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Movember

Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Dave!As this is November 1st, it's time for MOVEMBER, when a lot of guys will be trying to raise money for prostate cancer research and other men's health issues. They will do this by asking people to sponsor them as they valiantly use their ability to grow facial hair for the betterment of all mankind.

Since I am already sporting facial hair out of sheer laziness, I've decided to have Lil' Dave take up the challenge, and I'll post his progress throughout the month...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Movember Progress DAY 1

   
But, since cartoon characters can't enter the fundraising bid, I'm asking that you please sponsor everybody's favorite sometimes-inappropriate dad blogger... Michael "The Muskrat"...

Muskrat Ghost Hunter
Photo taken when I went ghost-hunting with The Muskrat. He's the one on the right.

   
You can visit his MOVEMBER page by clicking this link. Please consider making a donation if you can... every little bit helps!

   

And then...

So I wouldn't have to drive home, then turn around and drive all the way back to Seattle for work today, I crashed at my sister's house last night. And while I did shave an hour off my commute, I still had to battle Seattle's horrendous traffic this morning. This meant over an hour in my car listening to the radio.

Big discussion of the day? Kim Kardashian deciding to get a divorce after 72 days of marriage...

Kardashian OK! Magazine Cover

Now, I fully admit that I don't know much about this woman. Probably because I don't give a flying fuck about the idiotic "reality television" garbage that's taking a shit all over my television. All I know is that her and her sister get paid millions of dollars to act like morons on TV, and Kim Kardashian got paid millions more for some kind of two-part "Wedding Special" that aired on the E! Network.

Then, a little over two months later, she decides that she doesn't want to be married after all. I'm assuming she gets to keep all the money from her "TV Special." I'm also assuming that this crap will guarantee that her reality show gets picked up for another season so she can whore out her divorce for even more millions.

Well, more power to her, I say. If people are so fucking stupid that they want to watch this shit on their televisions, then you go, girl. Get yourself paid. I have no problem with Kim Kardashian exploiting her excessive messed-up "life" for profit.

But what had me screaming my head off at the radio as I was driving down I-5 is how this "One Man, One Woman Union"... despite being a complete sham and a cash-grab... is considered the "only acceptable form of marriage" by hate groups like The National Organization for Marriage. Whereas a committed gay couple wanting to get married is not.

In all seriousness, I am sick to death of this stupid shit.

All these assholes who have nothing better to do than crap all over other people's happiness by dictating whether two consenting adults can or cannot get married in a country founded on freedom can just go fuck themselves. Sideways. Then die.

Nonsensical stuff like this gets me so angry I can barely see straight. I spent most of my morning in an absolute rage. While I was working I was composing a blog entry in my head... ranting endlessly about how full of crap people like Maggie Gallagher and Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum are for their hypocritical lunacy. It was going to be my most profanity-laden, explosive blog post ever.

But then I checked my Twitter feed while on a break and saw that somebody had re-tweeted this gem from Star Trek's Lt. Sulu, George Takei...

Kim Kardashian files for divorce after 72 days. Another example of how same-sex marriage is destroying the sanctity of the very institution.

Exactly.

EXACTLY! Thank you Mr. Takei.

So-called "traditional marriage" between a man and a woman has been doing a great job of fucking up things for decades all by themselves. With a skyrocketing divorce rate now exceeding 50%, blaming the gays for ruining things is about the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard.

Which makes sense, because the people cramming this bullshit down our throats are about the stupidest fucking people I've ever heard.

Here's hoping they all die out real soon now so the rest of us can move on.

   

Probed

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Dave!Exhausted after a long day at work, our intrepid hero decides not to drive home in the dark while it's raining and snowing. Far better to drive home in the daylight tomorrow morning when it's raining and snowing and the mountain passes are crowded with people who have no idea how to drive in the winter.

At least with the sun out, the aliens won't be out looking for people to probe in the dead of night.

Lil' Dave is Three-Quarters-Dead

Good night fellow insomniacs!

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Surrender

Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Dave!Dear Hollywood Movie & Television Studios,

I give up... you win!

For decades you have been trying your best to keep my from buying your movies and shows, but I've resisted. You've treated me like a criminal, you've crippled your products so that they don't work, you force me to watch advertising, you've even flat-out refused to sell me stuff I want to buy... but I persisted. The more you abused me, the more products I bought. The more you hated me, the more money I spent. The more you betrayed me, the more of your stuff I added to my collection.

You have done every shameless, dirty, despicable, evil, horrifying act you can think of to get rid of me, but still I kept coming back. Which is not to say that I wasn't tempted by those glorious DRM-free, advertising-free, menu-free, illegal copies available at no charge on the internet... I was... but my desire to not break the law was too strong. I had to come crawling back to you, don't you see?

Except now you've finally done it. You've finally lost me as a customer after years of trying so hard.

Congratulations!

Just in case you're wondering, it's your new piece of shit "UltraViolet Digital Locker System" that was the last straw. Just like your DRM-crippled Blu-Ray disks that are so fucked up that I can't get them to work on my Blu-Ray player, your "UltraViolet Digital Copy" bullshit is so fucked up that I can't get it to work on...well... anything. I jumped through all your hoops, put up with your violation of my privacy, and agreed to terms so one-sided that I think I agreed to be your sex-slave for life, but still your stupid shit doesn't work.

And so I'm done.

Those thousands of VHS Tapes, LaserDiscs, S-VHS Tapes, DVDs, and Blu-Ray Discs I purchased are the end of the road.

For the most part.

With television shows, I can buy them digitally from Apple's iTunes store and stream them to my AppleTV or download them to my iPhone. At least their shit actually works... but the iTunes digital copies cost a lot more than DVDs/Blu-Rays for some reason (and don't come with any extras), so that's rarely an option. Hopefully Hulu and Netflix Streaming will allow me to watch TV shows I want, but who knows how long that will last.

When it comes to movies, I guess I could buy them from iTunes, but you don't allow Apple to stream them. This means I've got to keep the copies (and backup copies) myself, which is too big a hassle. I guess I could buy DVDs and rip legal "digital backups." That way I can always re-rip if I lose the file or don't have hard drive space. But that's an even bigger hassle (and the files aren't even hi-def!). Perhaps renting movies via iTunes or Netflix Streaming is how it'll have to be from now on... assuming they're even available.

Or maybe I should just become a pirate and download everything illegally? This does, after all, seem to be what you are wanting. If you didn't want people to acquire your product illegally, wouldn't you strive to treat your customers well, sell them product that works, and make legal purchases be the most user-friendly, easiest, most desirable, best way to own TV shows and movies ever? I mean, people are fucking paying you here, after all.

But I have no desire to go to jail or be fined for something that's not critical to my well-being, so it's not a pirate's life for me.

Guess I'll just have to learn to get over your product the same way I am now over your bullshit.

Congratulations again on your victory.

It's hard for me to be upset when you've worked so fucking hard to win it.

   

Vicious

Posted on Friday, November 4th, 2011

Dave!Well today was a vicious shark extreme kind of day.

And not in a good way.

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey and a Shark

   

Guess I should start taking a spear gun with me everywhere I go.

   

DST

Posted on Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Dave!And here we go again.

If you live in any of the antiquated backwaters of the USA that observe Daylight Saving Time, tonight before going to bed you get to move your clock back an hour.

And speaking of DST ending... a while back, Coal Miner's Granddaughter sent me an awesome video link about Daylight Saving Time and said it sounded like something I would make. It's well worth your time to watch...

And she was right. It does sound like something I would make. Except I would have used the word "fuck" at least twenty times. Because it's impossible for me to talk about stupid fucking Daylight Savings without going fucking insane over how fucking idiotic it is. Let's just split the difference, move our clocks back a half hour... AND THEN NEVER FUCKING TOUCH THOSE FUCKING CLOCKS AGAIN!

Ahem.

In other news, HAPPY GUY FAWKES DAY everybody!

DAVETOON: Dave Fawkes Day!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to celebrate by occupying my bed for a nap.

   

Bullet Sunday 255

Posted on Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday! Now coming to you from Pacific Standard Time!

   
• Missed. And so Miss Venezuela, Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares, was just crowned Miss World. An interesting bit of trivia: she once studied in a nunnery and dreamed of one day becoming a nun herself. Don't know what happened there but, I gotta say, the wardrobe for Miss World is a vast improvement...

Miss World 2012!
Photo from the AP Newswire.

Well, most times...

Latex Nun
This hot look can be yours at The Latex Lounge!

I dare say that Miss World could totally pull off that look.

   
• RIPeed. Andy Rooney died! I have to admit that I was never a big fan, but did find his crotchety old curmudgeon act to be annoyingly entertaining from time to time. Like this one on Bill Gates, which is the 60 Minutes segment of his I best remember...

But most of the time I found his little rants to be inexplicably stupid. Like this one where Andy goes off on how vacations should be abandoned or some crazy shit...

But it's not like this blog ever aspires to be anything more than inexplicably stupid, so who am I to complain? Rest in peace Mr. Rooney.

   
• GOPeed. Holy crap. The three-ring circus known as the "Republican Presidential Candidate Pool" disintegrated even further this week. Sometime soon Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich should announce a combined ticket then shut the fuck up for a couple months. Given enough time, the remaining candidates will just implode. Or end up in a gay sex scandal where they're photographed with a cock in their mouth (the clock is ticking, Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum!).

Santorum Loves Cock!

   
• Smoked. We've now reached that awful time of year when everybody and their dog is either burning brush or lighting up their fireplace. The problem is that the temperature here is constantly in flux, which means the smoke can't dissipate properly and gets trapped. So I spend my days in misery, barely able to breathe for a couple weeks. If I'm crankier than normal, that's probably why. Well, that and the fact that the clocks just got fucked up by Daylight Saving Time ending.

   
• Flooded. Unless disaster is happening to you, it's difficult to appreciate just how tragic the consequences can be. Even looking at the horrific photos of massive flooding coming out of Thailand, it doesn't seem real. And now even Bangkok is threatened as floodwaters encroach to the north of the city. This morning when I checked, I was surprised to see that places I've visited in Central Bangkok are also being affected...

Bangkok Flood Map
The blue is reported flooding. The pink dot near the top is the Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok.

With 500 people having already died, I can only hope that the water subsides and is gotten under control before all of Bangkok is underwater. And with these natural disasters happening at a frighteningly increasing pace, I can't help but wonder where is going to be hit next.

   
Now it's time to give up the bullets and eat pizza!

And to all my Muslim friends, happy Eid al-Adha!

   

CRACKERS!

Posted on Monday, November 7th, 2011

Dave!Looks like somebody has a case of the Mondays!

And that somebody is me, which means I have no desire to blog tonight.

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey swearing

   
I do have a desire to eat crackers and drink Kool-Aid, however.

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Mindful

Posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Dave!I worked 16 hours today. I should have worked 16 more. Except that would be 32 hours in a day, which is only possible if you are a government contractor.

In many ways, the long hours are comforting because they take my mind off of things. Things I'd rather not have to think about. Things that fill you with the kind of hopelessness and despair from which it is difficult to escape. Or impossible to escape.

And I don't have time for that now.

Quite a while ago I read that you can have power over such bad feelings if you write them down each night before you go to bed. That way, you've gotten everything out of your head and can move on to happier thoughts.

This never worked for me. If anything it made things worse.

What were once only figments of my imagination became very real after they had been organized into a list of horrors. Horrors that can't be dealt with just before bedtime.

If ever.

And so my worries, failings, and fears stay bottled up in my head where there belong, and that notepad next to my bed stays empty. Which is probably for the best since you really don't want to provide your enemies with a checklist to your destruction.

Unless I'm your enemy, then you definitely want to do that.

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Dying

Posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Dave!Well, poop.

I was reeeeeally looking forward to Eddie Murphy hosting the Oscars. They might have actually been worth watching next year. Now its not going to happen.

Anyway...

Last night after a marathon work session, I decided to check my news feed one last time before bed. The breaking story of the night? Adobe is killing Flash Mobile.

Which is sweet vindication for Steve Jobs and Apple, who recognized a turd when they saw it. Now if only we could kill this stupid crap on our desktops and laptops, I'd really have reason to celebrate. I am beyond tired of my MacBook's battery bleeding out and the fan kicking in every time I come across a website running Flash content. I tried disabling it and using "Click-To-Flash," but there are sites I use for work which require it, so until it just DIES (or web developers wake up) I'm stuck.

And speaking of dying, the Republicans had yet another debate and this happened...

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey Sweeps up the Candidates while Romney, Cain, and Gingrich hold on.

Rick Perry, who actually had a chance at one point, crashed and burned hard when he said he was going to get rid of shit, but couldn't remember which shit he wanted to get rid of. The media firestorm over this flub has been kind of harsh, but the guy is just nuts when it comes to speaking in public (in general) and debating (specifically) so I guess it was only a matter of time. He's done.

Jon Huntsman actually did quite well, I thought. But boy is he the bastard red-headed step-child of the Republican party. It's a real shame too, because he is a level-headed guy that seems to steer clear of the radical side of the GOP pool. If he had some real backing and was given half a chance, I think he might be a good opponent in the 2012 election. But he doesn't. He's done.

Ron Paul continues to alternate between insightful commentary and crazy-talk, which wouldn't be a show-stopper at this debate if it weren't for the fact that he turns into Debbie Downer every time he opens his mouth. He just can't seem to inspire people, which is kind of an important part of being president. Even worse? It's a critical part of winning elections. He's done. Unless he is tapped to be the Vice Presidential candidate on the ticket. As Joe Biden has repeatedly shown, inspired leadership is apparently totally irrelevant to the VP position. Plus... Paul has a fanatical following which could make him an asset to the race.

Michele "Bat-Shit-Crazy" Bachmann and Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum were always done. Their continued presence is turning the GOP into more of a joke every minute they're allowed to have a seat at the table. I can only imagine that this is some kind of strategy by whomever is running the show. No matter how badly The Chosen One (=cough= Romney =cough=) messes up, people can still point and laugh at Bachmann and Santorum's ridiculous antics. Talk about the living embodiment of a lightning rod... they make excellent distraction fodder for Democrats to focus on. But what happens when they go away?

Newt Gingrich continues to impress me despite the fact that I still disagree with most all of his politics. And the reason he impresses? The guy is a top-notch politician. And I think he is absolutely correct when he says that he would be lethal in a debate with President Obama. But, as much as I would love to see that, I just can't imagine it actually happening. Gingrich keeps holding on because he's garnered a lot of respect in his arena. But he can't hold on like that forever. Ultimately, he has to sway his party and, despite having one of the more articulate, non-wavering, clear voiced visions I've seen here, he's not doing that. Maybe it's his numerous past scandals holding him back. Maybe it's his reluctance to speak in 30-second soundbites. Maybe he just isn't what the majority of Republicans want in a candidate. I honestly don't know. He's almost done. Personally, I think he's make a good choice for the VP slot (can you imagine him debating Vice President Biden?).

Herman Cain keeps losing ground with me but, not surprisingly, he keeps gaining ground in his party. Even putting aside the current sexual harassment scandals swirling around him, I just don't get it. Tonight he proved that not only is he crazy, he's also a disrespectful piece of shit (and quite possibly a sexist asshole...Princess Nancy?!? Seriously? THIS is a presidential candidate?). Look, you will get no argument from me -none- that our tax system is fucked up and needs a complete overhaul. But this 9-9-9 stuff is just insane. Cain himself confirms that many Americans would end up paying more in taxes under it. Since then he's adjusted it to be a 9-0-9 tax plan if you're under the poverty line, but details remain sketchy all around. This is not surprising because everything Cain comes up with is sketchy and undefined (he makes Obama's vague statements in the past election look crystal clear). He has to be done soon... seriously. And despite his popularity, I can't fathom any presidential candidate adding him to their ticket as VP. He's just too dangerous a gamble. Nobody knows how the sex scandals are going to play out, and you never know what crazy-ass-electrified-fence wackiness is going to come out of his mouth next. What disturbs me so badly here is that he thinks he's making a serious effort to win the presidency, when his actions show he just can't be. Can he?

Mitt Romney is all but assured of the nomination. He would have to kill a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in order to be passed over at this point. A part of me gets it. The guy feels presidential. He may actually have a decent shot in the election. But what the hell? The Republicans crucified... crucified... Barack Obama over his occasional flip-flopping, yet Mitt Romney is the fucking king of flip-flops. You literally never know what the hell the guy stands for because the only consistent thing about him is his inconsistency. Even worse? He then proceeds to lie about it. Badly. It's as if he doesn't realize that people record everything he says. As if all that weren't enough, he's a Mormon, which would usually be the kiss of death. A lot of Christians refer to Mormonism as a cult for heaven's sake (Google it and stand back in awe!). Given the Christian Conservative backbone of the GOP, Romney's high standing in the race is surprising to say the least. In all honesty, I don't think he's a challenge to President Obama in 2012. Well, unless Obama kills a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Then he might have a chance.

   
My hopes of a candidate emerging to present a serious challenge for the presidency are diminishing quickly. The last thing I want is for President Obama to go unchecked and win the election in a cake walk. He's caved or backpedaled on a lot of things I really care about, and my frustration levels are growing (despite progress made in other areas I also care about). I want his feet held to the fire on his continuing lobbyist connections. I want answers on what happened to this "transparency" we were promised. I want some of his decisions challenged in a way that only a strong opposition candidate can provide. I want a real debate.

Apparently, I want too much.

   

Movember2

Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Dave!How is it I can work 13 hours straight and not feel like I've accomplished a dang thing?

And now it's time for a MOVEMBER UPDATE!

Dave Movember Mustache: 10 Days

   
If YOU would like to support research for curing prostate cancer and other health issues affecting men, won't you consider making a small donation to The Muskrat's Movember Fundraising Page? Every little bit helps, and you'll help justify his burgeoning porn-star looks to his wife...

Muskrat Movember

Yeah, baby!

And now I suppose it's time to get back to work.

But first? TACOS!!

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Veterans

Posted on Friday, November 11th, 2011

Dave!Thanks to my Mom, Dad, and all the other veterans out there! Your service to your country, whether past, present, or future, is greatly appreciated!

Veterans Day Thanks

   

   

   

Torture

Posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Dave!Another day, another Republican debate... this time on foreign policy. Kinda.

It was my plan to hash out a blog post over the debates that were held in South Carolina tonight, but that proved impossible. First of all, CBS News/National Journal did a shitty, scattered, wholly incompetent job of running things. Second, only the first 60 minutes were actually televised. To see the rest you had to watch on the CBS website, which was grossly ill-equipped to handle the traffic. I tried again and again and again, but the video either wouldn't play or had so many drop-outs that I couldn't watch it. This is pathetic, and I think the candidates should only agree to debates when they will be aired in their entirety.

From what I did see, the only guy I would want handling foreign policy is Jon Huntsman. This isn't surprising... he has extensive foreign relations experience and tends to be more moderate in his thinking. Everybody else seemed a little naive when it comes to how things work and what the consequences would be for the ideas they propose. Granted, this is probably because their answers are time-limited and designed to pander to their party base, but it's still very scary.

But "very scary" is how I'd describe most of the debate this time around.

At least the part I was able to watch.

   

Bullet Sunday 256

Posted on Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Dave!Wah. I have a stomach ache this Bullet Sunday.

   
• Treat? I realize I'm probably late to the party on this one, but I am just now hearing about Pox Pops. Apparently, some parents are so opposed to vaccinating their kids against chicken pox that they are going to extreme measures to purposely infect them. They do this by having the parents of pox-ridden kids lick a lollipop and mail it to them... SO THEY CAN HAVE THEIR KID SUCK THE POX OFF OF IT! The idea being that once you get chicken pox, you're immune for the rest of your life...

DAVETOON: Mumpy Bad Monkey with a Bad Lolli!

I don't pretend to know about the benefits/dangers of vaccinating children (because I don't have any)... but this sounds pretty fucked up to me. Gawd only knows what was sucking on that pop before your kids get their hands on it.

   
• Leat? I can't adequately summarize the horrors of this story I just read about growing laboratory meat (leat?), so you'll just have to go read it for yourself...

Leat Lab Meat!
Photo by Francois Lenoir of Reuters

As a vegetarian, I honestly can't say which disgusts me more... dead animal flesh... or this abomination of nature. Holy crap. Is a soy burger really that awful an alternative?

   
• Sweet! After his surprisingly brilliant appearances on Saturday Night Live, I've become a bit of a Justin Timberlake fan. He's incredibly talented and funny as hell. But it's good to know that he's a nice guy on top of it all. Earlier this year, he received a public video invitation from Corporal Kelsey DeSantis to attend the Marine Corps Ball...

Much to everybody's surprise, he agreed to go...

And then... he actually went! And if there were any doubters out there thinking that he was going as some kind of publicity stunt, he wrote a really nice recap of the experience on his blog they should read...

Timberlake at the Marine Corps Ball

The lucky bastard! Justin ended up with a sexy Marine that can kick his ass. Talk about your dream date! Semper Fi, Marine. Semper Fi.

   
On that happy note, my stomach demands I call it a night. :-(

   

Match?

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2011

Dave!Sorry, but this is a geeky computer post most of you will probably want to skip.

And so Apple finally unleashed their iTunes Match service today. I say "finally" because we were told that it was going to be released on October 31st, but then it wasn't. I can only guess that it wasn't ready yet, and Apple wanted to take some extra time to make sure everything was working perfectly before launch.

Or not.

Because, from my experience, iTunes Match is mostly crap. For now, anyways.

The idea is that you pay Apple $25 a year, and they manage all your music for you via iCloud. Songs in your iTunes library that Apple sells in the iTunes Store, regardless of how you acquired them, are immediately available online from Apple's servers. Also... no matter how poor quality your music files are, Apple automatically upgrades them to high-quality 256-kbps DRM-free files. You can then either A) Stream these files from iCloud over the internet to your computer or iOS device any time you want... or B) Download them to your computer or iOS device any time you want for offline listening.

If the song is not sold by Apple, it will be uploaded to iCloud so you can access the original file via streaming/downloading as stated above. It will not be upgraded in any way, however, because Apple doesn't have it for sale.

When it works... it's pretty special.

For example, I bought the CD Cruel Summer by "Ace of Base" years ago and ripped it into iTunes. Since the album is also sold by Apple, I am supposed to get the full benefit of iTunes Match. But not really...

iTunes Match Screen

Above you see iTunes Match in action. Or not.

The songs with NO cloud icon after them have been recognized by Apple as being sold in their store and I can stream or download them immediately to any device or computer I have registered with iCloud (but my original ripped file is left untouched on this computer). The songs with a dotted cloud icon after them are in-process and may or may not be recognized... if NOT recognized for some reason, they have to be uploaded. The songs with an exclamation(!) cloud icon after them have some kind of problem and return an undefined error when iTunes attempted to match/upload them...

iCloud Error Dialog Box
What's the cause of the error? Who the fuck knows! This is APPLE we're talking about!
Usually re-processing them will work, but not always.

Anyway, to demonstrate how iTunes Match is supposed to work, I am going to delete the Ace of Base song Adventures in Paradise from my library (since it's one of just three measly songs iTunes Match has recognized off this album as being sold by Apple)...

Sure you want to delete?

Note that I am net telling Apple to delete the song from iCloud. I'm guessing that I would lose it permanently if I did this (assuming I hadn't backed it up). From what I can tell, ONLY songs you purchased directly from Apple are permanently available from iCloud (whether your membership is current or not).

After the song has been deleted, the file is no longer on my MacBook, but the song is still listed as being available. I can then click the standard little "Download from iCloud" icon to the right of the title and get it back. Here it is downloading to my MacBook (a little "progress pie chart" is on the left there)...

iTunes Match Download!

Now here's the cool part...

iTunes Match File Comparison

On the LEFT is the new high-quality Apple file I just downloaded. On the RIGHT is the original low quality file I dragged from the trash. iTunes Match is working as advertised. I just traded my old "low-res" music file for the fresh "hi-res" one that Apple sells in their store. Assumably, since the file was uploaded direct from the record label, it's the best possible version of the song available in a condensed digital format. To do any better than this I'd have to rip the file from CD in a "lossless" uncompressed format... but I don't have room on my MacBook for large files like that and, given that I'm not an audiophile, probably wouldn't notice the quality improvement anyway.

BUT... what if you don't want these audio files hogging up space on your hard drive? No problem! Apple allows you to "stream" songs to your computer for listening without downloading. KINDA. Technically the files are downloaded to your computer to a temporary buffer. This way, you can fast-forward, rewind, and skip around instantly... which is something you can't usually do with streaming music. As to how big this buffer is and how long it lasts, I have no clue. But it's a very nice way to handle streaming audio. To "stream" music that's not on your computer/device just click play or double-click the song anywhere except on the "Download from iCloud" icon.

So, yeah, when it works, Apple's new iTunes Match is pretty darn cool.

But, for a huge chunk of my library, it most definitely does NOT work...

  • Songs I own which Apple doesn't sell... NO MATCH!
  • Songs I own which Apple does sell... but they randomly aren't recognized for no reason I can fathom... NO MATCH!
  • Songs I own which Apple doesn't sell... which won't upload for some reason I can't figure out... NO MATCH! and NO iCLOUD SIMULATED MATCH!

And here's where it gets strange.

Just for kicks I deleted a song that I know Apple does not sell... The mono version of Baby's in Black from the album Beatles for Sale (2009 Mono Remaster). Apple only sells the Stereo version (which is not the version I want because true fans know that The Beatles only cared about the mono tracks on their early albums... stereo releases were considered a novelty at the time, and the band was rarely involved in making them).

After deletion, I immediately clicked the "Download from iCloud" button to get it back. Now, since Apple does not sell this song, I should have gotten the same mono version file I just uploaded. But, as you can probably guess, I didn't. I got back the stereo version that Apple sells... but they left the song label the same...

iTunes Match No Match

A quick look at the graphic equalizer confirms that this really is the STEREO version with two unique left and right channels...

Beatles Stereo Version

Just to be sure, I also took the graphic equalizer to my original file so I could confirm is really is the MONO version with the same channels...

Beatles Mono Version

   
So, to sum up my iTunes Match experience...

Sometimes it works as advertised and it's all good. But an alarming number of times there are problems...

  • Songs I own that Apple sells which ARE NOT recognized means I don't get Apple files.
  • Songs I own that Apple doesn't sell can be recognized WRONG and I get Apple files I don't want which are labeled incorrectly.

Needless to say, this is a bit frustrating. Whether or not Apple can fix this is anybody's guess but, for me at least, I just paid $25 for something which is fatally flawed.

What Apple has to do is find some way of letting customers manually correct the iTunes Match information. The problem is that I can't even figure out when Apple has made a match... or when there was no match and they had to upload my files (UPDATE: Actually, I can, see below). So even if I could correct the data, I wouldn't know which files needed it. Unless I delete each and every one and downloaded it back. Then matched files would be flagged as "Matched AAC Audio File."

In the meanwhile, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Like... what happens to all my downloaded "Match" files if I don't renew my membership? Do they evaporate? What happens when a record label jerks their music from Apple's store? Do you lose your music? And so on. And so on. Since this is only my first day with the service, maybe my questions will eventually be answered. But Apple is Apple, so I've resigned myself to the fact that they probably won't be.

As for iTunes Match?

The potential is there... but I can't recommend it. Yet.

Check back in a bit.

   
UPDATE: iTunes does have a column you can turn on which will show you the iTunes Match status of your music...

iTunes Match Status in iTunes

Still no way I can figure out why some tracks are recognized and others are not on the same frickin' album. You'd think that once Apple figured out I own the album, they'd recognize ALL the tracks. But, alas, no.

Finding this feature lead to my discovering something very interesting...

iTunes a-ha

a-ha's amazing final album, Foot of the Mountain, was never released in the USA. I had to import the CD and rip it into iTunes. HOWEVER... iTunes Match totally recognized and matched it! Apparently, iTunes Match gives you access to ALL of Apple's music stores worldwide. This is very cool, but is it intentional? Time will tell.

   
UPDATE: One of the reasons I was so keen to sign up for iTunes Match was that I could finally get rid of all the DRM-Protected music I bought and replace it with fresh DRM-Free downloads. I had already upgraded most of my music to "DRM-Free iTunes Plus" but there were some songs that never wanted to upgrade for some reason. Such as the album Play by Moby. iTunes Match recognized all but one song (even though I bought it from Apple!), but I deleted them all anyway so I could test whether songs I uploaded were still intact when I downloaded them. Sadly, the answer is NO! Trying to download the DRM-Protected song I had uploaded fails completely...

Cannot Download!

Cannot Download!

Needless to say, this is a load of shit. I BOUGHT THIS SONG FROM APPLE AND YET APPLE CAN'T MATCH IT? WTF?!? Just goes to show... buying DRM crap will only end up punishing paying customers instead of the criminals it's supposed to.

   
UPDATE: And things just keep getting worse. Holy crap is iTunes Match a mess! Take a look at this...

PURCHASED files from the same album MATCHED AND PURCHASED AND UPLOADED?!?

This is an album I bought from Apple's iTunes Music Store. Note that all songs are recognized as having been purchased. Note also that the status of the songs in iTunes Match is "Matched" or "Purchased" or "Uploaded"... seemingly at random. ALL OFF THE SAME ALBUM! They should all be registering as "purchased" but are not. If Apple can't even get the stuff THEY SELL YOU right, how in the hell can they be trusted to figure everything else out? And who do I talk to about getting all this straightened out?

   
UPDATE:I was hoping that re-importing a CD directly into iTunes with Match enabled would make it so that the entire album was recognized instead of just random songs. No such luck. iTunes is apparently matching by digital fingerprinting... and doesn't have very accurate fingerprints from CD rips to match against. Crap. I can only hope that their service will get smarter in time.

   
UPDATE: Despite a few minor bugs (like skipping to the next track when the current song isn't buffering fast enough and iTunes runs out of data to play), I have officially deleted (almost) all my music files from my Home Mac, my Work Mac, and my MacBook Pro. The only files I keep are unmatched protected songs, which won't play from iCloud for some reason. Since I mostly only use these devices when I have internet, it seems crazy to waste the hard disk space when I can just stream everything. For plane rides sans WiFi or other situations where I don't have internet, I'll just listen to the music I've got loaded on my phone (which is always with me). I gotta say... if Apple could just do a better job of recognizing the 800+ songs that are currently "unMatched" in my library, this whole iCloud thing would be absolutely killer. Until that day, it's just merely awesome.

   

Exploding

Posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Dave!My car has always been a piece of shit.

But thanks to Saturn going out of business a couple years ago, it's now a worthless piece of shit.

Considering I'd probably have to pay somebody to take it off my hands, I'd even go so far as to say it's less than worthless. And now even more things are starting to go wrong with it. The latest is that the alarm goes off when somebody farts in the vicinity of my car or I have to shut it down. Not all the time... just some of the time. Like tonight.

The first thing I do is look around and see if anybody is around to notice.

If somebody IS there to notice, I look around for somebody else I can blame.

If there's nobody I can blame, then I brace myself for the inevitable nasty looks I'll get.

Yeah.

Tonight I not only got a nasty look, I got a head-shake and finger wag.

This is a really crappy situation because my car isn't valuable enough to even have an alarm. I thought it was something I could just unplug or remove, but apparently it's not that easy. The alarm is built into the electrical system, so it's actually kind of a complex ordeal to get rid of it. I guess this makes sense, because if car alarms were easy to disable or remove they wouldn't be very effective.

I suppose my simplest option would be to just shoot the fucking car, but my Buddhist sensibilities prohibit my firing a gun. Fortunately, I live in the heart of Redneckistan, so finding somebody else with a gun to shoot my car would be no more difficult than walking into the local tavern (or church) and saying "Anybody packin'?"

The problem is that I just don't want new car payments, and my piece-of-shit Saturn is already paid off. This means I'm just going to have to ignore the defective alarm for a while longer.

Like until my car falls apart and explodes.

   
And speaking of "Redneckistan" and "exploding"...

Washington State now has a website to promote marriage equality in our state.

The more liberal West Coast voters can probably be convinced. But across the mountains in my red neck of the woods? It's going to be a tough sell (he says as he imagines heads exploding all across Eastern Washington).

   
And speaking of "heads exploding"...

HOLY SHIT! NBC HAS PULLED COMMUNITY FROM THE SCHEDULE! There goes one of the funniest shows on television, as the odds of it getting picked up for a new season are now effectively zero. Poop.

   

Conditions

Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Dave!I hate snow.

Actually, that's not true. Snow is pretty. And you can do fun stuff in it.

What I really hate is the people who make me hate the snow. Which is just about everybody... but mostly the people who are driving in it. Like the moron I followed home after work who was driving 5mph in a 25mph zone. Never mind that the snow wasn't even sticking to the road and the biggest danger was getting your tires wet... IT'S SNOWING! SO YOU HAVE TO DRIVE 20MPH UNDER THE SPEED LIMIT OR EVERYBODY DIES!

But worse than those people are the people who drive 45mph in a 25mph zone when the snow is falling like gangbusters and the road is so slick with ice that it's all you can do to keep from sliding off it. Inevitably these are the assholes who end up behind me, grinding on my bumper as I try to survive the drive home.

Too slow for conditions. Too fast for conditions. You just can't win when it comes to snow.

Anway... can you guess what happened today?

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave in the Snow

Couldn't this have waited until AFTER I fly out on Friday?

Of course not! You just can't win when it comes to snow.

   

Pocket

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Dave!And so tomorrow I'm flying to Atlanta.

Assuming the snow that's been forecast doesn't close down the airport. That would be a huge problem for me. On the bright side, being stuck at home would mean I could stay in bed all day. I've been working from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed every day for the past three weeks, so I could use a break.

Hopefully all will go as planned, in which case I'll just have to take my break on the plane. I've become addicted to digital comics, so I've got a bunch of those loaded up on my iPad... along with episodes of the Hey That's My Hummus podcast... so I should be good to go.

Well, maybe not "good" to go... probably more like "good enough" to go.

In other iPad news, one of the best iPad games ever, Ticket to Ride, has been shrunk down to fit on the iPhone with Ticket to Ride Pocket. It only has the USA map, and internet play is absent, but it's a very good translation (and you can still play against somebody on iPad/iPhone/iPod locally via Wireless or Bluetooth!). I thought the game would be hard to play on the small screen but, thanks to the iPhone's Retina Display, it's actually quite easy...

Ticket to Ride Pocket

Ticket to Ride Pocket

If only I had time to play it.

   

And now it's probably time to pretend I don't have insomnia and go to bed.

I've got a long day tomorrow.

   

Sucktastic!

Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2011

Dave!What...

...an incredibly crappy day.

My biggest fear when flying out of the valley this time of year is that the weather will turn bad and close the airport. The forecast called for snow, so I went to bed last night not knowing if it were going to be enough snow to crap all over my travel plans.

Then this morning I woke up and saw that not only was there no snow falling, but we actually had blue skies! Sweet! No worries then!

Until I got to the airport and found out that Horizon Air canceled my flight to Seattle because "the inbound plane was experiencing mechanical difficulties."

Uh huh. The far more likely scenario is that a plane on a much more popular and profitable route experienced mechanical difficulties, and so our plane was pulled to service that route. Thus screwing everybody in Wenatchee trying to get to Seattle for their connecting flights.

Typical.

I used to fly out of Wenatchee for all my trips... probably two to five flights a month. But eventually I gave up because I got sick and tired of the numerous delays and cancellations. Without reliable service, how the fuck can I plan for anything? Far better to drive over to Seattle so I can be confident of making my flight than to rely on Horizon Air to get me there. They've failed too many times. But I didn't want to miss getting back in time for Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house, which meant I needed to fly.

So for the first time in a long time I booked a ticket on Horizon Air and, naturally, got completely and totally fucked for my trouble.

Weather cancellations are understandable... expected even. But mechanical? AGAIN?

And so I had to haul ass over the mountains in an attempt to make my flight.

Which I did. Barely.

So much for an easy and relaxing travel day. Usually one has to be taken hostage during an armed bank robbery to experience this kind of stress.

It's all my fault of course. This is what I get for living on the outskirts of civilization.

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Movember3

Posted on Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Dave!I'm in Atlanta 3-5 times a year now, so I stopped doing the whole "Davelanta" blogger meet-up thing. I was getting paranoid thinking about everybody going "Shit! Dave's going to be here AGAIN? Wasn't he just here a couple weeks ago?!?" So instead I just Blog/Tweet/Facebook when I'm going to be in town and let people "opt-in" if they feel like meeting up... or "opt-out" by pretending they never saw it.

Except I found out that some people never saw it for reals and got left out, so I feel bad. Maybe if I sent out an email telling people when I'm here and asked them NOT to come, they wouldn't feel obligated to show up, but would come anyway if they really wanted? I dunno. Miss Manners doesn't offer any advice for this kind of stuff.

Anyway... I did end up having a terrific evening with The Muskrat, Whipstitch, and Coal Miner's Granddaughter tonight. We did the usual catching up and talking about what's going on in our lives, but this time there was an entirely NEW activity... reading aloud your favorited tweets. That ended up being good for all kinds of laughs because, apparently, the tweets that most people mark as a favorite are the funny ones. Good times.

Muskrat, that magnificent bastard, showed up sporting his Movember mustache. This means it must be time for an update as to how Lil' Dave is doing...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Movember Progress

As always, if you can donate a few bucks to a very worthwhile cause, please visit The Muskrat's Movember Donation Page. Every little bit helps!

   
And now, I get to revel in the joy of doing nothing, because my work has been moved from Sunday morning to Monday night. Sweet! Doing nothing is one of my most favorite things to do!

Though I think everybody knows the odds of me actually doing nothing are fairly slim.

Sometimes I hate being me.

Except when I get to have dinner with awesome blogger friends like tonight. Then it's pretty awesome being me.

   

Bulleted

Posted on Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Dave!Today is Bullet Sunday.

But I'd rather take a bullet than pay the $12.95 plus tax that my hotel wants for internet, so I guess that the Bullets will have to wait until tomorrow.

For the life of me I can't understand why cheap-ass hotels offer FREE internet, whereas nicer hotels make you pay... and pay dearly... for it. I guess because they can get away with it.

Well, fine. But not from me tonight.

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Bullet Sunday 257

Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday on Monday from the great state of Georgia!

   
• Hurt! After arriving at the gate of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, I was pulling my backpack from the overhead bin when some guy decided he simply couldn't wait for me to get out of the way... and pulled down his pack right into my face. He had some kind of wooden easel or tripod attached, which ended up scraping across my eyelid. So now I've got a good cut there that's nice and swollen. His excuse to being such a dick? "Sorry, I've got a tight connection." And if my eye would have been poked out? Well, he's got a tight connection, so sorry about that. I swear that manners and courtesy go right out the window when people get on an airplane. The really terrible part? This is not the first time somebody has nailed me while retrieving their crap.

   
• Dino! Since my work was pushed back until late Monday, this left me all day Sunday to goof off in Atlanta. I started out by visiting The Fernbank Museum of Natural History, as suggested by Coal Miner's Granddaughter and The Muskrat...

Fernbank Museum Atlanta

It's a very cool museum... though a bit expensive at $17.50. As a holiday bonus, a group of young girls were dancing Christmas-themed ballet amongst the dinosaur skeletons in the main atrium. I wish I could say that was the oddest thing I've seen in a museum but, alas, no.

   
• Shop! From the museum I went to the Lenox Square Mall so I could go to The Apple Store. Along the way, I passed the shameless PC-based copy that is The Microsoft Store. Inside there were a handful of customers and a small group of employees. Once I got to The Apple Store, however... madness. Dozens of employees were helping wall-to-wall customers. The place was packed. And while there were a lot of people just looking, a good chunk of them were buying, as customers were leaving the store with Macintosh computer boxes and Apple-logo bags at a steady clip.

This is kind of an odd turn of events given the sorry state Apple was in just fourteen years ago. I remember a time when there was a very real possibility that Apple was going to fail...

Wired Cover Apple Pray

Microsoft isn't going to lose their massive PC market share over Apple any time soon, but it's nice to see how well Apple is doing now-a-days after being an underdog for so long.

   
• Pig! In previous years coming to Atlanta during the holiday season, I was introduced to Priscilla The Pink Pig. It's a train ride for kids that is put on by Macy's each year. As you might imagine, it's a very big deal. And, if you must know, I'm kind of obsessed with The Pink Pig...

Pink Pig Sign at Macy's

Priscilla The Pink Pig Character Balloon

The Pink Pig is Stoned!

The Pink Pig Train!

Stuffed Toy Priscilla the Pink Pigs!

One of these years I'm going to ride that pig. Probably because my love of Invader Zim demands it...

Ride the Pig! From Invader Zim!

   
• Eat! Copasetic Beth and Houston's Problem were kind enough to join me for dinner at The Varsity. For anybody unfamiliar with this Atlanta institution, it's "The World's Largest Drive-In Restaurant" located near Georgia Tech. Their menu is pretty limited and not very vegetarian-friendly, but they have a "Frosted Orange Drink" that I love, so I end up eating there every once in a while...

The Varsity Atlanta

What makes the place interesting is that employees accepting orders will start screaming "WHAT'LL YA HAVE? WHAT'LL YA HAVE? WHAT'LL YA HAVE? at the top of their lungs when they're ready for their next customer. The first time I ate here (again with Copasetic Beth and Houston's Problem), the woman at the counter yelled "HAVE YOUR ORDER IN MIND AND YOUR MONEY IN HAND" at me as I approached the counter. For people not accustomed to it, this can be a little intimidating. But, given the sheer volume of customers streaming into the place, they have to do what they can to keep the line moving...

Inside The Varsity

With practice, I now know to pass over my $5 while saying "GIMME A REGULAR F.O. AND FRIES!" so I don't get an eye-roll by not being ready and not knowing how to order properly...

REGULAR F.O. AND FRIES!!

It's like an Orange Creamsicle in a cup, and oh so delicious!

   
• Sew! When I was fairly young, my grandmother taught me how to sew. She figured I should know how to hem a pair of pants or repair a tear if I had to. I was never really good at it, but I did manage to use what skills I had to make Halloween costumes and stuff...

Dave and Mr. Flibble

Dave as Avitable's MURDER CLOWN!

Since sewing is a handy thing to know how to do, I've always wanted to take a class so I could be better at it. The problem is that enrolling in a class requires you to be at a certain place at a certain time and adhere to a class schedule in a way my work and travel makes impossible. Enter Whipstitch and her e-courses, which allow me to take a "virtual class" which is a lot more flexible. The reason I bring this up is that you can now pre-purchase any of the 2012 courses (including the Sewing Basics class I'll be taking) for just $99... which is up to 45% off the regular price! If you've ever wanted to bone up on your sewing skills... or learn something new with the skills you already have... you can get all the details over at the Whipstitch Blog!

   
And now I should probably try and get some rest since there's no telling what time I'm going to be woken up for work.

   

Rage!

Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Dave!Work ended hours earlier than I thought it would at 8:45pm. This was a pleasant surprise, and meant I could drive back to Atlanta tonight and not have to worry about heading back tomorrow on the day of my flight. But my injured eyelid was killing me... I had been up since 4:00am and was exhausted... and it was raining hard with lightning strikes... so I decided to just grab me some dinner and go to bed.

At least this was the plan as I pulled into a 24-hour restaurant.

After being ignored when I walked in the door, I was finally told to grab a table and they'd be right with me. But nobody was right with me. Everybody wandered off. I tried to get the attention of the one girl who was left, but she just rolled her eyes at me and walked away. I'm a fairly level-headed guy, but After TEN FULL MINUTES of being completely ignored, my anger was at the boiling point.

I said "SCREW THIS!" and walked out.

Which I have only done twice in my entire life.

Fueled by rage, I was no longer hurting. No longer tired. No longer giving a shit about the pouring rain. I just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge.

So I packed up my shit and drove the hour-forty back to Atlanta.

One of the reasons I love The South is the genuine Southern hospitality here. These people aren't faking it. Most of the time I feel like family when meeting total strangers because they're just so dang nice. I expect to walk into a restaurant and feel like I'm at home because that's how it's been every other time I've eaten at a restaurant here.

So when bullshit like this happens, I'm understandably pissed off.

On the way back I stopped off at a Waffle House in the city of Griffin and had me a couple fried egg sammies, which were delicious. And served by a friendly, attentive, hard-working staff...

Fried Egg Sammies & Mayo!

I tipped well. Not being ignored puts me in a generous mood. And now I am taking my generous mood to bed, where hopefully I can sleep-in tomorrow morning.

I'm taking an Excedrin PM, so my fingers are crossed...

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WHORE!

Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Dave!And so this happened...

DAVETOON: Sitting next to a gum-smacking whore on the plane.

   

Sitting next to a gum-smacking whore for 5-1/2 hours is the flight of my nightmares.

When the Delta Airlines Lady in the safety video is telling everybody what to do in case of emergencies, somehow this wasn't covered.

   

Thankfully

Posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Dave!I have entirely too many things I take for granted that I really should be more thankful for. It's just too darn easy to lose sight of the myriad of blessings that surround us every day.

Today, however, I am thankful that I'm not a turkey...

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey kills a turkey.

Hope everybody has a good one!

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WINNER!

Posted on Friday, November 25th, 2011

Dave!If you've been following this blog, then you know that my good blogging friend The Muskrat has been participating in Movember to help raise money for prostate cancer and other cancers which affect men.

In order to help him get even more donations, Avitable and I are having a contest with FABULOUS PRIZES!!

All you need to do to enter is go to The Muskrat's Movember Page and donate $5 (or more if you want!) and leave a comment below letting us know you contributed. That's it!

After Movember has ended, we'll draw a winner for the following prize package worth well over $100...

• A CUSTOM DAVETOON and AVITATOON!
That's right! If you're our winner, Adam and I will each draw a cartoon just for you! Both toons will be printed on high-quality paper and sent to you ready for framing You can see a previous DaveToon winner here. ($ priceless!)

Custom Toons!

• A 12-MONTH AVITABLE WALL CALENDAR!
Adam has filled a calendar with twelve whole months of Avitable hotness for your monthly viewing pleasure! Contains profanity and partial nudity, so you know it's good! ($12)

AvitaCalendar

• ARTIFICIAL DUCK CO. STUFF!
I've still got some hats, T-shirts, and playing cards left... and I'll assemble a nice selection of Artificial Duck Co. merchandise chosen especially for you! ($50+)

Duckopen

• THRICE FICTION MAGAZINES!
As if all that wasn't enough, you'll get two beautiful printed copies of the first two awesome issues of THRICE FICTION magazine! ($15)

Thrice Fiction Mags!

• SHIPPING!
Whatever gift package you choose, it will be shipped free of charge within the USA. If the winner is outside the USA, they are responsible for any shipping charges over domestic shipping costs (you can just PayPal it to me after I get the pricing from the post office and email it to you).

   
And there you have it! Please donate to this very worthy cause and you might just win!

REMEMBER! All you need to do to enter is go to The Muskrat's Movember Page and donate $5 (or more if you want!) and leave a comment below letting us know you contributed. That's it!

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Homebound

Posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Dave!Hey! Avitable and I are helping The Muskrat raise money to fight prostate cancer during Movember... and giving YOU a chance to win an amazing prize package! Read all about it in yesterday's entry!

The weather on the mountain passes was so good this morning that I headed home a day early. Seeing "no restrictions with bare roads" on the WSDOT report was a far cry from the winter storm warnings that were in effect just a few days ago...

Snowy Mountain Passes

And I'm home.

Hopefully that will be my last trip of the year.

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Bullet Sunday 258

Posted on Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Dave!It's a dreary gray-sky kind of Bullet Sunday...

   
• Donate! Please help Avitable and I fight prostate cancer by sponsoring our blogging buddy, The Muskrat, as he participates in Movember. We've teamed up to give YOU a chance to win an amazing prize package... including custom-draw cartoons made just for you by Adam and myself! Read all about it in Friday's entry!

   
• Eat! As I was passing through the city of Barnesville while in Georgia last week, I snapped a picture of a painting in a restaurant window...

Pastime Grill... The Pig Says

Now, I am by no means a militant vegetarian. Not eating meat is a personal choice, and I have no problem with people who enjoy eating dead animal flesh. However... having animals inviting people to eat them is one of those things that freaks me out. And I couldn't quite figure if that's what's going on here. Is the cartoon suggesting that people eat LIKE pigs, or actually eat THE pig. It's ambiguous to me, unlike like this cow and pig I found in Korea who are totally asking people to eat them because they taste so good...

Eat Us!

Sick! I cannot imagine that any animal would be thrilled at the prospect of being devoured, so when they get portrayed like this it is utterly bizarre to me. I guess it's more appetizing than having cute cartoon animals begging people not to eat them, but still...

   
• Time! There's a YouTube video burning up the internet called It's Time. I was given a link to it from a bulk email sent by a friend of a friend. Since the video link was formatted with QuietTube, it was presented on a blank screen and I had no context or distractions while watching it...

Keeping in mind that I had -zero- context while watching a video I knew nothing about, I was initially confused as to what it was supposed to be. For the first half of the video, I thought it was promoting tourism in Australia. But then it took a darker turn, and I wondered if it was some kind of "Occupy Australia" type video. Near the end, I thought it was going to be a commercial where the guy asks the girl to marry him then "It's Time" that they buy life insurance or something.

I had assumed the entire time that the person behind the camera was a woman. And that's what makes this video so astoundingly powerful. It very clearly shows how there is not one damn bit of difference as to how two people meet, fall in love, and want to get married. None. The fact that it turned out to be two guys that were falling in love through life's ups and downs doesn't make their commitment to each other any less special or deserving of recognition.

It's Time wraps everything up using the term Marriage Discrimination as opposed to Marriage Equality, which is far more appropriate. How can there be equality between gay and straight marriage if there isn't a gay marriage in the first place? It really is time that everybody have an equal shot.

   
• Equality! The marriage discrimination video from Australia reminded me of this clever marriage equality video from Ireland...

I gotta say, the organizations that are coming up with these brilliant commercials are doing an amazing job of presenting their case to the court of public opinion.

   
• Repugnant! And then, at the other end of the marriage discrimination spectrum, comes a video from the opposition which I saw posted on a blog the other day...

This repugnant freak-show is the best that these people have to offer?

Look, I understand how there are people whose deep religious convictions preclude them ever accepting same-sex marriage. And you know what? This is America where we have religious freedom and so they are entitled to their opinion. But, by the same token, This is America where we have religious freedom, and so their opinion doesn't get to dictate whether or not two consenting adults can celebrate their love and commitment to each other with marriage.

After seeing her name pop up again and again, I was compelled to Google lopsided hair failure "Maggie Gallagher" to find out what she's all about. And, of course, this "bastion of morality" once had a child out of wedlock, which should surprise no one. It's always the "do as I say, not as I do" crowd who are the ones dictating how people should live their lives. Well go fuck yourself, because we're ready to move past your stupid hypocrisy.

   
• Sorry! My sister and I are big game-players, and needed to get a new Sorry! game to replace the battered old set that she had. It's the perfect game for people who like a little vindictive streak in their entertainment like we do. When I opened the game, I was shocked to see THIS...

Hollow Sorry! Tokens

That's right, THE GAME TOKENS ARE HOLLOWED OUT NOW! Holy crap! This game cost me $22 and we get HOLLOW TOKENS!! Those Parker Brothers people are some cheap bastards. So... fair warning... before tossing out your old Sorry! game for a new one, salvage your tokens!

   
And now I should probably try and get some work done since I've been gone for a week. It's a tough call to make when all I really want to do is eat some chocolate pudding and take a Sunday nap.

Or even a regular nap, for that matter.

   

Movember4

Posted on Monday, November 28th, 2011

Dave!This is it! The final stretch of Movember is upon us!

First I'll update with how Lil' Dave is doing, then I'll tell you how you can enter to win AMAZING PRIZES for a mere $5.00 donation to help fight prostate cancer!

Lil' Dave Movember Update!

Hey! That filled in there pretty good! Surely that's worth a donation to The Muskrat's Movember Page, right? AND IF YOU DONATE NOW, YOU CAN WIN AN AMAZING PRIZE PACKAGE!

All you need to do to enter is go to The Muskrat's Movember Page and donate $5 (or more if you want!) and leave a comment either below or on the original contest page letting us know you contributed. That's it!

After Movember has ended, we'll draw a winner for the following prize package worth well over $100...

• A CUSTOM DAVETOON and AVITATOON!
That's right! If you're our winner, Adam and I will each draw a cartoon just for you! Both toons will be printed on high-quality paper and sent to you ready for framing! ($ priceless!)

Custom Toons!

• A 12-MONTH AVITABLE WALL CALENDAR!
Adam has filled a calendar with twelve whole months of Avitable hotness for your monthly viewing pleasure! Contains profanity and partial nudity, so you know it's good! ($12)

AvitaCalendar

• ARTIFICIAL DUCK CO. STUFF!
I've still got some hats, T-shirts, and playing cards left... and I'll assemble a nice selection of Artificial Duck Co. merchandise chosen especially for you! ($50+)

Duckopen

• THRICE FICTION MAGAZINES!
As if all that wasn't enough, you'll get two beautiful printed copies of the first two awesome issues of THRICE FICTION magazine! ($15)

Thrice Fiction Mags!

• SHIPPING!
Whatever gift package you choose, it will be shipped free of charge within the USA. If the winner is outside the USA, they are responsible for any shipping charges over domestic shipping costs (you can just PayPal it to me after I get the pricing from the post office and email it to you).

   
And there you have it! Please donate to this very worthy cause and you might just win!

REMEMBER! All you need to do to enter is go to The Muskrat's Movember Page and donate $5 (or more if you want!) and leave a comment either below or on the original contest page letting us know you contributed. That's it!

   

Thrice3

Posted on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Dave!Hey!

Can you believe it? There's a new issue of Thrice Fiction out! I wrote a short story and made a bunch of pictures for it! And a lot of other cool people contributed awesome stuff too!

Want to take a look? You can download a FREE copy right here. Yes, that's right... FREE!

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 3

Thanks to everybody who has supported Mr. RW Spryszak and myself with our little project here. I continue to be amazed at how well it's done as we close out our first year. I thought maybe a few dozen friends would be interested... but we just keep growing. Even bigger things are in store for 2012, so stay tuned!

And speaking of big things, a couple people have asked me how to get our magazine on their iOS devices since we don't have an app for that (yet!). Fortunately, Apple makes it really easy to read Thrice Fiction eBooks on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch! Here's all you gotta do in three easy steps...

   
STEP 1: Start up Apple's Safari browser (other browsers might work, but Safari has been tested) then navigate to our website at http://www.ThriceFiction.com/.

   
STEP 2: Click on the Thrice Fiction eBook download link then tap OPEN...

   
STEP 3: The book will load into your browser then ask where you want to open it. Select Open in iBooks...

   
And that's it! Your issue of Thrice Fiction will automatically be added to your iBook library (be sure to check out previous issues in the ARCHIVE tab!)...

   

Just tap the magazine and you're good to go...

   
Thanks for supporting Thrice Fiction! Tell your friends!

Tags:
Categories: BooksClick To It: Permalink  10 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Thrones

Posted on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Dave!So there I am driving home from work when all of a sudden a pickup truck down the street ahead of me screeches to a halt and starts backing up!

My first instinct was to do nothing. This would be the THIRD time in FOUR months that somebody has backed into my invisible piece-of-shit car. I might as well pick up another insurance check out of the deal.

But then two thoughts hit me at once...

  • Do I really want for somebody's holidays to be ruined because they crashed into me and couldn't buy Christmas presents for their kids because they had to repair their truck and make higher insurance payments?

  • What if the asshole doesn't have any insurance? The last time that happened, MY insurance had to pay for it and it was MY rates that went up.

So I honked my horn. They screeched to a halt again (one car-length from my bumper) then pulled forward into a parking spot so I could pass.

And I bet you a million dollars they were cussing me out for daring to honk at them, even though I saved THEM from hitting ME.

The dumbasses.

I tell you, the only thing keeping me from wanting to be abducted by aliens right now so I can leave this shithole planet behind is this...

Songs of Ice and Fire Books

I read the first book of George R. R. Martin's epic "Song of Ice and Fire" series, A Game of Thrones, because of a glowing employee recommendation at Powell's City of Books. I liked it well enough that I bought the follow-up, A Clash of Kings when it came out a few months later. A couple years after that, A Storm of Swords came out. It was supposed to be the last book of a trilogy, but Martin decided he wanted to keep going. I then gave up because it took FIVE years for the fourth book, A Feast for Crows to come out... and frickin' SIX years after that for the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, to come out (this past July).

The reason I gave up was because the last thing I want is to get all invested in the series only to have George R. R. Martin up and die before he finally finishes the story (presumably with book seven)...

George R. R. Martin
Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin — ©2011 HBO/Helen Sloan

But thennnnnnn... HBO unleashed an Original Series based upon the books that has been getting rave reviews and awards. Whenever I travel, I always try to catch it when my hotel has HBO. I've seen roughly half of the ten episodes...

Game of Thrones Poster

Love it.

I was thinking I'd watch the rest of the episodes when the DVD set was released, but HBO isn't releasing it until frickin' MARCH (and it's priced like EIGHTY DOLLARS or something) so I went ahead and ordered HBO. Now I've been watching it via On Demand, and am pretty amazed at how faithful they are to the book (or what I remember of it).

But now I am back to worrying over whether George R. R. Martin will die before the HBO series can be concluded. Even worse is the thought that Martin will complete the books in a timely manner, but HBO will cancel the series before they've adapted all of them.

The dumbasses.

   

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