Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Am Now the Proud Owner of a New Laptop

    In addition to the most important part of enjoying a day with a close friend, yesterday saw the completion of another goal—I now have a new laptop! I had been stashing away cash for many months now in anticipation of the inevitable day when my old laptop gave up the ghost. My machines suffer heavy use. They usually fail me sometime in their third year. My previous laptop is about two and a half years old now. It was also becoming cranky, if I mat get all technical on you. Salvation came in the form of a windfall, so I bought a new laptop before my old one died.
    There is no way to convey how fortunate I am with that, either. The internet has gone down for as long as a weekend before, and I wound up claiming the walls. Tech addicted does not begin to adequately describe me. I would go bonkers if I was forced to wait any period of time for either repairs or a replacement if my laptop died. I have switched over to the new one and sent the old into semi-retirement to return should circumstances warrant.
   The new one is working out well for me. It features the same RAM and memory—enough to run the internet, a Word document, and music simultaneously with no slowness—but it is more suited to my visual impairment. There is a larger screen. The keys are also larger, more spaced out, and have bigger lettering. I have already noticed I am making far less typos than before because it is easier for me to hit the proper key and the proper key only. There was much frustration with typing before. I resigned myself to it, but now that is not necessary. Perhaps the easier time writing with encourage steadier blogging.
      If you would like some advice, swallow your pride and buy your laptop from Wal-Mart instead of Best Buy or Staples. My new laptop is a brand name Lenovo Thinkpad. Even with the two year warranty I purchased along with it, I still saved well more than I would have buying the same laptop from a specialty electronics store and I still did not purchase the cheapest brand name laptop Wal-Mart carried. There were two other more high end offerings, but they were suited for gaming and heavy video editing, two activities I am not going to engage in.
     I am obviously enjoying my new laptop so far. All the most important stuff has been set up. I am going to take the slow route to transferring about 11 GB of files from the old to the new via flash drive. Goggling how to use a Wi Fi connection between two laptops was enough to scare me off trying it, so it is going to be done the manual way. Ditto with all the bookmarks from Chrome. There are all on a text file sitting in my Gmail inbox to be transferred the hard way. So I am going to be busy for a while. But it is a happy busy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Windfalls & Bonuses

     I was fortunate enough to enjoy a windfall a couple weeks ago. My luck still being its usual ornery self, a couple complications came along about the same time. There is no sense in dwelling on those since they are water under the bridge. The important part is I still got my windfall to enjoy.
   Enjoy it I did. My friend Courtney came to spend the day shopping with me and basically joining me out and about on the town. Because life gets in the way, we had not been able to hang out since December. Good shopping. Good food. Good company. One cannot ask for much more.
     The above photo was taken at the end of the day. Yes, my hair is that much of a mess. The back curls naturally, too.   

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Future Will Look Much Like the Past

     Human frailty will always be of more consequence than the

power of technology. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Juice is Loose and Taking Another Stab at Life

      OJ Simpson will not officially released until October 1st, but he was granted parole yesterday in Nevada. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of armed robbery against a sports memorabilia dealer at a Las Vegas hotel room. He will have served the minimum nine years of what could have been up to 33 years in jail. Four parole commissioners cited Simpson's lack of prior convictions and low probability of him committing another crime as factors in granting parole.
      Simpson's acquittal of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman weighs heavily, and not just for the fact Simpson would have been incarcerated rather than free to commit armed robbery in Las Vegas. His acquittal also prevented the parole board from seriously considering Simpson murdered two people in a jealous rage. Why he is considered unlikely to commit another violent crime in a rage is beyond comprehension. He has gotten off the hook far two easily twice now.
    Such is my reading of it. I believe Simpson is guilty of murdering his ex-wife and Goldman. He was only acquitted because his legal team, mostly Johnny Cochran, played the race card while evoking tensions between law enforcement and the black community. I thought his 2008 conviction, which looked like a life sentence at the time, was some measure of justice. Odd, because I am not much of an idealist. Yesterday proved my old cynical self just needed a little patience before it was vindicated. It usually is.
     Judging by social media right after Simpson was granted parole, bur opinion on whether he should have been granted parole depended on whether you believed he was guilty of murder in 1994 rather than how serious the crime he was convicted for in 2008. It goes to show how much his acquittal still burns at people emotionally whether you believe he was wrongly accused and deserves no punishment or got away with murder and should have remained locked up in Nevada as delayed punishment for the slayings.
    Simpson is definitely off scott free and sitting pretty. Although he lost a wrongful death suit to the Goldman family, they cannot touch his NFL. Said pension is not only $25,000 a month, but accrued $400,000 while Simpson was incarcerated. I guess he will have plenty of cash to continue his hunt for his e-wife's real murderer at golf resorts all around the country. At least we are not likely to see him on a reality show anytime soon. Nor will I care to see any interviews with the journalists colliding with each other to be the first to speak to Simpson upon his release.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jodie Whittaker is the Thirteenth Doctor

     When the BBC announced it would reveal who will play the Thirteen Doctor after today's Wimbledon final, I figured an army of geeks would grumble through the tennis match while impatiently waiting for the big reveal. I was not disappointed. Twitter lit up with Whovians trolling eight time Wimbledon Roger Federer to stop celebrating his victory so much. Then they turned their ire to the tennis analysts for taking so long to explain his victory.
      But the madness did not top there. The BBC finally announced the new Doctor via the video embedded above. For the first time in the how's history—54 years, if you are keeping count—the Doctor will be played by a woman. Jodie Whittaker has been cast as the Thirteenth Doctor. Whittaker jumped from 30/1 on Wednesday to 4/1 odds yesterday according the United Kingdom bookies. A jump of that sort has happened before during the lead up to a new Doctor being announced as insiders take advantage of advance knowledge, so the announcement should not have been too much of a surprise. Still, the purists are not happy.
      Whovians are taking up arms on fan sites and social media. You can probably guess the division. Old school fans are upset the Thirteenth Doctor is not a man as he has always been. Many feel the powers that be caved to Social Justice Warriors with he casting. Naturally, the SJW have emerged to claim any negative reaction to the new Doctor's gender is motivated by misogyny. The SW have been ruining all things geeky from video games to comic books in the last few years, so it is no surprise there.
      I am fine with both a female Doctor in general and Whittaker in particular. I liked her in Broadchurch. (Fun fact: Her costar, David Tennant, played the Tenth Doctor from 2005-2010.) My only misgiving is new showrunner Chris Chibnall might make Whittaker a female Doctor rather than a Doctor who happens to be female. I am intrigued to see what will happen. 
     I review episodes of Doctor Who  at Abstract Visions.

Friday, July 14, 2017


      Time to relay a personal victory. 
     A few months ago, I heard a snippet of a song without learning the title. There was only a couple lines of lyrics. No way to identify the singer beyond it was a female, but was she a solo artist or the lead singer of a band? I had no idea. I did not even know what year I should be searching in. Google was not much help considering all there was to search was part of the chorus.
      Reddit came to my rescue last night. I discovered a subreddit called Tip of My Tongue. The purpose of the subreddit is for users to post vague memories of music, television shows, movies, and the like they cannot identify in the hopes another user may be able to do so. I gave it a shot, and got the correct answer within two hours.
The song I could not identify after hearing only some of the chorus is "Sway” by Bic Runga. 
     I have now found it, and downloaded the MP3. How did we get by on the internet before? Even the mighty Google failed me. Well, Google would probably blame the failure on me. Whatever. I identified the song. I am happy regardless.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Top Ten Monkees Songs

  Carole King penned this critique of modern, suburban malaise, and prefer her rendition. But the Monkees do a good job with this effort to move away from bubblegum pop.
     “Porpoise Song” is arguably the Monkees wildest effort to move away from bubblegum pop. They went full psychedelic weird here with the theme song to the incredibly psychedelic and weird film Head. I like the ethereal feel among the classical instruments and echo.
  The jaded Monkees ponder where their youthful naivete went after experiencing how the real world works.
     Not sure what the future will hold, but the past will not hold it back. I love the beat in this song.
     A song about overcoming depression.
05. "Words"
    It is about as haunting as the Monkees get, which is not much, but the harmony can still induce chills.
    Singing the opening lines was a running joke back in my law schol days about regret over ever thinking studying law was a good idea. Regardless, I always thought this song was sad. It has only become more so after Davy Jones' death in 2012.
    I am actually not a big fan of this song. But as it is generally considered the Monkees' best song, I must include it somewhere. The song is catchy enough, and the upbeat feel hides the true meaning of the lyrics—a draftee wants to see his girlfriend one last time before shipping off to Vietnam.
     I was torn whether to rank “Daydream Believer” higher than “I Wanna Be Free.” While the latter is personally favored between the two, it cannot be denied “Daydream Believer” is Davy Jone' best vocal performance. Plus, the song has been covered by so many diverse performers. It definitely has something going for it.
     Michael Nesmith lets his country music influences show writing this song. It debuted as the closing number of the Monkees' last television special in 1968. Peter Tork left shortly thereafter, so that particular performance was the Monkees last as a quartet until 1986.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I Am Done Reviewing The Monkees

    I am mercifully done reviewing The Monkees at Abstract Visions. I chose the show to start back reviewing old television series, which is something I have not done since 2012 at my old blog, for two reasons. One, it was a relatively short series at 58 episodes. A short series would help me acclimate to reviewing long run again. Two, I recall the show fondly from my youth. Those couple rationales fizzled quickly.
      Yes, the series enjoyed only a short run. But I am so out of the groove, it took me over three months to review all the episodes. Back in the day, I would have covered 90+ episodes of a series in that span of time even if I was not enjoying the show. Since I could manage to soldier through a bad show back then, perhaps the second rationale fizzling out is no defense, but I really did not like the series as much as I did in my younger days. I think it is me, not the show. Even nostalgia could not help me immerse myself in what what was a big part of the mid-'80's for me.
      I will toss out several observations.
    One, Davy was the star. You may say 'Well, duh,” but I remember the show as more an ensemble than it actually is. The first season in particular is all Davy. There is even an episode in which he meets an exact twin in case you dd not get enough Davy previously. There were occasional episodes centered on Mike or Peter, but The Monkees is all Davy. Mickey was the focus of only two or three episodes the entire run. He mostly hammed it up in reaction to whatever wacky circumstances the guys found themselves in.
      Two, the writing is bad. Plots that would barely pass muster in a cartoon are reused over and over again. The Monkees save a royal from being murdered by ruthless aide twice! Three times if you count when Davy is about to become Middle Eastern royalty through marriage. It becomes tough to comment on a plot on the second go around, much less the third.
    Finally, the simmering contempt the cast had for the series became increasingly noticeable as time went on. If the ones starring I the show are not having fun, then neither can the viewer enjoy the show. I did not enjoy the show, and I am glad it is over.

Friday, July 7, 2017

George Clooney is a Hypocrite

     George Clooney loves refugees. He starred in sob story videos urging Western countries to allow more in. he specifically appealed to Angela Merkel. He scolded the united states for not allowing enough refugees in. Americans have forgotten the country is a nation of immigrants, the actor says. Clooney takes every opportunity to remind us we should take on more refugees.
   But Clooney's love for refugees is both conditional and unrequited. Clooney is moving his family from England to Los Angeles because he no longer feels safe because f the recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. Bear in mind the most recent terrorist attack in the United Kingdom was carried out by the son of a Libyan refugee. It sounds as though refugees might be taking advantage of the open borders Clooney advocates to terrorize the Western countries taking them in. There is gratitude for you, no?
   As a bonus, Clooney is also considering selling his Italian villa—a walled villa in which no one is allowed within 100 meters of—because the influx of refugees has turned the once pristine resort area into a slum. Ironically, the majority of these refugees are not from war torn countries, but from North African countries. The refugees are seeking the welfare havens of Europe.
    So Clooney is going to movie his family back to the United states because he feels the chance of suffering a terrorist attack is less in the country that has taken on the fewest refugees. Clooney exhibits one of the worst instances of liberal virtue signaling. He weeps for the refugees, but leaves the problems they cause to everyone else.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

"I Fall to Pieces"--Mike Nesmith & the First National Band

    Each member of the Monkees enjoyed a post-break up musical career. None of them quite hit the heights of any of the Beatles when they parted ways, some interesting stuff came about. Michael Nesmith picked the most interesting path by taking a shot at a career in country music by forming the First National Band.
    Mike was from Texas, and many of the songs he wrote had a country feel to them. Taking a shot at country music stardom after leaving the Monkees seemed only national. Nevertheless, Mike Nesmith and the First National Band Never found any big success. Fortunately, mike inherited his mother's liquid paper fortune just in the nick of time to avoid any nostalgia music tours until 1996.
     The video embedded above is a good cover of Patsy Cline's “I Fall to Pieces.” As a bonus, I am also linking to my favorite Mike Nesmith and the First National Band's "Silver Moon." Give it a listen and wonder why the band never made more of a splash.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"War Games"--Monkees

      I am currently reviewing The Monkees at Abstract Visions. The show is mercifully winding down. But more bout my feelings in that regard are coming in a few days. Watching the show has afforded the opportunity to hear a lot of music from the Monkees I never heard before. It has been a mixed bag. The Monkees music has a reputation for being—as frank Zappa put it—banal and insipid.
      The epithets are well earned. I have found very few gens among the lesser known works of the Monkees. These are the songs usually dubbed The Missing Links. The songs were mostly written after the series ended and so lacked the platform to promote them. Studio musicians usually played the music, which never helped dispel the rumor the Monkees could not play instruments themselves.
      Many of thee songs were eaten up with late '60's themes that sounded incredibly strange coming from such a bubblegum pp band. Case in pint is the embedded above “War Games.” it is a cut above their previous too badly named to take seriously antiwar anthem “Zor and Zam,” but it is still lacking. The problem as Davy sounds like he is trying to sing an antiwar anthem rather than actually singing one. So the message is almost lost on me. The song is still worth a listen for the novelty if nothing else.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Usual Holiday Selfie

     July 4th means another holiday selfie.  Here it is, better late on

the actual day than a couple days later like last time around.  

Happy Fourth of July!

     Lunch was grilled hamburgers.  I need to lay down and grunt

for a while.  Maybe even the rest of the day. 

Monday, July 3, 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.

If You Ever Wondered What a Blown Vein Looks Like, Today is Your Lucky Day

     I left off the previous post expressing my desire to avoid further emergency room trips. So far, so good. Other than sleeping off morphine for the better pat of two days, which is not necessarily an unpleasant experience, there have been no lingering serious effects stemming from the now unblocked bowel obstruction.
    No lingering serious complications from the now unblocked bowel obstruction does not include the blown vein from the first of three attempts to start an IV. As you can see by the above photo, that is still large and colorful. History says it will remain as such for quite a while. It will likely spread even further up and down my arm as the swelling dissipates. It will be o much fun keeping from banging my elbow on anything for the net couple weeks. History also says the slightest pressure will cause the area to balloon right back up.
      For full disclosure, this photo was taken yesterday for Facebook sharing.  I was going to post it here Friday morning, but Spectrum went AWOL until earlier today.. The photo is a few days old, so the bruise has flattened out more, thereby spreading over more of my arm, and has turned more purple with less green. But you get the idea. 
      There is no reason to take a bunch of pictures to track its changes. It is quite clear what a humdinger the blown vein was. I have had veins blow before. Many caused bruising. But I do not recall one turning out quite so large. The results must be saved for the sake of history!

Off the Grid

      If you follow me on Twitter, you are familiar with my distaste with the ever unreliable Spectrum as an internet provider. It is straight up awful in both providing internet and customer service when attempting when attempting to address lack of the former. My internet died late Friday morning. It was not restored until this morning. So I spent the entire weekend languishing in the ore-internet Dark Ages.
     For those record keepers amongst us who might be tracking such statistics, the previous record for Spectrum outage was 23 hours. The latest average hovered somewhere around 72 hours, give or take. I would be enormously relieved if the new record not only stood the test of time, but Spectrum decided to rest on its laurels and make no further attempts at out doing itself at failure.
      I spent a lot of time twiddling my thumbs, but I also managed to write blog entries to be posted when I returned to the 21st century. Most are set for the review blogs, but Gods & Monsters will not suffer complete neglect. Just a lot of it. It is the blog most dependent of me being on top of what is going on in the world. I am still catching up at the moment. If Spectrum will cooperate, the task would be much easier.  
     Staying out of the emergency room would be nice, too.