Posted on Thursday, November 1st, 2012
New shifter cables and $650 in repairs and I'm back on the road.
Looks like I can start bitching about how much I hate my car again...
But not today.
A lot of people have a lot bigger problems.
Fortunately, there's something we can all do to help.
Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Today I wasn't in a very happy place.
All day long it felt as though I was barely containing my rage... that I was going to snap and go all "Dick Jones" on people at a moment's notice...
"YOU'VE JUST FUCKED WITH THE WRONG GUY!!!"
But now I'm home and eating hummus, so I think everything will be okay.
Posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
Remember when you were a kid in school and your entire week was spent looking forward to Saturday? On days like today, it's pretty much all I can think about.
I need to go back to when Saturdays were all about watching cartoons and goofing off.
Posted on Sunday, November 4th, 2012
Stop screaming at that football game ... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Sandy. Needless to say, those areas devastated by the hurricane can use your help. If you can spare a few bucks, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 from your mobile phone to donate $10 to their Sandy relief efforts. And because our four-legged friends are also suffering... you can text HUMANE to 80888 to donate $10 to Humane Society Disaster Relief Fund. Every little bit helps.
• Election. Like everybody else in the US, I am sick to death of the non-stop political ads that have been inundating our lives. At this point, I don't even give a shit who wins or loses... I just want it all to stop.
Here in Washington, it's particularly bad because of our gubernatorial race. I'm not particularly thrilled with Democratic candidate Jay Inslee because he seems to be more about talking points than specific solutions. Republican candidate Rob McKenna is geeky smart and not afraid to get into specifics, which is a big plus for me... but, then again, he objected to Washington's marriage equality law because he says it could lead to incest and polygamy... which just goes to show that even people who appear "geeky smart" can be as stupid as a fucking rock. All I know is that no matter who wins, I will be very happy not to have to look at their creepy politician smiles gracing my television every fifteen minutes...
More and more I think our dysfunctional two-party political system is going to be our undoing. The special interest dicks that candidates have to suck in order to get on the ballot insure that they will never be 100% vested in serving the people they are supposed to be representing. If only I could cast a vote of no confidence for the whole damn ballgame.
• Equal? Another thing I won't miss? All these absurd "Protect Marriage" ads. What a load of crap. It's such a chickenshit way of saying "Nobody gets to be a family unless they meet our standards for what constitutes a family... and we hate your family, so you don't get to be legally recognized as a family." Meanwhile, real people who are in real relationships are getting shit on...
It used to be that I wanted Washington Referendum 74 to pass so that my friends who want to get married can finally get married... but now I want it to pass so all these fucking idiots will stop peddling their hate on my television.
• Issues. If politicians really wanted to get on my good side, they'd pledge to get rid of three stupid things that annoy the shit out of me...
And these are only the things that have been pissing me off today. But it's a good start. I think I'd support any candidate for any office if they promised to deal with this crap. Attention Communist Party: here's your opportunity!
• Cancelation. USA Network, which produces a number of TV shows I enjoy, recently announced the cancelation of two series that I was really into... Fairly Legal and Common Law...
I am so tired of seeing smart television killed off to make room for the same old shit. This is no big surprise coming from the major networks, but I expect better from cable networks like USA.
Annnnnd... Two. More. Days. Two more days of this political bullshit before it's all over. If only I could go into a coma for 48 hours.
Posted on Monday, November 5th, 2012
My Fellow Americans,
No matter how things turn out tomorrow... here's hoping that we remember that we are all Americans first, Republicans or Democrats (or whatever) second, and we're all in this together in the end. There are far more things that unite us than divide us as a country... if only we would choose to remember that more often.
Good luck to all the candidates, and may the least worst politicians win!
Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
I called the presidential election the minute Mitt Romney emerged as the Republican candidate.
Unless President Obama strangled a puppy while kicking Betty White in the face after wiping his ass with the American flag during an episode of Dancing with the Stars, the election was his to lose. Sure it was a little closer than I had first imagined... but I just couldn't come up with a scenario where Romney got 270 votes out of the electoral college. My best-guess as of yesterday was this...
I started with the 2008 election map and took Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida from President Obama. I waffled on Colorado, but ultimately gave it to him.
In the end, the President managed to keep Virginia. That surprised me. He may even (eventually) keep Florida. I wasn't counting on that. It also looks like he may win the Popular Vote, which was something else I wasn't sure he'd do. So... a bigger victory than I projected... but not the runaway success he enjoyed for his first term.
It will be an interesting four years. Again.
But what I am really waiting for is news on Washington State's Referendum 74 for marriage equality. It is currently winning approval at 52% vs. 48% with just half of the votes counted. Whether this trend continues and puts my home state on the right side of history... or whether we continue to rail against the inevitable... is unknown.
Oh well. We just legalized marijuana, so I guess anything is possible.
Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Kind of a good day for Washington State.
Neither measure benefits me personally... but any time equality, freedom, and personal liberty gain a foothold, it's a victory for all of us.
Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2012
And so President Barrack Obama has been reelected for another term. To all his supporters, I offer my congratulations. I guess I can kind of congratulate myself here, though I am more of a reluctant supporter. In my mind, the president was merely the "least worst" candidate, which is how I seem to cast all my votes now-a-days.
To Mitt Romney supporters, I offer my condolences. How you are feeling right now is how I felt when President Bush got a second term. And I sympathize, I really do. Because I know exactly what it's like. I thought (and continue to feel) that George W. Bush was the worst president in the history of this country. He was horrendously inept at all facets of the job. He was supposed to be a Conservative, but did stupid shit like passing the prescription drug entitlement and doubling spending, which sent us on the road to bankruptcy. He was a terrible Commander in Chief, getting us into wars with no planning (and no financing)... even worse, he sent our brave soldiers into battle, then turned around and made a joke of it. Bush was laughably bad at foreign policy, and managed to reverse the entire world's support after 9/11 into a seething hatred of America by even some of our most dedicated allies. His leadership was woefully lacking, with him coming across as more of a puppet with Karl Rove's hand up his ass than a president... and his constant caving to special interest and far-right rhetoric only confirmed it. He would pander to most anything that had even a hint of political up-side, and I lost track of the number of subsidy programs he financed with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. And don't get me started on his crazy-ass delusions that convinced him God was telling him what to do. The list goes on and on. With each passing day of the Bush administration, I grew more embarrassed for his clueless presidency, and increasingly fearful for the fate of this country.
So yeah, I get it.
But, in truth, Republicans really have nobody to blame but themselves that Obama got a second term. Mitt Romney was an abysmal choice for a presidential candidate, even by their own standards (don't take my word for it, listen to what his fellow Republican candidates had to say about him during the primaries... it's brutal). And if you can't get your own party base to get excited for your candidate, you're fucked no matter how you slice it. I mean, seriously, how can you get people excited about Romney when it's impossible to know where he stands? He condemned ObamaCare, but he also created the blueprint for it (RomneyCare!). He said humans contributed to global warming, but also said nobody knows what's causing climate change. He says he supports guns, but also passed significant gun-control legislation. He's voraciously anti-abortion in all cases, but also said he was pro-choice. He pandered to both the Tea Party crazies and moderates, then ended up pissing them both off. His non-stop parade of mind-boggling flip-flops and outrageous lies made him a complete joke (though I'd argue Obama wasn't much better). Pile it all up, and Mitt Romney was a disaster waiting to happen.
But, to many people, he was their least-worst choice, so he got a lot of votes.
Just not enough votes.
And it didn't help Romney that there were so many dumbass Republican politicians driving people away from the party. Idiots like Todd "Legitimate Rape" Aikin. And Richard "Rape is a Gift from God" Mourdock. And Bob "Governor Ultrasound" McDonald. All these dipshits (and so many more) seem to forget that Republicans are supposed to aspire to Conservative ideals... such as smaller, less intrusive government. Which brings me to this...
HELPFUL NOTE TO REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP: Give us a presidential candidate that a rapidly growing number of party-indifferent people like me can actually vote for. Give us somebody that's going to balance the budget, keep us safe, be mindful of our place in the global community, represent all citizens fairly and equally, AND SUPPORT PERSONAL LIBERTIES LIKE A GOOD CONSERVATIVE SHOULD! Stop condemning Americans for wanting personal choice when it comes to things like religion, abortion, and marriage. Because clinging to the belief that it's your business to dictate the most personal aspects of a person's life is going to motivate people alright. Motivate them to vote for Democrats like they did in this election.
It certainly motivated me.
And, yes, I realize this is a simplistic assessment, but it's not exactly a bad start. Because if the Republicans don't ditch the extremist Tea Party nutjobs and make some critical changes real soon, they're going to become increasingly irrelevant to a growing number of people who might like to vote Republican for a bit more fiscal responsibility and less government dependency in this country... but can't do so because they want control over their own damn lives.
If the Republican Party is to have a future, they need to embrace the future.
And if you need a role model for your survival, look no further than Maureen Walsh from my great state of Washington.
You probably recognize the name because of this...
Talk about motivation. She's not even in my district and I donated to her reelection campaign (she's a class act too... I got a handwritten thank-you note!).
And boy how I hope she aspires to State office one day.
The question is whether or not she'd be able to run as a Republican. Because if the party stays mired in the backwards-thinking past it would be like hitching her campaign to a boat anchor, and that would be a shame. This is one Republican that wants to sail free.
And if this year's election results are any indication, so do the majority of Americans.
Posted on Friday, November 9th, 2012
Despite the fact that blogs are kind of dying now that Facebook and Twitter have takeover, Blogography still gets a considerable amount of traffic. And a good chunk of that is thanks to Google searches. My blog has been around so long and has built up so much content that I guess people can't help but run across it. And since I update every day, search engines tend to toss a lot of results my way.
As I was sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to Atlanta this afternoon, I was bored enough to check my web stats... only to find out that my visitor counts have gone through the roof. Turns out that people are Googling to find out about "gay marriage" (or, as I now like to call it, "marriage") in Washington, and being directed to an entry I wrote back in 2008.
Something tells me that what they find there is not quite what people have in mind when they click through...
Yes, I was being a smartass about marriage equality leading to the end of the universe, but now that same-sex marriage is actually happening, there are people who seem to honestly believe it's true. This blows my mind on a number of levels. Not the least of which being that TWO DUDES OR TWO GALS GETTING MARRIED DOESN'T AFFECT YOU. And if you think it does, then that's your problem. The rest of us well-adjusted straight people will be standing over here not giving a shit about your insecurities. And I guarantee you that the people who have been waiting all their lives for the right to celebrate their love in marriage aren't giving a crap either...
Some people fall in love with someone that has the same genitals they do. Get over it. Contrary to cartoons you might find on the internet, it's not the end of the universe.
Posted on Saturday, November 10th, 2012
This morning was kind of messed up.
But then I took the train into Decatur for a falafel lunch, and now everything is okay again.I haven't been to Decatur for years, and not much has changed. It's a beautiful city just outside Atlanta, and there's a lot of cool little eateries and shops to explore.
One of the more interesting places I went was The Yogurt Tap... it's a "serve yourself" fro-yo shop that has a lot of interesting flavors. I ended up getting "Marshmallow and Graham Cracker" swirled with "Dark Chocolate" to get kind of a S'mores thing going on.
Then I poured caramel, cashews, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal over the top... which made it not taste much like S'mores any more. But it was totally awesome and incredibly delicious just the same.
But, then again, what isn't delicious with caramel and cashews poured on top?
Posted on Sunday, November 11th, 2012
Heartfelt thanks to my mom and dad... and everybody else who has served...
I'm celebrating the holiday by going on my second trip with the good people at Paranormal Georgia Investigations.
Posted on Sunday, November 11th, 2012
Old South Pittsburgh Haunted Hospital in Tennessee...
Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012
Don't let that calendar fool you ... because a delayed Bullet Sunday on Monday starts now...
• Help. Long-time blogging friend and celebrated author NYC Watchdawg has written a post over at his Social Medic site about supporting medics who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy. If you want to help The Big Picture by contributing to a very worthy small piece of it, here's your chance. You'll be helping those who help others (and continue to help others despite their devastating losses) to help themselves during this very difficult time of their lives. Even if you can't donate, any efforts to spread awareness would be much appreciated!
• Investigation. My expedition with Paranormal Georgia Investigations was a great time last night, as expected. And while I didn't capture any evidence with my camera like last time, I did take some photos of the creepy interior of Old South Pittsburgh Hospital. Of course, they don't look half as creepy when illuminated by a camera flash, but still... pretty creepy...
Not too bad on the outside... in the daylight, anyway..
I liked documenting all the toys left out for the ghost children to play with. This is one lonely rocking horse.
I'm pretty sure this bunny was dead. Totally non-responsive.
I took this bear away from a naughty ghost child and let him go for a tricycle ride.
One sad bear. You'd be sad too if you spent your time in a cold, dark hospital with ghosts.
I volunteered to use my medical skills to remove an appendix or something... there were no takers.
Leaving my mark in Graffiti Hallway with all the professional paranormal teams.
I also tagged the scary dorm room that Muskrat and I got to stay in. We bad! We bad!
Keep in mind that in the dark, while looking for ghosts and stuff, it's quite a different scene than shown here all lit up in a photo. But that's part of what makes the experience so interesting! I'm excited to see what data the PGI team captured of doors opening by themselves and other nifty stuff. Hopefully they'll make their way through the evidence pile soon so I can post a link.
• Medicinal. I've mentioned a couple of times that I carry a "Travel Medicine Cabinet" with me when I'm away from home... whether it's a month... or even just a day. Since I never know where I'll be or what I'll have access to, I choose to be as prepared as possible for any scenario. From allergies, colds, and diarrhea... to lost fillings, cuts, and motion sickness. Heck, I don't even get motion sickness... I just keep it with me in case somebody else I'm with gets it...
Tonight I was very, very glad that my kit contained "Hearos" ear plugs. Let's just say that my hotel neighbors are crazy-loud with their nocturnal activities... and I was in no mood to listen to it. If there's one thing to learn from the Boy Scouts (other than "thou shalt not be gay"), it's to always be prepared. I can't tell you how many times that's paid off for me.
• Petraeyal. Like most people, I am a bit sickened by the massive CIA Overlord / Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus scandal that's rocking the headlines right now. Yes, he's a fucking scumbag that cheated on his wife with another fucking scumbag that cheated on her husband... but we don't know all the facts there, and it's none of my damn business what he does in his fucked-up private life. No, the sickening part to me is the FOX "News"-led conspiracy crap that this was some kind of scheme by President Obama to keep Petraeus from testifying in the hearing concerning the Benghazi attacks. Which, naturally, I learned from watching The Daily Show...
Yeah, no agenda there. Pathetic. I mean, seriously? America's best line of defense against a network that rips this country apart by spreading more lies and disinformation in a single day than North Korea does in a decade is a COMEDY SHOW? At some point, you really have to wonder how we've survived this long.
• Foxy. This will come as a shock to nobody, but I don't watch the FOX "News" channel outside excerpts that get torn apart and mocked on The Daily Show. Their "Fair and Balanced" credo is a crock of shit, and they are the epitome of the partisan hackery that's ripping this country apart. Just like nut job Keith Olbermann on the Left, I long for the day FOX "News" fades into irrelevance on the Right.
And because I don't watch FOX, I was completely unaware of the bat-shit crazy un-reality bubble they created around themselves with the delusion that Mitt Romney was not only going to win the presidency, but was going to dominate the election in a landslide. Until I saw their coverage on Election Night. Since I was convinced that President Obama would get his second term, there was no place I wanted to be watching except FOX. And seeing it all unfold there was a revelation. Everybody there was certain Obama would lose? Really? This made everything even more entertaining than I had imagined... until Karl Rove went into denial, at which time it just became sad. The entire network was dedicated to getting Romney elected, and they completely failed.
And while I get no pleasure seeing people genuinely upset that their candidate of choice was not elected... I fully admit to experiencing an entirely new level of Schadenfreude watching FOX News implode. And now, thanks to the wonderful people over at Pundit Shaming, I can relive the heady days of denial over and over again.
Which is almost as fun as watching Ben Afflek (YES, THAT BEN AFFLECK!) masterfully tear apart the afore-mentioned Keith Olbermann on Saturday Night Live back when people actually gave a shit about Keith Olbermann...
Schadenfreude is so not pretty. But I just don't care!
And, on that shameful note, I suppose I'm off to bed. Goodnight everybody!
Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Thanks to a... well, let's say "adventurous"... couple in the hotel room next door, I got a late start getting to sleep. And even then it was only because of my HEAROS brand ear plugs. Now that's true love.
Fortunately, factors then decided to converge in my favor. First I found out I didn't need to be into work as early as expected. Then the hotel took pity on me and let me have a late check-out time (which was the least they could do, given the shitty bed they stuck me with). And then a colleague was late getting me some materials I needed to work on. So... I actually ended up getting some sleep last night.
That almost never happens!
Good thing too. If I was drowsy from lack of sleep, I would have ran over a very confused squirrel that wandered onto the street during my backroads drive through Georgia this afternoon...
As it were, I was able to stop in time... after leaving half the tread from my rental cars tires on the pavement.
Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Nothing quite like racing through the pouring rain in total darkness in an attempt to get to Chili's before they close at 10:00. I mean, it's not like I didn't have other choices... McDonalds and Taco Bell are open 24/7. But I had my heart set on a Chili's Black Bean Burger, and apparently it was worth risking my life for.
Well, I don't know about that, but it sure was tasty. Though the fries were over-salted as usual. I wish I knew why Chili's has such enthusiasm for over-salting their potatoes. It's not healthy, it tastes like shit, and it burns your lips. Yet, without fail, at every Chili's I've ever been to, the fries are caked with salt. Maybe the company is secretly owned by Morton's?
Anyway, I made it there at 9:45, and was given my to-go burger & salty fries just as the restaurant was starting to close. Success. Originally I was going to take my dinner back to work, but it would be cold by the time I got there. So I decided to eat in the Chili's parking lot instead.
Had there been anyone there to see me, it would have been a pathetic sight... sitting there in my rental car eating Chili's alone in a parking lot while the rain poured down. The only thing that could have made it any more pathetic would be if I were crying. I probably could have cried if I took a minute to think about how alone I was, but my fries were salty enough without the tears.
On the plus side, the waitress called me "baby," which I always love. It's just one of the many charming things about Southern girls that makes me feel at home here.
Another charming thing? SOUTHERN GIRLS WHO USE CHEWING TOBACCO! This morning I saw a young lady with a big ol' wad of dip in her lip spitting into a cup while she was hanging out in the Rite Aid parking lot. Adorable! I wonder what brand of drool-repellant lipstick she uses? And something else I wonder? Was it a moisturizing lipstick that can help heal these salt burns I have on my lips? Because this is some serious pain, yo.
Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2012
I got called for work yesterday at 6:30am. Things didn't go quite as smoothly as planned, so I didn't finish until this afternoon at 3:00, which meant I was awake just over 32 hours straight. This is not something I recommend, because your brain starts going all mooshy around 28 hours in. I was hallucinating that I was a magic dolphin at 30 hours. Once I hit 32 hours, my brain started shutting down, which made it difficult to drive a car. Or even walk to my car, for that matter.
Naturally, the lawn care service was blowing leaves and mowing grass when I got back to the guest house where I was staying, which made getting some sleep a bit difficult. Or at least I thought it would... at some point I passed out.
Five hours later when I woke up I decided I wanted sugar for dinner, so I went into town for dessert.
And that was pretty much my day.
EXCEPT... I did have a conversation with a woman this morning where I remembered to ask about the girl I saw who was using chewing tobacco yesterday. "When did the ladies start packin' dips?" I asked. "Haven't you heard about women's lib? Women are doing a lot of things men like to do." she replied. "But chewing tobacco? Ewwww!" I said. "Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it" she replied.
And so I went and bought me some long-cut, Wintergreen-flavored Copenhagen dips and found me a pretty red Solo cup to spit into. Then, after an hour of scouring YouTube for "how-to" videos, I was on my way...
Now I'm buzzing' like a fuckin' bitch! As promised...
Here's hoping I don't get lip cancer and have to get my face cut off.
Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2012
This is, like, not a happy day.
The flight from Atlanta was uneventful. And I don't mean that in a good way... it was uneventful because THERE WAS NO WiFi ON THE PLANE... AGAIN!
Then I had a three-hour wait for my 11:49pm flight home, which was put on "Weather Advisory." Which means that they are ADVISING you that the WEATHER may be so bad that they can't land the PLANE.
Which, of course, is exactly what happened...
They knew this might happen, so they had extra fuel onboard. This meant they could circle around the airport for twenty minutes and try again...
Third time's a charm, right? Uhhh... no...
Once back in Seattle I ran off the plane to rebook my flight for tomorrow morning. Then I ran down to baggage claim, because I really, really wanted my suitcase. Yes, I had the option to let them keep the bag and put it on my flight in the morning... but the last time I did that, I didn't get it for FOUR DAYS.
Always get your suitcase.
Because I was delayed by getting my luggage, the line for the "$49 Weather Displaced Passenger Selected Hotel" was a long one. It was 2:00am and I was mostly dead, so I called another hotel and told my sob story (which netted me a room for $89). Totally worth it, because I was the only one on the shuttle and had no line to check in.
And so here I am.
Not at home.
At an airport hotel.
With my alarm clock set for 7:00am
Posted on Saturday, November 17th, 2012
Second verse, same as the first.
My replacement flight for my unsuccessful attempt to get home yesterday was also under Weather Advisory this morning. Oh goody...
And, sure enough, our first attempt at landing failed.
Fortunately, the pilot was a talented guy, and took another long, low run at it... and I was home.
And now it's time for a nap.
Posted on Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Before you start celebrating that I finally made it home, you might want to chill for a minute... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Hostess. I haven't eaten anything from Hostess in decades. They use disgusting LARD in their products, so once I became a vegetarian they were scratched off my shopping list. But, as a kid, I loved Hostess products. Lemon Pies. Ding Dongs. Cupcakes. Twinkies. And Ho-Hos... oh how I loved Ho-Hos. Everything they made was magic...
So you can imagine how the news of their impending doom is a conflict for me. On one hand... who gives a rat's ass that people won't be able to buy their unhealthy crap any more? But, on the other hand... Hostess's unhealthy crap is an American childhood right of passage! Not that I have any doubt somebody isn't going to buy out the production rights for all those classic Hostess products... it's only a matter of time before people can buy Twinkies again. But something will be lost in the process. It always is.
If I'm lucky, it will be the lard that's lost.
Because, seriously, who the fuck eats LARD these days?
• Elementary. As I've said before, I did not have high hopes for yet another reimagined Sherlock Holmes. Especially when they moved it to New York and cast Lucy Liu as a female Dr. Watson. But, much to my surprise, I liked the show. And yet... the bigger surprise was yet to come. The show keeps getting better with each new episode. The mysteries have rapidly evolved into some of the best-written, most clever, least gimmicky, stories I've seen on the small screen. And, of course, Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu are fantastic...
If you're not watching... I urge you to reconsider. This is some seriously great television.
• Five-0. Speaking of amazing television... I watched the Hawaii Five-0 reboot off and on when it first started, but the show didn't hook me enough to become a regular thing. Sure it had pretty scenery and the stories were okay, but it just seemed so "by-the-numbers"... like the cast weren't interested enough to make it feel "real" or whatever.
But something happened in the middle of the second season. The characters started clicking. The writers seemed to finally figure out what made everything feel "real." And now? Hawaii Five-0 is can't miss television for me. I love this show. And the biggest part of it is the chemistry between Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan. The smartass banter between them ranges from amusing to hilarious, but there's a warmth there that feels absolutely genuine...
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
And now we're in the show's third season where every episode has been gold. Seriously some of the best-scripted action on television, and well-worth your time to tune in.*
*Assuming that completely obvious non-stop Microsoft product placement doesn't drive you insane. Seriously, Microsoft must be providing free blowjobs and millions of dollars to all the producers and writers of this show.
• Maps. When Apple released their replacement for Google Maps, I hopped on the bandwagon to declare them a bad move. But most of my criticism came from the botched 3-D renderings and missing places I ran across (or didn't run across, as it were). Things just seemed so half-assed and "un-Apple-like."
But then I started using their turn-by-turn navigation just to see how goofy it was... and was floored to discover that Apple Maps provides better directions than Google Maps. My favorite thing about Apple's directions? They consider what side of the street your destination is on. Google regularly leads you to places while not giving a shit what side of the street it's on. This means you sometimes have to cross over traffic on busy streets... if you can cross at all. Apple? They provide a route that puts your destination on the right so there's no fighting to turn across the street...
So, yes. Apple Maps have some problems. And their navigation isn't perfect (I hate it when Siri says "KEEP LEFT" only to send you into a left-turn-only lane or something), but the more I use the app, the more I love it. And don't get me started on the beautiful vector maps. They load very quickly and are cached MUCH better than Google. Losing your internet connection in rural Georgia isn't nearly the tragedy with Apple, because your maps still work... they just cache so much of the area because the vector art is so small and efficient. Google turns the screen grey if you venture into a new location without internet. Not the best solution. So if you've been avoiding Apple Maps because of the negative hype... you might want to give them a second look. You might just be pleasantly surprised like me!
And... I'm going to have to cut bullets short, because I'm falling asleep as I write them. It's been a lonnnnng week.
Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2012
I own thousands of DVD and Blu-Ray discs. This is a consequence of my love for movies and television, and my desire to own those videos I love so I can watch them again whenever I want.
But DVDs and Blu-Rays take up space, and I'm running out of room on my shelf. Now-a-days I am more likely to buy my videos from iTunes to watch on my Apple TV or iPad. Heck... I'm more likely to rent my videos from iTunes to watch on my Apple TV or iPad. But not always. DVDs and Blu-Rays often have supplemental material that enhances my enjoyment of the movie/series, and so I still find myself buying discs of my most favorite movies/series to get all the goodies I can.
Besides, most Blu-Ray movies are available in "combo-packs" which includes a digital copy of the film. This is the best of both worlds, because then I get the supplementary material to watch at home, and the film added to my iTunes account to take with me. Sweet!
But it was a situation too good to last.
Because movie studios stopped offering iTunes codes for the "digital copy" and switched to this stupid fucking "digital locker" scam called "UltraViolet." And, let me tell you, Ultraviolet is one of the biggest fucking turds to ever plague consumers. It's so bad that I categorically refuse to buy any Blu-Ray that has Ultraviolet attached.
The latest casualty? The Dark Knight Rises...
FUCK YOU, WARNER BROS. PICTURES! FUCK YOU UP YOUR GREEDY CORPORATE ASSES!
And so...no $24.96 Blu-Ray for me. I'm instead going to pre-order the iTunes HD "Extras" version for $19.99. I don't know if it contains all the "extras" that are on the Blu-Ray but, as much as I want a physical copy on my shelf, I seriously don't give a fuck. The future is DIGITAL... and if movie studios aren't going to give me what I want, i.e. digital copies in iTunes... NOT shitty "Ultraviolet digital locker"... then the physical disc I covet isn't worth having.
And what's next? iTunes copies of the movie will be "edited for content" and you'll be forced to buy the Blu-Ray Ultraviolet crap if you want to see the entire film? I wouldn't be surprised. Any money-making plan, no matter how fucking insane, seems to be fair game to greedy executives. If movie studios continues this downward slide, I'm not going to "buy" movies at all. There are so many better alternatives to paying a company to fucking shit on you.
Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Who the fuck breaks into a zoo and beats a monkey to death? I mean, seriously, who does that?
All I can say is that I don't want to be around when the monkeys get their revenge.
Don't people know that this is the kind of shit that lead to Planet of the Apes?
We deserve what we get.
I am so very sad and angry now.
Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
You know when you buy a frozen dinner and it comes covered in plastic that you have to stab before putting it in the oven? HOW DOES THAT SHIT NOT MELT?!? And if it's made of some kind of transparent flame-retardant chemical... is that something you want sitting on your food? Baking on your food?
Anyway, Safeway had some deli side-dishes on sale the other day, so I picked up a seasoned potatoes...
Looks pretty good, huh?
What I did not see was that "purple potatoes" were part of the deal. They're kind of hidden in the photo.
I didn't even know that purple potatoes existed until I opened up the package and thought that my potatoes had gone bad. But after reading the box more carefully, I found out that they do exist and they really are purple...
Photo from Svetlana Catering
They look like a human organ gone bad that was then cut out of somebody and served on a plate. With olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and spices.
I ate one, and it wasn't horrible. But it was purple.
So I picked them all out and ate the yummy-looking non-mutant potatoes.
I take no chances when it comes to eating something you dig out of the dirt.
Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
While Americans from coast to coast are gorging themselves on turkey and pumpkin pie, I feel it's important to remember those who risk their lives so we can enjoy this privilege. My most heartfelt thanks to all our brave men and women in uniform... especially those whose military service takes them far away from home on this day of thanksgiving.
I feel it is also important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. And from a grateful nation to those families and friends who have sacrificed with them, know that your loss has not been forgotten...
As always, I recommend a visit to AnySoldier.com as a way to reach out and say "thank you" to a soldier during the holidays (or any time, really).
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Posted on Friday, November 23rd, 2012
I was asked why I didn't post my annual Thanksgiving DaveToon yesterday.
I was going to, but found the idea of featuring a slaughtered turkey on my blog yet again to be more than a little depressing.
Besides isn't it about time Bad Monkey made peace with that turkey?
Next year, it's the turkey who will have something to be thankful for.
Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2012
There's few things I love in life more than LEGO.
And it's not just the bricks and toys... the LEGO video games are mind-bogglingly entertaining. I've played them all, and haven't been disappointed yet.
Last year I found a new LEGO surprise quite by accident. I was channel-surfing and happened upon what I thought was a video game advertisement. It was actually a trailer for a LEGO Star Wars cartoon special from Cartoon Network.
Enter LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace...
It. Was. AWESOME.
Smart writing, beautiful animation, and funny as hell. I absolutely loved it, and was dying for more.
Little did I know, Cartoon Network released a second installment this past summer. But I only found out about it today... again, quite by accident.
Enter LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out...
Genius. Yet another LEGO triumph.
I really wish that Cartoon Network would come out with these more often. They're not exactly Star Wars cannon but, in many ways, that's the best part because it frees the writers to be even more adventurous in the stories they can tell. If you haven't seen them yet, I highly recommend checking out Cartoon Network to find out when they're playing again. And the original special, Padawan Menace is still available on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Posted on Sunday, November 25th, 2012
Don't click that back button on your browser yet... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Hagman. I was never a Dallas fan. Every time I attempted to tune in because all my friends were watching, I was bored to death (Dynasty wasn't much better, but at least Joan Collins kept me from falling asleep those rare times I tuned in). Because of my loathing of all things Dallas, Larry Hagman has almost no relation to his most popular character "J.R. Ewing" in my head. No... when I think of Larry Hagman, I think of three things...
Rest in peace, Mr. Hagman, and thanks for entertaining us for so long.
• Vengeance? Remember when the television show Revenge was starting out? Remember how Emily Thorne would pick a new target each week and then systematically orchestrate an elaborate revenge scenario that crushed her enemies in the most delicious way possible?
Yeah. What the fuck happened to that show?
I suppose it was impossible to maintain such quality for very long... but never did I think Revenge would degenerate so quickly. Now, instead of a show featuring delicious revenge, it's all about boring business manipulations and nonsensical damage control as characters fumble on each other's plans. Yawn. Somebody better shake things up in a big way soon, or something tells me the second season will be the last for Revenge.
Oh... and helpful hint to the writers... if you are having a flashback episode, any attempt to create a sense of danger for a character who is alive and kicking in the present-day of your series is doomed to fail. WE KNOW THEY SURVIVE, so trying to imply otherwise is just lazy.
• Friday. Reading about people getting into fist-fights over a phone or shooting each other over a sparking space or getting choked to death by a security guard on Black Friday makes me glad I have
I do, however, have a huge interest in watching society degenerate into Anarchy. In that respect, Black Friday is a win-win for me.
• Godliness. Back in the day, "Populous" was one of my favorite computer games ever. A few years ago, they came out with a version for the Nintendo DS, and I was surprised to see that it kind of holds up. Now the original creators of the game are trying to get the funding to create a modern version. I would LOVE for this to get funded! If you like a good "god game," here's your chance to support Godus over at Kickstarter...
Ah to play god with all humanity... and if you pledge £30 or more, you get your own in-game pet!
And now I suppose I should get to bed. After working all day Saturday and Sunday, I need to recover from my weekend so I can go back to work tomorrow. Bleh.
Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2012
I have always hated wearing glasses. The frames are distracting in my field of vision and the lenses get smeared way too easily. So once I got my first pair of contact lenses, I was hooked. There was no way I was ever going back to stupid glasses ever again.
Or so I thought.
But then my eyes worsened, and contact lenses weren't giving me vision as good as they once did. I tried several different brands and styles, but to no avail. The best I could find were a disposable astigmatism lens, but they made my near-vision drop out completely.
And so now I'm back in glasses again, which give me pretty good vision near and far... certainly better than any contacts I tried...
Except I still hate them.
Because no matter how often I clean my glasses, it always seems as though I'm looking through smeary, dirty lenses with a nasty frame getting in the way. Apparently my brain has lost the ability to ignore such non-essential visual information.
Or maybe it's an ability I never had.
Because, come to think of it, I've never been able to ignore such non-essential visual information as Carson Daly or those stupid ads that networks put on top of their television shows...
Life is pain.
Anyone who says different is trying to sell you something.
But, more often than not, it's because somebody is trying to sell you something.
Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
I hardly ever just plop down somebody else's stuff on my blog... but after I saw a photo on Facebook this morning, it has been all I can think about all day long.
So many times I find myself thinking that the job our police think they have is to "Harass and Humiliate" rather than "Serve and Protect" as their motto claims. Getting bullshit tickets... or seeing people in peaceful protest getting pepper-sprayed... or watching yet another "excessive force" dash-cam video on the news... it all contributes to this ongoing terrible image we form in our heads when the word "POLICE" is uttered.
But we know that's not true. Not for some police. Undoubtedly not for most police. I'm betting the vast majority of police officers truly want to help serve and protect the community they work in. They must, because it's a fairly thankless job. And yes, there are some rotten apples in the barrel, but that shouldn't define police officers as a whole.
Especially when wonderful things like this come to light...
Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square with her husband Nov. 14 when they saw a shoeless man asking for change. She writes, “Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching*. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared."
*image cropped from the distance at which it was taken
I cannot adequately express what this story means to me.
Because moments like this mean everything to me.
This police officer and kind-hearted people like him are a gift to all humanity. And acts of compassion like this inspire others to open their own hearts and make this world a better place. This is how we survive as a species.
And we need it so badly right now.
So thank you, officer, for giving shoes to someone in need.
And by "shoes" I mean "hope" and by "someone" I mean "everyone."
Posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
I wrote a post, deleted it, re-wrote it, deleted that.
Then I started a different post, which somehow ended up right back where I started, and ended up deleting that one as well.
So now I've decided that I should write a damn thing tonight, because I've already wasted 30 minutes of my life and have nothing to show for it.
So, instead, I'm posting a photo of a cute kitty I saw in Shanghai...
He was fuzzy.
Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Before I rip into the brand new version of iTunes that Apple unleashed on the world today, I thought I'd say something nice.
I love the kind of instant fulfillment that iTunes provides.
Tonight I was watching television when I saw Victoria's Secret's "Sexiest Gifts" ad. It had a really cool song playing that I liked. So I Google the lyrics... find the song title (All Eyes on You by the band St. Lucia)... and BLAM! I go to iTunes and the song is mine.
Then I see a commercial for Men In Black 3 and BLAM! I go to iTunes and the movie is mine.
While at the iTunes Store, I see that seasons 1-3 of Community are on sale for $15(!) each... BLAM! Mine!
No more having to drive to the store or order online and have to wait for it to show up. You want something... BLAM! it's yours.
And now a few comments on iTunes 11...
A classier, more elegant update to the ugly-ass iTunes 10 icon.
The new iTunes 11 interface is big and pretty. It's also a heck of a lot simpler. Everything that can be condensed and collapsed has been condensed and collapsed. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because all the basic functionality is easier to use and out of the way. Bad because some extraneous functionality is not as easily accessible and you have to dig for it. And let's not forget the ugly... "iTunes DJ" is gone for some reason (so is Ping, but that's probably a good thing).
The most important update feature (for me, anyways) is that iCloud is now completely integrated into iTunes. The upshot being that now you can stream your movies, videos, and television shows to watch on your Mac without having to download them first, just like Apple TV. Cool! Now the only time I have to waste space on my hard drive for my iTunes purchases is when I want to have access to them while offline. A bonus feature is that iCloud stores your position, so you can start watching a show on your Mac, then pick up right where you left off on your iPad.
It's not all peaches and cream with iCloud integration, however. Even though you can stream video from the cloud, your Mac will still force you to fucking download all your fucking video purchases even though you don't fucking want them on your fucking Mac. At least from what I can fucking figure out. This is fucking bullshit...
Yeah, delete that shit off your downloads list as many times as you want... they'll be back in your "Available Downloads" before you can fucking blink. Sure I can tell iTunes not to automatically download purchases, but they never go away. And sometimes at random, iTunes starts to download them anyway.
Since iCloud was basically added as a hack on iTunes 10, this idiotic bug upset me, but didn't piss me off. But now that iTunes 11 is "iCloud Functional"... it sends me into a thermonuclear rage that the only way to keep iTunes from wanting to download videos IS TO DOWNLOAD THE VIDEOS. NOTE TO APPLE: THIS IS FUCKING STUPID!
And speaking of FUCKING STUPID, does anybody have any idea why this dialog box keeps randomly popping up when I try to play a video?
It's not consistent. If I click to play the same video that gave me the above error, odds are it will play properly the second time. This is an amateur hour bug, and I cannot fathom how Apple lets this crap slip through. I'm using a brand new MacBook Pro. I've been using iTunes 11 for ONLY TWO HOURS and found this problem... surely they beta test for longer than two hours?
I was excited when I saw that Apple had integrated the iTunes Store into my library. How handy is that? No more being bounced out to the store every time I want to buy a new episode of a show or find similar series to purchase! Or not. Half the time when I press the "In The Store" button, I just get a list of recommendations. The other half of the time, I get NOTHING...
A smart e-retailer would pop up a list of more Cougar Town episodes for me to buy while looking at my past Cougar Town purchases. But Apple? They make me leave my library, go to the store, click on television shows, then perform a Cougar Town search. What a hassle. No impulse buys for me. I guess that despite Apple's massive success, they are still a little brain-dead when it comes to selling. Something tells me this will be fixed real soon. There's entirely too much profit to be made.
And it's not just taking my money where Apple makes things ridiculously inconvenient. Just finding my music in iTunes 11 is a hassle too. Let's say I want to play the Pet Shop Boys new album Elysium, so I search my library and up it comes...
I just click on the album, and I'm off and running, right? Of course not...
Even though I specifically clicked on the album I wanted to listen to, iTunes takes me to ALL of their albums. I have to scroll down to find it. Now, I know that I'm in "Artist" view, and if I were in "Album" view it would have worked properly... but why can't it work properly in "Artist" view too? It doesn't make any sense.
But, then again, more than a few things in the new interface don't make much sense to me. Just like in previous versions of iTunes, there's a "List View" where you can uncheck little boxes next to songs you don't want to have played. But what happens when you go to non-list views where there are no boxes to uncheck? Why, you still uncheck them! Metaphorically, I'm sure...
In lieu of checkboxes, "unchecked" songs are greyed out when you're not in "List View." Well, whatever. This just seems sloppy and lazy and un-Apple to me. "Well, there aren't any checkboxes in this view, but we can't think of a better way to handle things, so fuck it! We'll just pretend there are checkboxes!"
Meanwhile, back at the iTunes Store... things are equally screwed up.
Let's say that I'm shopping for television shows. I see an ad for the third season of The Glades, so I click through. Now, normally, if I wanted to see more seasons of The Glades I would just use the navigation trail at the top of the page...
But you know what? I clicked on that damn link a half-dozen times. And each time iTunes just reloaded the exact same page. Nope. In order to see what other seasons are available, it's back to the search box. And some wacky results..
This is about the most unhelpful shopping search results you could possibly get. The first results are just a bunch of random episodes. They don't even tell you which number each episode is. Hell, they don't even fucking tell you what order they're being displayed! I'm assuming they're sorted by popularity, but who the hell knows? And of course there's no option to change the sort... whatever it is. Want them sorted by date added so you can buy the latest? Tough shit! Can't do it. Even if you navigate to "All Episodes" they are still force-displayed in a seemingly random order. And when you click the back-arrow to go back to your search? Oh, sorry... refinements to a search aren't navigable, so you skip right past it. Useless. At the very least, Apple could put the "TV Seasons" at the top of your search results, because clicking on those will give you actually useful information... like episode numbers and air dates!
Blerg. With all this stupid crap Apple got very, very wrong... did they get anything right? Certainly! They have a new feature called "Up Next" which packs a lot of cool stuff in a small space...
My library is playing through on "Shuffle" and the "Up Next" dialog shows what's coming. I can quickly eliminate songs I don't want to hear... move a song up the queue... add a song to a playlist... jump to the album the song is from... jump to the song in the iTunes Store... give a star rating... and more. Kind of nifty.
Another nice improvement is the mini player...
It's smaller, but does more. Amazingly, you can even search your library from it...
Sadly, you cannot access mini player when iTunes is in full-screen mode. I guess Apple felt it would be way too handy to be able to drag mini player to another virtual screen in "Spaces" while leaving the main player at full screen. I disagree. (UPDATE: or perhaps you can?)
One of the best things about iTunes is not a new feature... it's the speed. iTunes 11 is blazingly fast. Scrolling, even in album view, is a quantum leap above previous versions. Given how much time people spend scrolling through their libraries, this is a really big deal.
And that's about all that jumped out at me.
I haven't spent but a couple hours using the update but, despite my problems above, I have to say that I like it overall. For most of the stuff you'll use iTunes for, the interface is a big improvement. Hopefully the details that are less than perfect will be fixed in time.
And in the case of removing stuff from your downloads list... it had fucking better be sooner than fucking later.
UPDATE: It used to be that the iTunes Store would let you know if you've already purchased an item. Now, it doesn't. I don't know if this will lead people to accidentally re-purchase stuff they already bought, but it's pretty lame.
UPDATE: And... iTunes 11 video streaming is complete shit. Movies, shows, and videos will buffer for playback... but never actually play back. Hitting the play/pause button does nothing, yet I can "scrub" through the buffer no problem. This is fucking insane. How in the hell did this pile of shit ever get released? Even if Apple isn't beta-testing their software any more, they could at least have somebody play with it for 15 minutes to catch these bugs before they ship! I never wanted to be one of these people who said "Apple hasn't been the same since Steve Jobs died"... but, yeah, if this is the direction Apple is headed, we're all fucked.
UPDATE: For reasons unknown, I can no longer stream my video purchases. I have to download them before viewing, which is some stupid fucking bullshit. Amazon and Google videos will happily stream to your Mac or iOS devices. Apple, on the other hand, is living in the past, and forces you to download you purchases... wasting storage space and wasting your time. As you might guess, this laughably antiquated idiocy has me fucking furious. Guess I won't be buying video from Apple until they can stream your shit like everybody else.
Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2012
I've started saving up for my next vacation, but can't decide where I want to go.
Antarctica is always at the top of my list (I want to see it before it's gone), but I need to find two or three people who would want to share a cabin on the ship. There is no way I can afford to do it on my own. Heck, I'll barely be able to scrape together the $8,000 to $10,000 for my share of a 3 or 4 person occupancy cabin. The high price tag is because I don't just want to board a cruise ship and sail past the 7th continent... I want to take an expedition ship which will actually send landfall excursions to Antarctica and let me wander around. Take a photo of a penguin or something. Anything less is kind of pointless, I think. The problem is that people spending $10,000 for ship passage expect it to be a luxury affair. The trip I want to take most definitely is not. So even people I know who might be able to afford it might have a problem spending two weeks on a no-frills ice-breaker ship for that kind of money.
Next up is India. I've longed to visit the country, and it bothers me greatly that I haven't been there yet. Yes, it's expensive (though half the price of visiting Antarctica!)... but the bigger problem is time. I would want a minimum of 3 weeks to explore a few highlights, but there's just no way I can be gone that long. And so I'd have to either rush through a trip and not get to see much... or settle for a much smaller itinerary and not get to see much. And I just can't make up my mind which is the lesser of two evils. Perhaps I should divide the country in half and make two trips out of it like I plan on doing for Australia. I don't know. All I do know is that I really have to visit India before I die.
And speaking of Australia... as I said, I ended up splitting the country in half for two visits. Last year I took the North half (plus Fiji), but the Southern half (with New Zealand) remains...
Not that I don't want to see Perth and The West, but that's another ballgame entirely.
I loved my Australian vacation. I am dying to go back. And I have long wanted to visit New Zealand (though it could easily be a trip all its own). The problem? Money again. I blew past my budget in no time because it's massively expensive Down Under. It's also so far away that you spend a big chunk of time on an airplane. But, again, I want to visit Tasmania before all the Tasmanian Devils are gone from the wild, so I've got to set there fairly soon.
More destinations I've long wanted to visit...
And so... I have no idea.
I guess I'll see how much money I can save, find out how much time I can take off, then plan accordingly.
Boy does not having millions of dollars suck.