Blogography Logo
spacer

   

Bullet Sunday 361

Posted on Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Dave!Yes. Yes I know that it's Wednesday. But I always have to juggle the last Bullet Sunday of the year around so I don't mess up my year-end Best Lists. But don't despair... because a special New Year's Bullet Sunday (on Wednesday) starts now...

   
• Resolute! My New Year's Resolutions are the same every year. 2013 was a yet another piece of cake...

  • Try a Pop-Tart flavor I've never had before. DONE! Unfortunately, it was the horrendously shitty "Oatmeal Delights Strawberry" flavor, which was awful.
  • Travel somewhere I've never been before. DONE! I visited Finland, Estonia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
  • Visit a Hard Rock Cafe I haven't seen before. DONE! Visited the new cafe in New Orleans, Helsinki, and Saigon.
  • Drink a beer I've never drank before. DONE! Umm... yeah... really overdid this one. Especially at the "beer tasting" they had at the resort I stayed at in Luan Prabang in Laos. I am now a fan of delicious Beer Lao.
  • Get another Apple product. DONE! Kinda. Since I was still riding high on all the Apple stuff I bought in 2012, all I really bought that was Apple-branded this year was a new Magic Mouse and an Apple Thunderbolt cable. But that Thunderbolt cable is more than just a cable... it is a COMPLETE AND TOTAL BREAK from buying shitty USB peripherals with their ever-changing connectors, each and every one of which are TOTAL CRAP! From here on out, I'm done with USB.

   
And what am I looking forward to this year?

   
• Travel! I honestly thought that I would be better organized for 2014 than I was in 2013. But, alas, no. So many places I want to go this year... but I have no idea where I'm going to end up. Hopefully somewhere amazing.

   
• Movies! About the only think that's hit my "must-see" radar for 2014 are the two Marvel films we're getting... Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy... oh, make that three... becauseVeronica Mars. Other films that may entice me to the cinema... The LEGO Movie, Muppets Most Wanted, RoboCop, Tomorrowland, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

   
• Music! Macintosh Braun, Garbage, Blondie, Foo Fighters, Broken Bells, and Matt & Kim, perhaps?

   
• Fiction! As THRICE Fiction continues to defy odds for a magazine by forging ahead into Year No. Four, I'm hoping for more of the same great content.

   
• Apple! iPhone 6? Probably! Apple Smart Television? PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Hoping to be thrilled by my favorite fruit-themed computer company this year.

   
• Ink! I want to keep forging forward with the pieces of my forearm band... but this may be the year I finally get "that big tattoo" that I've been saving my right arm for.

   
But, mostly, I'm looking forward to a year filled with mostly good news for once.

Here's hoping.

   

Bullet Sunday 362

Posted on Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Dave!As winter storm warnings drop across the USA, better bundle up tight... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Return! Dan Harmon is back to running Community after having been canned from it last season. And even though only two new Harmon episodes have aired, it's clear that the show is going to be as good as it ever was. If you're not watching the show... or quit after Harmon left... it's time to jump back onboard.

Community 2014

Just don't remind me that Troy only has three episodes left before his character is written out...

   
• Good Bye. Was really sad to learn that James Avery died this past week. Immortalized as Will Smith's "Uncle Phil" on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Avery was an actor who somehow managed to hold his own in scenes that would seem impossible to do so...

So long, Uncle Phil.

   
• Snack! ZOMG! THESE NEW SARA LEE DEVIL'S FOOD CREME CAKES ARE LIKE CAKE AND CANDY IN ONE! LOVE THEM!

Sara Lee Devil's Food Creme Cakes

And are as bad for you as you'd imagine them to be. Oh well. At least they don't have DISGUSTING LARD like Hostess snack cakes do.

   
• REALLY? Speaking of things that are bad for you... When it comes to stupid fucking idiots, it's pretty tough to top Jenny McCarthy. She advocates not vaccinating your child (based on bad, inaccurate information) under the guise of "saving children from autism"... but then turns around and glamorizes smoking and nicotine addiction with her Blu e-cig commercials...

Jenny Stupid Fucking McCarthy

For the children, I'm sure.

It's bad enough that her anti-vax idiocy is spreading illness and death... now she's promoting an unhealthy habit too? I'm guessing that whoring herself out for huffing gasoline is next. All she has to do is find somebody to pay her to make an ad for it.

   
And... I think I'm done. I'll just let that last bullet sink in a bit...

   

Bullet Sunday 363

Posted on Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Dave!Grab onto those Golden Globes... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Seahawks! And so the Seahawks won their NFL Second Round Playoffs game against the Saints. Here in Washington State, it's kind of a big deal. And while I support the home team, of course, I'm not a rabid Seahawks fan, so it's more of a passive activity...

Dave and Bad Monkey Hawks Fans

But for most everybody else, it's a bit more obsessive than that...

Dave and Bad Monkey RABID Hawks Fans

It's important to note that quite a few of these fans are only fans when the Seahawks are doing well. When they're doing shitty, these same "fans" will be back to bitching about how much the "SeaChickens" suck.

All I know is that I wouldn't be caught dead at a Seahawks home game any more. The whole "12th Man" phenomena is just too crazy. The entire object of which seems to be to maintain Seattle's reputation of having the loudest fans on earth. Which is something to be proud of, I guess? Personally, I don't get it. Who wants to stand in the middle of a bunch of people screaming non-stop at the top of their lungs? Oh... die-hard Seahawks fans, that's who. Oh well. Good luck, Seahawks!

   
• Miyazaki! The Simpsons unleashed a wonderful, beautiful, amazing tribute to anime and Hayao Miyazaki in a recent episode. So cool...

Time to go watch Spirited Away for the hundredth time.

   
• Veronica! Two months. Two short months...

Veronica Mars Movie Poster

Yeah. I'm excited.

   
• WD-40! Don't you hate it when you're focused on your work when all of a sudden you find yourself thinking "Hey, what's the deal behind WD-40?" And "Why is WD-40 called WD-40 in the first place?" Then, unlike in the past when you'd just shrug your shoulders and go back to work, you instead waste 15 minutes getting caught in a Wikipedia black hole?

WD-40 Line-Up

In case you're wondering... WD-40 was a scientist's 40th attempt to create a Water Displacement formula to prevent corrosion in nuclear missiles. Personally, I would have lied and said it was my 43rd attempt, because WD-43 sounds a lot more fun. Which is important when you're talking about preventing nuclear missiles from corroding.

   
• Globes! Was very happy to see that Breaking Bad got some recognition. Great to see Jennifer Lawrence be her amazing self once again with her American Hustle win. Having Spike Jones win for Her just makes me want to see this film even more than I already did. And Amy Poehler and Tina Fey did a fantastic job hosting, as expected. The only two complaints I had were... A) Most of the award speeches were seriously bad, and B) The tribute to raging pervert Woody Allen had me wondering if everybody had forgotten how he HAD AN AFFAIR WITH HIS WIFE'S ADOPTED DAUGHTER, THEN MARRIED HER... and is STILL under suspicion for molesting one of his wife's other adopted daughters... WHEN SHE WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD! If everybody did forget, we have Woody Allen's son on Twitter to remind them...

Ronan's Woody Tweet

Not to mention the fact that I think all of Allen's movies are shit anyway.

   

And, there you have it. No more bullets for you.

   

Bullet Sunday 364

Posted on Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Dave!Hold on to those Super Bowl XLVII predictions... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Seahawks! And speaking of the Super Bowl... looks like the Seahawks are getting their second trip to the big game. Ironically they'll be playing the Broncos, which means it's a battle between the two states that legalized marijuana. That's quite a bowl.

   
• Security! Show of hands... who thinks that President Obama would have held a press conference concerning infringements on civil liberties and new restrictions on NSA surveillance if the government hadn't been caught spying on all the wrong people? Another show of hands... who thinks anything is going to actually change? Meh. It's all bullshit anyway. Politicians can say whatever they want to mollify the public, but whether it's our own government... or a company like Google... personal privacy is gone.

"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither" — Benjamin Franklin

   
• Freedom! To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Freedom Industries (the company whose badly maintained waste storage tanks are responsible for a chunk of West Virginia losing their water supply) have declared bankruptcy. Typical. Big corporations pay for politicians to advocate the elimination of environmental protections under the guise of "job creation," when everybody knows they're only angling to avoid paying for eco-friendly business practices. Then, when their reprehensible excuse for "public safety" fails, they declare bankruptcy so everybody responsible has their ass covered and everybody else gets screwed. Now that's freedom!

   
• Gilligan! Was sad to learn that Russell Johnson, the guy who played the professor on Gilligan's Island, has died. As the guy who could make a nuclear reactor out of a coconut and two bananas, he was always my favorite castaway...

Russell johnson as The Professor

Smooth sailing, sir.

   
• Betty! Very happy birthday wishes to Betty White who turned 92 this week!

Betty & Dave

Still one of my favorite actresses.

   
And... time to put away my bullets and pack a suitcase.

   

Bullet Sunday 365

Posted on Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Dave!Now there's a full year of Bullet Sundays ... because a Very Special THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIFTH edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Mac! Happy 30th Birthday to the Macintosh. It's easy to overlook the importance of something when you use it every single day, but I love my Mac more now than I ever have...

Macintosh 30th Birthday

If you haven't seen Apple's look back at Mac innovations, it's well worth exploring If I were forced to pick that one year of Macintosh history that was the biggest for me, it would have to be the release of the Titanium PowerBook G4 in 2001. Not only was it sexy as hell, but it was also the first time I felt I could do everything on a portable that I could do on my desktop Mac.

Here's to 30 more years of kicking ass.

   
• Truth! The greatest concert I ever saw was Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses tour back in 1988. A close second would be P!nk's Truth About Love tour from last year. Absolutely spectacular. If you didn't get to see it... or just want to see it again... it's been released on video and is for sale at the iTunes Music Store for just $15 and it's worth every penny...

P!nk Truth About Love Tour Poster

Just an FYI... the tour is actually still ongoing, with three more dates remaining for Anaheim, Fresno, and Las Vegas. If you've got loads of money sitting around, it's worth tracking down tickets for this sold-out show.

   
• Bernice! Looks like I need to start watching South Beach Tow! Because, BERNICE! How awesome is she?!?

Holy shit! I hope her ObamaCare has kicked in by now... she's got a rough job!

   
• Unintelligent! I have been recording the new show Intelligence on my DVR, stacking them up in the hopes of discovering another Black List. No joy. This is easily one of the stupidest shows ever to air on television. It's yet another one of those shitty series where the writers are constantly pulling some kind of random techno-bullshit out of their asses not because it makes sense for the story... but because they're too fucking lazy to come up with something... intelligent... for lack of a better word. "HOW ARE WE GOING TO STOP HER? SHE HAS A COMPUTER CHIP IN HER HEAD?""I KNOW! LET'S PRESS A BUNCH OF RANDOM BUTTONS AND EXPLOIT SOME HERE-UNTO NON-EXISTENT FLAW IN THE CHIP SO WE CAN HACK HER HEAD AND SAVE THE DAY!"YEAH! WHO GIVES A SHIT IF WE ARE THE VERY DEFINITION OF DEUS EX MACHINA! IT BEATS HAVING TO USE LOGIC FOR A LIVING! Seriously, I don't understand how this crap-fest ever made it to air.

   
• LEGO! Just when I think that I couldn't possibly be more excited about the upcoming LEGO movie, this comes along...

"Epic" isn't an epic enough word to describe the epicness of just how epic this movie is gonna be.

   
And there it is... a year's worth of 365 Bullet Sundays in the can. And you said it wouldn't last. Shame on you!

   

Bullet Sunday 366

Posted on Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Dave!Put down that foam finger, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Bowl! Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks for their massive Super Bowl win. I'm especially happy for long-time Seahawks fans who have kept the faith for so very long and have now had their devotion rewarded...

Seahawks Victorious!
Pete Carroll, 9/11 Truther and Seahawks Coach, celebrates! Photo by Charlie Riedel at the Associated Press

I'm less excited for all the fair-weather Hawks fans who are all too happy to shit all over Seattle when they're losing... but will still be celebrating "their" victory tonight.

   
• Twelfth! Personally, I think the whole "Twelfth Man" thing is annoying as shit, but there's no denying that it's become bigger than the team they're dedicated to supporting. This was made abundantly clear when a Boeing jet was taken out to draw a big "12" across Washington State...

Boeing Twelfth Man Plane Ride

It's the ultimate Etch-A-Sketch!

Though, I have to say that this huge display of fandom pales in comparison to this guy...

He's probably the only person happier about the Seahawks' victory than the actual Seahawks.

   
• Kitteh! Everybody knows about The Puppy Bowl... but did you know there's a KITTEN BOWL?!? I just finished watching the big game, featuring Meowshawn Lynch...

Kitteh Bowl at the Kitten Bowl!

Adorable. You can get more info at The Hallmark Channel.

   
• Cap! Holy cats does Captain America: Winter Soldier look frickin' amazing...

Thrilled to see The Falcon debut at last... would be even more thrilled if a black super-hero would get their own film. Hello? Black Panther? Luke Cage? Brother Voodoo!? And while I'm equally thrilled to see Black Widow making an appearance (which makes total sense because of The Winter Soldier)... where is her frickin' movie? Even if the film is a dud, at least we're finally getting to see S.H.I.E.L.D. at the high-tech kick-ass organization it is (as opposed to the embarrassment we've been getting from the lame-ass television show).

   
• Mine! I'm probably going to catch some crap for posting this... BUT IT'S JUST SO TRUE!

I've lost count of the number of times I've asked "Do you want something?" and am told "No!"... only to have my date/girlfriend EAT MY FOOD! Seriously, you said you didn't want any... SO KEEP YOUR DAMN HANDS OFF MY FRIES! Not that I can actually say that, but I want all the fries!

   
• LEGO! Okay... okay... I know I won't shut up over The LEGO Movie's impending release, but how can you blame me? The latest trailer is beyond awesome...

And...

Could Chris Pratt BE any more perfect for the role?

This may very well be the greatest movie ever made. I cannot wait to see it.

   
Annnnd... chocolate pudding time!

   

Bullet Sunday 367

Posted on Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Dave!Grab a grey base plate, because an ALL-LEGO edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Movie Game! I haven't had a chance to finish the LEGO Marvel Super-Heroes videogame yet, but decided to jump into The LEGO Movie Videogame to check it out. One thing I can say from the levels I've played... you need to see the movie first. Events in the game are ripped directly out of the movie, so it is a massive spoiler if you play before you watch...

The LEGO Movie Videogame

Shocker... this LEGO videogame is pretty much like all the other LEGO videogames. You take control of a LEGO minifig to collect LEGO studs and solve mostly easy puzzles based on the film...

The voice talent is pretty good, as half the time I didn't know if the characters were being voiced by their movie actor counterparts... or if they just managed to get really good imitators. A new addition to the LEGO games is the need to hunt down "instruction books" to build some items, but most everything else you've probably seen before. Not that this is a bad thing... most times it's a relief that Traveler's Tales Games has had time to refine their play mechanics to such a fine point. But not always. Racing controls are still shitty, just as they are in every other game where you have to take command of a vehicle. And yet... still a lot of fun, as expected. I'm going to wrap up Marvel LEGO Super-Heroes first, but look forward into playing more of The LEGO Movie Videogame.

   
• Movie Essentials! All the things I loved most about The LEGO Movie are beautifully examined in DK's Essential Guide to the film. Like all DK LEGO books, a lot of love went into making sure that readers get their money's worth, and I'm very glad to add this edition to my growing collection. I'd write a review, but BrickQueen has already done a brilliant job of it...

Totally worth the $8.21 it costs... especially if you love LEGO.

   
• Movie Minifig! I gave up trying to buy the hundreds of minifigs that LEGO releases each year because it's just too darn expensive to collect them all. But Series 12 is based on The LEGO Movie and so I'm sorely tempted because they're all pretty cool...

LEGO Series 12

The problem is... even if you manage to collect all the characters in Series 12, you're still not going to have them all. LEGO released two exclusive minifigs exclusive to AMC theaters. And since I don't have an AMC within a hundred miles, getting my hands on them is not an option for me...

LEGO Movie AMC Exclusives

If I wanted them, I'd have to pay absurd bank on eBay. That's pretty shitty. Especially considering that there's probably other exclusives out there I don't even know about.

But, dang is Pajamas Emmet adorable.

   
• Soundtrack! While I had a few problems with the movie itself, the soundtrack was absolutely not one of them...

LEGO Movie Soundtrack

Featuring beautiful synth tracks by Mark Mothersbough, there's some good stuff to be found here. Most tracks are short bits that end before you can get into them (what I wouldn't give to hear more of Emmet's Plan, which clocks in at under two minutes!)... but they all flow together nicely. The theme song Everything is Awesome by Tegan & Sara (featuring the Andy Samberg's The Lonely Island) has some alternate versions here... including a rendition by Jo Li and a not-so-great acoustic version by Shawn Patterson and Sammy Allen. Also included is a bizarre piece by Will Anett (who plays Batman in the film) called Untitled Self Portrait. Overall more hits than misses. If you liked the film and enjoy synth music, this is worth a listen.

   
• Heart! There's been a few spoofs of the infamous Vinnie Jones "Hands-Only CPR" commercial from the British Heart Foundation (this one with Mini-Vinnie is classic). And now they've released one with LEGO...

Genius. Everything is better with LEGO!

   
• Online! I am still very, very upset that LEGO canceled LEGO Universe Online after I had invested so much money and time playing it. For this reason, I took a pass at the Legend's of Chima MMORPG when it came out. But there's a new Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game coming this Summer called LEGO Minifigures...

Needless to say... after watching the trailer, I want to play it. Hopefully LEGO will find a "revenue model" this time around so they won't have to cancel it just as I'm getting into it.

   
Annnnnd... time to play a few more rounds of LEGO Marvel Super-Heroes!

   

Bullet Sunday 368

Posted on Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Dave!Time to put House of Cards on pause, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Random! Sometimes when I'm stuck on a phone call, I'll fire up Wikipedia and click on the Random Article link for a while (WARNING: no telling where that link takes you). It never ceases to amaze me what pops up. Yes, there's a lot of random stubs that flash by... but there's always a few articles of substance that will teach you something. Today my articles were... HUMAN TOOTH SHARPENING!... CERATONYKUS!... FRISKNEY!... and the HOUSTON THUNDERBEARS! — But be careful. If you click too fast, you could skip by something interesting (like NEW KOREAN ORTHOGRAPHY!) and not be able to get back to it (your browser's back button won't work). And who knows what knowledge tomorrow will bring? (perhaps the BARCELONA INTERNATIONAL EROTIC FILM FESTIVAL!).

   
• Ellen! Even without her personal announcement, Ellen Page's speech for the Human Rights Campaign this week was powerful, inspiring, and well worth watching...

I hope Ellen Page knows just how much her words mean to a lot of kids struggling with acceptance... not only with their sexuality, but with all the challenges they face because they're different... or merely perceived to be different. The more people keep speaking out for treating people with decency and respect, the more attitudes will change. And the more kids will feel less alone as they struggle to figure out their path in life.

   
• Please! Oh please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please let this happen.

   
• Bloop! Because I just can't help it, I now present The LEGO Movie blooper reel...

Awww! Is there anything cuter than LEGO minifigs?

   
• Search! For years, I've been integrating Google Custom Search into Blogography. But it's grown increasingly unreliable, and I'm tired of having it fail when I go to use it. So when I switched to WordPress, I decided to dump it. Only to find that WordPress search sucks. It sucks so bad. And so I found my way to the Relevanssi plugin. It's an order of magnitude better than what comes with WP, for which I'm grateful. I just wish it had pictures like Google does. Everybody loves search that comes with pictures! Bummer. I do like how it highlights the search terms though.

   
• Archive! And while I'm on the never-ending subject of my migration to WordPress, I am compelled to bring up how crappy their archiving is compared to what I was using with Movable Type. Hopefully one day you'll be able to navigate between monthly archives without a plugin, but not today. Hopefully one day you'll be able to navigate subcategories within a category without hard-coding IDs in an array, but not today. Both of these are not revolutionary features by any means, and it mystifies me as to why they aren't included. Luckily WordPress is ever a work in progress. So maybe one day.

   
And now, if you'll excuse me, another episode of House of Cards awaits...

   

Bullet Sunday 369

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014

Dave!I was drinking heavily at a Daytona 500 Race Day party yesterday, so prepare yourself for Bullet Sunday on Monday, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Gravity! Just in case you're one of the few people on earth who hasn't seen Kate Upton's Zero G photo shoot from Sports Illustrated, it is truly something you need to be checking out. Even if just to see the =ahem= "technical challenges" of shooting a swimsuit model in space...

Kate Upton IN SPAAAAACE!

You can see more at Sports Illustrated Online.

   
• History! I don't normally link to stuff like this, but there's a Reddit thread that is epic, and I can't stop looking at it. If you have even a passing interest in history, here's a black hole for you to fall into... What are two events that took place in the same time in history but don't seem like they would have?

   
• Egon! I was saddened to learn that actor/writer/director Harold Ramis has died at 69 years old today. While he is probably best known as Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters, he was also an actor, writer, or director on other amazing films I love... like Stripes and Groundhog Day. Such a hilariously smart and witty individual will be missed.

   
• Ivory! Prince William is wanting to remove and destroy all ivory art and artifacts in possession of the Royal Family as an example to other world leaders that elephant poaching should not be tolerated. While I applaud his efforts in saving these wonderful creatures from senseless slaughter, is destroying beautiful works of art really the way to do that? Yes, by all means, do whatever is necessary to defeat the ivory trade moving forward... but for those pieces already in the royal collection, the deed has been done. Destroying works of art is not going to bring those elephants back. I'd even go so far as to argue that if people start destroying the world's ivory, it's just going to make the stuff more enticing as a rare collectible, putting more elephants in danger. And what's next? Do we start burning priceless ancient books that were printed on vellum? Or are calves less worthy of protection? We're evolving to a society which is more compassionate towards animals, and that's wonderful. But show some compassion towards the artists of the past whose only sin was using "the material of the day" in their work.

   
• Heroes! I've already wrote about how much I fucking loathed the television show Heroes...

Lame NBC Heroes

Just like with Odo, the non-shape-changing-shape-changing character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Heroes was the show about non-super-powered-super-powered-heroes. And it just sucked. It was SO bad, and this is coming from a super-hero comic book junkie who lives for shit like this. And now I learn that NBC is resurrecting the show for a 13-episode mini-series. Really. REALLY?!? Because, aren't there like... i dunno... a MILLION television shows more worthy of return than this pile of shit? Probably. What a waste of time and money. Somebody bring back a show that actually mattered... like Firefly.

   
• Arizona! From the blog of George Takei, regarding Arizona's new bill allowing businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers on religious grounds: "...The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear. So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know — from large corporations to small families on vacation — to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent..."

Just as I feel that businesspeople who believe selling flowers or cake is a "lifestyle endorsement" are businesspeople too stupid to survive economically... I also feel that they should have the right to be that stupid. But to pass a law which supports their stupidity? That IS an endorsement. An endorsement by politicians who are supposed to represent ALL of their constituents, including the LGBT community, equally and fairly. So, yes. I will absolutely take up George Takei's call to boycott if Governor Brewer is insanely stupid enough to sign SB-1062 into law. You don't have to be gay to oppose such blatantly anti-gay politics... you just have to be human. Ironically, the people who think this is truly about "religious freedom" instead of "an excuse to legalize persecution" seem to be the same people professing to want a smaller government that doesn't intrude on our lives. Do you smell it? The stench of hypocrisy has once again shit the bed.

   
And now I am still recovering from yesterday and too tired to keep blogging, so I guess this is goodnight.

   

Bullet Sunday 371

Posted on Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Dave!Hope you're fully functional on one less hour of sleep today... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Persecution? My very first bullet of the day got a little out of control, so I'm saving it for an entry of its own tomorrow. Don't you love it when that happens? I'm a blog entry ahead for once!

   
• No Sale! Ke$ha has exited rehab... and celebrated the occasion by dropping the dollar-sign from her name! Say wha-?!? So now Ke$ha is Kesha and I'm not sure what that's going to mean for the future. Hopefully it still includes her working a metal plate on her crotch with a metal grinder, because isn't that what we all expect out of Ke$ha... errr... Kesha?

<nobr>Ke$ha</nobr> Dances

Whatever she calls herself, best of luck as she gets out of rehab and moves on with her life and her music.

   
• Enlisted! This show is so much better than it has a right to be...

Enlisted On FOX!

Seriously. I had -zero- hope for this series. The ads all looked stupid-horrible. The concept of three brothers in the Army sounded lame. The only reason I bothered to tune in at all was because I liked Geoff Stults in The Finder. After the first episode, I was in shock that I liked it. The show was more smart than stupid... more funny than not. After the second episode, I was upset that I ended up liking it even more. Now I've just given up all pretenses of hating Enlisted and enjoy watching it. If you haven't given it a try, and you like comedy, it might be worth a look.

   
• Wenatchee! The valley in which I live is abuzz over this pretty new promo video that was released this week...

What's odd... or maybe it's not odd at all... is that the video barely touches on the City of Wenatchee itself. They fly above it. They explore around it. They look at it from afar. But I'm guessing only 5% of the footage actually takes place there. City streets, buildings, parks, public spaces, services, and all the other stuff that someone visiting Wenatchee proper would recognize and see... it's all condensed into a few seconds. Growing up in this area, I used to think that Wenatchee was a boring shithole in the middle of some nice scenery. And while the city has grown and changed since those days... along with my attitude towards it... it seems as though the filmmakers felt the best thing about Wenatchee was getting the hell out of it. So I guess I can relate. I've been there. And I've been to Wenatchee too.

   
• Quark! For a hefty amount of time in computing history, desktop publishing was owned by a single company, Quark, and their software solution, QuarkXpress. It was a majestic mess of a program that I always hated... so much so that I would often-times use Adobe Illustrator for page layout, even though it was ill-equipped to handle that task. I didn't care. I'd rather juggle 50 separate Adobe Illustrator files than a single 50-page document in Quark because it was ultimately far less hassle. Even their "competition," PageMaker, which was woefully underpowered for serious DTP was a better choice. Quark was a buggy, crash-prone mess that ate up so much time, money, and resources that anything was a better solution. Then Adobe came out with InDesign, which was sheer nirvana compared to shitty Quark, and I never looked back. Even when somebody sent me a Quark file to work with, I'd inevitably recreate the entire thing in InDesign from scratch because it would be less work than having to fire up Xpress to deal with it.

Whether that's your experience with Xpress mimics mine... or whether you loved it with a passion that InDesign could never match... anyone who has been touched by QuarkXpress should read this terrific article over at Ars about the rise and fall of a giant.

   
• HBO! And lastly? This fan-made mash-up trailer for Game of Thrones... as if it were airing in the 1990's... is pure genius, even if you know nothing about the show...

Seriously. This is a flawless victory so far as tributes go.

   
And now? Bullets be gone!

   

Bullet Sunday 372

Posted on Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Dave!Stop digging out that old bomb shelter... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Cold? "Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash." — Kremlin-backed television presenter Dmitry Kiselyov, host of a weekly current affairs show in Russia. Behind him was a backdrop of a mushroom cloud following a nuclear blast. (from Reuters)

You wanna know what bothers me more than the thought of being turned into radioactive ash? I really, really, want to visit Russia. I always have. Ever since I first saw a photo of Saint Basil's Cathedral in Red Square. For most of my life, the idea of it has been an impossibility. But then the Soviet Union collapses, the cold war thaws, relations normalize, tourism becomes more and more common, and suddenly... but not really suddenly... the impossible becomes possible...

Saint Basil's Cathedral

And now I'm asking myself... Are current tensions going to blow over? Are current tensions going to escalate? What happens if they do escalate? Have I waited too long? Am I too late?

Last year I ultimately decided to visit Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. But also in the running? A river cruise through the Ukraine, including a couple stops in Crimea...

Ukraine Cruise

I guess that ship has sailed... for a while. Or forever. You just never know. How shitty is it that we can't all just get along?

   
• Flash! The first two comic books I ever bought were Green Lantern/Green Arrow #121 and The Flash #277. Not coincidentally, they became my favorite super-heroes for quite a while...

Flash and Green Lantern

At least until I discovered The Legion of Super-Heroes. And Batman, of course. But even so, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for those first heroes. Green Lantern finally made it to the big screen with a fucking horrendously shitty movie that I hated. Then Green Arrow got a very good television show I'm currently enjoying called Arrow. Next up? The Flash!

The Flash

It's a spin-off from Arrow, so my hopes are high. The costume is certainly a step in the right direction.

This isn't the first iteration of The Flash on TV. The first was a show starring John Wesley Shipp back in 1990. It was surprisingly good, but limited by the technology of the day. To say I'm anxious to see what we'll be getting in the year 2014 is an understatement. The pilot is filming now. I'm assuming we'll be seeing it this Fall. Assuming the show is picked up. That's a lot of assuming.

   
• Drop. Apple has a terrific bit of tech called "AirDrop" that allows you to share iPhone/iPad photos, contacts, files, and whatnot pretty much effortlessly. Open what you want to share, activate AirDrop, and you can beam stuff to other AirDrop users...

Air Dropi OS

Cool!

Apple has a terrific bit of tech called "AirDrop" that allows you to share Macintosh photos, contacts, files, and whatnot pretty much effortlessly. Locate the file you want to share in the Finder, activate AirDrop, and you can beam stuff to other AirDrop users...

AirDrop Mac

Cool!

BUT YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S NOT COOL?!? EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE BOTH CALLED "AIRDROP," THE iPHONE AND MAC TECHNOLOGIES ARE NOT FUCKING COMPATIBLE! This is outrageously stupid and, for the life of me, I just don't get it. I keep thinking "It's coming any day now, I'm sure!" But then it doesn't, and I get pissed off all over again. Why bother naming them both "AirDrop" if they are so different that they can't even talk to each other? How is it that Apple can be so smart in so many ways but so stupid in others?

   
• Stick! I promised myself that I wouldn't start in on the new video game, SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH, until I finished LEGO MARVEL SUPER-HEROES, but I just couldn't resist any longer. I'm a massively huge South Park fan, and the trailer looked amazing (warning, NOT safe for work)...

And you know what? It IS amazing! It looks exactly like you're "playing" an episode of the TV series. As if that weren't enough, it is frickin' hilarious. As in laugh-out-loud-funny. Not only because it's South Park, but because they've managed to create a fully-realized RPG game that's actually a parody of RPG games... with humor built into practically everything you see and do. I'll want to play it a bit more when I get back from vacation before I write a review... but, if you're a South Park and video game fan, it's pretty much a no-brainer. You simply must own this.

   
• Mars 2. The Veronica Mars movie (which I reviewed here) has only been out for three days, and already the sequel talk has started. Here's creator Rob Thomas Himself..

“With the first movie, because it was crowd-funded, it was a love letter to the fans,” he explains. “I put every character they loved back into the movie. There are a lot of inside jokes. With a second movie, I would build it from the case out. In the first movie, I feel like I did just the opposite. I put all the dessert, all the frosting on there, and then put a detective case in the middle. On the next one, I would want the detective case to be the driving force of the movie.”

It's as if he read my blog post and is answering my prayers!

Needless to say, I would be positively thrilled to get a sequel. Especially if we get a fantastic Veronica-Mars-style mystery on-par with what we saw in the first and second seasons of the show. NOW SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

   
Annnnnd... the end.

   

DAY ELEVEN: Bullet Sunday 374

Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2014

Dave!Don't go checking your calendar just yet... because Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...

   
• Skuttle. The plan was to head into Amsterdam today... the reality is that I'm laying around on a big red couch trying to rest up my aching rib cage for a ten-hour flight home tomorrow morning. I tried feeling sad about it, but this has been such a great vacation that I just can't muster the pity.

   
• Heart. Did you know that the seven red shapes on the flag of Fryslân are not hearts?

Frisian Flag

They're pompeblêden... the leaves of yellow water-lily! But in blood red for some reason. Probably because that's more scary to their enemies than if they were yellow-green...

Frisian Flag Wrong!

No. Yeah... red is definitely more bad-ass.

   
• Smurftastic. And so the Netherlands has Smurf-flavored gelato...

Smurf-Flavored Gelato

There was no ingredients statement, so I don't know if it's made with real Smurfs or not...

The Smurfs

In any event, I'm guessing Gargamel won.

   
• Tagged. While I don't necessarily condone defacing public or private property, I have to say the graffiti in Leeuwarden was some pretty impressive stuff...

Leeuwarden Graffiiti

Leeuwarden Graffiiti

But what would you expect from Wom the Hipster-Killing Zombie?

Leeuwarden Graffiiti

   
• Chickens. And, just when you think that beautiful hand-painted signage is a lost art, also in Leeuwarden...

Leeuwarden Graffiiti

You almost don't notice that the building is crooked and all the windows are jacked up. Perhaps Wom the Hipster-Killing Zombie has a day-job?

   
• Cheese. My biggest regret in leaving the Netherlands is that I can't bring a big wheel of cheese with me. They had it for sale at The Keukenhof, but it weighs 20-30 pounds and costs around $120-$200 (depending on how aged it is and how much your wheel weighs). You do get to buy it from a wooden cow, however...

Cheese Cow

I'm guessing 30 pounds of cheese would last me about a week.

   
No more bullets. No more vacation.

   

Bullet Sunday 375

Posted on Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Dave!Ooh! Game of Thrones is on!

Don't blink... because an express edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Lucy. It would seem that Luc Besson has something new...

Now this I am looking forward to. And a sequel to The Fifth Element, of course.

   
• Super. Well okay then...

I liked Gravity well enough, but thought it dragged in spots. This would have made for a bit more exciting film... assuming General Zod would show up. Then Sandra Bullock could KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

   
• Popular. It would seem that CBS News recommends meth addiction thanks to unfortunate placement of the story below this one...

Frisian Flag

Unfortunate placement happens all the time in magazines and newspapers, but for some reason I thought that websites were immune. Oh goodie... something new to worry about. In other news... how about that meth? It's a heck of a drug.

   
• Anti-Vax. Oh look! The mumps outbreak in Central Ohio has now reached 150 cases!

Jenny Stupid Fucking McCarthy

A job well done! Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, you crazy bitch!

   
• Micro. But to end things on a positive note, how amazing is this?

Absolute genius. I just love innovative stuff like this.

   
And now? Winter is coming...

   

Bullet Sunday 376

Posted on Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Dave!Go Go Gadget Web Browser... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Penny. NEW CHRIS WARE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES!

You. Are. Welcome!

Chris Ware's Penny

Nobody does what Chris Ware does. And why would they? Everything he creates is perfect.

   
• Shift? Bwah ha! This has to be one of Apple's biggest embarrassments. I frickin' HATE that I can never tell if my shift/shift-lock is on or not in iOS...

Unibox Screenshot

So now there's a new website in case you need a reminder! Sweet!

   
• Mail. Okay. Okay. I've used a lot of email programs. A lot. And while the features are tweaked from app to app, they all pretty much work the same way once you get down to brass tacks... no matter how different they look. Enter Unibox. Now THIS isn't just a different approach to email... it's different different. The biggest change? No inbox. There's a filter for your contacts, any attachments you've received, and that's it...

Unibox Screenshot

For my personal email, where I receive a cornucopia of crap every day, I prefer the "inbox approach." But for my work email? Where everything revolves around people? This has proven nothing short of revolutionary. Once I got used to it, I was amazed at how much of a timesaver this unique approach to email has been. If you're in a similar email situation and have a Mac... Unibox gets my highest recommendation.

   
• Flight. Every minute of this video is gold...

I don't know a better way to wrap up my Sunday than that.

   
• Good. Well, okay... maybe with this commercial from a Thai life insurance company...

Pretty much sums up why I love Thailand.

   
And... hope your weekend was a good one!

   

Bullet Sunday 377

Posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Dave!Put on your Easter bonnet... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Overtime And... instead of being able to kick-back and relax tomorrow before flying home, I now have to work in the morning. So... this is going to be a really quick list.

   
• Yoga. The best thing you've seen all week...

There's more on Nic and Pancho's YouTube Channel.

   
• Ten. Did I mention that the latest issue of THRICE Fiction has been released and you can download a copy for FREE?!? Well, it's all true! Click here to grab a copy...

THRICE Fiction No. 10 Cover!

And, if you like that, there's nine other issues to explore...

   
• Wabbit. While stopping at the Jelly Belly Factory yesterday, I noticed that they add ears to Mr. Jelly Belly for Springtime...

Jelly Belly Easter Bunny

Happy Easter, everybody!

   
And now... sleep.

   

Bullet Sunday 378

Posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Dave!Finish up all those boiled eggs leftover from last weekend... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Bricked. If you are an iPhone user upgrading your iOS to version 7.1.1, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR PHONE IS BACKED UP FIRST! I attempted to update my iPhone and ended up getting it completely bricked. The only way I could make it useable again was to plug it into my MacBook and use iTunes to manually update it. Luckily, my phone had backed up to iCloud that morning, or I would have lost a lot of photos. Usually, I don't even think about backups because I've never had any update problems, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

   
• Quick. The recent run of absolutely brilliant Marvel Comics movie adaptations has been nothing short of miraculous. Everything Marvel Studios touches... from Iron-Man to Captain America to Thor to Avengers has been amazing. But we haven't been so lucky with Marvel movies from other studios. In particular, Bryan Singer's horrendously shitty X-Men films over at 20th Century Fox. The first three were gut-wrenchingly bad. The first Wolverine spin-off was tragic. But then the pendulum swung in the other direction. Matthew Vaughn gave us the excellent X-Men: First Class, then James Mangold unleashed a terrific sequel with The Wolverine. My hopes for the X-Universe were restored. UNTIL 20th CENTURY FOX GAVE IT BACK TO BRYAN SINGER! I mean, seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?!? And, naturally, once we started seeing photos, it looked like Singer had once again spread his butt-cheeks and plopped a load of crap on the franchise. One of my biggest disappointments was his shitty interpretation of the character Quicksilver...

Shitty Fucking Quicksilver from Bryan Singer

The ugly hair, freaky glasses, and idiotic belt of clunky gadgets just had to be a joke, right? And what's with that stupid jacket? But, no, it wasn't a joke. Subsequent photos confirmed the hideous outfit... but I was relieved to see the belt gone and the hair looking marginally better...

Shitty Fucking Quicksilver from Bryan Singer

At least until a fucking hamburger commercial, of all things, showed the character in full lighting...

Shitty Fucking Quicksilver from Bryan Singer

Holy shit. I MEAN, HOLY SHIT! Somebody dressing up for ComicCon does a better job than this embarrassment! But it's Bryan Singer. After the colossal dump he took on Superman Returns, nothing surprises me. This is what we expect.

But the good news is that Marvel Studios owns the right to The Avengers, of which Quicksilver is a part. Sure, they can't have him be a mutant, because 20th Century Fox gets all that with their X-Men license... but, hey, JOSS WHEDON WILL AT LEAST DO THE CHARACTER RIGHT IN AVENGERS 2!

Right?

And then I see this...

Shitty Fucking Quicksilver from Bryan Singer

Okay. I admit it's a vast, vast improvement over the shitty X-Men version... but this is the best they could do? A nonsensical shirt with an ugly design and pants from some kind of Members Only 80's collection. Really? WHY? LORD, WHY?!?

   
• Smack. Advice as true then as it is now... DON'T BE A GUM-SMACKING WHORE, PEOPLE!

Shitty Fucking Quicksilver from Bryan Singer

For more timeless dating advice, here's a link for you.

   
• Ten. And so Ronald McDonald got a makeover to make him less creepy. Here's the old Ronald....

Shitty Fucking Quicksilver from Bryan Singer

And here's the new...

Shitty Fucking Quicksilver from Bryan Singer

FAIL! If anything, the attempt to fashion-forward a fucking clown only makes the scary asshole even creepier. If this thing were to come walking towards me I would lose my shit.

   
• Shhhh! I've watched this at least a half-dozen times. You couldn't hope for a better end to Bullet Sunday...

   
And... have a good week, everybody!

   

Bullet Sunday 379

Posted on Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Dave!Use the fourth, you... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Forced. It's Star Wars Day! "May the Fourth" be with you!

Darth Monkey

   
• Neutral. I have written about the importance of net neutrality many, many times (the latest is here), and it still completely boggles my mind how people just don't seem to care. The FCC, whose job it should be to ensure a free and open internet took a huge crap all over the American people when FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler came out in support of abandoning true net neutrality. This is a horrendous fucking blow to the internet, and I am disgusted to my very core that President Obama, WHO CONSISTENTLY PROMISED TO DEFEND NET NEUTRALITY DURING HIS CAMPAIGN, remains silent on the matter. When are these politician assholes going to remember that THEY FUCKING WORK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? Oh... that would be never. Because companies with deep pockets are throwing a fuck-ton of money at them to get what they want. Democrats, Republicans, or whatever... our politicians work for lobbyists and corporate greed, not US citizens, and anybody who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. So, yeah... go ahead and buy into the artificial wall of hate created to divide and distract everybody... that's exactly what the people who really control this country want. In the meanwhile, say goodbye to the internet as we know it.

   
• Magic. I don't know if this can be considered cruel or not... but dogs being fooled by close-up magic is sure funny...

The reactions are priceless. I'm kinda amazed at how many of the dogs grasp the effects of gravity enough to think the treat must have fallen to the floor. Here's part two.

   
• Burrito. BECAUSE I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF!"

Videos like this are what the internet was made for.

   
• Stacked. So... apparently competitive cup-stacking is a thing...

Kind of a really cool thing. A search on YouTube turns up all kinds of fascinating cup-foolery.

   
Now, if you'll excuse me, if I don't have those units in the south range repaired be midday, there'll be hell to pay!

   

Bullet Sunday 380

Posted on Sunday, May 11th, 2014

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

   
• Maternal! The happiest of Mother's Days to all the moms out there... including mine!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

And if you're looking for an inspirational story for the holiday, look no further than this one.

   
• Chaz Darling. It has been increasingly difficult for me to accept the fact that The Colbert Report is ending this year. The show has some of the smartest commentary on on current events to be found anywhere, and it's been getting better and better as The End approaches. The May 8th episode was one of the best ever, and is well worth taking time to watch. If you don't have time for the full show, this interview will show you what you're missing...

Miss you already, Stephen T. Colbert. And congratulations to Larry Wilmore, whose new show "The Minority Report" will be filling the Colbert Report's shoes in January.

   
• Melting. Well, this is a conflict for somebody who loves cool art... yet finds all life sacred. Though, if they have to die, this is probably less cruel than gassing them or lighting them on fire?

Poor ants. But at least they didn't die in vain... those sculptures are pretty amazing.

   
• Hamster. Hot on the heels of last week's TINY HAMSTER EATING TINY BURRITOS comes TINY HAMSTER EATING TINY PIZZA!

I want Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Quiche to be next... but, in all honesty, I'd take a tiny hamster eating a tiny anything, really.

   
• Free? Freedom of religion. It was good while it lasted.

   
• CANCELED. Two shows I really enjoy... Community and Enlisted... have been cancelled. And it doesn't end there... The Crazy Ones, Suburgatory, Raising Hope, and Killer Women have also been axed.

What bums me out is not that something I liked watching is gone... it's that the networks will undoubtedly replace them with total shit. Or some idiotic new reality show, which is worse than total shit.

   
• PICKED UP. Along with the myriad of cancellation notices, there were two bright spots amidst the gloom...

First there's Constantine, based on the comic book Hellblazer, which actually looks pretty darn good. Obviously they're trying to cash in on the supernatural success of The Walking Dead, but it seems as though this show is going to have a tough time within the confines of major network television...

Then there's Gotham, which is the "before Batman" equivalent to Smallville. Not really my cup of tea, but it looks as though they're at least trying to be interesting with the material...

Yeah, I'll give them both a whirl. As a comic book fan, I pretty much have to.

   
Until next week...

   

Bullet Sunday 381

Posted on Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Dave!No more waiting for your ship to come in... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Blinded. This is a great story... it's short and awesome and worth your time and it has nice photos and you should read it. Sometimes things that seem irreparably broken just need a little TLC to make it through. That probably goes for people too...

Bored Panda Bird Waits by a Window

   
• Blinded Deux. And I can't post that wonderful story without being reminded of this wonderful story...

Remarkable how animals can fall between the cracks like this. That probably goes for people too. Again.

   
• Movie! Just a happy reminder... The LEGO Movie will be available at the iTunes Store tomorrow...

Emmet Says 'YEAH!'

Though I was not happy with the way they wrapped it up at the end, The LEGO Movie has still been one of the best movies this year so far.

   
• Thrice. Today was the annual board meeting for THRICE Fiction Magazine, so I packed up and headed west to the wilds of ChicagoLand Suburbia to meet with our intrepid Editor at Large, RW and his lovely wife. After much exciting talk about future plans for everybody's favorite literature magazine, we were off to Lynfred Winery for some remarkable Sangria Blanc. Which was followed by delicious possibilities for food porn at Restaurant 1913 in Roselle...

Restaurant 1913 Roselle

Insider Tip: The "Pizzettes" are to die for. I had the Spinach + Artichoke with Herbed Ricotta... heaven on a wooden serving board...

Pizzette at Restaurant 1913 Roselle

I dare say it's a dining experience worth the 45 minute train ride out of Chicago proper.

   
• Selfie! Alex Chacon has been living my dream... traveling the world on a motorcycle... for three years now. The video highlights he's released from his journey is the most epic selfie ever created...

You can find out a lot more about Alex's travels at his The Modern Motorcycle Diaries site.

   
And that's a wrap from beautiful Chicago!

   

Bullet Sunday 382

Posted on Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Dave!If you're in the USA, I hope you're in serviceable condition this three-day holiday weekend... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• SOLAR. FREAKIN'. ROADWAYS! This project is so mind-bogglingly awesome that I really want to believe it's going to happen. Until I remember that all our fucking politicians are in the pocket of fucking oil industry billionaires who will undoubtedly stop at nothing to make sure it doesn't happen. No... our government will finally decide to allow something like this when we're finally OUT of oil, and there's no more Big Oil teat for them to suckle... at which point we won't have the energy to do it, but whatever...

The project has reached their funding goal... but you can still contribute and they can still put your money to good use. Click here to donate in the next six days.

UPDATE: An interesting look at why this idea is fantasy...

   
• The R-Word. And so this happened...

        50 Senators Call On NFL To Change Redskins' Name.

Look, it doesn't matter what the intent is. It doesn't matter the context. It doesn't matter what legacy has been established. It doesn't matter how "respectful" you are. It doesn't matter what tradition and history mean to the team. "Redskins" is a historically hateful, dismissive, disrespectful, racist, and wholly offensive term for Native Americans. Period. It hasn't changed meaning. It hasn't been "taken back." It hasn't "moved past" its vile history. It is just as hurtful to those of Native American heritage today as it has always been. So why is this even a debate? Why has it taken THIS long? I mean, I KNOW this country's history of treatment for its Natives has been atrocious from the very beginning, but how can it ever be too late to start changing that? Despite our tragic history's best efforts, THESE PEOPLE EXIST! And there is no possible reason, context, intent, or excuse where "redskins" is an acceptable term to be used for anything. Then. Now. Forever. That there are people who can't even see how horrifically offensive this word is to an entire people and their culture only goes to show just how ugly it really is. And it needs to stop.

   
• Assholes. Hearing crazy shit from assholes like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh doesn't phase me any more. They say outrageous crap every day in order to shock people into paying attention to them, and I'm just done with it. But when it comes to everyday people? People who say outrageous crap for no other reason than being assholes towards their fellow human beings? That still freaks me the hell out...

Look, I've already written about the idea of people being forced to participate in activities that violate their religious convictions... but this is getting insane. Does nobody learn from history? Does any of this sound familiar? What's the next step? Do we just round up all the gays and the Jews so they don't accidentally offend somebody's religious sensibilities?? Seriously... what the fuck?!? I mean, THIS is the thinking of ignorant America now? I can't help but wonder how many surviving World War II vets are losing their ever-fucking minds right now. Exactly how far does this crap have to go before people wake up and just learn to live together?

   
• The Talk. Helpful video advice for parents...

I don't know what to say about this other than "genius." And holy shit.

   
• BIG! Well, since The Incredibles 2 has finally been announced, but is undoubtedly still years away, it seems like Marvel stepped up to the animation plate to fill the gap with little-known comic book property Big Hero 6...

Looks adorable. Baymax is the cutest thing to come to life since Schmoo.

   
And... unlike the rest of the known Universe (aka "The United States of America"), I have to work tomorrow, so until next week.

   

Bullet Sunday 383

Posted on Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Dave!Don't press that back button... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Leaving. And so my quick trip to Tampa has ended and I'm flying home today. Early. Way too early. Because I'm just not smart enough to stop booking early flights. But at least it's ultimately my choice. I feel sorry for these puppies who didn't have a choice but to fly...

Puppy as Luggage

Poor pup. At least he has decent legroom.

   
• Movies. While looking for something to watch on Delta's entertainment system, I ran across THIS hot mess...

ADORE: Two mothers living in a sleepy seaside town find their lifelong friendship put to the test when the community learns that they have fallen in love with each others sons.

Holy shit! How messed up is that?!?

I settled for watching Veronica Mars for the fourth time...

Veronica Mars

Or I would have if I could have found the movie playing. Delta is just a big ol' tease.

   
• I'M BATMAN! Already clearing a space on my Fall schedule...

US AmeriBank Ybor City

Two of my favorite things on earth are LEGO and Batman. To have them combined in something so awesome gives my life meaning.

   
• Man-ual. If you're a fan of the Iron Man movies, you NEED to get The Iron Man Manual. It's a book... but not really a book. It's meant to be a dossier prepared by Tony Stark's computerized butler, Jarvis. The result is more "scrap book" than anything else, and it's really well done. Pages have tickets, post-it notes, schematics, drawings, and other movie prop goodies pasted to them. As if that weren't enough, the book is jam-packed with info from the films, including a complete look at all the various armors...

Surprisingly good book and a must for Iron Man fans. You can get a copy here.

   
• ILLOGICAL! ILLOGICAL! Watch the video to continue... but the video cannot be loaded... but you have to load the video to continue but...

WATCH THE VIDEO TO CONTINUE! - THE VIDEO COULD NOT BE LOADED!

Thanks a heap, SeaTac Free WiFi!

   
And... my plane is going to be landing in a few minutes, so I'll be shutting down now.

   

Bullet Sunday 385

Posted on Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Dave!Hope your dad wanted a half-dozen bullets for Father's Day... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Fathers. And, speaking of Father's Day... happiest of holidays to all the dads out there... especially mine!

Dave and Dave2!

Wow! I look so young in that photo!

   
• Radio. Growing up in the 70's and 80's the voice of music was Casey Kasem. He was also the voice of our cartoons, as he was Shaggy in Scooby Doo and the voice of Robin in Super Friends! I was sad to hear that Mr. Kasem passed away today...

Casey Kasem!

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars..."

   
• Feline. Three marines saved some kittens in Afghanistan, bringing us one of the best things I've read all week...

Marine Cats!

Marine Cats!

The story is worth a look over at Love Meow.

   
• Halloween. In what looks to be the best thing to happen to Halloween since Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas, here comes Guillermo del Toro's The Book of Life...

Absolutely beautiful. I can't wait.

   
• Dreams. Kevin Costner and other cast members assembled in Iowa at the Field of Dreams movie site to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film. Needless to say, I am pretty crushed that I didn't get to go...

Kevin Costner Hits!
Photo copyrighted by the Associated Press

Yep, still my favorite movie of all time.

   
• Bat-Cave. My second choice for a place to watch Field of Dreams? THE ULTIMATE BAT-CAVE THEATER, OF COURSE!

Ultimate Bat-Cave Theater!
Photo courtesy of Elite Home Theater Seating

When a friend sent this link to me, I poured over the photos for a long time. The detail and thoughtfulness that went into planning this room is amazing. It feels very authentic to the style of the Christopher Nolan trilogy of films, though I can't fathom the $2.5 million is will cost to implement. If only I had too much money to know what to do with it.

   
Now we return you to your previous Father's Day activities...

   

Bullet Sunday 386

Posted on Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Dave!It must be Sunday... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Paws. It won't be easy to watch... but if you care about our furry feline friends, you'll want to see The Paws Project, now available to stream on Netflix. It documents the horrifying effect of declawing cats, which is far worse than taking off a nail on a human. It's more like taking off the finger-tips down to the first knuckle on a human...

The PAWS PROJECT Poster

Declawing is just awful. And yet there are still veterinary hospitals that promote it because it's profitable... even though there are far more humane alternatives. Hopefully this barbaric practice will be outlawed nation-wide if enough people start speaking up about it.

   
• Pledge. I have no idea where this photo comes from. But it's genius, and every time I run across it I love it even more. Because: 'MURICA!

I pledge aliegence to the flags...

I've finally decided to blog it so I can look it up easily every time I need a laugh.

   
• Silence! As if this video wasn't already freaky as hell with the sound...

Of course, anything featuring Jagger and Bowie is bound to be freaky as hell.

   
• Kare! As a huge, huge, mega-huge fan of Susan Kare's work, I was thrilled when Foodiddy sent me this link...

I wish she would have had time to go a bit deeper into her creative process, but this is a must-watch video for anybody interested in graphic design.

   
• Cozy My Ass. Of all the "Hitler Dubs" floating around out there, THIS is by far my favorite: Hitler tries to rent an apartment in San Francisco...

Oh, Hitler!

   
• Perry! I've grown so accustomed to Texas Governor Rick Perry being a raging douche that the insane shit he says doesn't phase me any more. Comparing homosexuality to alcoholism... while repugnant, ignorant an fucking stupid... is a relatively mild offense for him. I'd argue his pathetic attempt to write that off as a mistake after doubling down on it is even more ridiculous. Regardless, Funny or Die has a brilliant commentary on this particular bit of Rick Perry idiocy...

Can you believe the piece of shit is probably going to run for president again in 2016?

   
And... that clicking sound you here is me out of bullets in my blog-based six-shooter. Until next week...

   

Bullet Sunday 387

Posted on Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Dave!Put on your Sunday's finest... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Home. I am fascinated by the trend of "micro-living"... otherwise known as really, really small houses. Over the past couple years I keep seeing more and more stories of people giving up on larger homes, simplifying their lives, and moving into tiny places that are perfectly livable thanks to amazing design choices. It's all very zen, and appeals to my desire for living a less complicated life. Now it looks like apartment living has gone micro too, and an article on "The Karl" shows that micro-apartment complexes have some terrific advantages over micro-houses... like communal rooms on the top floor with space that can be used for socializing... something that's tough to do in a micro-home. I have to say, I sure like the floor plan...

The Karl Design

Small. Yes. But it's got everything you need, really. I mean, you're not going to raise a family in there, but for a single individual or a couple just starting out, it's perfectly livable. If you're in the city, most of your time will be spent at work and out with friends... all you really need is a place to sleep, poop, change clothes, and eat a meal every once in a while. I don't know that I would want to go quite this small... but the idea of it all intrigues me.

   
• Onziem. John Oliver has very quickly become an essential voice on world affairs, and it's shocking to see just how easily he is able to take a serious look at complicated issues while adding a comedic slant that in no way diminishes the gravity of the issue. Tonight Oliver had a fascinating take on the horrific level of hate that has been exported to Uganda by US assholes (USholes?)... PLUS an interview with the amazing Pepe Julian Onziema.

This is essential viewing material...

Be sure you watch Part 2 of the interview.

   
• Fraud. And speaking of John Oliver...

Turns out that "Dr. Oz" actually is the fraudulent piece of shit everybody thought he was all along...

Shocker. I still don't understand why people listen to raging douchebags like this asshole in the first place. Wasn't his motivation for crap like this totally obvious from the start?

   
• Amy. As if I didn't already have enough reasons to love Amy Adams... here's another one. I've been able to swap my seat a couple times when I've spotted a soldier flying alone, and it's about the best feeling you can have. The first time I gave up my seat it was to a young kid flying back for deployment after a visiting his wife and young daughter (which I leaned from overhearing a conversation he was having with a man next to him). After getting his name off his uniform, I went to the ticket desk and had the gate agent make the swap. I thought it was an anonymous deal, but he wanted to thank me so he waited in First Class after we landed where a flight attendant pointed me out. It was such a little thing for me... but it meant the world to a soldier who was headed back to a job nobody wants to do but, for whatever reason, risks his life to accomplish.

   
• Falafel. The grocery store here in my little corner of Redneckistan is now selling falafel mix... something I've attempted to purchase locally for years...

Falafel Mix!

Given its Middle East origins, I am sure this will be taken as a sign that sharia law will be enacted any minute now. Oh well... I no longer have to buy falafel via mail order or when I'm in Seattle, so I'll take it.

   
• LEELOO DALLAS MULTIPASS! I love The Fifth Element. Seriously one of my favorite films of all time. And I loved Gary Oldman in the film, where he played the villainous Zorg brilliantly for all his oddities...

Gary Oldman as Zorg

Which is why I was truly hurt when Gary Oldman decided to trash the film in a controversial interview he had in Playboy. Fuck you, Gary Oldman... The Fifth Element was one of the most interesting roles you've ever played!

   
Enjoy what's left of your weekend, everybody.

   

Bullet Sunday 388

Posted on Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Dave!It's a great day to stay inside and surf the internet all day... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Drone! Most of the time I am not a fan of the successor to RC helicopters... RC drones. When they're not making an annoying whine as the scream across the sky, they're blowing stuff up. But every once in a while, somebody finds a good use for drones that makes me forget all about the negatives. This viral video of a drone flying through 4th of July fireworks is one of them...

WARNING: It may not be all fun and games, however, as this link will tell you.

   
• Evian! Speaking of viral videos... how in the heck did I miss this one?

Guess this is the inevitable next step from stupid talking baby and talking animal commercials?

   
• Proud! During San Francisco Pride, Burger King sold a "Proud Whopper" in one of their restaurants along the parade route. Not surprisingly, I heard about the outcry before I heard about the burger. People were saying things like "I'M NEVER EATING AT BURGER KING AGAIN!" and "STOP CRAMMING HOMOSEXUALITY DOWN MY THOAT!" (ahem). Which is about as fucking stupid as it gets, because this was not a nation-wide project. It was specifically made for a single event in one restaurant in a localized area where the event took place. The only way you'd have "homosexuality crammed down your throat" would be if your were there for San Francisco Pride... and, even then, you could choose to have a plain-old Whopper if you wanted. Burger King never forced you to eat a "Proud Whopper" at all. Putting the usual homophobic idiocy aside, the idea of it all was actually pretty cool. Especially when people found out what a "Proud Whopper" was...

Exactly. Which is why seeing the insane reaction to a completely innocent publicity stunt (which had a positive message for everybody) just reinforces my disgust at what my LGBT friends have to deal with every day. Which I'm guessing is something like this...

The only thing that gives me hope for the future is that people like this will soon be dead and their absurd bigotry will one day be dead with them. Until then, I guess everybody can just "Be Your Way."

   
• Horrible! The movie Horrible Bosses was a complete surprise when I saw it... namely because it didn't suck. I actually really liked it. Well-written, well-acted, and funnier than it had a right to be. Largely thanks to one of Jennifer Anniston's best movie roles ever as a truly horrible boss. I had no idea they were making a sequel, but here it is...

Can't wait! I just hope that it doesn't go all The Hangover on us and do a crappy rehash of the first film in the sequel... then shit the bed in the third one.

   
• Democracy? It will come as no surprise that I'm completely disgusted with the state of government in this country. Politicians are bought and paid for every damn day, which has effectively destroyed any chance of true democracy in this country. It seems an insurmountable problem. But then I saw something that has me intrigued...

Surprisingly, MayDay US reached their $5 million goal. Whether or not it can make any difference against politicians backed by unlimited funds remains to be seen... but it's worth a shot, I suppose.

   
• Shark! After the idiotic crap that tainted Shark Week last year, I was kind of soured on the idea. Then I see this ad...

SHARK EXTREME! Oh Shark Week, how can I quit you?

   
And now I get to go to work! How awesome is that?

   

Bullet Sunday 389

Posted on Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Dave!Smoke is in the air and so are bullets... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Spoilers! Since I have no desire to see yet another flaming pile of shit Transformers movie that's not about Transformers, I jumped right on io9's "Spoiler FAQ" for Transformers 4. Sounds just as heinous as I knew it would be. Even if you have no interest in this turd of a film franchise, Rob Bricken's comments are pretty epic. If you want an entertaining read that encapsulates everything that's wrong with modern movies, it's an article absolutely work reading.

   
• Don't Come! But... but... I've already been to Belgium!

Antarctica has been at the top of my travel destination list for years. Now I just don't know. Tourist crowds? In freakin' Antarctica? Blargh.

   
• Murder! I would like to add my outrage to all those people condemning dinosaur hunters for murdering these magnificent creatures...

Steven Spielberg, Dinosaur Hunter
Photo © Universal Pictures

What a bastard! NOT COOL, STEVEN SPIELBERG!

   
• Shawn! Started out my day listening to Jay-Z and found myself Googling him to see what he's up to (besides Beyonce). Ended up watching about 20 Jay-Z interviews on YouTube. He is awesome in all of them. This is probably my favorite. Not many people can out-Letterman Dave Letterman...

It's nice how Jay-Z feels the need to keep reminding us that he's cooler than 99% of the people on earth.

   
• Pepe! Click here for some wisdom from a true leader... President José "Pepe" Mujica....

President José
Photo © The Associated Press

They saved the most telling quote for last on the secret to happiness...
"To live in accordance with how one thinks. Be yourself and don't try to impose your criteria on the rest. I don't expect others to live like me. I want to respect people's freedom, but I defend my freedom. And that comes with the courage to say what you think, even if sometimes others don't share those views."

Sounds oddly familiar... a pity politicians in this country aren't so forward (er, backwards?) thinking when it comes to imposing their criteria (or, more likely, the criteria of the lobbyists who have bought them off) on the people they claim to represent.

   
• Thanks! Have you thanked your parents today?

And, to the woman hosting this video... marry me?

   
Now I suppose I should try to get some rest before The Week From Hell rears its ugly head. Blargh.

   

Bullet Sunday 390

Posted on Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Dave!Time to get weird... because a Very Special Weird Al Yankovic edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

Unless you've been hiding from the internet and all known media this week, you've undoubtedly heard that Weird Al has a new album out called Mandatory Fun. And to promote his latest release, Al is releasing one new video each day for eight days. As usual, they are absolutely brilliant. And it got me wanting to take a look back at my all-time favorites. Not an easy task when most every video the man makes is great, but here's my Top 12 in order of release...

   
• I Lost on Jeopardy (1983). I laugh every single time I see the video for I Lost on Jeopardy, which is amazing considering I was not a fan of the Greg Kihn original that it is parodying. It doesn't hurt that Don Pardo pops up at the end... and Greg Kihn himself closes out the video...

   
• Like a Surgeon (1985). Weird Al parodying Madonna's Like a Virgin had huge potential to go terribly wrong, but ended up being the video that confirmed Weird Al's early brilliance. Like a Surgeon was smart, funny, and came from an idea suggested by Madonna herself...

   
• Christmas at Ground Zero (1986). This non-parody track is just too funny... telling the ultimate horror story, but in the peppiest way possible. I especially love the video for Christmas at Ground Zero because it went all retro with a nifty throwback to Cold War paranoia...

   
• You Don't Love Me Anymore (1992). Okay... this is hands-down one of my favorite Weird Al songs. That he managed to come up with such a great video for You Don't Love Me Anymore (itself a parody of Extreme's video for More Than Words) is just too good. Adding a cameo by Robert Goulet is beyond good...

   
• Jurassic Park (1993). I never knew that I needed a Claymation parody of MacArthur Park in my life... but then Al came up with the amazing Jurassic Park and I wondered how I ever lived without it. This song is particularly great in how it manages to reach a sympathetic note while still being funny...

   
• It's All About the Pentiums (1999). I'm a bit surprised that Puff Daddy allowed a parody of It's All About the Benjamins but, much to his credit, he did. This resulted in a computer geek's dream anthem, It's All About the Pentiums, which proves without a doubt that there's no subject Al can't sing about...

   
• Close But No Cigar (2006). The song is clever but not a favorite. Until Al got John K. to animate Close But No Cigar, at which point it became genius...

   
• White & Nerdy (2006). A love letter to geeks everywhere, White and Nerdy pretty much sums up my life from high school onward. As if that weren't enough, it's a really good parody of Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone's Ridin'...

   
• Perform This Way (2011). A scathing parody of not only the hit song Born This Way... but the absurdity of its creator, Lady Gaga. On both counts, it's dead-on. So much so that it pretty much transcends "parody" to become art in its own right.

   
• Party in the CIA (2011). I rather liked Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA, and was happy that Weird Al parodied it with Party in the CIA. I was even happier when I saw the gorgeously animated video he released for it...

   
• Word Crimes (2014). Robin Thicke ruled the summer last year with his misogynistic song Blurred Lines which glamorizes rape culture. How Weird Al thought to turn it into a genius commentary on bad grammar with Word Crimes I'll never know. But he did, and I love it. My favorite track off of Mandatory Fun...

   
• Foil (2014). This catchy parody of Lorde's Royals starts out as amusing but mundane... then takes a genius left turn off the deep end by diving into government conspiracies and the Illuminati. I only wish the song were longer, as it seems to cut short at the end...

   
And... that's a wrap! You can tell that Weird Al has a darn good videography when some of his most popular videos (Eat It, Gump, Fat, Amish Paradise, Smells Like Teen Spirit, etc.) didn't make my list.

   

Bullet Sunday 391

Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Dave!It's lobstah time... because a Very Special Bullet Sunday from Maine starts... now...

   
• Jet. You might find it interesting to know that Portland, Maine doesn't have an airport... they have a jetport! So I guess if you have an old-style prop plane, you're just going to have to land somewhere else. Only jets get the privilege of landing in Portland!

   
• Waterfront. Unlike so many fishing waterfronts that have been reimagined as tourist attractions or shopping destinations... Portland's waterfront is still in use by the fishing industry. This affords some excellent photographic opportunities which, alas, were lost on my because I didn't pack my camera. iPhone to the rescue!

Waterfront in Portland, Maine

Waterfront in Portland, Maine

Waterfront in Portland, Maine

Waterfront in Portland, Maine

Waterfront in Portland, Maine

It's a cool place to explore... assuming the smell of rotting fish doesn't offend you.

   
• Flatbread. For dinner I decided to stop at Flatbread Company, which was recommended by my hotel. This ended up being a fantastic choice, as I loved absolutely everything about the place. Exceptional service. Amazing food featuring local organic ingredients. And a very good beer selection...

Flatbread Company in Portland, Maine

Flatbread Company in Portland, Maine

I had a flatbread with zucchini, summer squash, maple glaze, and a bunch of other stuff I don't remember. Dessert was a Maine blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream and maple-sweetened cream.

Flatbread Company in Portland, Maine

Flatbread Company in Portland, Maine

Flatbread Company in Portland, Maine

If you're ever in Portland, Flatbread Company gets my highest recommendation.

   
• Cobble. Old Downtown Portland is a really nice place. Some of the streets are still in cobblestones, and there's a wide variety of shops and eateries to visit...

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

If you're an ice cream lover, Portland has you covered. There are a lot of shops here selling it (I only ate at two of them, swear)....

Downtown Old Town Portland, Maine

Turns out "The Other Portland" (if you're a west-coaster) is worth a trip. Can't believe I haven't been here sooner.

   
• BatMaine? Gotta love any city that's selling a decal like this one...

Batman Symbol with MAINE inside!

   
• Lucy. I am a huge fan of filmmaker Luc Besson. I am a huge fan of Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. So a movie combining all three of those things should be amazing, right? Enter Lucy...

After some ridiculous circumstances involving a new synthetic drug end up giving Scarlett super-human abilities, she decides to make the best of the situation by passing her massive knowledge about life, the universe, and everything on to all mankind. An evil drug lord is having none of it, however, and decides to pursue her so he can have the drug for himself. Along the way there are some terrific action sequences... mostly involving Scarlett being awesome with her newfound abilities. It's all a bit cheesy, sure, but it's fun. And then things start to fall apart in the third act. Badly. Instead of escalating the cool super-human action to a grand finale, the film takes a massive detour into some kind of metaphysical artistic statement that is really unsatisfying and senseless. Lucy was ultimately disappointed to me because the ending sabotaged the whole movie.

So... it turns out that all the best stuff from Lucy is in the trailer. The movie might still be worth a rental, but I don't know I'd recommending paying the money to see it in a theater.

   
And... bullets begone! Seeyou next Sunday.

   

Bullet Sunday 392

Posted on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Dave!Don't worry about the temperature... because it's a dry heat and Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Ghibli. From the "News So Horrible You Want to Scream" department... Studio Ghibli announced that they will be closing down their animation studio. Later this was changed to "evaluating closing down their animation studio." Either way, the production company responsible for some of my favorite films of all time is not going to be making another animated feature any time soon...

My Neighbor Totoro, copyright Studio Ghibli

To say I am absolutely gutted is an understatement. Mainly an outlet for animation god Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli has produced some of the most stunning animated works of all time. Even with the retirement of Miyazaki-san, I was still looking forward to new movies by the team responsible for such cinematic genius as My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Kiki's Delivery Service.

Kiki's Delivery Service

I'm very sad for a world where Studio Ghibli isn't in the animation business.

   
• Black. And speaking of black cats (like Jiji, the cat from Kiki's Delivery Service), I was shocked to read an article about how black cats are being rejected at animal shelters because they don't take good selfie photos. This is a horrifying prospect given that black fur is really common on a cat, and there's always going to be plenty to go around.

   
• School. We support religious freedom! You are free to be any flavor of Christian you want to be! Holy crap what a repugnant dumbass.

   
• Bouncy. Hey, kids! Jump on my crotch!

Tiger Bouncy House

   
• Berlin. When I was in Maine, I saw that they had yet another piece of the Berlin Wall on display in Portland. I remember thinking at the time that every major city in the world must have a piece, because I see them quite a lot when I travel...

Berlin Wall in Portland, Maine

And now I'm really regretting that I didn't make a point of photographing all the pieces I've seen. So many of them offer a fascinating insight into those Cold War days.

   
• Chocolate. This video of cocoa farmers getting to taste chocolate for the first time is one of the best things I've seen all week!

I find it fascinating how the farmers had no clue as to why foreigners wanted to buy cocoa beans... and had never been given the opportunity to share in the fruits of their labor. Just the way the world works, I guess.

   
• Whoopie. And speaking of chocolate... while visiting Maine I had my first "Whoopie Pie" which is nothing like the "Moon Pies" I'm used to. They're massively huge and very, very sweet...

Eating a Whoopie Pie in Maine

I wasn't able to eat but half of it over the course of a day. My teeth were shaking with each bite. The gift shop at Portland Light Head had a Whoopie Pie book...

Whoopie Pie Book in Maine

   
And... I'm out of bullets. Guess I'll have to shoot ya next week.

   

Bullet Sunday 393

Posted on Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Dave!Downgrade that hurricane... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• DC LEGO! This November, all of DC Comics' covers will feature LEGO characters in celebration of the release of LEGO Batman 3!

They look pretty great...

LEGO Batman Cover

LEGO Batman Cover

LEGO Batman Cover

You can see a completely list of the upcoming covers here.

   
• Bats Three. And, speaking of LEGO Batman 3... footage has been everywhere since ComicCon. IGN, for example, has a look at the many playable characters in the game...

Can. Not. Wait.

   
• Global. Well, it was good while it lasted.

   
• Daily. This video so perfectly sums up my day...

I'm the cat in this scenario, obviously.

   
• I am GROOT! Hey! It's baby dancing Groot!

Baby Dancing Groot!

Yeah. You just know a toy version of THAT is coming...

   
Annnnd... I'm off. That weekend was way too short.

   

Bullet Sunday 394

Posted on Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Dave!Time to find some shade... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Theif! If I were going to be a master criminal. This would be my jam.

   
• Change.
You can't change the world
But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
When you change a vote
You may change the world

The media controls us. It's what they do. Sadly, nobody seems to care... they're too busy feeling what they're told. But the ones we should really be worrying about is not the media... it's who controls them.

   
• Baddies?! Comedy is at its best when it has some harsh truth to it. This bit from Mitchell and Webb has been in my mind a lot lately...

Doesn't hurt to stop from time to time and evaluate your situation. You might not be where you think you are.

   
• Yossi! As I was digging through Netflix for background noise while I worked, I was shocked to find that there is sequel to the Israeli film Yossi & Jager (which I talked about here). Titled Yossi, it picks up ten years later. Shattered after watching his boyfriend die in his arms, Yossi Gutmann has buried his life as a gay man and put all his energy into becoming a cardiologist. Depressed, lonely, and with no social life to speak of, everything changes one day when the mother of his former lover appears at the hospital...

Yossi Movie Poster

So rarely does a sequel live up to its predecessor. This is an exception. I was really glad a reader had recommended the original film, and even gladder to have come across the followup. In many ways it not only provides closure for Yossi... but also the audiences who came to care about the character. Since this is a foreign film with subtitles... AND gay cinema... it hasn't gotten much exposure in its two years of release here in the States. That's a shame, because it's a good story regardless of your nationality or sexuality.

   
• Sunny! Wow. Be safe out there. And carry SPF 50...

The sun is your friend. So long as you're wearing protection.

   
• MMMMMEEEEEAT! According to Popular Science, there's a tick whose bite can make you severely allergic to meat. Obviously a sign from God that we're all meant to be vegetarians. Why else would something like this exist? No confirmation from Pat Robertson on that yet though...

Meat Allergy Tick
Photo from the Center for Disease Control

If this becomes an epidemic, it's good news for cows. And pigs. Maybe chickens and turkeys... I don't know about birds. Bad news for fish and sea creatures who'll have to take up the slack. Really terrible news for carrots, I suppose.

   
Annnnd... I need to reload.

   

Bullet Sunday 395

Posted on Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Dave!Pull up a seat to the campfire... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Doctor! While I felt Peter Capaldi did a great job as the new Doctor Who, I was a bit disappointed in his debut episode. I'd like to blame it on all the build-up, hype, and anticipation pushing my expectations too high... but I honestly feel that had nothing to do with it. I was just bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. It was a boring episode.

Dr. Who Capaldi Edition

I'd have thought they would start this series out with a bang, but that didn't happen... at least in my humble opinion. I don't know what they're waiting for, but here's hoping next episode ramps things up to where they need to be.

   
• Thrice! Did I mention that the latest FREE issue of Thrice Fiction has been released? Well it has! And you can download it at absolutely no charge from our website!

Thrice Fiction No. 12 Artwork

Plenty of good stuff to be found within. Hurry up and get your copy before we come to our senses and start charging thousands of dollars for it!

   
• Star-Lord! My man-crush on Chris Pratt continues. I love it when famous people use their celebrity as a force for good instead of being self-centered assholes like so many seem to be. And kudos to Marvel for not starting up a lawsuit when Chris visited a children's hospital in-character as Star-Lord...

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord
Photo from @Twitter

What an awesome guy.

   
• Bunga! If you've got an upcoming journey to or through Europe, be forewarned that Iceland is ripe for yet another volcanic eruption. Mt. Bardarbunga is poised to blow. The potential for disaster being even larger than the previous explosion of Mt. Eyjafjallajokul that messed up travel plans for millions of passengers as flights were delayed and canceled left and right due to unsafe ash content in the air.

It's always something.

   
• Tom! I hate to be the All Thompson Twins All The Time Channel, but I'm a huge fan. And this is a really good interview...

Tom Bailey
Original Photo Uncredited

Can't. Wait.

   
• Human! And lastly... this video is titled Restore Your Faith in Humanity. It's aptly named...

   
Annnnnd... no more bullets for you. See you next week!

   

Bullet Sunday 396

Posted on Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Dave!Don't you dare despair... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• The Ramones! HOLY CRAP! If this is true... IF THIS IS TRUE... wow.

   
• Fun! Funko Pop! finally announced that they are releasing some Firefly characters in their line of vinyl pop culture figures...

Funko Pop! Does Firefly

I, of course, was compelled to pre-order my favorite character, Hoban Washburne, complete with one of his toy dinosaurs...

Funko Pop! Does Firefly

You can get your own over at ToyWiz.

   
• Dreamy! The entire Skyer album by the Swedish dream-pop group Postiljonen is achingly beautiful... but this song is just... beyond. How they managed to create such a lovely song around Whitney Houston's How Will I Know? is a mystery...

Though if forced to pick a favorite off the album, Plastic Panorama is absolute magic...

Of course, I'm a sucker for anything that quotes The Princess Bride.

   
• Cancelation. With quality television being a rare thing indeed now-a-days, I was disturbed to see that the A&E series Longmire has been canceled...

Longmire Poster

What's interesting in this case is that the show is being canceled despite pulling big ratings. The studio is shopping the show around to try and keep it on the air, which is encouraging, but it's hard to take news like this given the overwhelming amount of crap clogging network schedules.

   
• Roofs! If you have a head for heights, Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov have posted a stunning set of sphincter-puckering photos from Hong Kong on their website...

On the Roofs Hong Kong

Actually, "stunning" is under-selling it.

   
• Diane! A big thank you to Diane Sawyer for five years anchoring ABC's World News Tonight. I've been tuning in throughout her run and have become a fan. I look forward to future appearances as a "special correspondent"...

Diane Sawyer

The diversity was nice while it lasted. Now the "Big Three" networks are all once again being safely anchored by white guys.

   
And... my six-shooter has done ran out of Bullets.

   

Bullet Sunday 397: Retro Futura Tour 2014

Posted on Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Dave!Put on that skinny tie and flip up that collar... because a Very Special Retro Futura Tour 2014 Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Tom Bailey! I'm just going to cut to the chase here... as a diehard Thompson Twins fan, Tom Bailey's run through some of the band's greatest hits surpassed my every expectation. After 27 years you'd naturally assume that something would be lost. But it wasn't. Everything he sang was note-perfect and the arrangement of the songs, while freshened up a bit, was still respectful to the originals that everybody came to hear. I loved every minute that Tom was on stage, and nearly three decades of begging for a Thompson Twins tour was rewarded in every way I could have dreamed of (short of having Alannah and Joe show up, of course)...

Tom Bailey Retro Futura Tour 2014

Tom Bailey Retro Futura Tour 2014

Tom Bailey Retro Futura Tour 2014

Tom Bailey Retro Futura Tour 2014

The set-list was pretty much what you expect...

  • We Are Detective (instrumental). A short, playful, nickelodeon-style version of this classic song played while waiting for Tom and his Sisters of Mercy band to arrive. The crowd was already going a little nuts.
  • In The Name of Love. Tom takes the stage with a spotlight shining on the crowd while singing "Hey you! I've seen your face before!" and, just like that, an abbreviated version of the Thompson Twins were back as if they had never left. This was the song that broke the band wide open, was the first song of their's I had ever heard, and remains a favorite to this day. It's just as infectious now as it's always been.
  • Lies. Another early hit that was on MTV every ten minutes during those early days. If you had asked me before Retro Futura if it's held up over the years, I'd probably have said no, despite still loving the song. After seeing Tom breathe new life into it last night, I'm inclined to feel differently.
  • Sister of Mercy. Kind of the odd-man out in tonight's show, as I don't believe it charted here in the US and was only a minor hit in the UK. Still, it's a decidedly darker and more serious tone for the band, and I'm sure it was selected primarily to mix things up a bit. In that case, it succeeded. And it's a great song to boot.
  • You Take Me Up. I don't know that this is my favorite Thompson Twins song, but it's up there. It's subtle, but Tom's delivery of the title line in the song was quite different than in the original recording, making the song feel even more upbeat and uplifting than usual. In interviews, Tom has said that he re-recorded all the songs before heading out on tour... hearing this makes me really, really hopeful we get to hear those recordings one day. The lyrics-tracking video in the background during You Take Me Up was my favorite visual of the night
  • If You Were Here. This song wasn't a single or even a hit... until it appeared at the end of the classic John Hughes film Sixteen Candles. Haunting in a way that most songs can only aspire to, Tom's original breathless arrangement had to be beefed up vocally to translate to a live performance, but it's no less beautiful and timeless. In an interesting twist, a new verse was added to the song... but felt as if it should have been there all along.
  • Love on Your Side. This is one of those songs that translates perfectly to a live show because it feels as if it were designed as a performance piece from the get-go. And while Tom took as best advantage of this as he could by his lonesome (GIANT BLUE BALLOON TIME!), Joe and Alannah's on-stage theatrics were missed here more than anywhere else in the set.
  • Doctor! Doctor! An obvious pop-hit grab if there ever was one, this song more than made up for the cheesy lyrics with a beautiful musical arrangement. And that's exactly what we got... along with a surprising amount of audience participation.
  • King for a Day (Encore). I like this song quite a lot, but it's repetitive refrain wears thin after a while ("Love is all... Love is all... Love is all you need. Love is all you need! Love is all... Love is all... Love is all you need. Love is all you need! Love is all... Love is all... Love is all you need. I say love is all you need!). Of course, this opinion was formed before Howard Jones took the stage, but we'll get there soon enough.
  • Hold Me Now (Encore). The Thompson Twin's greatest and most memorable hit plays very well live, and this evening's performance was everything you could hope for. Letting the audience sing out the ending was a brilliant way of making people feel they were a part of the show, and there's no question everybody was left wanting more... much more... as Tom's set came to an end.

If time were permitting, I would have really liked to have seen Lay Your Hands on Me and Get That Love included. Maybe one day. And please. Please. Please one day let Tom Bailey take the trip back to Brit-Pop Land and give us a new album of Twins material. Please. If there's one thing his participation in Retro Futura has shown us, people are ready.

   
• Howard Jones! I'm a big HoJo fan. I love his incredible synth play and feel-good lyrics. His music is on regular rotation on my iTunes playlists. I've seen him perform live twice. Seeing him in concert should be one of life's highlights for me and, for the most part, it is. But good lord, man... does every tune you play in concert have to be the super-extended-disco-remix version of the song? Yes... I love it when a live performance brings a little something to the table that you can't get from the album... but you did that with the heavier pumping synth intros. There's no need to give us fifty refrains of WHAT IS LOOOOOOOOOVE, ANYWAY? DOES ANYBODY LOVE ANYBODY ANYWAY? All it does is serve to drive your beautiful song into the ground and make it run way, way too long.

Still... it was Howard Jones. And though the senseless, endless repetition was annoying, I still loved his performance...

Howard Jones Retro Futura Tour 2014

Howard Jones Retro Futura Tour 2014

And so did the rest of the crowd...

Howard Jones Retro Futura Tour 2014

By the way... Howard Jones has continued to release albums well after the 80's were dead and gone. His last release was in 2009. If you're a fan, it's well-worth checking out. Even so, for the sake of Retro Futura, Howard didn't stray from those early hits that made him famous... The Human Touch, Like to Get to Know You Well, Everlasting Love, No One Is to Blame, The Prisoner, What Is Love?, Things Can Only Get Better, and New Song.

   
• Katrina... sans The Waves! I should come clean here... I am most definitely not a fan of Walking on Sunshine, which is Katrina and The Waves' greatest hit (here in the US, anyway). I am, however, absolutely a fan of Katrina Leskanich's performance at Retro Futura last night. She worked her guts out to put on a good show and succeeded completely. And not just from her music, which was terrific, but from her conversations between songs... telling the story of how they came to be and how they impacted her career...

Katrina Retro Futura Tour 2014

My favorite track she performed was Going Down to Liverpool, a Katrina and the Waves track made famous by a cover by The Bangles. As Katrina explains it, the success of that song by another group led to her band getting signed. The rest is history.

It's worth noting that by opening the show, Katrina had to perform in full-on sun... which was blisteringly hot and relentless throughout her entire set. That she managed to get through her song list without fainting is pretty impressive. Even more impressive? The album she wrote and recorded in just five weeks before joining the tour. Take a listen here.

   
• China Crisis! This is a band that pretty much flew under my radar back in the day. The only song I remember latching onto was the beautiful Wishful Thinking which, thankfully, was performed in their set...

China Crisis Retro Futura Tour 2014

I don't know that Retro Futura turned me into a diehard fan of the group, but it did make me much more interested in taking a listen to their stuff.

   
• Midge Ure sans Ultravox! And here's where we get to the biggest surprise of the evening. I've played his album If I Was - The Very Best of Midge Ure and Ultravox so many times that the lyrics are burned into my memory. Every song on that album is absolute magic, and I was pretty excited to see Midge perform live, as I'd never had the opportunity before. Little did I know that he would blow the doors off the joint with a voice so powerful and pure that you could feel it to your very soul...

China Crisis Retro Futura Tour 2014

Absolutely amazing show. I think he took the breath away from every person in attendance.

When it comes to his track selection, any fan of Ultravox was bound to be disappointed because he only had time to perform five songs...

  • Hymn. A pretty track off of Quartet that played really well live. It was the perfect introduction to his set.
  • Fade to Grey. And speaking of surprises. Turns out Fade to Grey was not a song by Ultravox or Midge Ure's solo career... it's a song Midge wrote and produced for another band, Visage. A band I never knew existed, as I've always heard the song off of The Very Best Of... by Midge.
  • Vienna. To say that Midge did an amazing job on this song is under-selling it by a wide margin. He redefined the phrase "killing it" by blasting through the track with a vocal fury that exceeded even the astounding range he showed on the original recording... THIRTY-FOUR YEARS AGO! If there was anybody in the audience who wasn't already a fan when the show began... they are now.
  • If I Was. I love this song, obviously, but oh lord how I wish it could have been Reap The Wild Wind or Dear God or even Call of the Wild... all songs I love even more. What I wouldn't give to here those live (though, admittedly, Reap the Wild Wind would not be the easiest song to perform without a full band and backup).
  • Dancing With Tears in My Eyes. A great song I really like but, again, where was Dear God? After hearing how Ure belted out Vienna I was left dying to hear him tackle it. Still... this was a great track to close out his performance, and I'm happy I got to hear it live. I really shouldn't complain.

All in all... wow. Just wow. I would watch another show in a heartbeat.

   
• SHARK BITE EXTREME! Before heading to the Sandy Amphitheater, Marty (of Banal Leakage fame) and I headed to Joe's Crab Shack. They have a beverage called a "Shark Bite" that I really wanted to try (because it looks so cool), and the restaurant was fairly close to the venue. When the drink arrives, it's all vodka, rum, sweet and sour, plus Blue Curaçao... with a shark full of grenadine hanging off the side...

Joe's Crab Shack Shark Bite Drink

The idea is that you dump the grenadine into the blue "water" to make a bloody mess...

Joe's Crab Shack Shark Bite Drink

And it is cool... for a minute.

But what you ultimately end up with is a disgusting glass of purple stuff that's so sweet your teeth will ache afterwards.

You do get to keep your plastic shark though... and that's all I really cared about.

   

And there you have it. This afternoon I flew home from Salt Lake City without incident... walking on sunshine the entire way because I got to meet Erin Gray, hang out with one of my long-time blog friends, get a plastic shark... oh... and see one of my favorite bands of all time perform live after 27 years of waiting. A pretty great way to spend a weekend, I think.

   

Bullet Sunday 398

Posted on Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Dave!Don't let Summer's imminent demise get you down... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• New? You know that feeling when a new toy you ordered from Amazon shows up? Suddenly it's Christmas and your Birthday all rolled into one and it doesn't matter that you had to pay for it because it's something you really want and are just so thrilled to have it in your hot little hands at long last after an agonizing wait even though you just ordered it only yesterday. Great, isn't it?

You know what's not great? Getting your new toy then discovering that it's not "new" after all. Not only has the box been opened previously... but all the packages inside have been opened. As if that weren't bad enough... THERE IS DIRT ON YOUR "NEW" TOY! ... DIRT!!!!

Obviously, I received returned merchandise. Obviously, I won't be keeping it. Obviously, I have to return it and wait AGAIN for my NEW toy to arrive.

Life can be so hard.

Well, relatively speaking, of course.

   
• Palin! Last month Sarah Palin started her own online channel. And more amusing than the fact that there are people out there willing to pay $9.95 a month to listen to her bullshit is that Saturday Night Live predicted it...

But it wasn't until news of a drunken brawl involving The Palins broke out that I realized what serious entertainment potential "The Sarah Palin Channel" has. Reality is far better than anything Saturday Night Live could ever dream up. And while I seriously doubt Sarah will be airing footage from what really goes on in her life that's not been carefully orchestrated for public consumption... I am praying that somebody captured footage of Palin yelling "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!? while mixing it up with the locals. I would gladly pay $9.95 to see that.

   
• Fake! As somebody who has been accused of "faking" my travels on more than one occasion, I was intrigued by the story of a Dutch girl who actually did fake a trip to Southeast Asia. At first I was thinking "How lame could you be?"... but then I read the story...

Interesting. And yet another wake-up call to not trust everything you read on the internet.

   
• Mom! This is beyond sweet...

So very Japanese... but in a way I think anybody can relate to.

   
• Phone 6! I placed my pre-order early enough that I'll be getting my iPhone 6 on launch day. Except I'll be half-way around the world on vacation when it arrives, so actually I won't be getting it on launch day. I am both happy and sad about that.

New iPhone 6

ZOMG! JUST LOOK AT IT! I really need to start planning my vacations better.

   
• Phone 8! I would never give up my Apple iPhone for a Google Android Phone. I don't care for Android... at all... and would consider such a move to be a significant downgrade. But then there's Windows Phone 8. I wouldn't trade down to that platform either... but, if Apple closed up shop today, that would be the phone I'd buy. For one thing, Windows Phone 8 is the only OS with an interface that seems "new." Whereas Android is a shittier version of what Apple's already done, Windows 8 is a beautiful departure. It feels modern. It looks great. Some real thought went into it. I like most everything about it... once I got used to the "flippy tiles" interface, which gets annoying after a while...

Windows Phone 8

But there's a couple of serious problem for Microsoft: market share and apps available. Market share is probably the biggest problem because they don't have any. It's hovering just below 3% and dropping fast. And because of that, developers aren't writing apps for their dying platform. Including the three companies I work with. Two never even started... the third stopped all WinPhone development last Friday.

And so Microsoft is in catch-22 situation. Their market share won't grow if customers don't have a ton of compelling apps. Developers won't create a ton of compelling apps until there is significant market share. And I don't care how many billions of dollars that Microsoft throws at the problem, it's not going away any time soon. Which means Windows Phone 8 is probably not long for this earth. Eventually Microsoft is going to have to face the fact that they will never be able to compete with Apple and Google when it comes to smart phones. Their only chance now is to fork Android to create their own version of the OS so they can still do what they want to do while having access to the gazillions of apps available. Whether Microsoft decides to do the obvious or waste billions upon billions of dollars to no avail remains to be seen. As a fan of their UI, I hope they do something before WinPhone is forced to close shop permanently.

   
And, on that happy note... time to finish packing.

   

Bullet Sunday 399

Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Dave!Don't let post-vacation blues get you down... because a very special Bullet Sunday on Tuesday starts... now...

I have two... two... Bullet Sundays to make up for this week, so let's get this party started with THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT A SAFARI VACATION IN AFRICA!

   
• Find a Travel Specialist! Going on safari is unlike most trips you've ever taken, and having an expert in your corner is critical. I have been planning a safari trip to Africa for years. But every time I'd sit down to start planning one, I'd get bogged down by the complications and end up vacationing somewhere else. This year a friend recommended a travel agency that specializes in doing all the planning for you. So I half-heartedly called up Ultimate Africa Safaris to hear their ideas, never really thinking it would amount to anything...

Ultimate Africa Safaris Logo

I could not have been more wrong. It couldn't have possibly been easier. Lorna at Ultimate Africa (who has lived on the continent and traveled there many, many times) asked me questions about what I was looking to see and do... what experiences were critical, negotiable, or skippable... and how much I was looking to spend. The next day I had two detailed itineraries to choose from with options to customize either one to suit my tastes. And that was it. Ultimate Africa took care of booking all the lodging, all the flights, all the insurance... everything. No headache. No surprises. And, once I had booked and dropped my down-payment, I got detailed information on everything from visa requirements and a suggested packing list to local customs and money matters for everything on my itinerary. Anything not in the information packet was quickly answered via phone or email, and always in a friendly and professional manner. They even provided me with approved luggage for the trip so I didn't have to hunt for it! There is simply no substitute for this kind of expert advice and exemplary service when trying to plan for a safari vacation in Africa. None.

   
• Don't Penny-Pinch! There's no escaping it... my trip to Zimbabwe is one of the most expensive vacations I've ever had. Sure I could have done it for less by booking inexpensive lodging, locations, and transportation... but Africa is one of those places where you really don't want to go on the cheap. To do a safari right, you're going to be hundreds of miles from civilization in an unforgiving environment where your safety and security are of prime importance. Even putting that aside, do you really want to spend the time and money flying half-way around the world to have a cheap, crappy experience that doesn't live up to your expectations? Ultimate Africa bills themselves as "high-end" safari planners, but they can work with a budget as little as $5000 per person (double occupancy) + International Airfare. Yeah, I know, that's a lot of money... my vacations are usually a fraction of that price (and Zimbabwe was even higher than $5000!)... but you get what you pay for. I look back through my photos and blog entries and know that the years I spent saving for my African safari were worth the wait because my every expectation was exceeded.

Still want an African safari but can't swing a "high-end" price? I'd suggest skipping the more exotic locations (Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, etc.) and focusing on South Africa only. The amazing Kruger National Park can offer much of what people want in a safari at a greatly reduced cost because it's not as remote as other regions. They have plenty of options for lodging... from basic tent camps to luxury lodges... so you're more likely to find something that fits your budget and travel style as well. Some research at Trip Advisor will probably point you in the right direction.

Still want an African safari, but even South Africa is out of reach? Bear with me here, because this is probably a controversial notion... but book a trip to Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. They offer a "behind the scenes" safari tour called Wild Africa Trek that's about as close as you can get without stepping foot in Africa. And, yes, I'm being serious here. And I didn't know how serious I was until I went to Zimbabwe and experienced for myself just how amazing a job Disney did of capturing what it's like to be on an African safari. The sights... the smells... the bumpy roads... the wildlife... it's all there. It's been "Disneyfied" but it's there. I've written about my Wild Africa Trek previously on Blogography. And if you want to complete the experience, stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which I've also written about. No, it's most definitely not Africa... but it's a taste of Africa that's considerably more affordable than actually going... and probably a better, safer experience than trying to do a "real" safari on the cheap.

   
• Make Time! If I were forced to name a single regret about my trip, it would be that it was over with too quickly. Of my thirteen days vacationing in Africa, four of them were spent just getting there and back. So, not counting time on airplanes, my trip was just nine days long. Yes, I packed a heck of a lot into those nine days and made the most of the time I had... but I really needed more. I should have stayed four nights at each camp instead of three. Sure, that would add another thousand dollars or so to the price tag, but the added value would have been priceless. That being said, I fully realize that some people may not be cut out for that much safari. You're basically doing the same thing day after day and hoping for different results. And yet... there were people who visited Ruckomechi Camp before me that didn't see a single lion. The longer you stay, the better your chances of having that special experience that will make your vacation. At both camps I visited, the guides tried to make each game drive unique... luckily both Ruckomechi and Davison's sit on huge properties to make that possible, and it's all the more reason to spend the money to have the best experience possible.

   
• Schedule a Travel Break! One of the things I did right was give myself two nights in Johannesburg to recover from the absurd amount of travel it takes to get to Southern Africa. Nights in Johannesburg are comparatively super-cheap compared to nights at a high-end safari camp. Going directly from 20+ hours of flying to your safari is pretty much guaranteeing that your jet-lagged ass is not going to be able to appreciate the wonders you're there to experience. So don't do it. Take a day or two to get your strength back and then head out into the bush. Likewise, adding a post-safari stop to decompress is also a great idea (Victoria Falls was an easy add-on for my trip) and will give you time to recover before the long journey home.

   
• Don't Over-Pack! After years of constant travel, I've become a light packer. At least I thought I was. The small aircraft you'll be using to get to the camps out in the bush are really, really small. Because of that, your luggage also has to be kept small. For my trip, there was a limit of 44 pounds in two bags that are no bigger than 10"x12"x24" long. Since my camera bag counted as one piece, that left me with the lone duffle that Ultimate Africa gave me for booking through them...

Ultimate Africa Safaris Duffle Bag

Now, at first, it seemed an impossible challenge. 13 days of clothing in such a small bag? But the camps I stayed at provide complimentary washing service every day (and give you washing powder so you can wash your own underwear), so it's not a big deal. Three pairs of safari pants that can convert to shorts and three safari shirts that can roll up to be short-sleeve shirts is (believe it or not) more than enough. I could have easily gotten away with only two of each. So heed your information packet and leave your wardrobe at home. You just won't need it. As for everything else? I went a little overboard...

  • Camera Monopod. Since a tripod would take up too much space, the camera forum I frequented said to bring a monopod. I tried to use it the first day I went out on a game drive. It proved to be so unwieldily and impractical that it was never opened again. Even with the rather large aperture on my long lens, the bright skies of Africa during the dry season made hand-held shooting a piece of cake. Unless you've got a lens too heavy to be hand-held, just skip it.
  • Excessive Medical Kit. I took my own medical kit and packed it with double-everything and even bought a syringe and suture kit in case I needed them for serious care. Well, one of the benefits of staying in a "high-end" camp is that they already have that stuff... both in-camp and on every vehicle.
  • Pharmaceutical Bag. I always travel with an assortment of over-the-counter medications, which is a smart idea because you just never know. For going to Africa, I went above and beyond, brining a huge bag of medications that were completely unnecessary (I never opened mine even once). Stick to a small assortment of necessities you'd use for domestic travel (aspirin, Imodium, antibiotic cream, etc.) and trust that spending the money for a "high-end" camp will provide you with the safe environment for food and activities.
  • Jeans. I brought them because I didn't want to wear kahkis on the plane. This was really stupid, because you'll never use them while on safari... they're way too heavy and take too long to dry.
  • Water Bottle. A big waste of time and space considering that my camp provided bottles and each jeep had plenty of beverages onboard for a snack stop.
  • GameBoy. Never opened it once. The planes have movies and Mario can't compete with what you'll see on safari.

   
• What to Take? Okay, what about the stuff you should take? Here were my most important take-alongs...

  • Permethrin Clothing. I never saw a single mosquito or tick. I never got a single bite. Apparently they are not a major concern in the dry season. Even so, getting malaria is seriously no fun, and you should do absolutely everything you can to avoid getting it (above taking an anti-malaria drug, see below). You can buy Permethrin at many sporting good stores (or order it from Amazon) to treat your own clothing... or purchase pre-treated garments (I got mine from ExOfficio's BugsAway Collection). Can be expensive, but your health and safety is worth it, and this stuff really works).
  • Insect Repellant. The permethrin will only go so far, so making sure you have bug juice on exposed skin is a must. Yes, most camps will provide you with some, but it's smart to take stuff you know you can use, as repellants can have a strong allergic reaction in some people. DEET is considered to be the most effective, but it's also toxic as hell. I've had great luck with Skeeter Beater, and have read in travel forums that it works well on African insects. Take the time to research which solutions work best for where you'll be, as the internet has plenty of information floating out there. Again, malaria is not something you want to get.
  • Battery Pack (WITH light). Many camps aren't going to have an electrical outlet in your tent... so if you want to charge your iPad, camera, or whatever, taking along a battery pack is a must. I never travel without them anymore, because you just never know when you'll need a charge. That being said... most camps aren't going to have nightlights or flashlights provided either! So getting a battery pack that has a light built-in is just a smart move. There are tons of options out there, but the best I've ever found is the Intocircuit Power Castle. It has two USB ports and a bright light that's incredibly power-efficient (I left it on all night as a nightlight and it drained just 1% of the battery!). I'm not going to lie... it's a bit bulky and heavy compared to weaker options... but it packs a lot of power and is well-worth tucking in your pack or camera bag. The Power Castle is just $29.99 at Amazon (as of this writing).
  • A Decent Camera with a Quality Lens + Accessories. On a safari you're going to see some amazing stuff that you're going to want to remember, so you're going to want a good camera... I don't care who you are. Even if it's just a quality point-and-shoot pocket camera, you're going to use it. I'm not going to go into recommendations here (let's save that for another entry) but I will say a few things... A) Make sure your camera has an eyepiece viewfinder, as the bright African sun will obliterate the screen display and leave you guessing if that's all your camera has. B) Make sure your lens is of good quality and goes out to at least 300mm (or zoom equivalent). Longer is nice, but holding a camera steady enough to make use of longer reach can be tough (even if it has stabilization). C) Practice shooting with your camera so you know how to take photos of animals, scenery, sunsets, or whatever... before you go. D) Shoot RAW or at the highest quality JPEG setting your camera will allow so you have enough pixels to crop into later, if needed. E) Take double the amount of memory cards you think you'll need... you'll rarely have time to offload your photos and re-use your cards. F) Take at least one extra battery... preferably two... and make sure they're at 100% before you leave. G) Don't leave home without lens cleaning cloths, a lens pen, or some way of getting dust off your optics... it's EVERYWHERE. H) If your lens can accept filters, make sure you have a haze filter attached to protect it. A circular polarizer is also nice for getting good color in many situations. I) As I said above, a full-size tripod or monopod probably isn't worth it for most people, but a compact small tripod can be useful... especially if you're taking astral photography shots.
  • Backup Camera. Yeah... if your primary camera dies, you'll want to be sure you have a spare. Even something cheap is preferable to having nothing at all.
  • Decent Quality Binoculars. Most of the cool stuff you'll see is going to be at a distance. Making sure you have quality binos with you is essential. I've owned many pair over the years, but the ones I'm most happy with are (don't laugh) the Bear Grylls Edition 10x42 by Bushnell. They're $80, but perform as well as binos I've bought costing hundreds... very clear, fog-free, and bright! They're also built tough and have held up very well for me. Here they are at Amazon.
  • Power Strip and Converter Plug. If your camp is lucky enough to have power outlets in your tent, there aren't going to be very many of them. If your camp has communal power outlets, they're going to be filled most of the time. The best assurance you have of making sure your camera batteries and other electricals stay topped off is to take a power strip. My favorite one... by far... is the BESTEK I found at Amazon for $25. Yes, it's big and bulky... but it will pass through higher international currents with no problem and has USB charging ports built-in! Best of all, the outlets are space far enough apart that I can plug in my Sony camera battery chargers side-by-side with no problem! (I posted a photo of that on this entry, third-photo down). IMPORTANT! This unit is NOT a power converter! Be sure to check your equipment to be sure it can handle the current/voltage of the countries you'll be visiting (all my Apple chargers worked fine). Don't forget power plug adapters, and African countries vary on style from place to place, so be sure to research what you'll need.
  • Good Flashlight and Headlight. I am in love with the Nitecore MH2C flashlight because it can be recharged via my USB battery pack. It's a spendy $70, but worth every penny when you need a light you can count on. If you find yourself needing to go hands-free, a relatively inexpensive headlight option is the Petzl Tikka at $45. Small, tough, reliable, and essential when you're trying to futz with your camera setting in the dark and need both hands.
  • Decent Polarized Sunglasses + Backup. Don't skimp. Get a good pair that wraps around your head so light isn't leaking in while you're trying to spot game under an unrelenting sun. Bring a backup pair as well, because you just can't be without eye protection if your first pair breaks.
  • Medications. There ain't going to be a pharmacy out in the bush, so be sure to take enough prescription drugs and basic over-the-counter needs with you.
  • Warm Fleece Jacket and Gloves. At Ruckomechi, I was warm all the time and had a fan blowing on my all night. At Davison's the mornings and nights were freezing cold and I was very, very glad to have a fleece jacket to keep me warm. I wish I had brought a pair of light gloves.
  • Suntan Lotion. Pretty obvious, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

   
• Do Some Good! I filled my excess luggage space with school supplies because my camp is attached to a "Pack With a Purpose" program that will pass them along to local schools that can really use them. Had I been a smarter packer and left all the crap I didn't end up using, I could have taken more. If you're going on safari, learn more about this awesome program at the Pack for a Purpose website!

   
• Hedge Your Bets! I stayed at two separate camps at two very different parts of Zimbabwe and was really, really glad I did. It's just a way to make sure you're seeing the most variety of animals and environments on your trip, as nature can be unpredictable and game can be uncooperative.

   
• Leave the Attitude and Expectations! If you want guaranteed animal sightings, go to a zoo. Safaris aren't the place for guarantees, and the reason to go on safari is to experience a safari. There is -zero- sense getting upset because you didn't see lions or the place you visited didn't have rhino or whatever. If you're going to a good-quality camp with a decent-sized piece of land, you're going to see some amazing stuff. Whether it's what you wanted to see is anybody's guess, and not your guide's fault if things don't go your way.

   
• Don't Be a Douche! My last night at Davison's was amazing except for one thing... I had to listen to some d-bag screeching into a satellite phone, which is EXACTLY THE KIND OF THING I WENT TO AFRICA TO AVOID! He made a point of telling the guy on the other end of the line that he'd be checking in every day, which is fine... that's his choice. But do it in the privacy of your own tent... don't force everybody else to have to endure your douchebaggery. For the sake of those on game drives with him, I hope he didn't take the sat-phone with him on safari. Something tells me that he did.

   
• Research Appropriate Clothing! I touched on this above, but it's so important I am giving it a bullet of its own. Because if I hadn't packed a fleece, as recommended, I'd have spent half my time in Africa freezing. If you're traveling in the wet season, waterproof gear is essential. If you're going to an area with the satan-spawned tsetse fly, you'll want to avoid wearing the dark colors they are attracted to. Bright colors and white clothing can cause problems in some areas too. Everything I packed was in khaki and neutral colors because it was suggested that it was the best thing to be wearing. Few people bothered to be as khaki-obsessed as I was, and were wearing anything and everything. I went overboard, but would rather be safe than sorry. If you've got a decent travel specialist, they'll provide recommendations... best to follow them.

   
• Vaccinate Early! I made the huge mistake of waiting until the last minute. Not only did this mean that my typhoid pills were not fully effective before I left... it also meant that the Malarone I took to prevent malaria killed off the effectiveness of the typhoid treatment because I started too soon after! Meet with your doctor or health department months before you're due to leave and make sure you have a plan in place... and the time to follow it through.

   
• Check Entry Requirements! I was lucky in that South Africa didn't require a tourist visa for American citizens... and Zimbabwe allowed me to purchase a visa for entry at the airport. But not all African countries are going to be this easy. Some are going to require a visa that has to be purchased in advance, so make sure you check into it. If you plan to purchase at the airport (for those countries offering it) be sure to have the appropriate cash in the appropriate currency before you arrive. Zimbabwe's currency is the US dollar, so I didn't have to worry about stopping at a currency exchange or finding a cash machine.

   
• Factor in Tip Money! There are no ATMs out in the bush. If you're going to tip your camp staff and guides, you'll have to bring the cash with you... and it goes a lot faster than you'd think. I blew through $300 in no time, and wish I had brought more because the people working at the camps totally deserved it. It's suggested that you tip $10 (or equivalent) per day per person for the camp tip-box and another $10 (or equivalent) per day per person for your guide. I doubled it, and it still felt inadequate considering how well I was taken care of. I also ended up tipping porters, drivers, and other staff as appropriate... and it was always appropriate. Truly amazing service everywhere I went, and that should be rewarded.

   
• Don't Give In to Fear! When I got back to "civilization," the number one comment I got... whether seriously or as a joke... was "I hope you didn't get ebola!" I heard it before I left as well. And I think that's because people don't have an idea of just how huge a continent that Africa is. It's massively huge. It's so huge that people in London, England were closer to the ebola outbreak in West Africa than I was in Zimbabwe...

The True Size of Africa

Yes, the disease is a serious concern (even here at home!), but educating yourself about what ebola is, how it is contracted, who is at risk, and why the areas being hit are being hit as hard as they are... it goes a long way towards easing your mind. The simple truth is that there are going to be dangers when you leave your home no matter where you travel. If you're going to allow fear to keep you from your Southern Africa dream vacation... or any vacation... rather than relying on common sense, then staying home is probably best for everybody.

   
• The Sooner the Better! When I was in the earliest planning stages with Ultimate Africa, I mentioned that it might be better to wait and do my safari next year. I had the money saved, but everything seemed to be happening too fast and the choices were too overwhelming. That was when I got the best piece of advice possible... As economies recover, and safaris get more popular, and supply struggles to keep up with demand, Africa is getting more and more expensive year-after-year. Many of the prime locations are now so far out of reach that most people can't afford them. Soon even the more reasonably-priced locations like Zimbabwe and Botswana will follow suit. If you have any desire to visit Africa, now is the time. Wait too long and your options will continue to diminish until all the best options are out of reach. And it's true. When you look at the pricing calendars for some of the lodges, 2015 dates are showing a hefty price increase over their 2014 counterparts. As if that weren't bad enough, availability is already getting scarce. It's a problem that's only going to escalate the longer you wait.

   

And... that's a wrap.

Though I've probably forgotten a dozen things, so I suppose I'll update the list as needed.

   

Bullet Sunday 400

Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Dave!Everything's coming up picture perfect... because a very special Bullet Sunday on Tuesday FOUR HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY "WHAT'S IN YOUR CAMERA BAG" EDITION starts... now...

   
• Sony NEX-6 Camera. This is my main shooter, which I reviewed here back in May, 2013. Because it's a mirrorless camera, it is small, light, and perfect for travel... yet maintains the photo quality of a bigger, heavier DSLR. The one big caveat is that it doesn't have a full-frame sensor, so there's a crop factor for any full-frame lenses you attach. This actually ended up being a benefit on my recent trip to Africa, because my 70-200mm FE lens becomes a 105-300mm lens, making it much easier to zoom in on animals in the bush...

Hwange Lion Cub Goodbye

There's not much I don't like about the NEX-6... except the start-up time, which is kinda slow and did cost me a shot or two. Otherwise? A wonderful camera that is capable of delivering great photos. Will probably trade it in for a full-frame sensor camera before my next big trip (hopefully the successor to the Sony A7r.

16.1MP • ISO 100-25600 • $748 (discontinuted) • ★★★★☆

   
• Sony A7s Camera. I bought the latest Sony mirrorless camera specifically for night-shooting on my Africa trip. I knew there would be game drives in the evening, and wanted every possible advantage in getting clean shots. The A7s is made for this kind of shooting with its high ISO full-frame sensor, and gave me images I would have had a very hard time getting with any other camera. This post-sunset shot, for example, was taken in near-darkness. It was so dark that I could barely see, and didn't know what I had captured until after I looked at the camera's display...

Night Shooting with the A7s

Yes, things get a bit grainy when shooting at those monster ISO levels, but at least you get a shot...

Night Shooting with the A7s

For red-light safari drives in total darkness the A7s really shines, giving me shots that my NEX-6 couldn't hope to touch...

Night Shooting with the A7s

The A7s loves low light and, quite by accident one night, I discovered what this would mean if I shot the night sky...

Zimbabwe Night Sky Milky Way

The ability to shoot in near-blackout conditions comes at a price, however. The sensor resolution is a meager 12.2 megapixels. This will turn off a lot of photographers who equate megapixels with photo quality, as a 4240 x 2832 image seems weak compared to the 7360 x 4912 you'll get out of other cameras in this price range. But all the pixels in the world can't save a shot if your camera records a big black blob, so it was a trade-off I was happy to make. And after looking at the amazing photos I managed to get, I have zero regrets. The A7s has terrific video capabilities, but I'm not a video shooter, so I'm taking Sony's word for it.

12.2MP • ISO 100-102400 • $2,499 • ★★★★★

   
• Sony DSC-HX50V. As a backup-backup (hey, how many times will I get to go on safari in Africa?) I needed a camera with some reach to it, and started shopping for ultra-zooms. The field has gotten really competitive, and finding the right camera was tough. Ultimately size was the deciding factor for me, and Sony's pocketable HX50V fit the bill perfectly. Sure, I would sacrifice some zoom (it's 30x when others in this arena are at 50x), and not being able to shoot RAW was disappointing, but it's a camera I could slip in my pocket and have with me at all times that I'd barely notice.

Sony DSC-HX50V

Turns out the image quality is quite nice (for JPEG) so long as you don't zoom too much, and the HX50V is a capable little shooter that I was happy to have on me for those times my camera bag was back at my tent. But ultimately I regretted my purchase for one big reason... no eyepiece viewfinder. The only way to compose a shot was to use the display on the back, which is completely obliterated in bright light! Under the African sun this camera was rendered totally useless. I couldn't see a damn thing to compose a shot, and was shooting blind any time I was out of the shade (even when setting the screen to max brightness). If you buy this camera, I hope you'll only be shooting indoors or in overcast conditions, because that's all its good for. Still, it DOES have a GPS... which is more than I can say for the much more expensive Sony's listed above. I took an occasional shot with this camera just so I could use the GPS info to geotag my other photos, and it worked pretty great for that... meriting an extra star.

20.4MP • 30x • ISO 80-3200 • f/3.5(W)-f/6.3(T) • $325 • ★★☆☆☆

   
• Sony FE 70-200 f/4 OSS E-Mount Lens. Go with a cheap zoom lens to get the reach you need... or go with a quality zoom lens and crop the reach you want? It's a question that every photographer has to grapple with at some time in their lives. In the past I've just gone for the cheapest zooms I could find because I don't use them very often. But for my Africa trip, I decided to invest heavily in a good zoom because the quality of the image was what's important to me... even if I wasn't as close as I'd like to be. And since Sony only makes one E-mount zoom with any reach to it, the FE 70-200mm, my decision was made for me. I reviewed the lens back in August, and have only one thing to add to this remarkable addition to my camera arsenal... WHY IN THE HELL DOESN'T SONY HAVE A SWITCH-LOCK ON THE IMAGE STABILIZATION SWITCH?!? Every time I slid this lens into my camera bag, image stabilization would slide off. So the next time I'd go to shoot a lion (or whatever) I'd end up with blurry camera shaken images until I'd remember to turn it back on. This is categorically stupid. At no time... none did I ever want the "Optical Steady Shot" turned off, yet there was no way to lock it in the "on" position. Very, vey frustrating. But, once I remembered to switch OSS on, I was getting some fantastic shots from this lens...

Zimbabwe Crimson Bee-Eater

Zimbabwe Game Drive

Sure it's big and at almost 2 pounds it's a bit heavy too... but you can't argue with the results. Crisp images, beautiful bokeh, fast auto-focus... I was very, very happy to have this full-frame wonder with me on safari, and was much relieved that I spent the money to have a quality telephoto in my camera bag. 90% of my photos were shot with it. Minus a star for the lack of an image stabilization switch lock... and for not having a bit better aperture (it's locked at a consistent f/4 though, which is nice)... but if you're an E-mount shooter, this is the zoom to get.

70-200mm (full-frame), 105-300mm (cropped) • f/4 • $1,499 • ★★★★☆

   
• Sony FE 35mm F/2.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E-Mount Lens. I skipped the kit lens for my A7s full-frame sensor camera because I wanted some glass that would really let it shine. Unfortunately, my choices were limited, because Sony doesn't have many options when it comes to FE prime lenses. Ideally, I wanted a 35mm with image stabilization and a maximum aperture of f/1.4... but it doesn't exist. A 35mm with NO image stabilization and a pokey f/2.8 aperture is as close as I can get. And, to make matters worse, Sony is charging a whopping $800 for it. In all honesty, I don't think the Zeiss name justifies such a heinous price tag, but what choice do I have? None at all. Yet despite the absurd cost, this lens has a lot going for it. It's small and light. It focuses blazingly fast. It's super-sharp. Color is very good. And I got some really nice shots with it...

Zimbabwe Sunset

Victoria Falls Hotel Scone

Night sky images were mind-bogglingly great...

Zimbabwe Night Sky

The slow aperture was never a problem on my NEX-6 in the sunlight nor on my A7s with its amazing low-light capabilities, but I still find it disappointing... f/2.8 on a 35mm? Who does that any more? This, along with the crazy-stupid price tag drops two stars from my rating, even though the FE 35mm is a darn fine lens once all is said and done. And yet... I keep coming back to the cost. EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS?!? For THESE specs? Holy crap I hope Sony gets their heads out of their asses and starts producing affordable FE lenses soon.

35mm (full-frame), 50mm (cropped) • f/2.8 • $799 • ★★★☆☆

   
• Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS E-Mount Lens. I shoot a lot of wide angle, so this lens was purchased alongside my NEX-6 on day one. I absolutely love it. Small and light for a wide angle. Really sharp. Great color. Quick to focus. Image stabilized. And all at a reasonable cost! As if that weren't enough... even though it was designed for the cropped sensor on Sony's NEX cameras, it works amazingly well on my full-frame A7s if you limit the focal range! Amazing! This lens fulfills the promise of mirrorless cameras, and proves Sony doesn't need Zeiss (or Zeiss' absurd price tag) to give their customers a great lens. And though I didn't get much use out of it in Africa, it's the one lens that's always in my camera bag...

Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

Zimbabwe Grasslands

If you've got an E-mount camera, this is the lens to own. Fantastic for landscapes, yes... but I use it all the time for just about everything (the wide angle distortion is very easy to correct in Photoshop). Thank you, Sony.

10-18mm (cropped) • f/4-f/22 • $849 • ★★★★★

   
• Apple 11-inch MacBook Air. I'm using an iPad more and more for things like email and web browsing, but when it comes to photography, there's simply no substitute for Photoshop on a Mac. My MacBook Pro excels at running Photoshop, but is way too big and heavy to tuck in a camera bag. Fortunately, Apple has a diminutive solution that tucks easily in my bag, and it runs Photoshop just fine thanks to the 8GB memory option...

MacBook Air 11

Until Microsoft manages to come up with a "Surface" tablet/PC hybrid that's worth a crap... or Apple comes up with a MacBook Air that has a retina display touchscreen I can give five stars... this will certainly do.

1.7GHz i7 • 8GB RAM • 256GB SSD • $1,250 • ★★★★☆

   
• Transcend Information USB 3.0 Card Reader. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room in the MacBook Air 11-inch model to fit a card reader, so you need to buy an external one. This Transcend model takes advantage of the USB 3 speed of my MacBook and accepts SDHC, SDXC, microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC cards. Cheap, compact, and does the job. If they could remove the micro card compatibility (that I'll never use) to shrink it even further, I'd give it five stars.

$7 • ★★★★☆

   
• B+W Kaesemann XS-Pro Circular Polarizer. I have UV haze filters on all my lenses to protect the optics, but I stopped using "creative" filters ages ago. Between in-camera functions and Photoshop, I just don't need them. But every once in a while, it's handy to have a circular polarizer in your bag. B+W makes my favorite filters... pricey, but high-quality, so all I had to decide was whether or not I would go with the Kaesemann variant or not. Ultimately I went with Kaesemann, despite the added cost, because they don't "gray things up" like a traditional polarizer can. The only time I ended up using the thing in Africa was when I was shooting through a helicopter window...

Victoria Falls

It helped take the glare of the sun off the water, which was nice, but the shake of the copter coupled with the lack of image stabilization on my lens kinda sabotaged my efforts to get great shots. Oh well.

Kaesemann XS-Pro, MRC Nano Filter • $89 • ★★★★★

   
• VisibleDust Hurricane Blower. Dust and moisture are the enemy of photographers who rely on clean, dry optics to get the best image quality. Having a blower on-hand is essential, and I was using it several times a day while in Africa. At home I have a Giottos Rocket Blaster, but I wanted something a bit smaller to take with me, so the VisibleDust Hurricane got the job. Works great.

$14 • ★★★★★

   
• LensPen Lens Cleaner. The only lens cleaner I use. Has a good quality brush on one end and a concave lens swab coated with a carbon compound (from the lid) on the other. Works perfectly every time.

$10 • ★★★★★

   
• SanDisk 32GB Extreme Plus UHS-1 SDHC Class 10 Memory Cards. It took me a while to settle on a memory card manufacturer I like best, but once I got my hands on the SanDisk Extreme Plus line my camera storage of choice was found. They're tough, reliable, and blazingly fast... yet don't break the bank. Which is good, because I've stopped re-using memory cards. They're small size makes them all too easy to slip into a safe deposit box, thus providing the perfect backup of your precious memories. Sure you can save money by going with a cheaper card, but is it worth taking the chance something will go wrong and you'll lose all your photos? Not to me. There's higher-capacity versions of the Extreme Plus, but 32GB stores more photos than I can manage as it is, so I don't want to go bigger.

$38 • ★★★★★

   
• Oben TT-100 Table-Top Tripod. This tiny tripod slips easily into my camera bag, but still manages to secure my camera perfectly. Unlike some smaller tripods, the Oben has a ball head which made it really handy to get the perfect angle for a shot. A great product... I just wish it was a bit easier to tighten and manipulate.

$35 • ★★★★☆

   
Add some extra camera batteries, a couple of battery chargers, a ballpoint pen, a Sharpie marker, and some unscented wipes to keep everything clean, and I'm done!

As for what camera bag I use? That's another story...

   

Bullet Sunday 401

Posted on Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Dave!Put down that pumpkin spice latte... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Fall? Somehow Autumn got here and I missed it. Time to get the blankets out of storage, I suppose.

   
• Astrophotography. After my happy accident in discovering astrophotography in Africa, I spent my evening Googling about it. Turns out there's an entire site devoted to the hobby called Lonely Speck. Very cool. Ironically, there's a review of my new Sony A7s camera there... for astrophotography...

Lonely Spec Image
Image by Ian Norman of Lonely Speck

Now I wished I lived in an area where there's no light pollution so I can shoot the stars.

   
• Tasty! And now... BIG CATS EATING MARMITE!

Borders on cruelty to animals, I say.

   
• Kick Drum Heart. It's not the chase that I love....

...It's me following you.

   
• Gum! Ooh! Please! Please! Please! Let this be happening.

Laura Palmer Dead. Wrapped in plastic.

SHE'S DEAD! WRAPPED IN PLASTIC! Again?

   
• Fall Season. And so here's my assessment of the new Fall shows so far...

  • A to Z. Not my thing, but cute. I could use a little more "cute" in my life, so I'm going to keep watching until I can't take it any more. Probably three episodes.
  • Bad Judge. Bad. Every joke is so forced and horrifically telegraphed as to make me feel insulted as a viewer. Kate Walsh is not unlike-ably like-able... she's unlike-ably unlike-able. How in the hell did this pilot go to series?
  • Black-ish. Funnier than I expected. A terrific cast with stories that actually have something to say about race. What's not to like?
  • Forever. Boring. I liked it better when it was called New Amsterdam.
  • Gotham. I'm obligated to watch because I'm a huge Batman fan. Surprisingly, I didn't hate it despite the complete re-write it does for the Bat-Universe origins.
  • How to Get Away With Murder. Viola Davis killing it. But with a show premise that seems destined to fade. Guess we shall see.
  • Madam Secretary. A show that feels like it's composed of all the mundane bits scraped off the floor of the writer's rooms for The West Wing and Scandal. Still... I do like Tea Leoni, and she's not terrible in this. Guess I'll give it a couple more episodes to see if that's enough.
  • Manhattan Love Story. Not my thing, but oddly appealing. Well, half of it is. What I don't understand is why the guy is written so cool, together, and funny... while the gal is written as a flighty, neurotic, gullible mess. Is that supposed to be funny? Who would want to date that?
  • Scorpion. How can a show about geniuses be so damn stupid? Nothing makes sense. Nothing is even remotely grounded in reality. Nothing is appealing enough to make you overlook just how outrageously asinine this show is.
  • Selfie. Lord save us. How did Amy Pond get HERE?
  • Transparent. Holy crap. Television doesn't get more original than this. Which explains why it's on Amazon Prime Streaming.

   
And... I'm spent. No more bullets for you.

   

Bullet Sunday 403

Posted on Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Dave!Put down that pumpkin spice latte, you coffee house hipster... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Bureaucracy. If watching this video doesn't make you want to execute every bureaucrat asshole in Washington D.C. responsible for dreaming up this bullshit, then you're not watching it correctly...

Wouldn't it be great if our politicians got off their worthless asses and actually fixed stupid shit like this? Well, don't hold your breath, they're too busy getting reelected to do anything actually useful.

   
• LEGO. As a lover of all things LEGO, I have to say that even imaginary LEGO makes me happy when it's as well done as this...

LEGO Wonder Woman Invisible Jet

LEGO Wonder Woman Invisible Jet
Images by JimmyLegs50

You really gotta see the whole thing to appreciate this level of genius.

   
• Dora. I had a little crush on Dora from I Married Dora. I had more than a little crush on Mirage from The Incredibles...

Mirage Gets a Hug

I was very sad to learn that the amazing actress responsible for both those characters, Elizabeth Peña, passed away earlier this week. She will definitely be missed.

   
• Hooks. As if losing Elizabeth Peña wasn't tragic enough... sublimely talented SNL veteran Jan Hooks also passed away this past week...

A terrible loss for her many fans... including me.

   
• Reverse. One of my favorite bands, Mackintosh Braun released an EP titled The City Below in anticipation of their new album Arcadia, due in 2015. My favorite track off the EP was posted to SoundCloud and is worth a listen...

You can pick up The City Below at the iTunes Music store.

   
• Equality. Progress sometimes happens...

Marriage Equality Map

   
And that's a wrap. Kinda nice to have Bullet Sunday actually land on a Sunday for once.

   

Bullet Sunday 404

Posted on Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Dave!Good thing I passed the 21-day ebola incubation period this week... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• EEEEBOOOLAAAAA!!! And speaking of everybody's favorite virus... the amount of sheer ignorance I see on a daily basis regarding Ebola is just mind-boggling. That's to be expected, I suppose, because people react poorly when they're frightened. But having news sources contributing to that ignorance... assumably to keep everybody scared enough to keep watching their show or reading their paper or listening to their program... is disgusting. It's so bad that I can't even look at the shit anymore (seriously, it's even worse than election coverage). Somebody wake me when this is over so I can tune into the world again. Well, until the next wave of bullshit hits, anyway.

   
• WTF?!? And speaking of dumbfuck idiots contributing to ignorance...

Pat Robertson should be institutionalized. The amount of crazy he unleashes in any given week is more of a public health risk than Ebola.

   
• Lincoln. One of those rare moments that SNL actually made me LOL...

Jim Carrey's still got it.

   
• Jane! I really, really wasn't wanting to add a new show to my television schedule, however...

Jane the Virgin Poster

Jane the Virgin (modeled after a Latin America telenovela) is so crazy over-the-top that I had no hope for it working, but it somehow does... and it's funny. Well worth your valuable time to take a look.

   
• Ridiculous! I don't care who you are, you know you've made it when you get to appear on Sesame Street. Aziz Ansari, one of my most favorite entertainers, just joined the club...

Nothing makes you feel like a kid again more than talking to a Muppet, I'm sure.

   
• Maintenance! There's no easy way to seque from Sesame Street to... whatever this is... but did you know they made a sequel to D*CK MAINTENANCE? "Why pay two guys in a van to come suck your d*ck when you can do it yourself?"

And, if you haven't seen the original...

Classic.

   
And, on that note, I'm stopping with the bullets so I can go buff my d*ck.

   

Bullet Sunday 405

Posted on Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Dave!Halloween may be over, but the terror is just beginning... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Frozen. While my hockey heart will forever belong to the Blackhawks, my love of Boston Red Sox baseball spills over to the Bruins from time to time. Halloween was one of those times...

Boston Bruins as Frozen Characters

Dressing up as characters from Frozen to visit sick kids? That's pretty great. GO BOSTON!

   
• Corn! Okay... this took me completely by surprise...

Now that's a cat that likes corn!

   
• Rock. Oh... so that's what it takes for Saturday Night Live to be entertaining again! Chris Rock and Prince! As a huge fan of Chris Rock, I knew he'd blow in like a hurricane and ride the bleeding edge. He did not disappoint. With an opening monologue that was so brilliantly dead on that he should be arrested for assault, Rock tore through gun control, Christmas commercialization, Jesus, 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, and Ebola like his life depended on it. Yeah, it was uncomfortable in spots, but it was exactly what it needed to be... enlightening and damn funny.

Chris Rock on SNL

Now we just need to wait for FOX "News" to shit all over his performance like they do anything that they can spin into an attack on 'Murica. Then again, is there anything they can't spin into an attack on 'Murica?

As for Prince... he decided to skip the whole "two-song performance" tradition and combined his time for a single blistering medley of his latest tracks. I do not envy having to be the band who has to follow that next week.

   
• Bianco. How Christina Bianco can keep all those voices straight in her head is a mystery... but the result is pretty amazing...

What... no P!nk?

   
• Galactic. I was sorry to hear of the tragedy that overcame SpaceShip Two earlier this week. Forging into unknown territory is always a dangerous but worthwhile endeavor...

Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two

My thoughts are with the friends and family of co-pilot Michael Alsbury.

   
• OK! Yet another masterpiece from OK Go! This time they took their famous one-shot video concept to all new heights by using drones to shoot it. As if that weren't enough, the song is pretty awesome to boot...

Every time the band releases a new video, I wonder how they're possibly going to top it, and here's my answer. What's next? OK Go in space?

   
Click. Click. Click. Until next week then...

   

Bullet Sunday 406

Posted on Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Dave!Time to take responsibility for all your terrible decisions... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Wall. The Wall Street Journal has some fantastic photos showing scenes from Berlin "then and now" in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall...

Berlin Wall Then and Now
Photo from The Wall Street Journal

There's not many shots... well worth your time to visit, which you can do by clicking here. As if that weren't enough, they also have a fantastic interactive timeline of events leading to The Wall being torn down.

   
• Bats. I have loved bats for as long as I can remember, and my heart always goes out to these misunderstood creatures. All too often they're seen as disease-bearing bloodsuckers instead of the beneficial animals they are. Which is why this story of a bat hospital on Bored Panda makes me so happy...

Baby Bats!
Photo by Tolga Bat Hospital

Baby Bats!
Photo by Caters News Agency

Cutest babies ever. How anybody could hate on something so adorable is beyond me.

   
• DST. IT'LL BE THE DEATH OF ALL OF US!

It's true. It's all true..

   
• Trek! My inner Star Trek geek loves stuff like this...

More of a Star Wars person? No worries... I got you covered.

   
• Cooks. I've watched this amazing opening credits sequence all the way through to the end twice (WARNING: NSFW in spots)...

It may be a parody. It may be for a show that doesn't even exist. And yet it's still vastly more entertaining than most sitcoms on the air today. If you've already seen it... have you read the "behind the scenes" article that talks about what went into making it?

   
• Murder! What happens when Shonda Rhimes says "You think that SCANDAL is messed up? Well get a load if THIS!" And then unleashes Viola Davis and How to Get Away with Murder...

How to Get Away with Murder Poster

The show is all kinds of freaky soap opera /slash/ legal drama goodness, and is quickly becoming one of my new favorites this season. The thing that makes me appreciate Ms. Rhime's shows is that they're so well thought out. Unlike crappy series like Lost that introduced twists and turns with no fucking clue how to tie everything together, Shonda's writers have their shit together. Everything happens for a reason and they know exactly where they're going with each new turn. Refreshing!

   
Night night.

   

Bullet Sunday 407

Posted on Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Dave!Put down that shot of Jägermeister... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Foundation! Literary sci-fi nerds around the world (myself included) had a simultaneous orgasm when it was announced that Jonathan Nolan would be adapting Isaac Asimov's seminal work, the Foundation trilogy for HBO...

Foundation Book Cover Art
Foundation's Hari Seldon by Michael Whelan

My fear is, of course, that Foundation will get completely screwed up like Edgar Rice Burrough's A Princess of Mars did... but Nolan seems to be a serious fan, so here's hoping.

   
• Ash! As if a Foundation TV series isn't enough, it was announced that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell will be bringing The Evil Dead back as a Starz television series in 2015!

Evil Dead Poster Art

Kind of amazing that a cult property like The Evil Dead would be getting resurrected like this, but I'll take it.

   
• Salmon. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight came up with a mind-bogglingly cool set of guest-appearances for one of their latest bits...

Now that's pretty epic.

   
• Lighthouses. Stunning.

   
• Attack! While I was in Africa, I was always joking about how great it would be to see some kind of unbelievable animal attack scenario... like leopards attacking an elephant... or a herd of impala attacking a lion... or whatever. Little did I know...

Holy cats! I would have put my money on the lions. Way to go there Tantor!

   
• Ass. A couple months ago Marvel Comics unleashed a shit-storm of controversy when they got famous Italian artist Milo Manara to create an alternate artist collector cover for the Spider-Woman relaunch. I was blissfully unaware of the controversy until I saw a link to an article at Elle magazine where somebody was commenting that she looked like a porn star. I remarked at the time that this was pretty ironic given how Elle Photoshops their models to within an inch of their lives to look like porn stars. And, in many ways, their work was far dangerous because young girls looking at the Spider-Woman cover would immediately know it wasn't real... whereas with Elle they're presented with women that look real and whose beauty is obtainable but, in reality, are not.

Fast-forward to today, and one of my friends sent me this link...

So apparently Maddox is blogging again. Kinda. I don't always agree with him, but I think his take on Spider-Woman #1's alternate cover is pretty dead-on. Especially considering that kids today don't give a crap about comics, and most of the people reading them are adults that grew up with them.

   
And now... back to my impending hangover, already in progress.

   

Bullet Sunday 408

Posted on Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Dave!Be true to your school... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Blocked! Now this... this... is probably the funniest thing I've seen all week...

We noticed that you may have an Ad Blocker turned on. Please be aware that our site is best experiences with Ad Blockers turned off.

Oh I'll just bet. Being lambasted with tons of shitty ads is totally the experience I'm looking for.

Courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks and their bizarre need to capitalize "ad blocker" as a proper noun.

   
• Oh Canada! And so our lovely neighbors to the north decided to help out with the U.S. national anthem when the microphone failed at a Toronto hockey game...

Amazing. If I had to return the favor it would go something like this...

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
Yada yada yada glowing hearts!
Yada glorious and free!
La la la. Yada yada yada.
Go Canada!

Huh. Guess I should look into those lyrics.

   
• Schadenfreude! When you have to resort to lies and hatred to make your argument, you've failed before you've even started. Well, the "National Organization from Marriage" never had anything but lies and hatred to make their arguments against marriage equality, so the fact that they've collapsed into a pile of debt comes as no surprise. Their constant stream of bigoted bullshit is on the wrong side of history and was doomed to fail. Seriously couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of assholes.

   
• Crispy! Chris Christie is a piece of shit. A literal piece of shit. Somebody should scrape him off the sidewalk and flush him down the toilet. Never mind that 93% of his constituents support him signing a bill that would reduce the utter torture that poor pigs have to endure before being slaughtered, he's going to take a pass because he might run for president some day, and the wishes of people in Iowa are more important than his own state. THIS is politics in the United States of America...

U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S... oh whatever.

   
• Miss? Few things can beat the creamy goodness of a hot cup of Swiss Miss on a cold day. As I was making me some today, I was surprised to see that there was no image of an actual Swiss Miss on the box...

Swiss Miss!

Bizarre. I always thought there was. I tried Googling for some photos of old packaging to see if I was remembering seeing her sometime in my youth, but came up empty. The closest I could find was some retro packaging from 2012 which had a freaky puppet-looking thing on it... but no Swiss hottie like I was expecting...

Swiss Miss!

Maybe I'm imagining her. Perhaps I was thinking of Betty Crocker or the Land O Lakes Indian Maiden? I dunno. I hope it's not Little Debbie that's in my head.

   
• Bulet Sunday Reading List! Stuff to think about...

   
And... I'm just shootin' blanks now. Until next Sunday...

   

Bullet Sunday 409

Posted on Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Dave!Don't go all Cyber Monday just yet... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Bats! The Tolga Bat Hospital posted some amazing photos of young bats experiencing the rain for the first time this week...

Tolga Bar Sanctuary

Tolga Bar Sanctuary

Tolga Bar Sanctuary

Adorable. Oh how I love bats! Much love to Tolga Bat Hospital for posting such fantastic shots. They do good work.

   
• War! Unless you've been spending the past few days dead for tax reasons, you're undoubtedly aware that the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. If you weren't aware, you can watch the thing here.

Star Wars 7 Teaser

And then the fan trailers came. First up is this brilliant (literally!) nod to director JJ Abrams' love of lens flare (in his Star Trek movies)...

Nice! Next up... the very funny George Lucas' Special Edition...

What? No fart jokes? And, lastly, heeeeeeere's LEGO...

Genius. I have to say... this trailer had a good Star Wars feel to it. Which is something I can't say about the horrendously shitty prequel trilogy. Just over a year to wait... sigh.

   
• Space! I really don't have the words for just how amazing this it...

Wow. Star Wars Shmar Wors. More information on this jaw-dropping short film can be found at creator Erik Wernquist's site.

   
• Sugar! If this Brita commercial is accurate, it's kind of scary. I probably drink double this amount of soda in a year...

Why oh why are all the things that are bad for us so darn tasty?

   
• Lap! Came across a photo while backing up my image library and was pretty shocked at how big laptops used to be...

Big Laptop!

Even harder to believe that boat anchor has only a fraction of the computational power that an iPhone has. Probably a fraction of the screen resolution as well. Might have an iPhone beat on battery life though.

   
• Arthur! A story about a stray dog who became part of a team attempting to complete a 430-mile race through the Amazon is probably my favorite story on the interwebs this week...

Arthur the Dog!

So great. I get a lump in my throat every time I read it. If you want to see Arthur arriving at his new home in Sweden, here's the link.

   
And... I should probably go to bed seeing as how I have to get up early for work tomorrow.

   

Bullet Sunday 410

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2014

Dave!Don't say it's over... because Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...

   
• 161! This evening I net up with two local bloggity internet friends, Chris & Kyle, for a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America... which has been built into the middle of the USA's largest shopping complex. For a "new school" property, it's not bad. Certainly not as great as the former Minneapolis Hard Rock since it's a douchey hipster-lounge "new school" property... but at least there's some decent memorabilia to be found...

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

Oh... and the location is pretty good. Right next to the LEGO Store...

Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America at Minneapolis.

And that's Hard Rock property no. 161.

   
• SPACESHIP!

SPACESHIP!!!

Thanks, Benny!

   
• Pub Night! After drinks at the Hard Rock, we headed to Ward 6 in St. Paul for dinner. I had the fried egg sammy (sans the bacon) and loved it. They actually put TWO fried eggs on there, which makes for an especially gooey delicious mess. Fantastic fries to boot. As if that wasn't enough, it was PUB QUIZ NIGHT! Our table was #1 for three of the four rounds, so we probably would have devastated the rest of the players... but we left before round 4 because it was taking really long to get through the questions. Still, great place for food if you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

   
• Thomas! This guy is genius...

While funny, am I the only one who thinks that this will one day lead to his death?

   
• UPS! This is too adorable...

Now I can't help but wonder if this kid will grow up to become an actual UPS driver.

   
• THANKS, OBAMA! Love him or hate him, this was pretty dang funny...

Cue the asshole brigade with cries of "Shouldn't he be running the country? And by 'running' I mean 'ruining"?!?"

   
And... tomorrow I'm in the air yet again, so I bid you goodnight!

   

Bullet Sunday 411

Posted on Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Dave!No more holiday shopping for you... because Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...

   
• Little! One of the most wonderful books ever crafted, Le Petit Prince has inspired a new animated motion picture of the same name...

Yeah. Definitely going to make time to see that.

   
• TURN IT! So there I was... freaking out because yet another video had been shot in vertical and posted to my wall... when I run across THIS...

AND THIS...

YES. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE... TURN YOUR DAMN PHONE!

   
• Last Days of Ivory. An elephant is murdered every 15 minutes...

   
• Petty Assholes! Take, for example, genocide...

Yeah. Somebody definitely needs to focus on The Big Picture here.

   
• Peace? And Greenpeace moves to the top of my Stupid Assholes list. Not only did they not give a crap about preserving a glorious WORLD HERITAGE SITE... it's obvious they did this idiotic stunt because they're self-serving pieces of shit. They made this perfectly clear... WHEN THEY SIGNED IT WITH THEIR LOGO!

Greenpeace Assholes
Image front Reuters

Their subsequent non-apology apology only makes them even worse... not sorry we did it... sorry you're offended. Yeah, take your "message of hope" and shove it straight up your hypocritical asses.

   
And... Bullet Sunday out.

   

Bullet Sunday 412

Posted on Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Dave!Don't let that crazy solstice celebration get out of control... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Goodbye! After nine years of being a huge fan of The Colbert Report, I was saddened that the show had to come to the end this past Thursday...

Stephen Colbert Defender of American Justice!

Best of luck to Stephen Colbert when he takes over The Late Show next Spring.

   
• Primate! It was only a matter of time before we figured out how to translate monkey-speak... and Scientific American says we are there...

NASA emails a wrench to SPAAAAACE!

I wonder how you say "GIVE ME THE BANANA AND NOBODY GETS POOP THROWN AT THEIR HEAD!" —?

   
• Wrench! BEHOLD THE MAJESTY OF SCIENCE!

NASA emails a wrench to SPAAAAACE!
Photo courtesy of NASA.

When the commander of the International Space Station needed a specialty wrench, NASA emailed it to him for printing on the lab's 3D printer. The future is now, people.

   
• Leia! Just because I want to keep the internet adorable...

"It's actually a pretty good look for her."

   
• Trek! Over at Playboy they have an article that ranks ALL THE STAR TREK! And that includes the animated episodes! For the Star Trek fan, it is must-read material. I agree almost completely at the bottom of the list... disagree a little at the top... and disagree a lot with the middle (but I'm not much of a fan of the non TOS episodes, so shoot me)...

Star Trek Graphic Compiled by Playboy

Many of my differences with the list are debatable, but the one episode that just baffles me beyond all reason is the Enterprise episode Carbon Creek at THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-TWO?!?? WTF?!?

   
• OBAMA! Thanks to my laptop and the internet, I can work anywhere in the world where I have access to both. But apparently The President of the United States can't work from Hawaii (despite being one of the most well-connected people on earth) since every moron with a lifeline to FOX "News" is shitting all over him for spending the holidays away from the White House during the "North Korean Hacking Crisis." Stupid shit like this drives me insane. What... is the president's desk MAGICAL and he loses all his "Leader of the Free World Powers" whenever he's away from it? Hackers IN NORTH KOREA can run the film industry from half a world away, but The President of the United States can't gather information for a response because he's back home? Do the idiots who say this moronic crap actually listen to the words coming out of their mouths? Even if President Obama DID cancel his trip, the same dipshits would STILL lambast him because they he'd be "letting the terrorist win" by not keeping to his schedule. The ultimate irony being that a job like "President of the United States" doesn't actually get ANY vacation days, because the world doesn't stop, there's always a crisis somewhere, and your job as president never ends... no matter where you are.

   
Annnnd... back to your solstice celebration.

   

Bullet Sunday 413

Posted on Friday, December 26th, 2014

Dave!Yeah, yeah, it's Friday and I'm two days early... but I can't mess up my end-of-year lists, so... Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Box! Ooh... look... it's the day after Christmas!

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey with boxing gloves saying Happy Boxing Day

Assuming you celebrate that kind of thing.

   
• Monkeymedic! When a monkey was badly shocked by an electrical line, a monkey friend did their best to revive him...

Monkey buddies for life!

   
• Land! One of the gifts from Cards Against Humanity's Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa ended up being one square foot of an island in Maine that they renamed Hawaii 2. My piece is here...

Looks like I'm going to have to see if there's a way to get there for my next trip to Maine!

   
• Cute! There's an article titled 25 of The Cutest Parenting Moments In The Animal Kingdom that's totally worth a look. Though I'd say a photo I took when I was at Mana Pools in Africa of two elephants teaching a baby elephant how to wash grass is just as cute as any of them...

Elephants in the Zambezi

And a photo I took of a mother lion giving her reluctant cub a bath when I was at Hwange National Park is equally sweet...

Hwange Lion Cub Bath

Doesn't get much more adorable than nature.

   
• Horrifying! And now for something that's the exact opposite of cute. I was playing Godus (quite a trick when the pile of crap crashes all the time) when a rival tribe, the Astari, started having a celebration. If the celebration makes their people happier than my people, some of my people will defect. I didn't want this to happen, so I used my god powers to call down a meteor strike. I was hoping if I busted some of their buildings they wouldn't be quite so happy. Unexpectedly, all hell broke loose. Before I knew it, all the buildings... and all the little people... were on fire...

Hwange Lion Cub Bath

The whole scene was just awful, and I felt terrible all day for the horrific destruction I unleashed. I was going to call down some rain to extinguish everything, but the population plummeted to zero and the entire tribe was gone. Guess this is what happens when people try to play god.

   
• Quest! I'm a bit obsessed with Questlove, best known as co-founder and lead drummer for The Roots (the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon). He absolutely mesmerizes me with his musical talent... especially when he sits in on drums with a guest band at the last minute (always flawlessly). He can play drums on A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Despite being a fan, I never knew he had a memoir out until last week when I discovered... quite by accident... the book "Mo' Meta Blues." It is fantastic. The guy is even more brilliant than I imagined. Highly recommend checking it out...

The World According to Questlove

If you need convincing, here's a terrific excerpt over at Salon.

   
• ASSHOLERY! One of my favorite internet services is DropBox. It's a storage space in the cloud that allows me to share files and keep my work handy no matter where I am or which computer I'm using. I've been paying for DropBox space for years, and have come to rely on its ease and convenience. At least I did until the last update when the fucking assholes moved the buttons to open the DropBox folder and open the DropBox website... replacing them with a "Pro" button...

DropBox Assholery

And since I am so accustomed to where the buttons used to be, I'm forever accidentally clicking on that stupid-ass "Pro" button, opening up their idiotic "PAY US MORE FUCKING MONEY" website which I DON'T WANT. And I am absolutely livid. First DropBox trains everybody where to click to get what they need... then they trick you into clicking on an ad? terrific way to treat your customers.

UPDATE: I do have a "Pro" account that doesn't expire until April 2015 and has PLENTY of space available. So I have no idea why I am being told I have to go Pro Pro?

   
And... that's the last Bullet Sunday of 2014!

   

  Home  

spacer
Welcome:
Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Flickr Gallery:
Dave Contact:
dave@blogography.com
Blogography Webfeeds:
Entries Feed
Comments Feed
Dave Social:
Blogography Tumblr
Blogography Instagram
Blogography on Pinterest
translate me
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
free iphone app
Ask Dave iPhone App
Put Dave in your pocket with this FREE app for iPhone and iPod Touch. All life's answers await you with the Ask Dave app!
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
badgemania
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
license
All content copyright ©2003-2017
by David Simmer II
   
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
ssl security
Comodo SSL