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Home Security is for The Birds

Posted on January 17th, 2019

Dave!This morning while I was at work, I received a notification from my security cameras that somebody was breaking into my front door. This happens whenever anybody is in the vicinity of the exterior doorknobs. I wasn't too worried because my door locks weren't reporting any tampering. But I was curious. Did somebody leave me a pamphlet or something? Let's take a look, shall we?

Well, that's disappointing...

But pretty.

I love birds. Especially in flight...

Bird in Flight

Bird in Flight

   
And now, if you'll excuse me, the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is here! I loved the first season, so I'm hoping for more Star Trek goodness this time around...

Live Long and Prosper...

   

Bullet Sunday 495

Posted on January 13th, 2019

Dave!Don't let the long cold nights of winter get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Duck! It's no secret that I love museums. I've made it my mission in life to see many of the world's great (and not-so-great) museums as I can. Which is why I got a big kick out of this article: Museums around the world are soliciting duck pics from each other...

A very old duck photograph
Image Courtesy of The Museum of English Rural Life.

If you're even a little fan of art, this article is a must-see.

   
• Cars! These Walmart curbside pickup "cars" commercials are phenomenal...

I can't fathom how much money it cost to license all these properties.

   
• Akeem! One of my all-time favorite movies is Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in multiple roles. It's a great story chock-full of funny situations and had some real heart to it...

Coming to America Movie Poster

There are many other things to love about the film... namely James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair as Eddie Murphy's parents. But there are also the incredible designs for the country of Zamunda. Make no mistake, Zamunda was Wakanda way before Wakanda was the benchmark for fictional African countries!

And now it comes to light that there is a sequel in the works with Eddie Murphy reprising his role as Prince Akeem. Right now, I am deliriously happy about that. But given how badly things could go wrong, I'm also more than a little nervous.

   
• Again! Again! Speaking of an Eddie Murphy movie getting sequels... apparently Boomerang, another movie I love more than butter, is getting a television sequel...

Coming to America Movie Poster

The show will continue the story with Marcus and Angela's son and Jaqueline's daughter. No word if Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, or Robin Givens will be making an appearance. But I sure hope so. The thing that gives me hope is that Lena Waithe is onboard. As is Halle Berry as an executive producer. Fingers crossed.

   
• Monument! As somebody who loves travel photography but can't stand people walking through my shots, I was excited to hear about "Monument." This new technology that Adobe is developing will automatically remove moving objects from photos. It's a fascinating idea that I'm anxious to try out. There's a video which takes a look at Moment but Nick Offerman is an idiotic distraction throughout. Why in the hell they couldn't have just presented the tech without the comedic bullshit is beyond me...

It's only a matter of time before machine learning with this kind of smarts gets dropped into all our cameras. As popular attractions become more and more crowded, it will be a handy and very welcome thing to have.

   
• Puck! My new brown sugar container came with a small terra cotta coaster in the box. I was telling a friend about it and laughing because I don't have any glasses small enough to fit on it. "ARE YOU HIGH? YOU SOAK IT IN WATER AND PUT IT IN THE CONTAINER SO YOUR BROWN SUGAR DOESN'T DRY OUT!" In my defense, there weren't any instructions. Just the little puck thingy in a baggie. How was I to know?

Brown Sugar Terra Cotta Disc

Is this some secret everybody knows but me? Is there some brown sugar conspiracy to exclude me from this magic?

   
And... I'm spent. No more bullets for you.

   

Bullet Sunday 494

Posted on January 6th, 2019

Dave!I know that having to skip a Bullet Sunday for my year-end wrap-up was tough, but don't despair... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Bandersnatch! This past week all the internet buzz revolved around Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Netflix's new "Choose Your Own Adventure" movie. As the movie played you would be presented with choices which determined how the rest of the movie would progress...

Bandersnatch Choice: Thompson Twins or Music NOW!
Any guesses as to which music I picked?

This novelty alone would be pretty lame. Unless the story was really terrific, why would you want to replay it over and over to see how your choices affect things? But this is Black Mirror, and they took their excellence to another level here. First of all, the story itself addressed the idea of free will vs. control... and completely breaks the fourth wall by going meta with the concept in some story branches. It was really well done, and I ended up playing through several different scenarios to see where the story would land. Once I had gotten through the major different branches, the differences became more and more subtle, so I ended it. I'm told there are some other stories that are more hidden, but time time required to find them was too much for me. Overall, I loved Bandersnatch! It took full advantage of the concept, the performances were great, and I was entertained throughout. My only criticism was that I could play on my AppleTV (which was incompatible) and ended up having to watch on my computer. Other than that? Well worth your time to check out!

   
• Magic! Every once in a while, Disney's magic extends to their advertising. That's definitely the case with this wonderful ad that was airing for Disneyland Paris...

And now I want to go to Disneyland.

   
• Good News! If you're a little depressed with how 2018 ended up (Lord only know I am), here's the link for you: I’m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News So I Illustrated The Best News Of 2018 (And Recent Years).

And for all those people buying into President Trump's claim that the Mueller Probe is wasting tax dollars, here's more good news: Mueller Probe Cost $25 Million So Far, Report Says. It’s Pulled in $48 Million From Tax Cheats. It's paying for itself (and then some) as well as ripping into political corruption. What's not to like?

   
• Micropenis! I never suspected that Tucker Carlson has a tiny, minuscule, impotent, wee little penis... but here he is telling everybody about it. Study after study has shown that men who are threatened by women who make more money than them have tiny dicks... and who am I to question science?

What a pathetic, sexist, whiny, tragic, little pissant Tucker Carlson is. The amount of sublime ignorance as to how modern relationships work here is stunning. And yet, there are people believing this bullshit and faux science, so I'd imagine Tucker Carlson isn't going to be out of work any time soon.

   
• SCANDAL! Oooooh! Here it is! A SCANDALOUS video of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was just released from her school years! I wonder what it is? Sex with animals? Doing drugs? DOING DRUGS WHILE HAVING SEX WITH ANIMALS? My gawd... what a totally reprehensible role model. SHE SHOULD RESIGN IN SHAME!!!

Seesh. From they way some conservatives are (over)reacting, you'd think that she grabbed somebody by the genitals without consent... or cheated on her spouse with a porn star and tried to cover it up... or was defending white nationalists... or hiding her tax returns. The hypocrisy is blinding.

   
• Roller Kingdom! There was a time I wanted to be addicted to roller skating instead of crack too. But times change...

Alas, the local roller rink was torn down ages ago here, so I guess crack it is!

   
• Portland! Trying to end on a happy note, this is painfully accurate... and funny...

I miss having work trips to Portland. It is really terrific city.

   
Stay frosty, everybody.

   

Caturday 91

Posted on January 5th, 2019

Dave!For the longest time after I got Jake and Jenny, they were completely silent. They didn't meow at me or try to communicate at all. I, on the other hand, talked to them all the time.

Then Jenny started talking back. Jake tried to talk back, but he can't meow for some reason (unless he's stressed out, apparently). He kinda squawks a bit though. Especially if I look in his direction and he wants to be petted. Jenny mostly wants kitty treats when she meows.

They don't talk to each other at all. They chase each other around from time to time, however. Otherwise they just kinda work around each other. Sometimes literally.

Jenny was sitting directly in front of the cat door looking at something outside. Jake then decides HE wants to look outside, but he can't see around his sister. He tries one side... then the other side... then goes back to the other side. And still can't see out. He was not happy...

Jake Trying to Look Past Jenny

Finally he figures out that if he twists his head, he can look past her...

Jake Trying to Look Past Jenny

He looked outside sideways for several minutes until Jenny got bored and left.

Jenny gets bored easily. Which is why I think she likes watching television so much. Her favorite thing to watch is Rick and Morty. But I was re-watching Isle of Dogs recently and she was totally absorbed...

Jenny Watches Television

After a while she decided she wanted to sit next to me while watching the movie, which is what she usually does...

Jenny Watches Television

She's too adorable, even if she has a couple floopy whiskers...

Jenny Watches Television

She's even more adorable when she decides that the drawstrings on my favorite hoodie are more entertaining than what's on television. It only cost me $100 and I had to fly to the bottom of the earth to get it... but please do chew on my Hard Rock Ushuaia hoodie. It's fine...

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jake never wants to sit and watch television with me. He just climbs on my lap and falls asleep. He does like my computer to scratch his face though. They both do...

Jake Scratches His Face on My Laptop

Jake Scratches His Face on My Laptop

With the exception of my hoodie strings, my cats are surprisingly great about not chewing on stuff they shouldn't be chewing on. They are happy to chew on their toys when they feel the need. Assuming they let each other.

After dinner one day this past week, Jake was laying on the floor gnawing on Mufasa. Jenny comes bolting through the room, snatches Mufasa, then goes running to the stairs.

"JENNY! Why are you stealing your brother's toy?" I ask. She then drops the toy, runs up the stairs, and glares at me. I grab my iPhone to capture the moment, at which time she looks away and whistles. Or appears to be whistling. Can cats whistle? I dunno. So guilty!

Jenny Steals Mufasa

Jake wasn't too bothered. A minute later he went out in the catio because he saw Fake Jake walk by.

Fickle kitteh.

See you next Caturday!

   

Oh Schitt!

Posted on January 4th, 2019

Dave!For the past two years, I've named Schitt's Creek "The Best Show You're Not Watching" in my annual television wrap-up. I just watched through all four seasons again to prepare for Season Five, airing on the 16th.

It's most definitely one of my favorite shows going, but it's tough to fit it on a list because I'm always behind while waiting for it to appear on Netflix. Now I see that POP TV is on my DirecTV, so I will finally be able to watch it when everybody else does. That'll be nice, and I anticipate that the upcoming fifth season will land on my Top Twelve at the end of 2019.

If you haven't seen it, the concept is pretty simple. An absurdly wealthy family loses all their money when their accountant doesn't pay their taxes. With no home to their name, they ends up moving to Schitt's Creek... the only asset they have left. It was bought as a joke for a birthday gift and was deemed too worthless by the IRS for them to bother taking it.

Hilarity ensues.

In the first and second season, much of the humor came from super-rich people having to adjust to their new life in a new town where the locals are very different from the people they're accustomed to.

I liked the show... didn't love it...

Schitt's Creek

Then everything changed in the third season.

It was at that point that The Rose Family started accepting their new lot in life and began assimilating into the community. That's when the show became total genius and one of my favorite things ever. Since New Year's, I've been rewatching the first four seasons so I can be caught up before the new season starts on the 16th. I finished this morning.

Here's what I love about the show and why you should be watching...

   
BEST TELEVISION COUPLE: DAVID & PATRICK
I'm not even joking here. This is hands-down my favorite couple on television. When they first meet, Patrick is just another new local who is in charge of approving David's small business loan. And though you know that David is pansexual, their romance comes completely out of left field. And you're there from the very start...

Schitt's Creek David and Patrick

They couldn't possibly be more opposite, but it's just one of the many things that makes their relationship so heartwarming and sweet. One thing's for sure, you'll never listen to Tina Turner's Simply the Best the same way again...

Schitt's Creek David and Patrick

For people who say that they started watching Schitt's Creek but couldn't get into it, I tell them to skip right to the third season. Patrick appears half-way through, and everything about the show changes. The fourth season is even better. After that you'll want to go back and watch the first two.

   
BEST TELEVISION BEST FRIENDS: DAVID & STEVIE
Their relationship started as disdain... evolved into friendship... blossomed into friends with benefits... then landed on best friends...

Schitt's Creek David and Stevie

David and Stevie end up best friends because it seems unlikely that they could be best friends with anybody else. It's funny, sweet, and just works...

Schitt's Creek David and Stevie

   
BEST TELEVISION SIBLINGS: DAVID & ALEXIS
Spoiled from birth, they behave exactly as you think they would. For the most part, they seem indifferent to each other, but still make a hilarious team. And Alexis's never-ending stories of horrible situations she's escaped from is always interesting. Almost as interesting? The way she pronounces "David." Which she says constantly. Day-vhed... Day-vhed...

Schitt's Creek David and Alexa

   
BEST TELEVISION FASHIONISTA: MOIRA ROSE
Catherine O'Hara has long been one of my favorite actors. Even so, nothing could prepare me for her mind-boggling performance as the Rose Family matriarch. She has adopted an accent for the role that's tough to pin down. She grew up "normal" so we can only imagine that she talks the way she does because that's how she imagines wealthy people speak. But it's not her accent that makes the character so insanely watchable... that's only part of it. What really makes Moira appealing is the outlandish wigs and outfits that she's always wearing. Where do they all come from? Who knows? You'd think she would have long since ran out of new fashion, but she's always got outfits waiting in the wings...

Schitt's Creek Moira

   
BEST TELEVISION EYEBROWS: JOHNNY ROSE
Eugene Levy is positively nuts on the show... even though most of the time it's his reaction to the state of things that's the most rational.

Schitt's Creek Moira

   
BEST TELEVISION REDNECK: MAYOR ROLAND SCHITT
Chris Elliott could have easily sleepwalked his every scene with this character, but seems to be injecting some genuine decency and sweetness into him. So instead of just being a bumbling, clueless, moron... he ends up being a genuinely nice guy that you want to root for instead of dismiss. His wife, Jocelyn, has a bit more going on when it comes to smarts. But that's probably because she's a high school teacher...

Schitt's Creek Roland and Jocelyn

   
BEST TELEVISION BEARD: MUTT SCHITT
And you don't realize it until Alexis goes nearly catatonic after he shaves it off...

Schitt's Creek Roland and Jocelyn

   
If you haven't seen Schitt's Creek, take a look.

If quirky humor is not your thing, jump to the third season. It's still quirky, but more grounded.

If you aren't in love with the show by the end of the last episode of season three, there's no hope for you my friend.

   

Tube18

Posted on December 30th, 2018

Dave!And now is that special entry where I wrap up MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF 2018!

Like the past couple years, it's not as easy as it used to be to keep track of "television." Everything is so scattered that I feel I'm missing most of it. New series and old favorites appear without my ever knowing they existed. Some shows I am aware of, but never had time to see. This list is made from those I actually saw...

   
THE TWELVE BEST...

Favorite Television 2018

#1 Lucifer
Consistently one of the best shows on television, it was just so fitting that the third and best season of the show would be its last. Fox cancelled it with stories still in progress. I was furious, but it's something I've gotten used to. Then... a miracle. Netflix stepped in and saved the show. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen, but I will absolutely be tuning in to find out. Lucifer is a devil of a show... about the actual Devil. Or a fictional equivalence thereof.

#2 Atlanta
The first season of Donald Glover's turn at television was remarkable. The second season went next-level by pushing the envelope even further. My favorite thing about Atlanta is that it is constantly moving from one show to the next. Comedy? Drama? Caper? Horror? There's just no telling what you're tuning into. The only thing that's assured is that it will entertain you.

#3 Young Sheldon
I keep telling myself that the party has to end sometime. They're going to run out of stories. They're going to run the concept into the ground. They're going to run into a dead end. Something's gotta happen to bring Young Sheldon to a screeching halt. But it ain't happened yet. If anything, the characters are just getting more charming and the scripts getting more entertaining. At this point, I'm beginning to think that the only thing that can sink the show is puberty.

#4 This Close
I wasn't exactly sure where this show should fit into my list. I really enjoyed the series... I felt like I was being given a wonderful insight into the deaf community... but it was also so problematic. Kate works at a PR firm and has just gotten engaged to her boyfriend. Michael is an artist who met great success with his first graphic novel, but is struggling to find a follow-up. They are deaf and best friends. But where Kate has her life pretty much together, Michael's life is a non-stop parade of drug and alcohol abuse, random sex hookups, and an ex-boyfriend that he can't get over. It's a fascinating dynamic, but it never feels like Michael is moving forward as a character and it gets tiring. I hear the show has been renewed, so hopefully they will let Michael get his shit together at least part of the time. Though after what happened in the finale, that may not be possible.

#5 The Good Doctor
When the show focuses on Freddie Highmore playing autistic surgeon Shaun Murphy, it's fantastic. Unfortunately, we are constantly getting sidetracked by Toby Ziegler (or whatever his character's name is) being only slightly less annoying than he was on The West Wing. And I'm not entirely thrilled when we have to spend time with the other characters' lives outside of the hospital either.

#6 The Last O.G.
Tracy Morgan is hit or miss with me. Most of the time I love what he does... other times it feels like his humor is a poor fit for the project. When it comes to The Last O.G., Morgan is flawlessly cast and at the top of his game. I loved this show. It's hysterically funny while being totally charming and touching at the same time. The story revolves around Tray, an ex-con who was just been released from prison after 15 years. He returns home to find that not only has Brooklyn changed, his ex-girlfriend and his kids are living new lives as well. Hilarity ensues. And so does a second season, thank heavens.
   

Favorite Television 2018

#7 Magnum, P.I.
When the series began, I was most definitely not impressed. The new Magnum has none of the charm as the original. Rick and TC kept getting shoved aside. And Higgins went from a fussy major domo male character to a bitchy borderline-abusive female character. And then... everything started to settle. Still not as much Rick and TC as I'd like... but Higgins quickly became my favorite part of the show. She's capable, brilliant, and is often accompanying Magnum on his exploits. Plus... Hawaii.

#8 The Rookie
I tuned in because Nathan Fillion always brings his A-game, and I was interested in seeing what would follow Firefly and Castle. A series about a guy who decides to change his wrecked life by becoming a police officer sounded a bit tired. But making him an older guy added another dimension to the whole "police show" concept, so I was onboard. Then the stories started getting really good and I was completely invested. The only thing I hate is that all the rookies are forever being referred to as "boot" and it is fucking insane. Please, for the love of all things holy, let that end if the show gets picked up for a second season.

#9 Wrecked
The hilarious insanity of this show makes it good. The writers' willingness to completely change things up from season to season and episode to episode is what makes it great. A lesser show about plane wreck survivors would have just strung out the status quo until everything became a horrible mess (ala Lost). But not Wrecked. It just gets funnier and fresher with each new outing. And the characters aren't standing still either. They are growing and changing as well. All I can do is hope that TBS gives us another season, because I'm dying to see where they go next.

#10 Trial & Error: Lady Killer (R.I.P.)
In many ways, trying to follow the first season of one of the most wonderfully wacky shows to ever appear on television was folly. How could they possibly make it better? How could they make it funnier? The answer was to not get hung up on that and just make the best show they could. This time with Kristin Chenoweth taking over from John Lithgow, which is about the most brilliant decision they could have made. Her effortless hilarity coupled with some really smart writing allowed the show to hold its own. Unfortunately NBC decided to cancel the show before we had a chance to see who would be the next defendant.

#11 Doctor Who
While I'm not quite "there" with the current incarnation of The Doctor, I am loving everything that Jodie Whittaker is bringing to the part. She's got a fantastic energy and sensibility about her which has done wonders to revitalize the franchise. I was completely open to the idea of a female Doctor, but dreading what that could mean. Were they going to make the entire show revolve around the fact that the Doctor is a woman? Or would they build a fantastic show around a Doctor who just happened to be a woman? Thankfully it was the latter and we ended up with something entertaining and watchable. What I'm hoping for now is a new season where she gets more entrenched into the mythology that makes Doctor Who be Doctor Who. Fingers crossed.

#12 The Good Place
Everybody else seemed to love the third season as much as they ever have. I just cannot seem to get into it. Everything feels disjointed and confused... like they had no idea what to do when they picked up from the sublime second season. Even so, there are incredible moments that keep the show from dropping completely off my list. Most notably? D'Arcy Carden brought her character "Janet" to new heights, culminating with Janet(s) which had her playing the other characters brilliantly. I am hopeful that they can do something interesting to wrap up the season, but I'm not overly confident.

   
THE BEST SHOW YOU'RE NOT WATCHING...

Schitt's Creek. Such a great show. I always have to watch it late because I didn't get the channel, so I'm always "off" when it comes to my list because I'm watching on Netflix. Season 5 is January 16th, I think? I'll be rewatching seasons 1-4 to prepare myself, then buying a season pass on iTunes so I don't have to wait this time.

XXX

   
HONORABLE MENTION...

  • The Americans (R.I.P.). A brilliant end to a brilliant series.
  • Barry. Actually lives up to the hype. Bill Hader finally working to his potential, which rarely happened on SNL.
  • Better Call Saul. As we get closer to Breaking Bad I find myself liking the show more and more.
  • Black Mirror. While there are some clunkers in the mix, as a whole the series is fascinating television.
  • Bodyguard. Surprisingly good British show that went in unexpected directions.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Canceled then rescued. And still funny enough to be worth a second shot.
  • Champions (R.I.P.). It wasn't genius comedy by any means, but was entertaining enough.
  • Cloak & Dagger. Started with a whimper but built to a bang. I hope season two doesn't go backwards.
  • The Conners. Not the same, of course. But rebounded nicely after Rosanne was canned.
  • Daredevil (R.I.P.). While it was tiring to keep breaking down Matt Murdock only to build him up again, they always made it interesting.
  • Dark Tourist. Even if you're not a travel fan, there's a lot to love about this fascinating series. David Farrier is nuts, and I am hopeful we get a second season to see what he gets up to next. Bonus: The best opening credits of any show ever made. If my list went to 13, this would be number 13...


  • Dear White People. Liked the first season. Loved the second.
  • Elementary. The show continues to be wholly entertaining and the mysteries excellent. It was supposed to be over (hence the last episode was a series finale) but now they've been given a seventh season. I have no idea how they plan on resolving THAT mystery.
  • Forever. Proving that Maya Rudolph should really be in everything.
  • GLOW. Hasn't grown tired yet. Plus... Alison Brie.
  • The Good Fight. Got a little too crazy for me, but still entertaining.
  • Homecoming. Julia Roberts got herself a great story.
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Somehow managed to brilliantly transcended what I thought the show was capable of.
  • The Alec Baldwin Show. Baldwin himself may be a hot mess, but boy does he know how to give a good interview. I never miss an episode.
  • Jack Ryan. Better than expected in some ways... but mostly lacked momentum. With the right writers for season two, there's some amazing potential for the show.
  • Killing Eve. Could have so easily been a top-twelve show if only they hadn't sabotaged Eve too many times. It's not necessary to make her incompetent and ridiculous to make her interesting.
  • LA to Vegas (R.I.P.). I truly enjoyed this series and was upset they canceled it.
  • Mom. The writers realized that the show was getting a bit tired, so they wrote in Kristen Johnston to shake things up. It was partly successful. But there were times she was squeezed into places where she was more distracting than anything else.
  • One Day at a Time. Remains a fantastic reboot that reimagines the show in a modern, wholly relevant way that still entertains.
  • The Orville. This carbon copy of latter Star Trek shows continued to entertain through the end of the first season, which has me hopeful that we'll get something more for the next.
  • Patriot Act. Hasan Minaj in his element doing exactly what he's best at.
  • Queer Eye. Continues to be entertaining and heartwarming with each new episode.
  • Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story. Served to strengthen my belief that George Zimmerman is a lying psychopath who got away with murder. Heartbreaking and infuriating in equal measure.
  • Sacred Games. This remarkable series from India did not disappoint. Thank you, Netflix, for not being afraid to air something truly different and wonderfully complex. I sure hope people are tuning in.
  • Salt Fat Acid Heat. A foodie dreamscape that has the production values needed to make it worthwhile.
  • Sharp Objects. While I'm not sure I like this show as much as the critics, I was impressed and entertained. Actually may have to rewatch this to see what I missed the first time around.
  • Star Trek: Discovery. Season one ended with a bit of a misfire, but everything up to that point was genius. Cannot wait for the next season.
  • Survivor. Year after year, CBS keeps finding ways of keeping the show interesting. The past three seasons have been the best in a very long time.
  • Superstore. I keep watching even though I find the central romance to be more hinderance than entertainment for the stories.
  • Westworld. Overall a strong second season, but had some real clunkers scattered amongst the storylines. I have no clue how they plan on finding new stories for a third season, but I'll be watching to find out.
  • Will & Grace. The revival started very strong. Then kinda faded out. Still fun to watch, though the whole romance with David Schwimmer for Grace was a huge dud.

   
ANIMATION WORTH WATCHING...

Best Animation 2018

Adventure Time
The imagination that permeates every episode is more than you get from a lot of animated fare now-a-days, which is why I was so sad to see the show go. But they did give us a worthy send-off, which made the entire series worthwhile.

BoJack Horseman
If there's one thing to say about BoJack, it's that the show is consistent. Consistently brilliant, real, depressing, enlightening, and always moving forward. I'm not always in the mood for it, but I can count on the show being good for an uncomfortable laugh when I need one.

Disenchantment
I was hoping for Dungeons & Dragons meets Futurama with Matt Groening's latest, but ended up with something... not that. It's more of a slow burn through comedic storylines in a medieval setting than a series of quick laughs. It's also gorgeously animated and has some of the most beautiful backgrounds you're likely to see in non-feature animation. I enjoyed it quite a bit... especially Luci, the demonic imp whose only job is to lead Princess Bean into temptation.

Big Mouth
Yeah. You're on your own here.

   
NEEDS WORK...

Murphy Brown
I honestly can't decide if I like the show... or loathe it. I detest the new "Murphy in the Morning" concept. It's just so damn lazy, and doesn't allow for the political bite that the original series did. So now all the political rants are completely out of context, making them kinda stupid. What's so lame is that the writers realize this and are constantly trying to inject heavy politics into a morning show? It makes no sense. But the characters are good and some of the stories are well-done, so I keep watching.

God Friended Me
I have really been enjoying this show. The cast is phenomenal and the stories are really well done. But there are a few things that have been driving me batshit insane. First is the podcast stuff. It makes no sense that people would tune into this inane bullshit and it always serves to interrupt and distract than to enlighten. Have him talk this stuff out WITH OTHER CHARACTERS instead of a faceless audience, because it's just bad television. Second is the number of times we hear the words "God Account" in a single episode. Holy crap... can your writers stop being so damn lazy on this? And lastly... FOR FUCK'S SAKE, STOP WITH ALL THE IMPLAUSIBLE HACKER BULLSHIT! I can't believe that Facebook is happy with the fact that they are REGULARLY PORTRAYED AS BEING HACKED so that the "team" can have access to IP addresses and other private information. Just stop. Again, this is lazy. You shouldn't need to do impossible shit to make your stories work! With some fixing, this could be an amazing show.

I Feel Bad
The casting for this show is amazing. I love everybody involved and was excited to see where they would go with it. But the stories! Holy crap! The writers are so trapped by the whole concept of building a show around something the mother feels "bad" about each episode, that we end up with toothless, meandering mess. It was a foolish plot device from the start, and the fact that things just keep getting worse and worse as they continue to enslave themselves to a doomed plot device makes the show virtually unwatchable. If they get a second season, they need to cut this dead weight plot device and let the stories breathe so the actors can shine.

The Blacklist
FOR GOD'S SAKE... YOU HAVE ONE OF THE BEST ACTORS ON TELEVISION ON YOUR SHOW! JAMES SPADER IS AN ABSOLUTE GENIUS! STOP WITH ALL THE STUPID DISTRACTIONS AND GET BACK TO THE DAMN BLACK LIST! YOU KNOW, WHAT YOUR SHOW IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT! And, while you're at it, give Dembe more to do. The dynamic between Red and Dembe is far more compelling than any Red and Elizabeth crap you've been shoveling.

New Amsterdam
Where to start. On the plus side, I like the characters quite a lot. Ryan Eggold is a compelling actor who knows how to sell a scene. He makes even the corniest plot devices workable because he has the skill and conviction to make them work. But that strength is also the show's greatest weakness... the writers keep coming up with corny bullshit knowing that Eggold will save them from themselves. But there comes a point where there's so much bullshit that nobody can save you. And we're past that point. It's like the concept for the show was to take everything people hate about hospitals and attack them so that they'd have the audience on their side. Everybody be like "Yeah! I hate waiting at the hospital! So good on you, Dr. Max for telling the hospital to not make people wait any more! Why don't real hospitals do that?" Well, the reason they don't is because it's fucking bullshit. So just stop. Stop and come up with compelling stories that actually make sense in the framework of fictional television instead of idiocy so outlandish that you're destroying an otherwise good show.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
This is a great concept show with a fantastic cast. But the whole Satanism angle, which was an interesting plot device at the start, became an absurd crutch. Okay. We get it. The witches get their power by serving Satan and Sabrina is starting to question that. But you don't have to go running to Satanism every damn time you need to move a story forward. It's just so tired and lazy. The shock value has long since run its course, and you need to find more interesting and inventive ways to move your narrative forward. I mean, come on, even The Church Lady didn't have this big of an obsession with Satan.

Dana Carvey is The Church Lady on SNL

   
THE WORST...

Supergirl
I was able to find entertainment in the show for seasons 2-3, but this current season has been a disaster. First of all, I'm sick of "Team Supergirl" trouncing all over what should be interesting stories revolving around The Girl of Steel. Second of all, the whole "aliens are a threat to the country" arc is stupid as shit. For the love of Pete, ditch the squad, find good stories, and make this show what it should be.

The Flash
Same problem as Supergirl. "Team Flash" is annoying as shit and is destroying the show. Any time something remotely interesting starts happening, some idiotic drama has to start up with one of the "team" and it drives me absolutely bonkers.

The House on Haunted Hill.
I had such high hopes for this. Ended up being a total snooze-fest that bored the crap out of me. Sure, there are great moments to be had, but they are sandwiched by asinine stories that just aren't worth the investment. I know I'm in the minority here, as many people seemed to love the series, but I found it a disservice to the book and a big failure.

Manifest The old "Airplane Goes Missing And Magically Reappears" plot device was really interesting this time around. At first. But then it became clear that they were going to drag out the mystery forever, at which point it became boring, redundant, and stale. Unless you are bringing something new and interesting to the table, don't play the game! You just end up wasting everybody's time.

The Resident
This was bound to be bad because the ads had Matt Czuchry dumping a steaming load of overacting all over everything, but I gave it a try because I like Emily VanCamp. Turned out it was as awful as it looked and I gave up 15 minutes in. Not willing to let a bad thing go, I tuned in again this year and couldn't believe that it was even worse. I may not love New Amsterdam, but at least I can watch it.

The Neighborhood
Originally, this was a slightly annoying show that was made watchable because the "white neighbors" were so charming. Josh Lawson and Dreama Walker were perfectly cast as the well-meaning but clueless couple who move into a Black neighborhood. But then they were replaced by frickin' Schmidt from New Girl and Caroline from 2 Broke Girls? The result is something completely un-funny, and the show is borderline unwatchable. I can only guess this was a network decision to tie up two actors from previously successful shows rather than what was actually good for The Neighborhood. Hard pass.

This is Us
Everybody and their dog keeps telling me that this is must-see-television and I have got to start watching. I don't get it. I find all the characters to be kill-me-now annoying. The stories are all so transparent and manipulative. It's manufactured drama for the sake of being dramatic... not interesting.

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Artificial Impressions

Posted on December 18th, 2018

Dave!Jenny was no more impressed at all the idiotic artificial drama blowing up the Ink Master season finale than I was. 90% yelling and screaming vs. 10% actual tattooing going on. I can only guess that Oliver Peck and Chris Núñez are getting paid serious money to be associated with this total embarrassment of a show.

Maybe one day there will be a tattoo competition show that dispense with all this bullshit and focuses on actual ink, but apparently that's not tonight...

Jenny Chillin'

Oh well. Yet another reason I'm happy to have a DVR that allows me to fast forward through how terrible television has gotten lately.

   

Re-Discovery

Posted on December 13th, 2018

Dave!My fourth favorite show of 2017 was Star Trek: Discovery. If you want a sneak preview of this year's list, the second half of the first season will be making an appearance. It's that good.

As the only "Star Trek" television show I've enjoyed since the original series, I was thrilled to fall in love with Star Trek again. The cast was amazing. The stories were brilliant. And the special effects were beautiful. It was the total package and I was hooked right up until the final two episodes, where it kind of drifted off. Even so, fantastic television.

The second season will be starting January 17th, and the trailer that CBS All Access released for it looks to be more of the same...

Not only are we getting the return of Ash Tyler and what looks like lots of Spock, we're also getting... MORE MICHELLE YEOH!! Evil Philippa Georgiou is back! Easily one of the best parts of the show, I was worried that she had moved on.

Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou

Lucky us.

Something to look forward to in 2019.

   

Bullet Sunday 489

Posted on November 25th, 2018

Dave!Do you enjoy the ramblings of somebody with frozen feet? Then you're in for a treat... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Pooh! I was anxious to see the new Disney movie Christopher Robin, but it was never showing on any flight I was on, so I had to buy it from iTunes when it was released. It's a good (not great) film that I enjoyed quite a lot. Mostly because the CGI version of the animals are amazing. Jaw-dropping amazing. The way they are rendered and the way they move is remarkable. You can believe these stuffed animals are alive...

Christopher Robin Screencap

Christopher Robin Screencap

Christopher Robin Screencap

Christopher Robin Screencap

Christopher Robin Screencap

And here's the trailer...

I adore the wit and wisdom of Winnie the Pooh. All the Winnie the Pooh. I love the original A.A. Milne books, the Disney movies and book adaptations, and the Benjamin Hoff Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet books too. If you are a Winnie the Pooh fan (and why wouldn't you be?) the movie is worth a look. Disney movie magic!

   
• Care! Hallmark has been airing some wonderful commercials for their #CareEnough campaign...


This last one reminded me of one of my all-time favorite ads...

Always amazed that people can create commercials I want to stop and watch!

   
• Proposal! This was my favorite thing on the internet this past week...

So sweet. And that reminded me of this...

The effort that must go into planning these things is mind-boggling.

   
• Winter is NEVER Coming!

"George R.R. Martin will be on Colbert to promote his new book..."

"WINDS OF WINTER IS FINISHED?!??"

"Of course not. He wasted his time on yet another Westeros history book. He still has no idea when Winds of Winter will be completed."

In all honesty, I don't think Martin will ever finish A Song of Ice and Fire. I don't think he gives a shit (regardless of how much he pretends to care). He's got the HBO money coming in. He's got a Nightflyers series coming up. He's got the Game of Thrones prequels coming up. He's got millions of dollars. And he has said repeatedly that writing the Song of Ice and Fire books is hard work, so why would he bother? The HBO series will wrap things up so he doesn't have to, and he can keep getting distracted with writing "easy books" that still make him tons of money. What incentive is there to finish up Westeros? It's all too easy to procrastinate until you die and leave your notes to another author so THEY can deal with it.

All that being said... how excited am I for April to get here so we can see the final season of Game of Thrones?

   
• Unpossible! Mission Impossible: Fallout (AKA MI6) is easily the best of the entire series. Everybody is brilliant in it, and Henry Cavill is exceptionally good. Which makes me all the happier that Paramount told Warner Bros. to go fuck themselves when they wanted Cavill to shave his mustache for reshoots as Superman on the abysmally shitty Justice League movie. Otherwise Cavill's continuity would be jeopardized and he may have had some of his part cut in a far, far better film...

Tom Cruise does the majority of his own stunts. And the dedication he has in delivering some really scary and dangerous scenes really pay off in Fallout. If you haven't seen it and like a good action flick, this is the movie for you.

   
• No NOAA! Now that winter is here, I wanted to see if I could re-code the program which controls the heat tapes on my roof. Right now they turn on when it's 33° or less. Which is better than having them on all the time, but also not ideal because they turn on whether there's snow on my roof or not. What I want to do is capture NOAA data to see if it's snowing and then turn on the heat tapes. If we have heavy snowfall with a lot of accumulation, then I'll switch to the old temperature-based program until it's melted.

NOAA Weather Data

Problem is... the local NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) station has closed. So now I'm having to pull data from 6 miles away. Which would be fine if I lived on a flat plain, but I'm in a valley. The weather 6 miles away will be similar, but different. And so... better than nothing, but now I don't know if trying to adapt for snow is going to be worth it since the data may not apply to me. Time to start my own weather station, I guess.

   
And there's your bullets this fine Sunday.

   

Patriot and The World Gone Away

Posted on November 14th, 2018

Dave!Last night as I went to bed with the California wildfires fresh in my mind and the smell of burning orchard brush filling the valley, my own experience with a wildfire threatening my home* came rushing back to me. Rather than try and battle that demon again, I took sleeping pills and waited for the world to go away.

When I woke up, I went through the news and saw that even more homes had been lost in California. There were a surprising number of stars in the list. Miley Cyrus & Liam Hemsworth, Gerard Butler, Robin Thicke, Shannen Doherty, and Scott Derrickson all lost their homes. Loads more famous people had to evacuate (it's as if Mother Nature doesn't give a fuck if you have your own reality show or whatever!). I feel horrible for everybody involved... and even more horrible for the poor animals who have been displaced. There's enough suffering in the world.

Yesterday when I showed up at the tire shop for my 2:30 appointment to get my winter tires put on, I was told that 50 people were ahead of me. Apparently they had a computer bug that allowed people to keep making appointments even though no slots were available. I pushed for a new appointment this morning, which meant I ended up heading back into The Big City.

That's when I got the news that my snow tires are nine years old, which means this is the last season they can be used. Apparently you're not allowed to have 10-year-old tires on your car, regardless of how much tread is left on them. This is a colossal bummer, because my tires look practically new. Then again, it's recommended that you get your tires replaced after six years, so I guess I should be grateful I got to use them for as long as I did. They were purchased for my mom, so I bought the best I could afford at the time. Maybe that's what gave them a decade of life? Probably. If there's one thing I'm certain of, it's that you get what you pay for.

And so... something new and expensive for me to buy next year! Yay.

Then my fun really began.

Today was the day I finally decided to rip apart my work iMac so I could replace the internal "Apple Fusion" drive with a shiny new 100% SSD drive. I was terrified to make the attempt because Apple no longer uses strong magnets to keep the computer together... they use glue tape! You have to use a special tool to literally cut through the adhesive, remove the glass display, then glue everything back together once you replace the drive.

Turns out it wasn't a big deal at all. The kit I purchased from Other World Computing made it fairly easy, and they have videos you can watch to explain everything.

Pretty sweet!

Except... apparently when you install macOS X on an external boot drive, you cannot then just pop it inside and have it work as an internal boot drive. Which meant I had to reformat, re-install, and re-load everything. Again. There's six hours of my life I ain't getting back.

And six hours work I have to make up for tonight.

Looks like I'll be able to burn through another couple Hallmark Christmas Movies on my DVR. Or not. There's a show on Amazon Prime Streaming called Patriot that I'm interested in giving a watch. It's actually just started its second season. Apparently I missed it when it debuted last year...

Amazon Prime Presents Patriot

The show looks very funny. And very disturbing. I guess that would make it "disturbingly funny" then?

I hope so. Given the state of the world just now, "disturbingly funny" is right up my alley.
   


*Back in September 1992, the hillside behind my apartment building caught fire. It spread so fast that the evacuations followed in short order. I didn't evacuate. I stayed behind with a downstairs neighbor to put out the fires that were starting as embers blew onto the building and the yard surrounding it. After a while, my neighbor left. I was alone, on the roof, using a garden hose to home down the flames that kept popping up.

Eventually the fire department came and I was forced to evacuate. I grabbed a photo album, my laptop, and an armload of clothes as I left, not knowing if I would have a home to come back to. Thanks to the firefighters (who later told me that they felt obligated to save my home after I had spent the entire day battling for it), I did end up having a home to come back to.

My lungs never recovered. I still have respiratory problems after all these years. And sometimes I wake up swearing I smell smoke when there is no smoke. I know it's in my head, but it feels real.

   

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