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Pac!

Posted on April 1st, 2015

Dave!Most years I do a round-up of my favorite April Fools jokes running online.

This year everybody was eclipsed by the greatest prank of them all... Pac Man Mode on Google Maps! Now you can play Pac Man next to your house or on famous streets around the world!

Like Times Square...

Pac Man Google Maps!

Heaven only knows how long this will last, so get it while you can.

   
UPDATE: Though, I have to say, this was pretty darn amazing too...

   

LOVE YOU, BOB BARKER!

   

Stats

Posted on November 10th, 2014

Dave!Any time I need a reason to keep blogging when most everybody else has quit, all I have to do is look at my visitor stats. For reasons completely unknown, people keep reading. Yes, the death of Google Reader had a big impact on my visitor counts... but the number of "unique visitors" stopping by keeps inching upward.

In short? Lot's of people visit here.

The bulk of my traffic has always come from Google searches but, in the past, those people never stuck around much. They'd get what they came for and move on. Now-a-days, however, a surprising number of people do stick around and keep reading. I'm not exactly sure why. Most of the time it's via tag links. Somebody arrives because a search led them here, they like (or hate?) what I have to say, then click through so they can read more posts on the same topic. And those topics can generally be ranked into a "Top 5" like this...

  1. Travel/Photography.
  2. Television/Movies.
  3. Apple/iPhone/Mac.
  4. Hard Rock Cafe (includes traffic at DaveCafe).
  5. News/Politics.

The first four categories are not that shocking. They encompass 75% of what I blog about (the remainder being day-to-day "DaveLife" crap).

The last one, however, is a bit surprising because I don't often write about politics. And yet, when I do, it usually ends up getting linked to from... somewhere... whether it's somebody agreeing or disagreeing. Writing about Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum, for example, always result in linkbait because I'm so passionate about loathing the asshole, and people who also loathe him just love to share. That being said, posts that Conservatives could latch onto are the ones that seem to get the most attention. For example...

  • Republicans. After Mitt Romney's failed bid for the White House, this entry got a lot of traffic... and most all of it was from a Conservative blogger forum. It set off a debate amongst members because there was a lot of Republican in-fighting as to whether the future of their party is embracing more moderate ideals... or clinging to the things that their party has historically been known for. At one point some guy called me an "arrogant asshole who doesn't know shit!" which was pretty great.
  • Violence. After the horrific shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I wrote a post kinda defending Sarah Palin for her "Don't Retreat, Reload" rhetoric that many people were using to pass blame for the tragedy. The twist is that I can't fucking stand the woman. Pretty much hate her and her stupidity on every level. It was for this reason that the entry was popular with Conservatives because they could hold it up and say "See? He hates her and still says it wasn't her fault! Which was a gross simplification of what I actually said, but there you have it.
  • Bullet Sunday 276. A reader wrote to tell me that a mashup I made of President Obama and The Punisher got posted to Breitbart or FOX or some other far-Right site. They (of course) never linked back to Blogography, so I didn't get any traffic from it.
  • Cliff. I made a DaveToon commenting on the absurdity of the "Fiscal Cliff" deal that got passed around quite a bit. Which always bugged me, because what I really had to say about the issue was in the words around the cartoon. Still, the popularity of the thing led me to allow hotlinking to images on my blog again (after having blocked it a decade prior). And while Democrats and Republicans alike seemed to like the cartoon, it was the Republicans that were linking to it most... though probably for the wrong reasons.
  • Divided. Very rarely do I write something in the hopes that lots of people will read it. This post was one of those times, because it brilliantly (if I do say so myself) illustrated the difference between the two halves of Washington State and how they view each other. I had thought that I presented both halves equally, but Conservatives thought it painted them the winners so I got a lot of links out of it. INTERESTING FACT: There were already a few maps of "United States of Canada" vs. "Jesusland" in existence when I wrote my entry, but I thought they were all ugly, so I re-drew it using a map that had been open-sourced. It continues to get links to this day.
  • Chew. This entry got a bit of traction when a Conservative blogger linked to it as an example of "Obama voter remorse." That she missed the point of my entry entirely was not surprising. What was surprising is that she added Blogography to her blogroll (at least until she quit blogging years ago).

All the Right Wing love is nice, but I don't think I'll be signing up for the Tea Party just yet.

DAVETOON: The flag sticking in the pile of shit is an ELECT SANTORUM 2012 flag.

Anyway...

Guess I should send out a big "thank you" to Google for keeping people reading my bullshit.

Though I suppose having nearly 12 years of content to search through plays a part as well. When you've been blogging as long as I have, you've pretty much discussed just about everything there is.

Well, except Taylor Lautner. There are some topics beneath even me.

UPDATE: Shit!

   

DAY TWELVE: Fools

Posted on April 1st, 2014

Dave!I really hate having to leave the Netherlands.

Almost as much as I hate stupid "April Fools Day" pranks that get unleashed everywhere. And since there's always somebody who believes people's outrageous shit, the fools-pranking will never end.

At least Google puts some effort into their pranks each year...

The really cool thing about this year's gag is that this is something that will probably actually happen one day. It's only a matter of time before augmented reality games are this good.

The Virgin America & Nest prank was pretty funny too...

And since YouTube is where most of the pranks live, they decided to get in on the act themselves...

But my favorite? SelfieBot!

And now I guess it's time to climb in a metal tube for ten hours. Then drive in a car for two-and-a-half hours. Then go to the clinic for my smashed ribs for an hour.

Ha! April Fools! You can never get out of the walk-in clinic in under five hours!

See you across the pond.

   

Bullet Sunday 355

Posted on November 17th, 2013

Dave!Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Disaster. First a typhoon in The Philippines, now tornadoes in the USA Midwest outside Peoria. Again, my heart goes out to everybody affected by these tragic events.

   
• Cornetto. After thuroughly enjoying the first two movies of the "Cornetto Trilogy" (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) I was really looking forward to seeing the final film of the trilogy, The World's End. And I wasn't disappointed. It may very well be the best of the lot...

The World's End Poster

Alcoholic loser Gary King sets out to recapture the heady days of his youth by assembling his old schoolmates for a trip back to the town they grew up in. There he wants to complete "The Golden Mile," which means drinking a pint at all twelve pubs in the town. His mates reluctantly agree and everything is going fine... until they discover that the town has been taken over by space robots. Hilarity ensues. What really surprised me with the film is how great the visual effects were. Not once was I taken out of the story by some random shot where the effects were off. Everything was seamless, which was a pleasant surprise. In the end, the movie was almost too good... it left me wanting a fourth movie in the Cornetto Trilogy.

   
• Frank. I wasn't terribly impressed with the Warren Ellis comic Red when it debuted back in 2003. So imagine my surprise when I ended up really enjoying the movie that was inspired by it starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman. It was a smart, funny, action-packed film with an impeccable cast and a really good script. Willis plays Retired Extremely Dangerous ex-black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses. One day somebody decides they want him dead. Hilarity ensues. Three years later, and here comes Red 2...

Red2 Poster

It's pretty much more of the same... but bogged down by some unnecessary complications and an astounding body count that makes it less fun than the original. And yet, it's still a really good film and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The movie picks up where the first left off, as Frank Moses is trying to lead a normal life with girlfriend Sarah. Unfortunately for them, Frank is framed as a participant in a secret op called "Nightshade." Because of this, a lot of people want him dead. Hilarity ensues. Kinda. It's not as funny as the first one. But Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones have joined up this time around, and that counts for something (but it's still Mirren and Malkovich that steal the show). If you liked the first one, the sequel is worth checking out on video.

   
• Gondola. Venice is one of those cities that really leaves an impression. There's simply no confusing it with any other city on earth, and exploring it has been a highlight of my travels. Which is why I was very happy to learn that Google has gone above and beyond their "Street View" technology to create "Canal View" for the floating city of Venice...

Google Venice

So now, thanks to Google Maps, not only can I walk the crazy maze-like route from the Rialto Bridge to the hotel I usually stay at... I can also explore the city as seen from the canals. It's pretty nifty, and I don't even have to leave the comfort of my own home... or put on pants. If you want to have a little web holiday in Venice, Google has an info hub that's a good place to start.

   
• Coin! Ever since I started carrying a wallet again, I've been looking for ways to make it slimmer. But no matter which brand I buy and how thin the wallet may be, it's the stack of cards I have to carry that thicken the thing back up again. A big part of that is the four credit/debit cards I carry. Now a company has come along with a product that may be able to help. Introducing Coin...

If you'd like to get a Coin at 50% off the $100 retail price, just follow this link they gave me and pre-order your own for $50! They aren't shipping until next summer, but it looks like they'll be worth the wait!

   
Annnnnnd...scene. Take care of yourself out there.

   

Bullet Sunday 336

Posted on June 30th, 2013

Dave!Time to pick up that mint julep... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Gone! For my first bullet, I'd like to thank Google for the big "fuck you" they drop tomorrow when they kill off Google Reader. It's great how you blow into town with some essential tool and dominate the entire market after killing off the competition... then abandon that market when you can't exploit it for millions of dollars. Way to be "not evil." Next up... Feed Burner?

   
• Gone Too! Just to show that Google doesn't have a monopoly in killing off services... Yahoo! is killing off a dozen products, including Alta Vista on July 8th, which was my go-to search engine back in the 1990's. Yahoo! says that you should now "Please visit Yahoo Search for all of your searching needs"... but my guess is that this will actually mean more search traffic for Google. Oh well. Another piece of internet history to be gone and forgotten.

   
• Schadenfreude! I try to be respectful of other people's beliefs and opinions... honestly I do. But the outpouring of hand-wringing over the repeal of DOMA and striking down of Prop 8 is just too delicious to ignore. Because, seriously, if you don't accept same-sex marriage, THEN DON'T MARRY SOMEBODY OF THE SAME SEX! There's really nothing more to be said on the matter, BECAUSE WHETHER OR NOT OTHER PEOPLE GET MARRIED DOESN'T AFFECT YOU! Apparently Justice Kennedy agrees, having denied an application to halt marriages in California.

DAVETOON: NO H8

The people yelling the loudest seem to be the people who make money from fighting against equality, which isn't really surprising. When you fail utterly in your job... bigoted as it may be... I suppose you have cause to be upset.

   
• Haunted! As a huge fan of visionary musician Trent Reznor (aka Nine Inch Nails) and visionary director David Lynch, the idea of them teaming up for a music video seems too good to be true. And now, after having seen their effort for Come Back Haunted, I know it was too good to be true. What a boring, predictable, and sadly expected video. Rather than looking like something cutting-edge and new, it reeks of all the "nihilistic" videos that were unleashed after the amazing opening credits for the movie SE7EN happened. This is made all the more sad when you consider that the song used in those opening credits was Closer... by Trent Reznor. So I just don't know. Was this meant to be some kind of homage? A parody perhaps? Some kind of commentary on all those who think intermixing shaky camera moves with disturbing images is still edgy? Lynch had a real opportunity here to take us in a new direction, and we get something that would have looked dated ten years ago. Maybe in another ten years he'll go techno-speed-nihilistic and give us a parody of the US credits from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

   
• Here! And now we're to the part of Bullet Sunday where I offer up this bit of 80's Thompson Twins genius, courtesy of Sixteen Candles, just because it's there...

They don't make teen angst movies like that anymore.

   
• Rest in Peace. As somebody who lives in a fire zone and has been threatened by wildfires more than once, my heart goes out to the friends and family of the "Granite Mountain Hotshots," 19 of whom perished in a horrific fire northwest of Phoenix...

Granite Mountain Hotshots

UPDATE: The Free Republic has an article remembering this elite team of firefighters.

   
And... back to work. I think I can still get in another two or three hours before I pass out.

   

61st

Posted on March 11th, 2013

Dave!Today would have been the 61st birthday of one of my all-time favorite authors, Douglas Adams.

Sadly, he died twelve years ago, leaving a void in the universe where his wit, humor, and astounding talent once resided. Best known as the author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he was also a big supporter of the environment and tireless advocate for wildlife conservation... in particular those animals which are most threatened. One of his lesser-known works, Last Chance to See, is among my most favorite books, and documented Adams' attempts to see some of the world's most endangered animals... perhaps for the very last time.

Today Google came up with a Google Doodle in his honor...

Douglas Adams Google Doodle

It features his most famous phrase "Don't Panic" from his most famous work and it has been words I've tried to live by for decades.

I've met the man at book readings three times. Each time I was allowed to get an item autographed, and these pieces are among my most treasured possessions...

  • The deluxe leather-bound edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • A copy of Last Chance to See.
  • The credit card application prop from the Infocom game Bureaucracy.

The credit card form was chosen very carefully, as I wanted something unique that he probably hadn't autographed very many times. As I handed it to him, he said "Well this is a first!" as he signed it, and then told me that if I got the credit card approved with his name on it, to please restrain myself when using it.

My favorite memory of Mr. Adams was at a reading for one of his books... I'm thinking perhaps Mostly Harmless, but it could have been The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Anyway, at this particular reading he had a sign language interpreter that he decided to torture for his audience's amusement. All of a sudden he'd read a paragraph impossibly fast, then put the book down and stare at the interpreter while looking at his watch and tapping his foot as he waited for her to catch up. Later in the reading he got to a passage where the character had an impossibly long and complex name (akin to Hitchhiker's "Slartibartfast"). After saying it, he immediately glanced wryly at the poor girl so he could watch her struggle to spell out the name. It was all in good fun, and the interpreter got a hug at the end, which was just the sort of wonderful thing you expect from Douglas Adams.

I cherish everything he wrote, and have read his books many times over. But oh how I wish he had lived to tell more stories. Just as it always goes, you can never get enough of the good things in life.

Happiest of birthdays to you, Mr. Adams.

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Maps

Posted on December 12th, 2012

Dave!And so... today I got pulled over for expired license tabs. Which means that I never got my renewal notice, because I always pay my annual licensing fees immediately after I receive that little card in the mail. Fortunately, the police officer wasn't a dick about it, and just asked me to get it taken care of. Which I did, straight away. And now I've told my iPhone to remind me every year so I don't have to rely on state government efficiency.

In other driving-related news... Google Maps is now available as an app for iOS...

Google Maps Logo

Apple dropped Google for their mapping service because Google wasn't updating the iOS maps as quickly as their own Android mapping service. Android got turn-by-turn directions... the iPhone did not. And so on. This put Apple at a competitive disadvantage, so they really had no choice but to drop Google and create something of their own that would feature-map what the competition was getting.

And we all know how that turned out.

Except...

Now that I've actually been using Apple Maps... I prefer some aspects of their app more than I do Google (even on my Android phone). Especially when it comes to caching map data, turn-by-turn directions, and the look and feel. But there was one area where Apple falls flat. And continues to do so. Location data. Google's database for mapping locations is insanely massive. Apple's is pretty much shit. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, it's also stupid. Google can make pretty good guesses, even when you misspell something. Apple has a hard time finding shit even if you spell it out completely and accurately.

This is something that Apple will get better at with time.

And they do have to keep getting better (=cough= public transit maps =cough=).

Because that's what's going to keep Google from shitting all over iPhone users by refusing to give them the same features of their own Android OS maps. Odds are, if Apple hadn't dumped Google, we would still be without turn-by-turn directions.

But now iOS users have turn-by-turn on both Apple maps and Google maps. They can choose what works best for them.

For me, it will probably be a combination of both.

Whichever one will get me to the Department of Licensing on time.

   

Bullet Sunday 300

Posted on October 14th, 2012

Dave!Time to deal with that hangover... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Flip! While I was trying to come up with things to do to kill time before the Matt & Kim concert last Friday, I found out that The Muskrat was flying into ATL that same day, so we decided to meet up for lunch. He took me to "Flip" which is an upscale burger "boutique" restaurant created by Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais. Their vegetarian choice was a "Fauxlafel Burger"... which is a kind of falafel patty topped with marinated vegetables. I fucking hate burgers with non-burger crap on them, so I asked to have a "Classic Burger" but substitute the "Fauxlafel" patty. They were happy to accommodate me, and the resulting burger was fantastic! Wished the bun was a little bigger... but other than that it was really flavorful and delicious. Flip's claim to fame is their "Krispy Kreme Shake" which has a doughnut blended into it...

Flip Krispy Kreme Shake

Absolutely amazing. It really did taste like a Krispy Kreme, and I was definitely left wanting more. Overall, a great experience at Flip, and I would absolutely go back.

   
• Pre✓ And so there's a new program from the TSA which gives frequent fliers the ability to receive "Trusted Traveler" status. I had never heard of it before today, but am happy that it exists. I'm even more happy that Delta Airlines opted me into the program...

TSA Pre Logo

Going through the Pre✓ line meant that I didn't have to take off my shoes. I didn't have to take off my light jacket. I didn't have to take off my belt. I didn't have to remove my baggie of liquids & gels from my bag. I didn't even have to remove my computer from my backpack!

Well... if I didn't have a big block of cheese given to me by The DutchBitch, I wouldn't have had to remove my computer. Turns out that cheese looks like organic explosives or something, so they actually did have to remove my laptop for a second scan.

In any event, this is an awesome perk for people who have to fly a lot. It's a much better program than the stupid "Regular/Family/Experienced" lanes that they had tried earlier... those programs were doomed to fail because everybody piled in whatever lane was shortest. Many, many times I got behind somebody in the "Experienced" lane who didn't know what the hell they were doing. With Pre✓, it's invitation only to "experienced" travelers, so newbies can't get in to fuck everything up.

In all honesty, I don't know how effective all the crazy security stuff is that the TSA has in effect. What I do know is that Pre✓ goes a long way towards making me not mind it so much.

   
• Holy Crap! I've been skydiving. And, even though I have a fear of heights, I didn't have any problems because there's a point where the scale of the height is so big that you don't really recognize it as something to fear. But then there's this...

Felix Baumgartner Jumper
Photo by Felix Baumgartner himself

I'm pretty sure that I would lose my frickin' mind if ever I faced a jump of 28,000 feet. That's 24 frickin' miles! And yet... Felix Baumgartner took it on like a boss. Kind of makes skydiving look like a walk in the park. Next up? Lunar jumps!

   
• Frothy! It would appear that everybody's favorite gay-sex obsessed piece of shit, Rick Santorum, is still in Washington State drumming up hate against equality...

It used to be the only reason I wanted marriage equality for my home state was so that my friends here who want to be married but are unable to will finally be able to fulfill their dreams. But more and more I want it to pass so that ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots like Rick Santorum will fail utterly... thus sending a message to other ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots that their time has passed. And good riddance.

   
• Lawdy! And, speaking of ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots... I think this one is my favorite one of all...

Oh horrors! The law will apply to everyone... not just the well-adjusted, well-educated, sophisticated, wholesome, gays... it'll also apply to the gays with drug problems and who are mentally unstable! Well, shit! We simply cannot have that! Can you imagine if there were straight couples with drug and mental problems having families? What would we do then? Clearly, this is the strongest argument against marriage equality ever.

   
• Nemo! Please tell me you saw the wonderful Google Doodle celebrating the 107th anniversary of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland...

Google Little Nemo Doodle

Absolutely brilliant... just like Little Nemo, which remains one of the most imaginative things to come out of human history.

   
And... I suppose now that it's 2:00am I should see if I can get some sleep. It's been a long day.

   

Bullet Sunday 296

Posted on September 16th, 2012

Dave!Tonight will be my last night of refuge on the coast.

Tomorrow morning I bite the bullet and head back to my smokey home. So put on your gas mask... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Five. I stayed up until midnight so I could pre-order my iPhone 5 on Wednesday...

IPhone 5

It was precisely the cluster-fuck I knew it would be. Couldn't order at Apple because my AT&T billing address is a PO box and they won't deliver to a PO box. Have no clue as to why I can't enter a separate street address for delivery... but whatever. And so I had to pre-order at AT&T's site, which is an even bigger mess. Every single time you press a button, you have to re-press it dozens of times in order for the site to do anything. Every time you fill out a form, you have to re-fill it out and submit it dozens of times in order for the site to accept the data. This took TWO HOURS AND FIVE MINUTES. Insanity. And I have no idea when I'm even going to get it. I may have stayed up until 2:05am for nothing. I understand that these sites are getting completely slammed by thousands of people... but come on. There has got to be a better way of handling this.

   
• Carrier. Make no mistake. The only reason I renewed with shitty AT&T was because I could grandfather in my unlimited data plan. The very minute that AT&T tells me that I can no longer have unlimited data is the minute that I switch to Verizon. AT&T call quality just keeps getting worse and worse, and now data service is in the shitter as well. In cities like Chicago and Las Vegas, my iPhone is practically useless. Hopefully having 4G-LTE will help in cities where 3G fails, because... damn.

   
• Bacon. In what can only be considered a boon to all humanity, you can now check a star's Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon directly in a Google search...

Bacon Number on Google

It never ceases to amaze me how Bacon numbers just keep falling. Mr. Bacon's appearance in X-Men: First Class really chopped a lot of numbers down for younger and up-and-coming stars.

   
• Trek. Speaking of Google... they had a genius interactive doodle for the 46th anniversary of Star Trek last week...

Google Trek!

So awesome.

   
• Alcoholic. The news broke that Disney will be offering beer and wine for sale at their new French restaurant in Walt Disney World's "Magic Kingdom." Unsurprisingly, people are losing their shit. They're saying everything from "Walt Disney is turning in his grave!" to "BOYCOTT DISNEY!!" Never mind that the three other Disney World parks (Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot) have all been serving alcohol for years... somehow serving it in the Magic Kingdom is going to DESTROY DISNEY WORLD! And never mind that visitors can just get shit-faced in the parking lot before they even enter the park... oh no... WE'RE ALL DOOMED! And never mind that the alcohol Disney's going to be selling at heinous prices is only available in the evening and must be consumed before leaving the restaurant... WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey Disney World Beer

Give me a break. I am so sick and tired of people going bat-shit crazy over things that will ultimately have -zero- effect on them. Like a glass or two of wine with dinner is suddenly going to turn Walt Disney World into a drunken brawl where kids will have to stumble over hookers and heroin addicts on their way to "It's a Small World." I never thought I'd be saying that there are people too fucking stupid for Disney World, but here we are. Oh well... more beer for me then.

   
Blargh... time to start thinking about my last smoke-free sleep.

   

Bullet Sunday 239

Posted on July 3rd, 2011

Dave!Oh, wipe your tears away... Sunday, bloody Sunday...

   
• Plus! Annnnd... Google debuted their "Google+" social media services this week. As a so-called "Facebook killer" it's pretty interesting. I like that its smarter at controlling who sees the things you post. I like being able to organize people into my "Circles"... which are kind of like old rotary phone dials...

Google Plus Circles

Of course, if you have a hundred friends, you can only see thirteen in your little dial until you click on it, but I guess that's better than nothing.

Except...

I've already got Facebook, Twitter, and this blog sucking up my time. Do I really need another "thing" cutting into my already mega-packed offline life? I mean, I suppose I can give up sleeping and going to the bathroom, but is Google+ really worth it? Time will tell.

   
• Colbert. This past week Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's Colbert Report received approval from the FEC to form his own Political Action Committee. But, unlike regular PACs, he formed a Super PAC which has no restrictions on the amount of money he can raise. I'm absolutely fascinated at the prospect of a comedian having access to a PAC, and can't wait to see how much he can raise and what he's eventually going to do with it.

So I donated some money. And got an autographed photo for my trouble...

Colbert Super PAC Autograph

Whatever he does with his money, I'm betting it's going to be a heck of a lot more interesting than what Sarah Palin has been doing with her PAC monies.

   
• Roundabout. I noted an article link over on Neil Turner's Blog about how the British roundabout is conquering the US. This is something I can confirm as true. Years ago, the only roundabouts I'd ever seen in the USA were in Massachusetts. But now they are popping up everywhere. The first I remember seeing in my home state of Washington was at the I-90 interchange in North Bend...

North Bend Roundabout
Image taken from Google Maps

And now, even small local cities like nearby Wenatchee are getting roundabouts.

The problem is that nobody here seems to know how to drive on them. Most of the time I've seen people encounter a roundabout, they full-stop instead of yield. And, even then, they don't know what to do, preferring to just sit there for a while until they get up the courage to enter. Hopefully this will change as they become more prevalent, but right now they're more trouble than they're worth.

   
• Arrietty. The next film by animation genius Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli is called Arrietty, and is based on the beloved book The Borrowers by Mary Norton. As with everything Miyazaki touches, it looks stunning...

My loved of all things Miyazaki is well documented. He has been a massive influence on me for decades, and his works are without peer in the animation world (the people at Pixar practically worship the man, for example). That he has continued to work after his "retirement" in 1998 has been a source of absolute joy to me, and seeing yet another film with his fingerprints on it makes me happier than I can possibly express. And while his role at Ghibli seems mostly supervisory now (though he appears to still be doing some writing and drawing too), he seems to have good people (including his son) carrying on his work...

Arietty English Poster Miyazaki

Arrietty was released in Japan almost a year ago and I have yet to see it. Today I learned that it won't reach the USA until FEBRUARY, 2012!! And while I would prefer to see the movie with the original Japanese soundtrack and subtitles, the North American release is certain to be an English dub (as usual). I don't even care. I just want to see it! Then hopefully the Blu-Ray release will preserve the Japanese version like Ponyo did. In the meanwhile... I wait.

   
And that's all she wrote since I have to get up early for work in the morning. Here's hoping all my fellow USAsians have a good holiday tomorrow!

   

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