Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Obligatory Review

Star Wars: Hope Strikes a Return
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This post contains spoilers of course but more importantly to uber-fans of the Star Wars's also not going to be something you'll want to hear.

I didn't love it.

What!? This movie has already made a gazillion dollars and is being heralded by millions as the truest representation of the zeitgeist of the original trilogy! A masterpiece for a new (2x) generation! How dare I disagree!?

Um, I'll go one further step in rubbing the salt into your wound...

I actually liked Episode I, The Phantom Menace better. Yep. The one with that little snot-nosed terrible child actor as Anakin, the supposedly cheesy CGI and, of course, the introduction of Jar Jar Binks. Yep, that one.

Here's why:

I wanted to like it. And, it didn't actually suck, but it just was like I was watching a rerun. It felt too familiar.

Let's break it down:

We see a small, funny, cute little robot with chirping noises. It soon gets tasked with a mission: avoid the evil space Nazi-looking forces and deliver this secret message to the valiant rebels.

We see Stormtroopers raiding a village looking for someone/something and shooting up the place.

We see an obvious bad guy all in black robes and cape with a helmet/mask being all impatient and commanding and shit. Time and again he acts like he's the leader of the idiot patrol and bursts out in fits of anger at his underlings' incompetence.

There's an old, stately white-bearded European respected actor playing the part of a simple village elder in brown robes protecting someone. He's killed by light saber.

Then there's a young enterprising individual dressed in white eking out a lonely, longing existence on a forgotten, backwards desert planet. By chance, this person and the little robot discover one another and a bond is forged.

Our mish-mash motley crew of heroes are on a quest. They go to a dark, out-of-the way bar on some distant planet filled with an array of all sorts of odd and interesting looking aliens. They meet an old, wise creature with very wrinkled skin and expressive eyes that is the de facto keeper of the flame so to speak. A forgotten artifact connected to an old legend are entombed here.

We see a disillusioned man breaking with the pack and wanting to be free and independent. He meets a rebel prisoner and forms a friendship with him and helps in that person's escape from the clutches of the evil bad guys.

This that and another thing happen but all in the context of the overall premise of escape/chase or search/yearn.

Big and little space ships: Pew Pew.

Big ass, really mo-fo bad spherical Master Weapon that can zap entire planets. Everybody now: Ohhh!

Estranged father and son meet in the midst of battle on a precipitous platform high up in the midst of a vast cylindrical abyss. One good, one evil. The encounter seems to bode poorly for the good guy.

More pew pew.

A countdown to the last seconds of when the Big Bad Weapon will kill the good guys. But just in the nick of time it's destroyed in a massive explosion caused by some really puny looking little spaceships about the size of my Chevy Spark. Pew Pew...BOOM! Must really have been all the pent up energy and surpressed gravity of an entire sun that was consumed by the weapon as fuel. Oh my fucking word, let's just throw every astrophysical fact we know out the fuckin' window why don't you, J.J.?! You fucking imploded the home planet of a noble race of beings in another movie with little logic based in scientific reality, why not this?! (Yes, J.J., je me souviens mother fucker...#remembervulcan)

Sorry, had to rant there at the end.

But, you see, this movie is just nothing more than a blend of the scenes and themes from the first three put together. So, yeah, I guess in that context it is true-er to the original trilogy than the prequels. But the prequels were what this wasn' movies. They had richer, more fleshed out and entirely original story lines. The visuals were, frankly, stunning. What's so bad about a shit ton of CG?

So overall, it wasn't bad. But I feel like I paid $15 to watch a re-release of a 35 year old movie.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bury Christmas

People die every day. Tragedy strikes somewhere every day. We know that. But what about on the glorious birthday of our Lord and Savior? Do we get a reprieve? Not on your life, sucker!

Yesterday's headlines:

Killer storms wipe out at least 15 in the Southeast.

Top Syrian rebel killed in airstrike. (Well, does this count?)

Death of couple found in SUV deemed suspicious.

Body discovered in U-Haul.

Strong earthquake rocks northeast Afghanistan.

Carbon monoxide poising claims 2 on Christmas morning.

Mother and 3 kids killed in Big Bear fire.

Steam temporarily crashes. (Hey, this is major!)

BTW, no double header since finding pertinent news items from a year ago is near impossible on the ever-ephemeral internet. So you got the above and must be satisfied with that. Now go home and eat your figgy pudding or whatnot. Just don't choke on it.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Mine, All Mine

I just realized I forgot to post about it but as of last Monday, I am the sole owner of Hulk, my little 2013 Chevy Spark. I figured out that I'd save over $100 in interest by spending $75 in "interest" now rather that about $175 more over time.

You see, rather than continue paying monthly payments on the premium and interest each month until next October, I decided to take a Balance Transfer for the payoff amount on one of my credit cards. Since the BT rate was 3% and the car loan rate was 8% I saved overall by paying now rather than in smaller amounts throughout the next year.

As I mentioned in my Veruca post recently, I am making big gains on devouring my debt. Now, other than the fees already paid, I currently have only interest free debt (except for one account that is in rapid payment mode) so really, there's no negative about that. It's just a matter of discipline and management in order to avoid the pitfall of rolling over any debt once the temporary 0% APRs dry up.

I plan on getting Hulk detailed sometime next week after this little intrusive bother they call Christmas is over in order to celebrate.

Oh, and speaking of Christmas, watch for my next post...yup, evil Santa's back! And I'm sure he'll have some juicy headlines what with the way this fucking world is going to hell in a hand basket so rapidly. Oh, and yes, I see that I promised last year he'd be back and I forgot. Maybe I'll scan the archival news feeds for then as well and make this year a double header?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Shit. On The Road...

...E'rybody loves swag.

This tiny little clip has been a personal meme for me for a couple months now. And the above line is pretty much all this guy says. But it's the slick, surfer dude way he says it that's so mesmerizing. That and, well, he's cropped here for censorship sake...suffice it to say I had to leave out a big part of the screenshot of this NSFW video.  August 26

But he was reposted in several other Tumblrs as well.

From the naked posters of hot chicks on his bathroom wall, I'd figure he's proly straight. But the way he says "e'rybody" seems to imply it's alright with him if fellow dudes like swag too.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

This Ear Thing Again

I love my body.*

*Said with extreme sarcasm.

I love when these comet-like issues come 'round every now and then, make life miserable while they visit uninvited, and then disappear suddenly time.

We know the gout or gout-like symptoms are one. The shoulder pains are another. The backaches are another. And let's add the over 305 issues with them since that tends to be chronic and pops up every now and again as well. Like a Halley's comet visiting near Earth every 70 years or whatever, these issues come and go with such regularity that when I haven't experienced them for a while, I best bake a cake 'cause I know they'll be ringing that doorbell soon.

Right now (other than the 305 issues) I'm dealing with the ear blockage shit again. You see, I have gooey earwax. Gross, I know. Its consistency is such that when it builds up, it's really hard to get out. And, if I use the normal earwax removal solutions like Debrox, it only makes it worse. Debrox (carbamide peroxide 6.5% solution) only softens it up a bit but this only means it then realigns via gravity to form an oily, slick seal right over the eardrum. Like it's protecting it. Aw, thanks body, you fucking idiot, but now I can't use the eardrum. Coating it makes it near immobile thus sound makes only muted vibrations possible and with only the stronger sound waves.

Needless to say, I've tried every sane remedy in the book (or, actually, on YouTube which I guess is the modern equivalent for "the book.") and it's hardly made a dent since the first day it blocked up for good. And that was about four days ago. So now, again, I'm at the point of needing to go to the doctor's to get irrigated.

I have no doubt they'll get it out. Last time it was this bad was '08 when I did the same thing. But it'll be a $30 co-pay, of course. I'll likely feel absolutely relieved and refreshed when I have clean ears again. It's so oppressive being like this with only half my hearing. And what horrible timing too. I just got my new speakers for the big screen 50" TV I bought and Elite Dangerous: Horizons is loading in the background as I type. Real life space may have no sound but in ED, it's full surround-sound audio and I'll only make out half the experience of what it sounds like landing my ship on another planet.

So hopefully I'll have full hearing again by tomorrow night. Great, just in time to listen to Eric snoring away most of the night.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

SIMS CREATION: My Apartments Through The Years Series, Part 1

Above is a Sims 4 representation of my first four apartments. The first was Bradford St. but it was extremely temporary, lasting only a few months. I got wrangled into sharing an apartment located only about four blocks away from my parents home. I wasn't even enthusiastic about this move since during this time things were pretty decent at my parents. But my friends talked me into it and I moved in soon after graduation. Before the summer was over, all "four" of my other roommates had abandoned the joint and I was left to be the bearer of the bad news to the landlord. No sweat, I was glad to be back at my parents house to enjoy daily lounging by the pool before the weather got too cold.

My first solo apartment was soon after the "big fist fight" with my dad. Having secured full time employment, a car and an indignant attitude all within a few months, it was time to snag my first real apartment just before my 20th birthday in April 1984. Though the address was "Park Avenue" it was far from the luxurious digs ala Monopoly. Roaches, leaky pipes, 1970s paneling (which was quite out-of-fashion by 1984) and grumpy, rough-edged, and nosy neighbors, I was livin' the bachelor pad life in the ghetto. But it was furnished, all utilities included and only $80 a week. (Which in hindsight was probably a ripoff when considering what average rents were going for back then.)

Weary of the inconvenient commute options available between Woonsocket and Pawtucket after getting the job at Blackstone Valley in mid-1986, I moved to a sixth floor apartment in East Providence, a mush easier distance to drive back and forth to. My first experience in "community" living. It too was a bit of a ghetto and to make matters worse, I made too much at the rate of $7/hour to qualify for Section 8 rent which many other tenants were under. I paid market rates which amounted to almost $400/month in 1986 eventually rising to near $500 by 1990. I don't have good luck with rental rates.

Broke, unemployed and car-less, I borrowed my dad's Duster for a few months and moved back to Woonsocket for the start of Black Winter in December of 1990. This ratty little attic apartment had everything one could hope for. Depression, anxiety, full-blown alcoholism and a overbearing, judgmental and spying landlord who lived right below me. Oh what fun Logee St. was.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Another Fallout 4 Video

I'm really getting into the concept of recording my drunken escapades through The Commonwealth and putting it up on YouTube for the world to witness my slurred babbling, horrible shooting and general debauchery. Hmm, that actually describes any typical evening IRL as well. Well, except for the shooting. For now. (Oh watch some fucking real shooting happen again after I post this joke and I'll feel bad. Ugh!)

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

SIMS CREATION: Hohenzolleren Castle

Not meant to be a reproduction of the real Hohenzolleren Castle (if there is or ever was any) but my version of a fantastically grand castle of a lonely, handsome prince. You know, like the song says, the one that will come, some day...

Let's zoom in, shall we...

Here, the top floor is exposed to show a media center room of sorts.

One floor below is the Prince's bedroom.

A cozy library.

A music nook.

A casual family kitchen.

The casual family living room.

Next floor down, we have the many guests bedrooms, bathrooms, and a small fitness room.

Down we go again to the rather downplayed entrance on the main floor

As you enter the main doors, this is the great hall, left side.

And the great hall, right side.

One end of the formal dining hall.

And the other.

Below yet once more, the basement main kitchen and staff quarters.

Finally, here a screenshot I took of the castle at night.

EDIT: Oh, there actually IS a Hohenzollern Castle and it's a shitload more impressive than mine: