Sunday, November 27, 2016

Well Tempered Reality

So as I mentioned, I'm on vacation (really a stay-cation) and being such I get awfully conflicted about sleep patterns to the point that I basically don't have one. The days have been absolutely gorgeous here in Central Florida this past week and like today the skies are sunshiny and clear and the temperature is in the mid-seventies. So it lures me on to a day-timer sleep pattern. But then I just want to do the shit I always do, watch Exodus or Netflix and either surf the internet or play games on the computer. Perfect night-timer shit. So the last post at around 1:30 in the morning was really yesterday for me since I'm tending to sleep in chunks rather than a full eight. So like today so far I went to bed around 2:30 am and woke up at 7:30 am. Five hours. Hmm. But maybe that explains the experience I had soon after waking.

First of all, let me tell you, I had (and have had the past few days) a really weird dream. In it it seems I'm sleeping with someone...no, not having sex just sleeping fully-clothed in bed beside someone. Gender of this person: I don't remember. Whoever it was I felt very uncomfortable. It felt like they chose to sleep beside me without my permission and perhaps in spite of me. IDK, it was a jumble of awkwardness and shame and discomfort and revulsion and rage all rolled into one. But this isn't the weird part. I then realized I was in a dream, so I said to myself, well just wake out of it. And I tried, but instead I sprung out of my dream bed right back into another dream bed! And I kept trying, and it kept happening! This is some Inception shit going down here! I can't say I was really freaked out though and as my fifth or sixth try finally succeeded I kinda smirked and shrugged, "Well that was different." chuckled and got out of my REAL bed and started my REAL day.

And what a day it's been so far.

I got up and as per my usual routine I went to my computer. No fucking phone for me. It's there and I checked it for messages but that's the extent of its usefulness. Call me a dinosaur but I like desktop computers. I doubt I'll ever change. In the year 2033 when everyone else has long gone to inter-ocular implants I'll still be with my fellow ol' timers typing away at a clickity keyboard sitting at an old fashioned piece of furniture called a desk. Ah, who'm I kiddin'? I'll long be dead by then.

But seriously, I checked out the front page of reddit and there was a post about tonight's upcoming episode of Westworld. It was postulating what the significance might be of the title of the episode: Well Tempered Clavier. Of course my fellow geeks were all ablaze with their replies imagining all sorts of ways that could be pertinent to the show. I swear these guys pick apart every freakin' piece of the show and analyze it for clues to the larger arc of the show's premise. They're fucking obsessed.

But anyway, it got me fondly remembering the set of pieces this title was named for, harpsichord "preludes and fugues" by the great Johann Sebastian Bach. Back in the early eighties I had a subscription to Time-Life's Classical Favorites collection of cassette tapes. The commonly played pieces of the most famous composers covering the whole "Classical" genre including Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic categories. By the way and for the record, I'm pretty sure that technically the term "Classical" only applies to the Classical period in this timeline but you know how the public is...like Trump voters they fuck everything up.

Well this series, which by the way was really, really good, got me into "Classical" music big time. When my peers were listening to Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and even Flock of Seagulls...so was I...I loved them, but the deepest part of my heart went to Classical. Of course, as I've mentioned before, my favorite movie of all time "Amadeus" which debuted during these same years was only the wholehearted vindication I needed to continue my "different drummer" path and more-closely embrace the genre.

So I scoured the music stores (Yes, back then there were many little corner music stores that sold...well, music. On physical things like 8-track tape, cassette tapes or vinyl records.) and picked up many. many more cassettes to add to my collection. And since "Classical" was decidedly out of vogue, they were marked down. Yeah. Oh, if you're thinking why I didn't buy vinyl records instead of cassettes since the quality is so different. Well, frankly, cassettes were cheaper, you could play them in your car and average stereos of the day were not the audiophile art pieces of today when it came to playing vinyl. Back then, records sounded the same as cassettes and being as they were more expensive, required a turntable and were prone to scratches or cracks, yeah, cassettes were the bomb.

At some flea market I stumbled across a green-colored bound collection of cassettes in pristine condition. It was the Well Tempered Clavier complete set. Books One and Two. I don't remember how many cassettes but maybe about a dozen. Hours and hours of music.

I've since found out today or, in reddit parlance, TIL, that the whole series is designed to show off the advantages of a "tempered" tuning system when maintaining harpsichords and clavichords as to the older system. Um, whatever. It's interesting, but it's not the basis of my post.

I played an excellent rendition of the whole first Book on YouTube and, frankly, I was crying like a baby...tears streaming down my cheeks.

At first when hearing it I thought, "Wow, this is a really famous piece because I've heard it so many times." But then I realized...it's not THAT famous. I mean, do you hear Bach played everywhere? Ever? Occasionally in a movie but not played anywhere to the extent one would think "famous." (Other than Toccata and Fugue in D minor...that shit is famous in every classic scary movie including Phantom of the Opera..you know...Check it out on YouTube.)

What I realized is that it seemed so familiar to me because I had heard it hundreds of times. I listened to those tapes practically every day back then. And yes, occasionally while or after smoking weed. And it was awesome.

Even without drugs, this set of music is what I came to perceive as the closest to perfection as Man could come. This was it, guys. Go ahead...try to follow this.

Oh, as you know, Mozart (who if you didn't know came after Bach) did really, really well himself. But if you ask me, it was JS Bach that reached for and achieved the pinnacle of human musical achievement in all of history.

But here's the sad part. Sometime in the late eighties, I stopped listening. The collection was stored away and I think it eventually ended up either being tossed away or left with Chiafalo. I hope it's with him. I know he'll preserve them.

I don't remember why. Why did I abandon this music? Why?

All I can think of is that listening to this music made me feel special. Like the world was my oyster. I was intellectual and strong. I would succeed beyond my wildest dreams.

And, well, then I didn't.

So fast-forward, thirty years to today, listening to these pieces of music probably for the first time in those many years, and I remembered. I remembered the dreams. I remembered the youthful optimism. I remembered the power and majesty that this music imparted to me.

And now I sit, with a twelve pack of IPA and mistily think back to those heady times...when I was going to conquer the world!

And soon I'll sleep. My sleep pattern is wonked off trail. This may all be a dream. Does not compute. Re-booting in process.

Maybe then, I'll awake in my REAL existence.

Ric's Slide To Koyo

Though we're not officially "broken up," it's pretty fair to say we really aren't "friends" anymore. Were we ever? By some definitions, no. not really. But we were "there for each other" through some tough times and around for the occasional good times.

Ric and his bestie Scott. I like Scott, I've known him for years too. I think I first met him when he came down here back around the time this pic was taken at IOA back in the Golden Age of our theme park halcyon days. Gary's here too and Barry, Scott's then-beau. They're both gone now. And yes by "gone" I mean dead.


Here's Ric this week with his bestie Scott up in "India-No Place" as they like to call it. Ric's visiting fam and him for T-Day, of course. Usually Ric would take vaca time, like I have this week. No need for him to do so now since, well, he's unemployed. Yet the partying goes on!





Oh party on, Ric. These are the somewhat fun days...the money stash from the 401k close out is still quite robust. But when the hangover comes and you realize the shit you're in, it seems like such folly. Hopefully that realization doesn't come too late for some damage control to go into place.

Ah well, at least he has his BFF to join him on his journey into Koyo. Dear Scottie's pro'ly guzzling the sauce 'cause he recently broke up with his boyfriend and at 53 it's gonna be a bumpy ride on the "elder gay dating again" ride. And unlike Ric, Scott's self-realization skill set is still somewhat in tact so he well knows it. You're right Scott, those highlights don't make you look 30 again and they're not in style anyway, outside of Indiana.

Wow, I just laughed out loud reading this. It sounds like I'm a jealous ol' bitter queen with nothing better to do than write my derisive critique on a blog no one reads.

Bitter, party of one!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

PLANET COASTER: Patriot Land

Yes I'm so freakin' in love with this game I'm creating a blog series of creations from it like I do with the Sims. Here's a park themed in conjunction with today's holiday celebrating the colonial foundations of our great country. Most of the buildings on the main island are made by me.
















Wednesday, November 23, 2016

More Planet Coaster "Westworld"

More screenies of my new fave game...

Here's my Westworld park entrance in the daytime:


Oh, oh...a gunfight on the main strip.


Is that "host" aiming at me?


Maybe Dick Van Patten will apply? (Nod to the original film)


More scenes of the fairway.


It looks so safe. Nothing could go wrong with these robots, right?


This wild ride is called "Last Train Out of Pariah"


This ol' woodie is named "Arnold's Rage"


Here's an inversion style coaster called "The Delos Demon"


This coaster is "Robot Revenge" and it's all sci-fi robotics themed.


It zips very low right at the entrance.


Welcome to Westworld, Partner! A Delos Technologies experiment, er, experience!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cheaper Than A Real Park


Well I'm smack in the midst of my T-Day week stay-cation and though I planed to play many, many hours of Civ VI and maybe visit Universal a couple of times this week, instead I find myself devoting virtually all my computer game hours to a game which also serves as a digital quenching of my theme park thirst as well. Planet Coaster is the king of the current iterations of the RollerCoaster Tycoon like games, including RollerCoaster Tycoon World which is that publisher's newest and much yawned over entry. Planet Coaster is actually the spiritual successor since it's made by Frontier who also made the highly-praised RollerCoaster Tycoon 3.

I'm sure there's a sufficiently bawdy tale of corporate fucking over to explain why the maker of the third and arguably most successful game in a well-beloved series has ended up making the next logical brainchild of that series without the well-known RT title but I really have zero fucks to give about it. All I know is I'm satisfied my $45 went to the right guys 'cause I'm frankly mesmerized by this freakin' game. Like RT3, the magic is all in the building. And this game doesn't disappoint. Add a robust and prolific support community churning out a ton of content and adding it for everyone to use free from the Steam Workshop and well, good buy Universal, I'll see you later. Much later.

At the head of this post is a screenshot of the entrance to my first sandbox mode park. It's called Westworld. And like the great HBO series it's filled with all sorts of thrilling mystery, thus the very dramatic entryway. I haven't figured out how to make my own sign but when I do I'll throw it up on this archway, of course. My park has both an old west theme and a futuristic robot theme. I have both a western gunslinger and metal robot as entertainer employees roving around thrilling the guests. If only I could make a Dr. Ford character with the menacing grin of Anthony Hopkins, well, I might actually scare myself, come to think about it.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The President In Greece

So staying away from news media for the past couple of days has helped soften the internal blow to my psyche due to the election results.

But I happened to just a moment ago notice that President Obama was speaking while away in Greece and it was being streamed live.

So I'm typing this and listening to his careful yet natural-brilliant delivery and flipping over every minute or two to see him delivering his speech while looking out among the people gathered and just freakin' oozing class and dignity.

And I'm crying.

In the near future, our newly-elected, yet no-where-near-as-good replacement, may well be before the same audience in Athens saying shit like this...

"Thank you! Thank you people of Greece!"

"I want you to know I love Greece! I love having lunch at the gyro place around my Trump Tower home. It's terrific! Really, really terrific!"

"I loved the musical named after your country with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Ahh, but I joke. What do I know?!"

"I do have a bit of an issue though, speaking from my experience in real estate development; you really got to do something about this here Parthenon. I mean it's pretty run down. You might want to add a little gold leaf to it or something. Gold leaf cures everything. Or just tear it down, saving nothing, like I did with the historic Bonwit-Teller building in Manhattan. Just a thought."

"Oh and I want to thank the Greek people for not caving into pressure from your neighboring countries of Albania and Turkey and going all "Allu Akbar" on us all. You might want to consider building a wall? Keep out the Muzzies. Just sayin'."

"And to Greek women...some of you are smokin' hot. Just sayin'. I mean, you make the thing on my body that is as huge as my hands even huge-er! And I hear you keep it bushy down there where I like to grab. Nice!"

"Thank you and good night! And though I say I love you guys, please don't come knockin' on our door. We keepin' it White and Right in my America if you know what I mean. Peace out!"

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wish I'd Forgotten About This One Too

Back in April, I posted about my regrets that I'd had a total senile moment and forgot to attend a live play that I'd already paid for. It was a rendition of "Hello, Dolly!" performed by the Rollins College theater group and being a big fan of the Streisand film I'd been hoping to see the Broadway version and kicked myself for not attending.

Well, Saturday night at work I was checking my email and saw that the same troupe was doing a performance of "Upton Abbey" promising to be a unique and hilarious improv send up of television's "Downton Abbey." And the next show time was Sunday at 4:00 pm. "Perfect" I thought. I bought my ticket online securing a "box seat" for $20. Well, all the seats were $20 so that should have been the first red flag.

"Oh this should be rich!" I thought, thinking of all the creative ways they could spoof the tropes of the series. Will they have a riotous "Hide the dead lover raucous?" emulating the whole Mr. Pamuk incident with Lady Mary and her maids scurrying around the Abbey halls with the poor deceased paramour. Will they comically mimic the back stairs machinations of O'Brien and Thomas? Would they smirkingly have some ominous musical note playing (like the well-known funeral dirge) whenever someone mentioned driving an automobile or being treated by the village doctor when ill? All these really great ideas spun through my head thinking of the fun the director could have doing this.

My disappointment set in right away. The set design was bland and unimaginative. The costumes were anachronistic and looked like what they probably were: thrift store "vintage" items. And the actors were horrible. Sorry to be so blunt especially as they're all college kids (for the most part) but really...vocal fry afflicted millennial accents trying painfully to mimic either high-brow Gentrified English or low-brow "North Country" accents. Poor enunciation, poor projection, confusing or distracting pantomime, modern American word choices, inaccurate body posture and hand gestures, etc, etc, etc. They had no business being up there and getting $20 a head.

Worse though was the theming, writing and direction. The characters and their setting had only a glancing similarity to the same on the TV show. They used similar sounding names and similar-ish traits like the stuffy old-fashioned butler and the overly sensitive red-head daughter. But that's where the hommage to Downton ended. The premise was to involve the audience interactively by having options to vote on plot points and lines and charter direction before the performance and during intermission to influence the focus of the dialogue and plot. Big problem though since, well, there was no dialog or plot. The whole performance was, reportedly, improvised and based on the way it panned out throughout the first act, I can believe it. But improv is a fickle thing. Players have to have a very strong sense of timing and a natural talent for comedy. Otherwise you get what we got...a fucking mess.

They attempted to portray 30 separate characters among 15 players. The dual role for everyone in itself wasn't the problem...some like the guy playing both the Lord of the Manor and the Head Butler did it pretty well (turns out he was the faculty writer and director so it's no wonder he was the best of the bunch) but most muddled their accents (oh those horrible, horrible fake accents) and portrayals.

And why so complex? Why 30 characters? Well, according to their theme, the performances were composed to follow a narrative that would arc through the succession of show times and advance the character plots throughout. Since the audiences each night dictated which characters they opted to have as lead or feature, there existed a wide array of different characters to choose from. I'm sure the writer-director looked at this premise on paper once he thought it through but in practice it turned out to be an utter mess. Unless you went to more than one showing, you wouldn't "get" the progression of the story. What I saw, rather, was just a freaking mumble jumble of disjointed vignettes that had no rhyme or reason.

But thankfully I didn't see it for long. After an arduous and painful hour of not laughing at the weak puns, G-rated lover trysts and badly-executed pantomimes I, like many others apparently, utilized the intermission as an opportunity to enact a rapid escape and walked out without a second thought.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ushering In Helter Skelter?

So I was reading about all the nefarious incidents of hate popping up around the country now that closet racists, xenophobes and Islamaphobes feel compelled to shine forth their true colors to the world a bit more vividly. Things like middle school lunchroom chants among white kids yelling "Build the wall!" to their minority peers, "Trump" scribbled across the entrance to a Muslim prayer room on a college campus and "Heil Trump. Fuck your safe space" emblazoned on another campus wall.

But also I read that Trump himself isn't addressing these hate crimes perpetrated by his "fringe" followers but complaining via his beloved communication tool of choice, Twitter, about the anti-Trump protesters being "unfair." And that some, likely in his camp, are calling at least one anti-Trump rally an outright "riot."

It got me thinking back in time to the whole Charles Manson trial in the early 1970s when we found out why Manson and his "family" did what they did. (In case your history knowledge is a bit rusty or incomplete, the Manson Family was responsible for a series of horrifically brutal murders in the Los Angeles area.) According to Manson himself, they killed their high-profile white victims in hopes of pinning the crime on black people so the ensuing public outrage would initiate the Race War he and his followers believed was inevitable.

This Race War or Helter Skelter, in Manson's mind, was needed because it would enable the physically superior black people to slaughter the white people to extinction and bring about a Holy Correction to the world order that was long overdue. I know, it's complicated but Manson, a white guy, was racist against whites, wanting other races to wipe them out as payback for all the atrocities the white man has brought forth on the rest of the world.

Lo and behold, the day after the election, a reporter reached out to Charles Manson, who, in case you didn't know, is a lifetime inmate in California's Corcoran State Prison, to get his reaction to the election results. Below is his response which is totally insane, since, well, Manson is. Insane that is. But notice the drawings. It looks like Anasazi-like primitive native culture drawings. Is Manson saying that these drawings foretell of the Great Race War and that Trump's election is one of the hallmark moments in our achieving our species ultimate Cain and Able metaphor?

Crazier things have been said.


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Alright...One More

By the way, Trump voters...thanks for bringing this to our reality. And to those who tacitly supported him because they thought he would be a better alternative to Hillary Clinton: Well say hello to your new brethren:

Oh Yeah, And This...

I remembered when George Bush dragged us into the war in Iraq I thought of this quote from Star Wars Episode III. Now it totally fits the election results:

Shocked And Awed

WTF!!!??

How the fuck did this happen? This is unbelievable. Who are these people who voted for this guy? And in vast numbers. Compared to the polls and how the anchors were blabbing earlier tonight, the actual results are a freakin' landslide in comparison. For a blowhard who has never held any public office or served in the US armed forces at all. Where are these idiots? Though apparently a majority of my fellow Floridians and residents of my home county, Seminole, are all supporters of his. Literally everyone I know and speak to or read Facebook posts on or even hear about have been anti-Trump since the beginning. Not all pro-Clinton, but not for Trump. I'm totally at a loss.

When W won by that sham of an "election" in 2000, I had no one to blame but myself almost literally since I lived here in Florida and as you may recall, it all came down to Florida then. And when he won I didn't like it being a liberal Democrat, but I had actually liked his father in the late eighties and voted for his father so I gave W benefit of the doubt, especially as he was, comparative to this race, a relatively unknown person. He won in 2000 and again in 2004 because the country was in a more Republican leaning frame of mind in general and W while an idiot didn't seem that threatening.

But Trump! He too is an idiot but a dangerous puppet master idiot. He's gonna run this country right into the ground and as he's failing he's gonna do the inconceivable and not relent, but double down and we'll either end up in total economic collapse, ostracized and isolated by the rest of the world or we'll be frying in the wake of an all-out nuclear war.

Expectations are that the market later today will open and the DOW will plummet. This is bigger than the Brexit issue many are comparing this too. The effects of this decision "America" has made will be felt way sooner than anything Britain will experience as a result of their slow withdrawal from the European Union.

Oh he was reading the teleprompter pretty well an hour or so ago when he congratulated Hillary for her years of service but his blood-thirsty mob of semi-literate hillbilly fanatics will demand he go back to his "put her in jail" rhetoric quickly. And he'll be happy to oblige. I don't buy it for one minute that he'll lead by consensus and assemble a team of experts who he delegates decisions to. He thrives on total control and likes to thwart the naysayers and caution-mongers.

Michael Moore called a months ago on Bill Maher's show that he thought Trump would win and just earlier last night he was on NBC saying that people who voted for him were blinded by their bitterness and were being conned by a master con-man who knows he can't deliver anything he promised. And, Moore predicts, many of these duped minions will soon wake up to that fact in a few months after Trump is in the White House and either reneges on these pie-in-the-sky "aspirations" or simply fails to pull it off.

The smoke will clear and the mirrors will shatter and Trump will be exposed for the charlatan he truly is.

Reddit reports that the Canadian immigration web site tonight is suddenly down "for some reason." Yeah, it's my fellow logical and sane Americans that are high-tailing it outta this crazy country.

I gotta order my Echo Dot featuring voice-activated search capability so I can get going on my Manitoba cabin in the woods...

Monday, November 07, 2016

SIMS CREATION: It Better Happen

Or we're truly screwed.

Back in late '07 I created a pretty good version of the White House in Sims 2 and put Hillary in it. At the time, everyone, including the writers of a famous Halloween sketch done by SNL thought she was a cinch candidate and the race between her and any others just wasn't much of race at all. But then Barack Obama surprised everyone by gaining in the polls and subsequently winning the nomination knocking presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary out before she could even get running.

When I got Sims 3, I made an even better version of the White House and put the ultimate winner of the 2008 race and his wife Michelle in it.

Both those White Houses are long gone I'm afraid. Too many computer upgrades and replacements along with newer Sims versions means they live on only in my memories now.

But this Sims 4 creation still exists. Well, on the EA Sims Gallery that is. My original version went kaput with my Dell hard drive sometime last year. I guess I could download it if I wanted to. Here are some of the snapshots taken from the Sims Gallery. As you can see, even though I made this version way back in 2014, I knew she and Bill would be back and happily it's now just a day away.

But my hubris and precognition has failed me before so I'm a little worried that I might jinx it. I refuse to make a Donald and Melania since if they win I'll be living far, far away from humanity in a little cabin in the desolate woods of Upper Manitoba.








And here's my new home if they don't make it:

Friday, November 04, 2016

Boonswaggled!

I voted by "absentee" (mail-in) ballot a couple of weeks ago. In Florida, any registered voter can do so and frankly since you don't have the hassle of the lines, the ugliness of the litter of pamphlets, posters and signs and the possibility of having to vote in a building you'd rather not be in (see my experience in 2008) I have no idea why almost everyone doesn't do it. But I only found out tonight after reading an article in the Orlando Sentinel that I voted incorrectly.

Not for the office of President and Vice-President, that was a freakin' no-brainer, but on the first amendment option on the Florida Constitution. Here's how it's worded:

This amendment establishes a right under Florida's constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use. State and local governments shall retain their abilities to protect consumer rights and public health, safety and welfare, and to ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.

So reading this, I thought it was pro-solar/alternative fuel. Yes, down with fossil fuels. Protect our environment and decrease our oil dependence. Save the Earth. All that, right? That's what it sounds like in the first sentence.

But it turns out, this proposal is actually anti-solar!

If you read the whole thing and understand its meaning, which I didn't do when I voted, its actually saying "Hey, you want solar? Great. You pay for it and get no help from anyone else." No subsidies, possibly no tax relief and perhaps even limitations on access to the greater power grid. It's a big "Fuck You" to solar advocates.

And I stupidly voted for it.

This deception in wording is under fire from solar power and is under review by the Florida Supreme Court as to it staying on the ballot in its current form. It's alleged it was purposely worded to mislead people (re. me) into believing they were voting for something in favor of the expansion in the use of solar energy.

Filling our sunny skies with the invisible yet malevolent effluence from evil places like the Stanton Energy Complex isn't enough for the big oil and coal interests, they need to confound us and trick us with word salad chicanery, gall darn it!

This is ridiculous! How can a state with our nickname be against solar?

I see you twirling that mustache you scoundrel!