In a wonderful stroke of luck, I managed to catch an earlier flight and arrive home a full three hours ahead of schedule. A pity that there's no new episode of Veronica Mars running tonight (Save Veronica!), but at least we have a return appearance of Heather Graham on Scrubs.
In more disturbing news, along with the twenty new pornographic TrackBacks I had to de-spam, I also got a scary piece of email which accused me of "stealing" the idea for a graphic which I drew up for my "review" of the movie Sideways. Since the return address was bogus, I'll go ahead and make my reply public here:
I hate to tell you this dumbass, but the only thing I did was parody the official movie poster...
I don't even know who you are or what picture you are talking about. Sooo... perhaps instead of threatening to "expose" me, you should attack Fox/Searchlight Pictures for coming up with the idea in the first place.
Stupid people suck ass.
Not two minutes after I've sat down at my desk, I am told I have a phone call from "Rosetta." I don't know anyone named Rosetta, but heaven only knows that's something that's been missing in my life, so I accept the call. It went something like this...
Rosetta: I am calling because I visited your web site and really enjoyed it, but I am seeing that you don't have very good placement on search engines like AOL, MSN, and Google... am I right about that?
Me: WHAT?!? What are you talking about? What web site?
Rosetta: Oh let me see here... I've got the name right here...
Me: So you like my web site but you don't know the name of it?!?
Rosetta: It's DaveWeb.com... yes, DaveWeb.com!
Me: Well, there's nothing going on at DaveWeb.com... I'm not putting anything there right now. What did you like so much about a site that has nothing on it?
Rosetta: Oh, if there's nothing there, then that's probably why it's not showing up on search engines then.
Me: Tell me, don't you find it embarrassing that you've told me you like my site when you've never even seen it? Don't you feel incredibly stupid about being such a bad liar?
Rosetta: You have a nice day. =click=
When it comes to telemarketing calls, this is about as moronic as it gets. First of all, even though DaveWeb is not being updated right now, it's the #1 hit on Google, MSN and AOL when you actually type in "DaveWeb" so I can only guess that in addition to not bothering to even look at my site, they didn't bother to see how it's actually ranked in search engines either. Does this type of scam ever work for anybody?
Oh, and this just in... VERIZON DSL SUCKS ASS!!
After Verizon canceled and then reinstating my DSL order twice, I finally got everything straightened out after having spent nearly two hours on the phone. Third time's a charm, right? Uhhh... no. I am now getting emails telling my that my DSL install is scheduled for March 8th... but the name, address, and phone number referenced in the email are not mine.
So, if your name is "Angela" and you live in "Stafford, Virginia" - then, congratulations, your DSL installation is underway!
Naturally, the email says that it "was sent from a notification-only e-mail address that cannot accept incoming e-mail messages" so my only choice is to call the idiots.
After yet another hour on the phone this morning trying to get everything straightened out AGAIN, I am still not sure if or when I am ever going to get a DSL line installed. Which begs the question: does Verizon ever use their own customer service line to see how absurd it is? Nobody has the capability to do anything. All they do is take your name, then pass you on to another department. This morning I've been through Tech Support, Billing, Sales, Equipment, and was then transferred back to Tech Support where I started in the first place. Nobody knows anything.
How does Verizon make any money when they keep their departments tied up on the phones all day not doing anything but passing people around? Why don't they have a SINGLE department you can call with people there who can actually DO SOMETHING when there is a problem? The ridiculous system they have now does nothing but waste everybody's time and money. If I were a Verizon stockholder, I'd be absolutely furious to know that my investment was being pissed away on paying employees for stupid shit like this.
Verizon's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer is Ivan G. Seidenberg. And Ivan, may I call you Ivan? You desperately need to reorganize your support system for DSL customers. You might want to start out by FIRING the INCOMPETENT DUMBASSES of everybody responsible for the "pass-the-buck" policy that's currently in place. Then tell whoever you hire to replace them that the very meaning of "Customer Service" is to SERVE THE CUSTOMER!! You are not SERVING THE CUSTOMER when you waste hours of their time and provide them no answers and no way to solve their problems. The only thing I was served today was my own ass.
I'm beginning to wonder if saving $20 a month was worth my time in Verizon purgatory?
Ever run across something you'd just love to blog about, but ultimately decided against it once you had a minute to think about it? That seems to be happening to me a lot lately. I just spent twenty minutes writing up and entry, drawing a cartoon, and then... while proof-reading it... decided to delete it instead of posting it.
I don't think that it was too personal or anything like that, it just "felt" wrong.
With that in mind, I can't help but wonder how often something like this happens with other bloggers. Maybe it's just timing? If I were to go back through every blog entry I've ever made, how many of them would I be compelled to delete? Heh... probably ALL of them.
I love animation. Well, let me rephrase that... I love good animation. There's something "pure" about a world that is wholly created and realized. Many animators understand this god-like power and use it to full advantage. But few animators are as brilliant at it as Nick Park and the geniuses at his Aardman Studios. Their most famous characters, Wallace & Gromit, are easily one of the best animated creations ever made. Any adventure of the cheese-loving gadget inventor Wallace and his genius dog Gromit is guaranteed big fun.
I love Gromit more than Mickey Mouse. More than Tigger. More than Marvin the Martian. More than any other animated character. Though he never speaks, he is more expressive than most human actors...
But there is one character even better than Gromit. One character destined to forever rule over animation with an iron fist. One character I obsess over: Feathers McGraw, the evil penguin criminal mastermind who disguises himself as a chicken to foil the law...
Not only that, but he carries a gun! How can you not love an evil penguin that packs heat?
The first Aardman major motion picture was the excellent Chicken Run and now, after years of waiting, a Wallace and Gromit feature arrives this October... Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Wererabbit! You can catch the teaser trailer from The Sun by clicking here. You can also watch a "making of" featurette by clicking here.
Never seen Wallace & Gromit? Well, if you are a Netflix user, there's a DVD of their first three adventures, and you can add it to your Rental Que. Otherwise, I think it's out of print and you'll have to try eBay or something (hopefully it will be re-issued to coincide with the movie release).
Who is an actor or director you trust to always make a good film? What is it about their previous works that make you trust them? I've always been a huge fan of Luc Besson, and will watch anything he creates. As for why I trust him, his track record is just stunning. From La Femme Nikita to Leon to The Big Blue to The Fifth Element to The Messenger, his films are a visual feast and smartly written. Even when he doesn't direct, his stories are fantastic (The Transporter comes to mind).
Where is a place you trust to always make a good food? What is it about their previous culinary creations that make you trust them? There are so many places I enjoy eating, that it's tough to pick only one. I think the place that I eat at more often than most is the "Johnny Rockets" chain of burger restaurants. The reason I trust them is because I have never had a bad meal there, never had bad service, never had a bad experience.
What's a company you trust to always make a good product? What is it about their previous stuff that make you trust them? The most obvious choice is Apple, because I worship just about every brilliant thing they've ever released... particularly in these later years. But I am also very loyal to Sony, because the cameras, electronics, and such that I've purchased from them have all been excellent in terms of both function and quality (unlike Panasonic, where I have NEVER had a good experience with a single item I've purchased).
FQ YOU: What is something you do so well that people can absolutely trust you with it? I'm a kick-ass driver, so I'm tempted to say that, but I don't WANT people to trust me for my driving... so, how about planning a trip. I do it so often for myself that I've gotten pretty good at it. What's something that people should never trust you with? Selecting a wine. I don't drink it very often, know nothing about it, and usually make a selection based solely on whether the name sounds "cool." Sometimes I get lucky ("Conundrum" was a brilliant wine with a very cool name), but mostly I do not.
You can trust the FridayQ.
It's kind of strange how the blogosphere has been so quiet lately. Many regular posters have been skipping days... even weeks... and, most surprising, I haven't seen any new memes running around. I don't know if the advent of Spring is causing people to be distracted, or if bloggers are just tired of blogging. These things run in cycles I suppose.
Imagine my surprise when I see a new meme has been started over at DOWN WITH PANTS! (just after their one-year anniversary, I might add). Inspired by Jay & Silent Bob's bit on VH1, I give you Three Guys I Might Go Gay For. Since this is not a topic I tend to think about, I've decided to make it easy on myself and stick to movie actors so I don't have to get into sports stars, singers, politicians, and other guys I don't know much about...
Hugh Grant. I will admit that I find nothing attractive about Hugh Grant, but his lips used to be pressed against various Elizabeth Hurley body parts, which is somehow appealing to me. He's not an overly-great actor, but he finds roles that he is well-suited for (I thought he was especially good in Notting Hill) so perhaps I could use that as a reason to go all gay over him. Well, that and his money, of course.
Dominic Monaghan. The least gay of all the gay Hobbits in Lord of the Rings, Dominic Monaghan is HOT! Because of his humor, he is one of the few characters on Lost who can divert my attention from Evangeline Lilly (who he happens to be dating), so I can only guess that I could go all gay over him.
Scott Plank. In an attempt to be semi-serious here, if I were to go gay, there is one actor I can think of that I wouldn't mind spending time with... mainly because I have been lucky enough to spend time with him (uhhh... but not like that!): Scott Plank. Unfortunatley, he has passed on, so I'm not sure if he counts. I met Scott during a horrible three month involvement I had with a Hollywood movie project, and can say in all honesty that he was the ONLY person I met during that time who wasn't a self-involved, artificial, arrogant, jerk. When the project ultimately fell apart, I tried my best to put it behind me and forget all about it, but it would be difficult to forget such a fun, humble, kind person like Scott Plank. I was saddened to hear he had died, even more upset that his potential as an actor was never realized while he was alive, and am devastated that my search for photos of him on the internet found practically nothing (the above image was from some kind of stage play he was involved in, because pictures of his television and movie roles don't seem to exist?). Granted he wasn't especially famous, but he was on a number of shows like Air America, Strange Luck, and Melrose Place... surely he should be remembered somewhere? Anyway, a guy could do a lot worse than going all gay over Scott Plank.
And there you have it. In reviewing my picks, I'm not sure what they say about my choice in men. Humor perhaps? That seems to make sense, because once you remove things like "breasts" out of the female equation, that's an appealing factor for me.
It seems as though everything is broken now-a-days. Everywhere I go, I see broken remnants of people, places, and things. Take today for instance. Some friends invited me to the Get Shorty sequel... Be Cool. Now, going to movies in a small city like Wenatchee is not a regular movie-going experience. The theaters are pretty crappy. The picture is crappy. The sound is really crappy. In the end, I suppose that it's a social thing more than a movie thing.
Anyway, we're watching the opening ten minutes of the film when the crappy picture gets even worse, then goes black. The lamp is broken or burned out or something, and they can't fix it. That means I just drove 30 minutes for no reason at all. And what do I get for my trouble? A free movie pass...
Sorry for the inconvenience?!? If you were REALLY sorry, you'd give me an extra free pass to make up for my wasted time and gas money!! Like they're doing me a big-ass favor by giving me a free ticket because they don't bother to perform routine bulb replacement on their crappy projectors?!? Puhleez.
So that my trip to Wenatchee is not a total waste, I decide to drop by Taco Bell on the way out of town for some Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes! But, when I arrive, I can't get any because their deep-fat fryer is broken. This is ridiculous to me, because isn't 95% of their menu deep-fried?!? Why even bother to stay open? So that my trip to Taco Bell isn't a total waste, I get a couple of Gorditas with rice substituted for the dead cow. For once I actually bother to look at the receipt and discover something shocking...
THEY CHARGE FITTY CENT EXTRA FOR MY RICE SUBSTITUTION!!! What a total load of crap! I'm willing to bet that rice is a heck of a lot cheaper than beef... why charge me for it? Vegetarian-hostile bastards.
But movie projectors and tacos pale in comparison to the broken shambles of this country's separation of church and state laws. Not a day goes by that some new attack isn't made against that which gives citizens the right to practice the religion of their choice (or no religion at all). I am growing ever-fearful that the day will come when only Christians will have religious freedom in this country because politicians get elected, then conveniently forget that they are to represent ALL the people they serve, including non-Christians. This was brought to horrifying clarity to me a few days ago when I received yet another email lambasting me for a comment I made where I talk about the unfair practice of religious politics governing marriage here in the USA. I've been wanting to address the issue (again) for a while now, but Jeff has already beaten me to the punch with a well-thought out entry over at Geekable. We may be "One Nation Under God," but we are many peoples, all of whom deserve equal representation regardless of how we believe, worship, or live our lives.
There was a dry spell for a while, but now blog memes are slowly starting to creep back into the blogosphere. This time, it's Kirkitsch over at My So-Called Strife who has discovered the "Personality Disorder Test." This is one of those tests that would have been more interesting to take back in high school when I was all messed up and actually cared about being messed up... instead of now, where I am still messed up, but just don't worry about it. Since I so rarely care about what other people think about me, that any paranoia I should be feeling has long since vanished.
Here we go...
Okay, the narcissism I get. While I do care about other people in general, my complete uncaring about how others perceive or react to me goes a long way toward explaining that (and why my other scores are so low). But schizotypal? What's that?
Oh, okay then. I prefer to call this type of behavior "genius," but to each their own. I don't mind being at high risk for genius.
Turns out that Be Cool, while interesting in parts, is pretty much a retread of Get Shorty, but not as clever. Oh well, it was a nice diversion on a Sunday afternoon.
After the movie, I really wanted to take my motorcycle out, but I had some work that badly needed tending to. Unfortunately this would involve trying to fix my crap Windows XP system, because that's the crap OS that the crap software I need is crap required to run on. Since the only way to actually fix a Windows problem is to reformat the drive and reinstall everything, that's what I had to waste my time with. After finally getting everything running again (over an hour later), I got to work...
... only to find out that the program refuses to run under the new install. I played around trying to get it going for a couple of hours, but nothing I did worked out. All I managed to do was break the system AGAIN.
I can see now that there is truly only one solution for "fixing" Windows XP...
WTF?!? I mean, seriously. You can call me a Mac whore, Steve Job's bitch, or an arrogant Apple bastard... but my Mac ACTUALLY WORKS when I need to get something done. Windows XP is nothing but a bloated piece of shite that I spend more time working ON than I actually spend time working WITH. Why? Why do people who use Windows actually put up with this crap? Do you know the last time I had to reinstall the MacOS X on my laptop? NEVER!!!! It has been upgraded several times, but there's never been a reason to install the OS since the day MacOS X was released! On top of that, I never turn my PowerBook off... I just put it to sleep. My uptime is MONTHS, not mere days. If it weren't for updates and software installs, I'd probably NEVER have to reboot it.
So I just wasted an entire afternoon trying to get caught up, but instead get further behind AND missed an opportunity to ride. Just when I think Windows couldn't possibly suck more ass than it does, Microsoft proves me wrong.
Gee... entirely too many good things happening today. Most importantly, my motorcycle is OUT of storage and my car is back IN to storage. Life doesn't get much better than that! I've already gone out for an hour, and realize once again just how trapped I feel driving a car now. Many other people must be feeling the same way, because there were a lot of motorcycles out over the weekend. While this does get a bit tiring because of all the "motorcyclist courtesy waves," there can never be too many motorcycles out on the road. The more people riding, the fewer rights that dumbass lawmakers can take away from us.
I keep "flip-flopping" back and forth over which upcoming movie I am most looking forward to seeing this year. After the fiasco that George Lucas had with the first two Star Wars prequels, I can safely remove the third (and final?) off my list... still, it's got Wookies and Darth Vader, so even that has some amount of excitement around it.
No, setting aside the Wallace and Gromit movie, there are really just two that are coveting for my top spot. The first, Frank Miller's Sin City appears to be very faithful to the stunning comic book that inspired it. It looks exactly like Sin City, has Quentin Tarantino as a guest-director for part of it, and features Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel looking disturbingly hot. Moviefone has a new trailer up that totally kicks ass, and has me even more excited to see how it's going to play out...
The other film, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is based on one of my favorite novels of all time, and has been a long, long time coming to the silver screen. The casting looks note-perfect, and since Douglas Adams himself worked on the script before his untimely death, that can only bode well for the adaptation. I want so badly for the film to blow me away and set box office records so that the remaining books in the series will be put to film. The original trilogy deserves at least that much...
Yes, a very promising year for movies I think, even if these two films were all we got.
And, in music news, I have a song stuck in my head from a movie trailer I saw for a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon called Fever Pitch (definitely not a movie for me). It's an excellent rendition of the Supertramp classic Give a Little Bit which is not sung by Supertramp! A search on the iTunes Music Store reveals it's a cover by the Goo Goo Dolls, which I proceeded to purchase immediately. Very sweet. It's the instant gratification that makes me so happy to be alive in the digital age.
I am not a big fan of Doctor Who and have never really understood the cult-like following that the tacky British sci-fi show has. But my best friend was a Who fanatic, and a little bit of his fondness for the time-traveling alien kind of rubbed off on me over the years. While I could never seem to muster the appreciation for the series that others had, I did come to enjoy it quite a lot as a nifty television diversion.
So when the BBC finally decided to revive the character after over 15 years, there were a lot of people wondering just what kind of show would be produced. Historically, Doctor Who has always featured brilliant writing married to cheesy, cheap-ass special effects. But now-a-days where special effects are relatively cheap to produce, but good television writing is exceedingly rare, the fear is that the things that made the show so beloved would be abandoned to try and reel in a new generation of sci-fi fans.
In the end, I can't say one way or another which route was taken based on this one episode, but it seems as though they tried their very best to hit somewhere in the middle. The writing is clever yet a bit kitschy (for nostalgia's sake), whereas the special effects are both old-school bad (plastic mannequin zombies?) and new-school enhanced (CGI touches and pyrotechnics are liberally used). It's definitely a Doctor Who show, but kind of stands on its own as well.
My verdict? I kind of liked it. The chills that ran up my spine from hearing the Doctor Who theme music kind of set me in the mood for being open-minded, and the rest was a fairly decent hour of sci-fi television...
The new Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) is sufficiently charming, yet nerdy and superior. His new companion "Rose" (played by Billie Piper) is cute, yet not so hot that she doesn't seem like an "average, everyday person." Together they make a fairly good team and, given the show we're talking about, are perfectly acceptable in their roles. In all honesty, I think I like Eccleston's version of the Doctor better than the previous versions (save Tom Baker, of course).
But most people here in the States will never see the show because it was not picked up by The Sci-Fi Channel. And why did they decide to take a pass? Well, I think it comes down to two things... 1) The show has an incredibly "low-budget" look and feel that will compare badly indeed to Sci-Fi's other offerings like Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate (heck, it even looks bad compared to an episode of Red Dwarf!), and 2) It is very much British in both style and execution, which probably won't play well here. You could also argue that the show just isn't geared to a new viewer and would only appeal to Doctor Who fans, but I don't think that's true. In the end I can't really fault Sci-Fi for their decision, though I think it's a pity something couldn't have been worked out for some kind of late-night marathon or something. Oh well, perhaps BBC America will have a go.
About the only addressable criticism I have was that The Doctor didn't seem prominent enough in the show... we seemed to get more of Rose and her boyfriend than we ever did of Doctor Who himself. Perhaps this was an introductory ploy that will be rectified in future episodes, and so I'll have to see a few more shows before I can cement my opinion. Anyway, if you have a BitTorrent client, a fast internet connection, and are a fan of kitschy British sci-fi, then you might want to give this new version of an old classic a try.
Now that my motorcycle is out, naturally the weather has to go from warm and sunny to cold and overcast. And now it's raining. While that sucks total ass, I must say I'm not surprised. It just seems to be my luck. Interestingly enough, the weather is the least of my problems just now. Something far worse is afoot...
I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
Or so an email I just got is telling me. Fortunately, a drug called STRATTERA promises to fix me right up. In other good news, they also have all the drugs I need to cure my other problems... like erectile dysfunction, genital herpes, and overactive bladder (gotta go gotta go gotta go right now!). Even better, I can get these drugs as imports at a fraction of the cost!
And that begs the question... if you did have something like genital herpes, would you really want to trust the medication for it to some unknown person selling drugs over the internet? Bizarre.
Oh well, once I'm hooked up with my drugs, I'll no longer have to worry about Adult ADD, erectile dysfunction, herpes, or an overactive bladder... I guess that means I can finally concentrate on my 4-hour erection and stop infecting the ladies with herpes and peeing my pants. Life is good!
Well, it would appear that I am going to have to turn comment moderation ON again, despite the fact that the new "MTKeystrokes" plugin is doing an amazing job of discarding comment spam from spam-bots. Last night I received a comment that was obviously trying to sell something. Sure it was hand-typed, and sure it related to my entry, but I have never allowed people to whore their wares here and I don't intend to start now. The only person allowed to be a whore here is me, and I don't like the competition. Get your own blog if you want to sell something.
It kind of makes me wish that I was able to clone my brain and hook it up to my blog so that it could approve and reject comments without me having to bother...
Of course, I think the massive genius of my clone brain would tire of such a mundane chore 24-7, and would probably go mad and become an evil brain monster. An evil brain monster to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!! MOOWAAAHHH HA HA HAAAA!
If you could own any item from any movie, what would you take and why? Well, I'd love to have my very own Gort robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still... how cool would that be? My dream of taking over the world would be a piece of cake with Gort there to kick everybody's asses. Or maybe some of the gadgets from the James Bond movies would be handy? Nah, I think the one thing I would want more than any other would be Mace Windu's purple lightsaber from the Star Wars prequels. That way I could open up a can of Samuel L. Jackson-style Jedi whoop-ass all over the stupid people who bug the crap out of me...
If you could become any character from any movie, who would it be and why? Dude! No question, it would be Indiana Jones! He got to run around the world having awesome adventures, finding treasure, and shooting Nazis and stuff! On top of that, if I were Indiana Jones I could literally whip somebody's ass with my bull-whip. That would totally rock...
If you could visit any location from any movie, where would it be and why? Probably inside The Matrix so I could fly around, shoot lots of guns, and go all kung-fu on people who cut me off in traffic...
FQ MOVIE MASH-UP: Combine some items, characters, and locations from different movies to create an entirely new film! What would you call it and what would it be about? I think I'd like to take the chain saw from Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the Alien from Alien, Jason from Friday The 13th, and put them on the ship Discovery with HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then everybody could battle it out IN OUTER SPACE!! My master-work would then be ready to kick box-office ass and be called: Friday the 13th, 2001: An Alien Chainsaw Massaccre Odyssey. Brilliant! I'd pay serious bank to see that flick.
Be the movies at the FridayQ.
For a Friday, I must say it's been a pretty good day for me...
Sixteen. Verizon finally came through with my DSL order today after sixteen days of orders, cancelled orders, re-orders, and a myriad of other problems that wasted hours of my valuable time to get sorted out. Much to my surprise, the new router/modem they sent me had wireless built-in! That's a pretty cool bonus, and shows that (if nothing else) Verizon is at least paying attention to how the customers are accessing the internet. Even better, it seems as though my connection is slightly faster to boot, and the Verizon wireless has more range than my old Apple Airport Base Station. The best part? All of that is at a $20 savings per month over my previous EarthLink DSL line. This couldn't come at a better time, because just this morning I was thinking I'd rather give up the internet than spend another week with dial-up.
Three. Last night while watching the latest episode of The O.C., they ran the new Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith trailer. Just for fun, they had "Seth Cohen" from the show (the ultimate sci-fi/comic book nerd) introduce the thing with his Star Wars action figures. The trailer itself is pretty kick-ass cool and features mind-blowing special effects, Samuel L. Jackson with his purple lightsaber I covet so much, Wookies(!) and, best of all... GREEN BOOBIES! Of course, I remember getting all excited about Episodes I and II after watching the trailer, and they both sucked so much ass that I nearly shat myself in the theater. Do I dare muster any hope that the final Star Wars installment will be worth a crap? History tells me no... BUT WOOKIES AND GREEN BOOBIES! How can I not be excited?
Of course, the bigger Star Wars news is the increasing rumors that Kevin Smith will be in charge of some kind of Star Wars television show after Episode III wraps production. Since Kevin Smith on his worst day can fart better dialogue out of his ass than Lucas can write on his best day, this is really enticing gossip. It also seems really plausible given that the show could be done fairly cheap given today's digital special effects... I mean, all the computer models and scenes and such are already there, they just need to be reused in new and interesting ways.
Six. TrackBack spammers are pummeling me today. In the past six hours I've received dozens of email notifications for horrendously disgusting TrackBack pings that I am trying to Blacklist as quickly as they arrive so that any further attempts will be rejected. The problem is, they are using a new domain every time, so Blacklist is only killing a portion of what I'm being hit with. Six Apart has STILL failed to patch MT so that I can force moderation of TrackBack pings for manual approval, which is mind-boggling. I'm left with no choice but to turn of TrackBack for my blog, because I refuse to allow "hot doggy sex bestiality pics" to be promoted here. What in the heck is Six Apart waiting for? It's not like I am asking them to take care of my spam... just give me the ability to do it myself through moderation like I already can with comments. Seesh!
Four. Since putting Scott Plank on my "List of Three Guys I'd Go Gay For", I've received four emails wanting to know more about him. One email was from a woman who "became obsessed with him after seeing that sexy photo on your blog." Unfortunately, as I had mentioned, I don't know much about him at all. I met Scott briefly a few times because he was a potential actor for a role in a movie project I was involved in. Unlike most everybody else I met in Hollywood, Scott was a genuinely nice guy who was kind, funny, and humble. I was sent tape of his appearances in Air America and Melrose Place, but anything else I learned about him was from his entry on IMDB. I am told that he once had a web site at ScottPlank.com, but it isn't there anymore, which is kind of a shame. I have no details about Scott's death, only rumors I don't care to elaborate on. If anybody out there runs across this and knows of a place that has any information about Scott, please pass it along, and I'll be happy to share it.
Eight. And speaking of computer animation, I switched to LightWave today after having used Electric Image Animation System for nearly a decade. I originally started with EIAS because that's what the people at Industrial Light and Magic used in Star Wars: Special Edition. It cost thousands of dollars, didn't come with a modeler, and was a bitch to use... but it produced pretty images very quickly. The problem is that EIAS sucked more and more with each new update. Version 5 has a modeler that crashes constantly doing the simplest of things (like beveling the corner of a cube!), and an animator that is so buggy I keep looking for roaches under my keyboard. The final straw came when I got a notice that I can upgrade to EIAS 5.5 for $300 the same day I got a notice that I could purchase a "sidegrade" to LightWave for $500. Despite my having to re-learn a brand new package from scratch, I decided I was not going to pay $300 for another pile of shit from Electric Image just to get bug fixes to problems they never patched (and a load of potential new problems to worry about). As a perk of switching to LightWave, there's about a hundred books and dozens of training videos available... I think EIAS has at most three books (all out of date) and not much else. So any penalty from switching should be fairly short with such a wealth of material to learn from. Here's hoping.
UPDATE: Interestingly enough, NewTek just hired Jay Roth and Mark Granger... two long-time Electric Image employees. I am hopeful that this is a good thing, but my past problems with EIAS do have me slightly worried.
Seventy-Two. It's a lovely 72 degrees outside this afternoon. I am so taking off work early to go for a nice long ride on my motorcycle.
Last night I was called to provide a ride to the Emergency room. This is not the first time. It seems I am a magnet for taking the sick or injured to the ER. And every time I end up amazed at how bizarre it is that people with harsh injuries are piled six deep in a waiting room... a guy with his face busted open and blood everywhere, a lady coughing so hard that I thought for sure she was going to lose a lung, another woman with her leg all swollen and busted, a little girl who can barely breathe... all just sitting there waiting for somebody to tend to them.
When you see such seriously hurt people outside waiting, it makes you wonder just how much worse off the people were who actually got in to see a doctor!
And then the waiting starts.
Once you get there, it's an hour before they take your information. Then you wait. An hour after that they take your vital signs. And then you wait. An hour after that they show you to a room. And then you wait. An hour after that you get tests and x-rays. And then you wait. And finally the doctor comes and fixes you up (or not) and suddenly five hour of you life have passed you by.
But that's not the worst part.
When you drive somebody to the Emergency Room, you then have to wait in a room with nothing but sick people coughing all over you for five hours until it's time to go back. I can only guess that somebody will be driving me to the ER next week with an assortment of contagious ailments. Bleh.
Forever is insomnia a constant sorrow to the afflicted,
Morpheus I thank thee for mine blissful slumber.
I dwell in thine Kingdom of Dreams with a rare joy,
til' that inevitable moment my peace is torn asunder.
This time by some drunken moron's call at 2:00am,
my profanity for his hapless intrusion no wonder.
I beg thee take me into your embrace once more,
before my urge to kill is overwhelmed by a blunder.
Death awaits the inebriated thanks to Caller ID.
Okay, something's gone wrong and my back is all jacked up. I've taken about every type of painkiller in my medicine cabinet, and nothing seems to work. Any bending at the waist causes breath-sucking pain. Just sitting down is enough to make me want to pass out.
The worst part is that I don't know how I did it.
When I woke up I was fine. But somewhere between eating my toast for breakfast and driving to work something went terribly, terribly wrong.
I'm pretty sure there are some pins in my travel sewing kit, so I think it's time to attempt acupuncture...
I like me. I like me a lot. I'm one of the most clever, charming, intelligent, engaging people I know. If the laws were to change, I'd marry me in a heartbeat. I'm that just that amazing. As you can imagine, criticizing somebody I like as much as me is not an easy thing to do. I mean, what's not to like?
Something I like almost as much as me is Apple computer. Granted, part of the reason I love Apple so much is because the Microsoft alternative sucks ass so badly, but still, I've got a lot of love for my favorite fruit-themed computer company.
But not so much that I can't criticize them from time to time. It's a tough love.
Apple has a service called ".Mac" (A.K.A. "dot Mac") which is a wholly remarkable thing. I can sync my address book, web browser bookmarks, calendar appointments, and such across multiple computers AND access them from any computer on the internet. More than a few times .Mac has saved my ass because I didn't have my PowerBook with me and don't carry a PDA.
Another handy feature of my $99 .Mac service is something they call "iDisk." It's a storage space on the internet that allows me to store documents and other goodies in a remote place so I can access them anywhere I have internet available. It's remarkably handy and easy to use. Unfortunately, it also has a tendency to suck from time to time. Many, many times when saving a file to my iDisk, the process will hang as it is "closing the files" and then take out the MacOS as well. Other apps still run fine, but the OS "Finder" is toasted until you reboot...
A $99 service BY Apple that causes your Apple product to crap out? WTF? They keep saying that they will be improving .Mac services in the next version of the MacOS (code-named "Tiger"), but I've heard that line before with "Panther," and serious problems still persist. So the question ultimately comes down to this: will Apple finally fix their .Mac crap, or will we be continuing to pay an annual $99 fee for something half-assed?
I certainly hope they can fix it. They are expanding .Mac syncing to 3rd-Party apps and other System pieces, which totally rocks. But if it's going to continue causing problems because of fundamental flaws in the way it's married to the OS... what's the point?
Make no mistake about it... I am always about fifteen minutes away from becoming a serial killer. If it weren't for those pesky Buddhist precepts getting in the way, I probably would have starting killing people years ago.
I suppose that I should make a joke right now and tell you I'm kidding, but I'm completely serious. Keep watching the 6:00 News, because one of these days...
The only thing that makes this revelation not quite as horrible as you might think is this: I honestly believe that everybody on this planet is fifteen minutes away from becoming a serial killer. It's just a sad reality of the world we live in today. Those people who cross into the serial killer zone just hit minute sixteen because they couldn't find anything better to do.
So, in the interest of promoting world peace and the harmony of all earth's creatures, here's a few things I do to keep from hitting minute sixteen and killing all the people that bug me...
Blog Your Rage Away. Ranting about your frustrations in a blog entry goes a long ways toward subduing the urge to kill. That's why I'm forever kicking asses and shooting guns here. Well, that's why I am always fantasizing about kicking asses and shooting guns in cartoons here. The truth is that I abhor guns and violence, but drawing funny pictures about it is somehow therapeutic.
Ride Your Rage Away. I don't care how many people I desire to kill throughout the day, they all disappear while riding my motorcycle. Of course, many times the people I most want to kill are bad driver's I encounter while riding, but they're forgotten in well under fifteen minutes. A motorcycle is the ultimate deterrent from wanting to kill but, unfortunately, dumbass soccer moms in their SUVs who talk on their mobile phones while beating their kids, putting on their makeup, and eating a burrito may end up killing you.
C.S.I. Your Rage Away. Watch an episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and realize that you will never get away with killing somebody. Then realize that you just don't have the chops to handle a manslaughter charge in a "pound-you-up-the-ass federal penitentiary." That aught to cure you of the urge to kill is a real hurry. I know it does me.
Play Your Rage Away. I love crackpot psychologists who claim that violent video games cause violent behavior. Whether that's true or not, I don't really care. The simple fact is that being able to blow stuff up and shoot people in video games allows me to release energy that might otherwise be used to blow stuff up and shoot people in real life. Nothing quite like blasting "Rage Against the Machine" until your eardrums are bleeding while shooting everything in sight in a game of Max Payne to take the killer out of you.
Slap Your Rage Away. If you can't kill 'em, bitch-slap them so hard they'll wish you had killed them. Then run away. Run like the wind you pansy-ass bitch-slapper!
A month and a day away! April 18th is my two-year "blogiversary" and I'm in a mood to celebrate. I'm telling you now because it's going to be something you don't want to miss. Seriously. It's a "mark your calendars now" type of thing.
I wanted to have a big celebration last year, but waited until it was too late and didn't have time to pull everything together. And every day since then I've been thinking about what I was going to do the next time. Planning. Scheming. Begging. Extorting. Pleading. Stealing (well, not really, but doesn't it make you feel special that I was willing to steal for you?). An event one year in the making...
Will there be big fun? Absolutely!
Will there be prizes? You bet!
Will there be free stuff? Count on it!
Will Dave get naked and dance LIVE on a web-cam? You had better hope not.
Intrigued? Well you should be. I'm CRAZY-INSANE and there's just no telling what is going to happen!
Something green you like to eat... I like frozen peas on my salad, green DOTS candies, and love a slice of lime in a cocktail. But nothing beats a nice Granny Smith apple off the tree, which is a kind of sweet-tart taste that's delicious and invigorating.
Something green you like to wear... My Seattle Sonics T-Shirt. It's old and beaten-up, but I bought it at a Sonics game years ago, and can't bear to part with it because it's so comfy. I also have a Green Bay Packers "Favre" jersey which I save for trips to Wisconsin so that I have adequate camouflage to blend in with the natives.
Something green you like to look at... So many things come immediately to mind. Ireland is so green it almost hurts to look at. I find praying mantis bugs fascinating to watch in a creepy kind of way. I love gemstones, and nicely-cut emeralds are mighty pretty to see. And, of course, I never mind looking at a pile of money, the ultimate green. But, in the end, I'd have to say I like looking at green tree frogs most of all. I used to love frogs as a kid, and these funky little guys are still a favorite.
FQ GALLERY: Post a photo you took (or an illustration you made) of something green.... At first I was going to just post a photo from my iPhoto library, but then I decided I wanted to draw a tree frog. Things kind of got out of hand from there...
But I have some green photos too, like this shot of the Wicklow region of Ireland...
And these avacados artichokes I saw at a market in Barcelona...
And this cool shot of the field in Munich Stadium, where all the seats are green to match, which I thought was a pretty nifty idea...
It's easy being green at the FridayQ.
Well, Neil has gone and done it again... dug up another huge meme that I don't really want to spend time participating in, but feel compelled to nevertheless (and he got it from Richard, so he's equally to blame). This time it's the infamous "Internet Movie DataBase Top 250 Films" (as ranked by IMDB Voters). The idea is that you take the complete list of 250 films and then check-off the ones you've seen. Surprisingly, I've seen all but 77 of them (and only two on the list are unknown to me completely).
It's a terrific idea for a meme and, since I love movies so much, I just can't pass it up (as I have twice before). But TWO-HUNDRED FIFTY?!? Ah well. I've kept the IMDB links, so you can click to learn about the movie if you are so inclined. I've also added my personal rating to those I've seen (Bomb to 5 stars) and, like Neil, have also noted which of the films I own on DVD...
For those of you who could care less about my movie habits, I've put the list in an extended entry.
This has not been the best of weeks for me, but it has been a good week in entertainment news...
Oldboy. A movie I have been waiting to see for years now... a Korean film called "Oldboy" finally has a US distributor! When I was last in Korea I looked for it, but it had left theaters there (having been released in 2003). It's a mystery/revenge thriller that won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and has critics falling all over themselves with praise (in fact, it's #93 on the IMDB 250 meme I did yesterday, and is assured of going higher on the list once more people have seen it). You can read about the movie and see a trailer over at FilmForce. The only down-side is that I will probably end up having to go to Seattle or L.A. to see it, unless it starts making Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon box office.
Veronica. E! Online's annual "Save One Show" television poll is over, and Veronica Mars devastated the competition with 56% of the vote! All while beating out popular favorites like The West Wing (less that 1%) and Arrested Development (9%)...
Hartman. After being announced, then unannounced, scheduled, then unscheduled, Phil Hartman's final show News Radio is finally coming to DVD! One of my all-time favorite comedians, Hartman headed up an absolutely brilliant cast that included Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall), Stephen Root (Office Space), Andy Dick (Less Than Perfect), Maura Tierny (E.R.), Vicki Lewis (Celebrity Makeover), and Khandi Alexander (CSI: Miami). I stopped watching after Phil died, but every show until then was GOLD and will be a welcome addition to my DVD collection.
Renewal. NBC has already announced renewals for The West Wing, Crossing Jordan, Las Vegas, ER, and Joey. I stopped watching ER ages ago, never got into Crossing Jordan, and thought Joey sucked ass. That leaves me happy for Las Vegas a guilty pleasure which has four of the hottest ladies on television, and The West Wing which took a nose-dive after creator/writer Aaron Sorkin left, but has been rebounding with great new characters (the new National Security Advisor, "Kate Harper," is the best addition since "Ainsley Hays"). It will be interesting to see what happens when the show gets a new president.
Bullshit. Proving that it can't be all good news all the time, The Sci-Fi Channel has debuted what has to be one of the most embarrassingly bad concepts for a movie in recent memory... MANSQUITO! He's half-man, half-mosquito, and all killer...
They cancelled the brilliant Farscape so they could have money to finance this crap? WTF?!?
Alrighty then... just thirty days until my second blogiversary, and things are looking pretty good for the celebration. I haven't totaled everything up, but it's looking like there's going to be over a thousand dollars worth of goodies given away. Yes, you read that right, ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! No joke. No kidding. Just five days of big fun and fabulous prizes spanning from April 18th to the 22nd. It'll be worth a look so be sure to tune in.
Hmmm... I'd feel pretty good about that, but the weather here has taken a bizarre turn. Saturday morning it was biting cold and actually snowing, but then that turned to rain all day long. Now it's a drizzle again and we're supposed to get scattered showers throughout the day. How am I supposed to ride a motorcycle in this crap?
Oh well. There's something to be said for staying home and watching Angel: The Complete Fifth Season on DVD. I mean, come on! Angel gets turned into a PUPPET in this one!
And just look at what happens to Fred!
Argh, what an amazing show. Just think of what they might have come up with had they been given a well-deserved sixth season. Bastard WB Television executives!
Well, the day has finally come to send in my PowerBook so that the worn-out latch can be repaired. This is very difficult for me, because she's been a constant companion for several years now. I don't know how I'm going to manage carrying on with my life without her by my side... even for this brief time. = sob! =
Is it too much to ask that everybody out there think happy thoughts for my PowerBook's full recovery, quick turnaround, and safe return?
Here's the letter I sent in with the repair...
Dear Apple Service,
I love this PowerBook. It has been around the world with me numerous times and we've been on many adventures together. Newer PowerBook models have come and gone, but my love for the classic Titanium G4 has not diminished.
I have tried my very best to care for my PowerBook by buying her nice padded cases and special cleaning cloths and screen wipes. I've always treated her gently and made sure she was never put in harm's way. Despite my efforts, the latch button has slowly worn out... it started by not latching securely from time to time, but now it won't latch at all, so I am unable to keep my beautiful PowerBook closed.
I am hopeful that you can find some way to repair her, as I would be heartbroken if I were forced to purchase a newer, bigger, clumsier, Aluminum PowerBook (I'm fairly certain that she doesn't want to be tossed in a dumpster either... she's grown quite fond of me as well, I can just tell).
They tell me at the Apple Store that my PowerBook is still under AppleCare protection. Her serial number is XXXXXXXXXXX, and the Administrative login is "XXXX" with the password being "XXXX" -- If you have any questions or require any further information, please don't hesitate to call me.
Many Thanks and Best Regards,
David Simmer II
One whole day without my PowerBook. It's been tough... really tough. No sitting on the couch working while watching television at night. No laying in bed 'til late catching up with blogs and seeing what's new in the world. No waking up and grabbing my PowerBook first thing to run through all the Trackback spam I've accumulated overnight. Nope. No PowerBook lovin' for me (on the plus-side, it did force me to download all the latest upgrades for my PowerMac G4 Cube!).
Which brings up an excellent point raised in a comment from Karla on my last entry...
Girlfriend? Hmmm... it's been a while, but I think I am better off with the PowerBook. Time for a comparison chart, methinks...
|Always busy getting ready.||Always ready to get busy.|
|Never shuts up.||Has an off-switch.|
|Needs constant attention and entertaining.||Doesn't mind being ignored and does all the entertaining.|
|Insists you be nice to her bitchy friends.||Shows you porn.|
|Insists you accompany her for stupid activities like shopping.||Shows you porn.|
|Eventually becomes defective and mentally unstable after use... requires replacement.||Bug patches can be applied to fix any instabilities, thus ensuring a long and happy relationship.|
|A risky venture into freaky sexual diseases that can really ruin your day.||Can't pass viruses to you and is easily cleaned of any it contracts.|
|High maintenance... constantly requires expensive gifts.||Low maintenance... only requires an occasional upgrade.|
|Smells nice. Sometimes lets you have sex with her.||errr...|
Okay. I see your point. Any mentally-stable women out there who can iron and are seeking a relationship, please submit a resume and psychological evaluation to me via email as soon as possible.
This was not starting out to be a very good day. Which is not surprising considering how my evening went yesterday. It all started as I was driving home for work... a nice drive through town, minding my own business. When all of a sudden I notice some white chick in cornrows flipping me off with an obscene gesture while two of her skanky friends watched. Ordinarily I would just think to myself "whatever" and keep driving, but this time was different. I slam on the brakes, open my window and shouted "WAS THAT JUST A RANDOM ACT OF DEFIANCE, OR DID I DO SOMETHING TO PISS YOU OFF?!?" She was genuinely startled for a second, but quickly regained her composure and shouted back "f#@% OFF A$$HOLE, I WASN'T TALKING TO YOU!!" To which I shouted back "ALRIGHTY THEN... CARRY ON YA GANGSTA-BITCH WANNABE!!" This caused her friends to crack-up laughing, which threw her into a rage of obscenities.
I ignored her and drove off, but then got to thinking about how sad it is that some small-town cracker white girl can honestly think that randomly flipping people off and shouting obscenities while done-up in cornrows makes her bad-ass cool. If she were to ever encounter a real gangsta-bitch, her pasty white ass would be served to her on a platter. I'd love to fly her down to East L.A. and drop her off on a random street corner and see how many minutes she could survive. Call me a horrible person, but THAT would be a great idea for a reality television series!
Things just went downhill from there. By the time I was ready for bed, I was so freaked out that I ended up taking a sleeping pill so I could manage a few hours sleep. Naturally, this meant I woke up in a drugged-out haze. At least I was in a drugged-out haze until I stubbed my toe on the bookshelf. Then I banged my head in the shower. Then I jammed my elbow putting on my shirt. Then I couldn't find my security key dongle for LightWave. Then I forgot what I had done with my lucky hat. Eventually I made it out the door, but I was not a happy camper.
After getting to the office and checking my email, I notice a message from a friend who is a fellow graphic designer that said "IM ME RIGHT NOW DAMMIT!!" Thinking that it was some kind of joke, I replied "Yeah, I'm me right now too dammit!!" Within seconds of pressing the "send" button, his reply hits my inbox... "IM = Instant Message you dork. Turn on iChat!!" And so I did. Turns out he ran into a tricky design problem and needed some advice on how to handle it. Fortunately, things like this are easy to solve with a little face-to-face video chat, and we managed to figure everything out in a few minutes.
After expressing his gratitude for my assistance, he went on to say "I hope you get your PowerBook back soon... you're looking a little grumpy today."
Hmmm... I do look a little grumpy today in a serial-killer kind of way. But all that changed the minute I looked up the repair status for my PowerBook...
AppleCare is da bomb! Can you believe it? One day turn-around repairs!! This means I just might get her back tomorrow (which is the best birthday present I could ask for!). Of course, from previous experience, I have learned never to count on Airborne/DHL for on-time delivery... but, at the very least, I should have my laptop back in time for the weekend.
Now I can't seem to wipe the smile off of my face. It's going to be a good day after all.
And by "wow" I really mean "WOW" because I am typing this on my newly repaired PowerBook. It arrived today, which means that AppleCare Service received it, fixed it, then shipped it out all in the same day.
Boy, just when you think it's impossible for Apple to kick any more ass than they already do, they go and prove you wrong. I guess I should really expect things like this from them, but it's difficult to believe that one company can be so freakin' amazing considering how terrible the service is getting to be with other companies now-a-days.
The AppleCare extended warranty contract may be pricey, but it has certainly paid for itself... the latch mechanism that wore out was part of the entire top case assembly, so the painted trim that was starting to peel on the edges has all been replaced as well. She feels like an all-new machine. She even smells fresh and new. About the only negatives are that the power adaptor plug doesn't quite fit as well as it used to, and Apple assessed my battery as "failing" which is bizarre because it's less than two months old (though it's not an "official" Apple battery, but instead a third-party "high-capacity" model, so maybe that's why their diagnostics failed it?).
I'm really happy right now. Apple rules the earth.
Well gee... nothing quite like waking up to an email in-box full of birthday wishes! Thanks everybody. Though it does make me realize that I don't know when anybody else's birthday is to return the kind favor. With that in mind, I changed the FridayQ at the last minute to a birthday-themed-meme. Now all I need to do is create a special DaveToon birthday card that I can email to everybody on their special day. Hmmmm...
Sniff. I don't really celebrate my birthday anymore, but I'm sitting here burning a candle that smells like birthday cake, so I guess that's something. I haven't kept up with the "candle renaissance" that's going on right now, but it's freaky the dozens of flavors they've got for candles now-a-days. Birthday Cake was strange enough, but Pineapple & Pomegranate? Mojito? Lemongrass?!? The flavors I want are Pizza, Beer & Pretzels, and New Macintosh.
Crushed. Well, the Huskeys couldn't really pull it together, leaving Louisville (at the top of their game) to blow by with a 14-point win. It's kind of a sad day for Washington State, but the Dawgs had a great season, so there's really no reason to whine about it.
Order. One of my all-time favorite music groups, New Order, is releasing a new album Monday! It's called Waiting for the Siren's Call and they have a limited-time free preview where you can listen to every song in its entirety. Very sweet. Since Apple has most of New Order's stuff on the iTunes Music Store, I am hopeful it shows up on "New Music Tuesdays" on the 29th.
Pie! My favorite pie is my grandmother's apple pie, which is unearthly good. Next on the list would have to be Key Lime pie, which I am rarely able to get around here (heck, authentic Key Lime pie made with real Key Limes is hard to find even in Key West!). I've tried making it once before, but it ended up being a difficult, sloppy mess that tasted like ass. Now I have a no-cook solution that tastes pretty darn spiffy and is rediculously easy to make. I'm going to record it here in case I ever lose the recipe card...
Release. March 24th seems to be a popular day to release a new product. MacOS X was released on this day in 2001. Four years later, Sony has chosen this date for the American release of PlayStation Portable. Unlike the Nintendo GameBoy DS which looks like a clunky toy, the PSP is serious. A big, beautiful screen that not-only plays kick-ass games, but audio and video as well. Since Steve Jobs continues to be astoundingly short-sighted about releasing a video iPod, perhaps this is the answer for me? I wonder how much trouble it is to re-encode downloaded TV shows for PSP playback? I want one.
Tru. Fox has dumped the boringly awful Point Pleasant and is replacing it with the second season of Tru Calling, starring the delicious Eliza Dushku! I really enjoyed this show, especially when they introduced the "anti-Tru" (played by Jason Priestly) late in the season. Unfortunately, the second season was short-ordered, but it's better than nothing... and at least now we're finally going to get to see it.
Mars. I've been going insane while Veronica Mars has been on TV hiatus, but the up-side is that I've been slowly working my way through all the previous episodes. I am now seriously starting to wonder if Duncan is responsible for both raping Veronica (his then ex-girlfriend and now potential half-sister!) and killing Lilly (his sister and Veronica's best friend). It's an odd theory, all things considered, but I wonder...
When is your birthday? March 24th.
Anything interesting happen on your birthday in history? Bilboard published it's very first pop album chart in 1945. Queen Elizabeth I dies in 1603. The Exxon Valdez runs aground in 1989, causing the worst oil spill in U.S. territory. Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon in 1973. And, most interesting of all, Robert Koch announces the discovery of the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis in 1882.
Anybody famous share your birthday? Do you have anything in common with them? Hmmm... Colt's quarterback Peyton Manning (we're both tall... though he's really tall at 6'5"!); Buffy's lesbian witch-friend Willow as played by Alyson Hannigan (She was in the movie American Pie and I like to eat pie); Anorexic, tu-tu wearing Twin Peaks actress Laura Flynn Boyle (we both suffered from dyslexia growing up); Annoying and untalented television personality Star Jones (I think she must like to eat a lot of pie); Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger (we're both stylin' dudes); Yuki from the Lady Snowblood films herself, Meiko Kaji (we both totally kick ass!); and master magician Harry Houdini (we're both magical).
FQ FUTURE: On your 100th birthday, what year will it be and what do you think you'll be wanting as a present then? It will be the year 2066 and I want my freakin' flying car!! We've been promised flying cars for decades now... surely we should have them in 2066?!? Actually... I'll probably be needing another shot of nanites (teeny-tiny repair robots) injected into me so I can live through the day, so that should really be first on my list.
You say it's your birthday at the FridayQ.
DANG YOU TO HECK KITTY SPANGLES!!! I scream at my computer monitor for the hundredth time. GIMME THE RED JACK... GIVE IT TO ME YOU BITCH!! I yell in a solitaire-playing frenzy. In case you haven't guessed, I am not in the best of moods today. It's probably stemming from the fact that I got -zero- sleep last night. You see, I live in a small orchard community. There are orchards within spitting distance of my apartment. Ordinarily this is no big deal (kind of country-charm nice, in fact) but when we have a late frost descend in the valley, every orchardist runs out and turns on these giant fans to keep the moisture from settling on their fruit (thus spoiling it). So all night long I'm listening to dozens of massive propellers going WHHHRR-RRRR-RRRR WUB-WUB-WUB! WHHHRR-RRRR-RRRR WUB-WUB-WUB! It's enough to drive you insane, and it certainly has me.
At day-break they the sun comes out and they can turn the propellers off, but then the devil-geese show up and start running around the parking lot honking like birds possessed and I decide to give it up and go to work (even though it's a holiday today). The reason I am at work on a paid holiday is so I can restore some very old files that were lost when our highly-paid computer consultants decided to move the file server to another building. Unfortunately the backups are on antiquated media like ZIP disks, JAZ cartridges, and Magneto-Optical discs, so I have no way of reading them until I drag a very old Mac up from the basement and hook it up. Despite being a million years old, it works flawlessly. I can't help but get a pang of nostalgia when MacOS 9 boots up on my tiny 640 by 480 monitor. Just for kicks I see if Blogography will render at all in such an old browser. Sure enough, with a little bit of scrolling, it's perfectly functional. It's nice to know that my decision to crop all photos to 420 by 319 to accommodate small screens has paid off...
So here I sit transferring gigabytes of files from an ancient computer while occupying my dead-time playing Kitty Spangles Solitaire on my laptop and cursing. A lot. For a solitaire game, Kitty is pretty dope. What I like most about it is that you get five minutes of free play time for each game (without having to purchase the program) so you can play a kind of "speed-solitaire" that adds another level of pressure. What I don't like is that Kitty and her cute little cartoon pals continue to look adorable even when things don't go your way...
Another down-side to the game is taking crap from your friends when they call...
Reagent: Hey! What's up?
Me: Not much. Just restoring an old backup and playing a game of Kitty Spangles Solitaire.
Reagent: Kitty... Spangles... Solitaire... ?
Me: Yes, KITTY SPANGLES!!!
Reagent: That is so gay.
Me: Uhhh... you are still gay, aren't you?
Reagent: Yes. But Kitty Solitaire sounds gay, even for me.
Me: I'd think you'd be against sexual-orientation slander seeing that you're a big queer and all.
Reagent: You are avoiding the fact that Kitty Spangles Solitaire is gay...
It's so nice to have friends you can absolutely count on to pitch crap at you. I don't care if Kitty Spangles Solitaire is gay... it's so addictive that I'm seriously considering paying the $20 and registering it. If it were $10, I would absolutely register it, but $20 for solitaire seems steep when you only get Klondike. DANG YOU TO HECK KITTY SPANGLES!!!
Around the blogosphere today, I notice (via Kotke) that the brilliant Jeffrey Veen has written an excellent article about the Flash-based inactive-interactivity that seems to be plaguing the internet. He sums up exactly how I've been feeling for years now, and raises some excellent points. Well worth a read.
Speaking of Flash... I also note that famous personalities I loathe are one-by-one going through public scandals. First Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart, now annoying Extra! television host Pat O'Brien is up to his neck in it. He entered rehab a few days ago, and now the entire blogosphere knows why... he's a creepy cocaine-snorting alcoholic who likes leaving sexually-harassing messages on answering machines. That makes him not only annoying, but a freaky perv as well. Is it too much to hope that this means we've seen the last of him on television? If you really must listen to his disgustingly funny drunken messages, I recommend the cool Flash-based "Pat O'Brien Sexual Harassment Scorecard" - which is absolutely NOT safe for work (or anywhere else, really). Next up on my list: Judge Judy. Please let her get busted for crack possession and sex solicitation! Gross, I know... but Judge Judy as a crack whore would make my day (and sure explain a lot).
Well, back to work so I can get caught up and have the weekend off to go play in Seattle...
You just know that you are totally wasted when you can't figure out how to intentionally misspell a word. All I can say is that it is a good thing for you that I have spell-check because I've already made like a hundred mistakes already that had to be fixed. In fact, I just misspelled "fixed" - hah! TWICE!!
It was snowing pretty bad in the mountains today. The roads were slushy and stuff.
This made the drive to Seattle interesting, and I think that somebody is dead. After three accidents, I started taking pictures of all the accidents and #5 was being zipped up in a body bag. That's too bad. I just don't understand why people ignore big signs that say "TRUCKS MUST USE CHAINS" and "TRACTION TIRES ARE REQUIRED!!!" One lady was in her Camero Corvette (totally inappropriate for driving in heavy snows) with not-good tires and crying because she couldn't get unstucked. I felt bad for her, but what could I do? I can't raise her car six inches, and I can't make her tires all magical be snow tires. So I took her picture instead. Maybe I could have give her a kleenex because she was crying.
After another thirteen accidents in the mountains passes (not kidding) I could drive really fast because I knew that all the state patrols were helping accidents (oooh! I just had to type "accidents" four times before I could get it right!). That was kind of fun driving fast.
When I got to Seattle I was late for bowling so I drove to the bowling alley and it was COSMIC BOWLING!! It was all dark and glow in the dark and Britney spears music playing (which is okay if you are totally drunk like me!). I took pictures of my glowing shoes but I can't find my UBS cable. So I drank Jäger Bombers and Corona (with lime of course). We had big fun drinking and pizza and bowling kick-ass! Even drunk I can bowl 120!!
Anyway I will make pictures tomorrow of accidents and my cool glowing bowling shoes! Now it's time for beer and games. Later, Dave2
NOTE TO SELF: Do not attempt blogging while intoxicated. It just isn't going to work out well for anybody involved.
I remember (kind-of) being really proud of myself for being able to compose such a coherent entry while completely bombed last night. Looking back, I can see that this was a rather large misconception. My first instinct was to delete it, but I decided not to for three reasons: 1) Everybody has probably already seen it by now anyway. 2) I worked really hard on it and think it took me about 45 minutes to get all of that typed out. 3) I think it is one of my best entries at Blogography... I should get drunk more often.
Anyway, here's a slightly better account of Saturday, if you care to read it, in an extended entry after today's movie quote.
I finally got around to watching Sky Captain And the World of Tomorrow on DVD and found it to be a stunning piece of art. Every frame looks more like a gorgeously rendered painting than a movie, and the visual effects are nothing short of jaw-dropping. This may very well be the most beautiful looking film I've ever seen. As if that weren't enough, it's got giant robots attacking New York, ray guns, and loads of other cool stuff! It's as if all the things that those 1930's sci-fi serials thought was going to happen in the future, actually did happen!!
I remember wanting to see this when it was in theaters, but never managed to make it. I am furious with myself that I didn't get to see it on the big screen (where it absolutely belongs). All I can hope is that it one day hits some kind of limited re-release or is shown at a convention of some kind...
No still-frame capture will ever do justice to the lush visuals Sky Captain so liberally doles out (and choosing from hundreds of amazing shots is an impossible task), but oh what a movie...
The only thing that keeps this flick from being one of the greatest films of all time is A) The story is a bit weak, and B) The acting in places is dreadful awful. Jude Law is fine as the heroic Sky Captain Joe, Giovani Ribisi is great as his sidekick Dex, and Angelina Jolie is radiant in her bit part as Captain Frankie Cook... but Gwyneth Paltrow's take on not-so plucky, plucky reporter "Polly Perkins" is a mess. She wanders through scenes as if she's drugged, never fully committing to the part. I know that she is a capable actress, so I can only guess that she was unable to work in blue-screen environments or she needs a strong director, and first-timer Kerry Conran was too awestruck or timid to get it out of her. Such a shame, because a strong female lead would have improved the film quite a bit.
Still, story faults and Gwyneth aside, the dazzling images and edge-of-your-seat action sequences make this film a must-see. Just accept the fact that it is supposed to be a cheesy 1930's sci-fi serial drama, and embrace it for the masterpiece it is. I rented Sky Captain from NetFlix but, had already ordered myself a copy just 10 minutes into the movie! I must own it so I can watch it again and again and again, because there's no way you will ever absorb everything the film offers in only one or two viewings (even dozens may not be enough).
The bigger news to come out of the Sky Captain front is that writer/director Kerry Conran's next project is an adaptation of my favorite sci-fi novel of all time: Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. This has me very conflicted. On one hand I am thrilled, because I know that the visuals will be amazing. On the other, I am terrified that he won't have the directing chops to get the acting performances that this story will desperately need. If there is no chemistry between John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia and Deja Thoris, Martian princess of Helium, then the movie will suck ass. And I am telling you right now, this movie simply cannot end up sucking...
I have waited most of my life to see John Carter in the movies, and it will not be in vain. I want this film to rule the earth so we can get a dozen sequels. I want it so fabulous that critics (or, more importantly, Burroughs FANS) cannot find fault with it. If they end up moving the time period from Civil War America, or some other dumbass thing, I would rather there be no movie at all.
I am cautiously optimistic. In the meanwhile, go buy a copy of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on DVD. It's just too darn pretty not to see it.
Hah I say!! I just got off work and needed me a Kitty Spangles Solitaire fix... and got my highest score ever right off the bat! Kitty Spangles is so my bitch now!
I should also mention that I got a nice note from the husband-and-wife team of David and Sheryn Wareing, the devious minds who came up with Kitty Spangles. They were kind enough to tell me that they saw my previous blog entry on their game, and wanted me to know that "Kitty Spangles loves you too!" Isn't that nice?
Unfortunately, like most things in life, Kitty Spangles' love is not free. Just like a phone-sex hotline (ahem, or so I've heard), you get 5 minutes at no charge, but then you have to whip out your credit card if you want to play with her anymore. Yes indeed, Kitty wants $19.95 for the pleasure of her company.
The little whore.
Oh well. I went ahead and ponied up the cash because once you've had Kitty Spangles, you just can't go back to regular solitaire games again. She's like crack (ahem, or so I've heard), and my Kitty Spangles addiction is ruining my life. The good news is that, now that I'm registered, I can take my time with her instead of having to rush against that 5-minute deadline. I mean, I am good... really good... but it's difficult to perform under such pressure every time we play.
Besides, just look at how happy she is now...
It won't last. Soon enough she'll be wanting more money for upgrades and a new pair of shoes. And I'm sure "Kitty Spangles Cribbage" is just around the corner.
Now if only I could teach her how to play a nice game of Canasta...
Bleh. It felt very much like a Monday today.
Schiavo. Honestly, I am not going to get into this here. I don't know Terri or anybody else involved, don't know what arrangements she made for her life, and don't have an opinion about whether something is right or wrong for somebody I've never met. What I do have an opinion about is that not everything should be a political issue. What I will say is that I do not want that kind of "life" for myself, and it should be MY f#@%ING CHOICE. So here it is, in public record: If my mind... if who I am... is gone, then don't save me. If there's little chance of recovery, let me go. Don't keep me on a respirator. Yank the feeding tube. Seriously, I've lived a full life and done more than most people ever will, so I'm perfectly okay with it. Don't worry about "making a mistake" or fret about "killing me" because it's all good. It's not that I want to die, I just don't want to live that way. I don't want to be a tool for some ass-wipe politician. I don't want to be a poster child for right-to-lifers. I don't want to be a burden on those I care about. I don't want to be remembered as a vegetable. I just don't want it. And if you care about me at all, then you shouldn't want it for me either.
Laid. Ohhhhh... so that's the problem! My check is in the mail...
Dental. Had my dental check-up this morning. That in itself is nothing special (no cavities!), but getting there sure was. Coming into Wenatchee this morning, some old dumbass in a beat-up Cadillac decided to turn into the wrong lane coming out of Wal-Mart. Usually I find the blissfully ignorant to be funny. But not when they are heading straight for me in a car. After I ran off the road to avoid him, he went on his merry way and heaven only knows what happened. I'm guessing he mowed down a fruit stand and killed a half-dozen people, or perhaps added a drive-thru to a local pharmacy where there wasn't one before.
Star. Mr. Jerz has finally hit the big time as a television star! I look forward to his future works, and am anxiously awaiting his entry on the Internet Movie Database. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Ryan Jerz, ACTOR...
(UPDATE: MrJerz.org is down, and I can't leave a comment... I can only guess that Hollywood casting agents are furiously attempting to book Jerz for a gig! I gotta give the guy props here, he absolutely managed to pull it off. I've seen first-hand what happens when people are tossed in front of a television camera and told to "act" - even in fun - and it rarely goes as well as this. So congratulations Mr. Jerz! Well played! Though I just gotta ask... did you really beat the crap out of the guy who played the thief at the end? Now that's what I call "method acting!").
Parts. Okay. If fingers are ending up in the Wendy's chili. What parts should I expect to be finding in my Wendy's Chocolate Frosty?
Dead. The reason I paid for ShowTime television: so I could watch Dead Like Me. The reason I stopped paying for ShowTime television: because they cancelled Dead Like Me. There's just nothing else on that lame HBO wannabe network worth watching. The second season of this amazing show was even better than the first, and it's coming to DVD on July 19th. It will be bittersweet to watch all those priceless episodes again knowing that there's no more to come after that last one. Crap.
Veronica. Hmmm... since I am about to gush like a 12-year-old schoolgirl, I'd better head on over to MSN Spaces to see how actual 12-year-old shoolgirls gush in their blogs... okay, here we go... omfg! new veronica marz 2nite! hehe. i am like sooooooo psyched! veronica is sooooooo cute and the show is sooooooo awesome!!!! u would luv it. hehe. VERONICA MARS RULEZ DAWGZ!!!!!! woo hoo!!!! hehe. c ya!
As I cruise around the blogosphere I have to ponder over all the bloggers hopping on the Apple-bashing bandwagon over their attempt to protect trade secrets by forcing rumor sites to name their "confidential sources." For the longest time I was just going to wait it out but, now that bloggers I actually respect are weighing in, I guess it's time to throw out my two-cents...
Do I think Apple is going too far this time? Yes, I do. It should surprise absolutely nobody that this type of heavy-handed approach is going to backfire. Apple is making enemies out of die-hard supporters, and they need all the support they can get (they always have -- heck, according to the media, Apple's been dying for twenty years now!). Despite the iPod's success, the Mac needs to build on the momentum that's been keeping fans loyal and converting a new breed of users... everybody from hackers to home users. It's a time to be kind. People are dying to know your secrets only because they love you. Apple, you should love us back.
All that being said, who can possibly blame them?
For YEARS Apple's lawyers have been writing to "rumor sites" kindly asking them to remove proprietary information (as is their legal right). I can only guess that they've grown tired of constantly firing off the same letters again and again and again to these same people, and decided to explore a different approach. I mean, come on! The sites in question KNOW when they put up confidential information that it's not a very nice thing to do and Apple is going to ask them to remove it, but they put it up anyway because the extra hits will bring them more advertising dollars. Since they never seem to learn, what was Apple supposed to do?
The only thing they can do, and what any other company would do: explore every legal avenue available to them in order to protect their trade secrets. It is, after all, the American Way. Yes, I think that this was a bit extreme on Apple's part, but I have no idea what steps they have been taking within their company to stop the leaks. Maybe they've tried everything and this is a last resort for them? But heaven forbid we should ever give Apple the benefit of the doubt. It's much more fun to crucify them and threaten to not love them anymore and scream loudly about "un-switching" to a crappy Windows PC because "Apple is evil."
Yeah, whatever. If you're going to be such a whiner, at least whine about stuff that actually matters (how about "where is the G5 PowerBook?" for a start). Turning Apple into Microsoft for vilification just doesn't do it for me. Maybe if their products sucked a lot more, I could try and sympathize. But Apple makes great stuff! And if legally protecting their secrets is what they have to do to keep on making great stuff in the cut-throat computer business... well... I suppose it's better than hiring ninjas to start killing people (though not quite as cool).
And before you decide to fire off some hate-mail to me crying about how "Apple's actions are the death-knell for free speech on the internet," save your breath. Because do you want to know how I respond to this laughable rhetoric?
If Apple was secretly building nuclear weapons or killing kittens for ingredients used to build their iPods, or even using a monopoly to force computer manufacturers to only install their OS, then sure... these are newsworthy events that should be investigated, and people should be told. But posting proprietary trade secrets gleaned from law-breaking employees bound by an NDA that could potentially damage a company?
Excuse me, but exactly who is supposed to be the victim here? Do you honestly believe that companies should spend millions of dollars researching a new product, only to have all their hard work dumped on some rumor site for their competition to pour over? If you had spent millions and untold hours, would you? Breaking a non-disclosure agreement to spill company secrets doesn't make you a whistle-blower unless there are laws being broken (or perhaps an ethical violation), it just makes you a spy and a theif. If you publish it, that makes you an accessory to theft. Don't go walking on some journalistic high ground, because you're not serving the public interest... you're only serving yourself, no matter how you candy-coat it.
Free speech is a luxury that everybody should feel to abuse whenever they feel like it. Heaven only knows I do. But if companies can't do everything they can within the law to uphold legally-binding non-disclosure documents, what good is an NDA in the first place? This doesn't change the fact that I think Apple has gone a little crazy here, but going after people who publicly release information they know to be covered by an NDA (and those who broke such an agreement in the first place) is something I can certainly understand. And forgive.
Oh, and by the way... if anybody has any details on Apple making a video iPod or a G5 PowerBook, my email address is in the top-left corner of every page.
While walking to the post office this sunny afternoon, I noticed that the crocuses are in bloom. Along with California poppies and bachelor buttons, the crocus is one of my favorite flowers. I like the purple ones best, but they come in dozens of varieties that are equally beautiful. These poor guys are growing outside of a tavern so, in addition to the crappy weather we've been having, they also have to worry about drunks trampling all over them.
Not an easy life, to be sure... but it is a pretty one.
Also along the way to the Post Office, I ran across this poor dog so ugly that it was almost cute. And that got me to thinking about how dogs are so much more practical than we are when it comes to determining who they want to hang with. They don't care what other dogs look like as long as their ass smells okay. Shouldn't it be the same with people?
And one last thing before my lunch is over... has anybody noticed that Google has been "Van Gogh-ed?" That's kind of cool because his Starry Night is one of my favorite paintings...
Bummer. I'm still hungry.
Holy crap! Can I just say that last night was one of the best nights of television in recent memory? First we get a great episode of Lost followed by a fantastic episode of Alias (it's about time, because that show has been sucking major chunks of ass recently). But the real kicker of the evening was the final show of the night, a new program called Eyes. I tuned in expecting a boring private-eye drama... and was stunned when it turned out to be an hour packed with humor, mystery, romance, back-stabbing, betrayal, and snappy dialogue, all wrapped around a pretty entertaining story. I was riveted right up until the final minute, when they kicked my ass with an ending so surprising that I ended up rewinding the TiVo to make sure I had seen what I thought I had. If this is the kind of show that Eyes will be dishing out each week, I will absolutely be tuning in for another helping.
Okay, with that out of the way, we continue on to today's episode of Blogography...
...but before we start I feel it is essential that I remind you, dear reader, that I am a genius. Not a self-proclaimed genius, but an actual genius with a Mensa-level IQ of 142. As I've mentioned before, this gives me the grim satisfaction of knowing that when people call me a "smart ass," that it really is true. At least it seems as though my ass is smarter than most people I meet...
Because of being so insanely brilliant, it's always a real eye-opener when I run across something I didn't know. In fact, any time you hear me saying something like "wow, I didn't know that," you can be assured that inside my head a nuclear explosion is going off, shaking me to the very core of my being.
So when I tell you that I was completely unaware that "if you play video games, you get sent to hell," you can imagine how I felt when this bombshell was dropped on me. It was such a shock that I found myself having to stop right there in the middle of K-Mart and reevaluate the universe and my place in it.
Allow me to explain...
Today is the day that "Lego Star Wars: The Video Game" is being released. I want this game bad. Really bad. Since the moment I found out about it, I've been counting the days until it can finally be mine. I mean, it's LEGO FRICKIN' STAR WARS... IN A VIDEO GAME!! How could anybody possibly not want it? Everything is there... the characters, the ships, the locations... but they're all made from Lego...
Anyway, I ditch work a little early and head to Wenatchee so I can get a copy. But everywhere I look they've either never heard of it, or don't have it yet, or only have the PlayStation version. Suck ass! On my way out of town I decide to make one last stop at K-Mart to see if they might have it. I park the car, dash on back to the electronics department, and start to look. All the while, a young boy is standing there looking in wide-eyed wonder at all the cool games available. Eventually he works up the courage to speak to me:
Kid: Do you have a video game?
Me: Yep, I've got an Xbox.
Kid: And you can play games on it?
Me: Uhhh... yes. After I finish my work, I sometimes get to play games on it.
Kid: I want to play the --
At that moment a scorching bitch comes tearing around the corner breathing fire and screaming her head off... "JASON!! THERE YOU ARE!! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!? GET AWAY FROM THERE!!! YOU KNOW WE DON'T PLAY VIDEO GAMES!!! VIDEO GAMES ARE FROM THE DEVIL!!!! IF YOU PLAY VIDEO GAMES, YOU'RE GOING TO HELL!! DO YOU WANT TO GO TO HELL?!? YOU COME HERE RIGHT NOW!!!
I just stare at this horrible woman in utter disbelief when she decides to go after me! "YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SPEAK TO MY CHILD WITH YOUR VIDEO GAMES! NO RIGHT!!!" I do a kind of "who me?" look, and say "uhhh... hey, I was just standing here looking for a game... I didn't..." -- "YOU HAVE NO RIGHT AT ALL!!
Okay. Here's where the dilemma sets in. I'm already pissed because I just wasted the last hour looking for a video game that nobody has. I am in no mood at all to put up with this crap. But if I unload on her, I just know that it won't be me she takes her frustrations out on... it will be this poor kid. As much as I want to tear into this bitch, I just can't bring myself to do it for the kid's sake.
So please bear with me as I unload. Please indulge me while I say what I would have liked to have said, but couldn't...
"Listen bitch, you can just stop your screaming at me right now or I will come over there and kick the living shit out of you. While I am not a Christian, I've undoubtedly spent more time studying The Bible than your ignorant ass will ever know, so don't you dare presume to preach at me. I don't know what misguided, f#@%ed up interpretation of The Bible you are getting this crap from, but I can say without a doubt that God just loves a good game of Donkey Kong, so you can take you entire "video games are from the devil" bullshit and shove it right up your fat ass."
Thanks, that's much better. Oh how I loathe living in this redneck purgatory.
NEW AND IMPROVED! One last thing. In response to Kazza's lament that she misses out on comments now that she's switched to an RSS reader... I've modified Neil's excellent RSS-2 template to include comments with the entries. It works beautifully for me, but I'm not sure if it's formatted properly (and I don't want to bother Neil for help while he's on vacation). So, if you want to try it out in your RSS reader and let me know how it works for you, here's the URL you should use: http://www.blogography.com/comments.xml. The really cool part is that every time a new comment is left (and approved), the feed is automatically updated. So if your RSS reader can flag changed entries as "unread," you won't miss any new comments! So thank you Kazza for giving me this wonderful idea. Now that I've grown accustomed to it on my blog, I sure wish other blogs would do the same because it sure is convenient! Once Neil's had a look, I'll post the template here if he doesn't want to host it.
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