Sienna: The Sun is reporting that Jude Law has proposed to the blisteringly hot Sienna Miller. I've been in love with Sienna since her days on the funky Keen Eddie television show, and am a little crushed here.
Death: Is it wrong to wish Jared dead every time one of his stupid-ass Subway commercials shows up on television? I feel badly about even thinking it, but I just can't help myself. And it's not just that I want him dead, I want him really dead... like chopped up in little pieces and then lit on fire. Or run over with a steamroller and then disintegrated in a vat of acid. Or maybe even blown up with... uhhh... must... stop... thoughts... of... Jared... death... by... Wyle E. Coyote...
Quiz: And speaking of sub sandwiches, why does Quiznos bother to post a menu showing the sandwich contents if they are just going to ignore it? A Quizno's Veggie consists of the following: guacamole, black olives, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mushrooms, mozzarella, cheddar, and Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing. So, you would think that if I ordered a "Veggie with everything that comes on it except the mushrooms," it wouldn't be rocket science to figure that out. But they manage to screw it up every time. Usually they're denying me my guacamole, but last night they tried to add green peppers to it. Maybe I am going to have to start drawing diagrams? Oh well, I'll still take a delicious Quiznos sub over a boring Jared Subway sub any day.
Guano: How fabulous! Blogography has won the most prestigious of all blog awards: The Golden Guano! What makes this recognition particularly special is that it's awarded by somebody I truly admire and respect: me! I have decided that my Guano will have been won for "Blog Most Likely to Touch You In An Inappropriate Place." Feel free to go grab one for yourself at My So-Called Strife (available in black, white, and lovely hot pink) and come up with your own blog category...
Lou: I usually delete comments which are just thinly veiled attempts at advertising other people's blogs (i.e., "I agree totally with what you said. Come visit my blog at www.lame.com!"). The reason I do this is because A) the person obviously didn't bother to read my blog, why should I bother to read theirs, or ask somebody else to do so? And B) it's kind of senseless... how many people are actually going to click on such a link? That being said, "A-Lou's Diary" ended up being an interesting use of a blog as I've seen. It's "written" by a 5-year old Belgian(?) boy who has been blind since birth and is facing complex mental challenges. Apparently it's a big hit in the French-speaking world, and is being translated into English now. I just wish "Lou's Daddy" would find some other way of advertising it.
Goodness: Alias is on tonight! The sweet hotness of Jennifer Gardner has returned to set us free and bring peace to all the world. Oh joyous day!
In updating my RSS template (thank you Neil!), I noticed that the name of the template is "INDEX.XML" and then it suddenly occurred to me why I occasionally get emails asking me "do you have an RSS feed?" Well, it's probably because nothing here actually says "RSS," including the syndication badge I've got in my sidebar. It's the classic case of calling something by one name, then referring to it by a completely different name, but I was just following what everybody else had done.
And that begs the question... why do all of the RSS logos and badges say XML when everybody calls it RSS? Shouldn't the logo say "RSS" if you're going to call it RSS?
And yes, I realize that RSS is an XML-based format, but nobody ever calls it "XML" so it's just confusing. The problem is, if I switch it, then it will be different from all the others, and those who know to look for XML won't find it. I suppose I could put two badges up but that would probably confuse things even worse. Who thinks up this stuff?
Blogging is a contact sport, because anything you write is in full contact with the entire world. Sometimes this is a good thing, but other times it just opens you up for inexplicable hostile behavior. Sure I realize that not everybody is going to agree with what I say and some people are going to become angry because of it... that's human nature, and I accept it.
This morning I woke up to a really nasty email sitting in my in-box. It's happened before, doesn't really bother me, and is easily solved by pressing the "delete" key. Except this one was different. As I was about to obliterate it from my sight and mind, I noticed that it was attacking me not because of what I said, but because of how it was formatted.
The really foul language and poor spelling forbid me from reproducing the email here, but the gist of it was "you suck ass because you claim your blog validates but it doesn't."
To which I can only say "WTF?" I rant often about adhering to web standards and Internet Explorer's complete disregard for such things so, if this were true, I would be a big fat hypocrite. But it's not true. I have a badge that proudly links to the W3C validator and, when you click on it, this is what you'll see:
So now I am really puzzled. I start frantically validating all the pages I can find... my FAQ... my "Best of"... my Master Archive... and everything comes through with no problems. Then I start validating individual entry archive pages with no problems... until I reach a page with comments. And then tragedy strikes. The Gravatar plug-in I use to display little pictures next to commentors is putting unencoded ampersands in its URL, which is invalid. No big deal, I just edit the plug-in source, rebuild my pages, and everything is okay again (well, kind of okay, because if somebody leaves a comment with invalid HTML embedded in it then the page won't validate, but it does when I first put it up so I guess I can live with that).
Anyway, I was actually going to write back to the foul-mouthed ass-clown that emailed me with the problem, but the return address was forged. So, if you're reading this guy, thanks for bringing it to my attention and I appreciate it. But was it really necessary to call me a "!#@&!%@ $*@@%#" ?
Perhaps it's the splitting migraines that have been plaguing me all week, but I am in a terrible mood. Nothing seems to be making me happy. In the hopes that I can alleviate my frustrations, I'm venting things that suck today. Lucky you.
Alias: What in the heck was last night's Alias supposed to be? I don't know. But I will tell you what it actually was: STUPID! I was so happy that the show seemed to be back on track, but now we've got hallucinations, vampires, and rampant idiocy going on at mind-numbing levels. If this is what we have to look forward to for the rest of the season, I wish somebody would let me know so that I can stop watching right now. This has got to be the worst episode of Alias yet, scraping the bottom of the barrel with the rest of the crap that's on television.
Podcasting: Whatever. I suppose when something comes out in a podcast that I actually want to listen to... then I'll start getting excited about it. But, after trying dozens of different "shows," I am less than impressed. When Stern starts a podcast, somebody let me know. I wish Robin Williams would do a weekly podcast, that would rule: comedy podcasts for when you need a dose of funny.
American Dad: We waited all this time so that Seth MacFarlane could create American Dad, a grossly inferior copy of his brilliant Family Guy show? What a complete and total waste of time. Stewie has been replaced by a fish and Brian has been replaced by an alien, but it's basically the same show... only not funny. Thank heavens that the original Family Guy is coming back in May.
Service Pack: I don't use my Windows PC unless forced, which means that it's never much kept up to date with the latest round of bug patches and useless security fixes. This morning I fired it up to find out I had Windows XP Service Pack 2 awaiting (and probably many others, but it's hard to tell). I noticed that Internet Explorer is finally getting a pop-up blocker, so I figure that alone is worth the hassle of downloading SP2. Anyway, my Windows PC is now officially dead. Since I'd rather shoot myself in the head than go through another WinXP install, I've decided to just leave it that way. Microsoft bastards. And here I was actually considering the purchase of a Tablet PC... what was I thinking? Look, it's a version of Windows that sucks just as bad as regular Windows, but you can use a pen instead of a mouse!
iPhoto: And to show I'm not 100% biased here, I offer the following: Given that I am a certified Apple whore, do you know how hard it is for me to find something to criticize about Apple software? Well iPhoto 5 makes it easy, because it's a steaming pile of crap. It's worse than crap. In fact, you usually have to search through Windows 98 shareware collections to find something with this magnitude of suckage. Slow to the point of being absolutely unusable, I have to wonder if anybody at Apple even bothered to test this ass-sucking turd of a program on anything other than a Dual-G5 machine. Apparently they didn't bother to test it at all, considering that many people lost their photos in the upgrade from version 4. Did Apple get bought out by Microsoft while I wasn't looking?
Wonderfalls: I finally finished watching all thirteen glorious episodes of Wonderfalls on DVD and have to wonder... how could this remarkable show be canceled so FOX could have room for shit like Trading Spouses in their schedule? As if that wasn't enough, the inferior "girl talks to God" show Joan of Arcadia is still running. While I used to actually like Joan, she has turned into a whiny bitch that's so boring in the latest round of shows that I've stopped watching it entirely.
Boca Burger: When I became a vegetarian, I was ever-so-grateful when "Boca Burgers" came along, because I could then enjoy the most deliciously fantastic hamburgers... all mad-cow free! But in the past year, they've re-formulated the recipe, and now they taste like ass. Wet ass. I don't know what in the heck they are thinking, but now their burger patties are slimy, soggy, and horrible in every way. Where I once was eating them by the box-fulls, now I can't even stand to look at them. I guess when the company was bought out by the cancer cartel of Philip Morris tobacco (under their "Kraft Foods" umbrella) they decided they didn't want people to actually buy the product anymore, and made it taste and "feel" like shit to get these results. Well congratulations, as if supporting big tobacco wasn't enough of a reason to stop buying them, now you've given me a reason I can't ignore.
Seattle: WHY DOESN'T SEATTLE HAVE A HARD ROCK CAFE YET?!? I mean, come on... Latvia is getting a cafe for heaven's sake! LATVIA! And, while we're at it, whatever happened to the cafes that were supposed to open up in Oslo and Frankfurt? Lastly, it also sucks that the "Hard Rock Beach Club" experiment has closed in Choctaw. UPDATE: It has just been brought to my attention that the cafe in Queenstown, New Zealand has also closed... which is horrible, because I hadn't made it to that one yet!
Station: It seems as though you can't just sit down and watch television anymore. Oh no, first there was station identification "badges" in the corner, now we've got pop-up ads, news tickers, and loads of other obnoxious crap to distract you while trying to watch your favorite show. I weep for the future. How much longer until our television screens are cluttered with so much shit that you can't even watch the actual show?
Trackback: If things keep going as badly as they are now, I will soon be joining the multitudes that are disabling trackbacks on their blogs (like Antipixel and Wirefarm). I loathe waking up in the morning to find 70 emails notifying my of trackback spams... all of which must be deleted and blacklisted. When is it going to be legal to hunt down and slaughter these low-life, bottom-feeding, bug-f#@%ers like the ass-biting dicks they are? They've taken a wonderful feature of the blogosphere and destroyed it utterly.
Lahti: I finally gave in to peer pressure and started having TiVo record Jack & Bobby, which is the story of a young boy "Bobby" who is destined to one day be president, and his growing up with brother "Jack" under the femi-nazi domination of their bitch-from-hell mother "Grace." It's a fascinating concept with good writing and interesting twists... all destroyed by Christina Lahti's completely unlikable portrayal of "Grace." She has -zero- redeeming qualities, and I find it mind-boggling that such a heinous character was ever green-lighted for television. Just like CSI: Miami which I cannot force myself to watch because of David Caruso's arrogantly laughable William Peterson impersination, I'm afraid that Jack & Bobby ain't making my list of must-see shows so long as Lahti is so horribly featured on it.
Hate: I can't help but wonder if these so-called devout Christians who email me the most hateful emails I've ever received understand what the word "hypocrisy" means. I must be on some kind of watch-list since the clown thing, because every single time I speak my mind on such things as gay marriage and other "controversial" topics, I am bound to get at least one raving email (can't you people leave comments?). In my previous post where I recommend a book by Bill Bryson where he discusses the "science of everything" (including evolution) I received an email telling me I was a "shill for Godlessness" and then was consigned to hell... again! I usually don't dignify such things with a response, but I am feeling especially frisky today, so here it is: f#@% you. And I'll also offer a helpful hint: if reading my blog makes you so upset, STOP READING IT YOU DUMBASS! I have never, ever, been anything but supportive and accepting to people's belief structure, and don't think it's out of line to ask the same courtesy from others. Go read somebody else's blog that won't bring about such hatred because, let's face it, there's enough of that in the world just now and I don't want to hear it.
When it comes to Blogography (which is this blog, in case you hadn't noticed), I am only peripherally aware that quite a lot of people read it. Granted "quite a lot" is all relative because, compared to the number of hits Google gets, I might as well not even exist. But considering I initially started this up for an audience of 4 people, it's nothing less than amazing that thousands - tens of thousands - people drop by every week.
Of course, not all of these "unique visitor counts" can truly be counted as "readers," but the end result is still scary. Once I strip out all the robots, spammers, search hits, and people looking for nude photos of Jennifer Garner, a mind-boggling 1600 people a day visit Blogography's entry page. It may be more than that because I don't know how to count RSS readers, blog aggregators, and direct links, but that's still a lot of people. And y'all keep coming...
I've long ago given up trying to figure out why my life is interesting enough to merit such attention. Other than an occasional trip to interesting (and not-so interesting) locations, I lead an exceedingly boring life that consists of work, watching television, riding my motorcycle, surfing the web, and complaining a lot. But what do I know, I am addicted to blogs for far less reasons than that.
Anyway, this morning I received an odd email congratulating me for having a high Google Rank, and then went on to tell me of an "opportunity too good to pass up" (but aren't they all?). This came as quite a surprise to me because last time I checked I was at Google Rank 4, which I didn't think was anything special. Since the Google Toolbar isn't available for Macintosh, Rank is something I don't know how to monitor.
Apparently, this spammer gentleman wanted to sell me an "insider's guide" to making money with blogs, and provided a sneak peek at some of the "profit driven tips" that would make me a gazillionaire. Most of them were exceedingly stupid, but one of these money-making essentials caught my eye... the one which advised me to eliminate my RSS feed, or release only my entry headers to an RSS feed. The idea being that people would then be forced to visit the site (thus the advertising I'm supposed to put there) if they wanted to read my blog. I found this amusing because, without RSS, I would probably read only a third of the blogs I do now.
And there's the whole enchilada... I provide full content of my posts to my RSS feed so that people using Bloglines or some kind of RSS reading app have an easy way to keep reading Blogography (only rarely do I make an extended entry, and even then it has to be a topic that I feel most people won't be interested in). Sure it's not as pretty as my site, but the importance should be the content over the design anyway, shouldn't it? I dunno. It's not that I am opposed to making money, but that's not why I blog. Besides, is anybody out there making big money with Google AdSense anyway? Maybe it's something I should look into, because a lot of people do it and I can only assume they wouldn't bother unless they got paid.
Back to Google Rank: through some cursory research I've found a little bit more about it. First of all, I only have a Rank of 5 which, while respectable (bloggers like James, Tonya, and Richard are at 5 also), is not considered to be a high Rank. Second of all, Rank is exponential... meaning that it's always more and more difficult to reach that next highest level. Going from 4 to 5 is much easier than going from 5 to 6 for example. So to reach a Rank of 6 (like more relevant bloggers than I, such as Neil and Mark) would require drastically more links pointing to me by some sites with heavy Rank themselves and, let's face it, Blogography is just not that kind of blog.
Besides, my findings show me that Google Rank is in no way indicative of how good a blog actually is. Such finds as Down With Pants and My So-Called Strife have a Rank of 3 (criminal!), but easily hold their own with blogs that are at 7 (sorry but I just don't "get" blogs like Scobleizer and Pirillo, but an awfully lot of people must with a Google Rank of 7!).
Everything else aside, this is entry #771, meaning I've got 229 to go before I've fulfilled the promise I made to myself when I started this, my 3rd blog. If I keep at my average of 1.2 entries per day, that means #1000 will happen sometime in August. I always thought that I would give it up at that point and move on to something different, but blogging sure has been good to me over the years, and I don't know that I can let it go so easily. I guess I'll know in 6 short months.
And, if I haven't said it lately, thanks for stopping by.
For the first time in a week, my migraines seem to be subsiding. I was going to go get a shot Friday after work so that I could have the weekend to recover from the nausea... but ultimately ended up deciding to spend the weekend in bed to see if I can get my head to stop exploding. Now it's just a kind of dull ache behind my eyeballs, and will hopefully have dissipated by tomorrow morning.
Assuming the geese don't attack.
This morning I was awoken by some geese honking all over the place. I thought it was an excellent opportunity to take out the garbage so I could see what a flock of geese looks like all up-close and personal-like. That was a mistake. These were some angry geese, and decided to attack me. Well, not really attack, but they did come honking my way... as if possessed by a rage from some long-forgotten evil. I am proud to say that I did not drop the trash and run screaming like a little girl. Instead I stood frozen and screamed like a big girl ("AAAAAAAAHHHHH!") which is my own personal brand of evil-repellent. After that, they honked off not to return. Yet. The horror. I live in constant fear of them coming back for me.
My migraine forgotten for the moment, I decided to catch up on the blogosphere and find some nice things to say here for a change...
Jerz: My first stop at Mr. Jerz was instantly rewarded by giving me all kinds of new profanity for my blogging rants and, if that were not enough, also provides a way of creating new ones of my own! Somebody needs to turn this brilliance into a Flash-based profanity-maker...
Hmmm... let's try this out, shall we?
Napshitter: Scott Andrew (whose music you really should take a listen to) has noticed that Napster has a lame full page dedicated to taking pot-shots at Apple's iPod and iTunes. And now they're putting them on television as well. To which I can only say to Napster: bitch, please. The iPod is the overwhelming choice for the discerning digital music listener, and your shit isn't even compatible with it. Furthermore, your taint-spank (thank you Mr. Jerz!) claim of being able to fill up some sack-smoking (thanks again!) Windows MP3 player that isn't anything close to being as nifty as my iPod for just $15 is grossly misleading. Sure you can do it... but after 30 days, you're boned, because all that music disappears unless you pay another bitch-licking (Jerz!) $15 for another 30 days. Just close up you testicle-slapping (whoo!) excuse for a music service and stop wasting our time.
Oh my. And here I was going to say nice things for a change. I blame Mr. Jerz.
Hurley: There was good news to be found when I drop by e-Dennis and see there's a rumor running around which has Elizabeth Hurley being attached to the next Harry Potter movie. If anything can save that franchise for me, this would be it. You can read a few of the many unabashed Hurley-lust entries I've made over the hottest woman in the known universe here and here and here.
Still: Neil has crafted a nice message for the MPAA after they closed down LokiTorrent (a BitTorrent hub). Even better, Boing Boing has picked it up! Sweet. I am a big fan of BitTorrent because it allows me to download television to take on the road with me, and easily archive shows that I can't be sure will ever be released on DVD (I'd do all this on my TiVo, but we all know how that's turning out). I find absolutely nothing wrong with my doing this. I pay DirecTV obscene amounts of money every month to watch those shows, and always buy the DVDs for shows I want to keep. If television networks had half-a-brain, they'd allow you to buy the shows over the internet in the first place.
Final: James has noted that Star Trek: Enterprise has entered the final frontier and been cancelled after this season. How can anybody be surprised. NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON THAT SHOW! It's just one boring episode after another. When is a kick-ass Star Trek show going to come along? Somebody should hire Ron Moore and the Battlestar Galactica team to take care of it.
Toby: And why couldn't I think of this? Of course, being a vegetarian, my credibility in such a threat would be quite low.
Pee: Just a few days ago I was thinking I might be able to drive up my blog traffic by getting some kind of high-profile endorsement. And now fate steps in. Heaven only knows nothing would make me happier than "spreading love all over the blogosphere," but some endorsements are just inviting trouble. I get enough wacky hate mail as it is, so perhaps being mired in obscurity it not such a bad thing.
Summer: The quirks of seasonal inversion between the north and south hemispheres of our planet is a nice side-effect of an international blogosphere. CoffeeWaffle is eating summer berries off the vine in New Zealand, and Kazza is spending time in the swimming pool in Australia. Naturally, I'm jealous. Summer means being able to ride my motorcycle. Of course, given the weak winter we've been having here, they should be cleaning the streets of loose gravel any day now. THERE... now that makes me happy.
WTF? Do TrackBack spammers actually read my blog before spamming me? Just yesterday I was musing as to how TrackBack spammers always seem to slam me when there is nothing I can do about it... I'm on a plane... without internet... whatever. It's as if they wait for the most opportune moment and then strike. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but after what happened last night, now I'm not so sure. Within two hours of my last entry, I started getting TrackBack spams on a regular schedule. By the time I got to work early this morning so I could check my email, there were around 120 waiting for me to delete and blacklist...
The most disturbing thing about this is that all of these disgusting TrackBacks were actually listed on my blog for a period of time. The "no-follow" link tag is obviously NOT WORKING, because spammers are more determined than ever. Movable Type needs to add forced-moderation of all TrackBacks IMMEDIATELY. It won't stop spammers from attacking me, but at least I have the piece of mind of knowing that they won't show up on my blog. There is a plug-in available that's supposed to do this, but I couldn't get it to work properly... the solution needs to be integrated into the system, and Movable Type is who should be doing it. So what are they waiting for?!?
In a wonderful stroke of luck, I managed to catch an earlier flight and arrive home a full three hours ahead of schedule. A pity that there's no new episode of Veronica Mars running tonight (Save Veronica!), but at least we have a return appearance of Heather Graham on Scrubs.
In more disturbing news, along with the twenty new pornographic TrackBacks I had to de-spam, I also got a scary piece of email which accused me of "stealing" the idea for a graphic which I drew up for my "review" of the movie Sideways. Since the return address was bogus, I'll go ahead and make my reply public here:
I hate to tell you this dumbass, but the only thing I did was parody the official movie poster...
I don't even know who you are or what picture you are talking about. Sooo... perhaps instead of threatening to "expose" me, you should attack Fox/Searchlight Pictures for coming up with the idea in the first place.
Stupid people suck ass.
Ever run across something you'd just love to blog about, but ultimately decided against it once you had a minute to think about it? That seems to be happening to me a lot lately. I just spent twenty minutes writing up and entry, drawing a cartoon, and then... while proof-reading it... decided to delete it instead of posting it.
I don't think that it was too personal or anything like that, it just "felt" wrong.
With that in mind, I can't help but wonder how often something like this happens with other bloggers. Maybe it's just timing? If I were to go back through every blog entry I've ever made, how many of them would I be compelled to delete? Heh... probably ALL of them.
Well, it would appear that I am going to have to turn comment moderation ON again, despite the fact that the new "MTKeystrokes" plugin is doing an amazing job of discarding comment spam from spam-bots. Last night I received a comment that was obviously trying to sell something. Sure it was hand-typed, and sure it related to my entry, but I have never allowed people to whore their wares here and I don't intend to start now. The only person allowed to be a whore here is me, and I don't like the competition. Get your own blog if you want to sell something.
It kind of makes me wish that I was able to clone my brain and hook it up to my blog so that it could approve and reject comments without me having to bother...
Of course, I think the massive genius of my clone brain would tire of such a mundane chore 24-7, and would probably go mad and become an evil brain monster. An evil brain monster to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!! MOOWAAAHHH HA HA HAAAA!
For a Friday, I must say it's been a pretty good day for me...
Sixteen. Verizon finally came through with my DSL order today after sixteen days of orders, cancelled orders, re-orders, and a myriad of other problems that wasted hours of my valuable time to get sorted out. Much to my surprise, the new router/modem they sent me had wireless built-in! That's a pretty cool bonus, and shows that (if nothing else) Verizon is at least paying attention to how the customers are accessing the internet. Even better, it seems as though my connection is slightly faster to boot, and the Verizon wireless has more range than my old Apple Airport Base Station. The best part? All of that is at a $20 savings per month over my previous EarthLink DSL line. This couldn't come at a better time, because just this morning I was thinking I'd rather give up the internet than spend another week with dial-up.
Three. Last night while watching the latest episode of The O.C., they ran the new Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith trailer. Just for fun, they had "Seth Cohen" from the show (the ultimate sci-fi/comic book nerd) introduce the thing with his Star Wars action figures. The trailer itself is pretty kick-ass cool and features mind-blowing special effects, Samuel L. Jackson with his purple lightsaber I covet so much, Wookies(!) and, best of all... GREEN BOOBIES! Of course, I remember getting all excited about Episodes I and II after watching the trailer, and they both sucked so much ass that I nearly shat myself in the theater. Do I dare muster any hope that the final Star Wars installment will be worth a crap? History tells me no... BUT WOOKIES AND GREEN BOOBIES! How can I not be excited?
Of course, the bigger Star Wars news is the increasing rumors that Kevin Smith will be in charge of some kind of Star Wars television show after Episode III wraps production. Since Kevin Smith on his worst day can fart better dialogue out of his ass than Lucas can write on his best day, this is really enticing gossip. It also seems really plausible given that the show could be done fairly cheap given today's digital special effects... I mean, all the computer models and scenes and such are already there, they just need to be reused in new and interesting ways.
Six. TrackBack spammers are pummeling me today. In the past six hours I've received dozens of email notifications for horrendously disgusting TrackBack pings that I am trying to Blacklist as quickly as they arrive so that any further attempts will be rejected. The problem is, they are using a new domain every time, so Blacklist is only killing a portion of what I'm being hit with. Six Apart has STILL failed to patch MT so that I can force moderation of TrackBack pings for manual approval, which is mind-boggling. I'm left with no choice but to turn of TrackBack for my blog, because I refuse to allow "hot doggy sex bestiality pics" to be promoted here. What in the heck is Six Apart waiting for? It's not like I am asking them to take care of my spam... just give me the ability to do it myself through moderation like I already can with comments. Seesh!
Four. Since putting Scott Plank on my "List of Three Guys I'd Go Gay For", I've received four emails wanting to know more about him. One email was from a woman who "became obsessed with him after seeing that sexy photo on your blog." Unfortunately, as I had mentioned, I don't know much about him at all. I met Scott briefly a few times because he was a potential actor for a role in a movie project I was involved in. Unlike most everybody else I met in Hollywood, Scott was a genuinely nice guy who was kind, funny, and humble. I was sent tape of his appearances in Air America and Melrose Place, but anything else I learned about him was from his entry on IMDB. I am told that he once had a web site at ScottPlank.com, but it isn't there anymore, which is kind of a shame. I have no details about Scott's death, only rumors I don't care to elaborate on. If anybody out there runs across this and knows of a place that has any information about Scott, please pass it along, and I'll be happy to share it.
Eight. And speaking of computer animation, I switched to LightWave today after having used Electric Image Animation System for nearly a decade. I originally started with EIAS because that's what the people at Industrial Light and Magic used in Star Wars: Special Edition. It cost thousands of dollars, didn't come with a modeler, and was a bitch to use... but it produced pretty images very quickly. The problem is that EIAS sucked more and more with each new update. Version 5 has a modeler that crashes constantly doing the simplest of things (like beveling the corner of a cube!), and an animator that is so buggy I keep looking for roaches under my keyboard. The final straw came when I got a notice that I can upgrade to EIAS 5.5 for $300 the same day I got a notice that I could purchase a "sidegrade" to LightWave for $500. Despite my having to re-learn a brand new package from scratch, I decided I was not going to pay $300 for another pile of shit from Electric Image just to get bug fixes to problems they never patched (and a load of potential new problems to worry about). As a perk of switching to LightWave, there's about a hundred books and dozens of training videos available... I think EIAS has at most three books (all out of date) and not much else. So any penalty from switching should be fairly short with such a wealth of material to learn from. Here's hoping.
UPDATE: Interestingly enough, NewTek just hired Jay Roth and Mark Granger... two long-time Electric Image employees. I am hopeful that this is a good thing, but my past problems with EIAS do have me slightly worried.
Seventy-Two. It's a lovely 72 degrees outside this afternoon. I am so taking off work early to go for a nice long ride on my motorcycle.
A month and a day away! April 18th is my two-year "blogiversary" and I'm in a mood to celebrate. I'm telling you now because it's going to be something you don't want to miss. Seriously. It's a "mark your calendars now" type of thing.
I wanted to have a big celebration last year, but waited until it was too late and didn't have time to pull everything together. And every day since then I've been thinking about what I was going to do the next time. Planning. Scheming. Begging. Extorting. Pleading. Stealing (well, not really, but doesn't it make you feel special that I was willing to steal for you?). An event one year in the making...
Will there be big fun? Absolutely!
Will there be prizes? You bet!
Will there be free stuff? Count on it!
Will Dave get naked and dance LIVE on a web-cam? You had better hope not.
Intrigued? Well you should be. I'm CRAZY-INSANE and there's just no telling what is going to happen!
Holy crap! Can I just say that last night was one of the best nights of television in recent memory? First we get a great episode of Lost followed by a fantastic episode of Alias (it's about time, because that show has been sucking major chunks of ass recently). But the real kicker of the evening was the final show of the night, a new program called Eyes. I tuned in expecting a boring private-eye drama... and was stunned when it turned out to be an hour packed with humor, mystery, romance, back-stabbing, betrayal, and snappy dialogue, all wrapped around a pretty entertaining story. I was riveted right up until the final minute, when they kicked my ass with an ending so surprising that I ended up rewinding the TiVo to make sure I had seen what I thought I had. If this is the kind of show that Eyes will be dishing out each week, I will absolutely be tuning in for another helping.
Okay, with that out of the way, we continue on to today's episode of Blogography...
...but before we start I feel it is essential that I remind you, dear reader, that I am a genius. Not a self-proclaimed genius, but an actual genius with a Mensa-level IQ of 142. As I've mentioned before, this gives me the grim satisfaction of knowing that when people call me a "smart ass," that it really is true. At least it seems as though my ass is smarter than most people I meet...
Because of being so insanely brilliant, it's always a real eye-opener when I run across something I didn't know. In fact, any time you hear me saying something like "wow, I didn't know that," you can be assured that inside my head a nuclear explosion is going off, shaking me to the very core of my being.
So when I tell you that I was completely unaware that "if you play video games, you get sent to hell," you can imagine how I felt when this bombshell was dropped on me. It was such a shock that I found myself having to stop right there in the middle of K-Mart and reevaluate the universe and my place in it.
Allow me to explain...
Today is the day that "Lego Star Wars: The Video Game" is being released. I want this game bad. Really bad. Since the moment I found out about it, I've been counting the days until it can finally be mine. I mean, it's LEGO FRICKIN' STAR WARS... IN A VIDEO GAME!! How could anybody possibly not want it? Everything is there... the characters, the ships, the locations... but they're all made from Lego...
Anyway, I ditch work a little early and head to Wenatchee so I can get a copy. But everywhere I look they've either never heard of it, or don't have it yet, or only have the PlayStation version. Suck ass! On my way out of town I decide to make one last stop at K-Mart to see if they might have it. I park the car, dash on back to the electronics department, and start to look. All the while, a young boy is standing there looking in wide-eyed wonder at all the cool games available. Eventually he works up the courage to speak to me:
Kid: Do you have a video game?
Me: Yep, I've got an Xbox.
Kid: And you can play games on it?
Me: Uhhh... yes. After I finish my work, I sometimes get to play games on it.
Kid: I want to play the --
At that moment a scorching bitch comes tearing around the corner breathing fire and screaming her head off... "JASON!! THERE YOU ARE!! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!? GET AWAY FROM THERE!!! YOU KNOW WE DON'T PLAY VIDEO GAMES!!! VIDEO GAMES ARE FROM THE DEVIL!!!! IF YOU PLAY VIDEO GAMES, YOU'RE GOING TO HELL!! DO YOU WANT TO GO TO HELL?!? YOU COME HERE RIGHT NOW!!!
I just stare at this horrible woman in utter disbelief when she decides to go after me! "YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SPEAK TO MY CHILD WITH YOUR VIDEO GAMES! NO RIGHT!!!" I do a kind of "who me?" look, and say "uhhh... hey, I was just standing here looking for a game... I didn't..." -- "YOU HAVE NO RIGHT AT ALL!!
Okay. Here's where the dilemma sets in. I'm already pissed because I just wasted the last hour looking for a video game that nobody has. I am in no mood at all to put up with this crap. But if I unload on her, I just know that it won't be me she takes her frustrations out on... it will be this poor kid. As much as I want to tear into this bitch, I just can't bring myself to do it for the kid's sake.
So please bear with me as I unload. Please indulge me while I say what I would have liked to have said, but couldn't...
"Listen bitch, you can just stop your screaming at me right now or I will come over there and kick the living shit out of you. While I am not a Christian, I've undoubtedly spent more time studying The Bible than your ignorant ass will ever know, so don't you dare presume to preach at me. I don't know what misguided, f#@%ed up interpretation of The Bible you are getting this crap from, but I can say without a doubt that God just loves a good game of Donkey Kong, so you can take you entire "video games are from the devil" bullshit and shove it right up your fat ass."
Thanks, that's much better. Oh how I loathe living in this redneck purgatory.
NEW AND IMPROVED! One last thing. In response to Kazza's lament that she misses out on comments now that she's switched to an RSS reader... I've modified Neil's excellent RSS-2 template to include comments with the entries. It works beautifully for me, but I'm not sure if it's formatted properly (and I don't want to bother Neil for help while he's on vacation). So, if you want to try it out in your RSS reader and let me know how it works for you, here's the URL you should use: http://www.blogography.com/comments.xml. The really cool part is that every time a new comment is left (and approved), the feed is automatically updated. So if your RSS reader can flag changed entries as "unread," you won't miss any new comments! So thank you Kazza for giving me this wonderful idea. Now that I've grown accustomed to it on my blog, I sure wish other blogs would do the same because it sure is convenient! Once Neil's had a look, I'll post the template here if he doesn't want to host it.
This morning I awoke to find a hefty stack of comment confirmation emails in my "in-box." Apparently the scumbags over at Stonebridge Life Insurance are once again up to their dirty telemarketing tricks, and my blog is getting Googled by angry people looking for answers. I don't have answers, but it's nice to know that people can come here and vent their frustrations over an activity that should most certainly be illegal and punishable by death.
Along with people who were violated by the Stonebridge asshats, there were other great comments on various entries (seriously, I often think that the comments on this blog are far more entertaining than the blog itself!), and a very nice email from somebody in Germany who wrote to tell me that he had stumbled across my blog and spent the past week reading it from start to finish (even I am not that brave!). So thanks everybody!
Of course it wasn't all sunshine and roses, there was a hate-mail buried in there as well. It wouldn't be a week at Blogography if I didn't receive at least one nasty comment. This time it was in response to my previous entry lamenting the ever-dwindling value of the once mighty US Dollar. It started out with "You liberals..." and then went on to say "blah blah blah. blah blah. BLAH! BUSH! BLAAAAHHH! BLAAHH!!!" Well, not really. But I never did get over the shock of being labeled a "liberal" in the first two words, and pretty much ignored everything after that.
It would seem that ever since I started this blog, everybody is just dying to label me...
And while it is (on some really low level) flattering that people take the time to label me based on things they have read here, there is really only one label I will ever ascribe to...
And why is that? Because I don't need some group, organization, or other person doing my thinking for me, and certainly do NOT want to be tossed in with a group of people who do. That's fine for some, but absolutely not me. I make up my own mind, and speak my own mind. Some of my thoughts could be said to embrace popular liberal leanings, but others are very much in line with what is generally considered to be traditional conservative thinking.
It all comes down to the fact that my opinion is my opinion, and I don't really care on what side of the political fence it lands. I refuse to blindly subscribe to any political party, and choose to vote for the person I consider to be best for the job instead of randomly checking off the labels presented me. It is not the most popular way to handle your politics, but it's the only way for me. Ironically, such thinking has me regularly labeled as both "liberal" and "conservative" ... "Democrat" and "Republican" when, in fact, I am none of them.
And that brings me to the crux of this entry. Somebody assumes I was Bush-bashing, labeled me a liberal, and then decided to lay me to whale shit for being something I am not. This is so ridiculous as to be laughable. All I did was present the facts for my argument: since Bush has been in office, the value of the US Dollar has been in free-fall, and that is making it difficult for me to make vacation plans. That's it! If you are going to attack me for Bush-bashing, then at least wait until I am actually bashing the idiot our President before slapping yet another label on me. And if you can't do that much, then that's your problem, and attacking me via email is a big waste of time because I won't bother to read it. So blah blah blah BLAH!
Personal blogging is an activity that defies logic. In an age where people are losing more and more of their privacy (and fighting to regain what little privacy they have left), putting your personal life out on the internet makes no sense at all. Most of the time I try not to think about it, but there are moments when it hits me like a ton of bricks and I get one of those "what in the heck am I doing moments?" Today is one of those days, probably brought on by tomorrow's "Two-Year Blogiversary" celebration...
In an attempt to answer my own question, I've decided to write out the long and boring history of my adventures in blogging. That way, whenever I have doubts, I can just read this entry and everything will go back to quasi-normal. The rest of you can feel free to read today's movie quote and move on.
Or you can click the link below to read along with me...
TODAY'S PRIZE: One of Twenty-Five Blogography T-Shirts!
SORRY...CLOSED FOR ENTRIES!
You may notice a new tab has just been added for the "Artificial Duck Store" at the top of this page. That's because I've had some cool new Blogography silk-screened T-Shirts made, and you can win one for FREE (in your choice of two designs)! There will be 25 winners, but everybody who enters will get a 50% off coupon good for any shirt (so even if you don't win, you win!). To get a look at the goods, just click here to visit the Artificial Duck Store. Each shirt is a $14.95 value.
THE CATCH: I may be crazy, but I'm not wealthy! So shipping charges are not included with the prize ($3.95 Priority Mail inside the USA, and $13.95 Air Mail everywhere else... an explanation is in the comments section).
THE RULES: One entry per person please! Entries must be received before midnight on Saturday, April 23rd (Pacific Time USA, here in Cashmere, WA). Winners will be notified on Sunday, April 24th. Email addresses will never be released, and will be deleted once winners have been notified and e-coupons have been sent. Winners are responsible for any customs duties or import taxes (if applicable). Shipping charges can be paid via PayPal or money order in US funds.
TO ENTER: Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include your name and a valid email address so I can send you a coupon and contact you if you win.
THE STORY: One of my earliest jobs was designing T-Shirts for screen printing. Sadly, it's getting to be a lost art, because of all the internet "iron-on transfer" sites popping up. Who wants to pay a graphic designer to create a classy T-Shirt, when you can make your own design with clip art and Zazzle? It's a bit of a bummer, because an iron-on will never be as good as a real silk-screened shirt. To read about my humble design beginnings and the origin of Artificial Duck T-Shirts, I've written an entry about it here.
TODAY'S PRIZE: Dave's "Read & Watch" $250 Big Box of Fun!
SORRY...CLOSED FOR ENTRIES!
Sure I could have dug through my closet and found a bunch of crap I didn't want anymore, then tied a bow around it and called it good... but that's not much of a prize, is it? No sir, I say it is NOT! So, instead, I went out and bought stuff that I would actually want to win... all brand new and factory-sealed! Yep, here's a box filled with some of my favorite books and movies you might have overlooked. Each is a hidden gem that's actually worth your valuable time, and adds up to nearly $250 in value!!
THE CATCH: Ground shipping is included to any address in the Continental US. If you live outside these 48 States, you can still enter, but you will be responsible for exact shipping charges (sample costs are given in the comments section for the 12-lb. box). ALSO... I've bought both VHS tapes (in NSTC format) and DVDs (with Region 1 encoding) so hopefully whoever wins can watch the videos. But if you live outside the USA, PLEASE make sure you have a "region-free" DVD player or a VCR/TV that can play VHS NTSC tapes before you enter! I really would like it if whoever wins actually uses the prizes before they sell them on eBay or whatever!
THE RULES: One entry per person please! Entries must be received before midnight on Thursday, April 21st (Pacific Time USA, here in Cashmere, WA). Winners will be notified on Sunday, April 24th. Email addresses will never be released, and will be deleted once winners have been notified. Winners are responsible for any customs duties or import taxes (if applicable). If you aren't in the Continental USA, shipping charges can be paid via PayPal or money order in US funds.
TO ENTER: Just send an email to email@example.com and be sure to include your name and a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.
A complete list of the goodies in the box can be found in an extended entry.
TODAY'S PRIZE: Dave's "Taste of Home" $100 Big Box of Gourmet Foods!
SORRY...CLOSED FOR ENTRIES!
From my home to yours... a taste of the Pacific Northwest. It's an assortment of various treats from Washington, Oregon, and Montana that I've come to enjoy over the years (and hopefully you will too). We've got jams and jellies. We've got vinegars and glazes. We've got candies and pancakes. We've got bread and fish. WE'VE GOT MUSTARD FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! MUSTARD I SAY!!! In any event, this prize is sure to add a bit of exotic flavor to your boring culinary routine (you pizza-eating slacker you).
THE CATCH: Ground shipping is included to any address in the Continental US. If you live outside these 48 States, you can still enter, but you will be responsible for exact shipping charges (and this one ain't cheap... the sucker weighs TWENTY POUNDS!!). ALSO... Some countries have severe restrictions as to food imports. If you live outside the USA, please make sure that none of these items are forbidden to receive in the mail (call your local post office and see).
THE RULES: One entry per person please! Entries must be received before midnight on Friday, April 22nd (Pacific Time USA, here in Cashmere, WA). Winners will be notified on Sunday, April 24th. Email addresses will never be released, and will be deleted once winners have been notified. Winners are responsible for any customs duties or import taxes (if applicable). If you aren't in the Continental USA, shipping charges can be paid via PayPal or money order in US funds.
TO ENTER: Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include your name and a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.
A complete list of the goodies in the box can be found in an extended entry.
TODAY'S PRIZE: Dave's "Other Man's Treasure" $400 Big Bag of Geeky Stuff!
SORRY...CLOSED FOR ENTRIES!
When I was planning my Two-Year Blogiversary, I made a promise to myself that I was not going to just dig through old crap I had laying around for prizes, but instead buy all-new, all-terrific stuff. But the original (really cool) prize I had lined up for today fell through last week, and I was left with a gaping hole in the prize-schedule. Since it was too late to figure out something new, I had no choice but to see what I might have laying about. As it turns out, there are items that I paid a total of $1050 for just sitting around unused (or barely used). Stuff that I don't want, but may be of use to somebody out there since it's practically new merchandise. As they say, "one man's junk is another man's treasure." Except this stuff isn't really junk at all.
THE CATCH: Ground shipping is included to any address in the Continental US. If you live outside these 48 States, you can still enter, but you will be responsible for exact shipping charges (weight is about 15 pounds). ALSO... Some countries have severe restrictions as to what can be imported. If you live outside the USA, please make sure that none of these items are forbidden to receive in the mail (call your local post office and see).
THE RULES: One entry per person please! Entries must be received before midnight on Saturday, April 23nd (Pacific Time USA, here in Cashmere, WA). Winners will be notified on Sunday, April 24th. Email addresses will never be released, and will be deleted once winners have been notified. Winners are responsible for any customs duties or import taxes (if applicable). If you aren't in the Continental USA, shipping charges can be paid via PayPal or money order in US funds.
TO ENTER: Just send an email to email@example.com and be sure to include your name and a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.
A complete list of the goodies in the bag can be found in an extended entry.
Bandwidth. Just exceeded my bandwidth limit (again). All my attempts in finding a reasonable solution to this problem with my hosting company (LunarPages.com) have failed. My regular account costs $7.95 a month and I get 40 gigs of bandwidth. To buy another 40 gigs of bandwidth costs an additional $158 a month ($3.95 per gig). Yes, you read that right: $165.95 EACH MONTH to host a blog (and no, you can't buy two and combine them). My other option is to switch from a $7.95 plan to a $22.95 plan to get the additional bandwidth I need. Double the bandwidth should be double the cost, not triple, but it's not like they're giving me much choice (at least I get a couple of additional SQL databases out of the deal). I haven't felt this screwed since I signed my mobile phone contract. The monkey spankers. Anybody know of a support group for people who have been violated by their web hosting company?
Domestic. As I was driving home this evening, a lawn chair suddenly appeared in the middle of the road. I slammed on the brakes to avoid it, then attempted to come to my senses as the adrenaline rush died down. Trying to figure out what just happened, I look over to see a man and a woman screaming and fighting and throwing things at each other. That was amusing, but not the reason I am writing this. That would be because their two horrified young kids were across the yard watching the entire ordeal. Somebody please tell me what I am supposed to make of this, because I am completely lost on this one.
Eyes. Watched yet another amazing episode of Eyes last night. The show is flawless.
Tool. Ya know, usually nobody is a bigger asshole than me. I'll readily admit to that. But every once in a while you run across somebody who is such a complete and total tool that you have to step back and realize that you are not #1 anymore. Yesterday a "business journalist" named Dana Blankenhorn wrote a stunningly bitchy article slamming Google for not better implementing RSS throughout its services. Even better, he lays the blame 100% on Evan Williams, saying that Ev needs to "move on, and Google needs to bring in someone with a Clue." Talk about "needing a Clue" - Evan Williams already left Google last October (as anybody who reads his blog already knows). Blankenhorn has been a "journalist" for 25 years... yet he can't seem to do even the most basic research before tearing into somebody? Perhaps it's time for HIM to "move on."
Toast. Right now I could go for a nice piece of toast with butter and jam. And also a fifth of Jack Daniels to help me forget the ravaging I just took in excess bandwidth charges.
TODAY'S PRIZE: Dave's "Hard Rocker" $225 Rock Box OR "Hard Lurker" $50 Bag!
SORRY...CLOSED FOR ENTRIES!
When mapping out Blogiversary 2, I really struggled with just how I was going to give away all this stuff. At first, only people who had left five or more comments were going to be allowed to enter. Just my way of saying "thank you" to the many people who make this blog as fun as it is for me. But then I thought this would be really unfair to somebody who only just discovered my blog yesterday and might go on to leave thousands of comments. So the initial four days were open to everybody. This time is a little different, because I still want to have a day just for my "commentin' posse"... my favorite things for my favorite people!
There are two prizes today. EVERYBODY is welcome to enter, but ONLY those who have left five or more comments between April 18 2004 and April 18 2005 are eligible to win the "Rock Box" prize! After the Rock Box winner is drawn from qualified entries, all remaining names will be put in a drawing for the "Hard Lurker" prize (whether you are a lurker or not!).
Sorry about that, but hopefully it will encourage people to have fun and participate with their comments for Blogiversary 3 next year... because look at what you could have won this year:
THE CATCH: Ground shipping is included to any address in the Continental US. If you live outside these 48 States, you can still enter, but you will be responsible for exact shipping charges (weight is about 6 pounds). ALSO... Some countries have severe restrictions as to what can be imported. If you live outside the USA, please make sure that none of these items are forbidden to receive in the mail (call your local post office and see).
THE RULES: One entry per person please! Entries must be received before midnight on Saturday, April 23nd (Pacific Time USA, here in Cashmere, WA). Winners will be notified on Sunday, April 24th. Email addresses will never be released, and will be deleted once winners have been notified. Winners are responsible for any customs duties or import taxes (if applicable). If you aren't in the Continental USA, shipping charges can be paid via PayPal or money order in US funds.
TO ENTER: Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include your name and a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.
A complete list of the goodies in the box and bag can be found in an extended entry.
Alrighty then... the week-long Blogiversary 2 Kick-Ass Online Celebration has nearly come to a close. All that's left this week is wait for a few entry deadlines to expire at midnight tonight, then arrange to have all the winners selected tomorrow by a impartial 3rd party.
Of course, then the REAL work begins. Notify the winners, collect T-Shirt sizes and shipping charges (where required), place a final T-Shirt order, assemble the prizes, take a drive to Seattle to pick up shirts, then box and mail over 30 packages...
Oh crap! What have I got myself into?!!??
It's a good thing that my Blogiversary only comes along once a year! And since I didn't celebrate last year, I wanted to be sure this time was something special. I guess another week of work for my adoring readers won't be so bad. And speaking of my adoring readers... I'd like to take a minute to thank everybody for tuning in to help me celebrate. Entries for the Blogiversary prizes exceeded my expectations, and that's very cool indeed. All the nice comments and emails were also much appreciated.
With that being said, there are a handful of readers who I would like to single out for a bit of extra thanks... Jeff, Karen, Kazza, Kimono, and Perry. These guys (and gals) made the extra effort to actually meet up with me in person, and I'd like to send a T-shirt and a little something extra their way to let them know how much I appreciated that. I'll email you for your shipping information when the prizewinner notifications go out tomorrow.
Anyway, thanks again for tuning in, and I'll start making plans for next year...
Well, it's been a great week... but all good things must come to an end, and it's time to announce the winners!
And figuring out exactly how these winners would be selected was a new challenge entirely. I was going to figure out some kind of spiffy electronic randomizing raffle picker thing (or see if I could find one to download)... but that just didn't seem right. Once the computer takes over, how do I know that it's a fair drawing? I don't. So I decided to print out everybody on perfed folder tabs, and have the names drawn out of a hat (or, more accurately, a CD spindle cover). Since my email program was set to color-code the incoming emails, I decided to color-code the names to draw...
After printing out all the names on tabs, I double-checked to be sure everybody was there, then headed out to a girl I work with so that she could draw the names. It was at this time I began to panic with thoughts like... "oh crap! what if the same person wins all the prizes!" and "I forgot to ask people where they live so I can know whether or not to ask for shipping charges!" and a dozen other things that put me on the verge of a meltdown.
But it was all worry for nothing. Within three minutes, I had the winning names and nothing scary happened. Well, ALMOST all the winning names... I forgot to draw a second name for the "Lurker" prize, and then realized that I forgot to be sure that the "Rock Box" winner had 5 comments (which, thankfully, he did). So I drew the last name myself when I got back to the office, then set about matching the color-coded names to the prizes they had just won.
If you don't want to know (or would rather be surprised when I send out notifications later this afternoon) then stop reading right now...
If I weren't so totally evil, I might cry.
I cannot help but be touched at everybody's kind emails and comments over the past week. But since I am saving all my tears for the inevitable marriage of Logan to Veronica Mars, I've come up with another way to show my gratitude. Instead of sending "half-off" coupons to only those who didn't win a shirt, I've just marked everything half-off in the Artificial Duck Store so everybody can get an cheap inexpensive shirt if they want.
This means that currently the "Blogography Logo" shirt is a ridiculous $5.50 (+shipping) which is below my cost, and the "Bad Monkey" shirt is a mere $7.50 (+shipping) to balance things out. I will probably just leave it that way for a month or two until I decide to put a few new designs up... just try to find a high-quality shirt with 4-color silk screened art at these prices anywhere else!
If you live outside the USA you have to add an additional $10 to your order for every 5 shirts to cover shipping costs but, given the weak-ass value of the US Dollar, I think this still works out to almost-free. So go ahead and buy dozens of them to be used as dust rags, shoe polishing cloths, or even really comfortable toilet paper... I'm just doing my part to repair international US relations!
Two last things... PayPal is a free and safe way to pay for things over the internet (they guarantee it), but if you would rather not use PayPal, that's perfectly okay... just write to me, and I'll send you an address where you can send a money order (in US funds). And lastly, for everybody who has already ordered a shirt and paid full-price, have no fear. I'll double your order. I've already sent out emails asking which design you want for your freebie.
See? It's never been easier to protect yourself and your loved ones from my evil plans for world domination! Because, naturally, I won't be exploding the heads of anybody wearing a Blogography T-shirt. In fact, I'll probably promote you to a Five-Star General in the Dave World Liberation Army, based solely on your keen fashion sense!
Somehow it became May and I didn't notice. Probably because I am too busy fighting with vending machines and watching television.
Of the two activities, watching television seems to be what I am more successful at. I say this because I am typing this entry one-handed after having damaged my other hand beating up a vending machine that stole my money. Fortunately, I did manage to shake two candy bars and a bag of chips out of the deal (even if none of them were what I was trying to purchase).
Tiger Heat. Ever since upgrading my PowerBook to MacOS X Tiger, it runs much hotter. I have no idea what is going on, but both fans are running constantly and my fingertips are burning up from typing on it. Perhaps it's the processor working harder or something? I've tried setting my "Processor Performance" to "reduced" but I'm not sure it's having any effect. This is a bit troubling, and I hope somebody at Apple is looking into it... assuming it's not just my imagination. I guess if she bursts into flames we'll know for sure.
JAG. One of my favorite TV shows, JAG ended its 10-year run last week. I just don't know what I am going to do with myself not being able to look at the sweet hotness of Catherine Bell each week. Oh well. At least they wrapped up the show nicely nicely. Here's hoping that some brilliant television exec finds her a new television show right away.
Mars DVD. According to the genius behind Veronica Mars, the first season is being rushed to DVD with a September street-date so that people who missed it can get caught up before the second season starts up again. The bad news is that there won't be time for any "extras" like commentaries and production featurettes to be included. As much as I would like to have these things, I'm just happy to be getting a release. The only thing that could possibly be better news would be if Rob Thomas's other excellent show (Jeremy Piven's Cupid, the best television series ever) was also being released.
Surgery TV. Is anybody watching Grey's Anatomy on Sunday nights? The show is excellent. The fact that Sandra Oh is in it is just icing on the cake.
Bandwidth Bust. My bandwidth usage continues to climb. I have no choice but to make a few alterations in how Blogography is arranged, or else I will top my new 80gig limit in 18 days (at the current rate). From now on only 7 days will be displayed on the front page (down from 10, which was my weekly average)... and all feeds will also display 7 days (down from 15). I apologize to those readers who only stop by once a week (since you'll end up having to go through the archives now), but there's just nothing I can do about it. This weekend I plan on chopping up the category pages into years so that the pages will serve up dozens of entries instead of hundreds. I'll also be killing trackback. Hopefully all these changes will keep me under the 80gig limit until next January when I can look for a web host with a bigger allowance (it's either that, or stop posting photos, like the one above, which I really don't want to do).
Today I was supposed to drive to Seattle and pick up the Blogography T-shirts. Unfortunately, because I insisted on only the highest quality Haynes Beefy-T shirts, they had to be ordered from Colorado. Shipping is taking slightly longer than anticipated, but they will be here before the end of the week so I can send out everybody's prizes. Secretly, I'm relieved, because the battle injury I received from the piece-of-shit vending machine that took my money yesterday is killing me. It feels as though my entire arm is in a vice yet, oddly enough, there's no bruise.
Oh well, it's not like I'm not going to apologize for wanting quality. I can't stand it when I order a cool-looking T-shirt only to have it arrive with a cheap fabric so rough that it feels like sandpaper to wear it. I want people to actually want to wear my shirts because they are super-comfy and they enjoy wearing them (as opposed to using them as a dust rag, which is what seems to happen to a lot of the ones I've bought over the years). Haynes Beefy-T's are the nicest, softest, most well-made shirt you can buy and that's what I want. They also have the benefit of "fluffing up" after you wash them, so a nice "fuzz" forms across the design... this way, they have that "classic vintage look" instead of the "tacky plastic inks look" (another thing I loathe about cheap T's).
Hopefully everybody won't mind a couple of days delay when they realize how much effort I am putting into making sure that the shirts are the absolute best they can be.
Over at Michael Sean Blogs, he's starting up a "Blog Survivor Challenge," which is based on an "Ultimate Blogger" contest he found. I had never heard of it before, but it looks like a lot of fun. Though I must say it's a bit humbling to read through some of the blogs that are battling it out in the current Ultimate Blogger competition, because they are amazing. The good news is that now I've found seven new blogs I will be reading regularly. The bad news is that I realize just how crappy my blog is in comparison.
Take for instance "Twenty Something" written by "Crash" (a self-professed "24-year-old gay guy living in Vermont"). He is absolutely fearless, and a terrific writer. The subject matter is sometimes X-rated explicit and kind of daunting to somebody raised in small-town America (that would be me), but some of his entries are such a compelling and beautiful read, that I just don't care. His "90's-Something Chronicles" are kind of a gay version of "The Wonder Years" in quality, and about as real as it gets. I want to expose myself to as many different cultures, ideas, and beliefs as I possibly can in my lifetime... even if they conflict with my own (heck, especially if they conflict with my own)... and blogs like this are a treasure.
And then there's Mimi in NY, which is so flawless in execution, that it makes Blogography look like something I crap out of my ass each day (which is probably not far from the truth). I would give just about anything to write even half as well as she does (the only thing that keeps me from shutting down my blog right this minute is that she's a professional writer, so I suppose she has to be good). Again, the subject matter can take very strange turns into the explicit, but I just can't help myself. Fortunately, she's only been blogging since March, so it won't be too much of an effort to catch up with everything.
I could go on for pages, but it would be easier if you just go check them out (warning... many are sexually explicit in nature).
Finally ran into something I loathe about MacOS X Tiger: the printing panel. Apple has decided to check your printer for "supply levels" every time you go to print so they can sell you toners, ink jet cartridges, and paper at the Apple Store (how very Microsoft of you Mr. Jobs!). The problem is that it can't "read" my printer, so there is a noticeable (and very, very annoying) delay every time I need to print. This is going to add up to hours of wasted minutes every year. I am really pissed off at this bullshit, and am furious at Apple that they would intentionally disrupt your work-flow because of a marketing opportunity. Every time I print I get so mad that I want to beat the crap out of somebody.
But not a vending machine, because they seem fully capable of kicking my ass.
Just to prove my love for you, dear reader, I woke up early so I could drag my sorry ass over the dreary mountain passes to the Microsoft-owned city of Redmond, Washington. And why is that? Why would I drive 2-1/2 hours on a Thursday morning? Because it's T-shirt day! Yes, today is the day that all those Blogography T's are being printed.
And they turned out friggin' sweet...
And now that the shirts are out of the way, I realize that it's Cinco de Mayo, so I'm off to drink Margaritas with my friends until I pass out. Tequila es mi amigo!
Okay then... will everybody who won a prize or ordered a T-shirt please just drop by my apartment and pick up your order? Yeah, that would be great, thanks.
No, seriously, anytime from 4:30 to 9:30, Monday-Friday (weekends by appointment only).
Packaging all these T-shirts is a massive chore. You have no idea. At first I was just digging through the boxes to find the size I needed for each order, but then I decided it would be faster to spread them all over the dining room so I could find them easier. Of course, that meant I had to scrub the tables and chairs to be sure everything stays clean. Then I had to sort through the shirts, but didn't have room for them all, and ended up stacking them up in the living room as well. So now shirts have taken over my apartment.
And then there's the matter of having to fold all the booklets.
And of course each shirt has to be wrapped in plastic to protect it during shipment.
And I haven't even gotten to the labeling and postage yet! Next year it's going to be sticks of gum or something that can fit in an envelope.
Chicks dig my monkey.
And before you get the idea that I am speaking metaphorically here, and think that I'm attaching bizarre "pet names" to various parts of my anatomy, I am speaking of my "Bad Monkey" T-shirt. Today I decided to "test drive" a shirt to see how I like wearing it, only to find that it gets big attention from just about everybody. The chicks really dig it. "Cool shirt!" they say. "Where did you get that?" they ask. "Please make mad, passionate monkey-love to me right now!" they beg (or so I wish... particularly to the hot, hot, brutally hot babe filling up her car at the mini-mart, who I very nearly gave the shirt off my back).
For the past couple of days I've been washing and re-washing a few of my shirts to see how they hold up (answer: very well) and how long it takes before they start getting that "oh so soft" lived-in feel (answer: four washings). But today was the first time I actually wore one in public, and the response is pretty sweet. To everybody who ordered a shirt... your photos and testimonials are welcome! I need to work up a gallery or something.
Now the bad news. I am losing major bank on these things, because the costs just keep piling up (even once the shirt has been paid for). I had expected to lose a little bit for each logo shirt, thinking it would be a small price to pay for cheap advertising. Problem is, I figure that I am now losing $1.60 per shirt. When you multiply that by 100 shirts... well, it's no longer a small price is it? So, starting today, the "sale price" has been bumped up to $8.95 (still saving you $6) which will remain until the next round of designs are added. Sorry about that.
The next step is to come up with individual foreign order pages so that I can guarantee that anybody outside the USA won't have to over-pay for shipping charges. Hopefully I'll get that finished up in the next day or two.
For everybody who has won or ordered a shirt, you have the rain to thank for me finishing packaging everything up today. All current orders will ship Monday morning (whoooooo!).
And here you thought I was kidding.
Read this unsolicited testimonial from yet another satisfied Artificial Duck T-Shirt customer...
"I'm so grateful that I picked the regular "Dave Blog Logo" T-Shirt over the "Bad Monkey" version because my 64 yr. old heart couldn't have taken anymore excitment during the Apple Blossom Festival weekend being held in Wenatchee, Washington."
"I wore the "Blog" T-Shirt Saturday nite while cruising the Ave. in my hot 2003 (Silver Bullet) Honda Civic and the action was unreal!"
"I'm not sure if the fact that I left my wife at home this year, or that the new T-Shirt was a total chick-magnet, but I'll have a lot of stories to tell my buddies at the Nursing Home in a few years. Hope alzheimer's doesn't erase the fond memories of my best weekend ever. Thanks! --Harold"
And you are welcome!
I really do need to do some research here. I think that there is scientific evidence to support my claim that Blogography T-shirts make life better. Keep sending in those photos and testimonials... I'll be working up a page for them this weekend.
I am not a huge fan of Arianna Huffington, but must admit to being intrigued with her star-filled blog creation: The Huffington Post. I was going to drop it, but now she's got Ze Frank writing for her so I guess I'll be sticking around. How can you say "no" to a guy with one of the funniest sites on the internet?
Now back to my favorite subject... me.
I get a lot of email every day. It doesn't really bother me, because it's so much more convenient than the phone, and I am a really fast typist. But as the visitor counts for Blogography continue to blow through the roof, I've been getting slammed with an alarming number of utterly bizarre emails that I'm not quite sure what to do with. Everything from marriage proposals and inquiries into my personal life... to nasty, hateful letters and emails condemning me to an eternity burning in hell.
"Normal" emails are great (comments are even better!), and I love hearing from my readers, even if I can't always respond right away. But how does one deal with something like this:
All I could do was write back and say: "I don't make any money from my blog. In fact, I just had to pay out another $200 for more bandwidth. If you want to make money off a blog, you'd have to do a far better job of it than I have." Naturally, I start to wonder how anybody jumps to the conclusion that I'm raking in the big bucks on a blog that doesn't have advertising nor solicits for tips. Maybe I just look expensive.
But that was a relatively minor issue compared to this (paraphrased) email I got this morning:
Which is along the same lines as this one I got last week:
On average, I get two or three emails like this every week. Telling me what to write about or what I'm doing wrong, or slapping me on the wrist for something I've done or said. Usually, these are immediately deleted without a second thought, because my only response would be this:
I mean, give me a break, if you don't like what I write, DON'T READ IT. No hard feelings... just go. It's my blog and I'm not soliciting opinions over what I should and should not be doing here. Sorry, but that's the way it is. So when that entry comes along where I talk about my wild weekend of having drunken sex with coked-up hookers as a pizza delivery boy spreads peanut butter on my ass while I shoot people in the head and watch porn... well, accept that it's not your day and come back tomorrow to see if I've rescued a kitten and drawn a rainbow or something. Better yet, don't risk that something even more bizarre is going to happen, and just don't come back. Delete that bookmark. Unsubscribe from that RSS feed. Really, I don't want to upset people... so do us both a favor, forget about me, and go be happy.
And, for those of you sticking around, it's probably best to understand that I will never be so lucky as to actually have a weekend like that. Mainly because the small city I live in doesn't have pizza delivery.
Funny... I'm on the "grid" now.
One of my regular reads, Gawker Media's excellent Gridskipper.com, has taken one of the little collages I made for my entry praising Shynola's work on the Junior Senior video for Move Your Feet. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... all of my images are thoroughly indexed by Google, after all. It's just strange to run across stuff like this. Oh well, it's not like it's my work... all the credit goes to the demi-gods at Shynola (who are also responsible for The Guide graphics from the current movie Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).
At least Gridskipper was nice enough to copy the image to their server rather than steal my bandwidth (good thing too, because I will probably run out AGAIN before the end of the month).
Writer, student (and self-proclaimed Lord of The Dance) Cavan Terrill has come up with an interesting meme over at his "The Blurred Line Blog." He is basically asking how important the personality of the blogger is to your reading, and which of the bloggers you read would you like to hang out with.
The short answer is that I would like to hang with everybody listed in my blogroll (along with a dozen other bloggers I've forgotten to list, or those bloggers who write so infrequently that I've dropped them). Since I find each person listed there interesting enough that I keep going back for more, I can only guess that they would be interesting enough that I would like to hang with them in person. Nobody on that blogroll is there just because they link to me, or write nice comments... they've earned a spot on the list (I really do need to update it though).
The long answer is a bit more complex because of another question Cavan raises: How well do you actually get to know the bloggers you read every day? And that's the trick, isn't it? Because you can only interpret who a person really is based on what they write. But even the best writers aren't going to give you all the details of their life. When you read a blog, you don't get the whole story... only what the writer wishes you to know.
In the case of my blog, this is actually more true than in others, because I leave quite a lot out. I do not write about my friends and family. I do not write about my work. I (usually) do not write about my more personal problems. There's a lot of things happening with me that will never show up in Blogography. Cavan calls this "quasi-personal" which is exactly right... there's just enough of "me" here that you can probably figure out what type of person I am, but not enough for you to truly know me.
Unfortunately, there is a danger in this... some people don't realize that this blog is "quasi-personal" and think they know all about me just because of what they see here. I'm guessing this would make Blogography "pseudo-personal." I give the impression that this blog is an open book unto my life when, in reality, it isn't (I wrote about this in more depth here).
I will tell you that people who know me in "real life" who also read Blogography often tell me that I seem much angrier in my blog than I am in person. This is true, for obvious reasons. Here I can vent my frustrations knowing that if people don't want to hear it, they just won't read it. If I was bitching like this all the time to my friends, I probably wouldn't have many friends for very long. I am a fairly easy-going guy, and I know that this doesn't always come across here. This will be a relief to some of you (and grave disappointment to others).
Knowing that about myself, I have to wonder why I would want to hang with anybody whose blog I read... because there's always the chance that the person I like so much from their writings will turn out to be entirely different in real life (well, except for Girl on a Glide... she rides a motorcycle, and what else do you really need to know about a person?).
I don't know... would it be worth the risk?
Of course it would. Let's all meet next Thursday and hang out. Mr. Jerz is bringing the beer (happy birthday by the way!).
And, speaking of "happy birthday," best wishes to the love of my life, Elizabeth Hurley, who turns 40 today!
My internet is down. I wonder why you don't get to deduct outages from your DSL bill? Seems like you should be able to.
So in lieu of spending a few hours surfing blogs and the latest entertainment news, I decided to take a break from work and play around with making widgets for MacOS X's Dashboard. For those of you not OS X savvy, Dashboard is a tool that holds useful little "widgets" that can be summoned instantly to your desktop. There are widgets for everything, and new ones are being released all the time. I've got widgets for converting measurement and currencies, viewing my Netflix queue, weather forecasts, Wikipedia lookups... even one to show the lyrics for the song I've got playing in iTunes. It's pretty slick.
Ask Dave. The "Ask Dave" widget is like a Magic 8-Ball. You ask a question, then click on the Dave Widget and he'll give you an answer. Sage advice at your fingertips! I'll probably release it over the weekend...
BloggerPeeps. The next project is quite a bit more complicated, because it's not just a Widget, it's an entire web site project that I've been working on called "BloggerPeeps" which is a visual blog directory based solely on photographs. When you visit the site, there will be a set of photo tiles with pictures of bloggers in them. When you click on a face, you are taken to their blog... it's as simple as that. New photos will be rotated in the set, and there will be a second set of "peeps" that will randomly pull from previous tiles. The widget for BloggerPeeps will show the current blogger, the previous blogger, plus a random "blogger of the day" - and will be updated Monday through Friday. The web site and the widget should both be going live by the end of the month...
The intent is to create a place where my favorite blogger peeps (people) are displayed in a way that's more interesting than a blogroll or links list. I've managed to dig up 100 photos, so I've got at least that many peeps to play around with. I'm sure others will pop up as I work on the site. I have no idea whether it will be of interest to anybody, but it will be a fun experiment.
And, just like Apple's widgets, you can flip him over to get a quick link to everybody's favorite blog...
Overall I'm quite pleased with my first widget. If you own a Mac running OS X 10.4 Tiger, and want to try it, CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD. If you don't own a Mac, then you need to run right out and buy one so you can have Dave's wisdom readily available to you. Or I suppose you could just become an Apple developer so you can get your hands on OS X for Intel, then install it over your Windows or Linux OS (and no, I don't know where to download it). Hmmm... probably easier to buy that Mac (you'll be glad you did!).
In any event, here is the discaimer I include with the ReadMe file:
DISCLAIMER: The Ask Dave widget is just for fun. Any resemblance to actual advice is purely coincidental, and should not be taken seriously (much like Dave himself).
Have fun with your own personal Dave. Try not to abuse him too badly.
Apple has picked up my Ask Dave widget for their Dashboard widget repository:
I just now realized that anybody downloading the widget who then clicks on the Blogography link is going to come here and read how I want to become Pope, explode people's heads, shoot frivolous lawsuit lawyers, and all the other crazy things that I write here in my blog fantasy life.
I already receive enough hate mail as it is... something tells me this does not end well. I really, really should think these things through before I do them.
Here come the labels.
What a freaky day.
This morning I got an email from some random guy who was starting a new blog and came up with this fantastic idea to call it "Blogography", but the domain "blogography.com" was taken which made him mad. And then he found out ".net" and ".org" were also taken, and he got even madder.
He checked the URLs and discovered something astounding: the same jerk bought all three domains!
Oh wait... that's me!
After writing back to say "so?" I received another email accusing me of everything from domain squatting to destroying the internet. He went on to pretty much demand that I release one of the domains so he could have it (apparently, he didn't want ".info" or ".tv" or any of a hundred other top-level domains available). This made me laugh, but not as much as when he tried to comment-spam me (he left six before realizing I manually approve all comments).
Back when I thought of the name (April 2003), I Googled "blogography" to make sure nobody else was using it and came up blank. Since that time, dozens of other "blogography" sites have sprung up on the internet... but I was first, and I wanted all three domains to make sure some ".net" or ".org" didn't cause confusion. This is not an unusual thing to do, and having somebody equating it to domain squatting is just bizarre.
Almost as bizarre as trying to figure out how to animate something. Since TV is in reruns, I decided to goof around with making my DaveToons move. At first I was going to do it like South Park, and have the characters bounce along without actually walking... but it didn't work for me. I needed a simple "walk cycle" to give the illusion that I was at least trying to make an effort. How hard could it be?
A lot harder than you'd think. It took me nearly two hours to get something I considered to be acceptable, and I'm still not really happy with it...
He needs to bobble a little bit when he walks, but my attempts to do this make him look like a complete spaz. He also needs a shadow, but when I attempted to add one, it looked like he was walking with a pet blob. At some point I need to just accept the fact that I am not Walt Disney, and be happy that I can manage this much.
I've been falling behind in my email, but received a very interesting note from a Blogography reader "Jim" who ran across some of my entries that had been reproduced on another blog. My words had been changed around and the images cropped and scaled, but there was no doubt that I had been plagiarized. At first Jim thought that perhaps I had a second blog, and was re-posting content there. He did a search to see if I claimed this other blog, but instead found out something even more puzzling...
Some OTHER guy has decided to "claim" the word "blogography" and use it as some kind of bizarre definition for blogs he thinks are "anti-Christian" or something...
I mean, wow. Where do I start?
First of all, I don't even understand what in the heck this nut-job is trying to say. His flowery text is a valiant attempt to sound literate, but is ultimately incomprehensible. All this talk about "base desires for man praise and tickling" sounds like gay-fetish porn or something.
But wait! It gets even better! The above "claim" to the word "blogography was written in an entry dated July 12th, 2005. But, in order to make it look like he thought it up last year, he decided to retroactively "define" the word 8 months earlier on November 12, 2004... even though he just started his "Anti Blog" blog on July 9th!
And it just gets more bizarre and freaky the more you read. Apparently, he really hates blogs... he finds them a "sinful desire to make a name for ourselves" and that they are "mediocrity clothed as creativity" and "sacrificing more important reading for the hot topic of the moment."
And how does he decide to address these horrific blasphemies? He starts a blog!!
Conclusion: What a tool.
When days start out this weird, things are bound to only get worse.
UPDATE: Oooh. He responds. And then goes on to read the sarcastic description of my blog to prove his point. Apparently I'm not as tongue-in-cheek funny as I think I am, because he thinks I am being serious. Oh the humility.
Well, not really. The relevant portion of my response:
I am Buddhist, so your condemnation of me as a blogger is inoffensive, but I have studied The Bible more than most Christians, and must ask you if you have read Luke 6: 27-38? It amazes me how Christians are always so happy to overlook this passage when judging others.
Okay then. This is Blogography entry #1000.
And I don't know what to make of that.
When I began this blog (after two previous failures) I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn't start again unless I could commit to 1000 entries. At that point I figured I'd either quit blogging or move on to something different. Now that the promise to myself has been fulfilled, what does it really mean?
When I look around at other personal blogs, I notice a trend to post less and less (with some people quitting altogether). I don't think that this means blogging is in a downward spiral, I just think it means that people are getting burned out writing in them. But I'm not burnt out at all. Writing an entry every day is a habit that I'm not sure I want to break. Most entries only take a few minutes of my time (though if I draw a cartoon or have a rant going, it can take a lot longer) so it's not like maintaining Blogography is an overwhelming burden or anything.
And it's not like people have stopped reading it either...
At first I thought it was just Google search results that was driving up my counts, but a closer look at my stats show this is not the case. The hits on my "home page" and RSS feed increase every week, so people are actually coming here intentionally (as opposed to looking for porn or something). I don't think I will ever know what makes Blogography worthy of this kind of attention (especially since only the tiniest fraction of my visitors leave comments), but I am certainly touched that so many people enjoy reading what I have to say here.
In the end, "1000" is just a number, and I don't anticipate anything changing in the immediate future. But now that the milestone has passed, there are a few things I am CONTEMPLATING...
And here's a few things I will actually be DOING...
Anyway, to all of you who visit this happy place... thanks! As always, your comments are welcome and, who knows, there may just be another 1000 entries to come.
Many thanks to everybody who left comments or sent emails on the occasion of my 1000th entry at Blogography. You are all too kind, and I love hearing from you. Especially to those who took the time to complain over the years. I mean, you know I'm just going to ignore you, yet you take the time to write anyway. Sweet!
Anyway, in honor of those valiant few who hate my blog, complain about my blog, yet still feel compelled to read it... this entry is for you. Here I respond to my five favorite quotes (paraphrased) from the peanut gallery, their voices no longer ignored:
"You are a sadistic, violent, sexist pervert.
This came from a woman(?) who found one of my DaveToons in a Google search, and liked it enough to visit Blogography. Sadly, she had the grave misfortune to arrive on "penis salad day" and was mortified. She then had to go through the archives only to find further evidence of my depravity, and simply had to let me know about it. Yeah, like that's never happened before. Look, I'm sorry something I did upset you, because that's not my goal. But let me be very clear... I really, really don't care. In real life, I don't go around shooting people and am about as non-violent a person as you are likely to find. But here on my blog I can be whatever I want to be and, unfortunately for you, that sometimes includes being a sadistic, violent, sexist pervert. For that I won't apologize.
"Your blog is just a desperate cry for attention at the expense of others."
This one just arrived yesterday. From what I can understand from her rather flowery email, she used to read my blog, stopped reading for a while, then started again. But now that she's back, she finds me "mean" and "offensive" and won't be reading ever again. Awwww... darn it anyway! There goes more advertising revenue. Oh... wait a second... I don't get ad revenue from my blog! Seriously, if you decide to stop reading, there's no reason to tell me about it because I... just... don't... care. I don't know if these people think I am going to all of a sudden change the things I write to make them happy, or what, but it doesn't work that way. I don't write here to make money. I don't write here as a popularity contest. I don't write here to make people happy. So read or don't read... it doesn't matter. Because my blog, like my life, is always changing.
"You are as two dimensional as the crappy cartoons you draw."
Oh, now that hurts. Well, not really... but only because my blog is that way by design. This guy started some kind of business and wanted to buy one of my domains from me. When I politely refused, he decided to write back and criticize my blog. First in a racist and thoroughly offending comment (which I deleted) and later in a racist and thoroughly offending email. A pity he never took the time to read my FAQ, or else he would realize that I fully acknowledge the two-dimensional nature of Blogography. I do not write about my work. Ever. I do not write about my friends and family. Ever. I do not write about my more serious personal problems. Ever. This is simply because my co-workers, clients, friends, and family deserve their privacy. I don't want people I know to have to worry about what I might say about them, so I don't say anything at all. Aside from all that, I deserve my privacy as well. Seriously, I love my readers and am just flat-out honored that anybody should choose to spend their valuable time reading my blog... but there are parts of my life that I keep just for myself, and that's not going to change. While there are some exceptions, I don't think I am unique in this.
"Microsoft won. Get over it already."
This came from somebody who wrote me a long, drawn-out email as to the superiority of Windows, and how the Mac will never prevail over it. Well, if they've won, then why am I still using a Mac? If they've won, then why does the iPod own the mobile music market? If they've won, how come MSN search hasn't surpassed Google? If they've won, how do you explain the escalating popularity of Firefox? If they've won, then why is all their revenue dependent on upgrades to Windows and Office? I think it's time to wake up and realize that Microsoft not only hasn't won... they are losing ground every day. People don't love using Windows the way people love their Macs... they tolerate Windows because they don't understand that there is something better out there. Well, guess what? There is something better, and I'm going to write about it when I feel like it. Microsoft sucks ass... YOU get over it already.
"What a hypocrite! If you don't care what people think, why do you have comments turned on?"
This is one from a while back, but it still brings tears to my eyes... tears of laughter. This guy wrote several abusive emails complaining about stuff I had written. At first I just ignored him. But he kept writing. So then I wrote back and told him to please leave a comment instead of sending email, because I wasn't going to get trapped into a "battle of emails" over my opinion. But he kept writing. I finally wrote back and told him to just stop reading my blog since he was so unhappy with it, and please stop emailing me because I "just don't care." That's when he unloaded about my being a hypocrite, which is ironic considering I encouraged him to leave comments in the first place. The simple truth is that I love comments. Sometimes, the comments people leave send the conversation in an entirely different direction... many times more entertaining than the entry itself. So if readers want to put in their two cents, or expand the discussion, or even tell me I'm full of crap... I love reading it. But, if you're just being a dumbass or want to criticize everything I do, then screw-off, because I really don't care. Go start your own blog and see how perfect people think YOU are.
Alrighty then... to all the other ass-biters who didn't make the top five, I can only encourage you to try again. But this time, instead of just throwing out profanity when you write me hate mail, try to be creative in your efforts. Make me feel it. Curse words are a dime a dozen and, frankly, don't really have an effect on me... but telling me I'm "as two-dimensional as the crappy cartoons I draw" is darn clever. So, unless you can write something of that caliber, then don't bother. I'll be deleting your email so fast that physicists will be debating as to whether it ever existed at all.
I am in the process of working on three different web sites just now, and have spent most of the day combing the internet (in general) and A List Apart (specifically) in order to make sure that I'm not overlooking any nifty bit of HTML or CSS that will help me in the browser/platform compatibility battle. Surprisingly, I'm more on top of things than I thought (at least until Microsoft decides to once again trash the internet when they release their next version of Internet Explorer).
As usual, parts of Blogography will serve as testing ground for some of the new things I'll be trying out (like this idea, which is just too cool), so forgive the mess that might occur over the next week or so.
Though my entire weekend has been consumed with solving other people's web site problems, I did have time to prep Blogography for the big switch to Movable Type 3.2 once it is out of beta.
The "Sliding Doors" method of creating menu tabs works flawlessly and looks beautiful. I guess I should have expected as much from the brilliant mind behind Stopdesign. I also made a few other cosmetic changes, including finally giving an explanation to anybody trying to leave profanity in a comment. Now I need to figure out how to write XML Syndication templates in Atom 1.0 format (or wait for somebody else to work on it) so I can trash my RSS feeds (at last).
The good news is that everything seems to work properly in Firefox Windows and Internet Explorer (version 5.5 and up... though it mostly works with 5.0 as well). Of course, it looks fabulous on Mac Safari because the typefaces are rendered properly. Why in the heck doesn't Windows know how to display type so it looks decent? Oh well, there's always hope that "Vista" will be an improvement. I'll be right over here holding my breath.
Now it's time to read the new MT template documentation. Bleh.
Since I totally think pirates are the coolest thing ever... right up there with ninjas... I have been anxiously awaiting the amazing game Sid Meier's Pirates to be released for the Macintosh. Unfortunately, I am still waiting. The good news is that it was released for Xbox on the 12th. The bad news is that a half-month has passed and the cheapest price is still forty bucks! I'd go ahead and buy it, but I don't have much time for video games and don't want to waste the money (heck, I still haven't finished Xbox Lego Star Wars). Maybe in a few weeks I can pick it up for thirty and be okay with that...
Bah! I am so weak. I just know I am going to cave and end up ordering it. I MEAN, COME ON!! LOOK AT IT!! IT'S PIRATES!!! Arrrrgh!
In television news, I am quite pleased that Six Feet Under didn't wimp out. I had bet myself big money as to how the episode would end, and now I owe myself $100 because I won. Errr... and lost. How does that work? Entourage was brilliant as always, and I am very curious to see where they go with the whole "Aquaman" thing. Leave it to HBO to save Sunday night television.
It's probably because I'm a bit dense when trying to create documents that are "standards compliant" that I've been struggling somewhat with converting my syndication feed over to the new Atom 1.0 format. I read where other people managed it in 5 minutes, and feel like a total failure for having spent over an hour on it.
While I am not quite certain if my feed is optimal (e.g., I am confused as to the "id" tag, as different people interpret its use in different ways), it does verify as Atom 1.0 compliant. Perhaps tweaks will come later once I've seen the "official" template when Movable Type 3.2 is released. In the meanwhile, I've killed off all of my RSS variants, and have routed their URLs to the Atom feed instead. Hopefully this won't cause problems for anybody.
The next step is trying to figure out how to craft a "comments only" feed in Atom format. That will replace the "combined entries/comments" feed, since that one seems to confuse many newsreaders out there.
I remain optimistic that Atom catches on in a big way so that the "syndication wars" will finally end.
NOTE TO MAC USERS: If you are using NetNewsWire to read your syndication feeds, you'll need to upgrade to version 2.0.1 in order to view Atom 1.0 feeds. It's free to registered users. I believe that other readers (like Shrook) are also being updated.
Well then... I finally had a spare moment while watching the latest episodes of Six Feet Under and Entourage to create an Atom 1.0 syndication feed for comments here. And (woohoo!) it validates. This means that the last vestiges of skanky old RSS code have been purged from Blogography. Time to HARNESS THE POWER OF THE ATOM! For those of you who don't have an Atom 1.0 compliant feed reader, I apologize, but updates are coming fast and furious so your reader of choice should be upgraded soon.
So, for anybody who prefers to get their daily dose of "me" via syndication, there's only two XML feeds now:
That way, you can keep current without ever having to visit the beautiful web site that I worked so hard to make for you... slaving over code and graphics day and night. But don't feel bad for me. Whatever makes you happy is just great. Don't feel you have to come visit the site because I might feel bad... oh no, I'll be just fine. Here all alone. With nobody coming to visit...
= ahem =
For anybody who doesn't know what "syndication feeds" are, here's the scoop. For those of you who have no desire to use a syndication feed, forget I mentioned it.
Now, before I go, is it just me or is hot in here? If I wanted to fill the bathtub with a few inches of cool water and sleep in it... would there be any health risk? Can one die from wrinkly fingers? Perhaps I should ask the government for a few million dollars in research grants to get this all sorted out. They've certainly funded stupider ideas than this.
Ever since I put the Artificial Duck Store "advertisement" on my blog sidebar, my T-shirt sales have asploded. I credit this to the fact that Elizabeth Hurley is in the photo. Can you imagine what would happen if I actually had photos of her WEARING one of my shirts for advertising? I wonder how I go about getting Liz to model a Bad Monkey T-Shirt on the cover of Cosmo? Then everybody would want one!
Anyway, this is both good news and bad news.
It's GOOD news because I might eventually be able to break even from all the shirts I've given away for free. It started with the 32 I passed out for my Blogiversary2 celebration... and I still like to send them out as gifts for people who do me favors and such. You can call me weak, but when a firefighter writes to order another shirt because his got "damaged at work" well, I can't really charge for that can I? (I gave him two more and asked that he be careful out there, as Washington State is once again besieged with wildfires). It's not like I am wanting to make money here (otherwise I'd charge more), but it would be nice to have a balance so I am not losing money. Maybe when I release a few more designs (planned for mid-October now), I'll have it all figured out.
The BAD news is that fulfilling all these new orders is difficult...
But there IS good news from the post office today. My new stamps have arrived from "stamps.com", and they're sweet!! Well worth the pricey cost of admission...
I don't use stamps very often, except to send postcards, so I was happy to know that I could get postcard stamps customized. I am most pleased.
The stamps arriving was a nice thing to have happen on a day when I received a hate-mail so vile, so utterly horrible and racist, that I very nearly broke down. Not because I got yet another hate-mail (like I care), but because people like this actually exist in this world. I outright pity those whose entire existence is so superficial that how a person looks is grounds for such blind hatred. I just don't understand it. Furthermore, I am thankful I don't understand it... I don't want to.
Here's another boring entry on web site syndication. Forgive me. I actually wrote this earlier today and decided not to post it (choosing to show pictures of my new postage stamps instead). But then other people started jumping in, so I thought I might as well too. I've put it in an extended entry so that those of you who don't care about "RSS" and "Atom" and "XML" and "Web Site Syndication" can skip it.
Well that was a big bucket of non-stop fun.
I just upgraded Movable Type to version 3.2, which is the blogging software that runs this site. To put it bluntly, the upgrade process sucks ass. After spending hours on two crash-and-burn installs (thank the maker for backups!), I was about to give up. But then I read some forum commentary about NOT upgrading the installation, but instead creating a NEW installation in a NEW folder.
Piece of cake.
How incredibly stupid that SixApart doesn't have this bit of wisdom in their docs, because it would have saved me a lot of wasted time. For anybody wanting to "upgrade" to MT 3.2, here's what worked for me...
When it comes to what people like to read here, I don't really care to analyze it. I write what I write and people can choose to read it or not. So when it comes to visitor counts and popularity indexes, and all that kind of stuff... I'm just not that interested. Mostly because stats packages are just too darn complicated to be bothered with.
There are two things I do need to know, however...
The bandwidth is easy enough to monitor, because it's right on the front page of my site control panel. The broken links, on the other hand, are a mess to ferret out of the error log and link referral listings. You can never seem to get broken links without wading through a bunch of crap, and often times I just don't bother.
This really nifty app gives you a smart and streamlined view of statistics for your site at a glance. I've been running it for only a few hours, but already find it indispensable. It's all the things you want to know, without all the junk that gets in the way. As if that weren't enough, it's beautiful to look at too, with a web interface that features dynamic resizing and customization to die for.
Want to know what pages are popular? It's right there, sorted however you want it...
And note the error page. Now that I know about it, it was a simple fix. Bingo. Exactly what I wanted to know. But there's tons of other stuff too... referrers, visitor count break-downs, even the searches people are using to find you, all arranged how you want to look at it...
Pretty sweet. But Mint is also extensible by using easy-to-install modules called "Peppers" (for Pepper-Mint... peppermint... get it?!?). They currently have a Pepper that monitors internal searches, and another that displays browser stats...
Well that's depressing.
The truly shocking bit is that all this only costs $30. A bargain at twice the price. Especially when you factor in that author Shaun Inman provides world-class support for his product. I was having some troubles using Mint with my virtual domain, and he reset the license so I could install it just minutes after I emailed him the problem... and it was approaching midnight at the time! Try getting that kind of help from Adobe or Microsoft.
Anyway, if you are looking for a way of monitoring your web stats that's quick and painless, Mint is worth a look. Just be sure you can meet the requirements and run the compatibility test before shelling out your $30.
Everything sucks today! E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G-!!
I woke up this morning sick to my stomach and wanting to puke my guts out. It only went downhill from there.
I got to work and had to use Microsoft PowerPoint most of the day. MICROSOFT POWERPOINT SUCKS ASS! After using the sublime elegance of Apple Keynote for Macintosh, being forced to use PowerPoint is the equivalent of getting kicked in the balls by a lumberjack in steel-toed boots. All the little niceties that Keynote provides to make work so easy are gone. And, adding insult to injury, PowerPoint creates the ugliest, most horrifying, most boring slideshows imaginable. Hard to work with. Nasty results. Somebody remind me once again why people use Microsoft shit when something so much better is available? Insanity.
During my overindulgent 15-minute lunch hour, I got to fill out forms for an immigration visa application. PAPERWORK SUCKS ASS! Ultimately, I had a hard time figuring out which blows more... the inconvenience of filling out the forms, or the abhorrent photo of myself I had to attach to the application. I don't envy the person at the embassy who has to open the envelope. I envision them pulling out the papers, seeing the photo, and then running screaming from the room. After a Xanax and a bottle of Abolut Vodka, they return to their desk and deny me a visa based of the fact that I am just too heinous to enter the country. Does ANYBODY take good passport photos?
Once I finished up my PowerPoint ordeal, I then spent the next half-hour digging through loads of spam and other crap that had piled up in my email "In Box" during the day. Then I noticed an email from a friend telling me that Depeche Mode American tour dates had been released. This doesn't suck. This is the best news I've had all day. Until I look at the actual dates... only to learn that Depeche Mode lands in Seattle on November 16th. Of course, I'm not here on the 16th. I'm a couple of thousand miles away that day. NOVEMBER 16th SUCKS ASS! WTF? Am I not entitled to ANYTHING going right today? The best band in the universe, who I've been waiting to see on tour for a decade, finally comes to town and I won't be able to go. WAAAAAAAAAHHH!
Once I get home. I check on my blog only to find I have a shit-load of spam comments waiting for me. Turns out that SixApart's much-vaunted "SpamLookup" feature in the new version 3.2 of Movable Type doesn't work very well. In fact, it doesn't work at all, and makes things much more difficult than using good old MT-Blacklist (there's no one-click "mark as junk" anymore... oh no, now you have to navigate a drop-down menu and then click "Save Changes", which is lame). Banning commenters doesn't seem to work (no big surprise, I can't seem to get "trust commenters" to work either). It could be that I'm doing something wrong, but when I click on the "documentation" link to find out, there is no documentation. MOVABLE TYPE SUCKS ASS! Who the f#@% ships a product with essential... nay, F#@&%ING CRITICAL... documentation not available? It's like "here's your blog, good luck with that spam shit, because we've got better things to do than tell you how to deal with it... like adding features to non-paying LiveJournal users or something." This is lame. Manually marking up spam is not fun. Especially when it is so obviously spam in the first place.
You'd think after a day like this, I'd get to go home and relax for a bit. You'd be wrong. By the time I'm done, I'll have spent 6 hours trying to get my scheule for the next two months figured out. MAKING TRAVEL PLANS SUCKS ASS! Trying to coordinate flights from one side of the planet to the other, along with hotels, trains, tickets, and all the other crap that goes along with it is exhausting work. Right now, I have hotels without flights, flights without hotels, and a few days where I don't even know where I'll be, or how I'm getting to where I need to be going. I decided to take a break from the chaos to blog my day, but talking about it is only making me feel worse. If I make it to bed by midnight tonight, I'll consider myself very, very lucky.
Things had better be better tomorrow, or else I cannot be held responsible for my actions.
I have never, ever, in my 26 years of computer use regretted upgrading software more than when I installed Movable Type 3.2. Ever since installing it, I have been regularly receiving HUNDREDS of spam comments each day that are somehow not junked. The new "SpamLookup" filter is total shit. It doesn't learn ANYTHING. You would think that once you mark a spam as "junk" the filter would learn to mark all future occurrences as junk. You would be wrong. On top of that, marking commenters as "trusted" or "banned" doesn't work... they are never registered. Even worse, my feeble attempt to add keywords and keyphrases to the SpamLookup preferences have all met with failure. I don't know if it is because the entire plug-in is not working, or whether I am doing something wrong. Since there is ABSOLUTELY NO F#@%ING DOCUMENTATION, how can I know? I am familiar with perl expressions, and have tried dozens of different variations... but nothing works. I go to the SixApart forums for help, but nobody there is getting their questions answered.
I would switch to WordPress or another solution, but I just don't have time to create all new templates, import 1100+ entries, and figure out how to keep from breaking old links. So now my options are to either keep manually junking shit-loads of spam, or turn off comments entirely. I don't know who I am more pissed-off at... spammers, or SixApart for letting them get to me.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I just received another three email notifications for spam while I've been typing this. Oh wait... one of them is from Karla... make that two.
I just spent the past five hours hacking my own blog. I've made several changes, added plug-ins, modified plug-ins, and changed templates. I've done extensive testing after every step, so hopefully everything works okay... but if you run into any problems viewing entries or making comments, please let me know. My email address is on the sidebar of every page.
And coming this evening... an entry one week in the making! An entry so all-consuming that it very nearly destroyed my life! An entry that will astound you with the fact that I could waste so much time over something so geeky and lame! An entry that could be THE LAST BLOGOGRAPHY ENTRY EVER!!... and it's all James Bow's fault!
P.S. Bad Monkey is on the loose. I'd apologize in advance if he bites your ass, but you probably had it coming.
Today I received a sweet fan-mail that had so many nice things to say that I got a little bit choked up reading it. They started off by telling me how much they like my writings and my cartoons... then they went on to say how much they love that they can count on something new at Blogography every day... then they had to tell me that this is their favorite blog and that they often go back and re-read old entries because they find them so entertaining.
At this point I was feeling pretty special. I mean, you like me! You really like me!
But then I got to the end of the e-mail where it said this: "Too bad you rarely comment on the more serious things going on in the world today. I'm sure your readers would like for you to tackle something important from time to time."
I never rehearse or plan ahead what I'm going to write here. I just open up my PowerBook when it's time to write, and whatever happens, happens. But, in the interest of pleasing a fan, I thought I'd try commenting on the serious issues other bloggers are talking about. And since I don't know what they might be, I'll just visit one of the many blog aggregators out there and take a look at the top ten things that people are searching for...
Funny, that didn't seem so different from other entries. Maybe I did it all wrong.
WARNING! BORING TECHNICAL ENTRY AHEAD!!
Thanks to a comment from Patrick I've implemented gzip compression on all the pages served up here at Blogography. I pretty much had no choice, because my bandwidth is rapidly approaching quota for the month (again), and I'm running out of tricks. I've tested random pages on various browsers and everything seems to work okay. Though I suppose if it isn't working for you, I'll never know, because you won't be able to read this to know what's happening.
Remarkably, this actually seems to be having an effect. In just 14 hours, my bandwidth usage has dropped by about 16%, and pages are served slightly faster. Sweet! I had no idea that HTML contributed so much to the problem, and was always blaming everything on the abundance of images I use. If you are curious to know if your pages are compressed, or how much bandwidth you could save if they are not, there's a nifty online tool to check your domain.
Another change, thanks to monitoring my logs with the rediculously clever Mint, is that I've repaired hundreds of broken links I didn't even know I had! When I changed the way my entry archives are named about 7 months ago, I thought that search engines would eventually figure out they shouldn't be linking to the old ones. I was wrong. Google has regularly been sending people here using busted links from over a half-year ago. Isn't Google supposed to be smarter than this?
Anyway, I created a very simple template in Movable Type to generate a list that maps old busted links to new fresh links, and then just copied all 1000 lines of permanent redirects to my "htaccess" file. Simple. Problem solved.
This weeks list of interesting search engine referrals...
Looking over that list, I think that it makes this blog sound a heck of a lot more exciting than it actually is.
UPDATE: Spent the past hour adjusting more little things that were bothering me... all by manually modifying the SQL database. If you know how SQL works, it's a very powerful way to make bulk changes in minutes that would have taken hours by hand, but is scary, scary stuff if you make a mistake. At a couple of points I thought for sure I would have to restore from backup, but always managed to dig myself out again.
I like getting thoughtful (or even not-so-thoughtful) comments on entries I post. And because I realize that sometimes people wish to comment anonymously for one reason or another, you don't ever have to leave your name or email address to speak your mind. So long as you have something to contribute (even if it's in disagreement with something I've said), I don't care if I know who you are or not. Sometimes this backfires, because people will just call you a name or leave a string of profanity or wish you dead but, for the most part, it's worth the effort.
But, in the end, Blogography is like a magazine with myself as sole editor-in-chief, and I occasionally choose to delete comments as I see fit. It's rare, but it does happen if I feel the comment does nothing to contribute to the conversation (negative or positive) and is just trolling for attention or shock value.
Comments are easy to monitor, because Movable Type has an approval system which allows me to review each and every one.
It's the anonymous emails that drive me insane.
Since my email address appears on every single page of this site, many people choose to write to me. Most of the time I'm happy to receive mail, because it gives me the opportunity to get to know my readers a bit better. Odds are, even if you are vehemently opposed to something I've said, I will gladly reply as a courtesy for having spent your valuable time writing to me. That's why I put my email address out there in the first place.
But now, as people are discovering anonymous re-mailers, I am getting a considerable amount of anonymous emails with the sole purpose of attacking me for one reason or another. Sometimes it's just bizarre comments fueled by ignorance. Other times, they are the most hateful, horrible things you can imagine. Other times they are just plain stupid. Like this one for instance...
"I searched Google to find a recipe and your site came up. I clicked on the link, but the recipe was not there. Why do you advertise recipes on Google if you are not going to provide them? This is very unfair and misleading and wastes my time. You need to post the recipe you promised!!!"
Of course, they sent the email through an anonymous re-mailer, so I don't even know who it is or why they are so stupid. Furthermore, my incentive to reply is nil. If I had replied, here is what I would say...
Dear Ignorant Bitch,
Since you didn't tell me your name, is "Ignorant Bitch" okay? Great, thanks! Google is a search engine that indexes all pages of a web site, and I have no control over the results they provide you. I certainly do not advertise anything on Google as you imply, and don't promise shit. Odds are, you don't know how to perform a proper search anyway, and ended up with a monthly archive page with thousands of words that somehow contained the random words you were searching for. Perhaps if you bothered to send me your actual name and a valid email address, I would give you some tips on using quotes and wildcard characters to find what you are looking for but, since my mother told me not to talk to strangers, I guess you're on your own. Thanks for visiting Blogography!
But emails like that are just harmless entertainment. It's the deranged psychos that baffle me...
"I have written to you five times for help with my MT templates and you have not responded!! I was trying to be nice! Would you be happier if I hunt you down and beat the answers out of you? Hahaha!"
Here's the interesting bit... not only were the five emails sent anonymously, but they were sent over the course of two days! My reply, had I felt like responding to an anonymous re-mailer, would go something like this...
Dear Psycho Hand-jobber,
Beating the answer out of me is probably the best approach, assuming that you are well-manicured and have experience in porn films or prostitution (and are not easily frightened by large objects). As for your enthusiastic need for assistance, please realize that I travel... a lot... and do not always have access to my email. Furthermore, while I am happy to help when I am able, demanding an immediate response is rather rude if the person in question is not being paid to assist you. I suggest that you either: A) get some manners, patience, and common sense; B) pay me my hourly rate; or C) be really good at that hand-job you're promising. Thanks so much for taking time to write with the promise sexual favors! That doesn't happen nearly enough around here!
And then there's the scary ones (heavily edited for profanity and massively corrected for spelling)...
"LIKE _______ SO MUCH?? THEN ____ ___ YOU ___________ ______!!! ITS ____ _____ LIKE YOU WHO _______ HATE AMERICA THAT NEED TO BE _______ SHOT!!!!! ______ _______ ______ LOVING ______!!!! ____ ___ AND DIE ______!! OR MOVE TO CANADA WITH THE REST OF YOU ______ LOVING ____!
Charming. And completely anonymous from a bogus Yahoo! address. I suppose I'm taking my life into my own hands here...
Dear Anonymous Pussy,
Whenever I put my opinion out there, I sign my name to it. By using a fake address and not signing your name, do you really expect I give a crap over anything you have to say? Perhaps your ignorant, racist remarks are so embarrassing to you that you just can't bring yourself to sign your name... I have no idea. But, for future reference, if you wish to be taken seriously regarding your thoroughly offensive comments, I'd suggest the following: A) spell check; B) tact; C) a thesaurus; and D) some balls. Thanks for reading. I hope I can anger you even further in the future!
Anyway, if you want to send me an anonymous email or comment, that's fine if you have something to say. But if you are doing it just to be a sack-licking, monkey-spanking, dumbass... don't bother. I don't care. And if you don't have to balls to sign your name when you flame me, then you probably don't care either.
When I got back from Hong Kong in early September, I was dumbfounded to have received an interview request from a Japanese reader. It was her ambition to interview bloggers from all over the world for a web project of some kind. I thought it was crazy that she would want to interview me (there are far more interesting choices out there, I'm sure!), but I went ahead and did it anyway. This evening I was sent a transcript of the Instant Message interview so that I could edit my comments before it was translated. Since I am a rambling moron during an IM session, this was really nice of her. It would be cruel to have me coming off looking a bigger moron than I normally do.
Anyway, I'm going to publish the interview here, in case anybody is interested. As a side-note, I made a few minor edits on the questions so they would make more sense to the English reader...
Blogography from David Simmer II (2005年9月18日)
Your blog is cute with cartoons and things! How do you make it?
Thanks! My blog is just a Movable Type install with a few plugins added. The cartoons are drawn in Adobe Illustrator then exported as GIFs. The CSS layouts are hand-coded in either BBEdit or TextMate. All my entries are created with a program called "ecto" on a Macintosh.
You are famous for blogging. Is it fun to be a famous blogger?
Oh I'm not famous at all! On very rare occasions I will be recognized at the airport or something because I am wearing a Blogography T-Shirt, but that's it. I'm grateful for the regular readers I have, but most people don't even know I exist. I don't think about it very much because I find it shocking that anybody would care to read what I have to say in the first place.
How did you think of Blogography for your name?
This is my third blog. My previous two were complete failures, and were called "Dave's World" and "DaveBlog." When I decided to try again, I wanted to pick something unusual and not put my name in the title. As I was working on the layout, I had the television on and changed the channel until an A&E television show called "Biography" showed up. Half-way through the program, it suddenly occurred to me that "Autobiography" (a book about one's self) could become "Autoblogography" (a BLOG about one's self). I Googled "Blogography" and nothing turned up, so I check to see if the domain was available. It was, and so "Blogography" became the name of my new blog.
Are you mad because there are other Blogography on the web now?
No. Not even a little bit. The more people use the term, the more my domain has relevance and value on the internet. If somebody chooses to name their site "blogography," it's like free advertising for me because people will be typing "blogography.com" to find it, and end up getting my blog instead... who could be mad about that?
I like your blog because it is new every day. Is it difficult to think of postings to write?
Not really. I don't plan anything to write, I just sit down when I have a free moment and something always seems to pop into my head. Sometimes, when something cool or amazing happens, it's easier than on boring days... but I don't put a lot of effort into my writing (and it probably shows!). I force myself to write every day because once you skip a day, it's easy to skip another... then another... then another... and pretty soon you're posting just once a month or something, then it's like "why bother?" The down-side of writing every day is that you end up with some pretty poor entries every once in a while. I definitely have my share.
Are there things you like to write best of all?
Any day that provides an easy topic is a favorite. I especially love writing on days where I am traveling and get to see something amazing. Next week I'll be visiting China, which is someplace I've always wanted to go. Those entries will undoubtedly write themselves. I'll be saying things like... "I walked on the Great Wall of China this morning..." and be guaranteed of something cool to say about it. I also like to write rants, because being able to vent your frustrations to the entire world is liberating (I always feel bad about it the next day through).
Which things do you not like best?
Nothing. If I don't feel like writing about something, I just won't write about it. This includes my friends, family and work... because it's not fair that they should have to worry about what I might say about them. I also don't write about my more personal feelings or problems or anything like that. Some things you have to keep for yourself.
Is blogging fun or work (for you)?
Definitely fun. If it was work, I wouldn't be doing it (well, unless somebody was paying me to!). What's most fun about having a blog is the people you meet, and that's all I need to keep myself motivated to continue... making new friends, hearing new ideas, and meeting new people.
What other blogs do you admire?
I admire any blogger that puts in the effort to stick with it, and it doesn't matter what kind of blog it is. Every time I visit a site where they have posted a new entry, I admire that because I know what it takes to keep a blog going. The mortality rate for new blogs is staggering. Somebody starts one because it's trendy... then realizes it's not as easy as it looks and abandons it. So now the internet is littered with dead blogs and broken links which kind of messes it up for the rest of us.
Do you think blogging will keep (being) popular?
Sure... but probably not as we know it now. As technologies improve and bandwidth increases, we'll probably transition to video blogs or something like that. It's a natural evolution, just like the popularity of "podcasting" is now. In the meanwhile, I don't think that written blogs are going to disappear anytime soon, even though the focus may change from time to time.
Do you have a plan for the Blogography future?
Not right now. There are some rendering bugs in Internet Explorer that drive me nuts, so fixing Blogography to display properly in IE is about the only immediate thing I have in mind. Other than that, I plan to just keep doing what I am doing so long as people are still interested in reading it.
Thank you for your time.
I had written up a long rant about Microsoft's proposal to brand webfeeds with a new icon, and Dave Winer's asinine response to it. This is one case where Microsoft is actually Doing The Right Thing and asking for people's opinions. But Winer and his massive ego doesn't want anybody but him to make decisions.
Eventually I decided not to post it, because responding to Winer's never-ending obsessions is bordering on an obsession all its own.
But then Patrick stepped up and voiced some very good points, so I thought I would post my comments as well. Winer is Winer and won't change, but he has significant voice in the grand scheme of things, and that means he should not go unchallenged when he is wrong. What I love best about him is when he calls those who dare to disagree with his opinion "arrogant," which is the very definition of hypocrisy.
It also makes me laugh.
But he just picked up a couple million from the sale of "weblogs.com" so maybe he's entitled to be an ass?
Anyway, in case anybody cares, I object strongly to the use of "XML" as the "official badge" for webfeeds. XML is ambiguous as a label, even if it is technically correct. eXtensible Markup Language can be used for many, many things... not just webfeeds, and using it to title something so specific is pretty stupid. Not to mention the fact that it is consumer-hostile and is just going to confuse matters as more data enters XML-space. It would be like saying all varieties of fruit should be named "fruit" instead of specializing for distinction... apples, oranges, bananas, and the rest. It's just wrong.
I disagree with Microsoft on many things, but coming up with an icon to better identify webfeeds (and jettisoning the ambiguous "XML" badge once and for all) is okay by me. If they listen to the community of webfeed users and factor their input into their decision... I, for one, will be jumping on board. And since Microsoft actually has the muscle to get it adopted, I guess their monopoly is good for something.
I don't hate Dave Winer. I actually respect the work he has done to help people more easily assimilate data into their lives. He is now (and continues to be) an important force in the world of blogging and webfeeds. But I am sick of his god complex. I am tired of his constantly accusing people of attacking him simply because they disagree with his opinions. There are smart people out there who deserve to have a voice in the Way Things Work. Sometimes I wish Winer would just shut the f#@% up and let them speak. His opinion isn't the only one that matters, and nobody should have to be on the receiving end of a Winer bitch-slap for giving theirs.
UPDATE: I received a rather rude email telling me that there is nothing wrong with calling XML by the name "XML" and I am the one that should shut up.
Okay, I will shut up... if anybody can adequately explain how people are going to distinguish XML schemas when you aren't specific about their application. Here's an example... MS Word has it's own XML file format with a schema called "WordML". Saving in that format will give you a valid XML document. But you can't open such a document in a feed reader like FeedDemon or NetNewswire, nor can you parse it with an online feed service like NewsGator, Feedster or whatever. XML schemas are specific and, to end confusion, naming and branding conventions need to be specific as well.
Webfeeds are a genre of XML schema. There's RSS, RSS 2.0, Atom, and the rest. Since any webfeed reader worth its salt should be able to parse them all, they should be grouped under a single umbrella with an icon/branding that distinguishes them from other XML schemas. It shouldn't matter to the end-user whether a feed is RSS or Atom... people shouldn't have to care. We need something to end the confusion.
Dave Winer is pretty much demanding that everything be called one thing (RSS) and branded another (XML) which is crazy confusing. Atom is not RSS, and it is not going away. I personally believe Atom is the superior schema for webfeeds and don't want it to go away. But there is room for both, and I see nothing wrong with people having a choice of which schema to distribute... so long as the end-user doesn't have to be confused by it. Let's group the specifics (RSS, Atom), eliminate the obtuse (XML), and simplify the reference (webfeeds) with a new icon so we can continue moving forward. There are other worlds to explore.
Neither my hotel in Florence or my hotel in Venice has internet access. On top of that, there isn't a place I can use my computer for internet (only public terminals), so I guess I'll just have to store all my entries up and post them when I get back to Rome. It's quite strange how some places seem quite content to pretty much ignore the internet entirely.
I've been watching the Frappr (Friend Mapper) project with interest. It's a little raw around the edges, but there are some bloggers having a lot of fun with it (like Belinda over at Ninja Poodles), so I decided to start one so I can see where everybody comes from.
Just click here to visit the Blogography Map and add yourself! Feel free to list your blog or web site URL in your comments so that people can come visit you.
After that, you can browse the map (zooming in and out as needed) to see everybody's pins and then click on them to get details. Or you can click on a person's name in the list and be taking instantly to their pin and see where they are at in the world. Pretty nifty...
I was hoping to create Frappr maps to mark my travels, but there doesn't seem to be a way to create a "closed" map which allows only the administrator to add pins. I'll have to study the specs for Google Maps API so I can see what's involved with making one on my own.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I really must be getting back to catching up on my TiVo watching. A moment I have been dreaming of since the very first episode of The West Wing has finally come to pass: Toby's stupid, arrogant ass just got fired... I can't wait to see what else happened in the world of television while I was away.
Blogography, for lack of a better word, is a diversion. I spend about ten minutes each day writing an entry (a bit more if there's a cartoon), another ten approving comments, and another 10 to 20 answering emails. It's not a very big part of my day, but it is a part that I'm rather attached to. My online life means a lot to me, and the people I've met because of it mean even more.
Which is why I am starting to get fanatically pissed that people are stealing my blog. And I'm not talking about the hundreds of MySpace bloggers who try to hotlink to my photos... I am talking actual theft here.
Back in February, I got an email from my friend Dave++ telling me how somebody had taken photos and content from his web site and created a new fictional person based on his life (you can read the fascinating story here). Something similar had happened to me the previous summer, so I could relate... a reader had sent me an email telling me that somebody had stolen most of my travel photos (like these) and then blogged about the trips as if they were the one who had taken them. I was curious more than upset, and fired off an email telling them that they should either give me credit for my photos or remove them. Instead, they removed the entire blog, which was okay too.
But that was not the end of it. I still get emails from Blogography readers pointing me to other sites that have stolen my stuff. Sometimes it's just a photo or two, which is no big deal (though I do wish they would give me credit, as specified by my Creative Commons license)... but other times it's much worse. They steal entire entries. They steal cartoons and erase the copyright. The steal photos and claim to have taken them. They steal my site layout. They steal my web feed. They steal EVERYTHING.
What really burns my ass is that many times these thieves have money-generating ads on their blogs, meaning that they are PROFITING off of my work. Do you see any ads on MY site? No? That's because THERE AREN'T ANY! If I am not making any money off of Blogography, why should anybody else get to??
A few weeks ago I was pointed to some kind of television critics site where some ass-clown had stolen my entry about why Lost sucks... in its entirety... and posted it with their name as the author. When I wrote in about it, I was told that there must be some kind of "misunderstanding" and that they would look into it. Since the site had paid advertising, I wrote back and said that this was completely unacceptable... either they remove my content IMMEDIATELY, or I would start contacting their advertisers. Their solution? Rewrite the piece with different words to say the exact same thing. Whatever. It's not like I have the money to have a lawyer sue their thieving asses.
And a few weeks before that I was battling with somebody whose entire site was nothing more than my web feed displayed in their layout... with paid ads! WTF?!? How can ANYBODY think that it's okay to republish somebody else's free material and get money for it? But people do... because I've had my entire "television" and "Hard Rock Cafe" categories stolen as well.
Is it just me, or does this suck ass? For the web feed thief, I actually had to get the idiot's web host involved because he refused to remove my work. His attitude was that "anything put on the internet is fair game," and he "had every right to use it however he wanted to." He honestly thought that there was nothing wrong with stealing my content and making money from it. It's this kind of bizarre behavior that has me completely baffled. If you didn't write it and don't credit the original source, you're just a stealing liar. How could it possibly be interpreted any other way?
This would all be so much easier if I could hire mercenaries to track down the people who steal from me and have their stupid asses killed.
This morning I woke up to a lovely email from somebody who apparently had too much time on their hands. If I were to have printed it, I'm fairly certain it would have amounted to at least four pages.
FRONT AND BACK!
It started out friendly enough... but quickly escalated into a diatribe of how everything I write here is wrong, and proceeded to explain in excruciating detail how people like myself are a blight on all of humanity for producing morally bankrupt content on the internet.
At first I thought it might be a form letter that is randomly emailed to unsuspecting bloggers, but as I continued to read I realized that this was not a form letter, but instead a well-thought-out opinion piece on my blog that was addressing specific excerpts from my entries.
Naturally, I was touched.
This person spent some serious time working on this email, so how could I not be?
Usually I don't bother replying to stuff like this (unless I think of something snarky, sarcastic, and laced with profanity to reply with), but couldn't help myself. This was the nicest thing I could come up with to say (in its entirety):
"Thanks for reading Blogography!"
Sure it's no four pages or anything, but you've got to give me credit for trying.
BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Email
BLOGDATE: May 12, 2005
In which Dave finds himself responding to wacky emails from his faithful readers and inadvertently creates a Google search result for people wanting to know more about having sex with coked-up hookers while having your ass covered with peanut butter by a pizza delivery boy.
Click here to go back in time...
And so Cavan writes to me and says "Dude, I am totally going to start interviewing popular bloggers!" And I am like "Dude, that is so cool!" And Cavan is all "I know! And I totally want you to be my first interview!" And I am like "Dude, I am so totally NOT a popular blogger!" And Cavan says "Dude, you so totally are! You've got over 100 links on Technorati!" And I am all "No way!" And Cavan is "Way!" And then I go "Dude, I so totally AM a popular blogger!" And then Cavan goes "For reals!" And then I am all "OMG! Dude, you so totally have to interview me now!" And he is all "I know!"
Well, maybe it didn't go exactly like that. I have a bad memory and have been reading way too many MSN Spaces blogs. But he did interview me, and you can read it over at Cavan's The Blurred Line Blog.
Would it surprise you to learn that I have been hiding secret information in my blog entries since the very first one? Do you find this shocking? Disturbing even?
My very own Da Vinci Code... a DAVEinci Code, if you will.
That's right. Just when you think you have experienced everything that Blogography has to offer, you find out there is a whole new level to my genius. Like an onion, this blog has many layers.
And it occasionally it smells so bad that it makes you cry...
But anyway, like I said, each of the 1156 entries here has hidden information imbedded in them... and each bit of information combines with other bits to create a grand tapestry of forbidden knowledge, ancient secrets, profound revelations, and shocking prophecies. It's a remarkable achievement, I know!
So feel free to spend your life trying to decode the fabulous mysteries contained within my blog. I just can't imagine a more noble devotion of one's time. And in order to inspire you, I've included some sample scenarios to get you started...
DAVEinci Code Sample #1: Have you ever wondered what happens if you take the fourth word of every fourth Blogography entry, convert the letters into hexadecimal, then multiply the result by four and feed the end product into Photoshop as a raw file? Well wonder no more! Here is the fabulous result...
Okay, the incredibly sexy Elizabeth Hurley doesn't actually have a mustache... I think I must have miscounted some words along the way... but that's pretty amazing isn't it?
DAVEinci Code Sample #2: Can you guess what happens when you take all the entries from my trip to China, strip out all of the vowels, convert the remaining letters into their base vector equivalents, feed the result into a cartography plotter as GPS coordinates, then overlay the resulting image over a map of the United States? Why it's a treasure map! And what happens when you link up the cities? I'll show you what...
That's right! Anybody living in Seattle, Spokane, Boise, Elko, Redding, Salem, Salt Lake City, Great Falls, Wiliston, Cheyenne, Idaho Falls, Buffalo, Minot, Omaha, Duluth, Marinette, St. Louis, Rochester, Pittsburgh, Roanoke, Chicago, San Diego, Ely, Grand Junction, Gallup, Las Vegas, Bisbee, Durango, Las Cruces, Amarillo, Cheyenne, Salina, San Antonio, Beaumont, Poplar Bluff, Baton Rouge, Pensacola, Greenville, Birmingham, Knoxville, Norfolk, Asheville, Augusta, Charleston, Orlando, and Montgomery... well, you might want to grab a shovel and start digging for buried treasure! And, if you find it, just send it to me and I'll cut you in for half of the value as a finder's fee! How cool is that?
Yes, yes... I know... it's totally incredible isn't it? And there's so much more! Want to know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried? It's in there! Want to know next week's winning lottery numbers? That's in there too! Dying to know the name of the guy who will be chosen as ball-boy at the final tennis match at next year's US Open Tournament? Yep, that's in there too!
Knock yourself out, and don't forget to forward my half of your lottery winnings.
BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Dave Approved: Crest
BLOGDATE: August 28, 2004
In which Dave stumbles upon the miracle of cinnamon-flavored toothpaste, and discovers a tasty new breakfast cereal topping that can kill you.
Click here to go back in time...
Turns out my "Chicago Adventure" was NOT over last night... I had a Depeche Mode concert to go to with fellow-blogger Kevin Apgar and his charming wife Katie!
As expected, it so totally kicked ass. Depeche Mode is easily the best live band I've ever seen, and one of the very few who sound better live than in a studio. Their latest album, Playing the Angel, is not their best work... but every song was -stunning- when performed live (oh how I want a DVD release of the concert). Dave Gahan is an amazing singer who puts everything he has into a performance yet STILL manages to deliver crisp vocals that strike you at your very soul. Personally, I don't understand where he gets the energy... I think he must be 45 years old now, but is kicking more ass on stage than guys half his age.
And what a funky cool stage it was...
The artistic genius behind the band, Martin Gore, was in fine form... delivering emotionally wrenching lead vocals for a few songs, including Home which is a favorite of mine. But I think people will most remember him for running around the stage in a little black chicken suit. Needless to say, I simply must get one of my own, because I think I would look fabulous in feathers...
As I mentioned, the set list was a pleasing blend of new and old that ensured there was something for everyone. All songs were well-received, but I dare say that the older material had a bigger impact on the crowd than the new stuff. When songs like Enjoy the Silence and Just Can't Get Enough started blasting through the arena, the crowd just went nuts. This in turn energized the band, so it looked like they were having more fun with the old stuff as well. And as if that weren't enough, they've managed to update the classics yet again to make them sound all shiny and new (one of my favorite DM songs, Everything Counts was given a blistering rock beat that totally killed).
My only complaint was the band's selection for the final song of the evening... Goodnight Lovers from their somewhat boring Exciter album. After all the high-energy drive they put into the rest of the concert, it seemed like a week weak ending. Had they went out with a pumping crowd-pleaser like People Are People or something... they would have totally freaked out the entire arena and allowed them to sign-off on a high note. And isn't that how you WANT to leave a room when you're a rock band?
Anyway, even though I had to catch a plane to L.A. just five hours after the concert, and only managed to get 3 hours of sleep... it was all so totally worth it. My only regret was not getting to spend more time with Kevin and Katie, because they are alarmingly nice people. Not only that, but Kevin thinks I'm cool. You can read about just how totally cool I am in his entry over at Kapgar.com (oh... and I think that he wrote something about the concert as well).
Seriously though, meeting your readers and fellow-bloggers is really the best part of having a blog.
Well, except the guy who keeps emailing me to tell me that I am going to hell.
That's just mean.
Turns out some crap-weasle is using my name to endorse products for advertising dollars. And now I have to ask any lawyers out there... can I sue this douche-bag for impersonating me and using Blogography to advertise a mattress that I've NEVER OWNED in an ENTRY I NEVER WROTE?!? Isn't this identity theft? I DON'T ACCEPT ADS OR ENDORSEMENT FEES AT BLOGOGRAPHY! This is a personal choice that may change in the future, but it should at least be MY CHOICE!
Just look at this crap...
Sorry, but my price for selling out my blog is $25,000. And now I WANT MY FREAKIN' MONEY! I also want to sue for damage to my reputation, identity theft, and the fabulous catch-all: "pain and suffering." You owe me ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS you f#@%tard!!
WTF? I mean seriously... WHAT THE F#@%?!?
Who in the hell thinks it is perfectly acceptable to fabricate a blog entry using somebody else's identity? Shouldn't there be ramifications for this shit? This is MY blog and I F#@%ING CHOOSE WHAT TO WRITE HERE. On April 14th, 2004, I was (ironically) blogging about somebody stealing my identity for spam and Lomo effects on photographs.
But a A MATTRESS?!?
Seriously... do a search for "mattress" on Blogography and see what comes up (other than this entry). I HAVE NEVER EVEN MENTIONED THAT WORD!!
And, while I'm at it... will somebody tell that ass-clown over at "memes.org" to STOP USING MY NAME AND MY CONTENT FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING STUPID SHIT?? The terms of my Creative Commons license CLEARLY STATE that my stuff can only be taken for NONCOMMERCIAL USE, but all his sites are obviously just frames to support advertising, WHICH IS A COMMERCIAL ENDEAVOR YOU IDIOT! Yet here's an excerpt from one of my entries as picked up on web search...
According to his profile, he's a self-proclaimed "expert on corporate blogging, the blogosphere, online social networks, virtual communities, online brand promotion, online brand protection, online brand intelligence, online buzz marketing, and online viral marketing."
I guess all that corporate hype bullshit is supposed to imply that he's some kind of internet marketing genius for hire... which is funny, because he's obviously trying to flood blog trackbacks to get himself links and drive up his Page Rank so he can sell more... except I DON'T HAVE TRACKBACKS ENABLED YOU MORON!
I wouldn't hire the dopey bastard to clean my toilet. "Online Brand Protection?" And how do you accomplish that... by stealing content from others, thus ruining THEIR brands? Just another douche-bag thief who makes money off of other people's hard work without their permission and in violation of copyright laws. Want to advertise crap? Write your own blog you donkey-ball-licking dumbass.
Now get me a lawyer so I can start suing some asses! I am looking for somebody thoroughly unprincipled, unethical, immoral, shameless, corrupt, dishonest, devious, evil, and unscrupulous who will stop at nothing (including death) TO GET ME MY MONEY!! Oh wait... that's pretty much all lawyers isn't it? I never thought that I would be happy about that.
CHAPTER 3: We Wish You a Merry Arson
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Cherry Picker Ladder
Oh noes! The fire that Lego Dave started in a meth lab to prove his fire fighting skills has inadvertently trapped a crack whore inside...
The flames grew higher and higher, quickly turning the meth lab into a flaming deathtrap! From the second story window, the crack whore is screaming for help from out of the inferno... "Help! Help" she cries.
Lego Dave starts frantically looking around for something that might help him to rescue the drug-addicted prostitute. Luckily, a crew working on the power lines have left their electronic "cherry picker" ladder nearby. Without hesitation, Lego Dave climbs into the bucket and rises into the flames...
But will the ladder be tall enough?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I don't feel like getting out of bed today.
Fortunately, with a PowerBook and a wireless network, there's no need to get out of bed! I can just lay here and the entire world can come to me. Not only that, but my Lego Advent Calendar is just within reach on my desk... and I can almost... argh... just about... get my fingers on it... and there we go. Wow. It's a little Lego police officer. That's going to make for an interesting turn in the story.
And speaking of interesting turns... my rant yesterday about my name and blog content being commandeered to advertise mattresses has only served to get me put on two more mattress sites. Apparently, the same scumbags are running all three, and all I did by complaining about it was provide more material for their Google-aggregating asses to steal. It's like a virus that spreads... all in the interest of getting people to click on their Google mattress ads. I find it fascinating that so many people are using theft as a business model now-a-days. Even worse... they're probably making money at it.
They all must die, of course. Once I've achieved world domination, I'll get right on that.
And speaking of Google searches... I continue to be amused at what searches people are using to find Blogography. I realize that most of the time I'm listed because random words in one of my archives somehow manage to fit the search criteria, but it's still bizarre. Here's some of the "cleaner" results I've seen this morning:
Sigh. I suppose now I HAVE to get up so I can go to the bathroom. I also need to grab my camera.
Not that I am going to take pictures of myself in the bathroom or anything... I just need to take a photo of the Lego toys for today's chapter.
Seriously... you really need to get your mind out of the gutter!
I need to get my mind out of the gutter as well, but the words "elizabeth hurley naked" are stuck in my head.
CHAPTER 4: Jingle Bell Cop Rock
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Disgruntled Policeman with Walkie-Talkie
Scaling the burning meth lab, fake fire fighter Lego Dave sets out to rescue a crack whore from the inferno...
"I'm coming to save you Miss Crack Whore!" Lego Dave cried above the roar of the flames. As the cherry-picker ladder rose higher and higher, he could barely make out a figure standing in the smoke-filled window above.
After agonizing minutes, the bucket finally reached the second floor.
"Here I am to sa-- hey! You're not a crack whore!" Lego Dave exclaims.
"No you idiot, I'm a police officer!" replied the disgruntled figure, his face twisted into a perpetual smirk.
"That's okay Mr. Policeman, I'll save you!" Lego Dave replied. "Hop in!"
"Thanks guy" said the police officer, as he climbed into the bucket.
"I am so totally brave!" Lego Dave said proudly. "They're sure to make me a fireman now!"
"What?" said the policeman. "Hey! You're not a real fire fighter! What's going on here?"
"Don't say that. DON'T SAY THAT! I AM A REAL FIRE FIGHTER" Lego Dave replied frantically. "I've proven it by rescuing you!"
As the bucket reached the ground, sirens could be heard in the distance. The police officer had called the fire department on his walkie-talkie when the fire had broken out.
"You stay right there fella!" the police officer demanded. "I'm calling for back-up, and we're going to have to take you down to the station for questioning..."
Has Lego Dave's fire fighting adventure come to an end?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I'm swimming in a plethora of hate mail, and haven't been this entertained in months! Where do you guys come up with this stuff?!
By far, my most favorite email of the week (perhaps the entire year), was from somebody who wrote me an impassioned letter over my making fun of "Intelligent Design". They started out preaching fire and brimstone, then settled into a series of scripture quotes, then said they love me, then say they will pray for me, then threatened me with eternal damnation in hell if I don't stop mocking The Almighty. This was not the first time, but I never get tired of hearing it.
You'd think that the fact I'm rendered as a cartoon and have a screaming monkey with me would be a big clue that I'm not actually serious about being God, but apparently there is room for confusion here...
But the big finale of the email was regarding THIS image...
However, it's not the actual picture that got the guy all riled up... it's the fact that I titled it "Dave Lord". This was apparently enough to send my new best friend over the edge, because he started typing in ALL-CAPS!!
"THERE IS ONLY ONE LORD! JESUS IS LORD OVER ALL!!!! THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO THE ONE TRUE GOD AND HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM AND THAT IS OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!!! YOU PROCLAIM YOURSELF AS A FALSE GOD AND DENY JESUS WHO IS OUR TRUE GOD!!!!!!"
I wonder if Lord Vader has to put up with this?
But mostly I wonder how somebody could actually take anything they read here this seriously.
Well, that and I wonder when my worshipers will finally come through with the bank to build DaveLand.
But mostly that "taking this serious" thing.
CHAPTER 15: Hark the Harold Mechanics Sing.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Mechanic with Wrench.
There's been an accident on the way to the hospital, and now Team Lego Dave struggles to get Mr. Construction Worker to a doctor in time to save his severed hand....
"Hey Barky... help me carry Mr. Construction Worker to the emergency room!" says Lego Dave. "We're running out of time."
"Bark! Bark!" says Barky the Dog hopefully as he grabs the severed hand from the ground.
But just as everybody starts limping towards the hospital, they hear a voice...
"Hey guys, hold up a second" a man says. "I'm a mechanic and I can fix that wheelbarrow for you in just a few seconds!"
"That's really cool of you!" exclaims Lego Dave as he turns back towards the street lamp. "Thanks for your help Mr. Mechanic, now we can get to the hospital twice as fast!"
"Anytime, fella!" replies the man with the wrench as he gets to work.
But just as the construction worker limps back to the repaired wheelbarrow, the mechanic starts screaming in pain! "AAAAAARGH!!" he says!
"What the-" Lego Dave stutters. "Holy crap! It's Lego Buzz! He's sawing Mr. Mechanic in half!"
"Dude" screams the construction worker!
"Shouldn't you be dead?" Lego Dave inquires. "That crossing arm that fell should have crushed you!"
"No way, buddy!" Lego Buzz laughs. "I sawed through that like butter, and now I'm going to saw through YOU!"
Lego Buzz is ALIVE? How can Lego Dave get away this time?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
After spending most of my evening trying to find out why I couldn't post my entry yesterday, I finally figured out that something had broken with my blogging app. Once I trashed everything and started over, my blog was suddenly working again.
I then had the sad duty of posting the most tragic chapter of "A Very Lego Holiday Tale" yet... if you haven't read it, you may want to skip this entry and go there first. Take a box of tissues with you.
Since I already wasted away a couple hours fixing my blog today, I don't much feel like writing anything tonight. I thought that I had a solution when I dropped by Kazza's blog because she had a "Fifty Questions" meme, but then I realized I had already done it.
Oh well. Let's see what comes out of the Lego Advent Calendar today. I'm almost afraid to look...
CHAPTER 17: I'll Be Drunk for Christmas.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Keg of Italian Beer with Tap.
In a horrible turn of events, the evil Lego Buzz has killed Barky the Dog, faithful companion to our hero, Lego Dave...
"Barky! Barky, no!" wails Lego Dave, his heart breaking. "You can't die!"
"Dude, I'm sorry about your dog" says the construction worker sympathetically. "But that saw-weilding maniac is still in here somewhere... we've got to go."
"I don't care!" says Lego Dave, sobbing uncontrollably now. "Just leave me here."
"Can't do it buddy." Mr. Construction Worker replies solemnly. "You saved my life, now it's my turn to save yours."
Sticking his severed hand in his back pocket, the construction worker starts dragging Lego Dave towards the rear exit of the garage. Several nervous minutes later, they finally find their way to the back door. Leaning on each other for support, they continue onward to the hospital.
"This is my stop" says Mr. Construction Worker. "Will you be okay?"
"Not without Barky" replies Lego Dave, his voice laced with despair. "You take care."
Without another word, Lego Dave turns to leave, his head hanging in sadness. Lego Buzz is out there somewhere, but he doesn't care. Nothing matters anymore.
Stumbling along in a daze, Lego Dave finds his way to a seedy bar in a bad neighborhood at the edge of town. Wanting nothing more than to dull the pain of his loss, he orders a drink. Then another. Then another. But drinking one glass at a time just isn't enough. He makes his way to the storage room and finds a keg of fine Italian beer to drown his sorrows with...
The next morning, Lego Dave awakes a broken man. His mind fuzzy, his life in ruins, he drags himself up from the floor and wanders the streets aimlessly. As his head starts to clear, a single thought starts forming in his brain. One all-consuming thought that burns like a wildfire. One thought...
"Revenge" Lego Dave mutters, almost a whisper. "I will avenge you Barky. I WILL AVENGE YOOOOOOUUU!!"
Will Lego Dave avenge his canine companion? Will he have his revenge?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
One of the things that I find so fascinating about the internet is the way it breaks down barriers. No longer is the world out of reach... now you can visit far away places and make friends in foreign lands from the comfort of your own home. Lines on a map and political barriers disappear. And, as if that weren't enough, online language tools can even eliminate language barriers.
Well, kind of.
Every once in a while, I check my error logs to see if there are any bad links I need to fix, pages missing, or anything else that makes Blogography a poor experience for my visitors. While I'm there, I also like to take a look at popular links to see where people are going. And every time I look, I see more and more translation links showing up. Visitors are regularly translating my pages into foreign languages, and I find that very cool.
But today I actually took the time to see what they were translating.
And now I'm freaking out just a little bit.
The most translated entries all seem to be the most bizarre.
Take for instance my entry from June 28th, which has been translated numerous times in various languages. I'm guessing it's a popular search result with foreigners because I am bitching about the Bush administration not addressing the "Downing Street Memo" or doing anything to explain the "apparently false" pretenses that sent us to war. No big deal. BUT later in the same entry, I have this freaky rant against all the news coverage of people finding body parts in their fast food. And, to make my point, I decide to invent my OWN "body part in food scenario" -- the Penis Salad.
In my native English, it's a little disturbing. And the fact I felt the need to draw a cartoon to illustrate matters doesn't help much...
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu said nothing about chopped penis in my garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
I was immediately curious to know how this translated into other tongues. So I used online translators (like Google's) to see what happens. I then take the result and translate it back into English...
Some of the translations are not so bad (though "penis" has become a proper noun for some reason?)...
Uhhh... entschuldigen mich, aber das Menü sagte nichts über gehackten Penis in meinem Gartensalat und mich sind ein Vegetarier.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not say anything about chopped Penis in my garden salad and in me is a vegetarian."
But other translations are downright frightening...
Uhhh... 나에게를 용서 한다, 그러나 메뉴 말하지않았다 나의 정원 샐러드안에 잘게 자 른 남근에 관한 아무것을,및 나는 이다 채식주의자.
"Uhhh... In me it forgives, the vegetarianism which is anything the penis which but the menu my regular staff salad which it does not talk and or cuts small inside regarding it sleeps."
Still other translations vary in quality... from strange to incomprehensible...
Uhhh... m'excusent, mais le menu n'a indiqué rien sur le pénis coupé dans ma salade de jardin, et moi suis un végétarien.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not indicate anything on the penis cut in my salad garden, and me am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... me excusa, pero el menú no dijo nada sobre el pene tajado en mi ensalada del jardín, y mí es un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... excuses to me, but the menu did not say anything on the penis sheer in my salad of the garden, and me he is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... lo scusa, ma il menu non ha detto niente circa il penis tagliato nella mia insalata del giardino ed in io sono un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... the excuse, but the menu he has not said nothing approximately the penis cut in my insalata one of the garden and in I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... desculpa-me, mas o menu não disse nada sobre o penis chopped em meu salad do jardim, e no mim é um vegetariano.
"Uhhh... forgives me, but the menu did not say nothing on the penis chopped in mine salad of the garden, and in me it is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... 私を許すが, メニューは 言わなかった私の庭サラダ及び私の切り刻まれた陰茎についての 何もである菜食主義者。
"Uhhh... I am permitted, but, the menu word trap concerning the penis where my garden salad which is applied is chopped up what, and the vegetarian where am I."
Uhhh... 劳驾, 但这份菜单认为无事关于被砍的阴茎在 我的庭院沙拉, 和我是素食主义者。
"Uhhh... excuse me, but this menu thought the safe about the penis which chops in mine garden salad, with me is the vegetarianism."
Uhhh. förlåta mig, utom menyn sa ingenting omkring hacket penis i min trädgård sallad, och Jag er en vegetarian.
"Uhhh. excuse me, except menu said nothing about chip penis in my time garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
Uhhh. afsakið, en the matseðill ómerkingur óður í kjötöxi getnaðarlimur í minn garður salat, og Myndað af I am a grænmetisæta.
"Uhhh. excuse me, while the menu nobody crazy about cleaver phallus into my park tossed salad, and Alluvial with I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh. ddiheura 'm, namyn 'r ddewislen eb ddim am faledig penis i mewn 'm ardda salad, a fi m a vegetarian.
"Uhhh. I excuse' ores, except' group menu said anything about ground was miscarrying in' ores I plow worst, I go I ores I go vegetarian."
So much for knocking down barriers. I'm fairly certain that I'm setting back foreign relations a hundred years all by myself.
I guess when the Welsh declare war on the United States, I have nobody to blame but myself.
CHAPTER 23: It's Beginning to Burn a Lot Like Christmas.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Pizza Oven and Cook's Paddle.
Lego Dave has finally caught up to the evil Lego Buzz, but things are looking grim for our hero as he is about to be beaten to death with a frying pan...
"Time to die!" shouts Lego Buzz as he moves in for the kill with his cookware.
"Barky, I've failed you!" Lego Dave says despondently. "Forgive me!"
As he backs away from Lego Buzz and the cast-iron skillet of death, Lego Dave suddenly finds himself backed against the pizza oven. Out of desperation, he starts flailing wildly... searching for anything to defend himself with.
Miraculously, his hand soon finds itself grasping the pizza oven cooking paddle. With all his strength, he whirls the paddle in the air and catches Lego Buzz's chin in a vicious uppercut, knocking him to the floor!
"ARRRGH!" screeches Lego Buzz. "You'll pay for that!"
But Lego Dave is undeterred. Gathering all his strength, he circles around the evil Lego Buzz and strikes him with all his might. The force is enough to send Lego Buzz flying forward... right into the mouth of the oven! With a roar, the oven erupts with a violent burst of fire, consuming Lego Buzz in an a flaming inferno!
Within moments, the screaming subsides, and Lego Buzz's body goes limp...
"At last... he's gone." says Lego Dave with a sigh. "Rest in peace Barky, my best friend."
And then, just as Lego Dave is catching his breath, a dark, menacing voice resonates through the air...
"I'd like my hand back, if you don't mind."
Holy crap! It's Lego Buzz Junior... FLYING IN THE AIR! What could this possibly mean?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" FINALLY CONCLUDES!
All morning I've been glued to the WE Channel, which is the Women's Entertainment Channel. Most of the time, I avoid WE like the plague because, well, it's crap isn't it?
But today is different, because it's an English Royalty Marathon!
In an effort to make Americans feel better about the heinous state of our leadership, WE Channel has decided to drag out the glamorous scandals of Great Britain, with a stellar line-up of badly-produced, faux "documentaries" on the Royals. Every hour, there is another tantalizing glimpse into the life and times of The House of Windsor, each more delicious than the last! The titles alone are exciting enough to keep you watching...
It's all very fascinating, and I've learned so much (Her Majesty The Queen prefers to take her breakfast served from Tupperware containers!). Ultimately, after my hours of research, I've come to the conclusion that I should be King...
BOW BEFORE MY MAJESTY!
And my first act as King would be to behead blog plagiarists!
I've already said my peace on the subject... and am starting to see other bloggers venting their frustrations as well (including blogging giant Om Malik). But it's reaching ridiculous heights now, because people think that there is money to be made from blogging, and are desperate to swipe content so they can start raking in the big bucks (ha ha ha). Over Thanksgiving, I was made aware of somebody who decided to rape some of the cartoons I created here... even going so far as to remove copyrights and "improve" the coloring!
I guess on some level you could claim that these alterations of my stuff are "derivative works" which are allowed by my Creative Commons license... but only if you credit the original source (which he didn't) and do not use them for commercial purposes (which he did, as he was clearly using his blog to sell crap). Adding insult to injury, that second "thanks!" cartoon is only displayed here if you leave a comment... which means that the guy actually left me a comment before swiping my stuff! Hey, he may be a thief but, on the other hand, he's got enormous balls!
I've always wanted to end an entry by saying "enormous balls".
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