Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Go WestWorld young man...

Ramblings Post #328
Good TV is hard to find. Don't get me wrong, there is some good stuff out there, but finding good stuff I actually want to watch is another. And since I've got other irons in the fire, sitting down for an hour to watch something , followed by the hour it takes me to get back into other thing mode, means I try not to sit down for that hour. Only so many hours in a day, and if I spend a good bit of it on TV, well, you see how that goes? So, good watchable TV is hard to find. And NO, I don't use on-demand. That would be worse. 

I just finished watching Westworld and now I'm mad. Partially because the story won't pick up again because the producers A) have other jobs and B) haven't written the script yet and partially because this has turned into a mystery show, where I'm supposed to watch four or five times making notes to get it all. At least there aren't secret messages embedded in the background I need to decode. Now, as much as we have lamented situations where we already knew the story ( i.e., Game of Thrones), it did mean that the production could move along without hiccups. But then we didn't have fresh well written stories, so the there is a trade-off here. Although a 16-month plus delay seems a little much if the program was designed from it's inception to be multi-year. Looking at you producers and HBO.

So, what did we learn from this season? Spoilers here, but you should have seen it by now. William and the Man in Black were the same guy in different timelines, but we knew that. Hopefully Logan was the critical failure 30 years ago. Delores is Wyatt. We got the master Ford giving one last fuck you to the Board with a circus of death as his new narrative. And it turns out Ford wasn't the bad guy. We found out that there is a Park 1 (Which may or may not be Westworld), which gives rise the idea of Park 2, Park 3 and so on. Some of the hosts are finally conscious, now in episode 10, and the maze really wasn't for the guests, but for the hosts to navigate. And finally, supposedly this was all just a prequel to the 'real story', which I understand starts in Season 2. Pfft.

Smashing. Not quite Lost, which just seemed to generate questions for questions sake, but still intriguing. Still, I have a few questions that I'm probably going to find the answers to on Reddit, but I'll post them here first just because I can. 

■ What was Ford building in the park? 

Theresa complained earlier that the mad master was using up a crap load of resources on his new narrative. But Ford's master plan included him not being there, and killing the board wouldn't have used up a quarter of the park. So what exactly was he building? A giant fort for when the people outside (police, government, etc.) come to take back the park? A new city for the hosts to inhabit? A facility to build more hosts, maybe a host army or even a replacement board ? I want to know! 

■ When can we visit Shogun World?

As the wacko duo blazed down through the corporate offices, they passed through SW, what I'm calling Shogun World. When can we go there? And why is it based specifically there, inside Westworld? I ask that becasue the Mesa HQ isn't centrally located, Sweetwater is. But HQ has to be close enough for the nightly swap outs. And no, I don't believe its located near Pariah, despite one theory. But it isn't anywhere near an edge, to join with a new space, so why locate the Shogun display there? Is it not ready yet? 

■ How much jail time should Felix get? 

The idea that Felix would get away with helping Mauve is absurd. There are witnesses, the people in the offices, who can place him with the rampaging hosts. Although I'm certain Ford hid their tinkering in the system when he allowed the Mauve augmentation and killed most of the video when he designed her escape, the wacko duo he was traveling with must have killed at least a dozen people, something that can't be hidden. Unless Ford planned to kill every human in the Park, anyway. Okay, I just didn't like Felix. At all. The proper term is 'simp.' 

Now, if Hopkins decides not to return, and it seems likely, could/would they re-cast and have his character return as a host...only much younger? Oooh, now there is intrigue. 

Good show. A little ponderous at times, and at others a little more mysterious than it ever had to be. A good story is a good story, it doesn't need tricks. So here's to hoping this doesn't become a trick show, one after the other, just a good show. 

Barkeep. A whiskey and soda. I'm just moseying around tonight.

Monday, December 5, 2016

So, where you been?

Ramblings Post #327
Take a walk. A long slow walk from your home, from your phone, from the world really, the creature comforts and connectivity you know and look at who you really are. Look at yourself, without your friends or family, without your spouse or child, without your job or home. Imagine you're alone in the world and all you have to do is choose. If you don't choose to go back, then you have a problem. If you do choose to go back, then ask yourself what are taking back that is so valuable? When you know, it's time to head back. 

I haven't been updating this recently, much to my personal chagrin, because I got other stuff on my plate so to speak. I've been working, hustling if you will, to actually get some stuff done. Some of it personal, some of it professional, all of it worth my time. Even though the cattle drive I'm on doesn't seem to want to end, that's a good thing, but I'm carving out some time to get myself situated for better things.  

Although I've been writing a book for forever - No, not that one, the other one. No the other other one. Yeah, I know. So, in an effort to better myself I decided to do a kind of writer boot camp, and challenged myself by signing up for National Write a Novel Month. The goal was to write 50,000 words in 30 days, thus producing a short novel. It turns out the Great Gatsby is roughly just that long so idea makes sense, and 50,000 words is just a little less than 1,700 words per day. This should be doable was my thinking. So, I drew up an outline and on November 1st got started. That would be about where I left you with the exception of noting the new national nightmare.

I was good for a while, steadily working at it. Had a few makeup days where I needed 3,000 and 4,000 words, but in the end I did learn some things which were invaluable. And although I had to pull together roughly 8,000 words in those last three days, I made it over 51,000 with about 30 minutes to spare. Which when I looked at it, is about as many words as I've written on my two previous works in the past 18 months! So there's that. I've discovered I need to work faster. This new work isn't quite done yet though, still a few parts to fill in but I'll finally have something I haven't had in a long time: A completed first draft. Then I'll let it sit until after the second thing I've been working on. 

That second thing is a new certification, which sounds weird in my line of work. But I've talked to some colleagues and been to a few seminars, and it looks promising. So, now I'm looking at study material with an arched eyebrow. My current problem with this whole thing is the material looks so...inadequate. I kept thinking that the books I ordered would be larger and more substantial. And the test questions they all have appear to be so ...obvious
 
I want to say I already know most of this stuff. And you know what happens when you start thinking things like that? I get to the test and everything will look like it was written in German. Call it paranoia, call it looking for ghosts where there aren't any, but it's that little voice some where saying  DO MORE! So, even though I've got a good nut of material, I'm still seeking out more. 
 
I can't keep doing what was doing and expecting different results. 

New year, new me. 

Barkeep. A sparkling water please. With a bourbon chaser. What? Baby steps.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Well, that happened.

This is a political post. 

I'm stunned. Still. In one swoop of apathy and lack of scope, this happened. Well, damn.
  
First, if you are a pundit, please turn in your press credentials, your notepad and your crystal ball. We thank you for your time and your service but you know nothing. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Because up until last night the conventional wisdom was an openly racist billionaire with multiple bankruptcies and a pending rape case who openly called for violence against his opponents and employed no ground team and no ad buys couldn't win a national election. But this election has proved that conventional wisdom is utter rubbish. Apparently the world is always in flux and all that any of us were ever doing is guessing. 

Eight months ago the big story was the disarray the Republican Party was in, and how it was soon going to be impossible for them to win nationally. In reality, the story should have been the Democratic party and it's less than democratic anointing of a chosen candidate. So pundits, we're done with you. It was a nice run, but we have no more need for this type of "filter bubble" reporting. Here's a lovely gold Casio watch and coupon for extra sprinkles at Dunkin Dounts. 

Because I was actively not paying attention it was only within the past few days, after reading an article I can't find right now, that I realized what central theory Clinton's campaign was organized around. Looking at my own scribblings from just 24 hours ago I can see that I apparently bought into it as well:  "You need surgery. Who do you trust more: A doctor with a malpractice suit against them, or the Manager of your favorite fast food place?" And what strikes me as odd is that it type thinking appears to based on an discredited theory of Ayn Rand, just a tweak away from one formerly embraced by the Republican party elites. This alone should have made it suspect. 

Clinton's campaign, the thrust of it and the memes of it, were based in the idea of meritocracy, the idea that the one who is most meritorious, most educated, best equipped should be the one to lead.  It sounds great on paper, but it's essentially Rand's Rational Choice Theory but with a trail of bona fides as a supplemental. And Rand's theory was hokum because it discounted that emotional tendencies continually bleed through most of our decisions.  

In essence, Clinton felt because she had a fantastic resume, if her interview was just so-so it didn't matter: She was the most qualified candidate. Not the best, the most qualified.  By contrast her opponent had a terrible resume, but his interview was so good the interviewer took him out for a beer afterwards. There is more to leadership and getting elected than merit. Clinton had an inability to invoke deep seated feelings outside the cabal of Democratic elite, who essentially anointed her in 2008 and hung onto that choice into the now. Clinton just didn't excite people, she brought no energy, and much like in 2008 just assumed she was going to win. She presented as the inevitable. It turned out we weren't with her because we wanted to be, but because we had to be. And it showed at the polls. 

*Deep, sad sigh*

With all that said, let's do a quick rundown of where we'll stand in say, a year from now - 

√ The Affordable Healthcare Act will be overturned and replaced by...nothing? Or maybe block grants to the states which in turn won't squander the money because there is like no corruption at the state level. 

√ Corporate taxes are going to be cut to boost job creation and the economy, despite the theory failing to work in Wisconsin and Kentucky. 

√ The military budget is about get a boost. 

√ These will cause the deficit to explode because we'll be taking in less and spending lots more, but because suddenly deficits won't matter anymore, because the Republicans are in charge.

√ The Department of Justice will cease to investigate officer related shootings or even be interested in pursuing them. The SEC, already weak, is about to become completely toothless.

√ The Supreme Court will on it's way to being right-wing conservative to an extreme for the next 30 years or so. Such a lock they might even try to repeal Roe v. Wade.

√ More militarization of the local police. 

√ The Voting Rights act will be completely dismantled if not completely repealed, and emboldened by the success of their previous efforts the prospect of voter registration purges under the guise of protecting the integrity of the vote will become more commonplace. 

√ The Dream Act will be eviscerated 

√ Any type of Affirmative Action may be removed from all aspects of life. Damn a diversity hire.

√ The Post Office may close. All of them. Seriously. 

√ Regulations that protect us from ourselves are about to go the way of the dodo. Because it's not about us its about profit. Profit now rules. 

And finally, and most depressing, the Republican Party is about to go to work overtime to reduce Obama's legacy to that of a political footnote at best, and his memory to that of painting in a museum. The plaque might even just read "This black guy was in charge for a while. Nothing happened." It will be as if the last eight years were but a dream.

But hey, there is work in Arizona! We got a wall to build. 

Damn, damn, damn. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Is it over? Tomorrow? See ya tomorrow then...

This is a political post. 

I'm not sure what will happen by tomorrow. If the Second Civil war has started, meet me at the spot we talked about that time, and bring some bait. If not, I think the only thing I'll be happy with that the damn ads are over. I was just so damn tired.

If you were hoping for scintillating commentary this time around, I'm sorry. I'm working on a certification,  the "ranch" where I'm working never seems to run out of cattle, and I like to do this little thing called sleep every now and then. And occasionally, from time to time, I even leave the house. But I digress.

This political circus for me was best summed up in one...tweet? Instagram? I don't remember, but it went something like this:

You need surgery. Who do you trust more: A doctor with a malpractice suit against them, or the Manager of your favorite fast food place?

Hillary isn't perfect, but who is? They've been after her for years and haven't been able to catch her, so if nothing else it speaks to her intelligence and craftiness. But her opponent is so unsophisticated and unprepared, that very thing he swears he's an expert at and will get going again, the economy and Wall Street, lurches in fear at the idea of him as the Commander-in-Chief. I know a lot of people think he's the answer, or at least a brick through the window of the people who got us here, but Trump isn't who they envision him to be. He's who he says he is. And who he says he is is a person not really ready to President.

That's all I got this political season. Now I got stuff to do.

Hope the world is still here next week.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cubs Win!

Ramblings Post #326
I follow sports. I follow basketball, football, baseball, soccer, tennis, rugby, curling, cycling, NASCAR, surfing, gymnastics, track, bowling, and whatever else ESPN puts on when I'm not paying attention. I can find something about it I like and will watch fascinated. Except hockey. Blue line, five hole, dude, I just get so confused.

I watched WGN as a kid, so I know the Cubs story. But sadly when I was in Chicago I did not visit Wrigley Field. It was the end of the fall heading into winter when I got there, and by the time the season was starting back up again I was already headed back for warmer climes. (Note: Do not move north in the winter, you will get the wrong impression).

I watched parts of the series. Okay, watching a lot of baseball is dull. Playing cool, watching is a study in patience. But finally, the Cubs, after 108 years win it all. But the real reason I'm happy the Cubs won? It made this man happy.

Bill Murray. National Treasure.

Barkeep, One for me, and one for my old pal Mr. Murray.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Art from the Black Hand Side

Ramblings Post #325
Sometimes there are things I like because, well I like them. I don't know why I just do. Like maps. And floor plans. When I was younger I wanted to be an architect because it involved floor plans. Until I realized you didn't just get to look at them, you had to make them. Um, right. You see I'm not an architect now, right?   

By Marcus Williams aka Marcus the Visual
When I was looking to buy that other house, and happier times had plans for the bar/club setup in the basement, hot tub on the back deck and out door setup for neighborhood move screenings (AKA the long, long ago), part of the whole thing was an art gallery. Prints from local Atlanta artists hanging on the wall kinda stuff. And prints I would buy online. And maps blown up for detail. And floor plans. And...I'm getting off track here.

Art can tell stories.I judge a comic or graphic novel on how good or intriguing the art is. Bad art can destroy the illusion. But those people I like? Damn. And I like this guy. 

By Marcus Williams aka Marcus the Visual
These are for an online drawing challenge where the artist is supposed to flip the gender of the character. I looked at a few them and I think he's the best of the group that participated. That I just really like his drawing style.

By Marcus Williams aka Marcus the Visual
Either that or I just appreciated that the characters he chose were black. But hey, we like what we like. Should I ever finish one of these damn stories I'm writing, and it comes down to it, I might even have to look into a commission. This is good stuff. So good I had to drop back by.

By Marcus Williams aka Marcus the Visual
Barkeep. Let me have something mellow, with just a twist of spark to it. Or bourbon. You know what, I'll just have the bourbon with soda. Thanks.