Comic-Con Trailers

A bunch of cool trailers and videos have come out of Comic-Con, as always.

Fear the Walking Dead

I didn’t think I’d be interested in the The Walking Dead [sic] spin-off but I like the focus on the time period before the zombies completely take over. Once they pass the total collapse of civilization, I’ll probably lose interest in the new series unless they somehow make these new characters really compelling.

The Shannara Chronicles

First time I’ve wanted to watch MTV since the 80s. I believe The Shannara Chronicles is based on the second book, The Elfstones of Shannara (you see the stones in the trailer). I don’t remember much of anything about the second and third books, but I’m rather embarrassed to admit I did an oral book report on Elfstones for my eleventh grade English class. (I guess that would be no big deal today, but back in 1986 it was not normal to read fantasy books, and I still have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to commit social suicide like that.)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Speaking of the 80s, when I see anything about The Force Awakens, it’s almost impossible not to feel like I’m a kid again waiting to get into the theater to see Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. But I also remember the excitement and anticipation of waiting in the theater to see The Phantom Menace, and the exact moment I realized what a crushing disappointment that movie was (it was the moment I realized that Jar-Jar Binks was not just a passing joke and he was going to stick with Qui-Gon Jinn for the rest of the movie), so I have to remain jaded and skeptical and try to set my expectations to the point where I’ll be happy with a completely average movie. (I also haven’t forgotten that while J. J. Abrams did surprisingly well with Star Trek the reboot, he utterly destroyed Star Trek Into Darkness.)

The Newsroom

My new favorite show is HBO’s The Newsroom. You may have seen edited versions of the “America isn’t the greatest country anymore” clip floating around Facebook for various political purposes. Below is (almost) the complete opening scene of the first episode.

It’s an amazing blend of really serious drama and really silly comedy about news and politics. It almost makes me want to try to write about politics again*.

Mostly because I can strongly relate to the show’s views on news and politics, which from my perspective are fairly centrist. (I imagine it’s popularly believed to be slanted liberal though, because anything that isn’t slammed all the way over to the right is considered liberal these days.) Most importantly, The Newsroom portrays journalists doing what I think they should be doing: Keeping politicians honest. Unfortunately in real life, that job falls on comedians, while journalists seem content in their role of parroting whatever they’re told to say.

* Except I now know that trying to push back the mountains of ignorance that comes out of political discussions every day to be a quixotic effort. Hey, see what I did there? I used a metaphor from the show!

Pi Day

Couple things.

I just realized that I hate Pi Day. Because suddenly it’s everywhere and everyone thinks it’s cute to celebrate it. It was funny five years ago. Now it’s just silly.

Because most people in America probably don’t even know what pi is. Whenever I see someone say, “Happy Pi Day!!” I want to scream in their face, “YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT PI IS DO YOU?”

So I think from now on anyone who celebrates Pi Day should be required to solve a real-world problem using pi first.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s appropriate for Americans to celebrate the most basic of geometric concepts. It fits with the average level of math education in this country.

P.S. Don’t even get me started on the people celebrating Pie Day.

Netflix Makes Passwords Hard

Because Netflix forced me to change my password into something that was easy to enter with a remote control into a television interface–since my television invariably asks me to re-enter said password every month for no apparent reason–I have now forgotten what my Netflix password is, and apparently LastPass never updated when I changed it. I’ve now been waiting about ten minutes for them to send me the password reset email. Come on Netflix. This is basic IT functionality here.

UPDATE: Oh, and the reason I need a password is because I am attempting to log into my account on my Android phone, because the Netflix app for the iPad is so terrible that it almost never actually plays videos.

Although it could always be Verizon blocking Netflix video, because of that whole Net Neutrality thing we don’t have anymore. Thanks Verizon. Glad you’re at the forefront of making U.S. Broadband Access so terrible compared to the rest of the world.

More Facebook in 2015?

I feel like I should engage more with Facebook in 2015. But, to be honest, I hate engaging with Facebook. It’s incredibly weird for me to interact with real life people in the way that I’m used to interacting with The Internet. (Yes, I think of Real Life and The Internet as two entirely different worlds.) Publishing content to The Internet is a form of creative expression, whereas writing and liking things on Facebook is more like dinner party small talk.

Stouffer's Lasagna Italiano

I don’t quite know what I would say to Facebook anyway. Tonight, after an entirely ordinary day at work, I made myself a lasagna… by opening a box of frozen Stouffer’s Lasagna Italiano and putting it in the oven for an hour. I try to avoid eating such blatantly unhealthy food too often, preferring instead to make something based around a chicken breast, but this week it seemed like a handy shortcut. Also this is a brand new variety of Stouffer’s Lasagna that showed up in my grocery store a few months back, and I like it better than the previous two varieties. It has FRESH CHEESE & AGED PARMESAN, after all.

Anyway, I might post something about the Stouffer’s Lasagna Italiano on Facebook which, to me, would be a hilarious poking of fun at all the foodies on The Internet who post their recipes and report what they’re eating for lunch and dinner. Unfortunately the humor of it would probably be lost on everyone and they would just think it’s weird. Plus all the foodies that I poked fun at would get all defensive. They might start to think that their recipes and lunches and dinners weren’t appropriate content for The Internet. Which, in fact, it isn’t. Hence the humor.

(However, food makes for great conversation in a dinner party.)

Now I’ll head over to Facebook and report on my first Monday in 2015.

P.S. I changed my WordPress theme to the plain vanilla Twenty Fifteen theme. I like it. It looks great on a mobile device.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Out of curiosity, I did extensive research (i.e. briefly went to Wikipedia) to find out exactly when January 1 became the first day of the year. Apparently nobody knows but it was some time before the adoption of the Julian calendar in 45 BC.


Back At The Old Grindstone

I realized I hadn’t updated this blog with new information since my unemployment. August was a very quiet vacation month for me. Then I accepted a part-time position working as a sub-contractor on my old project starting September 2. My role is to assist with an upcoming server migration (which keeps getting moved but is supposed to occur this upcoming week) and to help transition my knowledge about the project to the new hires. The project is slightly chaotic now, and it’s less money, but I’m rather enjoying the “part-time” status. This may or may not last through December, depending on many factors.

I’ve noticed that dusk is arriving earlier each day, which means that Fall and Winter is approaching again. For me, Fall means raking a ton of leaves and sneezing a lot since I am basically surrounded by trees on all sides, but on the plus side it means an end is in sight for mowing. This year I hope to do a little better job of winterizing my mower. If I’m very lucky, today may be the last day I mow. (But probably not. I made the mistake of letting my grass get too long before winter last year.)

Winter for me also means hoping that my dog doesn’t repeat the anxiety she experienced last year over my leaving for work in the morning. I still don’t know what triggered it but the only thing I can figure is that because of the season I was leaving the house when it was fully dark. This year I might adjust my schedule to leave a bit later after the time change.

Today Bella is experiencing an episode of “reverse sneezing.” These episodes are pretty scary for both me and the dog but I’m told there’s not much to be done about it except to try and keep the dog calm. They usually last a day and then she is fine. This weekend has been much cooler so I’m guessing that is what triggered it.

August Didn’t Arrive Too Soon

It’s finally August, and boy am I happy about that. July was one of the craziest months of uncertainty and turmoil that I can remember.

After the drama of July, I am now unemployed. I have plenty of time to find a job, though, so don’t worry. I was eligible for more severance than I expected, and I can stretch that to last for quite a while, assuming I don’t need to go to a doctor. (I may soon have more intimate knowledge of Obamacare than I cared to.) Even beyond that, I have some savings. More importantly, though, I have job skills that are at least a little bit in demand.

It may be surprising to reveal that everything turned out almost exactly the way I wanted it to turn out. It must be rare that being laid off is one of the better things that can happen to a person. But now I have an infinite number of possibilities ahead of me, and time to pursue them, whereas a little over a month ago, I didn’t.

It’s my hope that I can find a job that allows me to telecommute (ie. work from home), which is probably a pipe dream but I can afford to pursue it for a little while. I started my professional life working from home, so I’m familiar with the pros and cons. I’m curious to see if I can take the lessons I’ve learned from cubicle life and apply them to a home office.