Posted on November 17th, 2014
David Sedaris is my favorite living author.
Not just because his wry humor, observational wit, and charming self-deprecation is about the funniest stuff I've ever read... it's because David Sedaris is an exceptional writer. His prose is so flawlessly constructed... so beautifully realized... so wonderfully clever... you don't just read it, you let it wash over your senses like a warm bath from which you never want to leave.
And, as good as an adventure as reading his work may be... it's not even the best way to experience it. Having David Sedaris read his writings to you adds an entirely new load of genius to an already brilliant work. Which is why I always buy the book and the audiobook of everything he releases...
I also try to attend his readings, so I can listen to him live and in person, which is about the best entertainment ever. Sadly, it's never easy with my crazy schedule, and I've only heard him speak once before. But there was no way I was going to miss this event given that it was a mere two-hour drive away.
Especially since I finally got to meet him up-close-and-personal to get his autograph... complete with a bloody tomahawk...
Benaroya Hall, which is truly a lovely space with fantastic acoustics, was completely sold out for the event...
I couldn't have had a better seat. Right on the first level in the second balcony...
Mr. Sedaris was, as expected, completely worth the trip.
Smart, witty, charming... and utterly brilliant in every way... it was an evening I'll not soon forget.
Oh yeah... earlier in the day I also went to go see Big Hero 6 again. Such a great film. And this time I saw it in a pretty great theater. Not for screen size or anything... but for comfort...
The iPic Theater in Redmond is more comfortable than my bed. It doesn't help that people are waiting on you hand and foot. Want a beer and some Junior Mints? Your wish is their command...
Sure it's expensive... but "expensive" means that people won't waste the money to bring their bratty kids along so you won't have to listen to their bullshit. My first time seeing Big Hero 6 was pretty much ruined by kids who would rather be playing video games than stuck in a theater for 105 minutes being quiet. Not this time, baby.
Oh... and I stuck around for the post-credit sequence of the film, which was kinda nice.
Almost as nice as my Big Hero 6 Funko POP! Baymax figure that finally arrived...
I got the "Amazon Exclusive" so he glows in the dark.
Just like a playtime pal should.
Posted on October 28th, 2014
It never ceases to amaze me how a city known for its rain consists of a population who has no idea how to drive in the stuff.
Today my commute to work which is usually 30-40 minutes took a mind-boggling 1-hour 45-minutes... assumably because motorists lose their damn minds any time it rains more than a sprinkle.
Google's traffic map was lit up like a Christmas tree with accident reports this morning, leaving me no clear route to take. So I bit the bullet, headed to the heinous mess that is the 405, and sat in traffic for over an hour. Absurd.
Though I did get free entertainment when somebody drove clean off the road for no reason other than they were probably texting or brushing their teeth or slicing strawberries for their oatmeal, or whatever the fuck it is people do that causes them to drive off the road.
Hey! Here's an idea... maybe if people would pay attention to the damn road when weather conditions are less than optimal and allowed a little more room between cars and slowed down a bit and sliced their strawberry garnish at home... everybody could get to work only ten minutes later than usual instead of an hour plus.
Just a thought.
Posted on October 25th, 2014
Not the best of drives over the mountains, but it could be worse. Could be snowing.
Which is probably waiting for me when I have to go home.
Such is the month of October in the Pacific Northwest.
Posted on June 14th, 2014
I haven't been to a Mariners game in six years.
Would have been great if the Mariners had won.
Posted on June 5th, 2014
I have been a lot of places and seen a lot of horrible traffic. Every major US city has some traffic problems due to the sheer volume of cars and trucks and things that go on the roads. But there are definitely cities worse off than others. Los Angeles is pretty much the gold standard for horrible traffic. San Francisco isn't much better. Boston has ensnared me more times than I can count. Some of the worst traffic I've ever seen was spotted as I was trying to drive into Atlanta one day. New York is an obvious target but, to me, never seems to be as bad as people think.
But, in my humble opinion, none of these cities compare to Seattle.
Seattle traffic is hellaciously bad and in a league of its own.
Most of the reason is simple geography. The bulk of Seattle is surrounded on three sides by water... Lake Washington to the East, Lake Union to the North, and Puget Sound on the West. You can't add "ring roads" around Seattle to alleviate congestion because there's no place to put them. The rest of the problem is just the sheer volume of vehicles on the road. Auto density in Seattle is absurdly high, and no matter how the city tries fix the problem, people love their cars too much to give them up.
And the problem isn't limited to Seattle, as the traffic there bleeds out into surrounding areas as people do whatever they can to avoid driving in the city.
Which makes driving to SeaTac airport a real crapshoot.
Technically, the drive takes 2-1/2 hours for me if the traffic isn't horrible. But since the traffic almost always is horrible and you never know how many times you'll have to stop for road construction, I leave anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes early. Most of the time I'm glad I did. But today the traffic was merely "bad" and not horrible at all...
18 minutes to drive 12 miles is practically lightspeed so far as Seattle traffic is concerned.
And so here I am, sitting at the airport with two hours and 45 minutes to kill before my flight. If only I had known, I would have stayed in bed an extra hour.
But you just know the day I sleep in is the day that a truckload of fish overturns on the 405 and backs up traffic for an hour.
The good news is that I have plenty of time to eat at Qdoba for breakfast. Sure the line is always long but, unlike Seattle traffic, it moves fairly quickly.
Posted on June 17th, 2012
Put that Father's Day barbecue on hold... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Meh-crosoft. The big news in technology is that Microsoft will be making a major announcement tomorrow... probably some kind of tablet... and nobody cares! Tablets have been done. So unless they've got a tablet with a 3-D holographic display and free unlimited satellite internet connectivity, stop wasting our time! You want to really impress me? I'm still waiting for my flying car. Why not announce that shit tomorrow?
But noooooo... odds are we get yet another tablet. Which probably won't be as good as an iPad anyway. Yawn.
• Glass According to the Seattle PI Blog, The Space Needle is getting "glass window box" upgrades. As if it wasn't already scary enough...
The glass window boxes at Chicago's Willis Tower, known as "The Ledge," were enough to make me nearly wet myself. And they were on a building. These are going to be on a frickin' tower. Guess it's still not as bad as The Grand Canyon Skywalk though.
• Holes The movie Prometheus was a beautiful disaster that looked stunning (especial in IMAX 3D) but, unfortunately, had so many story problems that I had a hard time enjoying it. Red Letter Media has encapsulated many of those problems in an amusing, SPOILER-FILLED, chat...
If you haven't listened to the amazing "Mr. Plinkett Reviews" of such films as the Star Wars prequels, and various Star Trek films, and other flicks like Avatar and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... you're really missing out. Yes, they're meant to be funny, but the insight Red Letter Media has into the art of filmmaking is brilliant.
• Nowalla So much for Gowalla's promises of being able to download your check-in data and stamp collection from their now-dead service... Gowalla.com is down and the domain doesn't even resolve any more. So glad that I spent huge chunks of my time adding spot data, correcting spot errors, and spending my money buying custom stamps. But, hey, they got bought out by Facebook and got paid... so screw all the people who helped build their service! You'd think they'd AT LEAST allow you to import your check-ins and stamps into Facebook or something.
And... I'm prematurely out of bullets. I'd be embarrassed, but I hear it happens to every guy from time to time.
Posted on April 17th, 2011
I can't believe it's the two-hundred-and-twenty-seventh episode of Bullet Sunday! That's like 60% of a full year's worth!
• Needle! Today is the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking for Seattle's Space Needle. Originally created for the 1962 "Century 21 World's Fair," it quickly became a symbol of the city (if not the entire Pacific Northwest). What I love about the structure is that it doesn't look dated despite its classic 1960's styling. On top of that, it's a beautiful cornerstone of the Seattle skyline and a cool tourist attraction...
I've visited dozens of times, and the view from the top still takes my breath away. If you'd like to read more about the history of Seattle's landmark, there's a nice wrap-up at Wikipedia.
• Happy! What's kind of a mash-up between Friends and Coupling but somehow manages to be uniquely hilarious television in its own right? It's Happy Endings! I have to admit, I thought the whole "group-of-six-friends-half-girls-half-boys" sitcom concept had been played into the ground (usually to horrible effect). But I was dead wrong. Happy Endings is funny, funny, stuff. The premiere episode is available for FREE on iTunes and well-worth your time to check out...
• Proof? On the other end of the spectrum... the new television drama Body of Proof is just so bad. Dana Delany is great as a surgeon-turned-medical-examiner, but just about every other character on the show is total crap. The writing is so lame that it's almost comical. It's as if they set out to make everybody be intentionally annoying and unwatchable. I was hoping for another
• Collectorz. If you're a Macintosh whore who wants to enter your comic book collection in a computer database, you're pretty much screwed. Years ago I used a program called "ComicBase" which was originally created for Macs, but then they switched to Windows and dropped development for the Mac version (nice!). Over the years there's been a few new programs for Mac, but they haven't been very feature-rich. Enter "Comic Collector for Mac OS X" which is coming May 17th. It looks fairly complete and very affordable ($29.95 or $49.95 for a "pro" version)...
It pulls data and cover images off their web server, and allows for quick and easy barcode entry. In anticipation of its release, I've been using a trial membership for their companion "cloud" service: "Comic Book Collector Connect." It's a little cumbersome for adding comics, but still very cool. What's sweet about this company is that even if their OS X software sucks, I can still use the online Connect service to index my collection (unlimited access and database size for $19.95 a year!). If you're a fellow Mac whore with a comic book collection, check it out.
• AirPrint. One of the more serious omissions from iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) was printing. Apple finally addressed this a while back with a technology they call AirPrint. The problem is that this "feature" is half-baked at best. First you either have to buy an AirPrint-Enabled printer or find a 3rd party solution which makes your non-Airport printer be recognized by the iOS. And then the fun begins... figuring out which apps can actually print worth a crap. Most don't. Apple's "Photos" app, for example, doesn't allow you to fill the page with your photo when you print it. Instead, it prints a tiny image in the middle of the page. Other apps print okay, but the lack of control over orientation, scale, and placement is a serious detriment. Only apps which are specifically designed for printing (like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) seem to produce expected results. This is kind of embarrassing for Apple. Usually they don't release something until it's polished and functional, and AirPrint isn't there yet. Still... it is a promising glimpse of the functionality that devices like these will need in a "post PC world."
Annnnnd... now it's time for the new Burn Notice movie... The Fall of Sam Axe! As a huge fan of Bruce Campbell, it's must-see TV.
Posted on January 27th, 2011
For those who don't fly very often... i.e. people who jet off on vacation every other year and make an occasional trip home for the holidays... air travel can be a mystifying, frustrating, and altogether torturous experience. I try to keep this in mind when people feel the need to say something like "OH GAWD! YOU'RE TRAVELING AGAIN?!? I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT! I WOULD DIE IF I HAD TO FLY AS OFTEN AS YOU DO!" To which I usually reply "Well, eventually you get used to it."
But the truth of the matter is that the travel experience for a frequent flier can be considerably different than that of somebody who doesn't travel much.
It would have to be, or else those of us who fly 180,000 miles a year would be blowing our fucking brains out.
Fortunately, most airlines understand that frequent travelers have a different set of needs and an entirely different mind-set from the huddled masses, and work really hard to make their travels as pleasant as possible. Mostly in the hopes that their best customers stay their best customers.
So now I am going to give a list of the top-five reasons my constant travel isn't quite as horrible as it might sound. I've only gotten "elite-plus" status at Alaska Air and Delta (two airlines I love more than chocolate pudding), but I'm guessing the experience is similar for other airline's frequent flier programs...
The last couple of years have been relatively "light" travel years for me, which means I only accumulated around 150,000 miles annually. That's still a lot, but pales when compared to those heady days of 2002-2006 where I flew over 200,000 miles annually and held top-level elite status at three airlines. But I still get treated very well, so that's the real reason I don't mind flying so often. It's just difficult to explain all that when somebody says ZOMFG! I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CAN STAND TO FLY SO MUCH!!"
Though today I was kind of lucky to be flying at all because of the weather. Fog blanketed Seattle this morning, which added an air of eerie spookiness when we landed...
Things weren't looking too much better after sunrise...
It's not so bad out now, so hopefully I won't have any problems getting to Europe today.
Well, unless the airplane should explode into a massive ball of flames and fall in the ocean as I'm crossing the Atlantic. That kind of thing can totally put a damper on your trip no matter how many frequent flier miles you have.
Posted on November 1st, 2010
I've been making twice-weekly trips over to Seattle for entirely too long and it's starting to wear on me. Especially now that the weather is getting all nasty and the deer are running. Today's trip found me with such poor visibility that I wasn't able to see the road much of the time. This was made worse when I very nearly plowed into some deer that ran onto the highway in front of me. The drive would have made for some cool photos, but the window-mount I constructed so I can shoot hands-free iPhone photos didn't seem to want to stick to the window, so I didn't get many shots at all. This one was taken at 1:30 in the afternoon before things got really bad...
Seattle was equally miserable, with rain pouring down on me as I attempted to run errands downtown. At one point I was forced to navigate a lake which had formed in the crosswalk, and ended up with soaking wet feet on top of everything else. Fortunately, I had a warm and comfy hotel room waiting for me...
Complete with my new Black Bear Sleepytime Pal...
And a nice view as well. Look at those awesome trees...
I have everything except a glass. Or a cup. Or a mug. Or anything that lets me get a drink of water without sticking my head under the faucet. At least without having to buy a bottle of water for $5.50. Kind of douchey for a hotel that I enjoy quite a lot otherwise.
Now my challenge will be trying to get a few hours of work done before that big comfy bed makes me fall asleep. I fully expect to fail.
But I think I can live with that.
Washington State votes by mail, so I've already taken care of business. But since most everybody else votes tomorrow, I thought I would post this amusing cartoon that's been working its way through the interwebs over the past week. Much of it is rather obtuse in the way it presents Tea Party positions on the issues... but I do like the way it hammers home how most Tea Partiers seem to have no fucking clue what they're talking about. Every single interview I've ever seen with a Tea Partier has been chocked full of such blinding ignorance that I'm left speechless. All these people know how to do is parrot the crap they've been conditioned to believe, and not bother actually thinking or researching anything for themselves. It's all at once mind-bogglingly sad and so fucking typical...
Interestingly enough, some of the Tea Party's core beliefs for accountability in government spending and limitations of government intrusion into our lives actually sound like a good thing to me. The problem is that Tea-Partiers seem to pick-and-choose how these concepts are applied. On one hand they don't want the government telling us how to live our lives, but then turn around and say that the government should pass laws preventing two people of the same sex from getting married. On one hand they don't want the government to be in the health-care business, but then turn around and say that the government should be forbidden from making any changes to Medicare. These seemingly endless contradictions make little or no sense. And when you add in the many lies and distortions that Tea-Partiers seem so fond of propagating, I am left scared as hell as to what might happen if these people actually start getting into office.
Sadly, it looks as though we might be finding out very soon.
Posted on September 4th, 2010
VACATION AT LAST!!
Technically, my vacation isn't scheduled to start until tomorrow when I skip the country, but I was able to get a day pass to PAX, the "video gaming festival" going on in Seattle over the weekend. I don't have a lot of time to play video games anymore, but I still love them, and this was a great opportunity to see what's coming up from all the big gaming companies.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
My vacation did not get off to the best start. This was made clear to me just as I was heading into Seattle...
Yes. Not so much a good time so far.
But then I made it to PAX, and everything got better again.*
What I was most interested in was seeing the sequel to one of the best games ever. The line was really long to play, but I did get to see... PORTAL 2!!
Uniquely awesome in every way. I cannot WAIT for it to be released! My beloved Weighted Companion Cube lives on!
Surprisingly, many of the other "hot" games at the show all looked like Worlds of Warcraft clones. They all had guys running around with a shield and sword killing monsters... Guild Wars 2, Rift, Alion, Tera, Lord of the Rings, etc. etc. And if it wasn't a "swords and sorcery" Massive Multiplayer Online Game, it was a military shoot 'em up in either a modern, future, space, or post-apocalyptic theme.
FORTUNATELY, there were some properties that takes this kind of gameplay and makes it interesting just because of the property attached. The Disney-themed Epic Mickey was pretty darn cool (even if the controls weren't that tight) but it was Star Wars: The Old Republic that took it to the next level. You haven't lived until you're hacking everything in sight with dual-lightsabers and blowing the crap out of stuff with Force lightning!
The biggest disappointment to me was the Xbox "Kinect" where the games were somewhat boring (the dance game was just plain stupid)... and I didn't really get the sense that the "virtual controller" was being used in any way more revolutionary than just holding onto the Nintendo Wii controllers. Of course I didn't get a chance to play for very long or see all the games, so maybe there's more to it than what I got to see. Otherwise, it was definitely "meh."
The second biggest disappointment was the number of "closed" booths, where you could ONLY see the game if you stood in line to play it behind closed doors. This SUCKS because some of the lines are so long I had -zero- chance of that. I wanted quite badly to see Dragon Age 2, but wasn't able to. BOOOOOO!
Since I only had four hours on the Exhibit Floor, I didn't get a very good PAX experience, but I still had a lot of fun...
Maybe next year!