Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2021
I am glad to see that the number of April Fools jokes online have plummeted. This is just not the time. I wish people would drop it completely, because it's never really the time for me. But I'm no fun like that.
This morning I found some of my old MAD magazines and books when I was looking for a certificate I needed. Boy did that take me back.
One day when I was in Middle School on my way to class, a friend returned a MAD book that they had borrowed. I didn't think anything of it and threw it on top of the books I had under my arm. After taking my seat, the science teacher saw the book and snatched it off the table. I wasn't looking at it... it was just sitting there. Apparently that was offensive enough to him that he was compelled to take it. After class I asked him for it back and he turned all red-faced and said "NO!"
He was always a bit of an asshole, but taking my personal property for no reason? Fuck him.
A month-and-a-half later it was the last day of school. I didn't want to risk asking for my book back and having him refuse, so I had my mom write me a note asking him to return my property. After class was over, I handed it to him. He threw it on his desk and ignored it.
So I asked him to read it now.
And he did.
At which time he was consumed with rage.
"I THOUGHT IT WAS A NICE NOTE THANKING ME FOR BEING A GOOD TEACHER OR SOMETHING... BUT INSTEAD YOU WANT YOUR BOOK BACK?!?" He then pulled open a big drawer on his desk that was filled with confiscated crap. "IS THIS THE BOOK?!?" It wasn't. "WELL HOW ABOUT THIS ONE?!?" Yes. That's my book.
He threw it at my face. I was THIS close to telling him to go fuck himself and the last thing I would do is write a note praising him when he was a bargain-basement teacher at best, but instead I said "Thanks so much! Have a great summer!" because I knew that would piss him off more. And what did I care? I was off to high school.
It was at that moment I wondered if he would fail me or lower my grade. He didn't... probably because he knew I would call him on his bullshit... but I am fairly certain that he wanted to quite badly.
And speaking of people getting mad about nothing...
The beautifully-crafted Lil' Nas X music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name) is causing quite the uproar. Probably because Lil' Nas X takes a stripper pole down to hell in his Calvin Klein underwear and gives the devil a lap dance...
While I was eating lunch I logged on to Facebook where people are talking about it. One of the posts said "What do you think about all this?" to which I commented "I think that if 'well-meaning Christians' hadn't constantly told Lil' Nas X he was going to hell for being gay, he wouldn't have been compelled to make a video throwing it back in their faces."
From there it went to the inevitable "But this is harmful to children seeing it!" to which I replied "I dunno. I've listened to metal since I was a kid, which can be far more satanic than this, and I turned out okay." I was half-way expecting somebody to reply with "BUT DID YOU THOUGH?!?" except nobody took the bait. Oh well.
It's always something, isn't it?
When I was a kid it was Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeath, Slayer, Venom, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Motley Crüe, and the rest. Today it's Lil' Nas X which, if I'm being honest, is relatively tame by comparison. He gives the devil a lapdance. Whoop-de-doo.
The song is a banger though. Reeeeeally catchy.
But if it offends you, I guess you could always move to North Korea where they censor everything. Pretty sure you won't find Lil' Nas X playing there. For one thing, I don't think the long red braids he wears to hell is one of the 28 approved haircuts you're allowed to have.
Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2021
Most of what I learned about cooking came from my grandmothers. I loved cooking and loved food, and they were happy to help me learn how to do it well.
I remember once when my grandmother was teaching me how to make her famous, award-winning apple pie, I had just help to slice the apples and was ready to make the filling when I asked her how much sugar and cinnamon and lemon juice to add. "Well you have to taste the apples." If they were tart, less lemon juice. If they were sweet, less sugar. If they were fragrant, less cinnamon. And so on. It was a balance that you could only figure out if you knew what you were working with.
And it was the same for the potato salad. "You have to taste the onion to know how to season it." And it's been my habit to do so ever since. Today I was finally recovered enough to make some, and thank heavens I tasted the onion before mixing everything. It was RANK. The taste was putrid and gross. No idea what happened, but it bummed me out because I had just bought it on Friday. Thankfully I had the whites of a green onion to use instead, so everything turned out fantastic...
Dang I make good potato salad.
I keep experimenting every time I cook up a batch and I am discovering new spice combinations to make it a different kind of tasty. This time I used some baharat seasoning, which added an entirely new dimension to such a simple food. Last time I used adobo, and that was amazing too. Before that I think I used a Ukrainian blend that was mind-blowing. I think the reason I eat so much potato salad is because it's never the same flavor twice for me. If it weren't so loaded with carbs, I swear I could eat it every day.
Today is Good Friday.
Which has puzzled me since I was a young Catholic because you'd think that crucifying Jesus would be a bad thing. But apparently it used to be "Holy Friday" and words change over time. All things "holy" were equated to being "good" and so forth.
Though I'm guessing all the people slaughtered during the "Holy Crusades" would beg to differ?
I am a long, long ways from the Catholic I was raised, so I'm probably not the right person to ask. Though it's my guess that the people who got slaughtered during the Roman Catholic crusades were likely not happy about it. Though I could be wrong. Maybe the level of big dick energy it took for a pope to send out an army whose sole purpose was to slaughter heratics was so impressive that they were happy to die underfoot of it. Stranger things have happened.
Like the day that Jesus was crucified being referred to as "Good Friday," regardless of how it came about.
Posted on Saturday, April 3rd, 2021
Jake stares out into the catio from on top of the cat tree across the room. Every once in a while he will spot something going on outside and bolt for the catio door at top speed. When you need to worry is when he bolts from the tree up to the catio door then goes into stealth mode. Most times it's birds outside the catio or a moth on the window or something else he wants to murder. No big deal.
But when I look out the window and see that there's a bird who flew inside the catio? Yikes. I open the window and shout "DO YOU HAVE A DEATH-WISH?!?" which causes the bird to fly off.
No idea how he was able to flap his way through the tiny opening in the fence. Good timing, I guess!
This made Jake very salty indeed...
And I'm like "Hey, be mad all you want... but I'm not having you drag a half-dead bird into the house. Or, worse yet, a live bird that I have to trap and release!"
But then he took things up a notch.
Completely ignores me for messing up his fun. And when I do see him? Let's just say that he's holding a grudge juuuuuust fine...
Now I'm starting to wonder if having him murder a bird is better than him murdering me?
Jenny gets salty, but doesn't seem to hold a grudge for any length of time. Whish is a good thing, because she gets upset with me all the time. Mostly when I "pet her wrong." This gets her very cross indeed, and I never know exactly what I've done wrong. I'm guessing that she doesn't even know. She just knows what she doesn't like. To combat this, I've started moving a knuckle up and down so she can manouver where she wants to be scratched and all is good in the world...
Jake on the other hand? He just flops down and says "Do me." He's happy to get scratched anywhere...
Sometimes he is less receptive to belly rubs than others, so I usually avoid unless he specifically asks for scritches on the belly.
And now we go back to Jake wanting to murder me, already in progress...
Posted on Sunday, April 4th, 2021
You may be tempted to go hunting for eggs, but hold onto that basket a minute... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Bunny! Easter was kinda a big deal for my mom. She was 100% all-in on the Easter baskets, decorations, hiding eggs, candy, Easter Bunny, and the whole bit. Because of it, I have a lot of fond Easter memories...
Meanwhile I celebrated the holiday by giving myself a terrible haircut, cleaning a little bit of my horrifically filthy house, and washing my sheets. Now I am eating Chili Cheese Fritos and drinking a Coke Zero (I think Chili-Cheese is my favorite Frito because they contain more MSG than any other snack chip). Jake and Jenny are celebrating by taking a nap. And now I think I'll call it a day. It's 10am, and I'm done. Happy Easter!
• To The Louvre! I did not know that The Louvre had put so much of their collection online. This is amazing. I wish all museums would do this...
Image © Musée du Louvre Paris
Image © Musée du Louvre Paris
Image © Musée du Louvre Paris
You can even download low-res images to make your own personal collection! Nice! Even more interesting... they are offering virtual tours since the museum itself is closed because of the pandemic. I really hope they keep this all going when we get back to "normal." Some people will never get to visit The Louvre any other way, and it's not like it will take the place of an actual visit for those who can visit in person. But anyway... you can find it all on their website.
• RICK! Oh thank heavens...
Seriously some of the smartest stuff on television. Cannot wait.
• The Poverty! I think I laughed for five solid minutes after watching this...
Soooo... guess it's a good thing that I got the Pfiezer vaccine! I now have luxury running through my veins!
• Unreal! And speaking of vaccines... I am so fucking sick and tired of stupid...
Nobody gives a shit about reality any more. They just create whatever idiotic bullshit they want to fit their narrative. And people are happy to keep listening to them even when their crap is completely debunked.
• Engineering! If you've ever had one of those paper-box beverage containers, the way they open is rather cool. As you open the lid, it cuts the seal on the container inside. I've always wondered about how it works, but never bothered to cut one open to find out. Now I don't have to...
Pretty nifty stuff!
• Paper! The U.S. measurement standards are SO stupid. Bypassing the metric system is about as idiotic as it gets. This very, very cool video explains just one of the reasons why...
One of these days I'm going to rewatch all of CGP Grey's videos from start to finish. That would be a day well-spent.
And that's all she wrote.
Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2021
Apparently it was New Trailer Day today!
This is both good news (yay! shows I like are coming back!) and bad news (holy crap! I have a list a mile long to watch already!). But I will always make room in my packed viewing schedule for new Marvel Studios!
First there was the trailer for Loki, which looks like a radical departure for the MCU... and that's a very good thing...
Fun! It just amazes me that Marvel Studios is intent on branching out in as many directions as possible to keep things interesting. Really looking forward to that.
They also released a new trailer for Black Widow a couple days ago...
Awesomeness ensues. I will, of course, be paying the $30 to watch it at home the minute it's available on July 9th. Then buying it on digital when it's released there. Because I'd much rather do that than go to a theater. Especially now. But ever again, really.
And then there's the teaser for the second season of Picard...
So it would seem that Q is back. Which could make for an interesting story given that Guinan is also due to return! The first season was fairly good television, even though it had too many moments that dragged and seemed like more of a distraction than something designed to move the plot forward.
We're also getting another season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, which was a really nice surprise last season...
More of the same clever, cool comedy, it would seem.
And, lastly, somehow Discovery is getting a fourth season. I loved the first, was bored by the second, and put into a coma by some crap episodes in the third... so I guess we'll see what the next season brings (besides new costumes)...
It certainly looks action-packed... but that's what I was lead to believe for last season.
No new trailers for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Prodigy, alas. But anyway... something to look forward to as we continue to make our way through the muck that 2020 gave us.
Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
Well that was a day.
The plan was to work just a half-day since I worked on Good Friday, which was supposed to be a holiday. That way I could tear apart my living room to deep clean all the stuff that's been neglected during the pandemic. Now that I've been half-vaccinated I'm starting to think about the day that people will be able to visit me again, and that's inspired me to clean house. Finally. Which is very Mary Sunshine of me given that COVID infection rates are on the rise again. The vaccine rollout has lured everybody into a false sense of security, so people are doing some crazy-ass shit. Even those who haven't been vaccinated. Especially those who haven't been vaccinated (and are proud to announce it).
Yesterday the Texas Rangers hosted a baseball game with 38,238 in attendance. A lot of them unmasked, of course. Doesn't seem especially smart given that the UK variant is now the dominant strain in the USA. It spreads more easily and has a higher mortality rate than "original COVID." Even worse, now there's "Post COVID Syndrome" where healthy people who recover from COVID end up with serious long-term effects. And the statistics are staggering. 30% of people who had COVID continued to have symptoms up to 9 months later. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We don't have enough data to know what can happen after that 9 month period. Doctors worry about everything from immune system deficiency to long-term permanent brain damage.
As if COVID killing young healthy people wasn't bad enough?
But anyway... I ended up working a full day (and then some) after which I was too exhausted to clean. Instead I made tacos for Taco Tuesday then plopped on the couch and watched movies for the rest of the night... The Birdcage (81% on Rotten Tomatoes), Kingsman (74% on Rotten Tomatoes), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (51% on Rotten Tomatoes). AKA "Those movies I love and never get tired of watching even though I've seen them a million times." It's the last one that has always puzzled me when it comes to the reviews...
Despite not being the biggest Ben Stiller fan, I love this movie. Really love it. And for oh-so-many reasons right now, I find myself relating to it more than ever. Yet it got mediocre to negative reviews and I honestly don't get it. I found it to be refreshing escapist fun that shows what happens when you start living the life you've always dreamed about. Stiller is incredible in it, which is all the more remarkable when you consider that he directed the film as well. And just look at the supprting cast! Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, and Sean Penn... does it get much better than that?
Oh well. Everybody's entitled to their opinion. It's just a shame that the critical consensus likely kept people from seeing it. But I guess I've watched it enough times for ten people, so there's that.
Say... does anybody remember The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty?
What a great series! I think along with Top Cat this was one of my all-time favorite cartoons as a kid. They don't make 'em like that any more!
And since it's close to midnight now, I guess I'll clean house tomorrow. Maybe.
Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
The new teaser trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife debuted today! And it's got a cameo from Baskin Robbins for Paul Rudd!
This is a movie I've very much been looking forward to. The 2016 reboot, while not terrible, was far from a great movie despite a hilarious performance by Chris Hemsworth. Which is why I have high hopes for this sequel to the original films.
Yeah. That probably ain't going to work out too well.
Apparently the movie is only in theaters on November 11. Whether the pandemic will have subsided enough that people will actually be going to theaters then is anybody's guess. I may be waiting for home video.
Isn't it weird thinking of possible post-COVID times?
Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2021
There's a meme going around TikTok asking people to show a scar they have and then tell the story behind it. What's surprising is how many people have scars. I would have thought that this would be a rare event, but everybody seems to have a story.
I have a small scar on my ankle from when I was riding my bike barefoot. But the more interesting scar is on my left thumb...
When I was young I got frostbite in my fingers and never totally recovered. I don't even remember how it happened. Probably just playing outside or something. It got a little better as I grew up, but kinda "stuck" in my twenties. I have a good sense of touch, but my pain receptors are messed up. As an example, I feel heat enough to know when something is "hot" but not enough to know when it's boiling my fingers off.
This can be a problem.
Like when I'm using a hacksaw to cut through a pipe.
Sometime in my teens I was sawing with my right hand and holding the pipe in my left hand. As I got to the end I noticed red on the hacksaw blade. Turns out what I thought was vibrations on my thumb from sawing was actually me slicing through my thumb.
It didn't hurt, but it was an awful mess.
I ran to the bathroom and slowly poured a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on it to clean things out... then taped it together with Band-Aids and wrapped it. It continued to bleed for days and I probably should have gotten stitches, but it all turned out okay in the end.
And I got a cool scar to remind me that I have to be extra careful with my hands in life or else I'll end up with missing digits.
I also got a story for my blog on a slow news day.
Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2021
Last night I stayed up until midnight to watch the latest episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier but ended up going to bed instead. The middle part of a story is usually the lull in the storm before the build-up to the finale, and I figured I'd be better off catching up on my sleep.
This morning I woke up early to watch it and was not shocked by anything in the episode. I was happy with the way that it filled in the blanks as to the philosophical differences between Sam Wilson and John Walker. And I want to reiterate again that Wyatt Russell is absolutely killing it as the "new" Captain America. People have been unloading a lot of hate towards the actor and I just don't get it. As I've said all along, the character of John Walker has a specific purpose in the story. And watching Russell build out that purpose is thrilling to watch. He knows exactly where New Cap needs to go and is taking him there perfectly...
I sure hope that fanboys start to understand this so they stop sending death threats(!) to Wyatt Russell. I mean... holy shit. The guy is a very good actor just doing his damn job.
It's been interesting to see Marvel Studios actually treating the show like they billed the show: as a six-hour movie. Now instead of 30 minutes of build-up and world-building followed by 30 minutes of development followed by a 30 minute race to the finale, we get more time to better flesh-out the story and characters while still having all the action beats of a big-budget film. All the subtleties that make The Falcon and The Winter Soldier such a good television show are the first things that would be cut when making it into a theatrical motion picture.
tl;dr... I like what's happing with this series because it's different. It's not just "made for television movies of the same old things.
But enough about super-hero television.
Back in The Real World, Prince Phillip has died at 99 and DMX has died at 50.
Prince Phillip, husband to the longest ruling monarch to ever exist, was a dutiful public servant who was also highly problematic. His history of saying abusive, misogynistic, racist, and bigoted crap is legendary. But of course the tabloids are already blaming Meghan Markle. Never mind that he was 99 years old and in declining health, it was an interview with Oprah that did him in. I swear... people will find a way to blame Black women for anything, no matter how absurd, because that's the default of a society built on systemic racism and misogyny.
DMX, a celebrated rapper and actor, was a hugely successful and talented musician that was also highly problematic. Some of his music was shockingly homophobic... often violently so. And then there were his lyrics promoting misogyny and rape which were roundly (and rightly) condemned. And yet... some of his tracks were brilliantly honest and raw, changing the course of music history in their wake. I practically wore out my CD for his debut album It's Dark and Hell is Hot when it was unleashed upon the world in 1998. It was a great album to listen to when you were mad at the world and wanted to vicariously unleash through DMX's rage. And I was a mad at the world quite a lot back in those heady pre-politically-correct days. In more recent times, I've been reading story after story of what an incredible human being he was. Stories of kindness towards total strangers. Stories of him just being a decent person to all he met. It's as if the PERSON he strived to be was the best of humanity... while the PERSONA he portrayed in some of his music was the worst of humanity. It makes him difficult to figure out, but also makes me happy to know that he was a genuinely decent guy beneath it all.
And now I'm headed for a nap in the hopes that the raging headache I've been battling all day will give me a break. It's tough to blog when it feels as though your eyeballs are being pushed out of your skull.
Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2021
I have been feeling "off" all day. Sick to my stomach... assorted aches and pains... headache... unable to get comfortable... it all added up to a day of sitting/laying on the couch trying to distract myself with television.
When I finally just called it a day and went to bed, my stomache decided to go into revolt. After a half hour of lying in bed trying to decide whether I should ride it out or go puke out whatever is going on, Jake arrives.
"Jake, I'm not feeling very well... maybe you should sleep somewhere else tonight?"
I then put my feet together so he couldn't sleep between them like he usually does.
The little scrubber forced his way between my shins, then kept twisting and pushing so he'd have his favorite sleeping spot. Eventually I relented because he was not giving up...
After this, my decision was made for me. I will be riding out my nausea until I fell asleep.
But first I have to write this blog post. Because it's Caturday, after all.
Posted on Sunday, April 11th, 2021
Alien hordes about to overwhelm your position? You situation seems hopeless? Not on my watch! So stop your grinnin' and drop your linen... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Matterhorn! HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?!??
Dude. I'm just... wow. Would I love to experience something beyond amazing like this? Certainly. Would I be crapping my pants, hugging the mountain, and crying for my mommy? Lord, yes.
• Adopted? I have watched this entirely too many times and laugh my fool head off each time...
I swear, I'd rather watch TikToks than television now-a-days. All the most clener and original content is happening there.
• Volcano! I saw these videos of a drone flying over lava and into a crater that's erupting in Iceland but keep forgetting to share them...
Now this is what drones were made for!
• GOAT! GAAAAH! THE CUTENESS!!!
My ambition in life is to have an experience so good that, if I had a tail, it would be wagging like that. A good start is watching all the Goat Daddy's TikToks.
• Avatarland. I used to visit Orlando twice a year for the charity I worked with. It was always a fun time because I have friends in the area and often times my mom would want to go with me because she absolutely loved Walt Disney World. Because of this, it was tough for me when my work in Orlando ended... mostly because they are adding cool new stuff all the time and haven't seen any of it. Star Wars Galaxy's Edge? Nope. Pandora: The World of Avatar? Nope. I'll undoubtedly make it back one of these days but, in the meanwhile, there's YouTuber Jenny Nicholson. She's goes deep, deep into "Pandora" so you can visit without actually visiting...
Interesting stuff. Now I want to return more than ever.
• Oh Shit! As much as I love the idea of living in Australia, there are reasons that will never happen. Like this...
Yeah. Nooooooo thank you.
• Classmates. And let's end this on a feel-good story you need on a Sunday...
And here's the original story...
Best of luck to him.
Alrighty then. Guess it's time to clean my mess of a kitchen so I can start off my week without stressing over the disaster I've got going on there.
Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2021
Well... this has been... a day. I guess. Stupid Monday.
If I had a better weekend, I would probably have been in better shape to deal with it all but, alas, here we are.
It's kinda sad that I haven't developed better adversity coping skills after all these years, but I guess it's just not where my skillset landed. Which reminded me of this TikTok, which is an excellent metaphor to be had...
##stitch with @mattshaw882♬ original sound - Z
The original video is equally dead-on hilarious...
I mean... holy crap!
This past Saturday as I was trying to distract myself from feeling sick all day, I watched a bunch of television, starting with the Doctor Strange movie. This took me through a Benedict Cumberbatch run that included some episodes of Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness...
When this movie first debuted I was... disappointed?... I guess is the word I'm searching for?
On one hand, the visuals and special effects were jaw-droppingly beautiful and the action intense. The cast, as with the first movie, was flawless. But the film was also a needless remake of the best Star Trek flick of all time: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It was like... why?!? There were hundreds of new directions the franchise could head, but they decided to put a new spin on already-great material just because they could. And then there was the worst-kept secret of 2013... Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan Noonien Singh, originally played brilliantly by Ricardo Montalbán.
But on a fresh viewing where I know what to expect and can separate the remake from the original, I was able to appreciate it better. Mostly because it's just so dang stunning to look at. Plus it had a cameo by Leonard Nimoy. Still hate the disaster porn ending... Lord is that a tired trope... but, overall, not the huge disappointment I remembered.
I wonder how many other films would change my mind if watched anew?
And now we return to my butt-puckering day, currently in progress.
Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021
Oh no, I'm sick!
Some kind of stomach bug got me on Sunday and I have been struggling ever since. Yesterday was horrific, I'm not going to lie. I have never in my entire life vomited THAT badly. And I used to drink tequila! It felt like I was being turned inside-out.
I took it easy the rest of the day and was feeling much better this morning. Not wanting to push myself too hard since I wasn't feeling 100%, I had a small handful of dry Honey-Nut Cheerios before heading to work.
I lasted about 15 minutes.
Barely made it home in time to unleash instant breakfast in my toilet bowl. Then went directly to bed to sleep off whatever this is. Which is not easy because I could not get comfortable. Everything hurt. Especially my neck, which meant I couldn't lie down or sit up. Eventually I took sleeping pills and passed out.
And here I am. Half-laying, half-sitting-up, and all miserable. But at least I have TikTok, amiright? I swear... THIS is my new television. The creativity and brilliance in these tiny video snippets are just incredibly good. This one nabbed me immediately, and I spent way too much time going through all the rest of Josh's TikToks...
Fingers crossed I can eat my Cheerios in the morning... because it's the little things, you know?
Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021
Today I managed to keep down a half a plain bagel for lunch and a small bag of Rold Gold Tiny Twists pretzels for dinner. My salvation, however, has been ginger ale. I haven't even been able to keep down water since Sunday, but ginger ale will stay down if I don't do anything too stressful... like get up and walk while drinking it. Without ginger ale, I'd likely become dehydrated and die or something.
In related news... half-bagels aside, I'm wasting away.
I’ve always said I’m one stomach flu away from my goal weight, and it's really happening, people! I was 185 lbs. just last week... now I’m at 177. If things keep going like this I’ll be at 165 in no time!
I'm going to have to start wearing a belt because my jeans are so loose that they are falling off of me...
Interesting to note that in September of 2019 I was at 170. Thanks to quarantine I got up to 193, which is the heaviest I’ve ever been. 23 pounds from where I’m usually at! It has taken a LOT of effort to get the weight back down, which tends to happen as you get older, it would seem. I suppose it’s just more incentive to take it off and keep it off while I still can?
Seven pounds to go, I guess. Twelve if I'm ambitious.
Which, let's face it, I'm probably not.
We're still in quarantine, after all. My ambition has left the building.
Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2021
This morning I finally managed to keep my Honey-Nut Cheerios down. A little nausea after, but nothing terrible. I managed to hang in at the office for three hours, so that was new. By the time I got home I was exhausted but my appetite had come back. Starting small, I had a slice of dry toast. Then a couple shortbread cookies for lunch. No nausea. I'M CURED!
So what's going to be mysterious first real meal since Saturday? What I really, really wanted was a good salad. An awesome salad.
Yes, I was shocked too. I was sure it would be pizza.
Butter Lettuce. White Cheddar Shreds. Italian Croutons. Slivered Almonds. Dried Cranberries. Freshly-Ground Black Pepper. And a good pour of Olive Garden Parmesan Ranch Dressing...
Maybe it was having gone (mostly) without food for 4-1/2 days, but it was a phenomenal dinner. As was the Crystal Light Concord Grape Drink I had with it.
Somehow my amazing meal got my mind running through my favorite green salads, which I will list here before signing off because I have nothing better to do...
Italian. The salad itself at Olive Garden is nothing groundbreaking... iceberg lettuce, Roma tomatoes, purple onion, olives, Italian croutons, pepperoncini peppers, parmesan cheese, and fresh-ground black pepper. No, it's the Olive Garden House Italian Dressing that makes it so fantastic. Thankfully, it's available in stores, which means I can easily make my favorite Italian salad at home any time I want.
Chopped. The Hard Rock Cafe got me hooked on putting dried cranberries on my salads. Over the years I've stolen ideas from many other restaurants to create the perfect chopped salad. Butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, thawed frozen peas, dried cranberries, thinly-sliced green onion, pumpkin seeds, medium cheddar shreds, croutons, hard-boiled egg, and freshly-ground black pepper. The topper is either a very good ranch dressing (Olive Garden's Parmesan Ranch is incredible) or a creamy French, depending on my mood.
Vegetarian Cobb. This is a close cousin to my chopped salad... but using chopped romaine lettuce, faux bacon pieces, avocado dices, hard-boiled egg, chopped hot-house tomatoes, either blue cheese or feta, and thawed frozen corn (in place of the chicken that's on a classic Cobb salad). I usually go for a nice honey-mustard dressing on this one.
Greek. Yeah, it's the feta that makes this a favorite. Chopped Roma tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced avocado, red onion, chickpeas or cous cous, chopped red bell pepper, black olives, feta cheese, pita chips, and freshly-ground black pepper. Sometimes I'll toss in iceberg lettuce to make it more of a meal. The dressing is a toss-up depending on my mood. Sometimes I like a creamy Greek yogurt dressing... other times a classic red wine vinaigrette.
Taco. Always a treat... especially on a hot summer's day with a cold Pacifico beer. Iceberg lettuce, black beans, diced tomato, diced avocado, thawed frozen corn, Beyond Meat Fiesty Crumbles (or cooked quinoa), Mexican cheese blend, diced green onion, and taco chips. Top with a blend of three parts Thousand Islands dressing to one part sour cream and a spinkling of chopped cilantro.
Pear. It's really tough to beat a pear salad during that short window where Bartlett pears are fresh off the tree. Summer salad greens, dried cherries, candied walnuts, and parmesan. Top it off with a good balsamic and you're golden.
Summer Berry. This is almost more of a dessert than a salad, which is okay by me! Summer salad greens, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries, toasted walnuts or almonds, thinly-sliced/baked beets, diced shallot, crumbled feta, and sunflower seeds. Best topped with a sweet honey and berry vinaigrette.
Apple. An awesome salad for Fall harvest days. Mixed greens, dried cranberries, candied slivered almonds, mild gorgonzola cheese, diced mild onion, and a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Top with an apple cider vinaigrette.
Watermelon. Not really green-salad apropriate, I'm still tossing this in here because it's such an amazing salad. Sweet ripe watermelon, scored baby cucumber slices, diced fresh basil, crumbled feta, and a few grinds of black pepper. For a dash of added flavor, I usually drizzle with a mix of light oil, rice wine, and lime zest.
Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2021
Yesterday I had a great salad. It was my first "real" food since Saturday. I managed to keep it down, which gave me the courage to have a slice of pizza toast for dinner before going to bed. After my digestive system got going again, all I wanted to do was eat. The pizza toast was a monumentally huge mistake. I was miserable all night, couldn't sleep at all, and finally gave up fighting it.
I wish I hadn't waited so long, because I felt so much better after I finally gave up on keeping it down.
Alas, that was at 2:30am.
What's funny is that through all my misery and tossing and turning and agonizing... Jake never once left my feet. At one point I was a complete mess while Jake was flopped across one leg while digging his claws into my other leg...
Astounding that one cat can take up so much space. I swear he started out curled up on one small corner of my bed. I honestly think that this was his attempt at making me stop moving. He's trying to hold me down or something.
Today I was back at square one. I went back to dry toast and ginger ale and worked my way up to a cheese sandwich for dinner. And that's the end of it. No late night dinner no matter how hungry I get.
I was surprised to learn that some states OTHER than Washington State book your second COVID vaccination appointment at the same time you get your first dose. Since the time between doses is set and known, it's weird that all states aren't doing it this way. My vaccination card had a reminder of when I was supposed to schedule my appointment, but every time I went to the website it told me that no appointments were available for my date. I was getting more and more anxious every day because I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get an appointment for my date.
Then today this message arrived via text and email...
And I'm like why? WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME that I would be getting a reservation request so I could make my second appointment and not have to be worried about it? Why couldn't they have told me this and make a stressful situation be not stressful at all? The very least they could do was PUT THIS ON THE WEBSITE!
So now I have my appointment and can dial down the anxiety so I'm not freaking out over the idea of missing my second dose.
Perhaps I'll even be able to get some sleep tonight?
Except... dang wouldn't pizza toast taste great right about now?
Posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2021
It never ceases to amaze me just how easy it is to dump a bunch of money on your pets.
I've done more than my share. Mostly in the form of toys that Jake and Jenny get tired of quickly... which means it's time to go buy more toys. Fortunately, Jake only really cares about one toy... his stuffed lion Mufasa... but he does like new stuff too, as it keeps his life interesting.
One of the most expensive investments happened before my cats even arrived. I knew I would be getting at least one of them to keep my mom company, and worried that the wall-to-wall hardwood floors would be uncomfortable for a cat to walk on all the time. So I bought a bunch of rugs to put throughout the house. I also bought carpeted stair treads to make it more comfortable for them to go up and down the staircase.
It was money wasted.
I found out very quickly that Jake and Jenny will avoid walking on carpet. They will avoid laying on carpet. They want nothing to do with carpet. I mean, look at this...
Well, fine by me. I didn't want the carpet anyway. Especially that ugly shag monstrosity I bought for my living room. Within six months all the pricey carpets I had purchased were tossed. Except for the carpeted stair treads. I left them because even though both cats avoid wallking on it... they do run on it. When they are chasing each other at top speed, they grip that carpet tread with their claws and shred the things. So... better the carpet than my hardwood, I suppose.
You would think that I had learned my lesson by now on buying stuff my cats will ignore.
I just bought a cew chirpy ball to delight them and annoy me. For a few days anyway. They'll be ignoring it within a week.
Posted on Sunday, April 18th, 2021
I have yet to see any April showers, but you've still got excitement ahead of you this Spring... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Burrito Battle! Black beans, white rice, guacamole, sour cream, corn salsa, and extra cheese... all wrapped in a double-tortilla. Plus a side of chips with queso or guac. That's it. That's what I like in my burrito. But when it comes to where I'd rather get it, I'm torn between Qdoba and Chipotle. At least I am when I travel. When I'm home, the only option is Chipotle, and it's 20 minutes away.
When a Qdoba burrito is made well, it's my favorite. I just like their beans better and their cilantro-lime rice is sublimely tasty. But Qdoba is wildly inconsistent. Sometimes the beans are undercooked or overcooked. Twice the rice has been so salty that I couldn't even eat it. Sometimes the burrito is badly-wrapped and falls apart. Chipotle, on the other hand, is always the same. I've bought burritos in Chipotle restaurants across the country and they taste alike no matter where I'm at. I appreciate the consistency. I enjoy their burritos. So, when I have a choice, I'm always thinking "Do I risk a bad experience for a potentially better burrito, or do I go with something I know is going to be good every time?" I still don't have an answer. I just go for what I feel when a burrito is in my future. Then wonder what other people think. What do you think?
• Renewal! Just a quick note to say Magnum P.I. has been renewed for a fourth season. This is a show that I resisted... then fell in love with... and find myself rewatching quite a lot. So much so that I end up buying every season on iTunes...
They very rarely have a misstep, and 95% of the episodes are great. Which usually means a show will be canceled immediately, so good on CBS for keeping it going!
• Daddy! Good grief. I was interested in buying a "Scrub Daddy" because they are so highly recommended for scrubbing while not scratching. But when I look into it... Scrub Daddy... Sponge Daddy... Scrub Mommy... Scrub Doggy... Scrub Daddy Power Flower... Scrub Mommy Kitty... Eraser Daddy... Screen Daddy... Scour Daddy... Scrub Daddy Scrub Daisy... Scrub Daddy Big Daddy... WHAT THE FUCK DADDY DO I NEED?!? DOES ANYBODY HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH A DADDY?!?
I guess I just start with the original and see where that takes me.
• Justice! THE take on Caron Nazario that every last fucking person in this country had better wrap their head around...
My thoughts♬ original sound - Chris Wells
Yeah. It bothers the fuck out of me.
• Love! ZOMG! If a woman gave me a wheel of cheese I would marry her and love her forever!
I sincerely hope they aren't making fun of this guy, because that's TRUE LOVE right there! I shudder to think how much that much cheese costs. Hundreds of dollars, easy.
• Machine! Tortises aren't just adorable... they're eating machines! I got sucked into a tortise rabbit hole because I just couldn't stop myself, and I think watching them eat is my favorite part...
Luring With Food Always Works! 😅🥬🐢☀️♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists
There are entirely too many fantastic videos over at The Tortoise Whisperer's TikTok... including BABY TORTOISES!
• Melt! I care about the welfare of animals over the vast majority of people. So I don't think I would be able to resist this...
I mean... just look at that little face. How could anybody resist?
And that's a tortilla wrap for bullets this fine Sunday.
Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2021
If you know even a little bit about me, you'll know that my musical tastes are a bit... um... eclectic. I love pop. I love electronica. I love dance. I love classic rap and hip-hop. I love hard-core rap. I love metal. I love punk. I love grunge. I love dream-pop. The only music I loathe is opera. The only music I avoid (but have listening to more and more lately) is country.
But there is one genre that I love more than any other: 80's Pop.
And it's not just a small segment either... I love everything from the 80's. And, in particular, 80's Euro-Pop. Thompson Twins, New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths... I could listen to it all day every day and never tire of it.
Which is why I was absolutely thrilled at the latest episode of The Simpsons (titled Panic on the Streets of Springfield) because they parodied that genre flawlessly... coming up with a character that typified some of the more angsty artists like Robert Smith and Morrisey. But especially Morrisey. You can see him all over the episode, and the incredible parody song Everyone is Horrid Except Me (And Possibly You) which I adored...
I rewound my DVR and played it again and again and again. I loved it.
But boy did somebody running Morrisey's official Facebook account not enjoy it...
Surprising what a “turn for the worst" the writing for The Simpson’s tv show has taken in recent years.
Sadly, The Simpson’s show started out creating great insight into the modern cultural experience, but has since degenerated to trying to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors.
Poking fun at subjects is one thing. Other shows like SNL still do a great job at finding ways to inspire great satire.
But when a show stoops so low to use harshly hateful tactics like showing the Morrissey character with his belly hanging out of his shirt (when he has never looked like that at any point in his career) makes you wonder who the real hurtful, racist group is here.
Even worse - calling the Morrissey character out for being a racist, without pointing out any specific instances, offers nothing. It only serves to insult the artist.
They should take that mirror and hold it up to themselves.
Simpson’s actor Hank Azaria's recent apology to the whole country of India for his role in upholding "structural racism” says it all.
Unlike the character in the Simpson’s “Panic” episode...
Morrissey has never made a “cash grab”, hasn’t sued any people for their attacks, has never stopped performing great shows, and is still a serious vegan and strong supporter for animal rights.
By suggesting all of the above in this episode…the Simpson’s hypocritical approach to their storyline says it all.
Truly they are the only ones who have stopped creating, and have instead turned unapologetically hurtful and racist.
Not surprising... that The Simpsons viewership ratings have gone down so badly over recent years. — Peter Katsis
This is just stupid. When you're in the public eye and phenomenally famous, you're going to get parodied in places like Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. It's just part of the game. And while, yes, it can be painful to see... the simple fact is that it's incredibly flattering that you're somebody famous enough to be parodied in the first place. People understand that this is a frickin' cartoon PARODY, and the fact that his handlers feel that the real-life Morrissey is so different pretty much proves that.
The character of Quilloughby (from "The Snuffs, as played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch) is not Morrisey. If The Simpsons wanted to have ACTUAL Morrisey on an episode, they would have called up Morrisey and asked him to be a guest on the show. They do that all the time. But that's not what the episode called for, so they came up with the stand-in they needed to tell the story they wanted to tell and get the laughs they were trying to get.
And the episode is hilarious to anybody like me who loves the genre. I mean, come on, my parents once got contacted because a teacher noticed that I was listening to Morrissey and The Smiths. The music was considered by some to be "psychologically dark and damaging" and parents were concerned that kids who listen to it would commit suicide. For me it was the complete opposite. On the contrary, knowing that there was music which so adeptly captured what I was feeling made me feel less alone in the world.
So... holy shit... RELAX about it! Morrisey has done some crazy shit over the years (he canceled two of the shows I was supposed to see... then cut his show short when I had to FLY ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO SEE HIM because he didn't like the energy of the crowd!). Plenty of crazy shit. So it's not like there was no material for The Simpsons to draw from. With Morrissey, it's a frickin' gold mine.
My love for all things Morrissey has dwindled over the years because he can be such an asshole. But watching Panic on the Streets of Springfield actually made me like him again. But even more surprising? The Simpsons is better than it's been in years this season.
And it goes without saying that I had The Smiths and Morrissey playing all night and all morning after the episode. Dang they had some amazing, amazing music.
Posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
And here's an Apple Event on this fine Spring day.
Billed as "Spring Loaded," Apple was their usual cryptic self with what was being discussed and announced. The only thing that everybody was betting on was the long-delayed "AirTags" tracking devices. A new iPad Pro was also anticipated. Both of them arrived. And then some. As always, I'm posting the thoughts that went through my head as I watched.
And here we go...
Apple Card I ain't gonna lie. I love the way the Apple Card credit card works. It (along with ApplePay) is how these things should work. The app they built around it is genius. It has features that makes controlling your charges a piece of cake. It works hard to show you the consequences of your payments on interest charges so you can better control your finances...
Everything about it is classy. EXCEPT the meager cash-back perk and the fact that it's issued by controversy-embroiled Goldman Sachs. Apple kicked off the event by talking about changes they're making so that cards are more fair. They were hit hard by accusations of unfair, sexist practices, so now they are allowing married persons and domestic partners to use a combined credit history when determining rates and limits. It's about time, and I hope this is just the start in addressing credit inequity in this country, because right now your entire financial future is being determined by something completely out of your control.
Podcasts I don't listen to a lot of Podcasts, but the app for doing so are pretty shitty. Apple is updating things to run better and help people discover content. It's about time.
iPhone 12 Now available in purple! And it is beautiful...
This is the iPhone Prince would have! And released the day before the fifth anniversary of his death.Find My & Air Tags I am embarrassed at how often I have to use location tracking to find my phone, keys, and wallet. Currently I am using Tile, but it's less than an ideal solution even though it works just fine. Now Apple has finally released their long-rumored "Air Tags" which takes location tracking to the next level. It's far, far superior to just playing a sound, which can be vague... it actually guides you to the location...
The only thing not great is the price. $30.00! Or a 4-Pack for $99. Yikes. And while there are cheaper $13 accessories for putting AirTags on keyrings and such, get a load of the Hermès accessories!
BWAH HA HA HA HAAAA! But, hey... if you've got more money than you know what to do with, Apple has definitely got you covered.
TED LASSO! The best television show I have ever seen is coming back for a second season in July!
Now that's something to look forward to!
Apple TV AppleTV is shit. The OS is flakey. The apps are garbage. The remote is the fucking WORST. And yet... it's what I use as my primary streaming device because it's the most convenient. Now Apple is finally addressing some of the offenses with their new AppleTV 4K. Starting with color fidelity, which can be adjusted within AppleTV instead of trying to get your television calibrated. Sweet...
And then there's improvements to the SHITTY FUCKING REMOTE...
It looks better, looks easier to handle, and I like the touch wheel buttons replacing the heinous fucking "touchpad" in the old one. Now if only they'd do something about the shitty AppleTV app, which is absolute garbage. Just TRY to get to the movie you want when you have hundreds. No way to quickly navigate... you have to scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll. Apple has always had a phenomenal GUI team, but now they are falling behind. Badly. The fact that they won't put a little effort into updating it from the ground up tells you all you need to know about Apple's dedication to AppleTV. But holy cats the price. $179 and $199?!? In an arena where you can get streaming devices for cheap, the fact that Apple is pushing TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS is sheer lunacy. AND THE REMOTE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A BUILT-IN AIRTAG, WHICH SEEMS LIKE A NO-BRAINER OF THE HIGHEST MAGNITUDE!
iMac M1 In colors! And they are GORGEOUS. Well, they're gorgeous FROM THE BACK. On the front they use a muted shade of the color. So if you love red and buy a red iMac, you're staring at PINK all day. Ugh. It's like Pepto Bismol mixed with milk. That being the case I guess I'd go with blue or yellow or something...
The design on these things is absolutely fantastic. Apple moving to their own custom silicone is the gift that keeps on giving, because it allows them to do amazing stuff. Just look at the profile improvement...
And it looks like Apple is FINALLY realizing that video-conferencing is a critical feature to have (especially now), and is taking a look at their less-than-stellar current camera system to do something better with 1080p and realtime image processing to present the best stream possible...
Apple has brought TouchID to a new color-matched keyboard, which is pretty cool. I love this feature on my MacBook Pro. Though I'd prefer the FaceID that my iPhone has...
And it starts at $1299 and $1499, which seems about right for all you get. It's nice that Apple is still investing in the Mac... heaven only knows that the iPhone and iPad profits make them the focus of the company, so anything moving the Mac forward is a good thing.
M1 iPad Pro Welp. This was the shock of the day for me... iPad Pro now runs on the M1 chip! The iPad has never been "just a bigger iPhone," but now any doubts can be pushed aside. It's a tablet with a desktop class processor...
The addition of a Thunderbolt port opens up mind-boggling array of new applications now that you can attach high-volume storage and large displays...
Apple has customarily put a crap front-facing camera in their products. The new iPad Pro fixes this by going 12MP with a wide-angle lens that allows really cool features, like "Center Stage" which pans the feed to keep you centered in the view even if you're moving around...
But here's the thing. I want a bigger iPad. 12.9-inches is not big enough for somebody who draws and paints on it. I need to see more of what I'm working on to be the most efficient at what I do. I have the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and it's fine. But until Apple goes at least 17-inches, I'm good, thanks.
And that was the end of that. I have to say... the iMac update and iPad Pro revision are pretty exciting stuff. I don't need either of them, but it's encouraging to see where Apple is headed. It's more clear now than ever before that iOS and MacOS platforms will be merging one day
Posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2021
Originally my "Phase Group" was to be vaccinated in February. Then it was moved to March. Then it was moved to April. Then Washington State surprised me by opening my group on March 31st. I expected that I would have to wait weeks to get an appointment, but managed to get shot on the same day... having no trouble getting an appointment and breezing through the mass-vaccination site with only two-dozen-or-so other cars around.
On April 15th, Washington State opened up vaccination to anybody 16 and older. I was thrilled, but worried over whether or not I could get an appointment for my second shot. Except it was a non-issue, and today was the day of my vaccination part deux.
Thank God they made Washingtonians wait weeks and weeks to get the vaccine! The demand is incredible! Hundreds of cars waiting in line! A complete madhouse — Oh... no... wait a second... I totes misspoke. I WAS LITERALLY THE ONLY ONE THERE!!! No other people getting vaccinated. Just dozens of workers and somebody getting dropped off for work...
The massive maze they built to handle hundreds of cars was laid out like a queue at Disneyland, but completely unnecessary. At least it was when I was there. Not a single other person getting vaccinated. I worked my way through the maze for checkin... I worked my way through the maze for the vaccination line... then rolled right up to the vaccination tent without seeing a single other vehicle. After immediately getting shot, I went to the waiting area where there were six other cars, whose 15 minutes were up right away so they left. And then there was only me. Before I left another car pulled up next to me, but that was it.
I don't understand what's happening. Now that Washington State is open to everybody age 16 and over, I thought that we'd be doing better than this. Maybe it's busier on the coast because nobody in Redneckistan is getting vaccinated?
We're never going to get heard immunity at this rate. A target of 95% is needed, but right now the country is just a little above 50%? Unironically, the people who seem to complain about lockdowns the most are the same people who keep the pandemic going.
Oh well. We tried. Vaccination is open. Literally no waiting.
Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
For the first dose of my Pfizer vaccine, I had a sore arm the next day that lasted around 7 to 8 hours.
This second time? I woke up feeling fine. My arm was a little sore, but not as much as last time. So instead of laying in bed playing video games all day as I had planned... I went into work. I lasted about 4 hours until I started feeling a little feverish and did a temperature check. Even though I felt fine. Even through it was obviously my immune system ramping up from the vaccine. Even though there was nothing else wrong with me... I ended up going home because my workplace has a zero-tolerance for any COVID symptoms (whether or not they are actually COVID-related). My temperature of 102º was enough to send me packing.
When I got home, I was feeling even hotter. A new temperature check had me at 104º
About a half-hour later my eyeballs started to ache... like they were being boiled out of my skull. A new temperature check had me at 105º. I decided to take a couple sleeping pills and go to bed so my immune system could do its thing while I slept.
When I woke up two hours later, my eyes felt fine and my temperature was down to 99º
And that was it.
By 10:00pm my temperature was normal, I felt perfectly fine, and as I sit here in bed typing this I can't even feel any pain in my arm. It's as if the second dose never happened.
Most people don't have any side-effects. But, for obvious reasons, the people who do have side-effects are the people who get publicized. I had a fever for two hours. Which I slept through. Big deal.
Except the actual side-effect of getting vaccinated... namely not having to die or be hospitalized if I happen to catch COVID... is the real story here.
At least it should be.
Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2021
Last night my web host updated PHP for my blog. Now nothing works. I'm sure it will all get figured out eventually... perhaps I'll just have to reinstall WordPress or something, but I really don't have the time to look into it right now. So I guess I'll keep writing entries and post them when I can figure out what's going wrong.
Wonder how many people will think I died because I got vaccinated? Too many, I'm guessing.
Where yesterday I had a little soreness in my arm, but was otherwise feeling great... today I have no soreness at all. It's as if the vaccinations never happened.
Except they did, which means my immune system will be up to speed to better deal with COVID in two weeks... which is May 5th, I guess. My plan is to go out and eat IN a restaurant. Something I haven't done in what... a year and a half now?
I will, of course, still wear a mask in public. Even though my immune system knows how to attack COVID, there are other people out there whose immune system is not, and I want to keep them safe. It's just a nice thing to do.
In a world where "doing the nice thing" is increasingly rare.
Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2021
Every year around mid-April my Facebook Memories® start showing photos of when Jake and Jenny were finally starting to trust me. Jake was mostly okay with me in mid-March... but Jenny? No way. She would only start letting me pet her instead of running away in terror about mid-April five years ago.
It's kinda emotional seeing what caring and patience can do.
For the first month, I was worried that they may never let me near them. But then... gradually...
My cats factor into just about every major decision I make. How long I travel. Where I travel. If I'm going to move to a new city or not. What job I have. And even minor decisions I make. How I arrange the furniture. Whether I leave the window open. What time I wake up.
They're both such a massively huge part of my life.
And having photo memories like this one pop up on Facebook is why I don't mind at all. This is about the time I wanted then to be a massively huge part of my life.
Posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2021
Life sucks, but don't expect a reprieve from the suckage THIS Sunday... because a Very Special Technology All-Fail Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Mojang! The only video game I want to play lately is Minecraft Dungeons. It's a fun dungeon-crawler that's accessible to play because the difficulty is selectable for each level. You can go harder than your character-power if you want a challenge... or easier if you just want something to do that won't stress you out. In lieu of a LEGO dungeon crawler, it's exactly what I need...
EXCEPT... I bought it for Nintendo Switch so I have the option of playing it on my television or taking it with me as a portable. The problem is that Mojang did a shitty job of the Switch conversion, so it's jerky and rough if things get even a little bit intense... especially on a television. This is absurd. FAR more complicated games, like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Diablo III, don't have this problem. Bad enough that Mojang did such a poor job... but to not allow players to decrease resolution and frame-rate settings so they can have a playable game is kinda unforgivable. With the new DLC packs I just bought, it's even more critical that Mojang get off their asses and improve the translation for Switch or, at the very least let us turn the specs down so it plays well.
• Mojang Deux! And while we're at it... why does Minecraft Dungeons crash so often? It happens most when I am playing the Daily Trial, which means all the parameters change when I have to restart and begin the level all over again. That SUCKS. Let me go back to the saved game so I can keep going! But instead it's see a Daily Trial game you like, start to play, crash, then you can't get the same game back. Also... why is the online network capabilities so abysmal? Most times when I resume a game, it wants to go back to the Main Menu so it can connect to the Microsoft Network (again), then gives me an error, then allows me on. It's almost to the point where I wish I could afford an Xbox so I'd have a platform that Mojang/Microsoft gives a shit about. Except I don't think that cross-platform saves are available (even though cross-platform playing is), so that may not even help.
• Apple Watch! Apple Watch is both genius and stupid at the same time. The main reason I bought it was to track my sleep and hopefully get better insight into how I sleep so I can get better rest. Apple Watch doesn't really do much of that, even though it's got all the sensors and crap to do all of that (it can't even keep track of multiple sleep sessions in a 24 hour period!). The Sleep app they give you is complete shit, which is why I bought the fantastic AutoSleep app for $4. It is phenomenal, and what Apple should have included. And, surprise! It will automatically log multiple sleep sessions and doesn't require you to manually set a sleep window. It's just class all the way through...
One thing I'm trying to do is experiment with going to bed earlier. Last night I decided to go to bed at 9:00pm, but Apple Watch kept me awake because the display is on. "Hey Siri, good night." — "Hey Siri, turn off the display." — "Hey Siri, how do I turn off the Apple Watch display?" — And of course none of that works because Siri is a fucking idiot. My blood pressure rising because I can't find a way to put the watch to sleep or tell it's I'm going to bed in the shitty Sleep app, I have to Google that shit on my iPhone and eventually find out that there's a "Theater Mode" that I can turn on. Jesus. For a company that prides itself on making technology easy to use... Apple sure fucked up this part. Might want to look into actually making Siri be useful.
• Ubiquiti! When my old WiFi router died, I wanted to buy a future-proof model with excellent WiFi 6 capability. I landed on the Amplifi Alien because Ubiquiti has such an amazing reputation. It was $380, but I figured it would be worth the insane investment if I could hang onto it for 5 or 6 years...
Turns out that NOPE, it really isn't worth the money. Mostly because the built-in firewall is total shit, and there's no way to do the most simple shit like blacklist IP addresses or block countries or anything. THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS AND YOU CAN'T BLACKLIST AN IP ADDRESS?? Jesus. What a fucking turd of a router. What's worse? You can't add a third-party device like a Firewalla because it's not compatible with the Alien and, of course, the Alien has no configuration options so you can make it compatible. Thinking of buying a new WiFi router? Avoid the Amplifi Alien at all costs. Overpriced trash with minimal configurability and a pathetic feature set.
• Samsung! I am still feeling very raw that my seriously expensive Samsung television died after just five years. And the fact that there are NO repair parts available and I have to go to the secondary market in order to find them... at a highly inflated price, of course... is typical of a manufacturer who counts on their products being disposible. They want them to fail so they can sell you a new one. Well, I may be having to buy a new television, but it sure as fuck ain't going to be from Samsung.
• PARAMOUNT+! When CBS became Paramount+, there was a special offer to go ad-free for the price of ad-enabled if you bought a year. I did it, because there's a lot of stuff on the streaming service I liked. Problem is? A lot of their older stuff WILL NOT STREAM. New shows? Yes. Old shows? Rarely. Sometimes it will work on a laptop, iPad, and iPhone if you have no ad-blocker, allow pop-ups, don't use a VPN, and turn off every conceivable protection to your network. But even then it's a crapshoot. But here's the thing... it NEVER works on my AppleTV. Old episodes of Ink Master or Drag Race or whatever? NOPE! And it's so fucking stupid. I don't have to turn off all my protection shit when I stream from Netflix, Discovery+, AppleTV+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Philo, or any other service I use all the time... only Paramount+. What a bunch of fucking assholes. And OF COURSE when you write to their customer support they have you jump through hoops that don't do shit. If ALL MY OTHER streaming services work, maybe it's YOU. If new shows from your network stream fine, but old shows don't, maybe it's YOU. I will not be resubscribing when my year runs out.
• QNAP! This past week QNAP, the makers of my NAS (Network Attached Storage) had some kind of vulnerability which allowed malware/ransomeware hackers to install a program on everybody's NAS drives which encrypted all their files. The only way to get your files back is to pay $500+ to the hackers and they would give you the encryption key. I didn't pay them shit because I have redundant offline backups of all my data (which is harder than it should be because QNAP has a shitty, SHITTY fucking backup app)...
I just deleted all the encrypted files and replaced them with the original. No big deal. After that, I installed a bunch of new stuff on my NAS (including a firewall) to (hopefully) avoid new problems. But here's my beef... WHY THE FUCK DOESN'T QNAP HELP CUSTOMERS UNDERSTAND HOW TO SECURE THEIR DATA AGAINST THESE ATTACKS BETTER? Everything with them is far more complicated than it needs to be, and their customers are paying the price for it. Looking for a NAS? Thinking of buying QNAP? AVOID! AVOID! AVOID!
And that's it for stuff that sucks on this fine Sunday.
Posted on Monday, April 26th, 2021
Every damn day there's stuff going on that's worse than the day before, and I am exhausted. I just want to crawl under the covers and forget the outside world exists before I even get to my lunch hour because something in the news was the last straw for me.
Flat earthers. Anti-vaxxers. COVID deniers and mask deniers. Q-Anon conspiracy dipshits. Politicians selling us out to their wealthy corporate owners. Asholes making life so much harder for anybody who isn't a billionaire. The list goes on and on, but it generally boils down to mean people and stupid people. And most of the time the worst offenders are both. Those who lack compassion and kindness. Those who are willfully ignorant and not willing to acknowledge truth. It's depressing just how bad things have gotten because these people are intent on fucking it up for all of us.
The good news is that I finally set aside some time to reinstall Wordpress so the PHP update is no longer killing my blog, so there's that.
So I guess there's nothing stopping me from kicking my Monday to the curb a little early and crawling under the covers to play video games for the rest of the day.
Though I'm pretty sure my cats will want dinner come 6:00.
Posted on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021
I finally stopped writing about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, because everything I wanted to say was based on what I know from reading the comic book source material that was unfolding on screen. No, it's not a perfect translation... I wouldn't want it to be... but there's a lot here that's coming directly from character arcs in the comics, so my speculation was nothing but spoilers.
But the final episode aired Friday, so we good? Can we talk about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier now?
If you don't want to read my spoiler-packed recap and thoughts, you definitely don't want to click through to the extended entry. And, needless to say, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Marvel comic book spoilers abound...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
Just two days ago I wrote about how utterly awful people are with their stupid shit. And today it all reached a peak that had me wishing an asteroid would nuke the planet. I am so done with awful, ignorant, stupid people. Like really done. Good thing my Buddhist philosophy promotes and existence of non-violence!
The nice thing is that the CDC realeased new guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated which, as I understand it, is two weeks after your second dose (which is May 5th for me). It's quasi-normal stuff...
I was supposed to fly out to New Orleans in June... plans which were made back in December of 2020 when the vaccines were rolling out... but canceled them this morning. That will make my first trip be in September, by which time I will hopefully feel better about crawling on an airplane with people and their nonsense for five-and-a-half hours.
Just my luck there will be a new COVID strain that hits at the end of August which isn't stopped by the vaccines. Then I'll have to wait for a Pfizer booster shot or something.
All because people are selfish dumbasses and, in the absence of reason, those who are fighting the good fight against COVID are facing an uphill battle. Because the pandemic isn't the enemy any more... it's the morons who don't trust science and take COVID seriously that keeps the war going on and on and on.
Posted on Thursday, April 29th, 2021
You know what I love more than just about anything else? Somebody who has found something which helps them to live their best life at zero cost to other people. You know what I love even more than that? Those same people giving zero fucks about the haters. This guy on TikTok, Combat Crochet, has my admiration and respect. And the fact that he uses what he knows to help others is just icing on the cake...
It's amazing to me that people actually take time out of their busy days to leave hate comments on people's social media when they are doing NOTHING to hurt anybody. Senseless... and just plain mean.
Which pretty much defines our society now-a-days, but I don't have to like it.
Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2021
Not much happened today... but everything happened. Do you know what I mean?
As I mentioned, my incredibly expensive Samsung television died after 5-1/2 years. I couldn't afford to buy another top-tier television, so I opted for something 1/3 the price, but still highly rated. Because I live in a small city, mail order is pretty much my only option. Last time I bought with Amazon because they offered installation at $119 which I was happy to pay. This time I went with Walmart because they offered installation at $79. Same price on the TV, it's just that Walmart had the total cheaper cost by $40. And I'm all for saving my $40.
The company that was supposed to do the installation dragged things out for a week. My requested appointment was literally ANY day and ANY time, but no installer apparently wanted the job. When I asked "HelloTech" what would happen if nobody took the job, they assured me that they would then contract it out with a local installer, no problem. So I waited and waited. Then this morning they canceled the install. Made me wait a week and two days, then just outright canceled. And of course Walmart didn't bother to back up what they sold. So now my option is to pay a local company $250 plus tax... or get a friend to help me do it for myself. I can only afford Option B.
Then I went to work. Then I had a doctor follow-up. Apparently I'm going to live. For now.
After my appointment I went to pick up a new vaccination record with all the various shots I've had for my travels over the years. While I was there, I went to the pet store to pick up more kitty litter for Jake and Jenny to do their duty in. And it was here... in the parking lot of the pet store... that I noticed a T-Mobile store was on the other side of the parking lot.
And so... I took a slight detour.
20 minutes later, I'm a T-Mobile customer.
Ultimately it feels like T-Mobile wants your business.... AT&T just wants your money. I switched from Verizon to AT&T in 2004 because I had to in order to get service for the brand new iPhone. The customer service was better at Verizon, but AT&T was just fine. At the start. Things steadily declined with AT&T… then went into a complete nosedive after they bought DirecTV. They went from being an okay company to an outright awful company. Always making promises. Always breaking them. Quote you a price, then charge you something different. And somehow it’s all your fault even when you’ve got the receipts. They lost such a huge amount of money with DirecTV (which I eventually canceled because it got so awful after being acquired) that they’ve been trying to make up for the lost money by making the mobile division get less for more. And failing. In the past 3 years I went from being ambivalent about AT&T to outright hating the company, mostly because of the billing problems... but also because of the cellular service.
So now I am gone.
T-Mobile has a $50 flat rate for those 55 years and older, and it's a better plan than I had... WITH taxes and fees included. They waived the bullshit activation fee because I got my iPhone through Apple and they didn’t have to give me $650 to pay it off. So I'm chalking this one up as a win.
There is ONE thing that bothers me about T-Mobile, however. If you have two lines, you get free Netflix SD. If you have one line, you get NOTHING. That’s shitty. I pay more per line than somebody with two lines, but get less? And how does that work? A man and his wife sign up, get Netflix, then the man dies and T-Mobile is all "Sorry your husband is dead, but fuck you… we’re yanking your Netflix!" Is that really how it works? This is gross and highly unfair. I pay more for my one line than somebody with two lines on their plan pays per line, but I don’t get Netflix because I’m single? Do better, T-Mobile!
Then I got my kitty litter.
Then I went to Burger King because they had a "Buy One Impossible Whopper at Regular Price and We'll Give You A Second Impossible Whopper for $1" special going on. And my two meat-free burgers were GLORIOUS! We're at the time of year where lettuce and tomatoes are perfect, onions are tasty, and you're guaranteed a good meal. I was not disappointed.
Then I went back to work when what I really wanted to do was go to bed. That was quite a day I had.
Hey, we're in the middle of a pandemic. Every day you don't end up with COVID and are out of the house is quite a day.