Gutted. Just gutted.
Catcher A.J. Pierznyski has landed a one-year deal with my beloved Boston Red Sox, leaving no room for my favorite MLB player, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, on my favorite team...
A moment of silence, please...
Rumor has it that Salty will be picked up by the Marlins, which is not so bad. At least with Miami I can still root for him... unlike if he ended up with the Yankees or something.
Ah well. I can still wear my Boston Saltalamacchia jerseys in remembrance of some good times.
And now? Onwards and upwards, I suppose.
BOSTON RED SOX BASEBALL RULES!
UPDATE: And it's official... Salty is a Marlin now. Enjoy that 21 million dollars, buddy.
When planning my travel for this trip, I found that I had a nice gap of time between work in Atlanta and a wedding party in Portland. It was perfectly-sized for a quick trip to someplace new, and I was excited at the world of possibilities before me. But where to go? Usually, I just take a look at my Hard Rock Cafe map and see where there's a cafe I haven't visited...
Florence. I've already seen the major sights, so I thought that Florence was the perfect candidate. Just fly in for two days to see the Hard Rock and maybe visit the Accademia Gallery, then zip back to the USA. The problem being that all the tickets available for purchase with airline miles had horrible schedules that made a trip unrealistic. I could have gone with Ibiza, Nice, Budapest, Krakow, or Glasgow, but these are cities I want to explore for much longer than two days.
St. Maarten. Another place I've already been, so two days would be plenty. Except the mileage required to get a free ticket was insane for some reason.
Buenos Aires. Did you know that the visa entry fee to Argentina is ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS?!? I ain't spending that kind of money for just two-days!
Punta Cana & Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic seemed ideal... a short flight and only a $10 fee to enter the country. Not only that, but they have two Hard Rocks on the island (three if you count the hotel in Punta Cana!). But, ultimately, the logistics of the trip were too time-consuming to work out, so I took a pass.
At this point, I was going to look into Costa Rica... or perhaps Brazil... or even Guatamala City... but these are all places I'd want to visit for more time than I had available. So what to do? A part of me just wanted to hang around Atlanta until my flight on Saturday. It's a great city and I've plenty of friends in town, so why not kick back and relax?
For some reason I glanced up and saw the souvenir street sign I had bought for Bourbon Street that was pinned to my wall.
A moment of clarity ensued.
Yes, I've been to New Orleans a dozen times. Yes, I was just there earlier this year in March. Yes, I've already seen the Hard Rock Cafe New Orleans (both of them). Yes, there are plenty of new and exciting places I could go.
But holy crap do I love The Big Easy.
It's a city I know well. It's a city I love to visit. It's a city where I can just relax for three days and do as much or as little as I want. It's the ultimate no-pressure mini-getaway for me and, at that moment, I knew exactly where I wanted to be. So I cashed in some airline miles, used a hotel voucher I had saved up, and that was that.
So away I go.
Time to strike up the band and pour the champaign... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Walker. I was sad to learn that Paul Walker died yesterday. Not so much for his movies (because I'm not that familiar with them outside of the "Fast and Furious" franchise) but because he was a really decent human being whose humanitarian work helped a lot of people. His Reach Out World Wide is a wonderful organization, and I would hope he gets some recognition for all the amazing work he did in founding it.
I searched and searched for a picture with proper credit, but couldn't find one.
Why don't people credit their photos?
Rest in peace, sir. You did good.
• Comics. I don't read many comics any more... I just don't have the time... but Comixology had a sale on some "Avengers vs. X-Men" titles I've been wanting to read, so I went for it. And ran across this...
Now THAT'S some sparkling dialog right there! I know not every comic book can be Watchmen or Dark Knight or whatever... but this kind of blew my mind.
• Maps. My love of maps is well-documented here at Blogography. Over at Buzzfeed they made me love maps even more when they had Brits label American states on a map. The results are fantastic...
You can see the big version of this one (and many more) by following this link. And, because fair is fair, here's an even more fantastic look at Americans trying to name European countries on a map.
• iTunes Fail. I have numerous issues with iTunes. The biggest one being that I can't stream my movie purchases and am forced to download them if I want to watch... when every other company in the digital movie business allows streaming. Incredibly backwards and stupid, but Apple says "no." But even putting crap that iTunes can't do aside, iTunes is frustrating because it has so many problems with what it can do.
I have a MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It's display capabilities are beyond HD. Way beyond HD. And yet, I still get this ridiculous error message form time to time when trying to purchase HD content...
But even more shocking than that is iTunes occasionally telling me it doesn't support QuickTime... the fundamental video system of every Macintosh computer since video has been on Macs...
Stupid shit like drives me insane. Partly because it's so random, and you never know what's going to cause it... but mostly because it's Apple, and there's no way you can just call them up and have it fixed. Yes, they have "proper channels" you can go through to report problems, but I have never had a problem solved going that route. Hell, I've reported mistakes in Apple's "Maps" application that have gone completely ignored for months (years maybe?). Oh well. It's Apple.
• Nigella. I'm a massive fan of celebrity English foodie Nigella Lawson. She's bright, funny, smart, a heck of a cook, and drop-dead beautiful...
I searched and searched for a picture with proper credit, but couldn't find one. Again.
Why don't people credit their photos?
Lately she's been in the news for some not-so-pleasant things, and it's got me wondering where my breaking point is when it comes to famous people I admire (a more popular American example being Alex Baldwin's recent homophobic rant). Do I care? Should I care? Is it even true? So what if it is? I have the answers to none of those questions. It probably depends on what the issues are and how they affect things I care about. But that doesn't stop the "news" from telling me how I should feel about it. Which is everything "journalistic integrity" is not, but that's where we are now. It's what we erroneously call "being judged by the court of public opinion" when it is, in fact, the media which leads the public to their opinion. And you can be pretty sure that their judgement is going to be on the side of whichever option sells more papers (or whatever). I don't know how we got to this point, but it's been driving me crazy lately because I can't see anything else when stories like Ms. Lawson's hit the newswire. I guess all I can do is grit my teeth, wish Ms. Lawson the best of luck, and hope that she bounces back like Martha Stewart instead of crashing and burning like Paula Deen. I guess. Since all my information comes from the news media on all these people, what do I know?
Alas yon bullets now go gentle into that good night...
I had written a long, drawn-out entry about the absurd reactions I've been reading regarding the cast of Kinky Boots performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade... but even I didn't want to read it, so I trashed it and moved on with my life.
Suffice to say that I just don't get it. What is so terrifying about drag queens in shiny boots?
I especially don't get the "BUT WHAT AM I GOING TO TELL MY CHILDREN?!?? reaction, which has to be about the most incredibly stupid thing to say in ANY situation. Tell them whatever the heck you want. If you're hugely offended that drag queens exist, just channel your inner bigot and say something to that effect. They're your kids and you're the one raising them, so be a fucking parent and do your damn job.
Years ago I was at my friends' house where we were watching The Bird Cage while their kids were out playing in the pool. When one of the kids came in for a snack, he saw the television and said "Why is that man dressed like a girl? To which his mother replied "Oh he's just being silly and having fun." — AND THAT WAS THE END OF IT. The kid shrugged his shoulders, finished his sandwich, then went outside to play some more. Nobody ever gave it a second thought. Nobody was scarred for life. Society didn't fall. Humanity endured. The universe soldiered onward.
And yet, to read some of the reactions by "parents" whose kids were =gasp!= exposed to men wearing women's clothing during a parade... you would think that the world had ended.
Which, naturally, means that they're training their children to think the world is ending. Because of the clothes somebody was wearing.
These are sure going to be some well-adjusted kids when they grow up.
In other news... the Broadway show Kinky Boots (which I have not seen) is based on an awesome movie of the same name starring Chiwetel Ejiofor...
If you haven't seen it, it's worth a look.
Unless, of course, the idea of seeing a man in women's clothing is so traumatic that you'll get the vapors. In that case, I don't know what to tell you.
My original plan yesterday was to drive over to Seattle for my flight to Atlanta today.
But crazy weather patterns across the country convinced me fly to Seattle instead. If a freak storm were to hit in The Cascades, I'd be screwed. By law, you have to carry chains for your car here in the winter... but my piece-of-shit Saturn can't actually wear the chains I carry in my trunk (something I didn't find out until after I bought it). And so I avoid mountain travel if I can.
Also... it was nice not to have to drive the 2-1/2 hours.
Alas, my plan seemed doom to failure. Because while it was blue skies and sun in Wenatchee...
Across the mountains it was a different story entirely. Low-laying fog had flooded everything...
The pilot warned us that we may face delays or possible cancellation, which is nothing new. From November through February, a lot of flights get cancelled around here.
But, luckily, not today. Even though it was like soup at SeaTac...
And speaking of reasons to celebrate... I was shocked to find that, back in Wenatchee, the Fancher Heights Bypass project had finally opened!
But let's back up a minute...
The Wenatchee Airport at Pangborn Field is not actually in Wenatchee. It's in the city of East Wenatchee, which is a different place altogether (it's even in a different county). Natives like to remind people of this by referring to their city as "Eastmont" instead of "East Wenatchee." All the schools are named with "Eastmont"... a lot of businesses are named with "Eastmont"... it's all Eastmont all the time. Even though the official name of the city is still, in fact, "East Wenatchee."
The problem with East Wenatchee is that the main thoroughfare (which is apparently called "Sunset Highway") that connects Highway 2 to the airport is heavily residential and has lots of side-streets. With all the traffic and stop-lights that run its length, getting through it can be quite a chore. Which is why they decided to build a bypass running just below the pricey Fancher Heights neighborhood like so...
Today I got to drive it for the first time.
Since the new route connects with Eastmont Avenue... they named the entire thing "Eastmont Avenue" which is not the least bit surprising because, well, you know... it's Eastmont, and all.
The road is great. Traffic was fairly quiet on Thanksgiving, so I only saved about 5-7 minutes getting to the airport, but I can see where you could easily pick up 10-20 minutes during peak traffic hours.
And when was the last time you heard good news concerning traffic? Probably never.
Not a good day to be a tasty bird.
But is there a good day to be a tasty bird?
And, to my Jewish friends... Happy Hanukkah!
Stay safe out there everybody.
First there was "Black Friday."
And now, because the holidays simply aren't consumer-driven enough, tomorrow we're getting "Grey Thursday," formerly known as "Thanksgiving." Stores will be opening up for "pre-sales" so people can go shopping instead of having to spend time with their families. This has sparked a massive outcry from a lot people who think the holiday is sacred or something.
Personally, I don't give a shit. I try to be thankful for everything I have every day and I don't need a day set aside to remember to remember. My plans for tomorrow are to fly out on a work trip, which is nothing new. I've worked on Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember... even in the good ol' days of big family dinners and Thanksgiving celebrations.
But that's my choice, and I'm not alone. Most people I know who work on the holidays just arrange their celebrations and family time around their jobs. This includes people who work at hotels... restaurants... gas stations... and other service-oriented businesses that typically stay open for Thanksgiving. It's just the way it is, and has been for a very long time.
But now that Wal-Mart and Target doing it, people are losing their fucking minds?
A hotel clerk works on Thanksgiving and fuck 'em. But a Wal-Mart cashier works on Thanksgiving and the world is ending. I'm trying to wrap my head around the logic there, but am coming up empty.
All I know is that so long as our society continues to respond to the consumerism of the holiday season, retailers are going to accommodate them. There's money to be made, after all.
And this being America, that's something to be thankful for... isn't it?
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