Posted on Friday, September 1st, 2017
A while back I talked about adding more National Parks Posters to my collection because they were on sale for a price too good to pass up. When they arrived, I took the opportunity to re-frame everything, then relocate them from my storage room to a wall on my stairway.
It was a good plan...
At least it was a good plan until the new frames I ordered showed up.
Re-framing, wiring, and hanging a dozen posters is a lot of work.Too much work. Especially when you have to be precise when wiring and even more precise when hammering in the hangers so that everything will line up once you start hanging. It took days of nights to get it all sorted.
But it ended up being worth it because the end-results are magic.
It's tough to get a shot in my narrow stairwell, but you can get an idea...
I think I can squeeze in two more... but I worry about the frames ending up too close to the handrail. I guess we'll see once I've visited more parks.
Oh... and if you want to grab some of Rob Decker's beautiful National Parks posters for your own home, they're on sale over Labor Day weekend at his site, so now's the time to do it!
And... speaking of hanging... I finally found a print I like for my guest bathroom that fits in with the Robert Lyn Nelson underwater posters I've already got in there...
Kind of nice to have artwork and photos in my home that are by somebody other than me!
Posted on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017
Cats are so weird.
I would give just about anything to be able to climb inside their little heads and find out what is going on in their brains. I mean, I'm sure they act the way they do for a reason... I'll just be darned if I know what that reason is most of the time.
Sure some of the time it's just common sense. Like the way they act around meal time...
That kind of crazy I can understand.
Everything else? A mystery.
Jenny has gotten to the point where all she wants to do is spend the whole day in bed with me. She runs to hang with me the minute I head up to go to sleep... and stays with me until I fall asleep. Mornings are the same thing. Once I'm awake, she will hang with me wanting to be petted until I get up to take a shower. Then she comes and waits by the shower so she can lead me back to bed for more belly-rubs...
Jake has started getting very clingy when I get home from work. He will lay on me for hours... only wanting to leave when it's time to eat...
For anybody wondering... yes, Jenny does still bring me toys every morning as tributes. And she's getting good at making a whole production out of it, complete with drama...
"If you won't feed me, I suppose I'll just put my head down and die..."
Sometimes she manages to surprise me. Like when she brought DOUBLE PRETZELS as tributes. I didn't even realize that we had two of them...
And... that's enough cats for one day. See you next Caturday...
Posted on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017
Don't let smoke inhalation get you down, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• FIRE! Once again it would seem that the Columbia Basin is on fire. This is the view I had on the drive over the mountains...
• Chase! My... My... My pants! Jake chases Jenny. Jenny chases Jake...
It's the circle of life up in my house.
• Tolerance! A short but bittersweet article that's worth a minute of your time: The Christians Making Atheists. The decline of Christianity in a nutshell. But, in reality, it could also hold true for other religions that attempt to hide their bigotry in the guise of religion.
• Fresh! This is what happens when you travel a lot and keep forgetting to pack deodorant...
That's a lot of money tied up in antiperspirant products!
• Thrice! Hey! Did I happen to mention that the latest issue of Thrice Fiction has been released, and you can read it online or download it for FREE?!? Well, you totally can! Just visit the Thrice Fiction website!
If you like fiction and like to read... it's worth the price of admission. Which is FREE!
• All That We Share! Nice to know that while this country is tearing itself apart that other countries are making an effort to keep it together...
Viva la Denmark!
Have a good Labor Day weekend, everybody.
Posted on Monday, September 4th, 2017
I, for once, am not working on Labor Day this year. I've been working nights and weekends so I could get caught up enough to take the day off. Probably not as caught up as I should be... but leaving anyway.
Somebody who is not taking the day off is Carl the RoboVac. I checked in and saw him dutifully vacuuming away... picking up all the cat hair that seems to accumulate constantly...
Only time will tell if he makes it back to his charging station... or he decides to take tomorrow off by getting lost under a dresser somewhere.
Posted on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017
The drive back home was awful. In what was just so typical, WSDOT stopped me twice on the pass for projects they'll never finish... meaning I sat in smoke for a half hour. This resulted in an upset stomach and a whopper of a headache. I do not react well to smoke.
Especially when there is so much of it...
Much to my horror, it was even worse at home than on the passes. The smoke is so thick I can't even see the surrounding hillsides.
After stopping at work for a couple hours, I ran home to check on my little monsters. And freaked out when I realized that they had been hanging out in the catio when the air quality was abysmal. The first thing I did (after a lot of petting) was close the cat door.
It did not go over well with Jake and Jenny.
Much whining and crying ensued as they tried to figure out how to open the door...
Eventually I relented and let them out for a bit. Luckily they didn't want to stay out long... they don't like the smoke any better than I do... so now I'm in a quandary. Do I keep the door closed so I can rest easy knowing they won't be exposed to air toxins? Or do I leave it open to avoid whining and crying and trust they will limit their own exposure?
Oh I'm closing the door, alright. I don't trust either of them to do anything I want them to do. Instead I distracted them with towels to play with. They love towels...
But eventually Jake started whining again.
So Jenny, ever the loving caretaker, decided to make him feel better by licking his head...
But eventually their gaze kept going back to the door to make sure it was still closed...
This upset Jenny, so Jake returned the favor...
And now... back to finishing assembling a bed, washing linens, stocking guest supplies, and getting some foodstuffs together... just in case my friends have to evacuate their home because of the fires. All I need to do is find a hair dryer and some dentist toothbrush kits in my travel supplies, and I'm ready. I hope hope hope hope that they don't have to abandon their home (I know how that feels first-hand), but I'm happy I can help if they need it.
Betweens hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other disasters, things are sure a mess in this country right now.
Clearly God is not pleased that Trump was elected president.
Isn't how that works?
Because if I had a nickel for every time President Obama was blamed for natural disaster...
Posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017
Well this sucks.
I think I might be dying. At least the smoke is making me miserable enough that I feel like I'm dying.
Believe it or not, the air quality is better today that it was yesterday... you can actually see the nearby hills. What you cannot see are mountains. The sky is just white when you go looking for them...
You can kinda see hills there... but that's it...
I've been keeping the cats inside to protect their little lungs... no catio for you! They are not pleased. They just sit at the window being mad that I won't let them go outside...
Jake eventually gave up and climbed on my lap for attention...
Though it seems as thought he's finally getting wise to my photographing him...
Here's hoping tomorrow's air quality is better than today. I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Posted on Thursday, September 7th, 2017
The air quality improved enough that I decided to let the cats outside for a little while. When I opened the catio door, they didn't last very long... coming back inside after only a few minutes.
I thought that perhaps the smoke was irritating or scary enough that it would keep them from going outside, but my hopes were soon dashed. After verifying that it wasn't a trick and they really could go outside if they wanted to, they started spending all their time out there, as usual.
This meant having to close off the catio again. The last thing I want is two cats with respiratory problems.
Because me having respiratory problems is more than enough. I've been coughing my head off since the smoke started rolling in, and have had just about enough of the stuff.
Given how my cats have been whining about wanting to go back outside, I'm sure they feel the same way.
Posted on Friday, September 8th, 2017
Between the wildfires and hurricanes, it's tough to know how to process just how much disaster is happening... and how much more is yet to come. Other than staying glued to the television and hoping for the best, there's not much else to be done. Except donating to the relief efforts, if you can.
Now that the smoke is clearing up in my neck of the woods I can venture outside again. First order of business was to run errands that have been piling up. And, surprise... Halloween is happening...
Every year I run to Home Depot hoping to find Halloween decorations on half-price closeout, but all the cool ones... like light-up skeleton cats... are always long gone.
Maybe it's time to get creative and make my own cool decorations.
Though sadly, as I found out last year, I don't get many trick-or-treaters to see them.
Posted on Saturday, September 9th, 2017
As I had mentioned earlier, much of this week was spent with the catio closed for business because of smoke. This was met with much confusion and disdain by Jake and Jenny, who have become very much accustomed to being able to go outside whenever they want.
When not trying to bite the door... or trying to figure out how to open it... they would try to get out by other avenues. Jenny, for example kept clawing at the window. It's like she knew it was futile, but just had to let her frustration be known...
Eventually she gave up and tried to get into the laundry room instead...
I felt bad about it, but it just wasn't healthy out...
And so they spent all their time hanging around being bored...
Or beating up on Carl when he runs out of juice...
Or taking my spot on the couch...
The good news is that, now that they can go outside again, things have returned to normal. Or what passes for "normal" when you have cats.
Jake is back to glomming all over me while I try to work...
And Jenny? Well... she's back to being the best bedtime snuggle pal you could hope for...
Hoping for the best for all my friends, family, and co-workers facing off fires and hurricanes. Stay safe, people.
Posted on Sunday, September 10th, 2017
Wildfires and hurricanes got you down? Sorry to add to your troubles but another natural disaster has arrived, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Charitable! IF YOU HAVE A KIND HEART AND ARE ABLE TO DONATE TO FIRE/HURRICANE RELIEF... PLEASE VERIFY THAT THE CHARITY TO WHICH YOU ARE SENDING YOUR HARD-EARNED DOLLARS IS GOING TO MAKE GOOD USE OF IT. There are all too many charities which do not. A good place to start is to head to Charity Navigator, which reports on what charities do with their donations.
• Orville! The geek reviews for Seth MacFarlane's new sci-fi show The Orville were pretty bad. I decided to tune in anyway, just to see how awful it really was. Except... I actually ended up liking it. No, it's not Galaxy Quest like everybody expected... it's actually a faithful clone of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but with some funny moments scattered amongst the drama...
Actually, I'd argue it's superior to Next Generation, which I never really got into. My favorite part of the show is the helmsman and navigator (Scott Grimes and J. Lee) who have amazing buddy chemistry. Other characters are a bit glossed over, but the previews of upcoming episodes looks like they'll get their day. Is it a perfect show? No. It's a bit uneven and the pacing drags a bit in spots. But those are things that will improve in time as the writers, actors, and directors get everything figured out. The one thing they've nailed though is the special effects, which are pretty great. I've gone from zero expectations to high hopes over the course of just this one episode. May the rest of the season be worth my valuable time.
• Intermission! Of course, this was back when a candy bar was 5¢ and you could actually afford to GO to the lobby and buy a treat...
It just gets crazier as the video goes on. I remember some of this from the movie Grease where John Travolta has been stranded at the drive-in... branded a fool. What will they say Monday at school?
• Danger! Just when you think you've seen it all, Delta Airlines has to come along and prove you wrong...
Delta claims that the flight was never in any danger. Weather radar implies otherwise, but okay.
• Polydactyl! Speaking of hurricane Irma close calls... I was very happy to learn that all 54 cats at Hemingway House in Key West were sheltered and made it through the storm. I haven't been there in over five years, but the place sure made an impression on me...
Kind of a cool place to visit if you're ever in Key West.
• Orlando! As I type this, Irma is headed to Walt Disney World. Here's hoping Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Buzz Lightyear, and company all stay safe!
And that's a gale-force Bullet Sunday... over and out.
Posted on Monday, September 11th, 2017
Last year I took a blogging break for several months. I was at an all-time low in my life, and sitting down to write in a blog... which was usually therapeutic... became a form of torture that I didn't want to endure any more.
But I came back to write a post on 9/11.
Then subsequently dropped off the face of the earth again for another month-and-a-half.
I've asked myself more than once why 9/11 was the trigger which compelled me to write something serious after two months of nothing. I never have an answer. Maybe it was because I had a personal story which I had been holding onto for 15 years and it was finally time to let it go? Maybe I just missed blogging? Maybe 9/11 is such a scar on my soul that I couldn't not write something on that day.
What I wrote was an entry called The Last Night of the World.
I think it will probably be my last word on the subject. For this blog, anyway. Don't ask me why... I honestly don't know. It's just a feeling.
Because while I can never forget... would never want to forget... this is how I choose to remember here.
Maybe I'll feel different about it one day. Maybe even next year.
Posted on Tuesday, September 12th, 2017
I've been coming to Spokane for work for decades. There are a lot of memories in this city for me.
Most memories are easy to recall here because so much of the city is unchanging. Spokane is a relatively big city that feels like a town. Small businesses in old brick buildings go on for generations. Today I passed by a block of these buildings and remembered that it was where I had my first driving accident. I was coming up to a stoplight when the driver behind didn't stop in time and bumped into me. After we pulled over to survey the damage (surprisingly, there wasn't any) he said "I'm so sorry. I was trying to answer a call on my cell phone." Back then mobile phones were a new technology and I had never even seen one in person. I remember being surprised that Spokane even had cellular service. I was shaken, but sympathetic towards the man's plight because he let me hold his bulky cell phone. It might as well have been magic to me, I was so fascinated by it. I was tempted to ask him if I could make a call, but I knew the pay-per-minute rate of the day was astronomical, so I reluctantly handed it back without comment.
This was not the first time I was rear-ended in Spokane. The second time I was coming up to a stoplight next to Safeway and a woman plowed into me. This time there was damage... albeit minor. I got insurance money to repair my bumper and it looked good as new. The second and third times I was rear-ended, I took the insurance money and went on a trip. Because eventually my priorities shifted. I'd rather travel than have a nice car.
The hotel I stayed at last night is a beautiful restoration property in downtown Spokane. Everything from the public spaces down to the paint on the walls of my room is lovely. Except... holy crap is it noisy.
There is a central atrium where people gather, and everything from quiet conversation to children screaming echoes throughout the entire hotel. And when those children are running around screaming until 2am? Just try sleeping through that. Then... then... there's the air conditioning. Every time the air starts up, there is a loud "snap" followed by a huge "bang." It literally sounds like somebody is trying to break into your room every time it goes off. Especially as you're attempting to drift off to sleep at 3am.
And so I am sleep-deprived and exhausted.
Which made for a fun day at work, I'll tell you whut. I'd best describe my demeanor as "punchy."
C'est la vie.*
Work went exceedingly well and, before I knew it, it was time to grab lunch at David's Pizza (my favorite pizza in the known universe) and head home.
Which was a much better journey than yesterday.
Yesterday's drive across Washington State's Central Basin was long and boring as always... but augmented with the excitement of asshole drivers. The speed limit is 70mph. I drive around 75mph. Occasional I would pass a truck doing 60mph only to have some asshole jam on up to my bumper doing 90mph... who then flips me off when I jet back over to the right-hand lane. Sorry that I interrupted your illegal driving speed, asshole. In what universe do I deserve to be flipped off for that? If I had psychic powers, I would be telekinetically ripping off middle fingers, no lie.
On my way home I stopped at a mini-mart gas station outside of Quincy (home of the best corn in the nation!) to fuel up and grab something to drink. When I went up to the counter to pay, a kindly elderly gentleman leaning on a cane (surely 90+ years old) was in line ahead of me. He was buying a single ice cream sandwich... nothing else... with a credit card. He talked in a whisper, but I could hear him tell the cashier that he couldn't open the package on his ice cream and asked him to do it. They cashier grabbed a pair of scissors and did so, after which the old man said "thanks." He then had to put away his credit card, put his wallet in his pocket, grab his ice cream bar, and shuffle off to destinations unknown. The process took forever but I actually found it fascinating to watch and didn't mind at all. We'll all be there someday, if we're lucky.
Or unlucky, depending on your perspective.
After paying for my Gatorade and a Coke, I pass the old man eating his ice cream sandwich when a thought flashed through my head.
"Holy shit! He's not driving is he?"
I was beyond curious to know if the empty car parked by the mini mart was his, but didn't want to wait ten minutes to see if he drove away in it... or if somebody else was driving... or if he was being picked up... or if he actually walked to the mini mart from somewhere miles away.
After starting up the car, I noticed the MAINTENANCE REQUIRED light had come on. Apparently all those oil change email notices that I had been ignoring had come home to roost. And so I detoured to Jiffy Lube to take care of that, because heaven only knows when I'd ever have time to drive there again. Hey, it was on my way home anyway... so might as well.
As I pulled into Jiffy Lube, I noticed that the air quality in Wenatchee was more smoke-filled than I had seen it all year. This made me very concerned for my cats, so the first thing I did when I got to the waiting room was check my security cameras...
OF COURSE they're both outside. Why wouldn't they be?
And then I noticed movement in the corner of the security camera. What the heck is THAT, I wondered.
Oh... it's just a GIANT FUCKING MURDER SPIDER DISPOSING OF IT'S DEAD LOVER'S BODY!!! I think I actually said "Holy shit! out loud when I zoomed in...
THE HORROR! I mean, come on... she just dumped the dead body into her web and went back to hiding in the door frame...
To say I was in a panic is an understatement.
My cats were outside in the catio WITH A GIANT MURDER SPIDER! And since GIANT MURDER SPIDERS are always poisonous, their fate was in serious doubt. Because there is nothing... nothing they love more than to play with bugs. If either one of them saw the thing... my guess is that I would arrive home to a cat in respiratory failure because it had been bitten and poisoned.
So I wait for an agonizing 20 minutes while my oil was changed.
I drive home through work traffic, which is another 30 minutes of torture.
I get home, tear into the house, lure both kitties in from the catio, close off the catio door so they can't get back out, run and grab the bug spray from the garage, run around the house to the catio door, then soak... soak until dripping... the entire upper corner of the frame.
Eventually a tiny little spider crawled out, fell to the ground, and died.
"Huh. I guess when a little spider is close to the camera lens on a security camera, it only looks like a GIANT MURDER SPIDER.
And then I feel so awful. If I had known it was just a little spider, I would have left it alone. I am not a spider murderer. If I find a spider in my house, I catch it and take it outside. I try to console myself with the fact that she murdered her little spider-boyfriend after mating, then dumped his body without a care, but it didn't work. Then I tried to console myself with the fact that the little spider won't be laying millions of eggs which would hatch and fill up my catio with tiny spider babies. Somehow, I was able to make my peace with being a spider murderer after that.
Of course... there's nothing to say that she didn't lay those millions of eggs before she dumped the body.
Which means millions of spider babies intent on revenge for the death of their mother. That's all I need.
* Will it impress you to know that I can spell "C'est la Vie" without having to Google it? No? Okay.
Posted on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Apple started off their September Event video with sweeping views of the brand new Apple Campus, otherwise known as "The Donut" or "The Spaceship" or "The Mothership." It is, of course, a structure of sublime beauty. Then, as The Beatles' All You Need is Love plays, we fly over to the equally sublime Steve Jobs Theater as attendees file in.
Then, in a moment that tore at my heart, the voice of my personal hero fills the theater that bears his name. And, just far a moment, it feels like he never left us. Then Tim Cook walks out with tribute to Jobs and the moment is gone. The Keynote begins.
I could have watched an entire keynote devoted to Apple's new headquarters but, alas, all we get is a fleeting look. Happily, Tim announced that there will be a visitor's center! I will, of course, be paying a visit one of these days. An Apple Whore's life isn't complete until you've made a pilgrimage to The Mother Ship...
Aerial drone footage by Matthew Roberts
Oh gag me. Apple doesn't call their major stores "stores" any more... they are "town squares." I mean, yeah... they are beautiful spaces where people can gather but, come on. These are monuments to retail, not the cities they reside in.
There is no doubt that Apple "town squares" are beautiful inside and out... architectural marvels that capture my imagination like no other stores can. And the plans they announced for Paris and Milan are borderline destination-worthy, which is remarkable. These are STORES!
APPLE WATCH 3
Apple finally cracked the smart-watch after a stream of other companies tried and failed. And their efforts paid off... they now have the #1 watch in the world. What's interesting is how Apple has changed this space. Their smartwatch is more of a lifestyle piece than a tech toy, and they continue to push into fitness and health in a way that makes their wares a compelling purchase.
The big announcement from this segment is that the new Apple Watch 3 now has a cellular radio, so it doesn't require a phone to access the internet. Dick Tracy has just become real, y'all. You can make/answer calls... send texts... even stream Apple Music... all without a phone. On my AT&T plan, this functionality costs an additional $10 a month. I guess that's a fair price... though I don't picture using $10 worth of data every month, as my iPhone will still get the lion's share of my usage.
I would love an Apple Watch 3. It's a magnificent piece of tech and, given my elevated heart rate, would probably be a benefit to my health. And yet... I have small wrists. Even the small Apple Watch is a massive clunker on me. What I want... what I really really want... is an thinner Apple Watch. I'd sacrifice some features (like the cellular radio) just to have something I can actually wear comfortably.
The price of admission for Series 3 with cellular is $399. Given that the watch is "darn close to magic," this seems like a bargain. Available September 22.
APPLE TV 4K HDR
I have many frustrations with Apple. One of the biggest is Apple TV. The remote is shit. The user interface is shit. Streaming my Apple purchases (when I can even get it to work) has quality that is shit. And if my Apple TV struggles to stream HD content now, what hope is there that a massive 4K stream is going to get through? What's so frustrating is that the Apple TV apps FOR EVERY OTHER STREAMING SERVICE is fantastic. I never have a problem with Netflix, ABC, NBC, CBS, YouTube, Showtime, HBO, Starz... ANY of them. Just my Apple iTunes purchases. How messed up is that?
Assuming I could actually get the Apple TV 4K HDR to stream shit (I have a 4K HDR television), it seems like a great device. Mainly because Apple will automatically upgrade your HD purchases to 4K HDR at no charge. If only they would come up with a better remote.
My every day phone is an iPhone 6. It's a little slow to initiate with the newer OS and apps, but it works perfectly fine, and I didn't feel the need to upgrade to an iPhone 7. Yeah... 3D touch is cool and the nicer camera (especially on the 7+) would be great... but it wasn't worth the cost. Even once my battery started cutting out at 10%.
But it's time to upgrade, and the iPhone 8 looks like a great choice. FINALLY stereo speakers (in both orientations!). The A11 Bionic chip would be a quantum leap from the A8 chip in my current phone. The camera looks incredible, but I'm disappointed that the dual-lens model with "portrait mode" is only available in the giant iPhone again. I don't want to lug around a giant phone. And while I'm not a big "augmented reality" fan yet, I have to say, the AR star map app they showed off is right up my alley. Needless to say, wireless charging is a much-coveted feature. No more plugging/unplugging a power cord... just slap it on a charging mat. Kind of odd that Apple took so long to get here when other companies have had wireless charging for a while. Available September 22.
Let me just start by saying ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS?!?? Boy, that's a lot of money for a phone. But is it worth it?
The bullet points...
I am not going to buy a new phone until I get back from Antarctica. Heaven only knows how I'd end up destroying the thing while on that trip. No, my new iPhone won't be coming until tax refund time next year. Whether I will end up spending $300 more for the iPhone X over the iPhone 8 is anybody's guess. I mean... ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A PHONE?!? But, then again, I've paid $300 for a pocket camera that's not as good as the camera in iPhone X, so that's something to take under consideration. In the end, I compare my iPhone to a mattress. With a mattress, it makes sense to buy the best one you can afford since a huge portion of your life is going to be spent sleeping on it. The iPhone is no different. It's easily the most-used piece technology I own. It's also the most valuable considering what I can do with it while not in front of a computer. Especially when traveling. Ideally, I'd like to spend no more than $400 on a phone. That seems a good price point to me, and what I'm comfortable forking over. But, given how important the iPhone has become in my life, I think I can get comfortable being uncomfortable.
As to how uncomfortable? Probably iPhone X uncomfortable. I mean, that camera...
Posted on Thursday, September 14th, 2017
Can you believe I was supposed to be on vacation this week?
I went into work for a couple hours and ended up being there half the day. The rest of my day was spent running back and forth to Sherwin-Williams for paint samples. By the time all that was over, my day was pretty much done.
If only Glacier National Park wasn't on fire, I could have been living an entirely different life right now... if just for a while. Instead, my mind is all over the place...
And now? Time to put away all my guest room furnishings since my friends didn't have to evacuate their home and crash at my place after all. So grateful. I mean, I love having company over... but not like this.
Stay safe, everybody.
Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2017
Today is National POW/MIA Day which is set aside to honor our Prisoners of War and remember those soldiers who are still Missing in Action. This is an important day to me, as I've been involved in POW/MIA activism for nearly 30 years.
You can read about POW/MIA causes here.
You can read about the POW/MIA Flag here.
I've written about the bi-partisan betrayal of our POW/MIA soldiers by asshole Democrat John Kerry and disgusting fucking piece of shit asshole John McCain here.
But you don't have to take my word for what a loathsome pile of garbage John McCain is, here you go...
A war isn't over until there is a full accounting of all the soldiers who fought in it. This is the very least that can be done for those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
You are not forgotten. Today and every day.
Posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2017
In order to maintain the illusion that I am a kind, friendly neighbor who cares deeply about how others perceive me, I have been putting decorative wreaths on my door like I see other people do 'round the 'hood. But I refuse to hang cheap, ugly wreaths up... and I also refuse to pay big money for nice wreaths. So I shop the closeouts at Pier One. Quality wreaths at a bargain price! Problem is, closeouts only happen after the holiday is over, so I'm always behind. My Winter Wreath stayed up through Christmas. My Christmas Wreath stayed up through Valentine's Day. My Valentine's Day Wreath stayed up through Easter. And my Easter Wreath has been up until... today.
My plan was to run to Pier One this morning and buy a Summer Wreath on closeout. But I was too late. All the Summer stuff had gone to make room for Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Since I didn't want to leave an Easter Wreath hanging on my door through the Fall, I did the unthinkable... I bought a Fall Wreath that wasn't on closeout. I did get to take 20% off for some reason though, so I guess that's something.
The benefit of buying decorating crap "in season" is that I didn't have to settle for the lame leftovers. Instead I picked out exactly the wreath I wanted. So now my home looks totally friendly and inviting again!
Not bad! Since I live in "apple country" I liked that this wreath had fake apples scattered throughout the other crap that was crammed in there.
Earlier this year when I was changing out my Valentine wreath, a neighbor walking by said "Hello" and "That's pretty" and "I'm always afraid that somebody will steal it if I bought a nice wreath like that!" Trying my best to be friendly, I replied with "Oh, I've got security cameras everywhere, motion detectors, a door sensor, a doorbell camera, an alarm siren, and a shotgun with a hair-trigger... so I try not to worry about somebody trying to steal it... ha ha ha ha." The neighbor seemed unsure of how to reply and said "Well, I guess you wouldn't," then shuffled off in a cloud of unease.
Something tells me I was the talk of the neighborhood for a while there.
But it's all true. I have the cameras, sensors, detectors, siren... all of it. Well, it's mostly true... my shotgun doesn't have a hair-trigger. I exaggerated a bit to be funny.
Since moving in, I've only been bothered once. Some kid saw my cats in the window and decided to bang on the door to scare them. Or, at least that's what I was able to piece together from all my security camera footage, which culminated with this...
I was in my garage building something but, since I had my iPhone with me, I was alerted the minute the kid step foot on my driveway. I watched him run up to my door, bang on it, then run away. Then I was able to follow him as he ran through my front yard, past the side of my house, and into the field that's in back of me. At first I found it funny that this kid was so stupid as to ignore the security camera sticker I have plastered on my door. Then I was angry that some little punk was messing with my cats. I was going to print out my camera stills and track down the little asshole, but ultimately decided to be the good neighbor and just let it go.
Next time I'm going to grab my shotgun and blow his fucking head off.
Just kidding! I don't even have a shotgun!
I have a Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum revolver with custom grip and a fiber-optic front sight.
Posted on Sunday, September 17th, 2017
Grey skies are starting to clear up, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• McDONALD'S!!! Imagine my shock when I ordered my usual "Biscuit with Egg and Cheese Only" breakfast sandwich while I was at McDonald's in Spokane this past week... AND THEY DIDN'T CHARGE ME FOR BACON THAT I DON'T EAT!
Every time I've ordered this in the past, they've rung up a "Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit" then hit the "minus bacon" button. That usually costs me $3.29 or so, which means I'm paying for bacon I'm not getting. This is not unique to McDonald's. It happens everywhere. Order a Chalupa Supreme at Taco Bell but want rice instead of beef? Most times they charge you for the beef, remove the beef from the order, then charge you extra to add rice. Want a Market Fresh Cheese Sandwich at Arby's? Most times they charge you for the beef even though they never put it on the sandwich. It goes on and on. Sometimes it's different... Taco Bell will have a "beef sub rice" button or Arby's will credit you 50¢ when they remove the beef... but this is rare. I am hoping that McDonald's is starting a trend that others will follow. It sucks to pay for something you're not getting.
• Abandoned. While I feel absolutely terrible about the people who are facing natural disaster, it's the animals trying to survive it that have touched my heart. Bad enough there are wild animals who will struggle... but at least they have a fighting chance. Abandoned pets left tied up to die, however? Not so much. This horrific, disgusting, barbaric, inhuman practice is the stuff of nightmares. Luckily, something is starting to be done about it. People who abandon pets in some areas are going to be prosecuted...
There is no punishment harsh enough for abusing, neglecting, or abandoning an animal to life-threatening conditions. None.
• Grands! Who knew that Pillsbury "Grands" frozen biscuits are actually quite decent... tasty and fluffy... when the "Grands" canned biscuits are a disgusting mess that have an acidic burnt oil aftertaste? Good to know for those times I just need two biscuits and don't want to waste food making a batch of my own...
I never thought I'd find biscuits I like better than homemade, but here they are. If you've only ever tried the canned crap, this is worth a look. They are more expensive, but worth every penny.
• Gay Cake! Well that explains it then!
That there are people out there who actually believe this shit just boggles the mind.
• It's Pickle Rick! One of my favorite programs on television is South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been at the show for twenty-one years and yet, even with a few missteps along the way, it is just as culturally relevant as it ever was. South Park may be a crappy cartoon... but it skewers current events and pop culture like nobody else can, and I consider it essential viewing. A newer show that I'm in love with, Rick & Morty, is gearing up to be every bit as significant as South Park. I can only hope that it lasts for 21 years. The latest episode, The Ricklantis Mixup, is exactly why. It masterfully parodies everything from police brutality to puppet politics, yet still manages to be incredibly entertaining...
If you've got a warped sense of humor and like cartoons and sci-fi, here's the show for you. Disturbingly brilliant in ways most shows could never be. Not bad for a cartoon which started out as a Back to the Future parody of Doc and Marty.
Until next time, stay schwifty.
Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2017
After I got back from Spokane last week, I had people asking me about the mass shooting at a high school there. Problem is... the school isn't in Spokane. It's a half hour away in the city of Rockford. Some news sources are saying that it's in Spokane... assumably because it's the closest major city... but they are essentially misreporting the facts. President Trump is right for once... FAKE NEWS is everywhere!
And I don't say that lightly.
Except, whereas President Trump means "Any news that is critical of me and doesn't agree with me is fake news"... I'm talking about news that is actually fake.
Everybody makes mistakes. We're human, and news agencies are staffed by humans. But what makes news "real" is that they print retractions or corrections or updates when they make a mistake. That's what news is supposed to be. FAKE NEWS is not when newspapers make an error. FAKE NEWS is when they cover up that error or even refuse to correct it.
Take, for example this story, as reported by The AP via Yahoo!...
The headline of "1 dead, 3 injured Washington State high school shooting" may be shitty grammatically, but is accurate. Problem is... that's not what the headline originally read. When I posted it to my Facebook account, it said "Spokane high school." I believe they even listed the location as SPOKANE, WA instead of ROCKFORD, WA (I wish I had screen-capped it). At some point, they changed it. They realized they made a mistake and they posted a correction. Good, that's the way it's supposed to work. Except when I click through to the story, the only correction noted is that they spelled a sheriff's name wrong. NOTHING about the headline being changed.
THIS is fake fucking news.
And it's not just The AP/Yahoo! Here are screen-caps I did take of other news stories that said the shooting took place in Spokane as well...
Yes, you read that right... that last one is from the fucking bastion of "honest news reporting"... CNN!
But when you search now? Most of them have changed from "Spokane" to "Spokane Area" or "Washington State" or "Eastern Washington." And the couple I checked made NO MENTION that they had revised the headline because the original headline was incorrect. They're still listing Spokane as the story origin though...
This may seem a little thing. "Rockford is close enough to Spokane, so what's the big deal? It doesn't matter!" Well, it does matter. Not only because an incorrect location for a school shooting could cause undo panic and stress for anybody with school-age relatives who read such a headline... but because it is indicative of things far worse. In the rush to report the news, agencies are misreporting the news. And this has consequences.
I will now be quoting from the song New Dress by Depeche Mode...
You can't change the world
But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world
The lyrics are what... 30 years old? And yet... more relevant than ever. It's as if they predicted our last presidential election. Listen to the whole song, it's quite a revelation...
You can't trust anything you see or hear in the media. Everybody has an agenda. Everybody is lying, exaggerating, distorting, or concealing the truth... or even presenting opinion as fact. Some of the offenders (like FOX "News") are obvious. Most are not.
But pay no mind to that!
Posted on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
UPDATE: Since the two emails I sent never went anywhere, I commented on a post by AAA on Facebook. They have since refunded my money. I still for the life of me don't understand why they wouldn't just call the hotel and take them up on their offer to change the date of my reservation. That's all I wanted. That way, everybody would have won, and they wouldn't have had to refund anything. But oh well.
Whatever you do, Do NOT make hotel reservations with AAA. I had booked some hotels for a trip to Glacier National Park after my work was done in Spokane last week. When the park ended up besieged by wildfires that caused road closures and cancelation of all the activities I had lined up, I had to change plans. Despite the fact that my hotel reservations were non-refundable, I didn't have any trouble canceling one of my bookings for a full refund and getting an 80% credit on another booking for a future date. Since there was nothing I could do about the fires changing my plans, the hotels stepped up and did the right thing.
Then there was the booking I made in Coeur d'Alene for the trip home. I called the hotel, explained the situation, acknowledged my room was non-refundable, but asked if they could please change my reservation to two days earlier. I may not be able to go to Glacier National Park, but I could still hop over to Coeur d'Alene for a day after work was done.
The hotel was sorry about my trip being ruined, and said they would be happy to change the reservations for me. Except they couldn't, because it was made through AAA's system. They said that if I would contact AAA and have them request the change, they would be happy to accommodate me.
So I contacted AAA.
And received an email telling me that not only can't they change my reservation, THEY WON'T AUTHORIZE THE HOTEL TO MAKE A CHANGE TO THE BOOKING! They do say that the hotel can make a change at their discretion... but the hotel can't do that because the reservation is not in their system. The hotel would essentially have to make a second reservation for $0 and then have a second reservation for me that they would have to honor if I were a jerk who insisted on showing up. Needless to say, they can't do that.
So... the company that I rely on for help with things go wrong is the company telling me that they won't help when things go wrong? I complained to the main AAA site and was told I will be contacted. That was a week ago... and nothing.
Well fuck that.
So I guess I'm canceling my AAA membership that I've had since 1996 (and was on my parents family plan for a decade before that). Let's see... $92 a year for 21 years is $1932.00 I've paid to AAA and don't think I've ever used their roadside assistance. I have gotten a guidebook or two though. Coming up on a $2000 relationship that's been destroyed thanks to a $110 hotel reservation. Alrighty then. Guess I won't miss it. I think my VISA card has roadside assistance anyway.
If you have AAA, might want to check and see if you have roadside assistance on your credit card so you can dump their asses before they fuck you over too.
Posted on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
Today I was browsing through thousands of typefaces in an attempt to find something that fit the project I was working on. I couldn't find one, so I created my own typeface. Which sounds incredible, because complex work like that can takes weeks... months even... but it's a little less incredible when I mention that I only needed six characters.
They were hard characters though.
I mean, there was a "G" in there!
Still. Four-and-one-half hours of my life gone. That's 45 minutes for each character. Well, 30 minutes for five characters and two hours for that damn G... but... yeah.
Sometimes my life would be so much easier if there weren't any G's in it.
Posted on Thursday, September 21st, 2017
It's funny what you remember as you're looking through old travel photos.
As an example...
I took a Mediterranean cruise that was incredible. Wonderful visits to Barcelona, Tunisia, Malta, the Italian coast... all amazing sights with plenty of amazing memories. But what I also remember? When I was waiting in line at the airport check-in how I overheard a passenger at the adjoining counter say "Sorry"... because the airline agent was trying to pull his suitcase around the podium, but it had a wheel missing and made a loud scrrrrape across the floor. The guy standing behind him said "Jeez, might want to buy some luggage that'll stay in one piece!" He said this while looking up to the ceiling, directing his words to nobody in particular.
Except any idiot could tell who he was talking about.
The man with the broken suitcase turned around and said "It was all I could afford."
I thinks about that moment a lot. And a part of me wonders... Where was the guy with the suitcase going?
Was he on his way to some exotic location for a vacation?
Was he flying for a job interview?
Was somebody in his family sick and he was rushing to be by their side?
I don't know.
All I do know is that he was doing the best he can to get by with his busted-ass suitcase. And if he was having a happy day because he was going on vacation, he didn't deserve to have it ruined by somebody being an asshole. And if he was having a sad day because this trip was to go to a funeral, he didn't deserve to have it made worse by somebody being an asshole.
Which begs the questions... why are people compelled to be assholes to people they don't even know?
If we could answer that question, we might all be able to get along with each other better.
We all have our baggage, after all.
Posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2017
It seems as though every corner of the earth is being assaulted by some kind of disaster... from floods and wildfires to earthquakes and hurricanes, it just doesn't seem to stop.
I'm particularly troubled by Puerto Rico. American citizens who are once again getting screwed when they are needing assistance because it's not politically advantageous to help them. I cannot help but wonder if Puerto Rican citizens could vote in US elections if our government's attitudes toward them in times of crisis would change?
My home state of Washington is finally having some luck in containing the wildfires which have been plaguing us. Oregon, Idaho, and Montana? Not so much. A shocking number of fires are still burning.
Guess it's a good thing the forecasters are predicting an early, harsh winter for the Pacific Northwest then.
Though I could really use another month or two of Fall, if that's an option.
Posted on Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
Jenny is turning into one of the most bizarre cats I've ever known. Which is to say she's an average cat. On one hand, she is terrified of everything. If somebody rings the doorbell or there's a loud noise, she vanishes in a flash. Needless to say that if I have a visitor, she hides until well after they leave. If I walk into a room... even carefully, she bolts. She is the very definition of a scardy cat.
And yet... she is demanding as hell. 20 minutes until breakfast? Screw that. She wants to be fed now. You want to work when she wants to be petted? Screw that. She wants to be petted now. She has discovered how to meow, and she uses it when you displease her. And she's completely manipulative about it. If her first meow doesn't work, she will try different meows until she gets results. It's totally adorable, of course. Well, it's adorable so long as you pet her in the way that she wants to be petted. And she will totally supervise your every move to make sure you are doing it right...
And speaking of supervision... Jenny will show up to lord over you whenever you are working on something interesting. When I was rewiring my media center, she sat staring at me for a full 20 minutes...
In other news... Jenny rules my entire house now.
After getting Carl the RoboVac, I had to remove the electrified "Scat Mats" because Carl liked chewing on them. Jake would always hop over them when sneaking into the kitchen, but Jenny rarely crossed over. And, on those rare occasions that she did, it was never while I was around. But now? She puts her little foot out to make sure she isn't going to get zapped... but she goes into the kitchen whenever the hell she feels like it. And that's whether I am there or not. She is fascinated by the refrigerator, and makes a bee-line to the kitchen any time I dare to open it...
Jake, on the other hand, won't go into the kitchen unless I'm gone or upstairs. And if I ever catch him in the kitchen, he bolts the second he sees me. Jenny, on the other hand, has zero shits to give any more.
And speaking of Jake in my kitchen...
I finally got around to painting two doors that I've been putting off for months. I knew I'd need a third coat, so I just left the paint can on the kitchen counter with the lid barely on and the paintbrush nearby. But then... as I was in bed typing this... I hear a big crash that sounds like it's coming from the kitchen. I take a look at the security cameras to see what the heck is going on, and...
I didn't even wait for the video to finish playing. I tossed aside my laptop and went running downstairs expecting to find my kitchen covered in paint. Except, luckily, didn't happen. Jake walked right by the paint can... went to the cupboard... and pawed a can of PAM cooking spray onto the floor... and that's what I had heard.
In other Jake news... he's been stealing Jenny's new favorite spot on the stereo receiver lately. Though sometimes they do share it. Usually when it's getting close to dinner time and they feel like staring at me in an attempt to get an early meal...
At least until one of them passes out from hunger...
And, since I mentioned Carl the RoboVac earlier...
Apparently Carlthe RoboVac has declared all-out war on Litter Robot. It's robot vs. robot...
I attempted to tell Carl to be nice since his fellow robot is literally cleaning up shit all day long... but Carl is having none of it.
Probably because he's cleaning up shit every day too.
Though, not literal shit. That would be horrifying.
Posted on Sunday, September 24th, 2017
Autumn is here and it's going to be a great, great season, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Cassini! Okay... two things concerning the live broadcast of the NASA-assisted suicide by the Cassini space probe last Sunday...
1) NASA engineers singing as Cassini takes its suicide plunge into Saturn is the sickest fucking thing I've seen in ages...
2) NASA divided an hour-long program into two pieces, so I didn't get to see the ending because my DVR didn't know to record it. Assholes!
• Just a Bill! It looks like the heinous "Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill" is likely dead. Which is probably a good thing since NOBODY and, by nobody, I mean "nobody except wealthy old white male politicians who have their lips in a death-grip on insurance lobby cock"... wanted this bill. Except... NOW EVEN INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE WARNING THE BILL IS BULLSHIT?!? WTF? Look, something has to be done as Insurance companies pull out of ACA exchanges thanks to Republicans sabotaging them before having an alternative in place... Something has to be done. But it has to be something actually sensible instead of all the insurance lobby capitulation that ruined "Obamacare" and the same massive insurance lobby capitulation that is fucking up any GOP alternative. Fuck the insurance company profit margins... Congress needs to do their damn jobs and start saving American lives!
• Smooth! Sean Spicer's appearance at the Emmy's was abhorrent. Forget all the people in the audience laughing it up, there was nothing funny about Sean Spicer cashing in on his notorious tenure as White House Press Secretary for award show schtick. He's a fucking liar who misled American citizens every fucking day he took that podium as Trump's mouthpiece. He deserves to disappear, not cash in on such heinous notoriety. And yet... here we are. And Jay Smooth totally called it...
It didn't even take years... it took weeks. The garbage that it America's political system is alive and well in 2017. If anything, it just keeps getting worse.
• Num Noms! If you want to get your kid in the habit of sniffing nail polish, here's a good way to encourage that...
Totally won't lead to kids sniffing ADULT nail polish laying around the house. And it's impossible that will lead to kids sniffing nail polish REMOVER, right?
• Hobby Lobbyist! Let us all recite the American prayer: "You must suckle at the teat of your overlords and thou shalt not have no other teats than theirs. Disobey and you shall be cast out, fined, and imprisoned so as to discourage others from the free thought and action that leads to ruin. Profit be unto our overlords forever and forever, amen."
THIS is fucking politics in the USA... read it and weep: Thanks To Lobbying, It's Illegal To Power Your Home With Solar Panels In Florida
Honest to God, I cannot figure out what is keeping American citizens from initiating open revolt against those who have enslaved us.
And now... that garage is not going to clean itself, and I've got a car that I'm really not wanting to scrape frost off of each morning.
Posted on Monday, September 25th, 2017
"I'm not going away." — Hillary Clinton
"Well, shit." — David Simmer II
Look, I don't like Hillary Clinton's politics for a litany of reasons... not one of which have to do with her being a woman... most of which has to do with her being a notorious warhawk who ignores sage advice to devastating effect. And though I thought she would make a horrible president, I ended up voting for her because I thought Trump would be far, far worse. Then, thanks to her dumpster fire of a campaign, Trump won anyway and now we're all fucked. So... while I would never say that she shouldn't be allowed to voice her opinions and share her story... and while I would never say that she should go away while she feels she has something important to contribute to political discourse in this country... YOU'VE WRITTEN YOUR BOOK NOW... PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET SOMEBODY ELSE WITH AN ACTUAL CHANCE TO BEAT TRUMP IN AN ELECTION HAVE THE SPOTLIGHT SO WE CAN BE RID OF THE CHEETO SHIT-STAIN COME 2020.
Photo by Reuters/Andrew Kelly
Assuming we're not in the middle of World War III by 2020, of course. In which case it hardly matters.
Posted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017
I love my cats... honestly, I do. 99% of the time they are a wonderful addition to my life, and I can't imagine living without them.
This morning I got out of bed and was surprised that neither Jake and Jenny were hanging around trying to convince me that they needed an early breakfast. Even weirder? There was no "tribute" from Jenny waiting for me (she brings me toys each morning... in exchange for my feeding her, I'm guessing). These unprecedented events had me worried that they had broken out of the catio or something, and I would be spending my day tracking them down.
When I turned to go downstairs, I saw them both at the bottom waiting for me.
Then, as I walked into the kitchen to get their breakfast, the pieces of the puzzle started sliding into place. The wild running around this morning was apparently due to a bird in the house. I knew this because there were feathers in front of the cabinet where I keep the cat food...
And so I go rushing back upstairs to check the security cameras and... sure enough...
I start going back through camera footage in an attempt to figure out how long this has been going on. Here's from an hour prior...
It's amazing how stealthy cats are. Jake hopped up and was practically on top of the bird before he flew away...
Here's an hour-and-a-half prior...
Poor bird! This footage (featuring Jenny making a spectacular leap to catch him) was from almost two hours prior...
And here's her leap from from a different angle...
So proud of her... but also horrified.
I scrubbed the cameras from the time I went to bed until the time I saw the bird feathers. I was expecting to see footage of one of the cats coming in from the catio with the hapless bird in its mouth... but I never saw anything of the kind. It's as if the bird just magically appeared around 4:45am out of thin air. I suppose it's possible that the bird flew into the garage while I was cleaning it and followed me in the house when I had the door open... but wouldn't I have noticed that? No idea.
Meanwhile... I have a bird in the house.
I go back downstairs to look for it and, not two minutes later, Jake and Jenny go tearing through the house, chasing the bird upstairs. I go running after them just as the bird goes flying in my bathroom. Poor thing saw the skylight in there and thought he could escape through it. Not knowing what else to do... I close the bathroom door.
And now what?
Do I sneak in the bathroom and try and catch it?
Do I wait for the bird to become exhausted and hope I can scoop it up and take it outside?
My mind is reeling. About the only thing I know for sure is that I won't be hurting it or killing it. So... What about building a tunnel from the bathroom to the cat's bedroom and opening a window? THAT JUST MIGHT WORK!!!
So I start at the bathroom door...
And build it to the cat's bedroom door...
And... here we go. I apologize for shooting vertically (something I never do for video, because WTF?), but it was the only way to get the important information in-frame...
A few notes...
And that was that.
Earlier this month I had posted this on Facebook...
I think that might not be such a great idea after all.
Posted on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017
Hugh Hefner died today!
I can't say that I really know much about the pajama-wearing guy with the pipe who was always hip-deep in scantily-clad ladies... all I knew of him came from his guest appearances on TV shows and movies (like Beverly Hills Cop 2). I am, of course, very familiar with his work.
The first issue of Playboy I recall seeing had a butterfly lady on it. There was also an issue with a woman with flag on it. I look them up in a Google search and found that they are the July and August issues from 1976...
I don't think I actually looked at them in 1976... I would have been 10 years old then... they were probably old issues I saw when I was 12 or 13 maybe?
The first issue I personally owned was a birthday present from a friend... the March, 1980 issue with Bo Derek on the cover. I was only 14 at the time, so it was kept well-hidden...
I had the issue for many years, but it got badly water-damaged while in storage and had to be tossed out. A pity, because it was kept in great shape and was probably worth some money.
With the abundance of naked ladies on the internet, I was not a regular consumer of the magazine. Though I would buy an issue every once in a while if there was somebody I really wanted to see. I purchased several issues when Anna Nicole Smith appeared, because her pectorals were beautiful in a way that was unreal...
I also purchase some issues for the articles (YES, FOR THE ARTICLES!!!) because Playboy had some pretty great interviews. One of the most expensive issues I ever bought was the 1985 issue with a Steve Jobs interview.
Thank you Hugh Hefner! For a good part of my youth, you were doing The Lord's work!
Photo by Elayne Lodge/Playboy
I'd wish you a great time in heaven, but if there's anybody who found heaven on earth, it's you.
Posted on Thursday, September 28th, 2017
Investing in a new Apple TV when I have such blind hatred for the previous iteration is probably incredibly stupid... but I have a huge chunk of movies and music purchased from the Apple ecosystem, so it's kind of a necessity to keep up. Especially now that Apple is offering free upgrades to 4K HDR video for all your previous movie purchases (when available, of course).
And... I suppose I should just run through the fine points rather than re-hash the broad strokes, since those are mostly the same.
Apple TV Box
Looks identical to the previous one. I'm sure there's probably quite a few differences under the hood, but I ain't opening it up to check.
Shitty Fucking Apple Remote
Still unbelievably fucking shitty. The touch-input area is just as stuttery and unresponsive as ever, making simple tasks like navigation frustrating... and complex tasks like keyboard input unbearable. I fucking HATE this piece of shit. The only difference between the new one and the previous one is that the "menu" button has an elevated white circle drawn around it.
Shitty Fucking User Interface
Still unbelievably fucking shitty. If you've purchased anything more than a dozen movies or TV shows, you'll go absolutely bat-shit crazy trying to navigate through pages upon pages upon pages upon pages upon pages of crap. Especially when you're forced to use the unbelievably fucking shitty remote.
The 4K picture is totally great. Remarkably, I've not yet gotten any of the streaming errors or throughput problems which plagued the previous Apple TV. Considering that there's probably a lot more data coming through the pipe for a 4K picture, this is truly shocking. My guess is that there's new compression tech that makes this possible... but only time will tell as to whether or not Apple's unbelievably fucking shitty media delivery will rear its ugly head.
I have an HDR-capable TV. My stereo receiver is HDR-capable. When I plug Apple TV directly into my TV, the Apple test-program says that HDR will be used. When I plug into my stereo receiver, however, the Apple test-program says that my television isn't HDR capable, and it will downgrade to regular color fidelity. And, of course, since this is Apple we're talking about, there's no way to just force the fucking thing to deliver the HDR signal that my receiver and TV are capable of. This kind of shit drives me
I put in my copy of Kingsman on 4K HDR Blu-Ray then started up Kingsman 4K HDR from Apple TV. Then I switched between them. Not even close. The 4K Blu-Ray picture is superior in every possible way. The color is better. The clarity is better. The contrast is better. Black levels are better. There's literally nothing that's not better on 4K Blu-Ray. The Apple TV 4K image has crisp details in fine items like hair and text... but mooshy areas of softness any time the color values are similar, particularly in bright spots. This is undoubtedly a function of the high compression, but I have no idea what's responsible for the other issues. The bright, almost washed-out haze that permeates every scene is just bad compared to cable or Blu-Ray. I don't recall the older Apple TV having this problem?
Seems on-par with what I got from the Blu-Ray. Rich, full sound.
Apple's pathetic attempt at Home Automation... which they call "HomeKit"... is pretty awful. I'm guessing a big part of why it's awful has to do with it being run through Apple TV. Sure it beats having to purchase a dedicated hub, but maybe with a dedicated hub it would have been worth a crap. When I swapped out the old Apple TV for the new Apple TV, it took several attempts to get HomeKit commands working... but at least they ended up working without my having to do any crazy setup revision or anything.
If you're dying for the best possible picture on your 4K HDR television, you'll have to keep buying 4K HDR Blu-Ray discs. Apple isn't even in the same ballpark. That being said, the picture quality is a step up from non-4K non-HDR Apple TV. So... until HDR 4K Blu-Rays drop to the same price as Apple TV digital purchases, you may still gain benefit from the latest and greatest Apple TV. The fact that Apple doesn't charge a premium for the higher quality is a nice bonus for anybody investing in the 4K HDR... but don't be fooled into thinking it'll be the same quality as the equivalent Blu-Ray.
Posted on Thursday, September 28th, 2017
Ah the day in fake news.
Here's my current favorite making the rounds. Apparently the Seattle Seahawks cheered as they burned an American flag in their locker room...
What they don't tell you is that after burning a US flag, the Seahawks then sacrificed a puppy to Satan and took turns peeing on a Bible wrapped in a print of The Constitution. Then they all converted to Islam, swore eternal allegiance to Obama, and had a massive gay orgy before taking the field.
Hey. If you believe that a flag can be burned without any smoke setting off the emergency sprinklers, anything is possible.
Posted on Saturday, September 30th, 2017
At 1:12am this morning, I was awakened by Jenny hopping on my bed and meowing. This is highly unusual. My cats never bother my while I'm sleeping... or even when I'm pretending to be sleeping. I pet her for a little bit, then rolled over and ignored her so I could get some sleep.
At 4:36am this morning, Jenny was back on my bed meowing. This had me worried that Jake was hurt somewhere and she was wanting me to follow her like Lassie. But then... I heard something. The television was turned on with the sound blasting. This happens every once in a while when my DirecTV gets a software update.
And this was what Jenny was trying to tell me all along. So I found my iPhone, fired up the DirecTV app, then turned off the television.
Jenny immediately ran back downstairs.
Where presumably she went to sleep now that the television wasn't going to keep her awake.
The next time Jenny came up was to deliver her morning tribute around 6:30am. Usually I barely notice because she's quite stealthy... but this morning I heard what sounded like a rock being dropped on my floor. Turns out it wasn't a rock... it was a small screwdriver...
Note how she dropped the soft mouse toy on the carpet... but the hard screwdriver on the wood floor. I still have no clue how she managed to carry the thing upstairs. I had left it on the kitchen counter, which means she would have had to knock it to the floor first. I check the security cameras and, sure enough, she was there...
But Jake was as well, so maybe he knocked it on the floor...
The little shits... they know they're not supposed to be on the kitchen counters!
Speaking of Jake... he still likes hanging out with me when I get home from work. Usually he likes to curl up next to me when I plop down for some television. What's new is that if I start to get up when he's not ready to get up... he'll put a paw on my leg to stop me!
The smarter move is to lay on top of me so I can't get up so easy...
So soft and fluffy!
Until next Caturday then...