Year in Review

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I actually have a bunch of stuff I want to blog about, but I haven't taken the time to sit down and compose my thoughts on them yet, so you'll have to wait.

However, you won't have to wait for my 2008 Year in Review post.

Rather than post lists of the best of everything, I will just list Dave's Top Ten Greatest Moments of 2008.

10) I dump my HTC Tilt and buy an iPhone.

I started down the slippery slope a few years ago when I purchased an iPod so I could easily play music in my car. I was quite happy with my purchase, so much so that I bought an Apple TV last year to stream movies for me.

I had always been happy with my AT&T Tilt, but the browsing functionality on the iPhone was tempting, not to mention how well apps were installed on it and seamlessly worked together. As I coughed up 300 bones to pay for my phone, I felt myself pulling down Mr. Jobs' trousers in the process.

If I ended up buying a MacBook next year, I will have place Steve Jobs' nuts fully in my mouth. Let's hope I don't sink that low.

9) I paint two of my spare bedrooms.

My entire house is painted in a mostly neutral, but not that pleasing shade of yellow. I don't really like yellow to begin with, and this one has a matte finish that really seems to absorb the light in the room. Frankly, I think it just sucks in general.

I would love to paint the whole house at once, but time and money preclude that, so instead I'm stuck one room at a time. And the fact that I managed to get two rooms painted this year speaks of my desperation to get this color out of my life.

8) Playing childish pranks on fellow internet users becomes popular (but jumps the shark in the same day).

7) The bottomless party scene in Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

I can't remember the last time gratuitous nudity was so awesome.

6) Woot shirts.

Finally, I am able to indulge my taste for the strange and quirky. The Greasy Grasp of God, Bats Bats Bats, Now Let Me Get This Straight - there are too many to name!

5) The family pets get upgraded to a larger house.

I've had a 20 gallon aquarium for as long as I can remember. At least ten years. I previously had a bunch of tiger barbs and bala sharks in there, but they eventually died off for some reason. It may have had something to do with the fact that I'd routinely let the tank go without food or cleaning for six months at a time, but we can never be sure.

However, after much nagging and pestering, I was talked into buying a larger aquarium for the few remaining fish. Lo and behold, they received a beautiful 55 gallon aquarium, and a bunch of new buddies were added. I'm sure the fish are happier, and I am too!

4) I manage to land a brief stay in Armenia.

I don't know why Armenia had interested me for as long as it had, but it did. I was able to spend a few days there this summer, along with visiting some other friends along the way. The area wasn't what I expected, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable, and I hope to go again in the near future, this time being able to stay for more than four days.

3) Concerned about the cleanliness of my carpets, we adopt Goomba.

I've wanted a dog for a while, but I was concerned about being able to spend enough time with him, the vet bills, the destroyed furniture, the dirty carpets, and the training. Despite that, I was successfully talked into getting Goomba, and I've loved him ever since. Even if he does still leave me presents on the carpet on occasion.

2) Jenny comes to visit.

I've managed to visit Sweden several times thanks to my friend Jenny, and I've always wanted her to come out here to see what Utah has to offer. Thanks to a huge stash of frequent flyer miles, we were able to make it happen this year, and I had a great time showing her all the oddities that this part of the US has to offer. I hope she's able to return soon.

1) Kate manages to stick with me for nearly a full year.

I was crazy about Kate the first time I saw her, but she was completely unobtainable to me. Somehow circumstances changed in my favor, and we ended up together. She's stuck with me and all my crap for almost a year now, and I hope things will continue this way.


Saturday, November 22, 2008
I was going to make a post about the most recent elections, but then I realized that I can't really say anything that hasn't been said already.

And then for some reason, the movie Team America: World Police popped into my head, and I pictured Kim Jon Il's character trying to say "elections" and it sounding like "erections", and it made me snicker a little bit.

Puppy puppy puppy puppy puppy pupp

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I have been considering getting a dog for quite some time, but could never get myself to pull the trigger.

However Kate succeeded where I failed, and we adopted Goomba on Saturday, November 1st. Goomba is a Newfoundland (or "Newfie"), and they grow quite large - up to 150 lbs! Goomba weighed in at 14 lbs 6 oz at his six week checkup. I took him in for his nine week checkup this morning and he weighed in at 27 lbs 9 oz - almost double his weight four weeks ago!

Newfoundland's are excellent water dogs, and Goomba already seems to have an obsession with water - he often eats and drinks with at least one paw in his water bowl (sometimes all four), and he has even fallen asleep with a paw in the bowl!

Jenny's Utah Visit

After many years of nagging and cajoling, I finally got my friend Jenny to ditch Sweden for two weeks to visit the land of salt and Mormons. I was quite excited to be able to play tour guide for two weeks and see the sights that our fair city and state have to offer. Highlights included:

- Red Butte Gardens
- Temple Square
- Little Cottonwood Canyon
- Bryce Canyon
- Zions
- Las Vegas
- Meeting friends and family
- Arby's mozzarella sticks
- Pumpkin-related desserts
- Mario Kart Wii

I didn't my camera along for much of it, but here are a few shots from Red Butte, Bryce and Zions. The latter two will be a subject of a blog post here shortly.

You don't see much cactus in Sweden!

This tree had a neat hollowed out trunk. No idea how it happened.

Monday, November 10, 2008
I haven't posted here in over a month, although I've been meaning to. And I have lots to talk about too!

1) Jenny's Utah adventure
2) Puppy puppy puppy puppy puppy
3) Elections

However, item #2 has been keeping me pretty occupied lately, so you'll probably have to wait a few more days for something of substance.

Gone Fishing

Sunday, September 28, 2008
About 10-15 years ago, I received a 20 gallon aquarium as a Christmas gift. I always had fish in it wherever I lived. However, the last few years I was neglecting it way more than I should, and my poor fish were quite underfed. To make matters worse, a prior roommate decided to go buy some additional fish which were way too large for the 20 gallon tank.

This month I've upgraded to a 55 gallon tank and added several new fish. I'm now proud to show off the home of my "family" which previously sat neglected.

So, presenting the newest members of Dave Household:

Tinfoil barbs (inherited): Franz, Gunter
Tiger barbs: Carl, Orson and three others I can't remember
Gouramis: Sven (blue), Francois (blue and orange), Miguel (orange)
Swordtails: Rod Johnson, Clarice, Shaniqua
African Mooney: Zeke
Pictus Catfish: Spike
Crab: Augustus
Some algae eater (non-pleco): Juan-Julio


Friday, September 19, 2008
I've kind of suspected it for a while, but now it's pretty firm: I am gaining weight.

And not just a few pounds. I am genuinely getting a gut.

I don't have a scale, but I've weighed myself at friend's houses, and I'm 20 lbs heavier than I was when I graduated high school.

But the biggest sign for me was tonight. While getting dressed to go to a wedding, I tried on several pairs of suit pants, only to find that they were all becoming too tight on me.

I don't want to let five suits go to waste because I'm a fat pig, so it's time to cut out the fast food and desserts, and start walking a bit more instead of driving.

Is it possible to lose five pounds in a month, and ten by the end of the year? That's my goal.

Of course, this will require me to purchase a scale. Stupid technicalities.

Cello vs. Camera

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The other night I spent about an hour taking pictures of my cello. I thought it would make an interesting subject to shoot, with sensual curves and odd little gizmos all over.

After reviewing all of the pictures, I found only two that I was even moderately happy with.

For some reason, the ability to capture still life or artsy shots eludes me.

Perhaps I should stick to landscapes and bugs.

Election 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I'm going to be unpopular for this, but I'm going to come out and say it right now: The Democrats are once again going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We will have another Republican in the White House for the next four years.

Mr. Obama had a great thing going, with lots of campaign buzz and excitement among the masses. He had an opportunity at a shoo-in for the top chair by choosing Ms. Clinton as a VP. Yes, I'm not much of a fan of her, but millions of other people are.

But instead, he picks Joe Biden, an intelligent and well-experienced person, no doubt, but with the likability and personality of a doorknob. Obama's momentum hits a brick wall as nobody cares about Mr. Snooze occupying the #2 spot. The campaign is left floundering with two months to go.

The Republicans have done just the opposite. They nominate a candidate who, as far as I can tell, is legally dead already. The entire Republican mass across the country falls asleep. Alarmed, the party manages to find a VP who will appeal to the stay-at-home moms, the Crazy Christians, and the younger generation. The party raises itself from the grave and appears unstoppable. The stay-at-home moms are excited at somebody they can relate to, the Crazy Christians are frothing at the mouth at the idea of an evangelical, and the younger generation is grateful for somebody who knows what email is.

The Democrats have already lost their momentum for the season, but the Republicans are just barely getting their ball rolling. They'll be at full speed come November 2nd, and I don't have much confidence that the Dems will be able to re-energize their base by then, much less win over the disaffected Hillary supports that now want to vote for McCain out of spite.

Somebody please prove me wrong on November 2nd.


Thursday, September 4, 2008
Flexible LED screens are cool.

Last night's show was really good. Not the absolute best concert I've been to, but definitely enjoyable.

I've never really cared for the song Closer, but last night's rendition was pretty tyte.

And I was glad to hear The Wretched. And Reptile. Actually, I was pretty damn happy with the setlist - I don't think there was anything missing that I was bummed out.

A New Stereophonic Spider Spectacular

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I have a nasty habit of picking up on good music several years after it has hit its prime and moved on to the bottom shelf of the CD rack or the clearance section at the record store.

The last few months have proved no exception. So, over a decade late, I would like to recommend the following:

Space - Spiders

Do you remember that song Female of the Species that was popular in the late 90s? It featured a large marimba part and a singer who couldn't quite tell if they were female or male. I hated this song when it came out and stabbed wildly at the radio whenever it came on.

But twelve years later, this song has become quite catchy to me, and even better, the entire album has that odd dark quirkiness that can't be shoehorned into any genre. The track Neighborhood also received airplay on X96 back in the day, but there are a lot of hidden gems on the rest of the album, especially Money and Dark Clouds.

I don't know how to recommend this CD to anybody because they don't really sound like any other group out there, so I guess give it a listen if you like weird stuff like bacon-print wallets, massive doses of Swedish Fish, obscure license plates, or t-shirts with giant happy tacos on them.

Hooverphonic - A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular

This is also a debut album, but isn't quirky like Spiders. Hooverphonic is Portishead after taking Zoloft, with some extra keyboards thrown in. The songs aren't as erotic, but they're not depressing either. They're also more harmonically rich, although not quite as interesting in their technical nature.

Listen to this album if you want lustful energetic sex, as opposed to seductive kinky sex from Portishead's self-titled album.

Next year I look forward to recommending albums released in 1997.

Damn kids - get off my lawn!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I came home from work today to find this drawn on my sidewalk with some chalk:

My neighbor also had a picture along the same vein drawn on their sidewalk (although the piece of anatomy belonged to a different gender).

Those kids are lucky I'm nice and spry and still young. If I was 30, they would get a good tongue lashing.

And while I appreciate the girth they depicted, they could have been a little more generous on length. I mean, if you compare this drawing to a picture of my penis (not safe for work), you'll find the proportions are way off!

Geezerdom Incoming

Monday, August 18, 2008
So I turn 30 in slightly over two weeks.

Normally I would have a huge party planned for such a big (yet depressing) event.

However we're 16 days away and I don't have anything going on.

So, here are my options so far:

1) Throw a combination birthday/poker party, since that weekend is poker night anyway.
2) Drop $550 on a plane ticket to Cancun and bum around with some friends for three days.
3) Wait until October when Jenny gets here, and throw a combined 30th birthday party for both of us. This will have the benefit that all of you can meet one of those crazy gosh-durn liberals they have over in Sweden that make Barack Obama look like Karl Rove. Her visit is about halfway between our birthdays.
4) Watch midget porn all day.

I don't even know who would come to a birthday party now - my social circle is so odd these days.

So chime in here people. And you better show up and bring me lots of presents and booze and hookers.


Sunday, August 17, 2008
So it's been a while since I've posted anything. I've wanted to post, but I just haven't had anything interesting to say.

The big news in my life, of course, was receiving my YAY TACO shirt, but we all know about that, so I guess I can't really write about that any more.

Oh, I know! So, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I bought an iPhone. Yes, I am now firmly a Steve Jobs sackrider. The iPod was acceptable, the Apple TV was definitely pushing it, but the iPhone just puts me over the top. Next think you know I'm going to have a Macbook and will be sitting in a Starbucks, trying to type out a script for a play. OH THE HUMANITY.

That said, I love my iPhone. It's half the weight of my previous AT&T Tilt, and although slightly larger, it's about 1/3 of the thickness, which is very noticeable in my pocket. The larger screen and expandable browser windows add points.

Most importantly, though, is the Application Store. Yes, Sudoku and Tetris and some crossword puzzles were vital. However, there are some specialty Apps that I love. One of them is called Shazam, and it will identify popular music for you. Just hold your phone up to the speaker for a few seconds and it will identify the song for you.

Unfortunately, that doesn't help me with the song I've been trying to identify for the last eight years, because the last time I heard it was, well, eight years ago. It was in Rainbow Casino in Wendover, and the only lyrics I remember are "I am so lonely now" which pull up about 800,000,000,000,000 hits on Google. Oh well.

Thanks to Facebook, I found a long lost friend that I worked with 15 years ago. I met up with him last night and chatted for several hours. He now does professional photography for work. I got to check out his 70-200mm f/2.8 which caused my pants to become very sticky. I must acquire one of these somehow. And a 10-22mm f/3.5. Crap, so many lenses to buy, so little money! We're going to hang out in a few weeks and just shoot photos for fun.

Oh, and the new Batman movie was pretty tyte. I know some people find her odd looking, but I have no problem saying that I would enjoy sexual relations with Maggie Gyllenhaal. So if you're reading this Maggie, feel free to drop by.

Barf on poop

Friday, July 25, 2008
My new favorite way to describe something ugly is:

"It's like somebody decided to barf on poop."


Tuesday, July 22, 2008
OK people, quit talking about the new Batman movie! I haven't seen it yet and there is no way I will be able to see it until this weekend at the very earliest! Shut up shut up shut up!

P.S. I had a 22 oz steak for dinner last night, and it was $70 for the steak alone. I felt mildly guilty about it today so I had a salad for dinner today. OK, I didn't feel guilty, but I think I was still full from the steak. Yay for company-paid meals!

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Thursday, July 17, 2008
My hair used to be really long.

Well, not REALLY long, but definitely longer than it should have been.

Today, somebody pointed out that my high school yearbook photo:

Looks like the character Max Shreck that Christopher Walken plays in Batman Returns.

Ben & Jerry

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Dear Jenny,

Hi there! I hear you have a bit of a crush on Jerry and I! I'm glad to hear you like us, or at least the fine product we put out!

Right now we thought you should know that we're putting ourselves on sale! Only $3.29 for a pint of us! That's less than 20kr for a container (@ 6SEK=1USD). And even better, we have an entire freezer cabinet at the store dedicated just to our wares!

Won't you come to America and try us? I know you say you would like to try one of every flavor, but there are at least 19 different varieties in the self-portrait I've enclosed, and that doesn't even include everything in this particular cabinet! Do you think you can really get through all of us?

We hope to see your face (and mouth) here soon!

-Ben & Jerry

iPod madness

Monday, July 14, 2008
In what has become my latest bout of weirdness, I am currently listening to every song on my iPod, in order, in the default organization method used by iTunes.

I believe the sort method is Artist, then Album, then Track Number.

I started in February and as of today I am in the middle of Pink Floyd's The Wall.

The "S"'s are going to take forever though. Nine Steely Dan albums, a ton of Shostakovich, Saint-Saens and Stravinsky, and a bunch of other assorted stuff will leave me in this letter for a good month.

YAY TACO, Part 2

When I post pictures of myself, I am usually very picky about them. I usually have several pictures taken in hopes that one of them turns out good. I like my hair to be nicely trimmed, my clothes to be decent and I'll attempt to Photoshop out any major blemishes.

However, on occasion, there is an occasion so wonderful, so monumental, that I am willing to post a picture online, flaws and all.

Right now I am in drastic need of a haircut (which is scheduled for tomorrow evening), but it was too long to wait to have this picture taken. When I checked my mail today and saw the package from Woot waiting for me, I knew today would be the happiest day of my life.

Say cheese!

The other night the girlfriend and I decided to treat ourselves like high class citizens and enjoy a nice evening snack of Chili Cheese Burritos from Taco Bell fine cheeses, crackers and smoked salmon.

On the menu was one of my personal favorites, Agour. We also picked up Sage Derby (which isn't as tasty as I remember it), a Brie, and a new one I had never heard of called Tomme Noir. It's a very buttery cheese, yet mild too. It reminded both of us of Havarti. Highly recommended.

After consumption of the vast amounts of all of the above substances, Kate decided that my remaining Agour would be better off if it had eyes and teeth. Thanks to her art skills, I will be able to say I've eaten crocodile the next time I bust out the cheese.

Armenia - Day 6

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Armenia - Day 5

Day 5 was another guided tour, with a visit to Garni and Geghard.

Garni is believed to have been constructed in the 1st century. It was destroyed by an earthquake and reconstructed in recent years.

After that was a visit to Geghard, which is neat monastery carved into the side of a mountain.

I think this is one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken

Tying a hankerchief around a tree branch supposedly brings good luck, hence this mess.

At this point I had developed a nasty blister on my foot and frankly I didn't want to walk any more. The rest of the day was spent filling out postcards and packing for the long flight back home tomorrow morning.

Aural torture

Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Before I took my trip, I had to make a few modifications to my flights. Since my trip was booked through Air France, I had to spend some time on the phone with them. Due to my complicated itinerary, I ended up on hold for vast amounts of time while agents did god-knows-what.

In order to discourage people from calling their customer support line, they have this snooze-inducing song as their hold music. And it repeats. Over and over and over and over.

Not only that, they don't even play the whole song. They just play the last half over and over and over. Men, if you have an erection that won't go away for some reason, just pop this tune into your iPod and your unit will be retracting inside of you so fast that you'll wonder if you were born female.

On the plus side, I checked out another random video by the same band and it had boobies. I like boobies.

Armenia - Day 4

I needed a break from walking around, so I went on two group tours on days four and five.

Day four first started with a visit of Echmiadzin, the oldest cathedral in the world.

We started off with a visit to St. Hripsime, one of the older churches in Armenia.

Then was to the Gayane Church, which is much younger than Hripsime (built in 630 AD vs. 618 AD).

We ended this with a visit to the Echmiadzin Catherdral, which is the oldest in the world. I was quite impressed with the entrance to the cathedral compound.

The day ended with a trip to Zvartnots. This was a cathedral that was supposed to be built to be even more grand than Echmiadzin, however it was destroyed by an earthquake. The ruins are quite interesting - I found them much neater than any of the other stuff I saw.

An ancient sundial.

These old jugs were used for wine. They may even be big enough to supply Sarah!

Some of the collapsed stonework that they've tried to document and reassemble.

I wish I had thought to take a shot with Mount Ararat in the background earlier, but it didn't dawn on me until we were leaving, and by then I couldn't take the time to get a good picture. Oh well.