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Bullet Sunday 262

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Dave!Happiest of New Years to you!

And I'm starting it out with Bullets on the very first day? It's almost too good to be true!

   
• Resolute! My New Year's Resolutions are the same every year. I passed 2011's with flying colors...

  • Try a Pop-Tart flavor I've never had before. DONE! I've now tried "Confetti Cake" and "Wild Berry Bloom" flavors!
  • Travel somewhere I've never been before. DONE! I visited Málaga and Marbella in Spain. A bunch of places in Australia. And Fiji.
  • Visit a Hard Rock Cafe I haven't seen before. DONE! Visited the new cafe in Venice, Italy; Honolulu, Hawaii; Marbella, Spain; Sydney, Australia; Gold Coast, Australia; and Fiji.
  • Drink a beer I've never drank before. DONE! This is an easy one, because I try lots of new beers each year. My favorite so far? The beer coming from Odin Brewing Co. in Seattle. It's not the best I've ever had, but it's good and it's different. Their "Freya's Gold" is a "Kolsch Style Ale" I can live with, which has not been true for every other one I've tasted outside of Cologne.
  • Get another Apple product. DONE! iPad2. Sure it was for work, but it still counts!

   
And what am I looking forward to this year?

   
• Travel! Where am I going in 2012? I have no idea. But I've got some ideas rattling around in my head that I'm excited about.

Avengers Movie Promo

   
• Movies! In a list of things I'm looking forward to in 2012, the awesome number of cool new movies coming up is near the top. We've got the Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation with John Carter, Bitchin' Joss Whedon super-hero fare with The Avengers, Brilliant zombie apocalypse book adaptation of World War Z, New QUENTIN FRICKIN' TARANTINO with Django Unchained, The latest James Bond flick Skyfall, The final Christoper Nolan Batman movie The Dark Knight, Peter Jackson LOTR Middle Earth followup The Hobbit, the Ridley Scott "Alien" prequel Prometheus, and loads more. Good stuff, Maynard.

   
• Music! It ain't going to be a bad year for the music I like either. Macintosh Braun, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Matt & Kim, and OMD are all reported to be working on new albums in 2012... just to name a few.

   
• Fiction! I am really looking forward to putting out three more issues of Thrice Fiction Magazinethis year. To go a step further, I am really looking forward to developing a Thrice Fiction iPad app. The details are ever-changing and murky, but it's something I really want to happen in 2012.

   
• Comics! Now that I've managed to build shelving for my collection and get everything organized, I'm looking forward to buying all my comic books digitally. I just don't have room for any more printed books (much as I love them), and the value of any new stuff can't hold when everything new is available online at any time (presumably) forever. I am slowly getting used to reading comics on my iPad. It's not been difficult given all the great digital sales they keep having over at Comixology.

   
• Apple! And, of course, there's whatever Cupertino has up their sleeves this year. iPhone5? iPad3? New MacBook Airs in MacBook Pro sizes? Whatever ends up being released, this is one Mac Whore who can't wait to find out.

   
Here's hoping 2012 is at least a little better to me than 2011. With so much to look forward to, I certainly hope so.

   

Bullet Sunday 263

Posted on Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday in the middle of Winter... except the sunny days and complete lack of snow makes if feel a lot more like Spring. I'm seriously starting to wonder if we're ever going to get a winter. Hope everybody in the Valley is fond of water shortages come Summer.

   
• Doodle! The "Google Doodles" are always interesting, but the Charles Addams birthday doodle from yesterday hit it out of the park...

Google Adaams Doodle

The original cartoons were genius. Still are. And this was the perfect tribute. If your only experience with The Addams Family is the old television show and the Barry Sonnenfeld movies, then you owe it to yourself to check out the original cartoon collections. Not only are they funny as hell, but the artwork is absolutely beautiful. Even the most simple drawings have lush details and textures...

Uncle Fester!

Besides, who doesn't love Uncle Fester?

   
• Taco! As the Doritos flavors keep getting more and more "extreme" I find myself liking them less and less. Nacho Cheese Doritos are so caked with cheese powder that you can barely taste the corn anymore. Which is why I'm such a big fan of the "retro" re-release of the original-flavor 1960's Taco Doritos. I thought they were going to be a temporary thing, but they keep showing up at the grocery store...

Taco Doritos!

The flavor is nicely "taco-like" but not at all overwhelming. You can still taste the corn chip. They also make an incredible topper to a veggie taco salad. I have my fingers crossed that they continue to be popular so Frito-Lay will keep making them.

   
• Ojo! I've worn glasses for what seems like forever... but it's the "vitreous floaters" that are the real problem with my eyes. For those lucky enough not to know what "vitreous floaters" are, they're tiny particles floating around in the goo that's in the middle of your eyeball. They cast shadows on your retina which makes little blurry spots that move around your field of vision. Most of the time I don't notice them. But, as I get older, more and more of them are forming. This makes them more noticeable more often.

Every once in a while, I do an internet search to see if there's any new technology for dealing with the problem. Maybe they've found a laser than can vaporize the floaters. Or maybe there's a new medicine that can disintegrate them. But, alas, no. The only solution seems to be to suck the goo out of the middle of my eye and completely replace it with saline water. It sounds horrific. And dangerous. And I'm not nearly desperate enough to let somebody suck goo out of my eyeball. At least not yet.

But now the reality is setting in that one day I may actually be that desperate.

Holy crap.

   
• Firm! I'm a fan of nearly all the early John Grisham books. They're not deep by any means, but they are darn good entertainment. The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Runaway Jury... all good fun. But it's The Firm (the first Grisham book I read) that I like the best. It was a really good story that had some genuine suspense built-in. Sure the Tom Cruise movie fucked all that up, but I still always wondered what happened to the characters in the book. Instead of that, I got this...

The Firm Cast

NBC Television has a new series called The Firm which picks up ten years after the FILM ended (not the book). And, despite starring the talented Josh Lucas, it's kind of a mess in the way it bounces around. Mitch McDeere is no longer on the run... he's just a lawyer with a sketchy past doing regular lawyer stuff (like most every other lawyer show on TV). In other words The Firm has become boring and unoriginal. Sure there's hints that things are going to ramp up, but in a totally redundant way. Mitch is involved with yet another evil law firm! Not enough of a retread? Oh yeah... here comes the mob. Again. What the hell? Oh well. It's not like I had time to fit a new show in my television-watching schedule anyway.

   
• Debate! The Republican Debate last night was... interesting. You get the sense that the candidates reeeeeally don't like each other. At all. Indeed the only thing they seem to hate more than each other is President Obama. I guess this is understandable, but they blow it way out of proportion. I'm not Obama's biggest fan by a longshot, but the level of blame they lay at his doorstep is categorically absurd. In many respects, President Obama is practically a Republican, so it's kind of senseless too. But I guess they gotta play to their voter base however they can, and demonizing Obama is a quick and easy way to do that.

The debate itself was pretty lame... but also a bit enlightening. Mitt Romney comes across as a huge dick when he fails at being clever, which is often. Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum bounces between being a disgruntled idiot and a whiny baby. Newt Gingrich is just plain bitter all the time. Rick Perry is just fucking stupid. Ron Paul is entertaining, but not always in a good way.

And then there's Jon Huntsman. The only current Republican candidate I can even fathom voting for. He's got Conservative sensibilities. He's got loads of experience in the international arena. He's personable and inspiring. He's smart, quick on his feet, and not overly-reactionary. In short... I honestly believe that he's the only GOP candidate that could move independent voters in a race against Obama. And yet... his own party seems to hate him. Probably because he's not Conservative to crazy enough extremes. It's a real shame too, because nobody else on that stage is going to woo the much-needed middle ground. If things keep going like they are, I guess we're getting four more years of ObamaNation.

   
Annnnd... I'm spent. Sometimes bullets can really take it out of a guy.

   

Bullet Sunday 264

Posted on Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday and I'm so happy I could crap my pants!

   
• That Dog Won't Hunt! So Jon Huntsman, the only Republican candidate that I might have voted for, is dropping out of the race. And since the remaining candidates will be hard pressed to sway independent voters to their respective agendas, I guess that we're in for four more years of President Obama. Unless he punches Betty White in the face while wiping his ass with the American flag during a televised White House press conference or something.

Now, if you will excuse me, I shall now go and mourn the loss of what could have been our three First Daughters...

Jon Huntsman's Unbelievably Hot Daughters!

Sadly, Mitt Romney has no hot daughters (that he knows of, I'm sure). Though I'm starting to wonder if he'll even be a factor now that Stephen Colbert has entered the race in South Carolina and these wicked attack ads are airing...

Genius. And it's funny because it's true!

   
• It's a Fucking Frog! Just when I think that it's impossible for nature to shock me more than it already has... along comes The World's Tiniest Frog...

Tiny, tiny, impossibly tiny frog on a dime.
Photograph by Christopher Austin, Louisiana State University

How?

How in the hell is this even possible? That's a DIME! And that's an actual frog sitting on top... not even half the size of the coin. How does its lungs function when they must barely be the size of the air molecules they breathe in? Unbelievable. And cute. Lookat da iddybitty froggy!

   
• ZOMFG it's Music! After one of my favorite bands, The Shins, kind of imploded... I worried that we'd never hear from them again. Shins mastermind James Mercer appeared to move on to a new collaboration called Broken Bells with DJ Danger Mouse, so I figured that was the end of it. But lo and behold this last week I got an iTunes pre-sale notice for a new band line-up and a new album called Port of Morrow...

Port Of Morrow Album Art

My expectations are high. Fortunately, the preview track Simple Song didn't disappoint. Can't wait until I get to hear the rest of the album in March. You can pre-order your own copy at the iTunes Music Store here.

   
• Eggxactly Right! Because groceries are so stupid-expensive, I find myself buying foodstuffs not because I necessarily want them, but because they're on sale for cheap. Most of the time, this comes back to bite me in the ass, but every once in a while I stumble across something so delicious that I wonder how I ever survived without it. Such was the case with Crystal Farms' "Three Cheese Chef's Omlet" from the freezer case...

Dave Approved Chef's Omlet

Holy cow. It's the perfect omelet. Light, fluffy, and loaded with quality, flavorful cheese... from a frickin' microwave! When served on buttered toast with a little ground pepper... it's a quick and easy breakfast that's so good. Which means that it's probably being discontinued and the reason it was on sale was because they were clearing out their inventory. Crap.

   
• Well I'll Be! And so Washington State is dangerously close to passing Marriage Equality legislation. Color me pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that "The Coast" is decidedly liberal... the view from Redneckistan here on the other side of the mountains is often cloudy when it comes to gay marriage. Oh I'm sure there are many people here who have no problem with everybody getting their fair shot at happiness (as promised when our country was founded). And there's undoubtedly a growing number of people here who are tired of their gay friends and family being relegated to second class citizens. And it's certain that more and more heterosexual couples are realizing that same-sex marriage has -zero- effect on their marriage. And it seems many Conservatives are finally figuring out the smaller government includes getting politics out of bedrooms and keeping religion out of politics.

So maybe.

It just comes down to whether enough politicians will do the right thing and move forward in a way that an increasing majority of Americans want to have happen. Here's hoping.

   
And now I have to get back to work. And Dune, which is playing as background noise here in my living room. THE SPICE MUST FLOW!

   

Bullet Sunday 265

Posted on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Dave!THE SNOWPOCALYPSE IS UPON US! SNOWMAGEDDON IS HERE! Grab that special someone and bundle up tight, because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Depp! People can say what they like, but nobody in cinema amazes me like Johnny Depp. The guy is absolutely talented... absolutely fearless... and absolutely brilliant. He can disappear into a role unlike anybody else, and owns any character he takes on. And this time it's yet another Tim Burton collaboration where he will be playing Barnabas Collins in the movie adaptation of Dark Shadows. This one image that's been released is enough to make me want to see this movie...

Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows

Just like it only took one image for me to want to see these movies...

Johnny Depp Brilliance

I'll be the first to admit that not every film Johnny Depp signs onto ends up being great. But his performances are always interesting. It's hard to ask for anything more than that, so I'm always looking forward to his next performance.

   
• Sniffle! I tend to look at everything as a learning experience. Even having a cold. This time around I learned about a new tissue... COOL TOUCH KLEENEX...

Cool Touch Kleenex

It is awesome on a sore nose because it is, in fact, cool to the touch. And it feels great on your nose. I think it must be some kind of scent-free menthol-like substance that is body-heat activated. Or not. But however they make it happen, it's a pretty sweet advance in tissue technology, and the only tissue I'll be buying from now on.

   
• Must-See TV! I have to say, I am loving the new FOX television series The Finder, and that was totally unexpected given that it's a spin-off of Bones, which is a show I can't stand...

The Finder Poster

I could tell you what a terrific, quirky character Walter "The Finder" Sherman is (played by Geoff Stults) and how entertaining the stories are, but all I really need to say is that it has Michael Clarke Duncan in it. If you're looking for something a little different to watch this winter, this show may be worth a look. You can catch the last couple episodes streaming on the official FOX site.

   
• Netflix Streaming Movie of the Month! Lately I've been on a foreign movie binge and discovering some real gems. The latest is a wonderful French film called The Grocer's Son now streaming on Netflix...

The Grocer's Son Poster

After his father has a heart attack, a guy living in Paris returns to his family home in the countryside to help his mother with their store. His job is to drive a grocery van to small villages and remote homes so that the elderly people there can buy foodstuffs. After a while he begins to form a bond with his customers and his outlook on life starts to change. If you're looking for some "comfort cinema" this sweet story is worth watching.

   
• Netflix Streaming TV Series of the Month! The contemporary re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes by Steven Moffat and the BBC is currently streaming on Netflix. It is beyond brilliant, and I highly recommend giving it a look if you haven't already...

BBC Sherlock Poster

Like most shows from across the pond, Sherlock has stories, acting, and production values that are leagues above what typically passes for American television. Probably because each series only has three episodes. They put all their good ideas into small number of shows rather than trying to stretch everything out over 22 episodes like they do here.

   
• Cinematic Anticipation! There's been a movie hovering on the horizon that has me pretty excited. Now Robot and Frank has been unleashed at Sundance and the reviews have been pretty great...

Robot and Frank

I mean, come on, it's got Frank Langella playing a retired cat burglar who is given a robot to help around the house. But Frank discovers a much more interesting use for his robot pal... crime. As a premise, it doesn't get much better than that!

   
Annnnnd... scene. I need toast and jam.

   

Bullet Sunday 266

Posted on Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Dave!Buckle up and strap in, another edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Fight! As Florida's Republican Primary draws near, the battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney is really getting nasty. Partly because the attack ads flying back and forth are pretty harsh... but mostly because nasty-ass Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is still hanging on the election like a nasty-ass used condom stuck on the side of a nasty-ass trash can...

Heeeeeeere's Santorum
Heeeeeeere's Santorum! — Photos by Scott Olson/Getty and ABC

I wonder how Gingrich and Romney are going to get rid of him? Maybe they could look into how to get shit stains out of underwear and give that a try.

   
• Hobbits! LEGO announced that they have a license for new sets based on The Lord of The Rings. I dare say that I am actually more excited about this than I was when they got the Batman license (if such a thing is possible)...

LEGO Hobbits from Lord of the Rings
Photo taken from Brickset!

When the LEGO Lord of the Rings video game comes out, I will be deliriously happy.

   
• Noooooo! It's not all good news in the world of LEGO though... the incredible LEGO UNIVERSE massive multi-player online game is shutting down at the end of the month...

LEGO Universe Poster

The game is really well done and a lot of fun but, unfortunately, I rarely had time to play it. I wish that they would take all the game assets and release it as an offline adventure game, because there was a lot of good stuff in there.

   
• Mode! A friend sent me this video of a guy and his two kids performing Depeche Mode's awesome song Everything Counts. So epic it hurts...

Here's hoping that they take on People are People as a follow-up.

   
• Render! My work requires that I be able to render 3-D images from time to time. 3-D itself is fairly easy, and there are apps that make it dead simple to do basic stuff. Where the challenge comes is doing 3-D rendering well. This requires some very good tools that usually come with a steep learning curve. I started out with a program called Electric Image Animation System to render, because that's what Industrial Light and Magic used when they re-did the special effects for the Star Wars films. I needed a 3-D modeler, so I had to learn Form-Z. Eventually EIAS got its own modeler, so I learned that. After a while EIAS dropped their modeler. This pissed me off, so I dumped EIAS and learned Cinema 4D. But Cinema 4D didn't render as nicely as EIAS, so I went back to EIAS and learned how to use modo for my modeling. Eventually I got sick and tired of jumping back and forth between EIAS and modo and dumped both of them for NewTek's all-in-one package called Lightwave 3D. Lightwave was moving to a cool new technology called CORE, and I wanted in. But then NewTek dumped CORE so I dumped Lightwave 3D. Not wanting to start all over again, I went back to EIAS and modo. But then modo started adding its own rendering and animation tools that were really sweet, so I dumped EIAS. Now I use modo for everything and love it.

Except... in the background there has always been Maya, a hideously cool 3D package that I've always lusted after but could never afford. For even a basic Maya setup, you're paying $3500 minimum (and the license upkeep is equally pricey). But yesterday I was offered a Maya license for a project that's coming up. So now I'm torn. Do I really want to take the time to learn a new program all over again? The answer to that is ABSOLUTELY! I have never shied away from learning something new, and this is a dream come true. The problem is that I don't have time to take the time to learn Maya, so I had to decline this most generous offer.

Nothing quite like watching Reality walk into the room and crush a dream right in front of you.

   
And on that happy note, the weekend is over.

Wah!

   

Bullet Sunday 267

Posted on Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Dave!Blogography is locked and loaded, so Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Buzz! When my hair gets so long that I have to blow-dry it, something has to be done. But since I spent all my money on new Gingher shears yesterday, I couldn't afford to get a haircut. Fortunately, a Google search convinced me that this was something I could do myself.

And, because I'm me, I live-Tweeted the whole thing...

Researching how to cut my own hair on the internet...

ZOMFG Y'ALL... I CUT MY OWN HAIR!

Dave's Hair in the Sink!

It's okay people... nobody panic. My grandfather was a barber so I totally got this.

Wow. That David Simmer is so hot right now. I had no idea he would look so amazing in a buzz cut...

No matter how many times I run these clippers over my head, I still find spots I missed. Guess I know what I'm doing for the next 20 minutes.

Methinks that shaving m head would have been a lot easier...

Just used duct tape on the back of his head to get a straight line with his self-hair-cut. That shit really IS good for everything!

And this is how it all turned out...

Dave Buzz Cut!

Not bad for free! I should totally give myself my own medical advice now.

   
• LEGO! The more I see of the LEGO Lord of the Rings MiniFigs, the more I realize that my life will not be complete until I possess them all. I mean, come on! Has there ever been a LEGO MiniFig cuter than LEGO Hobbits?

LEGO Hobbits!

And has there ever been a LGO MiniFig scarier than LEGO Gollum?

LEGO Gollum

I mean, seriously...

LEGO Gollum Scarrier!

SERIOUSLY!!...

SCARY LEGO Gollum!

I can't wait for The Preciousses to be mine!

   
• Miley! Yes, as I've said a number of times now, I'm a fan of Miley Cyrus. She was funny as hell in Hannah Montana, and she's had some good songs come out of her music career. But the thing that fascinates me most is how she's unapologetically taken on a role in leading her generation towards acceptance and equality...

"We all should be tolerant of one another and embrace our differences. My dad, who is a real man's man, lives on the farm and is as Southern and straight as they come. He loves my gay friends and even supports same-sex marriage. If my father can do it, anyone can. This is America, the nation of dreams. We're so proud of that. And yet certain people are excluded. It's just not right."
—Miley Cyrus, Glamour Magazine

This is what scares the shit out of the backwards, crazy-ass, hard-core anti-equality crowd... the future is coming, and their antiquated bigotry is not a part of it. Game over. It's only a matter of time.

   
• Sweet! I swear, at a time when our horrible society has me convinced that we all deserve to be extinct, something like this comes along to restore my faith in humanity. I love it...

   
• Network! Today I dug out an old "Airport Express" unit for my new computer at work. Since the iMac only has one ethernet port, I thought perhaps I could use WiFi for my second network connection. Ten minutes later, I found out I could. Apple has a "Bridge Mode" which allows you to put a WiFi interface on an ethernet connection. Simple!

Airport Express

Since this is an older model, it can only do 802.11g. If I want the speed increase of 802.11n, I'll have to shell out $99 for a newer model. But the IEEE just released a draft of the even faster 802.11ac standard back in November, so maybe I'll wait for that.

Even though iMac won't be able to take advantage of it, who wants to buy old technology?

Of course, all technology is old technology when you think about it.

   
• Avengers! Holy crap. Seriously, HOLY CRAP...

A super-hero team movie done right is the dream of every comic book fanboy. Given what I've seen so far, my expectations are impossibly high for this film. May 4th cannot get here soon enough.

   
And now... PUPPY BOWL!!!

   

Bullet Sunday 268

Posted on Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Dave!Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen... Bullet Sunday starts... NOW!

   
• Magic? It used to be that whenever I saw some sports figure scream "I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!" after a big victory, I'd scream back "WHORE!" I mean, it's such an obvious attempt to score Disney ad money. But the more I think about it, what better way could there be to celebrate than to have a party with Mickey Mouse at the most magical place on earth?

Eli Manning and Mickey Mouse

And then I see the happy photos of Eli Manning at Disneyland after his Super Bowl win and know that I would totally celebrate all my most important victories there. Of course, should I become victorious at conquering the earth, I'll own Disneyland, but still...

   
• Restart? I'm not a very emotional person. Which is why my nearly being driven to tears by a frickin' Chipotle commercial was about the most shocking and disturbing thing that could have happened to me while watching the Grammys. So called "factory farming" of animals is about the cruelest, most destructive, and unhealthy way to create "food" you could think of. To have somebody step up and say "enough" is so very encouraging...

There's no Chipotle anywhere near me but, if there were, I would patronize the hell out of that restaurant.

   
• Shop? Speaking of patronizing a worthy business... I'm going to have to start shopping at my local JC Pennys. How awesome that they didn't cave to pressure from the homophobic hate group "One Million Moms" and fire Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson...

And to the bigoted asshats at "One Million Moms"... go fuck yourselves. You obviously all need a good fucking if your idea of "values" is to spend your time attacking somebody as generous, inspiring, and remarkable as Ellen DeGeneres. And may your God have mercy on any of your children who happen to be gay. Because if they're not going to get your love and support, being able to turn on the television and see somebody like Ellen may be all they have.

   
• Krave? After hearing about "Krave," the breakfast cereal filled with chocolate candy, I simply had to try it. How could I not? It's cereal. WITH CHOCOLATE CANDY INSIDE!!

KRAVE is SO gross!

The verdict? Awful. Just awful. Both the "Chocolate" and "Double Chocolate" varieties taste like chemical waste. The texture is bizarre (in a bad way) as well. I can't fathom why anybody would eat this when they could just sprinkle M&Ms over a bowl of Golden Grahams?

   
• Confusion? I'm a Mr. Potato Head fan. I'm a massively huge Batman fan. But I honestly don't know what to make of this...

Batman Mr. Potato Head

Why? It doesn't look like Batman or Mr. Potato Head. I'm not saying it's a bad concept for a toy... but surely they could have just dressed Mr. Potato Head as Batman instead of coming up with this hunk of plastic monstrosity.

   
• Protest? It seems like only yesterday I was walking through Syntagma Square in central Athens, Greece (actually it was five years ago). Despite a somewhat disappointing visit to the Hard Rock Cafe there, I very much enjoyed my visit to the city. Which is why I am very upset to see it erupt in flames...

Greece on Fire
Photo taken from ABC News.

Greece on Fire
Photo taken from Reuters.

I'm all for the right of free protest when you disagree with something, but this is horrific. Do the people who own the shops and cafes getting firebombed deserve this? And while I admit that I don't know if the police crack-downs have been overly-violent, I have to question whether firebombing them could ever be a justifiable act. Greece is in serious trouble... to see violence drive it even further to the brink is profoundly sad. Come together, people... I very much want to visit your country again one day.

   
And now... back to the Grammys...

   

Bullet Sunday 269

Posted on Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Dave!Get out the Jägermeister and Red Bull, we're dropping bombs, and Bullet Sunday starts... now!

   
• Tragedy. Yesterday I wrote about my drive over Stevens Pass. Then today I heard that three skiers were killed in an avalanche up there. Whenever something like this happens, there's a mad scramble to track down all your skier friends to make sure they're okay. Then temper your relief with a grief that comes from knowing while it wasn't anybody you knew this time... it could most certainly be so next time. It's a stressful and horrible time, now made worse because you have fucked up shit like this circulating...

Disgusting Tweet

I know this dumbass bitch's "church" is nothing more than a huge scam made up of lawyers who do their best to piss people off so they can get attacked (then sue everybody and make piles of money)... but I don't even care. They are vile filth who victimize families at their most vulnerable and should be put in prison. Shame on people who keep defending these assholes' "freedom of speech" when they are nothing more than vicious bullies who ruthlessly violate the rights of others.

   
• Babeu. The interwebs are abuzz on both sides of the political spectrum with the outing of hard-core anti-immigration activist and Mitt Romney campaign co-chair for Arizona, Sheriff Paul Babeu. And now the poor guy is being attacked from all sides in a clear demonstration of just how fucked up this country is...

Paul Babeu Conference
Photo taken from Reuters

First of all, I have to say that yes... if Babeu abused his authority to intimidate and threaten somebody, then he was wrong and should be held accountable for that. But until this is proven, shame on everybody.

Shame on Liberals who are screaming "HYPOCRITE!" because he's gay and Republican. Why the fuck should his sexual orientation dictate his political beliefs? Yeah, Republicans are not very welcoming of homosexuals... and hard-core Conservatives are outright hostile towards them... but if Babeu can set that aside because his politics are more aligned with a conservative viewpoint and that's what's important to him, why the hell should you care? If you disagree with his stance on immigration, fine. But if you think a man can only be a Democrat if he's gay, then it's you who are the hypocrite.

Shame on Conservatives who are now screaming "HIS CAREER SHOULD BE OVER!" because he's gay and Republican. Why should his sexual orientation dictate what job he can hold? The guy served with honor in the National Guard where he spent a tour in Iraq. He is a decorated law enforcement officer. He has faithfully protected our borders from drug trafficking. He is consistent with Conservative views on immigration. He has demonstrated over and over again that he's your fucking DREAM CANDIDATE in his plan to run for U.S. Congress... and yet you would discard the guy because he's into dudes? What is he supposed to do... give up the sexual aspect of his humanity and be unhappy just to make you happy? That is one of the most stupid fucking things I've ever heard.

This type of crap drives me insane. The guy is just doing the best he can to be true to the man he is in a world that attacks him for doing so. I may not support his politics, but I support him in his pursuit of happiness... just as all Americans should... Liberal and Conservative alike.

   
• Horror. And just because my disgust is already running at an all-time high here... might as well tear into one of the biggest assholes on the planet, Nancy Grace. I've written many times about how much I loathe this disgusting excuse for a human being, but she just keeps getting worse and worse...

Disgusting Evil Nancy Grace

If there's anybody out there who still thinks her "crusade for the victims" is anything more than a shameless money-grab by one of the biggest fucking exploitation whores on the planet, Salon has an article for you.

   
And now... back to my three-day weekend...

   

Bullet Sunday 270

Posted on Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Dave!Don't touch that mouse, Bullet Sunday starts... now.

   
• Higgs Boson. For science geeks like myself, Saturday was kind of a special day, as we were granted an audience with Professor Peter Higgs via a rare interview in The Scotsman. Fresh off of winning the Edinburgh Award, he made the bold prediction that the stupidly nicknamed "God Particle" that bears his name will finally be found this summer after 48 years. Bring on the Nobel Prize.

   
• Joke. Really? Attacking President Kennedy now? I gotta hand it to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum, he's got balls the size of watermelons to be trash-talking one of this country's most beloved presidents. Especially when Santorum is so petty and insignificant in the grand scheme of things...

Tiny Insignificant Santorum Flea
Santorum's tiny, insignificant, flea-like body from Ambro

How embarrassing. At some point even the craziest of crazies who are supporting this moron are going to wake up and say "What the fuck?!?"

   
• Astronomical. Apparently there was a spectacular alignment of planets happening in the heavens this weekend. Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon are all lining up to some kind of cool visual. I wouldn't know, of course, as the sky was totally overcast...

Planetary Alignment

I swear, no astronomical events ever happen here. I get screwed by the weather every time.

   
• Finally. One of my favorite actors ever, James Earl Jones, was finally given his due with a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award...

James Earl Jones and Oscar
Photo from Luke Macgregor/Reuters

Can you imagine any of his movie appearances with somebody else in the role? Field of Dreams? The Lion King? Sneakers? The voice of CNN? THE VOICE OF DARTH VADER?!? No. No you can't. He's and incredible talent, and seeing him get an Oscar makes the award almost relevant again.

   
• Oscar. I am not a fan of the Academy Awards. They so rarely get it right when it comes to those deserving of a win. Case in point?

Captain America: The First Avenger — Best Picture.
Robert Downey Jr — Best Actor for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
David Fincher — Best Director for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Stanley Tucci — Best Supporting Actor for Captain America: The First Avenger.
Meryl Streep — Best Actress for The Iron Lady.
Jennifer Aniston — Best Supporting Actress for Horrible Bosses.

And how many of those trophies were correctly awarded? One. Congratulations Meryl. You're amazing as always.

   
And now... I've got to pack a suitcase...

   

Bullet Sunday 271

Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Dave!Don't touch that dial... Bullet Sunday starts... now!

   
• Visionary. I was sad to learn that genius illustrator Ralph McQuarrie passed away this week. As a mega-huge Star Wars fan, one can't help but admire the conceptual designer who designed Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, and loads of locations throughout the film. It was his visuals that helped sell the film in the first place so, in many ways, anybody who loves Star Wars loves McQuarrie...

McQuarrie Darth Vader

McQuarrie C-3PO and R2-D2

McQuarrie Millenium Falcon

McQuarrie Imperial Walkers and Speeders

Still amazing. You will be missed.

   
• John Carter. My favorite science fiction novels of all time are the "Barsoom" books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Starting with A Princess of Mars, the series is packed with action and adventure that set the benchmark for a lot of sci-fi that was to follow. After decades of waiting, we finally get a movie. It looks promising, even though Disney seems to be dropping the ball with the advertising. The latest trailer is pretty good though...

And if you're REALLY ambitious, there's a 10-minute chunk that's been posted online that shows John Carter before he was transported to Mars...

Oh yes. I want to see this one pretty bad. Arrives March 9th... mark your calendars!

   
• Television. If you're not watching NBC's latest show, Awake, you're missing out. There's nothing I didn't like about the premiere episode starring Jason Isaacs as a man who can't discern between dreams and reality after tragedy strikes...

Awake Promo Poster

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Thursdays at 10/9c... and if you missed the first episode, you can get it from iTunes FREE!

   
• Whore. Apparently all Rush Limbaugh knows how to do is lie and attack people. And why not? It's built him a huge audience and made him a millionaire many times over. But, seriously... what a gaping asshole.

Bad Monkey Rush Limbaugh

   
30 DAYS DRAWING CHALLENGE: Draw Your Favorite Place...

Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey in Maui Doing the Hula

This was a difficult challenge, because I have dozens upon dozens of favorite places on this earth. But I am always wanting to go back to Maui. Especially now when it's cold outside. The nice thing about The Valley Isle is that I've been there many times, so there's no pressure to see or do anything. I can just park myself on a beach somewhere and kick back. What more could you want for a happy place?

   

Bullet Sunday 272

Posted on Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Dave!And now that I've driven home (again) my vacation from my vacation is officially over. Sadly, I am in more of a need of a vacation now than when I got back from my first vacation. So validate your passport, my permanent vacation (and Bullet Sunday) starts... now.

   
• Thrice Four. When RW and I started THRICE Fiction magazine, I honestly thought that we'd be lucky if we got our friends and family to read it. Which is why once our first issue passed 100 downloads, I was walking on air. Eventually that number climbed to over 300, which exceeded my every expectation. Subsequent issues dropped a bit as the buzz died down, but we were still getting hundreds of downloads. I remain shocked to this day.

The newest issue just passed 2500 downloads only two days after release. It's kind of difficult to know how to react to that...

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 4

The cover for THRICE No. 4 is something I worked up while I was on vacation, though I had the idea months earlier. For some reason I always think of forks as being "evil" because they violently stab food, while spoons are "good" because they gently scoop food. After watching the amazing video for Rendezvous' The Murf where one culture rises to worship a squid and another a whale, I had an image of one culture rising to worship a fork and another a spoon. And now I finally had an outlet for it... composing them to be mirror-images of each other. For being a last-minute creation, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Though I still prefer the original idea. Let's face it... that video is nothing short of genius...

The Murf's Whale and Squid worshipers

As always, you can download the latest issue of THRICE Fiction for free at our official website. Apparently we'll be sticking around a while. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to my partner in crime and everybody who has supported us these four issues.

   
• Trayvon Martin. As I've been on vacation, I haven't been keeping up with the news. Or blogs. Or much of anything. I tend to ignore everything and everyone when vacationing because that's what makes it a vacation. But it was impossible not to hear about the horrific death of Trayvon Martin...

Trayvon Martin

Welcome to "Post-Racist America" where you can kill a black child just because you consider him "suspicious," and not even notorious "crusader for justice" and ratings whore Nancy Grace seems to give a shit. Now if somebody can just explain to me how a person can claim "self-defense" when they fucking profiled and stalked the victim... I'd appreciate it. That would go a long way towards explaining why no arrest was made and how a thorough investigation apparently wasn't worth the effort.

The word "disgusted" is so severely inadequate to describe my feelings here that I am disgusted with myself for even alluding that it could. Will there ever be justice for Trayvon Martin? I suppose that depends on whether people ultimately decide that gunning down a child because he was wearing a hoodie while being black is something worth getting upset about.

   
• Worship. While I do not consider myself to be a Buddhist, it is Buddhist teachings that form the basis of my belief structure. After decades of wandering when it came to matters of faith, it was Buddhism that "spoke true" to me, and integrating it into my life has done amazing things to contribute to my happiness and understanding of the world. I fully accept that it's not a "religion" for everybody, but that's perfectly fine. It doesn't mean we can't all get along. I respect the religions of others in the hopes that they will respect mine.

Unfortunately, this is increasingly not the case...

And he has ties to presidential hopeful Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum. Shocking.

And, just like Santorum, this vile piece of crap has -zero- interest in respecting the beliefs of other persons. If you're not Christian like him, you can just get the fuck out of America, and that's all there is to it.

But it's not his intolerance that bothers me.

It's at the one-minute mark where he says "We don't worship Buddha! I say we don't worship Buddha! We don't worship Muhammad! We don't worship Allah! We worship God!" Well, whatever, asshole. Nobody is telling you that you have to worship anything. America was, in fact, founded on the idea of freedom of religion so you can worship whatever the hell you want. But you don't get to speak out of ignorance about an entire faith you stupid fuck.

BUDDHISTS DON'T WORSHIP BUDDHA! THEY DON'T "WORSHIP" ANYTHING.

Buddha was not a saint or a prophet or a god or somebody to be worshipped. He was a teacher. He discovered a way to find enlightenment and happiness, and chose to share it with people. And that's all. So when you see statues of Buddha and people bowing before them, it's not out of worship. It's merely a way of showing respect to a great teacher.

And now you know why I can never be a true Buddhist. Buddhists don't believe in "wrong-speaking." But I can't help but call an ignorant asshole an ignorant fucking asshole, so that's the way it's going to have to be. In any event, morons like this glory-seeking piece of shit are the ones that can get the hell out of America. You are betraying everything we are.

   
• Blueberry. One of my artistic inspirations, Jean Giraud (better known as Moebius), passed away on March 10th. His stories and artwork remain a triumph of the imagination, and I cherished everything he wrote and drew...

Moebius Art

Goodbye Mr. Giraud. You've left us a beautiful legacy.

   
• Prometheus. Holy. Shit.

Looks like Ridley Scott hasn't lost his touch. To say I'm hyped to see this film come June 8th is a gross understatement.

   
• LEGO BATMAN!!! And as if Prometheus wasn't enough to get excited about. The sequel to one of my favorite video games of all time is coming later this year...

This looks incredible. If it's even half the game that the original LEGO Batman game was, I'll be very happy.

   
And now I suppose I should try and get some sleep since I didn't bother this weekend. Such is the peril of going on vacation.

   

30 DAYS DRAWING CHALLENGE: Draw Scenery...

Tropical Scene from THRICE FICTION cover

Already done, man. Already done.

   

Bullet Sunday 273

Posted on Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Dave!Time to grab your bullet-proof vest, because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Fool. I am not a fan of "April Fools' Day." Most of the pranks are pretty lame, stupid, and usually too obvious to "fool" anybody... especially the ones you find online. But Google has once again hit it out of the park with not one, but two amazingly well thought out and executed joke videos. Sure it's unlikely that anybody is going to be fooled, but they're still genius if you haven't seen them already...

   

   
• Leyner. I am not a fan of audio books. If I'm going to invest time in a book, I want to read it myself instead of having somebody read it to me. But I had a friend who was addicted to them, so every time we'd take a road-trip, he'd bring a bunch of them. I was never impressed enough to pay much attention. Except once. That would be the time that he popped in Et Tu, Babe by Mark Leyner into the cassette player and blew my mind. It was the single most awesome and bizarre thing I had ever heard...

Et Tu, Babe!

After that, I was a diehard Mark Leyner fan, and kept up with all his genius that I could get my hands on... Tooth Imprints On a Corn Dog; I Smell Esther Williams; The Tetherballs of Bougainville; My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist; and now his latest... The Sugar Frosted Nutsack...

The Sugar Frosted Nutsack

It's pretty insane... even for Leyner... but I still liked it. There's just nobody out there doing what he does the way he does it. But here's the thing... YOU HAVE TO GET THE AUDIO BOOK! Leyner reads all his books himself, and half of what makes his stuff so damn funny is his performance of the material. The shame is that Et Tu, Babe, which remains my favorite, is not available anymore. I keep hoping that Audible will add it since I only own it on cassette, but it's never shown up. Leyner is absolutely not for everyone... the guy is crazy-ass bizarre... but if you're looking for something different... really different... then the audio book might be worth a listen at your local library.

   
• Amazement. The season two debut was everything I was hoping for and more...

Game of Thrones Season 2 Poster

And if you're a fan of Tyrion Lannister on the show, you need to read an interview with the actor who portrays him, the amazing Peter Dinklage, in the New York Times.

   
• Eggo2. For the person who said Eggo Waffles were "gross" after I mentioned them yesterday, I would have to agree. Usually. Except... the NEW "Thick & Fluffy" Eggos that just came out are an entirely different animal. The honest truth? I prefer them to a lot of waffles I've had in restaurants...

Eggo Thick and Fluffy Waffles

So delicious. So not kidding. If you like waffles, give 'em a try.

   
Annnnnd... SCENE. No more bullets for you!

   

Bullet Sunday 274

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Dave!Put down that Cadbury Creme Egg because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Eggaxctly. I'm rather fond of eggs. I'll eat them just about any way you can fix them, but my favorite way to eat eggs are in a an egg salad sandwich. Which is why Easter is always an awesome holiday for me. Plenty of hard-boiled eggs means plenty of sammiches. But when I think about it, I'll eat eggs just about any way you can cook 'em...

DAVETOON: Cartoon Egg Cooking Options

As a vegetarian, I had given up on eggs benedict, but last year I had it made with tofu bacon instead of ham, and it was awesome. Of course, the thing about eggs is that you can't tell if they're a raging salmonella bomb just by looking at them...

Good Egg - Bad Egg

Which is why every time I'm served undercooked eggs I wonder if I'm going to get the plague. The last time I was caught in a salmonella outbreak, I spent two days with non-stop diarrhea and vomiting. Which isn't the worst thing that can happen... unless you're on the toilet when you have to vomit. And trying to puke between your legs is something nobody should have to experience twice in their life.

   
• RIP. And so Thomas Kinkade the self-proclaimed "Painter of Light" has gone dark. And while I feel bad that the guy is dead, I can't say I'm too broken up that his output of shitty paintings will stop. Yes, I understand why his unchallenging and mediocre work was popular... it was pretty and required zero thought... but his raging success never ceased to surprise me. I mean this boring crap is what people want hanging on their wall?

Kinkade Krap
Painting ©™® Estate of Thomas Kinkade

I don't get it. But Kinkade obviously filled a need, so more power to him. Hopefully they have plenty of alcohol and things to get drunk and piss on in heaven... rest in peace you crazy bastard.

   
• Oppression. I don't normally post other people's cartoons and stuff, but this is absolute genius...

Stop That!

In four panels, the artist (whoever they are) has managed to perfectly summarize the disgusting hypocrisy that is running rampant through the Hard-Core Right. I am so sick and tired of hearing their whole "persecuted Christian" nonsense. Fighting back against lies, hatred, and persecution is not oppression so get over it. Believe what you want to believe and live your life... then let others do the same. Oh... and at some point you really should read that Bible you keep beating people over the head with.

   
• Nasty. Early this morning I received a nasty(?) comment on an old blog entry that made no sense. It was just a bunch of curse words followed by the words "I love your blog!" Much to my surprise, the commenter left what looked like a real email address. So I wrote and asked what the deal was. Almost immediately I got an automated response asking me if I wanted to make money commenting on blogs. I can only guess this means the company is trolling for trolls? Nothing on the internet surprises me anymore.

   
Now I've got to get back to work... so no more bullets for you!

   

Bullet Sunday 275

Posted on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Dave!I'm droppin' bullets like Benjamins, yo, because Bullet Sunday starts... now.

   
• Bitchsterdam. An overdue thank you to The DutchBitch for an awesome Bitchsterdam 3 blogger event. I've been to the Netherlands many times, but she managed to find some fantastic touristy stuff that I've never seen before... including a visit to the amazing Keukenhof gardens. Easily worth a ten-hour flight. Here's hoping she can be convinced to have Bitchsterdam 4! If, for no other reason, than I can attempt to use words like "geesteswetenschappen" in a sentence again...

Geesteswetenschappen!
It apparently means "humanities"... OR DOES IT?!? You just don't know!

   
• Superiority. And speaking of DutchyLand... I fully accept that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world and all those other freedom-hating backwater countries don't matter and have nothing to contribute. I mean... I kind of have to don't I? The minute an American even implies that other countries are relevant to world affairs and have wonderful cultural contributions to be made, FOX "News" will brand them an American-hating traitor. And heaven forbid that you happen to be the president and have an appreciation for other countries' contribution to the planet. That's enough for FOX "News" to demand your impeachment!

However...

Call me a traitor if you must, but creamy and delicious Dutch mayonnaise is so fucking superior to the gelatinous glop we call "mayonnaise" here in the U.S. that it's not even funny. This trip I checked a suitcase, which meant I was able to bring home a bunch of the stuff. So now I can fry up some fries for PATATJES MET at home...

Patatjes Met at Home!

PATATJES MET!!! Amazing. Whoever decides to market a superior Dutch mayo here is going to make millions. Millions!!

   
• WHAT?!? And speaking of fries... have you heard that browning potatoes creates a cancer-causing chemical called "acrylamide" that makes them deadly to eat? Can you believe this shit? Why is it that everything that tastes good ends up killing you? This is so not fair. PATATJES MET OR DEATH?!? I can't answer that.

   
• Earth! Ooh! It's Earth Day! That one day out of the year where people pretend to give a shit about our planet! Including me. Despite it being 82° out today, I rolled down my window instead of turning on the air conditioner in my car. That totally counts, right?

   
• Television. Kind of gutted that two of my favorite new shows, Awake and The Finder are not getting the ratings they need for renewal. Instead they'll be cancelled and replaced by a reality show or some other stupid-ass crap that doesn't require thought from the American viewing public. And who knows what's going to happen to Fringe, which had a game-changing episode on Friday. It's almost to the point where I'm afraid to get invested in good television anymore...

Good Television Posters

   
And, on that sad note, I've gotta go tempt death by having another plate of PATATJES MET!

   

Bullet Sunday 276

Posted on Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Dave!Time to check your bandwidth, because a special All Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Punisher! President Obama once again killed it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I didn't think he could top his awesome performance last year, but he came really close. Except... was I the only one who kept seeing a skull shape when his shirt was eclipsed by the microphones? At first I thought that it was proof positive that he was, in fact, not a Secret Muslim... but instead a Secret Satan Worshipper! And then... then... it came to me. it's not Satan... it's The Punisher!

President Obama is the Punisher

If only.

I may not always agree with his politics, but I really do like our president. He's a good guy doing a tough job the best way he knows how... all while under constant attack by people who have no respect for his office or our country. If you haven't seen his speech, it's pretty damn funny and well worth watching...

   
• Election! I don't think there's any question that Mitt Romney will most definitely not be getting my vote. What is in question is whether or not President Obama will get my vote. Right now, I honestly don't know. If he starts caving on things like CISPA and equality, I have no problem with a write-in vote like I've done before when both candidates suck. Otherwise, it's kind of his vote to lose. All that being said, I am kind of enjoying Obama's latest round of ads: "Mitt Romney vs. Reality" where he takes his old footage to address Romney's bullshit pandering. Genius. Romney comes off looking either uninformed or a liar, while Obama dings him without going negative...

It will be interesting to see where Romney's campaign goes now that he's running for president instead of candidacy. Because, I gotta say, his ads always seem more embarrassing than informative or compelling. The guy is so awkward and detached that his every appearance seems to be a reason why he shouldn't be president. He needs an ad team that can work this out... fast.

   
• Houdini! I stopped watching MTV a long time ago. They used to be all about music, but now all they give a crap about is stupid shit like Jersey Shore which I wouldn't watch if my life depended on it. The upshot being that I don't see many music videos anymore. Not that it's a big loss... most music videos suck ass these days. But I do follow Foster the People, and their latest video for my favorite song (Houdini) off their last album (Torches) is really good...

Creative, funny, well-executed, and fitting to the song. Doesn't get much better than that.

   
• Old! A year ago, somebody asked a question that has been burning up the internet this past week... "What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?" Since I was around when computers went consumer mainstream, I remember all too well about things like modems, data cassettes, BBSs, and yes... floppy disks for your A: and/or B: drive. I also remember VHS tape, Pong, record players, and... heaven help me... rotary telephones...

It's not that I feel particularly old over it all... the technological advances over the past 30 years have been astoundingly fast... it's what we're in for over the next 30 years. Just as the iPhone bears -zero- resemblance to the rotary phone, I'd imagine the "phone" of the future will be an even bigger departure from iPhone. It's at that point that I really start to feel my age. Oh well. I honestly think that the limitations that my generation had to put up with from technology made it more fun than the sheer magic we get from technology today, so there's that*.

   
• Ridley! When it comes to movies this year, I'd have thought it would be impossible to top my excitement for The Avengers, but Ridley Scott's offering, Prometheus, does exactly that. The new international trailer has me aching for a good science fiction movie...

June 8th can't get here fast enough.

   
And now I suppose it's time to put away YouTube so I can get some real work done.

   

*Oh who am I kidding? I would have killed to have had an iPhone back in the 80's, and everybody knows it.

   

Bullet Sunday 277

Posted on Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Dave!Put down that margarita, because Cinco de Mayo is over and Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Wonder! Now that Joss Whedon's The Avengers has broken box office records and made $600 MILLION DOLLARS in only twelve days of release (with only three of those days here in the USA), my mind wanders to another project he was attached to a while back... Wonder Woman. Except Warner Bros. screwed him out of the film, which he very much wanted to make. Now, I'm not so deluded to believe that a Whedon Wonder Woman film would do The Avengers box office... far from it. But I do think that Joss could have made it successful if he had just been given a chance...

George Pérez Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman perfectly rendered by the incomparable George Pérez

Whedon has a history of writing amazing female characters (Buffy, anyone?) and his take on Black Window in The Avengers was flawless, so one can only fantasize what he would have done with the most popular female comic book super-hero ever.

If every person at Warner Bros. responsible for fucking up Whedon's Wonder Woman film hasn't gotten their ass kicked and been fired, it needs to happen. Stupid shit like this is the reason that DC Comics' only success with movie adaptations in recent years has been Batman.

   
• Repeat! Speaking of The Avengers, am I the only one who saw it and now all they can think about is seeing it again?

Avengers Agent Coulson Poster

The movie was just so... big... that I know it's going to take at least a dozen viewings before I manage to process everything that happened.

   
• Beastly! Sadly, Adam "MCA" Yauch died on Friday at the much-too-young-age of 47. Like everybody else from my generation, The Beastie Boys were a pretty big musical force in my life. And, apparently, other musicians feel the same, because the tributes are already rolling in. Like this one form Chris Martin and Coldplay at a recent concert...

This rendition of the Beastie Boys' most famous song is completely contrary to the brash "in your face" intent of the original song, but it's so beautifully crafted and heartfelt that it still works. Rest in peace, MCA.

   
• Comedy! I didn't necessarily agree with all the winners at the Second Annual Comedy Central Comedy Awards... but what a frickin' hilarious show. If you missed it, keep a look out. Comedy Central usually reruns their crap fifty times a week, so it should be popping up soon.

   
• Let Us! Why is it whenever I buy a bag of shredded lettuce for tacos and hamburgers that the shit goes bad just one day after opening? Oh... hold a second... the answer is staring me right in the face...

Lettuce Shreds: No Preservatives

So now I'm conflicted. On one hand, I appreciate that my lettuce doesn't have any chemicals on it to make me sick or give it a funky taste. But on the other hand... I'M SICK AND TIRED OF THROWING MONEY IN THE GARBAGE EVERY TIME I BUY A BAG OF LETTUCE! I'd be happy if I could get a bag of salad that would last a full week. Hell, I'd be fucking thrilled to have a bag that last three days. But it doesn't exist, so one of two things needs to happen... 1) Start making multi-packs that divide the bag into smaller servings so unused portions can stay fresh longer. 2) Add the damn preservatives so I can actually afford to have lettuce on my burger. I suppose a third option could be to buy a head of lettuce and chop it down when I need it, but even that doesn't last for shit. Stupid lettuce.

   
And now... back to my post-Cinco-de-Mayo reality.

   

Bullet Sunday 278

Posted on Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Dave!Happy Mother's Day! And word to your mother, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Bank! The Avengers just blew past ONE BILLION DOLLARS at the worldwide box office. Not bad for a movie built for comic book geeks. The only way things could get much better would be if Marvel could get some cooperation between the various movie studios that have the rights to their characters. It can only benefit everybody involved. A cameo appearance by Spider-Man in an Avengers flick would only raise interest in Spider-Man's movie, for example...

Avengers Assembled

But the meeting I most want? X-Men vs. Avengers. Not the cheesy, shitty X-Men from the crappy original trilogy... but the real X-Men we saw in the X-Men: First Class movie. Because the current Avengers vs. X-Men comic book is killing it, and that would make for one incredible flick. But nobody ever accused movie studios of being very smart, so it's probably never going to happen. Such a shame.

   
• CS6! And so Adobe Creative Suite 6 was unleashed this week. So far... I'm kind of digging it. As somebody who shoots a lot of wide-angle photos, the new "Adaptive Wide Angle" correction filter in Photoshop is worth the upgrade alone. Illustrator gets variable-width strokes and some really nice gradient tools. InDesign gets some really cool layout tools. And everything seems to be a bit snappier thanks to their new "Mercury" graphics engine. I also like the "pro" interface overhaul (even though it doesn't utilize the "full-screen" feature of OS X, which is just stoopid). Overall, a pretty decent upgrade.

Except for the cost. I bypassed Adobe's insulting and absurd CS5.5, so all my pricing is for upgrading "CS5 Design Premium." Except there is no "Design Premium" any more, so I have to get "Design & Web Premium" to get everything I previously had. Price? $749. Bullshit. In 2010 it was only $599. So I guess I skip "Premium" and get "Design Standard" for $549. It only has Photoshop (NOT Extended), Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat... which is lame bullshit.

Adobe Creative Cloud Graphic

The high prices are meant to push people to join Adobe's "Creative Cloud" offering, which gets you everything they make for $50 a month. This would be a bargain if I actually used everything they make. As a previous customer I get a year at $30 a month (introductory price), which is still too pricey for what I end up using, but it will give me time to figure out what I'll eventually end up buying. Hopefully Adobe will realize that people don't want to pay for what they don't use and offer an option without the video production tools at a more reasonable cost. As it is, "Creative Cloud" is more a rip-off than anything else.

   
• Iconic! I've written before about the carousel of progress that's been the evolution of Adobe Creative Suite icons. It went from an inexplicable WTF? in CS2... to a nice white on tone in CS3... to a very classy black on tone in CS4... to a pleasing tone-on-tone in CS5. And now in CS6? I don't even have an opinion...

Adobe CS Icon Evolution

Except to say that they feel clunky, amateurish, and look like shit in my Dock...

Adobe CS6 Icon Mismatch

Not even color coordinated? Really? Pathetic. And the document icons are even worse. I'd be embarrassed for Adobe, but it's not like they'd give a crap. They're the only game in town now and they know it.

   
• DVR! Back when I had satellite television, I had a TiVo DVR. It was heaven. The best possible way to watch television. But I had to give up satellite for cable because my location wouldn't let me get HD channels by satellite. Unfortunately, Charter Cable doesn't have TiVo. I was stuck with a HEINOUS PIECE OF SHIT called a "Moxi" DVR. It was a poorly-designed, constantly-over-heating, featureless, stuttering pile of FAIL! It had to be replaced twice. Then the third one died this past week. So Charter gave me a generic Motorola DVR that's a heck of a lot better than MOXI, but still a featureless piece of shit (you can't even hide channels you don't get!).

Which begs the question... Why is TiVo the only company who can make a DVR that's worth a damn?

Charter Cable has been promising TiVo to their customers for ages. It was supposed to arrive next month. Now the rollout has been delayed. Who the hell knows if it will ever be released. What I do know is that I am sick and tired of the sub-standard DVR bullshit they keep shoving down my throat. Maybe it's time to ditch cable altogether and buy all the stuff I want to watch with AppleTV?

   
• Hooray! From the television up-fronts we now know that Person of Interest, Revenge, Castle, Suburgatory, Happy Endings, Scandal, Raising Hope, and Grim have all been renewed for another season. In somewhat good news, Community, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, and Fringe got partial final season orders for them to finish up their shows. While better than a flat-out cancellation, this still sucks pretty hard. Community is essential television viewing.

   
• Crap! The Finder and Awake... two of my favorite shows were canceled. Awake I kinda get. The show was a bit esoteric and didn't have a huge amount of mainstream appeal with the whole "two worlds" concept. People aren't that smart. But The Finder?!? Such a frickin' amazing and entertaining show. I simply do not understand how it failed to build a huge audience. To add insult to injury, they ended the season with a massive multi-character cliffhanger. I can only hope that Hart Hanson will use a couple episodes of his other show, Bones, to wrap things up. Damn. Fucked by FOX again.

   
And now? I should probably back-up my laptop now that I've added a bunch of crap. That's a good Sunday project.

   

Bullet Sunday 279

Posted on Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Dave!Put down those eclipse specs, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Goodbye. I was sad to learn that Robin Gibb passed away. Make fun of me all you want, but I always thought The BeeGees were musical geniuses. So many of their unique songs couldn't have been made by anybody else, and it's a testament to this talent that they were so successful for so long. And as if the idea of not getting any more BeeGees music wasn't bad enough, I'm betting we won't be seeing any more Barry Gibb Talk Show skits on Saturday Night Live either...

Barry Gibb Talk Show!

Rest in peace, Mr. Gibb, and thanks for the music.

   
• SNL. Surprisingly, Mick Jagger made for a funny guest-host on the season finale of Saturday Night Live. The episode itself was a farewell to Kristen Wiig and her seven seasons with the show. I had read somewhere that Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis were also leaving, but you'd never know it, because it wasn't even hinted at. What's most disappointing is that we didn't get a final "Two A-Holes..." sketch with Wiig and Sudeikis, which I was absolutely expecting. As close as we got was them dancing together while everybody sang their goodbyes...

Oh well. I suppose it could happen upon Kristen Wiig's inevitable return hosting engagement. Until then, I guess there's always Hulu clips...

   
• TED. Despite being almost painfully obvious, I've never heard this argument presented in such a compelling way...

Apparently there was some controversy over this clip. TED originally thought it too partisan to unleash upon an unsuspecting world... or something like that... but I'm not seeing it. Furthermore, how can you hope to solve a problem without approaching it from every conceivable angle? Even if Hanauer's belief is entirely wrong, discussing it may lead to worthwhile conversation. When you're desperate, nothing should be off the table, and I hope to see more of this kind of talk from all sides in the future.

   
• Avengers. I had purchased The Art of Marvel's Thor after seeing the movie. Production design on the Asgard sets and costumes were really well done, and I wanted to see how they were developed. The book was pretty amazing, which made me regret that I hadn't purchased the two Iron Man books. They were out of print and cost a fortune on the secondary market, so I gave up on getting them. Fast forward to the The Avengers, which was production design on an entirely new level, and I simply had to own The Art of Marvel's The Avengers. It did not disappoint. The book is a stunning chronicle of bringing the comic book to the big screen. Then I discovered something very cool... Marvel had assembled books for the previous four Avengers movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor) in a boxed set... The Art of Marvel Studios. SCORE! All the books are fantastic...

Art of Marvel Studios

If you wanna take a look inside, JamesTalkALot has a video on YouTube for the Art of Marvel Studios set. He also has a separate video for The Art of Marvel's The Avengers. If you have even a passing interest in these movies, all the books are highly recommended.

   
Annnnnd... I'm spent. Did I black out some time this weekend? Because it doesn't really feel like I got a weekend at all. Such a bummer. I should probably get my crap together so I can go to work in the morning. If there's any justice, I'll black out again through the entire work week so I can have a real weekend.

   

Bullet Sunday 280

Posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Dave!Put down that barbecue fork, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Fresh. Three Bullet Sundays ago I was lamenting how crappy it is that the bagged lettuce I buy goes bad after just one day. Abigail then left a comment telling me about the "Salad in a Jar Method" of keeping salad fresh (using a hand-food-vacuum). It looked like a good plan, so I ordered me a FrashSaver handheld Vacuum. And, since it comes with a deli container, I didn't even have to buy a jar topper. It arrived a couple weeks ago and I've been trying it out not just with salad, but Oreos, crackers, cheese, and all kids of stuff. Miracles of miracles, the thing actually works...

FoodSaver FreshSaver is Dave Approved!

It worked so well that I ended up buying more deli containers! Two complaints though... 1) The deli containers are kind of tough to close... and 2) You have to use an attachment to turn the round vacuum head into an oval vacuum head in order for the unit to be able to suck the air out of the deli containers, which is fucking stupid. Why not just make the valve on the deli containers round? With the attachment on, you can't fit the unit into the charger, and I can see the stupid thing getting lost eventually. Stupid, stupid, STUPID.

   
• Innocence. Back in April the New York blogosphere was blowing up because the police tracked down the "well-dressed guy" who was groping women on the subway...

Guilty While Innocent

Except they didn't.

The guy was completely innocent. Karl Vanderwoude had alibis for when gropings were taking place. Which means the vague resemblance he had to some security footage as well as being picked out of a lineup didn't meant shit. An innocent man was hauled off in handcuffs.

But that wasn't even the worst part. The worst part would be having his photo plastered all over the internet with headlines like "Finance creep arrested for groping women in Manhattan!" and "Cops Say Finance Worker Karl Vanderwoude Is 'Well-Dressed' Groper!" And, naturally, those stories aren't updated or revised or amended to explain he was totally innocent... nope, they will live on forever and haunt him until the day he dies. Somebody years in the future could Google his name, click on an outdated story, and easily be led to believe he was the perpetrator. EXCEPT HE WASN'T!

This is equal parts horrifying and disgusting. The first thought that runs through my head is "Holy crap, could I be next?" followed by "How in the hell could this happen?"

He had alibis, for heaven sakes! But nobody gave a shit until his attorney bothered to ask the guy where he was when the incidents took place! I'm no police detective... but should that be JOB ONE before you fucking arrest somebody? Especially knowing that arresting an innocent man WILL RUIN HIS LIFE?

I feel so horribly bad for this poor guy that my mind can't even grasp what he went through. Surely I can't be the only one? Surely all the people who wrote the headlines that crucified Karl Vanderwoude on the internet feel bad for him too?

Apparently not. None of these "journalists" seem to be rushing to update their original stories... they just print a new story and forget about the old one. But the internet never forgets, those old stories are still there. Innocent Karl Vanderwoude may be, but in all those online archives he's guilty for eternity. He deserves better than that... we all do.

   
• Prohibition? Thanks to Marty for letting me know that my home town was in the New York Times today! Washington State is in the process of switching from government-regulated alcohol distribution to private company distribution, and this has created a booze shortage throughout the State as government shops try to clear out their inventory. Not a popular situation with Memorial Day Weekend partiers. And apparently my small city was the perfect way to dramatize this point to NYT readers. Heh.

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey and Jäger passed out on the floor.

Oh well. If there's one thing we love here in Redneckistan, it's our alcohol, so it's not like I can get upset about it.

   
   
And... it's been a long day. I suppose I should at least try to get some rest before an even tougher day hits in the morning. I'd tell y'all to be good and obey the law during the holiday tomorrow, but Karl Vanderwoude has shown us that this doesn't necessarily guarantee a clean criminal record now-a-days, so I don't know what to say now.

Except "good night."

   

Bullet Sunday 281

Posted on Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Dave!Let's get ready to rrrrrumble... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Dawson. Game show host, game show player, and actor Richard Dawson passed away. While best known as the host of Family Feud, I remember him best for his funny appearances on Match Game. And, of course, as one of the most genius film role castings ever... Damon Killian from The Running Man...

Richard Dawson in The Running Man!
Ahnold says "I'll be back!"

A movie that was "The Hunger Games" before there was The Hunger Games, and far more entertaining. Rest in peace, sir! You'll be back... in reruns.

   
• Joosten. Continuing the sad news, Kathryn Joosten, who played Mrs. Landingham so brilliantly on The West Wing has also passed away...

Mrs. Landingham as portrayed by Kathryn Joosten

West Wing fans know that killing off Delores Landingham at the end of the second season was one of the most memorable and emotional moments from the entire series, and nothing was quite the same after she left. This was all due to Joosten infusing her character with a charm and dry humor that never ceased to steal any scene in which she appeared. Though I wasn't a fan of Desperate Housewives, I was looking forward to seeing Joosten in another series after it ended. You will be missed.

   
• House. As the primary European airline partner for Northwest Airlines (later merged with Delta), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines got a bit of my business back when I was flying to Europe regularly. On one of my trips, I was bumped to "World Business Class" and given a gift... a miniature Dutch house filled with gin. I thought it was kind of cool, but gave it away when I had forgotten to buy a gift for my (then) girlfriend. I think it was this one...

KLM Delft House
Photo taken from KLM Dutch Houses

What I only recently found out was that KLM has been coming out with a new house every October 7th for 92 years! The house I got was not a one-time event for the airline, but a tradition that had been going on for decades. On top of that, each house is based on a real house somewhere in the Netherlands.

You can read all about the 92 houses that have been released on KLM's website... but the coolest way to explore the collection is by getting the KLM Houses App for iPhone. With it you can even get a Google Map with directions to the actual house that the miniature is based on.

Something else I learned today, "KLM" stands for "Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij"... which is Dutch for "Royal Aviation Company." Try saying that ten times fast.

   
• Fresh. Speaking of DutchyLand... TULIPS!

Red Tulips

Hard to believe this was taken just 50 days ago.

   
• Fresh. Congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee and 60 years on the throne...

The Dave and The Queen
One of the most hauntingly beautiful portraits I've ever seen... by Annie Leibovitz

NOW can I get my knighthood?

   
And... time to pack my suitcase. It's going to be an interesting week...

   

Bullet Sunday 282

Posted on Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Dave!Take time to be kind... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Prometheus. After getting caught up with work I decided to take a break and go see genius director Ridley Scott's return to science fiction... Prometheus. It's the story of mankind's quest to find the origins of life by following an "invitation" from our "engineers" to another planet. Chaos ensues.

Prometheus Robot David
Michael Fassbender as synthetic person "David," the only interesting character in the entire film.

I still don't know quite what to make of the movie because almost nothing made sense. I simply could not figure out how characters knew what they knew or why they did what they did. But, worst of all, there was no payoff story-wise at the end. Everything seemed totally pointless... even when somebody died. Especially when somebody died. And though there was an effort to tie the film to Ridley Scott's brilliant Alien... any effort to use what happened in Prometheus as a back-story doesn't reveal anything particularly interesting. Maybe that comes in the sequel, for which this movie was an obvious setup.

Overall I give the movie an A for the stunning visuals (which I experienced in IMAX 3D, and it was amazing)... but knock it down to a C when you factor in the mostly boring characters and a weak story with few thrills. And while it was nice to see some sci-fi on the big screen, I was mostly disappointed with Prometheus.

   
• Super. Well, I finally managed to eat at Super Duper, which is where some of my friends swear the best veggie burger on earth resides. And while I still prefer the vegetarian fare at Johnny Rockets, I have to say it's a good-tasting burger if you happen to be a vegetarian in San Francisco (it's got hummus on it!)...

Super Duper Logo

   
• WWDC 2012. Tomorrow is the start of Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference here in San Francisco. In the past it's been a big event for the release of new hardware and operating system updates, and this year will probably bring us more of the same. New iOS 6. New Siri. New OS X. New Macs and MacBooks. Maybe even a new iPhone and some other surprises...

WWDC Logo

I wish I could stick around for the event, but tickets sold out in 2 hours and my flight leaves tomorrow morning. Oh well. Guess I have an excuse to buy internet on the plane now so I can keep up with things while I'm in the air. I'm hoping for an iPhone update that finally makes my "smart phone" into an actual smart phone... with features like AUTO RE-DIAL and SELECTIVE CALLER BLOCKING and TIME-SCHEDULED BLOCKING and all the other stuff that makes my iPhone a not-so-smart phone. Time will tell.

   
And with that... good bye to the City by the Bay.

   

Bullet Sunday 283

Posted on Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Dave!Put that Father's Day barbecue on hold... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Meh-crosoft. The big news in technology is that Microsoft will be making a major announcement tomorrow... probably some kind of tablet... and nobody cares! Tablets have been done. So unless they've got a tablet with a 3-D holographic display and free unlimited satellite internet connectivity, stop wasting our time! You want to really impress me? I'm still waiting for my flying car. Why not announce that shit tomorrow?

Microsoft Flying DeLorean

But noooooo... odds are we get yet another tablet. Which probably won't be as good as an iPad anyway. Yawn.

   
• Glass According to the Seattle PI Blog, The Space Needle is getting "glass window box" upgrades. As if it wasn't already scary enough...

Space Needle Glass Box

The glass window boxes at Chicago's Willis Tower, known as "The Ledge," were enough to make me nearly wet myself. And they were on a building. These are going to be on a frickin' tower. Guess it's still not as bad as The Grand Canyon Skywalk though.

   
• Holes The movie Prometheus was a beautiful disaster that looked stunning (especial in IMAX 3D) but, unfortunately, had so many story problems that I had a hard time enjoying it. Red Letter Media has encapsulated many of those problems in an amusing, SPOILER-FILLED, chat...

If you haven't listened to the amazing "Mr. Plinkett Reviews" of such films as the Star Wars prequels, and various Star Trek films, and other flicks like Avatar and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... you're really missing out. Yes, they're meant to be funny, but the insight Red Letter Media has into the art of filmmaking is brilliant.

   
• Nowalla So much for Gowalla's promises of being able to download your check-in data and stamp collection from their now-dead service... Gowalla.com is down and the domain doesn't even resolve any more. So glad that I spent huge chunks of my time adding spot data, correcting spot errors, and spending my money buying custom stamps. But, hey, they got bought out by Facebook and got paid... so screw all the people who helped build their service! You'd think they'd AT LEAST allow you to import your check-ins and stamps into Facebook or something.

   
And... I'm prematurely out of bullets. I'd be embarrassed, but I hear it happens to every guy from time to time.

   

Bullet Sunday 284

Posted on Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Dave!This morning I got my bajillionth email asking me how I manage to take all the trips that I do. My best answer is usually "Find a job that requires a lot of travel." But most people are asking about leisure travel, which is something entirely different. And though I can't speak for everybody, I can say what works for me. With that in mind, a special All Travel Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• SET MY PRIORITIES! I drive a crappy car. I will continue to drive the piece of shit until the wheels fall off because it's paid for. It's not that I wouldn't like to have a nice car, it's that I'd rather spend the money traveling. For some people, their priorities would be exactly opposite, and that's fine. I take two vacations every year because that's where I choose to spend my money. You don't have to be obscenely wealthy to travel the world, you just have to make it a priority in your life.

   
• SAVE MY MONEY! I save up the money needed for a trip before I take it. Sometimes this can take years, and I'll take smaller vacations while I'm saving for the bigger ones. When it comes time to buy plane tickets and hotel rooms, if I don't have enough money saved then I do not go on vacation! It's un-American I know, but the stress of having credit card interest build up on debt I have to pay back would completely negate any fun I might otherwise have. When it became apparent that I wasn't going to have enough money during my Australia holiday once the plane tickets had been purchased and the hotels had been reserved, I was in a near-panic. I couldn't cancel my non-refundable fees for a later date to save up more money. I certainly wasn't going to fly all the way there and do nothing because I couldn't afford it. My only option was to run up $1300 on my credit card. I chose not to worry about it while I was on vacation, but it bothered me badly when I got back. Some people don't have any problem paying for their trip after they take it... I've found it makes for a better vacation if I do the opposite.

   
• CREATE MY BUDGET! My first real trip "on my own" was to New Orleans when I was in high school. I had won a DECA competition at Washington State Finals and went on to compete in Louisiana for Nationals. My mom and dad paid for airfare and hotel, so the only budget I had to worry about was food. To pay for my meals I was given money by my parents, and also had some meager funds I had saved up... it was more than adequate, but hardly extravagant. My "system" for maintaining a budget was to split my money into the number of days I had. After paying for my meals of the day, I took whatever money was left over and saved it for souvenirs and crap. This gave me a big incentive to eat cheaply so I had pocket money to spend. And since the drinking age of 18 was rarely enforced on my 17 years of age, most of that pocket money went towards alcohol... the best souvenir money can buy! And even though I now have credit cards, ATMs, and whatnot, the money lessons I learned in New Orleans back in 1983 set the pattern for every trip I've taken since.

   
• INCREASE MY FLEXIBILITY Believe it or not, most of my vacations are based not on where I most want to go... but instead on what's on sale. I subscribe to dozens of email newsletters (Airfare Watchdog is my favorite) that have all kinds of travel deals (and most airlines, cruise lines, hotel chains, and travel sites have newsletters too). When I see something that's affordable and appealing, I grab it. I've taken ridiculously cheap vacations this way. By being flexible I can easily halve my travel costs (or more!). I once flew to Copenhagen for one day to attend a birthday party. It was finding an airfare deal for $298 roundtrip that made it possible. I once took a four-day vacation to New York because I got an airfare/hotel package deal for $400. I flew to San Francisco once because of a $89 roundtrip airfare introductory special. I once got a last-minute roundtrip Hawaii ticket for $199. My airfare for the trip to Venice I took last year was FREE (+ $120 in fees) when I signed up for a credit card (which I immediately turned around and canceled before I had to pay the annual fee). If you have an open mind and can be a little flexible on dates, you can get deals that are almost too good to be true.

   
• DO MY RESEARCH! Back in the 80's and early 90's travel was very different than it is now. The way you saved money was to find the cheapest alternatives for stuff you needed. For me this meant sleeping on trains or finding hostels instead of staying in hotels. It meant buying food at the market instead of going out to restaurants. It meant a lot of research and a lot of planning. It meant a lot of calls to a travel agent. All this changed when travel sites like Orbitz came along. Easily being able to find and compare cheap airfare and hotels meant my travel dollar went further. I could stay longer and do more than ever before. Everything change again when bidding sites like Priceline came along. Now I could stay at fantastic hotels cheaply. Kayak arrived and suddenly finding the best price on airfare was a snap. Today I am traveling in sheer luxury compared to how I used to travel... and yet paying budget prices. Thank you, internet!

   
• MAXIMIZE MY REWARDS! I purchase absolutely everything on my rewards credit card. Everything. $35 in gas? Credit card. Cable TV bill? Credit card. Phone bill? Credit card. $3.50 bagel? Credit card. Whenever humanly possible I buy everything on credit card because each dollar translates into reward points. Points that I can then spend to get free airline tickets. The only thing you have to do to make this work in your favor is to pay off your credit card balance every month (I pay mine every week). How can I afford to attend Bitchsterdam in the Netherlands each year? Free airline ticket. And it doesn't stop there. I have frequent flier cards for every airline I fly. I have hotel stay reward cards for every hotel I stay at (even though you don't get points for discounted Priceline stays, you still get perks for visits). I enroll in every loyalty program that's free even if I don't think I'll ever use it again... you just never know.

   
• PLAN MY VISIT! Once I decide where I'm going and what I'm doing, I plan for the trip. Not necessarily down to the last detail, because I don't like having to be on a schedule... but enough to know what I want to do and what I'll be spending to do it. I research how much meals cost. I research what activities there are and how much they cost. I ask questions of people who have already been there. I pour over travel websites. I do everything I can to anticipate every dollar I'll have to spend so I can save for it. Most of the time I'm very good at this because I'm well-informed before I even get there. On rare occasions, shit happens and you go into debt to pay for it, but imagine how much worse it would have been if you had gone in with no planning at all?

   
• FOLLOW MY BUDGET! I use the same strategy now that I did for my first trip when it comes to a budget. I divide the money I have available for expenses into the number of days I'm away. Anything I have left over at the end of the day is then used for souvenirs and crap (but mostly alcohol... some things never change!).

   
And that's pretty much it. Other people have their own way of traveling, and that's great, but this is what works for me. Happy travels!

   

Bullet Sunday 285

Posted on Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Dave!There's a heatwave plaguing the nation! Well, not here, really, but most places in the USA. Though it is supposed to get up to 90° next week. Guess that means it's time for my American readers to park themselves next to an air conditioner... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Canada! Happy Canada Day to our lovely neighbors to the north!

DAVETOON: Celebrating Canada Day

   
• Hadia Gwaii! And speaking of Canada... one of my favorite travel blogs, Everything Everywhere, recently landed on a place I have long wanted to visit, Hadia Gwaii. Gary's 8 Things You Might Not Have Known About Hadia Gwaii just makes me want to go even more. Sure it's less than 600 miles northwest of Seattle, but getting there is not easy. There's a ferry that runs out of Prince Rupert, but you've got to drive 1000 miles to get there...

Map To Hadia Gwaii
Map courtesy of Google Maps.

That's a 7-hour ferry ride after a 21-hour drive. Not really a great option for me. I'd rather fly to Vancouver, then transfer to a connecting flight to Sandspit... at a cost of about $1000. Yikes. Maybe an entire day driving wouldn't be so bad if I did a stopover in Prince George or something. But, given the price of gas, maybe the $1000 flight isn't so horrible after all? I dunno. If you want to see a little of why I want to go there, here's a Hadia Gwaii info site.

   
• Oatmeal! Matt Inman, creator of some of the funniest stuff on the internet you will ever see over at The Oatmeal, has been embroiled in a stupid, stupid lawsuit. What's particularly stupid is that he was first sued because somebody STOLE HIS WORK... and then again BECAUSE HE TURNED THE DUMB-FUCK LAWSUIT INTO AN OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE $220,000 FOR CHARITY. Yes, he was sued for raising money for the National Wildlife Foundation and the American Cancer Society with OPERATION BEAR LOVE GOOD, CANCER BAD...

Bear Love Good, Cancer Bad

Now, as somebody who has been threatened with absurd legal action more than once for the crazy stuff I've published on my blog, I have a low tolerance for ridiculous crap like this. If there's any justice in the world, douchebag lawyer Charles Carreon will end up paying all the legal fees for filing this bullshit in the first place... right after his lawsuits are dismissed for being STUPID. Anybody wanting to see what's going to cause the downfall of this country need look no further than our legal system's frivolous lawsuits.

   
• Pot! Kettle! And speaking of stupid... "Nancy Pelosi is a dingbat!" —Irony's Official Spokesperson, Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin says Derp!

This may be a true statement. Nancy Pelosi may indeed be a dingbat. But anything that comes out of the mouth of this vapid joke regarding the lack of smarts IN OTHER PEOPLE just makes her into a bigger fucking idiot than she already is. If that's even possible. It just proves that Sarah Palin isn't even self-aware. Or able to learn. As in lacking sentience. Like a rock. A stupid, stupid, stupid rock.

As much as I loathe John McCain for betraying our POW/MIAs, the fact that he unleashed this monster on us is beyond unforgivable.

   
Blargh. Guess I'd better stop shooting bullets and go into work since I'm running an hour late and all. This coming week is going to be a rough one...

   

Bullet Sunday 287

Posted on Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Dave!Take time to be kind... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Rude! About an hour after I posted from 34,000 feet above Nebraska yesterday, the flight turned to crap because of the asshole sitting across the aisle from me. He was argumentative, belligerent, hostile, and otherwise douchey towards the flight attendants... and it was just awful to have to sit there and watch him treat the hard-working cabin crew so badly. It took every ounce of my will power to keep from punching him in his stupid face and telling him to shut the fuck up, but I had no choice. Had I even just told him to calm down and stop being a jerk, the consequences for me could have ended up being tragically bad if he got violent. Because then I would have punched him in the face. I may be a wimpy guy, but there is no question I could have beat the ever-loving' shit out of him. The turd was in really bad shape and I'm guessing he would have had a heart attack in short order had he squared off with me. So my hat's off to the flight attendant who managed to keep the situation under control. That is absolutely something I could not have done. I know I've said it before, but I am seeing this kind of self-entitled assholery more and more in the First Class cabin and, if it weren't for the extra leg-room and space to work, I'd be longing for the days I never got upgraded and always flew coach.

   
• Family! After dinner on Friday night, we were all passing by a van that had a very unique take on the whole "stick figure family" fad on the back window...

Guy, Tombstone, Tombstone, Tombstone.

Sick! And so very, very disturbing and wrong. And yet... funneh. I cannot figure out how I feel about this from one minute to the next.

   
• CAAAAAAAHHHN! Every year I read all the reports coming out of Comic-Con, I am dying to attend. And yet, the two times I did attend, the crowds and lack of planning had me swearing never to return. If only they would videotape all the events... I would gladly pay to watch them online. What I don't understand is why they're passing on this obviously lucrative revenue stream. I doubt it would affect attendance in any measurable way... especially if it were offered up on pay-per-view after Comic-Con was over. Talk about your win-win scenarios... what am I missing?

   
And... I've got a very early drive home in the morning, so I guess three bullets it is then tonight.

   

Bullet Sunday 288

Posted on Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Dave!Put down that beverage... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

Or maybe not. Maybe you should pick up that beverage again and order another. That's what I'm going to do. Right after I edit out all the nastiest bits of this nasty Bullet Sunday in an effort to make it be not-so-nasty. I've had enough nasty for the week.

   
• Rewarding Failure. Despite being a total Mac Whore, I don't hate Microsoft. <--CONTENT DELETED--> Competition is healthy, and a healthy Microsoft means healthy competition. If Balmer is left in charge, I don't think there's going to be a Microsoft much longer. <--CONTENT DELETED--> My how the tables have turned.

   
• Unfathomable Stupidity. I've never hid my disgust and loathing of Rush Limbaugh as everything that's wrong with this country. He incites hatred by telling lies to a huge audience who never questions the bullshit he's peddling. This week he hit an all-time low by calling a near-twienty-year-old Batman villain, Bane, a conspiracy by the filmmakers behind The Dark Night Rises to undermine Mitt Romney's presidential bid by reminding people he worked for Bain Capital. <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> For this country to get back to greatness, we've got to be able to move past this deadly division that's destroying us. <--CONTENT DELETED--> But so long as people like Rush Limbaugh are able to get rich by pushing people to hate each other, we're not going anywhere.

   
• Darkest Night. The horrible tragedy in Aurora, Colorado is a horrific reminder of the world we live in. <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> That there were people who selflessly acted to protect others at the expense of their own lives is a reminder that society is ultimately filled with decent and generous people. Batman's belief in that underlying truth is why he does what he does in the comic books. It's why we should keep fighting in the Real World as well. My heart goes out to everybody in Aurora affected by this senseless tragedy.

   
• Chik Chuck. When a successful company proudly announces that they support organizations which fight for inequality, bigotry, and hatred... you kind of have to wonder why they're a successful company. <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> I wish I ate meat so that I could refuse to eat at Chik-Fil-A. Like the company who invented The Muppets.

   
• Political Animals. Sigourney Weaver is one of my favorite actresses because she's appeared in so many of my favorite movies... Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest, Alien, Aliens, Dave, Paul, The Cabin in the Woods, and WALL-E to name a few. So when I heard she was going to be appearing on television(!) in a new show called Political Animals, nothing could keep me from tuning in. And I wasn't disappointed. Such a deliciously good show with a really good cast. <--CONTENT DELETED--> Needless to say, Sigourney Weaver is amazing in it. If you find entertainment in the darker side of politics, this is a show you should be watching.

   
• Two Birds. My favorite email client is called "Sparrow." It is beautifully simple yet very powerful, which is everything you want when it comes to your software. Unfortunately, Sparrow was bought out by Google, who promptly stopped development on the Mac and iPhone apps. While I can't blame the developers for taking the Big Google Payday, I'm still a little bitter about it. Just like Gowalla before them, it seems as though surprisingly little consideration was given to all the customers who got them where they are. <--CONTENT DELETED--> Oh well. I guess this just means that there's room for another developer to step in and build something even better.

   
• Michele Bachmann. Surprise surprise. This weeks' installment of bat-shit crazy comes courtesy of the Queen of Bat-Shit Crazy. <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> <--CONTENT DELETED--> What a fucking piece of shit.

   
Annnnnd... I want a fresh start in a fresh week now.

   

Bullet Sunday 289

Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Dave!Time to put down that Olympic remote... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Negative. When it comes to living in the USA, I cannot help but question the society we have evolved into when there's this incessant need to tear people down. This was made very clear to me as I watched NBC's continuing shitty time-delayed coverage of the Olympic games yesterday. Ryan Lochte had just won the gold in a swimming event with a very impressive performance. But this wasn't the focus of the coverage. The focus was on how Lochte had just "delivered a beating" to reigning Olympic champion Michael Phelps, who came in fourth. Once I heard this "beating" mentioned for a third time, I had to turn the channel.

Michael Phelps 2008 Medals
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Just four years ago, Michael Phelps won 8 out of 8 gold medals in the 29th Olympic Games in China. He was America's pride and joy and the media couldn't gush with praise often enough or fast enough for "the greatest swimmer of all time." And now? The media is using those 8 medals around his neck to strangle the guy by pointing out what a disappointment he is for not getting another medal. And, putting aside how crappy it is that they are so horrible to Michael Phelps... how shitty is it that this is how Ryan Lochte's friends and family watching at home get to experience his moment of triumph?

And why? Why? Why? Why? How hard would it be to say "Congratulations to Ryan Lochte for winning the gold, and way to go Michael Phelps for a terrific effort in snagging fourth place!" Because, seriously, even putting aside his Olympic championship status... out of all the athletes from around the frickin' WORLD, Phelps came in fourth! That's still an amazing achievement. And what the hell have you done lately?

But this, apparently, is not what the American public wants to see or hear. They want Michael Phelps humbled and humiliated. Building somebody up is great, but tearing them down is better. Yes, it's surprising that Phelps didn't medal. Shocking even. So say it's surprising and shocking... don't "give a beating" to somebody who trained hard and did their best. Even if it is somebody as accomplished as Michael Phelps, who still has a bunch of Olympic medals back home.

   
• Clarkson. And, speaking of tearing somebody down, this happened on Twitter...

Jeremy Clarkson to Mitt Romney... Go Fuck Yourself

Now, as a massively huge fan of Top Gear, I should post a disclaimer which says that I am a massively huge fan of Jeremy Clarkson. He's a total bastard in the best possible way, and one of the most entertaining television personalities ever.

So when he tells Mitt Romney to "fuck off" it would be easy to write this off as Jeremy Clarkson being Jeremy Clarkson. Except... Mitt Romney made a disastrous visit to the UK where he pretty much had his head up his ass the entire time. First he tells London that he didn't think they were ready to host the Olympics and questioned whether the Brits can "come together" and celebrate the games properly... then a quote from his book No Apology was widely circulated in the UK press: "England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions." Nice. Not only does he show he's fucking ignorant about the country ("England" is not an island. "Great Britain" is an island that includes the countries of England, Scotland, and Wales) he seems to think the way to make the United States look good is to put other countries down. What an asshole.

So yeah, tear somebody down and you deserve to get torn down in return. I guess that works.

   
• Hey Jude. And speaking of something that England produced that nobody wants...

In my alternative history fantasy world, the Beatles reunited for the first time in 42 years to perform at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

As happy as I was to see Sir Paul McCartney close out the Opening Ceremonies... the mega-Beatles-fan in me will always want more...

The Beatles

   
• BILL! BILL! BILL! There's a funny YouTube video making the rounds called Mr. Wizard's a Dick! that compiles a bunch of snippets from the 1983 revival of Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert's television show which shows him...uhhhh... being a dick...

I was never much a fan of Mr. Wizard, but I was a big fan of Bill Nye The Science Guy. And now there's hope that he might start making new episodes of his awesome science show straight from the horse's mouth via Reddit...

Bill Nye Science Guy

Yeah, I really should be too old for a children's science program... but I would totally watch that show.

   
• Rotten. Let's recap my recent experiences with Apple, shall we?

  • I get my free upgrade code for OS X Mountain Lion. It doesn't work.
  • I call AppleCare for help and am promised a new code. A day later, I still don't have it.
  • Tired of waiting, I pay for the download and then request a refund since I was promised a free upgrade when I bought my MacBook Pro Retina.
  • My new 5-month old iMac is ruined by Mountain Lion and crashes at random. After a clean install, it just gets worse.
  • While my MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro Retina seem to be fine after upgrading, my older Mac (which meets all the requirements) is now freaking out after receiving Mountain Lion, sometimes going non-responsive or randomly quitting apps.
  • I get an email back from Apple telling me that they understand that I "unintentionally purchased OS X Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store and am requesting that the charges be reversed." Well, obviously they DON'T "understand" anything, because it wasn't "unintentional." They warn me that if the charges are reversed, Mountain Lion will be erased from my "Past Purchases" and I won't be able to download it again. Since I still plan on getting a redeem code from Apple, I agree.
  • After attempting to do a second clean install of Mountain Lion on my iMac from the recovery partition, the computer is bricked. Won't even boot now except from the recovery partition, even though the install seemed to go okay.
  • I receive a condescending email from AppleCare telling me "After reviewing the circumstances of your case, we determined that issuing you a refund for the purchase of 'OS X Mountain Lion' is an appropriate exception to the App Store Terms and Conditions, which state that all sales are final." and... "The iTunes Store provides a warning message that asks if you are sure that you want to buy an item." I want to write back and tell them to stop trying to shame me into believing I did something wrong when THEY were the ones who fucked up my redeem code, but accept my refund and say nothing.
  • Finally receive my second redeem code replacement. But when I go to use it, the code gives me OS X Server, not OS X Mountain Lion.
  • Write yet another email to Apple requesting a third redeem code since the first two didn't work.
  • Created a Mountain Lion Install boot disk on a USB drive so I can (hopefully) completely wipe my new iMac and start over from scratch. I'll let you know how it goes...

So, basically, over the past week I've had more horribly bad experiences with Apple than I have had over the past 35 years. This hurts. It physically hurts me.

   
And now... time to see if I can un-brick an iMac...

   

Bullet Sunday 291: Portlandia 3

Posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Dave!Put away that razor and pull on those socks and Birkenstocks... because Bullet Sunday LIVE from Portland, Oregon starts... now...

   
• Olympic. I would have paid serious money for Bob Costas and Ryan Seacrest to shut the fuck up during the Olympic Closing Ceremonies. Seriously, nobody wants to hear your inane and unnecessary banter. People who don't already know the artist and/or song being performed, or what the British flag looks like, or when the "comedic part of the show" starts, or whatever... isn't going to give a shit, so just stop because you're pissing off the rest of us that do.

Anyway... the mix of musicians was interesting and the performances were top-notch, so I guess that's all you can really hope for. As an 80's music whore and pop music fan, seeing Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Bond, Spice Girls(!), Queen, ELO, and Take That... all in a single event... all with a giant octopusmobile AND ERIC IDLE... was pretty great (alas, no nod to punk?).

Spice Olympics
Spicey Olympics Photo by Hassan Ammar/AP

So congratulations to London and the U.K. for delivering a big "fuck you" to Mitt Romney by being the perfect host for the games... I'm just sorry that here in the Colonies, NBC felt the need to butcher your event and slap bad commentary over everything while injecting "human interest" stories that (for the most part) were neither human nor interesting. Hopefully we'll have better luck in 2016...

Rio 2016

...but I doubt it.

   
• Rozilla. While I still find the Comedy Central Roasts entertaining, it seems like it's more washed-up celebrity than heavy hitters in comedy any more. I mean, it's Rosanne for Pete's sake...

Rosanne Roasted

The opportunity to roast her should have brought out some of the biggest names in comedy. Instead we get Carrie Fisher, Ellen Barkin(?), and Seth Green(?!?). A completely missed opportunity. The surprise appearance by Tom Arnold was (surprisingly) a good thing... and Amy Schumer keeps getting funnier, so I guess there's that. But this pale imitation of the glory days of the Friar's Club Roasts is just kind of sad. If they can't do better than this for somebody like Rosanne then they should just hang it up.

   
• Totally. And so I went to see Total Recall (the Total 2012 Remake). It wasn't bad. It had good action, good special effects, and a nice Blade Runner-esque environment that pretty much sold the future. And there were a few nods to the original film that were great (TWO WEEKS!)...

Total Recall 2012

The problem? It just wasn't any fun. On the contrary, it was essentially joyless, and I'm not sure how it ended up that way with so much going for it. Kate Beckinsale was delicious, as usual. And I thought Colin Farrell did a great job. So I dunno. Maybe the Arnold Schwarzenegger original was just too well done? Paul Verhoeven really knocked it out of the park, creating a film that totally holds up and doesn't need a remake. But it's not like that has ever stopped Hollywood.

   
• Kubert. I was very sad to learn that comic book icon Joe Kubert has died. Talk about somebody who made a mark in his field. The guy was a true artist and comic book master. I remember his Hawkman stories very well, and always enjoyed it when he popped up in unexpected places.

Hawkman

Rest in peace, Mr. Kubert.

   
• Crazy. As much as I try to ignore the freak show, Pat Robertson seems to be echoing the same bullshit that I keep hearing from other homophobic morons who are twisting The Bible to justify their hate, so here he goes...

First of all, IT'S NOT ABOUT A CHICKEN SANDWICH OR A MILKSHAKE, YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT. It's not even about some rich asshole's right to give money to groups which fosters an environment so horrible that gay youth are killing themselves. It's about people choosing to not support a company whose profits support such un-American ideals as DENYING EQUALITY TO EVERYONE. Why is it that hate groups like "One Million Moms" can call for all kinds of boycotts against things you don't like and that's okay, but when somebody else calls for a boycott against something you do like, they're "attacking freedom?"

Second of all, cherry-picking only those things out of The Book of Leviticus which you think supports your hateful crap makes for a laughably hypocritical and ignorant "Christian." Where is your outrage for all the other antiquated and ignored parts of The Bible which get violated every single day? Where's the righteous hate towards those wearing an article of clothing woven from two different threads, for example? Not that it matters. Here in the United States of America people don't have to live by the warped, edited, and totally biased interpretation of a religious document that's been butchered by an addle-minded old bigot with a television show. YOU live by it if you want to, that's your right. But keep in mind that it's everybody else's right to tell you to go fuck yourself and live the way they want to. Freedom. You may want to go look it up sometime.

And, thirdly, I defy... I defy an infertile woman married to an infertile man to bring forth a baby from that part of the anatomy which they concentrate on. I also defy you to comprehend that you can't categorize somebody's relationship eligibility by whether or not their body parts can make a baby. Not according to Christianity, and most certainly not according to the law. It's a very simple concept, and yet you keep avoiding it because the alternative is to come out and admit the truth... you just "hate those filthy homosexuals" and don't feel they deserve any rights because they don't live the way you want them to. Holy crap what a pathetic coward you are that you don't even have the balls to come out and say it.

So why don't you be the one to shut your mouth? People here in the 21st century are getting sick and tired of religion being used as an excuse for intolerance and hatred. This country is starting to move past your tired old message of bigotry and exclusion. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion, and this country was based on that ideal. If you can't handle that, feel free to get the fuck out of the USA and go start a country of your own. That way, I won't have to keep seeing your stupid America-hating, freedom-defiling, equality-bashing ass pop up any time you say something new and crazy. Which, apparently, is constantly.

   
• EXTREME! Dude! SHARK WEEK STARTS TODAY!!

Shark Extreme Melon

I wish I knew who created this beyond-awesome fruit carving, because they totally deserve recognition for crafting the most shark extreme watermelon ever. The gummi-fish are a nice touch.

   
And now? Seacrest out.

At last.

   

Bullet Sunday 292

Posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Dave!Get over your post-Olympic depression... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Sexytime. Remember the good old days when a teacher would sleep with one of their students? Well, technically, those weren't the "good old days"... but now it's looking like they could be. Because a teacher in Texas has been convicted for having a FIVE-WAY GANG BANG with four of her students at the same time ON VIDEO. Plus a fifth student separately (I guess he was late to the party?)...

Hot for Teacher

At least the students were at the age of consent this time. Though the truly shitty part is that the woman is married... with three kids. Which makes her eligible for the grand trifecta of Teacher of the Year, Wife of the Year, and Mother of the Year. I don't pretend to know anything about her marriage or her life (apparently her husband was also into the group thang), so it's not really my place to judge her for the things she's done. But holy crap. Age of consent or not, parents should be able to trust that their kids aren't going to get invited to a gang-bang by their school teachers. Military husbands should be able to leave for their service and trust that their wives aren't going to cheat on them with a bunch of teenagers in their own home. Kids should be able to trust that their mom isn't going drag them into the media spotlight by having a sex video where she's sport-fucking a high school football team. If you want to do this kind of crazy shit, more power to you. But don't make it a contest of how many lives you can ruin along the way... stay single and go fuck the Dallas Cowboys or something. Otherwise you're just making choices to intentionally hurt people you should be caring about... and that makes you selfish garbage. I am so sick and tired of hearing about kids having to live through this this crap. If you can't fully commit to having a spouse and family... don't get married and have kids! And if you do it anyway, then at least have the decency to stick by your choices instead of dragging your innocent kids into your shit.

   
• Douche. There are some actors I love so much that I am compelled to watch absolutely everything they do no matter how bad it is. Morgan Freeman comes to mind. I don't care how crappy the film, you can count on him to be absolutely brilliant in it, thus making the movie worth your suffering. Of course, the opposite is also true. There are actors I loathe so much that I avoid absolutely everything they do. And at the top of that list would be Shia LaBeouf, who has to be one of the shittiest actors on the planet...

Boofin'
Photo take from a douchetastic interview over at Details Magazine

I mean, this guy played a huge part in fucking up an unfuckable movie franchise for The Transformers! How do you fuck up a movie about giant robots fighting evil giant robots? You hand it over to Michael Bay and put Shia LeBeouff in it, that's how! And how do you fuck up the Indiana Jones movies, one of the most beloved franchises in cinematic history? You have George Lucas write it and put Shia LeBeouff in it, that's how! Everything he touches turns to absolute crap. And, as if that weren't enough, he's a colossal d-bag as well... screwing other guy's girlfriends, trashing the people and studios that gave him work, and squaring off with security guards who kick you out of Walgreen's for smoking. He probably thinks that antics like this make him some kind of "Hollywood bad boy," when it actually just makes him a total dick.

Which is why it makes total sense that he is swearing off big-budget films forever, and is just going to do little indie films which have artistic "vision." First up? He's making a porn flick called Nymphomaniac with Lars VonTrier. Because making a sex video is totally visionary. Well, whatever. Anything that makes it easier to avoid seeing this complete douchebag's shitty acting in another film is something I approve of.

   
• Closure. I am always gutted with a Hard Rock Cafe closes that I didn't get to visit. And the worst closings are those that keep me from collecting a complete set of country visits. Like Aspen, the only Hard Rock in the USA I didn't get to visit. Or Oasis, the only Hard Rock in the UK I didn't get to visit. And now... Narita, the only Hard Rock in Japan I didn't get to visit. It really blows that Hard Rock Corporate doesn't warn fans when a cafe is going to close so they have some time to see the property before it's gone forever. If I had known that Narita was going down, I would have found a way to get there, even if it meant selling a kidney so I could afford it. Stupid Hard Rock Cafe hobby.

   
• Patrik. A Swedish movie was suggested to me called Patrik, Age 1.5, and I finally got around to watching on Netflix Streaming. It's the story of a gay couple who set out to adopt a baby they think is 1.5 years-old... but is actually a 15 year-old homophobic delinquent. Hilarity ensues...

Well, maybe not "hilarity," but it is a pretty funny movie. And kind of touching. And a little sad. But ultimately uplifting. Thanks again to my blog readers who keep digging up these fantastic obscure films for me to watch.

   
• Deadly. And so this happened...

Avitable Dead Celeb Book

When I first heard that Avitable had turned the "Interviews with Dead Celebrities" feature of his blog into a book, the first thought that came to mind was... I'll bet it wasn't entirely written by Adam. I'll bet that those "15 brand new, never-before-published interviews" were farmed out to some out-of-work writer... or outsourced to India... or copied off the internet or something. No way did he actually fabricate all new interviews with dead people just for a book. And look at that cover! It's a dead giveaway! Avitable is drawn wearing PANTS! Avitable never wears pants. Well, okay... he wears pants when he's out in public... but it's always short pants. This book is obviously a fraud and not entirely by Adam at all. And since I had already read all the real interviews on his blog, I was just going to take a pass. Who wants imitation Avitable? Not me. But then... then something incredible happened. I was reading the book blurb and saw this...

Written Entirely by Avitable

HOLY CRAP! The interviews were written ENTIRELY BY AVITABLE!! No ghost writers... no outsourcing... no plagiarism... the guy actually wrote every single interview himself! At first I didn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. Nay, I WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT! But there it was... staring me right in the face. The interviews were indeed written entirely by Avitable. He didn't even have any help or anything. So I was compelled to read the book. Partly because Adam is a friend... but mostly because I could read it for FREE with my Amazon Prime membership. And, yep, he may be wearing pants now, but it's still Avitable. If you enjoy the "Interview with Dead Celebrities" on his blog, then you'll probably enjoy this, seeing as how there's new content and all. Consequently, if you hate his Dead Celebrity interviews, you will really hate this book. You will be so outraged by this book that you'll want to buy a copy just so you can burn it. Except you can't, because it's only available electronically for Kindle. So you would have to buy the book, download it to your Kindle, then burn your Kindle. Which is kind of pointless, even if you've got the money to burn, because it will only encourage Avitable to write a sequel. In any event, you can buy a digital Kindle copy for $2.99 (or borrow it FREE with your Amazon Prime membership) by clicking this link over to Amazon.

   
Annnnd... back to work.

   

Bullet Sunday 293

Posted on Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Dave!Enjoy the final dog days of Summer... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Astronaut. I'd like to take a minute to chime in with the rest of the internet to say "thank you" to American hero and space explorer Neil Armstrong. His service to his country and pioneering spirt have been an inspiration to the USA and the world...

Neil Armstrong Footprint

As the first human to step foot on the moon, he's left a mark in history the likes of which few will ever accomplish. Rest in peace, Mr. Armstrong.

   
• FaceTime. And to the tin-foil-hat brigade who still believes that the moon landing was a hoax and decides to carpet-bomb my blog with stupid-ass comments I will only end up deleting... you deserve a punch in the face from Buzz Aldrin...

Now go look at these new 2012 photos of the Apollo Moon Landing Site and marvel at the things we mere humans can accomplish.

   
• Isaac. And so Hurricane Isaac is going to be attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Which has resulted in Monday's festivities being canceled as a precaution. Which means Ann Romney, who was scheduled to speak on Monday, has been rescheduled to Tuesday. I'm kind of bummed about this, because my anticipation is running high. Not because I give a shit about anything Ann Romney has to say ("We've given all you people need to know!")... but because I am banking on a SURPRISE GUEST APPEARANCE by Rafalca, her dancing Olympian pony! I'm a huge fan...

Rafalca the Dancing Horse!
Photo by doe awesome photographer at Reuters

   
• Wrath. Still no word from self-proclaimed "Man of God" and total bat-shit insane televangelist Pat Robertson on how God is endorsing President Obama by sending a hurricane to the Republican convention. I mean, I can only assume that this will be what he says, since he's attributed every other "act of God" to some kind of crazy wrath-inspired divine intervention...

It's Crazy Pat!
And now God is telling me that you should send me money!

Guess I shouldn't hold my breath though.

   
• Wrathja Vu. And speaking of zany wrath-inspired divine intervention... I hear that there were earthquakes striking Southern California this afternoon. I can't even guess what God's reason for this will be. Though I'm sure Pat will let us know...

It's Crazy Pat Again!
And now God is telling me that you should send me mo- mo-... oops I crapped my pants!

You're as nuts as ever, you crazy old bastard, you!

   
Another weekend bites the dust...

   

Bullet Sunday 294

Posted on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Dave!Turns out that bullet points are not as rare as a blue moon... because yet another Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Astronomy. Considering how amazing the news, the official NASA press release appeared relatively boring... there are millions of supermassive black holes hiding behind a veil of dust that's mucking up the universe. Other news sources decided to take the NASA news and make it pretty. Forbes ran the story's talking points alongside this photo...

NASA Quasar
Unsurprisingly, this stunning image is from NASA.

I could look at stuff like this all day. Fortunately, NASA has a site for that...

NGC 4038
Again, this stunning image is also from NASA.

I swear... every time the latest Astronomy Picture of the Day hits my web feed reader, it makes me glad I'm not in charge of the US budget. Because, if I were, I'd give NASA more money than they could spend. I'd be rolling up dump trucks full of cash to Jet Propulsion Laboratory and every other division that NASA has. I'd shower them with such massive loads of funding that they'd have to reach into their wildest dreams to find ways to spend it all. I'd probably be branded a traitor and shot for spending public money in such an egregious and irresponsible fashion... but I wouldn't care. As the stunning success with the Curiosity rover has shown, nothing can inspire quite like the USA's forays into space. Alas, reality dictates we have to put the bulk of that money elsewhere, but I can dream. NASA makes it so damn easy.

   
• Holy Crap. If you're not watching Breaking Bad, you are seriously missing out on one of the most depressingly brilliant shows ever to air on television...

Breaking Bad Promo Pic

I was a latecomer to the show... I didn't start watching until half-way through season two. But now that the show is on its fifth and final season, I am trying to envision life without it. Especially when I turn the channel and see the utter shit that's splattered across my television. And speaking of amazing television...

   
• Toby. Even though I just finished making my way through all seven seasons of The West Wing six months ago, I started in again last night (IT'S TOTALLY BLAIR'S FAULT!). I enjoy the show. And, at a time when politics on both side of the spectrum are so dismally disappointing, it makes for better background noise while I work than the news. The only problem is that I HATE HATE HATE HATE the character of Toby Ziegler with the burning passion of a thousand suns...

Toby Ziegler
I know how you feel. I know exactly how you feel. Starting with you.

He was an arrogant asshole from his very first appearance on the show. It seems like creator Aaron Sorkin intended Toby to be some kind of "moral center" he could use to inject his personal politics into a story where they otherwise wouldn't fit. And it was a good idea... except Toby was a total condescending dick most of the time. I don't think actor Richard Schiff is totally to blame, but he certainly didn't infuse much likability into his character that I could ever find. Even when he was being likable. And so now any time I watch an episode, I cannot help but think of how much it would be improved if Toby weren't in it. Or how much fun it would have been to be a writer on The West Wing and kill him off.

   
• Charlie. On the other hand, with each new viewing of The West Wing, I appreciate the subtle genius that Dulé Hill brings to his role of Charlie Young...

Dulé Hill as Charlie Young

When people talk about how astoundingly well-cast The West Wing was, I think that "Charlie" is often-times overlooked, and this is a shame. The character had a very fine line to walk, and the more I re-watch the show the more I am convinced that Dulé Hill is one of only a handful of actors that could have pulled it off. This is made even more apparent when I see the complete 180 he did when he jumped into the role of Gus on Psych. And while I still like Psych, I admit that I'm very interested to see where he jumps next.

   
• Eat. I want nothing more right now at this moment to eat a really good pizza. Alas...

   
And... I should get to bed since I'll be working on Labor Day tomorrow. I guess for me it actually is Labor Day, whereas for most everybody else it's No-Labor Day. Or something like that.

   

Bullet Sunday 295

Posted on Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Dave!Save your pity over my being stuck at an airport for four hours... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Know. I so rarely just toss a link up on my blog... that's what Twitter and Facebook are for... but I read an article titled "25 Things I'd Like My Sons to Know" and was inspired to do just that. Much of it applies not just to sons, but to people everywhere...

Tom Matlack
Photo from Tom Matlack's wonderful article.

If you want to have a little more hope for the future, follow that link. And to prove that Tom Matlack's genius isn't a fluke, here's another: "Raising Boys (A Dad’s Advice for Moms)."

   
• Sleepless. Any attempt to get some sleep last night was futile seeing as how there was a party going on down the hall until 2:30am. As background noise, I probably could have ignored it is not for a screaming cackle by some drunken hag who could just not shut the fuck up. Absolutely everything was funny to her, and I had to listen to her continuous screeching laugh for hours. This alone would have made my final night in Chicago unbearable, but when I got up two hours later there was no hot water at the Hyatt. I don't know what it is about me, but I seem to attract hot water failures.

   
• Aero. But there was good news from my travels today... when I got to the airport, I was totally psyched to see that, ZOMG!, I would be flying on the Mickey Plane!!

Alaska Airlines' Mickey Plane!

And just when I thought things couldn't get much better? UPGRADED TO FIRST CLASS! As a Delta elite flyer, this rarely happens on Alaska Airlines, so it was a complete surprise. As always, the best part of flying First Class is the warm nuts...

Free Warm Nuts!

Yes, I know, I TOTALLY WIN AT LIFE!!!

   
• Livery. This trip was lucky for planes, because my flight to Seattle on Thursday was on the Horizon/Alaska Air Huskies Plane...

Huskies Plane

Alaska Air has so many cool liveries on their fleet, but the one I'm most dying to fly is their "Salmon-Thirty-Salmon"...

Alaska Air Salmon Thirty Salmon

Has to be one of the coolest planes ever made. One of these days I need to see how I can track it down for a ride.

   
• 'Cago. As Chicago is one of my favorite cities on earth, it sucks pretty hard to go there and not be able to spend any time exploring the place. And since I've been there dozens of times, seeking out the frivolous non-touristy stuff is where the fun is at for me. And the only frivolous thing I made time for was visiting the new LEGO store at Water Tower Place...

LEGO Store Chicago

Kinda a disappointment. I mean, sure, they carry a large line of wonderful LEGO products, but it's kind of a boring layout compared to the old one. Oh well. It does have the benefit of being located next door to that obscenely popular American Girl store that makes those creepy little dolls I want to burn with fire.

   
• Coverage. Every time I get to Chicago, I can't help but marvel at the shitty data coverage AT&T has there. Seriously, it's so bad as to be unusable. If you manage to get anything from the internet at all it takes fucking forever, but most times the connection just times out...

AT&T Chicago Sucks Ass

How in the hell can the third largest city in the United States have such embarrassingly bad cellular service? At least I can make a phone call here. In Las Vegas (one of the largest tourist attractions in the country) not only is the data shit, but every call I make gets dropped. Every. Damn. Call. I have no idea why AT&T doesn't get off their stupid asses and fix this shit, because it's frickin' embarrassing. If I didn't have to travel outside the US, I'd switch to Verizon. I dunno. Maybe Verizon's international iPhone coverage is something I should look into.

   
• Limits. And lastly, from the "It's About Damn Time" file, Texas is raising the speed limit on a 41-mile stretch of highway between Austin and San Antonio to 85 MPH. Yes, I know that this is a real cause for concern when it comes to safety. Yes, I realize that there will still be idiots who drive 45 and hold up traffic. Yes, I understand that there are few roadways straight and flat enough to handle 85. And, yes, I get that there will still be people that will only use this as an excuse to go 95. But, dammit, I just don't care. Upping speed limits is something I approve of...

Speed Limit Sign 85 MPH
Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell from AP Photo/Statesman.com

Mostly because I think it's fucking insane that you can get pulled over and ticketed for going 10 miles above the speed limit when there are murders running around free. Yes, dangerous drivers should be stopped and fined. No argument there. But is ticketing someone going 65 in a 55 really the best use of police resources if the driver is handling the speed safely? I'd argue the moron driving 40 in a 55 is the bigger danger. In any event, There are stretches of highway in Eastern Washington that could really benefit from an 85 MPH speed limit, I'm just sayin'.

   
And... my flight starts boarding in 15 minutes, so I guess I should wrap this up. Good thing too, I'm just about out of bullets...

   

Bullet Sunday 296

Posted on Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Dave!Tonight will be my last night of refuge on the coast.

Tomorrow morning I bite the bullet and head back to my smokey home. So put on your gas mask... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Five. I stayed up until midnight so I could pre-order my iPhone 5 on Wednesday...

IPhone 5

It was precisely the cluster-fuck I knew it would be. Couldn't order at Apple because my AT&T billing address is a PO box and they won't deliver to a PO box. Have no clue as to why I can't enter a separate street address for delivery... but whatever. And so I had to pre-order at AT&T's site, which is an even bigger mess. Every single time you press a button, you have to re-press it dozens of times in order for the site to do anything. Every time you fill out a form, you have to re-fill it out and submit it dozens of times in order for the site to accept the data. This took TWO HOURS AND FIVE MINUTES. Insanity. And I have no idea when I'm even going to get it. I may have stayed up until 2:05am for nothing. I understand that these sites are getting completely slammed by thousands of people... but come on. There has got to be a better way of handling this.

   
• Carrier. Make no mistake. The only reason I renewed with shitty AT&T was because I could grandfather in my unlimited data plan. The very minute that AT&T tells me that I can no longer have unlimited data is the minute that I switch to Verizon. AT&T call quality just keeps getting worse and worse, and now data service is in the shitter as well. In cities like Chicago and Las Vegas, my iPhone is practically useless. Hopefully having 4G-LTE will help in cities where 3G fails, because... damn.

   
• Bacon. In what can only be considered a boon to all humanity, you can now check a star's Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon directly in a Google search...

Bacon Number on Google

It never ceases to amaze me how Bacon numbers just keep falling. Mr. Bacon's appearance in X-Men: First Class really chopped a lot of numbers down for younger and up-and-coming stars.

   
• Trek. Speaking of Google... they had a genius interactive doodle for the 46th anniversary of Star Trek last week...

Google Trek!

So awesome.

   
• Alcoholic. The news broke that Disney will be offering beer and wine for sale at their new French restaurant in Walt Disney World's "Magic Kingdom." Unsurprisingly, people are losing their shit. They're saying everything from "Walt Disney is turning in his grave!" to "BOYCOTT DISNEY!!" Never mind that the three other Disney World parks (Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot) have all been serving alcohol for years... somehow serving it in the Magic Kingdom is going to DESTROY DISNEY WORLD! And never mind that visitors can just get shit-faced in the parking lot before they even enter the park... oh no... WE'RE ALL DOOMED! And never mind that the alcohol Disney's going to be selling at heinous prices is only available in the evening and must be consumed before leaving the restaurant... WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey Disney World Beer

Give me a break. I am so sick and tired of people going bat-shit crazy over things that will ultimately have -zero- effect on them. Like a glass or two of wine with dinner is suddenly going to turn Walt Disney World into a drunken brawl where kids will have to stumble over hookers and heroin addicts on their way to "It's a Small World." I never thought I'd be saying that there are people too fucking stupid for Disney World, but here we are. Oh well... more beer for me then.

   
Blargh... time to start thinking about my last smoke-free sleep.

   

Bullet Sunday 297

Posted on Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Dave!I've once again escaped from the smokey side of the state! To celebrate, Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Move! I have tried for decades to understand how the car ahead of you will drive 10 miles under the speed limit... until a passing lane appears... at which time they'll start driving 10 miles over the speed limit so you can't pass... until the passing lane evaporates, at which time they'll drop back to their previous 10 miles under the speed limit again. What is wrong with them? How did they get a license? Don't they deserve to die for that? I know I'd certainly like to kill them for that. Where is Judge Dredd when you really need him?

   
• Case. Once Seattle-side, I stopped by the University Village Apple Store so I could get a case for my new iPhone. I worry a bit about the anodized black aluminum getting scratched, so it seemed like a good idea. Except... The Apple Store didn't have any cases. Which has to be one of the stupidest marketing decisions I've ever seen. Not even a frickin' bumper? By bypassing the add-on sales, it's as if Apple is saying "we don't need the extra revenue." Which, they probably don't... but this still seems outlandishly stupid. It's just as insane as if Apple had stacked up a huge pile of money in the parking lot and then set it on fire.

   
• Johnny? After surviving the shock of the Apple Store not having any iPhone 5 cases, I stumbled outside so I could visit the University Village Johnny Rockets. Except... The Johnny Rockets didn't exist! Which makes me wonder how long it will be until all the Johnny Rockets are gone. They seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate. Losing Pike Place Market was tough. Then Chicago. Then O'Hare. Now University Village. I don't know what my go-to restaurant will be if this continues. I would like it to be Earl of Sandwich but, alas, they're still pretty rare. Guess it'll be Pizza Hut or whatever.

   
• Soft. Across the parking lot from the heinously busy and totally packed University Village Apple Store is the mostly empty University Village Microsoft Store. From the looks of things, Microsoft copied quite a lot from Apple when they made their "retail experience" (except the crowds, of course)... right down to the name tag lanyard hanging around the necks of the T-shirt-wearing employees. As I drove by I saw one poor bastard whose job it is to stand at the door and ask (beg?) people to come in and look around. I felt like making a pity visit just because the whole situation was so sad... but I was just too hungry. Helpful hint to Microsoft: Start serving chocolate pudding and cookies at your stores so you might get some visitors.

   
• LTE. Having never experienced 4G LTE on a mobile phone before, I was pretty shocked to find that it seems faster than my WiFi back home. At least in Seattle it does. Web pages are loading almost instantaneously on my iPhone 5. Entire albums download in two minutes. Internet-powered apps are shockingly fast. Welcome to the future. Of course, it'll take ten years before I get it over in Redneckistan, so I suppose it will have to remain a treat for those times I'm in the big scary city.

   
And... I'm falling asleep. I'd post this, but I'm afraid it's not worth the $15 it would cost me. Holy crap do hotels get away with murder on internet pricing. Maybe they should be the ones policing our highways for slow drivers.

   

Bullet Sunday 298

Posted on Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Dave!Be sure all loose items are securely stored under your seat and remember there's no flash photography, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Halloween! 'Tis the season for "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party" once again. Taking place after the normal park hours, the party has a special parade "Boo to You!" and a really nice fireworks show in addition to trick-or-treating throughout the Magic Kingdom park...

Boo To You Parade

Boo Fireworks

It seemed a lot more crowded than the last time I did Mickey's Halloween, with the trick-or-treat lines being absurdly long. So totally not worth waiting 15-20 minutes for a handful of the cheap candy they're handing out.

   
• Star Tours! The last time I was in Orlando I didn't have time to do the whole Disney thang, so I missed seeing the "new and improved" Star Tours ride. Much to my surprise, it actually is "new and improved!"...

Star Tours Continues!

You get a completely randomized experience every time you ride. Two different openings (Darth Vader and Millennium Falcon), three different adventures (Kashyyyk, Hoth, and Tatooine), and three different endings (Coruscant, Naboo, and Death Star 2)... which makes 54 different possible combinations. I kept riding until I saw all the pieces I wanted to see. The only two I didn't experience were the pod race on Tatooine and the Trade Federation battle on Naboo (since I don't give a flying fuck about the shitty Star Wars prequels. Overall, very well done and a lot of fun!

   
• Safari! Even though I went on the much more extensive and interesting "Wild Africa Trek" through the Animal Kingdom savanna, I still managed to get in a ride on the canned "Kilimanjaro Safari" they offer. Much to my surprise, the "ride" has changed. No longer is there a story element about chasing poachers and rescuing a baby elephant... that's all gone! Instead, it's "just a safari" where you may (or may not) see many interesting animals. The poaching story was kind of lame, so this is probably a smart move... but it was still kind of shocking that the ride wasn't the way I remembered it.

   
• Beignets! No trip to Walt Disney World would be complete without a trip to Disney's Port Orleans' Resort for breakfast beignets!

Beignets!

   
• Dining! This trip I was sure to eat at two of my favorite Disney restaurants... both located in their Hollywood Studios park, both of which I highly recommend (assuming you can get reservations or manage to get in without them... they're really popular). First up is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant, which simulates an old-time drive-in theater playing crappy old sci-fi movies and tables shaped like cars...

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Next up is the 50's Prime Time Cafe, which is set up to look like a house from the 1950's, complete with sassy waitresses bringing out "mom's food" and reminding you to "KEEP YOUR ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE!"

50's Prime Time Cafe

50's Prime Time Cafe

A new restaurant to me this time was "Via Napoli" with authentic Naples pizza. Their White Pizza was amazing, and I will definitely be back...

Pizza at Via Napoli

And, of course, there's always Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney, which makes the best sandwich you will ever eat...

Earl of Sandwich

It's surprising that I don't gain 50 pounds every time I come here. I spend most of my time eating.

   
• Hunter. One of the best shows nobody ever saw was called Oh Grow Up! which was a short-lived comedy by Alan Ball (of American Beauty, True Blood, and Six Feet Under fame). I was a huge, huge fan, which is why I was very sad to just now learn that Oh Grow Up! lead actor Stephen Dunham died back on September 18th. His character of Hunter Franklin was not an easy role to pull off... but Dunham managed it flawlessly...

Dunham

Oh how I wish they would honor Dunham by releasing Oh Grow Up! on DVD or even iTunes download!

   
Annnnd... I could probably shoot off another dozen bullets here, but I've got to be able to get caught up on sleep sometime!

   

Bullet Sunday 299

Posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Dave!Find your happy place, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Debate? I thought I was missing something by being in an airplane during the first presidential debate. Now that I've seen it, I realize I didn't miss much at all. President Obama was uninspiring, passive, and boring. Mitt Romney was artificial, creepy, and a dick. Neither was looking very presidential tonight... though at least Romney seemed to have some passion to him. That being said, I don't think either of them changed any minds. The biggest loser of the night had to be moderator Jim Lehrer, who couldn't moderate wiping his own ass. Pathetic. The next person who puts him in charge of moderating a debate should be shot. Then fired. I guess downsizing Lehrer is one thing that Mitt Romney and I can agree on? I just don't think that Big Bird should go with him...

Lil' Dave and Big Bird

Given the dearth of stupid shit on television for kids, I'd say that supporting entertaining educational programs like Sesame Street is essential for the survival of future generations. Especially when you consider that Big Bird gets 1/100th of 1 percent of the congressional budget (PBS as a whole gets less than 1%). So, yeah, that'll make a fucking dent.

   
• Maries! If crack cocaine and mayonnaise had a baby, it would be Marie's All-Natural Salad Dressings. For the longest time I ignored them on the shelf because they were too expensive compared to the other salad dressings available. But last month I was bored and decided to try one. It was so frickin' amazing that I've been slowly working my way through every flavor available. Now that I've tried them all, I have narrowed my favorites down to Chunky Feta Cheese and Asiago Peppercorn...

Marie's Salad Dressings

Anything that can make lettuce taste this good is worth every penny. And so now I'm going to be poor because I spend all my money on salad dressing. If you're looking for a pricey but delicious way to liven up your salad, I highly recommend giving Marie's a try.

   
• Television! Ooh! New TV shows! As a total television whore, this is a happy time for me. At least it was until I realized that there have only been four new shows worth watching out of all the stuff that looked intereting to me so far this season...

  • 666 Park Avenue. Uhhhh... yeah... I couldn't even make it through the first episode. Cheesy and lame. And not in a good way. DROP
  • Animal Practice. I was hoping for "so stupid it's funny" but ended up with "so stupid it's stupid." DROP
  • Ben & Kate. Kind of reminds me of the genuine charm and humor found in Raising Hope. But here's the thing... Raising Hope is an absolute rarity because they somehow manage to sustain the charm and humor episode after episode. Something tells me that Ben & Kate are not going to be that lucky, and we're going to take a wrong turn into stupidity any episode now. I'll keep watching until that happens. KEEP
  • Elementary. As a huge Sherlock Holmes fan who has long felt that the character doesn't translate well outside the books... I was surprised to find that I like both the Robert Downey Jr. films and the Benedict Cumberbatch British television series. Not believing that lightning could strike three times, I was very dubious about Elementary, which adds some odd twists to the classic Sherlock trappings. Turns out I was right... this is nothing more than a "crime of the week drama" where the two leads have been given the names of Holmes and Watson, but bear little resemblance to the actual characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But, when you put that aside, I actually enjoy the show. The talents of Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu coupled with some interesting stories makes for good television. KEEP
  • Go On. Look, I really like Matthew Perry. The guy was amazing on Friends. He killed in his guest spots on The West Wing. He was brilliant on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I liked him in movies like The Whole Nine Yards, 17 Again, and Fools Rush In. Which is why it's hard for me to understand how heinous crap like Mr. Sunshine happens. And now we have Go On which isn't tragic, but merely mediocre and a complete waste of Matthew Perry's talents. It's not worth his time, and it's certainly not worth mine. How it's getting critical acclaim is beyond me. DROP
  • Guys with Kids. A tired and unoriginal show which (surprise!) has enough funny moments to keep me watching. KEEP
  • Last Resort. The concept of a US submarine crew gone rogue seems like an exciting and unique concept. Which it is, kinda. But, much to my disappointment, it ends up feeling like a bad soap opera most of the time. I'll probably tune in off and on when I want something to watch, but this really isn't what I had hoped for, and it's not going to get a permanent spot on my viewing schedule. DROP
  • Major Crimes. A reboot of The Closer sans Kyra Sedgwick seemed an almost foolish endeavor. Turns out it was. I still like the cast, including Mary McDonnell, but without Brenda Lee Johnson at the center, something is lost in the translation. DROP
  • The Mindy Project. It's hard not to be a fan of Mindy Kaling, but this show doesn't work for me. It has moments, but they're mostly overwhelmed by predictable, stale, tired cliches that nobody wants to see anymore. DROP
  • The Mob Doctor. Yet another medical drama... this time with mobsters tossed in the mix to try and make it new again. Doesn't work even a little bit. DROP
  • The Neighbors. I know people who love this wacky alien comedy, but I am not one of them. Painfully un-funny. DROP
  • The New Normal. Oh yay! 30 minutes of stereotypical gay humor tempered by a racist, homophobic, acerbic grandmother played by Ellen Barkin! It's just what the world has been waiting for! But... surprisingly I don't hate it. And it seems to be working okay now after the first two episodes fell flat. I guess the writers are getting it figured out. For how long I have no idea. KEEP
  • Partners. Oh yay! 30 minutes of stereotypical gay humor tempered by... nothing. Truly awful television that's annoying to an absurd degree. DROP
  • Revolution. After the horrendous fucking nosedive that Lost took because the writers had no clue what they were doing, I will never invest in a J.J. Abrams show again (I should have learned my lesson with Alias seasons 3-5). If the critical acclaim continues after the show ends, THEN I'll take the time to watch it. DROP
  • Vegas. I really want to like this show given the talent that's on (and behind) the screen, but it's just not working for me. I can't decide if it's deep and interesting... or just a bad knock-off attempt at recreating Boardwalk Empire. DROP

It will be interesting to see how Arrow, Nashville, and Chicago Fire fare, as I think they're the only new shows left that I want to see which I haven't seen.

   
Annnd... apparently I can't post this because my internet just went down. Guess I'll be late. Again.

   

Bullet Sunday 300

Posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Dave!Time to deal with that hangover... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Flip! While I was trying to come up with things to do to kill time before the Matt & Kim concert last Friday, I found out that The Muskrat was flying into ATL that same day, so we decided to meet up for lunch. He took me to "Flip" which is an upscale burger "boutique" restaurant created by Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais. Their vegetarian choice was a "Fauxlafel Burger"... which is a kind of falafel patty topped with marinated vegetables. I fucking hate burgers with non-burger crap on them, so I asked to have a "Classic Burger" but substitute the "Fauxlafel" patty. They were happy to accommodate me, and the resulting burger was fantastic! Wished the bun was a little bigger... but other than that it was really flavorful and delicious. Flip's claim to fame is their "Krispy Kreme Shake" which has a doughnut blended into it...

Flip Krispy Kreme Shake

Absolutely amazing. It really did taste like a Krispy Kreme, and I was definitely left wanting more. Overall, a great experience at Flip, and I would absolutely go back.

   
• Pre✓ And so there's a new program from the TSA which gives frequent fliers the ability to receive "Trusted Traveler" status. I had never heard of it before today, but am happy that it exists. I'm even more happy that Delta Airlines opted me into the program...

TSA Pre Logo

Going through the Pre✓ line meant that I didn't have to take off my shoes. I didn't have to take off my light jacket. I didn't have to take off my belt. I didn't have to remove my baggie of liquids & gels from my bag. I didn't even have to remove my computer from my backpack!

Well... if I didn't have a big block of cheese given to me by The DutchBitch, I wouldn't have had to remove my computer. Turns out that cheese looks like organic explosives or something, so they actually did have to remove my laptop for a second scan.

In any event, this is an awesome perk for people who have to fly a lot. It's a much better program than the stupid "Regular/Family/Experienced" lanes that they had tried earlier... those programs were doomed to fail because everybody piled in whatever lane was shortest. Many, many times I got behind somebody in the "Experienced" lane who didn't know what the hell they were doing. With Pre✓, it's invitation only to "experienced" travelers, so newbies can't get in to fuck everything up.

In all honesty, I don't know how effective all the crazy security stuff is that the TSA has in effect. What I do know is that Pre✓ goes a long way towards making me not mind it so much.

   
• Holy Crap! I've been skydiving. And, even though I have a fear of heights, I didn't have any problems because there's a point where the scale of the height is so big that you don't really recognize it as something to fear. But then there's this...

Felix Baumgartner Jumper
Photo by Felix Baumgartner himself

I'm pretty sure that I would lose my frickin' mind if ever I faced a jump of 28,000 feet. That's 24 frickin' miles! And yet... Felix Baumgartner took it on like a boss. Kind of makes skydiving look like a walk in the park. Next up? Lunar jumps!

   
• Frothy! It would appear that everybody's favorite gay-sex obsessed piece of shit, Rick Santorum, is still in Washington State drumming up hate against equality...

It used to be the only reason I wanted marriage equality for my home state was so that my friends here who want to be married but are unable to will finally be able to fulfill their dreams. But more and more I want it to pass so that ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots like Rick Santorum will fail utterly... thus sending a message to other ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots that their time has passed. And good riddance.

   
• Lawdy! And, speaking of ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots... I think this one is my favorite one of all...

Oh horrors! The law will apply to everyone... not just the well-adjusted, well-educated, sophisticated, wholesome, gays... it'll also apply to the gays with drug problems and who are mentally unstable! Well, shit! We simply cannot have that! Can you imagine if there were straight couples with drug and mental problems having families? What would we do then? Clearly, this is the strongest argument against marriage equality ever.

   
• Nemo! Please tell me you saw the wonderful Google Doodle celebrating the 107th anniversary of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland...

Google Little Nemo Doodle

Absolutely brilliant... just like Little Nemo, which remains one of the most imaginative things to come out of human history.

   
And... I suppose now that it's 2:00am I should see if I can get some sleep. It's been a long day.

   

Bullet Sunday 301

Posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Dave!Brace yourself for an October Surprise... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Elysium! Back in 2009, The Pet Shop Boys released Yes one of their best albums in decades (and contains one of my favorite tracks ever, The Way It Used To Be). Now they've released their 11th studio album, Elysium, and my expectations were very high. Probably too high. It's a good album that has more hits than misses, but the misses really grate on me. Ego Music and Your Early Stuff are about as tedious as music gets, and I can't fathom why they were included on the album when they'd barely be interesting enough for B-sides. What remains doesn't include any of the throbbing dance-pop that made PSB famous, but it does have some remarkable tracks. Far and away my favorite is Memory of the Future, which is an achingly beautiful song that hasn't left my head since I first heard it...

Overall Elysium is another really good album that presents the Pet Shop Boys in a softer, more thoughtful light. Well worth checking out.

   
• Elementary! As a bit of a Sherlock Holmes purist (the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories remain among my favorite fiction) I've been pleasantly surprised with how much I've been enjoying both the Robert Downey Jr. movies and the Benedict Cumberbatch BBC series. I anticipated not liking the Johnny Lee Miller American series which takes place in New York and has Watson played by Lucy Liu. But then I saw the premiere and was again pleasantly surprised...

Elementary Poster
No hat. No pipe. No magnifying glass. No problem.

But now after having seen three episodes I am definitely digging it. I was already a big fan of Miller and Liu, and they've got some good chemistry together. But, more important than anything else, the mystery stories have been really good. Elementary has quickly become my favorite new show of 2012, and is well worth checking out.

   
• Arrow. And speaking of television that's left me pleasantly surprised...

Arrow Poster
I guess the ladies will be tuning in...

Now, let's get something clear... this is not the Green Arrow we know from the comic book series. They have radically changed many of the fundamentals in an effort to make "good television." And have somehow succeeded. Millionaire playboy Oliver Queen is the lone survivor of a shipwreck who arrives at a mysterious island. While there, he crafts weapons to survive, and spends five years becoming the deadliest man alive with a bow and arrow. Eventually he returns home to "Starling City" to right some wrongs and free the city from the criminals who have taken over... dressed as Robin Hood. Anyway... the show is basically a Batman clone now, which is probably why I like it so much. Well worth checking out.

   
• Do Not Call. On Friday night I got a political action call from the National Rifle Association... an organization I used to respect, but have seen steadily degenerate into an organization resorting to fear-uncertainty-doubt to terrify people into doing their bidding. They send out scare tactic press releases against President Obama, even though he has repeatedly said he supports the 2nd Amendment and introduced no significant gun control legislation during his first term. But he said he supports keeping assault weapons off the street, so he's been branded anti-gun. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, who actually DID introduce an extensive assault weapon ban when he was Governor of Massachusetts, gets endorsed by the NRA for president! They even go so far as to say he's the "only hope" for firearms freedom! If the NRA were truly an impartial organization fighting for the interest of gun owners, they should have informed their membership about both candidates. But it would seem they're so far in the pocket of the Republicans that Romney's gun-control past gets forgiven while Obama's gets him crucified because he's a Democrat. I guess that's politics for you. Or maybe I'm just pissed that somebody would dare call me during dinner.

   
• That Derek Zoolander is so Hot Right Now. Tonight's autism benefit show by Comedy Central... Night of Too Many Stars... opened with an appearance of one of my most guilty of guilty pleasures, Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander. Rumors of a movie sequel have been leaking for a while, and this appearance would seem to verify that it's happening. But the biggest question? When will we know if Will Ferrell will be reprising his role as one of the best movie villains of all time, Mugatu?

Mugatu!

Zoolander without Mugatu wouldn't be much of a film. Hopefully Will Ferrell and everybody involved in the project agree.

   
And... time to retire early. I think my cold is finally breaking, and a couple extra hours rest might do the trick.

   

Bullet Sunday 302

Posted on Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Dave!Please make sure your seat is in the upright position and your tray table is stowed ... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• In-Flight. I am typing this as I leave the Netherlands on Delta flight 233... a ten hour flight to Seattle WITH NO INTERNET! So how in the heck am I supposed to come up with bullets for Bullet Sunday when all I have here is a bunch of movies to watch on my Delta-On-Demand Entertainment System?

Oh...

In-Flight Movies

   
Game Change. This film is about John McCain's horrendous mistake in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate based on some very, very bad advice. Is it completely factual? Probably not 100% so. But boy does it feel like could it be. The initial high that came when Sarah Palin completely killed it with her smashing debut on the national political stage had the McCain campaign ecstatic. Palin would be the savior of the ticket, and they couldn't believe their good fortune in having found her. Victory was within their grasp. But then things start to go terribly wrong. One-by-one the campaign staffers have to come to grips with the fact that Sarah Palin doesn't know much about anything. She is completely clueless on critical concepts like foreign policy. And it's the resulting downward spiral that makes the film so darn entertaining. Julianne Moore plays Palin almost too sympathetically as she gets remade from politician to actress, blindly repeating lines which have been prepared for her because she doesn't understand the issues enough to think for herself. And all the while her escalating popularity makes Palin increasingly dangerous, eventually dominating McCain and dooming the campaign to a Saturday Night Live punchline. If there's one thing I took away from Game Change, it's how terrifyingly close we came to having a vapid joke like Sarah Palin just a heartbeat away from the presidency. It's a scare that no horror movie can match. RATING: B

   
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I was actually looking forward to the idea of a revisionist history where our 16th president was a ruthless vampire killer. It sounded fun. Alas, the movie was most definitely not fun, because everybody involved took the film way too seriously. This was a big mistake, because there's nothing to take the edge off the intense violence that permeates one blood-soaked scene after another. One would hope that the result would be a bitchin' action-horror film, but there's not a lot of horror to go with the action (which is actually pretty good). And so what we're left with is a crazy-ass concept for a film with very little substance. I was not impressed. RATING: C-

   
The Iron Lady. I was told by more than a couple people that this film about the life of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was boring. But I decided to watch it anyway because the thought of Meryl Streep as Thatcher was literally too good to be true. And, indeed, it was her performance that held me riveted to my tiny seat-back screen. But that's about all that held me captive. The story was a big ol' mess. It vacillated between present to past with little regard for timing or coherence. One timeline had zero relation to the other, and it was this sloppy writing which sabotaged what could have been a fascinating straightforward biography. Still, Thatcher led a fascinating life which was kind of represented here, and Streep certainly made the film anything but boring to me... so I didn't hate it. Actually kind of enjoyed it, despite the missed opportunity it represented. RATING: B-

   
Brave. The story of a princess who isn't content to settle down and get married sounds like a modern-day Disney Princess cliché that's the complete opposite of the original Disney Princess cliché. Fortunately, this is a Disney-PIXAR film, where clichés have a tendency to at least be interesting and beautiful to look at. Brave is both. I just wish it was paced a little better. There's a few too many moments that drag on a little long and are a bit morose to fit in with the overall tone of the film. That being said, it IS beautiful. Astoundingly so. There's not a single frame of this film that doesn't look amazing. And there are a lot of clever and funny moments that saved the movie for me. RATING: B+

   
Battleship. Holy shit. It would be easy to say that making an alien-invasion movie out of a board game doomed this film to failure... but, if anything, it's this one thing that made it barely tolerable. The only moment... the only one... that I found even remotely entertaining was when the heroes were picking their targets on a big "Battleship grid." Everything else was so inanely stupid and ridiculous that not even the decent special effects reel could keep me from fast-forwarding through this utter turd of a movie. RATING: F

   
Moonrise Kingdom. I am such a huge Wes Anderson fan that I didn't want to experience his latest work on a tiny airplane seat-back screen. But when Battleship turned out to be such a stupid piece of crap, I needed something to watch. I ended up regretting it of course. Moonrise Kingdom is beautiful, wonderful, witty, smart, and filled with a warmth that few filmmakers can manage. I really should have waited to see it on the big screen (or at least my home theater). Which is not to say it's a film for everybody. Those who can't appreciate Wes Anderson's quirky vision may have tough time embracing the odd world he's created. Even so, there's an all-star cast that's performing at the top of their game in a coming-of-age love story that's charming enough to please everybody. RATING: A

   
• After-Flight. Arriving at Seattle I was once again embarrassed and humiliated that Seatac International Airport is the way that so many people will first experience my home state. The airport just keeps getting worse and worse, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight as to how low things will go. I arrive at Customs only to find that the escalator is broken. This is no surprise. Most of the escalators are busted to shit most of the time. Stuff is always leaking, falling apart, torn up, or broken at Seatac. And, indeed, when I make my way to the C/D concourse and find yet another fucking busted escalator, I press the elevator call button and find that the button light is also not working (which made me think that the elevator was broke too). By the time I get to my gate at the C concourse, where there's no place to sit because Seatac has ripped out most of the seats to make way for shops, I've just fucking had it. Whomever is in charge of this shithole needs to realize that this is no way to run an airport. Flying now-a-days is already miserable enough without having to put up with this kind of shit at an airport.

   
And... my flight (which is overbooked and on weather watch warning) is maybe leaving in ten minutes. Here's hoping...

   

Bullet Sunday 303

Posted on Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Dave!Stop screaming at that football game ... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Sandy. Needless to say, those areas devastated by the hurricane can use your help. If you can spare a few bucks, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 from your mobile phone to donate $10 to their Sandy relief efforts. And because our four-legged friends are also suffering... you can text HUMANE to 80888 to donate $10 to Humane Society Disaster Relief Fund. Every little bit helps.

   
• Election. Like everybody else in the US, I am sick to death of the non-stop political ads that have been inundating our lives. At this point, I don't even give a shit who wins or loses... I just want it all to stop.

Here in Washington, it's particularly bad because of our gubernatorial race. I'm not particularly thrilled with Democratic candidate Jay Inslee because he seems to be more about talking points than specific solutions. Republican candidate Rob McKenna is geeky smart and not afraid to get into specifics, which is a big plus for me... but, then again, he objected to Washington's marriage equality law because he says it could lead to incest and polygamy... which just goes to show that even people who appear "geeky smart" can be as stupid as a fucking rock. All I know is that no matter who wins, I will be very happy not to have to look at their creepy politician smiles gracing my television every fifteen minutes...

Creepy Rob McKenna

Creepy Jay Inslee

More and more I think our dysfunctional two-party political system is going to be our undoing. The special interest dicks that candidates have to suck in order to get on the ballot insure that they will never be 100% vested in serving the people they are supposed to be representing. If only I could cast a vote of no confidence for the whole damn ballgame.

   
• Equal? Another thing I won't miss? All these absurd "Protect Marriage" ads. What a load of crap. It's such a chickenshit way of saying "Nobody gets to be a family unless they meet our standards for what constitutes a family... and we hate your family, so you don't get to be legally recognized as a family." Meanwhile, real people who are in real relationships are getting shit on...

TheFour.com

It used to be that I wanted Washington Referendum 74 to pass so that my friends who want to get married can finally get married... but now I want it to pass so all these fucking idiots will stop peddling their hate on my television.

   
• Issues. If politicians really wanted to get on my good side, they'd pledge to get rid of three stupid things that annoy the shit out of me...

  • DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME. Enough with dicking around with the clocks already! Just split the difference, move the clocks a half-hour, then never fucking touch the damn things again!
  • ROBOCALLS. If a machine is going to call me with a recorded message, it had better be an Elizabeth Hurley FemBot calling with free blow jobs.
  • AUTODIALERS. Call centers have machines dial hundreds of phone numbers at the same time and connect their operators with anybody who answers. The problem is that it takes FOREVER to connect, so you're left saying "HELLO? HELLO? HELLO?"... and, if there's no operator available, nobody will ever pick up. THEN THEY CALL YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN.

And these are only the things that have been pissing me off today. But it's a good start. I think I'd support any candidate for any office if they promised to deal with this crap. Attention Communist Party: here's your opportunity!

   
• Cancelation. USA Network, which produces a number of TV shows I enjoy, recently announced the cancelation of two series that I was really into... Fairly Legal and Common Law...

Fairly Legal and Common Law

I am so tired of seeing smart television killed off to make room for the same old shit. This is no big surprise coming from the major networks, but I expect better from cable networks like USA.

   
Annnnnd... Two. More. Days. Two more days of this political bullshit before it's all over. If only I could go into a coma for 48 hours.

   

Bullet Sunday 304

Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012

Dave!Don't let that calendar fool you ... because a delayed Bullet Sunday on Monday starts now...

   
• Help. Long-time blogging friend and celebrated author NYC Watchdawg has written a post over at his Social Medic site about supporting medics who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy. If you want to help The Big Picture by contributing to a very worthy small piece of it, here's your chance. You'll be helping those who help others (and continue to help others despite their devastating losses) to help themselves during this very difficult time of their lives. Even if you can't donate, any efforts to spread awareness would be much appreciated!

   
• Investigation. My expedition with Paranormal Georgia Investigations was a great time last night, as expected. And while I didn't capture any evidence with my camera like last time, I did take some photos of the creepy interior of Old South Pittsburgh Hospital. Of course, they don't look half as creepy when illuminated by a camera flash, but still... pretty creepy...

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
Not too bad on the outside... in the daylight, anyway..

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I liked documenting all the toys left out for the ghost children to play with. This is one lonely rocking horse.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I'm pretty sure this bunny was dead. Totally non-responsive.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I took this bear away from a naughty ghost child and let him go for a tricycle ride.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
One sad bear. You'd be sad too if you spent your time in a cold, dark hospital with ghosts.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I volunteered to use my medical skills to remove an appendix or something... there were no takers.

BAD MONKEY WAS HERE! Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
Leaving my mark in Graffiti Hallway with all the professional paranormal teams.

Abandon Hope to All Ye Who Enter! Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I also tagged the scary dorm room that Muskrat and I got to stay in. We bad! We bad!

Keep in mind that in the dark, while looking for ghosts and stuff, it's quite a different scene than shown here all lit up in a photo. But that's part of what makes the experience so interesting! I'm excited to see what data the PGI team captured of doors opening by themselves and other nifty stuff. Hopefully they'll make their way through the evidence pile soon so I can post a link.

   
• Medicinal. I've mentioned a couple of times that I carry a "Travel Medicine Cabinet" with me when I'm away from home... whether it's a month... or even just a day. Since I never know where I'll be or what I'll have access to, I choose to be as prepared as possible for any scenario. From allergies, colds, and diarrhea... to lost fillings, cuts, and motion sickness. Heck, I don't even get motion sickness... I just keep it with me in case somebody else I'm with gets it...

Travel Medicine Cabinet

Tonight I was very, very glad that my kit contained "Hearos" ear plugs. Let's just say that my hotel neighbors are crazy-loud with their nocturnal activities... and I was in no mood to listen to it. If there's one thing to learn from the Boy Scouts (other than "thou shalt not be gay"), it's to always be prepared. I can't tell you how many times that's paid off for me.

   
• Petraeyal. Like most people, I am a bit sickened by the massive CIA Overlord / Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus scandal that's rocking the headlines right now. Yes, he's a fucking scumbag that cheated on his wife with another fucking scumbag that cheated on her husband... but we don't know all the facts there, and it's none of my damn business what he does in his fucked-up private life. No, the sickening part to me is the FOX "News"-led conspiracy crap that this was some kind of scheme by President Obama to keep Petraeus from testifying in the hearing concerning the Benghazi attacks. Which, naturally, I learned from watching The Daily Show...

Yeah, no agenda there. Pathetic. I mean, seriously? America's best line of defense against a network that rips this country apart by spreading more lies and disinformation in a single day than North Korea does in a decade is a COMEDY SHOW? At some point, you really have to wonder how we've survived this long.

   
• Foxy. This will come as a shock to nobody, but I don't watch the FOX "News" channel outside excerpts that get torn apart and mocked on The Daily Show. Their "Fair and Balanced" credo is a crock of shit, and they are the epitome of the partisan hackery that's ripping this country apart. Just like nut job Keith Olbermann on the Left, I long for the day FOX "News" fades into irrelevance on the Right.

And because I don't watch FOX, I was completely unaware of the bat-shit crazy un-reality bubble they created around themselves with the delusion that Mitt Romney was not only going to win the presidency, but was going to dominate the election in a landslide. Until I saw their coverage on Election Night. Since I was convinced that President Obama would get his second term, there was no place I wanted to be watching except FOX. And seeing it all unfold there was a revelation. Everybody there was certain Obama would lose? Really? This made everything even more entertaining than I had imagined... until Karl Rove went into denial, at which time it just became sad. The entire network was dedicated to getting Romney elected, and they completely failed.

And while I get no pleasure seeing people genuinely upset that their candidate of choice was not elected... I fully admit to experiencing an entirely new level of Schadenfreude watching FOX News implode. And now, thanks to the wonderful people over at Pundit Shaming, I can relive the heady days of denial over and over again.

Which is almost as fun as watching Ben Afflek (YES, THAT BEN AFFLECK!) masterfully tear apart the afore-mentioned Keith Olbermann on Saturday Night Live back when people actually gave a shit about Keith Olbermann...

Schadenfreude is so not pretty. But I just don't care!

   

And, on that shameful note, I suppose I'm off to bed. Goodnight everybody!

   

Bullet Sunday 305

Posted on Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Dave!Before you start celebrating that I finally made it home, you might want to chill for a minute... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Hostess. I haven't eaten anything from Hostess in decades. They use disgusting LARD in their products, so once I became a vegetarian they were scratched off my shopping list. But, as a kid, I loved Hostess products. Lemon Pies. Ding Dongs. Cupcakes. Twinkies. And Ho-Hos... oh how I loved Ho-Hos. Everything they made was magic...

Bad Monkey and Twinkie the Kid

So you can imagine how the news of their impending doom is a conflict for me. On one hand... who gives a rat's ass that people won't be able to buy their unhealthy crap any more? But, on the other hand... Hostess's unhealthy crap is an American childhood right of passage! Not that I have any doubt somebody isn't going to buy out the production rights for all those classic Hostess products... it's only a matter of time before people can buy Twinkies again. But something will be lost in the process. It always is.

If I'm lucky, it will be the lard that's lost.

Because, seriously, who the fuck eats LARD these days?

   
• Elementary. As I've said before, I did not have high hopes for yet another reimagined Sherlock Holmes. Especially when they moved it to New York and cast Lucy Liu as a female Dr. Watson. But, much to my surprise, I liked the show. And yet... the bigger surprise was yet to come. The show keeps getting better with each new episode. The mysteries have rapidly evolved into some of the best-written, most clever, least gimmicky, stories I've seen on the small screen. And, of course, Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu are fantastic...

Holmes and Watson

If you're not watching... I urge you to reconsider. This is some seriously great television.

   
• Five-0. Speaking of amazing television... I watched the Hawaii Five-0 reboot off and on when it first started, but the show didn't hook me enough to become a regular thing. Sure it had pretty scenery and the stories were okay, but it just seemed so "by-the-numbers"... like the cast weren't interested enough to make it feel "real" or whatever.

But something happened in the middle of the second season. The characters started clicking. The writers seemed to finally figure out what made everything feel "real." And now? Hawaii Five-0 is can't miss television for me. I love this show. And the biggest part of it is the chemistry between Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan. The smartass banter between them ranges from amusing to hilarious, but there's a warmth there that feels absolutely genuine...

Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

And now we're in the show's third season where every episode has been gold. Seriously some of the best-scripted action on television, and well-worth your time to tune in.*

*Assuming that completely obvious non-stop Microsoft product placement doesn't drive you insane. Seriously, Microsoft must be providing free blowjobs and millions of dollars to all the producers and writers of this show.

   
• Maps. When Apple released their replacement for Google Maps, I hopped on the bandwagon to declare them a bad move. But most of my criticism came from the botched 3-D renderings and missing places I ran across (or didn't run across, as it were). Things just seemed so half-assed and "un-Apple-like."

But then I started using their turn-by-turn navigation just to see how goofy it was... and was floored to discover that Apple Maps provides better directions than Google Maps. My favorite thing about Apple's directions? They consider what side of the street your destination is on. Google regularly leads you to places while not giving a shit what side of the street it's on. This means you sometimes have to cross over traffic on busy streets... if you can cross at all. Apple? They provide a route that puts your destination on the right so there's no fighting to turn across the street...

Google Maps - Apple Maps

So, yes. Apple Maps have some problems. And their navigation isn't perfect (I hate it when Siri says "KEEP LEFT" only to send you into a left-turn-only lane or something), but the more I use the app, the more I love it. And don't get me started on the beautiful vector maps. They load very quickly and are cached MUCH better than Google. Losing your internet connection in rural Georgia isn't nearly the tragedy with Apple, because your maps still work... they just cache so much of the area because the vector art is so small and efficient. Google turns the screen grey if you venture into a new location without internet. Not the best solution. So if you've been avoiding Apple Maps because of the negative hype... you might want to give them a second look. You might just be pleasantly surprised like me!

   
And... I'm going to have to cut bullets short, because I'm falling asleep as I write them. It's been a lonnnnng week.

   

Bullet Sunday 306

Posted on Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Dave!Don't click that back button on your browser yet... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Hagman. I was never a Dallas fan. Every time I attempted to tune in because all my friends were watching, I was bored to death (Dynasty wasn't much better, but at least Joan Collins kept me from falling asleep those rare times I tuned in). Because of my loathing of all things Dallas, Larry Hagman has almost no relation to his most popular character "J.R. Ewing" in my head. No... when I think of Larry Hagman, I think of three things...

Larry Hagman Dreaming of Jeannie

  1. I Dream of Jeannie. Granted, my main interest in the show was Barbara Eden in that revealing outfit, but the series was pretty darn funny. And a lot of that came from Hagman's impeccable timing in playing the Major Nelson straight-man to all the outlandish situations Jeannie would get him into.
  2. Nip/Tuck. The show was pretty crazy from the first episode, but by the time we get to Hagman's portrayal of Burt Landau in season four, it's full-on psychotic. The role was not a big one, but the lasting effect he had on the show makes it a true standout.
  3. Primary Colors. Any doubt anybody had in Hagman's acting ability could be washed away by watching this one film. He had a minor role, but it was so pivotal to the story that the entire movie could have fallen apart with a less-capable actor.

Rest in peace, Mr. Hagman, and thanks for entertaining us for so long.

   
• Vengeance? Remember when the television show Revenge was starting out? Remember how Emily Thorne would pick a new target each week and then systematically orchestrate an elaborate revenge scenario that crushed her enemies in the most delicious way possible?

Revenge starring Emily VanCamp

Yeah. What the fuck happened to that show?

I suppose it was impossible to maintain such quality for very long... but never did I think Revenge would degenerate so quickly. Now, instead of a show featuring delicious revenge, it's all about boring business manipulations and nonsensical damage control as characters fumble on each other's plans. Yawn. Somebody better shake things up in a big way soon, or something tells me the second season will be the last for Revenge.

Oh... and helpful hint to the writers... if you are having a flashback episode, any attempt to create a sense of danger for a character who is alive and kicking in the present-day of your series is doomed to fail. WE KNOW THEY SURVIVE, so trying to imply otherwise is just lazy.

   
• Friday. Reading about people getting into fist-fights over a phone or shooting each other over a sparking space or getting choked to death by a security guard on Black Friday makes me glad I have -zero- interest in shopping.

I do, however, have a huge interest in watching society degenerate into Anarchy. In that respect, Black Friday is a win-win for me.

   
• Godliness. Back in the day, "Populous" was one of my favorite computer games ever. A few years ago, they came out with a version for the Nintendo DS, and I was surprised to see that it kind of holds up. Now the original creators of the game are trying to get the funding to create a modern version. I would LOVE for this to get funded! If you like a good "god game," here's your chance to support Godus over at Kickstarter...

Godus Image

Ah to play god with all humanity... and if you pledge £30 or more, you get your own in-game pet!

   
And now I suppose I should get to bed. After working all day Saturday and Sunday, I need to recover from my weekend so I can go back to work tomorrow. Bleh.

   

Bullet Sunday 307

Posted on Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Dave!Beware of stray casings... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Chips! Chips Ahoy! is not a cookie brand that I enjoy very much. When it comes to mass-produced bags of chocolate chip cookies, I'd rather not go there. And, if I have to, I'd rather go with Famous Amos. But then I saw that Chips Ahoy! has a new Holiday version that I had to try...

Chips Ahoy! Holiday

They're just like regular Chips Ahoy!... with the addition of candy-coated chocolate chips. They're crunchy and delicious. As are the cookies. If you see them in your local store, they're worth checking out!

   
• Killers. Forget The Walking Dead... the scariest show on television bar none is a series on Biography Channel called Killer Kids. This highly disturbing mess features documentaries on, you guessed it, killer kids. As in kids who kill their entire families and stuff like that. It is mind-bogglingly, unbelievably horrific, and I accidentally came across it while channel-surfing the other day. If you want nightmares, by all means please tune in.

   
• Split. Speaking of The Walking Dead... remember the good ol' days when there was no such thing as a "Mid-Season Finale?" Well, it's more and more common now to break up a television into two chunks, airing the first half when the TV season starts in September/October... then withholding the remaining shows of the season until February sometime. It sucks. Especially when The Walking Dead just aired their mid-season finale and now we have to wait until NEXT YEAR to see what happens. Booooooo!

   
• w00t! And while I'm talking about television, I would be remiss not to mention that the BBC is going to adapt an amazing book by Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, into a six-part series...

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

The story is about a kind of alternate history where magic existed, but died out. And now its back as the Napoleonic Wars are heating up. What ensues is more than magic, and one of the best reads you'll happen across.

Obviously, I love this book. So this series could be a very good thing. Or a very, very bad thing. Director Toby Haynes has worked on some nice episodes of Dr. Who, so I have high hopes. All I can say to the BBC and all involved... please, PLEASE don't fuck it up. This chance won't happen again.

   
• Twain. I've had zero interest in taking in any of the big Vegas shows that have taken up residence on The Strip. Celine Dion? Pass. Cher? Pass. David Copperfield? Pass. Donny and Marie? Double Pass. Barry Manilow? Oooh... Pass? I've come very close to flying down for a Penn and Teller show a couple times, but ultimately decided against it. But now Shania Twain is playing at Caesar's and I can't help but be intrigued. I'm not a big fan... and I really don't like Country music... but I've always been fascinated by Shania and have enjoyed her music...

Shania Still The One
Shania "Still the One" show photo by Getty Images.

What I don't know is if I like the idea of attending her show enough to spend $55 for crappy tickets... $250 for decent tickets... let alone the cost of a hotel and airfare. Apparently I've got two years to make up my mind, so I guess I won't stress about it.

   
Annnnd... I'm spent. Another very busy week awaits.

   

Bullet Sunday 308

Posted on Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Dave!Wear something pretty and grab your kitty... because a very special Cat Shelter Edition of Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Abandoned! My building doesn't allow pets, which means the cat that's been hanging around here can't live with me. And now that it's getting colder, I'm starting to worry about Spanky surviving the winter outside. So I scoured the internet for shelter plans and ended up taking the best ideas from all of them to come up with a design of my own, made out of a plastic tub...
   

Dave's Cat Shelter

   
For anybody who has a stray or feral cat that they want to protect from the elements, here's how I did it...

   
• Tub! Most of the plans called for a fairly small 18-20 gallon tub to be used so that body heat can be conserved. But I wanted enough room to use some pretty thick insulation, so I went for a 25 gallon tub. It's made by Sterilite in the USA, and costs about $15 at Target. Spanky likes to stretch a bit, and I wanted her to have room to sit up if she felt like it, so the size worked out pretty good.

   
• Insulation! Home Depot had several weights of insulation. I bought 1-1/2 inch for the floor, ceiling, and back wall (which is against an outside wall of an open carport). I bought the 1-inch for the sides and the front wall to give her a little more room. I got the stuff with the reflective surface to better retain her body heat. The final interior dimensions are 19-1/2" wide by 11-inches deep. That seems like it will be cozy enough to keep her warm, but big enough that she's not cramped. Each sheet was about $4.50, so... $9 total.

   
• Cutting! The plastic container cut fairly easily with a larger serrated kitchen knife. I made the door 6-inches square, but rounded the top. I think she can fit through that hole fine. Any larger and I worried that dogs might climb in. I also cut the insulation with the serrated knife, but held it flat against the metallic surface so as to minimize the styrofoam crumbling apart. By cutting flat, the blade heats up and gets you a cleaner cut than if you just stab into it. IMPORTANT: Be sure to examine the lid on your tub! Some tubs have a lid that rises above the edges. The tub I bought have a recessed lid which meant that I had to cut the insulation down an extra inch so the lid could fit. I made sure that my tub has side-latches so the lid can't come off easily.

   
• Gluing! I bought a low-odor, thick-tack, instant-grip glue made by DAP to adhere the floor to the bottom of the tub and the sides to the sides of the tub. I figured this would prevent the shelter from falling apart if she gets crazy in there. The ceiling insulation piece fits snugly into the insulation box I created. I then put the quick-grip glue on it so that it would stick to the lid of the tub. So now when I need to clean out the shelter, the lid and ceiling are one piece. The glue also keeps it from falling on Spanky when she's inside. A tube was $4 at Home Depot, and I used all of it.

Kitty Shelter Lid

   
• Caulking! This was the part I really questioned. A good sealant is going to stink like silicone (or whatever that is). But I felt it was really important that any snow/rain moisture wouldn't mix with cat hair, work its way into the cracks, then mildew or something. Far better to have a sealed shelter that will wipe out clean. I'm letting the shelter air-out, so hopefully the odor will dissipate once the caulking dries. A tube was $4 at Home Depot and I used half of it.

UPDATE: I now have serious reservations about using caulk to seal the insulation. The smell does not dissipate quickly enough, and I worry a bit about Spanky chewing on it. So I covered it with aluminum tape. If I were doing this over again, I'd probably just glue the pieces together with the low-odor glue and use the tape. It sure looks better...

Aluminum Tape Update

   
• Flooring! The vast majority of shelter plans I looked at insisted that dry straw (not hay!) was the ONLY acceptable flooring material, because it dries easily and won't trap moisture on the surface like a rug or blanket. Some plans said that crumpled or shredded newspaper was okay. I decided to go with straw, because many websites said that kitties like to nest in it. It also has some insulation properties to it. I worried about Spanky's claws shredding the insulation, so I found an outdoor straw mat that I could cut down. The mat has a pocket for catnip in it too, which will (hopefully) act as a little incentive for her to use the shelter. If this ends up being a moisture-trap or cause some other problem, I'll ditch it and use linoleum for the floor instead. I drilled holes in the corners with straws so water can drain if Spanky gets soaked. The mat was $12 at Petco.

   
• Finish! And so... $44 for a first-class kitty shelter that will (hopefully) help Spanky survive the winter. If I were to cut corners, I probably could have made one for $35. I have a covered place to put it, so I'm not worried about snow piling up... but the lid is pretty good, so it would probably be okay outside. Though if it were being placed somewhere exposed... I might think about putting some kind of plastic overhang to make it nicer for the cat to enter and exit the shelter.

   
• Ideas! If the shelter I made doesn't appeal to you... or you need ideas for something cheaper, a good place to start is the Urban Cat League's "Winter Cat Shelters" page.

   
• Purchase! If you have the money, the best cat shelter I found was The Kitty Tube for $95 with a straw bottom... $130 for a heated shelter. Another shelter that was recommended to me comes from Cozy Winters and is $95 heated.

   
And there you have it. Winter shelter info for saving a stray cat or feral cat that might be in your neighborhood. Stay toasty.

   

Bullet Sunday 309

Posted on Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Dave!The weather outside may be frightful, but everything is still delightful... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Snow. And so it looks like winter is finally getting serious here. Previous attempts at snow have melted away in less than a day... but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case now. To everybody who just looooooves a "White Christmas," I'm happy for you. But for people like me who have to scrape their car windows twice a day...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave screaming because snow is piled on his car in the morning...

I want to spend winter in Hawaii.

   
• Ghey. ZOMFG, y'all! It's been ONE WHOLE WEEK since same-sex couples could legally marry in my home state of Washington... AND WE'RE STILL HERE! I'd have thought for sure that we'd all have been turned gay by now. Or that Seattle would have sunk into the ocean. Or a meteor would have crashed into Bellevue or something. But nooooooo! Now all we gotta do is survive this Mayan apocalypse thing, and I think we're in the clear. Until the end of the year, anyway.

   
• Sticker. I don't like going shopping. To be honest, I hate going shopping. Which is why most everything I buy (except groceries) is bought online. It's just so much easier and, sometimes, even ends up saving me money. So... on those rare times where I am forced to go shopping (usually for somebody else)... I spend most of my time being very unhappy. Which is why it's always nice when I see something to cheer me up. Like this sticker in the back-window of the car parked ahead of me...

Knee Mail

KNEE MAIL! HA! Pretty clever, huh? I like this one better than the Winnebago rear-window screen I saw previously because the horse has his head bowed in prayer too. Which begs the question... what do horses pray for? Probably to be released from the servitude of their cowboy masters. I wonder if eventually God will deliver them from bondage like He did the slaves of Egypt? I guess all we need is Horsey Moses to come along and say "SET MY EQUINES FREE!" and we're on our way to greener pastures for horses everywhere.

   
• Bob Bomb. The unimaginable conditions Londoners endured through The Blitz just got even more unimaginable thanks to the Bomb Site, which maps the bombs dropped on the city during World War II...

Bomb Site Map

Bomb Site Map

Bomb Site Map

Keep Calm and Carry On, indeed.

   
• Nowalla. Around this time last year, Gowalla... a location-based social media network... was sold out to Facebook. Users were told that they would be able to download their check-ins, photos, and badges, but it didn't happened. The site was scuttled back in March, and they never did give their users the data they promised. Not surprisingly, they didn't offer refunds to people like me who paid for custom badges when they loaded up on that sweet Facebook cash (and I'm still waiting for my window cling, assholes)...

Blogography Gowalla Stamp
My logo on the left, the Gowalla stamp interpretation on the right (enlarged 250%).

Look, I get it that sometimes shit doesn't work out. Gowalla lost to FourSquare,the network is gone, boo-hoo, and all that. But a year has passed and we still haven't gotten our photos and stuff? Apparently "it's a long story and still gonna happen" but I'm not holding my breath. Well, lesson learned. Anything I send anywhere is archived and stored outside of whatever services I'm using.

   
• Six! Just a reminder that the latest issue of THRICE Fiction is out and, as usual, is absolutely FREE to download...

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 6

There's some good stuff in there, so be sure to give it a look.

   
Annnnnd... time to get back to work, I suppose.

   

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