Posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019
My cats get along very well. Sure they chase each other around the house from top to bottom... but it's all in good fun.
This is not to say that they don't irritate each other from time to time. Jake seems difficult to ruffle, and it takes quite a lot before he will lash out. With Jenny, however, you never quite know what's going to set her off. Sometimes it's the littlest thing. Like her brother sniffing her butt.
Fortunately she has mad kung-fu skills to deal with that...
Five minutes later they were side-by-side looking out the window, so these little scuffles don't last long...
Wrapping up this fine Caturday I will leave you with this...
That would totally be my cats, which is why I won't be buying them a bell any time soon.
Posted on Sunday, June 2nd, 2019
The summer heat has arrived, but it's cool here... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Mufasa! I'm mostly indifferent to all these Disney live-action remakes, having taken a pass on Dumbo, Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, and the rest. The exception being The Jungle Book, which was exceptional. And now there's another I will absolutely be tuning into... The Lion King. I mean, just look at this screen grab...
The teaser trailer sure looks great...
And, the icing on the cake? Disney wisely got James Earl Jones to reprise the role of Mufasa...
While nothing could ever replace really good animation for me, really good CGI can also be fun.
• Fake! I don't know what's more impressive. Bill Heder's incredible impersonations... or the "Deep Fake" technology that puts their faces over his...
I'm going to go with "both" on this.
• Codex! One of the highlights of my visit to Milan, Italy was a visit to Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Library of Ambrose) so I could view pages from the Codex Atlanticus, a collection of works and writings by Leonardo DaVinci. Much to my surprise, they've now put this master work online, which you can look at here. It's pretty spectacular stuff...
All too easy to lose a lot of time exploring.
• Cracker! Remember the good old days when you wanted to eat crackers in bed... AND THE FUCKING PACKAGE WOULD ACTUALLY OPEN AT THE SEAMS INSTEAD OF YOU HAVING TO RIP INTO IT LIKE AN ANIMAL?!?
So stupid. How difficult is it to go back to packaging that actually opens, PREMIUM BRAND SALTINE CRACKERS?
• Burnt! I guess the money for all those golf trips has to come from somewhere. But cutting wildland firefighting jobs ahead of fire seasons that just continue to get worse and worse is insanity. Guess this country is literally going to go down in flames.
• Once More For the People in the Back! I've posted this before. It can't be shared enough...
I keep seeing misinformation as to how tax brackets work over and over and over and over again. I can't believe that there are people who don't get it.
And that's a wrap. if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, don't overheat!
Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2019
I typed some notes during Apple's streaming presentation of the World Wide Developer's Conference keynote this morning. Since I know absolutely everybody is dying to know my thoughts on things*, this post is for you!
• Eco-Unfriendly! And here's Tim Cook to start things off. Right off the bat he's touting how Apple is a sweet ecosystem that marries hardware, software, and services to create an experience unlike any other...
Say what you like about Apple, but it's totally true. The problem is that when one part of their ecosystem sucks, you get a bad experience. This applies to hardware (I fucking hate the MacBook Pro keyboard, and will avoid buying one of their shitty laptops for as long as I can), software (when they aren't abandoning critical in-house software like Aperture, they create fucking garbage like HomeKit), and services (their media streaming is unbelievably shitty and I'm furious that they always blame my internet, when my fiber connection streams flawlessly from everybody else). I used to put up with everything because, hey, at least it was better than Windows, but is that really true anymore?
• Apple Arcade! Now Tim is talking about "Apple Arcade"... a new membership service where you get access to a lot of cool and exclusive games. Out of everything announced, I only give a crap about LEGO Brawls, so this is probably not going to be for me...
• Apple TV PLUS! Ugh. I mean, really? Yet another streaming service? I admit that the clip shown from the alternate-history space-race drama For All Mankind looks interesting, but enough for me to pay up a monthly fee? Doubtful. Disney+ is absolutely on my radar because of all the Marvel Studios and Star Wars shows in development, but it would take a heck of a lot for me to buy into Apple's random non-catalog of shows.
• Apple TV! Apple TV has one of the shittiest interfaces in tech history. It takes forever to find the stuff you want to watch. Even if you know where to get to it, you still have to scroll and scroll and scroll. Apple added Siri to AppleTV so you can just tell it what you want, but I find it to be flakey and not always accurate. Why would I buy something from iTunes when it's available streaming from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or whatever? I thought that "TV" was supposed to prioritize stuff you already have over stuff you have to pay for, but that hasn't been my experience. But I digress. They've apparently redesigned everything to be less shitty. EXCEPT THEY ARE USING CLIP PREVIEWS LIKE NETFLIX WHICH I FUCKING HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!!! Fuck this. I hope to God they allow you to turn that shit off.
Ooh! And now Apple is saying that you will be able to use controllers from Xbox One and Playstation to control games on AppleTV! Yay! Except... where is support for my Nintendo Switch Pro controller? Oh well. I don't have time to play many games anyway.
Okay... I love the new underwater 4K screen saver! Reminds me of the serene scene aquarium screen saver I had on my Mac ages ago...
• Apple Watch! Ya know? I'd sure like to have an Apple Watch, but I just know I would never wear it because it's so damn thick. Until they fix that, they can throw all the new "watch faces" at me they want... I'm not biting. Except... ZOMG! A CALCULATOR APP! Just like my old calc digital watch had back in the 80's!
The new WatchOS will be able to run apps independently of the companion iPhone app. That seems like a pretty critical feature, but I don't know how they have the memory available for such a thing? This allows you to install apps from the App Store directly on your Apple Watch which, again, seems like a critical feature to have.
I like the idea of how the Apple Watch can help you out by monitoring your health... but I know darn well I would stop using it when I see just how unhealthy my lifestyle is, so that's not a big draw for me. For the ladies there's a menstrual cycle tracker now that will help you to know when your period is coming and when you are most fertile for the baby-making.
• iOS 13! Apparently the next version of iOS will focus a lot on speed. Face ID will unlock 30% faster... apps will install faster... apps will launch faster... that kinda thing. Naturally, it's hard not to be happy about that. And I most certainly hope that it launches the camera faster so I don't miss as many time-critical shots like I do now. A more reliable camera that isn't locking up all the time would also be nice.
I'm torn on the new "Dark Mode"... I stopped using it on my Mac because it was wildly inconsistent between apps, sometimes making it impossible to use apps that weren't patched to accommodate it. Perhaps if they did a better job of it for my iPhone I will have better luck? I dunno. It costs nothing to try. And, may I just say, that Apple using Depeche Mode's Black Celebration for their demo is about the best thing I've seen from this keynote so far?
I've been using Google's keyboard for a long time now because it supported swipe typing. Problem is, my iPhone is forever reverting back to Apple's keyboard even though I've not asked it to. Now that Apple supports swipe typing, maybe it will be a better experience? I sure hope so. All the new predictive input stuff is nice, but I often find that my iPhone gets it wrong far more often than it guesses correctly. Maybe their new "machine learning engine" will improve this? One can only hope.
• Maps! And so... shots fired at Google Maps! But here's the deal. Unless Apple gets into the traffic monitoring game like Google and Google-owned Waze, I'm probably sticking with Waze. Pretty is pretty, but I'll take the better functionality every time...
Meg Frost is up in her cool future-wheelchair to demo Maps. Holy crap is it a beautiful app! I may use it a lot more, but the navigation of Waze will be hard to leave behind...
Apple is doing their OWN version of "street view" and it looks spectacular...
I'll definitely be using Apple Maps for armchair traveling, but for actual driving? The jury is out.
• Security! And here's where Apple takes an even bigger swing at Google... privacy and security. Companies like Google and Facebook track everything you do and monitor all the activity on your phone because they are selling ads. To be effective at selling ads, they need to know who you are and what you do. I don't give much of a crap about this (hey, I'm a blogger, all that stuff is online for anybody to see anyway), but I do like Apple's philosophy of erring on the side of caution. It started with ApplePay, which securely pays for stuff without tying the purchases to a credit card (which is nice), and I absolutely love the convenience of it. And now Apple is moving their privacy mandate into other areas at a system level. I approve.
Location monitoring by your phone could be a very big problem if you don't know it's happening and you're a thief or having an affair or whatever. Apple is putting the kibosh on that by being more proactive about how your location is used and how long an app gets to use it. That's totally swell.
And, as if the shots fired weren't obvious enough, here's Craig Federighi telling the whole world that they are seriously going after Facebook and Google by creating their very own "Sign in with Apple" login service! Sweet!
No personal information whatsoever handed over. I think it's pretty obviously that absolutely everybody will switch to Apple's login service the minute it becomes available on sites. I know I sure as hell will be.
Okay, THIS is huge. Apple is coming up with their own privacy email forwarding service! You can immediately establish a temporary email ID... then use or dispose of it for as long as you want! NICE.
I've used random forwarding addresses for a very long time, but having to set them up is always such a pain. Now that it's an OS-level feature, it will be so much easier. Kudos, Apple!
Interesting. Apple is adding their own security camera streaming service to their heinously shitty HomeKit home automation bullshit. The privacy features are admittedly compelling, even though I just don't care that much. So people can hack my account and watch me talking to my cats... whoop-dee-do. However... On one hand, I would love to get rid of all my Google NestCam shit and their fucking "NestAware" idiocy for something better. So maybe. Except I hate hate hate shitty HomeKit so much that I just don't think it's a viable option. Maybe one day? I just don't know.
• Memoji! While I think the idea of Apple's Animoji and Memoji are cute, they just aren't something I'm interested in using. I tried it a few times just for fun, but the idea of using it day-in and day-out makes zero sense. The novelty wears off far too quickly. Except... NOW THEY'VE ADDED MAKEUP?!? And piercings? AND HATS?!? Ooh! Maybe I will have to use Memoji now that I can add eyeshadow and lipstick!
Memoji stickers are actually pretty cool. I don't use stickers very often, but I might use something like this.
• Photos! I take far, far, far more photos on my iPhone than any camera I have ever owned. It's just too convenient and the quality is just too good (and getting better!). The fact that Apple keeps adding cool editing features just gives me even more reason to keep shooting with iPhone. I've always got it with me anyway.
And now you can apply effects to video as well as... gasp!... ROTATE VIDEO AS WELL!
The new machine-learning photo management tools are pretty great too. I really should go delete all the duplicates and junk photos I've taken. Could probably cut the number of photos I've got stored in half. Probably more.
• AirPods! I like everything about the concept of AirPods... but hate the AirPods themselves. They absolutely 100% do NOT stay in my ears. And given the number of people complaining about losing them, I'm guessing it's a serious problem for everybody. I pretty much only use them when traveling because then it's worth the time to put the silicone tips on them so they actually stay in my ears. My thinking is that this will be the first and last pair of AirPods I buy until Apple starts making them so they fit... and are more sustainable. As it is now, there's nothing you can do except throw them away when the battery fails. Wasteful. Shamefully wasteful for a company that professes to be on the cutting edge of "green sustainability."
Having messages announced through your AirPods would drive me insane and I would most definitely not have that feature turned on. One feature I do like, however, is the AirPod Audio Sharing feature. How cool is that? So long as you both have AirPods, very cool!
• HomePod! Whatever, dude. Drop the price by half and I might consider purchasing one. Until then? My SONOS system is doing just fine.
• CarPlay! I would be thrilled to have a CarPlay enabled stereo in my auto, because the integration features with my iPhone are just too good. But I am just not in my car often enough to justify the cost. Happy that Apple keeps improving the CarPlay experience though, because maybe one day...
• Speech! The new "Neural TTS" (Text To Speech) quality is insane. Once more update and they will probably have something indistinguishable from an actual human! Hell, my iPhone already speaks in a way that's more intelligible and human than our President!
• iPad! I may die of un-shock... iPads will no longer be using a forked version of iOS but instead run a custom iPadOS. Given how Apple keeps pushing iPad to encroach on what desktop computers do (and compete with Microsoft's Surface tablet), it was something that pretty much had to happen. And it just makes sense. iPad is more than just a big iPhone. Better split-view... gestures designed for a larger screen... drag and drop... this is all stuff that, frankly, Apple should have had years ago.
One thing that had to happen to make iPad more of a desktop equivalent is to have far better file handling. It looks like Apple realizes this and is working to add more and more functionality. All the features are nice... but nowhere is this new direction more easily understood than by the fact that you can plug a thumb-drive into your iPad now...
• Pencil! I love my first-generation iPad pencil and would dearly love the features of the second-gen... if only my older iPad supported it. Perhaps eventually I will use my iPad a lot more often for my artistic endeavors, so it'll be worth it to invest the money. But that's just not in the cards right now.
• Mac! "WE LOVE THE MAC!" Tim Cook exclaims! Which is hard to take seriously when they are putting shitty keyboards on their laptops that render them useless... or just make them impossible to type on. As if you couldn't tell from my numerous posts on the topic, I am fucking livid that Apple has essentially flushed their MacBook line down the toilet thanks to their "butterfly keyboards" that nobody wants.
• Cheese! Is it just me... or does Apple's new $6000 MacPro look like a cheese grater? A pretty cheese grater, yes... but a fucking cheese grater...
Would I love to own one? Of course I would. But I just can't justify the absurd cost. Yes, Apple put a lot of work into making the thing worth the price tag, but it's all stuff that's not essential to what I do. Maybe if I start composing music with thousands of instruments or editing 6K video, I'll have a need, but this is just silly. At least it's a vastly more configurable and expandable "Pro" computer than the laughably shitty "trash can" machine they released last time.
• Display! The new Apple Pro Display XDR is an absolute steal at $5,000. I sincerely doubt that there is anything out there that can touch it at any price. But, then again, FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A COMPUTER DISPLAY!
• Catalina! Keeping up with their "Places of California" motif for naming their MacOS releases, we now get Catalina. That should make for some very pretty desktop backdrop photos!
• iTunes! At least Apple is self-aware enough to realize what a bloated pile of shit iTunes has become... and can even joke about it. Except... forgive me for not finding it funny that they are only just now addressing the problem when it's been a major hassle for years. And so now iTunes is dead and being replaced with Music... Podcasts... and TV...
That's all great and stuff... but until the server farm delivering my Apple-purchased media content is made much more stable, reliable, and actually worth a shit, it all means pretty much nothing to me.
• Sidecar! Use your iPad as a second screen? Yes please! That could come in SO handy sometimes when I just need a readout that's not covering up what I'm working on!
• Voice Control! At home, I am talking to my house (through Alexa) all the time. She controls absolutely everything, and I'm so accustomed to it that I don't even think about it any more. "Turn on the television!" and "Turn off the porch light!" and "Lock the door!" and "Show my the Catio Camera!" are just... natural(?)... to me now. But, for whatever reason, I just don't think of talking to my Mac. Maybe as it becomes more and more voice aware, that will change. From what they showed at the keynote, however, this could be a huge help to disabled persons who can't use keyboards or mice.
• Find My! Being able to find your devices, even when they are offline? Fantastic. This is the same concept of my "Tile" trackers that I have on my keys, in my backpack and in my wallet. It talks to nearby devices with extremely low power consumption so that you have a much better chance of finding your iPhone, MacBook, iPad, or whatever, that's gone missing.
• Locked! You can remotely lock/wipe your iPhone so that it becomes useless if stolen. There's no doubt in my mind that this is curbing theft of these devices. Why risk jail-time if you can't do anything with it? And now that technology is coming to the Mac, which is nice.
• Developers! Developers! Developers! The new Catalyst project that allows you to compile iPhone apps for the Mac... plus new advancements with their Swift programming language... plus continuing advancements in allowing easy integration of new technologies like AR (augmented reality)... Apple has (mostly) always made sure that developing for their products is as painless as possible, and it looks like they are serious about making sure that tradition continues. Good on you, Apple!
• Reality! And speaking of AR... the new "Reality Composer" sure looks interesting! It can automatically extract people so that rendered objects and move around them! Cool! And the Minecraft demo of how that works is pretty spectacular. This is the future of technology, and it's only a matter of time before we see it around our home... in our car windshields... and on our glasses...
Right now it's pretty much a technology demo... but you can see where it's all going. Eventually.
And that's the end of that, I guess. This keynote seemed a lot more "evolution" over "revolution," but there's some real winners in there that have me more optimistic than I was yesterday as to how much I want to be in bed with Apple any more. Given how pissed off I've been with them lately, that was no easy task. Having to wait until Fall to get at any of it is a bit of a bummer, but that's the way the Apple falls.
*Okay, I know practically nobody actually cares what I think, but that's probably the case for most subjects I blog about... why should this be any different?
Posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019
Every day when I walk to work I have the opportunity to do nothing with my brain except think about stuff for the precious 7 to 10 minutes it takes to get to my office. Sometimes it's surprising was pops into my head when there's nothing else going on in there.
Today it was Grit: America's Greatest Family Newspaper.
I thought about it when I walked by the place that my middle school used to stand before they tore it down. The middle school was moved into the old high school when we got a new high school.
When I was in Middle School, I had a teacher I really liked (Mr. Behler!) who would give us a copy of Grit to read in class some weeks. It was a folksy kind of publication with stories from rural America that I found quaint... even way back then.
You may remember Grit from the many, many, many ads they ran in comic books over the years...
"BOYS! EARN $1 TO $6 A WEEK!" I guess if you're a girl, you need not apply? Girls should just go play with dolls and stuff. They even ask the question "Are you a boy?" right on the application, which makes me wonder if you get rejected for being a girl.
This one has to be my favorite though... "Remember how many times you felt left out because you were BROKE! Places the gang was going and you weren't included. They all had money for movies, games, hamburgers and soft drinks... all of them except you. WELL YOU'LL NEVER BE BROKE AGAIN!"
Boy howdy! Money for movies, games, hamburgers, and soft drinks? Sign me up! Interesting to note the checkbox that asks if you're male or female... still no clue why that matters?
America's Greatest Family Newspaper has definitely changed over the years. I was surprised to see that it's no longer a newspaper, it's a magazine. But it's still trading on the kind of folksy "Rural America Know-How" it always has.
You can get a taste of what Grit is today by visiting their website.
Sadly it looks as though they don't seem to hire kids to deliver their publication anymore and you have to subscribe by mail ($17 for 6 issues a year!). So I have no idea what kids do for money to buy hamburgers and soft drinks with the gang now-a-days. They probably end up selling drugs. Thanks for ruining America, Grit!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll get back to the article I was reading on Grit... Bats: The Unseen Ally!
Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019
Lost yet another friend today... an internet friend I had grown quite fond of. He had been in poor health for quite a while but I never thought of him dying, so it still caught me off guard. Grant was a good guy who served his country and would help people out whenever he could. He was also damn funny. He will be missed.
Nine years ago or so, I remembered drawing a Davetoon of Lil' Dave as a "Bunny" for Grant's birthday. Probably not the kind of manga he was hoping for, but you have to draw what you know...
Grant at work during his younger days...
Thank you for your service, sir! I wish the government would have taken better care of you after you risked your life for their decisions.
2019 is not shaping up to be much of an improvement over 2018, the worst year of my life. I guess that point where everybody you know starts departing this earthly plane is coming earlier for me than it does for everybody else?
Doesn't seem fair, but it does feel typical.
Posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2019
D-Day... the day that the Allies invaded Nazi-occupied France during World War II in order to liberate the country and secure victory on the Western Front... is a landmark event in world history. The United States, The British Empire, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Norway, Poland, and Czechoslovakia came together to fight a great evil to escape from an unthinkable future against incredible odds. That the Allied Forces were victorious is a testament to cooperation, courage, and sacrifice. On this somber day of remembrance, it's our duty to pay respects those who risked everything, including their lives, in service of all humanity. You will not be forgotten.
According to President Trump, it's also a time to air your petty grudges by calling Robert Mueller a "fool" and Nancy Pelosi a "disaster"...
Well, if there's anybody who would know something about being both a fool and a disaster, it would be our president... the pathetic, loathsome, disgusting, moronic, vile, horror story that he is. Boy it would be nice if he could go just one damn day without embarrassing us in front of the world, but I guess that's too much to ask.
Anybody, anybody at all, with even the tiniest amount of humility and decency would have declined to discuss this kind of ugliness on this day... especially when you are sitting across from the Normandy American Cemetery Memorial which honors those US soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. All he had to say was "I'm sorry, but now is not the time or place to get into that... I'm here to pay my respects and honor the memory of some truly great American heroes and nothing else." But, of course, we all know that humility and decency are two traits that President Trump doesn't possess, and so here we are.
Can you imagine... can you even fathom... what the reaction would be at FOX "News" if President Obama had unloaded this kind of petty sniping under the same conditions? Can you?!?
If not, just Google it. Theirs was a non-stop parade of condemnation for far, far less offensives... or nothing at all... for the eight years that he was in office. As propaganda ministers for the Far Right that's their job, after all.
Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2019
I've made no bones about the fact that I am profoundly disappointed with AppleTV. The interface is utter shit, it's horribly unreliable, and all too many times I can't get my purchases to stream on the device (despite the fact that I can stream from every other media content provider with no issues).
Coming very soon is tvOS which will (hopefully) change things for the better.
Or, at the very least, have a far better interface so you're not forced to scroll through hundreds of titles to find what you want.
One of the apps that was supposed to make the AppleTV experience better was AppleTV: The App which is a hub that keeps track of where you're at in all your in-progress series and acts as a gateway to all the other apps by allowing your progress in those to be managed as well. It was a great, idea, in theory. The execution was not so great, however.
Ahead of tvOS, Apple pushed an update to The App. Functionally similar, it has a new look...
You know what else it has?
I might as well get this out of the way... IT HAS SHITTY FUCKING AUTO-PLAY TRAILERS NOW... AND THERE'S NO SETTING TO TURN IT OFF! Just like Netflix. I swear, Apple is intentionally setting out to make people hate them. Who wants to try to find something to watch when you're constantly being inundated with videos playing THAT YOU DON'T FUCKING WANT TO SEE? Remember MySpace pages with their autoplay music that everybody HATED?!? Leave it to Apple to bring it back as video autoplay that NOBODY WANTS. Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave over Apple's non-stop parade of stupid shit. Apple makes me regret EVER having purchased anything from iTunes. I hope that TV shows get an equivalent of MoviesAnywhere so I can watched my purchased shows ANYWHERE ELSE. Holy shit what a waste.
An example. Let me take a look at the movies I got going on...
When all of a sudden... BAM! A fucking trailer starts playing while I'm looking at what's available...
Absolutely fucking infuriating. ILET ME FUCKING CHOOSE IF I WANT TO WATCH THE FUCKING TRAILER, YOU ASSHOLES! This is rage-inducing bullshit, and I cannot believe this is what Apple has become.
But let's move on, shall we? All screenshots are taken with my iPhone, so forgive me that they're not so great-looking.
The first thing I notice is that Apple has added a "Free Episodes" section to the main screen. No clue where the episodes are coming from though. Banshee is courtesy of Cinemax. Does that mean that Cinemax is responsible for giving us free episodes? Or is Apple paying a license? What?
In the example of Banshee, above, I already own all four seasons, so if I want to watch the show, it's not "free," it's something I paid for. But maybe Apple knows I own them and that's where they are pulling the "free" from? Oh look... they are also available from Amazon Prime Video, which I also have. Again, I pay for it, so it's not really free, but okay? Maybe they are talking about getting a free trial of Cinemax then? Absolutely no clue...
Interesting to note that they are trying to sell me Banshee when I already own it. What the heck is that about? Maybe when I click through it will refresh and show that I already bought it? Nope...
But surely when I click on a season, AppleTV will know that I bought it, right? Nope...
WTF?!? So I call up the series to verify that I do, in fact, own it. And I do. But AppleTV is fucking brain-dead and doesn't seem to understand that when I bought The Complete Collection of all four seasons, I own all four seasons. If I somehow forgot that I bought the collection, Apple was happy to take my money on individual seasons, thus charging me twice. Wow. So the Apple app which is supposed to keep track of everything for you can't even keep track of the shit you purchased direct from Apple. Sounds about right...
Anyway... back to the free stuff showing up which I have no idea where it's coming from...
Ooh! Look! Another Cinemax favorite... Strike Back! This Richard Armitage series is kinda famous for killing off Richard Armitage in the first episode of the second season. They then brought in a pair of new leads (Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton) to take over the show. And that's them right there in the poster image... FOR SERIES ONE, EPISODE ONE?!??...
They didn't even exist in the first season! The first series was all about Richard Armitage! Maybe it was a mistake on the home screen? Surely they have it correct once you click through? Except... nope... they are calling Season One, Season Two, and completely forgetting that there was actually a season that existed before this one...
And that about sums up the latest revision of AppleTV: The App... everything it's SUPPOSED to be smart about... keeping track of what you're watching... knowing what you own and what services you subscribe to so it can give you the best option for watching what you want to watch... and knowing about the shows it manages so you can do amazing things LIKE START WITH THE FIRST EPISODE OF THE FIRST SEASON OF A SERIES... it fails at completely.
And so I guess I can just go on ignoring The App as I have been since it debuted then. Except... it still might be handy from time to time because finding the stuff I want to watch is inexplicably difficult using the dedicated "Movies" and "Television" apps. If only there was a way to turn off those fucking autoplay previews! Except... nope...
GOOD LORD APPLE IS SHIT AT JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING NOW-A-DAYS! I hope to God that the tvOS 13 update is better than the AppleTV: The App update. Though that's probably hoping for too much given what we've had to suffer through over the past eight years (R.I.P. Steve!).
Just so I don't have to end this on a sour note. Let me try to find something positive to say.
Something that appears new to me is that "Cast & Crew" links when you pop into details on the series. As an example, here's the awesome TV series Limitless...
Clicking on Jake McDorman's face shows me other stuff he's been in... without having to call up IMDB. Nice...
Of course God only knows whether or not clicking on any of those will encourage you to buy something you already own... so even my attempt at finding something nice to say is an attempt bound to end in failure.
I simply do not understand how Apple can continue to slide like this. Because surely they realize there's a problem, right? Surely they have people working there who takes a look at their crap during development to let them know when stuff is badly designed or not functioning correctly? RIGHT?!?
I'm beginning to seriously doubt it.
Or maybe they do and people like Jony Ivy and Tim Cook just don't fucking listen to them. That would explain a lot.
Until tvOS 13 then...
Posted on Saturday, June 8th, 2019
Today was a rare day when I didn't have to go into work. Instead I worked around the house which is, in so many ways, worse. Sitting at a desk all day doesn't strain my back, whereas painting garage doors, making bread, assembling shelving, and cleaning house definitely does!
Most of the chores I had set for myself were done by 1:30, so I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my cats...
Jake has continued being clingy and wanting attention after his accident. Poor thing. I think his new behavior might very well be permanent...
I always make time for my cats, and it's kinda nice to have Jakey Bear for company. Now that it's warmer, he doesn't snuggle up against me very often though, preferring to sleep in a way that's easier to cool off..
Jenny, on the other hand, will still snuggle up against me in any weather...
Speaking of Jenny, a while back I happened across a folder of old photos. I think this is when I first noticed that she has an adorable sour face...
She's entirely too cute. I think her coloration and narrow face camouflages the way most cats have that "smile" where their mouth turns up... so she always looks like she's frowning. Just makes me love her even more!
And now? Time to make dinner, I suppose. Happy Caturday!
Posted on Sunday, June 9th, 2019
The time for revolution is now... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Lander! In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first Apollo Moon Landing, LEGO has released this amazing new set...
It's pretty dope...
It's also $99, which seems totally worth it, if you've got that kind of money to burn.
• Saga! Speaking of LEGO... they've just announced that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be released in 2020, combining all nine films in a single game...
I'm guessing that it will be the existing Star Wars games but with new material added at the end to close out the saga. Since it is being released for the Nintendo Switch, I don't mind that at all. I'd love to replay everything from the beginning.
• Lucifer! One of my favorite shows, Lucifer was cancelled, then picked up by Netflix. Apparently it did well enough that they are giving the show a fifth season to wrap everything up...
Time to celebrate...
It's a bit depressing that the show will finally be ending... but at least they have the opportunity to create an actually ending.
• Eighty-Four! Director Patty Jenkins released a teaser poster for Wonder Woman 84 this week. One year to go before we know whether this "Not A Sequel But a Reimagining" is going to be worth a crap...
I'd like to think it will be, especially since Jenkins is back onboard, but it's really impossible to say. Why they would toss away a continuing story for some kind of soft reboot is puzzling. Unless it's because the DC Cinematic Universe was a pile of shit and they wanted to just bury that once and for all? 360-whatever days until we find out.
• Jedi Thrones! Well, this is pretty special...
Given what a massive disappointment the final season of Game of Thrones was, I'm happy to see anything that redeems the franchise, so I'll take what I can get. In the meanwhile, there's this interesting look at how things went South.
• Chase Dreams! One of the biggest surprises of the past year's television season was The Other Two, which was hilariously funny in places, despite kinda sliding late in the season...
Still, if you're bored and want something to watch over the summer, this is worth a look. It's pretty foul and definitely not a good fit for mixed company, but you can stream it for a limited time at Comedy Central.
• Fan! A bit of a different direction for MUNA here...
Can't wait for their new album in September!
Have a great Sunday!
Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2019
Nothing like waking up and finding out that one of your heroes has been shot.
I didn't become a baseball fan until college, kinda falling into the sport by accident after reading the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (better known as the book which inspired the movie Field of Dreams). From there I became a bit of a baseball biography junkie, finding the stories behind the sport to be as fascinating as anything in fiction. Right as I was in the middle of the Boston Red Sox Greats (Ted Williams, Cy Young, Smoky Joe Wood, and Babe Ruth) I started becoming interested in the game itself and followed The Seattle Mariners (my local team) along with the Red Sox, because their history was so rich.
Eventually I ended up dating a woman who was originally from Boston. Once she found out I was a Red Sox fan, she convinced her family to take me to a game when we went back to visit, and I've been a die-hard fan ever since.
Being a Red Sox fan in the 90's was not an easy thing.
Their last World Series Win was in 1918(!) and though they had seasons where they were able to shine, there were a lot of seasons that were bordering on tragedy. Then... as we started the new millennium, everything started to change. Players like Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia... and former Mariner David Ortiz... were driving a new era for the team, and it was a beautiful thing to see. In 2004 they won the World Series and have been back on track (for the most part) ever since.
David Ortiz (or "Big Papi," as we fans call him) was an absolute master of the game of baseball before retiring in 2016...
AP Newswire Photo
Bg Papi's record speaks for itself. He is easily one of the best designated hitters... and unarguably one of the best clutch hitters... of all time, blasting past MLB records for hits, runs batted in, and home runs. Watching him play is why people love baseball. He's a legend and hero not only to Boston Red Sox fans, but to other players and anybody with a love for the game regardless of which team they root for.
David Ortiz was shot in the back while exiting a club in the Dominican Republic last night.
No idea why anybody would want to do such a horrible thing to another human... but to shoot David Ortiz in the back? Why? What possible reason could there be for trying to kill somebody as universally loved as Big Papi? Was it because he was universally loved? There's just no making sense of these things. Current news (which I've been following all morning) has him resting and in stable condition. Television host Jhoel Lopez, who was also shot, is in stable condition as well.
I remember the season before his retirement with absolute clarity because it was so much fun.
Game after game after game or tributes and outpouring of love by fans and rival teams... some of them touching, many of them funny, all of them great. Of course I was sad that he was retiring, but I was also happy for him to be able to step back from the limelight and enjoy life... especially after all he's given to the Red Sox. He deserved a happy retirement.
And now this madness.
There's my love of David Ortiz the Boston Red Sox ball player. And there's my love of David Ortiz the person, which is completely encapsulated by his NSFW response to the Boston Marathon shooting...
Freedom in a nutshell.
I guess I end this post with sending all my warmest wishes for a speedy recovery to Ortiz and Lopez.
And a video with some great Big Papi baseball moments, of course...
Stay Boston Strong.
Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019
As I've probably mentioned numerous times, I was a massively huge comic book fan for many years. Now-a-days I purchase everything digitally and don't buy many titles, but I've got an entire storage room filled with the physical comics from my past.
Back when I first started collecting, I hated subscribing to comics from the comic book companies because they would arrive in a brown wrapper with no protection and often came damaged. Instead I'd go to the two local drug stores and hope that the comics I wanted were stocked. Popular titles like Batman could always be found. Less popular titles may not be. I'd show up on the day they arrived whenever I could so I could get a mint copy instead of one that had been mangled on the rack.
When the comics I wanted weren't available at the drug store, I'd have to beg my mom to take me to The Big City so I could visit the News Agency there. The Agency was a wholesale distributor of magazines and newspapers to businesses. But they also had a retail store. The general public had to pay full price, but they usually had a copy of everything available.
What I remember most about the News Agency was the smell when you walked in.
All that paper. Like a book store, but fresher and less musty. I loved it there.
Jack, the guy who owned the place, sold it in 1995. By that time I was actually living in The Big City and buying my comics at the local comic book shop that had opened a decade earlier. I think the News Agency maybe lasted another five years before shutting down. I have no idea where local businesses get their magazines now.
The News Agency isn't all fond memories though. Three or four years ago I read an article about an apparent unsolved murder of one of the News Agency employees back in the 70's. His car was found abandoned in a hotel parking lot and he was never seen again. The article was about his family wanting the cold case re-opened to see if anything new could be discovered.
I was thinking about all this on my walk to work this morning.
How even the things that build our happiest memories can be tainted by tragedy.
And I'm pretty sure it relates back to how David Ortiz, one of my favorite baseball players to ever play the game, was shot in the back on Sunday. I can't get it out of my head. The Boston Red Socks, something which has given me so many happy memories, has been tainted by tragedy.
The news is reporting that Big Papi is resting and in good condition after a second surgery, so here's hoping the tragedy ends with him being shot.
Leave it to The Universe to ruin comic books and baseball for me.
What's next? Ice cream?
Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019
My walk to the office each morning is something I look forward to. A nice chance to clear my head before diving into work for the day. And an opportunity to see cool stuff. This morning I saw the cat that appears from time to time... which would already make me happy. Except this time the cat was with... KITTENS?!??
I'm assuming that this is mom cat, who was content to watch over her kids while they were playing...
Upon closer inspection, I noticed that there's another adult cat in the porch...
Is this where the cats live? Have they been spayed/neutered? They look well-fed, so they're obviously not suffering... I just hope that somebody is taking care of them outside of food.
This is a dangerous time of year for me. The local Humane Society shelter is overflowing with kittens, and it's all I can do to keep from running down and bringing a dozen of them home with me. But that's not really an option, and so I have to make do with seeing random kittens at times like this.
Which just makes me want more cats, of course.
Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019
Another trip over the mountains.
Another friend gone... the third in four months.
Another day remembering how we all seemed immortal not so long ago.
Another ending when all I'm hoping for is a fresh beginning.
Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019
I've been a massively huge fan of Dale Chihuly's glassworks for many years.
He used to be the subject a PBS specials where he would donate works to people who pledged a certain dollar amount in support of the Seattle station. Of course I was dying to own one of his glass concept paintings or an actual glasswork, but they were way out of my price range as a student in the 80's. Now that his popularity has skyrocketed, those same works are worth thousands... even tens of thousands... of dollars, so now I really can't afford it.
But I have made a point of visiting his many exhibits and installations around the world over the years, including his permanent exhibit at The Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass.
Today one of my friends from the early blogging days, Copasetic Beth, was in town and so I got to visit again...
Well worth a visit if you're ever in Seattle!
Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019
As touristy as Pike Place Market is, it's still one of my favorite spots in the city. Along with Pioneer Square it pretty much defines what I love about Seattle.
This afternoon I had a chance to visit again, which is something I really don't do enough.
Beware of flying fish...
Good bye, Seattle.
Posted on Saturday, June 15th, 2019
I loathe the constant barrage of senseless plastic pollution which permeates modern life in this country. Absolutely everything comes packed in it or protected by it. It's a plague that's destroying the planet, and only getting worse as more and more people like me do their shopping online.
Most of the pillow packs can be deflated and recycled. I don't think they can go in my recycle bin, but they can be saved and dropped into those shopping bag recycling receptacles at grocery stores.
But not before my cats get to play in them, which is one of their favorite things. Especially Jenny, who likes hiding in them...
I like to hide toys under the pillow packs so that the cats can have fun playing in them as well...
Jenny is still sleeping on the jeans I put across the back of the couch to dry, so I've just been leaving them there. Sure I'm down two pair, but how can I say no to this?
And then there's Jake being Jake...
My cats are the best. Happy Saturday!
Posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2019
Okay, the time for revolution wasn't then after all, it's now... maybe... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Too! As a huge Miley Cyrus fan, I was very much looking forward to her episode in the new Black Mirror mini-season (just three episodes). I was not disappointed. Not only was her episode hilarious in all the right ways, it was surprisingly upbeat. Usually Black Mirror is about as dystopian bleak as it gets, but Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too? Not so much...
Miley plays "Ashley O," a huge pop star who ends up with a robotic doll that her fans can buy...
I don't know who was responsible for designing that robot, but it is the best thing ever. And it's tough to tell you exactly why that's the case without spoiling anything, so I will stay silent. Except to say that "Ashley O" has released a video for her awesome song On a Roll (a parody on Nine Inch Nails' Head Like a Hole)...
If you're a Black Mirror fan, you've probably already seen this. If not (and you have Netflix), this is the episode to watch. Especially the final third, which is genius.
• Jones! On the opposite end of the spectrum is the third (and final) season of Netflix's Jessica Jones, the last of their Marvel Studio tie-ins...
What can I say? It was 100% crap from start to finish. Instead of focusing on Jessica Jones, it got mired in endless bullshit centered around the supporting characters. NEWSFLASH: Nobody gives a shit about Hogarth, Trish, Malcolm, Zaya, Dorothy, Kith, Costa, or anybody else who isn't Jessica Jones. Especially when they are this boring. SUPPORTING CHARACTERS ARE SUPPOSED TO SUPPORT THE MAIN CHARACTER! The only supporting character who didn't irritate me because they actually had an interesting role that moved Jessica Jones' story forward was Erik Gelden. Surprisingly, they managed to retool the lame "Mind-Wave" from the comics and use him to good effect.
Originally I was sad that Netflix canceled all of their Marvel shows, but this lame-ass season (featuring a laughably absurd arc for Trish Walker) has me reconsidering. If this was what we were in for, maybe cancelation was for the best.
• Park! Welp, the new Jurassic Park LEGO sets are amazing...
Another LEGO mining for Samuel L. Jackson!
• Memorial. I had never seen this before...
Visited the grave of my friend’s father and witnessed a remarkable ceremony. The letters on the white crosses almost disappear in the brightness of the stone, so a soldier fills the indentations with sand from Omaha Beach to bring the name forward. It sent shivers down my spine. pic.twitter.com/e2G8KvvALt— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) June 6, 2019
• America by Gaslight! An essential read.
• Katzenjammers! And now I close out this Bullet Sunday with one of the weirdest things you'll see all week...
Cats don't need any help being weird, but this certainly shows it's possible to make them even weirder than they already are.
And, on that note of the utterly bizarre, I'll see you next Sunday.
Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019
I tend to ignore Taylor Swift, only becoming aware of her when one of her songs grabs me on internet radio or something.
But then Taylor performed the song ME! At the billboard music awards with Brendon Urie (from Panic! At The Disco), and she instantly became impossible to ignore. Not only was it a great pop song, but the spectacle which accompanied it was fantastic...
The actual video for ME! (on which the Billboard performance was based) was equally amazing, using CGI to excellent effect...
And then today she released the video for her follow-up single, You Need to Calm Down, featuring a star-studded cast that completely delivered...
Yes, haters, please... have several seats and just shut the fuck up. Your shade ain't going to make anybody less gay, and your homophobic bullshit is tired to people just trying to live their life...
A few things...
• And so I guess the feud between Taylor and Katy Perry is over...
• Trailer Trash Taylor is my favorite Taylor...
• I really hope that Laverne Cox finds a new show to land on post Orange is the New Black...
• Oh hey there, Hannah Hart...
• Oh hey there, Tan France...
• And there's Ellen DeGeneres getting a tattoo from Adam Lambert which says "CRUEL SUMMER," assumably the name of Taylor's next single...
• Oh hey there, Ryan Reynolds...
• And, lastly... oh hey there, RuPaul...
I'm sure that there will be those who say Taylor Swift is merely cashing in on affiliating with LGBTQ Pride Month, but I think that's a bit of a reach. Far safer for her to just keep on doing what she's been doing and not rock the boat so she doesn't endanger her revenue stream. But instead she's proclaiming herself an ally and trying to use her fame for something good. If nothing else, she's setting a good example for her legions of young fans.
So bravo, Miss Swift.
Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019
My Tuesday felt more like Monday than Monday did.
Today while I was mocking the Democrats on Facebook over their laughably stupid campaign to attract young people to their ranks, I ran across that infamous 30 Rock meme where Steve Buscemi's character is playing an undercover cop in high school (ala 21 Jump Street)...
This caused me to fall down an internet rabbit hole of 30 Rock clips, including the one where the above meme came from...
I mean, come on, it's just so insanely brilliant.
The talent that went into this scene... not only in front of the camera, but behind it with the writing and wardrobe... makes me really miss 30 Rock. What Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Alec Baldwin managed to unleash week after week is about as close to television magic as it gets.
And, on that happy note, good evening to you, fellow kids.
Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
I didn't step foot in the office this past weekend. Not once. I'm thinking that's probably the first time that's happened this year. It was a good thing... a great thing, even... but I did end up going back into the office tonight and working until very late to do stuff I probably should have done over the weekend, so perhaps it wasn't my smartest move?
This morning when Alexa sounded the breakfast alarm for the cats, there were no cats to be found.
This is highly unusual. But it's also the second time this week. They did it on Monday as well.
85% of the time both cats are lounging around my bedroom waiting for the alarm to chime. 10% of the time one or both of them are not in my bedroom when the alarm chimes, but come running when they hear it. 5% of the time one of them sees something out in the catio and forgets about trying to guilt me into an early breakfast... but the other one is still in my room waiting for Alexa.
My first thought Monday morning was "Wow. What is a big enough event that both Jake and Jenny don't come running when the alarm sounds?" The only thing that entered my head was that a bird flew into the catio and they are out there playing with its corpse. AKA: my nightmare. Poor bird.
But that wasn't it at all. They were just too dang lazy to come running and were waiting for me to come to them at the bottom of the stairs...
Then again today. Well, okay. Fine.
But I draw the line at serving them breakfast in bed!
At least until they demand that I start serving them breakfast in bed, of course.
Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019
My morning walks to work are starting to become the best part of my day. When I'm not nearly getting run down in the sidewalks, I'm discovering all kinds of things that make life interesting.
Far and away my most favorite thing each morning is looking to see if the family of cats that live on my route is out. The kittens spark joy in my cold, dead heart, so it's always a good day when I can start it out with kittens. Today they were indeed lounging in the front yard, watching me warily as I approached like they always do...
Much to my dismay, the little puffball cat was not there again. That's the third time in a row, and I'm heartbroken at the thought that he was attacked or got run over or something...
The only thing keeping me from going crazy and adopting every kitten I see is space and money. I had better never win the lottery or else I will end up buying a big house and filling it with homeless cats. I think we all know that this never ends well.
UPDATE: Well would you look at that! The kitten is back! All three accounted for...
Interesting how the puffball sibling is always alone or hanging out with mom. It's never playing with the other two (who are forever wrestling around).
In other news... inside the "Little Library Box" this morning was a new book. A children's book made famous because it was written by Madonna. This one from her The English Roses series is called A Rose by Any Other Name...
I remember when Madonna released her first English Roses book and went on MTV(?) to read it to a group of kids. She was trying to read with an English accent but it wasn't working out so well.
I thought I might grab the book because I was intrigued about the offer for a free MyEnglishRoses.net access card... but the domain is dead now, so I guess it's not quite the bonus I was lead to believe.
Guess I'll spend the rest of my day wondering where that kitten ended up. I think I might choose to believe that he was adopted and is now living happily in a new forever home.
Sometimes the best ending we can hope for is the one we make up for ourselves.
Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019
Somehow I was late hearing the news that Strike Back is getting a new and final season at Cinemax. In celebration, I started re-watching all the old episodes that I didn't have a chance to re-watch before the last season ended back in March.
Strike Back is one of those rare shows that came back from cancelation with an entirely new cast... but somehow ending up being good anyway. Sure, I've got a soft spot in my heart for the original characters, but the show was still so good that I was happy to keep watching with the new ones...
So far as smart high-octane television goes, Strike Back (along with another Cinemax series, Banshee), is one of my favorites. The stories are all wildly implausible and totally insane... but it sure makes for good entertainment!
No idea what's going to take its place. Seems like all the new shows they come up with to replace great old shows that get canceled never measure up.
Posted on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019
I always find it funny how Jake will barrel through the patio door when he spots an "enemy" cat wandering by outside and wants to quickly investigate... but when he just wants to go outside, he'll hem and haw at the door flap until he gingerly and reluctantly pushes his face through and ever-so-slowly oozes out.
A while back I was on the phone with a colleague and mentioned that my little trash panda was licking all the snack wrappers from my breakfast. She said "Why is the cat the trash panda... you're the one eating garbage for breakfast!" Touché...
He's still adorable like a panda though...
Since my cats spend most of their day sleeping and most of their night out in the patio waiting for bugs to fly in, there's not much else to say this fine Caturday...
See you next Caturday.
Posted on Sunday, June 23rd, 2019
The weekend's almost over, but there's still reason to celebrate... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• NOKEA! When I was in Seattle last week, I finally took a minute to drop by IKEA and pick up a nightstand for my second guest room so I don't have to steal one from the main guest room whenever somebody needs it. I swear... the quality on IKEA crap worsens with each new purchase. From when I bought these three years ago, they have gotten cheaper and less solid, even though the look is pretty much the same...
But at least they gave me all the right parts so I could actually put the stupid thing together this time.
• Arturo! I thought I'd give Comedy Central's new show Alternatino a try after seeing Arturo Castro (who created and stars in it) on The Daily Show. It's nuts in the best possible way... and so good. And you can watch the entire thing on Youtube!
I have no idea if all the best ideas were put in the first episode and the rest of them are going to be crap, but I certainly hope not! Highly recommended.
• King's Man! The prequel to one of my favorite films, Kingsman (and not so-favorite film Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle), was just announced. Titled The King's Man, they released the logo for it. And the kerning (spacing between letters) is total shit. So I fixed it for them...
It's weird to me how these obvious mistakes keep happening. I mean, is it intentional? Surely they have actual designers working on this stuff... don't they? If so, then why don't they know to adjust the kerning when designing a logo? Or know how to structure it for clarity? I dunno. But it drives me more than a little nuts.
• Just in time for Pride Month! Diane Gramley (President at American Family Association of Pennsylvania) is such a peach. When she's not regularly equating homosexuality to murder, she's unleashing a whole host of bizarre bullshit. Like saying that the police officers who raided Stonewall in 1969 were trying to rescue a young transgender boy. “He was being used sexually and the police were trying to rescue him.”
She's a non-stop lying hate machine. Which begs the question... exactly what is she trying to distract people from in her own life? My guess is that it's putting pineapple on pizza, which is just one step below murder. But probably bestiality. "Everybody! Don't look at me... look over there! Persecute the gays so I can get fucked by this horse." What else makes sense when somebody is this overtly homophobic? So set your stopwatches. And when Diane Gramley gets caught in a stable being fucked by a horse, remember you heard it here first!
• No More Mr. Frosty! Does anybody know if there's a vaccine to inoculate against the bubonic plague and all the other dormant diseases that might be filling our atmosphere as I type this? No? Guess we're all fucked then.
And I guess that's a wrap. Good luck with that bubonic plague thing!
Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019
I have a vivid recollection of when Madonna first started entering public consciousness. My brother was a fan and started buying all her singles and maxi-singles (in retrospect, I think he liked her look more than her music). I didn't think much of her self-titled debut album when it dropped in 1983 and told him that she was a flash-in-the-pan who couldn't possibly last. She'd be yet another forgotten pop-star wannabe on a pile of forgotten pop-star wannabes.
Over the years Madonna has reinvented herself numerous times. Some of her iterations are ones I actually enjoy. I've seen her in concert twice. I own several of her concert films because she puts on a good show. I am one of the few who really liked her song for the Bond flick Die Another Day. I thought she was perfect in A League of Their Own.
And through it all... love her or hate her... the one thing that's been consistent when it comes to Madonna is that she never stops being Madonna.
Never has this been more clear to me than with her recent interview on Graham Norton. There she was, all arogant and detached from reality with her jeweled grills on her teeth and her eyepatch that's not actually covering her eye being all Madonna and stuff, when it occurred to me just how far gone from the rest of humanity she has become...
The first single Medellín (with Columbian artist Maluma) from her new album Madame X is pretty great (I skipped past her weird minute-long intro)...
This time around, Madonna seems to have reinvented herself as a cross between a naughty pirate and a dancing headmistress at a Catholic school. Or something.
But who am I to judge? She's the one who's Madonna.
Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
And lo did Apple descend from the heavens to reveal unto The Faithful a public beta of the next version of MacOS X, Catalina (which is version v10.15, if you're keeping count). And since I know everybody in Blogography Land is just dying to know what I think of this fairly uneventful release, here you go...
It was a piece of cake. I logged in to the Public Beta program, registered my Mac, then clicked to install. I keep all my documents in Dropbox, so I didn't need to back up anything. If the install screwed up, all I'd have to do is scrub my machine and install my apps fresh. If you do keep data on your machine, be sure and back it up before installing any major OS release... beta or otherwise. Apple is better than most, but can still royally screw up from time to time (as I've found out the hard way).
Apparently services like DropBox are now "more integrated" into the Finder, but I'm not exactly understanding how. Maybe it's something the services have to update their software to support? Though DropBox has gone far beyond just storing files in the cloud, and is now trying to compete with collaboration and project management services like Slack and Basecamp, which is just stupid because that's not what I use DropBox for... so I'm probably dumping it anyway. If there are other changes, I haven't noticed them yet.
Gone. Vanished. This is shitty because I actually use Dashboard widgets several times every day. It's just so dang handy to be able to swipe over to a calculator... dictionary/thesaurus... measure conversion... and what-have-you. But no more. I cannot for the life of me understand why something so incredibly useful is being dropped. I don't even know how you can replace the widgets. I'm guessing with a menu bar app, but that's just nuts when my menu bar is already packed full.
Apple interface design is complete and total shit. And getting worse by the day. I have hundreds of movies. Do you know how insane it is to have to scroll through hundreds of movies to find what you want? Even simple fixes... like being able to press the R key to go to the movies starting with "R"... doesn't even occur to Apple's developers, which is both sad and embarrassing. But, even worse, Apple still has their idiotic and flawed security bullshit fucking up their apps. Any time I set up a new computer (or do a major OS upgrade) I end up having to retype my credentials over and over and over and over and over AND OVER AND FUCKING OVER AGAIN. This time? SIX FUCKING TIMES IN A ROW before it stopped asking...
All of Apple's "concerns" about helping people maintain better security is nothing but bullshit posturing when they have idiotic crap like this happening. Who wants to create passwords that are complex and secure when you'll have to type them so many damn times? Nobody. People are just going to keep creating the same easy-to-type-and-remember, easy-to-hack passwords they always have. So congratulations, Apple. In addition to making life with your computers increasingly more irritating and difficult, you're making them less secure.
The (main) replacement for iTunes is Music which, as the name implies, organizes and plays all your music. Except... not really well... it's mainly designed as a gateway and access point for Apple's streaming service, "Apple Music." Since I don't subscribe to Apple Music and prefer Amazon Prime's "Music Unlimited," that means the primary purpose of the app is lost on me. But... it does organize and play all my "iTunes in the cloud" music, so I guess no harm no foul. It's just a shame that Apple didn't innovate past what I already had in iTunes. The new Music is practically the same.
I don't listen to a lot of podcasts, but there are a few I do enjoy from time to time. The new "Podcasts" app seems perfectly serviceable (if a little bland), which is nice. Except... when browsing the available podcasts, I found a dumbass racist pile of shit staring at me. WITH NO WAY TO HIDE HIS DISGUSTING FUCKING FACE FROM AVAILABLE PODCASTS...
Seems like hiding podcasts you don't want to see would be a good feature to have.
I use Photoshop for photo editing, so the new editing tools aren't going to be used very often (if at all). But it is nice to know that they are available. Everything looks similar to the tools on iPhone Photos, so if you are familiar with that, using the Mac Photos is the same. They added some extras for such things as retouching brush, red-eye fixing, noise reduction, and selective color adjustments (which, I'm guessing, are being added to the new iPhone version as well)...
Other than that, they just made things prettier... so to speak. Videos move in preview. The "Day" view tries to logically group and display photos... that kind of thing. Apparently they are using their "machine learning" routines to group photos into events, which is handy for those times you shoot a hundred photos all the same. Photos will now group them...
Except I don't like the way that rectangular photos are sometimes cropped as squares to do this, however, so I'll probably end up in "All Photos" mode, which preserves the original photo's aspect ratio. Another way Apple claims to be using "machine learning" is to better recognize people in your photos. I'm not seeing much of a difference from how it worked previously, however.
Cosmetic upgrades on the start page, which is no less annoying than it's always been. Can't find anything else that's new.
Looks to be mainly cosmetic (It does look a little different). But Apple says there are new features to be found. They must be subtle, because I ain't feeling it.
Seems the exact same. Which is to say it's an underwhelming app that lacks any of the tools required for professional use. If you're just keeping track of birthdays and setting reminders for lunch appointments, you're good. But if you need more functionality, you'll be looking elsewhere.
Looks prettier, has more functionality, seems smarter. I use a different system entirely, so this is not something I'll make use of.
Looks a little different because of the inclusion of a useless "Gallery View" (too small to read anything, can't be enlarged)... but operates basically the same.
Because I didn't want to buy a new MacBook with Apple's shitty, shitty keyboards... and instead paid good money to have my old 2012 MacBook Pro Retina display repaired when it broke, my Mac is too old to test this feature (which allows you to use an iPad as a second screen). It seems odd that such a simple trick would be forbidden when my MacBook is perfectly capable of driving an external second monitor, but okay. I've read that you can hack old Macs to force them to support Sidecar, but since it's unsupported, glitchy, and slow... I'll just take a pass.
Apple's new "tracking tech" is mostly applicable to devices like iPhone which are mobile, easy to leave behind, and have a GPS. The fact that Apple is delving into creating a global mesh of "lost and found" is a remarkable thing with some pretty great privacy securities baked in. I suppose it's only a matter of time before Apple releases tracking "tags" to put Tile out of business. On a Mac, Find My is just combining "Find My Friends" and "Find My iPhone" into a single app.
I already know that I spend every waking moment in front of a computer. Having Apple tell me this is not helping. Fortunately, you have the option of turning it off.
Apple has made great strides in making their devices easier to use with enhanced voice control and other cool stuff. Bravo.
And that's about it. Like I said... pretty uneventful. When the biggest change is that you broke a single app into three separate apps, well, it's hard to see the point. But I guess it serves to let people know you haven't forgotten about the computer-side of the business, so I guess it's all good. I just wish Apple was interested in finding something new and exciting to push MacOS X into new territory.
Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
...love won out and The Supreme Court decreed that marriages were equal in the eyes of the law. Washington State had already legalized same-sex marriage by then, so I was already attending weddings, designing invitations, and celebrating with friends who had wanted to get married, but couldn't because they were told they had the wrong body parts. But now Washington marriages would be recognized in all 50 states, and it was a happy day for everyone.
Except for random people who still aren't happy unless they are shitting on somebody else's happiness. Never mind that two other people getting married doesn't fucking affect them, they don't like the idea of people with matching genitalia getting hitched, so they think they (or their religion) should get to dictate how other people get to live their lives in a country which was founded on personal choice and freedom of/from religion. And now there's talk of marriage equality being overturned by The Supreme Court, which is ludicrous, but not surprising. Next up? Overturning Loving vs. Virginia, which legalized marriage between two races. And why stop there? Next up? Making it so only Christians can get married and only in a church ceremony. After that? Only people with money are allowed to marry. Then only people with money get to have children. Then only people with money get to vote and own property. And why not bring back slavery? This country was built on it, after all.
This lapse in logical thinking is bizarre and makes no sense, but bigotry never does. Oh well. Keep hating, if that's your thing. Meanwhile, everybody else will be moving on...
Or rather, I should say continue moving on, because same-sex marriage is hardly a new concept and has been around as long as history has been around. But bringing logic into the argument never seems to do any good with haters, so I'm going to go make dinner now.
Posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2019
LOL! LMFAO! ROTFL!
I know it's part of the game to exaggerate your product when it comes to advertising it. Truth in advertising is a myth, and nobody in this day and age expects 100% accuracy. We're lucky to get 50% accuracy. We know better.
Which is why Apple's latest commecial for their AirPods is so dang hilarious...
The idea that anybody could jump around... bounce around... run around... and not have their AirPods fall out almost immediately is extreme levels of funny.
I couldn't get my AirPods to stay in my ears just sitting on the couch. I ended up having to buy some silicone covers with ear hooks so I don't lose them. It's a pain in the ass to have to take the covers off every time I want to charge the things, but it sure beats losing something that costs $150.
My mistake was spending that kind of money in the first place.
Posted on Friday, June 28th, 2019
I am writing this at near-midnight on Friday knowing that by the time I finish my post it will be tomorrow... and the one-year anniversary of my mom's death. Of course I still miss her. If anything I miss her more than I did a year ago. I think it's because the memories of her declining health are becoming dimmer while my happier memories are becoming brighter. Happier, but also more painful, because they are a constant reminder of what I've lost.
Mentally I still have a lot of work to do, as I can't stop bouncing between extremes.
One minute I'm jealous... even angry... that other people have moms living into their 80's and 90's who are still living active, happy lives. It's not fair. Then the next minute I'm gutted because I hear that somebody's mom died in their 40's and they didn't get the time I had. That's not fair either. Cursed because my mom started sliding into dementia at 70 years old. Blessed because somebody else's mom was just diagnosed with dementia at 52 years old. Unlucky that my mom died before we could get to all of our travel plans. So very lucky that we got to see as much of the world together as we did. Happy that we were so close. Devastated that we were so close... because would it hurt this bad if we weren't?
It goes on and on.
I think the thing that hurts the most is knowing that I would give absolutely anything for just five minutes to talk with her again. The mom she was before she got sick. Just to tell her I love her. To tell her how much she means to me. But also to ask her if the deicions I had to make were okay so she could assure me that they were and she knows I did the best I could. Because of course she would say that even if she hated what I did. She's my mother, after all.
I know it doesn't make sense that I would want to ask my mom a question when I already know how she would answer, but I can't help it. The unthinkable choices I had to make won't stop haunting me. It's pointless to second-guess something I cannot change. And probably wouldn't change. My whole heart was invested in every decision, so what would I have done differently? I honestly don't know. But probably nothing.
It's now 12:11am on Saturday, June 29th.
Since it's unlikely that I will get much sleep... or any sleep... tonight, I suppose I will look through all of the travel books I made for my mom. It will probably just make me miss her more than I already do, but what's another drop of heartache to an ocean of grief?
Nothing. And everything, I suppose.
Posted on Saturday, June 29th, 2019
The past week has been filled with wet weather. This used to be a source of great anxiety for my cats. Rain hitting the roof was confusing. But that's been changing over the years. Jake is actually able to sleep through rain, thunder, and lightning now.
Jenny? Not so much.
She meows at the ceiling. She meows at the windows. She's very interested in what's happening outside, but not interested enough to actually go outside and investigate...
Jake is interested because Jenny is interested...
The other day my dinner burned up in the oven. In an effort to help clear the smoke smell out of my house from my cremated pizza, I opened all the windows and doors (but not screen doors) here in the house. And there I was... walking to the kitchen with my dishes... when I see that SOMEHOW I FAILED TO NOTICE THAT THERE WAS NO SCREEN ON THE WINDOW NEXT TO THE CAT CLIMBING TREE! And there was Jake... leaning out the window all "Wassup?" As I start to crap my pants, I quickly made my way to the kitchen so I can shake the "bag of treats" and lure him away from escaping.
It worked, thank heavens. I honestly don't think my heart could take him escaping again. But at least this time I would actually know what happened!
Speaking of cooking disasters just waiting to happen... my old barbecue grill had to be replaced and I had time to assemble the new one this week. As with anything new, Jake and Jenny are invested...
The replacement grill is smaller than the old one, which is perfect for me. This one can fit in the catio without obstructing the door so I can leave it out instead of having to drag it back to the garage each time...
Now that the weather is turning nice again, I may actually get to use it.
Posted on Sunday, June 30th, 2019
Grey skies are going to clear up... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Hard Rockin'! Life is weird. I'm flipping through channels and see Suicide Squad is on. Not a fan, but I pause when I see Batman chasing Joker and Harley Quinn because they pass by a Hard Rock Cafe. I'm pretty sure it's Toronto (which has since closed) so I Google to find out what's happened to the location. I find an article on CBC talking about it.
I AM INTERVIEWED IN THE ARTICLE...
I vaguely remember somebody calling me, but I gave them a better name to talk to, and thought that was the end of it. Turns out... nope... I'm in the article and didn't even know it.
• Angels! And so they're remaking Charlie's Angels, yet again. First there was the original TV show, then the Drew Barrymore films, then the awful TV show revival, and now yet another series of films...
Meh. Maybe. Seems like the main trio is a little low on star-power for a movie. Interesting that there are three actors for Bosley listed at IMDB: Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, and Elizabeth Banks (who also directs).
• Break! Okay... I am really liking this new show called Reef Break. I expected to like it just because Poppy Montgomery is the star of the series, but it's interesting and well-written on top of that...
I wish they would have just set it in Hawaii instead of some fictional island. But with Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. already there, maybe they were worried about Hawaii fatigue?
• Grand! I like an occasional dip into trashy television, which is why I was intrigued by Grand Hotel... the new ABC show Executive Produced by Eva Longoria...
The first two episodes are pretty decent. Full of mysteries, secrets, and intrigue. The problem is that shows like this usually blow all their best ideas early, then whither away as crappy new ideas are rotated in. I guess we'll see if this one has legs.
• Letterman! Tiffany Haddish, whom I fell in love with after seeing her hilarious role on The Last O.G., is on an episode of David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. She is absolutely fascinating. I had no idea the incredible obstacles she had to overcome to get where she is today... and she's done it all with a humor that is luminous...
Remarkable. I love shows like this.
• Design! Jony Ive, the industrial designer who helped Steve Jobs reinvigorate Apple with such gems as the iMac, is leaving the company to start his own design group. Apple claims that Ive will still have Apple as a client, so apparently he will still be a guiding force in the design of Apple's wares. And that sucks. Ive is so focused on making everything pretty and thin now-a-days that he has forgotten that computers need to be functional. The keyboard on Ive's latest MacBooks is fucking garbage. My hope was that Apple would bring in somebody who gives a shit that you can actually use their products. I guess that's not going to happen. At least not yet.
In another interesting move at Apple, they just hired ARM's lead CPU architect, Mike Filippo. The rumor is that Apple is switching from Intel to ARM as soon as next year. Given how well it's worked out when Apple started designing their own chips for iPhones, iPads, AirPods and the like, this is probably a good move.
• Green! The Oregon "Cap and Invest" bill that Republicans were hiding from this last week is a bit complex. When I was trying to understand what was happening, all the articles I read said that there would be minimal impact on Oregon businesses, because the money collected would go back into helping the same businesses who are having to buy "energy credits" reduce their energy needs or switch to greener options. So it's designed to be a win-win for everybody. There are questions as to whether that would actually be the case. It's not like the corner coffee shop is going to suddenly face insurmountable increases in energy costs... businesses have to be producing 25,000 metric tons of CO2 for it to affect them... but the smaller businesses supplied by larger businesses would have higher costs passed on to them until the energy needs/supply is balanced. That could be a problem (hopefully only in the short-run). It's not the business-destroying Armageddon-painted scenario Republicans are selling (they get loads of money from the energy lobby, remember), but it's also not the cake-walk Democrats are selling. As with most thing, the story is in-between. The only difference being that the fate of all humanity is on the line here. Green energy is the future. The sooner we embrace that, the less painful it will be.
And now... time to draw up plans for a week of fun in the sun. See you next Sunday.