Posted on January 1st, 2021
Happy 2021 to my blogging family and friends!
My day started with my cats chasing each other around the house, jumping on my bed at 5:10am. Rather than get all salty about not being able to sleep-in on my day off, I got up and set my SourJo bread starter out so I’ll have no excuse to not bake a couple loaves today. I tell you what, there can’t be a better way to start the year than kitties and freshly-baked bread, amiright?
2020 was a tough year. Without the usual nonsense in my life and my travels to distract me, I have been mired in my failures and obsessing over the people in my life that didn’t make it to 2021. Sometimes I wake up with my heart grinding in my chest and find it difficult to breathe because I just want my life The Way It Used To Be instead of what I have left. That’s not on the pandemic though. I think it’s just a part of growing older and being on the back-side of your life here on earth (unless I actually live to be 108. Oh God, please don’t let me live to be 108).
2021 is going to be a year of change for me. Hopefully for the better, but you never know. Absolutely everything is up in the air right now, and what becomes of it is anybody’s guess. For the time being I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, food to put on the table, cats to keep me company, a job to pay for it all, and people in my life I care about. I take nothing for granted because, as I’ve been made painfully aware, nothing lasts forever and life can change on a dime.
I don’t do resolutions, but I hope that I can find it in my heart to be a kinder person... a better person in 2021. I’ve been so beat down by the atrocities that unfold in the news every day that I’ve had to harden my heart and become more cynical to survive it. That’s no way to live, and hate is always more destructive to you than those you’re hating. I’ve tried so very hard not to hate. It’s been the overriding path I’ve attempted to walk since I started studying Buddhism in 1998. But I’m always tested. There’s always tests. And recent years have tested me like no other because there’s just so much awfulness in this world TO hate. But... maybe I can find enough peace in this new year to be more hopeful. To talk less and learn more. To look with wonder instead of being blinded by ignorance. To do more. Care more. Love more.
Don’t get me wrong... I’m still calling out the fucked up shit people do and say which brings harm myself and others. I’m not insane. If you know me at all, you know that NOT speaking out against pieces of shit is something I’m incapable of. If you’re willfully ignorant, I am not having your dumbassery. If you’re persecuting people living their best life at zero cost to anybody else, I am not tolerating your hatred. If you’re being an asshole, I am not embracing your abuse. It’s just that in 2021 I’ll be taking a blowtorch to your fucked up bullshit with 15% more love in my heart. Because I’m a good person that way.
And so... here’s to a new year. Hopefully a better year than the one we’re leaving behind. I’ll be doing my best to make it happen for me and for everybody, because I’ll be taking a blowtorch to my fucked up bullshit where I find it too. But mostly I’ll be watching trash television, scrolling through TikToks, and petting my cats which, let’s face it, probably does more good for the planet than being all shouty on my blog.
Besides, I have bread to take out of the oven...
All my best to you and yours from me and mine for a happy, healthy, and productive 2021!
Posted on December 31st, 2020
For those who only read one of my posts each year... or anybody wanting a recap of the past year here at Blogography... this post is for you! As customary, I've jettisoned loads of the usual junk so this entry is "mostly crap" instead of the "total crap" they usually are.
This past year was not an easy one. But I made it though in (mostly) one piece, so I guess that's worth something.
• Found out that I actually like mustard after all.
• Design my very own tiny house in case I need to move into one of them with my cats one day...
• Started cooking with Martha Stewart.
• The Coronavirus arrives in force and it's the beginning of the end of traveling for my volunteer work.
• Wrote probably my most important entry of the entire year and talked about death, depression, loss, and remembrance...
• Decided to take a pass on the Welsh Pork Cake when making my mom's Applesauce Bread...
• Like half the people on earth, apparently, I became addicted to Animal Crossing...
• Like many others in 2020, I baked a lot of bread and talked about my Dutch oven of choice...
• Replaced my aging iPad with a brand new model so I could get some work done... and some other stuff...
• Just another day in the life with cats...
• Took a look at The Hookup Plan with the [woman sings in French] and a beautiful piece of music that went with it...
• Here we go again... What Are Little Girls Made Of?
• More Mufasa drama...
• Took a look at my favorite movie of 2020, The Old Guard.
• Said good bye to one of my heroes: Rest in Peace John Lewis...
Photo from Representative John Lewis via Facebook
• Waded deep, deep into politics... but it's okay because I relate it all to a movie.
• How big of a moron do you have to be to start renovations in the middle of a pandemic? Apparently it's this big right here.
• Oh look! There's a raccoon party on my patio!
• Finally bit the bullet and got an Apple Watch...
• Reflected on the passing of Eddie Van Halen, and learning to look with your heart...
• Started a love affair with my new best friend: Monosodium Glutamate.
• That time I tried to show a spider some love and accidentally went outside in my underwear...
• Ended up in a place where I never thought I'd find myself... buying a "phablet." But here I am with an iPhone 12 Max.
• On the passing of David Prowse, I took a look at all things Darth Vader...
• Unleashed a flood of hatemail because I dared to show a still frame of two men dancing in Dashing in December, one of my favorite films of 2020.
• Thank God I didn't show a still of them kissing.
• Took a look at how the COVID-19 vaccine works thanks to "Messenger RNA."
And that was the end of that. Not a very exciting year to be me. Or any of us, I'd imagine. See you again in 2021...
Posted on December 24th, 2020
Most years, a third of my blog (or more) is travel stories. I'm constantly on the road, so there's a steady stream of things to blog about. This year, of course, none of my blog was travel stories because I never went anywhere.
Finding stuff to blog about is never difficult for me. Once a day I pick up my laptop and type out whatever is on my mind... whether it's commenting on current events or blogging about memories of stuff I did or just talking about my cats. Even though 2020 has been far more boring than other years, there's always something to be said.
Except when there isn't.
Yesterday there just wasn't anything to blog about, so I went to my "unfinished drafts" and picked out the iceberg story I had been working on since late November, changed it from current-tense to past-tense, and there you have it... a fresh new blog post. Kinda sorta.
Yesterday there were thirty-eight unfinished drafts. I posted one, deleted a bunch, and now have eighteen left...
These entries may be posted one day... or they may never see the light of day. Some of them are complete and ready to publish. Some of them are skeletons of entries that need some work. Some of them are just notes... like my annual yearly summary posts (Video20, Audio20, Tube20, and Video20). Those will likely be published (why break with tradition?), but right now they're just stuff I've jotted down that I've liked and aren't actual posts yet.
My list is ranked by completeness. Those at the top are done, but I've been hesitating to publish them for one reason or another. Song of The South Clearly Has An Agenda, for example, talks about the horrifically offensive and antiquated content of the movie, but also talks about the great performances, songs, and animation used to sell its agenda (which makes it worth watching if you are able to contextualize the film for what it is). I haven't published it because A) Much has been written about the topic already and I'm not entirely sure I'm adding to the conversation or just creating noise... and B) I don't know that my love of animation and Disney films is enough qualification for me to wade in on the movie's racist agenda when a true ally who is seeking to dismantle racism should be amplifying instead of overwriting Black voices. Maybe one day I will rewrite the entry so that I feel better about making a contribution instead of creating a distraction... but odds are it will be delieted because it's really long and would require a lot of work.
Big Sur is Not So Big, Sir is my review of Apple's laest operating system. I was accumulating notes all through the beta testing and was going to create an entry when MacOS X "Big Sur" was released... only to lose interest and never finish things up. Now it's so old as to be irrelevant, but I may retool it on a critique of the visual elements that Apple revised (which I detest).
And so... there you have it. If you ever see any of those entries pop up here on Blogography, you'll know that my life at the time was even more boring than usual and I didn't have anything else to write about.
Here's hoping 2021 we'll be more exciting for my blog... but in a good way this time.
Posted on December 17th, 2020
Last night it snowed. Not a ton, but enough to turn the world white here in the foothills of the Cascades.In the Northeast, of course, it's another story entirely. Which means even if there wasn't COVID happening, I'd likely be unable to get to my annual December work trip in Maine. Assuming I could even fly into Boston and the roads are open, there's still a matter of 2-4 inches of snow falling per hour... followed by rains which will freeze at night. Not a pretty scenario.
Back on my 2014 trip, similar conditions were brutal, and it took a half hour to scrape the ice off my rental car and get the tires free from having been frozen to the ground...
But I can't complain too much. Being stuck in Portland in the bitter cold gave me the opportunity to go exploring with my camera and I got some really nice shots that trip because so few people were out braving the weather...
It will be interesting to see how my travel goes in 2021. Now that the charity has shuttered and work travel has halted indefinitely, it's entirely possible that I'll take just one or two trips a year for vacation or visiting friends and that's it. Quite a change from the dozens of trips I was making each year pre-pandemic. Though when you consider I had zero flights in 2020, even one flight will be a huge change from where I'm at now.
Oh well. I guess the frequent flier status and upgraded seats were good while they lasted. I had 5 years of good status followed by 25 years of amazing status and nothing lasts forever. Still... I will surely miss getting International upgrades. Domestic flights are no big deal. Seattle to Hawaii is just over 5 hours. Seattle to Orlando is around 6 hours. I can tolerate just about any seat for that long. But those 11+ hour flights? Having legroom and comfy seats makes a world of difference.
2006-2013 were my best travel years. When both you and your mom (who has zero status) regularly get upgraded to World Business Class for international trips... you know you are flying a lot of miles. An absurd amount of miles...
Those were the days.
In other news... hate comments continue to trickle in because I dared blog about the movie Dashing in December and showed a photo of two gay cowboys dancing together. I hardly ever read hate comments and delete them the second I know what they're about... but this morning I awoke to a comment which merely said "YOU WILL BE DAMNED!" and I had to really appreciate the artistry in that. A comment short enough that I had read the entire thing before I realized it. If I were to respond to this kind of idiocy (and I don't) it might be along the lines of "Settle down there, snowflake! It's not like I posted images of the gay cowboys kissing!"
Well I'll be damned. I actually did do that!
Please keep your hate comments short and to the point.
Posted on December 16th, 2020
Oh wow... hate comments! It's been months!
Yesterday I wrote about the most romantic scene from a movie I've ever witnessed... the dance at the squash festival in the old rom-com Doc Hollywood... then compared it to a similar scene from the new rom-com Dashing in December.
But because the latter film features a romance between two men, that was apparently a bridge too far for some people to take. And so... hate comments! I can only guess that I was put on some kind of watch-list ages ago because every time something like gets posted, whomever it is that's hate-reading my blog apparently tells their entire cadre of like-minded friends to come leave nasty comments that I'll barely read (and never approve) because life is just too short. The IP addresses are from all over the USA, so it must be some kind of online group (One-Dozen Moms... is that you?).
What the issue always seems to boil down to is A) My acknowledging that LGBTQ+ people exist and this is somehow considered offensive and dangerous, because B) My blog has "cartoons" on it which attracts children who might see such unholy perversions as this...
And all I can say is... you're welcome!
Because if your kid happens to be gay and does come across something as innocent as a photo of two guys dancing together on Blogography, then maybe it will be a little ray of sunshine which validates their existence and helps them to deal with the toxic atmosphere you've cultivated which lead so many LGBTQ+ youth into self-harm and even death.
And if you're one of those people who would rather have a dead child than a gay child, then fuck you sideways, because you're everything that's wrong with our society. Nobody "turns gay" from looking at a frickin' photo like this. I mean, you didn't. Or did you?
The truly telling thing about hate comments FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN on yesterday's entry is the fact that I regularly drop F-bombs in blog entries and never hear a single discouraging word about that. So it's not all the things I write about here... only some things. Maybe before I started blogging I should have asked the internet for a list of things that are and are not acceptable? Well, too late for that now.
I can no more relate to a movie about gay cowboys falling in love than I can relate to a movie about straight people falling in love (apparently, =insert cry emoji=)... but I find them equally entertaining. Actually, I find the gay cowboy romance more entertaining because it's something I haven't seen a million times before (at least not since Brokeback Mountain fifteen years ago). Happy people falling in love are happy people falling in love and I just don't give a crap so long as it doesn't involve children or unwilling animals. And, on top of it all, Dashing in December is GOOD. Really cute stuff if you are into the whole Hallmark Christmas movie rom-com thing like I am.
And if you think that a bunch of hate comments is going to get me to change my mind about posting innocent photos of LGBTQ+ persons merely existing, read this entry and get back to me.
(hint: the answer is "no")
And now, because I love y'all more than sandwiches, here's the song Take Me Home For Christmas by Dan + Shay which plays at the end of Dashing in December. It's a totally great song... and doesn't have gay cowboys in it, if that's important to you for some reason...
Awwww. Santa puppies are the best puppies.
Posted on October 7th, 2020
This Wednesday entry will not be posted on Wednesday.
I don't have internet. I don't have celular service. I am completely off the grid.
I remember an email being circulated at work last week which mentioned something about an outage from 10pm to 8am, but I didn't plan to be at work during those hours, so I didn't pay much attention. I received NO notification that my internet would be interrupted at home. If I had, I would have probably ignored that as well, because I can always use the data on my iPhone to reach the internet, right? Nope! Apparently AT&T's cellular tower in my small city uses the same internet as my work and home, so that's non-functional as well.
It's this last point that really pisses me off.
AT&T never told me that my mobile phone would be down tonight. I was never made aware that my phone service was internet-dependent. And it begs the question... what the fuck happens if I have an emergency and need to dial 9-1-1 for help? Well, I'll tell you exactly what happens... nothing!
How in the hell is it that a mobile carrier can be run through an internet connection? Internet connections can be flakey as hell, and phone service really can't afford to be flakey as hell. And when AT&T says that they've "built the best and fastest celular network" they really haven't... because if they had, I would still have fucking phone service!
And it gets better.
Since I have no television, no Alexa, no Amazon Music Unlimited, I thought I could just play the media on my Plex server. Nope again! For whatever reason, the server could be found by my laptop and iPhone, but Plex would not play video. After much wheel-spinning I could play music, but it took forever for the data to start streaming. My Plex clients have been told to use the local network, but they refuse to do it because they're constantly looking for an internet connection. And of course my AppleTV was useless despite being plugged directly into the same hub as my Plex Server because apparently it needs internet to even function.
This is all something I need to look into, because being able to access my media without internet access is why I bought Plex in the first place!
What a shitty night.
I suppose I'll just take sleeping pills and go to bed. What else is there?
Posted on June 12th, 2020
You may (or may not) have noticed that many times lately my daily posts to Blogography are showing up days late. I still write every day, but I've taken to holding off a while before I publish what I've written. Most of my posts now-a-days are blistering rants about current events and, after I've cooled down, I realize they don't really add anything to the conversation. So I delete them and dig into the drafts I've got written about cats, computers, and stuff, then put that up instead.
It's a tough thing to do, because these are NOT short posts. They are pages of material that can take some time to write...
But... maybe the therapy of writing them is enough for me. They don't really need to see print.
And so today's rant, which was not really something that should see print, has been tossed and I will instead be sharing photos of the flowers growing in my yard.
The flowers in my back yard were here when I bought the place. I can't take any credit for them at all. I pretty much just leave them alone and every year these beautiful flowers show up. There's these really pretty big fluffy flowers I like. No idea what they are called, but how cool are they?
Some are mostly pink...
Whereas others have a lot of yellow in their middles...
There are a bunch of roses... that I think are called "tea roses." They come in a variety of shapes...
The flowers from the previous owner in the front were all in pots that had to be hand-watered. Problem is that I travel too much to take proper care of them so I had to get rid of the plots and plant a bunch of new flowers that could be watered by the automated system. This year a neighbor picked out a bunch of different flowers for me and I was left with some extras. I bought a big wooden planter and just tossed them all inside. They've all done really, really well! Except at the time I planted them I didn't know what size they would end up. If I did, I would have put the taller ones in the middle instead of the outside. Oops...
Still pretty though.
Speaking of leftover flowers... I stuck one of them between the two giant purple things I bought previously. I thought for sure it would die from lack of sunlight, but it's actually been thriving! He seems happy there...
The rest of the flowers I planted are doing great too. I especially like the pansies...
And speaking of those big purple things, they are doing great. The bees absolutely love them...
Guess we'll see if tomorrow's post has to be deleted. It's Caturday, so I sure hope not.
Posted on March 26th, 2020
Today I was discussing an article about how Hollywood predicted a pandemic happening a decade ago. "Ten years seems like a lifetime ago. I don't even remember what I was doing back then... do you?"
The first thought that entered my head was "I barely know what I was doing a week ago!" The second thought was "Finally! My blog is actually good for something!" Because all I have to do is call up Blogography on my iPhone and there it is... on March 26, 2010 I was in Prague visiting the Hard Rock Cafe. And boy was that a great trip. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities on earth and I'm really grateful to have been able to visit...
Meanwhile, back in the plague-ridden future of today...
I've been pleasantly surprised to see the many authors, artists, filmmakers, and other creative types releasing their works to the public so everybody has distractions to keep them occupied while coronovirus-quarantined. One of my favorite discoveries has been a "Free Movie of the Week" over at Oh You Pretty Things. Last week was the documentary Helvetica, which was great. And now they are streaming Objectified through Monday. It's a documentary about designers and the objects they create for us. The draw for me was Jonathan Ive (formerly of Apple fame), but everybody in it is interesting. And the little stories around the objects being discussed are fantastic. You can watch it for free through Monday. Highly recommended.
Stay safe, y'all.
Posted on February 10th, 2020
I don't usually share work here that's not my own, but sometimes there's something that really begs to be shared, and I'm all too happy to oblige.
I ran across Michele Rosenthal's work many years ago when I was looking for an illustrator for a packaging project. She has a wonderful paper-cut-out kind of style that I love, and is able to distill concepts down to a simple presentation in a way that looks effortless. I've bookmarked her site (along with a hundred other artists) and check in from time to time to see what's new. A couple years ago, it what this work of sublime brilliance...
To see the full-size piece or buy a poster, you can visit her website.
Somebody posted it to Facebook today, and I was reminded of how great it was. But the best part was that Michele created some "stickers" that you could paste when you're debating with somebody online and they unload a logical fallacy to support their (poor) argument...
I used the stickers exactly one time.
It did not go over well... at all.
In fact, to say "It did not go over well" is a monumental understatement. Their initial reply to my sticker was pretty scathing and yet another logical fallacy. My response was another sticker.
I was unfriended and blocked.
So as not to lose the entirety of my online friends, I just set the stickers aside and decided to use them only in the event of a serious emergency.
Which is all the time, but I'm trying to show restraint. Hey, I'm guilty of logical fallacies myself. I just try not to be mean about it.
Posted on January 28th, 2020
And... I killed my blog.
The template for this blog is really old. So old that it's starting to break with the newer versions of WordPress. Comments haven't worked properly in over two years. Commenter name and contact information is no longer stored and the comment field is wider than the blog container. Not that it's a tragedy since I don't get many comments now-a-days, but still... it annoys me.
And so last night* I set out to see if I could fix it.
Idiot that I am, I didn't backup my old templates. Nor did I write down the old settings I had. Instead I just plowed forward and made tweaks that I thought would make things work a bit better.
Screwed everything up. Couldn't even log in.
Long story short... I had to download my blog archive, extract the template code, rebuild WordPress, rebuild my custom templates (faults and all), then re-link the database so my entries could be found again.
Time to complete? THREE DAYS!
I am writing this on Thursday, January 30th after having finally getting everything working again this morning before I headed into work.
What I would like to do is purchase a spiffy new "Gutenberg-Ready" template and modify it so that it looks like my blog. Then I could do all kinds of cool stuff that the new WordPress editor allows me to do. Problem is that I don't have time. I'd hire somebody to do it for me, but I have even less money than time. And so... I guess I should just be grateful that Blogography keeps on running at all.
Until WordPress releases an update that breaks my blog completely. Which is any day now, I'm sure.
*The word "yesterday" being relative, in this case.