.
Lunchtime hypocrisy was delivered by the USDA "Health Pyramid" on my cereal box* which suggests 75% of our diet should be grains, fruits, and vegetables... all while knowing full well that only a mere 15% of government food subsidies go towards these consumables (75% of government food subsidies go to the beef and dairy industry, so enjoy that cheap-ass Big Mac!). It's not that I mind our government making food affordable (a boy's gotta eat!), it's just the blatant hypocrisy of telling us to eat one type of food while subsidizing another which I find hard to swallow. So to speak.
Dinnertime hypocrisy was served up by Microsoft with their Windows Phone 7 "it's time for a phone to save us from our phones" ads. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Taken literally, it's the very definition of hypocrisy, but I don't know that it's meant to be taken literally? So what could it be? Windows Phone 7 is so awesome that you never have to use it? From past Microsoft phone development history I'd say it's more likely that it's so unusable that you never want to use it... but whatever. I have an iPhone which saves me from MicrosoftPhone, so at least my Apple-branded hypocrisy looks good.
Hypocrisy. It's what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
And, unlike frost on your car windows, that shit sticks like super glue and is not so easily scraped away.
*Yes, I eat cereal for lunch. Cereal is delicious, and makes the perfect meal any time!
I spent my entire day craving a donut.
But since donuts aren't very healthy, I abstained and didn't buy a donut. Even though not having the donut made me want a donut even more. Now that I'm home with no donut, and the bakery is closed so I can't buy a donut, all I can think about is donuts. I've eaten everything in my home that's not a donut and it hasn't helped me forget about wanting a donut. And so now I'm uncomfortably full... couldn't eat another bite, really... and yet I still want a donut...
I should have just bought the damn donut when I was first wanting a donut, then I wouldn't be in this predicament.
Do you think if I punched a hole in a chocolate rice cake and put frosting on the top of it that the result would somehow be donut-like?
This is going to be a long night.
My Washington State Voter's Ballot arrived today!
So I spent my evening carefully researching the issues and candidates... right after I got back from yelling at an old lady. But don't worry, she totally deserved it. I was at the grocery store getting something for my grandmother and had to call my mom to make sure I was getting the right thing. A woman shopping near me was compelled to say "ALL THESE DAMN PEOPLE WITH THEIR DAMN CELLPHONES EVERYWHERE!" To which I instantly replied "ALL THESE BITTER OLD HAGS WITH THEIR FOUL MOUTHS EVERYWHERE!"
Most of the time I like having a smart mouth, but I probably should have let that one lay.
Oh well. Back to voting.
Here's my choices in the Washington State Senator race...
Of course, "choices" doesn't mean shit, because all I get to "choose" from are dumbass Democrat incumbent Patty Murray and dumbass Republican challenger Dino Rossi. And what can they do for my home state? What are their plans to help Washingtonians? Why should they get my vote? Who the fuck knows! All their ads are attacking each other with absolutely NO indication of how they're going to deal with the challenges facing Washington State. Ugly, disgusting, stupid fucking attack ads running day and night that tell me nothing. And yet, also telling me everything I need to know.
Fuck you both you stupid assholes. Neither one of you deserve my vote.
But Becky commented that I need to vote for somebody... and so I've decided to write-in Linnea Hirst...
Linnea Hirst is the president of the Washington State League of Women Voters. This awesome organization has a terrific mission statement: "The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy."
If, by association, Linnea Hirst has the same mission statement for her own political agenda, I can think of nobody I'd rather have as my Senator. Except Steve Jobs. But I think his California residency disqualifies him. Or maybe Elizabeth Hurley, but I think her lack of US citizenship disqualifies her.
I won't bore everybody with a rundown of how I'm voting on all the issues, but I will make one final comment concerning Initiative 1107...
I am 100% unequivocally in support of passing I-1107. It will repeal HOUSE BILL 2388 (the so-called "candy tax"), which I feel is hands-down one of the stupidest fucking pieces of legislation in Washington State history.
And this has absolutely nothing to do with my being opposed to tax on candy. It has everything to do with how asinine the bill's arbitrary language is, and how astoundingly stupid the people behind it are for ever ramming this crap down our throats...
Looky! It's Representatives Jim Moeller along with his pack of dumbfucks Chase, Pedersen, Appleton, Kagi, Cody, Seaquist, Ormsby, and Roberts! Let's take a look at how they decided to balance the budget with their brilliant new tax...
Here's two Reese's candy bars: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Reese's Sticks. Since candy is taxed in Washington State, both of these items are taxable. Except one of them isn't. The Reese's Sticks candy bar has flour as an ingredient, so it's not considered candy and is exempt.
Here's another one...
That's not candy, it's almonds! Except when you roast them in honey, because that makes them candies after all. So the can of almonds on the left is not taxed, but the can of candy on the right is taxed.
Twizzlers Strawberry Twists candy, TAXABLE! PowerBar Creamy Citrus Energy Bar, EXEMPT! Oh no... wait a second, I got that backwards... Twizzlers Strawberry Twists Candy is not really candy at all, so it's EXEMPT (even though it says "candy" RIGHT ON THE FUCKING PACKAGE! WTF?!?). But the PowerBar Creamy Citrus Energy Bar is classified as a candy bar and TAXED!
So. Fucking. Stupid.
Nobody likes paying taxes. But they are a necessary evil because they fund programs that (mostly) make life better for all of us, and so we pay them. But I have to draw the line when the taxes don't make sense. All nine of the dumbfuck politicians behind 2388 should be punched in the face and fired. All they knew was that they needed more money for their shit... and devised some idiotic scheme to tax arbitrary crap to pay for it. All because they were too damn stupid to come up with something that's not an inexplicable pile of FAIL!
Well fuck that.
Is it any wonder I hate politics, loathe politicians, and want a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?
The harsh reality of the Computer Age is that your life is in constant danger. Well, the life that you store on your computer anyway. Your music, your photos, your movies, your work, your writing... it can all disappear in an instant. All it takes is a hard drive crash or theft or fire or an errant sledge hammer and it's all gone.
Thus, we develop backup strategies to keep our digital lives safe. For me this involves several levels of protection.
My first line of defence is Apple's Time Capsule device, which is constantly and wirelessly backing up all the data from my desktop and laptop Macs...
It's a great system, and has saved my bacon more times than I can count. Not just with lost data, but with recovering old versions of documents I need. The problem is that my first Time Capsule died, taking all my backups with it. Apple promptly replaced it, but the paranoia of losing everything AND losing my backup has caused me to go to extraordinary measures.
So now I am using a couple of old external LaCie Porsche drives I had collecting dust on a shelf to make a backup of my backup...
Except the drives are old. Reliable, but old. So I'm using a couple of newer Western Digital"MyBook" drives to backup the backup of my backup and store them off-site...
It's a good strategy, but still doesn't seem sufficient. So now I'm storing my most critical files in The Cloud on Amazon's S3 Internet Storage System. Unlike other online backup strategies like "Mozy" or "Carbonite" where your "unlimited" storage is tied to a single computer, Amazon lets you put any files from anywhere on their servers. Sure it costs more, but at least it's backup on my own terms.
And yet... I am still paranoid.
It's bullets over broken promises on Bullet Sunday!
• Tweet! Did you know the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley is on Twitter? It's true! She tweets fairly regularly about all kinds of stuff... but mostly about being Elizabeth Hurley, which is reason enough to follow her...
No tweets yet on the burden of being the most beautiful woman on the planet, but give her time.
• Better! I saw this video on Blair's Corner this past Wednesday, and it won't leave my head. Of all the inspiring "It Gets Better" videos floating around, this one sums it all up beautifully...
How can anybody watch this and be okay with a society that fosters such senseless hatred? As councilman Joel Burns says, it's not just about gay kids... it's about any kid that gets bullied just for being different. Six years ago somebody wrote to me from a life of pain and non-stop harassment. It broke my heart then, and the recent rash of teen suicides has brought it all back again.
Things have to change. Things have to get better. But it's not going to happen magically. We have to work for it by rejecting hatred and intolerance wherever we find it, and creating a world that embraces compassion and understanding. Though not always. I am quickly losing my compassion and understand for people who use religion and politics as an excuse to enforce a culture where kids are driven to kill themselves. They can just go fuck themselves.
• Beaver! Even though Leave It To Beaver was before my time, I remember it very well from reruns. "June Cleaver" is an American institution, a national treasure, and the epitome of television moms...
So when I heard that Barbara Billingsly had died I was understandably upset. Oddly enough, it's not June Cleaver that I most remember her for...
Go cups cut out to da Big Man, Big Momma. We fallin' out now you got your boots on an have a ball.
Huh. Feels like Monday.
I have to get up early, early for work in the morning, so I did what most bloggers would do in these circumstances... spend what precious little valuable time I have making appearances at two other blogs!
Unfortunately this means I don't have any time left to spend on my own blog. Well, at least not if I want to have time to read yet another exciting chapter of the genius that is "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama" by Bill O'Reilly*.
Anyway, here's where you can find me in the blogosphere tonight...
That's two, two, TWO Canadian guest blog posts in one day!
My work here is done.
*And by "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama" I actually mean the latest issue of "Penthouse", which is far more politically insightful.
I think I might have a problem.
I loathe Reality Television, but find myself watching it anyway. Well, selectively watching it. Most of it is total shit and filled with stupid drama I would never want in my own life... let alone to watch for entertainment. But there is gold to be found in the manure pile.
For me, it basically breaks down to four shows...
Okay then... one television program you do NOT see on my list is Hoarders, a show which focuses on the truly sick and sad world of "compulsive hoarders" (people who cannot throw anything away, and accumulate massive piles of crap and filth). The show has absolutely NO appeal to me, and the idea of watching scene after scene of freaky shit like this makes me want to vomit...
Until this past weekend when I realized I AM TOTALLY A HOARDER!
At least when it comes to old computers, electronics, and (especially) cables...
I would have taken a photo but, to be honest, I'm just too embarrassed.
But realizing you have a problem is the first step of recovery, so I threw out TWO HUGE GARBAGE BAGS worth of old cables. Some of them were easy to toss out... like old parallel printer cables and SCSI cables for which have no use, as I don't own any devices which use them any more. Others were more difficult... like USB and power cables which are perfectly good, but I have dozens (hundreds?) of them. The worst offenders were stereo RCA cables and phone line cables, which nearly filled an entire bag all their own. And yet, I have no idea how I got so many of them in the first place. I probably just got in the habit of grabbing them any time somebody had them left over or something, and they just piled up over the years.
The old computers and electronics, however, I can't bring myself to toss.
I have eleven old computers (mostly Atari brand) complete with peripherals that are just too awesome to be destroyed. Including an original Macintosh (still works!) and two Apple Newton models (still work!) and Atari 2600, ColecoVision, & Atari Lynx game systems (all working!)... among many others. Odds are, I will never seriously use them. But they are an important part of my computer and video game loving past, and I just can't bear to part with them. So back into storage they go.
So yes, I am a hoarder. Of a sort.
But it can't make me relate to the reality television show of the same name any easier, nor make me want to watch it.
Thank heavens. Isn't four of them enough?
Today is Wear Purple for Spirit Day!
According to the website, it's a way of "showing your support for the teens who took their lives because of anti-LGBT bullying"... which undoubtedly means to say that you wear purple to show your support for those who are victims of anti-LGBT bullying, and to honor those who have tragically taken their lives because of it. Which I absolutely do. But not just for those being bullied because they are gay, but for anybody being bullied because they are perceived as "different"...
Because I'm straight, I have the luxury of not being persecuted for my "lifestyle choice." But I am all kinds of "different," so wearing purple to support an end to bullying is no-brainer. Which is ironic considering that the people who promote the hatred and intolerance which foster bullies are the ones who don't have brains.
And when it comes to offering support and showing LGBT teens that they are not alone... that there are people out there who love, support, and accept them just as they are... that there are people outside the LGBT community who will stand beside them... that even though they may be in a home or school or community where they are not accepted now, things will get better... I'm happy to add my voice to the many, many people taking a stand for what is right. Today and every day until we no longer have to endure a society that would ever convince somebody their life is not valued and welcomed enough to live in it.
Be kind to each other, my friends.
SUPER-EXCITING BLOGOGRAPHY BONUS!
Usually, I don't much care for award shows. The wrong things are always nominated and the wrong things always win. I rarely, if ever, agree with anything to do with mainstream award shows... including more off-beat "mainstream" awards like those found on MTV. But there is one award show that I kind of enjoy, and that's the Spike TV "Scream" Awards (even though all the actual non-stop audience screaming makes me want to kill people). They celebrate genre entertainment for such awesome things as sci-fi and horror and comic books and such, and it's always a lot of fun for geeks like me. I went ahead and wrote a wrap-up of the awards they handed out, and provided my own running comentary on who I thought deserved to win. Since something like this will only appeal to the smallest handful of people, I've gone ahead and put it in an extended entry...
I just got done watching the live video stream of Apple's special event: BACK TO THE MAC and jotted down some observations. But, since I've already posted today, you'll be seeing them a day late. And FYI, my notes are in reverse chronological order...
The new MacBook Air is thin. Shockingly thin. Razor thin. So thin that my only remark about it on Twitter (other than "OH GAWD I WANT ONE SO BAD!") was "Wow, you could seriously cut a bitch with the new MacBook Air!"...
This is awesome on a number of levels. But mostly because you could use it as a weapon if the need should arise. Like meeting Jared the Subway Sandwich Whore on the street and needing something to decapitate him with...
Of course I am dying to own one. For the frequent traveler, it's tiny size and miniscule weight is a dream come true. Unfortunately, it's just not "enough" of a Mac for me to justify buying one. Even maxed out, the speed and storage aren't in the ballpark I need to get my work done.
And yet... I still covet the dang thing.
MAC OS X LION!
The real magic behind the Mac is the Mac OS X operating system. The previous OS update, "Snow Leopard" made the Mac faster, friendlier, and even more reliable, but added few new features. The next OS release, "Lion" (slated for release in Summer of next year) builds on this with some interesting and cool new features, a few of which were shared with us at the event...
The idea here is to take some of the things that Apple learned from creating the iPhone's iOS and bring those features "back to the Mac." To sum up... The OS X APP STORE is nice because it makes managing your applications so much easier. Not that it's all that difficult now, but updates are sure better the iPhone way. Of course, that doesn't mean much if companies like Adobe and Microsoft choose not to use it. LAUNCHPAD brings the elegant and easy iOS app launcher to the Mac. I like the look of it quite a lot, though don't know how critical a feature it really is. FULL-SCREEN is a simple technology that makes the current app fill the screen completely. It dovetails nicely with the growing trend of making app interfaces go full-screen. MISSION CONTROL is the feature I am most happy about. It brings several separate technologies (like Exposé, Spaces, and Dashboard) under a single interface (shown in the image above). It's pretty slick, and will make working between apps much more fluid and easy.
Sadly, none of these features are really blowing my skirt up. They're just nice refinements and borderline unnecessary trinkets that aren't really revolutionary in any way. Don't get me wrong... evolution is nice too... but nothing here inspires confidence that Apple is spending many resources developing for Mac anymore (iPhone leftovers?). Granted, there's a lot of time between now and next summer and many things can change or be added, but overall I am pretty "meh" about Lion after this presentation.
Apple made video conferencing dead-simple in the latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and iPod Touch. It's fast, easy, fun, and highly addictive. But there's two problems. 1) It doesn't work over cellular networks, you must have wifi available to use it. 2) You can't talk to people on Macs or PC's, even if they have a video camera. Well, #2 is finally being addressed...
No client for Windows or Linux or other mobile platforms yet, but since FaceTime is supposedly an "open" platform, I'm sure they'll come soon. Still waiting for being able to FaceTime on my iPhone over 3G. Hopefully one day. In the meanwhile, 3G alternatives are starting to appear. Apple better step it up. Soon. Or bitch-slap AT&T if they're the problem here.
The first "new" thing that Apple decided to talk about was their spectacular "iLife" suite of digital lifestyle applications. It comes free with every new Mac, and you can upgrade to the newest 2011 version for just $49... which is astounding if you stop to consider what you get for your money. All the new features are fantastic, once again bringing professional results with minimal effort and an even more minimal learning curve...
The event started out with a lot of talk about the "State of the Mac" and how it's rated #1 in everything... customer satisfaction, support, reliability, usability, blah blah blah. Basically, all the things that makes me buy a Mac in the first place. It was a nice segue into the true highlight of this segment... and yet another area where Apple is clearly #1 around the world: Retail. They have some of the most beautiful, jaw-dropping, amazing stores you'll ever see, both inside and out. During the event, they showed off a few of their latest...
They're all so very different, yet equally stunning. If you have time to kill, I highly highly recommend clicking through their list of stores at Apple.com. So many incredible architectural wonders to be seen.
I'd say "the end" but since this is in reverse order, I gues this is "the beginning?"
Regardless, way to go Apple!
I am thinking that I have somehow acquired the power of invisibility.
Here is a series of tweets that I sent out YESTERDAY...
I was joking about buying a gun, Buddhist precepts forbid me from owning one, but now I'm wishing I had bought the damn thing. Because today as I was crossing the street, I was actually hit while crossing at a crosswalk with a full-on WALK signal giving me the right of way. This is the SECOND time that I've been dropped while crossing the street (the first time was Chicago, which I wrote about here).
Thanks to my previous incident, I don't charge out into the street when the light turns to WALK... I wait a second to be sure nobody is running a light, THEN start walking. But it didn't matter, I still got nailed. And I never saw the car coming. I think they ran a red light, because I don't recall a car exiting the parking lot beside me... but they very well could have zoomed out and I didn't notice. I was a good three steps into the street when the Honda Element suddenly appeared in front of me. I'm thinking the passenger-side mirror grazed me, then I twisted so that the left-side of my upper body hit the car. I then tried to twist away from the vehicle, but my foot was planted, so all I did was end up twisting my ankle and pulling muscles in my leg and back.
One more step into the crosswalk and I would have been seriously injured.
I stood in the middle of the street and screamed at her to stop, but she didn't stop.
I then hobbled across the street and ran down the sidewalk to catch up to her as she came to a stop at another light. First I took a photo of her license plate (SURPRISE! It was a vanity plate!), then I started screaming at her again while waving my arms. She never even looked at me. I have no idea if she saw me or was just ignoring me, but she drove off the minute that light turned green...
I don't get it.
Whether she broke the law and ran a red light to nail me or not... it just doesn't matter. She wasn't fucking paying attention. She's speeding along in a 3500-pound death-mobile and didn't even check to see if there was somebody in the crosswalk as she barreled through. I don't think she was texting on a mobile phone, but she was definitely distracted by something.
Whatever. if somebody can't focus well enough while driving... or if they just don't give a fuck... they have no business being on the road in the first place. Did I mention that I could have ended up dead?
So I reported her to the police. First I emailed the photo. Then I went to the station and filed a verbal report. Then I sent a follow-up email to the officer in charge of my case with a written statement, photos, and a map. In the past I've just screamed and posted some profanity-laden tweets when somebody tries to perform vehicular manslaughter on my ass. But not this time. Because this is getting insane. I mean, seriously, TWICE IN TWO DAYS?!? It's no longer safe to be a pedestrian on the street! It doesn't matter how careful you are or whether you use crosswalks and follow signal lights. It just doesn't matter. Every time you're near a street without a vehicle protecting you, you're nothing more than a moving target waiting to be hit...
This is not rocket science. Operating a motor vehicle requires your total attention. If you're not willing to devote that kind of energy into being safe on the road, then DON'T FUCKING DRIVE! Otherwise, it's only a matter of time before you kill or seriously injure somebody.
And it will probably be me.
This morning as I awoke from my drug-induced coma in a drug-induced haze, the first thing I noticed was that my wrist hurt. This was unusual since I don't remember it being injured yesterday WHEN I WAS RAN DOWN IN THE FUCKING CROSSWALK. Luckily, I'm right-handed and it's my left wrist that aches, so it won't interfere with any important business that needs to be done today.
And by "important business" I do not mean "masturbation" (pervert!)... I mean "shifting gears while driving solo".*
Since I was well enough to drive, I rolled out of bed.
Then promptly fell on the floor because I forgot my ankle was messed up.
As fun as it was to roll around on the carpet moaning "WAAAAAH! IT HURTS SO BAD!!" I had a plane to catch, so I reluctantly crawled to the shower and flopped around in the tub like a beached salmon for a few minutes while water sprayed down on me. Since that's not nearly as much fun as it sounds, I gave up on getting clean and decided to eat breakfast instead. Usually my breakfast would consist of four shots of Jägermeister after BEING HIT BY A FUCKING CAR the previous day... but I was driving. So I had a banana instead.
Drunk on a banana-fueled high, I threw a suitcase in the trunk of my car and then drove the 2-1/2 hours to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Which was boat-loads of fun, I'm sure, but I honestly don't remember any of it (what in the hell was in that banana?). All I know is that it was raining, so it probably wasn't as pretty a trip as I had earlier this week...
From there it was a hellaciously rough two hour flight to Salt Lake City. Seriously, I haven't had a flight this nasty in a long time. It was so bad that I very nearly chucked my banana.** Once at SLC, I had a generous 35 minute layover. Or would have had 35 minutes but, since we were late getting out of Seattle, it was more like 20 minutes. And, of course, my connecting flight was clear across the frickin' airport. So I had to run to my gate with my twisted ankle screaming all the way (I've had worse). But, lucky me, I made it with time to spare. Which is good, because the flights are packed and I probably couldn't get another one until tomorrow. This would be bad, because I was meeting friends who were driving five hours down from Pueblo (that's in Colorado, y'all).
And so here I am in Albuquerque again, after a year-and-a-half absence.
My friends made sure that I (finally) got my four shots of Jägermeister, bless them.
*Also not a reference to masturbation.
**Still not a reference to masturbation.
HOW YOU DOIN' ALBUQUERQUE?!
It's a special HARD ROCK Edition of Bullet Sunday, LIVE from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Albuquerque! For those of you who don't care about my Hard Rock obsession, you might want to skip this entry.
About the only Hard Rock logo you'll see outside of their gift shop.
• HARD? Kinda. Like the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, the Albuquerque property wasn't built as a Hard Rock. It's a tribal casino which has been retrofitted with Hard Rock theming in the public areas. They sprinkled cabinets of rock memorabilia around the place, added a trademark Hard Rock center bar to the casino floor, painted some classic rock lyrics on the walls, hung up some guitars, and changed the door-handles. As with Tulsa, the result is kinda half-baked. It looks like a Hard Rock property in places, but doesn't give you that overall "feel" you get from an "authentic" Hard Rock.
HARD ROCK GRADE: C
Apparently, this was the best they could do for a sign. How embarrassing.
You could slap this crap signage on a Motel 6, it doesn't make it a Hard Rock.
Sammy Hagar suit display case. THIS is Hard Rock.
Jonas Brothers guitar display. I have no idea what the fuck this is.
Nice. Guitar-shaped door handles. We need MORE of this kind of stuff here.
• ROCK? Not so much. The property is what it is, but... if you are a Hard Rock fanatic like me, that's not the problem. Once again, my Pin Collector's Card is worthless. No discount. No visitation credit. When I showed my card to the cashier, she literally said "We don't take that. We're not affiliated with the Hard Rock Cafe"... I shit you not. I responded "No... you just brand your hotel with their logo, sell tons of their logo merchandise, and create pins and shot glasses specifically for Hard Rock collectors. You're not affiliated at all!" Then I laughed it off as a joke, but I wasn't joking. Again, if you are licensing the Hard Rock brand and passing yourself off as a Hard Rock property, then BE A FUCKING HARD ROCK PROPERTY! When HRC Corporate licenses out their brand, one of the conditions should be that licensees are required to honor their club cards. Otherwise, you're just going to piss off your most diehard fans and customers. At least they had a good selection of merchandise and people who understood it (unlike the dismal merch shop in Tulsa).
HARD ROCK COLLECTOR GRADE: D+
Never mind the tons of Hard Rock logo merch... they're not affiliated with the Hard Rock!
• CASINO? Nice. While not seeming very "Hard Rock" to me, I must admit that my friends and I had a blast at the casino. Biggest plus is the gorgeous lady dealers at the table games dressed in corsets and stockings! Brutally hot (if only they allowed photos in casinos). You could lose every penny you had and just not care! They also have lots of modern slots (including a small non-smoking area), free coffee & Coke refreshment centers, and a snack bar (with the worst $4.95 nachos I've ever eaten... the "cheese" tasted like motor oil). All in all, it's a classy casino with a great staff which has a nice layout and offers a "full" casino experience (including a Bingo room, table games, and poker parlor). There's a "Rockstar" rewards club for the frequent gambler.
HARD ROCK CASINO GRADE: C • CASINO GRADE: A-
• HOTEL? Boring. The hotel rooms are pretty basic as there is no Hard Rock theming of any kind. With the exception of the hotel services book and the soaps which say "Hard Rock Hotel," you'd never know that this is a Hard Rock at all. The Native American prints on the walls are nice, but not Hard Rock. Even putting all that aside, there are still problems. The clock was not set to the correct time. The room smells funky (like burnt hair?). The wall television didn't work and had a giant annoying glowing light on the bottom that I had to cover so I could sleep. And I had to keep the bathroom door closed because the toilet would start running at random. Ultimately, my $170 "DELUXE" room doesn't seem very "deluxe" and my promised "view" isn't that great. About the only positive I can offer is that it was clean.
HARD ROCK HOTEL GRADE: F • HOTEL GRADE: C
Not bad... but not very Hard Rock either.
See that tiny leather binder and notepad on the desk? The only thing Hard Rock in this entire photo.
• NOISE? FAIL! This hotel is noisy as hell. Rude people are screaming down the hallways at all hours of the day and night. Doors are slamming constantly. Hotel staff are walking around 24-7 screaming into their radios which are blaring at full volume. And you hear everything. Absolutely no effort was made to soundproof anything. Thus I can sum up the relaxation level of my room as "miserable." If you have any aspirations of getting even a little sleep... best bring earplugs. You'll need them.
ROOM NOISE GRADE: D
• FOOD? Okay to Great. In addition to the truly awful "food" being sold at the casino snack bar, there's other dining options available... EAGLE'S NEST BUFFET: While modest by Vegas standards, the buffet still looked decent. I took a pass, because vegetarians will never get their $13.95 worth. LUCHA: A nice Mexican restaurant by day which transforms into a Tequila bar at night. I had dinner here and really enjoyed it. Everything was fresh and flavorful, and the guacamole was fantastic. 505 FUSION: A very nice, upscale nightclub, we had drinks here last night. Pizza and appetizers were okay, but nothing special. The menu looked decent, but none of us were hungry enough to order late supper. CHILL: Great-tasting quality ice cream parlor. TIWA: An upscale cafe, but the menu was definitely meat-oriented, so I took a pass. THE DELI: I had a cheap, bland grilled-cheese sandwich with undercooked, waggy fries that had me chained to the toilet an hour after eating here (thank heavens for Imodium!).
DINING GRADE: C- (LUCHA DINING GRADE: B+) (505 FUSION DINING GRADE: B-)
• SERVICES & SHOPS? Good! Much to my total shock and surprise, there's a free round-the-clock shuttle to the airport for registered hotel guests! They will also take you to the Isleta Pueblo station so you can catch the $2 RailRunner train into town (which is nice, because a taxi would be $35+).
There's a nice pool and an interesting spa...
The pool continues under the glass to the inside, which is cool.
Inside the spa's hot tub pavilion at night. Nifty.
As I mentioned above, there's a Hard Rock Shop filled to the rafters with Hard Rock merchandise (though your Hard Rock All-Access Pass and Pin Club Card are useless here). There's also a very cool tattoo and body modification shop called "The Vault"...
Green tattooed woman mannequin sold separately.
There's also golfing nearby at the Isleta Eagle Golf Club, and camping nearby at the Isleta Lakes Recreation Area. Lastly, there's the "Fun Connection" spot with bowling, laser tag, and an arcade (or so I'm told... I never saw it).
SERVICES GRADE: B
• PROBLEMS? Yes. In order to use the hotel elevator, you have to swipe your room key before the buttons will work. Unfortunately, the card reader in the elevator is shitty. More than once I was riding the damn thing up and down while trying to get my card to work so it would stop on my floor. Several times I'd enter the elevator only to find somebody else has been riding up and down trying to get their card to work as well. This is an obvious and highly frustrating problem, and it's just plain stupid that the hotel doesn't do something about it.
• CONCLUSION: Ultimately, I'd have to give the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque a pass. The hotel doesn't impress me much, and there's nothing "Hard Rock" enough about the resort to make it destination-worthy for fans. If you're in the area, it might be fun to gamble in their nice casino, but I wouldn't stay or eat here again (except perhaps dinner at Lucha).
Anyway... it was nice to meet up with my friends, I had a lot of fun, and I can't complain about the cheap-ass ticket price I paid to get here ($168 round-trip!), so overall this weekender goes in the WIN column. I just wish that these new additions to the Hard Rock family would be worth the effort on their own. They have to be, because otherwise they're just diluting the Hard Rock brand and giving people a mediocre impression of what a Hard Rock property can be when some effort goes into creating them.
I really should have flown back last night. My friends had gone home in the afternoon, I'd seen the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque, and I had to be to work today. But when I made my reservations, I thought it would be nice to have a full day in-between flights so, instead of traveling last night, I took the first flight I could get this morning. Which meant waking up at 3:30am. And as I sit here bleary-eyed at the airport wanting to sleep, I'm feeling pretty stupid about the whole ordeal. NOTE TO SELF: Never book an early flight unless you absolutely have to.
Despite the short length of this trip, I got to see some wacky wonderful things. I was reflecting on them as I rode the shuttle to the airport, and this is what I came up with...
• Rock You Queen Video Slot Machine. Arguably the most amazing slots game I've ever seen, Rock You Queen Slots is so entertaining that you don't even care that it's taking all your money. I hit the Bonus Round on my fourth or fifth spin, then spent all my winnings PLUS $20 trying to hit it again because it was so awesome. I never saw it again, but fortunately, somebody put it on YouTube...
What you are not seeing here is that ABOVE the play screen there's a video screen with the "Radio Ga Ga" video playing and lights going off. Truly impressive!
• A woman playing slots while wearing oxygen... and smoking. I can only hope that the oxygen was turned off at the time. I would have told her that oxygen is extremely flammable, and her face could explode, but instead got my ass as far away from her as possible.
• A man crying after (apparently) losing his last dollar at video poker. Ordinarily, I'd find this sad, as he obviously has a problem. But Culture Club's rediculously happy song "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" was blasting through the casino, which just made the situation funny as hell. I had to stifle a guffaw and run away so I didn't end up laughing in the poor guy's face.
• A woman punching a Kitty Glitter slot machine. In yet another senseless slots-related tragedy, one of my friends was playing "Maltese Puppy Slots" next to a woman who was playing "Kitty Glitter Slots" who all of a sudden screamed "I HAD THAT! I HAD THAT!" and started punching the video kitties. The three of us just kind of scooted away and waited for security to show up, but the crazy woman ran off still screaming "I HAD THAT!" before anybody could get there. Something tells me she really didn't have that.
• Cougarlicious Slots. Need I say more?
• The Ladies of Hard Rock. There's a section of table games called "Baby Dolls" where brutally hot women dressed in pink corsets and fishnet stockings deal cards to hopelessly distracted guys wanting more for their entertainment dollar than you can get from Blackjack alone. I mentioned this yesterday, but didn't mention the uniforms for the waitresses at Lucha's where I had dinner last night... a black bustier, black short skirt, black fishnet stalkings, and... wait for it... fur-topped Ugg boots! Also brutally hot, but in a much weirder way. Say what you like about the place, but you never get tired of the scenery.
• HDR Pro App for iPhone. Apple may have introduced "High Dynamic Range imaging" as a standard feature for their built-in camera, but the stuff I get out of the HDR Pro App is in a league all its own. And sometimes not because of the reason you'd expect. I keep getting happy accidents and funky surprises that make me never want to shoot with any other camera app...
• Airport Crazy. What's the first thing I see as I exit the Hard Rock Shuttle at Albuquerque International this morning? A crazy woman in the no-parking zone picking a fight with airport security! At least I'm assuming she's wacked out of her gourd... who in there right mind would mix it up with airport security now-a-days? My problem is that I can't be content with such simple amusements. My first instinct is always to "improve" the situation. Do you know how badly I wanted to scream "SHE'S GOT A GUN!" or even offer helpful advice like "I think you should cuff her, officer!"?? Fortunately, I was the model of restraint. I didn't even make goofy faces at the crazy lady as I passed. I wish I knew why I feel the need to be an unbelievable bastard all the time. Either I truly am evil to the core, or I just can't resist a good laugh. Problem is, I'm usually the only one who finds it funny.
• Unhappy Kitteh. A woman in a wheelchair pushing a cart was just pushed by me. On top of the cart is a kitty carrier with a very unhappy cat inside. Very. It's screeching "MEOW" every three seconds. This is surprising, because I always assumed that animals are drugged before flying. I rarely see people with pets going nuts like this, and have always wondered why kids can't be tranquilized too. Well, kids and old people who like to complain a lot. And loud talkers. And people who pull on your seat-back every ten minutes. And people with Windows laptops who have the volume on full so you get blasted with that hideous fucking Windows startup sound. And idiots who annoy me. Which is pretty much everybody. Heck, let's just tranquilize the entire plane. Including me. The cats can meow all they like.
And my laptop battery is dying. I guess my time to reflect is over, and I should publish this thing already.
Who knows what new amazing things will happen on the way home?
Yesterday I was supposed to fly out of Albuquerque early in the morning. But mechanical difficulties with the plane kept pushing my flight back further and further until I was ultimately rebooked on an entirely different one. This meant getting into Seattle much later than I originally intended, where I was greeted by torrential rain and rush hour traffic. As if that weren't enough, it was snowing on the passes.
Not wanting to drive home through rain, traffic, and snow on three hours sleep, I decided to crash at my sister's house and come back home this morning.
Which was a smart move, because the drive was pretty spectacular.
At the top of the pass, it looks like all the color has been sucked from the scenery. It's drab, overcast, and depressing... yet still beautiful at the same time...
But once you get to the other side, it's another story entirely...
In the twenty+ years I've been driving over the mountains, I've never stopped along the way to take a look. I've always just enjoyed the view at 60mph. Today I did stop for some reason, and was glad that I did. And a little mad at myself that I never had before.
Sometimes its good to stop and smell the roses. Even if there aren't any roses to smell.
reflex |ˈrēˌfleks| noun.
An action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought.
There are times I feel as if all the life has been beaten out of me and I'm nothing more than a zombie on auto-pilot. Anything familiar gets dealt with using minimal effort. Everything else gets overlooked or ignored. There's no energy available to think or feel about anything. So I don't. Every day I'm just going through the motions and acting on reflex...
Attacking Jared The Subway Sandwich Whore would totally be reflex.
And the longer it goes on, the harder it is to escape.
The longer it goes on, the more you don't want to escape. But then something comes along to delight you, and the zombie fog is lifted. In this case, it was something totally unexpected. But very welcome.
I just wish I could get the taste of brains out of my mouth.
Comic book super-hero movies are a mixed bag. For every great film (like Superman, Iron Man, Dark Knight, and Spider-Man 2), there's a crapfest unleashed (like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Elektra, Batman & Robin, Spider-Man 3 and any of the boring X-Men films).
But the latest round of Christopher Nolan Batman flicks and Jon Favreau Iron Man flicks are leading the charge in a new era of comic book super-hero awesomeness. Filmmakers are getting serious about making good films that are true to the source material because they realize there's a reason the originals are such enduring characters.
And there's every indication that even more great stuff is coming down the pipe.
I'm fairly certain that Thor is in capable hands with director Kenneth Branagh and acting talent like Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman onboard. I loved the comic during the Walt Simonson era, so hopefully Thor won't disappoint. Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern sounds almost too good to be true. The upcoming Batman film, The Dark Night Rises, is certain to be awesome. And I'm sure Iron Man 3 will be fantastic. I'm not so sure about the Spider-Man reboot, but surely it can't suck more than Spider-Man 3.
But it's Captain America that I'm holding my breath over. He's easily one of my favorite Marvel heroes, and I've followed his exploits for decades. The movie is set during World
And today Entertainment Weekly unveiled the World War II period costume on its cover...
Yep, that's Captain America alright.
This means there's only one of the "big guns" left who has yet to get their major motion picture...
I'll be really disappointed if Wonder Woman gets screwed out of a movie because she's a girl. Her origin and mythology are amongst the most interesting of any comic book super-hero, and she deserves a shot.
This weekend is when The Colbert Report has its "March to Keep Fear Alive" and The Daily Show has its "Rally to Restore Sanity." Both are parody-laden responses to the crazy-ass crap going on across the USA as the midterm elections grow near.
Unfortunately, my real fear is very much alive that Jon Stewart is far too late to restore sanity to this nation. That ship has sailed. The rampant dumbfuckery plaguing our country in the form of bigotry, racism, hatred, ignorance, deceit, hypocrisy, selfishness, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, incompetence, and greed... it's all rapidly approaching the point of no return. Even worse, any form of actual sanity is readily attacked by people too stupid to even understand what they're attacking.
So good luck with that...
And the stupid shall inherit the earth.
Luckily it will be a world of their making, so at least they'll be getting what they deserve.
UPDATE: Well, the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" has just concluded. For the most part, I thought it was pretty bad. It wasn't funny. It wasn't even entertaining. I was bored throughout the entirety of the event, and thought the screaming interaction between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert was embarrassing. There were glimmers of hope... like when Yusuf (aka Cat Stevens) and Ozzy Osbourne hit the stage, but it was all destroyed when Stewart and Colbert went into some kind of mock music battle. Nothing seemed to come together, and a everything seemed so staged and pointless. I guess you had to be there?
HOWEVER... the speech at the end by Jon Stewart made the entire ordeal worthwhile. It was inspiring. He truly managed to put everything into perspective and diminish the fear-mongering assholes that are ruining this country. I hope that a transcript or video recap of the speech is posted, because it's well worth a look.
Today is why I ask people to keep me away from sharp objects...
A few more like this and it won't be a matter of if I end up on a psychopathic rampage, but when.
It's a Very Special Halloween Edition of Bullet Sunday!
This year I've decided to put my bullets to good use and run a Bullet Sunday Countdown of the Halloween costumes I am most afraid of having show up at my door...
• #1) David Caruso...
• #2) Glenn Beck...
• #3) Sarah Palin...
• #4) Bill O'Reilly...
• #5) Rush Limbaugh...
• #6) Judge Judy...
• #7) Avitable...
I was going to put CLOWNS on the list, but that's obviously a given.