Scotch on the rocks. We’ll see how long I can remain coherent.

A couple nights ago some friends and I dressed up as pirates and ran around downtown Hood River for the entire evening. Rather than simply doing this at random (which would be kind of fun, come to think of it) we were participants in this year’s Booty Hunt, a competitive bar crawl of epic proportions.

Well maybe not epic, but all things considered, pretty huge for Hood River at this time of year. For this year’s Booty Hunt we had more than 25 teams competing in a scavenger hunt, traipsing from bar to bar solving puzzles and picking up clues and drinking Full Sail Sessions until we couldn’t see straight. And once we couldn’t see straight we went to the sushi bar and did shots of sake.

All told, Sparky’s Skallywaggs came in third place, and we were pretty proud of ourselves for that. At the beginning of the night all the teams were shown a treasure chest full of loot… or “booty” I suppose. Later in the evening we convened at the Full Sail brewery where every team was given a mad-lib-esque story in which each piece of treasure filled a particular blank… trouble is, there was one extra piece of treasure. Our goal for the night was to figure out which one didn’t belong in said story.

We did pretty well, but we could have done better had we not mistook what was actually a mini bottle of whiskey, for a mini bottle of rum. Sparky is going to take it up with the storyteller, however, because everyone knows that pirates drink rum, not whiskey, and thus the part of the story that discussed the pirates drinking whiskey was inaccurate at best, and libelous at worst.

Nevertheless, our prize for third place was the treasure chest itself, brimming with the storied booty. Quite a haul, considering we’ve now got in our possession such gems as a plastic witch, a screaming knife, and a dildo.

Besides that, things have been fairly calm on this side of the world. A few days ago Kate got back from her canoe trip through Canyonlands, where they stomped through mud and carried folding chairs and dragged Grummans over rocks. She called me from the laundromat in Moab, where a week ago she had great cell reception, but this time around she just as well could have been calling me from Estonia.

Actually, it isn’t fair for me to bag on Estonia like that, considering that most eastern bloc countries have taken to cell phone technology exceptionally well and now offer widespread coverage. Honestly, the entire Orange Revolution in Ukraine was organized through cell phones.

And actually, it looks like Estonia was one of the first countries in the world to adopt a flat-tax income tax system, established in 1994 at 26% and reduced to 24% in 2005, and decreasing 1% annually until it reaches 20% in 2009. That’s some seriously progressive tax reform, there, and it makes this libertarian tingle all over.

So what were we talking about, dildos? No wait, cell phones. Suffice it to say, Kate’s cell phone provider, the famed Verizon Wireless, sucks huge ass. Their website is agonizing to navigate, and in their member’s area it’s impossible to find out anything about your account. Such basic information as “When do my night minutes begin?” and “How much are roaming charges?” are so cleverly obfuscated that they’re all but inaccessible through the website.

You can contrast this with my own wireless provider, Sprint, whose attitude towards my monthly bill is so reassuring it’s chilling. Go ahead and talk all you want Dane (their website knows my name but not much else). Talk as much as you want. Hey, even talk more than you want. Here are some pictures of svelte dark-haired women in trendy dress shirts, to encourage you to talk even more.

Look! These models use our cellular phone service! Well actually, you can’t tell from the picture that they’re using Sprint. You can barely tell that they’re using a cell phone made by one of our affiliated manufacturers. But trust us, they are! And they have phone numbers! And since you’re using our wireless network, at some point you may accidentally be connected to one of them, and the two of you could start talking!

Of course this won’t ever happen, since it’s all dependent on highly-improbable solar activity matching up exactly with cellular network anomalies, not to mention the variables of your phone habits and the habits of our models … but we promise that the odds are non-zero!

Verizon: We never stop working with against you.
Sprint: Together with NEXTEL FUCKING MODELS.

The argument clearly goes in favor of Sprint, aside from one thing:

  1. Go to the Sprint website.
  2. Note the URL in your address bar.
  3. Note how you have been redirected to (or, since they don’t have any redirect rules if you access the site without the preceeding www).
  4. Think to yourself, “Isn’t .html so, like, Web 1.0?
  5. Now, go to the Verizon website.
  6. Note the URL in your address bar.
  7. Note how you have been redirected to
  8. Think to yourself, OMFG, Verizon has skipped Web 2.0 and gone straight for Web 22!
  9. Note that while beats out of the water, destroys the hell out of for having, among other things, semantic markup and user-generated content.