Posted on July 1st, 2010
You know, the next time I participate in a meme that requires using my iTunes library, somebody please remind me to delete Duran Duran's Love Voodoo. I like the song, but it's always popping up and screwing me on these meme things.
Or maybe not, because I actually have a really good voodoo story to tell. And, though you will probably not believe a word of it, I swear on my iPhone that it's all true.
Back in 1983, I won a regional high school DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) competition that sent me to the nationals competition in New Orleans. Unsupervised. This made for a very interesting trip. But, oddly enough, the most interesting thing to happen did not involve drinking, partying, or sex. It involved voodoo. Real voodoo.
It all happened while I was souvenir shopping on my last day with some friends I had made at the competition. One of the girls had found a shop advertising "love potions" and didn't want to visit alone, so I went with her. As we wandered the shop, I saw some cool writing on little scrolls that were tied to some tree bark. They looked like some kind of good luck charm or something, so I decided to buy one as a souvenir. When I asked the odd lady behind the shop counter about it, she asked me what I wanted it for. "Uhhh... what?" I queried. She rolled her eyes and said "for what you want... love, luck, protection, money... whatever you want!" I couldn't make up my mind, but then something occurred to me... "can you get rid of warts with one of those things?" The woman said "for ten dollars!" without batting an eye. That was pretty pricey for a souvenir back then, but it looked cool, authentic, and unique, so I said yes...
...mostly because I had spent the past dozen years struggling with a few warts between the fingers on my right hand. They had been frozen off, cut out, and medicated with everything the doctor could think of, but they always came back. I didn't believe in voodoo or witchcraft or whatever but, so long as I was buying a souvenir, the least I could do was curse my warts while doing so. After explaining the situation, the shop lady told me she needed some of my hair (which she cut a small bit off my head) and that I was to come back in one hour. I wasn't expecting a wait, but I agreed.
And when I returned sixty minutes later I was shown the "voodoo charm" (or whatever) she had made me, and it was wicked-cool. I was certainly going to get my $10 worth, and so I handed the money over with a smile. That's when the woman grabbed the piece she had made... AND LIT IT ON FIRE WITH A CANDLE! That's right... the souvenir I just bought was burning. Not knowing what to do, I just stood there for a minute as my ten bucks went up in smoke. Eventually the woman gave me a look that said "you're welcome!" so I left the shop dazed and confused.
The next afternoon I was shuttled to the airport so I could catch my flight home. As I was taking my seat, I happened to notice something strange about my hand. The never-ending warts were GONE! All of them. Overnight. No bullshit. No lie.
And I've been wart-free ever since. Believe it or not.
And now, since I need a photo I took for this meme, I present "Voodoo Man" from the delicious Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon...
And now I want a donut.
In other news, HAPPY CANADA DAY to my friends in the Great White North...
Hope everybody had a good one!
Posted on June 30th, 2010
Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "rock."
And it's kind of strange exactly how many ways that this word can be interpreted for a photo meme like this. It's music. It's a stone. It's a motion. It's an assault of the senses. It's a lot of things.
But the first thing that came to mind was when @CopaseticBeth and @HoustonsProblem were nice enough to take me to Stone Mountain, which happens to be the biggest rock on earth. It's indescribably massively huge... and yet most of it is buried, so you're not even seeing all of it. As you look down from the cable car, people are like ants on the thing...
What probably should be first in my mind is the Hard Rock Cafe, seeing as how I've been to 128 of them around the world...
In other news... something which doesn't rock today would be Wonder Woman's new costume. Writer Michael J. Straczynski apparently desired a tougher more modern look, and wanted to address fan outrage over Princess Diana not having pockets. So what do we get? Wonder Woman as a biker chick, complete with retro 80's mini jacket, throat choker, and latex pants. It's apparently a more feminist approach to the character's look, but I'd argue that with her tits hanging out of that jacket and all those prominent ass shots, it's a giant step backwards for woman-super-hero-kind...
Wonder Woman is one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Comics Universe. She's a frickin' AMAZON WARRIOR! She's the equivalent of Marvel Comics' Thor, for heaven sakes. She is not a biker chick! Want to make her tougher? Just add armor and big-ass weapons to the iconic costume she already wears, like George Pérez did...
And then there's that giant battle-axe she carries. Would you fuck with somebody who was packing THIS...?
It doesn't get much tougher than that!
I admit that I am interested in what Straczynski has planned for the character, but don't feel the costume is that great. It's neither memorable nor iconic... and is a complete disservice to Wonder Woman's roots as an American hero. George Pérez did a masterful job of reinventing Princess Diana of Themyscira back in the 80's, but this time it smells of desperation, looking kind of cheap and sad... like she's wearing Black Canary's 80's era hand-me-downs or something.
Oh well. Something tells me it will not last...
Posted on June 29th, 2010
Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "heaven."
Which is easy, because I've been there...
"Is this... is this heaven?"
"Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven."
"Is there a heaven?"
"Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true."
"Maybe this is heaven.""
Posted on June 28th, 2010
Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "prayer."
It would be easy to comb through my photographs for one of the dozens of amazing cathedrals and churches I've visited in my travels, but that would be cheating a bit, because those are buildings where people pray... not really a prayer. But what is a prayer? According to the dictionary on my MacBook, it's "a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship." And since most people think of God as being an omni-present being looking down on us from heaven, I ran outside and snapped this photo...
It was a beautiful day today... definitely one worth a prayer of thanks!
Posted on June 27th, 2010
In celebration of Pride Month for all my GLBT friends, welcome to an all-gay edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Icky. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is being more stupid and intolerant than usual, which shouldn't surprise me... but somehow does. Because just when you think there's a limit as to how ignorant somebody could possibly get, they come along with something new to prove you wrong. In an interview in The New Yorker today, Huckabee unleashed such gems as "Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same." — And yet, against all odds and despite their "biological incompatibility," gays manage to have lasting, meaningful, committed relationships just fine. Which leaves us with the real reason Huckabee opposes homosexuality... it's "icky." Well you stupid fucking tool, I feel that eating meat is "icky" so does that give me justification for forcing my personal vegetarian beliefs on the entire country? So much for the Land of the Free... where you're free just so long as Mike Huckabee doesn't feel the freedoms you choose to enjoy are icky.
• NOH8. I am happy to see that the NOH8 Campaign shows no signs of slowing down, and has released a beautiful new advertisement which shows that support for marriage equality is universal...
I hope I live to see a day where people are afforded the right to be who they are and love who they choose. The inhumanity of consenting adults being told their love is worthless and undeserving of marriage is a disgusting violation of personal liberty that sickens me to my very core.
• Platform. Heaven only knows I love Texas, but the latest turd crapped out of the ass of the Texas Republican Party has laid a stench over the entire state. It's a stunning 25-page platform summary which advocates everything from rescinding the USA's membership in The United Nations and opposing a worldwide currency, to eliminating hate-crime legislation and banning legalization of sodomy (i.e. no marriage for you, gay blasphemers!). It's a largely entertaining (if not outright hysterical) read... that totally scares the crap out of me. Given the massive anti-gay stance of the Texas Republican Party, I am fully expecting a massive number of homosexual scandals to rock the organization any minute now, as history has thus far shown.
• 20/20. Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "panic." Fortunately, this is an easy word to work into today's gay-themed Bullet Sunday, because it encapsulates so nicely the opposition to gay rights...
These people are so terrified of anybody who is different from them... so horrified at the existence of anything which is contrary to their beliefs... so frightened of that which challenges their weak faith... that they live in a constant state of panic. Unfortunately, it's a panic they are unwilling to keep to themselves, as these photos from Philly Pride 2008 so readily show.
• Fight. When it comes to equality, there isn't much more for me to say above what I've already said...
...except keep fighting the good fight, my friends!
And now I suppose I had better get to bed since I have another bone-crushing 18-hour day ahead of me again tomorrow.
Posted on June 26th, 2010
Dinner break! Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "closure."
Though my heart has always been with the Hard Rock Cafe when it comes to obsessive-compulsive behavior in a restaurant, I do make an effort to visit the other "theme cafes" when I run across them... places like "Planet Hollywood" and "Fashion Cafe" and "Harley Davidson Cafe" and "All-Star Cafe" and the like. It's more a habit than something I actually seek out, but it doesn't happen much anymore because most of them have closed.
With that in mind, I decided I'd go through all my old photos and make a collage of all the closed theme restaurants I've been to for today's meme.
I didn't get very far, because I came across this...
This still upsets me to this day.
The ride was pure genius. It integrated into the Back to the Future movie trilogy flawlessly, and even expanded upon the story a bit... kind of like a sequel. If that wasn't enough, it was a lot of fun. I rode both the Florida and California locations dozens of times, and never got tired of it. When I found out the attraction was closing, I even made a final trip to Universal Studios Orlando for one last ride.
The good news is that the ride is still running at Universal Studios Japan.
I don't think I'll be able to get full closure until I've seen it.
Hopefully before it's gone too.
In other news, there is a parade going by my office window. Since most major cities are having "Gay Pride Parades" in support of Pride Month, I was a little taken back at the idea that my small redneck city was progressive enough to have such a thing... until I remembered that it's actually a "founders' festival" that happens every year.
Oh well. Back to the future... and work.
Posted on June 25th, 2010
Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "Spy."
I had to really wrack my brain on this one, because it's not like I know a lot of spies to take their photographs. Eventually I decided to find something vaguely James Bond-ish in my photo library and make it work. Then, just as I was starting to look, I remembered that I had a photo that was totally James Bond... namely, my visit to "James Bond Island" in Phang Nga, Thailand...
The real name of the island is "Ko Khao Phing Kan" and the skinny rock there where the evil Bond villain, Scaramanga, mounted his Solex weapon is actually called "Ko Tapu" or "Nail Island." My brother and I took a boat there while visiting Phuket in South Thailand. It was a very cool trip, because the scenery was pretty incredible...
Wow. I really need to go back one of these days.
In other news, I had pancakes for dinner. They were crazy-delicious.
Posted on June 23rd, 2010
Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is ANCIENT!
This is kind of cool, because I'm a bit obsessed with seeing the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World"... which is mostly impossible, because many of them don't exist any more. In an attempt to rectify this, they came up with the "Seven Wonders of the Medieval World," which is kind of crazy because some sites (like Stonehenge) vastly predate structures in the "ancient" list (like The Great Wall of China). But oh well.
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, I've been to the Pyramids at Giza and the site of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (now just ruins)...
Of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World, I've been to Stonehenge, The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and The Hagia Sophia...
I don't know exactly where The Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu fit into the scheme of things on these lists, but they would be my next choices to visit.
In other news, one of my favorite television shows, Tales of the Gold Monkey, was released on DVD two weeks ago and I finally got around to watching it. The good news is that it totally holds up nearly twenty years later. In fact, with the exception of rubber monkey suits in the two-hour pilot, I'd say it's just as fresh and entertaining as it was back in 1982...
Tales of the Gold Monkey is set in the South Pacific in the days prior to World War II circa 1938. The show stars Stephen Collins as "Jake Cutter," an ex-Flying Tiger who has become a cargo pilot based on the fictitious island of Bora Gora. Plenty of intrigue, espionage, and adventure ensues, and it's a lot of fun. Highly recommended.
Posted on June 22nd, 2010
The next two weeks are going to be nothing but work, which presents a problem for this blog. With nothing interesting going on that I can write about, what happens to Blogography? I could go on hiatus, but odds are I'd never come back. I suppose I could scour the internets for YouTube videos and other crap to post, but that's not really me. So what to do?
Looks like it's going to be the TWENTY/TWENTY meme! Every day for twenty days you get a word, and it's up to you to post something related to the word. It's not the most imaginative way to blog, but at least it's a starting point at a time when I don't have anything.
Today's word is MIRROR!
For which I'm going to post a picture I took of myself when I was in Reykjavik on my way to Stockholm on September 25th, 2003. I had been traveling and working for five solid days, and was looking a total mess (I nearly had to check those bags under my eyes at the airport). I took this photo so I could show my girlfriend what she wasn't missing...
Little did I know, things would get even worse the next night in Stockholm when I would cut my chin open in a tragic karaoke accident. Can't. Catch. A. Break.
In other news, I installed iOS version 4 on my iPhone. I can't say that it makes a lot of difference since I've got an older iPhone 3GS, but the ability to combine apps into folders makes it well worth the time to upgrade. I feel at least 223% more organized now. What more could you want in a phone? Well, except to be able to make phone calls, of course.