Saturday, September 30, 2017

CBS All Access is totally awesome


I simply can’t believe that some so-called Star Trek: Discovery fans living here in America are complaining that they have to subscribe to CBS All Access to watch the new series.

What’s the big deal? It’s, like, $6 a month ($10 if you don’t want commercials) to subscribe to the service and that’s cheap. Yes, it’s common for homes to subscribe to a number of streaming services (Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime at my house), so what’s one more?

Now, I realize there are some arguments against the business model CBS is using to distribute this show. I mean, so what if we’re talking about a series that has traditionally struggled for ratings even when people could watch it on television for free? So what if the over-the-air premier of Discovery attracted only 9.6 million viewers as opposed to the 14.54 million viewers that tuned in for the Sunday Night Football program at the same time that featured the subpar matchup of the Raiders and Redskins (check out those state here)? And, so what if Star Trek fans tend to be technically literate and can easily find their way to torrent sites and download Discovery for free like crazy?

All of those facts mean nothing because Discovery is awesome and that means it will totally do well. I mean, Internet piracy isn’t that big of a problem, is it? Just ask the music industry, the movie industry and the software industry. They all figured out how to win the war on piracy, right?

Besides, Star Trek fans wouldn’t steal Discovery, would they? If I caught one downloading Discovery, I would remind him or her that such a practice is illegal and unethical, and I’m sure that would shame that individual into doing the right thing and handing CBS some money for a program that they should be able to watch for free because they’re shelling out $100 a month on cable. The “stealing is unethical and illegal” argument worked well on music and movie pirates, right?

One more thing about CBS All Access – whoever designed that wonderful service did so with its subscribers in mind. Just compare it to Netflix. That service is just boring – it works flawlessly almost every time I use it. CBS All Access, however, tends to lag and display that whirly symbol at people when it’s buffering. That’s time I can use to get a drink, make a phone call or two or visit with my family. Clearly that was all on purpose – CBS wants us to spend more time with our loved ones, so those things that look like technical errors with All Access were brilliantly built into the app on purpose. Genius!

Friday, September 29, 2017

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ totally follows canon

Star Trek: Discovery is out and a lot of people have some dumb complaints about it. One of the of the lamest ones is that the show doesn’t follow established canon.

That’s simply not true. The show totally follows canon. I know the logic of that statement is self-evident, but let me explain a bit further for the 10 percent of the population or so that need to be convinced because they are too dumb to recognize the plain truth.

Let’s take, for example, the lead character – First Officer Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green, who some of you may recognize as the former drummer for the Grateful Dead). She was raised by Sarek, the Vulcan who is also Spock’s father. Now, some people have pointed out that this is a major deviation from Star Trek canon because Spock is totally famous and, as such, we should have heard about an adoptive sister at some point in the past.

Here’s what those fools fail to realize. Sarek is smart. Like, way smart. He knew that the Force was strong with both Michael Burnham and Spock, so he hid them from Darth Vader and the evil emperor so they couldn’t find them and turn them to the Dark Side. Of course, Sarek also kept Spock and Michael Burnham separate, so those two never realized they were raised by the same man.

See? We never heard about Michael Burnham because Spock didn’t know she existed. Point made. Canon followed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MST3K is back, boys and girls!


Well, thank goodness. After being off the air for 18 years, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) is back. That’s right – the 11th season of the 1990s cult classic is back and is on Netflix right now.

So, what’s changed? Jonah Ray plays the role of the poor slob who is condemned to watch awful (mostly) science fiction movies and ridicule them with a couple of robots (yes, Crow and Tom Servo are back in action), and the action takes place on the dark side of the moon rather than on the Satellite of Love. Also, cultural references have been updated for the 21st century (naturally).

What’s not changed? It’s still a heck of a lot of fun watching the gang shred awful movies. Joel Hodgson – the creator of he show – is back in the driver’s seat and his since of humor and fun clearly hasn’t changed much over the years.

If you’ve never watched MST3K, now is the chance to check it out and see if you like it. For those of us who have missed MST3K since it went out of production in 1999, this new series is like seeing an old friend return after a very long absence. No, it’s not the same and the actors are clearly getting into the groove still, but this revival is great and a breath of fresh air. If you have Netflix, check out the new episodes. If you don’t have Netflix, this is a good time to subscribe.

Want to find out more about MST3K? Click here, pilgrim.

Wordless Wednesday–spoiled brats

2017-04-06 16.06.05

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tragedy (almost) strikes the backyard chickens

tragicAs I’ve mentioned here a time or two, we got four hens last weekend and have been happily raising them since.

However, we almost lost the girls this evening. Fortunately, they are fine and we learned a valuable lesson about hens (i.e., don’t let them wander around unattended).
My wife let the chickens out of their coop this morning to forage around the backyard. We’ve been doing that regularly since shortly after we got them – our dogs and cats leave them alone, so what’s the harm?

We were in the house mopping the floors when we hard a commotion (more accurately, a bunch of squawking). We went out back to find Heihei passed out in the yard with feathers all around her. The other hens were nowhere in sight.

My wife checked on Heihei while I looked around for the rest of the hens. Heihei was just knocked out and it seems that chickens will do that when scared. Heihei was in shock, so we stuck her back in her coop and searched for the other birds.

We called our farmer friend who gave us the hens and he said that one of two things probably happened – either a hawk scattered them or an eagle picked one up and the other ones hid (there is an eagle preserve less than a mile from our house). He said the hawk scenario is more likely and that the chickens were probably just hiding – give them a couple of hours and they might return to the coop.

After a couple of hours, we found Paul hiding in some low-lying bushes in our fence line. Chickadee hiding was a few bushes down and we retrieved her, too. We figured perhaps Li’l Peep was a goner, but she showed up a few minutes after we put the two formerly hiding hens in their coop and she wanted to join them.

So, the hens are all safe and it appears that we need to keep a better eye on them. We are concerned about Heihei as she hasn’t moved much since we put her in her coop, although she has taken a few drinks of water and will cluck from time to time. We’re told that the hens probably won’t lay eggs for a few days, but they should come around just fine after the shock wears off.

We don’t exactly live in the country, but we’ve seen hawks and owls in our neighborhood. Hens are pretty vulnerable to predators, seemingly, so we got lucky this time. We’ll keep a close eye on the critters in the future.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Brenda and the chicken

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

The backyard chicken experiment gets underway

We were supposed to get our chickens last weekend, but it didn’t work out. Why? The coop we bought was missing some pieces, so we had to take it back and get another one. On Friday, then, we completed our coop and picked up our hens on Saturday.

So, this is officially Day 2 of the backyard chicken experiment, and our four hens – Heihei (named for a stupid chicken in Moana),  Li’l Peep, Chickadee and Paul (my daughter named her – not sure why) – are settling in nicely. Instead of raising chicks, we got four cinnamon queen hens from a friend of ours who said we could have them for free.

Why did we choose the cinnamon queen? The fellow who gave us our hens and knows about such things said they tolerate this hot Arkansas weather very well, are friendly and lay a bunch of eggs. So far, we have gotten only one broken egg our of our hens, but we were told not to expect anything for two or three days as the chickens adjust to the move.

The fascinating thing here is that we got these critters for eggs, but we are having a lot of fun with them. My wife and I have discovered our dogs don’t really bother the hens (see the photo above of Bella the Dog following Heihei as evidence), so we let them roam and forage as often as we can. We spent 1.5 hours this evening, in fact, just watching them forage and it was very peaceful. When the chickens were done foraging, they simply went back into the coop and headed for either a perch or nesting boxes. Convenient, no?

We’ll see about egg production soon enough, but we are making sure they are fed at least once a day (we’ll up that to twice a day when winter hits and foraging is no longer effective) with a feed that has ground oyster shells in it as we have been told that eggs with hard shells will result.

Meanwhile, those critters are just fun to watch. I’ve never owned chickens or spent much time with them, but having them around has been great so far.

Now, here's an extra special bonus -- if you want some dandy tips on how to keep your chickens safe and their environment in good shape, click here to visit the friendly folks at Treats for Chickens. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wordless Wednesday–Working Late

2015-03-10 23.26.27

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