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Passing Out

Posted on December 26th, 2022

Dave!I was supposed to drive over the mountains on Friday. But the forecast called for freezing rain, which makes driving in the mountains crazy-hazardous, so I took a big ol' pass and drove over on Thursday.

There were a few slippery spots along the way, but it was a good drive overall and I didn't have to put chains on, which was nice...

My snowy mountain drive.

My snowy mountain drive.

My snowy mountain drive.

My snowy mountain drive.

I was due to drive back on Christmas Day (Sunday) but the mountain passes were closed. The one I drove over has no estimated opening date, the other route had decent roads, but there was a semi jack-knifed on the second pass, so that was closed. It was still closed on Monday morning, but eventually opened at 11am. The roads themselves were pretty good. The problem was that there was a lot of people on the road post-holiday, and half of them were either clueless or assholes. Now there's freezing rain all over the place, which makes me very happy I'm not driving in it. Instead I'm in bed with the cats trying not to fall asleep. If I go to bed before 10pm, I'll wake up at 4am and be very cross indeed.

   

Snowmageddon VI

Posted on December 9th, 2022

Dave!The snow has been relatively calm where I live so far.

But all that's due to change. I got a weather alert that late tonight we're under Winter Storm Warning.

I'd really, really prefer that the heaviest snowfalls wait until after the holidays when everything has settled down and I'm not traveling over the mountains. People lose their minds traveling for Christmas, and having tons of snow on top of that invites all kind of horrors to a drive.

As if driving with people who are texting or doing Lord knows whatever wasn't a big enough horror.

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travel-less

Posted on December 2nd, 2022

Dave!It's surprising how many people ask me "Do you miss traveling? You used to travel all the time and now you don't! I guess when you do something a lot, that kinda becomes entwined with your identity. Sometime that defines you to others and, to some extent, to yourself.

The truth is that I did miss it very much at first... for about six months after my non-stop travel ended. I had become so accustomed to it that it seemed normal, and not traveling seemed like things in my life were not normal. It was like I didn't know what to do with myself if I wasn't flying off to Honolulu for a couple days to present at a conference... then flying to San Francisco for an overnighter to see that paperwork was handled... then flying to Vegas for a few days for one reason or another. I was gone for 1/3 of the year, now I'm home 99% of the time.

And yet... two years later now... I am quite happy to stay at home.

Sure there are some places in the world I'd still love to visit, but the drive to actually go there has subsided. Now the idea of spending hours upon hours in airports and in planes just doesn't appeal to me. At all. Maybe once COVID has finally been eradicated I'll join up with another charity to keep fighting the good fight and start traveling again, but the longer I'm going nowhere the more I doubt it.

Maybe it'll just be a vacation here and there.

Though I don't mind saying... the idea of a staycation where I'm just building stuff in my garage woodshop sounds like it would be the best vacation ever.

   

The Need for Balls to Your Wall

Posted on November 23rd, 2022

Dave!Today I'm driving over the mountains. A prospect that looks a lot better than it did yesterday when the snow was dumping down.

Not that I'm worried about the driving, mind you. I've been driving in the snow forever. No, I'm worried about the sheer number of idiots on the road who either drive too fast for conditions or don't pay close enough attention while operating a motor vehicle.

Which is most people, alas.

It always seems weird that some people want to risk getting seriously hurt or dead... or causing others to get seriously hurt or dead... by not slowing down and paying attention.

I guess it's all worth it if you can text grandma that you're driving balls-to-the-walls so you can be there in time for cocktails.

   

The Most Magical Whatever on Earth

Posted on October 25th, 2022

Dave!As a kid, I was a massively huge fan of Disneyland. I dreamed of going for years before my family finally made the trip down to California. Once I got there, it truly was the most magical place on earth... at least it was to me.

It was from that point on that I became a hardcore Disney Parks geek. I would visit Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and even Tokyo Disneyland over the years just to keep up with whatever cool rides and experiences they had added. That lead me into becoming once of those infamous "Disney Adults" that keep getting trashed by assholes who are mad that they have to stand in line with their bratty kids to ride the rides... using the justification that "Disney is for kids."

To which I say "Fuck off" because kids invade my space all the time. So even if I bought into the argument that "Disney is for kids" (which I do not), I wouldn't care.

But anyway...

I haven't managed to make my way to any of the Disney parks for years. I really want to see the completed Pandora - The World of Avatar land in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. And Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at either USA park. But I have a serious problem with the way that Disney is letting the parks go downhill thanks to shitty decisions made by CEO Bob Chapek. The gutting of perks from staying at Disney hotels. The total shitshow that's the "Genie+" service (pay more to get less!). The meandering lack of direction and general stagnation. It's as if all the things that make Disney parks a magical place have been falling by the wayside.

Meanwhile over at Universal Studios...

Yeah, Universal is slowly starting to eat Disney's lunch. On top of investing a lot of time and money into cutting-edge experiences and maintaining hotel perks, they're building an entirely new park in Orlando. Not an extra land, but a whole new third park.

Called Universal's Epic Universe the information coming out of its construction is pretty amazing. We're getting four dedicated lands: Super Nintendo World, Universal Monsters, Wizarding World, and How to Train Your Dragon... along with a central hub (complete with its own attractions) and plenty of room for expansion...


Photo by @BioreConstruct with overlay by @TonyHawkins

This isn't just "Blue Sky" promises about stuff that might happen, this is Universal literally building their future.

So I dunno. Maybe Disney will pull through and actually manage to get Disneyland Westside going. Maybe their rumored "Disney Villains" land and "Frozen" land will actually happen in Orlando. Maybe they'll start adding perks back to the hotels so that the massive price tag is worth it.

But until then... I just don't know that a few new rides is enough to make me book a trip to Orlando.

But Epic Universe is shaping up to be something that might.

   

We Have a Fear of Peace Problem…

Posted on September 1st, 2022

Dave!Traveling the world is not the only way to have a more open perspective concerning the people living on it. But it definitely helps. If there's one thing that I've taken away from my travels, it's that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet just want to live their lives in peace. They want to have a place to life. Have food to eat. Maybe pop out some kids and raise a family. But above all, they want to not have to live their lives in fear. Unfortunately fear is a highly effective tool to control people, so our lives are governed by fear.

They hate us, so you have to hate them more.

They want what we have, so you have to destroy them before they take it.

We deserve to have what they have, so we need to take it.

Our lives are more important than their lives, so they don't deserve to live.

It is an endless cycle of hatred and fear which keeps powerful people in power and people without power in line so that powerful people maintain their power.

In all honesty, I thought that the advent of the internet would severely cripple the ability of people to use fear as a motivator. "Surely once people see that there is no reason to hate other people since everybody around the globe basically wants the same thing out of life, powerful people will lose their grip on us!" I thought.

To say that this was not the case is a gross understatement.

Turns out the internet was just another tool for powerful people to control us with hate and fear. Even worse, it allows non-powerful people to have a global audience for their hate and fear.

And so it has all escallated to such obscene levels that I'm wondering if we can escape it before we destroy ourselves. It's nice to hope so... but reality says we probably won't.

Which is such a shame.

Because all that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet want is just to live their lives in peace.

   

Hulk Out for Pizza Time

Posted on August 18th, 2022

Dave!Turns out I only thought I was exhausted yesterday. Because today I found out exactly what "exhausted" really means.

Last night I was quick to take a nap because I knew I was going to wake up to watch the series premiere of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law that debuted on Disney+. Probably a mistake, but I didn't have to be to work until 9:00, so no big deal, right? (SPOILER ALERT: It would indeed turn out to be a big deal). I'm going to reserve comment on the show until we get past this origin episode... but my first impression was very good. I love Tatiana Maslany, and she brought everything you could hope for to the role. A guest appearance from The Hulk didn't hurt matters (where we also get a lingering question answered from the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings credits scene...

But anyway... Could not get back to sleep after hulking out, which ultimately lead to me getting a whopping three hours and twenty-eight minutes of sleep (according to Apple Watch). It didn't help that there were people in the neighboring hotel room who were making lots of noise and slamming doors until 2:30am. Thankfully work went very well, because if things went badly and a fully-functional brain was required, I would have been in deep trouble.

After work I stopped for a road pizza at David's...

PIZZAAAAAAA!!!

And then I was on my way. Three hours of nothing but this...

Boring open road in the Great Basin of Washington State

Could be worse. It could have been five hours of nothing but that.

   

I’ve seen things, you people wouldn’t believe.

Posted on August 17th, 2022

Dave!I am beyond exhausted.

Today I had to make the three-hour drive to Spokane for work... something I haven't done in quite a while. Years even. For decades I had to drive it at least once a year, if not multiple times. But given the general weirdness of the world and the way things like COVID keep popping up, it just hasn't been in the cards until now.

If there's one thing I can count on every time I make the trip, it's two things.

  1. I will see some new construction that will make me think "WTF?" In the past this has included everything from a new chain restaurant very close to where another one already exists... or places I've been going for years suddenly bulldozed under... or something you just don't expect (the massive new Amazon warehouse outside of Spokane, to name one).
  2. I will see some wacky-ass driver doing something so ridiculous and/or dangerous as to defy belief.

Sure enough, I was not disappointed.

The construction would be a new Mormon Temple just outside Moses Lake. This is a city between Seattle and Spokane which is quite literally in the middle of nowhere, and probably has around 20,000 some-odd people living there. It would not surprise me to know that Moses Lake has a Mormon church because loads of cities large and small have LDS churches... but a full-on temple?!? In Moses Lake?!?

Mormon Temple in Moses Lake under construction.

To put this into perspective, this is only the fourth temple in the entire state. There's one in Seattle and one in Spokane (as one would expect) and a third one in Richland (which serves the Tri-Cities area of about 300,000 people). But frickin' Moses Lake?!? And it ain't no matchbox place of worship either... it's looking like it will be substantial. Which means that Moses Lake must have a pretty healthy number of Mormons residing there. Go figure. Still... kinda weird given how church attendance keeps falling year-over-year.

As for the unbelievable driving crap? Pretty much what you'd expect.

Probably the most dramatic was when a line of us were passing a motorhome in the passing lane... when an asshole went zooming past all of us in the right lane... got to the motorhome... then 1000% cut in front of a car to get back int the passing lane. Which was fucking stupid on every level because then he just ended up stuck behind the same car that was in front of us passing.

And boy was the person he cut in front of mad.

Not that I could blame them. Such recklessness could have caused a major accident. I saw the person who got cut off go grinding on the asshole's bumper... then zoom ahead of them and cut them off. Which was actually a dangerous thing to do, but sometimes we lose our minds when an asshole ruins our day, so I can understand it.

And now it's time to collapse so I can get up for work in the morning.

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It’s the Greek Fries for Me

Posted on July 14th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday before I went back to my hotel and worked the night away, I stopped by the 7-11 because I needed a Coke Zero and a bottle of water. Except the place was packed, so I went next door to a place called "Momo's Kebab." They had a Coke cooler visible through the window, and that's all I needed.

When I walked in, the place smelled like what I thougt heaven probably smalls like.

I saw that they had a falafel pita and Greek fries on the menu, so I figured I'd go for it and save myself the trouble of figuring out what to do for dinner.

The falafel sandwich? Incredible. Five out of five stars. The melange of flavors and seasoning is everything you could want, and it looked beautiful...

Beautiful Falafel Pita

BUT THOSE GREEK FRIES THO!!!!

Beautiful Greek Fries

If I had to use a single word to describe them, I think it would be "orgasmic." Probably the best I've ever had. Flawless. Eleven out of five stars. (they looked more amazing than that photo, but I mixed them around before I thought to take a photo).

It's a darn good thing that I live 2-1/2 hours away from Momo's, because I would double in size from eating these daily.

Indeed, I've just arrived home after a long drive and it's taking all of my willpower to not drive back over to Seattle so I can have some.

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Home. At Last. Again. Barely.

Posted on June 30th, 2022

Dave!On my way home, I got behind a driver who was driving 5-10 miles per hour under the speed limit and veering off the side of the road from time to time. Frustrated that they were obviously not paying attention to the task at hand, I decided to pass them. But as I was passing, they decided to speed up. Immediately I had gone from having plenty of room to pass... to having a car coming from the other direction approaching fast. I has a decision to make.

So do I...

  1. Slam on the brakes and risk this guy being a total asshole who would then also slam on his brakes, in which case I'd be trapped and then dead.
  2. Speed up even faster to pass.

I picked option 2 and floored it. I managed to get around them with plenty of time, but the car coming from the other direction had veered off the road anyway... and I couldn't really blame them. I would have likely done the same. And OF COURSE the asshole slowed right back down to below the speed limit again... proving that Option #2 was the correct choice. The driver was just a sadistic asshole who would cause a horrific accident because they didn't want to be passed.

What the fuck?

There was a time I enjoyed driving. That hasn't been the case in years. Other drivers on the road are sadistic assholes who simply don't pay attention. They're texting... or doing their nails... or playing Scrabble... or what-the-fuck-ever. And it's not enough to try not to cause an accident, there are people like this asshole today who are actively trying to cause them!

And the downfall of humanity stays the course...

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