It’s been a while

November 28th, 2022

Today marks the second anniversary of Marion’s death. I still miss her. The following meme speaks to me. I succeeded in meeting that goal. I just wish that we’d had more time together; twenty-five years just wasn’t enough.

Trailer Park: Aliens

June 9th, 2022

I was running around the internet recently (figuratively speaking), and came across a trailer for the 1986 movie, Aliens. Michael Edwards, who made the trailer, had decided to produce a “modern” trailer for the movie. It’s pretty good. I saw the movie when it came out, and this makes me want to see it again.

After watching it, I decided to see how it compared to the original trailer for the movie. Here it is:

Watching the original trailer also makes me want to see the movie again, but it is rather different. After watching both of these, I decided to see if Screen Junkies had done an Honest Trailer for Aliens, and they had. It’s pretty funny.


January 17th, 2022

I was wandering around the internet this evening, and ran across this post at The Other McCain.

I had worked up a reasonably-sized post with various music-related reminiscences that were brought up by the post, including links to various YouTube videos and more. Unfortunately, trying to include a link to Rick Beato’s “What Makes This Song Great?” playlist caused the WordPress editor (which I hate) to chew up the post, taking everything within and following the link, and making each word into a separately-quoted part of the link, after removing capitalization and punctuation. Having almost my entire post disappear into an href tag is incredibly frustrating, because for one thing, the editor doesn’t give me a simple way to highlight text and add a link (or, if it does, I haven’t been able to find it yet), and for another, when I hand-enter the html tags for links, I don’t expect the editor to decide it doesn’t like them, and to rewrite them and suck almost the entirety of the damned post into the tag! It’s been several years since I was hand-coding a lot of html, but just making a hyperlink is pretty damned straightforward!

It’s like WordPress only wants me to write things down as though they were diary entries, and doesn’t want my to link to anything. Given that this blog has always been more of a “here’s something shiny that caught my attention” than “here are my deep (or not-so-deep) thoughts about /some subject/,” that is a major drawback of the new editor that WordPress has forced on me sometime in the past year or so.

I know other people have expressed disgust with the WordPress editor; I’ll have to see what solutions they’ve come up with.

Well, that was not the best Christmas ever

December 26th, 2021

I’ve been in the habit lately of taking one or more daily walks. Usually, it’s one walk of three miles, but sometimes I do more than one walk with shorter distances covered.

Friday (Christmas Eve), I took a one-mile walk in the late morning. Just after 4pm, I decided to take another. Unfortunately, I almost immediately ran afoul of a guy who was walking three dogs: two bulldogs, and one smaller dog I didn’t identify. Or, rather, I ran afoul of one of the dogs. One of the bulldogs was doing its business as I approached, but the small dog approached in what seemed an unfriendly manner. When it did that, the other bulldog pulled its leash out of the guy’s hand. Before I knew what was happening, it had clamped onto my right thigh and knocked me onto my ass.

The guy pulled the dog off me, but the fall had put me into a lot of pain. I was able to stand up after a couple of minutes, with the guy and his wife gushing over how badly they felt, and could they do anything for me. Apart from my back, I didn’t feel bad at all. My jeans were torn where I’d been bitten, but there didn’t seem to be much blood, and I thought it was pretty minor.

I decided the thing to do was to go to an urgent care clinic, so I hobbled back to my car, accompanied by the guy, and headed off to my local urgent care clinic. Unfortunately, they had closed early for the holiday. So, I looked on my map app, and found two more relatively nearby. One was closing at 5, so it would have been problematic getting there and getting processed. The other said it was open until 8, so that’s where I headed. Unfortunately, they had closed at 2 for the holiday.

At that point, I decided that a hospital emergency room was the appropriate next stop. The nearest one north of me was probably closer, but I’d used the ER in the hospital to the south before, so I figured that the paperwork would likely be easier and went there.

By the time I got there, I could tell that I was bleeding more than I had thought. I got processed in and evaluated. The ER doctor wasn’t going to do any scans of my lower back until I said that I actually had more pain from that than the bite. The bite turned out to be a bit more severe than their usual dog bite. She told me they normally don’t stitch up dog bites, but my skin was torn more than usual. I ended up with three stitches on the back of my thigh, and one or two on the front. There are other punctures making a nice impression of the teeth, but only two of them were producing most of the bleeding.

When the scans of my back were finished, I was told that I had a “minor compression fracture” of my L1 vertebra, and it was possible that a small bit had broken off my L3 vertebra. I was also told that there was no interventionist treatment for those, and it would go away on its own.

Christmas dinner the next day went well enough, but between my reduced mobility and the pain I was in, it didn’t go as well as I’d have liked. I pointed my daughter to her (unwrapped) present, and said, “I was planning to wrap it last night, but something came up.” Of course, I’d kept her informed of what happened once I got to the ER, so her response about “something came up” was suitably droll.

So here I am, feeling tired, drug out, and in pain. What surprises me is that I’ve also pretty much lost my appetite – I didn’t have breakfast yesterday, ate less than half my plate for Christmas dinner, which was around 2pm, didn’t have anything for dinner last night. This morning, I didn’t have breakfast again, and forced myself to eat some leftovers around noon. I may not eat again today.

Tomorrow, I have to contact my PCP about a followup, contact the police about the incident (the local police station is closed until tomorrow), and the guy whose dog bit me said that his vet will be open tomorrow, so he can provide me with its rabies vaccination information then. If I don’t get it tomorrow, I’ll probably have to start the rabies shots myself, since the incubation period can be as little as a week, and it’s invariably fatal once symptoms show up, according to the ER doctor.

As I said, not the best Christmas. It could easily have been worse, though. Always count your blessings.

I loves me some fine snark

December 9th, 2021

One of my favorite snarky movie review posts was back in 2000, on a now-defunct blog called At Swim Two Birds, named after a literary novel. It was a collection of reviews of the truly execrable movie, Battlefield Earth. The blogger had collected a series of reviews from newspaper movie reviewers, and linked and excerpted them.

I remember two bits from those reviews. In the first, Roger Ebert said that the director used a tilted camera in some shots because he had seen that other directors used tilted cameras, but he obviously didn’t know why the other directors had used them.

In the second bit, which was in the final review quoted, and the one that made me fall off the couch in helpless laughter, the reviewer, whose name I don’t recall, opened the review by saying that he had held off for a week after the film’s debut prior to writing his review, and that, in cases like this one, where every review was scathing, it was often tempting to say that the movie wasn’t actually all that bad. He said he couldn’t do that with Battlefield Earth, “because I would be lying.”

This is a restaurant review, not a movie review, but I giggled throughout it, and just had an incredibly wonderful time reading it.

I will not be eating at this restaurant.

Some Halloween Music

October 31st, 2021

It’s a cold night here, with rain and a chance of snow in the forecast. Here’s a little music for the holiday.

First, a Jonathan Coulton classic.

Next, a Tom Waits song that I was not familiar with.

Here’s the Kingston Trio from 1958 with Zombie Jamboree.

And here’s a version of the same song by Rockapella.

Here’s a song about vampires that I really like. This version is by the composer, but I prefer the version by Small Potatoes. Unfortunately, that one doesn’t appear to be on YouTube.

Of course, we can’t forget werewolves.

I have an old cassette that has a song on it called The Mummy Shuffle, which is all about the love a woman has for Kharis, the mummy played by Boris Karloff. Unfortunately, it only appears on YouTube as the entire tape. This is cueued up to the start of the song.

My Jack O’Lantern This Year

October 30th, 2021

It’s inspired by the Junji Ito story, The Enigma of Amigara Fault. It’s the first one I’ve done that projects an image from the rear in addition to the front-facing image. I read the story a couple of years ago, and it struck me as an appropriate subject for this type of jack o’lantern.

A candle is insufficient to get the proper display, because it doesn’t produce enough light. In order to get it lit properly, I have a bare white LED that’s providing the light for the front cutout, and I have an LED flashlight to show the back image. There are multiple LEDs in the flashlight, which produces a multiple overlapping images. I’ve used electrician’s tape to cover most the flashlight lens to minimize that.

I’ve done a number of other fancy jack o’lanterns in prior years, although not for the past few. I’ll have to see if I have photos available to upload.

Road trip report

September 21st, 2021

I was out of town over the weekend. One of my sisters had a birthday recently, and her daughter wanted to host a surprise party for her. It was originally going to be held on her birthday, but it was delayed because my niece’s husband tested positive for COVID.

In any case, I left home last Thursday and drove to Texas. I took two days to travel from Denver to Dallas, which seemed to work well. It turned out that I was the surprise at the party, which was fine. I had a nice visit Friday and Saturday, then left Sunday morning to head home.

On the way out, I went east on I-70, then south from Salinas. My plan for the return trip was to head west, stopping in Amarillo for a meal at Dyer’s BBQ, and stopping overnight somewhere along the way before heading north on I-25 at Raton to get back to Denver. It didn’t happen that way.

I got to Amarillo in time for a late lunch, but Dyer’s was apparently closed for remodeling. At least, there was fencing all around the building, it looked closed, and nobody was parked around it. Disappointed, I grabbed a quick fast-food lunch, then continued on. I was far enough west of the main highway that my GPS navigation decided that the back roads were faster than going back to the highway. That may have been correct, but it meant fewer gas stations and rest stops, which can be important factors for someone my age.

In any case, I got to Raton before dinnertime, and headed north because I wasn’t that hungry yet. I ended up driving all the way from Dallas to Denver in one day, which was not something I’d intended; I just didn’t want to pay for an overnight stay when I was only a couple of hours from home. It took about 13.5 hours total. The last time I’d done a drive of that length was in 1997, when I drove from Denver to San Antonio in one day; about 16 or 17 hours, as I recall.

I spent yesterday recovering; the lack of activity caused pain in my legs and hips, and I had a headache that started sometime Sunday afternoon and lasted until sometime yesterday. If I had it to do over again, I think I’d stop in Amarillo, no matter that it was early afternoon, and find another place for a good meal and get a room overnight. Maybe try that place that has the 72-ounce steak that’s free if you can eat it in a certain amount of time. Not that I’d order that; I know I can’t even consider that kind of massive meal anymore.

I remember 9/11

September 11th, 2021

I remember going to work that morning.

I remember being told of the plane hitting the first tower.

I remember returning home, and bringing a small television to set up in the break room.

I remember the shock, the disbelief, on the part of the news anchors.

I remember saying to my coworkers, when the second plane hit, that “This is not a tragic accident; this is war.”

I remember the horror when the people were jumping to their deaths.

I remember when the towers came down.

I remember they originally projected that the death toll could be over 10,000.

I remember the scenes the media has refused to show since then, showing the celebrations in Palestine and other middle-eastern nations, with people dancing in the streets, singing, ululating, passing out candy and treats to children, and proclaiming that their god was great.

I remember how clear the skies became when all the planes were grounded.

I remember that it took four days before I could find out that my father had not been in the Pentagon when the plane hit it.

I remember how few days it took before the Left started saying, “This is our fault; we must have wronged them terribly to force them to retaliate like this.”

I remember the warnings about “backlash against Muslims.”

I remember the stories of heroes such as Rick Rescorla. Heroes such as the members of the NYPD and the NYFD. Heroes such as those who went to New York from other locations, driving in cars and pickups to provide whatever help they could.

I remember.

Now we have a Potemkin President and other political figures who have a history of blaming America first and always, who warn us that each Muslim who attacks in the name of jihad while praising Allah is a “lone wolf,” but any attack or defense by a white man is an indictment of every white man for racism and/or conservatism, and who seem more than comfortable with using the Constitution as a snotrag.

Political figures who feel no unity or commonality with average Americans, who either exempt themselves from the laws they pass, or just ignore them, knowing that they can get away with it.

Political figures who crack down on and suppress American citizens, while refusing to apply the same laws and regulations to the illegal aliens they have invited into our country.

I see this, and I will remember.

Memorial Day

May 31st, 2021

It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything here. I’m feeling my losses more than usual today. Friday marked six months since Marion died, and, as today is Memorial Day, I’ve also been reminiscing about men I knew who died in service.

Our President* (“Stay cool this weekend, folks.”) and Vice President* (“Enjoy the long weekend.”) have shown what they think of Memorial Day and our military. They don’t care; Obama purged almost 200 flag-rank officers in order to transform our military the way he promised to fundamentally transform our country, and the officer corps has now, to a significant extent, become political commissars. They relieved the CO of the Space Force of his position for speaking out against Marxism and Critical Race Theory.

I usually post a link to the following article on Memorial Day. I’ll do that again, and add an excerpt.

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.’

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.” I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation….” I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

He wrote that about his time doing death notifications during the Vietnam War, but he could have been writing about now.