Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
I'm endlessly fascinated with the free "Google Earth" application.
It's always running on my work Mac, and any time I have to take a phone call or am waiting for something, I pop it up and explore the world. Sometimes I travel to cities I've been to before and revisit interesting places. Other times I jet off to somewhere new. A place that I've always dreamed of visiting, but haven't gotten around to yet. Still other times I just fly around the planet looking for something nifty to look at. Google Earth makes it easy...
The coolest part of Google Earth is how they are continuously adding 3-D content which sits on top of the map and allows you to explore the world in an entirely new way. You can fly to Seattle, for example...
Then zoom in and pan the camera to start exploring things in glorious three-dimensions...
And they're adding new models all the time. Partially-completed content floats above the map until completed. Like in Paris, for example, where these buildings are awaiting textures...
This morning I found out that Walt Disney World has tons of 3-D content. Flying over to The Magic Kingdom, I was amazed at the fantastic job they did with Cinderella's Castle...
Peeking around the castle, I see they even have the rides rendered...
The level of detail is amazing. They even modeled the boats on The Jungle Cruise...
And it's not just the popular Disney landmarks that are given the 3-D treatment... Epcot's World Showcase is beautifully constructed...
Even the resort properties are fully rendered in beautiful detail. Like my favorite hotel, Disney's Wilderness Lodge...
If you want to do a little exploring of your own, you can pick up a free copy of Google Earth at the official site.
Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
The topic du jour seems to be, what else, Barack Obama's inauguration.
Ultimately most conversations boiled down to how confident everybody was in Obama's ability to turn things around for the USA and leave it in better shape than he found it after four years in office. Everybody I've talked to was surprisingly optimistic. Even the Republicans felt that Obama has such momentum behind him that things were bound to improve in the short-run, even though they were wary of his policies over the long haul.
My only contribution to the conversation was this: "When you're at rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. Obama has no choice but to make things better because they can't get any worse." Which is not entirely true (of course things can get worse), but is still an accurate assessment on many levels. After all, we now have a president who can speak in coherent sentences and knows how to pronounce the word "nuclear" so he doesn't sound like a complete moron. See? Things are improving already.
But where does hope-fueled fantasy end and fact-based reality begin?
With Obama, it's hard to tell. As I've said numerous times, he got my vote not because I think he has magical powers to fix the country... but because he's who I felt would be least likely to fuck things up further. Not a ringing endorsement, to be sure, but it was motivation enough to get me donating money to his campaign.
I have no idea what's going to happen next. If we're lucky, Obama will live up to the hype and a golden age will ensue. Sure it's unlikely, but it's not inconceivable. One thing is for certain, however... the days ahead should prove very interesting.
In other news... did anybody else see that the Aurora Borealis was out last night? It was a pretty sight...
Blargh. Where did this day go?
Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009
I am not here today. I am setting back US foreign relations a couple of decades by guest-posting a Canadian Travel Journal entry over at LeSombre's blog.
I am thinking today's lunch will be courtesy of Taco Bell. Things are looking up already!
UPDATE: My guest post has been archived in an extended entry in case LeSombre should decide to disappear from the internet one day!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
I'm not the kind of person to disrespect a religious leader.
But screw the pope.
I've made no secret of the fact that I was raised Catholic. I was baptized... I attended Sunday School... I took communion... I went to church when I could. Even after I stopped attending service, I still maintained ties with the Catholic church so I could help with projects and fund-raising events and such. On top of that, I continued to go to Easter Sunday mass and Midnight Christmas mass long after I had stopped calling myself a Catholic... all because I missed the ritual and community of it all.
Despite eventually embracing different beliefs, I still loved the church.
Partly because I still had many friends and family who were members, but mostly because of the tremendous respect, admiration, and affection I had towards Pope John Paul II. He was a truly great man, and did remarkable things to make the Catholic Church less insular and more a part of the world community. He was a tireless advocate of human rights. He reached out to other religions in an effort to create a new era of acceptance and understanding between faiths. He was the embodiment of Christian ideals. He was a brilliant writer. He spoke a dozen languages. He made public apologies for historical wrongs of his church. He was a true leader... inspirational not only to his followers, but to everyone.
Not that I agreed with everything he did or stood for... that would be impossible for anybody. But I never lost respect for him.
And now all of John Paul II's hard work is systematically being destroyed by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.
I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, despite being a member of Hitler's Youth and his best efforts to drag the church back to the dark ages. But then he refused to see the Dalai Lama at the Vatican, and I was done. Who refuses to see the Dalai Lama? The pope offended an aspect of my faith (as he had already done to so many others) and so I was done. Done.
And then today Pope Benedict un-excommunicated four renegade bishops which John Paul II had excommunicated. That's his privilege, but one of these bishops was Richard Williamson, a Holocaust-denying anti-Semitic asshole. Pissing all over John Paul II's legacy is one thing... but this is unforgivable. And I honestly don't give a shit why Benedict did it. He's done a very shameful thing, and I am deeply saddened for Catholics who have been tied to denial of this horrific act...
Somehow, I'm beyond done.
It's not even that he's a Holocaust denier. I mean, it is crazy given the mountains of evidence he claims doesn't exist (not to mention the testimony of not only the Jews who either survived or were forced to work at the camps, but also the Nazis interrogated after the war). For me it's the casual and condescending way that he dismisses the deaths of the people he admits were killed. Like a couple hundred thousand exterminated is a perfectly okay amount because it's not the nearly six million that has been estimated. What kind of priest has an attitude like this? As a man of God, shouldn't he be even a little horrified?
I'm wondering if now is the time for me to enact a hostile takeover of the papacy...
One of the hallmarks of being pope is infallibility. Obviously the current pope doesn't fit the bill. He's making mistakes right and left (as today's decision should make painfully obvious).
I'll get started on the "Dave Is My Pope" shirts.
Posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2009
At what point did it become okay to talk with your mouth full?
I'm really curious about this, because while I was eating at Denny's this evening I nearly went on a homicidal rampage. I was seated behind a 50-year-old guy on a first date who nearly died in a coughing fit every ten minutes. I was seated ahead of some 25-year-old moron trying to entertain his 100-year-old great-grandmother by talking about his latest World or Warcraft adventure. And I was seated across from some rude piece of shit 75-year-old guy whose was yelling into his mobile phone every 15 minutes.
Entire generations from age 25 to 100 were represented, and yet it didn't make any difference. I think every one of them were chewing and talking with their mouths wide open and full of food. Especially the guy across from me, who was talking with his mouth full while he was shouting into his mobile phone! I can't imagine how disgusting it was to be on the other end of that phone call.
When I was little, I was taught not to talk with my mouth full and to keep my mouth closed while chewing. Anything less was considered bad manners. So did I miss something here? Did the rules of good manners change? Were my parents way off base? Or do I need to release another book...
It's as if society is in total meltdown, and common courtesy, respect, decency, and manners no longer apply.
What's next? How much worse can it get? I'm guessing eventually you'll be eating you meal at Denny's and somebody is going to come up, drop their pants, then rip a fart on your dinner plate because they just don't care.
And maybe that's the root cause of everything. The world is crumbling around us, and people just don't care anymore.
I can't say that I really blame them.
After finding out that the executive salary cap was removed from the stimulus bill, I'm to the point where I just don't care anymore either. President Obama got into office on a promise of CHANGE, and NOTHING HAS FUCKING CHANGED! We the American people are still getting gang-raped by politicians who are catering to the wealthy at our expense, just like we have been for the past eight years under President Bush. God forbid some dumb-fuck bank executive who ran their business into the ground should have their salary capped at $400,000 just because they need the government to bail out their worthless asses. Which basically means that Wall Street fucktards will continue to get billions of dollars worth of salary increases and bonuses for being complete failures. Suddenly, all those tax increases for the rich don't matter, because we're giving the money right back to them!
Clearly, I took the wrong career path. If I were a complete failure at my job, I'D BE FUCKING FIRED!!
I had no illusions that Obama was going to get into office and everything was going to magically change for the better... but I did expect he would stand firm on this kind of bullshit. It's a matter of principle. Bush fucked us over by giving tax breaks and incentives to oil companies making billions in profits. Obama has now fucked us over by giving billions to corporate executives operating at a loss. Call me naive, but if I must be fucked over, I'd rather it be from rewarding success than rewarding failure.
I'm sure Obama's people will come out blaming the Republicans... telling us that they wouldn't pass the stimulus bill unless the salary caps were removed. It may even be true. BUT I DON'T FUCKING CARE!! I don't care if the entire country goes down in flames and our economy collapses into ruins. I don't care if life as we know it comes to an end. I don't care if civilizations die and mankind spirals to extinction. I DON'T FUCKING CARE!! I don't care because at least we'd go out WITH OUR FUCKING PRINCIPLES INTACT!!
President Obama should have stood firm on the salary pay caps, regardless of the consequences. If executives at failing economic institutions decided not to accept government funds because they feel they deserve more than $400,000 in salary, then so be it. Let the assholes fail and take everybody else with them. The country may collapse, but at least I could hold my head high while watching it burn.
As it is now, I guess I'll just start talking with my mouth full and farting on people's dinner. After watching Obama drop his principles to take from the poor and give to the rich (whose bad decisions are responsible for making us poor in the first place), I just don't care.
It's a change I can believe in.
Posted on Friday, February 13th, 2009
Whenever I find a free moment, usually at the end of the day, I grab my laptop to bang out the day's entry. In good moods or bad, I press that "publish" button and to hell with the consequences.
Except last night. For the first time I can remember, I decided to "sleep on it" before publishing something in my blog. I was outraged to the point of meltdown when I had read that the salary cap for executives taking government bailout money had been cut out of the stimulus package, and wrote about it. Hard.
There's plenty of stupid shit in the "stimulus package" that I don't agree with but, given the terrible shape we're in, I just decided to eat it and trust that doing something crazy was better than doing nothing. Maybe if the package itself didn't work, it might at least spur consumer confidence and get us turned around from this mess we're in. And, despite having reservations about the bailout, I was at least warmed by the salary caps. Even with all the bullshit stuffed in with the billions, somebody was finally putting their foot down and saying "enough with public money going to reward these stupid assholes who are already overpaid." It was a start.
But then the news popped up while I was blogging about the salary caps being axed and I came unglued. One of the few things I 100% approved of in the whole damn stimulus fiasco was apparently gone, and the rage descended. But I only had one source, The Huffington Post writing on a story from The Washington Post, so I decided to sleep on it.
But I was unable to sleep and, at 3:30am, decided to push the button and publish the entry. If the information was wrong, then whatever, I could publish a retraction and apologize for my outburst later. Because if the information was correct, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself for having not said anything. Since 1.6 BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS of the first stimulus package was spent on "executive compensation," I was just too angry to let it slide.
Then I went to sleep for a few hours.
This morning I was still furious, but felt better after reading a nice entry by Mooselet with an update on Sam, the koala who was injured in the Victorian bushfires in Australia. Apparently she's still in pain, but doing well and expected to make a full recovery. She's even got herself a boyfriend named Bob, another survivor from the fires. How can you stay mad when you see a photo like this...
Mooselet also mentioned that The Herald Sun is now selling copies of that famous photo where CFA David Tree is sharing his water bottle with Sam the day she was rescued...
Including delivery to the States, the photo costs just $18.65 (in US dollars, $28.18 in AUS dollars), and all proceeds go towards helping victims of the fires... human and animal alike. You can order your copy directly from The Herald Sun Shop.
It was one piece of good news I had before learning that there were no survivors in the Buffalo plane crash last night.
I could use some good news, and ordered the photo to remind me that it still exists.
Posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
Every time I turn around now-a-days, I'm hearing about horrendous crap that's going on with my friends or family. It simply. Does. Not. Stop. Whether it's from finances, health, betrayal, theft, heartbreak, or a multitude of other tragedies, something horrible always seems to be happening to somebody I care about.
Heaven only knows I've had my share of heinous shit dropping into my life lately, but it's the never-ending misery of other people that's wearing me down. It's getting to the point where I'm afraid to pick up the phone or check my email because I'm practically guaranteed bad news is on the other end.
Which begs the question... how much longer can this go on?
I know people say "things can always get worse," but surely at some point you will run out of things that can go wrong. Won't you? I only ask, because it's that faint hope that keeps me going.
But, as bad as things may be, that's not as bad as things are.
Because whenever I cruise the blogosphere or whatever "social networking" trainwreck has my attention this week, I find something far worse than the actual drama that's making life hell for many of my friends, family, and increasing numbers of other people out there.
It's the manufactured drama people create that's driving me fucking insane.
Complaining about day-to-day crap is normal and healthy. It's why many of us have blogs in the first place. But I'm going into thermonuclear meltdown over the constant need some people have to take this mundane shit and escalate the drama until everything in their life is a catastrophic world-ending event. There's just too much horrible stuff going on right now for me to care about all this artificial tragedy people dream up to make their lives interesting.
Every once in a while you just have to say "meh" and move on.
Posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
I cannot imagine the scrutiny that somebody in the public spotlight has to endure. I don't think anybody can until it happens to them.
Which is why I am starting to develop a real sympathy for Michelle Obama. The poor woman cannot catch a break, as her every nuance is analyzed to death. Her every decision... no matter how slight... is debated and dissected for months after it happens. And usually, it's over insignificant details that she seems to catch the most flack for. The latest furor burning up the internets is that she has the audacity and poor taste to =gasp!= wear SLEEVELESS DRESSES!!
Just look at the hussy as she attends a recent presidential address...
Today somebody actually asked me what I thought of Michelle Obama dressing in such an undignified manner.
"Are you serious?" I replied. "So long as she has her nipples covered and isn't flashing her crotch all over town, I don't give a crap if her dress has sleeves or not!"
Because, honestly, every time I see a photo of Michelle Obama, she is the very epitome of class and good taste. She is a good-looking woman, and dresses appropriately. I think it's time for some jealous bitches to realize that we're living in the year 2009, and shut the fuck up.
At least I did.
Until I saw a photo of our First Lady deplaning Air Force One to meet with the British Minister of Foreign Affairs last week...
Now, I consider myself to be a pretty open-minded guy, but clearly she has made a wrong decision here.
The First Lady of The United States of America has no business wearing a bad synthetic weave like this!
Clearly this is not how this country should be represented. You're the FIRST LADY for crying out loud! Find yourself a good hairdresser and spring for the natural hair extensions!
I mean, my God, what's next? LEG WARMERS WITH SPANDEX?!?
Somebody please help her before it's too late.
Posted on Friday, April 17th, 2009
Posted on Monday, May 4th, 2009
I have been to many places and am lucky to have seen more of the world than most people ever will. And yet, in the grand scheme of things, I've barely scratched the surface. I've never even touched South America or Australia. Major cities like Moscow, Prague, and Mumbai have escaped me. There are so many amazing things on this planet that I will never get around to experiencing, and it always depresses me to think about it.
It's questions like "What if I die before I see Angkor Wat?" that keep me up at night.
People who travel a lot will know exactly what I mean. People who don't get to travel much will probably think this makes me a colossal asshole. And that's okay, I guess. Except I have worked hard and sacrificed a lot to go the places I've been, and am very grateful for the opportunities I've had which have allowed me to do so. Wanting more is just human nature...
I've written about this all before, but today something happened which gave me a new perspective on the matter.
I was walking to the mini-mart when I saw some guy standing in the doorway of his motor-home spouting off about all the millions of places he's been and the millions of things he's done. His audience was two older ladies who stood there patiently listening to him toss out the names of cities, parks, events, and sights he's visited. Intrigued, I stood off to the side listening to the conversation, which the man eventually summed up by saying "Yep, I've pretty much seen it all."
My first thought was "I'll bet this guy hasn't even been outside of North America!" because all the places he mentioned were in the US and Canada. This was worth a chuckle, because it always amuses me how some people think that the USA is the entire world.
But one of the ladies did me better...
"Well, you weren't there when I gave birth to my three children, so I guess you haven't seen everything after all."
I would trade ten trips to Angkor Wat to have this kind of life wisdom.
Posted on Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
I hate Microsoft Windows.
I really, really, really, hate Microsoft Windows Vista.
And it's not because I'm a Mac Whore, or Bill Gates kicked my puppy, or I was attacked by Steve Balmer in a fit of monkey-induced rage... it's simply because Microsoft Windows Vista sucks ass. It is the steaming pile of shit upon which computer users beg for death. Every single time I use a PC running Vista, I have some kind of stupid problem which makes me enter a thermonuclear rage.
Fortunately, I don't have to use Vista very often. Otherwise, I would need to be institutionalized.
What pisses me off is that when Microsoft finally fixes their bullshit, I'm going to have to shell out more money to get the "Windows 7" upgrade. That is really fucked up. Microsoft should have to pay ME to upgrade as compensation for having to deal with their crap OS all this time...
To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!
And speaking of PC (as in Political Correctness), what the heck is going on over at Comedy Central? This morning I wanted to check out clips from Russell Brand's upcoming DVD, so I went to their "video section." I got distracted by a new email while the video was buffering, only to see a black man dancing around while eating fried chicken when I clicked back to Comedy Central again. Horrified at such a racist stereotype being offered up as "comedy," I immediately clicked to a different video link.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Monday, May 25th, 2009
I've written, erased, rewritten, edited, restored, revised, and held this entry for entirely too long now.
This is abnormal for me, because I usually just hammer out an entry, post it, then forget it. It's my blog voicing my opinion and point of view, so I don't worry about the consequences of what I post. Most of the time, that's not a big deal because the stuff I do here is hardly incendiary. It's silly. It's fluff. It's useless crap. It's cartoons with monkeys in them. That doesn't stop people from finding something to bitch about, but there's simply nothing here that's worth getting that upset over.
But every once in a while an entry like this comes up where I actually have something to say.
These times require that I be very careful, because there's a real possibility that I'll write something in a way that can be misinterpreted or unintentionally inflammatory. I mean, let's face it, I'm a terrible writer who is barely able to construct a coherent sentence. That's why I use photos and cartoons to communicate most of the time.
So when I say that Paul Marx, professor of English emeritus at the University of New Haven can go fuck himself... you'll know that I really put some thought into it.
Because seriously? Fuck you, Paul Marx. Fuck you sideways you ignorant piece of shit.
To understand why I would verbally abuse a dumbass like the retired professor here, you have to know three things...
Now, there are many, many things about the "Viewpoint" article for me to get upset about. The author is writing out of ignorance and stupidity when it comes to POW/MIA issues, and has no grasp whatsoever when it comes to explaining what the POW/MIA flag means to people like me, or why we continue to fly it. Even worse, he presumes to speak for us with no attempt at perspective, and presents his personal opinions and interpretations as absolutes. My initial reaction as I read the piece was one of disbelief (I was NINE YEARS OLD when the war ended... his premise doesn't even make sense for somebody like me!). But, rather than going into a profanity-laden tirade, I was going to take a pass... partly out of respect for those who gave their lives for their country on this day set aside to remember them, but mostly because it's senseless to get too upset over somebody who can't grasp simple concepts (like friends and families of soldiers still missing wanting to know what happened to their loved ones).
But then I kept reading and got to a part which sent me into meltdown...
"It (the POW/MIA flag) continues to be flown mostly out of ignorance or indifference. But those who want it up see it as a protest against the outcome of the war. To them, the flag states that the war should have been fought until the North Vietnamese surrendered. If it took a nuclear bomb to attain that goal, that would've been OK."
This guy is a professor of English emeritus so I can only guess that, unlike myself, he knows how to construct a sentence in a way to get his meaning across. That his meaning is so detached from reality is unfortunate. That his meaning is presented as a statement of fact is what makes the guy such a fucking douchebag.
First of all, I do not promote POW/MIA causes or fly the flag out of ignorance. On the contrary, unlike Paul Marx, I have spent untold hours researching POW/MIA issues so that I can better help raise awareness of the plight of our missing soldiers and those seeking answers as to what happened to them. But, even more importantly, my eyes are wide open when it comes to working towards a full accounting of our servicemen and servicewomen who go missing in future conflicts. I mean, holy shit... don't they at least deserve that much? Are human beings so expendable and inconsequential to Marx that writing them off as victims of a "mistake" is what passes for "reason?" Perhaps if citizens show they are relentless about knowing what happens to our soldiers, governments will be more cautious in deploying them. George Santayana once said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Part of the importance of flying the POW/MIA flag is so that WE NEVER FORGET! This can not be overstated... this issue is far bigger than a war fought 34 years ago in Vietnam. It is an issue that continues to be of critical importance today... and tomorrow.
Second of all, to imply that the POW/MIA flag is being flown out of "indifference" is a statement of sublime irony. People are indifferent because they haven't been educated. How can people be educated if we're just supposed to sweep something under the rug because some people (including our own government) find it inconvenient or unpleasant? It was Jesus who is recorded as saying "and the truth shall make you free"... but we don't know the truth. And when it comes to our POW/MIA's, we're never going to be free of the Vietnam War until there is a full accounting. Those of us who remember them will make sure of it for the sake of future generations. The very reason the POW/MIA flag must continue to be flown and promoted is precisely because of uneducated persons like Paul Marx.
And, lastly, saying that those who want the flag up (me) would be thrilled if the United States of America had nuked North Vietnam... well, that's where I lost it. It was at that point in the article where I could no longer contain myself, and dashed out four versions of this entry where I tore Paul Marx to pieces for being such a stupid fucking asshole. That I am still doing so after five progressively calmer entries just goes to show how bad of a writer I truly am.
But, whatever, the point is this...
Showing support for people who sign up to defend this country's citizens and freedoms with their lives does not automatically make me a warmongering psychopath that relishes the idea of unleashing a nuclear bomb on the population of an entire country.
Paul Marx truly is a raging fucktard if he cannot understand something so elementary, and there's really nothing more to say.
It's tough to know how to end something like this when you're all worked up and there's really nowhere to go but down, so I guess I'll just stop.
Because truly, honestly, and sincerely from the bottom of my heart... go fuck yourself Paul Marx. You say the POW/MIA flag is "a statement in favor of not caring about the other side's point of view, never acknowledging that there are human beings on the other side," but you seem to be forgetting that there are human beings on THIS side as well. That you so readily discount them undermines your entire argument, and has me seriously questioning your ability to form an educated opinion on anything (which, given your credentials, is more than a little disappointing).
Oh yeah... and fuck the Baltimore Sun for publishing such a piece of ignorant, disrespectful, and all-around screwed up piece of garbage on Memorial Day.
Posted on Monday, July 20th, 2009
Today is the 40th anniversary of people walking on the Moon!
Or, if you're part of the tin-foil hat brigade, the 40th anniversary of when NASA faked the Moon landing.
In any event, I think that we should take a moment to remember all the monkey astronauts and other animals that risked or gave their lives as test subjects so that we could get to this point...
If you're interested, Wikipedia has a great article about Monkeys in Space.
And if you want to watch a fantastic film about what was happening behind the scenes of the Apollo moon landing back here on earth, I highly, highly recommend watching The Dish. This film is about the Australian crew responsible for receiving the moon landing transmissions broadcast to earth when the USA had rotated away from the moon. It's touching, funny, and a really good story. Two thumbs up and five stars from me!
Posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2009
When you turn on your television and see Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag staring back at you, do you wonder "Why in the hell are these dumbasses on television?"
When you pick up a magazine and see Spencer and Heidi on the cover, does your mind boggle as you try to understand why anybody should care about these two brain-dead morons, let alone give a crap about their stupid antics?
When you go to a movie premiere and see Spencer and Heidi show up so that Spencer can promote his wife's Christian values in a porno mag, do you puzzle over how two such worthless pieces of shit got to be famous?
Well wonder no more!
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So what are you waiting for? Turn your useless life into cash by ordering your copy of Whoring Yourself for Fun & Profit for Dumbasses today! What have you got to lose?*
*Except your dignity, pride, and self-respect, of course.
Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009
I was hoping that this homophobic crap would be laughed off of Washington's ballot... but it looks as though the protections we have for same-sex couples and their families here in the Evergreen State is going to be challenged come November. And this isn't even a "marriage" issue... it's just for their domestic partnership rights! Apparently opponents of equality managed to find 120,577 people who are so insecure in their beliefs that the very thought of somebody being allowed to have different beliefs was scary enough to sign a petition.
The divorce rate is rapidly approaching 50% in the USA, yet we need to pass laws to protect the sanctity of this institution from the "gay agenda."
Two atheists can get married in a non-religious ceremony so long as they have opposing genitalia, and yet making laws to define marriage by one group's interpretation of their religious views is not at all discriminatory towards homosexuals.
Forcing somebody to live by your standards and stripping them of their rights when they don't is not hating on them.
This would all be laughable if it weren't so very sad. I find it positively absurd that two consenting adults living in the United States of America in 2009 have to fight to have the same rights afforded to everybody else because of who they choose to love. Apparently, some people haven't done the math...
I refuse to buy into such blatant discrimination. I am of the opinion that people are people and should be treated equally. I believe that love is love. I feel that there is enough room in society for consenting adults to decide for themselves if they want to marry. I know that devaluing somebody in the eyes of the law because of their sexuality is wrong. I say NO H8...
I hope that one day people are going to wake up and start taking responsibility for their own lives rather than making others responsible for their problems. In the meanwhile, we have to deal with bullshit like this when there are far greater issues we should be focusing on.
We really should be doing something about that.
Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
This morning I had still more problems with my DSL. It seems every time I turn around my internet is either busted or unbelievably slow. And, of course, Verizon doesn't give a shit. Oh they put on a good show of wanting to provide good service, but it's all a time-wasting sham. I tried calling this morning and got disconnected. I called again and somehow ended up in the mobile wireless department. After 30 minutes of trying to talk to anybody, I had to give up so I could go to work.
I get home tonight and, SURPRISE, internet is still down. So once again I have to call and, basically, waste an hour of my life with my service provider to get things straightened out... kind of... while paying them for the privilege!
It's things like this that drive me insane when the whole "Net Neutrality" debate rears its ugly head...
Not content to merely overcharge their customers for shitty service, ISPs also want to screw them over by controlling what and how they get to experience the internet...
Net Neutrality opponents consider the very idea an affront to free enterprise. I consider it an essential to maintaining my presence on the internet. Because I complain about most everything here on Blogography, and am sure to have pissed off enough corporations that have the money and/or influence to get my blog dumped in the slow lane or banned altogether.
So no more complaining about important net-influential companies, such as major Internet Service Providers like Verizon.
Posted on Saturday, October 10th, 2009
To all my gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender friends,
It's not fair.
You are human beings. You are mothers and fathers. You are sons and daughters. You are taxpayers. You are consenting adults just wanting to love who you love, celebrate that love in marriage, and live your life the best way you know how. And you are citizens of The United States of America, a country which is supposed to guarantee such basic rights in the pursuit of happiness.
But it doesn't, and it's not fair.
So you are forced into the position of having to fight for rights that everybody else takes for granted. You aren't asking for anything unique or extraordinary. You aren't demanding something that raises you above others. You just want what everybody else has by birthright in this great nation. You want equality. And while there are those of us with open minds and open hearts who will stand beside you, it's your fight to win.
It will not be an easy battle, however.
Because your opposition is empowered by fear, and everybody knows that a scared opponent is the most dangerous opponent to have.
But take consolation that your opponent is also weak. They are weak of spirit because they feel that anything contrary to their beliefs is a threat to their faith. They are weak in commitment because they think that other people's marriage can be a threat to their marriage. They are weak of heart because they feel that love is conditional on what body parts you have. They are weak of mind because they cannot imagine respectful coexistence with people of different creeds. And they are weak in resolve because they fight knowing full-well that their lofty ideal of "protecting marriage" is a sham as "traditional" marriages keep failing all around them with no help from you.
They may be wealthy, organized, and aggressive... they may exaggerate, lie, and spread fear... but they are also weak.
While you are strong.
And you are many.
And you are not alone.
So this weekend as you come together and march on Washington DC to demonstrate against unfairness in the eyes of the law... know that you are righteous in the eyes of the people. The people in your family. The people who are your friends. The people in your community. And people you don't even know who believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at happiness.
People just like you.
And some people who aren't quite convinced just yet.
And some people who will never be convinced, but need to accept that it's okay for different people to have different beliefs and different ideals so they can fulfill the promise of this country and be happy.
Because that's what America is supposed to be about.
Now go and get your equal rights...
Posted on Sunday, October 11th, 2009
I've misplaced some photo negatives and have spent days trying to find them. All to no avail. They're gone, and I have no clue what happened to them. Needless to say, I'm not in the happiest of moods this Bullet Sunday.
• Translate! For a long, long time I've wanted to provide some kind of translation service on my blog for my non-English reading visitors. But all the options I've found have been kind of cheesy, and didn't work very well. Until now. The lovely people at Google have come up with a brilliant "overlay gadget" that can translate a page into dozens of languages easily. I've added it to my sidebar and it's pretty sweet. If you're interested in adding it to your own site, you can grab the code here.
• Obama! I am sharing a WTF?!? moment with people around the globe now that President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. I think it's laughable considering that Obama hasn't really done anything to deserve it and, like many people, feel that it was awarded based not on deed but on intent. Or maybe it was awarded solely for entertainment value. The Nobel Council could have felt that giving Obama the prize would completely freak out Right-Wing America (it's just so easy now-a-days), and wanted a good laugh at their expense. Naturally, total dumbass douchebags like Rush Limbaugh are so fucking stupid that they took the bait hook, line, and sinker... but, much to my shock, one of the more radical Conservatives was smarter about it...
Now, I hate Bill O'Reilly with the fiery passion of a thousand suns... he is an opportunist douchebag who exaggerates, lies, and gleefully divides this nation (all while professing to love it) on a daily basis. He's inflammatory and destructive for no other reason but to keep people angry so he can make a lot of money. I find O'Reilly reprehensible in a way I find ALL political extremists reprehensible... on both the Right and the Left. But, for reasons I cannot fathom, O'Reilly took the high road this time and is basically saying "I don't agree that President Obama deserves this award, but having a US President honored with a peace prize is good for America."
Seriously, I couldn't have said it better myself.
Because I am tired of the Extreme Right's constant need for Obama to fail. They would rather see this country go down in flames than for Obama to gain even the smallest amount of political ground. Case in point: The Olympics. When Chicago lost it's bid to host the games, the Extreme Right was nearly orgasmic with joy because Obama had been promoting his home city. They saw it as a "major loss" for Obama, and were celebrating his "failure." Which is about the most astoundingly fucking stupid thing I've ever heard. Obama didn't lose anything... he's still the president. It's not like he got his salary cut because Brazil won the prize. It was Chicago that lost. Illinois lost. America lost. Jobs were lost. We all lost. But the Neocons don't care about any of that, they'd rather Chicago explode than for anything even remotely associated with President Obama to win anything.
To say I don't understand this kind of self-defeating schadenfreude thinking is putting it mildly. Even though I despised President Bush's policies, I never once wished for him to fail (well, except for his second-term election). When he invaded Iraq, it's not like I was thinking "I hope he fails in Iraq!" On the contrary, even though I vehemently disagreed with the war and felt it would be a total failure, I wished Bush nothing but success for the sake of our troops and our country. I felt the same way about Hurricane Katrina. It's not like I was happy Bush's administration was so pathetically incompetent in dealing with the situation... I was mortified. I would have been much, much happier had Bush's people handled the situation so well that the entire country was rallying to congratulate the President on a job well done. Regardless of who is in office, I want these United States of America to do well because I am an American and this is my country.
But, alas, this kind of rational thought here in the USA seems to be over. For eight long years I had hard-core Conservatives telling me that I should "love it or leave it" when I disagreed with President Bush. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, these same people can't take their own advice. Now they consider it "patriotic" not only to disagree with President Obama, but to hope and pray that he fails in everything he does (then laugh their asses off when they perceive even a hint failure on his part). "United we stand, divided we fall" is no longer a rallying cry to seek commonality amongst diversity... it's become a sad harbinger of the future of this nation. We are indeed falling, and I can only hope that we come to our senses before we hit bottom. Watching Bill O'Reilly have a moment of sanity gives me hope.
• Kitty! My adventures with Kitty Spangles Solitaire are well-documented. It's the best solitaire game for the Mac, which is why I was intrigued when Swoop Software announced Kitty Spangles Sudoku. I'm not much of a Sudoku fan, but have to admit they've done a pretty good job of making it work...
If you've got a Mac and like Sudoku, you can download a demo directly from Swoop!
Blargh. I should probably try and get some sleep tonight since I have a very long day tomorrow...
Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009
You know that feeling when you're in a wide open field with the sky so limitless and all the world surrounds you? Or you know that feeling you get when you're in the mountains where the peaks tower over you and overwhelm your senses? Or do you know that feeling you experience when you're standing in the middle of a big city and the buildings eclipse your every field of view? Or you know that feeling you have when you're out in the ocean with a vast sea encompassing your entire being?
But in a good way.
Sometimes feeling small is what gives a person some much-needed perspective. It is a sign from whatever higher power you believe in that it's not all about you. It gives some critical insight into your place in the grand scheme of things. It makes you realize that there's something bigger... something more...
Washington State offers so many ways to feel small.
But in a good way.
Yet some people here are too busy feeling large to notice. They think their personal perspective can fill the entire world because they refuse to open their eyes and see.
And so they sleep.
To those who are awake... enjoy the view!
Posted on Friday, November 27th, 2009
Happy Black Friday!
Today is the day that people kick-off a wave of ludicrous spending they can't really afford, simply because stuff is on sale. What it means to me is that I have to avoid shopping areas like the plague for the next month so I don't get driven insane. This is kind of difficult considering I have projects to finish and trips to take.
Black Friday this year is on/around the celebration of Eid al-Adha for my Muslim friends. When it comes to events, the two could not be more diametrically opposed. Black Friday is mostly about money, shopping, and possessions-- through spending. Eid al-Adha is mostly about life, sharing, and charity-- through sacrifice.
As if the irony wasn't already thick enough, Best Buy made an attempt to combine the two events in one of their Black Friday ads, and now Hard-Core-Christian-Conservative-America is losing their collective mind. They freak out and threaten boycott when people say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" for their religion... and yet when somebody tries to be inclusive of other religions with holiday wishes, they want to boycott for that too (and never mind that Eid al-Adha comes from the story of Abraham of The Bible in which both Christians and Jews profess to believe)...
I guess unless your business is marketing exclusively to Christians, you just can't win around the holidays in the USA. So much for freedom of religion. To be fair, I certainly hope that Best Buy will remember to wish people a "Merry Christmas" in their ads around December 25th and "Happy Hanukkah" around December 11th. And is it too much to hope that Buddhists will get a "Happy Bodhi Day" on the 8th of December? Wow... this could go on a while if they want to be really fair and inclusive.
As I've said, I don't get offended when somebody wishes me a "Merry Christmas"... they are simply trying to be nice and include me in the spirit of their holiday. Why this never seems to work in reverse is a mystery to me.
Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Join the fight against AIDS. Educate yourself.
Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
I wrote a long political rant over the past 20 minutes, but deleted it because it was just too easy. President Obama and the Democrats are fucking things up at every turn, nobody can get their shit together, and everybody is acting so surprised. Well, almost everybody.
Democrats are surprised because nothing is really changing and they were delirious with hope that it actually would.
Republicans are surprised because nothing is really changing and they were scared shitless that it actually would.
I, on the other hand, am surprised that people are surprised that nothing is really changing. It's politics as usual in our Nation's capitol... only the players have changed. Personal agendas and personal politics still rule. Lobbyists and money still make the decisions. And it's the citizens, as usual, who are worse off because of it.
Sadly, that's just the way our system works. The only difference from one politician to the next is degrees. And since people are more interested in fighting than coming up with solutions, we end up with the government we deserve.
I remain... unsurprised.
Posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
I'm not much into social network gaming because I just can't find the time to keep up with them. But then along comes Gowalla, which is a location-based travel game. Now that's something I can get into! Basically, people use their GPS-enabled iPhone to create locations which other people can then "check-in" to and get a stamp on their virtual passport (apparently other mobile phones, like Droid, are in the pipeline soon). If that were the end of it, Gowalla wouldn't be much of a game. But there's more.
In addition to collecting passport stamps, you're also looking for achievement pins and collectible icons.
The pins are added automatically when you do things like complete a pre-existing trip... or check-in to a certain number of locations... or do some other task, like visiting 10 different coffee shops or something.
The icons are a little different. Some are permanently awarded for visiting specific places, like Powell's Books in Portland, The Space Needle in Seattle, or The White House in DC...
Others are found at random. You can drop these items somewhere so somebody else can trade their items with them... or you can put them in your Vault, where they will be stuck forever...
Unfortunately, once you drop an item somewhere, it's pretty much GONE until you find another one. It's not like the Pokemon Pokedex which keeps track of the items you've found. Sure you can put it in your Vault, but then you can't trade for other items. This seems to be a disappointing flaw, but I guess that's what makes some icons more rare than others.
Locations are created by Gowalla users. If you create a spot then drop an item there, you get credited as the spot's "founder." You can create all kinds of spots for all kinds of locations. As an example, here's a church, museum, and a grocery store...
It was fun wandering around town so I could create spots and drop items for fellow Gowalla users to collect and trade. Kind of like geocaching taken to the next level, I suppose. Though it's a quasi-virtual level which is still fun, but lacking the tactile thrill of uncovering a treasure.
In any event, if you have an iPhone and like to wander, it might be worth checking out...
NOTE: Gowalla abandoned its users (plus all the work we did) and closed up shop in 2011.