It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

I know it's been a few months since I went to Florida, and I also know that I've been slacking off horribly when it comes to my blog, but I've had a bit of writer's block lately. I've also had my fair share of doctor's appointments to try to figure out what's going on with my neck/spine/arm/etc.

I am pretty sure that my body is rejecting my bones. I fully expect to wake up one morning lying next to my skeleton because it decided it couldn't take it anymore. I am still trying to get to the bottom of it, but the arm weakness and finger tingling appears to be some combination of a cervical disk bulge pressing on a nerve and the fact that I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both my wrists. This I found out by being connected up to electrodes and having needles stuck into my muscles while they jabbed me with a taser. At least that's what it felt like.

On the plus side, I now have to wear these black neoprene bowling glove-type things to bed every night so I don't bend my wrists under me while I sleep. They make my hands sweat like a bitch, but I do look a little like a super hero. As anyone who has ever worn a wetsuit will attest, neoprene is a hell of an insulator. I can't even imagine the gallons of sweat that must be sloshing around in Scarlett Johansenn's boots when she's been running around in that Black Widow costume.

The Florida trip this year was pretty good. My wife came down with me for the full week, which was boring for her during the day, but we did manage to have some fun at night. No, not that kind of fun (and there are reasons for that I will get into later) but we went out to a great dinner, and hit Epcot for the fireworks, did some shopping in downtown Disney -- that sort of thing.

The opening session speaker was Michael J. Fox, and he spoke about optimism and overcoming adversity. He was very inspiring. (If you're curious, here's his closer.) As usual, after the third day, I felt like my brain was going to explode. I was also down there with our team's resident genius, which meant that I was basically an understudy. Unless his plane went down, the chances of me actually learning something that he didn't already know were slim to none. I did notice one thing that was different this year. I haven't gone in a few years now, and it seemed that people stunk less. The last time I went to the show was in 2009, and this year was a distinct improvement. The only other explanation is that my nose is becoming less sensitive, but I don't think that's it. I still managed to see my fair share of grossness and I even snagged a picture or two for you because that's the kind of guy I am. In one of my early sessions, I sat behind this guy:

He looked pretty clean, and he didn't have B.O, but he kept scratching himself like he had ear mites or something. The fact that he wouldn't sit still was pretty distracting, but I didn't actually get up and move my seat until I saw this:

I know it's hard to make out, but about half of his scalp skin was resting ever-so-delicately on the back of his chair, just waiting for something to take it airborne. I wasn't waiting around for that, so I relocated.

There was another guy who wore snow camouflage every day. Here's a picture of him hiding in plain sight:

Now I like to consider myself a bit of a woodsman, and I know some of my readers may not be well- versed in the finer aspects of camouflage, but snow camo is one of the harder patterns to spot, because your eyes lose all the benefits gained by being a human who is able to see in color. With that in mind, I figured I'd help you all out a bit:

This next guy sort of scared me. He had a lot of holes and stuff in his face that he poked metal bits through, and he wore more mascara than most women I know. His fingernails were painted black, and his shirt said this:

I didn't know what it meant, exactly, but I was pretty sure it wasn't something I'd enjoy having upon me. I mean, are scourges ever good? I don't think that they are. And to wish one upon someone you never met is just plain rude. When I got home, I looked that phrase up. The most hits I found were related to this song by a band called Nile. Here's a bit of the lyrics:

The scourge of Amalek is upon you, The seed of Amu hath oppressed you
They hath urinated upon you and made you eat feces
They know not Ra
They are the enemies of Asar, they hath defiled your tombs
Violated your women and made victims of your little ones
They hath befouled the writings of Thoth
They hath burned sacred papyri, they hath cracked open your heads
Smashed your teeth and gouged out your eyes
They hacked off your limbs and thrown your mutilated bodies
Towards the heavens mocking Ra

There's a lot of defiling and befouling going on there. And no small amount of smashing and gouging and hacking. They also seem to be pretty pissed at the Egyptian gods for some reason. Every time I hear music like that, I can't help but think that maybe the cookie monster started a band.

I have no idea where this next picture came from, but it haunts my nightmares:

In retrospect, she probably has the ideal physical shortcoming for attending a tech conference. The next picture is one of me sitting outside the fake Rose & Crown and drinking a real $15 Guinness:

That's how you know you're in Disney. You pay $15 for a freakin' beer. Even the vending machines outside the parks have prices that are beyond belief:

For that much money it should be the size of a hardcover book.

Disney is always so clean, and I (as a full-time consumer and part-time germophobe) appreciate that. The streets, the bathrooms, the buses, you name it. So spotless you could make someone else eat off of it and they wouldn't die. Probably.

I was especially fond of these hand-washing tips provided by the kind folks at Brawny:

I was surprised there wasn't another paragraph that said something like, "Lots and lots of paper towels. On second thought, just go ahead and use the whole roll."

One of my favorite places to visit in Epcot is Japan, because it is wonderful and horrible at the same time. They have taken consumerism to the pinnacle and turned it into fine art. On the one hand, they are responsible for things like this:

But on the other hand, they are also responsible for things like this:

If I could draw like that, I would never leave the house.

Now, let me get back to the issue of not having any 'fun' at night. My wife will probably kill me for even telling you this story, so if I don't get laid for six months, it's your fault. The week before we left for Florida, she had a sinus infection and was on antibiotics to get rid of it. That's all well and good, except you know what can happen to women when they go on antibiotics for any length of time, right? That's not normally a problem, because there are drugs readily available if the worst comes to pass. So here's a fun fact: Do you know what there is absolutely NONE OF inside Disney proper?


That stuff is like gold down there in Mickey Town. Not a tube to be found anywhere. We didn't have a car, so we were stuck with wherever the Disney transportation could take us. Needless to say, the highly-tuned apparatus was out of service the whole week. On day three, we finally tracked down a tube of the single-dose miracle cure, but the next day there were still problems below deck so we resigned ourselves to the fact that we'd have to settle for simply enjoying some alcohol and the warm weather. Our last night there, we were sitting outside in a gazebo at dusk, drinking a twenty-dollar bottle of six-dollar wine. She was talking about how beautiful the weather was, and our garden at home -- how it was almost time to order new flowers and how she wanted to add some new flower beds, and the massive amount of clean-up we have to do every year.

There had been an ice storm the previous week, and the large juniper bush just outside the garden entrance had snapped off about half-way down due to the weight of the ice. We had planted it when we had moved in to our house, over 15 years ago, and she was really sad about losing it, because it hid the screened-in porch from the road. The conversation lagged, so we sat there in silence for a bit, enjoying the warm summer breeze and sipping our last glass of wine on our last night visiting the happiest place on earth.

She looked up at the darkening sky and sighed. Then she said, "I still can't believe my bush broke."


IM Conversations with Yort go wrong so quickly.

Johnny: That new graphics tablet I bought for the mac is awesome. Way better than my old Wacom and about 1/8th the price.
Yort: Nice
Johnny: 1024 pressure levels
Yort: But you only have two. Mash and un-mash.
Johnny: HULK DRAW!
Yort: Don't make Picasso angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

It just happens. I'm not sure why.


Who wants to draw something?

A few days ago I bought an app for my iPad called "Draw Something" and it's actually a bit of ridiculous fun. You can invite your friends to join, or you can just hit a button and start a game with a random stranger. I've been playing it on and off for a while and I've come to a few conclusions. My advice? Don't play with random strangers.

Somehow, and I don't even know how this is possible, a lot of people don't get that it's called "Draw Something" and not "Write Something." So listen up random stranger: if the word you are supposed to be drawing is "Sugar" don't draw a five pound bag and then write SUGAR across the front of it, dumbass.

Here's a recent example. See if you can guess what this might be:

I'll give you a few minutes to work on it. Calculators are allowed.

The good thing is, you can resign games if the people you end up playing with are complete idiots, so yeah I resigned that one. Mostly because he or she drew the outline of the United States and somehow managed to leave off Florida. Stay in school, kids.

Also, even among people who actually understand the one simple rule of this game, there are a lot of people out there who seriously can't draw for shit. The funny thing is you get to watch them as they're working on the drawing, so you get to witness the mistakes and the do-overs. You can almost see the thought processes that are going into the drawing. Some of them just defy description.

Here's one that I didn't guess. In retrospect, it's actually not bad:

The first person to guess it will win something. I'm not sure what yet, but rest assured it will be worth almost nothing and most likely be completely useless. But then again, maybe not.

And since the first one was apparently too easy, here's another chance for everyone else. I actually got this one so maybe I'm not as slow as I thought:

So anyway, this is where you come in. If anyone wants to play, you can look me up in the game using johnnyvirgil. I promise not to make fun of you.

Too much.

p.s. - Since I turned off that word verification thing I've gotten about 50 spam comments. They come to my inbox regardless of whether they show up on the posts or not, so I get to mark them as spam every day. Sigh...the things I do for you. Also I appear to be coming up on 2 million visitors sometime soon. So thanks for that. I wish I had a way to determine who the 2 millionth person was. I'd buy them a beer or something. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a spammer, though.


Once upon a time.

File under "The things I find while cleaning out my hard drive."

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I decided to get married. I asked Paul if he would compose a little instrumental for our wedding video, and this is what he came up with:

Almost 25 years later, it still fills me with peace and makes me want to sit on the shores of a mountain lake with my wife.