I will still be blogging every day, but the posts will be saved and posted after a week's time. This is to help my blog caching plugin do its thing, because it keeps getting reset after I post and it's taking forever. I'm at a convenient breaking point, so the timing is good.
See you next Friday when (hopefully) things will be back to normal around here and I can flood Blogography with a week's worth of posts.
If you could ever say things were ever "normal" here to begin with.
Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2021
The original Matrix movie... The Matrix... is one of the best sci-fi films ever made. It was mind-bogglingly good both thematically and visually. Everything about it is brilliant. And a lot of people think so, because The Matrix ended up being massively successful. So successful that there were back-to-back sequels filmed... The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
Both of which sucked ass.
Unfortunately The Wachowskis decided to go high-concept with the sequels to try to push them into something higher than a mere sci-fi-action-thriller. And they failed spectacularly. Every time I bring this up, people are telling me that the reason I think they failed was because I don't understand the films. I'm not saying that's impossible, but I've read more than my fair share of the philosophy they're hanging the stories on and still think it's a massive failure. And I can't quite seem to decide whether they dumbed it down so much as to make it be incomprehensibly stupid... or whether they tried to do something so over-the-top ridiculous that it ended up being incomprehensibly stupid. Regardless, you get scintillating conversations like "What do I need to do?" — "You KNOW what you have to do!" — "But how will I know?" — "You'll KNOW!" Painful.
All of this prelude is to say that I'm not overly-enthusiastic for a fourth The Matrix film.
The only way I could find myself enjoying it would be if they either ignored the two sequels completely... or they came up with a clever way of explaining why they were so bad and how their Jesus metaphor could miss the mark so completely.
And then today the trailer landed...
Now, after viewing this a half-dozen times, I'm intrigued.
It's almost like they've decided to skirt all the awful things that sunk the sequels by going meta on our asses. This would allow them to BOTH ignore the two sequels completely AND come up with a clever way of explaining why they were so bad... both at the same time!
At least if I'm disappointed I won't have to risk COVID at a theater... the film will be available for streaming on HBO Max as well.
And then there's the new trailer for Picard...
Star Trek always heads to the past whenever they want an easy win. Here we go again. No sign of Whoopi tho?
And Strange New Worlds...
And last, but not least, the first Star Trek focusing on the aliens of the Trek universe...
Though Capt. Janeway is a notable exception... OR IS SHE?!? Time will tell.
Posted on Wednesday, September 8th, 2021
I was 36 years old when Steve left Blues Clues. It still hits hard. I *always* left Blues Clues on while I was working or studying... along with many other cartoons... because it created the calming, stress-free environment I needed to be productive.
And now Steve's back to illustrate why we all loved him so much...
Yeah... if you don't think that this put the biggest lump in my throat, you don't know me at all.
Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2021
I knew what it was... but refused to believe that I knew what it was until I watched to the end of the video and found out exactly what it was!
Thank heavens we don't have cicadas here. I don't even want to know what that would do to my cats.
Posted on Monday, September 6th, 2021
My home is kept relatively clean... or, in the case of my kitchen... spotless. The exception has always been my laundry room. I've cleaned it and vacuumed it from time to time, but it hasn't actually been cleaned out since before I moved my mom out in July of 2016.
Over 5 years ago.
My laundry room became a dumping ground for all of my mom's clothes that hadn't been donated to Goodwill... along with other stuff that belonged to her that I've never gone through. I kept waiting, thinking that there would come a time when the thought of it wouldn't be quite so painful... but of course that day never came. I've always dreaded when guests would ask to use my laundry because it was so packed with crap, but oh well. That's something I haven't had to worry about in two years.
This past weekend I was taking a load out of the washer and accidentally backed into it all, and stacks of crap fell over onto the floor. So I finally just sucked it up and decided to clean it out over the past two hours.
And here we are...
A little more heartbroken than I started the day, but a lot less cluttered. My laundry room is finally a laundry room again. It's much nicer to wash clothes in, that's for sure. Here's Jake "helping"...
The next morning as I was walking downstairs to feed the cats their breakfast, I noticed that the sky in the photo of my mom riding Daisy the camel in Egypt matches the lovely flat blue of New Lemon...
How cool is that? This is one of my most favorite photos of my mom from our travels because the only thing she cared about when we went to Egypt was that she got to ride a camel at the pyramids. Everything else was gravy to her. So of course I made it happen. And managed to get this amazing shot of everything she dreamed of in one photo. I made this print to hang in her room at the memory care facility (with many others) so she could see it and know she was "home" even if she didn't recognize the place. And it was a godsend. Because even as her memory was fading, I could ask her if she remembered the camel's name... and she would say "That's Daisy." This memory was so special to her that even when other parts of her life were gone, she held onto this one. And I caught it with my camera. And that's why it hangs above my desk. It's been there since I built my desk.
Now it's back to work and The Great Pottery Throw Down!
Posted on Sunday, September 5th, 2021
September is here as the horrors of 2021 continue, but the horror is ongoing... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Breakage! Well this is ten tons of cool: Artist Walead Beshty Shipped Glass Boxes Inside FedEx Boxes to Produce Shattered Sculptures. Creative people making highly creative art like this makes me very happy.
• Date! I love discovering a great movie that I didn't even know existed! This time is was Date and Switch from 2014...
Yeah, it's a high-school rom-com... but it has a twist that I haven't seen before. And it has a really good heartfelt ending that's played beautifully by Nicholas Braun, and it caught me completely off guard. Recommended!
• Well-Made... Crap! The wheels on the lower rack of my Whirlpool dishwasher started falling off after two years. After four years, they had all fallen off. I got tired of having to pick up and set the rack in myself after a year, so I finally Googled how to repair the stupid thing just now. Turns out that this is SUCH A HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM that Google AUTO-COMPLETED THE SEARCH FOR ME! I typed "Whirlpool Dishwasher—" and it immediately popped up with "...wheels falling off." And so... $16 later at Amazon and I have "improved & upgraded" wheels on the way. Wheels with a STAINLESS STEEL core that won't snap off. How fucking pathetic is it that the manufacturer doesn't just include these kind of wheels in the first place? They HAVE to know that this is a huge problem with the plastic becoming brittle and cracking. It would probably cost them $5 extra for metal cores and pins on an item that customer's are paying hundreds for, so WTF?!?
• Disney! Please tell me you've seen the 5 minutes of joy and magic that is Us Again on Disney+...
What's magic to me is what happens BETWEEN the cuts. Especially at the very end. She clearly picked up his hat. But they don't have to SHOW it to you... they just have it sitting next to her. That's economy of storytelling in the absolute best possible way. If you have Disney+, you owe it to yourself to give it a quick watch.
• Disneyesque! I watched the new Cinderella on Amazon Prime and new Cruella on Disney+ (now that it's free to watch). Cinderella was nice enough, but their efforts to go more progressive at the end (something I usually wouldn't mind) were really heavy-handed and kind of sunk it for me. Cruella, on the other hand?
Pretty darn good! Very entertaining with a brilliant soundtrack, incredible performances, and cool design sense. The only thing I didn't care for was the fact that eventually Cruella deVil becomes a psychotic old hag who wants to skin puppies to make a coat. It's really tough to be in any way invested in how she started when you know how it ends for her. I suppose if you can ignore that aspect, you'll enjoy it.
• All the Abs! How I imagine the director's conversation with the costume designer went for Aquaman...
Director: "Many people think of Aquaman as a weak hero."
Costume Designer: "Yes, but he's being played by Jason Momoa, so problem solved!"
Director: "No... that's only part of the solution. The other part is giving him a costume that lets viewers know that he is a manly-man and a really powerful hero."
Costume Designer: "So no spandex?"
Director: "Lord, no."
Costume Designer: "We can accent his muscles with the suit to make him appear more like a classic comic book hero."
Costume Designer: "We can REALLY define those abs!"
Director: "YES! YES! OH YES!"
Costume Designer: "What do you think of this sketch?"
Director: "MORE ABS! PILE ON MORE ABS!"
Costume Designer: "Um... okay... how about this?"
Costume Designer: "Maybe this?"
Director: "MORE! MORE! MORE! GIVE HIM ALL THE ABS!"
Costume Designer: "Oh... wow... okay then... how about this sketch?"
Director: "YES! GOD, YES! LET'S DO EXACTLY THAT!"
It's like... damn. That's over-done to the point of being absurd.
• Progressive? Washington State prides itself on being tech-forward thanks to so many tech companies starting here or having a presence here. And yet Washington State itself is ALWAYS the last to adopt actual technology or new ways of doing things. It makes me livid. What in the hell are our legislators being paid for if they ignore what's happening RIGHT NOW? It's like getting your driver's license enhanced to Real ID for travel. I think this only became possible recently... despite everybody knowing that it would be required years ago (my license, renewed last year, is still not enhanced). And now it's digital driver's licenses that they are ignoring. Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, Iowa, Utah, and Connecticut are ALL hopping onboard. WHERE THE FUCK IS WASHINGTON STATE? Iowa is more aware of tech and new trends that Washington State? IOWA?!? — Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and Jay Inslee need to do their damn jobs, direct the DOL to get on this, and keep us at the forefront of tech. I am sick and tired of Washington State ALWAYS being behind the curve. Our state government probably won't even know that digital driver's licenses EXIST until 2025. Do we need to vote in new legislators that will keep Washington State moving forward? Because what we got now ain't working... and their inaction is embarrassing Washingtonians. Again. DO BETTER!
And that's all the bullets she wrote!
Posted on Saturday, September 4th, 2021
Jenny continues to be my little princess... knowing full-well that she can get away with absolutely anything she puts her mind to. She's also very quick to express her displeasure when something is not to her liking. That's definitely on me, because I not only put up with it... I seem to encourage it!
Now that I have Lemon 2.0 so I can work on a destop computer at home, I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk. Jake will often lay on the banister tray I made for him (so he won't fall off again) and watch me. But Jenny? She will sit up there and demand to be petted... meowing her head off if I don't comply!
But look at that face! How could I not comply?
Earlier this week Jenny was out chillin' in the catio (the cats spend a LOT of time out there this time of year when it's warm, but not too hot). All of a sudden she came running in the house, then starts meowing at the window. Glaring. She was furious. I couldn't figure it out, but then some kids with a dog walked by and I'm like... oh...
Weird that she's never done anything like this before. Weird but not surprising. This is just my little princess letting everybody know how unhappy she is with the world.
For the past week-and-a-half, Jake has had a dingleberry on his ass. Not stuck on his fur... but stuck to the skin. I tried to remove it (wearing a rubber glove, of course) but it was really stuck and any attempt was hurting him and I didn't want to rip off any skin in such a sensitive area. Then the thing started GROWING because more would stick to it every time Jake when to the bathroom. And it never fell off as I hoped it would.
Consulting Google, I saw that coconut oil was recommended. So I got the oil, loaded it in a squirt bottle, and would spray his pucker when I got the chance. I thought this would get him to try to clean it himself, but no. I am guessing it hurt when he tried so he gave up.
THEN YESTERDAY, after three days of hitting his ass with coconut oil, I gloved-up and it came right off when he was distracted with breakfast! Jake didn't even notice! Which is why I didn't mind when the little poop-head snuggled up to me that morning...
Because... you guys... YOU GUYS... that tongue!
Such are the crazy things I do as a cat dad that I never even conceived of when I first brought them home. Love this guy.
Posted on Friday, September 3rd, 2021
A while back I introduced everybody to Lemon, my yellow iMac.
Except the yellow that was advertised on Apple's website was absolutely not the yellow I got. What I got was a gold iMac. It's colored shades of gold and urine-stained aluminum. At first I was just going to live with it... despite being more than a little upset that I spent $200 extra just to get yellow in the first place. But... it's not yellow...
Heck, even the sticker that comes with the thing is very clearly GOLD...
With each passing day that I sat down at my computer, all I could think about was another tacky gold and urine-stained architectural abomination...
And I wasn't the only one who noticed it. Many people reviewing the "yellow" iMac commented that it was actually gold...
Taken from Tyler Stalman's unboxing and review.
Now, some people may love the gold, and more power to them. But since I don't live in the Trump Tower penthouse, I called Apple to voice my dissatisfaction.
Their solution? "Oh. We'll just exchange it for a different color. What color do you want?"
Apparently when Apple says "Free Shipping & Free Returns," they actually mean it. So... good on them, I guess. But just think how all of this could have been avoided if Apple would use actual photos on their website instead of Photoshopped color-adjusted photos. Because, seriously, the only way I could replicate Apple's "yellow" image is via Photoshop.
This is really dishonest on Apple's part, in my humble opinion.
At least they made it right at no charge to me though.
I replaced Lemon with the same iMac, but in blue. The only difference was that this time I got a matching blue Magic Keyboard with TouchID in American English and ordered an add-on Magic Keyboard in Russian. This way I can have an easier time typing in English... which I do 98% of the time... and just grab the silver Russian keyboard when I need to type in Cyrillic. The upshot being that Apple ended up making an additional $100 of me in the exchange because of it.
The blue iMac is closer to what you see on Apple's website. The lighter blue on the iMac stand (along with the mouse and the keyboard) is a nice steel-blue metallic aluminum color... the back is a gorgeous deep blue color. And the "chin" on the front is not a bright baby blue as I was fearing. It's more of a flat sky blue that has a little grey in it so things don't look ridiculous. So, all in all, it's a far better fit for me than the heinous gold thing was...
They must have been out of blue mouse charging cables, because mine is for the silver iMac... but it looks fine.
My guess is that some crafty companies will make cling-skins for the "chin" which you can pop on in a variety of designs. I will likely be cashing in on one of those if I can find a design I like. I'd be happy with just plain dark blue to match the back, to be honest.
Setup was a piece of cake because I just used a Time Machine backup to copy everything over from the gold iMac. Once I rebooted it, everything was just as I left it. All that was left to do was wipe the old iMac's hard rive, put it back in the box, then call FedEx.
And there you have it. My all-new NEW iMac.
I am still calling him "Lemon" though, even though he is blue. I'm too attached to the name after using it for the past couple weeks to want to change it.
Posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021
Well, it's really happening.
One of my all-time favorite bands is ABBA. When I was young I listened to their stuff near-constantly, and owned everything they released.
And despite fans clamouring for new music... despite an offer of $1 billion for a world tour... they resisted. ABBA was over. The music was done. And there was nothing more to come in the future.
Until there was.
And today was the day.
A new album titled Voyage and a virtual concert performance is forthcoming...
And, in all seriousness, could this be any more brilliant?
The album itself is arriving on November 5th...
And two of the tracks... I Still Have Faith in You and Don't Shut Me Down... are available to listen to right now.
And so 2021 is shaping up to not be so terrible after all perhaps?
UPDATE: When I pre-ordered the album from iTunes, I saw that the complete track listing is there plus you get a digital booklet!
I totally trust ABBA and all... but... Keep an Eye on Dan—?!?!?
UPDATE UPDATE! And here's the lyric video for Don't Shut Me Down (which I've had on repeat for a hundred times now) and a video for I Still Have Faith in You which features the ABBAtars at the end...
There we go!
Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2021
Okay. I know I am repeating myself from yesterday, but...
Today all five episodes of Dug Days, the mini-series of mini episodes that are a direct sequel to the brilliant Disney/Pixar movie Up! have been released on Disney+.
Needless to say, every last second of the episodes is just phenomenal.
Which makes it all the sadder that Ed Asner has passed, because his appearance as Carl Fredrickson in Dug Days is everything you could hope for...
If I didn't have Disney+ and there was nothing else I wanted to see on the streaming channel, I would still subscribe just to be able to watch this.
Absolute must-see TV.