This Is That Bluehost Commercial

Every video.  Every.  Single.  Video.  I understand how AdBlocker works, and I understand this would be a moot issue if I’d stop being lazy and just install the thing and be done with it.  I do.  I’m not even sure why at this point I haven’t if only for a case of short-term (or maybe long-term, I honestly don’t know) memory loss.  But because of my laziness, every YouTube video I fire up has this commercial before it: the girl with the Pixar quivering lips reaching slowly across the table, the man grinning as he watches her while they play out the facsimile of a first date and we discover she’s not reaching for him but her computer mouse in order to make a purchase with him on the other side of this phone call helping her select the proper pair of sunglasses.  I don’t make it too far in, hitting SKIP as soon as it’s available, so perhaps there’s a redeeming quality at the end I’m unaware of.  Doubtful, but possible.

I’ve had to use Bluehost for a number of years, and never found them terribly helpful.  Their systems go down with a frightening amount of frequency, and communication is often limited to waiting in a queue for online chat only to have whomever you’re talking with tell you “their systems are down”.  Though Bluehost is far from the worst offender to be sure, I don’t need to see them represented every time I want to watch a video of dogs doing something funny by someone wearing a sly-knowing smile when the reality of that grin is far more mediocre.

Honestly, I’m just tired of seeing them.

Food, Uncategorized

This Is Buffalo Wild Wings’ Blazin Sauce

I don’t know.  I’m not convinced.  The website says to keep away from your eyes, pets and children.  I’d also argue the same holds true for 90% of their sauces, as that just seems like common sense to me.  Maybe I’m overthinking it.  Anyhow, the sauce itself wasn’t that fancy.  There’s heat to it to be sure, though it wasn’t a complex heat used to enhance the overall flavor but rather a micro-furnace ignited in the core of your mouth and left to smolder a handful of minutes.  Some guy in my office started to sweat after he ate it, so do with that what you will.

Overall: boring.  Eat Spicy Garlic instead.

Food, Travel, Uncategorized

This Is Key West

I kept referring to (and still refer to) Key West as “Cuba” every time I mention it.  I’ve never been to Cuba, so I’m not sure how far away from the truth I am when comparing the two, but the Cuba of my imagination is similar to Key West for one reason or another.  I do, however, have some minor experience with the Caribbean which Key West strongly resembles, appropriately, so maybe it balances out.  Key West is a strange mix of tourism and not, the island broken into what feels like districts catering to either locals or visitors.  This is most apparent as you first cross over the bridge and see the familiar hotels, chain restaurants, chain stores and markets.  Nearer the opposite side of Key West where the United State’s Southern Most Point marker can be found seems to be the other large tourist chunk, this area defined more by the coast and series of road arteries with higher priced boutiques and bars.

We didn’t do much I’d consider touristy, though it wasn’t completely for lack of trying.  The Ernest Hemingway Home was a little expensive for our taste ($13), so my wife took a picture at the entrance being careful to block out the wall and ticket booth to make it look more like we went.  I’ve only recently gotten okay with Hemingway again so it would have been neat to make a visit as a part of that reconnect, but I figured I could just as easily look up pictures online and spend the saved money seeking the best Cuban coffee in Key West.  Place called 5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop won out.  We checked out the southern most point.  Saw a number of roosters.  Key West has roosters the way large cities have pigeons.  At the Six-Toed Cat – right by The Hemingway Home and a spot where you can get some great french toast – the birds just walk around beneath the outside tables which made for a strange (and strangely welcome) experience.  Lunch was eaten at a place a little off the beaten called Firefly which my wife said seemed like “us”, a result of the music, the food, and the overall atmosphere.  Casual would be a good way of describing it, though casual steeped in late 90s, early 2000s rock.  Though the food didn’t knock our socks off – BLTs and Fish Tacos – it was far from bad with a price more tourist than local friendly.  Recommended still.

Overall Key West wasn’t the most amazing place I’ve been to, and if I had to do it again, I’d personally say fly in rather than drive in.  The Time Spent to Interesting ratio isn’t skewed favorably enough to warrant the extra hours.  I think Key West would be an excellent spot to go to if you’re planning to sit for a week where you can hang out on the beach or the pool in between visits to the hotel or trips “downtown”.  Though I’m sure it’s an obvious conclusion, Key West doesn’t feel right when experienced quickly as there’s little to hold the attention for too long.  Dolling out time is the better way I’ll bet, and as that’s something we didn’t do.


This Is A Vacation

Which explains my absence.  I’d considered updating from the road with brief tales of some experiences, but in the end I took the partially selfish way out allowing for a lengthy stretch of nothing.  And road.

My wife and I drove from Ohio down to Key West never having been before.  We’d gone on a similar road trip a little over a year back to visit some friends of ours in Florida and go to Harry Potter World (mini review: it’s awesome), and during that time found our way to a beach or two.  I’d never considered myself much of a beach person and I don’t think my wife considered herself one either, but those few short outings proved both of us wrong.  I called her a Water Baby on this trip as she could practically live in the ocean snorkeling for hours only coming ashore for the occasional bite of food.  I too had a great time exploring the relatively safe portions of the underwater world, though I had equal fun just hanging out on the beach itself.  The sun remains an enemy of mine, but the sound of waves and gulls I doubt is something I’d ever tire of.

So we decided on Key West, wanting a beach trip.  I won’t go too far into things in this post since I plan on covering our activities in detail over the next week or two (or three), but a brief overview would read along the lines of “The Beach Boys may have oversold some things”.  Now, I don’t mean to suggest I didn’t have a good time – had a blast – but having designated Kokomo as the theme of our adventure, and having heard it a number of times on any given day while on said adventure, my vision of that particular portion of our great country was a little… colored.  With the exception of Key West itself, the actual Keys themselves are a bit gross. Disappointing.  Dirty.  And in desperate need of a face lift.  Again: the times were largely fantastic with us sleeping in our car in a Walmart parking lot, eating some ridiculously amazing food, getting chased by a Barracuda (my wife, not me as I was totally safe on shore), meeting the Florida Keys Astronomy Club, meeting also Leopold, an owl at a bird rehabilitation sanctuary – though my wife was partial to Ruby, a screech owl – along with a number of other oddities.  It’s just the look of the place I found so confusing.  Maybe everyone’s too busy fishing and getting skin cancer to slap on a coat of paint anywhere.

I’ll explain in a later post – I guess this is what people call building anticipation – but for anyone planning a trip that way in the near future, avoid the Cracked Conch Cafe at all costs.  While going there will inevitably provide you with a story for future use you convince yourself you’ll look back and laugh at later, your experience in the present will be a thing of horror.

Movies, Uncategorized

This Is Avengers: Age of Ultron

I doubt my impressions are going to come as a shock or a revelation.  Rather than just saying “Yes” over and over again, a few things I disliked:

1. There is so much action,  most character development (or progression) goes out the window.  The exception to this is Hawkeye.

2.  The story is a little far-reaching with so many moving parts, there is little time to give decent focus to all those pieces making things feel either unfinished or unexplained.

I think that’s it.

It was beautiful, insane, way over the top, and gave me exactly what I signed up for.

Movies, Uncategorized

This Is Noah

I’m indifferent to Darren Aronofsky as a director.  Maybe indifferent is the wrong word, but he doesn’t light me on fire in any way.  I enjoyed Black Swan.  Thought The Fountain was okay.  Requiem for a Dream is one of those movies I thought was fantastic, but I have no intention of ever watching again unless I desperately need to feel better about myself.  Noah seemed like one of those movies that might be interesting, but not movie theater interesting, and in the end left me feeling flood water tepid.

For a subject matter with the potential to be – and I hesitate to use the word – epic, Noah is surprisingly flat and without character.  Most of the film is plodding and on-rails, moving from one point to the next with minimal flair never much rising above its lumbering narrative.  There are moments of interest when the film skews more towards the fantastic, these Aronofsky handling with his typical artistic flare, which lent Noah some much needed excitement.  I suspect most everyone who wanted to see the film are familiar enough with the story of the ark without needing too much history (much in the same way I tire of origin after origin story for every superhero reboot), and the pieces which may be unknown to some are not compelling enough to win wavering attentions.  There is a sub-plot pitting the Men of Cain (bad guys) again the Men of Seth (Noah, “good guys”) explained through some spliced cuts and quick story moments, though the conflict is largely bland black-and-white.  I suppose when the source material is largely black-and-white there is some excuse, though that feels flimsy instead of doing some work and making the motivation of Cain’s people less Bond villain blatant.

Time is an issue with Noah.  There is an obvious moment when a jump occurs as the children become adults and near-adults, but beyond that break the rest is ambiguous.  They’re working on the ark.  Animals start coming.  They keep working on the ark.  But then it starts raining, so I guess they’re done with the ark but there’s still scaffolding.  Then Hermione gets pregnant and the next scene she’s having babies.  A stowaway on the ark comes aboard secretly (kinda) right when the flood hits, and there’s a bit of a Hollywood fight scene between Noah and Bad Guy as Hermione is having the kids, meaning Bad Guy was on the ship for at least nine months without anyone noticing.  In a movie with angel rock giants, talking snakes, nine-hundred plus year old men, and all those animals, it may be strange that’s my moment of disbelief, but there we are.  It’s indicative of the film as a whole: somehow rushed and somehow plodding.

Everyone in the film was fine.  Seemed like they had all the time in the world and were mostly unexcited about anything.  But fine.

I’m trying to think of more to say about Noah, and I honestly can’t be bothered.  I mean, it’s not bad, there’s just no reason to care about it.  That last sentence should be the review.



This Is Cucumber Flavored Water

I’ve tried.  Like Louis Black’s comment about Candy Corn, I am continuously tricked into taking another swig of water with cucumber in it, having forgotten the previous experience which has yet to be satisfying.  In the way you reach for and drink from your Sprite only to find the waiter accidentally brought water, the cucumber in water mash-up is equally unsatisfying – jarring, even – taking a moment which should be quenching, and making it… not.  I know that’s a fairly prosaic description, but it’s what I’ve got on the short term, and even stretches so far as to more politely encompass my thoughts on the above drink.

Berries in water?  Yes.  Lemon?  Absolutely.  Bananas?  Probably better than cucumber.