Posted on November 7th, 2023
I really don't want to be on the internet today.
I got a pretty good night's sleep. Woke up to answer my emails then feed my cats. Then climbed on social media until I had a video chat scheduled. Almost immediately I saw racist comments on a video that was not in English complaining about how the content creator should be "speaking English if she wants an audience"... and I was done.
The woman in the video actually speaks English very well. But she is more comfortable in her native language, so 3/4 of her videos are in Spanish. And it's not like YouTube doesn't have the ability to automatically display translated subtitles into whatever language you want, so what does it even matter? I guess reading subtitles is just too much for people.
Especially those who think that everybody everywhere should be speaking English all the time.
Which reminded me of when I was on one of the first cruises with my mom. One of the waiters at our table had a nametage saying he was from the Phillipines. I had a very, very rudimentary grasp of some phrases in Tagalog and, as he was clearing my dinner plate, I said "Maraming salamat," or "Thank you very much."
The waiter froze.
My first thought was that I mangled it so badly that I had accidentally said something deeply offensive. So I immediately apologized and said I didn't know much Tagalog.
That's when he told me "You said it very well. I am just not used to hearing Filipino* above deck." At which point he told me that employees are only allowed to speak English in front of passengers because otherwise they get complaints that the workers are "talking about them" and "being rude."
And, it's like... I get it. Despite the fact that the USA doesn't have a "national language" there are numerous examples of foreign language speakers being told "Speak American... you're in American now!" **
But no, actually I don't really get it at all. ***
Americans travel abroad expecting everybody to speak English and not bothering to learn even a few niceties in the language of the country they're visiting, but of course that's perfectly okay. — But anyway... if the workers aren't talking to you, why the fuck shouldn't they be able to talk to each other in whatever language is comfortable to them?
Because Americans might conjure up some imagined slight?
Yeah, that's 1000% on-brand for us.
Something which was reaffirmed on a video I watched this morning.
*Tagalog being the root language of standardized Filipino.
**Yes, I just quoted a line from the Bette Midler & Lily Tomlin comedy Big Business.
***One of my dream scnearios has always been somebody telling me to "Speak American" when I'm speaking some other language so I can say "Fuck off, asshole! Is that American enough for you?
Posted on November 6th, 2023
I think I've written a few times about my love for the Yes Theory YouTube channel.
I can't remember where I first heard of it. In all likelihood somebody via the internet... probably even a total stranger... who contacted me through this blog. They see that I loved traveling the world and meeting new people and discovering new things and said something like "You should really check out Yes Theory on YouTube". And so I did. This was many years ago, and I've watched everything they've ever released.
And the members of Yes Theory have meant the world to me. Because they don't just want you to watch, they invite you into their lives and you get to experience everything with them. It hasn't always been an easy road, and there have been many changes over the years.
Which is why this reunion video is so incredibly special to me...
The way Yes Theory looks at the world is how I want the world to be.
I cannot wait to see what happens next.
And if you're looking for a massive dose of positivity in your life, I highly recommend checking out their channel. But be forewarned... if you are remotely human, those videos are addictive. You cannot watch just one.
Posted on October 26th, 2023
Oh boy.Every October for years I've changed my Facebook profile picture to my goth look for Halloween. It's kinda a tradition and nobody is hurt by me looking awesome for a month. OR SO I THOUGHT! But more on that in a minute.
Here is the photo...
Long time Blogography readers might recognize this as a still from a video I made fifteen years ago for a video edition of "Bullet Sunday"...
I've started increasingly commenting on posts that are racist, bigoted, antisemitic, hateful, or stupid. The reaction is mostly what you'd expect. And I'm used to the hate... this is not my first time on the internet. But now the comments are all about my profile pic, not my comment. I have been called absolutely every name you can imagine. Because I'm wearing black makeup. For Halloween.
This is weird to me because I don't think much about my appearance (which should be obvious to anybody who meets me). The idea of having perfectly matching clothes or dressing in the latest style or looking "cool" or whatever just doesn't interest me. Except when it comes to Halloween, apparently.
I'm fascinated how people don't bother to make an actual argument about what I've said now. They don't like what I'm saying and how I look in my profile pic, but it's how I look that's what they choose to comment on. Which just reinforces the fact that ignorant assholes are ultimately bullies above everything else. Hating people for how they look or how they choose to dress is their priority.
I am trying to be unshocked, but this is not remotely surprising. It's the easiest shot to take, because forming an argument in support of your opinion is hard. And the easy shot is all they know.
Not that I really care. Goth Dave is the hottest Dave.
Posted on October 22nd, 2023
The world has gone mad again, but it's still not worse than reading this blog... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Dr. Nick! The world is so small. I'm watching a fascinating series from NatGeo on Disney+ called Superstructures: Engineering Marvels. One of the episodes is about a massive semi-submersible cargo ship. And one of the experts speaking is Nick Bradbeer, who is billed as a naval architect...
My brain immediately does a flip-flop because the name sounds so familiar. Bradbeer? Where have I heard that name? So I search my computer and come across a slideshow from a talk I downloaded called Spaceship Design Considerations for Writers written by Dr. Nick Bradbeer. And then I remember... I tried to contact him years ago to see if he knew of a video recording of his talk because I'd very much like to see it. Same guy. Yes, he's a naval engineer teaching at University College London... but he's also a massive gaming geek who applies his career speciality to designing games. And when I Google him, I find him on Mastodon where he's engaging his naval engineering students to play games he wrote! What an amazingly cool guy! Still wish I could find a video of his talk on spaceship design, because I'd very much like to see that. If anybody knows anything that could help me track that down I'd appreciate it.
• Spherical! A lot of footage is being released of the concert experience at "The Sphere" Las Vegas (featuring the U2 residency). It looks insane. And absolutely everybody I've heard talk about it says the same thing... "It's incredible." What's really amazing is that video from a cameraphone cannot possibly capture what you see and hear, but it still looks absolutely amazing. This is a pretty good look right here...
The structure is mind-boggling...
Image from MEGA/The Daily Mail - Capacity actually 20,000 including standing room
It sounded intriguing enough that I actually considered going to see it. I'm not a big U2 fan, but it seems like the spectacle of it all might be worth it. Until I found out what it actually is. This is not U2 playing all their greatest hits. It's U2 playing the entirety of their album Actung, Baby... plus some other songs (namely off Rattle and Hum). And as if that weren't enough of a buzzkill, apparently the massive video screen isn't actually used to fullest effect on all the songs. So it's like... what's the point? Not a ton of acts could fill 20,000 seats night after night (though Taylor Swift could do that easily for a year or more). But how many acts could do that without playing all their hits? As a one-off, no problem. But as a residency in a single city? Taylor, Pink, Madonna, The Stones, Elton John, Coldplay, Celine Dion... maybe? And given how expensive the visuals must cost to produce, you really need a residency to have it pay off. Odds are that the best shows for this would be multi-act shows... or reunions of major names. One Direction, The Spice Girls, etc. So I dunno. I'd still like to experience The Sphere, I just don't know for who.
• QUAID! Every once in a while I run across something from years ago that I never even knew existed. This time it's a Funny or Die clip featuring ennis Quaid from eight years ago that is ridiculously funny...
I love it when celebrities are such good sports and willing to particpate in things like this. And now I need to re-watch Undercover Blues for the hundredth time. A movie so good that I remain despondent that it wasn't a massively huge hit so we could have gotten a sequel.
• Ho Ho Ho! Hallmark Channel's annual "Countdown to Christmas" started on Friday... and it started with one of the best Christmas movies I've seen in a minute: Checkin' It Twice...
The story is great... but the actors take it to the next level. Charming and funny. Could it be that my favorite Hallmark Christmas movie of 2023 is the first Hallmark Christmas movie of 2023? Maybe.
• Left Bloody and Broken! How big of an idiot do you have to be to pick a fight with Disney, a company famous for employing countless bloodthirsty, vicious, soulless lawyers? Can you believe that dumbass Ron DeSantis was actually a contender for the presidency before everybody woke up to what a fucking disaster he is? All he did with his war against Disney was galvanize people against his worthless, bigoted, meatball ass... all in the name of being “anti-woke”... and the hilarious story of how it happened is right here, courtesy of the Legal Eagle...
Now if only people would wake up to the total tidalwave of idiots either in office or running for office and send them packing, that would be great.
• Way To Go! So awesome! People aren't considered freaks anymore based on their weight, their body hair, or their tattoos! I never thought we'd get here as a society, but this bigoted fucking cartoon says it's true, so it must be true!
Congratulations everybody on embracing humanity instead of persecution!
Ugh. If only.
• Drought? Oh joy. This precipitation forecast for Winter 2023/2024 might lead to less snow in the mountains where I live this Winter, which means the possibility of another drought Summer 2024 (at least on my side of the mountains)...
But as bad as this might be for us, it's looking disastrous for poor Hawaii. Can't catch a break.
And now to return you to the madness of life on earth. At least until next week.
Posted on October 12th, 2023
I can't really comment on "The Fall of Twitter" because I've rarely ever used that platform. On the contrary, I've actively avoided it when at all possible. Finding a way to condense my thoughts into 280 characters or less was a hassle that was rarely rewarded with any meaningful dialogue (but I did get plenty of public hate, whether from my content or the misunderstanding of truncated content). Eventually Twitter allowed you to become "verified" by paying for it, and those users were allowed to blow past 280 characters to 1,000 or 2,500 or some more respectable number. I never wanted to pay for the privilege, so I took a hard pass. Again. Regardless of my personal experience (or lack thereof) using Twitter, I've been reading an increasing number of articles which have proclaimed it dead. Or, in the case of The New Yorker, "no longer fun."
What I can comment on is the disastrous rebranding of one of the most valuable brands in the known universe. Elon Musk renamed "Twitter" to "X" which was a bizarre strategy that could only be dreamed up by a billionaire who doesn't give a shit about the irreplaceable power of brand recognition. "Tweets" have been embedded into world culture (and the world's lexicons) in a way that companies fantasize about. But Musk has an obsession over the name "X" for some reason, so now instead of tweets we have xeets or what-the-fuck-ever. Musk does a lot of crazy shit (but likely no more crazy than the things I would do if I were a billionaire) but this one takes the absolute cake. The guy paid FORTY-FOUR BILLION DOLLARS for something he proceeded to utterly decimate.
And don't think that I am just making an observation over something I refuse to investigate. I read numerous stories and watched interviews where Elon Musk attempted to explain it all. And it goes something like this...
“The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140 character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video. In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world. The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird.”
On the surface, this is not at all illogical. Chinese society runs on an app called WeChat (微信).
If you are unaware of the sheer insanity of just how critical WeChat has become to the Chinese people, I've got a mindblowing video for you. It's quite a long video because they address a number of controversies surrounding the app, but it's a fascinating watch...
Now, if you didn't watch the above video (and who could blame you), this is a frame from it that's the critical bit...
WeChat combines the shopping of Amazon, the videos of YouTube, the dating of Tinder, the music of Spotify, the search of Google, the financial transactions of PayPal, the social media of Facebook, the telephone connectivity of WhatsApp, the movie studio of Netflix, the ride-sharing of Über, the reviews of Yelp, the videoconferencing of Zoom, and the food delivery of Deliveroo (the American equivalent being InstaCart and ÜberEats)... all in one app!
And this is what Elon Musk is wanting for his "X" platform (a concept he tried once before but never got off the ground). It is, apparently, the main reason behind him wanting to buy Twitter in the first place (along with his ego, I'm sure).
Now, I have serious doubts that a WeChat-type service conglomerate could ever emerge in the USA. We have anti-monopoly laws, sure, but they get ignored or enforced seemingly at random, so that's not my reasoning. My thinking is that there is no unifying government mandate which encourages this to happen. Of course there are politicians who want to keep us from having access to things they don't like (or, more accurately, things that they are fucking PAID to not like, such as TikTok), but apparently nobody has paid them to work on app consolidation yet. Somebody should just tell Musk that he needs to start buying off politicians to make it happen! Heaven only knows that there are enough of them up for sale, so it's really only a matter of money. Of which Musk has plenty.
I am watching the fall of Twitter, er, "X"... with disinterest. Why would I care that a platform is either "dying" or "no fun" when I don't use it?
Okay... I'm watching with a little bit of interest since Twitter is part of the reason that blogging died (ah, those were the days!).
Ultimately to me this is just like the death of FAX machines and pagers. It seems to actually be happening, but we won't know for sure until it's really gone. I take no joy in it, especially because of those who rely on it, but don't expect me to care. And if Twitter weathers the storm and roars back as the "X Everything App" that Musk always dreamed of? Well... I wouldn't want all the apps I use to be consolidated under Elon Musk any more than I would a government... so I wouldn't be thrilled about it (that's why my primary "social media platform" is Blogography!), but I guess I'd have little choice but to install it.
It's either that or retreat to a cave and commune with nature.
Something that is getting more appealing by the day.
Posted on August 15th, 2023
I haven't given a shit what people think of me for a long time now.
It's this irrefutable truth which allows me to keep blogging on the internet.
I left a discussion group last week because an asshole wouldn't stop going after people for things like spelling and grammar, even though the meaning was perfectly clear. I finally said something... essentially saying that gatekeeping the English language isn't the purpose of the discussion... then I left. This morning somebody still in the group copied some of the responses to my comment and sent them to me before she left too. The guy I replied to replied to me with something stupid, then other people jumped in and agreed with him. Proving that I made the right decision to go.
Liz Climo put this drama into vivid relief for me...
Those poor, poor people.
Posted on July 23rd, 2023
It's another scorcher out there today, but never you fear about my melting... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Strange Decks! There is now no question what-so-ever that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is my favorite Trek. It has eclipsed The Original Series, as I knew it would. And this latest episode (dropping early in honor of ComicCon!)... which is a mind-blowing crossover with the comedic ANIMATED show, Star Trek: Lower Decks... is beyond genius. They brought voice actors Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid into Real Life and the transition is seamless. They are very much the same characters, just no longer animated...
Now, they could have easily did this as a throw-away episode. Or dismissed it as a dream. Or any number of things which would have kneecapped it into irrelevance. But it was well-thought-out and completely serious while honoring the tone and characters of their respective shows. It's borderline thrilling how Strange New Worlds keeps one-upping themselves episode after episode. AND THAT ENDING! Brilliant Trek. Brilliant television.
• American Heartland! In a shocking announcement, a new $2 BILLION theme park is being built in Tulsa. Called "American Heartland" this seems like a carbon copy of "Disney's America," a theme park outside of Washington, D.C. that was never built which is based around Americana...
Now, I think this is a cool idea. Definitely. But Oklahoma?!? And not Southern Oklahoma which is close to Texas and might have a longer operating season... Northeast Oklahoma, which likely has fairly mild winters, but not California/Florida mild. And it seems primed for failure given that the biggest city (Oklahoma City, 2-1/2 hours away) has under 700,000 people. The nearest actual major city is Dallas or St. Louis, but they're a five hour drive. Which begs the question... why not just put it near Dallas or St. Louis? They at least have a big population and a major airport there! But still... they are promoting a laundry list of experienced Disney/Universal attraction designers, so there's that. I'd like to see it, of course. But it seems as though this is going to go the way of "Disney's America" and won't be built.
• Seek Discomfort! one of my long-time favorite YouTube channels is Yes Theory which is a group of people doing extraordinary things via travel and adventure by stepping out of their comfort zone. It's a channel I binge for a while, then leave for a while, because while it's beautiful to behold... it's also emotionally overwhelming. We're so inundated with reasons to feel cynical that watching the opposite of that for too long can be tough. And a couple of their latest videos are pretty darn special...
If you're a longtime fan of the channel, that surprise guest in France was almost too much to take.
How amazing is that?
• 'MURICA AI! This Buzzfeed article is nuts: I Asked AI What Europeans Think Americans From Every Single State Look Like, And The Results Are Just Plain Mean. Mean? Maybe. But some of them are scary accurate. Go ahead and click through. I dare you.
• Rescued! Miracles happen. What an incredible story...
Is it wrong that the entire time watching the video I'm screaming "BUT HOW IS THE DOG DOING?!?
• Ketchup> Hallmark Channel's "June Weddings" event is over... but I went back to watch the first half hour of The Wedding Contract because I wasn't paying much attention until the end when I watched it last month. What's REALLY NICE is that Hallmark is putting a little diversity over the same old story... they had an Indian wedding, and this is a Jewish wedding (seriously... she's baking a challah for Shabbat dinner!). But the best part is how it takes place in Chicago... but not really. It's shot in Vancouver. BUT IT'S TOTALLY CHICAGO BECAUSE SHE'S SITTING ON A PARK BENCH WITH A SLICE OF DEEP DISH PIZZA NEXT TO HER! BWAH HA HA HAAA! But wait, there's more! They get a coffee at cart called Chicago's Finest Hot Dogs and... what's that on the cart there?
THERE'S A BOTTLE OF KETCHUP ON THE CART! BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAAAA! HA HA HAAAAAA!!! Clearly the set decorator has never been to Chicago. That ketchup would be hidden and provided (RELUCTANTLY) by request only. Ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago... BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA =gasp= HA HAAAA!!! People have died for less!
• POD PEOPLE! I really, really want to see this...
Looks interesting. Looks different. Has great lead actors. Why not?
Hope you're having a cooler Sunday than I am!
Posted on June 30th, 2023
I am really torn on this whole "link tax" bullshit that's getting signed into law by certain countries.
Essentially this boils down to governments forcing major media companies like Google to strike agreements with news organizations. That way, when you search for something on Google (or Facebook or any company that monetizes results based on another company's content) and a result from a news organization pops up, Google has to pay them money because their content has been monetized by Google.
On one hand, it's like... okay... Google is making money by serving ads in their search results or news feeds, so why shouldn't the news organizations showing up in those results get paid for making Google rich with their hard work?
On the other hand... why the fuck should Google be held responsible for other companies not monitizing their own content? If you don't want Google to make money off of you, then no problem. Add code to your website's HTML instructing Google bots to not crawl your content. Problem solved. Why in the hell are governments getting involved in this? And if you're going to pass laws for news organizations to get paid for making Google money... why not everybody? Why not bloggers? Blogography is heavily indexed by Google, and I have a lot of content that gets looked at by Google search referrals. So where is my money??
I have to say... I am kinda on Google's side this time.
Which is something I haven't said very often.
Google is merely refering people to your content. It should be up to you to monetize everything once somebody clicks through to visit your site and read your stories. Run ads. Offer subscriptions. Whatever. Just be grateful that Google is sending you the business. How else will people even find you if you're not getting Google search referrals?
With the recently-passed "link tax" law in Canada, Google is telling the Canadian government to fuck off. They will just remove all Canadian news sources from appearing to Canadians who are now legally required to be paid. Sure Google will have less content in their search results to monetize... but they won't have to pay anything out either. I'd argue that this doesn't benefit Canadians at all, but what do I know? Google said the same thing to Australia and France, but eventually capitulated. It will probably be the same for Canada.
And the USA is likely going to be adding a "link tax" soon.
If I were Google, I'd do some things...
Ultimately I think it's important that news organizations get paid for their work. But to put that responsibility on Google is outrageous. That should be up to Google. And if people don't like it... then everybody can tell Google bots to not crawl their site until Google agrees to fork over the money and share their success. That's how the market works. If governments wants money to go to news organizations, then have that money come from the government.
Regardless of how this all shakes out, to have governments jumping in the fray is a terrible precedent. Today it's Google... what's tomorrow? Me? Every time I share a news story I'm going to be responsible for paying them money? I call bullshit. They should figure out their own monetization just like I do (which is $0 since I don't charge for anything, but still).
Have a government-mandated monetized weekend, everybody!
Posted on June 22nd, 2023
You're probably best off skipping this entry.
I know that USA Today panders to the lowest common denominator (i.e. people as a whole are stupid as fuck), but this headline! Isn't it a foregone conclusion that if debris was found there could be no survivors? Like what... the passengers would just be hanging out 2-1/2 miles down on the sea floor waiting for a ride back to the surface?
But anyway... I have a few thoughts on this tragic situation, if you care to hear them.
As an aside... the irony of people dying because warnings were ignored while going to see the wreck of where people died because warnings were ignored, is not lost on me.
Posted on November 20th, 2022
It's time to be human... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Again. The shooting at the Colorado Springs nightclub "Club Q" last night is yet another in a string of violent attacks on marginalized communities. And it's like... I just don't get it. LGBTQ persons are not made to feel welcome in general society, so they carve out a space where they can enjoy life for even a short time away from general society... and that's not good enough? Senseless violence has been out of control for as long as humans have existed. That's just fact. But the hatred behind the violence is quickly reaching unsustainable levels as the weapons to act out violence keep getting more powerful. Dozens of people can be cut down in an instant by a single individual, and pretty soon that's going to be the only thing we have.
• Let's Go Brendan! This GQ "Iconic Characters" series is always great. But this one? Oh wow...
I want... quite badly... for Elizabeth Hurley to get one of these.
• Todd! If you are not watching So Help Me Todd on Paramount+, then you are missing out on one of my favorite shows on television. It almost makes me forgive Paramount Network for canceling Magnum P.I. (which, thank God for Peacock TV and NBC, is actually returning despite it all)...
Skylar Astin is a gift, and this show uses him to maximum effect. So COLOR ME SHOCKED that CBS actually renewed the show for a second season! Yay!
• Big Animation! Floor 796 may very well be the coolest thing I've seen in my browser in a minute...
Worth a visit if you like looking at cool stuff!
• I'm Batman! And here's what I wish I would have had to post when Kevin Conroy passed...
A lot of people... like a lot a lot... have Kevin Conroy as "their" Batman. This will go on for a while.
• SHIT! And here we are again. Apple's HomeKit... which has always been HomeShit... is still a pile of shit. And Apple doesn't fucking care. It is absolutely outrageous how there are known issues plaguing the system and Apple doesn't even acknowledge that there are problems. A company worth billions of dollars, but they won't fix it or offer any solutions. For me the biggest problem is that Automations tied to timed events (like sunset or a time of day) don't fucking work! The event arrives and nothing happens. Which is shitty, because I have all kinds of things set up. Like turning my outside lights off and on. There are hundreds of threads on various forums with people trying to find a way to get their timed Automations working. Some things work... for a while... but the overreaching problem of HomeShit being garbage can only be addressed by Apple. And, once more for the people in the back, Apple doesn't fucking care.
And now back to your regularly scheduled Sunday antics.