Blogography Logo
spacer

   

Bullet Sunday 630

Posted on September 22nd, 2019

Dave!I can't believe the weekend is already gone! But all is not lost, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• FAKE FOOD! Like many large cities, Tokyo has several districts which specialize in various goods. If you want to see electronics, head to Akihabara. If you want Western fashion and high-end restaurants, you need to go to Ginza. That kind of thing. One of my favorite places to look around is Kappabashi Street, which specializes in restaurant supplies. Pots, pans, dishes, utensils... and a staple of Japanese restaurants... fake food. Because most all restaurants have their windows filled with representations of the dishes they specialize in so people will get their mouths watering and want to come inside. Most of the plastic foods you can buy here in the US are crap, whereas in Japan it's a true artform...

Yes most of the stuff has a bit of a high-gloss sheen to it, but once it's wrapped in plastic to keep it from getting dusty it's pretty darn realistic. The above video is a fascinating look at how it's made.

   
• Goose. After a long time of reading about it being "released in early 2019," Untitled Goose Game is finally here! The object of the game is to be a complete asshole, which is something I can totally do...

I blazed through everything in just one morning, which is disappointing, but it's a pretty fun game otherwise. Nintendo's eShop has it on sale for Switch at 25% off for a limited time.

   
• Drugs are Bad, Mmkay? This commercial where the girl takes off her seatbelt and runs her car into a dumpster so she can get more Vicodin? More disturbing than any horror movie I've ever seen...

   
• X-Pan I had no desire... none at all... to see X-Men: Dark Phoenix. For one thing, it's the capper of a slew of shitty X-movies, after which Marvel will be bringing the X-Men to the MCU and completely rebooting it to (hopefully) something that doesn't suck. So it's essentially a wasted effort and makes no difference. And, if this hilarious "honest trailer" is anything to go by, it's a pile of shit anyway...

Maybe if it shows up on Hulu or HBO or Disney+ or something I'm already paying for, I'll invest my valuable time. But buying or renting it? Not even a little bit.

   
• Name. An interesting article: Names That Are Unfamiliar to You Aren't "Hard," They're "Unpracticed"

My first "real" international trip was to Japan in the late 80's for work. In Japanese, the "V" in my name doesn't exist as a sound. The closest they have is a "B." And yet they made an effort to say the "V" as best they could, even though it was a struggle and unnatural for them. That kindness has never left me, and I feel incredibly blessed that I learned how important a name can be so early in my travels. Which is why I try my very best to listen when I hear names and put my every best effort into pronouncing them correctly.

So many times I've had co-workers, friends, and people I meet who have "difficult for English speakers to pronounce" names who will say their name... then follow it with "But you can call me..." and give either a completely different "English" name... or some butchered version of their name. Whenever I can, I've asked about their actual name, worked with them to get an acceptable pronunciation, then ask if they mind that I use their real name. And the result is always the same appreciation that I felt that first trip to Japan so many years ago.

Your name... whether it's yours by birth or the name you've chosen for yourself... is key to your identity. Endeavoring to respect a person's name by listening, working to pronounce it, and saying it with your best effort, is such a small thing, really. But it means so much.

   
• Emmys. I do not watch the Emmys. The television I like is rarely represented, so I just don't bother. That being said, I do read the results the next day and have some thoughts...

  • DRAMA: The fact that Game of Thrones can take the big prize seems odd given what a pile of shit the final season ended up being, but okay.
  • SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA: That being said, Peter Dinklage 100% earned that Emmy for his performance in the final season. He elevates any material to new levels, and this was no difference.
  • LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA: This was kind of an absurd category because winner Billy Porter from Pose was about the only one who I felt deserved it. Maybe Jason Bateman from Ozark, but Billy owned this and I'm glad he won.
  • COMEDY: I would have taken Fleabag, Barry, Russian Doll, or Schitt's Creek... but was secretly hoping for Schitt's Creek. Yet... not the least bit upset that Fleabag took the prize.
  • VARIETY: I am really torn here. Yes, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver deserves tons of recognition. But overlooking The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is really a tough pill to swallow. Trevor is killing it every night.
  • LIMITED: I would have liked if When They See Us won because A) It deserves awards, and B) It deserves attention. But Chernobyl was incredible. So good. I ended up watching it all the way through twice because it's such a powerful story.
  • DIRECTING: That being said, Ava DuVernay should have gotten the Emmy for best director when it came to When They See Us. Oh well.
  • COMPETITION: I was very happy to hear that RuPaul's Drag Race won this. It is, by far, the most entertaining of all the nominations.
  • LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY: While I would love for Catherine O'Hara and Natasha Lyonne to get recognition for the incredible work they do, Phoebe Waller-Bridge earned this one for Fleabag.
  • LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY: I'm thrilled that Bill Hader took the Emmy for his work on Barry! The show is 100% bananas in the best possible way, and his work there is just above and beyond.
  • SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY: I simply do not get the appeal of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as I find it neither funny nor entertaining. But Alex Borstein definitely does a fantastic job in the show, so I'm kinda torn on this one. I would have preferred that Kate McKinnon won for Saturday Night Live, however.

   
• SNUBBED! A few nominations that should have been made...

  • Ricky Gervais for acting and/or writing After Life. I am still a bit shocked he got no recognition at all for this one.
  • Tracy Morgan for The Last O.G.. That show is hilarious, and his performance is fantastic. For either to get some recognition is not out of left-field.
  • While I'm not sure The Good Place deserved all the nominations it got, I am sure that D’Arcy Carden should have gotten nominated for Supporting Actress, Comedy... AND WON IT. This is criminal.

   

And... I'm spent. See you in a week with more bullets.

   

Hell of a Day, Isn’t It?

Posted on September 9th, 2019

Dave!Back in the late 80s when my friend Doug and I were in Kauai, we looked at a map (yes, this was before Google Maps because I'm old) and saw a massive beach on the Western side of the island called "Barking Sands" and decided to go. Little did we know that Barking Sands Beach is a part of the Barking Sands Naval Base, home of the Pacific Missile Range Facility. We were (of course) halted at a fence and told to turn around and vacate the premises. Then were told that there was a public beach north of the facility if we wanted to go there. It was called "Polihale Beach" and we decided it was better than nothing after having driven all the way across the island.

If you look at it on a map, you can see what the deal was...

A map of Kauai showing how our condo in Wailua is on the other side of the island from Barking Sands Beach... and how Polihale Beach is north of Barking Sands.
Map From Google Maps

Problem was... our map was pretty vague about the area. We ended up taking a very wrong turn and ended up headed inland. When we tried to turn around using a drive into a sugar cane field, we were met by a guy with a gun who told us to get the hell off his property.

And so we did. Quickly.

Just one of many bizarre misadventures we we got into on that trip.

Once we got back to the road we needed to be on, we eventually spotted a road that looked like it maybe kinda possibly wouldn't get us shot... so we headed to the beach. This was an undeveloped off-the-beaten-path situation, so once we saw water we just pulled off the road and parked in an area where it looked like we might be out of the way.

This Google Maps satellite image may or may not be where we actually ended up, but you can get an idea of what I'm talking about...

A map of Polihale Beach showing the possible access road and possible parking area up off the beach.
Map From Google Maps

After parking, we headed to the beach.

Just as we turned the corner, we ran across a couple who had attempted to drive their rental SUV ONTO THE BEACH.

Needless to say, they immediately became stuck. Then they made things worse by slamming down on the gas pedal, which only dug the car deeper into the sand...

A map of Polihale Beach showing the possible access road and possible parking area up off the beach.
Map From Google Maps

Apparently they didn't get the memo on why you don't want to drive on sand with a vehicle not designed for that purpose.

As we approached we saw that a woman was seated in the passenger side of the SUV fuming. A man was attempting to dig it out with a frisbee. A futile effort if there ever was one, because the SUV was sunk up to the floorboards. The only way he was ever going to get off that beach would be if somebody parked off the beach with a winch and pulled him off of it.

As we passed, the guy looks up at us and says "Hell of a day, isn't it?" And Doug was all "Um. Yeah." Because the only thing going through both of our heads was how we were going to escape if this guy asked us to help him dig his car out. But he never did. So we walked up the beach, which was quite nice. Beautiful golden sand with turquoise waters and hardly any people...

A photo of gorgeous Polihale Beach with pretty water and a looming cliff in the distance.

One of the (many) things I love about Google Maps is that you can literally pinpoint where I took the above shot...

A satellite view looking down at Polihale Beach with pretty water and a looming cliff in the distance.
Satellite View From Google Maps

It's not a great beach for swimming thanks to the waves, which were rough, but pretty to look at otherwise...

A photo of gorgeous Polihale Beach with some people far off in the distance.

I did not take a photo of the guy digging his SUV out. This was before the days of being able to sneak a shot with a mobile phone, and I really didn't want him to get pissed at me for exploiting his misfortune if I were caught... so I restrained myself. In the shot above, he is just to the left out of frame.

Wow. These shots I took really are from the 80's. Just look at that film grain when I zoom in...

A closeup of Polihale Beach with massive film grain.

Anyway... After twenty minutes of bumming around, we walked back to our jeep. The guy was still there attempting to dig the SUV out. A part of me wanted to ask if we should call a tow truck for him when we got back to civilization, but I didn't want him getting more pissed than he already was. Instead we took a long loop around him. We were on vacation, after all. If he had shouted out to us as we walked by, we absolutely would have called AAA for him (or whatever) but, well, you know...

Once we made it back and climbed into the jeep, Doug turned to me and said "Hell of a day, isn't it?" And then we both laughed our asses off because we're mean that way. But, hey, at least we know better than to try and drive in sand, amirite?

Fast forward to a couple years later. The movie Total Recall had just come out. It featured a scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger wakes up in a cab being driven by a robot. After some confusion as to how he got there, the Johnny Cab robot says "Hell of a day, isn't it?"...

I don't know if Doug was with me in the theater when I saw Total Recall. I'd like to think that he was. He probably was. Or maybe he wasn't and I talked to him about it later after we had both seen it. I honestly don't remember. What I DO remember is laughing my ass off when Johnny Cab said "Hell of a day, isn't it?" Because that's exactly how the guy digging out his car said it. The people in the theater probably thought I was insane, but it was damn funny in a "You Had To Be There" kind of way.

Over the years, every once in a while when we saw each other, one of us would inevitably say "Hell of a day, isn't it?".

Last week I ran across a story about a car that had been driven out onto the beach, then abandoned in the face of Hurricane Dorian because it got stuck...

A photo of a red SUV stuck on the beach while waves crash around it.

After it was discovered, social media happened. Because of course it did. Then #JeepWatch2019 took over. The meme was popping up everywhere...

A guy labeled NEWS REPORTERS is ignoring a woman labeled HURRICANE DORIAN and staring at a pretty woman labeled JEEP ON THE BEACH as she walks by.

The Joy of Painting artist Bob Ross is adding a red SUV to a painting of a beach while saying LET'S ADD A HAPPY LITTLE RED SUV.

Rose and Jack from Titanic on top of the beached car which is now sinking into the North Atlantic Ocean.

Now, as you can imagine, the minute I saw this my first instinct was to create my own meme and text it to Doug...

A photo of a red SUV stuck on the beach while waves crash around it... and I've added the text HELL OF A DAY, ISN'T IT? to the bottom.

Except I couldn't.

It took me a minute to remember that Doug is gone.

That's one of the worst things there is, isn't it? Having a shared experience that only one other person on earth could possibly relate to... but for them to no longer be around to share it with? Not even the guy who was trying to dig his SUV out of the sand with a frisbee that day can possibly know what it that moment was to us. My writing this long-ass blog entry can explain what happened, but it's not the same as having lived through it. There was only the two of us.

And now there's just one of us.

And while it's a funny memory for me, knowing that I will never again have that one person to laugh about it with is a weight that came crashing down on my like a ton of bricks. And it's weird, isn't it? How I never heard about a car getting stuck on a beach when it could have meant something hilarious... but now that it can't, I'm probably going to be hearing about it happening all the time? Because isn't that the way these things go? Maybe it's just how The Universe likes to dick with us. Or maybe it's how our brains like to dick with us by noticing things only after they've become more hurtful than hilarious? Heaven only knows that a Google Image Seach for "Car Stuck on Beach" sure turns up a lot of photos of it happening.

Today I found out that they were finally able to rescue that SUV from the beach after the hurricane passed. I still have no idea how the guy at Polihale Beach, Kauai ever managed to get his SUV off the beach.

Jeep

Hell of a day, isn't it?

   

The Apple Card

Posted on August 22nd, 2019

Dave!I'm just going to put this out there... I had to think long and hard about getting the "Apple Card" credit card because the bank behind it, Goldman Sachs, is a fucking piece of shit. They have been plagued with scandal and are run by assholes. Why in the hell would Apple pick them to partner with? And why in the hell would I touch anything to do with Goldman Sachs?

Well, it's Apple. And the card has some compelling features I wanted to try out.

And I just wanted to have one of the things. There's no fees and it's laser-etched titanium, for heaven's sake...

Except you can't really do much with it. Apple says it scratches easily and shouldn't be stored in anything leather or denim or it will discolor. YOU MEAN LIKE MY WALLET OR MY POCKET? WTF?!??

Not that it matters. You only get a pitiful 1% cash back when you use the physical card. If you buy something with your card via Apple Pay on your phone, you get 2% back. If you buy anything from Apple or Uber using Apple Pay on your phone, you get 3% back. Which is all so unimpressive. I'd rather use my WorldPerks Card or my Alaska Air Card because I earn airline miles, and that's more valuable to me.

There is a unique Apple benefit for the rewards though. Whatever money you get back is added to your Apple Cash daily... immediately after your payment clears! Nice! Most banks make you wait until the end of the month. Like Amazon. But with the Amazon Card I get a whopping 5% back on Amazon purchases, so I ain't complaining.

Applying for the card is a piece of cake. I did it right from my iPhone Wallet in minutes. Next thing I know, I've got a digital Apple Card that changes colors based on my purchase categories...

So... what did I buy to try it out?

Last night I decided to buy one of the gorgeous prints from The Night Sky. You pick a date, time, and place and they draw a constellation map of the sky at that moment...

I picked the night my mom and I were looking at the Milky Way when we were in Zimbabwe, which is the last trip we took together...

Zimbabwe Night Sky Milky Way

The text from my star map... ACROSS THE MILKY WAY AT DAVISON'S CAMP... TO MOM WITH LOVE FROM DAVID... THE NIGHT SKY... HWANGE NATIONAL PARK, ZIMBABWE... 23th SEPTEMBER 2014... 19.0137 degrees South, 27.3105 degrees East.

To Mom with Love from David was what I wrote in all the souvenir photo books I made for her after our trips, so I thought it was perfect for my print.

The Night Sky accepts Apple Pay via Apple's Safari browser, which means I get 2% cash back on my purchase. With that in mind, I ordered it framed. Sure it doubles the cost, but sometimes you just gotta spend money you don't have for something that will mean the world to you...

If you pay in full at the end of the month then you pay no interest. And here's the weird thing... Apple actually wants you to pay as little interest as possible. When you make a payment they have tools to show you how the amount you pay affects the interest you're charged. That's a very nice feature that seems insane considering every bank on earth is trying their best to gouge you for absurd interest charges.

Apple Card will send you a payment reminder notification, which is great, but I wanted to have my total balance automatically paid from my credit union checking account each month. I am not going back into credit card debt if I can help it. I also don't want to put any more money than I have to into Goldman Sachs' pockets. Fortunately, that's easy to set up...

There are numerous tools on the iPhone app which help you to track your spending, assist you in figuring out where charges come from, report disputes, and get immediate assistance. They also have some smart security features to help minimize credit card theft and fraudulent charges. This is the future of credit cards and I am impressed with what Apple has done here. Very impressed.

The first thing I did when I got the card was click the "message us" link for customer service so I could reject the arbitration clause. Forced arbitration is an abhorrent condition of card ownership which is 100% evil... and obviously comes from the pig-fuckers at Goldman Sachs. I'm surprised that Apple would have a card attached to their name which has forced arbitration, but I guess it's easy enough to get rid of if you know you must get rid of it...

If you want to know how to reject arbitration on your Apple Card... and why you should absolutely do it... here's an article at The Verge for you. And don't forget to do it at your very first opportunity so the scum-sucking bottom-dwellers at Goldman Sachs can't fuck you over more than they have already fucked over this country and everybody in it.

So let's sum things up, shall we?

PROS:

  • Laser-etched titanium, baby!
  • No annual fees, no late fees, and no foreign transaction fees.
  • Really cool budget, finance, and security tools built-in.
  • Seamlessly integrated into iPhone and Apple Wallet.
  • Cash-back rewards paid daily.
  • Easy to apply for within Apple Wallet... approval in minutes.
  • Pay any time or easily set-up recurring payments.
  • Apple promises your data will never be sold (assuming you can trust Goldman Sachs).
  • Full MasterCard benefits, like free ShopRunner 2-Day shipping (where available).

CONS:

  • You're in bed with the detestable fucking bastards at Goldmen Sachs.
  • Pretty titanium card is easily damaged.
  • Only works optimally for merchants accepting Apple Pay
  • Cash-back rewards are pathetically anemic.
  • Forced arbitration as the default.
  • No option for cash advance.
  • No sign-up bonus of any kind.
  • Interest rate APR is not much better than other cards (12.99% to 23.99%).
  • Only available to iPhone users.

Ultimately while I love the idea of having an Apple Card, it likely won't get much use. The best reward you can get is 3%, and that's only with Apple & Uber. Everything else is 2% or a pitiful 1%. This is insane. I can get 5% back if I buy my Apple products from Amazon using my Amazon Card! Another reason I'm likely not going to use it is that I don't want to contribute wealth to the gaping asshole crooks at Goldman Sachs. They are a blight on humanity with their many scandals, and the significant part they played in the financial crisis is rage-inducing. I remain flabbergasted that this is the bank that Apple decided to partner with. It's just so utterly mind-boggling and shitty.

But how cool is laser-etched titanium?

UPDATE: I got a notice that my big $2.40 was deposited. Boy oh boy. Whatever will I spend it on?

APPLE CASH: Your First Daily Cash from Apple Card has arrived!

   

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.

   

Older Entries  Home  Newer Entries

spacer
Welcome:
Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Contact:
dave@blogography.com
Blogography Webfeeds:
Atom Entries Feed
Comments Feed
translate me
flags of the world!
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
badgemania
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
license
All content copyright ©2003-2017
by David Simmer II
   
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
ssl security
Comodo SSL