Saturday, April 18, 2009

Space Mountain

FYI, this is what Space Mountain looks like when you wait in line for 90 minutes, then they shut it down for maintenance when you're about 20 people from getting on the ride.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Fail Blog

Yesterday I discovered another gem on the interwebs. A while back I developed a soft spot for the now infamous LOLcat blog, ICanHasCheezeburger. For the record, my all time favorite LOLcat was the original FAIL (although this one was pretty good, too).

I guess the fail theme was so popular that it ended up deserving it's own site, and voilà! I spent a good chunk of last night clicking through these, laughing to myself. I think I made it to page 104- there are several gems, like this, this, and this, but one really got me thinking:

Who tied their shoes for them? Are they wearing shoes?

I don't even know where to start. First, it is tremendously stupid to think that scanning a mirror will make your computer a mirror. Do they know how pictures work? For that matter, do they know how mirrors work? But the really confusing thing is that this person can operate a computer, get on the internet and correctly use Yahoo answers, but still thinks that you could scan a mirror to make your monitor a mirror. I mean, this has really been vexing me.

It's like in The World is Flat, when they cite a rumor that quickly spread throughout the Middle East by text message that touching an infidel would make your genitalia fall off. It's amazing that someone could fully understand a cell phone, comfortably use text messaging, and still believe that simple contact with another human being could make your genitals fall off based on religion.

I'm still thinking about it. Do they think that you can take a picture of a mirror and the picture will show your reflection later? Do they wonder why they can't see themselves in mirrors on TV? It's mind blowing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Really, Ad? Really?

I've been saying for a long time that Facebook has some of the shoddiest, most poorly made ads on the internet. I don't know if they're tailor made for stupid people, farmed out to a non-english speaking country, or the creator just doesn't know how to use spell check, but they're the worst.

Usually it's some poorly worded statement like "Singles Gorgeous Girls Over 30" or "1 Flat Stomach Rule: Obey!" Many times it's targeted based on your Facebook networks, so I get things like "Investment Opportunity for Purdue Grads" or "Heal Your PTSD- Watch 'A Soldier's Heart'" (I'm in the Navy network, after all). But check out the dandy it just fed me:

I'm sold!Really? Does anyone check these before they stream it out to millions of people? I can't imagine Google or Facebook being okay with this. What were they thinking?

"Let's see, cash background: Check. Bikini girl with giant knockers: Check. Wait...wait...her boobs can be the O's in 'Google!' Slap on a line about my pijama and hello promotion!"

Really, it's just sad.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Knew It!

and so little timeInauguration Day was special for a number of reasons, but one that I pointed out was that it had to be the most porta-potties ever assembled in one place. Seriously- they were everywhere. They stretched on into the horizon. But now we have confirmation from an authority.

This article states that:

Among other things, the inauguration of President Barack Obama was "the largest temporary toilet event in the history of the United States," an official of Don's Johns, the firm that provided most of them, said Wednesday.

However, I take issue with the way they said that most of them were unused, some with untouched rolls of toilet paper- because I sure never found any of them. And if the unit was unused, it had to be because it was physically impossible to fight your way through the crowd.

Anyway, I'm glad to know that years from now I can tell my grandkids that I was the largest temporary toilet event in history.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Inaugural Concert Update

The concert was fun. I was dreading it because of the cold and the crowds, but I'm definitely glad we went. You can tell from the mobile post Sunday that we were some distance from the stage- I think the official concert area was everything from the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II memorial, and we were beyond that. The word was that they physically couldn't pack any more people into the reflecting pool area (and upon seeing the broadcast I believe it), so we settled for a cozy spot that was a little further away.

This was our view. And hey! Steve Carrell!We parked ourselves on the East side of the monument where we had a clear view of a jumbotron. We could actually see the stage, but it was so far the performers were basically black dots against the white monument. We were pretty much seeing what everyone watching it on TV saw, except we could use the jumbotron to correlate the specs in the distance with the actual performance- so we knew "Hey! That dot is George Lopez!" Here's a map aid.

In any case, the celebrities we saw included (but were not limited to): Denzel Washington, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Carrell (a fan favorite), Jamie Foxx, Jon Bon Jovi, Tom Hanks (and oddly, no one charged out into the reflecting pool yelling "Forrest!"), Marissa Tomei, John Mellencamp, Queen Latifa, Josh Groban (a Ramya-pleaser), Kal Penn (easily the smallest celebrity there, but a thrill to the Indians nonetheless), George Lopez, Sheryl Crow, Herbie Hancock, Will.I.Am, Tiger Woods (who gave a great speech about the military), Jack Black, Rosario Dawson, Garth Brooks (the best act of the night), Ashley Judd, Forrest Whittaker, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Samuel L. Jackson, U2, and Beyonce (who inexplicably went on after U2).

But this show was only two hours, so it was rapid-fire. Most musicians sang something other than their own songs. Generally, one would start, and halfway through the song someone else would come out and join them, then later another, giving us odd trios like Sheryl Crow, Herbie Hancock and Will.I.Am. Where else are you going to see that?

Garth Brooks, as I said, got the crowd involved more than anyone else with a medley of American Pie (that was thankfully only a 90-second rendition), Shout, and We Shall be Free. U2 wasn't the only group to perform their own music (Stevie Wonder did Higher Ground (with Usher and Shakira), and I think Bruce Springsteen's song was one of his new ones), but they were the only group to do two full songs. But, I guess when you're U2, you can get away with a lot.

The worst act was hands down the Bald Eagles. So much so that they edited it out for the TV broadcast. Between U2 and Obama's address, the announcer said "Now, presenting the bald eagle Freedom, with handler Joe Blow." A guy with an eagle on his arm walked out, stood there awkwardly, walked around a little more, then stood awkwardly again. About this time the eagle started to fly away, making us think for a fleeting second that we were about to be treated to an aerial display of some sort. But Freedom only made it about a foot off of the handlers arm before the handler yanked on a leash hooked to the eagle's leg, which began a clumsy, spinning, wrestling encounter, that ended when the handler reeled him back in- thus undoing any majesty they had previously created. They then shuffled off the stage, leaving us all to wonder what we had just witnessed, and more importantly, if we were supposed to clap.

Ramya and I switched hats because hers was too small for her. See how well that worked.You may think that was it for the bald eagles, but you'd be wrong. They then announced another eagle (with a name like Freedom's Wings), whose main draw was that his handler was a DC native. When this second eagle started to take flight, I thought "Oh, this eagle's going to fly." Alas, no. He was also reeled in and spun around, which made me wonder if instead of an embarrassing blunder in front of half a million people, this was some sort of odd, yet precisely choreographed eagle handling routine. After the DC handler shuffled off, it was time for the man himself.

Then President-elect Obama made a brief speech. It was pretty vague, and not as memorable as his inaugural address, but what struck me more was the audience's reaction. I'll touch on this more if I ever get around to writing about the Inauguration itself, but people love everything he says. For example, there were some ladies next to us who felt they needed to respond to every sentence. My favorite was this exchange:

President Obama: "It may not happen in an hour."
Ladies: "Mmm-hmmm."
Obama: "It may not happen in a day."
Ladies: "That's right."
Obama: "It may not happen in a week."
Ladies: "Oh yeah."
Obama: "Or..."
Ladies: "Yeah, that's right."
Obama: "It may not happen in a year."

They said "Yeah, that's right" when Obama said "Or-" which pretty much sums it up. In any case, it was a great show- you can see more pictures here. Next up, I'll try to post about the inauguration, and how we were almost killed by the massive crowds.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inaugural Concert

Here we are at the inaugural concert. It's crowded, but not as cold as everyone feared. So far we've seen the President-elect, Denzel, Bruce Springsteen and Mary J. Blige. Worth the trip so far. Oh! Here's Jamie Foxx and Steve Carrell!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Bad Driving First

Yes- it has been over a month since I wrote a new post, and over two months since I wrote a real post. In my defense, I've had a lot of stuff to do. Plus I got Guitar Hero: World Tour for Christmas and you have no idea how much willpower it's taking to do something other than play that game in my free time.

So I'm going to ease my way back into this, and simply describe something that happened on the way to work today. I think I've mentioned this before, but this is a common driving practice in Southern Maryland: Picture two cars that are stopped opposite each other at a red light- one of them is turning left and the other is going straight. It is not at all out of the ordinary for the left turning car to gun it and turn in front of the oncoming traffic as soon as the light turns green, knowing full well that from the other side of the intersection are coming cars that are driving straight, clearly in possession of the right of way. I cannot understate this: this happens all the time. Almost every morning on my way to work, I honk at a left turning car as I brake, because I would've t-boned them had I just proceeded on my straight, non-turning, right of way path. I used to get mad, but it happens so often. The only reason I even honk anymore is to let them know that I know they're doing something totally illegal.

I get a variety of responses to the honk. Some people stop for a second, then continue with a puzzled look on their face as if they have no idea why I'm honking. I get a lot of the stink eye and other dirty looks. Quite often I get the finger. But this morning, well, this morning was different.

There I was, the first car at the red light, heading straight through the intersection. Opposite me was a white car with the left turn signal on. Over the years I've developed a sort of "Spidey Sense" about this- I just knew he was going to dart in front of me. I had my hand on the horn, at the ready.

The light turned green, and as a surprise to no one, the white car proceeded into the intersection, turning left directly in front of me as if I (and the cars behind me) weren't even there. So of course, I laid on the horn. This caused the white car to slow to a halt. So for those keeping score at home, allow me to set the scene. There I am, about a quarter of the way into the intersection. There's the white car, mid left turn in the center of the intersection, completely blocking traffic in either direction. The passenger window rolls down, the driver holds up his hand, extending his middle finger, hand goes down, window goes up, and the white car carries on it's way.

It's important to keep in mind that we were not the only two cars on the road. There were several people behind me, and several behind him. Through my years of honking at these people I've always been amazed by the indignant middle fingers I get for calling them out on something they know they're doing that's wrong. It's like, you know that what you're doing is illegal- why are you mad at me for pointing it out? But the gall to attempt something illegal, and when you get honked at, stop in the middle of an intersection and make 15 other cars wait in the thick of the morning rush to flip off someone that was completely right? That's a new level. Seriously, where are the cops when you need them?

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

I don't care which way you voted- this is hilarious. Maybe it's because I live in dangerous proximity to the DC area, but for the last year I've been forced to listen to more Obama support than anyone should ever have to.

The best line in the video was "The worst case scenario is that someone with evil intent seizes control of them. They've proven their minds can be taken over by empty rhetoric. So it someone were to come up with a catch phrase as simple and vague as 'Yes we can,' they would have an entire army of extrememly energetic, insufferably annoying, mindless pawns at their command."

I love The Onion. Love it. And I'll throw this in to maintain equilibrium.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Halloween Fun

Okay, now we're a solid week past Halloween, it's time for me to blog about it! Sorry about the tardiness- I had to go to the UK this week and internet access there is always spotty. Especially at the Hilton Manchester Airport. We do have a toll-free UK number we can use for internet, but the hotel charges 50 pence (roughly 6.34 galleons) a minute for toll-free calls. How do they sleep at night? So in an effort to save your taxpayer dollars, I decided not to chat with Ramya, check Facebook or ESPN or do work e-mail for a few days. These are the sacrifices I make as part of my civil service.

One note I will tell you about the United Kingdom: Does anyone know what they talked about there this week? I'll tell you: Obama. And then they'd talk about Obama, and when that got old, they would move on to Obama. Obama, Obama, and more Obama. From when I stepped off the plane Tuesday morning (before the election, mind you (I voted early before I left)) until we took off Friday, virtually every television channel (they only have like seven, mind you), radio station, magazine cover, or T-shirt was either a picture or sound bite from Obama. Shelley and I foolishly thought we would be getting away from election talk by fleeing across the Atlantic, but we were sorely mistaken. On the bright side, the election seems to have made the European community hate America a lot less, so we've got that going for us.

So back on topic. Halloween! Early on it came to my attention that Ramya had never carved a pumpkin before. How can that be? So in order to do it right, we eschewed the el-cheapo $2 pumpkin carving set and sprung for the $4 el-deluxo kit. This also marked the first time I've ever carved a pumpkin from a pre-made pattern. To me that makes it less impressive, but it was still a "medium" difficulty design, and I think I pulled it off (mine is on the left). Ramya did an excellent job with her classic face layout.Ramya's looks like it's reaching critical massAnd because I'm sure Carly and Karen are dying to know, yes I did carve a Marc symbol in the back to project on the wall. It's just that we decided to put them out along the sidewalk so you couldn't tell. You didn't think I would totally forgo personalization, did you?

The night after Halloween (Saturday) we went to my friend Dan's Halloween party. Ramya and my costume wasn't so much a "couple's" getup as it was a "pair." See if you can guess:Get it? Anyone? Okay, if you guessed Hannah Montana and Billy Ray Cyrus, you're way ahead of the curve. And yes, we went dressed as a father and daughter pair. This was met with more than a few "Ewws" and "That's disgustings!" It's a Halloween costume, people! We're not advocating incest or anything. Lighten up!

There was a very interesting aspect of putting these costumes together for Ramya and me. First, to get my Billy Ray outfit we simply hit up the Salvation Army- always a reliable source for cheap, out of date clothes that you're going to deface, wear once and then never touch again. Ramya (and her friend Kavel, who joined us for the trip) had never been in a resale shop. Whereas I, being Tawnya Rowden's son, spent a good portion of my childhood in such places and wearing stranger's gently used clothing items. Their verdict was that it was a little sad, being that we were in there ironically, and for many of the patrons this is their primary source of goods. But that's a topic for another post.

On the other side of the coin, to transform Ramya into Hannah Montana we had to visit several stores in the mall that I have been walking past for 20-odd years, and it had never occurred to me to go inside. I'm talking about Claire's, Forever 21, and a whole host of others I can't remember with names like "The Rouge." These places are primarily geared toward pre-teens or sorostitues, dealing in "clubbing" clothes. We're talking glittery, skimpy, shimmery, rhinestoney, ridiculous clothes. As much of a foreigner as Ramya and Kavel were in the Salvation Army, I stood puzzled in these stores thinking "Who wears this garbage?" I would look at some little, one shoulder couture rhinestoned top with, I don't know, "Tasty" bedazzled across the front (on sale for $215) and asked "When would anyone possibly wear this? What utility does this have?" They would look at me and reply "Duh! Clubbing." Right. Clubbing. This is one of many areas that I have no expertise whatsoever in. Luckily the Hannah Montana and Billy Ray outfits came together relatively cheaply as we exhaustively searched from resale shops to high-falutent clubbing retailers- or as I like to call it, "The Best of Both Worlds." Yeah, I went there.

Another note about Claire's: They sell jewlery and accessories to what,8-14 year old girls, right? Well, then one we went to was selling flasks. Like, you know, for booze. They had several versions- ones with an art deco peace sign screened on, one with "I heart NY" in pink rhinestones, and many more. What are these for? Why does a pre-teen girl need a flask? How are we okay with this?

Furthermore, we checked the seasonal Halloween store just to see what they had. And let me tell you, pedophiles everywhere can rejoice, because slutty costumes aren't just for adults anymore. They had several choices including, but not limited to, Shipwrecked- or as I think of it, pre-teen pirate ho. Would you let your daughter wear that? I must be getting old, because as I was searching for that picture I felt like I was looking at kiddie porn. This might just be a sign of the times, but that seems way too revealing for a child to wear to me. Heck, I remember the time in 8th grade that Britt Unger wore a top that bared her midriff. Why? Because it caused quite a stir and people talked about it for days. I believe she was asked by the school not to wear it again. I bet if any man who was attending Concord Junior High in 1992 reads this post, they will remember exactly what I'm talking about.

As for passing out candy, it was another down year. I can't figure this place out- one year we'll get like 60 kids, then the next it'll be like 20. On the plus side I think there were only 1 or 2 that weren't wearing a costume (though it seems that every member of the Leonardtown Raiders football team dressed up as a football player). The trick-or-treaters started showing up around 6:00, and were long done with by 7:30. So Ramya and I made dinner, went downstairs to watch a movie, etc. Right about 10:00 the doorbells rings, so I answer it. On my doorstep were two "boys" that were about my height, both wearing normal street clothes save for Target bags with eyeholes on their heads. I was like "Really? Okay." And gave them each some candy. All in all, better participation than last year.

On a final note, while in the UK we talked with the local guys about Halloween (I think it started because I was always eating candy in the meeting). Apparently they only started celebrating Halloween about 5 years ago, and they say it has really caught on in the last two years. Who knew? I thought it was just an American thing.

So you can check out the rest of my pictures here. Happy Halloween! On to Thanksgiving.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Billboard Fun

Is this how every woman wants to be proposed to? On a billboard outside LAX next to an ad for "Chocolate News?"