Posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022
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...
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!!!
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022
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.
Posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2022
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.
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.
Posted on Friday, February 4th, 2022
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...
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...
After the solar system appears, you can click on objects to explore them. Naturally I started close to home with Mars...
Then various asteroids...
Then I started clicking on various man-made objects...
Some of these things are utterly fascinating, and are out there doing things I never knew were even happening...
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...
After a couple objects I got to DART... Double Asteroid Redirection Test...
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...
But slightly wider than a school bus...
Though considerably smaller than the Rose Bowl Stadium...
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...
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...
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...
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!
Posted on Saturday, February 5th, 2022
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...
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Sunday, February 6th, 2022
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.
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.
Posted on Monday, February 7th, 2022
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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2022
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?
Posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2022
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...
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.
Posted on Friday, February 11th, 2022
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...
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.
Posted on Saturday, February 12th, 2022
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...
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...
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.
Posted on Sunday, February 13th, 2022
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...
• 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.
Posted on Monday, February 14th, 2022
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...
...or how Eminem kneeled...
Image from Mike Segar @ Reuters
...or how Mary J. Blige was showing thigh in her costume choice...
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....
Image Credit Unknown (taken from Rolling Stone)
To which I can only respond...
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.
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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2022
Everybody has been releasing their "Apple Report Card" for 2021, so I thought I'd do the same.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022
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)...
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.
Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2022
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...
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.
Posted on Friday, February 18th, 2022
And I thought yesterday was bad.
Posted on Saturday, February 19th, 2022
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...
Wishing for the millionth time that I could sleep as easily and often as a cat.
Posted on Sunday, February 20th, 2022
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?!?
• 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...
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 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...
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...
Posted on Monday, February 21st, 2022
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 © 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...
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...
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...
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...
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).
Posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022
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.
Posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022
Well now Marvel Studios is just messing with us...
Spider-Man: No Way Home comes to home digital on March 22.
Posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2022
I think my blog has been hacked. Blergh.