Friday, January 28, 2005

Dick looks like...well...

(You can see the real picture of Dick looking like, well...his namesake...via this link.)
Cheney Criticized for Attire at Auschwitz Ceremony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney raised eyebrows on Friday for wearing an olive-drab parka, hiking boots and knit ski cap to represent the United States at a solemn ceremony remembering the liberation of Auschwitz.

Other leaders at the event in Poland on Thursday marking the 60th anniversary of the death camp's liberation, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, wore dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots.

"The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower," Robin Givhan, The Washington Post's fashion writer, wrote in the newspaper's Friday editions.

Between the somber, dark-coated leaders at the outdoor ceremony sat Cheney, resplendent in a green parka embroidered with his name and featuring a fur-trimmed hood, the laced brown boots and a knit ski cap reading "Staff 2001."

"And, indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults," Givhan wrote.

Britain's Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph newspapers also both noted that Cheney had opted for casual attire.

The Post's Givhan said Cheney might have been hoping to avoid the cold weather in Oswiecim, but noted he had worn a dark overcoat and no hat at all at another recent winter occasion -- his own swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 in snow-dusted Washington.

"The vice president might have been warm in his parka, ski cap and hiking boots," Givhan said. "But they had the unfortunate effect of suggesting he was more concerned with his own comfort than the reason for braving the cold at all."

Cheney's staff had no comment on the story.
I happened to catch a shot of this on the news last night, and just about died laughing. Kudos, Dick--and hey, maybe next time you can get Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas to flank you and check your beer for mice.

P.S. I love that Reuters used the word "resplendent"...awesome.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Why the music industry is going broke, part 352.

It's become pretty cliche to snag on Ashlee Simpson, I know. It's probably beneath me. And you know, I wouldn't be one to join the fray, except for this...

You see, in the wake of Ms. Simpson's well-publicized screeching at the Rose Bowl, her publicists/marketers have dispatched spammers to internet messageboards to say the following:

"I just read about Ashlee in us weekly. Those guys at the football game were total jerks. She said she wishes the critics will pick on someone else and i agree. Do you think MTV is gonna play the boo on her show? It's on after Newlyweds again right? I hope they let her tell her side! --Mandyc19"

How did I become aware of this? Because one of them hit an R.E.M. messageboard I visit frequently. And as you might imagine, an R.E.M. messageboard is not exactly a hotbed of Simpson fans (well, except for Simpsons of the animated variety). A lot of us on those boards got "the spammer vibe" from that post...a google search confirmed what we expected, but we had no idea how far the marketing team had gone to spread their garbage. I mean, everything from an R.E.M. forum, to hip hop forums have been hit, and many more...which shows they're not even attempting to target people who would actually listen to that shit.

Why does this disgust me so? Two reasons:
1. Whatever spammers they hired were pretty amateur--they didn't even have enough grace to change their name ("Mandyc19") from board to board. Spamming, to me, is the equivalent of prank calling someone--and what do you do when you prank call? You change your name, you change your voice, for crying out loud! Dumbasses.
2. What a desperate, tacky move to try to garnish more attention for such an untalented little leech. Maybe if the dumbass record companies spent more time CULTIVATING ACTUAL MUSICIANS instead of promoting tone-deaf little sycophants, they wouldn't be in the "crisis" they're always moaning on & on about.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The bling thing has gone a bit too far.

Just saw a commercial for this, and I can't stop laughing...


Okay, so the commerical was funnier than the website is--some girls sitting around talking about "blinging" up their cell phones--but just the idea of people laboring over their junk, meticulously gluing sequins & rhinestones on their cell phones...god, that's awesome. I mean, I've glued sequins to boxes and stuff before, but to put all that work into something so temporary and easily-misplaced...I'd compare it to gluing rhinestones to my fridge, except that well, that does sort of sound like something I'd do...

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tunnel vision?

Behold--something utterly mesmerizing. ;+)

Sunrise, sunset...

The sunset last night, as seen from the rooftop outside my bedroom (no, I didn't climb out--I've got one window where I can actually remove the screen, unlike the other seven)...we've had a couple of neato sunsets in the past week, lots more reds in them than usual.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

A study in contrasts.

Behold! -- the current temperature of my apartment (10:00 PM). I'd like to point out that (A.) this is with all but two of the radiator vents completely closed (the knobs on those two don't work), and (B.) with the air temperature outside currently hovering at -12 F.

That's a 98 degree difference.

Is it wrong that I'm sick of having to wear tank tops & shorts around the house in mid-January? Is it normal to break a sweat while sitting on the couch January?

The south hills.

View of the hills south of Helena--I love it when there's fresh snow on the trees. There's something about when it gets below zero here, gives the air a crispness you can almost see.

Frosty nostrils!

Close-up of the Cathedral, seen from Mt. Helena...

You can almost see my house in this one! (It'd be way over on the right-hand side, if it were.)

Cold mountain, indeed.

Me at Mt. Helena today, on a detour before I went to the grocery store...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

There's got to be a morning after...

But it was so pretty last night... ;+)

After making a very valiant effort to shovel out my car from underneath the roughly eight inches of snow we got last night, it still can't make it up over the hump onto the I'm pretty much snowed in until a plow goes by. Which, judging by Helena standards, will be sometime next week. (Not having a sales tax is great sometimes, but it does kind of suck when you need the government to actually DO something. And I say that as a government employee. And therefore, with impunity.)

Snow, part tres.

Kind of windy when I stopped for gas at Safeway...

Snow, part dos.

The state Capitol complex, a few blocks from my house...

Snow, part uno.

It's snowing heavy-duty's a few pictures I took on my way home from the Myrna Loy Center after watching Kinsey tonight. (Great movie, by the way--really well done.)

The Rasterbator!

Courtesy of something I saw in ReadyMade Magazine, I now have a giant-sized poster of the Aerial Lift Bridge adorning one of my bedroom walls. If you'd like to make a ridiculously large thing to hang on your wall, you too should check out The Rasterbator!

Monday, January 10, 2005

These are staying up all year!

And here's my beloved office door...I can't help it, when I see an empty basket, it must be filled. It's genetic. (Look at my parents' house!)

Everybody's working for the weekend.

Yesterday, I went into work to make up some hours from when I was out on holiday in Wisconsin*...normally, the building where I work is a very busy place. Besides the numerous staff people housed there, it also houses the WIC offices for the county. So it's not unusual to hear children shrieking from down the hall, or to hear their thunderous little footsteps barreling down toward my end of the hall as they try to flee the syringe-wielding nurses. :+) It was a little weird to be in there all by my lonesome yesterday...although I did feel strangely productive for a change. I just might have to make that my regular Saturday night thing.

Anyway--I really like my office. I'd never had an office, really, before this job. It's exciting to have walls. And a door! Did I mention the door? Ahh, yes...a door. A door which I almost never close, because it just isn't the custom for folks to close their doors in my building...but it's nice to know that it's there.

*Say what you will about those Brits, but c'mon--"going on holiday" sounds so much more continental than "going on vacation." I'm sticking with "holiday" from now on, damn the torpedoes!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

One more reason to avoid the Great Falls International Airport.

And...(I can't believe I forgot this!)...they have a bigass Lewis & Clark mural on the wall. Now, I'm not knocking the artist who painted this or anything, but seriously, it looks like something that'd be painted on a junior high gymnasium wall. Couldn't GFIA plunk down a few bucks for something, I don't know, in a frame? Or, what the hell, maybe prop up some of their infamous taxidermized varmits down in this end of the airport? God knows they have enough stuffed critters out in the lobby to put the Smithsonian to shame...

So, to recap: it was the mural, the conservative late night call-in radio show, and a sea of ugly, empty chairs keeping me company in the wee small hours.

Haven't Lewis & Clark done enough to me in this lifetime? Haven't they?

(Is it sad that I'm holding a grudge against two historical figures who died a hundred years before I was born?)

A public condemnation of the Great Falls International Airport.

A word of advice: if you're ever traveling to or through Montana by air, and your airline tries to get you to make a stop in Great Falls, don't. Kick, scream, sell your soul, do whatever it takes. Do anything you can to avoid this dump.

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here, but suffice to say, I was stuck in this shithole for over an hour late on Wednesday night, waiting for my connection to Helena. This isn't the first time that's happened (thanks once again, Northwest Airlines!), but dammit if it isn't the last.

THERE'S NO ONE WORKING IN THE AIRPORT AFTER 10 PM. Seriously--you get off the plane, and a surly TSA agent directs you to go sit down at the end of a deserted hallway until the plane to Helena arrives an hour later. There is no bathroom. There is no pop machine (and dammit, I needed some sweet caffeinated nectar by 11 PM!). There's only the dismal set of chairs as pictured above, a ticket counter with no one behind it, and some really wretched late night radio call-in show on the loudspeakers. A conservative late night radio call-in show, to add insult to injury. ;+)

I cannot emphasize this enough: stay outta the Great Falls Airport. Hell--stay out of Great Falls in general. You won't be missing anything, seriously.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures of taxidermized animals, as I'd promised...but seriously, they wouldn't let me out of the gate area. Next time I'm up there (if there ever is a next time), I'll do better.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Sure, I look like a professional. A professional jackass!

My first post from somewhere that isn't my house--or, uh, my parents' house. HOW EXCITING! I've been sitting here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport for the past 2 1/2 hours, waiting for my next flight back to Montana (Northwest's taking me to Great Falls first, then I get to spend a delightful hour laid over in their shitty airport until I get flown back to Helena at midnight--ooh, maybe I can take pictures of all the taxidermized animal heads all over that dump, remind me!). I've got another 2 1/2 hours to go until I fly out of here. So, a meager $6.95 investment in using the MSP wireless internet network seemed like a fine investment.

And let me tell you--nothing rocks harder than sitting in one of the airport's pseudo-business areas, crocheting & watching a "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog" DVD while businesspeople seated around you have to do legitimate work and stuff. Man, this must be what Bono feels like! (haha)

I spent a lovely morning with The Dennis & The Jane, shopping around Duluth and engaging in much witty banter as usual. The mall was about eighty billion times more tolerable today than it was the day I arrived--although to be fair, that was four days before Christmas--and I even made a semi-extravagant purchase of a new spring coat. Well, extravagant for me, anyway. My VISTA years did a good job of teaching me to be even more frugal than I was before... :+)

I did come to a resolution of sorts today as I took off out of Duluth, though: it's time to move back. I'm not sure if I meant Duluth, or just this area (northern WI? the midwest?) in general, but give me a few days to think about it and I'll probably come to some sort of conclusion. It's weird...there's never been a time before where I've been leaving, going back to Helena, that I haven't been insanely eager to get back for one reason or another. But today, I can honestly say that I really didn't want to go. I don't think I have a tendency to romanticize this area, or my relationships back here--but I realized that I truly miss my family at this point, and want to be around them more. I've had my couple of years far away--maybe it's time for a couple of years closer by again. We'll see, I guess...but it does feel like a sign or something. Time will tell.

And now--back to goofing off! :+) I'll post some stories from my trip later this week--there were a few misadventures worth noting, I reckon. And seriously, I'll try to keep those taxidermized animal pictures in mind for later...