December 31, 2007

Roadnotes: Cleveland 2

The following is based on events that happened on December 24th through the 26th.

It's a good little Xmas. I don't have my gifts for others because I had to order parts from Germany and they didn't arrive in time, but no one cares. I come in second in the annual RISK game. And then it's off to the Amtrak station, where I'm convinced once again that vegetarians just don't travel, this time by attempting to eat the worst veggie burger ever made.

It's a 12 hour train ride. I sleep a little and work a little.

Next stop: New York City, Penn Street Station.

December 25, 2007

Roadnotes: Cleveland 1

The following is based on events that happened on December 23rd.

To get to Cleveland, I have to go through Houston. That apparently makes a ton of sense to those who sell airline tickets and no one else.

However, on the way, I learn a secret. If the airplane bathroom is locked and the sign displaying OCCUPIED, you can open the little plaque thing that often says LAVATORY and move a knob to slide the OCCUPIED sign over to VACANT, and thus, unlock the door.

And seriously, do vegetarians just not travel or something? Because, airports have a decidedly unvegetarian-friendly menu at times, and so do airplanes. I suppose I should be glad to get any food at all, but my choices were turkey or ham.

No matter. On my first leg of the journey, I wind up on the same plane as Jonathan Evison. We had recently read together at a KNOCK release party (he's an incredibly funny writer, by the way). After the flight, I bugged him and his wife about grabbing some food, and he knew about this quaint airport diner that turned out to be not that good (it was recommended to him--not his choice). But, we tried it. We got called "y'all" and had some great shakes. The burgers (mine was a veggie) were not all that great and the special sauce...not all that special. However, I got to bug Mr. Evison about Soft Skull Press (his new book, All About Lulu, is scheduled to come out soon on the Soft Skull label and they are one of my favorite publishers). He had nothing but good things to say.

Fresh off the plane in Cleveland, I get treated to a wind-tunnel barrage of cold. Oh yeah, so that's what cold is. Living in Seattle makes me forgetful.

December 23, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 12

35

Harry is suddenly in some sort of other-world. He has a conversation with Dumbledore, where Dumbledore sort of explains that Harry is dead, or not, depending on Harry's choice. Dumbledore seems to be saying that since Voldemort and Harry are bound as one, Harry can go back to life, now, without the part of Voldemort's soul that he used to be carrying. This doesn't make a ton of sense, but whatever.

36

Harry comes back to life, then plays dead as Voldemort has Harry's body carried back to Hogwarts. When they get to the school, there is a brief demonstration of Voldemort's power just before all heck breaks loose. The centaurs and house elves get involved and Neville destroys the "last" Horcrux by slicing up Voldemort's serpent friend (even though Dumbledore described Harry as the last Horcrux in Chapter 35). Then, a battle takes place in which the Death Eaters are routed and somehow Harry and Voldemort end up facing off with everyone watching. Then Harry explains that Draco is the "real" master of the Elder Wand and since Harry defeated Draco during the last few chapters, Harry is the real master now. I'm completely unclear on a bunch of things, here. How did Draco become master of the Elder Wand? How did Neville get a hold of the sword of Gryffindor? (Last I knew, it was in a goblin's hands.) And I'm still thinking it doesn't really make any sense that Harry came back to life and all. But, whatever.

Epilogue

We are presented with proof that Harry and Ginny finally got it on, because now it is 19 years later and they have three kids. Ron and Hermione managed it, too, as they are there, sending their kid off to Hogwarts, also. Neville is apparently a teacher at Hogwarts, but we are given no information on what the others are doing for a living besides raising kids, which would have actually been interesting. As it is, the epilogue is entirely redundant.

December 21, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 11

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 965 pages--pages I'd rather skip--but since I really want to find out what happened, I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next three chapters in my concise summary of the book, so you don't have to read it. Finally, we are near the end.

!!! SPOILERS !!! SPOILERS !!! SPOILERS !!!

31

Ron and Hermione figure out a way to destroy the Hufflepuff Horcrux, then they catch up to Harry who has figurd out where the "last Horcrux" is. They find it, destroy it, then mention that they still have to destroy the snake, Nagini, who is apparently now the last Horcrux. Meanwhile, they have a run-in with Crabbe, Goyle, and Draco. Crabbe dies of his own ineptitude and Goyle and Draco need to be rescued from Crabbe's fire creatures. At the end of the chapter, there is some kind of confusing event (explosion?) during the battle of Hogwarts and Fred Weasley dies.

32

Harry, Ron, and Hermione fight their way through mayhem including spiders, giants and dementors. They use the tunnel that starts at the Whomping Willow to crawl to where Voldemort is talking to Snape. Harry spies on Voldemort as he tells Snape (essentially) that he experiences erectile dysfunction whenever he faces Harry Potter (this is couched in terms like "my wand failed" and such). Then, Voldemort explains that since Snape killed Dumbledore and that Voldemort took Dumbledore's wand, Voldemort must kill Snape to be the full "owner" of the Elder Wand. So he has Nagini bite Snape and runs off to join the battle. Harry comes out of hiding to watch Snape die, but when Snape sees him Snape says, "Take it...take it..." and then dies, but not before he emits a shifty, silvery blue non-gas that Harry and Hermione collect in a flask. We know that Harry knows what it is because Rowling tells us, but I don't know what it is until next chapter, because I don't remember every solid thing about the Harry Potter universe.

33

Voldemort gives everybody one hour to send Harry Potter to meet him in the Forbidden Forest. Then, Harry ditches Ron and Hermione and uses the vial of Snape's memories to do some sightseeing in Snape's past. We find out that Snape was on Dumbledore's side all along, and had even been asked to kill Dumbledore, and this partnership came about because of Snape's childhood crush on Lily, Harry's mother.

34

Harry Potter decides to go through with the plan: give himself up to Voldemort. Apparently, Ron and Hermione could give a crap because they don't even bother trying to find him and help. Harry grabs the Resurrection Stone, chats with a bunch of ghosts (his parents, Sirius, and more), sees Neville Longbottom (and tells him to kill Nagini), then meets up with Voldemort. Harry lets Voldemort draw his wand and flash a green light at him.


The conclusion...and a return to normal blogging coming soon....

December 19, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 9

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 965 pages--pages I'd rather skip--but since I really want to find out what happened, I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next three chapters in my concise summary of the book, so you don't have to read it.

!!! SPOILERS !!! SPOILERS !!! SPOILERS !!!

Chapter 28

Harry, Ron, and Hermione Disapperate into Hogsmeade, but the whole place is swarming with Death Eaters looking for them. They are saved by someone they recognize as the bartender from the Hog's Head, then no one expresses any amount of surprise when they discover he is actually Albus Dumbledore's brother. He agrees to help them sneak into Hogwarts, then Neville Longbottom hops out of a portrait.

Chapter 29

After walking through a portrait into Hogwarts, Dumbledore's Army gathers (this includes people I actually remember, like Luna, Fred, George, Ginny, and Cho). Somehow, they reason that the "last Horcrux" looks like the lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, so Luna takes Harry to see a sculpture of it so they know what it looks like. Then, they are caught by Alecto Carrow (apparently one of the evil people I don't remember from previous books), who immediately summons Voldemort.

Chapter 30

Luna takes care of one Carrow (both the Carrow twins I don't remember are there now), then Professor McGonagall shows up and takes care of the other. Then, McGonagall decides to risk it all, sends Snape into cowardly running, and alerts the entire castle while beginning an evacuation plan for the kids. Meanwhile, the rest of the Weasley family shows up, as well as Lupin, Harry's whole Quidditch team, and more--they are all ready to fight Voldemort who is at the gates.

December 17, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 9

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
is 965 pages--pages I'd rather skip--but since I really want to find
out what happened, I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next
three chapters in my concise summary of the book, so you don't have to
read it.

!!! SPOILERS !!! SPOILERS !!! SPOILERS !!!

Chapter 25

Harry is a little surprised at himself for deciding not to try to beat Voldemort to the Elder Wand, especially as he can "not remember ever before, choosing not to act". Apparently, Harry has forgotten most of the first half of this book. Harry makes an ill-advised, sneaky deal with Griphook, the goblin, that contains a lot of ultimately irrelevant foreboding overtones, for while Harry, Ron, and Hermione think that they need the sword of Gryffindor to destroy Horcruxes, they are conveniently proven wrong later on in the book.

Chapter 26

Surprise! What with all the foreboding undertones and all, no one would actually be surprised that Griphook takes off with the sword the minute he gets his hands on it. However, he does help Harry, Ron, and Hermione break into a Gringott's vault. Then, the three of them escape by riding a dragon out. In the meantime, they manage to steal the cup of Hufflepuff, which is apparently a Horcrux. I know I'm not reading this as closely as some Harry Potter fans, but this is the first I've heard of this Hufflepuff cup being a Horcrux. Was this actually mentioned somewhere earlier?

Chapter 27

For some reason (perhaps a lack of fact-checking), Voldemort thinks he killed Dumbledore (on p. 704). He also finally figures out that Harry is hunting Horcruxes and goes to check on them to see that they're safe. Harry, meanwhile, reads Voldemort's mind through his dream/bond connection and thusly finds out the "last Horcrux" is at Hogwarts.

December 10, 2007

I am coming to NYC

And I want the best people in the city (you) to welcome me.

I get off the Amtrak at 7:35pm (Penn Station) on December 26th. I would like there to be hugs and photo opportunities. And after that: dinner and drinks. Also, I'm still not exactly sure where I'm staying, so offer me a place if you feel like it. I think I have this covered, but I haven't confirmed anything as yet and I like to have options.

So, if you want to come to what may end up being a mass MySpace meetup, keep in mind that the train could well be late (as Amtrak usually is). I'll be updating key people of any delays by text message, but you can also call Amtrak and ask about the 48 Lake Shore Limited.

(And, if you're one of the folks that recently offered me and my two travel partners a place to stay, I'll be in touch soon. Thanks!)

So...let's discuss the trip, people. What should we see? Where should we drink? I've been once before, but both my travel comrades will be there for the first time.

December 04, 2007

Now you don't have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 8

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
is 965 pages--pages I'd rather skip--but since I really want to find
out what happened, I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next
three chapters in my concise summary of the book, so you don't have to
read it.

Chapter 22

Harry, Ron, and Hermione listen to the radio. Then, Harry says the word, "Voldemort" and suddenly they are surrounded by nasty folks, as the Ministry has instituted a way of tracking the name.

Chapter 23

The trio is captured by the nasty folks (which begs the question: if Hermione has time to cast a spell on Harry in order to disguise him, why didn't she just grab Harry and Ron and Disapparate out of there like she's been doing time and time again throughout the book so far?). However, the disguise spell doesn't even matter, because Harry is eventually found out and they are brought to the Malfoys. Voldemort is summoned but before he can get there, Dobby the house elf saves Harry by Disapparating him away, with the sword of Gryffindor and the goblin, Griphook. There is a confusing moment in which I think Dobby dies because the sword accidentally punctured him, but in the next chapter I learn that Dobby died from a dagger thrown right at Harry Potter as they Disapparated. Don't ask me how a dagger thrown right at Harry ends up killing Dobby because I don't know. Dobby's last words are, "Harry..Potter..."

Chapter 24

Harry Potter digs a grave for Dobby and figures out where the Elder Wand is (at Hogwarts). He figures that Voldemort is going after the Elder Wand, but since Dumbledore wanted Harry to go for Horcruxes, he decides not to go after the wand himself. This is probably a good decision, because if someone told me about a wand that made you unbeatable, and then explained how the wand had been passed down from wizard to wizard after each new owner defeated the previous owner, I'd be a little suspicious of the wand's merit.

(Special thanks to Nina and Swede Hurt, who especially seem to enjoy this blog series.)

December 03, 2007

Roadnotes: San Francisco 2

The following is based on events that happened on November 30 and a little bit of December 1 and 2.

...

We walk around, see a bunch of stuff, eat a bunch of food. You know...San Francisco type things.

Saturday night, we meet up with friends of the girlfriend's and we all go and make nuisances of ourselves at a bar.

...

We regain consciousness at the Fairmont hotel and wonder how anyone could possibly be awake at the hour of 11:20am. It's too early, but we get up anyway. There's the whole checking out thing and I haven't seen food for 12 hours. That's approximately crisis-time, for me.

We run into our drinking cohorts and they are worse off than us, some of them.

We eat.

Then, we sample the photography of the SF MOMA with a good friend of mine from the Denver days. She takes us to the Millennium after that and we are pleasantly pleased with the food, service, everything.

...

My girlfriend is still suffering from a hangover when we get to the airport. Though she had teased me about paying for water on our way to San Francisco, now when I ask her if she wants water she says "Yes" without a pause.

The flight back is smooth and easy, so far as we know.

December 01, 2007

Roadnotes San Francisco 1

The following is based on events that happened on November 30 and a little bit of December 1.

...

Once again, I am reminded that vegetarians are not welcome at the Seattle airport. It's sad when your best option for non-meat protein is a BK Veggie sandwich. Ah well. I ate, anyway.

...

My girlfriend makes fun of me for buying water while waiting to board the plane.

"You can get water for free anytime you want on the plane," she says.

But I need water big time. I pretty much never stop drinking it and prefer to have it on hand.

...

On the plane, I wait until the personnel are busy, then I ask, "Want some water?"

The plan, of course, is for her to say, "Yes," and then for me to say, "Well, just snap for your fingers, then, and I'm sure it will appear. You can get water any time you want." But she doesn't fall for it.

...

We touch down at SFO around 9:30 but it's 11:00 by the time we get to our hotel. There, the hotel clerk hooks us up with a sweet room upgrade, free of charge. This doesn't happen to me when I'm not traveling with a beautiful woman.

After we drop off our bags, we walk around Japantown a bit, then hop in a cab and head for Nopa. There, we eat well, drink well, and are served well. Well well well.

And that was the night, more or less.

November 28, 2007

Top Search Engine Keywords for Finding My Web Site

The top 30 things people typed in search engines to find my Web site, aarondietz.us:

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November 27, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 7

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
is 965 pages--pages I'd rather skip--but since I really want to
find out what happened, I'm going to finish the series. Here are the
next three chapters in my concise summary of the book, so you don't
have to read it.

Chapter 19

Ron is lead by a mysterious light to rejoin Harry, whom Ron saves from drowning. Ron also finds the sword of Gryffindor and destroys the Horcrux. Then, they talk about all this with Hermione for 10 pages.

Chapter 20

Ron catches Harry and Hermione up on the latest wizard news, then they all visit the Lovegoods to find out more about the symbol of the Deathly Hallows.

Chapter 21

Harry, Ron, and Hermione spring a trap at the Lovegoods, but not before they listen to tales about the Deathly Hallows. Somewhere mid-chapter, they discuss wand lengths in a thinly-veiled penis-size joke.

November 25, 2007

Roadnotes: Portland

I went to Portland to play video games.

Really. I've been working a lot of hours and I needed a total geek break, so that's all I did all weekend, thanks to my sister who can be just as obsessive as I am sometimes (and who also makes a terrific grilled cheese sandwich).

I did take a break from gaming to meet up with Spilt >Milk, who hosted a crazy-fun hangout (chronicled somewhat here and here), but otherwise my time was focused on ignoring work I brought with me, rescuing a Jedi named Bastila, becoming the best duelist on Taris, learning and playing an alien card game, and finding a way through a Sith blockade.

So, yeah. I was busy.

To the following, it was great to meet you: F.R.A.N.I., off the heezy fo sheezy, britta, Thad, armatronix, and numerous individuals of the hosts' entourage (family).

And to the following, it was great to see you again: Spilt >Milk, my sister, A, Lavell, and Robin (the last two didn't make it to Spilt's but I did manage to see them over food).

Spilt and F.R.A.N.I. - Thanks so much for hosting and for picking up a very good Scotch!

Now I'm back in Seattle and ready to work hard for one week. Next stop: San Francisco (this coming weekend).

November 19, 2007

Dogboy Lives!

Dogboy returns with his own Web site: AdventuresOfDogboy.com!

Adventures of Dogboy is a community project run by me. Its purpose is to defeat the horrors of meaningless Mondays. There is an Art page for people who create Dogboy art. There are also numerous Dogboy stories that have been written by people like YOU*--these stories will be posted on future Mondays.

Now you have a reason to get up on Monday: to read the latest Adventures of Dogboy story. That's right. A Dogboy story comes out every Monday.

Pop quiz, hot shot: Dogboy comes out on a certain day. Which day is it?**




* Not just like you, actually, because you are unique. No one in the universe could ever be just like you, you spectacular individual, you.

** Hint: the answer is not "Drive a bus at speeds over 55mph."

November 16, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 6

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 965 pages--pages I'd
rather skip--but since I really just want to find out what happened,
I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next three chapters in my
concise summary of the book, so you don't have to read it.

Chapter 16

Harry's been wanting to go to Godric's Hollow for 400 pages. He finally goes there.

Chapter 17

Harry and Hermione are attacked by a snake but escape anyway--at the expense of Harry's wand, which is broken in the confusing battle. The battle would have been less confusing (and much more exciting) had Harry not been in a magical stupor/dream the whole time. As it is, this fight sequence comes across as a bad description of a drug trip.

Chapter 18

Harry reads an entire chapter of a book.

November 14, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 5

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 965 pages--pages I'd
rather skip--but since I really just want to find out what happened,
I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next three chapters in my
concise summary of the book, so you don't have to read it.

Chapter 13

After 340 pages, something finally happens! Harry, Ron, and Hermione steal the horcrux from inside the Ministry! Of course, I am still trying to remember what it is and why they need it because despite this book's excessive length, it hasn't managed to fill me in on that (perhaps it's my fault I can't remember anything that happened in the last book except Dumbledore dying like a wimp)

Chapter 14

Harry has a dream that doesn't make sense (for about the fifth time in the book).

Chapter 15

Ron and Harry have a fight over -- surprise -- they have a fight over how they never do anything. Ron goes home.

November 12, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 4

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 965 pages--pages I'd
rather skip--but since I really just want to find out what happened,
I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next three chapters in my
concise summary of the book, so you don't have to read it.

Chapter 10

Harry Potter rummages around in Grimmauld Place, an old hideout of the Order of the Phoenix. He finds nothing.

Chapter 11

Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue hanging out in Grimmauld Place, doing nothing. Harry is mean to their only two visitors: Lupin and Mundungus.

Chapter 12

Harry, Ron, and Hermione actually do something, and by "something", I mean they sneak into the Ministry of Magic's headquarters. However, their sneaky plan takes so long that the chapter ends before anything cool happens.

November 07, 2007

Now you don’t have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 3

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 965 pages--pages I'd
rather skip--but since I really just want to find out what happened,
I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next three chapters in my
concise summary of the book, so you don't have to read it.

Chapter 7

Harry Potter opens birthday presents, makes out with Ginny, and then makes out with a snitch left to him through Dumbledore's will.

Chapter 8

A decidedly ordinary wedding and celebration drones on for 20 pages before an exciting message is delivered: "The ministry [of Magic] has fallen." The chapter ends.

Chapter 9

The wedding celebration is crashed by Death Eaters, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape lickety-split. Harry gets a headache, for the second or third time already in this book.

November 06, 2007

I was in drag for Halloween (pictures!)

...and I was wearing a Clarissa original. It's a beautiful dress, and is a fine example of the work Clarissa does.

(I know I usually don't advertise services on my blog, but I absolutely love this designer's work, and I commissioned a dress from her specifically for my night in drag--so I'm going to show it off!)



Need a dress for a special night out? Clarissa's work is amazing, and way cheaper than [insert famous fashion designer name here].



I can't recommend her enough, but I'll quit now because anyone can see from the picture that her work is exquisite. If you're interested in a dress, contact Clarissa here.

(Oh yeah--she also helps people without fashion sense shop for clothes, and has been very successful at turning clueless men into hot items overnight!)

November 03, 2007

Now you don't have to read the last Harry Potter book, part 2

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 965 pages--pages I'd rather skip--but since I really just want to find out what happened, I'm going to finish the series. Here are the next three chapters in my concise summary of the book, so you don't have to read it.

Chapter 4

The wizards spend six pages discussing a simple plan to move Harry Potter to a safer place. Then, Harry spends nine pages crashing a motorcycle.

Chapter 5

Apparently, some wizard I can't remember from previous Harry Potter books dies. The remaining wizards drink.

Chapter 6

Harry, Ron, and Hermione do chores.

October 30, 2007

How to tell if you are in love, for robots and mildly autistic people

If you're like me, it's hard to tell what emotion you are feeling. That's why I've come up with a list of measurable phenomena that can help!

How to tell if you are in love, for robots and mildly autistic people:

1. You check your email just to see if a certain person wrote.
2. You think about that person 482 times a day or more.
3. Your heart rate increases when that person texts you, even if it's a simple message, like, "Hello".
4. You find yourself uninterested in boning other people.
5. Your stomach experiences roller coaster-style sinking sensations when they tell you bad news that might separate you, like that they might move away.
6. More stuff like the above.

October 21, 2007

An Ordered List of Things That Drive Technological Development

In the last decade, porn has surpassed war and space exploration as the most influential creator of new technologies.*

1. Porn
2. War
3. Space Exploration





* Data not actually gathered from anywhere.

October 11, 2007

"Hot" woman makes me want to throw up

At the grocery store, I got in line behind a woman with these characteristics:

1. Beauty queen face.
2. Voluptuous body.
3. Clothes that fit well.
4. A shirt that exposed veritable cleavage.

Here is what she was buying, among other things:

1. Hershey's chocolate syrup.
2. Folger's coffee.
3. A bag of Reese's peanut butter cups.
4. A bag of M&M's.

When I thought of how much slavery she was supporting in her single trip to the grocery store, I wanted to puke all over her. She instantly became the ugliest person in the store.

Ladies and gentlemen, no lenience will be granted just because Halloween approaches. Buying slavery-grown cocoa products is not just quiet acquiescence--it is an action of avid support.

Don't make me puke on you.

October 08, 2007

Statistics

Number of messages in my MySpace inbox: 364

Percentage of those messages that are from Fantastic H: 33

Percentage of those messages that are from King Rusty: 8

Percentage of those messages that are from profiles that have since been deleted: 12

Time (in minutes) spent walking to and from work, per weekday: 17

Percentage that time waiting for stop lights: 42

Number of photos I've taken of my dog: 0

Number of dogs I own: 0

Record time (in seconds) I have spent masturbating without a break: 14,827

Estimated amount of lube (in ounces) used per month: 8.2

Career win-loss record at Connect Four: 142-73

Connect Four record, last ten games: 1-9

Percentage of these statistics that are completely made up: 31

Percentage of these statistics that are accurate to within five percent: 62



What are YOUR statistics?

October 05, 2007

Yes, I wrote a porn

A lot of you have expressed interest in the "porn" screenplay I wrote and tried to produce over the summer. Well, read it for yourself: A Tiny Silence. I've also included a few storyboards and a bunch of notes on making the porn. I think I could have written a book about it, but I didn't. I have other books to write (and I'm working on those).

Enjoy.

Er, whatever.

September 24, 2007

Roadnotes: Olympia

The four members of a secret online society met in real life for the first time in Olympia, over the Friday evening of September 14, 2007.

Damn Special Secret Agent of God arrived in Seattle by high-speed limo-yacht. There, I made sure she saw the inside of at least one seedy bar before we began our helicopter ride to Olympia.

In Olympia, we met Desi at her Zero Net Ecological Impact fort. And from there we proceeded to a haven of culture and atmosphere in the heart of the town. The keyest member (if only because he founded the group), A, teleported in to meet us, but not until after he had missed the first band, which happened to be the spectacular Controlla Cola (here's a review of a Controlla Cola song, written by me). Next, we rocked our bums off to Sugar Skulls (and here's a review of a Sugar Skulls song, written by me).

After re-purchasing our bums from bums, we retreated to the fort for food and minimal sleep and maximum conversation. It was swell. Pictures were taken.

September 22, 2007

Why I Try Not To Get Upset When People Are Seemingly Stupid

The other day I was walking through a hallway at work and encountered a dog. He was a fairly big dog, standing there, panting, hanging out in the middle of the hallway. He was blocking my path and he didn't get out of the way as I approached.

So, I scooted to one side, sauntered sideways past him, and went on my way.

Within the next few seconds I ran into two people talking in the hallway. They were blocking my path and didn't get out of my way as I approached. I scooted to one side, sauntered sideways past them, and went on my way.

September 19, 2007

Newly discovered Windows and Mac features save you time!

You can save time by making use of this exciting, newly-discovered feature available on many contemporary operating systems! Here's how!

For Windows Vista users, follow these instructions:

1. Click on Start (or the four color flag, at the bottom left of the screen).
2. Click the triangle at the bottom right of the menu that appears.
3. Select the option on the very bottom of the list that appears.
4. Wallah! You save time!

For Windows XP users:

1. Click on Start.
2. Click the button on the bottom right hand corner of the menu that appears.
3. Press Enter to confirm your selection.
4. Hey, hey, free time galore!

For Mac OS X users:

1. Click on the Apple symbol.
2. Click the second to last item in the menu that appears.
3. Press Enter to confirm your selection.
4. Time to party!

September 10, 2007

I gambled and won


I called it my anti-suicide plan.

Over two years ago, I found that the only work I could get was uninspiring and made me wish I was dead, so instead of disemboweling myself, I walked out on my temp job at The Corporation and quit working altogether. That was in the fall of 2005.

I went back to school for the sole purpose of using financial aid money to pay rent. I lived off of school loans and credit cards and a few small commissions and freelance contracts. I wasn't always happy, but I didn't wish myself dead anymore and I was more prolific in my writing than ever before.

I traveled more than I should have and spent a good deal of money on organic food. On top of that, I went to a school that costs around twenty grand per year. When I graduated this past June, I had racked up a total debt of about eighty grand. My cards were maxed. There was no more financial aid coming in. My plan was failing.

The situation was severe. On the day I decided I'd have to sell my LEGOs and my 1974 Fender Precision bass (it used to be my aunt's) and my mom's 1969 Contessa guitar (these were the last of my valuable possessions), I got an email from a friend that said he was hiring.

Now, here's my situation:

1. I work at a place where they play with LEGOs during team meetings and jam to Guitar Hero II during breaks.
2. I moved a few blocks from my new job and now I can see the water and mountain sunsets from my fourth floor studio.
3. My expensive education at Antioch transformed me into a better person and I continue to be enriched by the perspective I earned--it was worth every penny.
4. Having spent most of my time over the last two and some years writing, I've developed into a better writer and learned a lot about the publishing world, too.

So...I got lucky. I'm grateful. I escaped something that wouldn't have been pleasant. I gambled and won.



(Coming up next: newly-discovered features on both Macs and PCs can help you save time!)

September 01, 2007

On War...

A couple quotes, from On War, a book written in the 1800s that is still used as an introductory text to those being educated for war:

No one starts a war--or rather no one in his senses ought to do so--without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.

Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow.

I just thought that since these are such basic concepts, we should all know and understand them, just in case one of us is elected president by a sibling in Florida, for instance.

August 23, 2007

All Work and No Play Has Turned Me Into a Porn Film Producer

And today, a very special post goes up on SongWonder.com, where I write just about every day about one awesome song, and I even give you a link for you to listen to it. If you're not familiar with Rachael Pollard, I hope you'll at least listen to "Crazy For You" and see what you think.

So...I haven't been out and about much (meaning: "on the Internet") since I've been busy helping to produce an 8-minute silent porn comedy for the HUMP festival (if you know someone that might be interested in a role, let me know). I'm also working a new job, apartment hunting, and preparing for yet another newer job I'll start in a few weeks.

August 15, 2007

Statistics


Ever notice that about half* of all Missed Connections in Seattle occur in Starbucks? I think there is a correlation of some kind.




* A subjective number.**

** Not actually, but I'm using it that way.

August 01, 2007

The Center Cannot Hold

The center cannot hold LOL.



The center cannot hold ROFL, either.

July 25, 2007

Let's Review Our Emoticons, Shall We?

It's important to keep up on the latest emoticons so that we can all continue to communicate effectively in our fast-evolving technological world. You might want to review these, just in case they are not yet in your regular witty repertoire. Emoticons are followed swiftly by their meanings. Study up!

&

Winding road ahead.


%

I fell off the teeter-totter!


\?\

Oh, why does the Leaning Tower of Pisa lean?! Why?!


[]/

The oven door won't stay shut LOL!


=T=T=T= | =T=

Someone broke my favorite bar stool ROFL!


And now for my favorite (which also happens to be the inspiration for this blog):

^ _~@ ^

This one was created by the wonderful literary mastermind, Fantastic H. It is an emoticon of me flying over the pyramids while drinking Scotch.

What are YOUR favorite emoticons?

July 23, 2007

Libraries Rule

And because libraries rule, chances are you don't have to purchase my book, Reserved For Emperors. Everyone I've talked to that has filled out a purchase request form at their public library has had success. Here are just a few:

King County Library System: 3 copies, 1 checked out.
Denver Public Library: 2 copies, both checked out.
Charleston County Public Library: 1 copy, checked in.
La Crosse Public Library: 1 copy, checked in.

Most libraries have purchase request forms on their Web site these days, so it's really that easy to get a hold of my book for free. Not to mention, many libraries release new book purchasing funds in July (new fiscal year), so they probably have some collection development staff sitting around wondering what to spend the money on. Help them out.

And it doesn't stop there! Do you know of an obscure DVD your library should own? Do they not have the educational book you'd rather not buy yourself? Have you been too poor to buy the latest novel from your favorite experimental writer? Request these items, and more, from your local public library. Make sure it's not in their collection, first, then simply fill out the form and wait....

July 20, 2007

Sex Is Like The Grand Canyon

You can go see it by yourself...and it's awesome.

But it's much better if you share the experience with a loved one.

July 17, 2007

How I Got a Girl to Bark Like a Dog

Actually, it was rather easy.

I invited her up to my 2nd floor apartment, and when people walked by below, talking loudly, she asked, "Can I bark at them?"

"Of course!" I said. What gentleman would refuse a lady a good barking?

So she barked.

It kinda' freaked me out.






:: Today's blog is in honor of The Redhead, who may or may not be visiting today (because with The Redhead, you can never tell about such things).

July 11, 2007

I almost thought that I did something stupid

I was microwaving something when I almost thought that I might have put a fork in the microwave.

But fortunately, I didn't think that.

July 08, 2007

Roadnotes: Rockaway, OR 3

The following is based on events that happened on July 5th and 6th.



By the second morning here, we had settled into a morning routine, which consisted of coffee and nothing else (which is a perfect morning routine).

We go kayaking.  At first I'm confused because we only use one vehicle to get there. I'm used to the Midwest, where yo park one car at one part of the river, then drive upstream and set sail from there. It takes me a while to figure out that kayaking in an ocean is a little different. You just head out into the bay in whatever direction you want.

In the evening, I win at Scrabble despite a three bourbon handicap.

The next morning, on the drive back, NPR is drowned out by a mountain as we cruise through a tunnel.



(The answer to the last blog's challenge: I didn't walk through hot coals.)

July 06, 2007

Roadnotes: Rockaway, OR 2

The following is based on events that happened on July 3rd and 4th.



A list of firsts* from the first two days of this trip:

1. I taste crab for the first time.

2. I buy my first crabbing license ("crabbing" meaning we went out to catch crabs--the kind from the ocean).

3. I hear a recording of Chris Cornell covering** "Billy Jean".

4. I try a homemade blackberry wine.

5. I walk barefoot through hot coals, on a dare.

6. I finish my first ever porn screenplay.

7. I sit as close to the fireworks as possible. This causes the explosion to appear to happen directly above the audience, which to me makes every firework look like a quickly-descending spaceship (which has special significance to me but you'll have to pay attention to the next six months of the 100 Nights column to find out why).



* Hey kids! One item in this list isn't true. Guess the right one and you will win the pleasure of having guessed the right one!***

** Incidentally, one of my fine hosts on this trip asked the question: "Why do we call it a 'cover' when someone does someone else's song?" Does anyone know?

*** Actual pleasure will be experienced differently by each user.

July 05, 2007

Roadnotes: Rockaway, OR 1

Journal entry: July 3rd

I went camping once, in Wyoming, and we were about to go to sleep when this light just sort of...switched on. It was bright.

We couldn't see what was making the light because of the trees, so we took off, into the woods. We didn't need flashlights.

I was excited. I had been reading up on UFOs and I thought maybe we were about to see something incredible.

We made our way through trees and more trees and then we saw it: it was the moon. It was nothing more than the moon, huge on the horizon. It was the moon.



Another time, I was camping in Colorado in sub-freezing temperatures. I had gotten drunk off of a half bottle of Woodford Reserve and added a few mushrooms to that.

I wandered into the woods and found a place to pee. As I let it out, I looked up. Through the thick forest canopy I could see the stars and I knew that everything was just perfect.

But the thing is, I remember thinking that everything was perfect, but I don't actually remember what that felt like.

And now I'm on the Oregon coast. As the others prepare for bed, I step out of the house, the beautiful house with the nice deck with a view of the ocean. I step out and walk around the house until I'm out of reach of the yard light. There is very little light pollution and I look up.

The stars are out. The constellations are easy to spot.

But I'm stuck. I can't feel it.

It's not perfect for me, anymore, no matter how perfect it is.

Also, I lost at Yahtzee today. Big time.

July 02, 2007

A Blog Can Bring Down An Empire

An excerpt from Alfred Katar's journal, Production Manager for the first Death Star:

 

Of course I considered the possibility that some farmboy would throw a couple proton torpedoes down that chute and blow the whole thing up! We consider everything: cheese in the vents, parasites in the mail, an irregular muscle twitch happening to Lord Vader while he's practicing light saber--you name it, we thought of it and had a design for the Death Star that accounted for it.

Our original proposal included a fix for the "farmboy proton torpedo" scenario, but budget cuts forced us to eliminate several fixes on our Least Plausible Scenario list (the rebels alternatively could have simply melted a candy bar over exhaust port subvalve 6843 to achieve the same effect).

Still, we figured we were okay. Who would think of using proton torpedoes against the Death Star? And why would they target that particular two meter section of real estate? It just didn't make ordinary strategic sense.

However, one of the technicians posted a blog about the "farmboy proton torpedo" scenario on our internal DeathNet. I read it. It was pretty funny and completely satirical. I didn't even make him take it down--who would take a blog seriously, anyway?

How was I to know that some Internet-obsessed droid would get on board and start reading our blogs? That was the one scenario we didn't consider.



Protect the Internet. It's our only hope.

June 29, 2007

Re-education: A Definition

Kazoo :: [kuh-zoo] :: -noun


The Microsoft Word 2000 suggested replacement for the word "Kosovo".


Usage :: My father's last tour of duty before retirement was in Kazoo.

June 27, 2007

Get Rid Of Your Car

I'm not going to tell you to get rid of your car for the environment's sake, to sacrifice convenience for the well-being of the planet. I'm not going to mention the environment at all--no global warming guilt trip, no climate crisis lecture, yada yada--nothing. Because ultimately it shouldn't take that to convince you. Getting rid of your car is just plain common sense. In fact, getting rid of your car isn't a sacrifice at all. Your life will be all the better for it and I'll explain how. Don't do it for the world. Do it for yourself.

Let's begin by listing just a few things that drive you crazy. Perhaps you have a long commute. Maybe heavy traffic puts you in a bad mood. And wow, those gas prices are not going to go down (maybe another war would help!). But you have the power to leave all these troubles behind. You're not giving up anything by giving up your car unless you think you're going to miss the big ‘ol pain in the neck that the automobile is. It's weighing you down. It's restricting your freedom. And it's burning a hole in your pocket.

I know what your number one priority is, so let's talk about that first. You want to get to work and back home as fast as possible. No matter how far away your workplace is, you can get there faster in a car as opposed to any other method of transportation, right? Obviously, if you're using public transportation it'll take even longer to get to work. I won't argue that point. If there's anything we can both agree on, it's that public transportation in the United States does not work (excepting New York City) and in too many towns it is nonexistent. Anyone who depends on public transportation is doomed to a long life of waiting, whether it's for trains or buses.

So here I am, trying to tell you that everything's going to be swell if you give up your car, and you know this is not true because it will take you three transfers and two hours on the bus to get to work. Well, then...I think you may have found the solution to your problem all by yourself. You're going to have to move. Your home and workplace should be close together. They should be within walking distance of each other. It's that simple.

Yes, giving up your car means moving, but that's okay. You'll be happier in your new neighborhood. You want to know why? Because since you don't have a car, you'll choose a neighborhood that has everything you want in it, all within walking distance. You'll go to the grocery store, post office, library, restaurants, bars--you name it--all on foot. Everything will be right there, including your work. It will take time to relocate and you may also have to find a job in your prospective neighborhood but it is all worth it. You'll even save money.

I know--living in this type of neighborhood could cost you an increase in rent or force you into a higher mortgage payment. And it's normal to worry about costs like this. But before you draw any conclusions, I want you to total up all your car repairs and car payments and the money you spent on gas last year. Still think you can't afford a change in location? A better question is: how do you afford your car in the first place?

You did do the math, right? No? Okay, then, we'll do it right now. Let's assume your car payment is a reasonable $200 a month. Let's add in modest car repairs and regular maintenance of $300 every year, a pretty good insurance rate of $150 for six months, and of course $3.50 per gallon for every 30 miles you drive (let's assume you only drive 10,000 miles per year). I'm not even counting how much you spend on registering the vehicle, or even taking it to the car wash. Add all these costs up and you get a total of $4,167 per year. Is that a pretty significant portion of your salary? I thought so. Even if your rent goes up $200 a month because of your move to your new neighborhood, you still save $1,767. Could you use that money? Would you like to go to Europe? And the estimated costs I used above are fairly conservative. You might spend five, six, or even seven grand, depending on what you drive and how far you drive it. Getting rid of this vehicle will save you money, money enough that even if you rent a car once a month to go to PodunkTown to visit relatives, you're still coming out ahead of the game.

But wait--the savings don't stop there. You'll save money on health care costs, too. Why? Because you'll be healthier. You'll accomplish this by walking. You'll be in shape in no time, because you'll be exercising everyday, everywhere you go. And then you'll go in to see the doctor and the doctor will wonder how it is that you're so fit when you don't necessarily do anything but walk (by this time, you will have realized how absurd it is to drive a car to a gym in order to walk around a track for a half hour before driving home).

So now you're saving on your gym membership, too. But the benefits are not all about money. You'll be happier, whether you go to Europe or not. You'll be healthier, sure, and perhaps you'll have a little bit more money to spend, but you'll also begin to truly enjoy your community. You can't know a place until you walk it, and you'll walk through your neighborhood on a daily basis. You'll get to know it well and this will make you feel connected. It will make you feel like you are a part of the world instead of a cold, dead body in a metal shell. You'll see the world in a completely different (and natural) light.

You'll be more spontaneous. Whenever you feel like it, you will stop at a quaint shop or a tea house. You won't have to worry about where to park your car or if the car will be safe. You won't have to dig for change for the meter or buy a parking stub from one of those machines. You'll just walk right in. You'll be walking along and see some place you want to go--maybe it's a park--maybe you'll walk right by a park and decide to stroll through it on your way to get groceries. You can't cut through the middle of parks in a car. You can't cut through anything in a car. In a car, you're confined to roads, confined to linear thinking. That's why this incredible solution to so many of life's problems doesn't occur to very many people.  They're stuck on the road.  But you--you can be free.

Your whole life will be transformed. You'll forget all about the car you used to own. Maybe you'll travel to see the Pyramids. Maybe you'll just put the extra money away for an early retirement. Whatever the case, you'll be more free than you've ever been.

June 25, 2007

The Speech of Champions

Ask not what your breakfast can do for inattentiveness; ask what inattentiveness can do for your breakfast!







(The answer: char it.)



June 22, 2007

Isn't that just how the world works...

Boo the administration!



The administration gets the top floor, while telling the public that the highest viewpoint is actually lower than it is. They're trying to shut us down!











Incidentally, there is a new 100 Nights adventure up at aarondietz.us: Sluts, You Will Not Faze Me!

June 19, 2007

And that’s just one reason why I don’t answer the phone

The sequence of events:



1. I order a veggie dog at the Cyber Dog Cafe (pretty good, but nowhere near as good as CRIF Dog in New York City).



2. My phone vibrates as I'm putting condiments on the dog. I look to see who is calling. It's Lorna, a cute girl I know. (I've called Lorna a couple times to hang out, but she is always busy.)



My thoughts at the moment: Maybe Lorna wants to have my children now!



3. I don't answer the phone because I'm not rude (usually).  So I finish with my condiments and take the veggie dog outside.



My thoughts at the moment: I'll just wait for her voicemail.



4. I start eating my veggie dog and walking home, waiting for the phone to tell me that a voicemail is ready, but it doesn't happen.



My thoughts at the moment: I guess whatever she wanted wasn't a big deal.



5. Five minutes later, my phone tells me a voicemail is ready.



My thoughts at the moment: She left a voicemail after all! And since it took so long, that must mean it's a very long voicemail and that must mean that she was confessing some sort of crush on me or something, right?! And she at least maybe wants to hang out or something, right?!



6. I dial the voicemail and listen. It is no message after all! It's her phone accidentally ringing me and I can hear Lorna and another woman talking and laughing. I listen to the whole message, unable to hear what they are saying and unable to hang up because I figure at some point, Lorna will discover that her phone is on and she will say, "Hello?  Hello?"  But she doesn't even do this.  She never notices.

June 18, 2007

Reverse Psychology

Whenever I play the lottery, I don't win.



So, if I actively don't play, I might win, right?

June 13, 2007

That dang double space

I am using Performancing, which is great because I can write the blog once and post it all over hell, so that way it's very little work for me to continue posting here so that Joey Polanski can read this stuff.... However, I'm really annoyed that when I use Performancing to post here, it turns my little double spaces after periods into a space and the HTML character set code for the extra space. So then it doesn't look nice.

Sorry, Joey P. I've been trying to remember to not use double spaces after periods, but I'm just not doing a good job of it.

Who Wants Aaaaaaron to Live in Their Town?

I just graduated.



I need a job.



Want me to move to your town?  Find me a job.  What kind of job?



Here's what I'm looking for, in order of importance:



1. Something in publishing (editing, grunt-work, whatever - I don't mind putting my foot in a door).

2. If not in publishing, book-related work (like for a library).

3. If not either of the above, a nonprofit organization or otherwise benevolent purpose for doing my job.  I can be pretty happy simply doing data entry if the data is helping doctors fight cancer.  Take that, cancer!



What possible skills and knowledge do I offer said job?



1. A B.A. in Arts and Literature, focused on experimental fiction and the future of book design.

2. Experience as a freelance writer and copy editor.

3. Experience as an advisory editor of KNOCK.

4. I have been tested recently and can type over 80 words per minute with 100 per cent accuracy.

5. I know a bit about Web design and programming.  I'm not an expert, but I know my way around a MySQL database and can code in ColdFusion.  I've dabbled in other Web programming languages, and it wouldn't take me long to catch up with anything else (PHP, etc.).  I can do a Web site's layout in CSS, design a database interface, or slap RSS feed content onto a home page.

6. I actually care about the work I do.  I want it to be good.  Employers love me, as my references will indicate.

7. I can learn anything and do anything and I will do it better than about 99.9 per cent of the United States work force.  My references once again will have no trouble telling you that this is the truth.



If you think of anything that sounds like it might work, let me know.  If you'd like a copy of my resume, let me know and I'll send you one.



And I promise to start blogging again soon.  Truly.

May 16, 2007

A Quick Assessment of the Die Hard 4 Trailer

Many of you know of my (perhaps somewhat guilty) love of the Die Hard series, so of course I am excited by the new one coming out this summer.  My first impression, based on the trailer:



They're trying to go too big with this, though at first glance, I feel like they could actually succeed.  Oh my, there were some wildly awesome shots just in the trailer!



Possible problem: Two or three awesome lines have already been exposed by the trailer, as well as some great action sequences - does the movie have anything more?  My expectations have been raised.



Potential Aaron-thing: Why does the John McClane character have to rescue his daughter?  Why can't the daughter be bad-ass rescue him?  Or why can't they be working together?  I was about to have this problem with the women in Shrek 3 (I saw a sneak preview last night) until they got all bad-ass.  Good job, in THAT movie.  This could be a possible downfall of the new Die Hard.



I'm already annoyed by: the Justin Long character.  Get rid of him.  To me, he is already the Jar-Jar Binks of the Die Hard series (though I guess without him, there'd be no one to say, "You killed a helicopter...with a car").



Impossible hope: I want them to give Sammy J. a cameo, but I don't see him in IMDb, so...meh.



Possible
things that might offset Sammy J. not being in this film: Jeffrey
Wright (who is always awesome)!  And a Kevin Smith appearance, which
could go either way.



General impression: I fear the plot will lose the small-time-cop-stuck-in-big-situation charm of the Die Hard series, but the film might succeed despite this.

May 15, 2007

My book is (in) a movie!

That's right! Nobody's made a movie out of it yet, but my book recently got to be IN a movie - a short film called How To Save A Life, by Rocket Barber (also known as the Rocketman).



I think I even found a pic with the book in it already!



There it is



See that orange-ish book on top of that stack? I think that's my book! And I didn't even have to pay for product placement!



For more info. and some exciting photos taken during the shooting of the film check out this profile. And just to get you at least a little interested, here's a blurb:



When a controversial peace-nick unexpectedly hails a cab on American soil, a formidable government agency takes notice. The stranger's series of seemingly innocent interactions initiates a manhunt, resulting in a tragic and bloody shootout that forces him to reveal he's more than the insightful pacifist he seems.

They sure have messed up those food groups, huh?

I mean, back when I was in grade school, there were only four food groups.  Now they have all kinds of crazy stuff....



Just eat it







(Pssst - hey kids!  There is a new Dogboy adventure up as well as a new 100 Nights....)

May 11, 2007

How To Turn a Crappy Blog Into Pure Awesomeness!





1. Write crappy blog.



2. At the end of crappy blog, type "Problem solved LOL!"*



3. Problem solved LOL!























* I'm going to try very hard not to steal that phrase ever again, and if you still don't know where I'm stealing it from, check out Eexlebot's The Worst Comic Ever.

May 09, 2007

Murder was the case they (almost) gave me

Recently, I spent two days participating in a jury selection process for a murder one trial.



This is what I learned:



Peers shmeers.  The man on trial was black.  At the time that I was dismissed, there were no black people left to serve on the jury.  Maybe the jury will be fair.  Maybe not.  But if the object was to give the defendant a jury of his peers, the process failed.



All jurors are to be treated like children.  At one point, a juror asked to use the restroom.  What this means is that the entire jury panel (about 30 to 40 people at that point) was ushered into a neighboring courtroom where we proceeded to take turns using two restrooms (one for men, one for women).  The bailiff left us there for fifteen minutes, saying, "Don't leave the room until I come get you."  Problem solved LOL!



All jurors are to be treated like children who will leave their gum everywhere.  The bailiff reminded us to spit out our gum each time we entered the courtroom.  However, when I asked where a trash can was (because I had gum in my mouth), she said to put the gum in the back of my mouth.  Problem solved LOL!



Breaks shmeaks.  I wanted water (the only consumable allowed in the courtroom).  I tried my three one dollar bills in the Aquafina water dispensing machine but it wouldn't accept them.  On the change machine, there was a sign that said, "I lost one dollar bill in hear and no change came out" (misspelling not mine).  I asked to leave the juror containment room to buy water or get change.  They told me I could do so on break.  I asked when break is.  They said they didn't know.  I ended up not getting a break until lunch time.  Problem solved LOL!

May 04, 2007

Favorite Text of the Day

This, from Victoria, at 12:53am, today:





Haha n omg! OK- had2 share this

w/som-o-U! :Hey Vic? king heart

shape bed-fur model -massage

systm-red. Call Ron Jeremy

310-748-81etc ONLY n LA man!

May 03, 2007

Smile, I Want You

Smiles are sexy.



Mainstream media present "sexy" as a very streamlined set of details that are then deeply tied to "status" (status = sex).



But once you break free of the media's influence on you, you are free to realize that the hottest, most sexy thing of all is a true connection with a lover.  And when you have a true connection with that lover and they smile at you...well, it is a mountain of hotness.  This has the effect of feeling good.

April 30, 2007

Seriously, why is anyone still driving?

With $4 gallons about to spring up everywhere, how can anyone afford it?













(Ally has written a guest Dogboy story here. If YOU have a Dogboy story you'd like to share, send it to: writer@aarondietz.us)

April 26, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine: Dare I Trash Such A Film?

First, thanks to all who checked in with their own opinion on the film.  Remember: all opinions are valid until they are paid for.  Now, please enjoy this paraphrased (edited) list of reviews.  My short review is at the very bottom.







Positive reviews:



Aaron (not me, a different Aaron): I liked it because it wasn't the major huge happy triumphant ending.



Ally: I liked it because the desperation was real.



Claudine: The characters were great and it required no thinking.



Dabi: In a film world filled with stupid pandering towards the lowest common denominator, Little Miss Sunshine caters to viewers who want a lot of intelligence in their humour, with a healthy dose of profanity mixed up.



Fantastic H: The characters are people that you wish you knew in real life and when the movie ends it is sad because you know you will miss them.



Jeremicah: Irresistible character building.



MickeyBlowTorch: Alan Arkin's character was priceless. I don't know too many elderly people kicked out of nursing homes for snorting heroin.



mr whatever: I like pretty much every movie that doesn't completely suck. The Matrix sequels sucked, but they didn't totally and completely suck, there were robots and kung fu and flying people in those after all. and I've

watched those more than once. Little Miss Sunshine didn't suck near to that level (acting, dialogue, story, all superior to the MAX), but then again I haven't watched it that many times. I attribute that to the fact that there weren't any robots or kung fu or flying people in Little Miss Sunshine..... Here just use this: I LIKE MOVIES! YAAAAAAAY!




Peregrine Flounder: Those characters...all have a life that seems to extend beyond the...screen, a rarity in movies these days. Everything about it was just so . . . cute.... Smart too. The performance at the pageant had me laughing and crying at the same time.



Pie Is The New Toast: I can't quite put my finger on it, but the humor was great in it.... I could relate to Olive and her father....



Rachael: I loved it. Because great character driven ensemble movies reign. Because Abigail Breslin is adorable. Because you love each character in spite of their glaring faults. Because of the ice cream scene. Because the focus of Steve Carell's eyes says more than his words. Haha, because the sound of the bus horn going non stop sounds just like my sister cat Bezor.



Redd: The characters were interesting and well-developed. All the actors nailed their performances with a great mix of humanity and humor.



Slacksploitation: Alan Arkin, Steve Carell were fucking hilarious as adult freaks.... I also really liked DeVotchka's soundtrack.... Thematically, I like the idea of authentic people sticking it to the "pretty" or "normal" people.... The people were weird, the soundtrack was quirky and expansive, proust is used -- it's a good film.



~..: LOVE LOVE LOVED IT!!!!!







Not as positive reviews:



Desi: I enjoyed watching it, but I wouldn't consider it a favorite movie. I really identified with the teenage son though.



Kerri Lynn: *in the voice of Randy jackson* It was just okay for me, dog.... Seriously, I think I would say it was a 'cute' movie. But wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be. So I did not love it or hate it.



Sophia: It seemed like it was trying to be off-kilter and indy.... I like to feel there is a point to a film.... Mostly, I felt it was trying too hard.







Somewhat ambiguous reviews:



AC for life!: I suppose I enjoyed the drug addict grandfather.



Adam: Aaaaaaaron, YOU are Little Miss Sunshine. And that is all.



Lauren: Liked it in the movie theater, as the audience really got into it. Watched it again on DVD and couldn't figure out why I liked it the first time.







And now, finally, my review:



Aaaaaaron: In short, it was a triumph of style over substance. And I prefer substance.

April 17, 2007

I will now trash The Secret without ever having seen the movie

The Secret: stupid feel good bullshit designed to make people delusionally happy (at least, delusionally happy enough to spend their money).



I can tell you why it's stupid, because I have the book that the movie is based on. I checked it out from the library. And to further point out how stupid it is, I don't even have to read a word of the book to trash it. All I need is the copy on the cover.



The book claims that a secret "has been passed down through the ages" and that now this book will reveal it to you (for $23.95, if you're not friendly with libraries). Read on: "As you learn The Secret, you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want."



The book supports this claim by stating that this "secret" was known by "some of the most prominent people in history". It lists them: Plato, Galileo, Beethoven, Edison, Carnegie, and Einstein.



This is how we know this book is already contradicting itself. If these men (apparently the secret has only been known to men) could have anything they wanted, why did Einstein struggle for most of his adult life to come up with a Unified Theory of Everything (he failed)? Why was Carnegie's reputation permanently damaged by the Homestead Incident?  Why did Edison have to try thousands of different filaments before he got his light bulb working? Why was Beethoven deaf? Why was Galileo persecuted for his heliocentric model of the universe? Why was Plato unable to stop the unjust trial that resulted in Socrates's death?



In reality, these men suffered, just like the rest of us (okay, maybe Carnegie didn't suffer that much, but the others did). I'm all for positive thinking--it helps people. It has helped me, even. But when positive thinking works, it has more to do with accepting what you have than trying to "have, be, or do anything you want."



Besides, this book has people like Neale Donald Walsh contributing to it, a man who claims to have conversations with a god that called George Bush I a "visionary."







"Life is pain.... Anyone who says differently is selling something."



         -From William Goldman's The Princess Bride

April 15, 2007

A Transcript From The Office Of CIA Agent Jones

CIA AGENT JONES: I want tamari almonds to disappear.



ASSISTANT: From the Capitol Hill area? Or all of Seattle?



CIA AGENT JONES: I don't want Aaron Dietz to be able to find tamari almonds anywhere in Seattle proper. He loves those things.



ASSISTANT: Got it.



CIA AGENT JONES: And get rid of baba ganoush, too. It's okay for restaurants to have it; just get rid of all those easy-to-make baba ganoush mixes they sell at the grocery stores.



ASSISTANT: But sir--our records indicate that Aaron Dietz only uses those once every six months or so.



CIA AGENT JONES: That's especially why it will perplex him. Besides, I checked his Google Calendar and he has a "Falafel Night" with the significant other coming up. I know he'll want to make baba ganoush.



ASSISTANT: It shall be done.

April 10, 2007

Starbullshits

I'd really like to leave Starbucks alone, but they keep pulling some pretty ridiculous bull honkey.



To be fair, they have made improvements--since I started picking on them about 18 months ago, they've doubled the percentage of Fair Trade coffee that they buy (from 3 to 6 per cent of their total supply).  So, they are improving.  They can show people statistics that support this fact.  Yet, they continue to rely on smokescreens and flashy phrases, rather than simply saying, "We're not as socially responsible as we want to be in the future."  When corporations use P.R. smoke and mirrors, I get suspicious and downright hateful.



The smoke and mirrors:



I've been told that "Starbucks offers Fair Trade coffee everyday."  While this is technically true, it is not true within the context of my question ("When is Fair Trade coffee brewed in my local store?").  I wasn't asking about the pounds of Fair Trade coffee beans you can buy (which are indeed offered every day).  I wanted to buy Fair Trade coffee brewed on a day when it is their special "Coffee of the Day".  Several friends in this effort have reported getting the same feedback when asking about Fair Trade coffee.



When I emailed them to find out when Fair Trade coffee would be the "Coffee of the Day", they wrote back (without quoting my email--they don't like to encourage an open dialogue): "Starbucks is committed to brewing Fair Trade Certified coffee as part of our 'Coffee of the Day' program."  Problem solved LOL!



A friend of mine asked about Fair Trade coffee and was told by a Starbucks store manager, "All our coffee is fairly traded."  Apparently, the manager doesn't expect consumers to know the difference between a standard (Fair Trade coffee) and a statement of opinion ("our coffee is fairly traded").



Starbucks, why must you insult the intelligence of your consumers?







Note: in case you're wondering what I did with that Starbucks gift card of mine....  It was too difficult to figure out when I would be able to purchase Fair Trade brewed coffee, so I spent the $50 gift card on a coffeemaker.  If anyone has some fun stickers I could use to put over the Starbucks logo, I'd love it if you sent them my way.

April 03, 2007

A Quick Update...

Thanks to el capitan for offering some mega mega awesome assistance that I fortunately didn't need in transferring some files off of my dead laptop.  He convinced me to do it myself, ultimately saving me hundreds of dollars.  Thanks!



In other news, there is a new Dogboy story up here, guest written by King Rusty.



And in still other news, I've been invited to write for subREVOLT, a pretty impressive site for people that are cool.  My first piece for them is up right here.  Make sure you check out their Worst Comic Ever series.  Problem solved LOL!

March 28, 2007

It's time to close the McDonald's snackhole

Open your snackhole, yum! I LOVE butt sex references in my fast food advertising, yes! I'm lovin' it!



Yum, food up my butt!

(Image courtesy of uneasysilence.com)





Here's an email I sent to McDonald's regarding the billboard:



I live near downtown Seattle and find your billboard ad (the one that says, "Open your snackhole") a bit offensive. Surely your vast advertising budget can produce results that are not so blatantly sexual. I've spoken to numerous offended Seattle-ites, and a quick Google search found still more people that feel the same way (for example: http://www.capgunvisual.com/blog/?p=106). In my opinion, this billboard should never have been put up. I think it's time to take it down.



Thank you for your time,



Aaron Dietz




To their credit, Tina, from the McDonald's Customer Response Center did write a fairly decent email back (though of course, they have not done anything about the actual billboard).



Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald's about our advertising.



We're sorry you were disappointed with this advertising. We take pride in producing messages that will be enjoyed. We certainly never intended for it to offend anyone. Your comments have been shared with our advertising staff and independent advertising agency who work together to develop our advertising. Please know your feedback is helpful and will be considered in the future planning of our advertising.



Again, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. Your trust and confidence in our company's tradition of producing high quality advertising are important to us.






Want to bug McDonald's? Email them about advertising issues using this form (sorry, you must have cookies enabled).

March 21, 2007

This is different...

Some of you have noticed already, but in case you haven't: yes, it's true. I'm seeing someone.





It was bound to happen one of these years.







However, it didn't happen in time to save these.







Let us all share a moment of silence.

March 20, 2007

Roadnotes: Portland 2 (Pictures Ahoy!)

Okay, I have a laptop now and I wanted to finish up the Portland roadnotes, so...here's what really happened in Portland, in photo-comic format.





My laptop died on my trip...



...but I had so much fun I didn't really mind



I had some good breakfasts...



...and good coffee...



...and helped my sister move in.



On short notice, A, Lavell, and Spilt Milk...



...were able to hang out with us



Good times







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March 02, 2007

I am the master of random phrases and statements

I am a tangle of knives in your toilet.



Why isn't the bus moving?



Murderball is to puppets as meatloaf is to art lovers.



"The White Haus" does not need to be explained.



Together, we can cut NASA's budget by 50 per cent by refusing to bring the astronauts home.



If you win people over with your smile, you risk losing them when you frown.



John Festaue was a briggand for love.

February 22, 2007

A Brief History of Ice Cream

Once upon a time, ice cream sucked. Yet, no one noticed because even sucky ice cream is still pretty good.



Then, Ben and Jerry changed the world. They put MEGA huge amounts of chunks in their ice cream. They also swirled their ice cream incredibly well. People suddenly could get a little of everything in every bite! Genius! The ice cream was more expensive, but it was worth it!



Then Ben and Jerry sold their ice cream company and little by little, ice cream began to suck again. For some reason, there were fewer chunks in Ben Jerry's ice cream, and the chunks didn't taste as fresh, either. The new owners even invented "Core" ice cream that was no longer swirled, but instead, required you to dip your utensil into each flavor of ice cream in order to get a taste of everything, much like the sucky old days. So, ice cream went back to sucking and still, no one noticed, because even when it sucks, ice cream is still pretty good.









Pssst...hey, kids! Re-read this blog replacing the words "ice cream" with the word "sex"!

February 17, 2007

I finally saw that film: Crap of Men

Mired in predictability and held back by male-centrism, any statement Children of Men was trying to make was not worth seeing the movie for. Did anyone expect that Michael Caine's character was NOT going to die (hence: why did they even show it?)? And it's too bad the film focuses on the white man's story of how he "helped" the woman and baby get to the boat (sure, he pushed a car during their getaway, but that's about it). The woman (played admirably by Claire Hope Ashitay) went through a lot more than he did, was way more important to humanity, and was more interesting as well, so why was the story told completely from the white guy's perspective?



One thing the film did do well was subject you to an apocalyptic world of refugee life not unlike circumstances that exist all over the world today. These scenes were enhanced by clever film-making and are commendable.



In other news (but related allegorically), I had a dream last night that a three year old was pregnant and had the baby, the first baby the Earth had seen after 18 years of complete infertility. When the baby came out, it was a little baby pig and went to join the other animals on the farm. What does it mean? What does it mean?

February 14, 2007

A Six Word Short Story and Me On Blogtalkradio!

The story:





A Leap Into The Grand Canyon





No time to talk.



Good bye.









And to catch me and several others reading some material on Deborah Leeson's Blogtalkradio show, go here: Between The Covers.



When? 6pm PST.

February 03, 2007

Lasagna Night: Damage Report

Damage report:



2 PBR's.

9 bottles of wine.

1 Half bottle of Woodford Reserve.

2 glasses of milk.





Supplies confiscated:



One box of wine glasses.

Crackers and cheese.

Garlic bread.

One loaf of nut bread.

Two black women's jackets.

One book (Letters From The Earth, by Mark Twain).

One box of cowboy band-aids.

One deck of cards.

One NES controller, customized with moo-cow applique.

One cell phone.

One iPod.

February 01, 2007

Me vs. Turner Construction

Or, Obscure Social Interest Victory Is Mine!



I win, Turner Construction. You closed a one block section of sidewalk for around 13 weeks, forcing me to cross Denny Way back and forth each time I walked to or from school. Denny Way is a busy street, so often this added five minutes onto my trip. After 13 weeks, that added up to hours of lost productivity. And that's why I sent the City of Seattle after you.



Round about week 12, I contacted the Citizens Service Bureau, at cityofseattle.net. They passed my message on to the appropriate city agency (the Street Use department of the DOT). A Planning and Development Specialist quickly contacted me to verify the location of the street closure. Then, a Street Use Inspector was sent to investigate. Soon after, Turner Construction paved that city block properly and took down the fences.



I win! And I am most impressed with the City of Seattle. I didn't even have to use the phone (all of this was accomplished over email).



Boo-yah.

January 29, 2007

Drunken Poem For Cassandra

Written and emailed while trashed, November 9, 2006.







Oh Cassandra.



Yes, I mean you.



Pretty,

pretty

Cassandra.



If I weren't autistic and a total screwup, I'd move to your neck of the woods and we would become the next fighting pop singing duo of Bulgaria.



I know that seems like a lot to just sort of assume and all...



...but relax, I'm not really serious (that I know of).



Also, I just know you will like my idea for our shows:



1. We will start out with pop songs.

me on guitar

you playing all the rest of the instruments

and singing both parts

because I never learned how to sing

(not that that stopped me before).



2. Then we will drop our instruments

rip off our skimpy outfits

only to reveal, somehow,

costumes that resemble what the Power Rangers wear,

then helmets will appear as if by magic

(again, you will have to take care of that one)

and we will fight each other in a death match

except that no one will die,

because at the core of our friendship

is everlasting life

or strawberries.



3. If it is strawberries, we will hand them out after the show, but since you don't eat strawberries I hope it is everlasting life.



(And yes, you can be the pink pterodactyl one.)











(Psst...a new Dogboy adventure is up on PointlessBanter.net...)