Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2021
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021
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...
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
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.
Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2021
If you beat your head against a wall all day... you're going to end up with a headache.
Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2021
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...
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...
Posted on Saturday, February 6th, 2021
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...
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?!?
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.
Posted on Sunday, February 7th, 2021
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...
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!
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...
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.
Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2021
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...
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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021
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.
Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2021
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.
Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2021
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...
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...
Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2021
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...
Other times it's photos I would just as soon forget.
Like this one which popped up yesterday morning...
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...
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...
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...
...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?
Posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2021
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...
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...
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...
"20% OFF! Wow! How awesome!"
"SELECT ITEMS? Crap! Well... mayyyybeee...."
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2021
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...
And of course she rubs all over me before planting herself, so now I'm covered in cat hari...
Then, before you know it, she's fast asleep... trapping my arm in the process...
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...
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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
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?"
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.
The news when I woke up this morning was Trump Plaza being imploded and demolished...
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 All-Star Cafe Atlantic City was there too...
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2021
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2021
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...
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...
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...
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...
Good job, buddy!
Throughout the broadcast, there was a guy walking about stuff that was happening...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Posted on Saturday, February 20th, 2021
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...
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2021
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 rendering from NASA/JPL - Caltech
The landing modules that did the heavy lifting... er, landing... sent back a photo of it actually happening...
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech
NASA even managed to get an orbital view of it happening...
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!
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2021
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...
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!
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...
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
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...
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021
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...
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...
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...
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.
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!
Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2021
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...
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.
Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2021
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?
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.
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.
My thoughts on the latest episode of WandaVision are in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2021
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Whew. Crisis averted!
And that's what having cats is all about isn't it? Crisis management?
Posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2021
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...
@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...
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...
And for anybody thinking that she's being an asshole... it's a joke. And he was obviously in on it...
And that's a wrap on bullets, Sparky... bring on Springtime weather.