Real ness.

So Linus Torvalds, the “inventor” (I use this term loosely) of Linux, the operating system that runs 70% of the Internet, as well as a whole bunch of other things like Android phones (that’s a really bad description of Linux), really dislikes Social Media. In a recent article by NBC News, he talks about the anonymity behind Social Media, and how people really wouldn’t say what they say online if they had to say it face to face and using their real name.

He definitely has a point. I’ve read things from bots that would make your hair curl. I always blame the bots because I really try hard to believe that semi-intelligent human beings really aren’t as stupid as they portray themselves to be on the likes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like.

If you follow me on social media, you’d know that I indeed use my real name in most instances. There’s a few places where I use a pseudonym because I like to have an alter-ego once in a while, but I still try to act like a rational human being.

Why last night I suggested that someone build windmills near the White House to test Lord Marmalade’s latest lie that “the noise from windmills cause cancer”. To disprove Mr. Torvalds theory about saying things behind a curtain of anonymity, the real life with real names folks in the White House are defending this outrageous claim by Herr Orange Whippy Wig and saying there’s no evidence denying that noise from windmills cause cancer.

Science, it’s not just for the dorks.

I do agree that Social Media in the United States would be a better experience for all involved if the social media corporations forced validation of users and the use of real names in wild discourse. I limit this to the United States because there are folks that live in other countries who must use social media to communicate with others that are trying to flee said country. Anonymity is very important in some respects, but not when you’re shouting at someone.

Keep it real. Use your name. Take responsibility for your words.

President’s Day.

Today is President’s Day. Or is it Presidents’ Day? Perhaps Presidents Day?

I’m old enough to remember when we had Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday, but I think we had only Washington’s Birthday off. Later in my elementary years we started getting the whole week of Washington’s Birthday off; since that was usually the snowiest week of the winter. Sometimes, but not always.

Whatever we are calling this holiday this year (it varies from state to state), I still don’t feel compelled to buy a mattress, a car, or Turbo Tax. I’ve never understood why mattress companies go right crazy during this week in February. It’s not like anyone is going to want to haul a heavy mattress in and out of their home at this time of year. Is it because we’re working our way through the winter and we should have worn out the mattress by this time? I’m getting old, we don’t bounce the box spring as much.

Today was not a work holiday. Today was a normal day at work and it was fairly intense. I could probably handle it better if we had a new mattress but I still don’t feel the need to buy a new mattress.

I could go on a political tirade at this point of the blog entry but we don’t really have a president to talk about, so there’s no sense on going on a tirade. The country is pretty much on auto-pilot with occasional threats of the complete and utter destruction of democracy as we know it, but as long as La Marmalade can tweet the news channels are happy and the speed limit IQ folks feel vindicated.

I look forward to when we have a reason to celebrate Presidents’ Day again.

“Hamilton”.

Official press photo.

Tonight the family got together for Valentine’s Day and we saw Hamilton at the CIBC Theatre here in Chicago. The tickets were a Christmas present for Chris; it was a delightful coincidence that at the time, the first night available was Valentine’s Day

I knew the history laden musical was all the rage these days but other than that I didn’t know much about the show. It’s the 21st century of a Rock Opera, complete with lots of rap music, 21st century riffs, and lots of remixing and synthesizer sounds. Musically, the show is a delight. But I was mesmerized by the blocking and staging of the show. Rotating stages, clever choreography, moving sets, and masterful lighting augmented wonderful performances by all members of the cast. The cast and crew worked hard to tell a nicely woven story, and I was happy to see them all take the curtain call as one, no highlighting of the “star”, no spotlighting a particular cast member.

I found that refreshing.

The only thing that bothered me about the entire experience was the audience; I’m surprised at the number of people that can’t get through a Broadway show without checking their phone (and its glaring LED glow) or having a conversation with a person near them. There was a low murmur of nearly constant chatter a few rows behind us. The folks that came in nearly 40 minutes late and needed to be seated in the center of their aisle should be shunned, not mentioned, but here we are.

When did we forget how to be a respectful audience member?

Overall, it was a pleasant experience and I highly recommend catching the show if you can.

Manifest.

Photo from IMDB.

So Earl and I have been watching NBC’s Manifest. It’s on Monday nights at 10:00 PM Eastern/9:00 PM Central (yay for Central time!)

The show is fairly uneven. If you’re not familiar with the storyline, basically Flight 828, en route from Jamaica to New York, goes through some really rough turbulence and then is diverted to Stewart Airport (after being turned away from JFK). The kicker? When the flight lands it’s 5 1/2 years after it left Jamaica.

I hope they got a meal during that long ass flight.

Anything with airplanes is going to get my attention, so Earl and I subscribed to the dreaded Monday night slot on NBC. I’m always hesitant to watch anything Sci-Fi like on NBC because they start getting weird with the series by either throwing the storyline into a weird tangent (Heroes) or just killing the show without warning (The Event). However, Manifest was cleared for a full season, which is somewhat comforting.

Honestly, it feels like the writers aren’t sure as to what they want the show to be. Is it Sci Fi? Is it supernatural? Is it a soap opera? Is it Dynasty? Twists, turns, ins, outs, so many ways for the story to go.

Not to give too much away in case you want to watch the show when it’s bingeable, the folks on the flight that was lost for 5 1/2 years suddenly have subtle yet very present “callings”. We don’t know what’s causing them, we don’t know what they mean all the time, but as time moves on they become more and more frequent and intense. Psychic stuff? Fortune telling? Who knows.

At times the story is plodding along at a snail’s pace. It’s during these moments that you start to notice that some of the acting is a little wooden or the special effects are a little less than what one would expect in 2019, but because I’m a fan of these types of shows, I am forgiving. There are times when I reach for the iPhone or something because the story is moving along so slowly. There’s romantic triangles and occasionally a bit of family drama mixed in but we are still finding it tolerable.

We never watched “Lost” so we don’t know how much like “Lost” this show is turning out to be. It’s twisty and turny, which is good. I just hope the writers resolve the mysteries before this show comes to an end.

And we don’t know when that will be.

A couple of stray observations (without spoilers):

  • None of the men apparently own a razor
  • I found it easy to mix up the characters of Grace and Autumn but that could be my thing
  • One episode must have been sponsored by Chevrolet because there’s a lot of Silverado going on
  • The head mean person will look familiar
  • The New York locales look honest and filmed on location
  • Did the NYSDMV issue special license plates for television shows, because prop plates on all New York based shows begin with “Q” these days

Dancing.

Apparently after a couple rounds of drinks at the local pub I felt the need to sing “My Heart Will Go On”. Earl was kind enough to take a photo.

I do not remember this incident.

Women of the House.

We were flipping through Amazon Prime Video when a curious suggestion came up on the screen. Amazon’s algorithm thinks we should be watching “Women Of The House”, the 1995 follow-up series to “Designing Women”. This show follows the adventures of Suzanne Sugarbaker as she takes her fifth husband’s seat in Congress until Georgia can elect a new representative. Naturally, one would think hilarity ensues.

Let me assure you, it does not.

It made it 13 episodes before it was cancelled. The last four episodes were broadcast on Lifetime, the show having been cancelled by CBS.

Earl and I watched the two-part pilot. We barely made it through the 42 minutes.

The character of Suzanne Sugarbaker has always been written a little over the top, but in this thing she’s way, way out there. She shrieked “Excuse Me!”, try to get someone’s attention, a few times during the first five seasons of “Designing Women”. In the pilot she does it at least half a dozen times and it doesn’t garner any laughs. There’s also some glaring inconsistencies in her timeline: her maid is now named Sapphire instead of Consuela, and she suddenly has a younger brother she calls “retarded”. He is played solely for laughs in the pilot. Suzanne now also has an adopted daughter because like “Golden Palace”, all spin-offs from popular sitcoms in the mid 1990s apparently needed to have a cheeky kid.

Teri Garr plays a spin on Patsy Stone from “Absolutely Fabulous”, under the guise of being a press secretary, Patricia Heaton is some sort of whacked out, super aggressive, yet completely devoid of class and charm version of Dixie Carter’s Julia Sugarbaker and the third actress plays an administrative assistant that must have been inspired by Julie Haggerty’s flight attendant on “Airplane”, minus the chuckles. And in some unexplained twist, they CGIed Jimmy Stewart’s “Mr. Smith” into the Congressional Chambers and since it was 1995, it wasn’t very convincing.

While “Designing Women” was fairly topical, especially in it’s early years, I have no idea what this show was trying to do. Delta wasn’t handed a very good script but she screams her way through every line and admittedly, it was very tough trying to get through the pilot.

If Amazon suggests “Women Of The House” for your viewing pleasure, don’t bother. Take the time to look at one of the early topical episodes from “Designing Women” instead. You’ll have a much better viewing experience.

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Upgrade?

Apple has announced their next big event. It is scheduled for September 12 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. It’s called “Apple Special Event”.  They will undoubtedly announce new iPhones and iPads. This can mean only one thing: my iPhone X and iPad Pro will no longer be the latest and greatest from Apple.

And honestly, I don’t really care.

I’ve come to realize that Apple is now about evolution, not revolution. There will be nothing new and exciting about the iPhone XS (or whatever it is called); it will simply have a faster processor and probably a better screen and camera, but it’ll still do what my iPhone X does and not much more.

I read all of these reports of people being unhappy with the latest and greatest MacBook Pro, especially when it comes to the new designed keyboards. My tricked-out MacBook Pro from mid-2015 does its job just fine, even with the latest version of Mac OS (Mojave). This MacBook Pro was an emergency replacement for my older 2013 model, which was stolen out of my hotel room during a work trip. This 2015 model does fine for what it is, and I love using it, but I don’t feel a need to upgrade. Things are still snappy, I can still edit photos and videos without a problem, and the battery life is decent (though not nearly as good as when I bought it new).  I feel no need to purchase a new MacBook Pro, in fact, I don’t know what I’ll do if the day comes that my current computer can’t be repaired or upgraded to where I need it to be. Apple’s focus has moved to iOS but I’m not ready to shift my focus to exclusive iPad use (though I’ve tried on a number of occasions).  If I had an iPad Pro that ran the Mac experience I would be happier, but iOS just feels too simple and confined for me to enjoy a full computing experience. I wouldn’t say it feels like a toy, to me it just feels like a computer designed for casual use. My needs fit well into the upper half of “power user”.

Pundits have been tripping over one another to get the latest tidbit or juicy detail out there about what Apple is going to do at their Special Event next week. I’ll watch the event, because despite my criticisms, I still believe Apple brings the best computing experience available today to the masses, but the truth of the matter is, it isn’t the perfect computing experience.

It’s still interesting to see what they’ll do, though.

Lost In Writing.

Friends kept telling me that Earl and I just HAD to watch the “Lost In Space” reboot on Netflix. I watched episode one and I was mildly impressed, so I re-watched it with Earl to bring him on board and we’ve been watching the series on and off over the past couple of months. It’s not really a “bingeable” series in my book, but we started it and I suppose we need to finish the task.

I’m not sure where others are in their “Lost In Space” viewing so I’m going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

The musical score is great. The CGI is very good for a television series. The sets, while looking quite Earth-like even though the show doesn’t take place on Earth, are decent. The stories become quite formulaic as the show goes on but they’re engaging.

The only thing I really don’t like about the show is the reboot of the character of Dr. Smith, played by Parker Posey.

First of all, I know that Parker Posey is a fairly talented actress, so I can’t figure out why she knows nothing outside of three facial expressions for her character. There’s “smug”, “manipulative”, and “confused”. She has nothing outside of these three facial expressions and all of them have the same accessory: her mouth agape and her hair poofed up. I get that she’s suppose to be the villain, but the character is so poorly written that there’s absolutely no redeeming quality to her presence at all. She doesn’t advance the plot. She doesn’t bring out anything remarkable in other characters. She distracts and detracts. A good villain is one where the audience can find something to identify with, even if the viewer lets their evil side loose for just a moment. There is nothing redeeming nor enjoyable about this Dr. Smith. Aside from her mouth agape and limit of three facial expressions, you know what she’s going to do, what she’s going to say, and that she’s going to mess something up along the way. One could easily fast-forward through her scenes and you wouldn’t miss a beat in the storyline.

The character is a waste of time.

I like the tech they’re showing. I like the team work and the family bonding and the science stuff behind the scenes. There’s some hokeyness to some of the science but then again, I grew up with a franchise that had transporter beams, so I can overlook a lot of the convenient science.

But the character with poofy hair and mouth agape on the screen? I wouldn’t mind if they blasted her out of an airlock in the trailer for season two. It might make me reconsider watching the show when it comes back next season.

Geostorm.

Promotional still found at smithsonianmag.com courtesy of WB Pictures

I find the weather fascinating, especially when Mother Nature let’s her hair down in all her glory. One of my favorite movies of all time is “Twister” (though I know it is nowhere near to being scientifically accurate). Disaster movies are also fun to watch from time to time. No one screams “there’s no one to fly the plane!” like a disheveled Karen Black.

Earl and I were munching popcorn in a movie theatre last summer when we saw the first trailer for the weather disaster flick “Geostorm”. It looked kind of hookey but once in a while you want to see a hookey film. The release came and went before I remembered wanting to see the movie, so I was happy to see it was coming out on video this month.

We watched “Geostorm” tonight. In fact, it was our first Pay-Per-View on xfinity because, I don’t know, we could.

That’s really the reason this movie was made, because they could.

I’m not going to get into a lot of spoiler stuff here, but I might inadvertently mention some plot points so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

First of all, some of the dialog is really cringeworthy, like, worse than stuff I’ve written in this blog over the past 17 years. Basically the premise is this: in 2019 the weather got too bad for us to handle, so we built a bunch of nifty technology that involved new Space Shuttles, thousands of weather satellites that form a grid around the entire globe and an enhancement to the International Space Station to enable it to hold all the equipment necessary, house over 600 personnel, and spin to maintain gravity. Before 2022.

There’s a lot of CGI weather effects that remind me of making the citizens run around in SimCity back when I was playing it on my PowerMac G4. Lots of tornadoes, way too many lightning strikes, flash frozen 747s (because it’s always a 747), that sort of thing.

If you take crazy weather special effects, a lot of impressive computer screen graphics that make me want to delve back into Linux (because I can) and throw the movie “Armageddon” into the stew just for fun, you’ve got “Geostorm”.

Was it worth $5.99? I say yes just for the escapism. Earl just told the rest of the family not to waste their money.

The one piece of cool tech displayed that I hope comes to fruition before 2022 is the replacement of smartphones with the “Holoframe”.

Image randomly grabbed from Bob Canada’s Blogworld.

This tech was kind of cool and it lends itself to the direction I wish we were headed in when it came to our smart devices. When off, it looked like a pen.

That was kind of nifty.

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DST Again.

We were reminded at work today that Daylight Saving Time starts in the United States this Sunday at 0200. For those that don’t know what Daylight Saving Time is, it is an outdated practice of moving the clocks forward one hour to fool simple minded people into thinking that they’re getting an extra hour of sunlight everyday, thereby reinforcing the outdated thinking that humans should be enslaved to a man made concept of time and should only play when they are told to play and only work when they are told to work. Anyone with an IQ that exceeds a typical Interstate speed limit will tell you that the days of Daylight Saving Time has long outlived its usefulness but the sheep will baa baa baa about farmers loving it (they don’t), the energy savings that results from the change (energy use actually goes up) and that people are happier because they days are longer (who can be happy when we have Trump as President of the United States?).

We used to start Daylight Saving Time in mid April back when people were a bit more sane but then Baby Bush decided that it would be better to start it the second week of March. I don’t know what it’s doing in the rest of the country in the first half of March, and quite frankly, I don’t really care what it’s doing, but there’s a really good chance that the wind chill factor in these parts are going to be below zero and that we will have low visibility due to lake effect snow storms. Since we are suddenly on Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, I want every proponent of this idiotic messing around with the clocks, be it child, parent, grandparent or just plain imbecile, outside at 7:00 PM on Sunday evening enjoying their “extra hour of sunlight”. I don’t care that it’s minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit or that the snow is up to their tits, they want the “extra” sunlight, they better get their asses out there and enjoy it.

Me? I’m going to be in some jet lag induced fog until November when we stop trying to play God and actually rise and set with the actual sun instead of some man made measurement of time that doesn’t correspond with the position of the sun in the sky like we used to do for the past two or three thousand years. I’m going to be inside keeping warm and trying to decide if my Honeycomb cereal is lunch or dinner because God knows what time it will really be. I’ll be late for work on Monday morning and when I do get myself situated to actually work I won’t do much but ponder about the fact that I’m tired, I have no motivation and I really don’t have any interest in associating with someone that is all joyful because their simple mind has been fooled into thinking they have an “extra hour of sunlight” in their day.

If you want an extra hour of sunlight, get up earlier and get out of work earlier. Stop trying to dictate why the rest of the world has to play your stupid game of “easily fooled” just because your intelligence level is that of a mouth breather. I’m so tired of playing this “cater to the common lowest denominator” game. 

And while I’m ranting, if I have to endure one more idiot announce that they’ve set a meeting for “1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time” when it’s in the middle of July, I’m going to take their moronic nomenclature literally and join the meeting at “1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time”, which, for those that are have the attention span of a gnat, is actually “2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time”.  Throwing in “standard time” to the time zone when you’re scheduling meetings is a futile attempt at trying to sound professional when in fact it makes you look like a big fat goon. I hope you choke on your donut.

If you think Daylight Saving Time is a great idea, you’re an idiot. You’re part of the problem. You have no solution and quite frankly you’re taking up too much space.