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A Pricey Indulgence

Posted on August 6th, 2019

Dave!Disney released the pricing details for the new Disney+ service... their absolute must-have streaming channel thanks to their new Marvel Studios and Star Wars shows that are in development. You can get it bundled with ESPN+ and Hulu Basic for $13. Since I will never watch ESPN+, I will go ala carte and save a dollar...

  • Disney+: $7
  • Hulu Basic: $5
  • Netflix: $13
  • Sling Blue: $25
  • Sling Enhanced DVR: $5
  • HBO Go: $0 (part of my AT&T wireless)
  • Amazon Prime Streaming: $0 (part of my Prime membership)

I am mortified that I'll be paying FIFTY-FIVE DOLLARS A MONTH PLUS TAX for my television. That's a stupid amount of money. But TV is one of the few things I pay for where I actually get my money's worth, even at $55. If I divide that by the number of hours I spend watching my favorite shows it's shockingly cheap. Going to movies or concerts is out of control expensive now, so this is a far more economical form of entertainment.

The Disney+ Logo

It's also $20 cheaper than the $75 plus tax I was paying for satellite + Hulu + Netflix, so I guess that's something.

It's taken some getting used to though.

Shows on Sling are great because the enhanced "virtual DVR" keeps up with the shows I record exactly like my old DVR did. I can even skip commercials. Hulu is a bit less helpful because I don't pay for their "Live" version that has a DVR... it's and additional $40 a month! A price I'd gladly pay over the $30 for Sling Blue because it has local channels... but it doesn't have Comedy Central, and I don't know if I can give it up because their app is a bit weird on my television.

I gotta have my The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Television may be a pricey indulgence, but it's quickly becoming one of the few indulgences I can afford. I was looking at the possibility of taking week's vacation somewhere and was mortified at the cost of lodging now-a-days. Insane. Used to be you could get a decent hotel for $100 a night or less. Now you're lucky to find something decent for $300 a night. At least at the places I'm interested in going.

Oh well. I'm getting less and less enamored with travel anyway. I do enough of it for work, so maybe that's enough?

Sling Blue comes with The Travel Channel, after all.

   

Television Cord-Free Update

Posted on July 30th, 2019

Dave!As I mentioned a few days ago, I got a free over-the-air antennae and an "AirTV Play" unit when I pre-paid the first three months of my Sling TV service in advance. I received the unit today and, as expected, I couldn't get any channels to show up. I live in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains, and the odds of picking up anything were slim. No big loss... it's not like the channel report I ran gave me even a prayer of getting a major network like ABC, NBC, or CBS. Just some weird local channels like "NCW Life" which I would never watch anyway, or a FOX affiliate that wouldn't give me anything I can't get streaming...

Oh well, the stuff was all free, so it was worth a shot.

So I guess I'm set.

Some shows on CBS I'm just out of luck on. I will have to wait until Star Trek: Discovery or The Good Fight or Star Trek: Picard is released so I'll be subscribing to CBS All-Access and can binge the archives then. Or perhaps they can be streamed from CBS online for free, I'll have to check...

  • Magnum PI (Though I love this show so much I'll probably just buy it from iTunes)
  • Mom
  • Survivor
  • Elementary (Ending after this season)
  • Young Sheldon (Which I can probably do without)
  • Instinct (Which I can probably do without)
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Which I can probably do without)
  • Bob ♥ Abishola (Coming this Fall)

There's also a few shows I can't seem to get on Sling Blue, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, but think I can stream online from the official websites.

  • Wolves and Warriors (Animal Planet)
  • Penn & Teller Fool Us (The CW)
  • The Blacklist (NBC, but not available on Hulu for some reason?)

The majority of my shows I can watch via Hulu or Sling Blue (with a couple coming free from the HBO Now which is bundled with my AT&T Wireless). Sling is preferred because I have their "Enhanced DVR" where I can fast-forward past commercials. But Hulu is just fine with commercials (because I don't want to pay extra to watch without them)...

  • Graham Norton Show (BBC — Sling)
  • Alternatino (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • South Park (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • The Other Two (Comedy Central — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • Hit Properties with Nathan Morris (DYI — Sling)
  • Family Guy (FOX — Sling)
  • Archer (FXX — Sling)
  • Love It or List It (HGTV — Sling)
  • Love It or List It Too (HGTV — Sling)
  • Home Town (HGTV — Sling)
  • Flip or Flop (HGTV — Sling)
  • Ink Master (Paramount — Sling)
  • Ink Master Angels (Paramount — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • The Last OG (TBS — Sling)
  • Full Frontal (TBS — Sling)
  • RuPaul Drag Race (VH1 — Sling)
  • RuPaul Drag Race All-Stars (VH1 — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • Barry (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Westworld (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Watchmen (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Last Week Tonight (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Vanderpump Rules (Bravo — Hulu)
  • The Orville (FOX — Hulu)
  • Reef Break (ABC — Hulu)
  • Grand Hotel (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Good Doctor (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Conners (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Rookie (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Masked Singer (ABC — Hulu)
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC — Hulu)
  • Rick & Morty (Cartoon Network Adult Swim — Hulu)
  • Top Chef (Bravo — Hulu)
  • Late Night Seth Meyers (NBC — Hulu)
  • New Amsterdam (NBC — Hulu)
  • Will & Grace (NBC — Hulu)
  • The Good Place (NBC — Hulu)
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC — Hulu)
  • The Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon (NBC — Hulu)

Yesterday I had to make a trip to The Big City to return some things for work... and to drop off my DirecTV receiver at FedEx. As I feared, they completely brick the thing once your service is canceled, so when I checked to see if the last show I had on my DVR was still there, I couldn't even get to the menu. I guess that's only fair. I was renting the box, and my rental contract ended Sunday at midnight, so I shouldn't be able to use it. But... damn. That's cold. You'd almost think it was MY fault that I had channels missing and was forced to cancel.

DirecTV receiver box with remote control and cables.

I guess there's no going back now!

Not that I'd want to. I'm still bitter over the expensive packages that cable companies and satellite companies have forced us to buy for decades... because more often than not they're filled with shitty channels you'll never watch, which means you're forced to pay more than you should. Thanks to the internet we're finally to the point where channels can be purchased individually... or at least in smaller packages... which make more sense. Hopefully in the future our television programming will get to the point where it's 100% ala carte, and you can pay for exactly the channels you want.

We can dream, can't we?

   

The Magic is Gone and So Is My Satellite

Posted on July 26th, 2019

Dave!I love television. And I watch a lot of it.

Though "watch" is probably an overstatement. For the most part I have television on while I work or do chores or write in this blog or whatever. It's just passive entertainment that gets a small portion of my attention while I focus on something more important. I record shows like this to my DVR, but don't care if I miss them. If my DVR gets too backed up, I'll delete them.

There are a few shows, however, which deserve every ounce of my attention... these are the shows that I am devoted to and don't want to miss a thing. Computer off. Center of the couch. Fully engaged with my television. I won't miss these shows for anything, and my entire world stops so I can enjoy them.

One of those shows is Penn & Teller: Fool Us.

I've loved magic since I was a kid, and seeing magicians try and fool celebrated magicians like Penn & Teller is everything I want in a television show. And on those rare occasions where a magician actually can fool them? That's my joy. If you've never seen the show, here's one of my favorite segments so you can get an idea about it...

Love love love it.

This past week I remembered that the latest episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us was recorded on my DVR. I put away my laptop. I sat on my couch. I turned up the volume. I was ready to be amazed. I pressed the "play" button. And...

Well, shit.

Needless to say, I was enraged. One of the handful of shows I need to see, and there's some kind of price dispute between CBS and DirecTV making it "unavailable."

It's at this point that I realize how these blackouts are happening more and more often. And if it's not blackouts, it's threats of blackouts. Remember back in March when Comedy Central was on the chopping block?

And so... I'm done with this shit.

Not because there's a blackout. Again. But because every time this happens, DirecTV isn't paying the networks who are withholding their channels... BUT THEY ARE STILL CHARGING ME THE FULL AMOUNT OF MY BILL!

So I call DirecTV to cancel my service and the first thing they tell me is that I can get local channels "over the air" with an antennae they'll send me. I explain that I live in a remote area surrounded by mountains and don't get many channels "over the air" and the channel that Penn & Teller: Fool Us is on is NOT a local channel anyway.

DirecTV: "So is there anything I can do to get you to keep your service? Offer you a lower rate? Upgrade your channel package?"
   
ME: "Short of going back in time and crediting me money on every bill I paid when a channel blackout was in effect... since I wasn't getting everything I was paying for? No. There's nothing you can do."

Of course DIRECTV wants to offer me all kinds of discounts now that I'm cancelling. Where were they with their apology money the LAST SEVERAL TIMES there were channel blackouts? It's insulting that they want so badly to treat me right now that I'm leaving, but not when I was a customer. I will never understand why companies won't work to keep you a happy customer until you want to walk away. What business sense does that make?

And so...

I have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu already. I will still get HBO free with my AT&T wireless package. I will be adding Disney+ the minute it becomes available. I just signed up for Sling "Blue" service (with the "Lifestyle Extra" add-on so I can have DIY Network and Hallmark channels). Penn & Teller: Fool Us can stream for free on The CW app for my Apple TV. That will cover 90% of what I watch. I will add CBS All Access when there are shows I want to see. So I'm good. And I'm paying $25 less a month than I was with DirecTV.

Oh... and get this... if I pre-pay three months in advance for my Sling "Blue" service, they'll send me a FREE over-the-air antennae plus an AirTV Player! This allows me to integrate what few over-the-air channels I do get with my Sling service. The player alone is usually $120, so that's pretty sweet, even if I can't really take advantage of it because of where I live.

And so... the magic was gone, but now it's my satellite TV that's gone and my magic is back.

I guess that's a win? I'm gonna take it as a win.

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Maybe Yesterday

Posted on July 17th, 2019

Dave!I've taken to blogging in the early mornings before I go to work instead of late evenings when I'm done with work. It's not been working out for me. How am I to comment on my day's events when I have barely started the day? And so... I will probably go back to late-night blogging, even though I'm usually so tired that all I want to blog about is how tired I am.

In the meanwhile though? Here was my yesterday!

Last year when I learned I needed to keep my blood sugars intact, I started walking to work so I can still eat bread and pasta. It's a short walk... 7 to 9 minutes... and I've come to really enjoy it. It's a chance to plug and clear my head, which is something that's kinda rare these days. The good news is that switching to Coke Zero and walking has been working for me. I had a great checkup with my doctor, and everything is going well. And so... more bread and pasta.

On yesterday's walk I was assaulted by a rose that was reaching outside its garden fence...

Rose on my Walk

Rose on my Walk

You don't get nice surprises like that driving a car.

But the bigger surprise was later that evening when I made guacamole for the first time. It was Taco Tuesday and a nice chunky guac as a topper was exactly what I needed...

Rose on my Walk

It was phenomenal. And perfectly chunky enough for tacos (and chips!). And easy.

But not as pain-free as I was expecting.

In order to eliminate waste, I've been making a lot of changes in my house. Instead of buying single-use products like plastic wrap, I've been using something more sustainable or learning to live without it. I have one roll of Saran Wrap left and, at the slower rate I'm using the stuff, it should last me the rest of my life. And I've not stopped there. I've bought my last box of plastic straws. I've switched to reusable grocery bags. I'm transitioning from poly to paper wherever I can.

And I've eliminated single-use latex gloves from everywhere except my emergency kits.

The latex gloves I used to wear while chopping jalapeño peppers.

I (foolishly) thought that if I just washed my hands after cutting the peppers for my guac that everything would be fine.

As I found out later that night while falling asleep watching television, things did not turn out fine.

I reached up to rub my eyes and... ZOMG! THE BURNING!!! From the level of pain I was experiencing, you'd have thought that I squeezed a full jalapeño in my face. I can safely say that now I know what it feels like to be doused in pepper spray. It hurt a little bit when my eyes were closed... it was excruciating when my eyes were open. I have no idea why washing my hands didn't prevent this, but now I know better. I had tried some reusable kitchen gloves but they were too thick to work easily, so I guess next time I'll use a towel or a piece of wax paper or something.

Because... yowie.

One other thing that happened yesterday? The 2019 Emmys nominations were announced. For some inexplicable reason Game of Thrones, on its worst season ever, managed to rack up 32. As you can probably tell from the wrap-up I wrote, I totally don't get it. Seven seasons of brilliant set-up that was rushed to a shitty, mind-bogglingly bad conclusion deserves 32 nominations? INCLUDING BEST WRITING?!? Um. No. About the only category I think they should win is Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, because Peter Dinklage was still exceptional. He was making all the stupid be entertaining right up until the very end. He won last year, so I'm not sure he'll get it, but I sure hope so.

There was a pleasant surprise, however. Schitt's Creek, long one of the best shows on television, was nominated for Best Comedy Series. And the awesome Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy were nominated for respective Best Actress and Best Actor in a Comedy Series. Of course I think they should win, even though this season was not as good as the previous two seasons (when they really should have been winning all the awards). Alas, Emmy voters will probably give it to Fleabag (which probably deserves it) or Veep (because it's the final season) or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which I don't like at all). If Schitt's Creek can't win it, I'd hope for Barry or Russian Doll, but those seem like longshots too.

I was happy to see My Dinner with Herve got nominated for Best Television Movie, even if Peter Dinklage wasn't nominated for Lead Actor in it (which he deserves).

If anybody is interested, I've put my picks for the major awards in an extended entry. If you're not interested, I'll see you tomorrow. Probably tomorrow evening.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 620

Posted on July 14th, 2019

Dave!I'd rather be anywhere else today, but escape is not in the cards... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• MADness! It was announced this past week that MAD magazine will end its original-content run with the August 2019 issue. After that, it's all reprints with new covers that will only be available by subscription or in comic shops. Despite not having picked up an issue in years, this is more than a little sad to me, because MAD was a huge part of my past. I bought occasional issues in the latter-half of the 1970's, but became a MAD addict after the December 1978 issue (the Star Wars musical parody issue)...

I purchased every single issue from No. 203 through No. 250, at which time I went back to only buying issues that had material I was interested in. I also purchased every reprint book I could get my hands on, scouring the local News Agency to obtain as many as I could find by my favorite MAD contributors... like Al Jaffe, Sergio Aragonés, Don Martin, and Dave Berg... and, of course, Antonio Prohías, who was the guy behind Spy vs. Spy. It's not just my favorites that are burned into my brain... contributors like Mort Drucker, Dick DeBartolo, and Jack Davis did a huge amount of work for the magazine and were a big influence on how I saw the world.

   
• Mushu? A gorgeous trailer dropped for the live-action version of Mulan...

It looks like Disney put some serious money into this remake! But where's Mushu? Is Eddie Murphy coming back to voice Mulan's dragon? Is Mushu even going to BE in the film? I will be sorely disappointed if he is not. Characters like that are what make it a Disney movie.

   
• Blown Away! I've never blown glass myself, but I love the art of it and I've been to many, many glassblowing shops. Including my idol Dale Chihuly's shop in Tacoma (and many of his installations) plus I've traveled to the "glassblowing island" of Murano in Venice so I could see the famous shops there as well. I love glass and have circled the globe to see the best of it. So you can imagine how excited I was when I learned that Netflix was developing a show called Blown Away...

Fortunately it's a show like Forged in Fire where the focus of the series is on the artistry rather than the shitty manufactured personal drama (ala Ink Master), which makes it fun to watch. The contestants are pretty great... the massive 10-furnace facility they built to host the show is amazing... some of the pieces are truly remarkable.... and the tension and drama from breakage is high. I do have some problems, however... A) Why aren't there enough tools for everybody that they have to wait for somebody to finish at a critical juncture? Also find it strange that they have to share hot-boxes. B) I don't get how the host got this gig. What experience does he have in order to be qualified to weigh in on the judging? According to his site, he's a professional rollerblader and organic chemist? WTF? C) Why can't we hear the judges deliberate? This would go a long way towards understanding their decisions. D) Why the time limit for a GLASS art competition? I'd much rather give them enough time that they can take risks and not be finished if they break late in the game.

Despite all that, Blown Away is still a great show if you love glass... or art... or demonstrations of skill.

   
• Blank! Netflix keeps blowing up their original entertainment, and Blown Away is not the only thing that's new this week... we also got a movie called Point Blank, a remake of a French film starring Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo...

The concept is good. Mackie and Grillo are good. And money was spent on getting the action scenes right. Which is why I'm kinda puzzled as to why I feel so "meh" about the film. Perhaps because the most memorable thing about it was some truly bizarre 80's music choices. I guess I'm glad I watched it, but it didn't really grab me as I would have expected.

   
• Aziz! And Netflix isn't done there! They also released a new stand-up special by one of my favorite comedians, Aziz Ansari...

Aziz Ansari on Netflix

I'm not going to lie, it was an awkward show to watch. Aziz addressed the sexual misconduct allegations which were brought against him at the very beginning. But not really. He more "acknowledged" it than really "addressed" it. But he does seem sincere about having regrets and having learned something, so I guess that's better than nothing. From there Aziz goes on to deliver a varied set covering a range of topics, and most of it is pretty funny. What's not so funny is his delivery, which is subdued and kinda sad as he sits on a stool and sometimes speaks so quietly you can barely hear him. This is a wild departure from his previous stand-up specials which were crackling with energy... but he has moments of poignancy which wouldn't have worked otherwise, so I guess it was necessary. If you're a fan, Aziz Ansari: Right Now is worth a look. But don't expect what you've been conditioned to expect from him.

   
• Tacumentary! Last up on my parade of new Netflix shows? Las Crónicas del Taco. A documentary film on one of my favorite dishes... tacos! This trailer is in Spanish, but the documentary series has subtitles in English and French available...

Even though I'm a vegetarian, I still found this meat-based-documentary series to be fascinating. And depressing at times when brief glimpses of the animals are shown, because the conditions they are kept is not ideal. And with six different episodes exploring the history and preparation of six different style of tacos... Pastor (shepherd-style pork), Carnitas (slow-cooked pork), Canasta (basket-stacked tacos), Asada (grilled beef), Barbacoa (barbecue pit-style), and Guisado (stew)... there's more than enough taco here for your viewing pleasure. Worth a look if you're a foodie... or even if you're not, really.

   
• IN THE NEWS: TRUMP TAX PLAN LEADS TO $54 BILLION DECLINE IN CHARITABLE GIVING. "Many Americans want to give generously to charities, but they may not be able to afford to do so now with the changes implemented in the 2018 tax law." — The charity I work with knew that there would be a hit. Nobody had any idea it would be this bad. What's so horrible is that many charities fill in the gaps for people who are just trying to survive. As more and more people lose government assistance thanks to Trump Administration cuts, the number of people who will rely on charities increases... all while donations to these charities decreases. It's a recipe for disaster. But, hey... billionaires got tax cuts so they could gold-plate the toilets on their private jets, and that's what's important, right?

   
• Boys from the Dwarf! If the truth be told, Red Dwarf went on longer than it should have. Things started to go downhill with Series VI, and everything that came after that was really hit or miss. But, man, those early seasons are some of my most favorite television ever, so I'm always glad to see "The Boys from the Dwarf" again... even if it's just in a commercial...

And now I want to go back and watch the show all over again.

   
Bon Voyage, my Sunday bullets.

   

Hinterland and Cymraeg

Posted on July 8th, 2019

Dave!I have had Hinterland on my Netflix watch-list for a long time. Tonight I finally watched the first episode of the first series.

It's fantastic. Mostly due to the remarkable performance of lead Richard Harrington. You can feel the wheels turning any time he's on screen...

Granted, I'm only half-way through the first season, but I'm sure liking this show. The atmosphere they've created permeates every scene so the series feels more "real" than most.

What's interesting about this show (other than how good it's been) is that every scene is filmed twice... once in English and once in Welsh (which is called "Cymraeg" in the Welsh language). I did a YouTube search to watch some of the Cymraeg scenes and it's amazing how all these actors have to essentially perform the same show twice. And since Hinterland looks so grueling and demanding of the actors, I can't imagine how difficult that must be...

I'm sure they use all kinds of tricks to make the show affordable. In the scene above where he destroys a kitchen, for example, they were careful to make sure there was no dialogue so they only had to shoot it once. If he had said "I hate my life!" while smashing the dishes, they would have had to buy all new dishes, clean the set, then reset the scene so he could say "Rwy'n casáu fy mywyd!" for the Welsh version.

Here's the trailer in Welsh...

I first learned about Wales and the Welsh language in anticipation of my visit to the beautiful Hard Rock Cafe in Cardiff (Caerdydd). Cymraeg is a fascinating language which is estimated to be spoken by less than a million people around the globe. Most people have probably only ever heard of it on viral YouTube videos where people are pronouncing very long Welsh words...

Before wrapping up this post, I'd be remiss if I didn't post a link to one of my favorite comedy bits by Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert...

Happy Monday, everybody!

   

Bullet Sunday 619

Posted on July 7th, 2019

Dave!It's a glorious day to be alive... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• IN THE NEWS: Mississippi makes it a jailable offense to call plant-based or cultured-meat patties "burgers."

Seeing as how Mississippi ranks 49th out of the 50 states in education. Perhaps it's understandable that their state government thinks the populace is TOO FUCKING STUPID TO KNOW THAT A VEGGIE BURGER ISN'T MADE FROM A COW. But are they smart enough to know that a veggie dog isn't made from a dog or do hot dogs confuse them too?

   
• Ski! Somehow I missed this excellent short video on Jim Niehues, the guy responsible for painting so many of those ski run posters you see at all the resorts...

Incredible stuff.

   
• Dreaming! Any comic book series is going to have its ups and downs. A series which had less downs than usual was Neil Gaiman's Sandman. A complete reimagining of the cheesy DC Comics character...

My favorite thing to come out of the series was Sandman's sister, Death, as she appeared in the mini-series spin-offs by Gaiman Chris Bachalo...

Death: The High Cost of Living is easily one of my all-time favorite comic books.

And now comes the news that Netflix has commissioned a Sandman TV show. Despite the fact that Gaiman himself will be involved, I am more than a little nervous. The series seems all but unfilmable given the visual language of Sandman's world. And the stories are wildly tied to the medium they were created for, and I question how well they will translate to television. I hope it's good. I hope Death makes an appearance...

"A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power."

   
• German! I ran across one of my favorite Trevor Noah's Between the Scenes the other day...

I mean, they're all good... but his wit is at its sharpest here.

   
• Mermaids! Disney has found their latest live-action princess when they cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She's incredibly talented and I know of her from appearing in Grown-ish (the TV spin-off from Black-ish)...

Halle Bailey
Photo by Evan Agostini

Disney, being the savvy company they are, cast who they felt was best for bringing the character to life... regardless of race. She's a Grammy nominee, for heaven's sake. But of course the bigot brigade is all #NotMyAriel because the idea of a fictional half-fish girl being played by a Person of Color is just too much for their tiny brains to process. Time will tell If Bailey will make a good Ariel. Personally I am trusting Disney on this. But holy crap... give the young woman a chance! They haven't even started filming yet! I sure hope she isn't bothered by all this nonsense.

   
• Plus Plus! Speaking of Disney... as if the Marvel and Star Wars series in development weren't enough reason to compel me to subscribe to the Disney+ streaming service when it debuts later this year, now they've got a new series called Life and Deaf in development with one of my all-time favorite actors, Marlee Matlin. Somebody at Disney is very, very serious about competing with Netflix!

   
Have a great Sunday!

   

Armchair Dark Tourism

Posted on July 2nd, 2019

Dave!I've been consumed with work for the past week and will continue to be consumed by it until the holiday. It's just that time of year.

This is tough for a number of reasons, but mostly because I have no life outside of work for the month of June. About all I get to do is occasionally look through my Facebook feed and see how the other half live.

Today as I was waiting for a project to render so I could move on to the next project, I was scrolling through Facebook and happened across a photo of David Farrier and a cat...

David Farrier and a Cat
Photo by David Farrier on Facebook

Somehow this awesome cat staring back at me was just what I needed after yet another very bad day. It also inspired me to revisit David Farrier's Netflix show: Dark Tourist.

I mentioned a while ago that Dark Tourist has my favorite opening credits of all time...

If you're interested in the show (and you should be!), here's a trailer...

At least now I have something to watch as I work through the night tonight.

   

Bullet Sunday 618

Posted on June 30th, 2019

Dave!Grey skies are going to clear up... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Hard Rockin'! Life is weird. I'm flipping through channels and see Suicide Squad is on. Not a fan, but I pause when I see Batman chasing Joker and Harley Quinn because they pass by a Hard Rock Cafe. I'm pretty sure it's Toronto (which has since closed) so I Google to find out what's happened to the location. I find an article on CBC talking about it.

I AM INTERVIEWED IN THE ARTICLE...

HRC Nottingham

I vaguely remember somebody calling me, but I gave them a better name to talk to, and thought that was the end of it. Turns out... nope... I'm in the article and didn't even know it.

   
• Angels! And so they're remaking Charlie's Angels, yet again. First there was the original TV show, then the Drew Barrymore films, then the awful TV show revival, and now yet another series of films...

Meh. Maybe. Seems like the main trio is a little low on star-power for a movie. Interesting that there are three actors for Bosley listed at IMDB: Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, and Elizabeth Banks (who also directs).

   
• Break! Okay... I am really liking this new show called Reef Break. I expected to like it just because Poppy Montgomery is the star of the series, but it's interesting and well-written on top of that...

I wish they would have just set it in Hawaii instead of some fictional island. But with Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. already there, maybe they were worried about Hawaii fatigue?

   
• Grand! I like an occasional dip into trashy television, which is why I was intrigued by Grand Hotel... the new ABC show Executive Produced by Eva Longoria...

The first two episodes are pretty decent. Full of mysteries, secrets, and intrigue. The problem is that shows like this usually blow all their best ideas early, then whither away as crappy new ideas are rotated in. I guess we'll see if this one has legs.

   
• Letterman! Tiffany Haddish, whom I fell in love with after seeing her hilarious role on The Last O.G., is on an episode of David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. She is absolutely fascinating. I had no idea the incredible obstacles she had to overcome to get where she is today... and she's done it all with a humor that is luminous...

Remarkable. I love shows like this.

   
• Design! Jony Ive, the industrial designer who helped Steve Jobs reinvigorate Apple with such gems as the iMac, is leaving the company to start his own design group. Apple claims that Ive will still have Apple as a client, so apparently he will still be a guiding force in the design of Apple's wares. And that sucks. Ive is so focused on making everything pretty and thin now-a-days that he has forgotten that computers need to be functional. The keyboard on Ive's latest MacBooks is fucking garbage. My hope was that Apple would bring in somebody who gives a shit that you can actually use their products. I guess that's not going to happen. At least not yet.

In another interesting move at Apple, they just hired ARM's lead CPU architect, Mike Filippo. The rumor is that Apple is switching from Intel to ARM as soon as next year. Given how well it's worked out when Apple started designing their own chips for iPhones, iPads, AirPods and the like, this is probably a good move.

   
• Green! The Oregon "Cap and Invest" bill that Republicans were hiding from this last week is a bit complex. When I was trying to understand what was happening, all the articles I read said that there would be minimal impact on Oregon businesses, because the money collected would go back into helping the same businesses who are having to buy "energy credits" reduce their energy needs or switch to greener options. So it's designed to be a win-win for everybody. There are questions as to whether that would actually be the case. It's not like the corner coffee shop is going to suddenly face insurmountable increases in energy costs... businesses have to be producing 25,000 metric tons of CO2 for it to affect them... but the smaller businesses supplied by larger businesses would have higher costs passed on to them until the energy needs/supply is balanced. That could be a problem (hopefully only in the short-run). It's not the business-destroying Armageddon-painted scenario Republicans are selling (they get loads of money from the energy lobby, remember), but it's also not the cake-walk Democrats are selling. As with most thing, the story is in-between. The only difference being that the fate of all humanity is on the line here. Green energy is the future. The sooner we embrace that, the less painful it will be.

   
And now... time to draw up plans for a week of fun in the sun. See you next Sunday.

   

She’s Madonna

Posted on June 24th, 2019

Dave!I have a vivid recollection of when Madonna first started entering public consciousness. My brother was a fan and started buying all her singles and maxi-singles (in retrospect, I think he liked her look more than her music). I didn't think much of her self-titled debut album when it dropped in 1983 and told him that she was a flash-in-the-pan who couldn't possibly last. She'd be yet another forgotten pop-star wannabe on a pile of forgotten pop-star wannabes.

Who knew?

Over the years Madonna has reinvented herself numerous times. Some of her iterations are ones I actually enjoy. I've seen her in concert twice. I own several of her concert films because she puts on a good show. I am one of the few who really liked her song for the Bond flick Die Another Day. I thought she was perfect in A League of Their Own.

And through it all... love her or hate her... the one thing that's been consistent when it comes to Madonna is that she never stops being Madonna.

Never has this been more clear to me than with her recent interview on Graham Norton. There she was, all arogant and detached from reality with her jeweled grills on her teeth and her eyepatch that's not actually covering her eye being all Madonna and stuff, when it occurred to me just how far gone from the rest of humanity she has become...

Except...

The first single Medellín (with Columbian artist Maluma) from her new album Madame X is pretty great (I skipped past her weird minute-long intro)...

This time around, Madonna seems to have reinvented herself as a cross between a naughty pirate and a dancing headmistress at a Catholic school. Or something.

But who am I to judge? She's the one who's Madonna.

   

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