Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gentlemen, Starch Your Engines!


Post-Christmas greetings, y'all! 'Tis I, Dave the Goof, crawling toward year's end, an hour at a time...

Twas a good Christmas, methinks. Except I slept a lot. On the 24th, my trainer ran me through a truly, epically killer workout, which I embraced, though it slew me. I paid for it Christmas Day... my whole body was one large, simmering mass of soreness, and I was exhausted all day long. I would drift off to sleep at the drop of a hat. We spent Christmas Eve at my dear sweet mommies' house, as per our tradition, but if I wasn't sleeping or eating great food, I was whiling away time on my iPad. I was really out of it, unfortunately... being anti-social with my own family? Even for me, that's out of character. I tried to stay where it was quietest (aka "away from the blaring TV and the laughing") and find peace to recoup. So I blame my trainer!!!

All that to say, it was actually a very nice day, my own standoffishness notwithstanding. My brother John heads off to begin his new life in the Navy soon, so this was the last Christmas as the "way things used to be", and we're shifting into "the way things are going to be." I'm happy for him and proud of him... and curious to see how this new chapter of his life plays out for him. He goes to icy Michigan for boot camp, then to Florida to begin his schooling. Man, all that just to learn how to swab the deck? Sheesh!

"Dive in, Johnny! The water's fine! ROOAAR!!!"

So I got some new shoes, and a new belt for Christmas. One step closer to being a respectable dresser. Plus, I got some Amazon dough, which means BOOKS! YAAY!!! I pulled the trigger on several books that have been on my "Gimme These Books NOOW!" List for quite some time. In fact, these be they:

- King of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence
- Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay
- Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
- The WOOL Omnibus, by Hugh Howey
- Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

3 fantasy tales, one post-apoc and a retro/sci-fi story. That should hold me over for a while. I've already started the King of Thorns. Hopefully I can finish it before the end of the month, so I can add it to my 2012 Books I've Read List over there on the right side of the blog. I see that I still have my 2011 list up there, lol. I wonder if anyone has looked at it any time recently? "Hey, I wonder what Dave read back in 2011? Let's take a look!" Man, how self-indulgent...

My favorite book of the year was a re-read.... The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie. My favorite first-time read were the books by Greg Hamerton. Those Lifesong books really clicked with me. I also loved Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, and I Know Not by James Daniel Ross as well. Great books, all. In fact, I just checked JD Ross' blog and saw that he released a new book this month, The Last Dragoon. Just snapped it up! Add that to my list!

Trying to think of the best movie I've seen this year. In theaters, nothing really stands out. I'd have to say maybe Looper or the Bourne Legacy. On disc? Dang, lemme think. I really enjoyed Downton Abbey, but that's a series, not a movie. Speaking of series, I enjoyed watching through Lie To Me. As far as films, I really loved the Bones Brigade Autobiography doc, and the arm wrestling doc Pulling John, and the scriptwriting doc Tales From the Script, and the Korean War doc Chosin. What does it say about me that my favorite movies were documentaries? I rewatched The Pianist (with Adrien Brody) a couple times. Amazing film. Plus, a 21 Grams rewatch, which is another amazing film.

That's about it.

As far as games, I'd have to give it to Minecraft. Although Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 have both been great this year. Portal 2 was terrific as well.

And now, some Beautiful Moments...

Start the video, click the little gear wheel, change it to 1080, hit full screen, and enjoy.

Speaking of movies, I finally watched the Fowler's favorite comedy of all time, What's Up, Doc? with Ryan O'Neal and Barbara Streisand (1972). Definitely a funny film, with some great dialog and funny moments. Say what you will about Streisand, but man, was she a cutie back then.

Not sure what else there is to cover. The year draws to a close. January approacheth. Got something special planned for January 15th, if I can summon the requisite strength. If you know what day that is an anniversary of, you'll have an idea the topic...

Gonna head off for now. Got a LAN party to prepare for!

Adios for now,

Dave the Gone

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The world didn't end. What a surprise...

I tried to go Christmas shopping today (it's Saturday, 12/22 as I write this). Trying to find a parking spot was like the end of the world, to me, anyway. I ended up deciding that Amazon gift cards sounded like a great idea, and went the heck home, lol. The family is at the mall, though. Yeah, I know. I shouldn't wait until the weekend before Christmas to start shopping. I'm a fool, what can I say?

So I watched the Bones Brigade Documentary the other night, and it was every bit as awesome as I'd hoped it would be. Granted, I grew up in the 80's, and these guys were just hitting their stride as I became involved in the sport (of skateboarding). It was great to hear the history of the Bones Brigade from the guys that were on the team... but, man, some of them haven't aged too well. They really look like they've been through it. And I have to admit, as much as I love Rodney Mullen, he's a little bit "out there," lol. Granted, he's a legend, but he's one of those guys that is super-smart and introverted and quirky and somewhat socially awkward... but I like a lot of what he has to say.

Here, check this video out of Rodney giving a TED talk earlier this year...

So he's like that. Anyway, yeah, great documentary. Here's a clip if you'd like a taste. Or check it out on Netflix, under Watch Instantly.

So a week from today I have another LAN party planned. Gonna kill some zombies, and get some Modern Warfare deathmatch going, and maybe start a Minecraft world on the LAN and have everyone join in to build stuff together. They're usually fun events. Right now, there's more than a dozen folks invited, but who knows how many will actually show up. I thought I'd have it on the Saturday before New Years, as opposed to New Year's Day itself, to increase the odds of people being able to attend.

If I get some pics, I'll post some here.

Look, I get it... skateboarding and video games... a very limited subset of interests that I'm sure has next to no appeal to most of you reading this. But it's where I'm at, at the moment. I suppose I could trot out other topics, in an attempt to try and hit on a topic that you find more interesting, but even if I did make a lucky guess, I doubt the fire would be there... or rather enough fire to make it interesting to you.

My brother John is getting ready to head off to boot camp in January. He's joining the Navy, in the intelligence field. I'd tell you what he'll be doing, but it's classified, and once I told you, you run the risk of being waterboarded. Let's just say that, if he shows up on your doorstep, you probably deserve it... yep, trained assassin, with a ninja mask and Hello Kitty socks and everything.

Looks like he's sittin' in the proverbial catbird's seat...

Holy mackerel... the Wagner Women have returned from a marathon six-hour shopping journey, and Wifey looks so energized. She's regrouping and heading out again for more. Wow. I will never understand that. I get agita just thinking about it. I also get the trembles, the shivers, the chilblains, spastic colon and St. Vitas Dance.

OK, it's not THAT bad, but it's bad enough...

I'm going to pull the plug on this post now. If you made it through to the end, you have my appreciation.


Dave Gump

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wow, What An Interesting Navel I Have!

Greetings. Quick hit tonight (at least, that is my intention as I start this post... but I can wax long-winded at the flip of a switch, so who knows, eh?)

I guess the obvious first topic would be my extreme agitation, angst and general state of upset over the Connecticut school shooting. Man, if my heart is this broken being this far removed from the event, I shudder to imagine the white-hot pain and loss that the parents of those kids are being seared with. Man, my Youngest is that age... if I had Maggs ripped from me like that, I don't know how I'd survive... I'm sure each one of those kids meant as much or more to each of those parents... 20 Maggies, gone, and in such a way.

Yes, I realize that sort of tragedy has occurred with depressing regularity since the dawn of time. World War 2 alone is enough to overwhelm the heart of any sane individual. Still, that doesn't make that pain any less devastating. To any mother out there that has lost a child, you have my prayers and sympathy... but what I cannot offer you is an explanation. Sorry. It drives me crazy when things don't make sense to me. Shooting a bunch of kids... makes absolutely no sense to me.

Kind of hard to be silly tonight, I suppose. So I put off a funny pic for now...

Had our 22nd Anniversary on the 15th. 22 years. Officially married for more than half my life. Man, what I could say at this point... and I'm in the right mood to say it, too... but I won't. Hey, not all of it would be bad, there's a lot of accumulated good in those 2+ decades. I have a ton to be thankful for. Besides, once I started on the topic of my marriage, this post would stretch on beyond all reason, and no one in his/her right mind would want to read it... except, perhaps, the historian writing my life story, who is researching this archive 30 years from now...

Hmm... that joke fell flat. Well, it's that sort of night.

Guess I'll save the Pooter videos for another night. Here's a fun, "cute" video...

That toddler was all business when it came to that puddle. That's a well-behaved dog, too...

So we saw The Hobbit on the 14th (opening day), and I have to admit, I was pretty underwhelmed. I think the movie was hamstrung a bit by the structure of the source material. It was a very linear tale, and so it felt kind of claustrophobic to me. There was a bit too much eye-rolling silliness for my tastes, and a couple lines of dialog that really jarred me out of the setting. This will seem rich, coming from me, but there was too much juvenile humor in it. Plus, if I have to hear Gandalf shout "RUUNNNN!!!!" one more time, I'll run for the door, all right... on the plus side, I loved the game of riddles scene between Bilbo and Gollem. Very well done. Gollem was really creepy. The rest of the tale was rather forgettable, sad to say. I gave it 6 out of 10. Then again, perhaps I couldn't really get into it, with the school shooting thing weighing heavily on me.

There, a bit of humor, to take the edge off. I have to admit, I laughed rather uproariously the first time I saw that. Of course, if you aren't uber-familiar with the Lord of the Rings trilogy like I am, it might not hit the same chord with you. If so, sorry.

So, 'tis almost Christmas. I've done exactly zero shopping yet. Usually, I turn the kids loose on Amazon and let them drop a certain amount of items into the cart, and it's shipped to us, no fuss, no hassle. For some reason, I've dropped the ball on it, and now it's almost too late. May have to buckle down and actually go shopping this year!

Been playing Minecraft and Borderlands 2 lately. Been slowly reading Black God's War. Been strolling through my NetFlix Watch Instantly queue. Been writing. Planning a LAN party for the Saturday before New Year's. Been storyboarding a short film that Todd and I are going to shoot before year's end. Lots of little stuff, in other words. It's a mellow close to the year. Not having the Christmas Play in the works has really taken the edge off of the holiday, making it far less stressful.

I know I promised some theology last time, but I'm not sure I want to get too deep into it tonight. Basically, it revolves around the idea of me finding it hard to feel special (or even visible) to the Lord when there are so many millions of other people seeking the same kind of special one-on-one relationship with him. I guess it's another case where things that don't make sense to me drive me crazy. How am I suppose to have that focused, deep, moment-by-moment relationship with Him when He promises that sort of thing with untold jillions of others, at the same time? It isn't even a case of dividing His attention, really... how can He give undivided, full-time attention to more than one person at a time, much less masses of them? How can you and I both have His full attention at the same time? Makes me feel lost in the crowd. At the same time, it bothers me that He is to be my sole focus, while I am but one of many... seems almost polygamist to me...

Yeah, petty, selfish, indicative of immaturity, and hopefully will pass as quickly as it appeared... I'm waiting for my "ah ha" moment with this topic, after which time I look forward to re-reading this concept with a certain amount of shame and self-disappointment... but for now, I feel really insignificant when it comes to He and I. Like a grain of sand on a beach.

OK, enough theology, if it even qualifies as such.

Time to hit the road. Sorry for the relative lack of updates of late. The year is limping to a close, and dragging me down a bit along with it.

Adios for now,

Dave the Navel Contemplator

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"You Call This Archaeology?"

Hmm, let's see... what should I cover tonight? Fart jokes or theology? Hmm... tough call...

Hello all! Welcome to Tonight's Post called Dave's 100 Greatest Fart Jokes!!!1!

I'm kidding, fear not...

Actually, I do have a theological wrestling partner, which I may or may not trot out before the end of this post, depending on how capable I am feeling... but in the interim!

OK, well, I guess I'll start with an awesome video of a French magician...

So I got my new glasses today! Woot! A good end to a day that started off with some difficulty. A nice collection of annoyances that, taken individually, aren't much, but added together made for a swirling ball of hate in my gut. Here, lemme give you the rundown...

- Woke up at quarter-of-eight to the melodious sounds of the radio (the traffic report), describing a giant traffic snarl on the freeway that I take to work, describing a biblical-level jam that had clogged up the main route and all the alternatives. Lovely. Decided to call in late and wait it out at home for an hour or two. Then found out my wife had my wallet. OK, fine, no biggie, yes? Driving without my license... what's life without risks, eh? Except my low fuel light was on, and I had no cash, and my bank card was in the wallet.... Time to test how far I can coast on fumes. Of course, my cell phone died, so if I did run out of gas, who will know? Fine, I'll charge it when I get to the shop. Then I misplaced my one-armed glasses (which I need to see!), and had to leave without them, after tearing the place apart looking for them. By the time I got on the freeway, it was a clear shot. The Biblical-level traffic had miraculously vanished into thin air. That was a ray of hope. Limped into the shop -- no charger for my phone. That was all before noon.

So, yeah, it may seem like no biggie (and likely is no biggie, compared to what other people go through), it was an accumulation of frustrations, which never ceases to reveal to me my spiritual immaturity.

Currently reading a book called The Black God's War by author Moses Siregar III. Here's the link to the Good Reads page for it. It's readable enough to keep me turning pages, but only barely. It's hard for me to keep the characters straight, as far as who is whom. But there are some unique story elements that make it worth pressing through the confusion. Some unique magic, and scenes where the gods and goddesses interact with those that pray to them, actively helping them, for example, during battle, riding next to the person who prayed for help, on another horse, but unseen, in a spirit realm. That sort of thing.

By the way, I did end up reading the remainder of Homeland, by RA Salvatore. I know I said in an earlier post that I gave up on it at about 70% through, but I decided to finish it anyway. I'm glad I did - it ended well enough. Not well enough for me to want to continue the series, however...

Here's a great Christmas song I heard today, since the big day is less than 2 weeks away...

Not exactly Silent Night, but made a strong enough impact on me as I drove today that I looked it up when I got home. There you go!

Since I've been wearing my new glasses for the past few hours, I find myself continually reaching up to straighten them out. I guess I wore one-armed glasses askew on my face for too many days in a row... the act is ingrained...

I have plans with Todd F. to go filming something this weekend. Going to storyboard out the idea and send it to him tonight (I hope). It should be fun. I hope to post it when it's done. Also, I recorded my Mr. Bingley lines for that little audio drama I auditioned for. When that's available, I'll link that as well.

Yeah, I'm just so creative like that. [insert eye-roll here]

"The snake is a lie..."

Portal reference for the win!!!1!

Hey, I have another cool "cake" picture... for the ladies this time!

I always wondered what women kept in their purses...

And here's a last pic, somewhat related to the cake photos...

She's thinking, "Hmm... maybe I had too much cake..."

See, it's a bench ad for a weight loss program... see, they hooked a scale up to the bench, see... and so, like, when you sit down, it displays your weight, see...

Hmm... theology or no theology... hmm...

Nah, I think I'm done. Theology another night.

Adios y'all.

Pensive Dave

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Like A Robust Kick to the Manhood!

Greetings, to my legions of faithful readers, from all over the world! Every corner of the globe! Including 4 Frenchmen, a Swede, two Eskimos, and a hobo in an old Raider's jacket living under an overpass in Tulsa! Hello to you all!

Hey, you know what I hate? Well, maybe not hate, but it's a pet peeve for sure. Being ignored. Being made to feel invisible. I hate that. I mean, pet peeve... I text someone? No reply. Email? Facebook message? Voice mail? No reply. When it happens occasionally, ok, I get that. People are busy and such. But when it happens a lot in a short space of time (like a week or less), with several people, then I feel like breaking something.

I mean, is it really that hard to hit "reply" and spend ten or fifteen seconds answering my inquiry? Really? Not too busy to read what I send you, but man, that half-minute needed to reply really cuts into your busy schedule? It's not like I'm a pest. I'm a lousy friend, actually, when it comes down to it. I figure people would rather not be bothered. But when I have a legit reason for contacting someone, and I get nothing but dead air in return, it makes me angry, and then I have to take a quick look in the mirror to make sure that I'm still visible. And then I take a much longer look, while I wonder why it bugs me like it does. And then I check my nose, to make sure nothing offensive is in there... I mean, hey, I'm in front of the mirror, I might as well make sure that the two-car garage on my face is clutter-free!

So, anyway, yeah, it's just me. If I ever drop you a note asking something, or just saying hello, I'm not stalking you. I'm not angling for anything, or trying to manipulate you in any way. I'm either trying to be friendly, or else I really need a bit of info that you have. Hit reply, type a sentence or two, save me some angst, eh? Pretty please?

Sheesh, that was kind of an ugly rant. Sorry about that...

I guess I get a little cranky when I'm sick. Day three of the head cold congestion thingy. This is usually the night that the chills kick in. So I have that to look forward to. The decongestants aren't working too well. The wastebaskets close at hand are full of kleenex. Hey, you know, with a nose this size... well, the best benefit of this experience (as I mentioned in passing in a Facebook status today) is that my voice gets all deep and scratchy and growly. I really should record the Mr. Bingly lines of dialog using this voice and send it off to Glenn as a joke. He might not think it's funny... but you and I would get a laugh or two out of it, eh?

I said in my FB update that my voice sounds like a mix of Barry White and Gilbert Gottfried, which I thought was actually a very funny line... I thought more people would "like" it, but maybe no one knows who those two gentlemen are...  Well, I could have said that my face has been unfavorably compared to that of Steve Buscemi and Marty Feldman (with a hint of Ernest Borgnine), but maybe no one knows who they are either... I guess I should have said my odor brings to mind a septic tank full of roses.... maybe that would have got a laugh.

Yep, that's me... full of self-defecating humor...

"We have to stop meeting like this..."

Anniversary approacheth. I think we're going to grab a burger somewhere and then go see The Hobbit, although I'm a little concerned about the somewhat tepid reviews I've seen/read so far. Apparently, it takes about 40 minutes before it really gets rolling. Plus, "they" say don't waste the money on 3D, and try to see the "less frames per second" version if you can find it. I shall try to heed that advice come the 15th.

Gads, I wish I had a writing buddy. I have so much I'd like to do with the storylines of my fantasy novel, but it could go several different ways. I'd love to have someone familiar with the story to bounce ideas off of, more than just in passing, I mean. I feel like in order to ask even a basic "choice A, B or C" question, I need to lay about 15 minutes of backstory down first every time... kind of a bummer, for both myself and the unfortunate soul whose opinion I am seeking. Ah, well, novel writing is a lonely art, I suppose!

And now, a funny tip jar...

Admit it... you laughed...

OK, well, I suppose I'll bring this post to a close, if only so I can stop coughing all over my keyboard. Guess I should go get the sanitizing wipes and clean this thing, eh?! Yeah, sounds like a grand idea.

Adios for now. Sleep well, hobo, wherever you are...

Dave the Under-the-Weather

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Got Some Flotsam. Go Get Some Jetsam!

"That photograph is really something," Said Dave, doing his best Winnie-the-Pooh voice. "The clouds seem all soft and fluffy, and the little village is peeking out."

"It's probably photoshopped," said Eeyore carelessly. But Dave the Pooh wasn't listening, being a Dave of Very Little Brain. He was wondering again how many pots of Starbucks honey he had at home. "Was it eleven, or was it twelve?" he asked, scratching the end of his nose. "I can never quite recall..."

"Besides," Eeyore continued, "It's probably cold and miserable and whatnot in that little village." He paused for a moment. "You're right, Pooh. I like it."

But Dave was wandering off, crafting a perfectly fun little hum in his brain...
This post is dumb,
Yet it is fun,
It's almost one,
In the morning. 
But if I stay,
And share my day,
You'll browse away,
Without a warning.


So my head cold is returning. Which is a far larger bummer than usual, since I just found out on Friday that I got the part of Mr. Bingley in the Five-Minute Classics episode of Pride and Prejudice that I auditioned for. I need to record my lines of dialog by the 10th of December. Whenever I get congested, it takes about a week to clear up... and in the interim it messes with the sound of my voice. I felt fine Saturday, got the script in the email, and decided I'd record Sunday afternoon (which, as I write this, is tomorrow). And a couple hours ago, I felt the head cold settling back in. Crap!

Well, what can one do, but one's best?


So I finally ordered new glasses today. It's a relief, because I feel like a llama wearing my broken, one-armed pair, especially in public. They sit all crooked on my face, and I'm always reaching up to straighten them out, like when I'm ordering at Starbucks or such. O the trauma and embarrassment! How shall I ever recover!? Why did I wait so long, you may ask? Didn't want to spend the dough. Yeah, I'm getting more and more cheap as I age.

So I finally put the rest of the Wagnervana comics up on the comic page of this blog. Go on! Go back and read them all again, and marvel at the sheer number of mindless fart jokes on display! Yep, I only go for the highest of highbrow humor in my webcomic. Yep. Classy. That's me.

Earlier this month, Kuwait celebrated the 50th anniversary of its existence by putting on the largest fireworks display of all time (according to Guinness anyway). $15 million bucks worth. These photos are terrific - click them and look at them big.

These are AP photos, so I hope I don't get in trouble for posting them (I don't benefit financially in any way from this blog, lol). The photos are flat-out amazing. That must have been something to see in person.

So I went and saw the movie Wreck-It Ralph with the fam last week. It was excellent. What a visual feast. Fun, funny and highly-polished. If you haven't seen it and get the chance, by all means, check it out.

In case you were wondering about the potentially "really good news" I threatened to announce a few posts back, it's still up in the air, at this point. I haven't forgotten! Yes, it could be a very big deal indeed, but I don't want to blab it until it firms up a bit more. Sorry to string you along!

Well, I guess I should be running along now. Lemme find one more funny picture, then I'll hit the road...

"Hey, come on over and we'll hang out!"

OK, I'm done.

Davey the Pooh

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ahh! Rubbish Never Smelled So Sweet!

Wow. I love that picture...

So, yeah, what's up, eh? It's Monday as I write this. I hit the "New Post" button out of sheer, uninspired boredom. Now I'm going to see what happens. It's an experiment, of sorts... you'll need to be the judge of how successful it is... of course, if you're a return reader, you have a lot of other examples of seat-of-the-pants blogging to use as a baseline.

The four-day holiday weekend is over. Time for Real Life to begin again.

OK, so, in honor of Real Life beginning, watch this clip from Born Yesterday (1950) starring the great Judy Holliday, and Broderick Crawford and William Holden, of course. Note that it's one shot from 0:36 to 3:37.

I know, awesome, right?

OK, while we're on One-Take Scenes, watch this next one... it's from Old Boy, and from 0:32 to 3:10 it's one take...

Dang, he fought half that scene with a knife in his back!

I'm always impressed by the long shots... I try to imagine the amount of rehearsal time needed to create shots like that. In fact, here, let's go to the Grand Daddy of all one-shot fight scenes... it's from The Protector (2005) starring the amazing Tony Jaa... the entire 3:48 is one shot.

Can you imagine the stamina you'd have to have? Not to mention trying to remember all your cues... plus, choreographing all of that, with the extras and stuntmen, etc.

Of course, the most amazing use of Single Shot I've ever seen was in a foreign film called Eternity and a Day (1998). The entire film is created using a series of (very) extended shots, one after the other. Each is like a skit unto itself. I cannot imagine the rehearsal time involved. Unfortunately, I can't find the best clip examples on You Tube to post here, but I did find this one.

My favorite stretch in this 10 minute clip if from 7:43 to 9:07.

Man, if I could find them, there are some much more amazing clips in this film. Maybe I'll buy it and pull clips from it. It would be worth your attention, methinks.

By the way, the man there is Bruno Ganz, who you may remember from his staggering performance as Hitler in the film Downfall. In fact, what the heck, here's the most famous scene from that gem...

Man, what an actor. That guy acts with strength. If I ever make something out of my acting ambitions, I hope to carry weight like that. Anyway, if you haven't seen that film, you can watch it on YouTube in its entirety (albeit in black and white) at this link. If you have Netflix Watch Instantly, you could watch this and Eternity and a Day as well.

Man, that was quite a diversion. One-Shot scenes, eh? Too bad I didn't mention Paper Moon in that litany, eh? Tons of great extended shot scenes in that one... and then there's the film Russian Ark (2002), which is a 96 minute movie, all one long take, believe it or not. A monumental accomplishment... but boring as heck...

OK, so, where was I before I got excessively diverted?

OK, well, Christmas approacheth, and, yes, it feels odd not having a play to tend to. We've been doing Christmas plays since, oh, 1998 I think... I have to be honest, I always wondered what it would be like to not have the stress of the annual Christmas play all throughout the build-up to Christmas... and now I get to find out. Yeah, it's strange.

I've got my 22nd Anniversary coming up on the 15th of next month. 22 years. Dang. So much I'd like to say that would not quite be appropriate. So much history. Expectations. Disappointments. Whining. Embarrassing admissions. That sort of thing. Things better left unsaid in this forum.

I better post a funny picture to change the topic...

So much for changing the subject. Here, lemme try again...

OK, third time's a charm...

Steeeee-rike three! You're out!

Bah, I have nothing to complain about. Life is good, let's leave it at that.

I am, however, a man without something solid to read. I'm doing the Free Sample Shuffle of late. If I settle on anything good, I'll let you know.

Yeah, you know what? I'm going to end this post here. I had more to say, but I shall save it for another time.

Until we meet again!

Dave the Flatulent Goof

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Gravity of the Situation: Understood

I don't know. I don't, so don't ask me! I can't tell you, either way. OK, fine, I can, but I won't. Because it's none of your business!

OK, fine, I'll answer it. What have I been doing for a whole week. Well, frankly, my memory is a bit fuzzy at this age. Hmm. Well, got an eye exam, as a prelude to getting new glasses, which I haven't got yet. Whee. I got another copy of Minecraft so Maggie and I could build stuff together... and it turns out Katie is even more taken by it. It's a lot of fun. I've got my two computers side-by-side, and we laugh and explore and build and chop down trees, etc.

The Steam holiday sales are going on, but I haven't had a desire to buy a single blessed thing. Thank God (truly). I scanned my Steam Wishlist (20 titles) and honestly, there's nothing I want. I mean, the only real contender for a game to add to my list came out a few days ago and it's a Free To Play game (Planetside 2), so even if I want to play it, it won't cost me a cent. Of course, I immediately installed it, and of course, I haven't played it once yet.

Yeah, I know. Blah blah blah, right? I mean, who cares? I suppose that's the point. It's been an uneventful week, holiday notwithstanding.

Went to my mom's house for Thanksgiving, as per custom, and it was terrific, as per tradition. The food was outstanding and plentiful, and the company was fun. Football was watched, jokes were told, couches were sat upon, and thanks were given. All in all, a near-perfect day.

Now, Christmas! Honestly, I'm hoping somebody somewhere has a Christmas party and invites me. I've never been one for socializing, but for some reason, the idea of a Christmas party sounds fun to me this year. Well, my anniversary is coming up in a couple weeks as well. Maybe I just need to celebrate something.

So the Beard of Doom is officially gone. And, of course, I missed it immediately, and told myself I'd grow it back. I took some pics of the process, for your amusement.

My poor, poor beard. Alas, you were loved, and shall be missed.

So, here's another tidbit of info that I guarantee no one will find interesting! Ready?!

I joined Adobe Creative Cloud! Yay!


OK, fine, here, let me briefly explain. I use Photoshop daily. It is made by Adobe. It is expensive ($600). They make lots of other cool software for web/graphics/audio/animation/film editing/etc. that is also very cool and very expensive. I could never get them. ANYWAY, they started a service whereby you pay a monthly amount (in my case, $30), and you get access to the latest versions of their ENTIRE software suite, which you can download and install on your system. So as long as you are subscribed, you get access to it all!

Summary: Yay!

I've given up on Homeland, by RA Salvatore. The writing degenerated into pablum, which is odd, since it started off so well. I got 70% through it, which I feel counts as a read, so I'm adding it to my 2012 Read List. So there.

Yes, I've been working on my novel, and yes, it's a boatload of fun. See, writing is a lot like minecraft, see, in that you explore ideas, and build things with words. See. And, uh, yeah.

Go, Ed, go!!!

I think I'm done. Got the weekend ahead of me, not sure what I'll do. If anything fun happens, I'll let you know. You know, since I know you're always anxious to hear how things are going in my life [insert massive eye-roll here]

Dave the Insipid

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happiness is a Forest of Nose Hair...

Greetings, Earthlings! Nice planet you have here. Mind if I stay for a while? I promise I'll turn the lights off when I leave...

Tonight's Top Story: I bought and read Red Country by the Great Joe Abercrombie. I'm not going to do a full-on review for two main reasons. 1) Because there are tons of apt reviews out there already, and more everyday, so why reinvent the wheel, eh? and 2) Because I'd feel bad putting a less-than-stellar review of an Abercrombie book out there again (like I did for Best Served Cold).

Of course, a third possible reason to avoid doing a review is that I often have a hard time steering clear of spoilers! Yeah, I know... poor, foolish, undisciplined me.

Bottom line, my long-awaited reunion with Logen "The Bloody Nine" Ninefingers did not quite go as I'd hoped. The book had its strengths, certainly, but there were odd story choices made, too many flat characters, a little too much skim-worthy description, and a couple key characters who just didn't seem to be right somehow... it's hard to explain. The last two pages were VERY well done, and did a lot to recapture a lot of the lost love to that point... well, maybe not lost love per se, but rather love that never really began to accumulate from the outset. Basically, the read was rather grueling and tedious.

Don't get me wrong, to me, Joe is still The Man, capital M, but I'm thinking maybe this one needed some more time in the cooker, and maybe some fresh eyes reading drafts along the way. Or maybe not, what the heck do I know. It's not like I've ever finished a book-length manuscript. So I'm likely full of saddle soap.

Anyway, I'm certainly glad I read it, and I'll certainly read it again at some point down the road, but it certainly ain't The Heroes, that's for sure.

I'm sure novel writing at this level is like making hot dogs in any case... all we readers get are the results... no real idea about all that had to go into it.

By the way, here's how hotdogs are made...

umm.... wow.... not sure what to say after watching that...

So I added Red Country to my 2012 Read List over there in the side column, and then decided (on whim, really) to rearrange the list based on my favorite reads. So the books I enjoyed the most (and recommend the highest) are at the top, and rank down the list accordingly. The only exception to that is Save the Cat, which is kind of in its own category (being non-fiction, about screenwriting) and so I didn't know how to rank it. I put it at the bottom, but that doesn't mean it was the worst book. It's actually a very good book, taken for what it is.

So my annual sinus infection/head cold thingy has made its traditional November appearance, making my nights pretty miserable for the last few. Ah, well, that which doesn't kill us makes our noses run, right? I think that's how it goes. In my case, when a man with a nose my size gets congested and tries to sleep, well, let's just say my snoring registers on the Richter Scale as a swarm of small earthquakes. Woke up the other morning to find Wifey gone and sleeping downstairs. I've decided to sleep downstairs until this clears up. Let her have the bed.

My apologies for that comic. I've been wrestling with whether it's in too poor taste to post, even for this blog (low standards and all). But after much internal debate, self-inflicted charlie horses and lemon juice in my eyes, I've decided that my penchant for Junior-High Level Humor has overruled my desire to avoid offending the, shall we say, "normal and mentally balanced" among my (no doubt rapidly dwindling) reader pool.

To make up for it, wash your eyes out with this...

So the slab leak repair was a success, but a dry-waller needs to come and repair the walls, etc. caused by the leak repair Plus, the pipe leak in my office is a problem, due to a hard-to-reach region of the house innards where the problem is. So that's not resolved. Plus, the new oven installation was a complete failure, for reasons far too boring to elaborate on. Gotta wait another week to get the new oven. So far, the home repairs are almost 1 for 4. Not too good...

So an online friend of mine (Glenn H.) is a writer and voice actor, and puts on lots of radio-type programs, with characters and humor, etc. He's started a new series called "5 Minute Classics" and had an audition call. So I figured what the heck, and I recorded the sample lines of dialog for a couple of the characters and sent them off to him. The deadline for auditions is 11/26, so I'll have to wait until that time to see if I got any of the parts. The first episode is for Pride and Prejudice. Sounds fun. I recorded for Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley and the Narrator. We'll see. I'll let you all know if I get any of the parts, and either way, I'll link to the final show when it's available.

In fact, if you think you'd like to audition, here's the link with the info.

And now.... the Cup Cake Cannon...

Not much to say after a clip like that. Except that reminds me... you never call me Cupcake anymore...

OK, I'm out. Got some Piranha work to finish tonight. Gotta hit the road. I only hope that Santa comic doesn't backfire on me...

Adios for now...

Dave the Gump

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Beard" Rhymes With "Weird" (But Not With "Heard")

"Is it Christmas yet?" she asked.

I checked my wristwatch. "It's only 8:22 pm." Awkward pause, as a puzzled expression formed on her 7-year-old face. "That means..." I studied my watch again, making little clicking noises with my mouth as I calculated. "... it's only 42 days, 3 hours and 38 minutes until Christmas. Technically."

"Is that a lot?"

"For a kid, yes, that's a lot."

"But not for you?" She looked up at me with those eyes. Those amazing kid eyes that give quick glimpses of the woman she would one day be.

"Nope, not for me. For grown-ups, time works a little differently. 42 days, 3 hours and 38 minutes is like tomorrow to me."

"So you get your presents tomorrow? That's not fair!"

I ruffled her hair a bit, as corny as that sounds. "Hey, I'm a grown-up. One of the rules for grown-ups is I can get my presents whenever I want them. Only I have to buy them myself."

She thought a moment, then said, "Santa doesn't bring you presents?"

"Nope. Santa works with kids only. That's the rules."

Her face lit up. I could see her mind working. No presents from Santa for me... that meant more presents for her. I smiled.

"I can still give you a present though, right?" she asked, smiling.

"Of course."

"Here." She went into her little play purse and pulled out a photo.

I looked at it and smiled. "I'm going to go post this on my blog. Be back in a bit."

"OK, dad."


Hello all.

So, yes, I missed my blogging day on Saturday. A thousand pardons for those waiting patiently for me to get my act together. Hey, you know what they say... better late than on time. Right? I think that's how it goes...

So, things are still weird all over. Well, as Curnden Craw would say, "Those are the times." The Christmas Play is dead for this year. We're going to do some carols with the littlest kids from our church this year. Probably for the best, though I feel bad for Mario, who was playing the lead role. He was really putting everything into it. I think it will be the first time since 1997 that we won't be having a play or pageant of some kind. Not that the kid thing doesn't count, it does...

I quoted Curnden Craw above in honor of Joe Abercrombie's latest book, Red Country, which comes out a few hours from the minute I'm writing this. I guess tomorrow really is like Christmas for me! I was hoping to finish reading the book I'm currently reading (Homeland, by RA Salvatore) before getting Red Country, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. So I'll set Salvatore aside, and messily, greedily devour JA's latest the moment I get it...

I think unibrow humor is funny. That's why I posted that. Cuz it's funny and stuff.

What, you don't like unibrow humor? OK, fine, lemme try another comic.

There, is that better? What do you mean, you don't get it!? Sheesh! What? Oh, you said you don't like it. Sorry, couldn't hear you very well. Something in my ear.

Hear, let me try again (see what I did there, lol? I'm so clevurr!)

OK, that one has to be a winner. Yes? Oh come on! Whales scare you? Yes, I know they are huge. Well, no, I've never gone swimming with whales before. Well, there was a really fat lady at the pool one time, when I was a kid. She was pretty scary. Does that count?

OK, fine, lemme try one last time.

That was me, when I was binging (as in, "to binge") on Lie To Me episodes a couple weeks back...

So my glasses are officially broken. At the moment, they only have one arm. I'm still wearing them, because I have no choice. I mean, I'd wear my tinted driving glasses, but for some reason, the tinting messes with my monitors, and I can't see the screen! These one-armed glasses sit crookedly on my face... yes, it gives me a headache. Well, it's either that or lean really close to my monitor with my glasses off... which is just weird. Not sure how long it will be getting new ones. Have to call Kaiser and set an eye exam appointment, then pick some glasses from Costco and wait for them to be finished. Gonna be a long couple weeks.

The plus side is, I feel like I'm wearing a monocle. I say, old chap!

YES! I can't believe it! I finally got to use the "giant glasses in the snow" photo from my archive! Do you have any idea how long that pic has been patiently waiting to be used in a blog post? No? Well, I'll tell you. Since May 20, 2011.

And just to show you (and my photo archive) how unfair life is, here is a photo I added to the archive today (an hour ago, as a matter of fact)...

Yes, it is photoshopped, and no, I don't care. I love the feel of it.

Life is unfair! Deal with it, photo archive! Deal with it!

So Thursday and Friday will be crazy around the ol' Wagner Household (aka Wagnerville, aka, the Loony Bin). Thursday we get the leak fixed in my office, as well as get the floor torn up in the hall (slab leak! Yay!). We also have someone coming to try and find where the leak in the kitchen ceiling is originating from. Then Friday "they" are coming to install a new oven in the kitchen (as opposed to in the restroom, I guess). I did type "gas oven", but changed it to just "oven" because I'm extra sensitive to oblique references to the Holocaust.

Hmm... while that last sentence was true, it still seems in poor taste, for some reason. Bah, I'm going to leave it.

There I go, typing what I'm thinking again!

OK, I've posted enough nonsense. Hope you enjoyed some of tonight's post at least.

Dave the All Over the Place

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

O It's Nice To Be Foam for the Holidays...

I suppose now would be the best time for my annual Political Post, but I'm just too spent on the whole topic. Other than a couple quick comments, I'll spare you. If political opinions give you bowel angst, feel free to skip past the next two paragraphs, to the Dragon Baby video clip, and continue on from there.

Political Nonsense: If there's one thing yesterday's election showed me, it's that polls mean exactly nothing. 6 weeks' worth of polls, ALL of which showed Romney either tied or ahead by upwards of 6%, all the way until election day itself... and Obama wins handily, 50% to 48%. Yeah, I know, shrug my shoulders and move on, right? Yeah, maybe it's the conspiracy theorist inside talking, but that smells way too fishy to me. I really wish there was some way to eliminate all of the duplicate votes, and actually count 'one vote, one person' and then see how it played out. Something tells me it would be very different.

I have a confession. My initial reaction to news of the President's reelection was, "Wow, there are far more stupid people in this country than I thought." Relax, I caught myself immediately, and had a nice prayer time about it. As though anyone who thinks differently than I do is stupid (or deceived). I get it; I'm lame. Still, it seems such a no brainer... Option A: Squeeze "the rich" for as much tax $ as possible to give to those who don't want to work for it (or pay it back), effectively punishing "the rich" for owning/running a business or Option B: Create a business-friendly environment that rewards "the rich" (by lowering taxes, etc.) for starting businesses, creating more jobs, and swelling the ranks of tax-payers. The latter would net FAR more $$$ in tax dough than the former, and would be far better for the economy than punishing people in direct proportion to their success. Everyone pays less in taxes, but far more people are paying them, so the net is far greater. It's a win-win. What am I missing? There are apparently 50 million people who don't see it that way. I can't help but picture them with their hand out and their head in the sand. Then again, what do I know...


And now, Dragon Baby

That's the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. There's an Iron Baby video that is awesome as well.

I have some potentially huge news that I'm not able to share yet, which could greatly impact my life/career. I can't wait to spill it, but it needs to be firmed up first. But I could have a HUGE announcement in the next week or two. Stay tuned, eh!

The Grand Canyon, from outer space. Awesome.

So my Minecraft binging (as in, "to binge") has tapered way down to very reasonable levels. I've never hit the "100 hour" mark so quickly in a game before (about 3 weeks). Yeah, it's embarrassing to admit, but hey, today seems to be another day of Embarrassing Admissions. I might as well also admit that I had my fly open at Play Rehearsal two weekends ago, standing in front of everyone.

Or did I already admit that in a recent post? I don't recall.

Anyway, yeah, the play. At this point, we're dangerously close to cancelling the play. Having some "troubles" at our church. I keep losing cast members as a result. Nothing is more discouraging than seeing people you admire behaving in a manner that.... um... well, yeah, I think I'll stop this line of thought right here. So much at church is in an uproar. Honestly, part of me wants to just withdraw for a while and reconsider everything. And part of me thinks I should man up, and be a pillar when it's needed most. Wish I had the answer.

Well, on the plus side, I still have my Bushy Beard of Doom (at least until Thanksgiving). And I'm still working out with my trainer Markshane (or rather, letting him destroy me). I have a lot to be thankful for.

So that's that. Any prayers you want to toss up for me (and my church), I'd appreciate it. Unless you're not of the religious persuasion, in which case any money or nice gifts you wish to toss at me would also be appreciated. Steam Gifts Cards would be nice. The holiday Steam sales draw near.

Adios for now,

Dave the Troopuh