Posted on Saturday, July 1st, 2017
Well, hey there... it's Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation!
Many congratulations to our lovely neighbor to the north...
And thank you for not taking a cue from your confused neighbors to the south and building a wall to keep us out. I don't know what I'd do without an occasional bag of TimBits.
Posted on Sunday, July 2nd, 2017
It's the Sunday before the Monday before the 4th! And there's even more to celebrate, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Wonderful! Over the decades we've had DC Comic Book heroes make their way to the movies with persistent regularity. Batman and Superman have had numerous incarnations in dozens of films... including the recent piles of shit that Zack Snyder has unleashed upon the world with Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. But what about the other hero in the DC holy trinity? What about Wonder Woman? Where's her movie? She's always been shoved aside, presumably because DC questioned whether anybody would go see her in a feature film. Heck, even Green Lantern finally got a movie back in 2011, and he's not nearly as recognizable as Wonder Woman. Everybody knows who she is.
And then, at long last, our patience was rewarded when Wonder Woman hit the big screen.
And has been completely killing it.
This week Wonder Woman trounced both Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice to become the top-earning film in DC Comics history at the domestic box office...
Stats taken from Box Office Mojo
Internationally, the film has considerable ground to cover before it eclipses Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, but the point has been made.
It's Marvel all over again, proving that good movies with second-string characters that are faithful to the source material will be more critically (and quite possibly financially) successful than crappy movies with top-tier characters that shit all over the source material. There is a reason that these characters endure. To ignore what got them there is to ignore what people want to see.
• Flash! And, speaking of shitting all over the source material in a Zack Snyder DC Comics movie... everything that's wrong with the new costume that The Flash is sporting in the upcoming Justice League film is on full display when you look at what LEGO had to do to translate it into a minifig...
I can't even tell what the hell is going on there. The Flash is the "fastest man alive." As such, his costume has always been painfully sleek and minimal in appearance. But not now. Now they've wrapped him is laughably idiotic armor plating that makes him look anything but sleek. He's the exact opposite of sleek...
I mean, COME ON! He looks like a clunky robot with an inexplicably massive codpiece! Even more clunky and robotic than Cyborg, WHO IS LITERALLY A HALF-ROBOT CHARACTER. Grotesque and more than a little embarrassing for DC, who has had such excellent translations of The Flash in previous endeavors. Particularly in their animation department...
And even their television show...
To "think outside the box" is not a bad thing... sometimes it's critical to making the leap from comics to screen work. But what we have here is a fundamental lack of knowledge about what makes The Flash be "The Flash." Which means the Justice League movie is undoubtedly going to suck ass. What a shame.
• Balls! This past week was the 30th anniversary of Spaceballs, one of my favorite comedies...
Photo from Getty Images
Over the years there have been numerous rumors of a sequel (including this past Spring), but the only thing we've gotten is thirteen episodes of an animated series. My hope is that one of these days it will actually happen.
• Vaccinate! The amount of misinformation out in the world is horrifying. Everybody has an agenda, and you can never be sure what's behind the information you're getting. But the fact that diseases we once eradicated have come back... and come back huge... should give pause when it comes to condemning vaccinations...
Scary. Too scary.
• Hjalmarsson! Though I've found it harder and harder to keep up with hockey, I nevertheless obsessed over my beloved Blackhawks as they battled their way to the playoffs last season. That Nashville took them out immediately did not dampen my enthusiasm for the team. What did dampen my enthusiasm was finding out that one of my favorites players, Niklas Hjalmarsson, had been traded...
Photo from Getty Images
The guy was a big part of what got them to three Stanley Cup wins, so I'm understandably gutted. He would throw himself in front of the puck under circumstances no sane player would, which only made me love him more. He gave everything he had to the team, and this is a serious blow to Blackhawks hockey. Yes, I know that it relieves some salary cap problems, but I can't wrap my head around a team without Hjalmarsson there. Thank you, sir, you will most definitely be missed.
• Freedom! When you use freedom of speech to speak out on the issues that are important to you but criticize others for doing the exact same thing, you're no patriot. You're a douchebag. And speaking of... I don't always agree with Chelsea Handler, but thought this was an important message to share...
Of course, "freedom of speech" doesn't mean "freedom from consequences of free speech," which is an increasingly popular misunderstanding to have... but let's save that for another holiday.
And... I gotta be to work tomorrow, so no more bullets for you!
Posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2017
Posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017
Happy Independence Day, America!
Posted on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
I have a headache.
Which is actually a good thing, because it gives me an excuse to blow off work and re-watch Game of Thrones Season 6 in anticipation of Season 7 arriving in a couple weeks.
I love this show. Love it.
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons... after seriously fucking up somebody's day.
As I watch Season 6 and it just makes me want to start all over again from Season 1. Again. Because I've already done this at least twice. The show is that good. Some episodes... specifically Season 6, Episode 9, are better than most movies that get released.
And so... I'm going to spend the rest of the evening wishing I could go into a medically-induced coma until July 16th.
Posted on Thursday, July 6th, 2017
I found out that my long-time blogging friend Anissa died this morning.
Words completely escape me. There's nothing I can say that could encapsulate just how painful this is. And yet... I'm going to give it a try, because powering through life in the face of tragedy is what she was all about.
Anissa is joy to all those who knew her. No matter what she was going through... no matter what hardship she was facing... no matter how much she was struggling... you would never know it because her grace, humor, wit, and spirit always made you feel as though she hadn't a care in the world. Life, such as it is, was her bitch.
The irony of my last interaction with her on Facebook is not lost on me...
And here's where we go back to the start.
Though I had known her online for years prior, the first time I met Anissa in person was at Davelanta 3 in 2009...
Kevin, Beth, Diana, Kim, Val, Mr. & Mrs. Muskrat, Heather, and Anissa... not pictured is Julie, who ditched our sorry asses so she could go to a much better party with a group of much classier people!
I fell in love with her that night.
Which is not at all unusual, because everybody who met Anissa fell in love with her. She's STD-level infectious like that.
I sat next to her at dinner and remember it like it was yesterday. We were at The Cheesecake Factory, and a lot of our discussion revolved around their Deep-Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls. We had much to discuss on the topic. Mostly because she was nibbling on my balls the whole time.
Not long after that infamous first meeting, Anissa had a stroke and her whole world changed.
Not that you would know it because, despite being confined to a wheelchair, Anissa herself did not change. She was still the same brilliant, beautiful, snarky, and entirely inappropriate person she had always been. Just slowed down a bit.
We finally met up again at another blogger meet in 2011...
Mr. Muskrat, Tyler, Heather, Adam, Anissa, Anissa's Friend(?), Beth, Kevin, and Mrs. Muskrat!
Seeing how Anissa was struggling was not easy.
Seeing how she was overcoming adversity was truly inspiring.
And she continued to inspire everybody she encountered for almost 6 years to the day I last saw her.
My heart is broken. What's left of it goes out to her husband and three children, all of whom were Anissa's everything. That she had a heart big enough to share with the rest of the world too is everything you need to know about her.
Well, that... and the fact that she really couldn't keep her hands off my balls that night. Not that I can blame her... they were delicious. If there were a Cheesecake Factory anywhere near me, that's where I'd be. With a Long Island ice tea and big ol' plate of deep-fried macaroni and cheese balls in her honor.
Rest in peace, my dear friend. You were loved so much by so many, and your having to leave us hasn't changed that.
Posted on Friday, July 7th, 2017
Temperatures finally breached 100° this week, so the air conditioner had to be turned on. Darnit. Odds are it's going to stay on because the forecast is up there for the next ten days. Probably longer.
So much for tiny electricity bills.
Even though I set the temperature between 74° and 76° and use ceiling fans, it's a goodly chunk of money to keep everything in the house from melting.
Including the cats.
Back in 2015 when Apple released the latest and greatest 4th generation Apple TV, I purchased one to replace my aging 2nd generation unit (which I moved to the guest room). Despite the remote being shit, I was happy with the upgrade. At first. Eventually I found out that the unit had horrible problems streaming video from Apple. Other sources... Netflix, HBO, Showtime, YouTube, Hulu, you-name-it, were all working fine on Apple TV, it was just my iTunes Store purchases that were stuttering and crapping out... or not loading at all.
So when I ended up winning a second Apple TV from an incentive give-away, I just tossed it in the closet. My bedroom TV has Netflix built-in, so I figured I'd just wait until somebody came up with a hack to turn the Apple TV into a web server or something. Since it had problems streaming my rather large collection of Apple media, it just wasn't worth messing with.
Until Game of Thrones Season 7 was announced to be arriving.
My bedroom TV doesn't have an HBO app, so I decided to dig out the extra Apple TV so I can watch Thrones in bed as God intended.
But first I had to find the thing, because I had no idea what happened to it during the move. I've been searching off and on for weeks to no avail. And then this morning I finally found it.
My cats have been acting crazy, so I decided to start putting my iPhone charging cable in the tiny empty cupboard above my range hood and microwave where they couldn't get to it... and... voilà...
My "empty" cupboard contained an old phone book, a Hershey chocolate candle, and... my missing Apple TV. In all honesty, I do not remember putting it in there. I don't remember putting any of it there. I can't even think of why I'd have done it.
Probably so I wouldn't lose it?
Jenny helped me set it up...
And... ready for new Game of Thrones on the 16th!
Posted on Saturday, July 8th, 2017
When I went to bed on Thursday night, everything with my cats was fine.
Something happened that night and everything changed. It's as if they suddenly realized that there are no consequences for their actions... no punishment for their bad behavior.
Yesterday morning began with my waking up to Jake pulling my movie posters off the wall...
Iron Man is now crooked. I just left him that way since Jake will just try to pull him down again...
At least Jenny was being a good kitty, right? No. She was climbing around the kitchen where she knows she's not supposed to be...
After serving the kitties breakfast, I went back upstairs to get ready for work and slog through my email. It was then I heard cupboard doors banging...
...IT WAS JAKE WAS STEALING KITTY SNACKS OUT OF THE CAT FOOD CUBBY! And he had just had breakfast!
Then he and Jenny chewed it open to get at the yummies inside...
Clearly my cats have turned a corner and are completely out of control.
Thinking I need to start in on some tough love, I took the advice of Facebook friends and pulled out the squirt bottle. Much to my shock, Jenny was first to get sprayed. She didn't really react. It was like she didn't understand what was happening. Once she figured out she was getting wet, she walked over to the scratcher lounger and started pouting...
Then I felt bad.
Today things were better... though Jake did decide to pull my clean clothes down to the floor. Again.
Tomorrow's a full moon, I'm hoping the cat madness will end once it's gone.
Posted on Sunday, July 9th, 2017
The heat may be blasting like a furnace outside, but there's hope for all humanity because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Moana Three Dee! I used an Amazon gift card I got back on my birthday to buy the Moana Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-Ray set. The animation is so gorgeous that I was interested to see how it looked when rendered out in 3-D...
Turns out that it's pretty great. For the most part. The 3-D kind of falls apart when the action gets really fast, but is otherwise an amazing visual treat. The astounding quality of computer animation now-a-days is just mind-blowing. Marry that to some of the best songs to ever come out of a Disney film and you've got magic. My favorite Disney song ever would be Jermaine Clement playing a giant crab...
And who knew that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had it in him?
Forget Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's best work is with Opetaia Foa'i in Moana...
I prefer the 2-D version to 3-D, but the movie is so amazing that there really isn't any wrong way to watch it. If you haven't seen Moana, you need to get on that.
• Artifacts! I fucking hate Hobby Lobby. Which is to say I wasn't the least bit shocked when it was revealed that they had been caught with illegal ancient artifacts from Iraq. Undoubtedly purchased from terrorist organizations like ISIS, who are well-known to fund their terrorism by doing exactly this kind of thing. But yeah, tell me again how "Plan B" is morally reprehensible to you. Because a cluster of cells in the womb is more vital than fully-formed humans trying to survive relentless terrorist attacks? OH... THAT'S RIGHT... THE FULLY-FORMED HUMANS ARE BROWN PEOPLE HALF-A-WORLD-AWAY WHO PROBABLY HAVE ICKY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS! MAKES PERFECT SENSE! Hobby Lobby and their morally superior bullshit is utter garbage.
• Fight or Flight! More United Airlines fuckery. It doesn't matter that they "scanned the second ticket wrong"... the standby passenger is the one who should have left once the mistake had been discovered. And United's shitty solution is absurd. A voucher? That's what they offered me after I got screwed over, and I told them to shove it up their ass because I was never flying their shithole of an airline again. I don't understand why anybody does.
• Jupiter! Nine months waiting for Jupiter's Legacy Volume 2, Issue 5. Nine months. And it was about the most anti-climactic comic book ending they could have possibly given us...
Absolutely no surprises. After all the imagination that went into the nine issues prior, we get a straight-forward story that could have been created by absolutely anybody. And we had to wait NINE MONTHS for it? Nothing even remotely special. I don't know why I get my hopes up for shit anymore.
• Comma! One of my favorite West Wing episodes is titled after a Mark Twain quote: "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics." Except... Aaron Sorkin abandoned the Oxford comma and butchered it to be Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics, which changes the meaning (hey, Lies and Statistics could be the name of a book like Dungeons and Dragons or something). It drives me insane. As does most sentences where an Oxford comma would be helpful to clarify intent but instead goes unused. Every time I spot a missing Oxford comma, I can't help but assume that the writer doesn't know how the English language works. And yet... there is still debate over this crap like there should actually be a question over whether Oxford commas should be used. IT TOTALLY SHOULD! There is no penalty for using one when it's really not necessary. There can be huge penalties for not using one when you should have. Case in point? Click through to this hot mess.
• Holy Shit! I have become numb to the daily dose of horror and idiocy that comes from having President Trump in office, but his latest round of tweets has me convinced that the man running the country is one of the stupidest people on earth...
Can you imagine... can you even fathom in your wildest imagination... what the reaction would have been by Republicans if President Obama had said this? They would have completely lost their minds. Apparently it finally dawned on Clownface VonFuckstick how insane this is, because he later tweeted that he believes it "can't happen," over something he says never happened in the first place? Or did happen? Or didn't? Depending on the day. Or whatever. Ivanka is catching serious heat for being an unelected, unqualified seat-filler at the G-20 conference, but at least she can form a coherent sentence. Why not put her in charge? Because nothing could be worse than what we have now.
And that aughta do it! See you next Sunday!
Posted on Monday, July 10th, 2017
I always feel sorry for animals having to endure the summer heat while wearing a fur coat. It can't be comfortable. Though my cats still like laying out in the catio when the heat is on, so maybe it's not as big a deal as I'm thinking it is.
Jake has his own way with dealing with the heat... catspreading.
I notice when it's hot out in the catio, he'll usually lay on the cool, shaded concrete... then spread out for maximum heat dispersion...
Yes, I desperately need to wash my windows!
Indoors is another story.
The cat tree sits right under the HVAC vent. When the air conditioning turns on, he'll immediately spread out for some cooling relief...
And then when it turns back off, he'll go back to a normal position...
Perfectly logical. Yet still odd.
But whatever floats your boat, little buddy!
Posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017
The plan was simple.
Work until around 1:00am, then hash out a blistering post in support of Net Neutrality Day, then get some much-needed sleep...
Except my internet went down as I was in the middle of work. Everything went to shit. And now I'm not only unable to finish my work, I also can't do much blogging.
So... pretty much a metaphor for the internet without net neutrality, ironically enough.
I am so tired of this bullshit. And yet here we go again...
Posted on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
Today is Net Neutrality Day. Which you'd think would be redundant since we have it, but apparently that may not be for long.
Pig fucker assholes like Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai are once gain trying kill net neutrality so that big business can control the internet. Never mind that they have to tell lie after lie after lie to sell it to the American people... the money involved is massive, the people involved are all-powerful, and telling lies is not something they really give a fuck about.
I have written about how crucial net neutrality is to a free and open internet many, many times (like here, for example).
And I'm just one voice of many, because the American people have backed net neutrality many, many times.
But it never seems to matter, because the people trying to kill it have an endless supply of money to throw at the pig-fucking assholes who keep assaulting it.
It's at times like this that I sincerely feel we should burn this fucking shithole of a corrupt piece of shit country to the ground and fucking start over. What The United States of America is supposed to be all about is lost when its citizens no longer have a say. People with money are ultimately the only ones allowed to have a voice now. Because they are the only ones with the means of buying off the politicians who make the decisions for all of us...
If Pai and his bought-and-paid-for pig-fucking asshole confederates actually manage to kill net neutrality, I might as well take down Blogography. Because it's only a matter of time before Very Important People decide they don't like me calling them pig-fucking assholes and shut it down for me.
The pig-fucking assholes.
UPDATE: And... Mr. Trae Crowder, everybody...
Holy shit what a cluster-fuck.
Posted on Thursday, July 13th, 2017
Pizza is probably my favorite food.
But not always.
Sometimes... sometimes... it's fried potatoes. When they're served with Dutch mayonnaise. They don't even have to be really great fries (like the amazing kind you get in the Netherlands or the kind I fry myself). So long as they have Dutch mayo, I'm good. So to celebrate National French Fry Day, I grabbed my Dutch mayo and went to the local drive-in for a big bag of lunch...
Tied with Chocolate Pudding Day (June 26th) as one of my favorite holidays!
Hope you got fried today!
Posted on Friday, July 14th, 2017
I don't know who the mad genius was who put National French Fry Day and National Mac & Cheese Day next to each other... but kudos to that. Meal planning has been dead-simple these two days. And delicious.
Dinner was courtesy of "The World's Best Mac & Cheese" by Beecher's...
I don't know that it's "The World's Best"... but, if it's not, it's darn close.
Posted on Saturday, July 15th, 2017
I'd have thought that my cats would have settled into their personalities after a year-and-a-half... that no new big surprises would be on the horizon.
It certainly seemed that way. Until this past week, when big surprises did indeed show up.
When I first got Jake and Jenny, they were terribly frightened and shy...
It took a week before I could lure them out from under the couch to play. It took four weeks before Jake would let me touch him... five weeks before Jenny would allow petting. Weeks after that, the cats were fairly sociable and would climb on me if I lured them with a cat charmer. Months after that, Jake would be all over me... Jenny not so much. Eventually she came around, but there were always conditions. If she was laying near me, I couldn't touch her or she'd get scared and run away. Any time I'd be petting her, she'd nervously pace all around me, never laying down or getting comfortable. She'd hop on the bed and watch TV with me for hours... but at a comfortable distance. Every once in a blue moon she'd sit or lay for a few minutes while I'd scratch her ears, but anything more than that just wasn't going to happen.
Until this past week, when all of a sudden she's hanging out with me every morning like this...
Honestly never thought this would happen.
And then there's Jake.
He'll happily hop next to me on the couch or sit in my lap for an hour at a time. He's been doing this for a long while now. But yesterday it got weird.
I came home early from work around 1:30pm. The minute I walked through the door, Jake was all over me, following my every step... rubbing up against me any time I stopped moving. Then I sat down and he was immediately on me to take a nap...
He then stayed on me... for the next ten hours... while I worked, watched TV, and ate dinner. The only time he'd leave is to eat or go to the bathroom. If I got up for any reason, he'd start crying and cling to me. I was starting to wonder if he was sick...
Around 10:30 I went up to bed. He was right there with me until I fell asleep. When I woke around 3am, he was gone. And this morning things seem to be back to normal.
Well, as normal as things can be when you have cats.
Posted on Sunday, July 16th, 2017
The Mother of Dragons has come home to roost at long last, but the bigger news is that an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Square? Amazon is thrilling their customers with new #BoxFacts on their packaging now. Except they aren't really "facts" when they're wrong...
NOT A SQUARE!! Somebody at Amazon should have remembered the Square Song from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, because a square has ALL FOUR SIDES THE SAME SIZE!
Amazing how that song has stuck in my head all these years. Handy too... for exactly these kind of occasions.
• WHO?!? And it's been announced that the next Doctor Who will be Jodie Whittaker...
Who happens to be a woman.
As you can probably imagine... the internet is losing its collective shit. Some of it in a good way... I mean, come on... this has been a long time coming. But a goodly chunk of it in a bad way, refusing to accept a woman as Doctor Who. Because women can't be doctors? Fuck that. Best of luck, Jodie Whittaker, I'm looking forward to seeing you in the role!
• Dental! This is the questionnaire that I was given to fill out at the dentist office this past week...
I had to go up and confirm with the receptionist that I was there for a teeth cleaning, right? And, if that's the case, exactly what position would that be happening from? I mean, yeah, I get it... your dentist probably needs to know some medical facts so they can best treat you... but genital herpes?!?
• TransVisible! As somebody who had a trans friend get the crap beaten out of her this past March for no reason other than being who she is... a friend who has done nothing but be an exemplary tax-paying citizen who dedicates more time towards helping others than most people would ever dream of... I have to say what a load of horse shit it is that anybody should have to be forced to stand up and defend their child's right to be who they are. Thank God that men like this exist who do exactly that. ..
All the misinformation and outright lies being propagated by bigots about trans persons... WHO WANT NOTHING MORE THAN TO LIVE THEIR LIVES IN PEACE... speak volumes as to the ass-backwards society of ignorance we've created. TRANS PEOPLE EXIST NOW AND HAVE EXISTED SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME! GET OVER IT!
• Impossible! I am a huge, huge, massively huge fan of the original Mission: Impossible television series. A big part of that was the cast, which was always firing on all cylinders. My favorite was Barbara Bain as Cinnamon Carter... but her real-life husband, Martin Landau (who played Rollin Hand), was also great. They both went on to be equally great in the bizarre SPACE: 1999.
I was sad to learn that Martin Landau had passed this past week...
I used to watch both shows obsessively, and always held out hope that Landau would one day make a guest appearance on the Tom Cruise infused Mission: Impossible movies. Rest in peace, sir.
• FRESH! And lastly, just because I can, I present the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley. Gardening...
SHE'S FIFTY-TWO YEARS OLD! Obviously she's made some kind of deal with the Devil to stay looking that incredible.
Annnd... that's enough bullshit for one Sunday. Maybe two Sundays.
Posted on Monday, July 17th, 2017
I love good marketing.
The problem is that so few companies manage it.
Apple happens to be a company that excels at good marketing. Like when they converted the banners in the iTunes Store to LEGO in celebration of The LEGO Batman Movie being released.
And now... the banners across the top of the "Movies" section of the iTunes Store were all movie titles constructed out of emojis! (in celebration of The Emoji Movie perhaps?) I copied all of them because I just couldn't stand the idea of such brilliance being lost. How many can you guess?
Even the "featured titles" were spelled out in emoji...
Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
I don't think that my cats have fully grapsed the idea that there are security cameras everywhere throughout my house and I can see most everything they do.
So when I come downstairs, walk into the kitchen, and see that the cupboard with all the cat food, cat treats, and cat toys has been ransacked, their attempt to profess their innocence by pretending to be shocked and saddened that such a tragedy has occurred doesn't do them any favors.
Nor does blaming "ghosts," which seems to be their go-to explanation.
Today I attempted to show Jake some camera footage which clearly shows he is guilty of breaking into the cat cupboard. Again. He remained steadfast in his innocence.
I'd say he's got a huge pair of balls on him, but he doesn't have any balls at all.
Even so, I'm too proud of him to be angry about it.
Posted on Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
Of all the movies coming out this year, the one I am most looking forward to is Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which is a sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service. The first film was fantastic because it was one of those rare movies that comes along and feels entirely fresh while being wholly familiar at the same time. Yes, there's a lot of James Bond in there, but it doesn't tread the same waters at all. In many ways, Kingsman out-Bonded Bond by rebooting the British spy thriller to new heights.
I mean, just look at it...
As for the rest of the movies I'm dying to see in 2017? Here are my top ten so far...
I grant you that The Disaster Artist is an odd choice. But the first trailer debuted, and watching Dave Franco channel Tommy Wiseau is absolute cinematic magic...
Compare to the original...
A movie about the making of one of the worst movies of all time that actually looks good? Sign me up.
Posted on Thursday, July 20th, 2017
I generally fast-forward through commercials because most of them are total shit and not worth watching. This is easy to do because I watch almost all television from my DVR. The only time I let commercials play is when I'm watching TV live... or if I'm working (or otherwise distracted) and can't be bothered.
There I was, working away with the television playing in the background when...
... a sound plays.
A familiar sound.
The sound of the announcement tone for Disney's Star Tours!
What the heck?
Turns out it's a commercial advertising the Main Street Electrical Parade, where a Disney cast member is walking through a giant warehouse filled with relics of Disneyland past. I must have freeze-framed a dozen times on my DVR trying to figure out what everything I was seeing could be. Reviewing it all was a nostalgia-laden walk down memory lane.
The commercial has been around for months, but this was my first time seeing it.
When I was Googling to see if Disney had posted it to YouTube, I found that there were a couple of videos calling out all the "Easter Eggs." Like these...
Now THIS is a cool commercial that is actually worth your time to watch!
Assuming you're as big a Disney geek as I am, that is.
Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2017
What I need...
What I really, really need...
Is an off-switch.
My brain is so overwhelmed with stuff... a lot of it being inconsequential, mindless stuff... that I can't focus. Especially at night when I need to be sleeping.
Oh well. In six hours I have to head over the mountains in a 2-1/2 hour drive. Maybe that will sort things out with my brain.
Posted on Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
It's strange how much I worry about my cats when I'm not at home. Not over things like them tearing up the house or making a mess or anything like that... but worry over them being lonely or bored.
Right now I am checking in on them with the security cameras and they are exactly where I saw them when I left yesterday. Jake is on top of the kitty tree and Jenny is laying on the stereo receiver (I think she likes how it gets a little warm... even on the hottest days). She naps there most of the time now...
Seriously, she does.
I've been documenting it with my iPhone...
Awwwww... this one is my favorite...
She's making a pillow out of my Star Wars Blu-Ray collections!
As for Jake? He's busy being Jake. When he's not eating, pooping, or napping... he's destroying my expensive books by chewing on them... sometimes as I am reading them...
LOOK OUT SPIDER-MAN!!!
And... going to try and be inspired by my cats and get some sleep now.
Which would probably be easier if I were home with them.
Posted on Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
Never fear, super-fans, because a Very Special Comic-Con Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• THOR: RAGNAROK! I liked the first two Thor movies quite a lot. Especially the first one, which did a masterful job of introducing Thor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was grandiose and epic in a way you need a movie with gods to be, and set the tone for Thor in everything that would come after (including a couple Avengers movies). And now, the third Thor film is ready to be unleashed this November:
Super sweet! Kind of an 80's vibe, even in the amazing poster...
Marvel amazes me. Every movie they release is an escalation of what's come before. Sometimes it doesn't work 100% (I'm looking at you, Age of Ultron) but most of the time it seriously does. And Thor: Ragnarok looks to be knocking it out of the park. Can't. Wait.
• THE DEFENDERS! But before we get treated to new Thor, first we get to see the culmination of all four Netflix series... Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First... with The Defenders. This seems like a great idea, and a logical culmination of all that's come before...
Time (and August 18th) will tell whether or not it's clever enough to be worthy, but getting Sigourney Weaver as your villain was a great start. Cool. All this and The Punisher coming by years' end too.
• THE INHUMANS! Also dropping prior to new Thor? The Inhumans. Originally they were getting their own movie but, after the franchise was turned to shit in ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I guess they felt a movie was aiming too high. Instead we get a compromise. The first episode is being released to IMAX theaters in September, then the show continues on ABC...
Eh. Probably good that they didn't attempt this in a feature film, because Medusa's magical hair was never going to look fantastic. Regardless, nothing I'm seeing here has me too excited. ABC had an amazing opportunity to do something truly different by taking The Inhumans into extreme weirdness, but it looks like Just Another Super-Hero Show on the Small Screen. Not surprising... I can't stand Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it doesn't look like ABC is attempting to break any new ground here like they did with the amazing Agent Carter series. Pity.
• BLACK PANTHER! And here is where I start to lose my shit. I'm a huge, huge, massively huge fan of Black Panther. I was thrilled to see him finally join the MCU with Captain America: Civil War, and am positively giddy at the prospect of seeing him get a film all to himself. The technically advanced world of Wakanda is going to make for a heck of a movie, assuming they get the story right. And, from the looks the first trailer, they are definitely trying...
And that poster...
Since this is Marvel, I'm assuming they've nailed it. Not knowing is kinda killing me. Having to wait until February 16th to find out is really killing me.
• AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR And then there's the culmination of every Marvel Studios movie ever released coming to a theater near you on May 4th. The footage at Comic-Con has not been released yet (if ever), but they did give us a gatefold poster to drool over...
Which conveniently breaks down into three panels for closer inspection of all the awesomeness there is to unpack...
First of all... BLACK WIDOW IS A BLONDE THIS TIME AROUND? Wonder what in the hell that's all about. Second of all... why is Hawkeye getting the short end of the stick again? He's barely in the poster at all, and doesn't even get an action pose with his bow and arrow! Granted, he could arguably be seen as the weak link in The Avengers, but his fantastic ongoing comic book series show that this is not the fault of the character. It's what the writers do with him that makes him a weak link. Holy crap I wish they'd give him a Netflix series where he can finally shine. Next up... Spider-Man in a black suit is interesting. I don't hate it but, after so many movies where they weren't faithful to the comic book, I felt they finally nailed it with Civil War and Homecoming... so, why? And then... so very, very happy that they are apparently pushing the Scarlet Witch & Vision romance forward. That's an element 100% from the comic books, and I think it totally works. Then penultimately... holy crap did they do a frickin' amazing job capturing Thanos! Bad. Ass. And lastly... Cap with a beard! My expectations for Avengers: Infinity War are on overdrive. I'm expecting they'll be exceeded.
• JUSTICE LEAGUE! Blargh. DC Comics and Zack Snyder's idea of what makes a good super-hero movie is so nausea-inducing that I'll tackle that one tomorrow. I'm having too much fun loving on all of Marvel's awesomeness tonight.
And that's it for Comic-Con 2017. Until next year, True Believers...
Posted on Monday, July 24th, 2017
I am so far beyond giving a shit about Zack Snyder's shitty DC Comics super-hero movies that I honestly don't know if I'll even bother seeing Justice League in theaters.
I mean, just look at this bullshit trailer...
It's said that Joss Whedon is doing extensive reshoots for Justice League after Zack Snyder had to remove himself from the film to deal with a family emergency. I don't think punching up the dialogue (Whedon's specialty) is going to help. It's just pouring more money down a hole. What's really sad here... almost to the point of tragedy... is how much better the DC television division is at making good super-hero live action. They should have turned the Justice League movie over to them and built on the terrific, faithful, and far-superior versions of The Flash and Superman they already have on TV.
But instead we got this crapfest.
Maybe one day we'll finally get a DC Cinematic Universe that doesn't suck copious amounts of ass... but, sadly, that day is not today.
Or even tomorrow, apparently.
Posted on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
When I returned from Las Vegas earlier this month, my home was a disaster, even though I did a quick cleaning before I left. Between the cats shedding like crazy and their tracking in dirt, leaves, and debris from the catio (not to mention kitty litter everywhere) it doesn't take long at all before my home gets pretty filthy.
And, as much as I'd like to vacuum every day between deep cleaning every-other-month, it's tough to work it into my routine. I vacuum once or twice a week and not at all when I'm traveling.
So... I started looking into robot vacuums. Everybody I know who has one, loves them. They're not meant to replace an "actual" vacuum cleaner, but they are totally capable of sucking up superficial filth that tends to accumulate day to day. Especially if you have cats.
From the time I spent researching them, I learned that my home is ideal for a robot vacuum because it is open-concept, has clear pathways with little clutter, and all floors are either hardwood or tile. Great. So which one to buy? I narrowed it down to three...
I don't have $700 to spend on a robot vacuum, as nice as it may be to own one of the top-shelf models. Technically, I don't even have $200. But I sold an old camera body I wasn't using, which meant I had $200 I could spend.
The Eufy RoboVac 11 it is then.
Before the unit arrived I did three things...
And then... it arrived. Set up was a cinch, though finding a place to put the charging base was a challenge. They require an area a bit larger than 7-feet wide by 7-feet deep... and it has to be against a wall! This is a huge area. Instead of having my RoboVac in my living room/dining room area as intended, I ended up putting it in the guest bedroom... and even then it comes up short from the required space. Doesn't seem to be having any ill-effects, but I find it insane that such a massive footprint is required. Does Eufy think all its customers live in mansions?
I need about a foot more space on the left side, but I can move it to the right because then I don't have enough space in front. Another worry? Look at that tasty cord. I'm going to have to tape it up so the cats don't chew on it. I may experiment with moving the unit under the outlet (even though it will only have half the required space in front of it there) or perhaps build a cord protector. Or something.
The Eufy RoboVac 11 is completely dependent on the included remote control for anything other than automatic cleanings. Want to set the internal clock? Point the remote at it while you program it. Want to set a schedule? Point the remote at it while you program it. Want to send it "home?" Point the... well... you get the picture. Is this a deal-breaker? Not for $200. But it does kinda make you long for the network connectivity of the $700 units.
But the real question is... how do Jake and Jenny deal with our new robot friend? The first time it ran, Jenny hid upstairs the entire time while Jake stalked it around the house...
But the second day she was stalking it too...
A bigger problem than the cats are their cat toys...
If you've got cats that like to leave toys scattered about, that could be a problem. They are certain to get moved around by RoboVac. If they are lightweight and have strings or feathers or other dangly bits, they'll be partially sucked into the unit then get hauled around, stuck there.
Actually, the real question when it comes to robot vacuums probably has nothing to do with cats... and everything to do with how well the thing actually works. Keeping in mind that I had done a "deep clean" the day before I got it, I think this photo of its first run through my home is everything you need to know...
Since I had just cleaned, I expected there would be a few bits of dirt and a small amount of cat hair. Nuh-uh. Not even.
The bin was completely full.
Here's day two. FULL AGAIN?!...
And day three. Not as bad, but still...
Holy crap! Where is it finding all this?!? So gross. But wow does it ever work well! I may only have to "real vacuum" every month or so now!When it comes to a cleaning schedule, I set the Eufy RoboVac 11 to do a full auto-clean every morning at 4:30am. The results are... weird...
Like I said, weird. But it seems to be working just fine except for the marathon cleaning sessions. Perhaps eventually it will settle into a more consistent routine?
And now the pros and cons of the Eufy RoboVac 11...
My RoboVac to-do list...
CONCLUSION: Ultimately I'm so very happy I took the plunge. I love my new robot vacuum. I love it so much that I've named him Carl (after the janitor in The Breakfast Club) and he's a part of the family now. My Eufy RoboVac 11 is managing to find dirt and cat hair that I never even see. Yes, I'll still need to vacuum with my upright from time to time... a robot vacuum simply doesn't have the same suction power as an upright... but in helping to keep my home clean from day-to-day (especially while I'm gone). It's a fantastic tool and a big help.
My goal was to eventually replace the Eufy RoboVac 11 with a more expensive model that has all the bells and whistles I was wanting. But if it keeps doing the great job it has been, why would I? Paying $500 over the $200 that Carl cost me probably isn't going to get my home any cleaner. Maybe if I had carpet or complicated rooms it would be a different story... but, for now, I'm definitely sticking with what I got.
UPDATE: When I changed the schedule time, the RoboVac stopped vacuuming on the schedule. I contacted tech support and said I could try turning the power off. Then removing it from the base station. Then turning it on. Then clear the current schedule (hold the schedule button down until it beeps and clears). Then set a new schedule. Worked like a charm! Now Carl won't be interrupting the cats at breakfast.
Posted on Wednesday, July 26th, 2017
It's been calculated that the cost for President Trump to go golfing in Mar-A-Lago four times is the same as the medical costs for taking care of our trans soldiers. And yet it's the money that President Trump cites as his reason for banning trans persons from service.
He also says they are a "distraction" which, given the shit-show that's his entire presidency, I find hilarious. Especially since his first tweet on banning trans service worried The Pentagon that he was starting a war with North Korea.
So much for promises...
The non-stop parade of misinformation and outright lies being lobbied at the trans community is horrible. These tax-paying citizens want nothing more than to live their lives in a way that's true to themselves and have the same rights as Americans as everybody else. And yet wealthy old white men desperate to stay in power are clutching their pearls at the thought of people they don't like being on the same playing field as everybody else. They fucking own the playing field. They fucking make the rules. They fucking referee the match. But even that's not enough. They want to determine who gets to play too.
One day... hopefully one day soon... people are going to wake up and realize that it's not "just the lesbians"... it's not "just the gays"... it's not "just the bisexuals"... it's not "just the transexuals"... it's everybody. The people ACTUALLY running this country hate everybody. They don't give a shit about you. All they care about is wealth and power. Everything else comes second. A distant, distant second. And the very minute that they feel you are no longer of use to them, you get pitched out with the rest.
It's only a matter of time.
In the meanwhile, best start speaking up for those getting shit on while you still can. It's the only way there's going to be somebody around to speak up for you when it's your turn.
Happy hump-day, everybody.
Posted on Thursday, July 27th, 2017
As I was deplaning at Boston Logan International Airport after a 5 hour and 20 minute flight from Seattle... I noticed a fly buzzing out the door alongside me. "Huh," I thought, "I wonder if he realizes that he's 2,500 miles from home?" Followed by "I wonder if it even matters?" I'm guessing that flies in Seattle are the same as the ones in Boston, so it probably doesn't matter. It's not like he's going to spend the rest of his days trying to find his missing family and friends. He's just going to go on doing his fly stuff, whatever that is, blissfully unawares that he's been transported in space and time.
Must be nice.
Because I am not definitely not blissfully unaware of having been transported in space in time. I am fully cognizant that my friends, family, and cats are across the country from me. I'm also painfully aware that I spent over five hours trapped on a plane with a bunch of people who reminded me of why I hate people.
I booked an off off-site hotel to save money because I figured it would only be 9pm Pacific Time to me when I landed. Except... after the flight from hell, it is definitely feeling like it's the midnight Eastern Time that it actually is. And I just want to go to behhhhhhhhd.
Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2017
The cost to fly into Portland, Maine during high tourist season is astronomical. Far, far cheaper to fly into Boston and drive north than to pay for the convenience of terminating at PWM.
And so... that's exactly what I did.
Even though the last time I did this, I nearly died.
The route from Boston to Portland is fairly straightforward and takes less than two hours...
Unless you're me.
I had time to kill, so I took the crazy 3-1/2 hour back roads route to see some bits of New Hampshire I hadn't seen before. And avoid tourist traffic. And avoid a bunch of tolls...
All in all... a lot more time on the road than I had patience for, but it was all worth it because Barbara's Maine Blueberry Crisp at Flatbread Co. was waiting for me when I arrived...
Other than my grandmother's apple pie, there is no dessert on earth I would rather have than this right here. Totally worth a five-and-a-half hour flight followed by a 3-1/2 hour drive. If you're ever in Portland during blueberry season, stop in and pray it's on the day's dessert menu.
After a late lunch, I had 45 minutes more in my rental car until I arrived at my job-site.
And now... since work starts at 5:00am tomorrow morning, which means I have to get up at 4:30am... I'll be taking my leave of you this evening. Good night! Blueberry dreams to you!
Posted on Saturday, July 29th, 2017
My new cat sitter doesn't start until tomorrow, so Jake and Jenny are on their own for another day. Not a big deal, as I've been gone a lot longer than this and they've been fine. Thanks to Litter Robot, Feed-and-Go, and my security system, they are in good hands. So there's no need to worry about them. And, hey, if something comes up, I can always call a neighbor to check in. It's all good.
It's tough not to worry when you're 2,500 miles away and you've got all this crazy crap going through your head.
Take, for example, feedings.
In the past I'd fill the automated feeder to max levels so I was assured that the cats wouldn't go hungry while I'm gone. But then Jake had to be put on a diet, so that wasn't a good option any more. Now I put the exact amount each cat gets in the feeder so they aren't over-eating.
But then I started worrying that if Jake scarfs down his dinner... and wants more (which he always does)... will he push Jenny out of the way and steal her food? This is a genuine concern. He's a much bigger cat and, while Jenny doesn't put up with his shit, she's also not in a position to shove him back when she's such a petite little lady.
Last night I got my answer. The feeders activated and Jake and Jenny came running to eat...
As expected, Jake mowed through the bulk of his dinner before Jenny had even taken a couple bites. Would he force his sister out of the way to steal her food? Turns out... no... he wandered away...
That's a relief... but I know for a fact that when he's hungry later on, he won't hesitate to eat whatever food is left, and he doesn't care whose bowl its in.
In other news... Carl got stuck under the media center this morning. I heard three beeps over the security camera, which means he's sucked up something he shouldn't have. Probably a stray wire underneath. Jake was most concerned when his robot pal stopped working...
I asked Jake to pull Carl out and take him to his charging station, but that was apparently asking too much. Instead Jake climbed the cat tower and took a nap.
Which doesn't sound like such a bad idea. I've been up since 4:30am and work is just getting started now at 2:30pm.
I'm going to need a bigger Coke.
Posted on Saturday, July 29th, 2017
Time to get busy living... or get busy dying, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Sweet! Today is National Cheesecake Day! The odds of me finding decent cheesecake in the wilds of Maine are probably slim considering there aren't any Cheesecake Factory restaurants in the entire state. I'd have to drive to Boston, which is nearly five hours round-trip! But who knows? Perhaps there's some awesome blueberry cheesecake to be found 'round these parts. The question being... will I have enough energy to seek it out given that I haven't slept in two days?
• Sweeter! Also not available in the entire state of Maine? Pinkberry. Which is a major bummer, because they just added a delicious-looking Black Raspberry to their flavors list...
So not fair.
• Sweetness! Awwww...
This could be one of the best meet-cutes in history... or the beginning of a horror story to end all horror stories.
• Sweetest? In a move that I can't wrap my head around, I'm seeing posts to social media about people finding Halloween candy being put out. When it's not even August and the holiday is still three months away. Given how the leftovers go on close-out sale for the month of November, we might as well leave it out year-'round. One third of the year devoted to Halloween is absurd... and I like Halloween.
• Unsweet. Since politicians would rather tax people to death than reign in spending, we're inundated with taxes every damn day, and new taxes are never far away. Take, for example, the "Sugary Drink Tax" which adds to the cost of every soft drink (or pop, or soda, or Coke) you buy. Chicago's takes effect on Wednesday... and Seattle's takes effect in January. More cities are looking to follow suit so they can be a part of a crash-grab disguised as a way of saving citizens from obesity. It's shameless and pointless (politicians will never be satisfied with one new revenue stream when there are dozens more to be had!), but... easier than cutting spending, that's for sure. Which leads me to wonder exactly when the tax burden of everyday citizens is going trigger revolt. Could this be the one? Stay tuned.
• Sour. And speaking of bullshit taxes... Washington State's legislature is devoting $300,000 to a feasibility study of building high-speed rail from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver. Something which would undoubtedly be funded by putting a tax on the tax that's on the tax you're already taxed! And undoubtedly be run by the Washington State Department of Transportation... an organization which regularly takes projects which should be able to be completed in months, and dragging them out for years (all while creating the biggest inconvenience possible for everybody). It's a total recipe for fucking disaster. But let's spend THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS to study it anyway.
Which, in itself, is fucking stupid. We don't need a study. All we have to do is look at California and the way their high speed rail is coming along. The project is hemorrhaging money and taking much longer than originally budgeted. As if that wasn't bad enough, the projected top speed of their "high speed rail" keeps dropping below the 220mph benchmark they set. But even better? Even at the outrageous price of $86 a ticket to go from San Francisco to L.A. ... IF they manage to get a whopping 10,000 passengers to ride per day... it will STILL take 203 years to pay for itself. And that doesn't even include maintenance costs?!?
Apparently the Washington State legislature has been taking advantage of our marijuana legalization before deciding where to throw away THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS! And here's the best part... people like me who live in the Eastern half of the State and would rarely use the thing will undoubtedly be included in the taxation required to build it. Yay.
• Bitter. Holy crap where do I even start after the week in politics we've had?
Annnnnd... welcome to Shawshank.
Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2017
I've been (mostly) awake from 4:00am last Friday. As the hours all blend together, I'm finding it hard to wrap my head around what day it is. Or where I'm at.
This morning I drove from Maine to Boston so that I can fly out tomorrow morning. Early. The plan is to try and get some sleep, but first... falafel lunch and a movie.
Because you just cannot resist Charlize Theron...
Before I even get to Atomic Blonde... the soundtrack is frickin' amazing (seriously amazing, and the story behind the soundtrack is interesting as well).
The movie is a spy-thriller that takes place during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and here's (most of) the German-infused/inspired-pop tracks from that era that they picked...
Since I have bought almost all of those songs already, I don't even need to buy the soundtrack... I just need to make a playlist! One song I just had to have was HEALTH's cover of Blue Monday, which wasn't better than the New Order original, but it had a different "feel" I really liked.
As I mentioned, this is a spy-thriller set in Berlin in November 1989 just as the Berlin Wall is about to fall. An MI6 agent is killed by a rogue KGB operative who steals "The List" off him which contains all allied field agents operating in The Soviet Union and Europe. Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, one of MI6's top spies, who is being interrogated about her actions in Berlin to recover "The List"... meaning that the bulk of the movie is being told in flashbacks.
TEN DAYS EARLIER: Lorraine's contact in Berlin is MI6's top operative there, David Percival (played by James McAvoy). Working together (and even against each other), the movie is a cat-and-mouse game against the Soviets to find "The List" and identify "Satchel," a double agent for the Soviets who betrayed the MI6 agent that was killed. Along the way there are some nice twists and turns that kept me interested... but I have to admit the penultimate "twists" could be seen coming from miles away. The final "twist" was not something I anticipated, but it didn't really have any effect on the story, so it honestly didn't matter much. The film, while pretty great, could have been SO much better had they only made it so that the final moments were an interesting payoff for everything that came before. It wasn't.
That being said, I still recommend Atomic Blonde because the action sequences and soundtrack are just too perfect. And Charlize Theron is beyond kick-ass in every way possible. I would not mind at all seeing a sequel if it gets me more Lorraine Broughton!
If I had a negative, it would be that director David Leitch, who handled most of the movie with such brilliant ease, showed himself to be a fucking hack of the lowest order when he injected a Wilhelm Scream into the action. When are directors going to learn that the gig is up on this bullshit? Everybody knows what to listen for and, when they finally hear it, the sound effect immediately takes them out of the movie. Criminally stupid, and yet directors are still being idiots about using it. I wish studios would forbid Wilhelm Screams until the end of time.
And that was that.
Using the awesome Boston Silver Line, I headed back the the airport and my hotel for an epic nap experience. I would have loved to have gone to the Red Sox game at 7:00, but lack of sleep would have made that impossible.
Oh well. Next time, Boston. Next time.