Al Franken announced senatorial winner and immediately files for back pay

MINNEAPOLIS (HJ) – Democrat Al Franken was declared the winner of a Senate seat in Minnesota on Tuesday, ending one of the longest Senate races ever. Coleman quickly conceded once his five legal arguments were unanimously struck down by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

About six hours following the decision, Senator Franken filed paperwork to collect the nearly six months back pay or about $87,000 for his senatorial position. A U.S. senator makes $174,000 a year with full medical benefits. It is unclear if Senator Franken will attempt to have his medical bill reimbursed for that time period as well. It was widely reported that Senator Franken had scrotoplasty following the last recount.

Senator Franken said that he would donate most of the back salary to pay for his legal bills. When questioned as to whether that was a donation, Franken smiled and said, “It feels like charity to me.”

Comfest BINGO

A little late, but I'll drag it out next year. Click to enlargenate:

The Worst Hotel Internet Ever

While budgeting for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), I used my mathematic skills to pick the lowest priced, convention supported hotel. For $99 a night, I stayed at the Kawada Hotel. For an extra $10, I received internet access.

In the room, I searched around the desk for the internet connection. Not there. It also wasn’t near the 1950’s kitchenette.


Ah ha, behind the bed. Well, at least it was in the proper location for me to look at porn.


The CAT5 cable was about 18” long. I thought it might have been on some high-tech spool, but there was nothing hi-tech about the set up.


The laptop wouldn’t even reach to my lap whilst lounging in the bed. I could either situate it on the top of the bed and kneel up against the frame to use it.


Or I could stack it on a few pillows and sit cross legged, which what I ended up doing. Someone could really injure themselves looking at the internet like that.


To top it off, the internet was slow. Really, really fucking slow. The log in page took about five minutes to load and the Google home page about three minutes. I waited half an hour for a Google Map to load. At this rate, porn would be impossible.

Luckily, I fucked around with the DSL box and found that if I unplugged the room phone from the box, the internet was unleashed. I also think I forgot to re-connect the phone when I left.


Worst. Hotel. Internet. Ever.

FYI: on my last night there, I threw my back out trying to look at suicidegirls.com. Stupid Kawada Hotel.

This is My Suitcase

I've said it before, I'm no music critic. I know what I like and that's about it.

I first saw "This is My Suitcase" at "The Hot Damn" CD release party last year. I wasn't too impressed. I went away thinking they sounded OK and that they were kooky as all get out, but not my style.

Fast forward a year and the Hot Damn has broken up and I'm in queue to see "Margot and the Nuclear So and So's" at Circus in Columbus, OH. This Is My Suitcase was in the lineup for the night. I was all hopped up on Margot so I thought I'd give them a second chance.

They were awesome. They were really on and their set was very tight. They were modest and interesting and fun.

The lead singer of Suitcase was all over the place; instrumentally, vocally and physically. All of it looking and sounding great. The keyboardist was as demure as before and the rest of the band played into the lead singer's energy.

In speaking with the lead singer later that night, he remembered the Hot Damn release and remembered it being a crap show. I forgave him.

Check out this video promoting their May 2009 Tour


This is My Suitcase is playing Friday night at Comfest, 7:00pm at the Bozo (main) stage. You should go check them out.

Some links for you:

WEBSITE: http://thisismysuitcase.com/

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/suitcaseband

LISTEN: http://www.myspace.com/thisismysuitcase

Jesus and the Messy Bathroom

Rules for Blogging

Rule #1 Don't call it blogging
Not sure if you heard yet, but the word blog is pathetic. Stop using it. The thing you are doing is writing, not blogging. The place where you do it is your website, not a blog.

Rule #2 Don't ever talk about your blogging frequency
Why are you still calling it blogging after reading rule one?

Rule #2.1 Don't ever talk about your writing frequency
No one wants to hear you say the following:
"Sorry I haven't posted in a while."
"I promise I will do better."
"It's been x weeks since my last post."

If you have nothing to say, don’t tell us about it.

Rule #3 Delete it
If you have given up on writing, delete your site. Scrub your shame from the internet. The internet needs as much room as possible or the knowledge channel collective get clogged.

Rule #4 Quit your bitching
If you are pissed about a situation, do something about it and then come back and write what happened. No one wants to hear you complain.

Rule #5 On second thought, call your shit a blog
I just realized that if you can’t figure out this shit, I’d rather you did call your site a blog so that I know to avoid it. Please change the title of your site to XXXXXXX’s blog so that we can all figure it out for ourselves.

{Author's note: I just remembered that my site is hosted by Blogger.com. I am lame.}

Devo Vacation

My co-worker is out of town this week on a "Diva vacation". I'm not sure what a Diva vacation is, but it in now way shape or form is better than a Devo vacation.

Fixed!

Little does she know how much EXTRA fun she's having now. WHIP IT GOOD!

How to Hide Your Pregnancy

You are pregnant and you want to hold off telling the world for a few weeks. Most of your co-workers and friends have accused you of being pregnant before, but they were just guessing. Now they would be right, but it’s none of their business. Here are a few tips on how to hide your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Test Tricks
Run out and buy a set of pregnancy tests. Keep one in your purse. Ensure that you accidentally pull it out whenever your curious co-workers are around. Act embarrassed and say a lot of “oops!” and quickly hide it away. Keep suggesting that you are tired of buying them every month.

Take the second test and have your husband pee on it. Unless he’s pregnant, it should come up negative. Rinse it off and keep it in the cabinet. If you are going to have friends over, stage it in the trash can. Leave the empty box in the medicine cabinet for your curious friends to find.

The Purse
Everyone notices when a woman takes her purse into the bathroom. It means only one thing: she’s on her period and not pregnant. Ensure that you take your purse to the bathroom on every trip. It’s even better when you leave it at the table and then come back for it a few seconds later.

The Calendar
Use your home and work calendar to track phantom ovulation dates. Only track it a few weeks in advance and don’t fill up the calendar. Fill in fake body temperatures for added reality. Drop a couple 99.3s in there for excitement.

Drinking

If you are a good mother, you’ll have quit drinking as soon as you found out you were knocked up. Your friends are used to you knocking back a few Capt. N’ diets at the bar and are now curious as to why you are refraining from drinking. Try these methods and excuses:

Faux Cohol: ask the bartender for a coke in a tumbler with a lime. It looks like a mixed drink and you can pound 8 – 10 of them before you start to get woozy. You can also order cranberry and soda or have him put a NA beer into a pint glass.

Hold and dump
: if someone buys you a drink, put it to your lips for show. Later, take it with you to the bathroom and dump it out. Go to the bar and buy a Mormon Mother and a drink for your friend. Don’t get them mixed up!

Antibiotics: if someone catches you not drinking, tell them you are on antibiotics and cannot drink for seven days. At the end of seven days if you get called out, explain that you missed a few doses and you have to go back and retake the whole series again.

Fertility Drugs
: If for any reason you get called out and find yourself stumbling… lay out that you are very embarrassed; but that you are taking fertility drugs and that you cannot drink while on them. The key to this is using you initial hesitancy as fake embarrassment. Tell the person to keep it a secret so that you can ensure they will tell everyone.

Smoking
Yes, you need to quit smoking if you are pregnant. If anyone asks, just say that you are planning to be pregnant soon and you’d rather quit now than later.

Emotional

You might be a bit stressed out with the whole “living creature in my belly” thing and it might come out in tears or possibly rage. This is an easy fix; just tell people that you have been trying to get pregnant for the past X months and you are getting fed up with all the tips and tricks that everyone keeps telling you. They’ll get the hint.

Puking
This is easy: say you had White Castles (Krystal) for lunch. No one will ever disbelieve you, especially if you use this excuse four days running.

315 NB Construction 6-22-09

Now with the crossover:

315 SB on 6-19-09 AM

Sorry about the windshield wipers.

1,003 posts... I mean 1,004

Somewhere along the way, I've created 1,003 posts with this one being the 1,004th.

I'm not sure how that is possible, so I stayed up all night doing some research.

745 of the posts were re-posts of the same article about me being drunk in Chicago.
20 were Jesus cartoons
15 were pictures Greg drew
12 were Erik Eats
200 were rants about comments in other posts
4 were articles about drinking and Margot and the Nuclear So and So's.
6 were poorly photoshopped jokes

Which leaves 2 posts that were actually real, down to earth articles about life, love, family and happiness.

Except that this is one of those two posts so I assume this one doesn't count.

Oh well, thanks for reading. When people blame me for being an egotistical bastard, I blame you for continuing to return and read my stuff.

Thanks, suckers.

HJ

Northbound 315 on 6/17/09

The crossover has not been completed yet. I'm trying to convince people that 315 is horrific so that I can continue to take the expressway home.

How to get your reluctant boyfriend to propose

I’ve seen it before. You and your boyfriend have been dating for a year or so. You are looking for him to propose and he’s happy with how things are going. Little does he realize that things are about to be going really shitty if he doesn’t buy a ring and get on a knee. Here are some helpful hints to get your boyfriend to propose to you:

Burn down his house
You’ve probably been spending a lot of time together, but you both still keep your own residences. What Mr. Happy needs is a good house burning. When all his clothes and Sandman graphic novels are ashes, he’s going to be vulnerable and he’s going to need you more than ever. Over time, finding a new place would just be a hassle. He’ll see you with new eyes. In a few weeks, when the insurance check comes, I can assure you that he’s use some of the proceeds to buy a ring.

Talk about his brother or best friend
Guys are jealous fucks. They think about your ex-boyfriends and they think about the other two (yeah right) guys you’ve had sex with. Guys assume that you are having sex with your co-workers and than on girls night you get drunk and blow guys at the club. All guys do it. If you start talking about his friends or his brothers, he’ll start to imagine that you are hot for them. Competition is tough between friends and family and to prove to them that he is top dog, he’ll pop the question to lay ownership over you.

Buy a pet together and then “lose” it
Simple and diabolical. Find someone who sells pets, but has a 30 day return policy. Buy the pet and make sure you suggest that since he hasn’t proposed, this will help you to emotionally handle the situation. He’ll be relieved that the engagement pressure is off. One day while he’s off at Best Buy, return the pet to the vendor and suggest you have allergies. When he comes home, he’ll find the house frantically torn up and you crying that Mrs. Krinkle has disappeared. Between sobs, make sure you drop a few hints about how much the pet meant to you and that your feelings of emptiness will never be filled. Give it a week and he’ll pull the old “Propose by tying the ring on the new puppy’s collar” trick. Sucker.

Fake cancer

Make it cervical cancer so he is less likely to find out the details or ask questions. In the final week of your six weeks to live, he’ll pop the question. And miracle of miracles, you fully recover over a weekend trip to the lake.

Become a stripper
This one is two fold. First off, guys dig strippers. To think they could actually marry one would be huge. Secondly, if the rage of jealously doesn’t make a ring appear, you’ll make enough money to buy your own ring. Why was it you were dating this guy in the first place? What are you doing later? Is Trixie your real name?

Post Magazine forgets to fix it in post

We get Post Magazine at work. Good articles about video production technology and trends. I was looking at this month's cover at all the paparazzi shooting Hanna Montana.


I couldn't help but notice that amongst the actor photographers (and I mean people acting like photographers, not photographers that shoot actors) was a dude with his blackberry snapping a photo.


He's getting some great shots of his hand, I'm sure. I'm also sure that this isn't Post Magazine's photo, but found it interesting that a industry rag based on digitally fixing problems in post would itself have this on the cover.

315 SB from 270 to Town Street exit 6-15-09

I hope to document the construction throughout the next twelve four months.

A Horrible Coincidence

This is a true story, with every name, but one, changed to protect those who need such things.

My friend, Mark, works in a very large office environment. While he works with a big team of people, he does not interact with over half of the people on his floor besides the occasional elevator ride or walk-by on the way to/from the copier.

One day, several members of Mark’s team were talking about someone on the other side of their floor. Hearing their hushed conversation, Mark was interested and joined in the small group. They were discussing a girl, who they named as Eileen, who worked on their floor. She was perfectly normal, and very pretty, except for her very pronounced limp. One of her legs was shorter than the other and it was extremely easy to notice her as she traversed their floor. He had seen the girl before, but had never heard her name. Mark thought that her name was a horrible coincidence.

When they spoke of her, Mark’s co-workers would mainly comment on what Eileen was wearing that day. She was a conservative dresser, but every so often would wear something a bit more risqué and their day was spent trying to get a glimpse of her.

Mark got lucky one day and caught an elevator with Eileen. He had never spoken with her before, but Mark decided to be friendly and said, “Hello, Eileen.”

And she said, “My name is not Eileen. It’s Sandra.”

“Really?” said Mark, before he realized that he had really fucked up.

Luckily, the ride ended and they went to their own ends of the floor.

Eileen/Sandra quit about two weeks later. Also a horrible coincidence.

Panic

{Author's Note: This is a repost from several years back, but I thought you might want to read about the fire I was caught in years ago.}

Sleepy Dude One, "You want some bacon?"
Sleepy Dude Two, "Yeah. Bacon. Lots of bacon."


When you are on the road for long periods of time, one of the only good things you have to look forward to is the peace and safety of the place where you sleep. While I was traveling, I had contacts through the museums and I could find a nicer place that normally wouldn’t rent for a short term. For those four months, I had a small, comfy nook to hide.

In Omaha, things were different. The museum I was working with decided to save money by putting me up in an apartment building just down the street. If you are familiar with museums, you might know that they are usually built in the shittiest part of town so that:
a. it’s cheaper rent
b. it’s a cornerstone for other business to build near to revitalize the community

This eleven story monstrosity was the second cousin once removed of the projects. Vagrants were always loitering about the front. Trash everywhere. The fire alarms were always falsely sounding. The walls were paper thin. (I didn’t have any sex, but I listened to the neighbor lady get her socks knocked off.) It smelled like other people's food. The elevators worked as long as you wanted to go down. The only difference from the projects was that the front doors locked. At any time when you unlocked the front doors, some dude would be there, mumbling to you about losing his keys and needing to get inside. You would have to pull the door shut to keep them out. There was a pile of fingers in the foyer where they hadn’t quite pulled their hands out in time. When they did sneak in, they would make a bee-line to the basement and the warmth of the laundry room. At least the bums were Downy Fresh.


I lived on the very top floor of the shit hole.

On December 31st, I woke up to the sound of the fire alarm. It wasn’t the first time. My clock showed 6:00am. At first I was pissed, but then I remembered that I was going to drive down to Joplin, MO after work to party with my buddy Don, who was a reporter at a Joplin television station. I thought I might score some weathergirl action. As I laid there thinking about how I could get out of work early that day, the fire trucks pulled up.

Now, don’t panic. The fire trucks always pull up when the alarm is pulled. Some law, I’m sure, that says no matter what, when an apartment alarm goes off, the trucks have to check it out. They always drive up on my side of the building. A dude jumps off the back and walks into the building. Five of the other guys loiter around the truck until the first guy comes back out and they head back to the fire station. Clockwork.

So, the fire trucks pull up. Everyone jumps out. Dude runs in the building. The loitering guys start to pull hoses off the truck. Ha. Funny. They hook the hoses up to a series of hydrants and start to unwind other hoses from the truck and run them into the building. I started to do the math in my head. I also started to smell smoke.

Panic.

I opened my window and was hit with cold air and again, the smell of smoke. A bit stronger now. I could see other people sticking their heads out their windows. They seemed to be doing the math as well. I decided that I should get the fuck out of the building.

I put on some pants. A shirt. A jacket. I also grabbed a book and my car keys. Shoes on and I was out the door. The fire stairs were to the immediate right of my door and I thought I’d walk down the eleven flights of stairs and hang out in my car. I looked down towards the elevators and saw the most horrific, beautiful sight. Dark smoke was squeezing out of the elevator shaft and coating the ceiling. It rolled over itself like an upside down wave hitting the beach and chased on the ceiling down the hallway. It was building upon itself and thickening, filling the hallway with haze. I began to tell myself not to panic. The fire escape stairwell would be safe. I mean, it had a big red door. That’s safety if I ever saw it.

I pushed through the door. The fire escape was filling with smoke from below. Oh fuck! I went down to the tenth floor and the smoke thickened (duh.) I yelled down, “Is it safe to come down! Where is the fire!” No one answered. I covered my mouth with my shirt and went down to the ninth floor. As I went down one more floor, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. I was coughing and couldn’t breathe. My eyes welled with tears. I turned around and ran back up the stairs. I was in pure panic mode. I was unable to process the current situation. I was breathing hard from running, but it was really the start of hyperventilation. I reached my floor and fumbled for my keys.

Luckily for me, the chick next door burst out of her apartment and was somehow panicking a lot more than me. She had her kid’s head under her arm and was squeezing the crap out of her. I got to see a dude run out of her apartment and check out the fire stairs filled with smoke and then run down the hallway to the other stairs. In that moment of clarity, I realized that was the dude she was banging all the time.

Whether it was seeing the woman panicking more than me and needing help or thinking about that dude banging her, my head cleared and it all became very, very simple…

I gave her an update: The stairs are blocked. You cannot use the elevators. Go back in your apartment. Stick wet towels under the door. Wait for the firemen to rescue you. Be ready to go. Put on socks (yes, I know) and shoes and your jackets.

Dude came back and said the other stairwells were filled with smoke. I repeated what I said to the woman and he went inside.

I went inside my apartment and did exactly that.

At the windows, everyone from the 5th floor and up was yelling back and forth. Someone was on the phone with 911 and they were sharing information by shouting what they learned from the 911 operator. The fire was on the 4th floor. It was being contained. The firemen would come and get us. Stay where you are.

With nothing better to do, I called my co-workers from the museum and friends at home to tell them I was in a fire. No one is very excited to listen to your fire stories at 6:30am.

There was a knock (er pounding) at the door. A full wall of smoke roiled in as I opened the door. An actual fireman in a mask was standing there with an axe. He said (in that muffled mask voice) to take the stairs. He placed a gloved hand on my shoulder turned me towards the red door. That hand left a soot mark on the shoulder of my jacket that never came out.

The stairs were clear of smoke and I went down eleven flights and into the fresh, smoke filled morning air. They had giant fans in the stairwell to evacuate the smoke.

As it turns out, two drunk dudes with eyebrows made breakfast before passing out. They neglected to stay awake long enough to eat the food or turn off the stove. The fuckers did wake up in time to throw water on a grease fire and it spread though the kitchen. The two, now eyebrowless, dudes ran out of the apartment and didn’t shut the door. The fire took out the apartment and spread to the hallway. The fire doors at the ends of the hallways didn’t seal and smoke filled the emergency stairs in minutes.

The only losses were the apartment, the hallway and two pairs of eyebrows. My invincibility was also a casualty. If I am anywhere and an alarm goes off, I leave. I was humbled by my ineffectiveness. I know I came around in the end, but for those fifteen seconds of running up the stairs, I was completely worthless.

I used the fire as an excuse to leave work early to drive to the party in Joplin. Luckily I did leave early as bad weather rolled in and it took me an additional two hours to get there. On 29S on the way out of Omaha, a truck jackknifed right in front of me, blocking the entire road. Jumping out to see if he was alright, the swearing driver said he was fine and I got back in my car and drove through the snow filled median and around his cab. No other car followed me and I was alone for a long stretch.

I made it to the party with four minutes before the ball dropped. I did not get to bang the weathergirl.

Group hands out cell phones to homeless crazy people so they do not look silly when they talk to themselves

COLUMBUS OH (HJ) – How many times have you seen a homeless person on the street talking to themselves and thought, “That person is crazy!” The founders of the non-profit group EMIT or Equality for the Mentally Inept Transients want to rid the homeless of that stigma.

Bruce Shaw, founder of EMIT, purchases new or collects used cell phones for the homeless in Columbus so that they will not seem so out of place. Bruce explains, “When you see someone talking on a cell phone you assume that they are conducting business or chatting with a friend. If you see someone talking with no cell phone, you think they are insane. By giving the homeless cellphones, we not only give them an outlet for the voices in their head, we give them dignity.”

EMIT volunteers began collecting cellphones in late last year. The phones are cleaned, charged, loaded with 200 minutes and handed out at shelters and underpasses. Janice Truly, an EMIT volunteer, has handed out over 35 cellphones just this month. “The look on the face of the crazy person is priceless. You’ve got to show them how to use the phone. It’s helpful if there are numbers all ready stored in the memory.”

When asked about the homeless calling random people, Mr. Shaw laughed, “At first we erased the memory of the phone and only added the numbers of the other homeless. When none of the homeless could get a word in edgewise with each other, we just decided to leave the numbers on the used phones or program in local radio talk show phone numbers.”

When asked about how they hand out the phones, Mr. Shaw shared, “We’ve actually tried giving cell phones to some people talking to themselves only to realize the “crazy person” was wearing a Bluetooth ear piece.”

EMIT will re-charge and supply more minutes for any phone for free, but so far they have not had to. “Once the phones go dead, they just keep talking into them. They still seem happy.”

The Chop-Pick

I assume that your office is somewhat similar to mine at lunch time: if you need some accoutrement, like a packet of mustard or a spoon, you can never find what you need, but there are 7,000 other things like knives or packets of Taco Bell sauce.

In my office, it's forks. We have spoons and straws and mustard and toothpicks and small paper plates and soy sauce... but no forks. I tried using straws as chop sticks, but they are weak and slippery. I would sometimes use a toothpick to stab my lunch, but that doesn't work for noodles and I get food all over my fingers.

So the other day, I developed the Chop-Pick. Here's what you'll need:

Two straws and a toothpick with a square center


Squeeze down one end of the straw


Insert the squished end of the straw into the second straw and tamp it down until it is completley in the second straw


Poke the toothpick into the straw at a slight angle... I'm guessing this is about 15 degrees off plumb.


Shove it through 33% of the length


It's great for picking up both small and large chunks of food. The double straw gives amazing strength to the handle.



I assume it is good with noodles as you can twirl the straw and wrap them around the two tines.

And after you are done, it's great for picking the food out of those hard to reach places in your mouth!

A vote - if you feel like it

A friend at work.... blah blah blah.

If you have a minute, drop a vote. Thanks!

HERE’S THE FAVOR – Please vote for Nick and Leigh.

Go to: Today Throws a Wedding: Race to the Altar http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30370935

Select Couple No. 4: Leigh and Nick

Click on Cast Your Vote

A box pops up to say you can only vote once – are you sure Yes or No

Click Yes and that’s it, you’ve voted.

Dating Tips for Girls and Boys

Dating is confusing. Here are a few tips to help you out with knowing if someone wants to date you or not:

TIPS FOR GIRLS
Signs that a boy does not want to date you:

1. He ignores you
2. He pushes you at school
3. He calls you and hangs up
4. He dates your best friend
5. He tells all his buddies that he hates you

Signs that a boy wants to date you:

1. He ignores you.
2. He pushes you at school
3. He calls you and hangs up
4. He dates your best friend
5. He tells all his buddies that he hates you.

TIPS FOR BOYS
Signs that a girl does not want to date you:

1. She says that you are a great friend
2. She immediately introduces you to her friend
3. She says things like, “That’s sweet” and “You must have a lot of girlfriends.”
4. She asks if she can bring her boyfriend along
5. She pepper sprays you

Signs that a girl wants to date you:

1. She crinkles her nose at you
2. She sticks her tongue out at you
3. She says, “I don’t ever want to get married.”
4. She runs away and waits for you to chase her
5. She starts her sentences out with, “Well, aren’t you going to…”

Wednesday at E3 (plus a little of Thursday thrown in for good measure)

I’m a bit late on this, but I had to get the photos together… you’ll see.

At 10:00am on Wednesday, I caught the shuttle to the E3 conference. There were a lot of folks from the Kawada Hotel going to the show. It was interesting to eavesdrop on people discussing their previous day’s dealings with Sony and Nintendo and debate on whether the show was better/worster/lamer/unawesomer that last years show. I was an E3 virgin, so to me the show was fantastic. I can see how the show could get old over time, but it’s not yet!

Right as we got to the Los Angeles Convention center, we noticed a group of 10 or so folks protesting the show.



Here's a sampling of their signs:
Turn Your PlayStation into a PrayStation
I’ll get my high score in heaven

(author’s note: what we didn’t know at the time was that this was a clever marketing ploy by a game manufacturer. It kinda worked because there was some buzz about it, but I’m not mentioning their name here because I’m a dick.)

My original E3 plan was to scout out the whole show on day one and dig in on day two. I got most of the conversations I wanted to have completed on the first day, leaving me all of day two to play. That was until I realized that I missed the entire West Hall, known to some as the other 50% of the show, and my plan was squashed. The West Hall had Nintendo and Sony. I did a quick walk through of the West hall over the next two hours and then decided to get some play time in. I bee-bopped from area to area, observing some games and playing others. I played Wii games with a bunch of strangers and we all had a lot of fun. This is also where I met Nintendo employee, "Cherry" (made up name). An extremely hot red head with cherries tattooed on her wrist... yowza! She played the new co-operative Mario game with us. I, newly official creepy guy, snapped this photo of her.


The rest of the day was a blur. I stuck around until 5:30pm playing games and checking out the taping of Attack of the Show. I got my photo taken next to the G4 stage in the photo area:


Later that evening, I drove up to Sunset Blvd and had dinner with Lacey at the Bowery. When I asked Lacey for directions, she suggested I park at the ArcLight Cinema so that I could get my ticket validated.

Here are Lacey and I after dinner:


As we walked to the side entrance of the ArcLight, Lacey mentioned that she had seen Drew Barrymore and Justin Long there before and that they were shorter than she expected. Our timing was perfect as a movie was letting out as we were walking in so we would blend in with the crowd and no one would be the wiser. As we stood in line to get the ticket validated, I noticed that Drew Barrymore and Justin Long were standing in front of us. Lacey was chatting away and I kept giving her the wide open eyes and pointy finger. She said what, “What?” and then “Oh!” The validation dude was taking way too long and Drew and Justin skipped out. It pays to be famous. By the way, every actor in Hollywood is about 5’ 7” tall. I was a giant and some worshiped my large head as a stone idol.

Lacey and I parted ways and I went back to the hotel. I had a 9:35am flight and for about ten seconds, I pondered getting up early and taking the 6:35am flight. I quit pondering and fell asleep around 11:00pm.

I shot out of bed. Something was wrong with the TV and it was creating extremely loud feedback. I searched for the remote. Then I realized it was not the TV, but the fire alarm. It was louder than fuck. I was right on the street and could see out the window. Nothing; no fire or smoke. I got on my pants and shirt from that night and slipped on my shoes without socks. In the hallway, people were pissed. Some people were just getting back from a full night of drinking and were laughing. I’ve been in a high rise fire before and didn’t stick around. I went down the hall looking for the stairwell. The only stairwell I had seen was the emergency metal stairs on the front of the hotel.

I didn’t think they could be the only stairs, but as I headed down the hall, I asked the people I saw where were the stairs and the people getting on the elevator (yes, getting on the elevator) said they could not find them. All the emergency doors had magnetic locks on them and they all shut automatically when the alarm sounded. The whole place was a maze of closed doors and I decided to bail out the front stairs. As I stood at the top of the stairs, the first four of eight fire trucks showed up:



We stood at the top of the stairs as the firemen scampered off the trucks and into the building. I yelled down to ask if it was safe. Someone yelled up, “They want you to come down.”

So we did. Three flights of metal stairs down to a counter weighted ladder that dropped down. The people below us wouldn’t get out of the way until the ladder started coming down and then they found other places to be. When I climbed down, the ladder was all over the place, so at the bottom, I held it for the people climbing down. That’s when this photo was taken by @traceyjohn


A few moments later, they let us back in. I went up to my room via the elevator and went around, opening the doors back into their magnetically open positions, thus releasing several stuck guests who could figure out how to open the doors. I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I was up until 6:00am when I took a shower and finished packing. I spent the next 12 hours trying to get home after my 9:35am was delayed and I missed connecting flights.

All in all it was a very fun and positive trip. I got to talk to some interesting programmers and designers and I got E3 out of my system. I hope to go again someday for completely different reasons.

HolyJuan - Atheist Blogger?

I recently I found out that I was an Atheist. Well, my site is. I personally don't believe in my site, but I do believe that an actual blog exists, so I'm Agblogstic.

I'm currently rated as the 34th most popular Atheist site on the web.

http://atheistblogger.com/rankings/

There's only one instance of my using "atheist" on my site (at least before I created this post) with this cartoon: Jesus in Therapy.

I assume the friendly Jesus posts are a dead giveaway...

Greg and Dad - The Wish

Airline requiring passengers to use bathroom before flight to reduce plane weight

CHICAGO (HJ) - American Airlines announced a cost savings measure today that has passengers up in arms and they are literally not taking it sitting down. Airlines have been cutting fuel costs by reducing weight on planes through baggage restrictions and cutting back on provided amenities such as food and blankets. Courts have struck down attempts to charge passengers by the pound so a different route was required.

In a drastic effort to cut down on plane weight, American Airlines is requiring that all passengers use the bathroom before boarding the plane. Special porta-potties are being brought into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for a trial run of the elimination requirement.

Passengers are instructed on how to use the porta potty measuring device.

Passengers were not at all pleased with the new requirement. “I’m not ten years old,” remarked an anonymous passenger. Steven Bosch, 32, of Evansville, IN stated, “I just used the facilities before I went through security. Now I have to try to go again?”

American Airlines spokeswoman, Jeannette Spencer, attempted to quell much of the concerned public. “This is in the best interest for all our customers. Not only does it reduce fuel usage and lower costs, but it also reduces the lines for the bathroom on the plane at the gate and once it is in the air. We estimate that each year, 10,374 hours are wasted at the gate while our customers use the on-plane lavatory causing takeoff delays. This will ensure that everyone has already gone before the flight departs.”

Passengers must use the facilities at least twenty minutes prior to leaving and will not be allowed to board unless they have “tried to go” at least twice. Receipts are provided at the facilities for proof of deposit.

As a bonus, passengers who eliminate more than two pounds of waste will receive a refund for every additional six ounces deposited. Mark Crawler of Byhalia, Mississippi has taken full advantage of the situation, “I ate like a champ last night and made sure I had bran flakes and a bunch of coffee this morning and wah-la, $25 in poop-ons”.

Ms. Spencer commented, “We don’t officially call them poop-ons, but rather certificates of deposit.”

The test program will continue though the end of this year.

Stop Light Bird

One Minute

With the eternally painful benefits of hind site, I should have taken the 6:30am flight. I did not and here I am and there I am not. The 9:35am flight from LA was hiccup delayed: 10:05... 10:35… 11:05… Around 10:15am, I ran off to a counter and did stand by on another flight leaving at 10:45am. I was 9th in standby and they only took 2. Fortunately, 11:05am was the latest my flight was delayed. As everyone else stood 20 deep in line at the delayed flight counter, I went a counter a few gates down where there was no line. I’m not sure everyone knows the secret that you can make any transaction at any counter. You don’t have to stand in line at your gate. Go to another gate. They all access the same system. At my empty counter, I had the guy change my connecting flight in Chicago to a 5:45pm flight. When it was all said and done, our delayed flight would be landing in Chicago around 5:15pm and I would have just enough time to get to my flight.

The crew was very helpful in expediting the coordination of all connecting flight information and I was told what gate my flight was leaving from. When we landed at 5:20pm in Chicago, the flight attendants somehow convinced the Chicago people to all stay seated while the rest of us connecting flight turds ran off the plane.

I ran to my gate… and it was the wrong gate. Well, at least they gave me incorrect information. I ran back to a set of screens and got my gate. I ran to my gate which wasn't too far off. It was 5:31. Orange vest wearing gate lady told that the flight was full. I said I had a ticket with a seat number. She said they close the door at 15 minutes and do not let anyone else on. I said they should have known I was coming. She said they don’t get that information. Skirt wearing lady stepped in and said she would take care of me. She issued a stand-by ticket for a 6:45pm flight and a real ticket for an 8:30pm flight which was realistically the first open flight.

So I went to the 6:45pm gate and hoped that some other turd on some other late flight would be one minute late and stuck at the closed door while I got his seat. I was first in line on the stand-by list. Time passed I was second on the stand-by list. Then I jumped to fourth. Stand-by is a very fluid list that changes depending on your Club Membership level and if you are wearing pilot’s clothing. I am not a member and don’t have a hat with wings, so I dropped down the list.

Only one person got on standby and he was wearing wings.

There was a 7:35pm flight on another concourse, and all 15 people on standby were rolled over on to that list. 14 people ran off to the H concourse. I saddled up to the bar and ordered an $8 beer and wing chunks.

After I ate dinner, I then bought a bag of Swedish Fish and a pop and here I am at the 8:30pm gate. I’m waiting for the 14 people to come running to this gate hoping that 14 other people are one minute late.

{Author's note: I am at home now. It's good to be home.}

Xe (formerly Blackwater) Contracted to Evict People in Foreclosed Homes

CHICAGO (HJ) – Sources have just confirmed that mortgage loan companies are contracting with Xe (formerly Blackwater Worldwide) to assist in the eviction of people still living in foreclosed homes. Though Xe has not yet confirmed this, we have several reports of Xe contractors stealthily lurking through Chicago in full military fatigues with camouflaged furniture dollies and armored moving vans.

Xe, better known for contracting with the US State Department for “protection” work in Iraq, is moving forward with the company's newest initiative, Operation Deadbeat. Just recently, it has been confirmed that model homes are being constructed at Xe training sites for what is presumed to be tactical planning purposes.

Joan Readford of Easthampton was removed from her home this morning. “The men ran up to my door in formation. After handing me a series of colorful eviction brochures, they staged an attack of the first floor, packaging up my breakables and putting my appliances in a separate interrogation area. The house was packed up in about thirty minutes. Those assholes were very efficient and swept the floor right before they jumped into the armored moving van.”

Just last year, Cook County sheriff Dart had refused to evict renters whose landlords have quit paying the mortgage. He was quoted as saying that eviction can be part of his job but, “What isn't part of our job, however, is to carry out work on behalf of the multi-billion-dollar banks and mortgage industries.” It seems that the multi-billion-dollar banks and mortgage industries can’t wait for Sheriff Dart’s morals to be changed so they have taken the evictions into their own hands.









Sherriff Dart and the families he is protecting.
An unnamed Xe source has shared with us that he and several other Xe employees have undergone intensive moving training. “Many people think our only job is to kill and torture. This isn’t so. We undergo weeks of training in the art of wrapping valuables and box labeling. Just last week, we blew up a townhouse, moved it to a ¾ acre lot with a view of the lake and pieced it back together. That's customer service.”

E3: Tuesday Revisited

(Please note: all times are completely made up)

5:30am - alarm
5:37am - while I'm in the shower, I hear the alarm. I hit snooze instead of off.
7:30am - Gate B30A is not in concourse A
(Switching to West Coast Time)
11:45am LAX airport, saw someone who wishes they were famous
1:15pm At the hotel. Just like the reviews said, there is a cooking food smell. Otherwise, very nice staff.
1:16pm What the hell is up with this freaking CAT5 cable that is 24" long?
1:17pm What the hell is up with the 200 baud modem?
1:18pm Leave to catch shuttle to E3
2:00pm Get badge and walk in
2:10pm Re-finance home- 9.25% ARM to buy sandwich and drink
2:20pm I. Am. In. Heaven.

The next four hours are a blur. Games. New releases, G4 television show being taped. Chats with developers. Chats with smaller vendors. People are keen on our projects. More later when I upload photos.

6:00pm Back to the hotel.
6:04pm More internet anger. Very, very slow connection.
7:00pm Finally download directions to restaurant.
7:30pm Meet Dustin at restaurant.
7:35pm Margarita in hand. All is good.
12:01am Back at hotel.

Had some very good conversations with Dustin. He's living the life.

I was trouble shooting the gadget that the internet comes in on and figured out that by disconnecting the phone from the device, my internet is just fine, which is why you are able to read this now.

Off to E309

I leave tomorrow for E3. I have not traveled in two years and I have not been to LA since Allen and I recorded the XO GameShow back in 2002. E3 is supposed to be taking it up a notch from last year's disappointing show.

I'll try to write as much as possible and give you an idea of what I'm up to. Though I am going as part of work, I'm hoping I can namedrop and mention that I know HolyJuan. We'll see if that gets me anywhere.

If you know me and you'll be at the show, drop me a line and we can meet up. Know the secret HolyJuan pass phrase:

I cheat.
I lie.
I steal.
I malign.

You don't know me.
You don't need me.
You can't have me.
You see through me.

We should talk.
We should meet.
We would laugh.
Then I'd leave.