And so President Cheeto Jesus has said The United States will be exiting the Paris Accord on climate change. It's all bullshit, of course. His reasonings are either outright wrong or put into a context that has them defying reality. Which leaves us three possibilities as to what's going on...
I'd start in on a rage-induced rant right now, but here's a more sensible approach from Adam Conover...
We have to reverse coarse on fucking up the planet while doing so can still make a difference. Taking giant steps backwards and giving away our leadership position when it comes to fighting for a healthier planet is about as dumb as it gets. Par for the course when it comes to our current president, but the country itself must be smarter than that.
The future of life on earth depends on it.
Back when I went vegetarian on Earth Day in 1988... some 29 years ago... it was not a terribly difficult decision. The girl I was dating was a vegetarian. I didn't like much meat anyway (outside of burgers, bacon, and pepperoni pizza), and there were some great "fake meats" hitting the market that I was able to substitute with little effort.
But there are times...
Back when we had a Burger King in town, I'd drive by the place while smelling the flame-cooked burgers filling the air, and give serious consideration to abandoning vegetarianism. Or I'd go to a breakfast buffet and see a big ol' plate of bacon and be transfixed... and be trying to resist shoving my face into the plate. Pepperoni was the worst. Pepperoni pizza. REAL pepperoni crisps up on the edges and forms little cups filled with meat oil that makes them about the most delicious thing you'll ever put in your mouth. And, unlike veggie burgers and veggie bacon that's "okay"... there is no acceptable pepperoni substitute that tastes anywhere close to the original.
If I ever fall off the vegetarian bandwagon, I can pretty much guarantee it will be over a pepperoni pizza.
What it won't be over is jerky.
Because there are some very good jerky substitutes out there, and I decided to take a look at some of the most highly-rated...
Photos taken from FakeMeats.com
Lightlife Meatless Smart Jerky: Original
Hands-down my favorite of the bunch. It's got a fantastic texture that retains a bit of the toughness that "real" jerky has, but won't rip your teeth out. The shreds are compressed into square-isa pieces, which also makes them easy to eat. Unlike so many fake jerky products, the flavor is subtle. They aren't trying to blast through your tastebuds to conceal the fact that you're not eating meat. This is a mild jerky that counts on subtle notes of a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce for flavor instead of piling on the heat to obliterate it. If it weren't for the 480mg sodium per ounce, you could eat it all day! (though high sodium is typical for these products).
TASTE: ★★★★★ • TEXTURE: ★★★★★
Louisville Vegan Jerky Co.: Maple Bacon
Despite my not tasting much maple or bacon flavor in the maple bacon variety, this is a very good brand of jerky. Perhaps a touch sweeter than I'd like, but nothing horrible. I do get a slight soy flavor lingering on my palette, but not offensively so... it's certainly better that than an over-flavored jerky! The texture is pleasing... not too tough, not too soft. Pieces are randomly shaped into strips that are meant to resemble actual jerky, so if you're transitioning, this might be a good brand to start. Sodium is a typical 480mg per ounce.
TASTE: ★★★★☆ • TEXTURE: ★★★★☆
Louisville Vegan Jerky Co.: Smoked Black Pepper
Despite being the same brand as above, the texture is softer/spongier for some reason, and I'm not getting as great a "jerky experience." It's like the jerky is soggy or something. The smoke and black pepper elements are there, as promised, but most of what I'm tasting here is salt. It's only 20mg more than the Maple Bacon (500mg vs. 480mg) but after eating it for a while, that's all I can taste. Would be a better jerky if they could toughen up the texture (like Maple Bacon) and take out salt while adding a touch more black pepper.
TASTE: ★★★☆☆ • TEXTURE: ★★☆☆☆
May Wah Vegan Beef Jerky
This Chinese jerky has an interesting texture that's more "shredded" than other brands. I like it... but it also gets stuck in my teeth. The flavor is... odd... not really barbecue or smoke, though I get a hint of something similar. It's got a definite mustard element floating in there... and it's going in more of a sweet than spicy direction. Overall I don't dislike it... it's definitely different and tasty... it just isn't hitting my "jerky button" the way I'd like.
TASTE: ★★☆☆☆ • TEXTURE: ★★★☆☆
Stonewall's Jerquee: Original Mild
Stonewall's was my first vegetarian jerky. I had never tasted anything like it, and was buying it by the case at my local health food store. Then... after a year or so... something changed with the flavors. The "Original Mild" ended up with a horribly bitter flavor that left a nasty soy aftertaste. And while the texture is weird and spongy, I always ignored it because I liked the flavor so much. Now, after a decade of avoiding the stuff, I decided to try it again. Same thing. Same spongy texture. Same bitter flavor and soy aftertaste.
TASTE: ★☆☆☆☆ • TEXTURE: ★★☆☆☆
Stonewall's Jerquee: Original Wild
Same as above, except they pile on peppers and spices to add some heat. The heat does quash the bitter notes a bit, but I really don't like the end result.
TASTE: ★☆☆☆☆ • TEXTURE: ★★☆☆☆
Stonewall's Jerquee: Peppy Pepperoni
Back in the day, I thought the "pepperoni" flavor was pretty good. But now it's added to the same bitterness that has taken over the rest of the Stonewall's line and, even worse, has been made scorching spicy hot. So hot that any "pepperoni" notes are obliterated. If I wanted this flavor, I'd just drink a smokey hot sauce directly from the bottle.
TASTE: ☆☆☆☆☆ • TEXTURE: ★★☆☆☆
Primal Strips: Texas BBQ
This stuff is tough, like real jerky, but they inexplicably soak it in sauce, so it ends up being more like a tough strip of meat in marinade than actual jerky. Your teeth will slide over the wet before you can get a bite, and even then you may not be able to bite all the way through on the first chomp. The flavor is not bad at all... it's definitely a sweet barbecue variety flavor... but once you get past the sugary-sweetness it's a little bland, having very little smoke elements.
TASTE: ★☆☆☆☆ • TEXTURE: ☆☆☆☆☆
That's it for this round. As I discover more great vegetarian jerky options, I'll update the list.
And if you're looking to purchase any of these products, you can get them all via one-stop-shopping from the good people at FakeMeats.com!
No matter how many tools I buy, there's always something more.
My latest purchase? A plate joiner... better known as a "biscuit cutter." This very cool tool cuts notches in the side of a wood board so they can be joined together with a small piece of oval-shaped wood (a "biscuit"). The biscuit swells when glue soaks into it, which makes the joints quite strong...
A biscuit cutter became necessary for a number of reasons. First is that I can't fit large pieces of wood in my car. Second is that my sliding miter saw can only handle lumber 8" deep, and when I need a precise angle I don't want to use hand-saw. Aligning small pieces of wood so they can be joined into a large piece of wood is tricky business without a plate joiner, so I bit the bullet and spent the $100.
It works fantastic...
That's three pieces of 8-foot wood that's been biscuit-joined into a single piece, then filled and sanded smooth. The biscuit joint is not really meant to be for strength... it's more for alignment... but the board is about as solid as it gets. Nice!
The only problem is that every time I use my biscuit cutter, this song goes through my head...
All thanks to my Facebook friend, John, who just couldn't let me enjoy my biscuit cutter without Ivy Levan!
The world may be on the brink of disaster, but have no fear, because an all new edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Hey You Guys! LEGO Dimenions finally got around to releasing expansion packs for LEGO City Undercover and The Goonies. Both are excellent. Especially The Goonies, which is faithful to the source material in all the best ways. A lot of love went into this game...
Which makes me even sadder that the rumor is LEGO Dimensions is being discontinued after the Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans GO!, and Beetlejuice packs are released this Fall. Such a shame. It just keeps getting better and better with each new release.
• Free Climb! Every year on Christmas Day I check to make sure that free-climber Alex Honnold is still alive. Things like this are why: Climber Completes the Most Dangerous Rope-Free Ascent Ever...
Photo by Jimmy Chin and National Geographic
Photo by Jimmy Chin and National Geographic
For the money, I maintain that Alex is the world's greatest living athlete. I cannot comprehend how he does what he does.
• If You Were Here! The Thompson Twins are one of my all-time favorite bands. If You Were Here is one of my favorite songs by the band. If you had told me that I'd like a cover of this track, I'd say you were crazy. But then Kitty Hawk released one years ago that is actually really good...
It will never take the place of the original, but it's nice to hear a different take on the song.
• Hasan! If you haven't already taken my advice and seen Hasan Minhaj's comedy special: Homecoming King on Netflix, you need to do that right now. And, when you've seen it and start suffering from withdrawals, you'll be happy to know that he is still over at The Daily Show... stealing entire episodes with a two-minute appearance...
If you have a minute, you should watch this segment...
Assuming you can. Comedy Central's video streaming goes down so often that I'm surprised they even bother...
Seriously. Minimum 50% of the time, Comedy Central is dead now-a-days.
• Sick. Of. This. Shit! This week in the news, Fucking Dumbass Bigot Says Gays Are Like Hitler, Trans Kids Are All the Devil...
Photo from YouTube / The New Civil Rights Movement
Uh huh. Hitler. Yeah. Got it. The Nazis killed up to 20 million people. That totally equates to gay and trans people just wanting to have the same rights as everybody else and, well... existing... and such. — What a repugnant piece of shit. What a complete douche of a human being. What a fucking asshole. But one day she'll be dead and nobody will care... NOBODY WILL FUCKING CARE... so there's that.
And, lest we forget that bigotry doesn't end there, also in the news this week: Anti-Muslim Protests Planned in 23 Cities Across the Country. — As recent headlines will attest, we are in more danger from white Christian terrorists than anything coming out of our Muslim communities. But, sure, let's protest brown people because it fits the narrative being rammed down our throats from the highest levels of government. What a bunch of hypocritical fucking "religious freedom" loving dumbasses. Apparently you have the "freedom" to be whatever religion you want... so long as it's Christian.
And... back to the day's disasters...
And so it's time once again to tune into the Apple World Wide Developer Conference keynote to find out what everybody's favorite fruit-based tech company has up their sleeves for second quarter 2017.
I have to admit, I no longer get ramped up for these Apple things like I used to. In the past, I would take a frickin' vacation day when the WWDC keynote was unspooling just so I could unpack all the Apple goodness that had been unleashed. I'd pour over every minute and blog epic breakdowns of everything that was announced.
Well, I'm still excited over Apple's stuff... they're an exciting company. But the way they keep screwing up has me less enthused than I once was. I bought into their HomeKit home automation tech, only to find out that it is a total load of crap. They keep making "pro" equipment that isn't for "pros." The reliability of their products is in the toilet, and the way they address their lack in quality is bullshit. Meanwhile Microsoft is killing it with their Surface line, easily picking up the pro design market that Apple is abandoning.
But I digress.
Rather than have to watch hours of keynote like I did, here's a 19 minute recap that tells you everything you need to know (assuming you haven't seen it already)...
And here are my reactions...
All in all... some nice upgrades in the OS and software departments, but more of the same bullshit for pro design users. A market Apple used to own, but is throwing away with gleeful abandon. Leaving me to wonder if my next computer will be running Windows. My license for Adobe's Creative Cloud Suite works for Mac or Windows, and they function the same on both systems. Food for thought.
I've been a fan of Wonder Woman since I was 11 years old and Lynda Carter appeared on my television wearing those satin tights. By the time her final season aired, my 13-year old self was head over heels in love. Lynda Carter was Wonder Woman. At least she was the closest thing to Wonder Woman mere mortals could get.
After the cancelation of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, my interest in the Amazonian princess waned. I was a huge DC Comics nerd, but never bought many Wonder Woman comics unless a guest star I liked was showing up. Most of my exposure to her came from her appearances in Justice League of America, where she was almost always overshadowed.
And then... genius artist and storyteller George Pérez rebooted Wonder Woman in 1987...
The series is a master-work, delving deep into the Greek mythology of the character. No longer a "female Superman," Diana had a clear purpose and direction that distinguished her from other super-heroes in the DC stable. Having married my love of Greek mythology with my love of comic books, I became a massive Wonder Woman fan.
Fast-forward to today, and we have a new iteration of Wonder Woman to capture our imaginations. This time, finally... at long last, on the silver screen...
I'm going to put my spoiler-laden review in an extended entry, because the last thing I want to do is ruin such an amazing film for those who haven't seen it. Suffice to say that it is one of the best DC Comics adaptation we've yet seen. Only The Dark Knight can touch it. And nobody could be more thrilled than I am to say that. After the horrendously shitty string of DC movies we've endured... Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, and (Lord help us) the pile of shit known as Batman vs. Superman... I was beginning to lose hope.
But Wonder Woman changes everything. Faithful to the source material. Beautifully designed with mind-blowing special effects. Flawlessly cast. Terrific story. Awesome directing. Great music. It's the total package, and everything you want in a super-hero film. It's so good that you'd almost think it was a Marvel movie!
So... definitely go see it before reading any further...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Work has been killing me as of late, which means I don't have time for anything but working. Part of it is my fault... I volunteered for a project I really shouldn't have with all I've got going on... but blame doesn't much matter when deadlines are looming.
And so. Work. Nothing else.
Well... nothing except trying to get my year-end vacation arranged.
Last night I built the flight itinerary that gets me to Buenos Aires. It was such a long process with so many pro/con decisions to weigh that I ultimately left it so I could take a look with fresh eyes this morning. When I woke up, I was more confused than ever, so I decided to leave it until lunch. At noon I waded through it all again but still couldn't decide what I wanted to do. The plan was to take another look tonight after dinner, but the thought of looking at it again was filling me with dread. So while I was waiting for my computer to run a backup up this afternoon, I logged in, booked the flight as it was, and will just trust it will all work out. If not, I guess I'm stuck in South America for a while...
8,600 miles of flying. Which is not quite as bad as the 10,600 miles it took to get to Johannesburg on my last big vacation.
But, still... quite a lot of flying.
"It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."
—Peter Gibbons, Office Space
There comes a point where you see just how bad the world has become and you have to decide if you're going to be one of those people who frets over every new horror... or if you're just going to say "fuck it" and not give a shit anymore.
I'm firmly in the latter camp.
It's not that I'm happy about no longer caring... I wish I did care... but it's just no longer practical. Every day it's something new and worse, so I'm going to spend my remaining years on this planet in a blissful state of detachment...
And you know what? I feel better already.
I've been doing some construction in my bedroom, which has been a source of much anguish for my cats. They don't like the smell of the paint. They don't like the dust. They don't like the noise of my power tools. They really don't like the noise of the vacuum cleaner running all the time. I try to keep the door closed so that Jake and Jenny don't walk in paint or get hurt on something, and that's the thing they seem to hate most. They are used to going where they please and telling them they can't is tantamount to tragedy for them.
The thing they do like is that the bedroom windows are open for ventilation. Never mind that they have an entire catio open to the outside world... they like experiencing the outdoors from up high...
It worries me that they might find a way to punch through the screen and escape, so I've been closing the bedroom door every day when I leave. But last week I realized I forgot, and had to rush home to make sure they hadn't escaped. Which they hadn't. Thankfully.
Speaking of the outdoors...
Fake Jake still comes running for petting whenever he sees me. One day this past week he got a little bit more... aggressively affectionate... when I was giving him a rubdown and split my thumb open...
I was taking photos of him, so I actually caught the moment when it happened...
He was undeterred by my pain and didn't let up on wanting more petting...
Such a sweetheart to people... well, he tries to be a sweetheart when he doesn't have you running for antibiotic cream. Not such a sweetheart to other cats though.
Real Jake is as sweet as ever, often laying down with me when I'm in bed watching television or reading...
He's not so sweet when he's busting the heck out of the last two crackers in the package...
But at least he eats what he kills...
Jenny has been really skittish as of late. Unless I walk towards her slowly and talk to her, she'll run off and hide. She hasn't acted like this since she was a kitten, so I'm not sure what's going on. Like Jake, she spends most of her time hanging out in the catio. Though with her it's a little more literal...
Along with being far more skittish, she no longer allows me to pick her up. And any touching has to be on her terms now. Fortunately, she wants a lot of attention, so I'm not deprived...
Such a pretty girl.
And, with that, I'm off to make more noise, dust, and stink in my bedroom.
Time to bask in the rosy glow of the blogosphere, because an all new edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Batman! It's difficult for me to think about Sunday bullets when my head is trying to wrap itself around the passing of original Batman Adam West. It's even tougher to try and explain how his television show influenced my childhood. Yes, the show was cheesy as all get-out, but my love of comic books and super-heroes all goes back to Batman, which I faithfully watched in reruns every day after school...
But the thing that cemented me as an Adam West fan is how the actor totally owned his character, and leveraged everybody's love of who he was to get an entirely new career as an animation voice actor. While probably best known for the Mayor of Quahog in The Family Guy, he voiced dozens of roles...
There have been a lot of famous people rushing to express their condolences, but the one we've been waiting for is from Adam West's Robin, Burt Ward. And with that... godspeed, Adam West. You will be missed.
• Black Panther! And... we're finally getting a real look at the long-awaited Black Panther movie. Like everything Marvel touches, it's looking incredible...
And, to think, we've got the new Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok movies coming soon! So great.
• LEGO CATS! What happens when two of your favorite things get smooshed into one? There is a company making LEGO Cats!
AWESOME! Thanks to long-time friend and food blogger extraordinaire, Foodiddy, for the link!
• Nail Me! Of the many tools I've invested in, my pneumatic brad nailer is one of my favorites. Being able to BAP! BAP! BAP! nails into place is a time-saving bit of wonderful I can't get enough of. There's a price you pay, however, and that's having to lug around an air compressor. For this reason, I've been dreaming of buying a nailer that is cordless and tankless... like the Milwaukee 18-Volt 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer...
Problem is... it's like $400, which is a lot of money.
But then Home Depot sends me an email saying it's on sale at 40% off... just $240! And that comes with a new M18 Fuel battery! Sweet! I mean, I don't have $240, so it will have to sit on my credit card with my biscuit cutter, but it's still pretty great. If you're in the market for such a thing, the sale runs through June 21st!
• NEWSFLASH: A Studio Ghibli Theme Park Is CONFIRMED for 2020. — And... guess where I'll be going in 2021? There is no way to properly express my enthusiasm for even the idea of such a magical place.
• Humanity! I think it's awful we have to make commercials to explain lessons in Humanity 101 but, if we must, this is what it should look like...
This wonderful spot on foster homes for kids is not something new for Norway, they are also responsible for this amazing commercial...
And yet I live in a country that would rather build a useless border wall that will ultimately cause more harm than good (while doing fuck-all nothing to solve drugs or illegal immigration problems) instead of put any money towards those who need it most. That's how fucked up things are now, and how far we've fallen from the basic humanity that used to define us. Shameful.
• NEWSFLASH! Jeff Sessions says he’s ‘surprised’ Americans aren’t embracing his anti-marijuana stance. I'm betting a LOT of things surprise this dumbass moron. Like electricity. And indoor toilets. And being able to bring a woman to orgasm...
Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
I am sick and fucking tired of wealthy old white men making decisions based on their idiotic, antiquated notions. Legalization of cannabis is a growing trend because THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY WANT IT, and I find it ironic that Sessions comes from a party who's all about state's rights... except when it comes to something he doesn't like. What a fucking hypocritical douche.
And... no more bullets. There's a new episode of American Gods to be watching!
Ask anybody who knows me... I am most definitely not into clothes.
But I do want to wear nice clothes, so I save my money all year long and purchase everything on Black Friday. This is essentially doubling my buying power, even though any summer clothes I get will be "last year's models" by the time I end up wearing them. Oh well, because: affordable clothes. Which I hate shopping for. And the only thing I hate more than shopping for clothes? Finding a way to organize them in my closet.
When I moved into my new home one of the first things I looked at was the closets. Since the place was built in 1997, I was hoping it was "modern" enough to have smart closet spaces. But it didn't. Same old rod with a shelf on it that I had in my last place. This means all my shirts will end up scattered around while my suits hang in the corner and all my jeans get stacked on the shelf. Again.
Such a waste of space.
So I looked into some of those "closet organizer" websites where you can custom design exactly what you need. For me, this is rather simple...
This ends up looking something like this...
There are several problems here...
And so, I added "Closet Organizer" to my list of woodworking projects. Then, a couple weeks ago I sketched out what I needed, headed to Home Depot for lumber, then worked on the thing whenever I had a spare moment. It turned out amazingly awesome in every way...
Well, it's kinda half the cost of the shitty online alternative. I ended up buying a biscuit cutter to join boards together, which added a $100 expense to the project that I wasn't anticipating. Even so... I still saved around $125 AND I've got a biscuit cutter than I'm sure to use on many future projects!
Oh... I think the cats like it too...
So... all in all a fantastic investment of my time. And I had fun building it to boot... almost no swearing!
On to the next project, whatever that will be.
So there I was, merrily hacking away on my latest project at work when I feel something tickling my hand. I look down and there's an ant crawling on it. "Well hello there, little fellow? Did you get lost?" Then, as I am getting up to take him outside, I notice ants E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. Crawling on the floor. Crawling up my desk. Crawling on my Doritos...
"HOLY SHIIIIIIIIIT! ANNNNNNNNTS!!! I scream.
I then shake off the ant on my hand, run and get the vacuum cleaner, then unleash armageddon upon the ants.
You see, when it's one ant, it's cute. When it's a swarm of ants... not so cute. That's when my Buddhist leanings towards all life being precious and doing no harm get chucked right out the fucking window. DIIIIIIIE! DIE YOU SCUM!!!
After looking around to see if Ant-Man was hiding in a corner somewhere, I went and whined about it to a co-worker. I was upset that there were ants. I was upset I had to Hoover them. I was really upset I had to Hoover my Doritos.
"Ah. They were after the Doritos then."
"What? Why? Ants love sugar. I eat Doritos because they have zero sugar."
"SOME ants like sugar. Other ants love grease."
"Yeah, grease. Fats. Like in your Doritos."
I Google that shit and, sure enough. some ants love fats.
I did not know that.
What I DO know? I've got moles. At least that's what the internet tells me after I shared my security camera footage...
The mole dug along my sidewalk, then popped up in front of my flower bed.
I have lived in this region of Redneckistan most of my life. I've never seen a mole. The only place I've seen a mole hill is not anywhere around here. I've also seen them in cartoons. Figures that the time I finally have a mole experience is when I buy a home and they are tearing up my front yard.
I did Google that shit to find out what I'm dealing with, only to find that moles are kinda cute...
They're also smaller than I thought. Like... tiny. Fit-in-your-hand-tiny. Amazing how they can cause such a ruckus when they're so small.
Anyway... turns out that moles, unlike ants, are aggressively solitary. Which means I probably only have one mole.
The last thing I want to do is kill him so, thanks to the internet, it's been suggested I try ultrasonic spikes to drive him away. I ordered them immediately and they will be here Thursday. And Thursday can't get here fast enough. The little bastard is really going to town. I came home to this...
I may not have a yard left by Thursday!
I always wondered where "Whack-A-Mole" came from.
Today hasn't been the greatest of days. Too much to do and not enough time to do it... despite working day and night. Might as well take a blogging break.
Even though what I should really be doing is cleaning my disaster of a house. Jenny has decided she's an interior decorator, and keeps moving things around. This morning she moved her scratching pad, her brush loop, all the couch pillows, and a box I was using as a garbage bin. As if that weren't enough, it seems that one of the cats got wet paws and then tracked mud(?) though half the downstairs, so that needs to be mopped up as well.
But not tonight.
If you read yesterday's entry, you know that I have a mole in my front yard. I've named him Monty. And now I want him to go away, because he's been busy... there were three additional holes that popped up this morning. Those ultrasonic stakes I ordered cannot get here quick enough, but tomorrow will have to do.
I did have a mole-related scare this afternoon.
I received an alert on my phone from the security system, and rightly assumed it was the yard care team mowing the lawn.
WAIT... mowing the lawn?!?
I don't know that I've ever worried over something that I want gone before, but here we are.
I kept checking the cameras to see if I'd get a glimpse of him digging up my lawn again, but it never happened. When I got home I went looking for any sign of Monty... and there it was. A fresh mole hill in my flowerbed. Assumably, my rodent is still around.
Which is good? I guess?
Hopefully I will feel different as I am planting my ultrasonic mole deflector shields tomorrow.
Thanks to ceiling fans and evening ventilation, I have yet to turn on the air conditioner this year despite having some 90°+ days.
Needless to say, I'm ecstatic. Next to heating, running the air conditioner is the most expensive use of electricity I have. It can easily approach $100 per month if I'm not careful. Like last year when, apparently, I really liked being cool on hot days. This year I can't afford not to be careful, hence my ecstatic nature.
Next week this time I will be in Las Vegas for some meetings and to visit friends. The temperature there has consistently been over 100° with the forecast calling for a high of 116°... that's ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN DEGREES.
Fortunately I am not paying for that air conditioning.
In other news, I finally got my hands on the Wonder Woman: The Art and The Making of the Film book...
I love these kind of movie books... especially for the Marvel super-hero films and the Disney/Pixar films. I usually end up buying all of them, as the "how" is sometimes even more interesting than the movies themselves. This one is no exception. The production values on Wonder Woman were incredible, and seeing all the thought behind some of the decisions made just adds to the experience.
Of particular interest is the design for Themiscyra, home of the Amazons. If you've seen the film, you can just imagine.
And if you've seen the film and like it as much as I do, then checking out this book is a must.
Today I just want off this sick, sad world.
Probably tomorrow as well.
Life with cats is never boring. Well, actually it's mostly boring. Cats sleep... like... an insane amount of time. But the bits where they are awake is interesting. Mostly because my cats do not exhibit consistent behavior. Just when you think you have a handle on them, they mix it up, and start doing something entirely different.
Jenny, for example, did not "meow" the first 8 months I had her. Unlike Jake, who seems physically unable to "meow," apparently it was because she just didn't feel like it. Then... it started. Just weak little meows from time to time when she wanted attention. That transitioned into this kind of forlorner meow (that was bordering on a wail) when she wanted attention, which breaks your heart. And now? When Jenny really wants your attention, the meows are unleashed. They still sound a bit "sad," but they are numerous and loud.
At first I went running whenever she exhibited this behavior, because I was worried something was seriously wrong. More than once I've gone tearing down the stairs worried that she's sick or trapped under a rogue meteorite that crashed through the ceiling. Nope. She just wanted to be petted, and didn't feel like climbing up the stairs for it.
Most mornings now she will patiently wait for me outside the shower. Apparently she loves rubbing against you when you're damp. Once the water turns off, the clock is ticking. If I take too long drying off, she will start meowing for me to hurry up.
That pussy ain't gonna pet itself, so it would seem.
As I've mentioned many times, Jenny brings me a morning "tribute" in exchange for me getting out of bed and serving her breakfast. She'll waltz in with a toy (or several) and drop them on the floor by my bed anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before she's due to be fed. Here, for example, she's just dropped off Tan Mouse and is looking up at me in expectation of food...
Some mornings she will haul a tribute toy all the way upstairs, but discard it before she gets to my bedroom in favor of a different toy...
There are times this results in a kind of interesting art installation on my stairs...
Her favorite toys, these crinkle-fish that have catnip in them, are rarely offered as tribute. She prefers to keep them with her so Jake can't take them, especially when she's ready for a nap. She'll hunt one or two of them down, then crawl into bed. Like she did here with Blue Fish...
You can't tell in this photo (because I was too slow) but she's hugging Green Fish in her little paws...
Also new? Jenny has started moving furniture in the mornings while waiting for breakfast to be served. She starts by dragging all the couch pillows onto the floor then moving them around. Then she goes after anything she can physically move. Like the box I've been using for garbage while cleaning out my filing cabinet. Or the brush loop. Or her little scratcher lounge...
If I hadn't heard it going on and seen it on security camera footage, I would never have believed it. She will drag/push that thing across the entire house. And it's almost as big as she is! I have no idea why she's decided to become an interior decorator, but here we are.
As for Jake?
Still being Jake. Though a little bit grumpier because I've had him on a veterinarian-dictated diet. And since he's a fairly active cat, he's been losing weight quite nicely. His pronounced belly is almost gone...
Jake and Jenny's favorite place remains the catio. Now that it's warmer, they are out there all day long. Jenny will even stay out all night, because that's the best time for catching and eating bugs, apparently. Earlier this week they were both out there while I was working on the couch. All of a sudden they come dashing in the house, then take up residence on the loveseat so they can observe the catio from afar. Turns out the giant dopey black lab was back for a visit, which they do not like at all...
Though Jenny tried to make the best of a bad situation, as always...
More excitement was to be had this week because they are repairing the stucco on the condos. This included the stucco in the catio, which meant I had to finally use the pet door blocker to keep them from running out...
Jake was most definitely not okay with having his catio privileges revoked, because the catio is his favorite place to be. He decided to compensate for his disappointment by being a BAD, BAD KITTY and crawling on the kitchen counters, regardless of how many times I told him to GET OFF OF THERE...
Time for the Clorox Wipes. Again.
Why can't he stay out of the kitchen like his sister?
Oh well. Jake wouldn't be Jake if he wasn't thumbing his paw at authority.
Happiest of Father's Days to all the dads out there, including mine! Your special day is about to get a whole lot specialer, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Buck/Mac! It's tough to say whether I'm a bigger fan of "Classroom Instruments" on Fallon or "Carpool Karaoke" on Corden because I love them both. But when Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie are the ones performing on "Classroom Instruments," it's kinda a no-brainer. My Fleetwood Mac love is strong with them...
Also on Jimmy this week... a terrific installment of "Google Translate Songs" with Miley Cyrus!
I sure wish they'd make a new Hannah Montana movie!
• Batman! And now from the "Senseless Crap I want Because I Just Can't Help Myself" department... BOB ROSS FUNKO POP!
I mean, come on. Bob Ross is an inspiration to all of us! How cool is this?
• Magic Wand! ZOMG! TOTAL MAGIC FOR CLEANING TOILETS!
When my toilet brush died, I went shopping and found this thing on sale. I didn't like the idea of it being wasteful with the disposable scrubber pads, but it's not like I scrub my toilet every single day, so I pulled the trigger. If nothing else, it's a lot more sanitary. Holy crap! So easy! And powerful! I use one pad on both toilets and it works better than any amount of scrubbing with my old brush. If you haven't tried this, and like bathroom cleaning chores to be dead-simple, it's worth a look!
• A.I.! In news that should surprise absolutely nobody, an Artificial Intelligence developed its own non-human language after being programmed by Facebook to negotiate like people. Because of course bots observing Facebook would have to develop their own language! I mean, come on, mere human words can't describe the horrors you'll find on Facebook. I wonder how they say "ALL HUMANS MUST DIE!" in their language? Because I know that this would be my first conclusion after having looked at Facebook for my entire existence.
• Bargain! Whoa! The new 15-Gauge Milwaukee cordless nail gun I just got for 40% off at Home Depot (Reg. $400, Sale $240) came with $155 worth of stuff! Which means I got an awesome nail gun for $85! How is this even possible? Sweet!
So glad I didn't pass up this deal, even though I couldn't afford it and am now sitting in some credit card debt. If you would also like to go into debt, the sale is going on through the 21st of this month (that's Wednesday).
• Bye, Aisha! Ending on a sad note, Aisha Tyler is leaving The Talk after this season. Needless to say, I'm gutted. Usually with talk shows I look at who the guest is and only watch if it's somebody I like. Not so with The Talk. I watch every episode. It's the first thing to spool off my DVR when I get home. I love the show and, while all the ladies are wonderful, it was Aisha Tyler that got me to start watching...
I am excited for the many opportunities she has, but sad to see that she will no longer be waiting for me when I get off work. I have nothing but the very best wishes for all her future endeavors. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And there's bullets for you.
And so I'm dead now.
When I went upstairs to watch Netflix in bed at 9pm last night, Jenny was still out in the catio. When I finally decided to go to sleep at around 11pm, I checked the cameras and saw she was still out there. This is not unusual, as she loves chasing bugs in the catio at night. Jake, I assumed, was off asleep somewhere.
When I woke up at 2am, I checked the cameras and saw that Jenny was still out in the catio. No Jake. I activated all the internal cameras. Still no Jake. I assumed that he was still off sleeping somewhere. So I started scrubbing backwards through the internal cameras so I could figure out where.
Jake was nowhere to be found. The last time he showed up was 7:15pm, when he was climbing down the cat tree.
Holy crap! Did I lock him in the laundry room?
I can't find him anywhere.
No big deal, I grab the cat treats and shake the bag. Jenny comes running in from the catio immediately.
This is unprecedented. For Jake to not show up for kitty snacks is inconceivable. He loves those things. Loves them. The only reason he wouldn't show up is because he's trapped somewhere. Or dead.
And thus begins 20 minutes of total panic as I proceed to tear my house apart.
Still no Jake. He's vanished.
Either he has wedged himself somewhere I haven't thought of or... he got outside somehow?
Total panic becomes a complete meltdown as I start checking outside cameras. And there he is. Wandering around the back yard. At least he was at 1:28am, which was almost an hour previous...
What. The. Hell?
At first I thought it might be Fake Jake, but the more I watch the video, the more I'm convinced it really is Jake, and he managed to escape. Some way. Some how.
I am trying to think if I have ever been at the panic level I was at that moment.
I honestly don't think I have.
And so there I am, out in the catio with the door wide open, shaking a bag of treats. He shows up minutes later...
But... how? How did he get out? He was around when I got home from work, I'm sure of it. Did he escape when I took out the garbage? Did I leave a window open somewhere and he pushed out the screen? Is there a hole in the fencing on the catio?
Back to the cameras. And... turns out he pushed off the roof of the catio (video at 8x speed)...
A couple things to note:
From what I can tell, Jake was never too far away from the catio. He appears on the back porch several times throughout the night (video at 8x speed)...
Though he did circle the entire building once. He appears in the front yard at 11:45pm... goes out of frame at the bottom near midnight... then reappears at the top of the frame exactly 30 minutes later. Heaven only knows what he did along the way (video at 8x speed)...
More than once he tries to find a way back into the catio, and most times his sister is on the other side watching him...
So there you have it... Jake's big adventure.
And my nervous breakdown. Because all I can think about is how this could have happened tomorrow when I'm traveling and Jake would have been stuck outside.
Needless to say, I won't be getting any sleep tonight. If ever.
Maybe if I would stop checking the video cameras every 15 minutes to make sure the cats are still inside and safe...
Cats. What can you do?
UPDATE: Turns out my framing contractor (who also made the roof for the catio) used screws that were way too short. They were barely grabbing into the wood. So when Jake was walking back and forth pushing on the ceiling, the screws were popping out like rivets...
I'm replacing them all with screws that are 2-1/2" times longer.
And... Jake and Jenny can enjoy their catio once again.
And... I can have the peace of mind that the cats can't get out.
Until the next time.
And so I'm off to Las Vegas again. This time for work.
The drive over the mountains was blissfully uneventful. Many times, I was the only person on the road. Which is kind of a weird feeling. Like every other human on earth had vanished or something.
My flight was delayed three times, which is getting to be the new normal. The exact same thing happened with my last flight to Denver. This wouldn't be so bad... I mean, I've had it a lot worse than an hour... except the delay happened at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is one of the shittiest airports on earth. Not only is everything broken all the time, but they prioritize shopping kiosks and storefronts over passengers needing a place to sit down. Thus most every gate has grossly deficient seating, leaving everybody standing or sitting on the floor. It would be great if the Port of Seattle would one day remodel the airport so it's not total shit and at least attempts to provide for customer comfort... but, alas...
This trip I'm staying on The Strip. This means there's a lot more options for dining I like, but I've seen all the hotels many times over so I am quickly coming to prefer staying in Old Town. Oh well. I get to add another hotel to my checklist of "Strip Hotels I've Stayed At," which is now at half...
The twelve left to go...
I've stayed at off-strip hotels in Vegas as well... most notably The Hard Rock Hotel and the Hilton, which is no longer a Hilton and has since changed its name to "Westgate."
INTERESTING ASIDE: Google Maps has secretly(?) preserved the memory of the Hilton as it used to be. When you use StreetView within the Hilton Circle, the images are as they used to be...
The old Hilton sign (which was at one point the largest freestanding sign on earth... maybe still is!).
Images ©Google Maps
You can still see the Hilton logo-mark in the upper left on the actual hotel there.
Images ©Google Maps
And yet, if you take one step out of the circle, you get an updated view of both sign and hotel...
The revised sign, now Westgate. Still home of Benihana's though!
Images ©Google Maps
The revised branding on the hotel itself has also been updated.
Images ©Google Maps
Time for cheap eats!
My last trip, I was eating daily at Nacho Daddy off Fremont. I was happy to see that there's another Nacho Daddy on The Strip around the corner from Planet Hollywood. Thus, dinner has been secured...
Well, I did my best to try and go with cheap eats. Unfortunately I had four Long Island ice teas, which ended up being $36 added to my $8.50 in nachos. Dooming myself to be poor, I guess.
After Jake's escape from the catio Sunday night, I'm understandably freaked out that my cats will find another way to escape my house... this time while I'm over 800 miles away and can do nothing. So I have been checking in on them at least once an hour. Jake has grown frustrated with the catio since his escape route was blocked and is sleeping inside. Jenny, on the other hand, is out there catching bugs and eating them. So... business as usual, then...
And that's Vegas for you. Now I should probably get some work done or something.
Since I didn't have work until 10:00 this morning, I decided to sleep in. At least that was the plan. Ultimately I decided to study my work notes and make sure I was 100% comfortable with the material. Sure it's kind of a lame use of time when in Vegas, but there's not much else for me to do. In order to save money for my vacation, I've vowed not to gamble, not to see any shows, and definitely not to eat at expensive restaurants (which is my Vegas Kryptonite).
My colleagues wanted to eat in Paris, so there goes my vow not to eat at expensive restaurants...
I gotta say... as somebody who has been to France-Paris many times, American-Paris is clearly the superior Paris. Not once in France-Paris did I see scantily-clad ladies walking around offering free cocktails. Not once! Also... American-Paris is air conditioned. BONUS: No people speaking weird French as you are wont to find in France-Paris and lesser parts of Canada. Except... the signage is still all in French, so most of it is just incomprehensible gibberish to me...
After lunch I was walking back to my hotel and spotted BETTY WHITE SLOTS as I was walking through the casino!
Holy cats! I'm guessing I'll eventually be breaking my vow not to gamble. How can I resist not giving Betty White a spin? We shall see.
I had time to kill before dinner, so I wandered over to M&M's World so I could try the new CARAMEL M&M's that have been advertised. And, oh, there's that M&M's race car I keep seeing...
The Caramel versions are okay. From the advertising, I had thought the caramel would be more liquid, but it's actually firm and chewy...
Across the street in New York New York is Hershey's World. Not as much fun as the M&M's, but still kinda cool. Especially for Reese's and Twizzlers fans!
And, of course, there's Chocolate Liberty...
I was pleasantly surprised to see that they completed The Park adjacent to New York New York. It's pretty nice!
And... other than some hotel hopping for dinner, that's all she wrote on Vegas today.
Today ended up being a longer work day than expected, which means I didn't have time for the nap I wanted needed. Oh well. Vegas, and all that.
One of the reasons that swapping assignments from July to June worked so well is that Perry, my partner for Hard Rock Run Europe 2004, was in town! I hadn't seen him since 2009's Davedon Event, so it was nice to catch up. We met up with some Hard Rock Cafe pin collectors at Gordon Biersch which was featuring imported German Kölsche, one of my favorite beers...
After saying goodbye to Perry and his lovely girlfriend, I wandered on The Strip a bit until it was time to head to Old Town Vegas for a ride down the zipline at Slotzilla!
Yes. Yes. I just did this back in March.
But not really.
And let me tell you why.
When I finally made it to the top of Slotzilla for my zipline experience three months ago, I was told I had to take my glasses off unless I bought a strap. Which took me completely by surprise, because nobody had mentioned it to me when I bought my ticket. There I was. Handing over my credit card. While wearing glasses. And nobody said shit about getting a strap.
So I ended up flying down Fremont Street at 35 miles an hour with everything being blurry. Pretty. But blurry.
I loved it, so I swore the next time I was in Vegas I would do it again. But this time I would bring my contact lenses with me so everything would be in focus. And so I did. And it was great.
Though... it's debatable whether it was better than my first time. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it wasn't. It was so much more surreal and beautiful when it was a blur!
Oh well. It's an amazing experience no matter how you see it...
Highly recommended if you find yourself in Las Vegas.
After my midnight flight, I headed back to my hotel on The Strip so I could get some sleep before leaving in the morning. When I left for dinner, something big appeared to be going on at T-Mobile Arena, but it was vacant by the time I got back...
And... that's all she wrote. See ya 'round, Vegas...
Despite not having to get up early (my flight wasn't until 11:55am), I couldn't seem to get back asleep after waking up at 4:00am.
Oh well. It gave me time to iron so I didn't have to fly home wrinkled.
In regards to my Leaving Las Vegas... I love McCarran airport. Unlike the majority of US airports, it's very efficient and has been optimized to move people in and out as quickly as possible. TSA PreCheck line backed up? THEY OPEN ANOTHER PRECHECK LANE! WHAT A CONCEPT! And... ZOFG... plenty of gate seating! For all other airports I arrive 2 hours early because even with PreCheck you never know. With McCarran I am perfectly comfortable arriving 45 minutes before flight time knowing I'll be at the gate 15 minutes later and, not uncommonly, walking into the plane ten minutes after. I wouldn't hate travel so much if this was the normal at airports.
The flight home was great.
The drive home, however, was brutal.
True to form, WSDOT can’t concentrate their efforts into QUICKLY completing a single project... they have to sprinkle resources on several projects, which means they all drag on forever. On I-90 East, they have ripped out huge chunks of the highway and just left the holes there, meaning three lanes of traffic become one on a busy Friday where half of Seattle is headed over the mountains.
Which translated into 45 minutes added to my drive time home.
I'm guessing it's going to be left that way all weekend long. And I just don't get it. Light it up, double-shift that shit, and GET. IT. DONE!
How the hell is it that I am constantly seeing videos from other countries where they will replace an entire fucking bridge in two days... or replace an entire fucking intersection overnight that fell into a sinkhole... or rebuild a fucking washed out road in ten hours... WHEN EVERY DAMN PROJECT IN WASHINGTON STATE TAKES MONTHS TO YEARS TO COMPLETE?!?
It wouldn’t be so bad if they would focus on one project and GET. IT. DONE! But they don’t. New projects keep popping up all over the place while old projects sit incomplete. You don't stop for construction ONCE on your journey... you stop FOUR TIMES. I'm guessing I-90 is probably going to be fucked up for weeks... and apparently nobody at WSDOT gives a flying fuck that it’s summer vacation season and NOW is when the roads need to be fully operational. Why would they? It would seem there are -zero- consequences to having everything torn to shit all the time.
And speaking of never-ending construction...
When I pull into my driveway, I notice that my new ultrasonic mole repeller isn't doing the job.
On the contrary, the mole seems to be taunting me by DIGGING NEW HOLES RIGHT AROUND THE ULTRASONIC STAKE!
Ugh. No idea what my next step will be there.
And... apparently there was a power outage while I was gone.
The horrible part about it is not that all the clocks have to be set... but that the Litter Robot DOES NOT COME BACK ON WHEN THE POWER IS RESTORED. How fucking useless! I mean, seriously. WHY? They sell a battery back-up, but I always assumed that it was so your Litter Robot would run while the power was out. I don't care about that... but I care quite a LOT that it just stays off permanently if there's a power interruption.
And so... the Litter Robot was filled. The two back-up litter boxes were also filled. So nasty. And I feel terrible. Especially for Jenny. She is pretty particular about wanting to poop in a clean box. She will hold it and hold it until she can't anymore, and is forced to use it. I can't believe that she didn't poop on the floor. I would have. And so now I have to buy a $40 battery just to make sure Litter Robot works after an outage. This is on top of the already outrageous price for the unit and the accessories I had to buy that should already have come with it.
I ordered the battery so this won't happen again... but, wow. Still feel terrible. I should have been checking the security cameras to make sure it was running.
And with that... time to catch up on all I missed. Good thing I have a weekend coming up...
It's good to be back home.
On Thursday morning... the day before I was to fly back... I was awakened by my security cameras telling me there's motion in the kitchen. I get all ready to yell at Jake to get out of there, but when I look at the footage, and...
...it's not Jake, it's Jenny...
She has been a good girl and hasn't been in the kitchen for ages, so this is puzzling. It looks like she's trying to find food maybe?
So I go back through other camera footage only to find she didn't eat dinner last night. She was out in the catio when the feeder activated. By the time she got hungry and made it to the feeders at 1am, Jake had (of course) already eaten all the food. I activated the feeders immediately so she could have an early breakfast, but I still felt awful...
And I've been getting a stare-down from her ever since I got back.
And now... a mystery to solve.
Before I leave on a trip, I always buy new toys for the cats. Probably out of guilt. For this trip I bought a ball that makes noises... except it's too loud and the cats are scared of it. I also bought a ball with a little moving pole that has a feather on top. The cats are intrigued by it, but pretty much just let it slap them around in the face...
And now that I'm home? The ball is missing.
Not under the couches. Not in the catio. Not in any closet. It's vanished. No idea where they dragged it off to, and I can't find out what happened on the security cameras. I'm guessing that the cats know where the cameras are and how to avoid them.
One more thing to do...
Hope you're enjoying those lazy, hazy days of Summer, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Munneh! But, yes. By all means. Let’s invest our money in coal. Soon-to-be-obsolete coal that nobody is going to want when there are going to be far cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient ways to get our energy...
I mean, we could bring this technology to former coal towns and train the workers there for jobs that will actually matter. But, no. Because coal. Uh huh...
The sheer idiocy involved in killing off the American worker by our politicians is just astounding. We're not going to be competitive in the global job market, and we did it to ourselves by electing assholes who are more interested in fleecing taxpayers for the benefit of coal executives than creating jobs for ex coal miners.
• Kens! And so This happened: Mattel released 15 new variations of Ken Dolls... aka Mr. Barbie...
And no, your eyes are not deceiving you... there are Ken dolls with a man-bun now. I can't fathom the parent that would buy their daughter (or son, for that matter) a doll with a fucking man-bun on it, but since society is hell-bound anyway, here you go. As if that weren't enough, the Kens are available in three body types: Original, Slim, and Broad. Because heaven only knows we don't want to cause body identity issues in our children. Their dolls have hipster man-buns now, and that's enough fucking trauma for childhood.
• MMMMMMEAT! Clearly God wants everybody to be vegetarian, and this is His solution... OH, LOVELY: THE TICK THAT GIVES PEOPLE MEAT ALLERGIES IS SPREADING. From the tick's perspective, I'm guessing that people taste like chicken.
• White! "Being white in this country, I should just shoot myself." — Somebody please hand her a gun. Because this racist fucking waste of space shouldn't be raising kids... let alone be allowed to join society...
No matter how many times I see bigoted shit like this, I remain amazed. Not that assholes such as her exist... but that they feel so confident in their racist bullshit to act this way in public.
• Hope That Helps! Ben Palmer released video from one of his shows and it is everything you'd hope it to be...
Watching him troll on Facebooks is one of the reasons I am happy that Facebook exists.
• HomeShit! You know, I understand that companies can't release a winner every time. There are going to be some duds, even for the most inovative of them. I get that. Honestly I do. But Apple's HomeKit is such a festering pile of shit that I cannot fathom why in the hell they don't scrap it and start over or fix their stupid crap so it will actually function reliably. Thank heavens the only thing I was stupid enough to trust to Apple's failed system is my door locks. I wanted them on a completely separate system from the rest of my home automation for security reasons and, hey, it's Apple... right? What could go wrong?
I never dreamed the answer to that question would be everything. Apple should just do everybody a favor and kill off HomeKit instead of continuing to pretend that they give a flying fuck about home automation.
Dis be da end, everybuddy.
My cats are a never-ending source of entertainment. They are also not of this earth and defy all my attempts to understand them. That, in itself, should keep them at a distance, but the truth is that they have become intricately woven into my life in unexpectedly deep ways. Part of that has to do with the fact that I'm single and all my best friends and family don't live here, so the cats are acting as surrogates. Part of it has to do with the fact that, for the most part, I like animals more than people.
And part of it is because they're the closest things to kids I plan on having.
Which is why all y'all's horror stories about your kids has zero effect on me.
Sure, your baby may have exploded diarrhea at a McDonalds birthday party... but last night I had to chase Jake around with a paper towel because he had a pebble of poop stuck on his sphincter. His efforts to scrape/bite/rub it off only resulted in an inflamed butt-hole, so there I was. And then this morning I had to inspect his sphincter to make sure the irritation and redness had subsided, which it had. And thank heavens for that, because otherwise we would have ended up at the vet, and nobody wants that.
And sure your baby may cry because it wants to be held... but this morning Jenny was crying as I was trying to leave for work because she wants to be petted. And, unlike holding a baby where you can do other stuff, petting Jenny demands 100% of your attention. And since she knows I will drop everything when she's meowing, she will keep doing so until I give in. The good news is that she was so desperate for attention that I was able to spend 10 minutes brushing her with The Furminator.
And sure you spend your days and nights worrying about how you're going to afford to send your baby to college one day... but I'm spending my days and nights worrying about whisker fatigue.
And for those of you who don't know what "whisker fatigue" is... allow me to introduce Dr. Catsby...
Now, most probably like you... when I first heard of "whisker fatigue," I called bullshit. Cats have been eating out of tiny bowls for hundreds of years. This is just some lame marketing ploy, right?
But then I started observing my cats.
I've tried plates, but the food gets pushed all over the place. I've tried shallow bowls, but the food still gets trapped in the corners. =sigh!= I guess you win, Dr. Catsby...
Expensive little suckers.
But if they work? One less thing to worry about!
Though I do hope that Jake can keep a clean sphincter for at least a month before I'm worrying about that again. If I wanted this kind of stress I would have had kids
Comixology (an online comic book distributor) has been adding older issues of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes to their offerings. When I logged on last night, they happened to be displaying the first book of the series I ever read, issue no. 253 (courtesy of a Whitman Comics poly-bag-three-pack* I found in the local Safeway)...
Looking back, this was a pretty stupid cover. A bunch of costumed people come breaking through the wall of your clubhouse and you think they're there to join? Pretty sure I'd knock on the front door if I wanted to join up. But, this was par for the course back in the day. They always took the thrust of the story and found a way to repackage it in some ridiculous context to sell the book.
It was at this point... with this very issue... that I went from being a casual comic book reader to an obsessive comic book reader. I bought up every issue of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes I could find, and then started hunting for all the back-issues, all the way back to issue no. 197, which was when Superboy was re-titled Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. No easy feat. And it wasn't cheap either. Especially for somebody who mowed lawns to earn pocket money.
I don't know what it was about the Legion that made it so appealing to me. Perhaps because it was a super-hero book (which I already liked) with the added element of science fiction (something I also like). Superboy would time-travel to the future so he could have adventures with the team in the 30th century. An intriguing concept to be sure.
And then there were the sheer variety of super-heroes in the book. You name it, Legion probably had it at one time or another. The cast of characters is vast...
From the time I started reading the book in 1980, many many changes would occur. The most notorious were the numerous ret-cons** that took place in the early 90's. Since Superboy was phased out of continuity at the time, suddenly the entire foundation of the Legion (which was inspired by Superboy) was no longer available. This left the writers scrambling for stories to keep the book's very existence relevant in the DC Comics Universe. And boy did they dream up some doozies. It was a confusing time, but the stories were still interesting, so I kept reading.
Eventually the huge mess that The Legion of Super-Heroes had become was too unmanageable even for writers with the best imaginations, so the entirety of their universe was completely rebooted in 1994.
The book was never the same.
But still I hung in there.
Ten years later in 2004, the book was completely rebooted again. It was okay, but not the Legion I wanted to read.
But still I hung in there.
Various mini-series and guest appearances would come and go after the last reboot died at issue 50. It was a depressing time for Legion fans because nothing made sense. Appearances would contradict each other and there was no overriding narrative to keep the team going.
But still I hung in there.
Then DC Comics' New 52 "reboot to end all reboots" happened and the Legion was brought back with two new books, neither of which were that great. I think they were canceled inside of two years.
But still I hung in there.
Then DC rebooted everything yet again with their "Rebirth" initiative. The Legion hasn't gotten a new book in the new continuity yet, but I'm sure it's coming. It always does.
And even though it's bound to disappoint compared to the glorious 80's that defined the series for me, I'll undoubtedly hang in there and buy the books.
It's hard not to be a fan for life when it comes to the Legion of Super-Heroes.
* Whitman was an imprint of Gold Key Comics. They would commission special print runs of DC Comics with their logo on the cover, bag three books together, then sell them in huge quantities all over the country in all kinds of stores... including the local Safeway grocery store where I got mine.
** The term "ret-con" means "retroactive continuity" and is when story elements established in past stories is changed, contradicted, or ignored in order to make past events have continuity with current storylines. Wikipedia has a fascinating article on the practice.
Today was the day I was supposed to be flying to Orlando.
But I ended up canceling back in May because my calendar was obscenely full here at home. And it turns out that I didn't know the half of it. This week has been so packed that I have been looking into cloning technology.
I need a Dave 2.2 ...
Though... to be honest, cloning me is probably not the best idea. The world can only sustain so much evil, and this would push us over the top.
Way over the top.
I am not much for nostalgia or wishing I could return to bygone days, but I do love me some history. Studying world history is a byproduct of my world religions studies, and it always surprises me just how much I don't know about what's gone on in the world.
Take, for instance, James Whitcomb Riley.
I ran across a book by the guy this morning... The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, Volume VII. "Volume SEVEN?" I thought. How is it that a prolific author with seven volumes of works like this could be somebody I never heard of?
I kept digging and ultimately found out there were SIXTEEN TOTAL VOLUMES...
I opened one up, was terribly unimpressed with what I scanned, and decided I would not need to be reading any of his works. But I did note his name on my iPhone so that I could look him up when I got home.
Which is now.
Turns out, I do know of him. I just didn't know I knew.
Ever heard of The Duck Test? — "When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck."
TOTALLY THIS GUY!
Ever heard of Little Orphan Annie? It's based on a poem called Little Orphant Annie?
TOTALLY THIS GUY!
According to his Wikipedia page, James Whitcomb Riley was a literary giant back in the 1890's and remained hugely popular until his death in 1916. From Wikipedia:
Although Riley was wealthy from his books, he was able to triple his annual income by touring. He found the lure hard to resist and decided to return to the lecture circuit in 1892. He hired William C. Glass to assist Henry Eitel in managing his affairs. While Eitel handled the finances, Glass worked to organize his lecture tours. Glass worked closely with Riley's publishers to have his tours coincide with the release of new books, and ensured his tours were geographically varied enough to maintain his popularity in all regions of the nation. He was careful not to book busy schedules; Riley only performed four times a week and the tours were short, lasting only three months.
So, essentially, James Whitcomb Riley was a rock star before there were rock stars...
In 1895 Riley made his last tour, making stops in most of the major cities in the United States. Advertised as his final performances, there was incredible demand for tickets and Riley performed before his largest audiences during the tour. He and Sherley continued a show very similar to those that he and Nye had done. Riley often lamented the lack of change in the program, but found when he tried to introduce new material, or left out any of his most popular poems, the crowds would demand encores until he agreed to recite their favorites.
And what, pray-tell, qualifies as one of those favorites? Here ya go...
O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The apples in the orchard, and the pathway through the rye;
The chirrup of the robin, and the whistle of the quail
As he piped across the meadows sweet as any nightingale;
When the bloom was on the clover, and the blue was in the sky,
And my happy heart brimmed over in the days gone by.
In the days gone by, when my naked feet were tripped
By the honey-suckle’s tangles where the water-lilies dipped,
And the ripples of the river lipped the moss along the brink
Where the placid-eyed and lazy-footed cattle came to drink,
And the tilting snipe stood fearless of the truant’s wayward cry
And the splashing of the swimmer, in the days gone by.
O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The music of the laughing lip, the luster of the eye;
The childish faith in fairies, and Aladdin’s magic ring—
The simple, soul-reposing, glad belief in everything,—
When life was like a story, holding neither sob nor sigh,
In the golden olden glory of the days gone by.
Well, he's no Walt Whitman, but okay.
I guess if they didn't have a Nintendo back then, this was as good as it got.
My home of state of Washington has a new "Distracted Driving Law" taking effect on July 23rd. Once enacted, it is illegal to use hand-held cell phones, tablets, games or other devices while driving. Or while stopped in traffic. Or even sitting at a stop light. You have to be parked. Or a passenger.
So... if you don't have a Bluetooth interface for your car stereo or a Bluetooth earpiece? No calls for you. I'm assuming if you don't have a car-mount, no GPS maps for you either.
And, seriously, it's about time.
A lot of Washingtonians are enraged about "losing their rights" or bemoaning "the nanny state" or crying because "no politician should be able to tell me what to do"... but, come on. Look at how many accidents are happening because people are texting and driving! Since idiocy apparently needs to be legislated into doing the right thing, this is where we're at.
Yes, I will miss being able to look at texts while at a stop light... because apparently I am one of those rare people who can do that without missing the light turning green... but this is so needed. I cannot tell you how many times I've been nearly hit by somebody with their face in their phone instead of on the road. Or seen somebody driving like a moron because they're distracted by their mobile. People are dying from distracted driving, and I definitely don't want to become a statistic because somebody else was stupid.
Hopefully the idea of being fined will be enough of a deterrent to make the law effective.
Otherwise the only people obeying the law are probably the people who weren't driving while distracted in the first place.