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Bullet Sunday 465

Posted on June 10th, 2018

Dave!It's been yet another week full of hypocrisy and evil, but it's all good, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Two! I loved everything about the first LEGO Movie... except the ending. When they dropped into "The Real World," everything fell apart for me. With this in mind, I have mixed feelings about the sequel...

Yes, I'm excited to see it. But can we please just stick in the world of LEGO and let Chris Pratt be hilarious? That would be great, thanks.

   
• No Reservations. There wasn't much I didn't like about Anthony Bourdain. He was responsible for some highly entertaining television. He was a world traveler and advocate for better understanding and acceptance between cultures. He used his celebrity to advocate for worthwhile causes and draw attention to injustices. He was an incredible guest on any talk show he dropped by. He was somebody I liked and admired, which is why his death has hit me so hard. You will be missed, sir.

   
• Darkness and Light! I was never a fan of the Cloak & Dagger comic books. They all had the same story. Cloak & Dagger hunt down drug dealers. Cloak goes a little crazy because he's hungry. Dagger feeds him a light sandwich. Lather, rinse, repeat. On occasion they team up with other heroes, but their baggage is always the same. And now Freeform TV has created a Cloak & Dagger television show...

Marvel's Cloak and Dagger on Freeform

Now, I'm not saying that every super-hero show has to be packed with super-power fights... but there has to be something to make it interesting... otherwise it's just another boring TV drama I don't care about. And if the first two episodes of Cloak & Dagger are any indication, here's yet another boring TV drama I don't care about. Which is a shame, because the actors are very good.

   
• You! Other than an occasional song here and there, I haven't given much thought to Maroon 5 in years. But now they've dropped a new video for their song Girls Like You that's packed with more guest-stars than you can shake a stick at.

Not a bad song at all. And if you're having trouble putting a name to all the faces, here's a link for you. And, as much as I like it, this is not going to displace my favorite Maroon 5 video...

And if that's not enough Maroon 5 for you... here they are covering Bob Marley's Three Little Birds...

'Cause every little thing gonna be alright.

   
• NEWS: With deal to close this week, Bayer to retire Monsanto name
Well of course they are retiring the Monsanto name! Monsanto is fucking evil incarnate, and people were finally waking up to it. But now? Bayer is just the aspirin people! Evil + Evil = Bigger Evil.

   
• A Red Letter Day! As my final bullet of the day, I leave you with one of my favorite Pet Shop Boys songs that's woefully under-appreciated... and highly relevant to my life as of late...

Doesn't get much more Pet Shop Boys than that.

   
So long until next Bullet Sunday!

   

Souvenirs of the World

Posted on May 25th, 2018

Dave!For the past couple days I've been tearing my garage apart looking for some photography props I need for an upcoming project. Which is no easy task considering how much senseless crap I've accumulated over the years. Boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff I should have never saved, but kept anyway. Like I've got some kind of hoarding disorder.

Take for instance my travel souvenir collection.

When I first started traveling, I had no idea how many places I would end up going, so I saved absolutely everything. Every ticket stub, every matchbook, every brochure, every pamphlet, everything. My thinking was that this was the best way to remember where and when I've been. And that would have been fine if I only went to a handful of places... but I've been hundreds of places around the globe, and I've accumulated a metric shit-ton of crap because of it.

Five years ago I stopped buying souvenirs and saving crap because I've already got more than I'll ever look at. I just take pictures instead, and that's all I really need. Thank heavens. Because just look at some of this stuff...

   
• SAND
At some point I decided it would be a good idea to collect baggies of sand from beaches around the world...

SAND

Eventually I switched to small Tupperware plastic boxes...

SAND

I just counted... I have sand collected from 38 beaches. Everywhere from Bali and Phuket to Key West and Maui. It's kind of wasteful to throw all of this sand in the trash, so I'm thinking of making one of those jars where you layer sand in them. Usually, it's colored sand... but I think it would be pretty with natural sand, because there really is a huge variety in color and texture when you stop and really look at the stuff.

   
• MAPS
Now-a-days this makes absolutely no sense, because I've got an iPhone that can pull up a map (with directions!) anywhere in the world. But back in the day? You had to get a paper map, and I saved up hundreds of them. Partly because I didn't want to have to buy a new map if I ever ended up going back to a place like Montreal...

MAP

But mostly because I love maps. Always have. I especially like custom maps, which is why I probably won't be tossing out cool ones I've found... like these from the various Hard Rock Cafes in Japan...

MAP

But all the others? Recycle bin.

   
• BOARDING PASSES
Remember boarding passes? PAPER boarding passes before you could just have your boarding pass on your phone? I do. It's not like I can forget when I've got hundreds of them piled up. Apparently at one time I thought it important that I remembered I flew to Detroit on September 30, 2003... but why?

BOARDING PASS

LOL... to show just how old I am, you used to get your tickets sent to you in the mail!...

BOARDING PASS

I remember how upset I was when so many airlines gave up on the nice, heavy cardstock passes and switched to those flimsy paper ones. A travesty! But of course I kept them all anyway...

BOARDING PASS

If I had only flown ten times in my life, perhaps it would be fun to look back on all my trips so I could remember when I went on that trip to Phoenix... but during my prime travel days I was flying up to 40 times a year. Wanting to look back on that mess is just insanity. Besides, most of my travels are recorded with a date stamp on the photos I take... or an entry on this blog... so it's not like I need them even if I did care.

   
• HOTEL KEYCARDS
Honestly, I rarely kept these things on purpose. A handful of times I'd keep them if it was a particularly memorable or famous hotel... but I've got keycards from frickin' Holiday Inns?!?

HOTEL KEYCARDS

Whenever I found them hidden away in a pair of dirty jeans when I got home, I'd just add them to the pile. Eventually I had a pretty big pile. Because I'm crazy like that.

   
• BROCHURES
Okay, these actually make a little bit of sense to hang onto. First of all, they're almost always free. Second of all, they usually contain interesting information of stuff you've seen and done. I have a big box filled with nothing bu brochures from Disneyland, Disney World, and Universal Studios. It's kind of cool to go back through old ones and see attractions and rides that don't exist anymore... or watch how the parks progressed over the decades...

HOTEL KEYCARDS

Brochures also make for an interesting snapshot of the times. This ad ran inside a Disney World brochure during their 25th Anniversary, where they changed Cinderella Castle into a massive birthday cake...

HOTEL KEYCARDS

It was hideously ugly... and I remember how pissed off people were when they went to get their picture taken in front of the castle and had to settle for this freak show instead. Fun times. Fun times. Anyway... I've got enough brochures to build a retaining wall in my back yard. And yet... I don't want to get rid of all of them... just most of them, so I'll have to set them aside and find time to sort through.

   
• HOTEL SUMMARIES
Why? Why? Why would I save these? I mean, I guess it's cool that I can look back and see that I stayed at the Park Lane Sheraton in London, but WHY?!?...

HOTEL SUMMARY

Also interesting? A room at the Park Lane Sheraton was just 150£ sixteen years ago. Now it's probably more like 350£. I've accumulated hundreds upon hundreds of these things... and now they're all lining my recycle bin.

   
• RECEIPTS
Saving receipts for business trips became so second-nature to me that I automatically saved all my receipts... even for personal travel. Like this massive stack of Hard Rock receipts...

RECEIPTS

I shudder to think how many thousands of dollars are represented in these alone. What was I thinking? And it wasn't just Hard Rock... I saved everything! I found a receipt for a soda I bought in Tokyo, for heaven's sake. That I took it home with my is crazy... that I held onto it for twenty years is madness.

   
• CALLING CARDS
For whatever reason, I had a box that was filled just with calling cards. I must have had 50 of them. Some of them were freebies... others were a part of some bundle I had bought... and about 20 of them were in an "Inconvenience Packet" that you'd get when an airline screwed up and stranded you. Presumably so you could contact loved ones back home and let them know you would be missing dinner...

CALLING CARD

Now-a-days, of course, you just pull out your mobile phone, but it was a simpler time back then.

   
• UPGRADE CERTIFICATES
Because I flew a lot, I was forever getting perks that I could redeem... like upgrade certificates. Except any time there was room for an upgrade, I'd get the upgrade automatically, so they were kind of redundant. I tried using them a few times to guarantee my upgrade to First Class, but that never really worked because there were so many restrictions. But never mind all that, because I kept stacks of them anyway...

CALLING CARD

You'd think that since the above example expired in 2001 I would have tossed it in 2002... but nope.

   
• AIRLINE FREQUENT FLYER KITS
Now-a-days I don't even think you get a kit... unless you're a really top-tier flyer. But twenty years ago? They came like clockwork for me...

FREQUENT FLIER KITS

I have my Northwest Airlines kits from when I first became a premium frequent flier in 1994 (where I was a Silver Level) until they ceased operations in 2009 (where I was a Platinum Level). Why? You got me. What's really insane is that many years I got multiple kits. One when I turned Silver. Another when I turned Gold. Then another when I turned Platinum...

FREQUENT FLIER KITS

Insanely wasteful, but frequent fliers are an airline's bread and butter, so I guess it was worth it?

   
• AIRLINE NEWSLETTERS
If there's anything more insane than saving expired upgrade certificates, it would have to be saving airline newsletters...

AIRLINE NEWSLETTERS

I guess they're kinda cool because the ones from Northwest always had a summary of the places you've flown but, again, I don't know that having this information is all that useful unless you're psychotic about knowing the date and time of every flight you took.

   
And this is just the tip of the iceberg, I assure you. I've got enough postcards to plaster every wall in my house. I've got enough knickknacks, tchotchkes, keychains, pins, cards, and other crap to fill... well, to fill an entire garage. Which is what I've done.

And that's why I can't find the photo props I'm looking for.

Perhaps after another month of going through all this junk I will no longer be eligible to appear on an episode of Hoarders.

And, if I'm very lucky, I might also find what I've been looking for all this time.

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Gas-n-Don’t-Go

Posted on May 10th, 2018

Dave!Before heading to the airport to turn in our rental car in St. Louis, we stopped for gas so we wouldn't have to pay the insane refueling fee that the rental car places charge.

As I was standing there waiting for the tank to fill, I saw this...

Empty tequila bottle on a gas pump

Here's hoping it wasn't the driver, but I'm guessing it was.

Given the non-stop trainwreck of horrors that has been drinking-and-driving, you'd think that people would learn something. How many more lives have to be destroyed before people learn something?

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Kilauea Attacks!

Posted on May 8th, 2018

Dave!So there we are, waiting for our ghost hunt to begin when Coal Miner's Granddaughter turns to me and says "Hey, did you see that Kilauea erupted in Hawaii?"

I hadn't.

In March of 2008 a new fissure opened on Kilauea, causing a "vog" (volcanic smog) alert to be issued. Not just for The Big Island, but for neighboring islands as well. I ended up traveling to Hawaii later that year, excited at the prospect of finally seeing a lava flow. But, alas, Pele (Hawaiian goddess of fire) had other plans and there was no lava to be found. There was still vog happening though...

Kilauea Venting Vog

Kilauea Venting Vog

   
Now Pele has unleashed the Real Deal on The Big Island, and unfortunately there are people in the path of her wrath...

Kilauea Eruption by Bruce Omori from Paradise Helicopters
Bruce Omori from Paradise Helicopters via Shutterstock and Time Magazine

Kilauea Eruption by Bruce Omori from Paradise Helicopters
Bruce Omori from Paradise Helicopters via Shutterstock and Time Magazine

   
The footage is pretty dramatic...


   
Though this is the story that's probably most disturbing!

   
Holy Watchmen, Batman!

Kilauea Venting Vog

   
Such beautiful destruction.

I'm in Hawaii later this year. If the lava thing is still happening, perhaps this will finally be my chance to see it.

Assuming the world hasn't ended by then, of course.

   

Day Five: Home

Posted on May 7th, 2018

Dave!Yesterday was a whirlwind of travel getting from Jefferson City back home. Or maybe it wasn't and it just felt that way because we returned from our ghost hunt at 3:30am.

Whatever the case, Coal Miner's Granddaughter and I decided to start things off right with ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST! Yay! Let's set aside the fact that an ice cream parlor opens their doors at 8am each morning and instead focus on the creamy dream that they are peddling...

Central Dairy Ice Cream

That massive ice cream cone there? $3.00 at the Central Dairy. Yes, you read that right... THREE DOLLARS! That same cone would be at least $6.00 anywhere else. And it probably wouldn't taste nearly as good. Because, I gotta tell you... this ice cream was amazing. It's so creamy as to border on being described as "fluffy" and the flavor makes you stand up and say "Dayamn!"

Central Dairy Ice Cream

If you're ever in Jefferson City, MO... this is a must-stop.

After ice cream it was a two-hour drive back to St. Louis Lambert International Airport, followed by a two-hour wait, followed by a four-hour flight to Portland, followed by an hour wait, followed by a half-hour flight to Seattle, followed by a half-hour on the tarmac, followed by an overnight, followed by a two-and-a-half-hour drive home.

Where I was very, very happy to see my cats.

And give them a present I brought back from Jeff City... a stuffed Missouri mule! His name is Moose. Jenny was not impressed. Jake, on the other hand, looked like he might like it at first...

Jake the Cat and Moose the Mule!

...but then started tossing it around. No idea if the cats will warm up to it, but I had to try!

   
And... back to Real Life.

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Day Four: Jefferson City

Posted on May 6th, 2018

Dave!And so... I spent the night with Coal Miner's Granddaughter and The Tennessee Wraith Chasers in the old Missouri State Penitentiary! For those who don't watch "ghost hunt" television, the Wraith Chasers are a paranormal investigation group who have appeared in such shows as Ghost Asylum and Haunted Towns. Turns out they're also an incredibly nice group of guys.

Heather and I purchased "VIP Passes" which allowed us early entry into the event. With the sun going down, the prison takes on an entirely different personality...

Ghost Hunt Weekend at Missouri State Penitentiary

The team behind the event, "Ghost Hunt Weekends," lit up our "home base" in one of the buildings with atmosphere lighting, which was also very different from what we saw on our tour earlier...

Ghost Hunt Weekend at Missouri State Penitentiary

Eventually the Wraith Chasers themselves kicked things off with a Q&A session which was pretty entertaining...

Ghost Hunt Weekend at Missouri State Penitentiary

Everybody had a chance to get their photo taken with Doogie, Brannon, Chris, and Mike, which was pretty nice of them...

Ghost Hunt Weekend at Missouri State Penitentiary

Interesting to note that Heather and I have like TEN LAYERS of clothing on because it was freezing in there... but the Wraith Chasers are all in short-sleeves.

Our group started off with the gas chamber, then rotated through four other sites...

Ghost Hunt Weekend at Missouri State Penitentiary

Not a lot of paranormal activity last night, but still a lot of fun!

And now... sleep!

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Day Three: Jefferson City

Posted on May 5th, 2018

Dave!And so here I am in Jefferson City with Coal Miner's Granddaughter!

Our event doesn't start until tonight, so we decided to head downtown to soak in all the big fun that Jeff-City has to offer.

Our first stop was the Missouri State Capitol Building. From the outside it looks pretty typical for a capitol building...

Jefferson City State Capitol

But on the inside? Absolutely stunning. Gorgeous art nouveau paintings depicting the life and history of Missouri cover the inside dome...

Jefferson City State Capitol

Jefferson City State Capitol

Jefferson City State Capitol

Jefferson City State Capitol

   
Inside this gorgeous building are busts of "famous Missourians" scattered around. Or, as in the case of Rush "Total Piece of Shit" Limbaugh, infamous...

Jefferson City State Capitol

There are also awesome people like Betty Grable (whose bust is creepy as hell) and Josephine Baker as well...

Jefferson City State Capitol

Jefferson City State Capitol

   
To the South of the Capitol Building is a monument for the Lewis and Clark trailhead. Since I've seen the end of the trail (about a half hour south of Astoria, Oregon), I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the start...

Jefferson City State Capitol Lewis and Clark

   
Unbeknownst to us, downtown Jefferson City had been closed off for Shelbyfest... the celebration of all things related to the Shelby Mustang...

Jefferson City Shelbyfest

Jefferson City Shelbyfest

   
The "Ghost Hunt Weekend" event is at the old Missouri State Penitentiary. We decided to go early so we could take a tour and know the history behind everything...

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

The grounds are massive. The buildings are massive. Everything is massive. This is just one of the buildings...

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

What's not massive? The cells. They're tiny. And, depending on the era, there were times that they held more inmates than you'd think were possible... four... even six per cell...

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

There are several buildings. We saw just two of them. The newer one seemed much more like what you'd think a prison looks like...

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

The last stop on the tour was the gas chamber. A place where 40 convicted criminals met their end...

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

Our tour was a particularly good one because our guide was a former prison guard. Even better? One of the first women guards was taking the tour with us. Even better? Two former inmates were also on our tour... one of whom was wrongfully convicted of a life sentence and served 23 years before he was released.

   
There are some happy residents of the prison complex... groundhogs! They're everywhere!

Jefferson City State Penitentiary

   
And that was the end of our day. The real adventure happens tonight...

   

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