Posted on August 26th, 2021
Is your mobile carrier T-Mobile like me? Then be sure to read to the end.
Live in the USA and have any phone at all... even if you don't use T-Mobile? Then keep reading.
FIRST OF ALL you should check to see if you now have to dial all ten numbers starting October 24th for local calls (the usual seven plus area code). This has to do with implementing the "988 Crisis Line" for people contemplating suicide or emotional distress. To see the area codes affected, you can check the list on a PDF file here.
AND WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, out of all the area codes in Washington State, mine is the only area code that requires all ten numbers to be dialed for local calls. I can only hope that my iPhone will figure out how to handle this on its own so I don't have to manually dial everything. I already added the area code to local peeps in my address book, so hopefully I'm good to go. What a pain in the ass.
But, hey... having a 988 number to help people who are struggling is good. So yay!
SECOND OF ALL if you got T-Mobile then you should know that you get a FREE year of AppleTV+... and can watch all episodes of Ted Lasso at no charge!
The instructions were kinda confusing, but ultimately I just went to https://promotions.t-mobile.com to submit this code:
2021APPLETVP1... then when you redeem it, AppleTV will open and you'll be asked if you want to redeem the code. When you accept you'll be told that the offer was accepted (I also got a new window which said that "This offer was already applied" but the confirmation was there underneath)...
Apple makes it rough to figure out what in the hell is going on with your billing and offers and stuff but, fortunately, I got an email which verified my free year of free AppleTV+...
The nice thing is that, unlike the free Netflix offer, T-Mobile is giving this to everybody and not just people with two or more lines on their account.
I can only guess that this is an "Oops! Our bad!" apology for their massive data leak that may have compromised everybody's private data. And it's nice and all... but what they should do is give everybody free credit fraud monitoring for ten years. Of course, I got free credit fraud monitoring from another settlement, and never got it. These huge companies own our politicians, so there are zero consequences for their neglegence. And less than zero consequences for ignoring a court settlement.
I don't know why all big companies who hold sensitive customer data don't have to pay into a pool of credit fraud monitoring for every American citizen. That way, when their inevitable data leak happens, it's already dealt with instead of being lost in the courts and shitting on the people who trust them with their data. It's gotten to the point where credit fraud monitoring should just be something that everybody living in the "wealthiest country in the world" should get by default.
But, hey... free Ted Lasso, I guess. So yay?
AND THIRD OF ALL not a great day for Samsung. Another one of their phones exploded... this time on an Alaska Airlines flight from New Orleans to Seattle (a route I have flown more than a few times). Upon landing the phone had to be put in a battery flame bag and extinguished after it caught fire. And so... if you're a Galaxy A21 owner... might want to keep tabs on what Samsung is going to do about this. Hopefully it happened because the phone was damaged or something. If not? Well, maybe you'll get free AppleTV+ too!
Because, hey... free Ted Lasso, I guess. So yay?
Posted on August 10th, 2021
The Kurzgesagt channel on YouTube is one of the most fascinating darn things. Every one of their videos is pretty mind-blowing, and I end up learning something new more often than not. It's science boiled down to brass tacks, and it's made hugely entertaining with the terrific animation as well.
And their latest? The first part of a series on the human immune system? It's BONKERS COOL. I mean, seriously bonkers cool. It also seems impossibly cool that something this complex which works this well exists at all. I mean... just watch this and be amazed...
And you can bet your ass that I clicked through to pre-order a copy of the IMMUNE book the second the started talking about it. Can't wait to get it.
And really can't wait for part two!
Posted on July 16th, 2021
Yesterday Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands was there for the opening of the "Smart Bridge" in Amsterdam, which was 3D printed.
Out of metal.
They used computer-programmed welding robots to print the bridge layer by layer until the structure was complete...
Photo from TheMayor.eu... photographer not credited
But it's also frightening, as it means the technology to print with metal is here and will only get more refined and precise in the future. At which time the technology will get cheaper and will make its way into our homes. At which time people can start printing firearms. Something I have been talking about for a decade now.
I don't know what the solution is to stopping gun violence (or any violence, really). But in a fast-approaching era where anybody can print the parts and assemble a fully-automatic weapon in their basement from plans they find on the internet... we'd better figure it out. Education programs. Mental health programs. Empathy programs. Poverty-ending programs. Marginalization-ending programs. Something. Anything. Our governing bodies may want to look into stuff like that before we get to the point where banning guns is a futile gesture that comes too late (as if we're not already there... that genie is out of the bottle).
People who intend harm will always have access to weapons. And their weapon of choice could end up being something terrible that we can't even conceive of right now. That's how fast technology is moving. Staying ahead of it is essential, but current solutions always revolve around escalating the violence. And it's not working.
Evidence of that is all around you every day.
Posted on June 23rd, 2021
Posted on May 30th, 2021
Try to tell me that you were looking forward to the holiday weekend more than Bullet Sunday! Just try! I won't believe you... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Situational Conjecture! This past Thursday I had to run an errand, so I stopped at the drive-in for some lunch then parked to eat. As I was sitting there, I saw a skinny kid with tattoos on his calves walk by... and instantly I was taken back to something a friend told me. He was leaving a grocery store behind another man. As they exited, a kid comes up and asks if they have a couple bucks to spare so he can get something to eat. The man ahead of my friend said "Maybe if you spent less money on tattoos and drugs, you could afford to eat." My friend, who was mortified that this is how somebody would act towards a hungry person, set down his groceries and got out his wallet. He handed over $5 and said (loudly) "NICE INK! ENJOY YOUR LUNCH." My friend was still raging about it when he told me all this the following week. "Maybe he got the tattoos before he ended up in a situation where he's asking for food money! Maybe a friend is a tattoo artist and did them for free! Maybe he got them in trade for work he did! How the fuck does that asshole think he knows ANYTHING about that kid's situation? And do people with tattoos automatically do drugs? Where did that come from? WHAT THE FUCK, MAN?!? THE KID WAS HUNGRY!" My friend is, of course, absolutely right. About all of it. You just really never know what somebody's situation is or what they are going through. So don't let what you think you know turn you into an asshole. Heaven only knows I try.
• Wholesome Watch! Men with Baby Animals... a bullet in two parts. Starting with Part One...
And, Part Two...
• Welp! This just in from the No Fucking Shit Department... JJ Abrams: Lack of plan in Star Wars’ latest trilogy was a “critical” flaw.
• Sublet! I've mentioned more than a couple times my obsession with actor John Benjamin Hickey (heck, I even wrote a blog entry about him). He is hands-down one of my favorite character actors because he elevates every move he appears in... even when he's just popping up for a small role. — Now today I find that not only does he have a new movie coming out... HE'S THE LEAD! But it gets better... the movie is from director Eytan Fox, who made the amazing film "Yossi & Jagger."
To say I am psyched to see this movie is a massive understatement. It looks really good!
• LiLo Dallas Netflix Pass! Lindsey Lohan is starring in a Hallmark-style Christmas movie for Netflix about a spoiled hotel heiress who gets amnesia and ends up in the care of a blue-collar lodge owner and his daughter. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. It's Paris Hilton meets... um... well... LITERALLY Lindsey Lohan, and I will absolutely be tuning in for that.
• Our National Nightmare. Read this. Read this and tell me that this society isn't a misogynistic pile of shit looking for any excuse to control women, traumatize women, and punish women. Go ahead. Tell me. I'm waiting. Welcome to our dystopian nightmare. And don't be at all surprised when you research this and find that there are women who support it. Some of the most anti-woman people I've met have been women...
Jim Wright — May 26 at 8:24 AM
The Pennsylvania state legislature today voted to advance a bill by Republican state legislator, Frank Ryan, that would essentially fine women who miscarry, force them to apply for a "Fetal Death Certificate" (and pay a filing fee), and then require a formal burial or cremation of the remains (which the woman would also have to pay for) — no matter where in the pregnancy the miscarriage occurs.
If this were to pass, if you miscarry in Pennsylvania, say at six weeks, then by law you would be fined, penalized, and required to hold a burial for handful of non-viable cells that are essentially indistinguishable from menstruation.
Ryan drafted this bill because of "his own experience after losing a child."
He said he was "asking the ladies in the room" to "recognize how men feel."
I'll pause so you can shout the appropriate profanity here.
This isn't the first bill of its kind. And no matter if it passes or not, it won't be the last. Because, this is the inevitable end result of "life begins at conception" and "fetal personhood."
This is where they were ALWAYS going to go with this.
Because even if they outlaw abortion, it won't be enough.
It won't be enough.
If you consider abortion to be murder, if you make that law, then it is inevitable that EVERY miscarriage WILL have to be investigated as a possible case of negligent homicide or manslaughter.
And that's EXACTLY where these religious nuts are going with this.
And if they pass THAT, it still won't be enough.
It won't be enough.
If they get their way, then the moment a woman becomes pregnant, she will legally be considered nothing more than an incubator with no rights or self-determination. Property of the State and of their religion.
That is the ONLY possible end result of this reasoning.
Don't take my word for it, listen to people like Ryan in their own words. Listen to the preachers. Listen to the Right to Life movement.
These evil lunatics need to be removed from every office in the land and their insane religion needs to be marginalized and starved until it dies forever.
Then they can give their miserable god a burial if they like.
No word as to whether fertility clinics which fertilize countless numbers of eggs in order to assist women having difficulty getting pregnant will be affected. But since only wealthy people can afford that kind of science, I think we all know what the answer will be.
• Sponsored?! And lastly today, holy shit...
And I so wanted a Nazi-era fuck blanket.
Dats all I got. I'm going to cut out and enjoy my Sunday. Hoping you do the same!
Posted on May 28th, 2021
Posted on May 21st, 2021
There's a special place in hell for companies who try to fool people into doing business with them by pretending to be authorities of something. Earlier this week I received an "official notice" about a monetary disbursement on my mortgage. Not from my lender... but from "the county office" where I reside. And I'm all like PAY ME THAT MONEY!
It's only at the very bottom of the letter in tiny grey print where they tell you that they are actually not an "official" anything... they are a bank and that this is a refinance offer. So all the government-like official symbols and claims of being "county representatives" are just bullshit to try and fool you into contacting them for "money you are owed."
It's a scam.
Meant to deceive hardworking people. And especially to deceive the elderly, who are more easily roped into believing this kind of bullshit.
And if the ACTUAL AUTHORITIES are not going to do something to put a stop to this, I can only hope that all the liars and assholes responsible for this horrendous shit will spontaneously combust. Though going out in a blaze of glory is too good for them.
Posted on May 9th, 2021
We may not be at heard immunity yet (if ever), but life goes marching on... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Mom! Happiest of Mother's Days to all the moms out there. The more time goes on, the more grateful I am to have had the best mom ever looking after me...
We were best friends from the start and I love her around the world and back.
• Hoth! Anybody seen Star Wars: Biomes on Disney+ ?!? Gorgeous! Just a 12-minute screen saver of various planets from the Star Wars universe...
I am addicted and want more... more... MORE! There are other planets that would be so cool to see! If you have Disney+ tune in and be mesmerized! Then demand another episode! The two ship fly-through videos (for the Millennium Falcon and a Star Destroyer) are also wonderful to look at.
• Vaccinate! The New York Times has a fascinating article on how Pfizer is manufacturing their COVID vaccine, and I encourage everybody to give it a read.
Image from The New York Times
Incredible stuff. mRNA vaccines seem more like magic than science, and future prospects for the technology are bright indeed.
• Honnold! Every New Year's Day, I have a checklist of things I do. On that list is to check and see if Alex Honnold... a free-climbing genius... is still alive. I'm a huge fan, but not always able to keep up on what he's up to. As of a week ago, I know he was alive because he did a video for GQ Magazine where he looks at climbing scenes in movies. It's fantastic and well worth your time to watch...
"He doesn't get tired though because he's Tom Cruise!" And here's the original one I watched...
"Oh my goodness gracious... he just fell to his death!" Alex is entirely too nice for this cruel world!
• Trek! I am rewatching the first JJ Abrams Star Trek movie... you know, the one with ALL THE LENS FLARE ALL THE TIME... I just got to the point at the start where Lil' Spock is beating the ever-loving shit out of the Vulcan kid that called him mom a whore. All while his classmates look on in horror. And I realize something. JJ Abrams completely and totally defined Spock in three scenes... something it took a dozen episodes of the original television series to do...
And this follows on the heels of him doing the same for James T. Kirk. Say what you like about the reboot, but Abrams was absolutely brilliant in introducing the Star Trek Universe to people who may have been unfamiliar with it. If you didn't know Kirk, Spock, and McCoy at the beginning of the movie... you certainly did by the end. No easy feat.
• Clark! I was a huge Tom Clancy fan back in the day. Read all the early books he wrote. They were entertaining diversions with increasingly ridiculous stories... reaching peak absurdity when Jack Ryan became president. I stopped reading a couple books after Executive Orders and never got into the books that were added after Clancy died where other authors wrote them. I thought the three movie adaptations with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford were pretty good. The Ben Affleck and Chris Pine movies were forgettable. Though I have (mostly) enjoyed the John Krasinski Jack Ryan series on Amazon. And now we have Without Remorse with Michael B. Jordan as John Clark...
Despite the story starting off with a tiresome and antiquated "fridging" that could have easily been changed, it's a darn good movie. Jordan has the chops to sell the character both emotionally and as an action star, and his path of revenge is glorious. If you like this kind of thing, it's worth a look on Amazon Prime streaming!
• Borders! I absolutely love stories like this: Belgian Farmer Accidentally Moves French Border.
And that's a wrap on my Sunday Bullets. Hope your Mother's Day weekend was a good one!
Posted on May 3rd, 2021
I am at the end of my rope with the pandemic response.
Where I live here in Redneckistan, we've made INTERNATIONAL NEWS because there was a super-spreader event in the city of Republic, Washington on April 9 through 11. Now 10% of the population there has been diagnosed with COVID. And that number is sure to climb because the people who got it from the people who were at the event haven't shown their symptoms yet. That will start happening any minute now, because we just passed three weeks out. Their 25-bed hospital has been completely overrun, so patients are being shipped to other counties where they can fill up their hospital beds. Yikes.
And now I steel myself for hater Democrats to say "TYPICAL DUMBASS REPUBLICANS!" because that's always their response when something idiotic here makes world news. Except... it's not as simple as that. In the 2020 election held in Ferry County, which is where the city of Republic is located, 1/3 of the people voting there did not vote for President Trump...
Washington State is a blue state. In fact, it's one of the bluest states (if not the bluest state) across all demographics in the entire country. Most of that "blue" is on the West side of the Cascade Mountain Range, it's true, but the blue is spreading. Where I live, the vote was only 53% Trump, 45% Biden, and 2% Other. To which a lot of people across the state were saying "HALF didn't vote Republican?!? Because this would have been absolutely unthinkable even ten years ago. So when people look at idiocy in my region and their immediate response is "TYPICAL DUMBASS REPUBLICANS!"... they are thinking of the past, not the here and now.
Though the Republican demographic IS likely responsible for what happened in the small city of Republic.
There's just no sugar-coating it... the data claerly shows that the people more likely to engage in dangerous and reckless pandemic behavior are Conservatives. Though, to be honest, I don't really blame them for being ignorant as to how their actions are dangerous. I blame the "news" organizations which cater to them. When you have Tucker Carlson regularly spreading outright bullshit and lies when it comes to masks, vaccines, and COVID, well... the people who trust him as a "news" source are going to be roped into that kind of thinking. The outlet they choose to keep informed is misinforming them. You tune into a channel called "FOX NEWS" because it's the "news," and it doesn't occur to you that it's not actually reporting facts. FOX "News" lawyers infamously argued that people can't sue them for spreading misinformation because "FOX persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson's reputation, any reasonable viewer 'arrives with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statement he makes." But that doesn't get reported on FOX "News." There's no disclaimer at the start of Tucker Carlson's show letting their viewers know that most everything he says is utter bullshit. And so they continue to believe him.
This is backed up by the above-linked article in the Tri-City Herald...
"The county previously had relatively few COVID-19 cases, and many in the conservative, rural community saw mask mandates as infringing on their liberty. Less than one-quarter of the county’s residents have received a vaccine to date, according to the health district, but officials said the outbreak has increased interest in it."
Because apparently it takes hospitals being overrun and people dying to get people to start thinking seriously about COVID? Thank you, Tucker Carlson.
I've lived in Redneckistan for 50 years. I understand that things are not so cut-and-dry when it comes to the people, the attitudes, and the lifestyle here. And it's for that reason that I have always tried my very best to be compassionate when it comes to the conservative school of thought which drives our society. Outsiders judge us without knowing us... or without even trying to understand why things are the way they are here. And while I get frustrated... a lot... because of the horrific level of willful ignorance that goes hand-in-hand with a public that's been duped by FOX "News," OAN, and Newsmax, I try to keep my head and heart on track. I do not wish ill on my fellow Redneckistan residents. They are my friends, family, and community. I choose to live here, so any problems I have are on me... not them.
But it's not always easy.
And it's just going to get worse, because Governor Jay Inslee has no choice but to start phase rollbacks as COVID cases here continue to explode. And, as you can just imagine, the people who have been conditioned to hate masks, hate vaccines, and hate science, REALLY hate our governor, even though he's just responding to a problem that their actions are largely responsible for. Businesses here don't have signs saying "State Mandates Require a Mask Be Worn On These Premises"... instead it says something like "DUE TO GOVERNOR INSLEE DECREE, YOU HAVE TO WEAR A MASK! DON'T BLAME US, BLAME YOUR DICTATOR!" Which is to say that people are being conditioned to hate Governor Inslee as well.
In all honesty, I've given up trying to convince people. My voice simply cannot compete with "The News" that everybody here believes in.
All I can do is find voices of reason to listen to, try to be understanding, try to be respectful, and carry on as best I can... all while resisting the urge to run around screaming "WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST WATCH THIS VIDEO FOR GOD'S SAKE!"
Mostly because, while all of John Oliver's information is good and the way he presents it entertaining, the condescending snark in the way he presents it would not go over here well at all. And I get it. Last Week Tonight caters to a liberal audience just like FOX "News" caters to a conservative audience.
The "middle ground audience" is grossly underserved.
And so I'll just keep biting my tongue, try to convince people to trust science where I can, and go on living my life.
Such as it is in the middle of a global pandemic that's exploding out my back door.
Posted on April 28th, 2021
Just two days ago I wrote about how utterly awful people are with their stupid shit. And today it all reached a peak that had me wishing an asteroid would nuke the planet. I am so done with awful, ignorant, stupid people. Like really done. Good thing my Buddhist philosophy promotes and existence of non-violence!
The nice thing is that the CDC realeased new guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated which, as I understand it, is two weeks after your second dose (which is May 5th for me). It's quasi-normal stuff...
I was supposed to fly out to New Orleans in June... plans which were made back in December of 2020 when the vaccines were rolling out... but canceled them this morning. That will make my first trip be in September, by which time I will hopefully feel better about crawling on an airplane with people and their nonsense for five-and-a-half hours.
Just my luck there will be a new COVID strain that hits at the end of August which isn't stopped by the vaccines. Then I'll have to wait for a Pfizer booster shot or something.
All because people are selfish dumbasses and, in the absence of reason, those who are fighting the good fight against COVID are facing an uphill battle. Because the pandemic isn't the enemy any more... it's the morons who don't trust science and take COVID seriously that keeps the war going on and on and on.