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