Posted on Thursday, October 1st, 2015
Every year Blogography turns pink for October in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
As always, the key to survival is early detection. It's been said a million times, but here it is again... find out how to do a breast self-exam from a health care professional and perform a self-exam every month. Women in their 20's and 30's should also have a professional exam performed every 3 years (women over 40 should have a mammogram and professional exam performed every year). If you're not taking these steps, then start today. If not for yourself, for the people who love you. People like me!
Breast cancer has never been more survivable, so it's important to leave fear behind and educate yourself if you haven't already.
Posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2015
If you are playing LEGO Dimensions like me...
And you're a LEGO whore who is collecting a lot of the Fun Packs, Team Packs, and Level Packs...
You will very quickly be swimming in teeny tiny LEGO pieces. All of the builds are nothing but teeny tiny LEGO pieces. And even after you build stuff, there are always pieces left over for the re-builds, which quickly gets confusing because you can't remember what pieces go with which set.
I don't know if it's the perfect solution, but I've found that the "ArtBin Super Satchel Slim" works pretty darn well for keeping all your characters, vehicles, extra pieces, instruction books, and other stuff neatly organized...
I divided it into 15 sections. Team Packs and Level Packs I'm giving two sections... Fun Packs I'm giving one. This gives you plenty of space to store each play piece and all the pieces for builds you haven't gotten around to yet. As your needs change, there's plenty of dividers you can move around to reconfigure the compartments however you want.
I pretty much gave up on attaching the portal build to the Toy Pad... it's so damn fragile that it keeps falling apart. I've just bagged it up and use the Toy Pad without which works just fine.
Highlights so far...
The Dr. Who level of the main game, which is suitably funny and scary... can't wait for the Dr. Who Level Pack!
The Portal 2 Level Pack is hands-down my favorite addition to the game. Unless you have a love for the characters in one of the other packs, this is the pack to get if you're buying just one. Partly because it's the only way to open up Portal 2 World... but mostly because the included Aperture Science Lab level is a love-letter to Portal 2 that fans will piss themselves over. So good.
I just wish I had more time to play the thing. Life keeps getting in the way!
Posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015
Saturday Night Live had a pretty good season opener with Miley Cyrus as host tonight. And while there was some drag at the end, overall is was one of the better SNL episodes in recent years.
Mostly because of one of the most perfect sketches in the history of the show. The Millennials is so dead-on that I was compelled to rewind the DVR and watch it again. Twice...
Yes, it's parody. But not by much.
This is exactly what I have to endure when dealing with the entitlement generation that's entering the work force now-a-days. They want tons of money, but don't want to work for it. AT ALL. And you absolutely cannot criticize what little work they actually accomplish or else they'll have a complete meltdown.
I can only imagine it's going to get worse from here, which has me seriously wondering what the future is going to look like.
Actually, I can't even imagine.
Posted on Sunday, October 4th, 2015
The weekend may be ending, but the fun is just beginning because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Bond? Oh Lord. Worst. Bond. Theme. Ever. Seriously... who saddles James Bond with this whiny shit? I cannot believe that the same director who used Adele's amazingly powerful masterpiece Skyfall in his previous film would follow it up with this crap... AND I DON'T EVEN LIKE ADELE!
My expectations are running very high for Spectre, but listening to this mind-numbing drivel has me seriously questioning why. Hell, if Mendes wanted a song called Writing's On The Wall for his movie, I'm sure OK Go would have been happy to re-work their vastly superior song...
Ugh. Just ugh.
• JELL-O! Leave it to The Slo-Mo Guys to crank out yet another entertaining video...
Everything really IS better in slo-mo!
• Restless. Absolutely gutted that Catherine Coulson, "The Log Lady," has passed away just as they were finally getting around to filming new Twin Peaks...
She has one of my favorite character introductions of all time...
You will be so very missed in the upcoming Twin Peaks revival. Rest in peace, ma'am, the owls are quiet at last.
• Water! Liquid love on Mars? Thompson Twins called it...
• Derp! Pretty much...
• Family! This photo of a father making sure his daughter's step-father was a part of her wedding was the best thing I saw all week...
© 2015 Delia D Blackburn Photography, and thanks for sharing such a fantastic moment.
Until next week... buh bye.
Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2015
The only good thing about this day is that it will eventually end.
You wouldn't think that Monday's suck this bad when you work seven days a week, but they absolutely do.
Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Most. Adorable. Commercial. Ever.
LET THE DEATH THREATS AND CAMPBELL'S BOYCOTTS BEGIN!
Oh how I love a clever, smart commercial.
Obviously, this will be in the running for my favorite of 2015.
UPDATE: Oh wow... the whole series of commercials are fantastic!
Fantastic. Kudos to whomever came up with this bit of genius.
Posted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
It rained today, for which I was so very grateful because it meant day two of the gnat invasion was greatly lessened. Apparently the little bastards don't like to fly in the rain. Yesterday was precipitation-free and pretty awful.
I've never bothered to research what these bugs are all about. If they live for only two or three days so they can lay eggs for the next crop to live for only two or three days... what's the point? To be irritating for two or three days, I guess...
Perhaps they're one of those weird bugs that have wings for only a very short time so they can disperse and diversify, then their wings fall off. How much would that suck? Being given the gift of flight and freedom only to have it taken away?
I dunno. They don't look like they have detachable wings. It seems as though if their wings fell off there wouldn't be any bug left...
This little fucker was part of a swarm I had to walk through in order to get to my car yesterday. He must have stuck to me for the ride to work, then decided he'd hang out in my office pissing me off all day.
Luckily, this doesn't seem to be an annual thing. I don't remember swarms of tiny bugs last year, so who knows how long they sleep or go dormant or hatch or whatever they do. Nature is weird so you never can tell.
Oh well. Two-or-three-days every however-many-years isn't that bad, I guess.
On the opposite end of the longevity spectrum... my grandma is 98 years old today! Happy birthday, grandma!
Posted on Thursday, October 8th, 2015
My glassware is a hodgepodge of various sizes and styles that I've accumulated over the years. I have at least six different varieties in my cupboard, remnants of sets that are mostly broken now... plus a few random pieces that just kinda wandered in somehow...
Blue Striped Glasses. I bought these in college because they were on sale at K-Mart for cheap. They taught me never to buy painted glassware, because the paint eventually gets beat to shit and discolors. I hate these glasses, so naturally, they are the set that's survived the longest.
Coke Glasses. These are the famously-shaped fountain glasses from Coca-Cola. I saw them at Macy's while in Seattle and just had to have them even though they were really expensive. I broke three of them in the first year. The remaining three are pretty beat up, but work fine. Especially for a can of Coke, which fits perfectly.
Tall Glasses. After a tragic accident that saw two blue-striped glasses bite the dust, I decided I wanted glasses that would hold a lot of liquid, as I was tired of having to refill my chocolate milk glass. I found some at Shopko that fit the bill perfectly. Unfortunately, they're brittle as hell and break if you sneeze in their general direction. I have two left out of six.
Arby's Holiday Glass. I've accumulated a lot of fast-food glasses over the years. McDonalds and Burger King mostly. They used to have promotions where if you bought a meal you could get a keepsake glass for 99¢ (or whatever). No matter how cheesy, I always bought them. My favorite was a set of Peanuts comics glasses from McDonald's. I loved them so much I collected the entire set of four! There have been others... Star Wars... Muppets... Disney... Garfield... and the like. I also had some crazy McDonald's character glasses (Ronald, Grimace, Hamburglar, etc.) that lasted for years. Unfortunately, they were all destroyed when I moved apartments ages ago. All except Mayor McCheese. He survived only to crack in the dishwasher a few months after unpacking. The only fast-food piece I have left is a glass with small red birds painted on it that I got from Arby's. At least I think it was Arby's... maybe not. I have no clue as to its longevity.
Plain Glasses. It was a rare instance of my having company over and being embarrassed that I didn't have a complete set of glassware. So I found a set of plain-but-nice glasses at JC Penny's "Home Department." They worked great, but were fairly thin and crack easily.
There have been others, but that's the bulk of what's left...
Fast-forward to today.
I am finally tired of having a random assortment of glassware, so I decided to throw everything out and start over. But this time, instead of buying that thin crap that doesn't last... I decided to buy the thick, restaurant-quality glassware that will outlive me. Luminarc is famous for their tough "Working Glass" pieces, and I had my heart set on acquiring some...
I couldn't find any locally, so I decided to order from Nordstrom's, which was having a Luminarc sale.
Today they finally arrived.
One chipped. One cracked. And one crushed to a billion tiny pieces (plus three big chunks)...
I guess owning a nice set of glassware just isn't in the cards for me.
It's a pity I can't stand drinking from plastic. That would probably save me a lot of angst here.
Posted on Friday, October 9th, 2015
The pressure's on the screen
To sell you things that you don't need
It's too much information for me
—Too Much Information by Duran Duran
For quite a while now, I've been simplifying my life by getting rid of junk I don't need. And, more importantly, I've been trying to stop buying the stuff I don't really need which will turn into tomorrow's junk.
For the most part, I've been fairly successful. I rarely purchase any kind of "luxury good" on impulse now-a-days. Everything I buy is carefully thought-out. If there's something I think I just have to have, I'll put it on a wish-list and sit on it for a week. It's shocking how most of the time things I was so desperate to buy seven days ago gets scratched off the list because, upon further reflection, it isn't that important to improving my life.
The one area where I fail miserably is books.
For the most part, I've switched to digital books and digital comics because I just don't have room to store any more of them... but I love physical books so much that it's impossible for me to give them up completely.
"Art of the Movie" books are my worst offenders. I buy every Marvel Cinematic Universe book they release... which includes not just the movies, but the TV series too. I also buy every Pixar "Art of the Movie" book and most of the Disney ones as well. Needless to say, I buy loads of Star Wars and Star Trek books because it's impossible not to. I absolutely love being able to get a peek behind the scenes of how the movies I love are developed and crafted, and this is not something that translates well to digital eBooks, so I bite the bullet and purchase the real books. And a lot of the time they're fairly large. Which means more clutter.
Comic books are also problematic, because I would far rather own a physical copy over some digital representation. Alas, I have more comics than I can manage as it is, so digital it is. Unless... I run across issues that are missing from my epic runs of Batman, Action, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Legion of Super-Heroes* If I see any holes in my collection I can fill for a reasonable price, my wallet is out so fast that my credit card never knew what hit it.
Things wouldn't be so bad if I could convince myself to unload the hundreds of crappy comics I don't even like... but I never can. You just don't know when an emergency situation will arise where I'll be desperate to read an issue of Rob Liefeld's Youngblood, for example.
And so I have boxes and boxes of comics and shelves and shelves of books that probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
Which is a pity, because I could really use the space for my LEGO collection.
*Well, not any of the actually comics titled Legion of Super-Heroes, because I have all those... I'm talking about the team's appearances in other books, like Adventure Comics). Totally my Kryptonite.
Posted on Saturday, October 10th, 2015
I'm not opposed to advertising on the web. Stuff has to get paid for somehow, and ads are a part of the game.
The problem is that they have quickly become an obstruction to content. No longer are they satisfied with being a minor nuisance... instead they beat the shit out of you and have become a major problem.
Take YouTube for example.
At first the ads were dismissive. Click here to skip.
Then they became delayed-dismissive. You can skip this ad in 15 seconds.
Then ads became mandatory and non-dismissive... but mercifully short. 20 seconds or so.
But now? Mandatory. Non-dismissive. And pushing three minutes long...
Needless to say, this fucking sucks.
Not only do I find myself hating YouTube... but also the advertisers that are subjecting me to this insane amount of obstruction. I don't care how cool of a product you're pushing... if you spend three minutes keeping me from content that lasts four minutes, I hate your guts and am not buying your shit.
Many times YouTube doesn't even tell you that you're watching an ad any more. The time-bar turns yellow instead of red and that's all the notice you get.
It's worse than television ads.
And I'm watching a fraction of the YouTube videos I used to because of it.
Congratulations, Google. You've fucked over and ruined yet another part of the internet.
Posted on Sunday, October 11th, 2015
No time to lose, because a rapid-fire edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Puppy. The best thing I've seen all week...
"Roo the one-year-old rescued Golden Retriever who never had any toys, or so much as anything to chew, grew up imprisoned, starved and neglected. This is the first time she gets to choose her own toy at a pet shop."
• Assemble! Marvel superheroes may be absent from the LEGO Dimensions game... but that doesn't mean you won't be able to play something new with them...
So can't wait for this!
• BANNED! Microbeads are insanely stupid. I can't fathom who ever thought this crap was a good idea. Hopefully other states will follow California's lead in banning this toxic crap. In other California banning news... looks like SeaWorld San Diego will be closing down sooner rather than later. Can't imagine them surviving without their Killer attraction.
• Ad? After complaining about obstructive ads on the internet yesterday, I'm going to take a half-step back today. Because more and more I'm finding ads I actually like. Earlier this week I found one for gum that was pretty sweet. Yes, gum...
It's as if advertisers are finally realizing that we don't want to watch shitty commercials that suck!
• Morans. And speaking of ads I like, the inevitability of One Million Morons being bigoted assholes and condemning one of the best ads ever has come to pass. Not that anybody gives a fuck. "One Million Moms" (who are off target by 919,482 mothers) is about as effective at boycotts as a piece of shit is at not stinking. All they do is remind everybody that there are pathetic homophobes out there clutching their pearls and getting the vapors over something THAT DOESN'T EVEN AFFECT THEM. So yes. Let's save the children of the world... by protecting them from loving, stable homes.
• Poop! I'm not saying this product will change your life... but this product will change your life*...
*At least that part of your life spent pooping.
And... I'm bullet-poor. The end.
Posted on Monday, October 12th, 2015
Christopher Columbus was a genocidal maniac who murdered and enslaved countless people. He was also sadistic asshole whose lust for gold resulted in massive amounts of destruction, torture, and death. As if that weren't enough, his one accomplishment... "discovering the New World"... is complete bullshit considering indigenous peoples were already established in the Americas. And, oh yeah, the Vikings were here 500 years earlier. It's possible that the Phoenicians were here even earlier.
And yet here we are, celebrating "Columbus Day" like the piece of shit is actually deserving of being celebrated.
Though there are some forward-thinking cities, like Seattle, who have replaced the holiday with "Indigenous People's Day." Why this hasn't happened nation-wide is a mystery to me, as getting rid of Columbus Day is clearly something everybody should be able to agree on.
Much like abolishing the penny...
Though we don't seem very close to getting rid of that stupid shit either.
Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
Kill me. Kill me now.
To say I am no fan of the Republican candidates for President of the United States is a drastic understatement. Each one of them is either bat-shit insane, a fucking idiot, or both.
Then here comes the Democratic Primary Presidential Debate, and it's painfully clear that the Left isn't faring much better. Sure, it seemed more civilized and adult than what we've seen from the Republicans, but only so far as the pandering to their base supporters isn't laced with bigotry and racism...
Photo by John Locher / AP
The winner of the debate is a no-contest Hillary Clinton.
It's almost shocking how far ahead of the competition she is. Her nomination is so far in the bag that she could get a blow job from Monica Lewinsky on stage at the next debate and there would still be nobody to touch her.
Speaking as somebody who loathes the idea of a Clinton presidency, I type this with a note of sadness in every keypress, but what can you do? If there's a challenger for the nomination, I didn't see it on stage tonight. Rumors are circulating that Vice President Biden might still drop in the race, but I don't think it would make a difference. Joe Biden probably couldn't get his own family excited enough to turn out to vote, let alone the rest of the nation.
I've stated my objections to Hillary Clinton many, many times. The fact that she is probably going to be running the country next term fills me with a sense of dread that approaches despair. The only more polarizing candidate I can think of would be if President Obama won a third term.
Yes, she had her moments during the debate. But ultimately there was nothing there for me. Her reaction to criticism of her past decisions is absurdly dismissive. Nobody is more tired of the conversation surrounding her damn emails than me, but I still don't think she's adequately addressed it. Clinton advocated jail time for Edward Snowden because of security breaches, but she just gets to sweep her security breaches under the rug because she declares they "weren't classified information at the time?" Bullshit. By nature of her damn job as Secretary of State, everything she emailed has the potential to become classified information (yes, even after the fact) and she fucking knows this. And you can say that there was never a breach of security on your email server AND that you didn't delete any damning emails, but you'll have to forgive me for not counting on a politician to tell the truth. Hillary Clinton does whatever Hillary Clinton wants and doesn't care if you don't approve. Move on. Next question. So much for transparency in government (as if it ever had a chance).
And then there's Bernie Sanders.
If I had to pick a loser from all the rest of the losers in tonight's debate, I'd have to put him at the top of the list. Here was his opportunity to reach past his fan base and secure a chunk of voters for his nomination... and I think he blew it. Socialism, which is perceived as so anti-American that even hard-core Democrats be like "Damn, Bernie!," is such a rallying cry for Sanders that it might as well be a boat anchor tied around his neck. Sure he can tread water for a little while, but ultimately it's going to be the thing that sinks his campaign. Even for people like me who aren't scared by a little socialism intruding on their democracy. Because ultimately socialism is lopsided and unfair no matter how you divvy up the pot. You want my tax dollars to make it so that absolutely everybody gets to go to college for free? Bullshit. Some people are simply not built for college. For whatever reason, they don't have the aptitude for college, and any money shoveled towards a college education for them is money wasted. Not that I'm calling anybody "stupid" here... I'm just saying that different people have different talents in life, and not all of them involve college. But college is going to be free for everybody in BernieWorld, so who cares if you're any good at it? Free-fitty-free is free, so party on.
Sanders also has an almost child-like depth when it comes to foreign policy. You want to give money to Saudi Arabia to fight ISIS? Seriously? Have you been paying any attention whatsoever to what's actually going on over there? Do you have any concept of the history in that region? Even more laughable is Bernie's anti-war rhetoric. Have you been paying attention to your voting record? Dance around it all you want, but the staggering profit that is intrinsic to the massive American War Machine ain't going anywhere. Not with Bernie at the wheel. And sure as fuck not with Clinton.
But all that's incidental when it comes to Sanders' assault on rich people. Do I think the distribution of wealth is grotesquely imbalanced in this country? Of course I do. And we should absolutely be addressing this. You can't have the wealthiest of the wealthiest gaming the system to keep making themselves richer and richer while the rest of us keep getting poorer and poorer. There are companies run by some of the richest people on earth who have an entire workforce supplemented by welfare. They get huge tax benefits and breaks that regular citizens can't even fathom benefiting from. They use their massive wealth to buy our politicians so they can do whatever the fuck they want... including destroying the environment. They are untouchable and influential at the highest possible levels of a government they've bought and paid for. No rules apply.
That being said, I'm tired of the sorry socialist rhetoric that implies wealthy individuals don't pay taxes. Loopholes and all, the wealthy pay massive amounts in taxes... hell, they pay most of the taxes (don't let Leona Helmsley fool you). Percentage-wise it may seem as though they aren't paying their fair share... but dollar-wise they pay more than their fare share. And everybody has opinions on which way you should be measuring it. I'm somewhere in the middle. Tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthy should be closed, because establishing them for the fantasy that is "trickle-down economics" that never work is categorically stupid. But setting out to screw people just because they're rich is also categorically stupid, and that's where Bernie goes off the rails for me. If you want to be fair, let's talk about a flat tax. But you can't include the very poor in a flat tax because they don't have money to pay taxes. And taxing people on welfare is makes no sense. So is it really fair that there are people who pay absolutely no taxes when the rest of us have a chunk taken out of their paycheck in taxes... even as a flat percentage? How is that "fair" for everybody? Well, it's not. But it's the only way the system can work. Poor Americans are still Americans. Even more importantly, poor Americans are still people, and I am sick and tired of the Republican spectrum implying otherwise. A good number of poor people are poor not because they want to be... but because our government failed them. If all your opportunities for a living wage are shipped off to foreign shores because the government makes it so easy for corporations to outsource jobs... and even easier for those corporations to shelter their profits from taxes... who is the bigger leach on society? I'm not pretending I have the answer here (I lean strongly to a straight percentage tax levied on all goods that are not edible) but I will say that neither the system we currently have... nor Bernie Sanders' Socialist Utopia... is a viable option.
I could go on and on. But nobody wants to read that. Suffice to say that while I appreciate the passion Bernie Sanders has for working class Americans and preaching equality for all in a system that's far from equal... I think his brand of socialism is not "America" and has no place in the presidency.
Jim Webb is the Rand Paul of the Democratic ticket. A whiny candidate that has zero chance of staying in the game, but demands that everybody pretend he does anyway. If he spent what debate time he was given in a useful way, maybe Anderson Cooper would have let us hear more from him so he could craft any semblance of a serious presidential candidate. But Webb doesn't feel like he's taking any of this seriously. Or rather, he's impossible for anybody to actually take seriously. From his crazy ramblings about killing a guy (which is a fascinating aside, by the way) to his weird, shifty takes on racial justice, he felt more like a Republican candidate than a Democratic one (Iraq War vote excepted), and has nobody but himself to blame that he got short-changed on time.
Martin O'Malley literally faded away on that stage. Despite having good talking points and a bit of passion for Democratic ideals, I sincerely doubt he made any impression whatsoever on voters. It's kind of a shame, too, as he's a healthy middle ground between Clinton and Sanders. If he could get Democrats even a little excited about his candidacy, he might make a good Vice President. Assuming Bill Clinton passes on the job.
If Martin O'Malley made a weak impression, I'd have to say that Lincoln Chafee made no impression at all. Or, if you want to factor in his absurdly stupid "It was my first day in office!" response, a bad impression. And, let's face it, his excuse for having voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act was stupid. What happens if he gets elected? "I didn't mean to launch a nuclear missile at Canada and turn Toronto into a radiation-soaked crater... it was my first day as president, so give me a break!" Of course, this is the guy who thinks he should get the nomination by default because he never had any scandals attached to his name. If there's no better reason he's unelectable, that would be it. If you're a politician not embroiled in scandals, you're not in the game.
Can you believe we have five more of these things to go? Good Lord... just have Hillary Clinton announce her running mate and get on with it all ready. Anything more than that is pointless.
Though wouldn't it be cool if some game-changing event lands on the Democratic ticket to make next month's debate must-see TV? We can always hope.
Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
It's not that I get upset because somebody texted the wrong number...
...it's because they don't have an iPhone, so I have to pay texting charges to let them know.
Damn green bubbles!
Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015
Ever had one of those days where it's all bad news from the moment you get up until the second you go to bed?
That was me yesterday.
It started with a phone call that was reeking with bad news for a friend. Then I found out my cameras isn't recognizing memory cards anymore. Then I got handed a massive financial burden that couldn't have come at a worse time. Then I got some disappointing news about a project I was really looking forward to. It goes on and on.
In other words, it was a Wednesday.
This made it difficult for me to have spirit for Spirit Day this year, but I tried my best...
The good news is that today was relatively bad-news-free.
But there's still two hours left, so who knows?
Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2015
A new season.
Another Stanley Cup?
I think so!
Posted on Saturday, October 17th, 2015
Trying to be a fan of Saturday Night Live is an exercise in futility. So much of the time it's just awful... but then they'll drop a gem so brilliant that it makes you believe again.
Tonight's episode was packed full of gems, and they didn't waste any time... the cold open take on the Democratic debate was genius...
I've never been a Larry David fan... but holy cats can he do a flawless Bernie Sanders impersonation!
The big attraction for tonight's episode, however, was the triumphant return of Tracy Morgan to the show as host after surviving a horrific car accident 16 months ago. To say he killed his monologue is an understatement...
Yes. Reuniting the 30 Rock cast for a guest shot is too good to be true.
The show itself was pretty good... featuring a return of Tracy's Brian Fellow and also the return of Tina Fey to the Weekend Update desk. But my favorite sketch had to be Family Feud, which is what you hope for when tuning in to SNL...
Next up? Donald Trump. That should prove interesting. Or disastrous. Or both.
Much like a Trump presidency, I'd imagine.
Posted on Sunday, October 18th, 2015
Let's get ready to rumble, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Canadia. Best of luck to our friends to the Great White North on their Prime Minister election. Will ten long years of Stephen Harper douchebaggery be enough? Guess we'll find out.
• Feels. ZOMG. Kitten raised with ferrets thinks she's a ferret!
Photo by MichaelMankus.
• Future? Now incredibly sad at how badly our once-promising future has so severely missed the mark...
I can only guess that Biff Tannen has created an alternate 1985 that turned into this pile of shit.
• Fleeced. Yet another terrific article tearing down Carly Fiorina's carefully constructed (and wholly hysterical) façade that she's some kind of awesome businesswoman that's fit to be president...
Photo by Justin Sullivan and Getty Images.
All hail to Jobs!
• Duty! The Duggar clan is a never-ending fountain of wisdom that just keeps giving. Apparently men are merely sexual animals with absolutely no rational thought when it comes to getting the sex they need. Yes, NEED. They will die without it. Or cheat on you. Regardless, it's all your fault. So if you have a headache, you just need to buck up and fuck your husband before something terrible happens. If you don't, that would make you a murderer... or single... or both. It's not your man's fault that you are physically and mentally exhausted. So don't you dare put that on him. He doesn't need to deal with it and he is mentally unable to understand it. Slam a 5-Hour Energy and fuck your husband. Stabbed in the eye with a fork? Throw on an eyepatch and fuck your husband. Nine months pregnant? Fuck your husband. Get shot foiling a bank robbery? Fuck your husband. Bad hair day? Make yourself presentable THEN fuck your husband. Because men? Men simply cannot process the alternative. And shame on you for even thinking that they should have to.
• Wonder? And I thought the David E. Kelley's 2011 Wonder Woman pilot was heinous crap. This... this... has to be the most horrendous take on the character possible...
Thank God Lynda Carter came along in 1975 to give us a Wonder Woman that still holds hop even today. Lyda Carter was Wonder Woman. Still is. Probably always will be.
And... time for bed. Sundays make me sleepy.
Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2015
And so the new trailer for Star Wars VII, The Force Awakens has dropped. Is there really anything else that matters today? Probably not.
Meh, I think I'll give it a shot come December...
This movie is going to make a gazillion dollars.
Posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015
I'm watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while I type this.
I haven't seen it in at least a decade and had forgotten just how smart, funny, and entertaining it is. Even more amazing is that it debuted when I was born, which means it's existed as long as I have...
Halloween is eleven days away, which seems a bit early for Halloween cartoons. I can only guess they are moving it back so that Christmas programming can start on November 1st and not feel too close. But who knows, maybe they won't even have the decency to wait for Halloween to end before the Christmas assault begins. Frosty the Snowman could be playing tomorrow for all I know.
And speaking of insanity...
So much for Tuesday.
Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Pepsi Perfect! Pepsi!
It's October 21st! AKA "Back to the Future Day." The day that Doc, Marty, and Jennifer traveled 30 years to the future and the year 2015! Which means that the entirety of the Back to the Future trilogy will very quickly take place in the past...
My plan was to blow off work and stay home so I could watch the entire trilogy from start to finish.
But, alas, responsibilities and all that.
Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
Since the beginning of the home computer revolution, I have used thousands of programs (apps, for the kids out there). Some have been good, some have been bad, some have been amazing. But, in all that time, only one of them can be crowned "Worst Software of All Time."
And it's Apple's iTunes.
No joke... iTunes is the single biggest pile of shit I have ever encountered.
It started as a music player called SoundJam back in 1998, and I was a huge fan. When it came to playing your digital music collection, it was easily the best solution out there. Apple knew this too, which is why they bought out the program and self-branded it iTunes to fit with the whole "i-esthetic" they had going on at the time. And, for a while there, all was good. Apple changed a few things and made it look a prettier, but it was still the SoundJam I enjoyed.
But then everything changed. No longer merely a music player and cataloger, iTunes quickly became Apple's "hub" for digital media thanks to the release of the iPod. It wasn't too bad at first... sometimes I had a hell of a time syncing my music but, for the most part it worked well. It was also around that time we got handy additional features, like "Smart Playlists," that were a welcome additions to the program.
The honeymoon wouldn't last.
As more and more "features" (aka "crap") were added to iTunes, it grew into a massive pile of bloatware that was complicated, confusing, and bug-ridden. iTunes wasn't exclusively for playing music any more, it was a storefront for the iTunes Music Store. Movies and TV shows were added. And ringtones. And podcasts. And apps. And internet radio. And books. Very quickly iTunes was suffering an identity crisis, and Apple struggled (and failed badly) to come up with a user interface that made sense across all the shit it was supposed to be managing.
Then, just when you thought it couldn't possibly get worse, Apple Music was crammed into the mix.
And suddenly I was longing for the days that iTunes was merely complicated, confusing, and bug-ridden. Apple's streaming music solution, which I could give a fuck about, further pushed iTunes into utter ruin. The program is so fucked up now that you don't use it... you tolerate it. And even that's too much to ask sometimes.
Take for instance video streaming.
I have been ranting for years about how fucking stupid it is that Apple forces you to download your movie and television purchases so you can watch them. Never mind that every other digital content provider on earth allows streaming video, Apple did not unless you wanted to watch on an AppleTV. But, surprise surprise, video streaming was added along with Apple Music. No more being forced to clutter valuable hard drive space with a download when you want to watch The Matrix for the hundredth time... now you just start playing.
Except when you can't. Which is often.
I can't tell you how many times I've tried to watch a movie only to have it stutter, drop out, go out of sync, or even crash. This evening I wanted to watch Edge of Tomorrow and found it impossible. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Stutter. Stutter. Stutter. At first I wanted to blame my internet connection. But streaming from Netflix was fine. Streaming from Amazon was fine. Streaming from YouTube was fine. It's just Apple's piece of shit service that doesn't fucking work. So I have to wait 20 minutes for the movie to download before I can watch it. Used to be you could watch a movie while it's downloading, but the stuttering was worse than when I tried streaming. It's absolute bullshit that Apple has BILLIONS of dollars at their disposal and can't get this shit figured out when literally everybody else has.
And what about music?
Apple added a subscription service called iTunes Match back in 2011 which allows you to put your music in "the cloud" so it's accessible anywhere. And not just your music purchased from Apple... all your music, no matter where it came from. And it was too good to be true. All that music I ripped from my CDs at a low bitrate because I didn't want it taking up hard disk space? Well, if Apple sells it, they automatically match it and upgrade the file to the best quality they have available. And since it's in the cloud, it's taking up -zero- megabytes on your drive! Brilliant!
Except when it isn't. Which is often.
The biggest problem is not really Apple's fault. If a music publisher all of a sudden decides to withdraw their music from iTunes, you lose it. This goes for every last song you purchase from Apple. Unless you've downloaded a backup it's gone. And since this scenario is in the licensing agreement you sign off on, you have no recourse. So... always have a backup of your music. This is critical.
While the concept of iTunes Match is good, it's not utopia. Sometimes music you own won't match for some reason... even though Apple sells the song. Other times Apple will match the wrong tracks. I bought The Beatles collection in mono... the way it was meant to be heard. Apple matched everything to the stereo version. And of course there's no way to fix this in the system. Annoying, but not a deal breaker.
Other problems arise when the iTunes service is down. Or Apple's streaming servers are overloaded and streaming badly. Unless you have local copies of your music (defeating the whole purpose of the cloud), all your music is inaccessible. That should be a deal breaker.
And it gets worse. iTunes is such a massive pile of crap that sometimes you can't access your music even when Apple's streaming service is working flawlessly. I have 30 "albums" by Depeche Mode. When viewing my library as "Songs," everything not purchase through iTunes disappears (even if you have "SHOW ALL MY MUSIC" checked). Change to "Artists" view and suddenly they're back. The program is so hideously complex that little problems like this are everywhere.
Topped off by the fact that iTunes is FOREVER asking you to type in your fucking password. Most of the time for no damn reason.
It's to the point now where I regret having purchased any of my digital content from Apple. Especially movies and TV shows. Far better to have purchased my digital content from a company that actually gives a flying fuck about providing a workable solution to their customers.
And Apple is absolutely not that company.
Probably isn't going to be any time soon.
Posted on Friday, October 23rd, 2015
It's been a fairly stress-filled week.
I don't know that my weekend will be any easier, but at least I have a quick trip to look forward to on Monday.
And now? Nachos!
Posted on Saturday, October 24th, 2015
I think that I've mentioned a couple times now how much I love "making of" and "art of" books for movies I enjoy. There's something about getting a behind-the-scenes look at the filmmaking process and all the hard work involved that makes me love great movies even more.
My obsession started when I was 11 years old. I saw Star Wars and was desperate to find out everything I could about the movie. In the days before the internet, this meant scouring the magazine stands. Fortunately, Star Wars was such a huge phenomena that there was no shortage of magazine articles. Unfortunately, most of them were devoted to fluff pieces and corny interviews with the stars. Nothing had much depth or new information.
Until I discovered Starlog magazine, issue no. 7...
This amazing resource for science fiction fans provided a glimpse into movies that was unlike anything else. Not only did they talk about the films I loved... they featured articles that discussed how they were made...
You too can download issues of Starlog from the Internet Archive!
And I was hooked.
Starlog eventually led to a love affair with Cinefex in 1980, which was nothing but lush, in-depth, behind the scenes information! The magazine dissected movie special effects to an unprecedented level, and I was in cinephile heaven...
Eventually the "making of" books came along. Most of the time they were a step backwards from Cinefex, but I still bought them. Reluctantly.
All that changed in 2007 when The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film was released...
This absolute masterpiece of film documentation reignited my love of "behind the scenes" books and has been leading me on the road to bankruptcy ever since. Not just with new releases, but with past releases as well. Like The Story of The Fifth Element, a terrific book from 1997...
Currently, I'm obsessed with all the "art of" books for Disney/Pixar feature films... and, of course, all the Marvel movie books, which have been fantastic...
If you're a fan of these books like me, there are two new releases you should be aware of...
"Ultimate Visual History" books for Back to the Future and Ghostbusters!
Both volumes are very nicely made and have loads of great info. Spot varnish on the photos is featured throughout (something I love in a book!) and they tried to make them a bit more fun and accessible by including "souvenirs" from the movies that they stick to pages here and there.
In the Back to the Future book you get such things as the "Save the Clock Tower" flyer that Jennifer writes her phone number on (but it's white instead of blue)... the letter Marty writes to Doc to warn him about getting shot... the receipt from "Blast from the Past" for Grays Sports Almanac (but it's paper instead of clear plastic).
The Ghostbusters book doesn't have "souvenirs" so much as "production inserts" that feature artwork, storyboards, and an animation cell. Overall I wish they had not included the extra pieces, because they're just going to damage the pages they've been adhered to. You can easily remove them (the "glue" they use is that removable "booger snot" stuff) but then they're going to get lost. This kind of gimmicky crap never works as well as publishers think it does.
Still, Back to the Future and Ghostbusters are two of my favorite movies of all time, so I'm happy to have these editions. They claim to feature never-before-seen images and exclusive interviews, so that alone will make the books essential buys for the completist.
Hopefully publisher Insight Editions will release other books in this series. I'm still waiting for a making of Spaceballs book.
Posted on Sunday, October 25th, 2015
Don't worry... blogging isn't as dead as they say, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Jones. I do not have the vocabulary to adequately express how much I'm looking forward to Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix this November 20th...
If it's even half as good as Davedevil was, I'll be ecstatic. Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter (as LUKE CAGE!) look to be knocking it out of the park.
• Outrageous. And so it turns out the shitty Jem and the Holograms movie adaptation is, in fact, shitty. Which was foretold by many, many people after watching the trailer...
IT'S NOT FUCKING ROCKET SCIENCE! RESPECT THE DAMN SOURCE MATERIAL OR FAIL!
• FAKE! Nothing like getting excited over a ton of five-star reviews on an item you're needing from Amazon... only to find out that every last one of them were from people who either got it for free or received a discount for their "honest and unbiased" review. Well screw that. Your "honest and unbiased" review is overwhelmingly positive because THAT'S how you get chosen to get free stuff for reviews! They're not going to choose people who are critical of the things they write about to review their product. I absolutely loathe this shit.
• Dull. Seems almost eerily accurate...
Dell. The pink slime filler of computer companies.
• Comeuppance. Oh. How sad for the price gouging little fucker.
• Force! This has got to be the single best video game commercials ever made...
The magic of video gaming is that it has the ability to put you in a fictional universe made real. Many video games have been advertising along these lines... this is the first one to absolutely nail it.
And I'm off. In the meanwhile, here's probably the cutest thing you've seen all week.
Posted on Monday, October 26th, 2015
And so today I flew to San Francisco for one night only to attend a concert with long-time blogging buddy, Jester.
Needing to kill ten hours before the big event, Jester drove us up to Marin County. Believe it or not, the only part of the region I'd ever visited was Sausalito at the bottom-most tip. Everything north of that was a mystery. A MYSTERY IN THE FOG...
Our first stop was a pumpkin patch because Jester wanted to make pie...
Pumpkin measured $12... including tax!
Further up the coast...
The hundreds of stairs down weren't a big deal... the thousands of stairs back up was agony for an out-of-shape bastard like me...
On the way back, Jester and I saw something odd. A kind of weird machine or something...
A stop at Olema Farm House Restaurant for mac & cheese lunch...
And then... a quick stop at Stinson Beach before heading back to the city...
Where we saw a seagull hauling off a whole crab...
A great day, and the main event hadn't even started.
Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
Last night was my first time seeing Walk The Moon live.
It was also my first time seeing a show at the Nob Hill Masonic Center.
Hopefully it won't be my last for either one. Thanks to Jester for inviting me to such a fantastic show...
The venue is right across from Grace Cathedral...
The evening began with an opening set by Holy Child, which I had previously seen live when I was in San Francisco for Betty Who. They were followed by a band I had never heard of before called Saint Motel...
I really, really enjoyed their set. Saint Motel is an amazing live band. Wasn't as impressed with their studio albums, but maybe they'll grow on me.
The main act was Walk The Moon and they were fantastic...
You can get a taste of what they're like live in this video for Different Colors...
They are best known for their hit single Shut Up And Dance...
I was worried that my favorite song off their latest album was skipped, but We Are the Kids came along in the encore...
If you ever have the chance to see Walk The Moon live, it's an opportunity you absolutely should not pass up.
Back to real life.
Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
You were loved.
You will be missed.
Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Another day. Another piece of bad news.
One of these years, when all the storms have passed and I can look back on this time in my life and laugh about it, I'm going to sit down and document all the horrendous shit that's been thrown at me over the past 14 months. Maybe then it will become real enough that I can accept that it actually happened. Because right now it seems anything but real.
Which is probably for the best.
Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2015
Well, not really.
I'm actually not entirely sure.
Guess it will all get sorted out next week.
Posted on Saturday, October 31st, 2015