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.
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
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
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!
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)...
Those I turn off-and-on, as needed...
Those that I pay for out of protest...
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.
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:
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.
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.
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...
Just look at that face...
This photo was taken after Jake plopped his butt down right up to her face while she was sleeping...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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?
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)...
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.
Here's the Apple product matrix as it currently stands...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Seems like only yesterday they were kittens...
But that photo was taken six years ago.
Boy was that a lifetime ago, wasn't it?
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...
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...
Rest In Peace, sir.
Until next week there, buckaroo.
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?
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...
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.
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.
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.
But wasting minutes is better than wasting hours.
As I mentioned a while back, I pre-spent my tax refund money on a new desk chair and an Xbox
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
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.
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...
And sometimes she will absolutely fight back if she's not in the mood for Jake's bullshit...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"I'm getting too old for the hand-to-hand violence."
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...
DON'T WORRY, KITTIES! I'LL BE HOME TOMORROW MORNING!
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!
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...
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.
We’ll crap. Guess I have to go into the office...
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?
Whenever I see a new food item that looks good, I check out the ingredients to see if it contains
But when it's something I can actually eat? Magic!
Which was the case when I found Royal's 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.
I ate the entire damn bag. It was too good to stop.
And so... something new for me to obssess over.
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.
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)
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.
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.
This guy makes the absolute coolest stuff.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.