Sunday, November 14, 2021

Taking a Short Break from Song of the Month

One reason I started cataloging Eric's Song of the Month posts is because Facebook has a tendency to hide posts. As I started to look for December 2020 posts, this problem has become more apparent. I'm going to keep working on it, but it's going to take longer for me to complete the posts.

If I cannot find the post, I'll put "missing post" on that day. If I know the video for that day, I'll try to post it. Since Eric posted them, some videos may have been removed or had their permissions changed. If I am able, I'll try to find the same video elsewhere and link to that, otherwise I'll try to note the video isn't available. Link rot will set in, and some videos will not be available in the future as well... that's just the nature of the internet.

While I work on finding old Facebook posts, here's the list of songs Eric has done so far:

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Song of the Month - January 2021 - Bohemian Rhapsody

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is January 2021, and the song is Bohemian Rhapsody.

Jan 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: Right! New month, new year, new song! And boy, do we need this new year! So this month's song has to be a big, bold, brassy one that will knock the door down and say, "Hey, we're not kidding around, this year had better be a BIG improvement over the last one!" So then the choice became REALLY simple. Ladies and gentlemen, and everyone else who may fall somewhere in between, I present to you the Song of the Month for January, 2021!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Song of the Month - February 2021 - Somebody That I Used To Know

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is February 2021, and the song is Somebody That I Used to Know.

Feb 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: Here's one that I know has at least a few interesting covers out there, and is an intriguing song in its own right. But it's also kind of a dark and bleak song, so I thought it would be a good one for a short month like February. Without further ado, the Song of the Month is "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye, featuring Kimbra.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Song of the Month - March 2021 - Happy

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is March 2021, and the song is Happy.

Mar 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: It's time to blast ahead and jump start spring. After a couple months of downers, we really need something upbeat and funky. So I looked at my list of potential songs—and there was only one choice!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Song of the Month - April 2021 - Fade to Black

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is April 2021, and the song is Fade To Black.

Apr 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: This is going to be a little different for me, since I'm posting a song this month that I barely know and have very little history with. In fact, the first time I recall hearing in was a couple days ago when researching it for today! But this is a request from my brother-in-law, Ray. And it looks promising, there have been many covers over the years. There doesn't seem to be an official video by the band for this song, so this first one is pretty static, but I suspect thing will improve very quickly. Everyone, thanks for tolerating my rambling introduction. Here it is, "Fade to Black" by Metallica.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Song of the Month - May 2021 - Stitches

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is May 2021, and the song is Stitches.

May 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: This one has actually been planned before, but I postponed it a couple times when other ideas came up. But now it's time for another song from this century. I was impressed by "Stitches" when some high school kids introduced it to me a few years ago. Then I saw this video, which is impressive. Then I found out just how young Shawn Mendes is (he was only 17 when this song came out), and was triply impressed. So here, at last, is an impressive song, "Stitches" by Shawn Mendes.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Song of the Month - June 2021 - Sultans of Swing

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is June 2021, and the song is Sultans of Swing.

Jun 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1:

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Song of the Month - July 2021 - Kings & Queens

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is July 2021, and the song is Kings & Queens.

Jul 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: New month, new song! Those of you who get all annoyed when I have something from this century by an artist you've never heard of, you may as wait until August, because this song is from this DECADE! I heard this on the radio, thought it was catchy, and thought, what the heck! So, with no further ado, here's Ava Max with "Kings and Queens"!

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Song of the Month - August 2021 - Video Killed the Radio Star

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is August 2021, and the song is Video Killed the Radio Star.

Aug 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: New month, new song! So, in honor of the fortieth (!) anniversary of the debut of MTV, here is the first video they played (back when MTV played music videos):

Friday, November 05, 2021

Song of the Month - September 2021 - Rainbow Connection

I'm working my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is September 2021, and the song is Rainbow Connection.

Sep 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: New month, new song! I think a lot of people will enjoy this one!

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Song of the Month - October 2021 - Monster Mash

I'm going to work my way backwards through Facebook's confusing system and try to get all the videos Eric has posted for his Song of the Month series. Today's month is October 2021, and the song is Monster Mash!

Oct 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: I had a recent pop hit in mind, but I decided, nah, we need a fun one! Considering what month this is, what else was it going to be?

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Song of the Month - November 2021 - Paint It Black

For quite some time, Eric has been posted a "Song of the Month" on his Facebook page, with a single song covered by a bunch of different artists. The series has been going for more than a year now, and I have had the WORST trouble trying to find all the videos on Facebook because of the truly obnoxious way Facebook hides stuff from people.

So here's my cunning plan. I'm going to post Eric's videos here, on my blog, but each month will be in one post. I'll start with the first day's video, then try to put the rest after a cut, so just the first video will appear on the main page. However, this project will take some time to do, thanks to the way Facebook hides content, so I'm just going to do it as I can and work backwards from today.

Without further ado, then, Paint It Black - Eric's Song of the Month for November 2021.

Nov 1st - Song of the Month, Day 1: Right, time for some Stones!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Really Rapid Review - Aquaman: King of Atlantis Chapter One: Dead Sea

I have watched the first episode of HBO Max's Animated Aquaman series.

I have... thoughts.

First off, the animation style does nothing for me and, in fact, continually distracts me from the story. It's just not something I enjoy. That said, the animation style was 90% of my problem with the show, and not enough to make me dislike it.

The story was slight and amusing, but there were so many little bits and nods to Aquaman history and, I think, comic book history. I'm not entirely sure, but I think I could even point to the Silver Age book that the story is based on - or at least owes some homage to. I'd love to have a chat with the writer(s) and find out if I'm correct.

The story also leads into a new mystery with what seemed to be a running gag turning into something else entirely.

Character-wise, Mera is... um... let's just say I can see this Mera becoming a Red Lantern some time in the future. As it is, she's a great deal more aggressive than in the comics, but that's not a bad thing at all. There were more than a few moments her comments made me laugh out loud.

Aquaman is unsure of himself as a king, but absolutely certain of his role as superhero, which is perfect. Having him have more sense than Mera seemed a little off, but it worked well enough.

Overall, a decent start from my point of view, but I'd really like to see the reactions of non-Aquaman fans and younger viewers who actually like that type of animation.

If you've seen it, feel free to let me know what you thought, good or bad.

I hope to have the energy to write a more detailed and perhaps spoilery review later. We'll have to see if I can manage it.

Supply Chain

When I was growing up, the supply chain consisted of people making things, storing them in warehouses until they were ordered, then sending them out as stores needed them. This is a VAST simplification, but it covers the overall attitude - make stuff, store stuff, send stuff, sell stuff.

With modern infrastructure, the supply chain was tightened up. Because stuff being stored in a warehouse results in loss of profit (you have to pay for storing stuff instead of making money on it!) companies started to cut out warehouses by making things as they were needed instead of storing it wherever possible. This saved a lot of money, but it also meant that any disruption - at all - in the supply chain would result in people not able to buy products. Or worse, in companies along the supply chain not having the raw materials to make products.

A global pandemic is very disrupting.

The supply chain is ALL fouled up. There are slow spots in virtually every area. Some products aren't getting to where they need to be and some raw materials are just plain not coming to manufacturers.

This has led to all kinds of spotty shortages. And those shortages won't end soon. They will be popping up everywhere and in every industry.

Here's what you, as a consumer, ought to do.

  • Don't panic buy.
  • When you find stuff you need, buy enough to last a reasonable amount of time.
  • Plan ahead. Start looking for stuff you need BEFORE you need it badly. If you are down to a week's supply of something, go out and get a bit more, for example. Always stay stocked up to last a reasonable amount of time if there are shortages.
  • Be nice to the workers. They are not responsible for the shortages. They are as much victims as you of the corporate attitude of profits over people. If you harass employees and workers you are less likely to get help the next time you need it.
  • Be patient. While the supply chain is fragile, it hasn't yet completely broken down. If you make sure you have a small supply of necessities, you should be fine.

The biggest takeaway is to not make the problem worse. Panic buying, throwing temper tantrums at hapless employees, and waiting until the last minute to buy necessities will all contribute to the problem, so just don't do them.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Newbery Winner: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

Hi again, everybody! Hubby-Eric, here, with my continuing series of trying to read all the Newbery Medal winning books in order. Thankfully, with COVID restrictions easing up, it's a lot easier for my library to get books through interlibrary loan again, so the gaps may not be quite so large between entries now. This time around, the 1930 winner (for books published in 1929), Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field. I remember reading this one many years ago, and I still remembered quite a bit of it.

Hitty is a doll, carved from a piece of mountian-ash wood, for Phoebe, a little girl in Maine in the early nineteenth century. And can I just say, this doll has had some adventures! As the book opens, Hitty (short for Mahitabel) is in a New York City antique store where, when the proprietors and other humans are away, she is writing her memoirs. (Shades of Toy Story!) In the wilds of Maine, Hitty's first experiences involve being locked in a church, being snatche by birds and stuck in a tree, and other such shenanigans. It's when Phoebe's father takes the family on a whaling expedition that things start to get really exciting as Hitty is adopted by the crew, they are shipwrecked and Hitty becomes an idol to a native tribe, she is rescued and then lost again in the streets of Bombay, becomes a prop for a snake charmer, adopted by a missionary family who then whisk her back to New England, goes to the opera to hear a celebrated diva sing, becomes a fashion plate and photographic model, gets lost in a horsehair sofa and a hay loft, meets a famous poet and an even more famous author, and spends some time among sharecroppers in Louisiana before finally becoming an antique. But through it all, the sturdy chemise that Phoebe cross-stiched "Hitty" on always stayed with her, so everybody know her name.

Phew! What a life! Yeah, she also spends long stretches of time in boxes or trunks or stored in camphor, so her sense of time can be a little jarring, but that's how Hitty's experiences happened. Even when I first read it, I couldn't help wondering what Hitty's been up to since this book came out, and I can't help wondering if some creative soul out there can't get to work on Hitty, Her Second Hundred Years now. Think of all the odd new experiences she would have in the twentieth century! It would be hard, however, to top this book, as I suspect Hitty's recent history would primarily involve being on display now that she's an antique and a collectible.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Food Review - Hilary's Veggie Burger

I have had to try a lot of different foods over the past year and change, thanks to my kidney problems. One thing I have been meaning to do for a long time is reduce the amount of meat in my diet. However, I love burgers. So hubby and I decided to try some veggie burgers. I enjoyed the Impossible Burgers and Boca Burgers are okay, but when Eric went shopping this last week he found a couple of brands we haven't tried, and picked them up.

Hilary's Veggie Burgers are a little different than other veggie burgers I've tried in that they didn't seem to make any effort to taste like beef or duplicate the mouth feel of eating a ground beef burger. This is not a bad thing. I found I very much enjoyed the burger despite it not bearing any resemblance to a beef burger. If anything, it seemed more like a chicken burger, but without that awful chicken taste. This is a burger that will compliment the other stuff you put on the buns - the sauces/tomatoes/lettuce/pickles/onions - and still deliver enough to satisfy the stomach.

The only problem with it, that I could see, is a fairly high sodium content. That means it can only be a "sometimes" treat for me.

This one gets a thumbs up from me. I would enjoy having it again.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Short Review - The Suicide Squad

I don't like movie theaters much. The chairs always hurt my legs and back, so by the end of the movie I'm in enough pain that I rarely find myself enjoying the show. I know it was an incredible movie if I don't come out limping and wanting to cry. Add in the annoyance of other people and the appeal of a movie theater is almost non-existent for me. So having HBO Max and being able to see certain movies at home is a blessing. Being able to pause those movies as well is amazing. So when The Suicide Squad was released on HBO Max along with theaters, I jumped at the chance to see it.

And by "jumped" I mean I fired it up the day of release and stayed up late to finish watching it.

Initial thoughts: Over-the-top violently gory, basic plot, some really good performances and generally just fun.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. I'm going to try to avoid outright spoilers, but no matter how hard I try, some spoilers may possibly slip through. Please don't read any more if you want to watch the movie unspoiled.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Small Health Update

I saw my kidney doctor on Monday, and asked if I should be considering getting a booster shot of the vaccine, since I got the Johnson and Johnson single shot version on April 6th. He said not to worry about it yet, but keep paying attention to the news and, "if you don't trust the news you can call my office and ask."

He then noted that a number of his patients have refused the vaccine. Remember, these are people with kidney failure. He said three of his patients have caught COVID and ended up in the hospital. One had been vaccinated, and the case was mild. The other two had not been vaccinated. Both of them died.

This is anecdotal evidence, and I'm telling it to you second-hand, which means I may have gotten the facts slightly wrong. But even so, I saw the sadness in his eyes as he spoke and can't forget it. No doctor wants to lose a patient. Especially like that to something that - at that point - was preventable.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Jan 6th Hearing

You don't have to watch the whole thing, but I strongly recommend at least listening to the entire thing. It's three and a half hours, yes, but it's something that every single American should hear.

The format is as usual for a committee hearing - The chair of the committee calls four witnesses. The four are officers who were on the front lines on January 6th. All of them were injured, some far worse than others. Each witness gives a prepared statement explaining where they were and what they did. And what happened to them. After the witness statements, some of which were incredibly painful to listen to, each member of the committee is given five minutes to question the witnesses.

I will note that if the minority leader had put his two traitors on the committee, they both pledged publicly to derail the hearing during the questioning phase. Pelosi refused them seats because they openly bragged about how they wouldn't do the job set to them. The two Republicans who actually agreed to serve honestly on the committee - both of whom I dislike intensely and disagree with on just about every policy matter - stayed on topic and asked good questions.

This is just the first hearing. There is a long way to go to find the truth... and the Truth. I hope the evidence hasn't been completely destroyed in the last six months.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Hugo Awards 2021 - Update

I don't have a lot to report, since I've been busy "in real life" and haven't done as much reading/watching/playing as I wanted to do.

I've now read one of the novels and I'm working on a second. Along with the second novel, I also read some of the works in the Best Series category as well. In fact, I sat down yesterday and read four novellas in one day, then started the novel. I'm talking about the Murderbot series, which became a literal "can't put it down" for me. I was up until midnight last night reading Network Effect and haven't quite finished. I only stopped because my eyes refused to focus.

The other novel I read was The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, which was exactly as great as I was expecting. There was at least one moment I saw telegraphed a little early, but it was still a nice twist when it happened. I can tell the final ordering of the finalists is going to be a difficult decision already.

In the Video Game Category, I've played a little more of the two games I got free copies of. Both of them are interesting and have decent gameplay, but judging this category is going to be tough. The games are apples and oranges - like putting a fantasy novel up against a hard sci-fi novel up against an alternate universe novel - they are all very different in goals and gameplay and the like, so it will be a subjective decision for those who vote in the category. But then, aren't they all?

I also skimmed the art categories to give myself a first impression, but none of them jumped out and grabbed me in the "I would use this as my computer wallpaper" way. All were good, but I didn't see any that spoke directly to my heart (which has happened with Hugo finalist art before for me). So I'll give it a few more days/weeks then look again.

I'll keep chipping away at the finalists over the next few months (voting closes Nov 19th). I'll update regularly with general thoughts and hopefully with more on each category as I finish.