Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saturday Night Live Spoofs the Democrats as Old and Out of Touch

     Saturday Night Live takes a break from attacking Donald Trump to spoof the Democratic national Committee's current troubles. Specifically, the DNC is old, out of touch, and dysfunctional while over stating its recent victories in already blue states New Jersey and Virginia. Considering SNL's liberal bias, I am impressed with the skit's biting satire.
     The skit is meant for laughs, but there is a lot of truth in it. Working class democrat supported Trump in 2016 because they thought Democrats were more interested in social justice than unemployment. The situation is not likely to be rectified by 2020 because there is no young, rising star in the Democratic party to run for president. They are seriously considering Joe Biden. He will be pushing 80 by that time.
     Note also the meta reference of Larry David as bernie Sanders condemning David's monologue from last week's SNL about dating in a concentration camp as evidence of our toxic culture. Quite an accurate observation, that.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor

     The BBC released a promotional photo of Jodie Whitaker as the Thirteen Doctor in her normal outfit. It is just a little over a month until the Thirteenth Doctor makes her first appearance when the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, hands over the TARDIS keys upon regenerating at the end of the Christmas special.
     We have yet to see the Thirteenth Doctor in action, but the gender switching already turned off many fans. While the change does not bother me in principle, the possibility of Social Justice Warrior overload does. I would not be thrilled to see Doctor Who, which already is awash in European leftism, go full blown Social Justice Warrior. Never go full Social Justice Warrior.
     While I am cautiously optimistic the show will emphasize science fiction over real world commentary, I am not so optimistic fans will accept the new Doctor any more smoothly than after her tumultuous debut this past summer. I hoped the geeks were just unhappy they had to sit through tennis in order to see the announcement. But if the reaction to the Thirteenth Doctor's outfit is any indication, probably not.
     I confess my first impression was a cross between Mork from Ork and the Eleventh Doctor. Other fans noted her shirt design is reminiscent of Wesley Crusher's from the first season of Star Trek: the Next Generation. Not exactly a more flattering comparison than Mork. To be fair, the outfit looks a lot like something someone who has been a man for 2,000 years would wear after suddenly finding himself to be a woman. Awkward, but feminine.
     While I am defending the choice, I do not particularly like it. I was hoping for a similar Victorian look like Missy's. Since Missy already did that, the powers that be were forced to go in a different direction. I must wait patiently with the other Whovians to see how all this pans out. Maybe Thirteen's personality will reflect the bohemian look she is sporting. There is so much up in the air right now, it is difficult to know. Literally everything will be new in the eleventh series, right down to episode number and format.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Twitter Doubled Characters Allowed Per Tweet

     A few weeks ago, Twitter decided to double the number of characters allowed from 140 to 280 for a select group of beta testers. I was not among the lucky few, but a number of tweeps I follow were. Everyone who took advantage crowed about the change. It was definitely for the better. Not to mention it was a change everyone was going to want for themselves. It looked like Twitter was taking a page from Google in terms of rolling out a new product: invite a select few so as to make everyone on the outside looking in want it.
     Who knows why they bothered with that shtick. I cannot imagine there were any bugs to work out. The original 140 characters was pretty much arbitrary. Every user wanted 280 characters in the first place. But Twitter is not famous for making logical decisions. It is one of the reasons the site is losing cash in spite of its popularity. That and its catering to the Social Justice Warrior definition of offensive speech – translated as anything with which they disagree. But that is a topic for another time.
     I obviously like the increase. But now some critics are coming forward. They are generally old school types who do not like change solely because it is change. They say doubling the character count goes against the original purpose of Twitter. How, though? Twitter is a micro blogging platform. Your average blog post, even those on the small side, clock in at more than 280 characters. Mercy, 280 words is almost unheard of for any of my blogs. Twitter is not now, nor has it ever been, a blogging platform.
     I generally use twitter to post pithy comments on topics I cannot get a full blog entry's worth of content writing about and promote links. These two points rarely require 140 characters. But when they did, I wound up using abbreviations and short hand which made me come across as illiterate. I am thrilled not to run into that problem now. So thank you, Twitter. You are making my online life easier. Now if you could just get your moderating standards in order.

The King is Gone

     A popular question floating around Reddit this morning is if you could have a well known person show up to your funeral, weep openly for a few minutes, and then leave, who would you choose? The answers are generally what you would expect—a hot actress, singer, or model, the Pope, head of a spy agency and the like. I would like to be more creative, but my answer still falls into one of those categories.
     Of course, I am tempted to say Reese Witherspoon. If you have known me for any period of time, you are aware I carry a torch for her. I would need her to cry hysterically,. Maybe even throw herself on the casket. The spectacle would get people talking. Whoa...did the little guy actually hook up with Reese? As cool as that would be, it is not very original.
    I am a Protestant, so I do not have any central religious leader to suggest showing up and weeping at my funeral. Really, would Joel Osteen doing so reflect well on me? I do not think so. Ditto with a spy agency head. I have never wanted to be a spy, and I doubt anyone would recognize the CIA director, anyway. No good choices there.
     My choice would be Elvis. He would come out of hiding to appear at my funeral and weep. I want him to place a single rose on my casket before departing. This would have people talking about my funeral forever. Bonus points awarded if Elvis can slip back into hiding to make the event an urban legend. We are running out of time for the scenario to plausibly occur. If he was still alive, Elvis would be 82 now.
     Feel free to ponder the question yourself. You must come up with something memorable.   

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Periodic Reminder

     One may insist the spirit of this post runs contrary to the general advice to “let dead leaves fall,” but I did vow months ago to make a periodic reminder of the status of my personal belongings. While it is important to let go of the little things, it is also important to keep your word. I weighed the two concepts and decided keeping a vow is more important under the circumstances. What good is a person who fails to keep his promises?
      You may recall when I intervened in the Darlington County sheriff's race I had been abandoned to a nursing home by Team Chavis while they kept all of my personal belongings, surrogate for the campaign said all of my belongings were actually boxed up. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this claim is false. No reason exist to keep any of my stuff if Team Chavis has no intention of ever contacting me again. But I called their bluff and will continue to do so. I have friends in Hartsville who are willing to retrieve my stuff. All they need is the go ahead fro Team Chavis. It is a go ahead that will, of course, never come.
     This is the character of your new sheriff, Darlington. He does not care about doing the right thing. He only cares about the sense of self-worth he derives from wearing a uniform. I will continue to serve as a source of truth for this matter.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Selfie

     It is time again for the usual holiday selfie. I am pushing it here since I posted a selfie with my new game controller a few days ago, but tradition is tradition. It is Halloween, but I am not in costume. It is just your typical, boring selfie.
     You would think like me would be more into Halloween. In my younger days, I was. I have not gone trick or treating since the '80's, but I did the whole costume party and scary movie marathons for years. Not this year, though. I have not watched a single scary movie. Strange, because I am always up for some of the classic Universal horror films. A pox on Tom Cruise for ruining the chance of a modern day revival earlier in the year.
     I did play Castlevania for a good while today. The original NES version. Not any of those sequels and especially not the amine style plaguing the franchise for the last few years. The original reminds me of the Hammer Horror films with Christopher Lee. Hammer plays second fiddle to Universal in my mind, but only because the latter are nearly perfect. All that to say I technically played a horror film rather than watching any. Yes, I lost my touch at the game somewhere along the way.
     Someone made Halloween cupcakes, so there is that. Candy will be half price everywhere, tomorrow, too. I cannot wait to take advantage. I already polished off a bag of mini Milky Way bars earlier this week.
    Now that I look at it, the selfie is pretty good considering what little the camera had with which to work. I am going to use it as my general profile photo on my various social media outlets. At least until Thanksgiving, at any rate. We shall see if the Turkey Day selfie can top it enough to serve as replacement.  

Happy Halloween!

      Happy Halloween!
     Today is the one day of the year we completely undue a couple of the most important life lessons taught to children. One, we let them wear masks and ask strangers for candy. Two, we teach kids there is such a thing as a free lunch—and it is 95% sugar. By the time the damage can be undone, it is Halloween again. What a vicious cycle.
     The best part of Halloween, besides scary movie marathons, is candy will be half priced tomorrow. Hello, Reese's cups and Milky Way bars!

Friday, October 27, 2017

The GameCube Emulator Works Now

    The GameCube emulator, called dolphin for some odd reason, is now working. It needed a .dll file in order to handle the more advanced graphics of the systems. I was nervous the necessity of downloading a file for a brand new, up to date laptop might still mean the emulator would not work, but my fears were for naught. Everything is fine and up to speed.
   Speaking of speed, most of my recent gaming time has been spent playing Mario Kart Double Dash. I owned the game back in 2003. Just to show how long ago that was, I bought it used from Blockbuster. Playing it was my way of unwinding at the end of the day during my final year of law school. I was good enough to unlock most everything by the time I left Virginia for eye surgery. My gaming stuff somehow become misplaced and that was the end of it until last night.
     I have definitely lost my touch in the interim. It has been thirteen years, but I am not only rusty but a whole lot more blind. I cannot tell which is the bigger obstacle at this point. The answer ought to come in a rather short amount of time. On the plus side, I already unlocked the first new available car by beating the first circuit on the easiest setting. Not a particularly great feat, but one takes victories when one can get them.
    Super Smash Bros. Melee is also every bit as much fun as I remember. I owned it back in the day, too. I paid full price for a brand new copy from Amazon rather than buy it used. There were no used copies anywhere. Everyone who bought the game held on to it. No wonder. The senseless violence and mayhem is a great stress reliever. I have not played enough to unlock any of the numerous bonus characters and stages, but give me time.
    My nostalgia trip will likely continue with a long platformer. The remaining GameCube games I owned were of the genre, Super Mario Sunshine and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I liked both, so it is tough to decide which one I want to devote the time needed to play through. Nostalgia gaming had me playing many of Mario and Link's past adventures. Burn out may compel me to not play either one for while. Things were much easier when the GameCube emulator was not working.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

An Old Friend Has Passed Away

     You know you are getting old when you hear about former classmates passing away. One from high school died in 2012 at the age of 35. Two college friends are now gone. The most recent—relatively speaking, since he passed in 2015—i just discovered randomly today. Here is a page set up for him by his funeral home.
     I met Michael Campagna in the fall of 1996. he was the friend of a friend, but we were mutually geeky and hit it off. He was a science fiction buff, especially for the original Doctor Who, and was into the internet back when it was still the wild frontier. We both lived in the Towers. The Towers were well known as the worst dorms on the University of South Carolina campus. He was stuck in them because he was a freshman. I was a sophomore, but was using a scooter at the time and needed a larger, ground floor room to store. Lucky me—the towers were the only option. We bonded over enduring the living conditions.
     Though Michael lived in Florida, he was originally from New York. We obviously never saw eye to eye on sports teams. The 1996 World Series in 1996 was between the Atlanta Braves and the new york Yankees. We ribbed each other brutally during the series. I will give Michael credit—he was gracious in victory when the Yankees won it in six games.
     Michael was only a USC student for a year before he moved back to Florida. We kept in contact via the internet for a decade. We would often talk about science fiction or politics well into the night. We griped about roommates, jobs, and schoolwork as are lives evolved. A few months after my colon rupture, Michael and his wife Jessica came to SC to make sure I was okay. They visited again on my birthday both that year and the next. Their visits caused friction with Team Chavis, but what did not? It was no fault of Michael's or Jessica's.  But that is a story for another time.
     We lost touch sometime in 2006. Michael and Jessica had a growing family and an active life in a new church denomination. Michael was a stay at home dad. He was busy building a happy life for himself. I was trapped in my Oubliette Years with Team Chavis and in no mental or emotional state to be much of a friend for anyone. Nevertheless, I feel pangs of guilt for learning of Michael's death two years after the fact. I am sorry it took me so long, Michael. Life is cruel in so many different.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Retro-Gaming Requires the Right Tools

     The retro-gaming on emulators I picked up on a whim a couple weeks ago quickly turned into a habit. Playing on a keyboard was too awkward for the games I wanted to play, so I sought out a good USB enabled controller that could be used with more than one emulator. I found this one over the weekend. So far, it has been great.
     I am an old Nintendo nerd from the late '80's-early '90's. Aside from a brief fling with the Sega Genesis, it has been nothing but Mario, Donkey Kong, et al, for me. I owned an NES, SNES, and a Gamecube. No Nintendo 64, but I played enough with friends to know how cool it was. Right now, there are NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64 emulators on my laptop.
     Ironically, I cannot get the most popular Gamecube emulator to run. It is ironic because the controller I am using is intended for the Gamecube. It is made for a Nintendo system, has a wide variety of buttons to assign functions, and is a better fit than many of those clunky controllers out there these days. Always stick with what worked well for you in the past.
      Nintendo fans around my age who enjoyed the same systems over the years can guess with near perfect accuracy what games I downloaded for each system. Talk about a nostalgia trip. I have been on one for days now.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

George W. Bush v. Donald Trump

     Former President George W. Bush heavily criticized current President Donald Trump in a speech yesterday in New York City. Bush showed distaste for the toxic tone of personal attacks in Washington, which he implied were encouraged by Trump's tweeting and loose cannon public statements. Bush also came out against Trump's isolationist trade policies and nativism. The latter Bush believes gives free reign to racism while ignoring the contributions of immigrants.
     I do not care to analyze Bush's critique of Trump's character, methods, or policies. There will be plenty of opportunities to dig into those as time passes. What I would like to note is the change in attitude the left has for Bush. It was not too long ago he was considered worse than Hitler. He was a president intent on curtailing civil liberties who did not care about black people and was an idiot to boot. Now he is an elder statesman who wisely critiques the currently wrong direction the country is headed in.
      This sort of flip flop happens among the left all the time. What will be even more amusing than the 180 degree change of opinion on Bush is when the next ignorant, racist, worse than Hitler Republican president is elected. It will force the left to look fondly at Trump as an elder statesman in comparison.
     It is one of the absurdities of leftist criticism of conservative politicians. Liberals throw nasty, often unfounded labels on conservatives, then take it back when such labels are no longer convenient. It takes all credibility at of the criticism. When that happens, you get situations like now with Trump. No one takes his critics seriously, even when they should, because they have lost all legitimacy by being such hypocrites. Bemusing, to say the least.    

Monday, October 16, 2017

Golfing with Gene Simmons

     It has been a while since I was any sort of avid gamer. Over the years I owned an NES, Genesis, Playstation, and a Gamecube. Only with the NES did I play a wide variety of games. Most of the the other three were spent with sports games almost exclusively with a few indulgences to my geek roots. My poor eyesight made it tough to continue playing video games.
     Until recent weeks, that is. Discontinued gaming systems generally find there way online along with their library of titles. The old technology runs smoothly on modern laptops, too. So I have downloaded several gaming systems along with a bunch of games. My game choices are mostly the result of nostalgic rage for the NES from the late '80's- early '90's. The graphics are blips and stick figures compared to what is available today, but the NES cannot be beat for pure fun.
     I will not bore you with the long list of games I am playing, but I will mentioned the game screen capped above. Some tech wizards have played around with many games and modded them in some pretty wild ways. My favorite so far is the otherwise bland Golf for the NES. It was one of the premiere, black box NES titles. The game is normally as bare bones as you can get. It is eighteen holes of golf with no computer opponent or even a soundtrack. Yet it is still fun even in its simplicity. Someone made it even more fun by allowing you to play as KISS front man Gene Simmons.
     You can actually play as any member of KISS, but Simmons is the most recognizable of the four because of his hair. The limits of 8-bit graphics make it difficult to distinguish the make up of the other band members. I have not tried him, but I assume Ace Frehley is too high to make it through 18 holes. There is something cool about playing a round of golf as Simmons rather than the chubby Mario clone your golfer normally is.
     I had not played Golf in probably 24 years prior to rediscovering it several days ago. I was good at it at one point, but definitely lost my touch during the years of absence. There have been several incidents in which I wanted to throw my clubs into a water hazard. I am getting better with practice. Since there is no computer opponent, only your best score recorded for posterity, I do not need to be good. I only need to improve upon what I have shot before.