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Bullet Sunday 484

Posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Dave!Another weekend of winterizing, plus cleaning out my garage... but there's still a warm spot in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• BOSTON!!! Congratulations to my beloved Boston Red Sox as they head to The World Series!

Dave Loves the Red Sox!

And then there's this, which is pretty funny...

SUCK IT, YANKEES! BWAH HA HA HA HA HAAAAA!

   
• Sears. Five years ago, my local Sears store closed. As I mentioned at the time, Sears was a huge chunk of my childhood, as that's where my first PC was purchased (an Atari 800) and the games and software that I grew up with (viva la Infocom!) all came from there...

Atari 800 Illustration
   
I drew this Atari 800 for the cover of Kevin Savetz's terrific book, Terrible Nerd!

So hearing that Sears is now in bankruptcy is met with a note of sadness for me. After all these decades, my local store is still ingrained in my memory. I remember everything about it. I remember exactly where the computer aisle was located. I remember what the display looked like. I remember the sound that the glass door made when it was unlocked to retrieve a box of software. I remember how excited I was when my family made a trip to Sears where I would immediately run to the computers to see what was new. That's how it was all done back in the 80's. The public internet didn't exist... certainly not like it is now. Computer magazines were always outdated the minute they were printed. There was pre-release information here and there, but I never really knew what was real until I saw it at Sears.

And now it's likely the entire chain will be gone forever. It's a tough hit to take, even though the only reason I'd ever shop there (if I even knew where to find one) was maybe for tools. Or appliances. Godspeed, Sears, you will always be in my heart.

   
• Owls. I've watched this too many times this past week...

Owls are such awesome creatures.

   
• Security! "Social Security, let’s lay it to rest once in for all... Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security trust fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing the budget or erasing or lowering the deficit." — President Ronald Reagan, 1984.

President Ronald Reagan

Once more for the dumbfucks in the back... YOU FUCKING PAID FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE! IT'S TAKEN OUT OF YOUR FUCKING PAYCHECK! So when gaping assholes like Mitch McConnell and other Republican crooks start talking about cutting these programs to cover tax cuts for the rich and out-of-control government spending, THEY ARE STEALING FROM YOU. I honest-to-God do not understand why anybody in their right mind continues to support these pieces of shit when they are openly committed to the destruction of the working middle class. They are for themselves (like all politicians) and their wealthy puppet-masters. And nobody else. So unless you are the 1%, voting for these turds is only cutting your own throat.

   
• Of Note. We live in hypocritical times...

And, just in case there was any doubt whatsoever that Pat Robertson is a steaming pile of shit... here you go...

Excusing evil for lots of money in weapons sales, just like Jesus taught us!

And had it been a Christian journalist... a journalist from TBN... who was hacked apart with a bone saw? He would be calling for President Clownface VonFuckstick to nuke Saudi Arabia. This fucker cannot die fast enough. Not that I am unaware that there are dozens of assholes waiting to take his place, but still...

   
• Millennium.I liked the original Swedish movie trilogy based on the famous "Millennium Trilogy" of book... I *loved* the US adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was about as flawless as movies get. Daniel Craig was great... Rooney Mara was unbelievably great... she was Lisbeth Salander. Which is why I was really sad to learn that they would not be reprising their roles for the upcoming The Girl in the Spider's Web. Instead we're getting Claire Foy, which is not a terrible choice... but it's not Rooney Mara...

Fingers crossed. Lisbeth Salander is too good a character to be wasted.

   
And that's the end of bullets on this fine Sunday morning!

   

Caturday 81

Posted on Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Dave!Now that I'm waking up to frost on my car, it seems like a good time to pull out the electric blanket. This is a wintertime essential for two reasons. The first is that it saves money on heat because I'm heating just my bed instead of the entire house. And the second? It's Jenny's favorite thing.

And now Blogograpy presents: The Three Stages of Electric Blanket (according to Jenny)...

1. What? What's This?!? So Jenny hops up onto the bed and immediately notices that something is different. Is that... warmth? She decides to test it out by plopping her butt down on the bed...

Cats & Electric Blankets

2. Warmth! Glorious Warmth! At this point Jenny is rolling all over the bed trying to decide what part of her body she wants to heat up first...

Cats & Electric Blankets

3. Heat Isn't Enough! The newfound warmth is okay and all, but that's no replacement for tummy rubs, which she demands as well...

Cats & Electric Blankets

Jake likes the heat too. It's nice to have a warm bum while cleaning your junk...

Cats & Electric Blankets

And speaking of Jake... a setback.

Last night while I was watching television, Jake made a spectacular vomit spew from the top level of the cat tower. Before his urinary tract problems, he never vomited. The only time he ever vomited was when his urinary problems started, so now I'm terrified that he's sick again. The poor kitty just can't catch a break. And neither can I, apparently...

Jake Puking from a Tower

I'm honestly not sure what to make of Jake since he got back from his week-long stay at the vet. He still seems terrified to be left alone. When I'm home, he's on me the entire time... or, lately now, snuggled up to his sister. Jenny tolerates it quite well... until she doesn't. At which time he's right back on me. — When I'm gone he is agitated at first, but sleeps alone or hangs out in the catio alone and seems fine with it. Maybe it will just take a while for him to get over the trauma of all he went through. I hope he'll eventually get back to his "normal." In the meanwhile, it's cute to see him snuggling up to his sister at night...

Jake Puking from a Tower

Jake Puking from a Tower

And to have a warm, fuzzy interruption from work when he wants to cuddle up next to me...

Jake Puking from a Tower

At night he still wants to sleep with me or, to be more accurate, on top of me...

Jake Sleepy-Time

Though now that there's an electric blanket on the bed, it seems like he'd rather sleep on that and just lean up next to me instead...

Jake Sleepy-Time

Jake is not one for selfies, as you can tell...

Jake Sleepy-Time

Health-wise, Jake is still peeing far too often... but both the Upstairs and Downstairs Litter-Robots are reporting that the number of uses per day is trending downwards, so maybe one day he'll be back to where he used to be...

Jake Sleepy-Time

The high peak is when I bought Jake home. The valley before the peak is when Jake was at the hospital and only Jenny was using the boxes. The day after he came back, the Litter-Robot was used thirty-six times. Poor kitty. My vet isn't concerned... yet... but I sent and email on Friday just to ask again if this is normal and will eventually subside.

Fingers crossed.

It can't be fun going to the bathroom ten times a day.

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Rice, Bean, and Cheese Burritos

Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2018

Dave!A couple days ago when I was at the grocery store I decided to grab a couple frozen bean & cheese burritos. They're handy for when I need a quick dinner or lunch and don't want to cook. But when I went to pull one out of the freezer case, I was shocked to see that they were THREE DOLLARS AND FIFTY-FIVE CENTS EACH! They were just 99¢ a minute ago! What happened?

That's when I decided to make my own dang frozen burritos. I started with white rice, black beans, and some cheese. They turned out great. So great that I decided to make another batch... but this time use Mexican rice, seasoned beans, add some onions and green chilis for some flavor...

XXX

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They are perfection!

So easy to make. So much better than the frozen ones I have been buying. And so cheap! Instead of $3.55 each, these are around $1 each, which is what I was looking for in the first place.

Just in case you might want to try making your own freezable burritos, here's my recipe...

  • Box of Mexican-Style Rice (I use Farmhouse).
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, Diced.
  • 2 Tbs. to 1/2 can of Diced Green Chilis.
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste (I use 1/2 tsp.).
  • 1 Can of Black Beans (I use Bush's Seasoned Recipe).
  • Shredded Cheese (I use a Cheddar/Asadero Blend)
  • 8 Burrito-Size Flour Tortillas (half a package).

Cook up a box of Mexican-style rice (or any rice you prefer). While that's going, dice one-half a medium onion and soften in a skillet with a little oil over low heat. Once it begins to turn translucent, stir in a couple tablespoons of diced green chilis. Add some ground pepper to taste. Drain a can of black beans and stir into the onion mixture. Once the rice has finished cooking, stir it into the rest. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large pan, soften burrito-sized flour tortillas over low heat for 10-15 seconds each side. Add two heaping spoonfuls of the bean/rice mixture to the tortilla, then sprinkle with as much cheese as you like (I use a lot!). Fold-up burrito-style. Wrap in foil and heat in an oven until cheese is melted and inside is hot (in my oven it's 350 degree heat for 17 minutes). I eat them with sour cream and guacamole. I get 8 burritos per batch, but you may get less if you fill them really full (or more if you skimp on filling).

IF YOU ARE GOING TO FREEZE THEM...
If you'll reheat them by microwaving, there's no need to wrap in foil. Just stick in a plastic baggie and get the air out before zipping them closed. If you'll reheat them in an oven, then wrap in foil before placing in plastic bags.

TO REHEAT FROM FROZEN IN THE MICROWAVE...
Open plastic bag and zap for a minute. Remove burrito from plastic bag, put on a plate, then massage the burrito to break up frozen bits. Transfer to a plate and microwave for another minute. I then massage again to make sure there are no frozen parts. Then I let sit for a minute and zap for another 20 seconds or so... which has them come out perfect in my microwave (kinda low-powered). Your microwave may vary.

   
But before I go...

I am gravely concerned about rising food costs. It's been bad in the past, but it's insane now. Some of that probably has to do with my small town grocery store having higher prices... but it's been a growing trend for quite a while even when I shop at a chain store in The Big City. Used to be $100 would fill the entire back seat of my car. Now I'm lucky to get three bags out of it. If this keeps up, how are people going to afford to eat? Something tells me that food ain't going to be getting any cheaper any time soon.

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Mayonnaise for Days

Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Dave!If there's one thing that I'll never run out of, it's mayonnaise. This is by far my favorite condiment, and I eat it at a crazy pace. I love it on fries, sandwiches, grilled cheese, salads, dressings... a lot of things, really.

Not long ago when I was cleaning out my refrigerator, I had six bottles/jars of the stuff... with at least another six in the pantry...

Refrigerator Full of Mayo

My favorite mayo is Dutch mayo for its delicious flavor and oh-so-creamy texture. But it's pretty expensive since it has to be imported. The easiest-to-find mayo that I buy most regularly is Best Foods (Hellmann's to some areas of the country). I like Duke's but it has to be bought via mail order because they don't sell it here.

I loathe "light mayonnaise." It tastes just awful... and usually has a harsh lemony taste to compensate for whatever it is they suck out of it to make it "light." I would really like to go vegan so poor chickens don't have to be exploited to make real mayonnaise... but there's no vegan stuff I've tried that I really want to eat (I've added a small section on that to the end of this post).

But anyway...


REAL MAYONNAISE
You have to be careful here, because some people want to group mayo-like dressings and sauces in with actual mayo (like Miracle Whip). Well, newsflash, MIRACLE WHIP IS NOT MAYO! Not to say I don't like it, because I do (especially on grilled cheese and in macaroni salad... at least until they made it water-based instead of oil-based), but when I need mayo it's not going to cut it. Here is what does...

Remia Mayonaise
Flavor: creamy dreamy • Texture: creamy • Score: 10
Here it is... the mayo to beat all mayo. Unlike American mayo, Dutch mayo is so creamy and velvety without any kind of gross gelatinous gloppiness to it. And when it comes to flavor, it's sublime because it doesn't have this overwhelmingly eggy taste... but still tastes like mayo. Great on sandwiches. Great in salad dressing. No need to mix with ketchup for your fries, it's flawless straight out of the bottle. My favorite over any American mayo by a mile.

Calvé Mayonaise
Flavor: creamy dreamy • Texture: creamy • Score: 9.5
When tasting this Dutch miracle side-by-side with Remia, they're very close. And I'd take either one over any American mayo any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I think I give Remia the edge because that's the one that's easiest for me to find. Remia also has a slightly cleaner taste to me.

Kewpie Mayonaise
Flavor: savory eggy bliss • Texture: creamy • Score: 9
Japanese mayonnaise is equal parts Dutch mayo, American mayo, and Miracle Whip... but not in a bad way. And while I don't know that I would want to eat this all the time, I very much like having it in my mayo arsenal. Good on fries. Fantastic on sandwiches. Amazing on vegetables and salads. I really like dipping grilled cheese in it. The secret? MSG. Ah yes. That much-maligned savory additive that freaks Americans the fuck out for no good reason. So much so that when Kewpie decided to start selling direct to the American market they dropped the MSG! I haven't tried the MSG-free version, I have no plans to do so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with MSG, and the bullshit myth that's propagated through the USA is pretty stupid. And, according to Anthony Bourdain, racist. Find out more right here.

Duke's Real Mayonnaise
Flavor: tangy great • Texture: gelatinous but creamy • Score: 8
If somebody is going to battle me to the death over my Best Foods (Hellmann's) addiction, this is the mayo they're willing to fall on their sword for. The texture is definitely a little oily but mostly creamy... even a little creamier than Best Foods... but what I like about it is that it's all zip and doesn't have a sweet taste to it. For that reason, this is the American mayo I prefer for fries. But not sandwiches, where it can easily take too much away from other toppings. When it comes to salad dressing, this one is in a toss-up with Best Foods. If I have sweet toppings on my salad (like dried cranberries or candied walnuts) I'll go with Best Foods because it compliments better. If it's just veggies, give me Dukes, where that added tang is appreciated.

Best Foods (Hellmann's) Real Mayonnaise
Flavor: baseline great • Texture: gelatinous glop from hell • Score: 7.5
This is essentially the "baseline" mayo for me. It's what my great grandmother used. It's what my grandmother used. It's what my mother used. It's what I use most times. The flavor profile is eggy but clean with a hint of sweetness. Where it falls way, way short is the texture, which manages to be creamy when spread, but a gelatinous glob when you spoon it out. For this reason I like it on sandwiches and burgers quite a lot... salad dressing okay... and fries not at all. I might have put Best Foods (Hellmann's) above Duke's for sheer nostalgia's sake, but they went and changed the recipe in the early 2000's. And not for the better. I don't know that I taste a heck of a lot of difference from what I remember (I'm probably romanticizing it) but it doesn't seem the same.

Kraft Real Mayo
Flavor: sweet and serviceable • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 6.5
If you were to look up "generic mayo" in the dictionary, a photo of Kraft Real Mayo would be sitting there. It's not bad... but not particularly great either. Mostly due to it's sweet taste, which is kind of bizarre in a sandwich. Not good for fries by itself, but when mixed with relish and ketchup it can work.

Heinz Mayonnaise
Flavor: weird • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5.5
This is the new kid on the block and one I was quite anxious to try because they claim to be the creamiest mayo out there. Could it be as creamy as Dutch mayo? Only one way to find out... so I ordered a couple bottles. First of all... LIES! It's the same gelatinous texture you'll find in most American mayo. The first thing I did when I got the bottle was to squeeze out a bit then shake the bottle. If it were truly creamy, it would have some "flow" to it. But it most certainly does not. It "breaks" in the bottle and hangs together in a gloppy mass. Even worse, the flavor is "off" in a way I can't quite describe. Not necessarily from the ingredients, but because of the way they process it maybe? Not heinous, but not something I plan on buying again either.

Sir Kensington's Mayonnaise
Flavor: weird • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5
Everybody was raving about Sir Kensington's Fabanaise vegan mayo, so when I ordered some to try I ordered a jar of their "real" mayo as well. I don't exactly hate it... but it's got a weird taste to it. Kind of a lemony toxic waste flavor that lingers in an odd way. It's almost bordering on Miracle Whip, but not really. Might be okay in a potato salad? Wouldn't buy again.

Bama Mayonnaise
Flavor: sweet on the back-end • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5
Despite coming from Alabama, I actually bought this when I was passing through Mississippi. This is another Miracle Whip wannabe masquerading as mayonnaise. I liked it on a grilled cheese sandwich, but almost nowhere else. It was pretty abysmal on fries.

Blue Plate Mayonnaise
Flavor: sweet vinaigrette • Texture: gelatinous glop • Score: 5
A New Orleans staple, I was crushed that I didn't know to pick up a jar in my many visits to the city, so I had a blog reader send this to me to try. My initial thought is that it's trying to imitate Duke's, but is doing a bad job of it. If I was having this plain on a salad it might be okay... but there's this strong vinegar taste that is fighting a weird sweetness that comes off all wrong to me.

Whole Foods 365 Mayonnaise
Flavor: overly eggy • Texture: gelatinous glop • Score: 4.5
This tastes more like light mayo than traditional mayo to me... saturated in weird lemon overtones in an effort to be tangy. Like they ran out of vinegar and just decided to dump extra lemon juice in there to compensate. Absolutely terrible on fries, even when mixed with ketchup... but not entirely terrible in an egg-salad sandwich (which is the only place I used this stuff until it expired and had to be thrown out). If there's a redeeming quality to this it's that it's not as heinous as the Whole Foods vegan mayo, which is foul.

Safeway Organics Mayonnaise
Flavor: grotesque • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 4
This is the skunk weed of mayo. It has a bizarre taste (dirt?) that lingers on your tongue and kills your palate. The texture is okay for an American mayo, but I'll only use this when there's nothing else available. If I have this on fries, it has to be mixed with a lot of ketchup.


VEGAN MAYONNAISE
Look, the stuff is not mayonnaise. It's just not. So stop trying to make vegan mayo happen. Sure, some are more tolerable than others, but I just don't care for it. The stuff will never take the place of authentic real mayonnaise.

Sir Kensington's Fabanaise
Anybody saying that this is "just as good as regular mayonnaise" is seriously deluded. That being said, this would be my go-to mayo if I decided to go vegan. It lacks the density of a good traditional mayo, but has a decent substitute flavor profile that isn't awful.

Best Foods (Hellmann's) Vegan Mayo
No, it's not the same as Best Foods... not even close... but it's at least serviceable as a sandwich condiment, even if it doesn't really taste like mayo to me.

Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
This is the very first vegan mayo I tried (it may be the very first ever made) and I found it gag-inducing. Threw out the jaw after trying just once. But... that was a very long time ago. I may be more tolerable of it if I tried it now knowing what I know about vegan mayo substitutes.

Hampton Creek Just Mayo
How the fuck can you call this "just mayo" when there's no eggs in it? It takes like whipped oil. Greasy and flavorless. You could probably use it to lubricate door hinges, but I wouldn't eat the stuff.

Whole Foods 365 Organic Vegan Mayo
So gross. Offensively gross. I would rather go without mayo than eat this slop.


And that's that.

At least until the next jar I find to try.

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Food Mix-Ups

Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Dave!You know how you can take two breakfast cereals you like, mix them together, and end up liking the result even more than the individual cereals? Magic! I experiment with food mix-ups like that a lot. I do it with a lot of different foods, but cereals have always been my favorite. I made Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cereal by mixing Cocoa Puffs with Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter before actual Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cereal existed.

The best food mix-ups always seem to be accidents.

Like tonight.

I was eating some freeze-dried apples and remembered that I had bought some Apple Pie OREOs that I hadn't cracked open yet. So I grabbed a few cookies and found them to be surprisingly good but not great.

As I ate the last cookie I had in my hand, I picked up the bad of freeze-dried apples and noticed there were some crumbs in the bottom, so I poured them in my mouth and...

...magic!

XXX

No, it's not apple pie. But it's a lot closer in flavor than the OREOs on their own. And it's darn tasty.

And so now I'm completely addicted to Apple Pie OREOs mixed with freeze-dried apples.

Until the next mix-up comes along.

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Global Cat Day?

Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Dave!What was once "National Feral Cat Day" has become "Global Cat Day," which is kinda strange because we already have a "National Cat Day" which is October 29 and "International Cat Day" which was August 8. And then there's apparently a "National Black Cat Day" which is October 27? How many frickin' cat days do we need?

Not that it really matters. As anybody who has cats will tell you, EVERY DAY IS GLOBAL CAT DAY!

Regardless, Jake and Jenny were indeed feral rescues...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

And not much has changed. Other than they're bigger...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Though not feral, neighborhood abandoned cat "Fake Jake" is still hanging around. Last year before I headed out to Antarctica, I was worried that he might freeze to death in the insulated shelter I made him, so I bought a new cat shelter that could hold an outdoor heating pad. I also built a berm out of pipe insulation to help keep any wind off of him. It worked great and he survived the winter just fine.

This year when I put the heating pad and berm back in for cold weather, I added a camera so I could get motion alerts and check in on him. He wasted no time making himself at home...

The camera has night vision so I can even see him sleeping in the dark...

Fake Jake Sleeping!

And so... I guess Fake Jake is set for another cold winter.

As for me? I need to wash blankets. And get winter tires on my car. And hibernate.

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All Too Taxable

Posted on Monday, October 15th, 2018

Dave!Like most everybody, I would prefer not paying taxes.

But the only way it all works is if everybody kicks in money so that things we rely on can continue to function. Like the fire department. Like our military. Like food inspectors. Like so many things that keep us safe and make sure the services we enjoy have the funding they need.

And so... we pay taxes.

The problem is that the way we are taxed is incredibly fucked up.

Our progressive federal tax scale means that the more money you make, the more money in federal taxes you pay. The base rate goes from roughly 10% for the poorest among us to roughly 40% for the wealthiest among us. Except... there are so many fucking loopholes and bullshit conditions to taxation that somebody who should be paying 40% can end up paying less than 10% if they are creative in their finances. Billionaires can easily pay nothing if they figure out a way for their income to be tied up in investments and shit.

Like I said, the system is incredibly fucked up.

Now, I don't pretend to be an economics genius or anything... but there has got to be a better way. Something more fair and honest. But since the billionaires control all the wealth (hence they control all the politicians making the tax laws), "a better way" will likely never happen. Instead we're getting even more tax cuts for the wealthy that are paid for by huge cuts to things like Medicare and Social Security that we have already fucking paid for along with critical services... like public education.

Personally, I am all for abolishing income tax of any kind and eliminating the IRS. Instead of income tax, the taxes we need will come from the shit you buy. This is called a "consumption tax" and, in my mind, seems a lot more fair than the bullshit we have now. Everybody pays the same consumption tax on absolutely everything except food and medical expenses. Buy a new fingernail clipper? Pay a little tax. Buy a fucking mansion? Pay a lot of fucking taxes. And no buying your fingernail clippers in France so you can avoid paying your consumption tax! Anything you bring into the country is immediately subject to taxation. Don't want to pay taxes? Don't buy anything.

In the meanwhile though...

Since I am paying an outrageous amount of federal income tax on every dollar I make, I try very hard to not pay sales tax. Any large purchase... like camera equipment... I purchase out of state so I don't have to pay taxes on it. At least I did...


B&H Photo now collecting sales tax


I get it. Honestly I do. Washington State (which doesn't collect a state income tax) relies on sales tax to pay the bills. An astronomically high sales tax that's near 9%. So when I order a $1000 camera lens from B&H Photo in New York, Washington State is losing out on $90 in tax revenue.

A tax I'd be happy to pay if it weren't for all the other shit I'm taxed on. Hell, run it up to 20% for all I care... so long as you get rid of the IRS and my fucking income tax so we have a consistent, fair tax rate that everybody has to pay equally.

But what do I know? A consumption tax sounds fair and transparent to me, but maybe it's a dumb idea. Maybe a flat-tax is better. Maybe there's an alternative to taxes which will still allow us to pay for public safety, infrastructure, and defense that's far more fair than what we got. I really don't know and I honestly don't care. So long as we get rid of the fucked up insanity we're stuck with now.

Especially since I'll now be paying more taxes than ever before.

Especially since politicians are spending more tax revenue than ever before.

Especially since Americans are getting fucked over by our government worse than ever before.

Especially that.

   

Bullet Sunday 483

Posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Dave!Spent my weekend getting ready for winter, but it hasn't been all bad... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Jakespreading. My concern for Jake is either growing or easing depending on which minute of the day it is. On one hand, he is peeing regularly. On the other hand, it's too often... sometimes up to three times an hour. On one hand, he is pretty much back to normal. On the other hand, he has been increasingly clingy. Now he's sleeping with me every night. Which mostly looks like this...

Jakespreading Sleeping

He's sleeping next to me, using my leg as a pillow.

Except...

For the past two nights, sleeping beside me hasn't been good enough. He wants to sleep on top of me. Which is no biggie when I'm laying on my back but, given my recent back pains, I'm more comfortable on my side. He tries to climb on me but there's not enough room, so he falls off and starts getting upset. I fix the problem by leaning against a pillow. He falls asleep on the pillow (and against me), but is fooled to thinking he's sleeping on me. So it's all good, I suppose. But I think I'm going to start looking into some warm pads that might prove more tempting than a pillow. In the mornings when I come back from taking a shower, I always find him laying on the slats above the heating vent, so I'm guessing he might be in love with a warm place to lay just like his sister...

Jakespreading Sleeping

Tomorrow I'm going to place another call to his doctor so I can ask about the alarming number of times he's peeing... and to ask if I should be concerned that he's grooming his junk more often these past couple days. Call me paranoid, but I'd do just about anything to make sure he doesn't have another extended stay away from home.

   
• Who? First of all, I love Jodie Whittaker in the new season of Doctor Who. She is sublimely perfect in the role, and everything you could want for The Doctor she projects in spades. Quirky without being silly. Smart without being stuffy. Entertaining without being absurd. She IS Doctor Who...

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor

Which is why my disappointment in her first episode being horribly boring was more upsetting than it usually would be. Things picked up a bit in the second episode that aired tonight (the new TARDIS is pretty great), but it still feels like a bit of a slog to get through. I really, really hope that things start picking up... giving both Whittaker and Doctor Who fans the show we deserve.

   
• Boca? When I was last at the grocery store, I noted that Boca Burgers have pretty new packaging. What surprised me is that the burgers inside are different. They are darker. And the taste is different. Not necessarily in a bad way... they're just... different. Still tasty...

New Boca Burger

What I cannot tell is what in the hell they are replacing. Used to be there was "Original Vegan" and "All-American Flame Grilled"... these are "Original All American," which I can only guess is taking the place of both? They ain't vegan (contains cheese like the All-American Flame Grilled) so maybe they are discontinuing those? Confusing.

   
• The Vote. LOLOLOL! Maria Cantwell just released a commercial saying that "drug companies are too powerful and prescription drugs cost too much money." Guess the blowback she got after accepting $75,000 from Big Pharma then voting against cheaper drug re-importation has her worried? Typical piece of shit politician... says whatever she feels she has to at the moment in order to get elected, and then she'll jettison it when she decides to suck Big Pharma dick for cash again. We get the politicians we settle for. We get what we deserve. Not that we're given much choice. My Washington State Voter's Pamphlet just arrived and there's only one candidate I actually want to vote for. The rest are just votes against Trump-enabling Republicans.

   
• Asshole. Vice President Pence would do best to just shut the hell up on all matters pertaining to anything because, odds are, his boss has tweeted something totally fucked up on the topic, which makes Pence come off as a hypocritical asshole. Like this...

VP Pence is deepply troubled about what he's heard about freedom of the press? Really?

Why the hell Pence pretends to give a shit about journalists when it's been made very clear that Trump's administration condemns journalists as an "enemy of the people" is beyond me. Disgusting and pathetic. Like most everything to do with President Trump.

   
• Groupon! Congratulations to Hasan Minhaj on becoming a father...

I can't wait for his show, Patriot Act, to debut on Netflix come October 28th! And, needless to say, if you have Netflix and haven't seen his incredible standup show, Homecoming King, you should do that immediately.

   
Annnnd... scene. See you next Sunday.

   

Caturday 80

Posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2018

Dave!Last night when I got home from work I decided to try a new frozen pizza brand I haven't had before. I don't know why I bother, because they all end up tasting like crap, but I keep holding out hope. The pizza was, as expected, truly awful.

In more ways that one, as it turns out.

While I was removing the wrapper, some of the cheese topping fell on the floor. Before I could grab a towel and get it picked up, Jake swooped in and chowed down. It was only a half-dozen small shreds... but that was all it took. Within five minutes he was puking his guts out. Poor guy.

I don't purposely feed my cats human food, but Jake has been getting into my food since I first got him, and it's never caused any problems. But now? Barf-time.

Which means I have to be more careful than ever that he doesn't eat anything except his heinously expensive prescribed specialty food.

Other than that, he's mostly back to normal. Except for the fact that he is still peeing far more often than usual (beats the alternative) and clings to me like glue everywhere I go. When I lay down on the couch to work, he'll immediately hop on top of me... only hopping off to pee, then he's right back on me...

Sleepy Jake

Sleepy Jake

Sleepy Jake

Needless to say, any time I'm in bed, Jake is there too...

Sleepy Jake

Sleepy Jake

I'm still irrationally upset that his claws were trimmed. I wish I could get past that, because I know they'll grow back... but, still... upsetting...

Jenny Jealousy

Poor Jenny spends most of her time being jealous that Jake is getting so much attention. For some reason they have an agreement that there can only be one cat in bed with me at a time, and since that's mostly Jake... well... let's just say we've been getting our share of irritated glances...

Jenny Jealousy

Not that Jenny is completely ignored. I make sure she gets some lap-time too...

Jenny Sleepy-Time

This week has been a tough one. I am terrified that Jake's urinary problems are going to come back and they'll end up having to cut him open. Every time he uses the Litter-Robot (which is often) I run to make sure that he was able to pee. Every time he licks his junk, I'm worried it means he's having trouble going again. Next week I'm back to working full days and I won't be able to observe him as easily. I've put alerts on the security camera system for motion at the Litter-Robots, but that's not the same as being here.

Six weeks until my next trip. My hope is that everything will be fine by then and I won't have to change my plans. Again.

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Sequel Sequels

Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

Dave!Now that we're finally getting a sequel to Unbreakable (and Split) with Glass, I got to thinking about other movies I've long wanted a sequel to.

MOVIES THAT NEED A SEQUEL...

<insert marvel studios film here>. No kidding. The films I most want sequels to are every film Marvel Studios has ever made. I keep hoping against hope that they will up the number of productions they've got going and, now that the various X-Men franchises are headed back to Marvel, that's a possibility.

Atomic Blonde. Charlize Theron's brutal take on a cold war spy drama is one of the best films in that genre to ever hit the silver screen. The story, the look, the soundtrack, the fight scenes... every frame of this film was gold and I'm dying to see more.

Central Intelligence. Nobody was more surprised than me that this Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Heart spy vehicle was any good... but it really was! I'd like to see where the characters end up next, assuming there's an interesting enough way to bring them back together... of which I'm skeptical.

The Heat. The best Melissa McCarthy movies are those that reign her in to a good degree, and this was one of those films. This was also a great Sandra Bullock vehicle, which is always a roll of the dice. There's plenty more story here to tell.

Kill Bill. I don't know if this is possible given how Uma Thurman came forward to speak out against her experience making the films, but boy does the idea have such great possibilities that were set up in the original two.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Sigh. This was such a beautifully-realized adaptation of the Aubrey-Maturin books that I can't understand why it wasn't a massive box office success. Regardless, it still made enough money that my hopes for a sequel are still burning.

The Legend of Tarzan. Easily the most faithful adaptation of the amazing Edgar Rice Burroughs books, I was thrilled to see what happens when they actually tried to make a good Tarzan film. I'd like to see another one.

The LEGO Batman Movie. Just like the LEGO video games, they completely knocked this one out of the park. Better than Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, and (heaven help us) Justice League.

The Losers. A very good comic adaptation that was really smart in how it was adapted, I would have thought a sequel would have been greenlit immediately. Alas... the box office was less than stellar.

MacGruber. I don't care what anybody says. This was a funny movie and I'd love to get a sequel.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the chemistry of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie can overcome any failings that might arise from trying to recapture what made the first movie so good.

Ocean's 8. As entertaining as the Ocean's Eleven trilogy ever was. One would hope that they'd work hard to come up with as interesting a caper as the first one, because that's what killed Ocean's Twelve.

Paul. A hilarious film that was so brilliantly realized that I can't fathom how it didn't manage to catch enormous buzz and become a box office juggernaut. It could so easily get a great sequel... if somebody would finance it.

Serenity. Rumor has it that we may get a Netflix show (or something) to continue on the story. Lord, I hope so. There's some good things happening with sci-fi right now, but you won't find me complaining that there's too much of it.

Spy. Easily Melissa McCarthy's best film, there are literally a dozens directions this franchise could be taken.

Star Trek. Apparently there are two films in development... one by Quentin Tarantino... and one that has Kirk time-traveling back to meet his father (Chris Hemsworth!). Both are stalled for one reason or another. Whatever the reality of what's going on, I sure hope they get everything figured out. There's too many good things about the reboot to let it die.

Team America: World Police. It honestly doesn't have to be a sequel to Trey Parker and Matt Stone's brilliant puppet movie... but it needs to be something. After the brilliance of The South Park Movie, Baseketball, and Team America, you just know they have another amazing movie in them.

   

MOVIES THAT NEEDED A SEQUEL AT ONE TIME, BUT EVERYBODY IS PROBABLY TOO OLD NOW...

Beverly Hills Cop I honestly didn't think that Beverly Hills Cop III was that bad. No... it wasn't the sequel I was hoping for, but it was entertaining enough. And it had me hoping that there would be a fourth installment which would wrap things up in a much more satisfying way. Whether Eddie Murphy is too old to churn out another one is debatable... but I still hope.

Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension. So many years... decades, really... hoping against hope that Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League would see fruition but, alas, it was not to be.

Eurotrip. SCOTTY DOESN'T KNOW! SCOTTY DOESN'T KNOW!

The Fifth Element. Instead of making a sequel to The Fifth Element, Luc Besson gave us the underwhelming Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It's depressing in entirely too many ways given that Bruce Willis is probably past the point of playing the character by now.

Hancock. This was a really good super-hero movie before really good super-hero movies were common (thanks, Marvel Studios!), so perhaps a sequel isn't necessary now... even if Will Smith was ten years younger.

Spaceballs. So much material in sci-fi that's ripe for parody.

True Lies. I understand why 9/11 was able to remove the possibility of a sequel, but what a waste. The original film was remarkable for how well it was done, and I would have loved to have seen Schwarzenegger and Curtis in one more outing. We ended up with Mr. & Mrs. Smith. which was kinda the same thing... but not really.

Undercover Blues. One of the best movies you've probably never seen, this is easily in my Top 25 Films of All Time, so naturally I was dying for another outing by Jeff & Jane Blue. And while Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner are probably too old for that kind of film... their daughter Janey could follow in their footsteps and end up needing help from mom and dad... just sayin'.

V.I. Warshawski. If this film had a male lead, I'm betting it would have gotten a sequel. It was smart, funny, and had a good detective story driving it. But, all we got was Kathleen Turner being frickin' awesome, and apparently that wasn't enough.

   

MOVIES THAT NEEDED A SEQUEL AT ONE TIME, BUT A PRIMARY CHARACTER US DEAD...

Galaxy Quest. I honestly don't know how this would have ever worked given the clever premise of the original wouldn't work a second time... but boy-oh-boy would I have loved to see these characters try. Alas with Alan Rickman gone, it's too late.

Sneakers. I always held out hope that we'd get a sequel... but with River Phoenix gone and Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier essentially retired... well...

   

MOVIES THAT DON'T NEED A SEQUEL, BUT I LOVE THE CHARACTERS TOO MUCH TO IGNORE...

The Long Kiss Goodnight. No idea how they would come up with a sequel that would work well when the original wrapped up so neatly, but everything here worked so dang well... and Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson had such amazing chemistry... that I'd really love for them to try.

   

MOVIES THAT NEEDED A SEQUEL BUT WE'RE GETTING SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD...

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The American adaptation didn't suck... it was actually incredible. And Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig were exceptional in it. I was fully expecting that it would get an immediate sequel. And... apparently it is... but not with Mara and Craig? Blergh.

   

MOVIES THAT NEEDED A SEQUEL IF THE ORIGINAL HAD BEEN WORTH A SHIT...

John Carter. One of my favorite series of books ever, the John Carter of Mars novels are ripe for a good cinematic adaptation. Unfortunately what we got was a steaming pile of shit that was barely faithful to the books and essentially destroyed what could have been an awesome series. Such a huge disappointment.

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