Monday, July 29, 2013

Everything is Sharks!!!

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
This weekend was pretty cool. Saturday, we were at one of Dizzy’s aunts’ house & she mentioned that the Gilroy Garlic Festival was this weekend. We had heard about it before but didn’t really check when it was recently… so we kind of impromptu adventures out to Gilroy (about 2 hours from SF) to experience it. Well… getting there was a bit of a pain… we were going fine until the freeway off ramp… and then it was about 90 minutes in traffic as temperatures approached 100 (by the way, all you people in LA rolling your eyes saying “so a Wednesday?” just keep it to yourselves) for the last few miles… even the great Gretchen overheated for a moment, so we pulled off in the shade & topped her off with coolant. Side note: Sunday we also changed her oil & tuned her up for the road trip next week… but more on that later.
We got to the festival & it was your typical festival… with food, craft booths, live music, etc. Basically though, I wasn’t well dressed for it (again, impromptu) and I’m apparently become a bit MORE of a puss when it comes to heat now… but frankly, it was f**king hot in any situation. Even the locals were commenting on it. Regardless, we stayed for a few hours, drank plenty of fluids, found a bracelet for Dizzy, ate some of the biggest f**king crawdads I’ve ever seen & then drove back to town with no problems at all. I’m glad that we went… even if it was pretty sweetie. Best part: No sun sickness because we played it smart.
That night, we watched “Mental” starring Toni Collette, Anthony LaPaglia, & Liev Schreiber. It’s from director P.J. Hogan (not to be confused with Paul Hogan from “Crocodile Dundee” fame) and is the story of an Australian family of 7 (children are all girls) whose father is the mayor (and a bit of a dick), mother is institutionalized & now they’re all questioning their mental health. Well, the father goes out & picks up a random lady off the street (Collette) who along with her loyal dog “RIPPAH!” help the family with their problems… in some pretty crazy ways… kind of like Mary Poppins… if she had spent some time in the pen. Anyway, I thought it was pretty entertaining… and kinda heartfelt at times… but you know, not an amazing movie. Good for some laughs as long as you can understand what they’re saying (lots of Australian accents). Kind of a feel good movie… I guess… check it out.
Courtesy of Netflix, our next adventure was the 80’s action flick “Commando” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, this may sound bad… but I hadn’t seen this movie before. I know, it shocked me too! I thought that I had seen it all in the Arnie library but apparently I had missed this one. Well, for those who haven’t seen it… think the plot of “Taken”, retired ex-special ops guy whose daughter (12-year old Alyssa Milano) is kidnapped, but in this one, it’s so that the bad boss (Dan Hedaya) will have Arnie kill somebody in South America. Well, Arnie is not having it… so he basically goes vendetta on everybody’s ass in tracking them down… lots of explosions, one-liners, random flight attendant tagging along (I probably would’ve ditched her very early in the movie in my rampage), cameos by guys that you may recognize from other shows now… but yeah, Arnie is a little more physically intimidating than Liam Neeson. I’d say check it out… but be prepared… it’s 1985 so it’s pretty cheesy… and I think Arnie’s first movie where he actually speaks a lot. Enjoy! Now for your local news…

Shocker: DC is Dishonest - For the second year in a row, residents of our nation’s capital have proven themselves the most likely to steal a dollar from your pocket (GASP!!!). At least, that’s according to one unusual new study, which found Washington, D.C. to be the least honest city or state in the nation. The makers of Honest Tea conducted the survey, which involved setting up an unmanned booth with bottles of their product on display. Customers were asked to use the honor system and leave $1 for each bottle of tea they took. In the end, 80% of Washingtonians paid for their beverage. But that was still far less than the national average of 92%. “As a company, Honest Tea values transparency,” National Honesty Index spokesman Dan Forman told Yahoo! News. “To touch on this, the company thought creating a light-hearted social experiment that takes a look at honesty in America would be a good way to start a conversation about honesty and how society values it.“ Fun fact: To add to the irony of the experiment, Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman said he had his bike stolen while traveling to the D.C. booth. He said he had even chained the bike up before leaving it for a few hours. Now, a tea test is far from the final word on a city or state’s total measurement of honesty. But this is not the only study to find D.C. atop some less than ideal rankings. For example, a 2012 study found that workers in D.C. curse on the job more than of their colleagues around the nation. This is the fourth year that Honest Tea has conducted their little experiment, during which they visited all 50 states and 61 locations in total. Alabama and Hawaii tied for the most honest states, where 100% of customers paid for their tea. West Virginia was considered the second least honest state, with 85% of people paying for their tea (possible illiteracy curve?). Still, as Forman notes, a large majority of Americans paid for their drinks even in those so-called least honest states. “We were delighted to see that people in the U.S. were so honest. There is so much negative rhetoric put out there. It’s encouraging to know that in reality, when faced with a choice to do the right thing or steal, 92 percent of people in the U.S. chose to do the right thing.” Forman says the company will continue to tweak its honesty tests in future years to better measure how people respond to various scenarios testing their responses. Another fun fact: Utah was among the five least honest states! Yes, Utah! Now, frankly I’m a little shocked at that… but then again… maybe not shocked is the right word. Again, maybe it was a little bit of the literacy issue that I mentioned regarding West Virginia. Still… would you leave a dollar for tea? I’d like to think that my readers would but… then again… if I only had a five dollar bill & no change…
The Great Escape of the Pink Panther – No, not a reboot of the Peter Sellers movie series… but rather a tale of movie-like action. Armed men have broken a member of the so-called Pink Panther gang of jewel thieves out of a Swiss prison, police said on Friday. Bosnian gang member Poparic Milan escaped the jail in the Swiss canton of Vaud on Thursday night, along with another prisoner, after accomplices in two vehicles forced their way through a gate and fired at prison guards. The Pink Panthers, who have a weakness for expensive watches, have staged about 340 robberies on luxury stores in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States since 1999, making off with booty worth more than 330 million Euros ($436.77 million), according to Interpol. That’s right… international jewel thieves! Milan, 34, had been serving a jail sentence of six years and eight months for robbing a jewelry store in Switzerland's watch-making capital Neuchatel in 2009. Known for their spectacular heists, the gang drove two cars into a Dubai shopping mall and through the window of a jewelry store in 2007, swiping goods worth about $14.5 million in a raid lasting less than a minute. The following year the group walked away with loot worth up to $113 million after entering the Harry Winston jewelers in central Paris disguised as women. Yeah… they broke into a Swiss prison & took their guy back. Ballsy…
The Return of the Pink Puma? – In American criminal system news, a convicted sex offender has pleaded guilty to repeatedly using phony credentials to gain entry into New York City jails. The New York Post reports that 36-year-old Yonkers resident Matthew Matagrano pleaded guilty Thursday to posing as a correction officer and sneaking into the Manhattan Detention Center. During one of those visits, on February 27th, Matagrano assaulted an inmate and stole a $2,500 walkie-talkie (Really? They make those? F**k that’s why prisons are so expensive…). He also handed out cigarettes to inmates. It's not clear why the former inmate, whose rap sheet includes a conviction for sodomy and sexual abuse, wanted to get back into jails. My guess: Probably to sell cigarettes for… favors… but let’s not think too much into that. He faces 10 years behind bars at sentencing… because if there’s one thing that convicted sodomites fear… it’s a decade in prison. Sigh… I don’t think that armed men are going to break into jail to free this guy…
NBA 2K13 Update: I’ve won the MVP Award AND the Most Improved Player award (pretty sure that’s the first time that’s happened) as well as first team All-NBA & first team All-Defensive. I led the league in scoring, FG%, rebounds & even etched out minutes played by 2 minutes. Boom! Oh… and we (the Milwaukee Bucks) went 51-0 during the regular season since I basically decided to just take over & finally learned some of the tricks. Some games were close (10-0 runs when I sat on the bench for a minute happened a LOT) but yeah, pretty good season for a… 22-year old on the game. Next stop: Bulls in first round of the playoffs… and shortly after three-peating… Contract negotiations!!! Time for this sucka to get PAID!!! Here is my new billboard… and a magazine cover showing off my new shoe… but it really looks like I’m showing off a giant dildo, right?

Just a few more days until the start of our EPIC Oregon Road Trip. We’re still working out the plans… but it looks like we may get to see Portland for a few days, then drive along the Oregon Coast, drive dune buggies, fish & eat crab all day for a week, then on the drive back we may stop by Crater Lake & Klamath Falls. Not a bad trip, right? I will definitely keep you posted with pictures when I get back… but yeah, should be some pretty amazing fun. Have a great day everybody!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nothing to See Here

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
My cousin Alicia has been here the past few days… and it’s been pretty chill. I’ve been working during the day but she’s been wandering the city, shopping, seeing some of the sights, etc. Tuesday night was her birthday so I took her & Dizzy out for some sushi and had a few rolls. Wednesday night, we got some pizza & watched “The Critic” & “Archer” to our hearts content. She’s already heading back Friday morning… but she’s had fun & that’s what’s important… even if the first day of her vacation was spent at Provo Municipal Airport. Ugh… anyway, here’s the news…
Dinosaur Update – Yes, I’m a dinosaur nerd… but this one’s pretty badass. The fossil of an impressive-looking, plant-eating species of dinosaur has been discovered in southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, researchers from the Natural History Museum of Utah announced. Called Nasutoceratops titusi, the first part translates to "big-nose horned face.” The second part is named for paleontologist Alan Titus to honor his work in the area. The four-legged horned beast is a relative of the three-horned Triceratops family, but it stands out because its nose was larger than those of other horned dinosaurs of the time. The herbivore lived in the swampy island continent known as Laramidia about 76 million years ago. The Nasutoceratops titusi, which roamed North America in the late Cretaceous Period, sported a huge horn jutting over each eye and an impressively large nozzle. “The jumbo-sized schnoz of Nasutoceratops likely had nothing to do with a heightened sense of smell—since olfactory receptors occur further back in the head adjacent to the brain—and the function of this bizarre feature remains uncertain,” Scott Sampson, the study’s lead author, stated in a press release. The nose is only one oversized part of the giant creature, which measured 15 feet in length and weighed a massive 2.5 tons. At least the horns served a purpose. “The amazing horns of Nasutoceratops were most likely used as visual signals of dominance and, when that wasn’t enough, as weapons for combating rivals,” noted Mark Loewen, a co-author of the study. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where the fossil was found, was part of a former land mass called Laramidia in western North America. The land mass has yielded dinosaur fossil finds from Alaska to Mexico. "Nasutoceratops is a wondrous example of just how much more we have to learn about with the world of dinosaurs," said co-author, Eric Lund, who also discovered the species. "Many more exciting fossils await discovery in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument." So… let’s tear it down? No, that wasn’t the point. Okay… then let’s just look at the impressive artist’s rendering. It’s amazing how much we don’t know about things that already happened… but very interesting. Yay Utah!!! Dinosaur Capital, USA!!! In other bone news…

A Very Special “Bones” International Case - An Austrian man is to be charged with disturbing the peace of the dead after police found 56 skulls and 55 other bones at a museum he had created in his home. Police in the province of Burgenland said the relics were taken without authorization from a church cemetery and had now been returned. The 47-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released pending his being charged, came to the attention of the police when he tried to sell three skulls and two thigh bones at a flea market, police said. A police spokesman said he had never encountered such a case in his 37 years in the force and knew neither why the man had collected the bones nor why he had tried to sell some of them. "But there's nothing new under the sun," he said. Ugh… I’m gonna crack the case for you real quick… he was selling them… at flea markets. That was his motive… and maybe a little skull f**king but they would be clean by the time that he sold them obviously.
Corn Palace Update - A quirky eastern South Dakota landmark dedicated to all things corn is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, including new lit domes resembling ears of corn, in an effort to draw in more maize-curious visitors. The Corn Palace bills itself as the world's only palace dedicated to the grain plant (and shockingly NOT in Nebraska). New murals using about 275,000 ears of corn of various sizes and colors decorate the exterior and interior of the sprawling building each year in the small town of Mitchell. About 200,000 tourists visit the attraction annually. Originally established in 1892 for settlers to display the fruits of their harvest, the Corn Palace has undergone several changes over the years and is now used for a variety of local activities, including graduations, proms and basketball games (WHAT???). But local officials are looking for something more exciting (THAN BASKETBALL?). The Mitchell City Council approved a $7.2 million upgrade Monday to the attraction and the adjacent soon-to-be vacated City Hall building, including new domes that will look like an ear of corn with the silks of the corn coming off, said Corn Palace director Mark Schilling. A balcony, larger murals and a widened lobby are also planned, along with upgrades to the building's heating and cooling systems (so the kernels don’t pop). "The Corn Palace is the pride and joy of Mitchell, so we want to make sure our icon is kept fresh and looking good," Schilling said. The renovations will also help honor the attraction's roots, Schilling added, noting that photos of the original Corn Palace in 1892 show larger murals and different types of domes. The murals are created with corn of various colors, including blue, orange and black, and are changed annually based on a different theme. They've portrayed such things as Mount Rushmore and cowboys riding horses. But Doug Dailey, chairman of the Corn Palace Area Development group, said people often drive by and take pictures, without stopping to take a look inside the Corn Palace, which is a free attraction. So the group plans to add exhibits, including one recently purchased from the Indiana State Museum. "The idea is that people want something to do when they get there, and there really hasn't been anything to do other than to look at it," he said. Opening up the windows to allow in more light and adding a balcony so visitors can get closer to the corn murals will make the building more inviting, he added. "At this point, our focus is on tourism, that we can get more visitors and get them to stay longer." Good call. I like it… having visited the palace a few years back, yeah I think they just had like a smashed penny machine & postcards. I don’t recall much else, but I was a young teenager too. Crews will begin the process of hanging new murals in late August, Schilling said. A drought last year hurt some of the colored corn used in the murals and the Corn Palace was forced to decorate its building without four colors: blue, calico, orange and light brown. It was a predicament that worried Schilling and other local officials, but one the great Stephen Colbert found humor in. "The Colbert Report" traveled to South Dakota to film a seven-minute "special report" titled, "A Shucking Disaster — Nightmare at the Mitchell Corn Palace," which lampooned the issue. Not the issue of using massive amount of food towards a tourist trap… but that the tourist trap was hard hit because of it. America! Next time you’re near the Black Hills, please go check it out… it’s an absolutely beautiful area of the country.

Fire Works – In honor of celebrations like Utah’s Pioneer Day earlier this week, a fire at an Indiana fireworks store broke out last Wednesday night, engulfing the building and sending fireworks soaring into the air as firefighters battled the blaze. The cause of the fire at Windy City Fireworks in Rochester remains under investigation, Fulton County fire officials said. According to WSBT-TV, firefighters "had to dodge fireworks that were being activated by the flames." No one was in the building at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The building also houses an antiques store. The fire began around 9:30 p.m. Dozens of drivers pulled over to take a look at the impromptu fireworks display, causing minor traffic delays, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office said… along with I’m assuming phrases like “Move along! Nothing to see here!” a la “The Naked Gun”. In a little twist though, a Rochester police official told WSBT the family that owns Windy City Fireworks… also once owned a Rochester fire extinguisher warehouse that exploded in 2001, killing four people. Hmm… interesting… still I’m sure it was quite the sight. Check out YouTube if you wanna see for yourself.
PayPal Oopsy - Imagine checking your PayPal account to find you had accidentally been credited with more money than the world’s annual gross domestic product. Ugh… cash please. That’s what happened to Pennsylvania’s Chris Reynolds, who buys and sells car parts online. Of course, there’s one major catch: Reynolds never technically was in possession of any of the accidentally credited funds. "I'm just feeling like a million bucks," Reynolds said when asked about the technical glitch. When Reynolds then went to check his actual funds available on the site, he saw the amount was, in fact, zero. (Wah waaaah…) PayPal hasn’t commented on the flub but Reynolds was quick to offer his thoughts on how he theoretically would spend the $92,233,720,368,547,800 that initially showed up in his account. "I'm a very responsible guy. I would pay the national debt down first. Then I would buy the Phillies, if I could get a great price." In a separate interview, Reynolds said he routinely exchanges about $100 a month through the site. And he joked that he made a “generous” $30 donation to a local Delaware County Council candidate after seeing the enormous PayPal statement. "I was moved to be really generous by good fortune," he said. To put the $92 quadrillion number in perspective, it’s 1,300 times greater than the world’s annual gross domestic product of $71.83 trillion. Reynolds, 56, told the International Business Times that he received a notice from PayPal the next day asking him to verify his credit card information. "The sad part is that I got word that they still need me to renew the credit card that's attached to this account. So, even though I have 90 quadrillion dollars, they still don't trust me." It just goes to show that there’s no such thing as good credit… there’s credit… and bad credit. Hmm… $92 quadrillion dollars… that’s some good change. What’s that? How would I spend it? Well… since you asked… hmm… I’d probably give a few bucks to my friends & family… or maybe just say “Hey guys… Australia is yours. Enjoy!” Then I would probably build that stairway to heaven that I’ve been meaning to get around to… along with every single soul in Christendom… and maybe fill up the tank in my Jeep. You know… be fiscally responsible. No investment in the youth though. If they don’t know how to read, there’s an app for that. Who am I kidding? I’d blow it all on expensive hookers & trying to bring back dinosaurs… simultaneously.
Well, that’ll do it for tonight. I’m not sure what this weekend will entail but next weekend is the start of the big Oregon trip full of riding ATVs, cooking & eating crab five meals a day, hanging with good friends… and basically just chillaxing while my coworkers scurry about a few hundred miles away in my absence. Good times… have a great weekend everybody!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We Go Municipal

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Yes, I have returned! The trip to Utah was brief & fantastic… here’s a brief summary…
Friday, I had spent the night at Dizzy’s, then we awoke around 4:30 AM to get out to Oakland International Airport by our 7:30 AM flight via Bart… and it all went splendidly. We flew into Provo Municipal Airport with Allegiant Air. Do you know the difference between an International & a Municipal airport? It’s possible to get lost in an international airport. Provo Municipal was basically one building with a few dividing walls for entrance foyer/rental car counter, security check, and sitting area. I think we were the only flight both days (to & from) but… we’ll get to the return flight later.
My mom & stepdad picked us up (Dizzy & I) and we stopped by the old office in SLC to say hi to a few former coworkers, then had lunch at Nielsen’s Frozen Custard in Bountiful, then eventually made our way up to the Fortress of Solitude in Eden. After lying down for a power nap, we awoke to find my brother, niece & nephew had arrived… as well as my red-headed stepbrother. Later, my buddy C-Rock & my cousin Alicia showed up too. We played with the kiddies, fried up some burgers & brauts, had a few beers and just enjoyed ourselves as the sun set. Great day… and then we watched “Hot Rod” before going to bed. I know, classic movie, right? Here are some pictures of Dizzy drawing with Kairi...

BTW, my mom bought this five foot bronze statue... yup...

Saturday, we went to my mom’s Sister’s Day with my aunts… and had breakfast & spent some time with them. I think those old ladies miss me… and they really seem to like Dizzy so… yeah, there were questions about A) When we’re getting hitched? And B) When we’re moving back to Utah? I had to disappoint them on both for the time being.
Eventually we made it over to my dad’s house to meet up with him & my stepmom for a few hours. He’s really missed me too… and I’ve missed him. He’s been going through a rough patch & just keeps getting hurt with his legs & knees… but he’s an OG so he can handle it. We watched some movies on TV (I think “XXX” was one of them).
That night, we went to a little party at a former coworker’s house and met up with a group of us who had basically moved out of the old office, gone on wild adventures & then met back to reminisce about old times & new adventures. Friends I hadn’t really seen in years like The Mad Scientist, A-Lo, CW, Nickle-Dime, and even somebody that I hadn’t really seen since I started my blog years ago… J-Sizzle was there. We had a few beers, talked about our adventures, families, plans, all that stuff, just like the old days. It was really good to see all of them again. Hopefully it doesn’t take a few years for it to happen again.
Sunday, we mainly stayed at my dad’s house and hung with him watching movies on TV like “Predators” and “True Lies”, but a new one that we saw was “The Amazing Spider-Man” starring Andrew Garfield, Rhys Ifans & Emma Stone. This is the reboot of the Spiderman series that… started ten years ago… but apparently needed to be rebooted because… well, apparently it did. Anyway, it’s the origins story of the superhero that you all should know by now… with only a few slight twists in the story… like instead of Kirsten Dunst, he’s upgraded to Emma Stone as the love interest… and the bad guy is the Lizard (Ifans) but honestly… that’s really about it. Oh… and his aunt & uncle are played by Sally Field & Martin Sheen (spoiler alert: briefly). It’s exactly what you would expect… and saw ten years ago with the first Spiderman movie. Hopefully by the third one he isn’t reduced to a f**king sissy who out machismo’d by Topher Grace… but hey, we’ll see. Number two comes out in a few months with Jamie Foxx as an Electro & Paul Giamatti as the Rhino… but from the early pictures I’ve seen it looks like Spiderman will be going against the Electric Smurf & Pigboy. I’m sure it’ll exceed my low expectations though.
That evening we stayed at a hotel in Provo for an early flight… and basically just relaxed and watched a few episodes of a show called “Naked & Afraid”. Based off that title, what are you thinking this show is about? Kidnappings? Torture chambers? Sorry, aggressive interrogation techniques? It’s actually a show where they take two strangers (one man, one woman) who consider themselves survival experts… and place them in a wilderness environment like those other survival shows (deserted island, the rain forest, savannah, bayou, etc) and challenge them to survive for 21 days bringing only one tool with them. Oh… and they’re naked when they’re dropped off, which leads to a lot of black boxes & blurs on the HD screen. The show ends up being a very intriguing experiment in human actions from decision making to priorities to threat reactions to social skills and… yeah, we watched a few episodes even knowing that we had an early flight out the next morning. Had we known what was coming the next day… we would’ve just kept watching…
Monday morning, we woke up, grabbed some breakfast & headed out to Provo Municipal Airport for their flight of the day back to Oakland. My cousin Alicia was heading back with us because she’s celebrating her 17th birthday & just wanted to spend a few days in San Francisco free of her mom (who wears on the nerves almost instantly & she’s been within 5 feet of her since birth, poor thing). Well, the flight was delayed an hour… and then another hour… and then another… and basically, we boarded the plane about 8 hours later & left the airport about 9 hours later than originally scheduled. Basically a full day in the bay area was wasted because of the delays & lack of alternatives… but hey, we made due.
When the big four-hour extension was given, we headed to the Provo Town Center Mall to waste some time and see “The Lone Ranger” starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer & William Fichtner. This is a Disney movie from the makes of their hit “Pirates of the Caribbean” series based on the old radio series (and I think comics, etc too). The story is about a lawyer (Hammer) who comes back home to see his sheriff brother & his wife… who also used to be his darling until he went off to the big city or something. Anyway, a dangerous outlaw named Butch (Fichtner) is being transported by his brother… he escapes… the brother is killed… and now the lawyer partners up with a loony Comanche warrior (Depp) to go on a vengeance-fueled (quick breaths) RAMPAAAAAAGE!!! Okay, not quite, but they both want to get the bad guys & exact revenge. The movie was a LOT more adult themed than I expected. There are scenes with more blood than you’re probably used to with Disney, even references to cannibalism, including one scene where you see the silhouettes… but of Butch cutting out the heart of the sheriff brother & eating it. Sure, it’s the silhouettes… but just to make sure you know what happened… he’s handed a washcloth in his blood-soaked hand to get the spots of blood on the corners of his mouth. Yeah… and there’s also plenty of slow dramatic death scenes, explosions involving flying corpses, brothels ran by Helena Bonham Carter, gruesome Native American massacres via rotary cannon & other things that if it weren’t Disney or another major studio would’ve probably given this movie an immediate R rating… but yeah, that cuts out the demographic that would see it. All that being said, the movie was exactly what you’d expect. Some great (though unrealistic) action scenes at the beginning & end, then the middle two hours was a story that was a little slow with some awkward humor attempts… and yeah, pretty average overall. I wouldn’t recommend taking the kids to see it honestly… and if that’s the case, why would you take yourselves to go see it unless your flight is delayed 8 hours in the city of Mormon… er, Provo? Maybe catch it on Netflix or something… but be prepared to cover the kids eyes. You know what? Just forget it… sorry Disney. Okay but… you missed the target I think.
Eventually our flight did pick us up & fly us back to Oakland… and we got to my house around 11 PM. Since then, we’ve just been showing Alicia the town for her birthday & having a good olde tyme. So the Utah trip was an absolute success with regards to seeing my family & friends. I sure miss them… but they know that they’re welcome to come visit me anytime in the Bay Area too… and I’m not sure where any city along the Wasatch Front ends up on Trip Advisor’s Top Destinations list but… I think we’re usually in the Top 3 consistently. Hope to see you all again very soon! Have a great day everybody!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Divine Abortion

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Utah is just moments away so I’m excited for that… and I’m now officially certified to operate ATVs & other recreational vehicles in the state of Oregon… so I’m ready to go for my NEXT next trip. Despite marital strife currently separating the Wingmans, I’ll still be spending a wonderful time with Dizzy, Chick’n’Wing & her family eating crab all f**king day in the beauty of the Columbia River. It’s gonna be EPIC!!!
So Jay-Z released his new album entitled “Magna Carte Holy Grail” this week, so of course, I purchased it sight unseen (or rather unheard) because the man is basically one of my idols & doesn’t really steer me wrong in the music department. He’s even the subject of my first (and so far only) Music List with the same criterion as my Movie Lists (medals, suggestions, flush it, etc) a few years back. When his worst album to date is “Kingdom Come” and it’s still better than 90% of the stuff out there (maybe more) then I’m okay with purchasing for $12 opening week for what’s typically about 50-60 minutes of music (this one was just under an hour I think). I’ve given the album a few listens through… because I hate to jump to conclusions… and a great album will grow with time… but so far, it’s not among my favorites. Just saying… I’ll let you know if it grows on me but… we’ll see. Still the greatest though!
Last night I watched “Broken City” starring Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones & Marky Mark Wahlberg… and directed by Allen Hughes of the Hughes Brothers. Surprisingly, it was actually kind of a new age spin on the film noir like “Chinatown” that I saw last week… but set in New York City & a little flashier and faster paced than normal. Anyway, the storyline is similar… there’s a cop (Marky Mark) who was involved in a questionable shooting so he was fired & became a private investigator. Well, his old buddy the mayor (Crowe) asks him to tail his wife (Jones) to find out who she’s having an affair with, conveniently right around election time. Well, he tails hers… and finds out that she’s been hooking up with his rival’s campaign manager… or is it something far more sinister? The campaign manager shows up dead, Marky Mark is implicated, more bodies show up, his girlfriend stars in a tasteful snuff film, he’s back on the wagon, things are spinning out of control… but he has to clear his name somehow. That’s all I’m going to tell you on the plot… but it was pretty good. There are a few things that were a bit of a stretch… and even a few awkward moments that seemed out of place… that also oddly enough, I remember were all in the previews that I saw on TV for the movie… so not sure what that’s all about… but it was decent. Not great, not horrible… kind of what you expected. I enjoyed it. Here’s some news…
Divine Abortion Attempt? - A couple and their newborn are miraculously recovering after being hit by lightning last week. Albuquerque residents Ian Gordon and his pregnant girlfriend, Kendra Villanueva, had been watching the fireworks and began to head inside as a lightning storm started to move in on July 4th. Unfortunately, they couldn’t escape the strike. They were hit under a tree in front of Gordon's mother's house. "I had turned and started walking," Gordon told Action 7 News. "And next thing I remember, I woke up on the ground. My car alarm was blaring and I was dazed. I didn't know what happened." Gordon suffered a ruptured ear drum where the lightning either entered or left his body. Villanueva had a bleeding finger where the electricity had left her body. She worried about her unborn child. "I woke up and I didn't think she was going to make it for sure,” Villanueva said. Luckily, first responders in the area were minutes away and got to the couple quickly. Villanueva had to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section. Her baby was born and although doctors aren’t sure yet, they think Kimberly Samantha Rose Gordon will be fine… except that she has too many names already… and she has definitely earned her nickname. "Last name's Gordon… so little Flash Gordon,” Gordon told station KRQE. FLASH! AAAAAAAH!!! The couple got to thank the emergency workers who saved their lives and ensured the safe delivery of the baby. The team received the "hero's coin," presented by the Albuquerque Fire Department. To avoid strikes during lightning season, April to November in most areas, follow simple precautions. Start by checking the weather. If a lightning storm is coming, stay indoors if possible. If outside, stay away from trees, or higher ground, and if you're in the water, get the f**k out! If your hair stands on end, lightning is about to strike — FEMA advises you to make yourself as small as possible by squatting low to the ground with your hands over your ears and your head between your knees… apparently like you’re fully prepared to be violated by Zeus’ rod… of lightning of course. Congratulations Gordons! You all survived essentially unscathed… but if there’s anything that I’ve learned from scary movies… Death will continue to hunt you down… at least until it’s no longer profitable. Be safe out there!

Cell Phone Shocker – In other shocking news, Apple Inc is investigating an accident in which a Chinese woman was killed by an electric shock when answering a call on her iPhone 5… while it was charging, the U.S. technology company said on Monday. Last Thursday, Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old woman from China's western Xinjiang region and a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, was electrocuted when she took a call on the charging mobile telephone, the official Xinhua news agency quoted police as saying on Sunday. "We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family. We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter," Apple said in an e-mail. Apple declined to comment on details… such as whether this was an isolated case (insert dramatic music). Ma's sister tweeted on Sina's microblog saying that Ma collapsed and died after using her charging iPhone 5 and urged users to be careful, a message that went viral on the site. In April, Apple apologized to Chinese consumers and altered iPhone warranty policies in its second-biggest market after its after-sales service suffered more than two weeks of condemnation by the state-run media. I know it’s not a huge surprise if you actually think about it… but cell phones are killing people. It’s no longer brain tumors (THAT’S why I text so much) that take years to develop… now it’s straight to electrocution. Sure, maybe it was an isolated incident in which her hand grazed a frayed wire on the charger cord, while she was wearing her favorite sequin jumpsuit & giant superconductive earrings, standing in a tub of water & somehow it was just the direct charge from the outlet racing through her body that killed her… but still, be careful out there. The last thing we want to hear about is more machines turning on their creators. My God! First cell phones, then sexbots… then wood chippers! We wouldn’t stand a chance! That is… unless they see snakes as more of a threat… then perhaps that epic battle (totally thinking about “Pacific Rim” right now) could help to eliminate our top two threats… and by then we could probably form an alliance with Zeus to eradicate the surviving droids & serpents. ALL HAIL ZEUS!!!
Alternative to the Zeus Alliance – Or there’s this other method… Imagine this: There's no need to throw out your old cellphone… because it will self-destruct. Yes, I love Mission: Impossible too… but that's the idea behind a project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (French for “malt liquor”), where researchers are investigating how to build electronics that vanish in water. (Spoiler alert: They all kinda do already… but just stop working… but please continue) John Rogers is a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the university. Rogers says the goal of the "born to die" program is to design transient technology that can dissolve at the end of its useful life, thus saving space in landfills and reducing waste. By which I assume he means a predetermined useful life (6-12 months?) and somewhere around halfway through that life, half the parts already disintegrated… but that’s okay… because if one or two parts disintegrate it already stopped working long ago… like two weeks after you started it & before you loaded all your contacts. Anyway, that’s my own little angle, back to the story. The research team isn't there yet (GASP!!!). But it has designed a chip built on a thin film of silk that dissolves when hit with water. Well heck, they’re already half way there to making a completely self destructing cell phone… which will certainly revolutionize the world… if not just the drug dealing industry with these supremely disposable phones. Also, next time that it rains… yeah… I don’t think they really thought this one out too well… but best of luck to you Professor Rogers. Fun Fact: As I was typing this up... my girlfriend was telling about how her new laptop fried within four months of existence. F**k your ideas, sir! Instead try making something that works... FOREVER!!!
Superman Update – Okay… it’s not really a Superman update… but still. Thailand's premier university has apologized for displaying a billboard that showed Adolf Hitler alongside Superman and other superheroes, saying Monday it was painted by ignorant students who didn't realize Hitler's image would offend anyone (really?). The huge billboard was placed outside the art faculty of Chulalongkorn University as part of a tribute to this year's graduating class. It said "Congratulations" in bold white letters and showed Hitler with his arm raised in a Nazi salute next to Batman, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man… who they apparently believe instead of forming the Avengers & Justice League joined Hitler in the Legion of Doom.  "(We) would like to formally express our sincere apology for our students' 'Superhero' mural," art school dean Suppakorn Disatapundhu said in a statement issued Monday. "I can assure you we are taking this matter very seriously." The billboard was up for two days before being removed Saturday in response to criticism. Online photographs showed graduating students in their robes, mimicking Hitler's raised arm salute. Suppakorn said that freshman art students had painted the banner as part of a traditional send-off from incoming students to the graduating class, and it was one of dozens of banners and billboards across the campus during the university's commencement period. The artistic vision behind the picture was to show that good and bad people co-exist in the world, Suppakorn said after summoning the students for an explanation. "They told me the concept was to paint a picture of superheroes who protect the world. Hitler was supposed to serve as a conceptual paradox to the superheroes," he said, noting that the superheroes were painted in vivid colors, while Hitler's image was in grey scale. "This kind of thoughtless display will not happen again." No sh*t! The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights group, had criticized the banner prior to its removal. "Hitler as a superhero? Is he an appropriate role model for Thailand's younger generation — a genocidal hate monger who mass murdered Jews and Gypsies and who considered people of color as racially inferior," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the center, said in a statement Friday. "The Simon Wiesenthal Center is outraged and disgusted by this public display at Thailand's leading school of higher education." The study of history in the Thai school system revolves primarily around the history of Thailand and its long line of kings. World history is glossed over, with little or no mention of the Holocaust. Now… before you start criticizing that aspect of their world history lessons, keep in mind, you didn’t even know that Thailand had kings until you just read that last sentence… unless you’re into Tony Jaa movies (PLEASE COME BACK!!!). Yes, it’s atrociously stupid… and basically the equivalent of Harvard presenting a special art exhibition with an entry entitled “King Anand Raping an Elephant on a Mound of Cocaine while its Offspring Watches” briefly… but still, how were we supposed to know? Good job, Thailand! Next time… keep in mind, that the still-bleeding head & spinal cord of Hitler being held by Superman ala Mortal Kombat fatality giving a smile & a thumbs up… probably wouldn’t have even been mentioned. By the way, both the “King Anand…” & “Flawless Victory” depicted above are patent pending. Sorry would-be billionaires off my ideas…
Anyway, that’ll end it for today I think… have a great weekend everybody & I’ll catch up with you after my Utah adventure!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The REAL Oppressed Demographic

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
I’d like to start things off by wishing a happy 30th birthday to my baby brother Kiel. Good father, ok brother, lots of untapped potential in my opinion… but he’s great to those kids of his. We haven’t always gotten along… but still, congratulations on reaching 30. We were all worried for a while that you wouldn’t make it. Next stop: Making 40 without being incarcerated for killing douche teenagers that Kairi dates.
This weekend was again, pretty laid back. Saturday we did some running around… and got to make some free tie-dye T-shirts in El Cerrito Plaza (shout out to Joann Fabrics), then we went to Dizzy’s Aunt’s retirement party. She’s retiring after 46 years of nursing. We had a few beers, some great food & just hung out with a lot of nice people in beautiful picturesque weather… so yeah, good times. The rest of the time… we basically watched movies…
First up was “Senna” which is a documentary about the meteoric rise & tragic fall of Formula One racecar driver Artyon Senna. Basically, he was a Brazilian man who from the time of being a little kid wanted to race… and he burst onto the F1 scene in the mid-80’s and had a very confident personality & aggressive driving style. Then again, don’t all racecar drivers? True… but this guy basically propositioned Xuxa on live television on New Year’s Eve. Don’t worry it was tasteful… and successful. Anyway, during that time, Alain Prost was the world champion & main rival of Senna… but he was a Frenchman… as was the President of Formula One. So basically there was a lot of political stuff done to kind of restrict Senna and keep him in 2nd place for a while… but eventually he became world champion (using their own BS rules against them by the way) and representing an entire nation in need of a hero at the time (Brazil). Tragically, he died in a horrific crash in the early 90’s at a track where… basically it seemed in the movie like half the people that drove that day died in crashes… but since then, Formula One has placed a lot of safety protocols in & have yet to lose a driver since. Unfortunately it was too late for Artyon Senna. The documentary itself was VERY well done with great score and basically just compiled of footage from the time with supplemental interviews voiced over, so you’re never really taken out of the moment. Great story, well done, check it out.
Sunday night I watched “A Haunted House” which is a parody of the “Paranormal Activity” & “Exorcist/Exorcism” style movies starring Marlon Wayans, Nick Swarsdon, Dave Koechner & Cedric the Entertainer. It’s set in the found footage genre and includes takes on a lot of the iconic scenes… but yeah, with that Wayans touch to it. Basically… it’s exactly what you expect. A lot of fart jokes, gay jokes, a few bare male asses, more crude sexual humor… and if that’s what you’re looking for… it’s still only okay. Fun fact: Did you know that “Scary Movie 5” came out in April? I had no idea… then again, #4 was pretty terrible… and this actually rated much higher (26) on Metascore than SM5 did (11) and this was kind of hard to watch for the most part. I’m a huge fan of good parody movies… but unfortunately this just isn’t one of them. Sorry guys! I’d rather watch “Don’t Be a Menace in South Central While Drinking Your Juice in Da Hood” for the 1,271st time.
Early this week, I also watched “The House at the End of the Street” starring Jennifer Lawrence & Elisabeth Shue. The story is about a mother (Shue) & daughter (Lawrence) who move into a new house… and they got a good deal… because the house next to them was the site of a double murder a few years earlier. Nice, right? Apparently the daughter of the murdered family was just nuckin’ futz & killed the parents... and then disappeared without a trace into the woods. Well, the son who was away at camp or something still lives in the house a few years later… and of course he’s a boy with a sad story so Jennifer Lawrence’s panties are overflooding… and there are secrets… stabby secrets. As you can tell, I think the whole premise of the movie is obvious & cookie cutter… and the movie didn’t disappoint. Basically I’ve found that a lot of these kind of lower-budget horror flicks are just ways for directors to flex what they learned in film school from a visual perspective to polish a turd. Some do it very well… most don’t. I think Jennifer Lawrence was only involved because she got to sing a little bit & strum a guitar so maybe she’s trying to be a crossover artist or something but… yeah, pass. It’s also a shame that Elisabeth Shue is an actress in her 40’s so this is the only kind of work that she can get… but hey, I’d still do her. (wink, call me when you’re back on the singles market). Here’s some news…
Is This Justice? – No, no, no… I’m not even touching the George Zimmerman thing… cuz basically since the day it happened… my guess was that he was going to get off without a charge & then Florida was going to immediately change the “Stand Your Ground” Law. So let’s countdown until the day that happens (my guess is by August 1st & it’ll be the first time that a government act has taken two weeks to happen). Rather my injustice… is from this story. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Friday in its second decision in the case…. that an Iowa dentist did NOT discriminate against a female assistant he fired for being "too attractive," In December, the all-male court (that’s right) ruled that Dr. James Knight did NOT discriminate in firing dental hygienist Melissa Nelson after more than 10 years' service because he found her too attractive… and his wife saw her as a threat. Nelson had argued she would not have been fired if she were a man, and her attorney, Paige Fiedler, argued in seeking a second hearing that their decision was a setback for gender equality in the workplace. In late June, the justices decided to reconsider the case. "We ultimately conclude the conduct does not amount to unlawful sex discrimination in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act," Justice Edward Mansfield wrote. Knight had hired Nelson in 1999 and on several occasions in the 18 months before he fired her in early 2010, he complained that her clothing was too tight, revealing and distracting, the decision said. She denied wearing anything inappropriate. In her defense, saying that the clothing was too tight may have been construed as saying that she was getting fat… but then I’m sure we would have an assault case on our hands if that was the interpretation.
Nelson and Knight began texting each other in 2009 (uh oh… I think I know where this might be going). Most messages were work-related or otherwise innocuous, but some were more suggestive… including one in which Knight asked Nelson how often she had an orgasm. Wow… Oddly enough, Nelson did not answer that text. "The fact of the matter is Nelson was terminated because of the activities of her consensual personal relationship with her employer, not because of her gender," Chief Justice Mark Cady wrote in a separate special concurrence, probably using the term “work flirt” several times. In late 2009, Knight's wife, Jeanne Knight, learned that her husband had been texting with Nelson while he was on an out-of-state vacation with their children and she insisted he fire her, saying "she was a big threat to our marriage.” Knight read Nelson a statement when he fired her that said in part that their relationship had become a detriment to both of their families. Nelson's attorney, Fiedler, said Friday she was "beyond distressed at the lack of awareness and understanding this decision demonstrates. Women already have to balance on the very fine line of being respected, professional and well-liked in the workplace without having their perceived charm or attractiveness garner unwanted sexual advances, harassment and discrimination," Fiedler said in a statement. She’s absolutely right… when are attractive people going to get a fair shake??? This injustice will not stand!!! This is why I only hire attractive prostitutes and housekeepers!!! Todd Pettys, associate dean for faculty in the University of Iowa College of Law, said it was unclear why the court decided to rehear the case, given that the justices did not change their positions from December to July. "It appears to me what they really wanted to do was take another shot at explaining why they were reaching the conclusion that they did, understanding that they had come under some criticism for that conclusion." My guess… their wives made them look at it again… as the criticism was a strain on their marriage... but I have no evidence to back that up. With all of the protests out there for Trayvon Martin… why don’t we have any for Melissa Nelson??? This is the true outrage!!! For God’s sake, won’t somebody help a hottie out? Even if it’s just buy her a drink… or dinner… or a car… or a diamond ring… or pay her bills… or f**k it I’m done with this story. Tough break, toots!
Death Valley News - It’s really, really hot in Death Valley… so hot that you could probably fry an egg. Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly the message the national park in eastern California had hoped to impart. But the weather has been so warm, a park staffer filmed herself cooking an egg with nothing but a skillet and the sun. The buzzy video took off on the Web (over 170,000 views) and soon enough, visitors to the hot, dry area were imitating the staffer… except they didn’t have the skillet, leaving a runny, drippy mess… because people nowadays are apparently arrogant, self-centered narcissist idiots. It actually got to be such a problem that the park issued a plea on its Facebook page to crack down on the egg frying frenzy: “An employee's posting of frying an egg in a pan in Death Valley was intended to demonstrate how hot it can get here, with the recommendation that if you do this, use a pan or tin foil and properly dispose of the contents. However, the Death Valley NP maintenance crew has been busy cleaning up eggs cracked directly on the sidewalk, including egg cartons and shells strewn across the parking lot. This is your national park, please put trash in the garbage or recycle bins provided and don’t crack eggs on the sidewalks, or the Salt Playa at Badwater.” Park supporters also weighed in. LaMoine Hill posted, “Some people need to have their heads fried, or maybe they already have, anyway people, use your heads.” Wow… eloquently put. Brett Houston added, “Some people do not belong in the wild.” I… have no idea what you’re going for… but preach on. The reason the employee made the video in the first place: Death Valley temperatures have been around 120 degrees, and in fact on Wednesday the park marked the 100th anniversary of the world’s hottest day on record: 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913. For the record, the temperature in the egg-cooking demonstration hovers just over 127 degrees. Damn… I’m sweating just thinking about that. Even the note on the description page of the YouTube video alerts viewers: “Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid outdoor activity in extreme heat. And please don't try to fry eggs on the ground. It makes a mess and it doesn't work.” On our next video… the health benefits of drinking plenty of crystal-cloudy water from the Great Salt Lake to stay hydrated in Death Valley. The results may surprise you… for a few moments… and then destroy you from the inside.
That’s One Way to Do It - How far would you go to quit smoking? I’m sure that if you’ve ever really tried… you’ve found it to be pretty difficult… asked friends for methods… maybe even sought other oral fixations… or even professional help. Well, one Turkish man has literally locked his head in a cage as a last ditch attempt to quit the habit. In a YouTube video, 42-year-old Ibrahim Yucel explains why he went to such an extreme measure: “I have been smoking since high school. I have tried to quit smoking each year on my birthday. Unfortunately, I could not.” Yucel told the Hurriyet Daily News that he smoked two packs a day for more than 20 years before putting on the cage helmet, which he says was inspired by seeing motorcycle riders in helmets. "My father developed lung cancer and died because of smoking. I decided it was time to hinder my will.” And for at least two days he’s managed to stay cigarette free, though not without some serious effort and potential embarrassment. To construct the helmet cage, Yucel took around 130 feet of copper wire and wound it into a tight circle and placed two locks at the bottom of the cage. When he heads out to work each morning, he gives the cage keys to either his wife or his daughter. Initially, Yucel’s wife says seeing her husband walking around with a cage on his head bothered her but she says she now supports the move. “This cage is embarrassing at first, but he wants to quit smoking,” she says in the video. While at work, Yucel says he can drink water through a straw and manages to eat small crackers through openings in the wire helmet. “I swear an oath to Allah and the Quran. I’m not going to smoke again.” I wonder if he wears the helmet to bed too… you know, for those late night cravings? Let’s ask the wife next time. He’s probably not much of a looker anyway. Building a cage for your own head might be less extreme than the plan to quit smoking employed by California’s Etta Mae Lopez. In May, the 31-year-old waited outside a police station where she subsequently slapped a police officer. It was all according to plan: Lopez wanted to be sent to jail, where smoking is prohibited… and she got her wish with a 63-day sentence. Talk about two birds with one stone! Quit smoking AND slap a cop. Anyway, maybe these methods will help you with your resolutions.

Goat Update – I know the past few entries have kind of ended on sour notes… so today we’re going to do something a little upbeat… and I know Dizzy has a thing for goats. Japan is a place of mystery & wonder… and of course, crazy sh*t. First, there were the maid cafes, their customers pampered by women in maids' uniforms. Sounds sexy, right? Well, then that led to the cat cafes, which allowed cat lovers to play with frisky felines while sipping a cup of coffee. Hey, pussy is pussy! Now, enter the goat cafe, which houses a pair of friendly goats for customers to pet, play with and even take for walks through Tokyo's concrete jungle. Rena Kawaguchi and her staff brought the animals (named Sakura and Chocolat, or “Cherry” and “Chocolate”) three years ago, hoping to attract a new breed of animal-loving customers and spice up flagging weekend business. "Back then animal cafes were booming, places where you could play with cats or dogs," Kawaguchi said. "But we reckoned a normal animal like that wouldn't have the wow factor of a goat." Customers can pet the goats in their pen while drinking a coffee, or book a slot to take them for a walk through the crowded area surrounding Shibuya station, a hub for commuters and Tokyo's trend-conscious youth. "When you live in the city like I do, places where you can meet animals are so far away and you rarely get the time to go there," said Kotaro Nakazato, a 21-year-old university student. "Having them nearby like this makes it easy to commune with nature." Keeping the goats has its challenges. Staff have to muck out their pen between serving customers, and the goats are fed special protein-rich pills to prevent foul-smelling droppings. With the goats proving a hit, Kawaguchi says she's got even bigger plans. Yes… an elephant cafe is at the top of her list, although it was not clear what her pen-cleaning staff thought of the prospect… but hey, it’s a sh*t job anyway (rim shot). Now I know the first stop for any trip to Japan with Dizzy. “But you don’t even drink coff…” “I DON’T CARE! I WANT TO PLAY WITH THE GOATS!” Hmm… I wonder if places with rats in New York could sell it as a rat cafĂ©? Interesting twist to a Kitchen Nightmare show…
Anyway, that will do it for today. Thank you all for stopping by & I’ll probably catch up with you after the trip back to Utah for a few days. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Where Should I Go Next?