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New laptop day means making sure everything works so here have a post about nothing

Weird day today…we’re getting some electrical work done, which is why Short Bus is in the driveway getting some Vitamin D. Otherwise I’ve been parked by the window like a bored housecoat just to be sure I didn’t miss the FedEx delivery.

Also, WOW these migrations are so much easier than they used to be…

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A perfect Sunday with…me!

This post concept is shamelessly stolen from Cavan Scott. As he puts it, “Every week, one of my pals reveals how they’d fill their perfect Sunday, sharing their favourite comfort reads, movies, food… anything that would make their weekend great.” I am not one of Cavan’s pals, but I’m going to assume he won’t mind this little bit of thievery.

These normally start with a brief introduction, but we’ll skip that part except to note I am a “multi-hyphenate dilettante,” as I’ve taken to labeling myself in social media. With that out of the way, let’s get to it…

My perfect Sunday…brunch

I’ve never been a brunch person, but I do like a Sunday breakfast that breaks from my usual rut of cereal and juice. This goes back to college, when the cafeteria opened late and only served one meal a day. I would show up early, grab a St. Louis Post-Dispatch from the pile (they had the best comic section) and have a meal that ideally consisted of scrambled eggs, hash browns (hopefully crispy, but that was a crapshoot), biscuits & gravy, and bacon or sausage, with orange juice to drink. During our time in Athens, GA the newspaper went away, and I switched to eggs over easy. Since we moved up north we’ve gotten out of the habit of going out for breakfast, but my order would stay the same.

My perfect Sunday…read

I don’t have a specific Sunday genre or title, and I very rarely reread books, so this would be whatever book I happen to be in the middle of. If I can finish a book out in the three-season room without too much lawnmower noise…chef’s kiss. The two most recent books I finished out there were Dog On It, by Spencer Quinn (detective story from a dog’s POV), and Gentle Writing Advice: How to be a Writer Without Destroying Yourself, by Chuck Wendig.

My perfect Sunday…comic

We tend to go the TPB route with comics, which means there are usually months if not years between releases. I’ll inevitably forget details about story and character between volumes, but tend not to worry about that too much. But when the last volume comes out, I will absolutely park myself in a chair with a pile of books and re-read the whole series in as close to a single sitting as I can. A series as long as Fables will take multiple days to catch up on, but shorter ones like Sex Criminals or Paper Girls I can do. The trick is waiting until Sunday to dig in.

My perfect Sunday…movie

I do like a Sunday afternoon movie, and the criteria is different from what we would choose for an evening watch. For example, the latest blockbuster would be an evening film. A movie we know is going to have a lot of night scenes or is otherwise dimly lit, also an evening movie…though that’s just for practical reasons. A perfect Sunday movie would be something that’s been out a while, and ideally something I either didn’t know about or was only dimly aware of that turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Three come to mind — the “Freaky Friday” with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, “Niagara” with Marilyn Monroe, and “Pork Pie.”

My perfect Sunday…TV binge

If I’m going to binge TV, it has to be a half hour show. Even then, I’m not likely to watch more than three or four episodes before I want to move on to something else. The content doesn’t hugely matter, though it’s likely to be something light like “Travel Man” with Richard Ayoade. I’ve also been known to rewatch “Clone Wars” story arcs, and I’m sorely tempted to do that with “Rebels” before “Ahsoka” comes out.

My perfect Sunday…podcast

I’m not huge into podcasts, which is maybe weird for a middle-aged white dude. I do subscribe to a few, but they mostly sit unlistened to in my podcast app until we’re taking a road trip…and then they still don’t get played because Chandra’s already heard them or I’d rather play music. When I do get around to them, the two I listen to most are Scriptnotes and In Our Time.

My perfect Sunday…album

Joni Mitchell’s live performance of “You Turn Me On I’m a Radio” from “Miles of Aisles” has been a persistent earworm since I first started thinking about this, which I assume is its way of saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” Aside from Joni, I might pick a jazz record. I recently discovered Miles Davis’s “In a Silent Way,” which is a good companion for reading or writing to, and I’ll probably cue it up next today.

My perfect Sunday…treat

Ice cream, duh. There’s a new place called Nonno’s Ice Cream Shoppe just a (safe!) ten minute bike ride from home, and I expect that’s going to be a regular thing during the summer months. We’ve had a Newport Creamery near us for years, but there’s no place to sit so you end up standing around in the parking lot watching cars go by. Nonno’s is locally-owned, and right on the edge of a park, so you can get your cone and walk across the street to eat it on a park bench.


…and that’s it! Buy my books! Uh…once I’ve published something! Read Conviction, you’ll like it (probably maybe)! Enjoy your Sunday!

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Yet Another Grab Bag of Stuff On My Mind I Feel Compelled to Share Because the World Doesn’t Have Enough Hot Takes

I never really thought Donald Trump would ever be indicted for anything, so the last couple months have been a pleasant surprise. Baby steps. Now if the GOP would just get off their “laws for thee, not for me” kick.

Speaking of orange shit no one wants, having to deal with air quality issues is new and unwelcome. We haven’t had the radical change in coloration that New York has suffered from, but the numbers haven’t been great. I almost wish we did have that apocalyptic tint to the sky, because just looking (and smelling) around, you wouldn’t know anything was amiss even though the AQI numbers look alarming. I just hope we don’t get this in the heat of summer, when we’re going to desperately want to open windows.

Four shows we’ve been watching wrapped recently — “Succession,” “Barry,” “Ted Lasso,” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” I can’t remember a time when so many series ended nearly simultaneously. The first three had solid endings, though to my mind only “Barry” had any real surprises. As for “Mrs. Maisel”…we stopped watching that two episodes into the final season.

SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS NEXT BIT
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

“Succession” ended the only way it could without betraying the show. The fun of watching it was always seeing those godawful miserable people doing miserable things to each other. Like “Ted Lasso,” it told its story in a straightforward linear fashion. I wouldn’t have been able to peg where “Ted Lasso” was going from the first season, though having a big win at the end is par for the course in that kind of show, and it was pretty clear at the start of season three that Ted was ready to go back home. “Barry,” on the other hand, elicited joyous “what the hell?!” moments all the way to the end, with the biggest one being that time jump where suddenly he’s…married (or something)? In Nebraska? With…a kid?

Which brings me to “Mrs. Maisel.” First episode of the last season, we’re in the early 80’s looking at a character we’ve never seen before. It turns out to be Midge’s daughter, talking about her mother, and they don’t seem to have a great relationship. Midge’s kids have barely been a presence in the last four seasons though, so how are we supposed to care? At the same time they indicated Midge’s career has been successful, effectively spoiling what I always thought was the central question of the series. Then they go back to the 60s, blah blah. Episode two, they jump forward again, via a late-career interview on “60 Minutes.” We get clips of her performances, and hints that some of her relationships have gone sour, more spoilers. Then they go back to the 60s again. We watched the rest of that episode, and bailed.

Here’s where I think they screwed up – if you’re going to have a flash-forward in a story, you have to leave the viewer/reader thinking, “Wait, WHAT? How did that happen?” In “Mrs. Maisel,” these flash-forwards didn’t hold much surprise. It’s the kind of show where you more or less expect her to be successful, and four seasons in we know she has a selfish/difficult streak, so tortured relationships with family & friends are hardly a surprise. These flash-forwards felt more like an epilogue printed out of place. They both spoiled the main story, and didn’t contribute any new questions to be answered.

END OF SPOILERS AND LONG-WINDED ANNOYANCE AT THAT SHOW I LIKED BUT COULDN’T FINISH

Oh! And “The Muppets Mayhem”! So much fun.

Apple’s new Vision Pro does look spiffy, but I can’t see ponying up for one just yet. Not because they’re pricey, but because I find it hard to envision (sorry) a use case for them that can’t be adequately met with devices we already own. Still, I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to give them a test drive…

Fast cars go fast.

It took wa-ayyy longer than it should have, but I think I finally get the whole compressor pedal thing. Now I just need to swap the envelope filter back into the chain…

Anyway, time to get back to the book I’ve been reading…

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Who is the Mandalorian? And other random garbage on my mind lately

I don’t know what annoys me more, the unending hot takes about Star Wars, or that we’re going to be spending the next decade watching Disney try to retcon Episode IX into some semblance of coherence.

So it turns out this here website is one of the millions that have been used to create the textual slurry of ChatGPT et al. Did they ask my permission? No. Would I have given it? No. Is there anything I can do about it? Not until someone with deeper pockets launches a class action lawsuit. Even then, I’ll get…what, the next ten Bing searches free? I’ve never had any expectation of getting paid for this site, but it kind of pisses me off that billion dollar corporations are taking my writing to fatten their own coffers. Yes, they do this with search engines, but at least that’s driving traffic to the originators.

That last season of The Mandalorian was a bit of a shaggy dog story, eh?

I’m told people who are disappointed in the Dominion vs Fox News outcome were not being realistic. If so, count me among them. I always knew Fox would get away with nothing more than a financial slap on the wrist, but had hoped the trial might at least go on a little longer. And don’t come at me with “787 million is a lot of money.” You know that’s going to be structured in a way they’ll barely feel the hit. The NY Times has a headline that reads “Everybody Knows What Fox News Is Now,” but…really? Do they? Everybody knows who already knew. Anyone who didn’t still doesn’t.

The Mandalorian is Din Djarin. The Mandalorian is Bo-Katan Kryze. The Mandalorian is Din Grogu. Whoops, spoilers.

It was super weird watching the Starship rocket explode while everyone kept cheering like it was the climax firework of the Fourth of July. I get that it was a test flight that they learned a lot from, but it’s hard-wired into me that rockets going boom = bad day.

Make Something Wonderful: Steve Jobs in his own words is very well done. I’ve only spent a little time there so far, but will be digging into it more deeply.

This is the way.

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Fiction

Rey Buys the Farm

This story takes place shortly after the events of
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

“Ahem! Miss Skywalker?” The Rodian rapped his knuckles on the doorframe to the small kitchen.

Rey looked up with a start, dropping her utensil. Right. He means me. She shut off the holoprojector that had been absorbing her attention. “Yes?”

“My name is Anoddo Rogass. I’m with the district office. Are you related to the Lars family?”

“I’m sorry?”

“The Lars family. The last occupants of this property. Are you a relation? We were told you were doing some work here last night, and behaving suspiciously. Burying something, as I understand it? I have been asked to investigate.”

Rey missed most of that over the din of blood pounding in her ears. Was she in the wrong place? No, this had to be right — there weren’t that many farms out here, and the odds of her having entered the wrong coordinates to some other abandoned farm were remote. But…Lars? She tried stalling. “I’m sorry, who are you again?”

The Rodian’s eyes narrowed. He growled, “Anoddo Rogass. Don’t make me ask again, Miss Skywalker. Are you related to the Lars family? ”

With the shift from “officious” to “threatening,” Rey tried to gauge how much danger she might be in, but she didn’t have much experience with Rodians and couldn’t quite read him. He wasn’t carrying a blaster that she could see, but his loose tunic could easily have a small holdout pistol tucked away. And in the Outer Rim the line between “bureaucrat” and “thug” could be…thin. Having a sudden urge to leave, Rey reached out with the Force. “It doesn’t matter if I’m–“

Anoddo’s eyes turned glassy. He repeated, “It doesn’t matter if you’re…” He froze for a moment, then shook off the spell. “Miss, I don’t have time to deal with your petty insecurities. I’m just trying to discern whether you have any rights– are you listening?”

She was not. As Rey had started to nudge the Rodian’s mind, she felt a sharp intrusion into her own and had the distinct sense that Luke was hovering just beyond the arch of the doorway, disapproving. Was this going to be a thing now? Luke just popping into her head now and again like an unwanted supervisor?

“Oh, you have no idea,” said Leia, behind her.

Rey whirled around and hissed, “Stop it.”

Anoddo asked, “Who are you talking to?”

“No one, sorry.”

“Tell him about Shmi,” offered Luke, now on her left.

“What?”

“Are you on something?” challenged Anoddo.

“Shmi,” declared Rey.

Anoddo squinted at Rey, struggling or suspicious. “Shmi? What is that? I don’t understand.”

“Shmi is…” Rey waited for Luke to give her more information, but he was gone. Of course. “Shmi is…”

Anoddo scowled, reached into his tunic and pulled out a data pad. He squinted in concentration, ignoring the flustered human in front of him as his fingers flew across the surface.

Rey breathed a silent sigh of relief. Definitely a bureaucrat. She relaxed and waited for him to finish whatever it was he was doing.

“Wait. I think I see.” Anoddo set the data pad down and a series of holograms obscured Rey’s face like a veil. “Shmi Skywalker. She was Owen Lars’s mother. His father purchased her, freed her, then married and impregnated her. Or maybe it was the other way around? Either way, she wasn’t free for very long, was she?” He laughed heartily. When Rey didn’t join him, he coughed and said, “Anyway, there’s no shame in there being slavery in your lineage, but I understand your reluctance to share that information. We all have our family secrets, after all.”

“You have no idea,” Rey replied, quietly.

But Anoddo was no longer paying attention to her. He pulled up a seat across from Rey and spun the data pad around. “So what is your relation to Shmi?” The holograms vanished, giving her an unimpeded view as documents flew across the screen, albeit upside down.

Rey tried to think, but all her brain could offer was, What is he doing? Also, why had she told that woman her last name was Skywalker? She wished she had gotten more from Artoo on Luke’s family history. “I don’t–”

Mistaking her stammering for embarrassment, Anoddo continued, “Well, no matter. Under normal circumstances, we would need to verify your chain code, and require direct parent-child lineage for a transfer of this kind, but given the situation…” He waved his hand around vaguely. “As I’m sure you know, Tatooine is in desperate need of moisture farmers. ‘Closest living relative’ will do. There is also the issue of back taxes, but we’ll deal with that another day. The main thing is to give you possession of the property right away. In fact, you can consider it yours…” He tapped a final key in bureaucratic triumph. “Now. Congratulations!”

Wait, what? “But–“

“Yes, yes, no need to thank me. I take pride in cutting through red tape like a vibroknife through Bantha butter.” He pantomimed slicing with his data pad, making a horrible vibroknife sound but an eerily accurate imitation of a lightsaber.

“But I’m not a moisture farmer! I mean, I’m not even really– I have to–” Rey froze, unsure how to finish either protest without being accused of fraud or appearing deranged. And did she sense…giggling?

Anoddo watched her silently as he slid the data pad back in his tunic. When she didn’t continue, he said, “If I may, moisture farming isn’t that difficult. It’s hard work, but not difficult. I’m sure you’ll manage. Get some droids if you can.” He turned to go, but paused at the door. “Actually, that reminds me. I spotted some Jawas leaving the property when I arrived. You might want to check on whatever it was you buried…”

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Achoo!

Whoa. Where’d that come from?

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You know that feeling when your nose tickles like you’re going to sneeze and you wait and wait but the sensation just fades with no real release?

Yeah, I heard about the impending indictment, too.

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A handful of things I’ve been sitting on but not in a literal way that would be weird

How the ring got good: Turns out The Lord of the Rings didn’t spring forth from Tolkien’s head fully formed. Which honestly shouldn’t surprise any of us, especially anyone who’s tried to create something of any substance. I have no real interest in The History of the Lord of the Rings, but I’m glad it exists. I wish there was more of it for books. With movies, and to some extent music, I think we all know the iterations and edits that happen, but for novels it’s unfortunately only Major Works like LoTR that get this kind of treatment.

Jason Kottke links to a recent Jon Stewart video (Jon Stewart Calmly Dismantles Gun Zealot), with a weary sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

The new Black film canon: Also courtesy Kottke — another list of movies we’ll be working through. The list is mostly American, but not entirely. There are some African movies as well, which in this house means they count double!

The Deep Archeology of Fox News

Full headline here: CPAC Speaker Calls for Eradication of ‘Transgenderism” — and Somehow Claims He’s not Calling for Elimination of Transgender People I know about CPAC, and am well aware that right-wingers (cough) Nazis (cough) have been attacking LGBTQ+ people all over the place, but hadn’t heard about this particular guy until this article. Fun fact — note the mug in front of him in the photo at the top of the article. My sister’s a fan of hers. Weird, huh.

I actually just found out about this — they’ve remastered the old Fleischer Superman shorts! Gonna need to get my hands on those.

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And now, for an only slightly misrepresented, wholly taken out of context quote of the day

“Please don’t die, I have a bowel movement to make.”

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Perfect score!