This morning I was hungry enough to eat breakfast, but not hungry enough to cook the eggs, hash browns, and toast I wanted. So I microwaved a couple hotdogs and headed off to work. Yummeh.
When I got home I wasn't nearly as exhausted as I usually am, so I nuked two more hotdogs for dinner and decided to install my guest bathroom speaker into the ceiling behind where the access panel will go. My cats hid upstairs because I was screaming obscenities the whole time. But I did it...
If I could have found a quality bracket I would have gladly paid for it, but instead the only one that would work for the position I needed was a $20 cheap piece of crap. The screws in particular are soft, cheap, and shitty that were stripped out with zero effort (like more screws you get with cheap crap). Plus the hinge mechanism is stupidly designed. And, as if that wasn't enough, the instructions left out a critical piece that I had to figure out on my own.
Hopefully it doesn't fall down and ruin my grossly overpriced Sonos speaker. Wouldn't shock me in the least.
Now what I really need is to celebrate this achievement with a couple of hot dogs for dessert. Considering people in my home can continue to party with music while using the bathroom is worth celebrating. Because one of those people is me!
Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2024
My favorite novel of all time is Nobel House by James Clavell.
It is a masterpiece of storytelling that brilliantly weaves multiple complex storylines and fictionalized historical events into a highly entertaining story. I've read it at least ten times. But Nobel House, a story of modern Hong Kong circa 1963, is but one piece of Clavell's sprawling "Asian Saga" which includes his far more popular and well-known work, Shōgun...
Most people familiar with Shōgun know it from the 1980 five-episode mini-series event starring Dr. Kildare himself, Richard Chamberlain. So far as mini-series of the day go, it was pretty good. A fair amount of money was injected into the project, so it had good production values and a skilled cast. Here in the USA, it was a cultural phenomenon that was well-received. In Japan, however... well... it was a fictional accounting of their very real history, so it was not well-received at all. And understandably so. I mean, just look at this nonsense...
At the time I was mesmerized by the series. I think it was my second "event" mini-series after Roots, and I anxiously awaited each installment. And then I started reading the Clavell books (of which only King Rat, Tai-Pan, and Shōgun had been written). Then the following year in 1981 Nobel House was released and my literary world was turned upside-down.
FX Networks (via Hulu) has now begun a new 10-part adaptation of the novel. Gone is the over-the-top acting style of the 1980's, replaced by more reserved and powerful performances. Japanese is subtitled Japanese (thank heavens) and Portuguese is depicted with English so that the entire series doesn't have to be subtitled. In some ways the production feels a bit more intimate than the excessive 1980 series but not in a bad way. You still get the glorious money shots to establish scale (visual FX makes possible was could never have been realized 24 years ago), and the sets have authenticity which makes it a pleasure to watch. It's just that the focus is more on the performances than the spectacle. The first two episodes aired last night, and now we're getting a new one each week...
Taking place as the Edo period of Japan's history was being born, the world of Shōgun is truly bizarre by Western standards. An English guy ending up shipwrecked there at the time would very likely have gone mad. Violence and death was commonplace and intricately linked to a social caste system and honor code which is incredibly difficult for foreigners to even begin to grasp. Layer upon that the complex politics of pre-Edo, feudal Japan and it's amazing that Clavell managed to figure out a way of setting a story there that could be understood by Westerners to begin with. But set it there he does, and it's made even more complex because you have to understand the geo-politics in Europe as well. The English Protestants against the Portuguese Catholics who controlled trade in Asia.
The new FX series does a pretty good job of hand-holding the viewer through all of it, carefully dropping bits of exposition in a way that's not offensively obvious nor mind-numbingly boring. By the end of the second episode, you're pretty much set (which is probably why they were released at the same time) which means that the remaining eight episodes will be a ramp up to the heart of the story.
Now, when it was announced years ago that an adaptation was being made, I was really, really hoping for Michiel Huisman to play Pilot Major John Blackthorne. The character is English and Huisman is Dutch, but of all the actors working at the time of the announcement, he was the one I felt could best embody the character (driven mainly by his work on Game of Thrones). Ultimately the role would go to Cosmo Jarvis, who I was unfamiliar with. The guy does a phenomenal job with the part, which is great given that the entire show hinges on his performance. He has a very fine line to walk in the earlier episodes as he adjusts to the world around him but handles it with ease. Another standout is Tommy Bastow playing the Portuguese priest Father Albito. Despite him being an "enemy," you want to like him, which is critical to his role. Of course all of the Japanese parts are very well cast.
Anna Sawai I actually recognize from, of all places, Fast and Furious 9 (more recently she was in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters). Near the end of the second episode her character has to hear some incredibly shocking news and then deliver it to her Lord Toranaga. But she has to be very Japanese about it, showing neither shock nor surprise... all while being totally shocked and surprised. And you read it all on her face. It's thrilling to watch.
So... yeah... so far so good, and I'm giving the show my highest possible recommendation. Knowing where the story is headed has me excited about future episodes, and I am almost certain to sit down and binge the whole thing over a weekend after finishing the final piece.
Can't give you more of an endorsement than that!
Posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2024
Today was cold so I wore two shirts. A long-sleeve Eddie Bauer blue henley that I've had for at least a decade. On top of that I wore a short-sleeve St. John's Bay light green cotton button-up that I've had for close to two decades. Sure they look weird together, but they're some of my favorite pieces of clothing.
But the blue long-sleeve T has the elbows ripped out and a couple small holes in it... and the short-sleeve shirt has several holes, one of which is too big to repair. And so when I change into a T-shirt for bed, I'll be throwing them in the garbage, like I should have done years ago. But I held onto them because, despite the tears and holes, they were very well made. Now-a-days you're lucky if a shirt will last two years. Everything is made with thin, fragile cloth and not built to last. Clothing is made like Kleenex because they want you to throw it out and buy more ASAP.
What's a few holes when compared to that? These shirts are stronger with holes in them than new shirts are fresh off the rack.
At one time I thought I would just sew my own and use good-quality materials... but sewing shirts takes longer than you'd think. It also takes skills that are not easy to master. The obvious solution is to just pay the money for clothes that will last, and I'm perfectly willing to do that. But finding them is difficult. I'm (obviously) not somebody who's into high fashion, but most of the tougher clothes I can find in tall sizes are made for construction workers and lumberjacks. Not exactly looks I can pull off very well.
And so... goodbye my faithful shirts. You did a good job these many years.
Posted on Monday, February 26th, 2024
I had such grand ambitions for dinner tonight.
But my Monday was so exhausting that I just didn't have the energy to cook anything. So I'm having a hot dog, warmed pita bread, and roasted red pepper hummus while watching Rory Scovel's new HBO special (just like I promised I would yesterday... I'm a man of my word!)...
The dude has always been funny in a kinda everyman-average-guy-sorta-way, but he's disturbingly good-looking now. He's got a nice haircut (with highlights?) and he's dressed very well. He's totally put together compared to other appearances I've seen from him, which I am not used to seeing.
The special itself, Religion, Sex and a Few Things In Between is actually very good. I don't want to say that it's more mature and refined... this is Rory we're talking about... but it does seem as though he's scaling back on the "wacky" enough to build a stronger rapport with the audience and court a new level of success. No more schleppy Member's Only jacket hiked up to his armpits with his shirt hanging out (which is what his last Netflix Special was about). Nope. Rory got himself a stylist!
After this I'm off to bed. Not necessarily to sleep... I'm not that lucky... but I will be attempting to rest.
Because I'm guessing tomorrow is going to be even more exhausting.
Posted on Sunday, February 25th, 2024
I'm too tired to blog. It's been a very tiring day. But there truly is no rest for the wicked... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• A Mystery! Given the fact that you can find just about anything knowable on the internet, it always fascinates me when the internet gets stumped. Because, though rare, it does happen. This video is about one of those times. It's a song. And, I'm just going to put this out there, it's a song I really like. Fair warning though, this is not a video you can start and walk away from because it just gets stranger and more compelling the longer it goes on...
Awesome. I mean... frustrating for everybody involved, of course... but still awesome.
• PIVOT! It's so rare that I get to use my name being similar to the Friends actor, David Schwimmer, as a joke, but here we are...
Now, honestly, I have been trying speak from a place of kindness more and more because there's enough hostility in the world... but Kirk Cameron kinda crosses a line for me. His whole "Way of The Master" idiocy where he "proved" the existence of God with a fucking banana... WRONGLY (the modern banana was cultivated by man, and bears very little relationship to the natural "banana" that God gave us)... was just proof that he'll exploit peoples' faith for money, which is pretty shitty. The fact that he's a raging homophobic bigot is just the icing on the fucking cake. Kirk Cameron can fuck ALL the way off with his bullshit, and I'll save my kindness for times when it will actually do some good.
• Rory! I did not know that Rory Scovel had a new special out! Guess what I'll be watching when I get home tomorrow after work tomorrow?
Yeah. This. I'll be watching this.
• QUIET! Ever since Apple got rid of the physical mute switch, I get calls ringing through EVEN IF I AM IN SILENT MODE. And of course searching through loads of antiquated Apple documentation does nothing to help resolve this. It sucks how something as simple as DO NOT DISTURB doesn't fucking work...
Every damn day it's something new.
• Prē! This video is pretty great. I hated the Palm phones but really loved WebOS. Fortunately, a lot of what I like transitioned over to iPhone (even if it took a while to get there)...
I find it remarkable that a whole lot of people have no idea these phones existed.
• White! Betty is one of the funniest people who ever lived. Nobody dropped a line like she did. This zinger is everything...
And it's the way she delivers it that makes it so hilarious.
• Grandma! To end this on a positive... this is genuinely sweet, no matter how you feel about Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter...
Grandmas are grandmas the world 'round.
And off I go to take a nap. Cannot tell you how happy I am that I actually have that option right now.
Posted on Saturday, February 24th, 2024
You know how you think that your pet has outgrown some undesirable behavior... only to find out that they absolutely have not after all?
If you had asked me yesterday if Jenny had outgrown tormenting her brother, I would have said "yes."
Jake brought Mufasa downstairs. Then had breakfast. Then went to sleep. JENNY CAME DOWN AND GRABBED MUFASA. So I followed her, calling her name. When I got to the top of the stairs I saw this...
Clearly she dropped him and is now pretending that she has no idea how he got there. He just happened to be where she sat down.
At which point I'm pretty much obligated to take Mufasa downstairs and give him to Jake, or else this will be greeting me when Jake figures out that his favorite toy is missing...
Cats. What can you do?
Posted on Friday, February 23rd, 2024
Work lasted quite a bit longer than expected, which was fine except it meant that I didn't get home until dark. Driving in the dark is something that I don't find as thrilling as I once did, which means that I value the precious light for as long as it lasts.
EVEN WHEN IT IS SHINING DIRECTLY IN YOUR FACE!
But it does make for some pretty scenery when you look to the side though...
I did get to have some of the greatest pizza on earth though, so there's that.
And... well... yeah. Home again. And exhausted.
But I'm having leftover pizza for dinner.
And for breakfast tomorrow. And probably lunch too. Because I bought a whole, giant, extra pizza to bring back with me.
Which is the nicest memory I have of the trip considering that the "upgraded river view" that I was given ended up being this...
I need sleep.
Posted on Thursday, February 22nd, 2024
Blergh. Had to drive to Spokane today.
The older I get, the more driving three hours straight wipes me out. I can get through it just fine, but once I arrive I'm beat. You can pretty much write off the rest of the day (which is why I drive over the day before work starts).
But anyway... near the start of my journey, there's always a decision to be made...
|✓ Slightly more interesting... a few ghost towns and a little scenery to look at.
|✗ Boring as hell.
|✗ Slower, takes longer.
|✓ Faster, 70mph nearly the whole way.
|✗ Two lane, and you're guaranteed to get stuck behind somebody going under the speed limit.
|✓ Takes you to a four lane highway, easy passing the whole way.
|✓ More easy-going.
|✗ You might die. Drivers are aggressive as fuck and don't give a shit.
|✗ Gas up in full, because most gas stations are abandoned.
|✓ Occasional gas station opportunities.
Now, 20 years ago... even 10 years ago... there was no question I would be turning right. Of course I would! I can save 15 minutes or more! And I've got a dedicated passing lane! Why wouldn't I?
But now? It's a genuine dilemma.
Yeah, still I want to get there as quickly as possible. But I'm resistant to "boring" now that I'm in my declining years. I don't want to spend my remaining years driving through "boring." So I turned left so I get to see things like this...
Dean's is a famous burger stop about a half-hour outside of Spokane. It looks like they got tired of repairing the roof, said "fuck it," and decided it was easier to build a massive canopy over everything. I stopped for fries and a huckleberry shake a few times, but it had shuttered so I couldn't this time (apparently I missed it by 5 months, since they closed last September). Sad. I'm guessing that they could never recovered from COVID like so many restaurants that closed.
When I got to Spokane I threw everything into my hotel room, then had to make a beeline for River Park Square so I could get a replacement power adaptor. Apparently my ancient one that's been around the world with me decided to die.
By now I was tired and hungry, so I decided I would just eat at the upscale burger chain across the street. I don't particularly like them, but I know they have food options for me, so whatever. I went in. Waited and waited and waited. Finally went into the bar. Was told to sit anywhere, which I did. The wait staff proceeded to wait on two tables that came in AFTER me... then decided to check on other tables before I even got a menu. Well fuck that, I left. Instead I decided to get an Impossible Whopper, but the Burger King I knew was shuttered when I got there. So I decided to drive along the main drag to see if anything appetizing jumped out at me, and ended up at... a different Burger King! Which thrilled me, because the Impossible Whopper I had was twice as delicious and half the cost if I had gone to the fancy place.
INTERESTING TO NOTE: In addition to the accident on the highway to the right that was so bad that it jammed up the highway I took on the left, where there ended up being another accident. Then there was another on the way to Burger King... and another on the way back that was really, really bad (don't run red lights, kids).
Spokane must have more auto accidents per capita than anywhere else in the USA. And so now I am back at my hotel and feeling dead, which is not great because I have to be on-site early in the morning. Fortunately, the gift shop had ice cream DIBs, which I totally deserve after this shitty day I've had.
I wonder what the odds are that I'll get a good night's sleep tonight?
Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2024
If somebody would throw a science text book into Alabama, that would be great. Preferably science book on tape, as it seems lawmakers are not much into reading words in those learnin' books.
And while we're on the subject, I thought it was unlikely that politicians could be more fucking stupid and willfully ignorant than the likes Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, and Majorie Taylor Green. But then along comes fucking Tommy Tuberville and it's all "Hold my beer." Jesus.
We have seriously got to have a basic competency test for all political condidates before they can even get on the ballot. I mean, critical thinking skills would be nice... but right now I'd settle for not being as dumb as a box of fucking rocks.
Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2024
I had just finished cleaning up my kitchen after dinner, and then I noticed that... oh noes... I had bananas going bad! Which of course means I am required by law to make banana bread. This time I made it in tiny little loaves. So convenient! And they cook in 35 minutes instead of an hour!
I was anxious to try the new egg-replacer I bought, but I don't want to waste the eggs I have left, so I did not. I did use plant butter in the recipe and on my plate though! That makes them almost-vegan!
Late night surprise nanner bread is the best nanner bread.