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Bullet Sunday 745

Posted on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

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

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

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pan Pizza Box

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

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

A bag of MacCains Crinkle Cut Fries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful Maui Beach

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

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

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

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

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

   

It’s a Snow Day!

Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2022

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

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

Snow Piled Up in My Window!

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

Snow Piled Up in My Little Window!

Turns out it was about three feet, 35 inches.

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

Snow Piled Up in Front of my Catio!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cats on the couch watching television with me!

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

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

And here we are.

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

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

And if not?

I guess I'll bore my cats some more.

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Sneakers Over Mt. Simmer

Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2022

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

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

A mountain of snow with my car backed out!

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

Driving to work!

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

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

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

Rest In Peace, Mr. Poitier, sir.

   

Glued to the Pavement

Posted on Monday, January 10th, 2022

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

But back to the quarter glued to the sidewalk.

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

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

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

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

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This Vicious Reality

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All their getting is Candace Owens, et al.

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

Let's go Darwin, I guess.

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

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

   

Migraine in Time for the Weekend

Posted on Friday, January 14th, 2022

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

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

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

Just unlucky, I guess.

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Blatant Unaffordability

Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2022

Dave!I wish I could afford to save money.

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

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

This is hugely relevant to me right now.

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

But not expensive enough, apparently.

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

Samsung doesn't give a fuck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's categorically absurd.

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

Yeah. More like slim to none.

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At Peace with Kindness

Posted on Monday, January 24th, 2022

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

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet book cover.

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

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

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

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

Kindness can be more contagious than Omicron.

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

And tomorrow.

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

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Like a Pain in the Back

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2022

Dave!Getting older definitely has its drawbacks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so... lesson learned.

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

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

Because apparently I'm too old not to now.

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Spider, Man

Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2022

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

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

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

Spider Under a Cup

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

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

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Trapped In A Game We’re Losing

Posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

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

And speaking of our post-apocalyptic hellscape...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And once again I find myself in the middle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because that's where we're at now.

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

And for some reason we keep believing them.

   

The Social Memory Construct

Posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

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

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

And then there's Blogography.

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

Those of us who remain each have our own reasons.

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

Although...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There's still 20 years sitting here for me.

   

Everything Sucks and I’m Dying

Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2022

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

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

Last Purchased Dec. 3, 2019

Apparently I've experienced a pandemic-based blackout.

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

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

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

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Everything Sucks and I’m Dying, Part 2

Posted on Friday, February 18th, 2022

Dave!   
And I thought yesterday was bad.

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And in summation…

Posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

Bullet Sunday 753

Posted on Sunday, March 6th, 2022

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

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

My fluffy buns!

My fluffy buns with cheese on them!

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

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

Nightmare Alley Poster

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

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

Best of luck at Google, sir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   
See you in seven days, true bullet believers.

   

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

Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2022

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

And yet...

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

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

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

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

Happy Monday to me.

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Life is Too Short

Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2022

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

I swore never again.

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

And so I stopped doing that.

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

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

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

Minutes. Gone.

But wasting minutes is better than wasting hours.

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I’m Going to Disneyland

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2022

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

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

Now, here's where things get weird.

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

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

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

So that's what I've been doing.

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

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

   

The Wheels on the Chair Go Round and Round?

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm more than a little raw about it.

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

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

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DaveLife… and Death

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Dave!And... dead.

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

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

I feel like I should go apologize or something.

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Good Bye Cruel Earth

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2022

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

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

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

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Please Leave a Message

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2022

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

   

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IT’S A BOY!

Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2022

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


A negative COVID test.

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

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

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Laryngitis Makes Good Company

Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Go figure.

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There’s Always One in Every Crowd

Posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2022

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

And without exception I end up regretting making the effort.

Maybe one of these days I'll learn.

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Snow? Really?

Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2022

Dave!Yikes. It's snowing.

Like a lot.

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

UPDATE: Yep...

Clearing snow off my car...

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Snowpocalypse Now

Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2022

Dave!Fourth day in a row of waking up to a lot of snow falling down.

Previously, it would all melt before the day was ended. But today we got some serious snow. Seven inches I'm betting. Which is kinda a bummer because A) I started assembling my wood shop out in the garage, so my car has to be cleaned off each morning... and B) I already put away all my Winter clothing. I'm especially sad for all the flowers and trees that have already bloomed thanks to some warm days last week...

Heavy snows out my window.

A tree in bloom pelted with snow.

Tulips buried in the snow.

Tulips buried in the snow.

I mean...

Seven inches of snow on my car.

That ain't melting by the end of the day. It will be lucky if it melts tomorrow.

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Booster^2

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday I got a notification that I was now eligible for a second Pfizer Booster. A booster for my booster, I guess. Now, I am 1000% in support of getting "touch-up" vaccinations as efficacy fades, so there was never a question as to whether I was going to do this... I was just waiting for the word to be given.

The minute the text arrived, I went rushing to my local County Health website to make an appointment. Only to find that I didn't need an appointment. This didn't shock me, because all three times I went to get vaccinated, there was hardly anybody there.

What did shock me is that they are only offering vaccinations one day a week. Every Friday from 10:30 to 4:30.

I thought that surely there would be a line if we're down to one day a week... but nope! There was one guy who had already got his, and once he left I was alone.

Interesting to note that I only had to wait for five minutes after this time.

Didn't end up turning into a lizard person this time (again, darnit!), but there was some good news. Zero side-effects...

  • Vaccine #1: Fever for 2 hours. — Sore, stiff arm for 2 days.
  • Vaccine #2: Sore arm for a day.
  • Vaccine #3: Sore arm for 2 or 3 hours.
  • Vaccine #4: Nothing. I thought I might be having chills... but that was me forgetting that I turned off the heat weeks ago, and it ended up being a *very* cold day today. So... never mind. I guess the fourth time around my body is so used to the vaccine that I'm not going to have any side effects. Yay.

And so... until next booster, I guess.

   

Unbearable Consequences of Consequence

Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Dave!Since I had to work all weekend, I was under this deluded fantasy that I would be able to put in a half-day today. Which I really need, because there is so much stuff that needs to be done at home. Stuff that I've been putting off for weeks. Like laundry. Like cleaning the house. Like putting together furniture. Like tying up the flowers in my back yard. And the list goes on and on and on.

Spoiler alert. I was in the office right up until 5:00 and then worked for another three hours when I got home.

In two days I will have to start turning my underwear inside-out because all my clean pairs will be gone. They would have been gone long ago, except I've got huge amounts of underwear and socks left from my back-to-back travel days. Sometimes I'd be gone for weeks, dropping by my car in the airport parking garage only long enough to grab a suitcase with clean clothes before catching my next flight. You can't do that unless you've got four weeks worth of underwear on standby.

Well, clean underwear, of course.

Which is in dangerous short supply for me just now, as noted.

   

Stay on Target…

Posted on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Dave!I ordered new sheets from Target last week. It was time. When I got them, there was ONLY the fitted base sheet. No top-sheet. No pillow cases. And of course I didn't notice until after I took them out of the dryer that pieces were missing.

Yay! Off to spend more money I don't have!

So I go to buy the matching flat sheets and pillow cases... ONLY TO FIND THAT TARGET WILL NOT ADD THEM TO MY SHOPPING CART! I CAN'T ORDER THEM! SO I NOW HAVE FITTED SHEETS WITH NOTHING TO GO WITH THEM. What kind of psychopath ONLY orders the pieces separately instead of in a set? Why would you want to? And I can shove absolutely every random item into my Target cart EXCEPT what I need to order...

SOMETHING WENT WRONG AND THE ITEM WAS NOT ADDED TO YOUR CART! PLEASE TRY AGAIN!

And so I fire up Target Customer Help Chat. After explaining over and over, they finally tell me... "Oh! You can't put them in your cart because they are out of stock!"

And it's like... way to have a dumpster-fire of a website, Target! NOTHING was stated anywhere that the item was out of stock.

So I scream a little bit.

Then I order the top sheets and figure I'll check on the matching pillow cases later.

Then I go to close my web browser so I can make dinner... and I see a link to buy the other parts of the bedding set. The fitted sheet I already have... AND THE DAMN PILLOW CASES!

So I think "What the heck" and add the yellow and khaki sets to my cart with absolutely no problems at all.

WTF changed? I have been trying to order them for over an hour to no avail... and now, all of a sudden, I can buy them again? Ugh. I have no idea. Kinda bizarre how Target will now have to send a single order in two shipments because I couldn't place a single order. I'm not happy about that (though using my Red Card did mean I didn't have to pay for shipping on either of them).

But I did have to spend an extra $60 I wasn't planning on having to spend. And I'm really not happy about that.

WHY DOESN'T TARGET SELL COMPLETE BEDDING SHEET SETS LIKE THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD?!?

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Money is The Fire in Which We Burn

Posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Dave!In my work I've had the opportunity to be around vast wealth. I'm not talking mere millions (though that is certainly "vast" to me!)... we're talking obscene levels of wealth. People who never have to consider the price of anything. Dropping a million dollars at Crystal Shops on a Vegas weekend is like a drop in the bucket to them. They don't look at price tags because $5 or $50,000 is all the same to them. They have more money than they could spend in several lifetimes, so the idea of being concerned over such a pittance doesn't even hit their radar.

Now, I've never had ambition to be so wealthy. It's not something my value system can accomodate. So long as I can afford to pay rent, buy the things I need, and be able to afford cat food, I'm good.

However...

Every once in a while something comes along where I really, really wish that I had such vast wealth that I could just buy something cool without having to worry about paying for it. Or selling a kidney. Not like a Lamborghini or a beach house or anything like that (though I certainly wouldn't turn them down if you're offering). I'm talking about random stuff that should be accessible to everybody, but has been priced so that only the über-wealthy can afford it.

Like this book set called The Sistine Chapel. It's a massive tome filled with actual 1:1-sized images from some of the most remarkable art ever created (with Michelangelo's ceiling being the most well-known). The size you're looking at the art in the book is the size that it is in real life. It's sublimely cool...

The Sistine Chapel Book

The Sistine Chapel Book

   
It's limited to 1,999 copies and costs $22,000.

Of course I can't spend this kind of money. And if I had the option of being able to pay off a chunk of my mortgage or have this book, obviously I'd put that money on my mortgage.

That's not the point.

The point is that it's insane how something like this is so far out of reach out of the people who might most appreciate it. People who could never afford to fly to Italy, make their way to Vatican City, then take the time off to stand in line and see it in person (not that you'd be able to study the images at the level of detail offered in this book, but still). Some struggling artist who can barely afford to afford groceries, but loves looking at such incredible works like this, is completely out of the loop. And that just seems... wrong. Because these books will end up in the homes at people who buy it to have it as a status symbol, barely look through the pages, then put it on a shelf with all the other expensive things that they buy just because they can.

Not that this is different than anything else now-a-days.

It's quickly getting to the point that only the über-wealthy can afford to own a home, let alone a $22,000 book.

And so I guess I will be waiting for the paperback release or whatever. Perhaps His Holiness the Pope will deem us pleebs worthy and consider such a thing one day.

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Friday Night Lights

Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2022

Dave!I am so tired that it feels as if my brain is in a permanent fog.

Having to think, listen, and (occasionally) speak in a non-native language is not anything new. I used to do this in Japanese all the time. But that was decades ago and I was fairly fluent. Now I am older, don't have much experience in the language being spoken, and am dropped into discussions that would be challenging in English. And so now I am at home completely numb.

My cats are having none of it, of course.

Jake wanted attention the minute I walked in the door and Jenny wasn't far behind. After serving them their dinner, I nodded off for a bit. Two hours later I woke up and it was dark. Rather than risk falling asleep while cooking dinner, I decided to grab some crackers and head to bed. Fortunately my lights are Alexa voice-controlled so I don't have to put much effort into that.

I don't think I have any effort left to give.

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So This is… Friday?

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2022

Dave!I woke up this morning and seriously thought it was Saturday.

So imagine my surprise when I got to work and my co-workers were there. So much for being able to blast music while I'm on the job. I know this is why headphones were invented, but it's not like I'll be blasting anything in them when I have to worry about answering my phone and talking to people and stuff.

I started out thinking this was a much beter day than it ended up.

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Those Not Forgotten

Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2022

Dave!At work we're changing to a new email system. I thought that I could do some kind of export out of the old system and import into the new system, but there's nothing that works like that on a Mac. In some ways it's easier... just drag the emails from the old mailboxes to the new mailboxes... but in other ways it's far more difficult. Because Apple Mail tends to crash when you move a massive number of emails. Which means that I have to select a clump then drag them over in smaller quantities. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except I have thousands upon thousands of emails dating back to 2006 that have to be migrated.

My work emails are just that... work emails. I have no personal corespondence of any kind in there.

Except I kinda do.

Because there's people from years past that were more than co-workers, suppliers, customers, and the like... they are friends. Some of them moved on and were friends. Some of them have passed on and were friends. Gone but not forgotten.

And I'm seeing their names pop up as I grab stacks of emails and drag them from one place to another.

It's like a drive down memory lane. Sometimes happy. Sometimes sad. Sometimes painful.

Which is as you'd want it to be, isn't it?

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Color of Greed and Stupidity

Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Dave!Pantone is now charging people to use their color books in Adobe Illustrator.

I wonder if there's an alternative system, because this is fucking absurd. Designers don't buy inks... we specify inks so that printers and fabricators can purchase the inks from Pantone.

Except now we can't specify jack shit because Pantone wants us to pay $60 a year for the privilege.

Fuckers.

If anything, Pantone should be paying ME to specify their inks to my printers! Something I've been doing for FREE for them for decades.

I swear, there are days I just want to take a torch to corporate America for the way that they treat people. I sure hope that somebody who isn't a greedy piece of shit develops a new color system replacement for people who are tired of Pantone's bullshit. I am betting that every designer on earth would hop on board.

Having to pay to promote a company's products when we don't even get a cut of the sale? Are you kidding me? Apparently Pantone didn't learn their lesson with Hexachrome and needs to be taught another.

Fuckers.

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Death to Florals!

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2022

Dave!As I've said every year of the six years I've lived in my home... irises are the stupidest flowers.

They grow up all gorgeous and lovely and tease you into thinking that they're worth having in your garden... then they end up heavier than the stem will support, flop over, get mowed into mulch by the yard care people, then die after a week...

Living Irises!

Living Irises!

These are already flopping over...

Living Irises!

These I tried to kill off two years in a row. They simply will not die and keep coming back...

STILL Living Irises!

If you want plants that are immortal (but still so very stupid), irises might be the flower for you!

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Bullet Sunday 761

Posted on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Dave!You can't keep a good blogger down, even in the middle of your blog not allowing you to upload images for some reason... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• WAAAAAHH! The bastards at CBS canceled Magnum P.I.. The show's first season was incredible. The second nearly as good. They faltered a bit in the third season, but rebound beautifully in the fourth (and now final) season. What's interesting is that the final episode tied up a few things and answered a question which everybody had since the beginning... will Magnum and Higgins ever get together?

Magnum and Higgins walking and smiling.

What's so shitty about all this is that Magnum P.I. was a fairly sold performer. Not stellar, but more successful than some of the stuff which gets renewed. Guess CBS is dedicating themselves to another shitty reality show that they can buy for cheap and cancel after a year. Well, duly noted. The entire cast was gold, I can't wait to see where they end up next.

   
• Lost! Okay... maybe it's the Hallmark fan in me, but I really liked this one! Lost City is funny, adventurous, and surprisingly sweet...

The Lost City Movie Poster

Everybody went all-in on their roles. Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt, all great... but it was Channing Tatum who completely owned his character. He was unafraid to play dumb as a box of rocks, and I loved it. If you see the movie (on Paramount+, the worst of the worst of streaming services), be sure to watch the credits for a scene that's pretty great.

   
• Remo! Fred Ward, Star of The Right Stuff, Tremors, Dies at 79. Except Fred Ward will forever be Remo Williams to me...


Though having Joel Grey play Korean will always be cringe.

And he was a big part of why Big Business ended up working as well as it did...

Fred Ward and Lily Tomlin in Big Business

There were other roles, of course. The guy did great work for a long time. Rest In Peace, sir.

   
• Heartstopper! This actually is hope...

@merrowchild At this point, who's isn't reading #heartstopper ?! #waterstones #shortstory #booksellerlife #aliceoseman #merrowchild #retailstories ♬ Heartstopper - Adiescar Chase

Kids are going to believe whatever they're taught to believe. But access to information is easier than ever, and sometimes the truth wins out.

   
• Fruit! When I was a kid, my mom used to pack little tins of Dole fruit in my lunch. Now, of course, they've switched to plastic like everything else. But here's the problem... there is no way... NO WAY AT ALL... to open these little containers without juice pouring out everywhere...

I've been douched by pear juice.

I have tried everything. Usually I go to the sink to open them, but when I'm trapped on a call and can't leave, I have to open it here. This is me trying to be my most careful when opening my pears... FUCKERS!!! Now I look like I had an accident in the bathroom or something.

   
• Moose! YESSSSSS! WHY IS THIS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE US?

Mayo Mousse. Genius.

   
I'm guessing eventually I'll figure out how to post this. Probably.

   

GAH! My Hammy!

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday morning I was walking out to my car and pulled a hamstring. Right in the middle of the street as I was crossing it. And it wasn't like I was sprinting across... or dancing across... or doing anything weird. I was just walking. And that was enough, apparently.

Getting old sure sucks.

The pain has been pretty excrutiating. I kept it elevated, iced, and took Ibuprofen like you're supposed to, but it didn't make much difference.

This morning it felt fine. Until I walked on it. Or hobbled on it, as the case may be.

Remember when I was young and invulnerable just last week?

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One Week in Pink

Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday when I got home I noted that my dogwood tree was fully in bloom. It's an annual event which makes the whole thing worthwhile, and it only lasts for about a week. Then the color fades and the petals drop and I'm left with a nice-looking, albeit 100% green, tree (at least until winter comes).

I made a note to take a photo this morning because morning has the best light for photographing the blossoms because the pink looks the deepest. In the afternoon the sunlight bleaches out the flowers.

When my cats woke me up because there was a small spider on the ceiling, I was aghast to hear rain dumping down on my roof. "Surely the blossoms have all been stripped from the tree!" I said to my cats... who looked at me like I was crazy.

But when I was trudging off to work I was pleasantly surprised to see that not a single petal had fallen...

Pretty pink dogwood blossoms.

Pretty pink dogwood blossoms.

They were, however, a little bit wet.

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