If famous people in their mid-fifties could quit dying, that’d be great

I know none of us gets out of this alive, but could really do without periodic reminders that the Grim Reaper is lurking over all our shoulders, just waiting for his shot.


And now, at the end of a long, exhausting week, a grab bag of random garbage that’s on my mind

This week’s meal plan didn’t even make it to hump day before things started getting replaced by “whatever we can microwave.” After scrawling arrows moving days around, Chandra just gave up this morning and declared we were doing Door Dash or McD’s tonight.

I mounted my bike to the trainer last weekend, first time in…well, let’s just say a long time. I also got a pair of Zwift Play controllers, which if nothing else will make controlling the app easier. I can’t report on how well they work yet, because 1) I just got them yesterday, and 2) I think I sprained something in my hand putting the damn things on.

Reading! I recently finished Black AF History, by Michael Harriot. It’s another in our collection of “White people are the worst” books, and entertaining, even if it did make me realize that the family racists are more the norm for America than the exception <sigh>. I’m currently reading Black River Orchard, by Chuck Wendig. It’s a chonky boi, but he does keep it moving, and the chapters are short enough it’s easy to keep reading “just one more” until you look at the time and it’s stupid late o’clock.

Those House GOP guys, what a bunch of scamps, eh?

A pair quotes from Israel/Gaza explainers that have come across my radar and stuck in my brain like that stubborn bit of chicken you can’t extract — from the Washington Post: “Even though Israel gave up control of the Gaza Strip, it has kept a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza since 2007.” I’m no expert, but that seems pretty bad. And from The Onion:

Q: How many people have died?

A: That depends on whether you count Palestinian deaths as well.

In the last bit of news commentary, from Sure, Trump is an Authoritarian Grifter, But At Least He’s Three Years Younger Than Biden: “I mean, Biden was alive when the Allies won World War II. So you can understand how that is of concern to Trump supporters. Their side lost World War II.”

And hey, “Doom Patrol” is finally back! I only barely remember what they were up against beyond the asspocalypse and am constantly distracted by the different ways they (more or less) hide April Bowlby’s pregnancy, but it’s good to have those foul-mouthed, broken misfits back on my TV again. Now where’s the danged Resident Alien season 3?

Finally, this will seem random, but I’ve been doodling a lot of Woodstock lately. Like a lot a lot. Like page after page of Woodstock, channeling whatever’s going through my mind through him. This is him 3/4 of the way through an interminable meeting, but it also does a pretty good job of capturing my late Friday afternoon mood:

Woodstock passed out on the floor

No special reason for this, why do you ask?

Courtesy Bart Simpson Chalkboard Generator.


Happiness is sitting in the three-season room during a summer rain

Woke up this morning, grabbed my phone to see what the world had been up in my absence, and the first thing I saw was this:


A little scrolling and pop over to a news app and I get it — things are getting messy in Russia. Oi.

Moving on.

The thing with the three-season room is that as nice as it is to sit out here, there is always always always the sound of Internal Combustion Engine vs Nature. Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, weed whackers, and I’m pretty sure some guys just strap engines to their backs and wander around the neighborhood to be obnoxious. But during a rainstorm? The only sound is the rain, the birds, and the occasional sound of a car going by. Bliss.

I am having the hardest time deciding what sticker to put on my new laptop so that I can distinguish it at a glance from my work laptop. Yes, I know, first-world problems.

Did I mention up top that this is going to be another random thoughts post? No? Well, guess what.

Turns out tuning the 12-string isn’t as bad as I thought it might be, though it does require a delicate touch with the plectrum. I’m getting better playing it, but do still feel like a refugee from the hot dog finger universe. Dear God it sounds glorious when I get it right, though.

Count me among those unhappy at Marvel’s (or whoever’s) decision to use AI-generated art for the opening titles of “Secret Invasion.” I’ll be skipping those to get straight to the human-generated work, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, snack time!


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…


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!


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.


“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.


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…


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.



Whoa. Where’d that come from?


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.