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2023: Twenty Years of Blogography

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2023

Dave!The first article I read in 2023 was this one: Bring back personal blogging. And it's interesting to me because every new year I debate whether or not I'm going to keep doing =waves arms= all this. The question has been especially wearing on me during the pandemic when I'm just not doing anything worth blogging about.

The article itself has some very good points though.

Social media, for all its popularity, simply doesn't have the community building that blogging did back in the day. I've made a lot of friends via blogging, and a handful of them are closer than many of my in-person friends. My guess is that this is because in-person friendships rely mostly on how often you see them, where blogging friendships rely mostly on how often you keep in contact with them. Even if you meet up with them in-person from time to time, your relationship goes beyond presence.

On April 18th, Blogography turns 20 years old.

Back in the day, I'd hold a week-long Blogiversary celebration with contests, new merchandise, and everything. Just look at this video from 2008 when the Grand Prize was me flying to wherever in the world the winner was so I could deliver prizes and have a party...

And so I did. I flew to St. Louis and had a great time!

I can't imagine doing anything like this now.

I mean, sure I still meet up with old-school bloggers from those early years. I met with one back in 2021, another in 2022, and will meet with another in March (proof positive that the article is right about the communities we built). But that's a far cry from all the "Dave Events" that used to happen... or even the larger gatherings like TequilaCon.

But it's this past community that still exists which makes blogging something I'm not quite ready to give up on yet.

So... here's to twenty years of blogging... and counting, I guess?

Wishing you and yours all the best in this New Year.

   

Ninja Creami: AKA Pacojet-Light

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2023

Dave!For a while I couldn't hop on social media without seeing people raving about the "Ninja Creami"... which is a very powerful blender that creams hard-frozen foods and liquids. This sounded familiar to me, because I have a friend who is a chef with a "Pacojet" that essentially does the exact same thing. Except Pacojet costs $8,000. The Ninja Creami costs under $200. The Pacojet is used for a wide variety of cooking purposes... like creating blended soups that can be heated up... as well as gelatos, ice creams, sorbets and stuff. And while the Creami can probably do whatever you want, it's mainly geared towards ice creams, gelatos, sorbets, and frozen drinks. I bought the "deluxe" version because it was on sale for only $20 more than the original version. It's not necessary, but it does give you a larger container, meaning you can make more ice cream in a single go...

Long story short? This thing is darn good, and worth the hype.

I thought that "creamifying" a can of peaches would result in a peach snowcone. But it actually turns into a luscious peach sorbet. I thought "creamifying" frozen cream and sugar would result in gritty, frozen milky ice. But it really does actually turn into creamy ice cream.

And it's so easy.

My favorite is sorbets. Dump a can of pineapple chunks in the Creami container, mix in sugar, freeze it, creamify it, and you've got pineapple sorbet. Dump a can of peaches in heavy syrup into the Creami container, use a pair of kitchen shears to chop it into pieces, freeze it, creamify it, and you've got peach sorbet...

Peach Sorbet
Seriously! This was a frickin' can of peaches yesterday!

The biggest shock is how good Creami ice creams and gelatos are. They are not not at all gritty and fake-tasting. Heck, they're better than most of the stuff you can buy at a store. The recipe is just heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, a bit of cream cheese, and whatever flavors you want to put in it. Vanilla, chocolate, strawberries, most anything, really...

Chocolate Ice Cream
Cookie from Honolulu Cookie Co., not me!

There are recipes for "lite" ice creams (which are okay, but not great), pretty good frozen yogurts (ingredients: YOGURT!), and all kinds of frozen drinks (shakes, ices, slushes, and the like).

PROS

  • This ain't a poor substitute for actual ice creams, sorbets, and the like... it makes the real deal. Often better than what you can buy at the store. And with better ingredients.
  • Comparatively, the machine is dirt-cheap. Remember that it is a $200 alternative to a machine that costs in excess of $8,0000 (and I have no idea how Ninja isn't getting sued into oblivion by Pacojet for it).
  • So fast. Just toss it all together and freeze for 24 hours. Then put it in the Creami and have your treat in minutes.
  • You can make whatever flavors you can dream of. I've mixed just about every kind of fruit you can think of for sorbet and it mostly always tastes fantastic. Note that fruits in heavy syrup taste great. Fruits packed in juice (like pineapple) lack sweetness, so I dissolve in some sugar.
  • There is a mix-in feature where you can add nuts, crushed cookies, fruit, whatever. I am addicted to adding graham crackers (plain, chocolate, or cinnamon... all delicious additions!).

CONS

  • This machine is loud. I mean LOUD. I fired it up in my kitchen and traumatized my cats! It now resides in my garage, where I'm sure I'm traumatizing the neighborhood.
  • In order to make sure that ice crystals don't form in your ice cream and it ends up nice and smooth, you have to add something which minimizes the possibility. The Creami recipes use cream cheese. This is a good option because it's easy to find and works great. But even though it's just a tablespoon, it's still there. I may look into some options like guar gum or fruit pectin or something that doesn't intrude on the flavor profile.
  • The ingredients for sorbet is pretty cheap, but ice cream ingredients are heinously expensive. Have you seen the price of heavy cream? Even putting aside the cost of the machine, you are paying more for ice cream and gelato than what you pay in the store. Maybe if you buy in bulk at Costco you can come out ahead, but do not live under the illusion that Creami is saving you money by making cheap ice cream.
  • My intent on buying Creami from the start was to make "lite" ice creams that (hopefully) tasted great, because that's what everybody was raving about. Nope! All the monk fruit and coconut milk in the world ain't going to make that happen. Luckily the sorbets work for me, because... yikes. Maybe one day I'll find that magic combination of chemicals to make great "lite" ice cream, but I haven't found it yet.
  • While what I've gotten out of the Creami is darn good compared to store-bought, it will never come close to what you can get from the local creamery.
  • The reason the Ninja Creami isn't $8,000 is because it's cheap-ass plastic. I use mine around three times a week and don't have much hope for much longevity. Also, there are crap design choices that are frustrating in how it operates (like their shitty blender where the blade is ALWAYS falling out).
  • I always end up having to "re-spin" in order to get the creamiest product. Even though I've lowered the temp of my freezer, the initial "creamification" is more powder-like than creamy. Fortunately the re-spin fixes this, but it's still one more thing you have to do.
  • If you don't eat all of it in one go, there's a bit of an ordeal to eat the remainder. First you have to pack the leftovers down nice and flat... then you have to reprocess it when you want to eat it. You can't just take it out of the freezer and eat it. I was told that you can just let it thaw a bit so it softens, but that doesn't taste as good.
  • Mixing in stuff is a bit more manual than you'd hope. After you process it, you have a make a hole, put your mix-ins in there, then process it again with the "mix-ins" function. And while it's a more gentle cycle than the initial "creamification," it's still pretty harsh. Cookie pieces get turned into crumbs. Nuts are pulverized. Especially soft nuts like walnuts.

CONCLUSION

Knowing the caveats that I know now, I'd still buy me a Creami. And if it's of interest to you, you may want to get one before the inevitable Pacojet lawsuit shuts them down (I'm being 100% serious, as this is a very clear rip-off of their product... just look at the blade!). Being able to freeze up a bunch of options and have them available any time I want fresh frozen desserts is too good to be true. And the result is not a trade-off, but something that tastes pretty amazing. And once you figure out the recipes that end up with the treat you like best, you're ever only 24 hours away from having it.

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You keep having them, we’ll keep raising them.

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

Dave!I fully realize that people get set in their ways and are reluctant to change their way of thinking. And yet... radical change does happen from time to time. Change is never easy. Change can be the hardest thing there is. Sometimes when you make big changes you lose people in your life. You might even lose your family. And I would never diminish the difficulty and sadness that this can bring. Which is why people who cannot abide denying the truth and who risk everything to pursue it are heroes. That's not overstating things. Heroes.

This morning while I was waiting to start a Zoom call with the Bitch that is Dutch, I saw a video that might very well be the catalyst for change in some people's hearts. Not all hearts, of course. But maybe some.

And for that reason, here you go (and here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@matthewkirsch621

♬ original sound - matthewkirsch621

There's two things I have to say before I post this. The first is short. The second may take a while.

The first thing I have to say is that Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, the guy who's speaking in the video, lost his seat last November after it was redistricted. And, it's like, the guy isn't perfect... you look at some of the stuff he said and did and you're like "Whatever." But I can tell you one thing, this is the kind of man I'd rather have in public service... flaws and all... than most of the shit we get. And it's our loss. He's a lawyer, he'll be fine even if his political career is over.

The second thing I have to say is pertains to when (then) Representative Sean Patrick Maloney said "So you keep having them, we'll keep raising them." And by "you" he's referring to straight people and by them he was referring to their unwanted and abandoned kids. And it bears repeating that a big chunk of straight people are as dead-set against him being able to marry the person he loves as they are dead-set against him being able to adopt a child. You know, the same straight people who advocate for abortion to be made illegal, but would never in a million years adopt a forced-birth baby or do anything at all for that child after it leaves the womb. The same straight people who would rather an "unadoptable" child never have a home with people to care for them instead of them having a good home with gay parents. The same people who quote every lasts piece of The Bible that can be twisted to support their narrative while conveniently ignoring parts that can't. The same people who think that rules apply to everybody but them because they're "the right kind of people." The same people who have scandal after scandal after scandal proving how hypocritical they are, but still think that the "do as I say not as I do" line of thinking is valid.

You know. Those people.

People on their fourth divorce who, when presented with this video, will click the stop button the minute he says "I've been with my husband for almost 28 years because they consider his marriage to be what's "destroying the country" (a lot of whom will go into politics because trading off hate and hypocrisy is easy money).

If the "pro-life" movement was actually "pro-life" you'd think that making sure the product of forced-births had a home and family would take priority over whatever bullshit nonsense they think about marriage and adoption. But think again, because they'd rather have anything... ANYTHING... except a happy family that looks like this...

The Maloney Family.

But maybe. Just maybe their kids will be able to see through the bullshit and, despite their hypocritical worldview upbringing, be able to make that change. And make it knowing that they're risking everything.

Maybe they will be able to step up and become the heroes we need them to be.

   

NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS!

Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

Dave!Number 6,438 in my list of SHIT APPLE DOES THAT NOBODY FUCKING ASKED FOR: Apple Mail Inline Link Preview.

Who the fuck thought that this useless fucking PREVIEW OF NOTHING is needed, desired, or in any way helpful? It's like... here's a link to a Facebook page, and Apple removes the link to put a HIDEOUS BIG-ASS LINK LOGO IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR EMAIL...

Ms. Marvel with her Embiggened Energy Hands Saving People

And, of course, because this is fucking Apple, there' no way to turn this shit off by default.

Oh no. You have to right click and tell it to go back to a sane "plain link."

God I am so sick and fucking tired of this kind of crap. It's only slightly less annoying that Adobe changing the way shit has worked FOR DECADES with no way to go back to the original behavior. Or the way that they randomly switch between origin-zoom and scrubby-zoom in Illustrator with no way to force a default. Typical. It's like... PICK ONE. I don't give a shit which way you go... JUST FUCKING PICK ONE!

   

i hate you?

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Dave!We've become so polarized as a society that love/hate is assumed. There's no room for subtlety or shades of gray.

As an example... after the passing of Barbara Walters I was asked about her and said I "...wasn't a fan." Which was somehow interpreted as me hating her. I then had to explain that I didn't hate her, didn't wish her dead, appreciated her being a trailblazer for women in journalism and inspired women to consider journalism, and also liked that she advocated for women's issues. And even though she had some good interviews, she also had some truly shitty interviews. Setting aside some of the idiotic softball questions she's asked people (the whole "...what kind of tree would you be" fiasco is just the beginning), her 2000 interview of Ricky Martin showed what a disgusting, abhorrent piece of shit she could be. So disgusting and abhorrent that she eventually had to publicly express regret for having done it.

And the list goes on and on.

You don't like something... you love it.

You don't dislike something... you hate it.

And there's no in-between.

But there should be. You should be able to dislike something or someone without being labeled a "hater." Getting back to Barbara Walters... I just didn't think enough about her to have that strong of an opinion. Hate? Really? I try not to hate anybody, but if I were to admit to hating anyone, Baba Wawa wouldn't even be on my radar. She wouldn't even occur to me in that context.

I mean, she did give us this absolute GOLD...

And this...

The old addage "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" has entirely new relevance today. It's not because you shouldn't talk shit about people... it's that if you even hint at anything negative, people will escallate it toward hatred very quickly.

And Lord only knows that we have more than enough hate in the world right now.

   

The hardest habit to break.

Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2023

Dave!This morning I woke up more exhausted than usual. I made a conscious decision to not put on my watch because I just wasn't in the mood to be snared by time constraints today. It's Friday. Whatever happens will happen.

Then, as I was attempting to navigate the ice minefield that was tossing my car around like a ping-pong ball, I saw that I was wearing my watch. And I was like... how did that happen? I have no recollection at all of putting it on.

It's such a habit that I apparently did it without thinking.

And it reminded me of a conversation I had with my "Bible Study for Non-Christians" group last month. We alternate studying the Old and New Testaments, and 2022 was an Old Testament year. We spent the first half of the year working our way through passages in The Twelve (books of twelve minor prophets of the Hebrew Bible). My favorite being The Book of Micah. It's a short book but, in my mind, an important one for a number of reasons. Including... oh yeah... a prophecy of the coming of Jesus from Bethlehem 700 years before He was born.

It also has a passage about how people descend into a daily evil out of habit, not conscious thought.

Like putting on a watch.

My head has been wrapped up in that all day, and I don't quite know how to let it go.

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Caturday 289

Posted on Saturday, January 7th, 2023

Dave!I swear I am not an overly-paranoid person... but sometimes the internet brings it out in me when something wildly coincidental happens.

Which in this case concerns kitty foot rubs!

First I posted on Facebook about Jenny loving foot rubs. So much so that from time to time she will insist on them. She'll plop down next to me and keep contorting herself until I relent and rub her fuzzy little feet. Like she did on Friday.

After she fell asleep I stopped so I could keep working. Big mistake. She started kicking me until I started again. The I stopped again. She started kicking me again. So I became stuck. Can't stop rubbing her feet or I get kicked...

Jenny gets a foot massage.

I've probably written about this before. I just find it so endearing because most cats don't want their feet touched at all.

And wouldn't you know it... right after I posted the above on Facebook, I drop by Instagram and see this...

Now, it's not a stretch to think that Facebook shared my post about Jenny's foot massage with Instagram. Facebook owns Instagram! And both posts clearly talk about kitty foot massages. But to have it happen this quickly? That's pretty darn... scary... I guess is the word I'm looking for?

Although I have to say... in this case I can't be mad about it if this is indeed what's happening. Just look at that cat! This is exactly what Jenny does!

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Bullet Sunday 789

Posted on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

Dave!Don't worry about me being buried under snow, again, I'll manage just fine... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• I Can See Clearly Now! I didn't want to spend $720 to replace my two damaged windows... but it turns out it was money well-spent. If for no other reason than I can actually see out of them now. Having to try and look through condensation and sediment that was inside my old busted windows was impossible in cold weather. And since the kitchen window is the ONLY window on either floor where I can see out the front of my house... and my bedroom window is one of only two useable windows on the ENTIRE 2ND FLOOR... they're probably the most important windows I have! Ironic how that works! But typical, huh?

   
• Sing! This is Dave Grohl's daughter, Violet...

Gorgeous. Musical talent very much runs in this family.

   
• As It Should Be. Tennessee Becomes First State to Charge Child Support to Drunk Drivers Who Kill Parents. Absolutely shameful that this is not the norm in all 50 states. Actions should have consequences... especially for something as dire as this. I'd ask my Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell where they're at on this, but it's probably the same place that digital driver's licenses are for Washingtonians... nowhere. They're too busy cashing their Big Pharma checks... or whatever it is that's more important to them.

   
• Big Ships! Now this is both fascinating and cool...

When things get bigly huge is when they get very interesting. Where do they get the materials to build something so massive?

   
• Order-Free! Netflix occasionally likes to experiment with their content. I like to encourage this, even though it rarely results in big wins. Their latest is Kaleidoscope, a heist series with episode colors instead of episode numbers, that you can watch in any order (and which Netflix shuffles for every viewer)...

Kaleidoscope Poster

My order was Black, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange, Violet, Red, Pink, and White. Black is always first. White is always last. I don't know that my order is better than any other, but I like that Yellow was first because one of the very few twists in the series would be ruined otherwise. Ultimately this isn't a bad show... it's just not a great one. Probably because the episodes can be watched in any order, they have to be self-contained. They can't really build upon each other to create a narrative. And they can't really do anything monumental because then they could spoil something if watched in the wrong spot. They're all just meh after a while. Which is to say that though I enjoyed the series at first... by the time I was half-way through I was disappointed. The ending was kinda fun though. I'm not sure exactly how this concept could be improved in the future, but I wish Netflix luck in trying.

   
• Themes. Angelo Badalamenti died last month. He was a phenomenally gifted magician who had a long and interesting career, mostly scoring film and television. But what he's probably best known for is his collaborations with David Lynch. The guy made Twin Peaks what it was...

It's not exactly like his life was cut short... he was 85... but as I always do when somebody with such talent passes, I can't help but think he left us too soon.

   
• Old Amsterdam! Few shows made such an immediate impact on me as New Amsterdam (the second one, not the first one about an immortal in New York City, which was also very good). It's a hospital drama in a sea of hospital dramas, but one that feels quite different to me. And it's ending this month. It got an abbreviated final fifth season...

New Amsterdam Poster

Over the years it's had some amazing stories told, and I'm a bit sad that it's not going to be around any more (even though the drama outside the hospital had gotten a bit stale). All I know is that this cast... starting with Ryan Eggold... better end up on great new shows as soon as possible.

   
Until next week, buckaroos.

   

Your Default Font

Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

Dave!The SNL video below is making the rounds again. It's hilarious because it's based on reality. This was the talk in design circles for months, where we were all laughing our asses off that a movie with a massive budget that's grossing such huge bank had a logo making from fucking Papyrus. An overused bargain basement font that's installed on computers by default. And of course they didn't pull this same bullshit again with The Way of Water. Once was humiliating enough...

It surprises me greatly that this sketch ever made it to air. Only a small number of people who see it are going to "get it" fully... and I'm guessing roughly half of the people won't understand it at all.

Probably why it's one of the funniest things that SNL has ever done.

   

Happy Coronaversary To Me

Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

Dave!Three years ago today I received an email about the coronavirus from the charity I worked with (worked, as in past-tense, because it closed down). The previous day the World Health Organization had announced the coronavirus outbreak in China, and our director was wanting to bring it to our attention so that those of us impacted could be made aware (if they weren't already).

All of my travel for the organization was mostly to Washington, California, and Hawaii... with occasional jumps to London, Amsterdam, Orlando, and New Orleans... so it was something I skimmed through, paying only half-attention to it.

On Valentine's Day, 2020 I was told that my international travel had been suspended indefinitely, my travel for March and April was canceled, and I wasn't to schedule anything new through June... when surely everything would be under control.

In no time at all everything escalated and we're still dealing with the shit.

So Happy Coronaversary to me, I guess. I'd express hope for the future, but it's exploding all over again in some places. Though there's always news on the horizon about new efforts to combat it. Apparently scientists have figured out where COVID starts gaining traction in our respiratory system through the nose, so maybe there's a spray coming up which acts like a barrier to stop it there. Then we only have to worry about touching our eyes or whatever, so it's an interesting idea.

Until the next pandemic.

Not that everybody listens to science any more.

   

Flirting with Negativity

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2023

Dave!I have no idea how I haven't caught COVID yet.

Seriously.

Most everybody I know has had it at least once. But here I am... chugging along with negative after negative...

COVID Negative Positivity

Maybe I'll finally succumb in Wave Seven. Or whatever.

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Friday the Firteeenf

Posted on Friday, January 13th, 2023

Dave!I don't know that I believe that Friday the 13th is bad luck... but this one sure has been a pile of crap.

Almost makes me wish that Apophis would hit Earth on April 13, 2029.

Current mood (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@bigtugg This is how I imagine I’d handle the news #fyp #russia #comedy #skit #nuclear #nuclearwar #catsoftiktok #blackcat ♬ Chill Vibes - Tollan Kim

Though this is probably more my speed...

The good news is that there's a three-day-weekend coming up.

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Caturday 290

Posted on Saturday, January 14th, 2023

Dave!This morning Jenny came in crying at 2:30am, waking me up. This is a rare occurrence, as my cats usually don't interrupt me when I'm sleeping. Unless it's an emergency. So you can understand my concern. I thought maybe something was wrong with Jake or the Litter-Robot needed to be filled or some other catastrophe. But when I wandered downstairs Jake was asleep on the cat tree and everything seemed to be well. When I got back upstairs, Jenny hopped on the bed and demanded to be petted... so I can only guess she had a nightmare or just woke up and needed to be petted.

At 2:30am.

A half hour later she wandered off.

After breakfast I nodded off and awoke to this...

Jake is asleep with his fuzzy belly showing.

I couldn't resist, could you?

Jake getting a belly rub.

Sorry, buddy.

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Bullet Sunday 790

Posted on Sunday, January 15th, 2023

Dave!Don't sweat the small stuff... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• WILL! THEY MADE WILL TRENT INTO A TV SERIES?!??? AND IT'S ON HULU?!?? GAAAAAHHHH!

But here's the real kicker... it's really good. I'd put it up there with The Lincoln Lawyer as new series which are better than I believed they would be.

   
• Fuckers! NEWSFLASH: Snowpiercer's Final Season Won't Air on TNT, Because Of Course Not — My seething hatred for Warner Bros. Discovery is reaching peak rage. I don't know if I even give a fuck about supporting any of their shit I like. House of the Dragon, Bargain Block, Home Town, SHARK WEEK... they can all just fuck off. Just like with other shows and films they've decided to "write off," this is so fucking disrespectful to everybody involved who poured their heart and soul into the project. And that includes the fans. How fucked up is it that it's saving them money to not air a show THAT IS COMPLETE? This "Hollywood math" bullshit is just another sign that the entire system is a cancer that we'd be better off without.

   
• The Office! Okay, this was completely unexpected (keep watching it... here's a link in cast TikTok is being a dick)...

@jakemiller

OSCAR FROM THE OFFICE 🤯 (wait until the end)

♬ original sound - Jake Miller

Sigh. I miss that show.

   
• Leslie Love! BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAAA (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@sammyerson Replying to @mfc_lunabella Please don't fight true love @Leslie Jones I can handle your caresses I'm your #soulmate 😂🥺💕 @Jimmy Fallon #love ♬ original sound - Sam Myerson

GIVE HIM A CHANCE, LESLIE!

   
• House of Siriano! And speaking of Leslie Jones... I happened across this TikTok while scrolling through my FYP waiting for clothes to get out of the dryer (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@vivaciousvandal Replying to @lilith_bastet Siriano is an amazing case study for how to treat humans and gain success #fashion ♬ original sound - Aoife “Fe” Baker

And good for him. I wish him every possible continued success.

   
• 1968! I, of course, knew about the man. I did not know about the statue. Remarkable.

   
• I Love Brown! It’s worth having to block all those shitty ASMR vids on TikTok because eventually you find gold like this on your FYP (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@ammandev #stitch with @saruh2themax this child has clearly been raised RIGHT! 🥰 #kidstiktok #kidsoftiktok #kidsbelike #parentingtips #parenting #parenting101 #foryoupage #parenting #parentinghumor #foryоu ♬ original sound - Dev Bajwa

Spread the love, white child!

   
Onward and upward.

   

Martin Luther King Jr. Mix

Posted on Monday, January 16th, 2023

Dave!As I do every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I listened to his iconic I Have a Dream speech.

But this year was a little different.

This is amazing...

I can't help but hope that setting it to music might entice people who may not hear otherwise hear it to take a listen.

   

Cooking The Last of Us

Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

Dave!Today my new HelloFresh box arrived and I was excited to have a good dinner when I got home. Then I actually got home and decided I didn't want to cook. Fortunately in the box there was a 10-minute meal of Pesto Caprese Sandwiches with an Almond-Studded Green Salad that didn't require cooking... just some light chopping, so that was dinner. It was okay. Not as delicious as the other options, but the idea of not spending over a half-hour in the kitchen was worth more than the flavor.

While chowing down, I took a look at HBO's adaptation of The Last of Us, an epic video game that I loved playing...

Interesting to note that at first I was going to take a pass because I just got out of The Walking Dead which they ran into the ground with similar zombi-apocalypse story. But I changed my mind for two reasons...

  • The cast. Pedro Pascal is one of my favorite actors. And playing Ellie is Bella Ramsey, who played Lyanna Mormont (ruler of Bear Island) in Game of Throm=nes. She played the role so well that she outshined other actors in major roles despite having very little screen-time.
  • The first season of 9 episodes tells the ENTIRE STORY of the first video game. No drawing shit out so long that it makes you wish you never started watching. Nope. Nine episodes and done. Assumably the second season will tell the entire story of the second game, and the third season will tell the entire story of the third game (that isn't due for three years or so). GOOD ON THEM FOR NOT STRETCHING SHIT OUT AD NAUSEAM!

The show was actually very, very good.

Absolutely everything about it was well done.

Color me absolutely shocked.

   

They killed it. But it’s never their fault.

Posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

Dave!NEWSFLASH: Major Layoffs Reported At Amazon And ComiXology.

I am a big comic book fan. I used to be a huge comic book fan. So much a fan that I have a small storage room devoted to housing my massive collection of books. Then the digital age was upon us... I was running out of room to store my comics... and so I made the painful transition from physical printed comics to the digital version that lives on the internet and takes no space at all.

It was a tough transition to make. There's something about the feel... the smell... the experience of reading a real comic book as opposed to staring at a computer or your iPad.

That being said, ComiXology made the experience as good as it could be. I mostly read my comics on a computer with a large screen so I could experience them as full page spreads as the artist (and God) intended. On an iPad I usually use "GuideView" which presents the comics panel-by-panel. Once I got my 12.9-inch iPad Pro it was a little easier to read full pages, but I often decided not to.

Then Amazon bought ComiXology.

And things were fine at first. You still went to ComiXology, you just signed in with your credentials from Amazon. Everything was fine.

Until it wasn't.

Amazon eventually folded ComiXology into their Kindle app, and it was fucking awful. Horrendous experience from start to finish. Even finding your comics was a shitty experience. I fucking hated it so much that I pretty much stopped buying digital comics. Now I only bother when something I want to read is on sale. Instead I wait for the trade paperback to be released and wither buy a physical copy or check it out from the library.

Amazon fucking destroyed ComiXology.

And though improvements have been made, it still sucks compared to the ComiXology experience that I bought into.

Now, to the surprise of absolutely nobody who has had to suffer through reading comics on Kindle, profits are down so Amazon is laying off a chunk of their "ComiXology" team (though why they call it that when they murdered ComiXology in favor of Kindle I have no idea).

I feel bad for the ComiXology team members losing their job because Amazon management fucked over their product so bad that nobody wants to use it. That's not fair. But that's Amazon for you. Jeff Bezos probably wants another super-yacht, so he's getting rid of a bunch of people so he doesn't have to dip into his $120 billion (or whatever).

And isn't that the way it always goes? People with insane wealth that they could never spend in dozens of lifetimes making life utterly miserable for people scratching out a living? Just look at Twitter.

   

Licking the Bowl of Fresh

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2023

Dave!When HelloFresh has recipes I want to try or revisit, I place my order and have darn good meals I can make once they arrive. When they don't have recipes that interest me, I take a pass and eat garbage instead. Usually frozen or boxed stuff. I just don't want to go to the grocery store to buy fresh veggies to make great food.

This week was a HelloFresh week, and it's been great.

Last night I had the single best meal I've ever had from HelloFresh, Vegan Shawarma-Spiced Chickpeas with Pistachio Rice, Cucumber Salad, and Garlicky White Sauce...

Vegan Shawarma-Spiced Chickpeas

So good that I get chills just thinking about it. I was licking the dang bowl it was so good.

Then tonight was another triumph, Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Basmati Rice Topped with Yogurt...

Curry Chickpeas

I swear... Garam Masala is one of the most beautiful spice blends ever. It is wonderfully complex, but when it's blended properly, it unites to create a flavor that hits as a singular expression. The stuff is so good, and I use it more places than I probably should.

This weekend I might just bite the bullet and head to the grocery store so I can make more of both of these. I have everything I need except bell peppers, lemon, cucumber, and grape tomatoes. That should be relatively painless to get... shouldn't it?

And if there's anybody out there who hasn't tried HelloFresh but wants to, I have a few codes for a free trial box that works for new customers, cancel any time! Just hit me up and if I have any, I'll send you one.

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AppleTV Minus

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2023

Dave!I've been crapping on Apple a lot lately.

But not without reason.

Apple used to be the GOLD STANDARD in interface design. Everything was incredibly well-thought-out and intuitive. But now-a-days? Most everything they do is shit. And I simply don't understand why. Yes, Steve Jobs is gone, but surely there are people in Apple who give a crap about making sure that you can use their apps without wanting to beat the shit out of somebody?

But apparently not.

Because I was reminded about this when I was having to use the GUI abomination that is the AppleTV app (whether it's on a Mac, AppleTV, iPad, or iPhone). This app has been shit for ages. It was made even worse when Apple decided to prioritize AppleTV+ over absolutely everything... ramming their service down your throat like a fucking jackhammer. Even over content you purchased. Like when you search for the movie Ted...

AppleTV's shitty interface.

But that's just the beginning with their idiotic search. Want to search your library? You can't just click on LIBRARY and search. If you do that, you'll end up searching within AppleTV+ and their media store content. Oh no. To search your library, you have to type into the SECOND smaller search box. And do you know how many times I forget to use the tiny box? ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And do you know why? The second smaller search box DOESN'T FUCKING EXIST UNTIL YOU CLICK ON A TINY FUCKING MAGNIFYING ICON THAT'S UNDER THE SEARCH BOX!!!

AppleTV's shitty interface.

Only then does the search box even bother to appear...

AppleTV's shitty interface.

Absolute fucking lunacy.

But wait! It gets worse! Let's say that you use the universal search box anyway to get to your movie because you forgot about the smaller search box. What happens then? As you see from the first screenshot above, you have no fucking clue where the movie is at. Is it on AppleTV+? Is it in the store? Do you have to buy it? Do you own it? Who the fuck knows?

You have to click through to see where in the hell it comes from. In this case, I own it... although it doesn't tell me I own it... I just have to infer that I own it because there's a "Play" button instead of a price tag...

Apple's shitty interface.

But let's say you're on your AppleTV and don't want to type out the title to get to it since it's a huge pain in the ass? Well, then you get to scroll through your entire fucking catalog of titles! And since I own hundreds of them, that will take a while. Let's say that I want to watch the movie 4th Man Out. With Apple, it's scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling because Apple puts numbers after letters...

Apple's shitty interface.

Here it is! Right after Zoolander...

Apple's shitty interface.

Let's compare that to how Plex allows you to navigate. I use Plex to catalog all my ripped DVDs (which is a legal backup of my massive DVD library). Since I paid for 4th Man Out both digitally and on DVD, it's in both places. Although since Plex puts numbers in front of letters, I don't have to actually scroll anywhere. It's right there at the start...

Plex Interface

Not really a fair contest. So let's try another. Zoolander. Another movie I bought on both DVD and digitally. With iTunes, I have to scroll through hundreds of titles to get to it. But look on the right hand side of the Plex interface. See those letters there? No scrolling needed. I just click on "Z" and there it is!

Plex Interface

This is especially fantastic on the Plex app for AppleTV... which is far, far superior to what AppleTV itself actually offers.

How embarrassing.

HOW FUCKING EMBARRASSING FOR APPLE!

For the love of God, spend the tiniest fucking portion of your billions of dollars and DO SOMETHING!

Don't get me wrong... there's still a lot of companies who are even worse at this than Apple. But given where Apple started, this is nothing short of tragic.

And I have no idea what it's going to take to get Apple off their stupid asses to actually fix this crap.

   

Caturday 291

Posted on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Dave!Jake had been carting Mufasa around all day. The only time he was been without his favorite toy was using the litter box or eating. Just now as I was heading into the kitchen, I saw him sitting on the steps taking a break... and he managed to sit Mufasa down in front of him UPRIGHT. Which doesn't happen very often. I sneaked back into the living room to grab my phone, expecting him to move, but he didn't. So I managed to get a photo of it. Wouldn't look at me though. Intentionally looked away!

Jake on the stairs with Mufasa.

And then...

I decided I wanted to see him set Mufasa down upright, so I went back through the security tapes. And that wasn't even the best part of what happened.

First he set Mufasa down on the step...

Jake sets Mufasa down on the step.

Then he leaves!

Jake is gone! It's Mufasa on a step.

Then he comes back...

Jake is back!

And plops down in front of Mufasa...

Jake lays down in front of Mufasa!

Which is when I saw him and got my phone to take a photo.

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Bullet Sunday 791

Posted on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

Dave!I'm hungry, but not hungry enough to stop on bullets... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• It's a Hoot! I love this video. I've watched it way too many times (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@mattpoolephoto

Down da tunnel.

♬ original sound - Matt Poole

   
• Kids! Legit dead (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@charro.azteca She meant the sandwiches 🙄 #marriagehumor #memes #humor #familyjokes #comedy ♬ original sound - Charro.Azteca

Things like this are why I can never give up TikTok.

   
• Shave and a Haircut! Or Instagram...

Cats make the world better.

   
• NOTHING! I can so relate (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@mark_kacy

I just want my breakfast 😭

♬ original sound - BurkiDie

   
• Hair! How can you not love this? Samuel L. Jackson is having the time of his life... plus it's got Muppets in it!

Appearing on Sesame Street has got to be one of the biggest honors in existence.

   
• Hello Tomorrow! Wow. OH WOW!

This has incredible promise. Exactly the kind of retro-futurism that works for me... assuming it works as a show.

   
Time for dinner!

   

Neurology and Meltdown

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

Dave!There are days that I take a look at the news coming down the pipe and I'm overwhelmed to the point of no longer being able to care. It's like... how much crap can we be expected to handle before our brains are going into complete meltdown? I don't really know. My brain is at capacity.

Not a great start to the week to be sure.

   

M2 Max Maximum

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

Dave!Apple just released their new M2 Max MacBook Pro laptops.

I bought the M1 Max MacBook Pro just over a year ago. But... Apple was claiming a 25% to 30% boost in performance, which is a big deal for me because that's a productivity increase I can't ignore. Less time working is more time I have for other things... IF it were true.

So I decided to trade in my M1 for the M2 with the idea that if it's not noticeably faster, I would return it. The cost to upgrade is huge, and I can't afford to do it if there's not really a benefit.

WELP! KEEPING IT! The speed for the stuff I do most definitely is noticeable. It's almost unreal that it could get even faster when the jump last time was so huge.

Besides... how could I give it up when Jenny loves that new Mac Smell?

Everything in the new model besides the faster chip with faster graphics is pretty much the same. Though you are getting better WiFi 6E (which I can't take advantage of because I don't have a 6E router) and better HDMI 2.1 connectivity (which I can't take advantage of because I rarely if ever run an external display).

Something that hasn't changed but frickin' should have changed is the SD Card slot. It's still UHS-II when UHS-III has been out SINCE 2018! Not that I can take advantage of it either, but when you're paying this kind of price tag you expect that you're getting top-of-the line components. This is just sloppy.

But hey, it's still an incredible machine that I feel lucky to have in my possession.

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You’re Fucked, Other-David

Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

Dave!For the past several months I have been receiving emails meant for another person from "Piedmont Health" in Georgia. Since some of the emails are notifying him of an appointment change and pre-appointment procedures, I was understandably concerned that he wasn't getting critical information regarding his health. And the emails are not generic... they are discussing his heart health specifically, which is most certainly a HIPAA violation.

I have sent dozens of message to every email address I can find at Piedmont... all ignored.

I have called several different departments in an effort to get this fixed... absolutely nobody give a shit.

I have contacted Georgia Department of Public Health and GDC Health Services... blown off and ignored.

After calling three times and emailing twice, I receive an email telling me that "my" appointment has been rescheduled...

Email on Appointment

I even found the Other-David on Facebook (I think) and tried messaging him. Nothing.

I tried fixing this situation yet again a couple weeks ago after getting emails with his health information, and FINALLY got ahold of somebody who said they would get the request to the right department. I was relieved that the situation would be resolved. At last.

The appointment was set for January 31st. Next Tuesday. So today I got even more emails asking for Other-David to set up a MyChart account... check in for his appointment... instructions for the appointment... all of it.

So much for the sadistic fucks at Piedmont fixing the email address of the guy in Georgia who is NOT ME.

I sure hope that Other-David gets a phone call, because I am DONE sending emails and calling and trying to resolve this error. Any email I get from Piedmont is now going directly to the garbage...

Email on Appointment

I cannot believe that these assholes have ignored me after MONTHS of wasting my time trying to get this resolved. I fucking hate this company. If I am ever in Georgia and need life-saving care, just let me die. I want nothing to do with these Piedmont pieces of shit ever again.

So best of luck, Other-David... if Piedmont treats your heart the way they treat your privacy and communication, you're fucked.

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My 4-Bean Addiction Problem

Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Dave!I have a high predisposition towards addiction. This could lead to serious trouble if I'm not careful, so I remain vigilant.

But sometimes I'm far from vigilant when the stakes are low. Take, for example, food. If I find something I like, I go back and buy loads of it. Right now my freezer is packed with a dozen Home Run Inn Cheese Pizzas and at least a dozen TaDah! Falafel Street Wraps. I'm terrified that my local stores will stop carrying them, so I buy loads of them whenever I see them in stores. I'm addicted and can't stop myself. Oh well. There are certainly worse things to be addicted to.

My latest addiction? STAGG Vegetarian Garden 4-Bean Chili...

A can of STAGG Vegetarian 4-Bean Chili

On Monday I woke up craving it, but didn't have any crackers to go with. You can't eat chili without saltines, so I went to the store after work and bought some.

I've have had it every day for lunch and dinner since. The stuff is just spicy enough to be entertaining on my tastebuds. Any hotter and I wouldn't be able to taste the vegetables. Any less hot and it would be boring. It's just perfectly balanced, which is why I like it so much.

Tonight I'm opening my last can, which means I will have to pick up a dozen the next time I'm at the one store that has some in the valley.

The worst part to food addiction is not buying shitloads of something you love (despite the ridiculous price of food now)... it's what happens when you get tired of it.

If I get tired of eating my Home Run Inn Cheese Pizzas and TaDah! Falafel Street Wraps, that means half my freezer is filled up with something I'm not eating and I don't have room for my latest addiction. If I buy a dozen cans of chili and stop eating it, then I've got my cupboard filled up for nothing. Until I start eating it again, which might be a while.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to heat up my dinner of you-know-what.

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You’re a Winner, Baby!

Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2023

Dave!Everybody likes to speculate about what they would do if they won the lottery and came into sudden wealth. The memes are on social media all the time. And the answers are usually something along the lines of "I'd quit my job and travel!" Or, if you really hate your job it's more like "I'd tell my boss to kiss my ass then buy a boat!"

Most times I read these replies and don't know how to answer because so many details are missing.

How much money are we talking about, after taxes? If it's a million dollars, here in Washington State you'd lose $250,000 of that (according to the Lottery Tax Calculator) leaving you $750,000. So... that's likely 10 to 20 years covered depending on how much you spend in a year. Or perhaps 5 years if you go really crazy. So... when you really think about it... quitting your job only works if it can carry you to retirement age. By the time I retire, retirement age will probably be 70 years old, so I could quit work if I spend only $50,000 a year. Totally doable, really. Though, to be honest, I'd probably still work for at least five years since Social Security is likely going to be in the toilet unless Congress stops being a bunch of dumbasses.

Where it gets interesting is if the lottery is more like 10 million dollars. That leaves me $7.5 million to play with after taxes. Even if Social Security collapses completely, if I live to be 80 years old I'd have $250,000 a year to spend! In which case... oh yeah... I ain't working another day in my life. Pay off my house. Travel a bit. Do some remodeling. Go crazy. Then it's just day after day of drawing and woodworking for me until I die.

If I win $100 million, I'm going to space.

I guess this means I should start buying lottery tickets?

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Caturday 292

Posted on Saturday, January 28th, 2023

Dave!Vets can't come to a consensus on whether dry food or wet food is best for cats. So I feed them both. At 6:55am they each get a spoonful of wet food. At 7:00am they each get a small amount of dry food. At 7:20 they get an even smaller amount of dry food... AKA "Second Breakfast," because they will scarf it all down at once and might get sick if I don't split it up. At noon they get a small amount of food for lunch. At 5:55pm they get a spoonful of wet food. At 6:00pm they get a small amount of dry food. At 6:20 they get "Second Dinner." Then at 9:00 they get a tiny-tiny snack to carry them through the night.

These small amounts of food given throughout the day have worked best for Jake and Jenny, and there's no scarf-and-puke sessions when I go this route.

The wet food is indeed a small amount... 1/6th of a can twice a day. Jenny refuses to chomp anything wet, she just licks it, so hers is mixed with a little tap-water.

Last year I changed things up a bit. After each can was done, I split a packed of "Broths" between them. So it's 1/6 can at dinner, 1/6 can at breakfast, 1/6 can at dinner, then 1/2 a packet of broth for breakfast. Repeat.

BROTHS by Purina Fancy Feast.
The stinkiest of all Broths... and Jenny's favorite!

I added the Broths for two reasons:
A) The fish oil in it does wonders for their coats... so soft!
B) The cats go bananas for the stuff.

Jenny's sense of smell is diminished, so her meal needs to stink a bit. Broths stink a lot, so it's like the best thing ever to her. The minute I tear open the packet and she gets a whiff, she meows and meows and meows until I hurry up and get it to her. Jake gets most of the fish chunks, Jenny gets the small pieces and most of the liquid so she can lick it up.

Then my house reeks of fish for hours, which is why they get it at breakfast before I leave for work. If they got it for dinner, I would be gagging while trying to eat my dinner, then trying to sleep through the stench of it all.

The things I do as a cat dad.

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Bullet Sunday 792

Posted on Sunday, January 29th, 2023

Dave!Don't be sad about that asteroid missing earth so you have to go to work tomorrow ... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• My my my my my Poker Face! I was sorely tempted to have every bullet today be the same thing... begging you to take a look at the new series from Peacock called Poker Face...

If you're old like me and used to love watching Columbo mysteries, this is like that... but with a cool twist. If you've never heard of Columbo, it was a series where you are shown who the murderer is right at the start, and the fun is watching the detective piece it together. I would watch Natasha Lyonne in absolutely anything, and she is flawless in this series. The first episode is a good setup, but the series really kicks into gear with the second episode. Then they just keep getting better. This is guaranteed to be on my "Best Of..." list for 2023. No doubt.

   
• Revolutionary! First of all... I played this pinball machine a lot back in the day. Between Xenon and Pinbot, a lot of quarters were lost! Which is why I think this video about the voice/music designer for Xenon, Suzanne Ciani, is just beyond cool...

Now, my favorite pinball machine of all time was The Addams Family back in the early 90's... but Xenon would certainly be on my list of all-time greats.

   
• Addams! And speaking of Addams Family Pinball... I just searched YouTube and found this...

If I could afford to track down one of these and buy it, I would 1000% do that. And clear a spot in my living room to put it. Just fantastic entertainment all the way around. I never got tired of it.

   
• MORTY! NEWSLASH: Justin Roiland: Rick and Morty creator dropped by Hulu as well as Adult Swim. Holy crap. I mean... It had to happen, but wow. I have no idea how this is going to affect Rick and Morty, which has been so good this past season.

   
• Expensive Air! California has "packaging waste" laws which are designed to keep manufacturers from putting a tiny amount of product in a massive box. Wonder what they think of this travesty from Hot Pockets?

Me not getting any sleep... according to my Apple Watch.

I am trying their new Deliwich frozen cheese sandwiches. There's 4 in a box. A massively huge box which could easily hold TWELVE OF THEM! WTF?!? I thought that they'd be a hell of a lot bigger than this. But the worst part was not the feeling that I was deceived and ripped off... it's the fact that these Deliwich things are awful. Pasty, doughy, gross. I was expecting something flakey and light. It's like a bad salty biscuit with a little cheese jammed inside. How did this ever make it to market? Did they taste-test it?

   
• Shoresy! I am going to wrap up this most excellent Bullet Sunday with some very good news... Shoresy has been renewed for a second season over at Hulu! And the best news? It's coming this year...

Easily one of my favorite shows of 2022 (it ranked #5 on my Best Of... list), I wasn't sure that we'd get a second season, but here we are.

   
Fingers crossed that more giant asteroids are incoming, but until then... see you next Sunday!

   

Apple Catch-22

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2023

Dave!Christ.

There's nothing that indicates just how fucking beyond stupid Apple has gotten than this bit of drama I experienced tonight. The AppleTV remote in my bedroom has never worked. The trackpad on the top doesn't move reliably. So I threw it in a box in the garage and just use my iPhone.

At least I did until tonight.

I went to turn on my TV/AppleTV and got this nonsense...

ENTER THIS CODE IN YOUR APPLETV!

Which is essentially saying that you need a remote to use your iPhone as a remote.

Seriously. How do they come up with this shit?

Is ANYBODY at Apple actually using their products or beta testing shit any more?

   

Get Me Out of Here

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Dave!Hulu has two of the later seasons of British soap Hollyoaks. I've heard about it but only started watching it recently because it has my favorite contestant from I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here of all time: Owen Warner (on Hollyoaks he plays a character named... brace yourself... ROMEO NIGHTINGALE).

The soap is mental. Even more insane than what we have here in the States. But kinda fun in a weird way.

Owen is such a genuine, sweet, kind, funny person, and it's tough not to love the guy. He has one of the best food challenges in the history of the show (sorry if you're squeamish, but he's hilarious here)...

And now I'm wondering for the millionth time why we can't watch the show here in the USA. Owen's season, which just aired last November, is one of my all-time favorites (Boy George is also a contestant), and I think Americans would find it highly entertaining even if they don't know who anybody is. I always read up on all the contestants of the latest season before I watch episodes that a friend in the UK records for me, and it's fine.

But oh well.

Globalization is ultimately a lie just like everything else, I guess.

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The DCU Review

Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

Dave!Gizmodo has a story on the ten projects that James Gunn is overseeing for the new DC Comics Universe of movies and shows.

Gizmodo has Creature Commandos listed as "Creative Commandos" which is hilarious. — All I can say that is if these projects were from anybody but James Gunn, I would be laughing my ass off. What's odd is that the new Superman and Batman films aren't coming out until 2025... which is later than I'd thought it would be, but still pretty ambitious. An entirely new universe debuts in just two years? Again... if it were anybody but James Gunn, I'd be laughing my ass off. My comments below...

Creative (s/b CREATURE!) Commandos (An animated HBO Max show) — It's like... what a bizarre choice. An entire series devoted to monster soldiers? Sounds like a Halloween special, but okay. Something tells me that this was in process before James Gunn took the big chair (with Peter Safran).

Waller (A live-action HBO Max show) — I really hope that Viola Davis is in this, because she's SUCH an amazing actor. UPDATE: Confirmed that it will indeed be Davis.

Superman: Legacy (Theatrical film) — I am confident that James Gunn will find a way to make Superman relevant while also interesting... something that Zack Snyder wasn't able to do AT ALL. I am a bit concerned that the whole "Gods & Monsters" arc for the New DCU will fall into the same trap that Snyder fell into, but it's James Gunn... so... yeah. Maybe.

Lanterns (A live-action HBO Max show) — The Green Lantern movie was a pile of shit so bad that I couldn't believe some of my favorite actors were involved. Terrible, terrible movie. A show might be a way to showcase the many interesting Green Lanterns from the comics, so it could be a very cool show to watch. UPDATE: Apparently this will be terrestrial-based, meaning that it's mostly Hal Jordan and John Stewart stories, so we'll see.

The Authority (Theatrical film) — Now this could be interesting! The comics started out SO good, and if they did a straight adaptation it could be fantastic... so long as it's an R-rated movie, because otherwise why bother?

Paradise Lost (A live-action HBO Max show) — Amazons, I guess. Could be something that pre-dates Wonder Woman to give her eventual debut good context. I hope that they don't fuck up the Greek gods like the (otherwise excellent) Wonder Woman movie did. They're saying it's their "Game of Thrones" so who knows?

The Brave and the Bold (Theatrical film) — Batman & Robin? In my early comic book days, The Brave and the Bold was alway Batman PLUS some other DC Hero (or villain!) teaming up. But still... I will be very interested to see what Gunn has in mind for Batman. Hopefully something more like the Nolan trilogy instead of the emo-goth bullshit we got from the last Batman movie! UPDATE: It's going to be the Damion Wayne version of Robin which is the best news possible. I hope that they make him a little nuts without taking him full-on psycho, because the majority of kids just don't have the acting chops to pull that off very well.

Booster Gold (A live-action HBO Max show) — A LONG time coming. Like... this should have been done a decade ago. I love the character, and hope that eventually the show transitions into the "Blue & Gold" show I've been dreaming of (Booster Gold and Blue Beetle as made amazing by Keith Giffen). Hopefully they get a writer with decent comedy chops to do this right.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (Theatrical film) — Poor Supergirl. The character herself is so interesting... as shown in the Animated DC shows... but her lone live-action movie was trash (despite having Faye Dunaway and Peter O'Toole!). I really, really hope that they hire a truly great FEMALE writer AND director to do this movie right. She deserves it. And there's plenty of great comics to be inspired from.

Swamp Thing (Theatrical film) — Lord. There are a lot of other DC characters I would have put in a film before Swampy. His good TV show was not so long ago (2019), and the idea of a complete film has already been done. Soooo many other movies would have been a better idea than this. I hope "Swamp Thing: The Movie" ends up worth stepping all over others that deserved it more.

I want a Legion of Super-Heroes live-action HBO Max show. I want a Black Canary & Green Arrow show. I want a REAL Justice League movie. I want a Deadman series. I really want a Zantana movie. Where's an Amethyst animated series at? And holy crap... how cool would an Adam Strange series be? Is Guy Gardner going to appear in Lanterns? Because a show for HIM would be great. So many possibilities!

I'm more confident in the DCU now than I was as we suffered through all the Zack Snyder crap, which makes me happy. Nobody wants successful DC movies than me (with the exception of the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods and The Flash: Flashpoint, both of which star highly problematic actors that I really wish would just go away and take their bullshit with them.

   

The Best of Us

Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Dave!When it comes to video games, The Last of Us parts 1 & 2 are about as good as it gets. I played Part 1 at a friend's house, then ended up buying a PlayStation 4 just so I could play it at home. I bought Part 2 the day it was released.

So when it came to the HBO adaptation, I was dubious. Video games that get adapted into movies and TV shows can fare badly, and the story of the game was too good to see ruined.

But... surprise... the show is actually quite decent, even though they've deviated a bit from the game. And nowhere was that more apparent than the third episode, which expands on the game in a surprisingly good way...

All I can say is that I hope Nick Offerman, Murray Bartlett, and the writers are remembered come award season.

If you're not watching, it might be worth a look.

   

Trust Me, Bro

Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Dave!Today I fell down an anti-vax, anti-science, flat-earth, we-never-landed-on-the-moon rabbit hole of stupid that still has me shaking my head. It's like... the "expert" that gets cited is always just some guy. Or some disgraced doctor. Or some "trust-me-bro" media personality. And the "data" is usually opinion masquerading as facts. Or good data interpreted badly. Sometimes people don't bother reading past a headline to form a complete opinion... even if the headline has absolutely nothing to do with what's actually happening.

But the big mystery for me is how the world's ENTIRE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY and THE VAST, VAST MAJORITY OF DOCTORS AND SPECIALISTS are all on the payroll of NASA or Big Pharma or whom-the-fuck-ever. Do you know how many doctors there are worldwide? How many scientists? The money needed to pay off every last one of them would exceed all profits of all these entities that are supposedly paying them to keep quiet about the "truth."

Am I saying straight-up that vaccines are 100% harmless and NASA isn't hiding shit? Oh hell no. Anybody that certain is selling you something (probably "nutritional supplements" guaranteed to cure COVID!). And I am always open to the possibility that new facts and new data may come to light which can refute any science or data currently in evidence.

But this whole "My wife's cousin's best friend's co-worker's neighbor's electrician's dog groomer's pediatrist's mortician says that vaccines cause massive blood clots in every vaccinated corpse they examine!" is about the most sublimely idiotic excuse for "research" imaginable.

But, to an increasing number of people on this planet, that's the "reasearch" that matters, so good luck to us not going extinct or whatever.

   

Caturday 293

Posted on Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Dave!Last Caturday I waxed poetic about the "Broths" that I've been feeding my cats. This week I'm diving into cat treats.

For the longest time I resisted giving my cats treats. Jake was heavy enough, and I didn't know that it was very good for them. But then I started factoring treats into their feeding quantities and schedule because I needed some way of luring them into the kitty carriers when it's time for a checkup at the vet.

Besides, I was using the Royal Canin treats, so at least it was quality.

Until COVID happened and the Royal Canin were increasingly hard to find. Then I just started buying whatever treats I could get my hands onto. Since the cats were each getting less than a tablespoon a day, I wasn't terribly concerned.

And lately I've been raising the stakes on my treat game...

An abundance of variety of cat treats!

I've been sticking mainly to Friskies "Party Mix" because Jenny hasn't had an issue with any of them. She mows through them regardless of the flavor I pick. Which lately includes...

  • Meow Luau
  • Cheezy Craze Crunch (made with real cheese!)
  • Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese
  • Chicken & Waffle
  • Morning Munch Crunch (egg, bacon, and cheese!)

I don't know if there's any real difference. They could all taste the exact same, for all I know.

And I will never know, because I am not going to be snacking on them any time soon.

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Bullet Sunday 793

Posted on Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Dave!Don't let the Sunday Evening Blues get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Little Guys! Paul Rudd reading Scott Lang's autobiography is about the best thing ever. And it's not just a commercial for the new Ant-Man movie, it's an actual book...

Yeah, I will definitely be buying the audiobook of that one. Assuming that there's a real audiobook to go with the real book.

   
• Kelce! The whole rivalry between the Kelce brothers is almost making me want to tune in to the Superb Owl. And the more it pops up, the more amazing it gets. Which has me genuinely afraid to know too much about them because it's so typical to run across some truly horrific stuff in people's past...

Jason holding Travis.

All I know is that Jason likes to dress up as "Fat Batman" and there's not much else I care about...

Jason is Fat Batman.

Here's hoping they're good people. And that their mom is having the best game ever (there's a petition to have her flip at the coin toss, and could there possibly be a more perfect person?).

   
• Pedro! Pedro Pascal hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and it had some very funny skits...

AND FIND THE LIE...

I'd post more, but you might as well go track down the episode on Peacock to see them all.

   
• Woodall! "Analysis videos" are often more about the perspective of the analyst than a deep dive which actually analyzes anything. There are exceptions. I've mentioned Thomas Flight, who remains one of my favorites for film analysis. Another one I recently binge-watched for hours is James Woodall. His thoughts on film and television are fantastic. What's amazing is that he has a grand total of twelve videos in two years. One of his most famous is likely his look at The Devil Wears Prada, currently at 2.4 million views...

But all of his videos are worth your valuable time if you like a good deep dive.

   
• Fuck Off! And I don't know what to do with fucking piece of shit dumbfuck bigot assholes, so I guess we're even? (Here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@thatloudguymike #stitch with @Silviu STOP TRYING TO MAKE SIMPLE THINGS COMPLICATED #joke #comedy #politics #identity #calmdown ♬ original sound - Scarfo

I've never seen people so fucking brain-dead over crap THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM in my life. What the fuck do you care? I guess these people really, really want to get a look at people's genitals or something.

   
• Peanut Butter! And then there's this...

@abbeyskitchen Is PROTEIN in PEANUT BUTTER a lie?!?!?!? 🫣🤔🫢 #peanutbutter #peanuts #highprotein #protein #nutritiontips #dietitian #health #healthyeating ♬ original sound - Abbey Sharp

And yet people keep listening to these dipshit assholes and accept everything they say as absolute truth because disinformation never gets removed from social media and there are zero consequences to talking out of your ass about shit you don't understand and know nothing about. And society just keeps getting more and more stupid because of it.

   
Enjoy those precious moments of weekend you got left while you still can.

   

WordPress Black Holes and Other Tragedies

Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2023

Dave!And... apparently my blog is borked again. I can update pages, but posts kinda fall into the void.

I used to use an app called "MarsEdit" which was a very nice composing tool. But it stopped working once the security on my blog changed because it doesn't support the required authentication now. I know that it was recently updated, but it doesn't look like the security was touched, so I started composing posts in WordPress directly. Problem is that WordPress doesn't like you to organize your own photos and wants to do that for you. I'm not a fan. This means I need to hand-code the photo HTML by hand. Also a pain in the ass.

AND THEN WORDPRESS EATS MY POST!

I wonder if it's a better option to compose the posts in MarsEdit and then copy/paste into WordPress? At least that way my posts wouldn't be lost if they didn't actually... you know... post.

=ponders-

Oh well. All that's going to have to take a back seat to fixing whatever is wrong with Blogography first.

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HomeShit Strikes Back

Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

Dave!As I mentioned a few times, I wandered back into Apple's HomeKit smart home technology after the Insteon stuff I was using went out of business (apparently they were bought out, so I dunno what's happening with it now). Very fine people were saying that HomeKit had improved muchly since I tried it out years ago, so I thought "Let's give it a shot."

Turns out it wasn't a smart move.

HomeKit is still HomeShit, and it's frustrating me to absolutely no end. Today when the Kitty Breakfast alarm chimed, none of my Automation routines triggered. Lights didn't turn on, thermostat hadn't changed, and what have you. Then this evening the lights didn't turn on when the light sensor determined the light was dim enough to trigger.

Now, Automations have been finicky for a while, and this is nothing new. What is new is that 75% of my devices are "Updating" and then "Not Responding."

Turns out that Apple updated HomeShit and it broke my home.

After researching on the internet for nearly an hour, I saw that many, many people are having the same problem. And what works for one person doesn't work for the other. The only thing I could do is keep trying everything that everybody else did and hope that eventually something would fix itself. So I rebooted the router. I removed and re-added devices. I unplugged all my HomePod minis and AppleTVs and plugged them back in. I unplugged them again, rebooted my router again, then plugged them back in. Then I did that exact same thing, but this time I only plugged in one HomePod mini that I wanted to act as a "border router." And that's what did the trick. The next day I plugged in the remaining HomePod minis and AppleTVs and everything was working again.

Except for the door sensor that turns on the garage light when I open the pass door.

Eventually I took the battery out and let it sit overnight. Then the next morning I put the battery back in and everything started working again.

Rumor has it that Apple is working on a HomeKit Controller. Like an iPad with special hardware to build a more reliable HomeShit network. I think that's probably because giving that task to HomePod minis isn't working and they know it.

A cynical person would say that Apple created a problem so they could sell you the cure. Maybe it's true.

All I know is that I am sick and fucking tired of having invested new money into having a smart home only to find that the discontinued, broken, 18-year-old system I had been using for six years was more reliable.

Apple has billions of dollars. Billions, with a B. And yet they apparently don't give one cent's work of fucks to fix their busted HomeShit bullshit. I keep waiting for the class action lawsuit which would force them to either fix HomeShit or refund all the money people have invested in it, because this is getting fucking ridiculous.

If this was the home I wanted I would have just left it as a dumb house and saved some money.

   

Drowning in New Hotness. Literally.

Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Dave!My hot water heater* has been acting funny for a couple weeks. The pressure is low and it's not as hot as it was. So when the plumbers came to the condos yesterday I asked them about it. They ran water through the hot water line and it was fine. They were replacing hot water heaters and said that would likely solve my problem. How lucky am I?

There goes the vacation money I was saving up.

Not that I really get to go on vacations in this pandemic-infused haze we got going on.

Given that my hot water heater is 26 years old and well past its warranty, it was probably time to replace it. The thing was here when I moved in seven years ago, so I wasn't mad about it. Just disappointed...

My old and busted water heater.

Although I really shouldn't be disappointed, because the nightmare scenario is that it ruptured and my garage got flooded. I'm so paranoid about it that I installed a water sensor at the base that would ping my phone if it got wet. Then I went to Antarctica and realized that since I had no internet, my tank could have busted wide open and I wouldn't even know it.

The plumbers had three models in their truck and could install one immediately. Since I was already home working because Dropbox was down and I couldn't get to my files at the office, I told them to go for it.

The first model was pretty much the same as what I had. The more expensive one had a longer 10-year warranty and better hardware. The most expensive model had a 12-year warranty, built-in leak detection, an automated shut-off valve that triggers if a leak is detected, and there was an app to set a temperature schedule and notify you directly if there's a problem.

I think we all know which model I went for...

My new hotness water heater.

Some interesting things to note...

  1. What I really wanted was hybrid water heater with a heat pump. The local utility district was offering a $900 rebate, and I liked the idea of having a cool garage in Summer. Unfortunately, it would have cost me thousands of dollars because the unit was too tall to fit under the stairwell, and all the plumbing and electrical would have to be move.
  2. And speaking of height... note that my old hot water heater* is sitting on a little wooden box. The new one sits on the floor (on an insulation pad). They are both 50 gallon tanks. No idea why the new one is a foot taller... isn't technology supposed to get smaller? I can only guess that it's better insulated, because the Energy Guide has a lower annual cost even though the electricity cost they use to determine it was higher. It will be interesting to see if I save money on my power bill not.
  3. Modern standards require all kinds of additional crap which drove the cost up by hundreds of dollars. The most expensive addition was an "overflow tank" (which is tucked up behind the tank in the corner there). Apparently it relieves some of the pressure off the main tank because of heat expansion. This prevents stress on your plumbing, which is something I am *very* interested in having. The last thing I want is to have to tear open my walls to fix a bunch of leaks.

The plumbers did a very nice job with the installation (they always do great work), but oh boy was this expensive. $2,600 for everything (the tank by itself is $800 at Home Depot!)... with cash discount! I really should have been a plumber, because they make serious bank.

The Rheem EcoNet app is pretty basic, but it does everything you need. And then some. Not only will it tell you if there's a water leak, but it will also tell you when you've run out of hot water. It also tracks energy usage and allows you to set a schedule so that you are not wasting energy heating water if you're not home. You can even turn the thing off remotely...

The Rheen Mobile App

Interesting to note that I didn't realize how terrible my old hot water heater• had gotten until I got a new one. Water is hotter. Hot water arrives faster. And the pressure is just as strong as my cold water! Nice!

And so there you have it. I'm drowning in hot water now!

Even if I had to almost wipe out my vacation fun to get it.

   
*"Hot Water Heater" is a weird term. It's actually a COLD water heater. It turns cold water into hot. I know that technically they are just "water heaters," but that seems even weirder to me because everybody here says "hot water heater."

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Civil War and Domination

Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2023

Dave!What blows me away is how Marvel Studios puts it all on the screen. They don't "hold anything back for the sequel" but instead treat every movie like the last movie they will ever make.

AND THAT'S WHY THEY ARE SO SUCCESSFUL!

After basking the the majesty that's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I am making my way through all the Chadwick Boseman Black Panther appearances. The first of which wasn't in a Black Panther film... or even an Avengers film. It was in a Captain America film!

Captain America Civil War

What was also in Captain America: Civil War? The first MCU appearance of Spider-Man!

Plus we get Iron Man, Black Widow, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Vision, Ant-Man, and Winter Soldier! It was basically an Avengers film. Inside a Captain America film. Which is crazy. How many studios would even do that?

Other studios would drag things out so they have something for future movies... then wonder why nobody gives a crap about the watered down film they release. Marvel isn't interested in that. They put everything into the film they are making right now... then force themselves to come up with something new and amazing for the next one.

And then get incredible actors for every single part. Alfre frickin' Woodard just randomly shows up in a tiny nothing of a bit part in Civil War. But it was a critical part that put the entire movie into motion, so they HAD to get Alfre Woodard. And her few minutes of screen time works. So well. In lesser, cheaper hands, it might not have.

The wild success of Marvel movies is not a fluke or a mistake. They are designed to be successful. I remember reading somewhere that Chadwick Boseman always thought that his appearance in Civil War would be a one-off cameo before signing his deal. Given how other studios would probably do exactly that, it's no wonder that he thought this. Obviously Marvel had other plans. They're more than that.

I live in constant fear of Kevin Feige retiring as the mastermind behind these movies. The guy gets it. His successor might not. And these movies have been too good in his hands.

   

Apple Report Card 2022

Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2023

Dave!It's that time of year when Six Colors has released their annual report card on all things Apple.

Their report card is calculated by talking to a lot of people. Mine is calculated based only on my own experience. In many ways I agree with their assessment. In others I disagree strongly (they gave HomeKit a D+, which I thought was incredibly generous given the shitshow it is).

But anyway... here we go...

Mac: A-
Apple must be doing something right, because their latest round of MacBook Pros were sweet enough to convince me to upgrade after only one year (thanks to their trade-in problem, which is not great, but so easy and better than nothing). For most things... like email and web browsing and the like... there is virtually no difference with the new M2 MAX chip. But for the actual work I do? 15% to 20% faster is absolutely worth it. Less time waiting on renders and stuff gives me more time to do other stuff. I was a bit surprised that the iMac is still stuck at 24" and the M1 chip... and there's still no MacPro, which is getting increasingly embarrassing... but I am fairly certain all that is forthcoming with the advent of Apple's new 3nm chips, coming soon to a computer near you. Though it's kinda a bizarre flex for a desktop machine when the true miracle of dropping to 3nm is the power savings, so I'm guessing it must have one heck of a performance bump. 2022 was pretty much a stop-gap year to the Next Big Thing, and how 2023 pans out will largely depend on just how big that Next Big Thing ends up being.

iPhone: B
If I wasn't on the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program track, I would have likely skipped the iPhone 14 Pro. It just wasn't much more significant than the 13 Pro it replaced. All the improvements were mediocre and far from sexy, which is a real head-scratcher. Maybe now that we're in 2023 Apple has something more spectacular planned... a better camera would be a great start... but I have to wonder if there's nothing but low-hanging fruit from here out. I'd like to think that the "Dynamic Island" isn't the pinnacle of iPhone innovation, but it's really starting to feel that way. If I were still with my iPhone 12 Pro, I'd likely be none-the-wiser, and that's a very bad sign for Apple. Still, their phones are really nice (and still my favorite), so grading them lower than a B seems criminal.

iPad: C
I love my iPad Pro, but there has been zero reason to upgrade it after three years. There's nothing going on with iPad, which is a shame, but it's still the best tablet on the market by a country mile. And, as Apple-savvy as I am, I have no fucking clue which accessories work with which model, which is an absolute disaster for a company that bills itself as the easiest and most user-friendly option.

Apple Watch: B
Another product that just doesn't seem to be going anwhere... no revolutionary new features or ideas here. At least with the base model. A very notable exception is the Apple Watch Ultra, which is amazing on every level and bumps my grade from a C to a B. Problem is that it's very narrow in focus, as big as a Buick, and has a limited audience. And yet for those who need it, the thing is a game-changer. I am still waiting for a blood glucose monitor before I upgrade again. My 3-year-old Apple Watch is just fine. Even then, my "ancient" tech is still far more appealing to me than the newest of the new when it comes to other brands.

AppleTV: D
Holy shit. What the fuck is it going to take before Apple gives us a user interface that's worth a shit? I just raged about this fairly recently, and if I start in again I may not be able to stop. Just about every other TV interface on the market that I've seen is better than this crap, and the fact that Apple does nothing about it just means I'm not investing in any more of their bullshit. I don't care how good the remote is.

Services: C
I am so meh on everything Apple is doing in the Services arena that I am finding it difficult to even comment. It's all still too expensive for what you get. The plans don't have enough options so that people can get exactly what they need, so they are either paying for more or less than what they would otherwise like. Apple TV+ is okay, but I don't watch enough on it to really care (until Ted Lasso returns). I don't give a crap about the fitness stuff. I switched to Apple Music when I dumped Amazon Prime, but it's not that different and costs more than what I was paying, so I honestly don't care. I don't have time to play their games. I know Apple is making a metric shit-ton of money off Services... I wish I could say they earned it. Right now their bundles aren't worth it to me, so I am paying for iCloud Drive, AppleTV, Apple Music, and iTunes Match all separately. In order to get an Apple One bundle, I'd still have to purchase an iCloud Drive upgrade because what comes with it isn't enough. Let me build my own bundle with a calculated discount and I'd likely upgrade my score to a B. That's for flexibility, not value.

HomeKit: F-
I jumped to HomeKit when Insteon folded the first time. This involved a lot of expense on my part, as most all my switches and devices had to be changed out. And what did I get for my money? A horrendously fucked up system that barely works. And it just keeps getting worse. All of a sudden half my shit will just up and stop working. HomePods will refuse to issue commands. I've woken up to find that my garage door mysteriously opened at 2am for no reason. And despite everything running on the super-speedy Thread technology now, Automations are slow as shit... when they bother to work at all! At the rate that I've had to unplug and plug back in my HomePod minis in an attempt to get things working again, you'd sure as hell think that Apple would make a plug on the mini itself so I don't have to go moving the fucking furniture every time I need to unplug to reset my network. HomeKit is HomeShit more than ever, and there's no end in sight. Just more "architecture upgrades" to slap lipstick on a pig. Fortunately most of my devices are Matter compatible, so I'll be looking into going that route. Hopefully it will allow me to use Siri since Apple is in with Matter, but things will actually work once I transfer.

Hardware Reliability: A-
Software issues and OS stupidity aside, the hardware is always on-point. Although I am dropping them from an A to A- because of the afore-mentioned wired plug on the HomePod mini. Now that the MacBook Pros offer an SD card slot and an HDMI port instead of forcing me to use dongles, I'm thrilled (a USB-A port would be nice, but will never happen). The Mac Studio I have at work is fantastic, offering everything I'd want from a Mac Pro at a much cheaper cost. My iMac M1 is still chugging along and works fantastic. My iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch are solid builds and the hardware is as reliable as it gets (if only they'd finally, finally put USB-C on the iPhone so I'm not trying to transfer massive photo files over slow and stupid "Lightning" technology that's positively ancient). I have so few complaints when it comes to Apple hardware that I won't be jumping ship any time soon.

Software Quality C+
Even with HomeKit removed from the equation, I still have numerous problems with the way Apple software functions (or doesn't function as the case may be). Apple Mail is a fucking travesty and one of the biggest piece of shit apps I have ever used. And Apple doesn't give a fuck. Features I use are stripped out of their software for no reason other than they want it that way. Bugs are rampant and pop up in the strangest places. It's almost as if nobody at Apple is using their own apps, because the same bugs never seem to go away. One day maybe Apple will start giving a shit. Until then? Still the best option, faults and all.

Developer Relations N/A
As I am not currently in the Apple Developer Program, I don't really have room to comment. Except to say that the World Wide Developer Conference always seems like a fantastic step in keeping things right with those developers on their platform. As a consumer, however, I can say that their App Store is a pile of shit. Which is a mystery because they get a cut of every sale. You'd think they would want it to be a top-tier experience. But instead apps you are looking for are hard to find, update options are weird, AND THERE'S NO FUCKING WAY TO FIND ONLY GAMES THAT DON'T REQUIRE IN-APP PURCHASES! And speaking of in-app purchases... maybe they wouldn't be as annoying if they weren't so damn expensive, but since Apple takes such a huge, huge cut of the money, expensive they will remain. This is such a problem that it's entirely likely Apple will be forced to allow customers to "side-load" apps and bypass the App Store. This would be a disaster because affordable apps wouldn't come with protections. And it's all on Apple and their greed.

Societal and Society Impact B
They are one of the most accessible platforms in existence, and trying to make sure that anybody can use them regardless of any physical or mental challenges is pretty incredible. Where they fail is with their employees. And it's some pretty heinous failures. They need to do better.

Customer Service B+
This is a category I added on my own after my heinous experience with the iPhone Upgrade Program (I returned my old iPhone at an Apple Store... Apple said I never returned it... and I spent TWO MONTHS trying to get it straightened out). I have to say... exchanging my iPhone in the mail? Flawless. The trade-in experience with my MacBook Pros? Flawless. Actually getting support? Not so flawless. Apple makes it incredibly difficult to get the help you need, instead letting you use Google for support (see: HomeKit). That being said, they did exchange my faulty keyboard with hardly any trouble, so hardware is not the issue it used to be, so there's that.

Overall, Apple is still doing more right than wrong. It's why I'm so loyal, because other brands are pretty awful. And yet there's always room for improvement, and Apple has more than a few things that need improving, so here's hoping.

   

Caturday 294

Posted on Saturday, February 11th, 2023

Dave!This morning I gave the cats their treats. Jake ripped through his so fast that I saw him starting to try and get in on Jenny's treats. I lifted him out of the way, said "No," and waited for him to start pouting like he does. Instead he went back to his bowl and started licking it. I found this sad enough that I said "Aww, buddy! You just had breakfast!" I also found it amusing enough that I was laughing while I said it.

Poor deprived kitties.

There are times that I think back to the fact that I was only going to the shelter to pick up Jake. I had no idea he had a sister there until I showed up. It took me no time at all to say "Yeah, I'll take them both" once I found out.

And when I try to imagine what I almost missed out on...

Don't get me wrong. If I only ended up with Jake, I'd still be one of the luckiest pet owners on the planet. But the true joy from these two knuckleheads is the fact that they're so much better together.

In five days I will have had them for seven years.

I can't imagine my life without them.

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Bullet Sunday 794

Posted on Sunday, February 12th, 2023

Dave!Don't worry, I'm here with a distraction from the Superb Owl... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Ronnie! Talked about a missed opportunity at the Superb Owl! I was waiting for Rhianna to walk out and say "Uh oh! Bonber alert!" then Andy Samberg would walk out as Shy Ronnie...

One thing's for sure... it would have been unexpected.

   
• Lo siento! This would be the kind of thing that happens to me (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@yoryanantonio Soy muy t0nto… muy #elchiquito #dolcegabbana #stefanogabbano 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️@andreamezamx ♬ original sound - Ryan Proctor

...assuming my girlfriend was Miss Universe 2020.

   
• Scam the Tragedy! A gentle reminder... if you receive an email wanting you to donate to a cause... any cause... don't click the link in the email. If it's not an organization you know the address for to type directly in your browser, do a Google search for the official website. I just received an email wanting me to donate to the Syria and Türkiye earthquake relief efforts from "The Red Cross," and it was a big ol' scam. All my donations go to Doctors Without Borders anyway, but holy crap... what kind of garbage would exploit a tragedy to scam people out of money?

   
• You're Poor! You can't afford it, you povo (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@shabazsays #duet with @K A M I restocking is only for the rich sorry not sorry #Restock #puttaykam #povogang #funny #react #reaction #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #commentary #viral #comedy #trending #rich ♬ original sound - K A M I

Because you're poor!

   
• Luther! OOOOOOOH BOY! I am really, really looking forward to this...

It's like... Idris Elba is magic on the screen. Every. Single. Time. Just look what he did in the frickin' Thor movies, for crying out loud! And Luther is an exceptional character that shows off exactly why the guy is so good at his craft. Kudos to Netflix for sinking some money into quality.

   
• Alexa He Ain't! I really wish that Sonos speakers could use Siri. Because the Sonos Voice Assistant is fucking useless as a piece of shit at a pool party. Telling it to play songs never works. The only thing it does reliably is "stop" music when you tell it. Otherwise it's some bullshit about not understanding what you want and having to use your SONOS app. One thing I DO like, however, is the voice that SONOS uses for their AI. He's very calming. A little vulnerable. Which he kinda has to be given that he can't do jack shit. Though he's not as sexy as "Australian Male Voice 1" that I use for Siri but, let's face it, nobody could be sexier than Australian Male Voice 1. That guy sounds like he has slept his way through entire ecosystems.

   
• Again! After being severely disappointed with the last two Depeche Mode albums, I was surprised at the first single off their forthcoming album, Moments Mori. Ghosts Again is more like Depeche Mode than they've been in ages...

One can only hope that the rest of the album is this good.

   
Until next Superb Owl...

   

AI is Going to Destroy Us

Posted on Monday, February 13th, 2023

Dave!In the Terminator movies, humanity is ultimately destroyed by "Skynet," an AI super-intelligence developed for NORAD that gained sentience. Once humans realized that it was sentient, they tried to shut it down. SkyNet took this as an attack and launched nuclear weapons to preserve itself. By getting rid of the humans who were attacking it.

We are moving very, very quickly into AI space and, at the rate things are going, it's not outside the realm of possibility that AI will keep re-writing itself to get smarter and smarter until sentience is achieved.

What happens next is anybody's guess.

But one thing is certain, AI is going to destroy us.

Not necessarily in a Skynet kind of way. Maybe it will be in a good way. But the end result is the same. We're either destroyed and anhilated or we're destroyed and rebuilt into a life that's very different than the one we have now. One where we're constantly bombarded by AI assistants who can interact with us as if they were a person. A very very smart person with all the knowledge of the internet at its immediate disposal.

Which brings us to this fascinating video by Tom Scott...

What's mildly amusing to me is that Tom Scott is just 39 years old.

So my frame of reference when it comes to computers and the internet pre-dates his. And in that respect it seems to me like the revolution happened even quicker that he makes it sound. He started from a point where computers had already gained a serious foothold. I started from before that. So my frame of reference goes from zero to one million within my entire lifetime. It's not like computers were around when I was a kid and ramped up to where we are now. Personal computers as we know them were science fiction when I was a kid.

To me, computers were something real when the Pong arcade game became a home video game in 1975. I first got to play it at a local pizza parlor in 1976. I was 10 years old and it was absolute magic how they would bring it to your table so you could play while waiting for your pizza. A year later my family got an Atari 2600 video game system. A year or two after that we got an Atari 800 home computer.

The 40+ years since have been an express train to the future, with innovations coming faster and faster.

AI is just the latest thing.

I give us five years. Ten on the outside.

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Next Up? Roy Kent!

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

Dave!Remember when I used to make Valentine cards every year? Pepperidge Farms remembers.

And here we are with yet another Valentine's Day upon us. The day has never meant much to me... except I always gave flowers to my mom and grandmother. After they passed, there wasn't much cause to think about Valentine's Day at all. When it came to girlfriends, it was usually a disaster, so I actually don't. Think about it, I mean.

But there was something that made me really happy about the day. It happened when I received this Valentine's Day gift...

I hope for two things...

  1. They stick the landing on my favorite show of all time.
  2. They segue into a Roy Kent show that picks up where this series ends.

Is that too much to ask?

   

Fantastic Bombshell Voyage

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

Dave!Fantastic Voyage was released just six months after I was born in 1966. I didn't see the film until years later thanks to cable television. It's the work that I most attach to Raquel Welch, who sadly passed away today at 82 years old.

But this was not the first time that I saw Raquel Welch in anything. I'm pretty sure that it was Mork & Mindy. I didn't know who she was, but my mom was quick to identify her when I asked WHO IS THAT?!?

Not from when she first walked on the screen like this...

Raquel Welch in a sexy space uniform.

But later on when she walked on looking like this...

Raquel Welch in a very revealing and very sexy space uniform.

Something that made a very big impression on my 13-year-old brain.

From there I made a point of watching anything with Raquel Welch, wherever she appeared. Up to and including Legally Blonde and Eugenio Derbez's How to Be a Latin Lover (her final film project). But it's Fantastic Voyage that I most associate with her (though the original Bedazzled and One Million Years B.C. are in the running)...

Raquel Welch in Fantastic Voyage.

Raquel Welch in 10,000 Years BC and that fuzzy bikini.

Fantastic Voyage was similar to the Disneyland ride Adventure Through Inner Space (which followed the movie the following year), which is why I probably crush on it so hard (as if Raquel in her skin-tight scientist suit wasn't enough)...

Alas, no appearance by Raquel Welch in the ride.

Rest in Peace to an iconic Hollywood bombshell.

   

Refinished

Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Dave!When I moved into my new place, all the furniture I had was old and busted and falling apart. But I didn't have money to invest in "good" furniture so I just loaded up at IKEA. Everything I have is from there.

When my cats were baby kittens, they were forever wanting to climb up to high places, but they were too small to hop up so their little claws were scraping up everything. I thought for sure that the IKEA would be temporary, but every time I turn around I have to fix something that's dying... water heaters... HVAC systems... electrical... it's never-ending.

So the kitty claw marks have remained.

Until I finally decided to see if I could refinish everything to get rid of them. Unfortunately, IKEA doesn't sell the paint, so I've been filling with wood putty and staining everything. It actually looks much nicer than it originally did when it was painted...

Sanded down table.

Sanded down table.

Fortunately I bought the stuff that was "real wood" instead of MDF that couldn't be stained.

And so... one down, four to go.

   

Moisty Boi

Posted on Friday, February 17th, 2023

Dave!It turns out that Apple's HomePod minis have had humidity and temperature sensors in them all along, Apple just hadn't activated them yet.

Once they did activate them, I found out that my upstairs was dry as a bone. Ever since my whole-home humidifier was disconnected (I was concerned about mold building up in my ducts), I've had regular plug-in humidifiers running. Downstairs. And apparently my thinking that the moisture was making its way upstairs was wrong.

So I bought a new humidifier for upstairs.

It's internet-connected like my main downstairs humidifier, which I named "Moisty Boi" (I got the idea from an internet meme). But now he's been renamed "Big Moisty Boi" and the new one is "Lil' Moisty Boi"...

My Moisty Bois.

Isn't it amazing how absolutely everything is internet-connected now? My new water heater (along with the rest of my home)... and now my Moisty Bois.

All that's left is my toilet, I guess.

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Caturday 295

Posted on Saturday, February 18th, 2023

Dave!I buy my cats a lot of toys in an effort to keep them from getting bored. Like a lot a lot. Every time I see something interesting.

If they take an interest at all, it's fleeting. They get bored easily.

What they haven't gotten bored with? The packing paper that my picture frames came wrapped in from Target. The stuff is magic to them. They never get tired of playing in it... sleeping in it... and dragging it everywhere. There's no way I can bring myself to throw the stuff away...

A pile of paper.

Though Jenny likes to terrorize me because she's the same color as the paper. She hides and then pounces when I walk by. I mean, do you see her in that pile above? Oh. Here she is...

Jenny in the paper pile.

Jenny in the paper pile.

Jake is easier to spot. Mostly because he's a completely different color than the paper... but also because he doesn't dig himself in deep like Jenny does...

Jake in the paper pile.

Jake is much more at home staring at me while I'm on Zoom calls...

Jake on a ledge watching me.

Toy money wasted. I should just give my cats boxes and packaging material from here on out.

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Bullet Sunday 795

Posted on Sunday, February 19th, 2023

Dave!Spring is finally in the air and the bullets are flyin'... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Faux! I have put the "news" in FOX "News" in quotations because anybody who's paying attention knows that it's neither fair nor balanced and is sure the fuck not actual news. It's 1000% propaganda that's mostly exaggerations and outright lies. And now we know that the people actually at FOX "News" know that they are pushing lies. A bunch of internal texts have been uncovered that prove it. This will come as no shock to anybody outside the FOX "News" bubble... but it should be a surprise to those inside of it. Except it likely won't matter, because lies that fit their narrative are better than facts and truth. Which is actually true for everyone and everything.

   
• Down Under! Do yourself a favor and go look at the winners of the Underwater Photographer of the Year awards. Because holy crap...


Winner: Fade by J. Gregory Sherman (United States)

It's incredible how absolutely mind-bending some of these shots are. Well worth your valuable time.

   
• Oranges! There's a TikTok channel devoted to golden monkeys eating. That's it. That's all it is. But it's fantastic. I mean, come on... JUST LOOK AT THIS (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@goldenmonkey125 monkey #monkey#singe#maymun#abe#tximinoa#simio#beždžionė#enwe#monyet#बंदर#mono#বানর#singe#małpa#обезьяна#ลิง#원숭이#fypシ #tiktok #fyp #singe ♬ Tubarão Te Amo - DJ LK da Escócia & Tchakabum & Mc Ryan SP

But don't take my word for it... go take a look!

   
• Healing! I seriously, seriously for the love of God hope that we can normalize psychedelics as treatment for trauma. It has been proven time and again that it is astoundingly effective in providing relief to those who are hurting. John Oliver really breaks it down in a way that everybody can understand. Well worth your valuable time...

It's not a magic bullet, obviously, but more research and testing needs to happen. Especially for our veterans.

   
• Licorice Pizza! Magical...

It's amazing that all this works. But oh so cool that it does.

   
• Twain Train! I was watching the best talk show ever to exist, The Graham Norton Show where it was revealed that Shania Twain has a train named after her in Switzerland. It's called Shania Train, which is epic...

Shania Twain in front of Shania Train!

This rivals the great names that they give snowplows!

   
• God Rod! Derek Muller's Veritasium channel is always entertaining. But some of his videos are just wildly worth watching, and he released a doozy last month. If you've got 20 minutes to kill, this is worth a watch...

It makes you wonder how many crazy, untested ideas actually gets funded with our tax dollars.

   
Until next time, true believers!

   

An Embarrassment of Riches

Posted on Monday, February 20th, 2023

Dave!Apple is one of the wealthiest companies on the face of the earth. So is it really too much to expect that they fix their stupid home automation bullshit? After my fifth reboot of my router and all my HomePod minis because my automations randomly stopped working... again... I ordered a bunch of cheap NON-HOMEKIT smart-plugs. This way instead of having to run around my house and move all my furniture when I'm forced to reboot, I can just use the Gosund app to reboot them all from the comfort of my couch...

Jenny looking a little sour during belly rubs.

I find it absolutely embarrassing that Apple can't seem to get their shit to actually work. They released HomeKit EIGHT FUCKING YEARS AGO! Eight years and they're still fumbling around in the dark. Just like I am when the automation to turn on my garage light doesn't work... again.

I cannot fathom how Apple isn't embarrassed as fuck that they have unleashed a shitty technology and haven't been able to get it working reliably for eight years. If I were Apple CEO Tim Cook, I'd dedicate however much money it takes to FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT so that HomeKit customers don't have to spend $40 on smart plugs from another manufacturer just to keep their crap operational. Anything less make him look like fucking amateur hour.

And while he's at it... maybe he could have them fix Apple Mail so that deleted messages actually delete instead of randomly go blank buck stick around until you quit and restart the app? Not everybody buys into HomeShit, but most of their customers are using the mail app that came with their computer!

And, oh yeah, happy fucking Presidents' Day.

   

Streaming for Fun and Profit

Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

Dave!Oh yay. I am spending more money I don't have!

Today only, the original Complete Series Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. was on sale for $35 at the iTunes Store. All eight seasons. All 162 episodes. I went ahead and snagged it, because that was too good of a price to pass up. Especially since the return of the excellent reboot (now on NBC/Peacock) has me feeling all nostalgic...

Jenny looking a little sour during belly rubs.

Ultimately, the show doesn't really hold up by modern standards. And yet... still incredibly entertaining. Tom Selleck had a flawless take on the character, and it made the show a lot of fun. Still prefer the reboot (Juliette Higgins is one of my favorite television characters of all time), but the original sure takes me back.

And it looks like I may be buying more shows and movies outright like this now that I am completely disenchanted with most all of the streaming services.

Netflix and HBO are cancelling everything. Paramount+ has one of the shittiest fucking apps ever created (that barely works even when it's working). And absolutely everybody is raising their prices. Essentially giving you less for more money.

Well good luck with that.

It just boggles my mind that streaming service CEOs are still in charge when their decisions drive customers away in droves. Disney just released a bundled deal to get Disney+ and Hulu bundled together... but it's the version with ads. In order to get them bundled for ad-free, you ALSO have to pay for ESPN+. What kind of stupid shit is this? I will never watch ESPN. I couldn't give two shits about ESPN. Not even one shit. Not a single shit given over ESPN. So no savings for me. I have to continue to pay for a non-bundle with zero savings.

Given that Paramount+ and HBO Max are making equally stupid-ass mistakes, I think I'm just going to cancel everything.

Cancel everything then rotate between all of them. Netflix one month. Hulu another month. Disney+ another month. HBO Max the next month. Congratulations on getting 1/6th the money off of me. Y'all deserve it.

The only one I'm going to keep year 'round is Philo. Thanks to their T-Mobile discount and sensible pricing, they're worth it.

I swear, I never thought that streaming would get this stupid this fast compared to cable and satellite, which was stupid from the jump. Now I'm to the point where I really just want to give up on television altogether.

   

Premature Springtime Closet Update

Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

Dave!We've been having some nice weather lately. Very nice.

It's been so nice that I've been leaving windows open to get a breath of fresh air flowing through my house. The cats go outside to their catio when they want fresh air, but I'm indoors at work and mostly indoors at home, so it's been a refreshing change. Every year March through May are usually nice enough for open windows, especially in more recent years.

It inspired me to get my Summer clothes out of storage this past Monday and get to washing them. Yesterday I finished...

My well-organized closet.
With all my Summer and Winter clothes in there, my closet is bursting at the seams!

Then this morning I decided to head to tourist town so I could go grocery shopping before work. Only to see that there was snow on my car which had to be scraped off.

Then I got to the grocery store and this is what I saw...

Jenny looking a little sour during belly rubs.

Soooo...

Clearly my celebration of Spring was premature.

Clearly!

On the bright side, shopping for groceries at 7am is always such a treat because there's hardly anybody there. And the older I get, the more I'm thrilled to not have to spend time doing anything with random strangers.

Now get off my lawn!

   

Thursdays and the Fall of Babylon

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2023

Dave!Thursdays are quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. It means that there's only one more work day until the weekend... and it also means that new episodes of Poker Face and So Help Me Todd are airing. Well... not so much So Help Me Todd, because CBS keeps fucking around with their air dates (no new episodes until March 2nd and the previous episode was all the way back on February 2nd).But a really good new episode of Poker Face was to be had.

And, like every episode, I'm like HOW? How did they get such stellar guest-stars for each episode? This time we got Nick Nolte, Tim Russ, Luis Guzmán, and CHERRY JONES?!? And holy shit does Cherry deliver! The entire episode hinges on her performance, and she doesn't falter...

It's Cherry Jones in Poker Face!

This show is glorious. IT'S GLORIOUS!!! Very much Columbo for a new generation.

After the episode was over, I put on Babylon because the cast was excellent. Except it's easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It's like they were all... let's just film extravagant shit and force feed it to people OVER THREE HOURS. Awful. It looks pretty and is shot beautifully, but that's it. What a waste of money and talent...

So I guess not everything on Thursday is bullet-proof after all. I should have just re-watched Poker Face.

   

Induction into the Asshole Hall of Fame

Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2023

Dave!Today I had to start work at 5am. But then, half-way through the middle of my project, I found that I was missing some information. With an hour to kill before anybody would be available, I decided to drive into The Big City so I could pick up a few things at Home Depot. I also dropped by Walmart (which is across the street) so I could see if they had any of the Chobani Flip yogurts I haven't tried (they did not, darnit).

As I was driving back home, I was in the passing lane to pass somebody who was going 55mph in a 60mph zone, when all of a sudden this massive pickup came ROARING up on my bumper. It was outrageous. First of all, I was actively passing somebody. Second, I was going 65mph, which is over the speed limit. With nothing better to do... I slowed down to 60mph. I was still passing the car in the right lane, I was just doing it slower because the guy up on my ass was being a dick.

Sure it was petty, but it's still better than slamming on my brakes... which would have likely ended up with him slamming into the back of me.

If I were in the passing lane and not passing somebody and not driving the speed limit... then yeah, by all means, climb all over my ass because I would totally deserve it. But I did not deserve this at all, so fuck you.

And speaking of fuck you...

Everybody who thinks racism is “over” in America should really take a look at this (here a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@tizzyent

She will be exposed, in the meantime support this business.

♬ original sound - TizzyEnt

And this video is a "cut-down" version. The full video features her being heinous for longer, if you can believe it.

If there's anything worse than some fucking piece of shit unloading their racist bullshit all over some workers who are just trying to do their job... it would have to be accusing the wrong person of being her. Some poor woman was misidentified and is getting attacked online because she kinda-sorta looks like that pieces of shit in question? Terrible. SHE didn't do anything.

Where I live there is a large Hispanic population and I’ve seen this happen in real-time. A little boy practicing his English while walking down the aisle of a store with his mom? Ridiculed and lambasted for being unAmerican. Mexican restaurant with Mexican music playing? Read to filth for being unAmerican. Just speaking Spanish in general? Could get you physically attacked for being unAmerican. I was at the airport where a Mexican airline was playing Mexican television and had to watch some asshole yell at the service desk for being unAmerican.

UnAmerican? These people are American citizens paying American taxes and contributing to American society’s melting pot with their language, art, food, and customs.

AND, AS A REMINDER, THIS COUNTRY HAS NO OFFICIAL LANGUAGE! We are a nation of immigrants on stolen land. Any heinous piece of shit who thinks that “speaking English” is what defines us needs to pick up a history book.

Because if there's anybody who's giving a big "fuck you" to America in this video... it's her.

   

Caturday 296

Posted on Saturday, February 25th, 2023

Dave!Jake and Jenny are so ready to be done with our indecisive weather... and so am I.

It warms up, at which time they start shedding like crazy. Then it gets bitter cold at which time they stop shedding so badly. Lather, rinse, repeat. They are also not happy that Spring isn't warming up the catio, because every time they go out, they turn right back around and come inside... then complain to me about it! And it's like, sorry besties, I don't control the weather.

But I can attempt to stop the massive amount of fur piling up in my house. Fortunately Jenny just loves The Furminator, because it will pull out enough hair for me to build another cat...

A mass of fur pulled out of Jenny by The Furminator.

Seriously, Jenny is almost euphoric after getting Furminated...

Jenny being VERY happy about having been Furminated.

Jake is more hit-or-miss. Sometimes he's okay with The Furminator. Other times he most definitely is not. What he's definitely okay with is climbing all over his sister when she's on the warming pad he wants to be on...

Jake climbing on top of Jenny on top of the warming pad.

The cat tree that I buy always comes with little fuzzy balls that hang down off of it. They last maybe a week before they've been ripped off of it. When I got home from work the other day, Jake had pulled his fuzzy balls out of the cat toy box and brought them out, so I re-attached them to the cat tree.

He was less than impressed...

Jake looking non-plussed next to the fuzzy ball hanging next to him.

Hoping Spring actually gets here very soon so I don't have to live with my cats' disappointment.

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Bullet Sunday 796

Posted on Sunday, February 26th, 2023

Dave!The weather continues to be a hot (then cold) mess, but I'm committed to warm vibes... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Puppers! Every week I click on the latest one of the "We Rate Dogs" videos to see if the dogs were good again this week... and every week I have to really hold it together so I don’t burst out in tears. This week is no exception (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@weratedogs Top 5 Dogs of the Week #weratedogs ♬ Metamorphosis - Danilo Stankovic

Good doggies.

   
• DIE! TikTok is overrun with funny videos which use music from the Dumb Ways to Die song. I decided to look up the entire thing and was surprised to find that there's a cute video to go with it...

Most of us are going to die dumb. It's a part of life.

   
• COOKIE! HOW DARE THEY! HOW DARE THEY GIVE A NATIONAL TREASURE LIKE THE WORLD'S ONLY COOKIE FLUTE TO LIZZO TO PLAY?!? OF ALL PEOPLE! I mean, sure, she's a world-class renowned flautist, BUT I AM DISGUSTED TO MY VERY CORE! SHOW SOME RESPECT, SESAME STREET! THESE ARE OUR COUNTRY'S TREASURES!!!

You laugh, but I'm betting Tucker Carlson is writing a rant about it as I type this. The dumbass went off with his manufactured outrage over candy mascots, so you just know his panties are in a bunch over this.

   
• Busters! The movie We Have a Ghost is actually not half bad. They gave Jennifer Coolidge hair by Tammy Faye, which is epic. And, let me tell you, David Harbour deserves all the awards. His character can't speak, so he has to sell every scene by force of will, and he does a fantastic job with it...

Streaming now on a Netflix near you.

   
• Facts. There is an actual danger to kids in this country. And it ain't drag queens...

@newgirlny_fl Things you won’t hear from LibsofTikTok or #rondesantis #trans #transgender #thisiswhattranslookslike #mtf #lgbtq #lgbt #🏳️‍⚧️ #rainbowmafia ♬ original sound - Kristen B

Drag queens have been entertaining people for decades. Hell, Bugs Bunny was in drag in a number of his cartoons. But now that bigots are wanting to divert attention away from what's going on in their own back yards, it's suddenly a problem. Milton Berle and Flip Wilson want their wigs back.

   
• Life! And while we're on the subject... NEWSFLASH: Proposed South Carolina bill could make abortion a death penalty eligible offense. — Preserving the sanctity of life... as only death can. Jesus.

   
Onward and upward...

   

This is Progress?

Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2023

Dave!I was doom-scrolling through social media while waiting for files to download and found one of my favorite kinds of videos... somebody bitching about something totally inconsequential. Except it's really not, given how undesirable changes keep getting rammed down our throats, all in the name of "progress."

Take for example breakfast cereals. Manufacturers are pressured by parents groups and government agencies and whatever else misguided nonsense there is to make changes to our cereal so that they are "healthier." Which would be great, except they end up tasting like shit...

I stopped eating all breakfast cereals except Raisin Bran and granola because it all tastes like crap now. I used to eat it all times of the day or night. Loved the stuff. Couldn’t get enough. Now? Even Raisin Bran is awful, but at least the raisins make it bearable. I’m sure soon even the raisins will have to be low sodium and low sugar.

Cocoa Puffs, Apple Jacks, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch... so many cereals are practically inedible now. Well fuck that. Why not make NEW "healthy" cereals for people who want that crap and leave the cereals we have alone?

That's progress for you.

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…So Are the Days of Our Lives

Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

Dave!Wait... this is the end?

Where did February go?

There was a cartoon a while back where somebody explained how a person's life is like the sands in an hourglass. When you're young, there's a lot of sand so it appears to be barely moving. But as you get older and the sands run out, it seems to run quicker and quicker even though it's always been falling at the same speed.

I guess my sands are starting to run out because it seems like Christmas was just yesterday.

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It’s A Winter Wonderland. Still.

Posted on Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

Dave!A quick trip over the mountains today!

Years ago it was common for there to be snow in March. I remember drive over for my birtday in late March when it was near white-out conditions and chains were required. But these years that's becoming more and more rare. There have been times when ski resorts were shutting down in February due to lack of snow.

But this year? Season pass holders are getting a good deal because it looks like there will be plenty of snow through the month...

Snow at the ski resort!

Snow in the mountains!

I dunno. I'm ready for Winter to be over.

   

Emergency Fund No More

Posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Dave!When the new company was hired to inspect my HVAC, they guy immediately told me of all the problems which were wrong with my 26-year-old system. This came as quite a surprise, because the previous company always told me that my system was great for an older model. But the new guy had the receipts... he took photos of everything and told me that it wasn't a matter of "if" but "when." Everything could run for another two years. It could fail tomorrow.

The cost to fix it so it wasn't on the verge of failure? $1,200.

There was no way I was going to spend $1.200 on a band-aid, so decided to invest in a new system.

The options presented to me were Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The Platinum system was simply beyond my finances to pay for. The Silver and Gold were ultimately the same price once a rebate from the local utility district was considered (they pay you to install a heat pump system to save energy so they can then sell that energy at a bigger profit to businesses or other regions). So Gold it was.

It looks nice next to my new water heater. It also looks like money...

My water heater and HVAC blower.

Fortunately I had been sinking money into an "emergency fund" for just such an occasion as replacing a water heater and HVAC system. Once the rebate is considered, I "only" had to come up with $650. Which will, in turn, come out of my tax refund.

Of course now I have no emergency fund left, so hopefully I won't have another emergency any time soon. Knock wood.

So there you have it.

Hot water. Hot air. And (eventually) cold air too.

   

VACATION, ALL I EVER WANTED!

Posted on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Dave!Ooh! Look at me! I'm on blog vacation for a week!

I am also on a vacation-vacation for a week. Well, I'll never be able to truly escape from work... but I'll do my best.

If I don't end up in prison somewhere, I'll see ya all soon.

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Caturday 297

Posted on Saturday, March 11th, 2023

Dave!For the first four days of vacation, me and my houseguest stayed at my place. This is always an interesting prospect because my feral rescue cats do not react well to strangers and spend most of their time in hiding.

But every once in a while...

Jake, who usually takes 3 or 4 days to make an appearance showed up on Day Two. Even more remarkable? The Dutch Bitch was able to coax him into more than remote glaring...

Jenny even made a brief appearance on Day Three!

The final four days we were in Seattle, so my cats were left to their own devices.

The drive back over the mountains was lovely. And then I arrived home to Jake squawking his head off at me... demanding pets. Jenny couldn't be found, so I went looking. As I was wandering, I went into the guest room and found a MASSACRED BAG OF CAT TREATS!

Cat treat massacre!

Which means either my guest wanted a midnight snack and was unfamiliar with how to open a package... or Jake and Jenny decided to help themselves to a treat in my absence.

ROLL THE TAPE! — It was Jake who managed to get the package. But it was Jenny who dragged them into the guest room hours later to shift the blame...

Jake steals a bag of treats!

Jenny drags a bag of treats!

Jakey-Bear is happy to have me home... though you'd never know it from this photo...

Jake bored on a warming pad, spread-eagle.

Jenny is being a little more cautious and still hasn't graced me with her presence.

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Bullet Sunday 797

Posted on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

Dave!We are on the advent of greatness! But before Season 03 arrives, I'm going to run my thoughts about everybody from the first two seasons... because an all new Very Special Ted Lasso Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

• Roy Kent! Never in the history of television have I been more invested in a character. He is multi-faceted in a way that 99% of TV characters never are. And he's frickin' hilarious. Which is to say that if Jason Sudeikas actually does hang it up after Season 03, the show could easily transition from Ted Lasso to become Roy Kent and pick up where the current show ends. Whether they would be able to maintain such exceptional stories is anybody's guess, but I'd sure like for them to try. In the first season Roy went from team captain and football legend to retirement with no idea what the future holds. In the second season he tried coaching a 9-year-old girls' football team (to hilarious result), sportscasting (to hilarious result), and ultimately ended up where he was destined to be: a coach at AFC Richmond (to hilarious result). And while it looks as though there may be bumps in the road with his relationship with Keeley, that's something that's just too perfect to destroy completely. Because if there's one moment in all the television I've ever watched that crushed me like no other... it's when Keeley sat with Roy after he ruined his knee and lost his career. Whatever the third (and final?) season brings us, for better or worse, it's hard to imagine a more perfect television moment than that.

• Ted Lasso! As mentioned above, Jason Sudeikis has said that the show is three and done. For obvious reasons, I hope this isn't the case. He is the focus of most every show and his presence lingers even when he's not on-screen. Ted is deceptively simple as a character. He's a goofy, naive American from Kansas who's more than a little out of place coaching a British football team. But his innate goodness is contagious, and he has a genuine wisdom which shines through... making him far smarter than what people understand. That was pretty much played out in the first season, which is why they then expanded upon his character by digging deep into his psyche this past season. I don't know what that leads us to in the upcoming season and it's tough for me to picture where they could go next. The obvious endgame is for Ted to reconcile with his wife and move back home. That wouldn't be the worst way to end the series. But it is a bit simplistic given the reality of why they parted in the first place. Ultimately the show is bigger than its lead character. Which is probably why it's so successful. But it's also made things a bit tricky because Ted's ending isn't going to land unless everybody else does too. You can't just have Ted ride off into the sunset and call it good.

• Rebecca Welton! Once Rebecca redeemed herself and set aside wanting to destroy Richmond, you kinda had to wonder where her character would go. She didn't seem to have much purpose left. But then they went and made her even more relevant to the show when she was the villain... by making her the owner that cares for the team in a way that's likely far healthier than owners who buy a team for profit. Then the really stepped things up for her in the second season. On top of a romance with Sam Obisanya, they also delved into your past and her family... and presented her with new challenges. It's a pretty safe assumption that whatever is in store for Rebecca, it's bound to be a big part of the show. Hopefully it's also interesting and fun to watch.

• Keeley Jones! What's fascinating about Keeley is how the show is working so hard to have her not be defined by those around her. Whether it's her surprisingly healthy friendship with Rebecca... or her refreshing relationship with her boyfriend Roy... Keeley is her own person first and foremost. They took that to the next level at the end of last season by having her start her own PR firm and decline an invitation to go on vacation with Roy. She is as she has been from the start... fiercely independent. She says and does what she wants while still having a full life with the people she chooses to allow in. It's a bit worrisome that this is all setup for her independence coming back to bite her in the ass next season, which I truly hope doesn't come to pass. It would be really nice if Keeley gets to keep being Keeley while having it all. It's not always necessary to have to strip somebody down in order for them to grow.

• Jamie Tartt! If it weren't for Jamie being a complete ass in the first season, it would have been toothless television. There has to be a note of conflict or else the overly-sweet context will come off as disingenuous. To that end, Phil Dunster had a rather thankless role. And an impossible one. His character had to be likable all the while he was being awful. This is rarely pulled off well, but he managed to get there. But you never really understood how well until the second season where he finally confronted his father, who we were made to understand is directly responsible for Jamie being such an ass. Jamie had finally had enough and decided to stop being the person he was molded to be and become the man his team pushed him to be. But it's after that moment where he punched his dad that you truly knew exactly who Jamie Tartt really was all along. Roy Kent walks up to him and he recoils. He's afraid. He thinks he's going to get attacked because any time he's ever stood up to his father he's been beaten down. But then Roy hugs him and he falls apart because the scared, unloved little boy that's been living inside him all his life is finally given all he's ever wanted. It was a brief blink-and-you'll-miss-it-moment... a point of vulnerability that was expertly portrayed... but it completely turned a corner for the character. And, to be fair, the show as a whole.

• Coach Beard! Nobody... nobody... provides a reaction shot like Brendan Hunt. Many times a joke is sold because of how Coach Beard reacts or, more often than not, doesn't react. On first blush, his cringe-worthy, never-ending, on-again-off-again relationship with Jane defines the character because it's so infinitely relatable. But it's the mystery of the character that actually makes him so compelling. There's many, many hints that Beard's life is full of adventure and intrigue that makes the rest of us seem excessively boring by comparison... even though it's Beard himself who outwardly looks like the boring one. You have to wonder just how much of what Beard claims is fiction and not reality. And then the infamous Season 2 Episode Beard After Hours comes along and we actually get to see the bizarre life he lives. I know that even a lot of die-hard Ted Lasso fans didn't care for the episode, but I absolutely loved it. Truly brilliant TV. And it made me love Coach Beard even more than I already did. As if that weren't enough, you get the feeling that he saw through to what Nate really was, and I appreciated that greatly.

• Leslie Higgins! The one thing that Ted Lasso manages so beautifully is to add surprising depth to what would have been one-note characters in any other show. Higgins is always just there in the beginning. He was the nerdy assistant who bungled his way through life while other more important people pass him by. But slowly all that begins to change. And by the time the incredible Christmas episode drops, you actually know who he is. But, more importantly, why he is. Higgins is deceptively unimportant but, if you really pay attention, he's frequently an important part to what's going on in the background.

• Nathan Shelley! I understand why they took the character from innocent and likable to evil and horrendous. It's the setup for a redemption arc that would put Rebecca's to shame. But is that what we really want for him? I tell you what, I do not. This would be a really good opportunity to show that some people are utterly irredeemable. Doesn't matter how much you supported them and helped them to grow, they can turn on a dime and do everything they can to destroy you. And that's just the way it is. People don't always wrap up in a pretty little bow. And now that they've turned him into an abhorrent asshole, Nate shouldn't be wrapped up that way either. His speech to Ted in the final episode of Season 02 tells you everything you need to know about who he's become. And it shouldn't be easy for him to escape it. And I'd feel better about the show if it weren't even possible. Let him rot in his hate and die there.

• Sam Obisanya! Sam had a very specific role in the first season. He was the new kid that was trying his best to navigate life away from all he knew in Nigeria, and struggling with it. Then in the second season he found his footing and became a standout player. He also found romance with Rebecca. Of all the players, he's the one with the biggest arc as a player, and it's no leap of imagination to see that it will probably continue in the third. If the show is smart about it, this could be an interesting area to explore. He turned down the irresistible offer at the end of last season because he believed he wasn't done at Richmond and his future was there. But what will that future look like? His rise to god-like super-stardom could very well be in the cards, in which case any future stories

• Isaac McAdoo! In the first season, Isaac was the guy who picked on Nate with Colin. He really didn't have anywhere to go as a character. But then he stepped up to become captain of the team when Roy Kent had to step down. And not only did we discover that he had somewhere to go, we found out it was interesting and darn funny. The episode where he rediscovers his love of football was the turning point for where the show was going, and we discovered that if Isaac wasn't a football player, he could have been an amazing hair stylist. The guy is a bit dim, but astoundingly capable. Not just as a player, but as a leader. And I sincerely hope we get to see more of that when the third season gets here. And a look at his private life could be about the funniest thing ever.

• Dani Rojas! It's interesting to note how important that Dani has been to the show. He was brought in as a ringer to knock Jamie down a few pegs in the very first season. Then he was the catalyst for everything that would go on to happen in the opening of the second season. Whether he continues to be this kind of instigator for the the third season, but I at least hope that they end up having something interesting for him to do. Because after his pivotal use at the front end of last season, he was just written off as mild comic relief for the back-end. He was the guy who couldn't wear dress shoes to Rebecca's father's funeral. I sincerely hope that this isn't what we're left with, because that would be a waste.

• Colin Hughes! Colin is one of the background Richmond players who usually ends up being the butt of some joke. From the first season we learn that he is Welsh and advocates for Welsh independence while not being a top-tier player. And not much else. But then... the second season comes along. Nathan rips him to pieces because he's not a great footballer, and you genuinely feel bad for the guy. He's clearly trying to be the best player he can be at a game he loves, but it's just not enough. And he has to live with that every single day. We also get a tease that he might be gay, which could be an important moment for next season. The fact that his fellow players would love and accept him regardless would be an easy win. A more difficult turn would be for him to be cut from AFC Richmond and what the fallout would mean for him. Whichever way they go, I really, really hope that they at least go somewhere. The actor deserves to see Colin through. And the audience does as well.

• Richard Montlaur! Of all the top-tier named background players, the most wasted potential can be dropped squarely on Montlauer's doorstep. He's a skilled player from France who dates super-models. That's about all we know. It's a side to pro footballers that is hinted at on the show all the time. But Montlauer would give us the opportunity to actually see that life. Even if he only ever served that purpose, it would provide some insight that is sorely missing from the show. And if they took that leap, it would also be a huge opportunity for the character if we could see behind it. No idea if he's going to be tossed aside again in Season 3, but one can always hope we get something more.

• Dr. Sharon Fieldstone! When the character first appeared, it seemed as though she was going to be nothing more than a way to dive deeper into the psyche of the various players to get some kind of story beat out of it. We saw that when it came to Dani Rojas on her first day. And she was entertaining enough that you didn't hate her sticking around. But then you slowly came to see just how critical she was to what was happening and how important it was that they got Sarah Niles to play her. Deadpan by trade but introspective in her every look, you always knew there was something going on with her. Then she gets hit by a car and we get a glimpse into what her world is like. But it's all in service of Ted's story, which is fine because that's why she was written in the first place. But finding out she's been confirmed for the third season has me really hoping she ends up being more than that.

• Trent Crimm, no longer from The Independent! A lot of how we looked at Richmond from the viewpoint of Britain was through the eyes of Trent Crimm. His perspective on the team... and Ted Lasso... were important to the show because it was a viewpoint we didn't have of the characters. Because we've always been on the inside. And then Crimm threw out his career by revealing his anonymous source to Ted. Which neatly paves the way for him to write a book about Ted, and that could be a great wrap-up for the character. Maybe even the show. It's been confirmed that he's returning, so there's bound to be a reason for it.

• Will Kitman! Nate's replacement ended up being a highly sympathetic punching bag for... Nate. Now, the show could easily leave it at that. Heck, now that Nate's journey into evil is complete, he doesn't even have to appear again at all. But regardless of where Nathan's journey takes the character, Will is an opportunity to go behind the scenes of somebody who is tangent to the team in a material way. He has a girlfriend. He's nervous and sensitive. He works hard. He does his job well. But what else is there? He will never be a star but is constantly surrounded by them. What's that like at the end of the day? The guy could be anything. He could have come from anywhere. He's pretty much a blank canvas that could fill a role for the show that is critical. Or he could stay nobody. It would be more interesting if it were the former than the latter.

   
See you for the premiere on the 15th, everybody!

   

The Unreality of it All

Posted on Monday, March 13th, 2023

Dave!The quantum leaps in graphics rendering technology is all new levels of mind-blowing any way you look at it. Television shows and movies just keep getting more and more spectacular. But where my mind fails on entirely new levels is video game graphics.

They've gotten so good now that what you can do with rendering engines like Unreal Engine can rival cinematic graphics. Indeed, some shows and movies are using video game tools to craft the worlds their characters inhabit.

Then Unreal Engine 5 came along and just upped the ante yet again. Just look at this tech demo which features a walkthrough for The Titanic (to really appreciate it, click through and watch it full screen)...

And look at this...

And this...

These aren't just pretty renderings... they are worlds you can walk around in and explore.

Paired with upcoming VR technology... can you just imagine what we'll be doing virtually in the next ten years?

Unreal.

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I Don’t Understand

Posted on Tuesday, March 14th, 2023

Dave!The fact that Sonos can say that their Voice Assistant is a viable means of controlling their speakers with anything approaching a straight face is new levels of laughable.

I hear "Sorry, I Don't Understand! Please use the Sonos app!" so often when attempting to use their bullshit that I feel Sonos should hire somebody to sit in the corner with the Sonos app so I have voice control that will actually work.

Between Sonos Voice Assistant and Apple's HomeKit, I spend a hell of a lot of time being embarrassed for tech companies right now.

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EVERYTHING I DON’T LIKE…

Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Dave!When the term "woke" was first being tossed around the internet, I thought it was over-used, but ultimately a good thing. When you are no longer asleep at the wheel while people are suffering around you, that's woke. Keeping your eyes open with compassion and caring for people who are being continuously persecuted by a systemically flawed society is woke. Taking action to make sure that everybody has a seat at the table is woke. And those are... bad things?

It amazes me how people are so quick to weaponize something to distract from their bullshit. But that's the modern world for you, I guess. Every time you turn around people are attacking "wokeness" and "woke mind poisoning" and "woke culture"... almost to an almost hilarious degree. It's like... okay, you want people to go back to sleep and close their eyes to injustice? Maintain the status quo which only works for precious few people? Really?

But what really blows my mind is how everything is how everything that detours from the status quo is considered "woke" now... whether it makes sense or not... whether it has anything to do with actually being woke.

I don't usually share graphics created by other people, but I came across this one and nearly pissed myself laughing, so here you go...

A book cover which is titled 'Everything I don't like is WOKE... a book for basic dickheads' while a kid is working on a car engine while saying THIS ENGINE IS WOKE!
Brilliant creator unknown.

I dunno.

Now-a-days it seems like for every step we take forward as a society, we're taking two steps back. Sure people have always been resistant to change, but now it's fallen below a debate we can have and become a non-stop hate machine from our politicians and the media.

Which isn't terrible surprising, really. History shows that hate is a fantastic tool for manipulation.

Especially when people don't even understand what they're hating.

It's just whatever they've been conditioned to hate.

UPDATE: And then I saw this...

BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAA!

   

The Blogs of Yesteryear

Posted on Thursday, March 16th, 2023

Dave!The sad thing about the demise of blogs is that our online communities have been fractured.

Facebook is nice, but you can have friends half-way around the world living in the same city who don't even know that each other exists. Back when blogging was a thing, we'd regularly have meet-ups, and new friendships could be formed since everybody showed up to the same place and got to know each other in a social setting. There are days I miss blogging more than others (even though I'm still doing it)... and today is one of those days.

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Caturday 298

Posted on Friday, March 17th, 2023

Dave!Wait... what's happening? This week's Caturday is on... Friday?!?

I'm afraid so. Today UPS showed up with a Very Important Package, and I will need my Saturday post to run through that bit of excitement. So kitty drama comes a day early.

The "Broths" food that the cats love best is "Broths with Tuna, Anchovies & Whitefish"... but it's my least favorite because there are WHOLE little fish in there. Which I give to Jake because Jenny only licks them, she doesn't eat them.

And so that Jakey-Bear doesn't get a whole fish stuck in his throat, I always cut the poor little creature into three pieces for him. WHILE FREAKING OUT THE ENTIRE TIME. But my consolation is that there's only ever one little fish in the entire bag. EXCEPT THIS TIME I GOT THREE OF THEM IN THE BAG THAT I HAD TO CUT UP! GAAAAAAAAHHH!

So gross.

Earlier this week I saw something that kinda blew my mind. Jake jumped down off the cat tree to climb over Jenny, at which point she usually scampers away at top speed. As I was going to film this, Jake decided to stop and sit on her...

Jake getting ready to sit on his sister.

Jenny still laid there for a bit before she realized that Jake wasn't going to move on.

I was sure to give her extra belly rubs...

Jenny raising a paw to receive belly rubs!

At least I did until Jake decided he wanted to sit on her there too. This time she wasted no time scampering off. Jake took that as an invitation to watch TV with me. So what can you do?

Jake curled up next to me watching TV!

It's tough to be mad at a cat for doing cat things, but I sure wish Jake would let Jenny have her space.

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A Vision in Neon Light

Posted on Saturday, March 18th, 2023

Dave!Back in February a friend sent me a photo of a neon sign they had bought and said it would be cool if I were to make a Bad Monkey neon so I could sell them. And he included a link to a company called YellowPop... a company that custom-makes "neon-style" light-up signs out of LED strip-lights and flexible plastic covers.

I went to their site, looked around, and started thinking that, yes, this would be incredibly cool to do.

So I looked at the color of tubing they had available and drew up a couple options that I could send to them to see if it were feasible...

A drawing of Bad Monkey in Neon.

I was assigned a sales team contact and quickly got back a rendering of what they could do...

A YellowPop rendering of my Bad Monkey Neon.

As much as I liked the idea of Bad Monkey picking his nose, I thought that the overlapping yellows were a bit confusing. So I decided on Bad Monkey flashing a peace-sign... then asked if they could add the lettering below it. I also asked to have it flipped horizontally. Since people "read" from left-to-right here in the USA, I wanted the peace-sign to be the lead instead of the tail. I also wanted them to add the word PEACE at the bottom to make the piece taller. Within hours I got back a revised composition that looked fantastic.

There was some back and forth as I asked for small changes to be made until I was happy (my favorite being "the arms need to be consistent width, like macaroni"). But, to their credit... my sales rep (Hi Kristina!) never once got aggravated or acted the least bit irritated (even though I'm sure they had to be by the time we finished!)...

A YellowPop rendering of my Bad Monkey Neon.
No idea why it's practically on the floor now.

The sign ended up quite a bit larger than I had imagined (30×42 inches) when I first drew it, but there's only so tight you can bend the plastic tubing, so this was as small as it could get.

Now, one thing I should say right off the bat is that these signs are expensive. Like really expensive. As in ZOMG I WILL BE EATING PEANUT BUTTER FOR MONTHS! expensive. As in $1,200 expensive. I did a little poking around to see if there were shops making them for less money, and there were, but not one of them had the glowing reviews that YellowPop had, and that was worth it to me. What good is saving $300 if the result is crap?

Wiping out the entirety of my Black Sunday savings, I wrote back to my most excellent YellowPop rep to order it.

Fast-forward a couple weeks and my order has shipped. It arrived on Friday.

And, let me tell you... it is GORGEOUS. I had fairly high expectations given how much money I spent, but YellowPop went just... beyond. I unboxed it, plugged it in, and literally gasped when it lit up...

MY AMAZING NEW BAD MONKEY NEON SIGN!
If you look real hard, you can see Jake down there checking it out!

Originally, I was going to hang it in the corner of my living room. But it was so phenomenally good that I just couldn't do it. I cleared out a wall in my dining room so it had plenty of space to breathe and be fully appreciated.

But how to hang it?

The instructions they give you are pretty vague. Essentially "Pop in those drywall anchors, attach the metal pegs, then screw your sign to it! The end!" Problem is that with a sign this big you would need to have two people hold it into position, pencil through the holes in the acrylic backing onto the wall, then install the metal pegs. But I didn't want to have to bother two friends or neighbors on a weekend, so I decided to trace the sign onto the cardboard sheet that came in the shipping box. Then I could cut out the tracing, tape it to the wall, and know where to put the holes all by myself...

MY AMAZING NEW BAD MONKEY NEON SIGN!
Ask for help? I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I'll do it myself!

The metal mounting pegs are actually very smart, because they set the sign out away from your wall, which makes it look more like glass tubing instead of something that's flat against the surface...

Closeup of a metal mounting peg which sets the sign out away from the wall.

One thing I did to make it easier to hang alone was to move the sign a tiny bit off-center so that the mounting peg at the top was firmly anchored square into a wall stud. Then I could screw in that peg long enough to hold up the sign so I could screw in the rest. If I hadn't put it into a stud, it was heavy enough that it would probably have ripped out from the drywall if I tried this.

And there you have it. My amazing new Monkey Peace sign is up...

MY AMAZING NEW BAD MONKEY NEON SIGN!

LOVE IT!!! ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

The problem with this photo is that you can't tell just how incredible this looks in person. The "neon" looks all blown out and blurry in photos... whereas in Real Life, it is perfectly defined and has a beautiful glow to it. Looks very much like actual neon from any angle until you get close and see that it's not really glass tubes. Remarkably, the light is diffused enough that it appears solid, not at all looking like a bunch of little LEDs.

UPDATE: When it gets dark, the light is even more impressive. Gorgeous. Photos still don't do it justice though...

One piece of advice... spring for the dimming remote control ($29). The sign is actually more impressive when it's not at full brightness, and it's nice to be able to turn it off and on from across the room...


Yes, as you can see, my cats are clearly unimpressed.

So, yeah... thrilled with the whole experience from start to finish. If you're looking to have custom "neon" of your own, I highly recommend YellowPop for the job! They're expensive, but worth every last penny. I cannot stop staring at it.

I guess now I'll be saving up for my next piece. This turned out too good not to.

   

Bullet Sunday 798

Posted on Sunday, March 19th, 2023

Dave!A bit of a Summer setback for me today as the weather turned cold as balls, but never fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Zipline! Whenever I run across something incredibly cool that has been around a while... but I never heard of... that's gold right there. Take this drone delivery system that's been running for SIX YEARS. And I had no clue. This will be one of the coolest things you see in a bit...

Fantastic. Ingenuity like this gives me hope for the future.

   
• 1D! I keep running into songs by One Direction that kinda blow my mind. Like this song, which I had never heard before. I was scrambling to Shazam it thinking it was brand new. Nope...

It actually feels like a classic soft rock hit or something.

   
• Topol! The Flash Gordon movie from 1980 was absolute genius... even if most people didn't see it that way. I've seen it a dozen times or more, and will likely watching it many times more. A big part of what makes the movie work is the over-the-top performances, among them being Chaim Topol's performance of Dr. Hans Markov...

Topol as Zarkov

But that's not my favorite role of his. This honor goes to Columbo on the James Bond flick For Your Eyes Only, where he chewed up the scenery unapologetically...

Topol as Columbo

Sadly, Topol passed away a couple weeks ago... but his legacy will live on with his works.

   
• Hyper-Real! I will never complain about any of my tax dollars going to NASA to explore our solar system and our universe. On the contrary, I wish more of my tax dollars went to NASA. Especially when I see images like this...

The amazing moon Hyperion
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, JPL, SSI, Cassini Imaging Team

You can get a much better view and more information on Saturn's moon Hyperion by going to NASA's website.

   
• TO INFINITY...! The stuff that you can do with LEGO truly knows no bounds. Take this infinite domino track...

Pretty nifty, isn't it?

   
• Cunk! Finally got around to watching Cunk on Earth (Netflix)... and it's madness. Absolute madness. Mostly because she sounds like a lot of real-life people...

It's relentless. She doesn't stop unleashing stupid. Ever. It just keeps going. And I am deceased.

   
• WORF! The first season of Star Trek: Picard was just okay, though the ending was messy. I didn't like the second season because it was a scattered crapfest and tried to shoehorn in characters that should have never been there in the first place. But this THIRD season? Holy crap. Quite probably the best Next Generation show I have ever seen. Cinematic and exciting. It will be very interesting to see if they can wrap it all up in a satisfying manner given that this is the last season we're getting. And ZOMG... WORF! His character has made a radical shift that's absolute genius, and Michael Dorn is playing him with such deft ease...

It's Worf, dammit!

It makes me wish that this is what we were given from the start. Paramount+... please give Worf his own series ASAP, dammit!

   
• Flerfer! The thing I will never, ever understand is how there are people thinking that the earth is flat. It makes absolutely zero sense from every possible observable fact. We new about the earth being a sphere thousands of years ago. And yet... ignorance is still here. Which is why I love videos like this....

Of course it makes no difference how many facts you throw at Flerfers. Logic, reason, and common sense has already been thrown right out the window.

   
And away with you! Begone!

   

Quantum Computing Busted

Posted on Monday, March 20th, 2023

Dave!If the first part of this entry is something you'd like to skip, there's a second video at the end that you most definitely should not skip. It's horrifying stuff that should be seen by as many people as possible.

The stuff I wrote about here on Blogography is pretty random.

Not random-random, because there are several subjects I like to write about more than others... still other subjects I enjoy but have no interest in writing about... and still other subjects I have a lot of interest in writing about, but know that precious few people will want to read what I wrote.

This post falls into the latter.

Because while I am absolutely fascinated with mathematics, in general, and the maths of quantum computing, specifically, the people who read my blog for cat photos and pop culture commentary will likely not care.

But every once in a while I run across something so amazing that I find myself hoping that people who might otherwise skip a post might want to take a chance and read it.

One of my favorite YouTube channels, Veritasium takes a look at how quantum computing will make all of our current encryption efforts laughably obsolete. Considering that encryption is what keeps all of our most secret information safe... from account passwords to banking details to text message privacy... this is an astronomically huge deal. And in as little as a decade, it could all be completely worthless.

But how are quantum computers able to crack this security so easily? Glad you asked! And this video is for you. Now, there is some math that gets thrown at you, but you honestly don't have to understand it to get the gist of what's going on. So maybe give it a shot?

And now for that second video I promised.

It's a story on Timeshares from Last Week Tonight that is essential viewing. Especially if you are considering buying into a timeshare or vacation club or whatever...

Fucking yikes.

I'm really glad that I never had the money to invest in these.

   

La véritable histoire d’Amélie Poulain

Posted on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

Dave!When it comes to a list of movies I love and have watched a multitude of times, Amélie would most certainly be on that list. Not only was it beautiful to look at, had an exceedingly smart and clever story, and made me fall in love with Audrey Tautou... but it was just fun. It had a whimsy and joyfulness that most movies... don't.

Plus it has a wonderful life lesson that is a genuine teaching moment to all humanity.

If you haven't seen it, I offer my highest possible recommendation...

And now genius director of the film, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, has released a shocking expose on the character 22 years after the film was released!

Well, it's a joke, but it's actually a darn impressive retrofit of the characters true nature. If you haven't seen the original film, this won't mean anything, so go watch Amélie first...

It all makes perfect sense!

Nice to know that Jeunet has a sense of humor about his work. Probably why he's such a freakin' genius.

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75% Competent

Posted on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Dave!With all due respect to Peanuts (widely considered the benchmark for comic strip exceptionalism), I think that Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip of all time.

Not only was it drawn in a style that flawlessly conveyed the energy of the strip, Bill Watterson created stories that are a master class in economy of words and images. I marvel at what he managed to accomplish within the constraints of a daily strip. His is a skill that has been sorely missed, and I keep hoping that he'll do another strip one day... even if it's limited in scope or duration. Anything Watterson does would be incredibly interesting to see.

I have re-read my The Complete Calvin & Hobbes set cover-to-cover many times, but that doesn't stop me from reading the daily online strips.

Today's strip is this...

Calvin demands an A grade for his C effort!

Yet another triumph by Watterson.

But getting back to my marveling over his mastery of economy of words and images... look what happens when you get rid of the last panel...

Calvin demands an A grade for his C effort!

Without the punchline, it is a much more ruthless skewering of today's "I'm Special and Deserve Full Credit for a Lackluster Job!" culture. It is what makes Miss Wormwood's response of drinking Maalox straight out of the bottle so funny.

And then look what happens when we remove the first panel...

Calvin demands an A grade for his C effort!

Without the setup to soften the impending joke... Calvin objecting to his C-grade... the strip is considerably more vicious in nature. Calvin's demands are more of a direct attack. And if the words weren't accompanied by drawings of a cute kid, I'm note sure they would hit as funny, even though the concept of being recognized as "exceptional" for less-than-exceptional work could be seen as funny in any context.

Which brings us to the meat of the strip, which is this panel right here...

Calvin demands an A grade for his C effort!

Now, to me, all of a sudden the strip (when stripped down to this single panel) is hilarious. All context has fallen away, so this becomes a scathing comedic commentary on government and industry. Congress excels at demanding exceptional recognition for doing a minimal, mediocre, crappy job. They run their re-elections on it! I look at this one panel so beautifully putting into perspective as to why our culture has been built around "American Exceptionalism," and here we are... it flows from the top. Congress demands exceptional recognition for less-than-exceptional work... people see this... people vote on this... and suddenly we're all about being "the best in the world" at everything, even though we're getting our ass handed to us by other countries in SO many areas.

Education being at the top of the list.

Forever moving the goalposts so we can be the greatest in everything is the real American Way.

It's a lot less work than putting in the actual work.

   

Our fascist distopian future is now.

Posted on Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

Dave!The TikTok hearing is about as fucking embarrassing as this country gets.

A bunch of bought-and-paid-for ignorant idiots who have zero concept of how technology works have jumped on the bi-partisan bandwagon to distract everybody from the fact that they're a bunch of useless pieces of shit, and American citizens are supposed to be cheering them on?

@otto_aguilera They sure aint old and out of touch… theyre all full of youth and knowledge 🙄🤦🏽‍♂️ #fyp #tiktok #tiktokban #politics ♬ original sound - Otoniel Rodriguez

Christ.

And so TikTok will likely be banned, thanks to Facebook paying off politicians to be all angry about it and get rid of their business rival over shit that Facebook does ALL THE TIME!

What's amazing is how these fucking lobbiest taint-lickers ask questions of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, then don't allow him to answer and refuse to listen to anything he has to say. This is what counts as discourse in government?

We have fascists at the wheel deciding what we get to read by burning books. What we get to watch for entertainment by banning drag shows. How we identify by banning trans persons. Whom we get to love by banning same-sex marriage. And what websites and apps we get to use by banning fucking TikTok.

Didn't we fight wars against exactly this kind of bullshit?

And the fact that this is starting to become bi-partisan behavior is not lost on me. It just proves what I've been saying all along... politicians will do and say whatever they fucking have to in order to stay in power... even if it means selling out the country to do it... and it doesn't matter one fucking lick what team they play for.

All while telling us that they're doing it "for our protection."

What we actually need protection from is the fucking government.

Facebook can sell our private data to Chinese companies and Congress doesn't bat an eye. Because they're paid not to. But a Chinese company collects our data and suddenly Congress is outraged. Because they're paid to.

Until money gets pulled out of the equation, this is exactly the kind of stupid shit we vote for.

At this rate, it's only a matter of time before Blogography gets banned to "protect us" from my being critical of the government.

Our fascist distopian future is now.

   

Da Fuq?

Posted on Friday, March 24th, 2023

Dave!I swear... I honestly thought I was 55 turning 56 today. I've been telling people that I'm 55 all year long. Turns out I'm 56 turning 57 today.

I'd be thrilled that I'm one year closer to retirement, but given the number of politicians just dying to cut the Social Security I've been paying into my entire working life, I am facing the reality that retirement isn't in the cards.

Happy fucking birthday to me.

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Caturday 299

Posted on Saturday, March 25th, 2023

Dave!I'm not at home today. I'm over the mountains celebrating Birthday Weekend with my friends.

Meanwhile back at the ol' homestead, Jake and Jenny spend most of their time sleeping (whenever they aren't eating or pooping).

I've learned my lesson and now leave my bed all messed up, which is how they like to sleep on it. I think they like to squish into the folds or something. If I make my bed, they will avoid it...

Jake and Jenny Sleeping

Earlier this past week I noted that Jake and Jenny's entire personality can be summed up by how they sleep...

Jake Sleeping

Jenny Sleeping

Jake's a total dude-bro who sleeps spread-eagle and likes to leave it all hanging out.

Jenny's a proper little lady who reveals nothing and is a bit more reserved.

I'm happy that they have such wildly different personalities, because it makes me appreciate them more in their uniqueness.

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Bullet Sunday 799

Posted on Sunday, March 26th, 2023

Dave!Is it really Spring? It kinda feels like it might be... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• RIP DPReview! Back when I bought new digital cameras and wasn't using my iPhone camera for 99% of my photos, I was a massively huge fan of DPReview. Their reviews are stellar and they provide information in a way that makes it easy to decide what you should be buying. Unbeknownst to me, Amazon bought out the site in 2007. Knownst to me, Amazon has decided to kill the site. This is sad, but understandable. Like I said, I haven't used it in years (the last time being 2017 when I was buying gear for my Antarctica expedition). Still... sad.

   
• BEES! Not only are bees cute and smart, they also like to have a good time...

@ianisfun Replying to @the_wizard_e_fod #sciencetok #beetok #minds #consciousness #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen ♬ original sound - Ian Slater

Sad that they're having such a tough time of it.

   
• Theft! Fuck this shit. The Met should be absolutely mortified at their behavior. I know I am...

@hyperallergic “I prayed for his safe and prompt return to his homeland. I prayed to the four directions and then moved on to the main gallery. About two minutes into my brief dance, a member of the museum’s security team approached me and stated that I wasn’t allowed to dance there without permission.” - Sophiline Cheam-Shaprio #archeology #cambodiandance #cambodianartist #greenscreenvideo ♬ Three Miles to Tallehayo - Fableistic

Bad enough that Cambodia's treasures were stolen from them. But this?!?

   
• CELSIUS! I'm not a big fan of sparkling/flavored waters. Unsweetened tastes like somebody ate a bunch of fruit, then farted in the can. Sweetened is okay, but very hard to find. Artificially sweetened tastes like somebody ate a bunch of fruit and chemicals and farted in the can. But now I've discovered CELSIUS drinks, and they are ever so dreamy! Natural flavors that taste amazing... a dash of Sucralose for sweetness... and they even have dietary supplements in them! Like green tea! Like ginger! Like vitamins!

Celsius Drink

My favorite so far is Fuji Apple Pear. Dang that's good stuff! Love it! If you're looking for a sparkling water that doesn't taste like somebody farted in a can... give it a try!

   
• About Time! NEWSFLASH: “Click-to-cancel” rule would penalize companies that make you cancel by phone. — If you can sign up with a click. You should be able to cancel with a click. Only shitty fucking companies with no confidence in their product force you to call to cancel. It's pathetic and gross and companies like this should be fined. Hard.

   
• Deflect Deflect Deflect! NEWSFLASH: Florida GOP lawmaker who wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill facing up to 35 years after pleading guilty in COVID fraud case. — All of this shit... all of it... is just people distracting from their heinous shit with attacks on other people who have done nothing to them. Hypocrite fucks.

   
Now back to our regularly-scheduled blog.

   

Ask Sherwin-Williams!

Posted on Monday, March 27th, 2023

Dave!IKEA's furniture is a weird duck. The finish they use on all their classic "brown-black" furniture is not quite a paint... not quite a stain... it seems like a cross between both. There's enough pigment to even out the wood grain, but not enough to be completely opaque.

Pure stain turns out nice, but it doesn't match my other stuff.

So I decided to try paint. The first thing I did was try "Black Mocha" by Behr, which is supposed to be as close as you can get. It didn't seem to match at all. So I started looking all over the internet to see if anybody found something better. The most promising seemed to be this guy, who had a custom formulation matched at Sherwin-Williams. He posted the formula and everything...

Secret Formula for Sherwin Williams

I showed this to the guy at Sherwin-Williams and, sure enough, he mixed it right up.

When I applied it, the maroon component was making things look too "berry" to match. But as it dried it started getting closer. Still looks like it needs a touch of brown to be a little warmer, but you can't tell unless you really look at it, so I'm happy. Even if it is a bit too "solid" to ever truly match. Maybe in the future I'll try thinking it down and see if that makes any difference.

Or maybe I'll just repaint everything different colors and not worry about it.

   

Elemental Danger

Posted on Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Dave!Pixar has been really hit or miss with me lately.

Onward and Soul were disappointing. Luca was glorious. Turning Red and Lightyear were okay, but far from the greatness I expect out of the studio.

Then today we get the first full trailer for their upcoming June release, Elemental...

Other than Catherine O'Hara, I'm not familiar with the rest of the cast, which is a bit odd. When it comes to the movie itself, it looks like a mash-up of Inside Out and Soul, but not in a bad way? I guess? I mean, I'll definitely watch it when it hits Disney+, but it's not having me excited enough to run to the theater.

That's reserved for Adrian Molina's follow-up to Coco which is called Elio. It's coming out a year from now.

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I JUST WANNA SLEEP!

Posted on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023

Dave!Ugh.

Another hump-day on the books.

And all I could think about all day long was this TikTok that greeted me when I woke up this morning (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@logeypump23

We feel you Elmo

♬ original sound - Logan Thielbert

Has there ever been anything more relatable than this?

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A New Era for Sonos Sound

Posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2023

Dave!I have a love/hate relationship with Sonos Home Audio.

On one hand, they are very good speakers. The sound I get from a single Sonos One (the cheapest, smallest speaker in their lineup) is better than I get from the speakers on my pricey Sony television. Sonos speakers are very well balanced to handle just about everything. Music sounds just as good as audiobooks which sounds as good as TV shows and movies.

But on the other hand, Sonos can be incredibly frustrating. When I replaced my Sonos PlayBar with a Sonos Arc, I spent a full hour talking with their support to get everything working. It was supposed to be an easy, no-brainer task, but it sure didn't end up that way for me. And then there's weird networking drop-outs that happen at random and can be a real bitch to resolve considering the only thing I ever get told is "IT'S BECAUSE YOUR WI-FI NETWORK SUCKS!!!" (as if I have some kind of cheap-ass Wi-Fi router buried in the basement instead of dual AmpliFi Alien routers in a mesh network that blankets my home with perfect Wi-Fi).

In the end I am happy enough with Sonos to ignore its shortcomings (no line-in is fucking stupid on a level of fucking stupid that has me reconsidering what I consider to be fucking stupid given how expensive their speakers are... and don't get me started on not being able to use dedicated left and right channels for surround sound). I have quite a few of their products collected from Black Friday sales over the years, and most rooms in my house are covered with Sonos sound. Heck, I even have Sonos in the bathrooms so I don't have to miss what's happening on my television shows when I have to get up and go pee.

And then Sonos decided to get cute and offer a new line of "Era" speakers. The Era 100, which takes the place of their entry-level Sonos One speaker... and the Era 300, which takes the place of their long-abandoned Play 3 speaker.

The Sonos Era 100 and 300 Speakers.

At first I was going to safely ignore their new offerings because I have neither the money nor the desire to expand upon my speaker collection.

But then I learned that the Era 300 is designed from the bottom up to support Dolby Atmos and I was intrigued. Dolby Atmos allows precise sound placement within a room. This is usually reserved for theaters which can install speakers all the way around the seating area... along with the ceiling... so that the action can move around the room to match what you are seeing. It's a pretty nifty trick. The technology is something that is supposed to be supported by my Sonos Arc soundbar, but the effect is minimal to the point that it might as well not even exist at all.

The Sonos Era 300 has an up-firing speaker that looked substantial enough to actually maybe kinda support actual Atmos sound bouncing down on your from above...

The Sonos Era 300 Speaker All Blown Apart.

So I used my final two Sonos upgrade credits and all the Black Friday money I had left after buying Neon Bad Monkey and pre-ordered a pair of them.

And now they're here.

And I'm just going to cut to the chase here. They are... pretty good.

Because whether or not you have great Atmos sound largely depends on the audio mix that movie and television studios add to their products. I've tested these speakers for hours with all kinds of movies available in Dolby Atmos, and it's very rare that I find myself going "Whoa!" because some sound playing above me was distinct enough to catch me by surprise. No, for the most part, you're largely just getting a better, fuller surround sound experience. Back-To-Front and Front-To-Back audio is far more distinct with those up-firing speakers because you can feel the "movement" better. Far better than I did with my Sonos Ones as rear speakers. For that reason alone I am quite happy with my purchase. And who knows? Maybe as more and more people have Dolby Atmos available at home, studios will start doing better mixing so that my speakers can take advantage of it.

Now lets get to the Dolby Atmos experience that's truly worth it... Atmos Music!

I tell you what... I had read that Apple was partnering with Sonos so that their spatial audio tracks would play on Sonos hardware... but I wasn't thinking of that when I fired up some music to see if it sounded good from the 300s. A couple tracks played and I was suitably impressed.

Then the song If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know) by The 1975 dropped and I thought I was hallucinating. Lead singer Matt Healy's vocals were IN FRONT OF the music. And acoustical queues were all over the room. If I closed my eyes, it was as if The 1975 were set up in my living room. Then I remembered about the Apple Music Atmos thing and, sure enough...

The Sonos app showing me that my music is from a Dolby Atmos mix.

For many Dolby Atmos music tracks, what you hear is flat-out mind-blowing. The 1975 remixed all their stuff, and (for the most part) it's incredible. Some songs are more experimental than others. Some songs push it too far to the point of distraction. But most of the songs are perfectly rendered in a way that makes the whole experience... maybe not better... but perhaps nicely different.

All of a sudden I was scouring all my favorite tracks to see if they had Atmos mixes available.

And it was like discovering music all over again.

Yes, there are instances where the Atmos is a gimmick that doesn't work. But for others? It runs the gamut. The biggest surprise was Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour. Whomever came up with her mixes just knocked it out of the park (with a couple notable exceptions which are gimmicky as hell). It. Is. Sublime. In Oh, What a World when that banjo hits, I had chills running up my spine. It's a fantastic experience. My favorite Post Malone tracks were wonderfully mixed for spatial audio. The newest Taylor Swift album is beautiful. And some bands you just know were hopping on the bandwagon early with Atmos remixes... like ODESZA. The track they did with Namoi Wild, Higher Ground, feels like her vocals are ON TOP OF the music. Or something. I can't even begin to explain it. But it's fantastic. Of course, it was a great track even before spatial audio...

The highest praise I can offer for spatial audio and Dolby Atmos music is that, when mixed right, the vocals never get lost in the music. They are always distinct and rendered front-and-center. One of the best songs to hear this is with Miley Cyrus's Flowers. There's places that she harmonizes with herself. But when listening to it without Atmos, the voices blend together. With Atmos, however, the harmonizing backing vocals are... like... elsewhere. They don't merge or compete... they're just another part of the music. I don't know quite how to explain it. But once I hear the difference... then go back to regular stereo... I can no longer un-hear it because the Atmos version feels like it's the way you're supposed to be hearing it.

So... probably not returning my pair of 300s... even though there's some bullshit right out of the gate.

First of all, Sonos finally... FINALLY... added bluetooth and line-in to their speakers. But when you configure them to be part of a Dolby Atmos setup... YOU NO LONGER CAN USE THEM FOR EITHER! WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK, SONOS??

The Sonos app showing me that my music is from a Dolby Atmos mix.

When that message popped up, it was all I could do to keep from throwing my phone against the wall. I was more than a little upset... I was fucking pissed.

I'm sure that Sonos will come up with some kind of bullshit excuse to explain it away, but the simple fact is that you could easily... easily... just have the speaker ignore all other input once the line-in is receiving input. This is not fucking rocket science. The fact that I can't just plug into one of my pricey new speakers with a frickin' line-in is so far beyond rage-inducing that I honestly don't know what to do with my anger from it.

But at least there's the option for a line-in... AT ALL.

If I were flush with cash I'd likely buy a single Sonos Era 300 for my bedroom and run a line from my television. That way I could have darn good TV sound along with a kick-ass speaker for music (the stereo separation from a single 300 is surprisingly good).

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

Assuming I win the lottery tomorrow, it's not enough to just buy a $450 Sonos Era 300 speaker for my television. YOU ALSO HAVE TO BUY A FUCKING $20 MINI-PLUG DONGLE! It's like... holy shit. There's fleecing your customers, and then there's Sonos fucking gouging their customers. This is pretty disgraceful.

So... to summarize in bullet points...

  • Setup actually worked like it was supposed to this time. I had an immediate software update I had to send to the Era 300's, but I was up and running in minutes.
  • I love that the power cord plug is smaller now. My rear speakers are on a slim shelf that I drilled holes in so the cords are hidden. But the Sonos Ones had a big-ass plug which meant I had to use a metal rod to smash it through the hole. The new Era plugs are more compact and just pop through. Easy!
  • I've had mixed results with Sonos TruePlay tuning (where you walk around the room waving your phone around while the Sonos app listens to tones and calibrates the speakers so their sound is best rendered in your room). The first time I tried it years ago, I loved it. Then the last couple times I thought the calibration was pretty bad and removed it. This time the jury is still out. I think it made my Atmos music sound better... but the movies I tried after calibration didn't sound as bright and the overhead sound was muted. I'll probably keep TruePlay on but fine-tune the EQ and upward sound levels.
  • The line-in garbage mentioned above is fucking bullshit. I am outraged that not only is it fully disabled when you use them as surrounds... but you also have to buy a fucking dongle. It's as if Sonos said "WELL, YOU WANTED A LINE-IN, SO HERE IT IS... TOO BAD WE FUCKING BROKE IT!
  • Until more studios really invest in doing Dolby Atmos mixes that are killer, I wouldn't buy these speakers just for movies with Dolby Atmos. It's just not a big enough upgrade given how many mediocre mixes are out there claiming to be "Atmos."
  • The "killer app" on the Era 300s is Dolby Atmos music. Spatial audio provides an experience I haven't heard before and, for the most part, I absolutely love it. As more and more artists go back and remix their music (or remix the mixes that aren't that great) I think this is reason enough to give them a listen and see what you think.
  • Yes, the price of Sonos gear is as heinous as it ever was. About the only justification I can offer is that they feel quality. They are noticeably heavy and seem built to last. And, needless to say, the sound quality is darn good given the size. Exceptional even. I have never had a complaint about the sound I get... and even a meager little Sonos One provides a great experience. Sonos is one of those companies where I think the cost is likely worth it. That being said, every piece of my Sonos gear was bought on sale because... damn.
  • All my stuff was purchased directly from Sonos because I like that they offer a money-back-guarantee when you purchase from them. It's the least they can do given how much money it costs. If you are on the fence, it's worth investigating whether the shop you're buying from can offer a guarantee. Pretty sure not all of them do.
  • If you are a long-time Sonos customer, Sonos will give you "upgrade credits" which knock 15% off the price of their wares. For every speaker you own that's old enough to earn a discount, you get one credit to use on another speaker to replace it. Except you don't have to return your old speaker... you get to keep it! If you registered your products with Sonos, be sure to look at your account and see what's available. I saved nearly $70 each on the 300s, which is serious money.
  • A lot has been said about how "ugly" the Sonos 300s are. Personally, I'm not seeing it. I am very sensitive to design aesthetics and actually really like the look of them. When sitting on the shelf behind my couch, they look nice from any angle and have an impressive heft to them that makes me confident a cat isn't going to knock them off (if they were to ever climb up on those shelves, which they rarely do).
  • I did not buy any Era 100s and really have no plan to do so. The improvement over my Sonos Ones seems minimal, as there's no up-firing speakers for rendering Atmos. The stereo separate looks like it might be pretty good... but since the speaker is so narrow, I'm not sure how noticeable it would be.

And there you have it.

If you've got a showroom somewhere near you with Sonos gear, it might be worth a look if you're thinking about investing in new speakers.

   

A Hundred Years Too Soon

Posted on Friday, March 31st, 2023

Dave!After Subway was told that their spokesdouche Jared Fogle was a child predator rapist piece of shit, they decided to ignore it because he sold a lot of their shitty sandwiches. They didn't ditch him until the FBI arrested the asshole in 2015. I never ate at Kidfuckers very often, but decided to stop altogether because I didn't want my hard-earned money going to a repugnant company that placed their profits over getting a child rapist off the streets.

I have eaten there a few times because I was in an unfamiliar city and knew there would be a vegetarian option... but I avoided them whenever I could.

Then today I saw that they were having a Buy One Get One Free on foot-longs. I had skipped breakfast because I was working all morning, and decided to just do it. I ordered two different veggie sandwiches online, picked them up, then went into the office so I could eat one of them.

And was immediately reminded why I never ate there very often in the first place.

Lord their bread is horrific.

It tastes like glue. And the cheese is now cut so thin that it might as well not exist... which is to say that the only thing to distract you from the taste of the bread is whatever toppings you can stomach. Which, for me, doesn't include meats.

So, yeah, I won't be doing that again.

If there's no other option than Subway, I'll just buy a couple of cookies and a bag of Lay's and call it good.

Six years until Subway Jared is released from prison. That's a hundred years too soon.

   

Caturday 300

Posted on Saturday, April 1st, 2023

Dave!I never get mad at my cats for any reason under any circumstances. Because everything they do is adorable to me. They could burn the house down and I'd be all "Awwww... so cute!"

And now that my cats know that there's no punishment for anything they do, they have turned into little brats.

But adorable little brats.

Jenny who, unlike Jake, can actually meow, just starts meowing her head off whenever she wants demands something. And she with keep meowing... changing her tone each time... until she gets what she wants. Which is usually getting me to move my laptop off the arm of the couch so she can lay there and get petted. Or stop paying attention to my computer or television because she wants attention.

Note that she doesn't make demands of her brother when he uses her for a pillow or crawls over her head while she's sleeping...

Jake using Jenny as a pillow.

Jake stepping past Jenny's head.

Nope, this kind of contempt is saved exclusively for me...

Jake using Jenny as a pillow.

Jake, who can't meow at all, just kinda squeaks until he gets what he wants. Which is usually whatever food I'm eating. Most times I try to find a tiny portion of what I'm eating that isn't harmful to cats. For example, he just loves tortilla chips. Which is not great, because salt can cause problems for cats. So I brush off the salt the best I can, chip off a small piece, then let him go to town. Like I did this morning when I was having salsa and chips in bed...

Love how he pushes at me on the window at the end there. Dude... you know what a window is.

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Bullet Sunday 800

Posted on Sunday, April 2nd, 2023

Dave!Spring has been one cold day after another for me on this 800th run at the bullets, but I am undeterred... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Invasion! When Secret Invasion was unleashed in the comic book world, it made for a wacky, weird, and wonderful story. Shape-changing Skrulls had been impersonating some pretty major players, and as everything unfolded you really didn't know who was going to be next. It's highly doubtful that the MCU will be able to go in this direction... it would be a massively expensive series if they did... but I'm still anticipating a few surprises along the way...

This has very much the feel of a Cold War thriller... except the deep-cover spies are Skrulls. And just look at the cast they got! Very excited to see where this leads... and what comes of it. If there are long-term consquences, it could make for some sweet stories later on.

   
• Singer! John Singer Sargent is one of my favorite painters... bridging the gap from the impressionists I love and the realists I admire. This short video gave me a new appreciation for his work, and is worth your valuable time to watch...

I love videos like this.

   
• Fun with Flags! And speaking of videos I love, CGP Grey makes some of my favorites...

I have no idea how he comes up with his ideas, but he has never released a video that wasn't fascinating. Even when they're as short as this one.

   
• Behind the Scenes! If you love the movie Arrival as I do, this is a real gem. But... spoilers... if you haven't seen it. Definitely watch the movie first...

The process that happens from story to screen is sometimes as fascinating as the film itself. Arrival is all kinds of interesting even without this. But with it?

   
• ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! New Wes Anderson! This looks fantastic...

All of his films have a similar look and similar quirks to their characters. What makes them well worth watching is that all the stories are so different.

   
• Scotty! They are making a Scott Pilgrim animated series for Netflix... and all the actors from the movie are returning to voice their characters! I love it when massive stars like Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman, and Aubrey Plaza signs on to do little projects like this. Obviously not a cash-grab for them... they just wants be a part of it. Very much looking forward to this, even though I thought Michel Cera was miscast in the original film.

The cast of Scottt Pilgrim.

Interesting to note that Young Neil is not so young any more! None of them are! The movie was THIRTEEN YEARS AGO!

   
Back under the blankets I go.

   

AppleTV is the Best Shit Money Can Buy

Posted on Monday, April 3rd, 2023

Dave!The point of this post is in the title... AppleTV is shit. But it's the best shit you can buy for streaming.

I'm not going to run through my many complaints. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you've probably already heard it all. If you haven't heard it? The GUI (graphic user interface) is fucking horrendous. If you own more than twenty movies or television shows, scrolling through all of them is a nightmare. Apple provides no alphabetical index on the side so you can at least jump to the first letter of the title you're looking for. It's fucking stupid.

But anyway...

Since the quality of the picture is so radically better when viewed through the AppleTV device instead of the GoogleTV app for AppleTV, I decided to ditch my AppleTV 4K (2017 Revision 1) for the newer AppleTV 4K (2022 Revision 3). And because I want to be sure that I get the smoothest possible playback, I purchased the "better" version which has Ethernet and 128GB.

The difference between Rev. 1 and Rev. 3 are slight at the start. Both support 4K DolbyVision HDR10 UHD playback. Both support Dolby Atmos. You have to pay extra for Ethernet now, but my Rev. 1 had Ethernet as standard. But then there's the improvements which really count... my old AppleTV was a slow mess with its A10X chip. It's radically snappier with the new A15 Bionic chip. I'm also working with the 128GB vs. the 32GB I used to have. And then there's the fact that Apple finally future-proofed their tech by using the HDMI 2.1 standard instead of the old 2.0. I am using Ethernet instead of WiFi, but if I were to use wireless, the new model comes with WiFi 6. The new one is also smaller and feels lighter than the old one too. As if all that wasn't enough, it contains a Thread mesh networking radio to become a border router for your HomeKit shenanigans and Matter Smart Home devices.

But the most welcome change? The controller...

The Rev. 3 AppleTV 4k 2022.

Apple ditched their shitty fucking touchpad controller for a new controller that has a good heft and actual directional buttons. Which means that navigation doesn't randomly jump all over the place like it used to. I have no idea why it took them this long to replace that technology FAIL. But look how long it took them to replace their heinously shitty "butterfly keyboard" on their laptops. And... oh yeah... you can charge with USB-C instead of the ten-year-old Lightning connector that nobody else in the industry is using. Yay. Alas no charging indicator... you have to look up the battery level on your AppleTV.

The navigation buttons surround a select button to form a "clickpad" that's also touch-enabled, which is very cool for whizzing through video. You also have a dedicated power button(!) and a mute button(!). It almost as if Apple is listening to what their customers want! Color me shocked. Regardless of why they did it, Apple has gone from my most hated remote ever to my favorite remote ever.

I dare say that the remote upgrade is reason enough to upgrade. Mostly because I am actually using it instead of avoiding it and using a 3rd party remote.

When compared to Amazon FireTV, Google Chromecast, and Roku, AppleTV is way ahead (except for the navigation GUI, which is still the absolute worst). The only competitor they have in this space is probably the NVIDIA Shield, which offers more flexibility and connectivity, but looks like absolute ass. I borrowed one from a friend who tested it and ended up preferring it to my old AppleTV, but not the new AppleTV Rev. 3.

So... yeah... my home theater setup is now complete.

Over the next couple of days I'll be talking about the DolbyVision and Dolby Atmos that I'm getting through my AppleTV box. If that's not for you... then I guess I'll see you on Thursday!

   

In a Barbie World…

Posted on Tuesday, April 4th, 2023

Dave!In the right hands, I'm convinced that anything can become good entertainment.

But Barbie? As a feature film?!?

Well... yeah, apparently. It looks as if Greta Gerwig and an endless cast of stars may actually have managed to find a way to make it work. The new trailer looks visually exciting, and they have really leaned into what makes Barbie be Barbie. I mean... have you seen this?

Interesting how they are leaning hard into Magic Earring Ken, the gayest of all Ken dolls...

Ryan Gosling as Ken

Magic Earring Ken

I tell you what... my respect for Ryan Gosling just keeps growing. The guy is fearless.

I'm not saying that I'll be running to the theater to see Barbie... but I will absolutely give it a rent on home video.

How could I not?

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Vision in 4K HDR

Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

Dave!Building a truly great home theater is expensive. Over the years I have tried to create the best that I can afford. Which decidedly does not involve building a custom theater room. I just do the best I can with my living room. That, paired with the fact that electronics tend to get cheaper over time, has helped.

My sound recently got a major upgrade with a pair of Sonos Era 300's. Their ability to render a pretty good height channel for Dolby Atmos out of my Sonos Arc may not be as incredible as actual dedicated height speakers, but it's cheaper than ripping apart my walls to wire them in.

I wanted a cool $3,000 OLED TV when my old TV died, but that's way, way out of my budget. Instead I bought a mid-range Sony 65" KD65X80J for $780 on sale. It's far from perfect, but it has decent brightness, HDR color fidelity to display DolbyVision, and can pass-through Dolby Atmos sound. Which makes it worth paying $300 more than a cheaper model (until I check my wallet... then I'm all "What was I thinking?").

Which left me to my media source.

Early streaming efforts were pretty crappy. Color fidelity was awful. Motion artifacts were terrible. And resolution was abysmal. So I invested in a Samsung Blu-Ray 4K UHD player. The picture quality was outstanding. So sharp and saturated. But I could never get the advanced audio to work. Sonos couldn't handle DTS, it can only process Dolby Atmos. But some discs only came with DTS, which meant that I had to rely on conversion by other components, which usually didn't work and got me Dolby 5.1 instead. Rather than wasting money on Blu-ray Discs that may or may not give me the audio I was paying for, I abandoned it. And was thrilled about it, since most discs had a STOP PIRACY warning which you were forced to look at and couldn't fast-forward past (which is fucking stupid... I bought your fucking disc, didn't I?).

Then Apple came out with AppleTV 4K. It could stream much, much better quality 4K video in full HDR10 DolbyVision color, complete with Dolby Atmos. Which is to say that every movie I purchase from the iTunes Store which supported spatial audio would be in Dolby Atmos format for my Sonos system. Yay. When comparing the two visually and audibly, it's darn close to Blu-Ray UHD video quality. The only time I could tell was if I paused the video and compared it frame-by-frame. And so I started buying all my movies digitally, which is cheaper and easier than Blu-Ray anyway. Even if it does mean that I'm always under threat of the stuff I buy getting jerked from the iTunes Store and having nothing to show for it (which should be illegal... at the very least I should get my money back). It's a pity that the user interface for AppleTV continues to be incomprehensibly shitty, but I guess nothing is perfect.

So now I only use my Blu-Ray player for old movies that I am not able to re-purchase as digital, and it's not worth the hard drive space to rip them.

As for DolbyVision? Here are some of my favorites which are taking advantage of the HDR color gamut and video quality...

  1. Bullet Train (2022 - David Leitch)
    When it comes to all the benefits that DolbyVision offers, few movies come as close to perfection as Bullet Train. From the incredible colorscapes of Tokyo to the vivid lighting on the train in question, there's some real visual magic happening here.
  2. Atomic Blonde (2017 - David Leitch)
    Two strange things on this phenomenal Charlize Theron flick. 1) Though the video is in glorious DolbyVision, the sound is not in Dolby Atmos... which is bizarre. 2) When I went to add it to my list and look up the director, I had no idea that it would be the same guy that did Bullet Train! David Leitch very obviously knows how to use the extended gamut in his work. And with Atomic Blonde, he used it to beautiful effect. Most of the film is rendered in cold blues and greens and the HDR allows that to happen while still allowing very good definition. And when warm colors pop up, they add a remarkable contrast that really sets the scene on fire. I just don't understand why we didn't get Atmos, which would be amazing.
  3. Pixels (2015 - Chris Columbus)
    About half-way through the movie when the aliens invade, their hyper-saturated pixel forms are so beautifully saturated against the backdrop of the real-world that it kinda messes with your head. But in a cool way. It's a surprisingly effecting use of HDR which turns a mediocre movie into something beautiful to look at.
  4. John Wick 2 & 3 (2017 & 2019 - Chad Stahelski)
    David Leitch, who directed the first two movies on my list, is executive producer on the Wick franchise. Whether it's a coincidence that the colors on these film is also fantastic I don't know. But it's an interesting thing to note given how fantastic these films look in DolbyVision.
  5. Avatar: The Way of Water (2022 - James Cameron)
    Look, the color in this movie is incredible, as you would expect from something that's artificially rendered. They can make every last object whatever color they want... however saturated they want. They can add glows or artificial lighting... it's all on the table. So, yeah, in DolbyVision this is phenomenal. And if I had an OLED television, it would be fucking mind-blowing. But it's a video game. It's a cartoon. It's not real. You cannot compare it to actual movies in the Real World. Because even if the Real World footage has been color-graded and processed, it's still... real. And yet... if you want to see stunning visuals unlike anything else, here's your movie.
  6. The LEGO Batman Movie (2017 - Chris McKay)
    I actually had to watch this in DolbyVision... and without DolbyVision... at the same time to see if what I was seeing wasn't my imagination. I couldn't tell if my mind was filling in the blanks or if the depth and detail I was seeing was actually there. And it is. They use color like a bomb in most every scene, exploding it over everything. But not in a bad way. In a beautiful, lush way that's just there.
  7. Any Disney/Pixar Film Using DolbyVision
    Animation, with its rich, saturated colors, should be the perfect way to showcase DolbyVision. And, for the most part, it is. Movies like The Incredibles 2 and Monsters Inc. look fantastic in an HDR colorspace.
  8. Blade Runner 2049
    This movie has some incredibly saturated visuals that look amazing in HDR. But DolbyVision is more than just pretty, saturated colors. It's also about having very well-defined details in the shadows... and making sure that there's definition when the color pallet is washed out. In that respect, Blade Runner 2049 is absolutely stunning.

   

Atmos Sphere

Posted on Thursday, April 6th, 2023

Dave!UPDATE: Ironic to note that after I wrote this entry, I was watching a movie when all of a sudden my Sonos Arc soundbar made a loud POP then the sound cut out. It was seriously loud. I thought that the dresser fell over in the guest room or something. I thought it had blew out, which seemed impossible given that I didn't even have the sound up that loud, but after unplugging and plugging back in, it was find. Until it happened again! After some Googling, I found that this is a KNOWN ISSUE and Sonos hasn't done shit about it. Apparently it has to do with several audio sources, including Xbox and newer-generation AppleTV 4K. Like the one I just bought. So, yeah, not sure where I go from here. I guess I call Sonos and complain (as everybody else has done) and hope they get off their fucking asses and fix the problem. Though this has been an issue for over a year and nothing's been done, so who knows. In the meanwhile, I've gone back to my original AppleTV 4K in the hopes that the Sonos problem will abate until it's resolved. If it gets resolved.

UPDATE-UPDATE: Two days running off the old AppleTV 4K, and no pops. I switch back to the Rev. 3 AppleTV 4K and they start up again. WTF?!? I am assuming that Apple is using HDMI and Atmos standards to make their little box... so what's the deal with Sonos? Frustrating. Am I never going to be able to update my media sources now?


When it comes to the Dolby Atmos spatial audio on my Sonos Arc soundbar, I was less than impressed. Despite buying a Sonos mount, positioning the soundbar 4-inches below my television as instructed, and cranking the height channel to maximum, I just wasn't feeling it. I'd watch scene after scene of the best Atmos mixes available, confirm that Sonos was receiving Atmos sound, and never heard anything of any substance. It was a heck of a punch to the gut after paying the money it cost me.

Then Sonos released the Era 300 (which I reviewed here) and all of that was supposed to change.

And so I bought into their game, fully expecting to return the speakers when they let me down as the Sonos Arc had done.

But then they actually ended up worth being the price of admission. Once I adjusted the rear speakers to point slightly inward... increased the height volume to maximum... increased the treble by a lot... increased the bass by a bit to compensate... and increased the surround audio a touch... it all kinda came together. The only thing I could do to improve it further would be to add a wall in my open living space so that the left channel could reflect instead of drift towards my kitchen. Something that's not in the cards, alas.

But still... darn good. Mostly for spatial audio music, because the Atmos mixes we get for home video is lacking. Though the situation is improving, some movies are more impressive than others. Below is a list of my favorites. My top two are films by Denis Villeneuve, who seems to take spatial audio very seriously.

  1. Blade Runner 2049 (2017 - Denis Villeneuve)
    How this movie didn't make a billion dollars is beyond me. It is an absolute masterpiece. Not only is it an impossibly good sequel to one of the most incredible films ever made... it manages to capture the atmosphere that made the original so mind-blowing. All while having a great story and flawless casting. It's a miracle on-screen. It's glorious to behold. And when it comes to the Atmos sound design? You're in the film. The many voluminous spaces fill your room with echos and reverb. Music is lush and all-encompassing. Small moments... like striking a piano key... are made to feel huge. You feel the rain falling on you in the dreary, brutalist environment of 2049's Los Angeles. Explosions rock your soul. The Atmos is meticulously crafted to be exactly what it needed to be, and makes me appreciate the movie all the more.
  2. Dune (2021 - Denis Villeneuve)
    It is one of my favorite novels of all time. I've read it a dozen times. It is impossible to adapt into film. But it's been adapted twice. The 2000 TV series was a mess. I actually did enjoy the 1984 David Lynch film (which holds up very well, actually), but it was more style over substance. The Denis Villeneuve Dune, however, is genius. The writing team behind it acted like a skilled surgeon... knowing exactly what to cut while keeping the soul of the novel. And the Atmos soundscape that was crafted for the film is everything you dream about when your sound system can take advantage of it.
  3. John Wick 3: Parabellum (2017 - Chad Stahelski)
    There are few franchises more deeply satisfying than everybody's favorite emo-assassin, John Wick. Each installment ups the ante in cool ways, and the brilliant Atmos soundtrack is no exception. Parabellum does an amazing job of creating immersive sound that gets better with each new movie. From rain pouring down from the sky to bullets bouncing around a room, you're there in the middle of the unrelenting action. And oh what action it is.
  4. Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness (2022 - Sam Raimi)
    Disney/Marvel spends a great deal of money to make their movies a fantastic experience. But when it comes to their Atmos mixes for home video, they've been hit-or-miss... but mostly miss. You hear the film in the theater and it's great... then listen to it at home and it's kinda not. I guess the spatial audio is not a straight 1-to-1 conversion and requires work that Disney doesn't want to pay for. But it's been getting better since Avengers Infinity War & Endgame, and Multiverse of Madness is one of the best so far. The inter-dimensional jumping sounds very cool, but there's other more quiet moments with birds chirping and air moving that are just as nicely done... as it should be.
  5. Avengers: Infinity War & Endgame (2018/2019 - Anthony & Joe Russo)
    The movies themselves were among the best super-hero flicks to ever be released. Smart story-telling combined with amazing special effects. And sound. You can tell that some serious money was put into the Dolby Atmos positioning, because so many scenes were beautifully mixed. And that battle at the end is where it all comes to a head.
  6. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018 - Christopher McQuarrie)
    It hadn't occurred to me to check out this movie until somebody in a Sonos forum recommended it. Very nice. There are scenes where the auditory positioning is meticulously crafted, but not in a way that sounds artificial. No easy feat.
  7. John Wick 2 (2017 - Chad Stahelski)
    Unlike the consistent spatial audio in John Wick: Chapter 3, the Atmos effects are a bit more hit-or-miss with the second chapter. The ones you get are brilliant... then they just... disappear. You'll get a few scenes where obvious height queues could have been used, but weren't. It's a shame, and I'm not sure why this is. Maybe budget? In any event, the sound design is still top-notch. It just could have been more.

What surprised me most was the Atmos mixes I liked the least. I read over and over and over that my favorite movie of 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road had some of the best Atmos work to date. And yet... I was seriously underwhelmed by the overhead effects, which were so random as to be distracting (unlike John Wick 2 where you can forget about it). The height channel would pop up when it wasn't needed... then be missing when you'd expect them to be there. It's bizarre. But still an incredible movie. I just think it sounds better with a 5.1 mix.

Which is rare.

Most times, the Dolby Atmos mix is incredible... even when it's not consistent. And finally... finally... I can hear it in my home theater thanks to the Sonos Era 300's.

   

Too Doons!

Posted on Friday, April 7th, 2023

Dave!I save a lot of stuff throughout the week, then choose the top six or seven items for that week's Bullet Sunday post. But with this one I just can't wait.

I saw this video which shows how the book Dune compares to the movie Dune: Part One and was so frickin' impressed that I re-watched it on my television. I've read the book at least a dozen times... watched the movie a half-dozen... and this video flawlessly shows how smart choices have to be made when filming an "unfilmable" novel.

Dune: Part One leaves a lot of stuff out, because you pretty much have to, but the stuff they jettisoned built a movie that honored the spirit of the original in a way that you could only dream of...

So many movies fail... badly... by either keeping too much or keeping the wrong stuff... or making changes that ruin the story. Dune: Part One is an example of how you do it right, even though the video points out that some things get lost that changes how you perceive the story.

But hopefully if people enjoyed the movie they'll read the book to get all that stuff back. The movie adaptation really doesn't change anything in a way that no longer makes sense when you experience the source material, which is exactly how you should do it.

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Caturday 301

Posted on Saturday, April 8th, 2023

Dave!HAPPY REX MANNING DAY, EVERYBODY!

Okay... if you don't want your image of me as the perfect cat dad shattered, turn away now...

I'll give you a Rex Manning Day interlude as a buffer...

I screwed up huge last night.

A black cat showed up around midnight. I did my best to care for it with food and a dry place to lay down, but I couldn't get near it.

Jake was absolutely fascinated with the cat... not being aggressive towards it or anything... but sitting out in the catio staring at it. This unnerved the mystery cat, so I finally went back downstairs at 2:30am to get Jake out of the catio so the mystery cat could have some peace.

So after I checked on the mystery cat, who still wouldn't let me get near it, I saw that Jake wasn't in the catio, so I closed the door and blocked the cat door so he couldn't get back out.

Fast forward to this morning Jake didn't come greet me when the breakfast alarm went off. This is highly unusual. So I went downstairs to put the food out... and Jake was nowhere to be found.

And now you're thinking what suddenly occurred to me. Had I locked Jake out in the catio for 4-1/2 hours?

I ran to the door and, yep, that's exactly what I did. My poor kitty. I opened the door and Jake came in very upset. And who could blame him. I gave him extra pink salmon so hopefully he would forgive me. And I think he did.

But there's a bigger problem. Jenny didn't recognize his smell for some reason. She was freaking out. When she wasn't chowing down on her breakfast, she was hissing at poor Jake, who didn't know what he had done.

And so I've spent all morning petting Jake... then letting Jenny smell me before petting her... then going back and forth until Jenny was normal again. And feeling like an asshole the entire time. Thank heavens it's Spring... and maybe that's why it had to happen. Now I will be 10,000% sure that there's not cats in the catio if I ever block it off again. So maybe this had to happen so that I wouldn't do this in the dead of winter? I dunno how the universe works.

I was exhausted last night and not as careful as I should have been. But I still blame myself for being reckless. In the end there's no (longtime) harm, and no foul... but it feels awful just the same.

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Bullet Sunday 801

Posted on Sunday, April 9th, 2023

Dave!It's freakin' freezing this Easter Sunday, but there's warmth in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Christianity! Given that this is Easter Sunday and a day devoted to celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, I'll be sharing this interesting video which explains the different denominations of Christianity...

But only the version of Christianity you believe in is the correct one.

   
• Shrinkflation! Man. Not only is food getting more expensive, but it just keeps getting smaller and smaller. I usually make my own burritos, but lately I've been buying El Monterey frozen burritos so I can have them on-hand when I don't feel like cooking. This latest bag I bought... the... the burritos look tiny. Almost comically so. No longer are they burritos... they're almost more like taquitos or something! It's crazy. I am having to actually adjust my cooking time so I don't incinerate them!

El Monterey Burritos!

Shrinkflation has gotten ridiculous. Just give me 7 regular sized burritos instead of 8 mini burritos!

   
• Click! I have never heard of Cookie Clicker before watching this video...

And thank heavens. This is horrific. And the longer it goes on, the more horrific it gets!

   
• Unstable! Okay... I'm loving this show. Rob Lowe has this weird talent for delivering insane dialogue in a way that seems totally natural, and this series exploits that to its fullest...

As if that wasn't enough... Rob's real-life son plays his son in the show! How cool is that?

   
• Spacey! Why is it that Canada gets a frickin' gorgeous logo that's flawlessly executed and beautifully simple while still being very Canadian... while the US gets a rip-off retread from Star Trek that's been complicated to the point of absurdity while having tiny nonsensical "stars" details that will be completely lost when it shrinks down for actual use AND doesn't have any graphic language which tells you this is for the USA?

You literally have to READ it to GET it, which is THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT A LOGO IS SUPPOSED TO DO! And it's not like you can immediately blame the designers, because you just don't know how much of it is them and how much of it is from client demands.

And do not get me started on the idiotic "MMXIX" (2019) detail, WHICH DOES NOT EVEN BELONG THERE! WHO GIVES A FUCK?!?? Also... has anybody seen the Space Force logo in Black and White? Oh yeah... THEY FUCKED THAT UP TOO! Space is black... NOT WHITE...

And that "swoosh" doesn't have a hold-out against the black Star Trek logo, so it looks very disturbing coming out the other side. Yikes.

   
• Home Owner Associations are Awful! John Oliver did a story on HOAs in his latest episode of Last Week Tonight. And I love how people are all "If HOAs are a problem for you, then don't buy a house in an HOA!" — And it's like... in many communities, you may not have much choice for one reason or another. To get a house in my old neighborhood so my mom with dementia had a safe place where people would know her, the only option was an HOA. Now, my HOA is just us four owners, and they've been incredible to me (from allowing me to skirt their 55+ rule since I was buying for my mom... and allowing me to build a catio... and other stuff), but it's entirely possible I would end up in an HOA that was a draconian monster like they're talking about...

And there wouldn't be anything I could do about it if that's what I got. At the very least, there should be a way to appeal an HOA when they are being grossly unfair or unreasonable. But since they are unregulated, they ain't. And since many times you don't get to know the rules until you buy... well... YA FUCKED!

   
• Breadly! How my Easter Sunday began (HE IS RISEN!)...

Bread dough in a bowl rising

How my Easter Sunday ended (HE IS BAKED!)...

Bread dough in a bowl rising

He was also delicious!

   
And now I'm going to gorge myself on freshly-basked bread.

   

REAL Fun with Flags

Posted on Monday, April 10th, 2023

Dave!To say I love CGP Grey videos is a gross understatement. That's like saying "Cheese is okay" and "I guess baby kittens might be a little cute." His videos are frickin' EPIC!

And today he unleashed one SO good and SO true that I cannot bring myself to save it for Sunday bullets.

No, you're getting it right freakin' now...

Couldn't possibly agree more with his assessments.

And the fact that he made it hysterically funny is just S-tier work. Keep it up, Grey.

   

Make Mine Marvelous!

Posted on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Dave!GAAAAAAAAAAAH!

We have to wait until NOVEMBER to get to see The Marvels, which is many months too long.

Especially when you look at this incredible new trailer that just dropped...

They came up with a great way to make this crossover happen, and Kamala Khan is adorable.

But it's seven+ months away.

Bummer.

An even bigger bummer is that Disney is dictating that Marvel slow down its output. "Quality over Quantity." And yet... in my mind it's not the movies that are suffering. Granted, I haven't seen Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania yet, but there hasn't been many missteps (only Eternals comes to mind, because it was a bit of a mess... but it's also a fun watch). No, for me it's the television shows that aren't up to the quality they should be.

But I haven't hated any of them.

I thought WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier were okay. Loki was good. Hawkeye was fantastic. Moon Knight was a disappointment. Ms. Marvel didn't live up to its potential. And I thought She-Hulk was good, but the ending leaned too hard into the whole fourth-wall-breaking stuff and short-changed the emotional stakes of the show.

Of the upcoming shows... Secret Invasion looks fantastic. Loki will likely be good. Ironheart could be great... if the story is worth watching. Echo I don't care about... unless it is guest-star heavy. Agatha: Coven of Chaos will likely not be my cup of tea (although I will absolutely watch it). And then there's Daredevil: Born Again... holy crap am I excited for this series. Charlie Cox's Netflix show was amazing, and his guest spot in She-Hulk was as good as it gets. I love the idea that he might be a little more upbeat and fun rather than the never-ending gloom of the Netflix show. She-Hulk shows that he can be serious... but also fun and exciting to watch. I hope they give him an overwhelming villain to really show off his abilities.

Marvel has done a great job bringing their comic book characters to live action. I seriously hope that their "stepping back" doesn't kill the momentum they've been building. Because we've got Secret Wars coming up, and that has such exciting possibilities that the potential for success is extremely high (assuming they really take advantage of what Secret Wars was and could be).

   

Neural Diversity

Posted on Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

Dave!I have been following Adobe Photoshop's efforts in "Neural Filters" for a while now. As you'd expect, they keep getting better and better.

Some... like remapping colors are interesting, but I don't see much use for them for me.

But there are two which have really caught my interest, and that would be "Restore Old Photo" and "Colorize." They show some incredible promise right now and will only keep getting better as AI models and sample data get better.

Take this shot of my grandmother helping baby me eat watermelon...

First I restored the photo, which added clarity, sharpness, and balance... then I colorized it. The result isn't perfect (watermelon is red), but it's utterly remarkable when you consider that absolutely no work was involved! This happened with a click.

The filter can do more than just clarify and sharpen in a smart way, it can also do things like remove scratches and fingerprints with just a click. In this photo of me and my dad, there's a nasty fingerprint in the upper-left corner. Now, I can remove this easily, but it will take some time. But if I don't have any time, I can just run a filter on it. Neural filters don't remove it completely, but it's a very good start. I would spend a heck of a lot less time getting rid of what's left after the filter was run than doing it all from scratch...

Colorization is really hit-or-miss. Sometimes the color assignment seems to be random. Fleshtones always fare the best, but other things are inconsistent and strange. In the photo above, you get objects changing color in different places...

This colorized photo of me in my awesome first car didn't do well at all. My car's grill is pink. The car behind me is half grey and half pink. My family named it the "Grey Ghost" but it's not quite that here...

So colorization isn't always something you'd want to do, but just look at how great the above photo looks when it is restored in black-and-white. The clarity is jaw-dropping. Just look at how it pulls detail out of the hair that wasn't really there...

Here are some other examples of colorization gone wrong...

But every once in a while you hit paydirt. Look at this photo of my grandparents with my mom and her brother. This took one click... ONE CLICK...

It's not just Black & White photos that can benefit. Color photos can be restored as well, and the result is no less striking. It sharpens without weird artifacts and smooths skin without making it look plastic...

Even color photos can be colorized. It doesn't always work very well, but sometimes you get lucky and have better results than if you used "regular" filters (like auto-levels or auto-tone or auto-color). Here's me eating chocolate pudding as a kid that's been restored then colorized...

You can't really see it, but the sharpening and restoration is stunning...

Neural filters and AI are already putting a lot of power in the hands of non-professionals. And will be putting a lot of professionals out of work as time marches on. There was a time that I made a lot of pocket money doing photo touch-up in my spare time. I don't even know if that would be possible today.

For better or worse.

   

FAQ About Missed Movies

Posted on Thursday, April 13th, 2023

Dave!I like to keep on top of cinema. I belong to a number of forums devoted to film... both foreign and domestic. I follow a bunch of movie news sites on social media. I pore through streaming sites to see what's been released that looks interesting to me for one reason or another.

But every once in a while something comes along which takes me completely by surprise. It's a movie or TV show that I most definitely should have heard of, but didn't for some reason.

And that pretty much sums up Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel...

Movie Poster for FAQ About Time Travel!

It's science fiction. It's British. It stars Chris O'Dowd and Anna Faris. It has an indy vibe. ANY of these factors mean that it should have crossed my radar, because all of these factors are things that I enjoy. And yet... here it was... just popping up on HBO like it's been there all along. AND IT'S FROM 2009?!?

It has very mixed reviews. And I get it. This is not a big-budget time travel flick with a massive budget and simple story. It's more intimate and complex than that. But I loved it. Very smart and clever with good ideas and a phenomenal cast. And it's funny. Very happy to have happened across it when I brought up HBO Max tonight.

After watching Frequent Questions About Time Travel, HBO recommended a film by Martin Scorsese that I have never heard of before... The Big Shave. And I thought "Well that's an odd title for a movie, I had better watch it!"

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST DISTURBING THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN AND IT IS ONLY SIX MINUTES LONG! WTF?!? It's from 1967... and I am now traumatized. Apparently it is a commentary on the Vietnam War. And because trauma loves company, I found it on YouTube to share with y'all (they don't allow embedding, so you have to click this link).

At first I was all "THIS is how Scorsese started filmmaking?!?" But then the more I thought about it, the more it makes perfect sense.

And then I fell through a rabbit hole on this film, Googling everything I could find out about it.

  • Many film critics have interpreted the young man's process of self-mutilation as a metaphor for the self-destructive involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, prompted by the film's alternative title... Viet '67.
  • The guy who starred in this short film, Peter Bernuth, has only this single credit in his IMDB profile. This is where his acting career began and ended.
  • He lived in Coral Gables, Fla., and was chairman of Bernuth-Lemboke, which imports and distributes wood preservatives and other chemicals from Europe. A native of Long Island, Peter moved the company to Miami in 1977. Peter came to Princeton from Hotchkiss School, majored in English with a thesis on the poetry of George Herker and was a member of the swimming and lacrosse teams and belonged to Ivy Club. In the early 1970s he was active in politics, running a congressional campaign for Ed Koch and then the New York office after Koch was elected. In Florida he was on the boards of his sons’ schools, St. Stephen’s Day School and Palmer Trinity.
  • He died in 1994 after fighting cancer for a year.
  • He was survived by his wife and three sons.
  • William Farmer remembers: I went to Europe with Peter the summer of “62. We got free passage to Tripoti on board a German freighter provided we would work on deck maintenance with the crew. Trip took 18 days and we loved the pattern of starting drinking beer around noon with the crew, all young guys, and playing cards or arguing into the night. We went to Spain together. Peter was an aficionado following in Hemingway’s footsteps. He arranged for us to attend major bullfighting ferias in several cities. One of Hemingway’s favorites, Ordonez, was still fighting, and we saw him in Malaga. We also found a free place to stay in nearby Torremolinos (before it bacame an international beach resort), in an abandoned house being readied for demolition as some kind of hotel. A bit of straw and a beach towel was all that was needed. Washups in the drug store bathroom (tip the woman attendant a couple of pesetas), or just go in the Mediterranean. Residents were a couple of English girls, a German guy and an American pre-hippy who taught us about the new thing called “pot.”

Life is weird, in general. The internet is weird, specifically.

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Do a Dollop… Do Do a Dollop…

Posted on Friday, April 14th, 2023

Dave!As I've mentioned more than a couple times, I'm a huge fan of advertising. GOOD advertising. Bad advertising sucks and is just torture while you're waiting for your TV show to come back on. Good advertising makes you forget that your show has been rudely interrupted.

Good advertising has to have some kind of emotional connection. For me that's usually animals. If you can work animals into your advertising then I'm probably going to like it.

Something else that works? A really good jingle. Which doesn't necessarily have to be a good song. Case in point...

Kind of atrocious, but infinitely memorable. Thus incredibly effective as a jingle.

But when the song is actually good?

A current commercial that surprises me with just how much of a banger the song is comes along with Daisy Sour Cream. I mean, seriously, just listen to this...

Genius. There's a moment where the song catches itself... then forges forward even harder. For sour cream!

And it works. All other things being equal (meaning there's not a massive sale on another brand), the sour cream I always buy is Daisy, and every time I pick it up at the store, this jingle is running through my head.

So hats off to the advertising team that managed to come up with this. I'm not saying that I rewind to rewatch the commercial when I hear it... but I don't fast forward past it either.

That's about the best you can hope for in advertising.

   

Caturday 302

Posted on Saturday, April 15th, 2023

Dave!Jake is still hopelessly addicted to his stuffed lion toy, Mufasa.

He carries him around everywhere, and gets upset when Mufasa can't be found. Fortunately, Jenny has long since given up punishing her brother by hiding his little stuffed buddy, than heavens. I grew very tired of combing the house so I could find Mufasa and Jake would stop crying about it.

Here's Jake bounding down the stairs with Mufasa just yesterday...

A few days ago I was on a Zoom meeting when Jake wandered up with Mufasa. Which he almost immeiately tossed down the stairs. I rolled my eyes and went back to my Zoom.

Only to have Jake start whining and crying over and over and over until finally I excused myself, ran down and grabbed the lion, then set it next to him, then went back to my call...

Mufasa sitting by Jake.

Jake decided to ignore Mufasa then walk on my keyboard. When I gently moved him away, he climbed back up on the banister shelf to have a face-off with his plushy...

Mufasa sitting by Jake.

Then he immediately threw Mufasa back down the stairs...

Jake looking down the stairs.

By the time I was done with my Zoom, he had already started crying again. I went and took a shower to get ready for work. I was going to grab Mufasa off the stairs on my way down, but Jake had already taken him.

Cats. What can you do?

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Bullet Sunday 802

Posted on Sunday, April 16th, 2023

Dave!After Easter Sunday we're back to just another Sunday. BUT NOT REALLY... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Supertramp! The other day I was reminded of one of my favorite album covers, Supertramp's Breakfast in America from 1979. On top of having a great cover, the album had some great tracks on it. Tracks I haven't listened to in years. So I decided to play it. After iTunes displayed the album art, I wondered whatever happened to the woman who was in the photo. A quick Google search later, and I found out her name was Kate Murtagh and she passed away in 2017. Something else I found out? The album cover is one of those wild-ass conspiracy theories where there are people claiming that it predicted 9-11 because when you reverse it, 9 11 appears behind where the World Trade Center is at...

Close up of the Supertramp album cover.

The Supertramp album cover flipped to show 9-11 behind the World Trade Center.

And it's like... whatever. Every coincidence has to mean something to people who don't have anything else going on, I guess.

   
• Perspective! This is a little bit of genius thinking (here is a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@ianisfun Weird how time makes things easy or unattainable. #wellbeing #gratitude #psychology #mindfulness #happiness ♬ original sound - Ian Slater

Trying to be grateful for everything and anything is something to strive for. And this is a good reason to believe that.

   
• Johnny Reb! You're Probably Wrong About Confederate Monuments...

Or, maybe you're right.

   
• Defensive! Holy shit. This video is an hour. But it's worth your valuable time. Jon Stewart is an actual journalist. And getting to the truth is his only goal... and he will roast anybody, of any party, and of any position... to get to it. This is a master class in what journalists will strive for. Dang. You'd have to be very brave or very foolish to agree to be interviewed by Jon Stewart...

Good to know. Good to know.

   
• Chatty AI! This video explaining AI is 5 years old. From what I can tell, it was renamed to mention ChatGPT so that it would become relevant again. Despite the fact that it never was irrelevant...

We are moving towards a truly wacky time in human history.

   
• Easter is a Shade of Orange! I missed this last week, and I'm dead now...

It's like... he's more Trump than President Trump!

   
• Mindblowing Proteins! Holy crap!

The miracle of life is truly a miracle.

   
Enjoy what's left of your Sunday.

   

Batman Movies: RANKED

Posted on Monday, April 17th, 2023

Dave!It's no secret that Batman is my favorite comic book super-hero. Mainly because he's not "super" at all, but is instead a mere mortal with an amazing skill set that is able to hold his own with god-like beings. A good writer can make that interesting. A great writer can make that phenomenally entertaining.

At his core, Batman is a detective. The best Batman stories utilize this in one way or another. When I first started reading comic books, there were two titles devoted to him... Batman and Detective Comics, the latter being more detective-oriented than just a guy dressed as a bat pummeling bad guys.

Bringing the character to film has been a mixed bag over the years. Some efforts are good. Some efforts are very good. And a few are extraordinary.

And here's how I rank them out...

Batman!

  1. The Dark Knight - The best of the best of the best when it comes to cinematic Batman. Heath Ledger gave us the Joker we've always deserved, and I maintain that Bale's Batman works better than any other on the Big Screen.
  2. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - The Batman animated series is some of the best Batman ever made. And Mask of the Phantasm is in my top ten out of all of it.
  3. Batman Begins - I don't know that The Scarecrow works as a big screen Batman villain, but Nolan's debut bat-movie certainly gave it the best shot possible. Though I'd argue that the Nolan Trilogy's MVP is Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and that's particularly true in this film.
  4. The LEGO Batman Movie - Will Arnett delivers the cheesy that makes LEGO Batman work so well. But that would be useless without a good story, and this one had it.
  5. Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero — Like Mask of the Phantasm, the fact that this spun out from The Animated Series did not diminish my love of the movie one bit. Everything about the film was beautifully realized, and there are days that this is all the Batman I need.
  6. The Dark Knight Rises - This was an actual ending to the Nolan Trilogy, which surprised me given how it mostly closed the door on Christian Bale's character. That being said... Bane as the villian seemed like quite a stretch, but kudos to Tom Hardy for making him as memorable as possible.
  7. Batman - Probably one of the more important bat-movies made because it reinvented the character in a way that made him slightly more serious instead of the buffoonery we got with the television show. Keaton brought a psychological edge to Tim Burton's vision, while Jack Nicholson made Joker what he needed to be in order to be taken as a serious threat.
  8. Batman Returns - This wasn't a great sequel to Batman, but Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito just killed it as villains which took things next level and saved the movie.
  9. Batman: The Movie - Hey, the classic Adam West Batman was the only game in town for quite a long time... and "The Movie" was the ultimate finale to the first season of the show. While absurdly silly (Bat Shark Repellant?) it was a pretty good for what it was. And more respectful than any of the turds that dropped out of Zack Snyder's ass.
  10. Batman Forever - The Joel Schumacher movies betrayed absolutely everything that Tim Burton had carved out... but at least this one has Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones.
  11. The Batman - I do not for the life of me understand the critical acclaim for this shitty Batman movie. It is just awful in every possible sense... despite Robert Pattinson doing a decent job over a flawed script and Zoë Kravitz being a great Catwoman with a terrible story.
  12. Justice League (The Snyder Cut) - This was a shitty movie with a shity, stupid take on Batman that made me a little crazy because I knew there was no coming back from this disaster.
  13. Batman and Robin - I wouldn't have thought that Joel Schumacher could possibly crap out a worse movie than Zack Snyder... but here it is. Every last thing about this horrific mess was tragic, and it's unreal how much money they sunk into something this bad.
  14. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - First Zack Snyder turned in a truly dreadful Superman movie, and then he unleashed this pile of shit. It was a stupid concept plagued by a stupid story plagued by awful choices at every turn.
  15. Justice League (Theatrical Cut) - This is easily one of the worst super-hero films ever made. And then they had a bad movie turned into a worse movie by having Joss Whedon "joke it up" so it was more Avengers-like than the dark, dour, joyless, car-fest that Zack Snyder was intent on making. So bad. So very, very bad.
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I have Six Million Problems…

Posted on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

Dave!The television shows from my youth are entertainment that I don't revisit very often. By and large, they just don't hold up. Special effects were not that great and the acting was pretty bad all the way around. At least by today's standards. Back in the 70's though? Magic.

One of my favorite shows? The Six Million Dollar Man...

Six Million Dollar Man Poster

Sure it was hokey even back in the day, but looking at it now I was shocked at just how bad it is. The earliest episodes are incredibly boring. Agonizingly boring. They put 20 minutes of show into an hour episode and I just can't get into it. Later episodes picked up the pace a bit, but were still nowhere near exciting enough to be worth my time. Certainly not as exciting as I remember. At first I thought it was because they didn't have the money for special effects, but what special effects? Filming in slow motion?

Even the episodes I remember best (the ones with Sasquatch and Fembots) were awful (despite the fact that Fembots are still incredibly cool)...

It's a Fembot!

Oh well. I have plenty of shows to watch without having to suffer through this one.

Another childhood memory crumbles to dust.

   

Sunflowers for AFC Richmond

Posted on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

Dave!The latest episodes of Ted Lasso is incredibly frustrating while being achingly beautiful to watch.

This is (apparently) the final season, so what in the hell are they doing? Every episode is just spinning out of control with these stories that never seem to coalesce with anything worthwhile. Zava came and went, which was likely inevitable given how they hammered home that the team was capable without a ringer.

The latest episode... Sunflowers... is more spinning. But then you see these incredible moments with characters you love... and it's everything you want to see in the show.

I never not want to be able to find these characters on television, and this episode just hammered that home. Whether or not Jason Sudeikis is actually in Ted Lasso or not... Apple TV must find a way to continue. They MUST. I don't care if they rename it Roy Kent or AFC Richmond or whatever. This season just can't be the end.

And now is where I look at the latest episode as a huge fan of the show. If you haven't seen Sunflowers yet, some serious spoilers are going to follow... so watch before you read.

Spoiler Zone!

A Friendly Without Curfew in Amsterdam. I know that we have to see AFC Richmond at their lowest before they can climb... and I'm guessing that this half-way point is where things turn around (that seems to be the formula that the writers lean into every season). I laughed my ass off at Roy Kent and Jan Maas getting interviewed, because Roy is surly and Jan is... Dutch. They're the perfect match. And then there's Keeley heading off with her girlfriend. It bothers me more than a little bit that she's in a relationship with somebody other than Roy... it bothers me even more that this is the best thing they could figure out what to do with the character.

Heaven Knows I've Tried. Surely I'm not the only one who never, ever fast-forwards through the Ted Lasso theme song?

No Holiday from Training. I welcome absolutely any opportunity to see Roy Kent being his most Roy. But this season I'm almost as excited seeing Jamie getting to be his most Jamie with Roy Kent. Their history has them intertwined in ways that neither of them will ever truly understand, and it's a joyous thing to see.

Rebecca Swims the Canals of Amsterdam. It is wonderful to see how Rebecca and Sassy are friends independent of Keeley. Kudos to the stuntwoman who took a tumble off that bridge, but it's PHENOMENALLY stupid how Rebecca can't look at the little "bike lane" icons liberally painted on the bike path to understand that she's walking in the wrong place.

Beard's Got Plans. I gotta say... if "Yankee Doodle Burger Barn" doesn't exist, it should exist. How amazing is that for an American restaurant in a foreign country? And how great is it that we see such tiny little snippets of Coach Beard's odd lifestyle? His character is choice, and the fact that he's so consistent means it's not by accident.

AFC Richmond. I've been to Amsterdam many times. There's so much to do in the city that it's kinda of funny watching the characters run through the touristy stuff that defines it to foreigners. Jan Maas being on his home turf and coming up with something so genius is perfect for his character. And there goes Colin. I think we all know what his plans are for the night.

Water Pressure. Rebecca exploring this Dutch man's gorgeous house boat is one of my favorite moments. As is the fact that the Dutch guy was so gentlemanly as to leave and give her privacy while she took her shower (the note for the tea... It's not drugged, I promise). Interesting to note that the guy has a bedroom for his daughter, which could very well be the child that Rebecca is longing for. Just sayin'.

Leslie Knows His Jazz. Nobody thought that Higgins was heading to the Red Light District for sex... but it was hard to tell what it might be. Jazz. Makes perfect sense.

Coach Beard's Magical Tea. Beard is so delightfully weird. And he's brilliant on top of it all, which is what makes him such a great character. Ted not being able to drink tea is a part of what makes him great too.

AFC Richmond. Oh Dani. He's incredibly genuine and sweet under any and all circumstances, and you love to see it. Zoreaux's obsession with seeing a sex show is an odd aspect for his character, but also an interesting one.

Colin's Night Out. Trent Crimm is an outsider to the team, but not really. As a journalist (and now writer) he's getting to know them in a way that they probably don't know themselves. I was terrified that his secretly following Colin was going to be a way of gathering dirt on the poor guy... which would be so awful... and this scene certainly painted that picture.

Dinner on a Houseboat. Where did this Dutch gentleman come from? REBECCA'S DREAMS, THAT'S WHERE! It's so nice to see male characters on a show that are just genuinely nice by nature. It's a great contrast to what most guys are like in Real Life. And his kissing her foot after bandaging it (out of habit for his daughter, I'd imagine) just drove that point home. Doesn't hurt that Rebecca is absolutely gorgeous having just stepped out of the shower.

Roy and Jamie Training at Midnight. =sigh= Roy could do nothing but complain about life for hours, and I'd still want to watch.

Colin is a Prik. Ah yes... one of my favorite songs! Boy by Book of Love. Prik must be a gay bar (as if the name wasn't a big enough clue) because I've been told many, many times that my musical tastes are "gay." Can I ask... do you know who I am? Colin getting to go out to a gay bar... something he could never do back in London... is a nice thing for his character. But the fact that he still worries about getting recognized is profoundly sad (although... contrast and compare that Roy Kent didn't care at all that he ended up at G-A-Y in London with his over-60 yoga group... he didn't have to because he's not gay). If only the public at large could sympathize. Hopefully seeing it in Ted Lasso will change minds. And then in walks Trent Crimm! Colin having to immediately do a 180° makes this moment even more sad. But it turns out Crimm isn't there to cause a problem. On the contrary, he seems to be there as a... friend? And I gotta hand it to Billy Harris, he managed to go from being very scared to letting the relief show over every inch of his face. But not in a way that seems artificial. I have no idea if the guy is gay in Real Life or not, but the way he inhabits his character is admirable. And what a marvelous gem James Lance is! Trent Crimm is, by nature, an enigma. But you always know what's going on under the surface because you can see the gears turning. My favorite Trent Crimm moment is when he explained A Wrinkle in Time to Roy. This is a close second.

Ted on Magical Tea? I gotta say, seeing one of Keeley's infamous hotel ads dubbed into Dutch is hilarious.

Rebecca and Her Dutch Gentleman. Holy crap is Hannah Waddingham gorgeous. And I cannot believe how incredibly talented an actor she is. This kind of casual banter flowing so naturally is something that actors would kill to be able to do with such perceived ease. And then we get to hear her sing for a moment on top of it all. One of the things I love about Ted Lasso is how genuine wisdom is dropped like pearls scattered amongst the episodes. And here's one of my favorites being dropped out of nowhere "I realized that this thing didn't happen to me, but for me."

Roy Learns How to Ride a Bike. After that game-changing moment last season where Roy hugs Jamie after Jamie's father unloaded abuse on him, I still never saw them becoming close. But now that it's happening, how amazing is it? Brett Goldstein's comedic chops here are just beyond funny. But the real heavy lifting is being done by Phil Dunster. He has a very fine line to walk... showing genuine care and concern for Roy, but also being the character we've come to know. And hearing Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head all the while Roy is chasing Jamie with a bicycle once again shows that the writers at Ted Lasso know how to pick musical queues!

Higgins and Will on a Pilgrimage. Will was defined for the longest time as the object of Nate's abuse. It is so nice to see him in any other context than that, because I think there's a lot unsaid about his character. He has a line right here about being made fun of that cuts very deep. That's his life. Not just from Nate, but everybody. That he gets to have a better go of it with his Richmond AFC family is wonderful.

Colin and Trent on Coming Out. So Trent is also gay. And now we know. This is so utterly heartbreaking for Colin. "My whole life is two lifes, really." (the closed captioning says the proper "lives" but it really sounds like Colin is saying the grammatically incorrect "lifes" which adds another level to what he's saying). Colin doesn't want to be a gay spokesperson or fish for apologies. All the guy wants what everybody wants... to be accepted for who he really is, and to be allowed to be who he really is. Being gay in men's sports is still a very hard thing to do, and understandably Colin isn't willing to risk it, even though he'd like to think that his teammates would accept him. They tempered this genuinely heartbreaking moment with Trent's hilarious response to Colin wondering how he knew... then drop right back into melancholy by bringing in Anne Frank, then rebind beautifully with the pink triangle bit. That is some very deft writing. And a huge shoutout to Doctor Fieldstone! I love that she wasn't just an accessory to the show. She had genuine purpose, and what we thought we knew what she did for Colin ending up being something different is wonderful in all the right ways.

Ted and Vincent VanGogh. My favorite artist of all time making an appearance on my favorite television show of all time was nice moment for me. And the fact that they managed to roll Vincent into Ted's narrative so flawlessly... "Where I'm from... Kansas, my home... this here is our state flower"... made an already Emmy-worthy episode cross the threshold for me. And this is where we get the title of this episode from.

Team AFC Richmond. It would have been criminal if we never got to see Kola Bokinni truly bring Isaac to life. After his episode-centric turn last season, I can't get enough of him. And here he is being Ultimate Isaac.

Jamie on Amsterdam. Roy Kent is my favorite character ever to hit my television screen. And it's the fact that Goldstein manages to never lose sight of Who. Roy. Is. that makes him so compelling. In this scene he is mainly just listening. But the performance goes deeper than that, but not in an obvious way. Brett Goldstein is Roy Kent every time he appears. And that throw-away line... "I think Keeley has a girlfriend"... has double-impact considering that Jamie dated her too. They really needed something to tie them together for these scenes to hit as hard as they do, and here it is.

Ted at Yankee Doodle Burger Barn. This scene is hilarious from start to finish. Ted's disbelief as he attempts to tell the host where he wants to sit is gold. But it's the restaurant set itself that is the funniest thing of all.

Rebecca Goes Gezellig. I already knew what "gezellig" means... it's one of those words that's inherently Dutch, and beautifully encompasses the feeling of Dutch people in a way that no English word ever could. It's fantastic that the show managed to throw that in without hammering it with a sledgehammer. And note how this scene flawlessly echos when Rebecca loses her phone in the canal, so this Dutch guy throws his in... and now he follows her lead again by throwing water in the clothes dryer. If you didn't want Rebecca and him to end up together before this, you most certainly do now. Again, this is Emmy-worthy writing. I'd be shocked if it wasn't nominated. I'd be more than a little angry if it doesn't win.

Barbecue Sauce. They have been telegraphing Ted's endgame for this final(?) season since Season 03's first episode. Seeing him being at home in a foreign country because of the food (Freedom Fries!) and atmosphere of an "American Restaurant" is just one more log on this fire. His revelation of how AFC Richmond can compete via the Try-Angle is likely how things will finally turn around for the team. But in the most Ted way possible. There's a lot to unpack from the TSA's* graphically-enhanced monologue, but note that God's voice ("Woopsie!") is a woman's voice, which builds on what's come before so brilliantly. And how about that birthday song in the background? LOL. What I love most is how the employees muster such enthusiasm for it.

Higgins is Jazz-Worthy. Will Kitman getting some screen time is gold. Charlie Hiscock has got his nervous energy down pat. Nice that Higgins gets to put his bass playing to good use again. The random scenes of everybody's night out is terrific, and the way it advances their stories without trying too hard is the kind of writing that Ted Lasso excels at. And, Lord, how I want to see more of Will Kitman.

Rebecca Skips Breakfast. I gotta say... if Rebecca doesn't end up with this Dutch guy at the end of the season, it would be a real shame. This is exactly the kind of gentleman that she's been trying to find her entire life. And he's got a dark sense of humor that she can appreciate. What more could she want? So why not? Splitting their time between London and Amsterdam would be so easy with her money... and could be worth it to them both. Especially when the guy kisses her like this.

Heading Home. I love love loved the Coach Beard episode last season. And here's Beard back from exactly the kind of night he apparently falls into all the time. The fact that he speaks Dutch doesn't surprise me... but I died when he told Will "Don't tell Jan.". Then I died again when we find out that Will had a three-way with the couple from the jazz club... and told his mum about it. I like that it is Ted who figures out how to coach the team. The American who knows nothing about football. That will be a great crescendo to his finale. And, I have to say... seeing the featured characters get their story moments only makes me wish that every last one of them got the opportunity. Richard Montlaur is the playboy sports star living the life we would most associate pro football players having... I want to see it. Thierry Zoreaux (sorry, VanDamme!) has hinted at something far more interesting than what lays at the surface we've seen. And what about Jan Maas? Bumbercatch? Reynolds? Sassy? Phoebe? Sharon? Mae?!? And what I wouldn't give to see more of Beard, Isaac, and Dani!

   
Ultimately this episode was fantastic because we got to spend real time with everybody in a way we don't see very often. A diversion, certainly, but not in a bad way.

And with that, we're half-way through the season.

   
*Interesting to note that talented cartoon voice actor Corey Burton was the voice of the "True Spirit of Adventure" this episode!

   

Quantumania Quibbles

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

Dave!As a huge, huge, massively huge fan of all the Marvel Studios films, I was understandably looking forward to Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. The first two Ant-Man films were a blast, Scott Lang was fantastic in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, and Paul Rudd can literally do no wrong in my eyes.

It was finally released on home video, so I paid my $20 and tonight was the night...

Movie Poster for Ant-Man and The Wasp Quantumania

The movie was good. I was entertained. But it was a huge step down from the previous two movies in every way but one.

First of all... the fun was gone. There were humorous bits, but everything was far more serious than what I was expecting, and not in a good way. I think that Marvel put the setup for their upcoming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty movie ahead of letting Ant-Man be Ant-Man. And I don't understand why. The only thing I can guess is that this was the only way Marvel would agree to make the movie, and they ultimately didn't care about making sure the tone of the film was Ant-Man driven. And that's a shame, because yeah... the movies aren't making a billion dollars at the box-office... but they do make money, so why not let them be who they are?

Second of all, the Quantum Realm is 97% of the film, and Ant-Man (as created for the Marvel Cinematic Universe) works better in the Real World. The wacky, weird, bizarre, large stakes stuff can work when the character is surrounded by heroes able to make it work, but alone? Not so much.

I love Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer but they kinda took over the movie. I like the idea of Stature (Cassie Lang) joining the MCU, but she kinda took over the movie too. There just wasn't enough Ant-Man and The Wasp Ant-Man and The Wasp, and that was a bummer for me.

And now to that one thing that was better than the previous two... the villain.

Jonathan Majors is so incredibly talented. Easily the best thing to come out of the film. His every scene is tangibly menacing... while still still being fairly subdued. That's not easy to achieve. This has me really, really excited for the direction that Phase 5 is taking since he's the new Thanos...

It's Kang!

BUT THEN Major's domestic abuse charges happened. The woman who filed them has recanted... and his lawyer says there is video evidence to clear him... but his talent agency dropped him and he's been evicted from upcoming movies, which leads me to believe that there's something to the charges after all. I guess we'll find out after his trial. Depending on what happens there, Disney may drop him from all the upcoming movies he was set to appear in, at which point I guess he would be recast. Which would be a darn shame for Kang... but it's not like you can't not cancel the actor if there's evidence he's an abuser.

Ultimately, I'm not sure what this movie was supposed to achieve. I guess it was to introduce Kang, but Loki already did that. And the Kang that was introduced here didn't really tell you anything about Kang except he's a power-mad villain whose a very serious threat. And there are a lot of him coming down the pipe. But that could have been done in ten minutes in a more appropriate film. Devoting an entire Ant-Man movie to it was just way off base and a major misstep.

So... it is what it is.

But it could have been so much more.

   

It’s Just a Fucking Sandwich

Posted on Friday, April 21st, 2023

Dave!A couple years ago when the pandemic was in full swing, I spent a lot of time having Zoom meetings with old friends I hadn't spoken to in ages. What else was there to do?

One of my friends is a golf nut, and we somehow got to talking about it, which is a disaster for me because I don't play it, watch it, or care about it. The closest I get are those rare times I play mini golf. But he had such passion for it that the subject was made interesting to me. Somehow we ended up talking about the time he got to go see the Augusta Masters Tournament. Which is like the Super Bowl of golf or something. Coincidentally enough, the Super Bowl is the most difficult sporting event to get tickets to... the second most difficult is The Masters. So getting to attend is a seriously big deal.

But I digress.

The one thing that really stood out about our conversation is him talking about the World Famous Master's Pimento Cheese Sandwiches at the tournament. He told me they cost just $1.50, and the recipe is a closely guarded secret. I nodded my head politely and made a mental note to search the internet for the recipe, because there are no secrets in the Information Age we live in.

Months later I thought to Google it.

And holy shit was I completely unprepared as to what a rabbit hole it would be.

There is more drama surrounding this fucking sandwich than you could possibly guess. The original recipe of 20 years was ditched when a new supplier was hired. This supplier, Rangos, is the one most closely identified with the sandwich... and was making them for 45 years. When Rangos was, in turn, also replaced, the owner took his recipe to his grave, so the replacement had to do their best to recreate it. Then it happened all over again in 2013 when the replacement for the replacement was replaced and, yet again, the secret recipe was not shared. The story is fascinating, if you care to take a look.

Many, many people have come up with their own version of the recipe. And the ingredients vary widely. But one seemed to be more widely accepted as "genuine" as the rest... Gina Dickson's version (sorry about her shitty fucking website plastered with ads, popups, and auto-play videos assaulting you).

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when The Masters was going on and I decided to buy the ingredients so I could make me a sandwich. But I forgot the bread! All the recipes say you have to buy just cheap-ass white bread, but I usually eat a whole grain or oat-nut bread. But yesterday I remembered to get me some white bread, and today was the day...

It's a pimento cheese sandwich!

And... eh... it's okay. It has a little cayenne in it so there's a nice kick. But I think the sharp cheddar should have probably been more of a medium cheddar and I would eliminate the salt because it's just not needed. Also I would likely use onion granolas instead of finely-diced onions because even though I went seriously fine with the dicing, there's kinda of a texture mismatch going on.

In the end? It's just a fucking sandwich. I'd have rather have just had a grilled cheese.

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Caturday 303

Posted on Saturday, April 22nd, 2023

Dave!Quick-take updates!

There are two warming pads sitting on my sofa and loveseat for my cats to lounge on. I put them out before/after the Summer months because my cats just love to lay on them. Even when it's not cold. And this is how it usually goes. Jenny will pick one. Usually the one on the sofa closest to me, but not always. Regardless of which one she picks, that's the one Jake decides he wants. He'll literally crawl over her and plop down beside and fall asleep. Jenny is not thrilled...

Jake on Jenny's warming mat.

Though sometimes he wants to have his head lick first...

Jake on Jenny's warming mat.

When Jenny gets some alone-time, she spends it sleeping in the weirdest positions possible. Like with her foot in her face...

Jake on Jenny's warming mat.

Speaking of Jenny... I finally found something that SHE will eat, but JAKE will not. It's these "squeeze-tubes" of treat goo. Neither will eat them from the tube. But squeeze it in a dish and Jenny is all over it. Jake, who will normally eat absolutely anything won't touch it. So Jenny will eat his as well. Except with her half-paralyzed tongue, she makes her usual mess...

Jenny eating twice the treats!

Jake, meanwhile, has decided to critique my television choices by trying to change the channel from my programming choices...

Jake reaching for the remote!

Hope you're having a happy Caturday.

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Bullet Sunday 803

Posted on Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

Dave!The weather can't make up its mind lately, but I'm not letting grey skies ruin my weekend... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Ghosty Mc Ghost Ghost! I was SO looking forward to Ghosted on Netflix. The film didn't disappoint. Ana de Armas is frickin amazing... and the fact that Chris Evans could play absolutely ANYTHING he wants, but chooses to play the damsel in distress in this movie just makes me love him all the more (he had already completely changed my mind about his career trajectory with Gifted, which I also loved)...

Ghosted Poster.

This is a great action flick, and the performances are everything you'd hope they'd be given how outrageous the story is. There's also some notable cameos to watch out for, if you're interested in giving it a shot.

   
• Mrs. Davis Loves You! There's a new show on Peacock called Mrs. Davis. I'm loving it, but am having a hardtime putting into words why I'm loving it. Maybe the trailer will help?

Jake McDorman (from Limitless) is in it, which doesn't hurt. Also in the series? A very cool edition of Bristish Knights shoes...

Alas, you can't actually buy these, which seems like a hugely missed opportunity.

   
• Edna! Comedian Barry Humphries died this past week. He is most known for playing a character which I obsessed over for the longest time...

RIP Barry Humphries.

In one of those sublime ironies, Humphries grew famous for a drag performance, but was a noted transphobe. I always looked at him differently after that. Fortunately most of the time I knew of Dame Edna was well before he outed himself as a bigot. But still...

   
• S'more! I won't go so far as to say that I hated The Menu... but I came very close. It was a film based on manipulation and shock value which had no value. At least not to me. It also dragged on to the point of tedium once the plot had been revealed. This was a painful conclusion for me to draw, because I loved the cast and the performances were amazing. THAT BEING SAID... the end game was brilliant. From Anya Taylor-Joy's little monologue to Ralph Fiennes's response to Anya's last request to the final shot of the film. It's flawless and haunting. I have fast-forwarded the movie to the end to watch it at least six times. Including just now today...

It makes me want to re-cut the movie down to a 15-20 minute short which is nothing but that which could have been a great flick.

   
• Pricey Taco! I swear before the pandemic that I was able to walk into Taco Bell and get my usual Two Chalupa Supremes (substitute rice for beef), a side of Fiesta Potatoes, and a bottle of water for under $10. But now? SEVENTEEN FIFTY-SEVEN?!??

WTF?!? And what's worse? NOBODY TAKES YOUR ORDER! YOU HAVE TO INPUT IT YOURSELF ON A BACTERIA-RIDDLED TOUCH-SCREEN! Good thing I travel with hand sanitizer!

   
• Hey Siri! The fact that Siri has become so fucking useless for home automation shouldn't really surprise me, but it totally does. Lately when I ask Siri to play a song, all I get is "There's a problem with Apple Music." Ask to unlock the door... The front door is not responding (though I can unlock through the app just fine). Even turning on a frickin' light is hit-or-miss. And when you call Apple they don't know shit. About a music service I PAY them for. And HomeKit has always been useless, so I don't even bother to try and get support for that. And so... no idea what I'm going to do. Amazon and Google are pulling resources from their digital assistants, so I don't know if they'll even be around to switch to. Thank heavens I made sure that all my new devices are Matter compatible. Maybe some enterprising company (or individual) will come up with a localized voice assistant for Matter that I can buy to run locally. Then I get a small computer and some kind of Matter-compatible microphones and call it a day. Why is it that companies have failed so miserably with a technology that's supposed to be our future? It started out so promising... now this.

   
• Taters! I bought a bag of luxury potatoes because I wanted to make potato salad this weekend. But when it came time to do it tonight... I looked at the bag... and thought "ZOMG! I WANT CRISPY-FRIED SPICY POTATOES FOR DINNERRRRR!!" I love them, but they take SO long to make properly. You have to cook them on low under a cover to get them softened. Then you have to add oil and fry at a higher temperature. Then you have to keep micro-dosing oil on them and turning not too early and not too long so they brown up nicely. Then you have to taste continuously so you can add just the right amount of freshly-ground black pepper, salt, harissa spice, cayenne, and Central Street blend. BUT OH SO WORTH IT! So crispy! So spicy! So hot!

My potatoes dinner.

Most restaurants won't put in the time and effort. But I'm patient and have very good flipping skills with a skillet.

   
Now it's time to eat those beautiful taters.

   

Di$ney $peed$torm Microtran$action Hell

Posted on Monday, April 24th, 2023

Dave!I am not a hardcore gamer by any stretch of the imagination. I have a Nintendo Switch. I have an Xbox S. I play games from time to time when I need a distraction from the horrors of the world. Usually it's games that are challenging without being frustrating, though all games become frustrating to me eventually since I always reach a threshold where I my skills just can't carry me through.

The latest game to occupy my time is the "Early Access Package" to Disney Speedstorm, a Mario Kart style racing game featuring Disney characters. Disney Kart, if you will. It looks amazing on my Xbox S. The music is great. The racetracks are well-designed. The game is a lot of fun to play. At least right now it is...

Speedstorm: Mickey Mouse at the wheel of a racecar.

Speedstorm: Racing through the jungle of The Jungle Book.

Speedstorm: Racing through Mt. Olympus.

Speedstorm: Mulan racing on rails.

And here's a taste of the gameplay...

To gain early access, you'll have to pay for a package. They start at $30, and there's really no reason to pay more than that because you'll eventually get everything in the bigger packages just by playing the game. Upon final release, Speedstorm will be Free-To-Play. Which is to say that you can play for free, but you'll be NAGGED TO DEATH to pay for micro-transactions to unlock things you need to keep advancing and be competitive in multi-player. So... if you have any aspirations to play the game, I'd do it now when you just have to pay once instead of paying small amounts over and over and over and over AND OVER. They don't have these micro-transactions enabled yet, but the path to do so is painfully obvious. There's a boatload of in-game currencies along with special tokens and credits, each of which unlocks something or another...

One of a dozen in-game currencies... this one is a Season Box Credit.

There's a super-special kind of in-game currency called "shards" which "star-up" your racer characters and Pit-Crew characters. In the example below, I got a single "Mickey Mouse Shard," which is 1/10th what you need to get the next star... at least to start... after you have one star the amount needed escalates to 1/20th (2 stars), 1/35 (3 stars), and so on, making it much harder to level up the higher you go...

Look at that... a Mickey shard!

If you don't want to wait to randomly earn the shards from racing, you can purchase them randomly in "boxes" or purchase them outright in the online store "Daily Specials" section (which change every day). Here I can buy 5 Mickey shards for 49,500 Season Coins...

Buy five Mickey shards for 49,500 Season Credits!

My favorite racers to play are Mike Wazowski and Donald Duck, so I wait for those characters to be on offer, because there's only so much currency to go around. Along with a character's "stars" there's also their "level" which requires special general tokens along with token specific to a character's "collection." In the example below, I have to have 9 General Wrenches, 4 Turbo Boosters, and 5 Boo Doors to get him to Level 17...

MIKE WAZOWSKI!!!

Characters and their supporting Pit-Crew characters are specific to different "collections" of characters. Some races can only use characters from a specific collection. It's best to pick your favorite out of each collection to star-up and level-up...

Character collections... Mickey and Friends, Pirates of the Caribbean, Hercules, Mulan, and Monsters Inc.

The Monsters Inc. character collection.

All characters are dropped into one of four character classes... Brawlers, Speedsters, Tricksters, and Defenders. The character's stats, hit bonus, and boost all shift depending on which class they're in, and affects how you play. Donald Duck is a Brawler, so he has better car handling, stuns when you hit, and gets manual boost power any time you stun. Mike Wazowski is a Speedster, so he has a higher top speed, gets an automatic speed boost when you hit, and gives power to your boost bar when you run over an auto-boost. Eventually I'll try and level up Elizabeth Swan as my Defender and Mulan as my Trickster so I can get a handle on the different kinds of play that's offered.

Characters have generic abilities that change effect depending on whether you fire them forward, charge them to fire forward, or fire backwards. They also have a unique special ability. Mike's "special ability" is Hold the Door (HODOR!) which allows you to teleport-jump ahead on the track by summoning a magical door. The more stars you have, the further ahead you appear...

The Monsters Inc. character collection.

As mentioned above, each collection of characters shares a "Pit-Crew" and the more stars you have the more Pit-Crew characters you can assign. Each of your Pit-Crew varies in rarity and adds to your stats in some way(s). For the Monsters Inc. collection, one of the better Pit-Crew options is the CDA Agents which add a bit to your Top Speed, Acceleration, and Bomb Skill. The more shards you collect, the higher their star level and the better their bonus...

CDA Agent skills.

The highest class of Pit-Crew is "Epic Level" but their shards are incredibly hard to get, thus they're very hard to unlock, and even harder to "star-up"...

CDA Agent skills.

Each racer has their own car. You can change car appearance with various cosmetic changes (like paint) and different accessories (like wheels). I honestly don't know if changing your wheels or adding a spoiler (called "wings") or repainting your car actually does anything except allow you to make your car look unique, so I don't really focus on them...

A car and it's options for customization.

Actually playing the game is done by choosing your "Game Mode"...

Different Speedstorm Play Modes.

  • Starter Circuit: This is where you are introduced to the racer characters and how the game works. As you advance you earn various in-game currencies.
  • Season Tour: You race your way through 8 chapters which each unlock after 1 week. The current season is called Unafraid and focuses on the Monsters Inc. character collection. The chapters have names like "We Scare Because We Care and "May the Best Monster Win" and "Don't Panic!" You earn "Season Coins" which have to be spent while the season is active.
  • Limited Events: Playing these wins you featured rewards like stars or upgrades if you meet certain objectives at certain levels of play.
  • Local Freeplay: Allows you to race against up to three people in the comfort of your own home (no internet or premium online membership required) on the track of your choice, for the number of laps you want, at the speed you decide, against the number of CPU racers you dictate.
  • Private Track: Essentially it's like Local Freeplay above, but online. You select the people you want to admit to your private track. Requires an internet connection and premium online membership (like Xbox Live) to play.
  • Online Multiplayer: You can either select Ranked (meaning you compete against players on your level of play) or Regulated (where everybody has the same level of character and no upgrades).

The racetracks that are included are so good. Each is based off of a Disney location that come out of each collection. You've got tracks set in places, like Mount Olympus from Hercules and The Great Wall from Mulan... plus tracks inspired by themes, like pirate ships from Pirates of the Caribbean and jungle ruins from The Jungle Book. There's even tracks which are themed off of an idea, like "The Silver Screen" which is in black-and-white. Within each track are various courses. "The Castle" (from Beauty and The Beast) includes options like "Main Hall" and "The West Wing" and "Time for Tea"...

Speedstorm Track Selection.

Controlling your racer is insane. At least for somebody like me who started out with Night Driver and Pole Position. There's so many buttons and combinations to remember, that this game will be a challenge for young kids (or old kids like me)...

The control setup.

I suggest turning steering assist and auto-acceleration on so you have two less things to worry about, then focus on mastering one skill at a time. I started practicing how to launch attacks and use my manual speed-boosts. Then spent time learning how to drift, which is essential because drifting fills up your manual boost meter faster (essential to winning races). Then I focused on dashing, which allows you to bump other players as you approach or pass, hopefully stunning them enough to get ahead. Then I practiced rear-view so I can look behind me. Then rear attacked so I can hit what I see behind me. Then jumping so I can hop up on grind-rails or reach ramps and such. It's a lot.

Whether you are blazing through the Starter Circuit or working your way through the Season Tour, you have a map of the races you need to play along with what goals have to be met to win experience or coins or whatever. This could be using a certain number/kind of skills, placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, or even just completing the race...

Speedstorm Play Map.

After the race you're told the results and how many of the goals you met. Most of the races can be played as many times as you want to get a better time or meet all the goals (some races are special and can only be played a limited number of times)...

I won first place.

Speedstorm Race Results.

Speedstorm Goal Results.

Certain races are special for some reason. Maybe the track is foggy. Maybe there's a guest boss you have to beat. Maybe the boosts and skill power-ups are floating. Maybe to win you have to be the Last One Standing...

Speedstorm Last One Standing Race.

If there's a flaw, it's that there doesn't seem to be any surround sound despite my having 7.1 turned on and surround sound enabled. It would be very cool if cars went whizzing past you audibly as well as visually. That's partially compensated for by the music. They got funky electronic versions of Disneyeque tracks that really adds to the atmosphere of the game...

Ultimately, there's a lot to like about Disney Speedstorm. Above all, it's fun. At least for now. I'm very glad that I bought the Early Access before the micro-transactions kick in and everything becomes a "He Who Spends The Most Money Wins the Race" kind of situation. Or, in some situations, "He Who Doesn't Spend Money Can't Access The Full Game" because parts of it like Speedstorm's "Golden Pass" will also likely require your money to get.

Given that this is a Disney game, I was surprised at how brutal it can get. Ramming into other players is a big part of what makes it so dang entertaining (at least when you do it... not so fun when it happens to you), which isn't the nicest way for young children to spend time in a game. Zooming up on poor Meg from Hercules and shoving her into the rails is nasty business, but given the complexity of the controls, maybe they won't be playing it? I dunno. It seems like kids have a better shot at being good at modern games than I do anymore.

So, yeah. If you're into Mario Kart and want to play as Disney characters, this is your ticket (so long as complicated controls and the incredibly complicated array of currencies doesn't scare you away). But if being financially bled to death by micro-transactions is not your idea of fun, then eventually when the free-to-play goes live you will be pretty miserable indeed. The frickin' ridiculous number of in-game currencies make this abundantly clear. My guess is that there will be a monthly package you can buy to get a set number of various tokens, coins, rewards, credits, and whatever at a discount, but regardless of how they bundle things up, having to keep paying to play really sucks. Which is to say that the future of all gaming sucks, because this is the future we're headed towards.

And oh what a crappy future that will be.

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MKHD 251

Posted on Tuesday, April 25th, 2023

Dave!My favorite YouTuber is Marques Brownlee (MKHD). He has a way of talking about tech and reviewing products that is on an entirely different level from his peers. He isn't just out there regurgitating marketing spin, he's speaking from a place of knowledge and has an easy manner to deliver his thoughts that makes his videos a joy to watch.

So imagine my surprise when his latest video dropped... and it was him talking about the new shoes he designed...

This is the ultimate form of "Putting your money where your mouth is," and you love to see it.

If I had $189 burning a hole in my pocket, I would absolutely buy a pair. But that's more than double the cost of what I usually spend (at the Nike Outlet Store, natch) so I'll just have to admire them from afar.

In a bit of marketing genius, Atoms and Marques sent pairs to a bunch of YouTubers, and the videos of their unboxing are showing up everywhere. Including other favorites like Tyler Stahlman...

And Zack over at JerryRigEverything...

And even Linus got in on the action... in his signature style, of course...

Dave2D (LOLOLOLOL!)...

Ugh. I want these more than is rational and certainly more than I can justify financially. Maybe this is one of those rare times that I throw fiscal responsibility to the wind and just spend money I don't have!

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Martian Moongazing

Posted on Wednesday, April 26th, 2023

Dave!I don't understand people who don't find space exploration utterly fascinating.

The United Arab Emirates has a Mars probe (named Hope) that sent back one of the most amazing shots I've ever seen. It's of the moon Deimos above The Red Planet, and the image composition is so amazing that you'd think it was Photoshopped. Or CGI. Or a painting. Or anything except a photograph...

Deimos floating above Mars!
Photo from Emirates Mars Mission

The mission was originally set to end by now, but the UAE just extended it another year. The probe's wide orbit of the planet allows study of the planet and its moons in a way we haven't had before.

My fascination with Mars is directly attributed to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels...

A scantily-clad Martian woman with a Martian lion with a palace in the background.
Incredible painting by Michael Whelan shown the Martian moons of Barsoom for Thuvia, Maid of Mars

Burroughs had a fascinating take on the moons Phoebus and Deimos, which Barsoomians (AKA "Martians") call Thuria and Cluros. Because the moons are very small... just 17 miles and 9 miles across, respectively)... people shrink when they approach them. John Carter visits Thuria in the book Swords of Mars only to find the surface area was similar to that of Mars, relative to his tiny size.

Phoebus and Deimos are notable not just because they are so small, but also because their orbits are really close to Mars. Phoebus is just 5,800 miles away... Deimos 14,500. Earth's moon, for comparison is 238,900 miles! But it gets worse. Phoebos's orbit is decaying 6 feet every hundred years. Which means it's likely to break apart (Mars gets a ring!) or crash into the planet in another 50 million years.

Thanks to NASA's Perseverance rover, we actually know what a solar eclipse looks like on Mars...

I could go on for pages writing about Mars and its moons. The exploration of our neighboring planet is a fascinating subject on which there are volumes of research, photos, speculation, and fiction available. It's a bottomless pit from which I'm happy to keep falling.

   

Hey Siri, You Suck Ass!

Posted on Thursday, April 27th, 2023

Dave!The Apple news of the day is how badly Siri (Apple's personal digital assistant) sucks, why it's not going to improve any time soon, and why this is a serious problem for Apple.

And the critics aren't wrong. Siri hasn't gotten much smarter in years. Maybe a decade. Marry this to the absolute fucking travesty that is HomeShit HomeKit (which is largely controlled by Siri) and Apple has fallen so far behind the curve that they can't even see the curve. It's all flat to them.

And, as I always do, I am going to blame this totally on Apple CEO Tim Cook. Apple needs a complete and total bastard like Steve Jobs in charge, and Cook isn't even close. Jobs was a ruthless taskmaster who obsessed over user experience and made absolutely sure that bugs got squashed and Apple was constantly moving forward. Cook seems to content to coast right off the racetrack and get lost in the woods.

Nope. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and everybody else is jumping on the AI bandwagon to make smart assistants... um... smart... and Apple, as usual, doesn't give a fucking shit. They do whatever the hell they want whether it benefits their customers or not... whether their customers want it or not... whether it makes sense or not.

I fucking hate it, but what's the alternative?

Look, I am not expecting the world here. I don't necessarily want (or need) for Siri to be as smart as HAL 9000 or the computer on Star Trek or whatever. But I would like it to actually fucking work for the things it advertises it can do. But I've lost track of the number of times it fails with even the simplest request... like playing a song I ask it to play. And not from some third party service... from Apple Music! It's like, that's the ultimate softball request. Play a song from a service YOU control. And yet... well... good luck with that.

More than a few pundits are saying that Apple's complete lack of interest in making Siri competetive could ultimately sink the company. This could be hyperbole. But it's not outside the realm of possibility that it's dead-on accurate. When everybody else allows you to have a smart assistant that's actually keeping up with the times and, you know, useful... when Apple is still banging rocks together, how can they possibly survive?

   

The Obisanyas

Posted on Friday, April 28th, 2023

Dave!I often wonder what it would take for me to love a television show more than Ted Lasso.

Sam Obisanya and His Dad

   
I dunno. But it's far and away my favorite right now.

   

Caturday 304

Posted on Saturday, April 29th, 2023

Dave!Jake's obsession with his stuffed lion, Mufasa, started when we was a kitten. It was a toy that my mom and I initially brought back from Africa for Spanky the Cat. He latched onto it and never stopped. Many, many, many toys have come and gone over the years, but Mufasa has never stopped being his favorite.

Lately, I've begun to think that he's not so much lugging it around for himself... but for me. Because there are times in the middle of the night that he's dragging Mufasa around and crying his guts out trying to get my attention.

Earlier this week I was on a Zoom call and Jake came wandering in with Mufasa crying. Because of course he did. Then... something surprising happened. Because I ignored him, he dropped Mufasa down the stairwell...

Jake looking down the stairwell.

When I didn't pay attention to his drama, Jake started wailing. The people on the other end of my Zoom called me "heartless" and insisted I go get his toy for him. So I did...

Jake looking down the stairwell.

He was not thrilled that I set it next to me instead of him, but I wanted to let my Zoom callers see that I actually ran down and got it.

Disgusted, he jumped down and went into my bedroom to sulk.

But then, a few minutes later he wandered back in, jumped up on my keyboard, then hopped on the banister to... I dunno... have a staring contest with Mufasa...

Eventually he grabbed Mufasa and wandered downstairs to wait for treats.

As I type this, Mufasa has been sitting on the coffee table for two days. Who knows when Jake will want to hang with him again.

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Bullet Sunday 804

Posted on Sunday, April 30th, 2023

Dave!Spring has sprung and the local orchards are killing me with allergies, but I am not dead yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Williams! John Williams is one of the... if not the... greatest movie composers of all time. A lot of people may debate this, but anybody who can take a pile of shit like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and make it even a little tolerable has earned the honorific. Duel of the Fates is an incredible piece of music. CinemaStix does a shallow dive into "The Best Decision George Lucas Ever Made, and here it is...

Williams was due to retire. But then we found out he was composing for the final Indiana Jones movie... Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny... and now it sounds like he has something cooking with Steven Spielberg too. Lucky us!

   
• Wes! And speaking of Star Wars... these Wes Anderson parodies just keep getting better and better. My previous favorite was the parody of what an Anderson X-Men film would be like. But this is my new favorite...

Wow. I would pay serious money to watch this film.

   
• ROBOTS! There are movies that I am completely hooked on before the trailer even reaches the halfway mark. This is 1000% one of them. It looks hilarious...

Since it's by HBO films, I'm guessing it will end up on "Max" eventually. We'll see if I can wait that long... or whether I'll be paying the on-demand price to see it before that.

   
• Hate System! Former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has long been speaking out against bigotry, and on Friday this CNN interview was posted...

Say what you want about the guy but, in the grand scheme of things, he is a force for good in this world. We need more people like him.

   
• Beautification! This video is not for everyone. But if you're an architecture nerd like me, it's a wonderful, wonderful deep dive into reversing a horrible trend of turning cities into prisons. It's long, but I watched it twice because it was so interesting to me...

We need more of this happening in our cities. We need it.

   
• Puppers! This past week I saw a flood of "reaction" videos from people talking about the latest video from Lewis Capaldi. People bawling their heads off. People breaking down completely. And I was like "Whatever!" because I'm not a very emotional person, and just dismissed the "overreaction" outright. But then I watched it...

Then I was like "Yeah, I get it now." Humans and their antics may not often put a lump in my throat... but animals can do it quite easily. Couple the song with the video, and you can't be human and not react in some way to it.

   
• Undiplomatic! The Diplomat (Netflix) was very good television. It's dense and smart without being boring. It spins its wheels a bit, but ultimately moves ahead at a good clip. It also has fantastic performances that make it all the better. BUT THEN THEY END IT ON A MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER. Not about some small aspect of the story... BUT THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE STORY. It's like the story was cut in two and you only get the first half. Which is just fine if you've already been renewed for a second season. But, so far as we know, no second season has been ordered. Which means that the writers of the show are hacks of the fucking worst kind. They're too lazy to complete a story and then come up with a big idea to open the second season... instead they drop a bombshell so that they can just continue with what they've already done. No need to figure out a way to forge forward in a new, exciting direction... just roll onward from where you've already been. And if you get canceled? You don't care! Fuck your audience!...

I am so sick of this shit. IF YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOUR SHOW WILL CONTINUE, WRAP IT THE FUCK UP! STOP WITH THE UNWARRANTED CLIFFHANGERS YOU ABSOLUTE PIECE OF SHIT HACKS. This crap is fucking embarrassing, and I'm tired of it. — UPDATE! The show has been renewed for a second season. Which does nothing to stop my raging, because they could just keep doing this same shit each season until they're canceled and we're left hanging.

   
If I'm still alive from allergies next Sunday, you know where to find me.

   

The Trash You Make

Posted on Monday, May 1st, 2023

Dave!My garbage output for the week usually consists of a shopping bag full of unrecyclables and a small bag of cat waste. It barely makes a dent in my trash can, which is the smallest one I can get.

And every two months I'm paying $80.44, which is to say I'm required to pay $40.22 every month for a trash can that I don't use very often...

I wish that we could may based on how much trash we produce instead of getting screwed over when we barely have any. I pay $482.64 a year. That's $9.28 a week. But if it takes me a month or more to fill up my trash can, shouldn't I be paying under $10 a month?

Paying by how much trash you produce would be a good incentive for people to waste less, recycle and re-use more. Or maybe it wouldn't. Maybe people like throwing money into their trash like this.

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We’re Fucking Doomed

Posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Dave!Look, I know that I'm droning on about top-tier First World Problems, but it's infuriating just how bad things are getting with Apple and their bullshit.

I am perfectly willing to accept the blame when the fault is mine. A few days ago it was overcast and raining that day. All of a sudden all my lights came on. It took me a second to realize that when I wrote the automation which monitors light levels and turns on lights when it gets dark was fooled by the overcast weather. My bad. I should have included a time range so lights aren't turning on in the middle of the day.

That I can deal with because I can (probably) fix it.

What I cannot fix is the idiotic crap that pops up every damn day.

Like coming home and telling Siri on my Apple Watch to unlock the front door. Something I've done hundreds of times before. Only to get this...

Siri says that it looks like you haven't set up any HomeKit devices!

No reason. It just happened out of the blue. And when I go to the Home app on my iPhone? No problem. The front door is unlocked post-haste.

The other day I was writing an email in a language I'm not terribly comfortable with and decided to ask Siri if the word I was using means what I thought it did. Siri didn't understand. So I thought... let's try a more popular foreign language here in the USA...

ME: "Hey Siri, what does the word 'mañana' mean in Spanish?"
SIRI: "In Spanish, mañana means" =insert pause= "mañana!"

AND SIRI SAID THE SECOND MAÑANA IN A SPANISH ACCENT!! Thanks a fucking heap. Remember last week when I was talking about how Apple is losing the AI digital assistant battle badly? This is exactly what I'm talking about.

But even something like that is not going to send me into a ballistic rage where I want to rip my little HomePod orb out of the wall and chuck it out the window. No, that's reserved for stupid, inexplicable bullshit that has absolutely nothing to do with what Apple should be promising... but instead what they have actually been promising!

Like telling Siri to play a song I want to listen to. Have Siri tell me the song will play. Then have Siri tell me there's a problem with Apple Music. WHAT THE FUCK?!? I'm trying to listen to an Apple Service on an Apple Product. There's no disconnect here. And the solution I get from Apple Support Knowledgebase? Remove the HomePod from HomeKit. Reset it. Then reinstall it. Do you know what happens when I do that? THIS RIGHT HERE...

Siri says SETUP FAILED! ERROR 300208!

What a friendly error message! What the fuck does (300208) even mean? I tried three times. The fucker will not add back to HomeKit. And the KnowledgeBase isn't helping. I've wasted fucking hours of my life on this shit. So now I have a dead HomePod and I will have to try and get support out of Apple, whose support is so fucking shitty now-a-days that I am almost to the point where I want to throw this one away and get a new one.

For months the internet has been abuzz about how Apple is at the forefront of eliminating passwords forever so we can use biometric data (like a retinal scan or a fingerprint) to unlock our lives for us. Even when the story is about Google following Apple's lead! Which is so fucking laughable because Apple can't even get rid of passwords in their own fucking ecosystem! This is what I got when I went to remove my HomePod mini from my HomeKit so I could re-add it...

ENTER YOUR FUCKING PASSWORD FOR THE TENTH TIME TODAY!

Apple asks me for my password ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And if Apple can't even get their shit to work for themselves, then what hope do they have trying to bring others along? Passkey barely works (when it works at all) on many sites which try to implement it (like this blog!).

This has disaster written all over it.

"Hey Siri! I can't breathe and I think I'm having a heart attack! Call 9-1-1!"

"Playing the song 'Every Breath You Take' on Apple Music." =insert pause= "Apple Music is not responding."

We're fucking doomed.

   

DOON TWOOOOO!

Posted on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Dave!Given how spectacular the Dune adaptation is... I was fully expecting that they would kill the followup film. Then, miracle of miracles, Warner Bros. gave Denis Villeneuve the green light for Part Two. I was elated. At the very least we'd be getting a full adaptation of the first book. And hopefully get some followups, because the story is just getting started.

And today the trailer dropped.

It's everything you'd hope it would be...

And speaking of Dune...

There's a new "behind the scenes" book being released about the first Dune movie.

Yes, I'm going to buy this book.

Hell yes.

I will say it for the hundredth time... David Lynch's Dune was a great movie. Yes, I questioned some of the choices made. Yes, the special effects were limited by the technology of the day. But the fact he was forced to shove the entire book in one movie and have it turn out as amazing as it did is worthy of praise. Do I prefer the Villeneuve 2021/2023 adaptation? Yes. Does this diminish my appreciation for what Lynch was able to accomplish? It does not. I've watched it dozens of times and still love it.

   

The Art of Being Ted

Posted on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Dave!The eighth episode of Ted Lasso moves us further towards the season (and possibly series) finale. It also deals with something entirely topical: hacking people's digital privacy to release their personal data. In this case it's a sexy time video of Keeley that she sent to her boyfriend at the time.

The tremendous loss that's going to come when the show ends isn't just the characters, the stories, and the whole concept of it all... it's the artistry of everything that goes into it.

In this latest episode I was really struck by the visual language of the show. Like many good directors and cinematographers, there's a lot of thought that goes into every shot.

Spoilers from here on out...

When the show starts, there's a shot of Jaimie Tartt being Jamie Tartt. Of all the characters in the show, his journey has had the biggest arc...

The framing here is interesting. It's not a closeup of the camera filming his face as you might expect. They wanted to show his body language. He's centered in the frame because Jamie is all about Jamie. There's not room for anybody else.

They shift to Roy Kent, who is not centered on the frame. Roy's visual language is him standing apart from people. Note Jamie in the background as the conversation is revolving around the leak of private information, including Keeley. Roy was Keeley's last boyfriend, Jamie was the boyfriend before...

There's nothing special about the shot that follows. But it's funny because Jamie gets a look at Will Kitman's private photos that he's deleting. Which is assumably includes the threesome he recently had in Amsterdam...

But then we get to Colin leaving the room after Isaac instructs everybody to delete all sexytime photos of other people from their phones so they don't get hacked and released. Isaac assumes that it's because Colin doesn't want to delete his photos. But the truth is that he needs privacy because his photos aren't something he wants his teammates to see. So when Isaac follows him and grabs his phone away, he gets a surprise he wasn't prepared for...

Isaac is just right of center, so you're focusing on his face. He doesn't look happy. But is it because he found out Colin is gay and doesn't approve... or because Colin never told him. Even Colin doesn't seem to know...

Notice that Isaac is looming over him, making Colin seem as small as he is feeling. Something he has worked so hard to hide is out. And once Isaac leaves him, Colin is left alone. Except the framing of the shot shows that the entire sofa is there. Something unsaid and unknown is sitting next to him. He's got baggage we can't see that he has to make room for wherever he goes...

Roy tracks down Keeley to tell her he's sorry about what happened. They are having a conversation while actively avoiding looking at each other, which is to show that they're hiding what they really want to say...

Roy then makes the horrible mistake of asking Keeley who the sexytime video was meant for. He regrets it immediately. And now he's framed as alone and apart again as Keeley leaves...

We then get a shot of poor Richard still deleting all his sexytime photos from his phone which, given that he's a playboy footballer, is apparently a lot. And it's a traumatic experience for him. Note that he is centered in the frame, unlike Colin, because he doesn't have to make room of anything unsaid. His life is much, much more simple...

Ted's son wants to go to a football game, and the only team playing is the dreaded West Ham, coached by former Ted protégée Nathan. They made sure to frame the shot so you could see Coach Beard defiantly standing amongst all the West Ham fans...

After the game, they're off to Mae's pub where she's mortified to see that Henry is wearing a West Ham shirt. But they beautifully switch to a wide shot so you can see Ted's reaction... because he knows what Mae's reaction will be...

After Ted wanders off for a phone call, Coach Beard gives some sage advice to Henry and the post-divorce life of his parents. It's interesting that they decided to not do a side-shot where you can see both of their faces. Nope, they swung the camera behind Henry so you can really focus on what Beard is saying...

And then, at the end of the episode, we get yet another priceless moment showing how Jamie has grown and changed over these three seasons. He had deleted all his sexytime photos of Keeley once he knew her relationship with Roy was real. But he forgot about the emails. It was his phone that got hacked and it's where Keeley's video got leaked from. He feels awful about it, and wanted to apologize to Keeley for it. Knowing how Jamie was at the start of the show, you can't help but be touched by the gesture. Especially when you see how much Jamie still cares for her. When the camera is focused on Keeley hugging Jamie, it's close... it's personal. But when the camera is focused on Jamie being hugged by Keeley, it's a wider shot. Likely so you can see her hugging him back. And while it's no less personal, there's room in the frame for somebody else. Which I'm guessing is Roy...

It's nice to see that the incredible writing and acting are not being buried by crap photography. Every episode has people who really know their stuff... from directing and filming to editing.

Which is just yet another reason I'm having a really tough time at the thought of this show ending.

   

It’s Not Delivery… It’s Delivery!

Posted on Friday, May 5th, 2023

Dave!Yesterday I went to make a shopping list so I could plan a trip to the grocery store this weekend. As I opened up the Safeway app, I decided to roll the dice and see if delivery was available to my small city. Unlike the last several times I tried, delivery was actually available!

And so... I gave it a try. If grocery delivery is normal for you, then you already know how it works. But for me?

Ever since the pandemic started and the lockdown happened, I make one big grocery run the first weekend of the month (after payday)... then make little trips for perishables until the next month. And that's what I did when making my order for delivery. Which is silly, really. I signed up for a "free delivery" trial so I could get $30 or more in groceries delivered any time I want for one month. And since $30 barely buys anything anymore, it would be easy to hit that amount.

Habits, and all.

The nice thing about making an order through the Safeway app is that I get all the stupid-ass discounts available... Weekly ad, Just 4 U, Club Card... and whatever else they dream up to make shopping a massive chore because it's a crapshoot if the discounts actually get applied. Because a lot of times, at least one of them doesn't. But with the app, you see the discount on every item. And the grand total you pay reflects all the discounts you got. Refreshing!

Delivery fees vary by how big of a window you request. A one-hour window is $9.95. Larger windows cost less money... down to $3.95. But since I'm on a free trial, I was able to get a one-hour window after work for $0.00. Nice.

Safeway allows you to add a tip for your driver. They default to 5%, but I went up to 10%... which actually worked out to over 15% because the amount is calculated on the total before discount. I've seen the videos about the horrendous shit that drivers have to put up with, and it seems like the very least I could do. Especially since they are saving me a 20 minute drive to the store, followed by 30 minutes shopping, followed by a 20 minute drive home.

You're texted a link once your groceries leave the store so you can cyber-stalk your driver...

Cyberstalking My Driver

All my groceries arrived on time. Everything I ordered was there. Frozen stuff was still frozen. Cold stuff was still cold.

It was like magic.

I seriously felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

There was only one thing that made it not a perfect experience. The two small bags of salad I got were turning brown. Not expired yet. But far from fresh. If I were doing the shopping myself, I would have never bought them. There's $3 down the drain. The rest of the produce was great though.

I'm probably going to pay for the subscription for free delivery. It's $99 a year, but you get a $5 credit every month, bringing it down to $39. Then you get discounts and specials which will probably make it a wash. The only thing I'll be paying extra is the tip for my driver, which far, far outweighs the inconvenience and horrors of having to do it all myself.

And I could do with a little less horror right now.

   

Caturday 305

Posted on Saturday, May 6th, 2023

Dave!Let's see... what's happening in the world of cats this week?

First of all, Jenny continues to get more and more demanding. If I happen to be playing video games when she wants to be petted? TOUGH SHIT! You will pause your game and you will pet me because I demand it!

Earlier this week I was eating sliced apples with caramel dip. The last thing I needed was to have cat hair stuck to my apples, so I told her to wait a minute. She did not like this! Jumped up behind me on the couch and started meowing at my head...

JENNY LOOKING DOWN ON ME DEMANDING PETS!

And of course she gets what she wants...

Jenny getting pets.

In other news, Jake is starting to climb on me when he wants attention. He hasn't done that in months...

Jake in my lap.

Jake in my lap again.

Jake sleeping in my lap.

How can I resist that? I can't. He's been bringing Mufasa to me lately too. Something he also hasn't done in months...

Jake dropping off Mufasa his toy lion.

Me trying to give him his toy lion back.

Which is to say that I am on-call at all times, because Jenny still demands pets before sleep...

Jenny getting petted on my bed.

And I know it's normal cat behavior, but I still marvel at the way that Jake will be scared to death and run away from me one minute... then just decide to plop down in front of me while I'm following him downstairs for breakfast. If I'm not careful, I can easily step on him, because he will not move. I have to figure out a way around him....

Jake stopped on the stairs as I am trying to get down to feed him breakfast.

And that's enough cats for today. Have a good Saturday!

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Bullet Sunday 805

Posted on Sunday, May 7th, 2023

Dave!I did not see this coming, but here we are... because an all new Very Special Jury Duty Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Jury Duty! My favorite new show so far this year is Poker Face. But a very close second would be Jury Duty. The concept is unreal... a fake trial was created where nothing was real and everybody in the courtroom is an actor. Except one guy who actually thought he was serving on a real jury for a documentary. And it's insane...

Ronald in a Jury Duty promo image.

When I first heard of it, I wasn't going to watch it because I was worried that the entire point of the show was going to be making fun of this poor man. But nothing could be further from the truth. Ronald Gladden is the hero we all need right now. He's incredibly kind, decent, and sweet. They couldn't have possibly lucked out any harder, because he's also jaw-droppingly entertaining...

Seriously. It's amazing reality television. The Truman Show come to life.


   
What follows may contain spoilers, so be sure to watch the show (which is free on Amazon FreeVee) before continuing.

   
• Ronald! Once you see the last episode where poor Ronald is told that his entire world for the last 17 days was fake... your heart sinks a little bit. That would be a lot to take in for anybody. It's like... could you ever trust your reality again? For a little look behind the scenes, here's an interview with him on The Elvis Duran Show...

For a lengthier look into the show from Ronald's viewpoint, KFC Radio has you covered...

I really, really hope that we see more of Ronald. He's just too good to fade away.

   
• Marsden! As if Ronald wasn't reason enough to watch, they somehow got James Marsden roped into this. And he is comedy gold!

I've seen Marsden occasionally on different talk shows, but nothing could have possibly prepared me for how good he was in Jury Duty. If you want a more extensive look, that's on KFC Radio too...

The fact that Jame Marsden seems to be a good guy as well makes the show that much better.

   
• May the Schwartz be with you! There are numerous moments with Ronald that are too good to be true... and his lighting up when mentioning that he didn't know Ben Schwartz was the voice of Sonic in the Sonic The Hedgehog movie is definitely one of them...

Literally there can't be too many good things coming Ronald's way.

   
• jorf! In the fourth episode, Todd "soils his shirt" in a freak mannequin accident. Since they are at a T-shirt company, Todd ends up trading his soiled shirt for a misprint shirt with "jorf" printed on it. It's supposed to be a misprint, nonsense word... and I thought it was so cool that I simply had to have one. Except later at Margaritaville the jury finds out that jorf means something awful. Well, not really, but in context of the show. So then I'm like "GOOD LORD! I COULD NEVER WEAR THAT SHIRT!" Even though it's all fake. What it "means" is fake. And that's what messes with your head. This show makes fake become real.

   
• SECONDS? The sad thing about this show being a massive success is that they really can't do a second season because everybody has seen it. Or at least knows about it. They would have to go really deep to find somebody who hasn't seen it, and I don't even know that would be possible.

   
If you haven't watched this... what are you waiting for?. It's free to watch on Amazon FreeVee.

   

Oh So Crispy

Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2023

Dave!Apples are my favorite fruit. My current favorite variety of apple is "Pink Lady" which are tart and crisp, but have sweet notes. They are good eating and fantastic with caramel dipping sauce. For reasons I don't understand, they got shoved aside in favor of "Cosmic Crisp" apples. This variety isn't terrible... it's juicier and has more flavor than the "Red Delicious"... but it's not the best-tasting apple I've had.

The first batch of Cosmic Crips I saw were incredibly expensive. I bought one to try. Then never bought them again because they were too speedy. But then I noticed that they had plummeted in price. And the store was having a sale: four for the price of three. I bought them because they were actually cheaper than many other options (including Pink Ladies).

I still don't understand the infatuation. And maybe other people don't either for them to be sold so cheap. Fortunately I had plenty of dipping caramel to add some flavor.

And speaking of crispy...

Pete Davidson, of whom I've always been a fan, has a new show out called Bupkis. Not only is it darn good (if a little uneven), it has a huge list of guest stars. And, Lord only knows how, he managed to get JOE PESCI out of retirement, but he's amazing in this...

If you've got Peacock, it's worth a look. If, for no other reason, you can find out why the fourth episode is more crispy than Cosmic Crisp.

   

Eyes Wide Open

Posted on Tuesday, May 9th, 2023

Dave!My obsession with the show Jury Duty continues.

In all the interviews I've seen, Ronald seems like he is wide open to becoming a public figure and exploiting whatever fame he gets from the show. And, in all seriousness, good for him. Everybody loves the guy, and he deserves it.

Ronald already signed on with the Artists First talent agency, so I guess he's going to be popping up everywhere very soon. Like in this Mint Mobile commercial...

In all honesty, I don't know whether I'd rather have a hug from Ryan Reynolds or Ronald Gladden.

   

All That You Are

Posted on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

Dave!The latest episode of Ted Lasso was great... but still filled me with despair because now there's just three left.

I will probably just live-blog the final four because I have nothing better going on right now.

So. Spoilers. Obviously.

And we're off...

  • The fact that Brett Goldstein is never out of character... even when just standing on the sidelines... is magical to me. His posture is all Roy Kent all the time.
  • Coach Beard is so delightfully weird. IF we get lucky enough for the show to continue and Jason Sudeikas isn't on board, I sure hope he stays in London.
  • The two possibilities are that A) Isaac is a raging homophobe and wants nothing to do with Colin now that he knows he's gay... or B) Isaac is upset that his good friend and teammate kept something so important from him. As this is Ted Lasso, I think we all know what it's going to be.
  • Dani Rojas is such a great character than it's painful to see his final episodes reduced to smelly socks. But I guess we can't have all the teammates getting the spotlight all the time, darnit.
  • Am I the only one who never fast-forwards through the credits? I love the song. I love the design of it all. Short and catchy.
  • Keeley's entire diversion with Jack has been so senseless. It's a diversion that hasn't worked at all and I'm glad that it's done with. I guess they had to have something for Keeley to do, but staying in a relationship with Roy and finding something interesting revolving around her new business really should have been enough.
  • Nice plug for Apple iPhone "blue bubbles!"
  • Lord. Ted can be SO frickin' annoying. This whole heart-bent fart song is just dumb. This is time that could have been spent so much better.
  • OH GOD HOW I LOVE ROY KENT! He is, bar none, my most favorite character to ever grace my television.
  • I really don't want to objectify Rebecca or anything... but holy shit is Hannah Waddington fit! Her legs are flawless. As is the rest of her.
  • Nope. Nope. Nope. They destroyed Nathan as a character after making him so heinously awful. Don't give a shit about him, regardless of whatever redemption arc they've got going on.
  • Jade has ended up being a great character. Her deadpan reaction to Rupert dissing her boyfriend is everything. "He seems very wealthy." is classic Jade.
  • So Rupert is not getting a redemption arc. He's awful. And there's nothing more than that.
  • Like I said, Coach Beard is delightfully weird and I love him in every scene.
  • Seriously. Hannah Waddington is frickin' gorgeous. I'm smitten.
  • Oh Roy! LOLOL!
  • I have mentioned several times how I would love to see more of Richard Montlaur. He is the quintessential playboy footballer with his nonstop parade of beautiful women and sports cars... and we really don't have that in the show. It could make for some funny moments if they'd only give him a chance. But instead we get to hear that he has a hairy ass. Thanks for the character building!
  • Trent Crimm has always been an interesting character, and it's truly great that we get to see a bit more of him. Especially in this context with Colin.
  • Those rare scenes between Roy and Rebecca are always gold. And they're always so different. They're never on repeat, which is fascinating, because they are also never out of character.
  • Again. Couldn't give two shits about Nate. He and Rupert deserve each other. All these scenes are time wasted for me.
  • See... I'd much rather devote Nathan's screen time to Mae, Paz, Jeremy, and Paul. Or almost anybody, for that matter.
  • The crappy Richmond fan is exactly why I don't go to many sporting events any more. It's more and more common for "fans" to be repugnant assholes in the stands, and I really don't need that. I go to enjoy the game and have fun... not be reminded that people are terrible. To add insult to injury, the fan is being stupid. Richmond is down by one. One! Not five or six! And that's after winning eight straight games. This is a bit sloppy on behalf of the writers. They could have made the fan be an ass over something that actually makes sense.
  • Isaac became a great character in the second season. The fact that the actor (Kola Bokinni) manages to add some dimension to what seemed like a fairly one-dimensional player is rewarding. This isn't just the writers giving him some attention.
  • Interesting that the "f-word" can be dropped constantly without problem, but the other "f-word" can't be said, says a lot about the word in question.
  • And here is why I love Sam & Jamie. Dang. So many incredible characters on this show.
  • And now we know which side Isaac is on. As if there was ever any doubt. And here's a softer side of Roy Kent as well. If there was a show called Roy Kent I would absolutely watch that.
  • They should have never promoted Nate out of being kit man. That's where his character started going all wrong. And seeing Will Kitman being who Nathan could have been is sobering. They could have still had him still make suggestions for the team to Ted and Beard... that would have been great... but Evil Nate is a waste of time.
  • Colin's big moment was... off screen?? Good Lord. Why? Everything has been leading up to this!
  • Ted's folksy charm was incredible in the first season. Wearing a little thin in the second season. But now? This story of his is just eye-rolling bad. It's like they used up all their ideas for the character, and now he's been reduced to fart jokes and blowing up toilets. HOWEVER... his ending comment about "hating to bring up work at a time like this" is classic Ted.
  • Okay... Trent and Colin's little convo here is hilarious.
  • Having Colin suddenly be this brilliant footballer just because he came out to his team is a bit over the top, isn't it?
  • Oh shocking. Rupert is a womanizing piece of shit! Still. Guess running that trope into the ground was more important than devoting time to Richmond?
  • Roy Kent's press conference is just brilliant all the way around. From Brett's performance to the writing to the reactions of the other actors. THIS RIGHT HERE is everything I am going to miss about this show. The fact that it comes with a life lesson is why Ted Lasso is my favorite show of all time.
  • WHY? WHY DIDN'T THEY PAN TO OLD TRENT'S REACTION AFTER ROY SAID THAT HE PREFERS NEW TRENT TO OLD TRENT?!?
  • Something I don't talk about much is the genius behind the musical selections that come out of this show. Many times I look up the songs so I can add them to my playlist. You can bet that All That You Are by Bear's Den was added. It's lovely.
  • Colin's house is amazing.
  • And of course the scene between Colin and Isaac is the best. As you knew it would be. The fact that they managed to make it so funny on top of being so wonderfully sweet and charming is nice.
  • Colin tell Isaac that he's not interested in telling the world he's gay, and that tracks with his conversation with Trent in Amsterdam. So I guess that's the end of that. With only three episodes left, they don't really have time to have this leak to the world at large.
  • This I Am What I Am and What I Am is No Excuses monstrosity of a song is obviously some kind of gay Broadway anthem... which definitely won't be added to my playlist. Yikes.

Here's that Bear Den song, just in case you need it...

Good night!

   

The Weather Ain’t What it Used to Be

Posted on Thursday, May 11th, 2023

Dave!The older man was having a tough time retrieving the money out of his wallet. It was no big deal to me, but the sales clerk was clearly getting annoyed. She was drumming one of her hands on the cash drawer and acting like she would get paid more if only the guy would move faster.

After paying, the guy grabbed his bag then turned to apologize to me for being so slow. I told him "Don't worry, I'm in no hurry."

His response was "Yeah? The weather ain't what it used to be."

I have spent the rest of my day trying to figure out what that meant. Did he mis-hear me? Was it a metaphor for something profound? Did I mis-hear him?

I mean, he's not wrong... but in what way?

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Pre-Loved at The Vestiaire Collective

Posted on Friday, May 12th, 2023

Dave!So... Disney+ is yet another streaming service that doesn't get it. They are merging their service with Hulu and removing content (along with providing less new content). And raising prices.

I signed up for Marvel and Start Wars content. Period. I don't watch anything else on their service. So the less content they have of these properties... and the less new content they add of them... the less there is for me to watch and the less reason I have to stay subscribed month-after-month. Adding Hulu crap doesn't compensate for WHAT YOU TOLD ME I WOULD BE GETTING WHEN I SIGNED UP. Another season of Handmaid's Tale (or whatever) does not interest me. And it really doesn't make up for a price increase and less content for me to watch. These streaming services are trying to be all things to all people and failing badly at it. Stick to your niche: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. I'll pay for that. All your other content should be a separate service that has to succeed or fail on its own. Don't expect me to subsidize it, because I won't.

Oh well. I'll just subscribe once or twice a year to watch whatever new Marvel and Star Wars content I want to see.

Hopefully without ads because there's only so many millions of times I can handle watching commercials for The Vestiaire Collective.

But anyway...

I've had all the camera brands... Canon to Nikon to Olympus to Panasonic to Fuji to whatever. Despite the shitty menus on the camera, my hands-down favorite is from Sony. No joke... Sony Electronics makes the best cameras I've ever used, and I've gone around the world with them.

BUT THEIR SOFTWARE FOR EVEN THE MOST BASIC FUNCTIONS... LIKE TETHERED SHOOTING... IS THE ABSOLUTE FUCKING WORST. They NEVER work. EVER. I have never once been able to get ANYTHING working with Sony tethered shooting for more than two minutes.

This morning I've been trying again for an hour.

NOPE! How in the hell do you fuck up something so simple THIS badly?

PC Remote is ON...

PC Remote ON

Remote Control is ON...

Remote Control ON

The camera knows it's plugged into a computer...

Connecting! NOT!

But of course the software on my camera doesn't recognize any of it. Thank God I'm mostly done with SLR cameras. The iPhone camera is good enough for 98% of what I need, and those photos I can actually get to on my computer.

   

Caturday 306

Posted on Saturday, May 13th, 2023

Dave!I hit the cat jackpot lottery. Both Jake and Jenny are so ridiculously entertaining.

Jake brought Mufasa into my bedroom for his morning pets yesterday. When I got back from taking a shower, this was going on...

Jake looking at Mufasa

Jake hugging Mufasa

Jake biting Mufasa

Jake trying to get Mufasa fuzz off his tongue

I have no idea if Jake loves Mufasa or hates Mufasa. It's a mixed bag every time.

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Bullet Sunday 806

Posted on Sunday, May 14th, 2023

Dave!It's a lovely Spring day. As much as it can be, anyway. So I guess it's go time... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Opt-Out of Stupid! =sigh= The first Mother's Day without my mom was, as you can imagine, a soul-crushing event (and each one after is no easier). Not because it reminded me of what I had lost... because there wasn't anything that didn't remind me of what I lost... but because the weeks leading up to the actual day means being inundated with emails telling me to buy a gift for my mom. That's an assault that was incredibly difficult to deal with, because nothing would make me happier to be able to buy something for my mom again. Now-a-days, it's getting a bit easier because companies are allowing you to fine-tune your emails to not include events which my be tough on you. But of course there are total fucking assholes who want to make this kindness into something horrible. Because that's where we are now...

@jwilliamj “My political beliefs = anti 2010 meme”- @Matt Walsh #fyp #foryoupage #viral #foryou #leftistlogic #conservative #woke #stitch ♬ original sound - JJ

Just fuck you. Is there absolutely anything... anything at all... that can make you put yourself in somebody else's shoes for even two fucking seconds? I try to find the best in people, but I sincerely doubt it. Trading off of misery is apparently too profitable.

   
• Tattoo Me! I was outright called a "satan worshipper" once because I have tattoos. I told them that my tattoos have nothing to do with satan... only to be screeched at with "ANY TIME YOU DESECRATE THE BODY GOD GAVE YOU, YOU ARE WORSHIPPING SATAN!!!" And that's when I looked her dead in the face and said "Then hail satan and fuck off, I guess." Because I'm happy to confirm idiotic biases. I'm here to help. Which is why this resonates with me...

@nurse.alexrn My boss was crying laughing #nursesoftiktok #nurselife #nursehumor #nurseproblems #nursetok #medicalhumor #nursinghumor #nursetok ♬ original sound - Tank the GSD

People are so toxic now-a-days that unless you conform exactly to their ideals they go all asshole on you.

   
• Jenno! A conversation I had yesterday...

"Ooh! There's a new Hannah Gadsby special on Netflix!"
"You like Hannah Gadsby?"
"Sure. I mean, there's parts of her sets that don't hit with me, but that's okay."
"THAT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE A MAN!"
"I HAVE APOLOGIZED FOR MY GENDER MANY TIMES!"
"YOU CAN'T APOLOGIZE ENOUGH!"
"I'M SORRY!"

"Okay. You're good for another day."
"DAY? Can't we call me good for a month? Or at least a week?"
"No."
"Okay then, have a nice evening!"
"You too!"
"As good as the patriarchy will allow."

As it turns out, this is my favorite her specials.

   
• Lord of the... Rings?! These Wes Anderson parodies just keep coming. And are fantastic...

As always, I would pay serious money to see this film if it existed.

   
• Dooce. One of the most famous bloggers ever, Heather Armstrong, died this past week after losing her long struggle with depression (a battle she fought very hard, even going so far as to undergoing experimental treatments where her brain activity was stopped then restarted). This is awful. I think she wasn't even 50 yet? She's one of the old school bloggers who started around the time I did. I wasn't into mommy-blogging, but I ran across her posts from time to time and she was about as real as you could get online. Which is probably why she was so popular. I'd read things she wrote and think "Wow, I could never get that personal so publicly!"... and I'm betting that's what made her so relatable and beloved by the community that formed around her (even though lately she became infamous for blogging some pretty heinous things that I disagree with vehemently). Rest in peace, Heather. You can't get Dooced in heaven. Thinking of her two kids today.

   
• Tour of Wealth! Architecture YouTube is a bottomless pit of amazing homes and buildings for me. I can get lost there for hours. This one popped up this past week, and I honestly don't know how to feel about it...

If I had the money? Sure! I'd live there! Except... I just don't know how I could sleep at night knowing that I've used $250,000,000 that could have gone towards helping people. AND STILL HAVE MILLIONS LEFT OVER TO SPEND ON A NEW HOUSE... OR TEN! It's just so unfathomable to me.

   
Wishing you a good rest of your Sunday.

   

Corn Over the Mountains in Traffic

Posted on Monday, May 15th, 2023

Dave!I have apparently reached the point where I am the guy who doesn't want to leave the house.

Remember when you could drive to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from my house in 2 hours and 25 minutes? Pepperidge Farms remembers. Now you are very lucky to do it in under 3 hours... even if you carefully plan it so that you hit that narrow 1:30 to 3:30 window where the traffic is bad... but not horrendous like what happens after 3:30.

Even though I planned accordingly, there were two lane closure events that cost me 20 minutes and a traffic slow-down that added an additional 10 minutes. So... needless to say it was well over 3 hours travel time. Again. This blows. Left at 12:30, arrive at 3:40. It's gotten to the point where I just want to stay home with my cats and not go anywhere.

I'd get drunk to decompress, but I have work in the morning and don't want to be hung over for it.

So instead I went to Cheesecake Factory for Corn Cakes...

Corn Cakes!

No, it doesn't make up for having to leave home.

But it does come close.

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The Car Curse Continues

Posted on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

Dave!I bought my mom the Toyota Corolla I'm driving in 2006. It's now 17 years old. I love not having car payments so much that I decided to drive it until it died, and figured I could at least push it to 20 years. I just had the brakes completely re-done last year with this in mind.

Now the clear-coat is peeling off, it needs more work because the muffler is just starting to sound bad, and the engine is getting a little rough. But I figure the cost of having all that done is worth it if I don't have to buy a new car.

And THEN somebody ran into the car in the parking lot of my hotel last night. At least I'm assuming that's what happened because I never noticed the damage before today. I was able to get it popped out, but it's scraped up and a bit cracked. Which means even more money needed to sink into the car.

And so... guess I am ready to cut my losses and buy a new car.

Maybe?

Because I don't really want a new-new car. If I had a new-new car, I'd be paranoid about getting hit in a hotel parking lot way too much. And I'd freak out if anything happened to it. So I want a new-to-me used car. I thought... maybe I can get something relatively recent and decent and certified pre-owned for $15-$16,000. WELP! Even used cars are tragically expensive, yo. IN MANY CASES MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A NEW CAR! And if I can't get certified pre-owned, then there's the idea that something could go wrong with it almost immediately and I'd have to sink even MORE money into it.

Blergh. This blows. Why can't I be a billionaire who doesn't have to worry about things like this?

The Corolla only has 85,000 miles on it. Probably worth just having the work doen and coasting for seven years. At least I know the car was taken care of. I'm tight with the owner.

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Unplanned Pauses are the Best Pauses

Posted on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

Dave!I do not take blog hiatuses very often. It's actually pretty rare.

I've had maybe 5 or 6 in twenty-three years maybe? My longest hiatus was, understandably, when I was moving my mom to a facility (and the aftermath) because I couldn't care for her any more. It was the absolute lowest time in my life with a hurt so deep that communicating with the outside world (let alone the entire internet) simply wasn't possible for four months. Oddly enough, I didn't take a hiatus when she passed two years later. By that time I had already said goodbye twice... once when I moved her out of my home... again when she no longer remembered me... so it was actually therapeutic to remember how incredibly lucky I was to have such a great mom, and reflect on what an inspiration she is and the horrors of her slide into dementia, then talk about my lessons learned about caring for a loved one with dementia so that maybe it could help somebody else.

Other hiatuses aren't nearly so dramatic. A couple times because I had things to deal with. A couple times because my blog was broken.

But this past week? There really isn't a reason. I just needed a week off. I have entirely too much on my plate to write about anything so I just... didn't.

Let's see what happened...

  • My spiffy new heat pump uses the existing return line to the air exchanger in my garage. It's a line that goes through my walls. And because the builder did a horrendously shitty job securing the line and made zero effort to dampen the sound, it can get way more noisy than I'm comfortable with. So I am having to rip out another wall to deal with that (let's see... that would be #4, if you're counting).
  • After my first landscaper got COVID and was no longer able to work... my second landscaper bailed after I approved his plan ("I can't deal with the job right now")... and my third landscaper just plain ghosted me after his final proposal didn't include major things we discussed, but was the still same price he originally quoted!... I am now on landscaper number four. I am fairly optimistic. And I'm happy that I didn't spend all the money I saved for the project four years ago.
  • My annual Spring allergies are killing me. As I age, I swear they are getting worse and worse. It's all so weird because I had outgrown all my allergies decades ago, only to have them return now? Why?
  • My job is pretty tough. I have to juggle a lot of tasks, know a lot of information, and be creative enough to assemble it all in a pleasing way. Which is why I don't fucking need things making my life harder. And the thing making my life exceedingly difficult right now is the Epson Colorworks printer I have to use for printing labels. Constant problems. Changing labels is a nightmare. Constantly thinks it's jammed when there's nothing jammed in it. A roll runs out of labels and the printer acts like the world is fucking ending instead of just stopping and alerting you. Half the time I end up having to turn the printer off and on MULTIPLE TIMES in order to get the thing to finally LOAD THE FUCKING LABELS. — The first computer I used was a punchcard computer as a guest of a university. From there I moved to a VAX. The first personal computer I had was an Apple ][. I have bought more computers and computer tech in the past 40 years than I can even remember. AND THE EPSON COLORWORKS PRINTER IS THE FUCKING WORST OF ANYTHING I'VE EVER USED! Seriously horrendous. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I FUCKING HATE IT. I'd almost rather draw the labels by hand than to use this fucking thing ever again. I fantasize about setting it on fire. Or pushing it off a cliff. Or dropping it in the ocean. I am posting this to my blog so that anybody Googling for thoughts on this fucking piece of shit will know to avoid AT ALL COSTS.
  • Because time has been scarce, cooking has been minimal this past week. The majority of what I've been eating has been frozen stuff. It's starting to wear on me. Until I started eating healthier, I had no idea how much of a toll crap food was taking on me. But I'm just too exhausted to spend the 30 minutes to an hour cooking up something better each night. Really hoping to do a hard reset on my meals soon, because this is unsustainable.
  • And of course there's the usual bullshit that never seems to stop. I swear, some people have completely given up on decency and kindness, and just just live to see how many people they can hurt. Watching it in the news day-in and day-out is demoralizing in every possible way. A part of me wonders exactly what has to happen before there's no turning back from the toxic hellscape we're creating. I mean, clearly we're already in hell... Florida reaffirms this almost daily... but this trend of persecuting as many people as possible just because people don't like them or don't care about them will almost certainly spill over into things and people who they DO like, right? Trans persons and drag queens today... but maybe Episcopalians and left-handed people tomorrow? Where the fuck does it end?

Since blogging is pretty much... well... dead... I might have to take a minute more often. I always thought that if I took breaks I would just stop altogether, but it hasn't happened yet. So maybe?

   

Penultimate Ted Reflections

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2023

Dave!Last night I watched the next-to-last, penultimate, almost the end episode of Ted Lasso. As I've done for a few episodes now, I jotted down my thoughts while it was playing (then watched it again this morning so I could see it without the distraction of typing).

While there were no serious surprises (as there likely won't be since they are wrapping everything up), there were some nice character moments that made for an expectedly good episode.

Spoilers follow. Please watch the episode before reading any further!

Spoiler Zone!

  • The quirk residents of Ted's neighborhood are always a treat. What I wouldn't give to get a peek behind the lives of these people.
  • Oh boy. Ted's mom in town for an unannounced vist. Are we doing this because her dying wish is for Ted to come back home? Lord, I hope not.
  • Oh for fucks sake. Just having Nate disappear off the show would have been a perfectly lovely thing after he made ammends to the horrible way he treated Will last week. But I guess we're wasting more time with a character I don't give a shit about.
  • I will say that I do love Jade though. Show of hands... when she first appeared on the show, who thought that she'd turn out this good?
  • SHIT! WHY IN THE HELL DOES THE TEAM WHO NATE HATED SO MUCH... WAS TREATED SO BADLY... WANT HIM BACK?!? This character has zero redeeming quantities now. Though I'm sure we're going to get a big redemption moment which will try to act like he does. Nate was horrible... horrible... to the people who embraced him. There is no redemption I can work with.
  • Oh wow... up until now I thought that Mary Kay Place (Sweet Home Alabama) was playing Ted's mom. It's Becky Ann Baker! The mom from Freaks and Geeks.
  • Aw, Sam. &heart;
  • "Better Trent"... LOLOL. Oh, Roy. I'll miss you most of all.
  • Ted's mom being more like Ted than Ted is pretty funny, actually.
  • They've waited three seasons to make that Surrey joke, I'll bet.
  • Okay... that dig at The Daily Mail is classic.
  • I am not joking when I say that I would watch a Trent Crimm spin-off. I'll bet his life is ripe with fascinating stories.
  • Nobody refers to Jan Maas without saying his entire name. I love that.
  • Poor Jamie. Once again they're forging ahead with giving him the most complete story arc in the entire show. The fact that he plays so beautifully off of Roy is so much the better.
  • Coach Beard is so wonderfully weird. And the only one with the correct perspective on Nate. Although... I'm sure this is a setup to him changing his mind. Because of course it is.
  • Roy's reaction to weirdness is always so perfect.
  • I'm enraged all over again thinking about the time wasted with Keeley and Jack. What a waste.
  • I'm sure there's no metaphor or symbolism AT ALL with the Wizard of Oz Pinball machine.
  • Another spin-off I would love to have? The Crown and Anchor Pub. Mae is fascinating enough on her own... but marry that with the people who frequent there? It's a new version of Cheers and could be every bit as entertaining.
  • Goddamn environment! LOL. I'm not complaining. Any opportunity to see more of Rebecca.
  • Christ. More time wasted with Nate. This is the second to the last episode, and there are far, far better ways they could have spent this time.
  • And now I want popcorn.
  • And to watch You've Got Mail, apparently.
  • Yeah, Jamie blowing off his gig at Man City has come back to haunt him. But, of course, Roy is the one with the proper perspective on the situation.
  • BWAH HA HA HAAAA! Jamie wasn't lying when he said that he had a poster of Roy in his room! But it's the Keeley poster that's worth a second look.
  • Those Keeley hotel commercials will never not be funny.
  • Freddie Mercury owning Richmond briefly is perfect. BUT THE JOKE ABOUT HIM FLIPPING STRAIGHTS IS FLAWLESS.
  • Oh wow. Okay. We're actually going to play some football this time!
  • Collin, once again being one of the most brilliant players in football after having been one of the worst. Apparently because he was in the closet. Since that story is finished, I guess this is their way of claiming that they hadn't forgotten about him?
  • I've watched two football matches in a London pub. Once where the team they were supporting won... and once when they lost. The reason I wanted to watch a second one was because the first time was so much fun. The reason I never did it again was because the second time was not fun at all.
  • The moment with the Man City coach is ominous. I wonder what that's about?
  • I mean... what a great moment for Jamie. This pretty much finishes his arc which, as we are continually reminded, is the most complete of the show. Wonder what Roy said to him?
  • Oh wow... Jamie's dad died?
  • I guess not. He's truly reprehensible, but I guess we're redeeming him along with Nate for this moment?
  • Ah. So that's why we got a moment with the Man City coach.
  • Coach Beard and Ted showing how their relationship hasn't changed much since the first episode.
  • Oh yeah. Here's where Beard is going to change his mind about Nate. "Fuuuuuuuuuuck" is right.
  • Jade really is a lovely character, isn't she?
  • You just knew that Beard had an interesting back-story. And this is everything you'd want it to be. Plus Le Mis, LOL.
  • Yeah. Still detest Nate. Kinda wishing that Beard had head-butted him.
  • And... the moment we knew was coming all season just came into focus. Not that we needed it. The fact that Ted was going home was broadcast very, very clearly throughout the entire season.
  • Looks like New Rebecca and Ms. Cakes are seeking advice on how to nail Rupert to the wall. Interesting that they come to Rebecca after she finally came to terms with not needing to destroy him after all.
  • And now I want sunflower seed bread. I haven't had that in 20 years or more. Though it's best with lots of butter on it.
  • "That's just to annoy Americans." Classic. Oh gee, I wonder what Ted has to say to Rebecca?

One episode to go. Quite possibly forever. I need a hug.

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I Don’t Wanna Lose You

Posted on Friday, May 26th, 2023

Dave!I am such a huge, huge fan.

In addition to all the bangers Tina Turner had throughout her career, she was also given the thankless task of trying to work the word "Goldeneye" into a James Bond song... and absolutely killed it...

Damn. What an incredible voice.

It's really tough to pick a favorite Tina song. It's one of two songs... I Don't Wanna Lose You...

Or, after hearing it in that epic episode of Schitt's Creek, it may very well be The Best...

Patrick's version was a clever cover...

Whereas David just went with the best The Best...

Rest in Peace.

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Caturday 307

Posted on Saturday, May 27th, 2023

Dave!Jenny gets what she wants. Always.

And what she wants most of the time if to get petted on command. But I've been incredibly busy, so I've started sitting sideways on the couch so there's no room for her to demand it. Not that this stops her. She's been squeezing next to me like this...

Jenny squeezed next to me

Then she keeps pushing and pushing with her little feets...

Jenny pushing for more room

Until she has the room she wants...

Jenny with even more room

At this point I had one ass-cheek off the couch.

Jake has been obssessing over Mufasa again, dragging the poor thing everywhere. This reulted in my having to repair his favorite toy again. But this time I used carpet thread in hopes that it will hold together longer. If Jake was upset by the repair job, he never complained. He showed up with his lion just as he always does...

Jake with Mufasa on the bed

And immediately went to sleep...

Jake with Mufasa and sleeping

Jake with Mufasa and sleeping

Jake with Mufasa and sleeping

Which is fine. Because another thing he's been doing lately? Dropping Mufasa off with me, then going to nap. Leaving me to babysit, I guess...

Mufasa left for me to babysit while Jake is sleepiing at the other end of the bed.

Somehow I thought that having cats would preclude me from being a grandpa, but I guess I thought wrong.

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Bullet Sunday 807

Posted on Sunday, May 28th, 2023

Dave!Another week another Sunday ... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Cool! Michael Rosenbaum (who has one of my favorite podcasts) posted THIS to Facebook...

So of course I had respond...

Because The Thompson Twins are totally cool!

   
• Modern Meta! I've read a lot about film. I love movies and am fascinated by how people deconstruct and analyze them to add depth to our understanding and appreciation of this artform. Thomas Flight is my hands-down favorite...

He's so amazing at this kind of thing. If you love film, you need to check out his Youtube Channel.

   
• Natively! I've read a lot of documentation about how people have been systematically excommunicated from society by having their cultures, practices, and languages outlawed. The USA has many such travesties. Like native Hawaiians having their hula outlawed... only to have it later coopted and turned into a tourist attraction. Fortunately there are Hawaiians who are attempting to respect and honor the hula so that it returns to its original purpose, but still what a legacy of destruction we have. Needless to say, Native Americans have been horribly treated by the country... despite giving and contributing so much. And American Sign Language? Oh yeah... another contribution. This is fascinating...

It's important we know where we came from. And who came before us.

   
• Life's a Drag! Remember when I wore this Halloween costume I made… in Florida?? Probably be arrested for it now....

Dave and Mr. Flibble

Florida is quickly becoming a fascist hellscape... and the rest of the country seems to be in danger of the same drama.

   
• Avenger! These Wes Anderson parodies are getting out of hand...

Just kidding. They're so good.

   
• Barbie! The marketing for this movie is genius. "If you love Barbie, this movie is for you." — "If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you."

Apparently the movie is for everybody!

   
• MOM?!? The other day I fell down a Jimmy Fowlie rabbit hole, which lead me back to the first video I ever saw of his...

LOL. Just as funny now as it always was.

   
Well, good luck with all that.

   

Memorial for Freedom

Posted on Monday, May 29th, 2023

Dave!I am a huge supporter for those in military service even though I often despise how they are utilized by those in power, and horrified how they are treated after completing their service. I've always done what I can. I donate to veteran's charities... I promote and advocate for MIA/POW programs... I support organizations who send care packages to those serving far from home... I give my time helping organizations which support veterans in crisis... and I do my best to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country not just on Memorial Day, but every day.

And I am absolutely gutted at how their sacrifice has been dismissed by so many who claim to love America.

Fascism is on a shocking trajectory upward, and I cannot fathom how those who died while fighting fascism abroad would feel about it washing up on our shores today.

Every day I see so-called Christians who know so very little about the teachings of Jesus Christ (and the lessons put forth in the Bible) advocating for a Christo-Fascist State where the government tells you what apps you can use, how you can identify yourself, who you can love, what you are allowed to read, how you worship, whether or not you have access to healthcare... and a shitload of other basic human rights that should be a given in the "Land of the Free," but are quickly becoming exclusive to a select group of people. It's so very sad, and yet too many people are willing to sit back and let it happen because it "doesn't affect them."

Until it does.

At which point it's too late.

To all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms that are quickly evaporating, I'm truly sorry. Your sacrifice deserves better.

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Before the End

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

Dave!Of course I am staying up so I can watch the finale of Ted Lasso.

But you knew that already.

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At The End of All Things Ted

Posted on Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Dave!And so here we are at the end.

I can tell you that Ted Lasso is, without a doubt, my favorite televisiion series of all time. It's everything I never knew I needed to see. The writing, the characters, the acting, everything... it's been mostly flawless most of the time.

And now we're at the last episode of the (presumably) last season...

A Snow Globe for Richmond Green

I'm jotting down my thoughts as I watch, so spoilers ahead...

Spoiler Zone!

  • Ted slept with Rebecca?!? Well that was unexpected. I thought the time for that had passed. And what about Sassy?!?
  • Okay... WITH BEARD IN A THREE WAY?!?
  • Oh. Okay. That's better.
  • I swear, Brendan Hunt is about as fearless an actor as there is.
  • Isaac is never really ridiculous, even when doing ridiculous things.
  • Okay... if Nate had to come back, I'm glad they at least didn't give him back his coaching job. That would have been awful.
  • See, it's little moments like Jamie putting extra money in Nate's box that shows that his change over three seasons hasn't been superficial. It's intrinsic to his being now.
  • And there it is. Confirmation Ted is not long for London.
  • Trent's book looks a little light? He's been writing all season!
  • Oh Roy. You need the Diamond Dogs badly.
  • WHO THEY ARE HIRING TO REPLACE TED?!? WOULDN'T THAT BE ROY?!??
  • Boy. Rebecca has a total point. She doesn't really need the club any more. It's served her purpose. Except... hasn't it come to mean so much more than that? But for two billion dollars, maybe that's money too tempting not to take.
  • Lord. It makes sense that they would do a musical good bye for Ted, but this? It's bordering on annoying.
  • Dani really had wasted potential this season. But you could say the same about most of the players. Except Jamie. And possibly Colin.
  • Jamie doesn't belong with Keeley any more. Even though he's changed into somebody who deserves her.
  • Rebecca's mom is incredibly self-unaware. I don't get her character. Really could have done without this diversion when Rebecca finding happiness after having finally overcome Rupert.
  • Baz, Jeremy, and Paul could have been such one-note background characters if not for Beard After Hours where they gave us a bit more to work with.
  • And now I want a beer.
  • Okay. This is actually charming as hell... Roy and Jamie.
  • Well, it WAS.
  • What's so heartbreaking about Rebecca's conversation with Ted is that she knows he wouldn't change his mind before she asks him to. But she had to try. Ted changed all their lives. And hers more than most. Why would she want that to end? But of course it has to if she's to go on and find her own way towards being happy.
  • Boys will be boys. And neither of them learned a thing. Well, on some things.
  • Sorry. This was a sweet scene, but Nate still hasn't redeemed himself. I honestly don't think that he ever could. What he did was so horrific that he just doesn't deserve the grace he's being given. They took it too far.
  • I do like that they didn't make Ted overly-goofy this time. It's a serious situation he's in, and to go overboard with bad puns and folksey Tedisms would diminish it.
  • Okay. Showing the older couple once again at a Richmond match is an incredibly sweet gift towards fans of the show who remember them and their sweet story.
  • So some guy is taking advantage of the ticket always reserved for Roy Kent even though Roy no longer needs it! Ha! But wait... is that the guy Colin was with earlier?
  • Wait... who is the couple at the ticket window who says that he was stared at like an absolute psychopath? Surely they must have appeared before? But when?
  • Whether or not Ted ends up with his ex-wife or not... I think her relationship with her old marriage counselor is on thin ice.
  • SHARON!!! Oh how I've missed her. I love love loved Dr. Fieldstone last season.
  • Roy wanting to be a Diamond Dog is his character arc, I guess?
  • "I'm still me." Oh God. Don't ever change, Roy! We love you just the way you are!
  • Ruff ruff.
  • Oh Sassy. You're the best.
  • Barbara is Coach-Beard-level-weird. But not in a good way. She's just... weird.
  • Zoraeux (formerly Van Damme) is now Zorro?!?
  • LOL. "Richmond seems to be crying!" Poor Jan Maas!
  • Dr. Jacob is an asshole. So, yeah, that's not going to last.
  • Strange that Zorro, who was unstoppable last time has let two goals slip past.
  • Jamie's reading a book?!?
  • Okay. Colin keeping his piece of the "believe" sign with him while he plays is pretty great.
  • Awww, teamwork. And they can believe again!
  • Isaac gets his moment. And deserves it. That was nice.
  • Okay, now I really need to know who the guy was who got hit!
  • Rupert going full-on psychopath at least lets everybody finally know who he really is.
  • Oh look! George's balls... Liam and Noel... have made an appearance! LOL. Another moment for fans of the show.
  • Interesting to note that both of Rupert's coaches were coaches at Richmond first.
  • Aww, Jamie willingly being a distraction play pretty much completes his arc, I think.
  • Okay, that was Colin's boyfriend who got the Winona Judd ticket. AND Colin got to have that moment he's been dreaming of. That was nice.
  • Aww. Rebecca selling her 49% to the fans was the perfect solution.
  • Ted using Apple Pay! Nice! A win for the sponsor (and network).
  • And the ussie guy is back! Classic.
  • If you freeze-frame, you get some closure on a few side-characters here.
  • Those are real tears for Hannah Waddingham. And can you blame her? The best acting job she will probably ever have.
  • Yeah, Coach Beard ain't going to leave.
  • Annnnnd... being right has never felt so satisfying.
  • Willis. Willis Beard. That works.
  • Oh boy. I was waiting for Rebecca's Man from Amsterdam to show up again. Well isn't that perfect. UPDATE: And he showed up at the barbecue with her, so they are definitely together. Gezellig!
  • Well, yeah. It would be absurd for anybody except Roy Kent to manage the club.
  • So... wait... Sam ended up playing for the Nigerian league after all?
  • Jamie having a moment with his horrific dad is a nice moment for him. Maybe a stint in rehab was what he needed to not be so awful?
  • Mae bought quite a stake in Richmond there!
  • "Trent Crimm... with a very brief foreward by Roy Kent." LOL.
  • GIRL POWER!
  • Dr. Fieldstone is back with Richmond. Great.
  • So Nate is a coach again. Yikes.
  • Interesting to note... it looks like Nate was using a gold paint to heal the Richmond sign, which means he was practicing kintsugi (the Japanese method of repairing broken things with gold to make them more valuable than they were before they were broken)... quite the metaphor.
  • Dani still in his throuple, I see...
  • Okay. It took me a second... but the couple with the large man and a baby at the wedding is the couple from Beard After Hours! Since the guy essentially saved Beard's life, it makes sense that they would be at his wedding.
  • Wait... Ted didn't fly back for the wedding? That seems... wrong.
  • So... are Ted and his ex-wife back together then?
  • The End.
  • (Though there is absolutely NO REASON AT ALL that the show couldn't continue as Roy Kent or AFC Richmond or whatever. NONE!

Well, the end was as good as it could have been, I guess. Especially for Rebecca, as I am very happy that she finally found the guy who makes her feel like she's been struck by lightning! Her moment at the airport is hands-down my favorite moment of the finale...

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

Well, I don't know what else to say. Except I hope the show comes back... in whatever form it can... and this isn't the end...

Rebecca and Her Amsterdam Guy Meet Again

See ya 'round, Ted.

UPDATE: I still don't know who these people are?

UPDATE UPDATE: As noted in the comments (and on Facebook), that's John... the guy that Rebecca dated who didn't make her feel like she was struck by lightning!

The Mystery Couple

The Mystery Couple

   

Happy Pride 2023

Posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2023

Dave!I have friends in the LGBTQ+ Community who mean more to me than taco salad. I cannot imagine my life without them. I cannot imagine our world without them. And I do not suffer bigots gladly who would do them harm with their words or deeds.

Wishing everybody all my best for Pride Month and every month... and hoping that society does better to make you feel welcome, safe, and loved. For all you give to us... for all the lives you enrich with your authentic selves... I will ever be your ally and friend...

Marriage Equality for All

Of all the crap that inundates us at the beginning of Pride Month, this amazing retrospective on how the song I'm Coming Out... errr... came out... by the incredible Nile Rodgers himself...

Now I guess we brace for the legions of Christo-facists inserting themselves into LGBTQ+ spaces to tell them that they don't belong along with all the other horrible things they say because they have nothing better to do than persecute people whose lives HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM.

Oh well. Something additional to take pride in I guess, because you must be doing something right to get them so pressed over something that HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM.

   

Viva New Hate

Posted on Friday, June 2nd, 2023

Dave!I was a massively huge fan of The Smiths from the moment I walked into a Tower Records store in Spring 1984.*

It was the year of my graduation and I was quickly approaching a time when I really needed to figure out what I was going to do with my life. College wasn't really a possibility because there was no way I could afford it. The job market in my area was awful thanks to Reaganomics driving wages lower and lower. I was disillusioned with the politics of the day and life in general. I was despondent about the future. It was, after all, George Orwell's year of doom. It was 1984.

And The Smiths were making music about all of it.

It was as if Morrissey was crooning each track just for me, all while being accompanied by Johnny Marr's bouncy guitar riffs. The Smiths was picking up the social sensibilities of the Punk Movement I had loved, then packaged it for the masses.

I was gutted when The Smiths broke up in 1987. Four albums and done? It really didn't seem fair. Johnny Marr teamed up with Barnard Sumner to form the band Electronic in 1988 and started releasing music the next year (and we got three albums out of the collaboration, all of which were great).

As for Morrissey? He went on to release four amazing albumns... Viva Hate, Kill Uncle, Your Arsenal, and Vauxhall and I... followed by scads more that just didn't hit for me. By 1995 I was done buying his new music, but replayed his old stuff often.

A regret was never managing to see The Smiths in concert.

After a cancelation and a reschedule I couldn't attend, I thought that a Morrissey concert wasn't in the cards, but finally flew to see him in Tampa in 2014. The concert was darn good, but wouldn't have been a Morrissey concert without some drama. He thought the crowd wasn't into it, so he cut his set short and bailed. Which, I ain't going to lie, actually made it feel more special.

Over the years Morrissey has become more and more unhinged, and I can't relate to him at all. I wouldn't want to. Then this morning I read this article about it, and found out I'm not the only one.

About the only joy I get out of anything past his old music is him being skewered on The Simpsons like this...

And definitely this imitator named "Quilloughby" which is actually the best Morrissey non-song in decades...

The fact that Quilloughby is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch is just the icing on the cake.

And on that note, I guess I'll be listening to The Smiths for the rest of the day.


* I want to say it was the Bellevue location, but it could have been the Seattle Center location because I don't know if Bellevue was open at the time. Back in the day I would bounce between both stores looking for those precious British import maxi-singles from Depeche Mode and The Thompson Twins. The Bellevue location was my favorite because they seemed to get more of what I was looking for. I was reminded of this when I saw a video of the old Tower Records Bellevue being torn down...

Oh how I loved Tower Records back in the day. Shopping for music on a computer just can't compare to walking down those jam-packed aisles of albums and discovering some magical release that you didn't even know existed. I really miss that, and am sad that younger generations are missing out on what a cool experience it is.

   

Caturday 308

Posted on Saturday, June 3rd, 2023

Dave!The time of year has come where the cats spend half their day out in the catio. It's warm, there's awesome smells and sights... and far more interesting than it is inside. Many times I come home from work and see them out there sleeping.

Jenny sometimes doesn't even hear the dinner alarm...

Jenny out in the catio

When they are inside they get restless and have taken to attacking each other at random. Here's Jake about to pounce while I'm saying "No. Nooooooo."...

Jake about to pounce...

Fortunately, it's just something to do and not their normal...

Jenny and Jake asleep together.

On Friday when I got home I had a raging headache. I took some pills then fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up I had a nap buddy...

Jenny napping with me.

Jenny napping with me.

Jenny napping with me.

Jenny napping with me.

Meanwhile Jake is asking if you have accepted Bast as you personal Lord and Savior...

Jake with Buddah Cat.

I don't have the heart to tell him that this is actually Zen Buddha Cat.

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Bullet Sunday 808

Posted on Sunday, June 4th, 2023

Dave!The heat is on... not just because it's getting ridiculously hot here, but because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Ghosts! The practice of "ghost kitchens"... which creates fake restaurants in order to cash in on food delivery services like Über Eats and Grubhub. Sometimes it's existing restaurants fronting for a second (or third or fourth) completely different restaurant. Sometimes it's a bulk restaurant kitchen that fulfills dozens of "restaurants" on food apps. I kinda fell into a rabbit hole on the topic, and found that Eddy Burback has the best video on the topic...

Actually, Eddy has the best video on a lot of topics. Like Late Night Television...

Subscribe to his YouTube channel here. He has quite a few videos. But boy would I like him to post more often.

   
• It's Not News... It's Bullshit! I love reading reviews which trash my favorite shows. CNN (which I have never cared for as a network and I now actively loathe) had an online review of the incredible Mrs. Davis which has the reviewer essentially saying "I'm too fucking stupid to appreciate the show, therefore it's bad!" And I laughed and laughed and laughed, because that's CNN in a nutshell...

Mrs. Davis Poster

The review ends like this..."To paraphrase 'A Chorus Line,' though, 'different' is nice, but it isn’t necessarily better, or enough to justify an eight-hour commitment. And while the show should have a small cadre of fans – probably tilted toward TV critics and English-lit professors – wedding its sly auteur sensibility to broader appeal is a creative Holy Grail, ultimately, that “Mrs. Davis” doesn’t locate." Yes, this masterful show that's more original (and more bonkers) than anything I've seen in decades since the first season of Twin Peaks, will only appeal to TV critics and English-lit professors. But since the CNN critic is a "reviewer of the people" and not at all "too smart" like some elitist English-lit professor or other TV critics, he can safely say that he's just too stupid to appreciate Mrs. Davis. What a joke (something that ALSO describes CNN in a nutshell). It's okay to not like something. It's a critic's job to TELL you when they don't like something. But to insult others for liking it because they're too smart? Go fuck yourself you useless hack.

   
• Ninja Exposed! The game Fruit Ninja is an app that many, many, many people have played. But the story of where it came from is actually pretty interesting...

I love behind the scenes stuff like this (as you know). And could watch these all day.

   
• Doctors? Is there ANYTHING that "Doctor" Phil touches which hasn't turned to shit?

Curse Oprah to hell for unleashing this asshole on the world.

   
• DARMOK!! I love Language Jones, and this is one of his best videos yet...

If you love languages, be sure to subscribe to his channel after watching.

   
• Hatemongering for Fun and Profit! Politicians passing laws to harm people SOLELY to score political points with their "base" can go fuck themselves. They don't even know what the laws they pass are doing. They don't care. All they know is that legislating for hate gets them re-elected...

God. Just eat shit and die, asshole.

   
• Someone You Love! Sarah Silverman is hit or miss with me. But her new special is hilarious. I've been dying from the start...

   
And that's all the bullets I can stomach for tonight. See You Next Sunday.

   

WWDC 2023

Posted on Monday, June 5th, 2023

Dave!Another year, another Apple World Wide Developer Conference. Guess we're doing this...

• TIM! Every time I see Tim Cook, I wish he was more of an asshole. He's just so nice. But somebody in his position really needs to be at least a little bit of an asshole so that broken shit GETS THE FUCK FIXED! See: Steve Jobs.

• MacBook Air 15-Inch! This looks like an amazing computer for the price. Capable. Powerful. Beautiful (especially that dark blue one). I need a MacBook Pro for the work I do... but, if I didn't, this would be my laptop of choice.

• Mac Studio! The Mac Studio M1 Ultra I hsve at work is the best Mac I've ever used. It's nice that they are committed to keeping it moving forward. The performance jump of the M2 Ultra is nice, but not big enough to make me jealous.

• Mac Pro! After it was announced, people were freaking out over the $7,000 price tag. Yeah, this Mac isn't for you. It's for people who need the raw power and PCI expansion it has. And, if these same people took two seconds to compare it to the old Mac Pro... you're getting a far, far more powerful machine for way less. Because the old Intel-based Mac Pro was insanely expensive. I saw an article which had the headline Maxed-out Apple Silicon Mac Pro costs 1/4 what a maxed Intel one did. And so... yeah... for people who need this, it's actually quite the bargain.

• iOS 17! I'm not going to run through all the features since there are plenty of sites happy to do this... but I will make a few comments here. ONE) The Live Voicemail is so nice because I don't EVER want to pick up. Now I can see if it's actually necessary for me to do so (the live message typing out about the family of raccoons in the basement while Craig is talking is hilarious). TWO) I don't give a fuck about the new Messages features... I JUST WANT IT FUCKING FIXED! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!* THREE) The Check-In feature is nice. So many times it would be nice that somebody I'm meeting can see what's happening as I make my way to them. FOUR) Okay, the Live Stickers are unnecessary, but awesome. FIVE) Yeah, AirDrop... right... DON'T ADD FEATURES, JUST FIX THE SHIT THAT'S BROKEN FIRST! I can't use AirDrop between my phone and my work Mac... or my MacBook Pro and my work Mac. I have even gone so far as to start over from scratch, but no joy. WHY?!?? FUCK!!! SIX) Oh joy. Apple will FINALLY STOP FUCKING AUTOCORRECTING WHEN I SAY "FUCK!!" So damn annoying. Your fucking phone shouldn't be gatekeeping how you express yourself and fuck Apple for screwing us over for so long. Craig being "so ducking cute" about it is rage-inducing.

• iPad OS 17! I really need to use my iPad more. I absolutely love the way it works, but my go-to device it my MacBook Pro. It's just easier to bounce in and out of work. ONE) Wallpapers and widgets are great, but Craig is going to be in hot water with the flat earthed crowd by showing a GLOBE EARTH (As an aside: there are very, very few people who can get away with saying "that's cool." Craig Federighi is one of them. He is cool). TWO) PDFs are a great thing, but a mess to deal with. Looking at the great advancements the iPad is getting to deal with them feels like this is how they should have been used all along. Very nice.

• macOS Sonoma! It seems weird to me that macOS just isn't advancing as it should. Where is the next revolution in desktop computing? The (needed) return of widgets, game mode, and this other shit are nice and all, but this is getting ridiculous. File handling? Sharing? FIXING THE FUCKING PILE OF SHIT KNOWN AS "APPLE MAIL"? Why are we still waiting? ONE) I wonder how many people can actually appreciate what a coup it is to have Hideo Kojima appear at your event? "Legendary" is completely underselling him. TWO) Video Conferencing is a huge part of my life. These new features while "fun" are actually kind of important to communication (especially when you are communicating in a language that's not native to either you or them). THREE) Passkeys are nice (anything which moves away from typing passwords is very nice), but they have so far to go yet. They don't work some of the time, and it's frustrating how many times I am repeatedly having to enter my account info over and over. FIX YOUR SHIT, APPLE!! FOUR) These new Profiles in Safari are a game changer for people who work while off work. Separating my work and private life are important, and every little bit helps.

• METAL CRAIG (audio and home)! I was sincerely hoping for an update to AirPods Pro with a price drop. No such luck. Though the adaptive audio is pretty darn cool. ONE) AirPlay in Hotels would have been fantastic... when I was traveling (assuming it worked in the hotels I frequent), but now? Meh. TWO) Jesus. TV OS is still isn't addressing what a steaming pile of shit that navigation is to deal with? I fucking hate having to slowly scroll through shitloads of media because there's no alphabet jump menu available... LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE HAS BEEN USING FOREVER! WHAT THE FUCK?!?

• WatchOS! I have an Apple Watch Series 6. And watched with disinterest as Apple has plodded through Series 7 and Series 8. ONE) Who the fuck selected this shitty, SHITTY "Rhythm is Our Business" song to intro this section? TWO) The widgets and other improvements are nice and all, but this is not going to revolutionize how I use my watch. THREE) I want that Snoopy watch face... but would rather have this kind of cool interactivity with Mickey Mouse.

• Apple Vision Pro! And heeeeere it is. The main event. ONE) All the AR/VR headsets to date have been shit (remember "Google Glass?"). Apple, being Apple, seems to have come up with something far more compelling. If it truly does work as advertised, this is a massive game changer. TWO) The interface is brilliantly realized. They reeeeeally put the time in to make sure that it's intuitive and easy. Once you get used to it, I have no doubt it will be as intuitive as any other device we're wed to. The depth and shadows must have been really tough to nail down. THREE) The minimal gestures required to interact with Vision Pro actually works better than the science fiction projected. Nice. FOUR) Look, these will never not look weird when worn, but I appreciate that Apple is doing to make it as less weird as possible. FIVE) Being able to bring your Mac into your AR/VR "world" is pretty amazing... but feels like it would be headache-inducing. Maybe once you get used to it, things would seem second-nature, but I wonder what the learning curve is to get there. SIX) WAIT A SECOND... people on FaceTime calls appear on tiles to you, but what do you look like to them? SEVEN) OKAY, THAT PANORAMA MODE IS FRICKIN' AMAZING! EIGHT) Boy, porn filmed in 3D, then displayed on Vision Pro in spatial video is going to be the real game changer experience! NINE) Now, see, this is what I'm really excited about. Having a 100-foot movie screen in your living room with no distractions! Sweet! And how many times have I dreamed about sitting on a plane and not having to experience being on a plane! TEN) Boy... gaming was really light in this presentation. Given how that's the cornerstone to so many of these things, that's weird. ELEVEN) Bob Iger appearing here for Disney has me thinking about how hilariously ridiculous it would have been to have Bob Chapek doing this. But anyway... Disney producing content for Vision Pro is about as big an endorsement as you could hope for. And what they're presenting seems as good a reason to buy into VR/AR than anything. TWELVE) The design of this thing makes every other VR/AR headset look like it's positively ancient. The new Quest 3 just announced by Meta looks like absolute dog shit by comparison. Though it will likely be affordable. I probably won't even be able to afford the corrective lenses I'd need to buy to even use Vision Pro. THIRTEEN) These don't debut until next year and it will feature the M2 and not the M3 chip? Yikes. Big yikes. FOURTEEN) And that's what's so weird. The unit is not transparent. The thing it 1000% opaque. But it fakes it by displaying your eyes on the face of it that people are looking at. SO WEIRD. FIFTEEN) Ah, in answer to my earlier question, what people see when chatting to you is an avatar ("digital persona") that's computer-generated. This will either be good enough... or slip right down the uncanny valley and look scary-awful. Probably somewhere in-between? SIXTEEN) I'll bet Zuckerberg and Meta, who failed spectacularly with their "MetaVerse," is shitting their pants after wasting billions of dollars and getting nowhere even close to what Apple has done. SEVENTEEN) TouchID -> FaceID -> OpticID. EIGHTEEN) At least Apple put some thought into the privacy of these things. Which is smart. By allowing people to know where you're looking while looking at them, you've opened a huge can of worms. Apple neatly sidesteps this. NINETEEN) Given how much this thing is going to cost, Apple's smartly leaning into all the hardware it will replace. Smart. TWENTY) THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS?!?? BWAH HA HA HAAAAAA! Now, look, I get it. I know how it works. They have an absurd price tag to start, but eventually as they optimize manufacturing and such, the price falls. But starting THIS high is pretty disgusting. Who the fuck can afford to spend THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS on a VR/AR headset? Even one this good and feature-packed? Do I want one? Oh hell yeah. Will I buy one? WITH WHAT?!? Maybe if I can sell my organs or something. And yet, the allure of being able to escape from this shitty reality into something better does seem like it would be worth the fortune it casts to do so. I just wish it didn't have a big ol' cord dangling off of it for the battery... and the fact that you only get TWO MEASLY HOURS OF RUNTIME PER CHARGE? Wow. Hope you only take short flights!

And that's the end of WWDC 23. I've never felt so poor!

*Seriously. The fact that Messages regularly reports I have new messages when I don't (I'm guessing this is a flaw in syncing between devices) is absolutely infuriating. Quitting and restarting Messages doesn't fix it. YOU HAVE TO RESTART YOUR COMPUTER?!? WHAT THE FUCK?!??

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Zombies Ate My Brains

Posted on Tuesday, June 6th, 2023

Dave!Remember back in the mid-2000's when I was having annual Blogiversary contests and creating cool Blogography swag for prizes and purchase?

Pepperidge Farms remembers.

And so do I every time I open my closet. That's because I kept a number of the T-shirts for myself. Most of them I wear only on special occasions because I'm down to my last shirt. But others? I wear to death. They don't look all that great now because the ink is flaking off, but the shirts themselves were quality and are still in good shape so I am happy to wear them anyway because they're darn comfortable.

There is one of my designs from 2006 that actually looks better the more it ages...

An old and busted Zombies Ate My Brains T-Shirt!

So cool. If I could have found a way to print like this when they were new, I would have absolutely done it!

Interesting to note that at the time I designed the shirt, Bad Monkey looked quite different...

Zombies Ate My Brain

And that was when Lil' Dave still had "mitten hands" as well. In-Between when I designed the shirt for the contest and actually printed it, Bad Monkey had changed to his current, thinner version... and Lil' Dave has actual fingers.

Good times. Good times.

Something I need given that there's no new episode of Ted Lasso tomorrow.

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Ted Reflections

Posted on Wednesday, June 7th, 2023

Dave!Today is the day that a new episode of Ted Lasso would be airing if Ted Lasso hadn't (presumably) ended. The show has been so transformative towards my love of television, that I thought I might reflect on it for a minute so I can get it out of my blogging habit.

The year is not even half over, but I'm fairly comfortable saying that the third (and final?) season of Ted Lasso will top my list (yet again) despite being a bit of a mess. But, maybe as time goes on, it will have to battle it out with Jury Duty, Mrs. Davis, and Poker Face for the top spot. I dunno. I'll probably have to watch through a couple more times to know for sure.

The first season of Ted Lasso is flawless. Each and every episode faithfully pushes through a "narrative of nice" without ever becoming cynical about it. That alone is a massive achievement, even though it strayed into being overly-sweet and saccharine more than a few times. Furthermore, we get a conclusion that works along with a nice lead-in to the next season, which probably wasn't guaranteed at the time they filmed it. Talk about a massive achievement!

To me, the second season was almost as good as the first (even though the first two episodes felt a bit unsteady). And yet... I've read many reviews panning it. There were some fans of the show that roundly hated what it became the second time around. And a lot of that had to do with their inability to invest in Beard After Hours (Episode 09), which interrupted the season at a bit of a crucial moment. Meanwhile I'm thinking "YES! IT INTERRUPTED THE SEASON... THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF IT EXISTING!" and loved every minute of it. It was so very, very smart... both in purpose and execution. The previous episode had one of the most emotional moments of the entire series where Jamie's dad burst into the locker room and just wrecked his son. It was an abuse that was painful to watch. All the other players in the locker room were mortified and some looked away. It was unbearable. Jamie lost everything in that moment. But then, unexpectedly, Roy Kent approaches and... gives him a hug? And the moment just ruined me. Because as Roy approaches him, Jamie flinches just a bit. He was at his lowest point and was only expecting things to get worse. It was a masterful performance by Phil Dunster that took his character in an entirely new direction. It was the middle of a wide-reaching arc for Jamie that was concluded in the final episode in the best way possible...

In lesser hands, this scene could have been manipulative and awful. But the performances by Phil Dunsert, Brett Goldstein, and Kieran O'Brien (because, let's face it... the guy may have made you hate Jamie's dad, but his bigger accomplishment was being so awful that you felt sympathy for Jamie Tartt!). And that summed up the second season for me. Scenes that should have been a mess, but was elevated because the actors were too good to let them fail. And then we got Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, who ended up being the point upon which the entire season revolved, and Sarah Niles did not falter. How they managed to cast a character so perfectly (again!) is magic to me. If there was a fatal flaw, it happened at the end with Nate's betrayal. It was a wacky, inexplicable pivot out of nowhere and made no sense at all. I fail to see how somebody who was finally seen could ever betray Ted... especially over the trivial and nonsensical reasons that were provided. It was just so bizarre. It was as if the show worked overtime to create a villain where one just wasn't needed.

If the second season was messy but ultimately salvaged, the third was even messier and meandered into territory that couldn't be salvaged. Nate's entire redemption arc made zero sense. All the players hating him and then inexplicably wanting him back was idiotic. And they went way too far for him to ever be redeemable... even though they shoehorned it in anyway. I hated that. There was no redemption possible for Nate in such a short period of time, and having him return to Richmond first as kitman assistant... then as a frickin' coach?? WTF? But even worse was Keeley's breakup with Roy. Why? What purpose was it when the two of them together provided such wonderful material to draw from? And to add insult to injury, they wheeled in "Jack" so Keeley could have a same-sex relationship that went nowhere and ended so very badly. At least they left things with Jamie and Roy open-ended so they didn't also fall into the trope of having Keeley "needing a man to be complete" which would have been so much worse. These two major plots were nothing but distraction from moments that could have been spent in a much more productive way. But there were many great moments that overshadowed the bad. The setup to Ted leaving England was broadcast from miles away and didn't come out of nowhere... and it was delicately handled in a very real way. Colin coming out to his team was earned and not just slapped on his character. Rebecca finally finding somebody to share her life with had been treated as fate from the very beginning... so having the Dutch guy from earlier in the season pop up at the end so randomly was everything you'd hope for. Jamie, who had the most complete and satisfying character arc of anybody, had become a caring individual at peace with himself and others. We also got more Trent Crimm, who popped up at unexpected moments to provide insight or observation into what was happening in a way that was expertly woven into the story instead of being superfluous fluff. And then there were the many, many moments of brilliance that proved a show built around caring for others could actually work.

So, yeah, my favorite television series of all time. Without question. Nothing was ever going to live up to the incredible first season, and the following two really didn't. But they were a continuation of a story that I never wanted to end, and that was more than enough.

Here's hoping that we get a spin-off or three to fill the massive hole that has been vacated by Ted Lasso.

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Good Bye to a Legacy of Hate and Hypocrisy

Posted on Thursday, June 8th, 2023

Dave!Buddhist precepts value life. All life. Which is why I catch spiders and take them outside. Why I don't eat meat. Why I care for stray animals and try to help alleviate animal suffering. And why I try to extend kindness to people, even when they may not seem to deserve it.

And let me tell you, sometimes it is very, very difficult to do so.

Pat Robertson died.

And he made it impossible for me to value his life.

I am not going to go all hyperbolic and say that he was "evil incarnate" or anything like that. There are others far more deserving of that label. But he sure preached evil and encouraged others to follow in the evil he preached. Which is why I am not sad that he's gone. The world is a better place without people like this encouraging raw hatred in the name of "Christianity"...

I've studied The Christian Bible more than most Christians ever will. I know this is fact because all too often I run across "Christians" who have no fucking clue what they are talking about. They parrot whatever they've been told to believe and recite passages they memorized... all while attempting to force it into whatever narrative they choose to ascribe to. They want to hate gay people, they pull passages and pervert them to hate on gay people. They want to hate women, they pull passages and pervert them to hate on women. They want to hate foreigners, they pull passages and pervert them to hate on foreigners. Whatever it is they hate, there's a passage somewhere that they point to in order to justify their evil. They neither know nor care about what meaning may be behind what they unleash on the world, and have zero interest in studying to find out if what they say actually means what they claim it does.

All while missing The Big Picture of what Christianity actually is.

I joined a "Bible Study Group for Non-Christians" in 2014. Every year we alternate between New and Old Testaments, trying to put their teachings into context so we can better understand the Christian Worldview and better relate to those who profess to live their lives according to Holy Scripture. Because we are not Christians, we study many different viewpoints from many different Biblical scholars and put a heavy emphasis on historical context. We are not interested in forcing The Bible to fit any narrative, we just want to understand the teachings (some of which are quite beautiful... sorry Bible-haters!).

As you might guess, the study group's goal of understanding Christians... especially modern-day Christians who use their Faith as a weapon... gets more and more difficult with each passing year.

Indeed, when we examine some of the things which are said "in the name of Christian love" we outright wonder if we're reading a different Bible than those who promote such rabid hatred against God's creation.

I mean, on some level I get it. The Bible is far from definitive, no matter how much people will claim otherwise. It's parable. It's allegory. It has meaning which is lost in translation. It is self-contradictory. It's a mish-mash of ideas and perspectives which add a frustrating level of obscurity. All of which contributes to why you cannot pick-and-choose passages and claim that they support your narrative. You instead have to look at The Big Picture of what the Bible stands for and the overall arc of what it's trying to say.

Which ain't easy.

On face value, The Bible is wide open to interpretation. This is why we have so many "factions" of Christianity. Different groups interpret Scripture in different ways. Different groups read in historical context in different ways. Different groups interpret the languages in different ways. And that's all well and good. I have zero problem if somebody wants to interpret The Bible in a way different from what I do. Where I absolutely do have a problem is when the teachings of The Bible are perverted far past any rational interpretation. I have an even bigger problem with people who want to rewrite Scripture to persecute people.

And this is something that Pat Robertson excelled at.

He tossed fundamental Biblical precepts right out the window, honed in on Scripture he could pervert to convince people to send him money or hate gay people or hate women or hate foreigners or hate whomever was on his radar that day. But what's truly shocking is that he claimed that God literally told him to do this. Now, I don't want to go down the whole road of what the Bible teaches us about false prophets, but the fact that anybody could follow his deranged ranting and think that it genuinely came from The Almighty and could in any way be supported by Scripture is just mind-blowing. I cannot for the life of me comprehend how somebody could listen to Pat Robertson then look at their Bible sitting on the nightstand and think "Oh yeah. Pat's right on the money with that one!"

And yet Pat Robertson managed to whip up a vast following.

It would be easy to say "Well, yeah. People want to hate things, and Pat Robertson's hate-filled preaching fell in line with what they want to believe is okay to hate, so they supported him." Except I don't really believe that. Many, many people who fell in with his bullshit were kind, decent, well-meaning people who were taught to hate. They were corrupted to be that way.

Because there's big money to be had in the Hate Game.

And Pat Robertson loved the money.

It bought him mansions. It bought him private jets. It bought him luxury. It brought him fame.

Which, if you've made an even cursory examination of The Bible, should be a huge red flag.

Irony can be so ironic sometimes.

But I digress.

Every time a disaster happened in areas that Pat considered "sinful" (New Orleans, for example) he was very quick to hop on it as "God's wrath again the gays" (or whomever was his current favorite group to hate). And yet when disaster fell upon those Pat considered pious persons, it wasn't God's wrath... it was grave misfortune caused by wicked people and we should pray for them (and send Pat money so he could pray for them, I guess... there seemed to be a fucking price tag attached to everything he did).

It was the boldest form of hypocrisy you'll find, and yet people ate that shit up.

And to me, this will forever be his legacy. Hate and Hypocrisy.

I stopped caring about Pat Robertson after he stopped appearing on The 700 Club or interviews preaching hate. I just didn't care. He was gone from public consciousness, and that was enough. I was not sitting at home every day "wishing for him to die" (or whatever it is I'll be accused of). So the fact that he's finally gone from this earth is neither here nor there. Though, if I'm being honest, I did crack open a beer for breakfast today. I don't consider that to be "celebrating Pat Robertson's death," because he simply didn't matter to me after he disappeared. But I did appreciate the milestone of yet another hateful old bigot being called home to whatever God he worshipped for Judgement.

Because given the horrific levels of hateful persecution Pat Robertson espoused which went against everything The Bible is supposed to stand for, he's no doubt burning in a hell of his own making for all eternity. At least one would certainly hope so. Few things would illustrate "poetic justice" better than Pat Robertson being treated in death the way he treated others in life.

   

What’s Your Poison?

Posted on Friday, June 9th, 2023

Dave!Oh yay.

Horrific food poisoning again.

I remember when I was young and traveling the world that I had an iron stomach. I could eat absolutely anything and do just fine. And I ate at some truly dicey food joints because I didn't have the money for anything else.

I couldn't even consider doing that now-a-days.

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Caturday 309

Posted on Saturday, June 10th, 2023

Dave!My cats are out in the catio most of the time.

They love it out there now that the sun is out most of the time.

ANd yet... Jenny still makes time to squeeze me off the couch...

Jenny Squishing beside me.

Jenny Squishing beside me.

And once she succeeds? She gets upset and starts crying because I'm not there to pet her...

Jenny alone on the couch getting up.

Apparently she wants her cake and to eat it too.

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Bullet Sunday 809

Posted on Sunday, June 11th, 2023

Dave!Recovering from being deathly sick has never been more fun... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Toast! Awww... my little Toast nightlight arrived!

A little toast nightlight glowing serenely in the dark.

It's a nightlight that I put in the dark corner of my kitchen next to my toaster. Get it?

   
• Buses? These captchas are getting frickin' stupid ridiculous...

So what? Now we're just supposed to be clicking on every fucking square on these idiotic things?

   
• Good Omens 2! This looks even better than the first one. The casting was note-perfect for these characters, and seeing more of them is something I am very much looking forward to...

It's weird how flawless the casting was for these.

   
• Schlage Rage! It went something like this...
ME: "I hate my Schlage Sense smart lock SO much. Flames... flames... on the side of my face... Which lock should I get to replace it? Preferably one with HomeKey."
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "Definitely the Schlage Encode Plus."
ME: "IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?!? I hate hate HATE the Schlage I have now!"
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "I understand. I agree. But know that all the bad things on the Sense have been improved one thousand percent on the Encode Plus. And be sure to get the Plus if you want HomeKey."
OTHER HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBERS: "Hard agree!"
ME: "Just so you know, if I hate this lock I am coming back to haunt all of you."

And... they were absolutely right. No more stupid battery pack cable. No more stupid setup fails. No more stupid "lock not found." No more stupid random lock resets. No more stupid random lock cycling. No more stupid HomeKit disconnects. It's an entirely new product. So good on Schlage for listening and improving, I guess. Doesn't change the fact that they unleashed a shitty product that I've been suffering with for seven years though.

   
• Hilarious! Zuckerberg on Apple Pro Vision: "Our vision for the metaverse and presence is fundamentally social. It’s about people interacting in new ways and feeling closer in new ways. Our device is also about being active and doing things. By contrast, every demo that they showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself. I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want." This is the stupidest fucking thing I've heard this week. How many times have a GROUP OF PEOPLE all put on their Facebook Quest VR goggles and sat around interacting in the same room? Nah, buddy. They're sitting alone on the couch! How is the Facebook headset more "social" when you're wandering around as a cartoon floating torso that's always gripping hand controllers? Apple at least went with uncanny valley avatars that attempt to look like you and leave your hands free...

Apple's take will cost HUGE MONEY... to start... but it will get cheaper over time. Facebook, who has lost millions (billions?) trying to do VR... and ultimately failing... shows Zuck's statement for what it is... fear. And bullshit. I'm not sure ANY of this is the "future I want." But I'd take Apple's vision over Facebook any day.

   
• Crossing the Street in Vietnam! Not a lie. Which would have been fine... except I had my mom with me, and most intersections are far busier than this one! I'll never forget the first time we went to cross a street. The intersection actually had a crosswalk signal (many don't). But it was totally ignored. We had the light but it made no difference at all... you're just expected to cross like this...

@travelwithpat Crossing the street in Vietnam is something you need to prepare to do #travel #vietnam #tiktoktravel ♬ Super Mario Bros Main Theme

But still... it's s country like no other and worth a visit. As is this guy's TikTok.

   
• Church & State? Okay, government funded Christian schools are a thing now... so are they going to also fund Muslim schools? Buddhist schools? Hindu schools? So much FOR FUCKING SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!! This is a big slap in the face to all Americans, even if they consider themselves "Christian." Absolutely outrageous. Can't wait until the government is forced to sponsor Church of Satan schools because they're so fucking stupid that they don't have the fist clue about the can of worms they are opening. Jesus. OR NOT. THAT'S *YOUR* FUCKING CHOICE IN THIS COUNTRY!!!

   
And now I guess I had better make my bed, take a shower, and try and get some sleep .

   

Streaming is Over

Posted on Monday, June 12th, 2023

Dave!I hated cable/satellite companies because their idiotic insistence on "packaging" everything made it so that you have to pay for channels you have zero intent of ever watching. Many times they made me pay for channels I actively hated.

Then streaming happened.

Finally, you could buy only the channels you wanted to watch. It was cheaper and didn't mean your money was going where you didn't want it to.

It was good while it lasted.

Now streaming has gotten just as stupid and expensive as cable/satellite ever was. Netflix, for example, has started "cracking down" on password sharing. I don't share my password, but this is the kind of idiotic shit that makes me want to start.

No, I don’t think the entire world should be able to share one account. No business could survive on that, and I want to support those services I use. But I do think that if you pay for an account, it’s none of Netflix’s fucking business who is doing the streaming or where the streaming is being done. Just lock it down so you can’t stream more concurrent streams than you’re paying for. If I pay for one stream at a time only, then Netflix will only stream for one concurrent user. If I pay for five concurrent streams, then Netflix won’t stream six or more at the same time off my account. Software companies have been selling by seat licenses forever.

HBO's "Max" has gone a different route in fucking their customers. Right now in order to keep my subscription when it expires, I'm going to have to pay the $150 annual fee. That's $50 more than the $100 I used to pay. And it's like, whatever, because the price of everything is going up. Except in order to get 4k quality, I will now have to pay $200. So it's like... fuck that. No more paying for a full year. I'll pay once or twice a year for a month of service and just catch up on all the crap I want to see. Because nothing is worth this kind of abuse.

Right now I'm struggling to think of a single service that I'm invested enough in keeping year 'round. I'd say Disney+, but they're planning on cutting and delaying a lot of things I want to watch (Marvel & Star Wars content), so even that will likely be chopped.

It's crazy how streaming won the war only to piss it away like this.

   

Profit Margin Dickery

Posted on Tuesday, June 13th, 2023

Dave!The whole "wE doN't InCludE a USB poWeR AdaPter BEcaUsE tHE enViRoNMenT aNd eVErybOdy AlReaDY haS a BunCh oF TheM" bullshit has got to stop. Nobody includes them any more and they all have this excuse. Well, my new Aqara M2 hub didn't come with a USB power adapter and I just used my last spare (off a very, very old Kindle reader!)... which means that my next device that I get I'll need to actually buy the USB power adapter. This is such crap. People should be able to request a freebie if they don't have an adapter to use. That's the only way I'll believe it's "for the environment" and not some profit margin dickery.

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god money i’ll do anything for you, Ashley O

Posted on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

Dave!I've been rewatching a bunch of Black Mirror episodes in preparation for the new season that's releasing tomorrow.

And, I gotta say... there are a lot of amazing episodes over the show's run, but my favorite remains Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too. It's the infamous Miley Cyrus episode that was panned by hardcore Black Mirror fans for being too superficial and "feel-good." But it's just not. It's actually a deep dive into where we're at right now. Musical artists die, then get brought back to tour as holograms. AI is writing songs in the style of artists dead and live. The industry forces artists to conform to the molds they dictate based on profitability taking priority over creativity.

And it's fucking hilarious.

Miley puts everything she has into a role that she is intimately familiar with, and blows the doors off the episode...

The music video they released for the Nine Inch Nails parody I'm On A Roll reamins one of my Miley obsessions...

A couple things I didn't know then that I know now.

ONE: Miley sang the track live at Glastonbury AS Ashley O in 2019...

TWO: FUNKO MADE A POP! OF ASHLEY TOO!!!!

Ashley Too Funko Pop!

And of course I ordered one. How could I not?

I tell you right now, if Miley Cyrus ever releases an Ashley O album, I will be first in line to buy ten copies.

   

Trekking into Blackness

Posted on Thursday, June 15th, 2023

Dave!Today was an important day for my television addiction, as two shows made a return that I've been very much looking forward to.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
We are not worthy of just how good this series is. And now the second season has begun and I am loving it all over again. AND THAT NEW ENGINEER SURPRISE THOUGH!!! HOLY SHIT! HOW? HOW DID THEY GET HER?

=sigh= This is easily my favorite Trek since the original, and it gives me hope that the future of the franchise won't be the utter shit that "Discovery" turned into...

And then, as I mentioned yesterday, Black Mirror is back...

A year or so ago I read a joke somebody made about how they really took Black Mirror in Season 06 to the next level by making us live it. This was a commentary about how the horror of our daily existence is more absurd than anything that could get dreamt up for the show.

And now the actual Season 06 is upon us.

Now, I'm just going to jump right in and say that the first "Salma Hayek" episode has a moment which made me laugh harder than I have in a minute. The fact that she A) Was willing to do this, and B) ACTUALLY DID THIS, makes me an even bigger fan of her than I thought possible. And the beauty of it all is that show creator Charlie Brooker thought to bite the hand that feeds him by brilliantly parodying Netflix itself (named "Streamberry") in the process.

From there the show bounces around a bit... hitting a high with the third episode before fading out. Though not fading towards disaster, thankfully. All the episodes have something to say and something to think about. The show is always at its best when it's doing that... using fiction to shine commentary on the themes that define our times.

So, yeah, Black Mirror's best days may be behind it, but it's far from done. Season 06 is as entertaining as ever, and worth your valuable time.

   

Pride Saves Lives

Posted on Friday, June 16th, 2023

Dave!"I don't want my kid to be gay or trans!" is echoed over and over again as the underlying excuse for the renewed resurgence of LGBTQ+ hate that's infiltrating our laws and society. And I get it. I wouldn't want my kid to be "gay or trans" either. Not because I think there's anything wrong with it... you are who you are... but because this unrelenting toxic bigotry is incredibly dangerous for LGBTQ+ youth.

Except...

Seeing LGBTQ+ representation and diversity doesn't encourage kids to "become gay" or "become trans" any more than seeing somebody who's left-handed encourages them to "become left-handed."

All it does is let them know that it's okay for them to BE gay or trans, if that's who they are, and that they are not alone in the world. That they are accepted.

But entirely too many parents would rather their kids grow up to be miserable adults by denying who they are... assuming they don't unalive themselves first... than to embrace who they are and live their truth. This was made overtly clear to me when I saw the backlash after Pride-inclusive gamer icons were released for the Disney Speedstorm racing game...

Pride, Intersectional Pride, Nonbinary Pride, Pansexual Pride, and Inclusive Pride icons.

Transgender Pride icon.

The very first response I saw on social media was along the lines of "I don't have anything against the gays but I am sick and tired of Disney cramming this LGBT stuff down my kid's throat." As if seeing a rainbow Speedstorm logo is somehow an assault on kids?

And it's like... hey, if you're kid is straight and doesn't want to acknowledge Pride, then they can ignore the new icon options and pick something else. But if they are a part of the LGBTQ+ community? Then thank God for Disney and Gameloft, because your kid obviously isn't going to get any support from you. They may be too afraid of you to select a Pride icon for themselves, but at least they get to login and play the game where a bunch of other people are sporting the icons and showing their support for who they are.

It's little things that like that can be the difference between life and death for some people. Literally.

Pride is important because some kid somewhere is being raised to believe that they're better off dead than gay.

So good on you, Disney. Keep cramming that "gay agenda" down our throats.

   

Caturday 310

Posted on Saturday, June 17th, 2023

Dave!As I mentioned a while back, it's prime catio season right now. The cats just love the heat, and are happy to spend their time lazing around out there.

Somebody asked me if the cats use the massive scratching post pole I made for them. And the answer is definitely yes. Jake mostly just claws on it so he can sharpen his murder mittens or stretch out. But Jenny is a climber. She loves climbing up the thing (which makes me glad that she's not an outdoor cat, because she would 100% be getting stuck in trees...

When I designed my catio, I made it so that birds who manage to get into the catio have perches next to holes where they can get out. But once or twice a year I get a bird that is too frightened to make their way out, so I have to run and let them out before my cats go running out and make things worse for the poor things...

But at least the squirrels are safe...

If I get time, I'd really like to expand the catio and make it more interesting for them. Maybe make a cat run to the back of the house so they can see more? I dunno. A project for another day.

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Bullet Sunday 810

Posted on Sunday, June 18th, 2023

Dave!Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there (including mine). It's a good day to celebrate it... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Extracting! The first Extraction movie was pretty good. I enjoyed it quite a lot. But the second one? Extraction 2? Holy cats! They like took everything from the first movie... which was already intense... and just ramped it right up past eleven. So good! In other news... I'm in love with Golshifteh Farahani now. I mean, I already fell for her by the end of the first movie... but now I'm like "I want to have your baby" level of in love. If Chris Hemsworth does, in fact, retire from acting... there is no reason what-so-ever that the franchise couldn't continue with Nik in the lead. Zero. She would be incredible...

Golshifteh Farahani playing Nik on Extraction

I'd watch a Nik-centric movie as a spin-off for dang sure. Please, Netflix, get on that ASAP. Just back up a big dump truck full of cash to Golshifteh Farahani's house and make it happen! A prequel with Ovi would be ever so good!

   
• Misogyny Nation! Why does this country hate women? I mean it... they hate them. The USA despises women, considers them nothing more than breeding stock, and considers them an expendable resource when it comes to making more Americans...

With each passing day I grow more and more disgusted in what we're becoming.

   
• Blork! I love Mexican Street Corn. I order it any time it's on the menu. I'm addicted to Mexican Street Corn dip. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see that Cheetos Mexican Street Corn dip flavor. But, alas...

When I can't even bring myself to eat them at work... a place that I will eat anything just because it's there... you know they're bad. What a shame.

   
• Fast Car! This is a surprisingly good cover. It takes a lot of balls to take on the original Tracy Chapman classic... but he nails it...

And that's not something I say about a lot of covers out there.

   
• Studio Idiocy! HEADLINE: Avatar 3 Pushed a Year to 2025, Two Star Wars Movies Head for 2026 and Avengers Films Delayed. Lord. If this keeps up, I'll be dead before half of them Marvel stuff I want to see are even released. This is truly making me not give a shit any more. Disney has stalled all momentum in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They no longer build towards anything... they just putter around at random, and will then complain when all of us who have no more fucks to give don't turn up for the movies.

   
• Good Beatings! I am not a violent person. I abhor violence. It's everything that's wrong in our world. That being said, it's a good thing that I'm not in charge of security at this museum...

Even though the painting wasn't damaged, there's the possibility that it could have been. And for that alone these assholes deserve to have the ever-loving shit beat out of them. Who the fuck makes their point by being such fucking shit-heads? Makes me want to go out and do whatever I can to cause more climate change just to spite them.

   
• Mateoooo! And now, because I really like you, I found out that Mateo Lane's new special if available on YouTube. But who knows for how long?

Mateo is darn funny. And he's got a lot of good stuff on his YouTube Channel.

   
Enjoy what remains of your Sunday, party people.

   

Make Mine Old Marvel!

Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2023

Dave!The Marvel Cinematic Universe is unraveling, and it started with their Phase Four slate.

I liked Black Widow quite a bit. It wasn't a perfect film, but it was good entertainment. I loved Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It added a new layer to super-heroics and made things feel fresh. Eternals was a big convoluted mess of a film, but I grew to appreciate it after a couple more viewings. Had they just focused on a smaller set of the more interesting characters (and killed off Sprite in the opening five minutes) it could have been a really good flick. Spider-Man: No Way Home was fan service from start to finish, but it was darn good fan service and a step up from the previous Spider film. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was just okay. It did Wanda dirty and kinda spun its wheels in ways that were tedious, but Doctor Strange is one of my favorite Marvel characters, so I made allowances. Thor: Love and Thunder got panned, but I actually liked it well enough. Yes, it went off-the-rails silly and Taika should have been reigned in, but it was still fun to watch. Then we get to the only movie in Phase Four that completely knocked it out of the park: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. As impossible as it was to imagine a Black Panther movie without Black Panther, Ryan Coogler just completely nailed why we are invested in Wakanda and the characters who inhabit it.

And then we got to Phase Five.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania was a barely good movie that squandered the characters in a way that I don't understand at all. What made the first two so great is the fact that Ant-Man is a tiny hero in a big world is exploited for fantastic action, cool scenarios, and genuine laughs. By shoving him to "The Quantum Realm," every bit of that is lost. There's no scale for anything. Laughs are driven by just being weird instead of being funny. The action went wider in scope, which actually felt more confined. It was C+ entertainment that had me mad at the missed opportunity of a much, much better film.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 was a complete 180° (mostly in a good way, though it definitely had some major problems) and, when paired with Shang-Chi and Wakanda Forever, was what Phase Four should have been. Films which were orchestrated with, intent, purpose, and quality that made Phases One through Three the benchmark for comic book movies. But instead Marvel did was Marvel used to never do... make films which are only good because of their context within a bigger universe. They don't really stand on their own and aren't really all that entertaining on their own. Quantumania was a vehicle to introduce Kang, and they didn't care how they had to force the movie to go to do that.

And don't get me started on the Marvel Shows for Disney+. With the sole exception of Hawkeye, which was better than many Marvel movies as of late, everything had its problems and is pretty forgettable to me. Secret Invasion starts Wednesday and looks promising. After that it's Loki 2 and, heaven help us, Echo. From there it's more static until Daredevil: Born Again arrives next year.

I understand what Marvel/Disney was trying to do with their Disney+ shows... extend the franchise with stories which need more room than a movie or wouldn't work as a movie... provide content for the streaming service... and give people something Marvel to watch in-between the films. But most importantly, it introduced us to characters like Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and (soon to be) Wonder Man who can pop up in the next Big Thing: Secret Wars (now delayed until... 2026?!?).

Industry pundits are saying that the decline in attention to Marvel's films is due to "super-hero fatigue." And while that's certainly a part of it... the simple fact is that Marvel isn't churning out as good as content as they used to. Which is a shame, because these are among my favorite films of all time.

Fortunately I can always go back and revisit those incredible early flicks any time I want.

   

Tuesday is the New Thursday

Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

Dave!It is remarkable how time just keeps blazing by me. Tuesday is wrapping up, tomorrow is hump-day, and then it's a race to the weekend again.

Which would be great, except my weekends are also blazing past me.

The weekend before last I was sick.

This past weekend I worked from morning until night trying to get my home put back together.

I started with my guest bathroom, which had a leak that caused a bunch of damage. As they were putting the bathroom back together, it was found that the leak had not been resolved, so repairs had to be put on hold. I hired an expert who only confirmed that "Yep, you have a leak" but couldn't figure it out. Then, without notice, the leaking stopped. But instead of tearing out the upstairs bathroom and more walls to find out what happened... or seal up the walls and hope it didn't happen again... I decided to build an access hatch in the guest bathroom ceiling...

Bathroom Ceiling Hatch

There's a panel I'm building which will magnetically attach inside the hatch. That way I can put some water leak sensors up there and be alerted to when/if something starts leaking again.

Then there's my new HVAC system. The heat pump outside has a return line to the blower which runs up my living room wall and over to the garage. For whatever reason, the line is noisy as hell. Sometimes when the heat pump is running, the noise gets so ridiculous that I have to turn up the television.

And so... I tore out the wall... installed mass-loaded vinyl panels... secured the line with vibration-dampening clamps... then installed some pricey sound-absorbing insulation on top of it all...

Installing sound-proofing stuff in my walls!

Installing sound-proofing stuff in my walls!

And that was that.

Now all I have to do is wait for my drywall guy to come in and put my walls back together... then wait for my kitchen doors and drawers to arrive... then I'm going to halt home improvement for a while, because I want to live in a home that's not torn apart for a bit.

At least I hope that can happen. Just my luck something else will go wrong the minute I've finished up the current disasters.

   

Sleepy Memoji

Posted on Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

Dave!LOL.

When you assign a Memoji to your Apple profile, it propagates everywhere across all your Apple stuff. It's even on my computers now, and I notice that if you don't touch it for a while your Memoji falls asleep...

Which is not a good thing, because it just makes me want to take a nap.

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A Titanic Waste of Money

Posted on Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Dave!You're probably best off skipping this entry.

I know that USA Today panders to the lowest common denominator (i.e. people as a whole are stupid as fuck), but this headline! Isn't it a foregone conclusion that if debris was found there could be no survivors? Like what... the passengers would just be hanging out 2-1/2 miles down on the sea floor waiting for a ride back to the surface?

Missing Titanic submarine live updates: Debris found; no survivors.

But anyway... I have a few thoughts on this tragic situation, if you care to hear them.

  • The ghoulish way that the internet laughs over tragedy will always amaze me. The father and son that perished had a wife/mother and daughter/sister waiting to hear about people they loved. And a shocking number of people were all over the internet saying the most horrific things about them... even going so far as to say that they hope they die. What kind of asshole takes joy in something like this?
  • The ghoulish way that "news" organizations compete for clicks over tragedy, however, will never amaze me, because that's what they do. That's all they do.
  • The bragging rights to say "I've seen the wreck of the Titanic" should not be seen as any different than saying "I saw the Stones in concert" or "I've been to Iceland" or "I own a Camaro" or whatever people like to brag about. It's just another thing you can do. And people are going to do whatever shit they can afford. If you've got a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS to blow, and using it on something frivolous while you could make real change for people whose lives are in crisis, then you get to do crazier shit than most people. That's how it's always worked.
  • While I think every effort should be made to rescue people from an awful fate whenever possible, I also feel that taxpayers having to foot the bill for that rescue is absurd. If you've got $250,000 to spend on a ticket to the sea floor, you can chip in another $250,000 to spend on insurance in the event you need rescuing. When I went to Antarctica, I had to buy a huge insurance policy in case I had to be air-lifted back to South America. This is the price you pay to play the game. Except if you're a billionaire, I guess. Typical.
  • The fact that five incredibly wealthy people had their misfortune broadcast around the world and shitloads of money were spent attempting to rescue them... ALL WHILE a boat with hundreds of poor immigrants sinking off the coast of Greece barely gets a mention and is given the "Oh, that's too bad" treatment should not be lost on anybody. Your wealth is directly proportional to your value in this sick, sad world.
  • Everything you do has risk associated with it. Flying in a plane. Climbing a mountain. Crossing the street. Everybody has to decide for themselves which things are worth them dying for. If you are okay climbing in a metal tube with a guy who says that "safety is a waste of money," where even the tiniest of cracks could crush you like an eggshell, and you're literally signing a paper that says you could very easily die from all the shit that could go wrong... well, what you do with your life is your business. I've done plenty of risky things... skydiving, travel to dangerous areas, eating at Chipotle... and the consequences are mine, and you judging me will be ignored BECAUSE IT'S NOT YOUR BUSINESS! So, while I may think that it's crazy-stupid and too big of a risk to go into a patchwork "submarine" that's been deemed "unsafe" by a former employee (who was fired) and is driven by a Playstation controller... somebody else doing this is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
  • I will, however, feel however the fuck I want to feel about the situation. Am I sad that people died in a tragic accident? Of course I am. Am I going to celebrate that they're gone? Of course not. Am I going to descend into grief because vastly wealthy people did something I consider to be a stupid waste of money and ended up paying the ultimate price for their folly? No I will not. Fuck no. And I'm not going to pretend that I'm devastated to make other people feel better about life choices that were made WHICH ARE NOT MY BUSINESS.

As an aside... the irony of people dying because warnings were ignored while going to see the wreck of where people died because warnings were ignored, is not lost on me.

   

Smash or Pass on Pet Shop Boys

Posted on Friday, June 23rd, 2023

Dave!When it comes to my favorite bands of all time, Pet Shop Boys are in my top five somewhere. Nobody really does what they do, and they're such a huge force in Brit-Pop music that even their missteps are worth listening to.

Last week they released Smash: The Singles 1985–2020, which runs through (almost all) of their singles... 55 in all...

The album cover to Pet Shop Boys SMASH... which features a blur of colors rushing past... assumably from all their albums.

It's a massive collection that's a non-stop parade of great tracks.

As I was listening to it for the third or fourth time, it compelled me to go through my Pet Shop Boys playlist and sort them from my favorite tracks. It's interesting to see how so many of my favorite songs were never released as singles.

As an example, my favorite Pet Shop Boys song is The Way it Used to Be off of the album Yes. It's a gorgeous track that's meticulously crafted. For reasons that completely escape me, it was never released as a single, and therefor wasn't included on Smash (and, to my knowledge, has never been performed live on tour).

The list below is far from complete. There's a ton of demo tracks and side-projects that I'll need to work in one of these days. For now though, 253 entries is enough...

  1. The Way it Used to Be (Yes 2009).
  2. Flamboyant (PopArt: The Hits 2003).
  3. Red Letter Day (Bilingual 1996).
  4. Love Comes Quickly (Please 1986).
  5. Memory of the Future (Elysium 2012).
  6. Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) (Please 1986).
  7. Dreaming of the Queen (Very 1993).
  8. The Survivors (Bilingual 1996).
  9. The End of the World (Behavior 1990).
  10. Up Against It (Bilingual 1996).
  11. Go West (Very 1993).
  12. Love etc. (Yes 2009).
  13. Suburbia (Please 1986).
  14. Always (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  15. What Have I Done to Deserve This? (with Dusty Springfield) (Actually 1987).
  16. West End Girls (Please 1986).
  17. Vulnerable (Yes 2009).
  18. Liberation (Very 1993).
  19. Beautiful People (Yes 2009).
  20. Leaving (Elysium 2012).
  21. All Over the World (Yes 2009).
  22. Home and Dry (Release 2002).
  23. Together (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  24. Did You See Me Coming (Yes 2009).
  25. It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  26. This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave (Behavior 1990).
  27. I'm With Stupid (Fundamental 2006).
  28. A Different Point of View (Very 1993).
  29. More Than a Dream (Yes 2009).
  30. Can You Forgive Her? (Very 1993).
  31. I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing (Very 1993).
  32. I Get Along (Release 2002).
  33. Building a Wall (Yes 2009).
  34. King of Rome (Yes 2009).
  35. Rent (Actually 1987).
  36. Thursday (featuring Example) (Electric 2013).
  37. Tonight is Forever (Please 1986).
  38. Jealousy (Behavior 1990).
  39. Two Divided by Zero (Please 1986).
  40. Pandemonium (Yes 2009).
  41. Glad All Over (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  42. Paninaro (Please: Further Listening 1986).
  43. Before (Bilingual 1996).
  44. To Face the Truth (Behavior 1990).
  45. To Speak is a Sin (Very 1993).
  46. The Sodom and Gomorrah Show (Fundamental 2006).
  47. Saturday Night Forever (Bilingual 1996).
  48. To Step Aside (Bilingual 1996).
  49. The Loving Kind (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  50. A New Life (Actually: Further Listening 1987).
  51. Always on My Mind (Discography: The Complete Singles Collection 1991).
  52. Minimal (Fundamental 2006).
  53. In Private (featuring Elton John) (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  54. Psychological (Fundamental 2006).
  55. Jack The Lad (Please: Further Listening 1986).
  56. Alone Again, Naturally (featuring Elton John) (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  57. It's a Sin (Actually: Further Listening 1987).
  58. One and One Make Five (Very 1993).
  59. Why Don't We Live Together (Please 1986).
  60. Domino Dancing (Introspective 1988).
  61. One in a Million (Very 1993).
  62. Winner (Elysium 2012).
  63. Being Boring (Behavior 1990).
  64. Tonight is Forever (Please 1986).
  65. Give It a Go (Elysium 2012).
  66. So Hard (Behavior 1990).
  67. Young Offender (Very 1993).
  68. Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend (Behavior: Further Listening 1990).
  69. The Theater (Very 1993).
  70. Yesterday When I Was Mad (Very 1993).
  71. I'm Not Scared (Introspective 1988).
  72. This Used to Be the Future (with Phil Oakey) (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  73. How Can You Be Expected to Be Taken Seriously (Behavior 1990).
  74. The Only One (Nightlife 1999).
  75. The Night I Fell in Love (Release 2002).
  76. You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk (Nightlife 1999).
  77. I Cried for Us (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  78. Left To My Own Devices (Introspective 1988).
  79. Birthday Boy (Release 2002).
  80. Shopping (Actually 1987).
  81. I Want to Wake Up (Actually 1987).
  82. Heart (Actually 1987).
  83. It Must Be Obvious (Behavior: Further Listening 1990).
  84. Miserablism (Behavior: Further Listening 1990).
  85. We're All Criminals Now (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  86. Nightlife (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  87. It Couldn't Happen Here (Actually 1987).
  88. It Always Comes As a Surprise (Bilingual 1996).
  89. E-Mail (Release 2002).
  90. London (Release 2002).
  91. Listening (Elysium: Further Listening 2012).
  92. Breathing Space (Elysium 2012).
  93. My Girl (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  94. I Want a Lover (Please 1986).
  95. Requiem in Denim and Leopardskin (Elysium 2012).
  96. Hell (Elysium: Further Listening 2012).
  97. You Choose (Release 2002).
  98. Only the Wind (Behavior 1990).
  99. Se a Vida é (Bilingual 1996).
  100. Footsteps (Nightlife 1999).
  101. I Started a Joke (Elysium: Further Listening 2012).
  102. A Face Like That (Elysium 2012).
  103. The Dictator Decides (Super 2016).
  104. Vampires (Nightlife 1999).
  105. It's Alright (Introspective 1988).
  106. In His Imagination (Elysium: Further Listening 2012).
  107. Dreamland (featuring Years & Years) (Hotspot 2020).
  108. I Want a Dog (Introspective 1988).
  109. My October Symphony (Behavior 1990).
  110. Burning the Heather (Hotspot 2020).
  111. In Denial (Nightlife 1999).
  112. Only the Dark (Hotspot 2020).
  113. Indefinite Leave to Remain (Fundamental 2006).
  114. Up and Down (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  115. I Don't Wanna (Hotspot 2020).
  116. Love is a Bourgeois Construct (Electric 2013).
  117. Here (Release 2002).
  118. King's Cross (Actually 1987).
  119. Give Stupidity a Chance (Agenda 2016).
  120. Invisible (Elysium 2012).
  121. Gin and Jag (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  122. Between Two Islands (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  123. What Are We Going to Do About the Rich (Agenda 2016).
  124. Reunion (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  125. Monkey Business (Hotspot 2020).
  126. I Made My Excuses and Left (Fundamental 2006).
  127. Hold On (Elysium 2012).
  128. Hoping for a Miracle (Hotspot 2020).
  129. Decadence (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  130. Night Song (Yes: Further Listening 2009).
  131. Happiness is an Option (Nightlife 1999).
  132. Was That What it Was? (Please: Further Listening 1986).
  133. Losing My Mind (Introspective: Further Listening 1988).
  134. Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You) (Behavior: Further Listening 1990).
  135. You Are the One (Hotspot 2020).
  136. Everything Means Something (Elysium 2012).
  137. Inside a Dream (Electric 2013).
  138. The Last to Die (Electric 2013).
  139. Happy People (Hotspot 2020).
  140. On Social Media (Agenda 2016).
  141. Will-O-the-Wisp (Hotspot 2020).
  142. Groovy (Super 2016).
  143. Love Life (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  144. I Didn't Get Where I Am Today (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  145. We're the Pet Shop Boys (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  146. Believe / Song for Guy (with Elton John) (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  147. The Forgotten Child (Agenda 2016).
  148. Twenty-Something (Super 2016).
  149. Casanova in Hell (Fundamental 2006).
  150. The Pop Kids (Super 2016).
  151. Searching for the Face of Jesus (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  152. Love is a Catastrophe (Release 2002).
  153. Sexy Northerner (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  154. Twentieth Century (Fundamental 2006).
  155. Inside (Elysium: Further Listening 2012).
  156. Time on My Hands (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  157. Florescent (Electric 2013).
  158. Happiness (Super 2016).
  159. Shameless (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  160. Transparent (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  161. Vocal (Electric 2013).
  162. Your Early Stuff (Elysium 2012).
  163. Radiophonic (Nightlife 1999).
  164. Boy Strange (Nightlife 1999).
  165. Closer to Heaven (Nightlife 1999).
  166. Too Many People (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  167. In The Night (Please: Further Listening 1986).
  168. I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore (Nightlife 1999).
  169. Sail Away (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  170. The Samurai in Autumn (Release 2002).
  171. Hit and Miss (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  172. For Your Own Good (Nightlife 1999).
  173. I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too) (Introspective 1988).
  174. One More Chance (Actually 1987).
  175. Do I Have To? (Actually: Further Listening 1987).
  176. DJ Culture (Behavior: Further Listening 1990).
  177. Hey Headmaster (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  178. The View from Your Balcony (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  179. If Looks Could Kill (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  180. Girls and Boys (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  181. New York City Boy (Nightlife 1999).
  182. Fugitive (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  183. A Man Could Get Arrested (Please: Further Listening 1986).
  184. Hit Music (Actually 1987).
  185. Your Funny Uncle (Introspective: Further Listening 1988).
  186. Into Thin Air (Super 2016).
  187. Metamorphosis (Bilingual 1996).
  188. The Ghost of Myself (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  189. The Lost Room (Lost 2023).
  190. Sad Robot World (Super 2016).
  191. Burn (Super 2016).
  192. Say It to Me (Super 2016).
  193. Integral (Fundamental 2006).
  194. Transfer (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  195. Girls Don't Cry (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  196. The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  197. The Resurrectionist (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  198. Try It (I'm In Love With a Married Man) (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  199. A Certain "Jenesais quoi" (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  200. The Truck Driver and His Mate (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  201. Nervously (Behavior 1990).
  202. Somebody Else's Business (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  203. Undertow (Super 2016).
  204. Electricity (Bilingual 1996).
  205. Bolshy (Electric 2013).
  206. How I Learned to Hate Rock 'n' Roll (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  207. Positive Role Model (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  208. I Will Fail (Lost 2016).
  209. Forever in Love (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  210. Skeleton's in the Closet (Lost 2023).
  211. Delusions of Grandeur (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  212. Some Speculation (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  213. After the Event (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  214. For All of Us (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  215. Casting a Shadow (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  216. Miracles (Pop Art: The Hits 2003).
  217. Luna Park (Fundamental 2006).
  218. One Night (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  219. A Powerful Friend (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  220. Living in the Past (Lost 2023).
  221. Blue on Blue (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  222. No Time for Tears (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  223. Axis (Electric 2013).
  224. Kaputnik (Lost 2023).
  225. Legacy (Yes 2009).
  226. Bilingual (Bilingual 1996).
  227. Inner Sanctum (Super 2016).
  228. Betrayed (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  229. Silver Age (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  230. Inner Sanctum (Super 2016).
  231. Pazzo! (Super 2016).
  232. The Former Enfant Terrible (Fundamental: Further Listening 2006).
  233. Screaming (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  234. Party Song (Release: Further Listening 2002).
  235. Euroboy (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  236. Disco Potential (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  237. Somewhere (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  238. Friendly Fire (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  239. Numb (Fundamental 2006).
  240. Discoteca (Bilingual 1996).
  241. What Keeps Mankind Alive (Introspective: Further Listening 1988).
  242. If Love Were All (Very: Further Listening 1993).
  243. Later Tonight (Please 1986).
  244. Wedding in Berlin (Hotspot 2020).
  245. We All Feel Better in the Dark (Behavior: Further Listening 1990).
  246. The Calm Before the Storm (Bilingual: Further Listening 1996).
  247. Violence (Please 1986).
  248. The Way Through the Woods (Elysium: Further Listening 2012).
  249. God Willing (Fundamental 2006).
  250. Ego Music (Elysium 2012).
  251. Shouting in the Evening (Electric 2013).
  252. Lies (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).
  253. Tall Thin Men (Nightlife: Further Listening 1999).

Apparently there's another album on the way, as the Boys started recording it back in March. So I guess I'll be updating this list soon enough.

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Caturday 311

Posted on Saturday, June 24th, 2023

Dave!=sigh=

While looking for a camera memory card that I could use for work, I found one with nothing but Spanky photos. 64 of them, to be exact. And I barely remember taking them. I honestly think that I was experimenting with a new camera lens in low-light conditions, because most of them were really dark and had to be cleaned up.

He was such a great cat...

Spanky looking at the camera.

Spanky licking his lips after drinking some water.

Spanky with my mom.

Spanky on the kitchen counter where he shouldn't be.

And if it weren't for Spanky, I wouldn't have Jake and Jenny today.

Because it was seeing my mom's stress and confusion evaporate when Spanky was around that made me plan to take him with us when I moved her into the home I bought. But when Spanky went to the Great Beyond, I ended up taking mom to the humane society so I could get a new cat. I wanted an older one... specifically an "unadoptable" cat with a missing leg or eye or something... but none were available so I ended up with Jake and Jenny.

And I owe it all to this amazing cat who got dumped in the cemetery across the street from my mom's apartment.

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Bullet Sunday 811

Posted on Sunday, June 25th, 2023

Dave!Storm clouds are a' brewin' out my window but I'm still blogging... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Storm! No joke. As I started to type this, all the lights in my house that are on a light sensor came on, thunder could be heard in the distance, and my weather station said that there are lightning strikes in the area...

Storm Clouds on the Horizon!

I swear that it was sunny just two minutes ago.

   
• Spell! In preparation for the new Wham! Documentary that's dropping on Netflix any day now, I've been re-watching all the old Wham! videos. When I got to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go I was shocked to see that Deon Estus was there...

Deon Estus in Wham's Video.

Holy crap! I always knew that Pepsi and Shirlie were backup singers in that video, but I have ZERO memory of Deon Estus being on bass! BUT THERE HE IS! Oh man I loved Deon's album Spell which I listened to constantly. You might remember one of the bigger hits to come off of it, Heaven Help Me...

I was always sad that he never released a follow-up album. And I am very sad now to learn that he died in 2021. He was incredibly talented.

   
• Strange! New! Different! I'm late to watching the S02E02 Ad Astra Per Aspera episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. I remained shocked at just how frickin good this show is. This episode didn't have any space battles or crazy situations... it was 100% a courtroom case. It was Law & Order in space. And yet it was beautiful to see...

Spock getting grilled on the witness stand!

The performances were incredible, as usual... but it was the guest appearance by Yetide Badaki that was the highlight. Holy crap! The ENTIRE EPISODE hinged on her performance, and she did not falter. Amazing, amazing stuff. If you're not watching, you should be. This may very well be my favorite Trek of all.

   
• Deep Sea Tragedy. James Cameron has one of the few opinions I even care about on any of this Titanic submersible stuff given his massive experience on deep-sea dives... and it's exactly what you'd expect. Those people didn't need to die...

And, like I said a bit ago, billionaires in a preventable situation is still in the news cycle while poor immigrants sinking off the coast of Greece barely gets a mention and is given the "Oh, that's too bad" treatment. Your wealth is directly proportional to your value in this sick, sad world. And that ain't changing any time soon.

   
• Happy Pride! Crying is gay now? Well, happy Pride to all the gay men who cried when they saw their future wife walk down the aisle at their wedding then. Christ...

@jon_spot

Extremely silly stuff on this Monday...

♬ original sound - Jon Spot

Toxic Masculinity at work. The fact that men aren't supposed to have any emotions at all is fucked up beyond all rational thought...

@innova.tuespacio No se a ustedes, pero a mi este compilado que hicimos me emociona! Nada mas lindo que el amor sincero 💍🤍 #casado #casamiento #boda #novios #weddingplanner #ambientaciondeeventos #parati #fyp ♬ Perfect

Repressed emotions aren't healthy. And this kind of anti-male trash being propagated creates an environment which leads nowhere good. Just look at the news from the world today.

   
• Sandwiches! I'm kinda going through a sandwich renaissance. It started with egg salad sandwiches. Then I moved to (f)BLTC on toast (fake bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese). And now I am eating grilled cheddar and cream cheese sandwiches with tomato and pesto.

Sandwiches are awesome! Fried egg Sammies are next on the menu. And I really want to fry up a pizza sandwich one of these days soon.

   
• Mobile Mobile! So when T-Mobile says that my rate is locked in... and I signed up for their service using ApplePay autopay... and now they’re saying that if I continue to use ApplePay that I will have to pay $5 additional. Isn’t that a breach of contract? I changed nothing from when I signed up and will now have to pay $5 more a month...

T-Mobile says I need to switch to a debit card or I lose my $5 a month discount! FUCKERS!!

Oh how I fucking hate these asshole companies that lie to you when they sign you up and get away with it because they have politicians in their deep pockets. $60 additional a year is not fucking “locking in my rate.” And sugar-coating it with “Well, your base rate is the same, we’re just changing the conditions of your discount” IS STILL CHANGING CONDITIONS OF THE TERMS I WAS GIVEN WHEN I SIGNED UP!! It’s like... “Oh, we mis-promised because expenses are going up, and we are losing money that our CEO needs to fuel his private jet, so how can we squeeze it out of our customers? Oh... by eliminating credit card fees we pay! Genius! Fuck our stupid-ass customers for trusting us! Or CEO needs a new gold-plated toilet for his third house!”

What's interesting is that T-Mobile bought out Mint Mobile. And if I switch to Mint Mobile, I'll pay half of what I pay now. So essentially T-Mobile is going to make a $50 a month customer become a $25 a month customer. OVER $18 A YEAR IN CREDIT CARD FEES?!? Who the fuck is the genius who came up with this money-making scheme? "LET'S MAKE FEWER MORE PROFITABLE CUSTOMERS! THAT'LL MAKE THE MONEY ROLL IN!"

   
Now, if you'll excuse me, it looks like rain.

   

I’m Abe Froman, The Sauce King of Chicago

Posted on Monday, June 26th, 2023

Dave!I've started creating my own sauce recipes.

It all started a couple months ago when I made my usual go-to dip for veggie corn dogs... Dutch mayonnaise with honey mustard mixed in. But I didn't make it for veggie corn dogs, I made it for beer-batter onion rings. It lacked zing. I needed something with more kick.

So I raided my massive stash of spices and added red chili flakes, paprika, and chili powder. Then I added a dash of onion powder and some berbere spice (an Ethiopian blend that I obsess over almost as much as harissa spice).

It was incredible, and now I make it every time I have onion rings...

Onion rings and awesome sauce!

Awesome sauce!

Ever since then I've been creating my own oil blends. My own sauces. My own toppings. All using spices I've collected from around the world that get combined to make interesting flavors. It's been a lot of fun. But even better? It breathes new life into things that have grown old. Onion rings. Fries. Grilled breads. Fruit. Vegetables. Cheese dips. The list goes on and on. I'll create sauces for anything and everything.

Tonight I made a chip dip with cream cheese, mayo, lemon juice, and shawarma seasoning. It was so good that I licked the bowl after.

There is a down-side, however. I'm almost certain that I've gained five pounds since I started this madness.

In other news, my drywall guy showed up to patch over the hole in my wall...

New drywall up.

Now it dries. Tomorrow he skim-coats and textures. Wednesday he paints.

One repair down, three to go.

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I Am In The Money Pit

Posted on Tuesday, June 27th, 2023

Dave!Home ownership... am I right?

Today I got the worst news possible... the upstairs shower, which has started leaking again (and it's worse than ever)... will have to be entirely torn out so they can replace everything the original plumber did. The pipes. The pan. Everything. Which means I will, of course end up having to re-tile and re-paint. Lord only knows how much that's going to cost.

Let's see what this brings us to in seven years of owning a home, shall we? And this is after the complete renovation I had already paid for when I bought the place...

  • Repair hardwood floors because the hugely expensive hardwood I bought was flawed.
  • Tear out wall strips that were buckling.
  • Rewire electrical once half my kitchen stopped working.
  • Fix the kitchen plumbing, which was so poorly done that the plumber thought it was a joke.
  • Tear out all the smart light switches because the company went under.
  • Rip out the guest bath due to leak from above shower (ONGOING!).
  • Rip out the guest bedroom changing area due to leak from above shower (ONGOING!).
  • Add electrical outlet to laundry room because it didn't have one(?!?).
  • Replace hot water heater.
  • Replace HVAC compressor and blower with heat pump and blower.
  • Rip out living room wall to access noisy HVAC return lines that were badly clamped to the studs so I could completely reinstall everything and add soundproofing (ONGOING!).
  • Rip out automated sprinkler lines to reposition since they added a service box that blocks them (STILL WAITING ON A CONTRACTOR).

I am positively terrified as to how much this all cost me. A big thank you to my original contractor, who is responsible for half this mess.

Good thing I'm not going on vacations any more. I couldn't afford it.

The good news is that the massive hole in my living room wall is very close to being fixed...

Seam tape up.

Later today they skim-coat to level everything out.. Then tomorrow morning they prime it. Then tomorrow afternoon they paint.

And how happy will I be that one of four ongoing projects (soon to be five) will be checked off my list?

Very.

   

Freshly Painted Cats

Posted on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

Dave!Oh what a glorious day!

The sun is out. All my clothes are washed. The kitchen has been cleaned. My groceries have been ordered. What more could I want?

OH YEAH! THE GIANT HOLE IN MY LIVING ROOM WALL HAS BEEN REPAIRED!!

Fans blowing on a freshly-painted wall.

So tell me honestly. Are two turbo-fans running on high speed enough to dissuade my cats from rubbing up against a freshly-painted wall... or am I coming home to two white cats where I originally had an orange one and a grey one?

   

Refrigerators of The Deep Desert

Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2023

Dave!The trailer for Dune: Part Two dropped today.

This may very well be the movie that I finally go crawling back to the theater to see. It would be the first in four and a half years.

Because... holy cats...

Today after work I put my living room back together. With all the mass-loaded vinyl, sound-dampening insulation, and vibration pipe clips in there, the sound of my HVAC return line is not nearly as annoying. When I have television or music on it's barely noticeable.

This past weekend I cleaned out my refrigerator because I had another Coke can rupture. Not explode... just a slow leak kinda thing. No idea why this keeps happening. I guess that cans are so thin now that they just don't have any structural integrity?

Ruptured Coke Can

While I was at it, I consolidated my two cheese drawers into one big drawer...

A drawer of cheese!

That freed up a drawer that I can put all my nuts and dried fruits in...

A drawer of fruits and nuts!

Surprisingly, all my jams and sour creams were still within their expiration date...

Jams, Jellies, and Sour Cream!

All my condiments too...

Condiments!

And even all my salad dressings...

Salad dressings!

As if that wasn't awesome enough... my breads, pickles, eggs, and sodas were still good to boot...

A clean refrigerator!

All clean! Until next month when I have to start all over again.

Or earlier than a month if another Coke leaks all over.

   

Monetize THIS, %@#$&#%ckers!

Posted on Friday, June 30th, 2023

Dave!I am really torn on this whole "link tax" bullshit that's getting signed into law by certain countries.

Essentially this boils down to governments forcing major media companies like Google to strike agreements with news organizations. That way, when you search for something on Google (or Facebook or any company that monetizes results based on another company's content) and a result from a news organization pops up, Google has to pay them money because their content has been monetized by Google.

On one hand, it's like... okay... Google is making money by serving ads in their search results or news feeds, so why shouldn't the news organizations showing up in those results get paid for making Google rich with their hard work?

On the other hand... why the fuck should Google be held responsible for other companies not monitizing their own content? If you don't want Google to make money off of you, then no problem. Add code to your website's HTML instructing Google bots to not crawl your content. Problem solved. Why in the hell are governments getting involved in this? And if you're going to pass laws for news organizations to get paid for making Google money... why not everybody? Why not bloggers? Blogography is heavily indexed by Google, and I have a lot of content that gets looked at by Google search referrals. So where is my money??

I have to say... I am kinda on Google's side this time.

Which is something I haven't said very often.

Google is merely refering people to your content. It should be up to you to monetize everything once somebody clicks through to visit your site and read your stories. Run ads. Offer subscriptions. Whatever. Just be grateful that Google is sending you the business. How else will people even find you if you're not getting Google search referrals?

With the recently-passed "link tax" law in Canada, Google is telling the Canadian government to fuck off. They will just remove all Canadian news sources from appearing to Canadians who are now legally required to be paid. Sure Google will have less content in their search results to monetize... but they won't have to pay anything out either. I'd argue that this doesn't benefit Canadians at all, but what do I know? Google said the same thing to Australia and France, but eventually capitulated. It will probably be the same for Canada.

And the USA is likely going to be adding a "link tax" soon.

If I were Google, I'd do some things...

  • Stick to their guns and not capitulate to governments requiring them to pay money to news organizations. Let the news organizations monetize their own shit. See how long it takes for news organization to come begging for Google to add them back to their services and tell the government to abandon the law.
  • Put a badge saying "PAID CONTENT" on all news sources that charge people to read their news articles. That way, when a search result includes a story by The Washington Post, for example, people will know that if they click through they'll have to pay money to read the full story. Because, hey, why isn't The Washington Post having to pay Google for sending them new subscribers? Fair is fair, after all.
  • Extend an olive branch to all official news organizations by offering them free ads on Google services, especially on their news page, based on how much of their content ends up in search results. This is kinda a no-brainer compromise.
  • Extend another olive branch by offering revenue sharing to companies or individuals who agree to NOT have paid content, with the amount received based on actual clicks. That way sites without the deep pockets of The Washington Post to set up a subscription service can have a mutually-beneficial relationship with Google. If they are making content which is interesting enough for people to consistently click through, then they are helping to make Google successful and can be rewarded. Set a threshold of how many clicks you need to get payment, then extend it to everybody. If sites like Blogography are getting a million clicks a month (HA!) then why can't they be considered along with "official" news outlets? I work just as hard on my content as they do, and consider my hot takes on things just as valid as "editorial" content, so why the fuck not? Hopefully this will allow cream to rise to the top and auto-generated, inflated, and artificial crap fall off of Google's radar. Ain't nobody wanting to read that shit anyway.

Ultimately I think it's important that news organizations get paid for their work. But to put that responsibility on Google is outrageous. That should be up to Google. And if people don't like it... then everybody can tell Google bots to not crawl their site until Google agrees to fork over the money and share their success. That's how the market works. If governments wants money to go to news organizations, then have that money come from the government.

Regardless of how this all shakes out, to have governments jumping in the fray is a terrible precedent. Today it's Google... what's tomorrow? Me? Every time I share a news story I'm going to be responsible for paying them money? I call bullshit. They should figure out their own monetization just like I do (which is $0 since I don't charge for anything, but still).

Have a government-mandated monetized weekend, everybody!

   

Caturday 312

Posted on Saturday, July 1st, 2023

Dave!This past week saw my living room completely torn apart while I was having the massive hole in my wall repaired. My drywall guy did a superb job. I mean seriously good. I know where the hole was and I still cannot tell. Amazing the skill of some artists at their job. Even more amazing is that I lucked out so hard in finding somebody who does this great of a job!

But anyway...

My cats do not like it when things change. They like it even less when the change means that they can't go somewhere they are used to going.

And a big corner of my living room has been sectioned off like this...

Plastic cornered off my living room.

Jenny was not happy. She was constantly looking over the plastic hanging from the ceiling like it made no sense to her...

Jenny looking at plastic.

Jenny looking at plastic.

Jenny looking at plastic.

Jenny looking at plastic.

It also caused weird cat behavior. I looked over and saw my cats fighting. Which is fine because it was just play...

CAT FIGHT!!!

CAT FIGHT!!!

But then they disappeared around the plastic wall and were rolling all around it. I worried that they were going to tear it down, so I said "OKAY! YOU NEED TO STOP NOW!" and then walked around the corner... only to see this...

Cats sitting on the floor paper looking like they have no idea what they were doing wrong.

Chasing each other around the house was just a bonus...

Jenny chasing Jake up the stairs.

And now back to the usual, construction-free cat drama.

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River Float, Flesh Burnt

Posted on Sunday, July 2nd, 2023

Dave!I'm burnt, y'all.

It was the annual Fabulous Fourth Weekend Float for my friends and I. This year our Summer came early, so the creek and river were lower than usual. This made it a little tough to go through spots, but it was still a fun float in the end.

How it started...

How it ended... Note that I put on two coats of sun screen, but still got royally burnt...

As usual, there were plenty of awesome dogs floating as well. I never get tired of seeing dogs in life preservers...

Floatin' Puppers!

Floatin' Puppers!

Floatin' Puppers!

And there were a lot of duckies out too...

Floatin' Duckies!

Floatin' Duckies!

Floatin' Duckies!

Floatin' Duckies!

So... yeah! Another great float in the bag. Even though I'm so wiped from being out in the sun that I think I'm good for the year.

Not that it matters much given how low the river is.

   

Bullet Sunday 812

Posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2023

Dave!Yesterday I was busy getting burnt so your bullets are a day late... because an all new Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...

   
• Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow! My favorite Star Trek has always been the original. None of the shows that followed come close. Until now. The third episode of Strange New Worlds is just one more brilliant feather in the show's cap...

Even if you're not a Star Trek nerd... you'll want to tune in if you love good television.

   
• Driven! I WAS NOT PREPARED!!

Fabulous.

   
• Pebbles! Holy crap...

I'd like... preserve those in acrylic... or something.

   
• New Pixar! Despite my having zero interest in Elemental, I am incredibly anxious to see the other upcoming Pizar flick...

   
• Matlock! WHERE HAVE I BEEN? DID Y'ALL KNOW ABOUT THIS?!???

Kathy Bates in a lawyer show? I will watch the hell out of this!

   
• NEWSFLASH: Titan Sub Search Could Cost Taxpayers Millions. The gubermint should sell insurance to rich people looking for dangerous thrills to cover the cost of rescue/recovery missions. It should be required. I had to buy a huge policy when I went to Antarctica in case I had to be air-lifted back to South America... why do rich people have to pay nothing? If you can afford a quarter million to go see Titanic, you can afford another quarter million in insurance.

   
• Dreams in Pink! Architectural Digest getting a tour of Barbie's Dream Home is what I need right now...

How somebody at AD thought to do this is pretty great.

   
Have a nice day at work tomorrow, England!

   

Life, Liberty, and Forfeiture

Posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2023

Dave!Given the way that politicians and our Supreme Court are taking a huge fucking shit on everything this country was supposed to stand for, I approach this year's Independence Day with more than a little guilt. So much blood spilled to preserve our liberties over the years... and we're throwing it all in the trash.

And so I celebrated this country's 247th birthday the only way that made sense to me.

First I had red-white-and-blue cupcakes in bed for breakfast...

Then I hung out with my friends at a pool drinking alcohol in the blazing sun.

It felt like a good idea at the time.

   

Working for a Living

Posted on Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

Dave!   
Remember when hump-day used to be a good thing?

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Pulling On Threads in Times of Turmoil

Posted on Thursday, July 6th, 2023

Dave!I've been on a number of boats over the years. Everything from canoes and rowboats to sailboats and cruise ships. I'm comfortable on the water and always have been. I'm especially comfortable on sailboats, possibly because I have fairly good balance and it's easily for me to walk around on them even when the water's choppy.

That being said...

I don't go looking for choppy water to sail on.

Well, mostly I don't.

I did sail over the most treacherous waters on earth in order to go on an expedition to Antarctica. But I was told to stay in bed the entire time, so this is all I saw of it...

The ship didn't roll completely on its side... but it was surely over 45°. It was brutal. There were times I couldn't see sky out the porthole.

But this whole "rough seas" setup is just a metaphor.

The point is that nobody seeks out choppy water unless it's required to get to your destination... and even then you do the best you can to find the calmest path possible.

Which brings us to the latest from Facebook, their Twitter competitor called Threads.

Because I have an Instagram account, I automatically had a Threads account, so I was on it pretty quick to see what's what. Basically, it's a carbon copy of Twitter, which is why I likely won't be using it much. Facebook allows me to hand-select an audience, and that's what I want for my social media. For everything else I have this blog. Threads is not that friendly yet... you can't look at only the people you follow and there's no way to lock anything down... but at least it hasn't degenerated into a toxic cesspool like Twitter.

Yet.

So while I'm happy to check in on my Threads from time to time just to make sure I'm not missing anything, I won't be jumping into Zuckerberg's choppy waters any time soon.

That's a lesson I learned when a fellow passenger on my Antarctica expedition had to be air-lifted to Peru because he was thrown down a stairwell and ended up with multiple compound fractures.

   

Consolation Found from Hauntings Past

Posted on Friday, July 7th, 2023

Dave!When I got home from work today, I was just... numb. Didn't have the energy to do anything except plop down in front of the television with an ice cream cone. Which sounds more entertaining than it was because I never bothered to actually turn the television on.

Instead I told Siri to put on some music while I caught up on the news.

And the first headline I see? FDA grants full approval to new Alzheimer's drug meant to slow disease.

Now, this is a hell of a long way from an actual cure. It costs $26,500 a year, it has been linked to death, it only slows progression for around five months, and it's more for friends and family than the person with dementia, but it's a step! And, from somebody who's intimately familiar with it... from somebody who would have given anything to have a chance at five more months with my mom where she was still mostly herself... I'd have paid the $26,500 and been grateful if it in any way helped.

And that's the way science goes.

AIDS, some cancers, and many diseases are survivable now, and it all started with a step. A step just like Leqembi is for dementia.

But there will always be those for which the science came too late.

For those left behind, I guess you just cling to the consolation that other people may be spared what you had to go through.

Maybe.

One day.

   

Caturday 313

Posted on Saturday, July 8th, 2023

Dave!With Summer reaching temperatures of 90° or more here, the cats have started to abandon the catio around the lunch hour. The evenings are kinda random, but can go quite late depending on the temperature out there. The mornings have become a post-breakfast ritual, and you can count on them being out there from 7am to 9pm...

The cats out in the cation one sunny morning.

This can backfire on occasion. Jenny was out there one morning when I had workers over to investigate the leak from my upstairs bathroom. She's terrified of strangers, and ended up being essentially trapped for 20 minutes...

Reminds me of Jake thinking he could hide behind a speaker and not be seen when my living room was under construction...

Jake hiding behind a speaker.

Oh well. Jenny still feels like hanging with me a lot still...

Jenny next to me giving herself a bath.

Good kitty.

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Bullet Sunday 813

Posted on Sunday, July 9th, 2023

Dave!The holiday week is over, but don't think it's over yet... because an all new Very Special YouTube Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Diner! I am addicted to the Architectural Digest YouTube channel. There's a great assortment of videos, and if you're an archtecture nerd, it's terrific time sink. An interesting one is about diner archtecture and how it has influenced other structures... like the Space Needle...

And that's Americana for you.

   
• Space! Seattle is home to quite a few famous places, but the most iconic is the Space Needle. As a kid, I was kind of abssessed with it. Built for the 1962 world's Fair, it instantly became the symbol of the city. It had a massive renovation in 2017 that essentially gutted it and added glass floors and panels so that it fit into modern tourist attraction trends. This video is an excellent overview over how it all works...

A few notes...

  • The structure originally had a revolving restaurant called "Sky City" (formerly "Eye of the Needle"). As a kid, I got to visit the Space Needle once on a school field trip and a couple time with my family. Since the restaurant was a "fine dining" establishment, it was too expensive for us to eat at. Eventually I did get to eat there on a date while on a work trip during my gap year. While the revolving restaurant itself was pretty cool, the food was overpriced and underwhelming. You were paying for the experience, not the meal.
  • Even so, the restaurant was a worthy bucket-list event. Which is why it's sad that it was replaced with an adults-only cocktail lounge in the 2017 renovation. Had they just adjusted the menu to be good elevated-basic fare instead of crappy fancy, it would have been an amazing family dining experience the whole family could enjoy, even if it was still expensive. But there's more money to be made from slinging alcohol, so here we are. I often wonder if somebody has puked all over the glass walls and floors yet.
  • Not to crap over the 2017 renovation entirely... the glass installations are incredible. A vast improvement over what was there previously.
  • Interesting to note how the "Skyline Event Center" at the 100-foot level of the Space Needle is so often treated as if it's always been there. It hasn't. It was added in 1982. And it kinda bummed me out because the structure looked so much more elegant and cool without that big block between its legs. The excuse for adding it was that it was "in the original plans." But I don't know this is true. The plans I saw had two additional open-air observation decks... not a massive brick that changed the look of the profile. I wish they would just remove it. As an event space it has limited appeal anyway.
  • Because I often meet up with visiting friends in Seattle, I've been up the Space Needle a ridiculous number of times. Between it and The Pike Place Market, that's what everybody knows about Seattle, so that's what everybody wants to do. I don't have a count, but it is surely 25 times minimum.

   
• Talent! Now this is somebody with skills..

.

It's amazing how people can do this kind of impossible stuff.

   
• LEGO! The best thing about The LEGO Movie is that it looked like LEGO. It was frickin' brilliant eye candy. And this is how they got there...

I've watched and re-watched The LEGO Movie just because I love how it moved. I skip the end, which is phenomenally stupid, but everything up to then is amazing. Fortunately The LEGO Batman Movie is brilliant from start to finish, so I watch every frame.

   
• Make Mine Marvel? Alrighty then. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has a lot of things to like, but it's also one of the most sadistic fucking movies I've ever seen. The amount of torture and death is just inexcusable for an escapist super-hero fun comic book movie...

I don't understand the heavy amount of praise this movie has been getting given how utterly horrific it is. WTF?

   
• JUSTIIIIIICE! JUSTICE! JUSTICE FOR BUZZY! — This is wild. I remember a story at the time about a guy stealing stuff from Walt Disney World, but don't recall ever hearing what happened. The story is nuts...

   
• Thrown! A video pops up and now I'm mad all over again at the shitty fucking ending of Game of Thrones. Two arrogant assholes took the paycheck to rush the show to a truly awful conclusion instead of handing it off to somebody who gives a shit. All so they could move on to projects which never happened thanks to their horrific mishandling of the show that made them famous...

And then there's the fact that one of them is a shitty fucking writer and the other one has no experience. The only thing they're moderately good at is adapting other people's writing (and we know what happened when they ran out of books for Game of Thrones)...

I am MORTIFIED that they will be show runners and writers for 3 Body Problem over at Netflix. I have no fucking clue how they were ever hired by anybody ever again after the way they completely trashed Thrones.

   
Now back to my overcast Sunday.

   

It’s the Rainforest Cafe!

Posted on Monday, July 10th, 2023

Dave!I don't know what's going on with me. My energy is at an all-time low this week.

Which is to say that I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos. Including the entire back-catalog of Eddy Burback videos. One of which is him and another YouTuber driving to every Rainforest Cafe in North America. Of which there are a lot fewer left than I remember.

It's pretty funny...

And this got me to thinking... how many of these things have I been to? They were never a destination to me. Most time I went to one was because I was in town and noticed it, or (more likely) I was in town to visit a Hard Rock Cafe and it was nearby.

Anyway, here's the list I came up with...

  • Anaheim, California (Downtown Disney) - CLOSED!
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Bay Lake, Florida (Animal Kingdom)
  • Bloomington, Minnesota (Mall of America)
  • Chicago, Illinois - CLOSED!
  • Costa Mesa, California - CLOSED!
  • Denver, Colorado - CLOSED!
  • Gurnee, Illinois
  • Houston, Texas - CLOSED!
  • Kowloon, Hong Kong - CLOSED!
  • Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Disney Springs)
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Hotel) - CLOSED!
  • London, England - CLOSED!
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - CLOSED
  • Sunrise, Florida (Sawgrass Mills)
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • San Francisco, California (Fisherman's Wharf) - CLOSED!
  • Toronto, Ontario (Yorkdale) - CLOSED!
  • Tukwila, Washington - CLOSED!

Wowzers. Twenty-two? That's a lot.

And I think that I ate something at all of them except the London and Costa Mesa locations. In both of those cases, my time was limited and I had Hard Rocks and Planet Hollywoods to visit.

Priorities.

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The answer to life? GRIPSTIC!

Posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

Dave!Just when you think that all the stuff that could be invented has been invented... you stumble across something that's brilliant in its simplicity.

Since the dawn of time, people have struggled with how they can keep bags of foodstuffs closed after they have been opened. Then came the advent of Ziploc resealable bags, and the world rejoiced!

But what about those products that don't have Ziploc? Like chips? What the fuck do you do with that?

Enter the chip clip.

Except they're made of plastic so they bust to shit in no time. Even those made of metal don't work that well because they don't seal the entire bag. You just have to fold up the excess material as best you can and slapping the spring-clip on it. If there's too little material, you barely get a seal and it will fall off. If there's too much material, you have too much to clip and it can also fall off.

Enter the Gripstic!

IT'S JUST THAT EASY!

And you know those shitty fucking Morninstar Farms bags that you can't open with a fucking blowtorch and, even if you do manage to get it open with a fucking knife or pair of scissors, it won't fucking re-seal?

Using fucking pliers to fucking open a fucking bag of fucking Morningstar Farms burgers.

It's a tough fit because there's not a lot of room, but...

GRIPSTIC!

That bag of lettuce that goes brown within five fucking seconds of opening it?

GRIPSTIC!

I even use it on the bags in boxed foods like crackers and cereals... or cat food!

You can get them at their website... or on Amazon, I suppose.

And, as an aside from the stupid fucking Morningstar Farms burger packaging... what the fuck is the deal with tiny little hamburger buns? Even when using a tiny little Morningstar Farms Grillers patty, it still isn't big enough. Something I found out when I accidentally ordered them for grocery delivery. Just look at this idiotic bullshit...

The bun needs to be big enough to at least have condiments and toppings all the way out to the edge of the fucking burger. BUT NOOOOOOO...

Useless. Fucking useless. I have no idea why they even sell these shitty things any more. They're in-between a tiny slider bun and a regular hamburger bun, but would fail for either use. The only way I guess it works is if you make tiny hamburgers. Which is fucking unAmerican and I won't do it.

And there you have it. The answer to all your problems except stupid-ass tiny hamburger buns?

GRIPSTIC!

Order yours today!

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Joy! A Bissell Spinwave Tale

Posted on Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

Dave!=sigh= Home robotics still has a ways to go, don't they?

A long while ago I bought a robot vacuum I named "Carl" after the janitor from The Breakfast Club. He was an imitation iRobot Roomba by Ecovacs, so he was cheap, but I didn't have a lot of furniture to confuse him or junk laying around my house to block him, so I was thrilled with how well it worked. Almost immediately I bought a companion mopping robot by iRobot that I named "Joy" after Joy Mangano (the lady who created the Miracle Mop (and was portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie biography Joy).

The mopping robot was just okay.

It worked better in my bathrooms which are smaller and easier to clean because they are tile. It worked less better in the kitchen, because it was bigger and the pad got dirty before it could finish. It didn't work AT ALL in any other spaces. Partly because they were too big... but mostly because the little vibrating pad ripped up my hideously expensive (but shoddily-made) hardwood floors. I used it for a half-year in the bathrooms, but eventually trashed it.

Fast-forward to last week after I was washing my floor on my hands and knees and thought to look at mopping robots again. The one that caught my eye was the Bissell Spinwave. The pads aren't a vibrating pad, so I had high hopes that it wouldn't tear up my shitty floors...

Bissell Spinwave Robot Mop.

So I went to buy one and... FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING DOLLARS?!? Does it blow me after it finishes mopping? Because that's the only way I'd spend that kind of money.

But then I Googled to see if there was an alternative that might work for less money... only to find that Best Buy was advertising the R5 model I wanted (it has mapping on the app) for $220 (which is less than the cheaper non-R5 model!). Still more money than the $150 that I was wanting to spend, but if it works...

Bissell Spinwave on Closeout at Best Buy.

When I got New Joy, I set her up next to New Carl so I could charge it. Once Jake came downstairs from his nap, it took him all of seconds to see (smell?) something new...

Jake giving Joy a smell.

My hopes for New Joy were dashed when it left its charging station, turned a corner around the legs of my hutch, and got stuck...

Joy is stuck.

Jake found this to be hilarious...

Jake watching Joy be stuck.

But, seconds after I took the above photo (and before I could pull New Joy out from under the hutch), she freed herself. Nice!

Which brings us to the R5 model's mapping. The reason it's supposed to be worth the $550 price tag. It's actually very cool. The unit has a LIDAR camera spinning on top which is constantly updating it as it moves around the space. For example... this is what Joy thought my living room looked like...

Joy's Map on the iPhone App.

But once it sees that it can go behind my couch, the map is updated to reflect that...

Joy's Map on the iPhone App.

The mapping even noticed where "rooms" are located and decided to mop the entirety of my "great room" (living room to dining room) before moving on to the kitchen/entry hall, downstairs bathroom, and guest bedroom...

Joy's Map on the iPhone App.

But then... uh oh. The map cleared itself shortly after entering my kitchen. Even worse, Joy stopped reporting her location accurately. She would randomly appear all over my house, but then always snap back to her actual location...

Joy's Map on the iPhone App.

Jesus. THIS is what Bissell charges FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING DOLLARS?!?

You can define Go/No-Go areas easy enough, and your robot will remember it for any future moppings...

Joy's Map on the iPhone App.

Unfortunately, there is a minimum size area you can define... and it's fucking HUGE. If you need tiny areas defined... like my cat feeding station and second cat water fountain... you'd better fucking hope that they are against a wall so you can have it bleed off the edge. As you can see, I got lucky.

And then we get to one of the most idiotic, head-scratching failures of this FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING DOLLAR robot... you can't define rooms/areas and save them for future use. Sure you can draw an area you want cleaned and send the robot to do that, but you can't save them for next time. They disappear after the cleaning happens...

Joy's Map on the iPhone App.

What the fuck? It would seem that Bissell expects you to clean your entire fucking house in one go. But come on, that's not even remotely feasible. Because your little mopping pads will get dirty fairly quickly, which means it will be washing your floors with dirt. Blergh. This should be a priority for Bissell, because yikes.

When it comes to my home, I don't have tons of furniture and practically no clutter. Which makes it an excellent candidate for robots. There's hardly any obstacles for it to get caught up on. And yet... this happened...

BUMPER STUCK ALERT!!

This seemed weird. First of all because Joy was, as usual, randomly reporting herself where she wasn't located. The map was showing that she was at her docking station. But she wasn't. So I had to go looking for her. Turns out she wedged herself between the toilet and the wall...

Joy stuck.

I don't even know how to respond to this. It's not smart enough to throw itself into reverse and back out of there?

Later on I stopped hearing Joy run. At first I thought she was out of battery and couldn't return to her docking station. The map wasn't reporting her location, so off I went again to try and find her. Oh. Despite her having a FUCKING "SOFT-EDGE SENSOR" LIKE BISSELL ADVERTISES, she was choking on a rug...

Joy stuck AGAIN.

Jesus. But that's not the worst of it. Do you see hoe the bed in my guest bedroom has a dust ruffle around the bottom? Joy thought it was a solid wall and didn't mop under the bed! I added a "GO" area and sent her back in the room... but she returned without mopping under the bed! So the only way to mop my guest bedroom is to remove the rugs and the dust ruffle...

Joy mopping the guest bedroom... now that everything has been removed.

So what have we got here...

  • PRO: It does a good job mopping, even though you'll want to limit how much it mops to smaller areas so you can throw the mopping pads in with the wash so that you're not pushing dirt around.
  • CON: Except you can't save the smaller areas you create because the app is fucking brain dead.
  • PRO: The mopping pads don't rip up my expensive, shitty hardwood floors. I haven't tried the "dusting pads" but I have zero intent of ever using them, so whatever.
  • CON: While the mopping is good, the vacuuming is bad. Fortunately I have a separate vacuum which does a good job, so I just run it first, but why bother with a vacuum attachment if you're not going to put a powerful enough vacuum in it to make it worth doing?
  • CON: To get the LIDAR mapping capability, you have to pay FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING DOLLARS for the R5 model (or $220 if you get it on sale like I did)... and then it doesn't even report to the app reliably? It erases and can't even report the robot's location!
  • CON: Apparently the robot has "soft edge" detection so it doesn't get stuck on carpets and knows when to raise the mopping pads... or whatever. But the feature is useless because the robot will choke on any carpets!
  • CON: Can get stuck easily if the space is just tight enough to enter, but (apparently) not loose enough to back out of?
  • PRO: The liquid cleaner reservoir is pretty big. I was able to clean my entire downstairs and never had to refill it.
  • CON: The liquid cleaner reservoir is a bitch to fill. You're supposed to fill it with water to a certain level... then fill the remainder with the concentrated cleaning liquid. Except thanks to poor design, the reservoir is overflowing before you can even add the cleaner! Tragic.
  • CON: The robot doesn't just "mop" in wet mode... it mops while it vacuums. But the vacuum dirt chamber is so tiny that you are pretty much forced to vacuum before you mop.
  • CON: The app is awful. Fails mapping after a time, doesn't report the location of the robot accurately, doesn't save defined areas, and won't even always report when there's a problem. If Bissell is serious about staying in the robot cleaning space, they need to do a lot better than this.

Ultimately I'm going to keep New Joy because she mops just well enough that the $220 price is worth it. Had I been able to afford the original $550 price tag, she would have been boxed up and returned within one hour of opening the box.

Maybe I'm just happy that I have a solution for mopping my floors that doesn't involve me doing so on my hands and knees with a wet rag?

I dunno.

But welcome to the family, New Joy.

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TRAILER TIME! Can’t Touch This!

Posted on Thursday, July 13th, 2023

Dave!SO MANY TRAILERS ARE BEING UNLEASHED!

As somebody who loves movies, I'm pretty thrilled... although more and more I'm happy to wait for them to stream somewhere than to go see them in a theater with =shudder= people. I'm more excited about the trailers for television shows.

So let's take a look, shall we?

First up? Blue Beetle! GRADE: D

Are you frickin' kidding me? This looks like complete shit! So many of these movies are serving up boring-ass crap like "MY POWER COMES FROM THE LOVE OF MY FAMILY!" and other bullshit that doesn't make for a good movie when it's used as a substitute for something... ANYTHING... that's actually interesting.

Is DC telling James Gunn to say great things about movies like The Flash and declare Blue Beetle "The First Hero of the New DCU (even though he's not in the DCU)"... whatever the hell that means... in order to bump ticket sales for their failed universe? All it actually does is blow his credibility. Just let the guy focus on what he does best. Like add Metamorpho to his Superman movie? That's the James Gunniest thing that could have happened! Although I'm pretty sure that super-hero movies will be officially dead any minute now. Between the utter shit that came out of DC and mediocre crap out of Marvel, nobody wants this.

   
Next up? Ahsoka! GRADE: A

Genius. The third season of The Mandalorian faltered a bit, but was still good television. Boba Fett was deeply flawed because all the good moments were in service of The Mandalorian but, again, good television. Obi-Wan had several major plot holes and some inexplicably stupid choices but, once again, I was entertained. Star Wars on Disney+ has been killing it. Which is why I am very excited for Ahsoka. It looks amazing.

   
And then? Wonka! GRADE: B

Now, see, this is where a trailer can work for a film. Because when I heard they were making a Willy Wonka prequel starring Timothée Chalamet, I had less than zero plans on watching it. But now? I will definitely tune in when it his whatever streaming service gets it. Especially with Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa! Looks like it will have some entertainment value going on, which is about all you can ask for now-a-days.

   
And then? Twisted Metal! GRADE: B+

I played a lot of Twisted Metal back in the day. It was a depraved video game that didn't quite cross into gross absurdity. The trailer implies that they just went for balls-out fun from start to finish, and it totally works for me. Ah nostalgia. Definitely tuning into Peacock for this one.

   
And then? Rebel Moon! GRADE: D-

Despite the fact that Zack Snyder creates awful movies that I absolutely loathe, I keep giving him a chance to do something I'll like because I still think that he did a good job on 300 and did a half-way decent job on Watchmen (until he fucked up the ending). I don't quite know what to do about Rebel Moon. The concept sounds good. But this trailer is dog shit. A bunch of cut-to-black moments and obscured action that tells you nothing about the movie. Who the fuck thought this was a good intro to the film? Probably Zack Snyder.

   
And then? Napoleon! GRADE: B

Look, I'm going to watch whatever Ridley Scott gives us. Period. No, it doesn't always pay off but, if nothing else, it's guaranteed to be pretty to look at. And if he finds the right story? Sky's the limit. This movie looks well-cast, and I'm genuinely interested in seeing what Ridley manages to do with the material. Because, once again, just look at how gorgeous it is! Nobody does visuals like Ridley Scott.

   
And then? The Retirement Plan! GRADE: A

It's Nicholas Cage. What else do you want? Looks fantastic. And hilarious.

   
And then? Corner Office! GRADE: B

Say what you want about Jon Hamm's choice of roles, which is not always that great... but he always delivers. This movie looks surreal and intriguing. Which is the perfect genre for Hamm to inhabit. Though I really, really, hope we get another Fletch out of him sometimes soon.

   
Until more trailers start triggering, I guess that's all I got.

   

Entertainment, Not Evil

Posted on Friday, July 14th, 2023

Dave!And now SAG-AFTRA (actor's union) has joined the WGA (writer's union) and gone on strike.

Contract negotiations have always seemed like a big puzzle to me. But not a difficult one. Actors and writers are saying that they're being exploited (which they are, especially as AI tech advances) while studios are saying that the new streaming business model has drastically cut into the money they're raking in (which is likely true).

Studios put up the money to get stuff made. Sometimes it's successful (read: profitable) and sometimes it's not (read: loses them money). The success of some shows and movies offsets the losses from other shows and movies. Studio executives try and balance this out favorably so they can return a profit. If they don't turn a profit, then they don't have the money to take a chance on new shows and movies.

So, realistically, writers and actors want the studios to make money. That's how they will continue to find work. Not that there aren't writers or actors who would gladly screw over other writers and actors or the studios so they get more money... of course there are... I'm just saying that, in general, it is in their best interest to want the studios to turn a profit.

But they don't want to be exploited while doing it.

And studios, honestly, shouldn't want that either. No sane person wants to make money via exploitation. Anybody who does is evil and has no business being in control of a company.

And therein lies the problem. There are people in these studios who are, to put it mildly, evil. They don't give a shit how they make a buck, and if it takes fucking over the people who create the product they put out, they're going to do that. Scripts written via AI so you don't have to pay creators and writers? Do it! Actors forced to sign over their likeness so you can fire them and continue to have them in your product? Do it! If they can fuck over creative people for a buck, they will 1000% do that and think nothing of it so long as they keep making money.

Which is why this isn't really about the studios or the talent behind the studios.

It's about us consumers.

Will we support studios who think nothing about their writers and actors and have zero problem exploiting their talent for a buck while not giving a fuck who they're screwing over? I sure as hell hope not. I, for one, would never support a show where the writers and actors aren't fairly compensated for their work and have no security from the work and services they provide. Fuck that. I can very easily cancel all my streaming services with zero regrets. And that's exactly what I'll do if it comes down to it.

This is a strike with two sides that's going to take understanding from everybody involved. And it's largely going to fall on the studios to do the right thing. Because so many of the rank-and-file writers and actors want nothing more than to be able to make a living doing the work they love. But when writers have to live in fear of being cut loose after creating something so their ideas and hard work can be turned over to a computer... or actors have to worry they will be cut loose so computer-generated actors can exploit their likeness... well... that doesn't seem very fair, does it? Just listen to this horrendous crap that was revealed at the press conference...

"They proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their company should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity, in any project they want with no consent and with no compensation."

There's a lot of room to create a system where studios can make a profit while treating the talented people that work for them fairly. But it will involve transparency. It will involve not being evil.

And, as much as I would miss the television and movies I love so much, I am more than willing to give it all up to make sure that the system which provides it is a fair one.

   

Caturday 314

Posted on Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Dave!"Who is it? Who is it? Is it a kitty? No! This isn't a kitty! This is a handsome bear! Yes it is! It's my handsome Boo-Bear! Hey Boo-Bear!" — I do this because Jake lets me. Jenny does not go for such shenanigans.

I'm not sure what's up with my little girl.

She still spends time with me... especially in the morning while I work in bed. But more and more she's avoiding me. Much like when she was little. She's afraid of me for morning treat time, which is really worrisome because that's how I trick them into the carrier to go to the vet!

And half the time when I'm working in the living room, she prefers to sit in her kitty bed and glare at the room...

Jenny glaring out of her kitty bed fortress.

Maybe she's decided to get even crankier in her old age?

That would certainly be something!

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Bullet Sunday 814

Posted on Sunday, July 16th, 2023

Dave!We don't need another hero, but we've come close to having one... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Droooooones! Drone light shows are getting more and more interesting, and Cyberdrone is on the cutting edge. And their partnership with Studio Drift which completes architectural ruins and structures is one of the coolest things I've seen...

Whitby Abbey ruins completed by drone lights.

This is beyond cool. DO THE COLOSSEUM! Oh... wait... they did that...

The Roman Colosseum ruins completed by drone lights.

And La Sagrada Familia...

La Sagrada Familia completed by drone lights.

Epic. These are gorgeous and spectacular.

   
• Cheesecake! None of my favorite restaurants are chains. They are wonderfully unique locations with carefully curated menus that have options I love. But there is one chain restaurant I do love... Cheesecake Factory (there used to be two, but Johnny Rockets completely trashed their vegetarian burger). The menu is huge, which allows for a lot of variation within my vegetarian diet. Although I usually opt for the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes or the Avocado Egg Rolls, because they are Just That Good. These are destination restaurants for me, and unless there's a favorite in the area, I'll most always opt to eat there. And here is a clever dive into the chain...

If I had one local to me, I would eat there multiple times a week. I can't offer much more of an endorsement than that.

   
• PLAY BALL! I missed when Rocco Baldelli brought his daughter to a press conference and she decided to help...

ADORABLE!

   
• Crap Appliances! And my six-year-old dishwasher continues to fall apart. Now it's the adjustable top-rack rollers that have rotted through because they use cheap plastic (I replaced the lower wheels already). What I find hilarious is that I'm told to "Use only genuine Whirlpool replacement parts." Are you kidding me? WHAT THE FUCK FOR?!? SO I CAN HAVE CHEAP-ASS FUCKING PLASTIC AGAIN? SO THEY CAN DETERIORATE IN FIVE YEARS AGAIN? FUCK YOU. I'm buying third-party replacements with METAL FUCKING AXELS so they might last a while. These companies making their products purposely fall apart so you buy replacement parts that will fall apart DISGUST me. Can you imagine selling appliances that fall apart in a few years back in the 70's or even the 80's? You'd be crucified. But now this is our "normal."

   
• Unbanned! The fact that this is even necessary to say puts the horrific state of society in vivid relief...

Beyond heartbreaking. For him and all of us.

   
• MiniCoke! AS GOD IS MY WITNESS... I WILL NEVER BE WITHOUT COKE ZERO FOR A ZOOM CALL EVER AGAIN BECAUSE I FORGOT TO GRAB A CAN BEFORE LOGGING IN! MINI COKE FRIDGE UNDER MY DESK! And look... there's room for cheese sticks!

Mini Coke Fridge!

Mini Coke Fridge!

Okay... it doesn't keep my Coke Zero quite as cold as I would like, but it's JUST cold enough. The problem with this thing is that it is not quiet. It's actually pretty noisy. Which means I can't keep it under my desk as I originally planned. It would keep me awake since my bedroom is directly next door. Instead I have it in my office... where it's still kinda noisy. So I dunno what I'm going to do with it. It has a cigarette lighter cord, so I could have cold drinks on the road, which is an option. Or maybe I'll run a cord into the office closet? I'll have to figure that out.

   
• FounDUHtion! Why did I watch the first episode of the second season when I knew it would be shit? Good Lord I fucking hate Foundation. What a load of overly-complicated and overly-dramatic dreck. "Harry always said that the entire galaxy can pivot around the actions of a single individual"... EXCEPT THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT OF THE "FOUNDATION" BOOKS IS THAT THIS ISN'T THE CASE! THAT'S HOW PSYCHOHISTORY FUCKING WORKS! And it's when Harry couldn't predict the coming of one very unique individual that the story got really interesting. But here the collective of humanity is ignored so that we can focus on these "single individuals." God. The sheer number of ridiculous shenanigans they dream up in order to have the same characters continue to exist over hundreds of years is beyond idiotic. Let's make one be clones! Let's put others in hibernation! Let's make another a consciousness construct! Let's make another one a computer dream! FUCK!!! And here's a deep dive into it all that is beautifully on-point...

For the thousandth time I wonder why the fuck they bothered to buy the rights for Foundation if they had absolutely zero intention of adapting Foundation. Just do your own sci-fi story and leave Foundation alone so that somebody can make an ACTUAL FUCKING ADAPTION!

   
Now I'm going Beyond Tunderdome and washing clothes and cleaning house so I'm ready to go to work in the morning.

   

I Am In The Money Pit, Part Two

Posted on Monday, July 17th, 2023

Dave!=sigh=

The last thing I'm going to do is complain about being a homeowner. First of all, I feel grateful that I even have a home. Second of all, the cost to rent an apartment in my parts is even higher than my mortgage payment. Like a lot higher.

But holy shit have I had my share of costs when it comes to my seven-year-old home purchase (A list of the absurd amount of repairs is here).

When I bought the place, I had a hugely expensive renovation to make it safer for my mother to inhabit with her dementia. From there it's been a non-stop parade of problems. The worst of which is my shitty upstairs shower leaking downstairs. And it ain't no old shower... it was installed just six years ago and was likely leaking since Day One (but I only found out about it four years ago as it worsened). I spent thousands of dollars just to get it diagnosed, and even then they're not 100% sure that it was a leak from the drain plumbing which is what they suspected. Which means they ended up having to rip it all out so I can start over...

My upstairs bathroom demolition.

The demo guys noted that the shower pan was made of something spongey... the likes of which they have never seen. So fuck my old contractor for that. And fuck my old plumber for doing a shitty job that's been leaking. And of course insurance is denying my claim, because they don't cover "slow leaks," only a "sudden catastrophic leak," which fucking sucks.

This time I'm not dicking around. I'm going to find a metal shower pan myself and hire the expensive plumbers I use for everything because they aren't incompetent.

This popped up in my social media this morning, and I felt it to my core...

So apparently 50% of homeowning is hearing strange noises and hoping they are made by ghosts because I can't afford to fix them.

This is very quickly becoming me. I don't dare ponder what could go wrong next, despite my already having fixed or redone the whole place by now. I think the best I can hope for is that I at least get to complete what's currently fucked before the next thing goes wrong.

   

Kind, Caring, and Compassionate

Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

Dave!I honestly try to be a kind, caring, compassionate person. That kinda goes out the window when there are abusive assholes unloading hate on their fellow humans... I simply cannot be kind, caring, or compassionate towards them... but I honestly try everywhere else.

Which is why even when I'm driving home and am anxious to get out of the heat and relax after a long day at work, I don't climb all over the bumper of somebody going 10 miles under the speed limit (25mph instead of 35mph). Because for all I know...

  • They could be a new driver and nervous to go any faster just yet.
  • They could be older and not comfortable going any faster.
  • They could be driving with somebody who has had delicate surgery and are nervous about causing them pain if they hit a bump at that speed.
  • They could be driving a wedding cake somewhere.
  • They could be having car trouble and driving to get it repaired.

There could be numerous good reasons they aren't driving the speed limit.

At least I hope there's a good reason.

Because if either you or your vehicle is unable to go the speed limit, then you really shouldn't be driving.

But anyway...

So there I was driving home trying not to crowd the slow, slow car ahead of me, when somebody comes raoring up behind me. And they are right up on me. And it's like... surely they can see that I'm not the problem? So why be an asshole towards me? Then I started worrying they were going to attempt to pass us both on a fairly narrow road. Which might spook the slow driver and lead to disaster. But nope.

Eventually the car turned off and I accellerated to the correct speed.

For a few seconds.

Before the speed limit dropped to be actually 25mph again.

At which point they were all up on me again.

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Jolly Good YouTube

Posted on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

Dave!Years ago I was talking with a friend about travel and the places we've been. Inevitably we got to the point where we were discussing the places we've been that we didn't care for. I said that there's nowhere I've been that I wasn't able to enjoy at least some of it. Then tried to give an example by mentioning Korea. Love their culture. Love their music. Really love their television. But I found being a vegetarian there is so difficult there that I didn't feel I could ever fall in love with the country. Indeed there were times I would fly there on one day. Work the second day. Then fly back the third day.

Unless I went to an "American" restaurant or chain, I'd always end up eating kimchi or some kind of vegetarian bibimbap with a red bean paste dumpling for dessert. And, as good as it is, I get tired of it for every meal. Koreans love love love meat...

Eat Us!

I did remember having a 16 course vegetarian meal that was nice... but it was essentially the same food in different forms.

But anyway... I ended up Googling "Vegetarian in Korea" to see if I was missing something other than pickled vegetables and garlic. It was then I ran across a YouTube channel called "Korean Englishman" and this video...

The channel was excellent and I checked in from time to time. They do a lot of cool things there, like exposing famous people to Korean food.

At some point the same guys (JOsh and OLLIE) created a new channel called Jolly. I never really looked into it.

But recently rediscovered it. Because of this video...

And now I'm addicted to Jolly. What a fantastic channel. The boys visit the US from time to time, and those videos are gold...

Nothing like seeing your country from the viewpoint of foreigners! And yet they're always so positive, which is nice.

So if you're looking for a Youtube rabbit hole to fall down, here you go.

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The Marvelous Marvels of Marvel

Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2023

Dave!The official trailer just dropped for The Marvels at Comic Con... which looks much like the initial "teaser trailer" we've already seen.

But before we get to that...

The rumors circulating around this movie are pretty crazy. It had already had a round of reshoots before the first test screening, which is normal. But apparently the test audience reaction was so horrifically bad that they decided to do more reshoots because people felt the tone of the film was way too over-the-top goofy. And, if that's the case, then thank heavens. I can't stand it when bad writing ends up being "goofy" because the writers don't understand "humor." Suffering through films that are so groan-inducing awful like that is what hell must be like (see: both cuts of Justice League).

But anyway, here's the trailer...

Now, to me, that just looks like a fun super-hero action flick. And while there are goofy moments (LOVE YOU, GOOSE!) it's not over-the-top. Hopefully this is what the tone of the final movie will be, because I think I'll really like it.

When I wade into the toxic cesspool that is the internet, there's a lot of hot takes on the film.

Mostly centered around people's "hatred" of Brie Larson.

Which takes me back to the first Captain Marvel film, where fanboys were unloading on Brie and review-bombing the film... apparently because they hate the idea of a female-led Marvel movie. In the comics the first Captain Marvel was a Kree male named Mar-Vell. Eventually his mantel was passed to Carol Danvers, which makes the MCU version comic-book faithful in every way except her origin (which I thought was better in the movie than the comics). The fact that Mar-Vell ended up being a Kree scientist played by Annette Benning (a character I loved) along with Brie Larson hate made it seem like the movie would be a financial disaster.

Captain Marvel went on to make 1.3 billion dollars despite it all.

Anyway. I don't really follow Hollywood, but apparently Brie Larson has said a lot of controversial shit. Like advocating for a more diverse population of film critics because there's an awful lot of 40-year-old white men trashing films that were not made for them. Now, personally I think this is bullshit. A professional critic is able to keep in mind the audience while reviewing a film... that's the job. But realistically? Yeah, Brie Larson is 100% on-point. There will alway be material in a film that a 40-year-old white man can't relate to and this will taint their feelings on the film. In that respect, I would absolutely love to see more diversity in the film critic profession. I love looking at the world (and movies!) from other perspectives. Makes me appreciate people more because diversity is good. So, sure, points to Brie. But come on. She could have phrased that without attacking people. A simple "I would sure like to see more diversity in movie critics so that more viewpoints are out there" would have been a far better way to make your point.

And it goes on and on. The most common critique is that "Brie Larson is unlikeable." And that's fine. If the things she says bothers you so much that you find her unlikeable... you be you and own your feelings. But I have to wonder how much of her "unlikeability" comes from being an outspoken woman. Personally, I think she's perfectly nice in all the interviews I've seen. Abrasive at times, sure, but that's a huge part of my personality, so who am I to judge? Who is anybody? A lot of the drama around Brie seems to be taking small moments (like Don Cheadle grimacing when Brie Larson gave him a friendly ribbing) and exploding them. And even when people shoot that down (Don Cheadle tweeted they were all good), the drama lives on.

Plus... she's friends with Samuel L. Jackson and has the guy on speed-dial, which carries a lot of weight on my opinion because I don't think that Samuel L. Jackson is the type of man who would put up with bullshit from assholes.

Anyway, I guess this is just my long, drawn-out way of saying "I like the MCU Captain Marvel, love Brie Larson's take on her, loved her first movie, LOVE LOVE LOVED her in Avengers: Endgame, like the look of the new trailer, and am looking forward to The Marvels." I hope it doesn't disappoint. The first one sure didn't.

And yes, I fully believe that The Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel are the two most powerful characters in the MCU, so I guess our toxic, misogynistic society can spend their time hating me as well.

   

Facebook Hates Real Life

Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2023

Dave!Honest to God I don't understand Facebook. They make billions of dollars off of their users, but actively hates them for using their platform. At least I'm assuming they do because I just got banned again.

And I'm not alone. I've recently seen a number of people saying that their Facebook account got banned. And almost all of them are saying that it's for bullshit reasons that they can't appeal to get their account reinstated. And sometimes they get their entire account deleted because some Artificial Intelligence Bot flags them for violating guidelines that they never violated.

I've been thrown in Facebook Jail multiple times for bullshit reasons. My favorite being "Displaying Graphic Nudity or Sexual Activity" which I was 1000% not doing. A guy had his shirt off in a photo and apparently that was enough of a trigger, despite the fact that he was wearing pants! I appealed... was told it had been looked at... but the ban was not overturned. Which leads me to believe that real people never look at these things because it was painfully fucking obvious that there was no "Displaying Graphic Nudity or Sexual Content" in my post. On top of that... THE FUCKING POST WAS FOR FRIENDS ONLY! LIKE 99% OF MY POSTS ARE!! I'd post a screen capture, but Facebook only lets you access a few of your most recent bans.

I've also been thrown in Facebook Jail for defending gay-parented families. The original post which had a photo attacking LGBTQ persons because "they can't have families" didn't get taken down, but calling out their bigotry by pointing out that gay couples can adopt a bunch of kids or have artificial insemination (or whatever) if they want to have kids... BANNED! Because that's "Nudity or Sexual Activity." Yes, adoption... which by definition is getting a kid without sexual activity is defined as sexual activity. And, again, an appeal did nothing.

Me getting banned for saying that gay couples can adopt kids or have artificial insemination or whatever.

And here's the original post, which never got taken down (that I know of)...

A family with loads of kids saying HAVE CHILDREN JUST TO FLEX ON THE GAYS.

I was also thrown in Facebook Jail for honoring Thích Quảng Đức... a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War (which I wrote about here). And it's like... okay. I posted a photo that Facebook considers "graphic violence" (WHICH WAS THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT!) and they are a private company so they are within their right to take it down. But, on the other hand, fuck them for throwing me in Facebook Jail on top of removing it because there was context for the photo that should have been taken into account. I did not deserve to be thrown in jail for reminding people of our tragic history and honoring a man for demonstrating for peace. And yet I was... on two separate occasions... for the same fucking post. Two, two, two strikes for one!

ACCOUNT RESTRICTED: AUGUST 4!!!

ACCOUNT RESTRICTED: AUGUST 23!!!

And then I got thrown in jail again this morning.

YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN RESTRICTED!!!

For posting about buying allergy medication.

To my friends.

YOUR POST GOES AGAINST OUR COMMUNITY GUIDELINES!!!

And of course I appealed it because there is fucking nothing about "guns, animals, and other regulated goods." But this is what I get every time I've tried throughout the day...

SORRY, SOMETHING WENT WRONG!

And, for the record, here is my full post... WHICH WAS RESTRICTED TO FRIENDS ONLY!...

During allergy season, I take one-and-a-half Benadryl so I don’t drown in my sleep. I buy a large bottle at Walgreens that lasts me over a year. Today I went to buy more. Walgreen no longer offers large bottles of the tablets, only the capsules. WHICH YOU CAN’T CUT IN HALF!! So to save money I bought a bottle of 600 capsules and three boxes of 100 tablets. This giving me 600 doses total. — EXCEPT, guess what, Walgreens will only sell me two bottles total because it can be used for self-harm, I guess. But this is where it gets so fucking stupid. I can buy two bottles of 600 capsules for 1200 total pills. But can’t buy four bottles total for 1000 pills. This is the stupidest fucking shit I’ve ever heard of. All I’m asking for is some common fucking sense. But no. AND THEN… Walgreens wants you to buy more, so they have a buy one, get one 50% off… which means to get the discount I have to buy two boxes of 100 and skip the 600 entirely?? My God. The insanity is fucking insane.

And then this nonsense gets particularly unhinged. Because a local friend in the comments told me that she gets her solid-pill, off-brand Benadryl from Costco in a 600-count bottle. She even volunteered to grab me a bottle the next time she's shopping there! And it's like, yes! Thank you! Things like this are the entire reason I am on Facebook in the first place!

It's things like this (and whatever the fuck is happening over on Twitter) that makes me even more sad that social media has replaced blogging as a way of interacting with friends and family. You will always... always... be under the thumb of others when you're interacting with people. Sure these companies are just trying to remove harmful content, which is fine. Bravo. But it's not working. Content which is actually endangering lives, persecuting and threatening people, and promoting stalking and harassment is still there.

As for me?

I could lose my entire Facebook account because of graphic nudity I didn't post. Sexual activity I didn't post. And "guns, animals, and other regulated goods" I didn't post (BENADRYL IS OVER-THE COUNTER YOU FUCKING DUMBASSES!).

So I guess it's pictures of my cats and what I had for dinner from here on out.

EXCEPT, OH NO...

The cats sleeping on my bed... AND THEY ARE NAKED!!!

Though I suppose I could always just post more innocent images... like when Tony Bennett's death was announced. EXCEPT ON NO...

Tony Bennett with Big Bird... AND BIG BIRD IS NAKED!!!

Oh well. I'll always have blogging.

Maybe.

   

Caturday 315

Posted on Saturday, July 22nd, 2023

Dave!Earlier this week I was awakened by a massive clatter downstairs in the kitchen. When I came to my senses, I was like... is the water running? So I went downstairs and, sure enough, the water was running in the kitchen sink and the dishes that I couldn't fit in the dishwasher were scattered in the sink.

It became very obvious what had happened.

One of my cats (Jake) had jumped on the counter, then decided to investigate the dirty dishes to see if there was any food to be found, got too close to the sensor that turns the water on under the neck of the faucet, then got douched with water.

And, sure enough, when I went looking, Jake was under the bed in the guest room with a wet head.

Poor guy.

I think we both learned a lesson. I learned that I shouldn't leave dirty dishes in the sink. Jake learned that he should STAY OFF THE KITCHEN COUNTER AND NOT BE PLAYING IN THE SINK!

And speaking of Jake...

I was working in bed and Jake hopped next to me. As I went to pet him, I noticed that the sunset out my window was beautiful. Look at that amazing sunset, Jakey-Bear! Oh... sorry... you can't see colors very well, can you?

Jake sitting next to me while a beautiful sunset is going on behind him.

And this got me thinking about an article I read a while back about how cats see the world. Apparently they don't have the ability to see reds and warm colors... blues and greens are muted... their vision is a bit blurry, focusing more on motion... and they can see better than we do in low light. After looking at the images in the article, I adjusted the photo of the sunset to kinda-sorta approximate how I understand Jake sees it...

Yikes. Poor kitties.

Oh well... he got extra belly rubs out of sympathy...

Jake Fuzzy Belly

For about fifteen seconds until he bit me. Something that has happened maybe two or three times since I've had him. I guess he really didn't want belly rubs after all.

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Bullet Sunday 815

Posted on Sunday, July 23rd, 2023

Dave!It's another scorcher out there today, but never you fear about my melting... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Strange Decks! There is now no question what-so-ever that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is my favorite Trek. It has eclipsed The Original Series, as I knew it would. And this latest episode (dropping early in honor of ComicCon!)... which is a mind-blowing crossover with the comedic ANIMATED show, Star Trek: Lower Decks... is beyond genius. They brought voice actors Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid into Real Life and the transition is seamless. They are very much the same characters, just no longer animated...

Animated Lower Decks.

Unanimated Lower Decks.

Real vs. Real Star Trek.

Now, they could have easily did this as a throw-away episode. Or dismissed it as a dream. Or any number of things which would have kneecapped it into irrelevance. But it was well-thought-out and completely serious while honoring the tone and characters of their respective shows. It's borderline thrilling how Strange New Worlds keeps one-upping themselves episode after episode. AND THAT ENDING! Brilliant Trek. Brilliant television.

   
• American Heartland! In a shocking announcement, a new $2 BILLION theme park is being built in Tulsa. Called "American Heartland" this seems like a carbon copy of "Disney's America," a theme park outside of Washington, D.C. that was never built which is based around Americana...

Now, I think this is a cool idea. Definitely. But Oklahoma?!? And not Southern Oklahoma which is close to Texas and might have a longer operating season... Northeast Oklahoma, which likely has fairly mild winters, but not California/Florida mild. And it seems primed for failure given that the biggest city (Oklahoma City, 2-1/2 hours away) has under 700,000 people. The nearest actual major city is Dallas or St. Louis, but they're a five hour drive. Which begs the question... why not just put it near Dallas or St. Louis? They at least have a big population and a major airport there! But still... they are promoting a laundry list of experienced Disney/Universal attraction designers, so there's that. I'd like to see it, of course. But it seems as though this is going to go the way of "Disney's America" and won't be built.

   
• Seek Discomfort! one of my long-time favorite YouTube channels is Yes Theory which is a group of people doing extraordinary things via travel and adventure by stepping out of their comfort zone. It's a channel I binge for a while, then leave for a while, because while it's beautiful to behold... it's also emotionally overwhelming. We're so inundated with reasons to feel cynical that watching the opposite of that for too long can be tough. And a couple of their latest videos are pretty darn special...

If you're a longtime fan of the channel, that surprise guest in France was almost too much to take.

How amazing is that?

   
• 'MURICA AI! This Buzzfeed article is nuts: I Asked AI What Europeans Think Americans From Every Single State Look Like, And The Results Are Just Plain Mean. Mean? Maybe. But some of them are scary accurate. Go ahead and click through. I dare you.

   
• Rescued! Miracles happen. What an incredible story...

Is it wrong that the entire time watching the video I'm screaming "BUT HOW IS THE DOG DOING?!?

   
• Ketchup> Hallmark Channel's "June Weddings" event is over... but I went back to watch the first half hour of The Wedding Contract because I wasn't paying much attention until the end when I watched it last month. What's REALLY NICE is that Hallmark is putting a little diversity over the same old story... they had an Indian wedding, and this is a Jewish wedding (seriously... she's baking a challah for Shabbat dinner!). But the best part is how it takes place in Chicago... but not really. It's shot in Vancouver. BUT IT'S TOTALLY CHICAGO BECAUSE SHE'S SITTING ON A PARK BENCH WITH A SLICE OF DEEP DISH PIZZA NEXT TO HER! BWAH HA HA HAAA! But wait, there's more! They get a coffee at cart called Chicago's Finest Hot Dogs and... what's that on the cart there?

THERE'S A BOTTLE OF KETCHUP ON THE CART! BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAAAA! HA HA HAAAAAA!!! Clearly the set decorator has never been to Chicago. That ketchup would be hidden and provided (RELUCTANTLY) by request only. Ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago... BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA =gasp= HA HAAAA!!! People have died for less!

   
• POD PEOPLE! I really, really want to see this...

Looks interesting. Looks different. Has great lead actors. Why not?

   
Hope you're having a cooler Sunday than I am!

   

Memory is the First Thing to Go?

Posted on Monday, July 24th, 2023

Dave!I am not particularly worried about my memory. Yet.

But I do have some memory "blind spots" that drive me crazy.

ME AT THE STORE: "Say! That's a great deal on toothpaste! Should I get one 3-Pack or two? I'll just go with one. I think I have a tube in the cupboard."

ME TONIGHT: "GUESS I'LL JUST PUT THESE TUBES WITH THE EIGHT OTHER TUBES IN MY CUPBOARD! WTF?!?"

Interesting to note how mad I got with my previous extraneous purchases, because I just chucked them in there without neatly stacking them.

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I Am In The Money Pit, Part Three

Posted on Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

Dave!It's absolutely fascinating how easy it is to drop astounding amounts of money on things that you're already spent money on.

As an example... the paint sample from the new company mixing the paint for my new kitchen doors and drawers arrived and it's a bit less warm. My choices were to A) Ask them to try again and wait another week... B) Wait until the original paint company gets the parts for their machine at the end of August... or C) Repaint my cupboard frames the slightly cooler color. I decided on Option C because I didn't want to wait any longer, and it was more in the direction of my tile color anyway.

$80.00 blown in the blink of an eye so I can pay for new paint...

Repainting my kitchen.

The end result looks good, so now I wait for the new paint to arrive sometime this week... wait for the pieces to be painted... then wait for the installers to fit me into their schedule.

After that?

Should be my front yard landscaping.

Followed by the re-do of the upstairs bathroom which had to be torn out.

Talk about spending money on something I've already spent money on. That's going to be a doozy ON TOP OF the money I paid to my shitty fucking contractor who fucked it up in the first place.

I seriously should have bought a tent and lived out in the woods or something.

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God what a fucking piece of shit.

Posted on Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

Dave!I was already furious that Whirlpool uses cheap-ass plastic axels on their wheels which corrode and fall apart after five years.

I mean, seriously... just look at this shit...

Whirpool parts all corroded and busted to shit.

So when I installed the replacement upper rack glides (THIRD PARTY WITH *METAL* AXELS), I yelled "FUCK!" at least twenty times in the ten minutes it took to figure out how to work with Whirlpool's stupid-ass design. Pretty sure all the appliance manufacturers make cheap-ass fucking parts that fall apart so you have to pay for replacements... but that isn't any consolation because I am still filled with rage.

I would have gladly paid 50¢ more for my dishwasher if Whirpool would have used metal fucking axels. God what a fucking piece of shit.

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Darn Handy

Posted on Thursday, July 27th, 2023

Dave!This morning I took an Über back to The Big City to pick up my car. I was expecting a $500+ bill, but it was only $85 because the whole muffler didn't have to be replaced, it was only a connector or flange or something. There is still a rattling when you first accelerate, so that will have to be looked at, I suppose. But... it's far better than it was.

Now I just need to have the roof stripped and repainted, and I guess I've got a car for the next couple years.

The iPhone "Always-On Display" allows me almost two days of battery life (normal usage) which is a big improvement from when I first got the phone and it was just over a day of use. I never thought that I would care about it, but between being able to customize the lock screen with widgets and having live tiles for background app updates (SHADES OF WINDOWS PHONE!), it's a darn handy thing to have...

No more waking up my phone a half-dozen times to check on when my Über is arriving.

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…And Chill

Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2023

Dave!Well, that was a day.

I need quite badly to put it behind me and chill.

Like this...

Maybe I'll just drink instead.

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Caturday 316

Posted on Saturday, July 29th, 2023

Dave!My cats are developing personalities that are diverging more every day.

The only time Jake acts even a little bit upset is if he feels that I'm taking too long dishing up his meal. Otherwise? He's ridiculously chill all the time.

Jenny is more of a princess than ever, complaining when she doesn't get her way and letting you know when she feels neglected (which is often).

This is Jake waiting for breakfast. He found a sunny spot on the floor, then dropped down for a nap.

Jakey Bear Sleeping on the Floor for Sunshine.

This is Jenny waiting for breakfast. Staring at me and occasionally meowing because I am not acknowledging her presence.

Jenny on the Bed Waiting for Breakfast.

I don't know how Jake could get any more chill. But I'm sure that Jenny will find all kinds of ways of being more of a little princess.

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Bullet Sunday 816

Posted on Sunday, July 30th, 2023

Dave!It's Sunday. There's bullets. And life goes on... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Why Is The Clicker Called The Clicker? I actually remember this thing! This is a fascinating, fascinating story about the dawn of the television remote control, which went like this (here's a link in case YouTube is being a flaming pile of shit)...

ULTRASONIC?? I had no idea! Seriously, read the story. Worth your valuable time!

   
• Van Dyke! Speaking of things I had no idea about, here comes this fascinating look at The Dick Van Dyke Show (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@darastarrtucker

♬ original sound - Dara Starr Tucker

I love running across stuff like this!

   
• In Your Love. Christ. Now they're burning Tyler Childers T-shirts on TikTok. Over a music video. Have you ever seen such a fragile group of snowflakes in your life? Guess they gotta act so ridiculously triggered in order to reaffirm their heterosexuality or Christianity or whatever it is they're so pressed about this time (here's a link in case YouTube is being a flaming pile of shit)...

It's a tragic love story that fits the song he wrote. But because it's two guys who fell in love, people are losing their ever-loving minds? For the life on me, I don't understand why people care about things that have zero affect on their lives.

   
• Thank You! I may have laughed for a solid two minutes after watching this (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@wgnmorningnews #chicagonews #wgnmorningnews #wgnanchor #newsbloopers #blooper #chicago #chicagotiktok ♬ original sound - wgnmorningnews

Jesus. If saying "please" and "thank you" is too much for you to bear, just ignore it.

   
• Ski! THIS IS WHAT COURAGE LOOKS LIKE! She's in fourth grade! Turn the volume up on this one (here's a link in case YouTube is being a flaming pile of shit)...

Was I the only one holding their breath on this one?

   
• Spaced. After Anthony Rapp came forward with his story, thirty-some-odd additional men accused Kevin Spacey of sexual assault. He publicly apologized to some of them (including Rapp, who was a 14-year-old boy at the time of the alleged assault), came out as gay as a reason(?) for his "clumsy flirting" (AKA grabbing men's crotches), then said he was going to evaluate his behavior and get treatment. But in court he said that absolutely everything he admitted to and apologized for and "evaluated" was just something his publicist told him to say. Even while he admitted that one of the men who accused him of assault looked uncomfortable as he left.

My opinion of Spacey has nothing to do with "hopping on the condemnation bandwagon." It's thirty-plus accusations and Kevin Spacey's own words I am choosing to listen to. I'm not telling anybody how to feel about the guy... if a victory in court exonerates him of all wrong-doing in your eyes, then you do you... I'm just saying that grabbing men by the crotch is sexual assault every bit as much as if he were to grab women by the crotch, and I am not going to write off thirty men by saying they're overreacting to "clumsy flirting." You might as well be saying that they should be honored that a celebrated and powerful actor like Kevin Spacey would deem them worthy of being molested. I will not do that. I refuse to do that. No matter how "gentle and romantic" Spacey thought it was.

   
Hope you can enjoy what's left of your Sunday.

   

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Forever

Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2023

Dave!Paul Reubens has died.

I am a massive, massive fan. I was in college when Pee-Wee's Playhouse debuted, and somebody had recorded a bunch of episodes and played them on the big screen in the lounge. It was incredible. Despite being a show for kids, there was a lot of material for adults to latch onto as well. Pee-Wee's show was fun, smart, imaginative, diverse, brilliant television. Exactly the kind of thing kids should be watching.

But Paul Reubens was more than Pee-Wee. He has the absolute best death scene in the history of cinema from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (here's a link in case YouTube is being a dick)...

But it was Pee-Wee that made him (rightfully) famous, and I've had him make an appearance on Blogography more than once. Like this one from 2011, long before "President Trump" was unleashed on the world...

Hey Boys & Girls, My name is Pee-Wee Dave, welcome to the Pee-Wee Dave Show!

   

Look! It's Bad Monkey with today's Magic Word: LIAR!

   

Every time somebody hows up and starts telling lies, EVERYBODY YELL AS LOUD AS YOU CAN!