Posted on Sunday, October 1st, 2017
Time won't give me time, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Discovery! I can honestly say that the new Star Trek: Discovery is shaping up to be my favorite television Trek since the original series. Rather than recycle the same old thing, they seem to be intent on taking the show in entirely new directions. Some for the better (ditching the "one big happy family" concept is refreshing), some for the worse (why in the hell re-imagine the Klingons yet AGAIN?). Tonight's episode introduces us to Captain Lorca (brilliantly played by Jason Isaacs) and the USS Discovery (with a gorgeous saucer section married to a butt-ugly triangle body) along with a rather unique premise for the show involving "space spores" which is just bizarre enough to work...
Given the exceedingly high production values, I'm not going to bitch about the $6.00 a month fee to watch the show on "CBS All Access." But, if what I'm hearing is true, CBS plans on airing the first half of the season now, then waiting until 2018 to air the rest. Thus dragging out the length of time their subscribers have to be subscribed (assuming they aren't smart enough to cancel Access until Discovery starts airing again). This is just shitty as all get out (if true) and I have to wonder if CBS realizes how pissed off people already are that they have to pay a premium in the first place?
• So Sick! I've been wanting to see The Big Sick since it debuted. I finally got my chance...
Such a good film. The fact that it's based on a true story is just icing on the cake. Other than playing Dinesh in Silicon Valley, I haven't seen Kumail Nanjiani in anything but bit parts previously (including his hilarious spot in an otherwise awful movie Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates). He's pretty fantastic, and this movie just goes to show how somebody's real life can be every bit as entertaining as fiction. If you're looking for a movie to rent, it's worth a look.
• So Sicker! Apparently co-writing and starring in "The Big Sick" is not Kumail Nanjiani's only brush with brilliance...
Joe Walsh is fucking garbage.
• Gag! And speaking of fucking garbage... Megyn Kelly is fucking garbage. For years she was a divisive shill for the far right masquerading as a "journalist," and now she's decided to reimagine herself as a non-political talk show host...
I cannot fathom why NBC hired her. Did they really think they were going to attract FOX "News" viewers?
• Tweeter! If you mine President Trump's Twitter feed there's a dose of hypocrisy to be found for everything he does...
But the Toxic Cheeto Dumbass dedicated his golf trophy to Puerto Rico, so I guess that makes all the difference?
• Just Jack Plus One! I love British comedian travel shows. As if having funny moments isn't enough, they always visit interesting places. Jack Whitehall and his father are in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in this first season and it's great. If you enjoy travel shows... it's worth a look!
See you next week
Posted on Monday, October 2nd, 2017
59 people dead in Las Vegas. So far. We won't know the final toll until the 515 injured are in the clear.
It's not like anybody can find words to make this situation better. There just aren't any. Though the fact that everybody seems to increasingly accept mass-shootings as "the cost of freedom" in this country is a horrific ideal to subscribe to. No matter which side of the "gun debate" you're on, it's insane that one person should be able to lay waste to 574 human souls like this.
But that's America for you.
Back when I could handle firearms... back when I was a member of the NRA... back when Ronald Regan was President... attitudes towards gun ownership were very different than they are today. The NRA advocated reasonable restrictions. President Regan advocated reasonable restriction? But now? The NRA is a psychotic organization that advocates unlimited access to whatever weapons their munition company backers want to sell. And the president... well... the president is just plain psychotic.
As are the people who think that starting a discussion on curbing this madness is "exploiting a tragedy." It's when tragedy strikes that you devote time and resources towards finding a way to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's when you do it.
Except when government lobbyists are dictating the actions of the government, of course.
In other tragic news... Tom Petty died today.
The first song I ever recall hearing by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was You Got Lucky, which was on non-stop rotation on MTV. Back when MTV played music videos...
I hated that song. Stupid Tom Petty and his stupid hat. And this reaction insured that I wouldn't give any Tom Petty music a listen for years.
Until the Traveling Wilburys super-group happened.
My love of Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison canceled out my loathing of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan enough that I became a fan of the group...
It was then that I decided I was too quick to judge Tom Petty. I liked his contribution to the Wilbury's, and decided to see if I was missing anything.
Of course I was.
Including my all-time favorite Tom Petty track... Learning to Fly...
When it came to music videos of the day, few could compare to Petty's creativity in the medium...
Then, of course, there's one of Petty's most well-known tracks... American Girl, made infamous(?) by the movie Silence of the Lambs...
So Tom Petty.
A musical artist that was quintessentially American, he will be missed.
Posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017
I like yogurt okay.
I mean, it's not ice cream, but it makes for a decent substitution if you're trying to eat healthier. Especially when it's Tillamook yogurt, which is my favorite by a wide margin. Low in fat and good protein. High in carbs though, thanks to 21g average sugar. All their flavors taste amazing, but the Oregon Marionberry is my hands-down favorite.
AT LEAST IT WAS UNTIL I FOUND OUT THEY ARE COMING OUT WITH NEW HOOD RIVER PEAR YOGURT!!!
Pear is my all-time favorite flavor anything, so I was psyched to learn that Tillamook was making my yogurt-eating dreams come true.
Except, not really, because nobody in my area... or any area... seems to be selling it yet.
Sucks to be me.
Posted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017
Hmmm... I wrote a long blog entry for today, but think I need to take a minute.
Not the kind of consideration you're used to seeing when it comes to me sharing my opinions on Blogography, but this time I think I need to sleep on it.
Well, I should probably "sleep on it" all the times I get fired up about something. But what fun is that?
Posted on Thursday, October 5th, 2017
As anybody who has read this blog for any length of time already knows, I support the Second Amendment. This may sound weird coming from somebody whose faith doesn't believe in the handling or owning guns, but this isn't about me or my personal choices or beliefs. If it were up to me, nobody would have guns and everybody would live together in peace and harmony... amen.
But the world is a bit more complicated than that, so eliminating gun violence is not a simple problem to solve. And, as much as we'd like to think that there is something to be done about preventing mass-shootings, our options are not as cut-and-dried as people like to think.
The reason things are so complicated when it comes to gun violence?
It's the technology.
No, I'm not going to bore you with an endless diatribe about how guns are a God-Given American Right* or that Guns Are Guaranteed By Our Constitution So We Can Protect Ourselves From Our Own Government If They Become Corrupt And Abusive**... partly because I think that is a load of horse shit... but mostly because it honestly doesn't matter.
Because it's the technology.
It's being reported that the reason the mass-murderer in Las Vegas was able to harm and kill such a huge number of lives is because he had a "bump stock" which allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire like an automatic rifle. Naturally, a great many people are calling for "bump stocks" to be immediately banned. Which may actually help curb mass shootings like this in the future. At least for people who don't already own one.
But only for a short while.
Or no while at all.
The thing about "accessories" like this is that we are quickly getting to the point where you won't need to buy a "bump stock" from a manufacturer... you'll be able to download plans off the internet and 3D print one in the privacy of your own home. I don't know if current 3D plastics are strong enough for such a thing, but 3D printing with metal or super-tough polymers is just one technological step away and it's not irrational to imagine a day very soon when somebody will be able to print out whatever they want from whatever material they desire. Including "bump stocks." So ban away. It will ultimately make very little difference (which is why the piece-of-shit-NRA is actually supporting the idea). The people who probably shouldn't have them will never turn them in. The black market for them will appear within minutes. It would take decades before you could collect them all (as if you ever could). In the meanwhile? Technology.
And "bump stocks" are not the end, of course. 3D printers will eventually get larger and more accurate and be able to produce stronger, more durable prints. And that technology will eventually trickle down to ordinary citizens, as all technology eventually does. 3D printing your personal copy of an AK-47 "assault" rifle in the privacy of your own home is really not that far away. Whatever weapon you desire, from a Klingon bat'leth or a BB gun to a .45 Magnum pistol or a fully automatic rifle... it will all be within reach.
Ah, but what about gunpowder! You can't 3D print gun powder! How about we let everybody keep their guns, but ban the bullets? It's a nice thought, but gunpowder was invented by a 9th century Chinese chemist and we've gone way, way past those days. Cooking up an explosive to propel a bullet is a relatively simple matter... probably using everyday items you can find under your kitchen sink.
So... what then?
If a ban on guns won't work because there are too many out there that will never end up getting confiscated and technology is quickly getting to the point where it won't matter anyway, what's the solution?
I don't know.
But, very soon now, it won't be about the guns, no matter how badly we want it to be.****
Which is where we get to the part of the story where I put in my 2¢ on stuff...
I could go on. This is a long, difficult, complicated subject. But I think you get where I'm coming from. Banning guns outright... whatever kind of guns they may be... is a very short term solution for a long-term problem that is not going away. Not in this country where guns are as prevalent as staplers. Not in this time when technology is going to be arming people in ways we can't even dream of yet. By focusing money and effort on what makes somebody want to murder masses of people... by developing a healthier take on mental health problems... by coming up with reasonable attitudes towards what gun ownership should be... these are all things that should be obvious steps. But clearly they are not. Partly because Americans seemed content to be conditioned to think that mass shootings are "the price of freedom"... partly because we are driven to treat the underlying problem as shameful and worthy of ridicule... partly because our country's political system is corrupted by lobbyists... and partly because our politicians are sucking cock for cash.
Don't think for a minute that anything will ever change without action. Don't think for a second that our politicians will stop sucking cock for cash on their own. They've got re-election to think about. This has to come from us. This. Has. To. Come. From. Us.
Otherwise, we get the country we deserve.
And that's true no matter how you feel about guns, no matter what politial party you ascribe to, and no matter how many people die.
*Using a gun to hunt or protect yourself is absolutely a right in this country. So is collecting guns. So is trading guns like bubble gum cards, if that's your thing. For now. Because the amazing thing about the American Constitution which spells out these rights is that it can be amended or even tossed out and replaced. Not by God, but by the American people. Given it's the Second AMENDMENT to The Constitution that we're talking about here, you already knew this, right?
**Bwah ha ha... "IF" they become corrupt or abusive? That ship has certainly sailed! The reason it's horse shit to think that you'll be able to protect yourself from a corrupt and abusive government is that you won't be firing at soldiers with guns who are "coming to get you"... not by a longshot. Those days are long gone. You'll be facing endless waves of tiny armed drones. Drones that can react faster than a human and are far more difficult to hit. Not to mention being expendable.*** And this is assuming that a rogue American government wouldn't just send a missile up your ass.
***Not that our government hasn't treated the men and women serving in our military as expendable... don't even get me started.
****Lets set aside the debate over whether it's currently about the guns, since my argument is that it just won't matter in the near future. That debate gets us nowhere, because we (as a country) will never agree on it. In my opinion? OF COURSE IT'S ABOUT THE FUCKING GUNS! The whole "Guns don't kill people, people kill people!" argument is about the stupidest shit I've ever heard. Do you think the lunatic that killed 59 people and injured hundreds of others could have done so from the 32nd floor of a hotel a block away without a fucking gun? Yes, a gun is a tool to be used and abused like any other. But give me a fucking break.
UPDATE: Sadly, I've had to disable comments for this post. If you disagree with me (and many people from both sides of the debate do) that's fine. Everybody has an opinion and this blog is where I share mine. But I am getting an absurd amount of over-the-top comments, and having to delete uncivilized discourse at Blogography is getting to be a full-time job.
Posted on Friday, October 6th, 2017
It's to the point where I am so far beyond embarrassed for the stupid asshole playing president that I've given up even attempting to convey the new levels of contempt and loathing I've sunken to.
God bless our fellow Americans suffering in Puerto Rico right now.
Posted on Saturday, October 7th, 2017
I keep thinking that the cats will stay indoors now that the weather is getting colder, but they're out in the catio as often as they ever are. Which is all the time.
They do tend to huddle closer together than usual, however...
I haven't turned the heat on yet, so the cats are still vying for the warm spot on top of the stereo receiver. Sometimes this ends up in an awkward pose...
Though they often end up in awkward sleeping poses even when they're alone...
The couch is cold to lay on, which the cats Do Not Like, so I put towels and blankets down to make them more comfortable. They start out nicely-arranged each morning when I straighten everything out, but they don't stay that way for long...
Jenny, who loves to watch television more than any cat I know, is particularly happy to make herself a "nest" in the towels and blankets so she can watch TV with me. She was particularly interested in the season one finale of The Good Fight (fantastic show, by the way)...
At least she was while the show was on. The second the started rolling the credits, she was out...
Speaking of Jenny... I've mentioned how she just loves to have her tummy rubbed... but also resents it at the same time. I just got the best photo to date of how she'll grab my had with her front paws to get that good rubbin'... but will push my hand away with her back paws at the same time...
Even when I manage to get in a position to rub ONLY the spots she wants rubbed, she will change her mind in a second for any reason and every reason at all...
Even with all their antics, they are still the sweetest cats ever...
Until next Caturday then...
Posted on Sunday, October 8th, 2017
It may be cold outside but it's warm in here, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Miley! I've been a fan of Miley since Hannah Montana. Things like this are why...
I am so happy that she's moved past all the crazy-ass antics to focus on her actual talent. Looking forward to more Miley in the years ahead.
• Fight! Thought I'd get my money's worth out of CBS All Access and watch The Good Fight...
So THIS is what happens when you concentrate your efforts on 10 episodes per season instead of watering things down over 22. I admit that I was a bit let down by the final episode, but everything leading up to it was fantastic. Has me wanting to go back and watch The Good Wife, which I skipped the first time around.
• Papyrus! The season opener for SNL was awful... but THIS was genius!
I don't hate Papyrus as much as a number of other fonts, but it's overused and mis-used so often as to deserve a bit of hate.
• Japan! Speaking of SNL, I missed this bit of utter brilliance when it first aired. If you are a fan of the American version of The Office, here you go...
All the characters are pretty great impersonations of the originals, but Jason Sudeikis playing Jim is about as good as it gets. He is sorely missed on the show.
Photo by Bill Clark / Getty
Because of course he did. Homophobia runs so deep in these assholes that not even a brush with death will give them a new perspective on life... ALL life... not just the unborn fetuses and Christians they profess to give a shit about.
• NEWSFLASH: “Pro-Life” Congressman Caught Telling His Extramarital Boo to Get an Abortion. And it's this asshole right here, Republican Representative Tim Murphy...
Photo by J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Virulently anti-gay politicians end up caught in gay sex scandals, so why not? Virulently anti-drug politicians end up getting caught with drugs, so why not? Virulently anti-big-government politicians end up wanting to regulate every fucking thing they don't like, so why not? This is just more of the same fucking hypocrisy that drives me completely insane when it comes to our fucked up government. Fuck this asshole. He can't retire enough times.
So long for this week, Bullet Sunday.
Posted on Monday, October 9th, 2017
Yesterday as I was driving over the mountains I noticed that the snow-line had lowered to an alarming degree.
Winter is indeed coming.
I guess I don't mind so much. But it would be nice if we could at least put off snow at my home until November rolls around.
Posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017
Last year I was young and foolish and unaware of how expensive home heating was. I turned the thermostat on come October and never looked back.
Until the electric bills started rolling in.
Once I realized how insanely expensive it is to turn the heat on, I tried to be much smarter about it. Having a "smart thermostat" helped, because I could program it to adapt to my schedule and not be wasting energy when I wasn't home. Not that I could just turn the heat off completely... because I've got cats. Sure they have fur coats, but I don't want the poor things freezing.
This year I decided to use my electric blanket so I'm not spending a ton of money heating my home at night, and today was the day it got turned on.
Jenny had absolutely no idea what to make of it.
She walked around poking it and sniffing it... then flopping down on it because it was oh so warm! For the longest time she just kinda laid there in disbelief at what she was experiencing...
Once she understood that it was indeed toasty heat eminating from the blanket, and not just her imagination, much rolling around and purring ensued...
Now she's completely passed out from the joy of it all...
Guess I'm going to have company at night now.
Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
This will all make sense tomorrow.
Okay... probably not. But still... it's a random cow. That's pretty cool, right?
Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2017
Thanks to some unexpected cash that came into my life last couple months, I was able to pay off a bill, buy new socks, up my monthly donation to Doctors Without Borders, make some donations for animal rescue efforts in hurricane-ravaged Houston... and pay for another batch of old photos to be scanned. The last time I could afford to do this was five years ago, so it was a nice to be able to treat myself to something senselessly expensive and cool like this.
All of the photos I have left for scanning are photo negatives, so I don't really review anything. I just send them in and hope for the best.
This batch ended up being pretty special.
There were photos of my parent's wedding I hadn't seen before. Amazing photos of my mom when she was very young. Fascinating photos of my grandparent's life from a bygone era. And, of course, lots of photos of me and my brother growing up.
Also interesting? A trip to San Francisco by my mom's parents to visit my parents, assumably just before I was born in 1965(?)...
One trend I noticed was oodles and oodles of plaid. My brother and I were drenched in it for half a decade...
Another photo trend was me on vehicles.
How many people can say that their first car WAS A FIRE TRUCK?!? ME! I CAN TOTALLY SAY THAT! Just look at me! All chill as fuck while cruising down the sidewalk in my sweet ride! Acting like I don't care and all the world is my bitch. SO BAD-ASS!
Holy shit! My second car was a Corvette... WITH WORKING HORN!
Here's where things started going downhill. Apparently my third car was a wagon...
There are hundreds more photos waiting for me to look through them, so I'm sure "Throwback Thursday" will be a trend for a while here. Or not. Guess it depends how boring my life is next week.
Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2017
And so I went to see Blade Runner 2049 last night. When it was announced, I did not have my hopes set very high because A) Twin Peaks returning was one of the worst things to happen to that franchise and I was certain they would destroy a classic film that's one of my all-time favorites, and B) I don't care for Ryan Gosling that much... probably because he's not cast in the type of movies I like to watch (the only appearance I could remember was The Nice Guys where he was great).
Then the reviews started pouring in... each one praising the film for both story and visuals, some saying the effects were as stunning as the original. I was baffled that this could be happening, but totally bought into it.
Walking into the theater, my expectations were very, very high...
And I was not disappointed.
First of all, I think they continued the story in a way that made perfect sense and was painstakingly faithful to the original film. Second of all, Ryan Gosling was absolutely perfect.
I am not going to spoil anything here. This is a film you need to experience for yourself. The only thing I will say is that it's a long, long movie and scenes go on for just a little more than they have to. But overall I think this leisurely pace sucks you into the world that is being built, and was not necessarily a bad thing.
If you were a fan of the original, see it.
If you like good science fiction, see it.
If you appreciate beautifully-crafted films, definitely see it.
Posted on Saturday, October 14th, 2017
I pulled my Halloween wreath out of storage tonight only to find it had gotten crushed when a box of books ended up on it somehow.
Buying nice wreaths in-season requires more money than I have spare cash to purchase, so I decided to upgrade my "Fall wreath" with a $3.50 addition. I rather like it...
My quick trip over the mountains revealed that winter is indeed here. More snow than last week to be sure...
So long as the snow stays in the mountains for a while, I'll be okay. I am absolutely not ready to have it start snowing here at home.
And... time to unpack.
Posted on Sunday, October 15th, 2017
Put on your Sunday Best, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Midnight Trailer! It's great how Marvel attempts to distinguish their movies in tone and look. Black Panther appears to have all the hallmarks of a Marvel Studios movie... but is very different at the same time. Kinda a sci-fi take on super-heroes with a heavy African influence...
First Doctor Strange, now this? Needless to say, I can't wait. Black Panther is one of my favorite Marvel heroes, and the fact that he's getting a movie fills my fanboy heart with joy.
• Hammer Time? You know how when you read a news headline and you think it's just too crazy to be real and it certainly has to be from some parody site? Yeah, that... Home Depot Panics Over Millennials; Forced To Host Tutorials On Using Tape Measures, Hammering Nails.
• Have Bigotry, Will Travel! America's new biggest export... hate...
This idiotic piece of shit is not a hero. She's not a marriage role model. She's just a bigot who refused to do her job. And now she's taking her bigotry on a world tour. Fuck her. Fuck her up her hypocritical thrice divorced ass.
• Jack is Back! I'm a pretty big of theTom Clancy "Jack Ryan" books... and even liked the movies despite the fact that they kept changing the actor (from Alec Baldwin to Harrison Ford to Ben Affleck). So when Amazon Prime announced they were developing a show around the character starring John Krasinski, I was intrigued. And here we go...
Interesting! Definitely something I'll be checking out.
• Gently! Last year we were treated to yet another television treatment of Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. It was insane, but in the best possible way. A dozen random threads that made no sense somehow managed to come together at the end in a way that made you want to go back and watch the whole thing over again. The show itself is really tough to describe, but here's Dirk Gently himself to make an attempt...
Season two just started. The first three minutes immediately got me addicted to the show again...
It probably helps to have seen (experienced?) the first season for yourself before heading into the second. But, if you enjoy the utterly bizarre, it's worth a look.
• Poopsie! And, lastly, just because I feel the need to not have suffered through this alone, I present Poopsie...
There's a lot of ways to sell pet food, but this is probably the most unique I've seen.
And, on that note, no more bullets today. Go make a poopsie and enjoy your week!
Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017
The first bedroom I had of my own (meaning it wasn't shared with my brother) was when my family moved into a new house that my parents had built. Personal space was a luxury I hadn't known, which made it even more special to me than I suppose it would have normally have been.
I remember very little about what my room was like in my childhood home. I do know that in later years it was painted a bright blue. I also know that I picked that color to match my Star Wars bedsheets in 1977...
The color looked better on the sheets than my walls, but... Star Wars.
My carpet was a pukey green that could only have come from the 1960's. Other than that? Memories lost in time. Like tears in rain.
Until I found a photo in my latest batch of scans...
Hot Wheels! And the walls are white, which means that this pre-dates 1977 and my Star Wars obsession.
The only thing that looks familiar is the scary clown light on my nightstand. I remember it well. It had a happy-faced clown on one side and a sad-faced clown on the other. My aunt had made it, or else there's no way I would have had a murderous clown in my bedroom. There looks to be some other kind of ceramic creation next to it, but I can't recall what it was. If I had to guess, I'm thinking piggy bank.
So... unless other photos show up in future scans, I'm guessing this is it.
I'm not overly-sentimental when it comes to things like this, but I do regret that I didn't document my first bedroom better than this.
I would have liked to have seen those bright blue walls one more time.
Posted on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
On Saturday I went in to work and was amazed at how beautiful the leaves were as I made my way down the street. I was so enchanted that I pulled over to take a photo... only to find out that my phone was dead. The next day I forgot my phone. Then yesterday I didn't go into the office.
Today I finally remembered... even though it's not nearly as pretty now that half the leaves have fallen off...
Now I am bummed that I didn't charge my phone a bit then immediately go back for a photo on Saturday. A beautiful moment that now only exists in my memories.
Speaking of memories... soon enough, THIS is what the same street will look like...
Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
Painters were hired to paint my home, which has been ongoing for the past week... off and on. When I bought the place it was about ten years overdue, and the paint rubs off if you run your hand over it. So... very happy we managed to find a painter before winter arrived. Not so happy about the $2,550 it costs for my share of the bill, but dems da breaks when you're a homeowner.
My cats spent most of their time observing all the activity from out in their catio.
Until it was time to paint the catio.
In order to not have to pay anything additional for my addition, I ended up spending two days masking off the catio for ten minutes of painting...
Amazingly enough, ripping the masking off wasn't the piece of cake I thought it would be. Since I had to mask both sides at the same time, I had masking tape sticking to masking tape, which is not easy to pull apart. Something I hadn't thought of when I started this.
It's all over. And the catio matches my condo exactly now, which is pretty great for an OCD brain like mine.
My cats don't seem to notice.
Posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2017
I am so sick of Apple's stupid shit I could just vomit.
NONE of my movie purchases will play through iTunes right now. NONE of them. I pay Apple a shit-ton of money to be able to watch movies I bought, and I can't stream them... can't even download them. And this is far from the first time. AppleTV is even worse than iTunes. And while I'm sure that Apple will blame me like they always do when something goes wrong now-a-days, I can say that I am having zero problems watching media from Amazon, CBS, Netflix, NBC, ABC, HGTV, HBO, Showtime, Starz, and even YouTube. Nope... as usual... it's just Apple.
The company has BILLIONS of dollars. Why in the hell can't they fix their media server shit so it works most of the time?
Spending it all on their new giant donut headquarters I guess.
I cannot decide if Apple's fall from grace is more sad or pathetic. And, to be honest, I don't give a shit. Just let me watch the movies I've paid for.
Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017
"Eleanor, your cocaine and escape train are ready!"
Posted on Saturday, October 21st, 2017
I haven't posted about my cats in a couple weeks, so let's get caught up then, shall we?
First of all, my efforts to keep my cats out of the cat food/treat/toy cupboard continue to fail. If I tape it, they paw at the tape. If I buy a child-lock, they chew it off. I'm beginning to think that nothing short of a deadbolt is going to do the trick. Especially when I wake up and find this waiting for me downstairs...
I know it's Jake who does the breaking in, but every time I check the security camera footage, Jenny is most definitely sharing in the spoils.
Second of all, Jenny continues to love the electric blanket. As I mentioned a while ago, she just can't seem to get enough of it. Even though she's perplexed as to how it works. For some reason there's a disconnect between her brain telling her it's not possible and her body sensing its glorious warmth. She still walks around on it like she can't believe what's happening. Though most of the time she's sleeping...
The only thing that will wake her up is when the local high school football team scores a touchdown and they fire off the cannon...
Just look her crossing her legs like the little lady she is!
Well, except when she's torturing bugs, which seems to be her favorite activity after sleeping. When the painters had to leave the doors open, a LOT of bugs who were looking to find a warm spot for the winter came crawling/flying in. I try to capture as many as I can so I can take them outside, but sometimes Jenny has other plans...
The little monster.
Speaking of Jenny...
People keep asking me if she still brings me tributes in the morning. The answer is, yes. As you can see from this photo I took last week where she was particularly industrious that morning...
Eight... eight... toy tributes. Which has to be some kind of record.
As if that wasn't enough Jenny for this Caturday, I have to share that I think that she has joined in the WAR OF THE ROBOTS that's been going on in my home between Carl the RoboVac and Clay the Litter-Robot. I caught her throwing towels on the floor for Carl to choke on just as he was headed to clean around the couch, THEN SAT THERE WAITING FOR HIM TO ARRIVE...
Clearly Jenny is Team Clay (whom she loves) and not Carl (whom she seems to hate).
And, speaking of Carl, he may soon have a little brother hanging around! More on that next week!
And speaking of hanging around, I think I might have a ghost. I haven't seen them... but will admit I've noticed weird noises going on from time to time. Like one of the cats is walking towards my bedroom, then I look and they are both already in the bedroom. So maybe not just a ghost... IT'S A GHOST CAT?!?? Jake and Jenny seem to spot Ghost Cat often, as sometimes when I check in on them throughout the day I see them acting strangely (well, more strangely than usual). Like they'll be eating and suddenly turn around to look at something...
But when I check the other cameras, there's nothing there. When I captured the above footage, I came home and checked the secondary security camera system (which is on battery back-up and stores locally in case the internet and/or power goes down) but they didn't spot anything either. Then I started scrubbing through the audio thinking it might have been a creak from the house settling or something, but... no. Which is strange, because the microphones are very good at capturing even the softest noises.
So I dunno. Hopefully one of these days I will spot Ghost Cat so I can come up with a name that suits them.
In final Caturday News... it is raining hard while I type this. Really hard. Which has Jenny very upset and confused, as she's raging at the rain she can hear everywhere, but not see (turn your volume way up)...
Jake, however, doesn't seem much bothered by the rain. Here's him "helping" me type up this blog entry...
See you next Caturday.
Posted on Sunday, October 22nd, 2017
I am Sundaying so hard right now, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Feral! This past Monday was "National Feral Cat Day." My cats, Jake and Jenny, were feral kittens when they were found. I don't think they quite adapted to foster care, and were still very much feral little scrubbers when I adopted them. Weeks of patience turned into months of building trust which has turned into 1-3/4 years of the best furry friends I could hope for. They are still, in their hearts, feral cats who are very slow to trust. And they hide the minute anything out of the ordinary happens. Sometimes, on rare occasions, they are even wary of me. But most of the time they love crawling all over me for pets and attention and I've never been lonely since they took over my home. Feral cats are more work than those kitten raised around people... but I wouldn't trade mine for the world. If anything, I think I appreciate them more than I would other cats because I had to put effort into getting them to accept me. And once they did? There's no better feeling...
If you have the opportunity to help out a feral cat, the work is definitely worth the reward!
• Dimensions? And so... it would seem that LEGO Dimensions is no more. Typical. Oh well. The gameplay was getting tired... but it was kept fresh by the licensed properties they kept bringing to the table.
Wish they would have got LEGO Star Wars in the mix before signing off... after Disney Infinity dried up, it seemed a natural.
• Get Help! The reviews for Thor: Ragnarok have been stellar. And with each new clip released, I just want to see it more...
• Lucifer! Right now there's a lot of good television going on. In addition to The Good Place, which is the best show on television right now, we've also got Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash, The Orville, and Supergirl... not to mention some of the indy oddball stuff (like Dirk Gently), which makes it tough for me to keep up with my shows. But that one show I will always make time for? Lucifer!
Last season was fantastic because "Mom" came to visit, which led to some interesting directions for the show. Now they seem to be focusing on fleshing out secondary characters instead of bringing in new ones, and I couldn't be happier. Maze is probably the best character on the show after Lucifer, but has been largely marginalized. But this last episode (S03:E03 Mr. and Mrs. Mazikeen Smith) puts her in the spotlight and the results are so amazing I find myself wishing they would spin her off into her own show. If you're not watching, you really should be.
• Jack! Another show I've been very much enjoying has been the revival of Will & Grace. Though I strongly dislike the two main characters, secondary characters Jack and Karen always seem to salvage the show. The latest episode (S09:E04 Grandpa Jack) is no exception. Jack, who discovered he had a son (thanks to a sperm bank "donation") gets an even bigger surprise when he discovers his son had a son, so he's now a grandpa!
I will not spoil the story except to say... it's both hysterically funny and emotionally devastating at the same time. And it has two guest appearances that are absolute gold. When they restarted the show, I was hoping that we'd see Jack's son again. I never expected that his story would be this good. Well worth a look.
• Decor! When I moved into my home, I noticed that the previous owner had left a lot of decor scattered about. None of it was too my taste, so I made it my mission to toss it all out. The only thing left is a lion head above my doorbell and a weird dried flowers plaque with hooks I use for my keys and hats. The plaque was useful, but I vowed to replace it when I found something better... I never did. The lion I was going to ditch when it was removed for painting... but I ended up putting it back. Don't know why. I kinda like him, I guess...
I suppose one of these days I really should go shopping to find a replacement for my key hooks.
And... Sunday is over. So too are the bullets.
Posted on Monday, October 23rd, 2017
Welcome to Old Photos Week! Every day I will post a photo or two from the batch of film I had scanned recently. Since I sent it in blind, some of the images that came back were surprising. Some I had forgotten. Some I never even knew existed.
My current home is four doors down from the home I grew up in as a kid. That home was built in 1972 and we moved in immediately after it had been completed. As I mentioned last week, it was the first time I had my own bedroom, so it was my Shangri-La for the dozen years I lived there.
Since the home was brand new, we were starting from scratch on everything. Including the yard. This photo is of my brother "helping" to plant grass in the front of the house...
Interesting to note that the garage walls are unfinished. It's interesting because I don't think we ever bothered to finish them! They looked exactly like this the whole time we were living there.
This, however, is far from the most interesting thing about my old homestead.
That would be the fact that it was built on a Native American burial ground.
This photo of the back yard was taken after at least a year living at our new home. The grass is filling in and (though you can't see it very well) my brother and I are standing next to a tree that has just been planted...
Eventually, my parents decided to add an addition to the back of the house so we'd have a larger living room. In order to build it, they had to dig up the back yard to pour a new foundation. As they were digging they ran across some bones. Then some more bones. Then still more bones.
They were human skeletons and our home turned out to be built on a Native American burial ground.
This was confirmed when archeologists excavated our back yard. We made the local papers and people were flying in to study the graves because they were intact and so well preserved.
Local tribes were consulted to find out what to do, and they requested that we relocate the remains to another part of the property. Which we did. My dad terraced the hillside behind us and we re-buried them there.
Somewhere, I know there are photos of the excavation. Hopefully I will run across them one of these days.
Posted on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017
Welcome to Old Photos Week! Every day I will post a photo or two from the batch of film I had scanned recently. Since I sent it in blind, some of the images that came back were surprising. Some I had forgotten. Some I never even knew existed.
My mom's mother (my grandmother) did not like cats. Not even a little bit. I heard her mention it several times over the years. I don't know why, really... I always thought that maybe she didn't like all pets, but apparently she was okay with dogs. So no clue. Unless she was tired of running into their covered poop when weeding the vegetable garden perhaps? One of the many, many things I wished I had asked her about while she was alive.
There are quite a few photos of cats hanging around in old photos of my mom when she was little. My first guess was that they were wild cats that lived in the area, but then I see photos of my mom holding them. That doesn't seem likely if they were truly wild, so I'm not quite sure what the story is there. Maybe they were pets, but they had to live outside. I'm guessing my grandparents had a barn, so maybe they were barn cats who kept the mice in check?
One of my favorite pictures is this one of toddler mom with a furry friend. I am assuming that this was taken at her home, because the series has no other people except mom, grandma, grandpa, and mom's brother...
This photo brings up another mystery... what's with the playing card in the dirt there?
Because my grandmother didn't like cats and would undoubtedly have shooed them away if she was trying to take a photo, I'm guessing this one was taken by my grandfather. Looks like a cat walked in-frame and plopped down to lick its butt while grandpa was taking a picture of mom and her brother...
My mom seems to like cats (she was a huge fan of Spanky), so I guess hating cats is not genetic.
When my final scans arrive, I'll probably print my favorite photos of toddler mom with cats to add to the collage in my stairway. It's nice to have two of my favorite things in a single photo.
Posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017
Welcome to Old Photos Week! Every day I will post a photo or two from the batch of film I had scanned recently. Since I sent it in blind, some of the images that came back were surprising. Some I had forgotten. Some I never even knew existed.
It's weird what our brains choose to latch onto.
I don't have a lot of vivid memories of my childhood, but there are some memories that have left an impression. For example... I remember being in our garage when I was very young and we had just moved somewhere in California. The neighbor kids were over and we were looking for the boxes that had my toys in them. I couldn't yet read, but one of the girls that lived nearby could, and kept reading off the boxes... "Summer"... "Summer"... "Summer"... "These all say Summer!" It wasn't until years later (high school maybe?) that I was able to revisit that memory and figure out that the boxes didn't all say "Summer"... they said "Simmer." No idea why such a mundane memory is stuck in my head, but I can "see" all of it. There were four kids total in the garage. The boxes were stacked up against a wall. I can picture it in pretty good detail.
Another memory that's stuck in my brain is a trip to Lake Chelan when I was a kid. There were many, many trips to "The Lake" when I was young, all of which have faded from memory... except this one particular trip hasn't. What I remember vividly is a tiny dead fish that washed up on shore. I can see it as clearly as if I saw it yesterday. My brother and I had been building "boats" out of inner-tubes and water mattresses when BLAM! dead fish.
So you can imagine my surprise when I ran across these two photos in the last batch of negatives I had scanned. Everything is exactly as I remember it...
That "boat" obviously wasn't a very good one if my brother had to bail water out of it, but oh well.
I can't be positive that these images are from the dead fish trip... perhaps we built mattress boats on other trips... but something in my gut tells me this is the one. In that second photo, just out of frame, there is a dead fish lapping on the shore.
How it died we can only speculate...
Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017
When I was a kid, Christmas was my favorite holiday by a long shot. My family went all out, and the mountain of presents under the Christmas tree was always one of the highlights of my year.
As an adult, my favorite holiday is Halloween.
Not so much for the dressing up, but because I love the whole atmosphere that goes with it. It's good, wholesome, spooky fun! And sometimes it's fun to dress up too.
In looking through the last batch of photos, I ran across some images of me wearing one of those cheap-ass Collegeville costumes that came in a window box you could pick up for $1.50 back in the day. You'd get a jumper with some kind of print on it that was sewn so poorly it would barely last the night, plus a matching mask made out of plastic so thin that it would crack and split just by breathing in it...
Photo found on Etsy
Saf-T-C eye holes and flame retarded! Doesn't get much better than that!
Still, a lot of those old cheap costumes are a heck of a lot scarier than the ones you can buy today! Take, for example, the skeleton costume I am wearing in these creepy-ass photos...
Though what's truly scary is the bruise I've got on my face underneath the mask!
I'm guessing I got it fighting a bear or something.
Hope you Halloween is extra-ghoulish this year!
Posted on Friday, October 27th, 2017
Of all the old film I've had scanned over the years, the photos that fascinate me most are those of my mom when she was little. It was a very different time back then, and seeing how her and my grandparents lived is one of those things that I can't get enough of...
Each generation grows up in very different times than the generation before it. My mind boggles when thinking of the world that future generations will be raised in.
Although if global tension keeps escalating, it could be that future generations will live through times more similar to my mother's than mine.
Posted on Saturday, October 28th, 2017
As I've mentioned several times, one of my favorite technology purchases of all time has been Carl, my RoboVac. I've had him for almost three months now and I still feel the same. I had anticipated that I would need to "vacuum for reals" once or twice a month to get at the dirt and cat hair that Carl wasn't capable of sucking up... but I was wrong. I haven't had to vacuum once since Carl took over. He does an amazing job, and I continue to be amazed when I open his waste bin each day and see how much crap he manages to find on my floors. Where is it all coming from?!?
Carl is the gift that keeps on giving.
I decided to take the plunge and get a mopping robot too because... well... the idea of not having to mop the bathrooms and kitchen any more was just too appealing. And the iRobot "Braava Jet" was on sale at Amazon for $169, which was almost completely covered by the $150 gift certificate I had burning a hole in my wallet...
Carl the RoboVac was named after the faithful janitor in The Breakfast Club...
So I decided to name my RoboMop after Joy, the woman who invented the Miracle Mop (and was played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie Joy)...
Now let's cut to the chase... was Joy a worthy purchase? Does she do as good a job as Carl when it comes to cleaning?
Well, it's complicated.
To begin with, Joy is not really a "mopping robot." She's more of a "Swiffer robot." That's because she doesn't slop water around with a mop, rinse the mop off, then repeat that until she's done. Instead she spits plain water on the floor then scrubs it with a disposable pad that has some kind of cleaning agent baked in. The pad is on a vibrating head that rubs your floor and "traps" the filth so you can toss it out when the Braava Jet is done.
Much to my surprise, Joy does a pretty darn good job... at least as good a job as my Swiffer.
Her first run was in the upstairs bathroom, which is my primary bathroom. Before she started, I vacuumed everything with a ShopVac, then Swiffered with a wet pad. Not surprisingly, the pad was pretty dirty since I don't have time to mop very often.
After I was done cleaning, I unleashed Joy.
This was the result...
Now, most of that dirt and cat hair you see had to be hiding underneath my sink and linen hutch. Which I was cleaning by blindly shoving a vacuum hose and Swiffer under there. Obviously Joy did a better job than I did... I just didn't realize how good a job she did until I saw this.
Like Carl, Joy kind of drunkenly stumbles around cleaning until she bumps into something, then she changes direction. Unlike Carl, whose path seems completely random, Joy actually tries to clean in a pattern. And because she's smart like that, you can create a "virtual wall" so Joy's cleaning area is confined. My kitchen/entryway is shaped in a big "U." To keep her cleaning where I wanted, I set Joy down with her "no fly zone" behind her when I define the "wall." This is a very cool feature and works exactly as advertised in the manual...
When she's cleaning a bathroom floor, I just close the door and let her go to town. That works too.
Like most RoboVacs, Joy has sensors to keep her from falling down stairs or mopping over something she shouldn't. Like, for example, my heater vents. The raised edge is not that high, but it's enough to deter Joy from running over it...
When Joy stumbles across an obstacle, she carefully navigates around them...
Even better, she doesn't spray water onto furniture or places other than the floor. Instead she backs away and squirts in front of it, which is pretty smart. As if that weren't enough, she is surprisingly small. Her diminutive size means she had no problem artfully cleaning around toilets or under furniture, which is exactly the kind of thing you want in a mopping robot...
Filling the water tank is a bit of a pain because there's a microscreen to prevent stuff from getting in there and clogging Joy's nozzle. The microscreen is so good at its job that it's actually kind of tough to even get water through! You have to fill with a slow dribble to give the water time to settle...
The Braava Jet has four types of cleaning pads available, and can automatically sense which is attached so she knows how to clean and whether or not to spit water out...
I bought some of the reusable pads but, since I can't fill Joy with a cleaning agent, you're pretty much just wet mopping. The fuzzy head does seem like it might clean grout between tiles a little better than a flat pad, but otherwise it doesn't seem like it can break down dirt as well as the disposable pads? Maybe if you pre-sprayed a vinegar/water solution on dirty spots it would be okay. Since I've only used the reusable pads after cleaning with the regular wet-mop pads, I'm not sure.
Right about now you may be saying "All that's well and good, Dave, but how do your cats like Joy?"
I've said many times how much my cats hate Carl the RoboVac. It's so bad that I am convinced that Jenny is conspiring with Clay the Litter-Robot to kill him. But Joy is a different story. Jake and Jenny don't seem to have a problem with her, and can sit and watch her clean for long periods of time...
Heaven only knows how long this friendly relationship will last. My hope is that eventually the cats will just ignore her.
And now the pros and cons of the iRobot Braava Jet...
Overall? I'm quite happy with the Braava Jet RoboMop. For what she is and what she's designed to do, Joy is a great addition to my growing robot collection. She makes me want to investigate buying her bigger brother, the Braava 380t, which is designed for larger rooms. That might be a good solution for mopping my open-concept living/dining room's wood floors. The only thing that gives me pause is that my hideously-expensive wood ended up being total crap that slivers and splinters in spots, which causes Swiffer-type pads to snag. I've already gone around on my hands and knees to try and sand them out, but more are always appearing. Carl doesn't seem to have a problem with it, thankfully, so maybe a Braava isn't in the cards. Manually "spot-mopping" might be the way to go. I'm not too broken up about this because the bathrooms and kitchens are the places most in need of mopping.
If you need an occasional light mopping in your home, then the Braava Jet might be the robot for you. Especially if you have furniture that needs cleaning under. I'm giving Joy my Dave Seal of Approval.
Posted on Sunday, October 29th, 2017
Don't fear the reaper, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Benson! Robert Guillaume passed away this last week and it got me to thinking about the various roles he's played in his long acting career. Primary of which, was "Benson" on Soap (and the subsequent spin-off), where his sarcastic wit was showcased to hilarious effect. My personal favorite role was Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night, a role which is surprisingly relevant today...
You, sir, will be sorely missed.
• Think! Cost to renew my nine Nest security camera "Nest Aware" subscriptions annually? $500. Cost to renew Amazon's new Cloud Cam security camera subscription plan annually for triple the storage time and up to ten cameras? $200. This means I could essentially buy three new Amazon cameras every year PLUS get a superior subscription service for the cost of my Nest subscription alone. Gee... let me think real hard about what I should do. What to do? What to do? It's a quandary, that's for sure...
• Balls! I made falafel for the first time!
My balls were totally delicious.
• Mickey Hotel! Disney just announced that Disneyland will be getting a brand new 700-room hotel which will open in 2021...
Compared to the amazing Grand Californian hotel across the way, it's kind of boring-looking. Not very "Disney-Special" to me.
The most interesting bit of information in the press release is not the hotel itself, but its location. In order to build the thing, Disney will be ripping out the West end of Downtown Disney. Which is currently occupied by ESPN Sports Zone, the AMC 12 theater, a Starbucks, The Rainforest Cafe and, ZOMFG... EARL OF SANDWICH! The LEGO Store is spared though...
The money that a hotel generates is probably huge compared to the royalties from everything it's replacing. With this in mind, I don't know why A) They are only putting in 700 rooms when there looks like there's room for more, and B) they haven't expanded The Grand Californian (the "Redwood Creek Challenge Trail," cool as it may be, is hardly a critical part of California Adventure, so it seems a natural to rip it out and put in another 150 rooms).
• Payola! HEALDINE: Senate votes to kill new rule allowing class-action lawsuits against banks; Pence casts deciding vote. — FUCKING PIECES OF SHIT!!! No recourse now... NONE... when big banks fuck you over. You are forced to accept binding arbitration or small court settlements instead of having your day in court. And, of course, data breaches due to shitty bank security are now basically a crime without meaningful punishment. All because the fucking Trump Administration and their Republican lackeys have their mouths so deep on Big Finance cock for cash that they don't give a shit who it hurts... so long as the big paychecks keep coming their way. And OF COURSE they are re-framing this act of utter submission to bank payola as a "good move" for consumers because "frivolous lawsuit costs get passed on to consumers." All 100% bullshit of course. We STILL end up paying... just in a different way. Meanwhile, any and all protections are now ALL THEIRS. Looks like we've got ourselves a government by the wealthy, for the wealthy.
• Harrassment! Everywhere you look, it's the same damn thing. I do not know Robert Scoble personally. All I know is that he worked at Microsoft then got famous for conducting crappy "WHO ARE YOU?!?" videos with happening tech industry people. I also know that he went into rehab a couple years ago because he was accused of shitty and harassing behavior towards women when he was drunk and high.
I also know one of these women.
Now it's coming out that he didn't stop with his shitty harassment of women AFTER he was supposedly "cured" of the things he blamed his behavior on. Typical of these types of situations, people are defending him because he's married and supposedly a "good guy." Meanwhile... there's the women whom he's sexually harassed who are having to deal with the fallout of HIS crap.
I believe them. Scoble may be married with kids and be known as a "good guy" in certain circles, but obviously that does NOT exclude him from being a habitual sexual harasser.
On his Facebook profile, Scoble has the douchey description of himself as "Authority on what is next," even though he just talks about what OTHER PEOPLE are doing. I hope "what is next" for him is somebody pressing charges. The more times that shit like this results in public shaming and even more public punishment, the more these reprehensible fuckers will think twice before being assholes to their fellow human beings.
All our times have come, see you for more bullets next Sunday!
Posted on Monday, October 30th, 2017
It's been getting colder. I know this because the heat has been coming on from time to time. And last week I was mostly freezing from the minute I got out of bed... all the way to work... most of the day at work... all the way back home... then right up until I crawled under my electric blanket at night.
But yesterday and today?
Well, not really, but it's been unseasonably warm out. My cats have been lapping it up... hanging out in the catio as if they know that the warm days are numbered. They are not always easy to spot out there, however...
Enjoy it while it lasts... enjoy it while it lasts.
Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017
It's Halloween again!
This past week when I was at Home Depot, all their decorations and spooky stuff was on sale for 50% off, which wasn't tempting to me (what a waste of money!)... until I saw two cat skeletons for $9 each. Now that I'm interested in.
Jake and Jenny? Well... not so much. They sniffed around for ten seconds, then went on with their busy lives...
Hopefully my trick-or-treaters will be more intrigued with Dead Jake and Dead Jenny than the live versions were...
And don't forget my awesome wreath addition...
Now that decorating is done, all that's left to do is pass out the candy...
Guess we'll see how many trick-or-treaters I get this year. Last year it didn't top 60.