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Another Year, Another… Opportunity?

Posted on Friday, January 1st, 2021

Dave!Happy 2021 to my blogging family and friends!

My day started with my cats chasing each other around the house, jumping on my bed at 5:10am. Rather than get all salty about not being able to sleep-in on my day off, I got up and set my SourJo bread starter out so I’ll have no excuse to not bake a couple loaves today. I tell you what, there can’t be a better way to start the year than kitties and freshly-baked bread, amiright?

2020 was a tough year. Without the usual nonsense in my life and my travels to distract me, I have been mired in my failures and obsessing over the people in my life that didn’t make it to 2021. Sometimes I wake up with my heart grinding in my chest and find it difficult to breathe because I just want my life The Way It Used To Be instead of what I have left. That’s not on the pandemic though. I think it’s just a part of growing older and being on the back-side of your life here on earth (unless I actually live to be 108. Oh God, please don’t let me live to be 108).

2021 is going to be a year of change for me. Hopefully for the better, but you never know. Absolutely everything is up in the air right now, and what becomes of it is anybody’s guess. For the time being I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, food to put on the table, cats to keep me company, a job to pay for it all, and people in my life I care about. I take nothing for granted because, as I’ve been made painfully aware, nothing lasts forever and life can change on a dime.

I don’t do resolutions, but I hope that I can find it in my heart to be a kinder person... a better person in 2021. I’ve been so beat down by the atrocities that unfold in the news every day that I’ve had to harden my heart and become more cynical to survive it. That’s no way to live, and hate is always more destructive to you than those you’re hating. I’ve tried so very hard not to hate. It’s been the overriding path I’ve attempted to walk since I started studying Buddhism in 1998. But I’m always tested. There’s always tests. And recent years have tested me like no other because there’s just so much awfulness in this world TO hate. But... maybe I can find enough peace in this new year to be more hopeful. To talk less and learn more. To look with wonder instead of being blinded by ignorance. To do more. Care more. Love more.

Don’t get me wrong... I’m still calling out the fucked up shit people do and say which brings harm myself and others. I’m not insane. If you know me at all, you know that NOT speaking out against pieces of shit is something I’m incapable of. If you’re willfully ignorant, I am not having your dumbassery. If you’re persecuting people living their best life at zero cost to anybody else, I am not tolerating your hatred. If you’re being an asshole, I am not embracing your abuse. It’s just that in 2021 I’ll be taking a blowtorch to your fucked up bullshit with 15% more love in my heart. Because I’m a good person that way.

And so... here’s to a new year. Hopefully a better year than the one we’re leaving behind. I’ll be doing my best to make it happen for me and for everybody, because I’ll be taking a blowtorch to my fucked up bullshit where I find it too. But mostly I’ll be watching trash television, scrolling through TikToks, and petting my cats which, let’s face it, probably does more good for the planet than being all shouty on my blog.

Besides, I have bread to take out of the oven...

Fresh loaves of bread out of the oven and looking gorgeous.

Slices of freshly-baked bread with butter smeared on them.

All my best to you and yours from me and mine for a happy, healthy, and productive 2021!

   

Caturday 191

Posted on Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

Dave!When I got my cats, they were inseparable. They would hide together, play together, sleep under the couch together, sneak out to eat together... there was not a single minute that they spent apart. Part of this came from them being rescues that were scared shitless of anything and everything. Over a long period of time I was eventually able to gain their trust, but I was so worried at the beginning that I actually planned for them never wanting to be apart.

One of the first purchases I bought was a dog bed. I figured that when they eventually grew up that they would outgrown sleeping in the cat bed together. Eventually they were able to spend time apart without problem, and the dog bed sat empty. Jenny occasionally slept in it, but it went largely ignored.

Until this past month.

Jenny started sleeping in it all the time. And, of course, once Jake saw that his sister had something she was enjoying, he just had to have it as well.

So now they take turns crashing in it. Or, if you're Jake, crashing out of it...

Jake hanging out of the dog bed.

Not that Jenny's immune. For some strange reason, she's started sleeping in the thing riiiiiiiiight on the edge of the couch...

Jenny hanging out of the dog bed.

AND THEN... I looked up a couple evenings ago and saw this...

Jake and Jenny sleeping together in the dog bed.

Now, finding them sleeping together is not impossible. I was treated to this sight just a couple weeks ago...

Jake and Jenny sleeping together in a kitty bed.

But I had never seen them together in the doggy bed. Needless to say I had to get up and investigate further...

Jake and Jenny sleeping together in the dog bed.

So sweet!

Tonight Jake has laid claim to it all by his lonesome again, however. He's watching television with me all comfy-like...

Jake and Jenny sleeping together in the dog bed.

I was a part of a holiday gift exchange. As what has become a tradition, my cats end up getting gifts as well. This year it was these adorable "Baby Yoda" (Grogu) ornaments filled with catnip...

Jake and Jenny playing with Baby Yoda ornaments.

Jenny playing with Baby Yoda ornaments.

Jenny really goes nuts over the things...

Not surprisingly... Jake, of course, still only has eyes for Mufasa. Other toys come and go, but his stuffed lion is always the favorite.

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Bullet Sunday 695

Posted on Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

Dave!The New Year may feel like the Old Year, but there's still something new to be had... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• TikTok! The thing that I love so much about TikTok... besides the fact that the video size is limited which forces content creators to get to the damn point already... is that it's got people constantly playing off of each other. In weird, wonderful ways. Lots of times it's clapbacks and condemnation, sure, but every once in a while you get something absolutely magical like this...

What's cool is that the woman who was (accurately) sumarizing Country music so dead-on in her parody was actually made a collaborator, and is now promoting the song on her TikTok...

@rynnstar

#duet with @georgebirgeofficial

♬ original sound - George Birge

This is not something that happens on other social media platforms so easily and organically, which is why I am still addicted to TikTok. Plus... lots of adorable animal videos.

   
• TokTwo! Not to mention moments of absolute happy like this...

@dndhulett

Top moments of 2020 #fyp #trick #foryou #trickshot #foryoupage

♬ original sound - Daniel and David

Is is any wonder I can blow through an hour on this app and not even realize it?

   
• Her Name Was Bernice! Not that it's all fun and games...

@youknowthatonegirlrachel

Reply to @public_enema Her name was Bernice. #fyp #foryoupage #covid #Bye2020

♬ original sound - Rachel

This amazing woman is a graduate of Liberty College and has some fascinating takes on Christianity that comes from having lived through her past... and living her Faith in the present.

   
• What's Logic! I mean, damn...

@chris_wells_

♬ original sound - Chris Wells

This guy is phenomenally entertaining while addressing some very touchy subjects. I could just sit for an hour and blow through nothing else on TikTok but this guy.

   
• TokFour! Seriously. I need to come up with a Blogography page of all the TikToks I follow, because if you are looking for some incredible takes on everything from cooking to woodworking to current events to just plain fun... I'm following it all.

   
• Luke! And just because it's not all TikTok this Sunday... I remember very well standing in line on opening night for The Empire Strikes Back. By the time the movie was released I was already the biggest Star Wars fan on earth, and there was just no way I could wait to see it. I was dropped off with the older brother of a friend who didn't mind having me tag along. Back in 1980, there was no "internet" to speak of, and the movie magazines were always months behind what was being released in the theaters. So when it came to one of the most surprising and shocking moments in cinematic history, I was completely caught off guard. There was simply nothing that could have prepared me. Which is why I just love videos of young kids reacting to the scene when they also have no idea what's coming...

Now-a-days, of course, it would have been spoiled either weeks before... or immediately upon release. Because people are assholes and online publications are competing for pageviews. Fortunately, nobody cares as much "old" movies like this, so there are still surprises to be had. For some of us, anyways.

   
• Mary Ann! I would be remiss to not mention the passing of Dawn Wells from complications due to COVID this past week. I ALWAYS picked "Mary Ann" over "Ginger" as my Giligan's Island crush...

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann on Giligan's Island wearing shorts and a halter top and looking gorgeous.

Rest In Peace, Dawn Wells. You were a huge part of my childhood.

   
And that's it for the first bullets of 2021.

   

A Knee Jerk Reaction to My Monday

Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2021

Dave!Well today is sure shaping up to be a treat.

I started work very early today because I noticed before going to be last night that I had quite a load of emails piled up which I had been avoiding since last Thursday. I was tired, but I had a Coke Zero to keep me on-point, so it was all good. I fed the cats when Alexa chimed and Jake and Jenny came running into my room at top speed, grabbed an apple for breakfast, then went back upstairs to work while in bed. Because it's warm and comfy up there.

And proceeded to trip on the stairs and twist my ankle because I was trying to avoid a cat toy that I didn't notice on the way down.

It was all downhill from there.

Culminating with the knee on my jeans completely ripping out when I sat down in my car...

My knee ripped clean through my jeans while I'm sitting in my car.

I think that there was a small hole there that I could live with. But something happened in the last wash which took things to another level entirely. Oh well. Since I now look so fashion-forward (don't people pay to have their jeans pre-ripped so they look worn?), I went ahead and wore them into the office. And nobody said a thing.

In other news to give you an idea of how my day started...

You know how you wash your hair in the shower but then FORGET that you washed your hair so you wash your hair AGAIN... but since your hair is already clean, it doesn't know what to do with the shampoo and just becomes a mass of foam? — Well, guess what, that also happens when you forget that you've already washed your BODY. Which is what happened to me this morning. Not sure if women get this as badly as many men would... but... BODY WASH FOAM PARTY IN MY SHOWER THIS MORNING! The good news is that I am super-clean today. The bad news is that I am getting old enough that I forget when I've already washed myself.

Oh well. My brain was pretty good to me while it lasted.

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Benge, Washington, Represent!

Posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

Dave!Eastern Washington is home to many, many small unincorporated towns which are basically just places which have some kind of historical reason for existing... a stop on a now-abandoned railroad or trail... an important business that used to be there... or maybe a place which intersects land owned by local farmers. And, to many of them, the nearest major city (usually Spokane) is 1 to 2 hours away. They usually don't have stores, shops, or restaurants to speak of (those being anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes away). If they're lucky, there might be some kind of general store with a few edible staples and various sundries amongst the grain and feed, but there's no full-on grocery store. Instead they have to make their own meals from what they can get at the nearest grocery store when they go once or twice a month. That's just how it goes.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

Partly because I am sick to fucking death of seeing political maps of Washington State where the entirety of Eastern Washington is painted red making it look like a gajillion people vote red and it's unfair that "blue Seattle gets to dictate who runs the state." That's a pretty gross exaggeration. Some of these towns which turn counties red have like A DOZEN PEOPLE in them. And land doesn't vote. So Washington State is getting the political representation which is actually representing the majority of the voters in it, regardless of what story a map is presenting.

However... the other side of that coin is the fact that these small towns DO exist. These dozens upon dozens of rural communities and the people in them DO endure. Often times they are the people who farm our land and grow our food and have communities which MEAN SOMETHING. So having them wholesale ignored by our State government is fucked up beyond all reason.

Is what's best for Seattle always going to be what's best for little Benge, Washington with its 50 people? Fuck no. But the rules Benge lives by are the rules major population centers over the Cascades dictate to them. District and County governments are supposed to have power to make sure they get fair representation but, let's face it, their power is severely limited in the grand scheme of things. Ain't nobody with major political power speaking up for the good people of Benge...

Satellite View of Benge, Washington.
Benge, WA as seen from Google Maps, ©Google

The red dot on this map points to where Benge is in Washington State...

Washington State Map View of Benge, Washington.
Benge, WA as seen in relation to Washington State from Google Maps, ©Google

   
Now, I've never been to Benge. Odds are I will never step foot in this town.

But a part of me really, really wants to.

I would love to travel to all these small, so-called "nothing" towns that dot my side of the state as a way of acknowledging that they exist. That the people who inhabit them deserve to be recognized for the thankless work they do to grow our food. To remind myself that they are a part of Washington too, and that the lives of their citizens mean something when it comes to the rest of the state.

Even when they get lumped into politics of a city that's four hours away.

Especially then.

I dunno. Benge is 2-1/2 hours from where I live. However, it's an easy 35 minute drive off I-90 on my next trip to Spokane... so maybe one day? I'd like to think that Benge would have a kind word for a stranger passing through town. It's a nice thought to have, isn't it? I'm from a small, rural, Eastern Washington community too, after all.

I just won't mention that there's a grocery store ten minutes from my house. No need to flaunt my big-little-city luxuries like that.

   

Antihistamines and Sedition

Posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

Dave!I'm just going to get this out there... not a fan of JaBiden.

I never wanted Joe Biden as my president. I definitely didn't want ex-prosecutor Kamala Harris as my Vice President. And Hillary Clinton, who is the very model of a garbage politician, was nowhere near my list of desired presidential candidates when she was shoved down our throats last election. But my thinking that she's "garbage" isn't saying much because 98% of our politicians are lobbyist-fed garbage as far as I'm concerned. So long as MONEY is allowed to corrupt our politics and buy off the government, the entire system is garbage.

But my loathing of Biden, Harris, and Clinton pales in comparison to how much I outright despise President Trump. His every single move was made to exclusively benefit himself, corporations, and the über-wealthy wealthy... in that order. Anybody who says otherwise has never actually looked at what he did for his four years in office and asked "Who does this really benefit? He exploited people's ignorance, bigotry, and Faith to screw us all.

So, yeah, I'm saying good riddance to Trump and will be very happy to say good riddance again when JaBiden leaves office.

Good Lord. How in the hell have we gotten here? That Trump and Biden are what we end up with as our leaders is is both inexplicable and sad. It's like the bar is now so low now that nothing will surprise me any more. Big Bird winning the presidential election in 2024? Yeah, sure. Whatever.

But what really gets me is how people become fanatically devoted to politicians in the first place. They're just people... not Jesus... or The Beatles. It makes zero sense... and I'm saying that about both Republicans and Democrats. I was absolutely bewildered by the Cult of Hillary Clinton. What was it about her that had people so consumed? And we don't even need to talk about the Cult of Donald Trump, which is even more bizarre to me. I mean...

A bunch of white people storming the Capitol... one of them dressed up in viking horns.
Um... well... that's... unique? Is the word I'm looking for? Photo from the European Press Agency

From what can be theorized, anybody this devoted (yet this different in their varying ideology) are just all hating the same thing. Hate is what binds them together. It has nothing to do with loving their country, which was made quite clear when they assaulted the police, stormed the Capitol, tore down the American flag, then raised a Trump flag in its place. I mean, aren't those all the things that anybody who truly loves the USA would say are a bad thing?

What's amusing (for lack of a better word) is the sublime ignorance which is driving all this.

I've heard more than a couple times how people are branding this as a "revolution." I keep hearing things like "This is what had to happen! When we declared our independence in 1776, did we write a letter to the British telling them that we were going to be America? NO!! We went to war and kicked them out!"

Except... um... yeah... not so much.

The entire history of American Independence is well-documented, if anybody should care to investigate it. In actuality we wrote a rather important "letter" and did indeed "send it" to King George of England by publishing its text in colonial newspapers. It's called the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps you've heard of it? From what we know, the letter arrived in Britain via papers in Belfast the month after it was signed. It was all a formal affair, and the British even published a rebuttal to it and everything.

Also? There was massive support for the Revolutionary War. Like everybody in the colonies was behind it. This wasn't a splinter group who wanted to break away from England... absolutely everybody wanted it to happen. So a handful of people buying into completely unfounded election conspiracy theories which have been disproven over and over and over again... and even been disproven by Trump-voting Republicans... does not a revolution make.

I mean, I'm not happy Biden is our president either... but holy shit! SEDITION?!?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm having another idiopathic angioedema attack. Half of my tongue has swollen so large that I am having difficulty swallowing. Which is a bummer, because that's he only way I can take huge loads of antihistamines in order to stop it from getting so large that it chokes me to death. What I'm having to do is crush them into powder, mix with water, then use a straw shoved way back in my mouth to get them in me. How fun!

My evening will be spent propped up by pillows with an epi-pen in my hand, just in case.

And, assuming there's a country left when I wake up in the morning, I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings for the United States of America.

   

Passed Out On My Watch

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Dave!I have passed out exactly once in life, a long time ago. I was in high school. I wasn’t feeling well and had to have my blood drawn at the clinic so they could try to figure out what was going on. My mom and I were standing at the elevator and the next thing I knew I was waking up minutes later with strange people surrounding me and my face being slapped. I don’t remember anything about it and had to be told that I passed out.

Last night at around 10pm, my tongue swelled up on one side. I battled it with the antihistamines I was given for just this purpose... crushing them up so I could use a straw shoved back in my mouth to swallow them. I had my epi-pen ready just in case. I passed out around 7:30am. I remember the alarm going off to feed the cats. I remember coming back up stairs. And then... nothing. I woke up at 11:05, kinda half in bed. My tongue and the floor of my mouth still swollen a bit. Lips a little swollen too, which was new. But there was no pain, which was nice.

Passing out is so weird. One day I’m going to have to read up on the science about it. The thing that bugs me about it is not the losing consciousness, but the memory loss. I don’t remember ANYTHING. So weird!

And then...

...I remembered that I had my Apple Watch on, and it had recorded everything.

And the data it had collected is interesting...

My sleep data graph via the AutoSleep app on my Apple Watch.

As you can see from the above, I nodded off a little after 1:00am. Then I was wide awake (or being still) around 1:30am. I finally drifted off to sleep around 5am when the antihistamines I had been chugging all evening started to work. I was awakened from a deep sleep at 7am when the Alexa alarm went off to feed my cats breakfast.

And then...

I only thought that I passed out at 7:30am. What happened is that I passed out again immediately after I got back upstairs to my bedroom. And you can see it. No blue bars where I was drifting off into sleep... just an immediate crash from green to purple when I lost consciousness. Something I've never seen before.

Now, from a health standpoint, this is kinda scary.

But from a technical medical standpoint? How cool is that?!

The rest of the day was rough. I managed to go into the office, but my tongue was still swollen a bit, so it was not a comfortable experience for me. I think I may have even drooled during a Zoom meeting?

It's so hard to tell. Apple Watch doesn't record that information. Yet.

   

Lies and the AT&T Liars Who Tell Them

Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2021

Dave!I got up early this morning to get some work done before feeding the cats and running into Tourist Town to do some grocery shopping. Early morning shopping is the best shopping because the store is so empty. But also? My cupboards and refrigerator are low on staples, so I was excited about having food in the house again.

The other big draw for my grocery shopping today was a coupon I had which gives me $11 off a total of $110 or more. That's 10% off... on top of the other coupons I have. I love it when opportunities like this comes along, because it's the one time I allow myself to buy stuff that's not on sale. But you have to be careful. One penny under $110 and no discount for you. I kept careful track in my head and got to $120 (actual total $116.88), so way to go, me.

Along with a shiny new iPhone, I changed my service plan with AT&T. My new phone can do 5G, my service plan didn't have 5G, and even though I probably won't see 5G any time sooon where I live, I'd like it available when I travel (assuming I travel again). AT&T had a deal where I could get my two lines for $65 a line (with auto-pay and paperless billing enabled), and I'd actually be saving money in the long run over what I had, so sign me up...

AT&T Plan for $65 per line via ATT.com.

Before (virtually) signing on the dotted line, I went over the details of what I would be charged very, very carefully with the phone rep. I wanted to be darn sure there weren't going to be any hidden fees above what I was already paying. After a very patient person went through everything with me... twice... I changed my plan to the new $65 per line.

My previous bill was a mess. I had no idea what was going on because AT&T jerks you around with pro-rated billing and activation fees and other stupid shit that I had no way of understanding. But then today my current bill with none of the extras arrives. And I looked it over very carefully. And, wouldn't you know it, only ONE of my lines was $65. The other was $75...

AT&T bill showing $75 one line and $65 the other line.

=sigh=

So I online-chat with AT&T and explain the problem. After pulling up my account, I'm told this:
I see that you have been charged for monthly service charge. That is why you got high in your bill.

I explain that my bill very clearly shows one of the lines was charged $75. Then I get this:
I see that you have been charged $65 for one account and $65 for another account. But this time they have added $8.33 for one account.

I then have to tell them that I am looking at my bill and it clearly shows one line is $75, so I don't know where they're seeing both are at $65. I don't care what the fees are showing, the amount per line I was quoted (and which is still showing on their website) is NOT being honored.

After a while of them "looking into it" I get this:
Yes you are right. Sorry for that. Let me go ahead a note to change that for you. So it will not reflect in your next billing cycle.

Look, I really want to give AT&T the benefit of doubt here, but I see this shit ALL THE TIME, so it's tough not to be cynical. I signed up for a new plan so I could get 5G at $65 a line (if I use auto-pay and paperless billing, which I do). but I'm charged $75 for one and $65 for the other. And the ENTIRE TIME I'm chatting with customer support, I think back to my grandmother and mother being easily confused by pages of bills that are designed to obscure how much YOU'RE ACTUALLY BEING BILLED FOR, and I know beyond any doubt that they would have just paid the overcharge month after month because they didn't know any better. And if they did call customer support, they undoubtedly would have believed the bullshit about "extra fees" and not pressed the issue any further.

This is rage inducing.

And I cannot help but ask... is AT&T doing this on purpose? Do they make their billing statements confusing and encourage auto-pay and paperless billing so they can rip you off and have less chance of being caught? I am seriously outraged right now. I'd dump these assholes in a second if other carriers were any better... but they're all the same, aren't they? So what good would it do?

If the Democrats in power want to make me happy after they're done sucking off the lobbyists lining up to pay them to betray US citizen interests... FIRST they can put us on permanent Daylight Saving Time so we're not dicking with the clocks twice a year. THEN they can pass an act which forces all these asshole companies to not hide all their charges when you sign up for shit. The price they advertise should be the price you pay... AND IT SHOULD INCLUDE ALL THE FUCKING FEES AND OTHER BULLSHIT THAT **NEVER** ALLOW YOU TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE PAYING BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO A CONTRACT!

But you know what? AT&T probably shovels millions upon millions upon millions to politicians so they can just keep doing exactly what they're doing. Which means nothing is going to change any time soon. Our politicians won't do anything to threaten that sweet, sweet lobbyist payola now would they?

At least not in my State. Senator Patty Murray is OWNED by the medical lobby, and we all know how much they just LOVE to obscure costs in their billing. Major surgery results in pounds of never-ending bills that are intentionally confusing so you just shut up and pay. Which is exactly the kind of behavior our politicians crave... "I'll shut up just so long as you pay."

God bless America.

   

Caturday 192

Posted on Saturday, January 9th, 2021

Dave!The holidays being over aren't all that sad for me... I don't celebrate any of them... but I kinda feel bad for my cats. Always something new and exciting for them. Lights hanging outside the windows... Christmas cards they can chew on (which is appropriate considering 5 out of the 8 I received were addressed to them)... and all kinds of other stuff that's new and different...

Gift wrapping with the cats examing it.

One thing that I wasn't anticipating was Jake and Jenny shedding like it's the middle of Summer when there are some weeks of Winter left to be had. The fur is literally flying everywhere, and petting them results in handfuls coming off in my hand...

And apparently all that shedding is itchy, because my cats will not leave me alone. They want to be petted and scratched and scrubbed...

Jake getting scratches.

Jenny getting scratches.

Jake getting more scratches.

From the minute I get home until the minute I fall asleep, they are wanting never-ending scratches.

I'd write more exciting details about my needy cats but, well, my cats are being needy.

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Bullet Sunday 696

Posted on Sunday, January 10th, 2021

Dave!Free speech has consequences, which is nothing new to bloggers like me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Colosseo! My mom's favorite landmark is the Roman Colosseum. She asked to visit it every trip we made to Rome which, I believe, was four times (it was a cruise stop twice and a trip stop twice). I'd ask her why she loved it so much and she'd say "I don't know... I just do." When I told her that maybe she was a gladiator in a previous life, she thought that was funny and started telling people that when showing this photo...

Travels with Mom who is standing at the Colosseum in Rome.

Because of this, I very much wish she was still alive, because Rome is renovating the Colosseum, and I think the idea of being able to stand on the floor of the Colosseum arena would be so thrilling to her that we would have definitely made a fifth trip once it was completed. This is really, really cool, and I'd love to be able to visit again. But it won't be the same without my mom there to share it.

   
• LEGO! I have to say... whomever works in LEGO advertising which came up with this ad for a "Make Your Own MiniFig" game apparently doesn't have the same filthy mind that I do, because, well...

My sleep data graph via the AutoSleep app on my Apple Watch.

Is that a hotdog in your pants, madam, or are you just happy to see me?

   
• PERFECT! I've watched this TikTok more times that I'd ever admit. It's hilarious because it's true...

@wasildaoud

This is so accurate😭😂 @jojo_arianna #foryoupage #foryou #relatable #viral

♬ original sound - WASIL🦋 حب نفسك

Though I'd argue the point that this is how girls make coffee, because I see plenty of guys doing essentially this. And given my distaste for coffee, this would absolutely be me as well.

   
• Cute Gay Shit! TikTok is so much more than funny coffee memes. There is some genuinely touching stuff on there that gives me hope for all humanity...

@thevolunteertexan

#stitch with @krazykris88 #MyStyle #tiktok #lgbtq

♬ original sound - Johnathan Francis

And just KNOW that this gentleman gets lumped in with people he’s condemning because of how he looks and talks. You know it. God bless you, sir.

   
• NEWSFLASH! FORBES: Close To A Worst-Case Scenario—Former CDC Director Issues ‘Horrifying’ Outlook For New Covid Strain. If your balls don't shrivel up after reading this, then you probably don't have balls. But you are alive if you're reading this, balls or no balls, which means you should be horrified that there are still people not taking this shit seriously. Protect yourself. Protect others. This has catastrophe written all over it.

   
• Specs? Apple is the most ridiculous fucking company. They want to make their products as simple to use as possible by taking all the "tech" out of everything. Which is fine. EXCEPT YOU CAN NEVER MANAGE TO GET ANY FUCKING SPECS FOR ANYTHING THEY SELL. Will this cable work for charging? I dunno. What is the maximum transfer rate for this cable? I dunno. Can I quick-charge with this cable? I dunno. What about the charger? I dunno. Can you at least tell me if it is USB-PD compliant? I dunno. They literally tell you NOTHING in their support docs or on anything in their entire store. — If you want to shield your customers from scary tech-speak, fine. But at least have the fucking information SOMEWHERE for the people who need to know this shit. Their solution for everything is to say "Well, if it doesn't work, you can always return it." Which is an astound attitude to take considering that it wastes my time and their resources, and I'm getting seriously tired of it.

   
• Apolitical! My existence right now:

REPUBLICANS: You're just a Democrat shill.

DEMOCRATS: You're just a Republican shill.

ME: I AM NEITHER A DEMOCRAT NOR A REPUBLICAN! I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO WORSHIP POLITICIANS AND FALL IN LINE WITH A POLITICAL PARTY RUN BY WEALTHY ASSHOLES THAT ARE PROPPED UP BY WEALTHY CORPORATIONS WHO DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT US! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE A NON-PARTY SHILL?! WHY DOES MY SHILLNESS HAVE TO BE ATTACKED LIKE THIS? I AM A SHILL FOR ALL HUMANITY! AND A SHILL FOR CATS! TOWANDAAAAAAA!!!

Me rubbing Jake's floofy cat belly.

Because, like, how could you not be a shill for floofy bellies like dis?

   
Stay frosty out there, my friends.

   

TWICE the THRICE is NICE: Part One

Posted on Monday, January 11th, 2021

Dave!After nine years, Thrice Fiction magazine (the amazing venue for short-form fiction that I created with RW Spryszak), came to an end with our December 2019 issue (You can still read all 27 issues absolutely FREE on our website).

But we're not dead yet.

RW and I just wanted to be freed from the thrice-yearly schedule that was becoming more and more difficult to keep. We don't get paid, we just do this for the love of it all, so the magazine always has to take a back-seat to Real Life. This kind of scenario is not conducive to a deadline.

And so we've relaunched with Volume 2, which no longer has a schedule. It's also no longer free, but it's as cheap as we can possibly make it (neither of us is getting rich here, we just need something to help cover our costs, which are more than you might think).

Here's our fist issue of the new Thrice Fiction...

Thrice Fiction Vol 2., Issue No. 1.

You can buy a copy with its glorious 128 pages for just $12 at the Lulu Book Shop.

For the next two or three entries here at Blogography, I thought I'd go over the design process that went into it.

Starting with the new logo.

My goal with the original Thrice Fiction was to have the design fade away. Elements were intentionally stark, plain, and forgettable. The logo I came up with wasn't so much a "logo" as some of the plainest type I had available stacked up and centered...

Thrice Fiction Vol 1. Logo

I actually had people comment about how "Thrice is pretty in execution, but plain in presentation." And I was like "Well, yeah, that's what it was designed to be!" We had some amazing artists contribute to our covers, and making sure a fancy logo didn't detract from their generously-donated work was all part of the plan.

But since Volume 2 was going to be sold in book stores and such, a different approach needed to be had. Slapping some plain type on it was not going to work, so I made a list of objectives...

  • Uniquely our own. Custom.
  • Established aesthetic. Looks like we've existed for 100 years.
  • Victorian to Edwardian era sensibility.
  • Memorable and focused for branding across all media types.
  • Quality. Looks like the contents are worth paying for.
  • Cheap. Minimal dollar investment for the overhaul.

The last one, cheap was probably the biggest part of the puzzle. And so when I designed the interior I picked from typefaces which I already owned licenses for. The main typeface then became the base for the logo upon which I could build. The only "design" thing I did here was to rough in an extension for the leg of the "R" so I'd know to leave space for it...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

Now comes the part where my ADHD kicks in. I am obsessive about spacing consistency and working to make sure that elements are lined up as much as possible. It just makes for a cleaner logo that way. A lot of work goes into a project like this before I even get to a starting place...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

It's not uncommon for me to use dozens... or even hundreds of guides as I am figuring out the placement of all the pieces...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

The "T" at the beginning of "Thrice" is problematic, because its width is defined at the very top by the crossbar. This leaves the "F" in "Fiction" looking off-center. I wanted to address this in case the logo ends up in a place where it would be helpful to look more balanced, so I roughed in a swash there so it would add visual width...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

Note that at this point I planned on putting the "3" endmark (which signifies the end of each story of the interior) within the "C" because I thought it would look cool. It did look very cool. But it also added clutter and distraction, so it was dropped. Also note that I was planning on hiding a backwards "3" in the swash to be clever. This would also be dropped for clutter.

And here you can see me once again going crazy with the guides so I can line everything up in a mathematically-pleasing manner...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

From there it's just endless futzing around.

Making the leg of the R be swoopy and pretty. Adding curls on the R, C, and E to tie them to the curls on the swash across the T and H. Cleaning up the letterforms by narrowing or widening the space they occupy to better line things up. That kind of thing...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

This is what I went to print with because I ran out of futzing time. There are still some minor tweaks I need to take care of until I'm happy with our new logo (starting with the swash going too narrow too quickly and looking jerky as it crosses the "T", which really, really bugs me). The work is never truly done until the deadline arrives, and even then it doesn't stop.

That's "design" in a nutshell.

Overall I'm quite happy with the logo because I think it fits my objectives well and looks nice on the shelf. So way to go, me!

If this kind of stuff interests you, tune in tomorrow when I discuss the cover art... then again on Wednesday when I discuss the interior art. Big fun awaits.

   

TWICE the THRICE is NICE: Part Two

Posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Dave!This is part two of a three-part dive into the redesign of Thrice Fiction magazine on the occasion of releasing the first issue of Volume 2. If you missed it, you can read Part One right here.

After the type had been selected and the logo had been designed, I moved to the cover. Our old magazine was graced with a variety of amazing artists contributing their talents but, just like with Volume One, I decided to do the first one myself.

I had many, many ideas.

For the longest time I had it in my head that since this was a relaunch, I was going to have a young boy on a tropical island looking up to the heavens... while a bunch of missiles were ready to launch nearby. I liked that it was implying even paradise can be meanacing. I ultimately abandoned this idea for being too dark but, never fear, I repurposed the idea for a piece on the interior.

The next day I woke up and couldn't remember the name of my favorite restaurant in Prague (maybe I was dreaming about it?), so I went to my blog and searched for it (the name is Lehká Hlava, and it has my highest recommendation). Two images above where I was talking about the restaurant is one of my most favorite photos I've taken of all time...

Photos of my trip to Prague on my blog.

Now... you may be asking yourself... is that angel drowning a cupid baby angel in a bathtub? Or maybe a chicken? I honestly don't know, but it sure looks that way to me!

HDR Angel at Vyšehrad

Despite the horror element, I always thought she was gorgeous. And the fact that I was blessed with those stormy skies just makes the photo that much more beautiful to me.

And that's when I had a thought... if Thrice Fiction is undergoing a rebirth, of sorts, we're essentially drowning Volume 1 in a bathtub (even though you can still read all 27 issues for FREE on our site). Maybe this is the image I'm going for?

Except this is going to be sold in book stores, and I thought the angsty, brooding, dark imagery has been done to death. Such a cover would fade into the rest of the books. Soooo... what if the angel was drowning the cupid in broad daylight... under bright blue skies? How disturbing would that be? Very. And so... I went through my photo archives to find the original image and see if it was something I could work with.

Bad news. It was cropped too tight and there wasn't enough in the original image to create a cover out of. Oh well. Back to the drawing board. Except... I had visited that cemetery on the day prior when it wasn't rainy and dark. Maybe with better weather I stuck around longer to take more photos? Turns out I did!

Angel at Vyšehrad Statue and Monument

Angel at Vyšehrad Statue and Monument

The second photo had the same angle I liked from the original photo, but it wasn't the cover I wanted. Too dark. Cropped too tight. It would never work.

Except... maybe it would if I put some work into it? Let's take a look, shall we?

The layout of Thrice Fiction Vol. 2 No. 1 in Photoshop. An angel drowning a cupid in a bathtub as seen from below. There's not enough image, so it's floating in the layout.

Well, lightening it up a bit showed that there's enough pixel information in the shadows to work with... but how will I fill in the missing information at the bottom? Hmmm... remember that first photo that was kinda boring and flat? How about I cut out of that one and see if I can make use of it...

A panel from the base of a monument cut out of a photo.

Oh yeah. That's perfect. I can easily warp it into a base for my murdering angel...

The murderig angel is no longer floating, as I've warped the flat panel into angels so I can create a base for it.

Cool. But there's still a long ways to go before this is the cover I've got in my head. First of all I have to paint in the missing bits and paint out the panels with stock photos so the names of our contributing authors can be easily read. It also needs to be much, much brighter. And maybe I could place a building back behind it to add a little visual interest? I've got tons of photos of Prague, so I could probably find one that works. And, say, what if instead of a bright blue sky I tried a brilliant orange sky in an attempt to tie everything together into a cohesive image?

Orange sky added. Building added. Panels painted.

Blergh. That building is adding nothing but confusion. It needs to go. And while I like the idea of an orange sky, that's a color that doesn't reproduce well in CMYK printing, so I really think it needs to be blue like I originally envisioned...

Sky is now blue.

Now we're getting somewhere.

From here on out it's a lot of painting. There's a "watercolor" filter I use to speed up the process, but you can't just push a button and have all the work done for you. Well, actually you can do that, it's just that the results aren't that great. I go in and repaint features... do the watercolor filter... see what works and what needs to be worked on... undo the watercolor filter... then repeat. FOR HOURS! The face of the angel is practically untouched, and I went very light on the watercolor, because I wanted it to be easily "understood" by the reader. The further I got away from her face, the more radical the repainting becomes. I adjust contrast... add stock photo paint splotches for interest... simplify details to be more impressionistic for the watercolor filter... it's just refine... refine... refine...

Close up of the angel showing the painting work that's been done.

Eventually I get to a point where I've gone too far. So I step back to a previous version and I'm done. Thrice Fiction is reborn...

Thrice Fiction Vol 2., Issue No. 1.

You'll note that the black strip on the left side (a carryover from the original magazine design) was abandoned. There's precious little horizontal space on the smaller book size, and I wanted to devote as much cover area as possible so our artists can fill it up. I also zoomed in on the angel quite a lot because I thought it was more impactful and prettier to look at this way.

Not exactly what I had in my head, but pretty close... murdered cupid and all. You can buy a copy with its glorious 128 pages for just $12 at the Lulu Book Shop.

Tomorrow I'll take a look at the interior of the book and go through all that drama for you. Sounds like fun, no?

   

TWICE the THRICE is NICE: Part Three

Posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Dave!This is part three of a three-part dive into the redesign of Thrice Fiction magazine on the occasion of releasing the first issue of Volume 2. If you missed it, you can read Part One right here and Part Two right here.

With all 27 FREE issues of Volume 1 of Thrice Fiction, I had the luxury of color. It was designed from the very beginning with color in mind. The focus of each issue, the stories, were (out of necessity) black and white for readability. I carried this theme to the contributor photos, which were also black and white. Everything else (i.e. the art) would be in color.

The problem with color is that it's expensive. Very expensive. But you can justify it when you have a small number of pages because the cost doesn't have a chance to accumulate that much. Since the format for Volume 2 was over a hundred pages, it wasn't an option. All interior pages would be black and white so we wouldn't have to charge $50 a copy.

All our artists were in a pandemic for 2020, so I decided to just do all the interior art myself after a few false starts in rounding up contributors. This actually turned out for the best, because I had no idea how our publisher (Lulu) would reproduce greyscale art. Since it's just me, I made a list of different styles to experiment with... line art... photo art... vector art... and so on.

And here's how that went.

"Lincoln at 200" • Style: pen-and-ink

Ann Bogle is a remarkable writer and it's always been a thrill to see her work in our pages. Needless to say that when RW informed me that she would be the "featured contributor" for our debut issue, I was thrilled. I read through all her stories a couple times looking for an idea... but I kept coming back to the second paragraph of her very first story, Credenza, where it was Abe Lincoln's 200th birthday. It's just too dang good an image to ignore. So I didn't...

A drawing of Abe Lincoln's skeletal remains sitting in a chair holding a piece of birthday cake with a streamer in his mouth and a happy birthday sign in the background.

Originally there was no "happy birthday" banner in the background, as the idea was to put a party hat on top of Lincoln's famous stovepipe hat. It proved too clutzy, so I made the change. Also? Abraham Lincoln was originally drawn as a decomposing corpse, because that's the only way I could still have his beard on there. But that was pretty gruesome, so I went with a skeleton head, left the beard, and took all the rotting flesh off his hands. No, it doesn't make sense, but I actually think it's more humorous this way. This was knocked out on my iPad in ProCreate over a couple nights while watching Hallmark movies.
   

"Timmy in Paradise" • Style: block-cut

If you read yesterday's entry, you know that I was originally planning on the cover being a little boy looking up to the heavens as missiles stand ready to launch (for our relaunch, get it?). I thought this might be a little dark, but I liked the idea of the image so much that I decided to draw it up and slap it in the interior as a break-point...

A little boy looking up to the heavens as missiles stand ready to lauch.

I thought this actually turned out better than what was in my head. I also think it probably works better as a block-cut than a color painting. The palms are extracted from a photo I took on the Big Island of Hawaii. The boy, Saturn, and the missiles are stock photos I cut out. It was all assembled in Photoshop, had extraction filters and edge filters run on it, then I imported it to ProCreate on my iPad so I could add texture and linework.
   

"Empires of Toast" • Style: vector

Amantine Brodur's work was a tough challenge to typeset because half of what makes it work is the formatting. Translating the formatting of The Anaphora House from a MS Word document to book pages took a long, long time of goofing around until I was satisfied that I had done the best job I could. Then a couple days later I would look at it again and decide to change half of it. =sigh= There was an abundance of riches to be had when it came time to figuring out what I wanted to do for the art. But once I got to the section titled Empires of Toast I just knew that was going to be where my piece came from...

A toaster is popping out toast on a chessboard while a white pawn is also ejected, having been singed black.

This is just pure symbolism, "empires" being represented by a chess set. I knew I wanted a toaster ejecting "toast" on the board, but I took it a bit further than that. The "theme" of our "Subject Paper" this issue was discussing "cultural appropriation." I drew a white pawn also ejecting from the toaster, the idea being that it wants to appear black, but couldn't take the heat that comes from being black. Deep, I know.
   

"A Slow Rescue" • Style: photo collage

Eckhard Gerdes packs a lot in the slightly more than four pages of The Babble-Ons. I went from worrying that there wouldn't be enough visual ideas to draw from... to being completely overwhelmed by how much there was to choose from. I abandoned the idea of pulling literal passages and instead combined a rowboat and snails because I thought it would make for a fun image...

A snail is floating on a life preserver while another snail is arriving in a rowboat to save him.

Don't ask me how that snail is rowing his boat. This is a half-dozen stock photos which have been reworked and combined into a single image in Adobe Photoshop... then outlined in Adobe Illustrator. I wanted to have an example for future artist contributors so they could see how photos reproduce at Lulu and how contrast has to be heightened to get something other than a mushy grey blob. It took a lot more effort than I was anticipating, and I'm pretty sure I put in just under three hours for an image that would have taken me 20 minutes if it were in color.
   

"Savior" • Style: block-cut collage

Art was never going to be the focus of Volume 2. It was always going to be the written word. But I still wanted some art in there to add breaks between sections and pieces. This was an idea I had years ago that I never did anything with, but kinda liked the thought of dusting it off and retooling it to be a collage overlaid by block-print. Something about the concept of aliens invading and not caring which god you worship reeeeeally stuck with me...

A statue of a monk holding baby Jesus (who is standing on his open hands) while an alilen invasion destroys a city in the background.

I cannot for the life of me remember where I took the photo of the monk with baby Jesus. I want to say Italy maybe? Columbia? I think it was in a courtyard somewhere. Could even be New Orleans. Since I pulled the photo out of my archives quite a long while ago, I can't remember. Everything else is composed of eight stock photos that I chopped up and combined. Before I started converting, painting, filtering, and drawing on top of it, this is what it looked like...

A statue of a monk holding baby Jesus (who is standing on his open hands) while an alilen invasion destroys a city in the background.

Had I done this in color, I would have painted over everything to make it "more my own" since all the pieces around the statue were created by somebody else. But it worked really well as a block-cut, so I spent considerable time massaging the pieces in Photoshop so it would work well. Minutes before publishing this issue, I went in and changed baby Jesus's eyes and the cross on the monk's robe to pure white and did a heavier outline around Jesus so they stood out better.
   

"Cheap Imitation" • Style: drawing on photo collage

Originally I had created this art for the subject essay Who Do You Think You Are? by Franny Forsman which discusses cultural appropriation. This is a subject which hits at me personally from a number of different directions, and almost everybody has an opinion... from weak ("I don't care and don't see anything wrong with it because it doesn't affect me") to very strong ("This is pillaging my people and my culture and using it in inappropriate ways which I find deeply insulting"). Despite being 100% white boy with a "cultural heritage" that consists of a hodgepodge of other cultures (AKA "no culture to speak of"), I am in the latter category. And it stems from the simple idea of just being fucking decent and kind to people. If somebody tells you that their culture is not a costume and they are offended when people treat it that way... just pick a different Halloween costume. If somebody tells you that your football team has a shitty name and mascot because it is taken from a painful slur celebrating genocide against their people... just pick a different name. This is not rocket science, and you have to be kinda awful to not want to change when it's pointed out to you. And that's what I was trying to say with this piece depicting a butterfly seeing a poster advertising a movie about a butterfly... starring a cockroach...

A butterfly lands on a movie called BUTTERFLY which shows a cockroack with imitation wings playing the butterfly.

This is a composite of a bunch of stock photos that I cut into Photoshop (though I think the butterfly image is mine, taken from a butterfly sanctuary in Australia). The butterfly wings on the cockroach were drawn on in Procreate because I wanted them to look like they were badly colored with a crayon. The credits for my fake movie Butterfly are actually taken from the movie poster for White Boy Rick, which seemed appropriate. Ultimately I worried that any art put in front of such a serious subject would be distracting and inappropriate and decided to go with no art at all. But I kinda liked what Cheap Imitation was saying, so I stuck it at the back of the book.
   

And there you have it... all the art I came up with for the first issue of Volume 2! You can see it all in print by buying a copy with its glorious 128 pages for just $12 at the Lulu Book Shop. A bargain at half the price with some cool stuff to be had!

   

Outage in the Snow

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Dave!I honestly thought that once I got my Uninterruptible Power Supply that I'd never have a power outage again. That's just how things go for me. A problem comes up again and again and again... spend money to handle the problem for next time... the problem never happens again. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Installed my UPS on November 18th... had a power outage this past Tuesday.

Well I'll be darned!

Must to my delight, the UPS operated exactly as it was supposed to. My home automation, internet router, and NAS drive never lost power and there was no need to spend hours restarting and recovering my data with an "integrity check." Nice. So a big thank you to CyberPower for making a product that actually works. I was beginning to think that such a thing didn't exist any more.

Like my Samsung television. Less than five years old and the backlighting is already starting to screw up. My previous Sony television (now in my bedroom) has lasted over a decade. My television before that (a massive Sony widescreen tube television) lasted over 15 years. At this rate, my next television will last for 1-1/2 years? Holy crap.

Winter has been a massive disappointment this year.

Despite getting plenty cold for snow, it's mostly been rain. Any snow we get turns to rain the next day which leaves us with a mushy mess and icy streets. The day of my power outage two days ago, I found myself waking to at least 6 inches of snow. Then it sprinkled rain. So when I peeked out my window and could see cars sliding and getting stuck, I decided to work at home for a bit and wait for the snowplow. But eventually I needed to go into the office and took a chance. It's a tricky business. You have to drive fast enough so that you don't get stuck... but slow enough that you're not spinning out. I had a few dicey moments, but eventually made it to the main road. Just as I was congratulating myself, the snowplow turned onto my road.

Oh well.

Of course the guys hired to plow my driveway did it before the snowplow arrived, which meant a massive berm of snow was blocking my driveway when I got home. Not wanting to get out and shovel, I decided to accelerate to ramming speed and just bust my way through. Which went fine... but it sure felt like parts were going to be ripped out of my undercarriage.

As the berm has melted and re-froze each day, it's now become more of a ice curb than a snow berm. That cannot be solved by busting through it, so I've kinda created a path for my tires to drive through that gets me into my garage.

Probably should have just shoveled it while I had the chance.

But I know the minute I spend money for a snow shovel to solve the problem next time, it will never happen again, so I'm just going to pretend to be oblivious so I can save a buck.

You should know by now that I never learn.

   

Zesty and Un-Grateful

Posted on Friday, January 15th, 2021

Dave!And so now I know what it's like to be wealthy!

I had a coupon for trying out the HelloFresh meal service. And, since their vegetarian options no longer seem to revolve exclusively around mushrooms (which I can't eat) and cauliflower or broccoli (which I won't eat), I took them up on their introductory offer. I signed up, selected vegetarian meals that sounded good, and got excited over trying something new.

My first box was due to arrive next week. For whatever reason, they screwed up and sent it this week. Which wouldn't have bothered me, except they sent meat dishes. I contacted them to explain the problem, they immediately credited me the cost, then told me to dispose of the carnivorous meals as I wished. So I gave all the meat to a neighbor and decided to try to refashion the recipes to be vegetarian with the ingredients which were left over.

The reason I now know what it's like to be wealthy is that my box from Martha and Marley Spoon also arrived this week, which means I had six complete meals in my refrigerator ready to be cooked for dinner with leftovers for the following day's lunch. SCORE! I could never afford to do this on a regular basis, but boy is it awesome knowing that I don't have to think about what to cook or worry about going to the grocery store.

The first meal I wanted to try was "Bulgogi Lime Pork Tenderloin"... without the tenderloin.

It was essentially sweet potato and pepper dices sauteed with scallions, garlic, and Bulgogi sauce mixed with lime. Not much of a meal without the pork, but if I cook some hard rolls with cheese to pair with it, I thought it might be nice.

One of the first things you have to do is zest the lime. "Zesting" is not a new concept for me because Martha Stewart wants you to do it all the time in her recipes... it's just that I've never understood how to do it. When I searched on YouTube I saw that people "zested" by using what looked like a teeny-tiny cheese grater. Something I didn't have.

Except I thought that I did, because when you look inside the handle of my box grater, there looks like what appears to be a small grater. Alas, any time I attempted to use it for zesting, all it did was gum up with lime peel and I never actually got any tiny grated anything out of it. Wanting to know what I was doing wrong, I Facetimed a friend who works in a kitchen restaurant and asked her by holding it up to the camera and asking her how to use it.

The first thing she said was "Well, first thing you have to do is remove it so that the peel doesn't end up in the handle." It was charming that she thought me that dense, but I explained to her that it doesn't come out easily. In order to get it out, I had to use two pair of pliers and nearly busted the thing.

"Wait. Let me look at that again... move it close so I can see."
"I have no idea what that is, but it's not a zester!"
"See how there's no grates? It just looks like pokey spikes!"
"Maybe it's supposed to be a masher or tenderizer of some kind?"
"Yeah, you need to go buy an actual zester. Sorry."

And so I did. And it arrived today. I got one by Oxo Good Grips, which makes my favorite kitchen utensils and gadgets. It was expensive... $12 compared to others costing less than half that... but I knew it would probably be safer, smarter, and last longer, so I invested the money...

My new zester with a zested lime.

Martha Stewart would be so proud.

And so now I can finally zest a lime or a lemon and make all those recipes correctly that call for zesting a lime or a lemon.

Pretty grate, huh? (HA HA HA HA HAAAA! I slay me!)

So wish me luck with my first zesting experience. I'll let you know if I end up with my fingertips missing.

   

Caturday 193

Posted on Saturday, January 16th, 2021

Dave!When I first got Jake and Jenny, it was recommended I get a Feliway diffuser which releases pheromones that calm nervous cats. I kept using them even after they had acclimated, because I felt it probably helped when I was away traveling as well. The other night I noticed that the diffuser had ran out, which helped to explain why my cats had been curiously cautious lately. Like when I come home and they book up the stairs and won't come down right away when I call them...

Jake and Jenny peer cautiously down the stairwell.

So I replaced it. The next day they were all over each other. When I came home they didn't even come greet me. They were too busy giving each other a bath and couldn't be bothered...

Jake and Jenny bathing each other.

When I looked at the security camera footage I saw they were being sweet to each other all night as well...

Jake and Jenny touching noses in the dark.

In other cat news... Jake came in crying one morning while I was working in bed. I assumed that he couldn't find Mufasa, so I went to look (otherwise I wouldn't be able to get back to work). Mufasa was on top of a pile of toys that Jenny was building, so I grabbed him and went to give him to Jake. He turned his head and would not even look at his favorite toy...

Jake refusing to look at Mufasa.

I thought they were friends again when Jake dragged him in the next morning...

Jake dropped Mufasa.

But then throughout the day, Mufasa was left on my bed...

Jake laying on the bed with Mufasa abandoned in the background.

I went to bed at midnight, but Jenny woke me up at 2am crying her head off. I had no idea why, so it was back to the security camera footage. Turns out that Jenny was sleeping when Jake came up and woke her up. This made her so upset that she decided to wake ME up. And that's when I noticed that Mufasa was still where Jake had left him...

Jenny laying on the bed with Mufasa abandoned in the background.

So is the honeymoon between Jake and Mufasa over?

Keep tuning in to find out!

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Bullet Sunday 697

Posted on Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Dave!Don't let the Wintertime blues get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Betty! As somebody who loved Betty White long before it was cool, I am thrilled to wish her a happy 99th birthday today!

Me with an autographed photo of Betty White.

Betty's last work was reprising her role as the voice of "Bitey White" from Toy Story 4 in 2019. Wisely, she has quarantined herself against the pandemic so as to stay safe throughout 2020. I sure as heck hope that there's some televised special featuring the legions of stars who she's worked with over the years on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

   
• It Worked! This is the best thing I found on the internet this past week... and it's from August 2019...

Man sitting behind the wheel of a big fire truck... the caption is: Ever since i was a little kid i’ve always wanted to get on a fire truck. i’m tempted to just walk my grown ass over to a fire station and just ask.

Live your dreams, people. The guy in the photo is Abdul, an astrophotographer with some incredible images on his Twitter feed.

   
• Public Record? “I believe we will find that there’s going to be a huge hole in the historical record of this president because I think there’s probably been serious noncompliance of the Presidential Records Act.”Because the first thing a totally innocent person does is destroy evidence, right?

   
• WandaVision! Last Thursday night I stayed up for the midnight release of WandaVision's first two episodes on Disney+. While they are obviously building towards something, both of them seemed like a waste of time. If I wanted to watch cheesy old black-and-white TV shows, I'd tune in to Nick at Night (or whatever). The first episode was only 20 minutes of actual show (the second was closer to 30), and they STILL felt too long. If the setup is that Wanda is mentally trapped in old TV shows, they could have crammed all that in the first episode and moved on to the ACTUAL show after. As it is, it just seems like senseless padding. So I dunno.

Vision and Wanda in black-and-white sitting in a 50's sitcom.

Maybe as they go deeper into the story these episodes will feel worth it. But right now? Not really.

   
• NEWSFLASH! Footprints Lead to Missing Hikers Lost on California Mountain for 5 Days. I'm just going to put this right here as a reminder... if you go hiking without a LifeStraw... even if it's just supposed to be a simple day hike that you've done a hundred times before... you may very well be risking your life. Anything can happen. You can go a fairly long time without food. You can't last long at all without water. LifeStraw can turn even a muddy puddle into water that won't kill you. Indeed, it could be a puddle that saves your life. Amazon has LifeStraw available for $15 right here.

   
• Magical? Magic Spoon low-carb, no-grain cereal is practically tasteless... when I first tried it, I thought I had The COVID because I couldn't taste anything. I will not be ordering again. Except the shit was SO expensive, that I've been trying to eat it all so I'm not wasting money. But the biggest issue I have... even more so than the lack of taste? It's their stupid fucking boxes. They sell the cereal direct. There's no need to glue the thin-as-paper box so heavily that there is NO WAY to open them without ripping them to shit. On my fourth box I was even trying to use a knife so I could open it without tearing anything. NOPE! The glue is actually HEAVIER THAN THE DAMN BOX MATERIAL. Why? It's not like it's sitting on a shelf somewhere! They really don't need to use glue on the lid AT ALL since the bags are sealed and it's going direct to consumers! This is the stupidest damn thing, and I just don't get it.

Boxes of Magic Spoon cereal which have been ripped to shit trying to get them open.

It's almost as if Magic Spoon is saying "FUCK YOU! HA HA HA! JUST TRY TO GET THE FUCKING BOX OPEN IN ONE PIECE!!!" Which is an interesting tact to take when your cereal is this bland. I mean, I never expected it to taste like sugar cereal, but dang. Artifical flavors are cheap. Try adding some.

   
Have a great rest of your Winter, everybody.

   

Live My Words

Posted on Monday, January 18th, 2021

Dave!Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everybody!

I am fortunate enough to get the day off, but I still ended up working so I could get caught up while not having new work dropped on me. That's almost like a holiday right there!

As is my custom, I started my day by listening to his I Have A Dream speech in its entirety. I also pulled out my copy of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. which I haven't re-read in a while. Last year I re-read Where Do We Go from Here and the year before that Strength to Love, so it's time to be inspired.

A Doodle by Drea of Martin Luther King Jr. holding a sign that says DON'T JUST SHARE MY QUOTES, LIVE MY WORDS!
Illustration from Doodles by Drea

   
And now... I should probably clean my house or wash clothes or make dinner or do something productive. Though I've already performed a firmware update on my NAS and backed up my files, so maybe that counts as productivity?

Still need to make dinner and clean my kitchen though.

That's more than enough productivity.

   

Sex in the Time of COVID (or lack thereof)

Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Dave!tl;dr... I'm too old for this shit

This is undoubtedly Too Much Information, but I've gone without sex for so long now that I think that I might be over it. As in... I'm done. It's over. Pack up my dick, put it on a shelf, and call it a day. I've managed to survive since August, 2019 without it, so sayonara sexy time. We had a good run.

Because whether you're in a relationship or not, sex always has a cost. And the longer I've gone without, the more I'm beginning to think the cost is too damn high. Not literal "cost"... as in money (though that can certainly be a factor when you're single)... but the cost that comes any time you invest yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically with another person.

In other words, I really am too old for this shit.

I suppose it only stands to reason that this would happen. I have been done with actual relationships for at least a decade. Maybe two. Sure I stumble into them on occasion but, try as I might, it's just not something I'm able to make work long-term. And despite my being brutally up-front about this, there are still women who seem to want to give it a go... I get all goofy and say "okay"... then give it my best shot because relationships are so nice at the beginning that I want it to work... then try to act shocked when it doesn't, even though I knew better.

At least she believes me when we both realize things are not working out and I say "It's not you, it's me"... I said as much at the very beginning.

Is it any wonder that I am so addicted to crappy Hallmark rom-coms? Watching a fantasy world where people fall in love and live happily ever after... all in 90 minutes or less? Well, technically you never SEE a "happily ever after" because the movie ends on their first kiss. For all we know they DON'T live happily ever after. For all we know that kiss was bad. And they've only known each other for a week, after all. I'm sure the bad habits, annoying quirks, and love of banjo music doesn't come out until Week Two (though "Did I happen to mention that I have a meth addiction?" probably doesn't come out until ten years of marriage, three kids, and no teeth). I guess my point is that it's nice to think that they live happily ever after (with or without the meth).

So there you have it. Hallmark movies in lieu of relationships. Porn in lieu of sex. I guess all my bases are covered then?

You tell me. I use blogging in lieu of therapy.

   

Faroe Farrow Farroll Farro?

Posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Dave!This is the drama I inevitably go through whenever I attempt to remember how to spell a word that I don't use very often...

Faroe: ALSO: Faeroe Islands (/ˈfɛəroʊ/; Danish: Færøerne) are a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland.

No. That's not it.

Farrow: María de Lourdes Villiers "Mia" Farrow (/məˈriːə di ˈlʊrdz ˈvɪljərz ˈfæroʊ/; born February 9, 1945) is an American actress, activist, and former fashion model. Farrow has appeared in more than 50 films and won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe Award and three BAFTA Award nominations.

No. That't not it.

Farroll: was an admiral in the GalSec troops. She was in charge of an attack on a Wirrn. She was later injured because of a Wirrn. She was infected by the Wirrn to become the new Wirrn Queen. (SEE: British science fiction television programme Doctor Who)

No. That's definitely not it.

Farro: Farro refers to the grains of three wheat species, which is sold dried, and cooked in water until soft. It is eaten plain or is often used as an ingredient in salads, soups, and other dishes.

Oh yeah! There it is!

Until recently, I don't know for 100% certain that I've ever had farro before. It certainly never showed up on the dinner table when I was growing up. I have vague-ish memories of probably eating it when I was traveling... like once I think it was served in an airline meal with apricots in it or something like that? I don't know. I'm old and my memory is going.

Suffice to say that farro has not played a big part in my life.

UNTIL NOW!

Both Martha Stewart (via Marley Spoon) and HelloFresh have been dropping farro bombs into my life, and I am totes here for it. The stuff is fantastic. Kinda like bulgur or quinoa but not really. I may plow under the grass in my front yard and try to grow it... that's how in love with the stuff I am! Then I'll set up a mill in the back yard so I can process what I grow. Sure it's all gluten, but isn't everything tasty in life? Except cheese, maybe? Cheese and ice cream? Yeah. That sounds about right.

Martha Stewart first dropped farro in my life via "Creamy Farro Fonduta with Roasted Winter Vegetable Medley" that turned out like this...

A plate with roasted sweet potatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts, and onions.

Except you can't see the cheesy farro fonduta stuff under all that, so here you go...

The creamy farro stuff under the winter vegetables looking all cheesy and delicious.

It's basically farro mixed with cream cheese and fontina. AKA MAGIC ON A FUCKING PLATE!

Then last night my dinner was "Roasted Veggie Farro Bowls with Marinated Cranberries & Salsa Verde Sunflower Pepitas" from HelloFresh...

The creamy farro stuff under the winter vegetables looking all cheesy and delicious.

"But, Dave I thought you hated arugula?" — Well, I do. Arugula is what I imagine sadness and death tastes like. But I examined the recipe carefully and thought "Hmmm. Just maybe the sweet of the sweet potatoes, the tart of the cranberries, the sour of the lemon, and the aroma of the onions will be enough to counteract THE HEINOUS FUCKING BITTERNESS of the arugula? I think I'll try it!" — Then, just to make sure, I wasn't stingy with the salt and pepper AND I threw out 1/3 of the arugula. Worked like a charm! The blending of all the different tastes is incredible. I did end up having to throw out the "veggie stock" that was included (mushroom is a vegetable?) and use my own, but other than that... delicious! HelloFresh "Roasted Veggie Farro Bowls with Marinated Cranberries & Salsa Verde Sunflower Pepitas" FTW!

Boy. Kinda cool that after 54 years on this earth Im still discovering new foods to enjoy!

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Knifed in Small Town America

Posted on Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Dave!"So... what knife are you using?"

After 30 years of eating crap, I decided I wanted more out of life than frozen food reheated in a microwave so I signed up for Martha Stewart's meal service via Marley Spoon. It changed everything. I don't necessarily enjoy cooking, but I do love what comes from it. I am eating better now than I have in decades, and it would be tough to ever go back. And once I realized this truth, I started buying new stuff for my kitchen to make my cooking experience better. New tools. New cookware. New gadgets. New ingredients. New knives.

Again and again I heard THE ONE THING EVERY COOK NEEDS BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE IS A GOOD KNIFE! I was told that I could scrimp on a lot of things, but a cook's knife was not one of them. "Spend the $200 it takes to get the very best knife you can afford... it will last a lifetime and be an essential part of every meal you cook!" After I got done changing my underwear at the thought of spending TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS ON ONE FRICKIN' KNIFE I calmed down and scrolled past entire knife sets costing $50, and started researching what the best "fit" for me might be.

I was more accustomed to German-style knives which are total workhorses. They have heft and power to cleave through anything, and I came very close to purchasing a $195 Wüsthof that was most similar to the cheap-ass $18 plastic-handled chef's knife I had been using forever. But then I took another look at Japanese knives. They were harder, thinner, sharper, and seemed more suited to my vegetarian diet. If I wasn't hacking apart cuts of meat, what did I need with a heavier knife?

The rabbit hole you fall into when knife shopping is really, really tough to escape from.

I waffled between various brands for quite a while until I decided on a MAC Professional 8" Chef's Knife. Many, many professionals swore by it, the reviews were stellar, the price wasn't as bad ($150 at discount), and the more I read about it, the more it seemed like it was exactly what I needed.

Then it arrived.

I've always had a knife sharpener which easily and inexpensively keeps my cheap knives at peak sharpness. But it turns out my knives were never sharp at all. Not really. Compared to the MAC Chef's Knife I bought, I might as well have been using a frickin' spoon to slice tomatoes all these years...

A very thinly-sliced tomato next to my MAC Chef's Knife

I honestly don't know how to adequately describe how sharp this thing it. I really don't. It's razor sharp. It's X-ACTO blade sharp. After I opened it I touched the tip to see how sharp it was... and proceeded to prick my finger. This was no knife... it was a scalpel. For the first time in my life when holding a knife I thought Holy shit! I could straight up murder somebody with this thing! And I immediately had visions of dropping it on my foot and cutting it off... slicing through my fingers before I realized it... or reaching across the counter for something and impaling myself.

This knife scared the shit out of me.

The first thing I did was order a pair of cut-resistant gloves to wear when I cut tough, larger vegetables (like squash). The second thing I did was make a mental note to never use it barefoot. The third thing I did was decide to not toss out my old chef's knife. When I have company cooking with me, the last thing I would want is for them to seriously injure themselves... which is a frightening (but entirely realistic) scenario...

A pair of cut-resistant gloves.

The MAC itself is a work of art.

Yeah, it's ridiculously sharp, but it's also extremely well-balanced. It has some heft, but doesn't get in your way. The bolster is enough to be comfortable, but not too much to keep me from holding it properly. And once I trained myself to cut with such a thin, sharp tool, I felt more in control than I ever did with previous knives. After the fear factor wore off, I grew to love it.

And yet...

So damn sharp. For softer veggies (like tomatoes) you can just set the knife on it and the thing will practically cut itself. You can shave a sheet of paper with it. After a year of using it, the thing can still scare the shit out of me. Since the steel used can rust easily, you have to clean and dry it immediately after use. No leaving it in the sink until morning. If you're cutting citrus, you have to occasionally rinse it while you're working with it. I learned how to clean knives from a food stylist. You hold the blade edge away from you and wipe from the spine edge only. If you were to foolishly wipe from the blade edge, you'd slice clean through your sponge and your entire hand. That's a doctor visit I definitely do not want, so I am beyond cautious whenever I have this thing in my hands.

To explain just how cautious... I never use it when I've been drinking.

Once you've used a good knife, you kinda get addicted to really great steel. I've since bought a few other quality knives that cost a fortune but are ultimately worth the investment. What I will not be buying is a pointed paring knife. I ended up getting a round-tip paring knife because it seemed safer to me, and that will do just fine, thank you very much!

Unless I actually do need to murder somebody. Seems like the compact size of a paring knife would be a lot easier to conceal than an 8" Chef's Knife!

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The Friday of My Discontent

Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2021

Dave!Despite working my ass off all week I didn't accomplish much of anything. After catching up by working on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I was behind again by the end of the day today.

I won't even mention the loads of chores that need to be done around my house.

What I need is two more of me. Well, not two more exactly like me... more like two of me that haven't been beaten down by a year of COVID and aren't mired in a quarantine malaise. I need two of me from 2019. Or how about two of me from 2000? Sure I didn't know as much, but I had a lote more energy and enthusiasm for life, that's for sure.

I mean, just look at me back in 2000...

Me standing up in a skyscraper with the city of Kuala Lumpre behind me.
Me on the visitation deck of Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

   
It's all downhill from there, buddy.

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Caturday 194

Posted on Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

Dave!This biggest news to come out of this past week? I made a major discovery about Jenny, and I have no idea how I failed to realize it before now.

As I've mentioned a couple times, there are nights that Jenny refuses to eat her wet food. It's the same stuff she always gets... mixed with water and mooshed up so she can lick it up... and yet she is 100% uninterested. It drives me crazy, because it's NOT because she's not hungry. That cat is always hungry. So why? Why does she take one sniff and walk away until the dry food is dispensed? Why?

I'll tell you why... odds are I cooked with yellow onions.

There I was having just cooked the filling for some bean and onion flautas. The Alexa alarm rings for dinner time and Jake and Jenny are incredibly excited about it because I'm already in the kitchen. So I dish up the food, mix Jenny's up, microwave for 6 seconds to take the chill off, then set it down. Jake starts wolfing it down immediately. Jenny walks away.

The next evening she's back to normal and laps it right up.

The evening after I am frying up the rest of the onion to use in a tomato sauce. The Alexa alarm rings. I put the food out. And... nothing.

It was as if a light switch turned on in my head.

So I tested my theory three nights later... and yep, there it is. Onion stank is the reason. Apparently if the house has that smell in it she can't smell the wet food enough to think it's "safe to eat" and takes a big ol' pass.

And so I guess any time I am cooking onions I need to start after the cats have been fed and make a late dinner of it. Problem solved.

In other food-related news... last night I had baked potatoes for dinner. Right after taking them out of the oven and getting them dresssed up for consumption, Jake was all over me. He followed me from the kitchen into the living room and stared at me the entire time I was eating...

Baked potatoes on a plate with butter and ground black pepper.

Jake staring at me with owl-ears while I eat.

Look at those owl ears!

I tried multiple times to explain that this was my dinner and he had finished his dinner just ten minutes ago, but he was having none of it.

And in other Jake news... When I came home earlier this week, he didn't come running to the door to meet me like he usually does. When this happens it's 95% likely that the heat is running. And if the heat is running, he climbs the cat tree so it will blow down on him. He loves that. So I take a look and, sure enough, he's up in the cat tree with the heat on. And that's when I notice that this is not the only thing that has happened.

Apparently his lunch did not agree with him, because he projectile vomited it onto the window where it slid down and piled on the window sill...

Jake sitting in the cat tree where cat puke is running down the window.

Lovely.

Since he pukes so rarely, I guess I really don't have cause to complain. It's just that he really knows how to pick his moments, doesn't he?

Oh well. It could always be worse. He could have puked on my bed.

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Bullet Sunday 698

Posted on Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Dave!A new era may be dawning, but some things will never change... because an all new Q&A Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
Does the stair shelf you built for your cats work?
Yep! No falls since I installed it! Jenny has never been a banister girl, so she just walks along it on occasion. But Jake still lays up there all the time. Especially in the Summer when the sun shines on it. Since the catwalk I built adds a couple inches to the width, he's a lot more comfortable laying on it, and like to prop his head on the ledge to watch me and Jenny on the stairs. This, along with the catio, are two of the best things I've made to keep my cats safe and healthy.

Jake laying on the banister ledge I built for him.

Jake looking at me from the ledge as he lays there looking lazy... my Marvel movie posters are on the walls.

Jake looking down at me from the ledge as I go down the stairs.

   
Which meal service do you like best?
Are you talking between Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon and "Hello Fresh," the two I am currently using? That's actually a very good question! Both of them allow you to skip weeks (which I do often because they are expensive) so when I do order, I have been bouncing back and forth. Comparing them in a face-off is actually a good idea for a post. I'll do that sometime in the coming week!

   
Japanese knives RUST... they are NOT stainless steel!
Yes. When I reading up on knives, this was brought up many, many times. I made my purchase with my eyes wide open. I expected for rust to appear. But it was still the best knife for what I would be cooking, and I just made a mental note to be sure and wash the blade after every use. And I've never seen rust. Until one day I did! I went into a Google panic, found out the easiest way to deal with it was a Rust Eraser, ordered one, and then found out it wasn't actually rust before the eraser ever arrived. It was a piece of food that I didn't get wiped off and only looked like rust. Since I first got it a year ago, I've never seen a speck of rust and my Rust Eraser hasn't even been taken out of the wrapper. My MAC Chef's Knife and Bread Knife are from their "Professional" series which is "rust resistant" but will still rust if you don't wash and dry them immediately after use. I also have some "Original" series knives which are supposed to rust more easily but, as I said, I've never seen any rust on them because I keep them clean and dry.

Rust Eraser still in the wrapper.

   
Are you still playing Animal Crossing?
Sadly, no. I haven't had time. And I'm scared to look and see how many weeds I'll have to pull in order to get my island back. It's a great game and helped a lot when we were first under quarantine, but I was spending 2+ hours a day playing it and had stop because there were other things I need to do with my time. Might pick it back up one day and just force a time limit so it's not consuming me like it was. Now I've got TikTok for that!

   
Where's your Bernie meme?
Ummm... right here!

Bernie Sanders sitting in a folding chair with a mask and gloves in my living room while my cats Jake and Jenny are sitting nearby.

My house is kept fairly cool in the winter in order to save on heating costs, so Bernie judging me for the temperature... along with Jenny (and Jake, who has clearly turned his back on me)... seems appropriate.

   
Are you finally happy now that Biden is president?
No. No I am not. As I have said quite a few times now, Biden was never my guy so I'm not "finally happy" that he's president. I am, however, elated that Trump is no longer president. So there's a big difference there. I won't be truly "happy" until all the career politicians and other assholes who exploit their office for personal gain at the expense of the American people are out of office. I will also be happy once all the pieces of shit who have so severely divided this country are out of office. Alas, what this would take is the American people WAKING THE FUCK UP and realizing that they are being majorly played. But that takes thinking for themselves, and we all know that this is not something we seem to be very good at right now. So... here we are.

   
Where's the first place you'll go once you can travel again?
Well, odds are I won't be traveling for work or for volunteering again... at least not any time soon... so it will likely be a personal trip. My guess is it will be one I've been planning for over a year with friends to Maui. We have unfinished business there that we need to take care of. Otherwise? Not entirely sure. It will take a while for the world to get back to normal and I have no idea where my life will be by then.

   
And that's the last of my answers to questions I've been asked.

   

Grandma Birthday to You

Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2021

Dave!Back when I was a kid, my family visited my grandmother in California. While there, I was reading the comics in the newspaper and saw that her paper had Garfield, which I thought was about the funniest thing ever. When I got home, my local paper didn't carry it, so my grandmother would cut them out of her paper and send them to me every couple weeks or so. It was a Big Deal.

Eventally, Garfield books were released. My grandma kept sending them.

Eventually, my local paper had Garfield. My grandma kept sending them.

Eventually, I had mostly outgrown Garfield. My grandma kept sending them.

By the time my grandma died, I had quite a stack of them piled up waiting to be read. One day I sat down and started reading them and realized that the real treasure was never the Garfield comics. Sometimes she would send other comic strips that struck her funny. Sometimes she would send a photo of her pets. Sometimes she would send newsclippings of things happening where she lived. And sometimes she would send a letter.

The letters were the most special because reading them made it feel like she was still alive.

That's when I had the idea to save the remaining letters so I could open one every year on her birthday. Which, as you could probably guess, is today. And when I went to the box with all my remotes where I keep them, I saw that there were only two left...

Two envelopes from my grandmother.

After shaking off the shock of what I had clearly forgotten last year, I started reading through them all...

Garfield strips coming out of an envelope.

And now there's just one envelope remaining.

I have to wonder if I'll be opening it one year from now... or saving it for a time I really need it... or never opening it at all because I like the idea of holding onto it. And to her.

My grandmother called me her "Little Politician" because when I was little I used to talk more than any politician she ever heard. She loved animals, and I'm pretty sure that's where I inherited my love of animals from. She made the best enchiladas I've ever had. And she sent me Garfield strips because I liked to read them.

Happy birthday, grandma.

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No Victory Points For You

Posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

Dave!I have been trying to wrap my head around the logic behind attacking workers who have to enforce mask mandates. They have literally NO control over it. They don't control what elected officials dictate... they don't control what their county dictates... what their company dictates... what their manager dictates. So screaming at them with your anti-mask tirade when there's nothing they can do just makes you the worst possible kind of asshole.

So congratulations! You made a waiter at a cafe break down in tears. And that wasn't good enough, so you started shouting homophobic slurs at him, because apparently you feel his life isn't hard enough already. So... we get it. You are outraged that you have to wear a mask. And you are grossly intolerant of homosexuality. But making this poor minimum-wage earning kid completely break down doesn't win you any victory points. It just shows people how cruel, heartless, and utterly bankrupt you are as a person. You had the opportunity to reach out with kindness and understanding to a young kid just trying to earn a living during these difficult times, but instead you decided to destroy him for no reason over something he has no control over.

Whatever you're taking that allows you to sleep at night... can I get some? Because I haven't been sleeping so well lately and this sounds like it REALLY must knock you out.

   

Flannel The Flannel Flannel

Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Dave!Even after I had taken a second sleeping pill, I could not get to sleep last night. Then I kept seeing that it was light out and thought that it must be close to time to get up, which screwed me up even more.

But it wasn't time to get up. Here is a photo taken at around 1:00am...

A winter glow out my bedroom window.

Everything was covered in snow, there was snow falling, and streetlights reflecting between the clouds in the sky and the snow on the ground created an artificial light out my window. My window which used to have blinds on it, but they had to be removed when Jake clawed is way up from the cat perch and nearly choked himself to death on them.

Oh well.

My Apple Watch tells me that I finally fell asleep at 3:15am and was awakened by Alexa telling my cats that it was their breakfast time at 7:00am. Soooo... 3-3/4 hours total sleep then.

Is it any wonder that after I took my shower but before I drank a Coke Zero that I was a little groggy? Since it was all cold and snowy out, I grabbed a nice red flannel shirt to wear. Flannel is nice on a cold Winter day...

Me holding a flannel shirt.

I tried to put it on but it wasn't going on. I tried again and it still wouldn't go on. Finally I walked into the light so I could see if it was buttoned up or something... and noticed that the reason I couldn't get my shirt on was because it wasn't a shirt. It was pajama bottoms that my sister gave me for Christmas...

Me holding a pair of flannel pants.

As you can imagine, this was a humdinger of a day.

It didn't help that, on top of being exhausted from lack of sleep, all the problems that missed me on Monday and Tuesday landed on me today.

But I did eventually find a flannel shirt that was actually a flannel shirt, so at least I was comfy during the onslaught.

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All Hail The Free Market!

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Dave!You ever notice how when millionaires and billionaires are making money on the stock market... while retirement funds for average American citizens are tanking... that we're told this is "just the way it goes?" I sure noticed when my retirement investments lost over 1/3 their value a while back. But then do you also notice how when millionaires and billionaires are losing money on the stock market... while some average Americans are managing to finally win for once... that all of a sudden everything gets shut down to "protect investors?"

If you haven't noticed, just check a news site.

And to understand what's going on, just watch the movie Trading Places...

Trading Places movie poster starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.

We here in the United States of America live in a "free market economy." Except when wealthy people are losing money. Then we suddenly don’t. And our government has been fighting to keep it this way all along. They wouldn’t want to piss of the people who OWN their corrupt asses, now would they? The USA... home to the best government money can buy! That's us.

I used to be outraged by this shit. Now I just shrug it off because it's so unsurprising.

Politicians are constantly touting Dow Jones Index numbers as an indication of how the economy is doing. In truth, it's only an indication as to how wealthy people are doing. And yet we've been conditioned to think that it actually means something to us. "Sure you're working more for less, but just look at those Dow numbers!" It's just like how we've been conditioned to think that market regulations which prevent corruption and exploitation are a bad thing.

But anyway...

This morning I went to see how the $25 investment I made as a goof was faring. I was expecting it to be wiped out. So you can imagine my surprise when I see this...

My $25 is now worth $366.35.

Boy. Can you imagine if I had invested $10,000 instead of $25? I'd have $146,540. Of course the idea of me having $10,000 laying around to invest is hysterical, but a boy can dream can't he?

I'd gladly take some of my $366.35 and buy some AMC Theater stock or some GameStop stock to help keep their value going up... but the iPhone "Robin Hood" app which holds my portfolio has suspended trading of both AMC and GME "to protect investors." AKA "to protect wealthy people."

I'd be outraged that I'm being prevented from buying something in a so-called "free market"... but I'm just going to shrug it off. Again. That's kinda what you have to do when you're not rich enough to ignore the rules.

I mean, Robin Hood has been hit with a class action lawsuit for this bullshit, but do we really expect that to go anywhere?

Shrug it off. Shrug it off. Shrug it off.

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Cheez-It’s After Midnight

Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2021

Dave!Boy, losing Cloris Leachmen and Cicely Tyson in the same week? That's a sobering way to close out January after closing out the shit year that was 2020.

Last night I blew all my energy dishing up Jake and Jenny's wet food, leaving me no energy to cook for myself. I had eaten a veggie burger early in the day while running errands, so it wasn't a big deal. I ended up eating some Cheez-It's and drinking a Coke Zero then calling it good.

Which of course meant that I woke up hungry in the middle of the night.

Which resulted in my eating another handful of Cheez-It's, but I digree.

The problem with waking up in the middle of the night is that it also wakes my cats up. They are perfectly happy to let me sleep and rarely bother me when I'm lost in slumberland, but all bets are off if I wake them up. First Jenny wanted pets. Then Jake wanted pets. Then Jenny came back again for more pets. According to my Apple Watch, I finally fell asleep again after 2:30am. Was that handful of Cheez-It's worth it? Probably not.

Four-and-a-half hours later when I was awakened by Alexa so I could feed them breakfast, I noticed that THEY weren't the least bit tired. I guess when you spend the entire day sleeping, you always have surplus energy.

In other news... I stayed up 'til midnight so I could watch the latest episode of WandaVision, where things are finally starting to happen. It only took four episodes, but okay. It wasn't necessarily great, but it does hint that great things are coming. If you've already seen it and are interested in my spoiler-filled thoughts, you can find them in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Caturday 195

Posted on Saturday, January 30th, 2021

Dave!Despite the fact that Jake is the one needing to lose weight, it's Jenny that's always begging for food. And nothing gets her excited faster than seeing me head towards the kitchen, because... for whatever reason... she thinks that means I'm going to feed her. I almost never do that because I don't want her trained to be begging for food.

Last night after their dinner was over, I went to the kitchen to load the dishwasher and clean up. She sees this and immediately runs to sit and stare at me. After 5 or so minutes she gives up and walks away. A few minutes after that I get a glass of water to refill their water fountain. She notices and comes running over at top speed. She watches me fill the fountain. She hops over and looks to see if I put food in her bowl. She then howls... and I mean HOWLS... when she sees that I haven't.

I can only guess that she was screaming NNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!

The rest of the evening was pretty awkward, if I'm being honest.

Jake has been doing better, but he's still being awfully clingy, hanging with me every morning...

Jake snuggled against me wanting attention.

Jake walking on me as I lay on he couch.

Jake snuggled against me in bed sleeping.

He's still weird though. A couple nights ago I heard him crying his little lungs out. It sounded serious, so I dropped everything and tracking him to the guest bedroom. He had jumped up on the desk and apparently was afraid to jump down. So I moved a chair over, then put some jeans on it so he had a soft landing spot. He looked at the chair, then jumped BESIDE it rather than ON it...

Jake jumps down next to the chair.

I mean... it worked... but seriously, Jake?!?

Probably still traumatized since Jenny chased him off the cat tree a while back...

Poor Jake. He conveniently forgets that he was chasing her around the house first.

And in other Jake news... earlier this week I could not access my home file server from the office for some reason, so I had to come home to get the assets I needed. Before settling into work, I grabbed a couple slices of bread and butter to eat. Then proceeded to drop a slice on me, which sent me scrambling to the kitchen for a towel. This is what awaited me when I got back to my computer...

Jake licking the butter off my bread.

Not a great day to be me, clearly. Oh well. Maybe that butter will help curtail any hairballs he felt like puking up?

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Bullet Sunday 699

Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2021

Dave!I don't mean to alarm anybody, but this is the last Bullet Sunday of the 600's... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Good News, Everyone! After a shitty year of all bad news, it's nice to know that there's a best-case scenario happening right now... People Who've Gotten Both Shots Simply Aren't Getting COVID. And when they do get COVID because it's a mutant strain or whatever... they aren't requiring hospitalization and don't suffer such damaging effects. Nice! Much love to the scientists and researchers who have been working overtime to get us a vaccine.

   
• Residential! Alan Tudyk is one of my favorite actors, and I was pretty stoked when I randomly happened across his new series... Resident Alien. This is a comic book series I've glanced at, and I had no idea it was being adapted for television. As you'd expect, Tudyk is flawless at playing a quirky alien trapped on earth in disguise as a doctor, and I really loved the first episode...

The premise is pretty darn good, and it will be interesting to see how they play this one out.

   
• TikTok On The Clock! AMAZING tip for getting more coverage when painting! Thanks, TikTok!

@philsremodeling

Reply to @987cheeta ##philsremodeling ##remodeling ##painting ##comedy

♬ original sound - philsremodeling

Oh yeah. That's a painting trick I can use!

   
• Reelection Matters! Still no comment by Patty Murray or Maria Cantwell on Wall Street trying to protect wealthy hedge funds over average Americans? I may die of unshock. Can’t upset their wealthy owners who bankroll their campaigns! Stock manipulation is fine... when rich people do it. Markets are free... until rich people lose money. Wall Street makes the rules to exploit the American people to benefit our wealthiest citizens. And the minute it doesn’t, they change the rules. And Murray and Cantwell are still fighting for that status quo, apparently.

Say... here’s an idea! We know Republicans can’t win against our senators in Blue-Blue Washington State, but what about another Democrat? A Democrat not content to have Washington State sit on the sidelines or take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to stuff going on Right Now?? A Democrat who doesn’t check with their owners before acting? A Democrat that charges into battle for Washingtonians AS SHIT IS HAPPENING. Because hand-wringing after the fact is getting SO tiring. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was going on interviews, posting to social media, and had a live Twitch feed yesterday to address Wall Street protecting wealthy hedge funds over the American people. Where were our Senators? Planning their re-election campaigns, probably.

   
• Change! This right here is what I love about TikTok in a nutshell...

@chris_cannon_

some things just change #fyp

♬ SHIFTOKKERS ONLY - Koko

Cute story and a SpongeBob Squarepants reference? Yeah... sign me up.

   
• Flyover! Last night my Apple TV went to screen saver while I cleaned up my filthy kitchen (I swear, that onion/poblano Quesadilla filling is lethal). As I was sitting down I saw that the screen saver was flying over Buckingham Palace which is pretty easy to recognize. Then they keep flying over London and I see that so many of these old buildings have amazing car parks inside! I had no clue when I visited the Churchill War Rooms museum that they had this gorgeous rotunda car park within their walls...

An aerial view of a parking rotunda in the middle of a building.
Image taken from Google® Maps Satellite View

Isn't this amazing? And the more I explored, the more interior car parks I found. That's pretty cool. I've seen some of these in person, but never knew how prevalent they are.

   
And that's a wrap on Bullet Sunday No. 699.

   

You Do Not Fuck With Gort

Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2021

Dave!Last night I was reading an article from 2018 which said that artificial neurons compute faster than the human brain. This, coupled with the fact that we can already build robots which are capable of acting substantially faster than humans and, well, you can see where this could become a problem on down the road.

Skynet is gonna be real, y'all...

A murderous robot from the Terminator movies.

   
But the more I thought about it...

...the more I kinda embraced the idea of creating robots that are smarter and faster than humans. Think Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still...

The robot Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Gort is from a race of robots which were created to police the galaxy and halt any aggression they run across by immediately terminating the aggressors. To make sure they are able to do this effectively, they have been given absolute power over everything and everybody... possessing horrifying weapons to carry out their task. As if that weren't enough, they are also nigh invulnerable to all harm. Long story shot... you do not fuck around with them. Nor do you risk disrupting the peace because it would be your ass that gets vaporized.

Seriously, how handy would it be to have these robots patrolling the planet? Vaporizing assholes and idiots who make this planet such a miserable place to live.

And so I say "Bring it on."

Heaven only knows that robots wouldn't do a worse job of things than we have. And if we all end up extinguished because we can't curb our violent ways? Well, that's probably for the best.

   

The Heat is On

Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Dave!Yesterday afternoon while I was at the office I had to run out to my car to grab a file folder I forgot. It was cold out. It was rainy out. It was miserable out. Once I got back to my desk I did something I don't think I've ever done before... I logged into my home thermostat and turned the heat up so it would be toasty warm when I got home.

Something about the idea of arriving home to my chilly-ass home hit me wrong.

And, I gotta tell ya, it was really nice. Not something I can afford to do very often, but nice enough that I may do it more often. Because sometimes it's the little luxuries (like $2 in electricity) that make life a little more enjoyable.

My cats, of course, were totally digging it.

Today I decided to wear an extra sweater when I got home, but I warmed up mentally because it was time for my annual viewing of Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day...

Bill Marray in a truck with a groundhog that's hanging onto the wheel looking angry.

Don't drive angry, groundhog! Don't drive angry.

A massive explosion of the truck which drove over a cliff and crashed.

Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliot looking down the cliff at the explosion, which is reflecting on them with an orange glow.

   
The movie never gets old, and that scene is always hilarious. Chris Elliot really doesn't get enough credit for his part in this classic flick. His part was small, but his delivery of the lines for this scene is about the funniest thing you'll see... and was kinda duplicated hilariously in the movie Paul 18 years later.

I have to wonder how many times I've seen Groundhog Day. The movie was released 28 years ago... So I'm going to say it's likely been minimum 30 times. Once in theaters. Once when the VHS was available. Once when the DVD was available. Once when it was available Digitaly. And at least once a year for the past 28 years it's been released. And sometimes when I just feel like it. So... possibly 36 times? There's not many movies I've watched 36 times.

Now back to enjoying my toasty home.

   

Hindsight is 2020

Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

Dave!Yesterday was not a particularly great day.

I've been consumed with a project at work, and packed up my files so I could continue working on it at home while watching Groundhog Day. The entire drive home all I could think about was how exhausted I was and how much I wish that I could just go home, climb into bed, then sleep until dawn.

Once I got home I noticed that the bowl I use to bribe Fake Jake away from the garage with treats if he shows up in the morning was missing. It's not easy to spot from the street, but I always scan the area to make sure that Fake Jake won't come running in front of the car as I pull into my garage, so I noticed it immediately.

And I was furious.

Irrationally furious, but that's how I get when I've exhausted.

WHERE IS FAKE JAKE'S BOWL?!? WHO IN THE HELL STOLE FAKE JAKE'S BOWL? I WILL LOOK AT MY SECURITY CAMERA FOOTAGE AND I WILL FIND YOU! THEN I WILL END YOU! I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN LIKE A DOG! BLOOD WILL RUN THROUGH THE STREETS! VENGEANCE WILL BE MINE!!!

As I stomped into the house I pulled out my phone to check the footage, and...

   
Oh. Well, I can't even be mad about that. Kinda ironic that if I had actually went after the culprit, I would have literally been hunting down a dog. Luckily, the bowl was still in the street where he dropped it and hadn't been run over or anything.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have been so angry. Absolutely anything could have happened, and it wouldn't have necessarily been theft. I should resolve that in 2021 I will wait until facts are in evidence before becoming irrationally angry.

Which, if I became angry then, would no longer be quite so irrational?

I dunno. Something to shoot for, I suppose. Hindsight may be 20/20 but my rage is eternal.

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Humpday Truth

Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2021

Dave!   
If you beat your head against a wall all day... you're going to end up with a headache.

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WandaVision Visions

Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2021

Dave!I've made no bones about my disappointment over the slow burn of Marvel Studio's first series to land on Disney+, WandaVision. It started as a 50's sitcom version of The Dick VanDyke Show, became a 60's episode version of Bewitched, then took a jump into the 70's by looking like something out of The Brady Bunch, and currently they've become an 80's sitcom version of Family Ties or maybe Growing Pains. These are not all the influences of what Wanda has created, but you get the idea...

Wanda and Vision in an 80's sitcom.

Along the way we got a peek into what's happening in The Real World in fourth episode. That's when things finally got moving, and we started to understand what's happening.

Now we're at the fifth episode and the implications are huge. Since there's finally something to talk about, I'm doing just that in a spoiler-filled extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Caturday 196

Posted on Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Dave!Jenny has me completely wrapped around her paw. And she knows it.

Unlike Jake, who can't meow for some reason, Jenny can... and does... meow when it suits her to do so. When she's upset? Meow. When she wants something? Meow. When she's frustrated? Meow. Last night she hopped up on the dining room table (which mean I had to disinfect it) which is someplace she knows she's not supposed to be. As I was walking by to make dinner, she let out a meow so dramatic that I was compelled to stop and find out what she wanted. Which was to have her head scratched.

Most of the time she just meows to get attention though...

Jenny standing on my bed next to Mufasa the toy lion.

Yesterday morning I got an alert on my phone that I ignored. Then I got more and was compelled to check. VOICES IN MY HOUSE?!?

Jenny standing on my bed next to Mufasa the toy lion.

So I listened in and found that... the cats had turned on the television. Apparently I left the remote out.

And now it's time for my weekly steam-cleaning of the cat feeding station, the cat drinking fountain, and the cat Litter-Robots. When did my weekend start revolving around cat maintenance? Since I first got them five years ago ten days from now, I'd imagine.

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Bullet Sunday 700

Posted on Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Dave!You're probably watching sportsball today, but I've got your touchdown right here... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• BAT! My new ritual for Sportsball Sunday is to watch the Superb Owl episode of What We Do In The Shadows...

The cast of What We Do In The Shadows, consisting of vampires, shows up to a Superb Owl party.

Far more entertaining that football could ever be.

   
• Make Mine Marvel! Finally. Exactly what I'm looking for in a Marvel Studios Disney+ series...

I'm assuming that they're not going to waste our time with three episode parodying 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, and Rush Hour before actually getting to the action. And speaking of action... how amazing is it to see Sharon Carter (AKA Agent 13) kicking copious amounts of ass in this trailer?

   
• Beer! The Superb Owl commercials were mostly a bust this year for me. Except one. This is one of the best straightforward commercials I've seen in a long time...

It bypasses special effects and slick marketing to go with something much more intimate and human. And it works really well, accomplishing what commecials costing boatload more money can't. Bravo, David Fincher.

   
• Plague! As a long-time fan of Adam Ellis and his illustrated comics and stories, I was 100% unsurprised to learn that somebody made a shot-for-shot film adaptation... without asking for permision... of one of his stories...

I'm unsurprised because this shit happens CONSTANTLY. I've had my works stolen more times than I can count... for everything from business logos and remakes of my DaveToons to outright plagiarism where they erase my copyright and present it as their own work to promote their sites and products. There was a shop in the UK that printed out one of my cartoons to fill AN ENTIRE WINDOW DISPLAY and never responded to my emails once I was made aware of it. And don't even get me started on my photos. Those have been stolen so often that I had to stop putting hi-res images online, which was brought about because some asshole used one of my shots to promote a homophobic message of hate that really hit me hard. 95% of the time when people ASK me to use something, I am happy to say yes with the understanding that it's for non-profit use that doesn't promote hate-speech. But since I don't make any money off of my stuff, if YOU are, then I want to get PAID.

This right here from Adam Ellis is one of the worst and most egregious rip-offs I've ever seen. And the fact that the people who STOLE HIS WORK then asked him to promote it... and even blew him off when he asked them to remove their theft... is abhorrent. I hope he sues because he has a very good chance of winning. SOME of us should actually get justice for having our work stolen. This is rage-inducing. But what's even more rage-inducing? The response from the filmmakers after Adam's post went viral, essentially saying that they tried to contact Adam (right), but when he "didn't respond" they decided to steal his work anyway. Except because they added stuff to the story, they don't consider it to be really stealing. And since the concept of man being created from the earth has been told forever, then they have a right to tell it. Even if it rips off the way Adam interpreted it completely. So by that logic I guess I could rip them off by making a shot-for-shot remake of their film and they would be perfectly fine with that?

   
• I AM SEEN! And I don't think that I've ever felt more attacked!

@thatloudguymike

##stitch with @kellyz1123 IM NOT LONELY YOURE LONELY ##cats ##joke ##comedy ##fml

♬ original sound - Scarfo

Pretty much... me.

   
• Olive Garden? When it comes to eating out, I'm not the biggest fan of Olive Garden. It's okay... and there are certainly some dishes I like there... but it's not terribly authentic and I would prefer to make my own Italian at home. The exception is their salad and breadsticks. In fact, most every time I go there, it's not for the pasta... it's for that neverending salad and breadsticks. A while ago I found that they started selling their "Signature Italian" salad dressing in the grocery store. I bought a small bottle to try, absolutely loved it, and have been buy the big bottles two at a time so I never run out...

Four bottles of Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing.

It makes salad become frickin' dessert. And it's made me start experimenting with making my own breadsticks. At first I thought it shouldn't be too difficult. It's just a basic bread slathered with butter and garlic salt. But they're surprisingly tricky to make the same, because th sticks at Olive Garden have a fluffy texture to them. I'm guessing it's because of some kind of dough additive, but I'm not giving up just yet. If Olive Garden ever releases frozen sticks at the grocery store that bake up the same, I may never go to their restaurants ever again.

   
• Population! I found this fascinating...

At some point mankind will understand that resources are finite and the planet is being destroyed. Then they will either do something about it... or they won't. The universe won't care one way or the other. Humanity, of course, will care quite a lot.

   
And that's my last touchdown.

   

Plant-Based Misery

Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2021

Dave!After spending the entire weekend with the worst case of food poisoning I've ever had... or maybe it was some other kind of reaction to the "plant-based meat" ingredient I ate... the last thing I wanted to do when I got up was go to work. I was still feeling weak, my stomach was still a bit dicey, and Monday's are always challenging even without all that.

But oh well... buckle up, buttercup. Or whatever.

The culprit for my woes? The last meal from my Martha Stewart meal kit... Plant-Based: Meat-Free Soft Tacos with Charred Corn & Guacamole...

My tacos, which were horrific on my digestive system.

Here's the review I left on Martha & Marley Spoon's site:

"This was a nice idea... but who approved this plant protein stuff? I have a cast-iron stomach. I have eaten the gamut of vegetarian meals on all 7 continents (okay, I was dining off the coast of Antarctica, but still)... and after eating these tacos I was the sickest I can remember being in a long while. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, the plant protein had HORRIBLE texture. Like eating pencil erasers. This isn't even a contest. Worst meal I have ever eaten with Marley Spoon or any other meal service. Probably in the top ten of the worst meals I've ever eaten period. On top of that they needed cheese... and the spinach should have been cut up because it kept falling out of the way-too-small shells. The only bright spot is that this was the ONE bag where my tomato wasn't pulverized by a can of beans this week (because there weren't any beans, I'm guessing). Literally gut-wrenchingly awful."

WHAT I DID NOT SAY BUT SHOULD HAVE SAID... this stuff shredded my intestinal tract in ways that I didn't even know were possible. When I'm not eating Imodium like candy and sitting on the toilet, I am doubled over with stabbing cramps. This was horrific. AND ON A SATURDAY NIGHT!!! Not that I have much going on in COVID-times, but oh my gawd. This stuff shouldn't even be legal. I spent an entire evening wanting to die.

So, yeah... not a fun day to me.

But Monday's rarely are.

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Trans-Gulf Bird Migration

Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Dave!Last night I fell into a Google rabbit hole of Trans-Gulf Bird Migration articles that blew my mind so thoroughly that I was in danger of mental collapsed. It started with an article which stated that there's a bird that has a better handle on predicting hurricanes than any meteorologist and spiraled from there.

And, for me at least, even more difficult to grasp than a weather-predicting Veery Bird is how the tiny thing can keep flying long enough to cross the Gulf of Mexico in the first place.

Some migratory birds can remain in flight for months. Months! They eat, sleep, drink, and mate in the air. The only time they spend time on earth is to lay their eggs and raise their young. Then they're right back up there again. This article from Audubon discusses the Common Swift flying for ten months straight.

And don't even get me started on the albatross. Because holy shit.

Along the way some scientist guy smacked down disbelief in these creature's ability to stay aloft for so long with "Do you act this amazed by a fish who spends its entire life swimming? This is what they were made to do." And while I get their point, my brain is still "Well, yeah, but fish are buoyant. They don't flap their fins to stay floating, they only flap to move, don't they?" I mean sure there are wind currents and such that make it so an albatross can stay airborn for 5 to 10 years, but still...

There's so much amazing stuff happening in this world and yet we seldom take the time to look and I'm not sure why. It's probably the internet's fault. Though, in the internet's defense, I only found out about all this stuff because of the internet, so I don't know.

All I do know is that Ill be digging out my bird feeders from storage this weekend. Who knows how far that bird appearing in my front yard has flown to get here. It might could use a bite to eat.

   

Smelly By Association

Posted on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Dave!It's not that I'm losing my passion or drive for the things that matter to me, it's just that I've stopped giving a crap about the things that don't. My work, my friends, my causes, my hobbies, my cats... they get 100% of my energy and dedication. Dumbasses who pollute the world with their ignorance and hate, however, now get only the most minimal amount of attention that I am forced to give them. Sure there was a time I'd dedicate myself to trying to understand their position while treating them with compassion and caring, but now they can spontaneously combust for all I care.

I came to this radical (for me) new outlook after watching a woman claim that the reason she acted so horribly towards some retail workers was because she was misled and duped by some bad information. And I was like... wait a minute. The bad information which "misled and duped you" only affected how you viewed the situation. Your being a total fucking asshole is what made you scream and yell at some employees just trying to do their job. You can blame somebody else for what you thought you knew... you can't blame somebody else for how you choose to treat people. That's 100% on you.

Because, seriously, if my excuse for not condeming your shitty behavior is "Well, maybe they've been wealthy their entire life and were never taught how to care about people..." then the problem person in that scenario is me.

And still them, of course. They're the asshole in question, I'm just an asshole by association.

Problem is, even an asshole by association ends up smelling shitty.

   

Resigning Myself to Destiny

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Dave!This morning I woke up with a splitting headache for no good reason.

Or bad reason even. I didn't sleep on my neck wrong... or stay up late drinking... or spraypaint a mailbox in an enclosed space... or bang my head on a wall repeatedly. I just went to bed fine and woke up with my brain in distress. I was going to Google my headache symptoms to see what went wrong, but every time you do that they always tell you that you have cancer or some strange disease, so I decided to skip it.

Hence my self-diagnosis of "headache for no good reason."

I always hesistate to tell people when I have a headache. They either have some home remedy like "You need to spin around three times, put a hot towel on top of your head, drink a bottle of tabasco sauce, then use leeches to drain a quart of blood." Or, even worse, they'll insist that you MUST have done something wrong and then grill you for twenty minutes trying to figure out what it is... "It's like a kick to the balls, you must have done something to deserve it."

By far the most awkward response I've ever received was this one... "Shall we pray on it together?" I got this while on an overnight work trip to Greenville, South Carolina after I asked the concierge where the nearest pharmacy was so I could get some aspirin. Possibly due to my throbbing brain, my stupid self thought that he didn't know where to find one and we were praying for guidance... to a drug store. Except that wasn't what he meant at all. He was asking if I wanted to pray for God to heal my headache. Figuring that The Almighty probably had better things to do on a Tuesday morning, I thanked him for the kind offer and said that I just need an aspirin.

After that I resigned myself to suffer in silence come future headaches.

The only reason I'm telling YOU is because my blog is a safe space for me to suffer in public. That's why I have a blog in the first place. Well, that plus I need a way to keep my fans involved in even the most intimate details of my life, because I'm a raging narcissist like that (as if my calling people who read my daily dose of bullshit "my fans" wasn't a big enough indication already).

Though I'm hoping that by the time anybody reads this my handful of Maxium Strength Headache Relief will have kicked in, and any offers of medical advice or prayer will become moot.

Or I am dead and out of my misery at long last.

In that event you're more than welcome to pray for my immortal soul, such as it is.

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Wiccan, Speed, and Reality

Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2021

Dave!Thanks to the pandemic essentially confining my life to what I can see on my television, I've had a fairly boring blog over the past year. A stronger person than myself would likely have used this as an opportunity to just stop blogging altogether and find a better use for that time... but I think we all know I'm not that strong. The evidence is staring you in the face.

I think this is why I'm alternately fascinated then disappointed with the latest thing to come from Marvel Studios and Disney+: WandaVision. On one hand it's nice to have something new after a full year of rewatching the existing Marvel movies... and the potential for cool things happening is huge with this show. On the other hand, they are really dragging things out... and not in a good way. Wanda's ability (and desire) to rewrite reality is a frighteningly timely concept in these COVID times but it's just not moving fast enough for me. And since there's only three episodes left, I'm beginning to wonder just how good the resolution can be.

After last week's bombshell finale, I thought that this week would finally get us the promise we've been shoveled about the television shows being filled with epic events just like the movies are...

Wanda and Vision wearing their comic book costumes for Scarlet Witch and Vision as Halloween costumes.

Alas... not so much.

While there's certainly some very cool nods to the comic book source material (seriously, it's been a comic fanboy's dream!), once again not much is happening in the actual show.

But that leads us into spoiler territory, so I'm putting that discussion in an extended entry. Hopefully it all makes sense, because I'm writing this at 1:00am...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Caturday 197

Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2021

Dave!Next Tuesday is Jake & Jenny's adoption day. Which means five years ago is when I rescued them from the local Humane Society so my mom would have a distraction to keep her company while I was at work. As her dementia progressed, it became more and more important to have distractions, and two kittens was a good one.

After my mom was gone, Jake & Jenny were a distraction for me, and they've been doing a perfect job of this. Even when I'm not at home. Because my iPhone has a photo block which pulls photos out of my library. And since 90% of my photos are of my cats, 90% of the time it's a photo of one of them. Usually it's cute photos that I have favorited like this one...

An iPhone screen shot showing kitten Jake looking up at me being all adorable.

Other times it's photos I would just as soon forget.

Like this one which popped up yesterday morning...

Jake Hospital Visit

   
It's from when Jake had a very bad urinary tract infection... just before I was due to fly to Hawaii for a wedding. Which means I had to leave the poor thing at the vet hospital... and leave Jenny home alone... while I was half-way across the Pacific Ocean. And even though I pared my trip down from ten days to three days, I was still a wreck leaving the poor thing behind when he was so confused and upset...

Flew to Hawaii October 5th. Photographed a wedding October 6th. Flew home October 7th.

And I was a wreck the entire time.

On the morning of 8th I flew down to the vet's office to visit Jake and see if I could bring him home, which I could, because his urine was finally clear. But that just lead to further trauma, because he smelled like the hospital and Jenny was a hissy ball of hate towards him...

When Jenny met Jake

   
It all worked out eventually and they were back to tolerating each other (at least until Jake fell down the stairwell six months later... the day before I had to fly to L.A. for work).

Oh well. It could have been the photo from when I had to rush him back into the vet a couple weeks later... where I made the huge mistake of letting Jake out of his carrier on the return trip. Sure it looked cute on the surface of it all...

Jake looking out the passenger side window as we drive home from the vet.

   
...but it was sensory overload, and the poor thing was even more upset than when I kept him in the carrier the entire time. That's probably the time I felt the most awful, because it was entirely my fault.

I feel extremely fortunate that my cats haven't required many trips to the vet (knock wood). The visits I have are tough enough, which is why my iPhone really shouldn't be surprising me with those photos like that. Isn't waking up in a global pandemic every day torture enough?

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Bullet Sunday 701

Posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Dave!It's Valentine's Day, the world's gone crazy, winter storms are striking, and I just drank my last can of Coke Zero, but all is not lost... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Let it Snow! It's snowing! And every time this happens, I think back to this TikTok, which is one of the funniest things I've ever seen...

@staygooofy

i was talking about the snow shut up

♬ original sound - goofs

It's getting to the point where I'd rather watch TikToks than television.

   
• Ryan! I swear... if Ryan Reynolds wasn't completely killing it as an actor, he could easily make a mint as a media consulting company. His every ad endeavour has been amazing...

The fact that he did this particular ad on behalf of a charity is just icing on the cake. I guess you can understand the reason my cat's full name is Jake Ryan Reynolds Simmer.

   
• Munchin'! There’s a woman with a pet duck called “Munchkin” on my TikTok. The duck’s most favorite thing is to go through the drive-thru at Dunkin’s for a cup of ice water. Over the past several weeks she’s been taking Munchkin to different drive-thrus, and today she FINALLY took her to Sonic, which has the most amazing ice ever...

@dunkin.ducks

Reply to @kerry_leeshults Sonic x Duck ASMR! Munchkin LOVES their small ice 🍓 🧊 🦆 #dunkinducks #sonic #asmr #duck #drivethru #DoritosFlatLife

♬ original sound - The Quack House

We do not speak of the time that she took Munchkin to Dairy Queen and they refused to give her an ice water. Guess I'm not bothering with their duck-denying asses any more.

   
• SELECT ITEMS! My morning was ruined this past Tuesday, thanks to Cutlery and More's 20% OFF Sale...
=checks email=
"20% OFF! Wow! How awesome!"
=opens email=
"SELECT ITEMS? Crap! Well... mayyyybeee...."
=checks exclusions=
"FUCK!!!!!"

Sale Excludes items by MAC Knives and Wustof Knives.

By manufacturer request? How can a manufacturer keep you from just putting your entire store at 20% off? This blows. The only things I want to buy have been excluded from their sale.

   
• Norge! Will Ferell had a Superb Owl commercial which promoted General Motors electric cars here in the USA and complain that Norway is currently #1 when it comes to fuel-free automobiles. It was basically a disturbingly funny look at how far the US is behind much of the world, and Will is angry at Norway because of it.

And now Norway responds...

What's so incredible here is how the original commercial typifies American response to most everything. We're #1. We're the best country in the world. No other country is better than us. Except when they are, and then we have to obliterate them. Whereas Norway's response is so typical of them. Smart, playful, educational, and delivering a smackdown in a way that's tough to really debate... yet not so harsh that it alienates Americans entirely. It's absolute insanity to think how stupid, gullible Americans have been conditioned by our wealthy corporate overlords to believe that the horrific state of this country is inconsequential to us being "the best" at everything. Which it is... for our wealthy corporate overlords. We are an incomprehensibly wealthy country, yet the vast majority of that wealth is exclusively in the hands of precious few people. Believing that this makes us the envy of all the world is the height of such laughable hubris that I'm surprised Norway can even deliver their response with any semblance of a straight face.

   
• Controversial Colors? The stuff I learn on TikTok could fill volumes, thanks to amazing content creators like this...

@ill_look_it_up

Baker-Miller Pink #colors #pink #funfacts #fyp

♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

Weird, cool, and enlightening. That's pretty much TikTok in a nutshell.

   
• ENTITLEMENT OUTRAGE! Boy, the butthurt is strong on Facebook this past week. I watch six "traditional" television channels... HDTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Bravo, VH1, and Hallmark (anything else on my TV comes from a custom streaming service like Netflix or Disney+). All of those traditional channels can be had on my $20 Philo subscription, which is SO cheap. I USED to pay $126 per month for satellite that was packed with channels I didn't want and never watched! I am saving over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS a year by going with a package that fits exactly what I want!

Now some of these channels... namely those under the Discovery umbrella like HGTV... are offering their ENTIRE FUCKING BACK-CATALOG for popular shows... PLUS all-new exclusive content via a streaming service called discovery+. This is like a fucking all-you-can-eat-buffet for somebody like me who loves their programming and could watch them over and over and over again. And now I can. For $5 a month. Glorious!

I just took advantage of a discovery+ promo to get a YEAR of ad-free for $60 (usually the $5/mo. price comes with ads). It's a gift subscription special, so I gifted it to myself! I could not be happier. So imagine my unshock when I look through the comments on the Facebook post advertising the special and see "STOP NICKLE AND DIMING US!" and "NOPE! NOT PAYING YOU ONE CENT MORE!" and "I ALREADY PAY FOR CABLE, YOU'RE BEEING GREEDY!" and "IT'S A PANDEMIC AND YOU'RE SCREWING PEOPLE!" — And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa. This isn't lifesaving medicine... it's fucking TV shows for Christ's sake. AND, on top of that, Discovery STILL broadcast their regular programming over satellite and cable packages if that's the way you want to go. The only thing you miss out on it the exclusive content. But even that's not a big deal. Wait for all the episodes to air for a show you want to see, spend $5 for a single month to watch them, then cancel before it renews the next month. But NOOOOOO! That requires people to stop being fucking idiots.

I honest to God don't get the entitlement bullshit I see every fucking day. People feel ENTITLED to entertainment TV shows? Seriously? Ironically, half these people are probably just fine with health care costs bankrupting them instead of having Medicare for All be paid out of our taxes... but tell them they have to pay for new episodes of Fixer Upper? TOTAL FUCKING OUTRAGE! I cannot with people on the internet any more. It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse.

   
• IT'S EVERYWHERE! And lastly, before I go, here's one more TikTok that slayed me this weekend...

@monicawoodland

Pt-2 ##fyp ##foryou ##foryourpage ##dirtydiaper ##dadchangesdiaper ##viral ##gaggingreflex ##dadsoftiktok ##funny ##poop ##dad ##makethisgoviral ##ellenshow ##ellen

♬ original sound - Monica Woodland

That's me cleaning up cat vomit the rare times that it's happened. To go through this every day? Yikes.

   
And now I suppose I should think about cleaning my house. Or not. It's not like I'm having visitors any time soon and my cats just don't care.

   

Butt Scratchin’ Holiday Fun

Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2021

Dave!Today is technically a holiday at work, but I'm going in anyway to clean up a bunch of little things that have been piling up. I have decided to wear sweats to the office for the first time ever because nobody should be there to notice. Except you just know that somebody will end up being there and notice. Oh well. I barely have the energy to go into work... let alone change pants. So sweat pants are a step above no pants, I suppose.

And just as I resigned myself to heading into the office a little early, this happens...

Jenny at the end of my bed.

And of course she rubs all over me before planting herself, so now I'm covered in cat hari...

Jenny laying next to me getting butt scratches while I'm covered in cat hair.

Then, before you know it, she's fast asleep... trapping my arm in the process...

Jenny asleep beside me while her leg is flopped over my arm.

I promised myself that I'd be in the office by 10:00am, so eventually I say "Do you want a treat? Is it treat time? Let's go get a treat!" At which time she's flying off of my and dashing downstairs at top speed.

Now, usually when I have to go into work on a holiday, I treat myself to a snack-run at the mini mart. I buy all the junk foods I normally try to avoid. But the idea of having to deal with anti-mask idiocy and "election fraud" rants was too much to bear, so I microwaved a veggie burger instead. Sometimes the snacks just aren't worth it.

Despite icy roads and nearly getting rear-ended, I made it to my desk at 9:58am. So way to go me, I guess...

Snowy roads and blue skies on my way to work.

What followed was a furious three-hour burst of productivity that stunned me so hard that I didn't end up working an entire half-day. Instead I ditched a half-hour early and came home to veg out in front of the television. My free trial to Apple Arcade hasn't been touched yet and will expire any day now, so I should at least take a look at that.

   

The Nuclear Option

Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

Dave!The microwave in my work's break area is very old. It has aged so much that the white plastic parts are now yellow plastic parts. I don't know much about it, but I believe it's a 10-watt model. At least it seems that way. Something which would cook in 20 seconds in my microwave at home can take 2 full minutes at work. It's wasteful to just toss it out for a newer model since it's still functional, so we just deal with it. If somebody's reheating a bagel (or whatever) when you want to eat lunch, you just come back in ten minutes... no big deal.

Years ago I was reading a vintage magazine where they were predicting that in the future frozen meals would be packed in nuclear-powered packaging. No microwave required. You'd squeeze down on a corner of the aluminium tray and the Uranium-235 embedded inside would activate and cook your TV dinner. This raised all kinds of questions. Such as... what happens to all those food trays? Do they just go in the trash-can and get taken to a landfill? Wouldn't we all be glowing in the dark if the product caught on? What were they thinking?

At least they were still going to use aluminum trays instead of the plastic crap we use now. Not that anybody back then would ever recycle anything. Back then everything went straight into the trash.

I have a certain nostalgia for the TV dinners of old.

The earliest dinners I remember as a kid didn't come with dessert. There were three sections... one for the meat (for me that meant meatloaf, chicken, or salsbury steak), one for the potatoes (usually mashed, but sometimes slices or fries), and one for the vegetables (exclusively consisting of peas, carrots, and corn or a mixture thereof). That's it. That's all you got...

A Swanson TV dinner in aluminum tray.
Photo from a Google Search, so I dunno.

I didn't like any kind of meat, even when I was very young, so mom sometimes let me have a macaroni & cheese dinner.

Eventually a small and mysterious fourth section was added. This was where the dessert landed. Sometimes it was fancy cobblers, cornbread, muffin, or maybe even a brownie, but my favorite was baked apple slices. Oh boy! There were only about four or five of them, but they were floating in a sea of sugar-cinnamon syrup that was so good I'd try and lick it out of the damn tray...

A Swanson TV dinner in aluminum tray.
Photo from a Google Search, so I dunno.

As I got older, Swanson started getting creative. They had "International" versions which steered away from the meat and potato fare that the USA lived on in favor of exotic dishes from Old Mexico or Italy or even the faraway islands of Polynesia! Instead of a mere four sections, they would have five! They also had larger-size dinners which were their HUNGRY-MAN line of bake-and-serve meals. It was a bonanza of non-stop food goodness, fresh from your freezer!

Eventually microwave ovens dictated that aluminum trays be ditched in favor of plastic. And the golden age of TV dinners was over. We never got a nuclear option because microwaves were cheaper, I guess.

But not nearly as much fun, certainly. If Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull taught us anything, it's that.

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Ruin and Despair in Atlantic City

Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Dave!Last night I got a call from a good friend I've known for over a decade. And the way you know that they are a good friend is that I actually picked up. There's only a dozen people that I will interrupt my busy pandemic lifestyle to talk with, and he is one of them.

"I'm starting to worry about you. Your texts and emails have you sounding down."
"More down than usual?"
"Yes."

I assured him that I'm doing just fine despite the pandemic completely changing my life, we shot the shit for a half hour, then said our goodbyes.

And I totally get why he called. COVID is happening, the world has gone to shit, and the light at the end of the tunnel is probably the headlight of a freight train. This is a friend who knows first-hand about my struggles, and it's nice to know that there are people who care enough to check in on me like this.

The centerpiece of our conversation was me explaining that there's a difference between wanting to die and being apathetic about dying. I don't want to die, I just don't care if it happens. For the time being I have cats that rely on me, there's some things left I'd like to do with my life (or try to do), and I'm not ready to check out just yet. So I'm good.

Mostly.

The news when I woke up this morning was Trump Plaza being imploded and demolished...

The Trump Plaza being imploded.
Photo from the Associated Press Newswire

This brought up memories of my first and only trip to Atlantic City back on July 17, 1999. I was working in New York City and ended up with a free day and nothing to do. Ultimately I decided that I would go to the Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City for lunch so I could check it off my list, then head back to The City. The cheapest way to do this was via Greyhound Bus. Not the best way to travel, but I had survived far worse.

I managed to get a window seat half-way back, then sat there as the bus started filling up. Eventually a woman walked up and asked if she could sit next to me. I said "No problem" and she replied with "Thanks. You look like the person least likely to grab me or assault me." The only thing I could think to say way "Um, thanks. I guess?"

The next three hours were spent talking to my seatmate and new best friend. John F. Kennedy Jr. had died the previous day and she had to get out of The City. He had been the golden boy of NYC, was much beloved there, and things were just too depressing for her. A nine hour distraction was just what she needed. Like me, she had booked the 8am departure (arriving 11am) returning 2pm (or something like that). Along the way she had quite a lot to say. I remember almost none of it. I do remember her talking about how she had moved to a new church and signed up for choir. When she got her robe, she was dismayed to see that it was all white. "So there I am in all my Blackness standing there in the whitest robe I've ever seen..."

I didn't say much after explaining that my trip was just to visit the Hard Rock Cafe.

When we arrived we just kinda gravitated towards hanging out together for our three hours. The first thing I did was ask somebody where the "Trump Hotel" was at. "Which one do you mean? The Taj Mahal or the Plaza? I had no idea, so I just responded with "Um... whichever one has the Hard Rock Cafe in it?" Turns out it was the "Trump Taj Mahal" across from "Steel Pier" which was a 20 minute walk...

The Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal as seen looking South on the Boardwalk.

The Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal as seen looking South on the Boardwalk.

The All-Star Cafe Atlantic City was there too...

The All-Star Cafe Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal as seen looking North on the Boardwalk.

After eating lunch, we played slots in the casino for a while. I hit a $70 jackpot fairly quickly off a $10 investment, and poured her out a bunch of quarters so we could keep playing the various slot machines before walking back to the bus terminal. We had a great time. I got the Hard Rock Cafe checked off my list and she got her distraction.

And then some.

On the way back a fight broke out on the bus. Some guy leaned his seat back into some other guy and he was not happy about it. The guys were screaming. The wife of one of the guys was screaming. And the bus driver was screaming for them to knock it off or else he would stop the bus and kick them all off of it. Eventually the matter was settled by the husband and wife swapping seats or something. All my seatmate had to say about the situation was "I knew it. I just knew I wasn't going to get through six hours on a bus without something like this happening!" The rest of our trip was made in silence as we headed back to a city in mourning.

The Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino was one of Donald Trump's many banruptcies and has a rather colorful history... including it being involved in money laundering and being a hot spot for Russian mobsters. Eventually the property was shut down in 2016, then sold to Hard Rock International in 2017. Then in 2018 they reopened it as the "Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City."

As for The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino? Also bankrupted. Also a colorful history. It was originally THE place to be in Atlantic City for the rich and famous. But once the Trump Taj Mahal opened in 1990, Trump ended up poaching his own customers with the newer, bigger, flashier property. Thus the Plaza bankruptcy in 1992. In 1993 Trump somehow made his way out of bankruptcy (do I even want to know how a casino beloved by Russian mobsters managed that?) and started expanding the property... because doubling down in the face of financial ruin is apparently his thing, I guess. But money wasn't the only thing that Trump lost... he also famously lost an eminent domain case against a woman named Vera Coking. Like the asshole he is, Trump tried to get the city to condemn her property so he could buy it and turn it into a limousine parking lot. He failed.

Just as Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione had failed in the 1970's to buy her out of her home. A situation that fans of the Pixar movie, Up, might recognize...

Jenny at the end of my bed.
Photo by Jack Boucher for Historic American Buildings Survey, c.1991 (via Wikipedia)

Unironically I also have a photo of the now-demolished Trump Plaza Hotel from my 1999 visit. I took a photo of Planet Hollywood Atlantic City and it was sticking out like an ugly sore thumb in the background...

Planet Hollywood Atlantic City with Trump Plaza behind it.

Trump's rise and fall in Atlantic City is an engaging story, which you can read in this Salon article originally published by InsiderNJ just before the previous presidential election: Atlantic City has a warning for the nation: Donald Trump brings ruin and despair. Salon helpfully added the byline "Trump looted and corrupted New Jersey's gambling mecca and then got out of town. Does that sound familiar?" Why, yes. It sounds very familiar, alas.

It's weird to think of the stuff that's happened in the world during my 54 years, 10 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days on this planet. From the year I graduated, Trump had Trump Taj Mahal ('84), Trump Plaza ('84), Trump's Castle ('85), Trump's Steel Pier ('88), and Trump's World's Fair ('89) in Atlantic City... and lost them all. His consolation prize being that he was elected President of the United States of America in 2016, the same year Trump Taj Mahal (his last remaining Atlantic City property) was shut down permanently.

Oh well. In addition to my dying (among many, many other subjects) I also hold apathy towards ugly buildings being demolished.

I am kinda glad that I was able to visit Atlantic City during Trump's heydey there in 1999 though. America's prince may have just died in a tragic plane crash... but Donald J. Trump, Democrat, was thinking of running for president on a pro-choice Reform Party ticket with Oprah Winfrey as his running mate.

It was a glorious time to be alive.

   

Meanwhile at the Fraudsters and Liars Table…

Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Dave!I wrote about the AIDS crisis that was exploding around me in the 1980's on a blog entry back in 2018. Dredging up the profound sadness of it all is something which haunts me 2-1/2 years later. If you haven't read it, here's your link, but the passage relevant to this entry is this...

"I'm filled with despair trying to wrap my head around what it was like for the gay community. I had friends who told me that they spent years in hospitals. Years. Not because they were sick, but because everybody they knew was sick or dying. I am aghast if I have to attend a funeral once a year. If you were an integral part of a large gay community, you might end up at a funeral every month. — Due to the AIDS epidemic, the 80's and early 90's were a tragic time of sadness and loss for a great many people."

Yes, it was very much a tragic time of sadness and loss for a great many people.

But not everyone.

Rush Limbaugh used to have a segment on his radio show called AIDS Update. He would start playing songs like Looking for Love (In All The Wrong Places) and then enthusiastically talk about all the gay men who were dying from AIDS-related complications, tell AIDS jokes, and have an on-air party because people dying from AIDS. He would read the name of gay men who had died and play horns and whistles in a jubilant celebration of their fate.

I try very hard not to wish people dead or celebrate people dying... but that doesn't mean I'm sad Rush Limbaugh has died.

Far from it.

Rush Limbaugh ruthlessly persecuted, mocked, and exploited entire segments of the population to his fanatical fan base. And LGBTQ+ persons were just the start. He was particularly horrible towards Black Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, the poor, and women... but there was really nobody he wouldn't attack with unbridled glee if he thought that he could turn hate into dollars. He was all the worst things about humanity compacted into a single blob of hate, and his monstrous cruelty is what he was best known for. He told starving children to eat out of dumpsters for Christ's sake.

And he was celebrated for it...

Former First Lady Melania Trump puts the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Rush Limbaugh's neck.
Photo from a Google Search, so I dunno.

So, no, I don't give a single fuck that Rush Limbaugh is dead.

Rush Limbaugh was a worthless piece of shit who left this earth worse than he entered it. He woke up every day trying to find new ways to make it worse. His repugnant influence helped create an environment so toxic that it's literally endangered lives. So I'm supposed to be sad about his passing? Fuck that. Burn in hell you lying, disgusting, monstrous gas-bag.

And speaking of burning in hell...

As you are undoubtedly aware, Texas is in serious crisis. Freezing weather has gotten so bad that people have been without electricity or heat for days. Toilets are frozen and you have to boil water to use it, assuming you can find a way to do so. People and animals are dying...

  • So of course Texas Senator Ted Cruz flies to Cancun for a vacation. And why shouldn't he? No matter how much repugnant shit he does, he's always reelected. Apparently the only thing that matters is that he has an (R) after his name. If people don't give a fuck that their representation in Congress is abandoning them, why would he give a fuck about them?
  • And of course Ted Cruz is the one who wanted to deny Federal aid to Hurricane Sandy victims when they needed help. He couldn't understand why Texas should have to send their tax dollars to other states... but, of course, now that the shoe is on the other foot... WHERE IS OUR MONEY?
  • And of course President Biden immediately approved relief. Unlike President Trump who was constantly threatening to withhold funds and deny help to states like California "who weren't very nice to him". I may not be a Biden fan, but God isn't it wonderful to not have a petulant man-baby running the country?
  • And of course Ted Cruz is happy to funnel money to his wealthy buddies at every opportunity at the expense of Texans and all Americans. Remember when he wanted to change the rules so that two Texas fracking BILLIONAIRES could get $35 million in COVID relief funds meant for struggling businesses? Pepperidge Farms remembers. But apparently Texas voters do not.
  • And of course wealthy Texas neighborhoods don't lose power. Texas developed their own power grid so that they aren't under government regulations which force you to have safeguards in place for natural disasters... like freezing cold... because that cuts into the profits of the wealthy few who control the grid! And if that doesn't bother Texas voters, then why would the voters give a shit if all the electricity goes to those same wealthy people?
  • And of course Texas oil millionaires are blaming green energy for the electricity shortfall. Never mind that this is 100% false and power officials have stated that green energy failures are the least of Texas's electrical problems... that blame has to go somewhere! Never mind that places like Canada and Alaska use wind turbines to produce electricity all the time... the problem is not that Texas cheapened out and didn't properly insulate their turbines, it's that green energy doesn't work! Because if my massive wealth came from making sure people were dependant on oil, I'd sure tell people that green energy is to blame for their woes! THEY HAVE WIND TURBINES IN ANTARCTICA PRODUCING POWER. But fuck logic!

I could literally spend my entire day continuing the hypocritical bullet points showing how Texas has been conned and gerrymandered into voting for people who literally don't give a fuck about them, but I really need to take a shower and get ready for work.

Okay... just one more, because holy shit...

Former First Lady Melania Trump puts the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Rush Limbaugh's neck.

My guess is that Rush Limbaugh is saving a seat for Ted Cruz in hell at the fraudsters and liars table.

Not that there aren't angels still among us...

A letter from Dolly Parton declining a statue of her to be erected at the Tennessee Capitol because she feels she shouldn't be put on a pedestal with all that's going on in the world.

Never forget that Dolly Parton is one of the first to step up and help when people are in crisis. She even contributed millions of her own money to COVID vaccine research. Now isn't this the type of person we should want running our government? You'd think so... and yet...

   

Aliens, Mars, and Wanda

Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2021

Dave!And so we have another rover on Mars. But give me a minute. I'll get there.

James Cameron is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers. As both writer and director, he knows how to craft a story that is imaginative, exciting, and action-packed. If I were to rank his work, it would look something like this...

  • Aliens (A+) One of the tightest action/horror thrillers ever created.
  • Terminator (A+) Amazing high-concept sci-fi that elevated action sci-fi cinema.
  • True Lies (A) Impeccably well-thought-out spy/action film with terrific humor.
  • Terminator 2 (A) After Aliens, one of the best sequels of all time.
  • The Abyss (A) Grossly underrated action flick with a brilliant story premise.
  • Titanic (B+) Impossibly good film that made the sinking of the Titanic exciting.
  • Avatar (B) Groundbreaking effects-driven spectacle.

The movie Strange Days, which is also a favorite of mine, was written by Cameron, but directed by his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. I actually liked it better than Titanic and Avatar.

So, to sum up, my favorite James Cameron is Aliens.

And I think of this movie every single time that I see NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories where all the scientists and technicians are staring at computer monitors as they run the mission. Yesterday I was watching live as the Perseverance rover was landing on Mars, none of these NASA people were watching events unfold live. It takes 11 minutes for a signal to return to earth, so what they're seeing happened 11 minutes ago. Likewise, any commands they send take 11 minutes to be initiated.

So they're flying blind.

Just like the "artificial person" Bishop does when he makes his way to the settlement satelite uplink tower to call a replacement drop-ship down from the Sulaco. He's not getting any feedback, he's playing out what's happening in orbit in his head and issuing commands accordingly...

Synthetic human Bishop concentrating while looking at nothing.

Bishop's fingers flying across the keyboard.

Bishop punching the ENABLE key on the keyboard.

Actor Lance Henriksen, who plays Bishop, never looks at any display. He is either looking at nothing and staring into space while he concentrates, or looking at the keyboard...

Bishop tying on a terminal while staring at the keys.

A drop-ship onboard the Sulaco is prepping to depart.

Back when I first saw Aliens I thought this was incredibly cool... and totally baller. And it's a bit what I imagine it's like to work on a rover landing at JPL.

Anyway... back to Mars...

I watched NASA's "live" broadcast of the landing. It's nail-biting stuff. With that 11 minute delay and no way to send last minute course corrections or instructions, all they could do was cross their fingers that everything worked as it was designed to. As we saw with the probe Nozomi things can definitely go terribly wrong. NASA tried to make the wait interesting by having computer renderings of what's going on, which includes the rover targeting its landing zone after being released from the lander...

A computer rendering of the Mars rover desceding.

A computer rendering of  the Mars rover falling towards the red planet.

A computer rendering of the Mars rover landed on Mars.

Good job, buddy!

NASA engineers celebrating the successful landing.

Throughout the broadcast, there was a guy walking about stuff that was happening...

NASA engineer discussing the landing.

But I could barely concentrate on him... I was laser-focused on what looks like a Mars 2020 branded jar of peanuts sitting on the desk next to him...

Closeup of what looks like a jar of peanuts sitting next to the NASA engineer.

Maybe it's not nuts at all... I dunno. Could be it's some essential prop for discussing the Mars mission that I missed by coming late to the video stream. But it sure looks like nuts.

Of course, just because NASA received notice that the rover had landed successfully doesn't necessarily mean that everything is functioning correctly! We had to wait to get a low-res, black-and-white shot of The Red Planet via one of the Hazard Avoidance Cameras...

A low-res, black-and-white shot of The Red Planet.

Sweet! High res images and more Mars updates will be forthcoming from the NASA Perseverance team at their Mission Update Blog, which you can visit and bookmark here.

And, before I continue, can I just say how fantastic Paul Reiser's performance as the ultimate rat bastard was in Aliens? Easily his best work as an actor, because he really had to sell it...

Paul Reiser playing Burke, a real bastard.

And when he gets caught on his bullshit and has the most upper-lip-sweat of any human being in the history of the world? Oh yeah. That was a cinematic moment right there.

And then there's tonight's latest episode of WandaVision which will be discussed in a spoiler-filled extended entry below. And you're welcome!

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Caturday 198

Posted on Saturday, February 20th, 2021

Dave!This past week we experienced a bit of a cold snap. Usually when this happens I turn the heat up a bit so it keeps running, because once the temperature drops enough the heat has a tougher time battling its way back. This essentially means the heater is running all the time, which can get expensive. Knowing that the cold was likely temporary, I just left the heat alone. This meant there were times it got fairly cold in my house. The cats have fur coats and are likely warmer than I am, but that doesn't mean they like it. They would much, much rather have a warm house.

An upshot of this temperature change is that Jake and Jenny are often cuddled up together sleeping so they can stay warmer...

Jake and Jenny cuddling up together in a small cat bed via my security camera.

Now, to be clear, my cats get along fine. Other than occasional play-fights and nightly incidents of them chasing each other around the house, they mostly just ignore each other. This works out great for me because they take turns seeking attention...

Jenny cuddling up to me for attention.

Jake cuddling up to me for attention.

But now that they'd rather spend their non-stop nap-time together, the only way I see them is on the guest room security camera, day and night (except feeding time, of course...

Jake and Jenny cuddling up together in a small cat bed as seen on the infrared night mode of my security camera.

Kind of a bummer, but it beats a $40 increase on my power bill.

I'm confident that in another week or two they'll be back to their normal ignoring each other... and paying more attention to me.

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Bullet Sunday 702

Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2021

Dave!The weather may be hitting hard here in these United States of America, but I will not be deterred... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Ingenuity! I am still in awe of NASA's latest mission to Mars. I have spent hours upon hours pouring over the NASA documentation, briefs, reports, and news about it. One of the things that blows my mind even more than the fact that we can land something on the surface of Mars is how they actually do it. It's actually a sky crane which gently lowers the Perseverance rover to the surface like so...

Artist rendition of the lander lowering the rover to the surface of Mars from NASA.
Artist rendering from NASA/JPL - Caltech

The landing modules that did the heavy lifting... er, landing... sent back a photo of it actually happening...

Photo of the Perseverance rover being lowered to Mars from the viewpoint of the lander module looking down at it.
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech

NASA even managed to get an orbital view of it happening...

Photo of the lander module plummeting towards Mars, it's parachute deployed.
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech

But the big surprise here is that Perseverance didn't land alone. He brought a little buddy with him... the Ingenuity test copter drone!

Artist rendition of the Ingenuity copter on the surface of Mars.
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech

This little helicopter bot is just a test project. It's not really on Mars to do anything except experiment with the concept of using helicopters on the red planet. Not the most mind-boggling thing to happen on this mission, but every journey begins with a single step. What IS a bit mind-boggling is how Ingenuity hitched a ride to the planet's surface. It's snuggled underneath the Perseverance and will be popped off, rotated right-side-up, then placed on the ground as the rover drives away. NASA tested it here on earth, as you can see from this cool video...

The engineering required to make all this happen... and happen under Mars' brutal temperatures and a much thinner atmosphere... is truly a testament to human ingenuity. Oh... wait a second... is that why the little helicopter bot was named Ingenuity? NASA will be holding another press briefing at 2pm P.S.T. tomorrow, and you can bet I'll be watching!

   
• Help! So much attention is (rightfully) being directed towards the human crisis happening in Texas, and my heart aches for all those who are suffering. But what keeps me up at night are the animals who are caught up in the cold weather danger as well. They are mostly overlooked, and it's gut-wrenching to see the reports coming out of the Lone Star State. A friend has been sharing links where people can donate, and I've done what I can, starting with these three organizations...

  • Austin Pets Alive! — Trying to keep up with the influx of animals as a result of the storms.
  • Primarily Primates — Rescue primates organization in need of funds to keep doing the work they do.
  • Sea Turtle, Inc. — Images of rescued sea turtles being stacked in cars in an attempt to save them is just the start... organizations charged with housing them are in desperate need.

Anything you can donate... no matter how small... will be much appreciated.

   
• Social Media Reporting! United Airlines Flight 328 suffered catastrophic engine failure and was forced to land. And the way I found out about this major news story? It appeared on TikTok as a trending video...

@dogthatkills

Y’all I just saw a plane fly over my house with a blown engine. Hoping everyone is okay! ##plane ##ohnoo

♬ Oh No - Kreepa

What's even more amazing was the footage of the blown engine from within the cabin...

Planes can fly on one engine and are built to accomodate a blown engine. However... this flight was on its way to Hawaii from Denver. This would have been a very different story if they were 1,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean. I'm just happy it happened so soon after takeoff and that nobody was hurt. The interior video above was shot by Bretty Guy who, ironically ennough, posted this back in 2013...

Tweet from Brett Guy saying A few years later and still clueless as to what the point of twitter is...?

After having his video viewed millions of times and being picked up by every possible news organization, he probably gets it now. Social media is how we communicate. It's how information (and, disinformation, natch) gets seen.

   
• NEWSFLASH! Womans Wants Apology After Tom Brady Trophy Toss — Apology? Are you shitting me?!? Because your feelings were hurt over an object you don't own? It wasn't even fucking damaged! It got tossed by somebody WHO TOSSES SHIT FOR A LIVING...

Tom Brady tossing the trophy to fans in Tampa.
Photo captured from video by WFTS via WCVB.

Good Lord. Nobody... absolutely NOBODY... gives a shit about your stupid-ass feelings over the fucking Lombardi trophy, and absolutely NOBODY owes you shit. Your dad got paid to do a job and he did it. Your ownership... or rather any ownership by your your father... ended the minute the trophy left left Tiffany & Co. — If I bought a Tiffany baby rattle that your dad made and shoved it up my ass, would you be acting this stupid? Oh probably. Because self-important pieces of shit ALWAYS act just this stupid. I am getting so damn tired of the entitlement people feel when it comes to nonsensical bullshit like this. Save your outrage for something that matters... like the current flavor of the month ice cream at Baskin-Robbins or which kitten video is trending on YouTube or some shit like that. If anybody should be dishing out apologies, it should be your pathetic ass for acting like Tom Brady melted the fucker down and took a shit on it while you were holding it. I mean, there's a pandemic going on that's killing people... but Tom Brady tossed a trophy to somebody, so let's all shed tears over that. Jesus Christ.

   
• Loser! This appeared in my Facebook feed. One of those few times I don't mind seeing an ad because this is hilarious...

A T-shirt showing a human being beamed aboard a flying saucer saying GET IN, LOSER — WE'RE DOING BUTT STUFF!

If only there was an apropriate place I could wear such a thing. If you do, you can pick one up (in several designs) right here at TeePublic.

   
• Cheese! There’s a meme going around TikTok which originated with a man going to his refrigerator and asking "Doesn’t everybody have a drawer in their fridge that’s completely dedicated to cheese?" The joke being that he has DVDs stored in his refrigerator...

@.ceoofdadjokes

Cheese 😆##heybree ##ceoofdadjokes ##cheesedrawer ##heretoembarassmykids ##marylandgang #

♬ original sound - Jonathan Kung

Since then people have been making their own version of the meme where they have increasingly weird stuff being stored in their refrigerator. — And this whole time I’m like "BOTH DRAWERS IN MY FRIDGE ARE DEVOTED TO CHEESE!!!" And also a third draw which has my snack cheeses in it. My refrigerator is all cheese all the time and it's no laughing matter!

   
• Va Va Voom! There are two sides to TikTok that I absolutely love and would rather watch than most television shows or movies... Black TikTok and Gay TikTok. Both can be entertaining as hell, and I laugh out loud more often than I'd ever admit. I also end up learning more than I'll ever admit. And while there's some overlap from time to time, they are two very different entities. UNTIL TODAY, THAT IS. I've run into the song Va Va Voom by Nicki Minaj on both sides. It's a song that I've never heard of before. And it ended up being 100% my jam for the weekend...

Banger! Thanks TikTok!

   
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, bullet fans...

   

Kitchen Sentimentality on Fire

Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2021

Dave!I don't have many of my mom's possessions left. The only thing I really want are the photos from our trips together, and everything else is just... stuff. The majority of her things were donated, given away, or trashed (if they couldn't be donated or given away). I held onto a few things which had sentimental meaning to me, but it's not much else because I'm not a very sentimental person.

A few things I held onto simply because they were useable and it would be wasteful to toss them. Mostly stuff from the kitchen. Some pots, pans, bowls, utensils, and pot holders were saved. One of those potholders was a Bialosky Bear "100% Loyal and True" brand that my mom didn't use for decades, instead hanging it up in her kitchen. Then the last time she moved she wasn't interested in hanging it for some reason and started actualy using it. And since it was in great shape, I started using it too.

This past week I was moving a skillet off of a burner when it sloshed on the potholder, causing me to drop it on the hot-hot burner. The thing was scorched instantly...

Holding my mom's Teddy bear potholder all scorched and burnt.>

I don't know if it's because it finally dawned on me that this was yet another reminder that my mom was gone... or that all the pieces of her left on this earth are disappearing... or what... but it was pretty upsetting. So upsetting that I went hunting for a replacement on eBay, but couldn't find one since it was made in the early 1980's.

So stupid. Had I thought about the possibility of this happening before I started using it and how it might affect me, I could have saved it. Oh well. Not much I can do about it now.

It did mean my having to buy new potholders. This time I went for fancy silicone things that can withstand absurdly hot temperatures up to 600°F!

My two new silicone potholders all pretty and red.>

No worries about staining them, I think. Just toss them in the dishwasher after you're done cooking. Nice. But not the same.

Since I had to order potholders, I went ahead and addressed another thing that's been driving me insane in my kitchen... the fact that the boxes that Reynolds uses for their foils and parchment are COMPLETE AND TOTAL SHIT and fall apart minutes after opening them...

A Reynolds Wrap parchment box completely blown apart.>

And it happens to their signature foil as well! Rage-inducing. In fact, it was so rage-inducing that the next time I went to the grocery store needing foil I ended up buying a different brand entirely in the hopes that they didn't have boxes which fell apart. And, while I was at it, I could buy the Safeway Signature Select brand and save some money too! It compares to Reynolds foil, because it says so right on the box...

A Signature Select box of foil saying Compares to Reynolds.>

Except... no. It really doesn't.

This "foil" it super-thin, really hard to get ahold of in the box, and it doesn't crumple and conform like Reynolds foil... almost like it has plastic in it or something. It's fucking awful, and in absolutely no way "compares to Reynolds." But on the plus side, the box is built like a damn tank and doesn't look like it's going to fall apart any time soon. Which begs the question... why the fuck can't Reynolds built boxes that are worth a shit if they charge so much more money for their stuff? If a cheap-ass imitation can build a decent box, why can't they?

This lead me to try a more rugged dispenser/cutter that arrived on Friday so I could buy Reynolds stuff, take it out of their shitty boxes, and put it into something that will actually (assumably) stay together...

A plastic wrap dispenser with parchment inside of it.>

It's kinda meh. I mean, it works, but it's got some problems. First of all, it relies on your wrap/foil/parchment being wound onto a big cardboard tube. You then stick pieces in the tube on both ends which sit in the dispenser. Except since parchment isn't on a tube and it wound down to a small coil, you can't fit the pieces into it. This makes it more difficult to control the cutting, which is a little frustrating while you're getting used to it. I can manage now, but it's still not ideal. What's really a problem is that it's not a square box which can be stacked. I stack up my wrap/foil/parchment up in my pantry, but this has to go in a drawer somewhere.

So I'm not sure what the solution is. I guess once I get my wood shop set up in my garage I can try building something that goes around the shitty Reynolds boxes to make them tougher?

Food for thought, anyways.

Food which can be cooked up to 600°F thanks to my spiffy new potholders.

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The Sublimation of Bill Gates

Posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Dave!In my middle school science class one winter, our teacher had one of us run out and fill a beaker full of snow. Once my fellow student returned with the snow, the teacher started up a flame, crafted a snowball, and asked us what would happen to the snowball if he put it in the flame. Somebody raised their hand and said "IT WILL MELT!" at which point the teacher asked to see a show of hands of how many of us thought that was correct. We all raised our hands.

But the snowball didn't melt.

It did start to slowly disappear though. The science teacher then explained that this was due to SUBLIMATION... where something transitions from a solid directly to a gas. We all thought that was pretty cool.

Fast forward to this week where people in Texas are claiming that the unprecidented snowfall is fake and man-made to... well, I dunno... punish Texans for some bizarre reason...

TikTok users trying to melt snow.>

Now, my first instinct was to think "Well, since they normally don't get snow in Texas like this, their science teacher wasn't able to provide the same demonstration that I had as a kid, so I guess this is understandable. They just don't know how snow works." I chalked it up to ignorance, and felt bad for them that concepts like "sublimation" and "soot" were absent in their thinking.

And then I actually watched the video.

"Thank you Bill Gates for trying to fucking trick us that this is real snow. You'll see it's not melting, and it's going to burn. Snow don't burn. Snow fucking melts. No water no dripping no nothing. If I put this shit in the microwave it's going to start sparking because there's metal mixed in it."

I went from feeling sorry that this woman was lacking basic science principles I learned in middle school... to feeling absolute rage.

I will never forgive Bill Gates for saddling us with the shitty Microsoft Windows computer operating system... but he is one of those rare billionaires WHO ARE ACTUALLY USING THEIR MONEY TO ACTIVELY MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, and I am sick and fucking tired of people making him out to be some kind of evil comic book super-villain because they are idiots who don't possess critical thinking skills.

Bill Gates once said that one the biggest barriers towards having good health care in developing nations was the lack of medical records. And he's right. Because people often get displaced by famine or violence, any records that might have been kept on their medical history are often lost. And how can a doctor provide adequate care without a proper medical history? Gates suggested that perhaps medical records could be put on a tiny chip that could be placed under the skin so that these people would be able to have their critical medical information on them at all times. It was a genius solution by a smart man to solve a very real problem.

Next thing you know this simple concept which can be easily verified via a Google search becomes this sinister plot to microchip everybody so Bill Gates can track your movements. Like he would even give a shit about your boring-ass life. And never mind that everybody has credit cards and mobile phones which make tracking you a piece of cake already, the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?

Bill Gates has been using his massive wealth to invest in medical research, medical solutions, and vaccination programs in countries where vaccinations are tough to get. He does all this because he's a genuinely decent human being who wants to leave this world better than he entered it. VACCINES. SAVE. LIVES. PERIOD. and Bill Gates doesn't think that the poorest of humanity should have to go without.

Next thing you know, somebody on the internet decides that vaccines are bad despite history being replete with evidence to the contrary, the anti-vax idiocy movement is started, and Bill Gates is once again painted as a villain who somehow wants to vaccinate everybody so he can get rich or whatever. Never mind that he has so much money that he couldn't spend it in ten lifetimes... never mind that he's done his best to make sure vaccines can be had for free... the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?

Bill Gates has been an advocate for combatting climate change. A threat so serious that it is already affecting every living creature on the planet and may one day be our doom. Wanting to divest his investments from contributing factors like fossil fuels, Gates took his money out of oil companies (or whatever) and sunk it into emerging green energy development. He does this because he gives a shit about the world that his kids will be living in.

Next thing you know, somebody who doesn't understand basic fucking science can't melt a snowball with a cigarette lighter, and Bill Gates is trying to control the weather. Ironically, figuring out how to control the weather might be our only option for dealing with climate change if we've reached a tipping point where there's no fixing things. But hey... the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?

Being ignorant or uneducated is one thing.

Buying into bullshit anti-science conspiracy theories to vililfy a guy who has invested huge sums of time, effort, and money into helping people live healtheir lives on a healthier planet is another thing entirely.

I am quickly coming to understand how reeducating these people with evidence, facts, research, and logic is a losing battle. They don't give a shit about any of that. They only care about what fits their idiotic narrative regardless of how stupid and absurd. So what to do? If you can't make them see facts or reason, what's left? Tell them to go fuck themselves and move on? Maybe. But too many people are being too stupid for this to be a long-term solution. We've got people who think the earth is flat, for Christ's sake.

In chemistry, SUBLIMATION is the process by which solids (like snow) are converted to a vapor via heat. The vapor can be liquified via condensation, then turned back into a solid via cold.

Outside of chemistry, SUBLIMATION is the act of refining or purifying something to achieve a better, higher state.

I am convinced that Bill Gates has been sublimating into a higher version of humanity due to his amazing generosity and investment into planet earth and the life which inhabits it. He is what wealthy people should aspire to be.

Though why anybody would want to be Bill Gates when some willfully ignorant whack-job who doesn't know how snow works is cursing your name is beyond me. Far easier to just sit on your massive wealth and buy gold-plated toilets for your private jet collection. Sure this just keeps humanity moving ever-closer to its destruction, but at least people don't think you team up with The Joker and Catwoman to battle Batman as you try to loot Gotham City.

   

The Hate You Deserve

Posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Dave!If you put yourself out there on the internet, you're going to get hate. Sure you're more likely to get hate if you have an opinion online, but I've seen people get attacked for every reason and no reason at all. Cyber-bullying is our new normal, and given just how bad it's getting, I worry about kids being able to survive it. Because some don't.

I have a blog where I post my opinions, ideas, and thoughts on a daily basis, so I get my share of hate. In the early days of blogging it bothered me a great deal. As I grew accustomed to it (though, honestly, you never really get accustomed to it) I was able to compartmentalize things and not have it ruin my day. All I can do is be as kind as I can be to people and carry on.

Though some people don't really deserve kindness.

They are so awful that any kindness feels as though it's wasted energy.

Take for instance "That Vegan Teacher" on TikTok...

A photo of That Vegan Teacher on TikTok looking like a fucking asshole piece of shit because she is one.

She's a truly vile and repugnant bully, and I blocked her within days of getting addicted to the app. Unfortunately, she can still be "dueted" so she was still popping up on my feed. And I've hated it. I've been a vegetarian for 35 years, and every time I came across her disgusting antics (seriously, she compares Vegans to Jews during The Holocaust and was horrifically racist in her takes) it made me want to run out and eat a steak because she's everywhere...

That Vegan Asshole being an asshole in a TikTok duet.

That Vegan Asshole being an asshole in a TikTok duet

That Vegan Asshole being an asshole in a TikTok duet

She's the absolute worst, and it could easily be argued that she did more to promote eating meat than actually convincing people to stop eating meat. In fact, many of the videos I saw were just people eating meat while dueting her bullshit. Including famous people like Chef Gordon Ramsay whom she would attack often...

That Vegan Asshole being an asshole in a TikTok duet with Chef Gordon Ramsay

Now, if she wants to be a bigoted piece of shit who persecutes people for eating meat, harass farmers as if they are murderers, and be a generally terrible person who attacks non-vegans as a matter of course, then fine. I'd argue she could have done far more to promote veganism by not being such a sadistic fucking asshole, but that's who she wants to be then she has that right. Ultimately I feel she doesn't give a fuck about animals and all the shit she does is to exploit social media for money, but who knows? She's demented.

But then...

Enter Tommyinnit. A 16-year old kid that she started harassing solely so she could garner attention for her "cause." That was repugnant enough, but she didn't stop there. She started sexualizing Tommy in her videos...

Remember what I said about worrying that kids have a tough time dealing with cyber bullying? You thought I was talking about other kids... and while that's a factor, in this case I was talking about this monsterous adult. And apparently that is what it took for her to FINALLY get her ass booted from TikTok.

And I can't tell you how happy I am that once all the celebrating dies down that I don't have to see her fucked-up shit on TikTok any more.

Look, I'm all for eliminating animal cruelty. I'm all for more sustainable farming. I am all for promoting vegetarianism and veganism to get people to eat less meat or stop eating meat altogether. But this is not a diet for everybody. Some people suffer from anemia and a vegan diet will seriously harm them. Some people simply cannot afford a healthy vegan diet because our government subsidizes meat so heavily (which is why you can get a hamburger on a dollar menu). Some people have beliefs or traditions which include eating meat. There are dozens upon dozens of reasons that veganism is not a one-stop solution for the entire world.

If vegans truly want to do something to help animals... then stop attacking people for eating them and start creating a world where it's easier and more desirable to not eat them.

Lobby the government to cut back on meat subsidies and sink the money into making more affordable fruits and vegetables. Campaign food processors to add more non-meat options to their product lines... then buy them. Help promote more non-meat options like "The Impossible Whopper" at popular restaurant chains. Stop being fucking assholes that want to force people to do what you want, but instead convince them it's a better way to live. Encourage rather than condemn.

And do so in a way that's not harmful... such as making sure they have a doctor to supervise the switch in case a vegan diet is problematic for them.

And you should probably stop attacking and sexualizing kids who have to eat whatever their parents buy for them anyway. I thought this was a given, but... well... here we are.

I guess that's all I have to say. Except FUCK YOU, THAT VEGAN TEACHER, FOR BEING A HORRIFIC PIECE OF SHIT! I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR IDIOCY TO GET YOU BOOTED OFF OF MORE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS SO PEOPLE WILL STOP EATING ANIMALS SOLELY TO SPITE YOUR STUPID, ABUSIVE, TOXIC ASS!

   

Deeeeeeep Sleeeeeeep

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Dave!Last night I finally took some sleeping pills to knock my ass out so I could catch up on some of the sleep I haven't been getting.

I went to bed at 10:00pm, fell asleep by 10:30pm, then woke up ten minutes before the cat breakfast alarm went off at 7:00am. According to my Apple Watch app AutoSleep, that resulted in 8 hours and 18 minutes of beddy-bye sleepy-time...

That Vegan Asshole being an asshole in a TikTok duet.

And it was a huge mistake, because I felt drugged up this entire day. Still managed to get my work done, but was mired in a mental fog that made it tougher to function that days when I'm only getting 4 hours of sleep.

Thanks to Apple Watch, I think I understand why. It used to be that I looked at the "Quality Sleep" metric... which in this case is 6 hours and 53 minutes. That sounds great. It sounds like a lot. Where I need to be looking is at the "Deep Sleep" metric, because it's on days where I get more deep sleep that I'm feeling my best. Though I slept for over 8 hours, I only got 2-1/4 hours of deep sleep.

That's less deep sleep than I get on a "regular" night where I'm sleeping half as much.

Apparently the drugs are good at knocking myself out, but the sleep I get is restless. I looked back to other nights and see a pattern. 5 hours 42 minutes sleep, 3 hours 6 minutes deep sleep... 4 hours 12 minutes sleep, 2 hours 48 minutes deep sleep... 3 hours 45 minutes sleep, 2 hours deep sleep. Shorter periods of sleep are actually far more productive for me "Deep Sleep-wise," as crazy as that might sound.

And so now I'm going to see what I can do to get better, longer deep sleep.

My guess is that exercise will have something to do with it. Which is fine because the snow is melting so I can start walking to work again. Correlating how much deep sleep I get with how much exercise I get will prove interesting, I'm sure.

In the meanwhile, I guess I'll be happy with 4 hours of sleep knowing that a good chunk of that will be the sleep I need to function properly.

   

Tragic Pineapple Visions

Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2021

Dave!It's almost 1:00am. I watched the latest episode of WandaVision (discussed below) then picked up around the house before collapsing in bed to write this blog entry. An entry which won't be posted until morning because I'm sure there are going to be a hundred mistakes that I'm too tired to catch right now.

Yesterday was uneventful. The most interesting thing to happen was when I decided to make a "Barbecue Pineapple Flatbread Pizza" from HelloFresh... then just couldn't do it. I ordered it because meal services often have things that sound disgusting but end up delicious. But when it came time to marinate the pineapple in barbecue sauce so I could slap it on the pizza?

No.

Just no.

There's no way that could ever be considered "delicious" so I put the ingredients away... slapped some Contadina Pizza Sauce on the flatbreads... added mozzarella, parmesan, and feta... then baked them until I had cheese pizzas. They were fine.

Except...

As I was pawing through my stack of drawers to find a pizza cutter, I reached in and ended up slicing my finger on a serrated knife. Took a nice chunk of skin off my finger, but didn't bleed. Lucky me. I can't wait for Spring so I can finish my kitchen remodel, because it's tough living like this. Tough on my fingers, that is.

But Anyway...

Agatha Harkness creeping up behind Wanda on WandaVision.

My thoughts on the latest episode of WandaVision are in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Caturday 199

Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Dave!I clean the cat feeding station, the auto-feeders, and the water fountain every Caturday. Both filters in the water fountain get changed out every two weeks. It's something I'm fairly religious about because A) I want my cats drinking as much water as possible to reduce risk of urinary problems and they drink three times more water from a fountain than a bowl.... and B) If the water isn't fresh-tasting, they will stop drinking it altogether... and C) the last thing I want is for bacteria to build up and make them sick.

So there I am sitting down to dinner well after the cats have had their dinner and Jenny starts meowing off in the distance. Something she only does when she's very, very upset.

Needless to say I waste no time running over to see what her deal is. Turns out I forgot to pull the fountain out of the dishwasher and get it set up for Little Miss Jenny to have her post-dinner drink! And so I dropped everything and took care of that immediately. And she watched me as I did it the entire time. After which she was happily (and noisily) lapping up her refreshing H2O...

Jenny drinking from the drinking fountain in the dark.

Glad we got that all sorted.

Jake didn't care so much for fresh water as he cared about playig with the back scratcher I left out...

Jake sitting in a cat bed on the coffee table with one paw resting on the handle of a back scratcher.

Not that Jake doesn't have his own prima donna moments.

Earlier in the week I had moved the couch so I could vacuum under it. As I was lifting it up, Jake's favorite fuzzy blanket fell off and I had to throw it back up on the couch. Once I sat down after vacuuming, he hopped up and was furious that his blanky was "wrong." He was grunting and fretting and smacking it over and over and over to "fix" it...

Jake furiously pawing at his fuzzy blanket.

The little guy was so agitated that I finally reached over to scratch his head in an effort to calm him down, only to be brutally rebuffed as he tried to dodge my hand...

Jake wiggling away from my head scratches.

At this point I was desperate, and ended up tapping on the window so he would think Fake Jake was outside and go running out to the catio...

Jake looking towards the window.

That worked, and I did my best to put his blanky back exactly how he likes it. Apparently I did a good enough job, because when he came back he did only minimal "biscuit-making" before I flopped down for a nap...

Jake asleep on his fuzzy blanky.

Whew. Crisis averted!

And that's what having cats is all about isn't it? Crisis management?

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Bullet Sunday 703

Posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2021

Dave!I may be really, really tied of Winter right now, but I'm happy to hold out for Spring... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Boys! I'm just going to start this out with the best thing I've seen all week... and it's why I love TikTok reason #2371 — John Stamos showing Beach Boy Mike Love a young band playing a beautiful rendition of Wouldn’t It Be Nice, a song he co-wrote...

@johnstamos

@sittingonstacy I was showing Mike Love Tik Tok and you popped up. He loved you guys! Can’t ##hear us but he was really digging it. Congrats! Stamos

♬ original sound - johnstamos

How unbelievably awesome is this?

   
• Plus! In advance of "CBS All Access" transforming to " Paramount+" there's an awesome deal where you can get a year of commercial-free streaming for half-price (just select an annual plan and use PARAMOUNTPLUS in the coupon code box at check-out). 90% of network shows I watch are on CBS and I love avoiding commercials, so this was an offer I can't refuse. LOVING IT. I love, love, love Queen Latifah at The Equalizer, and revisiting Young Sheldon has been fun. Of course there's also Magnum P.I., one of the best shows on television. Some older shows are not streaming properly yet (I'm guessing that will be fixed after the transition come March 4th) but new shows are working fine. I wanted to try out Clarice but Siri keeps typing "Clarisse" so I had to hand-type it into AppleTV manually... WHY, LORD? WHY DOES LIFE HAVE TO BE THIS HARD? — On the other hand, I am liking Clarice very much. How does CBS do it? Other networks just don't have the track record for great television like this! If you love TV, then check out this amazing 50% off deal before it disappears on March 3rd!

   
• YAS QWEEN! I get irrationally invested in the lives of people on TikTok. This guy hasn’t updated in two days and I’m probably going to lose sleep wondering if he got the job...

@thatrylanguy

##help ##advice ##gay

♬ original sound - thatrylanguy

He has exactly two videos posted. This one was enough to get me totally invested. I guess that's what happens when the pandemic hasn't left you with much of a life of your own to live? Best of luck to you, sir, in finding a new job.

   
• Super New! Ta-Nehisi Coates writing a Superman movie? YES PLEASE! I mean, how many damn times are we going to have to sit through the same old Superman movie? Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, and Henry Cavill all did great jobs, but I'm ready for something truly different. Like maybe Calvin Ellis Superman?!?

Though I wouldn't be mad if Henry Cavill was given another go. He's actually a great Superman, and it's not his fault that he's had to work from shitty, SHITTY scripts. In any event, I am definitely excited at what might come of this.

   
• EcoBullshit! This video is absolutely fascinating. A lot to unpack when it comes to the "green" direction that the smartphone market is heading... fortunately Arun Maini has done the work for you, and it's well worth a watch...

The hypocrisy of it all is mind-boggling... but oh so expected.

   
• Retail Therapy! Well darn. Fry's Electronics had some of the coolest retail stores outside of Disney, and they just shuttered all their stores. They were destination-worthy places, and I traveled to several in California when they were at the height of their popularity. From the NASA-themed store in Anaheim and Egypt-themed store in Campbell... to Alice in Wonderland-themed in Woodland Hills and Old-Timey Sci-Fi-themed in Burbank, Fry's sure made shopping fun! Brick-and-mortar shops were having a tough time staying afloat before the pandemic... I have a feeling that because of COVID this is the fate for many of them.

   
• Without Telling Me... I don't know why I find this so incredibly sweet... but I really do...

@garrettbazany

My girlfriend thinks she’s funny ##foryoupage ##fyp ##wheelchair ##tellmeyourboyfriendwontcheatonyou ##prank ##couple

♬ original sound - Garrett Bazany

And for anybody thinking that she's being an asshole... it's a joke. And he was obviously in on it...

I'm glad most saw it as a joke. Those that didn't need to realize us wheelchair folks aren't so sensitive and have some dark humor.

   
And that's a wrap on bullets, Sparky... bring on Springtime weather.

   

Mashed After February

Posted on Monday, March 1st, 2021

Dave!I know that there are people out there who adore February. Maybe it's their birth month. Maybe their wedding anniversary is in February. Maybe they started their dream job in the second month of the year. Heck, Valentine's Day is in February, so I get it. Honestly I do.

But February means something entirely different to me.

And it's not even like Valentine's Day can save it because I'm not in a relationship. And, at this point, don't want to be in a relationship.

Consistently, without fail, all the worst things in my life seem to land within those 28 days. Or, if it's a Leap Year like 2020, 29 days. Heck, February 2020 is where things started going all wrong, am I right? My life of travel for volunteer work ended. The pandemic was blowing up globally. And, just a reminder here, the first death in the USA due to COVID-19 happened on February 29th, 2020.

I do try to make February a better month though.

I moved into my new home on Groundhog Day February 2nd five years ago. Then I also got my adorable kittens Jake and Jenny on February 16th. Two of the best things to ever happen to me. So that's awesome, right? Way to go, February 2016!

Except not really. My mom had to be rushed in for an MRI on the 12th of that same year. She then dropped several plateaus in her health and ended up back in the hospital on, you guessed it, Leap Day February 29th, 2016. It was the beginning of the end and it's all February.

So many deaths, tragedies, disappointments, and setbacks in my life end up in February that now I just brace myself whenever I turn the page on my calendar. At this point it's pretty much self-fulfilling prophecy, but the psychological analytics are tough to parse when I've been conditioned to expect only the worse... from having the worst actually happen to me.

This February was just a continuation of the pandemic horror show, so I didn't need to have anything new and terrible happen, but of course it did. Got my first blog death threat in a while (somebody late to the party over my posting a photo of two men dancing together back in December). Went through a horrific personal ordeal with somebody I thought cared about me. And, of course, had the usual reminders of all my friends and family that died in the worst month of the year.

Fortunately February was only 28 days this time, because Lord only know what new terrors awaited me if today was February 29th instead of March 1st.

I've been ready for March all month. I've been ready for Spring and the promise of something new. I've been waiting for Coming 2 America and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. I've also been waiting to get vaccinated... but apparently my group's date has been moved again. I've also been waiting for my potato masher to arrive... AND HERE IT IS!

My new heavy-duty potato masher with a bright red protective silicone sleeve on it.

I've never had one before, but I keep running into recipes where they say "mash to a creamy consistency with a potato masher or fork"... usually for black beans or chickpeas. I've always just used a fork, which is a lot of effort. A potato masher looked like it would be even more effort since a fork had tines that were close together for more efficient mashing, so I never bothered. Then I had a friend laugh at me when I mentioned this, and said I really need to buy one. "And make sure it's dishwasher safe and can be used on non-stick pans!" And that's what I ended up ordering.

Holy crap.

It is no small difference. It's a monumental difference. I can mash up a can of chickpeas with minimal effort in a fraction of the time! I can't believe I've been suffering with a stupid fork all this time!

Kinda makes me wonder what other kitchen gadgets I've been avoiding as "superfluous and unnecessary" that are actually critical and brilliant. Thanks, March!

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I’d Be High, and Naked, and Drunk

Posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Dave!Award shows are a total shitfest of idiocy and and I've never given them much credit for anything. Crap movies can win (and often do). Truly great movies get completely ignored (and often do). It's always been about which movies and TV shows can promote and buy their way into winning shit.

For years I tried to counter this by making my own Oscar picks, but even that seems senseless and stupid since I don't see every movie that ever comes out in a given year and many of the movies I love are never nominated. So I stopped. My annual year-end wrap-up of the favorite stuff I saw is good enough, and I don't give a shit about the Oscars enough to comment any more.

Last week my stance was totally vindicated when wwriter/director Eliza Hittman received an email from an Academy voter which told her that they would not be watching the screener for her film Never Rarely Sometimes Always because "As a Christian, the father of 8 children and 39 grandchildren, AND a pro-life advocate, they have ZERO interest in watching a woman cross state lines so someone can murder her unborn child. 75,000,000 of us recognize abortion for the atrocity it is. There is nothing heroic about a mother working so hard to kill her child. Think about it!" And its like... okay... but then you're not doing your job, asshole. Recuse yourself from voting AT. ALL. if you're not going to see every film in consideration. What's even more infuriating is that Never Rarely Sometimes Always tells the story of a woman WHO WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED trying to get an abortion. It's not like she's getting an abortion for fun and then celebrates it or some stupid shit.

And while I haven't watched the Oscars telecast in nearly a decade, I haven't watched The Golden Globes telecast ever. The closest I get is watching the opening or YouTube highlights when somebody I like is hosting. My position has always been "Who gives a fuck what the Hollywood Foreign Press thinks? Who the fuck ARE the Hollywood Foreign Press anyway?" I never cared enough to Google That Shit, so whatever. Apparently there's few to none Persons of Color in the Hollywood Foreign Press, which means that their voting is skewed, non-representational, and irrelevant anyway.

But I did read that Jason Sudekis won a Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical television series for his exceptional work in Ted Lasso.

Except not exactly.

What I actually read was that Jason Sudekis was high and wore a tie-dye hoodie when accpeting his award. Because of course that's what superficial news organizations looking for clicks is going to latch onto...

Jason Sudekis accepting his best actor award wearing a tie-dye hoodie.

And my immediate reaction to this news was "Lord, who gives a fuck? If I had to participate in this bullshit in order to promote my work and try to get it seen, I would be high, AND NAKED, AND DRUNK! If anything this just made my opinion of Jason Sudekis jump several stories, because wearing a hoodie instead of a tuxedo reflects exactly the amount of respect these awards deserve.

And yet...

Ted Lasso was the best show of 2020 or any other year, so I'm glad that these stupid-as-shit award shows with their non-representational voters at least managed to see that much.

Or maybe they didn't bother to watch the show at all, but instead picked him to win because he wasn't Black like Don Cheadle, Jewish like Eugene Levy, Muslim like Ramy Youssef, or joked about being in a gay relationship like Nicholas Hoult. Which seems about white.

   

Springtime Hairball Fun!

Posted on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Dave!The weather has been really turning a corner these past few days. Gorgeous blue skies and crisp air every afternoon. Which then turns to freezing cold at night, but still... happy to be able to come home from work and be able to open the windows for a while to let some fresh air inside.

Alas, the warmer weather has meant that Jake and Jenny are shedding their winter coats.

With Jenny, this is not an issue because she will happily lay there for hours while I run The Furminator over her to pull out all the hair that's falling out. But Jake? He will let me furminate him... to an extent. He won't let me near his belly with it and 4-5 minutes at a time is his limit.

Which, of course, means that it's Hairball Season for the next month or so.

Most times when I hear that tell-tale sound of him hacking up a hairball, he swallows it. That's good news for me. But every once in a while this time of year he'll puke one up. At which point I am never mad about it. And I always give him some love afterwards to calm him down a bit.

But I gotta say... the last two nights have been a trial.

Jake now sleeps on my bed every night. He'll curl up next to me... then keep pushing my legs away while he "stretches" until I end up on the very edge. A few nights ago he set up shop in the middle of the bed. Which is fine. Still plenty of room for me. But then he keeps snuggling into me harder and harder...

Jake squeezed up against my legs in bed.

But three hours later after he's pushing and stretching and otherwise pushing me off the bed, I barely have any room left...

Jake curled up against my legs at the edge of the bed.

Eventually I am able to shift around him when I am ready to go to sleep and everything's fine, so I just deal with it. No problem.

But two nights ago I was awakened at by Jake hacking up a hairball at 2:50am. I know this because my Apple Watch recorded when I had to get up so I could run my blanket down to the clothes washer...

My sleep pattern as recorded by Apple Watch.

Last night I forget to get my blanket out of the dryer before heading up to bed. It wasn't cold though, so I thought I'd just make do with a sheet. But then... you guessed it... another hairball. This time at 4:35am...

My sleep pattern as recorded by Apple Watch.

Which meant I had to console Jake, then get him off my sheet... then take the sheeet down to the washer... then remember to grab my blanket before heading back upstairs.

At which point Jake curled up again and fell asleep.

But not before pushing my legs three inches, of course.

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Now That’s a Mind Trip

Posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Dave!In case I haven't mentioned it in the past ten minutes, I'm at high risk for COVID complications thanks to issues which ordinarily mean very little in the grand scheme of things...but mean quite a lot if I'm infected with the coronavirus, thanks to the way it attacks the lungs and respiratory system. I get COVID, and I could end up truly fucked.

There was a time that I was thinking "Well, I just need to hang on until I can get vaccinated and the pandemic settles down a bit... and then I can have my life back again." Except that's not really true any more, is it? Thanks to mutations of the virus, new strains are popping up which are more contageous and more deadly than before. Yes, the vaccine will help you better survive the mutated strains, but for somebody like me? I just don't know.

For somebody who has spent most of their life traveling, the idea of not traveling again has been weighing on my mind a lot lately.

And in very strange ways.

Usually it happens when I'm just starting to fall asleep... but sometimes randomly in the middle of the day... some image from my travel past will pop into my head. And then I cannot stop thinking about it until I remember where it was and what I was doing! Sometimes it's easier than others to place it...

Oh! That was at the train station at Kuranda after the Butterfly Sanctuary visit!
That's right! It was with the cat that lives at Peace Cafe in Siem Reap!
Yes! That was outside that awesome gelateria in San Gimignano!
That has got to be from the market with the sesame nuts in Santorini!

And so on.

But then there are those images that pop into my head which I cannot place. They take actual work to track down. Take for instance what happened last night as I was starting to drift off to sleep...

Huh! That's in a hotel... at an elevator bank.
But where? I don't think it's in a foreign country. I think it's in the USA.
Yes. And it's at an airport! But which airport?
It's too familiar... I think it's an airport I've been to a lot.
It's a big hotel... probably a major airport. But not Seattle. Or Chicago.
Definitely not Boston.
Not San Diego, LAX, or SFO either.
Not Orlando... oh wait! It's Atlanta! Gotta be Atlanta!
Yes. Definitely Atlanta. I've flow into ATL many, many times.
Which hotel? It's just West of the airport. Right off of the 85.
Oh crap. I can't remember. Guess I grab my laptop and Google Map it...

The Hartsford-Jackson Airport in Atlanta as seen from satellite view in Google Maps.
Image © Google Maps

Ugh. Southwest or West-West? Maybe in-between.
I think it had that giant triangular atrium that lead out into the parking lot?
Oh yeah! There it is! It's The Westin! OF COURSE!!

The Westing Atlanta Airport as seen from satellite view in Google Maps.
Image © Google Maps

How did I not remember that was The Westin? I've stayed there a dozen times!
Okay! Glad that's settled so I can finally get to sleep!

   
Say! I wonder what trip I would have been on?

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Scarlet Witches and Bleached Corpses

Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2021

Dave!What is grief, if not love persevering? — The Vision

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Disney+ started streaming the final episode of WandaVision right out of the gate at midnight. The previous two weeks it took me nearly ten minutes to get to the show as Disney+ servers broke with tons of people trying to access them.

All-in-all the series was... not great. Not terrible, but not what I wanting to see from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I understand there are people who are just loving to see Wanda get beat up on while she processes her grief, so more power to them, I guess...

Wanda floating in the air as The Scarlet Witch!

I wrote my thoughts on the final episode (and the series as a whole) immediately after the show, but likely won't post until I have time to read through all this on my lunch break tomorrow. I'm tired, and there's probably a million spelling mistakes.

But anyway... it's all in an extended entry if you care to read it...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Caturday 200

Posted on Saturday, March 6th, 2021

Dave!Well would you look at that... the two-hundredth edition of Caturday!

Hard to believe there's still new stuff happening with my cats nearly every week for the past five years to keep this going. Though not really so hard to believe. Since the pandemic started, my cats have lead far more interesting lives than I have.

Though Jenny's life is mostly about wanting to be scratched. She sheds like crazy, and is forever stopping me to get a nice rub-down so I can pull out another massive handful of shedded fur. She'll stop me while doing laundry. She'll stop me while cooking dinner. And she'll stop me while coming out of the bathroom every time!

   
Jake, on the other hand, is far more interested in staying warm. I turned off the heat on March 1st to save energy because it's been getting warmer and warmer. Alas the nights still get fairly chilly, so Jake has been glomming all over me each night and is still there every morning. I thought this would abate after a week or so, but nope. Still there...

Jake asleep on my feet.

Jake asleep on my feet.

Don't ask me how he is remotely comfortable in the positions I wake up to, because I haven't a clue...

Jake asleep on my feet.

   
And now I'm off to clean out the catio for Spring. They've been spending a lot of time out there now when the sun is out, so it's probably time. And for anybody wondering if they ever fall asleep out there when it's time to eat... well, have no fear...

They may not hear me when I'm a foot away asking them to stay off the table, but they could hear food dropping from a mile away.

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Bullet Sunday 704

Posted on Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Dave!Inconsistent weather has crushed my Sunday plans, but I've still got you, dear reader... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Awwww! And... YOU'RE WELCOME...

@stillhavetime2deletevid

You won’t see one of these again. He’s now safe & warm with some hazelnuts. ##endangeredanimals

♬ original sound - Add your name

I've read that a dormouse can hibernate for 6 months or longer depending on the weather. That's my dream job. Though I'd settle for being able to get over 6 hours of sleep at night, so there's that.

   
• Two! I finally got around to watching Coming 2 America, the streaming sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time. It was... rough. The original Coming To America was a hyper-focused story which does exactly what you should be doing if you've got Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall headlining... focus as much precious screen time on them and their story as possible. Unfortunately the sequel doesn't do this. It's chopped up into a half-dozen different ideas, too many of which focus on people who are not Eddie and Arsenio. It's incredibly frustrating given just how easy it would have been to avoid this misstep. But it is what it is, I guess. Though the trailer made it look like it was going to end up better than it was...

While not a terrible movie, it didn't have the greatness that the original had. It didn't have half the greatness that the original had. And that's a serious problem. And I have a hard time trying to decide if something was better than nothing at this point. Probably.

   
• McDonalds! And now this from the You Don't Disrespect Your Mother No Matter How Tempting That May Be Department...

@kristenandreafe

The tables have turned mom😂🤣 ##funny ##dramaticmoments ##relatable ##mom ##prank

♬ BGC Drama Effect - whozmanzz

I think I laughed for five solid minutes when I saw this.

   
• Home Decorator! This morning I ran across an article about The Evolution of the Oval Office Décor, and it's pretty cool. They've created 3-D cutaway renderings of how the look has changed over the past 100+ years...

A 3-D cutaway view of The Oval Office as it has been currently decorated by President Biden.

Almost makes me wish that there was an Oval Office decorator app where people could go in and design it for themselves. Then order a drone strike. Because apparently that's our thing now.

   
• Coffee! THIS MAN IS DOING THE LORD'S WORK!!!

@scottpropandroll

Prop Coffee Cups. Heavy Stuff. @emilytheperry ##props ##tv ##prank

♬ original sound - Scott Reeder

This bugs the ever-loving SHIT out of me in movies. Especially in Hallmark movies where it's obscenely obvious THAT THE FUCKING CUPS ARE EMPTY! How hard is it to fill the cups with SOMETHING that makes them act like they aren't empty or defying the law of gravity? Though I'd just as soon have them filled with water or soda so that actors stop forgetting that THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE JUST SWALLOWED SOME COFFEE!

   
• A Royal Romance! Welp. That Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan was really something. There were absolutely no punches pulled, even though there were some areas that were intentionally not discussed. But what was discussed was brutal. The Royal Family comes off as a bunch of racist assholes, and watching them try and dig their way out of the horrific allegations will be amusing (to say the very least). A part of me hopes that it's being greatly exaggerated, but another part of me knows better.

While watching the interview unfold, it was tough not to think back to the Lifetime movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. As a connoisseur or trashy Hallmark movies, I ended up liking it so much that I bought it...

Movie poster for Harry and Meghan A Royal Romance.

Seriously though... it's a darn good movie (for what it is), and there's a scene where Her Majesty They Queen tells Meghan that The Royal Family was mixed race thanks to Queen Charlotte...

Lifetime Movie: The Queen looking up at a portrait of Queen Charlotte.

Lifetime Movie: Harry and Meghan looking at each other happily.

If that scene actually took place, it's tough not to re-contextualize it knowing what we (allegedly) know now. It's all at once incredibly sad... totally infuriating... and yet not totally unexpected.

   
Have a happy Sunday there, slugger!

   

Murder Cats

Posted on Monday, March 8th, 2021

Dave!Happy International Women's Day! Many of my most favorite people in my life have been women, and taking a minute to appreciate the way that women impact our world is important. History is replete with examples of women's contributions being overwritten, dismissed, and forgotten. That ain't right, and I keep hoping that each new day moves us in a better, more positive direction for equality and inclusivity.

I celebrated by watching the movie Hidden Figures, which is a fantastic story of what women have contributed to NASA's Space Program... despite the absurd intrusion of Kevin Costner's "White Male Savior" character into the mix. Did we really need that scene of him taking a crowbar to the "Colored Ladies Room" sign? Especially since IT NEVER HAPPENED?

That kind of crap is exactly why we need International Woman's Day... and Black History Month.

But before sitting down to watch Hidden Figures, I had to find my cats.

When I got home, neither of them came to greet me. This is unusual. Usually at least Jake is there to sniff around me and make sure I smell acceptable enough to enter their house.

They weren't downstairs, so I figured they might be asleep on my bed. Nope. They were on the second guest bed, huddled on a comforter...

Jake and Jenny sitting on a blanket looking pissed.

Perhaps I was too quick to turn the heat off?

Probably.

Not wanting to get murdered in my sleep, I turned the heat back on.

   

The Importance of Being Ernst Stavro Blofeld

Posted on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Dave!Last night I was in no mood for cooking dinner. So I had a pita bread pizza with a side salad and called it good.

The rest of the evening was spent trying to learn a new 3D rendering engine. All the while I had the television on with the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service... AKA that James Bond movie without Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, or or Daniel Craig (it was George Lazenby)... and with Diana Rigg.

It also had Telly Savalas as Blofeld.

The television was meant to be background noise so I could focus on my work, but I couldn't keep my mind on anything except how many actors played Ernst Stavro Blofeld over the years. I could think of four (I had forgotten Charles Gray in Diamonds Are Forever)...

  • Donald Pleasance - You Only Live Twice
  • Telly Savalas - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
  • Charles Gray - Diamonds Are Forever
  • Max von Sydow - Never Say Never Again
  • Christoph Waltz - Spectre

There was, of course, another appearance by Blofeld in the opening pre-credit action sequence of For Your Eyes Only... where Roger Moore drops him down a smokestack in his wheelchair. That Blofeld was played anonymously by John Hollis... who is most famous for having previously played Lando's half-robot servant "Lobot"...

John Hollis as Lobot.

And Klytus's half-robot lacky in Flash Gordon...

John Hollis as Klytus's Lacky.

The sequence with the missing Blofeld was played to comedic effect, which was an odd tonal shift from him having murdered James Bond's wife Tracy...

John Hollis as Blofeld off a helicopter.

John Hollis as Blofeld off a helicopter.

So... six Blofeld's total. Which is equal to the number of actors who have played James Bond (excluding David Niven in the original Casino Royale). That's quite a piece of Bond trivia right there.

Exactly the kind of trivia which keeps me up at night... and keeps my brain distracted from getting my work done.

If anybody's curious about which Blofeld is my favorite, it's Donald Pleasence as the first Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. He was deliciously weird, evil, dangerous, and menacing...

Donald Pleasence as Blofeld... pointing a gun and holding a longhair white cat.

Not that Blofeld was the most interesting character in that movie. I was completely 100% in love with Bond Girl Kissy Suzuki...

Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki.

I was one year old when You Only Live Twice was released. I didn't see the film until the 80's when I rented it on VHS tape. At the time I thought Mie Hama was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

And still is.

   

Boots Cost Fifty Dollars

Posted on Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

Dave!Yesterday I received a notice that the interest rate on the credit card I use to get a discount at the local tire shop chain has been increased to 29.999%. Holy shit!

Thankfully I only use it every 3 or 4 years when I have to get new all-weather or winter tires... and I pay it off in full immediately after I get the first bill... but this is still crazy outrageous for people who can't pay it off in full right away, isn't it? THIRTY FUCKING PERCENT?!?

And this is how poor people are made even more poor... predatory lenders. You're desperate for new tires so you can drive to work. You can't afford new tires. So you have to open a credit account to get the new tires... THEN PAY OFF A MASSIVE INTEREST RATE, which just makes you even more poor? But it's the avocado toast that's the problem. Okay. Whatever.

I am getting really sick and tired of ignorant assholes saying that people trapped in poverty are lazy or want to be poor or it's their fault. In the vast majority of cases, it's just not true. They are doing the best they can as their circumstances allow, and they don't have access to the money, connections, training, or education which allows them to find a better job and escape.

Which brings us to the Captain Samuel Vimes theory of socioeconomic unfairness...
"Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet." — Terry Pratchett, from his Discworld novels.

Poor people are kept poor because they live in a system which has been designed to keep them that way. Just like it's designed to keep shoveling money to millionaires and billionaires so they can even further game the system in their favor.

Usually by buying politicians so they keep making policy which benefits them exclusively.

But also by buying public opinion to convince us that poor people are lazy and deserve to stay poor.

   

A 50/50 Shot at Survival

Posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Dave!You would think that as the snow slowly melts and allergens are being released into the air, I'd have a gradual slide into allergy season. Nose runs a little more each day. Eyes water up a little more frequently. Cough gets more and more persistent.

But that's not how it works at all.

Not for me anyways.

In my case my body just deals with the build-up to allergy season and I'm perfectly normal with no symptoms... until one day I just ain't any more.

That day was today.

I woke up well enough this morning, but the minute I got downstairs to feed the cats I was in hell. Nose running like a faucet. Coughing continuously. Even struggling to breathe. The first thing I did was go around the house and replace the air filters in all four of my air purifiers just to make sure they were operating at peak proficiency. If they're not, then sleeping becomes impossible and I never get a break from the torture I go through each Spring.

Which is still my favorite season. Go figure.

It would be easy to blame it on the cats going in and out of the catio and bringing the allergens in with them, but I honestly think that it has to do more with my leaving the house and getting saturated.

And so, like last year, I will be doping up with Benadryl and sucking on cough drops all day so that everybody at work doesn't think I have COVID. The drugs make it tough to focus and keep me eternally drowsy, but I guess it is what it is. I just save the more technical stuff for the evenings when I am back at home and can cough my fool head off in peace. Jake and Jenny aren't happy about it, but so long as they can go outside and are still getting fed, I think they'll survive.

Me, on the other hand? I give myself a 50/50 shot of surviving.

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Highly Recommended in Pink

Posted on Friday, March 12th, 2021

Dave!Last night I took a double Benadryl cocktail at 9:30 and went to bed at 10:00 in the hopes that I could get some rest after battling my allergies all day long. I started to read more of a book I started last month (the excellent Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019)... except, according to my Apple Watch... I passed out 15 minutes later.

I slept a total of 7 hours and 56 minutes.

That's a massive amount of sleep for me. And once I saw the sleep report, I was thinking that today would be the best day ever since I was so well-rested. Except... the lingering effects of Benadryl has meant that I spent my morning being mostly drowsy. Oh well. I tried.

In non-drug-induced-slumber-news...

When I went to Amazon to look into more replacement filters for my air purifiers, the very first "recommended item" was leggings. For women. And I'm like... "Dude. The last thing I bought was a frickin' vegetable peeler and a case of Cheetos. How in the hell did the leap from Cheetos to leggings happen?" — YOUR ALGORITHM IS DRUNK, AMAZON... GO HOME!

Although...

John Hollis as Blofeld off a helicopter.

...there are certainly worse things to have show up on your Amazon recommendations.

Even though pink isn't really my color. And no amount of Cheetos will ever make my ass look that good.

And in other, other news. I've discovered Goat TikTok...

@goateees

##goat ##cute ##pet

♬ original sound - I love goats

And just when you thought your Friday couldn't get any better. You're Welcome!

   

Caturday 201

Posted on Saturday, March 13th, 2021

Dave!Yay! My blog is broke again! Who knows when I'll find time to fix it.

But anyway...

Jake's favorite spot to sleep used to be next to my feet... but now he's upgraded to between my feet. Once he just kind of found himself there... and now he will force his way in there. Sometimes I will wake up and he'll be there sleeping away...

Jake asleep in-between my feets.

Jake asleep in-between my feets.

Pretty smart.

But kinda pales in comparison to Jenny, as usual. She's so smart and so cunning in getting what she wants. She comes running to the door when I go to the bathroom because she knows I'll stop and pet her when I come out. She runs to the kitchen when I walk in there because she knows that she might be able to guilt me into giving her a treat. And now? NOW?!? She waits for me to get up to get something, then dash to my spot on the couch and sit there because she knows I'll sit and pet her until she's had enough and I can get my spot back...

Jenny sitting in my spot on the couch.

The worst though? She'll run to the door of the bathroom... wait for me to come out and pet her... then, if I stop before she's had enough, she'll run to my spot on the couch for more!

I have no idea what she'll come up with next. But I'm sure she'll find a way to get her way, that's for certain.

And while I didn't find Jake and Jenny in a dumpster, they were feral rescues...

@fanpageformydogs

My sister got a new Berner dog today 🥰 chonko is Norman fukas* is Charlie ##dog ##dogs ##dogvideo ##dogvideos ##dogsoftiktok ##puppy ##puppytiktok ##fyp

♬ original sound - clay.kuzmin

And I feel the exact same way.

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Bullet Sunday 705

Posted on Sunday, March 14th, 2021

Dave!We may be suffering from losing an hour of sleep because of that stupid fucking time change, but I will carry on regardless... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
DST 4EVAR! You just know how much I must hate dicking with the clocks twice a year when you see how I'm willing to go on-record and agree with Marco Rubio on something. Make Daylight Saving Time permanent, split the difference, or get rid of clocks altogether. I just don't fucking care any more. Make the madness stop.

   
• Pizza? Italians reacting to Americans desecrating their national dishes is what you need today...

@lionfieldmusic

Original video by @lexxiiipoo ##lionfieldmusic ##fyp ##italian ##italians ##italiancheck ##pizza ##italianfood ##italy

♬ Dorime (Ameno's Hybrid Orchestra) - Peiroten

Pineapple on pizza? There isn't a cross big enough.

   
• PSA! And now, a public service announcement: IF YOU HAVE SIDE EFFECTS FROM YOU COVID VACCINATION, THAT'S BECAUSE IT'S WORKING, YOU POTATO! — I am checking daily to see when I can get mine. I will not hesitate. I won't jump in line ahead of anybody, but I will absolutely 100% get it the minute it's available to me.

   
• Home! =sigh= I miss my mom...

@peetmontzingo

this will always feel like home to me🥰 @queenmamadrama ##mom ##son ##little

♬ Send Me on My Way - Guy Meets Girl

   
• Quantum Mechanics! Okay, I don't usually post memes that I don't make... but this is totally because of the science nerd in me right here...

I got interested in quantum mechanics because the concepts that come out of it are just so impossibly fascinating. I stay interested in quantum mechanics because the concepts that come out of it are just so impossibly impossible but... at the same time... totally possible.

   
• Chowder! When a pupper can literally ride a skateboard better than you...

@chowderthebulldog

A few runs later. He’s a pro! Doing what he LOVES 💕🛹 ##athletesoftiktok ##dogsoftiktok ##fyp ##practicemakesperfect ##bulldogs ##nowlookatthis

♬ original sound - Chowder

It's not just that he can ride without falling off... IT'S THAT HE CAN MAKE A TURN!

   
• Swing-And-A-Miss! Well, shit. I had my fingers crossed and everything.

   
• Savage! This may very well be the most savage thing ever conceived... but also the most deviously genius...

@kyleprue

I am a war criminal ##height ##men ##internationalwomensday ##fyp ##foryoupage ##christianity

♬ original sound - Kyle Prue

I doff my hat to your evil ways, sir.

   
And now for a nice post-clock-change nap.

   

It’s What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Posted on Monday, March 15th, 2021

Dave!Just when you think things are finally turning around in your life and you're starting to see daylight at the end of a very long tunnel...

...kicked in the nuts again.

Oh well. What's one more thing? After 19 years of having to chew my way through the shit sandwich that has been my life, I should be used to the taste by now, right?

Could... um... somebody pass the ketchup?

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Monopoly and the New Normal

Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Dave!Today I had some appointments I couldn't put off any longer. I was supposed to be vaccinated by now so I kept delaying, but Washington State keeps moving the dates, so now I have no idea when I'm getting vaxxed up. With that in mind, I went ahead and got my teeth cleaned and all the rest of the stuff that got pushed back for no reason.

I also picked up my free birthday burger from Red Robin, then went grocery shopping.

Every year (twice a year?) Safeway/Albertsons/Jewel-Osco/Eagle/Whatever has a "Monopoly" game where you collect little stickers that you have to lick and adhere to a game board for Boardwalk, Park Place, Kentucky Avenue, and the rest (not affiliated with the McDonald's game scandal from the documentary McMillion$). They promise prizes like boats and cars and a million dollars and stuff... but those stickers are scattered to the winds and I have no idea if anybody ever wins them. More likely you'll win a box of cookies or $5 shopping certificate or something like that. I think the most I've ever won is $20, but it meant having to waste more money than that with my time to open all the little tickets and organize all those little stickers. So... not worth it. But there's an occasional "instant winner" for things like "Save 50¢ on a Box of Crackers"... so free stuff, I guess.

So here I am opening up all the little tickets I got while typing this blog post and eating dinner when I see that there are no little stickers inside. Just bar code tickets you have to scan into an app. This was puzzling to me until I realized that people licking stickers in the Age of COVID is probably best avoided.

Which means we're now playing "Monopoly" without a game board.

And if that ain't a metaphor for my life right now, I don't know what is.

Just like Safeway "Monopoly" is not really "Monopoly" any more, my life hasn't been much of a life any more. Which is pretty much like everybody else on the planet right now, I suppose.

And it really gets me thinking about what our new "normal" is going to be going forward.

If history is any example, we will have learned nothing from this past year and just keep making the same mistakes that we've been making. That seems to be our nature. But with the "anti-science movement" gaining momentum like it has been, I'm understandably worried. The same science which cured polio and put a rover on Mars... the same science which paved the way for the technology which drives our modern lifestyles... the same science which has kept us moving forward as things turn to shit... is what people are choosing to hate, ignore, and mock when it comes to saving lives? Anti-maskers, anti-vaxers, anti-science, anti-everything-that-doesn't-fit-a-personal-narrative is apparently going to be the thing that kills us now. Because people bashing out "Science doesn't work! Science is a sham!" in a tweet typed on technology that science makes possible is peak humanity, when you think about it.

So maybe we should be embracing our doom?

Because if hate and willful ignorance is going to be our new normal, that's no fun.

Ooh! Look! I just got a "50¢ OFF One 4-Pack Kleenex Facial Tissues!"

A Monopoly Game Ticket Instant Winner for Kleenex.
Redemption code blurred so y'all can't steal my winnings!

That might come in handy as I weep for all humanity! It was good while it lasted.

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Un-Cancel Your Own Shit

Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Dave!I was born into the beginning years of what would eventually be known as Generation-X. We're younger than Boomers, but older than Millennials, and kinda get forgotten because it's all Boomer-This and Millennial-That. We're stuck in the middle and ignored, which is totally something we're used to. It's how we were raised.

For the most part, I am very happy with being a Gen-X kid. My childhood in suburban small-town America was fairly idyllic and carefree. Both my parents worked, which meant that me and my brother were self-supervised and did whatever the heck we wanted to do from the minute we got home from school to the minute it was time for dinner at 6:00.

We were the first generation to have video games and home computers. We were the first generation to be online and have internet. We were the first generation with mobile phones. It goes on and on. The massive number of personal technological advances that have taken place in our lifetime made for a really interesting adolescence.

But now we're the overlooked generation no longer. We're being called to arms!

On Monday Gillian Turner from FOX "News" said "Cancel culture is spreading like wildfire. There is a call for Generation X to lead the chage to save America from the social media mob. Can they do it?"

Okay, first of all, the question is not "Can they do it"... it's "Do they WANT to do it."

And, second of all, the answer is "FUCK NO."

Stuff I've enjoyed has been canceled my entire fucking life. Dungeons & Dragons, violent video games, regular video games, violent movies, regular movies, comic books, magazines, and a slew of television shows and commercials deemed "inapropriate." And what about the music I listened to? Punk rock, heavy metal, grunge, rap, new wave, and even fucking Britpop was getting canceled... I once had a note sent to my house because a teacher caught me listening to The Smiths on my Walkman! A group of us were sent to the office for listening to 2 Live Crew... IN A CAR IN THE PARKING LOT. Boomers did nothing but engage in "cancel culture" for my entire fucking life just because they didn't like what Gen-X liked.

Gillian Turner is a Millenial. But she's not calling on Gen-X to step up and stop cancel culture for her generation... she's wanting us to step up and stop it for her FOX "News" audience, WHICH ARE BOOMERS?! Yep, that's right... the SAME Boomers who wanted to cancel the fuck out of everything Gen-X enjoyed wants us to go to war to save shit that they enjoyed. Like stupid Mr. Potato Head and crusty old Dr. Suess books and shit.

Which is really stupid to begin with. Mr. Potato Head is still Mr. Potato Head, it's just being put under the umbrella brand of "Potato Head" so that there's a place for "Mrs. Potato Head" and "Potato Dog" or whatever. And the six Dr. Suess books are not being "canceled," the estate and publisher felt that they needed to be "retired" for having racist imagery that society is trying to move past. Which means the two biggest things which have Boomers' panties in a twist right now can't even be defined as "cancel culture" because nobody called for them to be canceled in the first place. The owners are making changes on their own volition.

Hypocritical idiocy like this drives me insane.

I ain't stepping up to save anything from "cancel culture" that has Boomers in an uproar, and it's laughable that I even have to say it.

"Oh dear. Somebody is trying to cancel something you love in the same way you that you tried to cancel the things I loved? And now you want me to do something about it for you? — Ha! Okay, Boomer."

Except, no. Not really.

   

Average American Justice

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Dave!There's two new things on my television today. One I've been dying to see ever since I first learned it was coming. The other one I know full well is going to be a steaming pile of shit and dread the idea of watching it, but am going to give it a look anyway because I kinda have to.

Nate Bargatze: Greatest Average American
is exactly what I need right now. Smart, brilliant, comedy which doesn't have to rely on punching down on people or swearing to be funny. I don't think it's funnier than his first special... The Tennessee Kid... but it's still darn entertaining and must-see television.
DAVE RATING: ☆★★★★★★★★★

Zack Snyder's Justice League
I've not been shy with my opinion on Zack Snyder's DC Universe films. Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman were absolute shit. Horrific perversions of the source material that were full of changes nobody asked for and nobody wanted to see. Justice League was supposed to change all that. But Warner Bros. hated the direction Snyder was going with it... his dark, dour, deadly-serious, joyless take on the material was in stark contrast to the Marvel Studios films which were joyful, hopeful, fun, and faithful to the comics. Also? Marvel was raking in billions of dollars with their superior methods. So when Zack Snyder tragically lost his daughter, Warner Bros. took the opportunity to squeeze him out and bring Joss Whedon onboard to "fix" the film and make it more like The Avengers. To that end, he re-shot a huge amount of the footage to make the movie more jokey and slapsticky. It was awful. Which lead to Snyder fans to relentlessly ask for "The Snyder Cut" to be released. And here we are with the four-hour version that Snyder intended. Except it's still shitty. It's just more consistently shitty than it used to be. My notes on this tragic affair are in an extended entry, if you care to read them.
DAVE RATING (Snyder version): ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆★★
DAVE RATING (Theatrical version): ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆★

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Sam & Buck: Together Again

Posted on Friday, March 19th, 2021

Dave!WandaVision was a disappointment. Instead of Wanda and Vision getting a show of their own, they instead spent most of their time parodying other TV shows... then ended up being nothing more than a prelude to another character's movie. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. The idea of the Marvel shows on Disney+ is that they are feature-film quality projects which have the time to dig deeper into the characters in a way that movies don't have time to do.

Enter The Falcon and The Winter Soldier...

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Movie Poster

I'm just going to get this out of the way... Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are absolute gold. Ridiculously talented actors who know how to inhabit their roles and sell their characters. There's not a moment that they're on screen that they're not wowing you... whether it's in terrific action sequences or much quieter moments.

The story revolves around the past charting the future, and how Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes let their pasts hold them back while trying to move forward. And there's also the legacy of Captain America to deal with.

I loved it.

And if you want more of my thoughts on the show, I'll put them in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Caturday 202

Posted on Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Dave!Another day. Another bit of terrible news to break my heart.

There's a meme going around Facebook and TikTok which says "The last photo in your camera roll is the reason you're alive."

Here's the last photo on my camera roll...

Jake laying on my leg in bed.

And here's the photo before it...

Jenny getting her ears massaged.

No surprise there.

And meme accurate.

   

Bullet Sunday 706

Posted on Sunday, March 21st, 2021

Dave!I think I may have gone into a coma from my allergies, but that doesn't mean you're being denied your Sunday roundup... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Help is Available. I am so sad to have to be posting this again:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.

National Suicide Prevention Line
1-800-273-8255

Help is a phone call away if you need it. And if you need it, please make that call.

   
• Newton! Mathematics has always been something I'm fascinated with... but I have never been able to wrap my head around it once things go beyond basic geometry and algebra. I still dabble with the heavier stuff from time to time, but that's mostly via YouTube videos. Like this one, which is superficially about calculating the value of π... but is actually about so much more than that...

I could watch videos like this all day long. It's not like I'm ever going to do anything with the information, but it's cool to see the math behind our universe, isn't it?

   
• Venmo? I haven't carried cash in years. So I imagine this is how it's going to be from here on out...

@zelginjackson

😂😂😂 ##greenscreen ##foryou ##foryoupage

♬ original sound - Zelgin Jackson

Funny... but also... not funny? I guess?

   
• Noob! BWAH HA HA HAAAA! If you are a Marvel Studios movie fan... and you've seen Avengers: Endgame... you MUST watch this ad for Xbox Live until the very end. I mean the very, VERY end. If you don't recognize the guy that Sam Wilson (The Falcon) is talking to, it's the guy who worked at The Apple Store in Captain America: The Winter Solder. This is so cool...

Noobmaster69 has been revealed! I absolutely love how everything in the MCU is connected so beautifully.

   
• Men at Work! For any of y’all ladies interested in a peek into a the male mindset, here you go. This is painfully accurate, as any man will verify...

@colbyguenther

##stitch with @mackandronni I don’t make the rules I just enforce them.

♬ original sound - colby guenther

THE TRAUMA IS REAL, PEOPLE!

   
• Essential Reading. The long history of anti-Asian hate in America, explained.

   
• Care? I love living in a country where your first thought is... "How do I make sure my insurance covers this and how much will I have to pay for it?" over "I need medical care." But, sure. We have the best healthcare in the entire world. But what good is it if most people can't afford it, don't have access to it, and even with insurance you can potentially go bankrupt? Facts in evidence? Take a look at how many GoFundMe accounts have been set up for medical expenses. Yet another case where Americans are being brainwashed into thinking that something really fucked up is actually a good thing. Thank the medical insurance lobby for buying off our politicians to convince you that we're the best, when we're actually ranked 37th! We pay more for health care, get less for our money, and insurance companies profit. But sure, we're the greatest. Whatever. The conditioning runs so deep that there are people willing to die before admitting that our health care system is extremely broken. And, sadly, they may just die believing it even as the system they believe in so strongly fails them.

   
And that's the end of that.

   

100% Totally Believable

Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Dave!Today I booked my first flight since November, 2019 for a trip this September. Which means that if nothing derails my plans, I will have gone almost two years without having stepped foot on an airplane. I think the last time I went more than a year without flying was 1992 maybe? So obviously this is a bit weird for me.

This is a trip which was supposed to happen in the Spring of 2020... but... well, you know.

Even with vaccinations happening, travel is still a scary prospect. Though I will most certainly have been vaccinated by September, there's still loads of people not giving a shit about taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the ever-growing number of coronavirus mutations. On the contrary, people are being less cautious than ever and COVID infections are starting to take off again.

So... maybe I end up with an incurable strain of COVID from my trip and that's the end of me. Not the best way to go, but there are certainly worse ways. Hopefully somebody will take care of my cats, because that's all that really matters to me.

Ugh.

It's almost unbelievable that people couldn't be bothered to stay vigilant until vaccinations could become more prevalent and mutations could be curbed... but here we are.

And by "almost unbelievable" I mean "100% totally believable" because you can see evidence of people acting like anti-science morons on a daily basis. TikTok is replenished with new anti-masker nonsense hourly.

Oh well.

Human nature and all that.

   

Embrace the Horror?

Posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Dave!“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” — Doe Zantamata

"Could you please leave the lights off?" — David Simmer II

It's amazing how once things start to go wrong, they often continue to go wrong until some cataclysmic event occurs where things can't get any worse, and you end up on the upswing again. The last time this happened was the four year period from my mother's diagnosis in 2014 up until her death in 2018 (though it wasn't until half-way through 2019 that I started to feel like I was slowly moving into better days).

And here we are again.

Right now I have movied past "Acceptance" and entered the "Embrace the Horror" stage. Things will continue to get worse, there's nothing I can do about it, so I might as well try not to stress about things as I ride that train off the cliff. The crash will come soon enough.

Which brings us to the novel Dune, as most everything eventually does.

Early in the story, young Paul Atreides is upset about leaving his cushy life on the planet Caladan to relocate to the planet Arrakis. It's a dangerous move to an inhospitable world which will likely result in death and ruin. Pauls father, Duke Leto, knows this, and tells Paul that "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."

That the Duke ends up getting slaughtered shortly after stepping foot on Arrakis came as no surprise. Especially to the Duke. It's what had to happen in order for Paul to become the cosmic messiah he was destined to be all along, shit happens, and so... yeah... Embrace the Horror.

Last night, in hopes of getting my sleeper to awaken, I started taking stock of the things in my life that will have to change... as well as the things I'll have to leave behind. It was sobering to realize just how much crap I simply do not give a shit about. The only thing I have that matters? My cats. So long as I can take care of Jake and Jenny, does anything else really matter? Apparently not. Not for me anyway. That's a monumentally huge shift from where my head was at five years ago.

So things are not quite as dire as they first appeared. And that's nice, I guess.

Though I've probably got a ways to go before hitting bottom, so there's that.

Life. Amiright?

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Happy 236th Birthday To Me!

Posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Dave!And so today I turn 55 years old.

In some ways it seems impossible to be this ancient. In many other ways it seems as though much more time has gone by. I mean seriously... how many times have I thought that I forgot a bunch of birthdays and surely I must be 80 years old if I'm a day?

A lot. I just feel so... done.

But I've got cats to take care of, so I guess I'll be sticking it out for years yet.

Speaking of which...

IN CAT YEARS I AM 236 YEARS OLD! Which seems a more accurate reflection of my mood. Until I realize that Jake and Jenny are 36 Human Years old, which makes me think that time is blowing by way too fast.

They were just babies a few minutes ago...

Jake and Jenny as babies in the window sill looking at the shade pull.

I say that, but since they were about 2 months old in this photo, that's 2 YEARS in Human Years. Sheesh.

Welp. I guess it's back to DaveLife, already in progress, for me.

Or whatever you can say about DaveLife in lockdown.

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Anger Management for Godhood

Posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Dave!I bounce back and forth between wanting to know absolutely everything that's happening in the world today... and wanting desperately to know nothing about anything anywhere. But I couldn't live with myself if I turned an ignorant eye to all the crap that's happening, so I do my best to stay informed and wade through the sewage forced upon us by the bullshit media with their bullshit agendas.

Right before my birthday happened, the "big news" of the day was Vice President Kamala Harris not saluting the military detail for Air Force 2 as she walked onto her personal jet to go do... something... or whatever. People were beside themselves with rage over her blatant disrespect.

Except...

The President of the United States of America salutes our troops out of (relatively) recent tradition because he is COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES. And even then it's not required OR expected. The Vice President isn’t in command of jack-shit when it comes to the military, so she doesn’t salute them. She's just a civilian in public service.

And yet here comes shitloads of people throwing a fit about it.

Which is like being big mad because a grocery store clerk doesn’t salute our troops, but okay.

Every damn day this country gets more ignorant and more idiotic because people are fucking sheep who don’t even know why they’re mad any more. Somebody on TV or the internet tells them to be outraged, so they get outraged. All people care about is whether the outrage fits the narrative they've been programmed with. Facts, evidence, experience, accuracy, and knowledge simply Do Not Matter.

And I don't know what else to say about it except "Well, have at it then. Keep on being that person who can’t help but announce to the world how big of a dumbass they are." — Because what else can I say? There's no changing anybody's mind, and patiently explaining why Vice President Harris didn't salute the guys outside her fancy plane would make zero difference. They would still be outraged.

And can you imagine if she had saluted?

Then the outrage would be SHE'S NOT MILITARY! SHE'S NOT IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND! HOW DARE SHE THINK SHE IS WORTHY OF SALUTING OUR BRAVE TROOPS! WHAT A DISRESPECTFUL PIECE OF SHIT!!!

Because that's what the outrage machine does. That's all they're good for, apparently.

   
Which brings me to this bit of genius from comedian Russell Brand, one of the foremost thinkers on the planet (whether you agree with him or not)...

"I mean in England we have a Queen for fuck’s sake. A Queen! We have to call her things like 'Your Majesty!' Like she’s all majestic... like an eagle or a mountain. She’s just a person. A little old lady in a shiny hat — a shiny hat that WE paid for. Or 'Your Highness.' What the fuck is that?! What, she’s high up above us at the top of a class pyramid on a shelf of money with her own face on it? We should be calling her Mrs Windsor. In fact that’s not even her real name, they changed it in the war to distract us from the inconvenient fact that they were as German as the enemy that teenage boys were being encouraged, conscripted actually, to die fighting. Her actual name is Mrs. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

All this drama. All this outrage. All this hate. It's all built around mere humans that used to exist to serve us... but now exist to be worshipped by us. If you are a Republican you are required to worship at the altar of President Regan. If you are a Trump-Republican you are required to worship at the altar of President Trump. If you are a Democrat, then President Obama is your god... with President Biden as some kind of god-adjacent deity or something. And once you've been programmed with which god you'll be worshipping, you are expected to be blindly loyal to them... all while hating everybody's else's god... regardless of circumstance.* Which is how we get to "KAMALA HARRIS IS A DEMON IN LEAGUE WITH THE GREAT SATAN JOE BIDEN AND WE NEED TO BE OUTRAGED WHEN SHE DIDN'T SALUTE EVEN THOUGH SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO SALUTE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT OUR GOD DEMANDS OF US! (as handed down from on high by Fox News, restrictions do not apply)"

And, I gotta tell you, I'm exhausted by it all.**

If only we could get back to a place where political leaders are public servants again.***

Though, if I'm being honest, I think we've gone too far down the rabbit hole to ever go back. It's going to be politicians as gods, mandatory blind worship, generated outrage, and hate on top of hate on top of hate, from here on out. Which is both sad and inexplicable, because I think if you sat people down individually and asked them if this is what they really want, their answer would be "no." But nobody has time for that conversation. They have to get back to being mad about somebody over something that somebody told them to be mad about.

   
*Which, coincidentally enough, is how world religions seem to work, but I digress.
**Not exhausted enough to pick a god, but still... I digress.
***Or, at the very least, aren't able to be bought by lobbyist payola... no more digressing.

   

“This is why I can’t have nice things.”

Posted on Friday, March 26th, 2021

Dave!Jessica Walter died.

Best known for playing Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development, I am gutted because she was also the voice of Mallory Archer on Archer, which showcased her talent and genius in a way that you pray for when casting an animated series.

I mean...

And here's Lucille...

"I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it."

Dang, what a loss.

I am praying that there's enough of her voice work recorded for Archer to last until the show ends... or they can at least get creative enough to salvage old recordings and outtakes to have Mallory appear until the end.

Rest in Peace, Jessica Walter. Nobody delivered a biting line like you did and you will be terribly missed. Say "hello" to Woodhouse for us.

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Disneyland Westside

Posted on Friday, March 26th, 2021

Dave!A second entry for Friday? Lucky you!

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you undoubtedly are aware of my Disney theme park obsession. Heck, I even designed my own parody theme park DaveLand because my Disney love goes pretty deep...

The Daveland logo... shamelessly rendered in the style of the Disneyland logo.

I collect the map pamphlets from the Disney parks. I have the wall maps. I bought the map book. And every time Disney announces anything new or any kind of expansion, I am compelled to figure out what they're going to do and how they're going to do it.

The lastest news is more announcements for the Disneyland Resort "Westside Expansion" which will turn a bunch of parking lots into an expanded hotel/shopping/dining/entertainment experience...

An illustration showing the Disneyland Westside Expansion.

Now, this concept illustration is not in any way final (indeed, it looks like the previous plans for the "Mickey Mouse Hotel" have been drastically altered or scrapped... and does anybody remember the plans for "Westcot?"). And it's a bit deceptive, which we'll get to in a minute. But you can see that the idea is to add more stuff to snag tourist dollars than they already do. Looks like there's a lazy river tube ride to the left there. The above-mentioned "Mickey Hotel" in the middle. Three entirely new hotels to the far right. A live stage venue just in front of them. And of course more shopping and dining. Disney quite clearly doesn't want you sleeping, shopping, or dining at anything except Disney-owned properties.

As I was saying, the illustration is a bit deceptive though because about 1/3 is already developed with The Disneyland Hotel and Disney Paradise Pier Hotel, which will be surrounded by new construction (which I've shaded in magenta)...

Me drawing on top of a Google Map screen capture to show where the new construction will be.
© Google Maps... Click to Embiggen

Yellow shading is over Disneyland and California Adventure so you can compare sizing. Suffice to say, this is not a small endeavor... nor will it be cheap. I'm not sure where all that parking will go. Could be it will be constructed underground. Could be they will expand the Pumba lot that's wayyyy off to the East or the Toy Story lot that's wayyyy off to the Southwest (see below) to be a multi-story garages like they did for the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures that are in the upper-left corner of the map.

It's interesting to note that Disneyland is pretty much at its limit here. To the South is the Anaheim Convention Center. To the North and West is suburban sprawl with hundreds of homes that Disney would have to purchase.

But then there's the land to the East.

And here's where my speculation takes a bit of a sinister turn.

Right now, most of the land to the east is occupied by a bunch of hotels, with the exception of the afore-mentioned Pumba Parking lot (outlined in cyan) which I'm guessing is owned by Disney. The red outline is the land I'm talking about...

Me drawing on top of a Google Map screen capture to show where the Eastern land is located.
© Google Maps... Click to Embiggen

Unfortunately for Disney, there's a shopping Mall to the South of the Eastern region that's likely there to stay unless Disney acquires it (if they haven't already) in which case they could rebrand it as yet another Disney shopping experience.

But let's think about this for a second.

The Disneyland Resort Westside Expansion has at least four high-capacity hotels planned. That's going to take business away from the hotels which popped up to the East of Disneyland. Which means the price to buy them out may cheapen. After enough lost business, they may consider selling to Disney... something that's inconceivable as things currently stand because their occupancy must (normally) be pretty darn high and very profitable. And once that first hotel domino falls... and Disney re-themes it as a Disney hotel... and people flock to it because Disney dangles enough perks... and more hotels lose more business... well, it's not difficult to see how it might be "bye bye Candy Cane Inn"... followed by the rest of them one-by-one.

This, of course, is all conjecture. It could be that Disney has zero interest in the budget hotel business, or that the existing hotels will continue to be so popular that the selling price would be insane. Or maybe the chain-owned hotels don't care about lost business and just want a Disney-adjacent property in their portfolio. It's hard to say. All I know is that both parks are overcrowded year' round now, so maybe it's worth it to Disney to buy everything up... and simply not provide budget lodging. At least not as it looks right now. A Disney "Budget Hotel" will be cheaper when compared to their other hotels, but still Disney-pricey. Because if there's one thing that Disney knows how to do... it's make money. Lots of it.

And they could, of course, use the land to build a third theme park. Or relocate the structures that are currently to the North of Disneyland so they can expand the park there. Or just shift the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking to the East so another big chunk of land opens up for entertainment and hotels on the Westside.

However...

That's not the end to Disney's (estimated) land holdings. They either own or lease a rather large piece of land to the Southeast which is currently the Toy Story parking lot. Not sure if the parking for the hotels/businesses to the North is Disney-owned (that's outlined in green)... but if Disney does own this, they could build a massivley huge parking structure which could replace all the lost parking for Westside... and absorb parking for any hotels they buy, which could then be expanded or rebuilt... or replaced with more theme park to attract more customers (or maybe spread the crowds out a bit)...

Me drawing on top of a Google Map screen capture to show where the Eastern land is located.
© Google Maps

I dunno.

All I do know is that Disney gobbling up that Eastern parcel... along with the area above the Toy Story parking lot... creates a nicely contiguous chunk of land which would nearly double what they have now.

Not that contiguous land is essential. Just look at Walt Disney World. Build another monorail or an air-tram... or expand the bus system... and that third theme park could end up in the Southwest section. Or anywhere, really. I remember reading how Disney wanted to expand to a beachfront property in L.A. or something. Heaven only knows how much land in the greater L.A. area they own either directly or via shell companies.

What I wouldn't give to work for the team at Disney which gets to plan all this stuff. That's my dream job right there. But since I don't, all I can do is have fun speculating and be excited for what's coming next.

Until then, there's always Daveland.

UPDATE: Well looky what we have here... a site that Disney created to shame Anaheim into rezoning their property for multi-use purposes called Disneyland Forward. It doesn't do anything to curb speculation because it's just Disney tossing out ideas, but it does clarify a few things. First of all is their plans for expanding into the Westside property and Northward...

Disney Forward Expansion Map.

Note that Disneyland gets an addition to the West, so those weren't hotels, they were attraction buildings. The only hotel expansion looks to be another tower for Paradise Pier?

Disney Forward Expansion Map.

Which is not to say that Disney couldn't change their mind and drop a bunch of hotels once they get their way so that they can still buy out everything to the East and raze it for a third theme park. And idea which still makes a lot of sense. Though remember that land to the Southeast? Hotel and shopping have been dropped there as an example of what could happen...

Disney Forward Expansion Map.

Disney Forward Expansion Map.

   
Interesting stuff! You can see everything for yourself at Disneyland Forward.

   

Caturday 203

Posted on Saturday, March 27th, 2021

Dave!I am sick, sick, sick.

Which means I've spent almost the entirety of my Saturdays in bed. Fortunately(?) my cats have been more than happy to keep me company as I lay here dying while lamenting the fact that all the chores I've been meaning to get to are ignored.

They have provided entertainment, however, as I lay here flat on my back trying not to throw up. Like synchronized butt-licking...

Jake and Jenny licking their butts on the window perches in perfect harmony.

Jake has been doing a lot of undercarriage grooming. So either this is normal and I'm just not seeing it... or he saved it up just for me...

Jake sitting down licking his tail.

Jake sitting down licking his belly.

And, yes, as I've mentioned the last couple weeks, Jake is still wedging himself in-between my feet and legs to sleep and groom himself. Any time I wake up now, he's almost guaranteed to be there, which is really strange. I move around a lot when I sleep, but he is not deterred. I mean, look how I woke up this afternoon...

Jake sleeping on my legs.

I'm practically off the bed and he just doesn't care. I really had to go to the bathroom here, but when I nudged him by pulling on the sheet? Oh... he just turns around and starts giving himself a bath...

Jake licking his paws on my legs.

And of course it's too cute so I have no choice but to lay there in an uncomfortable position until he finishes... TEN MINUTES LATER!

In other news... more Mufasa drama last night. Jake will run upstairs to drop off his stuffed lion, then go back downstairs and cry because he can't find Mufasa. So I walk it downstairs and hand it to him... only to have him carry his favorite toy right back upstairs again...

Jake carrying Mufasa upstairs as seen by the security camera.

I took it down TWICE, because I'm a sucker like that. But can you blame me? Look at that adorable face!

Jake looking at me all pitiful-like.

The third time, which was a while later, I took it downstairs and told him "No more! If you bring it back upstairs, it's staying there!" Not five minutes later, JENNY BRINGS IT UPSTAIRS AND DROPS IT ON THE FLOOR!!

Mufasa on the floor.

NOOOOOO! She was rather proud of herself...

Jenny

Now what do I do? Technically, Jake wasn't the one who brought it upstairs. His sister did. So was I obligated to take it down to him? Turns out the answer is no. He came upstairs to go to bed not long after.

And, no, I still have no idea why Mufasa hasn't been ripped to shreds given how Jake treats the thing...

Nobody explained any of this madness to me when I got my cats. They should hand out pamphlets at the Humane Society.

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Bullet Sunday 707

Posted on Sunday, March 28th, 2021

Dave!Feeling a little less than heroic today? Then I've got you covered... because a Very Special All-Comic-Book Edition Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Comic-Con? Welp. Comic-Con International just announced that the new date for Comic-Con San Diego is... Thanksgiving Weekend?!? It seems weird to think that a day reserved for giving thanks with your family would be commandeered after a year of pandemic that's kept families apart, but okay. Maybe that's the point though? They new attendance would be down over a holiday, which is what they need to keep crowds low just as everybody is getting vaccinated? I dunno. Still seems a weird... and borderline heartless... thing to do. "Sorry, grandma, we've got Comic-Con that weekend! Hope you can make it until next year!"

   
• Invincible. Amazon Prime Streaming has just released the first three episodes of their occasionally-violent-and-gory adaptation of the Invincible comic book...

I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't drag everything out so they could have one of the most shocking twists in comic book history saved for the second season. Nope. They've got it right up front.

   
• The Suicide Squad. It's interesting to see how Zack Snyder was given millions upon millions of dollars to release his "director's cut" of Justice League, but the same courtesy is not being extended to David Ayer for his Suicide Squad film, which was apprently taken far away from his intended story by the studio. Truth to tell, I would rather Ayer have been given the cash, because the stuff he originally shot sounds far more interesting. I mean, sure, his version of the Joker was shit, but a lot of other things were pretty well done. The reason he's probably not being given the opportunity is that DC doesn't want to overshadow the upcoming The Suicide Squad movie by James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame). An R-rated trailer, of which, was just released...

Promising! SO many characters from the comics! The whole idea behind the Squad is that members die because the missions they take on are so dangerous. Apparently James Gunn is taking this to heart, because his entire motto for the film is "Don't Get Attached." How can you say no to that?

   
• New Cap. Steve Rogers, Captain America, has lost his shield! In a new series called The United States of Captain America, he embarks on a road trip across the country to find it... teaming up with other "Captain Americas" from over the years. Along the way he finds other people who have taken up his mantle, including a gay teenager named Aaron Fischer...

The cover of The United States of Captain America.

So naturally people are losing their fucking minds. Which is just the most bizarre phenomenon to me. It's comic book characters. The original Captain America is still here. Nothing is being taken away. But the idea that a gay American can't be Captain America when so many other Americans have been Captain America over the years is just bonkers. Gay people exist. Representation matters. Get the fuck over it.

   
• Old Cap. I had written up my thoughts on the second episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but then decided to hold onto them because I worry that anybody who hasn't read the comics driving this story will get the series spoiled for them. I will say that I am absolutely fascinated that they mined Truth: Red, White, and Black for this installment. The story of the actual first "Captain America" was pretty groundbreaking... even though it was published in 2003. It was here that we learned that 300 Black men were used as test subjects for the "Super Soldier Serum" before it was given to Steve Rogers. Of the 300, only Isaiah Bradley survived, and we got to meet him on Friday...

Carl Lumley as Isaiah Bradley.

Isaiah Bradley Captain America from the Marvel Comics.

After serving his country with honor, he was imprisoned for his trouble. Now he's trying to live a quiet life of seclusion, as explained by his grandson, Eli Bradley. If you read the comics, Eli ends up being the hero Patriot...

Elijah Richardson as Eli Bradley.

Patriot from the Marvel Comics.

Could it be that we're assembling the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Because the Young Avengers are almost all accounted for now! Eli Bradley as Patriot, Kate Bishop as Hawkeye (from the upcoming Hawkeye series), Billy and Tommy as Wiccan and Speed (from WandaVision), Cassie Lang as Stature (from the Ant-Man movies), and America Chavez as Miss America (from the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). And if they want to toss in Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel (from the upcoming Ms. Marvel series), and Riri Williams as Ironheart (from the upcoming Ironheart series)... PLUS debut Hulkling out of the upcoming Secret Invasion series... well... there you have it. It would seem that Marvel Studios is intent on keeping the current MCU moving forward as opposed to rebooting everything with new actors in the existing roles. Which is pretty smart. Because until the gravy train stops rolling, they might as well, right?

   
• The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. But back to the second episode... the Captain America comic books are at their best when they are saying something. When they tackle the big issues that face this country. And that's the niche that the source material takes quite often in modern times. It's only right that the Disney+ series spin-off follow suit. So when Sam Wilson was not able to get a bank loan last episode, on the surface it was because Thanos snapped him out of existence for 5 years. But you quickly got the idea that him being a Black man was definitely a factor. Didn't matter that he's one of the most famous people on the planet, no consideration was offered. And then in this episode, an argument with Bucky in public results in the police showing up to ask Bucky "if this man was bothering him"...

The cover of The United States of Captain America.

So kudos to Marvel Studios for making this series actually try to say something... in-between some great action sequences. It's exactly what Cap would want to see happen.

   
Stay frosty, True Believer!

   

Ever Stuck

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2021

Dave!Evergreen's Ever Given super-hauler container ship which has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Tuesday was finally un-stuck. Naturally I've been reading up on all things Suez Canal this week because that's just the kind of person I am.

What's so interesting to me is that the Suez Canal costs loads of money to take your ship through. LOADS of money. Because of how massive the Ever Given is, I would not be the least bit surprised if the fee is millions of dollars. $5 million+ feels about ballpark because that baby is huge. Smaller ships cost less, of course, but given that 50+ ships are going through the canal every day... Egypt is making serious bank. A reported $14 to $15 million on an average day (though I would not be shocked if that wasn't a conservative estimate).

So while it's probably hundreds of thousands dollars cheaper to go around Africa (extra labor and fuel considered), you're losing precious time. Depending on the starting and ending destination, you could be adding anywhere from five to ten days. That's five to ten days your ships are not able to be transporting more cargo. Which means lost revenue. Hence the reason the Suez Canal is so popular. When they calculated it out, they estimate that $9.6 billion dollars in trade was being held up by the Ever Given before operations resumed.

Yikes.

Since the Suez Canal is mainly for freight that travels between Europe and Asia, you'd think that the USA wouldn't be terribly affected. Anything from Europe to the East Coast is a straight shot. Anything from Europe to the West Coast uses the Panama Canal. Then it's vice-versa from Asia to the USA. But global trade doesn't really work like that. The ramifications of the Europe-to-Asia-to-Europe route shutting down will undoubtedly cause all kinds of problems that spill over into the Americas.

As if the world didn't have enough trouble already.

The official cause of all this was chalked up to "wind." In which case there wasn't a lot that the Ever Given could do. At that size, it undoubtedly had a tug or two helping to keep it on course, so you can't even put the blame entirely on Evergreen's captain.

Shit happens y'all.

Just don't be surprised if a roll of toilet paper to wipe it costs more over the next several months.

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Queen Bee Hotness

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

Dave!One of those YouTube shows that I became immediately addicted to is Hot Ones... where a celebrity guest eats increasingly hotter and hotter sauces on top of chicken wings (or veggie wings, if you're so inclined) to see how hot they can go. In-between they are asked questions and the results are often pretty darn funny. And the stars they manage to get are impressive indeed. Everybody shows up. Everybody from Paul Rudd and Idris Elba to Charlize Theron and Awkwafina. If you haven't seen the show, check it out and find a guest you like. I've seen every episode.

They even did one in LEGO for heaven's sake...

AND THEN... we got a special treat when Saturday Night Live did a parody with Maya Rudolph as Beyoncé. It's about the funniest thing I've seen come out of that show in a long while...

Flawless.

I've watched this through three times now and die every time.

   

Live Your Best Life

Posted on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

Dave!On this day of Trans Visibility, I think of my good friend who is stronger in who she is than many of us will ever be.

It seems inordinately cruel that yesterday Arkansas became the first state to ban healthcare for trans youth. And, to be quite honest, I have to wonder if lawmakers did any research whatsoever before doing something so horrific. They think of being transgender as some kind of "fad" that kids will grow out of... meanwhile trans kids can end up living a miserable existence, even going so far as to take their own lives. Not only that, but if people would take 5 minutes to read how young kids can just be given puberty blockers that merely delay the effects of puberty until they are older and can make an adult decision, they'd understand that even it it was just a fad, they can stop taking the puberty blockers at any time and go right back to their previous puberty progression.

How much of an absolute monster do you have to be to deny a kid something that may keep them from harming themselves? Regardless of what you believe, it doesn't have to do with you. Believe whatever you want to believe. But your beliefs don't get to dictate how other people live their lives. I'd rather see a happy kid living their best life at no cost to me than to want them damaged or even dead.

Trans Pride Flag... with blue, pink, white, pink, and blue stripes.

In other news...

Washington State opened up my vaccination tier today. I hopped on the computer this morning to make an appointment and couldn't get through, so I was thinking "Yikes, I'll probably be lucky to get an appointment weeks from now." But when I tried later on in the morning, appointments were wide open... including today. Weird.

I booked an appointment for the mass vaccination site in The Big City. It was amazingly well-run. I thought the line would be a mile long, but I drove through the Disneyland-like queue maze with nobody ahead of me. Got right up to the check-in station. Then drove over to the vaccination site. Had two cars before me. I was sure to ask for a vaccine with extra lizard DNA and 5G. Then, before I even realized anything had happened, I had my first dose of Pfeizer vaccine. Didn't even realize it had happened. Didn't feel it. Thought maybe something had gone wrong. But, nope. That was it. A 15-minute wait later and I was on my way. Still don't feel anything. This is nothing compared to the flu shot that had my arm aching for days. So I guess it's the second shot that gets you.

Now I'm wondering if I start turning into a lizard person immediately... or if I have to wait for my second dose? I'm happy to know that Bill Gates can track my location to find out when I take a shit. That’s just a bonus right there! This deuce is for unleashing Windows on us, ya bastard!

Because, yes, my life IS so interesting that Bill Gates wants to know where I'm at at all times.

   

Mad About MAD Being Mad

Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2021

Dave!I am glad to see that the number of April Fools jokes online have plummeted. This is just not the time. I wish people would drop it completely, because it's never really the time for me. But I'm no fun like that.

This morning I found some of my old MAD magazines and books when I was looking for a certificate I needed. Boy did that take me back.

One day when I was in Middle School on my way to class, a friend returned a MAD book that they had borrowed. I didn't think anything of it and threw it on top of the books I had under my arm. After taking my seat, the science teacher saw the book and snatched it off the table. I wasn't looking at it... it was just sitting there. Apparently that was offensive enough to him that he was compelled to take it. After class I asked him for it back and he turned all red-faced and said "NO!"

He was always a bit of an asshole, but taking my personal property for no reason? Fuck him.

A month-and-a-half later it was the last day of school. I didn't want to risk asking for my book back and having him refuse, so I had my mom write me a note asking him to return my property. After class was over, I handed it to him. He threw it on his desk and ignored it.

So I asked him to read it now.

And he did.

At which time he was consumed with rage.

"I THOUGHT IT WAS A NICE NOTE THANKING ME FOR BEING A GOOD TEACHER OR SOMETHING... BUT INSTEAD YOU WANT YOUR BOOK BACK?!?" He then pulled open a big drawer on his desk that was filled with confiscated crap. "IS THIS THE BOOK?!?" It wasn't. "WELL HOW ABOUT THIS ONE?!?" Yes. That's my book.

He threw it at my face. I was THIS close to telling him to go fuck himself and the last thing I would do is write a note praising him when he was a bargain-basement teacher at best, but instead I said "Thanks so much! Have a great summer!" because I knew that would piss him off more. And what did I care? I was off to high school.

It was at that moment I wondered if he would fail me or lower my grade. He didn't... probably because he knew I would call him on his bullshit... but I am fairly certain that he wanted to quite badly.

And speaking of people getting mad about nothing...

The beautifully-crafted Lil' Nas X music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name) is causing quite the uproar. Probably because Lil' Nas X takes a stripper pole down to hell in his Calvin Klein underwear and gives the devil a lap dance...

Lil Nas X on a stripper pole.

Lil Nas X sliding down to hell.

Lil Nas X giving the devil a lap dance.

Lil Nas X killing the devil and becoming the new king of hell.

While I was eating lunch I logged on to Facebook where people are talking about it. One of the posts said "What do you think about all this?" to which I commented "I think that if 'well-meaning Christians' hadn't constantly told Lil' Nas X he was going to hell for being gay, he wouldn't have been compelled to make a video throwing it back in their faces."

From there it went to the inevitable "But this is harmful to children seeing it!" to which I replied "I dunno. I've listened to metal since I was a kid, which can be far more satanic than this, and I turned out okay." I was half-way expecting somebody to reply with "BUT DID YOU THOUGH?!?" except nobody took the bait. Oh well.

It's always something, isn't it?

When I was a kid it was Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeath, Slayer, Venom, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Motley Crüe, and the rest. Today it's Lil' Nas X which, if I'm being honest, is relatively tame by comparison. He gives the devil a lapdance. Whoop-de-doo.

The song is a banger though. Reeeeeally catchy.

But if it offends you, I guess you could always move to North Korea where they censor everything. Pretty sure you won't find Lil' Nas X playing there. For one thing, I don't think the long red braids he wears to hell is one of the 28 approved haircuts you're allowed to have.

   

You have to taste it…

Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2021

Dave!Most of what I learned about cooking came from my grandmothers. I loved cooking and loved food, and they were happy to help me learn how to do it well.

I remember once when my grandmother was teaching me how to make her famous, award-winning apple pie, I had just help to slice the apples and was ready to make the filling when I asked her how much sugar and cinnamon and lemon juice to add. "Well you have to taste the apples." If they were tart, less lemon juice. If they were sweet, less sugar. If they were fragrant, less cinnamon. And so on. It was a balance that you could only figure out if you knew what you were working with.

And it was the same for the potato salad. "You have to taste the onion to know how to season it." And it's been my habit to do so ever since. Today I was finally recovered enough to make some, and thank heavens I tasted the onion before mixing everything. It was RANK. The taste was putrid and gross. No idea what happened, but it bummed me out because I had just bought it on Friday. Thankfully I had the whites of a green onion to use instead, so everything turned out fantastic...

Me holding a bowl of perfect potato salad.

Dang I make good potato salad.

I keep experimenting every time I cook up a batch and I am discovering new spice combinations to make it a different kind of tasty. This time I used some baharat seasoning, which added an entirely new dimension to such a simple food. Last time I used adobo, and that was amazing too. Before that I think I used a Ukrainian blend that was mind-blowing. I think the reason I eat so much potato salad is because it's never the same flavor twice for me. If it weren't so loaded with carbs, I swear I could eat it every day.

Today is Good Friday.

Which has puzzled me since I was a young Catholic because you'd think that crucifying Jesus would be a bad thing. But apparently it used to be "Holy Friday" and words change over time. All things "holy" were equated to being "good" and so forth.

Though I'm guessing all the people slaughtered during the "Holy Crusades" would beg to differ?

I am a long, long ways from the Catholic I was raised, so I'm probably not the right person to ask. Though it's my guess that the people who got slaughtered during the Roman Catholic crusades were likely not happy about it. Though I could be wrong. Maybe the level of big dick energy it took for a pope to send out an army whose sole purpose was to slaughter heratics was so impressive that they were happy to die underfoot of it. Stranger things have happened.

Like the day that Jesus was crucified being referred to as "Good Friday," regardless of how it came about.

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Caturday 204

Posted on Saturday, April 3rd, 2021

Dave!Jake stares out into the catio from on top of the cat tree across the room. Every once in a while he will spot something going on outside and bolt for the catio door at top speed. When you need to worry is when he bolts from the tree up to the catio door then goes into stealth mode. Most times it's birds outside the catio or a moth on the window or something else he wants to murder. No big deal.

But when I look out the window and see that there's a bird who flew inside the catio? Yikes. I open the window and shout "DO YOU HAVE A DEATH-WISH?!?" which causes the bird to fly off.

No idea how he was able to flap his way through the tiny opening in the fence. Good timing, I guess!

This made Jake very salty indeed...

Jake sitting up at the catio door looking salty.

And I'm like "Hey, be mad all you want... but I'm not having you drag a half-dead bird into the house. Or, worse yet, a live bird that I have to trap and release!"

But then he took things up a notch.

Completely ignores me for messing up his fun. And when I do see him? Let's just say that he's holding a grudge juuuuuust fine...

Jake at the end of my bed glaring at me.

Now I'm starting to wonder if having him murder a bird is better than him murdering me?

Jenny gets salty, but doesn't seem to hold a grudge for any length of time. Whish is a good thing, because she gets upset with me all the time. Mostly when I "pet her wrong." This gets her very cross indeed, and I never know exactly what I've done wrong. I'm guessing that she doesn't even know. She just knows what she doesn't like. To combat this, I've started moving a knuckle up and down so she can manouver where she wants to be scratched and all is good in the world...

Jenny getting scratches just where she wants them!

Jake on the other hand? He just flops down and says "Do me." He's happy to get scratched anywhere...

Jake flopped down on the bed getting scratches!

Sometimes he is less receptive to belly rubs than others, so I usually avoid unless he specifically asks for scritches on the belly.

And now we go back to Jake wanting to murder me, already in progress...

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Bullet Sunday 708

Posted on Sunday, April 4th, 2021

Dave!You may be tempted to go hunting for eggs, but hold onto that basket a minute... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Bunny! Easter was kinda a big deal for my mom. She was 100% all-in on the Easter baskets, decorations, hiding eggs, candy, Easter Bunny, and the whole bit. Because of it, I have a lot of fond Easter memories...

Young me with an Easter basket in the back yard with green grass and a fence behind me.

Meanwhile I celebrated the holiday by giving myself a terrible haircut, cleaning a little bit of my horrifically filthy house, and washing my sheets. Now I am eating Chili Cheese Fritos and drinking a Coke Zero (I think Chili-Cheese is my favorite Frito because they contain more MSG than any other snack chip). Jake and Jenny are celebrating by taking a nap. And now I think I'll call it a day. It's 10am, and I'm done. Happy Easter!

   
• To The Louvre! I did not know that The Louvre had put so much of their collection online. This is amazing. I wish all museums would do this...


Image © Musée du Louvre Paris


Image © Musée du Louvre Paris


Image © Musée du Louvre Paris

You can even download low-res images to make your own personal collection! Nice! Even more interesting... they are offering virtual tours since the museum itself is closed because of the pandemic. I really hope they keep this all going when we get back to "normal." Some people will never get to visit The Louvre any other way, and it's not like it will take the place of an actual visit for those who can visit in person. But anyway... you can find it all on their website.

   
• RICK! Oh thank heavens...

Seriously some of the smartest stuff on television. Cannot wait.

   
• The Poverty! I think I laughed for five solid minutes after watching this...

@hotdaddyissues

i failed chemistry in high school lmao ##fyp ##foryou ##funny ##vaccine ##vaxxed ##vaccinequeen

♬ original sound - CHeck

Soooo... guess it's a good thing that I got the Pfiezer vaccine! I now have luxury running through my veins!

   
• Unreal! And speaking of vaccines... I am so fucking sick and tired of stupid...

@victoriahammett

##fyp

♬ original sound - Victoria Hammett

Nobody gives a shit about reality any more. They just create whatever idiotic bullshit they want to fit their narrative. And people are happy to keep listening to them even when their crap is completely debunked.

   
• Engineering! If you've ever had one of those paper-box beverage containers, the way they open is rather cool. As you open the lid, it cuts the seal on the container inside. I've always wondered about how it works, but never bothered to cut one open to find out. Now I don't have to...

Pretty nifty stuff!

   
• Paper! The U.S. measurement standards are SO stupid. Bypassing the metric system is about as idiotic as it gets. This very, very cool video explains just one of the reasons why...

One of these days I'm going to rewatch all of CGP Grey's videos from start to finish. That would be a day well-spent.

   
And that's all she wrote.

   

Trailing Awayyy…

Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2021

Dave!Apparently it was New Trailer Day today!

This is both good news (yay! shows I like are coming back!) and bad news (holy crap! I have a list a mile long to watch already!). But I will always make room in my packed viewing schedule for new Marvel Studios!

First there was the trailer for Loki, which looks like a radical departure for the MCU... and that's a very good thing...

Fun! It just amazes me that Marvel Studios is intent on branching out in as many directions as possible to keep things interesting. Really looking forward to that.

They also released a new trailer for Black Widow a couple days ago...

Awesomeness ensues. I will, of course, be paying the $30 to watch it at home the minute it's available on July 9th. Then buying it on digital when it's released there. Because I'd much rather do that than go to a theater. Especially now. But ever again, really.

And then there's the teaser for the second season of Picard...

So it would seem that Q is back. Which could make for an interesting story given that Guinan is also due to return! The first season was fairly good television, even though it had too many moments that dragged and seemed like more of a distraction than something designed to move the plot forward.

We're also getting another season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, which was a really nice surprise last season...

More of the same clever, cool comedy, it would seem.

And, lastly, somehow Discovery is getting a fourth season. I loved the first, was bored by the second, and put into a coma by some crap episodes in the third... so I guess we'll see what the next season brings (besides new costumes)...

It certainly looks action-packed... but that's what I was lead to believe for last season.

No new trailers for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Prodigy, alas. But anyway... something to look forward to as we continue to make our way through the muck that 2020 gave us.

   

The Secret Life of COVID

Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Dave!Well that was a day.

The plan was to work just a half-day since I worked on Good Friday, which was supposed to be a holiday. That way I could tear apart my living room to deep clean all the stuff that's been neglected during the pandemic. Now that I've been half-vaccinated I'm starting to think about the day that people will be able to visit me again, and that's inspired me to clean house. Finally. Which is very Mary Sunshine of me given that COVID infection rates are on the rise again. The vaccine rollout has lured everybody into a false sense of security, so people are doing some crazy-ass shit. Even those who haven't been vaccinated. Especially those who haven't been vaccinated (and are proud to announce it).

Yesterday the Texas Rangers hosted a baseball game with 38,238 in attendance. A lot of them unmasked, of course. Doesn't seem especially smart given that the UK variant is now the dominant strain in the USA. It spreads more easily and has a higher mortality rate than "original COVID." Even worse, now there's "Post COVID Syndrome" where healthy people who recover from COVID end up with serious long-term effects. And the statistics are staggering. 30% of people who had COVID continued to have symptoms up to 9 months later. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We don't have enough data to know what can happen after that 9 month period. Doctors worry about everything from immune system deficiency to long-term permanent brain damage.

As if COVID killing young healthy people wasn't bad enough?

But anyway... I ended up working a full day (and then some) after which I was too exhausted to clean. Instead I made tacos for Taco Tuesday then plopped on the couch and watched movies for the rest of the night... The Birdcage (81% on Rotten Tomatoes), Kingsman (74% on Rotten Tomatoes), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (51% on Rotten Tomatoes). AKA "Those movies I love and never get tired of watching even though I've seen them a million times." It's the last one that has always puzzled me when it comes to the reviews...

Movie poster for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Despite not being the biggest Ben Stiller fan, I love this movie. Really love it. And for oh-so-many reasons right now, I find myself relating to it more than ever. Yet it got mediocre to negative reviews and I honestly don't get it. I found it to be refreshing escapist fun that shows what happens when you start living the life you've always dreamed about. Stiller is incredible in it, which is all the more remarkable when you consider that he directed the film as well. And just look at the supprting cast! Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, and Sean Penn... does it get much better than that?

Oh well. Everybody's entitled to their opinion. It's just a shame that the critical consensus likely kept people from seeing it. But I guess I've watched it enough times for ten people, so there's that.

Say... does anybody remember The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty?

What a great series! I think along with Top Cat this was one of my all-time favorite cartoons as a kid. They don't make 'em like that any more!

And since it's close to midnight now, I guess I'll clean house tomorrow. Maybe.

   

Return to the Afterlife

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Dave!The new teaser trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife debuted today! And it's got a cameo from Baskin Robbins for Paul Rudd!

This is a movie I've very much been looking forward to. The 2016 reboot, while not terrible, was far from a great movie despite a hilarious performance by Chris Hemsworth. Which is why I have high hopes for this sequel to the original films.

Because, awwwww...

A mini Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

Paul Rudd reaches out a finger towards a mini Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

Yeah. That probably ain't going to work out too well.

Apparently the movie is only in theaters on November 11. Whether the pandemic will have subsided enough that people will actually be going to theaters then is anybody's guess. I may be waiting for home video.

Isn't it weird thinking of possible post-COVID times?

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Teen Hacksaw Massacre

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Dave!There's a meme going around TikTok asking people to show a scar they have and then tell the story behind it. What's surprising is how many people have scars. I would have thought that this would be a rare event, but everybody seems to have a story.

I have a small scar on my ankle from when I was riding my bike barefoot. But the more interesting scar is on my left thumb...

A scar on my thumb knuckle.

When I was young I got frostbite in my fingers and never totally recovered. I don't even remember how it happened. Probably just playing outside or something. It got a little better as I grew up, but kinda "stuck" in my twenties. I have a good sense of touch, but my pain receptors are messed up. As an example, I feel heat enough to know when something is "hot" but not enough to know when it's boiling my fingers off.

This can be a problem.

Like when I'm using a hacksaw to cut through a pipe.

Sometime in my teens I was sawing with my right hand and holding the pipe in my left hand. As I got to the end I noticed red on the hacksaw blade. Turns out what I thought was vibrations on my thumb from sawing was actually me slicing through my thumb.

It didn't hurt, but it was an awful mess.

I ran to the bathroom and slowly poured a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on it to clean things out... then taped it together with Band-Aids and wrapped it. It continued to bleed for days and I probably should have gotten stitches, but it all turned out okay in the end.

And I got a cool scar to remind me that I have to be extra careful with my hands in life or else I'll end up with missing digits.

I also got a story for my blog on a slow news day.

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Captains, Princes, and Rappers

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2021

Dave!Last night I stayed up until midnight to watch the latest episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier but ended up going to bed instead. The middle part of a story is usually the lull in the storm before the build-up to the finale, and I figured I'd be better off catching up on my sleep.

This morning I woke up early to watch it and was not shocked by anything in the episode. I was happy with the way that it filled in the blanks as to the philosophical differences between Sam Wilson and John Walker. And I want to reiterate again that Wyatt Russell is absolutely killing it as the "new" Captain America. People have been unloading a lot of hate towards the actor and I just don't get it. As I've said all along, the character of John Walker has a specific purpose in the story. And watching Russell build out that purpose is thrilling to watch. He knows exactly where New Cap needs to go and is taking him there perfectly...

Wyatt Russell as the new Captain America: John Walker.

I sure hope that fanboys start to understand this so they stop sending death threats(!) to Wyatt Russell. I mean... holy shit. The guy is a very good actor just doing his damn job.

It's been interesting to see Marvel Studios actually treating the show like they billed the show: as a six-hour movie. Now instead of 30 minutes of build-up and world-building followed by 30 minutes of development followed by a 30 minute race to the finale, we get more time to better flesh-out the story and characters while still having all the action beats of a big-budget film. All the subtleties that make The Falcon and The Winter Soldier such a good television show are the first things that would be cut when making it into a theatrical motion picture.

tl;dr... I like what's happing with this series because it's different. It's not just "made for television movies of the same old things.

But enough about super-hero television.

Back in The Real World, Prince Phillip has died at 99 and DMX has died at 50.

Prince Phillip, husband to the longest ruling monarch to ever exist, was a dutiful public servant who was also highly problematic. His history of saying abusive, misogynistic, racist, and bigoted crap is legendary. But of course the tabloids are already blaming Meghan Markle. Never mind that he was 99 years old and in declining health, it was an interview with Oprah that did him in. I swear... people will find a way to blame Black women for anything, no matter how absurd, because that's the default of a society built on systemic racism and misogyny.

DMX, a celebrated rapper and actor, was a hugely successful and talented musician that was also highly problematic. Some of his music was shockingly homophobic... often violently so. And then there were his lyrics promoting misogyny and rape which were roundly (and rightly) condemned. And yet... some of his tracks were brilliantly honest and raw, changing the course of music history in their wake. I practically wore out my CD for his debut album It's Dark and Hell is Hot when it was unleashed upon the world in 1998. It was a great album to listen to when you were mad at the world and wanted to vicariously unleash through DMX's rage. And I was a mad at the world quite a lot back in those heady pre-politically-correct days.

And now I'm headed for a nap in the hopes that the raging headache I've been battling all day will give me a break. It's tough to blog when it feels as though your eyeballs are being pushed out of your skull.

   

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