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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.

   

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