The best show of last year... or any year ever... is Ted Lasso.
As shitty as 2020 was, the fact that it provided the ray of sunshine that is Ted means that I'll never be able to write it off completely. I fell in love with the show within minutes of watching, and have rewatched it many, many times. And to think I was going to give it a pass because I thought it was going to be a sports show!
Naturally, I was a bit nervous as to whether the second season would live up to the impossible heights set by the first. Much to my relief, the first epiode dropped today and is just as good as one could have hoped.
Part of that is due to a new character which could provide an interesting dynamic to the show... a sports psychologist named Dr. Fieldstone...
But the biggest part?
My favorite character in the show is Roy Kent. His character was pretty one-note though... until it wasn't. By the end of the first season he had lost what was most important to him but ended up with something that had potential to mean everything. The worry was that Roy would be relegated to abackground accessory for the show but, lucky for us, that wasn't the case at all. He's just as critical to the show as he's always been, and living his best life post-football...
But the best part? He's actually happy...
Can't ask for more than a happy Roy Kent!
One episode down. Eleven to go...
Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
I'm just going to get this out of the way... I am a fan of David Lynch's Dune movie. The novel itself is so vast, nuanced, and complicated that a film adaptation is a tough go of it... no matter who you are. So if you can't have a complete representation of the source material, you might as well hire a visionary director like David Lynch to put his unique take on the material. As a fan of David Lynch, I got exactly what I was expecting from the movie and have watched it dozens of times. If I have a critique, it's that Paul and Chani are too old. Part of what makes the story so good is that they start out as kids.
And here comes Denis Villeneuve with his take.
Talk about a visionary director.
What he did with Arrival and, even more spectacularly... Blade Runner 2049... is a take that I am very interested in seeing applied to Dune. And, to his credit, he's already got off on the right foot with his remarkable casting. Everybody is sublimely perfect, and the fact that Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and Chani (Zendaya) are kids is just icing on the cake.
My favorite bit of casting, however, is Stephen McKinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat. But we'll get to that in a minute. Because a new trailer just dropped for the movie (coming in October to theaters and HBO Max)...
Interesting to note that, once again, Thufir Hawat is almost entirely absent. The only noticeable look is from one shot where he's not even the focus...
He was barely noticeable in the first trailer either. All we got was this...
And when the Dune character posters were dropped last week? No Thufir... at first! Couldn't be found in any of the news stories I saw. Eventually I found his poster though, so that was a happy discovery...
Now, in the books, Thufir Hawat is a major character. As Mentat to the House Atreides and one of Paul's teachers he's important. Then, later on, he ends up being critical... but not as a major character. Since Villeneuve has (wisely) split the first Dune novel into two parts, maybe he is trying to keep Thufir under wraps so he can be featured in the sequel movie? I guess that could be an explanation, though I'd argue that the first movie should be where he's most important.
My fear, of course, is that Thufir has been shoved to the background and doesn't have enough of a contribution to the film to be featured. Which would be a darn shame.
We don't even know if a sequel is going to happen. Dune is a tough sell to begin with... and with the pandemic and an uncertain future for theaters, expensive projects like this will be the first to get dropped. Unless something crazy happens and the movie explodes acorss the world.
But anyway... could not possibly be more excited for October. Denis Villeneuve will absolutely make the movie worth watching... good or bad... successful or unsuccessful... so I will absolutely be renewing my HBO subscription to see it.
Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
No time to blog... Disney+ has finally dropped the first season of Behind the Attraction which goes into the history and behind the scenes of their most famous rides. The initial episodes are for Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Star Tours, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Space Mountain. I will be binging them all, because this is the kind of stuff I live for...
UPDATE: Finished! Absolutely fantastic! In-depth but not to the point of being obsessive or boring. Entertaining and smart (Paget Brewster's narration is perfect!). Even if you're just a casual fan of the parks, it's worth a look. I've been waiting for this since it was announced, and it does not disappoint!
In the last episode they ask the question "If you were on your last trip to a Disney park... and were riding your last Disney attraction ever... which would you ride?" That is really tough for me. Ultimately I think I would pick "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Disneyland. I was going to go with "Expedition Everest" because it's just so well done... but the nostalgia of Pirates is tough to overcome...
If I ever go back to China and Shanghai again, riding their version of Pirates is a top priority because everybody I know that has ridden it says it's a pretty nice upgrade.
Posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
It's not that Steve Jobs is spinning in his grave... it's that he can't even maintain a proper etherial state AT ALL because Apple's current UI direction is 100% crap.
ALL OF IT.
Icons are overly-complicated and shitty-looking.
Nothing is elegant, clean, and simple.
Nothing is adequately configurable.
Controls are scattered, unintuitive, and seemingly disappear at random.
Take for instance searching your iTunes library. The DEFAULT for search is not to search your library of songs you own... the DEFAULT is to search Apple Music and the iTunes Store (to encourage you to re-purchase the shit you own, I guess?). In order to search your library, you have to travel ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SCREEN to controls that are easy to miss so you can specify that...
And I inevitably miss it EVERY FUCKING TIME so I waste time searching Apple Music because I forgot to click off of something I DON'T WANT.
JUST LET ME FUCKING SEARCH WHAT I WANT WITHOUT THIS BULLSHIT!!
Why in the name of Steve Jobs can't the search DEFAULT to your library?
And why is Apple Music even an option IF YOU DON'T FUCKING SUBSCRIBE TO APPLE MUSIC? If you must return results from Apple Music, why not just show results from ALL THREE SOURCES on the SAME SCREEN (with your fucking library at the top since, you know, YOU OWN THAT SHIT)? Is Apple hoping that you'll eventually give up and just subscribe to Apple Music so you can find shit without having to go through this hassle? This is senseless.
Who the fuck is running UI at Apple? They used to have the best of the best talents... now they have people who don't know even basic fucking UI design to make the apps not suck shit at a level that even Microsoft hasn't reached. I am so fucking embarrassed for Apple not being able to do even the simplest shit without completely screwing it up now-a-days that I feel like I want to vomit every time I turn on my Mac.
Get your fucking shit together, Apple. The "Music" app has been garbage SINCE DAY ONE!
Posted on Monday, July 19th, 2021
I feel you, Peter...
Remember when, as a kid, Mondays meant that you just had to go back to school after having the weekend off and it felt like the end of the world? This week, as an adult, I didn't even get the weekend off. Brutal.
Posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2021
I'm overwhelmed with work, but the bullets must endure... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• HEADLINE: Buttered Saltine Crackers Are The Hot New Viral Snack Trend That’s Taking Over the Internet — Surely this is a troll article... I mean it would have to be, wouldn't it? I've been eating buttered saltines at least once a week for decades. My mom used to pack them in my lunch. Now that I'm an adult living alone, I usually skip the knife and just slap the butter in a bowl and scrape the saltines through it. Delicious. Oh... and I still pack them in my lunch as a snack all the time too. IS CHEESE AND CRACKERS GOING TO BE THE NEXT VIRAL SNACK TREND?!?
• Racing! There's a guy on TikTok who uses his treadmill to film races between stuff and it's fantastic! Many of these are edge-of-your-seat races and it's tough to watch just one...
I am embarrassed to admit how much time I spent watching these things...
But you get it, right? This is totally acceptable addicting behavior!
• Painted! It’s. Just. For. Fun. If attacking the parents or shaming a child is your first reaction, you need serious help...
Somebody had the absolute gall to comment "Needs a father figure ASAP"...
Not only has a father figure... he has an amazing father figure.
• Ya Burnt! I always always always have my television on while I'm working at home because I need background noise to keep me focused. I just finished Psych (which is getting a third movie this year!), and was pleased to see that Amazon Prime Video then advertised that all seasons of Burn Notice are available for streaming. I've forgotten how much I loved this show. SO smartly written, with some genuine humor and a flawless cast...
So, yeah, happy as a cat in a kettle of fish to be streaming the show as my new background noise of choice!
• Swim! SHIT, DAD! I KNOW I JUST HAVE A LEARNER'S PERMIT, BUT WHEN ARE YOU JUST GOING TO LET ME DRIVE THE DAMN CAR?!?
• TACO SUNDAY! Remember how I mentioned that one of my Amazon Prime Day finds was a dishwasher-safe metal taco holder? Finally remembered to try them. GENIUS!!
If anything, the product is better than what I expected, because it hangs over the plate without falling off, which allows me room to add chips and guac dip! VERY nice to be able to have the taco shells held upright while you're trying to fill them. And I think it will be even more useful when I have soft-shell tacos. Worth every penny (even if I had paid full-price) and I'm very happy with them.
• Taste! THIS JUST IN FROM THE "IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE IT'S TRUE!" DEPARTMENT...
This is one of those TikToks that gets funnier every time I see it pop up.
• HEADLINE: Britney Spears Can Hire Own Lawyer, Judge Rules. — This is obscene. The woman has been an ATM for her father and other abusers as they exploit her and her mental health for dollars... and the courts just keep letting it happen. Now we're supposed to be elated that SHE GETS TO HIRE HER OWN LAWYER TO REPRESENT HER IN COURT? SERIOUSLY? THAT'S HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK IN A COURT OF LAW YOU SICK ASSHOLES!!! Fuck the judge. Fuck the courts. Fuck her "conservators." Fuck "justice." Fuck everybody who has tormented and exploited this poor woman so her work is their payday. I am disgusted to my very core. If Britney Spears was a man, can you fathom something like this happening to her? And can you imagine what this would be like if she was a Person of Color? Our entire system should be burned to the fucking ground and replaced with something that actually has ANY SEMBLANCE to justice. Whatever the hell that means any more.
And that's your happy little bullets for this fine Sunday.
Posted on Saturday, July 17th, 2021
THUMP. BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA. THUMP THUMP THUMP. THUMP. CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP.
This is what I hear each time I come from work. It's Jake jumping off the upstairs cat tower... running across my room. running down the hall... then running down the stairs. It's nice that he comes running to greet me each day for scratches, and it's something I look forward to.
Jenny is more cautious. She'll wait and make sure that Jake doesn't get eaten before she cautiously slinks downstairs. The difference being that she's completely silent.
The other day I came home and heard nothing.
It happens from time to time. Jake is having a particularly good sleep and doesn't feel like being interrupted. Or he's busy chewing away on Mufasa and that's more important than welcoming be back home.
And then I heard him squawking. Worried that he might be sick or hurt, I went running to find him. Only to see this...
Not sick or hurt... lazy. He didn't want to run to me, he wanted me to run to him...
Eventually he tore himself away from Mufasa and came running after me when I plopped down on the couch. Say goodbye to my spleen...
Though he was nice enough to step over my balls, so that was nice.
Speaking of Mufasa...
Earlier this week Jake piled up two of his toys... then put Mufasa on top. Then sat there squawking (turn the volume up to hear it). I guess he wanted me to come look at it? I was working, so I yelled down for him to come to bed, which he did. But then I felt bad because he was obviously proud of what he accomplished and wanted to share it.
The next morning as I went downstairs to feed the cats their breakfast I was sure to tell Jake how proud I was. He didn’t care. He was over it and just wanted to be fed. Oh well. I tried.
Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2021
Yesterday Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands was there for the opening of the "Smart Bridge" in Amsterdam, which was 3D printed.
Out of metal.
They used computer-programmed welding robots to print the bridge layer by layer until the structure was complete...
Photo from TheMayor.eu... photographer not credited
But it's also frightening, as it means the technology to print with metal is here and will only get more refined and precise in the future. At which time the technology will get cheaper and will make its way into our homes. At which time people can start printing firearms. Something I have been talking about for a decade now.
I don't know what the solution is to stopping gun violence (or any violence, really). But in a fast-approaching era where anybody can print the parts and assemble a fully-automatic weapon in their basement from plans they find on the internet... we'd better figure it out. Education programs. Mental health programs. Empathy programs. Poverty-ending programs. Marginalization-ending programs. Something. Anything. Our governing bodies may want to look into stuff like that before we get to the point where banning guns is a futile gesture that comes too late (as if we're not already there... that genie is out of the bottle).
People who intend harm will always have access to weapons. And their weapon of choice could end up being something terrible that we can't even conceive of right now. That's how fast technology is moving. Staying ahead of it is essential, but current solutions always revolve around escalating the violence. And it's not working.
Evidence of that is all around you every day.
Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2021
Cookware is one of those things that I never gave a thought about. I inherited some copper-bottom RevereWare along with some cheap Teflon crap that my mom had, and I used that for years and years. Sure Teflon can kill you now (or something bad, I dunno) but who wants to live forever? Eventually I started getting into cooking and made the decision in February of 2020 to get new cookware. It's nothing fancy, but it's much nicer than what I was using... a 12-piece hard anodized set... and has really held up well. It still looks new.
Despite it all, I still kept some of my mom's old crap.
Whether out of being overly-sentimental and wanting to cling to what was left of her, or the fact that I'm a hoarder who just can't throw crap away, I kept two RevereWare pots and a beat-up old skillet that was scraped and warped and flaking Teflon.
I still use them from time to time... mostly when I'm cooking tons of stuff and run out of clean pots and pans.
Until tonight when I finally tossed out that shitty, poisonous, old Teflon skillet.
There I was scrubbing it in the sink when a nice big piece of Teflon came off. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me, and I decided enough was enough. I have cats who are depending on me, and I don't need to end up dead from a pan I didn't want to let go of.
Plus... one less thing to clean in the future.
Though I did finish cleaning it that one last time before tossing it in the garbage. Stand by your pan, and all that. It's provided 30-35 years of faithful service and earned the right to be retired with dignity.
Well, as dignified as being tossed in the trash can be, I guess.
Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021
And so the final episode of Loki was unleashed upon an unworthy world.
I have been enjoying the series up until this point, but wasn't necessarily blown away by anything. The idea of variant Loki's being the only characters to survive in multiple versions... or at least the only characters we've seen survive in multiple version... is kinda laughable. But, it did give us Loki Gator, and it's tough to be mad about that...
Needless to say, anything I say after this point is going to be riddled with spoilers. If you haven't seen all of Loki yet, you should probably get on that before proceeding.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...