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Impossibly Vegas

Posted on August 15th, 2019

Dave!With work and Janet Jackson complete, it was time to fly back home. Yeah, it might have been nice to add a couple days vacation and relax by the pool or something, but Vegas is very different when you're alone as opposed to when you're hanging out with friends, and I'd rather just go back home to my cats (no offense, Vegas).

When I landed on Tuesday, my work hadn't gotten a hotel arranged for me yet. This is not entirely unusual for Vegas where pricing changes based on occupancy. Charities try to save money wherever possible, so waiting to see if there's a deal on a mid-week stay is just being responsible. Since I couldn't leave the airport until I knew where I was going, I decided I might as well have lunch. Burger King was right there, so I decided to see if they had the "Impossible Whopper" available. This plant-based burger is apparently the closest thing to a real burger. I dunno about that (I haven't eaten meat in 33 years, 3 months, and 24 days) all I know is that I do enjoy a good veggie burger.

Funnily enough, the wrapper says "100% BEEF" on it, so they kindly put a sticker on it to let you know that they didn't accidentally give you a meat patty...

A Burger King Whopper hamburger in a wrapper with an Impossible Whopper sticker on the front.

Sure enough, it looks exactly like a Whopper...

A Burger King Impossible Whopper hamburger.

The taste is fantastic. Not sure it's worth $7.89, but I liked it a lot and would gladly order it again.

When I ordered, the lady at the register asked if I was "vegan" because apparently they cook the Impossible Burgers on the same flame grill that they cook their meat burgers. I guess if this bothers you they can microwave it or something? All I care about is that a cow wasn't slaughtered on my behalf, so I had no objections.

After loving the burger, I researched how it was made.

The original was wheat-based. The new "2.0" version is soy-based (making them gluten-free, if that's your thing). This is nothing special, as there are plenty of burgers that are soy-based. What makes Impossible Burger so good is that they use "heme" as an ingredient. From what I understand, "heme" is the red-red component of blood that captures oxygen and is responsible for giving meat its meaty flavor. Obviously they can't use blood in a veggie burger, so they are manufacturing their own Franken-Heme in a laboratory by genetically engineering yeast to have a soy hemoglobin. They then extract the plant-based "heme" from the yeast and that's why their burgers are impossibly good.

So... if you're hardcore non-GMO, then this is not the burger for you.

It totally IS the burger for me, however, which is why I had another one before I flew home, this time with cheese...

A Burger King Impossible Whopper hamburger.

   
And that's that. My plane leaves in and hour and then it's good bye Las Vegas.

But before I go, a look at what makes Vegas so totally Vegas...

My hotel room? $30. The stupid-ass "resort fee?" $35. Why the fuck they don't just be honest and charge you $75 for a room is assholery at its finest. Especially since the "resort fee" is just a scam. It includes access to the fitness center (who the fuck cares?), phone calls (doesn't everybody have a mobile phone now?), and internet access (which I could get for free by tethering to my phone). So, basically, we're paying $35 for nothing. But that's Vegas for you.

Until next time, Sin City.

   

Miss Jackson, If You’re Nasty

Posted on August 14th, 2019

Dave!Like most of the world, I'm a big Janet Jackson fan. So when a friend from work asked me to fill in for him... and the job came with his ticket to see her Metamorphosis tour... I did not need much convincing. Sure I'd be headed to Las Vegas in August, which is essentially a hellscape of sweat, heat, and sunburn... but, hey, JANET JACKSON!

The good news was that she burned through a massive number of her best-loved songs, so you were sure to hear some of your favorites.

The bad news was that in order to keep the concert from being six hours long, most of the songs were abbreviated or worked into a montage. This was perfectly understandable and mostly fine, but for my very favorite songs I was left wanting more. Especially on When I Think of You, which is such an awesome fun song to hear live.

If there was a problem with the concert, it wasn't the performance... it was the venue. The Park Theater stage is massive. It's absurdly wide. Because of that, Janet was completely overwhelmed by any attempt to fill up the space. Janet Jackson and her music is larger than life. But on the stage she just looked so tiny. A lot of time was spent trying to find her. Like here, where she's all the way to the left...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Most of the time she was with dancers though, which made her easier to spot...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

And of course they had giant screens on either side of the stage so you could get a good look from anywhere in the theater...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

But looking at the stage? Yeah... unless you were on the floor, good luck with that...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Most of the show was really quite good. Janet put her all into her performance from start to finish. Not that there weren't some bizarre parts. At one point they brought a guy on stage, tied him to a chair, then had Janet and her dancers run their hands all over him...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

She had plenty of costume changes to keep things interesting...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Assuming you could see the costumes when the lasers were trying to fill up the theater to keep things interesting for those of us in the cheap seats...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

The Rhythm Nation section of the show managed to get everybody on their feet...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Until it was time to close out the show...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Good night, Miss Jackson.

Oh... interesting aside here... Hello Kitty has her own pop-up food truck cafe now...

Hello Kitty Pop Up Food Truck Cafe in pink.

And that's a wrap on my last night in Las Vegas. Stay safe, kids.

   

Mission: Planet Hollywood

Posted on August 13th, 2019

Dave!And so here I am back in Las Vegas.

My work isn't until tomorrow, so I came up with a mission to accomplish along the way to picking up some documents.

As you may or may not be aware, I have a separate blog for my Hard Rock Cafe visits called DaveCafe. Back in 2010 I rebuilt the site to run on Wordpress, but ended up losing all my notes and photos when my web hosting company crashed shortly thereafter. I still keep it updated with a list of Hard Rock locations and my visits, but I never managed to find time to put my photos and notes back. Maybe one day.

Something else I lost in the Great Web Host Crash of 2010? My Planet Hollywood fan site.

Oh yes. Along with Hard Rock Cafes, I also visited Planet Hollywoods, All-Star Cafes, Fashion Cafes, Harley-Davidson Cafes, and Motown Cafes. They were never destination-worthy like Hard Rocks to me, but so many times when I visited a city with a Hard Rock there was a Planet Hollywood there as well, so why not?

The (mostly) failed restaurant chain came up in conversation not too long ago, then came up again when I was watching The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis. This got me curious to know if any pieces of my old fan site were backed up somewhere. So I searched my archives and, much to my surprise, the logos I created for the site popped up...

   
From what I can piece together, these are the locations I visited. The ones with check-marks are confirmed because I found photos I took of the restaurant...

  1. ✔ Amsterdam
  2. ✔ Atlanta
  3. ✔ Atlantic City
  4. ✔ Baltimore
  5. ✔ Bangkok
  6. ✔ Beverly Hills
  7. ✔ Chicago
  8. □ Columbus
  9. ✔ Dallas
  10. ✔ Gatwick Airport
  11. ✔ Gurnee Mills
  12. ✔ Houston
  13. ✔ Key West
  14. ✔ Kuala Lumpur
  15. □ Las Vegas
  16. □ Las Vegas Hotel
  17. ✔ London
  18. ✔ Mall of America
  19. ✔ Miami
  20. ✔ Montreal
  21. ✔ Myrtle Beach
  22. ✔ Nashville
  23. ✔ New Orleans
  24. ✔ New York
  25. ✔ Niagara Falls
  26. ✔ Orlando
  27. ✔ Paris
  28. ✔ Rome
  29. ✔ St. Louis
  30. ✔ San Antonio
  31. ✔ San Diego
  32. ✔ San Francisco
  33. ✔ Seattle
  34. ✔ Singapore
  35. ✔ South Coast Plaza
  36. ✔ Toronto
  37. ✔ Vancouver
  38. □ Washington, D.C.

I know I've been to the Washington, D.C. location because I remember the T-shirt I bought there. No idea why I can't find a photo of it. Columbus I don't remember at all, so I'm not sure why I made a badge for it. I do recall there was a "Planet Movies" at Easton Town Center in Columbus, but when I went there it had closed down, so that doesn't count. Maybe they had a restaurant too and I don't remember it? I used to go to Columbus for work, so if they had one, I probably visited it.

And then there's the two Vegas locations. I'm positive I've been to the hotel (I've seen a concert there, gambled there, eaten there, and shopped there)... and I know I ate at the restaurant in the Caesar's Palace Forum Shops a couple times. Yet I can't find a single photo to prove it!

Since these are two of the few Planet Hollywood locations still in operation, I decided to get my photos today. First was the restaurant. I made my way to where it's located and... it wasn't there! This was confusing, because they still have a sign for it outside of Caesar's...

A Planet Hollywood sign at Caesar's Palace against a flawless blue sky.

So I asked a security guard about it and, sure enough, they moved to a new location. Unfortunately, the new restaurant is boring as hell. So plain...

The new and un-improved Planet Hollywood restaurant in Las Vegas. Sad.

The original was funky-cool and interesting inside and out. I sure hope that I can find some photos I took of it. Because this? =yawn=

After walking through the Planet Hollywood casino, the hotel was easy to photograph...

The Planet Hollywood hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Surprisingly boring for the Las Vegas Strip.

Maybe one day I'll confirm Columbus and find a photo of Washington, D.C. so I can rebuild my Planet Hollywood fan site. There's precious little information on the internet that I can find about this once great chain of theme restaurants, so it seems only right that somebody remember them online. Heck, they don't even have a list of former restaurants on Wikipedia!

Until then, I'll just put my photos in an extended entry so I'll know where to find them when I need them.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Mainely Assholes (Plus Cats)

Posted on July 25th, 2019

Dave!The people of Maine are truly a gem. They are a lovely combination of Canadian courtesy, Southern hospitality, and Midwest sensibility... all rolled into some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Until you put them behind the wheel of a car, that is.

Every time I come here (and I've been doing it for a while now) I am in utter shock at just what aggressive assholes Maine drivers are. They are brutal, unforgiving, ruthless, and just overall mean.

Take today, for example.

I was driving back to my worksite after lunch at one of those weird Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken hybrids*. The speed limit is 30. I am driving about 42 because that's the pace that the cars ahead of me are setting. They are about ten car-lengths ahead, but I'm going the same speed that they are.

Then, out of nowhere, some woman comes blazing up behind me. She's revving her engine. She's swerving from one side of the lane to the other as if she's trying to see what could possibly be slowing me down to a mere 12 miles per hour over the speed limit. She is driving so aggressively that I become genuinely worried that she's going to crash into me. And that's the point... she is trying to intimidate me into going faster even though I'm already well above the speed limit.

And then it occurs to me.

I am driving a rental car with full LDW (Loss Damage Waiver) coverage.

So when I see a man limping across the street, having just cleared my lane, I use it as an excuse to stop. Then I'm all Let's see what happens, shall we? as I brace for impact.

She didn't hit me, but she did have to slam on her brakes and swerve off the road where it looked like she was having a heck of a time regaining control so she could keep her car on the shoulder and not slam it into the guardrail.

I can only guess that she was not happy.

But I sure was. Next time don't be such an asshole, you fucker!

Except she didn't learn anything, because she caught right back up to me, then illegally used an exit lane to burn past me at 50+ miles per hour. In a 30 mile per hour zone. I didn't look at her as she passed. I assumed there would be hand gestures I was not wanting to see. Because I'm the asshole in this scenario, apparently.

What's so stupid is that after she made all that effort to pass me, she was immediately stuck behind a whole string of cars going 40-42 miles per hour, so she was being a total asshole and almost wrecked her car for nothing. Eventually she pulled into the center lane for a left turn. I did look at her as I passed that time. Everything normal. She was focused on finding an opening so she could turn... no ugly glaring at me at all.

Look, if there's an emergency and she was trying to get her kid to the hospital emergency room because it's dying (or whatever), then fine. You should be driving like somebody's life depends on it. But then you'd be honking your horn and having your emergency flashers on so people would know to move, right? You wouldn't zoom up on somebody's bumper and act like a psychotic fucking piece of shit.

=sigh=

I miss my cats.

I look in on them several times during the day (and night) to make sure nothing is amiss, and it's all good. But it's still tough. This morning Jenny had an itchy ear. She keeps stopping to scratch it. She doesn't have fleas or mites or anything, this just happens sometimes with her. When I notice it, I usually step in to scratch it for her real good. There have been a couple times when I review security camera footage of her while at work that I've dashed home for a couple minutes to scratch her ears. But when I'm 2,400 miles away? All I can do is watch in frustration...

Jenny scratches her ear in a security camera footage still.

Generally speaking, my cats are very good about not jumping up on my dining room table... which I appreciate, because it saves on disinfectant cleaner from having to wipe it down all the time. But when I'm gone? Jenny seems to live on top of my table. I don't know if it's because she is always looking for me and thinks it makes a great spot to see everything... or whether she does it because she knows she's not supposed to be up there, and it's some kind of revenge for me having abandoned her. Eventually I gave up on trying to think of ways to keep her off, and just slapped a pair of my jeans down so at least she's not sitting directly on the table (because... ewwww... cat butt table). For whatever reason, Jenny absolutely loves sitting and laying on my jeans, so I never throw them out anymore. Any time they get damaged or torn beyond repair I just wash them and set them out as cat beds. Problem solved...

Jenny Sitting on Jeans Sitting on my Dining Room Table

All day and all night...

Jenny Sitting on Jeans Sitting on my Dining Room Table

At least she's content this way. Or as content as she can be when I'm not home, poor thing!

Jake seems to handle my absence better.

Until I get home. Then he wants me to know exactly how he feels about it.

   

*I like Taco Bell. They have great vegetarian options (7-Layer Burrito, Swap Black Beans for Refried beans... and their Cheesy Potato Griller is sublime) even though they may not be the healthiest options. But, when you're on the road and need vegetarian in a hurry... well... thank heavens I can "Make a Run for The Border." Though it's weird at the Taco Bell's with KFC inside, because then you are staring at weird stuff like this...

Colonel Sanders meets Mickey Mouse in an old photo at KFC!

Methinks The Colonel may be reconsidering where his "chicken" comes from.

RUN, MICKEY! RUNNNNNN!!!

   

The Consequence of Filler

Posted on July 24th, 2019

Dave!I'm in the future! This post is for Wednesday but I'm writing it on Thursday because stuff happened.

My flight to Boston was great (thanks, Alaska Airlines!). My hotel at midnight was nice. My drive up to Maine was painless. My lunch was very good. My hotel is great as always. But work was pushed back several times over many hours, so I'm kinda in that limbo state that happens when you're sleep-deprived yet having to concentrate on the job.

Somewhere in all that, I needed a snack so I grabbed a bag of Mango Pineapple Mix. I love dried pineapple and mango, so it was an easy choice.

Except...

When I started chowing down, I noted that there was hardly any mango or pineapple taste to be found. As you chew it, it tastes more like peanut butter and raisins...

INGREDIENTS: PEANUTS, RAISINS, SUNFLOWER KERNELS, MANGO, PINEAPPLE, CASHEWS.

Well, shit.

Here in the USA, ingredients must be listed in order of volume. But they don't have to tell you the percentage of each ingredients. For my "Mango Pineapple Mix" my guess is that it's something like this...

  • PEANUTS: 50%
  • RAISINS: 23%
  • SUNFLOWER KERNELS: 18%
  • MANGO: 4%
  • PINEAPPLE: 3%
  • CASHEWS: 2%

So... not really a Mango Pineapple Mix after all. The ingredients might as well have read...

  • DISAPPOINTMENT: 100%
  • SATISFACTION: 0%

Mango, pineapple, and cashews are expensive, so they are used sparingly. Peanuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds are cheap, so they are used as filler. Which is fine, except in this case the filler is so overwhelming that you never really taste the ingredients that the mix was named after.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Companies lie to sell their crap all the time.

Just like politicians.

As the presidential race starts heating up, you quickly realize that all the threats and promises the candidates are making are just filler. Cheap lies they say so they can get elected. Promises, after all, cost nothing. If I were to break down the ingredients for a politician's motivations when running for office, it would probably go something like this...

  • MONEY: 150%
  • POWER: 130%
  • RE-ELECTION: 120%
  • FAME: 98%
  • ACTUAL FUCKING CONCERN FOR PEOPLE: 2%

Yes, I realize that all adds up to 500%, but you've seen how politicians operate... tell me that I'm wrong. And don't kid yourself, that 2% is very much dependent on whether having "concern" will jeopardize their bigger priorities.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Politicians lie to sell their crap all the time. Their "ingredients" might as well read...

  • DOING THE BIDDING OF THEIR LOBBYIST OVERLORDS EVEN IF THEY END UP FUCKING OVER THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING: 100%
  • ACTUALLY DOING THE WORK TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS: 0%

Why American citizens don't give a shit about this obvious scam is beyond me. I see the headlines and marvel at the fact that people aren't rioting in the streets. Take this one, for example...

Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.

You work your entire life so that one day you can retire. Significant chunks of your paycheck are taken for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, with the expectation that this money will come back to you so that you don't have to spend your "golden years" living in disease and poverty.

And yet here we are.

If you're one of the wealthy individuals benefitting from the money being stolen from working-class America, congratulations, you got the country you paid for. If you're not one of those individuals, then I hope you enjoy your "golden years" living in disease and poverty. You voted for it, after all.

Change your mind? Here's a checklist for a good start...

  1. Demand term limits for all political offices.
  2. Demand term limits for Supreme Court justices.
  3. Demand abolishing lobbyist payola.
  4. Demand a new, more representative voting system.

That last one is the ballgame. It's also complex and interesting. Fortunately, CPG Grey has you covered. Watching these videos is well worth your time if you're at all concerned about just how badly fucked you are by our current political system...






And... back to work. And my shitty trail mix.

   

Very Very Frightening Me

Posted on July 23rd, 2019

Dave!I've somehow reached an entirely new level of exhaustion.

I went to bed at midnight expecting to get seven hours sleep before Alexa chimed for the cats' breakfast. I didn't manage to fall asleep until sometime around 1:00-1:30, so I was already off to a bad start.

Then the thunder and lightning started lighting up the sky and booming through my morning.

Surprisingly, Jake and Jenny were not phased, even when the thunder was so loud it was shaking the house. They were in the window ledges of my bedroom watching the lightning and trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from (when, basically, it was coming from the entire valley). This was a bit confusing for them. I mean, just look at the lightning strikes hitting Washington State today...


Lightning Strikes Map from Lightning Viewer, National Interagency Fire Center

I'm kinda in the middle of all that. Which meant I just lay there in my bed not sleeping while the world exploded.

Usually it takes 2-1/2 hours to drive to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. But this being summer and all, I have to allow an extra hour for multiple road construction stops. Then I had to add a half hour to that so I could get my $13 measles antibodies test blood draw. Then I thought I might as well add another half hour for lunch.

So basically I ended up getting no sleep and barely had time to check all my home security cameras and alarm sensors before walking out the door.

Three hours driving through road construction (which never fucking ends... NEVERRRR!) followed by lunch at Fatburger followed by a blood draw followed by a quick trip to IKEA to get a glass topper for my second guest bedroom nightstand followed by a two hour wait at the airport followed by a five-and-a-half-hour flight followed by a thirty minute ordeal getting to my hotel followed by fifteen minutes writing this blog entry.

And... I'm so done.

Here's hoping that all the lightning fires that got started were quickly contained and put out.

   

Imagine Museum Interactivity

Posted on July 11th, 2019

Dave!

Today was the first day I've felt like I'm actually on vacation. I mean, sure I answered a few work emails and made a few work calls... but I didn't do any actual "work" the entire day. That's exceedingly rare.

One of the things I did do was accompany my grand-nephew to Everett's Imagine Interactive Children's Museum. Sometimes these things end up being pretty janky, but this one was actually very cool. Plenty of imaginative exhibits to keep kids entertained for hours. Like an air-tube exhibit where you can see how air-flow can be used to push a scarf through some clear pipes...

Imagine! Museum Air Hankey

Young kids won't get the air pressure science that's being demonstrated... but they sure have fun chasing down those scarves! Pretty slick. Though I guess nobody at the museum has ever heard of a fart before...

Imagine! Museum Glow Puzzle

It's a museum built for kids, but no worries... the adults were able to have fun as well...

Imagine! Museum Thermo Photo Fun

I got to be a chef with plastic food...

Imagine! Museum Fake Food

I got to play with glow-in-the-dark puzzle pieces...

Imagine! Museum Glow Puzzle

I got to milk a giant plastic cow...

Imagine! Museum Milk a Cow

I got to shoot water-guns at balls...

Imagine! Museum Water Guns

Imagine! Museum Water Guns

I got to play with wooden monkeys...

Imagine! Museum Monkey Puzzle

I got to build some interesting architectural structures...

Imagine! Museum Wood Puzzle

And I also got to watch kids go nuts at the rooftop play-space, which is pretty great...

Imagine! Museum Rooftop Playground

They even have a dinosaur dig!

Imagine! Dinosaur Dig

Kids absolutely love this place and, if you've got young ones and are in the Snohomish County region, it's worth a visit.

An aside here... I was surprised that they allow you to take photos inside the place. I was careful not to get kids in my shots and, for those photos where kids were in them, to never photograph their faces. I'm pretty sure most people who were snapping away with their mobile phones were not so careful, and this raises some privacy concerns. Yes in this day and age you can pretty much be photographed anywhere at any time but, in a space that's exclusively meant for children, you'd think that it would be in everybody's best interest if photography was not allowed? I dunno. Perhaps I'm just overly paranoid.

Though the paranoia may not be entirely my fault.

There are statues with creepy eyes right out in front, so the museum kinda puts you in a paranoid state before you even step inside the place...

Imagine! Creepy Statues!

Imagine! Creepy Statues!

Imagine! Creepy Statues!

It's a nice enough artwork, but the white eyes make grandpa look like a pervy child predator or something. And is it just me, or does the little girl look like she's possessed by demons?

Probably just the paranoia again. I should probably look into that.

   

Working and Floating on Vacation

Posted on July 9th, 2019

Dave!Yesterday morning I spent my vacation working.

Clearly I am doing my vacation all wrong and need to change things up.

So yesterday afternoon I spent my vacation drinking blueberry margaritas...

Bluberry Margaritas, chips, and guacamole

...then making an impulse decision to go floating down the river with friends again. It's just such a relaxing way to spend a lazy summer day...

Me floatin'

Me floatin'

The river is getting really low in spots, so I spent a good chunk of my time lifting my butt so I wasn't dragging on the riverbed...

Me floatin' in very low waters!

It was a nice day, and ducks were out everywhere...

Me floatin' by DUCKS

As the sun started falling, it got to be pretty shivery. Having your butt in cold water with cool breezes is fine when the sun is warming you... not so fine when it's not. By the time we made landfall, I was a popsicle.

And then my cold, dead heart was warmed watching a momma duck with her four babies...

Momma Duck and Baby Duck

The little ones move so fast they were almost impossible to photograph...

Momma Duck and Baby Ducks

That poor mom had her wings full, I tell you. Two of her babies would go one way... two would go another way... then she'd have to run back and forth until she had them all corralled. It's a tough job. But she was up to the task.

That's pretty good vacationing, isn't it?

Which is why I didn't feel quite so bad that today I spent half the day working, then cut my hair, cleaned my house, and paid my bills.

I did go swimming in the late afternoon though, so I guess it's all good.

   

Hinterland and Cymraeg

Posted on July 8th, 2019

Dave!I have had Hinterland on my Netflix watch-list for a long time. Tonight I finally watched the first episode of the first series.

It's fantastic. Mostly due to the remarkable performance of lead Richard Harrington. You can feel the wheels turning any time he's on screen...

Granted, I'm only half-way through the first season, but I'm sure liking this show. The atmosphere they've created permeates every scene so the series feels more "real" than most.

What's interesting about this show (other than how good it's been) is that every scene is filmed twice... once in English and once in Welsh (which is called "Cymraeg" in the Welsh language). I did a YouTube search to watch some of the Cymraeg scenes and it's amazing how all these actors have to essentially perform the same show twice. And since Hinterland looks so grueling and demanding of the actors, I can't imagine how difficult that must be...

I'm sure they use all kinds of tricks to make the show affordable. In the scene above where he destroys a kitchen, for example, they were careful to make sure there was no dialogue so they only had to shoot it once. If he had said "I hate my life!" while smashing the dishes, they would have had to buy all new dishes, clean the set, then reset the scene so he could say "Rwy'n casáu fy mywyd!" for the Welsh version.

Here's the trailer in Welsh...

I first learned about Wales and the Welsh language in anticipation of my visit to the beautiful Hard Rock Cafe in Cardiff (Caerdydd). Cymraeg is a fascinating language which is estimated to be spoken by less than a million people around the globe. Most people have probably only ever heard of it on viral YouTube videos where people are pronouncing very long Welsh words...

Before wrapping up this post, I'd be remiss if I didn't post a link to one of my favorite comedy bits by Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert...

Happy Monday, everybody!

   

One Year On

Posted on June 28th, 2019

Dave!I am writing this at near-midnight on Friday knowing that by the time I finish my post it will be tomorrow... and the one-year anniversary of my mom's death. Of course I still miss her. If anything I miss her more than I did a year ago. I think it's because the memories of her declining health are becoming dimmer while my happier memories are becoming brighter. Happier, but also more painful, because they are a constant reminder of what I've lost.

Mentally I still have a lot of work to do, as I can't stop bouncing between extremes.

One minute I'm jealous... even angry... that other people have moms living into their 80's and 90's who are still living active, happy lives. It's not fair. Then the next minute I'm gutted because I hear that somebody's mom died in their 40's and they didn't get the time I had. That's not fair either. Cursed because my mom started sliding into dementia at 70 years old. Blessed because somebody else's mom was just diagnosed with dementia at 52 years old. Unlucky that my mom died before we could get to all of our travel plans. So very lucky that we got to see as much of the world together as we did. Happy that we were so close. Devastated that we were so close... because would it hurt this bad if we weren't?

It goes on and on.

I think the thing that hurts the most is knowing that I would give absolutely anything for just five minutes to talk with her again. The mom she was before she got sick. Just to tell her I love her. To tell her how much she means to me. But also to ask her if the deicions I had to make were okay so she could assure me that they were and she knows I did the best I could. Because of course she would say that even if she hated what I did. She's my mother, after all.

I know it doesn't make sense that I would want to ask my mom a question when I already know how she would answer, but I can't help it. The unthinkable choices I had to make won't stop haunting me. It's pointless to second-guess something I cannot change. And probably wouldn't change. My whole heart was invested in every decision, so what would I have done differently? I honestly don't know. But probably nothing.

It's now 12:11am on Saturday, June 29th.

Since it's unlikely that I will get much sleep... or any sleep... tonight, I suppose I will look through all of the travel books I made for my mom. It will probably just make me miss her more than I already do, but what's another drop of heartache to an ocean of grief?

Nothing. And everything, I suppose.

   

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