Sometimes things just don't go as you planned.
I am typing this at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where I have arrived to find that my flight into Weantchee had been canceled. Dreading the idea of spending the night in the urine-stained hotel that Horizon Air put me in last time... I head to the Customer Service Center to find out what my options are.
"There's a bus leaving at 9:30pm that's arriving in Wenatchee at 1:00am we can put you on" the lady tells me. "Great" I say... I'll take it!"
Yet here I sit at 10:00pm and no bus has arrived. Some people here were told a bus was arriving at 2:00, then 4:00, then 6:00, and then 9:00. But no bus ever comes. I ask at the counter "is this bus REAL, or is it just a story you make up to keep anarchy from breaking out at the airport?" Not at all amused, the lady answers "WE CAN'T CONTROL THE WEATHER!!" which, naturally, doesn't answer my question OR give me any encouragement.
With nothing better to do, I decide to open up the Lego Advent Calendar I bought while I was in Chicago. It's December 1st, after all...
Every day until Christmas, you get a new Lego toy to play with, and that was just too cool to pass up! Tonight, for instance, I get a little Lego fire fighter to put together...
That's not much to play with, so I become torn over the idea of opening up the other 23 windows and seeing what else I'm going to get. Eventually I decide against it, and figure I can be happy with just the fire fighter. It's going to be a long night.
UPDATE: The bus didn't arrive until 10:30, and then we had to all claim our luggage and wait for clearance before leaving. It is currently 11:30 and snowing pretty hard, but at least we are finally leaving Seattle. I'm told we'll get to Wenatchee at around 4:00am, at which time I have to clean off my car and drive back to Cashmere. This sucks ass. Mainly because this bus SMELLS like ass, and they've got a video for the very stupid movie Kangaroo Jack playing at full-volume over crappy speakers. (thank heavens for iPod!). Sigh. Yet another night with no sleep.
UPDATE: I'm bored, so I've decided to write a story about the toys in my Lego Advent Calendar. Every day I'll open up a door, see what I get, then continue on until Christmas when I'll post the grand finale. That's good, wholesome, creative fun! But it's also slightly insane. Hopefully I can live with that.
CHAPTER 1: Psycho Roasting on an Open Fire
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Firefighter
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Lego Dave who grew up wanting nothing more than to become a fireman. Hour after hour he would look at fireman books, watch fireman videos, sing fireman songs, and play fireman games. And every night Lego Dave would dream of riding in fire trucks, charging into burning buildings to save puppies, and all the things that firemen do which made Lego Dave love them so much.
Then one day, after many years had passed, Lego Dave graduated from High School and pursued his only dream by applying at the Fireman Academy. The classroom tests were challenging, but he welcomed them. The physical tests were hard work, but he pushed onward. With each new dawn, Lego Dave was happy because he was one day closer to fulfilling a life-long wish.
And then the day finally came when the Fire Chief called Lego Dave aside from his training. "This is it" Lego Dave decided... "the Chief has seen my potential and wants to make me a fireman this very day!"
"Hey" said the Fire Chief.
"Yo!" said Lego Dave.
"I have some news..." the Chief began. "I'm afraid we have to let you go..."
"Awesome!" exclaimed Lego Dave. "Where do I go to get my coat, hat, and red suspenders?"
"No, you misunderstood" the Chief declared. "You can't be a fire fighter, and so we have to ask you to leave."
"WHAT?!?" cried Lego Dave. "BUT I AM A FIREMAN!!"
"Errr... well... we ah... we got back your psychological examination and... errr... well, you're not exactly fire fighter material" the Chief said gravely.
"How can this be?" Lego Dave sobbed. "My dreams!"
"Sorry buddy" the Chief mumbled sympathetically.
Lego Dave was beside himself with grief as he walked home. "I am a fireman! I am a fireman! I AM A FIREMAN!!" he screamed to nobody in particular. And then something occurred to him: "Just because the Fire Chief says I can't be a fireman doesn't mean it has to be true!" A plan started to form. "I can make my own fire department and put out fires all by myself!" Lego Dave decided triumphantly.
And so it was decided. Late one night Lego Dave broke into the fire house and took the equipment he needed. He took a coat, hat, red suspenders, and a pair of sweet fire fighting axes that were attached to the side of the fire truck. "Now all I need is a fire so I can be a real fireman!" he declared. "I'll show that stupid Fire Chief" Lego Dave swore... "I'LL SHOW THEM ALL!!"
But where would he possibly find a fire to put out?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
The only good thing about driving home at 4:15am in the morning is that the streets are relatively idiot-free. This is particularly sweet given that the roads were covered with snow and ice. On the way home I stopped off at work to upload my job files (and post last night's blog entry) so that I wouldn't have to worry about it later.
And now that I'm finally home, I find that my DSL is apparently broken. That's probably a good thing because I really should be sleeping instead of goofing around on the internet.
But I've got to finish listening to Songs of Faith and Devotion first, so I might as well see what my Lego Advent Calendar has for me today...
Ummm... I'm not sure what it's supposed to be. Is that a flame thrower? What's a fire fighter need with a flame thrower? Oh well. That will certainly make for an interesting chapter...
CHAPTER 2: Have Yourself a Merry Little Bonfire
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Oxygen Tank, Fire Hydrant, Flame Thrower(?)
Impatient to prove his worth as a fireman, Lego Dave decides he can't wait for a fire to break out and determines that the only logical course of action is to start a fire of his own...
"Let's light this bitch up!" he yelled as he grabbed a flame-thrower and torched the meth lab. As the flames began to spread, Lego Dave suddenly realized that he didn't have a fire hose to hook up to the hydrant. Even worse, he didn't have a wrench to open the hydrant in the first place.
Deciding to solve one problem at a time, Lego Dave grabbed his axe and started chopping away at the hydrant so he could get to the watery goodness within. After several bold strokes, water began gushing from the hydrant, spilling out onto the street. "Now what can I use as a hose?" he wondered. But before he could come up with a solution, he heard screaming from within the meth lab.
"Wow, there must be a crack whore trapped inside!" Lego Dave said excitedly as he put on his oxygen tank. "Finally, somebody I can rescue!"
But will he get to the crack whore in time?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
Turns out some crap-weasle is using my name to endorse products for advertising dollars. And now I have to ask any lawyers out there... can I sue this douche-bag for impersonating me and using Blogography to advertise a mattress that I've NEVER OWNED in an ENTRY I NEVER WROTE?!? Isn't this identity theft? I DON'T ACCEPT ADS OR ENDORSEMENT FEES AT BLOGOGRAPHY! This is a personal choice that may change in the future, but it should at least be MY CHOICE!
Just look at this crap...
Sorry, but my price for selling out my blog is $25,000. And now I WANT MY FREAKIN' MONEY! I also want to sue for damage to my reputation, identity theft, and the fabulous catch-all: "pain and suffering." You owe me ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS you f#@%tard!!
WTF? I mean seriously... WHAT THE F#@%?!?
Who in the hell thinks it is perfectly acceptable to fabricate a blog entry using somebody else's identity? Shouldn't there be ramifications for this shit? This is MY blog and I F#@%ING CHOOSE WHAT TO WRITE HERE. On April 14th, 2004, I was (ironically) blogging about somebody stealing my identity for spam and Lomo effects on photographs.
But a A MATTRESS?!?
Seriously... do a search for "mattress" on Blogography and see what comes up (other than this entry). I HAVE NEVER EVEN MENTIONED THAT WORD!!
And, while I'm at it... will somebody tell that ass-clown over at "memes.org" to STOP USING MY NAME AND MY CONTENT FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING STUPID SHIT?? The terms of my Creative Commons license CLEARLY STATE that my stuff can only be taken for NONCOMMERCIAL USE, but all his sites are obviously just frames to support advertising, WHICH IS A COMMERCIAL ENDEAVOR YOU IDIOT! Yet here's an excerpt from one of my entries as picked up on web search...
According to his profile, he's a self-proclaimed "expert on corporate blogging, the blogosphere, online social networks, virtual communities, online brand promotion, online brand protection, online brand intelligence, online buzz marketing, and online viral marketing."
I guess all that corporate hype bullshit is supposed to imply that he's some kind of internet marketing genius for hire... which is funny, because he's obviously trying to flood blog trackbacks to get himself links and drive up his Page Rank so he can sell more... except I DON'T HAVE TRACKBACKS ENABLED YOU MORON!
I wouldn't hire the dopey bastard to clean my toilet. "Online Brand Protection?" And how do you accomplish that... by stealing content from others, thus ruining THEIR brands? Just another douche-bag thief who makes money off of other people's hard work without their permission and in violation of copyright laws. Want to advertise crap? Write your own blog you donkey-ball-licking dumbass.
Now get me a lawyer so I can start suing some asses! I am looking for somebody thoroughly unprincipled, unethical, immoral, shameless, corrupt, dishonest, devious, evil, and unscrupulous who will stop at nothing (including death) TO GET ME MY MONEY!! Oh wait... that's pretty much all lawyers isn't it? I never thought that I would be happy about that.
CHAPTER 3: We Wish You a Merry Arson
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Cherry Picker Ladder
Oh noes! The fire that Lego Dave started in a meth lab to prove his fire fighting skills has inadvertently trapped a crack whore inside...
The flames grew higher and higher, quickly turning the meth lab into a flaming deathtrap! From the second story window, the crack whore is screaming for help from out of the inferno... "Help! Help" she cries.
Lego Dave starts frantically looking around for something that might help him to rescue the drug-addicted prostitute. Luckily, a crew working on the power lines have left their electronic "cherry picker" ladder nearby. Without hesitation, Lego Dave climbs into the bucket and rises into the flames...
But will the ladder be tall enough?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I don't feel like getting out of bed today.
Fortunately, with a PowerBook and a wireless network, there's no need to get out of bed! I can just lay here and the entire world can come to me. Not only that, but my Lego Advent Calendar is just within reach on my desk... and I can almost... argh... just about... get my fingers on it... and there we go. Wow. It's a little Lego police officer. That's going to make for an interesting turn in the story.
And speaking of interesting turns... my rant yesterday about my name and blog content being commandeered to advertise mattresses has only served to get me put on two more mattress sites. Apparently, the same scumbags are running all three, and all I did by complaining about it was provide more material for their Google-aggregating asses to steal. It's like a virus that spreads... all in the interest of getting people to click on their Google mattress ads. I find it fascinating that so many people are using theft as a business model now-a-days. Even worse... they're probably making money at it.
They all must die, of course. Once I've achieved world domination, I'll get right on that.
And speaking of Google searches... I continue to be amused at what searches people are using to find Blogography. I realize that most of the time I'm listed because random words in one of my archives somehow manage to fit the search criteria, but it's still bizarre. Here's some of the "cleaner" results I've seen this morning:
Sigh. I suppose now I HAVE to get up so I can go to the bathroom. I also need to grab my camera.
Not that I am going to take pictures of myself in the bathroom or anything... I just need to take a photo of the Lego toys for today's chapter.
Seriously... you really need to get your mind out of the gutter!
I need to get my mind out of the gutter as well, but the words "elizabeth hurley naked" are stuck in my head.
CHAPTER 4: Jingle Bell Cop Rock
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Disgruntled Policeman with Walkie-Talkie
Scaling the burning meth lab, fake fire fighter Lego Dave sets out to rescue a crack whore from the inferno...
"I'm coming to save you Miss Crack Whore!" Lego Dave cried above the roar of the flames. As the cherry-picker ladder rose higher and higher, he could barely make out a figure standing in the smoke-filled window above.
After agonizing minutes, the bucket finally reached the second floor.
"Here I am to sa-- hey! You're not a crack whore!" Lego Dave exclaims.
"No you idiot, I'm a police officer!" replied the disgruntled figure, his face twisted into a perpetual smirk.
"That's okay Mr. Policeman, I'll save you!" Lego Dave replied. "Hop in!"
"Thanks guy" said the police officer, as he climbed into the bucket.
"I am so totally brave!" Lego Dave said proudly. "They're sure to make me a fireman now!"
"What?" said the policeman. "Hey! You're not a real fire fighter! What's going on here?"
"Don't say that. DON'T SAY THAT! I AM A REAL FIRE FIGHTER" Lego Dave replied frantically. "I've proven it by rescuing you!"
As the bucket reached the ground, sirens could be heard in the distance. The police officer had called the fire department on his walkie-talkie when the fire had broken out.
"You stay right there fella!" the police officer demanded. "I'm calling for back-up, and we're going to have to take you down to the station for questioning..."
Has Lego Dave's fire fighting adventure come to an end?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
For reasons unknown, I am experiencing random flashes of total despair. Only for a second... then it's gone again.
I'm a little bummed about that, but not for the reason you think.
I'm bummed because the despair doesn't stick around long enough to be useful, and that's just annoying. I could use a little despair in my life. It's a terrific creative motivator. As it is, I'll just have to be content to stumble along in mediocrity.
Oh well. That's good enough to make my own Warholl "Marilyn" portrait. I've wanted to to it for ages, but never got around to it until tonight...
Hmmm... now that I look at that Warhol homage, I am totally thinking that I need to dye my hair blonde. I am SO hot!
Well, either that or dye my skin blue.
But before I get to today's Lego Advent Calendar story... has anybody listened to INXS's new album Switch? I had nothing but poor expectations with Michael Hutchence gone, but ended up being completely floored. There are some beautiful tracks on that release, including my personal favorite, Afterglow.
CHAPTER 5: Jingle Kills
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Police Doggy and Police Barricade.
The meth lab that Lego Dave set on fire ended up having a police office inside! Things are not looking too good for our hero...
"You're coming down to the station for impersonating a fire fighter and a possible arson charge!" the officer said, his words sharp. "Then we'll get to the bottom of all this!"
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a police dog appears, snarling violently at the officer. "Bark! Bark" goes the dog.
"Ack! Get away you mangy mutt! I thought I had you locked in the squad car!" the police officer snaps. "Stupid K-9 unit!"
Suddenly enraged, the dog attacks the police officer, tearing into his jacket with his teeth. From the tattered remains of the policeman's pocket drops a baggie filled with rocks of crystal meth.
"Hey! You're a crooked cop that's a meth addicted!" Lego Dave declares.
"So what!" the police officer snipes. "When my backup gets here, who do you think they're going to believe... a decorated officer of the law, or a guy impersonating a fire fighter?"
"Well I think they'll have a hard time hearing your side of the story with an axe in your chest!" Lego Dave replies as he buries the hatchet in the officer...
"Bark! Bark!" says the doggy as he pees on the dying officer's head.
"What a mess!" exclaims Lego Dave. "The police and fire department will be here any minute Barky... we'd better get rid of this body!"
Things are getting complicated... what will Lego Dave do next?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
This morning I woke up wanting a couple of slices of toast with strawberry jam. This is nothing new, I wake up every morning wanting a couple slices of toast with strawberry jam. What was different was when I looked out my window... there was a cap of grey cloud-cover everywhere you looked, but a ribbon of morning sky stretched all the way around the horizon. This made for some bizarre atmospheric conditions that painted the nearby mountains BLUE!
By the time I grabbed my camera and was out the door to work, the blue was receding into the valleys as the sun got brighter. After I finally found a clearing with no telephone poles or trees, I managed to find a small spot that was still tinted...
What you have to do is use your imagination and picture ALL the mountains in blue. It was bizarre and beautiful at the same time. I'm pretty upset that I didn't manage to get photos, because it's something I've never seen before. Sometimes nature produces things that are stranger than anything you can churn out in Photoshop.
I'm really nervous about today's "Lego Holiday Tale." It started out as a cute story about a psychotic guy wanting to be a fireman who gets into drunken adventures with crack whores and an axe... but with each new toy that reveals itself, things just get darker and more disturbing. It's almost as if the story is writing itself. Yesterday I had a dead body that needed to be disposed of, then today a little guy with a rotary saw comes out of the Lego Advent Calendar? What kind of sick bastards have they got working at Lego anyway?
For some bizarre reason I thought that the little Lego people would alternate between boys and girls so that the calendar would be accessible to both sexes... but that's not turning out to be the case (thus the crack whore storyline that ended up going nowhere). I have no idea what's going to be popping out of the calendar tomorrow, and part of me doesn't want to find out...
CHAPTER 6: Choppin' Around the Christmas Tree
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Crook with a Rotary Saw.
Lego Dave had to axe a crooked meth-addicted cop to avoid being arrested. But now both the fire department and the police are on the way...
"Well this is a fine turn of events, Barky!" Lego Dave said with a hint of irony in his voice. "We've got to get rid of this body before the CSI guys come and bust my ass!"
"Bark! Bark!" replies the dog.
Just then a man appears carrying a rotary saw and wearing a malicious grin.
"Hey buddy! Did I just hear you say that you need to get rid of a body?" the shifty-looking man inquires. "Why not leave that to me and my little friend... HA HA HA HAAAAHH!"
"And who might you be, guy?" Lego Dave asks cryptically.
"They call me Lego Buzz, fella!" he says through gritted teeth. "BWAH HA HA HAAAAAHH!"
Before Lego Dave can get a word out, Lego Buzz has fired up his saw and is cutting the now-deceased police officer into pieces!
"Dude!" Lego Dave exclaims with a yelp. "That's balls-nasty!"...
"Bark! Bark!" offers the dog slyly.
Holy crap! How much worse can things get for our hero now?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
Tonight was a bit of a bummer. I had some errands to run in Wenatchee, and decided to stop by Quizno's for a bite to eat. Despite my love of all things Quizno-Toasty, I don't eat there very often because it's so astoundingly expensive. But it was the least I could do to reward myself for having to brave the cold and crowded streets. Unfortunately, Quizno's has now crossed over the line from "merely expensive" to "total rip-off." Their bread, which used to be of fairly good size, was barely over 2-inches wide on my sandwich tonight! WTF? Was this some kind of freak bread accident, or is Quizno's shrinking the size of their sandwiches on purpose? They sure as heck didn't shrink the price.
As if that wasn't bad enough, it was a fairly mediocre episode of Veronica Mars on this evening. Of course, it's only mediocre when compared to other episodes of Veronica Mars. Compared to all the other crap on television, it's positively brilliant. My one complaint is the lame resolutions for Deputy Leo and Meg, which seems to have been a half-hearted attempt to explain their absences in future episodes.
Fortunately, there was one good thing that happened today... my DVD set for the complete first season of 80's classic Hart to Hart arrived! There's something special about a show that features a massively wealthy couple who are so bored that they travel the world solving mysteries with their dog and their butler. Heaven only knows this is exactly what I would do if I had big money.
Well, that and being able to afford to eat at Quiznos with their new and unimproved skinny bread.
CHAPTER 7: All I Want for Christmas is my Two Left Feet
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Safe with Precious Gemstones.
A stranger named Lego Buzz has appeared on the scene and cut the dead crooked cop into itty bitty pieces...
"How is this supposed to help?" Lego Dave asked. "Now instead of one easy-to-carry body we've got a bunch of really gross chunks!"
"Bark! Bark!" added the dog helpfully.
"Chill out buddy!" Lego Buzz replied. "I've got an idea. Grab some parts and follow me!"
Gathering bloody meth-addicted chunks of policeman in their arms (and a severed hand in Barky's mouth) the motley crew runs away from the raging crack house inferno just as the fire department arrives.
"Quick, in here!" Lego Buzz says as he enters the back door of a jewelry store. "I was breaking into the safe when I saw you guys axe that bad copper across the street!"
"And what are we supposed to do with these body parts?" Lego Dave asks as he waves a left foot in the air.
"Easy!" Lego Buzz chirps happily. "We'll put the body pieces in this safe then toss it in the river!"
"Are you nuts?" Lego Dave replied cautiously. "All of this won't fit in that tiny safe!"
"WE'LL PUT THE BODY PIECES IN THE SAFE AND TOSS IT IN THE RIVER I SAY!!" Lego Buzz screamed. "AND I'M GOING TO PUT YOU AND THAT DOG IN THE SAFE TOO! BWAH HA HA HAAAAAH!.
Lego Buzz revs up his rotary saw and starts moving slowly towards our hero and his brave canine companion.
"Bark! Bark!" says the dog in alarm, the severed hand dropping from his mouth...
Whoa! How is Lego Dave going to get out of this one?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
Today is the first day of Washington State's public smoking ban. You can no longer smoke in ANY public areas including the workplace, bowling alleys, bars, restaurants (and probably hotels). Nor can you smoke within 25 feet of a door or window to such a place. I don't smoke, so it's no big deal to me, but it still seems a very strange law. If I own a bar, shouldn't I be able to allow smoking there if I want to? Apparently not.
I'm sure there's a public farting ban right around the corner.
Yet a public stupidity ban is still nowhere in sight.
CHAPTER 8: Away in the Danger
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Acetylene Torch.
Lego Dave and his new friend Barky the Dog are about to be sawed in half by a crazed crook...
"Hey, take it easy buddy!" Lego Dave says as he backed away from the whirling saw blade. "There's no need for violence here!"
"Bark! Bark!" exclaimed the dog warily.
"Oh yeah? Well I think there IS a need for violence!" Lego Buzz cackled as he lurched forward.
Unfortunately for Lego Buzz, he didn't see the severed hand that Barky had dropped in his path. Even more unfortunate is that he slipped on the bloody hand and slid right into the acetylene torch he had brought to cut open the safe. And just when you think that things can't get any more unfortunate, the rotary saw that Lego Buzz was wielding started cutting into the metal tanks...
"WAAAAAHHH! I'm stuck" Lego Buzz screamed as sparks showered from the saw blade.
"Holy cow!" Lego Dave shouted above the screeching metal. "That looks dangerous! Let's get out of here Barky!"
"Bark! Bark!" Agreed his canine pal.
A second later, the saw has cut through the steel tank and sparks ignite the gasses within. A violent explosion erupts, engulfing the room!
Yikes! Did Lego Dave and Barky manage to escape in time?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I cannot abide rudeness.
And I have a very smart mouth.
It's a combination that's gotten me into trouble on several occasions. Usually it's when some dick-head is doing their best to make somebody feel stupid... or embarrass somebody... or just being a jack-ass for no good reason. And when I see this type of moronic behavior, I just can't help myself. I am compelled to say something.
Like this morning, for instance.
I was at a mini-mart to pick up a bottle of "Coke with Lime", and ended up stuck behind some dick-head and his three chuckle-head friends. The girl at the check-out counter was visibly nervous and unsure of herself as she tried to count out his change. Naturally, the dick-head used this as an opportunity to be a total douche. And apparently being a total douche is all that's required to amuse his posse...
Dick-head: Huh huh huh. I can see how counting to twelve would make this job a real challenge.
Dick-head's Friends: Ha! Ha! Ha!
Dave: You'd think so, but putting up with rude customers is where the real challenge is at.
Dick Customer: Uhhhhhhh... Shut up.
Great comeback. I'd kill to be so witty.
The idiot stormed out, but he was still getting in his car when I exited, and decided to shout at me across the parking lot...
Dick-head: It was just a joke, dude. Lighten up.
Dave: A joke's not very funny if you have to humiliate an innocent girl to get a laugh.
Dick Customer: Uhhhhhhh... you're an a$$hole!
Witty AND charming!
You can just tell that this bum-wipe is "the funny one" in his little group, and simply cannot handle the fact that somebody doesn't find him totally hilarious. Well, reality is a bitch, and you aren't funny. You're just mean.
It only now occurs to me that had things gone even a little differently, they could have totally beat the crap out of me. Luckily, they were all in a hurry to get back to doing whatever four guys do with each other at 1:30 in the afternoon.
CHAPTER 9: Holly Jolly Christ-mess.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Construction Worker with Jackhammer.
Lego Dave and Barky the Dog have been caught in an exploding jewelry store with the evil Lego Buzz...
Acrid smoke fills the air. Small fires litter the rubble of a once proud building. Somewhere in the ruins, the muffled sounds of a dog barking can barely be heard. A construction worker carrying a jackhammer appears...
"Hello?" the construction worker yells. "Was anybody in there?"
"Bark! Bark!" cries a dog from under splintered wood, bricks, and mortar.
"Hold on there dog!" the construction worker shouts. "I'll get you out!"
Using his jackhammer and a decade of skill, the lone construction worker starts his rescue. In a few minutes, the construction worker has cleared away enough rubble to uncover Lego Dave and his faithful companion, Barky the Dog...
"Hey, thanks mister!" Lego Dave says gratefully.
"Bark! Bark!" agrees Barky the Dog.
Our heroes are saved and all is well! At least until evil Lego Buzz crawls out of the wreckage, his rotary saw thrashing through the air menacingly.
"You didn't think a little explosion was going to stop ME did you?" Lego Buzz screeches, his face twisted in anger. "NOW YOU ALL DIIIIIIEEEE!!"
Will Lego Buzz have his revenge?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
The apartment complex where I live in has a "Senior Discount" which means that a lot of elderly people live here. And, while I have nothing against old people, it does make for rather crappy living conditions.
The primary problem in living with the elderly is that they are all deaf. I had thought that there were hearing aids and other technological wizardry to fix this but, if there is, nobody around here is aware of it. Televisions are played at full volume. Radios are blasted at all hours of the day and night. ALL doors are slammed shut. Every bit of ambient noise that you would expect from apartment living is amplified exponentially. I've lost count of how many times I've been awakened at 5:00am because one of my neighbors is outside screaming at somebody in the parking lot. And when I say "screaming," I don't mean that they are yelling angrily at somebody, they're just talking REALLY, REALLY LOUD because they're mostly deaf.
Mostly deaf but only partially insane.
And it's definitely the insane ones who test my patience.
Tonight when I came home I noticed a neighbor emptying his trash can... "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!? he screams. This has me totally puzzled, because I barely glanced in his direction. I try my best to ignore him (hey, it's not his fault he's crazy!), but he would have none of it. "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!?
Do I or don't I?It ends up (much to my embarrassment) that I do...
"APPARENTLY I'M LOOKING AT A CROTCHETY OLD FART WHO NEEDS NEW BATTERIES IN IS HEARING AID!" I yell back at him as I walk past.
Just as I was about to feel bad over being mean to an old person, he screams "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!?" again, and I realize he didn't even hear me. Odds are he wasn't even talking to me. Could be he was screaming at some imaginary person in his head. Or maybe he actually was yelling at me, but he's on some kind of time-delay.
I dunno. Maybe I imagined it all, and I'm the one who is insane.
CHAPTER 10: Winter Plunderland.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Wheelbarrow, Broom, and Pick Axe.
The evil Lego Buzz has survived the explosion and is looking for REVENGE...
"Who in the heck is this lunatic?" the construction worker asks under his breath.
"I HEARD THAT!" Lego Buzz screams.
With surprising speed, Lego Buzz lunges forward, his rotary saw swinging wildly. Without warning, the construction worker is suddenly minus his left hand.
"GAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" yells the construction worker!
"GAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" yells Lego Dave!
"Bark! Bark!" yells Barky the Dog!
"BWAAAH HA HA HAAAAAHHH!" laughs Lego Buzz!
Desperate to save his rescuer, Lego Dave grabs a broom from under a pile of broken bricks and smashes Lego Buzz over the head.
"Quick guy... hop in so we can get you to the hospital!" Lego Dave exclaims while pulling a wheelbarrow from the wreckage."
"Thanks buddy!" the construction worker says as he climbs in, carefully cradling his severed hand. "I hope they can sew this back on!"
Lego Buzz comes to his senses and starts chasing the heroic trio down the street...
"Bark! Bark!" warns Barky the Dog.
"I'LL KILL YOU ALL!" shouts Lego Buzz.
Can Lego Dave get the construction worker to the hospital before the evil Lego Buzz catches up?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
Winter travel sucks ass.
First my flight out of Wenatchee was delayed (bad weather). Then my flight out of Seattle was delayed (first fog, then the infamous "mechanical difficulties" excuse). As if the delays weren't bad enough, hanging around airports when people are freaking out is about as bad as it gets. Passengers screaming at gate agents. Passengers screaming at other passengers. Kids screaming at nobody in particular... if it weren't for my iPod drowning out the chaos, I'd be pretty insane right about now.
Panic on the runways of SeaTac...
Proving that you simply cannot travel without the inevitable freak-factor (the last time I flew to Salt Lake City, I had to witness a guy shaving his chest in the bathroom), today I got to see an older hippie couple (the sixties were NOT kind to these people) picking out porn mags together at Hudson News. "Oooooh she's pretty" says the woman. "You know she's not my type" says the man. Gack! Now I have heinous images running through my mind, and almost need to buy a porn mag myself so that I can put my head back to "normal."
Of course, "normal" is a relAAAAAAAAAAHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!
Somebody is clipping their fingernails. SOMEBODY IS CLIPPING THEIR FINGERNAILS!!!
And the worst part is that his fingernail clippings are probably flinging off into that lady's hair and stuff! Oh gag! Public nail-clipping should be punishable by bitch-slapping. Still, this is not quite so bad as the lady in McDonalds from a couple of weeks ago.
Oog. Because of the flight delays, it looks like today's Lego Holiday Tale chapter is going to have to be done under less than ideal conditions...
CHAPTER 11: Crash the Walls.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Road Barrier.
Lego Dave and his faithful companion Barky the Dog are rushing the brave construction worker to the hospital all while being chased by the evil Lego Buzz...
"HEY! LOOK OUT!" the construction worker yells. "THERE'S ROAD CONSTRUCTION AHEAD!"
"Bark! Bark" warns Barky the Dog as he hops in the wheelbarrow.
Lego Dave nearly runs into a steamroller, but managed to skid around a street corner instead.
"That was close!" sighs the construction worker.
"Bark! Bark!" agrees Barky the Dog.
"We're not out of the woods yet!" says Lego Dave... "there's a barrier ahead!"
"That's not all!" the construction worker hollers. "That lunatic with a saw took a short-cut and is coming this way!"
"Oh no!" exclaims Lego Dave. "Doesn't his rotary saw ever run out of gas?"
"DIE! DIE! DIE!" shouts Lego Buzz.
Things are looking mighty grim for our heroes... how can they possibly escape from Lego Buzz this time?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I am sick.
And I have gone totally gay over Ryan Reynolds.
It's entirely possible that I am sick because I've gone totally gay over Ryan Reynolds, but I'm pretty sure it was the crappy dinner I ate. And when I say "crappy" I don't mean that there was literally crap in it, but that it tasted terrible. And now my stomach aches and I've got cramps so bad that it feels like my intestines are trying to claw their way out of my torso.
HEY! You don't think that there actually WAS crap in my food do you?!? Because that would certainly explain a lot.
It's no fun being sick, but it's even worse when you are far from home...
Anyway, before the gastronomical disaster that was my dinner tonight, I went to go see the movie Aeon Flux. But Aeon Flux was sold out until midnight, so I decided to go see Just Friends starring Ryan Reynolds. It was not a good movie. It was, in fact, a pretty bad movie. It was cliched and slapsticky and there was too much time between genuinely funny moments. In the end, I think it had potential to be a good movie, except the pacing was all off and it wasn't charming enough to make for good romantic comedy.
But I ended up liking the film anyway.
And it's all because of Ryan Reynolds. The guy is hysterical funny...
I first remember seeing him in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, but he eventually worked his way up to starring roles in Van Wilder, Blade Trinity, The Amityville Horror remake, and now Just Friends. None of these films were anything remarkable, but I think Ryan Reynolds was entertaining in all of them (how can you not love "Berg" from Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place?). I can only guess that it's because he's an astoundingly talented actor and a genuinely funny guy...
...or because I find him totally hot.
When I get that all figured out, I'll be sure you let you know. In the meanwhile, I think I need to go puke my guts out.
CHAPTER 12: Christmas, Bloody Christmas..
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Crossing Guard with Traffic Paddle.
Lego Dave and his faithful companion Barky the Dog are rushing the brave construction worker to the hospital, but the evil Lego Buzz has caught up to them...
"NOW YOU CAN ALL DIIIIIIE!" screams Lego Buzz, his eyes filled with hate.
"Don't stop!" yells the construction worker. "Smash through the barrier and run him down!"
"Bark! Bark!" agrees Barky the Dog.
Lego Dave grits his teeth and charges forward, busting through the barrier and knocking Lego Buzz on his ass. The resulting crash tips over the wheelbarrow, and everybody goes tumbling to the ground.
"Hey!" yells a crossing guard running up to the scene of the crash. "You can't run a construction barrier! That's illegal! I'm going to have to write you a ticket!"
Then, out of nowhere, Lego Buzz appears... "TICKET THIS!!" he yells and he plunges his rotary saw into the crossing guard's stomach. "WAAH HA HA HA HAAAAHHH!"
"Dude!" exclaims Lego Dave.
"Bark! Bark!" frets Barky the Dog.
"AND NOW YOU'RE NEXT! ALL OF YOU!" screeches Lego Buzz, clearly out of his mind. "BWAH HA HA HAAAAH!"
Has time finally run out for our heroes?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
After last night's culinary disaster for dinner, I took absolutely no chances today. For breakfast I went straight to McDonalds for an Egg & Cheese Biscuit, then for Lunch I went to one of my most favorite places to eat in all the land... Big City Soup! Seriously, the soup here is so good that it should probably be a controlled substance. As if that wasn't enough, they've usually got two or three vegetarian selections on the menu, so there's always something good for me to eat.
Today I decided on a Cheese Panini with their delectable Tomato-Basil soup that was ever so yummy. Almost worth a trip to Salt Lake City all by itself...
If you're ever in town, I'd highly recommend dropping by Big City Soup.
It came as no surprise that SLC has a new Apple Store here at The Gateway, and I felt compelled to run in and caress a video iPod for a few minutes. This is always a dangerous gambit, because one day the temptation will be too great. Fortunately I was semi-rational today, and was able to leave without a $400 dent in my credit card.
But I want one ever so bad.
CHAPTER 13: Jingle Hell.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Crossing Arm.
Lego Buzz has just chopped a crossing guard in half, and is moving in on Lego Dave and his friends...
"YEEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAW!" screams Lego Buzz as he starts inching towards Lego Dave, his rotary saw slicing through the air in wide arcs. "I'm gonna cut you... CUT YOU UP!"
But before Lego Buzz can take another step, a crossing arm comes crashing down on him! Barky the Dog has snuck into the dead crossing guard's control booth and managed to press the "DOWN" button!
"Bark! Bark!" says Barky the Dog triumphantly!
"Argh!" says the evil Lego Buzz!
"Cool!" says the construction worker with his hand chopped off!
"Way to go Barky!" says Lego Dave! "Now hop in the wheelbarrow, because we need to get Mr. Construction Worker to the hospital before gangrene sets in!
Is this finally the end for Lego Buzz?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
For the third time in a row, I was stuck in Seattle last night. All flights back to Wenatchee were cancelled yesterday, and it was so foggy that they couldn't even get a bus on the tarmac to take us over the pass. Worse, there was no guarantee that any flights would be leaving today (and, as far as I know, none ever did).
The good news is that I managed to find a ride back this morning. The bad news is that I had to make the trip on only three hours sleep.
The fancy hotel I stayed at had advertised wireless internet. But when I tried to log on, the billing page refused to fully load. The hotel blamed me, saying my computer "probably wasn't configured properly" and passed me to the provider's support desk at 10:15pm. Unfortunately, they didn't know anything, and said that they would have a "tech manager" call me back.
So I waited, and waited, and waited. But they never called. So I called back at 11:00pm and was told they would send another request. After waiting until midnight, I decided to give up and go to bed. I was looking forward to getting a full 6-hours sleep, because I haven't been getting nearly enough rest the past several weeks.
Naturally the internet support guy decided to call me back at 3:00am.
Since I couldn't get back to sleep, I spent the next three hours catching up on work and random blog surfing now that the billing page was working again.
The hotel refunded me the $9.95 access fee after I complained, but none of this would have happened in the first place if they offered free internet to their customers like they should. I can't help but think that hotels who charge for internet actually end up losing more than they ever gain by the meager fees they receive from charging for it.
I can honestly say that free internet access has now become more important to me than how many stars a hotels has, how fancy the lobby is, how big the rooms are, how many pillows you get on your bed, and whether or not you get a mint on your pillow. Give me a Hampton Inn or a Holiday Inn Express over the competition any day. Why? Complimentary internet.
CHAPTER 14: Crashing Through the Snow.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Traffic Light.
After escaping from the evil Lego Buzz, Lego Dave and Barky the Dog rush to get Mr. Mechanic and his severed hand to the hospital...
"Don't worry Mr. Construction Worker" exclaims Lego Dave. "We'll get you to a doctor in time! The hospital is just two blocks away after we turn this corner."
"Thanks guy!" the construction worker replies.
"Bark! Bark!" adds Barky the Dog encouragingly.
As Lego Dave rushes to push the wheelbarrow around the corner, a soccer mom talking on her mobile phone while driving an SUV suddenly runs up onto the sidewalk, heading straight for our heroic trio! With not a moment to lose, Lego Dave veers off the sidewalk, straining to maintain control. He manages to avoid being killed by the idiotic driver, but the wheelbarrow can't hold the sudden turn and runs into a traffic light pole.
Barky the Dog and Mr. Construction Worker are thrown from the wheelbarrow, but are relatively unscathed.
"The wheelbarrow has busted an axle, so we're going to have to walk the rest of the way" declares Lego Dave. "Come on Barky, help me carry Mr. Construction worker to the hospital. We're running out of time!"
"Yeah, my severed hand is starting to smell funny" says the construction worker.
"I hope nothing else comes up to delay us" Lego Dave says cautiously.
Can they make it to the hospital in time to save Mr. Construction Worker's hand?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I'm swimming in a plethora of hate mail, and haven't been this entertained in months! Where do you guys come up with this stuff?!
By far, my most favorite email of the week (perhaps the entire year), was from somebody who wrote me an impassioned letter over my making fun of "Intelligent Design". They started out preaching fire and brimstone, then settled into a series of scripture quotes, then said they love me, then say they will pray for me, then threatened me with eternal damnation in hell if I don't stop mocking The Almighty. This was not the first time, but I never get tired of hearing it.
You'd think that the fact I'm rendered as a cartoon and have a screaming monkey with me would be a big clue that I'm not actually serious about being God, but apparently there is room for confusion here...
But the big finale of the email was regarding THIS image...
However, it's not the actual picture that got the guy all riled up... it's the fact that I titled it "Dave Lord". This was apparently enough to send my new best friend over the edge, because he started typing in ALL-CAPS!!
"THERE IS ONLY ONE LORD! JESUS IS LORD OVER ALL!!!! THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO THE ONE TRUE GOD AND HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM AND THAT IS OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!!! YOU PROCLAIM YOURSELF AS A FALSE GOD AND DENY JESUS WHO IS OUR TRUE GOD!!!!!!"
I wonder if Lord Vader has to put up with this?
But mostly I wonder how somebody could actually take anything they read here this seriously.
Well, that and I wonder when my worshipers will finally come through with the bank to build DaveLand.
But mostly that "taking this serious" thing.
CHAPTER 15: Hark the Harold Mechanics Sing.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Mechanic with Wrench.
There's been an accident on the way to the hospital, and now Team Lego Dave struggles to get Mr. Construction Worker to a doctor in time to save his severed hand....
"Hey Barky... help me carry Mr. Construction Worker to the emergency room!" says Lego Dave. "We're running out of time."
"Bark! Bark!" says Barky the Dog hopefully as he grabs the severed hand from the ground.
But just as everybody starts limping towards the hospital, they hear a voice...
"Hey guys, hold up a second" a man says. "I'm a mechanic and I can fix that wheelbarrow for you in just a few seconds!"
"That's really cool of you!" exclaims Lego Dave as he turns back towards the street lamp. "Thanks for your help Mr. Mechanic, now we can get to the hospital twice as fast!"
"Anytime, fella!" replies the man with the wrench as he gets to work.
But just as the construction worker limps back to the repaired wheelbarrow, the mechanic starts screaming in pain! "AAAAAARGH!!" he says!
"What the-" Lego Dave stutters. "Holy crap! It's Lego Buzz! He's sawing Mr. Mechanic in half!"
"Dude" screams the construction worker!
"Shouldn't you be dead?" Lego Dave inquires. "That crossing arm that fell should have crushed you!"
"No way, buddy!" Lego Buzz laughs. "I sawed through that like butter, and now I'm going to saw through YOU!"
Lego Buzz is ALIVE? How can Lego Dave get away this time?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I take most all of my photos with a Canon Digital Rebel SLR. It's a terrific camera, but kind of big and bulky to lug around. Because of that, I also have a Canon Elph that's so small I can fit it in my pocket. It goes with me everywhere, and I often use it as a backup just in case my big camera gets lost, stolen, or broken. The problem is that I never manage to remember to off-load the photos on it. They just keep piling up until I run out of space on the memory card and am forced to deal with it.
And today's the day.
The photos go all the way back to August of 2004, and include dozens of random shots I have no idea why I ever took. Some of the more recent ones I actually do remember...
This photo from Shanghai is kinda cool, mainly because I took it from a moving taxi cab, and didn't have much flexibility in composing the shot. The name of the sculpture is "Light of the East" and is pretty nifty, especially with the clouds in the background.
Also from China is a photo of the entrance to the famous "Peace Hotel" and a shot of The Great Wall that actually turned out better than much of the stuff I took with my "real" camera...
Then there's a shot I took of the "Cloud Gate" sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park while walking down Michigan Avenue, and a shot of Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah...
There were also some shots of me that Monica took to use for my IT-2 forum profile (whatever happened to the Creative Commies movement anyway?). I like the second one, because I look totally constipated...
And lastly, a shot of a frozen tree at the local airport. And a picture of Thanksgiving decorations...
When did Thanksgiving decorations start looking like crap you raked out of your back yard? I remember not so long ago when there were paper turkeys that folded out, or little chipmunks in pilgrim hats and stuff. Now, you just take a bunch of sticks, leaves, twigs, seeds, pods, and tree bark... toss it in a dish... and, yeeehaw, it's a decoration.
Lastly on my camera, is a very special episode of "A Very Lego Holiday Tale" you won't want to miss...
CHAPTER 16: Little Driller Boy.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Drill Press.
The mechanic who was kind enough to help Lego Dave, his faithful companion Barky the Dog, and Mr. Construction Worker, has just been cut in half by the evil Lego Buzz....
"Let's get out of here!" screams the construction worker. "He's going to kill us next!"
"Bark! Bark!" agrees Barky the Dog, as he backs away from the psychotic Lego Buzz.
"Let's hide in Mr. Mechanic's workshop" says Lego Dave. "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"
With Lego Buzz and his rotary saw hot on their heels, the trio make their way into the garage.
"Let's split up" suggests Lego Dave. "We'll meet at the back door once we've lost him."
"You got it fella!" says the Construction Worker enthusiastically.
"Bark! Bark!" confirms Barky the Dog.
The team splits up, each heading off into the dim recesses of the mechanic's massive garage. For several minutes, nothing can be heard as each of our heroes makes their way to the rear exit of the workshop. But suddenly, in a moment of horror, the silence is broken by the sound of machinery and a lone dog barking.
"BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK! yelp!"
"BARKY?!?" screams Lego Dave in a panic. "Is that you? What's wrong buddy?"
Unconcerned for their own safety, Lego Dave and Mr. Construction Worker go running towards Barky the Dog. But, when they arrive, only pain and sadness await...
"DUDE! Your dog has been drilled full of holes!" utters the shocked construction worker. "That is so wrong."
"BARKY!" screams Lego Dave as he runs to his canine friend. "Oh Barky."
But the dog does not stir, even when his head is cradled in Lego Dave's lap. Tears rolling down his face, Lego Dave says goodbye to his good best friend.
"Oh Barky!" Lego Dave sobs. "I would give anything to have you back."
One of our heroes is gone... do the remaining duo have a chance of escape?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
After spending most of my evening trying to find out why I couldn't post my entry yesterday, I finally figured out that something had broken with my blogging app. Once I trashed everything and started over, my blog was suddenly working again.
I then had the sad duty of posting the most tragic chapter of "A Very Lego Holiday Tale" yet... if you haven't read it, you may want to skip this entry and go there first. Take a box of tissues with you.
Since I already wasted away a couple hours fixing my blog today, I don't much feel like writing anything tonight. I thought that I had a solution when I dropped by Kazza's blog because she had a "Fifty Questions" meme, but then I realized I had already done it.
Oh well. Let's see what comes out of the Lego Advent Calendar today. I'm almost afraid to look...
CHAPTER 17: I'll Be Drunk for Christmas.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Keg of Italian Beer with Tap.
In a horrible turn of events, the evil Lego Buzz has killed Barky the Dog, faithful companion to our hero, Lego Dave...
"Barky! Barky, no!" wails Lego Dave, his heart breaking. "You can't die!"
"Dude, I'm sorry about your dog" says the construction worker sympathetically. "But that saw-weilding maniac is still in here somewhere... we've got to go."
"I don't care!" says Lego Dave, sobbing uncontrollably now. "Just leave me here."
"Can't do it buddy." Mr. Construction Worker replies solemnly. "You saved my life, now it's my turn to save yours."
Sticking his severed hand in his back pocket, the construction worker starts dragging Lego Dave towards the rear exit of the garage. Several nervous minutes later, they finally find their way to the back door. Leaning on each other for support, they continue onward to the hospital.
"This is my stop" says Mr. Construction Worker. "Will you be okay?"
"Not without Barky" replies Lego Dave, his voice laced with despair. "You take care."
Without another word, Lego Dave turns to leave, his head hanging in sadness. Lego Buzz is out there somewhere, but he doesn't care. Nothing matters anymore.
Stumbling along in a daze, Lego Dave finds his way to a seedy bar in a bad neighborhood at the edge of town. Wanting nothing more than to dull the pain of his loss, he orders a drink. Then another. Then another. But drinking one glass at a time just isn't enough. He makes his way to the storage room and finds a keg of fine Italian beer to drown his sorrows with...
The next morning, Lego Dave awakes a broken man. His mind fuzzy, his life in ruins, he drags himself up from the floor and wanders the streets aimlessly. As his head starts to clear, a single thought starts forming in his brain. One all-consuming thought that burns like a wildfire. One thought...
"Revenge" Lego Dave mutters, almost a whisper. "I will avenge you Barky. I WILL AVENGE YOOOOOOUUU!!"
Will Lego Dave avenge his canine companion? Will he have his revenge?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I have a strange amount of free time tonight, but nothing really interesting to write about. That almost never happens. I guess that means things are going to be pretty random this time. If I were you, I'd skip today's entry.
One thing I DID do was go see the new movie The Family Stone today, and found it fairly entertaining. The only thing that really, really bugged me was the last five minutes of the film, where they decided to tack on an incredibly stupid and condescending "happy ending" that was completely unnecessary (and unbelievable). Why is it that films made for American audiences feel compelled to wrap-up and explain every last little detail? Are audiences really so stupid and unimaginative that they need it all spelled-out for them? It's really quite sad, because the movie was pretty good otherwise. The casting was perfect, though I think Luke Wilson completely stole every scene he was in.
And, in other news, Fed-Ex told me that I need a reality check...
Yes. Thanks for the tip. Always best to make sure that the roads still exist before driving on them. I'll be sure to keep that in mind.
Oooh... now here we go... Anthony has tagged me with a "List Five Weird Habits of Yourself" meme! I'll go ahead and answer, but I have a policy to not tag others, so feel free to tag yourself if you want.
Five Weird Dave Habits...
Hey, how about that, I actually managed to scrape together enough stuff to post an entry after all!
CHAPTER 18: Little Bummer Boy.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Kid with a walkie-talkie.
After the murder of his good best friend Barky the Dog, Lego Dave sets out for revenge against the evil Lego Buzz...
"BAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRKYYYYYY!" yells Lego Dave, his fist shaking in the air. "I WILL AVENGE YOOOOOOOUU!"
But where to find Lego Buzz? He could be anywhere by now! Not knowing where to go, Lego Dave decides to wander back to the demolished jewelry store where he first met him to look for clues. But, along the way, he spies a mean-looking kid with a walkie-talkie playing with precious gemstones... just like the ones that Lego Buzz stole from the jewelry store safe he broke into!
"Hey kid! Where did you get those precious gemstones?" asks Lego Dave.
"None of your business, loser!" snipes the little jerk. "Why don't you get lost!"
"Well I'm a fireman, kid, you have to tell me, because it's the law!" proclaims Lego Dave.
"If you must know, my dad gave them to me!" snaps the mean kid...
"Dude!" exclaims Lego Dave. "Your dad is Lego Buzz?"
"Yeah? So what, you dick!" quips the brat. "I'm Lego Buzz Jr.!"
"Wow!" says Lego Dave. "I'm a good friend of your dad's. Where is he at?"
"Bite me!" Junior retorts with not an ounce of respect. "I ain't telling you anything!"
His first clue is a dead-end! How can Lego Dave track down Barky's killer now?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
Oh happy day. Something must be up with my internet connection, AGAIN, because ecto is hanging any time I attempt to post to my blog, AGAIN. I spent hours last night trying to figure out what the problem was, but nothing seemed to work. And now tonight the problem seems to have mysteriously fixed itself, AGAIN. I wonder if it could be my Wireless Router dying or something?
Anyway, today was a very strange day. I got int--
GAH! ELIZABETH HURLEY IS ON TELEVISION! ELIZABETH HURLEY IS ON TELEVISION RIGHT NOW!!! Delicious! Hmmm... apparently she went to Elton John's wedding or something. Awww, that's not fair... they barely showed her!
Now where was I? Oh yes... blah blah blah... my day was strange... blah blah blah... somebody crashed into my car.
I got home from work early because there was some work I needed to finish on my laptop. So I pull into my spot and start unloading my car, when all of a sudden this idiot comes tearing into the ice-covered parking lot at full speed. For some reason, the dumbass thinks that his car is immune from sliding on ice, and actually seems surprised when he doesn't stop immediately after stepping on the brakes. Seeing him sliding towards me, I jump out of the way. He doesn't hit me, but slides square into the rear bumper on my car, then rolls down his window with a big smile on his face...
DUMBASS DRIVER: HA HA! Bet you thought I was going to hit you!
DAVE2: Yeah, well you DID hit my car!
DUMBASS DRIVER: Awww, it was just a tap! There's no damage.
DAVE2: If you're going to drive in bad weather, why don't you learn how first?
DUMBASS DRIVER: You're overreacting!
DAVE2: And you're a DUMBASS!
The smile disappears after that, and he revs his engine and peels out. He wasn't actually parking... just dropping somebody off... thankfully. But I love the fact that HE'S mad at ME because HE ran into MY CAR! He didn't even appologize. Classic!
I wonder what he would say if he ran over a little kid in a crosswalk? "IT'S JUST A TAP! GET UP AND WALK IT OFF! THERE'S NO DAMAGE!!"
Like I said, it's been an interesting day.
CHAPTER 19: Bashing Through the Snow.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Remote Control Car.
While trying to track down the evil Lego Buzz, our hero runs into Lego Buzz Jr., who refuses to give up where his dad is at...
"TELL ME WHERE LEGO BUZZ IS AT, KID!" yells Lego Dave, his voice clipped.
"No way, you tool!" snaps Lego Buzz Jr. "I ain't telling you dick!"
"Are you talking to him on that walkie-talkie? inquires Lego Dave. "Let me talk to him!"
"Ha ha ha! This isn't a walkie talkie you dipshit!" Lego Buzz Jr. says with a sneer. "It's for my remote control car!"
Clutching the remote, Lego Buzz Jr. presses some buttons and a small car goes zooming by. It circles a few times, then comes to a stop right in front of Lego Dave.
"Wow, that's pretty cool!" exclaims Lego Dave.
"Yeah, I know, freak-bag!" Lego Buzz Jr. says as he rolls his eyes.
"I wonder how cool it will be when I smash it to pieces with my foot!" taunts Lego Dave. "Now why don't you tell me where Lego Buzz is before you have a remote-control pile of junk!"
"NNNOOOOOOOOO!" cries Lego Buzz Jr.! "That's mine! MINE! MINE! MINE!"
"You better tell me!!" shouts Lego Dave. "Or I'm busting it up!"
"Okay! Okay!" whines Junior. "He went to pawn some jewelry at the shop down on Main Street. NOW GIVE ME MY CAR YOU BASTARD!"
"Sure thing." says Lego Dave. "But I'm afraid that I'm going to need to borrow something from you before I go."
His eyes ablaze, Lego Dave removes the hand-axe from his belt and slowly walks towards Lego Buzz Junior...
Has Lego Dave finally fallen off the deep end?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
This afternoon I wanted to work at home so I could concentrate on my job without distraction. But, since I live in an apartment complex with a bunch of elderly people who are hearing impaired, "distraction" is a relative term. In order to compensate for slamming doors and radios being blasted at full-volume, I mask the ambient noise by cranking the volume on my television. The trick is to find some show that you are completely uninterested in so that you won't want to pay attention to it.
Since Lost wasn't playing, I settled on Little House on the Prairie.
For those who have never seen it, the show is a bundle of wholesome entertainment that's about as entertaining as head lice. It centers around a 19th century pioneer family who settle in a small frontier town in the American Old West. From what I've seen, the stories are usually folksy little anecdotes that should take ten minutes to tell, but are somehow drug out into an hour... things like one of the daughters telling a lie to their parents and feeling bad about it, but they tell the truth in the end and everybody lives happily ever after. Thrilling, I know.
Usually, I could safely ignore the show, because this kind of ridiculous pap is everything I loathe in television. But something happened today. Something different. The harder I tried to ignore it, the more riveted I became.
Today's episode revolved around the town moron (Luke) falling in love with the town bitch (Nellie), but things got complicated when the town school teacher (Miss Beadle) found out that Luke was buying a $1.05 ring for another girl... oh the humanity! During the aftermath, I was treated to some of the most compelling dialogue ever to be uttered on television...
Miss Beadle: I came out here to say that anyone who leads a young lady on and then just lets it drop is NOT a very nice person! Luke, how could you be so inconsiderate as to hurt poor Nellie Oleson like that?
Luke: Me hurt Nellie? Shucks Miss Beadle, I'd never do nuthin' to hurt Nellie. She's kinda like my girl.
Miss Beadle: Well then, would you mind explaining the ring that you bought for Mary Ingalls?
Luke: Shoot, I didn't buy that ring for Mary. She just helped me pick it out. It's for Nellie's birthday.
Luke's Dad: Yeah! He spent most of the money he was savin' for a rifle on it!
Luke: It was worth it... for Nellie.
Miss Beadle: Oh Luke, I'm sorry! I apologize. I- I can see now it was just an unfortunate misunderstanding.
Luke: That's okay. I'm gonna give her the ring tomorrow night before we go to the corn shuckin'!
But the true brilliance of the episode was not realized until Luke's dad decided to put the moves on Miss Beadle!
Luke's Dad: Eva... I reckon' you know how I feel about you. And feelin' like I do, I was hoping-- AWWWWW! I'm just a dumb, uneducated pig farmer!
Miss Beadle: Adam Simms! Don't you DARE talk like that! Now there's a lot more to education than book readin'!! Now look, you know more about pigs... more about hogs... and more about farming than I'll ever know! And what's more, you have wonderful qualities! You've got special qualities that so-called "educated people" will never have! And you're a good man. And you're a good father. And- and you're kind and considerate. And-
Luke's Dad: Eva will you STOP!
Miss Beadle: Well I will if you want me to, I was just trying to show you that--
Luke's Dad: No, no, if you don't stop... I can't ask you if you'll do me the honor of becoming my wife!
Cue the violins.
So as I am sitting there watching the pig farmer with his buck-oh-five ring planning to propose on the evening of the annual corn-shuckin' festival, I start to think... wouldn't it be wonderful to live back in those simpler times? Wouldn't life be so much better without all the complexities of modern life?
If I suddenly found myself living in the Little House on the Prairie, I'd hang myself from the barn rafters.
Well, right after I slap Mrs. Oleson and push Nellie off a cliff. The bitches.
CHAPTER 20: Holly Jolly Smashmouth.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Skate Board and Helmet.
Lego Dave is seeking revenge against the evil Lego Buzz for killing his canine companion, Barky the Dog, and has finally learned his location from the nasty Lego Buzz Junior...
"I TOLD YOU WHERE LEGO BUZZ IS, NOW GIVE ME MY REMOTE CONTROL CAR!" screams Lego Buzz Junior.
"It's yours... but, as I said, I need to borrow something..." replies Lego Dave while brandishing his hand-axe. "... YOUR HAND!! Bwah ha haaah!"
"Waaaaahhh!" screams the brat as Lego Dave chops his hand off.
"Oh don't be such a baby!" says Lego Dave. "I'll bring it back so the hospital can sew it back on."
Grabbing the severed hand (which is still clutching the remote control), Lego Dave is tying up Lego Buzz Junior, when he notices a skateboard leaning up against the wall.
"Oh, I'll be borrowing this skateboard too" declares Lego Dave. "And this helmet... you can't be too safe now-a-days!"
"I hope my dad saws your head off!" says Lego Buzz Junior. "You've chopped off the wrong hand, bitch!"
"He is welcome to try" snaps Lego Dave. "Because I'm ready for him this time."
Hopping on the skateboard, our hero takes off towards Main Street for the final confrontation with the evil Lego Buzz.
Will Lego Dave finally be able to avenge the death of Barky the Dog?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I loathe to shop.
I honestly think I'd rather spend a day at the dentist over having to spend a day shopping. And that's on a "normal" day... for the week before Christmas, I'd rather be bludgeoned with a crowbar than have to go shopping.
So guess what I had to do today?
And it was as horrible as I had thought it would be. Mostly because I had to run all around town in order to get the things I needed. This is unusual for me, because normally I just go to Target and, if Target doesn't have it, I assume the item in question doesn't exist. But today I didn't have any choice. There was a list of things I had to get, and Target only had a few items on it.
So I had to (=shudder=) GO TO THE MALL.
Along the way I got hit up for a cigarette by an underage smoker, then literally hit with a big box by some bitch talking on her mobile phone instead of paying attention where she's going. Yeah, it was a big bucket of fun.
But the worst part of it all was my visit with Santa.
As I was making my escape from the Mall of Horrors, I somehow got entangled in the line to have your picture taken with Santa. But there was no Santa. Santa was gone. In his place was a sign that said "Santa needed ASAP!" As I looked around at the smiling faces of the snot-nosed kids waiting to meet the fat man, I started to feel bad that Santa had abandoned them. Then I started thinking...
I could so totally be Santa!
Fortunately, such desperate measures were not needed because Santa came along directly... but barely. The Santa they had scrounged up looked like he was going to die any minute now. Hence the sign, I suppose.
I stood there staring in fascination as the decrepit St. Nick could barely sit up in his chair. And then a kid came running up to sit on his lap and I was horrified at the prospect that Santa's tiny legs were going to snap in half under the strain. This was not good at all, because the not-so-fat fat man's expiration date was rapidly approaching. He wasn't really jolly at all, instead he was more uhhhh... sedate... than you would expect.
I had to leave before one of these kids killed Santa, because I just don't think I could take that.
It was a real shame too, because I was totally going to ask him for a reliable internet connection for Christmas.
And a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet.
And a date with Elizabeth Hurley.
Oh yeah... and peace on earth.
(But only if he doesn't hold me at three wishes... because then I'm totally sticking with the internet, Porsche, and Elizabeth Hurley).
CHAPTER 21: Winter Blunderland.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Chef with Pizza.
Lego Dave is seeking revenge against the evil Lego Buzz for killing his canine companion, Barky the Dog, and has finally learned his location from the nasty Lego Buzz Junior...
"I'M COMING FOR YOU LEGO BUZZ, YOU BASTARD!" screams Lego Dave as he tears down the street.
Skating like a man possessed, Lego Dave starts heading down to Main Street's pawn shop. But just before he gets there, he sees Lego Buzz in a pizzeria. Hopping off his board, he enters the restaurant...
"It'sa delicious pizza!" says Lego Chef. "Eata youself silly, guy!"
"NOT SO FAST DOGGY MURDERER!" screams Lego Dave as he runs up to the table...
"Hey fella!" says Lego Buzz. "What's up?"
"You killed Barky!" cried Lego Dave, his voice choked with emotion. "Now I'm going to kill you!"
"Not likely, dude!" laughs Lego Buzz as he revs up his rotary saw. "I think it's YOUR time to DIE!!!"
"Hold on a second!" says Lego Dave. "I think you'll be handing over that saw right now!"
"Yeah, right!" snickers Lego Buzz sarcastically.
"Recognize THIS?!" quips our hero as he holds out the severed hand gripping the remote.
"Ha! Looks like your construction worker friend didn't make it!" chortles Lego Buzz.
"Noooooooo!" chuckles Lego Dave. "Take a closer look!!"
"GAAAAAH!" screeches the evil Lego Buzz. "What have you done with Lego Buzz Junior?!?!!"
It appears that our hero finally has the (heh heh) UPPER HAND now! Or does he?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
Dinner this evening consisted of a Morningstar Farms vegetarian-safe corn dog. I enjoy these very much, and have converted many a meat-eating friend to them as a healthier alternative to the mystery meat that is in "regular" hot dogs. Delicious!
Normally, I cook these in the oven because I like 'em crispy. But tonight I was in a hurry, and decided to follow the microwave instructions.
This was a huge, HUGE mistake. I mean, when you look at the box, microwaving appears to be just another way to cook the things... but instead it's a way to ruin them. After I took my dinner out of the microwave, I was left hanging on to a limp dog that tasted like gummy ass...
Nobody likes a limp corn dog.
I am of the opinion that it should be required by law that if microwaving a product causes it to taste like ass, you should have to warn the consumer on the box...
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take my saggy corn dog and continue watching the random hotties on Deal or No Deal. Super-models with cases of money?!? Who is the genius who thought up THIS brilliant bit of network programming?
CHAPTER 22: Blight Christmas.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Kitchen Counter with Glassware and Frying Pan.
Lego Dave has finally caught up to the evil Lego Buzz so he can avenge Barky the Dog's untimely death...
"Give me the rotary saw, or you'll never see Junior again!" shouts Lego Dave.
"You bastard! You have NO idea what you've done!" says Lego Buzz frantically. "Go ahead, take the saw... nothing can save you now!"
Visibly shaken, Lego Buzz hands over his rotary saw and starts babbling incoherently... "you're dead i'm dead we're all dead and nobody can stop it... YOU'VE KILLED US ALL YOU IDIOT!"
"The only person getting killed here is YOU" exclaims Lego Dave, his eyes burning. "Say goodbye to your head you puppy murdering maniac!"
But before he can take another step, something snaps in Lego Buzz's head. He leaps at our hero like a man possessed, knocking him into the kitchen of the pizzeria! Lego Dave drops the rotary saw as he crashes into the kitchen counter, smashing into a rack of glassware. Picking up a frying pan, the evil (and quite insane) Lego Buzz advances with a grimace...
"At least I'll have the satisfaction of finally getting rid of you!" screeches Lego Buzz. "Prepare to join your mutt in doggy heaven!"
Victory has turned to tragedy, and time is running out! Can Lego Dave prevail?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
One of the things that I find so fascinating about the internet is the way it breaks down barriers. No longer is the world out of reach... now you can visit far away places and make friends in foreign lands from the comfort of your own home. Lines on a map and political barriers disappear. And, as if that weren't enough, online language tools can even eliminate language barriers.
Well, kind of.
Every once in a while, I check my error logs to see if there are any bad links I need to fix, pages missing, or anything else that makes Blogography a poor experience for my visitors. While I'm there, I also like to take a look at popular links to see where people are going. And every time I look, I see more and more translation links showing up. Visitors are regularly translating my pages into foreign languages, and I find that very cool.
But today I actually took the time to see what they were translating.
And now I'm freaking out just a little bit.
The most translated entries all seem to be the most bizarre.
Take for instance my entry from June 28th, which has been translated numerous times in various languages. I'm guessing it's a popular search result with foreigners because I am bitching about the Bush administration not addressing the "Downing Street Memo" or doing anything to explain the "apparently false" pretenses that sent us to war. No big deal. BUT later in the same entry, I have this freaky rant against all the news coverage of people finding body parts in their fast food. And, to make my point, I decide to invent my OWN "body part in food scenario" -- the Penis Salad.
In my native English, it's a little disturbing. And the fact I felt the need to draw a cartoon to illustrate matters doesn't help much...
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu said nothing about chopped penis in my garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
I was immediately curious to know how this translated into other tongues. So I used online translators (like Google's) to see what happens. I then take the result and translate it back into English...
Some of the translations are not so bad (though "penis" has become a proper noun for some reason?)...
Uhhh... entschuldigen mich, aber das Menü sagte nichts über gehackten Penis in meinem Gartensalat und mich sind ein Vegetarier.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not say anything about chopped Penis in my garden salad and in me is a vegetarian."
But other translations are downright frightening...
Uhhh... 나에게를 용서 한다, 그러나 메뉴 말하지않았다 나의 정원 샐러드안에 잘게 자 른 남근에 관한 아무것을,및 나는 이다 채식주의자.
"Uhhh... In me it forgives, the vegetarianism which is anything the penis which but the menu my regular staff salad which it does not talk and or cuts small inside regarding it sleeps."
Still other translations vary in quality... from strange to incomprehensible...
Uhhh... m'excusent, mais le menu n'a indiqué rien sur le pénis coupé dans ma salade de jardin, et moi suis un végétarien.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not indicate anything on the penis cut in my salad garden, and me am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... me excusa, pero el menú no dijo nada sobre el pene tajado en mi ensalada del jardín, y mí es un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... excuses to me, but the menu did not say anything on the penis sheer in my salad of the garden, and me he is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... lo scusa, ma il menu non ha detto niente circa il penis tagliato nella mia insalata del giardino ed in io sono un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... the excuse, but the menu he has not said nothing approximately the penis cut in my insalata one of the garden and in I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... desculpa-me, mas o menu não disse nada sobre o penis chopped em meu salad do jardim, e no mim é um vegetariano.
"Uhhh... forgives me, but the menu did not say nothing on the penis chopped in mine salad of the garden, and in me it is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... 私を許すが, メニューは 言わなかった私の庭サラダ及び私の切り刻まれた陰茎についての 何もである菜食主義者。
"Uhhh... I am permitted, but, the menu word trap concerning the penis where my garden salad which is applied is chopped up what, and the vegetarian where am I."
Uhhh... 劳驾, 但这份菜单认为无事关于被砍的阴茎在 我的庭院沙拉, 和我是素食主义者。
"Uhhh... excuse me, but this menu thought the safe about the penis which chops in mine garden salad, with me is the vegetarianism."
Uhhh. förlåta mig, utom menyn sa ingenting omkring hacket penis i min trädgård sallad, och Jag er en vegetarian.
"Uhhh. excuse me, except menu said nothing about chip penis in my time garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
Uhhh. afsakið, en the matseðill ómerkingur óður í kjötöxi getnaðarlimur í minn garður salat, og Myndað af I am a grænmetisæta.
"Uhhh. excuse me, while the menu nobody crazy about cleaver phallus into my park tossed salad, and Alluvial with I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh. ddiheura 'm, namyn 'r ddewislen eb ddim am faledig penis i mewn 'm ardda salad, a fi m a vegetarian.
"Uhhh. I excuse' ores, except' group menu said anything about ground was miscarrying in' ores I plow worst, I go I ores I go vegetarian."
So much for knocking down barriers. I'm fairly certain that I'm setting back foreign relations a hundred years all by myself.
I guess when the Welsh declare war on the United States, I have nobody to blame but myself.
CHAPTER 23: It's Beginning to Burn a Lot Like Christmas.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Pizza Oven and Cook's Paddle.
Lego Dave has finally caught up to the evil Lego Buzz, but things are looking grim for our hero as he is about to be beaten to death with a frying pan...
"Time to die!" shouts Lego Buzz as he moves in for the kill with his cookware.
"Barky, I've failed you!" Lego Dave says despondently. "Forgive me!"
As he backs away from Lego Buzz and the cast-iron skillet of death, Lego Dave suddenly finds himself backed against the pizza oven. Out of desperation, he starts flailing wildly... searching for anything to defend himself with.
Miraculously, his hand soon finds itself grasping the pizza oven cooking paddle. With all his strength, he whirls the paddle in the air and catches Lego Buzz's chin in a vicious uppercut, knocking him to the floor!
"ARRRGH!" screeches Lego Buzz. "You'll pay for that!"
But Lego Dave is undeterred. Gathering all his strength, he circles around the evil Lego Buzz and strikes him with all his might. The force is enough to send Lego Buzz flying forward... right into the mouth of the oven! With a roar, the oven erupts with a violent burst of fire, consuming Lego Buzz in an a flaming inferno!
Within moments, the screaming subsides, and Lego Buzz's body goes limp...
"At last... he's gone." says Lego Dave with a sigh. "Rest in peace Barky, my best friend."
And then, just as Lego Dave is catching his breath, a dark, menacing voice resonates through the air...
"I'd like my hand back, if you don't mind."
Holy crap! It's Lego Buzz Junior... FLYING IN THE AIR! What could this possibly mean?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" FINALLY CONCLUDES!
It's raining out.
Which kind of sucks, because now the ice-covered streets are going to be impossibly slippery. And, with all the people out traveling for the holiday, it's bound to be ugly on the roads tonight. Mostly because so many drivers are total idiots. It makes me sad to think that somebody's present on Christmas Eve is going to be a loved-one who is either seriously hurt or dead.
Ho ho ho.
Perhaps I can cheer myself up by not thinking about traffic accidents and finding out what's happening with Lego Dave.
So here it is... the twenty-fourth and final episode of "A Very Lego Holiday Tale" for your reading pleasure.
CHAPTER 24: It's a Holly Jolly Finale.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Santa Claus with Sled & Sled Dog.
Lego Dave has finally avenged Barky the Dog's death! But Lego Buzz Junior has shown up, FLOATING IN AIR WITH GLOWING GREEN EYES, and things have suddenly gone terribly wrong...
"Uhhh... why are you floating in the air Lego Buzz Junior?!?" queries Lego Dave, his mind not quite grasping the idea of flying people.
"I'm the Antichrist" Lego Buzz Junior says matter-of-factly. "Can I have my hand back now?"
"Er... uh, your hand?" Lego Dave utters in disbelief.
"Yes. The one you cut off a few minutes ago." Lego Buzz Jr. says calmly. "It would be easier if you gave it to me before I kill you so I don't have to go mucking about looking for it."
"Oooh. I seem to have misplaced it. But I think it must be around here somewhere..." replies Lego Dave.
"Wrong answer!" bellows Lego Buzz Junior, as green flame fires from his eyes, knocking Lego Dave to the ground.
"Hey, that hurts!" cries Lego Dave.
"Yes, well, if you think that hurts... having your head blasted off is sooooo much worse." Lego Buzz Junior says as his eyes erupt in a hellish green light. "Goodbye forever Lego Dave!"
But, before Lego Buzz Junior can strike the lethal blow, a red blur comes ripping through the sky, impaling the psychopathic devil-spawn from behind. His eyes gone dark, Lego Buzz Junior falls from the sky, crashing to the ground with a scary-sounding thud.
"Superman? Is that you?" says Lego Dave, still groggy from the blast.
"Ho ho ho!" replies a blurry red fat man as he descends in a blurry sleigh."
"Santa?" Lego Dave says in surprise.
"Bark! Bark!" is the reply.
"BARKY?!?" Lego Dave cries as he climbs to his feet, his vision starting to clear. "BARKY! But how can this be? You were dead!"
"Oh, Barky the Dog was never dead!" says Santa. "I found him wandering the streets looking for you!"
"But... but... I saw him in the drill press!" Lego Dave says as he wraps his arms around his best friend.
"Ho ho ho! That wasn't Barky!" laughs Santa. "That was Barky's evil clone Snarky!"
"Evil? Evil clone you say?" responds Lego Dave.
"Sure!" says Santa. "Lego Buzz Junior used his demon powers to clone Barky so he could have a dog of his own. Lego Buzz got confused and drilled the wrong dog."
"Cool!" Lego Dave exclaims! "Barky, I'm so happy you aren't dead!"
"Bark! Bark!" replies Barky happily.
And just then, the battered figure of Lego Buzz Junior starts to stir...
"Oooohhh... my head" he says.
"Gah! What's going to happen to him?" shouts Lego Dave. "He's a very, very bad little boy!"
"Oh, don't worry about him!" Santa replies. "I'm sending the little terror back to hell!"
Then Santa raised his hands and starting chanting to the dark lords to reclaim their demonic prize. Within seconds, the earth opens up and swallows Lego Buzz Junior in a wash of flames as if he had never been.
"And now, because you've been such a good boy by helping to rid the world of evil Lego Buzzes, I'm going to give you a Christmas wish!" declares Santa... "Anything you want! Do you want me to make you a fireman?"
"Screw that!" says Lego Dave. "If I can be anything I want, I'm going to be a pirate who explores the world with Barky, and has big adventures with a monkey, and a Wookie!
"You got it, buddy!" says Santa.
And, with a wave of his hand, Santa gives Lego Dave his new Christmas wish...
AND EVERYBODY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER AS "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" COMES TO AN END!
(Well, except all the people who died in the process of this story... they're not so happy because, well, they're dead).
BREAKING VIDEO GAME NEWS!
Following all kinds of rumors and speculation, IGN confirms in an interview with LucasArts that Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, is indeed in development for a release this fall. Considering that Lego Star Wars is one of my most favorite video games ever, I'm pretty psyched about that.
IGN also has a few images posted that look super sweet...
Here's some bullet points...
I. Want. It. Now.
For the full scoop, head over to the IGN.com interview.
BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Dave Approved: Lego Star Wars
BLOGDATE: April 7, 2005
In which Dave discovers one of the coolest video games ever.
Click here to go back in time...
This will be my last entry at Blogography. This morning I got an offer to write material at a commercial blog FOR MONEY and, since I am barely capable of writing one thing each day, I'm afraid that Blogography will be shut down for the foreseeable future.
Oh... wait a minute... I got that backwards. I REFUSED the offer because I am barely able to write one thing each day, and I am not ready to give up my blog just yet. Yes... yes, I'm sure that's how it went. But still, that's kind of flattering isn't it? Somebody found my crappy blog entertaining enough to want to pay me actual money to write stuff. Strange.
Anyway, the latest Project Catwalk finally hit, and Liz was her usual brutally hot self. A double-vision in magenta...
On the way to work in the rain this morning I needed to stop at the mini mart to pick up some cheese popcorn. Hey, I woke up craving cheese popcorn and far be it for me to deny myself anything. When I arrived, there was a guy in a dirty coat standing soaking-wet in the middle of the parking area. As I pulled up and got out of my car, the guy came right up to me and without hesitation said: "I really need a drink, do you have a couple of bucks?"
The reason I don't hand out money has already been documented (here, in a very special episode of Blogography), so I told him that while I cannot give cash, I'd be happy to buy him a breakfast burrito and a coffee if he was hungry. "Burrito? I don't want a burrito! I need a drink!" After explaining that this wasn't going to happen, I fully expected that he would take me up on my offer, but instead he said "aaaah, keep your damn burrito!" and walked off into the rain.
If only I had the discipline to become a wandering alcoholic. I mean, I always have such a great time while drunk, so it must be like a non-stop party (at least until you run out of booze money like that poor bastard). Meagan called once I had bought my cheese popcorn and, after I told her about my random encounter, had to remind me that being drunk in public is not the best career move for me...
Years ago while she was still living in Portland, I had gone down for work and we hooked up for a night on the town with her brother and his partner. Many alcoholic beverages were consumed before we finally decided to go to the movies. It was one of these weepy drama flicks that only women and gay men can enjoy, but I was totally drunk and didn't care what they wanted to watch. Turns out that was a mistake, because I was bored... bored... bored.
So bored that I did something bad.
There was this dramatic scene in the film where some daft bitch wasn't watching her daughter and the little girl wandered off and got trapped somehow. The woman struggled valiantly to reach the girl, but she couldn't. There were all these dramatic close-up shots of their hands almost touching, but not quite.
The woman in the movie cried.
The little girl in the movie cried.
The audience cried.
I just screamed "USE THE FORCE, BITCH!!"
In my defense, it did work for Luke when that abominable snow monster hung him up-side-down in the ice cave and he could almost touch his light saber.
There were a couple of big laughs in the audience (presumably those few straight guys who had been forced to watch this pile of crap by their girlfriends), but overall my helpful comment was not well-received by my fellow movie-goers. I really don't blame them. I hate it when some dumbass ruins the film for everybody... it just so happens that this time the dumbass was me.
When a woman left the theater, I knew she was going to get the manager, so I told my posse I was going back to the bar before I got tossed out and they could just come get me after the movie was over. Much to my surprise, they actually did come and get me.
So perhaps Meagan is right. If social drinking is this difficult for me, maybe this isn't a good career move?
Oooh, look! It's another picture of Elizabeth Hurley!!
Oh yeah, speaking of The Force... my fellow Lego Star Wars video game lovers will be happy to know that IGN is running a production diary for the sequel over at their site. How cool is that? I guess it's time I renew my IGN Insider membership. All I know is that I cannot WAIT for this game to be released...
Awww... isn't little Lego Darth Vader cute as he chokes that little Lego Rebel Alliance soldier?
I almost forgot about my blog today, because I have been completely absorbed by the new Nintendo DS game: Metroid Prime: Hunters! I haven't had a lot of free time, but every minute I manage to find is devoted to playing this game. To say that it kicks ass is an understatement of biblical proportions.
Basically, it's a "first-person" shooter, where you play a bounty hunter immersed in a fully 3-D environment. The visuals are amazing, and the gameplay is beyond cool. Being able to have this kind of action in the palm of your hand is almost too good to be true...
The best part of the game is that you can play against other people over the internet. This is adds an entirely new level of fun to an already awesome game. Unfortunately, I'm not very good yet, so I spend most of my time having my ass served up to me...
Big, big fun. I find it shocking that the game designers managed to fit so much cool stuff in such a tiny little Nintendo DS cartridge.
As if that wasn't enough for today, I got the latest Lego Shop at Home Catalog in the mail this morning.
OMG! THEY NOW HAVE BATMAN LEGOS!
Yes, you read that right, BATMAN!!! and he's made from LEGO!!!
How could I possible NOT buy these?!? You can see the entire line at Lego.com.
Okay, back to getting my ass kicked in Metroid Prime: Hunters.
With all the DSL problems I've been having lately, I've suddenly got more time to get caught up on important stuff. LIKE BATMAN LEGO!!
Batman Lego is hella-cool! Right now there are four Bat-tastic sets you can choose from. The Bat-Dragster is a bit lame (although it does come with Catwoman on her Cat-Cycle), but the other three rock!
And, of course, you get little Bat-People to to populate your Bat-Universe. Depending on which set you buy, your get a Two-Face, Killer Croc, Joker, or Catwoman. Of course you also get a flavor of Batman. Bat-Mobile comes with the all-black Tim Burton-type Batman. All the others come with comic book grey & black type Batman...
But all is not golden in Bat-Lego world.
Sure these toys are great to look at... but they're fragile as heck. You can barely touch them without having something fall off or bust apart. So, if you want to put them on a shelf and look awesome, Bat-Lego are for you. But if you want to run around the house and actually play with them... well... it's a bit of a challenge.
Or so I would guess.
I mean, it's not like I go running around the house playing with my Bat-Lego!
Of course not!
I mean, seriously. A grown man running around playing with Lego! How silly would that be!
IGN is posting news from E3 on the totally sweet forthcoming LEGO STAR WARS video game sequel. The first Star Wars Lego Game was awesome, and it looks like this one is going to be even better (and only partially because the original trilogy kicks ass over the lame Jar Jar Binks new trilogy).
Lego Star Wars is one of the few games I've actually bothered to play all the way through... it looks great, plays great, and is the most fun I've ever had with my Xbox. And now we get the REAL Star Wars...
Awww look... you can be Chewbacca and rip the arms off of Stormtroopers! Cute!
The handheld version for Nintendo DS looks equally sweet, and even uses a 3D rendering engine for the graphics...
Apparently you'll be able to do multiplayer, but I'm not sure if it is just local or if you can play over the internet.
I want these games right now, but they won't be released until September. In the meanwhile, you can read about the Xbox version at IGN here... and the Nintendo DS version at IGN here.
After getting out of the movie Crank (which has the distinction of being embarrassingly stupid and totally entertaining at the same time), I went to reserve a copy of Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy for both Xbox AND Nintendo DS. Considering the first Lego Star Wars was one of the bestest games ever, I simply had to do it.
I know that it's probably a mistake to get overly-optimistic, but the sequel looks even better than the original! Probably because it's based on the "real" Star Wars instead of the totally crappy "prequels" that sucked major ass. I've been spending a lot of time over at IGN drooling over their game coverage and snagging cool shots like this...
Sweet! It's Lego!! It's REAL frickin' Star Wars!! I am brimming with anticipation.
Now it's time to get back to work while watching a few more episodes of Veronica Mars: The Complete Second Season on DVD. My favorite quote so far... "The only way I could make $2000 a week at the coffee shop is if they installed a pole!"
Today was supposed to be a good day. Lego Star Wars 2 (the sequel to my most favoritist video game ever!) is in release. The ORIGINAL (CGI crapfest-free) Star Wars movies are out. Apple is announcing some (hopefully) cool new stuff. What could possibly go wrong??
Uhhh... yeah. Pretty much everything.
First of all, Apple's big-ass media event was crap. They're selling movies now... which would be a good thing except that they are selling shitty 640x480 DRM-infested versions that nobody in their right mind will buy. Pay $9.99 to $14.99 for a low-res film? Are you insane? Far better to put that money toward a DVD that you can rip into any resolution you want and view wherever you want. Where is a widescreen video iPod so we can watch movies the way they were MEANT to be watched? That tiny SQUARE iPod screen is fine for watching a music video... but an entire movie?!? WTF??
UPDATE: For those who question how I could possibly think that Apple's claim of "near DVD quality" is "shitty"... here's a comparison of actual DVD resolution to that which is sold in the iTunes Store. An almost 25% reduction in picture information, which I think is considerably less than "near" when it comes to quality (note that this graphic has been shrunk to 420 pixels wide to fit my blog, but the proportions are correct)...
Now, on an iPod's tiny screen... it's no big deal (and the file size is smaller, which is nice for portables with limited storage)... but blow that up to an HDTV with Apple's new "iTV" device?? Yeah. We have a problem.
iTunes 7 looked promising, but the new "automatic album art" feature worked on very few of my actual songs. For example, Alan Parsons Project is well represented on the iTunes Music Store but, since they don't offer the "Anthology" album for sale, the artwork isn't available. None of the other new features will be of much use to me, and I think the user interface is actually a step backwards. Even worse, audio that played fine in iTunes 6 keeps cutting out in iTunes 7 for reasons unknown.
About the only thing to come out of the media event that sparked my curiosity is the new iPod Shuffle. It's even more compact and wearable than the brilliant original version. Naturally, I want one...
Next we have the re-re-re-re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy (i.e. "the good one") on DVD. What's special about it this time around is that they are including the "ORIGINAL-original" films where Han shoots first and all the extraneous CGI shit isn't there to distract you. I should be happy, right? After all, this is what I've wanted ever since I got a DVD player years ago, isn't it? WRONG! What I EXPECTED was that LucasFilm would clean up the originals and provide us with an anamorphic (widescreen) transfer. What they actually did was do a quick-n-dirty transfer of the same letterbox crap that they put on LaserDisc decades ago. Well thanks a lot George, but go f#@% yourself. I know that you consider the "new and improved" crap to be the definitive version of the films, but why couldn't you have taken the cleaned-up version of the original and give us an anamorphic version that doesn't suck donkey balls? Haven't you ever heard that "anything worth doing is doing right?" Or is this yet another ploy to take money from the fans and then suck us dry five years from now when you re-re-re-re-re-release the original films as anamorphic?
Lastly, I drove 20 minutes into the neighboring city of Wenatchee first thing this morning so I could be first in line at Target to purchase Star Wars Lego 2: The Original Trilogy for Xbox and Nintendo DS. Target has a special deal where you get a $5 gift card with each SW2: TOT game you buy (while supplies last!), which saved me $10 and made me happy. I rushed back home and played them a bit before work and have to say that they are AWESOME!! Better than the original by far (probably because the source material is so much better!). It's not the most challenging game ever, but I was laughing my ass off and having a great time, which is all that counts...
Screenshots swiped from the excellent IC Games site.
Cute as hell.
What was really surprising is how amazing the little Nintendo DS version turned out. The graphics are terrific and the sound is just amazing. Toss in the multi-player goodness, and you've got one of the best handheld games I've ever played. If you've got two cartridges, you can do Wireless 2-Player Co-Op Mode... otherwise, up to 4 people can play "Bounty Hunter Battle Arena: Search for Han Solo" off of a single cartridge! Brilliant.
So, with all this praise for Star Wars Lego 2: The Original Trilogy, what's so lame about it?
I don't have time to play it (insert frowny-face here).
Another week. Another Bullet Sunday. And this one seems to be inspired by how the vast information available on the internet seems to cause a chain of events from one thing to another.
• LEGO Chain. This started with me getting the latest LEGO catalog in the mail and seeing that they've come up with a third series of Space Police sets. I've been a fan of LEGO since I was very young, but it was when they released the original Space Police that I became insane over those little plastic bricks. What's so amazing is how LEGO keeps innovating and improving on the concept. This time around they've put a real effort into making the minifigs drive the series. The little alien criminals have to be the cutest LEGOs ever...
Clockwise: Frenzy, Kranxx, Skull Twin, and Squidman.
Photos taken from the awesome shots at No Onion's Flickr Set
Space Police then led to video games when I saw that the catalog also featured an advertisement for their latest effort, LEGO Battles. It seems to be a Real-Time Strategy game that's geared for a younger gamer. Or a gamer like me who loves LEGO video games so much that they'll buy anything that comes out...
I don't know anything about the game play, but the trailer makes me want to buy it immediately...
LEGO Battles led to me remember that I had bought LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Batman games for my Wii months ago, but had never even opened the boxes! The last game I had played was LEGO Star Wars, which was ten shades of awesome, so I decided to rip them open and give them a try. As expected, they were absolutely amazing and a lot of fun. Sadly, I don't have time for games, or I could have spent all day playing...
As a major Batman fan, LEGO Batman is a huge favorite. The puzzles are really good, and some of them quite challenging as you attempt to find all the game's secrets. But they don't stop there... not only do you get to play as all the Bat Heroes (including Batgirl!) you can then replay the levels from the villain's perspective! Sweet! A pity the iPhone version isn't nearly as good.
This then led me to wonder which LEGO property would be getting a video game next. Spider-Man? Superman? Nope. Turns out it's LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4 coming in 2010. I don't even like Harry Potter, but the trailer has me wanting it...
This led me to wish that they would expand the games outside of licensed properties and explore some of the LEGO favorites like LEGO Pirates and LEGO Space Police... how awesome would that be? Guess I'll have to settle for LEGO Rock Band...
• Hollywood Chain. This all started with a tweet by Kevin Smith...
Since Kevin Smith interviews and Kevin Smith talks are about as entertaining as it gets, this immediately grabbed my attention. I didn't even know Kevin Pollak had an internet chat show.
Which led to Kevin Pollak's site. Where I noticed his previous guest was ILLEANA DOUGLAS!! I love Illeana Douglas! She always manages to pop up just when I least expect it, and usually ends up stealing the show. My favorite character of hers would have to be child star turned prostitute turned Hollywood movie executive Wendy Ward in Action! but she's great in everything...
Her interview wsa very interesting (and very long!) but led me to her latest project which, believe it or not, is a series of shorts for IKEA called Easy to Assemble starring Illeana as "herself"... trying to leave Hollywood behind and lead a "normal life" by working at IKEA...
This led me to visiting the IKEA site so I could see if they started making those DVD shelves I like again, but they aren't on the site. This is a major bummer, because I can't even remember the IKEA name of the unit so I can call and ask if the store in Seattle has it. Best. DVD. Shelf. Ever. And I need more.
This led me to wondering when Watchmen was coming out on DVD. Turns out the Blu-Ray Director's Cut will hit on July 25th...
This led me to remember that the Blog-Her conference is on July 25th in Chicago. This led me to wonder if Chicago television show My Boys had been renewed for a fourth season (according to The Futon Critic it hasn't yet). Which led me to wonder if they had at least released the second season of My Boys on DVD (they haven't). Which led me to wanting my IKEA shelves all over again.
• Bloggign Chain. This morning I learned that OBNOXIOUSLY LOUD TV PITCH-MAN BILLY MAYS HAD DIED. This led me to look back at my blog entry about him from back in 2007...
This led me to remember that it was Bullet Sunday, and I should probably write my entry for the day. So here I am. REST IN PEACE BILLY MAYS!!!
A confidentiality agreement forbids me from giving any details... but LEGO Universe, the forthcoming LEGO Massive Multiplayer Online Game I've been beta-testing, is totally sweet. I shudder to think how much time I'm going to waste on this...
You can read more about the awesomeness at the official site.
Get your affairs in order now, because the game goes live on October 26th.
A week and a day late with a Bullet Sunday... on Monday!
• Toys! The LEGO DC Superheroes site is finally live. Not a lot there yet, but it's a start. The good news is that some of the sets are starting to leak out... including an awesome Superman & Wonder Woman vs. Battle Suit Lex Luthor. Kind of lame how Superman and Wonder Woman look scary-mean though...
All I can think of when I look at this set is how much I want a LEGO video game with these characters in it. I swear, the LEGO Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean games are the most fun I've had with a video game.
• Who? The Dr. Who Christmas Special was really done this year, as usual, even if it did drag in the middle with the silly trees and stuff. All things considered, the ending was surprisingly touching...
It's been confirmed that The Doctor's companions, Amy and Rory, will be leaving the series next season. Given that they're the most entertaining thing on the show right now, this is kind of depressing. Even worse, show runner Steven Moffit has said that their relationship reaches a tragic end. I'm sad already.
• Fabulous! I don't know why, but the new AbFab Special is available in its entirety on Vimeo...
Not surprisingly, it's pretty darn funny. If you're a fan, it's worth checking out now since it doesn't "officially" air on BBC America until the New Year.
• Pano! When I went to Australia, I started taking panorama photos in HDR. The results have been pretty amazing. The HDR equalizes out the tones so that the individual photos blend a lot better...
The above pano took 33 photos to assemble at full-resolution, but I think it was worth the trouble. Now I'm kinda psyched about finding new panoramic scenery to shoot!
• Scrivener. My favorite writing app, Scrivener, was updated to version 2.0 a year ago, but I never remembered to install it until this past weekend. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but it's an even more valuable tool than ever before. The upgrade to the notecard cork-board alone was worth the small upgrade fee. If you do any writing at all, you owe it to yourself to take a look at this amazing program. You can download a free demo for Mac or Windows at the Literature and a Latte website.
As if that wasn't awesome enough... an iPad version of Scrivener is being developed for release in 2012.
Annnnnd... back to work. This is going to be a crazy week.
I love LEGO. I love comic books. I love video games. And I really, really love Batman. So when you find something that combines all these wonderful things into a single product, you'd pretty much assume that it was the most awesome thing every made. You'd almost be correct.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is the sequel to one of my favorite games of all time, LEGO Batman: The Videogame. Unsurprisingly, the company behind the magic, Traveler's Tales, has attempted to make it a bigger, badder, better sequel in every way. They mostly succeed because of two things... 1) The game is huge, and has the entirety of Gotham City available as an open-world zone, and 2) Batman & Robin are joined by a bunch of other heroes from throughout the DC Universe. The end-result is far from perfect, but so much fun that it's easy to overlook the flaws...
And speaking of flaws, I might as well get the bad news out of the way...
First of all, there isn't much new here. If you've played the LEGO Star Wars games, LEGO Indiana Jones games, LEGO Harry Potter games, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean games, or the previous LEGO Batman... you've played this. But you already knew that would be the case.
Secondly, the "driving" levels are still just as pointless, shitty, and impossible to control as ever. Why Traveler's Tales ignores the criticism from, well, everybody, when it comes to the sloppy controls, redundant gameplay, and overall frustration on every LEGO driving game they've made is a complete mystery to me.
Third, the new "open-world" that allows you to explore a sprawling Gotham City is a fantastic addition to the game (especially when you are flying above it all as Superman!)... but navigating it is a hellish ordeal because there's no HUD or mini-map or decent navigation tool to help you get around. I have no clue whatsoever as to why Traveler's Tales ignored this basic video game staple, but it's an oversight that seriously undermines the fun to be had.
Putting all that aside, there's some new stuff that's kind of cool...
In addition to the "open-world" that I can't shut up about, Batman and Robin each get a new specialty suits, which is always cool, but the addition of characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, and others, mix up the game even more. That's beyond cool.
As expected, the stories are funny, the visuals are fantastic, the levels are nicely designed, and the puzzles are really well done. What was unexpected was the characters talk! No longer reduced to pantomime for communication, the LEGO mini-figs have entirely new appeal now that they can actually talk. Bonus? The voice talent they got was perfect.
But the biggest improvement? I didn't find myself falling off things nearly as often as I did in previous LEGO video games. I still have nightmares of dying again and again and again as I tried to jump from platform to stupid platform with the insane precision required in LEGO Star Wars, so this is a welcome relief.
Everything else is pretty much more of the same as all the other LEGO games. Team-play is still available so you and a friend can battle together. You still have to button-mash your way through redundant combat as you solve puzzles. You still have to collect LEGO studs, red bricks, gold bricks, and other stuff so you can unlock characters and features. You still can't really die. And once you finish all the levels, you still have untold hours of gameplay left as you obsess over collecting every last prize and achievement to be found by replaying levels as different characters.
Needless to say, I love it.
Next up? LEGO Lord of the Rings... I can't possibly imagine how awesome that game will be.
I'm a bit of a video game whore, even though I rarely have time to play them. But that hasn't stopped me from acquiring a plethora of gaming hardware over the years, including the Atari 2600, Microvision, Nintendo NES, ColecoVision, Atari 7800, Nintendo GameBoy, Atari Lynx & Lynx II, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo GameBoy Color, Nintendo GameBoy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and the Sony PlayStation 3.
And, of course, there were a bunch of computers capable of playing games tossed in there (most notably by Atari and Apple) plus a bunch of dedicated handhelds like Mattel Electronic Football and Electronic Poker. Oh... and my iPhone/iPad, which has all kinds of games on them.
And, for a while there, it looked as though my gaming future was going to be the iPhone/iPad.
But the lack of a dedicated control pad make for a crappy experience. And the lack of LEGO titles meant that the games I most wanted to play weren't available.
Enter the Nintendo 3DS XL...
I had played around with the original 3DS, but the 3D screen gave me a headache. I had read that the new "90% bigger screens" of the XL version was easier to view properly, so I decided to give it a shot.
And it's pretty awesome.
The 3D really looks great and, on the larger screen, is much easier to see... though the resolution is kinda low and chunky. The only problem with the glasses-free 3D technology is that you have to hold the hardware a specific distance from your face and look at it straight-on for the best effect. Start looking at the screen at more than a couple degrees off-angle and the screen will darken and eventually go all blurry. At first, this was a problem for me, but now I seem to instinctually hold it properly, so it's not a problem at all.
Having dedicated controls is what makes a hand-held video game superior than a mobile phone for gaming, and Nintendo has quite an assortment. The buttons on the shoulders and right-hand side are pretty standard. As is the D-pad on the left. But above the D-pad is the "Circle Pad." It is glorious. So smooth and precise that gameplay is much improved. A lot of people complained that Nintendo should have put another Circle Pad on the right-hand side (rather than doing so with a clunky add-on) and I have to agree. That would make shooter games a dream to play on the 3DS XL. Oh well.
Both of Nintendo's 3D units have a lot of features outside of gaming... most of them kind of lame, overly-complex, and unnecessary, to be honest. There's "Spot-Pass" and "Street-Pass" for exchanging data with Nintendo, your friends, and even random strangers you pass on the street. There's Mii creation functionality taken from the Wii to make an avatar of yourself. There's an e-shop for buying games and apps. There's internet connectivity and friend codes for playing games with friends over the web. There's a sound editor of some kind. It goes on and on. I will probably use very little of this stuff. I just want to play games.
There's also a crappy, grainy, low-res 3D camera on the back (plus an equally shitty front-facing 2D camera) which can read QR codes. I can't show you what the photos look like without having you look at the 3DS's full-color 3D screen, but I can have Photoshop break out the MPO 3D image file into a cheesy red/blue 3D thing for your to look at...
Get out your 3D glasses! Note how the further back you go, the more the image skews to create the 3D effect.
The camera also saves out a non-3D JPEG image that you can look at on any computer or other device capable of displaying JPEGs. But the quality is so bad, why would you want to?
I guess if you needed a camera in an emergency and your phone wasn't handy, this would be better than nothing. But not by much. Since Nintendo saves the photos to a standard SD memory card they are easy to transfer, so I guess there's that.
I'll probably review the 3D games I bought later on, once I've had time to play them a little more... but I am compelled to mention that my main reason for buying this handheld in the first place was the abundance of LEGO games available...
Sure, they're not very challenging. But they are a lot of fun. Except for the Lord of the Rings game. The battle system is really flawed, which makes playing it more of a chore than fun. Especially for casual, on-the-go pick-up gaming. Unfortunately the 3DS LEGO games don't have all the features of their console counterparts, which means there's less to do. But, on the other hand, you can take it with you.
Nintendo being Nintendo, there's a bunch of great Nintendo-themed games featuring popular characters and properties like Mario, Professor Layton, Link, Nintendogs, Pilotwings, Mario Kart, and the like. No Kirby or Pokemon yet though, which is kind of alarming. Still, a library plenty packed with quality games that people want to play.
Overall, I'm fairly impressed. More than anything else, the Nintendo 3DS Xl is fun, which is kind of the point of video games. If you have the original 3DS, it's probably debatable whether it's worth the $200 price tag to upgrade so quickly (though the bigger screens are SO nice). But if you own any other previous-generation handheld, the 3DS XL is worth checking out.
I love toys. Or, I suppose I should say "I still love toys," since adults aren't supposed to play with toys. And my toy of choice? LEGO!
When they came out with LEGO Star Wars sets and games, I was ecstatic. It was a match made in heaven. Then came LEGO Batman sets and games, and I was in Toy Nirvana. Two of my most favorite things in the world together at last!
And now LEGO has gone retro and combined a childhood favorite with their latest line of sets... LEGO Chima...
Looks kind of like Lizard Men vs. ThunderCats... Go Lion-O!
But it's not Lizard Men or ThunderCats that I'm talking about. It's what you can do with the LEGO Chima characters that has me all nostalgic...
The zip-cord pull that makes the LEGO Chima Racers go is the same technology used on a toy I loved as a kid called SSP Racers (which you can read about at Retroland)...
They were a lot of fun because everybody on the block had one, and we'd all get together to race. Mine was the purple "Laker Special"...
Photo taken by Mr. F.M. on Flickr
I don't have any plans of buy the LEGO Chima sets, but this walk down memory lane sure has me wanting my old SSP Racer back. I could probably play with it for a full 15 minutes before getting bored.
You Northeasterners can put down that snow-shovel... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• SNAKE! Happy Chinese New Year! This is the "Year of the Snake" or, to be more accurate, the "Year of the Water Snake." Water snakes are mostly poisonous and deadly, so I can tell already this is going to be a rough year...
• Nemo! Speaking of rough years... I've been watching the northeast winter storm coverage with more than a passing interest. All the snow they're getting on the other side of the country is snow we're not getting here in Washington State. Heck, I gave up wearing a coat two weeks ago because it's been so warm. And while I'm happy on the outside that the winter was mild and relatively short, it's worrisome that we could end up in a drought this summer. I guess the best we can hope for is that we at least get another couple snow dumps in the mountains over the next month before Spring is really here.
• Archer! One of my favorite television pastimes is Archer, which is a kind of an animated James Bond spoof gone terribly wrong. The result is almost always hilarious, and I find myself watching the episodes multiple times. If you're a fan like I am, there's a fascinating look at the real-life people who inspired the look of the characters on the show...
Totally worth checking out, which you can do by clicking here.
• Rejected! LEGO has finally released an awesome MiniFig of one of my favorite super-heroes after Batman, it's AQUAMAN...
And the minute I got my hands on him, I wanted a LEGO Aquaman keychain. And so I wrote to LEGO Customer Service to beg for one...
Thanks for getting in touch with us.
I’m sorry, but even though I think your Aquaman key chain would make a brilliant LEGO® set, we can't accept your suggestion. I know this might be disappointing to hear, but we have a team of experts in Denmark whose job it is to dream up new LEGO sets, themes and toys. They tell me it takes years to plan everything. They need to test all the new ideas, talk to the factory about how to make them, work out what sort of box is needed and then deliver the new sets to all the shops in 130 countries! This means that there's a good chance they could already be working on something similar to your idea.
Yeah, right. It takes years of planning to take a MiniFig they already have and shove a metal loop in his head that they already have to make a keychain. AND THE KEYCHAINS AREN'T SOLD IN BOXES... they don't have any packaging at all! Obviously a form letter reply, but whatever. Maybe I'll have to buy a few Aquamem and experiment with turning them into keychains myself.
• iCrap! Dear Apple. How long is it going to take before you fix all the busted shit in your iCloud syncing? I am so fucking sick and tired of not being able to sync my keychains... LIKE I COULD WITH MOBILE-ME BEFORE YOU REPLACED IT WITH THIS iCLOUD CRAP. And why do you make it so difficult for third party apps to sync their settings and shit? It's just sad that I have to keep a DropBox account to sync all the shit that your half-baked "solution" can't handle.
• iCrap! Dear Apple. Why in the hell do you force your iCloud customers to download videos before we can watch them? You stream to AppleTV, why won't you stream to my Mac or my iPhone or my iPad? Why? If you can't figure the shit out, why don't you talk to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Redbox, Vudu, CinemaNow, or any of the other dozens of services that are streaming all the time. Because this is fucking bullshit.
• iCrap! Dear Apple. Seriously, how fucking embarrassing and pathetic is it that you've had almost TWO YEARS now to get this iCloud crap sorted out, and you're still sitting on your asses? You're sitting on BILLIONS of dollars... FIX THIS SHIT!
And... time to pack...
This may very well be the greatest movie ever.
And now I can't wait for 2014...
Because... Morgan Freeman, for real?
I hope there's a video game released to go along with it.
Don't give another thought to your impending doom... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Einstein. You know how somebody comes out with a product you just love, so you buy and buy and buy... fully expecting to get sick of it, but all that happens is you end up loving it more? That was me when it came to Kraft "Bagel-fuls." These delicious bits of amazing are pre-cooked bagels wrapped around cream cheese (and other fillings) then frozen. You keep them in your refrigerator, then pop them in your toaster when you have a bagel craving. The brilliant part? The outside is deliciously crispy while the cream cheese stays cool. Truly an amazing product, and I ate them constantly...
Until they were discontinued. I couldn't find them anywhere.
Then, like a miracle, Bagel-fuls mysteriously reappeared in my grocer's freezer... but now they're branded as coming from Einstein Bros. Bagels. Regardless, they're the same thing and taste as amazing as ever. Now everybody needs to go to their local grocery store and buy every box so that they don't get discontinued again. Thanks!
• LEGO. At long last, the follow-up to LEGO
If you've played any of the LEGO video games before, this is pretty much more of the same... but with some nice upgrades in play mechanics and graphics. For the most part, it's an amazing game that's just as good as
IMPORTANT... I should note that the reviews for the Nintendo 3DS version of LEGO Marvel Superheroes are really bad. I bought a copy because I love LEGO on the go gaming... but I returned it unopened the minute the reviews started pouring in. This is really sad given the quality of other 3DS LEGO games (save Lord of the Rungs, which is a rare exception), and I wonder how something like this happens given how great Batman 2 was. Oh well. Money saved and all that.
• Kermit. I admit that I am not a big fan of the post-Henson Muppets... but holy cow does this look like fun...
Count me in!
• LAIKA. Speaking of fun... the stop-motion animated film ParaNorman was on sale for Halloween and I had heard good things about it, so I grabbed it. For reasons unknown, I only got around to watching it now. It's absolutely beautiful. Between this and films like Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, stop-motion-animation just keeps blowing me away. Bravo LAIKA Studios...
Interestingly enough, this cartoon was considered "controversial" when it was released because one of the lead characters ends up being gay. I kept waiting for the kid-inappropriate graphic gay sex scene, but it never came. All I saw was one quick throw-away joke about a character's sexuality at the end, and that was it. So, apparently, just the fact that gay people are acknowledged to exist in a cartoon is enough to spark controversy. The only thing controversial to me is that idiots who find this controversial n the year 2013.
• Hunger. And, while we're on the subject of movies... THIS has to be the funniest movie review I've ever seen...
The Onion strikes again! When it comes to The Funny, they consistently knock it out of the park.
And... another Bullet Sunday slides into the sweet abyss.
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...
Well that sucked.
Turns out that this is the only thing that mattered today...
Seriously, that's the only thing.
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...
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...
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...
And that's a wrap. Kinda nice to have Bullet Sunday actually land on a Sunday for once.
What happens when you mix dinosaurs, LEGO, and videos games together?
Honestly don't know how I could be more excited. The LEGO video games are my absolute favorite distraction from life, and this is bound to be awesome. Especially if the rumors are true and you get to actually play levels as a dinosaur!
As if that weren't enough... looks like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is getting a sequel with The Avengers too!
From the LEGO press release...
LEGO Jurassic World™
Following the epic storylines of Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, as well as the highly anticipated Jurassic World, LEGO Jurassic World is the first videogame where players will be able to relive and experience all four Jurassic films. The game will be available in June for the Xbox One, all-in-one games and entertainment system, the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system, the Wii U™ system from Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system, and Windows PC.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
Avengers Assemble! Experience the first console videogame featuring characters and storylines from the blockbuster film Marvel’s The Avengers and the much anticipated sequel Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more. Play as the most powerful Super Heroes in their quest to save humanity. The game will be available in fall 2015 for the Xbox One, all-in-one games and entertainment system, the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system, the Wii U system from Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS hand-held system, and Windows PC.
LEGO Ninjago™: Shadow of Ronin™
The popular LEGO Ninjago franchise gets its most expansive adventure to date in LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin. The latest LEGO handheld game delivers an untold story of the LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV show. Using their Spinjitzu abilities, players can unleash their Ninja’s elemental power to smash their way through enemies and solve puzzles. Developed by TT Fusion, a subsidiary of TT Games, the game comes to the Nintendo 3DS handheld system and the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system on March 24, 2015.
Coming on the heels of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, it looks like 2015 is going to be a very good year for LEGO video games.
Don't let the Grammys get you down... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Rescue! Here's the best thing I saw all week...
Heroes come in all shapes and size. Heroes are around us every day. Heroes inspire everybody to be heroes too. Heroes like this make the world a better place with their actions... no matter how small.
• Ravaging! Somebody finally said it...
Our thoughts are also with the measles-ravaged country America. I hope we are screening them before they come to Africa.— Elnathan John (@elnathan) February 1, 2015
LOL! ROTFL! LMFAO! I'm guessing this will be all the excuse ignorant morons (and FOX "News") need to restart their idiotic rants on quarantining Africa thanks to an ebola outbreak happening in a tiny piece of the continent.
• Super! Ever since I returned from safari in Africa, I've become a little obsessed with African wildlife photography. My favorite images yet come from Will Burrard-Lucas, who managed to get some of the most amazing shots you'll see...
He has a YouTube video up that shows some behind the scenes footage that's pretty great...
Will has a blog that is well worth checking out.
• Cuusoo! Two new LEGO sets I'll be adding to my collection...
• Bad! My entire weekend was made when a guy commented and told me that his kid's school lunch menu was recalled after it was discovered that somebody put a DaveToon of a gun-toting Bad Monkey on it...
Genius. And then it hit Reddit where a disturbing yet somehow beautiful insanity ensued.
• Sirens! When the show Sirens debuted on USA Network, I read that it was a shitty remake of a UK television series, so I didn't even bother tuning in. Then, every once in a while, somebody would mention how funny it was and how much they loved it, and I regretted not giving it a chance...
And then I noticed that it was recently added on Netflix.
Nothing groundbreaking... a situation comedy built around three EMTs in Chicago... but I actually find it kinda funny. So now I'm addicted to the show and binge-watching the ten episodes from the first season while adding the just-started second season to my DVR. If you're looking for a distraction from daily life, this might be worth a look (NSFW language included).
And... we're done. More bullets in a mere seven days.
Don't dream it's over... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Selfie! As somebody who narrowly avoided getting smacked by somebody unable to control their selfie-stick this past week, I applaud Pizza Hut for their PSA...
When I have completed my bid for world domination, possession of a "selfie stick" will be punishable by death. If somebody ever smacks me with one of these things, that stick is going straight up their ass.
• Wha-?!? CatDuck!
• Reality? The Briefcase, a new "reality TV" show on CBS, is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen on television... and that's saying something. "Let's exploit people with financial troubles for entertainment value!" — Holy shit. THIS is where we're at? Really?
The concept of the show is that a struggling family is given a briefcase full of money and introduced to another struggling family. They then have to decide how much of the money to keep and how much to give to the other family. BUT LITTLE DO THEY KNOW... the other family was given a briefcase full of cash too! Oh the drama!
You just KNOW that eventually one family is going to keep all the money while the other family will give all the money, creating a briefcase super-villain family that will be absolutely crucified by social media. As if keeping free money you desperately need is some kind of pure evil. I bet this show does gangbuster ratings. Human beings are the absolute worst. Fuck CBS for this disgusting, horrific exploitation of the poor.
• Wait! New music just dropped from one of my favorite bands, Postiljonen...
Beautiful, as always. Can't wait for a new album to hit!
•Giddy! Twelve. More. Days.
YOU CAN PLAY AS A LEGO DINOSAUR, PEOPLE!
And that's all the bullets we have today... move along, there's nothing to see here...
THE CAKE IS REAL!
I REPEAT, THE CAKE IS REAL!!!
It's like my entire life has been leading to this moment...
A mash-up of LEGO Batman and Portal?
SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! TAKE ALL MY MONEY!!!
As anybody who has been reading Blogography for any length of time already knows, I am addicted to LEGO video games. It started with LEGO Star Wars, forged ahead into the massive triumph that was LEGO Batman, then wandered into amazing places with LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, LEGO Harry Potter, LEGO Lord of the Rungs, plus many more. And I've purchased every game that's been published.
Until the game came along I couldn't purchase... LEGO City Undercover...
The reason I couldn't buy it? The game was exclusive to the Nintendo Wii U gaming system, which I did not own. The closest I could get was the "prequel" to the game which was released for the Nintendo 3DS (and was awesome)...
While I owned a Wii and liked it quite a lot, the Wii U didn't seem to offer much additional that I considered investing in the system. So I bemoaned the fact that LEGO City Undercover would be the first LEGO game I'd not be able to play, then moved on with my life.
Fast forward a couple months... and, while visiting friends in Pittsburgh, I got to play with the Wii U up-close-and-personal. Much to my surprise, I found out I had grossly underestimated it. The system built upon the Wii with some intriguing upgrades in game play (and in graphics, which finally caught up to the competition with HD quality)...
After playing the majesty that is LEGO City Undercover for fifteen minutes, I knew I had to have it.
So when I got home, I called up a buddy that could hook me up with a Wii U and ordered LEGO City Undercover. They both arrived the following week... when I promptly stuffed them in a closet and forgot about them. Turns out I don't have much time for playing video games.
That was over two years ago.
Then LEGO Dimensions... which looks like it may very well be the greatest video game in the history of video games... became available for pre-order...
Of course I must have it.
But which system should I order it for? It's available for almost all of them.
Ultimately I decided to pre-order the Wii U version so that it would encourage me to get my console out and get some use out of it.
And so today was the day.
But I'll get to that... tomorrow.
Yesterday I mentioned how I've had a Nintendo Wii U sitting in my closet for over two years. Last night I pre-ordered all the LEGO Dimensions sets for it, which seemed incentive enough for me to finally unbox my Wii U and get it hooked up.
And so I did. And I've been goofing around with it ever since.
When compared to the PS4 and the XBOX One, the Wii U comes up short. The processing power... the graphics... all the specs, really... everything is a step down. A noticeable step down. But that's par for the course for Nintendo, who has always put the gaming experience above specs... doing far more than the competition with less. Even so, while you're never going to mistake a PS4 game for the Wii U equivalent, that's not saying Nintendo's graphics are ugly or the games are slow and dated... far from it. Everything I've looked at has been beautiful and fluid on the Wii U. Nintendo's programmers are absolutely getting the most out of what they have to work with.
So... if the Wii U can't compete with modern gaming consoles on specs, what does the hardware offer that's worth investing in?
Just like the Wii before it, the Wii U breaks some new ground in gameplay with its controllers. This time with their "Game Pad," which is a massive tablet-esque controller with standard game controls around the edges...
At approximately 5.25 x 1 x 10.25 inches, it's even bigger than I remember it being.
And yet... not entirely uncomfortable for me to hold (don't know about kids). Its lightweight, the buttons and sticks are well-placed, and the on-board touch-screen actually seems useful. The only big negatives are A) poor battery life is 3 hours max, and B) the screen is fairly low-resolution. After becoming accustomed to the Retina Display on my iPhone and iPad, it's almost painful to look at. Otherwise, pretty cool... assuming the game you're playing takes advantage of it.
Which it can in two ways. The first is that it can display supplemental information or additional controls past what you see on screen. The second is that most games actually let you transfer the display from your television to the Game Pad so you can play games while somebody else watches the television. This is nice... but only half as cool as it could be when you realize you have to stay in the same room and fairly close to the console in order for the Game Pad to maintain its connection. Bummer. I want to Wii U from bed.
The weird thing about the Game Pad is that you can't connect more than one to the system. Players 2-5 have to use Wii wand controllers or Wii nunchuck controllers or Wii U Pro Controllers (none of which are included). I guess I get it... streaming live video takes processing power and the console doesn't have a lot to spare, but still... I can't believe that you can't connect at least two Game Pads to a Wii U so that you can go head-to-head with somebody using the same controls.
Oh... one last word on the Game Pad... you can use it to control your television. Namely, use it to turn the thing off and on plus select the video source, meaning you don't have to go scrambling for the TV remote to play. Nice.
The system I got was the "pro" version that comes with a pathetic 32GB of storage... only 25GB of which is available. Which means I am almost out of space and all I have is two games and a demo onboard. I have no clue how those with the "non-pro" 8GB version manage at all. The solution is to purchase an external USB hard disk or thumb drive or something. There's an SD card slot, but that seems to be exclusively for backwards compatibility with Wii games, as I've found no way to access it from the Wii U side.
When it comes to actually navigating the system, I find it surprisingly similar to the Nintendo 3DS. You can run one application/game at a time, and that application/game goes into suspension so you can access system controls mid-game. It's not as elegant as the XBOX One and PS4 menuing system, but it's perfectly serviceable. About the only negative I've found so far? No universal in-game chat system, which is a pretty big oversight in modern gaming. For multiplayer online games, you just have to hope that the game has its own chat system built-in or else there will be no in-game chat for you.
I'm just going to get this out of the way... NINTENDO-DEVELOPED WII U GAMES DO NOT COME WITH INSTRUCTION BOOKLETS! Not even a single-page pamphlet to give you an overview of the controls! Nope, everything is done with the online help system, which works okay, but is pretty lame. Nothing like having to pause the game so you can look up something that should have been shared on a hardcopy.
Obviously I haven't had a chance to play with a lot of games yet, but here's a quick sampling of what I've been up to so far...
LEGO City Undercover... The game that made me purchase the Nintendo Wii U in the first place, this is one of the best LEGO minifig games to date. As police officer Chase McCain, you scour LEGO City for criminals using brilliant disguises that endow you with new abilities. In many ways, this is the LEGO version of Grand Theft Auto but in reverse. I absolutely love it, of course... despite some agonizingly long load times and no ability for multi-player (which is kind of a staple with these games). The sandbox you're in seems vast and affords a lot of freedom, but is ultimately part of a fairly linear gaming experience. Since the Wii U seems to be picking up steam, I'm hopeful we may get a sequel one day. I've barely begun playing, but already know I'm going to be wanting more.
Super Mario 3D World... As with all Nintendo gaming systems, I figure that the biggest development effort is always going to go into their signature Mario title, so I always buy it and have never been disappointed. Like Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario Galaxy before it, the title is exceptionally imaginative and fun to play. In the few hours I've been playing it, I've seen all kinds of cool things... including Mario putting on a cat outfit so he has cat powers to play with. Epic.
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham... I had already started this game on XBOX 360, but it was so cheap I decided to grab it for Wii U so I can have a consistent experience when LEGO Dimensions arrives in September. So far, it feels exactly the same. I think the XBOX 360 controller is a bit better for this title than Nintendo's Game Pad, but I'm not having any trouble. The game itself is amazing... though it doesn't reach the heights that LEGO Batman 2 did... feeling more confined and less open despite taking place on multiple planets in space. Still... LEGO Batman. UPDATE: Went to purchase some of the cool downloadable content for this game only to find out it isn't available for the Wii U... WTF Warner Interactive? Guess I go back to the XBOX 360.
Bayonetta 2... I bought this game for the specific purpose of seeing what a non-cutesy Nintendo and non-cutesy LEGO game would be like on the Wii U, and this one was the highest rated I could find. And for very good reason... it's utterly amazing. Far from being over-hyped, you just can't believe how beautiful, fluid, and fun it is to play. I had a really tough time putting it down long enough to write this blog entry. Basically, you play a witch with lethal fighting abilities... plus guns. She's kind of like Neo from The Matrix in that she can slow time and gain a distinct advantage over her enemies. As this is a Nintendo Wii U exclusive title, it's almost worth buying the system just to play it. Yes... it's that good.
I have to say... if these four titles are indicative of the quality that goes into Wii U titles, it's very easy to see how the system is one to be reckoned with. No, the visuals are not as tight as what you'll find on XBOX One or PS4, but Wii U excels in entertainment value, which is all that really matter, isn't it?
And that's the Wii U as I know it right now.
Kind of regretting that I waited two years to discover it.
Though I loathed the unnecessary complexity they came up with for the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of The Vision, I have to say that I loves me the LEGO Minifig adaptation.
Out of necessity, LEGO had to simplify him a bit, and the result is so much better. I like him quite a lot, even though his "mind stone" is blue instead of yellow...
At least I did until I saw a rendering of The Vision that is much closer to his original design (minus the "sun jewel" on his head)...
Image by Concore at DeviantArt.
Man, even the LEGO version is vastly superior when they stick to what works!
Why Why Why Why did Marvel and Joss Whedon mess with the sublime perfection of the source material?
Oh well. Maybe The Vision will get an upgrade in Captain America: Civil War... because, damn... that ratty patchwork cape looks like something that belongs on Ragman, not The Vision...
And the moment I've been waiting for has finally arrived... my copy of LEGO Dimensions was delivered today.
For those not in the know, Dimensions integrates many of the LEGO franchises into a single video game. You start out with characters from LEGO Batman, LEGO Lord of the Rings, and The LEGO Movie in the starter set, but can then add other "worlds" like Scooby Doo, The Simpsons, Ghostbusters, Dr. Who, Back to the Future, The Wizard of Oz, (and so on) with add-on packs...
If you've played any of the other LEGO video games, you already know how things work. You run your little LEGO mini-figure around solving puzzles and breaking stuff to collect LEGO studs so you can buy in-game upgrades with them.
I love, love, love all the various LEGO games, and having them all come together in a giant mash-up is amazing. And really fun to play.
The difference from previous games being the addition of the LEGO Dimensions portal pad peripheral (built from LEGO, natch) which allows you to interact with the mini-figs in the game...
A lot of your time will be spent moving characters and their vehicles around on this thing. Wicked Witch of the West have your character trapped? Simply remove them from one area of the portal pad and place them on another to escape. Need a character who can fly to solve a particular puzzle? Swap out WyldStyle for Wonder Woman and you're good to go. Need a vehicle to get past some obstacle? Place the Batmobile on the portal pad and it instantly appears in-game.
As if that weren't enough, building with LEGO is an integral part of the game experience. The Wonder Woman add-on pack, for example, tells you how to build Wonder Woman so you can add her to the portal pad and get her in that game. But you also get a bag of bricks for her Invisible Plane that comes with no instructions whatsoever. When you add Wonder Woman to the game, then the game itself instructs you how to build her plane and add it as well. Even better? Some in-game builds have to be re-built in order to turn it into something new that progresses the story. That's a key element of playing with LEGO bricks, and the way they've integrated it into the game is pretty darn amazing. Dimensions truly is a melding of on-screen gaming with physical LEGO sets, which is what makes it so much more interesting to me than the toy/game hybrid competition.
With that in mind, it's this physical interaction from toy to video game that makes LEGO Dimensions so compelling... and so frustrating.
Compelling because you can mix-and match characters until your heart's content. Want to have Homer Simpson, Scooby Doo, and Dr. Who all playable in the same game? Drop them on the portal pad and they're yours. Want to have Batman driving The Mystery Machine? Easy. Hobbits in Gotham City? No problem. Scooby Doo in Jurassic Park? You got it. You can choose whatever characters you have available and add or subtract them from the game worlds at will.
Frustrating because you can't play with Marty McFly unless you run out and buy the Back to the Future add-on pack. Further frustrating because certain areas of the game are locked off unless you run out and buy the appropriate character pack. Want to explore Springfield? Well, unless you go buy an add-on pack with a Simpsons character in it, you're out of luck. Want to collect that Gold Brick guarded by a Spinjitsu Gate? If you don't have a Ninjago character to unlock it, no dice. It goes on and on. Sometimes there are alternative characters you can use, sometimes not. At least not yet.
And I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in this. I didn't buy any of the Chima sets or Ninjago sets because I'm not interested in them. And if that means I can't play in the Chima or Ninjago worlds, I'm perfectly okay with that. What I didn't expect is that skipping a few sets would lead me to miss out on part of the main game. Being told you can't access a part of the story unless you have the Peter Venkman mini-fig (who won't be released until January 2016) is also a little harsh... but also a little exciting because I will absolutely buy that set, and now have something to look forward to. That will keep the game fresh. But what if I wasn't a Ghostbusters fan? Buy it anyway? That adds up to spending a serious chunk of cash for something you'd just as soon do without, just because you want to finish the game. Not cool.
And speaking of expensive...
LEGO Dimensions is as addictive as crack and almost as pricey.
In summary... I LOVE THIS GAME! If you've enjoyed all the other LEGO video games, you probably will enjoy this one too. Just make sure you know the financial burden you're buying into before you start.
If you are playing LEGO Dimensions like me...
And you're a LEGO whore who is collecting a lot of the Fun Packs, Team Packs, and Level Packs...
You will very quickly be swimming in teeny tiny LEGO pieces. All of the builds are nothing but teeny tiny LEGO pieces. And even after you build stuff, there are always pieces left over for the re-builds, which quickly gets confusing because you can't remember what pieces go with which set.
I don't know if it's the perfect solution, but I've found that the "ArtBin Super Satchel Slim" works pretty darn well for keeping all your characters, vehicles, extra pieces, instruction books, and other stuff neatly organized...
I divided it into 15 sections. Team Packs and Level Packs I'm giving two sections... Fun Packs I'm giving one. This gives you plenty of space to store each play piece and all the pieces for builds you haven't gotten around to yet. As your needs change, there's plenty of dividers you can move around to reconfigure the compartments however you want.
I pretty much gave up on attaching the portal build to the Toy Pad... it's so damn fragile that it keeps falling apart. I've just bagged it up and use the Toy Pad without which works just fine.
Highlights so far...
The Dr. Who level of the main game, which is suitably funny and scary... can't wait for the Dr. Who Level Pack!
The Portal 2 Level Pack is hands-down my favorite addition to the game. Unless you have a love for the characters in one of the other packs, this is the pack to get if you're buying just one. Partly because it's the only way to open up Portal 2 World... but mostly because the included Aperture Science Lab level is a love-letter to Portal 2 that fans will piss themselves over. So good.
I just wish I had more time to play the thing. Life keeps getting in the way!
No time to lose, because a rapid-fire edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Puppy. The best thing I've seen all week...
"Roo the one-year-old rescued Golden Retriever who never had any toys, or so much as anything to chew, grew up imprisoned, starved and neglected. This is the first time she gets to choose her own toy at a pet shop."
• Assemble! Marvel superheroes may be absent from the LEGO Dimensions game... but that doesn't mean you won't be able to play something new with them...
So can't wait for this!
• BANNED! Microbeads are insanely stupid. I can't fathom who ever thought this crap was a good idea. Hopefully other states will follow California's lead in banning this toxic crap. In other California banning news... looks like SeaWorld San Diego will be closing down sooner rather than later. Can't imagine them surviving without their Killer attraction.
• Ad? After complaining about obstructive ads on the internet yesterday, I'm going to take a half-step back today. Because more and more I'm finding ads I actually like. Earlier this week I found one for gum that was pretty sweet. Yes, gum...
It's as if advertisers are finally realizing that we don't want to watch shitty commercials that suck!
• Morans. And speaking of ads I like, the inevitability of One Million Morons being bigoted assholes and condemning one of the best ads ever has come to pass. Not that anybody gives a fuck. "One Million Moms" (who are off target by 919,482 mothers) is about as effective at boycotts as a piece of shit is at not stinking. All they do is remind everybody that there are pathetic homophobes out there clutching their pearls and getting the vapors over something THAT DOESN'T EVEN AFFECT THEM. So yes. Let's save the children of the world... by protecting them from loving, stable homes.
• Poop! I'm not saying this product will change your life... but this product will change your life*...
*At least that part of your life spent pooping.
And... I'm bullet-poor. The end.
You haven't struck gold... but you're getting the next best thing, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Boss! One of the funniest things to come out of Saturday Night Live in a while was Undercover Boss: Kylo Ren with Adam Driver reprising his role from Star Wars: The Force Awakens...
And now they've released some behind the scenes clips...
• Vax? So this is what it takes.
• J-Law! I'm obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence... and her appearance on Graham Norton takes it up a notch...
• GHOST! BUSTERS! LEGO Dimensions is the gift that keeps on giving... thanks to new Level Pack releases that take the game in entirely new directions. The latest? Ghostbusters!...
Looks epic. Can't wait until I have time to play it.
• Blake! Nothing quite like "discovering" a new song you like... eight years after it was released...
Apparently Blake Lewis was an American Idol winner. Since I don't watch that show, I never knew he existed until my Amazon Echo played one of his songs a couple days ago.
And... that's a wrap.
It is no secret that I love LEGO Star Wars.
The video games, the TV shows, the building sets, the books... all of it. Given how the absolutely heinous prequel trilogy nearly destroyed all things Star Wars for me, it was the coming of LEGO Star Wars stuff that brought me back from the brink. What LEGO was doing was smart, fun, beautiful, imaginative, and highly entertaining... basically everything that the three shitty prequels were not.
And yesterday I learned that a new cartoon series is coming set in the LEGO Star Wars universe...
The Freemaker Adventures sounds fantastic...
Told in the whimsically-charged style that audiences have come to expect from LEGO Star Wars entertainment, the series stars the Freemakers, a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from the scoured debris of space battles strewn throughout the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact – the Kyber Saber – his world is turned upside down, and he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. Throughout their adventures, the Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters, and learn the true value of what it means to be a family.
Needless to say, I hope and pray that we'll be getting a video game out of the franchise.
Of course, I'm still waiting for a game adaptation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which is supposed to be coming in June?), so patient we must be...
In the meanwhile... I finally had a chance to sit down and play LEGO Marvel's Avengers for a while. It's pretty great in all the right ways, despite being another mediocre port to the Wii U (why in the hell Traveler's Tales have been unable to work with the technical limitations of the Wii U when they did such an amazing job with LEGO City Undercover, I have no idea. LEGO Marvel's Avengers certainly has more laugh-out-loud moments than usual, which is great.
And... speaking of LEGO Marvel's Avengers... I should have time to get through another level before bedtime!
There is no amount of savings that would encourage me to shop retail today. None. Even if they were giving shit away for FREE, I'd still be going into work then hiding at home the rest of the day. Buddhism has taught me not to get caught up in "stuff" and focus on more important things, so fighting over a bunch of "stuff" is about the last thing I'm inclined to do.
That does not, however, mean I won't be shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales online.
Every month I put aside $50, which comes out to $600 of funds that I spend on clothes come Black Friday. With careful shopping, you can easily turn that $600 into $1200 (or more!) worth of buying power, and 90% of my clothes for the entire year are bought during this time. I especially love that I can buy pricey brands that I could never afford otherwise.
$100 denim being sold for $40? Yes please.
$80 shirts for $25? I'll take 'em.
All underwear is Buy One Get One Free? Alrighty then.
Jackets half-price? I could use that.
Nothing quite like getting a pile of designer clothes at cheap-ass prices. This is literally the only time I enjoy shopping. This year I actually went overboard... spending closer to $700 than the $600 I had saved... but I lost some weight and ended up needing smaller sizes, so it was still a bargain.
This is the time of year I always take my spare change jar to a CoinStar machine, so I'll probably make up that $100 in no time to stay on budget (last year I had accumulated $136 in coinage!).
Which is good, because I also found Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens for Wii U on sale for $17 (Regular $39.99)...
Doesn't get much better than that!
Happy Black Friday, everybody!
Fight through that leftover turkey tryptophan food coma... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• More. As a fan of the show Gilmore Girls, I was naturally curious about the Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: Year in the Life. The show kind of lost its way in Season 6, then really lost its way in Season 7 after creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and writing/directing partner Daniel Palladino left the show. But now they (and the entire surviving cast) is back for another go in four 90-minute "films" entitled Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall...
For the most part, I was happy to see all the characters again and felt the stories for all four episodes were solid... even though many of the mistakes I thought were made in Season 6 & 7 were, oddly enough, repeated all over again. As if that weren't enough, we finally got to hear those Four Final Words that Amy Sherman-Palladino had wanted to end the series with all along. And though the words make perfect sense and took the series to a logical place, I had two problems with how things ended. 1) It pretty much begs for more episodes. And 2) I don't know that the words mean as much now when Rory is in her 30's as they would have had they been spoken when she was in her 20's back when the series ended.
All that being said, boy was Edward Herrmann missed as Richard Gilmore. He was always such a big presence in the show, and his death left a huge void. That the Palladinos used this as an exceptional opportunity to move Emily Gilmore's story forward is to their credit.
Here's hoping Netflix will bless us with another series in the future.
• Watching. Speaking of television shows... my favorite show going right now is No Tomorrow...
Girl meets boy. Boy thinks the world is going to get hit by a meteor and be destroyed. Adventures in life ensue. And it's funny to boot. Give it a shot if you have some free time in your television schedule!
• Strange? Doctor Strange has the best "Art of the Movie" book from Marvel yet. So much thought went into the bizarre visuals, and you get a terrific look at how the filmmakers agonized over them. A very cool companion to a very cool movie...
If you're a fan of the film... or even the comic book... this is a book worth checking out.
• LEGO. As if the upcoming LEGO Batman Movie isn't super-awesome enough...
LEGO has just announced that the next series of MiniFigs will come from the film!
Am dying to own them all, but here's the one that I can't live without...
Fairy Princess Batman! Classic!
• Scream. Pretty much the theme song for my life these past weeks...
And... there's your bullets for the week.
Stop what you're doing, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Stuff. This PBS article entitled Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parent's Stuff is a must-read if you're going to be the one cleaning out the house of a parent, friend, family-member, or loved-one after they pass on. It perfectly describes the sad reality I have been facing with my mom and grandmother's stuff. It's not like it's anything luxurious or expensive... but it's nice stuff that I assumed somebody would want and use. Nope. Can't even give it away... let alone sell it. And I tried absolutely everything I can think of. Dishes, furniture, knick-knacks... all of it ends up in the garbage, because I don't want to leave behind junk nobody wants when I kick the bucket. It's tough to make that call... but the memories aren't there for other people, and getting your head around that makes it easier to do what must be done.
• Reality. I'm just going to leave this link right here, because apparently there are people who need to see it: No One Wants to See ISIS Defeated More Than Muslims
• LEGO Dimensions! Way back in 2015, I reviewed LEGO Dimensions, which combines physical LEGO toys with the adorable puzzle-filled LEGO video games that I've been playing for a decade...
For the most part, I liked the game despite the tedious way that the LEGO toys have to be moved around on the "puzzle pad" to get through the levels... and the fact that you can't play 100% of the game unless you buy the toys required to play some areas that are locked off. For example, I don't care about LEGO Ninjago toys, and don't care if I play the Ninjago World that's in the game. But the main story has some spots where you have to have a Ninjago toy in order to use their "spinjitsu power" to unlock the door for a side-quest. That's pretty shitty. Eventually LEGO got tired of people (rightfully) bitching about this, and came up with "Hire A Hero" so that you can pay LEGO studs in-game to use a character that has a power you need to open a door (or whatever). It's a great solution when it works (sometimes I get to a place that I need to Hire A Hero but am not given the option for some reason). Even so, I'm kind of done with the game. OR WOULD BE IF THEY WOULD STOP RELEASING SUCH AWESOME ADD-ONS TO THE GAME!!! Lately LEGO has been killing it. The Mission: Impossible Level Pack was loads of fun. Ditto for the Adventure Time Level Pack, which was so faithful to the cartoon that you feel like you're INSIDE THE CARTOON. And they didn't stop there... they've got add-ons coming for everything from The A-Team and Knight Rider to Gremlins and The Goonies! Yes, the game-play is more of the same, but there's something about these unlikely but awesome add-ons that keep me playing.
• Akilah, Obviously. If you don't know who Tomi Lauren is, consider yourself lucky and skip this bullet. But if you do know who this moronic piece of shit is, then here's the ever-dreamy Akilah dropping the mic... on her head...
Akilah's entire YouTube channel is gold. I highly recommend checking it out.
• Poor. According to Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, being born into poverty is apparently a punishable offense. No surprise there. Our government has been doing this for decades. Eliminating living wage jobs then giving power to companies to exploit those caught in the fallout is essentially creating poor people then punishing them for being poor. But, hey... so long as the rich get richer, we'll continue to get the government they purchase for us, so carry on.
Except to say... I wonder if this STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLE even comprehends that, to kids, EVERY LUNCH IS A FREE LUNCH SINCE KIDS DON'T HAVE JOBS AND EVERYTHING IS PROVIDED FOR THEM. Probably not. STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLES are STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLES for a reason. This is not a bipartisan issue. I hope that people in Georgia wake up and vote out STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLE Jack Kingston for the good of all humanity.
• God Help Us. When even Iran... IRAN... can find humor in your president, you know you're in trouble...
The whole Trump presidency is just one horror after another, and it simply does not stop. Every fucking day there's a new disaster to pile on an already massive pile of disasters. It's quickly getting to the point where even Republicans are going to have to denounce President Pussy-Grabber if they value their jobs... or if they value avoiding World War III.
So many bullets, so little time... until next week, then!
Stop what you're doing, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Phone Home? Are you an American who travels internationally? Or a foreigner visiting the USA? Then here's an article for you: I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you. We're quickly coming to a point where personal privacy and freedom is being tossed right out the window. It's only going to get worse.
• This Guy. Thank heavens John Oliver has returned from hiatus to save our sanity...
And just when you think things can't get worse...
• Sorry. It would seem an apology to Sweden is in order...
Guess I'm going to have to make apology graphics for all the countries of the world. I'm confident President Trump will get around to saying stupid shit about all of them eventually...
And I thought George W. Bush was a fucking embarrassment.
• Merry Marvel. The little promos that Marvel is releasing in anticipation of the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok have been really funny. This past week they released Team Thor: Part 2...
The surprising thing is that the next Thor movie isn't here until NOVEMBER! Before that we've got Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on May 5 and Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7. If you haven't seen it yet, Team Thor: Part 1 can be found on YouTube.
• Gerrymandering. Yes. It's time to stop this fucking bullshit...
We get the government politicians buy for us. Time to start giving a shit.
• PAY! PAY! PAY! As I mentioned a while back, LEGO addressed complaints about having to buy additional toys to complete a mission by adding "Hire a Hero" where you can have temporary access to the toy you need... for a price. A price that gets more expensive the more often you need it. But... hey... beats having to buy a LEGO set you don't want, right?
As I found out by playing the LEGO Dimensions Knight Rider fun pack, you need the LEGO Dimensions Mission: Impossible level pack because the 30 seconds you get for "Hire a Hero" Ethan Hunt isn't long enough to solve one of the puzzles. And now I find that I can't really completely LEGO Dimensions A-Team fun pack without the LEGO Dimensions Adventure Time level pack because the 30 seconds you get for "Hire a Hero" Finn the Human isn't long enough to solve one of the puzzles.
I PITY THE FOOL WHO MAKES ME BUY MORE SETS TO COMPLETE THE SET I JUST BOUGHT!
Needless to say, this is pretty shitty. When you "Hire a Hero" you should get to keep that hero until the puzzle has been solved. Anything less is just going right back to a massive paywall that's incredibly unfair. But... there's money to be made, so whatever. Guess buying one toy will never be enough.
AND I AM DONE WITH BULLETS FOR THE WEEK!
It's all going to be okay.
Don't panic just yet, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• A Simple Difference. I love advertising that really makes you think, and this ad from Australia is absolutely brilliant in getting its point across. Before watching, it may be helpful to know that Aussies use BBQ sauce the way Americans use ketchup. And Aussie tomato sauce is much like ketchup except not...
For an equivalent American context, the guy telling his dad he likes tomato sauce is the equivalent to going to Chicago and telling the hotdog vendor that you want ketchup on your dog.
• Dyer for Govorner! Now THIS is transparency on a candidate website! Not really anybody's business but his, but I get why he's written it. I think most people would hemorrhage if they were to have this kind of insight into the people they've elected. Well, except for President Trump. Apparently he can do whatever the fuck he wants... no matter how heinous... and it doesn't matter to his supporters. Even though those same supporters have condemned the same activities in others.
• Dimensions Now that Disney Infinity has died, I am really, really hopeful that LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Marvel Super-Heroes will end up in LEGO Dimensions. The epicness of such a fusion would almost be too much for me to handle. Darth Vader driving the Batmobile? Spider-Man slinging through Adventure Time world? Catwoman meeting Black Panther? The possibilities... the possibilities...
Big fun awaits... if Disney will play ball.
• HeLa Can. Not. Wait. The book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, was excellent. And while I've never liked Oprah as a talk show host, I've always loved her as an actor...
If you haven't read the book, it's worth a look.
• Ross! Be yourself. Unapologetically. Be like Ross and let the haters hate on... it's all they have...
Ross has got to be one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. Milo Yiannopoulos has got to be one of the biggest assholes on the planet. There is no contest here. None.
• ALARM! Why is the iPhone alarm system so shitty? Can't skip an alarm without turning it off. The alarm plays... FOREVER... instead of turning off after a few minutes. The snooze feature is absolute garbage because it's so inflexible. The list goes on and on. If you use your iPhone as a clock like I do, this is a daily frustration that drives me bonkers, especially on the weekends. Apple... you have BILLIONS of dollars. Why not take a fraction of that money and fix your shit?
And... aren't we all glad that's over?
Time to burn this muther to the ground, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• The Government is Not Your Friend. In all seriousness, I wonder what it's going to fucking take before US citizens wake the hell up to how their privacy rights are being chipped away by elected officials. Our bought-and-paid-for-Senators just voted to undo internet privacy regulations, which means that you ISP can sell your browsing history to advertisers. Our privacy is up for grabs, and fuckers in the GOP are the pimps making it happen. Might want to look into a VPN to protect yourself before this gets run through the House.
• GET OUT! I'm just going to chime in with the vast majority of critics and say that Get Out is one of the best films this year...
Jordan Peele has absolutely killed it. So far as suspense thrillers go, this is a tough movie to top. Easily going to make y "Best Of" list for 2017. Go see it!
• Final Dimensions? Rumors have been swirling that my favorite game of the moment... LEGO Dimensions is getting canceled. Back in January I was dismissive of such rumors. But now? Evidence is mounting.
Needless to say... this sucks if it's true. Sucks hard. The sets that have been coming out lately are better than ever, and a lot of fun to play. More sets for properties like Beetlejuice, Powderpuff Girls, and Teen Titans GO! have been delayed, but are still on the way, so there's that. But still... I hope we're getting even more sets before LEGO hangs it up.
• Headlines. So... when you see a headline like this pop up in your newsfeed...
You have to guess... will this be some godless liberal senator scumbag with no moral values... or will it be a "family values" Christian who supports anti-gay, anti-trans legislation? Lets find out together, shall we?
State senator found with teenage boy in hotel room.
Big fucking surprise. It's the "family values" Christian who ends up being the fucking pervert. YET AGAIN! It's always these assholes getting caught texting things like "I'm gonna fuck you like a good little boy if you keep calling me daddy." They can't seem to help themselves. Which is why every fucking time I see some politician asshole going out of their way to shit all over LGBT equality, I automatically expect they're fucking pedophiles. And history seems to back this up.
• Assemble! Oh goody. Justice League looks like a total rehash of Batman vs. Superman... incomprehensible action sequences strung together with boring shit nobody cares about...
At least Zack Snyder is consistent with his suckage.
• Gubermint! There's so much fucked up shit going on with our Trump-infused government that I could fire off another fifty bullets just to touch on it. But doing so will probably make me want to blow my head off, so I'll pick just one...
You can read about it here. What a bunch of fucking monsters we have representing us. If they are willing to treat innocent animals like this, there's no hope for us. None.
So over bullets for today.
In celebration of The LEGO Batman Movie being released on iTunes (a film I absolutely recommend you should see)... Apple put a bunch of movies on sale and gave their visuals a LEGO treatment.
I liked them so much that I wanted to be sure and save them to my blog in case I ever wanted to see them again...
A couple of these films could have been vastly pproved if they were LEGO creations... just sayin'.
The world may be on the brink of disaster, but have no fear, because an all new edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Hey You Guys! LEGO Dimenions finally got around to releasing expansion packs for LEGO City Undercover and The Goonies. Both are excellent. Especially The Goonies, which is faithful to the source material in all the best ways. A lot of love went into this game...
Which makes me even sadder that the rumor is LEGO Dimensions is being discontinued after the Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans GO!, and Beetlejuice packs are released this Fall. Such a shame. It just keeps getting better and better with each new release.
• Free Climb! Every year on Christmas Day I check to make sure that free-climber Alex Honnold is still alive. Things like this are why: Climber Completes the Most Dangerous Rope-Free Ascent Ever...
Photo by Jimmy Chin and National Geographic
Photo by Jimmy Chin and National Geographic
For the money, I maintain that Alex is the world's greatest living athlete. I cannot comprehend how he does what he does.
• If You Were Here! The Thompson Twins are one of my all-time favorite bands. If You Were Here is one of my favorite songs by the band. If you had told me that I'd like a cover of this track, I'd say you were crazy. But then Kitty Hawk released one years ago that is actually really good...
It will never take the place of the original, but it's nice to hear a different take on the song.
• Hasan! If you haven't already taken my advice and seen Hasan Minhaj's comedy special: Homecoming King on Netflix, you need to do that right now. And, when you've seen it and start suffering from withdrawals, you'll be happy to know that he is still over at The Daily Show... stealing entire episodes with a two-minute appearance...
If you have a minute, you should watch this segment...
Assuming you can. Comedy Central's video streaming goes down so often that I'm surprised they even bother...
Seriously. Minimum 50% of the time, Comedy Central is dead now-a-days.
• Sick. Of. This. Shit! This week in the news, Fucking Dumbass Bigot Says Gays Are Like Hitler, Trans Kids Are All the Devil...
Photo from YouTube / The New Civil Rights Movement
Uh huh. Hitler. Yeah. Got it. The Nazis killed up to 20 million people. That totally equates to gay and trans people just wanting to have the same rights as everybody else and, well... existing... and such. — What a repugnant piece of shit. What a complete douche of a human being. What a fucking asshole. But one day she'll be dead and nobody will care... NOBODY WILL FUCKING CARE... so there's that.
And, lest we forget that bigotry doesn't end there, also in the news this week: Anti-Muslim Protests Planned in 23 Cities Across the Country. — As recent headlines will attest, we are in more danger from white Christian terrorists than anything coming out of our Muslim communities. But, sure, let's protest brown people because it fits the narrative being rammed down our throats from the highest levels of government. What a bunch of hypocritical fucking "religious freedom" loving dumbasses. Apparently you have the "freedom" to be whatever religion you want... so long as it's Christian.
And... back to the day's disasters...
Time to bask in the rosy glow of the blogosphere, because an all new edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Batman! It's difficult for me to think about Sunday bullets when my head is trying to wrap itself around the passing of original Batman Adam West. It's even tougher to try and explain how his television show influenced my childhood. Yes, the show was cheesy as all get-out, but my love of comic books and super-heroes all goes back to Batman, which I faithfully watched in reruns every day after school...
But the thing that cemented me as an Adam West fan is how the actor totally owned his character, and leveraged everybody's love of who he was to get an entirely new career as an animation voice actor. While probably best known for the Mayor of Quahog in The Family Guy, he voiced dozens of roles...
There have been a lot of famous people rushing to express their condolences, but the one we've been waiting for is from Adam West's Robin, Burt Ward. And with that... godspeed, Adam West. You will be missed.
• Black Panther! And... we're finally getting a real look at the long-awaited Black Panther movie. Like everything Marvel touches, it's looking incredible...
And, to think, we've got the new Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok movies coming soon! So great.
• LEGO CATS! What happens when two of your favorite things get smooshed into one? There is a company making LEGO Cats!
AWESOME! Thanks to long-time friend and food blogger extraordinaire, Foodiddy, for the link!
• Nail Me! Of the many tools I've invested in, my pneumatic brad nailer is one of my favorites. Being able to BAP! BAP! BAP! nails into place is a time-saving bit of wonderful I can't get enough of. There's a price you pay, however, and that's having to lug around an air compressor. For this reason, I've been dreaming of buying a nailer that is cordless and tankless... like the Milwaukee 18-Volt 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer...
Problem is... it's like $400, which is a lot of money.
But then Home Depot sends me an email saying it's on sale at 40% off... just $240! And that comes with a new M18 Fuel battery! Sweet! I mean, I don't have $240, so it will have to sit on my credit card with my biscuit cutter, but it's still pretty great. If you're in the market for such a thing, the sale runs through June 21st!
• NEWSFLASH: A Studio Ghibli Theme Park Is CONFIRMED for 2020. — And... guess where I'll be going in 2021? There is no way to properly express my enthusiasm for even the idea of such a magical place.
• Humanity! I think it's awful we have to make commercials to explain lessons in Humanity 101 but, if we must, this is what it should look like...
This wonderful spot on foster homes for kids is not something new for Norway, they are also responsible for this amazing commercial...
And yet I live in a country that would rather build a useless border wall that will ultimately cause more harm than good (while doing fuck-all nothing to solve drugs or illegal immigration problems) instead of put any money towards those who need it most. That's how fucked up things are now, and how far we've fallen from the basic humanity that used to define us. Shameful.
• NEWSFLASH! Jeff Sessions says he’s ‘surprised’ Americans aren’t embracing his anti-marijuana stance. I'm betting a LOT of things surprise this dumbass moron. Like electricity. And indoor toilets. And being able to bring a woman to orgasm...
Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
I am sick and fucking tired of wealthy old white men making decisions based on their idiotic, antiquated notions. Legalization of cannabis is a growing trend because THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY WANT IT, and I find it ironic that Sessions comes from a party who's all about state's rights... except when it comes to something he doesn't like. What a fucking hypocritical douche.
And... no more bullets. There's a new episode of American Gods to be watching!
I am Sundaying so hard right now, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Feral! This past Monday was "National Feral Cat Day." My cats, Jake and Jenny, were feral kittens when they were found. I don't think they quite adapted to foster care, and were still very much feral little scrubbers when I adopted them. Weeks of patience turned into months of building trust which has turned into 1-3/4 years of the best furry friends I could hope for. They are still, in their hearts, feral cats who are very slow to trust. And they hide the minute anything out of the ordinary happens. Sometimes, on rare occasions, they are even wary of me. But most of the time they love crawling all over me for pets and attention and I've never been lonely since they took over my home. Feral cats are more work than those kitten raised around people... but I wouldn't trade mine for the world. If anything, I think I appreciate them more than I would other cats because I had to put effort into getting them to accept me. And once they did? There's no better feeling...
If you have the opportunity to help out a feral cat, the work is definitely worth the reward!
• Dimensions? And so... it would seem that LEGO Dimensions is no more. Typical. Oh well. The gameplay was getting tired... but it was kept fresh by the licensed properties they kept bringing to the table.
Wish they would have got LEGO Star Wars in the mix before signing off... after Disney Infinity dried up, it seemed a natural.
• Get Help! The reviews for Thor: Ragnarok have been stellar. And with each new clip released, I just want to see it more...
• Lucifer! Right now there's a lot of good television going on. In addition to The Good Place, which is the best show on television right now, we've also got Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash, The Orville, and Supergirl... not to mention some of the indy oddball stuff (like Dirk Gently), which makes it tough for me to keep up with my shows. But that one show I will always make time for? Lucifer!
Last season was fantastic because "Mom" came to visit, which led to some interesting directions for the show. Now they seem to be focusing on fleshing out secondary characters instead of bringing in new ones, and I couldn't be happier. Maze is probably the best character on the show after Lucifer, but has been largely marginalized. But this last episode (S03:E03 Mr. and Mrs. Mazikeen Smith) puts her in the spotlight and the results are so amazing I find myself wishing they would spin her off into her own show. If you're not watching, you really should be.
• Jack! Another show I've been very much enjoying has been the revival of Will & Grace. Though I strongly dislike the two main characters, secondary characters Jack and Karen always seem to salvage the show. The latest episode (S09:E04 Grandpa Jack) is no exception. Jack, who discovered he had a son (thanks to a sperm bank "donation") gets an even bigger surprise when he discovers his son had a son, so he's now a grandpa!
I will not spoil the story except to say... it's both hysterically funny and emotionally devastating at the same time. And it has two guest appearances that are absolute gold. When they restarted the show, I was hoping that we'd see Jack's son again. I never expected that his story would be this good. Well worth a look.
• Decor! When I moved into my home, I noticed that the previous owner had left a lot of decor scattered about. None of it was too my taste, so I made it my mission to toss it all out. The only thing left is a lion head above my doorbell and a weird dried flowers plaque with hooks I use for my keys and hats. The plaque was useful, but I vowed to replace it when I found something better... I never did. The lion I was going to ditch when it was removed for painting... but I ended up putting it back. Don't know why. I kinda like him, I guess...
I suppose one of these days I really should go shopping to find a replacement for my key hooks.
And... Sunday is over. So too are the bullets.
I've made no secret about how much I loathe the current crop of DC Comics movies. With the exception of Wonder Woman, they are bad films that take a massive shit on the original source material. Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League were all gut-wrenchingly awful and only get worse upon subsequent viewings. How DC can fuck up this badly when Marvel is nailing it film after film is a complete mystery to me. It's as if the people in charge of DC movie production have taken what made their characters so popular for so long, and then just done the opposite of that.
Fortunately, the people running DC's television shows are on an entirely different level. Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are consistently good, and now we get Black Lightning, which may be saddled with a lame disco costume and sub-par villain... but is otherwise fantastic. I'm not particularly fond of Legends of Tomorrow, but it's still a watchable show. Bravo to The CW Network showrunners who totally get what they need to be doing with DC characters to make them work.
What fans need is for The CW to be given rights to a Superman series and a Batman series. Hell, turn the network into The DC Network and give us Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Legion of Super-Heroes shows too! If there's one thing that Tyler Hoechlin's amazing turn as Superman guest starring in Supergirl has shown us, we need these shows.
In the meanwhile though?
I've been completely hooked on the LEGO DC Comics movies. They are not all home runs, but they are great entertainment and totally watchable in a way the Zack-Snyder-infused movies will never be...
And so... If you're a DC Comics fan who hasn't checked out the movies that LEGO is cranking out, you might want to give them a try. Sure they're filmed with toys, made for kids, and aren't at all serious... but, until Patty Jenkins becomes showrunner for the DC Cinematic Universe, it's about as good as it's going to get.
Until Wonder Woman 2 comes along, of course.
I was lying last week when I said that Spring was just around the corner, because Winter reared its ugly head again this weekend... so better really prepare yourself, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Camera Historica! As somebody who loves photography, loves cameras, and loves history, the story of Sean Flynn's Leica M2 camera is an amazing read. It's a short read, and you should stop reading this and go take a look right now...
After reading this article, I started Googling Sean Flynn because he sounds like such a fascinating person. Turns out he absolutely was. The son of Errol Flynn and Lili Damita, he had an interesting life, a mysterious death, and everything in-between was an effort to forge his own path and find his own way. If you'd like to read more, this article is a good start.
• Black Panther Fever! If you're playing LEGO Marvel Super-Heroes 2 (and why wouldn't you be?) then you must get the Black Panther DLC immediately. If not sooner...
I was hoping for an actual Black Panther movie LEGO game, but I guess this will have to do.
• Pneumatic! Well this is scary. If you only knew the number of times I've rested my pneumatic nail gun on somebody's head... I never thought that it might be dangerous! You learn something new every day!
And, as an aside... ZOMG! DID YOU GUYS KNOW YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO EAT TIDE PODS? IT SAYS SO RIGHT ON THE PACKAGE!! WHO KNEW?!? So much is coming to light now that I've started reading stuff!
• Chaotic Neutral! Every once in a while I fall down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos. And it's not always just cat videos I'm watching. I stumbled upon this one, which is pretty epic...
This is one of those situations where I'm not sure exactly how to feel after having seen it. I definitely agree that it's the perfect way to explain "Chaotic Neutral" to somebody who isn't familiar with Dungeons & Dragons.
• Netflix Binge! I had to work this holiday weekend, but while I was working at home I had Netflix running. Every once in a while I feel the need to watch the service between Marvel shows and seasons of One Day at a Time so that I don't feel bad about paying the monthly fee. Here is what I watched...
• Skippy! And speaking of Chris Evans in The Losers, this scene is pretty much perfect...
Such a great character from such a great movie... I wish they would make a sequel.
Later, bullet gators!
Welcome to the place where the kisses are hers are his and hers and Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Paint! Really good television ads are so rare that they might as well be said not to exist. I certainly spend enough time fast-forwarding through crappy ads. Which is why running across one that's a joy to watch is so great...
Computer animation is getting cheaper and easier every day. But coming up with ideas to use it for effective advertising is as tough as its always been. Congrats, Sherwin-Williams for putting your ad dollars to such good use.
• LEGOtron! This new LEGO set is amazing, though I wish it was from the original film instead of the Tron: Legacy sequel...
Oh please oh please oh please can we get a LEGO TRON video game?
• FAIL! Don't get me wrong... I love that I can get some fairly decent quality furniture at good prices thanks to IKEA... but their quality has taken a total nose-dive. For the third time now I've purchased something that had a mistake in it. This time they stained the wrong edge of a board, leaving the front edge bare...
Given that it's a 3-hour drive back to the Renton showroom, here's hoping that they are able to send me a replacement part in the mail.
• Mr Pool! As the rare X-men film that was actually worth a crap, I loved Deadpool. The sequel is looking even better...
No telling what could happen if Marvel gets the movie rights back for all their mutant comics. Hopefully it's a complete reboot with some decent films which know how to respect the source material.
• Krapton! And speaking of comic book translations... I don't get it. The people behind the new SyFy TV show, Krypton, didn't even attempt to make Krypton seem foreign... let alone alien. So what's the point? They could have saved a lot of money on the special effects and set this in Cleveland or somewhere in England since they say "mate" a lot, have English accents, and use phrases like "chip on your shoulder."
I dunno. Maybe it gets interesting after a few episodes. But it all seems pretty lame to me so far.
• Mission? Apparently a sign that says "NO SOLICITING. NO UNINVITED VISITORS. NO RELIGIOUS APPEALS. NO POLITICAL CAUSES. NO SALESPEOPLE. NO PETITIONS, NO CHARITY." means nothing to some people...
When I asked the missionaries who showed up tonight AT 8:45PM what part of the giant red sign they didn't understand, they said they were curious about what's behind putting a sign up like that. Well, genius, it's not a big fucking mystery. The sign is up because I don't want to listen to your shit... and I really don't want you terrorizing my feral rescue cats by ringing my doorbell.
What kills me is that they have a laugh over ignoring the sign before they ring the bell. They also ignored they sign telling them that they were being recorded...
And apparently after you've violated somebody's posted request, then are specifically told to leave because the property-owner is not interested... the way to change their mind is to leave unwanted pamphlets on their door?
I have no problem with a person's beliefs, just so long as they don't infringe on mine. Like showing up at my home uninvited and not respecting my request for privacy. You can believe that Joseph Smith dug up some magical plates with Bible 2.0 on them if you want (something which, if you have studied The Bible even a little bit, is a hysterical concept)... but when somebody tells you to please leave them alone, your believing that you have a right to disrespect that request makes you a fucking asshole... I don't care who you are.
Happy trails to you, until next Sunday...
Welp, my air conditioner has finally kicked in, so I guess that means summer is here... so I'm keeping it cool because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Villains! It's no secret that I love the entire catalog of LEGO video games. They're not particularly challenging, but that's the appeal for me. I can shut my brain off and just enjoy things without stressing over it all. And now? DC Super-Villains...
So great. What's not so great? I don't have a system to play it on. Looks like a Nintendo Switch might be in my future. Once they drop to a price I can afford, that is.
• Goodbye to Film! Nikon stopped making film cameras back in 2006. Now Canon is Officially Done Selling Film Cameras After 80 Years. I honestly don't know how to feel about the death of film. My first "serious" camera was a Canon film camera that my parents gave me as a graduation present. I loved the thing, and was still shooting with it as early as five years ago. What I love about film is the mystery of it all. You don't know what you're going to get. Even if you THINK you know what you're going to get, there's a chemical reaction taking place that can make surprising things happen. Not that I am sad that the world went digital. On the contrary, it has made photography so much more enjoyable for me specifically because the mystery is gone. I know whether or not I got the shot immediately after taking it. And I don't have the expense of film and developing it keeping me from experimenting with new things. I can shoot hundreds of photos, delete all but the ones I want, then shoot hundreds more at no additional expense. And yet... the end of film is an end to an era which was some of the best entertainment I had for nearly two decades of my life.
• Flop! My television is on HGTV (Home and Garden Television) 90% of the time, and I watch all the home renovation shows. One of those that became almost too annoying for its own good was Flip or Flop. A show which imploded when its stars had an epic tabloid-worthy breakup that resulted in divorce. Now, a year later, they're back...
This past week the first new episode since their split finally aired. It was cringe-inducing awkward... but more entertaining than the show has been in years. And so... I guess I'm going to keep watching. But I fully plan on hating myself while doing so.
• Older! As I tear apart my garage to make room for my wood shop, I'm running across all kinds of interesting items from my past. Like my old Walkman!
And also? Rubylith masking film. Something I used by the car-load during the early days of graphic design layout. The mask was sticky and attached to a clear acetate layer, so you could create masks that can be stacked up...
Ah memories. But I wouldn't change music on my iPhone or computer layout for all the Walkmans and Rubylith in the world.
• Villains! As I started cleaning out my refrigerator, I found six... SIX... containers of mayonnaise open...
WHY?!?? HOW?!?? There are times that I think I might be bat-shit crazy. This is one of those times.
• Faith! Reelz, who has been churning out a steady stream of really good TV shows about tragic music stars, recently came out with new shows on George Michael, including their George Michael’s Lonely Life which was quite good. And reminded me about when George appeared with James Cordon for the first Carpool Karaoke, and James' reaction to his death...
Still sad that George is gone. His music at the end was every bit as interesting as when it began, and I was looking forward to more of it.
And lo, Apple did unleash another World Wide Developer's Conference this week.
Given my rapidly diminishing enthusiasm for Apple, I wasn't the least bit compelled to drop everything and watch it live. Instead I made it my after-dinner entertainment tonight.
Here are my thoughts on the parts that stood out to me...
If there's a promise for the future of computing that most people can see coming, it's augmented reality. Apple has teamed up with Pixar to create the USDZ file format for AR Kit 2. This is a fascinating advancement, and the fact that Adobe has grabbed it by the throat and promised support for USDZ in Creative Cloud bodes well for the format. Craig Federighi demonstrated customizing a USDZ guitar and dropping it into reality at actual size so you can visualize exactly what it will look like in your space...
Federighi then demoed AR "Shared Experiences" where two people were playing the same game from their own perspective, and it looks pretty amazing...
But the coolest demo? LEGO!!! They've shown how their physical models can be recognized by AR Kit, then expanded upon with virtual "sets" which are interactive in AR space. Then they showed how two people could explore the space with their own characters at the same time as your real-life model comes alive...
You can even look inside the physical model to see what's happening inside of it. Kids are going to love this. Especially LEGO-loving BIG kids like me!
The future of AR is mind-boggling. You just know that Apple is developing a headset for full VR/AR envelopment. It will be cool to visit the world... real and imagined... from your sofa.
I'm still sore from Apple discontinuing Aperture, but they're adding interesting features to Photos, including search, which I'm assuming is making use of their machine-learning algorithm. This will make it easy to dig through the bajillion images on my iPhone. Other features, like automatic image collaboration between iPhone users are also a step in the right direction.
I use Alexa on my Amazon Echo dozens of times a day because she can do so much stuff. I rarely use Siri because she can't really do much of anything. Apple seems to be aware of this, and is attempting to make Siri more relevant and useful. A big step up is "Siri Shortcuts," which allows Siri to be customized for your life, and even monitor your habits and schedule to suggest ways she can help out. It's all nice, and will probably encourage me to use Siri more, but my primary use of a digital assistant is home automation. Unfortunately Apple is married to their shitty, shitty "HomeKit," which I gave up on. Maybe if they start allowing other automation interfaces... like my ISY... I'd be able to use Siri for many of the things I use Alexa for.
It's kind of bizarre that Apple is advocating not using your iPhone so much, but once they sell you the phone, they probably don't care how often you use it. To that end, they've expanded what "Do Not Disturb" can do, added new features to slow or group Notifications, and even added "Screen Time" which can monitor and limit how much you use certain apps. Parents can use "Screen Time" to monitor, adjust, and allow/disallow apps on their kid's phones remotely... and restrict access to certain apps and sites. It's a great idea... but I wonder how many people will use it. They use their phone when they want to use their phone and it seems bizarre to set limits on that. Our lives are our phones now, for better or worse.
I rarely use Animoji. Apple adding the ability to stick your tongue out or customize Animoji to look like you with "Memoji" is probably not going to change that. It's fun, and very cool... but I don't see it getting much use from me...
Being able to put an Animoji over your head and add stickers live for photos is an interesting spin, however...
Maybe I'll be more apt to video chat if I can use an avatar like this and not have to worry whether or not I'm having a good hair day.
Group Facetime for up to 32 people at the same time is a pretty incredible technical achievement. The fact that Apple made the feature so smart is what makes Apple be Apple. When somebody starts speaking, they enlarge so you know who's doing the talking. You can also use Live Animoji or Live Memoji during Facetime calls. This would be a complete zoo, but an interesting one.
I always like to see how Apple Watch is maturing but, until they find a way to make it thinner on my skinny arm, I'm just not interested... no matter how many cool and useful features get added. Kinda sad how Apple has resurrected the dreaded "push-to-talk" and is calling it "Walkie Talkie." I frickin' hate push-to-talk because I don't want to hear people shouting to each other over a phone (or watch) in public. Aren't phone calls irritating enough?
I really like my Apple TV, but it's got a lot of problems that no amount of new features are going to fix. I can't tell you how many times I've had it lock up. Or be unable to stream a purchase. Or have the interface go all screwy for no reason. I reboot the dang thing so many times that I finally bought an electrical plug that I can control on my iPhone so I don't have to get up, unplug it, then plug it back in. When I contact Apple support, they tell me the problem is always, always, always my internet. So I switched from cable to fiber, which is ten times faster download speed. Still having problems. If bandwidth issues are such an AppleTV-killer, they need to have their apps be a lot smarter on handling it. None of the other apps on my AppleTV have any problems. Netflix, HBO, CBS, ABC, YouTube, Hulu... all of them just fine. So it's not the AppleTV hardware... it's Apple's software that's the problem. You'd think with billions of dollars Apple could get somebody to fix their shit, but no.
"We love the Mac! — Tim Cook says this every time he presents the Mac at WWDC. He pretty much has to say it because Mac users aren't seeing it. I am almost to my breaking point with frustration at just how bad MacOS has gotten. Printing is so screwed up that it's almost impossible to get work done. Way too many times I end up having to put my work into a PDF and send it to a colleague so they can print it on their Windows machine. Apple can blame printer companies all they want, but it's their OS updates which cause things to break. And lately Apple introduced a huge bug which makes your mouse pointer unable to access menus if you go to the very top of the screen. You have to move the pointer down on the menu bar in order to get a menu to work. WHAT THE FUCK?!?? does ANYBODY bother to beta test this shit anymore? Who the fuck releases such obvious bugs into an OS update? Apple. That's who. They may "love the Mac" but they are constantly shitting all over it, so you'll have to excuse me for not believing them.
Apple has been promising automated file stacking and organization for years... but the only place it was ever implemented was in the Dock. Now it's come to the desktop. This is a nice feature for people like me who make a huge mess out of their desktop on a daily basis. But this is the biggest new feature of the next
Adding handy tools to QuickLook is nice, but they aren't very smart about where they are putting their efforts. What about the third party tool you have to buy in order to modify file dates and manipulate other file data? THAT'S WHAT THE FINDER SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO! But instead we get the ability to trim a video clip in the Mac file manager? WTF? Handy, yes, but is editing video something you really need to do on the desktop? Is opening up iMovie really so difficult? How about adding new file tools to the file manager? Revolutionary, I know.
I actually use News on my iPhone, so I'm happy that Apple is bringing the app to my desktop.
I will say this again for those in the cheap seats... HomeKit is utter shit. Partly because AppleTV is totally inadequate as a hub for it. Mostly because it's so restrictive that anybody serious about home automation just doesn't give a shit about it. I tried HomeKit with my locks and couldn't wait to get rid of it. Unreliable, slow, and not nearly pervasive enough with manufacturers, Apple should just buy a company that actually knows how to do this and give up on their massive failure.
Apple's continuing efforts to protect its users' privacy is admirable. No matter how far they go, it will never be far enough, but I'm grateful for what we do get.
Machine Learning is one of those things that's incredibly useful, and the fact that Apple has been advancing in this area so rapidly is encouraging. And now they've created tools for analyzing datasets which make it easier than ever to get information into a machine learning environment. The possibilities here are mind-boggling, and one of the few exciting things to be happening in MacOS X. Whether it will get put to good use is anybody's guess.
Here we go with "We love the Mac" again. This time in the context of the question "Is Apple merging iOS and MacOS?" The answer is "no," but Apple is bringing more of the tools from iOS to MacOS so that iOS apps can be ported to the Mac. Which is great for developers. If your app can run on a phone, pad, and desktop, then this is a big step forward to making it easier to get there.
And that was the end of that. No new hardware released announced for the MacOS X side of things, which is hugely disappointing. Apple used to absolutely rule this arena. Even people who had to run Windows were buying Mac laptops to do it because they were just that good. But Apple doesn't seem to give a shit now... releasing "pro" equipment that's not what "pros" even want. Instead of true innovation we get a "touch bar" or some silly shit slapped on, which is just a weak effort to hide the fact that the base specs aren't much better than they were five years ago. Oh well. Apple had a good run, but I guess it couldn't last forever. Hopefully Adobe will port their software to Linux so I can switch away from Apple before they hit rock bottom.
Where's the ghost of Steve Jobs when you need him?
Ages ago (when blogging was still a thing) I had "met" a guy named Craig on his blog, Puntabulous! It was one of the funniest things I've ever read and I became an immediate fan (so much so that I ended up guest-posting there). Sadly, Puntabulous! Has been lost to the ages (and the Wayback Machine has only spotty entries archived). Currently Craig's old site seems to have been poached by a Slovakian link farm or something, but we'll always have the memories!
Fast-forward nine years and I'm part of a gift exchange where, miracle of miracles, I get Craig's name. I'm never sure what I am supposed to buy for gift exchanges, so I decided to to mash-up some of his favorite things and make something for him (the only way I could be sure I wasn't getting him something he already had!). And those things are... LEGO, Power Rangers, Star Trek: The Next Generation, his boyfriend Steve, and his cabin.
Custom LEGO Craig posters it is then!
This is what I came up with...
I am a huge fan of LEGO video games, so I thought I could just draw little minifies doing fun things and be done with it. Except it was a lot harder than it looked to get them looking "real" so I ended up downloading a 3D model that I could pose in Blender...
Then drop them into the layouts I had come up with...
I didn't know much about the Power Rangers except that they would scream "It's Morphin Time!" and transform from super-powered-ninjas into robot dinosaurs. Or something like that. After little Google research I found out there were loads of Power Rangers series. I liked the logo for Ninja Steel because I could turn it into Ninja Craig. All I had to do was drop in Steve Blue Ranger and Rita Repulsa, and, done...
At first I had the same generic helmets for both Rangers but, upon closer inspection, I noticed that all the Rangers had different helmets! This meant I had to go back and re-draw them to be accurate...
I'm more of a "original series" guy than a "Next Generation guy," but had seen all the episodes (of course), so it was easy to decide what I wanted to do...
I drew Craig as Number One, Steve as Data, and was planning on putting a LEGO Enterprise-D in the background. But I could never get it to look recognizable in simple LEGO form. Then I did some cyber-stalking and found a photo of Craig wearing a T-shirt that had the "LEGO Space" logo drawn as an X-Wing circling the Death Star...
Very cool! The original logo is the one I grew up with and looks like this...
It was made cool again when they introduced Benny in The LEGO Movie ...
It was a simple matter to redraw it for Star Trek: The Next Generation like so...
My original idea (shown in my sketch above) was to have LEGO Craig in a majestic pose while Steve was being surprised by a bear in the background. The LEGO bear is a rare piece that goes for big money on eBay, but I was able to find enough photos of it that I could probably draw it. Problem is, the LEGO bear is kinda hard to recognize in a cartoon drawing, so I decided to give poor LEGO Steve a break and attempt to draw Craig's actual cabin in LEGO back there...
It ended up looking pretty good once I got the LEGO studs on the roof panels. Then I added some happy little LEGO trees and happy little LEGO plants and I was good to go. But my favorite part is the plaid shirt "print" on LEGO Craig...
Has me anxious for February 2019 to get here so I can see The LEGO Movie 2...
Who knew that LEGO DUPLO would end up being so evil?
Rejoice and be saved... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Stuck In Your Head! Oh man, I cannot wait for February 8th!
And... it's stuck in my head! So good!
• Judas? Two of my favorite YouTubers are John Crist and Trey Kennedy. Every once in a while they collaborate on a video and the result is darn funny. Like their latest: If Bible Characters Had iPhones...
Here's another one that's entirely too funny...
• Baroque! There's an artist named Christy Lee Rogers who is creating these stunning underwater photos that look like amazing baroque paintings...
The article over at My Modern Met is a must-see.
• NEWS! Conservatives are outraged a gay couple is on the cover of ‘Parents’ magazine
“Mothers and fathers are seeing more and more similar examples of children being indoctrinated to perceive same-sex couples as normal, especially in the media,” an unsigned blog post on One Million Moms’s website says. — Oh dear. My eyes just rolled to the back of my head and are stuck there. I am typing this while blind, so please excuse any spelling mistakes.
If a same-sex couple is what you have for parents... and they love you, care for you, provide for you, and foster your growth into adulthood... THEN YOUR PARENTS ARE FUCKING NORMAL! Likewise, if you have only one parent (for whatever reason) and they are doing their best to provide the same? THAT'S A FUCKING NORMAL FAMILY TOO!
“It could be displayed in waiting rooms of dentist and doctor offices, where children could easily be subjected to the glorification of same-sex parents,” the blog post says. — YES, GOD FORBID YOUR CHILDREN SEE A PHOTO OF A HAPPY FAMILY. THEY MIGHT THINK IT'S OKAY TO NOT BULLY THE KID WHO HAS TWO DADS!
• Dads! AND, YES, IT DOES OCCUR IN NATURE. IT IS ACCORDING TO GOD'S PLAN. AND ALL YOUR ENERGY HATING PEOPLE WOULD BE BETTER SPENT NOT BEING ASSHOLES. WHY NOT TRY BEING ACTUAL CHRISTIANS FOR ONCE?
Penguins are the best!
• Jesus Christ. When you lie, like, ALL THE TIME... it gets hard to keep your lies straight...
I mean, holy shit...
You know it's fucking bad when the Saturday Night Live parodies aren't as funny as our actual government...
This is just exhausting. I am physically and mentally checked out.
And... I'm done. DONE!
The first thing I did when I bought my house was to rip out the door locks so my keychain would be two keys lighter. My new locks are opened via keypads or via an app on my phone... no key required.
In case you haven't guessed, I am not a fan of keys. They are (literally) ancient technology that isn't necessary in this day and age. And yet I have loads of them. Most of my keys are at home in my safe. The only two I lug around with me are my car key and my office key. To carry them around more easily, I bought a minfig keychain at The LEGO Store. It looks like Greedo from Star Wars, but it's actually an ambassador from Greedo's planet named Onaconda Farr.
That was years ago.
After a while Onaconda Farr's face and clothes rubbed off. His antennae and ears also wore down. And, last week, one of his legs fell off(!).
So I found a replacement on eBay for $5 and ordered it last week. And now he has arrived...
So cool. Almost makes me not dislike keys so much.
And, oh yeah... today I drove back over the mountains from my Birthday Weekend celebration with my friends.
I was happy to see that there's still plenty of snow in the mountains. Perhaps it's enough that we don't have to worry about drought this summer? I certainly hope so...
And now back to Real Life.
Such as it is.
The time for revolution is now... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Lander! In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first Apollo Moon Landing, LEGO has released this amazing new set...
It's pretty dope...
It's also $99, which seems totally worth it, if you've got that kind of money to burn.
• Saga! Speaking of LEGO... they've just announced that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be released in 2020, combining all nine films in a single game...
I'm guessing that it will be the existing Star Wars games but with new material added at the end to close out the saga. Since it is being released for the Nintendo Switch, I don't mind that at all. I'd love to replay everything from the beginning.
• Lucifer! One of my favorite shows, Lucifer was cancelled, then picked up by Netflix. Apparently it did well enough that they are giving the show a fifth season to wrap everything up...
Time to celebrate...
It's a bit depressing that the show will finally be ending... but at least they have the opportunity to create an actually ending.
• Eighty-Four! Director Patty Jenkins released a teaser poster for Wonder Woman 84 this week. One year to go before we know whether this "Not A Sequel But a Reimagining" is going to be worth a crap...
I'd like to think it will be, especially since Jenkins is back onboard, but it's really impossible to say. Why they would toss away a continuing story for some kind of soft reboot is puzzling. Unless it's because the DC Cinematic Universe was a pile of shit and they wanted to just bury that once and for all? 360-whatever days until we find out.
• Jedi Thrones! Well, this is pretty special...
Given what a massive disappointment the final season of Game of Thrones was, I'm happy to see anything that redeems the franchise, so I'll take what I can get. In the meanwhile, there's this interesting look at how things went South.
• Chase Dreams! One of the biggest surprises of the past year's television season was The Other Two, which was hilariously funny in places, despite kinda sliding late in the season...
Still, if you're bored and want something to watch over the summer, this is worth a look. It's pretty foul and definitely not a good fit for mixed company, but you can stream it for a limited time at Comedy Central.
• Fan! A bit of a different direction for MUNA here...
Can't wait for their new album in September!
Have a great Sunday!
Okay, the time for revolution wasn't then after all, it's now... maybe... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Too! As a huge Miley Cyrus fan, I was very much looking forward to her episode in the new Black Mirror mini-season (just three episodes). I was not disappointed. Not only was her episode hilarious in all the right ways, it was surprisingly upbeat. Usually Black Mirror is about as dystopian bleak as it gets, but Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too? Not so much...
Miley plays "Ashley O," a huge pop star who ends up with a robotic doll that her fans can buy...
I don't know who was responsible for designing that robot, but it is the best thing ever. And it's tough to tell you exactly why that's the case without spoiling anything, so I will stay silent. Except to say that "Ashley O" has released a video for her awesome song On a Roll (a parody on Nine Inch Nails' Head Like a Hole)...
If you're a Black Mirror fan, you've probably already seen this. If not (and you have Netflix), this is the episode to watch. Especially the final third, which is genius.
• Jones! On the opposite end of the spectrum is the third (and final) season of Netflix's Jessica Jones, the last of their Marvel Studio tie-ins...
What can I say? It was 100% crap from start to finish. Instead of focusing on Jessica Jones, it got mired in endless bullshit centered around the supporting characters. NEWSFLASH: Nobody gives a shit about Hogarth, Trish, Malcolm, Zaya, Dorothy, Kith, Costa, or anybody else who isn't Jessica Jones. Especially when they are this boring. SUPPORTING CHARACTERS ARE SUPPOSED TO SUPPORT THE MAIN CHARACTER! The only supporting character who didn't irritate me because they actually had an interesting role that moved Jessica Jones' story forward was Erik Gelden. Surprisingly, they managed to retool the lame "Mind-Wave" from the comics and use him to good effect.
Originally I was sad that Netflix canceled all of their Marvel shows, but this lame-ass season (featuring a laughably absurd arc for Trish Walker) has me reconsidering. If this was what we were in for, maybe cancelation was for the best.
• Park! Welp, the new Jurassic Park LEGO sets are amazing...
Another LEGO mining for Samuel L. Jackson!
• Memorial. I had never seen this before...
Visited the grave of my friend’s father and witnessed a remarkable ceremony. The letters on the white crosses almost disappear in the brightness of the stone, so a soldier fills the indentations with sand from Omaha Beach to bring the name forward. It sent shivers down my spine. pic.twitter.com/e2G8KvvALt— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) June 6, 2019
• America by Gaslight! An essential read.
• Katzenjammers! And now I close out this Bullet Sunday with one of the weirdest things you'll see all week...
Cats don't need any help being weird, but this certainly shows it's possible to make them even weirder than they already are.
And, on that note of the utterly bizarre, I'll see you next Sunday.
And... my one shopping day of the year is here! Every month I put aside $100 for clothes and "other stuff" then wait until Black Friday to buy all the clothes and "other stuff" I need. $100 a month is quite a chunk of cash to not have in my pocket, but worth it when I end up with $1200 in November that magically becomes $2400 (or more!) on Black Friday thanks to all the sales and savings.
Below I refer to "Rakuten Cash Back" in a lot. Rakuten bought out eBates and have taken over their cashback operations. It's a pretty easy way to save even more money on Black Friday (or any other day) and you can sign up to get $10 right off the bat with my referral link right here.
And now? On with my Black Friday scores...
AKASO DASH CAM! • Reg. $66, Paid $38 (after Amazon cash back)
My previous dash cam was $20 and has lasted for four years before falling apart and going glitchy. As I mentioned, I am afraid to drive without one given how crazy distracted drivers are, so I was hoping hoping hoping I could get a nice one on sale. I was going to buy another $20 camera, but the cheap ones force you to remove the tiny memory card every time you want the footage. With a WiFi model like this you can just connect with your iPhone and grab the video directly. Handy! Plus... GPS! Worth the additional $18.
SHOES! • Reg. $170, Paid $128
I should have bought shoes last Black Friday, but I thought I could get one more year out of the pair I have. I'm not rough on shoes... they usually last me four or five years... so a little Shoe Goo will keep them together right? They still look great... it's just the soles that are falling apart. But back in August the soles fell complete apart. My plan was to buy a cheap pair of $20 shoes, rip the soles off, then glue them on mine. This seemed extreme. Instead I used more Shoe Goo to piece everything together. It worked surprisingly well. But I needed new shoes. I would have loved to have found the same model I had before... but of course shoe companies don't do that. I also would have loved to have spent under $100... but of course the shoes I found that I liked weren't under $100. Oh well. It's still 25% off, which is better than nothing.
ALEXA! Reg. $99 • Paid $33 (with trade-in and Amazon cash back)
I bought a SONOS One for my bedroom. It's absolutely fantastic, and fills the room with amazing sound. Problem is, the AirPlay 2 on it is glitchy as hell, which means the audio has constant drop-outs when I'm playing content from my Apple TV. And Apple TV keeps "forgetting" that the SONOS exists, so I am having to reconnect several times a week. It's maddening, because 95% of the time I'm using it for my television. And so I decided to get an Echo (3rd Gen.) which has a 3.5mm audio line-in that I can run directly from my television. I traded in the old Amazon Echo I have in the bathroom for $25, so it ends up being a $35 spend. No, the sound won't be as good as my SONOS One, but it's gotten good reviews for its quality and will be good enough... plus I can transfer the SONOS One to my upstairs bathroom, which will be amazing for listening to music each morning while I shower and get ready.
iTUNES! GIFT CARD • Reg. $100, Paid $70 (with Rakuten Sign-up Bonus)
As is my custom every year, I buy a $100 iTunes gift card at 20% off to cover the Marvel movies and sale movies I buy each year. I joined Rakuten and they gave me $10 cash back for my first purchase, so this year it was an especially sweet 30% off!
OUTDOOR NEST CAM! • Reg. $199, Paid $159
I have two camera systems. A wired system with local recording that has a battery backup and will run even with no power or internet... and a Nest cloud system which is constantly uploading footage to the internet. The Nest cameras are fantastic, but I was ready to ditch them all because the per-camera cloud service cost was absurdly expensive. But they made an announcement a while back that this would be changing to a much cheaper "bulk plan" where all cameras would be covered for one price. Given this, I decided to keep all my Nest cameras and replace a failed outdoor camera with another Nest. But not the new "Nest Cam IQ" which has the stupidest mounting requirements (DRILL A HOLE THROUGH YOUR HOUSE!), I got the original Nest Cam Outdoor. I budgeted to get it for $129, but the savings ended up being less steep than I had hoped.
HELLO! • Reg. $229, Paid $149
The first smart doorbell I had was the original "Ring" model. It was huge, but it worked well. Then Ring sent me an offer I couldn't refuse... a 4th generation smaller "Ring Pro" model upgrade for a fraction of the retail price. Sadly, it has never worked as well. But an even bigger problem with Ring is that it is SO slow. By the time they notify you that somebody has rang your doorbell, they've long gone. And trying to review the cloud footage is futile because it takes forever for it to upload and be available. Since my Nest cloud cameras are always available instantly and very quick to notify, I've wanted to get a Nest Hello doorbell replacement. Now that Google Nest is having a bulk deal on cloud services for multiple devices come 2020, this was a no-brainer.
PRESSURE COOKER! • Reg. $120, Paid $35 (after Rakuten cash back)
I already mentioned this one earlier this week. Thanks to a goof by a website (they switched the sale prices of the 6-quart and 8-quart for half-a-day) I finally got an Instant Pot (or, to be more accurate, an Instant Pot knock-off) for $35. SCORE! I bought this as a flawless egg cooker, but have ended up using it for lots of stuff. Not something I had planned on buying (or had budgeted for) but I was happy to find it.
UNDERWEAR! • Reg. $102, Paid $46 (after Rakuten cash back)
Half of my skivvies are literally falling apart. But I keep wearing them and repairing them because I need enough that I can do full loads of laundry. Fortunately, Old Navy had an EVERYTHING IS 50% OFF SALE plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more. I was able to get 10 pair of quality underwear, some socks, and a couple pair of touch-screen-friendly gloves for $51. Old Navy tends to hold up pretty good, so that was money well-spent. Especially since I earned $40 in SuperCash I can spend on more Old Navy, plus $5 cash-back from Rakuten, which means I am essentially getting all this for $6?!? (assuming I spend the $40).
CLOTHES! • Reg. $947, Paid $367 (after Rakuten cash back)
My favorite jeans, hands down, are Banana Republic slim-fit. They are comfortable, look good, and (most importantly) they last forever. Seriously, I have jeans from four years ago that look new. Unfortunately, my American Eagle jeans do not hold up as well and are needing to be replaced. I took Banana Republic up on their 50% off Black Friday offer and buy four pair. With the Rakuten cash back, they're knocked down to $41.25 a pair! SCORE! Then I headed over to The Gap and Banana Republic Factory for some dress shirts, T-Shirts, casuals, and gloves at 60% off off $480 plus $20-something in Rakuten cash back. Not too shabby.
Grand total? $1025 spent for $2032 in merchandise. Or almost exactly 50% in savings. With tax adding $82, my total spend this year was $1107. So... woohoo! I've got $93 left!
I should keep it in the bank and roll it over for next year... but... the LEGO Jurassic World video game for Nintendo Switch is on sale for twenty bucks!
I guess I'll just blow the remainder on cocaine and hookers. Does anybody know where I can find cocaine and hookers for $70?
And so there it goes. I now have enough new clothes and toys to last me until next Black Friday. And until then... time to start squirreling away another $100 a month. Which never seems like much fun until today.
We may be at the beginning of a pandemic, but the bullets are still flying... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Hertz! Michael Hertz has passed away. He is largely responsible for one of the most beautiful and elegant map designs you'll find. It's the New York City subway map, which sought to simplify and clarify the depiction of the various lines by making them easier to understand...
There were other versions of this map over the decades, but this modern version from 1978 is the one most people today are familiar with. It was proceeded by an equally beautiful (yet slightly more confusing) version by Massimo Vignelli...
My first dozen times visiting New York City I ended up buying a new fold-out pocket subway map each time because I always forgot to bring an old one with me. Now, of course, I've just got the map on my iPhone. But I'll always have a place in my heart for the map I used for decades to get me around the city.
• Nygaard! Another designer who passed away that's definitely worth noting? Jens Nygaard, the guy who created the LEGO minifigs...
As somebody who started with LEGO before the minifig was introduced, this was absolutely a game changer. Prior to the minifies, which I believe I first got in the LEGO Space sets, we just drew a face on a stack of bricks. The "official" people of the LEGO Universe were a fantastic addition to the toy which took it in a fantastic direction that continues to this day.
• Dyson! Completing the trifecta of those who passed away this past week... Freeman Dyson. This brilliant mathematician, physicist, and astronomer (among other things) was such a huge influence on me that my pen-name, Maach Allon Dyson, was in honor of him. Because, seriously, just look at some of his accomplishments from his Wikipedia page. Though the thing that he's likely best known for... especially by me... is the Dyson sphere...
The idea is that a technologically advanced civilization would have the ability to maximize use of energy from their sun... by surrounding it with a sphere or a sphere of rings or a sphere of panels or something like that. It's a mind-blowing idea that would require mining materials from a huge number of celestial bodies (such as comets and asteroids) in order to construct. Pretty fantastic stuff.
• Apps on Parade! I ran across this video and had to laugh at just how frickin' brilliant it is at showing the sheer absurdity of Adobe's "Creative Cloud." I pay $57.34 per month to use exactly four of them... Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat. I also use Lightroom Classic to catalog my photos, but it's not something I need to have. Which means I essentially use less than 1/10th of the apps I have to pay for...
I would be willing to bet that this is the case for at least half of the people paying for Creative Cloud. Hardly getting our money's worth here, but that's what happens when you've got a lock on the industry. My only hope is that eventually another developer... most likely Affinity... will get to the point where Adobe will not be the only option for me. But until then? Blergh.
• Manga Mac! Apple released a clever new commercial which shows various times that Macs have appeared in Japanese manga animation. It's pretty great...
Just makes me want to rewatch the hundreds of manga that I've loved over the years.
• New Horizons! And speaking of ads in Japan... Nintendo really knows how to hit all the feels in their advertising...
The new version of Animal Crossing called Animal Crossing: New Horizons drops on March 20. It's one of those games that always starts out interesting, but I grow bored with fairly quickly. There's only so many fish and bugs you can catch before it gets old. Though maybe the online collaboration will keep it interesting for longer? I don't know that I want to spend $60 to find out.
And with that, bullets have come to a close this fine Sunday. Wash your hands!
Free speech has consequences, which is nothing new to bloggers like me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Colosseo! My mom's favorite landmark is the Roman Colosseum. She asked to visit it every trip we made to Rome which, I believe, was four times (it was a cruise stop twice and a trip stop twice). I'd ask her why she loved it so much and she'd say "I don't know... I just do." When I told her that maybe she was a gladiator in a previous life, she thought that was funny and started telling people that when showing this photo...
Because of this, I very much wish she was still alive, because Rome is renovating the Colosseum, and I think the idea of being able to stand on the floor of the Colosseum arena would be so thrilling to her that we would have definitely made a fifth trip once it was completed. This is really, really cool, and I'd love to be able to visit again. But it won't be the same without my mom there to share it.
• LEGO! I have to say... whomever works in LEGO advertising which came up with this ad for a "Make Your Own MiniFig" game apparently doesn't have the same filthy mind that I do, because, well...
Is that a hotdog in your pants, madam, or are you just happy to see me?
• PERFECT! I've watched this TikTok more times that I'd ever admit. It's hilarious because it's true...
This is so accurate😭😂 @jojo_arianna #foryoupage #foryou #relatable #viral♬ original sound - WASIL🦋 حب نفسك
Though I'd argue the point that this is how girls make coffee, because I see plenty of guys doing essentially this. And given my distaste for coffee, this would absolutely be me as well.
• Cute Gay Shit! TikTok is so much more than funny coffee memes. There is some genuinely touching stuff on there that gives me hope for all humanity...
#stitch with @krazykris88 #MyStyle #tiktok #lgbtq♬ original sound - Johnathan Francis
And just KNOW that this gentleman gets lumped in with people he’s condemning because of how he looks and talks. You know it. God bless you, sir.
• NEWSFLASH! FORBES: Close To A Worst-Case Scenario—Former CDC Director Issues ‘Horrifying’ Outlook For New Covid Strain. If your balls don't shrivel up after reading this, then you probably don't have balls. But you are alive if you're reading this, balls or no balls, which means you should be horrified that there are still people not taking this shit seriously. Protect yourself. Protect others. This has catastrophe written all over it.
• Specs? Apple is the most ridiculous fucking company. They want to make their products as simple to use as possible by taking all the "tech" out of everything. Which is fine. EXCEPT YOU CAN NEVER MANAGE TO GET ANY FUCKING SPECS FOR ANYTHING THEY SELL. Will this cable work for charging? I dunno. What is the maximum transfer rate for this cable? I dunno. Can I quick-charge with this cable? I dunno. What about the charger? I dunno. Can you at least tell me if it is USB-PD compliant? I dunno. They literally tell you NOTHING in their support docs or on anything in their entire store. — If you want to shield your customers from scary tech-speak, fine. But at least have the fucking information SOMEWHERE for the people who need to know this shit. Their solution for everything is to say "Well, if it doesn't work, you can always return it." Which is an astound attitude to take considering that it wastes my time and their resources, and I'm getting seriously tired of it.
• Apolitical! My existence right now:
REPUBLICANS: You're just a Democrat shill.
DEMOCRATS: You're just a Republican shill.
ME: I AM NEITHER A DEMOCRAT NOR A REPUBLICAN! I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO WORSHIP POLITICIANS AND FALL IN LINE WITH A POLITICAL PARTY RUN BY WEALTHY ASSHOLES THAT ARE PROPPED UP BY WEALTHY CORPORATIONS WHO DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT US! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE A NON-PARTY SHILL?! WHY DOES MY SHILLNESS HAVE TO BE ATTACKED LIKE THIS? I AM A SHILL FOR ALL HUMANITY! AND A SHILL FOR CATS! TOWANDAAAAAAA!!!
Because, like, how could you not be a shill for floofy bellies like dis?
Stay frosty out there, my friends.