Lately I have been reading a number of blogs by Iraqi natives that provide a fascinating insight into what life has been like "after the liberation." I am not one who feels that war is the ultimate solution to all the world's problems, but I cannot help but be touched at how the lives of the Iraqi people have been changed.
One of my favorite Iraqi blogs is "Iraq at a Glance" by a dentist in Baghdad named A.Y.S., which has just become even more fascinating now that his mother (an English teacher of 20 years) has started posting as well. For anybody even a little curious about what it's like to be a citizen of Iraq with a blog right now, this is a great starting point.
But the blog that encouraged me to write this post today is "Iraq the Model." Yesterday Ali posted a response to a comment made by Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean about Iraq being worse off now than when Saddam was running the country. It is a powerful and eye-opening read, and defends American troops in a way that every American should be doing whether they agree with the war in Iraq or not. Here's an excerpt...
"By statements like these you deny any honourable motives for the great job your people are doing here. How in your opinion will this affect the morality of your soldiers? Feeling that their people back at home don’t support them and that they’re abandoned to fight alone in the battlefield."
"And all of this for what? For staying in the white house for 4 or 8 years? Is it worth it? And this is not directed only to Mr. Dean, it’s for all the Americans who support such allegations without being aware of their consequences. What’s it that you fight so hard for, showing your soldiers as occupiers and murderers, the soldiers who I had the honour of meeting many, and when talking to some of them, I didn’t see anything other than gentleness, honesty and good will and faith in what they’re doing."Ali sums it all up by saying: "My heart goes with those brave people and the widows, orphans and mothers of the American soldiers who died while doing this great service for their country, ours and humanity. I can’t imagine what their response would be to such thoughtless words motivated with nothing more than selfish ambitions." (You can read the entire post by following this link.)
Politicians here are famous for spouting off crap that they think will get them votes or raise their popularity, despite the ramification of what their words might incite. Dean wanted to appeal himself to anti-war voters (like myself, I guess), and didn't seem to stop and think of what it might mean to our troops who are fighting and dying over in Iraq, nor the Iraqi people trying to rebuild their country. I can only hope that politicians will one day come to learn that being a leader is about more than just saying whatever it takes to be popular... and isn't it ironic that it takes somebody from Iraq, so new to freedom, to point this out?
The successor to "Kung-Log" has finally been release from beta and is now called "ecto." This is essential software for anybody running a Mac with OS X and keeping a blog. Thanks Adriaan!
When you publish your thoughts on a blog that's open for the entire world to see, you are bound to have people reading it that are not going to agree with you. That's fine with me because everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Some of these people feel the need to send an e-mail telling me that they disagree, which is also fine. If the e-mail is intelligent and thoughtful, I may even bother to read it. If it's particularly compelling, I may even reply.
But then there are the morons who do not send thoughtful and intelligent e-mail... they send moronic hate mail that is just a waste of time because I don't even bother to read it past the first line before hitting the "delete" button. Hey, life is too short, and if you want to behave like that please feel free to start your own blog and stop reading mine.
And then I really did it... I made a joke about hating clowns so much that I wish I could set a clown's ass on fire. Apparently, when you slander a clown like this, there is a coalition of clown-loving morons that feel the need to inundate the offender (me) with charming e-mails calling you "sick" and "stupid." Some of the e-mails were so over-the-top that you'd think I had actually set a clown on fire rather than having just joked about it in a cartoon. And there's my real problem with these idiots... IT WAS A FRICKIN' CARTOON FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Pull that stick out of your ass and loosen up!
But anyway, in the interest of being diplomatic to any clown lovers that might be reading this blog, I will issue an apology. Yes, I still hate clowns. I don't find them at all funny... I find them scary and stupid. But that's no reason to joke about wanting to set a clown on fire, and it was never my intention to promote violence against any living thing. That was wrong.
In the future, I won't make any more jokes about clowns on fire. Instead, I'll joke about hitting them with baseball bats...
Now that's funny!
Okay, this whole clown thing is getting out of control. I'm sorry that the thought of setting a clown's ass on fire is funny to me... really I do. And apparently my attempt to fix the situation in my last post only made things worse. Don't you clown people find anything funny? If you don't, then why read this blog? My smart-assed comments are just bound to upset you, so do us both a favor and stop reading!
It has been suggested that I might not get attacked by the Clown Coalition so much if I would turn comments on. Well, because of stupid comment-spam attacks I suffered through last time (as mentioned in my BlogFAQ), and the fact that nobody ever really left comments to begin with, I just though it better to leave them off. Well, enough people have asked that I've decided to turn them on for a while and see what happens (commenting has been activated starting from January 1 entries).
Everybody be nice.
UPDATE: Well that was fast... I've had comments on for 5 whole minutes and have already received comment-spam for an online casino and some pill that's supposed to be even better than Viagra!
The weather is suh-weet today, so it looks like a ride on my motorcycle is definitely in order (after I spend an hour or two cleaning it up). In the meanwhile, a friend had asked why I haven't blogged my "visited States and Countries" like everbody else in blog-space. The reason is pretty simple... I didn't think the map was a good color for my site. Seriously. But, in the interest of conformity, I decided to make my own map just in case there are people who can't sleep at night because they are wondering what States I've been to. Well here you go...
I absolutely plan on visiting Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont one day... no question about it. Ditto for Alaska and New Mexico (Taos!). But that run of States down the middle? I just don't know. Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument are in South Dakota, but everything else? Who knows, maybe one day I'll get really bored and just drive through all of them in a single run just to say I've been there (heck, MapQuest shows that if I fly into Bismarck, then rent a car and drive through all the central Sates I'm missing to Oklahoma City, it takes a mere 16 hours and 34 minutes (anybody want to share that drive with me?).
The world map for visited countries is pretty anemic, which is scary considering I've seen more of it than most people. Let's just make a list, shall we? USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong (China?), Indonesia, Malaysia, United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), Ireland, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Italy, Vatican City, France, Belgium, Sweden, and Iceland.
When it comes down to it, there's really no place in the world I don't want to see... I want it all (Spain, Portugal, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, and Mainland China are first in line). I can only hope that I'll have the opportunity to experience a lot more of it before I go.
UPDATE: Finally visited Alaska, so that's off my list now.
You may have noticed that I don't post any of those dippy quiz results that seem to be all the rage in other blogs. No offense to those of you who love nothing better than hanging out at Quizilla all day answering questions, but I don't find those things to be even remotely entertaining. Who gives a crap "what kind of flower," or "how caring," or "which Star Wars character" you are? How boring. If you can't think of anything interesting to say, filling up space in your blog with lame quiz results is not going to make it any more entertaining to read.
Maybe I would feel differently about quizzes if they were something cool that I could relate to. Perhaps something like these...
The problem is that even cool quizzes become lame when they are plastered on half the blogs on the internet. Keeping that in mind, I prefer the solution that Jeff came up with over at Geekable...
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
UPDATE: Two-and-a-half months of people begging for this to be a real quiz later, and I relented. you can read about the "real" Fart Quiz here.
I never managed to fall asleep last night... my mind just kept racing, making it impossible to nod off. Instead I must have read a hundred different blogs and then irritated my friends in other time zones with e-mails and iChats. After I had read everything of interest on the internet and run out of people to annoy, I started looking at the stats for my web site. This was a real eye-opener because, as of January, I found out that my blog (yeah, this one) is now more popular than my DaveCafe site (devoted to my Hard Rock Cafe travels). That was completely unexpected.
Here are some of the keyword searches (averaged from their variations) people have used in search engines to find me this past week:
And here are some direct links to specific blog entries that people are passing around the internet this week:
Odd what people look for when they stumble across this blog.
I was checking the logs for my blog and ran across a bunch of odd link referrals I've been getting... "BritneySpearsNude" and an ad for the Paris Hilton sex video at "FamousAss" for example (and there are others along the same lines). I'm not complaining that somebody is linking to my site mind you, but what could porn sites possibly want with my blog?
First of all, anybody coming to my blog from sites like that are bound to be really disappointed. Second of all, when I visit those pages and search through the source code I can't find the link that comes to me. Going back through my older log files, I see that this has been happening for quite a while now and I have no idea why. I'm hoping that somebody hasn't hacked my site and secretly has it hosting porn... if that's the case, I should be able to look at it for free!
Work kind of got away from me this week, meaning that my entire weekend was spent trying to get caught up again. Because of that, I didn't even attempt checking my e-mail until very late Sunday and into Monday morning... eventually finding a total 62 non-spam e-mails in my "In-Box." Half of these were belated birthday greetings, and a significant number of those were from people I don't even know. That's kind of nice isn't it?
One of the e-mails that caught my attention was from "a long-time reader, first-time writer" who had more than the usual number of questions regarding previous blog entries. Most of the time when I get questions from people I don't know, I am happy to reply so long as the answers are not overly-personal or involving my friends, family, and other people in my life who have a right to their privacy. But this e-mail was a bit different. This e-mail was not asking questions just to be snooping into my life or looking for entertainment... this was a plea for help.
For people who know me only from my writings here at Blogography, my life might appear to be a series of funny anecdotes, odd incidents, curious travels, and care-free fun involving a motorcycle. A passage from my BlogFAQ is in order...
"Probably the most important thing I should tell you... really the only thing you need to know... is that this blog is not my life. It is just a reflection of a very small part of it. My real life is what is happening in-between the entries you'll find here. So, while you might come to know an aspect of me, this blog cannot really give you the whole picture of who I am. Let's face it, I am just not that talented of a writer."
So if you ever think that my life is devoid of sadness, insecurity, desperation, loneliness, depression, or any of the other horrors associated with life in general, I urge you to read the above paragraph again. Nothing could be further from the truth, I just choose not to write about my personal problems here for the entire world to ponder over.
That's why, when I get an e-mail from somebody who is hurting and confused, writing to me because they think my life seems so much better than theirs, and I might be able to help them because I seem to have all the answers to life when I write in this blog... well, it makes me feel like a complete fraud. My life is just as messed up as everybody else's (if not more so). What makes it bearable is that I spend a lot of time trying to see the beauty and wonder that is so often hidden in this world. To be more specific, what makes it all worthwhile is the "Bears of Berlin."
Perhaps I should explain...
The year 2001 was a very difficult one. My best friend had died early in the year, and another friend had committed suicide just two months later. A relationship with a girl I really liked fell apart. A project I was passionate about never got off the ground. I was burned out from endless hours of work. Nothing in my life was coming together and everything was out of focus... then the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened, and even the future seemed dark and uncertain. It wasn't the worst time in my life, but it was darn close. By the end of the year, I just didn't feel anything... it was as if my body and soul had given up. That's why, when December rolled around, I decided to take a run through Europe to visit some Hard Rock Cafes I hadn't seen before, and just get away from my horrible life for a while.
Within minutes of landing in Amsterdam, I thought for certain I had made a terrible mistake. When I boarded the train to Germany, I was certain of it. Wandering Europe alone was not going to make me feel better, it was only going to make things worse. I arrived in Berlin more depressed than ever. But as I was walking from the train station to my hotel, I saw this...
A pink bear wearing lipstick?! Just a small part of a public arts project, and one of several decorated bear statues scattered throughout the city. But it ended up being more than just a statue to me. It was a reminder. It was a reminder that no matter how bad things are... no matter how much crap has been tossed your way and no matter how terrible you feel... there are always going to be crazy, beautiful moments in your life if you care to discover them. And that's all it took. For some reason a statue of a bear in the middle of Berlin was enough to snap me out of a year of depression, loss, angst, doubt and fear. Life, as they say, does go on.
Which leads me to the only piece of advice I have for when life is less than perfect: take a moment to stop and look around. That one thing that can give you a foothold to climb out of the hole you're in is within your grasp (though it probably won't be a pink bear wearing lipstick). Sometimes you have to look hard for it. Sometimes you have to fight for it. Sometimes you will forget about it. And sometimes you will doubt it even exists... but rest assured that your "Bears of Berlin" are out there just waiting for you to find them.
Take care, and never stop looking.
I ran through a few tests on fuali.com and found out some things about myself (well, not really... these things are ridiculous). Regardless, it was an amusing way to kill 10 minutes (especially since the odds of getting a new Friday Five topic are diminishing with each passing week).
I am 65% Evil Genius: This is very disappointing figure, because I pride myself on being at least 85%-90% Evil Genius. I need to really work on this figure... but, sadly, I just can't bring myself to kick a wounded animal! Maybe there are pills to fix this kind of thing?
I am 48% Geek: Well, it's less than half... but not by much. I am guessing that I was a bit higher, maybe in the 60%-70% range, in high school. Now if only I could figure out if dropping a bit in my geek ranking is a good thing or a bad thing?
I am 42% internet Addict: This is probably about right. I am online either working, learning, or playing most of my waking hours (and have a Macintosh PowerBook with wireless connectivity so I can be online in every room of my apartment and while I travel)... but... I have no problem at all leaving it behind. If I go away for a weekend of unacceptable behavior, I don't miss the internet or even think about it.
I am 35% Metrosexual: This is probably not accurate, as I don't really care about a majority of the things that define a Metrosexual. I think the reason I rank so high is because I am forced into a bit of maintenance as a side-effect of Accutane treatments I took years ago (though, to be fair, I do NOT harbor bad feelings toward Accutane...I'll gladly live with the annoying permanent side-effects instead of the horrors of advanced clinical acne I suffered through. I do realize that there are plenty of people who have very critcal feelings toward the drug, but to me it was a life-saver).
Kind of a bummer that I'm not a 100% anything. Does that mean I'm wishy-washy, or just eclectic?
As usual I cannot sleep tonight but, this time around, it's actually explainable... I was really sick all day, and spent most of it in bed being miserable. I'm pretty sure it was food poisoning of some kind, but I cannot imagine what I ate to cause it. This is rotten luck because I was counting on finishing up some things at work so that my weekend would be free. Now I don't know what's going to happen, as I still have to get that work completed before Monday.
What it probably means is that I won't get to work on my Hard Rock site or go for a motorcycle ride like I had planned. That sucks!
To cut down on the tedium, I found a list of 23 questions to answer from Neil's blog...
Annoyance #1: Mobile phones are quickly becoming more of an annoyance than television commercials. Today when I went to the post office, there was a woman in the lobby talking on her mobile phone at FULL VOLUME... YELLING OUT PERSONAL DETAILS FOR ANYBODY TO HEAR!! While I was waiting to pick up a parcel at the counter, I couldn't help but listen to her rambling on and on about her daughter's marital problems (we're talking all the juicy details, fit for a television movie). Is she too stupid to realize that everybody in this very public place can hear her? I'm sure her daughter would be mortified (and, since this is such a small town, I'm sure that several people at the post office knew her and who her daughter was). Have people no shame?
Annoyance #2: Comment spam on this blog is escalating at a frightful rate. I'd hoped that banning the IP addresses from commenting again would solve things, but it doesn't. Even worse, some legitimate comments are blocked in the process. I wonder if there is a legal recourse for comment spam? All I know is that I am getting really tired of manually deleting it every day. The folks at Movable Type are starting up a commenting registration system... I hope that works out.
Annoyance #3: Is it my imagination, or are automated phone answering systems getting more complicated? It used to be you had only one or two levels of "press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for the other." But now, I find myself easily going 6 or 7 levels deep in these systems... sometimes unable to get out. Do companies honestly think this is how their customers want to spend their time?
In honor of the one-year blogiversary of Blogography (just five days away!), I've decided to add a gallery to the site. I've received more than a couple requests to do this, but always resisted because most of my photos are filled with friends and family that may not want to have their picture posted on the internet.
I know, it's kind of a lame excuse... I was just too lazy to look for photos.
Anyway, a gal e-mailed me to point out that there are already hundreds of photos scattered in my blog, so I had plenty of "acceptable" pictures readily available if I would just get off my ass and make pages for them. She was right of course, so here you go. It will take a while to get everything set up, but I'll try to add a couple of new galleries each day... so, if you're interested, check back from time to time to see what's new.
This morning I awoke to an in-box filled with rejected messages I never sent. Apparently, some dumbass spammer is using my daveweb.com domain in the return address of the crap they are sending. Anybody looking at the actual e-mail headers can see that the spam did not originate at DaveWeb, but I guess some spam and virus detection programs don't bother to dig that far. Even so, the fact that some bastard is pretending to be me to send spam (which I loathe) really pisses me off.
Isn't something like this illegal? This being the USA and all, am I within my legal right to hunt down this piece of shit and shoot him with a really big gun? Or do I at least get to sue the ass-clown for TEN MILLION DOLLARS over this?
When is something actually going to be done about spam? I get (on average) around 300 spams each day... there are currently 332 trapped in my SpamCop holding bin since yesterday morning. Did anybody actually think the spam law that went into effect would do anything? We don't need fines... we need public executions!! = Sigh = Since I started writing this, another three spam rejects have come in. I hope this means I don't have to deactivate the domain until this all blows over.
UPDATE: After taking a look at the e-mail addresses that spam is being sent to, I see that most of them are just random names sent to my domains (dozens of them are to "webmaster" as well). The simple solution seems to be rejecting any e-mail not sent to a valid address. So, now that I have only one e-mail address for each domain, I wonder how that will affect my spam counts?
1. Who do you admire the most and why? I admire two traits above the others... hard work and kindness. Given that, I'm compelled to say "Mother Theresa." I know that answer sounds trite, but it's true. As I've said before, I also admire anybody who is part of "Doctors Without Borders.
2. What would you have as your last meal if you were on death row? A Johnny Rockets Streamliner vegetarian burger without grilled onions and add extra mayo, an entire Da Vinci pizza from David's Pizza, a large order of fries with plenty of ketchup, a chocolate shake, and a glass of water.
3. What is your earliest memory? Playing with neighborhood kids when I was living in San Diego. I have no idea how old I was, but it was very young... 4 maybe?
4. If you had 3 wishes, what would your 3rd wish be? An end to all violence in the world.
5. If you had to be blind or deaf, which would you choose? Probably deaf... that way I could still do my job and travel the world unaided.
6. Have you ever been dared to do something where the risk exceeded the reward (ie. jump off a building for a penny)? I'm sure I've done that many times. The one that comes to mind ended up with me getting my ass kicked and losing the reward (which wasn't really worth it in the first place). You would think that I learned my lesson but, alas, I did not.
7. If you were forced to live the rest of your existence in a fictional world from a movie, book and TV show which ones would you select? The movie Total Recall had an interesting take on the near-future that has never left me since I first watched it. Maybe it's the girl-on-girl fight action (with Sharon Stone no less!) that made such an impression, but they sure made the future seem a nifty place to live (as answered from the Friday Five on June 13). But I also really like Neil's answer of Back to the Future II (riding a hover board would indeed be sweet!).
8. If you had a superpower, which superpower would it be and why? It would be pretty cool to be able to fly... but I'd probably rather be invulnerable to harm so I could do any crazy thing I wanted to without getting hurt... wouldn't it be nifty to jump out of an airplane without a parachute? (as answered from the Vrijdag Vijf on April 2).
9. What is your favourite vegetable? Qunicy Sweet Corn. The best in the world and, since Qunicy is less than an hour away, you can find it everywhere here.
10. In how many different languages do you know the meaning of at least one word? Well, I think that "taxi" is one of those words that's the same in 99% of all languages but, just like Neil, I would have to answer "thanks." Before I travel to any country with a foreign language, I strive to learn at least a minimal vocabulary so I can speak basic courtesies... "thanks" would be the top of the list. Hmmm, looking at a map of the world... let's see, I know how to say it in Cantonese (doh jeh), Japanese (arigatou), Alaskan (taku), Thai (khrap), Danish (tack), Icelandic (tack), Portuguese (obrigado), Balinese (mata suksama), Norwegian (tack), Swedish, Dutch (dank), French (merci), Hawaiian (mahalo), German (dank), Spanish (gracias), Italian (grazie), Korean (komapsumida), Russian (spacibo), Hindi (dahnyavahd), Cherokee (wa doh), Arabic (shookran), and English. There are a few I am not positive of... like Gaelic (rab math agat?), Cambodian (ah kun?), and Latin (gratis?). And there are a few I knew at one time, but have forgotten... Malay, Polish, and Tagalog. (NOTE: I have not travelled to all of these places... some of the words I learned from books or movies).
11. What did you want to be when you were a child? A fireman (didn't everybody?).
12. What one event (if any) would you change in your personal past if you had the power to do it once? I find myself wondering what my life would be like now if I hadn't entered into a certain disastrous relationship from my past... but I suppose living through that horror made me who I am today, so I guess I'd have to say I wouldn't change anything. Of course there are always little things you wish you could take back, but that's part of life and I try not to dwell on them.
13. What’s the one question you want to be asked of you in an interview? Job interview: "Do you mind of we force you to take all of the vacation time you earn?" (since I haven't been able to take all my earned vacation hours in over a decade). Newspaper Interview: "How do you plan on spending the 25 million dollars you just won in the lottery?"
14. Have you ever cheated death? Heavens yes... many times... but that was back when I was young and stupid. I'm a little more careful now.
15. What was the most important decision you’ve ever had to make? Whether to take a job I was offered at Microsoft. I passed, but sometimes wonder if I'd be a millionaire today if I had!
16. Which sports team do you support the most, and why? Seattle Mariners, because they are my "home team" and are actually pretty good (unlike our poor Seahawks).
17. Mobile phones (cellphones) - evil or good? They are neither, it's how people use them that's evil or good. I've twice had to use mine in emergency situations (not for myself), so I guess I'd have to say "good" despite how annoying some people are with them.
18. What is your favourite song at the moment? Only One by The Pet Shop Boys from their album Nightlife.
It's been one year since I started Blogography, which makes today my first blogiversary. It seems kind of strange that I've continued with it as long as I have (my two previous attempts never lasted over 3 months). Most of the credit for this blog's longevity can be attributed to Adriaan Tijsseling and his amazing blogging tool "ecto for MacOS X" (formerly known as "Kung-Log"). Keeping a blog current can be quite a chore, but ecto makes it nearly effortless. Microsoft sufferers will be happy to know that ecto for Windows was just released last week... if it's only half as good as the Mac version, it'll still be amazing.
Another round of thanks should go out to Ben and Mena Trott, creator of the sweet Movable Type software that powers this blog. I can't wait to see what they've got planned for version 3.0!
Blogography was started so that I could keep friends up-to-date with what I was up to, and had an initial audience of 8 people. A bit more people are reading it now, and I've met some terrific new friends because of it. Here are some stats I've put together...
So there you have it. Even I am interested to know if I'll make it another year.
Well darn. I started the day today attempting to install the latest "developer release" of Movable Type 3.0... the software package that powers this blog... and ran into all kinds of trouble. I can no longer post new entries, nor can I add comments to existing entries. I'll wait until I get to work (where I have a backup) and see if I can at least get back to where I was.
UPDATE: Well, things are back to normal. I'll try another install later tonight.
UPDATE: No joy. another attempt to upgrade has met with failure. Even worse, my web host (Lunar Pages) now forbids new installations of Movable Type!! They won't kick off anybody already using MT, but they won't assist you either. Lovely.
UPDATE: Bah, I'll give it one more try tomorrow. If it doesn't work then, I guess I find a new blogging package. This blows.
Well, I tried again last night to install the Movable Type 3.0 blogging software and was again foiled... but this time with database errors instead of the usual path errors. I asked around to see if any other MT3 early adopters had run into similar problems, but nobody had. It would seem that it's only me. I decided to got back to MT 2.6, but ran into problem there as well. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I may never blog again!
Today I took a fresh look at it and decided that perhaps the database was at fault. I deleted the old users, created a new user, re-entered the information into Movable Type 3.0, and all of a sudden I am running again. I still have no idea what happened.
The disturbing part is that I don't really notice any difference for my trouble. MT3 looks a little different and has some interesting comment management tools (which, unfortunately break the excellent MT-blacklist plug-in), but everything else is the same. That kind of sucks. I was at least expecting some kind of photo gallery management like they put in TypePad!
Oh well. I got a pretty generous discount on the upgrade since I had already donated before, so I guess it's no big deal. I'm just grateful that I'm not still running the DaveWeb blog, because having 7 authors would require an upgrade price of $190!?! That's a ridiculous amount for a non-commercial site that makes no money! You would think that they would have an "unlimited" personal version for non-commercial use.
Now that the Friday Five is dead, I occasionally get e-mails from fellow bloggers with ideas or new questions to answer. This morning a friend e-mailed me with a list that's up over at Neil's World. With nothing to do until the washing machine quits, I've answered it in an extended entry...
Oooh... Tony Pierce asks "do you have the guts to take the honest bloggers-only quiz?" I really try to keep my political leanings private, but how can you refuse a challenge like that? Interesting how international issues are neatly skirted in this questionnaire... I think the answers in that area would prove much more revealing.
Neil has posted a "twenty-seven questions" meme on his blog that's seems to be working it's way through the internet. In order to make it easy for those of you who are bored by these things to skip it, I've posted it as an extended entry.
My blog is so compelling that now I have people flying in from Australia to meet me in person! Well, not really, but Karen (from her Kazza blog) who is Australian and was in the neighborhood did give me a call so we could meet for dinner in nearby Wenatchee. This is not the first time I've met up with a fellow blogger, but I do think she's from the furthest away I am likely to see (unless somebody drops by from Antarctica tomorrow morning for breakfast).
The good news is that she didn't feel compelled to stab me with a fork and run screaming from the restaurant after being forced to listen to me talk for hours on end. If it were me having to listen to me, I don't know that I would have been as forgiving.
Nope... it was a perfectly lovely dinner, and three hours passed in no time at all. Blogs can be pretty swell for things that like.
Today was not much better than yesterday. I hope this string of sucky days ends soon. Needless to say, this means I am not in much of a mood to write anything chipper. Perhaps a questionaire? Neil is always finding new and interesting memes for his blog. He should have listed this uncanny talent under question #20. So here goes "Another Day, Another Meme."
Tomorrow is Wednesday already? Bleh. I don't hold out much hope for it not sucking...
My Saturday-morning ritual of taking a complete run through my blogroll turned up a meme that's just too good to pass up! Over at Kazza's blog, she's discovered The Glovebox Project (from Mushroom & Rooster's pen) whereas you list a complete inventory of what's contained therein. I have no idea what could be lurking in there, as it is a black hole storage space where I place things I never expect to see again. Let's go have a look shall we?
It's worse than I thought.
Wow. That's a lot of crap, yet not a pair of gloves to be found! Oh well, this was just the excuse I needed to finally clean out my glovebox. Would somebody please start a "What's in Your Trunk" project? I can't imagine what's been stuffed in the boot of my car over the years.
I had a bit of a long post I was constructing for today, but never felt like wrapping it up, so I decided to just grab the first Tuesday meme I could find to get an entry up today. Oddly enough, the meme that came my way is from "Chick Chat" and this week's questionnaire is entitled "Bad Girls!!!" How in the heck do I get myself into these things?
Have You Ever Been Arrested? Personally arrested? No. Part of a group that was not so much "arrested" but "detained," yes. (that probably sounds more interesting than it actually was).
How many Tattoo's do You Have? None. But I have wanted one for a very long time. One day.
What's the Most Bad-Ass thing You've Ever Done? I am probably the least "bad-ass" person you will ever meet, but there have been moments. Kicking a guy in his kneecap when he pulled a knife on me is pretty bad-ass isn't it? (let's not mention that he was drunk and not much of a threat at the time okay?).
How Many Times Have You Been Pulled Over? Six that I can think of. Only two of those resulted in a ticket, but that was many, many years ago.
Have You Ever Lied To Get Your Way? Any guy who has ever been in a relationship with a woman would be lying if he didn't answer "yes." Because if it weren't for an occasional lie, we would never get our way on anything ("no honey, those jeans do not make you look fat, want to make out?"). Of course, women in a relationship lie for no particular reason, not just to get their way, so it's hard for me to feel too bad about it. It's just such a shame that women are so much better at it than we are.
Damn, I'd make a good chick!
Crack Potatoes: Why in the hell is it impossible for me to pass by Taco Bell without driving through and ordering up a bowl of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes? I think I'm addicted or something. What do they put in them, crack? I know I've blogged about this before, but damn.
Emmy Fraud: Sitting here watching the Scrubs Marathon on television, I am convinced that the Emmy Awards are a complete and total fraud. The episode "My Screw-Up" should have been nominated for both Best Drama and Best Comedy... not to mention Brendan Fraser's stunning performance being Emmy-worthy for both Best Guest Star in a Drama and Comedy. It's inconceivable that the crapfest known asWill & Grace (where every episode is exactly the same) gets nominated over the brilliance that is Scrubs.
Go-Go Know: How in the heck is it that when the song Head Over Heels by The Go-Go's comes on a television commercial, I know all the words? Even more puzzling, I've started buying more and more rap and hip-hop off of the iTunes Music Store... I'm a 38 year-old middle-class white guy, and yet DMX, Dr. Dre, and Nate Dogg are suddenly something that I enjoy listening to? I blame my nephew.
Moab Soundtrack: The entire time I was in Moab, I was thinking of the movie Thelma & Louise, because the film was shot there and Ridley Scott knows how to make an impression with scenery. When I got back I ordered the soundtrack, and it arrived today. Though I loathe country music, I love this CD because it makes me relive scenic memories like this:
Wireless Nirvana: Apple's "Airport Express" is absolutely everything I had hoped it would be. God save the Mac!
Book Smarts: This last trip I started reading The Vanished Man (by Jeffery Deaver) because everybody tells me how great the Lincoln Rhyme novels are (the most famous being The Bone Collector). Sorry, but I just don't get it. While I think the idea of a quadriplegic criminal investigator is interesting, I find Deaver's dialogue to be horrible. Every word feels contrived and forced, which makes conversations between characters just awful. I don't think I'll be reading another any time soon.
Film Threat: And from the good character dialogue department: Please somebody tell me that Quentin Tarantino is working on a new movie really soon now. I think my DVD player is starting to burn a hole through Pulp Fiction, Resevoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, and of course Kill Bill.
Designer Challenge: I'm getting tired of the same old art posters decorating my apartment. Since the "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" team aren't available for design tips, I think I'll turn to the FridayQ to get some ideas. Shameless, I know!
I have had this "One Hundred Things About Me" entry stored on my computer for ages now, but never posted it because I wasn't entirely convinced I was interesting enough for the hundred things to be worth publishing. This morning I got an e-mail asking me why I hadn't done it yet, and decided to go ahead and put it up in an extended entry. You have been warned...
I woke up today in the mood to do absolutely nothing. If it weren't for the fact that I had to get up and take my laundry down to the concierge, I probably would have stayed in bed all day. I suppose that I could have just come right back up to my room and watched television, but then guilt started to settle in. Here I am in Dublin, where I'm sure many people would love to visit, and I would just be wasting the opportunity.
My morning started with the best shower I've ever had. Seriously. Apparently Dublin has no water shortage problems, nor do they have a concept of what a "water flow restriction device" is. The water pressure was so great that I nearly buckled under it. They should post a sign warning that small children and pregnant women should not use the shower. I think my skull has been dented, that's how fabulous it was...
Then I had to work for three hours. Working while on vacation sucks ass.
After lunch, I decided to wander up O'Connell Street, which I never bothered to do on my previous visit. It was then that I saw the Dublin Spire. Other than being really tall, I just don't get it. I mean, come on... "Look! It's a great big pole!" is about the limits as to what can be said about it. Apparently, it was the winning entry in an architectural contest. If this was the winner, I am very curious as to what the losers must have been like...
On my way back to Grafton Street for some non-shopping, I passed by Trinity College, home to the "Book of Kells." All I knew about it was that it was a very old book that monks had drawn on dead cow hides a long time ago. Out of curiosity and boredom, I decided to stop in and take a look. I nearly took a pass when I saw that it was 7.50 Euros ($9) to get in, but oh well.
Absolutely stunning. 61.20 Euros ($77) later, I had purchased a book, lots of postcards, and a CD-Rom about the Book of Kells because it was so amazing. The CD-Rom is particularly good, and packed with loads of cool material (including the entire contents of the manuscript). You should go order a copy right now and, if you're ever in Dublin, seeing it in person is a must.
Every once in a while (usually when I am put on hold while talking on the phone) I take a glance at my web site stats just to see what people are interested in and where they are going. Several months back, I shared some of the most popular keywords and links, and thought I would do that again just to see what has changed. Boy what a difference five months make!
Here are the top ten keyword searches people use to find me in August so far (anybody see a pattern here?)...
Going back a month, so I can get the big picture, I notice that most everything changes in the top five...
My most popular direct-linked entries for the past three months...
In other news: August appears to be yet another record-breaking month for unique visitor counts. In June it was averaging 307 per day, July 428 per day, and August so far is 446 per day. The vast majority of those counts are visitors to the Blogography entry page, so I am guessing most visitors are regular readers?
The FridayQ is a distant second entry point, but still receives a respectable number of visitors. Oddly enough, when I actually follow-up on people who are doing the FridayQ, it's shocking just how many people participate only to bitch about how they don't like the questions! Jeez, if you don't like FridayQ, DON'T DO IT!! Some of the comments are so nasty that I finally understand why other memes are dying off... I mean, why put any work into something that people are going to crap all over? It's not like I'm asking for money or anything, and anybody who thinks it's easy to dream up something unique every week should try their own meme for a few months before passing judgment. I've even had some people tell me that they refuse to participate in FridayQ because they don't get to leave comments and links to boost their web ranking! Well, I'm putting FridayQ out there NOT to make money or increase your ranking... I'm doing it just to help out because I know that coming up with an idea on Friday can be tough! If that's not enough for you, I'm sorry, but that's all I have to offer just now. That being said, it's pretty nice to get that occasional e-mail from people who like FridayQ, so maybe I'll hang in there a bit longer?Lastly, I continue to find it amazing that nearly 450 people each day find this blog (and my life!) interesting enough that they feel like stopping by and checking in. Who knew that my love of motorcycles, Elizabeth Hurley, and travel (along with my all-too-frequent rants) would be something people want to read?
Tell me Clarice... have the spams stopped screaming?
In addition to the blogging wonder than is ecto (not to mention Movable Type itself), there is one other piece of essential software that any blogger using MT simply must have... the sublime sweetness known as MT-Blacklist, created by minor deity Jay Allen to stop spammers from assaulting your blog comments and trackbacks.
In changing to the latest Movable Type installation 3.0, then going back to 2.6, then upgrading and going back yet again before finally installing 3.0 once and for all, one thing has not changed. Comment Spammers are relentless bastards. Waiting for the release of a version of MT-B that works with 3.0 has been excruciating because I receive up to 30 spam comments every day, and each one has to be dealt with individually and immediately so visitors aren't subjected to ads for headache relief, debt consolidation, penis enlargement, and other stupid crap that nobody wants to look at in the first place.
Enter MT-Blacklist, which stops most of the spam from ever reaching you, and also gives you an easy way to manage those that do. As I first learned from Neil, and then later had confirmed from Jay himself, an emergency release that works with MT3 is now available. Since this is a "pre-release" of sorts, there are still a few bugs and no tech support is available, but I've had zero problems so far and not a single spam comment has arrived since I installed it.
Now, at long last, blog nirvana has returned. The spams have stopped screaming.Thanks Jay! My donation is on the way.
When I decided to go ahead and try Yet Another Blog after having had two failures, I decided to trash all my previous layouts in favor of something simple. This time around I was planning on using photos, cartoons and other distractions in my entries, so I wanted everything in the layout to be uncluttered. Initially this meant Blogography had a white background with gray text menus and not much else. But eventually common sense set in and I ended up with the design you're looking at today (which is based entirely on the default Movable Type template that comes with the installation).
Overall, I like the layout of my blog and have no plans to change it anytime soon (indeed, I'm guessing the day I change it is the day I'll delete it and start all over again... or not). That being said, there are still a number of little details that I'm unhappy with and would like to change. Tonight I thought it would be fun to make some of those changes.
I was wrong.
Apparently, I am more inept at handling Movable Type's templates than I thought. In fact, I am a complete moron on the subject. It's now nearly 1am and I've been working on it for the past six hours and am failing miserably. Fortunately, I backed up all my templates, so now I'm going to revert to the originals and go to bed a defeated, wreck of a man.
I need that book Neil is working on! But since it isn't scheduled to be released until January 10th of next year, I guess I'll wait a while before trying my hand at customizing MT again.
My life is pretty boring right now (work... ride motorcycle... repeat) so there's just not very many interesting things for me to blog about ("interesting" being a relative term, of course). This morning while in the shower I started thinking about things I could blog about. I could write about the brand of shampoo I use, obviously, or perhaps even how I get rid of soap scum in the tub. But surely there's something more... something captivating and exciting. Something that's actually worth people's valuable time to read.
And then it occurred to me: I would have tons of cool crap to blog about if I had a million dollars!
Somebody could give me a million dollars (PayPal accepted) and I could blog about how I spend it!!
I know, I know... before you go sending me a million dollars, there are few questions you have. Well never fear, that's what I am here for...
If I give you a million dollars, how do I know that you will really blog about it?
I blog about brushing my teeth for crying out loud, do you actually think I wouldn't blog about spending a million dollars?
Yeah, but how do I know you won't blow it all on something crazy and I'll only get one blog entry out of the deal?
Because I'm just not that stupid. It's not like I'd give it all to a foundation for bat guano research or pay Elizabeth Hurley a million dollars to sleep with me or something. Oh no, your million dollars guarantees you years of fabulous blog entries!
Just how long will it take you to spend it then?
Say... do you really think Elizabeth Hurley would sleep with me for a million dollars? Nah, you're right, she'll love me because I'm such a wonderful person, not because of how much money I have.
What exactly will you do with the million once I give it to you?
I don't know, and that's what's so cool about it: we'll find out together! Some of it will be going to charity (that's just how it works when you get a lot of money) but the rest will probably be spent doing interesting things, meeting interesting people, and buying cool crap. Whatever happens, you'll read about it right here!
I don't trust PayPal with my money, can I send you a certified check?
But of course! Wire transfers, bearer bonds, and gold bouillon are also perfectly acceptable.
Great! I am a Nigerian businessman with ten million dollars in oil prospecting revenue stuck in a bank. If you pay the $100,000 release fee, I'll give you a million of it!
Didn't I already mention that I'm not stupid? If I'm going to toss away massive amounts of money, I'd rather send it to Ze Frank.
But I love your blog just how it is! If I give you a million dollars, won't you change and not be the same person anymore?
Nah, that would never happen. I'll be the same guy I've always been, just with a lot more money. No sir, a million dollars won't change me one bit!
This is just a scam to get me to pay you a million dollars isn't it?!? Uhhh... you obviously haven't read much of my blog. This is just a joke*.
*not that I'm saying I would refuse it if somebody offered me a million dollars, mind you.
There are a number of difficulties in trying to maintain a meme like FridayQ each week. The hardest part is always trying to come up with the questions. You want to be a little unique, but not too personal or offensive. You want to be interesting, but not too obtuse or strange. Finding the right balance is a definite challenge, and it's a small victory when you finally think of something (no matter how lame). Last week I had come up with the topic of "romantic," and basked in the relief that another week was done.
Until I found out that Cheddar X had come up with the same thing for their meme today.
Now, normally I don't pay attention to other memes because I don't want to be influenced by what others are doing. After Theme Thursday died, that was it for me. But some of the blogs I read participate in memes, and I end up taking a look. Tonight I was horrified to find out that my topic for the week was taken and I'll have to think of something else. I'm sure this happens all the time, but I'd rather it not happen in the same week if I can help it.
Oh well. Just to prove I'm a good sport, I'll go ahead and answer the Cheddar X questions:
1. What's the sexiest name you've ever heard? That would be "Elizabeth" because it's attached to the sexiest woman on earth, Elizabeth Hurley...
2. What's your idea of a romantic evening? I could say something like "flying to Rome for a romantic Italian dinner followed by a walk through the city holding hands and eating a gelato," but that would be a lie. Truthfully, a romantic evening to me would be making dinner together then watching DVDs until we fall asleep on the couch. Just being with somebody special is romantic enough for me, I don't need any distractions or window dressing.
3. Where's the most romantic place you know? Maui has beaches with romantic sunsets that can't be beat. It's gotten a bit crowded over the years, but it's still pretty amazing. Actually, anyplace can be romantic if you're with somebody you care about.
4. What's the most romantic gesture someone's made to you? A girl I was dating completely disarmed me once when she gave me new shoelaces. Yes, shoelaces. I was flying out on a trip, and she stopped to see me off on her way to work. After giving me a goodbye kiss, she handed me a package of shoelaces with a bow on top. She had noticed that my laces were a little "mangy," and thought I should have a new pair for my trip. The fact that she paid attention to such a tiny detail in my life really meant a lot to me. No other romantic gesture has ever come close.
5. What was your most romantic gesture? A girl I was really smitten with was devastated when a friend of hers died so I bought an airline ticket for her sister to come take care of her. We had only been out on a few dates, so I didn't know her well enough to make things better myself, so I did the only thing I could think of to help her out. In retrospect, I think that was pretty darn romantic.
Many, many people are blissfully unaware of the name Dave Winer and I envy you. It's enough to know that if there is a conflict in the blogging community, Winer is probably in the middle of it. This is not without cause, as the guy is a fairly important figure in the formation of weblogs and adoption RSS feeds... but he's been beating us over the head with his "credentials" ever since, which upsets a lot of newcomers who want to contribute to how we blog.
Winer first came to my attention when he claimed authorship of the RSS spec during the early days of the RSS/Atom syndication wars. This came as a big surprise to me, because I was fairly certain that a group of people at Netscape had something to do with it. Maybe Winer was involved, I don't really know, but claiming sole authorship seemed bizarre to me at the time. I decided to label him as an egotistical crackpot (much like Al Gore "creating the Internet" before him) and move on.
The problem is that you can't safely ignore Winer if you have any interest in the technicalities of blogging. He is simply too important to the formation of weblogs to put aside, and will never ever let you forget it. When Winer speaks, people listen.
Which is why I cringe now that Dave Winer has decided to define "moblogging" for us. And it's not because he decided to write the definition (hey, if "mobile blogging" isn't enough, then somebody should)... it's because he got it totally wrong, and now we may be stuck with it:
"So Scoble and I sat down for coffee with this mission in mind. To figure it out. To figure out what Moblogging is. And we did. We nailed it. We know. And now I'm going to tell you. Moblogging is any activity that occurs away from your normal blog-writing place whose purpose is to create content for your blog."
Sorry Dave, but you didn't "nail it" at all.
In order for that definition to work, I'd have to know what my "normal blog-writing place" is. The simple fact is, I don't. Sometimes I blog at work. Sometimes I blog at home. Sometimes I blog in hotel rooms half-way around the world. Sometimes I blog on my desktop computer. Sometimes I blog on my laptop. Sometimes I blog on a public Internet terminal. Once I even blogged from a PDA I borrowed from some guy at the airport. So, according to your definition, I am either never moblogging because I have no "normal blog-writing place" or I am always moblogging because I have no "normal blog-writing place." The definition just doesn't work.
I'm not even going to pretend I would know how to define the term "mobloging" (getting attacked by Dave Winer is just not something I want to experience). I had always thought that "mobile blogging" was "mobile phone blogging" with either text messages or camera phone uploads. But now that PDAs (and, eventually, actual PCs) are converging with mobile phones, that seems like it's a definition doomed to be antiquated any day now.
Then again, perhaps the same could be said of the term "moblogging" in the first place, and we should just let nature take its course?
Somebody found my blog after reading another blog called "Lifeless Matter," and suggested that I should do the BBC's Fifty Things to do Before You Die checklist they saw there (guessing I might be a good candidate considering all my traveling and stuff). I have to admit that it is an interesting list (though it has a bizarre fixation on wild animals and mountain expeditions), so I thought "why not" and gave it a try. From the looks of things, I am 2/5 ready to die already.
Personally, I have my own list of "Things I Want to Do Before I Die," but I only add something to it after I've actually done it. That way, I don't die unfulfilled!
Anyway, not exactly the list I would have chosen, but you can read my comments in an extended entry...
Surprise: It would seem that the initial delay I had getting into LAX for my recent trip to Korea was not because of a power outage... turns out somebody didn't perform a monthly reboot of their Windows 2000 Server, causing it to crash over some kind of data overflow. Why am I not surprised?
Lost: I finally got around to watching Alias creator J.J. Abrahms new show: Lost. I was not surprised that I ended up liking it, but was surprised that Matthew Fox turned in a decent performance. Who knew?
Flickr: While I would prefer to make my own gallery to put my photos on the web, server space is starting to become an issue. There are a lot of free photo sharing services out there, but the first one I've ended up liking has been Flickr (see my test gallery). Free accounts only get three albums (with only the most current 100 photos displayed), but you can cram in as many photos as you like because there's no storage limit, just a bandwidth limit of 10 megs a month. Manipulating and organizing your photos is pretty easy, but the nicest thing about the service is the ability to keep track of your friend's photos and see what they've been up to (if you invite a friend to join, their albums will automatically be added to your list!). Once Flickr is out of beta, they will offer paid upgrades to Pro accounts so you can have more than three albums and view more than the last 100 photos... if it's reasonably priced, I'll absolutely be signing up.
Photographic: Speaking of Flickr, be sure to check out the Flickr Blog. Here they highlight some of the more interesting photo albums from their users, some of which are amazing. One of the best is Guys on Bikes, which is a photo journal of a trek four guys made across the USA on bicycles.
Fable: The new Xbox release, Fable, was developed by Peter Molyneux who created one of my favorite games of all time: Populous. I've been too busy to look at it much, but the hour I did manage to spend playing (while backing up my laptop) was pretty cool. It's nifty how the game kind of changes depending on the choices you make. I just wish it weren't so complicated... navigating through a half-dozen menus to eat an apple from your inventory is ridiculous. This is only the 3rd time I've had a free moment to turn on my Xbox since I bought it months ago. Why did I even bother to spend $50 for a game that I know I'll never have time to play?
Hah!: I'm not even here today! My entries for yesterday and today were posted automatically by a new feature in Movable Type that allows you to pre-date your posts. That's kind of a nifty way to keep your blog fresh when you know you won't be able to post in person! But it's also kind of spooky. I mean, what if I am was in a car wreck and died tomorrow yesterday morning? That would make this a post-mortem post! If that's the case, I think I would like my last words here to be "funky taco."
Neil is always coming up with interesting memes and other tidbits for his blog, and now I know why: he reads nearly 100 feeds! And here I thought I was crazy for the 38 I read regularly. Anyway, the latest meme he's manage to dig up is called 200 Questions. This completely trumps my previous entries of 50 Things to Do Before You Die and Dave's List of Things to Do Before He Dies That Are Already Done (well, at least until somebody comes up with the inevitable "500 Questions" in a few weeks).
Usually I would take a pass on an entry like this, but I'm spending the next couple of hours on the phone and welcome a physical distraction that doesn't require a lot of thought (I loathe talking on the phone). Interestingly enough, it probably took me longer to reformat the questions than it's going to take to answer them. I wish people coming up with things like this would post the list already in HTML-list format! My answers are in an extended entry (how many people are actually going to read through all 200?!?)...
Is blogging becoming passe? In order to have something to look at while on the phone this morning, I started cruising my "second tier" blog links... the blogs I don't read daily, but check in on every couple of months or so. I was a bit surprised to learn that a big chunk of them are gone and a majority of those remaining hadn't been updated in quite some time. This has me wondering if the blogging bubble has burst and weblogs are on the way "out." Since even some of my "first tier" blogs are being updated with decreasing frequency, it just might be time.
The number one excuse for stopping a blog (of those who bothered to post a final entry) is "this blog is occupying too much of my time, and I've got a life to live" - or something to that effect. I suppose this implies that those of use who blog regularly don't have a life? This is bizarre, because the 10 minutes a day I spend writing for Blogography hardly seems like a dent in my life (of course, if there are photos to crop or cartoons to draw, it takes a bit longer... but still).
Anyway, while people's willingness to write in a blog appear to be diminishing, their appetite for reading them seems to have no signs of letting up...
A year ago my Hard Rock Cafe site DaveCafe.com, occupied just over 80% of my traffic. Today, it's hovering at 10% and falling. The only other domain I track, DaveSpot.com, used to get 6% and is now under 2%. But the interesting thing to see here is that the traffic for both of these domains hasn't much changed. They just look like they are doing worse because the page hits for Blogography keep growing (obviously, DaveSpot is redundant now that I have a blog, so I've just now redirected all links to here).
Naturally, all of this has me thinking: "I wonder how much longer it will be before I decide to hang it up and shut down my blog?"
Blogography: I awoke this morning to find a baker's dozen of emails from kind people asking me not to shut down my blog (apparently in reaction to my entry yesterday). Sorry to mislead you, but I'm not planning on it anytime soon. I was just wondering how much longer I would continue given that quite a few bloggers seem to be giving it up. Besides, when I started this blog (after two previous failures) I made a commitment to myself that I would stick around for 1000 entries, and this is only #605.
Commentary: It's a mystery to me that I receive far more emails than visitor comments for my blog. From yesterday I got 2 comments but 13 emails? Thinking that perhaps people are afraid to leave comments because an email address is required, I've made some changes... 1) No personal information is required to comment anymore, and 2) If you do leave an email address for personal correspondence, it will never be displayed. I have no idea if it will make any difference, but you can now leave completely anonymous comments if you like (by leaving the name, email, and link fields blank).
Listen: Since I had to rebuild all 604 pages to remove the commenting requirements, I made a few other changes as well. First of all, I've added a link to my FAQ and other info about me to the menu there on the left. Second, the "Dave Gallery" now links to my Flickr album. Third, I've added a "Listening" item to the menu which shows what embarrassing 80's pop music I'm listening to at the moment (currently, that would be Until She Comes, a beautiful song by the Psychedelic Furs).
Angelina: I just saw a trailer for the new Angelina Jolie movie coming out called Mr. & Mrs. Smith (which also stars Brad Pitt, if you care). Sweet! They play a typical suburban married couple, but are unaware of each other's true professions... they are actually highly-paid assassins working for competing organizations. When the secret is revealed, they end up trying to assassinate each other! Looks wicked-funny and action-packed but, sadly, doesn't come out until June 10, 2005 Something about Angelina Jolie as an assassin appeals to me. Maybe it's the outfits?
Jessica: I also see that a trailer for Blade: Trinity is out, which I am looking forward to. In addition to more Wesley Snipes ass-kicking action, we also get Jessica Biel for eye candy and Ryan Renolds for comdey relief (cool, it's Berg!). They got Goyer to write again, but this time he is also directing, which worries me a bit because he's a rookie and Guillermo del Toro did such a brilliant job last time.
Season: I have a feeling that my motorcycle is going to be put into storage for the winter very soon now. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to ride it much for the past month, so I'm kind of sad about that. Oh well, just another reason to look forward to Spring, I guess.
I've been playing around with Google's Gmail and have to say that it's pretty good for a web-based email service. And now that I've got an account, I've protected myself in anticipation of Google's bid for global domination. If anybody out there doesn't yet have an account and wants one, I've got a half-dozen invitations... just leave a comment and be sure to fill in an email address where I can send it (the address will not be publicly visible).
Every night this week, I've taken a look at my web site error logs and fixed a problem that was causing trouble for my visitors. I've added error pages, fixed references and redirects, changed URLs to be more compatible with Google Image Search, and cleaned up a bunch of dead links. My thinking was that if I solved a new problem every night, eventually all the various errors would be eliminated.
This was, of course, delusional... because the problems never end.
For every issue I fix, another is happy to come along and take its place (sometimes what I fix is the cause of the new problem!). Anyway, I've finally reached a place where the most heinous errors affecting the most people have been eliminated. So now I am switching from technical problems to design problems.
Since the very beginning I've wanted my menu bar to be on the right instead of the left. This would give the bulk of the text a nice clean left-edge to read against. Problem is, I could never get the menu bar to work properly on the right-hand side. Then this evening, after nearly two hours of trial and error, I finally got the menu bar on the right where it was meant to be! This was cause for a small celebration on my part...
... after which I promptly moved it back to the left side. Things have been the "wrong" way for so long that it looks strange to make such a radical change. Instead, I went for a more subtle approach and added a light purple background to the menu sections so they separate more from the body text. I'm not sure if it's better or worse, so I guess I'll wait a month or two and see if it grows on me.
I'm fickle that way.
For a long time now I've wanted to convert my Hard Rock site, DaveCafe, over to a database so that it would be easier to maintain and update. I had played around with using PHP and MySQL to do this, but I'm just not talented enough to figure it out. Then it occurred to me that I might be able to use my blogging system, Movable Type, to run the site. It ended up working out amazingly well. The development curve went something like this:
10 MINUTES: Approximate time it took to figure out how to store variables in my blog by using a terrific Movable Type plugin called KeywordVariable.
20 MINUTES: Approximate time it took to convert the seven templates required for the site over to Movable Type and test all of them.
30 MINUTES: Approximate time it took to automate and convert the 100 Hard Rock Cafe reviews from an Excel spreadsheet to MT blog entries, thanks to the delicious scriptability of ecto (the blogging software I use). That's astoundingly fast... AppleScript rules!
And that was it! Thanks to Movable Type, ecto, AppleScript, and my Mac, I was able to completely create a database-driven web site in one hour with no database ability! Amazing. Simply amazing. At least it was, until the final step...
THREE HOURS AND COUNTING: Amount of time it's taking me to figure out why the pages will display perfectly in every browser I can find EXCEPT Internet Explorer in Microsoft Windows.WHAT THE f#@%?!?
Seriously. This is stupid, STUPID, STUPID!!! I just don't get it. Why doesn't Microsoft feel any obligation whatsoever to fix rendering bugs that ONLY appear in their browser? I'll tell you why... they don't give a shit. And why should they? 90% of the people on earth are using their shitty software, so web designers have no choice but to grab their ankles and waste hours and hours of time trying to make sites compatible with a bug-ridden pile of crap browser. Microsoft is law unto itself and is apparently not accountable to their customers, web standards, the US government, or anybody else.
What this boils down to is that if you are using Internet Explorer, odds are that many of the web sites you visit are not looking as they were intended to be displayed. That defeats the entire purpose of the web, and is just wrong. Not only that, but the security holes in Explorer are opening your computer up to all kinds of spyware, nasty viruses and other problems. Microsoft sucks total ass, and I can only hope that one day in the near-future people will wake up and start refusing to put up with their crap.
So do yourself (and the entire web-using universe) a favor... dump Internet Explorer if you are still using it and get a real browser. Go grab yourself a copy of Firefox right now and be amazed at how a browser is supposed to work. You might just be surprised, and web designers will thank you.
So here we are back in Ft. Lauderdale! Getting off the ship was a bit problematic because the idiots at immigration/security/customs held us on the ship for TWO-AND-ONE-HALF FREAKIN' HOURS this morning with absolutely no explanation. That's amazingly stupid considering that most of us have planes to catch (thankfully I was smart enough to book my flight with plenty of time in the event of just such a screw-up). Who I really felt sorry for was the crew of the Dawn Princess who had to deal with an increasingly hostile crowd of passengers wanting to disembark. There was nothing they could do about it, of course, but that didn't stop a lot of crotchety old farts from trying to make their lives miserable.
Surprisingly, here at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, there is a free guest account for wireless internet access! I have no idea if that is intentional or accidental, but it sure is nice of them. All airports should have free internet considering the crap you have to go through when traveling now-a-days.
Anyway, first thing I do is check my email and find out that my web host has suspended the script that allows Blogography visitors to leave comments. Apparently, I received thousands of spam comment hits to my blog, which pegged CPU usage and forced them to put a stop to it.
I don't get it. I really don't.
I use a spam blocking plugin called "MT-Blacklist" that prevents any spam comments from ever appearing. Why hit me with thousands of spam comments when they will never show up in the first place? I knew that comment spammers were lowlife bug-f#@%ers... but who could guess that they are so astoundingly stupid as well?
Until we're allowed to shoot spammers DEAD, this is never going to stop... you realize this don't you?
Anyway, I guess when I get home tomorrow I'll have to see if there is something I can figure out so that I can turn comments back on. If anybody has any suggestions, let me know.
UPDATE: Well, comments are back on... at least for the time being. Sadly, entries that are older than 14 days will automatically have their comments closed. Furthermore, ALL comments will be moderated from now on, meaning that any comment you care to leave will not appear until I have manually approved it. One thing that hasn't changed is that your email address will NOT be shown if you should choose to leave it (so I can contact you privately). Anonymous comments are still welcome as well (assuming you aren't leaving spam or being nasty).
Yargh. The mess in dealing with comment spammers is worse than I could have imagined. Apparently they are accessing the "mt-comments.cgi" script directly, which means simply turning on comment moderation is not going to cut it. I've posted a plea on the MT forums in hopes that somebody can tell me how to make it so the script rejects all attempts to comment when the request doesn't come from my "official" comments form... but I don't even know if that's possible. If there's no way of rejecting outside direct-access to the script, then I guess comments will have to be turned off permanently.
That's kind of sad. I like getting the occasional comment from time to time.
Even worse, now that I'm had to turn off comments on all entries more than 14 days old, there's no way to tell people that comments have been closed which is very confusing. I thought a little MT template wizardry would fix this but, alas, my attempt has failed...
UPDATE: Many thanks to Neil and James who have pointed out that the "MTElse" tag needs to be within the conditional tag in order to function properly. Once I moved the block to sit within the "MTEntryIfCommentsOpen" set, everything works perfectly!
Comment spammers suck ass. The internet used to be fun before evil people had to go and ruin it for everybody.
Stewie is my idol (as I mentioned a while back).
AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I have ranted numerous times about the horror that is Microsoft Internet Explorer (the most recent is here). Simply put, if you are using IE, then you are probably not viewing huge chunks of the internet as it was intended. You are certainly not seeing this blog the way it was intended. For reasons that remain a complete mystery to me, Microsoft simply does not care that their browser renders pages incorrectly. For the longest time, I thought it was my fault... something in my CSS or HTML is bad. But every browser I check... EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM... renders the pages exactly right. They may look a little different, but they are at least laid out correctly. If this is my fault, then why does it work properly on all these other browsers, including Internet Explorer for the Macintosh?!?
So, when I receive a comment at BlogExplosion like this:
"I like the site and words but the format needs work too much scrolling to the left and right to read."
I go absolutely insane...
If people don't like my blog and leave a low rating or a comment about hating it BECAUSE OF THE CONTENT, that's fine and I have no problem with it. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But to have people's experience be tainted with Microsoft's sloppy-ass browser that causes horizontal scrolling WHERE THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY... well, I go nuts. It's not fair to me. It's not fair to my visitors. It's just not fair. But, since Microsoft has a monopoly on the way the internet is displayed because of their huge dominance with Internet Explorer, it doesn't matter. I'm going to have to be the one to try and figure out what's going wrong. Fair or not, it's my problem.
At least I know what I'll be doing this weekend. If you are using Internet Explorer on a Windows machine and want to see what the site looks like when rendered correctly on the top-five Mac browsers (no horizontal scrolling!), then follow the link below where I've put up thumbnails (or you could always go get a better browser, and see for yourself):
Hooray! The Mozilla Firefox browser has finally reached 1.0 release! If you're a MacOS X user like me, you're probably perfectly happy using Safari to browse the web... but there's always that occasional site that doesn't seem to work properly, which is why it's good to have Firefox sitting in your Applications folder. It's fast, friendly, does a great job, and may just become your browser of choice.
Of course, if you're a Microsoft Windows victim that's been suffering with Internet Explorer, then Firefox is a dream come true... it's a superior product in every way that will finally display the web the way designers meant for it to be seen, and protect you from spyware and other nastiness the IE invites. Go download it right away.
Happy as I am, I have to admit that every time I read some blog saying "FIREFOX IS OUT," something entirely different comes to mind...
Or maybe this...
Or perhaps this...
Congratulations to the entire Mozilla team for a job well done!
Honestly, I don't copy absolutely everything Neil does in his blog... it's just that he's constantly finding really cool things to blog about. And now he's run across a truly inspired meme: what's in your gadget bag? (which reminds me of the what's in your glovebox meme). I'm not saying that my particular bag is something special, but I do haul a lot of crap around with me, so this might be interesting to some...
An inventory of what is accommodating me on a typical trip...
Yargh. No wonder my pack is so heavy. And now I'm off to Seattle, continuing onward to Salt Lake City for a few days.
Apple! I wish I were in London right now. Not just because I love the city and have a number of friends living "over the pond," but because Europe's first Apple Store is opening up there this weekend on Regent Street (in a pretty cool location just off Oxford Circus). Sure it looks to be much like the stores in Chicago, New York, L.A., and Tokyo that I've already been to, but these "flagship" Apple Stores are all so cool that I'd like to keep up with them as they open up if I can.
Ze! It's always cool when one of my favorite sites gets a little notice, and this time it's a really good one. Ze Frank's latest triumph: "Punctuation Substitution for Passive Aggressive Communication Solutions" is making its way around the blogosphere, and is too funny. If you like it, be sure to check out all of the other crazy and cool things he's made for ZeFrank.com ("How to Dance Properly" is what he's most known for, and is still one of his best).
Berg! The site for Blade: Trinity seems to have been updated with more images and information. While I enjoyed the previous Blade films, this one has me really anxious because it has one of the funniest guys on the planet in it... RYAN RENOLDS!! First coming to prominence as "Berg" in Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place Renolds then drifted through a number of guest appearances in films (like Dick) and TV shows (like Scrubs) before hitting the big time in Van Wilder. Now he's got a primo part in the latest Blade film, and seems to have really buffed up in a bid to become an action hero...
Of course, it doesn't hurt that hottie Jessica Biel is along for the ride playing Whistler's daughter...
Porn! My workload is so overwhelming just now that I can't really take on anything more, but every once in a while an offer of work comes my way that I'm sorely tempted to take anyway. This morning I got a rather serious email wanting me to develop an e-commerce site for porn! I've accumulated a pretty diverse body of work over the years, but haven't done any work involving pornography before. Sadly, I don't have any time available before Spring of next year, so I had to decline. Such a shame, because having porn in my portfolio would certainly spice things up a bit!
Rated! Also in my email box was a request from a "concerned parent" to add ratings to my blog so that it can be properly identified as "adult content." Apparently, her 14-year-old son was searching for cartoons on the internet, stumbled across the "DaveToons" here on Blogography, saw a cartoon image of me being Janet Jackson at the SuperBowl, then became "traumatized." To this I can only reply: what the f#@%?!? I assume this is the image in question:
Well, whatever. I certainly don't want to be in the business of "traumatizing" any kids. But then I took a look at the RSACi web site to figure out exactly how I am supposed to rate my site, and am even more dumbfounded. I mean, take a look at what your options are! How am I supposed to choose?
In all honesty, I think this is pretty ridiculous, and have to wonder what the ramifications of adding a rating to your site might be. I mean, if I rate my site as "Mild expletives" and somebody comes along and decides that "crap" isn't "mild" can I be sued? Will Google refuse to index my site if I have ratings in place? Does it really matter anyway? Geez. Maybe I'll just forget about it and instead request that parents monitor their kid's activities on the internet rather than asking me to babysit for them.
Thanks to some help from James, I've gone ahead and rated this site so that unsuspecting (and unsupervised, I'd imagine) kids won't have to be traumatized by something they might read or look at here (or so the ICRA claims).
I have mixed feelings about ratings. Personally, I don't think that they work, and are no substitute for supervising your children. Furthermore, I think that increasingly easy access to the internet makes it all too easy for kids to find unrestricted access. But, for parents that are trying to do the right thing and living in a constant battle with television, music, and the internet to raise their kids... well, if rating my site for content in any way helps, then I have no problem giving it a try.
Here is how I've chosen to rate my blog (with samples of material):
I decided not to label the above as being in an "artistic context," even though I personally believe that to be the case here. Given what I know from having a 13-year-old nephew, this site is positively tame compared to what kids are exposed to at school every day... but whatever. Just doing my part to preserve public decency!
(Trying to type that last sentence with a straight face was near impossible!)
Seriously... how do we go about repealing the antiquated and horrendously stupid electoral voting system here? I don't care which side of the political spectrum you might lay, how can anybody not support the idea of every vote counting? Does anyone (except those comprising the Electoral College) seriously want it this way? Why hasn't a repeal of the 12th Amendment ever been offered to the people? How do we get it put to a vote? Anybody?
Seriously... can't Dave Winer just leave us alone? First he decides to define moblogging for us... badly, and now he's decided to tell us that unless we're reading syndication feeds his way, then we're doing it all wrong. I have no problem with Winer publishing his opinion, but he never seems content to do just that. Instead it's always "Winer's right, everybody else is wrong." End of story. Why can't he just be happy that people are using syndication and suggest a way that works best for him, rather than attacking people who have found a different way of doing things? Shades of gray Dave... shades of gray.
Seriously... why is it that movie comedies can't be complex and intelligent anymore? Have people's attention spans truly diminished to such a low that dumb-ass burp and fart jokes are all we're going to get now? It certainly seems that way. I just purchased the long-awaited DVD release of Foul Play and am amazed that a film starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase could be so brilliant while also being so funny at the same time. What's truly amazing is that there are no wasted moments in this film. Even seemingly meaningless scenes are subtext that builds the story. Things going on in the background are essential to solving the mystery they've got going. Unlike the typical Adam Sandler crapfest, you actually have to pay attention... but it's so well-written that you don't care, you want to pay attention (which is cruel, because there are some seat-jumping moments you never see coming). And it was made in 1978. We've certainly dumbed down in the past 26 years. A "comedy" as smart as Foul Play would never be green-lighted today.
Seriously... who is the moron that put David Caruso at the head of C.S.I. Miami? I love the original C.S.I. and am won over by the grittier take on the concept with C.S.I. New York. But I cannot bring myself to get through a single episode of Miami because Caruso is so laughably bad doing his overly-dramatic, arrogant, Gil Grissom impersonation. If Caruso can't be bothered to actually act out something original, can we put Emily Procter's character in charge?
Seriously... why do I feel compelled to participate in really time-consuming and difficult memes? This time I have Dennis to blame. To read through my "Nine Layers," just click the link below...
I've been seeing increasing usage of GRAvatar (Globally Recognized Avatar) in blogs lately, but have shied away from incorporating it into Blogography because most implementations I've seen have totally destroyed the page layout. But now Neil's gone and done it, and his layout was preserved just fine, so I thought I'd go ahead and try it.
Gravatar (not to be confused with the Atari video game Gravitar) is a global repository for "avatars" (little pictures that identify you to others online) which can be used in all kinds of web environments, including blog comments. Since Blogography is now Gravatar enabled, any comments you leave will display your avatar, assuming you have signed up for a free Gravatar account and use the same email address you signed up with (but don't worry, your email address is private and will never be displayed here).
Each avatar you upload to your account is individually reviewed by the Gravatar staff, and given a rating of G, PG, R, or X. This allows implementations to be safely restricted for the intended audience (I've set the rating here to be "PG" or lower). The avatar I uploaded was reviewed and rated "G" (hah!) within 20 minutes. You can see how Gravatar works by following the "comments" link on this entry.
Which entry in your blog is your favorite so far and why is that? It's strange, but I don't really like any of my entries overly-much. I compare them to the genius displayed on other blogs and just kringe, because mine all seem so senseless, useless, and plain silly (why in the heck do people read this stuff?). With that in mind, I guess the ones I don't mind so much are those that use these traits as an advantage. I like Toothpaste a bit, because it was fun to draw. The same goes for Leather Jackets, which I find funny every time I look at it (mainly because it does seem funny as a cartoon, but would be horrifying in real-life!).
Which entry in your blog has gotten you the most attention and why do you think that is? That would be STILL Stop Calling Me. My saga with the ass-hats at Stonebridge Life Insurance and their harassing telemarketing policy has become a kind of repository for Google searchers who have suffered as well. I receive emails and comments on this entry even today. A close second would have to be Credit, where I made a joke about setting a clown's ass on fire. I received over 100 emails from some kind of "Clown Coalition" that was enraged by it (which is odd, because you'd think clowns would have a sense of humor).
Which entry in your blog do you feel was overlooked and why should people have read it? Probably Theme Thursday: Wings. This is the hardest blog entry I've ever done, because it took a lot of luck, planning, begging, and scheming to pull off. But now that the Theme Thursday meme is dead, nobody really sees it anymore to appreciate what I had to go through to make it work (my blog didn't have nearly as many people reading it back then either). I still think it's a cool entry, so go look at it right now!
FQ REVEAL: Which entry in your blog do you think is most indicative of who you are and what makes it so? That's kind of difficult to answer, because none of the most personal details of my life are really shared here. Every once in a while, a little more "me" than usual ends up in an entry when I feel strongly about something... like when I am saddened (The Sad State of Modern Times), bitter (Heart), grateful (Strut the Rooster), etc. If forced to pick just one, I'd have to say The Bears of Berlin shows a side of me that doesn't make it to Blogography very often.
Get blogged at the FridayQ.
Unable to sleep even a little bit, I decided to take a quick look through my email inbox and have a rather odd one awaiting me. The writer said that he had heard about a "fart quiz" and was wondering where he could take it. I then had to explain that there was no "fart quiz" and I had just made up some fake results because I think all those blog quizzes are kind of lame. Then, just 15 minutes later, I get another email wanting to know where to find the nonexistent "fart quiz."
A quick look at my blog stats and I notice that "fart" has overtaken "boobie" on my list of referral search terms! The source seems to be some kind of post forum, but since it is "members only," I can't confirm anything. Digging a little further, I see that Google's Image Search has been hitting with "fart quiz" quite a bit. In fact, it's currently the #1 hit for the term (we'll save how freaked I am that there are 72 results for "fart quiz" another time)...
So, for anybody coming here wanting to take the "fart quiz," here's the deal... there is no quiz. You can read about it on my "lame quizzes" entry (and also see nonexistent quizzes for "Which Deadly Strain of Virus Are You?" and "Which of the Bodily Fluids Are You?").
Hmmm... maybe there really should be a "What Type of Fart Are You" quiz?
Alright. ALRIGHT. ALRIGHT!! I give up... you can stop emailing me, because I've now taken my fake "What Kind of Fart Are You?" quiz and made it into a real, actual quiz. So now everybody who is just dying to know which fart best fits their personality can finally sleep at night. I've never created a quiz before, and find it only marginally more painful than taking a quiz. But I digress... click here to take the Fart Quiz.
Just as an F.Y.I., there are a total of five results the quiz can return. The first is below, the remaining four are in an extended entry...
I had started this meme back when I saw it at Lost Pilgrim (which I read religiously, especially on Friday, so I can see how Richard has brilliantly perverted the FridayQ that week... I mean just look at it!). But something happened for one reason or another and I forgot about it.
Until Kazza did it, and now I feel I feel compelled to finish it (so you have her to blame!).
Basically, the idea is to open up your web browser of choice, then type in each of the letters of the alphabet to see what is "autocompleted" in the URL field. Kind of a nifty idea for a meme, I must say! To spare those of you who don't want to view 26 of my bookmarks, the list is in an extended entry. Though, I must say, a few of the links are worth a look if you don't already know about them...
As anybody who attempts to link to an image on Blogography has found out, I have enabled hotlink protection for my site. I pretty much had to after some dumbass linked to a photo here (without asking) on a SlashDotted entry and ran my bandwidth allotment into the ground. I figure that if somebody is going to be using my images without permission, they might as well copy it to their own server instead of forcing me to host my content for them. It's not that I really care that people are taking my stuff (though giving credit to me when they do is always nice), it just seems lame for me to be expected to pay for it as well.
Since I was in an ass-drawing mood after creating my "fart quiz" yesterday, I went ahead and re-designed the image people see if they link to anything without asking first...
So yes, in effect, I am telling people who try and steal my bandwidth that they can kiss my ass. Still, it's pretty tame when you think about it. I could have used a photo of an actual ass (or something far, far worse). There are exceptions... a girl was making a site for a school project and wrote me a polite email asking if she could use the photo of a teddy bear I had posted... so natually I said "yes" and added her site to my list of allowed links. It's not a big deal really, I would probably be glad to do this for most anybody if they had a good enough reason for wanting me to do so.
And then I received an email from some ass-clown this morning ripping me to pieces because they were humiliated when they linked to one of my images in a Christian fellowship forum (a photo of a cool cherub statue at the Vatican). "You've destroyed my reputation and I should sue!"
Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny too, so I replied:
"Let me get this straight. You steal an image from me without asking permission, fail to give me credit for said image, and then threaten to sue me because you're not a very clever thief? Just exactly how big of a dumbass are you?"
To say that this did not go over very well is an understatement, because they wrote back and apparently I am now going to hell.
Whatever. I must have read the Christian Bible wrong, because I'm pretty sure there's something in there along the lines of "thou shalt not steal thy neighbor's bandwidth" (I could be wrong though, I'm a Buddhist after all).
I had the afternoon off so I decided to catch up with my sleep, catch up with my laundry, and catch up with dozens of little things I've been putting off... like updating the layout for my blog. Nothing drastic, mind you, just a few changes to separate the content a little better. It's always bugged me that everything here isn't really contained, but floating all over the place. I also wanted a new header that could have swappable graphics (this time with cartoons!).
And then, fifteen minutes later, I've got it roughed out (thanks to the glory of CSS). Naturally, it looks fine in Safari and Firefox on my Mac (it usually does) but, the problem is always, always getting it to render properly in that bug-ridden pile of crap known as "Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer." It never fails... it takes just fifteen minutes to get what I want, and then I'll end up spending hours trying to make it work in Windows. Well, it's late, and I just don't have the heart to see how bad it looks in IE, so I guess that will have to wait until the weekend.
And, speaking of catching up, I also managed to watch yet another amazing episode of Veronica Mars from last night ("Annoy tiny blonde one! Annoy like the wind!!"). This show is simply too good for television. Seriously, broadcast television doesn't deserve a show this perfect. Veronica Mars is deliciously complex, cleverly written, brilliantly acted, and shockingly addictive. I think it just might be my favorite show currently on television...
I can't imagine how they are going to manage to keep the intricate web of character relationships going for the entire season but, since Rob Thomas (of "Cupid" fame) is involved, I suppose I needn't worry about it. All I can do now is curse myself for not having saved every episode on my TiVo, and then wait patiently for new episodes to air next year.
Thanks to miraculous technology advancements in blog syndication (and my inability to sleep more than 4-5 hours each night), I read an awful lot of blogs... 112 at current count. Fortunately, many of my favorites don't post every day, so I can actually have a life outside of reading them. If you have a good feed reader, you can easily organize people into groups, which makes me happy because I just love to categorize people. For instance, here is my group of "Blogs Written by People So Insane That Their Psychological Impediments Make for High Entertainment Value..."
If your in that list, I'm just kidding... this is actually my list of "Coolest People on Earth" (and if you're not on the list, then rest assured, it really is "Blogs Written by People So Insane That Their Psychological Impediments Make for High Entertainment Value").
Anway, since I don't have to be to work for an hour, let's take a look at a slice of my own personal Blogosphere shall we?
And with that, I now have 10 minutes to get to work!
Whenever I am at a loss as to what to blog about, Neil always seems to have another meme handy. This time, it's the "End of Year Quiz"... much like a "year in review" in forty questions I'd imagine. Anyway, I've put my answers in an extended entry so those completely uninterested in my accomplishments (or lack thereof) this year can easily skip it. Now that I think about it, how much cooler would it have been to have regular readers of my blog fill this out for me! I wonder if the answers would be very different? Probably.
As an "end-of-year" wrap up, I thought I'd expand upon the "End of Year Quiz" I took just a few days ago...
Biggest annoyance. Other than crappy lip-syncing music acts topping the charts and an over-abundance of stupid reality shows on television, I'd have to say my deaf neighbors. The apartment complex I live in is rented almost entirely to elderly people, most of which have horrible hearing problems. Rather than getting hearing aids, they would instead prefer to scream at each other at all hours, slam every door every time, play their televisions at full-volume, and say "WHAT WAS THAT?" over and over and over again. I moved here because I wanted peace and quite, but it ends up that these people are noisier than a 24-7 party at a frat house. Annoying doesn't even begin to cover it.
Biggest disappointment. Too many things stayed the same or got worse in 2004.
Biggest encouragement. In the past year, traffic to my blog has steadily increased. This has encouraged me to keep blogging, even when I've considered dropping it. I thought that my visitor counts were amazing at the beginning of the year, but it was nothing compared to how the year would end (in fact, it even graphs as nothing!)...
Biggest shock. That would be a tie between President Bush actually winning re-election and the current crisis in Asia.
Biggest jerk. Whoever is responsible for canceling Wonderfalls at Fox Television.
Biggest bitch. With Martha in prison and Dr. Laura shoved to insignificance, I'm left choosing between f#@%ing freak Judge Judy, f#@%ing insane Anne Coulter, and - oh - wait a second... no need to go further, It's Ann Coulter alright. Somebody needs to slap that stupid bitch. Hard.
Biggest bastard. There's a number of jerks, idiots, and asshats that are in contention for this spot, and - oh - wait a second... I'm pretty sure it's got to be Ann Coulter. Somebody needs to slap that stupid bastard. Hard.
Biggest idiot. I tried to ma-- oh, who am I kidding... it's Ann Coulter again. Somebody needs to slap that stupid idiot. Hard.
Biggest fun. Finally hitting my 100th Hard Rock!
Biggest discovery. I picked up the DVD set for the first season of Roswell (which aired on WB and UPN before I had WB and UPN) simply because it was cheap. $14 for 22 hours of television? Sign me up! I had heard good buzz about it, but thought it was some kind of stupid teen angst show with lame sci-fi elements tossed in. Imagine my surprise to find that it's actually a really good series.
Biggest surprise. I managed to keep this blog going for the entire year! We'll see what 2005 will bring.
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