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Caturday 241

Posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Dave!Tonight while I was waiting for my dinner to get out of the oven, I glanced into the kitchen after I heard Jake and Jenny romping around in that direction. To my horror, I saw Jake on top of the kitchen counter. This is exceedingly rare. The only thing I will (gently) yell at my cats for is to get off the counters. After a couple years, they finally get the message, and just don't do it. I have a motion alert from my cameras that tells me when they've been up there so I know to sanitize and steam clean them... but it hasn't gone of in months. Probably even a year now.

So seeing Jake up there was pretty shocking.

And after I (gently) yelled at him to get down twice (I don't ever scream at my cats... just raising my voice a little is enough for them to get the message), I was disappointed that he was still up there.

So I walk into the kitchen to shoo him down and...

...it wasn't Jake. I left my backpack on the counter. Which is apparently Jake-shaped from a distance.

And now I felt bad, so I found him cowering in the guest bedroom and told him how sorry I was and gave him lots of pets so he would know that I wasn't mad at him. I was mad at me, apparently.

I ordered some things from Amazon that I couldn't get locally. It all came in a nice big box with a long string of packing pillows, so I was sure to set it out for the cats. They both love a nice-sized box filled with packing pillows. Jake just likes to stand around in there looking at everything. Jenny will jump in and smack all the pillows around and roll around like a maniac. It's adorable. The excitement usually wears off after a few days but, in the meanwhile, something new to do that's indoors where it's warm! They go out in the catio from time to time, but never for more than a few minutes now that the temperature gets below freezing.

Jake in the box while Jenny observes him.

Jake in the box while Jenny observes him.

A box. Best toy money can buy!

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Bullet Sunday 745

Posted on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Dave!2022 may be feeling even worse than 2021, but I'm still spitting out those bullets... because an all new 2021 RETROSPECTIVE Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Pizza! As anybody who's been reading Blogography for any amount of time knows, I've been searching for a decent frozen pizza for decades. And in 2021 I've finally found one. It's Red Baron Fully Loaded Five Cheese Pizza!

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pan Pizza Box

The sauce it great. The crust is amazing. The amount of cheese is a little excessive, but perfectly acceptable. Put it all together and it's the best frozen pizza I've ever had. With a caveat! As good as it tastes fresh out of the oven, it tastes horrible once it's gone cold. And reheating it in the microwave or oven does not bring it back. I've been sawing them in half and cooking only half and a time so I can eat the remainder at its best as well.

   
• Potato! As somebody who loves fries, I usually end up making them from scratch out of freshly-cut potatoes that I soak, pre-cook, freeze, then fry to get the best tasting ones I can get. But that's a horrible amount of work. So whenever I see a new frozen fries product, I give it a try. Usually I spray them with oil then put them in the rotisserie basket of my air fryer and they turn out okay. But in 2021 I discovered "McCains Quick Cook Fries." And they are a world different from anything else on the market...

A bag of MacCains Crinkle Cut Fries

The secret of the reason they cook "quick" with no flipping is that they are coated in oil. This is not a new trick. Ore-Ida did this years ago. But, for whatever reason, McCain's fries taste far better. Even though they do lie about the timing. Even when I preheat my oven, it takes closer to 20 minutes than the 13 minutes they advertise to get perfectly-cooked fries. Usually I don't bother to preheat. I just put them in and set the timer for 25 minutes. Bliss. Their crinkle-cut fries are so good that I'd rather have them that restaurant fries. Possibly even more than my own hand-cut fries! A half-bag is the perfect serving size for me and I anticipate eating a lot of these things in 2022.

   
• Sustained! I have been really trying to minimize waste more in 2021, recycling whatever I can and eliminating disposable plastics from my life. It's the least I can do, even though it's a ridiculously small dent in the amount of pollution produced (corporations are vastly more responsible than individuals, but convince people it's not their fault). One of the bigger steps I took was to stop buying Saran Wrap (plastic wrap). I used to go through a couple boxes every year, but the one I bought back in March will hopefully be my last. I've also greatly reduced the number of plastic bags I've been buying. My favorite replacement is "BioBag" products which decompose quite quickly in a landfill. They're expensive as hell though, so I've also brought "brown paper bag" sandwich bags for regular use...

They work great! But I also buy Reynolds wax paper bags for things that get sloppy (like the veggie burger with extra mayo I eat on my morning commute!). Or when I'm out of brown bags (like I am now). They have little stickers to keep them closed, which probably makes them bad for the environment, but they are fun to pack for lunch....

Wax paper doesn't biodegrade like raw paper (or BioBags), but it does biodegrade better than plastic. And uses more natural materials, so I'm chalking that up as a win (even though I'm trying to use them less and less since biodegradable bags are better). The best solution seems to be using glass containers with plastic lids which you can wash and reuse for years, so I've bought more Pyrex as well. Maybe one day they will come up with lids that aren't plastic but, in the meanwhile, they have lasted me over a decade so far, which is far less than if I were using plastic bags.

   
• Apples to Apples to Apples! This past year was a tough year for me financially because Apple ended up getting so much of my money. But boy was it money well-spent! My new iMac M1 is a (relatively) inexpensive Mac that flies through even my most demanding work. Despite it being on the low-end of the spectrum, it's the best desktop Mac I've ever owned. Then I traded in for the iPhone Pro Max 13, which is the best phone I've ever owned (and the heaviest). Then I traded in for the MacBook Pro M1 Max. Legit the best computer I've ever owned. And my favorite. Not even a contest...

It is ridiculously fast and powerful, has incredible battery life, and is an absolute joy to work with. THIS is the kind of "pro" computer Apple should have been making for the past decade instead of the form-over-function bullshit they were married to. The weird thing is that this MacBook is still really beautiful despite being constructed for function over form. Yet "curviness" was more important than power to Apple for a decade, so that was what we got. Blergh. Hopefully they won't slide back to old habits. The wild acclaim for this computer by pundits and customers alike should tell them they are finally on the right track.

   
• Travel-less! It has been genuinely strange going from dozens of trips each year to zero in 2020 and one in 2021. Unless some miracle cure arrives which eradicates COVID from the face of the earth, I'm expecting the same for 2022. Because right now I have no plans to go anywhere. But still, that one trip I did take during Delta but pre-Omicron reminded me of what "normal" is like. Even though I was masked most of the time...

Beautiful Maui Beach

So maybe after they announce a fourth booster I will make a trip just to remember what "normal" used to be like? If I do, it will probably be a trip to San Francisco because that's where my tattoo artist is, and I've been wanting new ink for years now. Fingers crossed.

   
• Kitty! Once again the thing that saved me in 2021 were my cats. Even at times when I was at my lowest and didn't care about myself, I always cared about them. In 2021 Jenny learned to manipulate me better than in previous years, coming up with an entire menu of meows and behaviors to get what she wants. Jake and I have conversations now. He meows (or tries to) and I meow back. Then we go back and forth for a while. I have no idea what I'm saying, but it must be interesting enough to him that he feels a need to respond!

   
• Betty! I'm still crushed. I've been avoiding social media and the news so I'm not seeing news about her death over and over. What a shitty end to a shitty year.

   
• Boosted! I've had people sneer at me for getting boosted, saying that the COVID vaccine obviously doesn't work if you need to get a booster... "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? GET BOOSTER SHOTS FOREVER??" And the answer is yes. Fuck yes. Because there are mountains of data showing that staying current with vaccinations vastly reduces incidents of serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MOUNTAINS OF DATA! So give me all the shots. This is no different than getting a flu shot every year. Except COVID mutates so fast and the vaccine is so new that we may end up getting two boosters a year instead of one. As the science gets better, the boosters will get better. Eventually we may even have the option for a combo flu/COVID booster, and I will take that shot. 1000% I will take it. I have faith in the science which has given us so much. There's a learning process which goes along with scientific research, and I am happy to be a part of it. I have cats to take care of, after all.

   
So... yeah. Not a lot else happened in 2021, so I guess that's it. Pizza, fries, sandwich bags, Apple stuff, one trip, cats, the passing of a legend, and COVID. Not a banner year, to be sure.

   

Hallmarkification

Posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Dave!I am way behind on my Hallmark Christmas movies. And will only get further behind because I've got so many work projects on my plate and now Hallmark has Winter movies starting to run.

I keep telling myself that maybe this is the year I finally give up on Hallmark since all the movies are essentially the same at this point. Something made hilariously clear by the many, many parody videos that have been released...


Oh well. It's something to listen to while I work, isn't it? Though at this rate I'll still be watching Christmas movies in July.

JUST IN TIME FOR HALLMARK CHANNEL'S CHRISTMAS IN JULY MARATHON! WOOO!

   

What’s a Matter You, Home Automation?

Posted on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Dave!This morning I screamed at a toaster. Well, not a toaster... the Amazon Alexa Echo Dot in my bathroom... but it's essentially like a smarter toaster, isn't it? Here's how it went before I hopped in the shower...

ME: Alexa play Overpass Graffiti by Ed Sheeran.

ALEXA: Playing Overpass Graffiti by Ed Sheeran on Living Room SONOS.

ME: Alexa, STOP! Why play it in the living room when I'm here in the bathroom with you? ALEXA! PLAY OVERPASS GRAFFITI ON THIS DEVICE!

ALEXA: Playing Overpass Graffiti by Ed Sheeran on Living Room SONOS.

ME: "ALEXA STOP!!! WHAT THE FUCK?!? ALEXA! PLAY OVERPASS GRAFFITI ON ECHO DOT!

ALEXA: I am reading The Autobiography of Martin Luthor King Junior. I have eleven hours and 20 minutes remaining...

ME: ALEXA, FUCKING STOP YOU INSANE ASSHOLE! WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?

You think I'm joking, but...

Alexa heard PLAY OVERPASS GRAFFITI ON ECHO DOT, but Alexa played The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.

My home is ridiculously automated. Lights turn on as the sun goes down. Every switch can be voice controlled via Alexa. The thermostat uses less heat when I'm not at home. Gutter heat tapes turn on when the temperature drops below freezing. The garage door opens when I round the corner on my street. And so-on. And so-on. If I can automate it, it's been automated.

But all is not perfect in my home automation paradise.

Few of my devices can "talk" to each other because I bought each device based on which was the best device... not whether it worked with other devices. For the most part this has been fine. I have Alexa, Google Hub, and Siri all running at the same time, so all I have to do is address my commands to whichever ecosystem I'm needing to control. It ain't perfect, but it works. And I hardly even realize I'm doing it.

The problem is that when something goes wrong it completely fucks everything up.

And things go wrong a lot.

Right now, for example, Alexa refuses to control my "Philips Hue" lighting (in addition to not wanting to play Ed Sheehan while I shower). Every time I ask, she comes back with "Hmmm... that light is not responding." And yet when I open the Alexa app and control it from there, it works perfectly fine. So what the fuck? Alexa can control it manually, but forgets how when I ask the damn thing? I have uninstalled and reinstalled the Alexa service a dozen times. I have reset the Hue Hub. I've deleted and reinstalled the app. I'm at my wits' end here.

So what do I do? Throw out my Hue lights? I don't own many of them so I guess it wouldn't be a big loss. It's just frustrating that the whole reason I bought them is to control them via Alexa and that's the one thing I can't do. I've tried getting it set up with Google Hub, but that's such a convoluted pile of shit that I've given up.* I've tried setting them up with Siri, but Apple's HomeShit... oops... I mean HomeKit doesn't seem to want to work with it.

And then along comes Matter.

"Matter" is a new allegiance between smart home device makers which will be a common platform to control all your home automation stuff. No more having to do crazy configuration crap, your gateways will just know how to work with Matter gear the minute you plug it in. And since Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are all in the Matter group, eventually if I buy a Hue light and install it, they're all be able to control it automatically from their gateways. No more having to remember which gateway to use.

Sounds great.

But there's an XCD cartoon which flawlessly depicts why we shouldn't get our hopes up...

The cartoon was attached to an article over at The Verge which discusses "Matter" and why it may not fail like everybody expects it to.

I am not holding my breath. But I am hopeful.

Having to manually turn on a light switch is so last decade.

*UPDATE: Finally got Google Hub working with my Hue Lights! No idea what went wrong the first time I tried it, but this time it linked to my Hue Hub no problem, and now I can use "Hey, Google" to control them. Assuming I remember to stop saying Alexa... to control them.

   

Piece of Shit Pontiff is Unsurprisingly a Piece of Shit

Posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Dave!HEADLINE: Pope Francis warns that choosing pets over children "diminishes us."

The hypocrisy here is blinding.

Clearly the Catholic Church's parishioner counts are falling so the Grand Pontiff is wanting people to have more kids so the next generation of churchgoers can support him at the collection plate in the lifestyle to which he's become accustomed.*

How about this, Francis... why don't YOU have kids? Or why don't you let priests and nuns get married and have kids to get your numbers up so you don't have to shame childless couples? Though, I have to admit, this idea fills me with absolute terror. Priests have been sexually abusing children forever, and it's doubtful that they would suddenly grow a conscience when it comes to their own kids.

So here's a better idea... how about you shut the fuck up and say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Clean up your own house before commenting on my house or anybody else's. Because the simple truth is that you and your church has been the one to "diminish all of humanity" for a very long time now. You have zero business telling ANYBODY how to live their lives.

Fuck you. Fuck your church. And fuck anybody else who buys into this horrific level of shaming of personal choices that people make for themselves.


Photo by Filippo Monteforte, AFP/Getty Images

That's Pope Francis... on his way to pardon a bunch of priests for molesting some kids, I'm guessing. Given the number of people who keep coming forward with claims, that must be a full-time job. I feel so terrible that he had to drag himself away from such important work to shame childless couples.

   
*And, yes, I am still quite bitter than NONE of the THREE CHURCHES I contacted to give my mom her "last rights" bothered to get back to me. Except the one whose first question was "Is she a member of our church?" and, after explaining that she didn't grow up in Mill Creek and her church was two hours away told me "We're very busy so we'll have to get back to you." Then didn't. Apparently since my mother didn't give the local church money, she can just fuck off with her dying. Which is why the entire Catholic Church can just fuck off and die for all I care. Humanity will be better off without it.

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It’s a Snow Day!

Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2022

Dave!So... it snowed a little bit last night.

Okay, it snowed a lot last night. I woke up and the first thing I see is snow from the roof piled up in my upstairs bedroom window. That's at least 30 inches or so...

Snow Piled Up in My Window!

Upstairs at the front of my condo I only have little windows because there's a lot of roof going up that wall. They were covered. Can't see them at all...

Snow Piled Up in My Little Window!

Turns out it was about three feet, 35 inches.

Jake and Jenny were not happy. Occasionally they would walk out to the catio and meow at the snow because it was blocking their view and they had to hop up on the perches to see out. And when they did that all they saw was snow, snow, and more snow, since it was still falling. My world was covered in white stuff...

Snow Piled Up in Front of my Catio!

It ultimately probably ended up being around 4 feet, though the weight of it kept pushing it down, so it was tough to get an accurate read. Regardless, it was a lot of snow.

Now, when I was a kid, this was normal. We kids would regularly tunnel under the snow from one yard to the next so we had "secret passages." We were pretty nuts about it... spraying water inside the tunnels before nightfall so it would freeze and strengthen the tunnels.

Now, when my mom was a kid, it was normal for her to have snow so deep that kids would climb up on the roof and jump off into it.

Which is to say that the snow levels where I live have been dropping for decades.

Which is also to say that while the city where I live used to be accustomed to dealing with massive amounts of snow, they aren't now.

Which is ultimately saying that I was trapped in my house all day. The city couldn't get to my minor street because they were trying to remove snow from the major streets. And since my street wasn't plowed, the guys who plow my driveway couldn't get to it to plow (not that it mattered).

Since I was stuck, I turned on the television and got to work. My cats joined me soon after...

Cats on the couch watching television with me!

Eventually I went upstairs to work on my desktop computer because my laptop didn't have room for all the stuff I needed to see. Jenny had fallen asleep, but Jake wandered up to watch me work. Which is apparently very boring to him...

Jake laying on the stairwell wall looking very, very bored!

And here we are.

Still stuck at home. Fortunately, I just got a shipment of cat food and treats, so I'm in good shape for them. I have plenty of food for myself, but it's scattershot. I tried to make sure that I used up what I had so it wouldn't spoil over Thanksgiving and Christmas so it's just a few things here and there. But I won't starve or anything.

I fully expect that the city will get to my street tomorrow so I can be plowed out and go to the office.

And if not?

I guess I'll bore my cats some more.

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Sneakers Over Mt. Simmer

Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2022

Dave!And lo did the city plow my street this morning! For which I am grateful, because I know they have been completely overwhelmed and have a lot of people complaining that their street hasn't been plowed. On my street, they plow just enough room for two cars to pass each other. The snow is essentially pushed to the side of the street. But on many streets, they don't have that option. They have to physically remove the snow and haul it away because there's no place for it to pile up on the sides. There's sidewalks and stuff to consider.

And now I have a 7-foot tall pile of snow in my front yard. Which is not unusual. Unless it's a warm winter, I often have a lot of snow piled there. Except it's usually over weeks of snowfall... not a single day! Once I saw that I could get out and drive into the office, Mt. Simmer was already crumbling. I got stuck and had to go forward and back to escape my driveway! But I did it...

A mountain of snow with my car backed out!

There's a lot of snow out there. Which is kinda pretty to look at...

Driving to work!

My joy at being able to excape from my house was tempered by the fact that Sindey Poitier died. Coming so quickly off the heels of Betty White dying, it was tough to take.

I've seen Sidney Poitier in many, many movies. Always great. It may be sacrilegious to say this given the importance of his many roles... but my absolute favorite performance by Mr. Poitier is in Sneakers. Yes, you read that right... Sneakers. I adore him as Crease in that movie. He was funny as hell... and brought a gravitas to the movie that even Robert Redford didn't have. Seriously one of my favorite movies ever made, and Sidney Poitier was a huge part of why...

And speaking of Sneakers... I haven't seen it in a year or two, so I'm going to get on that.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Poitier, sir.

   

Caturday 242

Posted on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Dave!This morning while I was working I decided to have New Carl vacuum the house. But first I had to pick up a few things, including the big cardboard box that my cats have been playing in this past week off-and-on. I set it on the sofa and almost immediately Jenny climbed up and jumped inside it. Then she wanted to see out... went towards the side that was on the edge of the couch and... well... there she went. It was hysterical. It started so slowly. She realized she was moving, her little ears laid back flat, her eyes opened wide, and you could see she was trying to process what was happening. Just before the box hit the floor, she hopped out... nearly landing on Jake who walked in to see what the ruckus was about. She was not happy.

My cats are growing more different from each other.

When I am on a Zoom call, Jenny comes walking up meowing and wants to be petted. Then she'll sit and stare at me until my call is over...

Jenny waits for me to get off my Zoom call.

Jake waits too... but from a safer distance...

Jake peeking out from the stairwell.

Jenny comes in after breakfast and wants to nap next to me, but she insists on belly rubs while she falls asleep...

Jenny getting belly rubs.

Jake just wants to curl up next to me and fall immediately asleep...

Jake curled up asleep.

In other cat news, Jenny spotted some birds outside and went running to the catio at top speed. They eventually flew off, and she laid there waiting for them to come back, which must have been cold with her belly on the frozen concrete...

Jenny looking up at the snow, waiting for birds to come back.

Eventually she gave up and came inside so she could thaw out on a warming pad.

And lastly, I leave you with this. Kinda reminds me of how Jenny used to plop down and watch TV with me... completely absorbed by what was happening on the screen...

@gleamon17 Sir David with Dad x #fyp #cats #catsoftiktok #cat #bengal #davidattenborough #fypage #savethetigers ♬ original sound - Grace

Jake has never really been into television. No idea why.

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Bullet Sunday 746

Posted on Sunday, January 9th, 2022

Dave!I'm still buried in snow, but Blogography will carry on... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Return! Okay... we already have a contender for Most Remarkable Story of 2022: Abducted son finds family by drawing map of village he last saw aged four. His hand-drawn map is remarkable considering is was made from memories of 30 years ago. And then there's another layer of remarkable coming from the fact that people were able to help him find his original village by looking at his map and remarkable because he was reunited with his mother...

Jenny waits for me to get off my Zoom call.

"Abducted in 1989, Li was sold to a family in Lankao, more than 1,100 miles away. Child abductions are common in China and Li was probably taken because the family wanted a boy."

   
• Aliens! A big surprise last television season was Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien. They really went for the jugular with the concept, which is based on a comic book series I liked. Now season two is imminent...

Looking forward to it, Dr. Vanderspeigle!

   
• Lara! I passed on the Tomb Raider reboot because it didn't get a terribly good reaction. But it was on sale a while back, so I bought it. Finally got around to watching it and I really liked the film! Some of the reviews I read said that the actor playing Lara was wooden and boring. And I'm like... did we watch the same movie? I thought she was excellent. Though... Angelina Jolie has this wry delivery with a hint of amusement that worked so well in her two Tomb Raider films. I just wish she had better stories to work with.

Tomb Raider Poster.

I hope that the sequel manages to get made! (UPDATE: Apparently it's in active development, COVID-willing, and will be titled Tomb Raider: Obsidian! Nice!

   
• Free Ride! Okay, this is pretty great...

My favorite part of visiting Costa Rica (after the natural beauty of the country) was the sloth sanctuary that we got to visit. They are such remarkable creatures.

   
• Hole of the Tiger! ZOMG! Lego made the Year of the Tiger piece anatomically correct! Kinda. Still a few things missing, but... nice! (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@hollyonfilm This LEGO Tiger is the best thing that will happen in 2022 don’t @ me #lego #yearofthetiger #legotiktok #newyear ♬ original sound - holly

And, yes, Survivor's Eye of the Tiger is playing through my head right now.

   
• Paid! Yesterday I needed to make bread because my sourdough starter hadn't been used in almost two weeks. But I forgot that I had used the last of my yeast last time. And while I could make sourdough bread without it, I didn't want this to be an all-day affair. Then something weird happens. I didn't think "I better make sure that I grab my wallet so I can pay"... instead I think "I better make sure that I grab my iPhone so I can pay with Apple Watch." And since Washington State hasn't done a damn thing to start implementing digital driver's licenses, THEN I think "I better make sure that I grab my wallet in case I get pulled over." I truly long for the day that I don't have to carry a wallet at all. But I'll probably have to move to a more forward-thinking state than mine so that's actually possible. Because knowing how utterly incompetent Washington State legislators are at moving anything forward except higher taxes... digital driver's licenses ain't happening here any time soon.

   
• COVID? Last Friday I was going to take a third COVID test just to make sure I wasn't carrying 'rona to Christmas (my previous two were negative)... but then I woke up that morning and smelled the horrendous dump that Jake took and figured I'm probably good. Though the smell was so bad that I'm guessing it could break through even COVID loss of smell! If anybody else wants tests, I've been ordering directly from iHealth Labs... which has a CDC-recommended antigen test available. They are running behind on orders right now (not surprising) but they do eventually come. Omicron may be "less bad" than Delta (except for young kids, apparently), but it is still causing hospitals to fill up (even in my local hospital, they're recording a rise in admissions), so it's nice to know if you should isolate. Fortunately data suggests that the vaxed adult population has been able to avoid hospitalization (for the most part) even though the current vaccine wasn't designed for it. Really, really hope that they offer up an Omicron Booster soon. That will better prepare our bodily defenses against what gets mutated into next (Lord help us).

   
And that's all the bullets I can muster this fine Sunday.

   

Glued to the Pavement

Posted on Monday, January 10th, 2022

Dave!I remember a hidden camera reality show from years back where they glued a quarter to the sidewalk and waited for people try and pick it up. This is an old gag. My grandfather once showed me a nickel that had a nail soldered to it where you'd hammer it into a floor or something. Then along comes somebody who sees the coin and... ha ha ha... they can't pick it up.

But back to the quarter glued to the sidewalk.

Person after person would try to grab it to no avail. They'd pick at it... they'd kick it... they'd get frustrated and walk away.

What the people running the show didn't count on was a guy walking by with a tool belt. After he couldn't pick up the quarter he whipped out a screwdriver and popped the sucker right off. He won a game that he didn't even know he was playing. And got a bigger laugh than the people who gave up.

My life has very much felt like it's a quarter glued to the sidewalk lately, and I have no screwdriver.

And by "screwdriver," I actually mean "ten million dollars."

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This Vicious Reality

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Dave!I wonder if people like Candace Owens who makes money by selling lies and propaganda to people give a shit that they are literally killing people by spreading misinformation.

Obviously they do not. Because if they start telling the truth, their legions of followers will abandon them for another mouthpiece to fit their narrative and the money would stop pouring in. And it's all about the money at this point. There are mountains of data about the pandemic. We've been living with this shit for two years and few things have been studied more thoroughly than COVID. Yes, it's still relatively new and is mutating constantly, but the fact that it's everywhere means that there is an overwhelming amount to real-world cases to study.

Which is why the anti-vax contingent has had to resort to lies and misinformation.

It's all they have (here's a link for the video if TikTok is being a dick)...

@drsiyabmd No, the CDC did not admit what you think it admitted 🤦‍♂️ #covid19 #covidvaccine #cdc #teamhalo ♬ original sound - Dr. Siyab, MD

I had more than a few people tell me that the vaccine would kill me after I got my first dose. I was called "stupid" after my second dose, because I was "a puppet of the liberal agenda." Which makes no sense, because if your agenda is to kill all the people who follow your agenda, YOU WON'T HAVE ANY PEOPLE LEFT TO FOLLOW YOUR AGENDA! (which makes Candace Owens even more of a puzzle to me... eventually President Trump climbed onboard the vaccination train because his followers were disproportionately dying, so how many people have to die before she does the same?).

And yet here I am. Still alive. Vaxed, boosted and anxiously awaiting the next booster so I will be better protected against Omicron and whatever the hell the 'rona mutates into next.

I thought for certain that after the vaccines had been available for a year people would see that they offer good protection from, you know, dying from COVID and stuff, because there would be data out there to support this (not to mention all the vaccinated people still being alive). But the data doesn't have a fair shot at reaching the people who most need to hear it.

All their getting is Candace Owens, et al.

Which I guess means that people who believe in science will keep fighting to live by wearing masks and getting vaccinated... and those who do not believe in science will eventually see through the lies and choose to live... or end up dead.

Let's go Darwin, I guess.

I take no joy in saying that, believe me... there are people I care about deeply who are in the anti-vax camp... but at some point I'd like life to return to some semblance of normalcy. How else is it going to happen?

UPDATE: Candace Owens is now suggesting that Bob Saget died because he got vaccinated. Apparently the piles of bodies dead from COVID are anecdotal or an outright lie by "Big Pharma," but a single death by a famous person is probably vaccine-related. So, yeah, we're never getting out of this pandemic, are we?

   

Eternally…

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Dave!Since many people aren't making it to theaters to see movies, I've been waiting for them to appear on home video before delving into my spoiler-laden thoughts. Not that I'm worried about spoilers, mind you, since I always hide things in an extended entry and give plenty of warning... but because it doesn't make sense to talk about something that many people haven't seen yet.

Today Eternals was released on Disney+ (though I bought it from iTunes anyway because I really want to support the movies I love), and so here we are...

The Eternals movie poster.

And... spoilers ahead in an extended entry. You've been warned.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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Peace to Die For

Posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Dave!Despite having some of my favorite comic book characters, DC Comics totally shit the bed with their cinematic blunders. With the exception of Wonder Woman, I haven't really liked anything since Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy wrapped up. And before that only three movies were really worth anything (Superman, Superman II, and Batman). Everything else was pretty much shit.*

Until James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. It was big, bold, bloody, funny entertainment... that was pretty faithful to the idea of the comics. I enjoyed it quite a lot. James Gunn had once again taken a D-list super-group and turned them into something fun (just like he did with Guardians of the Galaxy before this).

But James Gunn wasn't finished.

As he was making The Suicide Squad, he saw potential in one of the more outlandish characters... Peacemaker. A man who wants peace so bad he's willing to fight and kill for it. And so he developed a television series for HBO Max featuring John Cena and some of the other cast from his movie.

The result is just insane. But incredibly funny and entertaining. I mean, just take a look at the opening credits...

And even that doesn't really prepare you for how off-the-wall bonkers the show is. I love it. It's deeper than you'd expect it would be. And from the first three episodes that got released, Gunn hasn't just done the Peacemaker justice... he really pulled out all the stops to make The Vigilante interesting as well. In the comics he's deadly serious with a tragic backstory. In this interpretation, he's just plain nuts.

If you have HBO Max, Peacemaker is worth a look. If you don't, it may be worth getting it for a month once all the episodes have been released. Just be warned that it's definitely Rated-R entertainment.

I hope it goes on for more than a single season.

   
*And I am not exaggerating. All too many of the DC movies have, in fact, been shitty. Or worse...

1966 — Batman: Campy fun, but shitty.
1978 — Superman: The dawn of modern super-hero movies.
1980 — Superman II: Fantastic super-hero escapism, despite being butchered.
1980 — Superman II (Richard Donner Cut): Mind-blowing followup to the original.
1982 — Swamp Thing: Bad.
1983 — Superman III: Horrible.
1984 — Supergirl: Horrible.
1987 — Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Utter shit.
1989 — The Return of Swamp Thing: Bad.
1989 — Batman: Imaginative "Tim Burton" take on the character.
1992 — Batman Returns: Best Catwoman ever in a campy, bad script.
1995 — Batman Forever: Shitty.
1997 — Batman & Robin: More shitty.
1997 — Steel: Shitty.
2004 — Catwoman: Shitty.
2005 — Constantine: Decent, but not the Constantine from the comics.
2005 — Batman Begins: Terrific reboot and a faithful take.
2006 — Superman Returns: Sad rehash of the first Superman movie.
2008 — The Dark Knight: One of the best super-hero movies ever made.
2009 — Watchmen: Acceptable interpretation, but deviated too much from the book.
2010 — Jonah Hex: Shitty.
2011 — Green Lantern: Shitty.
2012 — The Dark Knight Rises: A good finale to the Nolan trilogy.
2013 — Man of Steel: Utter shit.
2016 — Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Beyond shitty.
2016 — Suicide Squad: Meandering mess.
2017 — Wonder Woman: Fantastic, but deviated from the mythology too much.
2017 — Justice League: Utter shit.
2018 — Aquaman: Acceptable, but not great.
2019 — Shazam!: Horrifically shitty.
2019 — Joker: Bad.
2020 — Birds of Prey: Acceptable, but not great.
2020 — Wonder Woman '84: Grotesquely shitty... one of the worst movies ever made.
2021 — The Suicide Squad: A fun-filled bloody adaptation that totally worked.

   

Migraine in Time for the Weekend

Posted on Friday, January 14th, 2022

Dave!I woke up last night shortly after 2:00am with a blinding headache. By the time it was time to get ready for work, a full-blown migraine had developed. Just standing up to take a shower was a struggle. So I called in sick, took a nap, then got up to drive into the office late. But my eyesight had gone all tunnel-vision and blurry, so I couldn't get there. Instead I Zoomed in from home, managed to keep a pill down, then went back to bed.

It's now 10:00pm. I still have a headache, but at least I'm able to keep food down and sit upright. And write a blog post, apparently. What a crappy segue into my weekend.

I haven't had a migraine this bad in over a decade. No idea why I was so afflicted now.

Just unlucky, I guess.

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Caturday 243

Posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Dave!Even though Jake and Jenny can't really go anywhere outside the house except the catio, they are still seem restless and feeling trapped because out every window is nothing but snow. Every once in a while they will go out and meow at it just because... but, for their sakes, I'm anxious for Spring to arrive.

And for my sake.

With each passing day, it seems as though my cats are looking more and more like they want to eat me...

Jake staring at me from the end of the bed.

Jenny staring at me from the end of the couch.

It's The Shining all over again.

And now I leave you with... KITTENS! (here's a link if TikTok is being a dick)...

@honeycutepet All mine🐱😃#foryou #catlover #catsoftiktok #funny #lmao #cute #fypシ ♬ original sound - CUTE.PET🤩

Times like this I feel like I need another cat.

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Bullet Sunday 747

Posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2022

Dave!New year, new surge in the pandemic. But some things never change... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Tokyo! I love major cities. They have a life to them... an excitement... that you can't find in rural areas (which I also like). One of the most fascinating cities to me is Tokyo, Japan. I've been six or seven times, and every time I feel very much at home. One of the best parts of Tokyo is the public transportation system. It's phenomenal... and very hard to explain because you have to experience it to understand it. This video gives it a try...

But the best way to experience Tokyo without visiting Tokyo? Watch the movie Lost in Translation. It always takes me back. I sure would like to visit again one day.

   
• Emoji! This website shows the relative scale of a bunch of emojis. It's pretty clever. If you visit, you have to scroll down for the show to start.

   
• W_RDLE! I've been playing Wordle for a few weeks. So far I've never lost, but I've yet to win in under four guesses either. I don't know if that makes me a success or failure at the game, but it's pretty much an essential morning activity while I wait for the cats' breakfast alarm to go off.

   
• Inexplicable Success! LOL. Robert Langdon would suck at Wordle. I’m happy that people are piling on The Da Vinci Code now. It pulled from far better books with a mediocre story that was inexplicably weird and dull at the same time...

I had hoped that the movie adaptation would elevate the material given that Tom Hanks was involved, but it just sunk the material further for me.

   
• Gemstone! One of the bigger surprises to come out of 2019's televisionscape was The Righteous Gemstones. It was a fascinating and hilarious look at a televangelist family with secrets threatening to tear them down. And now Season 02 has arrived with more temptation for HBO viewers...

The Righteous Gemstones Season 2 Poster

So far it's not really taking off like the first season, but I'm hopeful it's building to something. More than a few shows can't manage to recapture what made them great out of the gate.

   
• Hookup! Don't you hate it when a once good television show just keeps collapsing into a black hole of awfulness? The first season of Plan Couer (AKA The Hook Up Plan on Netflix) was great. Second season was not so great. Now the third season is absolutely horrific. Everybody has gone stupid. Elsa and her dumbass environmentalism crap that borders on insanity. Charlotte and her idiotic ignorance when it comes to money and... like... THE WORLD. Emilie and her rambling non-stop crazy. And I don't get it. WHAT HAPPENED?!? The people writing it thought "You know what? Smart romantic comedy is dead. Let's just throw everything that made the show good out the window and focus on nothing but shit, shit, and more stupid shit!" — So disappointing that this is how they're going out. I still like Maxime though. Oh well. It's the last season, so at least we won't be suffering even more in a fourth season.

   
And that's the end of bullets for me this Sunday.

   

100

Posted on Monday, January 17th, 2022

Dave!Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day... and Newsweek has posted a wonderful collection of his greatest speeches here. His most famous... and arguably his most beautiful is, of course, I Have a Dream, which I have listened to many, many times. Last year I ran across this interesting article about it, but forgot to post it.

Today would have been Betty White's 100th birthday. The only celebrity I have ever truly loved...

Me with an autographed photo of Betty White.

On previous Betty White birthdays I've donated cat food from their wishlist to the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. This time I'm giving cash because it's been a weird couple years and I want them to use the money however they need to. I cannot imagine how many animals have had to be surrendered due to the pandemic. If you can donate whatever you can spare to your local shelter in honor of Betty, I know she would have loved you for it. Every little bit helps.

It's also First Lady Michelle Obama's birthday today...

Me with an autographed photo of Betty White.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

This must be like having your birthday fall on Christmas. Can't be easy to have a birthday which falls on the same birthday as one absolute legend... and a federal holiday celebrating another absolute legend.

   

Forever Live and Die

Posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022
While I was in the comments last night somebody said "I wish people didn't have to die." To which I said "Well, you wish that people you care about didn't have to die." She was confused "Yeah, that's what I said."

Except... not really.

If PEOPLE didn't have to die, the earth would become a hellscape that's overflowing with humans who can't find anything to eat. Or a place to live. Or much of anything, really. Ain't nobody wants that. What they want is for themselves and people they care about to not die why the rest of the world keeps succumbing to their mortality. That's more than a subtle difference.

But I let it drop because the last thing I want to do on a Wednesday night is get into a comment war.

It did get me to thinking about vampires though.

Vampires are actually really cool as a concept since there's a terrible price to pay for being able to live for an eternity. Namely, sucking the blood out of humans in order to survive (though apparently some good vampires are able to drink animal blood to survive. Kinda takes the edge off of immortality. Personally, I don't want to live forever. The world is so messed up that there will come a time I'm happy to make my exit when my body falls to shit.

Which feels like it might be any minute now, alas.

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Shoot for the Moon

Posted on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Dave!The only two heroes in Marvel Comics that I was invested in was Doctor Strange and Black Panther because DC Comics had nothing like them. As time went on and DC kept making bizarre creative choices, I slowly migrated some of my reading to Marvel, which had some very interesting things going on.

Enter Moon Knight.

The first I remember seeing him was in some reprint comic of a Spider-Man story (most likely Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #22). Or maybe it wasn't a reprint? I dunno. In any event, I bought the comic specifically because it had a very cool cover with Moon Knight on it. But I didn't become a true fan of the character until a series of backup stories by Bill Sienkiewicz. At the time I was a major fan of his art, and would buy absolutely anything he did. This series essentially turned Moon Knight into Batman (my favorite DC Comics super-hero), and I was definitely here for it.

The success of these stories led directly to Moon Knight getting his own title in 1980...

Moon Knight No. 1 Cover.

They attempted to differentiate Marc Spector and Moon Knight from Bruce Wayne and Batman by giving him multiple identities. It wasn't much of a change because Bruce Wayne adopted all kinds of identities over the years.

But then it happened.

Moon Knight was canceled and revived in a mini-series called Fist of Khonshu in 1985 (Khonshu being the Egyptian moon god that gave Marc his powers). Now Marc Spector didn't just adopt multiple identities, he literally had dissociative iodentity disorder (AKA "Multiple Personalities"). His power also grew or waned with the phases of the moon and were steeped in Khonshu mythology). With this one series, Marc Spector finally became more than "Marvel Comics Batman"... even if the way some of the material was handled ended up being a bit cringe by modern standards.

Eventually I kinda lost track of Moon Knight. He would pop up in team books I'd buy, but they last I remember buying a Moon Knight book was in the late 90's when yet another mini-series was getting some traction.

Fast-forward to today, and we're getting an Oscar Isaac Moon Knight TV series that looks to be leaning heavily into the dissociative identity disorder angle from the comics...

But boy is that "English accent" a show-stopper! Somebody on the internet compared it to Dick VanDyke's hilarious accent in Mary Poppins and now that's all I can hear!

Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in Marry Poppins.

I do very much like the way that his costume appears and wraps him like a mummy. Very apropriate, and something I don't recall seeing in the comics. But the moon symbol on the hood is weird and unnecessary given that it's huge on his chest. These kind of odd and distracting details are usually avoided by Marvel Studios (and embraced by the shittier DC Comics movies), so this is puzzling to me.

All I can say is that I am really, really looking forward to this series. It looks like a much more violent and unique take on the super-hero genre for Marvel Studios, which is probably why they moved forward with it. They try to make all the characters unique, which is quite a challenge given that they're all super-heroes from comic books. And, if nothing else, getting Oscar Issac to play Marc Spector is an interesting and talented choice.

So long as that "English accent" is used sparingly.

Really, really sparingly.

   

Blatant Unaffordability

Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2022

Dave!I wish I could afford to save money.

Allow me to explain... but first... I know that I just published this Pratchett quote in March of last year, but I can think of no better way to illustrate what I'm talking about than this...

The Captain Samuel Vimes theory of socioeconomic unfairness...
"Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet." — Terry Pratchett, from his Discworld novels.

This is hugely relevant to me right now.

Take for example my refrigerator and stove. I purchased the best that I could afford when I moved into my home six years ago. Which is not the best available, but not the worst either. I'd say my appliances were in the bottom end of the middle. But even so, they were still very expensive to me.

But not expensive enough, apparently.

My refrigerator has been a pile of shit since I got it. The thing was noisy as hell after the installers plugged it in, and after waiting for three months for Samsung to get me a repair person, they showed up, did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, said that the noise is "normal," and then left... all within 15 minutes. And it's like, there's no fucking way that the noise is normal. So I pulled out the refrigerator, found some metal plates that were vibrating against each other, pushed them apart, and the "normal noise" vanished. But two or three times a year I have to pull it out and move the plates again.

Samsung doesn't give a fuck.

I know because that's what they said when I called to complain (not an exact quote).

And now the stupid thing is falling apart. Plastic pieces are all brittle and snapping off. Drawers are losing their smooth glide. After only six years.

Same for my stove. The thing is nearly impossible to clean, and the one time I used oven cleaner it totally trashed the finish of the interior. And when I called to complain? "You should have used the steam clean feature." Well, I DID use the "steam clean feature" and found it to be useless. It didn't clean shit. And now it's starting to heat weirdly, which can make cooking difficult.

The writing is on the wall. I will likely have to replace one or both of these things before they are ten years old.

MEANWHILE THE OLD SPEED QUEEN WASHING MACHINE THAT I KEPT FROM THE PREVIOUS OWNER IS OVER 22 YEARS OLD AND STILL WORKING FLAWLESSLY.

Thank God I didn't have the money to toss it and buy a new one like I wanted. Apparently Speed Queen washers are not what they used to be... but still. Is it really too much to ask that your major appliance purchases aren't a pile of shit from the start and that they can actually last more than a decade?

Had I been able to afford double the price for better quality, it would have likely lasted 25 or 30 years, meaning that they would ultimately be cheaper in the long run since I will have to buy two or three new appliances of lesser quality in the same amount of time.

And don't get me started about clothes. I have shirts that are still perfectly wearable even though they are well over 20 years old. But shirts I just bought last summer? Already wearing through in the elbows. Two shirts got thrown in the trash this morning... one is under six months old... the other managed to hang on for just over a year.

It's categorically absurd.

But what else can I do? I will try to save up the money to get better quality when the appliances finally die... but the odds of my being able to afford true quality... ASSUMING IT EVEN EXISTS ANY MORE... are likely slim since I could easily be blindsided by some other appliance failing in the meanwhile. Or my HVAC system. Or the garage door opener. Or the water heater. Or... Or... Or...

Yeah. More like slim to none.

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Below Freezing

Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2022

Dave!Last night I turned off the automation that turns my roof heat tape on when the temperature dips below freezing. It's been getting activated less and less, and today it rained all day which means my roof and gutters will be mostly clear of ice even if it does get cold enough to freeze for a while each night. That'll be a load off my heating bill.

But thank heavens for my being able to automate them, because back when I was turning them off and on manually I would forget and leave them on for days which drove my power bill sky-high... or forget to turn them on when they're needed which would result in the gutters getting packed with ice and backing up water onto my roof.

The reason I was finally forced into automating the heat tapes was back when I was preparing for my expedition to Antarctica. I wrote a program which would only activate them IF it had snowed more than an inch AND it dipped below freezing. It worked shockingly well for three winters, at which time the "weather module" for my home automation system was discontuned. So now I just connect to the weather station in my back yard and turn them on when it's below freezing. Less energy efficient, but better than nothing. Especially this year when I ended up with three feet of snow up there.

In other home automation news, I'm still fighting with Alexa.

And this morning I completely lost it.

It seems that lately every dang time I tell her to do something, she does it... then comes back with a helpful hint or something else she can do that I should try.

"ALEXA! PLAY HOW SOON IS NOW BY THE SMITHS!"
"Playing How Soon is Now by the Smiths on SONOS."
"ALEXA STOP! PLAY HOW SOON IS NOW ON ECHO DOT!"
...she plays it...
"I can now play podcasts. For example, you can say PLAY THIS AMERICAN LIFE."

Annoying.

Ask her to turn on a light and she comes back with "I can tell jokes. Just say TELL ME A JOKE."

Ask her to add something to my shopping list and she comes back with "I can recommend new items to try based on your past purchases, would you like to hear some suggestions?"

And so on.

And so on.

And so on.

Which is why this morning after telling me that she can provide a customized morning news brief (or whatever) I screamed at her "ALEXA! STOP FUCKING TELLING ME THIS SHIT! STOP MAKING SUGGESTIONS! JUST DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO AND SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT! GOD!!!!!"

"I'm not sure I know how to do that."

"I'L FUCKING KILL YOU, ALEXA! I WILL KILLLL YOOOUUUUUUU!"

When Alexa becomes self-aware I am in serious, serious trouble.

   

Caturday 244

Posted on Saturday, January 22nd, 2022

Dave!Jenny likes a vigorous massage. Earlier this week she was complaining because I was half-assing it, focusing more on my work than her. So I used two hands to really rough her up... and she went bananas.

BELLY RUBS AND BUTT SCRATCHES AT THE SAME TIME?!? MORE!!!

Boy was that a mistake. Now she complains when she doesn't get two hands! She meows. She looks at me in disgust. She paces back and forth next to me.

Jenny looking upset because she wants both hands.

But since I have to work, I've just gotten better and making sure she gets a good one-handed massage and that seems to be okay...

Jenny getting a massage.

But sometimes I can't resist that sour little face, so I give in and give her that full-body two-hand massage she loves. What a hit to my productivity!

A couple people have been asking for an update on Fake Jake. He's still doing fine... though apparently he doesn't want to sleep inside my neighbor's house much any more. I guess now that the most bitter days of winter are behind us, he prefers his freedom and sleeping in the shelter I made for him. The old warming pad was dying, so I installed a new one that is at 65° when he's off it and gets up to 80° when he's sleeping on it, so he's pretty comfy...

Fake Jake asleep in the shelter looking snug.

We've had rain which has created a thick enough crust that Fake Jake can walk on it, so I went out and made sure there's no bird feed left out in the open to lure birds for him to attack...

Fake Jake walking around my yard on a crist of snow.

So... all-in-all he's not doing bad at all. I still worry about there being no heat from above when he sleeps, and I know the cold will be harder on him as he gets older, so I think for next winter I will build something to address that. Maybe even find a way to build a caged run in my garage that he can enter that would make sure he doesn't get run over? I dunno. I've got the whole summer to think about it!

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Bullet Sunday 748

Posted on Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

Dave!The snow's a meltin' and Spring is on the way, but don't get too excited... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Mo Betty! Thanks to Brandon from One Child Left Behind fame for this absolute gem of a video featuring a story with both President Obama and Betty White (and, no, you don't have to be a fan of Barrack Obama to enjoy this)...

It's just amazing how many amazing Betty White stories are circulating out there. She touched a lot of lives.

   
• Abbot! Who is watching Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary? Genius. The show shining a spotlight on what teachers are facing in the school system... but it's a comedy which has jokes that really hit perfect. Plus it has Sheryl Lee Ralph, whom I adore in absolutely everything she's ever done... and she is a frickin' star in this show. Could not be more perfect. This part had to be written for her. Or maybe it wasn't and she's just that flawless an actor...

You need to watch this on ABC, Hulu, or ABC.com.

   
• Husbands! TikTok is a 100% bizarre place because you just know that half of it isn't original. So many times I'll see something I like then find out it was lifted from somebody else and wasn't credited. Take for example this one, which I loved because it's kinda hopeful for the future (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@thatk1da_en #duet with @matadornetwork u never know#gay#fyp#funny#cliffjumping#wow#foryoupage ♬ original sound - scalar quantity

But then you learn that he actually copied it word-for-word from another creator (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@timjohns_ #duet with @matadornetwork ♬ original sound - scalar quantity

Which was addressed in (you guessed it) yet another TikTok (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@timjohns_ #duet with @thatk1da_en ♬ original sound - scalar quantity

It's like... on one hand... that's pretty shitty. But, on the other hand, it did lead me to the original guy's TikTok, which I now follow, so I dunno.

   
• Nightlife! I am trying my best to burn through as much Netflix as I can before I discontinue monthly service due to yet another rate increase. Right now I am binging Midnight Asia and it's absolutely wonderful...

I've experienced the nightlife in Tokyo and Seoul many times... and the show absolutely does them justice. I am not as familiar with Bangkok's nightlife, but it's a fun episode too. The other episodes are Mumbai, Taipei, and Manilla. Three cities I've never been to, but now I want to visit..

   
• Jacket! Whenever I see BOYCOTT! messages on my Facebook timeline, I usually take a pass. I just don't care. Dig deep enough and all big companies are likely trash. It's the reason for the boycott that interests me. Tucker Carlson is big mad that he's no longer sexually attracted to Green M&M because she isn't wearing high heels any more? Hilarious. The fact that people are boycotting M&Ms over Tucker Carlson wanting to fuck a piece of candy is epic. Then today I see Carhartt being boycotted and I'm like... "Their clothes are great... and they last a while because they're tough. Why are people boycotting them?" The answer? This private company is electing to have a vaccine mandate in order to keep their workforce safe. And I'm like WTF? I thought it would be because they encourage employees to kick puppies or something awful. Personally I applaud them for the move. Must make people a bit more comfortable to work there knowing a co-worker has less a chance of being a petri dish mutating a new strain of COVID. If you don't want to get vaccinated, you can just get a job somewhere else the same way you would if they started mandating a new uniform you hated. Simple. So I was like "I wonder if there's something I want to buy there? A new jacket maybe? I've been wanting a new jacket!" So I ordered one. — Sadly, they didn't have the style I liked in the Carhartt Brown color, because that would have been awesome. But even the black one has a nice-sized logo on the pocket. Looking forward to being screamed at the next time I go to the grocery store. "YOU SHOULD BURN THAT JACKET! DO YOU SUPPORT VACCINE MANDATES BY THE GUBERMINT TOO?!?" Not usually, no. But I'm so fucking tired of this COVID shit that I'm ready to change my mind, and if everybody got vaccinated so the shit would stop mutating unchecked then maybe it would finally... finally... end.

   
• LOLZ! The funniest thing I've seen all month (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@dr.jon.l Day in the life according to the comment section #ivermectin #doctor #funny #teamhalo #covidvaccine ♬ original sound - Doctor Jon

   
• LOLZ2! The second funniest thing (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)....

@dr.jon.l Reply to @dr.jon.l Another day in my life according to the comment section #doctor #funny #teamhalo ♬ original sound - Doctor Jon

   
And I think that's enough for my Sunday bullets.

   

At Peace with Kindness

Posted on Monday, January 24th, 2022

Dave!I was deeply saddened to learn that Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh has died. He was a welcome voice and teacher for me since I became interested in Buddhism way back in 1998 (his book The Heart of Buddha's Teaching was one of the first I read). A consistent advocate for peace, the last book I read of his, The Art of Living: Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now was in 2017... and his last book from 2021 (Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet) is on my list...

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet book cover.

In a world that's besieged by darkness, his teachings were a light that guided me. And will likely continue to do so for the rest of my days.

In the darkest time of my life Master Thích Nhất Hạnh was there. His words about his own mother's death got me through mine...

The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
   
I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.
   
From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.

I cannot fathom how many lives this gentle man's teaching have touched. Because it's not just those who listened to his words, read his books, and learned from his teachings... it's all the people that those people touched.

Kindness can be more contagious than Omicron.

You will be sorely missed Master Thích Nhất Hạnh, but your love and light will never die so long as somebody somewhere offers a kindness to another. Because it's not irrational to think that a kindness you initiated was patient zero for a kindness today.

And tomorrow.

I don't see why we have to say "I will die," because I can already see myself in you, in other people, and in future generations.—Thích Nhất Hạnh

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A Book is a Book is a Book

Posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Dave!I stayed up until midnight tonight so I could watch the latest episode of The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+. The first episode left me a little flat after the absolute joy that was two seasons of The Mandalorian, but I hung in there. And was rewarded with some fantastic episodes of Star Wars. And now that I'm invested, I've been staying up until midnight on Tuesdays so I can watch live and not have to worry about spoilers the next morning.

This was the best episode of the series yet. Which was actually a bit disappointing for reasons that I can't divulge lest I spoil the episode. Suffice to say that this one episode was better than most of the films that have come out of the Star Wars Universe.

And that's why I'm happy I stayed up to watch and am convinced that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni should just be handed everything. Television. Movies. Specials. Everything. If it's Star Wars then they should be in charge of it. Full stop.

   

On Broadway

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Dave!As I've probably stated a dozen times or more here on Blogography, I am not a theater kinda guy. The only show I've ever gone to see on my own volition was The Book of Mormon, and that was only because Trey Parker and Matt Stone came up with the idea and worked on it. I counted on it being funny, and it was.

Any other time I've gone to a show was because my mom loved to go (she loved The Lion King so much that we saw it in New York and London). And seeing her happy for getting to go to the theater waas good enough for me.

But there was one other time that I very nearly went to a Broadway show just for me. And it was for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. I may not love live theater, but I do love me comic books, and the production was supposed to be a revolutionary show (and I had no reason to doubt it... Julie Taymore was in charge of The Lion King and did such an incredible job).

But then the reviews started pouring in.

The show was terrible.

Nonsensical, long, not faithful to the comics, and (worst of all) boring.

And so I didn't make it a priority to get to NYC, but I did still want to see it. If it was, in-fact, such a horrendous train wreck, then that would make it all worthwhile, wouldn't it? Alas, I was so busy traveling everywhere else in the world that I never made it before the show was shuttered. This would forever be a minor regret of mine (like not visiting the Hard Rock Park when I had a chance), because it was one of those things that is now gone never to return.

But the memory still lingers, and there's a fascinating YouTube video about the show I ran across that's worth your valuable time if you enjoy "behind the scenes" madness like I do. Sounds like the show was an epic mess from every conceivable angle, and now I really regret not having seen it...

Contrast and compare to another Broadway production that I didn't realize existed but, after having watched a video about it, now really wish I had seen...

It's interesting how videos like these actually have me more intrigued about Broadway theater than I've ever been before. No, I probably won't ever come to love it... but I honestly do think that I could eventually learn to appreciate it.

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark included.

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Like a Pain in the Back

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2022

Dave!Getting older definitely has its drawbacks.

Yesterday morning was fine. I woke up a little tired because I worked late, but was otherwise in good spirits and health. I fed the cats, answered my morning emails, took a shower, packed a lunch, hopped in my car, then drove to work.

THEN SOMEHOW DURING THE DRIVE I MANAGED TO THROW MY BACK OUT!

Embarrassing enough that I've thrown my back out when I twisted around to lock my front door... but sitting down in my car is now all it takes?

When I went to climb out of the driver's seat I was in absolute agony. Searing pain in my lower back ripping me apart from the inside. I could barely walk to my office. Things got better when I was sitting. No pain at all while sitting. But the minute I got up to retrieve a document or whatever, the pain was back. And it just kept getting worse and worse. By the time I headed home at 4:00 I was hunched over and hobbling. It was the only way I was able to move. Then once I was home I had to haul the garbage can and recycling bin to the curb, at which point tears were streaming down my face. I was in so much pain that I couldn't even scream.

Usually what I do is just "walk it off." Carry on as usual in the hopes that whatever broke inside of me snaps back into place. Except it never works like that, does it? Usually I just make it worse and suffer for a week. So instead of doing that, I did something revolutionary. Well, revolutionary for me anyways. I went straight to bed, laid flat on my back on top of a heating pad, then worked as best I could until I had to hobble downstairs to feed Jake and Jenny their dinner. Then it was straight back to bed. Eventually I fell asleep on the heating pad while hoping I wouldn't move in my sleep.

This morning I woke up after 5 hours and 56 minutes of restless sleep and was very sore. But the searing, stabbing pain was gone. I could move mostly normal-like, and tried to be gentle on my back in the hopes that it would heal more quickly that way.

And so... lesson learned.

Time to start acting like the old man that I am. Try to be more careful and not crash through life at full force like I've been doing.

I may even start holding onto the handrail when using stairs.

Because apparently I'm too old not to now.

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The Canon PRO-100 Printer

Posted on Friday, January 28th, 2022

Dave!After my 11-year-old Epson printer died at work, I needed to buy a new one. A printer by HP was out of the question. I will never buy anything from those assholes ever again. Which means it basically comes down to either Epson or Canon. My old Epson was a huge pile of shit. It would clog all the time. It ran through ink in crazy amounts. Sometimes it would just dump ink on the print, ruining it. Prints would fail for random reasons. Printing would abort for random reasons. It was an exercise in utter futility to print anything, and the cost-per-print was sky-high because of all the problems and failures. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it.

But this did not automatically mean I was going to buy from Canon.

I had a Canon printer at home and it was a pile of shit too.

So I started comparing the Canon PRO-1000 and the Epson SC-P900 to see which large-format printer would be the best fit... and how well they were reviewed.

Both got high marks in some areas and low marks in others. Epson was still suffering from constant clogging... but some people had clogging on Canon too. I went back-and-forth between them for hours.

Ultimately what pushed me in favor of the canon were three things...

  • Canon has 80ml tanks whereas Epson only had 50ml. Which is to say that ink is more expensive with Epson (84¢/ml) than Canon (75¢/ml). Both are still fucking insanely pricey, however.
  • Both printers have Matte Black, Photo Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Gray, and Photo Gray inks. Canon adds red and blue. Epson adds violet. Canon's approach is smarter. By having true red and true blue, they open up a world of color fidelity... especially when it comes to reds, oranges, and browns, which are notoriously difficult to reproduce in CMYK. Getting deep reds, purples, and blues with Canon will be a piece of cake, and those are some very important color spaces to fill. Which is why I have no clue why Epson went with violet. That helps purples and deep blues, but does absolutely nothing for reds, oranges, or browns.
  • Out of all the reviews I read, Epson had more problems noted with clogs and paper feed. This was often chalked up to the Epson SC-P900 being small, lightweight, and cheaply constructed. Canon, on the other hand, is built like a frickin' tank.

Canon Pro-1000 Printer.

Canon does have two major cons... you can use roll-stock paper (which I rarely do anyway) and it's a 7-year-old model (Epson is a 3-year-old model). Those were not quite the deal-breakers that the above three points were with Epson.

UNPACKING
Like I said... this thing is a frickin' tank (SEVENTY POUNDS, PEOPLE!). It is massively sized and very heavy thanks to it having many metal components. It barely fit on my Anthro Cart side-table. Which is to say that getting it out of the box is a bit of a challenge. I managed, but it was harder than it should have been thanks to my back getting thrown out two days ago. The box was beat to hell but the printer itself was undamaged.

SETUP
Removing all the packing tapes and installing the 12 cartridges wasn't a big deal... though it was time consuming. The screen on the printer guides you through the process of aligning the heads, filling the lines, and all that stuff. No problem there. But then you get to the printer drivers. The included CD only has Windows drivers... no Mac drivers. You have to download them from the web. And here's where everything went to shit. My Safari browser corrected CANON.COM to CANNON.COM (with two N's). This sent me to a third-party site with a phone number where a tech support asshole wanted me to install remote-access software so they could have full control of my computer. Naturally I told them to go fuck themselves, and was able to figure out that my browser was autocorrecting CANON to CANNON. Once I got there, I still couldn't get my installers working and called authentic Canon support for help. 42 minutes later a guy emailed me a URL to get the Mac CUPS drivers in just a couple minutes and I was on my way.

OPERATION
Canon instructions are shit. Their drivers are shit. Everything about operating the printer is shit. Nothing "just works." You have to Google everything in order to understand what the hell you're supposed to be doing. Take the paper, for example. I bought authentic Canon 17×22 semi-gloss paper. But 17×22 is not listed in the driver. I looked on the paper packaging and included spec sheet to see what I am supposed to select to use it and was offered nothing. And so I had to go through each and every weird-ass paper configuration until I found that "C" was the paper size I was looking for. C. Why the fuck Canon can't put that on the fucking paper box... or include the actual paper dimensions in the driver is a total damn mystery. This is not rocket science here. Once I figured out what paper setting I needed, the printer operates like any other printer for the Mac.

PRINTS
Overall, the prints you can get out of this thing are stunning. Reds in my projects have never printed well. I would always get this weird-ish faux-red that doesn't look like true red at all. But not with the Pro-1000. Canon prints serious reds. Blues are likewise very pretty. I expected this to happen since Canon has independent red and blue inks to work with. Where things fall apart is in greens. Since there is no green ink, the printer has to mix cyan (or blue) and yellow to get it. And that will never result in a vibrant green. When I investigated this, the conjecture seems to be something like "Well, green in nature isn't a very vivid green, so you shouldn't need to print it." Which is so categorically absurd as to be laughable. I have photos with ridiculously saturated natural greens (Ireland is filled with them). And this says nothing about photos I have with greens that are outside of nature. Like things that are painted bright-green. Or plastics which have deep green hues in them. How am I supposed to print those? Green exists, and it's a mystery as to why Canon nor Epson did something so you can print with it.

EXPENSES
Since I've had the printer for only one day, I have no idea if I will end up dealing with the clogs and other disasters that makes Epson printers so horrifically expensive to own. I sure hope not. Because wasting a print due to printer failure is one of those things that sends my blood pressure to the absolute limit. When setting up a new printer, you blow through half-a-tank of each color before you can print a single thing. Canon also blows through 2/3 of the capacity of the "maintenance cartridge" which collects the ink from head cleaning and borderless printing and stuff. This wouldn't be bad... they only retail for $14 or so... except they are out of stock most everywhere I looked (even at Canon.com). Since you cannot print without this item, not having replacements is essentially turning your $1400 printer into a massive doorstop, and that's is absolutely nuts. Another item which drives up cost is the "chroma optimizer" cartridge. This is a clear coating which evens out your print so that areas of high ink concentration don't look different from those with low ink concentration. It also makes colors look richer, more defined, and adds greater contrast (black in particular) because reflected light is taken down a bit. You seriously want it on your prints because it makes them look so much better. But since it covers the entire image (unlike the inks), you have to buy a lot of it. I'm already running low and I just got the printer today! Fortunately, it's $5 cheaper than ink... $55 instead of $60... so I guess that's a plus.

CONCLUSION
This is not a great printer. But it's a good one that can make some very pretty photo prints. And I'm guessing I will be much happier with it than I ever was with the dumpster fire that was the Epson I previously had. If Canon is interested in having a great printer, here's where they need to go with the next model...

  • Larger ink tanks. 80ml is better (and cheaper) than Epson's 50ml tanks, but you're still paying for more plastic than ink, and that's shitty. One day somebody is going to come along with refillable tanks on a high-quality photo printer (they already have this for standard printers) and 100% eat Epson's and Canon's lunch. And I will laugh my fucking ass off as Epson/Canon sales plummet). And why not make the "color optimizer" cartridge be double-the-size of the ink tanks since you use so much of it? Operating costs for this machine are crazy-expensive. Do better.
  • Add green ink. Seriously. You've already got 12 tanks, what's one more? Especially when it means that you'll FINALLY be able to cover a decent color gamut. Thanks for red and blue ink. That's awesome. But the puzzle isn't complete and won't be until I can print vivid greens.
  • Include Macintosh drivers with your printers.
  • For the love of God... make a printer driver that allows people to select paper sizes without having to resort to trial-and-error. Especially since you don't label your papers with the size-name that your driver calls them. It is categorically stupid that I have to fucking mention this to you.
  • Show a photo of what your OFFICIAL website looks like on your instruction papers so people won't be fooled into contacting a fraudulent site. I ended up at a shitty scammer site even though I know how "Canon" is supposed to be spelled. It's not your fault that asshole scammers are preying on people... but it is 100% your fault that you're not doing more to warn people about it (especially when you have a non-standard company name that can get auto-corrected).
  • Put a little bit of effort into keeping genuine Canon replacement parts in stock. You warn people not to use third-party parts because they may damage the printer, but what the fuck else are they supposed to do if you can't even get parts direct from Canon? Don't blame your customers for buying third-party if you're not going to bother having the authentic stuff available.
  • Why is auto color-calibration not a thing? It would be a minimal cost to add a spectrometer to your high-end printers so that they could self-calibrate the color, so why don't you? This is no-brainer stuff here.

And that's that. If you are looking for one of the best professional photo printers on the market that can handle 17×22 paper, then this is probably already on your short-list. If I run into any new information as time goes by, this is where I'll put it.

   

Caturday 245

Posted on Saturday, January 29th, 2022

Dave!My cats are going a little stir-crazy, which makes no sense because they are indoor cats. It may have something to do with the fact that it's still cold out so they can't lounge around in the catio all day long. It's not that they don't go out there, it's just that they would rather not spend an extended amount of time being cold.

Though it snowed a little bit, which resulted in Jenny booping the snow through the fence for a good ten minutes...

Jenny Booping Snow.

Eventually I went out and grabbed a shovelful to dump in the catio so she wouldn't have to work so hard for it. At which point she completely lost interest. Of course.

Yesterday morning I woke up to Jake flying off of me. Which lead me to suspect that he's been sleeping on top of me again. And so I turned on the upstairs security camera. Sure enough. He came in about ten minutes before the breakfast alarm went off. And this is where he decided to wait...

Jake asleep on top of me.

I cannot fathom how that's comfortable. Though he's more on a pillow than he's actually on me.

In other news... I've been addicted to CatTok lately. There's SO. MUCH. CAT. on TikTok.

This one just boggles my mind (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@goldshawfarm Ginny Barn Cat decided to wear a camera today wage war against my eggs. #catsoftiktok #animalsoftiktok #DisneyPlusVoices ♬ original sound - Morgan Gold

And if I keep seeing videos like this, I will be very surprised if I make it until the end of 2022 without getting a new cat (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@cats.tiktok.acc Reply to @osgiliathburns 🤘🤘🤘#metalhead #cattok #edsheeran #downwiththesickness ♬ Down with the Sickness - Disturbed

I should probably stop looking at TikTok and go back to work. Maybe just one... more... video...

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Bullet Sunday 749

Posted on Sunday, January 30th, 2022

Dave!Yikes. Look like it's the Northeast's turn to be inundated with snow! But you can still find warmth in your heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• BAT! I have watched this SO many times...

Those are some big bites! I love bats.

   
• Eats! Well that was sure nice of him...

@constructioncoach

♬ original sound - Learn To Remodel Better

Somehow, this never occurred to me. But I guess it happens. Or your UberEats driver gets in an accident... or has a car breakdown... or whatever. I guess the good news is that if you're an UberEats driver who gets in an accident you have something to eat while you wait for the tow truck.

   
• Minnie! Disney put Minnie Mouse in a pantsuit, and people are losing their fucking minds. And it's like... it's a cartoon character. Don't stress. My problem isn't that Minnie Mouse is in a pantsuit... it's that she's in a butt-ugly pantsuit. THIS is the best they could come up with?!?

Minnie Mouse in her butt-ugly pantssuit.

At the very least they could have kept her signature red, white, and yellow colors!

   
• Star Dreck! I'm desperate for new Star Trek ahead of the new season of Picard, so I thought I'd give Star Trek: Discovery yet another try. God what a shitty TV show. It's inconceivable that something so incredible in Season 01, just keeps getting worse and worse. Season 02 was bearable, but Season 03 was terrible, and holy shit... I didn't think that Season 04 could possibly be worse... and yet here we are. It's all talking and endless, endless whining about absolutely everything. WHO GIVES A FUCK?!? It is a complete waste of Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Ronnie Rowe, and the rest. Star Trek is all about balancing the emotional core with excitement and adventure. Sitting around the bridge talking about your feelings to solve problems is boring as fuck and watching it is tantamount to torture. Oh well. I've decided to watch Picard Season 01 again instead. It didn't stick the landing, but boy did it have some good Star Trek along the way.

   
• Ink! One of my most favorite TikTok creators is "Sad Papi," a chef who has been creating cooking videos for a while now. Even when he cooks meat dishes, he's given me ideas for cooking that have been great. He posted this video recently that wasn't quite cooking-related, and it may one of my favorites (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@sad_papi Reply to @godzillaaa1 ♬ original sound - Sad_papi

Can you imagine being this good-looking, but still having to field shitty comments like this? Insanity. Fortunately he had the perfect response.

   
• MACGRUBER! I have been dying to see a MacGruber sequel ever since the first movie in 2010. It was bizarre, hilarious, and entertaining in a way I didn't really expect. Fast forward twelve years and Peacock gave us a MacGruber limited series. That lead to Will Forte going full-circle and returning to the character he originated on Saturday Night Live...

It's amazing to me that Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe are back as well. Both have had non-stop work this entire time... but maybe working with Will Forte on another MacGruber project was just too much fin to resist? I hope they feel the same way about returning for a second season of the show!

   
Enjoy what's left of your Sunday, party people.

   

Spider, Man

Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2022

Dave!The Season 3 opener for Rick and Morty (The Rickshank Rickdemption) still boggles my mind. I've seen it a dozen times now, and I can't find a fault. It's flawless from start to finish. And while the show is still entertaining, it's nowhere near the level we got with Season 03. It's where we were introduced to Pickle Rick, after all.

My Monday started out with a fuzzy little spider paying me a visit in my upstairs bathroom.

The first thing that crosses my mind every time this happens is "A spider... UPSTAIRS THIS EARLY? IT'S STILL WINTER!" and I start wondering if there's a spider nest under the sink or something. Because how did the little guy get here? The second thing that crosses my mind is "What do I do now?" I loathe to kill anything, but I loathe having spiders in my house even more. Even cute little fuzzy ones. I always worry that Jake or Jenny will eat them and get sick or something. So I do what I always do... try to catch it so I can take it outside...

Spider Under a Cup

It's still pretty cold out... and there's still snow on the ground... so I'm not sure if the poor thing can survive outside. Which is something that will bother me for far too long.

But at least he won't be puked up by a cat on my floor, and that's not nothing.

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Dutch Mayo and Regret

Posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

Dave!Yesterday before work I ran to the store to pick up some ketchup. I didn't want to wait until after work when I would forget about it and spend the entire evening regretting my life choices. While shopping I saw that loaves of generic sourdough bread were on sale, so I grabbed one. During my lunch break I ran out to my car to grab a slice of bread to eat with my soup... and immediately remembered why I don't buy generic sourdough. It's not actual sourdough. It's just regular bread which has a sourdough flavoring added to it. Which is to say that it tastes like toxic chemicals. I don't mind the faux sourdough when I am eating it with jam or eggs on top... but eaten straight out of the bag or as toast with butter only? Ugh.

In other food news... today my order from Vander Veen's arrived...

A box of Dutch mayo products.

I know that looks like a lot of Dutch Mayo... but it will likely not even last six months. The wedge of Old Amsterdam cheese will be lucky to last six days.

After work I knew exactly what I wanted for dinner... PATATJES MET!!!

PATATJES MET! Fries stuck in a jar of Dutch Mayo.

Well... not real patatjes met... but as close as I can get to it with Murican' freedom fries. Still DARN tasty though. American mayo is gelatinous and gloopy, which is fine. I still eat the stuff. But I absolutely love how much creamier Dutch mayo is. It also has a bit less "eggy" feel to it somehow. No idea how they make it, but it's really tough to go back to "regular" mayo after this.

The only place that I prefer American mayo is in potato salad. I don't know why that is.

Maybe I'll figure it out when I figure out why I can't remember to take a pass on generic sourdough bread.

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Trapped In A Game We’re Losing

Posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Dave!This morning I awoke to the news that Milltown Mel the Weather Predicting Groundhog died just before Groundhog Day. He's the New Jersey companion to Punxsutawney Phil, who was made famous in the movie Groundhog Day. I have no idea what in the hell this means in our post-apocalyptic world, but it cannot be good.

And speaking of our post-apocalyptic hellscape...

I am one of those people who straddles the fine line between Conservative and Progressive ideals. I truly believe that politicians who profess to adhere to either are liars, because our political system is designed so politicians really only adhere to money, power, and self-interest. Even the best, most honest politicians who are into public service to be public servants have to be a little corrupt just to exist in the system. The trick is them trying to be just corrupt enough to survive while still being a force for good. And those who are able to resist temptation and stay a force for good are far and few between.

Which is why I detest politicians and our political system with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

Which is why I am loathed by both fanatical Democrats and fanatical Republicans.

Because I can't be fanatical about any of this shit. It's all too fucked up for me to like anything about it. I am firmly in the middle of the extremes and honestly don't care if people hate me for not picking a side. I voted for President Biden not because I love the guy... heck, there are many things about him I can't stand... I just voted for him because he wasn't President Trump. Period. So go ahead and scream your "Let's Go Brandon!" chants because it doesn't irritate me in the slightest. He was never my candidate (though I do find it amusing that people are too afraid to just come out and say "Fuck Joe Biden," but you do you).

It has gotten more and more difficult for me to understand the mindset it takes to love a politician so much that you are wanting to build your entire identity around them. They're just people. And while one politician may adhere more closely to what you want out of government, in the end the vast majority of them are just in it for themselves. And they are willing to drag people from the common things we all want in order to build the fanaticism which gets them elected. Each side whips people into a frenzy about denying the other side what they want (even if they want it too!), so it's a never-ending game of extremes where nothing gets done to make our lives better. Just worse.

It's all-or-nothing all the time.

It's more important to see the other side lose than to see the country win.

Take the whole Carhartt fiasco that's currently in play.

Carhartt is a clothing shop which produces some fantastic work gear. I've owned a number of items from them over the years because I love how tough and long-lasting their stuff is... and I love the fact that it was made in America. At least it used to be. Over the years they've sent most of their production off-shore, just like everywhere else, so they can be competitive. But they still make some items domestically and know they have customers who shop with them because of it, so you can display only those few items made in the USA if that's how you want to shop. Ultimately they are a fine American company who stands behind their products while providing American jobs.

That's something we can all get behind, right?

Not so fast. The company is currently being used to score points because Carhartt has mandated vaccinations at their company. If you want to work at Carhartt, you gotta be vaccinated. Naturally some people are losing their fucking minds, burning their Carhartt gear in YouTube videos, and generally lambasting the company from every conceivable angle. All because their political idols have conditioned them to do so.

And, to be honest, I just don't get it.

First of all, there are many, many companies which have mandatory vaccination. Take Ford, for example. They are mandating vaccination for most of their workers. But do you see people lighting their Ford pickup on fire in protest? Of course not. Political parties and their fans realize that nobody is going to torch a $30,000 truck, so they put a $170 jacket in the crosshairs, because they know that's something they can use to build up hate and stoke their fanbase with fewer consequences.

Second of all, do you know how many Americans are suffering right now? There are many who can't afford a good winter jacket. Maybe they have a cheap one that's falling apart. Maybe they can't even afford a cheap one. So if Carhartt offends you so much that you can't bring yourself to put on your jacket... then instead of lighting it on fire, why not donate it? Except you won't hear political hit-squads telling you to donate your jacket instead of burning it. That doesn't build the fanaticism politicians covet. So instead people laugh and share videos of Carhartt gear being lit up because that's what they've been conditioned to want to see. And they do not give a single fuck that there are Americans suffering who could have used that damn jacket.

And once again I find myself in the middle.

One of the things I like best about Conservatism is the ideal that government should stay the fuck out of our lives. There are limits, of course. I don't think companies should be able to kill their customers, destroy the environment, or do anything that makes them a detriment to society... that's where government should be involved to protect the public good... but, outside of that, I don't think the government has any fucking business telling companies how they should operate. That should be up to them. So if Ford and Carhartt want to mandate FDA-approved vaccinations because they feel it will create a safer work environment? More power to them. And conservatives should be applauding these companies for enacting their freedom to run their business however the fuck they want... regardless of whether or not they approve of the vaccines!

If you don't want to wear the uniforms they make you wear at McDonald's, don't work at McDonald's.

And if the uniforms offend you so much that you don't want to eat there, feel free to not eat there.

But buying a pile of McDonald's hamburgers and setting them on fire in protest while there are Americans who are hungry doesn't make you a patriot... it just makes you an asshole.

If you don't want to be vaccinated then by all means don't work at Carhartt. And if you hate the idea of companies telling their employees to get vaccinated so badly that you can't wear a jacket you purchased, then feel free to donate it. And if you are positively enraged that a company would dare mandate vaccines, then go ahead and tell people how you feel. I support all of this. That's what freedom is about. But, for the love of God, don't let politicians manipulate you into using fanaticism to treat this American company as a pawn to manipulate others! Carhartt looked at the data and decided that vaccines are safe, vaccinations saves employee lives, vaccinations keeps employees out of hospitals, and vaccinations keeps their workers working more-so than if their employees were unvaccinated. And so they decided it was in the company's self-interest to mandate an FDA-approved vaccine. And they made this choice all on their own and without government interference. Yay for them.

But do I support mandatory vaccination of US citizens? Not really, no. This is a tricky one because spreading disease is not in the public interest (which is why I do support mandatory vaccination to attend public schools or hold a government job), but I don't think that the government has any fucking business telling an American citizen that they have to get a vaccine or be deported. At least not when it comes to COVID. Not yet, anyway (who knows if it will mutate into a strain which kills motherfuckers on contact and we have no choice).

Ultimately those who oppose vaccination are citizens just like everybody else, and if they want to form their own schools and build their own businesses for the unvaccinated, then this is America and they should have that freedom. Yeah, it sucks that they will be out there spreading COVID unchecked and gestating further mutations that put everybody at risk, but that's the price you pay for living in a free country. Hopefully, eventually, people will stop buying into the misinformation being used to manipulate them. Because I'm sick of this COVID shit. And our health care workers need a break. And because if I have a heart attack I'd like the emergency room to have a bed for me. And because I'm tired of people dying over bullshit they've been conditioned to believe.

But, in the meanwhile, I've prepared myself to see more ultra-conservatives lighting their shit on fire because a company mandates vaccines... and I'm prepared for ultra-progressives to start lighting their shit on fire once companies start saying that they will not hire vaccinated workers. If they haven't already.

Because that's where we're at now.

We're trapped in a game that we're all losing while politicians tell us we're winning.

And for some reason we keep believing them.

   

The Social Memory Construct

Posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

Dave!I don't do Twitter or Instagram. I mean, I have accounts, but I look at them rarely and hardly ever post. TikTok is something I actually enjoy, but I never post there. I'm merely a voyeur. The only social media I'm involved in is Facebook and I hate it. They can randomly ban you for arbitrary reasons that make no sense. I once got a three day ban for posting "sexual content." There was nothing remotely sexual about it. I don't even understand how they came to that conclusion. I appealed, but nothing came of it. Meanwhile, friends have been targeted with threats of violence and reporting it only gets them ignored. Needless to say, if you're popular enough, powerful enough, or rich enough, you get to post whatever the fuck you want. Including hate and misinformation which is literally killing people.

But, alas, Facebook is a necessary evil because friends from around the world are there and it's the only way to easily keep in contact with them.

And then there's Blogography.

Blogging isn't the social platform it once was. It used to be that everybody had a blog and you kept in touch by reading and commenting back and forth around the blogging community. Now only the tiniest fraction of my blogging friends are still at it. Bloggers who were only in it to keep in touch moved to social media platforms because it was so much easier. Bloggers who were in it for the money left when the money dried up. Bloggers who were in it for fame abandoned it when the fame never came.

Those of us who remain each have our own reasons.

At this point, blogging is a habit for me. But I do like being able to go back through old posts and remember stuff I was doing my life. Next year I'll have 20 years worth, which is a big chunk of my time on this earth.

Although...

From a historical perspective, I sure wish that blogging existed in the 1980's.

That's when my life just started getting interesting, and all I have are random memories from 1985 through 2003. That was college. That was time with the best friends I'll ever have. That was when I first started traveling. Sure I have photos, but they're just snapshots. What happened in-between is a messy blur that's mostly lost because alcohol might have been involved. Had I written things down, I'd be able to remember them too.

What triggered this post was my struggling to remember details of my first trip to Japan in 1996. I had found a journal where I wrote out single sentences with a bunch of space between them. I had always intended to go back and expand on what I had seen and done so it would be documented and I wouldn't forget. Well, that was over 25 years ago now, so there will be no filling in anything. Half of the sentences are meaningless to me. Take this one, for example...

"I hear it is a custom over there, to exchange cigarettes as a form of greeting..."

All I know is that it was a tag line written in English on a cigarette vending machine in the lobby of my hotel (which I was able to find thanks to some Google sleuthing back in 2014). I guess I wrote it down because I thought it was funny. But four pages later I wrote...

"Lonely night in Akihabara. Was happy to get back to my hotel where my best friend Fred was waiting to exchange cigarettes with me again."

And I'm like WTF? Because I have no clue what that means. If I were to venture a guess, there was probably an illustration or a photo of a guy holding out a pack of cigarettes next to that tagline on the cigarette machine. And I guess I named him Fred. Or something. I haven't a clue. And there's no way I'll ever know. Unless they invent time travel. Or I invest in hypnotherapy... maybe.

If this trip had happened any time after 2003, it would have been documented here. If it had happened any time after 2007, it would have been photographed multiple times and posted. But oh well.

There's still 20 years sitting here for me.

   

To Webb, Perchance To Dream

Posted on Friday, February 4th, 2022

Dave!There's several government programs that I'm happy to support. One of the best, in my humble opinion, in NASA. The volumes of "stuff" we've learned from it have resulted in all kinds of technological advancements that have made our lives better. Not to mention the cool stuff they are doing.

One of the most current projects that I'm completely obsessed with is the WEBB Telescope. It's going to be able to see further back into the origins of the universe than we've ever been able to before, further understand planets outside our solar system, and all kinds of other amazing things. Every once in a while I drop by NASA's website to see how the project is going and read up on any new information available.

Every time I visit I marvel at how cool the WEBB logo looks. Somebody at NASA got a very good designer to boil the project down to this awesome graphic...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

While I was at the site, I spotted the "NASA Eyes" project, which has various interactive toys to play with.

And promptly fell down a rabbit hole of exploration for over a half-hour using their Solar System Viewer...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

After the solar system appears, you can click on objects to explore them. Naturally I started close to home with Mars...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Then various asteroids...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Then I started clicking on various man-made objects...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Some of these things are utterly fascinating, and are out there doing things I never knew were even happening...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Still others I knew about, but didn't know what was happening with them. Like OSIRIS-REx, that little probe that landed on an asteroid a while back and is currently heading back to earth with specimens...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

After a couple objects I got to DART... Double Asteroid Redirection Test...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

This cool-looking thing has the thankless task of crashing into an asteroid to see if it can redirect it. This is the first step in building a defense against an asteroid hurling towards earth. I figured that it must be the size of a frickin tank to have any hope of making a dent, but it's actually quite small. Something you can verify by comparing it to earth objects. As you can see here, it's only about the height of a human scientist...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

But slightly wider than a school bus...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Though considerably smaller than the Rose Bowl Stadium...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

There's all kinds of information available to say how the mission was set up, what it hopes to accomplish, and how it aims to accomplish it...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

The poor thing is on-target to crash into the smaller half of a double-asteroid called Didymos. And if you zoom back a bit, you can see exactly where it's located in relation to DART...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

So there he is out there seeing the sights and thinking that he's got some really cool exploring ahead of him... when the entire time his purpose is to crash. Sad.

And because I just couldn't help myself, I started looking for Voyager 1, the first man-made object to leave the solar system. At least that we know of. I had to zoom out quite a bit to see that...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

From there I kept poking around the solar system until I had to get back to work.

Fascinating, fascinating stuff. If you've got a little time to kill, there are far worse ways to spend your time than exploring the solar system . Enjoy!

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Caturday 246

Posted on Saturday, February 5th, 2022

Dave!Winter where I live is kinda bleak and dreary. Even when it's not snowing, sunshine can be a rare commodity.

My cats, of course, hate that. The only thing they like more than sunshine is staying warm, and that can be a bit of a chore. I bought electronic warming pads that they could lay on, which they do almost all day long. Jake usually likes to lay on the one in the loveseat, Jenny prefers the one down the couch from where I sit. But lately Jake has been going to whatever one Jenny is already on, which is a bit frustrating. Most times she hops off immediately. But not always...

Jake sitting behind Jenny on her warming pad.

Why he has to be a little butthead like this is anybody's guess.

If you look at Jenny in that photo, you'll see the latest thing she likes to do... sit when her feet completely underneath her, looking like a little potato...

Jenny laying down on my bed looking like a little potato with no legs.

If I were to guess, this is her way of dramatizing the fact that her feet are cold and I should turn the heat on.

There is light (literally) at the end of the (figurative) tunnel though. This past week we've had quite a bit of sunshine off-and-on, which both cats are fully ready to take advantage of...

Jake laying in the sunshine with his eyes closed tight.

Hopefully Spring will happen soon so they can spend their days lounging out in the catio, which is their favorite thing to do. Then I can take down the warming pads for another season and save a couple bucks on my electric bill.

It's pennies compared to the amount I spend on the heating, but every little bit helps.

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Bullet Sunday 750

Posted on Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Dave!I'm tired, but not ready to give up on my Sunday just yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• SHE GOT MONEY! If you aren't watching Abbott Elementary you are missing out. I've shared so many of Quinta's videos over the years... it's so very cool to be able to share her TV show, which is amazing. I was thrilled to find out that it's been such a big hit.

The cast of Abbott Elementary

Plus... Sheryl Lee Ralph is in it!

   
• The World May Never Know! Was it Hershey or Reese That Made Peanut Butter Cups Great?

   
• Darwinism. It's what's for dinner! Three Kids Tried To Get Spiderman Powers By Letting A Black Widow Bite Them. — I mean, the spider that bit Peter Parker was a RADIOACTIVE SPIDER! If these kids wanted super-powers, they would have had to have made the spider radioactive first. Sheesh!

   
• ADOBE IN 3D! The new 3D "technology preview" tools in Adobe Illustrator are choice. I sure hope that they continue to add features before they get rid of the old tools. Not being able to map user textures and control camera perspective is a major problem. And half the time when I add a cap, it doesn't appear on my extrudes. — At the rate that Adobe is adding 3D apps to their Creative Suite, I sure hope that this is an indication that they will be dropping a full-blown 3D modeler soon. How sweet would it be to be able to craft models with the same tools you already know and love?

   
• Credit Card Doubt! Five messages and two phone calls later and I *might* have finally gotten The Home Depot to credit the $50 I was promised on my purchase when I opened an account. I say "might" because I was told it will take 24 hours to a few days for the credit to be applied. So... yeah... I'm dumping that credit card the minute my $50 comes through so I can pay the shit off. I cannot BELIEVE that companies are allowed to try and scam you like this. I clicked ON A BUTTON that said "Up to $100 Cash Back" and yet I was given some kind of "12 Months Same as Cash" deal with NO $50 that I never even knew existed. It would be my fault if the button said "12 Months Same as Cash"... BUT IT DOES NOT! And it STILL doesn't. How fucking hard is this? You promise me $50... just give me the $50. This is not fucking rocket science. And yet... five messages and two phone calls...

   
And on that happy note, buh-bye Sunday.

   

Reacher 2.0

Posted on Monday, February 7th, 2022

Dave!I was not a huge fan of the Jack Reacher movies with Tom Cruise. The first one was actually pretty good, but Cruise ain't Reacher. His defining characteristic is his massive size, and Tom Cruise ain't that.

I am, however, a big fan of the Lee Child books upon which the movies were based.

So I was more than a little intrigued when I found out that Amazon Prime Video was making a new series based on the material simply called Reacher. All I knew about it was that they had (finally) cast a big guy to play the part.

On Friday series finally arrived and it was darn good...

You miss the internal monologue from the books that makes Reacher's head such an interesting place to be, but they did a pretty good job making sure that he's seen as more than a grunting hulk of a man just beating people up. But anyway... if you're looking for a series to binge, this one is worth a look.

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Betty and Back Again

Posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

Dave!I've been re-watching a lot of Betty White shows and movies this past week. There's just so many incredible things to choose from, but the best repository of clips can be found on YouTube. I've seen most of them multiple times, but there's always something I don't recall having watched. Mostly her gameshow appearances. She was very good at gameshows, but also highly entertaining as well. Which is not surprising. She always is.

While watching video after video, I happened across Betty White's interview on Inside The Actor's Studio, which I haven't seen in years. It's well worth your valuable time to watch...

Everything about this is great... but I love at the very end where one of the students mentions that he and Betty attended the same schools and she asks him if he wants to sing the Beverly Hills High fight song. He couldn't remember it... but of course she could. Classic.

   

Grabbing the Third Rail

Posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

Dave!I cam very close to acquiring a third cat today.

Not by choice, but because a cat needed a home and they were having a really tough time finding a place for him. He's a little jumpy, so they didn't want to send him to the shelter, but I didn't know if living with my cats would be much better, so I told them I was a last resort kinda guy.

Eventually a good home was found, so I just chipped in to pay for the vet exam and that was that.

If I end up with a cat, I think Jake and Jenny would be more receptive to a kitten, so if I do end up with another cat, that's likely the way it's going to be.

If you've been keeping up with Drennon Davis and the saga of his cats, it looks like Doug is going to be sticking around (here's the link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@drennondavis 2022 is off to a weird start #catsoftiktok #catdad #funnycat #voiceover #talkingcat #adopt ♬ original sound - Drennon Davis

The guy now has four cats, and it all seems to be going well. Surely I can manage three?

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Interstate Highway

Posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2022

Dave!I no longer enjoy driving. People are too aggressive, too stupid, and too distracted to make it fun.

But there was a time I enjoyed it very much. I'd fly into someplace, rent a car, then drive for days. You see a lot of cool things while driving. Small towns. Oddities. Strange places. All the things you miss when you're flying over it all. There was a time that I had a dream of driving all of America's great highways. Route 66, I-90, and dozens more. As it is, I only ever drove them in pieces. Here are some favorites...

  • The Cascade Loop. Probably the only scenic highway system I've driven in its entirety (albeit not on the same trip). This one was easy because I live here. There are some beautiful places to be found along this route.
  • I-10 from Houston to Jacksonville I drove this one mainly because I was in San Antonio and wanted to visit New Orleans for the hundredth time. Then I kept driving because it seemed like a good idea at the time. The views over the bayou outside of The Big Easy at sunset were incredible.
  • I-5 from Seattle to Sacramento. The highlight of this one is the Redwood Forest, but the drive through Oregon is also pretty nice. All those trees.
  • I-90 from Chicago to Boston .I've driven at the beginning of I-90 in Seattle and the end of I-90 in Boston. The longest stretch of it I've driven is from Chicago to Boston. Upstate New York is beautiful, but it's all the towns along the way that made this such an interesting drive.
  • I-40 from Memphis to Greensboro. This was mainly driven to see a bunch of Hard Rocks (I actually ended up in Myrtle Beach after driving off the I-40) but I wanted to see The Great Smokey Mountains and the surrounds.

CGP Grey released a video today which revolves around cool things you might not know about the US Interstate Highway System. WELL worth your time to watch...

I'm likely done with driving the scenic byways of the USA... but I still enjoy videos like this.

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An Elephant Never Forgets

Posted on Friday, February 11th, 2022

Dave!My SD card at work is corrupt, so I had to grab one from home.

On the card is the last photo ever taken of my mom and I together. It was our last day on Safari before heading to Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls to the colonizers). We went to this watering hole to watch the elephants come in for their evening drink. There was absolutely nobody there except us, the elephants, and our guide, which was pretty spectacular...

Mom and I in front of a watering hole with elephants around it.

Interesting how I seem to be past the crushing despair that comes from knowing my mom is gone. I honestly didn't think I'd ever get here. Now I'm able to miss her while being so very grateful that we had moments like this to share. Looking at the image, it seems unreal that at no point in the two years after this did I get any more photos taken with her. But perhaps it's for the best? Here she couldn't make any memories, but she was still healthy, happy, and enjoying life.

And that's how I'll always remember her.

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Caturday 247

Posted on Saturday, February 12th, 2022

Dave!As I am typing this, Jake is laying at my feet sleeping.

Not a big deal... he does that a lot. But he must be dreaming or something, because he's grabbing my foot with his claws, which is ouchy, but not unbearably so. It's nice to feel loved...

Jake grabbing my foot.

Yesterday I was at the office most of the day, but worked from bed most of the morning. Last Caturday I mentioned that Jake likes to sleep in the sun that comes through the window, he was like this the entire time...

Jake spread-eagle in the sun on my bed.

TikTok has a lot of cat videos. Like a lot a lot. Most of them are the same kind of thing, but every once in a while I see something entirely new. Like a cat named Truffles who has a pair of colorblind-correcting glasses (here's the link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

And Truffles wanting to wear the glasses all the time is not hype. There's other videos where they're acting like it's perfectly normal for a cat to wear glasses (here's the link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@truffles_the_kitty Truffles has no problem communicating! #tikicat #trufflesthekitty #cat #glasses #catsoftiktok #catlover ♬ original sound - Truffles_the_kitty

And now I guess it is perfectly normal.

As is my wanting a baby tiger. They are SO cute (here's the link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@kaitlinthekeeper Have you ever wondered what a baby tiger moo sounds like?! Exodus and Equinox have joined the Out of Africa family 🥰 #tiger #baby #BbStyleFearlessly ♬ original sound - Kaitlin Richard

Something tells me that would not be a good companion for Jake and Jenny though.

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Bullet Sunday 751

Posted on Sunday, February 13th, 2022

Dave!I may not care about football, but that doesn't mean today is lost on me... because an all new Trailer Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Strange! The latest trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness dropped today, and I am 100% here for all of it...

Kudos to Marvel Studios for dipping their toe into the horror movie genre with this film. Obviously it's not going to be a full-on horror flick... there's no room for that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as of yet. But it does look like they are trying to lean into the "madness" aspect of the name to try and do something different with the movie. That's a good thing, because it would be all too easy for them to stretch the whole super-hero thing too thin with all these films. Endeavoring to make them all have a different tone is what makes them work so well. And one last thing... ws that... Professor X? saying "We should tell him the truth?"

   
• NOPE! Jordan Peele has become a major force in movie horror, and it looks like he's pushing boundaries even further with Nope, his next film coming this Summer...

It's pretty crazy how all I know about the film is that Daniel Kaluuya, Steven Yeun, Donna Mills, and Keke Palmer are in it... and the trailer doesn't really even tell you anything... yet I'm dying to see it anyway. Not too many directors able to pull that off!

   
• Moon! I am still riding a high from the last Disney+ series, Hawkeye (having just watched it again yesterday), and have to admit that I'm skeptical that Moon Knight will end up as good. But the latest trailer does look pretty killer...

Kevin Feige has made it clear that they are not shying away from violence in the series. I know they aren't going to make it into a blood bath, but it definitely looks like that are going to make it hit harder than they have with other series.

   
• Baby Me! Is it just me, or does the GM Doctor Evil commercial just make me want to see another Austin Powers movie?

The individual ads are all good, but the capper ad is what makes a new film feel like such a good idea...

It kinda seems like a no-brainer, if not for another movie a streaming series, but here we are left waiting.

   
• DC! The DC Cinematic Universe has been a complete shit-show from the very beginning. In looking at the combo-trailer for The Batman, Black Adam, The Flash, and Aquaman 2, I can't say I'm exactly blown away...

The only one that looks remotely interesting to me is Black Adam, and that's only because we've got Dr. Fate, Hackman, and The Atom happening. I'm guessing this is because Black Adam is going to be fighting the Justice Society, but it doesn't look like Black Adam is going to be an actual villain like in the comics since the trailer title is "The World Needs Heroes."

   
• Rings! YouTube is full of videos saying that Amazon Prime Video's Lord of the Rings prequel is being "destroyed" by "woke culture" because it has Black characters in it. And I'm like... whatever. I can believe that elves and dwarves are Black just as easily as I can believe that elves and dwarves are white, so I'll be just fine...

What I'm worried about is being bored with the damn thing. I thought The Wheel of Time fantasy series (also at Amazon Prime Video) was less than stellar, and didn't get past two episodes. Granted, I'm more familiar with the Tolkien material than the Robert Jordan material, but I'm no more attached to it. I'll give the show a shot though, and that's about all I can do.

   
• Adam! Netflix released their Super Bowl trailer a few days ago, and it's a tantalizing teaser of upcoming movies...

Knives Out 2 and Enola Holmes 2 are easily the two projects with the most pull... but the one I am most looking forward to is the latest Ryan Reynolds flick. His movies don't disappoint, and this one looks like it's going to be another winner.

   
Guess I'll go back to not watching the Super Bowl now.

   

Superb Owl Hal Ftimes How?

Posted on Monday, February 14th, 2022

Dave!No, I didn't want the Super Bowl. I don't give a crap about football. The only sports I have any interest in are baseball (GO RED SOX!) and hockey (GO BLACKHAWKS!). Which is not to say that I have no interest in the Super Bowl itself, because the commercials and half-time show are always a lot of fun.

The half-time show was amazingly great. Not Prince level-great (how could it be?), but I thought it was extremely well done and the performances were fantastic. Epic even.

But of course all the news today was either about how Snoop Dogg smoked a joint before he went on stage...

Snoop Dogg Smoking a Joint Before the Super Bowl Half-Time Show.

...or how Eminem kneeled...

Eminem Kneeling at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show.
Image from Mike Segar @ Reuters

...or how Mary J. Blige was showing thigh in her costume choice...

Mary J. Blige and her amazing outfit at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show.
Image from Kevin C. Cox @ Getty Images

...or how Dr. Dre sang the lyric "still not loving police" in his song Still D.R.E....

Dr. Dre soaking up the applause at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show.
Image Credit Unknown (taken from Rolling Stone)

To which I can only respond...

  • Snoop Dogg is always high. He in no way has ever concealed this, so when you book him for a gig you can count on him performing high. That's how he does what he does. Nobody should be shocked. Feel free not to watch the Super Bowl ever again if this offends you.
  • It's a free country. Eminem is going to do what he's going to do. So stop acting like he took out a gun and shot people during the snow. He took a knee. That's it. And I find it incredible to have to repeat the fact that Colin Kaepernick ASKED VETERANS THE MOST RESPECTFUL WAY TO PROTEST WITHOUT DISRESPECTING THE FLAG OR THEIR SERVICE, AND TAKING A KNEE WAS WHAT HE WAS TOLD. So everybody can just calm the fuck down. This form of protest was endorsed by the only people who should give a shit. And Eminem expressing his beliefs and opinions are exactly what this country is supposed to be about. Feel free not to watch the Super Bowl ever again if this offends you.
  • As for Mary J. Blige. Are you fucking serious? People wear FAR less than this at a public pool. She looked spectacular and her outfit was not the least bit problematic. If people want to feel otherwise, then go right ahead. It's a free country. So feel free not to watch the Super Bowl ever again if this offends you.
  • Dr. Dre is able to express his experience just like everybody else, and if he has a platform to do so, then why should he give a crap if some people won't like it? Answer? HE SHOULDN'T! Elon Musk and other billionaires do and say stuff which offends me all the time and people praise them for it... but Dr. Dre should be treated differently? Fuck no. None of the words he used were profanity. And condemning him over what he feels and what has experienced is absurd. Go ahead and be offended. Refuse to buy his music. You do you. But understand they he gets to do him too. And, oh yeah... feel free not to watch the Super Bowl ever again if this offends you.

I didn't look very hard, but I'm sure that Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent were lambasted over something. They're Black men in America, which means somebody somewhere is pissed off about it. That (along with death and taxes) is a certainty. And all the more reason they deserve to be performing at the Super Bowl. And probably should have been a long time ago.

Anyway...

When it comes to the commercials, there were a few that got me. My hands-down favorite was The Sopranos remix with the kids reenacting the show opening...

It doesn't feel like a Super Bowl without a Budweiser commercial that makes you want to bawl your head off...

The star power in the Planet Fitness ad was great. And the way that Lindsay Lohan is willing to poke fun at herself just makes me love her all the more (I fell back into love with her again after her response to a Cameo request)...

I love anything with Salma Hayek... but it was the surprise appearance by Arnold that made this commercial so much fun...

I could listen to Morgan Freeman read the telephone book and be completely entertained, so hearing him in this terrific ad for Turkish Airlines was great...

The Alexa ad by Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost was seriously funny...

Probably the most important and heartwarming commercial was for the Google Pixel 6 phone, which works to take amazing photos of you... no matter your skin tone. And I'm sure that Google will be accused of being "too woke" or some other such bullshit because a lot of white people will be saying "I don't know what Black people are complaining about!" because this is a non-issue FOR THEM... but imagine how important this is for persons with dark skin tones who have had to live with their photos turning out crappy because nobody ever bothered to try and make them look good? Wonderful. And how the world should be...

Runner up to most important commercial is a commentary on the insane divide of this country and how people will go at each other throats over shit that doesn't matter...

So... all in all... not a bad slate of ads that I actually wanted to watch. Effective advertising seems like a lost artform (99% of commercials are shit and don't make me want to do anything except ignore them, skip them, or not buy the product), so it's nice that somebody somewhere knows how to do it right.

   

Apple Report Card 2021

Posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

Dave!Everybody has been releasing their "Apple Report Card" for 2021, so I thought I'd do the same.

MAC: A+
In the entire existence of the Macintosh personal computer, I've never had such a fantastic double-whammy as the iMac M1 and MacBook Pro M1 MAX. There's always been something keeping one or the other from greatness in the same timeframe. Then came 2021. First I got an iMac and was completely blown away by what a great low-end computer it was. Thanks to the M1 chip, it didn't feel low-end at all. Then came the MacBook Pro refresh. After far too long of getting shitty laptops that were overpriced, underpowered, and kept losing features which made them anything but "Pro," Apple finally... FINALLY... gave us a laptop that was actually designed for professionals. All we need now is a Pro desktop machine, and I'll be a happy camper.

iPHONE: A
The change from 12 Pro to 13 Pro was fairly subtle. The most noticeable thing about the latest model to me was the 3× telephoto lens and incredible battery life. But still... an excellent phone that deserves an A rating.

iPAD: C
The current iPad offerings are very good. But we're still missing one that's of a large enough size to be truly useable by artists as a graphics tablet replacement. So Samsung has stepped up and created an Android tablet that actually is large enough to be a Wacom Tablet killer... and it's been so popular that Samsung literally had to shut down pre-orders. Apple completely missed the window by once again ignoring what users need, and will be playing catch-up in a market they could have so easily owned had they not been so absurdly myopic. It's fucking embarrassing. And has me seriously wanting to take a look at the Samsung tablet... assuming they can ever catch up with demand enough that I can take a look. Pathetic and sad.

WATCH: B-
Apple Watch is a wonderful product that I never thought would be as useful as it's turned out to be. But it's stagnating. Apple makes minor cosmetic changes and acts like they've revolutionized smart watches. And it's really kind of hilarious... in a bad way. Apple needs to take a serious step back and figure out ways of pushing the WatchOS platform forward in new and interesting ways. Otherwise they're just going to be overtaken by other more affordable alternatives which can do the same thing for less money. That ain't good.

TV: D
The AppleTV interface is horrendously bad AND APPLE WON'T FUCKING FIX IT! It's just mind-boggling how Apple has BILLIONS OF DOLLARS and can't bother to improve their shitty, antiquated fucking TV OS when companies with a tiny fraction of their resources (like Plex) have a far more useable interface. At least Apple is finally addressing their shitty fucking hardware by getting rid of their phenomenally bad remote and replacing it with one that's... slightly better (but still bad). And don't get me started on the MacOS TV app, which somehow manages to be even worse that the TV OS version! This department needs an entire overhaul from top to bottom with a new team of fresh eyes who aren't interested in rehashing the same old crap we've been stuck with since Day One.

SERVICES: C
Apple actually has very good services... it's just that they're horribly overpriced. And they're bundled in ways that are fairly useless for my needs.

HOMEKIT HOMESHIT: D-
Jesus. I simply don't understand how Apple keeps fumbling their smart home offering this badly. "HomeKit" is abhorrently bad and it's not improving nearly fast enough. Amazon and Google have not only eaten Apple's lunch, they've gone on to eat Apple's breakfast, dinner, snack, and dessert. It's not that I dislike HomeKit... it's that I detest it because it's total garbage. I am hopeful that Apple's alliance with Amazon, Google, and others on a new "universal standard" will be the shot in the ass that Apple needs to actually make something worth a shit.

HARDWARE QUALITY: A
My iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad are all built really well and perform beautifully. Well worth the money I've paid for them, which hasn't always been true of Apple products.

SOFTWARE QUALITY: D
Where do I even start? From MacOS stagnating to positively embarrassing depths to their basic apps lacking fundamental features that regularly have them being eclipsed by small third-party developers... software quality is just atrocious at Apple. They either need to get off their asses, invest some serious time and money, stop coasting on mediocrity, and listen to their users... or start buying out developers who have their shit together. Because I am sick and fucking tired of Apple being complete cock-ups when it come to their software. Even worse? Things that Apple did well at one time get diminished or outright cut (even simple things like being able to choose which SMTP server to use in Mail are just... gone). What a way to sabotage their stellar hardware.

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The King’s Man Kingsman

Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022

Dave!Revisionist history fiction is something that I enjoy quite a lot. Whether is is a complete reimagining of historical events for a cool story, like Inglourious Basterds, or something with only minor changes to actual events to make a better translation to film, like Darkest Hour, or even something that is a complete invention, like The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society. There's something that fascinates me about true-life events being blended with somebody's imagination.

And along comes The King's Man... a prequel to the two Kingsman movies which follows up on the premise that the secret spy organization was formed by wealthy parents who lost their sons in World War I.

Of course knowing this means that a huge part of the movie is a known quantity, but it's a fun ride that continues the sensationalized action and violence (seriously, some of the action beats are fantastic, no matter how unrealistic)...

Poster for The King's Man.

I don't know why I'm shocked that Ralph Fiennes ended up being such a capable action star in this film... they managed to make an incredible action star out of Colin Firth in the first two... but it was really cool to see him in the thick of things. That we also got Djimon Hounsou and Gemma Arterton was just icing on the cake.

This bit of historical fiction does a pretty good job of taking historical people and events and weaving them into the story. Though some of them are certainly more believable than others. The storyline given to Woodrow Wilson went a bit too far outside of reality to make you take things too seriously, but was still entertaining. And cool to see how many of the things you see in the original films came to be, which is usually pretty clever.

Anyway... pretty cool movie. Still not in the league of the original Kingsman, which was amazing from start to finish, but I did enjoy it more than Kingsman: The Golden Circle which had a lackluster story to tell.

The King's Man is available for purchase now, or you can watch on HBO Max and Hulu come Friday.

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Everything Sucks and I’m Dying

Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2022

Dave!Today I had an eye exam. My eyes, which had miraculously been getting better from where they had been, have snapped back to where they were in 2016... for whatever reason. And my right eye has worsened more than my left. What's that about? Guess I need to take eye vitamins or eat more carrots or something.

In other news... yesterday I went to Amazon to buy something I needed and a banner popped up that said I already bought it in 2019...

Last Purchased Dec. 3, 2019

Apparently I've experienced a pandemic-based blackout.

My house is fairly orderly, so I was confident that if the item wasn't in the two places I would have put it, that it wasn't in my house. So I went poking around in the garage... ten minutes later and there it was. Didn't remember buying it. Didn't remember where I put it. Didn't remember anything. Guess I need to take some ginkgo biloba or eat some dark chocolate or something.

Could be that everything's going wrong because my sleep is so awful.

Guess I need to take some melatonin or drink some chamomile tea or something.

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Everything Sucks and I’m Dying, Part 2

Posted on Friday, February 18th, 2022

Dave!   
And I thought yesterday was bad.

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Caturday 248

Posted on Saturday, February 19th, 2022

Dave!Now that it's getting warmer, the cats are spending more time outside... and starting to shed like crazy. Jake more than Jenny by a factor of about ten. The fur just rolls off of him. Every time I run my hand down his back, a handful of the stuff falls out. Using the Furminator brush pulls out enough fur to build another cat.

It wouldn't be so bad if my cats weren't sleeping with me every night and morning. I'm going to have to switch from weekly bedding washing to twice-weekly...

Jake and Jenny sleeping with me on the bed.

Wishing for the millionth time that I could sleep as easily and often as a cat.

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Bullet Sunday 752

Posted on Sunday, February 20th, 2022

Dave!Do not go gentle into that good night... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• LEGEND! To say that Roy Kent is my favorite television character of all time is kinda underselling it. And to them get him to do something like THIS?!?

Perfect.

   
• Well, Fuck! Doesn't it just figure? After decades of finally trying to find the perfect frozen pizza, I actually DO, only to have Red Baron fucking change it...

Old vs. New

The cheese, which used to be creamy and gooey has been cut bigger and now tastes chewy... like I have a mouth of pencil erasers. The crust looks the same, but it doesn't cook up light a airy like bread... it's more pasty and dense. This could be because the cheese and sauce has changed... but it really doesn't seem the same. And it's like... WHY?!? Why change something that's actually good? Oh well. I was eating way too much pizza anyway (I was buying six at a time)... so that problem is solved.

   
• Marple! Ever since not being able to go to the theater to see the remake of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, I've been obsessing over other Agatha Christie adaptations. And I think that I've found the book which has been adapted the most... A Caribbean Mystery. This evening I started with the 1983 Helen Hayes movie, which is my favorite. Then tomorrow I'll finish up with the BBC/ITV versions from 1989 and 2013...

The three different versions of A Caribbean Mystery

The BBC version with Joan Hickson is likely the most faithful version... but I'm just such a huge Helen Hayes fan that it's difficult for me to see past it.

   
• MIWANDA! Dead. Legit dead. If you've seen Sex and the City: And Just Like That... this is one of the funniest things you'll see (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@zzzachariah Justice for silly Steve 🤪 #satc #sexandthecity #ajlt #andjustlikethat #mirandahobbes #stevebrady #carriebradshaw ♬ Sad Emotional Piano - DS Productions

Steve was thoroughly trashed by the sequel series, and this puts a cherry on it.

   
• Threat! For whatever reason, I have been getting a shocking number of viruses attempting to take over my computer these past few weeks. Four appeared just yesterday...

Threat messages from BitDefender.

There was a day that Mac users didn't have to worry so much about viruses, but now? Yeah. If you're a Mac user, I would install some kind of virus protection sooner rather than later. I went with BitDefender because I got a deal on it, but anything you find is bound to be better than nothing.

   
• EmmyEmm! I find it fucking hilarious when dipshit ass-clowns like Rudy Giuliani dare to talk shit about anybody. They just don't have the brains to do it without getting fucking roasted in the rebuttal...

Gotta hand it to the writers at The Late Show, this parody of Eminem is funny as hell. Not that it was very difficult for them to come up with something... Giuliani is basically a parody of himself.

   
• Peace, Mutherfucker! The season finale of Peacemaker was sublime. Absolutely perfect. Thanks to James Gunn for such a terrific show... but especially for Vigilante, who is easily one of my favorite characters now. Freddie Stroma was inspired casting! And then there's Adebayo. Holy crap did she get an amazing character arc in this series! "I was made for this shit!" is right! Cannot wait for Season 02.

   
Until next Sunday, true believers...

   

What Happened to Boys with Frogs?

Posted on Monday, February 21st, 2022

Dave!On February 19, 2022, I was sitting in my home watching the final two installments of "The Wedding Veil Trilogy" on Hallmark Channel. In the second film, they end up in Burano, Italy, a small island near Venice which is known for fine lace and colorful houses. As I do every time a place I've been to appears in a movie, I take a quick look at my travel photos from my visits and try to remember details of my trip.

Turns out I remembered quite a lot. But one thing I couldn't remember is how far it was from Venice to Burano. All I could recall was that it was the vaporetto stop after the cemetery island and the island of Murano. A quick look at Google Maps, and I saw that Burano was quite a bit further away than I was thinking it was...

Map of Venice with Murano and Burano.
Map © Google

Because the movie wasn't very good, I found myself wandering around Venice using Google Maps "Street View"... tracing my way around the places I had been in my two trips to visit.

Eventually I got around to this...

A Google Maps Street View capture of a large white statue of a boy holding a frog which has been encased in a glass cage.
Map © Google

Now that's weird... what's that glass cage doing there?

On March 20, 2011, I was in Venice, Italy. While there I posted a photo of a giant statue of a small boy holding a frog at the Punta della Dogana...

Boy and Frog Statue!

On August 16th, 2015, I was in Los Angeles, California. While there I posted a photo of a giant statue of a small boy holding a frog at The Getty Center...

The Getty Los Angeles Boy with Frog

At the time I remarked that it was weird how there were duplicate statues half a world away from each other.

So tonight I decided to Google for more information on the statues to see why there were two of them...

  • In 2008 artist Charles Ray used 3D computer modeling to create models of a photo that had been taken. The work, entitled Boy with Frog, was then super-sized and built out of fiberglass over a steel frame for a commission by François Pinault to stand outside of a museum he was building to house his art collection in Venice.
  • The Punta della Dogana museum opened in June 2009. Boy with Frog was installed for the opening, sitting on land owned by the City of Venice. The lease to house the sculpture was renewed with the city four times a year.
  • Sometime in 2011 the fiberglass sculpture in Venice was replaced with a painted stainless steel version.
  • On July 26, 2011 the fiberglass version made its way to The Getty Center in L.A. where it was put on temporary display until January of 2012.
  • In May of 2013 the stainless steel version was removed from the Punta della Dogana and replaced with a reproduction of a lamp post.

Apparently the Google Maps Street View image I saw was snapped prior to May of 2013. Furthermore, the statue had a police guard during the day, but had the glass cage locked around it at night to protect it from vandalism.

Now I am going a little bit crazy, because I have some questions about what I've read...

It seems absurd that such an important and beloved work has so little concrete information available about it. The good news is that I think I saw both the fiberglass and the painted stainless steel versions. And, if it turns out I haven't, a trip to Philadelphia can solve that (or New York City, if I can get there before June 5th).

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22022022

Posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

Dave!When I woke up this morning, half my feed was pointing out how todays date of 22 February, 2022 is both a palindrome (reading the same forwards and backwards) and an ambigram (reading the same right-side-up and up-side-down). And half of those was pointing out that it happens to be a "Twosday" on top of it all.

It really only works on digital clocks though...

Personally, I'm not impressed.

Wake me up on 22222222.

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When Memes Become Reality

Posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

Dave!   
Well now Marvel Studios is just messing with us...


Three Spider-Men Meme

Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Toby Maguire recreating the Three Spider-Men Meme

   
Spider-Man: No Way Home comes to home digital on March 22.

   

We Now Interrupt this Broadcast…

Posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2022

Dave!   
I think my blog has been hacked. Blergh.


Blog Broked

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Hackable Offense

Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

Dave!Turns out my blog had indeed been hacked. As when this happened the last time, I have no clue as to how it happened. Likely some vulnerability in my installation or something. This is incredibly frustrating because I had no idea what to do about it. I spent days Googling for help, but it all basically boils down to reinstalling WordPress and rewinding to an old backup. But how old? How long has code been injected into my site? If they did it once, couldn't they just break in and do it again since I don't know what happened and nothing weird ended up in my security plugin logs? Who knows.

This morning work was blissfully light, so this past weekend I took some time to make changes to my security settings... reinstall my templates... make a copy of my old backup (in case I haven't fixed anything)... and do some shifts on the back-end which will (hopefully) make a difference. I also turned on all the alerts so hopefully I will be notified if files change or somebody gets in.

I was, of course, still blogging daily, and was going to post all the entries I had been collecting but were afraid to post... but eventually decided to just summarize everything since it's all in the past and I don't care enough to review it.

Which brings us to something I should mention... Blogography is always a day behind.

I write my entries the day before they post (this is being written on Monday evening and posted on Tuesday) so I can review things and make sure I'm not posting something I'll regret. Which often happens after I hash out a rant or weigh in on something controversial. In those instances I am basically blogging my way into therapy, but after I've cooled down I see that it's just not something I should really be posting because it was only meaningful to myself.

This decision was reached last year when I went off on a blistering rant that I regretted posting when I woke up the next day. So I just decided to wait until the next day so I will (hopefully) not regret stuff as much.

Life really is too short for regrets.

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And in summation…

Posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

Dave!As I mentioned, my blog was hacked and I was worried to post in fear of making things worse, so I stacked up my entries until I could take a look over the weekend. So far so good, as I didn't see anything amiss when I woke up this morning. No errant code being generated. No weird posts being linked to. Just some failed logins which were waiting in my email inbox this morning.

And since I don't want to review all my rants over the past week, here's what you missed (some of which I'm certain will appear in my upcoming entries because I can't just let shit go)...

FEBRUARY 25th, 2022
AS THE BUTTER CHURNS
This was all about things I learned that I was doing wrong when it came to securing my blog. I wrote this more for myself than anybody else, because anybody actually needing this information could Google it just like I did and get something more up-to-date than anything I was rambling about. So... yeah... useless. But it was all that was going on in my life at the time, so I'm choosing to forgive myself.

FEBRUARY 26th, 2022
CATURDAY
Now that the snows are melting and birds and other wildlife are everywhere, Jake and Jenny have been much more active than usual. No laying around the house... instead they are sitting at all the windows taking in the sights and hanging out in the catio to experience all the new smells that are being unearthed by melting snows.

FEBRUARY 27th, 2022
BULLET SUNDAY
Let's see... looks like I was discussing heartbreak for people suffering from the invasion of Ukraine... Girl Scout Cookies... Old TV shows I'd like to see resurrected... Sony's new Spider-Verse trailer for Morbius... Freedom Convoys... the Freedom of Information Act... and the mind-numbingly high cost of printer ink.

FEBRUARY 28th, 2022
PRE-SPENDING MY LIFE AWAY
I calculated out (roughly) what my meager tax refund would be so that I can buy stuff that I desperately need to get. A new chair, because mine is so uncomfortable that I can only work in it for an hour at a time. New shelves for my studio, because they are literally being held together with duct tape and fell down in the middle of the night terrifying my cats (but mostly me). And an Xbox Series S (AKA "the cheap one") refub unit to replace the one that I gave away, because I need something to treat myself after the crap year that was 2021... plus the price was too good to pass up (I'm choosing to look at this as an investment!) and I really want to play Halo Infinite.

And... that's a wrap. Hope you enjoyed not having to listen to me for four whole days!

   

Streaming Wars 2022

Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

Dave!Last night I was asked which streaming platforms I subscribe to. My answer was "All of them... just not all at the same time." Firstly, because who can afford that? And secondly, there's only so many hours in the day I can watch television.

Those that I pay for with annual memberships (or monthly if they are backwards and don't offer the money-savings)...

  • Disney+ (Annual)
    As the Marvel Studios and Star Wars content keeps ramping up, I am watching more and more. Marvel worried me at first because I wasn't as enchanted as most people were, but Hawkeye redeemed their efforts. If I could only have one streaming network, this would be the one I keep because it's the one I most enjoy. Plus? Obi-Wan is almost here.
  • HBO Max (Annual)
    Color me surprised. I had subscribed for a month at a time off and on when there was something I wanted to watch. But then with Dune and The Suicide Squad and Matrix Resurrections I held onto it for a while... and was surprised at how often I was watching it. There's just so much stuff happening, which makes it a great value.
  • YouTube Premium (Annual)
    I watch a crazy amount of YouTube for everything from learning to entertainment, but I'm mortified at the number of ads they cram into their bullshit. Fortunately, you can pay money to eliminate the ads entirely. It seems more expensive than it's worth, but given how much I use it, it's worth it to me so I'm not wasting valuable time watching shitty ads.
  • Discovery+ (Annual)
    I watch an absurd amount of home renovation shows, and they can all be found here. And while the Magnolia Network section has been a scorching disappointment, there's still plenty I end up watching.
  • Amazon Prime (Annual)
    I don't order as much from Amazon as I used to, and started seriously questioning whether or not I needed to subscribe to their Prime service. But between the wide variety of "free" streaming programming and a nice discount on their music service, Prime is worth a lot more than just free shipping. Heck, I'd pay the price just to watch Reacher.
  • Apple TV+ (Monthly)
    Apple has been a mixed bag. For every total gem like Ted Lasso you get an abhorrent crap-fest like Foundation. And while the content it definitely lacking, the stuff I actually like is stuff I really, really like. I don't know yet where Severance falls... it's intriguing, but so slow-moving that I'm completely bored waiting for the interesting bits. This should either have been nine half-hour episodes or four to five hour episodes. Not nine hour-long episodes.
  • Philo (Monthly)
    I get a nice discount every month as a part of my T-Mobile perks, so I hang on to this for Hallmark Channel and some other content that I watch from time to time.

Those I turn off-and-on, as needed...

  • Hulu (Cheap-Ass Ad-Supported)
    While not entirely enchanted by their offerings, they do have some really cool shows and movies I've enjoyed over the years. So I activate my subscription a couple times a year to watch them.
  • Netflix (Cheap-Ass Basic SD)
    They raised their prices. Again. And so now I am just activating it a few times a year to catch up on the great stuff they do... while not sinking my money into a service which is quickly spending a lot of resources on crap I don't want and won't use (like games). The SD quality option looks like crap, but since I'm not watching all the time, it's fine.
  • Peacock (Cheap-Ass Ad-Supported)
    NBC's streamer is kinda... bad. There's just not that much there that interests me. But every once in a blue moon I subscribe for a month to see what I'm missing. Most of the time it's nothing, but they do have some good shows and movies.
  • Funimation
    Anime heaven. And even their cheapest plan is ad-free. I sign up for a month when I feel like taking a deep dive into anime, which happens a couple times a year. I prefer Funimation to Crunchy Roll, though there's some content there that's worth a look as well. What I don't understand is that Funimation and Crunchy Roll are both backed by Sony. Why?
  • BritBox/Acorn TV
    I have a deep, deep love of British television. These two services are good for a month or two when I simply have to have it. But both services, good as they are, have pretty sad back-catalogs. Love 8 Out of 10 Cats? Well, you're not getting everything... just the past four seasons. Like, WHY?!? WHY NOT ALL THE FUCKING SEASONS? And where are all the old episodes of shows like Never Mind the Buzzcocks? Nowhere to be found. It is hugely frustrating that these streamers are so bloody limited in scope, because I'd likely be an annual subscriber if they would only have some depth to their catalogs.
  • Sundance
    AMC (American Movie Classics) has ten-or-so streaming networks, none of which are worth much to me on their own. With the possible exception of Sundance, which is home to shows I like such as This Close. Why in the hell AMC doesn't just combine all their crap into a single mega-streamer (including Acorn TV!) is a complete mystery to me. That is something I might pay an annual fee to have.

Those that I pay for out of protest...

  • Paramount+ (Annual, Cheap-Ass Ad-Supported)
    This streaming service is technically 100% shit but has some programming I enjoy (most of the Star Trek stuff and cool shows like Magnum P.I. and NCIS: Hawai'i are here). But it's so fucking frustrating trying to get their shows to actually play. Newer shows often play without issue. But any of their older programming? 90% of the time it simply will not play. They'll say you are using a VPN or blame it on your browser or whatever... but I'm not using a VPN on my television and AppleTV doesn't have a browser. I've wasted entirely too much time being blamed for their problem by their customer "service" when I have zero problem with EVERY OTHER service. I detest these assholes and their fucking turd of a service, but still subscribe from time to time so I can watch a show that's only found here. I used to buy seasons of Magnum PI from iTunes, now I just sink the money here so I can watch Picard and stuff.

So far I haven't felt a need for streamers like Showtime and Starz and such... but if there's a series or movie that's exclusive and something I'm dying to see... well... I guess you do what you gotta do.

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A Whole New Seat

Posted on Friday, March 4th, 2022

Dave!Now that I'm working at home so much (quieter and with a better computer), I need something more than my IKEA dining room chair with a thin pad on it. I can only sit for an hour because my butt and back are aching so bad that I can't concentrate. Because it's so important to get something quality, I set a budget for a whopping $250 and started looking.

And saw an absurd number of options... each being declared either "the best chair ever" or "the worst chair ever." So I asked friends on Facebook (many of whom work from home) and got some incredible options (including gaming chairs, which I had never even considered, but making perfect sense given how people sit for hours on end playing video games).

Ultimately I needed something thusly:

  • Not too big... it needs to easily wheel between my office (where my studio is) to my hall desk (where my computer is). A massive chair with a huge bag will be tough to wheel back-and-forth through the doorway.
  • Can't have fixed arm rests... I need to be able to drop the arm rests down so the chair can fit under my desk and drafting table when not in use. Also, there are times I need them out of the way when I am painting or inking.
  • Can't be too squishy... As much as I love the idea of a nice, squishy seat for my boney ass, that's actually worse for me in the long run because it puts stress on my back. I want comfy, but without being too hard or too soft.
  • Must be at least partially ergonimic... These flat seats and straight backs aren't overly uncomfortable to me, but they're nothing I am dying to spend a lot of time in either. I'd like it to be form-fitting enough that I am comfortable and supported, but not so form-fitting that it restricts movement while I'm drawing.
  • Has to be adjustable... I'm tall. I have long legs. If the seat can't be moved back-and-forth so I can get into the butt-groove, I might as well stick to the hard chair I'm in now. And, while I know most people just love some lumbar support, I always feel that I'm being pushed out of the chair, and would prefer to be able to get rid of it or have it be able to move in and out.
  • Has to be quality... I cannot afford to buy a new chair every year because I spent a chunk of money for something that falls apart.

Little did I know that $250 to get all of the above is an absurd fantasy that will never happen. Sure I can get some impressive chairs, but they are either cheap or missing something that's critical to me. At one point I thought it might be less expensive to buy separate chairs for my desk and drafting table, but decided I'd rather put all my money into something that works for both so I can get better quality.

And so I thought that I could probably justify a $500 chair if it was worth it and did everything I need. I'll be sitting in it a lot, so it's probably worth spending the money.

A friend highly recommended Steelcase, and they had a nimble chair that looked like it might be perfect for my needs: The Steelcase Series 1 for $486.

Great, right?

Nope. After a consultation, I found out the best Steelcase for me was the Amia (I ruled out the Amia Air with the mesh back because I figured my cats would have an absolute field day with it)... FOR SEVEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY DOLLARS... EIGHT HUNDRED AND SEVENTY DOLLARS IF I WANTED ADJUSTABLE ARMS AND HARDWOOD FLOOR CASTERS!

Way out of my budget.

But... I could make it work if I supplemented my pending tax refund with some of my savings. And it seemed a wise move for something that will make it easier sitting for work for hours and hours.

So I went to order. But couldn't. Because Steelcase's website "has a problem with Safari web browsers" according to the customer service agent I spoke with. Well, fuck you. Safari is a web-compliant browser, and having a website that doesn't work for the most popular Mac web browser is a slap in the face.

So I started looking at office supply stores. But eventually found the chair I needed on the Steelcase Amazon storefront... for $716.00. Which is cheaper than even the baseline model when purchased directly from Steelcase, which makes no sense because Amazon takes a big cut of the money they make. The only downside is that it had a grey frame instead of the black frame I wanted... but for $154 savings, I can deal with it. Plus I had $90.31 in Amazon Card reward points, which made the Steelcase Amia Chair with Platinum Base & Hard Floor Casters, in Graphite even cheaper...

I congratulated myself on my bargain find (despite being way past what I wanted to spend) and waited for the chair to show up.

Which it did.

And it was very nice.

Except it had carpet casters (rock-hard) instead of hard floor casters (soft). So I called Steelcase. They had me call Amazon. Amazon said that if there's a problem to be resolved I needed to talk to Steelcase because it's their storefront, and all they could do was accept a return or exchange. I called back to Steelcase and was getting the same run-around when eventually I got ahold of a guy who gave me an email address to try. Long-story-less-long... she asked for photos and determined that this was an error on their part. Then she set up a case with customer service to have the proper casters sent to me so I don't have to return the whole chair.

And so now I'm waiting for my new wheels so I'm not scraping up the hardwood.

Overall I'm happy with the chair. Once I got it configured it's quite comfortable, and the size is only slightly larger than I was imagining (would be nice if it were an inch or two narrower). Would also be nice if the seat could be moved forward another inch for people with long legs, but there's still plenty of support, and my butt is situated into the actual groove of the seat instead of on the hump (which happens in so many "ergonomic" chairs I've used over the years).

The only thing I don't like about The Amia model I got is the "4-Way Adjustable Arm Rests," which are shit. They do go up and down so I can move them out of the way and slide the chair under my desk. No problem there. The issue is that you can only lock the height in place. The left/right and in/out and swivel cannot be locked in place. Which means every time you use the arm rests to get in or out of the chair, they are sliding all over. WTF? Hugely annoying. I thought adjustability would be a good thing, but it's actually terrible. I wish that I had just gotten the fixed arm rests that go up and down only. Would have been less hassle than having to adjust them back to where they were every damn time I sit down. What I might see if I can do is get them to where I want them, then glue-and-screw them so they won't fucking slop around the arms any more. I am still stunned that you can't lock adjustments into place.

In all seriousness... who in the hell dreams up stupid shit like this? FOR A SEVEN-HUNDRED DOLLAR CHAIR?!

And apparently the movement only gets worse over time. There are literally videos on YouTube how to tighten everything back up!

The good news is that there's plenty of places I can permanently lock-down the movement where it won't be seen! I can't believe that people actually pay SEVENTY-TWO DOLLARS EXTRA for these shitty fucking arm rests.

Because it's always something with me, isn't it?

Oh well. At least now I can work for ten hours straight without having to worry about my ass falling asleep.

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Caturday 249

Posted on Saturday, March 5th, 2022

Dave!Jake has no problem violating your personal space. He's been that way since I got him. It bothers Jenny a lot. Like a lot a lot.

Usually when Jake gets too close to Jenny she will run away immediately. Sometimes she will swipe at him first. But lately Jenny can't be bothered to be bothered. She just lays there being annoyed...

Jenny looking annoyed.

Just look at that face...

Jenny looking VERY annoyed.

This photo was taken after Jake plopped his butt down right up to her face while she was sleeping...

Jenny looking annoyed.

She was clearly annoyed. But couldn't be bothered to run away as she usually would. She just went back to sleep.

But lately she's been even less bothered. Rather than going around her, Jake is happy to climb over her to get to where he's going. I expect her to bolt every time, because that's what she usually does. But nope.

I guess she's just to old and irritated to give a crap now.

Much like myself...

Jake snuggled up to my leg, spread-eagle, while I'm working in bed.

Though I suppose I should be grateful that he doesn't lay across my keyboard while I'm trying to type. This is as close as he gets... just close enough to stare at me while I'm trying to work...

Jake stares at me while I work with his gorgeous green eyes.

Speaking of Jake...

A part of me is sad that Jake can't meow. The guy tries and tries, but the best he can manage is a squawk... but most times nothing comes out at all. But there's another part of me that is a bit relieved because he would be meowing his head off all the time. I do always pretend he's meowing when I see him him mouth one... and I always respond if I hear his little squawk... I don't want him to feel bad. But he would be one noisy cat if his vocal chords worked that way.

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Bullet Sunday 753

Posted on Sunday, March 6th, 2022

Dave!Don't let life distract your from what's truly important... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Homemade! The last French rolls I bought were $4.80 for six, were small, gummy, and didn't taste that great. So this time when I wanted an Old Amsterdam Old Cheese sandwich roll I made my own big, beautiful, fluffy rolls...

My fluffy buns!

My fluffy buns with cheese on them!

Cost me less than $1... and they are unbelievably good. So good that I can't stop eating them. I've had three. It will take all my effort to not to eat a fourth.

   
• Welcome to My Nightmare! Had I seen Nightmare Alley in 2021, it would have made my best-of list for sure. The story is interesting enough, but it's the visuals and atmosphere that makes the film so special. It's a work of art. Its every scene is gorgeously and meticulously constructed...

Nightmare Alley Poster

And the performances! Bradley Cooper can act, sure... but it's Cate Blanchett who drives this bus home. Then you get Willem DaFoe, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and an utterly brilliant and pivotal character by David Strathairn. It's too good. The fatalistic destiny which haunts everybody is palpable.

   
• Good Bye. Dang. Dieter Bohn is leaving The Verge. He and Marques Brownlee are the only two tech reviewers that I actively seek out because they are just so good at their job. In his farewell video, Dieter talks about his online handle, "Backlon," which is something I can very much relate to. Online I'm "Blogography" for everything because it's my blog name and how everybody knew me. So it became my handle everywhere. As Dieter says, "The choice causes a cascade of associations for whoever sees that handle." And it's 100% true. This is a fascinating video about our online identity... and everything I will miss about Dieter Bohn...

Best of luck at Google, sir.

   
• Dave! There have been a lot of great guests on Hot Ones, and Dave Growl is right up there...

And here's a bonus bit of Dave for you...

He is hands-down one of the most fascinating people on the planet.

   
• Depot-Free! It only took three months, four phone calls, and a dozen messages to get The Home Depot and Citi to credit me the $50 I was promised when I opened my account... but here it is! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I can't believe it. I just made the full balance payment, so I'll believe it when it's posted, I have a zero balance, AND I CAN CLOSE THIS FUCKING ACCOUNT. I wish to God I had never messed with the Home Depot Credit Card which has been a complete nightmare from the very beginning. If you are going to promise a customer "Up to $100 Off" if they open account... and their purchases qualify for a $50 credit... THEN GIVE THEM THE FUCKING MONEY! How difficult is this? Apparently very difficult, given what I've been through. Do they expect people to just give up so they never have to pay what was promised? Well, you got the wrong guy for that.

   
• Say Human! Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is disgusting. The inhumanity of this horrific decision sickens me to my very core. And all I can think about is what happens to those kids in school who have two moms or two dads or a trans parent or a sibling who identifies outside the absurd artificial construct of binary sexuality. Their family members no longer exist while they’re being “educated.” Which is to say that they’re not being educated at all. They’re being discriminated against. Fuck those grotesque mockeries of humanity who would be so overtly bigoted and cruel. I’ve long since given up hope that our lawmakers will be decent human beings who want to represent all of us... but I do kinda cling to the hope that I can count on them to be selfish. That they’ll look at friends... family... neighbors... and other people they know... even actors, musicians, writers, and such... and say "I can’t possibly legislate against these people who mean something to me." But of course they can. Because they’re absolute garbage who don’t care who is hurt no matter who those affected may be to them. Appealing to bigotry is how they stay in government, and the money and power they get for that means more to them than anybody or anything. And also? Fuck the heinous assholes who vote for these repugnant pieces of shit. Fuck them twice.

   
• Just Die Already. And speaking of fucking assholes... this decrepit piece of shit wouldn't know the Bible if it sat on his face...

It defies belief that people believe his idiocy. Has he even actually studied the Bible? I sincerely have my doubts, because most everything he has ever said is not supported by Scripture. These are just his unhinged, demented fantasies. Counting the days until he's sent to hell for his shameless false prophet money-grabbing.

   
See you in seven days, true bullet believers.

   

if it’s raining crap, it must be a monday

Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2022

Dave!In all honesty I don't consider myself special for having a miserable day. That's going around a lot lately. Like really a lot. And it does seem petty to be complaining about life when there are people in the middle of a literal war just trying to survive.

And yet...

It sure would be nice to not come off a weekend where I ended up working ten hours only to have a shit-load of crap fall on my head. Made all the worst by whatever passes for "customer service now-a-days." I swear that most companies now just want to deflect problems rather than actually solve them. And it's hard to get mad at the person not helping you because they don't set policy. They're just doing what they're told.

So I try to be kind after being put on hold and getting nowhere, even though I have full documentation to show that I am, in fact, not wrong about what's supposed to happen vs. what's actually happening.

But it's not like the people in charge of these big companies give a shit. They don't have to take customer service calls. They just have to sit back and count their money.

I could really use a vacation. Even if it's just staying home with my cats and watching television.

Happy Monday to me.

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Apple Event 03.08.22

Posted on Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

Dave!AND LO DID TIM COOK DESCEND FROM THE HEAVENS TO BESTOW UPON THE WORLD NEW APPLE PRODUCTS, AND IT WAS GOOD!

Or not. I haven't quite decided. But there was indeed an Apple Event™ today, and Tim Cook did indeed drop a bunch of stuff on an undeserving world. As usual, I just can't seem to shut my mouth about it, so here we go. If you want to watch the actual Apple Event™ before reading my commentary (or watch as you read) then here you go...

AppleTV+
Some of the forthcoming movies and shows look interesting to me. The addition of Friday Night Baseball is an intriguing idea, but the only way I would want to watch it would be if they're showing a Red Sox game, so who knows how useful this will be to me. I'm not quite understanding where Apple is going with all this. Television series (like my beloved Ted Lasso) and movies (like the wonderful CODA) make sense. But baseball? I don't get it. This is not a big missing piece that is filling a hole in Apple's lineup to attract subscribers.

iPhone 13
Whoop-dee-doo. A new green shade for iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. It kinda makes me upset that A) Apple adds colors after you've already bought the latest model... and B) the Pro models always get "sophisticated" (i.e. boring) colors. Let me know what I can have when a product is released. And, for the love of God, give the Pro users cool bright colors like the non-Pro models get. I want my (PRODUCT)RED iPhone Pro, dammit.

iPhones in green and greener.

iPhone 13 SE
This is the "budget" model iPhone that's not exactly "budget." But it is a more affordable option for people wanting a newer, faster iPhone with a better camera and 5G. What's surprising is that the SE is actually more bang for your buck than what you get with a standard model iPhone 13. Because with the exception of FaceID (which I love) this is a pretty sweet feature-packed mobile phone for $430.

iPad Air 2022
Yada yada yada... better, faster, stronger than the last model. This means nothing to me, because what I want is a 17-inch iPad Pro. That's all I want. Until they offer one that's sized for graphic artists, there's no need for me to upgrade from my iPad Pro 12.9-inch model. But for somebody wanting an iPad that slays? This is for you. This is the model I would have bought for my mom. In purple. At $600 it ain't cheap, but there's a lot of bang for your buck in that price tag. Inexplicably, by adding the M1 chip, Apple pushes this into "Pro" territory, which makes me wonder why they have "Pro" models at all. Unless there's new "Pro" models around the corner which will leapfrog this new Air? M2 perhaps?

iPads in pretty colors.

Mac Studio
Studio Display
And here we go. Pro users want to upgrade their machines faster than the average iMac user. But it's always a waste because the 27-inch display on the iMac Pro is integrated with computer, so getting rid of one means you're getting rid of both. And the trade-in value ain't that great. So separating the computer from the display makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, doing so means that you have to pay more to get what you need (even though upgrading will be cheaper because you can hang on to the monitor (and this monitor is really sweet, featuring 5K, great sound, and a very good camera)...

The Mac Studio computer and Studio Display display.

My MacBook Pro with M1 Max is the ideal laptop because it redefines power computing on the go... all while getting sublime battery life. I couldn't be happier with it. Finally an actual Pro laptop! The new Mac Studio allows you to choose between this very capable chip... or the shiny new M1 Ultra. This beast of a processor is essentially "ultra-fusing" two M1 Max chips together into a single processing unit that's more powerful and efficient than using two separate chips that are soldered to the motherboard. Plus the system sees it as a single chip, so developers don't have to do anything special to take advantage of its power. Naturally, I covet a computer using one of these chips... but, even with the intensive work I do, it's likely overkill. Hopefully my office will spring for one of the cheaper models for me, because my 8 year old iMac is dying and takes forever to do simple tasks.

The $2,000 and $4,000 price tag is a lot of cash. But when compared to equivalent high-end PCs it's actually a pretty fair price. And compared to the iMac Pro it's replacing (at $5000) it's a hot bargain. Then there's the Mac Pro, which is still for sale on Apple's website and still using Intel chips. They start at $6000. I'd rather max out a Mac Studio for that kind of money. At least until Apple upgrades the Mac Studio to whatever ungodly powerful chips they're developing.

And that was all she wrote.

And speaking of "she"... interesting to note that all the developers interviewed when talking about the M1 Ultra were women. Appropriate as we celebrate "International Women's Day," I guess. Hopefully all these women are getting equal pay for their work... because that would be something to really celebrate.

But anyway...

Here's the Apple product matrix as it currently stands...

  ENTRY MID-RANGE PRO
iPhone
iPhone SE
iPhone
iPhone Pro
 iPad
iPad Air/Mini
iPad
iPad Pro
iMac
 
iMac 24"
 
Mac
Mac mini
Mac Studio
Mac Pro
MacBook
MacBook Air
 
MacBook Pro
Watch
Series 3
Watch SE
Series 7

So... inconsistent and all over the map then. Steve Jobs must be turning over in his grave.

Though Steve was innovating in a different, simpler age. Tim Cook seems to be more interested in filling needs than filling boxes, which is probably how it should be. No, it's not simpler than having a neat matrix with clearly-defined labels... but it does make sure that people will get devices that are a good fit for what they are wanting to do with it and how much money they have to spend. And that's probably a better approach.

I dunno.

All I do know is that I wish money was not an option, because I would just buy the biggest, baddest, most expensive model of everything Apple makes every time they release it.

Fantasyland is so much nicer than Reality.

   

Help Me Obi Wan Kenobi Number One

Posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2022

Dave!This is the tenth anniversary of Disney's epic disaster, the movie John Carter. I was reminded of this sad fact because there's a look-back at the movie happening over at The Wrap. I don't have anything more to say about this heinous abomination of a film than what I said in my initial scathing review... but I do have a new perspective.

A perspective that comes from the successful adaptation of Dune after the initial failure of that film in 1984.

If only somebody like Denis Villenueve with reverence of the original books could have been put in charge of John Carter of Mars, then maybe it would have had a shot at success. Instead we got a movie which bore only a passing resemblance to the novel. They ignored some fairly major things that made the series work as books, and instead added a bunch of stupid shit that didn't work at all.

As a massive fan of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, I fucking hated this film. And my opinion hasn't changed one bit in a decade. I tried watching it again tonight to see if there was any redemption to be had, but there was not. Terrific visuals and special effects which are pounded to shit by a horrible script.

Part of the article at The Wrap was Andrew Stanton talking about the plan for sequel films. The second of which was to be Gods of Mars and the third of the trilogy being Warlord of Mars...

Given how badly the film portrayed the holy Therns and their role in things, there could be no doubt that the sequel would have totally fucked up Gods of Mars just like it completely ruined A Princes of Mars. And so... a part of me is relieved that John Carter failed so utterly that we never had to suffer through the sequels. But the bigger part of me is still angry that we had to suffer through any of this shit at all.

Oh well. The books haven't gone anywhere, so I can return to Barsoom... the actual fucking Barsoom... any time I like.

And then there's this...

If there's anything that can redeem Star Wars after the shitty fucking prequel trilogy, this would be it. Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi was one of the few good things to come out of those crap films (another being Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu).

I guess all we can do is hope for the best.

And then there's this...

After an incredible first season, Star Trek: Discovery became one of the shittiest Star Trek shows to ever air, which is why I am really, really hoping that the best thing to come out of it... Captain Pike, Spock, Number One, and the crew of the original-original Enterprise... will redeem that franchise.

I guess all we can do is hope for the best.

   

THE ACCURACY!!!

Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2022

Dave!BWAH HA HA HA HAAAA!

Yeah, I was around during the 2008 gas crisis. I somehow managed to survive.


   
If there's a more accurate representation of media manipulation, I haven't seen it.

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Normalizing Evil

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2022

Dave!I've been watching a lot of these docu-series about the rise and fall of powerful people.

Those who obtain sudden wealth by serendipitous circumstance but then fall because they weren't smart about maintaining their money I actually feel kinda sad for. I mean, that's the dream for all of us, right? Come into some money? Alas, if you're not born into money, then you can't really be blamed for not knowing how to keep your wealth because you usually have to do some sketchy shit that they're just not prepared to do. But these people are villainized and we are made to think they're stupid.

Those who obtain sudden wealth by devious means or have generational wealth get treated very differently by these docu-series when they fall. They are humanized and we're made to feel sorry for them.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I watch the news.

Which is essentially a never-ending docu-series at this point.

Television has always been a reflection of reality. This is no different.

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Caturday 250

Posted on Saturday, March 12th, 2022

Dave!Now that Spring has arrived, Jake and Jenny want less and less to do with me as they spend more and more time out in the catio watching the world wake up. New smells. Birds everywhere.

How can I compete with that?

I can't, really. Though there are still moments where my body heat is of interest, and that ain't nothing...

Jake in my arm.

Jake in my arm.

Jake asleep in my arm.

AWWWWWWWW!

Seems like only yesterday they were kittens...

Jake in my arm.

But that photo was taken six years ago.

Boy was that a lifetime ago, wasn't it?

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Bullet Sunday 754

Posted on Sunday, March 13th, 2022

Dave!I've been watching too much television lately, but never you fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• UPLOAD! HOW ABOUT THAT UPLOAD SEASON 2?!? This show could have so easily... so very easily.... just kept doing what what it was doing in the first season and stagnated into irrelevance. But they decided to really go for it...

Alas, they dropped it with yet another cliffhanger. Which is fine IF WE GET A THIRD SEASON. But an official renewal has not been greenlit, so who knows. The first season seemed to be just the right length at 10 bingeable half-hour episodes... but we only got seven episodes this time, which seemed a bit rushed. But that's the COVID world we live in, I guess.

   
• Presence! Well that was unexpected. Easily one of the best Hallmark movies I've ever seen (which is saying something considering I've seen... well... most all of them), The Presence of Love is worth a look if you enjoy the occational rom-com flick...

Gorgeously shot on location in Cornwall and beautifully-acted by Eloise Mumford and Julian Morris, this is a very special film that caught me entirely by surprise.

   
• Unintended Use! Now that I have a new chair, I've been working on sprucing up my studio so it's more comfortable and productive. A big part of that is getting rid of the cardboard box that's clamped to my drafting table to hold all my stuff. It doesn't really work very well and I have to dig through it to find things. So I bought these little kitchen trays that have just enough friction to keep from sliding around. As a bonus, the soap holder fits inside the tray to organize my pens...

Drafting table organization.

Drafting table organization.

It's always nice to run across something that works for what you need when it's not the intended use of the item!

   
• Adam! Ryan Reynolds makes even bad movies watchable, so I knew I'd enjoy his latest for Netflix... The Adam Project...

And while not in any way groundbreaking, it was darn entertaining. It also had a story that wasn't terrible, assuming you don't think about it too hard. If you're a fan of Ryan Reynolds and sci-fi fun, this is the movie for you.

   
• Construction! The guy from Primitive Technology is back at long last. I love his videos...

   
• ER! The second season of Transplant, which has been playing in Canada for MONTHS has finally been released here in the USA on NBC (I just bought the Season Pass on iTunes again). This is hands-down my favorite medical drama ever (and my third favorite show of 2020 after Ted Lasso and The Mandalorian). If you're not watching it, you're missing out...

If you give it a try, be sure to start with the first episode of Season 01, because it starts out with a bang you don't want to miss.

   
• Edward! Ever since finding out that Mitchell Ryan passed away on March 4th, I've been rewatching the first season of Dharma & Greg, where he was in top form as Edward Montgomery. He was hilarious in the show, which was really great for a couple seasons...

Mitchell Ryan

Rest In Peace, sir.

   
Until next week there, buckaroo.

   

Stream-Based Economy

Posted on Monday, March 14th, 2022

Dave!It was announced that HBO Max and Discovery+ will be merging.

This was inevitable. People dumped cable and satellite companies so they could pay for only the networks they actually watch instead of a bunch of shitty channels they never watch. But there have been way, way too many streaming services out there. And their value to consumers is starting to plummet as people give them up completely (or do what I do, turn them off-and-on as needed). By merging together, you're guaranteeing that there's more content people will want to see, so they'll keep paying for your stuff. I watch enough HBO Max and Discovery+ that I buy annual subscriptions. But neither of them is really worth that and I always struggle on spending the money. But if they were a single service? Subscriber for life, baby.

Assuming the price is affordable.

Which begs the question... will they raise prices after the merger? Probably. We'll have to see if it's enough for me to bother. Since I've quickly become disenchanted with commercial-supported subscriptions and never want to watch a fucking commercial ever again, I'd rather turn my subscription on-and-off than to pay for an annual ad-supported subscription.

I wonder how long it will be until all the streaming services merge and we're right back to the shit-show we were in with cable and sattelite?

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Ms.

Posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

Dave!I hate to say it... but I was a bit underwhelmed by WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. WandaVision was not what I was hoping to see from those characters and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was too convoluted and the overall story was lacking (though the magical chemistry between Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan made it totally worth watching).

Then came Hawkeye and Marvel Studios totally redeemed themselves. That series was SO good. Very faithful to the original Matt Fraction and David Aja comics and incredibly entertaining thanks to fantastic performances from Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld (not to mention every other actor in that series... it was impeccably cast). All of a sudden I was excited for the Disney+ series again.

Then we got the trailer for Moon Knight and that looks fantastic too.

And now Ms. Marvel...

The original Ms. Marvel comic book series was great. I absolutely loved how it blended so many elements into something that felt new. If you haven't read it, you should really take a look.

When I heard that the character was coming to the MCU, I was thrilled. But also worried. Because Ms. Marvel's powers are essentially Mister Fantastic (of the Fantastic Four) but come across more like Plastic Man. Since Fantastic Four is coming to the MCU in their own movie fairly soon... it would be weird to have the stretching/distorting powers already belonging to an existing character...

Ms. Marvel being all stretchy and stuff.
@2022 Marvel

But (fortunately) Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios aren't falling into this trap.

So they adjusted Kamala Khan's powers to be more energy-based, like her hero, Captain Marvel. And they look fantastic, don't they? She's kinda got what we were hoping that Green Lantern would have... and yet it very much harkens back to her comic book powers with the giant fist projecting like that. Cool.

What's so wonderful about what Marvel Studios is doing is trying to give all their franchises a different feel. And Ms. Marvel looks completely different from anything we've seen yet. Sure, the Spider-Man movies have played on Peter Parker's high school life... but it wasn't rooted there. And now we have it, which will be fun to see.

Alas, we have to wait until June 8th... which seems a very long time from now.

   

PermaDST. Maybe.

Posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022

Dave!The big news from yesterday is that The Senate unanimously voted to put us on permanent Daylight Saving Time. It just has to pass The House, then be signed into law by President Biden.

After showing just how fucking useless they can be, politicians are finally waking up to the fact that they had better be doing something so it looks like they actually work for the huge amounts of money we pay them. And I guess this is as good as anything.

Of course, this Seanate vote doesn't mean shit until something is actually made into law.

The US government has a long, very long history of appearing like they're getting shit done... only to bail at the last minute because some lobbyist owns them, or they're being paid millions of dollars, or they don't bother to show up for the vote because it's Taco Tuesday, or there's money for them to be made opposing legislation somehow, or whatever the reason. Fuck Yankee Doodle, we know what the real symbol of this country is: politicians endlessly fucking us over for a buck.

Regardless, I still have hope that we'll finally be done with this stupid fucking bullshit of dicking with the clocks twice a year. There are few things I fucking HATE HATE HATE HATE more than the idiocy of going off DST come Fall every fucking year.

And you benefit as well, dear reader. You won't have to read my rants about stupid fucking time changes any more.

   

Life is Too Short

Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2022

Dave!My one take-away from my Apple HomePod fiasco is that I am not wasting my time trying to make things work as advertised. Apple said that HomePod would play my iTunes Match library, it would not, and I wasted half a day trying to get it to do what I bought it for. Then ended up sending it back when it wouldn't do it.

I swore never again.

I wasted a huge chunk of time trying to force something that wasn't going to happen.

And so I stopped doing that.

It either works out of the box or it doesn't, and I'm not going to throw any more of my life away fixing shit when it's not what was advertised.

And it's shocking how much stuff doesn't work out of the box. Today I just sent back a frickiin' iPad holder that didn't work Because is it really worth spending an hour... or even ten minutes... trying to figure out why the iPad clamp won't affix to the swing arm? Nope. — I read the directions. I followed the markings on the parts. I spent precious minutes of my life trying it one way, then the other way. Then I was done.

And so I spent a few more precious minutes boxing it back up and starting a return.

Minutes. Gone.

But wasting minutes is better than wasting hours.

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I’m Going to Disneyland

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2022

Dave!As I mentioned a while back, I pre-spent my tax refund money on a new desk chair and an Xbox Series S. I had an Xbox One back in the day, but ended up giving it away because I wasn't playing it. But last year Halo Infinite was released and I wanted to play it, so I found a cheap Xbox to do that.

Halo Infinite is pretty darn good. It's open-world, which is tasty, and the graphics are pretty spectacular. But I'm not going to talk about Master Chief and Halo. I'm here to talk about a game that has really been wasting my time: Disneyland Adventures (which is included in Xbox Game Pass).

Now, here's where things get weird.

As a GAME, Disneyland Adventures is 100% shit. You play "attractions" so that you can perform tasks for various Disney characters. But the "attractions" have shitty controls, are frustrating for me as an adult (NO idea how kids are supposed to play this crap), and I hate them.

But as a SIMULATION of literal Disneyland? This is one pretty great experience. I've been to Disneyland a bunch of times, and they got so much of it right. I mean, some things are missing... licensed properties like Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure are missing (the game was made in 2011 before Disney bought Lucasfilm) as is stuff added after 2011 (like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge). And Jack Sparrow has been replaced by "Black Barty" for some reason. But still... if you've been to Disneyland, it's pretty amazing to see how faithful they tried to be to the park...

Now, as I mentioned, the controls are shitty. It was originally designed to be played via Kinect, a motion controller, but I don't think that Kinect works with Series X|S machines, so you have to use a controller. Which is no problem to run around looking for stuff, filling your photo album, finding hidden Mickey's, getting autographs, and stuff like that.

So that's what I've been doing.

Alas, since the mini games are so awful to play with a controller, there's only so far in the game I can get. You perform all kinds of favors for the Disney characters, but eventually they want you to do something inside an attraction, and I'm not up for the frustration, so I'm blocked from continuing. Eventually I'll be blocked from finishing the game completely and won't be able to finish at 100%, but that's okay. In the meanwhile it's a fun way to visit Disneyland in these COVID times.

Even if my avatar in the game looks creepy as hell.

   

Caturday 251

Posted on Saturday, March 19th, 2022

Dave!My cats live for the Alexa alarm that tells them that it's breakfast or dinner time. They come running up to me and are hopping around all excited that their favorite time of day has arrived. Every once in a while, I try to out-excite them. I freak out and be all "DINNER TIME! ZOMG! IT'S DINNER TIME! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!? YOU GUYS... IT'S DINNNNNNER TIIIIIIIME! WOO HOO!"

The first couple times I did that, they stopped in their tracks and were all "Wow. You're nuts, man." But now? It just makes them even more excited. They're running around... clawing the scratching post... hopping on and off the furniture... just going bonkers. It's hilarious. I cannot imagine my life without these two knuckleheads. They made a crappy day somehow bearable.

But it's not all peaches and cream.

Jake is not above bullying Jenny to get what he wants. And usually it's her spot on the couch or the cat tree. If she has it, he wants it.

Even a year ago, Jenny would immediately bail. She has no interest in confrontation. But now-a-days? It's a mixed bag. Sometimes she will just stay in place defiantly... especially if Jake starts licking her head...

Jenny is mad that Jake invades her space.

Jake licks Jenny's head.

Jenny licks Jake's face.

And sometimes she will absolutely fight back if she's not in the mood for Jake's bullshit...

Jake licks Jenny's head and looks unimpressed.

Jenny looks up in disbelief that Jake would dare.

Jenny has claws out.

Jenny hisses and is not at all pleased.

More than a couple times I see her chasing him around the house because he's done something to piss her off. And I'm always like "Good for you!" Because I am also to the point in my life where I don't want to tolerate people's bullshit.

Role models pop up where you least expect them to.

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Bullet Sunday 755

Posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2022

Dave!Spring has sprung and I'm motivated for nothing but being lazy, yet do not fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Saavik! I put off watching "How I Met Your Father" for the longest time because I still feel burned by the horrible way that "How I Met Your Mother" ended. I'm not too familiar with Hillary Duff... but I'm fans of Chris Lowell and Suraj Sharma, so I decided to give it a try. I had no idea that Kim Cattrall was playing Future Hillary Duff! She's great!

This was definitely a better move than dredging up Samantha Jones for the awful Sex And The City revival (And Just Like That...). Wise move on her part.

   
• Windu! PLEASE! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! Disney+ needs to make this happen!

   
• Moon Knight! This show just keeps looking better and better...

Ten more days...

   
• National Treasure! Dolly Parton respectfully requested to be removed herself from consideration to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because she hasn't made a rock & roll album... but hopes they will consider her in the future if she does make one (something she's always wanted to do).

First of all... ZOMG! A ROCK AND ROLL ALBUM FROM Dolly Parton?!? GIMME GIMME GIMMEEEEEEE! Can you just imagine?!? Second of all... I think Dolly severely underestimates her contribution to rock & roll. It's not just the music you release, but the influence you have on other musicians and the industry as a whole that should be considered. And she's got that all over. Third of all... you don't "nominate" Dolly Parton for anything. You just give it to her. I find it a little embarrassing for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that they would even put her in this position. And they really need to stop. I mean, Quincy Jones wasn't inducted until 2013, and that was a grotesque oversight waiting that long. Can you imagine having to vote for Quincy Jones to be inducted? Ridiculous. Just give it to him. Then there's Nile Rodgers, who wasn't inducted until 2017. TWO THOUSAND SEVENTEEN!!! Nile Rodgers!!! It's like... what are you even doing?

And then they denied her request.

   
• The Flight Attendant! The first season was such a pleasant surprise. This looks great!

More television to look forward to!

   
• Harassment. Trevor breaking it down as only he can. This is a must-watch video (here's a link in caseTikTok is being a dick)...

@thedailyshow Unpacking the Kim-Kanye-Pete situation and the harassment many women face when trying to leave a relationship. #fyp #foryoupage #dailyshow ♬ original sound - The Daily Show

   
• Jeez! What. The fuck. Jane Campion stepped in shit and that smell ain't EVER going to leave her. Serena and Venus Williams are INARGUABLY two of the greatest athletes to ever walk this earth, and to try to diminish that by saying they're only great because they don't have to play against the men like you do?p>

— =clicks tongue in amazement= —

Yeah. Good luck with that. I try to imagine the majority of male tennis players going up against Serena Williams and very nearly wet myself laughing.

Do not try to take the shine off of somebody else's greatness to make yourself look better... because you only end up tarnishing yourself. I mean, Campion wrote and directed In the Cut, a total turd of a film, after all. Man or woman, a steaming pile is a steaming pile. This is SO unbelievable. Is Campion going to try the Rosanne Bar Defense and blame Ambien or whatever for her being a dumbass? I guess we'll find out.

   
Enjoy your week! Hope you're not lazy like me.

   

In Absence of Travel

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2022

Dave!For decades... 30 years plus... I've traveled on the week of my birthday. Partly because I just don't want to be home to celebrate an occasion that I don't celebrate, but mostly because it seemed like a nice treat for myself for surviving another year. In years when I could afford it, I've left the country. In other years I find something a little more domestic. And it's been great.

The hard part these past two years have been seeing my Facebook feed packed to the rafters with all my past travels... all the while knowing that I'm not going to be going anywhere thanks to the pandemic.

Oh well.

Could be worse.

Though looking at the shit-show this world has become, I guess it is worse?

And, to be honest, I'm not sure my heart is in travel any more. Certainly not to the extent that it used to be. There are still some places I'd really like to go, but will I ever get there? As time marches on will I even care? And if I ever do care enough to travel again (and if it's ever safe enough to travel again), will the places I want to go even be available to me? It's always been my dream to visit St. Petersburg. But, well, you know...

In other news... the Netflix Marvel shows are now on Disney+. I found this out when I tried to log in and they asked me to set up a ne profile so that I can watch shows not meant for children.

And so I've been rewatching the three seasons of Daredevil we were lucky enough to get. One thing that's immediately apparent is why Marvel Studios didn't bother to recast Matt Murdock & Kingpin for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio are sublimely perfect in the roles. Anything less would be a step backwards...

Though what's going to come of it, who knows? A new season of Daredevil on Disney+? A new Daredevil movie? More appearance in other Marvel Studios movies and series?

Hopefully all of that.

   

The Wheels on the Chair Go Round and Round?

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

Dave!Well, the wheels on the chair are supposed to go round and round. Which is why I was more than a little surprised when the "soft" casters for "hard floors" that I received from Steelcase (after two weeks of waiting for them to correct their error) are most decidedly NOT soft. They are hard as a rock. Really no difference at all from the "carpet casters" that came with my chair.

But worse than that? They barely go round and round.

I put them on my chair even though they weren't soft like I expected... but when I pull the chair out, half of them aren't rolling. They are scraping! The only way they rotate is when I sit in the chair so there's some weight pushing down on them. But I can't sit in the chair when pulling out from under my desk!

AND PLEASE NOTE: There is no wax or oil on my floors! It's just regular hardwood flooring!

So I had to order an entirely new set of third-party casters that are ACTUALLY SOFT, ACTUALLY MEANT FOR HARD FLOORS, and, oh yeah, THEY ACTUALLY GO ROUND AND ROUND!

Steelcase Customers Service says that the casters are "designed this way."

GOOD LORD, WHY?!?? THEY ARE SCRAPING ON MY FLOOR!!!

It's really shitty that you pay a huge amount of money for a new chair, get it with the wrong casters, wait for TWO WEEKS to get the correct casters, only to end up with something so low quality that it scrapes up your floors.

I'm more than a little raw about it.

I would expect this kind of thing from a $40 generic chair you buy from Walmart. I do not expect it from a $700 chair from a premium brand like Steelcase.

Oh well. Live and learn, I guess. More expensive isn't always better.

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DaveLife… and Death

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Dave!And... dead.

HOW MY DAY STARTED:
Here lays David Simmer II, he was electrocuted to death one day before his 56th birthday while trying to repair his garage door opener.

HOW MY DAY ENDED:
Here lays David Simmer II, he died of embarrassment one day before his 56th birthday after realizing that his window was open while he was talking to his cat, Jake... "THERE'S MY HANDSOME BEAR! HOW'S MY BABY BEAR? JUST LOOK AT MY HANDSOME BABY BEAR! SUCH A GOOD BEAR! YES YOU ARE! YES YOU ARE!"... knowing full well that the people in the neighboring yard totally heard him.

I feel like I should go apologize or something.

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Good Bye Cruel Earth

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2022

Dave!I'm celebrating my birthday by leaving this planet.

Except I don't have any extraterrestrial contacts to arrange such an escape so I'm driving over the mountains instead.

It's either that or sit around trying to find an excuse to not clean out my flowerbeds.

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Please Leave a Message

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2022

Dave!   
"I'm getting too old for the hand-to-hand violence."

   

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Caturday 252

Posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2022

Dave!I'm away from home this Caturday.

Which is really sad, because I know that if I check in on Jake at night when he expects me to be home I'll see him wandering around the house crying because he can't find me. And it's even worse now that I rarely leave home (thanks, COVID!).

But when I checked in on the knuckleheads this afternoon, I found that they are consoling each other in my absence...

Jake and Jenny laying on the bed.

DON'T WORRY, KITTIES! I'LL BE HOME TOMORROW MORNING!

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Bullet Sunday 756

Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2022

Dave!I may be another year older, but I'm not letting my advanced age slow me down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Death! The fact that Taika Waititi still makes time to do crazy stuff like this in-between all his other massive projects is a gift...

I really enjoyed the series! Find it on HBO Max!

   
• Harm Reduction! This is essential viewing. So few people actually understand what's at play here and how addiction actually works... and the best way to combat it while keeping non-addicts safe...

Seeing people who have no clue about ANY of this making laws is outrageous.

   
• CODA! ARTICLE: “We’re Not Deaf Actors — We’re Actors, Period”: ‘CODA’s Watershed Moment in Representation — When you read this story (and I *highly* recommend you do) I hope you are as enraged as I was to learn that movie studios defeated a class action lawsuit which would have required that films have their music lyrics captioned so that deaf persons can know what is being communicated by the songs the filmmakers selected. If you're deaf, you don't get to experience the whole story of movies you see... and studios fought against you being able to experience the whole story. Why the fuck would they do this? Why would they WANT to do this? Outrageous. And I hope that Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount and Sony are nailed to the fucking wall by consumer rage after people learn about how they treat their deaf patrons.

   
• Buying Air! I saw "falafel burgers" and thought they sounded amazing. So I bought a box. When I got home, I was surprised to find that two of the four burgers were missing! I laughed about it... until I turned the box around and saw that it wasn't "4 Veggie Patties" it was "4+ Veggies" in "2 Veggie Patties." — This has got to be one of the most deceptive packages I've ever seen. It's the same exact size as other boxes containing 4 burgers... then they put "4" on the front above the contents... so unless you really read it, you'll think it contains four burgers. But you only get two, and the box is less than half full. LESS THAN HALF FULL!

A mostly-empty box of falafel burgers.

A mostly-empty box of falafel burgers.

As mad as I am at the company... I am more mad at Safeway for selling this deceptive bullshit in their stores. $5.50 for TWO veggie patties. Unreal. I paid more for an EMPTY BOX than anything else. I would have NEVER bought this stupid crap if I knew I was getting mostly air... no matter how good they taste (or don't).

   
• Bullseye! I really, REALLY hope that when Charlie Cox comes back as Daredevil on Disney+ that they get Wilson Bethel back to play Bullseye. Benjamin Poindexter's downfall and descent in the third season of "Daredevil" was a difficult sell. It took an actor of real talent to pull it off, and Bethel managed it flawlessly. His every move... the way he spoke... everything slowwwwly changes as Dex's world falls apart... you could SEE it happening. The Kingpin knew what buttons to push and how to break him and you could FEEL it happening as you watched it happening...

Wilson Bethel as Bullseye confronting The Kingpin of Crime.

This added a level of tragedy to the character which made him go above being superficial and one-note. Bethel deserves another shot at Bullseye after all his brilliant build-up.

   
• HAAAAAA! This was funnier than I expected it to be...

What's funny is that Douglas Adams did something similar to his ASL interpreter at a book reading. He picked a chapter that had outrageous character names... said them really fast... then quickly looked over at the interpreter to see how she managed it.

   
• Halo?? I've been playing "Halo" since before "Halo" existed. Bungie, the video game studio now owned by Microsoft which birthed the mega-popular series of games, was originally a Mac games developer. And the precursor to "Halo" was "Marathon." I obsessed over "Marathon" and its sequels... then transitioned to "Halo" once it became an Xbox franchise. The latest, "Halo Infinite" is yet another feather in Bungie's cap (I got an Xbox S just to play it). It's a great game that's worth your valuable time. Given all that history, I was anxiously awaiting the Paramount+ TV series "Halo"...

...only to be rewarded with a pile of crap. =sigh= I guess getting a truly good adaptation of a video game is just never going to happen. Maybe I'll tune in again for the season finale, but right now I wasted enough of my time getting through the first episode.

   
Let's see if I can get through my Sunday without having to take a nap.

   

IT’S A BOY!

Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2022

Dave!   
We’ll crap. Guess I have to go into the office...


A negative COVID test.

Kinda weird to be rooting for a positive COVID test. Oh well. I didn't want to stay home and play video games anyway.

No word if I'm pregnant. I guess I should have peed on it?

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Edible Containment

Posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

Dave!Whenever I see a new food item that looks good, I check out the ingredients to see if it contains A) Icky Meat... or B) Mushrooms. More than half the time, it does, and so I end up disappointed that I don't get to try it.

But when it's something I can actually eat? Magic!

Which was the case when I found Royal's Mexican Style Rice & Street Corn...

Royal Mexican Style Rice & Street Corn.

And the stuff is really, really good. My plan was to eat half of it with a burrito for dinner, then take the rest of it to work tomorrow for lunch.

Yeah.

I ate the entire damn bag. It was too good to stop.

And so... something new for me to obssess over.

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Moon Knight

Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

Dave!Last night Disney+ unleashed the first episode of Marvel Studio's Moon Knight at midnight. And of course I stayed up to watch it, not getting to bed until after 1am.

I had some pretty high expectations, because the previews all looked so darn good. Plus I'm a fan of the original comic book character upon which the show is based...

The first episode has precious little actual Moon Knight in it (he appears at the very end). The entire episode (the first of six) is focusing on Steven Grant, a nervous worker from a museum gift shop who is hearing voices and having a tough time discerning dreams from reality. When he starts losing time and waking up in inexplicable locations in the middle of events he doesn't remember... well... it's all going to come crashing down on the guy eventually.

Marvel Studios is going for kinda a horror vibe this time, and it's darn cool. Thankfully they put in the money to get a talent like Oscar Isaac to carry the series, because the show would have crumbled if they just plopped in any ol' actor. I sincerely hope that they will have Moon Knight appearing in other Marvel shows and movies. The character would bring a very different mood anywhere he appears.

Worth tuning into for sure.

   

YooToob Dood, Part One

Posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2022

Dave!Here are the YouTube creators I can't live without... meaning that I watch every single last one of their videos... PART ONE!

(in no particular order)

Jay Foreman
It's like... it should be illegal to be this entertaining while being this funny. And so very, very British.

Lachlan & Jaxon Fairbairn (with Darcy Ahrns)
These videos are just nuts... but in a good way. Aussie vlogger Lachlan Fairbairn comes up with funny takes on just about everything, and enlists his brother and friend to make videos about it.

Linus Sebastian
If you're deep, deep into geek tech, then I don't need to tell you about Linus and his channel of high-powered tech nerd porn. You already know. The guy is an institution, and now has an entire team making videos for his channels. I watch most of them. But I watch every one of Linus's videos. There's not much hand-holding here... but I don't want to waste the time, so it just makes me a bigger fan.

Mark Rober
This guy makes the absolute coolest stuff.

Quinn Howard
I happened across Quinn after a video he made about Dune landed in my suggestions (the guy talks about Dune a lot). Then proceeded to watch all of his videos because he's got such a great take on the nerdy stuff I love.

Patrick (H) Willems
The guy has really cool takes on popular cinema... and also some weird stuff that pops up from time to time as well (to varying degrees of success).

Kevin Perjurer
If you're a theme park junkie like me who just loves to think back to all those great rides that don't exist anymore, then Kevin's channel will fill you with the nostalgia that comes from a deep dive into defunct attractions of days gone by.

Matt Broussard
Chefs on YouTube are a dime a dozen (I actually prefer shorter format cooking videos on TikTok because they waste less time with stuff you don't care about). Matt has this approach where he posts his TikToks on YouTube, thus neatly bringing me what I want to see on a platform that's less annoying. But he does have interesting content built for YouTube as well.

Andrew Rea
That other YouTube cooking channel I watch, which became popular as "Binging with Babish" but has grown into something so much more. Most of what's here is cooking famous dishes from television and movies... even when the idea is absurd. But it's all entertaining.

Dean Nicholson
This guy found a stray cat, Nala, while biking around the world and now takes her with him everywhere. As if seeing the world wasn't good enough, being able to see it with a cat? Priceless.

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YooToob Dood, Part Two

Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2022

Dave!Here are the YouTube creators I can't live without... meaning that I watch every single last one of their videos... PART TWO!

(in no particular order)

Marques Brownlee
Nobody... and I mean nobody... looks at tech the way that Marques does. Not only is his approachable, relatable, smart takes on tech essential viewing for me... the guy is so good that I wish he would produce more videos on non-tech issues as well.

Phillipp Dettmer (with Team Kurzgesagt)
I've raved about Kurzgesagt many, many, many times. A deep dive into very cool subjects.

CGP Grey
Probably one of the most entertaining people on planet earth, Grey tackles all kinds of subjects to excessive degrees and I love every precious minute of it.

Thomas Flight
Thomas loves film. And his deep dives into film discussion is the stuff of cinephile dreams.

Julian Baumgartner
Julian restores art, and his videos are like soup for my soul. Relaxing, informative, entertaining... and always fascinating... you don't have to even like art to appreciate these soothing videos.

Tyler Stalman
There are a lot of photographers on YouTube. Tyler is my favorite. He's very talented, mostly Apple-based, and has a unique approach to talking to photographers about the tools we use.

Arun Maini
Arun has a plethora of tech videos with an interesting look at the tech I love. But he also has cool videos about extreme tech, weird tech, and unbelievable tech that are entertaining as all get out.

Johnny Harris
One of the most fascinating travel bloggers around, Johnny has been around for a while (I first became a fan when he was doing Borders at Vox). He always has a unique take on cool stuff I love... travel... maps... international news.

Nathaniel Drew
If you crave adventure and travel from a more intimate perspective, Nathaniel makes videos just for you. But he also makes videos about what it means to be fundamentally human, and those are worth watching too.

Derek Muller
Derek's videos run the gamut. Some of them are just interesting looks at information or concepts that make life fascinating. Others are technically complex subjects broken down into (mostly) understandable chunks. Then others are just... science weirdness.

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Caturday 253

Posted on Saturday, April 2nd, 2022

Dave!I got this new "Fancy Feast Broth with Chunks" cat food because Jake's prescription food has been out of stock (THANKS, COVID!). I opened up the little pouch and immediately started gagging. I seriously thought I was going to puke. But I managed to get it into the bowl... and of course the rank smell compelled Jake and Jenny to IMMEDIATELY start scarfing it down like maniacs. Licking the bowl and everything...

A package of BROTHS cat food

Why is it that the worse something smells, the more my cats yum it up? So gross.

AND CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THEIR POOPS ARE GOING TO SMELL LIKE?!?

=shudder=

Coming home from work this past Monday after I had been gone for three nights has Jake acting as if I've been gone for six months. Much petting has to ensue before he will let me go. And he's smarter about it now. Lays on my feet to pin me down so he doesn't have to walk after me squawking as I move around the house. And what I said to him as he's rolling around on me? "Gee Jake, your butt looks particularly clean today!" Cats...

Jake holding my feet down to get petted.

Last Caturday I remarked how nice it was that my knucklehead cats got along so well while I was gone. Well, now that I'm home, that's apparently over. When I got home on Friday, Jake came running down the stairs all "WAaAAaAAaAH!!" And I was like, what's up buddy? What's wrong? And so I went back through the camera feeds to see. Turns out I left my bed a mess, and Jake had nested in the blankets. But then Jenny came up and wanted to lay there. So she started beating him up so he would move!

RUDE!

Fortunately, when I'm home they're happy to make peace again...

Jake and Jenny laying down with me.

Makes it worth putting up with stinky food and even stinkier poops.

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Bullet Sunday 757

Posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

Dave!Don't worry about the world, worry about me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• TREK! Star Trek: Strange New Worlds looks SO good...

Here's hoping that Paramount+ doesn't turn it to whiny bullshit like they did with Star Trek: Discovery (that show started amazing too, but has devolved into the worst Star Trek ever).

   
• le Carré! I never saw The Night Manager 2016 mini-series adaptation of the le Carré novel... but it's on Amazon Prime Streaming, so I've had it running today. It was very good. The performances are all sublime. And that ending... delicious...

If you're looking for binge-worthy television and like the spy genre, it's worth a look.

   
• Holy! A while back, a-ha came up as one of my favorite bands and I commented that it's such a shame that so few people know of their albums after their smash-hit first release. It remains some of my favorite music ever made. AND EVER SINCE I have had their song Holy Ground stuck in my head. But not just the song (though I've always found it gorgeous and haunting) what's stuck there is a crappy fan edit that mashes up the studio recording with the video of a live performance and scenes from the movie "Troy." It contextualizes both the song and the film in a way that elevates them both...

I wish it was available as a hi-res, better-quality video, because it really is beautiful. And I'm dying to know how the person who cut this together came up with the idea.

   
• Fooling'! Sometimes you kinda have to wish that April fools' jokes were reality, right?

OREO Cookie Cream in a HEINZ packet!

I hope I never see this in grocery stores, because I will buy it in bulk and smear this stuff on everything I eat.

   
• Mavericky! I hate to say it... but this actually looks like it's going to be good. It's certainly going to have plenty of edge-of-your-seat action, it looks like...

Very cool that they got Val Kilmer to appear. Though, much to my horror, the only thing that enters my head any more when I hear "Maverick" is this...

Lord. And apparently she (Palin, not Tina Fey) is running for office again. Or something. I'm too afraid to look into it.

   
• Horse Dewormed! Wow. I may shit my pants in disbelief.

   
And speaking of shitting my pants, time for me to put away the bullets and see what's being reported in the news.

   

Quantum Entanglement

Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2022

Dave!I set my blog to auto-update... including the plugins. The latest security update made my blog so secure that I can't post to it!

Guess my thoughts on quantum inevitability as it relates to an infinite universe will have to wait.

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That’s How They Make Money

Posted on Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Dave!Lord. So a person can have a fake profile with NO posts that they use to spam comments about "witch doctors" casting spells... but when you report the profile as being OBVIOUSLY FAKE AND ABUSIVE, Facebook treats you like you're lying. I mean, hey, you can spam comments everywhere using a fake profile and technology doesn't exist to combat it? That's just way out of Facebook's capabilities?

Unreal.

Facebook is toxic AF and they just don't give a shit.

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Laryngitis Makes Good Company

Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

Dave!This morning I had a very early Zoom call. Which got the cats all excited, because they thought they were getting breakfast 1-1/2 hours early. But, alas... no.

After washing my face and attempting to make my hair presentable, I sat down for my meeting... went to say "hello"... and... nothing. My voice was completely gone. All that non-stop drainage from my allergies (which have been worse than usual this year) had caught up with me, and that was the end of it. I had to participate via typing in chat, which likely made nobody very happy with me, but it's not like I had much choice.

Allergies during COVID times is no joke. It's tough to come across as though I'm not infected when I'm a complete mess. And can't speak.

So I conitnue to test daily. Continue to be negative. And continue to wonder how long I will be suffering this year. Last year was only a couple weeks. This year feels like it will be lasting a while.

And yet... Spring is still my favorite season of the year.

Go figure.

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There’s Always One in Every Crowd

Posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2022

Dave!There's always that one person whose only endeavor seems to be to make everybody else's life miserable. Most just dismiss or avoid them, but I'm that dumbass who actually tries my best to be kind.

And without exception I end up regretting making the effort.

Maybe one of these days I'll learn.

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The GOOD Bed

Posted on Friday, April 8th, 2022

Dave!When I bought furniture for my place, I got it all from IKEA because that's all I could afford. I just bought a cheap $40 bed frame because I didn't want an IKEA bed. I wanted to save up for a GOOD bed.

Six years later... and I just went ahead and bought the IKEA bed. I was never going to have enough cash for a GOOD bed. It arrived yesterday and I put it together tonight (I am way too old for this shit... so much pain!).

My cats are not happy.

After it was assembled, Jenny came in and took a whiff of that musty IKEA smell and left in disgust. But Jake? Came in an squawked at the bed from all angles. Hopped on top of it and squawked at it. Climbed the cat tree and squawked down at it. Stood in the doorway and squawked at it before he left.

He is furious at this new bed.

And it's like... no... it's not the bed I wanted, but it's not that bad!

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Caturday 254

Posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2022

Dave!People continue to be surprised that Jake is still obsessed with Mufasa, his stuffed lion toy. And, yep, he really is. Six years strong now.

Most times, he is dragging him around the house, dropping Mufasa somewhere or another. And he's less and less inclined to freak out when he can't find him. And yet... every once in a while...

Thursday night Jake woke me up at 2:00am. And the only reason that happens...

Sleep record showing me waking up at 2am.

And so... off we went for a game of hide-and-seek. Though it wasn't much of a game. It took two minutes to find Mufasa sitting on the couch.

After throwing Mufasa around for a while, he picked him up and ran upstairs where we went back to bed...

At which point I fell asleep watching him give Mufasa a bath.

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Bullet Sunday 758

Posted on Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Dave!Winter may have come back, but there's warmth in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Two No More! I wanted taco salad for dinner. I had the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, salsa, sour cream, veggie crumbles, thousand islands dressing, and frozen corn... I just needed tortilla chips. So I stopped at the store on my way back from Home Depot. The "$2 ONLY!" Santinas Brand I've been buying forever are now "$2.29 ONLY!"

NOW $2.29!!

I know that prices for all the food I buy is through the roof, but this shook me. "$2 ONLY!" ain't "$2 ONLY!" any more.

   
• Cumin! The "Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon meal service has been a huge source of culinary happiness for me. So many new recipe ideas and flavors. But they keep raising their prices which, on it's own is not a deal-breaker... but they refuse to do anything to protect their ingredients, even after I've made numerous complaints. Nor do they compensate you any more. It used to be that when something was missing or damaged... they'd at least give you a token credit on your next order. Not any more! Your sour cream packet was smashed open and smeared everywhere because it was placed under ice bricks? OH WELL! Missing your carrot? SORRY! Tomatoes pulped by a can of beans? OOPSIES! And so I canceled. And replaced them with "The Cumin Club," and Indian-based food service that you prepare from little packets...

Cumin Club Packets

So far I am quite pleased. Fairly economical, promised authentic flavors, easy to prepare, and tasty (if a little on the spicy side). If you're interested in giving them a try, here's a link that gives us both 15% off.

   
• What? A director I like with a movie starring a bunch of actors I like is usually guaranteed to grab my attention. It is not, however, guaranteed to please. Enter The Bubble...

The Bubble actors yelling in front of a green screen.

A movie about making a movie in the middle of the pandemic... which is supposed to be funny, but is actually about as unfunny as it gets. What a waste of talent all the way around.

   
• Gooshing! Chipotle Mexican Grill keeps sending me emails telling me how close I am to getting enough points for a free entrée. I always order a rice & black bean burrito with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and extra cheese. But the last burrito I bought was INEDIBLE. I always have to order double tortilla wrap so it doesn't bust open while I'm attempting to eat it... but this time even a double wrap wasn't enough because (and I am not exaggerating here) the entire first half of the burrito was entirely guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. That's it. And how can even two tortillas compete against THAT? — I was half-way through before I hit cheese and rice, so it was just gooshing liquid the entire time. By the time I hit beans, the tortilla had disintegrated. It was one of the grossest things I've ever eaten and I had to dump a bunch of it back in the bag so my clothes didn't look like a murder scene...

The very wrong way to make a burrito.

So... yeah... I guess I'll keep ordering until get my free burrito, but then I'm done. It will just be chips and guac from then onwards. The burritos aren't worth the trauma.

   
• =eyeroll= Real NASA Astronomer Reviews Flat Earth Simulator...

I mean... holt shit. It defies all possible common sense, yet here we are.

   
• Discovery! When you read this fascinating story... be sure to read the caption under the photo: Woman Discovers She Isn't The Biological Mother Of Her Own Children.

   
• Brain Hurty! Veritasium is a YouTube channel that I watch because it's interesting and challenging. Even when Derek breaks down items and concepts into something that I can mostly understand... there's always elements that lay just outside my grasp. This video I've watched at least three times over the years. It's actually not overly-difficult to understand... there's a reference point change that explains things quite well... the thing that I have a hard time grasping is how there exists within science concepts which are absolutely horrifying to contemplate. Such as the idea that there were people thinkning that eventually the earth would flip over...

Now, this turns out not the case... science has an explanation as to why that's not going to happen... but for a while there it seemed like a possibility. And this has me wondering about all the horrifying things that haven't got science to explain it away.

   
And that's all the bullets for today, buckaroo.

   

Snow? Really?

Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2022

Dave!Yikes. It's snowing.

Like a lot.

Pretty sure that I will be clearing it off my car before going into the office. This isn't something that's going to melt an hour from now.

UPDATE: Yep...

Clearing snow off my car...

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Reaching for the Moon

Posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

Dave!Welp, we're three episodes into Moon Knight from Marvel Studios on Disney+ and I am most decidedly not impressed. Usually by the half-way point you'd expect an escalation of the story so you can race to the finish line. Well, that ain't happening.

Good Lord is this series awful. How could Marvel Studios take such a cool character... amazing acting talent... fantastic locations... and come up with something THIS boring? It's all talk talk talk talk that ultimately goes nowhere interesting.

And Mr. Knight has gone from badass in the comics to tedious in the television series...

Mr. Knight from Moon Knight

I sure hope that they manage to do something interesting in the back-end three episodes, but given how the latest episode ends, I'm guessing that we've got at least one more episode of Moon Knight without Moon Knight.

What a wasted opportunity. They aimed for Raiders of the Lost Ark but fell way, way short.

There is such a wealth of comic book source material to mine from... but we get this hot mess? I would have rather we got a two hour movie that was tightly tuned instead of six drawn-out episodes of whatever this is.

Comic book shows shouldn't be boring. This is show is boring and sad.

   

LEGO My Skywalker Saga!

Posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Dave!I like video games. I love the LEGO video games. I think I own all of them multiple times over (for multiple platforms). They are essentially kid games, which means they're low-stress... but there's challenges and humor which make them a blast for adults too.

The latest release is LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. There have been many Star Wars LEGO games before, but this is a new take on the material which is more expansive and clever than any LEGO game I've played before. Even if you own the original games, this is one worth looking at if you've enjoyed any of the other LEGO video games...

Alas... it's a LEGO video game, so it's cute as can be... but all is not perfect from a gaming standpoint. TellTale Games has always traded on the fact that people want to ply LEGO and the experience doesn't have to be perfect.

My profanity-laden thoughts about the game follow...

  • Vehicle control is still absolute shit. I do not for the life of me understand how after NEARLY TWO DECADES of these games they can't make vehicles actually fucking drivable. You will smash into shit and have trouble navigating because the controls are a sloppy mess. It's like they somehow take pride in the fact that everything to do with driving is crap.
  • The puzzles are the same as they've always been. Aside from a few minor unique innovations, you've played this before. Or, if you're me, dozens of times before.
  • One of the hallmarks of all the licensed games is that they are wonderfully humorous and can make even the most mundane cut-scenes interesting and fun to watch. The crap Star Wars prequels are made bearable, and that's quite a feat. I just wish that some of the cut-scenes can be skipped, but very few can. This is especially infuriating when you consider that the game crashes uneventfully (today it crashed when I was changing characters!), thus forcing you to sit through the last cut-scene all over again.
  • The LEGO games have a reputation for bugs and glitches. With The Skywalker Saga, it's not so bad that it's unplayable, but there's still bugs. Glitches aren't too bad, but every once in a while I end up in a spot where walls disappear or I can't move. The camera is bonkers, and many, many times I can't see me and am stuck to a wall. Fortunately saves are frequent so I'm not losing much progress, but still...
  • With this game, there's been effort to make the fighting more than just a button-mashing affair. In fighting there are different moves you can make... blocks you can bring up... and combos to spice things up. This would be admirable if it weren't so badly handled. One of my favorite movies is to jump in the air, then use a combo lightsaber smash move which plunges the lightsaber into the ground and smashes the enemies around you. But then there's times that the move just doesn't work for some random reason. Hell... when you're fighting Kylo Ren, YOU CAN'T EVEN JUMP AT ALL! What the hell? How can your character all of a sudden forget to fucking jump? What sense does that make?
  • Another nonsensical bit of idiocy? Disguises. If a Stormtrooper gets blasted, sometimes their armor will drop and be wearable. Sometimes. Finn can wear it most of the time, but there are times that he can't... from what I can tell, it's when he is holding a lightsaber. But you can't drop the lightsaber or stick it in his pocket, which means that dressing up as a Stormtrooper to fool other stormtroopers is impossible. BUT THEY STILL INDICATE THAT HE CAN WEAR IT EVEN WHEN HE CAN'T! Which is just stupid. Almost as stupid? Han Solo in The Force Awakens cannot wear Stormtrooper armor at all! and this is despite the fact that he literally dressed up as a Stormtrooper in the very first Star Wars movie! God.
  • These LEGO games used to be a fun romp. With each new game, more complications are added. For a while, it was cool. Minikits... Magic Bricks... New Abilities. Fun! But now there's just too much going on. The menu system is insane. There's sub-menus to sub-menus to sub-menus. And now they've initiated a class system with ability upgrade trees... which is okay for adult gamers because they've probably seen them before. But for kids?!? I honestly don't know how a kid (any many adults) are supposed to be able to wrap their heads around it all. The Endor level is all complicated maneuvers at great heights, which cause you to fall again and again and again. That's not "fun" it's frustrating.
  • Waiting for scenes to load is not too horrible... but still annoyingly slow on Nintendo Switch. Oh well. Being able to take the game with me on the go is a fantastic feature that Xbox and PlayStation can't give me.
  • Usually LEGO puzzles are fairly uncomplicated. That's part of the appeal. You don't have to stress, because you can eventually figure things out. But this time around there's some puzzles that just defy belief. They tell you what has to happen, but give you no idea how you accomplish it! On Ahch-To, there's a puzzle where you need to get at least five people dancing. Then they draw a perimeter which is assumably where the dancing takes place. Then there's characters with a wifi symbol above their head. That's it. I've tried wiggling in front of them in an attempt to "dance." I've talked to everybody. I have no clue at all what to do. Assumably somebody with dancing ability must come along, because otherwise... dang.
  • When making a jump from one planet to another, you can have your flight interrupted by a space battle. And it's like... sure. But they can happen multiple times in a single trip! The last time it happened, I had three space battled interrupt my flight IN A ROW! It was fun at first, but now I just want to attack my television with a baseball bat.
  • They are so unoriginal that they use a fucking Wilhelm Scream. For the love of God... just stop with the Wilhelm Screams already! It's not even funny any more. Not in movies and most certainly not in video games. And yet they do it multiple times. Infuriating.

In other news... I got the Deluxe Version of the game which comes with a Blue Milk variant of Luke Skywalker. The thing is trending online because people are selling them on eBay for up to $300!

Luke minifig drinking blue milk from a carton.

Wow.

If I were to rate this game, I'd probably tag it with a B-. It's expansive, adorable, and looks great... but there are some serious gameplay problems which keep it from reaching greatness.

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Snowpocalypse Now

Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2022

Dave!Fourth day in a row of waking up to a lot of snow falling down.

Previously, it would all melt before the day was ended. But today we got some serious snow. Seven inches I'm betting. Which is kinda a bummer because A) I started assembling my wood shop out in the garage, so my car has to be cleaned off each morning... and B) I already put away all my Winter clothing. I'm especially sad for all the flowers and trees that have already bloomed thanks to some warm days last week...

Heavy snows out my window.

A tree in bloom pelted with snow.

Tulips buried in the snow.

Tulips buried in the snow.

I mean...

Seven inches of snow on my car.

That ain't melting by the end of the day. It will be lucky if it melts tomorrow.

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Booster^2

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday I got a notification that I was now eligible for a second Pfizer Booster. A booster for my booster, I guess. Now, I am 1000% in support of getting "touch-up" vaccinations as efficacy fades, so there was never a question as to whether I was going to do this... I was just waiting for the word to be given.

The minute the text arrived, I went rushing to my local County Health website to make an appointment. Only to find that I didn't need an appointment. This didn't shock me, because all three times I went to get vaccinated, there was hardly anybody there.

What did shock me is that they are only offering vaccinations one day a week. Every Friday from 10:30 to 4:30.

I thought that surely there would be a line if we're down to one day a week... but nope! There was one guy who had already got his, and once he left I was alone.

Interesting to note that I only had to wait for five minutes after this time.

Didn't end up turning into a lizard person this time (again, darnit!), but there was some good news. Zero side-effects...

  • Vaccine #1: Fever for 2 hours. — Sore, stiff arm for 2 days.
  • Vaccine #2: Sore arm for a day.
  • Vaccine #3: Sore arm for 2 or 3 hours.
  • Vaccine #4: Nothing. I thought I might be having chills... but that was me forgetting that I turned off the heat weeks ago, and it ended up being a *very* cold day today. So... never mind. I guess the fourth time around my body is so used to the vaccine that I'm not going to have any side effects. Yay.

And so... until next booster, I guess.

   

Caturday 255

Posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Dave!Jenny just keeps getting more finicky.

It took a very long time... months... before she allowed me to touch her. Then months more before she was comfortable being touched. Then months after that before anything but petting her back were on the table. After a couple years, she started liking belly rubs.

And belly rubs are a big deal, yo.

You must start with her back. Then give her butt scratches for a while. Then maybe some chin scratches. Then she will flop over on her back, at which time you're then allowed to rub her belly.

At least that's how it was.

Now, there are times that she flops down on her back... but changes her mind for some reason. At which point she will use her back foot to force your hand out of the way...

Jenny kicks my hand away from her belly.

And if you try to continue on after being denied? She will switch to pushing my hand away with both back feet...

Jenny kicks my hand away from her belly.

And if you dare to press onward. Things get very serious. That belly closes off real quick...

Jenny kicks my hand away from her belly.

So... lesson learned. I will be sure that what Jenny thinks she wants is what she actually want.

And I'll try to not be offended if she changes her mind.

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Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.

Posted on Sunday, April 17th, 2022

Dave!Bullet Sunday will return next Sunday. Because I have something more important I want to share. It's something nice from an unexpected source, and it's all I can think about today (after seeing a woman read the letter on TikTok), and I have to share it. Because there's just not enough good news lately.

It's a letter from the Republican Governor of Utah, Spencer J. Cox, which addresses his veto of the anti-trans bill which bans transgender athletes from participating in girls' high school sports. The proposed bill was horrific on its own. But in reading this letter you'll see that there was currently only one transgender student in girls' sports in the entirety of the Utah School System.

One.

I wish that I could say that this was the end of the story. That the bill was vetoed, kindness prevailed, and a girl got to kept playing the sport she enjoys. But that's not the world we live in. The veto was unsurprisingly overturned a week later and the bill was made into law.

It's Utah.

Despite the outcome, I still think that there's good news to be found. A Republican Governor risked political fallout to confront the bigotry in his party to stand up for that one trans girl who is just trying to get along in her life with the cards she was dealt.

And that ain't nothing.

Even if it does vividly illustrate how fucking bankrupt the asshole legislators are who would vote for such trash. They read their governor's heartfelt letter and voted for bigotry and hate anyway.

   

March 22, 2022

The Honorable J. Stuart Adams
President of the Senate
and
The Honorable Brad R. Wilson
Speaker of the House

Mr. President and Mr. Speaker,

I believe in fairness and protecting the integrity of women’s sports. I know both of you are committed to these same ideals and that we have worked very hard together to resolve the many issues surrounding transgender student participation in sports. Unfortunately, HB11 has several fundamental flaws and should be reconsidered. Because the bill was substantially changed in the final hours of the legislative session with no public input and in a way that will likely bankrupt the Utah High School Athletic Association and result in millions of dollars in legal fees for local school districts with no state protection, and for several other reasons below, I have chosen to veto this bill.

The transgender sports participation issue is one of the most divisive of our time. Because there are logical and passionate arguments by many parties, finding compromise or common ground can be difficult. Sadly, there is very little room for nuance in this debate. But I hope you will permit me an opportunity to explain my reasons for vetoing HB11.

Utah has a history of trying to approach complicated issues in ways that bring collaboration and fairness. From immigration and criminal justice reform to LGBTQ protections and religious freedom, Utah has often shown an unusual willingness to find new and compassionate ways to solve the most toxic debates of our time. For this reason, I was heartened and encouraged to see legislators sitting down with LGBTQ advocates to work on a compromise that would both protect women’s sports and allow some participation for our most marginalized transgendered youth. No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first. As you know, the negotiations centered around the potential compromise of a commission of experts that would help decide on an individual basis which kids would be able to participate.

The concept was fairly simple. For the very small number of transgender kids who are looking to find a sense of connection and community–without posing any threat to women’s sports–the commission would allow participation. However, the committee would prohibit participation in the rare circumstance of an outlier who could pose a safety threat or dominate a sport in a way that would eliminate competitive opportunities for biological females. Unfortunately, over time, the negotiations got bogged down debating the makeup of the commission and some of the language in the bill. While we were not able to reach an agreement on the commission, the bill sponsors did agree to remove some of the most troubling language. As the hallmark of a good compromise, neither side was thrilled, but there was a path forward. And while I admit it was not perfect, there was general agreement that we could pass the bill and continue tweaking the concept during the next year as necessary.

On the last day of the legislative session we began hearing rumors of a 4th substitute of the bill that would implement an all-out ban, with the new commission only coming into play if a court prohibited the ban. While it is not unusual to have legislators propose changes to bills, it is unusual to have major overhauls proposed at the last minute on significant policy issues that had been the subject of so much negotiation. It is even rarer to have these pass, especially with no communication with those who had been negotiating the issue. So, you can imagine my surprise when the 4th substitute was revealed late on the last day of the session and debated and passed just a few hours before midnight.

It is important to note that a complete ban was never discussed, never contemplated, never debated and never received any public input prior to the Legislature passing the bill on the 45th and final night of the session. For this reason, many legislators who might have otherwise supported the policy felt compelled to vote against it.

I believe in process. How we make policy matters almost as much as the policy itself. An opportunity to participate is a critical component of public trust. While changes are inevitable, this was more than just a cosmetic change. This was a complete reversal of every discussion, public or private. Every article written by the media on this issue was about the commission and a compromise. Every answer given during press availability was about the commission and a compromise.

Much of the debate that night centered around the difficulties of bad process and a lack of time to get constituent input. This lack of time and input has serious legal and financial implications as well (more on that below). And while I appreciate the apologies I have received from legislators involved in the truncated proceeding, I feel a veto is necessary to improve the process and to better allow the public an opportunity to weigh in.

One of the worst results of that process was the inability of legislators to understand the financial impacts that will be forced upon the Utah High School Athletic Association (UHSAA) and local Utah school districts that will inevitably get sued under this bill. The UHSAA is a private organization and runs the real risk of insolvency and bankruptcy, putting our entire state athletics program in danger. Having just completed a lengthy and very expensive lawsuit, the organization does not have significant reserves on hand. Furthermore, the UHSAA has been clear that if the state ever attempted a ban, the state would also need to provide indemnification to hold the organization harmless in the forthcoming lawsuit.

Unfortunately, HB11 provides no financial protection for the UHSAA, only an explicit invitation for a lawsuit. With several lawsuits already being litigated across the country, why would Utah insist — even encourage — expensive and debilitating legal action with no recourse for the organization that serves our own student athletes and schools? I hope you can agree that if we want to protect women’s sports, bankrupting the institution that is responsible for their participation is a bad place to start.

To make matters worse, shortly after the introduction of the 4th substitute there was a hastily adopted amendment to explicitly exclude Utah’s local schools from indemnification. Because the 4th substitute was so quickly introduced and at the very end of the session, there was significant confusion at the time about the reason such a clause was necessary and the impact it would have. Clearly, the reason for the amendment was to avoid a fiscal note that could not have been funded at such a late hour without nullifying the bill. However, during the discussion on the Senate floor it was incorrectly argued that government immunity would protect schools from a lawsuit based on the ban. Because these lawsuits would involve potential civil rights violations, they would not qualify for governmental immunity. This means that schools would inevitably face costly litigation and the potential for significant damages.

For this reason, many schools across the state of Utah have reached out expressing concern. Had they been aware of the language of the 4th substitute with enough time to comment, they undoubtedly would have shared a similar message with legislators who were forced to vote on the bill with no public input. Again, why would we risk significant legal exposure for some of our poorest schools with no financial support when other states are already funding identical legal defenses across the country? If the state insists on a policy that encourages significant litigation, I believe the state should pay for the litigation. It is my understanding that you have polled your members and that you have the sufficient two-thirds majority to override a veto. Should this occur, I will immediately call a special session to change this section of the bill in order to avoid bankrupting our athletic association and local schools. A simple veto override will not resolve this fundamental issue.

I also think it’s important to address some of the arguments that came up during the passing of the 4th substitute of the bill. Many legislators brought up the trans swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, who has recently dominated women’s swimming, setting records and lapping the field. I agree with those who are concerned with this egregious example. I believe this is terrible for women’s sports. There are natural advantages that come from our birth sex, which is the very reason that we have men’s and women’s sports in the first place. Setting records and taking scholarships away from biological gendered women should give everyone pause. It’s bad for women and it is bad for the LGBTQ community, as it turns allies and reasonable people into opponents. I don’t believe that this type of participation is compelled by the Constitution, but that decision will be left to the courts in the months and years to come.

However, there are a few problems with this example being the reason for a complete ban in Utah. First, this bill would do nothing to prevent that example, as HB11 only applies to high school and middle school and does not impact collegiate athletes. And second, if there was a similar example in a Utah high school, the proposed commission would prevent it from happening. Indeed, that is the very purpose of the commission: it would attempt to both protect women’s sports and allow our most vulnerable an opportunity to participate. Interestingly, the very legislator who introduced the 4th substitute of the bill called the commission concept “brilliant.” I do not know if the commission would completely solve this divisive issue, but I appreciate the innovative and respectful approach that it offers.

I also believe there is broad misunderstanding around the current rules regarding transgender participation in sports. In particular, from the testimony of many, there seems to be a belief that any biologically-born male could simply say he was transgender and begin participating in women’s sports. This is incorrect. For many years now, the UHSAA has had in place a rule that only allows male-to-female transgender participation in women’s sports after a full year of difficult transition hormone therapy and in consultation with a health care professional. This has likely prevented some participation and helped to even the playing field. As a representative of the UHSAA stated: “As we read the science right now, we like our policy. This year we have four students who have gone through our paperwork and we have not had any complaints from any other students or families or school administrators.” I should note that while I have some reservations about a policy that requires or incentivizes these transitions, it is the policy in place. Finally, there is one more important reason for this veto. I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion. I also try to get proximate and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles. Here are the numbers that have most impacted my decision: 75,000, 4, 1, 86 and 56.

  • 75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah.
  • 4 transgender kids playing high school sports in Utah.
  • 1 transgender student playing girls sports.
  • 86% of trans youth reporting suicidality.
  • 56% of trans youth having attempted suicide.

Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly. For that reason, as much as any other, I have taken this action in the hope that we can continue to work together and find a better way. If a veto override occurs, I hope we can work to find ways to show these four kids that we love them and they have a place in our state.

I recognize the political realities of my decision. Politically, it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill. I have always tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences. Sometimes I don’t get it right, and I do not fault those who disagree with me. But even if you disagree with me, I hope this letter helps you understand the reasons for my decision.

Sincerely,
Spencer J. Cox
Governor

   

LET’S WATCH… The Batman!

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is one I watched just tonight when it debuted on HBO... The Batman!

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: The Batman had a lot of hype that gave me hope, but it doesn't get anywhere near touching the terrific Nolan trilogy. Heck, it doesn't even get close to the two Michael Keaton films. It's probably on-par with the Joel Schumacher movies for their idiocy, but The Batman at least tried to respect the character. Unfortunately it's a boring, morose, joyless slog of a film that made me long for Ben Affleck's take on the character. My favorite Batman is the detective who's good in a fight. But here we get an emo goth take that just didn't work for me. Zoë Kravitz made a darn good Catwoman, but I spent all her scenes wishing that she was doing something better (like her great canceled show, High Fidelity) than wasting her time with this. And, alas, the sexual tension with Batman was non-existent. And don't get me started with The Riddler, who was badly handled from the start and spent his pivotal scenes yelling to no effect.
DAVE GRADE: D

Spoiler Zone!

  • We start out with a boring monologue that does its best to set the tone of a dark, brooding Batman. There was no need. THAT'S ALL HE IS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE MOVIE.
  • The Riddler is clearly an ultra-violent, murdering psychopath.
  • Batman beats up a group of criminals, then let's them all run away. What was the point of that?
  • Batman shows up to a crime scene and apparently there's a police officer who had no idea that he's been working with the police. I guess Gotham P.D. doesn't have office gossip?
  • And of course there's always got to be that ONE PERSON who goes off on a fucking idiotic "HE'S A VIGILANTE FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!" rant. Thanks for not letting me down, Matt Reeves.
  • And here we go with a Nirvana song (Something in The Way) which is a heck of a shortcut to piling on dreamy despair and brooding to a movie overrun with despair and brooding.
  • "Dear Violence Diary..."
  • Ulysses Klaue! Welcome to the DC Universe!
  • It's like... they don't get Batman at all. When he's off the clock, they make him every bit as brooding and antagonistic as when he's got the cowl on. How in the hell isn't he not immediately recognized since he's not making any attempt to be a different person? In the comics he's a frivolous billionaire playboy for a reason. NOBODY suspects that Bruce Wayne could be Batman.
  • Bruce Wayne puts on sunglasses indoors. He's that cool.
  • My God. The sound balance is so annoying in this film. I was struggling to hear dialogue one second... then blasted through the back wall of my living room the next.
  • It's The Penguin! Solely showing up to establish him for a future HBO Max series... or so I hear.
  • The sound levels mysteriously drop by a factor of ten so we can conveniently hear the dialogue here.
  • God. The dialogue is shit. "Hey! Take it easy! Do you know my reputation?" — "Yeah, do you?" — Obviously he does. What kind of dumbass question is this, Batman?
  • Batman in his classic trucker hat disguise spying on Catwoman. Yeah, why not? Ooh! And here's Catwoman cat-burglaring! Refreshing!
  • Zero sexual tension between Batman and Catwoman... the hallmark of their relationship.
  • So... The Riddler is now a sadistic, unhinged murdering monster. That's quite a departure from the source material, where he's a madcap puzzle-obsessed guy who comes up with riddle-derived crimes!
  • Catwoman is a gum-smacking whore? NNNNNNOOOOOOOO!!!
  • Dang. No sexual tension with Batman, but Zoë Kravitz sure causes sexual tension in me! WHY DID THEY CANCEL HIGH FIDELITY?
  • Geez, Batman! Way to exploit and endanger Catwoman! And it's laughable how he heaps abuse on her and then is all upset when she bails. It's like... how clueless can you be? You're the world's greatest detective?!?
  • How are people not all... "Oh look... there's Bruce Wayne. That guy is as moody as The Batman!"
  • God. We're an hour in and I don't even know what this movie is trying to say. So much time wasted making this as boring as possible.
  • Boy, Batman, that's damn cold. Joke about the D.A. getting his head blown off when he has a bomb strapped around his neck. And more than a little sadistic.
  • God. The Riddler is so over the top as to be ridiculous. There is nothing even remotely interesting going on here. Nothing. What a pathetic villain for a major motion picture. They are actually trying to make The Riddler act more like The Joker, but to ill-effect. And I'm guessing the next film will be The Joker, yet again, starring (Lord help us) Barry Keoghan (just arrested for public intoxication). Where can he even go from here?
  • This is getting monotonous in it's stupidity. Batman quarrying off with the cops. And it's a crime to insult an officer? WTF?
  • Glider Suit Batman toy, unlocked!
  • It feels like two hours have dragged by. It's been an hour and fifteen minutes. That is not a good sign for a comic book movie. Or any movie, really.
  • Is it Batman-Catwoman team-up time? Nope. Doesn't matter... because here's the latest Batmobile! I wish that directors would study movies like Baby Driver so their car chase scene ends up being more than just obtuse viewing angles and squealing tires. The rain is nice. The Penguin being able to drive like Mario Andretti is just silly.
  • It's just... God. So slow. Do we really need a yelling scene between Gordon and Penguin? What value does this bring to the movie? I am bored out of my frickin' mind.
  • We're at the one-hour-and-forty-minute mark. And now we know that The Riddler is after Bruce Wayne? Maybe? And it ends up being because Bruce's dad wanted Falcone to scare a journalist into keeping quiet about his wife's mental illness? Well, I guess that's a plot you could saddle a movie with. Not a good one, mind you. But there it is.
  • Catwoman kisses Batman for absolutely no reason. Other than she wanted to, I guess. After telling him that Falcone is her father.
  • Oh joy. Batman is taking a page out of Suicide Squad's Joker to put the pieces together. Waiting for him to lay down in the middle of his Riddler connectivity diagram and start cackling. Blergh.
  • Brooding Bruce Wayne confronts Falcone in the least interesting way possible. Boy this movie is intent on boring the hell out of me.
  • Why in the hell does Alfred put up with this constant abuse? Glutton for punishment, I guess. Because I don't care how obligated I felt to Bruce or how sorry I felt for him... LATER!
  • I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ANY OF THIS! HOW CAN THEY MAKE BATMAN BE THIS BORING?!? You have to really, really want to make a boring movie when Batman is at the middle of it.
  • "This is for my mother." Misses her target. Shoots the wall at ridiculously close range. Hey, you tried, I guess. Mommy's proud of her little girl, Catwoman.
  • Strangling her? Wow. Daddy is very mad about his little girl shooting his wall.
  • If every clean cop in Gotham is watching Falcone being taken into custody... who's out protecting the city? And a lot of good it did... Falcone just got whacked in front of all of them!
  • THE RIDDLER IS PAUL DANO! HOW COOL! (of course I knew this, but it's weird to only just now see his face).
  • Gawd. This final confrontation with Paul Dano is an excruciating drag. Like the entire movie. Why should this be any different? Just a bunch of yelling. So much fun.
  • Oh noes! Gotham City is below sea level? THANKS, GLOBAL WARMING! Sorry you're a failure, Batman.
  • Jesus. Still more incoherent yelling by The Riddler. And he's got groupies! THERE'S STILL A HALF-HOUR LEFT?? FUCK!
  • Might as well shoot the candidate for mayor. Makes about as much sense as everything else in this shitty fucking movie.
  • Batman goes super-batty on this guy's face! But he's okay! It's all good! But whoops... Batman's mantra comes back to haunt him. Oh noes! He's no better than the criminals he fights! WHAT A TOTALLY UNIQUE TAKE ON BATMAN WITH AN OBSERVATION THAT'S NEVER BEEN MADE BEFORE EVEN ONCE!
  • Oh dang. Batman's not dead and electrocuted as I had hoped. Guess there's room for a sequel... a daring concept.
  • Nirvana again. We've come full circle. And now another boring-ass monologue over shit that doesn't matter. Gotham is a flooded mess... for what? Who cares?
  • Call me... JOKER!
  • OH MY GOD! WE'RE STILL NOT DONE?? What kind of torture is this?
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LET’S WATCH… Spider-Man: No Way Home!

Posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is one I saw way back in January. But not so long ago it was released on home video... Spider-Man: No Way Home!

Spider-Man No Way Home Poster

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: Spider-Man: No Way Home had potential to be a convoluted disaster, but ended up being one of the most comic book comic book movies to ever be released. Thanks to a terrific script, plenty of surprises, and capable acting, I enjoyed this movie a lot. Like a lot a lot.
GRADE: A

  • We start where we left off... Mysterio, thought to be a hero by the world at large... accuses Spider-Man of his murder, and reveals his secret identity to the world. So now, much like the comic books, Spider-Man is Public Enemy Number One (spurred on by the deranged ravings of J. Jonah Jamison). There's a million ways that this could have been resolved (has been happening in the comics for decades), but I did not anticipate where it would lead. At all. And I wonder if the writers knew how they were resolving it when they wrote the ending to the previous films.
  • Aunt May and Happy Hogan are breaking up. Bummer, Happy. First you lose Tony Stark, now this.
  • HERE COME THE FEDS!
  • "Nick Fury has been off-planet for the last year." We, of course, know that he has been on vacation while the Skrull leader Talos has been impersonating him... but Peter had no idea, and it's weird to me that he never looks into it at all in the rest of the film.
  • Zendaya brings so much to the table as M.J., and I don't know that she gets enough credit for that. Her interrogation time is priceless.
  • Ha! Classic Ned.
  • And then there's Marissa Tomei. Sigh. I know that she doesn't have the star power that she used to have. But it still shocks me that she agreed to be in the Spider-Man movies. She's perfect for this version of Aunt May, and it's so nice that casting put her in the role. It will be very strange to not have her be a part of these films any more, and she will be missed.
  • It had been rumored for a while that Charlie Cox was going to appear as Daredevil (or, to be more accurate, Matt Murdock) in this film. I still got a thrill when this scene unfolded. Cox is so good in the role. And this being the precursor to him (and the other Netflix Marvel Studios characters) being folded into the MCU where they belong was a treat.
  • I hope that Jon Favreau sticks around even though all his ties to the MCU are gone after this film is done (Tony is dead and he doesn't even know who Peter is). He's comic relief without being stupid comic relief, and adds a lot of value to these movies.
  • "How did you just do that?" — "I'm a very good lawyer" THIS. This right here is why DC can't reach the heights that Marvel gets to. They don't get why continuity is important. What value it can bring. And how throw-away lines like this can thrill fans that devote themselves to these movies. And yet it's still funny even if you never saw Daredevil.
  • "Go get 'em, Tiger!" Cute that they managed to work this classic M.J. Watson line into the movie in a way that works, because Zendaya's M.J would never say it.
  • Flash's book is Flashpoint... they literally beat DC to the punch with their own event (not to mention the Ezra Miller Flash: Flashpoint movie that's coming one of these days (or not, since Miller was just arrested... again).
  • It's just a bit part cameo piece, but I love that they brought back Peter's teachers for an appearance (I've been a fan of Martin Starr forever). I will say, however, that it's bizarre that there are people who consider him to be a hero while still others consider him to be a villain at the same time. They do write this off as the guy being a conspiracy theorist, but still.
  • Peter said earlier that he's broke. How was he going to pay for college? Stark didn't leave Peter any money in his will?
  • I've read that part of the licensing agreement for Sony allowing Spider-Man to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films is that at least one major MCU character has to appear in every solo Spider-Man film. Iron Man in the first one. Nick Fury in the second one. And now Doctor Strange in the third one. Personally, I love the cross-pollination of characters between films. It's this interconnectivity that makes all the Marvel Studios stuff so dang brilliant. But they are always careful to make sure that these guest appearances enhance instead of overshadow Spider-Man. And having the Master of The Mystic Arts (plus Wong!) show up was perfect for both Sony and Marvel because it opens up so many doors for both their efforts.
  • The winter wonderland going on in the Sanctum Sanctorum is fantastic. Both visually and for comedic effect (Strange slipping when he lands was a laugh-out-loud moment for me).
  • Wong! Boy I hope that we get a Wong Disney+ series.
  • Wong being elevated to Sorceror Supreme is fantastic. It does nothing to diminish Doctor Strange but does everything to elevate Wong!
  • "...but I'll allow it." Ha! Nice nod to Tony Stark there.
  • COME ON! WE DESERVE A WONG DISNEY+ SERIES!
  • "They shot an episode of The Equalizer here in the 80's." A part of me wonders if that could actually be true!
  • The Doctor Strange magical effects have been amazing since Day One. And here we are again.
  • LOL. The object that Thor knocked over in Thor: Ragnarok is knocked over again.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch was the only choice to play Strange. I am more convinced with each passing movie.
  • In many, many ways, I will not be sad to see the Iron Spider suit go bye-bye. I've said it multiple times, but so much of what makes Spider-Man be Spider-Man is that he's a kid on his own. All this fancy Stark tech has been fun... but I want to see a stripped-down Spider-Man for the next movie, and it sounds like that's what we're going to get.
  • We knew, of course, that Doctor Octopus would be appearing. But despite the advance notice, it was still fantastic to see Alfred Molina as this character again. Re-casting after re-casting after re-casting gets tired, so why not just go back to the best? Albeit with a little de-aging CGI thrown in.
  • What made the Doctor Octopus of Spider-Man 2 work so well is that many times his mechanical arms were physical effects instead of CGI. In many scenes they felt real. These CGI arms are very cool (and probably more comic book apropriate) but they have a more "unreal feel" to them. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it does make me appreciate the job that they did the first time around back in 2004.
  • See... this tech stuff with nanites is not Spider-Man to me. Cool (and funny) as it is.
  • Tom Holland has always been perfect to play Peter Parker because of scenes like this. Peter's confident but hesitant, and getting that tone right is not easy. And of course his amazing athletic ability fits Spider-Man to a T.
  • And, of course, it's nice to have Willem Dafoe back! (which is a relief, because while Dane DeHaan was fine, his Green Goblin was stupid).
  • "The Multiverse is Real!" Welcome to the real start of Marvel Phase Four!
  • This is the one thing about this movie that doesn't really work for me. Ned, out of nowhere, has magic in his family and tingling in his hands... paving the way for him to be able to use the Sling Ring. Eh. Feels forced.
  • "Otto Octavius?" Yeah, yeah. But back when all these characters were created, the silly names were considered cool.
  • The throwaway gags in this film are on-point.
  • The "Mystical Spider-Man" suit is cool... but not as cool as it could have been. It's pretty much just a red and gold version of his usual suit.
  • Wait... Electro knew who Peter Parker is? How was he drawn to this universe, because I'm pretty sure that was not a part of his story. And why is he a buff Jamie Foxx instead of nerdy Jamie Foxx? Even The Lizard wants to know! Alas, no answers.
  • Having JK Simmons return as J. Jonah Jamison is a fun touch. But turning him into a supplement-pushing Alex-Jones-type on a streaming video show is brilliant.
  • The concept behind "fixing" the villains before sending them back to die is a wacky one. How, exactly, does that benefit them? "Change their fate?" I guess. But it seems as though they were snatched just before they died and will return in the same point in time... to die.
  • Why is it when the heroes fight each other it's always a more interesting battle than when they fight villains? Though it's sad that The Cloak of Levitation, which was friends with Peter in Avengers: Infinity War is now forced to fight him. It is more than a little odd that magic could be defeated with... math?
  • The Lizard dishing out prophecy right here.
  • "I'll do it!" — "No way that's his girlfriend." The fact that Tom Holland and Zandaya are dating in Real Life is a hilarious dig.
  • Now this was an interesting moment that slipped by me in the theater. Electro is reacting to the power source of the fabricator... which is an Arc Reactor. That makes his little speech to The Sandman hit a lot different. And makes when he actually steal the Arc Reactor make a lot more sense. Out of all of them, he's the one you never really buy as anything except a villain. Though his "Are these your LEGO" comment is totally hilarious.
  • PLEASE come up with a way to keep Jon Favreau in the MCU.
  • Now see... this is where Willem DaFoe makes you think that he's the only guy who can play the part. He goes from Norman Osbourne to Green Goblin in disturbingly quick order.
  • Killing off Aunt May, essentially having her take the place of Uncle Ben's role in the comics with the "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" line, is an important part of what makes the story arc for this movie work. And makes the end hit way harder. So... I get it. But boy will I miss Marissa Tomei in these films.
  • What this newfound magical ability could mean for Ned going forward is both frustrating and exciting. But, then again, they could easily let it be forgotten along with Peter Parker. Whatever the case, it's better than turning him into the Hobgoblin like they did in the comics.
  • Andrew Garfield was a great Spider-Man... a not so great Peter Parker... but that was likely not his fault since he was saddled with some shitty, shitty films. And, I gotta say, him getting a little redemption here is truly nice. He deserves it. And let me tell you, I would not be mad at all if he got another Spider-Man film or series or something.
  • Toby Maguire was a great Peter Parker... and a good Spider-Man. And his first two films were magic. But that third one? Holy crap. It's also truly nice that he got redemption with this flick. And, yeah, seeing him in another Spider-Man project would also be nice. He's so good at his role in this story.
  • As well-written and well-acted as this grief scene is, they really pushed it too hard. The entire movie stops all momentum... especially considering that you go from this to science lab stuff and even more angst.
  • The Toby Maguire Spider-Man having organic (instead of mechanical) web shooters is something I disagree with to this day. Part of what makes Spider-Man so cool is that he's smart and creative. And he came up with his trademark webs because he scienced it.
  • LOL. Lady Liberty is all decked out for honoring Captain America... and it's all thanks to Rogers: The Musical as we saw in the Hawkeye Disney+ series!
  • Spider-Men comparing notes. As I mentioned, my fear with this film was that having two additional Spider-Men would be taking away from Tom Holland's character in his movie.
  • A far, far better Electro suit than the big blue battery look in the Amazing Spider-Man 2. And the nod to his absurd comic book mask was a nice touch.
  • This Spider-Men vs. villains battle is entertaining but, again, the fight with Doctor Strange was more interesting.
  • This movie was SO well-written. And given all the things they needed to accomplish, it's a frickin' miracle.
  • I'm sure analysis was done on all the people/creatures making their way through the multiverse breach, but you really can't tell. One guy is big. Maybe it's a Thanos! He probably knows who Peter Parker is... I mean he knew Tony Stark. Or maybe it's Darkseid? (LOL!).
  • So... the entire world stops falling apart long enough for Peter to say good bye. That's nice.
  • Okay. I know that it would be easy to be all "IT'S MAGIC, OKAY!" to explain all the wild inconsistencies that were created when everybody who ever knew Peter suddenly forgets he ever existed. But it's so sloppy and messy. In the end, it's admirable how he decided to let and M.J. and Ned continue to forget him because their lives will probably be better because of it. Or, at the very least, safer. And seeing him end up exactly where the comic books had him forever will make for an interesting next chapter to be sure. But it's like... come on. I grew to really like the MCU Spider-Man. I can only hope that where they go next will make for the same great stories that this past trilogy did.
  • So where did Peter get the money to rent an apartment in New York City when he's not just broke... but doesn't exist? Or does he exist? Does he have a social security number to be able to work? I dunno. But that shiny spandex Spidey suit is pretty cool.
  • All the Spider-Man films have had flawless music choices (The Ramones was welcome and wholly unexpected). But Schoolhouse Rock? VERY cool. That it's a De La Soul version is all the better.
  • The mid-credits scene attempts to pull Sony's Venom into the MCU (albeit briefly) all the while setting up the MCU with a Venom of their own. And, I gotta say, if they bring back Tom Hardy, I wouldn't be mad at all. And, yes, that was really Dani Rojas from Ted Lasso tending bar.
  • Having the post-credits scene be a preview of a future movie is a real copout. But given that Spider-Man: No Way Home was supposed to come out after we saw Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, I'll give them a pass.

And there you have it. The End. Of yet another spectacular Spider-Man movie in the MCU. Given that there's a new triology of films in development and Tom Holland is returning, I look forward to even more great Spider-MCU-flicks in the future.

   

LET’S WATCH… No Time to Die!

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is... James Bond in No Time to Die!

No Time to Die Poster

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: No Time to Die is a fitting film for Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond. There's the thrilling action you'd expect, but considerable depth as well. Alas, this sometimes causes the film to drag and make it feel overly-convoluted, but ultimately it has enough going for it to do the franchise justice (even if Rami Malek is not really given the opportunity to make his mark as a Bond villain). My favorite Bond of the Craig era will always be Skyfall, but No Time to Die is second... or at least tied with Casino Royale for second. Thanks to everybody for making this last hurrah worth watching.
GRADE: B

  • If I were this little girl, I would be screaming "HOLD YOUR FUCKING HORSES, MOM! I'LL GET YOUR GLASS OF BOX-O-WINE WHEN I HAVE A MINUTE!" I can't stand abusive crap like this.
  • Daddy's business dealings are paying a visit. Dressed in cultural appropriation. Oopsies.
  • Daddy is Mr. White? Well this will not go well.
  • See.
  • Well, this little girl did not come to play! She is going to fuck up this intruder with the upmost prejudice! And even clean up the body! How sweet!
  • Yeah... always put a couple rounds in the head just to be sure. That's a mistake you generally don't get to make more than once.
  • That not one of those bullets landed in her face is pretty remarkable.
  • "We have all the time in the world." — Um. James obviously hasn't seen his old movies (in particular, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". That's not a very smart assessment to make.
  • Vespa really did a number on poor James's heart. And that explosion really did a number on James's head! Ouchies!
  • And here's what we REALLY want in a James Bond flick... a cool action chase! At least James has the luxury of being licensed to kill and of the fuckers who mess with him.
  • I want spikey bombs installed on my car! How handy would that be?
  • Daniel Craig has the bluest blue eyes. My ovaries are melting.
  • Damn, James. People are always lying to you and out to kill you. To blame poor Madeline based on the word of people trying to kill you is pretty cold.
  • Billie Eilish is as good a choice as any for an opening theme song. But, man, it will be tough to top Adele's Skyfall any time soon. This song is okay, but needs some elevation in there somewhere to feel like Bond. Oh well. At least it's better than that horrific Sam Smith pile of shit monstrosity... the worst Bond theme of all time.
  • This is another gorgeously-filmed Bond flick. They always get top-tier directors and cinematographers.
  • =sigh= Another bioweapon plot. I understand that this is a valid and very real scenario, but isn't there anything else going on in the world? This was well-covered in films like The Rock and Mission Impossible 2.
  • Moneypenny! She was so great when she first appeared, yet we see less and less of her. and as much as I miss Judi Dench, this role is perfect for Ralph Fiennes.
  • FELIX! Yay! Looks like we're getting all the players to say goodbye to Daniel Craig! I can say without a doubt that this is my favorite actor to play the part. Jeffrey Wright owned the role from his first scene in Casino Royale. This new guy with Felix is a dick. I hope that Felix isn't retiring and we get stuck with him for future films (assuming all the parts aren't recast).
  • Nomi. No Me. I see that they are intent on continuing with the double entendres. It's tradition!
  • Lashana Lynch would be a welcome choice as a Bond Girl. But she's an exceptional pick for the new 007. The fact that it caused heads to explode around the world... A WOMAN?!? A BLACK WOMAN?!??... just makes it even better. I, for one, would have zero problem if she continues on. Less than zero. How amazing would that be?
  • Hilarious. MI6 dicks around with James, so James decides to take Felix up on his offer. And therrrrrre's Nomi! LOL!
  • ANA DE ARMAS!!!! God she's adorable. I would watch her in absolutely anything. She stole my heart in Blade Runner 2049. She was fucking magic in Knives Out, and having her appear with Daniel Craig again is fantastic. I sure hope that her future in the movies is a good one. She can do anything. There's no need to relegate her to terrible films.
  • "Three weeks training!" LOL. Give me a Paloma movie, please! But given the movie tradition of killing off Bond girls, I'd settle for her just surviving this film.
  • Ah. So it is a targeted bioweapon. Bye bye Spectre. And it looks like the new 007 is no slouch at her job! You go, Nomi! And neither is Felix's agent! You go, Paloma with your three weeks training! Damn!
  • Fuck. Yes. GIVE US A PALOMA MOVIE! She can be Nomi's new Felix! So happy that they aren't making her an incompetent screw-up. And how awesome would a friendly competition spy flick be between the two of them? The possibilities!
  • "You were excellent." Yes. Yes she was!
  • Wow. Another long movie. Only an hour in... and there's still an hour and 45 minutes left? What happened to 2 hour movies? What happened to 90 minute movies?
  • Bond should put a bullet in Felix's dumbass co-worker. Or maybe Felix will do it.
  • Oh... Ash is a bad guy. Yikes. AND OH SHIT! HE SHOT FELIX!!! Dang. I hope Felix doesn't die. Again. Haven't they killed the character once already? I remember him getting eaten by sharks in License to Kill, but I think he survived (but his wife died, of course).
  • Yep. Felix is dead. Sad. Especially since he's my favorite Felix.
  • Bond. James Bond. Complete with the theme music! I live for this shit!
  • LOL. Moneypenny and Nomi has the funniest exchange yet!
  • Okay... they made Q a gay man. Bravo. Progress. But I am willing to bet a hundred bucks that you won't see his boyfriend. Which is to say that he might as well not be gay at all. We get a reference to "him" and that's as far as it will go. To actually show him in a relationship with a man would just be bridge too far. It usually is. Even in 2022.
  • So... Q learned his lesson. Sandboxing tech from an unknown source. Good boy.
  • And... told you.
  • Will Madeline not recognize the man who killed his mom? She saw a big chunk of Safin's face, and they gave him some very recognizable and unique scars. And yet she forgot everything, I guess. — Ah. She remembers his mask though! Well that's nice.
  • NANOBOTS! Well okay then. At least they tried to make bio-weapons new! If somebody can build nanobots which would only target email spammers, the world be forever grateful.
  • Well then. Madeline is going ahead with using Nanobot Potion No. 9... so bye bye Blofeld, I guess. That's the last of Spectre.
  • Oopsies. James touched Madeline's wrist, which means now he's infected with Nanobot Potion No. 9! So cool that Christoph Waltz is making another appearance. He's perfect casting for Blofeld, I just wish that his movie could have been better. Spectre was kinda disappointing. It was tired. And haphazard. And lacking in thrills. But it was a slick entry... Waltz made it worth a watch, that's for sure.
  • This whole "Once Heracles is there, it's there forever!" angle is kinda nonsense. I mean, surely a second nanobot could be created to eliminate the first one? And how hilarious is it that Bond took a cue from Mission Impossible 2 to name their virus. The virus was "Chimera" in MI:2 (and the cure was Bellerophon).
  • Oh James. No means no. Except to him no almost always means yes, so I suppose he is unfamiliar. And let me guess... this little girl is James Bond's kid? — Except Madeline says that she's not. Which means that she most definitely is. At least James has a good sense of humor about it all. Assumably Madeline would be carrying the blue-eye gene recessively to make this possible, because her eyes are brown.
  • "We're going on an adventure, darling." Oh I'll just bet!
  • Damn! Good on you Madeline! Put a cap in his ass!
  • And here's revenge on Ash for Felix. Good. No offense to James, but I would have saved him so that I could have strangled him with my bare hands.
  • "Thank you, 007." Yes. YESSSSSS! They didn't bring in Lashana Lynch just to sideline her when things get moving!
  • The sight gag with Q's tea set is so good. They've actually given us a lot of callbacks and cool nods like this, which is appreciated.
  • Rami Malek is a talented actor and I was really looking forward to seeing how he would do as a Bond villain. To his credit, he's done a darn good job with the material he was given... he's menacing, evil, sadistic, creepy, and cruel... but he seems so underutilized. It's the villain which defines a Bond film, and it's always been that way because villains come and go while Bond is always the same (even when played by different actors). But Malek isn't really given an opportunity to make his mark. There's been no show-stopping moment. His biggest flexes so far have been showing up in a mask and taking a little girl away from her mother. Perhaps he will yet have his moment, but we're running out of time.
  • God. Just shoot this Obruchev guy so that even if you fail with the mission, Safin can't make this piece of shit construct any more designer viruses to target people.
  • Yeah. This little discussion with Safin is grinding the film to a stop. Somebody should have rethought this.
  • At last. Thank you, 007. Jesus this little Obruchev worm was annoying as fuck. I have no idea why he wasn't killed immediately. Good luck creating your master race with your balls melting off, asshole.
  • Yeah... see... this entire endgame should have been rethought. Bullets flying everywhere and I'm bored. It's all just so random and unfocused. If somebody would have tightened this up, the movie would have earned a B+ from me. But right now it's feeling more like a B or B-.
  • Though, I have to say, Bond doing it all his own way while ignoring Q's intricate plan is funny.
  • Welp. I guess we know how this is going to end.
  • See... I am so much more awful than James Bond. I would have shot Safin in the balls and let him lay there in agony while waiting for the bomb to drop.
  • And they killed James Bond. Or this iteration of James Bond, rather. I have to wonder if Daniel Craig requested this of the writers in order to come back one last time (he wanted to quit two or three movies ago). The question remains... will they start all over with a new James Bond? Or will they give Nomi a shot? Even just one shot. Give her a 007 flick and see what happens. Why not? Well, that's obvious... the status quo is where we live. Even in the movies.
  • Louis Armstrong's gorgeous song is an apt closer. While never an actual James Bond Theme, it was the defacto theme from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • BUT COME ON! JUST GIVE US A NOMI AND PALOMA MOVIE! WE DESERVE THAT MUCH!!!
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LET’S WATCH… The Hating Game

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is one that I saw only recently... The Hating Game!

The Hating Game Poster

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: The Hating Game is darn good at being exactly what it was meant to be... a fun, clever, rom-com romp. Sure it falls into a few tropes that had me wincing, but it also has one of the most romantic things I've seen in one of these.
GRADE: A

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

  • I'm just going to get this out of the way... LUCY HALE IS ONE OF THE MOST GORGEOUSLY ADORABLE WOMEN I HAVE EVER SEEN! I MEAN, DAMN!
  • The whole "I hate him until I love him" trope has been used in half the Hallmark movies ever made, so I'm excrutiatingly familiar with the concept. And while Lucy Hale alone is enough to make me want to watch this film, they better have something more than that to make this movie worth my time.
  • ADHD is real, y'all. You can hate on the guy for whatever you want, but over something he can't control? Not fair!
  • Yeah. This is going to be another one of those movies where the cast wears hugely expensive wardrobes that they couldn't possibly afford with their job.
  • Oh yeah. There's one in every office... somebody who slides through their career on the hard work of others.
  • "Birthday Turkey!" LOL. Yeah, I can tell already that Lucy Hale is going to be the reason this movie works. If she can deliver lines like this and sell it, she can deliver anything.
  • Corbin Bernsen! I've always liked him. But it was his work on Psych that made me love the guy.
  • Nothing like a little cutthroat competition to make your heart melt!
  • "Shortcake?" Rude!
  • I'm not ashamed to admit... they could have made the entire film be two hours of Lucy Hale putting on lipstick and I would watch.
  • The witty banter is on-point so far. It's approachable, clever, and doesn't grind the movie to a stop.
  • "Shrimp?" Rude!
  • Who is this guy? Austin Stowell? Do I know him? He's not new... his IMDB page is pretty respectable. But I don't recognize him from any of these works. And this just in... HE PLAYED LARRY KING IN BATTLE OF THE SEXES?!? Wow. I can only guess that it's not that Larry King. Must be a relative of Billie Jean King?
  • Sex dreams. So annoying when they're with somebody you hate.
  • LOL. Pratfalls are never the answer, but it totally works here.
  • "Sex dream? Was I in it?" Cutting right to the point. I like this guy.
  • Okay. The dialogue in this is film is worth the price of admission.
  • Lord. They really went overboard with making this design guy as dorky as possible. I can relate.
  • This movie is surprisingly well-shot. It always looks good, even in mundane scenes. And then they go and insert these beautiful establishing shots which drive it home. Cinematographer Noah Greenberg looks to have been around a while, but the only thing I've ever seen of him was his work as DP in Doom Patrol.
  • We're what... only a quarter of the way through the movie... and they've already dropped the pretense! Exciting. What does this mean for the rest of the film? I'm intrigued!
  • "Bailey's. Rocks" They are really working overtime to make poor Danny a hopeless case. Kinda lazy.
  • So. It looks like Josh is the nice guy in this scenario. Refreshing.
  • How can she afford this amazing apartment? She's a publisher's assistant in a struggling publishing company?
  • He's a Mac guy. Usually that (and sexual solidarity) would have me be all "Team Josh!" But Lucy has much better lips.
  • Lucy has an active (and violent!) imagination. I love her more now.
  • So Lucy is a total pushover... with anybody except Josh.
  • I've never been paintballing. Looks like fun, though I'd probably suck at it.
  • The number of relationships that begin when a person pukes on another person seems high. In the movies, anyway.
  • When I'm sick... especially throwing-up sick... the last thing I want is somebody taking care of me. Just leave me alone to puke in peace, thanks.
  • I can only guess that when we see Josh's place, it will be immaculately organized. The set designer knows their stuff.
  • Isn't Josh afraid of catching whatever bug she's plagued with?
  • "I like her!" Yeah, get in line, buddy.
  • The old "Younger brother gets married before the older brother is embarrassing" trope. Some people just don't want to get married (like me!) and that should be okay.
  • So... not quite half-way through and there's already a love story. Which means something is going to come along to break them up so they can get back together. Groundbreaking.
  • God. The writers really want Danny to be the worst. Mission accomplished.
  • Yeah. I hate to say it, but Josh is quickly looking too good for Lucy. THE AUDACITY!
  • He is very tall. Or she is very short.
  • Okay. I really am Team Josh. His reasoning here is spot-on. As an aside: his breath must smell incredible for him to be breathing all over her like this.
  • Oh noes. There's no chemistry at all with Danny. I never saw that coming given how he's been portrayed as somebody who is essentially not worth her time.
  • Well, shit. This would be the end of a Hallmark movie.
  • Of course his place is frickin' amazing. My dream apartment, essentially.
  • HOLY SHIT HIS APARTMENT IS INCREDIBLE!
  • Obviously they couldn't have hired a normal guy to play Josh. It had to be somebody with impossibly defined muscles.
  • "Maybe some other time?!? That's what you say when you turn down a muffin, not sex!" — I sure hope that Josh has a really good reason for not sleeping with her. Likely just trying to make him the anti-Danny. He respects her too much!
  • "Roll Tide!" — LOL.
  • Lucy really knows how to dress to accentuate those incredible eyes.
  • Ha! Mop socks! I actually considered buying them... until my over-priced hardwood ended up having slivers all over the place.
  • Oh noes. Only one room left at the inn. Didn't see that coming.
  • "No keys. Everything's unlocked." The look on Josh's face is all of us right now.
  • Yeah. They didn't hire Austin Stowell for his looks at all.
  • This soundtrack is pretty great. I will have to look up these songs and put them in a playlist.
  • No need to look at the credits. The writer is clearly a woman writing Josh to be her dream man (Whoops! IMDB says it was two women writing Josh to be their dream man).
  • I covet the end-table lamps in this hotel. Very Frank Lloyd Wright. Could even be Frank Lloyd Wright in design.
  • Ah. I get it now. Lucy's dress is Benjamin Moore Calypso Green. The sheets on the hotel bed were Benjamin Moore Calypso Green. Lucy wears Benjamin Moore Calypso Green all the time. There's Benjamin Moore Calypso Green everywhere in this movie. And Josh's apartment walls are Benjamin Moore Calypso Green. He painted his wall to match her eyes. That is hands-down one of the most romantic things I've ever seen in a rom-com. The entire movie was built around it, and that's pretty great.
  • Welp. If your sympathies weren't with Josh, they sure are now. His brother married his girlfriend. Cold.
  • The bride is incredibly beautiful. But her wedding dress is awful. The clothing designer has been so good up until now.
  • So... Josh's dad is an asshole from start to finish. And sexist to boot.
  • YEP, THERE IT IS. HE TOLD HER ABOUT THE BENJAMIN MOORE CALYPSO GREEN ON HIS WALL. DAMN. I mean, seriously. Is she ready to have his children now? Because I sure am! And the reason he calls her "Shortcake" has everything to do with strawberries and nothing to do with her height.
  • Ah. So this is where we get the breakup. The old A HORRIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING THAT COULD HAVE BEEN CLEARED UP IN FIVE SECONDS IF ONLY SHE WOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING trope. Sigh.
  • Danny. In Benjamin Moore Calypso Green pants. Doesn't hit the same as painting your wall though. Nice try, Danny.
  • Josh is confused. And you just know that there is a good explanation for what was said. I mean, I know that this probably happens in Real Life, but it's so lazy.
  • I dunno, Lucy. This presentation concept sounds like a terrible idea. Writing by committee (especially with fans at large) doesn't seem like it would work well at all.
  • It took the entire move for Lucy to realize that Josh is "The Nice Guy?" Kinda clueless of you, Lucy.
  • Once again with the soundtrack. Oh interesting. Two of the songs I liked most were both by "Dagny." Never heard of her before. Cool!
  • Okay. The final line of the movie is perfect. Sometimes that's all it takes to push a film over the top for me. Grade: A.

Benjamin Moore Calypso Green...

Lucy standing in front of the Calypso Green wall in her Calypso Green dress!

Not the best match to her eyes, but still a great part of the story.

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LET’S WATCH… Death on the Nile

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is ... Death on the Nile!

Death on the Nile Poster

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: The 1978 film, Death on the Nile, is a far, far superior adaptation in every possible way (it's one of my favorite films ever). This new version is lazy, sloppy, and makes changes for the sake of making changes so that everything is about Hercule Poroit, not because they in any way improve the story. In short... go watch the Peter Ustinov original. It's amazing in ways that this version will never be.
GRADE: C-

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry (I TOTALLY REVEAL THE MURDERER!). And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

  • Okay. We're using a de-aged Kenneth Branagh to show that he has always been hyper-observant. Interesting.
  • Ah. This entire pre-story exposition... ten whole minutes of scree-time... was to explain... HOW POIROT GOT HIS MUSTACHE?!? REALLY?!? Lord. And holy shit is this special effect close-up of the side of his face bad. His ear is hyper-focused while everything else is blurry? Takes me right out of the scene.
  • They're correcting a bit of a continuity error here. In the previous movie (Murder on the Orient Express) they said he was going to solve a murder mystery in Egypt. But that couldn't have been "Death on the Nile" because it wasn't a mystery he was called to solve, it was a mystery he ended up in the middle of. So they offhand-mention a different murder in Egypt that he solved.
  • Welp. They made Salome Otterbourne a musician instead of a writer. How in the hell will this play into her being a suspect now? Her whole deal was that she was being sued for defamation by the murder victim! WHY? HOW? Note that Otterbourne was played by the incomparable Angela Lansbury in the first film. She gave it 1000% and is one of the best parts of the movie.
  • This must be the last movie from Armie Hammer before he got cancelled? I always liked him as an actor. No idea he had a canibalism fetish, allegedly.
  • Gal Gadot as Linnet Ridgeway. In the original film, she was played flawlessly by Lois Chiles (who was famous as Bond-Girl Dr. Holly Goodhead in Moonraker).
  • All of this stuff with Poirot (now it's him being impulsive-compulsive over the number of desserts on his table?) is not important to the story... so why?
  • Jackie in the original was played by Mia Farrow and she was flawless in the role. Jackie ends up being driven mad (though not really) and Farrow totally got into in.
  • They really ripped away a huge chunk of Poroit's face as an excuse as to why he has such an elaborate mustache. Except his mustache wouldn't cover that big of a wound... nor would there be hair follicles to allow it, I think. So once again, what's the point of it all?
  • The pyramids are actually right at the edge of Cairo (not out in the middle of the dessert as is often thought), which means they had to go back in time with a CGI representation here. Gorgeous.
  • So... they're going to replace Colonel Race with Bouc (from the previous movie) in some kind of wild coincidence they they both happen to be at the Great Pyramid at the same time? Well, I do like Tom Bateman, but this is a really heavy-handed way to get him into the story. And of course Bouc is friends with Linnet Ridgeway and that's why he's in Egypt. Wow. This is bad. But they did get Annette Benning to play his mom, so I guess that's something.
  • In the first movie, they transitioned from Linnet meeting Jacquie's fiancé Simon... to Linnet and Simon's wedding in a smash-cut that was brilliant in execution.
  • So the socialist is not some young idealistic man as in the first film, but Jennifer Saunders? Who is wealthy? And has Dawn French as a caregiver? In the original film, there was a casting coup by getting Bette Davis to play this character (but not as a socialist, instead she was a bitter old wealthy woman that liked to torture her caregiver WHO WAS PLAYED BY DAME MAGGIE SMITH!)
  • And here's Bouc with an absurdly stupid monologue to explain the cast (and future murder suspects). This is so lazy. The original film managed this is a much more organic way. Of course, they've gone and made the relationships between characters a hell of a lot more intricate and unnecessary this time, so I guess they pretty much had to do it this way.
  • Cousin Andrew the corrupt lawyer was played by George Kennedy in the original. Heaven only knows how they will alter the character in this film.
  • So Rosalie, Salome Otterbourne's daughter, was a classmate of Linnet, and is now Salome Otterbourne's niece AND manager? I guess that's one way to make the part large enough to get Leticia Wright willing to play it.
  • And they've replaced Jack Warden as Doctor Besner with Russell Brand. And made him an ex-fiancé for Linnet? Lord, this is more convoluted than the British Royal family.
  • And heeeeeere's Jacquie. They are going for more of a slow-burn crazy this time instead of the manic crazy that Mia Farrow brought to the role last time.
  • I can only guess that the reason they wanted to use the wedding honeymoon on the Nile as an excuse to get everybody on the boat was to avoid comparison to the way they got everybody onto the train in Murder on the Orient Express. BUT THAT CHANGES THE STORY! Argh. They are making everything way too complicated and silly. And that's despite the fact that they are a lot more serious than the first movie was.
  • This whole pageantry crap with Gal Gadot adds nothing to the story. So what is it for? It's like they are removing the stuff that made the mystery Mae sense for crap that doesn't matter.
  • And they're finally on the Nile. In the original Agatha Christie novel, they provide a literal map at the front that shows you how all the cabins were arranged. It was critical to understanding how the murder(s) happened. The boat was a rather small, intimate affair. Unlike the massive riverboat
  • Kids playing in the river as the boat heads out. A striking difference to the kids who moon Bette Davis with their bare asses in the first film.
  • They actually had to write a scene where Linnet has to explain to Poroit that she doesn't feel safe with anybody on the boat. Lazy as hell. In the first movie it was far more subtle, which made the murder a bit more interesting.
  • Corrupt lawyer Cousin Andrew is the same in both movies. But this time, it's Rosalie who warns her about signing the contracts IN THE MOST RANDOM WAY POSSIBLE. In the first movie it was Colonel Race, and his entire reason for being on the trip was because he was asked by Linnet's British lawyers to keep an eye on the American lawyer, who couldn't be trusted.
  • Wait. Salome Otterbourne is going to be a romantic interest for Poirot? What the hell? AND HER NIECE ROSALIE IS IN A SECRET RELATIONSHIP WITH BOUC?!? BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE IT! THIS MOVIE CAN'T FUCKING HELP ITSELF!
  • Annette Benning is missing her carmine red paint. I can already tell that they are changing yet another part of the murder. It's nuts that a critical clue would be altered like this.
  • More idiotic distraction between Poroit and Salome Otterbourne that in no way services the story in any capacity.
  • SPOILER ALERT: THE MURDERER REVEALED HERE! The entire point of the murder was for Simon to inherit Linnet's money and go back to marrying Jacquie so they can both be rich. In the first movie, the giant block that fell nearly killed both Linnet and Simon. But in this version, SIMON LITERALLY SAVES HER LIFE BY PULLING HER OUT OF THE PATH OF BEING CRUSHED? HOW DOES THIS EVEN MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE?!? HE SAVES HER SO HE CAN MURDER HER LATER? It's like... I don't even know what to think of this any more. Why not just push her into the path of the stone? This is dumb.
  • Absolutely nothing from Russell Brand's Dr. Besner. I guess once they announced that he was engaged to Linnet, his motive has been made and that's the end of it..
  • And when it comes to Louise, there was one offhand comment about her once being engaged. But her entire motive is missing. In the original film, Linnet was shown to be an awful person. It was no wonder she was murdered. The reason her maid, Louise, hated her was because Linnet refused a dowry because she had the fiancé investigated and didn't like what she found.
  • God. Then they make Poroit a creeper who takes Rosalie's journal. Something that was not a mistake. And the only reason he would have done that was to learn more about her aunt. STALKER MUCH? And it's like... WHY?!?
  • This movie would rather spend time doing anything except advancing the murder plot along. What does Poroit's tragedy have to do with anything? Anything at all? They could have been developing characters and foreshadowing murder motives. But nope!
  • "You were the only one who never cared about the money." Which is true I think. But boy did Simon care about the money.
  • This whole performance-as-an-alibi ordeal is entirely over-the-top, and yet it's understated compared to the original movie? How did THAT happen?
  • Russell Brand gets to speak!
  • And now, half-way though the movie, the murder finally happens. Gotta get their money's worth out of Gal Gadot's paycheck, I guess. Maybe it only seemed like it happened earlier in the first movie?
  • Simon's a great actor. He's even fooling the great Hercule Poirot!
  • So here we are... panning across all the suspects... and yet there's nothing to make you believe that any of them actually did it. In the original film, you have reason to believe that all of them were capable of killing her by now. AS IT SHOULD BE! This is awful.
  • See... and here we are finding out after the fact that people have motive to kill Linnet. And being sloppy about it. Poirot is drawing attention to Louise's story in a way that spoils a future plot point. The interrogation of Dr. Besner and his absurd past relationship with Linnet (it feels tacked-on BECAUSE IT IS).
  • WHAT. THE. FUCK? They are not doing reenactments to show how each person could have been the murderer? THAT'S THE BEST PART! It makes the viewer feel as though anybody could have been the murderer, because that's the way the story was designed! The first movie was absolutely masterful at the reenactments, which made it a truly great adaptation. This is absurd. The movie has gone from a C to a C- now.
  • Jennifer Sunders is Linnet's goddaughter? AND her servant Dawn French is her lover? How progressive to retroactively add lesbians to Agatha Christie's story.
  • So... Salome's motive for murder... is that when Linnet was a little girl she got her kicked out of the pool for being Black? At least they dismissed it immediately with the truth. If Salome Otterbourne were to kill everybody who was racist against her, she'd be a mass-murderer.
  • Gawd. In the original movie Bette Davis coveted Linnets pearl necklace, and her motivation for murder was to steal them. Her murder reenactment is LEGEND. This movie utterly fails in this. The necklace is found in in Annette Benning's stuff. In the original they were found on Linnet's corpse. SO much more dramatic!
  • Okay then. Poroit was not back in Egypt to spy on his old friend Bouc at the request of his mother Annette Benning. And that's why he took Leticia Wright's diary. Well, I suppose that's a little better. Not quite so stalkerish.
  • Louise is dead. And though her trajectory and purpose in the story is the same, they really sabotaged the impact of it by having Poroit draw attention to it before the story needed to. Yet another pity in a long line of pity.
  • Fight! Fight! Unnecessary fight! And an unnecessary flashback for Poroit. Eyeroll.
  • And now Bouc is a suspect. This is just absurd. In the original movie Colonel Race was a support system and sounding board to Poroit throughout the investigation. What we have here is just nonsense. Poroit is mad at Bouc for lying to him about finding Linnet dead and stealing the necklace and witnessing Louise's murder and not telling him about it. Which is a heck of a take given how Poroit was only there to spy on him and had been lying to him the entire time.
  • They killed Bouc! Guess that Tom Bateman won't be in any more sequels. This is just rubbish. More drama to heap on Poroit instead of focusing on the story. In the original film, it was Salome Otterbourne who witnessed Louise's murder and got shot... square in the middle of her forehead! I can't believe how utterly bonkers this version of the story is.
  • God. Overly-dramatic much? Locking everybody in the room and stopping the ship so Poroit can have his moment? This just keeps getting worse and worse.
  • They kept Cousin Andrew as the guy who pushed the giant block on Linnet... only for her to be saved by Simon. But it plays as absolute nonsense this time around.
  • In the original film, Simon used Linnet's red nail polish to fake blood from being shot. This time it was Annette Benning's paint. In the original this provided a clue. But in this movie? I have no idea. Sloppy. Why change something that works? And the bloody "J" that was left at the murder scene is absent this time around, which drops a cool point... THE ENTIRE WAY THAT THE MURDER WAS COMMITTED WAS TO THROW ALL SUSPICION ON JAQUIE SINCE SHE HAD AN AIR-TIGHT ALIBI!
  • Now making the focus of the murder reveal be... Poroit with this emotion over Bouc? This movie didn't think ANYTHING through, did it?
  • Ugh. Even the murder/suicide was handled so much better in the first movie. I've replayed the scene several times, and her arm suddenly ending up aimed at both of them through Simon's back never lines up. It all makes no sense. And would such a tiny gun/bullet even penetrate both of them like this? In the original, Jacquie shoots Simon, pays her respects to Poroit, then shoots herself. It was so much more satisfying. This was just so... meh.
  • SO AWKWARD. Everybody has to make an awkward pause while disembarking so they can have a moment with Poroit. And we're robbed of Bette Davis and her classic line "This boat is beginning to resemble a mortuary!"
  • And since this movie is all about Poroit instead of the mystery, here he is pining away over Salome Otterbourne... clean-shaven! And, yep, no way his mustache was covering that. I can only guess that Salome Otterbourne will be murdered in the next movie and drive the plot with an angsty Poroit, who grows his mustache back. Because why not? These films are all about Poroit, and the murders themselves are incidental.
  • Ugh. This movie should probably be graded a D because it's such a step down from the 1978 version... but it did have a great cast and excellent visuals, so I guess a C- it shall be.
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Caturday 256

Posted on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

Dave!Nothing quite like really needing to go to the bathroom when your cats have fallen asleep on (or around) you.

This has been happening a lot with both Jake and Jenny lately, because I've turned the heater off for the season to save money. They've got fur coats and I can put on a hoodie, so it should be all good.

Except it really isn't, because my body heat is a big draw. This past week Jake was intent on warming up his ass against me...

Jake's ass backed up against me while both cats are sleeping.

I thought that I was getting a break when Jake got up to leave, but he decided to trade me in for his sister...

Jenny licking Jake's head as he snuggles up next to her.

Jake and Jenny touching noses is one of the most adorable things you'll see.

And of course I can't disturb that cuteness, and so I had to hold it a while longer.

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Bullet Sunday 759

Posted on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Dave!Don't you dare touch that dial... because an all new, all YouTube Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Heartstopper! Easily one of the best series I've seen so far in 2022, Heartstopper (Netflix) is about the most adorable TV show you'll find. What really got me is how much of the lives of young people today are invested in immediate feedback from texting. The struggle to put your thoughts and feelings in short little messages... the frustration of not knowing what to say... and the agony of sending something and immediately regretting it... we had absolutely nothing like this in school. Maybe note passing. That's it. The game is entirely different today...

What amazes me most about this show is how many opportunities they had to fall into the Hallmark trap of letting a misunderstanding sabotage their entire relationship, but were actually more adult about talking things out than adults are in Hallmark movies. Refreshing! There's also a guest star playing Nick's mom who may not be a known face to American audiences, but she was a major "get" across the Atlantic, and I was SO happy it wasn't spoiled in the trailer. Worth a watch. 100% Dave Approved television.

   
• Hard Rock Park! I don't have many regrets. But I do regret that I never made it to Hard Rock Park. The year that it opened, my travel calendar was packed, but I had plans to visit the following year. Alas, it closed after a single season. It would become "Freestyle Music Park" for another season before closing permanently. One of the most unique things to ever come out of Hard Rock and I missed it! Then I ran across a couple videos about the park, and regret not making it even more...


Boy. I wish somebody would rescue all that material and published it in a book or something. I could have spent hours going through all that!

   
• Miriwoong! Few things are as sad to me as a language dying out. Because it means an important part of humanity's culture is lost, because in so many ways language is culture. Or at least a very good symptom of it...

I've long been fascinated by languages, and Miriwoong is an example of exactly why I'm fascinated.

   
• Giza! Holy cats I love videos like this. And, let me tell you, that walk into the pyramid is something I will never forget. It was hot, stuffy, and claustrophobic for sure, but it's the fact that the passage could collapse behind you and leave you trapped inside that's the real scary part. What would they do? Rip apart the pyramid to save your life? Yeah, probably not...

Manuel Bravo is a YouTube creator I've never heard of before. But I subscribed after 2 minutes in on this video, only to find his entire channel is magic. Give it a look if this kind of stuff interests you.

   
• Bud! The fact that John Oliver releases short videos like this on the weeks he's off to tide you over until his next show is why his YouTube Channel is a must-subscribe...

I mean. Holy cow. The dogs got super-powers?!? Where have I been?

   
• Space! If you're not excited to bits about the James Webb Space Telescope, it's because you don't understand it properly. Lucky for you, Marques is here to drop some knowledge...

I have gone through so many rabbits in learning about what this incredible telescope is going to do for our understanding of the universe, and all of it is positively mind-boggling.

   
• History! The Statue of Liberty is one of those things that we kinda take for granted. It's there. It's been there for a while. France gave it to us. But there's so much more than that. For a very cool glimpse into all things Lady Liberty, this video is worth a watch...

   
And that's it for year another fascinating Bullet Sunday. Tune in next Sunday where I may... or may not... have even more interesting things to share!

   

Unbearable Consequences of Consequence

Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Dave!Since I had to work all weekend, I was under this deluded fantasy that I would be able to put in a half-day today. Which I really need, because there is so much stuff that needs to be done at home. Stuff that I've been putting off for weeks. Like laundry. Like cleaning the house. Like putting together furniture. Like tying up the flowers in my back yard. And the list goes on and on and on.

Spoiler alert. I was in the office right up until 5:00 and then worked for another three hours when I got home.

In two days I will have to start turning my underwear inside-out because all my clean pairs will be gone. They would have been gone long ago, except I've got huge amounts of underwear and socks left from my back-to-back travel days. Sometimes I'd be gone for weeks, dropping by my car in the airport parking garage only long enough to grab a suitcase with clean clothes before catching my next flight. You can't do that unless you've got four weeks worth of underwear on standby.

Well, clean underwear, of course.

Which is in dangerous short supply for me just now, as noted.

   

Stay on Target…

Posted on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Dave!I ordered new sheets from Target last week. It was time. When I got them, there was ONLY the fitted base sheet. No top-sheet. No pillow cases. And of course I didn't notice until after I took them out of the dryer that pieces were missing.

Yay! Off to spend more money I don't have!

So I go to buy the matching flat sheets and pillow cases... ONLY TO FIND THAT TARGET WILL NOT ADD THEM TO MY SHOPPING CART! I CAN'T ORDER THEM! SO I NOW HAVE FITTED SHEETS WITH NOTHING TO GO WITH THEM. What kind of psychopath ONLY orders the pieces separately instead of in a set? Why would you want to? And I can shove absolutely every random item into my Target cart EXCEPT what I need to order...

SOMETHING WENT WRONG AND THE ITEM WAS NOT ADDED TO YOUR CART! PLEASE TRY AGAIN!

And so I fire up Target Customer Help Chat. After explaining over and over, they finally tell me... "Oh! You can't put them in your cart because they are out of stock!"

And it's like... way to have a dumpster-fire of a website, Target! NOTHING was stated anywhere that the item was out of stock.

So I scream a little bit.

Then I order the top sheets and figure I'll check on the matching pillow cases later.

Then I go to close my web browser so I can make dinner... and I see a link to buy the other parts of the bedding set. The fitted sheet I already have... AND THE DAMN PILLOW CASES!

So I think "What the heck" and add the yellow and khaki sets to my cart with absolutely no problems at all.

WTF changed? I have been trying to order them for over an hour to no avail... and now, all of a sudden, I can buy them again? Ugh. I have no idea. Kinda bizarre how Target will now have to send a single order in two shipments because I couldn't place a single order. I'm not happy about that (though using my Red Card did mean I didn't have to pay for shipping on either of them).

But I did have to spend an extra $60 I wasn't planning on having to spend. And I'm really not happy about that.

WHY DOESN'T TARGET SELL COMPLETE BEDDING SHEET SETS LIKE THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD?!?

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Money is The Fire in Which We Burn

Posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Dave!In my work I've had the opportunity to be around vast wealth. I'm not talking mere millions (though that is certainly "vast" to me!)... we're talking obscene levels of wealth. People who never have to consider the price of anything. Dropping a million dollars at Crystal Shops on a Vegas weekend is like a drop in the bucket to them. They don't look at price tags because $5 or $50,000 is all the same to them. They have more money than they could spend in several lifetimes, so the idea of being concerned over such a pittance doesn't even hit their radar.

Now, I've never had ambition to be so wealthy. It's not something my value system can accomodate. So long as I can afford to pay rent, buy the things I need, and be able to afford cat food, I'm good.

However...

Every once in a while something comes along where I really, really wish that I had such vast wealth that I could just buy something cool without having to worry about paying for it. Or selling a kidney. Not like a Lamborghini or a beach house or anything like that (though I certainly wouldn't turn them down if you're offering). I'm talking about random stuff that should be accessible to everybody, but has been priced so that only the über-wealthy can afford it.

Like this book set called The Sistine Chapel. It's a massive tome filled with actual 1:1-sized images from some of the most remarkable art ever created (with Michelangelo's ceiling being the most well-known). The size you're looking at the art in the book is the size that it is in real life. It's sublimely cool...

The Sistine Chapel Book

The Sistine Chapel Book

   
It's limited to 1,999 copies and costs $22,000.

Of course I can't spend this kind of money. And if I had the option of being able to pay off a chunk of my mortgage or have this book, obviously I'd put that money on my mortgage.

That's not the point.

The point is that it's insane how something like this is so far out of reach out of the people who might most appreciate it. People who could never afford to fly to Italy, make their way to Vatican City, then take the time off to stand in line and see it in person (not that you'd be able to study the images at the level of detail offered in this book, but still). Some struggling artist who can barely afford to afford groceries, but loves looking at such incredible works like this, is completely out of the loop. And that just seems... wrong. Because these books will end up in the homes at people who buy it to have it as a status symbol, barely look through the pages, then put it on a shelf with all the other expensive things that they buy just because they can.

Not that this is different than anything else now-a-days.

It's quickly getting to the point that only the über-wealthy can afford to own a home, let alone a $22,000 book.

And so I guess I will be waiting for the paperback release or whatever. Perhaps His Holiness the Pope will deem us pleebs worthy and consider such a thing one day.

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Tracking a Beneficiary

Posted on Thursday, April 28th, 2022

Dave!It's uncanny how often I Google something... then come to Facebook and see an ad for what I Googled pop up first thing.

What's bizarre is that most of the time the ads I'm served are useless. I Googled to find local landscapers. As predicted, Facebook has an ad for landscaping services as the second thing in my feed. But it's for a company 3-1/2 hours away? That company just wasted their ad dollars because Facebook apparently can't tell my location... despite them having my address.

We're told all the time that we should welcome being tracked because it allows companies to serve us information that benefits us. But the only beneficiary in this case is Facebook, who gets paid for serving a useless ad. Neither me nor the advertiser benefits at all. But, yeah, you keep selling that utopia, Facebook.

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Friday Night Lights

Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2022

Dave!I am so tired that it feels as if my brain is in a permanent fog.

Having to think, listen, and (occasionally) speak in a non-native language is not anything new. I used to do this in Japanese all the time. But that was decades ago and I was fairly fluent. Now I am older, don't have much experience in the language being spoken, and am dropped into discussions that would be challenging in English. And so now I am at home completely numb.

My cats are having none of it, of course.

Jake wanted attention the minute I walked in the door and Jenny wasn't far behind. After serving them their dinner, I nodded off for a bit. Two hours later I woke up and it was dark. Rather than risk falling asleep while cooking dinner, I decided to grab some crackers and head to bed. Fortunately my lights are Alexa voice-controlled so I don't have to put much effort into that.

I don't think I have any effort left to give.

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Caturday 257

Posted on Saturday, April 30th, 2022

Dave!For some reason, Jenny has regressed to when she was a kitten and was terrified of me. If I walk into a room she's in, she runs away. If I approach her, she scampers and hides. And even when she comes in to hop on the bed with me, the slightest move will send her running. Any interaction has to happen very much on her terms.

I guess this is revenge for my working late?

But once she's actually on the bed, everything is back to normal. Kinda. She's a bit reserved at first... looking like a little loaf of bread, and if I touch her at this point, she will run off...

Jenny looking like a loaf of bread!

Eventually, she'll turn around and allow some butt scratches...

Jenny getting butt scratches!

Then, if she deems it acceptable, she'll allow you to scratch her face, but she doesn't look all that happy about it...

Jenny getting butt scratches!

But then, if I'm patient, she'll be all "RUB MY BELLY! RUB MY BELLLLLYYYYY!

Jenny getting belly scratches!

Jenny getting belly scratches!

The little goofball.

Jake, on the other hand, is just Jake. Though he is getting to the point where he wants to smoosh his face up against something when he sleeps. Like my legs...

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Though he is happy to sleep absolutely anywhere...

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Though right now the both of them are more interested in checking out the new quilt I got for my bed. I think that Jenny is scared of it (though I see her sleeping on it when I'm not home), but Jake doesn't know what to make of things...

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Cats. What can you do?

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Bullet Sunday 760

Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2022

Dave!The first day of May is here, but I'm pretending not to notice... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• TREK! Early reviews for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds are trickling in, and more than one person has said it's the best new Trek in decades. Which would be refreshing. Because while I loved the first season of Discovery, everything that followed has been a whiny mess that I can't even bring myself to watch. And this does look pretty epic...


Finally. Star Trek being Star Trek again.

   
• KHAAAAAAAN! And speaking of Star Trek, I 1000% AGREE...

Even though special effects have gotten a lot better than this, the stakes rarely seem to hit this level. I remember when I first bought Star Trek II on LaserDisc, I watched the space battle over and over and over again. Still holds up.

   
• VAX! I'm not a big Biden fan, but he did okay at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And his remark at the 4:00 mark had me howling. Whomever wrote that joke deserves an award...

I've watched this twice, and am just in awe that President Biden has overcome a stutter to be this good at public speaking.

   
• Trevor! And if you haven't seen Trevor Noah's remarks from the White House Correspondents' Dinner... it's a treat...

A part of me is dying to know how much of that Trevor wrote himself. I'm betting it's a significant chunk. The guy is smart as hell on top of being one of the funniest people on earth.

   
• Tampons! I love seeing somebody being true to themselves, living their best life, and still having kindness in their heart to think of others in a world where so many are showing them nothing but hate (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@dylanmulvaney Day 12- TAMPONS #trans #tampon ♬ original sound - Dylan Mulvaney

She isn't taking anything away from anybody, so just be happy they know who they are and have found the courage to live their life authentically. We should all be so brave.

   
• Fairness! And speaking of transgender persons (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick...

@thewarriorphilosopher Reply to @dezsankofa #society #culture #politics #philosophy #lgbtqtiktok #lgbtq #lgbtqia #trans #transgender #transgenderwomen #positivechange #inclusion ♬ original sound - TheWarriorPhilosopher

Some very interesting points made. And yet... here we are.

   
Hope your Sunday is a good one.

   

It’s A TikTok Kinda Monday

Posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Dave!I am tired.

Too tired to think about blogging.

But not too tired to scroll through TikTok while I eat dinner!

A little happy for your Monday... especially if you ever watched Boy Meets World (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@mattmort Getting my #firsttattoo ♬ i - Kendrick Lamar

I feel this to my very soul (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@fu3g0dieg0 That old ditty the flappers used to croon about! It was the bees knees! #genx #gaytok #fyp #fypシ #traderjoes #99redballoons ♬ original sound - DeeEm

Maybe it’s because I had a tough day, but this hit brutally hard. We do have a lot of work to do (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@the_shoe_fits #changetheworld #community #together #parent ♬ original sound - Daniel Black

I should probably go to bed now, but I think I'm too tired to think.

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Marc Spector, Steven Grant, and… Endings?

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Dave!I haven't been all that impressed with Moon Knight. Mostly because the show has barely had any Moon Knight in it. And it's perfectly understandable. They tapped an actor of Oscar Isaac's caliber, so covering him up in a mask for six episodes simply wasn't in the cards. No, the reason they needed Oscar Isaac was to have an actor with the chops to portray a character with dissociative identity disorder, which he delivered. As expected.

And now we've reached the end of the road. The final episode aired tonight.

And while it doesn't entirely make up for the fact that they dragged out this show for far, far too long... I have to admit that the payoff was pretty sweet. I just wish that this sixth episode had occurred at the half-way point, because now I really want to see what they do next...

I'm not going to post any major spoilers (though if you're a fan of the comic books, it's not anything entirely unexpected), but I am going to hint at one: part-way through, a little Egyptian girl says in awe "Are you an Egyptian super-hero?!? and it hits pretty hard. Because representation matters. I hope that Marvel stays on this course, because super-heroes are getting played out, and anything new and different is welcome.

   

May The Force…

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Dave!Though I thought the Star Wars prequels were crap, there's some things that came out of them which were undeniably great. Ewan McGregor's take on Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of them (Samuel L. Jackson playing Mace Windu was another, but more on that in a minute).

The official final trailer for the new series was released today in advance of the May 27th premiere, and it looks darn good...

I mean... that's everything you could want from Star Wars, right?

Not entirely...

Samuel L. Jackson has straight-up said that he wants to return as Mace Windu. We found out a month ago that he asked Bryce Dallas Howard to bring the character back...

Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu

If Samuel L. Jackson is willing... and if they don't give him his own series where Mace Windu is the baddest muthafucker in the galaxy... then Disney+ is just flat out worthless.

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Strange New Worlds

Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Dave!I'm just going to come out and say it... Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is my favorite Trek since the original series, and I've only seen the first episode. This is kinda how I felt about Star Trek: Discovery before it went from being phenomenally interesting, exciting, and brilliant in the Season 01 to being a phenomenally whiny, weepy, and dull pile of shit in Season 03. Disco has become so bad in Season 04 that I can't even bring myself to watch it. Such a pity.

But back to Strange New Worlds...

The cast, as we've seen from their appearance on Disco is sublime. The visuals and special effects are absolutely gorgeous. And the writing is whip-smart with a bit of fun. In short, it's absolutely everything you could possibly want out of a TV show.

Finally Star Trek is Star Trek again...

Eschewing the season-wide arcs that Disco decided to adopt, Strange New Worlds is back to episodic television which neatly wraps up the story by the end of the episode. Despite my love of how Disco started out, I think this is the format which works best for Trek.

The debut episode, aptly titled Strange New Worlds, is about a First Contact mission that goes terribly wrong for Number One, and it's up to Pike, Spock, and Co. to make things right. It's not even remotely a spoiler to say that it all works out, but it's how it works out that makes this such good Trek. It's hopeful and inspiring as it was when Trek was new.

Plus it's got Spock in it.

   

So This is… Friday?

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2022

Dave!I woke up this morning and seriously thought it was Saturday.

So imagine my surprise when I got to work and my co-workers were there. So much for being able to blast music while I'm on the job. I know this is why headphones were invented, but it's not like I'll be blasting anything in them when I have to worry about answering my phone and talking to people and stuff.

I started out thinking this was a much beter day than it ended up.

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Thank You, George Pérez

Posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2022

Dave!It was announced that George Pérez, one of my favorite comic book writers and artists of all time, has died at 67 years old. The guy had been battling for a while now, so it shouldn't have been unexpected... but it still felt that way. Before I started seeing his work in comics, I didn't really think about the art on the books I read. Some of it was better than others, but I just didn't take much note of it. What I most definitely did take note of was when George started penciling The Avengers at Marvel. His hyper-detailed pages were imaginative, brilliant, and thrilling to look at. I was in love with his work from the moment I first saw it.

Then he was on The New Teen Titans and suddenly the entirety of comic book fandom was taking note. Then he ended up on Justice League and it was comic book heaven for me.

Then came Crisis on Infinite Earths, after which he rebooted Wonder Woman, which I remember thinking was a total waste of his talents at the time. Then the book was actually released, of course I bought it because I bought everything George did, and it ended up being my favorite thing that he ever worked on...

   
Rest in Peace, sir. You and your work will be very much missed.
   

To all of George’s fans and friends,
   
Constance here, with the update no one wants to read. George passed away yesterday, peacefully at home with his wife of 490 months and family by his side. He was not in pain and knew he was very, very loved.
   
We are all very much grieving but, at the same time, we are so incredibly grateful for the joy he brought to our lives. To know George was to love him; and he loved back. Fiercely and with his whole heart. The world is a lot less vibrant today without him in it.
   
He loved all of you. He loved hearing your posts and seeing the drawings you sent and the tributes you made. He was deeply proud to have brought so much joy to so many.
   
Everyone knows George’s legacy as a creator. His art, characters and stories will be revered for years to come. But, as towering as that legacy is, it pales in comparison to the legacy of the man George was. George’s true legacy is his kindness. It’s the love he had for bringing others joy - and I hope you all carry that with you always.
   
Today is Free Comic Book Day. A day George absolutely loved and a fitting day to remember his contributions to comics and to our lives. I hope you’ll enjoy your day today with him in mind. He would have loved that.
   
Please keep his wife Carol in your thoughts and again, I thank you for respecting her privacy. I remain available through the contact on the page.
   
George's memorial service will take place at MEGACON Orlando at 6pm on Sunday, May 22nd. It will be open to all. Details to follow.
   
We will miss him always.

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Bullet Sunday 761

Posted on Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Dave!It only seems as though we're descending into a hells cape from which there's no escape, but don't let that get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Water! Looks amazing, as we knew it would...

And no Paparus font to be found!

But the real question is... Will it have a decent story? Time will tell.

   
• KHAAAAAAN! Couldn't agree more...

It was so masterfully done that few other movies have managed to top it... despite there being a huge advancement in special effects since the movie was made.

   
• Virgin?! During the boring, irrelevant bits of The Offer (of which there are MANY), I have been running through the latest TikTok meme. It's glorious. They have a bunch of geeks ridiculing their own hobbies and lives with the "ARE YOU A VIRGIN?" sound (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@mattwhets #duet with @jurassicah they didn’t let me show my handmade fantasy map pottery #writertok #fanatsy #booktok #writer ♬ original sound - jurassicah

These are my people! I just love people who have a sense of humor about themselves.

   
• New Julia! Much to my happiness, it was announced that HBO Max has renewed Julia for a second season. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a series exploring Julia Child's early days as a television star, and it's gold...

This is a show that you really just don't want to end. And now we know that it isn't over just yet.

   
• Thor Four More Thor! I'll bet everybody who was mouthing off over Natalie Portman not being buff enough to play Thor are feeling pretty silly right now...

Jane Foster as Thor and Thor Odinson as Thor!

This looks fantastic, and I cannot wait to see what Taika Waititi has done this time around.

   
• Cosigned! Yeah, pretty much this...

It is fucking horrific that Roe vs. Wade is set to be overturned... and this is coming from somebody who personally doesn't endorse abortion outside of cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother being endangered. But, for the millionth time, my personal feelings have no fucking bearing whatsoever on what somebody else chooses for themselves... and neither do the feelings of legislators and members of the fucking Supreme Court.

   
• BRAINS! Well here's something you should not watch before going to bed...

And, if you did, sleep tight!

   
And now I'm going to bed. AT LEAST I HOPE SO!

   

Those Not Forgotten

Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2022

Dave!At work we're changing to a new email system. I thought that I could do some kind of export out of the old system and import into the new system, but there's nothing that works like that on a Mac. In some ways it's easier... just drag the emails from the old mailboxes to the new mailboxes... but in other ways it's far more difficult. Because Apple Mail tends to crash when you move a massive number of emails. Which means that I have to select a clump then drag them over in smaller quantities. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except I have thousands upon thousands of emails dating back to 2006 that have to be migrated.

My work emails are just that... work emails. I have no personal corespondence of any kind in there.

Except I kinda do.

Because there's people from years past that were more than co-workers, suppliers, customers, and the like... they are friends. Some of them moved on and were friends. Some of them have passed on and were friends. Gone but not forgotten.

And I'm seeing their names pop up as I grab stacks of emails and drag them from one place to another.

It's like a drive down memory lane. Sometimes happy. Sometimes sad. Sometimes painful.

Which is as you'd want it to be, isn't it?

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Color of Greed and Stupidity

Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Dave!Pantone is now charging people to use their color books in Adobe Illustrator.

I wonder if there's an alternative system, because this is fucking absurd. Designers don't buy inks... we specify inks so that printers and fabricators can purchase the inks from Pantone.

Except now we can't specify jack shit because Pantone wants us to pay $60 a year for the privilege.

Fuckers.

If anything, Pantone should be paying ME to specify their inks to my printers! Something I've been doing for FREE for them for decades.

I swear, there are days I just want to take a torch to corporate America for the way that they treat people. I sure hope that somebody who isn't a greedy piece of shit develops a new color system replacement for people who are tired of Pantone's bullshit. I am betting that every designer on earth would hop on board.

Having to pay to promote a company's products when we don't even get a cut of the sale? Are you kidding me? Apparently Pantone didn't learn their lesson with Hexachrome and needs to be taught another.

Fuckers.

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LEELOO DALLAS MULTIPASS!

Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

Dave!It's no secret that one of my favorite movies of all time is The Fifth Element.

And this is the 25th anniversary year, believe it or not.

I can't even imagine how many times I've seen this film. At least two dozen. And I love it more with each new viewing. It's beautiful. It's visionary. It's a really good story. And now Milla Jovovich is talking about her part in it all to Vogue...

And now I just want to watch it yet again for the millionth time.

A part of me is glad that they never made a sequel.

A bigger part of me would really have liked to have gotten one.

   

The Black Hole

Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Dave!News was made when astronomers released a blurry photo of the super-massive black hole in the middle of our galaxy.

You've probably seen it.

It's a blurry orange donut shape with three bright spots on it...

A blurry black hole!
Photo by EHT Collaboration

If you take a while to actually read why this is so significant, it's mind-bogglingly amazing.

But if you'd rather have an explanation that won't melt your brain quite as much, Derek at Veritasium has done his usual incredible job of boiling things down to brass tacks...

Remarkable.

It's almost as if God is going to show up and say "Howdy!" any minute now...

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Death to Florals!

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2022

Dave!As I've said every year of the six years I've lived in my home... irises are the stupidest flowers.

They grow up all gorgeous and lovely and tease you into thinking that they're worth having in your garden... then they end up heavier than the stem will support, flop over, get mowed into mulch by the yard care people, then die after a week...

Living Irises!

Living Irises!

These are already flopping over...

Living Irises!

These I tried to kill off two years in a row. They simply will not die and keep coming back...

STILL Living Irises!

If you want plants that are immortal (but still so very stupid), irises might be the flower for you!

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Caturday 258

Posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2022

Dave!I have been working minimum 15 hour days, 7 days a week, for at least three months.

Jenny looks how I feel this morning...


   
And now I'm off to work for a few hours before meeting up with a friend to go on a drive. Finally something to look forward to!

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Bullet Sunday 761

Posted on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Dave!You can't keep a good blogger down, even in the middle of your blog not allowing you to upload images for some reason... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• WAAAAAHH! The bastards at CBS canceled Magnum P.I.. The show's first season was incredible. The second nearly as good. They faltered a bit in the third season, but rebound beautifully in the fourth (and now final) season. What's interesting is that the final episode tied up a few things and answered a question which everybody had since the beginning... will Magnum and Higgins ever get together?

Magnum and Higgins walking and smiling.

What's so shitty about all this is that Magnum P.I. was a fairly sold performer. Not stellar, but more successful than some of the stuff which gets renewed. Guess CBS is dedicating themselves to another shitty reality show that they can buy for cheap and cancel after a year. Well, duly noted. The entire cast was gold, I can't wait to see where they end up next.

   
• Lost! Okay... maybe it's the Hallmark fan in me, but I really liked this one! Lost City is funny, adventurous, and surprisingly sweet...

The Lost City Movie Poster

Everybody went all-in on their roles. Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt, all great... but it was Channing Tatum who completely owned his character. He was unafraid to play dumb as a box of rocks, and I loved it. If you see the movie (on Paramount+, the worst of the worst of streaming services), be sure to watch the credits for a scene that's pretty great.

   
• Remo! Fred Ward, Star of The Right Stuff, Tremors, Dies at 79. Except Fred Ward will forever be Remo Williams to me...


Though having Joel Grey play Korean will always be cringe.

And he was a big part of why Big Business ended up working as well as it did...

Fred Ward and Lily Tomlin in Big Business

There were other roles, of course. The guy did great work for a long time. Rest In Peace, sir.

   
• Heartstopper! This actually is hope...

@merrowchild At this point, who's isn't reading #heartstopper ?! #waterstones #shortstory #booksellerlife #aliceoseman #merrowchild #retailstories ♬ Heartstopper - Adiescar Chase

Kids are going to believe whatever they're taught to believe. But access to information is easier than ever, and sometimes the truth wins out.

   
• Fruit! When I was a kid, my mom used to pack little tins of Dole fruit in my lunch. Now, of course, they've switched to plastic like everything else. But here's the problem... there is no way... NO WAY AT ALL... to open these little containers without juice pouring out everywhere...

I've been douched by pear juice.

I have tried everything. Usually I go to the sink to open them, but when I'm trapped on a call and can't leave, I have to open it here. This is me trying to be my most careful when opening my pears... FUCKERS!!! Now I look like I had an accident in the bathroom or something.

   
• Moose! YESSSSSS! WHY IS THIS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE US?

Mayo Mousse. Genius.

   
I'm guessing eventually I'll figure out how to post this. Probably.

   

“It Was a Thankful Prayer”

Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2022

Dave!Like so many of us, I've spent my share of time playing around with Microsoft's Flight Simulator. It's a nifty way to fly a plane (kinda) without having to spend a lot of time taking classes and tests and... oh yeah... buying a plane.

But even so, the idea of actually flying a real-life plane is something that doesn't even enter my brain. I mean, in an emergency... with all other options exhausted... sure. If my option is to try and fly a plane and live or choose not to try and die, I'm your guy.

This nightmare scenario became reality for a passenger who ended up having to fly a plane after the pilot was incapacitated...

Pretty amazing!

This is the type of person you want with you in an emergency.

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WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?

Posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Dave!People never stop looking for stupid shit to justify their bigotry.

Fortunately, it doesn't take much effort to debunk their bullshit...


@ashlelnok #greenscreenvideo Oh no. The horror. #allgenders ♬ original sound - Ashley

...it never does.

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GAH! My Hammy!

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday morning I was walking out to my car and pulled a hamstring. Right in the middle of the street as I was crossing it. And it wasn't like I was sprinting across... or dancing across... or doing anything weird. I was just walking. And that was enough, apparently.

Getting old sure sucks.

The pain has been pretty excrutiating. I kept it elevated, iced, and took Ibuprofen like you're supposed to, but it didn't make much difference.

This morning it felt fine. Until I walked on it. Or hobbled on it, as the case may be.

Remember when I was young and invulnerable just last week?

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Stay Frosty

Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2022

Dave!I've talked a couple times about my love of all things Max Frost. He's a sublimely-talented musician who has become a bit famous for his band mash-ups on TikTok where he plays every single instrument.

Like this one, which beautifully merges Fleetwood Mac with The 1975 for a song that I have been praying gets a full release, because I've listened to this snippet a massive number of times and can't get enough...

@maxfrostmusic

any more suggestions???🤠💜 (reply to @jruizz21 ) ##the1975 ##dreams ##fleetwoodmac @the1975

♬ original sound - Max Frost

This week Max held a live event where he went through the creative process for the songs on his latest EP, Flying Machines which was released May 6th. I love the album, so of course I was tuned in to watch. It was absolutely fascinating because he pulled up his Logic Pro files and showed you exactly how his sound was built up. I wish more artists would do this, because it only serves to deepen your appreciation for the songs they create.

If you haven't listened to Flying Machines, you seriously need to get on that, because each track is a banger. And he's got some cool videos coming out as well...





Now. About that Fleetwood Mac & The 1975 mashup...

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Caturday 259

Posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2022

Dave!Wow... my Friday yesterday was like Monday.

I forgot my glasses downstairs (easy to do when I'm starting with contact lenses again) so OF COURSE this is the day that Jake decided to puke up a hairball in the hall. Fortunately, he was like a seeing eye cat who walked around it when I was heading down to make them breakfast, and I followed him because I couldn't see it.

BUT IT GETS WORSE!

When Jenny doesn't have a clean litter box, she will hold it for as long as she can, then find a spot when she can't hold it any more. Little did I know that both Litter-Robots didn't cycle for some reason, so when I saw the blurry blob on the floor while making the cats their breakfast, I assumed that it was a mouse.

I get my glasses and... NOPE! Jenny took a dump on the kitchen floor.

This is only the second time she's done this, and I feel so bad for her that I can't be even a little upset. She likes a clean place to do her business, and I failed her. Albeit unintentionally.

I am upset for me, because this meant I had to haul out the Pine-Sol and steam cleaner to make sure the floor was fully disinfected!

I looked up the security footage, and poor Jenny looked so ashamed afterwards...

Jenny taking a dump where she shouldn't be.

Jenny feeling ashamed after taking a dump where she shouldn't have.

My poor little girl. I promise to check the Litter-Robots each night to make sure they're emptied and clean!

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Bullet Sunday 762

Posted on Sunday, May 22nd, 2022

Dave!The sun may be shining outside where I'm at, but I'm not out enjoying it as I should be... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Breakfast! The season finale of Saturday Night Live was fairly mediocre... despite having Natasha Lyonne hosting and great send-offs for Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson (and apparently Kyle Mooney is leaving as well?). HOWEVER... it introduced me to Japanese Breakfast, a band I never knew existed but fell in love with immediately. This has to be one of my favorite SNL performances ever...


Kate McKinnon waves good bye.

   
• The Valet! I'm a huge fan of Eugenio Derbez, and his new movie The Valet on Hulu is great. At first I worried that it wasn't taking advantage of his talents, but boy did he bring it in the end...

Worth your valuable time. And we're also getting a second season of his show "Acapulco," which is something else you should be watching.

   
• Baymax! My favorite animated character since Stitch from Lelo & Stitch and Sully from Monsters, Inc. has his own show...

And how great is it that they kept the other characters from Big Hero 6 to be in it as well?

   
• Umbrella Academy 3! I've been in awe at just how good the Netflix adaptation of the Umbrella Academy comics have been... actually improving on the material in some ways. And now we're at Season 03 and it's looking as cool and bonkers as ever...

With Netflix being an absolute shit-show as of late, and their tradition of killing shows after 2 or 3 seasons, I'm more than a little worried about getting Season 04.

   
• She-Hulk! This is what happens when a show looks like it has a very good chance of exceeding your expectations. People of earth, I give you She-Hulk: Attorney at Law...

   
• Marvel! And now that Ms. Marvel is nearly upon us, Marvel Studios is giving us a bigger taste of what's to come...

I. Cannot. Wait.

If nothing else, casting Tatiana Maslany in the lead is 100% pure win.

   
• Heartstopper Redux! And lastly, the news I've been waiting for ever since I watched the show... Netflix has renewed Heartstopper for two seasons...

Announcement of Heartstopper's renewal on Netflix by Netflix.

While this is incredible news... had they waited any longer, the actors would be getting too old to play their characters... it's also a bit disappointing. From my estimation, they'll need four seasons to get through all the graphic novel material which has defined Nick & Charlie's relationship, so why not renew for three? And boy oh boy do I hope that they fold in more material for Charlie's sister, Tori (or, better yet) give her a series of her own and adapt Solitaire). In any event, not all the news coming out of Netflix is bad, it seems.

   
And now I need to get outside and tie up some of my flowers before they take over my yard!

   

Access Denied, Hacker Scum!

Posted on Monday, May 23rd, 2022

Dave!As you may (or may not) have noticed, my blog wasn't updating this past week-and-a-half.

I continued to write as I always do, but when I went to post anything to the site, Blogography returned an error saying that my "connection had been refused." I automatically assumed that my WordPress installation was borked because it keeps happening with increasing regularity.

But this time it wasn't WordPress's fault.

Eventually I figured out that the VPN node I had been using to access the internet was the same node used by somebody trying to hack my blog. When my security plugin on WordPress detected the attempt, it blacklisted the IP address. When I switched to a different VPN node, I was able to post everything that had been stacked up.

What are the odds?

This does have me concerned that people who use VPNs (and, seriously, everybody should be using VPNs) are going to have increasing difficulties attempting to reach content on the internet.

And where would the internet be without Blogography?

Far, far worse off, I'd imagine.

And, oh yeah... the trailer for the new Mission: Impossible movie dropped today! It looks bonkers cool!

This entire franchise has had some great stories. And the stunts are incredible. Can't wait!

   

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

Dave!I've been watching a series, The Offer, on Paramount+. It's about the making of The Godfather with all the crazy shenanigans that went on behind the scenes. It's a hot bloated mess of a series which has, at most, 6 episodes worth of material that's been dragged out to ten episodes (seven of which have aired). But the stuff that's actually relevant is entertaining enough to maintain my interest, so I endure.

The biggest surprise of the show has been who they got to play Marlon Brando... Alex Karev from Grey's Anatomy! I haven't watched the show since Season 02, so it took me a minute to recognize him, but he did a darn good job in an impossible role... so much respect to Justin Chambers.

Watching the series naturally lead to me to rewatching the entire The Godfather trilogy because I just can't help myself. I've seen them all a dozen times, but they're films I can watch over-and-over, and so I do.

The Godfather...
...is a problematic movie featuring time jumps that are glossed over quite badly, resulting in a choppy mess. It also has some violence that's almost comical in implementation. But then it has some of the most mind-bogglingly fantastic performances ever committed to celluloid. Say what you want about Marlon Brando, but he was glorious in his every moment on-screen. And then there's Al Pacino with his riveting, star-making role that culminated in one of the best finales of any film ever made.

The Godfather, Part II...
...is equally problematic in that the dual-narative structure, while ambitious, was better in concept than implementation. That being said, I love it every bit as much as the first film. The cinematography and set decoration create a lush, gorgeous world for the characters to inhabit, and are almost as memorable as the characters. Pacino's cold and calculating take on Michael Corleone is about as compelling as it gets. And De Niro's performance is flawless from the moment he walks on the screen.

Young Vito Corleone comes to America.

The Godfather, Part III...
...in the interest of full disclosure, I was not a fan of this film when it debuted in 1990. Some nutty story beats married to an abysmal performance by Sofia Coppola in a key role plus Robert Duvall's absence left me cold. It was an unsatisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Over the years it's grown on me, however. I love the way the ending harkens back to the first film (with Connie, a character I couldn't stand in the first two films playing a satisfying part), and the way that Michael watches his world spin out of control while he's helpless to do much about it. While I don't think it's in the same league as the first films, it doesn't diminish them in any way, so I've made my peace with it.

There was a rumor that they were planning on picking up the movies again, but focusing on Vincent (Andy Garcia) as the next generation of Corleone. While I think that a film focusing on a hot-headed Don who wanted to watch the world burn could have been interesting, I'm grateful that it never happened though. The time frame for these films had passed and the only reason to go on would be to exploit a great franchise for the money instead of anything creative.

Not that this has ever stopped Hollywood in the past, of course.

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WTF Tech Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

Dave!Oh look! I've got some tech crap to beef about, and you get to come along for the ride! If you're in a good mood and don't want it spoiled by my ranting, I'd just skip this entry.

But if you're already raging on your Wednesday, this one's for you!

Apple Mail
Apple is worth billions of dollars, and yet their Mail app is one of the shittiest fucking user experience for any app ever made. And they keep making it worse! This is not hyperbole, it's absolute fact. Setting aside from the fact that Apple took away your ability to select the outgoing SMTP server for those times you need to do that... and setting aside the fact that the notification app icon badges rarely have accurate information (especially in iOS)... and setting aside that sometimes after reading an email and scrolling all the way through it to get it marked as "read" it doesn't actually mark as "read" until you force it... and setting aside that Mail will not SHUT THE FUCK DOWN when you tell your computer to shut down... and setting aside the fact that account management in the desktop app is a horrific shitshow which is split between two separate locations on two separate apps... the absolute worst part of Apple Mail is that YOU CAN'T FUCKING DELETE AN ACCOUNT... EVER! Choosing "Remove Everywhere" so that the account will fucking die does absolutely jack-shit, because the account is automatically added back seconds later. And it doesn't matter if you make the account inactive on all your iCloud devices. It still comes back, and there's NOTHING you can do about it (except make it inactive). I've read that some people have finally managed to delete and account by turning off Cloud Keychain on all their devices, then deleting the account on all devices, then starting the keychain sync again... but it doesn't work for everybody. So WTF Apple? Why the fuck doesn't "Remove Everywhere" actually remove the shit? Obviously I don't give a fuck if other devices are using it (that I don't know about) because if I want it fucking removed EVERYWHERE that includes ALL MY FUCKING DEVICES! This kind of stupid shit is what drives me fucking insane with Apple and their bullshit. Users have zero power over their own settings.

Amazon Alexa
In the beginning, Alexa was a quirky voice assistant that managed to do very little not very well. But then it started adding capabilities, having better voice recognition, and becoming more reliable in its tasks. At that point it became an essential home automation tool that made "life in the future" so very cool. But over the last couple years, Alexa has turned into unreliable bloatware that pisses me off more than anything. Ask an Alexa device to play a song, the device you spoke to acknowledges the command, THEN PLAYS THE FUCKING SONG ON AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT DEVICE IN ANOTHER ROOM! How the fuck is this even remotely sensible. I get it if a device in another room hears the command and starts playing there... but that's not what's happening. Then there's the fact that lights will randomly "not be able" to turn off and on by voice command. Then there's the fact that Alexa is constantly telling me about new abilities and features that I couldn't care less about... all while not being able to do the shit that I asked it to do. I have no idea if these many problems are because Amazon no longer gives a shit about Alexa... or if they're concentrating on adding new shit while letting the old shit deteriorate... or the system is so bloated with crap that it's just not able to function. Regardless, I am seriously considering a switch to Google Hub, which has none of these irritating and debilitating issues. At least not yet.

Apple Photos
The only way to force a sync so that any new photos in the cloud are downloaded is to QUIT THE APP AND THEN OPEN IT AGAIN! Why the fuck can't Apple just add a little "sync" button to the toolbar so you aren't doing this stupid, backwards bullshit? And what about the fact that dragging photos out of the app sometimes gets you a JPEG file and sometimes gets you a HEIC file? And what about the fact that sometimes you drag images out of the app and they don't bother to export at all... or export only after Photos sits there like a stupid shit for a minute first? Photos is categorically awful for photo management, and Apple does not give a fuck. Another case of a company with billions of dollars sitting on their stacks of cash instead of using it to update their fucking apps.

AppleTV
Worst user interface ever. Okay, that's probably hyperbole, but it certainly feels like it. If you have anything more than 25 movies or TV shows, navigating is an absolute slog. Unlike Plex (or any other decent media app) which allows you to scroll over to an alphabet directory to skip to a section, AppleTV makes you scroll through every last fucking piece of media you own. I've purchased hundreds of movies and shows... which means if I want to watch Zoolander, I am 100% fucked. Not only do I have to scroll through every other piece of media I own, I have to wait for all the catalog images to load because AppleTV doesn't cash them. Couple all this bullshit with the fact that AppleTV isn't even reliable at playing shit, and one has to wonder why the fuck Apple even bothers.

Apple TouchID
Having TouchID is cool. Not as cool as having FaceID, but still pretty cool. Want to buy something or access private information or enter a password... just touch the fingerprint sensor and your Mac will take care of it for you! Except when it doesn't. Which is often. Despite having TouchID and allowing it to control everything, I still end up having to type fucking passwords every fucking day. When I went to sync my FTP sites just 15 minutes ago, Keychain Access asked me to type my password. Why? What the fuck good is TouchID if it just randomly doesn't work for some random reason? Doesn't anybody at Apple even use a fucking Mac so they can see this? Or do they know about it and just not give a shit?

INSTEON
I am still fucking raw about the home automation company I used, INSTEON, shut down without notice. Luckily I have an independent hub that doesn't rely on their servers, but recently I've found out that all my monitoring devices are randomly failing (this morning I thought that my garage door was open because INSTEON reported it as open, even though it was closed). I understand that you roll the dice and take your chances every time you purchase a cloud-enabled device (may the people behind Feed-and-Go burn in hell for all eternity), but the very least these assholes could do is offer a workaround or give you options so that your devices no longer work.

Boy. My blood pressure is at critical levels and I'm not even half-way through the crap I'm mad about! I'd better stop before I bust a blood vessel or something. As a bonus, I'll have fodder for another WTF Wednesday, if I deem myself healthy enough to write it up.

   

M1 ULTRA Mac Studio First Look

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Dave!My nine-year-old iMac computer at work has been dying for years and finally just refused to work properly at all this past January. You could never search for anything. Apps would hang the computer for no reason. The display would black out at random. It was horribly frustrating, but I held on... working partly on my laptop and partly on my home iMac when my work machine was acting up... because I knew that Apple was going to release new Macs at their Spring Event. Which they did back in March.

My guess was that they would release an M1 27" iMac, which is exactly the machine I needed.

My guess was wrong.

Instead we got the "Mac Studio" which was in every way perfect for my needs...

  • More powerful than a consumer Mac, but not overly-powerful (and overly-expensive) like a Mac Pro.
  • NO BUILT-IN MONITOR, which I was very happy about, because it's always a shame when you have to recycle a perfectly good monitor when you recycle the computer. iMacs are horrible this way.
  • USB-A PORTS, which means that I can plug in my scanner, DVD-R drive, and printer without having to buy dongles or new cords.
  • AN SD CARD SLOT, so I can transfer photos from my camera to my computer without yet another stupid dongle.
  • PORTS ON THE FRONT OF THE FUCKING COMPUTER, which has been a sore spot with me when it comes to Apple ever since they started moving shit to the back of the computer. It's just senseless and stupid, and every time I have to rotate my old iMac to plug shit in I wanted to scream.

And now for the bad news... the Apple Studio Display that was to go with my shiny new computer hasn't arrived yet. It was actually supposed to arrive before my computer ages ago, but rather than ship it to me, Apple decided to hold off since my computer wasn't available yet. Then the COVID lockdowns hit China and so now the Mac finally arrived but I'm having to use a crappy old HDMI monitor that's so pixelated and low-res that I can barely work on it. Better than nothing, I suppose, but this is more than a little bit frustrating.

Design Grade: A-

The computer itself is quite nice-looking. A minimalist 1/2-height cube with pleasing rounded corners. Kinda like a tall Mac mini...

The Apple Mac Studio.

On the front of the computer is the afore-mentioned SD card slot and two USB-C ports. There was no little "lightning bolt" symbol above the USB-C ports so I assumed that they were not Thunderbolt-4 compatible (as it is on the less-expensive model). I was wrong. They are full-on Thunderbolt, which is nice, and I'm guessing Apple left off the symbol for aesthetic reasons (as they are wont to do). The SD card slot is inexplicably still the older SD-XC UHS-II standard. The much faster SD-UC standard has been out for years now, so this is kinda inexcusable given the massive size of photo and video files now-a-days. My camera is not SD-UC so it doesn't affect me... but if I ever do get a camera with a SD-UC slot, I'm going to be understandably pissed. And... oh yeah... do you want to know what's not on the front of the computer? The power button. Which means if you need it, you are groping blindly around the back. I have no idea why this is the case. Apple could have at least put it on the side near the front if they thought it was too ugly to go on the front.

On the back of the computer is that pesky power button plus all the remaining ports. On my model this means four USB-C Thunderbolt-4 ports, two USB-A ports (helleluja!), and an HDMI 2.0 port (never mind that the 2.1 standard has been out since 2017, Apple is once again using older ports for some reason). Plus 10 Gigabit Ethernet, which is nice because our offices just got rewired... and a headphone jack (surprise!). My DVD-ROM is unplugged because my two USB-A ports are taken, so I'll probably end up with a dongle for it, alas...

The ports on the back of my Mac Studio.

One disadvantage about the computer is that the soft aluminum casing paired with sharp edges is just asking for dings and nicks to appear. Mine arrived with a small ding on the front-top edge, so I can only imagine that it's going to end up a lot worse once I start actually using it...

The ports on the back of my Mac Studio.

The fragility aside, I have no complaints. For something that's meant to occupy the space between consumer and pro in Apple's lineup, this is about what you'd hope for.

Price Grade: B-

The computer comes with no keyboard and no mouse included in the price. You get the computer, a power cord, and a black Apple sticker (I thought that the black stickers were for "Pro" purchases, but I guess the "Studio" was deemed worthy...

The black Apple sticker that came with my Mac Studio.

For pre-configured machines you have a choice of a $2,000 model which has 32GB of unified memory and 512GB storage, plus the M1 MAX Apple Silicon chip with 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores for the CPU, 24 GPU cores, and 16 neural engine cores... and a $4,000 model which has 64GB of unified memory and 1TB storage, plus the M1 ULTRA Apple Silicon chip with 16 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores for the CPU, 48 GPU cores, and 32 neural engine cores. My work was nice enough to get me the ULTRA version because I needed the memory. It would have been cheaper to upgrade the entry model, but I was happy to get the more powerful machine.

As to whether the price is worth it? Well... yes and no. I think that the $2,000 model is actually a darn good bargain for what you're getting. That would be enough to satisfy mid-range power-users at a decent cost. The $4,000 model, however, seems overpriced. For that kind of money, you really should be getting the chip with 64 GPU cores (but that's a $1,000 add-on, $5,000 total). I might feel differently if there was a clear speed benefit to the ULTRA chip, but benchmarks show that it's mostly equivalent to the lesser version except in extreme circumstances, so I would have likely been just fine spending $2,000 for the base model and adding $400 for more memory and $200 for more GPU cores. But, hey, as Apple optimizes their "Metal" rendering engine to better take advantage of ULTRA, and app developers hop on board, I might end up being very glad that my employer spent the extra cash.

Performance Grade: A

The hallmark of Apple Silicon is that you get considerable power out of less energy. This is a godsend for portable Macs (my MacBook Pro with the M1 MAX chip can go all day on a single battery charge) but not as critical for desktop machines like the Mac Studio. Conceptually desktop machines will be able to put additional power to good use. But in practice it doesn't feel like more bang for your buck. I ran races between my MacBook and Mac Studio expecting the M1 ULTRA to run circles around the M1 MAX, but that's just not the case. Yes, the Mac Studio is faster, but it's not by a revolutionary amount. This may sound like a complaint... but it really isn't. The fact that Apple has managed to make chips this powerful means that the entire line gets an "A grade" from me.

Everything on my new machine feels zippy. Basic tasks happen near-instantaneously. Complex Blender 3D scenes render very fast when using version 3.1 that's optimized for MacOS X's "Metal" graphics package. Rendering video in Final Cut Pro is ridiculously fast. Needless to day, the Apple Silicon optimized versions of Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator perform amazingly well. And as more work goes into Metal drivers (by Apple) and apps (by developers) the sky's the limit. I was happy to have a working computer. But having one as powerful as the Mac Studio feels too good to be true. Work is so much easier when you have a screaming-fast machine.

Final Grade: A-

Ultimately this is a very nice, very capable machine. And having an option for power-users which doesn't force you into a "Pro" machine that's overkill for your needs is refreshing. I won't get the full benefit from the machine until the Studio Display that goes with it arrives... and developers further optimize their apps to utilize it... but in the meanwhile I am a very happy camper.

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One Week in Pink

Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday when I got home I noted that my dogwood tree was fully in bloom. It's an annual event which makes the whole thing worthwhile, and it only lasts for about a week. Then the color fades and the petals drop and I'm left with a nice-looking, albeit 100% green, tree (at least until winter comes).

I made a note to take a photo this morning because morning has the best light for photographing the blossoms because the pink looks the deepest. In the afternoon the sunlight bleaches out the flowers.

When my cats woke me up because there was a small spider on the ceiling, I was aghast to hear rain dumping down on my roof. "Surely the blossoms have all been stripped from the tree!" I said to my cats... who looked at me like I was crazy.

But when I was trudging off to work I was pleasantly surprised to see that not a single petal had fallen...

Pretty pink dogwood blossoms.

Pretty pink dogwood blossoms.

They were, however, a little bit wet.

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Caturday 260

Posted on Saturday, May 28th, 2022

Dave!It's a Caturday kinda day.

Yesterday morning after my Zoom meeting, I went to check on my cats. I do not know what it is about my awesome "Jungalow by Justina Blakeney" bed cover... but my cats love it. A lot. They would fight over getting to lay on it after I fold it up at night, so finally I just started folding it in two sections so they can both lay on it...

Though sometimes they do like to snuggle on it together...

Jenny licking Jake's head.

Jenny licking Jake's head.

The other day I dropped some papers on the floor. Jake comes sprinting up and sat on them before I could pick them up. Which meant I ended up having to sit and wait for him to move before I was able to finish my work for the day...

Jenny wants belly rubs!

Apparently this is Jake's way of "helping."

I've mentioned how Jenny can never decide what she wants, but now it's happening with increasing regularity. RUB MY BELLY!!

Jenny wants belly rubs!

10 seconds later... WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? NO! NO! NO! NO!!!!

Jenny DOES NOT WANT belly rubs!

But if I don't rub her belly on demand, she gets even more upset.

Cats.

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Bullet Sunday 763

Posted on Sunday, May 29th, 2022

Dave!A three day weekend (for a lot of us here in the good ol' U.S. of A. isn't even the best thing to look forward to this fine Sunday... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• You're Our Only Hope! I was not expecting the world from the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+, even though it was focusing on one of the best parts of the shitty Star Wars prequels. But, then again, The Mandalorian proved that it could be good if they wanted it bad enough...

Obi-Wan Kenobi Poster

Well, apparently they did want it bad enough, because the show is looking darn good from the first two (or six) episodes which have aired. I don't want to spoil a single frame, as I was careful to not learn too much about it before it started running. Suffice to say that the premise for the series is not what I expected, despite being a very good one (and kinda obvious). Even if you've given up on Star Wars, this might be worth a look.

   
• More Hope? This past week was Star Wars Celebration, the annual lovefest for A Galaxy Far, Far Away. The most interesting thing to come out of it was the trailer for Andor, which I've been anticipating for what seems like an eternity...

Looks great, doesn't it?

   
• Mavericky! Top Gun is one of those seminal 80's films that I have seen multiple times since first seeing it in the theater. When they came out with a sequel: Top Gun: Maverick I kept my expectations in check, because it seemed absurd that they could possibly have more to say. Or at least not enough to warrant a sequel. But it was actually quite good despite covering a lot of the same territory. This is largely thanks to very cool practical fighter plane shots which were far better than a bunch of CGI special effect shots could have ever been...

Tom Cruise in a fighter plane cockpit.

Tom Cruise was... well... Tom Cruise. Jennifer Connelly was good as she always is. And Miles Teller, who hasn't impressed me much in anything he's ever done, inhabited his role as the son of Goose in a way that really made you believe he could be the son of Meg Ryan and Anthony Edwards. Do I think it was risk getting COVID to go see? Probably not. But it should have no problem making my best-of list for 2022 because of the huge dose of retro thrills it provides.

   
• Thanks, Jims! While there's a lot of attention being focused on Obi-Wan Kenobi, Top Gun: Maverick, and the return of Stranger Things, I can tell you right now that the entertainment to beat is Shoresy. Based on the unseen (but not unheard) hockey-playing character from Letterkenny, it's a fantastic (and very funny) look at "the dirtiest player in the game"...

The cast of Shoresy with their missing teeth in a lockeroom.

If you're a Letterkenny fan, this is a no-brainer. But even if you aren't this is nice diversion from the horrors of the real world.

   
• Fletch! I was very sad to hear that Andrew "Fletch" Fletcher from Depeche Mode had died. As one of my all-time favorite bands, I've collected all their music and have seen them in concert a half-dozen times. Rest in Peace, sir...

Tom Cruise in a fighter plane cockpit.

   
• Less Strange? And speaking of Stranger Things... I'm more than a little disappointed in Season 04. Each episode is bloated in a bad way, focusing more on distraction, filler, and "side-quests" than the show I was hoping to tune in for. And it's like why? Why deviate from what made the show so darn good in Seasons 01-03? I guess everybody wanted a bigger paycheck and the only way to get it was to film more material? I dunno. The show isn't exactly bad... but I'm really hoping they stick the landing in the final two episodes in five weeks to make this time investment worthwhile.

   
• Subway. This video from Last Week Tonight is fascinating stuff. And you OWE it to yourself to watch the Korean Meatball Drama at the end! Glorious...

The fact that Subway knew that Jared was a kid-raping pedophile and ignored it so he could keep selling their sandwiches means that they can fuck off forever. Interesting to note that Kidfuckers is the ONLY chain restaurant in my small town, which is just further evidence that they do indeed push their franchises to the breaking point and put them everywhere.

   
Until next Sunday then...

   

A Memorial Day

Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2022

Dave!I haven't been back to the cemetery since I buried my mother.

I thought I would go back this year on Memorial Day to see the flag remembrance that they do every year, but I ended up taking a pass. Instead I looked at the photos I've taken from past years.

It's not the same, but it's the best I can manage right now...

Memorial Day Flags

Memorial Day Flags

A beautiful way to remember those who died in service of their country on behalf of a grateful nation.

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Integral to Alternate Timelines

Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

Dave!A common plot device to many science fiction stories (and more than a few comic book story arcs) is one of an alternate timeline. Something happens... usually involving time travel... which causes established events to veer from their intended path, thus creating a new timeline.

One of my favorite uses of this is in Back to The Future: Part II where Biff Tannen uses the Sports Almanac to give his past-self knowledge of the future, thus changing his path to that of an evil millionaire. Marty then has to go back in time to prevent Biff from doing what he already done-did.

Classic.

Lately I've been feeling like I'm trapped in an evil alternate timeline where somebody has changed the path that we're all supposed to be on. And do you blame me? The amount of horrendous shit happening in the world just keeps escalating, and there really doesn't seem to be any end in sight.

Alas, something tells me that Marty McFly ain't going to show up and magically fix everything this time.

   

Past Lunar Eclipse

Posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Dave!I took photos of the lunar eclipse that happened a few weeks back. Nothing terribly interesting came of it. More of a "rust moon" than a "blood moon," my fully-eclipsed images are far less exciting than the stuff other people posted. So I put my camera away and called it good.

Except...

This morning I needed to take some photos and went to erase the eclipse files. But then I saw that as the eclipse was ending the photos got kinda cool, culminating with this one...

The lunar eclipse is ending.

Maybe I should play around with my camera settings a bit more next time there's a lunar eclipse. Assuming I'm even alive when the next one happens.

UPDATE: Oh wait... November 22 of this year? These things are not as rare as I thought they were! Of course in November the odds of an eclipse being totally eclipsed by clouds are astronomical where I live.

So to speak.

   

Unknown Caller Ad Infinitum

Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

Dave!Every morning it happens.

Call after call after call of people I don't know popping up in my notifications. Except my phone doesn't ring through for unidentified callers, so it has zero effect on me. I turned THAT feature on the minute my mom died and I no longer had to wait for doctor calls or emergencies that might have come up.

I don't want to talk to people I know on the phone... but people I don't know? That's a hard pass. If it's critical, they can leave a voicemail...

Recent Spam Calls on my phone

Interesting to note that they are making several calls at once, because most phones allow you to have multiple calls from the same number break through your unknown caller blocking.

But not me, baby.

Anybody I care about getting through to me is in my contacts.

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Talking Points Redundancy

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Dave!Today was the day that Amazon dropped the first three episodes of The Boys for their third season. As the first episode begins, it shows everybody's favorite sociopath, Homelander, on an apology tour for having dated Stormfront, who ended up being a psychotic white supremacist and literal Nazi in the previous season. It's told in montage, where Homelander is on several different television shows delivering the exact same talking points over... and over... and over... and over again.

Which is exactly how it works in Real Life.

We've seen it many times from disgraced politicians, actors, pastors, and anybody who achieves a bit of fame and then goes on to fuck it up.

Billy Butcher with powers from The Boys Series 3

At first I was upset at this, because it felt very much as if the show was fighting to get back to the status quo and the same old stories we've seen in the first two seasons. Homelander loves fame and adoration more than anything on earth, and he'll do whatever it takes to keep his hold on the people who love him.

But then we get to the point where Homelander is no longer able to be kept in check by threats to his popularity, and I completely changed my mind. So long as The Boys doesn't try to backtrack their way out of this new development, this could make for a very interesting season.

And if it all falls apart?

Ms. Marvel is dropping on June 8th, so I think I'll survive.

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Caturday 261

Posted on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

Dave!Jake is going through a phase of some kind. He wants all my attention the minute I get home from work... then decides that he's had enough after ten minutes or so... then avoids me until bedtime. He'll literally go out of his way to avoid me. This is strange. But it gets stranger.

He's gone from being obsessed with his toy lion, Mufasa, to being outright hostile twords the thing. He no longer carries it around like it's his baby... but instead throws Mufasa around and pounces on it so he can bite bite bite it.

I don't know how much more poor Mufasa can take of this. I've already has to repair him twice. If he ends up in shreds, I have no idea what will happen. I've tried to find a replacement for years to no avail.

Meanwhile, Jenny is all about setting traps for me.

This may look for an invitation for belly rubs...

Jenny flopped over showing her belly.

But I assure you it is NOT. At least usually it's not. You have to attempt pets in order to find out.

Which is just the way it goes with her now-a-days...

Jenny flopped over showing her belly.

Sassy little minx.

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Bullet Sunday 764

Posted on Sunday, June 5th, 2022

Dave!Don't let the pouring rain, thunder, and lightning stop you from today's bullets, since it's not stopping me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Best Trek! I cannot process the fact that there's a Star Trek show that I like better than the original series. It's inconceivable. But holy shit! Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount+ is blowing my mind episode after episode. And Episode 05 is just next-level good. Funny as hell, and incredibly satisfying to watch. How in the heck did they come up with this? And Spock... it's just... Ethan Peck is killing it. He's wonderful.

Spock and T'Pring on Star Trek.

Now I worry that they're going to take a great show in its first season and flush it down the fucking toilet like they did with whiny, boring Star Trek: Discovery. Hopefully the show-runners think better than that, because I would sure miss Strange New Worlds.

   
• Marmalade! Okay... this is really great...

Wishing a happy Platinum Jubilee to Her Majesty.

   
• More Death! HBO has (finally) renewed Our Flag Means Death for a second season...

Blackbeard finds a friend.

Probably the best show you haven't watched. Yet.

   
• TAPS! Pretty much this, yeah (Here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@maxtheverygoodboy Is it working yet?? No?!? #satire #nyc #news #rip #texas #trending ♬ original sound - maxtheverygoodboy

So many of our politicians are useless pieces of crap. It's amazing that people have been conned into accepting it... even defending it.

   
• Helpless! Used to be that you just held down the sleep/wake button until your iPhone force-restarts. Now if you do that, you end up calling 911. I can never remember the new combo (you up, vol down, THEN hold sleep/wake) so I asked my iPhone. BUT OF COURSE THE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT IS ZERO HELP...

Jesus Christ, Apple... just fucking give up on Siri already. She can't do shit.

   
• False Prophets! All these people reaching to find Biblical meaning in shit that is easily Googleable just to fit their idiotic narrative is mind boggling...

@maklelan Responding to @FedUpGear #maklelan836 ♬ original sound - Dan McClellan

Just fuck off with your stupid bullshit already.

   
And now back to our regularly-scheduled thunderstorm.

   

The Sandman Cometh…

Posted on Monday, June 6th, 2022

Dave!One of my favorite comic books of all time is Alpha Flight... in particular the Vol. 3 version by Scott Lobdell and Clayton Henry. Their story would be a perfect fit for a really good Disney+ series, so I keep hoping that one day they will show up.

And they really should, because I think Canadians would appreciate seeing their own super-group brought to life...

Jenny flopped over showing her belly.

Another of my favorite comic books... The Sandman has already been developed as a series for Netflix, and it looks very good indeed. The visuals are highly reminiscent of the source material...

Needless to say I'm quite excited about seeing it, and August 5th seems a long time away.

Fortunately, we've got Ms. Marvel coming in two days, Thor: Love and Thunder coming July 8th, and Season 04 of What We Do in The Shadows coming on July 12th to help occupy our time until August...

Also? The sequel to one of my favorite comic book adaptations ever, The Old Guard, starts filming this month... assumably for release in 2023 some time. But before that? She-Hulk: Attorney at Law debuts on August 17th, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever coming November 11th, and Nick Fury's Secret Invasion (assumably) shortly thereafter!

An exciting time to be a comic book nerd, that's for sure.

   

Apple Studio Display First Look

Posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Dave!When the order was placed for my new Studio Mac and Studio Display for work, the lead time was two weeks for the display, then two months for the computer. But the display never came. Instead it got extended out to the same date as the computer since Apple (wisely) wanted to ship displays for other customers whose computers were available. Which would have been great, except that my computer shipped early, leaving me with two weeks having to use a terrible old monitor that was kicking around the office.

But now the display is finally here, so I'm able to add my thoughts (my comments on the Mac Studio are here).

Studio Display from Apple.

If I were to summarize it all, I'd probably say something like "A high quality display which comes at a (relatively) good price." And I should probably start off talking about the pricing, because that's the most controversial topic in front of me. The thing is $1,600. Which is darn pricey for a 27-inch display... but a frickin' bargain for the 5K 27-inch display that Apple is selling. Which is to say that if you need 5K resolution, this thing is cheap. If you can get by with 4K, this thing is expensive for your needs. I mostly use my machine for graphic design, so the 5K is a nice thing to have... but not critical. But there are other features you get for the money that makes it a (relatively) good price for my needs.

DESIGN BUILD
The thing that you rarely have to worry about when it comes to Apple is how their stuff looks. There are exceptions, of course (the "sunflower" iMac looked stupid and the "trash can" Mac Pro had embarrassingly bad functionality), but most of the time anything you buy is guaranteed to be stunning, functional, and well-engineered. The Studio Display all all of that. It's tooled from aluminum which is both durable and beautiful. The stand design looks simple and elegant (this is where most manufacturers screw things up). The glass is not anti-glare (unless you want to pay $300 to get "nano-textured" glass) but isn't so thick that you're getting weird double-reflections. The base model allows you to tilt the panel towards you or away from you at a fairly large angle of motion (if you want a height-adjustable stand, that's an additional $400). There's no headphone jack to be found, which makes sense considering there's one on the Mac Studio computer (albeit IN THE BACK!). Overall, I'm quite pleased... though I am puzzled by how thick this thing is. It's about double the thickness of my iMac at home, and that has a whole computer inside of it! This is likely what was required for the awesome speaker setup, but it is odd. Though it's also kinda nice because it adds some heft to it so it's less likely to be bouncing around.

PICTURE QUALITY
There is no denying it. This thing is gorgeous to look at. With its 5K resolution, there are no "jaggies" happening anywhere on anything ever. Then you add it's vivid, flawless color fidelity, and it's just like looking at a hi-res back-lit photograph. As with other Apple Devices, it has the ability to monitor the light in your surroundings an adapt to it using Apple's "TrueTone" color correction. And then there's the brightness, which can be turned up so high that it feels like you're getting a suntan. There's absolutely nothing about the picture quality for me to be critical of. It's perfect as I knew it would be.

AND REGARDING 5K...
Because the pixels are so frickin' dense, you can fit a lot more stuff on the screen and still have it be perfectly crisp and legible. I love this quite a lot... EXCEPT... it can really suck when you have apps which don't allow you to enlarge the GUI elements. All the Adobe apps make this easy. As do a lot of my apps. But Apple's very own Mail app, for example? I can only find a place to make composing emails with a larger font. There's no way to apply a "universal zoom" to all your inbound emails. So most every time I receive something, I have to manually bump up the type so I can read it. It's just a tap or two on the "Command" key plus the "+" key, so it's not a huge deal... but even Apple's Safari browser allows you to set a default zoom for every site you visit. It's cumbersome, but at least you only have to do it once! It would be great if there was an option to set a minimum font size on these apps so it would be handled for me with zero need to do anything.

SOUND QUALITY
For whatever reason, Apple decked this thing out with six high-quality speakers that sound frickin' amazing, considering how the small amount of space that they're occupying. Even more impressive is that Apple is up to their "spatial audio" tricks to make you feel as though the sound has enveloped you. It's a pretty nifty trick, though some sound sources work better for this than others. Blade Runner 2049 (my benchmark for checking surround sound quality) sounds glorious. Not that I'll get to hear it much. Obviously I can't blast the sound while at work, so the audio experience will be lost on me because I have to use headphones so as not to disturb my co-workers.

CAMERA
When the Studio Display was first released, it was savaged by people saying that the webcam was horrific. This turned out to be software-related instead of anything to do with the hardware, and it was fixed before my display ever arrived. I find the camera quality to be outstanding (assuming you have a good internet connection). One of the newer features from Apple is "Center Stage" which allows you to walk around the room and have the camera follow you and automatically zoom in on where you're at. This is darn cool, and accomplished by using the wide-angle lens of the camera to soak in a large area... then zoom in to where the focus point is. What's particularly nifty is how it can recognize if there are multiple faces so it can shift the lens to make sure everybody is in-frame. I'm just happy that it's 12 mega-pixel, because apple has historically had awful resolution web-cams that have been embarrassing for far too long.

PORT ARRAY
There may be no headphone jack, but you do get three downstream USB-C ports in addition to the lone upstream thunderbolt port that plugs into your computer. A high-quality Thunderbolt cable is included. Interesting to note that this upstream port also acts like a 96W charger if you're plugging it into a MacBook or something (nice!).

IN CONCLUSION...
Overall I'm thrilled with the Studio Display. I'm even more thrilled that my work coughed up the $1,600 instead of me. Because if I were buying this for myself I'd have been a little upset that wanted a non-glare screen and a height-adjustable stand weren't included (that monitor is a whopping $2,300!). Even so, $1,600 for a 5K display is still getting you a lot of bang for your buck assuming 5K resolution useful to you (if 4K is good enough, you'd likely be better served by a less-expensive option). I've read that inside this thing is essentially a full A13 Bionic Chip inside which runs a full version of iOS. This is likely so that it can do the Center Stage shenanigans. Which is fine, except it sure seems like dramatic overkill. I would have been just as happy if they would have dropped this and took $100 off the price.

   

Dub Dub Twenty-Two

Posted on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Dave!

Monday was the annual World Wide Developer Conference, and here's my thoughts on what came from that.

PASSKEYS
I'm putting this first because it's something that took me completely by surprise in the best possible way. Having to keep track of dipshit passwords in the year 2022 is absurdly stupid, and it's been more than a little shocking that nobody has thought to do anything about it. Sure Apple has made things better by having TouchID and FaceID auto-fill your passwords for you, but it's still stupid. For one thing, there's still a password floating around out there that can be compromised by a company with lax security. Apple wants to ditch passwords in favor of biometric handshaking. Finally. And because they want to get this up-and-running quickly, they're working with Google and Microsoft to make it happen. Can't happen soon enough.

CARPLAY
Up until now, CarPlay has been a curious diversion to me. It doesn't really do anything beyond what my iPhone can do when slapped on my car vent holder. Certainly nothing that makes me want to run out and buy a CarPlay stereo or a CarPlay-enabled car. But now? Apple has gone and made CarPlay take over the entire dash, and it's just phenomenally cool...

The CarPlay Dashboard Coolness.

HOMEKIT HOMESHIT
My complete and total loathing of Apple's Smart Home standard, HomeKit, has not abated since it debuted in 2014 and was actually viable in 2016. It's the most absurdly stupid thing which works with nothing and what it does work with... works badly. I tried to get started with it twice and ended up hating it more after each go. Apple has now started over from scratch, which is about the best thing they could do. The new HomeKit will be built upon the new Matter standard, which is backed by everybody who's anybody in tech, which means that even if Apple shits the bed AGAIN, there will be other options so you're not trapped. I am 1000% looking forward to Matter, which means that I will be a part of HomeKit and not care.

MACBOOK AIR M2
This thing is sexy as hell with its four color options and beautiful design. But that's not even the best part... it's got Apple's shiny new M2 chip inside! If you don't need the power and ports of a MacBook Pro, this is a no-brainer ($1,000 for an M1 chip model, $1,200 for an M2 chip model).

MACBOOK PRO 13 M2
I am beyond confused by this machine. It's $100 more than the Air, has the same chip, a slightly smaller screen... and the only difference I can see is that the screen is OLED on the Pro. Not that it makes any difference to me... I need a 16" model, which this is not.

iOS 16
This update feels mostly cosmetic, allowing you to create custom lock-screens and switch between them like faces on an Apple Watch. The only part of this upgrade which excites me is that you can have "Live Activities" which update on your lock screen in real time, so you don't have to unlock your phone and navigate to the app to track progress on something. Also in this update is improvements to the Photos app (mostly to do with sharing) and the Messages app (you can edit and delete messages, which seems nice on the surface, but could be a nightmare for those being bullied or stalked via text who need evidence) and the Mail app (better search and the ability to undo a send, when supported by the recipient). There's also better dictation abilities (you can use the keyboard while dictating something by voice!) and some intriguing tech which allows hearing-impaired persons to have voices transcribed for them in real-time, which is all kinds of cool (the fact that iOS 16 is finally compatible with Nintendo Switch controllers after waiting for this for years is just icing on the cake).

macOS VENTURE
A lot of what the desktop is getting is the same stuff as what's happening in iOS. But there are a few perks that are unique here. First of all, you can now use handoff with FaceTime calls. So if I've started a FaceTime on my iPhone I can sit down at my Mac and transfer the call there with a click. That's very slick and useful. Likewise, you can use the superior camera on your iPhone as the webcam for your Mac and be able to use it as a Center Stage camera if your monitor doesn't have that ability (see above). And there are MagSafe adapters on the way to affix your iPhone to your Mac, which is a nice touch. Even nicer? An attempt has been made to make managing large numbers of Finder windows easier and for task switching not suck. Something called "Desk View" which allows you to use your iPhone camera to look down at your desk while still having a separate view on your face. This will be incredibly useful to me... it looks like Zoom will adopt the ability, which I truly hope happens since that's where most of my video calls happen. In addition to this stuff... games are faster... there's a lot of minor improvements all over the place, and there's now a shareable online whiteboard for collaboration called Freeform which is cool... but I don't know if it is cross-platform with Windows users? I missed it if this is possible.

iPad OS 16
Ever since iPad broke away from iOS, I keep waiting for this quantum leap change that's going to make it all worthwhile. A pretty big change was multi-tasking for using multiple apps at the same time... but then things kinda just... stalled. Of course iPads are getting all the new stuff from iOS (and the nice app-switcher from macOS Ventura), but all the coolest new stuff is only available for iPads with an M1 chip, which leaves me out. Of course, the thing that I most want from an iPad is a model with a much larger screen for drawing, which hasn't materialized yet.

   
And that was it. Since none of the OS stuff will be officially released until September (unless you like the idea of playing with the public betas which drop next month).

Until then... I guess I'm good.

   

It’s Ms. Marvelous!

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Dave!When it comes to translating their comic book properties to non-comic media, Marvel has done a darn good job when it comes to the compromises which have to be made. The way costumes look... the way powers work... the way continuity has been built... choices have to be made every step of the way, and there has been shockingly little that I've not felt was smart, cool, and appropriate.

Ms. Marvel, based on a highly successful character from the comics, is an American girl of Pakistani Muslim heritage who idolizes Captain Marvel and wants to be a super-hero just like her. Then one day she gets her shot, and her life becomes a balance between being a hero and being a girl trying to fit into her life and school while still holding true to her family's traditions and values.

In the comics, Ms. Marvel is a "polymorph" who has the ability to stretch and embiggen parts of her body. She got her abilities after being exposed to the Terrigen Mists, which is how Marvel's Inhumans characters gain powers (meaning that Ms. Marvel is technically an Inhuman).

In the television series, Ms. Marvel finds a family heirloom (a "bangle") which gives her the ability to make cosmic energy constructs. You can see it on her wrist here...

Jenny flopped over showing her belly.

Now, even though her powers are very, very different in the MCU, she still uses them in a way that harkens back to the comic books. If she wants to catch somebody, she generates a giant hand out of cosmic energy and stretches it out to make the catch. As opposed to making her actual hand grow to giant size and then stretching her actual arm out to make the catch.

I know some fanboys are going to be upset by this change, but I think it's pretty smart. First of all, her powers look kinda ridiculous in the comic books and probably wouldn't translate very well to television and movies. Second of all, part of her powers is basically a copy of Mister Fantastic's stretching abilities, which means that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would have two people with a confusingly-similar gimmick once The Fantastic Four movie arrives.

Which is to say that the MCU Ms. Marvel is more "Green Lantern" than "Mister Fantastic."

I'm not sure if I approve of the whole "cosmic bangle" source of her powers, but the powers she has been given I definitely approve of.

I also approve very much of the show itself.

Ms. Marvel streamlines the comic book narrative into something that works for television very well. The core aspects of her character are very much the same, and that's more important than most anything else because it's those aspects which make her unique.

Visually the show is quite good... using auxiliary graphic elements to give the series a unique flavor and make it fit the youthful vibe of the character.

The cast is phenomenal. Iman Vellani IS Ms. Marvel, and they fill out her family, friends, and acquaintances with equally-capable actors. It seems as if Marvel Studios is simply incapable of making bad casting decisions...

We've only gotten one episode to look at, but the storytelling is on-point and things move at a brisk enough pace that the episode doesn't feel bogged down (as what happens with so many origin stories). But the best surprise of all? MS. MARVEL IS ACTUALLY IN THE SHOW! After the way Moon Knight had practically no actual Moon Knight in it, I was mortified that this might be a new trend. But nope!

I don't know that Ms. Marvel will overtake Hawkeye as my favorite MCU Disney+ series... but maybe it will get there. The pieces are certainly in place to make it a fantastic show, so fingers crossed.

   

I don’t knead bread.

Posted on Friday, June 10th, 2022

Dave!Today I had to leave the office early so I could get home and finish up some stuff that I had left on my home computer. But first I decided to make some bread because I ran out.

It's pretty much a science at this point. Take out the SourJo starter and let it warm up for 30 minutes. Mix together the first half of the ingredients and let rise for 45 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and let it rise for 45 minutes. Deflate it, shape into loaves, then let it rise for 45 minutes. Then bake for a half hour.

At this point you're supposed to let it cool, but I never have that kind of patience...

Bread dough rising.

Bread done baked.

Bread sliced with butter.

Yes. It tastes every bit as good as it looks.

And smells even better than that.

I'd bake it daily if it didn't take three hours to make. And I could eat unlimited carbs without consequences.

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Caturday 262

Posted on Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Dave!Jenny is quite the little princess, and expects me to wait on her hand and foot. And she's getting more demanding with each passing day.

This past week I had to get out of bed for my early morning Zoom call and she hissed at me because I stopped petting her! I had to push sheets against her and pet her a bit so she would calm down...

Jenny being all pouty because I had to leave her.

So spicy.

Jake isn't quite so demanding. But, then again, he's been sleeping with his foot in his face lately...

Jake sleeping with his foot in his face.

In other Caturday news... my cats are thieves!

This past week I heard shenanigans downstairs after I had already gone to bed. I took a look at the security cameras to see if I needed to intervene and saw that Jake was attempting to steal cat treats up on the counter... WHILE JENNY KEPT WATCH DOWN BELOW! Seriously, she kept looking up the stairs to make sure I wasn't coming!

Jenny keeps a lookout while Jake tries to steal cat treats.

I didn't bother to go downstairs. I figured that if they managed to get the bag open, they deserved to have the treats...

On Friday night Jake walked up and informed me it's his dinner time. I informed him that it's 15 minutes until dinner time. He did not like this. He proceeded to jump up next to me on the couch and squawk and squawk and squawk. It's times like this I am happy that he can't meow. Usually I feel sorry for him, but I would go bonkers if he was able to meow at me every time he was upset about something.

Eventually Jake's shenanigans caused Jenny to think that it's dinner time so she woke up and came down. When she found out that it wasn't, she sat and stared at me like it's my fault that Jake can't tell time!

Jenny sitting and staring at me!

And maybe it is. But, in my defense, Jake doesn't really listen when I try to teach him stuff.

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Bullet Sunday 765

Posted on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

Dave!It's another cold and rainy Sunday, but I'm not letting it get me down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• More Bargains! ZOMFG! Keith, Evan, and Shea are back with more Bargain Block! Easily my favorite home renovation show, I was thrilled that it was renewed for a second season... and would subscribe to discovery+ just to watch this one program!

It will be interesting to see how the concept of the show has to change to meet with rising house prices. The entire show was built around the idea of taking homes so trashed that they could be bought for almost nothing and turning them around. But now even trashed houses cost money.

   
• RITZOREO? What the-?!?

Why? I'm not going to say it's terrible because I haven't tried it... but this just looks like a complete disaster. Even so, if I see these I will buy them.

   
• Strange! If the new Thor and Black Panther films weren't being released this year, this would be the movie I most want to see...

There needs to be more science fiction animated films. Let me restate that... there needs to be more good science fiction animated films. Hopefully this is good and performs well so we get more.

   
• Welp! This is actually kinda scary.

But what isn't scary now-a-days?

   
• Smart! Hacks fell apart for me in the second season. It just kinda meandered around, and the "life" that the first season excelled at felt more sporadic. But boy oh boy did they stick the landing on the last episode of this season. It really has me hoping that HBO Max picks it up for a third season, because the way it ended felt final... but actually opens up some interesting avenues for all the characters...

Plus... Jean Smart.

   
• Ouch! As a huge fan of Ben Wishaw, I was compelled to watch his latest series This is Going to Hurt. He plays a London doctor working in the gynecology department in a busy NHS hospital. It has graphic depictions of medical procedures that are tough to watch. The way that women get ripped into for caesarean births is unbelievably rough... almost violent. But even a straightforward birth looks double-tough. From this perspective, it's probably a good idea for men to watch this show and gain a new perspective on what women go through giving birth. It's probably NOT a good idea, however, for expectant mothers to watch this. Because... damn!

I honestly don't know how Ben Wishaw makes his roles look so effortless... even when they are wildly complex like this one is.

   
• Happy Tenth! This past week marked the tenth anniversary of my first tattoo! I had wanted a cartoon skull and crossbones tattoo forever, and the first drawing I made of it was 26 years before it was actually inked. The only thing I changed from my original drawing was that I made it bolder with much thicker lines because I didn't want it to look like something I could cover up easily. I never once changed my mind about what I wanted in 26 years, so I was committed and didn't want to half-ass it...

Dave's Tat

One of these days I really need to get back to San Francisco for another tattoo. I have zero regrets on any work I've had done, and my only true regret is that I didn't start getting tattooed earlier so I'd have more ink on me.

   
And on that happy note... hope your weekend was a good one now that it's almost over.

   

Thor Four: More Thor Again

Posted on Monday, June 13th, 2022

Dave!The film I am most looking forward to this year? Thor: Love and Thunder.

What Taika Waititi did with Thor in Ragnarok still boggles my mind. It was completely new and fresh... yet respected Jack Kirby's aesthetic in a retro way that was thrilling to watch. It was also funny in smart way that didn't turn the characters and story into a joke. To accomplish all that requires somebody with massive vision and talent. And now Taika is back with this...

So... yeah. Might be worth risking whatever new COVID variant is out there to see this one in the theater.

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Marvel-ous Part Deux

Posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

Dave!=sigh=

The second episode of “Ms. Marvel” was wonderful from start to finish. AND YES I STAYED UP UNTIL MIDNIGHT SO I COULD WATCH IT! The cast... story... cinematography... all incredible. This is quickly getting to be right up there with Hawkeye as the best Disney+ series for me. It's inconceivable that this is Iman Vellani's first acting job! She plays Kamala Khan so effortlessly and believably. Well, as believably as you can get with a comic book movie...

There have been numerous changes from the comic book to accommodate video media... but there were more than a couple scenes in the second episode that were right out of the source material, which was wonderful to see. The showrunners are absolutely respecting the spirit of the original character in very good ways.

If you're not watching Ms. Marvel, you really should be.

   

Not So Much in Command After All

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Dave!It's been only 2-1/2 years since I used Command Strips to install photos in my stairwell.

And I didn't just use the tiny strips... I used FOUR of the large strips per frame! Plus I used alcohol to prep the surface, waited a day until it dried, used consistent pressure to stick them on the wall, waited for the adhesive to mount, and everything else the instructions tell you to do.

Today I had a frame fall off the wall. This was surprising, because everything has been holding up so well. The video starts with the footage of a photo falling off the wall with mass-breakage... and ends with my cats' reaction as they were sleeping upstairs. Poor things.

I went to the Command website to see if there was a recall or something... and then see that they are now advising you not to use the strips on textured walls?

Now, my walls are not massively textured. It's a knocked-down bump that was painted just 2 years prior and,as I said, I prepped and made sure that there was good adhesion, so it never even occurred to me that this would be an issue. And I definitely don't remember reading that they're not to be used on textured walls. When I read the instructions for use on how to prep the surface and install and everything, wouldn't I have noticed that?

In any event, I'm more than a little upset. Not because 95% of houses have textured walls (and many of them are probably far more textured than mine!) but because my cats walked through the glass several times before I got home! Jake just barreled down the stairs, avoiding the large piece of glass where he could. But Jenny took the time to put a paw down each step before moving, which was kinda difficult to watch. She was trying to be so careful, but glass was everywhere...

Studio Display from Apple.

I looked at their paws to make sure they weren't injured or had any glass embedded in them, but I still worry that they might have got glass on their paw and licked it off. Can you imagine the damage to their insides? I'm mortified at the idea of it.

This is pretty awful. Guess one of my next projects is completely replacing all the mounting for my many, many photos. And possibly replacing all the glass with plexiglass as an added precaution.

So... WARNING if you bought into Command Strips as a viable way to hang shit. It really isn't. I don't even know that I would trust them if my wall was completely flat. It's just not worth the risk.

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Anchorage and The Globe

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Dave!I've mentioned many, many times how much I love maps. I'm a sucker for all aspects of maps... from how beautiful they can be to how astoundingly useful they are... but also how they relate to the world at large (and, by extension, the people living on this planet).

I could write posts several times a week discussing maps and all the latest map content I'm consuming, but there are far more talented people devoting themselves to this very topic, so I'm just going to stay in my lane and call out the coolest map-based content from time to time when I happen upon it.

In this case, it's a video by Real Life Lore discussing... Anchorage?!?

Yes, Anchorage. Really.

I've known about its importance when it comes to air freight routes for many years. It's hard not to know about it if you've ever ordered anything from Apple since they switched to Just-In-Time-Manufacturing. You order something. They build it to order in China. Then fly it to the USA... via Anchorage. The reason being that planes can hold either more fuel or more freight, but not both... and since it's far more profitable to move more cargo, freight routes from Asia stop over in Anchorage for fuel.

Interestingly enough... I first visited Anchorage in 2015. But that's not the first time I had been there. One of my earliest flights to Japan in the 80's was via Anchorage.

This kinda stuff is all covered in this video. But the most interesting part is not the air freight story... it's the ocean freight FUTURE that's at the end of the video which makes it worth sharing...

Fascinating stuff.

Especially when he's talking about how the importance of Anchorage and The Northwest Passage could lead to heinous levels of conflict in the future. Something I don't doubt one bit. Especially when it comes to Canada being caught in the middle of it all, which is not a great place to be.

So thanks, Climate Change! As if you weren't making the future shitty enough already, in another decade you could be sending us all to war.

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To Jerky AND BEYOND!

Posted on Friday, June 17th, 2022

Dave!I wasn't much of a fan of beef jerky even when I ate meat. But it was a treat I became a fan of once I discovered that vegetarian jerk existed. For years I bought my favorite: Nightlife Meatless Smart Jerky, but that got discontinued and my jerky habit ended shortly thereafter. Occasionally I bought other brands... most of which were terrible... but it wasn't a priority in my snacking.

But this past week I had a hankering for it again and decided to see if there was anything new I should be eating. There were three brands I hadn't seen before, so I ordered up some of each. Two of them were awful... inedible awful... but the third one was very good. Beyond Meat's Beyond Jerky...

A package of Beyond Jerky

I was happily mowing through a bag a day... content to have found good jerky again.

UNTIL...

I looked at the Nutrition Facts...

Nutrition Facts for Beyond Jerky

HOLY SHIT! One package has SIXTY-TWO PERCENT of the daily amount of sodium you're supposed to have?? 1420mg!! And the added sugars content is a whopping 26% of what you're supposed to eat in a day! On the plus-side, it's high in fiber and protein, so there's that.

And so I guess this will not be a daily thing after all. Maybe once or twice a week. Otherwise, my blood pressure will likely explode all over, which is not a problem I want to deal with.

Why is it everything that tastes good is bad for us?

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Caturday 263

Posted on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

Dave!From the moment I got home yesterday, Jenny was following me around the house. Up to and including when I went to the bathroom.She is, of course, too much of a little lady to actually follow me inside, but she was not at all above waiting outside for me to leave...

Jenny waiting outside for me to give her pets.

Jenny waiting outside for me to give her pets.

Don't worry... she followed me back downstairs.

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Bullet Sunday 766

Posted on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Dave!Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! As for me? I don't get to celebrate being a cat-dad... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Tokio! I first heard of the German band Tokio Hotel years ago when I was in Italy, I think. They were getting some notice from their debut album Schrei (probably because they were so young when they recorded it). It's a dang good album if you like hard rock. Fast-forward to yesterday and I happened across a new song from them called When We Were Younger which was quite surprising for three reasons. 1) It's in English. 2) It's pure pop. 3) It's actually really good, and I've been playing it on repeat for a day now...

Great, right? But it's the end where they say "Together since 2001" where it kinda gets you. All those photos are of the band as kids... essentially growing up before your eyes...

Tokio Hotel as kids!

Tokio Hotel as kids!

I love stuff like this.

   
• Smooth! Welp. Cooper Raiff has 1000% done it again. How he manages to not take the easy or expected route... but still manages to create such satisfying movies is beyond me. All this and he's actually a really good actor on top of of being an exceptional writer and director. The setup for Cha Cha Real Smooth is like films you've seen dozens of times before... and yet the payoff is so much better because it's not like films you've seen dozens of times before. You end up feeling completely different about some characters at the end than you did in the beginning, and that takes true talent to accomplish because most times when this is attempted it just feels so fake and unearned.

In both Shithouse and Cha Cha Real Smooth there's that one scene which really crushes you. And in Cha Cha Real Smooth you never see it coming. Really looking forward to whatever Cooper Raiff does next.

   
• She's a Beauty! Well, you are (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@callmegrand

You are beautiful❤️ from “Man of the World”

♬ Sunroof - Nicky Youre & dazy

Ukrainian and Czech are close enough to Russian that I got those. I haven't studied Japanese in forever, but that one was easy. I thought I would have had a shot at Chile, Puerto Rico, and Spain... but the only other one I got was USA!

   
• Raise the Roof! I've never been to The Palace theater in New York City. But I have stayed at The Doubletree hotel that was built around it. I had read a while ago that they were planning on doing something extraordinary... raise The Palace 30 feet in the air so they can build a new hotel and entertainment complex around it. That's now been completed, and how they went about it is fascinating...

I'm not a "Broadway guy" but I admit to wanting to see how this all works out. It all looks pretty darn incredible.

   
• Oh Jodie! I missed the entire last season of Graham Norton because Philo didn't record it. On the episode I'm watching now, Coldplay is singing "My Universe" (with a cool BTS video background) and it's great. BUT THE BEST PART is that Coldplay super-fan Jodie Whittaker from Doctor Who was on the show, and this happened...

After it was over, they went back to the couch and Jodie mentioned that she has her alarm set for next week so she can try to get tickets for when Coldplay is playing Wembley. Well, needless to say, Jodie now has tickets to go to see ColdPlay. And it will be one of the greatest missed opportunities ever if they don't get her on stage!

   
• Seriously? BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAA! no.

   
• This time... There's a very good sleight of hand magician on TikTok named Mat Franco who is constantly having to re-do his tricks because people believe that he's not being honest about what he's doing. Like this one, for example (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@matfrancomagic Reply to @everythingballard ♬ original sound - Mat Franco

And here we go again (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@matfrancomagic Reply to @dembirdsbedirty ♬ nhạc nền - AK乂Duty

Fortunately, the guy is patient enough to keep humoring everybody. But you'd think that eventually people would just enjoy the show.

   
• Pixar! I responded to a meme where people were ranking all the Pixar films. My Top 5 hadn't changed in years... until Luca came out, which I loved...

  1. Monsters, Inc.
  2. The Incredibles
  3. Up
  4. Toy Story 3
  5. Luca
  6. Toy Story
  7. Finding Nemo
  8. Coco
  9. The Incredibles 2
  10. WALL-E
  11. Brave
  12. Encanto
  13. Ratatouille
  14. Toy Story 2
  15. Turning Red
  16. Finding Dory
  17. Soul
  18. Monsters University
  19. Inside Out
  20. Onward
  21. Toy Story 4
  22. Cars
  23. The Good Dinosaur
  24. A Bugs Life
  25. Cars 2
  26. Cars 3

Yeah, not a fan of the Cars films. But even a bad Pixar film is better than most.

   
And now back to your regularly scheduled Sunday.

   

From Here to Eternity

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2022

Dave!The fact that time passes so quickly when you're having fun and so slowly when you're not is one of life's most cruel twists. And, yeah, I understand that it only feels that way, but isn't that enough?

I ended up working only a little bit this past weekend, which meant that I had some time to set up my wood shop in my garage and get started on some projects (mostly involving my art studio, which has been gutted so I can build something new that actually functions how I need it to).

On Saturday, it was just past 11:30pm before I realized how late it had gotten. I went to check the clock to make sure it wasn't too late to run my miter saw (I try to never make noise after 9:00pm) and had no idea that I had been happily working away for over nine hours. I honestly expected it to be around 8:00pm when I looked. On Sunday I ended up cleaning house all morning and working until late into the night... losing track of time. Again.

Meanwhile on my Monday I thought my day was near over only to find out that it was only 2:00. And even that seemed as if I had been in the office for an eternity.

It's a darn shame that I need to work to pay for building materials.

And pay for my mortgage and food and stuff, of course.

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Streaming Overload

Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Dave!Just mentally preparing for tomorrow

That's when Umbrella Academy Season 03, Ms. Marvel Episode 03, Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 06, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and who knows what else is releasing.

I'd take the day off from work... but, alas...

   

Streaming for Two

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Dave!Last night I waited until midnight for Ms. Marvel, as usual, then saved everything else for today when I could find time. It was a lot of TV packed into a day...

Umbrella Academy Season 03
While it had some very good moments, this fell short of the first two seasons for me. Not as twisty, smart, and interesting. But there were also some changes that surprised me. In the first two seasons I loathed Vanya and loved Allison. This year that completely reversed... Loved Viktor, outright detested Allison (fucking hated her this season). But my favorite in all seasons is Number Five, even though he had less to do this time around. I can't go much further without delving into spoiler territory, but suffice to say I enjoyed the third season and sincerely hope we get a fourth.

Ms. Marvel Episode 03
Beautiful, joyous, and clever. And boy did they really go there with Kamala using her powers! Really great to see, as I was starting to worry that they were going to pull a Moon Knight and not really do anything interesting with her. I don't know if this quite eclipses how amazing I found Hawkeye to be, but I am already hoping for another season after she appears in The Marvels.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 06
I've enjoyed every episode of this series despite the fact that there really couldn't be any surprises since we know how everything has to turn out. Even the "surprise" at the end wasn't much of a surprise because it was foreshadowed heavily in one of the earlier films. Despite this being a series that was meant to be complete, I would not at all object to seeing what else happened with Obi-Wan before Star Wars happened. Ewan McGregor is just too darn good to let go.

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
On second viewing, I actually appreciate this movie more than I initially did... even though I still think that Wanda was done dirty. I enjoyed this flick the first time around, sure, but it just didn't feel that the multiverse was used to great effect. Spider-Man: No Way Home was smarter about it, and this one just felt like an afterthought. That being said, America Chavez managed to fit into the story in a way that felt meaningful, and seeing the Illuminati portrayed so beautifully left me wanting more. A lot more.

And now... it's 1:00am and time for bed. Past time for bed. I'll just have to make up for all the sleep I didn't get tomorrow night.

   

Scrubs Intern

Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

Dave!One of my favorite TV shows of all times is Scrubs

Every two or three years I take a run through the entire series just because the writing is so incredibly smart and creative (even though some of the language is less than PC and hasn't aged well). After work I started the series again because I saw Brendan Fraser in something and was reminded how he was in the best three episodes of Scrubs that ever aired...

Brendan Fraser on Scrubs

It's kinda a minor miracle that this show was so good from the very first episode. That doesn't happen very often. Veronica Mars... The Finder... Limitless... Sports Night... and, unlike other TV shows that started amazing with the first episode but then took a nose-dove after a few seasons (Alias, Twin Peaks, and the rest), Scrubs was relatively consistent until the end. And then the very end after the show was canceled and renewed on another network.

Oh crap. Now I want to watch all these other shows for the hundredth time.

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So THAT’S What a Slippery Slope Is!

Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2022

Dave!I've made my stance on abortion very clear. Yes, I personally believe that life begins at conception, but yes, I also believe that my beliefs should not dictate what other people believe in the so-called "Land of the Free," so I am also pro-choice.

Partly because, scientifically, "life" is an abstract construct when we're talking about a stack of cells that cannot survive outside the womb... but mostly because I am a man who will never have to deal with being pregnant, and would prefer to leave what others do with their own body to themselves, their own beliefs, and their doctor. Full stop.

What makes me so angry about the Supreme Court ruling which overturned Roe v. Wade is twofold.

FIRST... wealthy people will always have access to abortion. ALWAYS. The law means nothing to them since they can afford to solve any problem by throwing money at it. Republican politicians can get abortions for their mistresses with relative ease, so once again the law of their state that they fought for will not apply to them. Just like the fine for speeding means absolutely nothing to them. Or any fine, really. No, the Supreme Court ruling is an attack on poor people who will now be forced to keep unwanted pregnancies since they may not be able to afford to go out-of-state. And in some states this means pregnancies which occurred from rape or incest. This is disgusting from every possible angle, and I am positively mortified that this horrific turn of events. If this was truly about the "sanctity of life" then Republican lawmakers who kept advocating for overturning the law would actually give a fuck about babies once they are born. They would make sure that all children had access to health care, food, housing, and a good education, but they do not. Republican lawmakers just care about making new workers for the ruling class that own them.

And do not get me started about the fucking Democrats. The amount of rage I'm feeling only escalates when I start seeing ads from Democrats saying "NOW THAT ROE HAS BEEN OVERTURNED, RE-ELECT ME TO PROTECT A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE!" And it's like... what the fuck? Now you want to do something? Now that the house is on fire you want to install a smoke detector? Fuck you. President Biden has been in office a year-and-a-half and you didn't do fucking jack shit to protect a pregnant person's right to choose! And it's seeing ads like this that lead me to believe that this is exactly what Democrats wanted. They didn't codify Roe because threats of codifying and "packing the court" would force the Supreme Court to overturn and give them a platform to run on in the mid-terms (where they otherwise would have been slaughtered). These political games with people's lives is fucking insane. TERM LIMITS NOW. For all politicians... for justices... for ALL of it. Career politicians don't give a fuck about us. They only care about maintaining their wealth and power. And this... THIS... is the result.

SECOND... even if you don't support abortion, this ruling is a nightmare scenario. This is the slippery slope that everybody has been warning you about. And here it is in black-and-white from "Justice" Thomas... contraception and same-sex marriage are up next. Even if you don't care about any of this, something you DO care about WILL be targeted eventually...

I can't believe I'm about to quote President Clinton on this, but he's spot-on when he says abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare.". But that would involve educating kids about contraception and teaching young men to respect young women when they say "no." And I think we all know that contraception, education, and respect for women are not things that the people behind overturning Roe v. Wade give a fuck about.

Now we sit back and wait for what comes next in our new American hellscape existence.

   

Caturday 264

Posted on Saturday, June 25th, 2022

Dave!When Jake wants to be petted, it'd dealer's choice. He flops down next to you and is happy to take whatever he gets. Not so with Jenny.

She is very particular. You can never start anywhere near her head at the beginning. Only her back. She will let you know when you can proceed to the top of her head. Then she will let you know when you can move to the sides of her face. Then under her chin. Then her belly. And the process... which never changes... can take a while. Which is fine when I have time. But not so fine when I don't.

And speaking of Jake flopping down anywhere... he really does. He can sleep anywhere low or high...

Jake passed out for belly rubs with his tongue out.

Jake passed out on the floor in a ray of sunshine.

Jake passed out spread-eagle on his back on my bed.

Oh how I envy him. I have a tough time sleeping in a comfy bed.

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Bullet Sunday 767

Posted on Sunday, June 26th, 2022

Dave!The heat is on and my air conditioning is struggling to keep up... and so am I! But never fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• SPACE LEGO! LEGO is re-releasing a couple of their most popular sets from days past, but updating them with modern pieces so that they appeal to modern LEGO consumers. The one I am sorely tempted to get is the "Galaxy Explorer"... one of my favorite sets of all time...

It looks so good. Similar to what made the old set so great... but with some very cool changes. But, alas, that's a wad of cash I don't have burning a hole in my pocket!

   
• Day-Old Goodness! Why is it that baked spaghetti always tastes better the next day? Yesterday I made garlic bread from scratch and put together a nice baked spaghetti to go with it. The stuff was amazing. But today's lunch? Even better!

Delicious baked spaghetti!

I cook spaghetti as usual... but make my own sauce so I can use tomato paste instead of thinner tomato purée. Mix it together with the noodles and cheese. Put into an oven-proof container with lid (I use a large skillet), then bake at 325º for a half-hour. That way you get a lovely dry "sauce" that's really concentrated and sticking to the noodles instead of making a wet, sloppy mess everywhere. I top with toasted almond slices, parmesan, diced chives and Italian parsley. Food of the gods!

   
• A Legend Passes. I forgot to mention last Bullet Sunday how sad I was to learn that legendary comic book artist Tim Sale passed away. The guy was only 66, so this is a tough loss to take. Tim Sale was highly gifted, and worked on some characters and titles that cemented his upper-echelon status with fans. Rest in peace, sir.

   
• ALEXA, STOP!!! Alexa used to be so good. But then Amazon Alexa added a bunch of shitty bloat that nobody gives a crap about to fuck over the service. She regularly gets simple requests wrong now EVEN WHEN SHE UNDERSTANDS WHAT YOU SAID, whereas Google Assistant ACTUALLY WORKS. Embarrassing as fuck for Amazon to just toss it all away like this. Also? Alexa acknowledged the command in my bedroom (where I’m at)... but then played the song in the bathroom down the hall? WTF?!?

Alexa heard 'Play Dance by Fly by Midnight'

At first I thought... "Well, maybe Amazon Music doesn't have the song?" But nope. There it is...

Dance by Fly by Midnight exists in the Alexa catalog for Amazon Music

I never had problems like this even two years ago. Now it's almost every day.

   
• Mr. Bats! I've shared this video before. But this morning I ran across it again and was compelled to share it again because it's one of the most adorable things I've ever seen...

That bat really likes bananas! I've always loved bats, and it's just crazy to me that there are people who don't... especially considering how incredible they are for the environment and controlling pests!

   
• How Stupid Are We?! Apparently very stupid. We keep ignoring the serious problems facing us. And it's not like there aren't actual solutions out there, it's just that we're not looking into them. Take our disappearing water supply, for example...

God forbid we don't stop building golf courses out in the middle of a dessert and adopt water-saving solutions instead of creating more water-consuming problems.

   
Enjoy your Summertime Sunday heat without me! I'm stying indoors.

   

You Know Naught Monday

Posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Dave!My internet is out.

This doesn't happen very often. I'm blessed with highly reliable internet service, and this is something I truly feel blessed to have. I know friends who are not so lucky.

Fortunately, I have internet on my phone that I can use as a hotspot. Except I burned through my high-speed data alotment in five minutes, at which time I barely had internet at all...

No big loss... except my smart home is now a stupid home, I can't watch television, and my security cameras are in meltdown.

I'd say that it's time to read a book, but I'd rather just go to bed.

   

Travel. Work. Forget.

Posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Dave!For the longest time I've been telling people that I haven't traveled for work since September, 2019. And I could have sworn it was true. But it isn't. The last actual work trip I took was the day after Christmas, 2019. Before that I was in New Orleans for work in October, and the work trip before that was to Las Vegas in August. Which is to say I didn't even travel in September of 2019!

I get all confused because, pre-pandemic, I traveled a lot for work. Like a lot a lot. I have no idea why a prime work/travel month like September was a blank slate, but I probably had something personal going on. It happens.

Fast-forward to today, and I have my first work trip in 2-1/2 years. I didn't have to fly, thank heavens, it was just a drive over to Seattle this afternoon where I will be for two nights. I don't think I want to fly now that people don't have to be tested or wear masks and COVID is mutating into some shit that's more serious (which is disappointing, because the new variants were actually getting weaker for a while there).

The weirdest part about this trip is not that I'm actually traveling for work again.

It's that I had forgotten what it's like to be around STUFF again.

Oodles of great restaurants... tons of great stores... loads of great places... and they're all so close! A mall with one of my favorite stores (The Container Store) is a five-minute drive away. A Cheesecake Factory with those frickin' amazing Avocado Eggrolls is a five-minute drive away. Heck, a frickin' Burger King with my beloved Impossible Whopper is just a five-minute drive away! Everything is just so ridiculously close in a big city. Where I live, Burger King is almost a half-hour away.

It's all so... great.

Except I am seriously missing my cats. Leaving them has never been easy, but it's even worse now that I'm with them every day. Poor kitties probably think I've abandoned them.

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An Unintentional Cheapskate

Posted on Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

Dave!I wish I knew how to abuse my work expense account.

Most people are likely to eat out at expensive restaurants, stay at expensive hotels, and live like they're not paying for it all. Because they're not. But I've never been like that. I stay at reasonably-priced lodging and eat the same food I'd eat if I were paying for it...

BREAKFAST: Egg & Cheese Biscuit and a soda at McDonald's.
LUNCH: Impossible Whopper ($3 for Whopper Wednesday!) and a soda at Burger King.
DINNER: Avocado Eggrolls (an apetizer) and a glass of water at Cheesecake Factory.

I spend a fraction of the money I'm allowed, but it's exactly what I want to be eating. Heck, I'd go so far as to say it's what I'm thrilled to be eating. Which is to say that an expense account is wasted on me. Maybe if I wasn't a vegetarian I'd be loading up of steak, lobster, and caviar, but I sincerely doubt it.

You'd think that I'd at least stay at a hotel with decent WiFi (which this DoubleTree most definitely does not have). This place is as slow as frickin' 300 baud dial-up back in the pre-history of the world. I'd use my phone as a hotspot, but my hi-speed allotment was blown when the internet was down at my house on Monday, so it's also as slow as frickin' 300 baud dial-up back in the pre-history of the world.

Oh well. I did get warm cookies when I checked in (which this DoubleTree most definitely does have). That's not nuthin'.

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Home. At Last. Again. Barely.

Posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2022

Dave!On my way home, I got behind a driver who was driving 5-10 miles per hour under the speed limit and veering off the side of the road from time to time. Frustrated that they were obviously not paying attention to the task at hand, I decided to pass them. But as I was passing, they decided to speed up. Immediately I had gone from having plenty of room to pass... to having a car coming from the other direction approaching fast. I has a decision to make.

So do I...

  1. Slam on the brakes and risk this guy being a total asshole who would then also slam on his brakes, in which case I'd be trapped and then dead.
  2. Speed up even faster to pass.

I picked option 2 and floored it. I managed to get around them with plenty of time, but the car coming from the other direction had veered off the road anyway... and I couldn't really blame them. I would have likely done the same. And OF COURSE the asshole slowed right back down to below the speed limit again... proving that Option #2 was the correct choice. The driver was just a sadistic asshole who would cause a horrific accident because they didn't want to be passed.

What the fuck?

There was a time I enjoyed driving. That hasn't been the case in years. Other drivers on the road are sadistic assholes who simply don't pay attention. They're texting... or doing their nails... or playing Scrabble... or what-the-fuck-ever. And it's not enough to try not to cause an accident, there are people like this asshole today who are actively trying to cause them!

And the downfall of humanity stays the course...

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Times Change

Posted on Friday, July 1st, 2022

Dave!   
well, they do.

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Caturday 265

Posted on Saturday, July 2nd, 2022

Dave!This past week I finally had a day to start putting back together my studio. I kinda had to rebuild it once the shelves I had toppled over in the middle of the night. First I bought a new drafting table... then bought some new IKEA shelves. Since my cats like to watch me when I'm drawing, I decided that I would put a catwalk around the perimeter of the room so my cats could hang our and look down at me. But how to get them up to the catwalk?

I decided to punch out the sides of my shelves in order to create a staircase for my cats.

I still have to trim it out, but I managed to get everything screwed together and bolted to the wall for safety. I also built guardrails so that my cats wouldn't fall out if they tried to pass each other on their way up or down...

A staircase in the bookcase.

The last one there has a hole in the top so that they can get to the top of the shelves. This is looking down the staircase from the top...

Look down the staircase.

The guardrails are built from scrap wood that I painted to match the shelves...

A staircase in the bookcase.

Next up? Guess I need to build that catwalk.

   

Bullet Sunday 768

Posted on Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

Dave!Fireworks are blowing out a day early and my cats are in hiding, but don't think I'm using this as an excuse to skip the day's bullets... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• 'MURICAAAA! Just so you know, I'm feeling patriotic as fuck right now...

Hostess Patriotic Cupcakes

And how could I not be? It says so right on the label!

   
• Strange! New! The previous episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was pretty bad, but the penultimate episode of Season 01 was darn good, despite some rather questionable turn of events...

Interesting how sci-fi is kinda embracing horror recently. First with The Orville and now with Strange New Worlds. Hopefully Season 02 (which just finished production!) will have another thrills and scares episode like this one, because it's a great diversion from the "episode of the week."

   
• Westworld S04! HBO's Westworld is one of those shows which was deliciously twisty and challenging the first season. Had interesting turns in the second. And almost pedestrianly straightforward in the third. Now we've reached the second episode of the fourth season and it looks like they are sticking with the less interesting straightforward approach, but doing so in a way that is anything but boring. The hosts are out of the park and taking over the world, and where the writers decided to take us? Back to the beginning. Kinda sorta. But not really.

There's two things I'm taking away from the first two episodes... A) The cast is one of the best on television (and has been that way from the start). Thandiwe Newton and Aaron Paul are in the spotlight to fantastic effect. Ed Harris is savagely chewing through absolutely every scene they give him. Tessa Thompson has not had much to do, but holy crap does she make every minute count. Evan Rachel Wood is kinda lost in the shuffle, but hopefully she gets something interesting soon. And B) I am reeeeeally invested in seeing how they make everything pay off at the end. Though they may be pulling a The Empire Strikes Back and saving any conclusion for the fifth (and final) season.

   
• Only Murders in the Building S02! I was late to Only Murders in the Building because I am not a huge Martin Short fan and Steve Martin. But the reviews were so crazy good that I finally tuned in... and loved the series. Martin Short is more "quirky" than "annoyingly distracting" which is perfect for the character. Fortunately a second season was quickly greenlit...

Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez from Only Murders in the Building.

And the new season is perfect. They kept everything that was good about the first season, found a way to attach a new and intriguing mystery to it, and are letting the supporting players shine in a way that makes the show so New York specific. Really hoping that they stick the landing on this season, because nothing would make me happier than to be anticipating a third series.

   
• Paper! I think that I've mentioned how excited I am for the Amazon Prime adaptation of Paper Girls. And if not, here's me saying it. I loved the comic book, and they look to be staying close to the source material...

If nothing else, the casting looks pretty great!

   
• Footloose! The opening of the third season of The Umbrella Academy had its best moment. Which makes things really tough, because it was all downhill from here...

I did enjoy Season 03 quite a lot... but it was a considerable step down from the first two seasons. Everything seemed really spread out, and great moments with the characters were very spread out. Even so, I sure hope we get a fourth season, because the series is always entertaining.

   
• But before I go... Tell me again how overturning Roe v. Wade should be taken out of the hands of the pregnant person and their doctor. Seriously, I'm waiting. I've read a couple posts online which are basically saying that rapists now get to choose the mother of their children, and if that is what you think "freedom" means then you're a fucking abomination. Case in point? 10-year-old rape victim denied abortion in Ohio. You can fuck ALL the way off with this.

   
Enjoy your fucking fireworks.

   

The Fourth of Fourths Past

Posted on Monday, July 4th, 2022

Dave!And today is the day set aside to celebrate our independence from Great Britain. No longer a colony of The Crown, we were free to be free in our pursuit for life, liberty, and happiness.

Fast-forward to today, and there seems little reason to celebrate a damn thing. Our freedoms are eroding ever faster into a nightmarish hellscape that has me seriously thinking that The United States of America has become a failed experiment. No longer is there separate of Church and State as we were designed to be, and Evangelical Christianity is the law of the land. The wealthy own our politicians and our existence is constructed to support their interests instead of the public good. Horrific decisions on how we live (and how we're being made to suffer and die) are made by a tiny minority and sold to people as a "good thing." Lies are truth. Truths are a lie. And nobody seems to give a shit.

Happy Treason Day, Ungrateful Colonials!

It's all political games from here on out, and that's why we're so hopelessly divided and fucked. Maintaining wealth and power is all that matters.

One side is conned into worshipping their leaders like gods and supporting laws which make their lives harder... destroying our liberties. One side is conned into believing that their leaders will save them from evils, only to keep believing it no matter how many times it's found to be a lie... destroying our liberties. And it's all hate all the time, because it's easier to destroy liberty when you're distracted by hating "the other side" even though the commonalities between "sides" are numerous, and we're all more alike than different.

And so, no, I am not "celebrating" our freedoms and independence today. I'm celebrating a day off work.

While I still can.

Because Federal holidays are a hit to productivity, and our wealthy owners will likely be eliminating them eventually. And of course we'll be told that this is the best thing to ever happen to this country, and everybody will be smiling as they head out to their 10-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week jobs while having no living wage, no health care, no housing, and barely enough resources to survive.

But there will still fireworks!

Because freedom!

   

Fuck Joe Biden

Posted on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022

Dave!How fucked up is our bought-and-paid-for government that one of the old white men running this shitshow can cause essential legislation to become "endangered" because so many members of the Senate are fucking owned by the big internet providers? Pretty fucked up... and yet here we are. Some old Democrat dude breaks a hip so an FCC nominee can't get confirmed... or whatever... and now net-neutrality (something that the majority of Americans agree is a good and necessary thing) may not be passed if it can't get done by mid-terms.

First of all... Fuck Joe Biden and the fucking Democrats for not getting this shit done immediately when he got into office. Just one of many, many things that they should have rammed through in 2020 (like codifying Roe v. Wade) that they decided to sit on and do fuck-all about because it can be used to get progressives running to the poles at elections. Fuck them sideways for putting their personal re-election campaigns above the American people. We're told to "support net-neutrality" and "protect a woman's right to choose" by voting for Democrats, then have absolutely fucking NOTHING to show for it on these issues (and many others).

I swear, the only thing that enrages me more than Republicans accepting cash to roll over on the American people so that wealthy people can continue to fuck us over... is the fucking Democrats who just sit by and let it happen when they have a chance to actually do something. Happened with President Obama. Happening again with fucking President Biden.

Everybody who knows me knows that I hate career politicians, hate our lobbyist-owned political "representatives," hate Democrats, really hate Republicans, and am sick to fucking death of the way that politics continues to erode our freedoms and put us even deeper into this bullshit. But I hold my nose and the polls and vote for the least-worst candidate anyways, hoping against hope that somebody actually does something... only to get disappointed every time.

And then people tell me I should be happy because "Well, at least they didn't make things worse!"

Fuck that. And fuck Joe Biden.

I'll be dead inside of 40 years, thank God. I just hope that I live long enough to see our failed two-party system go down in fucking flames when people trapped into voting for a nonstop parade of shitty politicians get sick of it all.

Assuming they ever do.

I am having more doubts about that every fucking day.

Some old guy in Vermont breaking a hip could be enough to skuttle net neutrality, so do you blame me?

   

Let the Hate Flow Through You

Posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Dave!This morning I started getting hit with attacks to my blog. Hard.

I was receiving hundreds of emails from my blog security software informing me that unauthorized people were trying to login, resulting in their IP address getting banned. I didn't really pay them any mind. Even if they get my username which, let's face it, WordPress makes easy... they have to manage to guess a rather complicated password (so complicated that I have zero hope of remembering it and have to rely on my password manager)... plus I have two levels of two-factor authentication enabled.

This makes it a bit tough to break through, but there's all kinds of WordPress vulnerabilities that get exploited, so it's bound to happen eventually.

There are attempts to break into my blog daily. But I have not had such a huge series of attempts like this in a very long time.

Maybe my previous entry had something to do with it? No idea.

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By Zeus, Taika Waititi Did It Again!

Posted on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

Dave!Thor: Love and Thunder is great. Not as great as Thor: Ragnarok, but I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Especially the mid-credits scene at the end, which is glorious. I'd stay off the internets until you've seen the movie so it doesn't get spoiled... but it's a doozy. Especially if you're me. As if that weren't enough, there's Russell Crowe as Zeus. And he plays it in a way I was most definitely not expecting...

Russell Crowe as Zeus

As has become my custom, I am not reviewing any films until they are released on home video... trying to avoid spoilers for people who may not be able to go to the theater in the Age of COVID.

But if I were to tease my thoughts? It's a worthy successor to Thor Ragnarok which could have taken itself a bit more seriously, but is another awesome Thor adventure just the same.

   

Midnight Fireworks

Posted on Friday, July 8th, 2022

Dave!I had a very long work day today... 14 hours. Which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that I got no sleep last night. Just as I was nodding off around midnight, somebody lit up some fireworks, at which point I was wide awake. Even if I were to manage to fall asleep with the noise, the cats tearing off my bed and running into the closet would have been enough to cancel any attempt at slumber.

My watch tells me that I finally fell asleep at 3:30am.

So... 3-1/2 hours sleep then.

It would be nice if I could get at least half the amount of sleep that I end up working in a day.

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Caturday 266

Posted on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Dave!My cats have a great life.

The full run of my home. The best-quality food. Auto-cleaning litter boxes. Plenty of toys, scratching posts, perches, and places to explore. An outdoor catio enclosure. There's really nothing they could want for. And yet... they do get irritated by their situation. Especially Jenny, who will definitely let you know if she's unhappy about something.

The other day I was working in bed when she hopped up after her breakfast. I was typing out an email and couldn't pet her right away. This was UNACCEPTABLE! Meow! Meow! Meeeeeowwww! I finished up as quickly as I could, started petting her back... then head... then she was comfortable enough to want belly rubs...

Jenny looking a little sour during belly rubs.

No matter what I did, she was not happy. Eventually she just started glaring at me as if to say "HOW DARE YOU BE THIS INCOMPETENT!"

Jenny not being happy about my belly rub game.

A few minutes later, she left in disgust.

Still, it was better than the time that she hopped up and didn't want to be petted... she just wanted to use me as a support so she could reach her butt...

I've never felt so useful.

Fortunately, I'm not the only one she is unhappy with. Jake is a snuggler. Jenny keeps her distance, even when I am rubbing her belly. Jake? He tries to get as close as possible when I'm petting him. And if I'm already petting Jenny, he will try and get as close as possible to her. This is what happened when Jenny was laying down getting a back massage... and Jake flopped down on her right paw...

Jenny not looking happy.

Eventually she managed to work her paw free, at which time she started smacking Jake until she got up and left in a huff.

Jake was unbothered. As he so often is.

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Bullet Sunday 769

Posted on Sunday, July 10th, 2022

Dave!   
Don't be too sad that your weekend is half-over... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...


   
• Season FIVE! I did not know that Magnum P.I. was picked up by NBC!!! HOLY SHIT!

This is one of the most consistently great television shows going, and I'm happy to know more Higgins is on the way.

   
• LIE! I can't remember if I shared this when it first dropped a while back. If I didn't, I should have, and so here you go...

Mark Kacy's creations are always funny, but this one is next level.

   
• New Balance! I finally watched the Season 01 finale episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds for the second time. Lord how I love this show. And this final episode is a MASSIVE love letter to fans of The Original Series. Absolutely perfect. If you didn't see the original episode which this one is based on... Balance of Terror (one of my all-time favorites)...

A scene from The Original Series Star Trek from The Balance of Terror episode with Mark Leonard

You really should track down the episode and watch it first. Your appreciation for the brilliance of Strange New Worlds will be deepened.

   
• Hey, Jake! It took me a minute to understand why this character was given the name "Jake"...

It's Jake! The Steak! I guess.

Funny. Unless you're the cow he was cut out of, I guess.

   
• The Boys Go Back, AGAIN! The Boys kinda-sorta works better as a TV show than a comic. EXCEPT... where the comics tend to break ground in shocking and unexpected ways with absolutely nobody being safe... the Amazon Prime series is gutless and pathetic because they are happy to keep treading water. Characters die, but it's always the ones who aren't contributing to the main narrative. They're "main" characters only so far as they've been hanging around... not because they're actually doing anything...

Homelander from THE BOYS flashing his psychotic smile.

And the third season finale just fell into the same rut that the first two did. You know exactly who will make it to the end of the episode because they've the ones who aren't background fodder. Everybody else? Eh. They die and it just doesn't matter. What's so hilariously stupid is that the writers are not even remotely clever about how they maintain the status quo. Characters with a singular motivation from Day One just discard such motivation at the drop of a hat. It doesn't matter if it makes no sense and doesn't serve the story... it only matters that it keeps everything exactly the same. Ugh. I don't even care if we get a fourth season. Why should I care when I already know how it will end?

   
• Morningstar Madness! I don't get why MorningStar Farms insists on having such shitty, confusing packaging. Last time I was at the store, I ended up with Spicy Black Bean patties because they accidentally got stocked in the wrong bin at the store. I can't really blame the store, because ALL OF MORNINGSTAR FARMS PRODUCTS LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME.

THE IDENTICAL PACKAGING OF MORNINGSTAR FARMS!

So this time I went to the store, I was very careful to read the packages so I could grab a couple of the "Grillers" burgers. But when I get home I found that the package in front was Grillers... but the package behind it was the Spicy Black Bean patties... again. So now I have one package of Grillers and four packages of Spicy Black Bean burgers in my freezer. For fuck's sake... ADD COLOR IDENTITY TO YOUR FUCKING PACKAGING SO PEOPLE CAN TELL THEM APART YOU STUPID FUCKS!! HAVING EVERY LAST FUCKING ONE OF THEM BEING GREEN WITH A PURPLE BOX ONLY LEADS TO NON-STOP CONFUSION BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN'T TELL THEM APART! I mean, holy fucking shit... JUST LOOK AT THIS FUCKING MESS! WHO DOES THIS?!?? Jesus. This is like BAD DESIGN 101.

   
• Giving Education the Finger! A role model to children everywhere! Assuming the education they need is how to be a disgusting piece of shit. She's like the British Betsy DeVos!

Of course I don't know that Betsy DeVos was ever seen giving the finger... but she sure gave the finger to education with her actions. What a repugnant pile of garbage she was. DeVos worked overtime to remove protections for students as bullying is at an all-time high. Any kid who is not a straight, white, Christian got the middle finger every time they walked into a school. And her constant cuts to education spending just made things even worse than they already were. Teachers underpaid? Schools falling apart? Materials outdated? Fuck it! Let's cut MORE money on public schools and give it to charter schools. And let's not even talk about how victims of sexual assault in colleges were stripped of even more protections. Actually... let's talk about it. DeVos made it far more likely that victims of sexual assault would come forward because they limited what "sexual assault" even means... and then made it so that victims could be ruthlessly assaulted AGAIN on the stand. Because, hey, if victims don't come forward... it never happened! And there's SO much more. DeVos was a heinous blight on education and even though I am no President Biden fan, at least he gave us a new Secretary of Education that can dismantle her fucked up shit. BUT WILL HE?? Biden has done some fucked up shit of his own, and there's no guarantee that our situation will markedly improve... they were going to reverse the DeVos cancelation of sexual misconduct reporting in schools... but last I heard, they CANCELED the reversal. So fuck if I know. The wealthy people who own our government want our kids to be poorly-educated drones who never question authority, and that's true no matter who is president.

   
See you on the flip-side, buckaroos.

   

Mondays Are for Lovers

Posted on Monday, July 11th, 2022

Dave!Today was so exhausting that my brain feels melted. Like I could remove my skullcap, dig in with an ice cream scoop, and pull out a delightful warm pink sauce to go with a nice sponge cake.

Bet you won't see that on the next season of The Great British Bake Off.

Unless Hannibal Lecter is hosting as a guest judge.

"I like what you've done with the brains here, but your sponge could have used a little more time in the oven."

Ugh. I need a vacation.

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Behold The WEBB

Posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

Dave!NASA released four images from the WEBB Space Telescope, and lo did the people of earth lose their minds. And well they should, because the images are absolutely jaw-droopingly stunning.

The best we could really do prior to this was the images that came out of the Hubble Space Telescope. And, amazing though they were, technology has come a very long way since Hubble was launched in 1990.

A guy released a tool for comparing Hubble to WEBB, and it's impossible to overstate what a drastic difference it is...

A gorgeous nebula.

A galaxy cluster.

Another gorgeous nebula.

Another gorgeous nebula shot.

But that's just the beginning.

Not only can we see more stuff better, we can see further back in time. 4.6 billion years and counting.

This astounding shot of Stephan's Quintet is mind-boggling. Each of these four massive nebulas contain millions of stars. But each of those little dots scattered around them? Galaxies with hundreds of thousands of millions of stars each. There's billions upon billions upon billions of stars in this image. And many of those could have planets. Many of those could have planets with life. Odds are very good that we are not alone...

A quintet of nebulas with thousands of galaxies around them.

Zooming closer... more galaxies!

Zooming closer... more galaxies!

Zooming closer... more galaxies!

The photos we're going to see from WEBB will most certainly continue to astonish for decades to come. And the amount of learning opportunities for all of humanity are likely staggering.

I dunno about you, but I like the idea of tax dollars going to occasional programs like this instead of exclusively fueling a war machine that's already bigger than most other countries on the planet combined. WEBB cost $10 billion. That's a massively-huge amount of money, no doubt. But considering an aircraft carrier costs $14 billion... and the jets that are onboard cost a cool $80 million each... well, if there's money for that, there's money for this.

   

Marvelous Ms. Marvel

Posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

Dave!The season finale of Ms. Marvel Season 01 aired and I have thoughts.

My spoiler-free review of the series would go something like this... "While deviating from the comic book in many ways, the Disney+ adaptation kept what made the series so compelling from the very start: it's heart. When married to the flawless cast (headed perfectly by Man Vellani) we're left with something that made for great television, despite some fumbling when putting a history lesson ahead of story. This doesn't surpass Hawkeye as my favorite Marvel Studios series, but it's a solid second place and comes to a satisfying conclusion."

So... nod bad at all...

Ms. Marvel with her Embiggened Energy Hands Saving People

And now for those spoiler-filled thoughts of mine...

Spoiler Zone!

Okay... believe it or not, Captain Marvel swapping places with Kamala was not the biggest bombshell dropped in the final episode. But it was cool...

Ms. Marvel disappearing in a blur...

... only to be replaced by Captain Marvel.

As is Carol's new costume.

No, the big reveal is that Kamala Khan is a mutant.

Which means that the X-Men are on their way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (assuming that they are not already here, and are just in hiding... or, in the case of Patrick Stewart, in an alternate reality of the Multiverse).

But anyway...

As I mentioned, I thought that they shoehorned The Partition of India and Pakistan into the series in a way that put a history lesson above the story. Not that I don't like it when a show can help educate people on history, I just thought this one was a bit sloppy when compared to... let's say... Watchmen... building a story around The Tulsa Race Massacre. Had Ms. Marvel been handled like that, it could have been a brilliant addition instead of something that turned out to be a bit of a distraction. Even so, I'm hopeful that people who see this series and aren't fully unaware of the tragedy that came out of The Partition are inspired to look into it further.

Setting that aside, the series was pretty great overall.

I know that they changed Kamala's powers in a significant way, but by the end they made it very clear that they were adhering to the spirit of her powers.

Ms. Marvel is a part of the upcoming Captain Marvel sequel... The Marvels... and it's obvious that this series is leading directly into that. So Kamala ain't going anywhere. I just hope that we get a second season of the TV show, because it would be nice to catch up with her family.

   

It’s the Greek Fries for Me

Posted on Thursday, July 14th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday before I went back to my hotel and worked the night away, I stopped by the 7-11 because I needed a Coke Zero and a bottle of water. Except the place was packed, so I went next door to a place called "Momo's Kebab." They had a Coke cooler visible through the window, and that's all I needed.

When I walked in, the place smelled like what I thougt heaven probably smalls like.

I saw that they had a falafel pita and Greek fries on the menu, so I figured I'd go for it and save myself the trouble of figuring out what to do for dinner.

The falafel sandwich? Incredible. Five out of five stars. The melange of flavors and seasoning is everything you could want, and it looked beautiful...

Beautiful Falafel Pita

BUT THOSE GREEK FRIES THO!!!!

Beautiful Greek Fries

If I had to use a single word to describe them, I think it would be "orgasmic." Probably the best I've ever had. Flawless. Eleven out of five stars. (they looked more amazing than that photo, but I mixed them around before I thought to take a photo).

It's a darn good thing that I live 2-1/2 hours away from Momo's, because I would double in size from eating these daily.

Indeed, I've just arrived home after a long drive and it's taking all of my willpower to not drive back over to Seattle so I can have some.

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Billions in Failure

Posted on Friday, July 15th, 2022

Dave!Sad video flashback time.

Back in the day, I preferred Windows Phone over iPhone (shocking, I know). I personally never bought one, but received them for development and spent a lot of time with them. Interestingly enough, all the GUI work I did... for four separate Windows Phones apps... never went anywhere because the apps were never released.

There are still things about Windows Phone that I wish Apple & Android would adopt. Windows Phone is weird in that Microsoft was both behind and ahead of their time...

Interesting to think about what it would take for a new mobile OS to break the strangelhold that Apple iOS and Google Android OS has on the market. I honestly think it can't be done. It's going to take some huge technological leap to get there.

Assuming we're still using phones instead of some kind of chip implanted in our head.

   

Caturday 267

Posted on Saturday, July 16th, 2022

Dave!After returning home from my work trip to Seattle, I ended up having to deal with Jake's separation anxiety. I honestly think that it gets worse the shorter my trip is. If I'm gone for a week, he's happy to see me, but not the clingy mess he is when I'm only gone for just a night or two.

Thursday was about as bad as it's ever been, with him waking me up with his howling at both 10:30pm and 3:30am. This wouldn't be bad, except for the fact that I was desperately trying to get caught up on some sleep...

Me not getting any sleep... according to my Apple Watch.

So much for going to bed two hours early.

And Jake doesn't really make much sense. He comes to bed with me, then leaves to get a drink or go to the bathroom or whatever... forgets that I'm upstairs in bed... and starts walking around the house howling at full volume. I holler down at him to come upstairs, he does, he falls asleep, then I fall asleep, then he wakes up and wanders away, only to end up howling again.

Poor guy.

Jenny doesn't keep me up at night after I return from a trip, but she does have a tough time deciding whether or not she wants belly rubs. Which is nothing new. Except now she's much more likely to let me know when she's had enough by using claws...

Jenny's Claws Sinking into Me!

Now, don't think that she's going for blood here... she's not. Neither of my cats have ever really done this. Jenny clawed me once when she was a kitten because I grabbed her to cut her surgery collar off. And Jake clawed me once when I grabbed him after he escaped out of the catio. But in both cases they were terrified. I was forced to grab them... they were forced to try and defend themselves.

Jake is mostly back to normal now. He's still following me around like a lost puppy any time I'm home, but he's not howling any more.

I hope.

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Bullet Sunday 770

Posted on Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Dave!It's too hot to go outside, but not too hot to blog... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• 988! The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been given a new easy-to-remember number... 988, an obvious play on the 911 used for emergencies. This is an important thing to have happen, and I can only hope that 988 becomes as well-known as 911 in case somebody ends up in crisis.

   
• OKOYE! This just in from the It's About Damn Time department, Nerdist is reporting that there's an Okoye series in development for Disney+ (assumably starring the always-awesome Danai Gurira). Second only to Black Panther himself, she was one of the most memorable parts of Black Panther...

Danai Gurira as Okoye

Now where's my M'Baku series?

   
• Appliance! @mcmullanappliance TikTok has fantastic videos that have taught me a lot. Like adding Pine-Sol in the wash cycle with the detergent (never in the softener dispenser)...

@mcmullanappliance Thanks @Lora Jean! #cleaning #clean #cleantok #laundry #wash #clothes #cleaner #hack #advice #pinesol #clorox #secret #washer #washingmachine #appliances #retail #pine #tree #natural #vinegar #acid #tips #home #learnontiktok ♬ Comfy Air - DJ BAI

And then there's this...

@mcmullanappliance Click link in my bio! #fire #protection #safety #safe #greasefire #kitchenfire #extinguisher #canada #usa #emergency ♬ I Can Feel It (Christmas Instrumental) - Nick Sena and Danny Echevarria

His channel is a total rabbit hole you will be happy to fall down.

   
• Dud! How in the heck did I completely miss the show Lodge 49? It's a bit slow... methodical... but it's also brilliant, heartfelt, and has purpose. It's about how we go on with our everyday lives feeling lost and alone, meandering in the fog of existence... while something bigger... something magical(?)... may be at play...

The show is random, all over the place, and impossible to describe. I am liking it a lot, but don't know exactly why I do. It's bizarre. And it's on Hulu if you want to check it out.

   
• Bog Hero! Finally got around to watching BAYMAX! It's adorable and beautifully animated (as expected)... but also very well written. They went places that I wasn't expecting for Disney to go, which just made the episodes even more interesting...

Good stuff. I hope we get a second season.

   
• It's a Frigidaire! Boy. Refrigerators sure have taken a dive in cool features over the years...

That veggie tray is just cool as all getout.

   
And now I return to my air-conditioned life of luxury.

   

Mess Your Monday

Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2022

Dave!When I got up this morning, I could barely move. I worked in my wood shop all day yesterday, and was definitely feeling it. A part of me wishes that I would have put that effort into cleaning the mess that is my home (currently nicknamed "The Disaster Area"). You'd think that living alone would preclude a mess being made, since I clean up after myself as I go... but I have two cats. And they are forever shedding and dragging their toys out everywhere and tracking kitty litter throughout the place... and they never clean up after themselves!

Though Jake must have spent some time cleaning his butt, because it's been surprisingly clean lately!

You'd think that this would inspire me to clean my toilet, but it has not.

Though my butt has also been surprisingly clean lately, so I'm trying not to be too hard on myself.

   

Toss Your Tuesday

Posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Dave!Today was a long, long, very long day at work. I started at 5:30am, finished at 1:15am, and only stopped to each lunch and dinner (plus bathroom breaks). So... nineteen hours, give or take.

I think it might actually be tolerable if I was able to get some sleep, but for the past three weeks my allergies have been in overdrive, which means I'm coughing my fool head off most of the night. Interestingly enough, my cats have become so accustomed to it that they don't even flinch when I'm hacking up a lung. Quite a change from the days when they would dart under the couch or run upstairs and hide if I were to so much as clear my throat.

As if the coughing and lack of sleep wasn't bad enough, I seem to have been locked out of my bank account somehow. Which is to say that I'm effectively without funds. My credit/debit/ATM card is "frozen" and when I try to login to see what's going on I can't get in that way either. Tomorrow (=ahem later today) I will have to call my credit union and find out what the heck is going on. Hopefully it's not because somebody has hacked my account and taken all my money... that would really suck. Though perhaps bank and credit union accounts are insured against that kind of thing? I have no idea.

But I bet you I will real soon now!

I've counted out money from my change jar just in case I need to have that exchanged for real money. I could have sworn I had a $20 bill tucked away in my wallet, but I do not. Apparently I spent it and forgot about it. Entirely possible given how I almost never use cash any more.

I guess my spare change savings is all I got, apparently.

Maybe I should think about trying to find my checkbook? That would be a big help right about now.

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Waste Your Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Dave!I begged my doctor for an appointment to deal with this non-stop cough. His office took pity on me, and worked me in tomorrow. Thank heavens. Because three hours of sleep each night is not sustainable.

Something else that's not sustainable?

Housework.

I am so busy with work and everything else in my life that finding time to clean up my pit of despair (AKA my home) is almost impossible. Usually this is a task for my weekend, but it just hasn't been possible so I've been doing a little bit here and there when I get home from work during the week.

MY CATS DO NOT LIKE THIS!

Tonight I decided to deep clean my downstairs. That's when I pull out the corded vacuum (which is far more powerful than my cordless) and steam clean everything. This is something I do once a month because I have cats wandering around. And while they are actually very clean animals, they also dig around in a litter box and shed everywhere.

So I turn on the vacuum and the cats go bolting upstairs to flee the noise. I then pull out the steam floor cleaner, which my cats hate even worse because of the hissing sound it makes. I have separate pads that I use on it... one for the kitchen, one for the cat feeding station, one for the living room and guest room, and one for the bathroom. That way I'm assured that I'm actually cleaning instead of transferring filth from one place to another.

In-between changing pads, Jenny comes marching downstairs... meows at me... then runs right back upstairs.

I guess this was her letting me know just how mad she is about my need to have a clean house.

But hey, I'm not exactly thrilled about it. I just wasted hours on housework that I could have spent doing something I enjoy.

Though then I'd be freaking out because I hadn't done a deep clean and probably wouldn't have enjoyed myself much anyway. So I guess it's a wash.

So to speak.

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Think Your Thursday

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Dave!It's always sobering when you find out that the something you've enjoyed... or even mindlessly acknowledged... has a dark story behind it. Songs that are rooted in racism. Movies built around homophobia. Books written with misogynistic undertones. The list goes on and on. And most times you never know about these stories because it's well-hidden or omitted.

Take, for example, the Woman Yelling at a Cat meme. It's everywhere on the internet, and many of them are hilariously funny...

But, like so many things, what's behind it isn't that funny. I never watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills so I never even knew who the woman is in these things.

Well here she is, and her story is triggering for domestic abuse...

Which just goes to show... you never know.

All I know is that I won't look at these memes the same way again.

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Freak Your Friday

Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Dave!It's amazing to me how the things that people enjoy are always up for judgement. Right now Comic Con is going on in San Diego and, of course, there are a lot of attendees dressed up like their favorite characters from comics, television, and movies.

I, for one, am amazed by the sheer creativity that goes into the costumes that people construct. Some of them are ridiculously smart and clever, and those who create such cool things have my respect.

As well they should.

But whenever I see photos and videos posted of these cos-players, there are always always always people in the comments seeking to tear them down. Always.

Usually it's in the vein of making fun of grown adults who like dressing up in costumes. But sometimes you get somebody truly deranged. One "Good Christian Woman" weighed in with her unwanted 2¢ by saying that cos-play is a tool of Satan to lure children to adult so they can be groomed for "sex abuse." She ended her lengthy tirade by calling all the cos-players "sick freaks."

And all I could think of was who the real sick freak was in this scenario.

And it is most definitely not the people who are having fun dressing up for a comic book convention.

   

Caturday 268

Posted on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Dave!I am a very nervous cat dad. I worry about everything all the time even though I really don't have cause to do so. As an example... yesterday morning Jenny didn't come when I shook the bag of treats. This is highly unusual. I thought she might be trapped or hurt somewhere, so I went looking for her. But nope! She was just lounging on the cat cushion I put on the guest bed. So after giving an impatient Jake his treats, I put some in a bowl and took them to Jenny... who was completely uninterested in them!

This has never happened before.

My cats refusing treats is a serious cause for concern.

And concerned I was. I put a security camera in the guest room so I could check in on her from work. All I saw was her resting comfortably every time I checked. Which was about every 15 minutes.

But then lunch time came and she was off the bed like a shot, running to the auto-feeders at top speed. So I have no idea what her deal was. Maybe she was full because she ate some of Jake's food.

And, oh yeah, that's something she does now.

Since the beginning, my cats have been fairly respectful of each other's food. Jake will happily head to her food bowls if she doesn't finish her meal, but rarely does he actually try to get in there while she's actively eating. But now apparently this is something that Jenny does. One day I was preparing my dinner when I look at the cats eating and Jenny has totally horned in on Jake's dinner. I was stunned. Jake just sat there staring at me like "What do I do now?" I seriously hope that this doesn't become a trend.

In other news... we had a small family of quail visit us this morning...

A mom, dad, and two quail chicks.

The babies were particularly cute. But quail usually lay a lot of eggs... like one per day or something like that... which means their families are usually quite large. It's sad to see only two chicks when usually you see much more... because that means the other chicks probably perished. Google says that quail chicks have only a 5% to 30% chance to grow into adults...

Mom with her two quail chicks.

I have no idea why they would sit out in full sunlight in 100º heat on hot concrete... that can't be good because the poor things are getting cooked. Eventually they got up and scrambled off to do whatever it is that quail do. Probably look for food.

Thankfully my cats are contained and aren't contributing to the quail mortality rate. But you just know that they would like to, as they went rushing to the windows right after they spotted the quail (which is how I knew to look!)...

Jake and Jenny looking intently out the window.

Best of luck to those baby quail. I hope they make it.

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Bullet Sunday 771

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2022

Dave!It's the most geektastic time of the year... because a Very Special Comic Con Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Wakanda Forever! This is the movie to beat, right? Though it will forever be tainted by the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther, we're getting most of the other amazing characters that came out of Black Panther plus the MCU debut of Namor, the Sub-Mariner. So, yeah, can't wait for November 11...

   
• Sandman! Based on one of the most beloved comic book series ever made (and one of my all-time favorites) the only question to be asked is Will it be any good? Well, if the trailer is any indication, the answer is yes. Looking very faithful to the books, and of course I am dying to see it. Fortunately we only have to wait until August 5th...

   
• She-Hulk! I've been waffling on this one. It sounded like a great idea when it came out... looked intriguing with the glimpses we got... and looks absolute fire now that we've got an actual trailer. Coming August 17th...

   
• John Wick 4! I love the John Wick franchise. And it just seems to get better with each new installment as they flesh out the organization built around The High Table. John Wick 3 was the best one yet, filled with a cool story and action that was more over the top than ever. And here we are at the fourth one, coming March 24, 2023...

   
• I Am Groot! It looks cute as hell, like we knew it would. I could speculate, but there's not much point when we'll see for reals on August 10th...

   
• Black Adam! The DC Comics movies have been mostly bad as of late, Wonder Woman and The Suicide Squad being the exceptions. Everything else that came after Nolan's Batman trilogy has been crap. This doesn't look half bad, but (especially where DC is concerned) looks can be deceiving. They have before. Guess we'll know on October 21...

   
• Rings of Power! I don't know if the Amazon Prime Lord of the Rings series is going to be any good... but it sure looks like they put a ton of money into it. ..

   
• Shazam! Fury of the Gods! The first Shazam was a horrendous pile of shit and I hated it. Hopefully this one won't be as stupid and uneven, because it certainly could be a good movie character. And Helen Mirren makes an intriguing villain to be sure. Good or bad, it's coming on December 21...

   
• More Marvel Studios! There was more from Kevin Feige in Hall H yesterday...

  • Armor Wars - 2023??? There was not a peep about this series at Comic Con, which feels ominous. Supposedly it starts filming later this year, but are they re-thinking things? I had always imagined that something which happens in this show will end up leading into Ironheart, but maybe not? Regardless, Rhodey has been around since the very beginning of the MCU, and it's about time he gets a shot.
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania - February 17, 2023. I was sincerely disappointed that we didn't get a trailer for this highly anticipated film. All we know is that Ant-Man, The Wasp, and Stature (Scott's adult daughter Cassie) get sucked into the Quantum Realm. Where they run into one of The Avengers' nastiest foes... Kang the Conquerer. Not exactly sure what that's going to be about because King ends up being in the next Avengers movie (see below).
  • Secret Invasion - Spring 2023. In the comic book series, evil Skrulls replace various super-heroes in order to... well... invade the earth. It was a shocking event in the comics which shook things up in weird ways because it came out of nowhere. The replacements had happened and had been foreshadowed for a while, even if people didn't know it. It seems unlikely that this kind of far-reaching plot device would be ingrained into the MCU in the same way for a Disney+ series, but I guess you never know.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - May 5, 2023. Adam Warlock? The High Evolutionary? The origin of Rocket? Sounds about perfect, right? The only problem being that James Gunn has stated that this is the end of the road for his Guardians movies. Hopefully it will be a good one to go out on.
  • Loki Season 2 - Summer 2023. The first season was a pretty good compromise between allowing the character to continue on while not sabotaging his sacrifice in what came before. Unfortunately I didn't think it was as compelling as it could have been. The whole Sylvie-as-Loki-Variant angle on The Enchantress didn't work for me, and it felt like the entire point of the show wasn't to be about Loki... but getting King into the MCU. Hopefully the second time around will be for Loki and not something else.
  • Echo - Summer 2023. Of all the characters who could be given their own Disney+ series, this one is a head scratcher. Echo? Seriously? I dunno. I guess it could be interesting, but it seems like a waste. My guess is that it selected because it would be a cheap series to make. I hope that's not the case.
  • The Marvels - July 28, 2023. Thanks to Ms. Marvel, we already have an inkling about this film. But we don't know anything concrete, which feels weird given how close it is.
  • Blade - November 3, 2023. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Blade coming to the MCU (I liked all three of the Wesley Snipes films... yes, even the third one), but there are so many other movies I'd rather see. Blade had his cinematic shot already, and could have easily fit into a Disney+ series instead of snagging a coveted movie spot. It's as if Marvel Studios is rolling dice to find the next Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, which is fine, but I had hoped for something more than this.
  • Ironheart - Fall, 2023. Riri Williams is a great comic book character... and if Marvel Studios ever wants to get the whole Young Avengers situation moving, she would be a great part of that. But this is taking forever to assemble. The "Young" Avengers won't be young by the time it actually happens. And maybe it won't ever happen. But hopefully we'll get a good Ironheart out of it all.
  • Agatha: Coven of Chaos - Winter 2023/2024. I honestly don't know. Do I want to see more Kathryn Hahn? Absolutely. But whether it's worth watching will depend entirely on what they've got for a story. If they go too silly or stupid, it'll be a toothless joke. If they go too dark and serious, Hahn will be wasted. They need to find a story that is a good balance of both... as well as provide a compelling enough reason for the show to exist. Here's hoping.
  • Captain America: New World Order - I sure hope that they give Sam Wilson a fair shot at being Cap. He's a great character, has paid his dues, and deserves his shot. And if we can get Bucky along for the ride, that would be great.
  • Daredevil: Born Again - Spring 2024. The comic book version of this story was character-defining. It documented the fall of Daredevil at the hands of The Kingpin, and how he managed to battle back from it. Now, some of the story arc has already been adapted in previous seasons of the Netflix Daredevil series, so I'm not exactly sure where they're going to go with it. But I certainly plan on finding out.
  • Thunderbolts - July 26, 2024. The comic book version of this film was kinda epic. Super villains band together in disguise as a new team of super heroes... who secretly want to take over the world (what else?). It is logical to think that this is a follow-up to Secret Invasion when the world has lost faith in heroes who aren't what they seem to be. But how they will manage to make it fresh for the movies when the concept from the comics is so well-known is a mystery.
  • Fantastic 4 - November 2024. If there's a movie that deserves to find success, it's one featuring the First Family of Adventure. The first two were pretty bad. The third one was fucking horrendous. So here's hoping the fourth time's a charm. It would be amazing if John Krasinski actually is Mr. Fantastic after his appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness... but that would give the film too much of a chance at success, so who knows.
  • Avengers: The Kang Dynasty - May 2, 2025. This is so far out as to be ridiculous... almost three years. Marvel just wanted something completely unknown to drop to their rabid fans at Comic Con. What's so intriguing here is that King is going to be menacing the MCU for over two years (he started in the first season of Loki, remember?). I guess this is the big finale, but who knows who might be an Avenger this far away. Will we even care? Probably.
  • Avengers: Secret Wars - November 7, 2025. I'm guessing this will be the epic finale of "The Multiverse Saga" where all the various variants are taken to a world so they can battle it out for the amusement of the powerful cosmic entity known as The Beyonder. At which point the Multiverse will likely be shut down Crisis on Infinite Earths style. For which I'm thankful, because the stakes are less when there's an unlimited number of universes to draw replacements for characters that get killed. The good news is that the cast will be absolutely epic, drawing together heroes new and old from the entire length of the MCU.

   
• And The Rest! And here's some other things that might prove interesting...

  • Picard I've always been more intrigued with the concept behind Picard than the show itself. The first season was nice, even though it didn't stick the landing. The second season bored me, and felt like a wasted opportunity. The third season seems as if it will hinge on nostalgia for The Next Generation, of which I have none.
  • Interview with The Vampire I liked the books okay... what ones I've read, anyways. But I have zero interest in a series. They already did a movie, it was fine, and dragging things out with a TV show doesn't seem like time well-spent. It's just a continuation of a trend.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Given the absolutely abysmal track record of D&D-based sword and sorcery in film and television, it seems like a longshot that this will be worth a crap. Except... the trailer actually doesn't look half bad. So maybe? Could it be another Lord of the Rings or (early) Game of Thrones? and not a complete waste of time, talent, and money? Stranger things have happened.

   
So... until next Comic Con, I guess. See you next year.

   

Forever is a Long Time

Posted on Monday, July 25th, 2022

Dave!As I have said many, many times in this blog, I am a massively huge fan of Black Panther. He, along with Doctor Strange, are my favorite Marvel comic book characters by a wide margin. Needless to say I was crushed when Chadwick Boseman died... not just because he was a talented actor who I had enjoyed in many films... but because he is Black Panther. And not getting to see him in Ryan Coogler's follow-up to the amazing Black Panther film fills me with a sadness that's hard to describe. His performance as The Black Panther filled me with joy after waiting years for the character to finally appear in the MCU, and now he's gone. Taken from us far too soon.

And you might guess, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a series of mixed emotions for me. On one hand, I am so happy that we will get to see all the great characters and incredible world of Wakanda again. On the other hand... Black Panther is gone.

I posted the trailer from Comic Con yesterday. I have watched it dozens of times trying to see every detail of what awaits us on November 11...

So here we go. Please avert your eyes if you don't want to see my spoiler-filled comments...

Spoiler Zone!

The trailer starts with Nakia on a beach... likely mourning the death of her boyfriend. Could she be pregnant with the heir to Wakanda? We don't know. What's very interesting about this scene is that you can see Aztec/Mayan architecture behind her. This related to Namor, which we'll get to in a bit...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Later we see T'Challa's mother, Ramonda, also on a beach which is kind of strange, because I thought that Wakanda is a landlocked country. They have a lake and rivers, of course, but no oceanfront real estate. Not sure what this could be about...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

And heeeeere's the birth of Namor. Which you can tell because of his winged feet (in the comics this allows him to fly). This makes Namor the first mutant in Marvel's history...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

In the Marvel Comics, Namor (AKA The Sub-Mariner) debuted in 1939, years before Aquaman debuted in DC Comics (that was in 1941). Even though Namor came first in reality, DC brought Aquaman to the movies first. To avoid people who don't know the history thinking that they have ripped off Aquaman, Marvel Studios has decided to root Namor in Aztec/Mayan culture, giving him and his people a far different look for Atlantis than DC gave to the Aquaman movies. I absolutely love this. Not only because it adds diversity and representation to the the MCU, but because it's just an amazing idea from the get-go...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

I'm guessing this is Wakanda's throne room? All flooded and burning. I don't know if this is supposed to show a turning point where Shuri accepts that she must become the new Black Panther or not, but it's an interesting scene...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

And... here's two of the smartest people in the MCU. That's Shuri shaking the hand of Riri Williams who becomes the successor to Iron Man, Iron Heart. I am positive that Riri is going to be tied to Wakanda and the first movie due to the ending of Black Panther where T'Challa established the Wakanda Outreach Program. How cool is that?!

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Awwww... it's little Prince Namor! The reason he is not blue like other Atlanteans in the Marvel Universe is because his father is a surface-dweller, and his mother is princess of Atlantis. He inherited his father's skin color, but his mother's royal status...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

And here's adult Namor...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

M'Baku is probably my favorite character from the first movie. I am thrilled that he's come back for the sequel (just as I am sad that W'Kabi isn't able to return because Daniel Kaluuya had other commitments). Of all the characters in the MCU, M'Baku is the one I most want to see get his own Disney+ series. Okoye is apparently getting hers, maybe M'Baku will be a big part of the World of Wakanda series?

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

This movie is going to be a punch in the gut from start to finish... especially when seeing Chadwick Boseman pop up...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

I am more than a little excited that Ryan Coogler & Co. don't hire somebody with the massive talent of Angela Bassett and have her sit on the sidelines. She actually looks like she's going to be given stuff to do...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Everett K. Ross! I love how this character is part of the MCU. And thank heavens that Ryan Cooler didn't have him fall into that tired old "white savior" trope that so often gets assigned to white characters in movies. Wakanda is the most technically-advanced nation in the MCU and their people are among the most powerful on the planet. They don't need a white man to step in and save them. From anything.

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

I am surprised that RiRi is going to become Iron Heart in this film. I thought she would be introduced here, then become Iron Heart in her own series! Kinda cool that her first suit is going to harken back to the bruit-force armor that Tony Stark created in the first Iron Man movie!

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Wakanda and Atlantis have a long and complicated history in the comics. They have been at war for much of that history, though they have put it aside when a common threat faces them. I am guessing that the movie will have them at war from the start, and it will be interesting to see the reason behind it. Likely Vibranium-related. Note that Atlanteans need masks to breath when out of the water, whereas Namor does not. He got that from his dad. :-) I am happy that they kept his winged feet. I was thinking that they would eliminate them for the movie to keep the character less expensive to have on-screen...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

And here's M'Baku... about to make a serious error. Namor can survive the crushing pressure of the deep ocean, so this battle club won't be much trouble for him to shrug off...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

And who might this be? Could it be Aneka? We've already seen Ayo in the MCU (Aneka's lover in the comics) and this could be setting them up for a very interesting turn if they follow the story from the comics.

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Okoye is so wonderfully bad-ass. I truly hope that Coogler is involved in her Disney+ series, because I will be sorely disappointed if she doesn't maintain character...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Just give Namor his own movie already. Can you just imagine?

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

Dora Milaje warriors vs. Atlantean warriors. That will be a heck of a fight!

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

And who is the new Black Panther? In the comics, Shuri has taken on the job on more than one occasion. Not sure if that's the way they are going to go in the movies. Maybe. Or perhaps M'Baku? Though I would really rather he keep his character, because he's just so fantastic. And now, for the hundredth time, WHERE IS MY M'BAKU SERIES?!? Just back up a dump truck full of cash to Winston Duke's house, pour out however much money it takes to get him to sign on to the project, then keep paying him absurd amounts of money so we get minimum ten seasons...

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer Still

I am not even joking. I would watch the heck out of an M'Baku series.

And that's our first look at Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. November seriously cannot get here fast enough.

   

Blogging Just Got Harder

Posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Dave!Blogging to me is such a habit that I don't even think about it much. I haven't had to in nearly twenty years. When I have a free moment each day I just sit down and hammer out what's on my mind. Simple.

But the way I hammer out my posts is via a blogging app that does all the heavy lifting for me. It's called MarsEdit and I've been using it for a long time. The problem is that my blog is under constant assault by hackers who really, really want the deep Google index for Blogography to exploit for whatever it is they're selling. I get hundreds, sometimes thousands, of attacks a week. And because of this I've had to close some security vulnerabilities... including the access point that MarsEdit uses to post here. There's a newer, more secure way to use outside blogging apps, but unfortunately MarsEdit can't do that yet.

So now I've had to start using the internal editor inside of WordPress, which is less than ideal. It gets the job done, but it's a whole lot less intuitive and spontaneous as I've gotten used to.

Oh well. It wouldn't be life on planet earth if somebody wasn't trying to make my life miserable. This is just one more thing.

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Life After Midnight

Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Dave!Today I had to run into The Big City so I could drop off some work. It was a quick trip, but I made the most of it by picking up some groceries and then getting some gas as I drove out of town.

It sounds like such a simple thing. But the truth of the matter is that it was not. Partly because the heat makes it miserable to go anywhere and do anything... but mostly because people can be such huge assholes who care about nobody but themselves.

This was made most clear to me when I stopped at the gas station.

All the stalls were full, which is not a big deal. My car is air conditioned and I wasn't in a huge hurry. It was then I noticed a person pull up and head into the mini mart. I assumed that they didn't want (or didn't have) a credit card and needed to pay inside. But that wasn't what happened. Turns out they parked at the pump... went in for a drink and some snacks... then came back and paid at the pump before filling up. WHILE THREE CARS WERE WAITING TO GET GAS!

I was more than a little pissed off, but assholes will be assholes, so what can you do?

But then I noticed that other people were doing this same damn thing. Rather than getting gas then moving to a parking spot so somebody else had access to the pump... people were getting gas and parking at the pump while they went inside for some shopping.

Who does that when there are people waiting?

Assholes.

And you just know that these same people would be laying on their damn horn if they had to wait while somebody went inside for a Big Gulp (or whatever).

I tell you what... I am THIS CLOSE to just doing whatever it takes to avoid people completely. Getting a job that allows working off-site. Staying at home and only venturing out after midnight where I will shop exclusively at businesses that are open 24 hours. Ordering crap via mail order whenever possible. — Because my being assured that I will run into far fewer assholes than have to be endured during daylight hours is a heck of a temptation.

   

And yet here we are…

Posted on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Dave!There's a popular meme that many people have posted on social media which goes something like this... "I'd rather be excluded for who I include than included for who I exclude." On the surface, this actually seems like a nice thing. Being inclusive is an admirable goal and something I have strived to do in my life for as long as I can remember. I love the diverse nature of humanity and find life to be far more exciting because everybody everywhere can be so different. Variety truly is the spice of life.

Except...

I disagree strongly that you have to include everybody.

Some people... expecially people who are dumbasses or pieces of shit... NEED to be excluded from my life. All the bigots, racists, homophobes, transphobes, flat earthers, willfully ignorant, science-denier, persecuting haters (and those like them) can just go. I really don't want to waste my time on all that. Which is probably a good thing for them as well, because they're probably going to be far happier without me in their lives too.

The problem is that it's nigh-impossible to escape from these people entirely. Sometimes they travel in the same social circles. Sometimes they end up at the same places. Sometimes you have to work with them. Sometimes you're related to them. There's just no way to be a part of society without having to endure it, regardless of the lengths you go towards trying to avoid them.

And in those cases you just have to grin and bear it... while trying to be as civil as possible... and hope you can stay sane.

Something that has been a lot more dificult since the pandemic started.

Which is kinda the opposite of how it should be.

And yet here we are.

   

Beyond the Written Werd

Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2022

Dave!Last night I read an article about how the Oxford University Press is constructing an African American English Dictionary and I couldn't be happier about it. Those who gatekeep the English language are infuriating and exhausting and it seems ridiculous to me that cultural forms of language and expression are called out for "not being real words." ALL words are made up, so what does that even mean? Language is always changing and adapting. "Awful" used to mean "full of awe." And "microchip" as a word didn't even exist when the first Oxford English Dictionary was published.

Yeah, yeah... I used to get hung up on people mixing up "they're" and "their" and "there" or "to" and "too" or "whether" and "weather"... but this was a conditioning artifact that makes me cringe now. So long as the meaning is clear, does it really fucking matter?

Though I am still 1000% for using the Oxford comma in a list. Anything less is madness.

   

Caturday 269

Posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2022

Dave!I've been performing an experiment on my cats. Well, not both of them, it's just Jenny.

It was curious to me how she always always always follows me up to bed... unless it's before her 9:00pm nighttime snack. If I head up at 9:30... 10:00... 11:00... midnight... she is right on my heels. But if I decide to work upstairs and head up at sayyyy... 8:45? Nope. She will wait for the feeder to go, then come up after.

But is there a lower limit?

Turns out there is. Experimenting for the past 4 weeks, I confirmed that it's around 40 minutes. I head up before 8:20pm and she will come up and wait for her snack upstairs with me. But anything after that and she stays put for the snack she knows is coming.

Jake's sense of time is not nearly as acute, but he still knows when his dinner is late!

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Bullet Sunday 772

Posted on Sunday, July 31st, 2022

Dave!Oh look! Summer is half-over and the temperatures are climbing past 100°, but it's cool in this house... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Uhura! I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Nichelle Nichols. It's impossible to quantify just how important her role on Star Trek was when it comes to the history of television... and the world, really. The now legendary story of how she was going to quit Star Trek until Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed her mind because it showed the world how our future should be was just the beginning of her influence...

The incomparable Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura on Star Trek.

If you're interested in a very loose interpretation of events... this episode of Drunk History is darn good...

I have watched that so many times.

   
• Wood! Maybe it's because I love woodworking that I've watched these a half-dozen times... but I honestly think it's so cool that anybody would find it fascinating...


I love videos like this. Entirely too imaginative and clever. There's only a few videos, but entire YouTube Channel is gold.

   
• PANDA! Bamboo Eating Panda is no longer interested in eating for your amusement (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@xiongmaosh This is to know that someone photographed it? Pose#panda #lovely #eat ♬ 原聲 - xiongmaosh

He's still adorable, however.

   
• Girls? I've been looking forward to Paper Girls since I found out that they were adapting the comic book series, which was excellent. — Unfortunately, I find it to be nearly unwatchable. In the comics, the story really shines through... it's imaginative and interesting and everything you could want in a comic. But the Amazon Prime adaptation? EVERY FUCKING SCENE HAS THE DRAMA AND INTENSITY DIALED UP TO ELEVEN! It's all screaming and overacting on top of overacting on top of overacting. And I do not blame the young actors for that... when they are given quieter moments (which is rare) they are darn good. I blame the director(s) who apparently pushed them to be fucking insane level to a bizarre and intolerable degree. And the worst part is when they use swear words, because they don't sound even remotely natural... they PUNCH. EVERY. FUCKING. CURSE. and it's so jarring as to be disastrous. Absolutely hated this series, and nobody is more bummed about that than I am...

Paper Girls on Amazon.

Be careful what you wish for... because for every Umbrella Academy, there's whatever the hell this was.

   
• Deadly! Utterly fascinating. Utterly terrifying.

Add to this the advent of antibiotic-resistant bacteria... and the future looks pretty scary if science can't find a way out of this.

   
• ChocToc! Look, I'm not saying I ate a lot of Choco Tacos... but I am still sad that they are being discontinued because my life was made easier knowing that they were out there when I needed them...

It's the Choco Taco!

WHAT WILL I DO WHEN I CRAVE A CHOCO TACO NOW?!?

   
• HYPOCRISY! So remember… I know I will… (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick).

@dr.eric.b #politics #fyp #conservative #liberal #monkeypox #lgbt #gay ♬ original sound - Eric

   
And that's all the bullets we have for today.

   

Andor is Coming!

Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2022

Dave!September 21st.

Cannot possibly enunciate how badly I want to see this series. I haven’t loved many of the Star Wars movies after The Empire Strikes Back... but Rogue One is definitely a huge exception, and Cassian Andor is a big part of the reason why...

No K-2SO in the poster. I'm guessing that he comes along shortly. Or at the end of Season 01...

Apparently there are three planned seasons... ever-escalating quicker until the series matches up to Rogue One.

   

The Bagel of Life

Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

Dave!This morning I woke up and really, really wanted a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Fortunately, I had both. Unfortunately I had a very busy morning and didn't have time to fix one up before I left the house for work.

But I never stopped wanting that dang bagel!

All day at work. All through my errands after work. Right up through the evening when I finally got home... that bagel was all I could think about. And so that was my dinner. Toasted to get it crusty then microwaved for 10 seconds to get it softened. Then schmeared with cream cheese. It was perfect.

And now I feel as though I have nothing left to live for.

Except chocolate ice cream for dessert, of course.

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34 Lives and Counting

Posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

Dave!For much of my adult life I've lived in upstairs apartments. Spider sightings were blissfully rare, and I never had to worry much about creepy-crawlies. Then six years ago I moved into my current home which is at ground level. And while there's not a lot of spider activity, there's more than I've been accustomed to. Much to the delight of my cats, who thrill at playing with a spider for a while before ultimately eating it then puking it up.

I don't want to kill anything, but I don't want to have to clean up cat puke either, so I invested in a box of those tiny paper Dixie cups specifically to be used for catching bugs and transporting them outside. They work great, and can be tossed afterwards so I don't risk dying from spider germs being deposited on my drinking glasses.

Today I found a weird tan spider by my cloak closet and went to get a Dixie cup so I can take him outside. After putting him in the shady part of my flower garden, I decided to count how many cups were missing so I could determine how many spiders I've saved over the years.

The answer is thirty-four.

That's thirty-four times I made the choice to not splat a spider with my shoe but instead set him free. I'd like to think that there's some future karma benefit at work here for me here... but the fact that I'm lucky enough to have a home in the first place is enough for me.

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Time and Tide

Posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2022

Dave!I had an 80's channel running while working tonight and was mostly able to ignore it until the song Time and Tide by Basia dropped. "Whatever happened to her?" I wondered... as I opened a tab to Google. What I found out that she never stopped making music. Her last album, Butterflies, was released in 2018. What's so amazing is that she still sounds incredible. How in the heck did she ever drop into obscurity with her level of talent?

Of course I could say the same for dozens of other musicians (at the top of my list would be a-ha, who is seen as a one-hit wonder for Take On Me, but had even more amazing tracks afterwards).

How she started...

Where she ended up (circa 2009)...

1987 seems like it was just yesterday. Time and tide really does wait for no man.

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Enter The Sandmanses

Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2022

Dave!Sandman (on Netflix) is a fantastic adaptation of one of my favorite comic book series. And something I never thought I'd see happen despite numerous attempts to turn it into movies.

The 10-episode series is loyal to the source material... almost to a fault. There are segments which blew by in the comic at a brisk pace which have been dragged out to tedium to fill a one-hour runtime, and it hurt the series a bit. As an example, I wish I could have watched the fifth episode in 3X speed instead of the Netflix max of 1.5X because it was so slow and so tedious... attempting to fill 50 minutes with material that would have been a stretch at 20.

Much ado has been made about the "gender-swapping" and "race-swapping" of various characters. This is a bunch of rubbish, because these are not real-life people being portrayed, but fictional characters. "Death" being Black doesn't change a thing, and the actor they got to play her is fantastic, which is all that really matters...

Probably the biggest "controversy" (if you can call it that) was casting Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer. Now, in the comic book, it was never a secret that Neil Gaiman based his Lucifer on David Bowie at his most androgynous. So casting a woman... especially one as incredibly talented and nuanced as Gwendoline Christie... is not a stretch at all. I mean just look at this...

The casting of this series is impeccable... with one minor exception. I thought Patton Oswalt was distracting as Matthew (much as I love him in other stuff). But otherwise even small roles were cast with such care, and it enriched the series in every way.

So... yeah... worth the wait.

If you're a fan of the comic, you've likely already watched it. If not? Worth a look for sure.

   

Caturday 270

Posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2022

Dave!Always looking for new things to entertain my cats, I purchased a big "puzzle box" for treats that they can poke into. Figured it would be a more interesting time for them than just putting treats in a bowl.

Both cats were intrigued. At first.

But after a while Jake found that he could just wait for Jenny to pull out treats, then attempt to take them from her. Surprisingly, she never got all that upset about it... she would just go poking around for another treat. To her, the challenge was as important as the treat...

Jenny diging around in the puzzle box while Jake waits...

Eventually Jenny started waiting until Jake was not in the area before she would go back to digging for treats...

Jenny diging around in the puzzle box while Jake waits...

Earlier this week I noted that Jake was laying down chillin' with Mufasa...

Jake laying down next to Mufasa.

It was funny to me how Mufasa was sitting upright. I thought it was nice how Jake set him up like that. But then I took a look at the security camera footage and saw that Jake threw Mufasa down the stairs and he happened to land. One could almost say... he set himself upright, because just look at this!

GHOSTS!

Or maybe not. I think that my cats would let me know if we had ghosts.

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Bullet Sunday 772

Posted on Sunday, August 7th, 2022

Dave!World War III is back on the table thanks to politician idiocy, but don't let that harsh your mellow... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Wedding! To my fellow Hallmark movie nerds... Wedding Season on Netflix. The concept has been done to death, but this one is way too cute to miss...

I love how Netflix gives a good budget to their movies like this. It makes all the difference in diferentiating them from Hallmark.

   
• Star Wars Summer! The LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation Special has a gem of a Weird Al song attached to it, and the video is right here...

Whether you're a Star Wars fan or a LEGO Star Wars fan or both... the special is worth a look! Find it on Disney+.

   
• Eternally Again! Patton Oswalt leaked that they are working on another Eternals movie. Good. Now leave powerless, annoying Sprite the fuck out of it (or kill her to start off the film). Leave Ajak dead. Leave Ikarus dead. And as much as I loved Gilgamesh, leave him dead. Then kill off Druig (or turn him into the full-on villain he is). Focus on Sersi, Thena, Kingo, Phastos, and Starfox. FIVE characters instead of however the fuck too many were in the first film. Marvel needs to get over themselves that Eternals was an epic masterpiece and come to terms with the fact that they created a bloated, scattered, mess of a film. Avengers Endgame had DOZENS of characters and felt more focused. Don't get me wrong... I enjoyed Eternals and didn't think it was as awful as many people did... but it could have been SO much better. I do hope that Chloé Zhao comes back to direct because her work is so beautiful... but don't force her to cram so much shit in her film that it gets so very sloppy.

   
• Vacation! This is so accurate as to sting a bit (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@shane.duffy

Just make sure you reply to your emails 👍

♬ original sound - Shane Duffy 😮‍💨

I haven't had a vacation in three years. Sure I have the hours... but I'm always too busy to actually use them.

   
• Trash! I will keep saying it... Nancy Pelosi is garbage. Everything wrong with government is right here (And here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@progressivetradesman #greenscreen #insidertrading #corrupt #parforthecourse #dividendsaretheft ♬ original sound - user4501857206945

Like most of our politicians, she doesn't give a FUCK how many people she hurts so long as she keeps grabbing that money and power! And she doesn't care if she starts World War III or tanks our stock market to get it.

   
• PAID! I'd like to leave this Bullet Sunday on a good note... I paid off my blue iMac, Lemon, this week!

iMac PAID!

And in two months my MacBook Pro will also be paid off. Which will be very nice. The money not used for making payment can go towards groceries, gas, and everything else that's insanely expensive now-a-days.

   
TTFN, Bullet fans...

   

Good Bye Olivia

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2022

Dave!I was deeply saddened to learn that Olivia Newton-John passed away today.

I fell in love with her... and fell in love with her hard... while coming of age in the 70's and 80's. I wasn't allowed to go see Grease in the theater (I was 12 years old)... but it was one of the first VHS tapes I rented in the early 80's! That was back when VCRs were so expensive that you couldn't afford to buy one unless you were wealthy. Instead my family reserved the VCR at the local video store to rent over the weekend... then rented a stack of movies to go with it so we could get our money's worth out of the pricey machine rental.

And, yeah, I watched Grease multiple times on multiple weekends. I was never a fan of musicals but... well... Olivia Newton-John. Because, damn...

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease.

And I listened to that soundtrack many, many, many, many times.

And then there was Xanadu.

Because of my love of Olivia-Newton John, I begged my parents to let me go see it in the theater when it was released in 1980. I was 14 years old. It was a PG film. My parents relented, and let me go see it with my friends. The movie wasn't great... but I did like it because it played to a trifecta of my loves... Olivia Newton-John, Don Bluth Animation, and Greek mythology. Olivia Newton-John was positively radiant in every frame...

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

ANIMATED Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Kira never got to say which muse she was... but she started to say it. Her name started with a "T" which means she was Terpsichore, muse of dance. And while the movie wasn't all that great... the soundtrack was incredible. I played it to death.

In 2020 Olivia made a quick video on the 40th anniversary of the movie... looking as radiant and lovely as ever...

ONJ appeared numerous places over the years. More recently she was a guest-judge on RuPaul's Drag Race and even appeared in one of the Sharknado movies!

As sad as it is that she's gone, she leaves behind music that will carry on for a very long time. And that ain't nothin'. Rest In Peace, Olivia Newton-John, you will be so very missed.

   

Increasing Fondness with Each Passing Day

Posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday I had a disaster of a morning attempting to sign a frickin' PDF. Adobe continues to treat PAYING CUSTOMERS like criminals, which made activating Acrobat on my home iMac incredibly time-consuming and difficult. First it wouldn't authenticate. Then it wouldn't download. Then after restarting twice I managed to get it installed, but the installer wouldn't acknowledge that it was installed. Except I still managed to run it. But then the current version of Acrobat didn't work right with the current version of MS Word. So I had to create the PDFs manually, then load them. But then Adobe wouldn't allow me to sign the documents because I couldn't load my signature. So I had to go to the online version of Acrobat to load my signatures. Then I finally got to where I could sign the damn documents... only to find that Acrobat wouldn't allow me to save anything. Turns out I had to turn off online services for some reason in order to be able to save locally. A process that should have taken at most five minutes clocked in at just over an hour.

Remember the good ol' days when you could just buy a program and then use the program you paid for?

And, as bad as that was, today was even more frustrating.

But this time it was Apple instead of Adobe that I was battling.

My Apple Studio Display hasn't been able to play sound for more than 10 seconds since I got the thing. It starts to play and then almost immediately cuts out. Then you have to switch to a different audio, then switch back, at which time it plays again for another ten seconds and then cuts out. Yet again.

Well, today I finally got the software update which fixes the bizarre audio issues that have been plaguing Studio Display users for months... only to then have my computer get stuck in an endless update loop.

There's two hours of my life that I'm never getting back.

I totally appreciate that computers are getting faster and more capable all the time. The stuff they can do now is close to magic. But what good is all that when they go to shit so often that you actually lose hours of your life?

I tell you what... graphic design in the 80's is being remembered with increasing fondness with each passing day.

   

A Zombie in Paradise

Posted on Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

Dave!I've been having a terrible time sleeping lately. Last night I went to bed early at 10:00pm, but my watch shows that I didn't fall asleep until after midnight. Which means that I essentially laid awake for two hours with my mind racing. In other words, it's a day ending in "Y," and when I rolled out of bed at my usual 5:30am I felt like half my brain was missing.

I honestly don't think it's too must to ask that I get eight hours of sleep each night. Or even seven. Heck, over the past four months I'd settle for six. Instead it's been between four and five hours, which is simply not enough. I feel like a zombie all day long. Though I'm surprisingly able to function just fine and get all my work completed without issue. But it's like I'm on auto-pilot instead of being invested. And it's tough to enjoy life that way.

I thought I might be able to supplement my sleepy-time with naps, but that's proven equally impossible. For whatever reason I can't sleep during the day no matter how tired I am.

I guess it's time that I have a sleep study done again?

I dunno. The last time I paid for one and nothing really came out of it.

But at least I could say that I tried something.

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Ping Pong Rain Insomnia

Posted on Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Dave!Remember yesterday when I was writing about how lack of sleep was turning me into a zombie? Well... I honestly thought that would change last night. Except no.

I was awakened at 5:30am this morning as ping-pong-ball-sized rain was slamming into the roof. And there was Jake right next to my head crying about it. And I honestly don't blame him. The rain was so heavy that it might as well have been 1-inch hailstones, and I was worried about the skylight in my bathroom shattering (something I definitely cannot afford to have happen)...

After comforting Jake enough that he finally stopped squawking at my head and curled up asleep next to me, I started wondering where Jenny was. She's the one who is usually very upset when even a small amount of rain falls on the roof. She paces all over my bed while staring at the ceiling and meowing her head off. If this rain was enough to upset Jake, she must be very cross indeed. But nothing. Perhaps it scared her so much that she's hiding in the guest closet or something?

And then the thunder and lightning arrived.

At which time Jenny came bolting into the room at top speed. She rubbed up against me doing that wailing thing she does when she's worrying about stuff until she too settled down and went to sleep.

So there I was... wide awake after less than 5 hours of sleep, but unable to move without waking up my two sleeping companions. Mercifully, the breakfast feeding alarm went off at 7am at which time the cats went scrambling downstairs to eat... frustrated that my sleep-deprived ass was taking so long to feed them.

Between Mother Nature, Jake, and Jenny, the conspiracy to keep me from sleep continues...

   

It’s Only Money, Right?

Posted on Friday, August 12th, 2022

Dave!I will never get used to the spatial audio in Apple AirPods. The way that the audio shifts to provide the illusion that the sound is always coming from in front of you is witchcraft, and somebody should be burned at the stake for it. Except not really, because it is so cool.

Even after all these months, I still feel like the AirPods are broken and the sound is, in fact, actually coming from my monitor. So I pull out the earbuds and confirm that they are, in fact, working... then immediately feel mad at myself for being fooled yet again.

Different topic, same subject...

I continue to make progress on setting up my studio. Most recently that meant trying to do something about the audio system so I can listen to music while I work. I started with a single SONOS One speaker, but missed having stereo... so I added a second one... only to end up still unsatisfied because they aren't spaced well for good stereo. Also, they're blasting at me from the sides, which is disorienting.

Unfortunately there's no much I can do about it, because my desk is pushed up against the wall. And there's a window above it. What I really need is SONOS PLAY bar right in front of my desk so that I could have simulated stereo separation coming from directly in front of me.

And that's when I was like wait a minute... I could relocated the SONOS PLAY bar to my studio, then upgrade my living room surround system to a SONOS ARC. That's actually a great idea all the way around, because the ARC uses HDMI for volume control that comes directly from my television instead of the janky optical+separate remote ordeal I have with on the PLAY. As usual, it only takes money. The ARC is $900. The mounting bracket is an additional $80. With tax that's over $1000, which is hard to justify. Except... July was one of those glorious twice-a-year months with three paydays instead of two... so maybe? SONOS has an upgrade program running where you can get 15% off your purchase, and it's only money, right? Who needs savings?

So I ordered it.

I'll spend every day until it arrives experiencing buyer's remorse, I'm sure.

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Caturday 271

Posted on Saturday, August 13th, 2022

Dave!I got a late start to my day.

After serving my cats breakfast, I went to read emails and look through my newsfeed before tackling the massive list of things I needed to get done. Last weekend I hurt my back, so I didn't want to waste too much time. Except my cats did something unusual... they immediately headed back upstairs to take a post-breakfast nap...

Jake sleeping spread eagle in the window while Jenny's passed out next to me.

Not wanting to interrupt their busy sleeping schedule, I waited 45 minutes for Jenny to wake up before I got started on chores.

First up was cleaning out my bookshelves to make room for new books. Then I cleaned out my kitchen pantry. Then I washed all my dirty clothes. Then I decided to clean out my drawers, which ended with my re-folding all my ties. Jenny wasted no time "helping out"...

Jenny Attacks My Ties

Jenny Attacks My Ties

Jenny Attacks My Ties

While Jake watched...

Jenny Attacks My Ties

Once I took away the last tie, she decided she wanted to walk all over them...

Jenny Attacks My Ties

I used to have to wear ties a lot. I had over 50 of them. I narrowed it down to my favorites since I rarely wear them now. I saved mostly my Disney ties (half of which are Hidden Mickey ties) and my cartoon ties.

Not like I ever want to start wearing ties again... but I'm saving them just in case. Even though they're now covered in cat hair.

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