I must be officially old now, because my idea of a blow-out New Years party seems to be a lot more mellow than it used to be. My nephew, on the other hand, seems to have the right idea...
I loathe shopping. If it were possible, I'd order everything over the internet and never step foot in an actual store ever again. But we're in the middle of a winter storm warning here, so I volunteered to drive my mom to Weantchee and drop her at some kind of function she needed to be at... with two hours to kill, I decided shopping was better than waiting in the car. Oh well, at least the holiday shopping circus is over with.
Parked: My first stop was Shopko to get a plastic tub for storing my computer cables. Just after parking, I got a call from a friend on my mobile phone. While talking to them, a car pulled up next to me which I ignored. A minute later my car shook so hard that I nearly dropped my phone. Turns out an enormous woman exiting the Cadillac in the spot next to me decided to be an inconsiderate bitch and shove her car door into the side of mine. I got out and screamed "HEY!" but she just laughed and said "blame the store for making their parking spaces too small!" Enraged, I screamed "THAT'S NO EXCUSE TO DING MY CAR YOU IDIOT!!" But she ignored me and walked away. WTF??!? If I had a sledgehammer in my trunk, that bitch's POS would be on the receiving end of some serious damage.
Large: My next stop was JC Penny to buy some undershirts. Unfortunately, everything is too big. Plenty of Large, X-Large, and XX-Large, but no Mediums. When I ask the clerk what's up with that, she says that they don't bother getting much of the smaller sizes in anymore because most people need the larger ones. Well excuse me for not being bigger, but WTF??!?
Mart: I despise Wal-Mart. Well, not Wal-Mart per se, but definitely the people who shop at Wal-Mart. For that reason, I go there only when forced, and would gladly pay more money to avoid the cavalcade of morons that seem to congregate there. But there was something I needed to pick up for my grandmother, so off to Wal-Mart I went. Once I got used to the screaming, tonight wasn't all that bad.
Fashion: Next up I head to the fabric store to get some cloth so I can make some new shirts. Yes, you read that right, I make some of my own shirts. Well, I don't actually make them, I just design them, cut them out, mark them up, then take them to a seamstress or tailor to have them sewn. I fully realize that most people think this is utterly bizarre, but allow me to explain... 1) I need tall sizes, but tall sizes are not easy to find here. 2) I like my shirts fitted and, since I can't buy Donna Karan or other well-tailored shirts here in Wenatchee, my only choice is generic off-the-rack stuff that billows out on me and looks sloppy. 3) Donna Karan and other well-tailored shirts cost at least $100 each, and I can have two or three shirts of equal quality made for that amount. 4) I actually prefer shirts I design to what I can get here in hicksville Wenatchee (I discovered that I could design clothes quite by accident back when I was drawing comic books). In all seriousness, it's so easy that I don't know why more people aren't doing this. My latest is a kind of laced-neck peasant shirt (which seems to be an upcoming fashion trend from what I've seen in my travels). I've modified it a bit to have buttonless wide-cuff sleeves, a banded collar, and a split flop band at the bottom so it looks good when not tucked in...
Calendar: And lastly, I needed a new wall calendar for my office at work. The good news is that everything is half-price at the "World of Calendars" kisok. The bad news is that there's not a lot left. My most appealing choice is "The Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen 2005 Twins Calendar," but I fear that might be grossly misunderstood, so I take a pass. Since I don't want kittens, puppies, dolphins, butterflies, or greased-up firefighters with their shirts off and their hoses out, I settle for Curious George. There's something comforting about that crazy monkey.
All of that only took about an hour and fifteen minutes, so I spent the rest of my time shopping for a new book at Hastings. Here's hoping that don't have to go through all that again for at least another six months.
Well that was fun. My usual five-minute commute to work ended up taking just over an hour. First I couldn't get TO my car. Then I couldn't get IN my car. Then I couldn't get out of my parking spot. Then I couldn't get out of the driveway. All thanks to a lovely ice storm that blew through last night.
Things actually started yesterday around 4:00. That's when I heard the gentle "plink plink plink" of frozen moisture falling onto the skylight at work. By the time I left at 5:00, little beads about 2mm in diameter were washing across the landscape like sand, making a "swoosh swoosh" sound when walking through it. By the time I went to bed at 11:00, the beads turned into drops that were too big too freeze on the way down, so we had heavy rain in freezing weather.
The result was not pretty. Here's my car door handle frozen solid, with the ice having flowed into the mechanism. I eventually managed to free it by squirting hot water into the seams...
Of course, getting the handle to work is only half the battle. Here's the door seam after I've been chipping into it for five minutes with an ice pick. I couldn't use hot water, because it would probably have cracked my windows...
Here are pieces I finally managed to chip away from the trunk with a screwdriver (so I could get to my ice scraper). The only reason I was able to do this is because Saturn cars are not made of metal, they are made out of some kind of flexible polymer. I kept flexing and denting in the panels and eventually the ice would crack enough to be removed. A pity that kind of thing didn't work on the windows, where the ice had bonded so hard that no amount of scraping would remove it...
Once I got to my ice scraper in the trunk and used it to open my door, I was able to turn on the defroster. Twenty minutes later the ice was easily removed. Well, not easily, you're still having to try and balance on a sheet of ice while you scrape, but easier than a screwdriver. Of course, then the challenge is to actually drive on an incredibly slick surface. It was not easy, and it took at least ten minutes to successfully get out of the driveway. Fortunately Cashmere has a top-notch snow-removal crew, so the roads were okay, but you still had to hit the brakes five car-lengths before the stop or else you'd end up in the middle of an intersection.
I really, really hope I don't have to go through this tomorrow.
Wait a second... somebody just told me that TiVo DVRs run on Linux? Yet TiVo isn't releasing a version of their TiVo Desktop software for Linux users? (at least that's what I get from reading their FAQ).
Yikes. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. That's a nice "f#@% you" to the people who made your product possible!
Anyway, speak of the devil, I finally watched President Bush's inauguration speech off my TiVo and, I must say, I'm a bit disappointed. I want specific details, not vague rhetoric! Here's just some of the things I was expecting him to announce (and, if you don't understand what "sarcasm" is, you may want to skip it)...
Beer Endowment Fund:
I maintain that it is the right of every American citizen to drink free beer. You would think that the presidential administration would agree, and support widespread drunken behavior. Mostly because drunk people wouldn't mind so much that the economy is in the toilet, Osama bin Laden is still at large, the weapons of mass destruction apparently don't exist, the rest of the world really doesn't like us much and, even after "mission accomplished," our soldiers and countless others are still dying in a very expensive war that's way out of control.
Reality Television Limitation Act:
The horrifying stupidity of 99% of the reality shows plaguing the television landscape is appalling ("Who's Your Daddy?" "The Littlest Groom?" "TRADING SPOUSES?!?"). Normally I don't believe in government intervention in the public sector like this, but something has to be done before what little intelligence left in the average American TV viewer is sucked away. Limiting each network to a single reality show per season would be a good start.
Preemptive Strike Against Canada:
The obvious next logical step in the president's bid for global domination war against terror is to "liberate" Canada. This would have a number of immediate benefits... 1) We're really concerned about protecting our northern borders but, if Canada were annexed into the U.S., our northern border would be somewhere in the Arctic Circle and who wants to go to that kind of trouble? 2) Those whiners who threatened to move to Canada if Dubbuya won the election would have to explore other options. 3) French-Canadians who suddenly find themselves American citizens could practice an entirely new level of self-loathing, because apparently all the French hate us. 4) "The Great State of Manitoba" has a nice ring to it. 5) There'd be no more border crossing delays when heading up to visit strip clubs in Vancouver.
Spammer Death Penalty:
Oh come on. You know you want it.
Quizno Sandwich Subsidy: I love me the Quizno subs! But when it costs $8.31 for a small drink, a regular Veggie Sandwich, and a bag of chips... well, it's not like I can afford to eat there very often. For that kind of money, I could buy EIGHT servings of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes at Taco Bell! Government subsidizing of Quiznos purchases is not entirely out of line considering they've been propping up the beef industry for decades (which is how a Big Mac costs $3 instead of $30).
National Dave Appreciation Day: My brilliance should be celebrated world-wide but I'd settle for a national holiday as a start. Laugh all you want, but you'd get a day off work, so it's a win-win situation.
Now that's odd. Suddenly I have this overwhelming desire to kick a spammer's ass, then celebrate by watching a stripper on reality-free TV in Canada while eating a Quizno's sub, drinking a beer, and appreciating myself.
I was supposed to be in Seattle by now, but things are not going as planned. In fact, things are so far off-plan that it's time for a new plan... something that involves preparing for a week-long, trans-Atlantic trip in two hours (including washing all the clothes I'm taking and then packing my suitcase).
Yes, I need a plan that somehow does not adhere to universal laws of time and space. But, if there's an up-side, I suppose it's that I have time to clean the grout in my bathroom while waiting for my pants to get out of the dryer.
Hah, just kidding. I'm going to make a peanut butter sandwich and watch cartoons.
Love, as it has been said, is a disease that people are happy to contract. And like a disease, love can have a very bad outcome indeed... including a broken heart, insanity, bankruptcy, death, and even an opening for contracting other diseases. Fortunately, I have a built-in immunity which has been carefully acquired over the years. By ingesting several small doses (and one very, very large dose) of failed attempts at love over a very long period of time, I've got a clean bill of health. Outside of my family and friends, I'm certified love-free (but I don't think that's going to make any difference on my life insurance rates).
That's not to say I haven't had moments where I've felt my immunity weakening, that's part of life. In fact, at some points I find that immunity can even be bolstered by allowing yourself a temporary "love fix" for short durations... let's say 20 minutes to two hours in length (any longer and, like morphine addiction, you may not want to escape it).
Mind you, I am not advocating the love-free lifestyle, I'm just saying that it has somehow come to suit me. Especially when it means I can avoid scenarios like this (hmmm... in reviewing last year's entry, I'd have to say I'm slightly less bitter this year). Besides, tomorrow a woman with superb ironing skills could come along and change my mind of the subject entirely.
Anyway, nothing could possibly eclipse my love for you, dear reader...
Hope your Valentine's Day is a happy one!
I had lost some papers and, in looking for them, came across the very cool Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes giant "Collector's Edition" comic book that I had purchased at a yard sale years ago. Figuring that my important papers were actually not-so important after all, I took a few minutes to read this huge spectacle of an adventure.
To sum up the story... the evil sorcerer Mordru escaped imprisonment and opened up a can of whoop-ass on the entire Legion of Super-Heroes. Only Superboy, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Duo-Damsel managed to escape his wrath by time-traveling to the past. They eventually got lucky when Mordru's rage caused him to imprison himself in a landslide. When they return to the future, they found out that Princess Projectra, Dreamy, and the White Witch had fooled Mordru into thinking he had kicked their asses, when he really didn't...
You tell 'em Mon-El! Silly girls!!
Not exactly the most gracious of compliments but hey, the story was written in 1975. Women have come a long way in the last thirty years. Or have they? I was curious to imagine what the story would have been like had it been written a decade later in 1985. After all, this is when the Eurythmics had released the women's movement anthem "Sister Are Doin' It For Themselves"...
Coming back from a trip is always chaotic, even when it's just four days long. Add to that the fact that I leave again this weekend, and it's just that much worse. There's so much I want to do... so much that needs to be done... and just not enough hours in the day to make any measurable headway. The only reason I have time to even write this is because I've got a backup running on my work files for the next twenty minutes.
Oh well, here's my day so far...
Bush: The oddest voicemail was awaiting me at work. Somebody from Congressman Tom Reynolds' office called on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee and left me a vague message about my attending some kind of dinner with the president. Thinking it was a mistake, I called back to see if they had meant to leave the message for somebody else. As it turns out, they didn't. They specifically had my full name. Furthermore, the dinner wasn't with the president of the NRCC, it was with the President of The United States. I could not figure out why they had my name, considering I am... 1) Not a Republican, and 2) Not a resident of New York, which is where Tom Reynolds represents. Anyway, when I explain all that to the lady at the NRCC, she replied "you don't need to be a Republican to have dinner with the President." Which made me laugh out loud, because I'd probably end up being shot dead. Something tells me that my overwhelming urge to bitch-slap President Bush so hard that his lips are smacked off his face would not be looked kindly upon by the Secret Service. I vehemently disagree with the man on so many levels that I simply can't imagine being at some kind of dinner function with him (no matter how much of an honor something like that is supposed to be).
DSL: I am a long-time supporter of EarthLink Internet Services. For years I've been a happy subscriber because EarthLink is a big supporter of Apple Computer, and is always up-to-date on the latest Macintosh OS foibles. Then last year they lowered their monthly price from $49.99 to $39.99... for everybody except me, and I was (needlessly to say) very upset. I called three times to have them fix this error so I could save $120 annually on my internet bill. Each time they promised to do so if I would renew my contract for a year, which I was happy to do. But every time they didn't process the adjustment, and I ended up continuing to pay $49.99. Finally, Verizon offered me a $29.99 price I couldn't refuse (that's $240 a year in savings!) and I called this morning to dump EarthLink. When I explained the situation, the lady tried to convince me to stay and said she would honor the $39.99 price I was promised. I told her I'd agree if she's give me a credit for the $120 I've lost from their screw-ups, but apparently they didn't want my business that bad. Oh well. Hopefully I won't be without DSL at home for more than a day or two.
State: Ever since driving through Alabama, I can't help but think they got shafted. I'm sure there's a very good reason for it, but why is it that Florida stole most of Alabama's coastline? Greedy bastards. I mean, they've already got ocean on three sides (not to mention Disney-World)... what do they want with Alabama's only real shot at beach-front property? Surely Alabama could benefit from the tax revenues that come out of Pensacola and the entire Fort Walton Beach/Destin resort area? Kind of sad really. When I complete my world domination, I'll have to fix that...
Toob: What in the heck is up with Veronica Mars?!? As the show played out last night it was just one shocking revelation after another... The Russian Mafia? Logan has a sister played by Alyson "Willow" Hannigan? Veronica finds her mother? Duncan and Meg? Veronica and Deputy Leo? And the most shocking possibility: VERONICA AND LOGAN?!? And now it looks like it's on hiatus for several weeks, which is a huge bummer. Such an amazing show. And speaking of amazing... Betty White is killer on Boston Legal lately. They keep giving her a little more to do, and the latest "born again" angle to her maliciously wicked Catherine Piper character is icing on the cake.
AppleTiVo: The rumor mill is running overtime that Apple is wanting to acquire TiVo, with TiVo's stock price jumping 17% as a result. That would rule the earth, because finally TiVo would have the proper financing, technology, and drive to innovate itself out of the horrible mess they've gotten themselves into. My only hope is that if something like this were to ever actually happen, Apple would 1) release TiVo files as protected QuickTime format rather than the stupid proprietary format their using now, and 2) give us an "iPod Video" to play them on. Given their success with audio in the iTunes/iPod arena, it seems unthinkable that Apple wouldn't want to get in on video too. Absorbing TiVo would be a good start, and give us something cool as an alternative to "Windows Media Center" crap. Next would be an iVideo store where we could buy movies and TV shows. I am giddy in anticipation. Yes, giddy as a schoolgirl.
iPod: Speaking of iPod... Apple updated it's lineup today. iPod Minis have been given brighter colors, more memory, longer battery life, and a cheaper price. iPod Photo was reconfigured in two much less expensive models. The original iPod looks to be on the way out, since there is only one model available now... I can only guess this means all iPods will eventually have color screens and "photo" capabilities.
The exciting bit is that Apple is also releasing an iPod Photo "Camera Connection Cable" in March which will allow you to transfer photos from your digital camera directly to the iPod. That's so compelling that I may actually have to think about buying a new iPod next month... not for music (for which I am much happier using my iPod Shuffle) but for the storage and photo backup features while traveling.
Switch: Speaking of Apple... on the way home from Seattle yesterday, I stopped at the SouthCenter Mall to see the new "Apple Mini Store" that they dropped in. It's really sweet and, like every other Apple store, joyfully packed with potential Windows switchers. While I was waiting in line to ask about AppleCare repairs on my PowerBook, I saw two Mac Minis, a PowerBook, and a few iPods sold in just thirty minutes. They could have sold at least a half-dozen iPod Shuffles in that time as well if they had any in stock (the phone was ringing off the hook with people wanting them). Every time Apple opens a new store, it's like printing money. Because once people get a taste at just how amazing a Mac is compared to the Windows shit they've been using... they're going to buy. The guy who bought the PowerBook was a musician who stopped by to "check out the Mac" and ended up making a purchase after playing around with Garage Band for just fifteen minutes. He just kept saying "this is so cool" and "I can't believe it" over and over and over again. I thought he was going to pass out when he asked "how much extra does it cost for the Garage Band software?" and was told it was included free with the computer. "It's really FREE? How can they do that?!?" Well, it got you to buy one of their computers, so that's how. I just hope he didn't get into an accident rushing home to start playing with his new Mac.
Yargh. Whatever am I going to do without internet tonight? Just my luck that this is when some Trackback spammer is going to slam me... it always happens when there's nothing I can do about it.
I don't know why I am such a magnet for life's little oddities, but the strange stuff seems to cling to me like velcro. Not a day goes by that I don't find myself saying "well that's a bit odd." And today has been stranger than most.
Since Verizon still hasn't got my DSL working, I've been leaving for work early each morning to check my email and see how many TrackBack spams I've got piled up. That in itself is not odd, but the fact that the killer geese were back and waiting for me as I was leaving was. I still have no idea what I have done to get these birds so pissed off... but there they were running around and honking all over the place while I was trying to get to my car. As I was scraping the frost off my windshield, one particularly sinister goose decided to run over and honk at me personally. I finally screamed at it to "shut up!" after which it just stared at me for a bit, then turned tail and wadled away to discuss the matter with his evil geese brethren (or so I would imagine). I'm certain that tomorrow the geese will have devised some kind of revenge, so if you don't hear from me again, I was eaten by angry birds.
Once at my office, I eliminated the twenty-or-so TrackBack spams and then moved on to my "real" email. By far the most intriguing of which was a letter from somebody who stumbled across my Flickr photo album and was wanting to know if I was single and looking to "hook up." At least, it was intriguing until I noticed that the email was from a bloke named "Brendan." Not being quite that desperate for companionship (at least not yet), I had to write and politely decline. The odd bit here was not that I got the email (who am I kidding, I'm about as masculine as Michael Jackson on a good day), but that I was inexplicably flattered to have received it. I suppose I'll have to analyze that when I have some spare time available.
Then, as if a sign from a higher power that I shouldn't have dismissed that email so quickly, I received an unexpected call from my ex-ex-ex-girlfriend. And here's where I struggle to find the words that can properly sum up my feelings toward this woman because "scorching bitch from hell" just doesn't seem to cover it. Perhaps I should consult Mr. Jerz or something, because even more descriptive profanity such as "sack-licking whore" utterly fails to adequately describe my loathing. Resisting the urge to just scream "f#@% YOU BITCH!!" into the phone and hang-up, I grit my teeth and ask what in the heck she could possibly want. Turns out her mother wants my address and she was wondering if I had changed it. And here's the odd bit... I HAVE NEVER EVEN MET HER MOTHER!! About a million thoughts go running through my head, all of them profoundly bad. The only conclusion I can come to is that this is some kind of clumsy attempt to get back together, so I end up screaming "f#@% YOU BITCH!" after all and slamming down the receiver. Now I'm wondering if her mom just saw my picture or something and wanted to send me cookies. Crap! I like cookies!
Wishing I had some calm-inducing drugs, I instead take out my passport so I can get a current photocopy. Every time I return from a foreign trip I update the copies in my safety deposit box so that there's a proper record if I should lose my international identity. So there I am flipping through the pages, looking for an EU stamp from when I went to Germany last month... only to find out there isn't one. The immigration guys in Amsterdam didn't stamp it! Then I notice I didn't get one for my previous trip to the EU either. "Well that's odd" I say. I didn't think the USA had such an understanding relationship with our European forbearers, but there you have it. I guess it does eliminate those embarrassing self-stamping-related accidents at passport control, but now I'll never be able to fill up all the pages in my passport as I had hoped.
And then my mail comes. Included within is a sample packet of laundry detergent, which is odd because I so rarely wash clothes at work. As if that weren't enough, I also get some kind of advertisement which is written in what I think is Portuguese, with no English translation. I'm tempted to run it through Alta Vista's Babelfish translator, but I just don't care enough. Perhaps if there was a screaming monkey on it or something.
So here I sit on my lunch hour attempting figure out how I can wedge in a trip to Stockholm in April so I can attend the "Rocky Stocky" Hard Rock Anniversary Event, all the while wondering what could possibly come up this afternoon to top my morning. I'm sure the aliens will be landing any minute now.
Things that are pissing me off right this minute...
Delayed: Naturally, my layover in Seattle for the flight to San Francisco was delayed. On-time departures are becoming exceeding rare now-a-days, and it has me seriously reconsidering air travel. To drive to San Francisco takes 12 hours. To fly here today (including all the time for transfers, security, and all the rest) took 10 hours. And it's not as if I am any less exhausted from flying than I would have been driving... they suck equally considering out of all that time, the flight from Wenatchee to Seattle is 40 minutes, and the flight from Seattle to San Francisco is 1-1/2 hours. And it doesn't help that Alaska Airline's connection schedule out of Wenatchee is pretty terrible in the first place.
Labels: The first blog entry I read this morning is from Patrick, which refers to a CNN article about how music labels are wanting to increase the cost of digital downloads so that they can make more money. What a bunch of monkey-spanking asshats! AT 99¢, DIGITAL DOWNLOADS ARE ALREADY TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE!! For example... to buy a CD of John Mayer's Heavier Things from Amazon costs $9.99 which is fine if you want a disposable piece of plastic that will clutter up our landfills once you've ripped it. To buy Heavier Things from iTunes Music Store costs $9.90... which seems pricey given that there was NO CD PRODUCED!! Digital music should be CHEAPER than CDs, and now dumbass music companies want to charge MORE?!? I can tell you right now that the minute it costs more to purchase digitally than it does to purchase a CD, I am STEALING EVERY f#@%ING SONG I WANT... WITH NO GUILT WHAT-SO-EVER!! If music labels think that punishing people who want to buy music legally is the way to increase profits, let's see how they feel when everybody is finally tired of their bullshit corporate greed and NOBODY buys music legally. Perhaps then musical artists will figure out a way to release their music WITHOUT dumbass record labels and we'll be rid of the label-system once and for all.
Verizon: Just found out that Verizon accidentally cancelled my DSL installation and has rescheduled it AGAIN... this time for MARCH 9th!! Good thing I signed up for one-month of dial-up service, because they've got their heads so far up their asses in coordinating between what is happening between the sales/service/disconnect/connect departments that I may NEVER get a hook-up.
Access: It used to be that I got pissed off when a hotel didn't have high-speed internet access available. Now that everybody seems to be getting it, I only seem to get pissed when they want to charge for using it. I am currently staying in the beautiful Westin Millbrae at San Francisco International Airport. It's home of the magnificent "Heavenly Bed" which makes me love Westin hotels so much, and gives the chain an edge when I have to decide where I am staying. Except they charge $11.95 a day for internet access, which sucks ass. I am of the feeling that internet is like running water and electricity... it is a necessary part of a hotel stay, and should be included with the room. From now on, I don't give a shit if my "Heavenly Bed" comes complete with a happy-ending full-body massage, so long as Westin charges for internet access, I'll be staying someplace else.
Hah: Just kidding. If Westin really did offer happy-ending full-body massages for free, not only would I not care that you had to pay for internet, I'd probably move in and never leave.
The one bit of good news is that BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has finally made it all the way to the airport! So now it's just a $5 ticket to get into the city, which is a pleasant change from the $15 it costs for an airporter bus, $35 for a taxi ride, or $40 for a car rental. Too bad it's forecast to be raining all day today.
It seems as though everything is broken now-a-days. Everywhere I go, I see broken remnants of people, places, and things. Take today for instance. Some friends invited me to the Get Shorty sequel... Be Cool. Now, going to movies in a small city like Wenatchee is not a regular movie-going experience. The theaters are pretty crappy. The picture is crappy. The sound is really crappy. In the end, I suppose that it's a social thing more than a movie thing.
Anyway, we're watching the opening ten minutes of the film when the crappy picture gets even worse, then goes black. The lamp is broken or burned out or something, and they can't fix it. That means I just drove 30 minutes for no reason at all. And what do I get for my trouble? A free movie pass...
Sorry for the inconvenience?!? If you were REALLY sorry, you'd give me an extra free pass to make up for my wasted time and gas money!! Like they're doing me a big-ass favor by giving me a free ticket because they don't bother to perform routine bulb replacement on their crappy projectors?!? Puhleez.
So that my trip to Wenatchee is not a total waste, I decide to drop by Taco Bell on the way out of town for some Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes! But, when I arrive, I can't get any because their deep-fat fryer is broken. This is ridiculous to me, because isn't 95% of their menu deep-fried?!? Why even bother to stay open? So that my trip to Taco Bell isn't a total waste, I get a couple of Gorditas with rice substituted for the dead cow. For once I actually bother to look at the receipt and discover something shocking...
THEY CHARGE FITTY CENT EXTRA FOR MY RICE SUBSTITUTION!!! What a total load of crap! I'm willing to bet that rice is a heck of a lot cheaper than beef... why charge me for it? Vegetarian-hostile bastards.
But movie projectors and tacos pale in comparison to the broken shambles of this country's separation of church and state laws. Not a day goes by that some new attack isn't made against that which gives citizens the right to practice the religion of their choice (or no religion at all). I am growing ever-fearful that the day will come when only Christians will have religious freedom in this country because politicians get elected, then conveniently forget that they are to represent ALL the people they serve, including non-Christians. This was brought to horrifying clarity to me a few days ago when I received yet another email lambasting me for a comment I made where I talk about the unfair practice of religious politics governing marriage here in the USA. I've been wanting to address the issue (again) for a while now, but Jeff has already beaten me to the punch with a well-thought out entry over at Geekable. We may be "One Nation Under God," but we are many peoples, all of whom deserve equal representation regardless of how we believe, worship, or live our lives.
Now that my motorcycle is out, naturally the weather has to go from warm and sunny to cold and overcast. And now it's raining. While that sucks total ass, I must say I'm not surprised. It just seems to be my luck. Interestingly enough, the weather is the least of my problems just now. Something far worse is afoot...
I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
Or so an email I just got is telling me. Fortunately, a drug called STRATTERA promises to fix me right up. In other good news, they also have all the drugs I need to cure my other problems... like erectile dysfunction, genital herpes, and overactive bladder (gotta go gotta go gotta go right now!). Even better, I can get these drugs as imports at a fraction of the cost!
And that begs the question... if you did have something like genital herpes, would you really want to trust the medication for it to some unknown person selling drugs over the internet? Bizarre.
Oh well, once I'm hooked up with my drugs, I'll no longer have to worry about Adult ADD, erectile dysfunction, herpes, or an overactive bladder... I guess that means I can finally concentrate on my 4-hour erection and stop infecting the ladies with herpes and peeing my pants. Life is good!
Last night I was called to provide a ride to the Emergency room. This is not the first time. It seems I am a magnet for taking the sick or injured to the ER. And every time I end up amazed at how bizarre it is that people with harsh injuries are piled six deep in a waiting room... a guy with his face busted open and blood everywhere, a lady coughing so hard that I thought for sure she was going to lose a lung, another woman with her leg all swollen and busted, a little girl who can barely breathe... all just sitting there waiting for somebody to tend to them.
When you see such seriously hurt people outside waiting, it makes you wonder just how much worse off the people were who actually got in to see a doctor!
And then the waiting starts.
Once you get there, it's an hour before they take your information. Then you wait. An hour after that they take your vital signs. And then you wait. An hour after that they show you to a room. And then you wait. An hour after that you get tests and x-rays. And then you wait. And finally the doctor comes and fixes you up (or not) and suddenly five hour of you life have passed you by.
But that's not the worst part.
When you drive somebody to the Emergency Room, you then have to wait in a room with nothing but sick people coughing all over you for five hours until it's time to go back. I can only guess that somebody will be driving me to the ER next week with an assortment of contagious ailments. Bleh.
Forever is insomnia a constant sorrow to the afflicted,
Morpheus I thank thee for mine blissful slumber.
I dwell in thine Kingdom of Dreams with a rare joy,
til' that inevitable moment my peace is torn asunder.
This time by some drunken moron's call at 2:00am,
my profanity for his hapless intrusion no wonder.
I beg thee take me into your embrace once more,
before my urge to kill is overwhelmed by a blunder.
Death awaits the inebriated thanks to Caller ID.
Okay, something's gone wrong and my back is all jacked up. I've taken about every type of painkiller in my medicine cabinet, and nothing seems to work. Any bending at the waist causes breath-sucking pain. Just sitting down is enough to make me want to pass out.
The worst part is that I don't know how I did it.
When I woke up I was fine. But somewhere between eating my toast for breakfast and driving to work something went terribly, terribly wrong.
I'm pretty sure there are some pins in my travel sewing kit, so I think it's time to attempt acupuncture...
Make no mistake about it... I am always about fifteen minutes away from becoming a serial killer. If it weren't for those pesky Buddhist precepts getting in the way, I probably would have starting killing people years ago.
I suppose that I should make a joke right now and tell you I'm kidding, but I'm completely serious. Keep watching the 6:00 News, because one of these days...
The only thing that makes this revelation not quite as horrible as you might think is this: I honestly believe that everybody on this planet is fifteen minutes away from becoming a serial killer. It's just a sad reality of the world we live in today. Those people who cross into the serial killer zone just hit minute sixteen because they couldn't find anything better to do.
So, in the interest of promoting world peace and the harmony of all earth's creatures, here's a few things I do to keep from hitting minute sixteen and killing all the people that bug me...
Blog Your Rage Away. Ranting about your frustrations in a blog entry goes a long ways toward subduing the urge to kill. That's why I'm forever kicking asses and shooting guns here. Well, that's why I am always fantasizing about kicking asses and shooting guns in cartoons here. The truth is that I abhor guns and violence, but drawing funny pictures about it is somehow therapeutic.
Ride Your Rage Away. I don't care how many people I desire to kill throughout the day, they all disappear while riding my motorcycle. Of course, many times the people I most want to kill are bad driver's I encounter while riding, but they're forgotten in well under fifteen minutes. A motorcycle is the ultimate deterrent from wanting to kill but, unfortunately, dumbass soccer moms in their SUVs who talk on their mobile phones while beating their kids, putting on their makeup, and eating a burrito may end up killing you.
C.S.I. Your Rage Away. Watch an episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and realize that you will never get away with killing somebody. Then realize that you just don't have the chops to handle a manslaughter charge in a "pound-you-up-the-ass federal penitentiary." That aught to cure you of the urge to kill is a real hurry. I know it does me.
Play Your Rage Away. I love crackpot psychologists who claim that violent video games cause violent behavior. Whether that's true or not, I don't really care. The simple fact is that being able to blow stuff up and shoot people in video games allows me to release energy that might otherwise be used to blow stuff up and shoot people in real life. Nothing quite like blasting "Rage Against the Machine" until your eardrums are bleeding while shooting everything in sight in a game of Max Payne to take the killer out of you.
Slap Your Rage Away. If you can't kill 'em, bitch-slap them so hard they'll wish you had killed them. Then run away. Run like the wind you pansy-ass bitch-slapper!
This was not starting out to be a very good day. Which is not surprising considering how my evening went yesterday. It all started as I was driving home for work... a nice drive through town, minding my own business. When all of a sudden I notice some white chick in cornrows flipping me off with an obscene gesture while two of her skanky friends watched. Ordinarily I would just think to myself "whatever" and keep driving, but this time was different. I slam on the brakes, open my window and shouted "WAS THAT JUST A RANDOM ACT OF DEFIANCE, OR DID I DO SOMETHING TO PISS YOU OFF?!?" She was genuinely startled for a second, but quickly regained her composure and shouted back "f#@% OFF A$$HOLE, I WASN'T TALKING TO YOU!!" To which I shouted back "ALRIGHTY THEN... CARRY ON YA GANGSTA-BITCH WANNABE!!" This caused her friends to crack-up laughing, which threw her into a rage of obscenities.
I ignored her and drove off, but then got to thinking about how sad it is that some small-town cracker white girl can honestly think that randomly flipping people off and shouting obscenities while done-up in cornrows makes her bad-ass cool. If she were to ever encounter a real gangsta-bitch, her pasty white ass would be served to her on a platter. I'd love to fly her down to East L.A. and drop her off on a random street corner and see how many minutes she could survive. Call me a horrible person, but THAT would be a great idea for a reality television series!
Things just went downhill from there. By the time I was ready for bed, I was so freaked out that I ended up taking a sleeping pill so I could manage a few hours sleep. Naturally, this meant I woke up in a drugged-out haze. At least I was in a drugged-out haze until I stubbed my toe on the bookshelf. Then I banged my head in the shower. Then I jammed my elbow putting on my shirt. Then I couldn't find my security key dongle for LightWave. Then I forgot what I had done with my lucky hat. Eventually I made it out the door, but I was not a happy camper.
After getting to the office and checking my email, I notice a message from a friend who is a fellow graphic designer that said "IM ME RIGHT NOW DAMMIT!!" Thinking that it was some kind of joke, I replied "Yeah, I'm me right now too dammit!!" Within seconds of pressing the "send" button, his reply hits my inbox... "IM = Instant Message you dork. Turn on iChat!!" And so I did. Turns out he ran into a tricky design problem and needed some advice on how to handle it. Fortunately, things like this are easy to solve with a little face-to-face video chat, and we managed to figure everything out in a few minutes.
After expressing his gratitude for my assistance, he went on to say "I hope you get your PowerBook back soon... you're looking a little grumpy today."
Hmmm... I do look a little grumpy today in a serial-killer kind of way. But all that changed the minute I looked up the repair status for my PowerBook...
AppleCare is da bomb! Can you believe it? One day turn-around repairs!! This means I just might get her back tomorrow (which is the best birthday present I could ask for!). Of course, from previous experience, I have learned never to count on Airborne/DHL for on-time delivery... but, at the very least, I should have my laptop back in time for the weekend.
Now I can't seem to wipe the smile off of my face. It's going to be a good day after all.
Well gee... nothing quite like waking up to an email in-box full of birthday wishes! Thanks everybody. Though it does make me realize that I don't know when anybody else's birthday is to return the kind favor. With that in mind, I changed the FridayQ at the last minute to a birthday-themed-meme. Now all I need to do is create a special DaveToon birthday card that I can email to everybody on their special day. Hmmmm...
DANG YOU TO HECK KITTY SPANGLES!!! I scream at my computer monitor for the hundredth time. GIMME THE RED JACK... GIVE IT TO ME YOU BITCH!! I yell in a solitaire-playing frenzy. In case you haven't guessed, I am not in the best of moods today. It's probably stemming from the fact that I got -zero- sleep last night. You see, I live in a small orchard community. There are orchards within spitting distance of my apartment. Ordinarily this is no big deal (kind of country-charm nice, in fact) but when we have a late frost descend in the valley, every orchardist runs out and turns on these giant fans to keep the moisture from settling on their fruit (thus spoiling it). So all night long I'm listening to dozens of massive propellers going WHHHRR-RRRR-RRRR WUB-WUB-WUB! WHHHRR-RRRR-RRRR WUB-WUB-WUB! It's enough to drive you insane, and it certainly has me.
At day-break they the sun comes out and they can turn the propellers off, but then the devil-geese show up and start running around the parking lot honking like birds possessed and I decide to give it up and go to work (even though it's a holiday today). The reason I am at work on a paid holiday is so I can restore some very old files that were lost when our highly-paid computer consultants decided to move the file server to another building. Unfortunately the backups are on antiquated media like ZIP disks, JAZ cartridges, and Magneto-Optical discs, so I have no way of reading them until I drag a very old Mac up from the basement and hook it up. Despite being a million years old, it works flawlessly. I can't help but get a pang of nostalgia when MacOS 9 boots up on my tiny 640 by 480 monitor. Just for kicks I see if Blogography will render at all in such an old browser. Sure enough, with a little bit of scrolling, it's perfectly functional. It's nice to know that my decision to crop all photos to 420 by 319 to accommodate small screens has paid off...
So here I sit transferring gigabytes of files from an ancient computer while occupying my dead-time playing Kitty Spangles Solitaire on my laptop and cursing. A lot. For a solitaire game, Kitty is pretty dope. What I like most about it is that you get five minutes of free play time for each game (without having to purchase the program) so you can play a kind of "speed-solitaire" that adds another level of pressure. What I don't like is that Kitty and her cute little cartoon pals continue to look adorable even when things don't go your way...
Another down-side to the game is taking crap from your friends when they call...
Reagent: Hey! What's up?
Me: Not much. Just restoring an old backup and playing a game of Kitty Spangles Solitaire.
Reagent: Kitty... Spangles... Solitaire... ?
Me: Yes, KITTY SPANGLES!!!
Reagent: That is so gay.
Me: Uhhh... you are still gay, aren't you?
Reagent: Yes. But Kitty Solitaire sounds gay, even for me.
Me: I'd think you'd be against sexual-orientation slander seeing that you're a big queer and all.
Reagent: You are avoiding the fact that Kitty Spangles Solitaire is gay...
It's so nice to have friends you can absolutely count on to pitch crap at you. I don't care if Kitty Spangles Solitaire is gay... it's so addictive that I'm seriously considering paying the $20 and registering it. If it were $10, I would absolutely register it, but $20 for solitaire seems steep when you only get Klondike. DANG YOU TO HECK KITTY SPANGLES!!!
Around the blogosphere today, I notice (via Kotke) that the brilliant Jeffrey Veen has written an excellent article about the Flash-based inactive-interactivity that seems to be plaguing the internet. He sums up exactly how I've been feeling for years now, and raises some excellent points. Well worth a read.
Speaking of Flash... I also note that famous personalities I loathe are one-by-one going through public scandals. First Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart, now annoying Extra! television host Pat O'Brien is up to his neck in it. He entered rehab a few days ago, and now the entire blogosphere knows why... he's a creepy cocaine-snorting alcoholic who likes leaving sexually-harassing messages on answering machines. That makes him not only annoying, but a freaky perv as well. Is it too much to hope that this means we've seen the last of him on television? If you really must listen to his disgustingly funny drunken messages, I recommend the cool Flash-based "Pat O'Brien Sexual Harassment Scorecard" - which is absolutely NOT safe for work (or anywhere else, really). Next up on my list: Judge Judy. Please let her get busted for crack possession and sex solicitation! Gross, I know... but Judge Judy as a crack whore would make my day (and sure explain a lot).
Well, back to work so I can get caught up and have the weekend off to go play in Seattle...
You just know that you are totally wasted when you can't figure out how to intentionally misspell a word. All I can say is that it is a good thing for you that I have spell-check because I've already made like a hundred mistakes already that had to be fixed. In fact, I just misspelled "fixed" - hah! TWICE!!
It was snowing pretty bad in the mountains today. The roads were slushy and stuff.
This made the drive to Seattle interesting, and I think that somebody is dead. After three accidents, I started taking pictures of all the accidents and #5 was being zipped up in a body bag. That's too bad. I just don't understand why people ignore big signs that say "TRUCKS MUST USE CHAINS" and "TRACTION TIRES ARE REQUIRED!!!" One lady was in her Camero Corvette (totally inappropriate for driving in heavy snows) with not-good tires and crying because she couldn't get unstucked. I felt bad for her, but what could I do? I can't raise her car six inches, and I can't make her tires all magical be snow tires. So I took her picture instead. Maybe I could have give her a kleenex because she was crying.
After another thirteen accidents in the mountains passes (not kidding) I could drive really fast because I knew that all the state patrols were helping accidents (oooh! I just had to type "accidents" four times before I could get it right!). That was kind of fun driving fast.
When I got to Seattle I was late for bowling so I drove to the bowling alley and it was COSMIC BOWLING!! It was all dark and glow in the dark and Britney spears music playing (which is okay if you are totally drunk like me!). I took pictures of my glowing shoes but I can't find my UBS cable. So I drank Jäger Bombers and Corona (with lime of course). We had big fun drinking and pizza and bowling kick-ass! Even drunk I can bowl 120!!
Anyway I will make pictures tomorrow of accidents and my cool glowing bowling shoes! Now it's time for beer and games. Later, Dave2
NOTE TO SELF: Do not attempt blogging while intoxicated. It just isn't going to work out well for anybody involved.
I remember (kind-of) being really proud of myself for being able to compose such a coherent entry while completely bombed last night. Looking back, I can see that this was a rather large misconception. My first instinct was to delete it, but I decided not to for three reasons: 1) Everybody has probably already seen it by now anyway. 2) I worked really hard on it and think it took me about 45 minutes to get all of that typed out. 3) I think it is one of my best entries at Blogography... I should get drunk more often.
Anyway, here's a slightly better account of Saturday, if you care to read it, in an extended entry after today's movie quote.
Bleh. It felt very much like a Monday today.
Schiavo. Honestly, I am not going to get into this here. I don't know Terri or anybody else involved, don't know what arrangements she made for her life, and don't have an opinion about whether something is right or wrong for somebody I've never met. What I do have an opinion about is that not everything should be a political issue. What I will say is that I do not want that kind of "life" for myself, and it should be MY f#@%ING CHOICE. So here it is, in public record: If my mind... if who I am... is gone, then don't save me. If there's little chance of recovery, let me go. Don't keep me on a respirator. Yank the feeding tube. Seriously, I've lived a full life and done more than most people ever will, so I'm perfectly okay with it. Don't worry about "making a mistake" or fret about "killing me" because it's all good. It's not that I want to die, I just don't want to live that way. I don't want to be a tool for some ass-wipe politician. I don't want to be a poster child for right-to-lifers. I don't want to be a burden on those I care about. I don't want to be remembered as a vegetable. I just don't want it. And if you care about me at all, then you shouldn't want it for me either.
Laid. Ohhhhh... so that's the problem! My check is in the mail...
Dental. Had my dental check-up this morning. That in itself is nothing special (no cavities!), but getting there sure was. Coming into Wenatchee this morning, some old dumbass in a beat-up Cadillac decided to turn into the wrong lane coming out of Wal-Mart. Usually I find the blissfully ignorant to be funny. But not when they are heading straight for me in a car. After I ran off the road to avoid him, he went on his merry way and heaven only knows what happened. I'm guessing he mowed down a fruit stand and killed a half-dozen people, or perhaps added a drive-thru to a local pharmacy where there wasn't one before.
Star. Mr. Jerz has finally hit the big time as a television star! I look forward to his future works, and am anxiously awaiting his entry on the Internet Movie Database. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Ryan Jerz, ACTOR...
(UPDATE: MrJerz.org is down, and I can't leave a comment... I can only guess that Hollywood casting agents are furiously attempting to book Jerz for a gig! I gotta give the guy props here, he absolutely managed to pull it off. I've seen first-hand what happens when people are tossed in front of a television camera and told to "act" - even in fun - and it rarely goes as well as this. So congratulations Mr. Jerz! Well played! Though I just gotta ask... did you really beat the crap out of the guy who played the thief at the end? Now that's what I call "method acting!").
Parts. Okay. If fingers are ending up in the Wendy's chili. What parts should I expect to be finding in my Wendy's Chocolate Frosty?
Dead. The reason I paid for ShowTime television: so I could watch Dead Like Me. The reason I stopped paying for ShowTime television: because they cancelled Dead Like Me. There's just nothing else on that lame HBO wannabe network worth watching. The second season of this amazing show was even better than the first, and it's coming to DVD on July 19th. It will be bittersweet to watch all those priceless episodes again knowing that there's no more to come after that last one. Crap.
Veronica. Hmmm... since I am about to gush like a 12-year-old schoolgirl, I'd better head on over to MSN Spaces to see how actual 12-year-old shoolgirls gush in their blogs... okay, here we go... omfg! new veronica marz 2nite! hehe. i am like sooooooo psyched! veronica is sooooooo cute and the show is sooooooo awesome!!!! u would luv it. hehe. VERONICA MARS RULEZ DAWGZ!!!!!! woo hoo!!!! hehe. c ya!
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.
Okay, forget everything I just said... I've decided that I want to be the new Pope. In addition to wearing those cool hats and getting to be driven around in the Popemobile, I'm thinking it would be an excellent way to meet women. I mean, hey... the Pope gets AROUND. Besides, I was raised Catholic, so I think I'm like pre-qualified or something.
I wonder if when I get to be Pope I can kick all the tourists out of the Vatican Museum and turn the Sistine Chapel into my bedroom? That would be pretty cool getting to wake up every morning and have the first thing you see be Michelangelo's masterpiece hanging above you.
And, as if it weren't enough that the Pope gets to be the adored leader of millions of people, he also gets to carry around that hefty metal staff so he can kick people's asses when they piss him off. I think I'd use it to become the first POPE NINJA!
I wonder who I need to speak to in order to be put on the official Papal Ballot?
I spent nearly the entire weekend catching up on work, which was a bit of a bummer. What little time I did have away from the office was spent helping out the local museum. When I finished up, I was walking back to my car when some random hippie guy came up to me...
Guy: Hey, how's it hanging... do you know where I can score some weed here?
Me: Errr... no.
Guy: Thanks. Take it easy.
At first I was a bit puzzled because I do not look much like the type of guy who would know where to buy drugs. But when I got home I realized that today I not only looked like a guy who would know where to buy drugs... I looked like the type of guy who would sell drugs. I really should put a little more effort into my weekend grooming habits and attire. Or maybe I should just start selling drugs on Saturdays and Sundays as a hobby. That would probably be easier.
And now that the weekend is nearly over, I've decided to get everything together for my Two Year Blogiversary Kick-Ass Online Celebration! It's only a mere eight days away, and I've still got quite a bit left to do. One minor setback happened this week when two of the prizes promised me suddenly evaporated. This leaves a nasty gap for one day's winners that I'll have to work on. But that can wait until tomorrow.
I need a bag of Double-Stuff Oreos. Sometimes after a rough day of working and not selling drugs there's nothing like Oreos and milk before bed to make everything better.
This morning I was awakened by the sound of rain pouring down outside my window, and a strange sense of déjà vu.
It's going to be one of those days.
This morning I was awakened by the sound of rain pouring down outside my window, and a strange sense of déjà vu.
It's going to be one of those days.
I pride myself on exceeding all expectations with my clients. When you hire me, I go the extra mile... ten miles, even... to make sure you are happy with the decision you made (brilliant though it may be). I put my every effort into churning out work you'll love. I endeavor to come in on (or under) budget. Whatever you need, I'm there for you (well, as long as it's legal... if you want to snort a line of cocaine off a hooker's ass, then you're on your own). I'm the perfect guy for the job, mainly because I work so hard to be perfect.
And isn't that the way it should be?
Well, apparently not.
And so the guy who branded me a liberal and got me all fired up over being labeled yesterday decided to write back. Now I'm being labeled a "hypocrite" because I myself labeled President Bush "an idiot" in that entry. He goes on to tell me that "people like you" who publicly ridicule The President do nothing but "hurt this great country."
I'd argue it makes us stronger, but whatever.
The simple truth is that there are some labels you earn, and I have fewer problems with President Bush than you would probably think I do. Sure many of his policies enrage me. And yes, I am irritated that he is supposed to be serving ALL Americans, but seems to be serving only those who label themselves Heterosexual Christian Conservatives. And of course the lying and backpedaling is annoying. And certainly I have a big problem with his very narrow world-view. But being The President is not the easiest of jobs and, even though I think he is gravely misguided in his thinking on many issues, none of it has pushed me to the point where I would attack him personally.
But there is one thing that I will never, ever forgive him for. One incident that provided me insight into George W. Bush that has made me loathe him with a righteous fury. Just one thing he has done that makes me feel completely justified in labeling him an idiot. Yes, it's just one thing, but it is so horrendously bad and un-Presidential that I seriously believe he has no business whatsoever being in office.
On March 24th of last year (my birthday, ironically enough) Bush attended the Radio & Television Correspondents' Association Dinner. Customarily, as the guest of honor, The President pokes fun at himself to show he is a "regular guy" and can be funny. George W. Bush decided to present a slide-show with humorous pictures of himself while making charming and witty commentary (quite a challenge, because he is hardly the most charming and witty of speakers). And it was all good until he showed a picture of himself looking around the Oval Office and said "those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" He then went on to show himself looking for WMDs under the couch and other silly places while being all "funny" about it.
And meanwhile, American soldiers that he sent to Iraq are dying (along with soldiers from allied nations and untold numbers of Iraqi civilians). He started a war over weapons of mass destruction, and then decided to make jokes about it when they couldn't be found. I guess it's easier than admitting you either lied or made a mistake, but that's small consolation to those who died because of it (to say nothing about their friends and families).
And that makes George W. Bush a f#@%ing idiot, because joking about having started a war and sending people to their deaths would make anybody an idiot.
I don't care that it was probably some speech writer who told him to say it, because Bush controls what comes out of his own mouth and he was the one who decided to actually say it. I don't care that The President is "only human and makes mistakes," because some mistakes are unforgivable to me, and this is certainly one of them. I don't care that The President claims to have the highest regard for our military and never meant to imply anything but respect, because his actions show otherwise. I just don't care.
Maybe he was too stupid to realize that it wasn't funny. Or maybe he was too stupid to understand what he was actually saying. Or maybe he was just too stupid to know that people die when you start a war, and there's nothing humorous about that. In any event, George W. Bush didn't need me to call him an idiot, he managed to do that all by himself. I am simply in agreement.
UPDATE: I just Googled for a link to the above story, and found an even better take on it from somebody who was actually at that dinner. A writer for The Nation named David Corn. Here's the story from his Capitol Games column.
One of the nice things about living in my home town of Cashmere, Washington is that we are a "Tree City USA." This basically means that we have a lot of trees scattered around the city that are very well cared for. It's an expensive part of the city budget, but it sure makes for a nice place to live.
The not-so-nice thing about living in a "Tree City USA" is that maintenance on all these trees is ruthless. Any diseased or damaged trees that would normally be left to rot or survive the best they can in some other city are cut down and replaced without a second thought. This is probably a good thing, but it's kind of sad when it happens to a tree that I've grown accustomed to having around.
For example... just two weeks ago I wrote about the really cool dogwood (I think) that was in bloom. It's a beautiful tree that's been around as long as I can remember. Yesterday morning it was there when I went to work. When I left to go home last night, it had been chopped down! Murdered in broad daylight!!
A tragedy. At least they waited for the flowers to fall out of bloom first. The poor tree had a glorious and beautiful send-off in its final days, and I hope that I am half as lucky when my time comes.
Sometimes it's not just a single tree... but an entire group. Mass tree murder! Back in June of last year I bogged about the "Leaning Trees of Cashmere." A few weeks ago, they were ALL chopped down in the prime of their life!
And it wasn't just those three... but practically every tree on that street. The dogwood (or whatever it was) had a disease, so cutting it down was understandable. But I have no idea what was wrong with all of these trees (except they were a bit crooked). Oh well. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before new trees are planted, but I'll bet that's not a big consolation for the brave trees who lost their lives to make room for them.
In more upbeat news, the iTunes Music Store has Coldplay's beautiful new single Speed of Sound available for purchase. Sadly, it's only a taste that will have to hold over fans until the full album is released on June 7th. I am really looking forward to this one, and am anxious to know if they can manage to top their previous effort: A Rush of Blood to the Head.
The "Blogiversary 2" contests are going quite well, and the response is better than I had expected. The down-side is that my bandwidth (which has been steadily increasing for the past several months) is finally topping out. I guess that means I'm closer than I thought to adding Google advertisements to help pay for my hosting bill each month. It's not something I really want to do, but I don't know that I can afford to avoid it much longer.
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.
I often-times wish that I had the power to make people's heads explode. But it's probably a good thing I don't, because there would be a drastic drop in the world population. I just don't think I could contain myself when it comes to simple, everyday situations where people piss me off. I can't quite decide if that makes me weak or just plain evil.
I'm betting on evil, but that could just be wishful thinking.
Anyway, if I DID have such awesome psychic powers, here's a list of people whose heads would be blown up just today (and the night is not yet over!)...
I think that it would probably go something like this...
And yet, if I went around blowing up the heads of people who rightly deserve to be headless... it would be I who was considered a criminal! It's a world gone mad. MAD I SAY!!! All I know is that it would not be wise to piss me off. I may not have head-exploding psychic powers now, but if I continue to keep growing more and more brilliant every day, it's only a matter of time.
Rather than bitch about ABC's lame attempt at cobbling together a "new" episode of Lost out of old footage tonight... or be all upset that Veronica Mars found out Logan may have provided the drug used to dope and rape her the previous year (NOOOOOooo!)... or lament the fact that I haven't found the time to play Star Wars Lego for Xbox... I think I'll just take a look at what's new around the internet.
Smith on Sith. Uber genius writer/director Kevin Smith has blogged about his screening of the final Star Wars flick... Revenge of the Sith, And really dug it. Some might discount his opinion because he's working on a new Star Wars television show for Lucas, but I've never known Kevin Smith to sugar-coat anything. If the movie was a turd, he'd call it a turd. The fact that he liked it bodes very well for the film and my potential enjoyment of it.
MacroAdobemedia. Over at Daring Fireball, there's a nice take on the Adobe/Macromedia merger that brings the current situation into vivid relief. I am still trying to figure out at what point their bug-ridden, bloated software will implode to the point of unuseability. It seems to be half-way there right now. With Macromedia out of the picture, who will be that next brave soul who picks up the baton and enters the race?
Batmania. It would be hard to do any worse that the absolute Bat-induced crap-fest that Joel Schumacher unleashed upon the world with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. And from that perspective, the new Batman Begins film looks utterly brilliant. The fact that Katie Holmes is in it is just the icing on the cake. You can watch the new trailer right here.
Katie Cruise? Speaking of Katie Holmes... have you heard that she is dating Tom Cruise?? Oh the humanity!
Nike ID. I keep seeing advertisements for the new "Nike ID" site where you can customize a pair of shoes just for you. Most of the color combinations are kind of lame but, after a while, I came up with a cool black and gray shoe that has a nifty lime-green swoosh that I might actually considering buying. My second choice was a red and blue "Spider-Man" type thing, but I'd never wear them.
Shirt Me! Well, orders have finally calmed down a bit at the Artificial Duck Store, and I'll be placing my order tomorrow morning. Hopefully this means I'll get the shirts and start shipments early next week!
I am in an incredibly bad mood today, mostly initiated by the installation of Adobe's "Creative Suite 2" on my computer yesterday. Sure it's got some glamorous features which might be fun to play with one day but, in the meanwhile, I've got work to do. And I can't work because CS2 has f#@%ed up everything beyond all comprehension. Temp files are being created and tossed everywhere (then not deleted when you quit)... fonts are so badly screwed up in Adobe Illustrator that I've had to go back to the CS1 version... the text rendering engine has been updated AGAIN, causing horribly nasty problems with every file I open. Does anybody test this shit before shipping it out the door? At first I was thrilled that they finally managed to fix the clipboard export bug that's been in Illustrator FOR A f#@%ING DECADE, but now I'd be happy if I could just work.
And now that Adobe has purchased Freehand, it's not like there's an alternative out there. For better or worse, Creative Suite 2 is all we've got. I wonder if the Windows version is this bad?
Things only got worse from there, and I thought for sure that an episode of Veronica Mars would save me. But Veronica sucked ass last night. You finally found out who "raped" her, and it was EXACTLY as I expected. So that was disappointing, but not nearly so much as the stupid yo-yo relationship with Veronica and Logan. It was fun at first, but COME ON! Stop the never-ending make-up/break-up cycle, because it's really lame and tired. And of course Lilly's accidental killer is all too easy to figure out now... the only question left is who else knew she did it? Alas, I am still very much looking forward to the season finale next week. I hold a faint hope that I am wrong about everything so there will be some surprises left.
I finally figured out why my laptop was in meltdown once I reinstalled everything this morning... turns out it was the "Virex" virus-scanning software. Ironically enough, Apple distributes the program for free to all .Mac members. Once Virex is removed, the heat levels are back to normal and the fans don't run all the time. There's 2 hours of my life I'm not getting back, all because Apple didn't test a piece of software they pass out to everybody?
But the icing on the cake of my day was when I got a call from an old girlfriend as I was re-installing my PowerBook. Guess who finally found my blog?
What followed was not a pleasant conversation, and I still have no idea what the f#@% she was going on about. I don't write about other people in my life (or out of my life, as the case may be), so what does she care if I have a blog?
*** SECTION DELETED ***
Well that was quick... just one hour to get an apology. And you are welcome!
The comic book industry has seen better days. Kids are much more interested in video games than actually having to read something. Given that, you would think that comic book creators and publishers would be bending over backwards to keep their ever-dwindling audience happy.
Well, you think wrong.
Over a decade ago, there was a comic book called Hellshock which was a thought-provoking work by Jae Lee that was simply beautiful to look at. I collected the first four-issue series in 1994, and also the second four-issue series in 1997. The problem is that the second series never got past issue 3, leaving everybody to wonder how the book concluded. But since the last chapter was never published, all anybody could do was guess.
Fast-forward to today, and we have the announcement that Jae Lee has finally been "convinced" by the people at Dynamic Forces to finish his masterwork. That's good news, right? Uhhh... no. Because they are not just printing issue #4... oh no... they are printing a friggin' BOOK of the complete series #1-4 that costs $19.95 in paperback (or a whopping $49.99 in hardback, with a $149.00 super edition that also includes a hand-draw sketch). WTF?!?
I'm sure that's fine for people who have never heard of Hellshock before, but what about the people (like me) who have already paid $9 for issues 1-3? Well, I guess we're just f#@%ed. Because if all somebody wants to do is read the final issue (eight years late), they have no other option but to fork over $19.95 for a bunch of shit we've already read in order to get it. Greedy asshats.
So, as much as I'd like to see how the story ends, Jae Lee is not getting another f#@%ing dime of my money. I paid $2.95 each for chapters 1-3... I am not paying $20 for chapter 4. This type of gouging is a disgusting way to treat fans, and a slap in the face for true comic book geeks who supported Jae in his earlier works. It pisses me off that the only way he could be bothered to finish what he started is by waving a big paycheck in front of his nose.
Oh yeah... and, before I forget: while Brandon is on his honeymoon, I will be one of the guest bloggers over at his DOWN WITH PANTS! blog. We don't have a schedule or anything, but my plan is to drop an entry every few days. My first bit will be put up tomorrow (Saturday). I must admit, the idea of writing for somebody else has me pretty nervous... I make a big enough mess on my own blog.
So, if you're interested (and you should be since I've got stories about Maui, cheese, baseball, and MONKEYS to be told! Yes, MONKEYS!!)... be sure to check out DOWN WITH PANTS! over the next two weeks. You'll know there's something new there from me when a "placeholder" entry pops up (as I plan to eventually copy these entries to my blog after a month or two). Have a good weekend everybody.
Subtlety is not one of my strong points.
And, since I don't feel bad about that, I'd guess that "guilt" isn't one of them either. Of course, if you've read this blog long enough, then you already knew that (and I'd apologize but, well, you know...). Sadly, 99.9% of the people on this earth don't read Blogography, and have absolutely no idea what they're getting into when they decide to screw with me (I'd attempt to be more understanding about that but, ahem, you see...).
Anyway, when I was at the grocery store last night to buy some packaging tape, I ran into a friend of mine. As I was leaving, I ran into another old friend, and struck up a conversation with her that was rudely interrupted half-way through:
Her: Jeez, how much longer do you think this war is going to go on?
Me: Well, they estimate that the oil reserves in Iraq will last about 40 to 50 years, so I'm guessing it will go on for about 40 to 50 years.
Her: Don't even joke about that.
Me: Huh... I wish I were, and I hope I'm wrong.
Anonymous Bitch: That's just liberal propaganda!
Me: Err... who are you and when did you join this conversation?
Anonymous Bitch: You shouldn't believe everything you hear.
Me: Me? What abou- Oh go watch an episode of FOX News and shut the f#@% up.
In my fantasy dream-sequence, the dumbass bitch then breaks out in tears, starts sobbing uncontrollably, and then begs my forgiveness for having the audacity to interrupt me. Sadly, this does not happen, and I have to settle for an impudent "hmph" as she trots her hefty NeoCon ass out of my sight.
Which begs the question... exactly when did common courtesy become passé? When did it become acceptable to interrupt the conversation of a complete stranger? And at what point am I going to be allowed to bitch-slap these idiots without risk of being sued?
It was forecast to be sunny and warm, but it rained all weekend, and continues to rain today. This pretty much sucks, because it looks like I won't be taking my motorcycle out before I have to leave next week. When are meteorologists just going to admit that they haven't a clue as to what the weather is going to be like, and they're just pulling a big ol' guess out of their asses? I wish I would have had the sense to become a TV weather man. It's one of the few jobs out there where you can be wrong all the time and not get fired.
But there is some good news to all this rain... Oscar is loving the weather. Last year I kept him inside all winter, and he didn't grow at all. A friend told me that trees need the cold weather so they can go dormant, and so I left Oscar out all winter this year. Just look at the little bugger now...
My little boy is growing up! To see what he looked like a year ago, click here.
Actually, he's growing too fast. There's so much new growth now that he's fairly top-heavy. I'm hoping he thickens out at the bottom so he can support himself... otherwise he's going to fall over and become a shrub or something. Oh well... I suppose I'll still love him anyway.
It's not all good news though. I got another piece of hate-mail this morning. This time because of remarks I made about the heinous Ann Coulter. I was told to "grow up" so then I can appreciate that "Ann is a beautiful, brilliant, true American patriot and the voice of the Conservative Majority." This just mystifies me on so many levels. I think of her more as a "skanky*, hateful anti-American bitch, who is at the forefront of dividing us as a Nation and destroying this country."
* And though she is a skank, I'd still do her.**
** If I could keep myself from strangling the bitch.***
*** Or got over my aversion to necrophilia.
As I feared, I got no sleep last night. Nada. Zip. Zero. So as I sit here taking a quick break so I can mainline my fourth "Coke with Lime" so I can stay awake, I'm trying to remember when I switched back from Pepsi to Coke. I'm pretty sure that it's when they unleashed the delicious "Coke with Lime" thing, though now Pepsi has a lime-flavored product as well, so I'm not sure.
I started out as a Coke drinker from way back, but when Apartheid came to the forefront of public consciousness, I switched to Pepsi because Coke was still sponsoring events in Sun City. I'm still a little bitter about that, but "Coke with Lime" is pretty tasty.
Oh yeah... the rest of this entry originally appears as a guest blogger entry over at DOWN WITH PANTS!. It's got Thai hookers and monkeys in it, so there's guaranteed something for everyone!
I am slightly obsessed with monkeys. I find them to be fascinating creatures... one moment they are doing something so brilliant that you believe that they really are our evolutionary cousins... then the next minute they are throwing poop at you. It's kind of a lifestyle to be envious of, if you want to know the truth. I've lost count of the number of times I've wanted to throw my poop at somebody and be able to get away with it.
This is not, however, a toss-the-poop kind of story, so feel free to continue reading.
A while back my brother and I decided to go to Thailand for thrilling adventures involving cheap hookers and great Thai food. But before we left, our father decided to scare the crap out of us with the HIV infection statistics of Thai working girls. This meant that we were suddenly left with a gaping hole in our schedule, and a lot of extra time on our hands that we weren't planning on.
Eventually we decided to take a flight to Southern Thailand so we could see Phuket and the surrounding area. This included the very, very cool Phang Nga (aka "James Bond Island") which was used in "The Man With the Golden Gun." It also included a trip to a hidden Buddhist Temple which was "guarded" by thousands of monkeys. For less than a quarter, you could by bunches of bananas to feed the little guys, which was also very cool, since they would come right up and take the food from you.
And here is where it got interesting, because I noticed that monkeys eat bananas backwards from how I do it... and backwards from how everybody else I've ever seen do it as well. They peel from the tip instead of the stem so that they have a "handle" to hold on to the thing as they eat that last bite...
Simply brilliant! Why in the heck didn't I think of that?
And there you have it... how I learned to eat a banana from a monkey. Priceless knowledge you can use! Hmmm... now a banana is sounding good for some reason. I'll bet it goes great with "Coke with Lime."
As an eternal optimist (brought forth from my Buddhist studies which dictate that all things turn out as they should in the end), I am always looking for the good in any situation. But it's kind of freaking me out how difficult it is to actually be an optimist now-a-days. Most times I have to be content that I can make up something funny around the situation, rather than actually having something good come out of it. Even then, you have to look really hard.
Three recent examples have me trying to find "the funny" in war, in elderly poverty, and in illiteracy...
The Sad: Soldiers in their desert camouflage saying goodbye to their families at the airport so they can head back to Iraq. The Funny?: One soldier, somehow holding it together for his sobbing wife, turns to her and says: "... and no sleeping with my brother while I'm gone!" More tears... and laughter... as she kisses him goodbye.
The Sad: An older gentleman at Dennys ordering not according to what he wants, but according to what he can afford. Even worse, he probably skipped out buying some medication he needed so he could afford to eat in the first place. The Funny?: The guy sure got bang for his buck. When I returned an hour later to pick up a chocolate shake for take-away, he was still there eating his breakfast value meal and reading a book with his free-refill coffees.
The Sad: The woman discussing her new reading club and saying "it's written in ancient English or something, so it takes a lot longer to read than real books." The Funny?: The book in question was The Invisible Man, written in 1897 (you know... back in ancient British times when Stonehenge was being built and the wheel was invented! I think H.G. Wells carved the story on stone tablets did he not?). Oh well, at least she's reading the original novel rather than renting the Chevy Chase movie spoof. That's got to count for something (though I rather enjoyed Memoirs of an Invisible Man myself).
And in my own life...
The Sad: My job is going to run late into the night tonight, turning this into yet another long day (22 hours+) of nothing but work. The Funny?: By getting work out of the way now, I will have time to stop by "Goblin Valley" tomorrow on my way to a few days of much-needed vacation time in Southern Utah. Goblins are funny.
Total volume of music files on my computer: 22.54GB.
The last CD I bought was: Well, I don't buy CDs anymore, but the last album I bought off of the iTunes Music Store was With Teeth by Nine Inch Nails. It's not Pretty Hate Machine and doesn't reach The Downward Spiral brilliance, but is still pretty kick-ass.
Song playing right now: That would be Halo by Depeche Mode off my iPod Shuffle.
Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me: Like Neil says, these are songs that I've been listening to a lot lately - not necessarily my favorites - as seen in the "Last Played" column of iTunes...
A good meme... but I wish there was a question about upcoming stuff, like "what new release are you most looking forward to" (which, for me, would be Coldplay's upcoming album) because I am always on the look out for new stuff, and am curious to know what everybody else has on the horizon.
I was planning on writing up a big rant over the bullshit "Real ID" crap that our beloved US government has decided to foist upon us. I was going to go nuts over how things like this are so astoundingly stupid, because techno-ignorant old men and big companies who stand to make millions are the ones actually making the decision. But Tonya asked for opinions over on her blog, so I've decided to just release my notes and save the rant for another day.
I am on vacation, after all...
In order to prevent terrorist acts and live in relative safety, I am willing to lose a small amount of my privacy and freedom... IF THE REAL ID CARD HAD ANY HOPE OF ACTUALLY WORKING! But given the technical proficiency of people today, it's guaranteed to fail. And if anybody thinks that these things won't be cracked and counterfeited, they are living in Fantasyland. History has shown that things like this will only ever benefit "the bad guys" - it happens every time.
So, do I want millions of dollars of my tax dollars to be invested in a project that will almost certainly fail, all while people are starving, homeless, jobless, and without health care? No.
Am I willing to have my personal information available to anybody requiring Real ID to buy a pack of Twinkies, knowing that they could possibly have a device to STEAL my identity off the card and use it unhindered, because people will be disillusioned into thinking "Real ID is infallible?" No.
Do I actually trust that the government will protect the information they collect, and not abuse such information when it suits whatever whim they might sneak into some other bill? No.
Do I think that Real ID is simply a ploy to make people feel safer, doomed to ultimate failure, and yet another step toward big government controlling all aspects of our lives. Call me paranoid, but absolutely yes.
I am more than just a little surprised that more people aren't freaking out over this. Where's the shock? Where's the outrage? Where's the concern? The fact that we are so quiet about what is being done to us is more cause for alarm than the cards themselves.
What happens to a country when its citizens lose interest in questioning the decisions their government makes for them? I don't know, but living in The United States of America gets scarier with each new day.
UPDATE: I received an email asking "what information will they require for the card? The answer is... nobody knows yet. Could be as little as your full name and birth date. Could be more involved, such as your address. Could be even harsher, such as your occupation, political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, religion, medical records, family history, criminal record, and what you had for breakfast. The scary, really scary thing is that they could require just about anything. And while it may start innocent enough, there's no telling where it could lead in the future.
That way, it will be much easier for the government to segregate "undesirables" from "True Americans" in "times of crisis." Think I am overreacting? Read your history books. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! And if you are so deluded as to think "something like that couldn't happen in America" then you are truly in need of a wake-up call... not only has it happened numerous times throughout history (World War II internment? McCarthy hearings?), it's happening right now.
"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." -- Maya Angelou.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -- George Santayana.
I've decided to have elective surgery to garner sympathy from total strangers. It seems everywhere I go, people I don't even know are forever droning on about some health crisis I couldn't care less about. Since I don't get sick and have never had so much as a broken bone, I feel that I must be missing out on something.
The question is... what do I want to have done? It has to be something that sounds dangerous and life-threatening, but is actually fairly harmless. At first I was thinking that I'd just go have my appendix ripped out because, well, it's not like you need it or anything. But an appendix sounds pretty lame when somebody decides to hit you with that triple bypass they just had.
Maybe I'll just lie and say I got my brain rotated or something. That should shut people up.
Food: Returning from a week away means there's no food in the house, so it's off to the market I go... only to have my ears immediately assaulted by Michael Bolton screeching one of his suck-ass "songs" across the store's speaker system. And don't ask me which one, because they all sound the same to me. That's because, for lack of actual talent, Bolton SCREAMS the lyrics to his "music" which means all I hear is WAAAAAHHH! As much as I fantasize about shooting stupid people that bug me, I'm glad that I don't pack a gun, because I would have blown my own head off right there in the produce section. As if that wasn't punishment enough, the guy ahead of me in the check-out line had "Pure Country" tattooed on his arm.
Switch: All the internet is abuzz with the rumor that Steve Jobs is switching the Mac platform to Intel chips. I don't really care. It's Microsoft Windows that sucks ass, not the Intel and AMD chips it runs on. If I can get a faster Mac at a cheaper price on Intel-based machine, that's fine. That having been said, I'll believe it when I see it.
Handbook: As I mentioned in my "Book Meme" answers, a book that means a lot to me is Richard Bach's Illusions. Inside this fictional account of a "reluctant messiah," there is reference to the Messiah's Handbook. Whenever you are uncertain about something, you flip randomly through this little book and read a page that is supposed to remind you about an answer that you already know. While I was in Seattle, I stopped by the most excellent Elliott Bay Book Co. to see what the staff is recommending, and was shocked to see that they have actually published this fictional tome! It's packed full of little quotes from Bach's wondrous books. Just like in Illusions, the book is not meant to be read... you're supposed to flip through it when you need guidance. As an example, you might ask yourself "why am I here?" then flip open the book and read: "Here's a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't." It's kind of fun, but I've been doing this for years with any book at hand... whether it be The Bible, Curious George Makes Pancakes, or Frommer's Guide to Boston. The nice thing about using Bach's book is that the passages are written specifically for insight, which makes it kind of a nifty thing to own.
Wacko: The Michael Jackson trial is coming to a close. Will the freak who likes to sleep with little boys in his bed be sent off to a pound-you-in-the-ass federal penitentiary? Probably not. I'm sure he'll just be written off as an eccentric, and walk away with nothing more than a big lawyer bill to show for it. I would be more interested in seeing the parents of these children put on trial for actually allowing a scary-ass pedophile like Jackson near their kids. But what do I know... let's ask the Messiah's Handbook: "Not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true." Yikes. The stuff really works!
Smile. I am addicted to Coke with Lime. This is unusual because I don't even really like soda. But for reasons unknown, I am currently drinking two cans a day. From the Messiah's Handbook: "No one can solve problems for someone whose problem is that they don't want their problems solved."
Driven: While making my way home yesterday, I had to drive through boat-loads of horrendous Seattle traffic because, on top of being rush-hour, there was also a Mariners game going on. Making matter worse was the fact that people are stupid. EVERYBODY knows that you don't enter an intersection if you are not able to get through it... this is so that you don't block said intersection and obstruct traffic. But a stupid woman in her silver Volvo did exactly that, just as the light turned green for me. I gunned my engine and pulled right up to her door, thinking the daft bitch would try to move out of my way, but she took out her mobile phone and made a call instead. It took every bit of restraint I could muster to avoid ripping her car door off, grabbing her mobile phone, and then beating her to death with my bare hands. From the Messiah's Handbook: "Anger is always fear, and fear is always fear of loss. Wow. That sounds like something Yoda would say! Apparently Yoda is a Richard Bach fan as well.
Bleh. I think I'm going to sit in front of the television for the rest of the day and veg out. I don't feel like doing much of anything. What does the Handbook have to say about that? "Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours." Ain't that the truth.
While killing time waiting for an eye exam appointment after work, I went to JC Penny's because the socks I like are on sale there. While looking around, I ran across a man and a woman shopping in the menswear section. The guy was clearly not into it (what guy would be?) but the verbal exchange that followed shocked me pretty bad...
GUY: (holding up a shirt) Screw it. I'm just going to get this one.
GAL: (holding up a different shirt) Really? I think this one would look better on you.
GUY: Well nothing looks good on you, you ugly bitch, so why don't you just shut up! I'm getting this f#@%ing shirt.
GAL: Okay. Okay. Sorry.
I will never forget the look on that woman's face after having heard such a heinous remark. It was a look of utter defeat and sadness that will haunt me for a long, long time. One minute she was cheery and helpful, the next she was mentally beaten and distant. The sad thing is that this is probably not the first time she's heard that.
The even sadder thing is that she probably believes it.
I cannot fathom why people put up with such cruelty and abuse. If the bastard had said that to me, he'd end up with the clothes-hanger shoved up his ass, and I wouldn't care about the consequences. I mean, seriously, what keeps this woman from cutting his penis off in the middle of the night and flushing it down the toilet? How does somebody get to the point where they are so damaged that public degradation is deemed acceptable?
Politicians suck ass. Republican... Democrat... whatever... they are so busy trying to screw each other that everyday citizens are the ones who lose out because nothing else gets done.
Sadly, professional politicians wouldn't have it any other way. The bigger the battles, the more money they make. The bigger the distraction, the easier it is to slip in a pay raise. The entire political situation here has come to a head of such gross inefficiency that you have to wonder how in the heck anything happens at all. My home state of Washington is a prime example. We've got a mayor in Spokane who traded jobs for sex (and is accused of molesting young boys as well), yet the city is having a tough time getting him recalled (despite the fact that some of the evidence is undisputed). We've got a Governor's race that was held last November, but has only just now been settled (6 months later) because we can't even count votes. Tax dollars are being wasted at a record pace. Government at all levels is a complete mess.
And where is the outcry? Buried. Buried because Democrats are too busy fighting Republicans and Republicans are too busy fighting Democrats. And so long as we allow it, nothing is going to change.
I'm quite angry about that.
And it's mostly because of health care.
If there is ONE thing that people should be able to agree on, it's that the citizens of this country should be able to have access to health care, right? You would certainly think so. But it doesn't seem to matter who is sitting at the President's desk, the cost of being healthy keeps going up and up and up.
Lucky for me, I am in excellent health... so far. I haven't taken a sick day in years, and so it doesn't matter that my health insurance keeps cutting benefits and the cost for decreasing coverage spirals out of control every year. Hey, I consider myself lucky to even have insurance, when so many people are without. It may cost a lot and not cover much, but if I have a massive heart attack, I am secure in the knowledge that I won't go bankrupt.
And now we have "Health Savings Accounts" where you can put aside money to pay for today's massive insurance deductibles... all tax free. This is a good thing, but it is done horribly wrong. You see, you can only put in money that matches your annual insurance deductible. And even though you can USE the money for medical procedures NOT covered by your health plan, those dollars don't apply to your deductible in the first place, so basically you are f#@%ed both ways. More and more things (like vision care) are no longer covered, no longer apply to your deductible... yet DON'T count towards the money you are allowed in a tax-free account. That is some pretty f#@%ed up shit right there. I keep thinking I might one day give up contact lenses and go for Lasik eye surgery. But it's not covered, and it would take me TWO YEARS to be able to put the money needed in my new HSA and be tax free. Why? Why the f#@% can't I get the whole thing tax-free NOW? Sure I can claim it on my taxes come next year but, after calculating the percentage over my adjusted income, it won't gain me a damn thing. The government is just giving me a big "f#@% you" because I was unfortunate enough to be born with poor eyesight (heck, even if I never get surgery, my eye exams and lenses still have to be paid for!).
What it comes down to is that even those people who have jobs and have insurance are slowly becoming unable to pay for medical expenses. It's either too pricey, not covered, or their deductible is so outrageous that they simply cannot afford it. And, on top of all of that, unless it's a major medical expense that's above a certain percentage of your adjusted income... it's not even tax deductible unless you can some how pull it out of a savings account that barely covers the insurance deductible in the first place!
How much longer are people going to take politicians fighting each other instead of fighting for the people who elected them? Time is running out... if things keep going as they are, pretty soon nobody will be able to afford to be healthy. But I suppose as long as they are just healthy enough to vote, politicians will continue to make empty promises for health care reform that never materialize.
I am so cool.
When I left work this afternoon, I ran into a guy and his young son looking at my motorcycle. This is nothing new. I look out my office window and see people inspecting my ride all the time. It's just unique enough... just cool enough looking... to attract attention. The guy asked me the standard bevy of questions, but it was his kid's query that made my day...
Kid: Can you fly a plane too?
Dave: Ha! No. I can jump out of a plane with a parachute though.
Kid: Wow! You're just like James Bond!
Yes. That's me. Just like James Bond.
Except I smell funny.
But this is not my fault. I switched to GAIN "Cotton Fresh" Touch of Softness laundry detergent, and now I smell like I've been doused in pesticides. I don't smell cotton fresh at all. Looking back, I should have known better. I mean, what exactly does fresh cotton smell like anyway? Oh well. I wonder if since I smell like bug spray if this means I don't have to worry about being attacked by packs of wild cockroaches.
And after a liberating bike ride out in the beautiful sunshine, I'm home to work some more. But within a few minutes, I get a call on iChat...
Reagent: Whatcha doin?
Dave: Watching TV and working.
Reagent: Watcha watchin?
Dave: I dunno... some kind of home improvement show. Two guys are remodeling their house or something. I'm not paying that much attention, it's just background noise.
Reagent: Two guys? Together? Quick, write a letter and boycott the network!
Dave: Hey! Why do you assume they're gay? They might be brothers or cousins or roommates or something!
Reagent: Are they hot?
Dave: WHAT? How in the hell would I know that? They're just guys. Hey... they're Mac users!!
Reagent: Oh yeah... they're gay alright.
And here I was worried that I wouldn't have anything to write about today.
I am very cross this evening. Very cross indeed.
This is probably due to my working 16-18 hours every day for the past two weeks, but it could very well be that I'm just a crotchety bastard who is tired of the never-ending legal stupidity that seems to accumulate day after day. Here's just a sampling from this morning's news...
Flag. Oh crap. Boing Boing is reporting that Hollywood turd-wranglers are trying once again to sneak the "Broadcast Flag" bullshit onto a Senate appropriations bill. This time they're taking no chances and being really sneaky... they're attaching it TOMORROW. This insane attempt to completely control all aspects of how Americans watch television was already swatted down once but, thanks to the totally f#@%ed up way our government works, is back from the dead. Why is it that we have a legal system that allows legislation to be snuck onto bills without any debate? That's pretty chicken-shit if you ask me, and explains how idiotic crap like the "Real ID" act gets passed into law despite public outcry. If this bitch passes, you can kiss TiVo goodbye. I'll then be telling Hollywood to kiss my ass, and turn to sock puppets and masturbation as my sole sources of entertainment. Because if you can't play well with others...
Patent. How to make a million dollars without doing shit... 1) Think up some new obtuse method of doing something simple and draw a picture of it as a computer interface. 2) Take advantage of our antiquated and tech-inhibiting legal system to get a patent. 3) Sit back and wait for some poor bastard to come along and actually create this blindingly obvious product that should have never been given a patent in the first place. 4) DON'T ACT... WAIT!! Wait five or six years for the product to become a phenomena, and then sue. SUE LIKE THE WIND YOU SCAMMER f#@%!! Never mind that you never had any intention of building the shit... you drew a crappy picture, so go get your million dollars!! 5) Be content that you are contributing to a problem that will inhibit future technology from ever being developed, due to fear of dumbass patent-infringing legal action. If you want a text-book case to study, here's one: Apple is being sued over iTunes.
I'm already working on my own patent right now...
Once they start building computerized bread slicers (or automated circumcising machines), I'm rich, baby!!
This case against Apple is complete bullshit. Seriously. Music can be organized using artists, albums, songs, cover art, and genres. THAT'S IT!! FIVE f#@%ING THINGS! How many ways is there to display such limited information so that it makes sense? One? Two or three? FIVE perhaps?!? This is basic, basic, BASIC stuff. ANYBODY designing a player for music is going to come up with pretty much the same thing. And yet some ass-clown was able to get a patent for it. Stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID. Whoever granted the patent for this needs to be kicked in the ass and then bashed in the head with a rock. Even if lame patents are allowed, you should then be required to actually BUILD THE DAMN THING within a certain period of time! Use it or lose it dumbasses.
Misery. And lastly, some crazy bitch is suing Stephen King because she claims her life is the inspiration for his book Misery. Given that the character in question was a psychotic nurse, I'm happy to see that life is indeed imitating art. But the best part is yet to come... this is not the first time that she has sued the famous author. Back in 1991, the same woman accused King of breaking into her house numerous times and stealing manuscripts written by her and her brother. Assumably the manuscripts were the basis for his best-selling books. Never mind that the case was dismissed... this total whack-job is allowed to once again clog up our overcrowded courts with her bullshit. Whatever monkey-spanking lawyer took this case should be flogged in public.
There are more, of course. Stupid lawsuits are filed at a rate of thousands per day. But so long as lawyers are actually allowed to live for propagating such ambulance-chasing crap, nothing is ever going to change. One day society WILL tire of this moronic behavior, and it will be legal (encouraged, even) to shoot lawyers in the head whenever they file a frivolous lawsuit. When that day comes, I am so applying for a job as a file clerk at the local courthouse.
Next to my apartment complex is a small, yet nicely appointed, mobile home park. Housed within the park is an elderly couple who seem to like nothing better than yelling and screaming at each other over the most trivial things. They yell about postage stamps. They yell about the weather. They yell about sandwiches. They yell about dirt for heaven's sake. This morning as I was leaving for work, they were at it again. This time they were yelling about where to place the lawn sprinklers (of all things). And it ain't no "cute little old people fighting" type of thing... it's more of a "one day somebody is going to end up stabbed to death" type of thing. I will try to be surprised on the day the police finally show up.
Much like I was surprised to see the new packaging for the pending DVD release of The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season which is coming out on August 16th. Sets 1-5 had a similar look that was actually kind of cool... each season, the television on the front of the box would change slightly to reflect the passage of time (on Season 3, for example, the Simpsons finally got cable television because there's a cable TV box on top). I was actually looking forward to future seasons to see if they would ever upgrade to a plasma flat-screen or something! But, alas, the next release will switch the format to "big plastic heads" for the boxes (starting with Homer)...
Yes it's a cool box, but I hate it when they change the packaging design in mid-series. I want all the boxes for a show to look similar on the shelf (like the boxes for Friends, Buffy, Angel, and South Park). And how are they going to make boxes for Lisa and Maggie, who have round heads... or for Marge, who's hair is five times taller than Homer? And will they label the sides so you can tell what season is what without having to pull them out? These are all going to look like crap on my DVD shelf. Maybe this is my cue to stop collecting the show? I wish you had the option of the old packaging to complete your collection.
But the biggest surprise of the day was finding out I have a stalker.
Well, not really... but a Blogography reader from Olympia did track me down while she was passing though the area today. From her first stop in town, it took her all of ten minutes before she found me. Such is life in a small town where everybody knows your name. This is a bit disconcerting, because it means when the government finally comes to take me away, it won't be much of a challenge for them. Anyway, "hello Tara" and thanks for stopping to say hi.
As mentioned in my FridayQ entry earlier today, I need to build my own theme park. A place where my followers can come to worship me and have big fun as well. A place that's a safe refuge from the craziness of the outside world. A place where people can give thanks for all the little things I do to make the world a better place. A place that's better maintained than Disneyland, more enlightened than DollyWood, and more kick-ass than Universal Studios.
A place that will make me incredibly wealthy...
And here's a map and list of attractions you'll find at Daveland...
And there you have it. Plenty of fun and educational activities to keep you occupied for days! It can all be yours once I've built "Daveland" the "Daveiest Place on Earth!"
Apparently, Daveland disappointed a few people because of some things that were missing. But Daveland is only a small part of a much bigger plan... you see, right next door to the theme park is The Dave Resort. A magnificent place where Dave's legion of worshipers can go to relax and have fun in a Church of Daveology-friendly environment.
Here's a map and list of attractions you'll find at The Dave Resort...
Alrighty then. Another couple of billion dollars added to the total, but what does money matter?
WARNING. Today's Blogography contains subject matter of a disturbing nature. Rather than be upset by what you read and then feel the need to write me another hate mail, why not just save us both the trouble and go f#@% yourself. Thanks!
As I slowly approach the finish line of the project that has been consuming every waking moment of every day for the past two weeks, I have been able to squeeze in a bit of free time to check in on some blogs and make a tiny dent in the hundreds of emails that have been accumulating. It is not a lot of progress, but it does make me feel better knowing that my life is on a track back to "normalcy."
And now that I'm finally going to have some honest-to-goodness free time in my future, I find myself starting to think of what I am going to do with it. The list goes something like this...
But that's a week away. In the meanwhile, I still have loads of work to do and a blog entry to write. This should be easy... I could just weigh in on the two topics that are dominating the blogosphere right now:
So if I am not going to write about iTunes or Bush, what's the topic for the day? Find out in an extended entry!
Whooooo! Happy Independence Day!
Today is the day where every red-blooded American gets to be a patriot. Or at least torch off some fireworks and burn the house down. Or whatever. It's also a day when politicians can wrap themselves in the flag and wax poetic about America so they can sucker people into believing that they actually give a crap about something other than money and power.
And what better way to do THAT than to drag out the old flag-burning debate? And that's exactly what the House of Representatives did last month when they endorsed a Constitutional amendment to ban such activities.
It's a perfectly lovely non-issue diversion that works every single time. I mean, why would we possibly want to waste time solving real problems like unemployment and health care when we can discuss idiots who are so stupid that the only way they can get their point across is to burn something.
Yes, I said it... I think anybody who burns a flag is a raging moron.
Partly because they have no respect for people who fought and died for what that flag represents... but mostly because it's just so lame and pathetic. About the only thing more pathetic is a politician trying to make it illegal.
And let me tell you why.
I was once involved with a project that had a very "patriotic" theme to it. As I started work, it was brought to my attention that it is forbidden by the "Flag Code" to use the flag as a symbol on anything except military, police, and firefighter uniforms. It is considered especially heinous to use the flag on "temporary" items which are discarded after use, or any form of advertising. This is considered to be desecration.
I adhered to this ideal for years because I didn't want to offend anybody. But then I started noticing that the flag appears on EVERYTHING from party streamers and T-shirts to campaign signs and posters. That's when I finally just decided to ignore the "Flag Code" and use the flag in situations where I want to sum up America in one iconic symbol. Hey, they do it for the Olympics, and all kinds of other organizations, so why should it be any different for citizens like me? So long as I use the flag respectfully... as a symbol of nationality and pride... I actually think this is a good and patriotic thing to do. Like when Perry and I went on our Hard Rock Run through Europe and I designed badges and pins for the event. I used flags to show nationality, and find nothing wrong with that:
But, with the flag appearing on practically everything, my point about lame flag-burners and the politicians against them is totally proven. Let's take this example:
Yes, it's a pair of flag underwear. But think about it for a moment. Let's imagine that this buff, shaven stud with a small penis was wearing these flag underwear to a dinner party. Then let's imagine that this was a dinner party where some food was under-cooked, and he got sick. Then let's further imagine that he got diarrhea and shit his pants.
Thus shitting on the flag of the United States of America.
Now, I don't know about you... but, in my mind, shitting on the flag is far worse than burning it. So if our STUPID f#@%ING POLITICIAN ASSHOLES decide that they need to distract us from REAL problems by amending the Constitution to make flag-burning illegal... then where is the amendment making SHITTING on the flag illegal?
And, because I'm in a mood, here's another example:
Those are flag napkins. But think about it for a moment. Let's imagine a high-school girl is going to a 4th of July party. Then let's imagine that she decides to drink alcohol for the first time and consumes a fifth of Jack Daniel's (another American institution). Then let's further imagine that she gets alcohol poisoning and pukes all over the buffet table and they clean it up with the napkins.
Thus smearing the flag of the United States of America with puke and tossing it in the garbage.
Now, I don't know about you... but, in my mind, cleaning up vomit with a flag and throwing it in the garbage is far worse than burning it. So if our DUMB-f#@% POLITICIAN IDIOTS want to waste taxpayer money to distract us from REAL problems with a new amendment... then where is the amendment making PUKING on the flag and THROWING IT IN THE GARBAGE illegal?
I could go on and on, of course. My imagination knows no bounds when it comes to stuff like this. But let's wrap this up, shall we?
Now go eat apple pie, watch a baseball game, light off some fireworks, and shoot guns from the back of your pick-up trucks... and do it quickly before they add a new amendment to the Constitution which makes it illegal. Happy Independence Day.
Show! While waiting for my new audio equipment to arrive, I wasted a couple of hours animating a studio audience for Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show. It's not as easy as you might think. I ran out of ideas for different people "looks" after four characters, yet had to come up with a minimum of 36 to get the effect I wanted. I'm still not sure how I am going to assemble "cuts" in Toon Boom Studio, but I am quite pleased I was able to build an entire studio audience in just 90k. I rule.
Stats! It's interesting to note just how few people were surfing my blog over 4th of July weekend. Traffic was cut nearly in half! In some ways, this is kind of nice, because I barely made it through last month's bandwidth allowance (again).
Lego! I just got the latest Lego Shop-at-Home catalog. If anybody wants to buy me a present, I am so wanting the new "Dino Attack" T-1 Typhoon Helecopter vs. T-Rex set! It's unbelievably cool...
Withdrawals! I have been attempting to wean myself from Coke with Lime, which has been keeping me going over the past three weeks of 16-20 hour work days. I'm down to two cans a day, which is a marked improvement from the 6-7 I was consuming daily just last week.
Answers! Science Magazine has listed the "Top 125 Things Facing Science Over the Next Quarter Century" as a cornerstone to the essay entitled "What Don't We Know?" Since I know everything, I've decided to take a dozen of the questions and answer them. Uhhh... well, I'm answering them the best I can given the limitations of human understanding. After all, it's not my fault I'm so much smarter than today's top scientists. The boring answers (with absolutely no scientific basis) are in an extended entry...
Here's yet another "I don't usually post story links here, but this one is just too disturbing" type entries.
Over at Boing Boing, they came up with a scary link about a trend in Photoshopping little girls to make them look more "angelic." This is not a little touch-up here and there, it's more like an entirely new painting of your child, but dressed like a prostitute with big, pouty lips and enormous manga-style eyes that look like they're made of glass.
I think it makes them look like "Dead Hooker Babies" and it scares the crap out of me...
WTF?!? I mean, these people DO realize how many perverted child-molesting freaks are out there... don't they? Why would you invite their attention by doing this to your child? Even more puzzling, what parent would want to turn their kid into a hooker Barbie doll? What am I missing here?
This got me curious as to what I might look like as a Dead Hooker Baby. Probably something like Jared Leto (but without his charisma and acting talent)...
Or maybe Chris Rock (but without his brilliant sense of humor, millions of dollars, or hottie wife)...
Or even Pamela Anderson (but without her, well, you know)...
The mind boggles. And now I'm going to see if I can squeeze in one or two hours of sleep before I have to go back to work. Bleh.
Here I am back in Seattle (again). After taking off on an over-booked Horizon Air flight (again). So that I can travel to the East Coast (again). For work (again).
Since I had to get up at 3:30am (after having gone to bed shortly after midnight), I am in a rather cranky mood. Though it would be hard to lay all the blame on my measly 3 hours sleep, because I've been cranky most days for the past couple of weeks. Also, I want a piece of chocolate cake.
Oh well. Because I'm in a cranky mood, I've decided to break my indifference to the entire Karl Rove situation, mostly because of this statement made by our fearless leader:
No shit?!? Is this starting from TODAY, or is it retroactive? And shouldn't that quote actually be: "If someone is CAUGHT committing a crime, they will no longer work in my administration"?? Seriously, did somebody actually write this up for him, or is he flying solo with this crap? Also, is a politician in public office who lies to the American people committing a crime? Just asking.
And, just out of curiosity, if they ARE caught committing a crime, is the being fired in ADDITION to going to a pound-you-in-the-ass penitentiary, or INSTEAD of? I mean, criminals still do go to jail, don't they? Or aren't they at least supposed to? So shouldn't that quote really be: "If somebody is CAUGHT committing a crime, they will no longer work in my administration AND BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW"?? How can you hold a job in the Bush administration if you're in jail? I suppose you could always be hired as a consultant.
I really try to be a nice guy. I don't always succeed, but I do try.
Which is why when I see two idiot kids picking on another kid because he doesn't have a nice bike and expensive clothes... well, I don't understand it at all. It isn't you, so why do you care? You've GOT the pricey bicycle and sweet threads, so what does it really matter that some other guy isn't as fortunate? Is your life really so pathetic that you feel the need to belittle somebody over what they don't have and can't change? Bizarre. But they are just stupid kids, so what are you gonna do?
Though it kind of makes me wonder if things really change once we've grown up.
Probably not, but the dynamics do. When you're a kid, you rely on your parents for the things you have, so it's really out of your hands. As an adult, it's all you. I can't decide which is the least desirable situation to be in.
Since people probably make fun of what I choose to wear, I think I'd rather go back to being a kid again.
At least way back then, my biggest problem from Microsoft would be DOS instead of the whole Windows fiasco.
Today I was forced to test a document to be sure it would work on a WindowsXP PC. The problem is that my Windows machine died with the last "Critical Update" and I don't feel like blowing two hours of my life doing a complete reinstall. So I borrowed another machine, only to find that it was begging for a round of "Critical Updates" too... which I ignored (not wanting to repeat the demise of my own machine on somebody else's). It was all downhill from there...
At this point, I quite honestly don't know what to do. I am forced to use Windows on occasion, and I accept that... but HOLY CRAP!! HOW DO YOU WINDOWS USERS GET ANYTHING DONE?!?? I am constantly fighting the OS in order to make things work (e.g., on the Mac, the menu bar is always at the top of the screen, so you can never "over-shoot" it... with Windows, there's such a tiny area to hit that menu bar within the window, that I end up working with windows "full-screen" to save my sanity). And that's just the beginning... there are dozens of things so stupidly unintuitive and ridiculous, that I just marvel at the absurdity of it all.
My real problem is that I'm so used to having everything so easy on my Mac, that Windows is very much like torture for anything past surfing the web or checking email. To do actual work requires hopeless periods of lost productivity that I just can't afford. I have to wonder how many man-hours Microsoft is responsible for pissing away on a daily basis... and I'm not even including down-time from corrupted system files, viruses, spyware, and everything else you have to deal with. Sheer insanity
Is it all my fault? Am I using it wrong? Would it help if I were to go buy a Windows for Dummies book? Something tells me the answer is "no," but I figure it's only diplomatic to look for an alternative to making fun of Windows because it's wearing a ripped-out pair of 70's bell-bottom jeans and riding a busted-ass tricycle that was rescued from the dump.
Why did the rat cross the road?
I don't know, and apparently neither did he.
On the way home from work today, I had to slam on the brakes because a rat ran out in front of my car from the opposite side of the road. He got all the way across, took a look around, then turned around and ran right back to where he started. Perhaps he thought that things would be better over on the other side, and finally worked up the courage to run across... then found out that the other side of the street wasn't all he had hoped it would be.
I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere. Hopefully it involves looking both ways before crossing the street, because that rat very nearly became road kill.
Speaking of rats, I am fearing that the guest list may be slightly altered for Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show (whenever I get around to working on it again)...
I'll keep you posted.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere, SJ is forever coming up with cool list ideas for "Chronic Listaholic," but her current list idea is so cool that I'm going to steal it:
Ten Phrases I Hope To Say Someday...
Hmmm... I had a rant ready for today, but I want a slice of chocolate cake now. Maybe tomorrow.
Make no mistake about it... Adobe is evil and must be destroyed.
Ever since upgrading my "Adobe Creative Suite" to version 2, I've been plagued with problems. And since 99% of the work I do is in CS apps (Photoshop, Illustrator, GoLive, and InDesign) this is a seriously big deal. Most of the problems are just annoyances that hinder my productivity. But a few of the problems are so mind-staggeringly critical, that my work abruptly comes to a halt and there doesn't seem to be any way around it.
Case in point: A typeface that I use every single day is "Helvetica Black." Look at any US food product and where you see the words "NUTRITION FACTS" - that's Helvetica Black. It's everywhere in everything I do. But it no longer works in Adobe Illustrator CS2. The font doesn't load and won't appear. It works perfectly in CS1, but CS2 refuses to acknowledge it. So I go to the Adobe KnowledgeBase and find a document telling me that some fonts won't load if they are too old, and the solution is to purchase a font upgrade.
But there is really no such thing as a font "upgrade" because there is no upgrade discount at all. It simply means that you have to purchase all new fonts. Which is quite a scam when you think about it. How do you get people to buy fonts they already own? Just make the fonts they purchased not work anymore! Genius!
So I go spend hundreds of dollars to buy those same fonts (AGAIN) only to find out that there is a bug in Illustrator that prevents replacing old document fonts with new versions. This pretty much sucks, because it means that I am forced to change each and every occurrence manually... which adds up to hours of extra work.
Since I am on a deadline, I call Adobe Technical Support.
The operator tells me that I need to have a credit card ready to pay for support. When I ask how come I don't get complimentary support for a new product purchase, I'm told that it's up to the support specialist to decide that. When I ask how come I have to pay to get support for a bug in their program, I'm told that it's up to the support specialist. Well, whatever, so I ask to be connected to a support specialist.
"Sure, can I get your serial number?" the operator asks.
"Errr... here's the number from the 'About Box' - is that what you want?" I reply.
"NO! That's only the first 20 digits... I need all 24 digits. You'll have to get it from your CD case" he tells me.
"Uhh... I don't have my case with me..." I say.
"Well, you'll just have to go get it and call back... it's for YOUR protection" the operator responds.
MY protection? How is this for MY protection? You want to protect me... how about telling me how to fix your f#@%ing program so I can protect MY JOB?!? I've owned every version of Adobe Illustrator ever made. I've purchased every upgrade ever released. I bought my CS2 upgrade DIRECTLY FROM ADOBE... yet they still insist on acting like I've stole their program, and won't help me. I mean, WHAT THE f#@%?? Do they honestly expect for their customers to drag their packaging with them wherever they go? This is the stupidest shit I've ever heard in my life. I mean if they are so f#@%ing paranoid about somebody copying my precious serial number, what is to keep me from scrawling it on the front my PowerBook in permanent marker for the entire world to see?
Companies have got to stop treating their customers like criminals. Because right now, I don't give a f#@% about Adobe. What's the point in spending money for their bug-ridden shit when they won't help you get around THEIR errors? Why should I bother to pay them for something when their first instinct is to believe I stole it? If I am going to be treated like a criminal that's unworthy of their support, then why not just take the next step and actually steal a copy of the program?
Congratulations you stupid Adobe f#@%s, you've just destroyed a 20 year relationship with a loyal customer.
But why should I expect different? They're going to buy Macromedia and have a total monopoly on creative content software. There's nobody else out there, so you'll be forced to buy Adobe whether you want to or not. And if you have no choice in the matter, why should they give a flying f#@% about anything or anybody?
Well that's just fine... but don't expect your customers to feel any different about you. Burn in hell you Adobe ass-wipes.
Target! My favorite chain store is Target. When forced to shop in person (=shudder=), I will always check Target first, because it is the least offensive option available. But their latest round of "back to school" commercials featuring young kids bouncing around to Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back is just wrong. I don't care if they change the lyrics, all I hear is "I like big butts and I can not lie..." while little girls are prancing on the screen. It just feels dirty somehow. Scary, scary stuff.
Arrrgh! Told you I would cave. I managed to win a copy of Sid Meier's Pirates Xbox on eBay for just $30 + $5 shipping. That's $5 more than I wanted to pay, but more tolerable than the $45 I'd have to pay new. I. Can't. Wait.
Rockstar! I loathe American Idol and most other reality-type shows on television... but the new Rock Star: INXS is an exception. Mainly because unlike Idol where everybody sucks ass... the performers on INXS are actually pretty good. Right now, the person who should win is Jordis, who totally killed last night. But reality tells me it will probably be J.D. or Mig. Regardless of who ends up with the job, some of these people have a real shot in the biz.
Charity! I am a soft-touch for lending a hand to local causes. I'm happy to design a logo or make a brochure or draw up a banner if I can spare the time (and the cause is one I support). A while back I designed a logo for a worthy organization and sent it in. Turns out everybody loved it except one woman... who thought it was satanic because I had used a tiger giving the "a-okay" hand-sign in it. She complained that animals in the form of humans are a perversion, and tools of the devil. Yes, you read that right... according to this whack-job, all those characters from Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse to Kermit the Frog and Garfield are from the devil. Still no word on whether robots are from hell as well, but I'll be sure to ask.
Dove! I was given a hand-full of little Dove Chocolates that have interesting phrases printed on the inside of the wrappers. Most of them are just happy thoughts, like "Get your feet massaged!" and "Smile before bed, you'll sleep better!" but others are quite disturbing. When I read wrappers that say "Naughty can feel nice!" and "Do what feels right!"... well, that could be just the thing to push some psycho over the edge. What if "what feels right" is to run over a group of lawyers with a lawnmower? I mean, no big loss really, but still... things like this can't be good for society.
Zero! As I've mentioned many times, I spend my days all coked up on "Coke with Lime." While picking up a couple of bottles at the mini-mart this morning, I was agog over the number of Coke varieties out there... Coke, Diet Coke, Coke C2, Coke with Splenda, Coke Zero, Coke with Lime, Diet Coke with Lime, Diet Coke with Lemon, Cherry Coke, Diet Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Diet Vanilla Coke, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, and probably a dozen others I've forgotten (Coke with Beef Jerky? Kumquat Coke?). Pepsi has just as many. This is kind of sad, because this flooding of flavors means that niche products like "RC Cola" and "Orange Crush" don't have room on the shelf, and are disappearing from our American way of life. I suppose that's the idea, but there should be a law against this kind of monopolizing of store shelf-space. Because sometimes you just need that Orange Crush, if you know what I mean.
Trash! The nice thing about living in small-town USA is the little white-trash touches that flavor our community. Every morning as I drive to work, I pass by an Espresso stand that's directly across the street from a trailer court. It's not unusual to see people walk across the street to pick up their morning latte before sitting in front of the television all day. What IS unusual is seeing these people walking across to get their latte while still in their pajamas. This morning was classic, because I saw a woman in a bathrobe and slippers... but as she crossed in front of me, the bathrobe blew up and revealed she didn't even bother to put pants on. Even more disturbing, was that she was so focused on not spilling her latte that she didn't bother to cover herself back up. Ordinarily this would be a great way to start my day... but with this woman... eh... not so much.
Ah, there. I feel much better now that I've unloaded my morning. But the day is just starting... heaven only knows what is in store for me the rest of the day.
Oooh! As a long-time roller coaster fan, I've always wanted to play the game "Roller Coaster Tycoon" where you get to design your own roller coasters, and then run them at an amusement park. Unfortunately, it's never been available for the Macintosh. Until now (well, November, actually). From what I understand, you can view your coaster design from every conceivable angle, and see how your customers react to riding it. Make it too bland, and people will be bored and stay away. Make it too vicious, and people will get sick and throw up. Hopefully, you can also make coasters that crash and hurl people off the track, because there's a sadistic side of me that would really get off on something like that. I can't wait.
In other amusing news lighting up the blogosphere, Jacqueline Mackie Paisly Passey is looking for a "travel companion and lover" to accompany her on a world trek, beginning in Costa Rica, for up to a year. I was rather intrigued, because it's not like she's totally unattractive or anything... but then I found out I had to actually bring my own money for the trip, and that kind of killed the idea of getting me a sugar-momma real quick. If I am going to have to pay, I'm afraid it is ME who will be dictating the requirements of my "travel partner with benefits"...
Hmmm... something tells me I should stop now before I say something that will have my female readership calling for my balls (and not in the good way).
Why why why WHY? Why are people so stupid. Why are things so messed up? Why is the world such a freaky place? WHY?
WHY does Sears bother? I placed an order at Sears, and was told that the item was available for in-store pick-up. This saves me shipping charges, and I was going into Wenatchee tomorrow anyway, so I said fine. Now I receive and email telling me that the item isn't available at the Wenatchee Sears, and my order was cancelled. WTF? This sucks ass. Why bother to offer in-store pick-up if your inventory system is so f#@%ed up that you tell people that stuff in ready at the store when it was never there in the first place? LAME!
WHY don't Americans care? I am so sick and tired of reading about new political atrocities every single day. Why don't people care? Where is the outcry? The latest is that the person in charge of contracting for the US Army Corps (my new hero, Bunnatine Greenhouse) raised questions about why the asswipes at Halliburton continue to get billions in government contracts without competitive bidding... and will probably end up getting fired for her trouble. FIRED?!? Why aren't we giving her a raise and throwing her a f#@%ING parade for DOING HER JOB?!? LAME!
WHY is Alaska Airlines being picked on? The newswire is burning up with the "big news" that Alaska Airlines has the worst record in the industry for on-time flights... this past June, a full HALF of their flights were late. But singling Alaska Air out is ludicrous because ALL AIRLINES SUCK. Alaska is no worse than any other airline out there, it's just that they are not as good at padding their flight schedules. All airlines add extra flight time so, when they are late out of the gate, they can hand you some bullshit about "making up time in the air" which is, of course, CRAP. Helpful hint to Alaska Airlines: add an additional 15 minutes to your flight times, then sit back and watch your "on-time percentages" skyrocket! LAME!
WHY are stupid people so content to remain stupid? After Peter Jennings (one of the few newscasters I actually like) had died, ABC aired a retrospect of his career. While reading blogs last night, I ran across someone bitching that the program was aired over the ending to the stupid-ass "Extreme House Makeover" reality show. Their day was RUINED because they didn't get to see the rest of this piece of television crap. Unf#@%ing believable. At first I dismissed them because they've always been kind of a flake, but then I read it on ANOTHER blog, and gave up. Peter Jennings was the voice of ABC television news for DECADES. Compared to that, who gives a fig about a house makeover? Sure I don't like it when shows I enjoy are interrupted but, COME ON! Decorating a house? Why is it that these people don't want to know what's happening in the world? LAME!
WHY do people keep employing Dennis Miller? At least it's only commercials now. He's not funny... LAME!
WHY is prostitution illegal? People have sex all the time for no reason other than entertainment. If a woman likes sex, and is good at it, why shouldn't she get paid for it? Given the shitty state of today's job market, it seems that a renewable resource like this is too important to overlook. LAME!
WHY does DirecTV's satellite keep going out? Every time it happens, I have to spend 20 minutes re-programming my channels. Why don't they save this information to my DVR so I am saved the aggravation? LAME!
WHY is Jeremy Piven's Cupid not available on DVD? He's up for an Emmy, you'd think whoever the assclown is that's in charge of the video rights would take advantage of it. LAME!
WHY are those...
Argh. I'm tired of asking why. I just get madder with each new question. I wonder why?
When I work at home, I always like to have some background noise going to mask any audible distractions that might be lurking about. Sometimes it's my iPod, but mostly it's television. Tonight I had an episode of Veronica Mars running off my Tivo, and it suddenly occurred to me that I am a huge fan of the actor Enrico Colantoni.
I first remember him on the short-lived television show Hope & Gloria, but it was his role as womanizing photographer Elliot DiMauro on Just Shoot Me where he really started getting attention. I then remember him as an evil priest in Stigmata, the hilarious alien commander Mathesar in Galaxy Quest, a freaky murderer who frames a robotic Jude Law in AI: Artificial Intelligence and, of course, Veronica's dad on Veronica Mars...
I guess it's because of the effortless way that Colantoni seems to meld into the roles he plays that makes me enjoy his work. It would be so easy to overplay the character of Keith Mars, yet he is the model of subtlety, and turns in a performance that is stronger because of it. Hopefully we'll have a few more years of Veronica Mars to see where it takes him.
Then, before I knew it, Rock Star: INXS was on, and Brandon Calhoon was voted off the island. Sadly, it's only prolonging the inevitable for Suzie and Jessica. But oh well, the longer they drag it out, the more we get to see of hottie Brook Burke, so it's all good. I can only hope that we get a repeat performance of last night's metal micro-skirt, though she seems to look sweet in anything she puts on...
Looking back, today was not the best day for me. I was looking forward to a mural I was asked to paint come September. Unfortunately, my work-load is such that taking off a week to do it just isn't possible, so I had to call and cancel out. It would have been cool to blog my progress through the project, so I'm kind of bummed about it.
But the worst part is that it was an opportunity to create physical art again. Since everything I do is on the computer now-a-days, sometimes it's nice to get back to basics and actually paint something real. Maybe I'll have to pull out my watercolors once I'm caught up and see if I remember how to use them.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. If everything goes as planned, tomorrow I'll be eating the Best Pizza in the Universe for dinner. Gotta love that.
Very few things can upset me more than a dumbass driver. People who are too stupid to be driving have no business being on the road in the first place... all they do is cause problems for the rest of us. I keep thinking that there aught to be a government study set up to determine just how many traffic accidents are caused by dumbasses. Something tells me that the percentage is quite high and, if dumbasses were banned from driving, it would be much safer out there.
Take for instance this lovely situation, which seems to happen every time I head up Division Street so I can turn onto North Foothills Road...
The right-hand lane becomes a "RIGHT TURN ONLY" lane as you approach North Foothills. There is plenty of warning, as there are signs before you get there. Yet it seems every single time, there is one dumbass who either attempts to zoom ahead and use it as a passing lane... or doesn't bother paying attention. He then ends up blocking the lane as he attempts to merge left. And since most people in that lane are rightfully pissed at the idiot for being so f#@%ing stupid, they don't want to let him in.
So he sits there and sits there and sits there, even after the light turns green.
Meanwhile, I am going thermo-nuclear behind him and thinking "die die die die die die die die die die!!"
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT... BE A MAN AND TAKE THE f#@%ING RIGHT-TURN!! THEN PULL A U-TURN OR GO AROUND THE BLOCK AND GET IN THE PROPER LANE... DUMBASS!!!
But oh no... the monkey-spanker doesn't care that he's making me wait... he doesn't care! The entire world revolves around him, so who cares if somebody has to wait on his stupid ass?
I need rocket launchers in my car like James Bond has. Any chance those might become legal in the near-future? Then these morons might think twice before pulling this crap, knowing full well they might get a missile up their tail-pipe.
Life should be more like video games sometimes.
At what point did people start to lose all respect for their fellow human beings? For the past fifteen years of travel, I have never been so badly bothered by by my neighbors in a hotel that I've had to switch rooms. This year I've had to do it twice, and we're only half-way through.
On Thursday night, the room below me was having a party which kept me up until 2:00am. Then last night, the room next to mine woke me up at 1:00am because the occupants were out on the balcony screaming at the top of their lungs. One night of sleep I can miss. But two in a row when I have a three-hour drive ahead of me just cannot happen. I had to pack up my stuff and go beg to change rooms which, thankfully, they agreed to do.
I just don't get it.
I've gone out drinking and and partying with my friends too many times to count. But you know what? We always save our wild behavior for when we're in an appropriate place... like in a club, or (duh!) at a party. We've never gone back to a hotel room and started screaming our lungs out at 1:00am! It never even occurred to us to do something so horribly bad-mannered.
My how times have changed.
If I am paying $130 a night for a place to sleep, I shouldn't have to put up with this kind of shit. I should be legally allowed to pull out a gun, break down the door, and shoot the idiots in their f#@%ing heads... then have nothing more than a cleaning bill to answer for. Assholes like this who have absolutely no concern for anybody else deserve nothing more. There's just no reason to have them around when all they do is make other people miserable.
And why don't hotels do something about it? Why not have guests sign a "no-noise agreement?" Why not install noise sensors that can automatically detect prolonged excessive audio and then kick their stupid asses out if it goes off? Why not install doors that have hydraulic pulls so that they can't be slammed? I'd gladly pay extra money for hotels that guaranteed a noise-free environment so I could actually do what I go there to do... SLEEP!
As it is now, the moronic public at large is ruining what used to be fun things. You can't go to a hotel without people being noisy and ruining your slumber. You can't go to a movie theater without people being noisy and ruining the show. You can't go to a restaurant without people being noisy and ruining your dinner. Sometimes it's by obnoxious drunken behavior. Sometimes it's because of a mobile phone. Most times it's because people are just stupid.
All I know is that the problem is getting worse with each passing day. Every single day society doesn't care a little bit more. Every single day respect and common decency break down a little bit further. Every single day I come closer to going insane over it all.
We've already got people shooting up cars because the alarm keeps going off in the middle of the night. How long before it's PEOPLE who get shot up for going off in the middle of the night?
Oh... one last thing... am I the only one who wants to put their foot through the television when a commercial comes on where some idiot is crunching on their stupid-ass breakfast cereal? I don't want to listen to that shit in my real life... why in the f#@% do these dumbass advertising people think I want to listen to it while being entertained? I love Grape-Nuts cereal, but every time that annoying commercial comes on with that guy loudly chewing the shit, it makes me never want to buy a box of the crap ever again. Isn't that the exact OPPOSITE of what a television commercial is supposed to do?
Roast: I'm in the middle of watching the Pamela Anderson Roast on Comedy Central. She went bra-less in a sheer black top, which is probably a good thing because her enormous breasts helped to distract people from Courtney Love going crazy beside her. I can never tell if that crazy bitch has had too many drugs or not enough. UPDATE: Courtney has just taken the stage. Since she claims to have been sober for a year now, I'm guessing that the answer is "not enough drugs." Quick, somebody get her a crack pipe before she tears up the joint!
Genital: I'm not a real censorship kind of guy, but should you really be allowed to say the words "genital herpes" on television commercials? Even if I had herpes, this is not something I would want to self-medicate for (though I would like to be able to choose who is applying the medication).
Walken 2008: He's got my vote! It's time for more cowbell in the White House.
Syndicate: After my rant endorsing "web feeds," I received an email telling me that "RSS is a cornerstone of Web 2.0" and people like me are "holding back progress of the new internet." I actually had to Google "Web 2.0" to figure out what in the f#@% he was talking about. I have since decided that he's full of crap, and anybody using the term "Web 2.0" is trying to sell you tickets to an internet marketing seminar. Tool.
Noise: When I wrote my previous post asking how long it would be before people started firing away at noisy people since they were already firing away at noisy car alarms, I didn't know that the answer would be "the next day." 2005's Marine of the Year decided to take care of some noisy people outside his home by firing a shotgun at them. My hero. Give him another medal. Perhaps if this keeps up, drunken dumbasses will think twice before interrupting somebody's sleep.
Goodnight: And speaking of sleep, it's time to take some pills and try to get some.
This is an entry about nothing at all. This is surprising to me, because there's so much going on in my life right now. I don't know if this means I am a really bad writer, or what. All I do know is that I need more hours in the day. There's just never enough time to do all the things I need to do.
Right now I need to play my Pirates game for Xbox. But it's kind of complicated. You have to know how to sail a ship, read maps, fight a duel, and... wait for it... DANCE! Yes, part of being a pirate in this game is dancing with hottie governor's daughters so you can get information out of them. Something tells me that a true pirate would just put a rapier to her neck and threaten it out of her, but whatever.
Why did I buy a game that I knew full-well that I would never have time to play?
Probably because it has pirates in it.
I wish they made a portable Xbox, because then I could play Pirates when I start traveling again next month. Argh... that reminds me, I need to start making travel arrangements as well. I think that I've been putting it off because some of my trips seem to be overlapping. For domestic travel, it kind of works itself out... but for international travel, it's not so simple because you've got time differences that add and subtract entire days to the schedule.
And I just don't have it in my head right now to plan trips that bounce me from Asia to Europe and back again.
What I really need to do is have a couple of shots of Jägermeister and go to bed.
I am a person who likes other people (well, I like other people when they're not being stupid). I particularly enjoy people who have beliefs and ideas that are different than my own, because that's what makes life on this planet so interesting. This is probably why I like to travel so much, because I get exposed to different people which help me to broaden my mind and shape how I see the world around me.
Because of my love of different cultures and ways of thinking, I have a profound respect for beliefs that other people hold sacred. So long as what you believe doesn't disrespect, diminish or infringe on other people or their lives... I have no problem with it. Feel free to believe, worship, and conduct your life as you see fit. Be happy.
This is, after all, is what America is supposed to be all about.
Sadly, this is not what we are actually about... at least not right now.
Since it is considered a Very Bad Thing to teach "creationism" in a school that's supposed to be free from religion... there are whack-jobs intent on being all sneaky about it by re-branding it as "Intelligent Design." So instead of saying "God created us" they want to say "Some higher being created us" - thus posing an alternative to evolution in the classroom. Of course, their INTENT is that this "higher being" is actually "God" and so... tee hee hee... suddenly you can teach creationism, because God is referred to in abstract terms.
But the odd thing about Intelligent Design is that the "some higher being" could selectively be thought of as absolutely anything. Now a new movement has been formed to say that this being is actually The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Followers maintain that The Universe and everything in it was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster, and all evidence of evolution was put in place by His Noodly Appendage as a test of faith. But the really cool part is that they also believe that global warming, earthquakes, and hurricanes are caused by the decline in the number of pirates since 1800 (and provide evidence to back it up)... so all "Pastafarians" dress as pirates.
But, when it comes to intelligent design, I have another theory entirely. I believe that, since the world obviously revolves around me, that I was the one who created The Universe and everything in it (along with My Divine Monkey). This means you, and everything around you, is just a bad dream that I am having.
Unfortunately this also means that once my nap is over, you will cease to exist. So, in the meanwhile, feel free to run around dressed up as pirates and worship me with gifts and praise. The longer you keep my dream world interesting, the less likely it is that I will feel like waking up and eradicating you from reality.
"Vengeance is mine saith The Dave!"
Now all I have to do is find out who I need to talk to about getting Intelligent Dave Design introduced into school textbooks...
With the very last episode of Six Feet Under still haunting me, I've finally gotten to the point where I can blog about what happened last Wednesday without becoming a giant ball of all-consuming rage. I seem to have mellowed to the point where I am merely "furious" about the ordeal. I mean, once you're dead, who really cares?
Last Wednesday was a very difficult day. My crowded travel plans suddenly became even more crowded, and I felt overwhelmed in trying to schedule back-to-back international trips... particularly when trying to figure out where I would be able to find time to grab fresh clothes and change my underwear.
So after battling the calendar for hours, I was ready to head home and watch a few more episodes of Roswell: The Final Season on DVD and eat a frozen pizza. So there I was driving through town when IT happens.
As I am stopped at a corner, I see a young dog walking along the sidewalk. He happened to notice two guys walking toward him with food, and decides to go say hello... assumably to see if he might be able to get a bite to eat. But as he approaches, one of the guys yells at the poor animal, which causes the pup to stop dead in his tracks. Then the other guy walks right up to the dog and kicks him. Hard.
Now, keep in mind that the dog wasn't attacking him. The dog wasn't even approaching him anymore. This guy was just a complete bastard who thinks that it's big fun to hurt innocent animals. There's simply no other way to interpret his actions. He's a sadistic f#@% that should be locked away or shot.
My temperature went from calm to boiling instantly, and I immediately bailed from my car to go check on the dog as he tried to get away. He wasn't limping, but you could tell that the wind had been knocked out of him, as he was walking kind of clumsily.
DAVE: WHAT THE F#@% DID YOU DO THAT FOR?!? HE WASN'T GOING TO HURT YOU!!
SADISTIC DOG-KICKING F#@%ER: Eh, it was buggin' me.
I am dying to know how this could even remotely be considered reason enough to kick a dog. He was "buggin' you?" I will never forget how the dog started to get a little excited when the guy came up to him... then watching him get beat to shit for being so trusting.
I couldn't get ahold of the dog to check him over and be sure there wasn't anything broken... he tore out of there just as soon as he came to his senses, and who could blame him. For all I know, he had his ribs snapped and died from internal injuries a few hours later. I will probably never know, but it certainly looked like a bad kick from where I was sitting... and I can't get the picture of such nonsensical violence out of my head.
Even now, five days later.
What kind of world do we live in where even the thought of something like this is considered to be acceptable behavior? How can we possibly hope for a non-violent future, when idiots are capable of inflicting such harm on an innocent animal? Why does society let this type of thing go on in the first place?
It's a sick, sad world, and sometimes I just want out.
It's nice to know that in the midst of total chaos, there are still brief moments of calm to be savored.
Here is the view out my bedroom window this fine evening...
And I almost missed it because I was concentrating on finding clean clothes for my impending travel this weekend. Fortunately, there was a nice golden-orange glow sneaking through the slats in my window blinds that got me curious. By the time I grabbed my camera, the sunset was starting to fade, and ten minutes later it was gone.
I've decided that I'll be too tired to drive over to Seattle tomorrow, so I'm going to fly instead. Between the cost of gas to drive, along with the parking fees once I get there, it's no more expensive to fly... even at the last minute. The only danger is that my flight will be canceled but, since I don't leave the country until Sunday, I have extra time if I need it.
Other than making this Big Decision, only one other thing happened today.
I got an email from an old friend whom I used to hang out with in my post-college years. He had stumbled across Blogography, decided to read every entry within, and then write to tell me how disappointed he was that there were no stories about the crazy times we used to have. Since I am interpreting this as permission to exploit a friend for entertainment value, here we go. Brian, this one is for you:
I have been in exactly two fights in my entire life. Brian was there both times. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming him or anything.... I'm just saying... when Brian is around, "stuff" tends to happen.
But before I get to the actual story here, there is something you have to understand. I am not a "fight" kind of guy. I'm skinny. I'm weak. I did not grow up in a bad neighborhood. I've never been to prison. I have no formal kung-fu training by an ancient martial arts master that I tracked down to avenge the murder of my parents (which is obvious, because they're both still alive and I'm not Batman). When it comes to fighting, all I know comes from watching movies.
And for those of you who have never been in a fight before, it is nothing like the movies.
Fighting is not some macho exercise where somebody punches you, then you punch them back, then repeat until somebody gets knocked out. Oh no. Unless you are Rocky Balboa, it is very much different... because fighting hurts when you suck at it. When somebody hits you, it hurts. Usually quite badly. And once you've been hit, the last thing you want to do is get hit again. But that's not the worst of it... hitting somebody else hurts. And depending whether or not you strike bone, it can actually hurt worse than getting hit. Yep, no matter how you slice it, getting in a fight is not a pleasant experience. Especially if you are me.
The first time I got in a fight, Brian and I were playing electronic darts at a local bar. We had each had a couple of drinks, and were just starting to enter "The Zone" where you become one with the dart and start to get good game going on. Darts are just like bowling and pool that way... everybody seems to play a little better when they're relaxed and buzzed. Or maybe that's just me. In any event, it was good times. But then some drunk assholes decided to play next to us. They were loud, obnoxious, and really disruptive. It was annoying, but we did our best to ignore them. Until the idiots thought it would be hilarious to start throwing darts at our board. The first couple of times we were like "ha ha ha" and just let it go.
But then they did it a third time.
While Brian was lining up his shot.
Then it wasn't funny anymore. Brian ran up to the board, grabbed the safety dart, then flung it at the drunken moron's chest and told him to "keep the f#@% off our board." This did not go over really big with the moron, nor his two equally moronic friends. Now they weren't only obnoxious, they were outright hostile. Brian decided to just leave rather than mix it up, and simply said "calm down there Skippy" as we walked out.
But that wasn't the end of it. We had no designated driver, and were planning on killing another couple of hours until Brian's brother got off work to come have a beer and pick us up. Now that our plans were foiled, we decided to walk down the street to get something to eat, then wander back after a while (when hopefully the three douches have left). We had gone three blocks when a car pulled up beside us and somebody threw a McDonalds cup full of liquid at Brian (missing him by a mile). Our lovely dart-playing friends had caught up to us! And now two of them were hopping out of the car, while one of them kept repeating "What'cha gonna do? What'cha gonna do?"
He got too close to Brian with that, and so Brian shoved his shoulder just to ward the guy off, but that was all the excuse the two needed, and they both made a play for him. I went to pull the "What'cha gonna do?" guy off of Brian, but he swung around and punched the side of my neck. It landed square, and I swear I heard something snap, but it wasn't enough to knock me over, so I shoved the guy away from me as hard as I could. He stumbled back, but then came after me again. This time I decided to get all macho and punch him in the face. Little did I realize that this would hurt me much, much more than it would hurt his drunk ass. Barely phased, he jumped me as I stood there trying to figure out why my hand was suddenly on fire. But, by this time, it was Brian's turn to push him off me (after having already shoved the other guy into the street). All it took was one swift punch to his gut, and the "What'cha gonna do?" guy folded like a wet Kleenex. And just like that, it was over.
We decided to head back to the bar, since the moron triplets had left, and wait it out for Brian's brother to show up. While Brian played darts, I spent the entire time icing up my hand and getting really drunk. Though my hand did get pretty jacked up, I didn't end up breaking anything. It was a painful, yet valuable, lesson.
The second fight was months later in the middle of Winter. Brian was a friend of my then-girlfriend's roommate's boyfriend. Us three guys went to rent a video while the girls went across the street to get junk food. It was getting pretty late, but it was a Friday night, and we had nothing better to do than eat sugar and watch crappy movies. After choosing a couple of cheesy comedies (a sensible compromise between the action movies we wanted to watch, and the chick-flicks they wanted to watch), I left them to rent the videos while I went to catch up to the ladies.
When I got to them, they were standing outside the market talking to some random guy. He was 6" shorter than I was, but had at least 30 pounds on me. At first I thought that the girls knew him, but it ended up that wasn't the case at all... he was trying to chat them up. I thought that if I just stepped in, he'd realize they weren't alone and leave.
I thought wrong.
The guy immediately started verbally bashing me, my family, my genetic heritage, and all my future generations. I don't think he was drunk, but he was crazy. I finally interrupted to say something totally stupid like "yeah... well, we've got to be going now..." only to have him shove me against a concrete column. He was using his forearm to push up on my upper chest, all while saying "step off, faggot! I'm talking!" Since he was shorter, he had to reach up to hold me, leaving his belly fully exposed. His nice, soft, easily punchable belly.
I didn't have much room to pull back, so all I could do was give him a quick jab to his gut. This only made him mad, and he lunged forward with his shoulder, somehow catching my jaw with it. This was not a pleasant experience, but it did leave me in a great position to clasp my hands and punch down on his back. It didn't do much to stop him, and all it got me was thrown down on the cold ground. But, by this time, Brian and Eddie were hauling ass across the parking lot to help out, so it didn't matter. That could have been the end of it, as there was no way this guy could take on all three of us.
But I was too pissed.
While Brian tried to calm the guy down, I nursed my aching jaw and decided to palm the guy in the face. It was kind of a pussy move on my part, seeing as how he was squaring off with Brian, but I didn't care. I shoved square into his nose at a nice 3/4 angle while he was completely unaware. It must have hurt, because he let our a yelp. For all I know, I could have broken it. And now that I had back-up, I got all cool and said "THE NEXT TIME YOU TAKE A SHOT AT ME, YOU'D BETTER USE A GUN OR I'LL F#@%ING KILL YOU!!" Everybody just stood there staring at me for a minute, and then we kind of wandered back to the car.
Later that night while watching videos, we got into a "candy battle" where we were flicking M&Ms at each other because the film was boring. I slapped one into the side of Brian's head, which is when he said "THE NEXT TIME YOU TAKE A SHOT AT ME, YOU'D BETTER USE A GUN OR I'LL F#@%ING KILL YOU!!"
I never, ever lived that one down.
Since yesterday involved a lot of running around, today I thought I'd relax a little bit and just wander around Tsim Sha Tsui and take in a couple of museums. It's a real pity that I don't enjoy shopping, because it seems that's what everybody comes to Hong Kong to do. The lobby of my hotel is packed with people trying to load up all their purchases into boxes and newly-purchased suitcases so they can get it all back home.
But not me... I can't stand shopping, and have no desire to drag a bunch of crap back to the States. With the exception of a few Hard Rock Cafe pins and shirts I've packed away in my small suitcase, I'll be able to tell US Customs to kiss my ass. I am so tired of Customs Agents treating people like crap with their condescending attitude and abusive demeanor. I will never forget my very first trip outside the US when I was returning from Japan and was SCREAMED at by a bitch at Customs because I didn't have a receipt for a few cheap souvenirs I had bought. Never mind that my meager purchases couldn't possibly exceed the allowance, she was a bitch and wanted everybody to know it. In the dozens of times I've been subjected to US Customs, I'm guessing there have been only two times I didn't want to beat the shit out of somebody.
Anyway, the first museum I went to was the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which friends had told me was amazing. I was very much looking forward to my visit, and arrived just as they opened so I would be sure to have time to see everything. At first I was blown away by a very cool exhibit of Chinese brush painting... there were precious scrolls filled with stunning artworks that boggle the mind, and every new work somehow managed to top the previous one. It was art-lover's heaven.
But then I found out that huge chunks of the museum were closed due to changing exhibits and became enraged.
Changing out exhibits is a common event at museums, but usually it's done in stages. This way, only one major exhibit is closed at any given time. But the dumbasses at the Hong Kong Museum of Art had decided to close down most of the second floor, and the entirety of the fourth floor all at the same time... effectively halving the exhibits available. Needless to say, they didn't halve the ticket price.
So this was the highly regarded Hong Kong Museum of Art? To me it was more of a joke. A lame and amateurish production with little consideration for their patrons. Disgusted with the entire ordeal, I bailed after less than an hour so I could see if the Hong Kong Museum of History would fare any better.
Fortunately, it wasn't just "better", it was spectacular. All I knew of Hong Kong history I learned from reading the brilliant James Clavell novels Tai-Pan and Noble House (which were semi-fictionalized). But here was the whole story... from geological formation and Neolithic times... to the Opium Wars, British Colonization, and eventually return to China in 1997. And all of it beautifully explained with captivating displays, dioramas and audio-visual presentation. It is hands-down one of the best museums I've visited, and that's saying a lot. If you enjoy history even a little bit, there's a lot to love about the Hong Kong History Museum.
The period of Japanese occupation during the war is a delicate matter to be sure, but I think they did an admirable job of presenting it well. These were tragic times for Hong Kong, and the horrors of day-to-day life for it's inhabitants not a pleasant subject to dwell on. But it was the most memorable portion of the museum to me because of this image...
These are British (I think) residents of the colony being led off to a prison camp from which some were likely not to survive. It's a sobering image but, when you look closely, you see something remarkable and haunting at the same time...
Two of the guys are smiling. I find myself wondering what was happening at this one moment frozen in time. Perhaps the guy in the vest had said something like "smile for the camera, boys" and the guy in front with the black shirt thought it was funny. There's just something so undeniably "human" about it all that puts life into perspective. Even at your darkest hour, your world and everything you know is just a tiny slice of history. And then you realize it's not your life that matters, but how you live it. How you face adversity. How you find your humanity in inhumane conditions.
The joy and the hurt of it all.
Then I look at the television and see the horrifying images coming out of New Orleans and try very hard to keep all this in mind as I watch people struggle to survive in a city that means so much to me. It's heartbreaking and so very human all at the same time. A moment in history where people are having to face their darkest hour.
And doing the very best they can.
And that's why I get so pissed off when I hear people saying things like "well, they got what they deserved in New Orleans, because everybody knew it was bound to happen eventually." It just seems so petty... so unworthy of historical record that people would choose to address somebody else's tragedy with this kind of attitude. A wasted moment of time.
I mean, should San Francisco be abandoned because of the earthquakes? And what about L.A.? People have been talking about the impending "Big One" for decades. Or what about the tornados in Kansas? Should we evacuate the entire State? Typhoons have decimated Hong Kong more than once, should the area be vacated? Hurricanes also ravage Florida, should the Southern Coast to the Keys just leave? Wildfires plague the area I live in... should I be moving out? What about other dangers that plague our societies... flood, drought, landslides, and all the rest? What could go wrong in YOUR town?
We humans lead a fragile existence. There's always going to be something horrifying we have to face, and it's how we deal with it that defines us. Sure New Orleans has always been in danger of destruction from storm and flood. But you know how they face it? They throw a giant party every year and call it Mardi Gras. They developed a rich and unique culture and welcomed people to their wonderful city so they could share it. It's part of what makes me love the city so much, and the reason I am rooting for New Orleans to rise again.
Tomorrow is my last day in Hong Kong. I think I'll head back across the harbor and see what adventures I can find.
I woke up entirely too early this morning and, since I packed everything up last night, this leaves me with nothing to do for a good two hours yet.
I thought I would write a quick summary of all the things I'll remember from this trip, but I'm pretty sure that anything I take away will easily be overshadowed by the tragedy unfolding for the victims of Hurrican Katrina. As anybody who has read Blogography for any amount of time already knows, I have a deep... almost sacred... love for the city of New Orleans. It hurts quite badly to know what's happening there, and I go to bed each night with my heart aching, then wake up each morning overwhelmed with despair. I am not an emotional person, but entirely too many important memories are tied to this city, and I find myself grief-stricken in a way I don't understand. Especially considering I don't know anybody personally who has been devastated by the flooding.
The only thing saving me is the feeling that it's not actually happening. It's easy to do when you are in a foreign country half a world away where everything is different from what you're accustomed to. In a strange way, it's acting like a buffer between me and what I know to be a very real catastrophe back home. Right now all I can do is make donations to the relief effort and hope against hope that our government gets their shit together and finally provides some help to people who desperately need it.
But then I am reacquainted with the grim facts given by the Mayor of New Orleans, and the despair starts to set in again.
Fortunately, there are also the words of our Fearless Leader to make me feel so much better...
You know, I really sympathize with the fact that President Bush is trying to be encouraging here, but must he whip out these idiotic statements every f#@%ing time? I can forgive a lot, but it was Dubbyah's joking about starting a war that broke the camel's back for me, and it's been a long and painful down-hill slide ever since.
You would think at some point Bush would realize "hey, I always seem to make these embarrassing and inflammatory statements, so why don't I just shut-the-f#@%-up already?" But oh no, right when his slow response to the crisis is being criticized as racially motivated... he's got to try and comfort a Nation by telling us that some wealthy white dude's house is going to be re-built better than ever? Given the thousands of deaths that continue to mount even now, exactly how stupid do you have to be in order to see how this is an incredibly moronic thing to say? I mean, THIS is "good news?" Does he ever think before opening his f#@%ing mouth? Or does he just not care... he knows that people think he's a dumbass, and so he just does his part to live up to low expectations?
I remain utterly dumbfounded. And more than a little bit angry. I could go on about how fascinating it is that the so-called "leader of the free world" doesn't have a decent enough grasp of the English language to understand that "rubble" is already a plural, and "rubbles" is not even a word... but that would just be kicking a goober when he's down.
All we need now is to hire Halliburton for the clean-up, and the circle will be complete.
It's going to be a long, sad, plane-ride home (assuming the thunderstorms allow me to leave Hong Kong at all).
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.
NEW! Google Blogs. Google has released a search tool exclusively for blogs. I guess that makes it "Bloggle?" I'm not very impressed... at least not yet. The search results often look totally random, even when sorted by date. In addition, problems I have with other search services haven't been fixed with Google. For instance, when I search for my name, my own blog doesn't show up in the results. This is despite the fact that my name appears in the sidebar of every single page here. WTF?
NEW! Bankruptcy. Today both Delta and Northwest filed for bankruptcy (or, to make it sound pretty they are calling it "restructuring"). This is kind of sad, because if our major airlines start crapping out, it's going to be really interesting trying to go anywhere when you have to string together a bunch of uncoordinated hops on small carriers. United Airlines, who has gone through bankruptcy itself in 2002, shows that surviving is possible... but operating conditions are getting progressively difficult. My guess is that fares are finally going to start climbing to levels where people are not going to be able to afford it. This, in turn, will cause airlines to shrink or die. Entire tourism industries to fold. More people to lose jobs. We are trapped in a downward spiral and nobody seems to be trying to find a way out. I'd say this is a job for our government but, well, you know...
NEW! Hero Cards. I've received quite a few emails wanting to know how to make hero cards. Just in case anybody is serious, click here to download a ZIP archive with a blank card in both Adobe Illustrator and GIF format. The GIF blank requires you to add your own text... the Illustrator files have text in place. Have fun.
NEW! Television. I just realized that I'm going to be gone as most of the new television season is starting up. Even worse, my TiVo doesn't have room to record everything I'm wanting to see. Even worse than that, my TiVo appears to be dying and I can't find a dual-tuner replacement. And just when you think you can't get any worse, it's been revealed that TiVo is going to start allowing networks to limit how long you can store their shows and disallow you from transferring them to tapes or DVDs. As if TiVo couldn't suck any worse after having canceled their Mac version of TiVo2Go, now they are actively hostile towards their customers. Hopefully DirecTV will come up with another option soon, so I can drop TiVo and tell the dumbasses to bite me.
NEW! Transporter. I am a huge fan of the first The Transporter film. Jason Statham kicks major ass, and tears through a fight scene better than just about any white guy I've ever seen. And when you get down to it, fight scenes and killer car chases are what an action film is all about. It helped that the script was actually worth a crap, but I suppose I should have expected as much from Luc Besson. Keeping all this in mind, I was freaking out when The Transporter 2 was announced, and Statham and Besson were both back onboard. This time, the action has moved to Miami, and "Frank" is a hired as a fill-in driver for a powerful politician's son. But when the son is kidnapped, the plot grows a bit complicated, and more sinister motives are revealed. Is it as good as the first movie? Not even. There's too many slow moments that attempt some really forced drama, and a few of the stunts go way past the relm of believability. But, as far as action films go, it's still pretty good. If you were a fan of the original, it's worth a look just so long as you keep your expectations in check.
UPDATE: Bwaaaahh ha ha haaaah! Thanks Susie! I have no doubt that a bitch could kick my ass... it's been done too many times before...
UPDATE: Now Patrick has a really cool card up! I think "1EE7 H4X0R" would make for a sweet battle against "Tube Dude" by hacking his nuclear-powered remote control!
I'm growing accustomed to disappointment.
When you do just one thing, you'd think that you'd want to do it right. Take Baskin-Robbins for instance. All they sell is ice cream. And because all they sell is overpriced ice cream, you'd think that it would be the best f#@%ing ice cream money can buy.
But you'd be wrong.
Tonight after dinner I went to Baskin-Robbins for a Chocolate-Almond ice cream cone. When I got one, I noticed that it wasn't really ice cream at all. It was balls-nasty sludge from the bottom of the container... all gross and stringy with a chewy, grainy texture that tasted like ass. Even the almonds were mushy. Why would you serve something like that unless you never, ever wanted somebody to come back again? And it's not like there's something different on the menu I can buy... ALL THEY SERVE IS ICE CREAM!! So, needless to say, I ain't going back any time soon. I can buy a full half-gallon of cheap-ass generic ice cream at Safeway for the same price as a waffle cone that tastes better than this crap.
And then there was my master-plan to dump Verizon for my mobile service so I could have a phone that actually works outside the USA. Since My contract is up in a few days, I decided to go ahead and switch. Cingular has just partnered up with Apple, so I thought I'd give them a try. If nothing else, I am assured that I'll have support for my OS choice.
So I surfed on over to Cingular to price out the plan, phone, and options I would be wanting. It was a bit disappointing, mainly because the only free phones you get are the crappy ones. I then remembered a friend who had gotten a great deal from Amazon, and decided to try there. Thanks to a rebate and some other goodies, signing up through Amazon saves me $420 over the life of my 2-year contract. Hmmm...strange. Well, since you can't deal on a web site, I printed out the price comparison and headed to the local Cingular store to see if they had an offer that would get me closer to what I could get with Amazon. The answer? An immediate "NO!" They don't "deal."
That's kind of bizarre when ALL YOU SELL IS MOBILE PHONES!! Oh well, Amazon here I come. I hope my new phone gets here before I have to leave the country. It would be cool to call home from someplace foreign.
Expensive, but cool.
REALLY expensive, but cool.
Speaking of foreign places, another two or three hours tonight, and I think my travel schedule will finally be complete for the next two months. I'm kind of happy about that... even if I don't have a chocolate-almond ice cream cone to celebrate with.
Today was National POW/MIA Recognition Day, set aside for remembering those whom our country has forgotten. Those Prisoners of War or Missing in Action in service of their country.
Most people misunderstand my reasons for supporting a full accounting of our POW/MIAs. It has nothing to do with supporting war or violent acts... in most instances, I most definitely do not. It has everything to do with supporting those who risk their lives to serve their country. These people were called upon to do something most of us could never do, and they deserve better than to be abandoned far from home. For the sake of these brave souls and the friends, family, and loved-ones they left behind, I cannot ever forget.
It's a shame there has to be war at all... but even worse that those who fight on our behalf have to live with the knowledge that they could be discarded by those they have sworn to serve. We should demand more on their behalf, and never forget those not yet returned home.
"A man is never dead until he is forgotten."
Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day... the most funnest day ever!
First me had t' go get a pirate name (I was dubbed "Legless Harvey Dread").
Then I be playin' a fine pirate game.
And then I be wearin' me finest pirate garb...
...so that I can be watchin' a fine pirate film!
I loathe shopping.
I really, really do. There are few things I enjoy less.
That's why I so rarely do it. I buy most everything online and have it sent to me. On those rare occasions when I do have to venture out, I don't actually "shop" per-se... I just go directly to the store that has what I want, and buy whatever is available. No looking for options. No comparison shopping. No hunting for hot sales. No running around trying something better. If the store doesn't have it, I buy whatever is the most similar.
Here are the stores I shop at...
That's it. I don't go anywhere else. I may not always get exactly what I want (and I'm sure I don't get the best price) but I don't much care. The time saved from actually "shopping" makes it all worthwhile to me. Today (well, yesterday now) I had to make a trip to all three of my stores, plus get a haircut. It took three hours, including the 40 minutes it takes to get to Wenatchee and back, plus the time to run across the river to Target.
I'm telling you this to put things into perspective. I go after what I want, and don't mess around when it comes to getting it.
Except, it would seem, when it comes to getting a mobile phone.
Shopping for a mobile carrier sucks ass because if you make the wrong choice, you are trapped in a 24-month contract. One goof and you pay for it for the next 2 years. And it doesn't help that there is no "right choice." There are plusses and minuses for each option...
After spending hours pouring over plans and phones and costs and all the rest, I eventually settled on Cingular. Mostly because they had the next-best coverage after Verizon, and would allow me an international phone so I can call or be called everywhere. Unfortunately, that didn't work out, and the customer service was too frustrating to make me want to stick around.
And that's when something miraculous happened. I was bitching to Verizon about a problem with my phone and brought up how frustrating it is that they don't use GSM phones for international use, and how I was planning on dumping out of my contract because of it. The very nice lady on the other end of the line then goes on to tell me that they now offer "Global Phones" which are combination CDMA/GSM and can be used anywhere. I'll get great coverage locally, as always, and also be able to roam globally via GSM... all with the same phone number!
It was a very expensive $550 phone (and doesn't have BlueTooth) but, as incentive not to leave, Verizon made me a nice offer. It was still more than I wanted to pay... but, just like when I "go shopping," the effort saved was worth the additional cost to me.
Now, I realize that not a lot of people travel as often as I do, but why would Verizon keep this amazing option such a secret? It's buried on their web site in some obscure corner of a FAQ and even the customer service agent had to dig to find it. Bizarre.
Oh well, one less thing for me to do before I have to pack my suitcase.
It seems like only yesterday I was whining because Depeche Mode was coming to Seattle and I was going to be out of the State.
Well, okay, it wasn't yesterday... it was actually two weeks ago. But still, I was positively crushed that I wouldn't be able to see my most favoritist band ever in concert. It never even occurred to me that I might be able to catch them in a city other than Seattle, until Kevin had left a comment asking about attending his local concert in Chicago. As it turns out, I was going to be in Milwaukee then... just a measly two hours away. Sweet! Looks like I'll be playing the angel after all.
And, thanks to a special promotion that iTunes was running, I was able to score us pre-sale tickets that aren't too bad. The only painful part of the entire ordeal was paying the $9.95 PER TICKET service fee that the TicketMaster bastards charge on top. Yeesh. Do I get lubricant with that?
It's nice to have something to look forward to.
So what I am doing up way too late tonight... errr... early this morning?...
Today was not the best day ever.
I had a major data loss that took two full hours to recover from, and things just went downhill from there.
Even after work had ended, things continued to suck. I went to the Mini Mart for some popcorn to enjoy during Veronica Mars tonight, only to find out that some moron had parked his piece-of-shit car across two spaces, meaning I couldn't park in front. Then when I left, I had to follow his white-trash redneck ass, only to have him stop in the middle of the street so he could open the car door and puke on the pavement.
That would have been bad enough, but when I turned to go around him, I got stuck behind some idiot going 15mph in a 25mph zone. Then when I finally got home, the electricity went out, so my TiVo had to power up again, which takes like... FOREVER... so the day of suckage continues.
After all that, I was almost afraid to check my email. But then I get an announcement from Apple that the entire Bad Boy catalog is now available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store!
Cool! This means I can finally purchase such classics as Niggas Gonna Die by Shyne, Me and My Bitch by The Notorious B.I.G., and Goin' Be Some Shit by The Lox!
Life is good after all!
Guys like to look at naked women.
This should come as no surprise to anybody, and it's not really our fault... we're just built that way. Women probably look at this as a defect, but I prefer to see it as part of our charm. In any event, if the ladies are okay with showing their naked body to a bunch of neanderthals at a strip club... isn't their right to bump and grind guaranteed by The Constitution or something?
Well, not according to the prude dumbasses on the Seattle City Council. Now, instead of some erotically innocent drunken fun, there are stupid rules to follow...
Which pretty much takes all the fun out of going to a strip club. Those heady days of anonymously heading out to a dark and seedy joint for a drink*, lap-dance, and stuffing a G-string with twenties are gone... at least in Seattle. That sucks ass!
And before you go all "but Dave, strip clubs are exploiting women!" I have to heartily disagree. The clearer thinker will realize that it is actually the MEN who are being exploited... for their cash. Women throw boobies in our faces and, as if by magic, our money disappears. We go home happy and poor. The ladies go home happy and wealthy.
Everybody is happy.
But not anymore. Not in Seattle.
So let's look at this for what it REALLY is... an effort by local government to tell us how to live our lives and drive strip clubs out of business. So congratulations Seattle! A harmless activity between consenting adults has just been BANNED by people who think that THEIR morals and way of life should be YOUR morals and way of life. And America loses just a little bit more of her freedom because people in power don't want for you to be free... they want you to look, act, talk, worship, and be entertained exactly like they do.
I don't care whether you agree or disagree with a woman's right to get naked for money... the big picture here is that legislation like this is only the beginning. How long will it be before movie theaters aren't allowed to show R-rated movies? How long will it be before museums can't display works of art that contain nudity? How long will it be before libraries won't be able to carry children's books that show unclothed animals? How long will it be before wearing a bikini is a crime?
And you can just forget about Boobie-Thon.
Where does it stop?
The answer is... it doesn't. The morons of the "Moral Majority" will not stop until everything they consider to be "morally improper" has been eliminated. Stopped. Banned. Destroyed. Gone.
And that's not right. That's not America.
America is having a cold beer after a long hot day in a darkened club with a fist full of bills and a total stranger's boobies in your face. Fortunately you can still find this American dream but, if you live in Seattle, you now have to drive up to Canada to get to it. Sadly, that's yet another trade imbalance for our economy to deal with... we're even exporting bare breasts now.
I weep for a future where guys can't see fine American boobies in a country that was founded so that they could do just that. Seattle mayor Greg Nickels (along with council members Jan Drago, Richard McIver, Jim Compton, David Della and Richard Conlin) can kiss my ass. F#@% all of you America-hating bitches.
* The only drinks you can order at a Seattle strip-club are of the non-alcoholic variety. You have to be sure you are drunk enough to lose your shame, but not so drunk you get bounced, BEFORE entering the club. Just another helpful tip from your friends at Blogography!
The small stone tumbled haphazardly down the side of the mountain, bouncing along the shale with a "pok pok pok" as he fell. By the time the little rock had landed in a grassy outcropping several hundred feet below, he was very confused. He was also up-side down, though he barely noticed. He was a stone after all. Perhaps in a few hundred years he could sort out what had happened just then, but time moves slowly when you're a rock, so he had plenty of time to spare.
His new surroundings were quite pleasant. The grass on which he lay was tender and smelled like summer. A battered tree further up the outcropping shaded him from the heat of the mid-day sun. Wildflowers grew nearby, scattered about like polka dots against the scrub. And beyond the outcrop was a view of the valley below, both beautiful and serene. There was a gentle breeze now, and the sound of the wind was pleasing had he the ears to hear it.
Being made of stone, the little rock knew none of this, for he had not the facilities to hear or feel or smell or see.
But he did sense that he was in a better place, and so the small stone was content.
Sometimes I envy the life of rocks.
The reaction to my entry yesterday has been a little surprising. There's not a lot of comments, but I've received a number of emails... a large number of emails... from people who are concerned about me after having read it.
So, for anybody curious, I am not getting all sentimental about rocks because something terrible has happened in my life. I'm okay. My family is okay. My friends are okay. Everything is okay with me.
Except when I read the news out of Guatemala/Mexico and Pakistan/India.
Guatemala and Mexico have been hit hard by Hurricane Stan, with hundreds (perhaps thousands) dead. Pakistan & Northern India have been devastated by earthquake, with the death toll topping 30,000... and estimates saying the total could end up running much, much higher.
To calm my thoughts when I am upset, I often write stupid little stories for myself. They're just for me, and nobody but a select few ever see them because they often have meaning only to myself. If somebody were to read through my story journal, they'd probably think me insane because they couldn't possibly understand what was running through my head at the time I wrote in it.
But yesterday as the day was ending, I couldn't bring myself to write anything for Blogography with all the things going on in the world. I finally just decided to post the story of the little stone who fell, just to have something to say. I figured most people would ignore it or think I was medicated. But instead there was a bunch of email waiting for me when I woke up asking if I was okay.
So thanks for that.
What the story was trying to say was that sometimes we wish we were made of stone so that we could close ourselves to the horrors of the world around us. But if we were stone, we'd miss the good things in life as well, so we should be content with knowing that we're in the place we're meant to be. There are good things to be found if we open our senses to finding them.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.
But then I read the news that Aardman Studios (the people who created my beloved Wallace & Gromit) has burned to the ground, and find myself envying the life of rocks just a little bit once again.
I don't know why, but I always expect that holidays will somehow be special for me. Things that usually go wrong will go right. Problems will somehow solve themselves. Big piles of money will fall from the sky. Stuff like that.
It never happens, of course, but it doesn't hurt to hope.
Today being Halloween, my hopes were running high. This is a fun holiday, so there was no reason to expect anything except a Big Day of Fun. But then I woke up and saw this...
... and knew that today was going to suck just as bad as every other day. Bad enough that the electricity kept going off and on all night, but the back-up battery in my alarm clock was dead too. Oh well. The good news is that I didn't get any trick-or-treaters tonight, so now I can eat all the Halloween candy myself. That kicks ass!
Thanks to everybody who has been adding themselves to my Blogography Reader's Map. I get a couple thousand unique visitors every day, and it's kind of cool seeing who you are and where y'all come from.
And now I'm off to pack my suitcase...
I am so totally bummed. My PowerBook appears to be dying. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... the poor thing is three years old and has been drug around the world a dozen times over. I've grown quite attached to her, but the constant overheating and erratic behavior makes her unreliable, and I need a PowerBook I can count on.
Sadly, methinks it's time to consider a replacement. =Sob!= It seems like only yesterday I was waxing poetic over my Titanium-covered baby...
In the midst of my grief over my ailing PowerBook companion, I received an odd call on my mobile phone. Unfortunately for the anonymous bitch who called, I was in no mood for a wrong number, especially with her attitude...
Anonymous Bitch: WHERE ARE YOU? YOU'RE 30 MINUTES LATE!! WE'RE GOING TO ORDER WITHOUT YOU!!!
Dave: WELL I'M SORRY!! I crapped myself on the way to the restaurant and thought it would be better to change my pants and be late rather than show up smelling like shit! Order me a jelly donut and a fifth of Jack Daniel's and I'll be there in ten minutes!
Anonymous Bitch: WHAT? WHO IS THIS??
Dave: I SAID TEN MINUTES!! And that donut had better be fresh!
Can you appreciate how difficult it is being me? I am forever lashing out with smart-ass comments and then immediately regretting it afterwards. My only excuse is that I am so incredibly brilliant that my evil brain is capable of bypassing my sense of shame on its own accord. Either that, or I have no shame to begin with. Either way, it's just not my fault, so I suppose I should stop feeling bad about it.
There. I feel much better knowing that I am not to blame for my poor behavior.
The day wasn't all bad news, however... a big congratulations to James & Erin on the birth of their new baby girl! Welcome to the world Vivian Bow! I must admit to being a bit surprised that they didn't name their first-born child after me though.
Oh well. Even though "David Vivian Bow" has a nice ring to it, I'm very happy for the three of them.
Speaking of happiness, have you registered yourself on the Blogography Reader's Map over at Frappr? Other than sending me a million dollars, it's the easiest way to ensure you will be spared my wrath once my evil plan for world domination has been unleashed. Only by registering now are you assured of my benevolence come D-Day! Mwah ha ha haaaaah!
Today was a bizarre kind of day, which is unusual in itself because all I did was go to work.
Of course, getting to work was a bit of a challenge because my car was iced over and the frost had somehow bonded to my windows. Scraping did nothing, so I had to wait until the defroster could take care of it. Weird that the first frost of the year was so serious.
After four hours of hard work, I needed to go to the post office to mail some T-shirts on my lunch break. Since it was a Saturday, the actual office wasn't open but there was a scary guy going through the mailing supply rack. He was kind of in a trance and kept repeating the same thing over and over again...
Scary Dude: Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody. Everybody. Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody. Everybody...
Thinking he might be stuck, I decided to help out in my best Springsteen impersonation...
Scary Dude: Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody. Everybody. Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody's got a hungry heart. Everybody. Everybody...
Dave: ...LAY DOWN YOUR MONEY AND YOU PLAY YOUR PART. EVERYBODY'S GOT A HUH- HUH- HUNGRY HEAAAARRRT! ... WHOA OH OH OH OH OHHHHHHH!!
The guy just stared at me for a minute, then went back into his trance. I guess that makes me the crazy one.
After another five hours of slaving away on the job, I'd had enough and decided to go home. Along the way I noticed that gas was at $2.51 a gallon, and decided that was good enough to finally fill up my tank (probably a good thing since I've been running on empty for the past several days). While standing in the freezing cold and driving rain pumping my gas, a guy dressed in a Broncos jacket wandered up to me...
Bronco Dude: Hey man, you got any spare cash?
Dave: Uhhh... sorry, I haven't got any cash. I'm having to fill up on my card.
Bronco Dude: I really need it.
Dave: Um. Yeah... well, sorry I can't help out.
Bronco Dude: There's an ATM inside. Can you get some cash?
Dave: Errr... no.
Bronco Dude: Well that sucks man. That sucks!
Dave: Welcome to life on planet earth.
I guess that just goes to show you can never have too much crazy.
And to prove it, I'm going to go drink orange Kool-Aid and watch Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith!
My sarcastic nature is forever getting me into trouble... mostly by people who think I'm serious about all the things I say. I had a girlfriend who once asked me "why do you always expect the worst?" to which I replied "years of conditioning." And, for the most part, that's true. When people, places, services, purchases, and everything else you encounter ends up sucking ass, you just come to expect it...
You expect your new Panasonic piece-of-crap DVD player will break after a week.
You expect the latest Rob Snider movie will be "stupid-stupid" instead of "stupid-funny."
You expect it to rain on your vacation.
You expect politicians to lie and break their promises.
You expect those french fries you just ordered will arrive all limp and greasy.
You expect that your hotel room will smell like ass and have funky stains on the sheets.
You expect that those penis enlargement pills you ordered off the internet won't really work... (ahem, or so I am guessing).
Continuous disappointment ends up conditioning you to expect the worst. Anything else is just a pleasant surprise. Call me a cynic, but I lead a much happier life by not getting my hopes up.
And, sure enough, that same girlfriend dumped me two days later to go back to her psychotic ex-boyfriend...
Yes it was disappointing, but also not wholly unexpected, so life goes on.
But now something has changed for me. My new Macintosh PowerBook is supposed to ship out today, and I can't help but be excited. Heaven help me, I am actually expecting good things this time. My Aluminum PowerBook will arrive and be totally perfect. I will fall in love with the speed and all the fancy new features and get over the heartbreak of my faithful Titanium PowerBook dying. It will be everything I desire in a laptop computer and I will be happy.
Life is good.
Though knowing my luck, FedEx will probably lose my PowerBook during shipment or run over it with a truck or something.
Hey, I tried to be optimistic there for a minute.
At what point is something declared so hopelessly broken that you finally decide it's time to scrap it and start over from scratch? I mean, at what point do you just drag Old Yeller out to the barn and put a bullet in his head rather than have the rabid bastard f#@% up everybody's day? Sure you love the mutt, but something has to be done... the question then becomes "when do you do it?" How do you sense that moment, that very second of change where something goes from acceptable to bad? From bad to worse? From worse to hopeless? And shouldn't your goal be to stop the train before things actually become hopeless? Who wants a train wreck after all?
I am to the point where I see far too few redeeming qualities in the governmental machine of these United States of America. Our government has just gone from worse to hopeless. And before you go all "YEAH, BUSH SUCKS!" on me, I am not talking about President Bush... I am talking about the entire system.
The government exists to serve the people. Well, I feel served alright. SERVED A BIG STEAMING PILE OF STANKY ASS!
And it's all because I've been trying to help people with the new Medicare Drug Insurance Plan that went into effect yesterday.
Talk about your steaming pile.
As we age, our bodies break down. Our quality of life decreases. Things become harder. Life a little less pleasant... a little more painful. But thanks to pharmaceuticals, our quality of life can be made better beyond that point where our bodies start to decline. No need to nip off behind the barn and have a bullet put in your head just because you're old... drugs make it possible for you to live a good life to a ripe old age. Some drugs are even more critical, and allow you to go on living to a ripe old age.
But drugs are expensive. This means that only people with serious money (or really good insurance) are able to maintain their quality of life as aging starts to take over. Those without the means to pay hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars for drugs each month are faced with choices that must be made. Do I buy food so I can eat another day, or do I buy a pill so my heart can go on beating another day?
This is not exaggeration, this is a real-life scenario faced by an increasing number of elderly persons every day. And while some are able to stay healthier longer than others, there comes a point where most everyone has to form an intimate relationship with their medicine cabinet. And this means you.
Our government's solution is to supplement private insurance carriers in order to assist the elderly with their prescription drug costs. This is called Medicare-D, the drug insurance plan. All you have to do is find a plan that fits you best and, chances are, you can save some money on the drugs you take. Sounds simple right?
Except the entire process of choosing an insurance carrier is massively complicated. Here in Washington State, there are SEVENTY to choose from. And since you never know what the future holds, something that might work now, may be useless three months from now. It's a hopeless mess of a "solution" that should have never made it off the page.
Unless, of course, you are one of the insurance agencies... in which case, there is money to be made.
I am a genius... not a self-proclaimed genius... but an actual, certified, Mensa-level genius with an IQ of 142. I am adept with internet research. I am fearless when having to make calls or track down information. My massive intellect allows me to solve problems that mere mortals fail to grasp. And yet... trying to help people find out if there is a Medicare-D plan that can help them is a huge, huge, chore for me. It's MADE that way. Sure the Medicare.gov web site helps you narrow down the choices (when it is actually working) but there are other factors which makes a final choice difficult, and has me questioning my sanity.
Now imagine that you are 85 years old and your mind isn't what it used to be. You don't have a computer or an internet connection. You might not even know how to turn on a computer. Reams of complex documentation might as well be a brick wall you can never make your way over. You have nobody to turn to for help and, since scams that fleece the elderly are so common, you can't trust a stranger. Even if you wanted to ask for help, you don't know where to go. Stacks of Medicare pamphlets and insurance company brochures arrive every day, but they seem to be written in a language you can't comprehend. You have mounting prescription bills that consume all your income. Sure there might be a Medicare-D plan that can help you, but it is well beyond your capabilities to grasp. Afraid and alone, you have no choice but to take a pass on drug insurance you don't understand, and pray that your prescriptions don't get any more expensive. Your budget is already so strained that you are down to one meal a day, and even that is getting to be a luxury...
And guess what... THAT'S THE TARGET AUDIENCE THAT THIS PLAN IS MEANT TO HELP!!
WHAT THE F#@%?!? Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?!?!!
THIS is the best our government can do for our elderly? This piece of shit "solution" is all we get?? A complicated plan to help people who may not even understand it? A system so totally f#@%ed that some plans can actually cost you MORE money than you're paying now? A helping hand that can totally bitch-slap you if your drug needs are radically changed and no longer fit in the plan you've chosen? This is it?
Well game over. If this crap is the best our government can come up with, it's time to take a bullet in the head and start over. Find a new government which doesn't pay politicians to fight with each other over inane party lines AND FIX THE SHIT LIKE THIS THAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED!!
What totally douches me here is that prescription drug assistance for the elderly is such a simple problem compared to all the other crap we've managed to get ourselves into. If the solution for a simple problem ends up being this bad... what does it say for the bigger cookie?
As anybody who has ever called a customer service line can attest, half the battle in getting help is getting transferred to the right person. It seems that every time you call, there's a maze of "press 1 for this" and "press 2 for that" to go through, and most of the time the number you select is either wrong, or leads you to yet another maze of options. It's a horrifying and thoroughly frustrating way to treat people, but that doesn't seem to deter companies from using complicated automated phone menus.
So imagine my surprise this morning when I call a software company because of a problem, only to have an actual REAL-LIVE PERSON answer the phone?
I am so conditioned to having a machine pick up that I think I must have gone into shock. But once I regained my faculties, I was giddy with happiness that I wouldn't have to waste my time pressing buttons and could be connected directly where I needed to go...
Operator Lady: Super Sweet Software Company*, may I help you?
Dave: Uhhh yeah, I'm having problems installing your program.
Operator Lady: Well this is Customer Service, sir, you need to call Technical Support.
Dave: Oh. Uhhh sorry, this is the only number on the pamphlet thingy... can you transfer me?
Operator Lady: No sir, it's an entirely different number. I can give it to you if you're ready.
Operator Lady: (gives number) Thank you for calling Super Sweet and you have a good day!
* Company name changed to protect the innocent.
Okay, not so bad. A little annoying I have to pay for a second non-toll-free call, but whatever. I call the new number...
Operator Lady: Super Sweet Software Company*, may I help you?
Dave: Ah. I think I somehow dialed the wrong number again. I had just called a minute ago and was trying to get Tech Support.
Operator Lady: Yes, this is Technical Support, I'll transfer you now...
Dave: HEY! WAIT A SECOND! Aren't you the same person I just spoke to at the other number?
Operator Lady: Yes sir. Both lines are routed thro--
Dave: Well why didn't you just transfer me the first time?
Operator Lady: We are using call logging to keep count of the number of calls each department receives, sir. You have to call in on the proper line so the count is accurate. Let me trans--
Dave: WHAT? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of... this means your count is already wrong because my first call was to the wrong number! Why not have the phone in Tech Support just keep track?
Operator Lady: (frosty now) Sir, providing you with the number for Technical Support IS a Customer Service Call!!
Dave: You have GOT to be kidding me. If you do--
Operator Lady: SIR! If you want to place a complaint call, I need you to call back on the Customer Service line.
Dave: (head just asploded) No. No. The last thing you want today is another call from me. I'll take Technical Support please.
Operator Lady: I'm transferring you now. Thank you for calling Super Sweet.
* Company name changed to protect the clueless.
I feel like I am trapped in a Dilbert cartoon. Seriously, does anybody know how really, unbearably, remarkably, stupid... STUPID people get in charge of dreaming up this shit? I'd be mad if I didn't find it so gosh-darn funny!
It also doesn't hurt that there was yet another amazing episode of Veronica Mars on last night. I swear I don't know how they manage to be so positively brilliant on that show every single week. I mean, two characters who are on the far periphery of the Veronica Mars universe were given shocking revelations last night that were so seamlessly woven into the main story that you have to wonder how mere mortals can create something so perfect. Who would have thought that they could ever, EVER turn Sheriff Lamb into a sympathetic character in such an unsympathetic way? AND WHAT THE HECK WENT ON WITH DUNCAN AND KENDALL BEHIND CLOSED DOORS?!? GAH!
Speaking of perfect... have you SEEN the spread of Ms. Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell, in the latest issue of Giant Magazine? I've scanned some eye candy from my copy to post, but there are more (tiny) shots along with the interview on the Giant Magazine web site.Better yet, subscribe to Giant at the super-cheap price of just $7.97 a year. It's worth every penny...
Yes. Love me the Kristen Bell.
BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Dave Approved: Lame!
BLOGDATE: March 2, 2004
In which Dave decides that internet quizzes are lame and decides to invent some quizzes that he'd actually want to take. Unfortunately, Dave failed to impress upon people that these were FAKE quizzes and don't actually exist... which is why he still gets emails asking where the quizzes can be taken to this very day (eventually Dave relented and actually created his own quiz, which practically nobody has ever bothered to take... go figure).
Click here to go back in time...
A while back while I was waiting in the Miami airport, there were two young ladies in the seats behind me who were discussing diets.
Well, maybe it was the Ft. Lauderdale airport.
But probably the Miami airport.
Anyway, while I was in a FLORIDA airport, these two girls were discussing diets...
Anonymous Girl 1: I want to try that liquid diet, but you have to go to a doctor to get it.
Anonymous Girl 2: You don't need a doctor! That's just Slim-Fast!
Anonymous Girl 1: No it's not. I tried Slim-Fast and it doesn't work.
Anonymous Girl 2: Really? My friend lost 20 pounds on the Slim-Fast diet!
Anonymous Girl 1: Nope. Didn't work for me. I drank it with my breakfast and drank it with my lunch for a week just like they said and nothing happened.
Anonymous Girl 2: You idiot! You're not supposed to drink it WITH your meal... you're supposed to drink it INSTEAD of a meal.
Anonymous Girl 1: Huh?!? What kind of stupid plan is that?
This was yet another example of people using a product wrong, then blaming said product when it doesn't work properly... all because they failed to read the instructions. With a can of Slim-Fast, it's not really a big deal. But you can't say the same for other things. Like filling out your ballot when voting in Florida, for instance.
Anyway, this morning I was dumping my usual load of spam from my email inbox and ran across something a little different. It was spam from a law firm encouraging you to hire them if you had suffered damages from misunderstanding the instructions that came a product you purchased. So I guess this means that the dumbass who didn't read the instructions on her can of Slim-Fast can call them up and sue for a couple million dollars or something? Emotional distress and all that?
If this kind of stupid crap actually works, it makes me wonder exactly how far companies will go to avoid lawsuits in the future. Will we soon have ten-page instruction booklets included with a bar of soap so that soap companies won't be sued for a million dollars when some idiot gets suds in their eyes? I mean, we've already got jars of peanuts that say "WARNING! THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS PEANUTS!" — how much worse can it get?
I don't think I want to know the answer to that.
I weep for the future.
BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Barbie.
BLOGDATE: July 12, 2005
In which Dave gets the crap scared out of him when he discovers the horrors of child beauty pageants, and decides to see what celebrity he looks like when manipulated in Photoshop to become a dead hooker baby.
Click here to go back in time...
Apparently I am going to be one of those people who dribble food all over and wet themselves when I get older.
I know this because the slow decline has already begun.
This morning I had to change my shirt three times before I made it to work. THREE TIMES! First I dribbled strawberry jam on my shirt while I was having toast for breakfast. Then I dribbled Cinnamon Sparkle Crest on my shirt while brushing my teeth. Then I got dirt all over my shirt as I was cleaning off my car...
It was as if the universe itself was conspiring against me.
Unbeknownst to the universe, however, is the fact that I have a never-ending supply of Bad Monkey T-Shirts in size medium. TAKE THAT UNIVERSE!
Last night I got about ten emails from people asking if I heard that Alias had been cancelled. Actually I had. But what is surprising here is not that the show had been cancelled... but that people were surprised that the show had been cancelled. Once the third season had started, Alias had gone from one of the best shows on television to one of the absolute worst. What was once a brilliant spy drama degenerated into an un-watchable mess.
So while I am sad for the show that Alias once was... I honestly don't care that the fifth season is its last (I've long-since stopped watching it). Maybe now J.J. Abrams can focus his attention on fixing stupid-ass Lost so that it's worth watching again.
Threshold has also been cancelled... but I never watched it, and only care because I heard the delicious Katherine Bell was joining the cast. Oh well.
In other news, here's an IM session that I was hit with yesterday...
Bad Robert: DUDE! HELP ME PLEASE!!
Dave: What up cracker?
Bad Robert: I am about to spend TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS on eBay for an Xbox 360!!!
Dave: WHAT?!? Are you insane? Are you high? Are you on the pipe? TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A FRICKIN' VIDEO GAME?!?
Bad Robert: Yes. Spank me some more...
Dave: If you've got $2000 to blow, spend a week in Europe for the holidays. Or go to Hawaii for a month. Or even spend it on cocaine and hookers... anything would be better than wasting it on a game!
Bad Robert: Yes you're right. Thanks man.
And then today...
Bad Robert: Hey thanks for yesterday! Xbox 360 is now only $700 on eBay, so you saved me $1300 bucks!!
Dave: WHAT?!? Are you insane? Are you high? Are you on the pipe? SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A FRICKIN' VIDEO GAME?!?
Bad Robert: Don't be a dick.
Dave: Happy Thanksgiving to you too.
I won't be buying a new video game system until I finish the video games I have for my old Xbox. Given how much time I have to play games, that will be in the year 2008.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to pack my suitcase...
Ah, it's sweet to be back in the heartland of America. You know... the kind of place where you can come back to your hotel after lunch and find a guy in the lobby watching football while drinking Jack Daniels and eating pork rinds? It's a pity I'm a vegetarian or I might have had to join him.
Assuming I could stay awake.
After going to bed around midnight last night, I was rudely awakened by a flash of light and a huge explosion outside my window at 3:15 am. At first I thought a bomb had gone off, since the whole room seemed to have been shaking. After coming to my senses, I decided that a truck must have crashed and exploded or something. But by the time I got to the window, the sky opened up and a deluge of rain started to fall. Turns out it was only a thunderstorm.
I never could get back to sleep, even after the thunder and lightning show ended.
So now I am having to work while both mentally and physically exhausted. I have no idea how I am going to make it through then next 17 hours, but something tells me it won't be pretty.
Hmmm... for some reason a taco sounds really good right now.
My work necessitates that I drive between my hotel and the job site every 2 or 3 hours, which doesn't leave me much time for things like eating and sleeping. But that's the job, and I'm used to it, so I try not to worry about what my freaky schedule required of me. Of course, doing that for eighteen hours straight on only 3 hours of sleep is not the best way to spend an evening, but I do my best not to let the hallucinations and voices in my head get the best of me.
This time, the situation was made all the stranger by the weather here. Wisconsin is flat and on a big lake, so the environment can be really freaky and changes quickly...
After relatively calm weather all day, I was surprised when I left my hotel at 2am and couldn't see anything. The fog was so thick that I could barely see the front of my car, and the headlights were reflected back as if they were hitting a wall. Two hours later, it was mostly clear, but pouring rain. The two-minute walk from my car was enough to soak me to the bone. Two hours after that, it had stopped raining... but there was a nasty haze and winds so strong that I was very nearly blown off the road.
Two hours after that, blue skies were starting to peek through the clouds, and it was time for breakfast at McDonalds.
So there I am eating my Egg & Cheese Biscuit when I hear this "CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!" - the dreaded and unmistakable sound of some COMPLETE F#@%ING IDIOT CLIPPING THEIR F#@%ING FINGERNAILS IN A F#@%ING RESTAURANT!!! AAAARRRRRGGGHHH!! How gross to be trying to eat your breakfast only to have some UNBELIEVABLY RUDE AND TOTALLY DISGUSTING WHITE TRASH BITCH performing her personal grooming two tables back with fingernails flying all over the place. I mean, holy shit! How big of a f#@%ing moron do you have to be to realize that this is not appropriate behavior in a restaurant?
But that's not the worst of it.
SHE WAS A F#@%ING McDONALDS EMPLOYEE ON HER BREAK!!!
Yet no manager told her she was a DISGUSTING BITCH or instructed her to STOP DOING THAT GROSS SHIT WHILE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO EAT AND SHOVE THOSE F#@%ING FINGERNAIL CLIPPERS UP HER ASS. Oh no. They just merrily let this REVOLTING, REPELLANT, ABHORRENT, SICKENING, NAUSEATING, FOUL, NASTY, DETESTABLE PIECE OF SHIT keep clipping away!!
I left before this REPUGNANT VOMITOUS DUMBASS CRAP-BAG BITCH had a chance to start on her toenails.
And yet, if I had pulled out a gun and shot her, I WOULD BE THE CRIMINAL HERE!! That's just wrong. How will these IGNORANT HALFWITTED RUDE IDIOTIC SHIT-HEAD WHITE-TRASH ASS-LICKERS ever learn proper manners if nobody pops a cap in their ass from time to time?
I wonder if she shaves her legs and gives herself enemas in public too? I wouldn't doubt it.
My nightmares are going to be particularly nasty tonight.
For reasons unknown, I am experiencing random flashes of total despair. Only for a second... then it's gone again.
I'm a little bummed about that, but not for the reason you think.
I'm bummed because the despair doesn't stick around long enough to be useful, and that's just annoying. I could use a little despair in my life. It's a terrific creative motivator. As it is, I'll just have to be content to stumble along in mediocrity.
Oh well. That's good enough to make my own Warholl "Marilyn" portrait. I've wanted to to it for ages, but never got around to it until tonight...
Hmmm... now that I look at that Warhol homage, I am totally thinking that I need to dye my hair blonde. I am SO hot!
Well, either that or dye my skin blue.
But before I get to today's Lego Advent Calendar story... has anybody listened to INXS's new album Switch? I had nothing but poor expectations with Michael Hutchence gone, but ended up being completely floored. There are some beautiful tracks on that release, including my personal favorite, Afterglow.
CHAPTER 5: Jingle Kills
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Police Doggy and Police Barricade.
The meth lab that Lego Dave set on fire ended up having a police office inside! Things are not looking too good for our hero...
"You're coming down to the station for impersonating a fire fighter and a possible arson charge!" the officer said, his words sharp. "Then we'll get to the bottom of all this!"
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a police dog appears, snarling violently at the officer. "Bark! Bark" goes the dog.
"Ack! Get away you mangy mutt! I thought I had you locked in the squad car!" the police officer snaps. "Stupid K-9 unit!"
Suddenly enraged, the dog attacks the police officer, tearing into his jacket with his teeth. From the tattered remains of the policeman's pocket drops a baggie filled with rocks of crystal meth.
"Hey! You're a crooked cop that's a meth addicted!" Lego Dave declares.
"So what!" the police officer snipes. "When my backup gets here, who do you think they're going to believe... a decorated officer of the law, or a guy impersonating a fire fighter?"
"Well I think they'll have a hard time hearing your side of the story with an axe in your chest!" Lego Dave replies as he buries the hatchet in the officer...
"Bark! Bark!" says the doggy as he pees on the dying officer's head.
"What a mess!" exclaims Lego Dave. "The police and fire department will be here any minute Barky... we'd better get rid of this body!"
Things are getting complicated... what will Lego Dave do next?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
This morning I woke up wanting a couple of slices of toast with strawberry jam. This is nothing new, I wake up every morning wanting a couple slices of toast with strawberry jam. What was different was when I looked out my window... there was a cap of grey cloud-cover everywhere you looked, but a ribbon of morning sky stretched all the way around the horizon. This made for some bizarre atmospheric conditions that painted the nearby mountains BLUE!
By the time I grabbed my camera and was out the door to work, the blue was receding into the valleys as the sun got brighter. After I finally found a clearing with no telephone poles or trees, I managed to find a small spot that was still tinted...
What you have to do is use your imagination and picture ALL the mountains in blue. It was bizarre and beautiful at the same time. I'm pretty upset that I didn't manage to get photos, because it's something I've never seen before. Sometimes nature produces things that are stranger than anything you can churn out in Photoshop.
I'm really nervous about today's "Lego Holiday Tale." It started out as a cute story about a psychotic guy wanting to be a fireman who gets into drunken adventures with crack whores and an axe... but with each new toy that reveals itself, things just get darker and more disturbing. It's almost as if the story is writing itself. Yesterday I had a dead body that needed to be disposed of, then today a little guy with a rotary saw comes out of the Lego Advent Calendar? What kind of sick bastards have they got working at Lego anyway?
For some bizarre reason I thought that the little Lego people would alternate between boys and girls so that the calendar would be accessible to both sexes... but that's not turning out to be the case (thus the crack whore storyline that ended up going nowhere). I have no idea what's going to be popping out of the calendar tomorrow, and part of me doesn't want to find out...
CHAPTER 6: Choppin' Around the Christmas Tree
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Crook with a Rotary Saw.
Lego Dave had to axe a crooked meth-addicted cop to avoid being arrested. But now both the fire department and the police are on the way...
"Well this is a fine turn of events, Barky!" Lego Dave said with a hint of irony in his voice. "We've got to get rid of this body before the CSI guys come and bust my ass!"
"Bark! Bark!" replies the dog.
Just then a man appears carrying a rotary saw and wearing a malicious grin.
"Hey buddy! Did I just hear you say that you need to get rid of a body?" the shifty-looking man inquires. "Why not leave that to me and my little friend... HA HA HA HAAAAHH!"
"And who might you be, guy?" Lego Dave asks cryptically.
"They call me Lego Buzz, fella!" he says through gritted teeth. "BWAH HA HA HAAAAAHH!"
Before Lego Dave can get a word out, Lego Buzz has fired up his saw and is cutting the now-deceased police officer into pieces!
"Dude!" Lego Dave exclaims with a yelp. "That's balls-nasty!"...
"Bark! Bark!" offers the dog slyly.
Holy crap! How much worse can things get for our hero now?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I cannot abide rudeness.
And I have a very smart mouth.
It's a combination that's gotten me into trouble on several occasions. Usually it's when some dick-head is doing their best to make somebody feel stupid... or embarrass somebody... or just being a jack-ass for no good reason. And when I see this type of moronic behavior, I just can't help myself. I am compelled to say something.
Like this morning, for instance.
I was at a mini-mart to pick up a bottle of "Coke with Lime", and ended up stuck behind some dick-head and his three chuckle-head friends. The girl at the check-out counter was visibly nervous and unsure of herself as she tried to count out his change. Naturally, the dick-head used this as an opportunity to be a total douche. And apparently being a total douche is all that's required to amuse his posse...
Dick-head: Huh huh huh. I can see how counting to twelve would make this job a real challenge.
Dick-head's Friends: Ha! Ha! Ha!
Dave: You'd think so, but putting up with rude customers is where the real challenge is at.
Dick Customer: Uhhhhhhh... Shut up.
Great comeback. I'd kill to be so witty.
The idiot stormed out, but he was still getting in his car when I exited, and decided to shout at me across the parking lot...
Dick-head: It was just a joke, dude. Lighten up.
Dave: A joke's not very funny if you have to humiliate an innocent girl to get a laugh.
Dick Customer: Uhhhhhhh... you're an a$$hole!
Witty AND charming!
You can just tell that this bum-wipe is "the funny one" in his little group, and simply cannot handle the fact that somebody doesn't find him totally hilarious. Well, reality is a bitch, and you aren't funny. You're just mean.
It only now occurs to me that had things gone even a little differently, they could have totally beat the crap out of me. Luckily, they were all in a hurry to get back to doing whatever four guys do with each other at 1:30 in the afternoon.
CHAPTER 9: Holly Jolly Christ-mess.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Construction Worker with Jackhammer.
Lego Dave and Barky the Dog have been caught in an exploding jewelry store with the evil Lego Buzz...
Acrid smoke fills the air. Small fires litter the rubble of a once proud building. Somewhere in the ruins, the muffled sounds of a dog barking can barely be heard. A construction worker carrying a jackhammer appears...
"Hello?" the construction worker yells. "Was anybody in there?"
"Bark! Bark!" cries a dog from under splintered wood, bricks, and mortar.
"Hold on there dog!" the construction worker shouts. "I'll get you out!"
Using his jackhammer and a decade of skill, the lone construction worker starts his rescue. In a few minutes, the construction worker has cleared away enough rubble to uncover Lego Dave and his faithful companion, Barky the Dog...
"Hey, thanks mister!" Lego Dave says gratefully.
"Bark! Bark!" agrees Barky the Dog.
Our heroes are saved and all is well! At least until evil Lego Buzz crawls out of the wreckage, his rotary saw thrashing through the air menacingly.
"You didn't think a little explosion was going to stop ME did you?" Lego Buzz screeches, his face twisted in anger. "NOW YOU ALL DIIIIIIEEEE!!"
Will Lego Buzz have his revenge?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
The apartment complex where I live in has a "Senior Discount" which means that a lot of elderly people live here. And, while I have nothing against old people, it does make for rather crappy living conditions.
The primary problem in living with the elderly is that they are all deaf. I had thought that there were hearing aids and other technological wizardry to fix this but, if there is, nobody around here is aware of it. Televisions are played at full volume. Radios are blasted at all hours of the day and night. ALL doors are slammed shut. Every bit of ambient noise that you would expect from apartment living is amplified exponentially. I've lost count of how many times I've been awakened at 5:00am because one of my neighbors is outside screaming at somebody in the parking lot. And when I say "screaming," I don't mean that they are yelling angrily at somebody, they're just talking REALLY, REALLY LOUD because they're mostly deaf.
Mostly deaf but only partially insane.
And it's definitely the insane ones who test my patience.
Tonight when I came home I noticed a neighbor emptying his trash can... "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!? he screams. This has me totally puzzled, because I barely glanced in his direction. I try my best to ignore him (hey, it's not his fault he's crazy!), but he would have none of it. "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!?
Do I or don't I?It ends up (much to my embarrassment) that I do...
"APPARENTLY I'M LOOKING AT A CROTCHETY OLD FART WHO NEEDS NEW BATTERIES IN IS HEARING AID!" I yell back at him as I walk past.
Just as I was about to feel bad over being mean to an old person, he screams "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!?" again, and I realize he didn't even hear me. Odds are he wasn't even talking to me. Could be he was screaming at some imaginary person in his head. Or maybe he actually was yelling at me, but he's on some kind of time-delay.
I dunno. Maybe I imagined it all, and I'm the one who is insane.
CHAPTER 10: Winter Plunderland.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Wheelbarrow, Broom, and Pick Axe.
The evil Lego Buzz has survived the explosion and is looking for REVENGE...
"Who in the heck is this lunatic?" the construction worker asks under his breath.
"I HEARD THAT!" Lego Buzz screams.
With surprising speed, Lego Buzz lunges forward, his rotary saw swinging wildly. Without warning, the construction worker is suddenly minus his left hand.
"GAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" yells the construction worker!
"GAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" yells Lego Dave!
"Bark! Bark!" yells Barky the Dog!
"BWAAAH HA HA HAAAAAHHH!" laughs Lego Buzz!
Desperate to save his rescuer, Lego Dave grabs a broom from under a pile of broken bricks and smashes Lego Buzz over the head.
"Quick guy... hop in so we can get you to the hospital!" Lego Dave exclaims while pulling a wheelbarrow from the wreckage."
"Thanks buddy!" the construction worker says as he climbs in, carefully cradling his severed hand. "I hope they can sew this back on!"
Lego Buzz comes to his senses and starts chasing the heroic trio down the street...
"Bark! Bark!" warns Barky the Dog.
"I'LL KILL YOU ALL!" shouts Lego Buzz.
Can Lego Dave get the construction worker to the hospital before the evil Lego Buzz catches up?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
Oh happy day. Something must be up with my internet connection, AGAIN, because ecto is hanging any time I attempt to post to my blog, AGAIN. I spent hours last night trying to figure out what the problem was, but nothing seemed to work. And now tonight the problem seems to have mysteriously fixed itself, AGAIN. I wonder if it could be my Wireless Router dying or something?
Anyway, today was a very strange day. I got int--
GAH! ELIZABETH HURLEY IS ON TELEVISION! ELIZABETH HURLEY IS ON TELEVISION RIGHT NOW!!! Delicious! Hmmm... apparently she went to Elton John's wedding or something. Awww, that's not fair... they barely showed her!
Now where was I? Oh yes... blah blah blah... my day was strange... blah blah blah... somebody crashed into my car.
I got home from work early because there was some work I needed to finish on my laptop. So I pull into my spot and start unloading my car, when all of a sudden this idiot comes tearing into the ice-covered parking lot at full speed. For some reason, the dumbass thinks that his car is immune from sliding on ice, and actually seems surprised when he doesn't stop immediately after stepping on the brakes. Seeing him sliding towards me, I jump out of the way. He doesn't hit me, but slides square into the rear bumper on my car, then rolls down his window with a big smile on his face...
DUMBASS DRIVER: HA HA! Bet you thought I was going to hit you!
DAVE2: Yeah, well you DID hit my car!
DUMBASS DRIVER: Awww, it was just a tap! There's no damage.
DAVE2: If you're going to drive in bad weather, why don't you learn how first?
DUMBASS DRIVER: You're overreacting!
DAVE2: And you're a DUMBASS!
The smile disappears after that, and he revs his engine and peels out. He wasn't actually parking... just dropping somebody off... thankfully. But I love the fact that HE'S mad at ME because HE ran into MY CAR! He didn't even appologize. Classic!
I wonder what he would say if he ran over a little kid in a crosswalk? "IT'S JUST A TAP! GET UP AND WALK IT OFF! THERE'S NO DAMAGE!!"
Like I said, it's been an interesting day.
CHAPTER 19: Bashing Through the Snow.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Remote Control Car.
While trying to track down the evil Lego Buzz, our hero runs into Lego Buzz Jr., who refuses to give up where his dad is at...
"TELL ME WHERE LEGO BUZZ IS AT, KID!" yells Lego Dave, his voice clipped.
"No way, you tool!" snaps Lego Buzz Jr. "I ain't telling you dick!"
"Are you talking to him on that walkie-talkie? inquires Lego Dave. "Let me talk to him!"
"Ha ha ha! This isn't a walkie talkie you dipshit!" Lego Buzz Jr. says with a sneer. "It's for my remote control car!"
Clutching the remote, Lego Buzz Jr. presses some buttons and a small car goes zooming by. It circles a few times, then comes to a stop right in front of Lego Dave.
"Wow, that's pretty cool!" exclaims Lego Dave.
"Yeah, I know, freak-bag!" Lego Buzz Jr. says as he rolls his eyes.
"I wonder how cool it will be when I smash it to pieces with my foot!" taunts Lego Dave. "Now why don't you tell me where Lego Buzz is before you have a remote-control pile of junk!"
"NNNOOOOOOOOO!" cries Lego Buzz Jr.! "That's mine! MINE! MINE! MINE!"
"You better tell me!!" shouts Lego Dave. "Or I'm busting it up!"
"Okay! Okay!" whines Junior. "He went to pawn some jewelry at the shop down on Main Street. NOW GIVE ME MY CAR YOU BASTARD!"
"Sure thing." says Lego Dave. "But I'm afraid that I'm going to need to borrow something from you before I go."
His eyes ablaze, Lego Dave removes the hand-axe from his belt and slowly walks towards Lego Buzz Junior...
Has Lego Dave finally fallen off the deep end?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
I loathe to shop.
I honestly think I'd rather spend a day at the dentist over having to spend a day shopping. And that's on a "normal" day... for the week before Christmas, I'd rather be bludgeoned with a crowbar than have to go shopping.
So guess what I had to do today?
And it was as horrible as I had thought it would be. Mostly because I had to run all around town in order to get the things I needed. This is unusual for me, because normally I just go to Target and, if Target doesn't have it, I assume the item in question doesn't exist. But today I didn't have any choice. There was a list of things I had to get, and Target only had a few items on it.
So I had to (=shudder=) GO TO THE MALL.
Along the way I got hit up for a cigarette by an underage smoker, then literally hit with a big box by some bitch talking on her mobile phone instead of paying attention where she's going. Yeah, it was a big bucket of fun.
But the worst part of it all was my visit with Santa.
As I was making my escape from the Mall of Horrors, I somehow got entangled in the line to have your picture taken with Santa. But there was no Santa. Santa was gone. In his place was a sign that said "Santa needed ASAP!" As I looked around at the smiling faces of the snot-nosed kids waiting to meet the fat man, I started to feel bad that Santa had abandoned them. Then I started thinking...
I could so totally be Santa!
Fortunately, such desperate measures were not needed because Santa came along directly... but barely. The Santa they had scrounged up looked like he was going to die any minute now. Hence the sign, I suppose.
I stood there staring in fascination as the decrepit St. Nick could barely sit up in his chair. And then a kid came running up to sit on his lap and I was horrified at the prospect that Santa's tiny legs were going to snap in half under the strain. This was not good at all, because the not-so-fat fat man's expiration date was rapidly approaching. He wasn't really jolly at all, instead he was more uhhhh... sedate... than you would expect.
I had to leave before one of these kids killed Santa, because I just don't think I could take that.
It was a real shame too, because I was totally going to ask him for a reliable internet connection for Christmas.
And a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet.
And a date with Elizabeth Hurley.
Oh yeah... and peace on earth.
(But only if he doesn't hold me at three wishes... because then I'm totally sticking with the internet, Porsche, and Elizabeth Hurley).
CHAPTER 21: Winter Blunderland.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Chef with Pizza.
Lego Dave is seeking revenge against the evil Lego Buzz for killing his canine companion, Barky the Dog, and has finally learned his location from the nasty Lego Buzz Junior...
"I'M COMING FOR YOU LEGO BUZZ, YOU BASTARD!" screams Lego Dave as he tears down the street.
Skating like a man possessed, Lego Dave starts heading down to Main Street's pawn shop. But just before he gets there, he sees Lego Buzz in a pizzeria. Hopping off his board, he enters the restaurant...
"It'sa delicious pizza!" says Lego Chef. "Eata youself silly, guy!"
"NOT SO FAST DOGGY MURDERER!" screams Lego Dave as he runs up to the table...
"Hey fella!" says Lego Buzz. "What's up?"
"You killed Barky!" cried Lego Dave, his voice choked with emotion. "Now I'm going to kill you!"
"Not likely, dude!" laughs Lego Buzz as he revs up his rotary saw. "I think it's YOUR time to DIE!!!"
"Hold on a second!" says Lego Dave. "I think you'll be handing over that saw right now!"
"Yeah, right!" snickers Lego Buzz sarcastically.
"Recognize THIS?!" quips our hero as he holds out the severed hand gripping the remote.
"Ha! Looks like your construction worker friend didn't make it!" chortles Lego Buzz.
"Noooooooo!" chuckles Lego Dave. "Take a closer look!!"
"GAAAAAH!" screeches the evil Lego Buzz. "What have you done with Lego Buzz Junior?!?!!"
It appears that our hero finally has the (heh heh) UPPER HAND now! Or does he?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!
There's nothing wrong with wishing people a Merry Christmas.
Yet, it's quickly becoming almost taboo to do so, and I just don't get it.
I don't wish people a "Merry Christmas" because I'm not a Christian and don't celebrate the holiday. But do I get gravely offended when people are kind enough to wish me a "Merry Christmas?" No. I do not. Why? Because they're being NICE. Because they're wishing me HAPPINESS. Because they're caught up in the spirit of their holiday and are being KIND. This happens so rarely in our bitter, cynical world that I find it impossible to understand how people could take offense... even if they don't celebrate Christmas.
I mean, it's not like somebody's just told you to kiss their ass.
And you just know that it's only a matter of time before some dumbass decides to sue somebody for wishing them a "Merry Christmas" (if it hasn't happened already). This is America, after all.
Which leads me to this burning question: is it really so difficult to just say "thank you," accept the kindness in the spirit it was given, and then shut the f#@% up about it?
Probably not. This is America, after all.
A friend of mine is really into the online gaming world, and convinced me to buy an Xbox so we could play games together using their Xbox Live internet service (despite living on opposite sides of the country). It's a nifty idea, because that way we could interact with each other in a more exciting way than distance would normally allow. The problem is that I am not home that often to play it, and can't take it with me when I'm gone. Even worse, most of the games are massively complicated, requiring you to memorize the functions of a dozen buttons and two control pads, which is far more than my brain is willing to learn. With the exception of an occasional game of Lego Star Wars, the Xbox spend most of its time collecting dust.
Earlier this month, he decided to try one last time to get me into gaming, and sent me a brand new "Nintendo DS" as a holiday gift. And it's not just any DS... it's the cool limited edition red one that was bundled with the game Mario Kart...
Even though I had seen both the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable, I had long-since decided to not buy either one of them. The DS didn't look any different from my GameBoy Advance (except for the dual screens)... and the PSP was too expensive and didn't have any games I wanted to play. But since my friend was footing the bill, the least I could do was give it a try. After two weeks of sitting unopened, I finally got around to turning it on this past Monday.
And then I realized why he sent it. The thing has Wi-Fi! (and unlike Xbox, you don't have to pay extra to play over the internet). Using a public wireless connection, Nintendo Wi-Fi enabled games will let you play with anybody in the world. Once I traded "friend codes" with my buddy back on the East Coast, we can race little go-carts against each other no matter where I am. It's far, far cooler than I can describe here, and really has to be played to be believed. Ultimately, the joke is on my friend though, because I totally suck ass at the game (and have won only once in the twenty races we've played).
But Wi-Fi is not even the coolest thing about my new DS.
The really cool thing is that you can talk to it with voice recognition AND control the game using a touch-screen! This simplifies things in a huge way, and is much easier for me than trying to figure out the dozen buttons on my Xbox controller. And the game I got a few days ago shows off exactly how amazing this can be... it's called "Nintendogs" and is a puppy simulator.
You start out going to the puppy farm and picking out a mutt to call your own. Once you take him home, you can pet him, play with him, talk to him, buy him stuff, dress him, teach him tricks, enter him in competitions, take him for walks, and do all kinds of other things you could do with a real-live dog... but without having to clean up after him. The touch-screen and voice recognition makes all this possible in a way I've never seen before. And, as if that weren't enough, the dogs are mind-numbingly cute...
My dog is a German Shepherd boy puppy that I've named "Barky" (he looks like the dog in the upper-left square above). I couldn't get any photos of the screens to turn out, so I've nabbed some from IGN to show you what the game looks like...
When I call out "Barky", my puppy comes wandering up, and I can then use the touch-screen to pet him or teach him tricks... even feed him or give him a bath. It's absolutely bizarre just how life-like he is. Barky acts just like an actual dog who has somehow become trapped in my Nintendo!
The game is even stranger when you realize that you can interact with other dogs using "Bark Mode". With this feature enabled, any other Nintendogs owner who wanders in your wireless range (100 feet) will cause your Nintendo DS to start barking. Then your dogs can play together and trade gifts and stuff. I've only been able to try it once, but it opens up the simulation to an entirely new level and is very cool.
There is a down-side, however...
Your puppy demands attention.
Unlike most games, time passes with Nintendogs. For real. Even when you turn off the game, the clock is still ticking. If you forget to turn on your game for a few days, the puppy will be all whiny and hungry and need a bath. I'm told that if you wait too long, he may even run away for a little while to teach you a lesson. Because of this, I am sure to keep Barky by my night-stand so I'll remember to goof around with him each day. I would be very sad indeed if he were to run away on me.
Unfortunately, Nintendogs is not a Wi-Fi game, so I can't visit other puppy owners via the internet. Hopefully this is planned for 2.0 or something, because it seems like it would be a nifty addition to the simulation (and something you can't do with real dogs).
All-in-all, I have the give the game system a big "thumbs up". Nintendo has done an amazing job of revitalizing video games (again) and I'm truly frightened at the amount of time I will undoubtedly be wasting with this thing.
Now, if you'll excuse me, Barky and I will be going for a walk...
It's snowing today. Hard.
And since it's a wet, sloppy, heavy snow, it makes things so much worse. After clearing the snow off of half my car, it had already been covered again by the time I was finished with the other half. Driving is fantastically difficult, because they can't keep the streets plowed. There were moments coming home tonight where I could barely keep my car on the road, and I actually ended up getting stuck in the parking lot... twice. I need to move to the Caribbean or something, because this sucks ass...
And then there's those morons who don't bother to clean the snow off the top of their cars... so when you drive behind them, you've got chunks of snow blowing into your windshield the whole time. That makes a sucky thing suck even more. Time for Captain Road Rage.
Sadly, the snow (along with my work obligations) has me deciding not to take my annual trip to Seattle for New Years tomorrow. That's a bit of a bummer, because it's one of those rare things I look forward to every year.
Well, that and "Talk Like a Pirate Day" (May 13th).
And "Carb Awareness Day" (May 20th).
And, of course, "National Lap Dance Day" (November 25th).
Dang. I just realized that I failed to celebrate National Lap Dance Day this year! Well crap. I wonder if that means I can celebrate twice this year?
Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody!
It's strange sitting here and typing that when I know full well I won't be celebrating the holiday tonight. Years ago when I was young, stupid and looking for any excuse to party, Cinco de Mayo was a pretty big event. Huge even. In fact, after having turned 21, it was probably the biggest holiday of the year for me. There's nothing quite like going to a Mexican restaurant with a bunch of friends and getting completely wasted on Margaritas and tequila shots. I have many fond memories (and even more blurry half-memories) of Cinco de Mayo during "The Stupid Years" (my favorite being a party in Maui after having just received my PADI scuba diving certification).
But, alas, to do something insane like that today would end up with me in the hospital or dead (which would come in handy for Dia de Los Muertos in November).
So what am I doing this year? I'm staying home so I can wash my laundry and work.
It's going to be the best Cinco de Mayo ever.
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