Posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2015
You would think after working 47 hours straight. Not being able to sleep for five hours. Then spending an entire day traveling to get home... I'd crash hard last night and finally be able to sleep.
And I did.
For four whole hours.
Which meant my Saturday was spent in a foggy haze of exhaustion that made getting caught up with work almost impossible.
Lucky for me I have time left to drink a 2-liter of Coke so I can stay up all night tonight and try to make some headway.
I can't even remember what my brain is supposed to feel like.
Posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2015
The final month of summer beings as another edition of Bullet Sunday starts... eventually...
• Sisko! The little feral kitten, Sisko, that I mentioned last week is till very very pregnant and... much to my surprise... hasn't had her babies yet. The poor thing looks even more confused, scared, and otherwise uncomfortable than last week, which is really saying something...
Hoping that she pops soon...
• 2oolander! At last... at long last... MUGATU SHALL HAVE HIS REVENGE!
At least I'm assuming as much since Will Ferrell is listed in the credits.
• Hippo! The San Diego Zoo has posted baby hippo photos to their Facebook page...
All baby animals are adorable. They just can't help it.
• Busters! When Kate McKinnon first appeared on SNL, I was not a fan. But I've slowly warmed up to her, and now fully expect her to be the standout in Ghostbusters. All the set pics have her looking more Egon than Egon...
As a remake of one of my favorite movies ever, I sure hope they manage to do the original justice.
• Honesty! It IS the best policy, after all...
No times for more bullets, Mr. Jones.
Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2015
Still recovering from my sleep-deprived trip to Maine.
Last night I bought milk for cereal and had a surprise when I went to pour it. It wasn't milk... it was half & half! I didn't understand how this happened until I ran back to the store so I could have cereal for breakfast...
When the cartons are angled towards you, all you see is purple. Somebody at the store got confused and loaded the fat-free milk section with half & half. I didn't bother checking because I buy milk from the same spot week in and week out.
Pretty crappy of Darigold to not do color-coding right. If you're going to make two different items the same color, you should at least try to differentiate them design-wise. ON THE PART PEOPLE ACTUALLY SEE!
What does one do with half & half anyway? What is it even? Half milk and half fat? Scary.
Posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
Day. Ruined."After careful thought, thoughtful consideration and considerable squabbling, Miss Piggy made the difficult decision to terminate our romantic relationship. We will continue to work together on television (“The Muppets”/Tuesdays 8pm this fall on ABC) and in all media now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, throughout the universe. However, our personal lives are now distinct and separate, and we will be seeing other people, pigs, frogs, et al. This is our only comment on this private matter. Thank you for your understanding."
Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
When I heard there was going to be a Netflix series based on the cult movie Wet Hot American Summer starring the original cast, I was intrigued. Firstly, many in the cast have become massively successful in the fourteen years since the original film (Bradley Cooper, for example, had just started with Alias then, whereas now he's a major movie star). Secondly, the movie was a massive failure. And lastly, it's not a sequel... it's a frickin' prequel. That's right, even though the actors have aged a decade and a half since they first had the roles, they're actually playing younger than they originally did...
The age-defying angle is pretty funny.
Which is a good thing, because otherwise First Day of Camp isn't quit as funny as I was hoping for.
But the show is entertaining. And it wisely aims to provide backstory for the film. Mostly making sense along the way... assuming you've seen the original movie. If you haven't, many of the jokes will be over your head.
Ultimately, I think First Day of Camp was worth my valuable time (Josh Charles as a three-pop-collar-wearing preppy douche is worth the price of admission) but I admit to being disappointed that I didn't have as much fun in watching it as the cast did in making it.
If you've got a Netflix subscription, you should check it out. The first episode isn't that good, but things pick up in the second and start gelling around the halfway point (episode four of eight).
Posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2015
Well that was... uhhh... horrible.
I had planned on doing a little serious analysis on the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate that went down this evening, but the whole thing was such a farce that there's nothing I can actually take seriously...
Photo from Getty Images
Though I would be hard-pressed to pick a "winner" for the evening, I think it's pretty safe to say that Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio were the stand-out candidates. Realistically, anyways. One could make an argument for Donald Trump (and they wouldn't be wrong... he definitel stood out) but he's just not a realistic option, and most of his time was spent reinforcing why he'd make a awful president. What a petty, useless, waste of a human being.
Picking a loser is far easier. Rand Paul is such an attention-grabbing dandy douchebag that he actually makes Trump look sane by comparison. I definitely get the appeal from a Constitutional standpoint. If you're into it, that's all he does. But the guy lives in Fantasyland, and his policy positions are so unrealistic in the world we live in that he's nothing more than a pathetic joke.
The big surprise for me was just how bad Jeb! Bush comes across. For the longest time now I've distilled this race down to Bush vs. Clinton 2016... but now I just don't know. Jeb! doesn't feel the least bit presidential. Not that it matters. His brother felt even less presidential... and he was the president. Putting Ron Paul aside, nobody had a worse night than Bush in my humble opinion.
Scott Walker needs to remember that he has to appeal to women voters. I hope he and his imaginary friend fetus are very happy together, because neither of them are going to The White House.
Ben Carson impressed... but not enough. I don't see anything in him that would ignite the Republican base to turn out in droves during the big election.
John Kasich was probably the most helped by the debates because he did okay and people actually knows who he is now. Problem is... he is grossly overshadowed by just about every other candidate in attention and recognition.
As for Huckabee, Cruz, and Christie? They can go fuck themselves. Like Rubio, I think they're all self-absorbed assholes who have no interest whatsoever in representing all Americans, and I don't give two shits about any of them. In other words, they're Trump without the cash. The difference being that at least Trump is honest about what he is.
So... Fiorina vs. Clinton?
I have no qualms... none whatsoever... about us getting a female president. On the contrary, I welcome the idea of a woman Commander in Chief with an enthusiasm that I can barely contain. But these women? Not on your life.
Fiorina ran HP into the ground on a bunch of shitty decisions that have me questioning her sanity... let alone her ability to run the country. On top of that, her tirades against Planned Parenthood and women's reproductive health have me seriously questioning her commitment to her own gender.
Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State was a massive failure and I've slowly come to loathe everything she stands for. Her meddling fucked up Libya beyond repair and is indebted to foreign interests and defense contractors up to her eyeballs. Despite all her proclamations, she is the very essence of the political establishment we need to be rid of.
Right now there isn't a Republican or Democrat in the running that I want anywhere near The White House.
Good thing the office of the president is growing more and more irrelevant as The Powers That Be who actually run this country let their money make all the decisions. That makes me less depressed that somebody entirely unworthy is going to win the election and pretend to run the country.
Or is that more depressed?
I can't really decide.
Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2015
My obsession with monitoring the two pregnant cats over at Tiny Kittens has been pretty overwhelming. For over a week I've had their live camera feeds floating in the corner of my monitor all day... and displayed on my laptop all night so when I wake up I can check in on them.
Well, the kittens finally came.
The first to deliver was Tip. She was an abandoned kitty who "turned to a life of crime" when she started breaking into homes to find food. Having been around people, she was an easy cat for Shelly Roche to monitor and keep happy. She was sponsored by some nice people at Dreamworks Animation, and ended up with five babies. She's a fantastic mom...
I didn't get to see Tip give birth, but I did get to see Sisko deliver her kittens.
Sisko is feral, so she's been pretty stressed being trapped indoors. Her wild nature also makes it impossible for Shelly to help out much, but everything seemed to work out okay.
The poor thing ended up having a litter of eight kittens. And they pretty much came one right after the other, so she didn't get a break between them. Now the little cat is doing the best she can to stay sane while caring for entirely too many mouths to feed. She looks kind of overwhelmed and a little scared, but she's hanging in there...
Hopefully she'll relax a bit and get into the groove of motherhood.
If you want to help out Shelly and the amazing, amazing work she does at Tiny Kittens, I encourage you to donate to the cause.
The live cams are still up, so you can check in on the babies any time here...
Posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2015
My plan was to spend all day at the office so I could get caught up from time lost during my whirlwind week of working in Maine. Alas, instead I spent almost the entire day stuck in bed sick. My guess is that lack of sleep has finally compromised my health, and I ended up vulnerable to a bad case of food poisoning around 3:00am.
The bad news is that I managed to get zero work done.
The good news is that I stumbled across my Tumblr that I never use and had a bunch of questions waiting for me! Here are some of them...
What's the scariest thing you've ever done? I'm tempted to answer "skydiving," but I get more scared in tall buildings than I ever did skydiving and parachuting. Being in the middle of earthquakes in both Seattle and Tokyo were pretty scary. Getting held up at gun-point was definitely scary... but that wasn't something I did, so I honestly don't know. Blind dates are terrifying to me, so let's go with that.
What was the best sex you've ever had? Any sex I'm lucky enough to have is the best... but, if forced to choose? Cologne, Germany, February 2008. Came out of nowhere. Took me completely by surprise. Was the amazing culmination of an incredible day.
How do I get these numbers off my television? I am not familiar with your television, but the "DISPLAY" button usually takes care of that.
What sites do you use for travel advice? Where can I get the best airfare and the cheapest hotels? For specifics, I like TripAdvisor quite a lot, but you have to take some of the absurd reviews you see with a grain of salt. For general travel advice, Nomadic Mike is about as good as it gets (he has great tips for cheap airfare as well). Cheap hotels depend completely on where you're willing to say and what class you're comfortable staying at. I use Priceline a lot. When there's a specific hotel I want to stay at, I've saved money with Trivago. Surprisingly, I sometimes find huge savings by using my AAA card (and, as a bonus, all AAA rates seem to let you cancel them, unlike Priceline and other bidding sites which are non-refundable). My general advice for saving money is BE FLEXIBLE! Some times are cheaper than others. Some destinations are cheaper than others. So long as you are flexible, you'll be best able to take advantage of deals you can find around the internet (signing up for fare alerts from FareCompare and Airfare Watchdog is a good start, but you should sign up for everything you can find!).
Where do you draw the line? I try very hard to draw the line when my actions will negatively impact others.
Where did you go to art school and what advice would you give sombody wanting to have a career in art? I didn't go to art school and an entirely self-taught. When it comes to advice, I honestly don't know what to offer. Now-a-days, getting started in a profitable art career seems more about who you know and what connections you have over anything else. That being said, crazy-talented people always seem to find a way to make a living at it. Problem is, most people who think they're crazy-talented (sadly) are not. This is not to say that you can't make a living doing what you love, it's just that in a day and age where clip-art makes everybody think they're an artist and there are sites offering $5 logos and such... well... it can be difficult. That being said... keep working at it. Get yourself out there. Let your work be seen. Don't be discouraged by negative feedback but instead use that feedback to better your craft.
Why are you still blogging? I have no idea. Except... a lot of "unique visitors" drop by every day which means people are still reading it, so there's that. My guess is that it's become habit. I just do it without really thinking about it. And then there's nostalgia. I've met a lot of amazing people through blogging, so ditching it isn't that easy.
And... time to try and get more sleep...
Posted on Sunday, August 9th, 2015
Bullets be bullets cuz the bullets be here... and because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Daily? And so Jon Stewart has hung it up at The Daily Show. He will be missed. A lot. In so many ways he was a voice of reason in a world of utter madness, and the fact that it came from a comedy network tells you exactly how big a joke the media has become in this country.
I am having a difficult time imagining my life without Jon Stewart and The Daily Show in it.
And yet... there are others...
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.
I'm all zenned out. Thank you for everything, Mr. Stewart.
See you in seven.
Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2015
JUST MAKE IT STAAAAHHHHHP!
I want out.
Posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
Sometimes people give you a helping hand.
Sometimes it's your turn to help them back.
Now isn't that the cutest thing you've seen all day?
Posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
The file restore from my cloud backup after my catastrophic drive failure is taking much, much long than I had anticipated... or hoped. I started the restore July 25th and they're telling me they're not even half-way done collecting the files.
Needless to say, this makes everything I do take far longer than it should.
Partly because I haven't yet received the afore-mentioned backup yet and have to request files to be downloaded from the cloud multiple times for each project I'm working on.
But mostly because those older file on local backup I DO have available are trapped on Apple's "Time Machine" technology.
I used to really love Apple's approach to backup but, now that I am forced to use it for something other than an occasional "oops" moment, it's just so horribly bad. The goofy "space vortex" interface is absolute shit for serious recovery. I finally abandoned it and started restoring directly from the Time Machine file bundle, but this has its problems as well. So many times I get an "ALIAS BROKEN" error and can't even get at the original file. Even worse, every time I get the error, the Finder snaps my search window closed... so instead of choosing an alternative file to restore, I have to start my search all over from the beginning. Like I said... bad.
So... once I get up and running again, Time Machine will be completely abandoned in favor of a more traiditional technology that actually... well, you know... works.
Posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Tomorrow I'm off to L.A. for a quick trip and I'm somehow grossly ill-prepared.
Maybe it's because I haven't been traveling much this year compared to the usual grind, but I just can't seem to get in the grove. Luckily my bags are still unpacked from my Maine trip two weeks ago or I'd be completely screwed. Swap out some clean underwear, fresh shirts, and a couple pairs of jeans... and... done!
Hopefully I still have toothpaste left in there somewhere.
Now I just need to work all through the night so I can get caught up enough to actually leave in the morning.
I wish I drank coffee.
Or maybe did cocaine.
Because I think 5-Hour Energy is losing its effectiveness on me. I really do.
Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2015
Next year I turn fifty and, let me tell you, there's nothing like travel to make me feel like the crotchety old fart I'm becoming.
The morning started off with my being told that Seattle is experiencing weather delays and the flight in could be delayed by an hour or more. Which would be fine if this were one of my typical four hour layovers at SeaTac but, just my luck, I have a 46-minute layover this time. But, eh... what can you do? If it happens, it happens and I'll figure something else out, right?
See... I'm also mellowing in my old age,
But then I started getting irritated because people are just so damn irritating.
The actual flight to L.A. was fine. I was completely absorbed by watching Mad Max: Fury Road again because... well... ZOMG WHAT AN AMAZING FILM... and didn't pay much attention to anything going on around me.
After landing it was another story.
There I was getting my suitcase down from the overhead when I get bumped into by a small boy. He's irritated and squirmy because he has to go to the bathroom. I let the mother know that they will probably let him use the bathrooms if she wants, because we're at the back of the plane and it may take a while for people ahead of us to clear out. She thanks me, but says he's already gone to the bathroom several times and he's just using it as an excuse. I then goof around with the kid for a bit to try and take his mind of things, but it doesn't last long and he's back to squirming in no time. His mother tries her best to keep him in line and everything, but the guy is a handful.
Then it happens.
Some crusty older bitch in her hipster black turtleneck sees that the mother has tattoos and crazy colored hair and piercings and instantly comes to the conclusion that this surely must be a bad mother, and SHE knows better how to raise children than the mother does. And she tells the mother this.
Which infuriates me. It's not like the mother is letting the kid go apeshit all over the place like most parents do now-a-days... she's trying her level best to keep him in line. So I cut the bitch a glance and say "Give me a break... he's a kid!" Which should have been the end of it.
But of course it wasn't.
The self-entitled parenting expert of the year keeps at it. Telling the young mother everything she's doing wrong.
I was about to say something again when all of a sudden... the mother lets her have it.
"ARE YOU HIS MOTHER? DID I ASK FOR YOUR ADVICE? WHY DON'T YOU JUST SHUT YOUR MOUTH!"
Surely that would be the end of it, right?
The hipster Anne-Rice-Wannabe bitch proceeds to tell the mother that she had to sit in front of her and her kid the entire flight and it was horrible and maybe the mother should drive next time.
The mother loses it.
SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH! NOBODY ASKED YOU, SO JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!
And good for her. Probably wouldn't have cursed in front of the kid like that but, seriously, good for her.
As we're leaving, I feel the need to tell the mother that it's not her who should be driving... it's people who can't deal with being in public and are serious assholes about it. I hope it makes her feel better about the situation.
Sure I may like to talk about how people should be raising their kids... but never in a million years would I presume to actually tell a mother she's raising her kid wrong. Especially a mother who was trying to discipline her child and making them behave. What the fuck is that about?
And then I got to the car rental counter.
I can only guess the man causing a scene there was related to the asshole on the plane, because he sure acted like it. Apparently the car he wanted wasn't available, so he was just going off on the poor guys at the counter who were doing everything they could to placate the piece of shit. Like they have control over somebody not returning a vehicle on time or whatever. The asshole kept hammering away with "I'M A VERY GOOD CUSTOMER!" and "I'M GOING TO TAKE MY BUSINESS ELSEWHERE!" and "I'M NOT SPENDING MONEY WITH THIS COMPANY AGAIN!" and "AUF WIEDERSEHEN! GOOD BYE! GOOD RIDDANCE!" and "YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT!" and "I'M NOT WALKING ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE PARKING GARAGE! YOU NEED TO BRING THE CAR TO ME!"
As I stood over at the next counter filling out my paperwork I just couldn't take it any more and started screaming "WAH! WAH! WAAAAAAAH! THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT ME?! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! MEEEEEE!!!" Then I looked over at the dickhead, inviting him to take on somebody who didn't have to put up with his bullshit.
But of course it never came. Assholes like this are almost always complete cowards when they have to fight against somebody who can fight back.
The prick finally signed off with "This is supposed to be customer service? I've never been so disgusted!" Which is when I had to point out to the guy helping me that I save my disgust for things like extreme poverty and world hunger.
Look, I get it. I have blogged many times about how shitty it is to not get the car you reserved. It sucks. It's wrong. It shouldn't happen. It's upsetting. But to take it out on some poor guy who is trying their best to help you? I'm just not that big a dick.
Well, I am... but I save my big dickish behavior for those who deserve it.
Even though I would probably be better off not getting involved at all.
Except I just can't help myself, can I? I am well on my way to becoming a crotchety old fart and seriously don't give a shit anymore.
If I ever did.
And then there was traffic hell on the 405 to deal with...
Welcome to the City of Angels.
Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2015
Los Angeles is a city of extremes to me. I both love and hate it, all the while acknowledging that there's nowhere on earth even remotely like it... even though I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Which means it's probably a little of both.
Every time I come back, I try to focus on the many, many positive experiences I've had here... but the soul-crushing negatives are always in the back of my head. For that reason, I can never just come to L.A. for relaxation and having fun. There's too many things haunting me to make that possible. But I do always manage to enjoy myself... assuming I don't think about the insane amount of time I spend in traffic too much.
Which would be easy if it weren't for all the time I spend in traffic.
Posted on Sunday, August 16th, 2015
Time for a very special Los Angeles bullets edition... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Getty. If forced to pick my favorite place in Los Angeles, it would probably be Disneyland. Outside of Disneyland the contenders get murky and I'm not entirely sure what my next pick would be. But The Getty Center would be near the top of the list. It's a gorgeous location above L.A. that's populated with beautiful galleries that are filled with amazing art. And it's all free for the viewing (though parking is $15, if you're driving up)...
• Frog. If you look closely in the first photo above, a work called "Boy with Frog" (by Charles Ray) is near the top of the steps...
This surprised me, because a version is also at the tip of the Punta della Dogana in Venice, Italy...
Not sure what that's all about, but it was kinda cool.
• Art! As a huge Monet fan, I usually thrill to see new works... but those at The Getty are versions of a theme that I've already seen many times. Still great though...
The most popular painting at the museum is a nice irises pieces by Van Gogh...
Probably my favorite piece is one that has Baby Jesus loving GOLD, but... SUSPICIOUSLY...
And, of course, RICK JAMES, BITCH...
• Rude! Los Angeles is a weird city where lots of weird stuff happens. Like the public hanging of a Teddy Bear...
In all seriousness, WTF is wrong with people?!?
• Traffic? Something I had not seen on the most excellent navigation app, Waze, before is a traffic jam gauge. It tells you how long the current jam will last...
Interestingly enough, it was pretty darn accurate! Sweet! Modern technology at work.
• Traffic! You see the oddest things in L.A. traffic (my favorite being DOMO-KUN!), and today did not disappoint. The first thing I noticed was an abundance of handyman vans that seem to be in competition for most interesting paint job. Two I managed to photograph...
Rock n' Roll indeed... he had the heads of dozens of rock legends painted on the sides!
Truly... Stitt does happen!
Though L.A. traffic was best represented by somebody proclaiming their love of traffic...
So long leisure bullets... tomorrow it's time to get to work.
Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2015
Originally I had two business meet-ups and a dinner meeting peppered throughout my trip to Los Angeles... plus a birthday party (happy 95th, grandpa!). After landing I ended up with another meeting, which meant I'd be working every day I'm in the city. This was a major bummer, so I arranged to push all my work to Monday (today!) so I could enjoy time with family and friends over the weekend.
Which was a fantastic idea.
Until I woke up this morning and realized I would be dragging my ass from one end of L.A. to the other. Which pretty much means an entire day stuck in traffic between meetings.
But there were bright spots along the way.
I had time to stop at Pink's for a Patt Morrison Baja Vegan Dog, one of my favorite things...
After an unexpected side-quest back to my hotel, I was off to Anaheim for one last meeting and a business dinner.
It was at my final meeting that something amazing happened.
We were discussing our impending dinner when somebody said "I'm surprised we're not going to eat at Earl of Sandwich since Dave's in town." I laughed and then broke the news that I don't eat at Earl of Sandwich anymore because they discontinued their veggie sandwich. A colleague then piped up with "Really? I just had one at Disneyland a couple weeks ago."
Uhhhh... come again?
So I look at their online menu and, sure enough, their veggie sandwich is listed. Thinking it surely has to be an outdated menu, I am nevertheless intrigued. This is my favorite sandwich on earth. For years I obsessed over Earl or Sandwich and moved heaven and earth to eat at their restaurants.
With no choice in the matter, I hop in my car and rush to Downtown Disney so I can check it out. As I walk up to the restaurant, I'm starting to hyperventilate...
Sure enough, their veggie sandwich IS back...
And it is just a glorious as it ever was.
So, even though it spoiled my dinner, a tremendous THANK YOU to Earl of Sandwich for bringing back one of my most favorite things to eat. Amazing. Delicious.
Since I was at Downtown Disney, I decided to use a Disney Dream Dollars gift card that's about to expire. I ended up getting a Disney 60th Anniversary pin and lithograph, which is pretty cool. Also cool? Now that Disney owns Star Wars, they are doing a super-sweet job of integrating their new property into the Disney parks...
BWAH HA HA HA!
The dinner meeting was short & sweet, and I was on my way back to my hotel at 7:00... arriving by 7:30... in bed at 8:00. Not a bad end to a pretty great day... especially food-wise.
Posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
And, just like that, my L.A. adventure is over. The flights back were relatively uneventful, so I guess I don't have any complaints.
Well... I do, of course... just not about this trip. So I guess I'll just be sitting here minding my own business...
This is my cat, Red. He does this often & I'm glad I was able to video him in action.Posted by Amy Audia Risi on Sunday, August 9, 2015
Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2015
Jared Fogle, the Subway Sandwich Whore... whom I loathe, but tried to treat fairly when he was dragged to the police station for questions regarding child pornography (because, hey, innocent until proven guilty, right?) is, in fact, apparently going to plead guilty to not only possession of child pornography... but also of having sex with at least fourteen underage kids... THE SICK FUCK! What a piece of garbage. He used his millions in sandwich money to prey on innocent children... and continued to do so even after his best friend got caught producing kiddie porn for him? As much as I loathed him before, he has managed to sink even lower. Holy crap what a repugnant asshole. Fuck Jared for making me watch his idiotic commercials and listen to his pathetic lies all these years. Hope you like the sandwiches in prison, you disgusting pig.
Josh Duggar, the "Family Values" Douchebag... whom I loathe, but tried to treat fairly when he was crucified for having sexually molested five girls (including four of his sisters) as a teenager (because, hey, growing up in that dysfunctional shit-hole of a family was bound to screw him up, right?) is, in fact, not only a teen pedophile... but also an allegedly unfaithful husband who has been outed as a "Life is Short, Have an Affair" Ashley Madison member. That's right, all the while he was dictating morals to people on how they should live their lives... he was apparently living his life contrary to his own standards. Like the fucking pathetic hypocritical piece of shit he is. As much as I loathed him before, he has managed to sink even lower. Holy crap what a repugnant asshole. Fuck Josh Duggar for making me even be aware of his parents' idiotic clown car vagina reality show all these years. From the depths of your very own belief system, hope you enjoy rotting in hell, you disgusting pig.
George Zimmerman, the psychotic asshole that stalked and killed a kid for being Black "in the wrong neighborhood"... whom I loathe, but tried to treat fairly... as in "they-should-have-hanged-the-fucking-murdering-asshole-fairly" because HE WAS CLEARLY LYING AND GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY is, in fact...
Donald Trump, the misogynistic pile of shit (and hairspray)... whom I loathe, but tried to...
Pat Robertson, the bigoted...
I give up. I just give up. If I were to write up all the assholes, idiots, and clowns that are pissing me off today, I'd be here all week. Holy crap are there a lot of repugnant pieces of shit in my newsfeed lately. Some days I think I'd be much better off with my head stuck in the sand.
Knowing what's going on in the world isn't good for your sanity. Not anymore.
Posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2015
As anybody who has been reading Blogography for any length of time already knows, I am addicted to LEGO video games. It started with LEGO Star Wars, forged ahead into the massive triumph that was LEGO Batman, then wandered into amazing places with LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, LEGO Harry Potter, LEGO Lord of the Rungs, plus many more. And I've purchased every game that's been published.
Until the game came along I couldn't purchase... LEGO City Undercover...
The reason I couldn't buy it? The game was exclusive to the Nintendo Wii U gaming system, which I did not own. The closest I could get was the "prequel" to the game which was released for the Nintendo 3DS (and was awesome)...
While I owned a Wii and liked it quite a lot, the Wii U didn't seem to offer much additional that I considered investing in the system. So I bemoaned the fact that LEGO City Undercover would be the first LEGO game I'd not be able to play, then moved on with my life.
Fast forward a couple months... and, while visiting friends in Pittsburgh, I got to play with the Wii U up-close-and-personal. Much to my surprise, I found out I had grossly underestimated it. The system built upon the Wii with some intriguing upgrades in game play (and in graphics, which finally caught up to the competition with HD quality)...
After playing the majesty that is LEGO City Undercover for fifteen minutes, I knew I had to have it.
So when I got home, I called up a buddy that could hook me up with a Wii U and ordered LEGO City Undercover. They both arrived the following week... when I promptly stuffed them in a closet and forgot about them. Turns out I don't have much time for playing video games.
That was over two years ago.
Then LEGO Dimensions... which looks like it may very well be the greatest video game in the history of video games... became available for pre-order...
Of course I must have it.
But which system should I order it for? It's available for almost all of them.
Ultimately I decided to pre-order the Wii U version so that it would encourage me to get my console out and get some use out of it.
And so today was the day.
But I'll get to that... tomorrow.
Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2015
Yesterday I mentioned how I've had a Nintendo Wii U sitting in my closet for over two years. Last night I pre-ordered all the LEGO Dimensions sets for it, which seemed incentive enough for me to finally unbox my Wii U and get it hooked up.
And so I did. And I've been goofing around with it ever since.
When compared to the PS4 and the XBOX One, the Wii U comes up short. The processing power... the graphics... all the specs, really... everything is a step down. A noticeable step down. But that's par for the course for Nintendo, who has always put the gaming experience above specs... doing far more than the competition with less. Even so, while you're never going to mistake a PS4 game for the Wii U equivalent, that's not saying Nintendo's graphics are ugly or the games are slow and dated... far from it. Everything I've looked at has been beautiful and fluid on the Wii U. Nintendo's programmers are absolutely getting the most out of what they have to work with.
So... if the Wii U can't compete with modern gaming consoles on specs, what does the hardware offer that's worth investing in?
Just like the Wii before it, the Wii U breaks some new ground in gameplay with its controllers. This time with their "Game Pad," which is a massive tablet-esque controller with standard game controls around the edges...
At approximately 5.25 x 1 x 10.25 inches, it's even bigger than I remember it being.
And yet... not entirely uncomfortable for me to hold (don't know about kids). Its lightweight, the buttons and sticks are well-placed, and the on-board touch-screen actually seems useful. The only big negatives are A) poor battery life is 3 hours max, and B) the screen is fairly low-resolution. After becoming accustomed to the Retina Display on my iPhone and iPad, it's almost painful to look at. Otherwise, pretty cool... assuming the game you're playing takes advantage of it.
Which it can in two ways. The first is that it can display supplemental information or additional controls past what you see on screen. The second is that most games actually let you transfer the display from your television to the Game Pad so you can play games while somebody else watches the television. This is nice... but only half as cool as it could be when you realize you have to stay in the same room and fairly close to the console in order for the Game Pad to maintain its connection. Bummer. I want to Wii U from bed.
The weird thing about the Game Pad is that you can't connect more than one to the system. Players 2-5 have to use Wii wand controllers or Wii nunchuck controllers or Wii U Pro Controllers (none of which are included). I guess I get it... streaming live video takes processing power and the console doesn't have a lot to spare, but still... I can't believe that you can't connect at least two Game Pads to a Wii U so that you can go head-to-head with somebody using the same controls.
Oh... one last word on the Game Pad... you can use it to control your television. Namely, use it to turn the thing off and on plus select the video source, meaning you don't have to go scrambling for the TV remote to play. Nice.
The system I got was the "pro" version that comes with a pathetic 32GB of storage... only 25GB of which is available. Which means I am almost out of space and all I have is two games and a demo onboard. I have no clue how those with the "non-pro" 8GB version manage at all. The solution is to purchase an external USB hard disk or thumb drive or something. There's an SD card slot, but that seems to be exclusively for backwards compatibility with Wii games, as I've found no way to access it from the Wii U side.
When it comes to actually navigating the system, I find it surprisingly similar to the Nintendo 3DS. You can run one application/game at a time, and that application/game goes into suspension so you can access system controls mid-game. It's not as elegant as the XBOX One and PS4 menuing system, but it's perfectly serviceable. About the only negative I've found so far? No universal in-game chat system, which is a pretty big oversight in modern gaming. For multiplayer online games, you just have to hope that the game has its own chat system built-in or else there will be no in-game chat for you.
I'm just going to get this out of the way... NINTENDO-DEVELOPED WII U GAMES DO NOT COME WITH INSTRUCTION BOOKLETS! Not even a single-page pamphlet to give you an overview of the controls! Nope, everything is done with the online help system, which works okay, but is pretty lame. Nothing like having to pause the game so you can look up something that should have been shared on a hardcopy.
Obviously I haven't had a chance to play with a lot of games yet, but here's a quick sampling of what I've been up to so far...
LEGO City Undercover... The game that made me purchase the Nintendo Wii U in the first place, this is one of the best LEGO minifig games to date. As police officer Chase McCain, you scour LEGO City for criminals using brilliant disguises that endow you with new abilities. In many ways, this is the LEGO version of Grand Theft Auto but in reverse. I absolutely love it, of course... despite some agonizingly long load times and no ability for multi-player (which is kind of a staple with these games). The sandbox you're in seems vast and affords a lot of freedom, but is ultimately part of a fairly linear gaming experience. Since the Wii U seems to be picking up steam, I'm hopeful we may get a sequel one day. I've barely begun playing, but already know I'm going to be wanting more.
Super Mario 3D World... As with all Nintendo gaming systems, I figure that the biggest development effort is always going to go into their signature Mario title, so I always buy it and have never been disappointed. Like Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario Galaxy before it, the title is exceptionally imaginative and fun to play. In the few hours I've been playing it, I've seen all kinds of cool things... including Mario putting on a cat outfit so he has cat powers to play with. Epic.
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham... I had already started this game on XBOX 360, but it was so cheap I decided to grab it for Wii U so I can have a consistent experience when LEGO Dimensions arrives in September. So far, it feels exactly the same. I think the XBOX 360 controller is a bit better for this title than Nintendo's Game Pad, but I'm not having any trouble. The game itself is amazing... though it doesn't reach the heights that LEGO Batman 2 did... feeling more confined and less open despite taking place on multiple planets in space. Still... LEGO Batman. UPDATE: Went to purchase some of the cool downloadable content for this game only to find out it isn't available for the Wii U... WTF Warner Interactive? Guess I go back to the XBOX 360.
Bayonetta 2... I bought this game for the specific purpose of seeing what a non-cutesy Nintendo and non-cutesy LEGO game would be like on the Wii U, and this one was the highest rated I could find. And for very good reason... it's utterly amazing. Far from being over-hyped, you just can't believe how beautiful, fluid, and fun it is to play. I had a really tough time putting it down long enough to write this blog entry. Basically, you play a witch with lethal fighting abilities... plus guns. She's kind of like Neo from The Matrix in that she can slow time and gain a distinct advantage over her enemies. As this is a Nintendo Wii U exclusive title, it's almost worth buying the system just to play it. Yes... it's that good.
I have to say... if these four titles are indicative of the quality that goes into Wii U titles, it's very easy to see how the system is one to be reckoned with. No, the visuals are not as tight as what you'll find on XBOX One or PS4, but Wii U excels in entertainment value, which is all that really matter, isn't it?
And that's the Wii U as I know it right now.
Kind of regretting that I waited two years to discover it.
Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2015
What a repugnant piece of shit.
The more that comes to light about Subway Sandwich Whore and world-class pedophile Jared Fogle, the more I think he needs to have his dick cut off then be shot in the fucking head. I mean, seriously... just listen to this heinous crap.
If there's any justice, he'll die in prison.
Could not find a credit for this creepy-ass photo.
Posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
Don't touch that back button... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Fighter. Before we get started... a huge thank you to the firefighters battling the very serious wildfires that have been plaguing us here in Central Washington State. The most serious being the Okanogan Complex fire, which is now the largest ever in state history (maps courtesy of the NIFC)...
Most of the smoke plaguing the valley where I live is from the Chelan fire, which is threatening a lot of people...
Three firefighters have already lost their lives. Hopefully these horrific fires will be contained before more lives are lost.
• Catastrophe! If you have Amazon Prime and don't mind a little adult-oriented humor, Catastrophe had me laughing all six episodes. When an American working in London accidentally gets an Irish woman pregnant, both their lives are turned up-side down...
The show's page is right here on Amazon.
• Naptime! Could the solution really be this easy?
Damn. Banned in Washington State!
It seems to get me great results with little hassle. I don't know that it can completely replace Noiseware, but I'm sure glad to have it in my Photoshop toolbox. Here's an old photo of me, BEFORE and AFTER at 200%...
Yeah, it looks a little soft... but at 100% it's actually useable. Here's another...
Night shots don't fare quite as well as photos that have enough light... you get some clumping in solid areas... but still, pretty nice work for a one-click fix.
HELPFUL HINT: If you want to save 20% on Noiseless Pro, just put the app in your cart then abandon it. Eventually you'll get an email with a 20% off code. I got one... AFTER PURCHASING THE PROGRAM... which is kind of shitty, but my loss is your gain.
• In-App. Looks like I'm not the only one pissed off by all these apps having stupid-ass "in-app purchases"... Apple has been running ads featuring games with NO in-app purchase...
I wish there was a way to turn off apps with in-app purchase so they don't even appear in the iTunes Store. I never download them.
• Freedom. If I ever have the opportunity to kick the ever-loving shit out of Donald Trump, please look at it NOT as a heinous act of violence, but as me making America great again.
And... it's too hot for more bullets. BS out!
Posted on Monday, August 24th, 2015
Just some random heads spotted while at an antique mall this past weekend.
SUPER CREEPY RANDOM MANNEQUIN HEADS!!!
AND A SUPER CREEPY CLOWN HEAD PHOTOBOMBING A BABY DOLL TOO!!!
And now you know what will be living in my head as I ty to sleep tonight...
Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
This was an awful day in so many ways.
I don't even want to talk about it. Instead, here's a picture of a happy lizard I took while in Australia...
I need a vacation.
Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
My day was consumed by work, as it has been since I returned from L.A. last week.
And yet... I still managed to get the August edition of Thrice Fiction out the door while it is still August. I'm pretty happy about that...
If you would like to get a FREE digital copy (and why wouldn't you?), just head over to our website and pick your poison... PDF or eBook. If you want to read from an actual physical copy with ink on paper, you can order up a printed copy from MagCloud for the ridiculously paltry sum of $9.80 (plus shipping).
As always, thanks to everybody for reading. RW and I continue to be grateful for how well Thrice has been received, and we couldn't keep doing what we're doing without your support.
In a day or so I'll take a look at the art that went into this terrific issue.
Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015
All eleventy thousand candidates letting you down?
Looking for a president you can believe in?
You know you want it.
Posted on Friday, August 28th, 2015
Today's your lucky day! There's a brand-spanking-new (and FREE!) issue of Thrice Fiction out today!
As usual, I'll be discussing the artwork that went into our latest issue. This may or may not include spoilers for the stories, so I urge you to please read it before proceeding.
All done? Then... here... we... go...
Putting together the artwork for a non-profit magazine which relies solely on the generosity of its contributors is both a thrilling and frightening prospect. On one hand, you get to work with some amazingly talented people at the top of their game who regularly blow you away with their creativity and their kindness. On the other hand, people working for free can be an unreliable resource. And who can blame them? If a paying gig comes along that's going to take care of your rent and put food on your table, you drop everything and take the job. If you have an opportunity to do something that will advance your career as an artist, you drop everything and do it. Heck, even if it's something frivolous and fun that comes your way when the alternative is slaving away on something you're not getting paid for? Yeah, go for it. I get it. Honestly I do. And I try not to be upset when it happens, because that's just the way free work goes.
This month I had the grand ambition of letting our stable of "regulars" have an issue off. It's a busy summer for everybody, I've gotten plenty of new submissions for artwork, and it seemed a nice thing to do.
Except when all four of your new artists end up not working out. Then it's just plain folly.
Luckily for me, begging and pleading to Thrice Fiction staples Kyra, Katelin, and Chad were met with offers of help, or you'd be reading this is October. The fact that they not only took time out of their busy schedule to step up and bail me out... but that they did so at the last possible moment with a ridiculously short deadline is what I'm talking about when I say "amazingly talented people at the top of their game who regularly blow you away with their creativity and their kindness." Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thanks so much for your dedication to Thrice Fiction, which would be something entirely different if not for you.
And now for a look at the art that went into the first half of Issue No. 14...
This installment's cover was dreamed up by yours truly. It came about as I was reading an article about the increasingly horrific consequences of all the "space junk" humans are leaving in orbit with breakfast one morning. Then, as I was driving to work, I saw that somebody had tossed a sack of McDonald's garbage on the road, and it occurred to me that it's only a matter of time before that stuff like this ends up in orbit as well. Yadda yadda yadda... heeeere's our cover! Originally I used a photo of that same McDonald's garbage (which I stopped and picked up) for the elements on the cover. But it wasn't blowing my socks off, so I decided to use a metal Coke can instead of the McPaper Cup since it reflects light better... and a previous photo of McDonald's fries that was more interesting than what I got. The background image is a photo I shot out of an airplane which has been layered with a starry night photo I took in Africa. All thirteen parts of the finished illustration were independently textured, shaded, then composited Photoshop.
It turned out rather good, if I do say so myself. If nothing else, it has terrific visual impact and a good sense of "What the heck?!?" which is what I like for our covers in the hopes that it makes people curious enough to download the magazine.
And now, for a look at the first half of the art included in this issue, read onward in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Saturday, August 29th, 2015
Welcome to PART TWO of a discussion about the art that's running in the latest issue of THRICE Fiction Magazine!
If you haven't read PART ONE yet, you should do that first.
And if you haven't downloaded a FREE copy of our August 2015 issue... then you should definitely do that first because, WARNING... SPOILERS MAY ENSUE!
After our last issue was released, I received a comment from a friend who said "I like how you do such a good job of including so many women writers and artists." This kind of took me by surprise, because this is not something that ever entered my head. When it comes to the artwork, the women in our pages are not here because they're women, they're here because they are amazingly talented artists who are kind enough donate their time and wonderful works. There was no conscious effort on my part to make this happen, it just kind of worked out this way. If you bring your A-game, show me terrific stuff, and know how to compliment a story with your art... I couldn't care less what restroom you use, what ethnicity box you check, who you love, what you believe, or where you're from. I mean, sure I'd care if you were into kicking puppies or something equally heinous. I wouldn't want to support a puppy-kicker. But if you have a respect for puppies and make me want to have your work in our magazine, I'll be ringing your doorbell. Actually, I wouldn't do that... that's kind of creepy. But I would send you an email asking if I can send you some stories to look over.
And I can't imagine that things would be any different on the editorial side of Thrice. What makes RW so good at his job is that he literally doesn't care about anything except what he's reading. He made this quite clear in our submission guidelines when he says "Cover letters are a matter of complete indifference to us. So is your bio. We don’t care who you are or what you’ve done or where you have been published. We're happy to just let the work speak for itself." And those are not just empty words... that encapsulates everything Thrice Fiction is about.
And now that that's out of the way... if you think you've got what it takes to appear in our pages... we want to hear from you!
No matter who you are.
And now... back to Issue No. 14, already in progress...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Sunday, August 30th, 2015
Don't play with matches... because a smokey edition Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Horror! I was very sad to learn that famed "Horror Maestro," Wes Craven, passed away. While he was most famous for his Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream series of films, I'll forever think of him as the director of Vampire in Brooklyn. This "so bad it's good" movie was supposed to be a comedy-horror film, but came up a bit short in both departments. Even so, I've watched it a half-dozen times because my love of all things Eddie Murphy has no shame. Well, that... and ANGELA BASSETT...
Rest in peace sir. Yours is a legacy that shall haunt the night for a very long time.
• Denali. At long last, North America's tallest mountain, Denali, has its name back. I'm sure President McKinley of Ohio was a great guy and everything, but it's categorically stupid that an entire mountain which he never visited and had nothing to do with him or his legacy could be renamed without permission from the native people living there. This goes for a lot of lands and landmarks around the world similarly appropriated, so it's kind of nice to see the right thing happen every once in a while. Despite objections, of course. As noted in Wikipedia: Ohio Congressman Mike Turner vowed to fight the change, commenting that "I’m certain [Obama] didn’t notify President McKinley’s descendants, who find this outrageous." Which, so far as statements go, is even more outrageous given that McKinley's two daughters died as children, thus leaving McKinley with no descendants to notify. Just another piece of shit lying politician trying to manipulate people with bullshit. What a fucking surprise.
• NEVER GIVE UP!. I cannot decide if this is good news or bad news.
• BETTY! This, on the other hand, is great news. Even if I'll have to watch the horrendously shitty show Bones to see it happen.
• Soap. Nurse Kathy is high again!
• Hypocrisy. For the handful of county clerks saying "I'D RATHER DIE THAN ISSUE A MARRIAGE LICENSE FOR GAY COUPLES"... you're not the heroes you think you are. You regularly grant licenses for divorced couples, atheist couples, and a myriad of other couples who are getting married against "Biblical principal," so you are, in fact, just a bunch of pathetic hypocrites and certified assholes refusing to do the work your job requires. If marriage equality is SO offensive that you can't bring yourself to do what you're paid to do... then quit and find something that won't go against your hypocrisy.
Or just fuck off and kill yourself so you can be the martyr you profess to be. Except I think we all know that, in reality, it's more likely you're just being an attention-whore drama queen whose words are as hollow as your true convictions. Or whatever. I dunno. Feel free to prove me wrong.
Whichever. Totally up to you. Just so long as I don't have to see your "religious liberty" bullshit hypocrisy being applied to a government job that's supposed to be independent of your faith. Something you knew when you signed up.
And... I can't see to post any more bullets because the air has gotten too smokey.
Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015
I've loathed Jared Fogle long before he was arrested for being a piece of shit pedophile and child rapist. It had nothing to do with him personally... just his idiotic Subway commercials where he'd whore out whatever exaggerations and lies he was paid to tell. You can't compare a Subway sandwich with no mayo, no cheese, and no flavor to a Big Mac and be taken seriously, yet this moron did crap like that all the time.
Of course, now that he's been exposed as a piece of shit pedophile and child rapist, my loathing for him has understandably increased. And this time it is personal. It's no secret that I think monsters like Jared Fogle need to have their dick cut off then be shot in the head. Not just because they've utterly destroyed the lives of the children they've abused... but because they've contributed to The Sad State of Modern Times, making it so that absolutely everybody has to be treated as if they were a potential child rapist. The consequences of not being suitably cautious are just too horrific to live otherwise.
And I fucking HATE The Sad State of Modern Times we live in.
About the only thing that makes it bearable is the unrelenting ridicule that these disgusting assholes get dragged through. Which is why Chris Hardwick's speech on @midnight a while back is so inspiring...