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Behind the Scenes: LEGO Craig

Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Dave!Ages ago (when blogging was still a thing) I had "met" a guy named Craig on his blog, Puntabulous! It was one of the funniest things I've ever read and I became an immediate fan (so much so that I ended up guest-posting there). Sadly, Puntabulous! Has been lost to the ages (and the Wayback Machine has only spotty entries archived). Currently Craig's old site seems to have been poached by a Slovakian link farm or something, but we'll always have the memories!

Fast-forward nine years and I'm part of a gift exchange where, miracle of miracles, I get Craig's name. I'm never sure what I am supposed to buy for gift exchanges, so I decided to to mash-up some of his favorite things and make something for him (the only way I could be sure I wasn't getting him something he already had!). And those things are... LEGO, Power Rangers, Star Trek: The Next Generation, his boyfriend Steve, and his cabin.

Custom LEGO Craig posters it is then!

This is what I came up with...

LEGO Craig Posters

I am a huge fan of LEGO video games, so I thought I could just draw little minifies doing fun things and be done with it. Except it was a lot harder than it looked to get them looking "real" so I ended up downloading a 3D model that I could pose in Blender...

LEGO Craig Posters

LEGO Craig Posters

Then drop them into the layouts I had come up with...

LEGO Craig Posters

   
Power Rangers: Ninja Craig

I didn't know much about the Power Rangers except that they would scream "It's Morphin Time!" and transform from super-powered-ninjas into robot dinosaurs. Or something like that. After little Google research I found out there were loads of Power Rangers series. I liked the logo for Ninja Steel because I could turn it into Ninja Craig. All I had to do was drop in Steve Blue Ranger and Rita Repulsa, and, done...

LEGO Craig Power Ranger

At first I had the same generic helmets for both Rangers but, upon closer inspection, I noticed that all the Rangers had different helmets! This meant I had to go back and re-draw them to be accurate...

LEGO Craig Power Ranger

   
Star Trek: The Craig Generation

I'm more of a "original series" guy than a "Next Generation guy," but had seen all the episodes (of course), so it was easy to decide what I wanted to do...

LEGO Craig Power Ranger

I drew Craig as Number One, Steve as Data, and was planning on putting a LEGO Enterprise-D in the background. But I could never get it to look recognizable in simple LEGO form. Then I did some cyber-stalking and found a photo of Craig wearing a T-shirt that had the "LEGO Space" logo drawn as an X-Wing circling the Death Star...

LEGO Star Wars

Very cool! The original logo is the one I grew up with and looks like this...

LEGO Space Logo

It was made cool again when they introduced Benny in The LEGO Movie ...

LEGO Movie Benny SPACESHIP!

It was a simple matter to redraw it for Star Trek: The Next Generation like so...

LEGO Star Trek

   
Craig's Cabin

My original idea (shown in my sketch above) was to have LEGO Craig in a majestic pose while Steve was being surprised by a bear in the background. The LEGO bear is a rare piece that goes for big money on eBay, but I was able to find enough photos of it that I could probably draw it. Problem is, the LEGO bear is kinda hard to recognize in a cartoon drawing, so I decided to give poor LEGO Steve a break and attempt to draw Craig's actual cabin in LEGO back there...

LEGO Craig Power Ranger

It ended up looking pretty good once I got the LEGO studs on the roof panels. Then I added some happy little LEGO trees and happy little LEGO plants and I was good to go. But my favorite part is the plaid shirt "print" on LEGO Craig...

LEGO Star Trek

   

Fun!

Has me anxious for February 2019 to get here so I can see The LEGO Movie 2...

Who knew that LEGO DUPLO would end up being so evil?

   

Photo Wall (Stairwell Edition)

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019

Dave!As I mentioned a few times (or maybe it was just yesterday), I'm building a photo wall in my stairwell. Originally it was going to be a wall for friends and family, but it became much bigger than that when I realized I wouldn't have enough wall space for everybody. So now I'm going to have a Blogger Friends Wall in the stairwell, another Blogger Friends Wall in the dining room, a Family Wall in the upstairs hall, and a Friends Wall in my entryway.

And figuring out how to go about it all is not as easy as it sounds. There are hundreds of photos to organize and frame which requires some planning. For the sixty-six photos in my stairwell, I measured all the frames I've been collecting over the past two years and drew up a schematic...

Stairwell Photo Wall Plan

   
If you'd like to see a zoomable image, you can go to the project page I made right here. It has a magnifying glass so you can see everybody up-close-and-personal...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
Despite being a huge amount of work and more frustration that I imagined it could be, the results are amazing...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image
My cats don't seem to know what to make of it yet. But they're keeping their paws off. For now.

   
The most important part of the plan was determining how low I could go and still see everything. If I were to put photos too far down on the wall, I'd have to be on my hands and knees to see them. After hanging test photos, I was able to see what photos I could see as I approached the stairs...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

Then what I would see with each new step...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
As I was testing placement I found out that my eye went to a different area depending on whether I was climbing the stairs... descending the stairs... or looking down from the second floor...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
Going up the stairs I tend to look downward so I see the photos along the bottom. But going down the stairs my eyes tend to go down the middle for some reason...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
This is perfect, because I end up seeing all the photos. Even the photos that are too high to be seen from the stairs are perfectly visible from above...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
I couldn't be happier with how it all came together, and I actually look forward to using the stairs now so I can see my friends...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
Even if hanging the photos at the top was a bit precarious thanks to my homemade scaffolding setup...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
And now for my notes on creating this beautiful monstrosity...

  • When planning a collage, I found it's important to not only vary frame placement by size, you also need to be mindful of randomizing the depth of the frames. Otherwise you end up with high spots or low spots that look weird. This was harder than it sounds. I used all black frames, so it was easier than it could have been. I have no idea how insane it would be to add different colors to the mix. I drew out the above template on my computer so I could move things around to try and get a pleasing pattern. Frame depth was shown as different colors so I could more easily come up with something looking random.
  • Finding picture frames I could afford was a lot of work. The only time I went truly crazy was when the local Michaels Crafts store went out of business. The prices (which were already pretty good) were crazy cheap, so I bought as much as I felt comfortable piling up on my credit card. Everything else was purchased from buy-one-get-one sales (Fred Meyer's is great for these), special sales (Pier One is insanely expensive, but their sales are terrific), or clearances (Target flushes out their old stock at great prices to make room for the newer stuff). Some stores (like IKEA) have good quality and decent prices all the time, which was handy for filling in spots where I didn't want to wait for a sale.
  • I tried to be sensitive to people who were friends that had a falling out or couples who are no longer together, but there were a few times I didn't have any choice but to use what I had available. I also tried to avoid shots with people I don't know, but that too was unavoidable a few times. I'm okay with this. I hope the people in question are.
  • There are people I've tried hard to erase from my life, and leaving them off my wall is just another opportunity to remove them. It's tough, however, when they were so prominent in your life that Photoshopping them out of photos you'd otherwise like to use is often times impossible.
  • On the flip-side, running into photos of people you love that are gone is tougher.
  • Few things are more frustrating than trying to find photos you know exist but can't locate. Either because you've lost them or they were taken by somebody else and you don't have the originals to work from (or it's just a low-res image that got posted to your blog). There are people and shots I would have loved to have included, but simply could not find anything workable. I am trying hard to track them down in the hopes that those I missed can go on my second Wall of Bloggers.
  • Originally the smallest frame in my plan was 5x7. I had to change everything when I realized that some of the photos I had were of such low resolution that this was too big for them. So I went down to 2.5x3.5. There's not too many photos that can't go down that small, and even web-resolution images look okay. At first I was blowing them up anyway and trying to paint out some of the JPEG noise, but then everything looks fake. Better to print at a smaller size and have it look good than printing too big and have the problems magnified so the photo looks bad.
  • I was shocked at how many photos I wanted to use were blurry and awful upon closer inspection. Which is to say I'm not shocked that most of my blurry photos were taken at events where I was drinking.
  • On the wall, there's not much difference between a $4 frame and a $20 frame, because people are looking at the photo not the frame.
  • Quality is not governed by price. One of my most expensive frames that I really loved ended up falling apart when I took it apart to put the photo inside. That being said, cheap-cheap frames are going to be exactly that.
  • I found it much easier to work from the top down in strips rather than assembling a collage from side to side. And starting from the middle and working outwards was the smartest decision I made. Check your measurements often, especially if you are centering your photos on a wall.
  • To hang everything, I used 3M Command Strips which I bought in bulk to save money (thanks, Tim Gunn!). I also used a small level, which is essential for getting things to hang straight. There are pluses and minuses to using Command Strips. The plus is that it's very easy to get things placed where you want and they can be easily removed without damaging the wall. The negative is that they are visible on thin frames where you want to use every last bit of frame to attach them to. Also... not as environmentally-friendly as a nail and far, far more expensive. For a project like this though, the pluses far, far outweighed the negatives, and I am happy with the results.
  • Acrylic does not look the same as real glass for some reason. Unless my frame is so big that glass would be dangerous, I've been buying only frames that have real glass because I like the look better.
  • Working those little metal tabs that hold in the picture/backer/glass on most frames got to be painful after a while. Eventually I started using a putty knife to save my nails and fingertips.
  • Manufacturers who staple their corner protectors to the frame should be slapped.
  • I printed all my photos on an old HP printer that I had stored in the garage and hadn't used in years. The printheads were completely plugged and it took many soaks and flushes with cleaning fluid to get them unclogged. The ink cartridges were all dead, which meant I had to track down replacements. When I couldn't find them for a reasonable price, I ended up getting refillable cartridges that worked amazingly well at a fraction of the price. Now that I've printed all my photos, I'm pretty sure the printer is due for recycling, but I'm extremely grateful it lasted long enough to get through what I needed. Not that I am endorsing HP printers, mind you. The company is complete and total shit, and I won't be buying anything from them ever again if I can help it. The paper I had saved was still good, except one corner where moisture or something got to it. No big deal, but it was sealed in a plastic bag so I'm not sure how it happened.

And now on to planning my next wall.

Remember there's a zoomable image here that has a magnifying glass so you can everybody (maybe even yourself!)...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   

Bullet Sunday 605

Posted on Sunday, March 24th, 2019

Dave!After a week of sunshine, of course it's raining on my birthday weekend. But I'm not complaining... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Change. This is my first birthday without my mom. It's also my first birthday without one of my oldest friends. I thought I would be overwhelmed with sadness, but I just feel numb. I guess you reach that point in your life when your friends and family start to go and that's just the way it is. You can either trudge on in life and make the best of what you have left... or you give in to the sadness and stop living altogether. I'm trying for the former. And if being temporarily numb to everything is what it takes, then I guess you do what you gotta do. For five decades death was a rare event for me and I suppose I'm thankful for that. Now that I'm on the back-end of my life, that's changing. I'm doing my best to accept this new reality. I'm doing my best to find new ways to be happy. I'm doing my best to keep doing my best every day. It's the least I can do to honor those I care about who aren't here any more. Life shouldn't be wasted on the living.

   
• Anti-Social! Stepping away from social media after having been completely submerged in social media is a weird place to be. The majority of my friends don't live anywhere near me, so things like Facebook are how we keep in touch. What I've learned these past weeks of being anti-social is this: Being in constant contact with people conditions you to take them for granted. It's a sobering realization, and something I am vowing not to forget. When I return to my social media life next week (or whenever), it's not going to be like it was. I want contact with friends to be meaningful and engaging... not empty and boring. Maybe posting less... reading less... doing less... will make my online relationships special again. Like they were back when we were all blogging. Or so I can hope.

   
• Dana! One of my all-time favorite shows was Sports Night, the brainchild of Aaron Sorkin (who would go on to create The West Wing). It was incredibly good television that I became obsessed with. A big reason for that was Dana Whitaker, played by Felicity Huffman. The same Felicity Huffman who is currently embroiled in a college admissions scandal. Apparently she paid a bunch of bribe money to have her daughter's SAT scores improved, thus paving her way to college acceptance. I am sure this will be spun into a heartwarming story showing the lengths a mother is willing to go to help her child... but fuck that. Her money already provided a life of unimaginable privilege for her kids. But she felt the need to shove somebody aside who actually worked hard to earn their SAT score? This is a shining example of everything wrong with this country (and the world in general). If you have money, you get to do whatever the fuck you want. Well... hopefully not this time. Hopefully, if she's found guilty, she goes to jail. How else is she going to learn?

   
• Dumbfuckery! Of course, not all parents learn anything from a tough lesson. Take this story, for example: It Took Two Months and Nearly a Million Dollars to Save an Unvaccinated 6-Year-Old From Tetanus. The key takeaway from the story is in the last paragraph... "The story ends mostly happily for the boy. A month later, he was completely back to normal, running and using his bike again. But it seems no lessons were learned on his family’s part. Despite the brutal ordeal and pleading by the doctors, they again chose not to vaccinate him for tetanus or any other diseases." At what point do child endangerment laws kick in? After I was run over by a shuttle van in France and arrived home, the first thing my doctor asked me after saying I fractured a rib was "Are you current on your tetanus vaccination?" When I said "I don't think so," he laid out a horrifying picture of what death by tetanus is like. It wasn't pretty. Why anybody would risk their kid's life with such a horrendous fate escapes me. Thank you, Jenny McCarthy.

   
• Inappropriate! It is so wrong that I nearly peed myself watching this clip?

Probably. But that's some funny shit right there.

   
• Off! And now I'm loading up my car for a trip over the mountains to spend my birthday with friends. I've had enough of being numb for a little while.

   
The End. THE END!

   

Burn Down the Internet

Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Dave!Ask any blogger what the bane of their existence is, and they are certain to answer "Broken links." Well... not really... if you were to ask me what the bane of my blogging existence is, I'd answer "Hate comments and death threats," but I blog about politics and cats and stuff, so I bring that on myself.

But a close second would absolutely be "Broken links," and it's such a massively annoying problem for long-term bloggers such as myself that I'm tempted to never link to anything ever again. NEVER EVER EVARRRRR!

Some of it is understandable. Fellow bloggers shut down their blogs... companies go out of business... websites are lost... that kind of thing. So when I find a broken link on an entry I wrote fifteen years ago, I'm honestly not surprised. The internet is ever growing and changing.

But when I find a busted YouTube link in an entry I wrote TWENTY-THREE DAYS AGO?!?

THAT'S LESS THAN A MONTH!!!

This was from a Bullet Sunday entry where I was talking about one of the best new shows on television: Alternatino with Arturo Castro. I absolutely love this sketch comedy series, and want as many of my readers as possible to know about it.* And so I linked to the premiere episode that Comedy Central posted on YouTube.

And now Comedy Central has decided to take down the video for some reason. Which is pretty fucking stupid no matter how you cut it... YouTube is a massive platform for exposure of the show... but what makes it go BEYOND fucking stupid is that they left a broken link. Okay... you don't want to have the entire first episode available for people to watch. Whatever. But why not just overwrite the episode with an advertisement or a promo piece or something so people who shared your stuff don't end up with a broken link from your deleted video?

Some "social media consultant" making six figures probably doesn't understand how social media works and came up with this brilliant decision.

And when I scroll through my archives, I see tons of busted YouTube links. Even for advertisements! Why would you delete an advertisement for your product? I guess I can understand it if the product no longer exists or was canceled or was discontinued... but the vast majority of the time, that's not the case.

I'm not really sure how to deal with this.

For links, there's not much to do except delete the link and try to have my entry make sense without it.

For YouTube, there's not much I can do there either. I suppose I could scrape the video, re-upload it to my own YouTube account, then stream from that... but there's two problems there. ONE is that I'd probably get hit with a copyright violation. TWO is that I feel bad denying valuable clicks to the original content creator.

So I dunno.

Perhaps I just find ways of talking about the things I like without linking to them. Which kind of defeats the whole purpose of The World Wide Web... but short of spending my entire life monitoring links on my blog, what else is there?

   
*Seriously. You have no idea. The fourth episode just aired and it is epic. If you are not watching Alternatino with Arturo Castro, you absolutely should be!

   

Ooh… Upgrades

Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2019

Dave!I started publishing regular updates to a website in the mid-90's (first called DaveWorld then DaveSpot then DaveBlog). Back then it was simply an "online journal" that was manually created and updated. By the year 2000 "weblog" (eventually "blog") was an increasingly commonplace term, and online publishing tools became available which made it easier and easier to do. My first blog was started in 2002, but was eventually scrapped in April of 2003 when I started Blogography.

Being a blogger in 2003 was a different world (wide web).

Most people had much slower connections to the internet and there were wild concepts like "bandwidth throttling" which could severely dampen your visitors' online experience (and will likely dampen it again if our pig-fucker politicians kill net neutrality). On top of that, disk space and bandwidth were precious commodities for which your hosting company made you pay dearly. More than once I'd end up with a massive extra fee on my monthly statement when a photo I posted went "viral" (a term than didn't even exist back then) and slaughtered my bandwidth quota. Because of the expense, bloggers had to be really careful about publishing images on their sites. Photos were rare. When you did post them, they were tiny and compressed to death. And back then they were likely scanned from paper photos or shot at really low resolution, so they looked pretty bad.

Looking back, it was a primitive time. But back then it was just they way things were (unless you were made of money) and we accepted it because we didn't know any better. Or have any other option, really.

A couple weeks ago I was searching through my old entries for something and started noticing how bad my early photos were. To save as much disk space and bandwidth as possible they were saved at 210×160 pixels then displayed at 420×320 pixels, like this shot of the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka Universal Studios in 2003...

Lo-lo-res photo of the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka Universal Studios

Once bandwidth costs started dropping and people had faster connections, I upgraded to photos which were actually cropped to the full 420×320 pixels they were being displayed at, like this...

Lo-res photo of the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka Universal Studios

Not a ton better, but a bit easier to look at, which is why I went back through all my old images and "upgraded" them to the 420×320 size.

In 2010, I got a new camera and my images were "widescreen," so I switched to a full resolution of 500×330. This time I didn't go back and upgrade all my old photos because the size ratio was different (and I had so many entries that it seemed like it would be a lot of work).

In 2012-2013 I transitioned to bigger images, this time 600×400. If I linked back to an old entry with smaller images, I would usually "upgrade" the image (again) if I still had the original photo, like this...

Medium-res photo of the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka Universal Studios

Then on June 29th, 2012, everything changed. That's when I got my first "Retina display" MacBook Pro. It had a much higher pixel-density than previous laptops, and photos looked so much better on it. Unless you were looking at a website with standard-resolution images. So on July 10th, 2012 I switched to 1200×800 pixel images, but still defined them as 600×400 pixels so people with high-density screens would have far nicer images to look at. That's been my "default" ever since.

A couple weeks ago I decided to start upgrading my old images (again-again) assuming I still had the original photo available. I wasn't expecting much improvement but, even on those old paper photo scans, the images ended up looking much nicer...

Medium-res photo of the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka Universal Studios

A far cry from what I started with...

Lo-lo-res photo of the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka Universal Studios

A part of me was wondering if I shouldn't go even higher... 2400×1600 pixels... because you just know that eventually we'll have VR displays or direct brain-implants to take us there. But these earliest photos wouldn't benefit from that much, so I've decided to hold off. Odds are some revolutionary new tech will come along to upscale lower-res photos anyway, so 1200×800 is probably good enough. For now. Maybe in the future I'll start uploading dual files for all my new photos. Just to save me time for when the inevitable happens? Worth a thought, anyway.

But image quality isn't the only upgrade I've been working on...

When I was in the "middle-period" of blogging where images were cheaper to host... but could still be expensive if I posted too many of them... I would sometimes host half of the images on an external service to share the load.

As these image hosting services disappeared (or started charging money!), I’d just delete the links to the images they held. This made early entries even skimpier than they already were, so when I started upgrading again-again, I also went back and added some of the missing images. On my post about Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, for example, that meant my photos weren’t just increased to 1200×800 pixels, the count went from two photos back to the five photos I had original posted. Pretty sweet.

I have a LOT of entries left to upgrade. Too many. Which is why I'm not going to kill myself in the attempt, I'm just going to do a couple dozen every week and see where that gets me.

Probably nowhere. Why do I blog again?

   

For the Good of the Country…

Posted on Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Dave!Like everybody else I have opinions.

Unlike everybody else, my opinions seem to get me into trouble entirely too often. Which is why I should probably just keep my big mouth shut. Problem is, I can't seem to do that.

And there's nothing like political opinions to bring on the rage and hatred.

I get it from both sides because I am not a fan of Republicans or Democrats.

Right now I'm much harder on Republicans because they unleashed this idiotic piece of shit president on us and that's always good from some Right-Wing-based anger. But my criticism of some of President Obama's stupider moves always guaranteed copious amounts of Left-Wing-based anger, so what can you do? Since keeping my big mouth shut doesn't seem to be an option, I guess I'll just have to bathe in the hate. Like my hero Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies*...

Deranged Emperor Palpatine looking particularly evil.

One topic that never fails to incite hate from all corners of the internet is talking about gun violence. Regardless of where you stand, somebody will hate your opinion. This is perfectly understandable given how lots of people are dying because of them. Gun violence is a persistent threat to every American, and temperatures are bound to be running hot when you debate how to solve such a problem in a country where gun ownership is at our foundation.

And every time there's another mass-shooting (which, let's face it, is all the time now) a blog post I wrote two years ago titled Second Amendments and Horse Shit starts getting clicks.

And an awful lot of hate.

Eventually I had to turn off comments on the post because it seemed like all the non-regular-readers didn't have anything constructive to add to the conversation (something I'm always in favor of)... they just wanted a place to unload their hate.

  • People against gun ownership of any kind hate that I support the Second Amendment at all, even though I painfully lay out why it really doesn't matter if I do or I don't thanks to impending technology advances.
  • People for gun ownership of any kind hate that I would place restrictions on the Second Amendment, even though I detail why it's a stop-gap measure that's critical to keeping gun ownership viable.
  • People who want to put all the blame for gun violence on mental illness hate that I am advocating for the mentally ill or could possibly suggest there could be reasons other than mental illness for mass-shootings.
  • People who advocate for the mentally ill hate that I "blame mental illness for gun violence" which, while not entirely accurate, is my fault for expressing myself poorly (see below).
  • People who detest the NRA hate that I dare to say anything good about the organization, even though I clearly state that the only things I ever liked about them is what they used to be.
  • People who love the NRA hate that I dare attack them for being a bunch of psychopaths who have abandoned their mission of safe gun ownership in lieu of radicalizing this country to a highly dangerous degree at the behest of the gun manufacturer payola.
  • People who fear technology hate that I am advocating for investment in technology to help save us from gun violence when this will just result in technology enslaving all mankind.
  • People who embrace technology hate that I am "spreading fear about technology."
  • And then there's the general hatred which gets directed at anything and everything you can imagine... from me wanting higher taxes (huh?!?) and daring to say that Ronald Reagan favored restrictions on gun ownership (he absolutely did)... to my "attitude" and using the word "cock" multiple times. You name it, I'm catching hate over it.

What's weird about all this? Back when I wrote that entry I worked hard not to appear biased, and tried to find talking points everybody can agree on. That was likely a mistake, because too much of it can be taken in different ways depending on the biases of the person reading it.

If I were writing the same post today, I wouldn't bother trying to be so careful. I would totally call out President Trump as a racist white supremacist asshole who is constantly inciting violence against immigrants, and must be at least partly to blame when these violent white supremacists keep mentioning him as inspiration when they commit these heinous acts of gun violence. I'd likely also talk about how ironic it is that we are losing so badly to white supremacy when this country fought a fucking world war to end the Nazis. And I'd definitely mention exactly how stupid it is to blame video games for mass-shootings when countries like Japan and South Korea play video games at a far higher rate than we do, but they don't have a violence problem like we do.

I'd also choose a different approach in discussing mental illness as it pertains to gun violence. A part of my thinking was that somebody who picks up a gun and tries to kill a massive number of people must have mental issues. But that's a pretty shallow armchair analysis. During times of war soldiers are convinced they need to pick up a gun and kill a bunch of people, so what about that? I'd argue that killing civilians when you're not at war is a distinction that's hard to miss. But when you've got The Commander in Chief of the United States Military essentially declaring war on immigrants and saying that the "immigrant infestation must be stopped for the good of the country"... isn't that pretty much the same thing? If you agree with what the president is saying and feel it's your patriotic duty to "fight the immigrant invasion," then no mental illness is required... just hate.

In any event, I want to be perfectly clear that I categorically do no believe that all persons battling mental illness or who are dealing with mental problems are prone to violence. That would, in fact, be absurd levels of hypocritical of me. Shallow armchair analysis aside, implying this might be the case was not my intent, and what I said about eliminating the stigma of mental illness and being more proactive when it comes to mental health in this country still stands.

Sometimes when laying out your opinions, mistakes can be made. And while I'll never apologize for having an opinion, I'm definitely sorry about being guilty of unclear, incomplete, or plain wrong statements I make when stating my opinion.

I may be one of the smartest humans on the planet, but I'm still human, after all.

   

*Apparently Palpatine is going to play a part of the new Star Wars film: The Rise of Skywalker. Assumably in flashbacks since the guy is like... dead... and everything. Or maybe he comes back as a Force Ghost like Obi-Wan? Can Sith Lords do Force Ghosts? I guess we will have to wait and see.

   

Bullet Sunday 625

Posted on Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Dave!Prepare to be launched into a Galaxy far, far away... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Falcon Maps! It's interesting how the advent of Google Maps' "Aerial View" has forced Disney to change the way they build their theme parks. Originally, construction was treated like a movie set, where everything is just a big facade. The only thing that was themed is what people see. The best way to explain this is Main Street, where the dozens of little buildings you see on the ground are revealed to essentially be two giant buildings...

An aerial view of Disneyland's Main Street showing how all the buildings are under two big roofs.

They didn't build fake roofs over each building because they didn't have to. Unless somebody chartered a helicopter, nobody was ever going to see it in 1955. But now there's Google Maps that anybody can call up on their phone, so they are more careful that the illusion is complete...

Had this been built in 1955, the fine detailing would likely have been ignored. The only thing they would bother theming would be what you could see from the ground. Personally, I think this is fantastically cool. You can literally see the Millennium Falcon parked at Disneyland, and that's no small thing.

An interesting aside here... apparently Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge has been a bit of a flop. People are complaining that there's only one ride and the rest of the place is just a giant shopping mall where you can buy overpriced souvenirs and food. That's it. Eventually a second ride will open but, again, that seems pretty lame. Perhaps Disney will add more stuff to make it more worth visiting, but right now it just seems like a cash grab. Another problem? Disney didn't recreate an authentic place from the movies. You're not walking around Tatooine or even shitty Jakku, you're at "Black Spire Outpost" which, let's face it, who cares? This seems like a major misstep, and I just don't get it. When Disney made an Avatar-themed land, they built Pandora from the movies so when you go there it's like stepping into the film. That's what people want to see, and anything less is inviting a tepid reaction. And that's exactly what Disney got.

   
• ZIM!!! One of the most impossibly brilliant animated series to ever grace our television sets was Invader Zim. In addition to being so brilliantly written, the look of the show was was blew my mind. It's just so beautiful. As if that weren't enough, it has GIR, Zim's robot companion, and one of my favorite characters of all-time...

Despite unprecedented critical acclaim, the series was uncerimoniously canceled by Nickelodeon because network executives are stupid. But now Netflix has revived the show for a new feature called Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus...

The movie has everything that Zim fans could want and, while it kinda-sorta wraps up the series, it also leaves things wide open for more. And I want quite badly for there to be more. Because can you ever truly have enough Zim in your life?

   
• Passport! I am not even going to spoil this. Just trust me when I tell you to click this link. Genius. Every last one of them is genius.

   
• Shazam? Ninety-one percent? Shazam got NINETY-ONE PERCENT on Rotten Tomatoes? Really? One minute it's childish and stupid as shit... the next minute there's a demon is biting somebody's head off. So exactly who was this movie made for? Psychotic children?

Shazam in his stupid suit looking at a stupid mobile phone while stupidly blowing a bubble with some gum.

Even if you ignore the stupid glowing lightning-bolt-that-looks-more-like-a-triangle on his uniform, Shazam was awful. WHAT HAPPENED TO HAVING THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON? THIS SHAZAM IS A FUCKING IDIOT! About the only thing I enjoyed was Mark Strong as Sivana, despite the fact that he was a complete departure from the comic book's Dr. Sivana (and not in a good way, of course). I cannot fathom how this managed to rate 91%. I just don't get it. The only thing that kept it from total disaster for me is that they didn’t have any burp or fart jokes. At least I think the movie didn’t... I fast forwarded through the foster home stuff because all the kids were just so annoying. GRADE: D+

   
• Days of Meat! On my blog entry for "The Impossible Whopper" I mentioned that it has been 33 years, 3 months, and 24 days since I last ate meat. A friend messaged me and asked how I could possibly remember the last day I ate meat. It's actually pretty easy. It was Earth Day, 1986. I remember it because my girlfriend at the time was a vegan and didn't want to kiss me because I "smelled like meat." I had a hamburger for lunch and she got mad because I "couldn't even go meat-free on Earth Day." And so I gave up eating meat right then and there. We broke up a month-and-a-half later, so I was going to go back to eating meat... except I was feeling better than I had ever felt. The allergies which had plagued me since adolescence were gone, so I stuck with a vegetarian diet. I've since learned that many people are allergic to the antibiotics they inject into animals, which probably explains why I was in such poor health my first 20 years.

   
• Cook Cook Cooking! Yesterday I spent a big chunk of my day in the kitchen making up meals to refrigerate and freeze. I made burritos. I made rolls. I made Mac & Cheese, I made quiche... and I made my grandmother's enchiladas recipe. While not rocket science, enchiladas make a lot of dirty dishes and a big mess (especially when you make the sauce from scratch). It's also time consuming to put them all together. And even though I started three hours before dinner-time, my cats were all excited because they thought they were getting fed. So it went something like this...

THE ENCHILADA WALTZ
Remove tortilla from the frying oil.
Put fresh tortilla in the frying oil.
"No, kitties, it's not dinner time yet."
Put the filling in the tortilla.
Put the cheese in the tortilla.
Flip the tortilla that's in the frying oil.
Fold up the enchilada and add it to the pan.
"No, kitties, it's not dinner time yet."
Repeat.

After a full day and two loads in the dishwasher, I flopped down on the couch exhausted. But then it really was dinner time for the cats and I had to get up again. I really wish that ten million dollars would fall into my lap so I could hire somebody to come in and cook for me.

   
• Visitations! For the first time ever, the number of people visiting my blog on a mobile phone has eclipsed desktop users. Guess I'd better work on a new "responsive" template sooner rather than later. Blogography looks okay on a mobile phone, but it could be friendlier on smaller screens...

The problem is finding time to actually code a new template. The tags and expected behaviors have changed so much since I made the current template that I would have to re-learn Wordpress in order to even begin! That seems like a lot of work.

   
And I guess that's all the bullets I have for this week.

   

FlyPad

Posted on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Dave!This is the first post I’ve written entirely on my iPad. Thanks to iPadOS 13 (which was released today) and other apps stepping up their game, it’s actually a realistic option for me now.

Not that it’s easy, mind you.

It’s time consuming and clunky.

Take getting an image to appear in this post, for example. First I have to open the image in Adobe Lightroom for iPad so I can adjust it a bit. THEN I have to save it to my iPad so I can open it in Image Resize, because Lightroom DOESN’T ALLOW YOU TO FUCKING SPECIFY PIXEL DIMENSIONS WHEN YOU CROP A PHOTO. Once I crop it To 1200 × 800, I then have to save it to FTPManager Pro so I can upload it to my blog. It sounds simpler than it actually is. And it doesn’t end there. I then have to open up my WordPress admin panel to write the actual post. But since I want to use images where I put them instead of where WordPress wants them, I have to copy and paste code from old entries into new entries.

Like these photos of Jenny going after a fly in the window this morning...

Jenny stretching her neck up to look at a fly in the window.

Jenny stretching up the window under the window blinds to find a fly.

She’s adorable, I know.

Eventually (hopefully) one of these days it will be a more streamlined process to edit and upload images and write posts. I’m guessing it took me three times longer to post this on my iPad than it would have on my MacBook Pro. With practice, perhaps I could get it down to twice the time? I dunno. Right now I’m just happy I can do it. An iPad is a lot easier to lug around than a laptop.

   

Bullet Sunday 631

Posted on Sunday, September 29th, 2019

Dave!Snow may have arrived but the internets are toasty warm, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• THE END? Years ago I told myself I'd stop blogging after 5,000 posts. Earlier this week I thought to look and see how close I am to that. I've posted 6,124 posts. And so... I guess I'm stopping at 10,000 then. You're welcome!

   
• Spidey! So maybe Sony isn't filled with buckets of dumbass after all. It was announced earlier this week that Marvel and Sony have come to an agreement for another Spider-Man film to be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Given how FREAKIN' AMAZING a job Marvel has done with the character, AT LAST!, I'm unapologetically enthusiastic...

Tom Holland as Spider-Man

Apparently the deal may include bringing more Spider-Man-based characters than just Spider-Man. A part of me wonders if that's a good thing. But if anybody can figure out how to make it work, that would be Marvel.

   
• Stumptown! And... just like that, I have a new favorite show. Cobie is absolutely 100% bad-ass in every frame of Stumptown and I love it. You can watch the first episode on the ABC app for free without an account. I suggest you do...

Based on the comic book of the same name, it's remarkably faithful while changing enough to make darn good television. And, as if that wasn't good enough, it features a cast with Jake Johnson! Michael Ealy! Tantoo Cardinal! Camryn Manheim! They pulled out all the stops in casting this show. Top shelf all around!

   
• Flerfer Dumbassery! "IF THE EARTH IS ROUND AND SPINNING AT 1000mph, THEN WHY DON'T I GO FLYING OFF WHEN I JUMP UP IN THE AIR?!? THE EARTH MUST BE FLAT IF WE CAN JUMP UP AND DOWN WITHOUT MOVING!!!" — GAAAAAAAHHHH!!! IT'S SCIENCE, BITCH!

Literally EVERY SINGLE THING that dumbass flat earthers come up with as a reason that globe-earth cannot exist can be refuted with science. Not that that's going to stop anything. Dumbassery is contagious.

   
• Assholes! NEWSFLASH: Every word Ajit Pai says about Net Neutrality is a lie, including "and" and "the." — Well no shit! Ajit Pai only cares about the Telco lobbyist dicks he has been sucking. He's never given a crap about American consumers. Not even a tiny pebble shit. It's assholes like this who should be strung up and shot for selling out the country. Just like the rest of President Trump's administration of assholes.

   
• TV! I hate to say it, but here it goes... APPLE'S TV APP FOR MaCOS X IS A STEAMING PILE OF SHIT AND I AM FUCKING EMBARRASSED FOR THE ENTIRE COMPANY FOR RELEASING IT! It's comically inept, buggy, and stupid... and once again has me regretting that I ever bought into Apple's media ecosystem. First of all, it's a crappy experience. You never know what's clickable because the cursor never changes. And when something is clickable, you don't know if your click is registered because the button state doesn't change and there's no feedback whatsoever. This means that you end up clicking again and again and again because you don't know if anything is happening. And the app is so fucking slow that it takes forever to acknowledge when something does happen. Apple essentially developed the modern home computer interface. And they are destroying their legacy with this bullshit. And it just gets worse. Have tons of purchases in your library? Hope you like scrolling! There is NO FUCKING SHORTCUT to get to what you need to be! Want to watch those Magnum P.I.? episodes you purchased? Typing "M" to get there does NOTHING! Just scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll.

Second of all, it's hard to search for the stuff you want to buy. You type in the search box and often times get random shit for an explicit search term. Then, assuming you do all kinds of acrobatics and manage to navigate to what you want, actually buying something is a joke. It's all a bunch of clicking and clicking and clicking because you have no fucking idea if you actually bought it or not because there's no acknowledgement until an email receipt arrives. AND THEN once you finally manage to buy something, IT DOESN'T SHOW UP IN YOUR LIBRARY UNTIL YOU QUIT THE APP AND START IT UP AGAIN?!? Oh... and when you DO quit and restart? It doesn't remember where you were, so you have to navigate back there again.

This is insanity, and I cannot fucking believe that Apple actually let this shit go out of beta. Assuming they even bothered to beta test it at all. I never thought I'd be longing for the original iTunes to come back, but here we are. Fuck you, Apple.

   
See You Next Sunday!

   

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