Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
I really hate having to leave the Netherlands.
Almost as much as I hate stupid "April Fools Day" pranks that get unleashed everywhere. And since there's always somebody who believes people's outrageous shit, the fools-pranking will never end.
At least Google puts some effort into their pranks each year...
The really cool thing about this year's gag is that this is something that will probably actually happen one day. It's only a matter of time before augmented reality games are this good.
The Virgin America & Nest prank was pretty funny too...
And since YouTube is where most of the pranks live, they decided to get in on the act themselves...
But my favorite? SelfieBot!
And now I guess it's time to climb in a metal tube for ten hours. Then drive in a car for two-and-a-half hours. Then go to the clinic for my smashed ribs for an hour.
Ha! April Fools! You can never get out of the walk-in clinic in under five hours!
See you across the pond.
Posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
"Tetanus is not a fun way to die."
My smashed ribs were really tender when I boarded the plane yesterday, so I bit the bullet and popped the Oxycodone I keep on-hand in case I have a kidney stone attack. This kept me (relatively) comfortable throughout the flight, for which I was grateful. By the time we landed in Seattle I was considering not going to the doctor at all, as I was feeling considerably better than when I left DutchyLand.
Until I reached up into the overhead bin to grab my bag.
Searing pain shot through my entire side, and I suddenly couldn't breathe. I'm guessing the drugs must have worn off after my ten hour adventure in the sky.
Not wanting to drive under the influence of Oxycodone, I retrieved my car for the (painful) two-and-a-half hour drive home. Where I did not pass Go. Did not collect $200. Did not even drop off my suitcase. Instead I drove directly to the walk-in clinic to see a doctor.
An hour-and-a-half plus three X-rays plus many hundreds of dollars in deductable later, I found out that nothing is broken. It would seem I merely have a hairline fracture in one of my ribs or something. It hurts like hell, but my lungs aren't punctured and I'm going to live.
At which point the doctor looks at the scrape on my head and asks when was the last time I had a tetanus shot. From what I could recall, it was in 1998 when my brother and I went to Bangkok. This caused the doctor to suck wind through his teeth and inform me that somebody who travels as much as I do should really stay current with my tetanus shots, which expire after ten years. Oops.
I was going to pass because I don't like injecting crap in my body that's not the sweet, sweet release of freshly-cooked black tar heroin, but then the doctor tells me that "tetanus is not a fun way to die." He looks really serious about it, so I get the damn shot.
Turns out the doctor is right. Wikipedia explains it thusly...
Tetanus often begins with mild spasms in the jaw muscles—also known as lockjaw or trismus (aka "lockjaw"). The spasms can also affect the chest, neck, back, abdominal muscles, and buttocks. Back muscle spasms often cause arching, called opisthotonos. Sometimes the spasms affect muscles that help with breathing, which can lead to breathing problems.
Prolonged muscular action causes sudden, powerful, and painful contractions of muscle groups, which is called "tetany." These episodes can cause fractures and muscle tears. Other symptoms include drooling, excessive sweating, fever, hand or foot spasms, irritability, swallowing difficulty, and uncontrolled urination or defecation. The episodes can also cause destruction of elements of the nervous system through viral cell exchange.
Mortality rates reported vary from 48% to 73%. In recent years, and approximately 11% of reported tetanus cases have been fatal. The highest mortality rates are in unvaccinated people, people over 60 years of age or newborns.
They even provide a nice painting of tetanus in action...
Doesn't that look like buckets of fun?
So... if you want to die a drooling, urinating, defecating, mess... as your muscles rip apart and cause bone fractures (i.e. in excruciating pain), by all means skip out on getting a Tdap shot.
As for myself? I'm hoping to keep the drooling and defecation to a minimum when I die.
Though I think we all know the odds of that are slim.
Posted on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Pain is quite a motivator. Which is good, because that's the way it's supposed to work. Your body produces pain to let you know that there's something wrong and you need to do something about it.
But there should be a way to turn the pain off once you've addressed the problem. I've been to the doctor... I've learned my lesson not to get run over by a van... I've been incredibly careful not to cause further injury to my ribs. Everything I can do, I've taken care of.
So why am I still in pain? Now it just seems cruel.
And yet here we are.
Getting in and out of bed is absolute torture. Sitting down and getting up are almost as bad. Coughing is outright agony. Reaching for anything higher than 5-feet or lower than 2-feet with my right arm feels like I am being stabbed repeatedly in my chest with a machete. And, as it's been for nearly a week now, any pressure applied to my rib-cage results in a flash of searing pain. Even the act of opening my laptop and typing this blog entry results in an ouchie.
I know. I know. I know. I know!... but since I have a life, remaining 100% motionless in bed all day is not really an option.
I'd dope up on pain-killers, but work is hard enough already.
And so I suffer.
Sucks to be me.
Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014
It's hard to come up with something to blog about when the only thing going on in your life is excruciating pain.
And I have at least another week to go... probably two.
The bigger problem is that I am getting incredibly behind despite the fact that I am working all the time. I attribute this to not being able to multi-task. Usually I am working on a couple projects in my head while I'm physically working on a couple others. But now? If I try to focus on more than one thing at a time, the pain proves to be such a big distraction that I get nothing done at all. And so I put all my concentration into the task at hand so I can make some progress. No matter how small.
Still haven't heard back from the hotel whose airport shuttle nailed me. I filled out a survey they sent explaining everything, but apparently they don't bother to read the surveys. Typical. It's all "We value your opinion!" — Until you actually give it to them.
And speaking of pain... today I found out that the US Dollar was far weaker against the Euro than I had previously thought, meaning I blew right past my vacation budget. Badly. 20 Euros does not equate to $22 US dollars, it's $27.50 US dollars. Which means every time I was spending 20 Euros I was bleeding $5 more than I thought I was. That adds ups really quickly when everything in Europe is expensive to begin with.
Oh well. Credit card debt won't kill you... it just feels that way.
Much like a fractured rib.
Posted on Saturday, April 5th, 2014
This week I decided that I wanted to start eating healthier. Less fat. Less sugar. Definitely less salt. Not radical changes... just a step or two in a better direction.
So today I when I went to the grocery store, I looked for foods that would put me on track.
One of the more promising options was a vegetarian bean, rice, and cheese burrito that I hadn't seen before. Nowhere on the wrapper did it say "healthy" (something which guarantees shitty taste)... it just said "70% Organic Ingredients" and the Nutrition Facts looked halfway decent. Dinner is served!
Needless to say, it was crap.
Bland. Boring. Tasteless.
Turns out that once you start taking the fat, sugar, and salt out of everything... "everything" loses what makes it oh so delicious to eat. Which is a statement that will insure everybody you know will want to give you That One Recipe which is the exception to the rule. But believing that is only setting yourself up for disappointment.
So I guess my new plan is to eat the same crap I've always been eating. I'll just eat less of it.
And squeeze in an apple or two.
Maybe some baby carrots and an occasional salad.
Because if I have to eat nothing but bland, boring, tasteless shit in order to be healthy, I'd just as soon skip it.
Now to make up for my crap dinner, I'm going to have two OREO Cookies. Which is ten less than I would usually eat, so congratulations to me for healthier eating!
Posted on Sunday, April 6th, 2014
Ooh! Game of Thrones is on!
Don't blink... because an express edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Lucy. It would seem that Luc Besson has something new...
Now this I am looking forward to. And a sequel to The Fifth Element, of course.
• Super. Well okay then...
I liked Gravity well enough, but thought it dragged in spots. This would have made for a bit more exciting film... assuming General Zod would show up. Then Sandra Bullock could KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!
• Popular. It would seem that CBS News recommends meth addiction thanks to unfortunate placement of the story below this one...
Unfortunate placement happens all the time in magazines and newspapers, but for some reason I thought that websites were immune. Oh goodie... something new to worry about. In other news... how about that meth? It's a heck of a drug.
• Anti-Vax. Oh look! The mumps outbreak in Central Ohio has now reached 150 cases!
A job well done! Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, you crazy bitch!
• Micro. But to end things on a positive note, how amazing is this?
Absolute genius. I just love innovative stuff like this.
And now? Winter is coming...
Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2014
If you're lucky, the wound will vanish without a trace. As will your memories of it.
The alternative being that you're stuck with a scar that will haunt you for the rest of your days, coupled with phantom pains that force you to re-live the nightmare over and over again.
That's a worst-case scenario, obviously, but does heartbreak ever end any other way?
Posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
This morning I needed to dig out a software manual from storage (remember when software came with printed manuals?) and had a small blue pressboard binder fall on my head. It looked familiar, but I didn't know why.
Remember when I was lamenting that I couldn't remember my CompuServe ID Number? Well, yeah, the small blue pressboard binder had all my CompuServe stuff in it... including my ID...
Now that I see it... 70717,3107... I can't imagine how I ever forgot it. Those digits flow through my mind like my own name, because it was my name for a number of years. When I typed it just then, I didn't even need to take a second look, my fingers automatically keyed it in. Just like old times.
Somehow, I feel more complete than I did yesterday.
ALSO in the small blue pressboard binder... COMPUSERVE INFORMATION SERVICE RATES: 1984!"
A few things...
All told, I'm currently on the internet for one thing or another at least 5 hours a day. That's minimum 35 hours a week... probably much more. Putting two hours of that in the daytime and three hours of that in the evening, in 2014 dollars I'd be spending $58.76 per day... $411.32 per week... just to get online.
And "being online" then sure ain't what it is now.
How in the hell did we ever make it out of the dark ages of technology?
Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
I'm going to just come right out and say it... I love McDonalds.
And that's no hyperbole, it's the truth. Sure I wish that they would take the McVeggie Deluxe national so I had a burger I could eat there but, even without a veggie option, I still like the chain. I love their fries. I like their egg & cheese breakfast biscuits. I like their side salads. I like their shakes. I like their McFlurries. I like their hot caramel sundaes. I like their fruit-n-yogurt parfaits. I even like their apple pies (just not as much as when they were fried). They've got food I like that's served fast at decent prices. What's not to love?*
But heaven forbid I ever mention liking McDonalds. Even hinting at having eaten there brings out all the people who think it's their mission in life to tell people what they can and cannot like...
"McDONALD'S IS TOXIC GARBAGE! I WOULDN'T FEED THEIR 'FOOD' TO MY DOG!"
"McDONALD'S IS DESTROYING THE PLANET! WHEN YOU EAT THERE, YOU'RE HELPING THEM!"
"ARE YOU STUPID? WHY NOT JUST EAT RAT POISON IF YOU'RE INTENT ON BEING SO UNHEALTHY?"
"WHAT KIND OF IDIOT RUINS THEIR BODY WITH FAT, SUGAR, AND CHEMICALS BY EATING AT McDONALDS?"
"McDONALD'S TARGETS CHILDREN FOR UNHEALTHY EATING HABITS WITH TOYS!"
"SO GROSS! THEIR CRAP ISN'T EVEN REAL FOOD!"
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Well, whatever. I honestly don't give a fuck. You don't like it? DON'T EAT THERE! You think it's unhealthy? DON'T EAT THERE! You have a problem with the food? DON'T EAT THERE! As for me? There's nothing wrong with an occasional bag of fries and a chocolate shake at McDonalds... AND I enjoy it, so just leave me the hell alone. I mean, thanks, but I am fully aware of the nutritional content (or lack thereof) of what I'm eating.
And then today a McDonalds post pops up in my Facebook feed.
The number of hateful comments shouldn't have surprised me, but it did.
For reasons completely unknown, there are people who hate McDonald's so much that they spend their valuable time ripping McDonald's to shit IN FACEBOOK COMMENTS! Which probably ranks right up there with "screaming into a pillow" when it comes to effectiveness, but whatever. At least when people feel the need to rip into me personally for my food choices, they think they're helping me out (or something) so they can feel good about doing me a solid. What possible benefit is there to leaving nasty comments for McDonalds on Facebook? Could there be a bigger waste of time?
Like blogging about it, I suppose.
* Well, okay, I DON'T love McDonald's clown figurehead, Ronald McDonald, who is terrifying...
Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Last night I decided to stop taking the pain-killers I've been on since getting run down in France. I don't like the way drugs mess with my head, and this time it was more debilitating than usual for some reason. I wasn't just having trouble concentrating at work... I was having trouble concentrating while watching television, and that just isn't done.
The pain in my ribs is breathtaking, as expected.
But it's the pain in the arm where I got my tetanus shot that really took me by surprise. My arm aches. Every movement feels like somebody just punched me. Hard. I Googled my pain only to discover that, yeah, this is totally normal. Tetanus shots are brutal. So now I am questioning this foolish decision to live life drug-free, as I am a real weenie when it comes to pain.
I'm also questioning getting a tetanus shot, but that ship has sailed.
And then there's this...
Have a good night!
Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2014
This has been the single most frustrating and anger-inducing experience I've had in years. I have spent more time screaming at my computer in two days than I have in all previous days since the dawn of computing. It would be nice if I could lay the blame for my rage on a single doorstep, but the reason this has been such a horrible ordeal is that just about everybody is responsible...
Too many websites make it too fucking difficult to change your password. Not only because they've hidden the option to make the change, but because they have absurdly stupid requirements as to what is acceptable for a password...
SORRY! Password must not be similar to your old password!
SORRY! Password must have at least one capital letter!
SORRY! Password must contain at least one number!
SORRY! Password must contain at least one non-alphanumeric character!
SORRY! Password must not contain two of the same characters in a row!
SORRY! Password must be a minimum of fifty-six characters in length!
The list goes on and on, and it drives me insane. It's MY password. If somebody guesses it because I don't have a number in it, that's MY fucking problem. All your efforts to force me into some absurdly random string of characters only ensures that I will never be able to remember it for those times I am forced to enter it by hand.
But here's the even worse part. Some websites force you to create some abstract password you'll never remember... THEN NOT ALLOW APPLE'S SAFARI BROWSER TO REMEMBER IT FOR YOU! Every time Safari pops up with a note that says "Safari cannot remember this password because the website has requested it not be stored" I want to put my fist through the screen and burn down the company who would make such a stupid fucking decision.
And don't get me started on websites which don't allow you to paste a password from your clipboard, but instead require that it be typed in manually. That should be punishable by death.
APPLETo their credit, Apple at least attempted to make password management easy by allowing you to have Safari suggest new passwords and then remember the password you enter. Safari then syncs that password across all your Apple devices (including iPhones, iPads, other Macs, etc.), which is astoundingly useful and cool. When it works, it's great. But, as mentioned above, it doesn't always work. Some sites disallow it. Sometimes Safari just doesn't save the hideously complex password it just suggested. Sometimes the login is not associated with the right website. There's all kinds of problems that can happen, and I'm guessing Safari's "remember password" feature only manages to work 50% of the time.
But it gets better.
Apple doesn't allow the stored password in Safari to be applied to other Apple apps! It goes something like this: 1) Go to change my AppleID password. 2) Safari suggests a randomly generated password that you'll never remember. 3) Safari saves your new AppleID password, then kindly asks if you want to apply the password for other Apple Services like iMessage, iCloud, and Facetime... which is so nice! 4) You go to buy a new song in the iTunes Store and APPLE FUCKING ASKS YOU FOR YOUR APPLEID PASSWORD! AND, YOU GUESSED IT, THE ONLY WAY TO ENTER THE PASSWORD INTO ITUNES IS TO TYPE IT IN MANUALLY! And since you can't fucking remember something like "RJ%P-TK3sO-#cD9yp*o-Ibn" you have to switch to Safari, go to the password manageer, locate your AppleID, enter your login password, copy the AppleID password, go back to iTunes, paste the password... then hope that you don't have to copy something else to the clipboard before iTunes asks for the password again since it asks for your password every five minutes (especially if you use iTunes Match, it would seem).
This is MIND-BOGGLINGLY FUCKING STUPID, APPLE! You have to allow iTunes to have access to your AppleID password when a user is logged in. Otherwise, people aren't going to use complex passwords. Which means that when it comes to people choosing shitty, easily-cracked passwords... YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!
UPDATE: BWAH HA HA HAAAA! How fucking embarrassing. I get to work expecting my work computer will have synced my keychain with all the changed passwords... NOPE! I had to enter everything all over again! In order to get the NEW passwords to sync, I have to disable iCloud Keychain Syncing... THEN REACTIVATE iCLOUD KEYCHAIN SYNCING. Apple: It Just Works!
UPDATE UPDATE: And, my iPhone required me to log back into all my Apple apps... like "Find My Friends" because it is ALSO too fucking stupid to use the damn keychain with my AppleID and password THAT IT IS ALREADY SYNCING TO! What a fucking joke. I thought that with iCloud, Apple would FINALLY get syncing done right since they botched it so badly in .Mac and MobileMe... NOPE! Still a horrendous pile of shit. And don't get me started how every time I do fucking ANYTHING with my password on my iPhone, it broadcasts an announcement to all my other Apple devices that it's using FaceTime now... AS IT HAS BEEN SINCE FACETIME WAS AVAILABLE!! Heaven only knows how many years it will be until Apple finally gets this crap all figured out. At this rate, probably never.
Long before Apple built a password manager into Safari, I was already using a nifty password managing app called 1Password by AgileBits. I've had a few minor problems with it over the years but, for the most part, it's a terrific piece of software. It does a greatjob of creating, storing, managing, and filling-in all kinds of passwords, credit cards, bank accounts, identities, encrypted notes, and such.
When I started changing all my passwords, I discovered that the version of 1Password I'm using was outdated, and I needed to upgrade to version 4. Well, they don't offer an upgrade, so you have to purchase an all-new copy... but it was on sale for half-price ($24.99) thanks to the Heartbleed bug, so I just went ahead and paid for the shit.
Only to have one of the most frustrating upgrade experiences ever. Seriously... upgrading from 1Password v3 to v4 was worse than getting punched in the fucking face.
First of all, they warn you to sync your Safari Plugin data with your main data store. This is done by creating a new fake login, which they don't really explain how to do. Eventually I just went to a shopping site and created a real login so I could force 1Password to add it to my main data store and be sure everything was synced. But it never worked. Each time I'd create a login, I'd go to the main 1Password app, but the login never showed up. After 20 minutes of this stupid crap, I finally didn't give a fuck, and just uninstalled the 1Password Safari Plugin. Who knows what data I lost.
Then it came time to install the v4 Safari Plugin. I couldn't find a separate link on their download page, so I Googled their site to find it. But after installing the plugin found at the link, Safari reported it was v3. So I uninstalled again and Googled for instructions, only to find that I could choose "Install Browser Extensions" from the 1Password app. Well that's easy, right?
Not so much. I then spent a half hour trying to get it to install. First of all, it kept installing version 3.9.20 even though I was double-clicking on the version 4 plugin. Don't ask me why. I had to reboot my MacBook before it would finally install the new version. But then the real battle began.
The problem being that 1Password must be running for the Safari install to work, but it keeps quitting before the install happens. It was a game of Catch-22 over and over and over again...
Start 1Password, press "Try again," 1Password quits. Repeat. TIMES INFINITY!
Even a complete re-install didn't work. Eventually I had to uninstall the entire app plus its support files... then start all over again with a backup data store synced on DropBox. What a fucking joke. I just paid $25 to waste nearly and hour of my precious time... for an upgrade. Thanks, AgileBits!
P.S. Why in the hell does AgileBits feel the need to install 1Password 4 inside of a FOLDER? Especially when the app is the ONLY item in the fucking folder. I'm guessing it has to do with problems writing to the Apps folder if the old 1Password is in place... but wouldn't a better solution be to rename the app with the new version number added?
And now, after TWO DAYS wasted, I finally have most all my passwords changed. Whether or not I'll actually be able to retrieve them to log in anywhere remains to be seen.
Posted on Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Teletubbies say "Eh oh!"
Posted on Sunday, April 13th, 2014
Go Go Gadget Web Browser... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
You. Are. Welcome!
Nobody does what Chris Ware does. And why would they? Everything he creates is perfect.
• Shift? Bwah ha! This has to be one of Apple's biggest embarrassments. I frickin' HATE that I can never tell if my shift/shift-lock is on or not in iOS...
So now there's a new website in case you need a reminder! Sweet!
• Mail. Okay. Okay. I've used a lot of email programs. A lot. And while the features are tweaked from app to app, they all pretty much work the same way once you get down to brass tacks... no matter how different they look. Enter Unibox. Now THIS isn't just a different approach to email... it's different different. The biggest change? No inbox. There's a filter for your contacts, any attachments you've received, and that's it...
For my personal email, where I receive a cornucopia of crap every day, I prefer the "inbox approach." But for my work email? Where everything revolves around people? This has proven nothing short of revolutionary. Once I got used to it, I was amazed at how much of a timesaver this unique approach to email has been. If you're in a similar email situation and have a Mac... Unibox gets my highest recommendation.
• Flight. Every minute of this video is gold...
I don't know a better way to wrap up my Sunday than that.
• Good. Well, okay... maybe with this commercial from a Thai life insurance company...
Pretty much sums up why I love Thailand.
And... hope your weekend was a good one!
Posted on Monday, April 14th, 2014
"Diane, I'm holding in my hand a small box of chocolate bunnies..."
— Agent DaleCooper
I started re-watching Twin Peaks last Tuesday on the 24th anniversary of its 1990 debut (Netflix has it available for streaming, which is easier than pulling my DVDs off the shelf). After finishing the final episode of the first season while working tonight, I was surprised to see how well the show holds up. Yeah, it has some outrageous and over-the-top moments... but they were outrageous and over-the-top when they first aired in 1990.
Back when the whole world was asking "Who killed Laura Palmer?"
It remains one of my all-time favorite series.
Shows so rarely get this... interesting... any more. Or beautiful to look at.
Yes, it completely tanked in Season Two, but that hasn't made me want a follow-up series any less. Twin Peaks ended with the mother of all cliffhangers.
I think the world is ready.
Posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
I had been doing so well.
Then today I twisted wrong, and searing pain ripped through my ribcage so intensely that I thought I was going to pass out. It died out after a couple hours, but now I'm more than a little worried that I've done something to set back the healing process.
Guess there's just no easy recovery from getting hit by a car.
And on that note...
Ever since getting a tetanus shot, I've been a little on edge.
Sometimes when I'm chewing it will feel like my jaw is tightening up, and I start to wonder if the vaccine didn't work and I've contracted lockjaw. Then that's about all I can think about for hours.
But the bigger issue is the vaccine itself. From Wikipedia...
Tetanus vaccine is a vaccine composed of deactivated tetanus toxins. This vaccine is immunogenic but not pathogenic and is used to prevent an individual from contracting tetanus.
And that's not all...
The type of vaccination for this disease is called artificial active immunity. This type of immunity is generated when a dead or weakened version of the disease enters the body causing an immune response which includes the production of antibodies. This is beneficial to the body because this means that if the disease is ever introduced into the body, the immune system will recognize the antigen and produce antibodies more rapidly.
What if they accidentally shot me up with LIVE tetanus toxins instead of deactivated ones? That wouldn't be a good thing, now would it? This would certainly explain why my jaw keeps feeling like it's tightening up!
If you don't hear from me again, I'm probably dead.
After writhing in agony for hours.
Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
For the first time... ever(?)... I had to take down a blog post.
Yesterday I said "If you don't hear from me again, I'm probably dead. After writhing in agony for hours." Right after posting that, I noticed there was a software update for my blog, so I installed it. After a few minutes I was all updated and good to go.
Until I sat down to write today's entry and noticed that the entry editor is... errr... "missing" for lack of a better word...
Uhhh... where do I type?
Well that's darn inconvenient! And since I am flying out early, early tomorrow morning it's not like I can fix it now.
So it's probably best that I take down yesterday's post telling people that if they don't hear from me I'm probably dead.
Now wouldn't it be ironic if I died right after removing it?
Almost as ironic as if my blog stays permanently dead and I never get to post this entry about my blog being temporarily dead.
Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014
San Francisco is one of the easiest gigs I have because it's only a two-hour flight out of Seattle. Adding in a drive to the airport, wait time, flight time to Seattle, and layover time... and I can get to The City by The Bay in under 6 hours. This is nice, because if I have an afternoon meeting I can fly down that morning instead of the day before. Heck, I could even fly back same-day if I wanted to!
In theory, it all sounds great when I'm booking my flights, as I'd really rather spend a night in my own bed than a hotel room.
Until the alarm goes off at 3:30am and I am forced to climb out of my own bed so I can get ready for my drive to the airport.
At which point it completely sucks, and I curse myself for being so stupid as to schedule such an early flight.
Which is why I just spent the last hour and a chunk of change-fee money to reschedule my next four flights. But it's all worth it, because I am definitely getting too old for this shit. 3:30am wake-ups are a game for the young, dammit.
So if science wants to go ahead and figure out the whole Star Trek teleportation thing, I'd really appreciate it.
In the meanwhile, here I am in San Francisco again. Guess I'd better get to work.
Posted on Friday, April 18th, 2014
My lunch routine on a full work-day in San Francisco has been the same for years...
• Taxi to the Fisherman's Wharf.
• Johnny Rockets (Streamliner Burger, no grilled onions, no mustard, add ketchup and mayo).
• Crazy Shirts (T-shirt shop).
• The Pier 39 Sea Lions.
• Trish's Mini Donuts.
• Hard Rock Cafe (to check out any new pins).
• Street Car back to work downtown.
It's always the exact same thing.
Which is why I appreciate it when something happens to break up the routine. This time it was when I was walking past a guy buying a hotdog at a small food shack called the Doggie Diner...
After he picked up his food, he asked where their bathroom was.
I'm sure the order-taker told him there were public restrooms at Pier 39. I would have told him to use the garbage can out front.
And that's a wrap on my lunch hour.
Posted on Saturday, April 19th, 2014
One of the things R.W. and I set out to do when we created THRICE Fiction was to make sure it was available in a variety of formats so people could read it however they wanted. Want to read a printed magazine? You can order a copy. Want to view it as a PDF? It's there. Want to read it on an eBook reader? We got that. Have a Kindle? We got that too. We've had all of it since Day One, and all the digital editions can be downloaded for FREE.
Like our brand new issue released today (featuring a stunning cover by Chris Walton)...
And we're not stopping there.
Our next outlet for THRICE will be an online edition. We want for people to be able to read every issue right on the THRICE Fiction website. There are many, many solutions for doing this, and I've looked at dozens of them. You can see a sample of one solution (from JooMag) here...
If you expand it to full-screen and have a decent-resolution display, it's pretty nice. I don't know if this is the route we'll take, but we'll get it figured out eventually.
Back to THRICE Fiction No. 10! For a look at the first half of the art included in this issue, click onward to an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2014
Put on your Easter bonnet... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Overtime And... instead of being able to kick-back and relax tomorrow before flying home, I now have to work in the morning. So... this is going to be a really quick list.
• Yoga. The best thing you've seen all week...
There's more on Nic and Pancho's YouTube Channel.
• Ten. Did I mention that the latest issue of THRICE Fiction has been released and you can download a copy for FREE?!? Well, it's all true! Click here to grab a copy...
And, if you like that, there's nine other issues to explore...
• Wabbit. While stopping at the Jelly Belly Factory yesterday, I noticed that they add ears to Mr. Jelly Belly for Springtime...
Happy Easter, everybody!
And now... sleep.
Posted on Monday, April 21st, 2014
Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Time for a YouTube time-suck!
Good luck getting out alive.
I. Am. So. Old...
"I feel bad for people in the 90's, I really do."
Reason No. 765,236 why I love Betty White...
Nice to know that Larry King is still alive... and as creepy as ever.
And now for something completely different...
Lastly, one of many lists telling you what to see before you die (even if they put Santorini in Italy and don't know how to pronounce "buttes"...
I've barely been to a third of them...
Guess I'd better pack a suitcase...
Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
When it comes to cashing in airline miles and hotel points for vacation, I've gotten pretty good at figuring out how to get the best value for my... err... dollar? Or whatever.
My routine consists of going down a list of destinations I'd like to visit, seeing how many miles it takes to get me there... how many points it takes to stay there... followed by crying because it's more than I can afford. Then down to the next location on the list. Eventually I work my way down to something I can afford and, voilà!, vacation is served.
But what do you do when you've already scratched off all the affordable destinations?
Turns out points and miles ain't what they used to be.
And so... money.
It doesn't matter how much you have banked, it takes money now.
Which kind of defeats the purpose of accumulating all those miles and points over the years, but nothing good seems to last forever. In this case it didn't even last a decade. The upshot being that I'll be burning my miles and points as fast as I can before their value drops even further. Because if things keep going like they are now, they'll be worthless within five years.
So much for my planned retirement travel.
Oh well. The world could blow up before I make it to retirement anyway.
Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Well, today didn't go as planned.
Not that this is in any way surprising.
In other news?
Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2014
Another trip over the mountains.
A really pretty trip this time.
I dare say Summer might very well be on the way...
Posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2014
And here we are again... this time with a look at the art appearing in the second half of THRICE Fiction Issue No. 10, you might want to go read Part One from last Saturday first (if you haven't already).
Oh, and if you haven't downloaded your FREE copy of our latest issue, that should be your first stop!
Alright? All right!
Last week when discussing the art from the first half of the book, I talked a little bit about the formats we offer for FREE downloads... and how we're wanting to expand into others. Here's the breakdown average from December's issue...
Anybody looking at this breakdown would say "Wow... why do you even bother with anything but PDF?"
The answer is because our "circulation" was around 2850 last issue and, as always when we release a new issue, it has climbed a bit. As of yesterday, we topped 3200. Which means 4% translates into 130 people who prefer to read THRICE via eBook. That's worth the 90 minutes it takes for me to create it. The Kindle version is automatically created from the eBook, so now we're up to around 150 people.
The print edition is just a higher resolution version of the PDF that takes 2 minutes to generate and 5 to upload to MagCloud. For the 30-50 people who want to have THRICE in print (including yours truly), I'll spend the seven minutes to make it happen.
And if we can expand our readership by adding an online version... an iPad version... or whatever else we can think of? We're going to do that too. Because as our downloads continue to blast past our every expectation, even small percentages are going to account for more people than R.W. and I ever dreamed would be reading in the first place. We're happy... nay, thrilled... to provide THRICE in whatever format people want to have it.
So look for our "Cerebral Implant" edition, coming 2025.
And now... back to the artwork for THRICE Fiction No. 10, which you can read about in an extended edition...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2014
Finish up all those boiled eggs leftover from last weekend... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Bricked. If you are an iPhone user upgrading your iOS to version 7.1.1, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR PHONE IS BACKED UP FIRST! I attempted to update my iPhone and ended up getting it completely bricked. The only way I could make it useable again was to plug it into my MacBook and use iTunes to manually update it. Luckily, my phone had backed up to iCloud that morning, or I would have lost a lot of photos. Usually, I don't even think about backups because I've never had any update problems, but I guess there's a first time for everything.
• Quick. The recent run of absolutely brilliant Marvel Comics movie adaptations has been nothing short of miraculous. Everything Marvel Studios touches... from Iron-Man to Captain America to Thor to Avengers has been amazing. But we haven't been so lucky with Marvel movies from other studios. In particular, Bryan Singer's horrendously shitty X-Men films over at 20th Century Fox. The first three were gut-wrenchingly bad. The first Wolverine spin-off was tragic. But then the pendulum swung in the other direction. Matthew Vaughn gave us the excellent X-Men: First Class, then James Mangold unleashed a terrific sequel with The Wolverine. My hopes for the X-Universe were restored. UNTIL 20th CENTURY FOX GAVE IT BACK TO BRYAN SINGER! I mean, seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?!? And, naturally, once we started seeing photos, it looked like Singer had once again spread his butt-cheeks and plopped a load of crap on the franchise. One of my biggest disappointments was his shitty interpretation of the character Quicksilver...
The ugly hair, freaky glasses, and idiotic belt of clunky gadgets just had to be a joke, right? And what's with that stupid jacket? But, no, it wasn't a joke. Subsequent photos confirmed the hideous outfit... but I was relieved to see the belt gone and the hair looking marginally better...
At least until a fucking hamburger commercial, of all things, showed the character in full lighting...
Holy shit. I MEAN, HOLY SHIT! Somebody dressing up for ComicCon does a better job than this embarrassment! But it's Bryan Singer. After the colossal dump he took on Superman Returns, nothing surprises me. This is what we expect.
But the good news is that Marvel Studios owns the right to The Avengers, of which Quicksilver is a part. Sure, they can't have him be a mutant, because 20th Century Fox gets all that with their X-Men license... but, hey, JOSS WHEDON WILL AT LEAST DO THE CHARACTER RIGHT IN AVENGERS 2!
And then I see this...
Okay. I admit it's a vast, vast improvement over the shitty X-Men version... but this is the best they could do? A nonsensical shirt with an ugly design and pants from some kind of Members Only 80's collection. Really? WHY? LORD, WHY?!?
• Smack. Advice as true then as it is now... DON'T BE A GUM-SMACKING WHORE, PEOPLE!
For more timeless dating advice, here's a link for you.
• Ten. And so Ronald McDonald got a makeover to make him less creepy. Here's the old Ronald....
And here's the new...
FAIL! If anything, the attempt to fashion-forward a fucking clown only makes the scary asshole even creepier. If this thing were to come walking towards me I would lose my shit.
• Shhhh! I've watched this at least a half-dozen times. You couldn't hope for a better end to Bullet Sunday...
And... have a good week, everybody!
Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2014
"It's more than that. It's perfect."
Today is the 25th anniversary of my most favorite movie ever made, Field of Dreams. I've seen it dozens of times and love it more with each new viewing. In the past I've describe the film as "flawless" and, after having watched it again tonight, still feel that to be true...
The filmmakers somehow managed to pull together the perfect cast (including James Earl Jones, a long-time favorite) for a story that really shouldn't translate to the screen very well. So much of the plot revolves around things so fantastical, unbelievable, or just plain nuts that reenacting them in real life seemed like a ticket to disaster. But Kevin Costner was able to ground his character so fully into his world that it just didn't matter. His every reaction to the bizarre things going on around him made you believe there was nothing bizarre about it. He believes it, so you do too.
One of my favorite things about the film is that nothing is explained. Absolutely no effort is put into explaining how any of the crazy events are transpiring because the only thing that matters is why they are happening... which results in one of the best movie endings ever.
And compelled me to visit the Field of Dreams movie site in Iowa.
Perhaps a movie will come along in the next 25 years that will knock Field of Dreams off the top spot in my list of favorite films. But somehow I doubt it. It's pretty hard to do better than perfect.
And now? A bit of trivia...
The little girl who played Karen Kinsella was named Gaby Hoffmann...
Who grew up to play Ruby Jetson in the Veronica Mars movie...
Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Tuesday is the toughest day of the week for me. If anything is going to go wrong, today is the day.
In this case, it was having a pile of work left over from Monday while I'm having to reschedule three flights. Which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the heinous change-fees that airlines like to charge now. I had to pay anywhere from $125 to $200... plus the change in airfare. Which always seems to increase, by the way. Kind of crazy how having your plans change can be so absurdly costly.
Just one more reason I frickin' loathe to fly any more. Even if you manage to get a decent fare, you still end up screwed if something comes up. And when you fly dozens of times a year, stuff is gonna come up.
It's not like I need to pay rent. Or eat. Or buy toilet paper.
Good thing I gave up taking a shit for Lent.
Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
I once dated a girl who introduced me to the word "serendipity."
By using it repeatedly.
Absolutely everything was "serendipity" to her. Come across an empty parking space in a crowded lot? Serendipity. Find something you were needing to buy on sale? Serendipity. The rain stops just before you walk out the door? Serendipity. Nab the last bottle of your favorite fabric softener off the shelf? Serendipity. Your mother calls just before your boyfriend is making his move? Serendipity.
We didn't date for very long, but I really ended up hating that word. Her constant over-use ruined it for me.
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
"a fortunate stroke of serendipity"
But a while back I saw a really good commercial for Subaru that had me revisiting the word again...
Find your soulmate when you pick up a woman who ran out of gas?
Now that's serendipity.
I love a really good commercial.
Almost as much as a loathe a really bad one.