Posted on Sunday, August 1st, 2021
Wait, is it Sunday already? When you are working seven days a week with a busted blog, it's hard to tell! But fortunately calendars exist, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Spirit! I have come to loathe The Olympics because of the absolutely SHITTY way that the broadcast is handled. NBC is a plague that fucks up everything so bad that I gave up on giving a shit ages ago. But that's not to say that I don't enjoy some of the moments that escape into the world. My favorite so far is when Mutaz Essa Barshim And Gianmarco Tamberi Share The Gold Medal In Olympic High Jump. I'd share the video because it's actually very sweet... but of course NBC won't allow their precious video to be embedded on websites, so I can't (maybe look on YouTube?). All I got is this photo...
• Quinta! And speaking of The Olympics... every time they happen this old video from Quinta Brunson starts circulating... as it should! I cannot fathom how these interviewers keep on with bullshit like this...
Every year this video resurfaces and every year I have to tell people that I am not actually an Olympic athlete♬ original sound - quintab
• Hawkeye! Oh man. Marvel's Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction and David Aja is one of the greatest comic book series of all time. And here it is come to life...
At least it is looking that way? Maybe not. God I hope so. We'll all find out when Hawkeye debuts on Disney+ come November 24th.
• Bo, Yo! When Bo Burnham's latest Netflix special dropped on Netflix, I made a mental note to watch it at my earliest opportunity. Then promptly forgot about it. Then I finally watched it and was amazed where he went with it. The absolute best bit is the title song that plays at the start...
I'd give just about anything if Bo Burnham would extend this into a full-length song.
• So Gay!
@adaripp and I found straight tea♬ original sound - gkenworthy
Gus Kenworthy's TikTok is a GEM...
“if it’s yellow, let it mellow?” 🤷🏼♀️♬ original sound - gkenworthy
I hope he keeps posting, because I could use laughs like this in my day! But if not... Gay TikTok is packed full of other creators...
BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAA!
• Bump! Not that Straight TikTok is lacking. They manage to bring the funny too...
BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAA! Same!
• Awwww! And because I want to end this on a happy note, here's this...
And now back to my regularly-scheduled work madness.
Posted on Monday, August 2nd, 2021
Today I picked up my iPhone and went to slide it into my shirt pocket. What I didn't know is that an X-ACTO blade I had put on the same shelf where I set my iPhone had attached to the back. I got a nice slice on my finger to let me know though.
OR MAYBE MY iPHONE GOT THE COVID VACCINE AND THAT'S THE REASON THE X-ACTO BLADE ATTACHED TO IT?!?
I know that sounds insane, but it's no less crazy than people claiming they got "magnetized" after getting vaccinated.
Posted on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021
So there I was going through some of my old photos looking for a shot that I wanted to use in a Photoshop project. It was an image of Akihabara, Tokyo from the late 1990's that I wanted to combine with a shot of Seoul from the early 2000's that would be overlaid on a photo I took in Prague from 2010. I found all the photos, but combining them was no easy task. The Tokyo shot was scanned from film. The Seoul shot was from a low-resolution hobby-camera. And the shot of Prague was a high-res pro-camera.
The solution is to bring them all down to the lowest common denominator. The Seoul shot gets some grain added. The Prague shot gets a lot of grain added. That way they won't look out of place when combined with the Tokyo shot.
This got me thinking about how often society has to bring itself down to the lowest common denominator. It happens all the time, everywhere, always. Just think of what we could accomplish if we didn't have to do that?
This pandemic has brought this all into vivid relief for me.
Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021
Facebook is the craziest thing.
I just got banned... again... for suggesting that anybody committing violence against airline cabin crew who are just trying to do their job by enforcing mask requirements deserves to get shot. I made no threat against any specific person, just commented on a scenario figuratively speaking. The result? Banned for 24 hours. Meanwhile, there's a guy I know who routinely gets highly specific threats of death or bodily harm... not to mention a woman I know who has received multiple rape threats... and Facebook is all "nothing to see here... business as usual... carry on!"
Fortunately on my blog I can say whatever the heck I want.
So I can make my feelings very clear here... people know that masks are required by airlines. So if you're reminded of that fact by a flight attendant and rather than obey their rules you instead assault other passengers or the cabin crew then, yes, absolutely, you should probably shot. There's simply no excuse.
Consequences and all that.
There's good news to be had, however, I've finally figured out how to fix my blog. What else could I do if I wasn't wasting time on Facebook with this stupid crap?
Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2021
Tonight I was finally let out of Facebook prison. I guess 24 hours was all it took to be rehabilitated from stupid shit that should have never got me banned in the first place. But, hey, it's not my world... I just give up my privacy and time to play in it.
I did finally end up doing what most every person who regularly gets hit with the ban-hammer does on Facebook... create an alternate account.
Meet John Baron II...
Obviously I can't let my cats on Facebook without a disguise as well... meet Bubair and JennAir...
And now that Fake Jake is back, it's time to meet Faker Jake...
Yes, it's childish and juvenile... but so is stupid Facebook and their inconsistent and absurd policies for banning general statements out of context while ignoring direct threats to specific people.
Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2021
What happens when the most inconsequential character in Ted Lasso is Ted Lasso? You realize that the show is more important than the lead character, and Jason Sudeikis is more interested in the show being good than being about him.
Last season we learned that Rebecca has a goddaughter named Nora, and this episode we finally get to meet her. I was mortified that they would choose to take the easy way out and maker her be a heinous character that's mean or arrogant so that Rebecca can "fix" her. But this is Ted Lasso we're talking about, so I should have known they would play it much, much smarter than that. And of course they did. Nora is smart, charming, funny, and sweet... and her purpose isn't to make Rebecca look like a better character... her purpose is to make Rebecca be a better character...
Nora is yet another great character that subverts expectations by ignoring television tropes in the best possible way...
Roy Kent is probably more valuable to the show now that he's no longer a part of the team than he was in the first season when he was. He floats in and out of the narrative in a way that puts the other characters in perspective. Who could have ever thought that Roy hanging out with Rebecca could ever lead to some shockingly deep dives into the nature of relationships... or, as we see this episode... children?!?
My only complaint about Roy is that we don't see more of him, but we do get another hilarious snippet of him on Sky Sports...
Dr. Sharon isn't given a lot to do, but what she gets is pretty pivotal. First by explaining Ted's entire story this episode...
And later when it comes to Jamie Tartt. Which is such a huge off-screen moment that it's almost impossible to imagine what could have possibly happened. Her character is great, but it's the way she's used to move the show to where it needs to go each episode that really makes her an impressive addition to the cast.
As mentioned, Ted himself is actually nearly inconsequential this episode. Most of his relevant bits are relegated to him playing Evil Ted Lasso... Led Tasso...
It's silly to the point of being stupid but, even more damaging, it is completely irrelevant to anything else going on. I mean, his moments aren't always going to be gold, but it's almost as if they were struggling to find a way for him to contribute to the show.
And then there's Sam.
As predicted, they were laying the groundwork towards moving the character into something much greater, and this episode we get to find out what that is. And it looks like it will end up changing everything for AFC Richmond in coming episodes...
The thing about Sam is that he's a genuinely sweet person who has only ever wanted to be kind and please other people. Now he finds out that he may have to veer away from that role, and it's such a heroic, beautiful moment for his character. It is impossible to overstate just how lucky the show is to have found actor Toheeb Jimoh, who manages to hit the right note with Sam every single time. It's almost inconceivable at this point to see how he could have been played by anybody else, as he essentially carried the entire episode...
And thus ends yet another incredible episode of Ted Lasso.
To say I think that this is the best show to ever air on television is actually underselling it.
Posted on Saturday, August 7th, 2021
I am not home today... which means I spend every mealtime staring at my cats over the security cameras, trying to see if there's anything that looks wrong with them.
One of the earliest items I bought for my cats was kitty toothbrushes with kitty toothpaste. I had heard that teeth cleaning can be so severe on cats that they have to be put under in order for it to happen, so I wanted to start out with good dental hygiene from the beginning.
Neither one of them was having it.
They would happily lick the toothpaste off of the brush (I'm guessing it tastes like fish or chicken or some other food cats love)... but the minute I start to brush with it? Nope.
Which is why I was really excited to see that Arm & Hammer had a baking-soda-infused water additive that can help to keep a cat's teeth healthy. It wasn't terribly expensive, so I snapped it right up and started using it last weekend.
Fast-forward to yesterday morning when I was doing one of my twice-weekly cleanings of Jake and Jenny's water fountain and... "OH MY GAWD!!! IS THIS MOLD GROWING INSIDE THE WATER PUMP AND FILTER?!? GAAAAAHHH!!!!" Needless to say, I was freaked out. I immediately threw the pre-filter and the filter in the garbage. Then I scrubbed every piece of the fountain with vinegar. Then with soap. Then rinsed with hot water. Then cleaned it again! I was taking no chances that my cats were ingesting mold.
Then after getting the fountain put back together with fresh pre-filter and filter parts and rinsing it yet again with hot water... I filled it up and reached for the bottle of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Additive and...
Apparently my fountain's filtration system works so amazingly well it is able to filter out an invisible quantity of baking soda from the water supply. Which is a good thing, I guess?
Oh well. I tried.
I really, really hope that my cats never have to be put under for a teeth cleaning. But it's not like I didn't try to help them avoid it.
Posted on Sunday, August 8th, 2021
I may be late to post, but that won't stop the bullets... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Squad! The Suicide Squad was bloody good. After the abomination that was Wonder Woman '84 and whatever the fuck Zack Snyder's shitty "movies" were supposed to be... I had given up hope that we'd ever see another good DC Comics film. Alas, the person I most wanted to survive didn't, and the person I most wanted to die didn't. And the person I knew wouldn't be killed (predictably) survived...
Interestingly enough, I actually think this was a better film than either of the Guardian of the Galaxy flicks, and I *loved* those. So good on you, James Gunn! 10 out of 10. Exactly what we needed out of a Suicide Squad film... and the big bad was exactly what they needed to be to close out the film. Would not be mad if Gunn wanted to give us another one!
• Kindness! You guys. YOU GUYS...
I love seeing things like this!
• Italicized! Yeah, italics are important, yo...
Thanks to texting and Facebook and the like, italics are a lost art. As is the understood meaning of what we're trying to say.
• Walking! Hey... don't be a hater...
##stitch with @talialichtstein TikTok is getting personal, I can’t even stand up for myself 😭♬ original sound - Daniel Moseley
This guy's TikTok is seriously funny.
• Doggo! I once joked about the saying "all men are dogs" because that's clearly a disservice to doggos. And promptly got banned from Facebook for 24 hours. And then there's this...
Uh huh. Pretty much sums it up.
• Huh?! This is perfect...
Those puppies better get all that or they're going to revolt!
• Destroyer of Lives! When I was prescribed oxycontin, it was a serious consideration made by my doctor. At the time I was getting 2 or 3 kidney stones a year. After I had an excruciating kidney stone attack on an airplane which resulted in my going to the hospital on a layover, my doctor said that he understands I travel a lot and doesn't want me to be screaming in agony at 30,000 feet where nothing can be done. So he pulled out the prescription pad. THEN he gave me a 15 minute lecture on the dangers of using oxycontin, explained how it should only be used as a last resort in emergency situations, and how easy it is to develop a life-destroying addiction to it. Hence scaring the shit out of me, and guaranteeing that I would use it rarely and in only the most dire circumstances (like when I was hit by a van in the South of France and ended up flying home with cracked ribs). The three times I've used it was three times I was in so much pain that it felt like I would die without relief. And that's how it should be used. But, thanks to the heinous developers of the drug... The Sackler Family... that's NOT how it was sold. It was passed out like candy and pushed on doctors to prescribe in cases when it absolutely shouldn't have been. Despite knowing of the dangers, The Sacklers gleefully and illegally pushed its use to the absolute maximum and destroyed lives in exchange for billions of dollars. Then admitted it and became a family of felons. Now there's a debate going on as to how many of those billions they should have to give back to clean up the mess they made. My answer? Every damn dollar. But that's not how it's going to go. Wealth protects itself, and that's how it's always worked. Don't like the justice you're being dealt? Just buy your own justice! That's America for you! Billionaires get all the breaks... everyday Americans rarely do. Just try to keep your rage intact when you watch this. Just try...
If you can, you're a better person than I am.
And that's all the bullets I got. I'm spent, yo.
Posted on Monday, August 9th, 2021
Getting older sucks.
But that's not to say that it can't be made to suck worse!
No offense to the AARP, but I'm not going to be clicking through on this story...
Fried potatoes are one of the few pleasures I have left. I'D RATHER DIE THAT NEVER BE ABLE TO EAT THEM AGAIN!
Posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2021
The Kurzgesagt channel on YouTube is one of the most fascinating darn things. Every one of their videos is pretty mind-blowing, and I end up learning something new more often than not. It's science boiled down to brass tacks, and it's made hugely entertaining with the terrific animation as well.
And their latest? The first part of a series on the human immune system? It's BONKERS COOL. I mean, seriously bonkers cool. It also seems impossibly cool that something this complex which works this well exists at all. I mean... just watch this and be amazed...
And you can bet your ass that I clicked through to pre-order a copy of the IMMUNE book the second the started talking about it. Can't wait to get it.
And really can't wait for part two!
Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2021
When I first started reading comics in the late 1970's it was nothing serious. Just some old issues that ended up and my grandparents' house (probably from my grandfather's barber shop). It wasn't until 1979 that I actually started buying them and collecting them. In the beginning, it was mostly DC Comics... Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I did pick up an occasional issues of Spider-Man though. Which is how I became familiar with Marvel's What If...? series. The issue that got me? What If... Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacy? (as opposed to what actually happened in the comics... Spider-Man's girlfriend dying)...
Hosted by Uatu the Watcher, What If...? speculates on how the entire Marvel Universe might be be changed if one thing were to happen differently. What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor? and What if Dr. Strange had not become Master of the Mystic Arts? and What if Doctor Doom had become a hero? and so-on.
The quality of the stories varied wildly, so I was only a sporadic reader... usually only picking up issues when they were about a character I liked.
Fast-forward to today, and What If...? has come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the form of an animated feature on Disney+. It feels authentic, because so many of the characters are voiced by the original live-action actors. In the first episode, What If... Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?, Peggy Carter becomes Captain Carter because she chooses to stay in the room where Steve Rogers was being infused with the super-soldier serum instead of leaving. This one event cascades until we don't end up with Captain America... but Captain Carter instead...
Captain Carter is voiced by the original actor Hailey Atwell. Along for the ride is other original actors Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erskine), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan), Toby Jones (Zola), and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes). Which is incredible, when you think about it. But then there's Steve Rogers, who is not Chris Evans, but instead some other guy. Not so incredible. Having Ross Marquand as The Red Skull is half-way cool, because he did play Red Skull in Avengers: Endgame... but it was Hugo Weaving who originated the character in Captain America.
In any event, the voice cast is exceptional, as you'd expect.
The animation is beautiful. It's quality stuff that looks gorgeous in every scene. Alas, they're using some kind of "flow-motion" to "tween" the frames (in order to make things appear smoother) which causes some weird voice-sync issues when viewed in close-up, but is otherwise fantastic. Money was spent...
It's positively thrilling to see Chadwick Boseman's voice coming out of T'Challa (one last time, alas) and Chris Hemsworth's voice coming out of Thor. And more than a little of a let-down when character voices are recast. I understand scheduling conflicts and such... but come on. They can literally set up a recording booth anywhere so an actor can take an hour out of their day to do lines. So why wouldn't they get all the originals? Unless people like Chris Evans didn't want to do it, which is even more inexplicable. I mean, Steve Rogers wasn't a huge part of this first episode. He probably could have knocked his lines out in 20 minutes and donated the money to charity. But... it is what it is, I guess.
Judging by this first episode, I'm going to enjoy the heck out of this series. Just like the comics, it's fun to see "what might have been" had one little thing happened differently.
Next episode is What If... T'Challa Had Become Star-Lord? And who wouldn't want to see that?
Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2021
According to my Apple Watch, I fell asleep at 10:30pm, woke up around midnight for 15 minutes (of which I have no memory), fell back asleep, then woke back up about 12:45am. I remember waking up the second time quite clearly. I was choking. No idea on what, but I was gasping for air and my throat was on fire. After drinking a bunch of milk and a few slices of toast, I went back to bed to watch TikToks until I fell asleep again. Jenny kept me company. For about 10 minutes. Then she was fast asleep. Lucky cat.
When I woke up again at around 6:15am, my room was bathed in a red glow.
Most places, this would be a horrible thing to wake up to. But I live in a valley in a state where wildfires are rampant and smoke collects. Since nobody was banging on my door, I just assumed it was smoke from a fire elsewhere in the state that was giving me a Red Alert vibe.
When I finally got out of bed at 6:55am to feed my cats, this is what I saw out my window...
There's no filter on that. It's straight out of my iPhone.
As you can see, there's no smoke in my immediate vicinity... it's actually collecting in the Columbia Basin to the East (the actual fires are about a two-hour drive North of me).
As usual, my thoughts are with the firefighters who are working to contain the fire... the people in danger of the fire... and, of course, the many animals trying to escape and survive the fire.
Surprisingly, fire season where I live has been fairly mild this year (knock wood).
Which seems a reason to celebrate.
Except we're not through fire season yet.
Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2021
Since I don't celebrate Christmas, I can take it or leave it when it comes to Christmas television specials. If done well, it transcends any holiday and just becomes darn good television that's great entertainment.
As you can probably guess... the latest episode of Ted Lasso 100% nailed it (spoilers to follow). They did such a good job that I stayed up and watched it when it debuted... then watched it again this morning... then immediately watched it all over again with subtitles.
That being said, I'd have been thrilled just watching the claymation opening credits! WONDERFUL!
There were three rather distinct stories woven into this episode. The heart and soul of the meaning of Christmas was found in Ted and Rebecca's story. It's sweet and charming to behold... but the deeper meaning is to be found with just how big a 180° that Rebecca has taken since the first season. Ted was always the empathetic one when it came to others... Rebecca was only seeing a way to use others to enact her revenge. Then her heart won out after a relentless assault by Ted's kindness, and this season she's just as lovely a person as you could hope to meet. Taking time away from epic holiday parties to make sure Ted is doing okay with his first Christmas away from his family... his first Christmas divorced...
Rebecca's plan to get Ted into the Holiday Spirit? Delivering Christmas gifts to kids that didn't get any...
It could not have possibly have been more perfect.
The second story involves Higgins and his annual Christmas dinner for players who are far from home. This means that Nathan and players like Jamie Tartt and Colin Hughes drop out early in the episode. Which is actually kind of nice, because players like Richard Montlaur get a minute of screen time they wouldn't normally get (and believe me, Montlaur's +1 definitely makes it worthwhile!). It's also a telling moment for Higgins, because usually he's so unpopular that only two or three players showing up... but this year everybody who doesn't have a place to go shows up! It's genuinely sweet. As is an appearance by Higgins' late cat, Cindy Clawford...
I was worried that events of the previous episode would be forgotten... but they do get a mention. And if there's anybody who could give Ted a run for his money in the sweetness department... it's Sam, and I couldn't be happier that he's gotten so much screen time this season...
The last story is probably my favorite... because it's Roy Kent... but boy does his neice Phoebe hold her own (again) this episode. Roy and Kelley are planning "Sexy Christmas," but plans go awry when Phoebe shows up with a big problem...
And just because the show never misses an opportunity to demonstrate once again how Roy and Keeley are a romance for the ages...
Phoebe's problem is horrendous bad breath which Keeley (rightly) determines must be clinical. This gives Roy the idea of driving back to his "posh neighborhood" and banging on doors until they find a dentist. This is ripe with touching moments of Roy showing genuine love for his niece that belies his gruff exterior...
That we end up with a cameo from the "Ussie Guy" from the first season (he is actually the fourth character we meet after Rebecca, Higgins, and Ted!) is just icing on the cake...
And it's at this point that I feel compelled to mention that the cinematography in this episode is sublime...
Is that... it that another smile from Roy Kent?!
As wonderful as this episode is (my favorite this season and ranking very high overall), I can't help but think how much more wonderful it would be to watch it during the holidays (which, of course, I will)...
What can I say? The best show ever to air on television just aired one of the best episodes to ever air on television. It's almost impossible to see how it could be topped, but I say that almost every week.
Posted on Saturday, August 14th, 2021
The primary reason I built a catio is to allow my cats to go outside while keeping them safe. But another reason is to keep the local wildlife safe. Doing my best to make sure that birds and mice and other critters don't get murdered by my psychopathic felines.
It's mostly successful.
Three times a bird has made their way into the catio. Only once has this resulted in a fatality. No mice, moles, or other warm-blooded creatures have died.
Insects, on the other hand? Well... the catio doesn't do a very good job of protecting them at all. My cats just looooove to chomp down on whatever bugs are foolish enough to wander in. Which hasn't been a huge problem. Until now.
Now I have praying mantises waltzing in at an alarming pace. Last week one was challenging Jake to a fight after he got batted around for a bit...
I went back outside and kicked the mantis out of the catio three times! But the stupid, suicidal thing kept coming back. It's shocking how aggressive these things are! But, alas, the thing apparently came back a fourth time...
And then... here they come... again!
I kicked the thing back out but, of course, it came back in. This time both Jake and Jenny decided to have a go at it, so I had to rush right back outside...
I don't understand why this has suddenly become a problem. I rarely saw praying mantises the first five years I've lived here. Maybe it's the heat? I dunno.
What I do know is that any praying mantis looking to die should just head to my catio and have at it.
Posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2021
COVID may be spiking again, but you're never really alone when stuck at home... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Air! When I saw this Emirates commercial, I assumed it was made with computer effects...
I would crap myself to death if I even attempted this.
• FINALLY! Netflix has finally allowed us to disable the annoying as shit "ARE YOU STILL WATCHING" screens that pop up. Not sure if it's just for the current session or not (I'm assuming so), but I'll take what I can get. This is monumentally stupid. IF I WEREN'T STILL WATCHING, WHY WOULD BE TELEVISION BE ON?!?
The lapse in logic just boggles the mind.
• CODA! Apple's original film, CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) is fantastic, and you should go watch it immediately...
As if Ted Lasso wasn't reason enough to subscribe to AppleTV+
• Brand Management. Well, this is heartbreaking...
These problems won’t get solved if we aren’t willing to discuss them. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s real life.♬ original sound - Hayden Joseph 🎶🏳️🌈
It's frickin' 2021. Who gives a shit what another person's sexuality is? IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! And the idea that you can't hang out with LGBTQ persons because it will "affect your brand?" How does that even make sense to rational-thinking humans? But here we are.
• WANG! There are few things I love more than discovering a new comedian that's hilarious in all the right ways and somebody I hadn't heard of before... Phil Wang's new special Philly Philly Wang Wang on Netflix is EXACTLY THAT...
• Modern! I read reviews that made me take a pass on Modern Love... but then I heard somebody talking about how much they are enjoying the second season and decided to give it a try. I really like this one. The first season was wonderful, and the first episode of the second is my favorite yet...
Worth a look if you have Amazon Prime and have a box of Kleenex available.
• Setting Sail! The show is good... and the theme song is really good...
It's Love, Victor all over again!
And now back to your regularly-scheduled pandemic.
Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2021
Screaming at the world doesn't seem to work.
Posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2021
The iMac I use at home had a good run.
I bought it in the Spring of 2009, which means the thing is over 12 years old. Positively ancient, in technology terms. Sure it's slow. Sure it can't run the latest operating system. And sure it's had to be repaired twice (once when a memory DIMM failed, and again when the hard drive failed). But it was still usable for attending Zoom meetings, reviewing documents, researching on the internet, ripping my DVD collection, and numerous other tasks which have ensured that it's been in near constant use. And I do mean constant. Even when I was using my much newer and much faster MacBook Pro, ye ol' iMac was still a part of my workflow because it spools my home printer jobs and backs up all the stuff on my file server to the cloud.
But then? Tragedy struck.
I went to print a document and my iMac wasn't there.
I couldn't turn it on so I ended up taking it apart (again) to see if I could figure out what was wrong (again). But then, as mysteriously as it died, it sprang back to life (again). For three days. Then it died a death that it couldn't be brought back from.
At first I was going to just get along without it. I have a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro... do I really need an iMac as well?
Turns out I do. It's just too darn useful to have a desktop computer at home for certain tasks. The problem is that Apple stuff is expensive, so I needed to figure out how much I would be spending to see if I could afford it. The answer? Not really. I would have to go into credit card debt, something I'm unwilling to do. But then... I see that Apple has zero-interest monthly financing. Which means the new iMacs released back in April that I thought were pretty but I would never end up buying?
I did that...
As I mentioned when I first saw them, ordinarily I would have picked a red one. Blue is my favorite color, but red is what I like to have around my home (such as my pot-holders and iPhone case). Except the new iMacs are only actually colored red on the sides and the back. All you see on the front is a sickly pink color which I hated. My second choice, blue, was gorgeous on the back... but a weird baby blue on the front. Eventually I went with yellow because it was still yellow on the front (albeit a pastel shade of yellow). Why in the hell Apple couldn't continue the same beautiful colors on the back to the front is a complete mystery to me. PEOPLE USE COMPUTERS FROM THE FRONT... SO YOU AREN'T SELLING RED COMPUTERS, YOU'RE SELLING PINK COMPUTERS! More than a little infuriating.
At first I was going to go with the cheapest model. Since it's replacing a 13-year-old computer that was fine for my needs, that was more than enough.
Except the base model isn't available in yellow!
I was this close to just going with silver and being done with colors... but the difference between the base model and the yellow model was $200, which meant my monthly payment was only $17 more... so what the heck? Might as well. The yellow iMac has 8 GPU cores instead of 7 GPU cores (that I won't much use) plus two extra ports (that I definitely won't use), and a better keyboard (that I very much want, but don't need), so I essentially shelled out $200 just so I could get the color I wanted?
How very Apple!
The yellow iMac comes with 256GB of storage, which is plenty considering nothing much is stored on it... all the files in my house are on my NAS. It also comes with 8GB of memory. Which was probably going to be enough? But, unlike older iMac models, there is no way of adding more memory if you find out what you bought isn't enough. The memory is embeded on the M1 chip along with everything else. The only way to have more memory is to buy the M1 chip with more memory on it. And so... I ended up spending ANOTHER $200 to max out the memory to 16GB.
Yes, you read that right, the maximum memory you can have in a new iMac is 16GB.
Now... this is worrisome. If I ever end up needing to use my iMac for anything serious, 32GB is pretty much minimum for the work I do. The idea of trying to work on a graphics file that 20GB in size within a 16GB limit seems absurd in 2021.
Apparently the memory you have doesn't matter so much with the new M1 processor. Since everything is unified on a single chip... the CPU, the GPU, the memory, and the storage... it doesn't really matter. The M1 processor doesn't swap things in-and-out of memory over a circuit board bottleneck... it's using all of its resources all the time and allocates them out as needed. What this means is that Adobe Photoshop will load what's needed into the memory available then dynamically swap the pieces it's not using to storage. Instantly.
Which is why articles I read suggested that the average user with $200 to blow should double the storage instead of the memory since you're getting more usable memory for your money. Which makes sense, given the unified memory architecture of the M1 chip.
The problem is that I'm not the average user. The apps I use... Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, InDesign, etc... are more efficient when they have more memory. Regardless of how fast the on-chip storage is. So, assuming I ever have to use my desktop Mac for those applications, the fact that precisely zero of my files will be stored on the iMac means that my best bet would be to shift the $200 for double the memory. I'll still have 256GB for apps and overflow, which should be plenty.
If I was made of money, I'd just max out the memory to 16GB and the storage to 1TB. But since I'm not, paying $200 for yellow and $200 for memory is way more than I want to spend already.
In the not-so-distant-future, I think we won't ever have to decide whether to choose memory over storage or storage over memory. There's just going to be "memory" that's used for whatever the computer needs. How cool will that be?
As I mentioned above, the only thing hooked up to my iMac will be an old laser printer. From time to time I also drag out an old scanner. Neither of which plugs into the USB-C ports on my new iMac! They're both the original USB-A plugs. Which really sucks because I'll have to use a dongle to plug anything in. The base model only has two USB 4 ports (USB-C plugs). The yellow model gets two additional USB 3 ports (USB-C plugs) and an ethernet port (which is on the power brick because the iMac is thinner than an ethernet plug!).
As I also mentioned above, the yellow model iMac comes with an upgraded keyboard. What makes it better is that it has TouchID. This is something I scoffed at when I first got my MacBook Pro that came with it. But it's surprising how much I came to love just touching my computer with my finger to unlock everything and get to work instead of having to type a stupid password. I don't even think about it now. When I sit down to use my computer, my finger automatically goes to the upper-left corner of the keyboard. — So until FaceID comes to the iMac, this is the next-best thing.
I have an Apple Watch. The beauty of buying into the Apple ecosystem is that everything works together. When my Apple Watch is on and unlocked (which I do each day after charging), I don't even have to use TouchID! I smash the space bar to wake up my Mac and it's automatically unlocked from my Apple Watch. Nice!
Right now you may be wondering... "If Dave has an Apple Watch which unlocks his computer, why did he say he very much wanted a keyboard with TouchID?"
And the answer is this: BECAUSE APPLE IS FUCKING RANDOM AS TO WHEN APPLE WATCH CAN ACTUALLY BE USED TO UNLOCK SHIT! Sometimes I'll do something like need to unlock my passwords in Safari. To do this I can just double-click the button on my Apple Watch to unlock. Simple! Better than a password! But then the next time I want to unlock my passwords in Safari, my computer will suddenly develop amnesia and forget I have an Apple Watch. Nope. It wants my password. — But TouchID seems to work every time (and comes in especially handy when buying stuff via Apple Pay), so I think it's a great feature to have.
My keyboard and mouse are also yellow to match my iMac, but we'll talk about the design of the thing more in Part Three after my new iMac (hopefully) arrives tomorrow!
Oh... I've named him "Lemon," by the way.
Posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
It used to be that companies would have to guess how many units they would sell, then instruct manufacturing (usually in Asia) what to build. This is almost always a disaster. If your product is less popular than you projected, you end up with a heinous amount of money tied up in inventory that you can't get rid of. If your product is more popular than you projected, then you can't fulfill customer orders and lose money that way too.
Either way, you're likely playing a losing game.
Thanks to our global economy and the way shipping works now-a-days, companies have another option... Just In Time Manufacturing.
This is how Apple does almost everything now-a-days. The flexibility of making something only when it's needed to fulfill an order is pretty mesermizing. First of all... no inventory problems. Second of all... you can offer multiple configurations with very little risk. Which explains why the new iMacs can be offered in multiple colors and multiple configuration options.
My iMac, for example, is yellow and has an M1 chip with an extra 8GB of memory.
So when I made my order at Apple.com, it was sent to China for manufacturing. There somebody grabbed a yellow chassis... an M1 16GB chip motherboard... slapped it together with some yellow accessories... then packed it all up in a yellow box.
Then handed it to FedEx for shipping.
And this is where it gets interesting.
I was anticipating quite a wait. Because even if Apple is paying for air freight, surely it's going to take time to work their way to my order, asemble it, box it up, accumulate enough freight for a shipment, then get it to the US and make its way to me here in Washington State. Right?
Actually... not so much!
I ordered on August 10th and received an email confirmation that said 2 to 3 weeks production time. Then I got an email Sunday telling me it was prepared for shipment... after just three days?
And I got it today! The computer shipped from China to Japan on Monday. From Japan to Memphis on Tuesday. From Memphis to me on Wednesday. I essentially got my computer in a week.
I have quite a lot to say about it, but we can begin all that tomorrow.
Posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2021
I have a deep love of finding beauty in every day objects.
Many a time I have spent more for something because it looks nicer than the competition. My kitchen utensils, for example. The basic corn peeler you can buy is functional and cheap. But the OXO Good Grips corn peeler looks nicer. It's pretty black and yellow. Probably works the same, but I like the look of it. So I pay extra to get the OXO Good Grips version and am happy to do it.
It will come as no surprise that I'm a Certified Apple Whote.
Apple has built an entire industry over making their products look better than the competition... sometimes at the expense of features and functionality. Yet the trade-off doesn't matter to me. The specs for Apple devices are always enough for me to work within, so I am always all-in on their products. Always have been. Sure there are a few products they made that weren't the best (that stupid-as-shit "sunflower" iMac G4 was a grotesque insult to design, and I remain baffled that Steve Jobs ever let it go into production with it's ugly-ass bulb base and heinous neck joint... GOOD LORD!).
Some of Apple's products I purchased knowing that they were shit specs because I just loved how beautiful they were. Take for example the Power Mac G4 Cube. Oh how I loved that thing! It was grossly overpriced for the features you got, but just look! LOOK AT IT! BASK IN ITS GLORY!...
I have thought about buying an iMac mini and upgrading the guts of my G4 Cube many, many times. Then I could buy a better-looking monitor to match it and have one sick-looking showpiece of computing to display in my home!
But it's kinda senseless to go to the expense and effort when I can just buy an all-in-one iMac that looks beautiful in its own way. If I want the Mac Cube to be on display, I can just set it next to the iMac and leave it at that.
As I mentioned Tuesday, when my ancient iMac finally died for good, I took it as a Sign from Above that I should replace it with one of Apple's pretty new iMacs. More specifically? The pretty new yellow iMac, which you can see here on my built-in-computer desk (a necessity since my cats took over the room I was using as my office)...
When it comes to the design of the iMac itself, the thing is beautifully and impossibly thin. 11.5mm to be exact. And the computer itself (thanks to the all-in-one M1 processor chip that sits in the iMac's "chin") doesn't really exist that you can see it...
Pictures seriously don't do it justice. You need to see it in person to comprehend just how thin this thing is. And the fact that there's just a single cord coming off of it in so many cases (most everything is wireless now-a-days) the thing literally looks like it's made of magic.
So... no complaints about the industrial... but the actual look? Yikes.
THE CHASSIS COLOR
Something I wanted to separate out here is the actual color of your computer. The color on the front is printed on plastic, so it's literally light yellow (as shown in the Apple photos). But since the rest of the computer color is printed on metal, it's not a flat, brilliant yellow like what's shown on Apple's website...
Not even close!
On the metal parts, my computer looks far more "gold" than "yellow." It's actually quite pretty on the back... which I'll never see because my computer is against a wall...
But the metal part I do see on the stand... well... looks like it's... ummm... urine-stained aluminum? It's nice enough when well-lit (as you can see above), but in the shadow that the iMac display casts over it? Looks like urine-stained aluminum to me...
Overall, I think Apple's design aesthetic for the new iMacs is gross and shitty. Three different shades of yellow that don't match, don't harmonize, and look bad together. Maybe it's better on the other colors? I wouldn't know. There's not an Apple Store around her for me to see them. In the end, this is amateur hour bullshit. I definitely regret spending $200 extra to get the yellow color. If it were the same color as on Apple's website, I would have been thrilled. But this is a botched look that is just plain bad and Apple obviously had to Photoshop it so that people would order something that doesn't exist. Oh well. It's not distractingly bad, so it's easy enough to ignore... I just wish that I hadn't trusted Apple and spent the extra $200 for a pretty computer that I didn't get. If you're in the market for one of these things, I highly recommend seeing them in person before you purchase.
The display is a 24" Retina Display that looks as incredible as you'd expect. Since it's bigger than my MacBook Pro and smaller than my 27" iMac at work, I'd describe the size as "cozy." The work I do demands a large screen for efficiency, but this is plenty big to get actual work done (especially since my old iMac was only 20"). Colors are vibrant. Brightness is better than good (actually too bright at maximum brightness!). Contrast is amazing. And since it's Retina, that means the pixels just disappear to make the screen look like a photograph. The glass is, oddly enough, somehow not as reflective as my other iMacs. It feels smooth, so the anti-glare coating must be under the glass. Whatever is happening, the display looks a touch soft. Not as crisp as my other Macs. This is not terrible, but it has taken some time for me to get used to.
The issue that many people have with the display is that it's surrounded by a white border instead of a black one. But, honestly? It doesn't look white when I'm working on it... it looks grey. And kinda blends into the wall that's behind it. It will only look white when you are shining a light directly on it, which you would never do because then you'd be fighting glare off the display. So settle down, yo. The color on the thing is superb. Just look at this...
And that photo doesn't even really do it justice.
I have zero problem with the "white" border and don't understand what the fuss is about. The display for my Mac G4 Cube that I showed above didn't have a black border and I was fine with it... just like I am with the "white" border around the new iMac display. It's a complete non-issue, and helps to complete the aesthetic that Apple was going for (which, as I said above, is pretty fucking bad, alas).
Despite Apple's hyperbolic claim that my new computer would have "The best sound ever put into a Mac," I was dubious. How could it possibly have better sound than my old iMac and my work iMac which have considerably more thickness to them for speakers? Well... I dispute Apple's claim. The sound is good... very good even... but I don't think it's quite as good as my
For whatever reason, Apple has consistently put shitty self-facing cameras on their hardware. No clue as to why. But if there's one thing that these COVID times made very clear, Mac users have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to remote meetings. I Zoom with a colleague and they look great... while my image looks like shit because I'm on a Mac. Thankfully, Apple has finally gotten off of their ass and done something about this. Well, two things, actually. First, the new iMac's camera is 1080p, as it should have been for years now. Second of all, the M1 chip is so speedy that the camera image can be optimized in real time to give a better picture. Something I verified this morning on a Zoom call. Even if the person you're speaking to doesn't have internet speeds that can handle 1080p, the image still looks better thanks to the post-processing that the M1 does. Score. And score. I just find it pathetic that it took a frickin' pandemic to get Apple to do something.
Regardless of the color you choose, I hope you really love that color... because Apple uses it everywhere! My keyboard is yellow (gold). The sides of my mouse are yellow (gold). The cable to charge my keyboard and mouse is yellow. The MagSafe power cable is yellow. The desktop background defaults to yellow. It's yellow-palooza up in here! The keyboard/mouse is the same metal as the stand. But since they aren't in shadow like the stand, they look like pretty gold instead of urine-stained. The cables are closer to the color on the front of my computer, but don't match exactly... adding a fourth yellow to the mix that doesn't harmonize with any of the other yellows. What in the hell was Apple thinking here? It would have been better to not match stuff color-wise if it's not actually going to match!
I am studying Russian at the moment, so I got a Russian keyboard. Interestingly enough, the iMac knows what language your keyboard is in when you connect to it over Bluetooth. So when I selected "English" as my preferred language, Russian was added as a keyboard input method automatically. Very cool. Very Apple. The keyboard itself is okay, for the most part. Keys have very little "travel" which is not great, but typing is not overly-difficult. I do wish that it was angled a bit more like my keyboard at work... it's like typing on a laptop instead of a desktop... but I think I can get used to it. INTERESTING TO NOTE: When not typing in Cyrillic (Russian), I would prefer to use an American English keyboard. I thought I might pick one up, but Apple doesn't let you order one in yellow... only silver. Had I known this, I would have ordered my keyboard in English and bought the add-on keyboard in Russian since I type in English much, much more often. But oh well. Eventually I'll get used to the shorter left-hand shift key and the super-skinny return key. I hope.
The mouse is Apple's Magic Mouse and just as crap a design as it's always been. Run out of battery? Sorry... you lose! The plug to recharge your mouse is on the bottom for some absurd reason, so you're without a mouse until you've charged it up. Is it really that damn difficult to design a mouse with the charging port coming out of the top like a corded mouse so you can plug it in and use it when the battery dies? Apparently.
I ordered the next-level-up from the base model so I could get my iMac in yellow (gold), which means Lemon included a gigabyte ethernet jack. But since an ethernet plug is deeper than the iMac, they couldn't put the port on the iMac itself. Instead they put it on the power brick. This is actually fine by me. If I ever get ambitious enough to run ethernet up to my desk, it will work just fine...
As an aside here, why is Apple using a 1GB port when everybody else in the known universe puts in 10GB ports? Not that it matters to me. My heinously expensive Amplifi Alien router doesn't have a 10GB port anyway. SO SICK OF THESE COMPANIES CHARGING A PREMIUM PRICE FOR NON-PREMIUM SPECS! Though that's par for the course for Apple, so why am I not surprised?
And that... plus a keyboard and mouse charging cable... is all you get in the box. As this is Apple, you don't even get an instruction booklet! Not that you need one. You plug it in and the iMac says "Hello" and tells you what you need to do to get started.
As I mentioned on Tuesday, the base model comes with two USB 4 ports (that accept USB-C plugs). The next-step-up model that I got also includes an additional two USB 3 ports (that accept USB-C plugs). What I forgot to mention on Tuesday is that there's also a headphone jack! It's easy to miss because it's on the side of the iMac chassis (the plug is deeper than the computer, so they couldn't put it on the back!). This is kinda weird considering that Apple is obliterating the headphone jack everywhere else... but yay? I dunno. I've switched over to wireless for everything and don't even think I own a pair of wired headphones any more.
How Apple managed to craft something this amazing only to make it look this shitty boggles my mind. I ordered a yellow iMac. Instead I got a gold/urine/yellow/pale yellow iMac where none of the "yellows" match... at all. A part of me wants to return this and get a blue one or something that might not look as shitty, but I don't think I care enough to go through the trouble. Which is something Apple is undoubtedly counting on. What's infuriating is that they very clearly Photoshopped the images on their website. I mean it's blatantly obvious that they Photoshopped the images, and that's some bait-and-switch-bullshit. What you see is not what you get. Because when you go to Apple.com, the yellow computer is very clearly yellow in every shot they show you. But as you can see from my actual and unretouched photos, it's clearly gold.
Tomorrow I'll do a dive into actually using the thing. Does the M1 live up to the hype? Or is it just another pack of lies from Apple?
Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2021
First I talked about deciding what specs to order for my new iMac. Then I talked about the design of the thing yesterday. And now I suppose I should talk about actually using Lemon (which is what I named my shiny new yellow... er... gold computer).
When it comes to my iPhone, I am a part of Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program. I make a monthly payment for the iPhone, AppleCare, and Theft+Loss... and, in exchange, Apple lets me upgrade to the latest model iPhone every year. It's a pretty sweet deal, because I can't afford to pay $1000 for a new iPhone model every year. The down-side is that I don't own my phones. I have to return them to Apple when I upgrade. The only way I get to own my phone is if I skip an upgrade and make payments for two full years. I never do this. I'd rather have the latest iPhone than an old phone that loses value with each passing minute if I were to pay it off.
But there is no "Mac Upgrade Program."
So when it comes to my Macs, I use them until they fall apart, or can't run my software, or die (as in the case of my last iMac).
As you can imagine, it's always quite a shock getting a speedy new Mac after using nothing but old hardware for years and years (my iMac was 12 years old when it finally died, and my iMac at work is 7 years old). My MacBook Pro is my newest Mac (purchased 2019) and the fastest Mac I own, despite being the cheapest model available at the time (hey, I was on a budget!).
My new iMac 24" positively smokes all of them.
I am not kidding. This thing with it's new M1 chip is unbelievably zippy.
But before we get into it all, it's important to bring up the elephant in the room... to get the best performance out of your Mac, you need to be running native apps for the M1 processor. Anything that's not native (i.e. written for old Intel Macs) has to be run under an emulation layer that Apple calls Rosetta 2 (the first Rosetta was from 2006 when Apple made the relatively seamless switch from PowerPC chips to Intel chips).
You would expect that any Intel apps that have to use Rosetta 2 emulation would run much slower than on actual Intel-based Macs. And they probably do. But when comparing my 2-year-old MacBook Pro with emulated apps on my new iMac via Rosetta, the performance is very close. Meaning that I don't actually lose anything by running non-native apps on Lemon.
Native apps are called "Universal" (because it runs native on the M1 and will also run on Intel), which you can see in the Get Info box...
Whereas Intel apps are called "Intel" in the Get Info box...
Fortunately, a lot of the apps I use have been compiled to run M1 native. This includes Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Premier. There are a few things in these apps that aren't working yet (so if you need them you'll need to run them in Rosetta 2 mode) but those features are things I don't use anyway.
And let me tell you, the M1 native apps absolutely fly.
Working on large files in Photoshop and big documents in InDesign is positively dreamy. Everything is so snappy and so smooth. Something that would be impossible with just 16GB on an Intel Mac. InDesign is a particularly crappy app to use because just scrolling through pages with lots of images is a jerky mess that will have you screaming at your computer. But on my new iMac? Butter.
As I mentioned in part one, I put the $200 upgrade I had into 16GB of memory. I do not regret this choice, because the work I do benefits from having extra room to do the processor-intensive stuff I do. I didn't want to put that $200 into getting extra storage because all my files are stored on a NAS network file server. Why invest in storage that I won't use?
The answer is that on-chip storage makes loading my big documents much, much faster. Which means I can start work quicker and get more done. Loading files from my NAS over WiFi is pretty good speed-wise because the iMac has WiFi 6, yet far slower than from internal storage. Once my iMac has the file loaded everything is super-speedy though, so it's all good.
But when I transfer the files to Lemon's internal storage and load them from there? Good Lord. It's almost instantaneous! Not even enough time to take a sip of Coke Zero! The files are just... there! It's computer Nirvana.
Which makes me wish that I had the extra cash to have purchased more storage. The iMac tops out at 2TB of storage. But I didn't have $800 to make that happen, so I went with the base 256GB.
If I ever need to use Lemon for serious work, I'd probably end up moving my NAS from downstairs to upstairs so I can plug it in directly. That would speed up file-loads a bit (but not huge because the iMac is limited to a pokey 1GB ethernet port instead of the 10GB that my NAS can dish out).
So, yeah, I'm positively thrilled with the performance of the 2021 iMac 24".
And this is a consumer machine! Can you imagine what the Pro models will be like?
Well, my work iMac is going to die eventually, so I guess we'll see sometime in the future.
Because the future of the Mac is clearly on Apple silicone like the M1.
Posted on Saturday, August 21st, 2021
My cats watch television with me.
Jenny more than Jake, but Jake will absolutely watch the screen if something there catches his interest.
Like me watching an episode of Ted Lasso for the hundredth time...
Jenny is more picky. The one thing that gives me odds of her tuning in to the television is playing Rick and Morty. As I've mentioned before, she absolutely loves Rick's voice. The other day I was getting caught up, and as soon as Rick started talking, Jenny walked from the kitchen to the living room...
Jenny was not pleased with the sexist dialogue, and had to give me a "look" to make sure I knew of her displeasure.
In other cat news... I am beginning to think that Jake suffers from narcolepsy. A couple of times now he has been walking away from me after getting pets and just... collapses asleep! At first I was mortified that he had collapsed dead. But nope... just sleeping...
Jenny, on the other hand, rarely walks away. She will let you give her pets for as long as you are willing to give her pets!
Especially in those hard-to-reach areas, like her armpits. Can cats even scratch there? I don't think they can unless they rub over something?
And, on that note, I really need to get out of bed and make breakfast.
Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2021
I hate to break it to you, but I'm still blogging here... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ted! My third time watching the latest Ted Lasso. ALL THEY ARE DOING IS WALKING BY AND COLLECTING NESPRESSO MACHINES AND I AM AM DYING. Each time I go back and watch the player reactions in the background as they're picking up their machines. And this time I noticed that Paul didn't grab one? And if he didn't... then why couldn't Nate have his? And I love how Isaac is a big guy... but carries his with two hands so he doesn't drop it while all bundled up...
And how Jamie looks like he's trying to figure out what it is that he's getting! BWAH HA HA HA. And this is what I mean when I say that this show just nails the details. Even the tiniest things are well-realized. Oh how I love this show. And then there's Roy...
=sigh= Roy Kent is easily my favorite television character of all time and this episode just cemented it. If you are not watching this show... please stop hurting yourself!
• I'll Take a New Host for $500! I guess I was in the minority in that I actually LIKED Mike Richards' job as Jeopardy host. But with all that's come to light about his past actions, I am not sad for him to step down as permanent host. He's not a good choice to fill Alex's tremendous shoes. I suppose that I am also in the minority in saying that I hope Aaron Rodgers gets the gig now...
By the end of his episodes he was relaxed, fun, charming, smart, personable, and let the contestants shine in a way that was a bit lacking with the other hosts. My least favorite was Ken Jennings, but apparently he's the frontrunner? I dunno. I'll still watch Jeopardy regardless... the reason I watch is to see how much I know and learn new stuff. But it would be nice to have a host I like as well.
• Trust! Okay. I don’t mind saying that I teared up a little bit... 103 days, and FINALLY the pet seagull landed on his hand!
I swear I’ve been watching for 80 of those 103 days! Good job buddy!
• I HAVE THE POWER! I was hugely disappointed in the He-Man reboot... but this? THIS HE-MAN?!? Looks awesome...
He-Man for kids that's actually more interesting than the show for adults. Sweet. And it looks visually fantastic to boot.
• A Seldon Crisis! Another Foundation trailer. I'll say it again... this looks spectacular. But it also looks like they made the same mistake that Jupiter’s Legacy made. Rather than adapting the original books that people love, they’re folding in stuff from the sequel prequels that people don’t give a shit about...
And I think we all know what happened to the Jupiter’s Legacy series.
• MANDATE! I hesitate over the idea of mandatory vaccines. Sure I believe that employers and private companies should be able to mandate vaccines if you want to work there or shop there or use their service... I support that 100%. If an airline says "We require vaccination for you to fly with us"... well, there you go. You can make a choice as to whether you want to fly with them or work there. What I'm talking about is making it mandatory for people who just sit around the house and hang out with their neighbors in their back yard and stuff. A part of me is like... well, sadly, that's their choice and they'll have to live with it. So long as they mask-up when requested outside their home in enclosed spaces, you do you. Except now the latest COVID wave has gotten so bad that such people are filling up hospitals and infecting kids too young to be vaccinated. It's a serious problem that many people are making decisions for themselves and their family out of ignorance and misinformation. They listen to absolute nutjobs who have no idea what the fuck they are talking about, and it ends up being a public safety risk. This is perfectly encapsulated in this video from The New York Times...
I mean... what do you do here? The people refusing the vaccine are getting deathly sick at a rate monumentally higher than vaccinated people. And they are filling up our hospitals. As it gets worse, a vaccinated person who was careful as they can be who has a heart attack may not have a hospital bed available to them because they're full up with unvaccinated COVID patients. Patients who were given every opportunity to get vaccinated but didn't. How is it fair? I read an article that talked about the very real possibility of unvaccinated COVID patients being cut loose and denied a hospital bed in favor of vaccinated patients. The thought of it terrifies me. But... it certainly seems more fair than shafting vaccinated people who at least tried their best to be safe when it comes to COVID. So I dunno. I am grateful I don't have to make those kind of decisions. But it sure seems unfair that doctors will have to. So-called "death panels" may be coming and it has nothing to do with "Obamacare."
And on that horrific note, I guess we're out of bullets.
Posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2021
Ugh. Not this shit again.
UPDATE: Well, wow. This just made my Monday suck a magnatude less!
Holy crap! I had no idea that Doctor Strange was going to be such a big part of the movie! Thrilled with it!
Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2021
For the first time in over a month, I was able to get through all the "to-dos" due on my list before leaving work. I celebrated by ordering a pound of fries at the local drive-thru for my dinner. I was going to make spicy black bean soup... but this was easier. Less chopping and cooking and dirty dishes and such. Oh well.
What I should have done after consuming a pound of potatoes and grease is catch up on all the sleep I have been missing because I'm staying up late working. What I actually did was a bunch of housekeeping on my work files while watching the What If... T'Challa was Star Lord episode of Marvel Studio's What If... cartoon anthology...
This is my third time watching it. And every time gets harder as it sinks in that this is the last time we'll be blessed with Chadwick Boseman starring as Black Panther. And it's absolutly gutting. He was taken from us far too early, and it just seems impossible that he's gone.
In other news... I'm in Facebook Jail. Again.
The previous time I was jailed was just plain stupid and ridiculous. This time is monumentally stupid.
I was watching a Hallmark movie last night when I saw an actor who looked familiar. So I Googled him to see what I might be recognizing him from. The first photo that popped up was the actor with one of his hands partly in his pants, but it wasn’t sexual. He wasn’t grabbing his junk. You couldn't see his junk. He wasn't even licking his lips. Nothing even suggestive... unless you call having his shirt off "suggestive."
I dropped the image in a CLOSE FRIENDS ONLY POST and asked the question "Why would an actor promote himself with a photo that looked like he has jock itch?" Within minutes... REMOVED FOR EXPLICIT SEXUAL CONTENT! Three days in jail.
It’s just the most insane thing.
People regularly post music videos that are actually sexually suggestive and absolutely nothing happens. And then there's me.
I would love to tell Facebook to go fuck themselves, but a huge chunk of my friends are on the platform. And since they're scattered around the globe, this is what I got. And so... I'll probably just take a step back. Not devote so much of my time to Facebook, who can pull the rug out from under me over idiotic shit I have zero control over.
Posted on Wednesday, August 25th, 2021
Earlier in the week the Pfizer mRNA vaccine received full FDA approval... and a stupid as hell new name "Comirnaty." Boy would I have liked to have been a fly on the wall of that marketing discussion. Because I'm sure if there was an actual marketing professional in the room, they would have objected strongly to branding that sucks this hard. The idea is that the name is a mash-up of "COVID-19, mRNA, Community, and Immunity." Well, yeah... it sounds like a mash-up of too many things trying to do too much. Effective branding is simple and memorable... not a random assortment of letters from different words that sounds like something I would say after drinking a bottle of Jägermeister. This drug is helping to SAVE LIVES and they've shit all over it with idiocy that rivals the whole "New Coke" fiasco.
AND SPEAKING OF NEW COKE...
Coca-Cola Company has taken a dump on my favorite sugar-free beverage... Coke Zero. They've gone and "new and improved it" which is to say that they learned nothing from past mistakes and "New Coked" it...
"More delicious?" Are you fucking kidding me? It tastes like shit. It's syrupy, the sweetness is way off, and I'm left with a taste in my mouth that's not at all pleasant. I can't even drink it without food because I don't want to be left with that lingering weirdness on my tongue. But I don't want to drink it with food either. It's an all-around crap product that I hope fails spectacularly. Fuck you Coca-Cola Company, you dumbass pieces of shit. If this is so fucking delicious, then why didn't you change your top-selling "Diet Coke" and leave "Coke Zero" alone?
And the worst part? The can design has changed... but they still have the old 12-pack carton design. Which means I bought 4 cartons of these things without even knowing it. Had they clearly marked the cartons, I would have been more cautious.
Apparently Coca-Cola Company's goal was to create a diet soda that tastes more like regular Coke. Why? If people want the taste of regular Coke, they can just buy regular Coke! Sure it has sugar in it, but it's probably better for you than the chemical sweeteners in diet shit.
Needless to say I am fucking livid, if you couldn't tell.
But back to "Comirnaty"...
I can't help but wonder if the people who didn't get vaccinated because the vaccines were "rushed to release without FDA approval" will now get the vaccine because it's FDA-approved. Probably not. It was just an excuse. They'll find another. It doesn't matter that nothing was actually rushed... that vaccines for coronaviruses have been in research for over eight years... that mRNA vaccine research has been in development for even longer... that all safety protocols were observed and passed in one of the largest human trials ever... and that mRNA vaccines are actually safer that old-style vaccines because all they do is give your body instructions on how to fight COVID by itself, contains no actual viruses, and then fucking disappears... the misinformation campaign has been drummed into people, and that's the end of it. Facts don't matter. Science doesn't matter. Nothing matters except some fucking idiot on YouTube with conspiracy theories that have all been disproven.
We're living in a world where people won't take a safe, FDA-approved vaccine... but will instead wait to get deathly ill from COVID-19 and take horse de-wormer to try and cure themselves. Horse dewormer. Made for horses.
Oh well. According to the dumbasses, everybody who took the vaccine is going to die in three months... in six months... in nine months... any day now... so maybe I'll be lucky and die before drowning in stupid.
And by "drowning in stupid" I mean we get stuck in a perpetual pandemic so the virus just continues to mutate until it kills us all.
And we deserve it.
Well, not me specifically... I got my fuckiing "Comirnaty" vaccinations and wear a mask... but humanity in general deserves it.
God gave us science and discovery so we could understand His miracle of life better... but half of us choose pestilence and death. More often than not in His name. That's an irony that cuts pretty deep.
Posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2021
Is your mobile carrier T-Mobile like me? Then be sure to read to the end.
Live in the USA and have any phone at all... even if you don't use T-Mobile? Then keep reading.
FIRST OF ALL you should check to see if you now have to dial all ten numbers starting October 24th for local calls (the usual seven plus area code). This has to do with implementing the "988 Crisis Line" for people contemplating suicide or emotional distress. To see the area codes affected, you can check the list on a PDF file here.
AND WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, out of all the area codes in Washington State, mine is the only area code that requires all ten numbers to be dialed for local calls. I can only hope that my iPhone will figure out how to handle this on its own so I don't have to manually dial everything. I already added the area code to local peeps in my address book, so hopefully I'm good to go. What a pain in the ass.
But, hey... having a 988 number to help people who are struggling is good. So yay!
SECOND OF ALL if you got T-Mobile then you should know that you get a FREE year of AppleTV+... and can watch all episodes of Ted Lasso at no charge!
The instructions were kinda confusing, but ultimately I just went to https://promotions.t-mobile.com to submit this code:
2021APPLETVP1... then when you redeem it, AppleTV will open and you'll be asked if you want to redeem the code. When you accept you'll be told that the offer was accepted (I also got a new window which said that "This offer was already applied" but the confirmation was there underneath)...
Apple makes it rough to figure out what in the hell is going on with your billing and offers and stuff but, fortunately, I got an email which verified my free year of free AppleTV+...
The nice thing is that, unlike the free Netflix offer, T-Mobile is giving this to everybody and not just people with two or more lines on their account.
I can only guess that this is an "Oops! Our bad!" apology for their massive data leak that may have compromised everybody's private data. And it's nice and all... but what they should do is give everybody free credit fraud monitoring for ten years. Of course, I got free credit fraud monitoring from another settlement, and never got it. These huge companies own our politicians, so there are zero consequences for their neglegence. And less than zero consequences for ignoring a court settlement.
I don't know why all big companies who hold sensitive customer data don't have to pay into a pool of credit fraud monitoring for every American citizen. That way, when their inevitable data leak happens, it's already dealt with instead of being lost in the courts and shitting on the people who trust them with their data. It's gotten to the point where credit fraud monitoring should just be something that everybody living in the "wealthiest country in the world" should get by default.
But, hey... free Ted Lasso, I guess. So yay?
AND THIRD OF ALL not a great day for Samsung. Another one of their phones exploded... this time on an Alaska Airlines flight from New Orleans to Seattle (a route I have flown more than a few times). Upon landing the phone had to be put in a battery flame bag and extinguished after it caught fire. And so... if you're a Galaxy A21 owner... might want to keep tabs on what Samsung is going to do about this. Hopefully it happened because the phone was damaged or something. If not? Well, maybe you'll get free AppleTV+ too!
Because, hey... free Ted Lasso, I guess. So yay?
Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2021
Before I get to my latest frustrations with Apple...
One of my favorite movie franchises is Kingsman. It's James Bond films for a new age and the first one was sublimely good. Smart, funny, thrilling... it had it all. The second movie faltered quite a lot, but was still good entertainment. Now there's a prequel called The King's Man which, despite the shitty kerning on the title logo, looks very good indeed. And now a trailer has landed...
I talked about the logo here... but this is what's so horrific to design-minded people...
Apple has built a business around making computers easier and more seamless to use than other computer manufacturers. "It just works" is the mantra that they bash you over the head with over and over again. And that's a pretty compelling reason to get a Mac, and a very cool perk which comes from owning one.
Until it isn't.
That's when it makes you want to hop a flight to Cupertino and start throat-punching people.
My photo cataloging software is Adobe Lightroom. The full-resolution original photos themselves are stored on my NAS file server, but Lightroom keeps a catalog of thumbnails on your local drive to speed things up. It's a pretty great system which allows me to have terabytes of photos... but only have to keep around 100MB on my local hard drive.
Last night I decided to install Lightroom on Lemon (my new iMac). I was originally just going to AirDrop my catalog files from my MacBook Pro to Lemon. But since the MacBook Pro doesn't have WiFi 6, it was going to take nearly an hour to copy. No thanks. Instead I grabbed the USB-C power cable off my MacBook Pro charger and thought I'd just put the laptop into "Target Disk Mode" which turns it into a big hard drive.
Not really. I fired up the MacBook Pro in "Target Disk Mode" and it wouldn't mount. For whatever reason, Lemon couldn't see it.
What the hell?
A quick Google search reveals that Macs can, in fact, do "Target Disk Mode" over USB-C... but only if you use a special designated Firewire cable.
And the cable Apple includes with their pricey charging brick... isn't.
This meant I had to dig through a big box of cables until I found a USB-C that was Firewire compatible. Which is tough because manufacturers other than Apple don't seem to mark their cables with a little thunderbolt logo. Eventually I found one in an old hard drive box that had a Firewire logo on the tag that tied it together. I plugged it into my MacBook Pro in "Target Disk Mode" and the hard drive came up.
It took several moments. It started working just as I was going to unplug the thing.
So surely it should be easy now, right?
Using the MacOS Finder to copy the Lightroom catalog files took frickin' forever because it was stuck on "Preparing to Copy"...
Time to install ChronoSync to see if my backup software would go any faster.
The answer is yes and no.
Yes it was faster to initiate the copy... but the copy itself? It never went over 70MB/second. Even though the Firewire 3 port on my MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt 4 port on Lemon can (theoretically) transfer 40GB/second. Yes, you read that right... I'm getting less than 70 MEGAbytes a second when I should be getting 40 GIGAbytes a second.
I mean, yeah it was faster over cable... 20 minutes instead of an hour via WiFi... but still, this is really shitty. Factoring in the 30 minutes it took for me to get "Target Disk Mode" working, and I ended up saving a whopping 10 minutes over just AirDropping the stupid thing over WiFi.
So... uh huh... somebody at 1 Infinite Loop needs a throat punch. Bad.
I'm not ruling out that it was the cable that was the limiting factor, but a hardwire transfer of any kind that can only sustain 70MB/second transfer is pathetic and embarrassing.
But oh well. Despite the monumental waste of time, Adobe Lightroom is functioning flawlessly... and it positively flies on the M1 chip in my iMac thanks to Adobe investing the time to make it run natively on the hardware. It really is astounding to contrast and compare using the software on my MacBook Pro vs. my decidedly non-Pro, consumer-model iMac.
There's good news though. It only took Lemon 6 minutes to backup the new data to the attached Time Machine Thunderbolt 3 SSD backup drive. Much more inline with my expectations of how long it should have taken to get the data to be transferred to Lemon in the first place.
Posted on Saturday, August 28th, 2021
As I was sitting down to write this, Jenny just casually trapped a fly and ate it. And I'm like... WHY?!? YOU JUST HAD DINNER! Jenny may be fuzzy, adorable, and sweet. But she's also a fly-murdering psychopath who loves to kill. =sigh= I hope I'm not cleaning up fly-crusted vomit later tonight.
Yesterday I brought my work hard drive array home so I don't have to go into the office over the weekend. This resulted in Jake laying on the stairwell banister watching me work....
THEN after I start singing along with my music to him, this is what happens...
=sigh= Is my singing really THAT BAD? Apparently.
He can't even fake being interested in the guy who feeds him and gives him a home to sleep in!
Posted on Sunday, August 29th, 2021
So much good entertainment news this week, but I'm keeping my expectations in check... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Old Guard! My favorite movie of 2020, by a large margin, is getting a sequel! Starring Charlize Theron and based on the comic book of the same name, I literally can't say enough good things about it...
Apparently everybody's coming back, though a major shift at the end of the movie adaptation have me wondering if the follow-up movie will attempt to adapt the story of the follow-up comic book, Force Multiplied.
• Atomic Blonde! And speaking of Charlize Theron... her other amazing film, Atomic Blonde, is not getting just one sequel... it's apparently getting two!
This is phenomenal news, because the first movie was a spy thriller unlike anything I had seen before. I only hope that whomever picked the songs for the soundtrack comes back to select them for the sequels, because that just made an incredible film even better.
• Dark! And I'm not done with awesome entertainment news! Yet another amazing movie has a television series sequel in development... Dark City! But it gets better! Original director Alex Proyas is going to be working on it!
I remember the original film very well. A friend and I had made a trip to Seattle and had some time to kill. There was a theater near our hotel so we decided to see a movie. Nothing looked interesting to us, but we eventually settled on Dark City because it at least was supposed to be science fiction, which we both liked. Nothing could have prepared us for what we were going to see. It was an absolutely fascinating story and had some of the most stunning visuals of any film I had seen up to that point. Visuals, I might add, we've seen copied in any number of films (there were times watching Doctor Strange that I couldn't get Dark City out of my head). No word as to whether any of the original characters will be returning, but
• Happy Little Trees! I finally got to the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix. I was most pleased that they acknowledged that The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross was preceded by The Magic of Oil Painting with Bill Alexander. They were essentially the same program using the same technique... except Bob Ross was ASMR personified. I remember when I was a kid how upset I was that Bill Alexander was replaced with the new guy, but ultimately fell in love with Bob Ross just like everybody else did. I am fairly certain that I saw every single episode of both series, and was a huge, huge fan...
From PBS. But, just in case... © ® ™ Bob Ross Inc. so I don't get sued.
The documentary was quite good, but I didn’t learn anything new from it. I was well aware of the battle between Bob Ross and The Kowalskis, and was hoping that we would finally get their side of the story. But nope! They opted out and provided a weak-ass statement, which only makes me believe that they are awful people who didn’t honor the wishes of Bob Ross and tried to cheat everybody out of ownership of what they were left after Bob Ross died (not to mention the awful things they did to steal from other artists). Such a shame. With all those millions of dollars there was plenty of money to go around while still honoring Bob Ross’s final wishes. UPDATE: Bob Ross Inc. Responds to Netflix Doc.
• Eeelie! DAFUQ?!? CAN SOMEBODY CONFIRM THIS?!?
It's like... I don't even know how to respond after watching this.
• Sheep! "A sheep farmer stuck in lockdown in New South Wales who was unable to attend his aunt’s funeral has honoured her memory with the ultimate tribute: a love heart made from sheep."
The innovation of people to escape the confines of the horrors of this never-ending pandemic provides hope amongst the ignorance and selfishness that plagues us.
• Value! "Spread the word. This has to stop." — People really are the worst...
And just as a sample of what this guy has to deal with...
Jesus, humanity. Do fucking better.
Any more attempt at bullets and I'd be shooting blanks. So until next week...
Posted on Monday, August 30th, 2021
My blog is dead.
It was hugged to death by a Reddit post talking about Lake Powell's water level being so low that junk which is usually underwater is now fully exposed. Like a boat that sank. A comment on the Reddit post had a link to a Blogography post where I had a photo of the same boat 15 years ago...
And since I pay for the cheapest web hosting available, I don't have the bandwidth available to deal with such a massive amount traffic. Which means my blog just kind of shut down under the pressure of it all. Somebody had to post a link to the page cache on the Internet Wayback Machine.
In an attempt to (maybe?) head off such a thing in the future, I installed a plugin called "Simply Static" which is supposed to help by generating static pages so WordPress doesn't have to generate it every time it's requested. Not sure how it works since WordPress still gets the request and has to reroute it to the correct page via the plugin, but I guess it's worth a shot.
Heaven only knows that a resource as critical as Blogography should stay running at all costs.
On the bright side, getting the "Reddit Hug of Death" did get me an opportunity to upload a higher resolution shot that looks much better, so I guess there's that.
UPDATE: I couldn't get my Simply Static site to work properly, so I ended up reinstalling WP Super Cache. Maybe it will work this time around? I had to remove it a couple years ago because videos wouldn't play. Maybe that's been fixed.
Posted on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021
Ed Asner passed away.
Best known for playing Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the more serious spin-off Lou Grant, Mr. Asner was a versatile actor who popped up in a lot of places. But regardless of where he ended up, he was a perfect fit.
Take, for example, his voice role as the villainous Granny Goodness in Justice League Unlimited. It was always a fun time to guess all the guest actors that popped up in the animated DC shows back in the day, but I never managed to figure out who Granny was. So I looked it up. And there was Ed Asner!
But there is one role that will always be my Ed Asner favorite. Surprisingly, it's not playing Santa in Elf (though he was sublime in that). Nor was it as Wilson White in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (though he was brilliant in that) Nope... it's Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar film Up...
A massive testament to flawless voice casting, Ed Asner's heartwarming performance as his animated character was everything you could hope for...
Tonight I rewatched the film and was once again struck with how utterly magical it is. Every moment... from the most soul-crushing to the most uplifting... was meticulously crafted and brought to life by Ed Asner's incredible talent.
Lucky for us all, Ed Asner returned to Carl Fredrickson once again in a series of Dug Days shorts for Disney+ which debut... tomorrow!
I can't wait. Rest in Peace, Mr. Asner.